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#i love her expressions wails sobs howls
starridge · 14 days ago
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i uhm like her very much
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coffeequeenmartha · 2 months ago
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Punishment For Her Wings
Requested by @thatonedummysimp
GN Demon!Reader (SAGAU)
"Farewell, my dears."
Their reactions are immediate. Wailing, pouting and cries are abundant within your vicinity, amplified by the bare, inky black walls of the domain within which you were stood. There's pleads, desperate and raspy, alongside pained howls of both monsters and creatures alike.
Spectres of anemo brush against your cheeks; faint wisps of wind nudge into them, their intent clear and morose. You croon, gently squishing one between your fingers as a wordless comfort.
"I've been here long enough," you chide, though amusement tinges your tone of voice. "You're all aware of how time is different in the Abyss. It's quite a surprise how none of my dear acolytes have come down to complain about it, I must say..."
Footsteps echo behind you, their falls brave and sure. The figure's cloak drags along the ground, concealing their tall, lithe shadow with a cloth so dotted in stars, it is as if the whole cosmos resided within its seams and stitches.
There's a sour, upset expression upon Dainsleif's features, though it dissipates no sooner than when your own eyes meet the navy pools of his. Grasping the sides of his face, you pull back blond strands of hair, then lean forward to press your curled horns against his forehead. Their sharp points angle close to his pristine skin, and yet at ease he still remains.
"Do not fret, my dear Dainsleif," you murmur, pressing a kiss to his temple. "I'm afraid the mortals of Teyvat need to be kept at bay. They grow restless at any disappearance of mine. I promise, I shall be back in due time."
Your lips curl back. Revealed are numerous pairs of pointed fangs, lining blood-red gums like daggers of bone. It's too overpowering, overbearing of a grin - much too large for a being of such kind and loving nature.
Not a second passes before Dainsleif nods, reverence flowing deep within his veins. He raises a hand, and abyssal energy pulsates as he curls it into a fist. Starry blue swirls about the both of you, as does it form a barrier in front of the creatures whimpering and clawing in your direction.
He falters at the sight. Though, his wrist is soon encircled by a long tail, which bends to form a shape similar to a heart. It softly brushes at his skin, like another kiss from your divine presence, and such is enough to focus his efforts oncemore.
"Nothing shall trouble you so long as I am here, my dear."
Concealed by a mask, rouge tints the surface of his cheeks. "Of course, your Majesty."
"Oh, do not call me by such a name, it doesn't befit me at- all..."
There's a sudden, unbearable weight which pulls at your chest: violent and so excruciating that it causes weakness in your knees. The whole world tilts, your vision blurs - it's impossible to breathe.
Flashes filter through your head, too quick to comprehend. There's screams, cries and sobs hounding your sensitive ears, blasting like a broken record. The lips they emanate from are spluttering, dribbling rivulets of unending gold. They cough, gag, and choke on something acidic and jagged within their throat.
Dainsleif's arms encircle your waist, acting as an anchor to your drooping body. It twitches and convulses harshly, and his eyes soon become wide and frantic. You can't hear his words, can't comprehend his questions; only see the figure in white that's crying and begging for your aid.
A burning, raging sensation throbs at the centre of your chest - so old and so foreign, that millennia have passed since it last controlled your conscience. Sadism casts shadows upon your thoughts: no more of your own are left.
She needs help.
"What do you think you're doing?"
All of Teyvat stops.
It gazes upon your flickering form, descending to the snowy grounds of Dragonspine at a hellish speed. The earth tilts harshly as you land, and the echoes of crumbling mountaintops and a dozen avalanches follow soon after. Pounds and pounds of snow begin falling at rapid speeds, downwards to trap all those within your perimeter with sheer, numbing cold.
The large, curled horns atop your head glow at their tips, and all of Mondstadt bows. The citizens, the knights, the archons. Their heads are pushed deep into the ground, as are their scraped and newly-bruising knees.
Rasping breaths. They're too quiet. Too lacking. She splutters and coughs, attempting to rid of the ichor blocking her airways. Inky blackness by your command latches onto her torso; wounds repair themselves; bones are replaced with resonating snaps that cause your sister to whimper in pain.
Though, you realise with a low growl, the bloodied, feathered stumps at the back of her shoulders remain absolute - and so does she, for her chest shakes with the force of her tearful sobs.
"I-I can't feel my wings! What happened to them? T-They're not there anymore!"
Crimson thunder strikes within the sky. Its echo shatters the ears of the archons kneeling before you, who cover the sides of their heads with mewling cries. Searing, fiery heat stifles the atmosphere, emanating from the cosmos tinged red with the extent of your rage.
"I created this bountiful land from the kindness of my heart..." you and a thousand unseen voices intone at the same time. "...I shall enjoy watching it burn for daring to harm my sister."
Cracks tear the ground beneath your hovered feet. The molten, toxic lava flowing beneath the crust of the earth blazes forth, disintegrating all in its path. Venti, Ei and Zhongli can only tremble as their frozen, kneeling bodies begin to succumb to the punishment brought forth upon them.
"To Khaenri'ah, my dear sister..." those dead say with you, their shadows surrounding the both of you. "Where the only true worshippers exist."
Thank you for reading! :)
This work was a mixture of two asks which @thatonedummysimp requested:
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Inspired by the SAGAU works of @nicebonescomrade
Please inform me of any references to a specific gender for the reader within this work.
Please inform me of any grammatical errors.
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mostly-megan · 9 months ago
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The Boys as Girl Dads: Pero Tovar
(A/n): Surprise, another installment to my HC series with the Pedro boys as girl dads because they all just feel like girl dads, ya know? We started with Javi, but now it’s time to yearn for the lean, mean, grump of a Spaniard. A lot of this was made in collaboration with @themarcusmoreno in the dms while we screamed about soft dads. Also, s/o to @miranhas-art s-art for her sweet Pedro Boys with Doggos piece (which I bought and have on my desk to gaze at and yearn over when I have time at work)! She inspired me to give Pero a very big good boy.
Small warning: Mention of death in childbirth (it’s the middle ages, you know), mentions to labor/childbirth, and brief mentions of blood
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When you were pregnant, Pero essentially had one hand on your belly and one on his sword hilt. Finding out you were going to have a child snapped him from his solitary mercenary lifestyle and had him telling William the very next time the jovial man rode into town.
He starts to build many wooden toys and carves out a bassinet and crib for the babe, even buying a warm, soft blanket to line the small beds with, wanting to provide the most he can for them.
He tries so hard to be strong and carry your burdens without letting you see any of his weaknesses. His eyes hold a sadness and a panic in them that you’ve seen only when he returned from far East. It isn’t until he finds the dress under your bed that he shares it the fear with you. He knows why it’s there, it’s the old tradition. It’s the dress you were married in and, should you perish in childbirth, the midwives will know it’s what you will be buried in. 
“I- I can’t, mi amor. I couldn’t be the father they need if your aren’t there. I need your help, you sweetness, your patience. I couldn’t do it without you. And, if you both were to... No, you will not leave me and neither will our babe. Do you understand me, carino? Nothing will take you from me!” 
He held you just that much tighter at night, arms lovingly wrapped around the ever expanding bump.
You go into labor early in the morning, just you were setting Pero breakfast on the table. At first you thought it was just the usual back pain you had started experiencing. Your hand deftly continued kneading the dough for your bread. The wooden bowl was knocked onto the floor as you grasped onto the table, ironically just as Pero strides in.
The midwives offer that he stay out of your bedroom during the birth, but hearing you groan and grunt in pain from so far away was torture on his nerves. Grumbling at the women as they tried to hold him off how he could assure them that he had seen far more worse and gore in his time on the battlefields.
He’s no longer entirely sure if that’s true any longer…
But hearing those first piercing cries as his daughter is cleaned up and handed to you made all of the chaos make sense somehow. You let out big, wet sobs holding the tiny bundle close to you, but no one expected otherwise. 
Pero was shockingly quiet. You looked up to see him, staring wide-eyed and slack-jawed in adoration of the small creature. What struck you most was something you had never seen before: his steady, sellsword hands shook. He reached his hand down excruciatingly slow to stroke the babe’s tender cheek. She cooed, little brow furrowing as she squinted her blurry eyes at the figures above her. He huffed out a shocked breath.
“Look- look at her, hermosa. So sweet, just like your mama, hm? Strong like her too.”
He closes his eyes and kisses your temple before resting his cheek against it as the both of you continue to stare at your new daughter.
You name her Elena after Pero’s mother, causing his eyes to grow a bit wetter with pride. She shares her father’s dark intense eyes and delicate curls framed by a face and nose clearly inherited from you. He jokes that you should thank whatever gods blessed her with your nose. 
He takes shockingly well to fatherhood, his old instincts perfectly aligning with him being up the moment her fussing began to carry her to you in the big bed. More often than not, you wake up in the morning to your bear of a husband snoring with the baby balance on his chest, rising and falling peacefully with his breaths.
She soothes him as much as he soothes her. You’ve woken in the night to hear muttering in the warm, rumbling voice you know so well. Pero sits in the kitchen chair in front of the warm hearth, speaking the swaying mother tongue he prefers to bear his soul in. Stroking her curls and looking down at her deep eyes that seem to swim with understanding as he just lets whatever words he needs to express flow out. He was far lighter in those mornings afterward. 
Who else takes perfectly well to parenthood is Pero’s wolfdog, Dario. He’s trained as a defender and a hunter, responding swiftly to every command your husband utters. But, very much like his master, is privately a doting companion. He had travelled harsh lands, camping in the most uncertain circumstances, and doing without for months. 
But now Dario lays at the foot of the bassinet, whining when she fusses and darting up like a bolt to gaze into the little bed mournfully at any cries that she wails. If he decides you are taking too long, he’ll howl along with her. A song of solidarity with his small human.
“Si, si, tranquilo, amigo. I hear her.”
*upset grunts as he follows underfoot*
“Hmph, Dario, siéntate!”
*Sad sigh as Pero finally calms the crying*
“I know, compañero. Thank you for taking care of our mija.”
She crawls around on the floor with Dario sniffing around her the whole time. You’d think she’s libel to slip straight through it the way he hovers about her. Pero once found her snuggled into his soft underbelly, sleeping peacefully while the big wolf yawned.
When Elena was learning to toddle, she liked going up to Pero at the table and clutching onto his leg. He’d lift her up so she could balance in his lap while she babbled and she'd throw her arms around his neck and snuggle in or smoosh his face between her little palms and rub her little fingers all over his face. He pretended to be a little annoyed, but you could always spot his soft little smirk at her.
*squishes his face and breaks out with a big grin and giggles*
“Hm, are you teasing your papa, mi amor?”
*giggles more as she moves his cheeks around*
“Lena, You know that most run and cower at the sight of your fearsome papa. You are starting to push it.”
*leans forward and gives him a big, sloppy toddler kiss before snuggling under his chin*
*Pero grumbles covering up his shattered, melting heart*
Elena really hates thunder and screams and cries during storms. Pero wakes up when she starts wailing and making grabby hands from her crib. He picks her up and hushes her softly, hugging her tight as he buries her under the quilt on your bed. “Be calm, mija, it’s alright. Go ahead and sleep, I’m here. Nothing’s gonna get you, sweet girl.”
Her first word was “Mama” and you would have thought your husband was going to sob from her mumbled little sounds. Her second word was a long “DAH” while reaching out to pet Dario with rough hand pats.
Her personality blooms with the spring. Sweet and cheerful, always bright and exceedingly clever, while also incredibly stubborn and very mischievous due to her constant curiosity.
She’s just as likely to skips around and make up song for her papa, but she is to steal his daggers and give him fierce little scowls when it is requested back.
“Papa this is mine!”
“No, no amor. That is mine and you know it. Now give it back.” 
*Scowling contest ensues*
“Pero, you realize you're the adult here.”
“She’s being stubborn.”
“......She’s three.”
“She is a hard bargainer, cariño. You try.” 
You kneel down and speak to Elena softly to which she hands the dagger over with a giggle then hugs her papa’s leg
“Lo siento, papa...”
*heavy sigh* “Esta bien, mija. Thank you for returning it. You know not to take it without permission.”
“Si...... *big pleading eyes* Can I watch you sharpen it, papa?”
“.................*sigh* Si.”
“Yay!”
Pero and Elena go to the market to sell all of the game he’s hunts in the woods to the butcher and leather workers. They’re all impressed by the sheer volume of what he hunted. He’s carrying her against his shoulder as they leave the shops. She stops sucking her thumb and taps his shoulder, pointing silently to the flower vendor’s table. He walks over and stands in front as she seriously looks at each flower before determinedly pointing to one. Pero pays the woman and Elena excitedly puts the flower behind her ear as he buys a separate bunch for you.
She sticks a flower from your bunch in his hair like in her own and giggles as he grumbles but smiles, giving her sweet kisses and bouncing her in his arms
“Papa pretty!”
“Hmmmm. Are you being silly, mija? Decorating your poor papa with mama’s flowers?” 
*squeals of giggles*
“Si, Papa match ‘lena!”
When he goes on smaller journeys with William, Elena asks if he’ll bring home jewels for Mama and toys for her and flowers and dresses and anything else. Pero grumbles something about not wasting money on spoiling his girls with winter coming. But he always comes back with simple pendants from a far off craftsman for you and a simple soft toy for Elena.
Nights he has hard times sleeping, he sits in front of the fire and just stares thinking of his time on the road. Elena always seems to wiggle out of her crib on those nights and toddles over to climb in his lap, give his scar a kiss, and snuggling under his chin and sucking her thumb again. Those nights he doesn’t scold her for leaving bed.
He likes letting her come along as he checks traps out in the forest. She skips back and forth in front of him on the path babbling endlessly about things he doesn’t particularly know about or asking him whatever questions pop into her clever head, but he just loves getting to listen to her and teaching her important things about nature. Sometimes their trip gets interrupted by her intently focusing on skipping rock to rock or studying pretty leaves on the ground, but his grumbles are all for show and he loves her little adventures.
Dario trails along with them into the woods. He carefully steps around her as she tries to balance on a log, skips over the river rocks, rambles to all the birds and frogs they come across. Pero’s always turning to wait for her, but he can’t be cross watching how much fun she has exploring until she’s tired and he carries her home
She has to tell she beast of a brother all about her favorite rocks and leaves, how pretty the birds are and such. She has to hold his tail when they cross logs because “Papa it high up. ‘Ario keeps me safe.” and it’s like a few inches off the ground at best
Pero always remembers once caging you against the kitchen table, wrapping his arms around your waist to pull you to him as he kisses greedily on your neck. Elena whined a small “Ew” from her play spot by the fire. Pero turned and started growling at her like a bear as he chased her around the room before scooping her up and covering her cheeks and tummy with kisses and raspberries. The memory makes his heart bloom with an ache and warmth he’d never thought he would know. 
Pero is a baby about the cold and constantly bundles up to go outside as early as early fall. But Elena gets even more cold. You’ve known days where Pero returns from the market snowdusted and shivering, holding Lena fully bundled in his huge coat, practically purring from how cozy she is.
You’re fussing all around him, hustling him to his chair by the fire, bundling him in blankets, and heating up water for tea. But he’s teasingly grumbling. “Querida, I’m fine. She was cold and no daughter of mine is going cold when I have a perfectly good coat for her.
You’re swollen with another child the next winter to practically no one’s surprise from how open your husband is with his adoration of you.
He comes in from checking the animals in the barn, shaking the snow from his coat and brushing off his hair with a shiver. He can hear you humming while cutting the bread dough for your lovely biscuits. Turning to the kitchen, he watches as the swell of your stomach only just keeps from touching the rough counter. Elena stands on her little stool next to you carefully mixing the syrup to pour over once they are baked. The soft huff from the beast curled around the heels of your feet pulls his attention back with a chuckle. “Watching our sweet ones while I was out, Dario? Bueno chico.” Without lifting his head from his paws, his tail starts to loudly thump on the floor.
Pero just kneels and gently rubs Dario’s head and gives his chin good scritches as a bonus before he wraps his arms around you. “I think he protects you more than I’d like. At least he has stopped snapping at my hand when I move to cradle our little one.”
She will lean all the way down from her chair and hand the massive wolf a biscuit or cookie or bit of meat. which he happily and gently take from her little hand. She giggles and squeals each time at the tickle of his tongue.
Elena has grumpy moment, but she’s a sweetheart. But when your baby boy Nico is born in the summer, he is all smiles and giggles and the cuddliest little baby. And Pero utterly adores sitting holding him in the evenings while Elena happily chatters with you about the adventures her and her father had during the day.
Elena takes very seriously to being a big sister. She stayed with your elderly neighbor for a few days after Nico is born. But she right away insists on holding him. Your husband huffs and seriously nods, jerking head head to signal for her to climb into his lap. You bring the baby over as Pero brings his strong arms around the toddler to cradle the new baby in front, instructing her where to lay he hands. 
“He’s so little...”
“Si, that’s why we have to be very careful. Understand, conejita?”
“Si, papa.... Can I give him a kiss?
Pero felt like his heart would burst from joy watching her sweet girl kiss his brand new son
Whenever he comes home, Elena gracelessly runs to the door with happy cheers of “Papa, Papa!” And pulls him to come see whatever she’s been doing all day. Once she’s back to her new project, he comes to kiss you in the kitchen before hearing happy coos from the bassinet he carved. “Ay, mijo, did you miss your papa? Hm? Did you protect mama and su hermana while I was gone?” He lifts Nico from the cradle and tosses him up lightly and catching him against his chest, the baby squealing with excited giggles and Pero smiles a kiss to his crown full of curls
He still joins William from time to time on the road, but the contracts become smaller until the two men fully settle down into their happy families. Eventually, Pero’s wild heart that used to scream for the road and adventure now calls for quiet moments, when the children curl close to his chest to hear an old story or as you play and joke with them while working through the chores. The world used to feel crushingly small, but now he fears it becoming too big. Wishing he could always remain in the happy glow of your small family. 
Tagging who might be interested: @zeldasayer  @themarcusmoreno @max--phillips @rae-gar-targaryen @yespolkadotkitty @scribbledghost @plexflexico @sunshinepascal @agirllovespancakes @keeper0fthestars @youmeanmybrain @talesfromtheguild @frannyzooey @absurdthirst @softpedropascal @fairytalesintheend @lackofhonor @maybege  @getinthepoolkeanu @pedroepascal @pedropascalito @mylifeliterally @miraclemoreno @miss-me-jack @ithinkhesgaybutwesavedmufasa @pettyprocrastination @autumnleaves1991-blog @tangledlove27 @imnotakilleranymore @jedi-mando @disgruntledspacedad @the-purity-pen @aerolanya @dindja @mitchi-c
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magicmanias · 9 months ago
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The Story of Creation
Episode 1 of Polaris
[per - uh - jee] (n). Astronomy. the point in the orbit of a heavenly body at which it is nearest to the earth.
Pairing: Loki x Reader
Summary: A fugitive out of time + interdimensional space travel + a love story. Always on the run, and while Loki might be able to escape the TVA, he always gravitates towards you. Not even bending the fabric of space and time itself can cut his heartstrings.  Occurs after the events of Endgame. Replaces Loki mini-series timeline.
Warnings: Blood, Death, Mild Violence
Word Count: 3.0k
A/N: I'M BACK BABY! *cue sit-com cheers* I thought of this mess of a series, and I had to get back into writing, damn it. I hope you enjoy it! Feedback is always welcomed!
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He did not think this through.
The fallen god grasped at the ground beneath him. He’s covered in ash and the air around him burns and freezes. He smelled smoke and fire and then blood and flesh. He pushed himself up off the metal floor. “Where the hell am I?”
A weak moan alerted him, and to his left, he found a man in his final seconds. The dying man lifted his arm weakly; his fingers shook. He rasped out a last cry for help at his prince before his hand fell and his soul was sent to Valhalla. Loki knew that man. He sold Blåveis and wildflowers at the edge of the market when he was a child. Why was he here… dying a warrior’s death?
“Our crew is made up of Asgardian families.” A transmission. “We have very few soldiers here. This is not a warcraft. I repeat this is not a warcraft.” Asgardian? This ship certainly wasn’t Asgardian... Why was this man sending a mayday call?
“Hear me and rejoice…”
The bodies around him were all Asgardians. Soldiers and men laid lifeless in this iron room—on this ship that was not a warcraft. Surely Thor wouldn’t let this happen… Nor Odin. How did this happen?
He was no less confused when he heard his brother speaking on the other side of a large crack in the metal wall. On the level below him stood his brother trapped in steel and strange beings he’d never encountered. One was tall with a gauntlet of gold like the one Odin kept locked away in his vault. He was collecting Infinity Stones… Behind him was a thin and sinister figure. And another was… himself. With the tesseract. Like the one that was… where was it?
“Loki?” A woman watched him from behind a fallen support beam. In her hands was the Tesseract. Her lip curled downward and her brow wrinkled in confusion. “Why do you have this?”
“Who are you?” Alright, so she knew his name, and he clearly didn’t know her. Her clothes were not of Asgard. The dress was revealing and unfitted to her, the straps her too long, making the neckline only slip further. Even as she watched him carefully, she still absentmindedly pulled up the straps.
“Wha—”
A scream from below interrupted the woman. She ran to the edge of the room and peered through the wall. Loki could not see what was happening, but the horror in the woman’s eyes said enough.
“Oh Valhalla...” Her hand clamped over her mouth. Loki slowly approached the source of the screams before he heard his own voice.
“ALL RIGHT, STOP!!” The woman gasped and stepped back, turning to face him. Her eyes watered and her bottom lip trembled. She turned back to him.
“Who are you?” she demanded, though her voice wavered. “Are you one of them?”
Loki scoffed. “I haven’t the slightest ide—”
“Why do you look like him?” she cut him off. “You’re not Loki,” she insisted.
Loki chuckled nervously, but he flashed a charming smile and lifted his hands hoping to appear non-threatening. He started to approach her, trying to figure out a way to get the Tesseract back.
“Don’t come any closer! I will—use this!” she warned, holding the cube in between the two of them.
“Do you even know how to use that?”
“Um—well, do you?”
“I got here with that thing, didn’t I? Now give it back.” He stretched his hand out to her, but she didn’t move a muscle.
“No, I—”
Loki had enough. He wanted answers. Now. The woman gasped as he disappeared and reappeared in front of her in a flash of green, the cube now in his hand and her arm in his other. “Tell me where I am.”
She stared at his grip on her. “You’re not my Loki…” she inquired once more.
A daunting whir of hums and struggles came from the crack. The woman peered back at the scene below. Thor’s muffled cry filled the walls of the iron room, but it was the woman’s scream that shook Loki to his core. She fell to the floor and wailed and howled in agony. A weak “no” and soft pleas escaped her tears.
Loki glanced through the hole as the woman started to gulp air between her sobs. His lifeless body was strewn on the floor, and a purple haze shrouded his view of the scene below. Amethyst flames began to surround the ship. Metal and dead men were enveloped in the blaze. Loki never liked the heat…
It appeared that Loki’s time here… wherever he was, was about to come to an end. Blue light encased his fingertips and the cube materialized before him. A sharp choking sound clouded out Loki’s attempts to think of anywhere he could go—the woman.
“Shit…” Using his free arm, Loki pulled the woman up before she could protest. “This better work.” He lifted the Tesseract and prayed the silvery clouds encasing him and his new acquaintance would take him anywhere better than here.
Loki sat up covered in sand. Again, more heat. He was really starting to think this damned cube was more a curse than a blessing.
“Oh… ow…” The woman groaned and rubbed her puffy eyes. Squinting under the desert sun, she glanced around to view her surroundings before her eyes widened in realization. “Oh shit!” Her hands returned to the ground, burying themselves in the sand frantically.
She whipped around in a haze of anger and hysteria. “Take me back!” she screamed to him. “Take me back!”
“What the hell are you talking about!? That ship is gone—and I just saved your life!” Loki argued, but she wasn’t listening and continued to dig through the sand. Loki ignored her as he concealed the cube under his magic. He looked back up to see the woman still clawing at the sand. “Who are you?”
“Take… Take me back,” she begged, slowly giving up on the sand. “I have to go back.”
Loki watched the woman break into sobs once again. His grip on the dagger up his sleeve softened and his gaze relaxed. “Who are you?” he asked once more.
“Is this some cruel trick you played Loki? Because it’s horribly unfunny!”
“I assure you that I don’t have the slightest clue as to what you’re referring. That… Loki. He wasn’t me.” Where did this damn thing take him?
“I don’t believe you. You… Out of all the things you’ve done Loki. Lying, stealing, killing, faking your death. I’m… I can’t take it! You promised you wouldn’t—”
A flash of orange cut off the woman. The light shaped itself into a doorway above the dunes.
“What the hell—” Loki turned on his heel to face the orange portal in time to see four men step out two-by-two. Their tailored coats were labeled with “TVA” and Loki’s stomach immediately dropped. “Shit.”
One of the men in the back handed the forefront man a clipboard from which he read off, “Mister Laufeyson and… friend. The TVA requests your presence at headquarters. You are under arrest for meddling in with the fabric of space-time. Please be compliant and come with us. Your friend can come if she’d like.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Loki insisted. “If you don’t mind, I would hate to have all this trouble I’ve been through go to waste. Thank you. Bye!” Just as he was about to pull out the Tesseract, one of the men suddenly appeared in front of him and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. Loki threw a dagger at the man, hitting him square in the chest. The man merely looked down at the weapon, no change in his expression. He grabbed onto the handle of the dagger and pulled it out. No blood, the wound already healed.
“Please comply, Mister Laufeyson. The TVA expects your arrival,” he said.
“I don’t think so.” Loki revealed the Tesseract with his magic, praying it would take him somewhere good for once. But as soon as he took it out, the handcuffs were tightened on his wrist. The emotionless man repeated his request for compliance.
The other men move then, making their way to the woman. She stands slowly and silently allows them to escort her to the portal. She refuses to meet Loki’s eyes as they both walk defeated to the portal.
“So he’s really not lying then,” she said quietly. Her hands dug into her skirts. Her hair covered half of her face, but anyone could make out the tears that lined her cheeks.
“No, I’m afraid not, Miss,” Mobius answered. “I regret to say your actual husband is gone.”
She pushed the desk and her metal chair screeched on the linoleum floor. Loki didn’t look up from his hands planted on his tan prisoner uniform pants as he listened to her distant footsteps and the sound of a closing door. He tugged at the cuffs on his wrists. He could feel the magic dampened in his veins. The muscles in his forearms felt dull.
“Loki,” Mobius started. “As you can see, the warrant for your arrest specifies that we will have to prosecute you. You’ve broken several laws, violating the guidelines of linear time travel as well as interdimensional voyaging. While our agents are currently fixing the mess you made, including sending that lovely woman back to Earth-200000, you will, of course, have to be sent back to Earth-199999 so that the course of events and play as they were supposed—”
“You’re going to kill her.”
“Excuse me?”
The door kicked open again. Another agent in a clean suit marched in with a glass plate in hand with a sandwich laying on top. He placed the sandwich on the desk and left as quickly as he came in. “The woman. There’s nothing to send her back to. The ship she was on was destroyed before I saved her. You’re not sending her back. You’re going to kill her.”
Mobius leaned forward on his desk, clasping his hands. “We’re simply sending her back straight back to the time and place she left. If that happens to lead to her death, so be it. That’s her fate.” He paused to rest his head on his hands. “What do you care anyway? You don’t know her.
Loki hesitates to answer. No, he didn’t know her, but… he can’t stop thinking about how she reacted when… he died. The he that she married. Devoted herself to. She looked… dead inside. Hollow. Did she feel as he did when he fell from the Rainbow Bridge all those years ago? Was he looking at her the way Thor did when he let go?
“Are you going to eat that by the way?” Mobius pointed to the sandwich. “That’s technically for you, but I skipped lunch.” He didn’t wait for Loki’s answer before bending over the desk and taking the sandwich before taking a large bite out of the corner. Loki leaned back in his seat.
“If she was my wife in another dimension, I can’t help but be curious. Perhaps I’d enjoy her company.” Loki tilted his head. The gears turned in his head. He needed to figure out a way to escape. The TVA took the Tesseract from him, and he wasn’t keen on making an exit in prisoner attire.
“I didn’t know you had a thing for widows.”
“Well, I can’t say it’s never crossed my mind,” Loki smirked.
Mobius chuckled and took another bite of the sandwich. “Sadly, we’ll never know how that would work out. An agent will escort you to your holding cell until further notice.” An agent waited for Loki to stand and directed him towards the exit. “Oh, and thank you for your compliance.”
The TVA looked awfully like Midgard, perhaps from some decades ago. The architecture was garish, and the employees were... disconcerting. Each bred and born for a specific purpose. His… Odin once told him about the Time Variance Authority. Existing in an infinite dominion between worlds, a bureaucracy that rules the operations of time across the multiverse. Workers are cloned to working perfecting. Minimize disputes, increase efficiency.
The agent guided him down another long hall with identical doors lining the walls, opening and closing as countless numbers of agents entered and exited them. Loki glanced to his left. An agent walked through the door… to a jungle on the other side. To his right, a female agent exited a metropolis with flying vehicles. Another escorted a Krylorian to a portal leading to a crashing ocean. The chains between his limbs clinked as he strolled down the hall that never seemed to end.
“Thank you. I… think I’m ready now.” You stood in front of a closed door, holding the hand of an agent. He nodded and you dropped his hand. He opened the door, silently motioning her towards the shipwreck that Loki had rescued you from a mere couple of hours ago.
Loki muttered your name.
“Oh, uh hello.” You shifted uncomfortably. “I have to say. I think you look better in green.”
Loki smiled softly. “I think this attire might be worse than my actual punishment.”
You chuckled in return. “At least I can die in dignity in my own clothing.”
Loki was taken aback. “You’re not serious?” Loki again noticed the state of your appearance. Eyes flushed and puffy and red. Your bottom lip was swollen as you continued to chew on it.
“I am.” He said your name once more, like he was in disbelief that you would be so willing to give up your life like this. He reminded you so much of the man you married. Always the survivalist. It was strange to see the face of the love of your life standing before you even though it wasn’t really him. Some part of you wished your husband was the one standing before you, but there stood a slightly younger version of the god that you would have given your life for... in the flesh. “I hate to end our new friendship on such a bad note, but you do age quite a bit in the next few years. Try to sleep more, my dear Loki.”
The god scoffed and turned his head. “I’m not letting you just… kill yourself.”
“I’m just taking a page from your book.” You swallowed, a frown evident on your lips. “I assume you did the same as my Loki after Thor destroyed the Rainbow Bridge.” You turned and looked at the scene of the broken ship floating in the cosmos. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that… Take care of yourself, Loki.”
Loki grasped your wrist before you could walk through causing the cuffs to pull his other arm up. The agent behind Loki tapped his shoulder, insisting that they needed to move on, but he ignored his probes.
“I’m not letting you walk through that door.”
“My husband is dead.” There was an insistence in your voice that you seldom used, and yet your breath quivered. The tip of your nose was cold. The tears welled up in your eyes once more, but you sighed and wiped your eyes. “It’s okay,” you whispered. “I want to be with him. Let me go, Loki.”
The agent now placed a firm hand on Loki’s shoulder. “Mr. Laufeyson. It’s time to go.”
Loki turned back around, a devilish grin lining his lips. “Yes, I believe it is.”
In a trice, the agent behind Loki was on the floor and the one guiding you was on the other side of the door, floating in the ship debris where you were supposed to be. The raucous alerted the other agents in the hall who turned their heads in the direction of the noise. They began to make their way towards you. Loki acted quickly, lifting his cuffed hands above your head and looping his arm around your waist, pulling you to the other side of the hall.
“Are you ready?” he asked, backing up slightly like he was readying himself for a leap. Loki didn’t wait for your answer and ran straight towards the open door across from him. You saw a small glimpse of a grassy field before hitting solid ground.
“Why did you do that!?” You whipped your head up, your hair strewn about your face in a wild mess. Your ill-fitting clothes were now caked in dirt and grass stains. You stood on a hill overlooking a… rather familiar landscape.
“I saved your life. Again!” He pointed an accusatory finger at you, but the effort was lost with his bound hands. He grunted in frustration.
“I-I wanted to go. I didn’t want to be saved!”
Loki took in a hot breath. “You wouldn’t have seen him anyway. Valhalla is a heaven for warriors and your valiant death wouldn’t have given you an in.”
That you laughed at, if not bitterly. “You always said you’d go to Hel. I intended on seeing you there.”
“I am not your husband,” Loki spat, venom lining his words.
“No! You’re not. Yet you’ve kept me from him,” you said matching the malice in his voice.
Two voices interrupted your argument.
“Goddess, you will ruin me one day.” A young boy with inky hair ran up on the other side of the hill, holding a posy of flowers. He looked down the hill and knelt down, reaching his hand out. An equally tiny hand held onto his hand, letting him pull up. A girl pushed up and sat on the peak of the hill. He awkwardly shoved the flowers in her hands, like he’d been holding them for her when they climbed up the mound of dirt and grass.
“My mother says you’re dangerous, Trickster,” the girl taunted, reorganizing the flowers in a prettier arrangement. “Like the Midgard Serpent. You’ll strike when we least expect it.”
“Perhaps I’ll marry you. Your mother surely wouldn’t expect that,” the boy smirked. The girl pretended to attack her friend, attempting to make him jump. She wasn’t strong enough to knock him down though, and he snickered. He pushed her playfully, but she slipped and rolled down the hill, giggling the entire way down. The boy hopped down, rolling and laughing along with her.
“Oh Valhalla…” You paled.
“What?” Loki prodded. Watching the children at the bottom of the hill.
“We have to hide. Now.”
Loki was about to prompt her for an explanation, but the little girl’s playful wail answered his questions instantly.
“Loki!”
57 notes · View notes
nagitoandkokichioneshots · 8 months ago
Text
I’ll see you again
Mod Mikan: I usually don’t write for the killing game, but I just got super inspired. This is based off of a headcanon that my lovely daughter @annastormfly shared with me a few weeks ago, and it’s also a gift to her. So um....yeah. This will most likely be my first and last time writing in the killing game AU. I, uh...got nothing else to say. Enjoy :)
Trigger warnings: Death, Suicide at the end
Kokichi knew that Miu was up to something. He had his violet-hued orbs locked into what she was doing, scanning her every movement as she started to work on the virtual world via the electronic technology that created the computer room. The ultimate supreme leader still kept his suspicions held high when she gathered everyone to the technological filled room after she was done. It took some--er, interesting--banter between the ultimate inventor her classmates, along with Monokuma and his remaining monokubs to ensure that it was safe. But what grasped everyone’s attention the most was the ‘secret of the outside’ world
“Huh? There’s a clue about the....secret of the outside world in this simulator? I.....” Anna’s voice trailed off, thinking for a second. Her eyes reverted from the large monitor in the middle of the room, back to Miu’s face, growing some slightly impatient to flat-out annoyed at her. Contemplating the possibilities, both positive and negative, that could result in this risk, the ultimate Dragon Trainer was about to make up her mind
That was...until she felt the warmth of small hand wrap around her own. With a tiny squeeze, her eyes turned to Kokichi’s amethyst colored ones. He extended his height by standing on his tippy-toes, whispering in her ear
“Don’t worry, Anna. You remember what I promised you when we got together? I’ll protect you with my life. No lies,” He smirked, making a pastel pink blush dust upon Anna cheeks. Her boyfriend could be such a pain at times, but when he really needed to tend to his lover, he always knew what to say. He was immaculate with his words and actions when the time called for it, which she absolutely adored
“Hey! Fucking liar and fucking slut! You done whispering about your next fuck session tonight?!” The strawberry blond snarled at them, making Kokichi roll his eyes and plaster an, albeit nonchalant, terrifying poker face towards her direction, earning a slightly frightened face from her
“Geez, don’t get your soaked panties in a twist. We’re coming, we’re coming,” The short-statured leader sighed, taking his seat next to his girlfriend. As he sat down and hooked up the proper wires to his helmet, he gave his girlfriend’s hand one last squeeze, gazing into her eyes for a split second, silently assuring her that everything was going to be okay. Y/N flashed a small smile in his direction as well, ready to tackle anything that happened to them--in reality or the virtual world
And with that, they were whisked away into the virtual world, followed my Miu’s commands 
Which only later proved Kokichi’s suspicions
*****************************************************************************************************
The victim was Anna, the ultimate Dragon Trainer. The body was discovered in the computer room on the fifth floor. The approximate time of death was 6:30 am. The cause of death was a blow to the back of the head 
Shuichi mumbled to himself, reading the monopad he was given. He bit his lip, frustrated at not only the horrifying sight of one of his best friends with a bleeding gash to the back of their head, but with Kokichi in a state that no one thought he was capable of
The ultimate supreme leader was kneeled down next to his lover’s corpse, bawling his eyes out. Waterfalls poured from his glossy eyes, sniffles left his chapped lips in between heavy breathes. Every time he tried to steady himself and stand back up, he was brought back down to his knees, falling into the pit of despair that was put in front of him. A single blow to his lover’s head.....
How?
How could he let this happen? 
He tried to say something when Miu decided on the investigation groups. He knew it was a bad idea to let her call the shots, despite her creating this world. But the ultimate inventor was as stubborn as...well, as she always perceived herself 
Was it...his fault he couldn’t stop her head-strong attitude? 
“Anna.....” Kokichi started to choke out, raising a surprised look on Shuichi’s face. He ran towards Kokichi, about to comfort and lift him back on his feet, but the shorter boy just snubbed him away. He carried on with his monologue, but really, was speaking and begging for an apology from the only person he was sure he could trust 
“Anna....I...I said I would....” 
Another sob escaped from his lips
“I said I would protect you......Wh-what kind of leader am I?” He fumbled along his words, containing no energy--or motivation--to even lie in this situation. Shuichi hesitated, before placing a gentle hand on Kokichi’s shoulder. He looked up from his hunched over form, looking at the ultimate detective with a tear-strained face
Not even Kokichi could lie about the despair he felt
“Kokichi.....we need to start investigating. After that, we’ll start the trial and bring Anna’s killer to justice,” Shuichi said, trying to assure Kokichi. The purple haired male just nodded, still not standing up and composing himself after his sob session
“Who....who did this?” Was all he asked. Shuichi frowned, knowing Kokichi needed to clear answer to who brought this upon the only person that was the beacon of light in his broken life 
“Koki--”
“WHO DID THIS?!” This time, it came out as a demanding screech, allowing a surge of energy to rush through his small body, enabling him to finally stand up. Before Shuichi could say anything more, Kokichi took a deep breath, looking Shuichi’s in the eyes one last time
“I’ll.....join you later,” 
The dark-haired detective nodded, pausing before heading off to question Kaito about his sudden disappearance during the investigation. Kokichi turned back to his girlfriend’s dead body, pressing a kiss on her forehead. His body was all dry from tears to cry, but he choked out another sniffle, running a lanky hand through her hair. Below a whisper, he made one last promise to her 
“Don’t worry, my queen......we’ll bring your killer to justice. And after that, you won’t have to wait long for me. I promise,” 
*****************************************************************************************************
“The murder must’ve took place during the investigation. It was Anna, Kaito, Kiibo, Kokichi, me, and Tsumugi investigating the mansion area,” Shuichi started, covering his hand with his mouth, as if he was trying his best to recall the events of the scene. Shuichi fixated his eyes onto Miu who remained...awfully quiet during the trial
“Miu, if I recall, you....” Shuichi grimaced at the obvious action of her flipping the sign off the bridge, making it fall into the water on purpose. “...Accidentally” he continued to speak “Accidentally dropped the sign board down the river stream, yes?” Shuichi asked her, earning a small nod from her
“Y-Yeah! So what?! That only means it couldn’t possibly be me! After all, I was investigating the chapel with everyone else!” She snapped, making Shuichi fall silent for a while. Before he could open his mouth to further press the matter, Kokichi interrupted him with a harsh tone
“That cum-soaked urinal cake is toooottallly lying!” He pointed out, shooting daggers in Miu’s direction. She flinched, stuttering and falling upon her words, failing at forming a sentence to squeak out. Shuichi turned to Kokichi with a confused expression painted on his face, which made Kokichi bark an abrupt explanation to his seldom grave attitude 
“Kokichi? Wh--” 
“I’m not here to play games during this trial. One of you killed my precious Anna. I know exactly who, too. To save you to the boring and pointless mystery-solving shit, I’ll be frank. No lies,” Kokichi cleared his voice, his intense, malicious glance never ripping away from Miu’s face. With that, Kokichi cleared everyone from being executed, except for the killer that brought his lover to hell. The one who ripped the only good thing that happened to Kokichi
“Anna’s killer is Miu Iruma,”  
*****************************************************************************************************
“Ding! Ding! Ding! You guys got it right again! Wow, four times in a row!” Monokuma cheered, as Miu was panicking and quivering in fear. She was sweating bullets, too frightened to even glare at Kokichi and scream at him for calling her out
“I-I-I....” Miu stumbled once again with her words, trying to say something to at least die with peace from everyone. Kokichi didn’t bother looking at Miu’s direction, hiding his already sobbing face in Gonta’s chest. The ultimate Entomologist hugged him gently, patting his back
“Gonta very sorry, Kokichi. Anna in better place now,” The large gentleman tried his best to comfort the supreme leader, only to gain more wails and genuine cries from him. Himiko watched Kokichi’s whole break down, shocked at the sincerity he showed from his cries. She frowned, looking down, flashbacks and agonizing memories flooding her own brain 
Pondering over her own crying after Tenko and Angie’s trial 
“So he can cry real tears....” The ultimate mage slurred out, almost feeling a seed of pity bloom inside of her, watching Kokichi seek more warmth from Gonta’s embrace. Shuichi turned to Miu, a glare glossed over his face, determined to find her reason
“Why did you do it, Miu? Please...at the end...at least give us a reason,” He stated flatly, desiring some sort of answer that would--hopefully--display a human side of Miu. Maybe her reasoning wasn’t shallow?
Wrong
“B-But you don’t understand! The world needs my genius! P-Please!” Miu howled, balling her hands into fist, weakly shaking them. Tears left her face, as they streamed and strained down her cheeks. She looked at Shuichi, her blue orbs pawning at Kokichi’s breakdown next, and finally towards Monokuma. Getting down on her knees, the same way she was when persuading everyone to try out her virtual world simulator, she was ready to beg for her life
“PLEASE! PLEASE MONOKUMA! I DON’T WANNA DIE! PLEASE, I NEED TO GET OUT HERE!!!!” She sniveled obnoxiously, knowing damn well that she wasn’t going to be let off the hook so easily. Of course, the dual-colored bear just laughed at her pathetic nature, his mind not changing
“And waste such an elaborate punishment I have prepared for you? Wow, so insensitive of you. Not thinking about how much thought I put into your very own execution,” Monokuma placed a fake facade of sadness radiating from his atmosphere
“So rude of you not to think of Daddy!” Monophanie huffed and turned to her brother, whom was....er--still suffering from memory loss. Monotaro gasped and whimpered at his mother still shaking like a lost puppy
“Mommy! Don’t go!” He roared, just sending Miu into another breakdown. Before she could even speak, another desperate plea for mercy about to leave her hoarse throat, she felt a tap on her shoulder. The ultimate inventor whipped her head, looking down at Kokichi. Like hers, his face was stained with tear stains and even more red from his immense breakdown. But his words was a cool and torturing contrast to what he was about to spew out next 
“Now you get to feel the pain you caused Anna.....only this time....I hope Monokuma triples it,” 
Monokuma took Kokichi’s final words as a signal to finally conclude the fourth class trial
“Now, I prepared a special punishment for Miu Iruma, the ultimate inventor! It’s punishment time!!!!” 
*****************************************************************************************************
Kokichi didn’t get much sleep that night. He lied down, staring at the ceiling of his room. He frowned, feeling the emptiness of the bed that he sometimes shared with Anna. All those nights he got paranoid and have nightmares about the killing game. The one person he trusted with his life....the one person he, on layman terms “loved”
Gone
Ripped away from him
“What’s the point of living anymore....” He mumbled to himself. Having no energy to even crawl out of bed. He entrusted Anna with his plans to end this killing game. To win it, and take her with him. But what was the point of that now? He saw the only good in his world lying lifelessly on the floor of the computer room
“Everyone hates me......the one person that didn’t is gone.....” 
Kokichi felt tired, but couldn’t sleep. It was excruciating. Go to sleep, dammit! He told himself, slapping his cheeks to knock some pointless sense into him. 
Useless.....
But there was one thing he can do
Kokichi yanked off the bedsheets from the mattress, wrapping them into the form of a noose. Tying one end around his neck, he looped the other one from his ceiling and tied off the end to make it tight. Stepping onto the bed with a lovestruck, yet twisted smile on his face, a final verbal message escaped his mouth 
“I’ll see you very soon, my queen...”
*****************************************************************************************************
“A body has been discovered! Everyone, please report to Kokichi Ouma’s dorm!” 
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cheri-translates · a year ago
Text
[CN] Gavin’s 2020 Birthday R&S
🍒 Warning: This post contains detailed spoilers for an R&S which has not been released in English servers! 🍒
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[ CHAPTER ONE - Birthday ]
“Ding ling ling...”
Hearing the phone ring, Gavin, in the middle of drying the sheets, hops off the small bench and runs towards the telephone.
“Hello? Is this Little Gav?” Wardia’s gentle voice comes from the receiver.
“Mom!” Gavin grips the phone, eyes squinting into a smile. “How’s Grandma? When are you coming back?”
On the other end of the line, Wardia sighs. “Little Gav, I’m sorry.”
“Even though Grandma’s condition is much better, the doctor says more observation is needed. Which is why Mom may not be able to come back today.”
The light shining in Gavin’s eyes dims. After a while, he blinks, his little hands pinching the telephone cord tightly. He speaks into the transmitter in a serious voice.
“It’s all right.”
This time, it’s the gentle voice which grows quiet. 
“Mom will definitely be back soon and make up for Little Gav’s birthday, okay?”
“Mm.”
“That’s good... hold on, grandma wants to say a few words to you.”
After a short silence, Gavin hears his grandmother’s slightly weak yet kindly voice. She wishes him a happy birthday, and even sings him a stanza of the birthday song.
“Little Gav...”
Hearing his mother’s voice again, Gavin unconsciously leans into the receiver.
“Our Little Gav is really sensible and is a very obedient child.”
“...mm.” Gavin thinks for a moment, but is unable to hold himself back. He adds on a sentence. “Mom, once Grandma is well, you must definitely come back quickly.”
“All right. Mom promises you. I’ll come back quickly.”
After the phone call ends, Gavin hears the “du- du-” of the dial tone coming from the receiver. A long time passes before Gavin remembers that he has yet to complete something.
He returns to the balcony, pulling on the sheets to dry. The sheets are crooked and twisted - it doesn’t look the same as how his mother does it. Considering how he didn’t just spread them on the ground, he considers it a task completed smoothly.
Gavin sits at the one-person dining table. He opens the takeaway box and tries a bite of the cake.
The cake is a little too sweet. It isn’t as delicious as the one his mother bakes by hand.
The candles have been thrown into the drawer by Gavin. The cake, which he only had one bite of, is stuffed into the refrigerator.
At night, he plays games for a little longer than usual. He brushes his teeth and washes his face, then crawls into bed to sleep.
🎐
[ CHAPTER TWO - Interlude ]
The weather forecast is very accurate. There is a light rain in the afternoon, and it seems to be getting heavier. 
Right after school dismissal, Gavin trots while holding an umbrella, hoping to reach home before the rain enters the balcony and drenches the sheets.
As soon as he enters the cluster of buildings, he sees a few older boys not far off, surrounding a little child. 
“Hand it over quickly. How many times do I have to repeat myself?”
“Just look at who our Brother Qian is. Quit dawdling.”
"Hurry and hand over the newest game console!”
Sentences and noises enter Gavin’s ears. After thinking about it, he turns around the corner and strides over.
Mom has said it before - be willing to help others. 
Seeing Gavin, the leader of the boys gives him a look of disdain and waves his hand. “Small child, this has nothing to do with you. Go away!”
Gavin ignores him, pulling the crying boy to his feet. 
“Hey. What are you doing?” the leader of the boys, who is bigger sized than Gavin, presses him onto the ground.
Unexpectedly, Gavin follows the flow of the movement and rolls on the ground, breaking free. He takes a few steps back and stares at them coldly.
“You!”
“Wait... wait wait, Brother Qian, this guy seems to be Gavin...”
“Gav...” hearing this, the expression of the person called “Brother Qian” changes in an instant.
“He’s the one who beat up dozens of people! He’s incredibly strong - a monster no one can stop!” 
Even though his voice is lowered, every word from the small gangster floats into Gavin’s ears.
Hearing the unpleasant title, Gavin furrows his eyebrows.
“What did you say?”
“I... I have some urgent things to settle, so I’ll let you off! T-there won’t be a next time!” 
Reluctant to admit their mistake, the domineering kids run away in a hurry.
Gavin looks at the escaping children, and lets out a small “tch”. Picking up the game console they left behind in their haste, he stuffs it into the little boy’s hand.
“Hey, this is for you.”
The little boy, who has been sobbing quietly all this time, finally wails in a loud voice.
The noise hurts Gavin’s ears, so he turns around to leave. Thinking about how the little boy doesn’t have an umbrella, Gavin folds his own and places it beside the boy. 
🎐
[ CHAPTER THREE - Excuses ] 
Staring at the crying boy, Gavin wonders where the sheer volume of tears even comes from, and how he can howl so loudly. After a moment of hesitation, Gavin tries to comfort the boy.
“They’re gone. You should go home soon.”
“Little dear, what’s the matter with you? Which family do you belong to?” an auntie comes over in the middle of her run after hearing the crying sounds.
“Oh, aren’t you the one who beat up a kid last time? Why are you bullying people again?” Seeing Gavin, the aunt immediately pulls the squatting boy behind her.
Gavin looks at her, baffled. 
“He... ooo... game console... knocked down!! Oo...! I’m scared...oo!”
The little boy cries loudly, his words incoherent. Even though he tries his best to explain, his excuses only lead to the aunt deciding that Gavin was bullying him.
At this point, more adults have gathered. The father of the little boy hurriedly rushes over, and holds the boy in his arms.
“This bad kid beat someone up again!” the aunt self-righteously tells the boy’s father, with a stern look.
“I did not.”
The man has a slightly unhappy expression on his face. He picks up the boy and looks at Gavin persuasively. “Just apologise, and turn over a new leaf. You’re still young, so it’s okay if you make mistakes. The important thing is to admit your wrongs and change.”
“I did not bully him,” Gavin repeats himself, increasing his volume.
A busybody in the crowd pipes up, “It’s because his father is busy at work, and is away most of the year.”
Gavin freezes. 
Seeing that Gavin is quiet, the other party continues coldly, “It’s understandable if your mother can’t teach you well since she’s alone. Because of you, my children were...”
“You’re not allowed to say that!”
Red-faced, Gavin clenches his fists, and even his body starts trembling slightly.
“I did not beat anyone! I didn’t do anything wrong. Someone was bullying him, and those people already ran away!”
The person didn’t expect such a fierce reaction from Gavin. While he originally wanted to share more preachy advice, he meets Gavin’s dark eyes, which are now lit with anger. 
He’s left stunned, the words he prepared lodged in his throat, not knowing why he feels sudden guilt. In the end, he says a few more words and leaves.
The rain continues to patter.
The people who were gathered gradually leave, and only a drenched Gavin remains, along with a red umbrella at the side. 
🎐
[ CHAPTER FOUR - Bandages ]
Gavin picks up the umbrella and shakes off the water. He happens to see Wardia stepping through the entrance of the cluster of building, coincidentally meeting the father of the little boy from just now.
“Are you Gavin’s mother? Well, you don’t know it yet, but something happened today...”
The man’s voice continuously enters Gavin’s ears, and Wardia has a shocked expression.
“...I’m not saying that the child is bad, but...”
Gavin only feels a stuffiness in his chest, as though his heart has been gripped by an invisible hand, squeezing it tightly.
He takes a few steps towards his home, but unconsciously pauses. He doesn’t feel like going home that much.
Gavin wanders aimlessly among the cluster of buildings for a while, and finally chooses to sit down in a small, secluded corner.
Because of the earlier fight and the push, his elbows and knees have sustained slight injuries, and are now starting to sting fiercely.
He skilfully retrieves band-aids and cotton swabs from his schoolbag, and cleans his wounds carelessly before sticking band-aids on.
Now that he has bandaged himself, what should he do next? 
Gavin thinks for a bit. Logically speaking, he should be waiting for his mother to come home, tell her that he has been doing fine over the past few days, then show concern for his grandmother’s condition. However, he has no idea how to talk to his mother now, nor how to face her.
Gavin is afraid that his mother would be worried when she sees his new injuries. He’s even more afraid that she would really think of him as a bad child.
Gavin remembers that he hasn’t brought in the sheets yet. 
A few days ago, he was the one who patted his chest and decided that since his mother usually does the housework and is likely tired, he would help her wash the sheets. By now, they would have been completely drenched by the rain. 
With this thought in mind, hot tears fill his eyes, and his vision starts to blur.
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He grits his teeth, hurriedly wiping his face, wanting to take back the tears. Unfortunately, the results aren’t very good.
He learns to do what his mother would do when he’s upset. He raises his hand to pat his own head.
“Everything will be resolved.”
He learns to do what the textbook says, and speaks to himself softly.
“Little Gav?”
Hearing this sound, Gavin lifts his head sharply. His mother is slightly breathless when she appears before him. Perhaps she had been running.
“Mom, I...”
Without waiting for Gavin to finish, Wardia squats down, reaching out to hug Gavin in her arms tightly.
The tender touch descends on his head, which is damp from the rain.
“Mom knows that Gavin didn’t do anything wrong.”
She says this confidently.
🎐
[ CHAPTER FIVE - Warm wind ]
Wardia rubs Gavin’s head gently, her tone filled with resoluteness and love. “Everything has been clarified. The boy you helped explained everything to us after he calmed down.”
“His father also wants to convey an apology to you. They were too anxious, and misunderstood you.”
“Does Mom believe that I’m not a bad child?”
Gavin asks in a low and muffled voice, burying his head into Wardia’s shoulder.
“Silly child,” Wardia pulls away slightly. Looking into his eyes, she speaks in a serious and solemn voice. “I don’t just believe it.”
“Mom has always known that my Little Gav has a strong sense of justice, a sense of responsibility, and is a very kind child.”
“Even if other people don’t understand you, how could Mom not understand you?”
Gavin feels his eyes welling up in hot tears again, and a sour sensation surfaces in his nose. He turns his head away, not wanting Wardia to see his wet eyes. 
“Mm.” After a while, he nods.
“Come, let’s go home. We’re going to make up for your birthday today.”
Wardia stands up, holds Gavin under her umbrella, and walks in the direction of their home together.
By the time Gavin changes into a fresh set of clothes and is shaking off water from his head as he steps out, the weather has cleared up.
Sunlight passes through the wind chimes near the windowsill, casting beautiful colours into the living room. 
Wardia has tidied up the dried sheets, and is sitting on a soft cushion. Seeing that Gavin’s hair is still wet, she waves a hand towards him.
Although Gavin is stunned for a while, he quickly understands his mother’s intentions.
“My hair will dry by itself soon. I’m not a small child...” Gavin feels like running away while he says this, but his mother catches him and pulls him over.
“It’s not good if you don’t blow it dry properly. You're going to have a basketball match soon.” While Wardia says this, a breeze rises from her palm, warming Gavin’s surroundings and blowing away the water.
On this clear late afternoon after the rain, sunlight streams lazily into the living room, in which every crevice is filled with warmth.
Even though he feels slightly embarrassed to be in his mother’s arms, Gavin has always liked his mother’s wind.
Gentle, warm, making him feel as though he can float along with the wind.
“What does Little Gav want to eat tonight? Mom will cook it for you.”
He considers it carefully, holding up his fingers to count a few homely dishes.
The sheets on the balcony flutter, and the wind chimes ring. In the oven, the cake baked by his mother releases a sweet aroma. 
Being held by his mother, Gavin feels a peace of mind. 
It’s as if this moment is the happiest moment of his life. 
🎐
[ CHAPTER SIX - Blessings ]
“Little Gav, happy birthday!”
After Gavin blows the candles out in one breath, Wardia smiles and hands him an exquisitely-wrapped gift.
“Open it and have a look?
Gavin’s eyes shift back and forth from the cake to the present for a long while. In the end, he excitedly chooses to accept the present and tears it open.
“You like playing outdoors and basketball. These can protect you from injuries.” Wardia looks at Gavin, her eyes filled with pride and a smile. 
It’s a pair of hand-stitched knee pads.
Gavin holds up the knee pads, flipping them over to study them carefully. The colour of the knee pads is simple, and suits Gavin’s tastes. His name and a small plane are embroidered along the edge.
“I’ll wear this to the next basketball competition, and will definitely win!”
Wardia looks at the boy, whose eyes are full of light. She smiles and uses her chopsticks to clip vegetables into his bowl.
“In that case, you have to eat more to grow even taller. Grandma specially let me bring back these dandelions. Do you remember the dandelions in grandma’s courtyard?”
Gavin nods. He remembers that grandma’s house has a large patch of dandelions. Mom can create a small gust of wind and carry the fluffy dandelions to a faraway place. 
“Once you’re on vacation, we can visit grandma again. She misses you.”
Gavin grins widely and nods.
Before going to bed at night, Gavin shifts his thick astronomy encyclopaedias away. He pulls out the small items that have been stuffed into his cabinet, and retrieves a small box that has been carefully kept. 
Inside, there are pinballs, a small plane, and all sorts of things that he considers treasures.
He places the knee pads inside, closes the lid tightly, and returns it to its original spot.
The quilt and sheets were just collected, and he seems to be able to smell the warmth from the sun.
While he drifts in and out of sleep, he thinks about the wish he made, and thinks about everything that happened today. 
He vaguely knows that someone will definitely believe him, and will stand on his side. 
Sharing a birthday cake together, seeing the dandelions together, and listening to the wind chimes together.
🎐
Gavin’s Birthday Collection:
Old Haunt Date
Moments and Texts
Phone call
Video call
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dottie-wan-kenobi · 10 months ago
Text
what's beyond compare, a zutara fic, chapter I.
read the prologue on AO3
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Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation was born in the fall, as afternoon turned to night, screaming until he was red. A bad sign, his father said with disgust.
His mother brushed his short, dark hair away from his teary face. She could sense there was something about this child that was different. Scared for her baby, she didn’t tell the Sages about it when they came. But there was no hiding it from her brother-in-law, who held him in his arms and said, grave and regretful, “The spirits have not blessed this boy.”
“Is he cursed?” Ursa whispered, eyes wet as she reached for her son. Ozai had wanted to kill him, and revulsion had raised inside of her like never before. But if Zuko was cursed, then… she would protect him however she could. Even if that meant doing the worst.
“I cannot say for sure,” Iroh replied, laying Zuko gently back into her arms. “But I don’t think so. We will have to wait and see.”
Katara of the Southern Water Tribe, daughter of Kya and Hakoda, was born in the spring, so late at night it was early. The elders blessed her and Kya both as they laid in a mess of furs, her brother Sokka watching the proceedings anxiously. He stayed close to his dad as the rest of the tribe came to praise Kya and offer congratulations to the whole family. Bato chuffed Sokka’s chin and Sokka laughed, too young to realize it but all the same, relieved that that hadn’t changed like so much else had that day.
It was Kanna who first saw that Katara was different, feeling a resistance when she asked the spirits to protect and spare the little girl. When the other elders tried, there was the same sensation—a silence where there should have been a wolf’s howl, a stillness where there should have been wind.
“What does it mean for her?” Kya asked, clutching Katara to her chest. Hakoda sat beside her, his arms around her shoulder and Sokka’s stomach, holding him close on his lap. Sokka’s birth, unlike Katara’s, had been difficult, but there’d been no spiritual issues. He’d been blessed and Hakoda’s father, the now-passed Chief Betadi, had proclaimed him to have the support of many behind him. What did it mean that one child was overly protected by the spirits, and one child was completely ignored?
“I’m not sure. We can only hope that someday they will notice her.” Kanna didn’t look down while she delivered the bad news; they deserved more than that. Nevertheless, they all knew that this would be unlikely. To not be blessed was a death sentence in the Water Tribes.
Kya didn’t cry, though Hakoda did have to wipe his eyes. Sokka didn’t understand what was going on, but hugged his father anyway. Baby Katara snored slightly in her mother’s arms, unconcerned with the matters of the spirits.
The three adults came together later that night. Their only hope was that if she stayed close to her brother, his luck would protect her as well. It wasn’t much to hang their faith on, but it would have to be enough.
Zuko had an imaginary friend, growing up. He never shared much about them with his family, not even Ursa, but that was in part because he didn’t know how to explain. He knew his friend was real, and yet not at the same time. He saw them in all different ways, most often a man in blue, but other times as a woman in yellow or red, or a young man in green. No matter how they looked, he could always tell it was them, a spark in his very soul that said this person was the one.
The friend had many names, and they existed on the edge of his tongue, never to be said, never to be remembered. But that was okay, he thought. As long as they were there with him, it was all okay.
Secretly, just to himself, he thought of them as his love. It only felt right.
His dreams were haunted by dangers unseen. He woke to midnight storms during the rainy seasons, screaming and shivering. When Uncle brought him to pray to the spirits, he felt stalked, a confusing tangle of emotions roiling in his belly.
Uncle and Mother always wanted to know how he felt when he prayed. Azula said, “Bored.” Zuko didn’t want to say that he was angry and longing for something he didn’t even know, didn’t even understand, so he said, “Yeah. Bored,” instead.
Mother looked troubled by this answer, but quickly hid the expression in order to ask Lu Ten the same. As his cousin talked, Zuko allowed himself to wonder what Azula really felt. If it was as complicated as his own experiences. He resolved to ask Mother about it, next time they went. Maybe she would know why the spirits never talked back to him.
He never got the chance— Uncle and Lu Ten went to battle soon after. Mother stopped taking them to pray after their cousin died, and it wasn’t very long after that that she was gone too.
Katara was ten when she realized that the spirits were cruel.
She was in the communal igloo, Sokka wrapped around her, both of their cheeks wet with tears that never ended. Some of the tribe—what was left of it—was inside as well, but they were given space to grieve their brave, brave mother.
Katara had grown up with nightmares. Nightmares of darkness and pain, or distant unease that made everything suspect, or the freeze-burn feeling that she was missing something, someone, important to her. One dream had seen Katara counting her family members; Gran-Gran, Dad, Mom, and yes there was Sokka, and there was—there was—
A shadow. A gut feeling. An empty space where there shouldn’t have been one.
Mom had held her as she cried, rocking her back and forth. They all said she’d been crying that her love was gone.
It was the only comparable feeling that she had, the only other loss that Katara knew. This was so much more immediate, her whole being flushed and freezing, a terrible wail building in her throat. But if she cried, Mom wouldn’t be there to hold her and comfort her. She’d never be there again, not for anything.
“What?” Sokka whispered when Katara broke down into loud, gulping sobs. She told him between gasps for breath, and his eyes welled, but he tried to keep his tears in. She didn’t bother with that, knowing that there was no stopping this flood. She would have to be strong now, but not tonight. Not tonight.
One day early in his exile, Zuko’s ship was at a port in the south of the Earth Kingdom. He looked out across the lands, feeling an odd tugging in his chest. He almost wanted to—go inland. There was something out there that he needed to run towards, to get back to. A strong urge gripped him—he took a step and then another towards the prow. He needed to find someone, or a place maybe. An image of a cave conjured in his mind unbidden.
Wait. What am I thinking? There was no reason for him to go any further into the Earth Kingdom. There was no one there, and there was no place calling out to him. He was just being ridiculous.
He scowled as he tried to forget about it, turning his back on the lush lands.
Uncle watched him closely. He didn’t have to do more than take a sip of his tea to convey a question: What’s on your mind, Prince Zuko?
He spoke without thinking, unaware of what he was saying or what it meant. “Uncle, have you ever heard of a spirit splitting in half?” They both blinked in surprise at the question, and Zuko scowled again, furious with himself. “Nevermind. Now, when the men get back—”
“Once,” Uncle said, instantly halting Zuko’s words. He looked off over Zuko’s shoulder as if in thought, and dropped into his storytelling voice, low and impactful. “There was an earth spirit, at the beginning of everything. We remember the names of Agni, Tui, and La, but hers has become lost over the many generations. Some just call her ‘Mother’. She loved the lands, the mountains and volcanoes and everything in between, but most of all, she loved the sky. Every day and every night, she would gaze at the clouds and the stars with adoration. There was a part of her which was wild and wished to be free in the way the sky was. But she was the earth spirit, and she could not leave her beloved ground even if she wanted to.”
“When did she split her soul?” He asked impatiently, not wanting anyone to think he was enjoying the story. He wasn’t. It was boring and unnecessary. He didn’t even really want to know about spirits—he never had. Especially after all that had happened, he had no desire to do learn more… except that the urge to go inland had quieted, turning itself to the story, begging him to listen.
“Ah, ah, Prince Zuko. We aren’t there yet. Now, as I was saying. She didn’t want to leave the lands behind. The rolling hills, the forests, even the ice at the poles were her pride and joy. The other spirits were very impressed by the beauty they saw. But there were humans in these early times, and one day, there was an accident. A man had stoked a fire so he might feed his partner a delicious meal. Some say the partner was clumsy, while others say he was simply expressive. In any case, the partner fell into the fire and burned.”
“Is there a point to this?!” Zuko demanded, his skin crawling at the thought. He ignored the tiny voice in the back of his mind which said, expressive, not clumsy. Never clumsy.
As if he hadn’t been interrupted, Iroh went on. “The man was devastated. His grief was legendary, but that is a story for another time. What you must know for this tale is that the man buried his partner. It was his way of protecting him even in death, and it gave him a space to mourn him and feel close, because he was. There was only the ground between them. The earth spirit was used to humans dying, of course. But no dead had ever been buried before. Often, they were sent to float on the waves of La or were taken care of in some other way. She was shocked to sense him encased in her element, shocked and quite upset, and went to the grave to see for herself.
“The man was there. No one ever encroached on his moments with his departed beloved, and so he ordered her away. She came and sat beside him anyway, and said nothing as the man pleaded for her to leave. He broke down eventually, his tears falling into the dirt beneath them.”
Zuko was horrified to find his throat was tight. Other sailors around them had stopped to listen—what if they saw emotion on his face? What would they think? He could not be weak! Clenching his teeth as tightly as he could, he told himself very firmly to stop it. It was just some folk’s tale.
(There was another name on the tip of his tongue, begging to be said. He could imagine a field with a tree, a perfect resting spot for a perfect man. My fault, my fault. I’m sorry, my love. I’m so sorry.)
“’Who was he to you?’ she asked the man. The story of their love spilled from him haltingly. ‘We were soulmates,’ he told the earth spirit. ‘He was half of me, and all of me.’ They spoke for a long time, sitting over the grave. Eventually, however, the earth spirit was called away to where the land was soft and fertile and in need of shaping. She willed the ground to sprout trees, a jungle of them, and wondered if she had a half of herself. Of course, she thought of the sky. Part of her was always thinking of the freedom she saw there. And after many days of deliberating, after many days of sitting with the grieving man, she decided she had to try to reach the vast openness above her.”
“Did she jump?” Corporal Okada asked, honestly enthralled with the story the general was telling. Several other sailors laughed, but Zuko rolled his eyes.
“Of course she didn’t,” he snapped. “She split her soul.”
“Yes,” Uncle agreed, much more agreeably. “She believed that as long as part of her was on the ground, and the other part was touching it, she could have the best of both worlds.”
“And?” Several people asked at once. “Could she?”
“Some of her days were wonderful indeed. She could ride the winds and create deserts and all was well. But there were other days, where the winds exhausted her and she longed to be on solid ground once again. The closest she could get was to ruffle the grass, but she could not sit, and the half of her that existed in the sky could no longer sense the earth, just as the part of her on the earth could not sense the sky. In the end, I do not believe she regretted her choice, but we can never know for sure. She disappeared some centuries ago now.” He shook his head sadly.
The crew and the two princes were quiet for a few moments, thinking this over. Then, one of the men asked, “What was the story about the man’s grief?”
Before Uncle could reply, Zuko turned sharply. “GET BACK TO WORK!”
(He didn’t want to hear about grief. Even more than shame and dishonor, it haunted him at night. Storms still scared him like a child. Uncle would come to keep him company on the worst nights, and never asked why Zuko got so twitchy, murmuring “It’s not time yet, it’s not time yet…” without even realizing he was doing so.)
One of the first things Aang said to Katara as they made their way back to the village was, “Whoa… do you feel that?”
“What?” She asked, caught between annoyance at Sokka (could he stop complaining for five seconds?) and all the excitement of the day. “Feel what?”
“…that,” Aang said, making a fist over his heart. Seeing her face—surely making some confused but encouraging expression—he shrugged. “It’s like a tug pulling me that-a-way.” He pointed in the opposite direction of the village, but Katara didn’t know anything past the ice fields. “But it’s weird… I feel it to you too.”
Katara couldn’t answer at that moment, Sokka interrupting them to complain that Appa wasn’t flying. Again.
There was a moment, between when they got back and when Aang woke up, that she allowed herself to think of it again. Rubbing her chest over her heart, she closed her eyes and focused on it. Did she feel anything? There was some faint sensation there, she realized, and dug for it, grasping onto it with both hands. Bringing it to the light made her realize—though it was invisble, it spun her around and pointed toward the tent which held the young air bender. When he woke up, she could tell him she felt it too!
She was just about to open her eyes when something else caught her attention. A shadow. A gut feeling. An empty space where there shouldn’t have been one. Frowning, she followed that line in a mind full of snow, and imagined herself at the edge of the ice, looking out onto the water.
Not too far, she thought, totally nonsensically. Almost here. They’re almost here.
What? She tried to imagine herself walking away from the edge, and she could see a path on the ground that lead to the tent. She took a few steps before turning back again. The sun dipped low on the horizon in this vision. She thought she could make out a shape in front of the bright ball of flame, far away but definitely there.
Find me.
Opening her eyes, she scowled and tried to shake the weird daydream away. But her heart was singing under her fist.
Find me.
(Katara hated the color red. What was it good for, anyway? Red cheeks when you were embarrassed. Red fingers when you were too cold, before it got bad. Red blood spilled on the ice. Red armor killing innocent people. Red armor killing her mother. Red armor hurting her brother and her Gran-Gran.
Red scar slanting an eye that she couldn’t look away from.
She forgot about the paths in her mind, forgot to wonder who or what those weird thoughts had been about until they were in the air. Feeling the wind ruffle through her hair, she closed her eyes and tried to imagine them again. There was the invisble pull towards Aang, but the other one had slipped too far away. Furrowing her brow, she tried to find it again, only for that stupid fire bender’s stupid red scar to flash in her mind.
Disgusted with herself, she shook her head like it would make her forget, but of course, it didn’t work.)
(Blue. It was a color Zuko wasn’t supposed to like, and so he didn’t. He didn’t like green or brown or yellow either. Peasant colors, Azula said. But there was something about blue that called to him, that warmed his chest at the same time it twisted in his gut.
The Water Tribe peasants all wore blue, and purple and white too. But there was something about the girl who stood there with the old woman, who stood up to him, that caught his attention.
He still didn’t like blue. But even after she and her dunce brother attacked his ship, he found himself thinking about it, the specific shades and how they’d looked on the ice and on his ship.
Gods, but did he make himself sick.)
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heyyyharry · a year ago
Text
Chapter 11: The Lake Of Tears
(from ‘The Winter and The Crown’)
…in which journeys end in lovers meeting.
Tumblr media
Word count: 3k
AU: queen!y/n, commander!harry
Description: Y/N and Harry set off on a new adventure to find ‘the cure’ for an ancient curse, meanwhile, the enemies are plotting to take her kingdom.
Wattpad link (Reyna as Peach/Y/N)
A/N: I just want to say: STAN LANCE FOR CLEAR SKIN! 🥺
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.
.
Y/N was a descendant of the first High King. The facts were still spinning around in Lance’s head as he left the library.
Why hadn’t anyone mentioned it to him before? Could this mean something? Could it have anything to do with the witch’s prophecy about her being the saviour? Y/N might have believed it’d referred her overthrowing her brother, but what if her fate was more than just that?
Something told him that Mary might know more than she’d told him, and if that was true, his Queen might be in bigger danger.
He was too impatient to wait until morning, so he decided to visit Mary this instant. He was hurrying down the long empty corridor when memories flickered across his eyes, slicing over his skin. Memories that he didn’t know he’d had. Memories that he didn’t want. He never would’ve thought that memories could physically hurt, but now the floor and ceiling had started spinning. Lance pressed a palm against the wall as he tried to navigate and not pass out right there.
The real world began to fade. He found himself standing outside in the woods. It was dawn. Snow was falling slowly around him, smoke rising from the chimney of a small cottage. There was movement at one of the windows—a white-haired woman peering out from inside. For a moment Lance thought she saw him, but then she stepped away and disappeared.
“Your Majesty!”
Lance blinked back to reality and saw Jo heading towards him with a lantern in hand. Her face was twisted with concern. “What are you doing out of bed?” she asked, eyeing him up and down. “Are you not feeling well?”
Lance opened his mouth to reply just as his thoughts started skipping back and forth. His eyes pinched shut. Every memory was the colour of snow. Icy-white. Rosy cheeks and kisses and sunsets. Tears making rivers at his feet. The pain suddenly subsided and his fingers carefully and slowly fell away from his hair. His throat shivered before he spoke. “I was reading in the library. What are you doing out of bed?”
“I’m looking for Mary,” Jo said.
“She wasn’t in bed?” Lance asked, surprised.
Jo shook her head, her brows furrowed. “I woke up and she was gone.”
“How did she get past the guards outside the door?”
“The guards weren’t there.”
Before Lance could react to that, a scream tore through the stillness of the castle. They both snapped their heads to the same direction as they heard it again, then footsteps of frantic guards pounding down the hallway. Lance and Jo exchanged looks before dashing to where the scream had come from. They bumped into Mary at a turn. She was still dressed in her nightgown, a coat wrapped around her shoulders to keep herself warm. She looked horrified as she bent her knees and apologised to Lance.
Jo yanked her up by her arm and scolded her for having left the room. Meanwhile, Lance was silently watching their behaviours. He could see the difference in the way Jo treated Mary. She didn’t call Mary ‘a witch’ anymore, and she seemed more worried than angry. Lance didn’t want to read into things that might or might not be there, but he felt like Jo had started to trust Mary a bit too much. Unfortunately, he’d started to doubt this woman.
“Where did you go?” he asked, his voice composed.
Fear crossed Mary’s face for a brief second, and she was quick to mask it with a confused expression. “I sleepwalked.”
“Since when do you sleepwalk?” Jo asked.
“I don’t know,” Mary said with a small shrug.
Lance knew she was lying. Mary had put on a coat to leave the room. She’d done it on purpose. But what was it?
“Was it you who screamed?” Jo asked, still holding Mary’s hand.
Mary took a cautious glance at Lance before shaking her head. “No, I heard it too.”
Lance’s heart was beating hard and fast as he pushed aside his doubt for Mary and headed straight toward the screaming. A small crowd of courtiers in nightgowns had gathered around a window, their faces lit by the pale moonlight, and Lance could make out the fear on every single one.
“Your Majesty!” a guard exclaimed, and everyone immediately backed away from the window as soon as they saw Lance.
“It’s the emissary, Your Majesty,” said another guard.
Jo, who was standing right beside Lance now, smacked both hands over her mouth and let out a gasp. Lance peered out of the window of the tower, wind and snow slapping at his face and hair.
On the ground lay George Wallace, his limbs bending in unusual positions. The blood flowed thickly from his body; in the moonlight, it was as dark as black ink. His eyes were open, staring lifelessly back at Lance.
“He killed himself, Your Majesty,” the guard said. There were horrified whispers among the others.
“Did anyone see him jump?”
“No, Your Majesty.”
Lance looked over his shoulder. Jo and the other ladies were sobbing now. But then there was Mary, who silently met his gaze and slowly turned away.
.
.
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Y/N sprinted through the forest, her feet punching through the snow, fury growing in her stomach with each violent step. She didn’t look back, but she knew Harry was right behind her.
The snow was falling in thick sheets now, and Y/N vaguely remembered having taken this path before. Her head still hurt. The ringing in her ears had become a scream yet she tried not to slow down to keep up with the deer.
It stopped when they broke out of a line of trees.
Y/N held her breath.
It didn’t take her too long to recognise the familiar surroundings. She had stood on this cliff a few nights ago, looking at the same moon, and witnessed a reunion between two star-crossed lovers with ill fate.
The snow started coming down in thick washes of white, and Y/N began to feel it again. The cold of the water rushing into her lungs. The pain of death.
The wind was blowing harder now. Everything felt too much. She smelled smoke. Something burning. She heard a cry for help. A wailing of a child.
“The deer!” Harry shouted, pulling her back to reality.
Her eyes shot open as she whipped her head around and saw that they were the only two standing on the cliff. The deer was gone.
“It was only an illusion,” Harry yelled over the howling of the wind. “We must get back before it’s too late.”
“Come, Y/N, come, my child.”
It was that voice again, calling from beyond the cliff.
“We can’t go back!” Y/N screamed, pushing away from Harry. “I must–”
He grabbed her by the arms and spun her around with a force so violent that she could see the fear in his eyes when they met hers. He tightened his fingers around her wrists. “Remember what happened at the house. This is not real.”
Y/N remembered vividly what had happened. That was how she knew this wasn’t like that. She was well aware of what was happening. This was real. Harry wouldn’t get it. He hadn’t seen those things that she’d seen. He could not communicate with the deer. It had brought them here for a reason, and the answer they were looking for lay beyond that cliff.
She looked over her shoulders. A strong wind sailed over them and her braid broke loose, releasing her long waves of hair like water pouring into the sky. She looked back at Harry. His green eyes swimming with tears.
“You must jump.”
“I must jump,” she echoed the words coming from beyond the cliff.
Harry’s eyes went wide with shock. “Stop! You’re not thinking straight!”
“I am thinking straight!” she snapped, startling him, yet his grip only tightened around her bony wrists. “You promised that you’d trust me!”
“That doesn’t mean I’d let you kill yourself!” he snapped.
“Come to me, my child.”
Y/N was sobbing now. She shook her head, tears flying out of the corners of her eyes. “The voice is coming from under. I have to jump.”
“You don’t!” He let go of her hand only to cup her face between his cold, gloveless palms. His gaze was fierce and gentle at the same time as he forced her to look him in the eye. “Go back with me,” he spoke softly.
Y/N wanted to go with him. They could return to the cave and pretend that none of this had happened. Sadly, every single part of her knew what she must do next. The trees, the dark snow-filled sky, the ash clouds rising up beneath her feet and the icy water in her lungs. They weren’t illusions; they were memories from a past life, calling out for her, and she must answer.
“I’m sorry.” She released an unsteady breath. “I love you.”
Harry’s fingers froze on her cheeks. His glassy eyes went round and wide as he gazed at her unblinkingly.
She stepped closer, touching his face. “And you loved me, too. I know you don’t remember, but there was a time when I was everything you’d ever wanted. I’m sorry I put you in danger. I’m sorry you had to sacrifice so much for me, even your life. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you then. And I’m sorry I cannot go with you now. So if I don’t come back, I want you to know that nothing has changed for me. I’ll...I’ll always love you no matter what becomes of us.”
“I believe you.”
“What?”
A line appeared between Harry’s brows. He caught his breath, his skin turning blue and grey. “I believe you,” he echoed his own words. “I don’t remember everything. But I...I remember loving you.”
Y/N couldn’t bear another thought, so she shifted forward and pressed her lips to his. His fingers found the back of her neck, gentle like snowflakes caught in hair, and she kissed him harder before her heart swelled up into her throat. When she drew her mouth away from his, she believed he knew what she was going to do next, yet was so stunned by the kiss that he was frozen in place.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered and shoved him away. Right as he fell onto the snow, Y/N threw herself right off the cliff. Harry’s painful cry shattered the dark stormy sky as Y/N started free-falling into the endless blackness.
Everything slowed down until there was nothing. Only her and the moon that seemed to swallow her whole. Her hand reached out, kissing that giant bright globe. Everything was a blur. Her body twirled and jerked as she fell. The wind in her face made it impossible to breathe. She felt like she'd suffocate before she ever hit the water surface. And when she did, she felt a thousand needles poking into her skin. The cold water drowned her. She closed her eyes. And dreamed.
She was standing in the corner of a warm firelit room, watching a woman, whose hair was as white as snow, rocking her child to sleep.
The Moon Lady. Y/N recognised her. She looked even more beautiful up close, yet she seemed so restless. She kept glancing at the door as if expecting somebody. Y/N assumed her husband was supposed to be home by now. The Shadow Man.
The snow was falling down in thick sheets outside the windows. A storm was gathering in the sky, so her husband probably wouldn’t make it back.
Before Y/N could finish her next thought, the door was kicked down with a force so violent that the walls seemed to shake. Cold winds washed over the room, nearly blowing out the fire.
Three tall men walked in, weapons in hands, symbols of the army on their uniforms. They were Isolde guards.
Y/N tried to move. She wanted to help the lady because she recognised the fear in the lady’s eyes. But it seemed as if her feet were glued to the floor, and all she could do was scream at the lady to run, do something, get out of here. No words escaped. No matter how hard she tried to scream, she could not make a sound.
“Where’s Lokesh?” the woman asked, standing up and pressing her baby tightly against her chest.
The men strolled around the room. They knew they could overpower this poor woman, so they were taking their time.
“The King’s never coming back here again,” said one of them as they stared into the fire, which was burning low. “We’re here to collect what’s his.”
Another one reached for the child but the woman was quick to kick over a chair and stop him from getting any closer. “No, you won’t have my child!” she raised her voice. “I need to speak to Lokesh!”
“The child belongs to the King. That’s the deal.”
‘There’s no deal!” cried the woman. “He loves me. He won’t let our baby be harmed!”
“The King has promised the Gods. He won the war, so now it’s either the life of that baby or his.”
“No.” The woman shook her head so fast it might fall right off her neck. “He won the war on his own. He would never trade our baby’s life for any God. He wouldn’t want anyone to hurt his child.”
It was no use reasoning with these men; Y/N knew they weren’t here to hear this woman out.
One of them nodded to the other. “Grab her.”
They advanced. The Moon Lady stepped back.
She screamed.
Y/N felt like her ears exploded as glass shattered and the whole house shook like there was an earthquake. Before any of the men could run for the door, the fire flared out and consumed the one closest to it.
Y/N jolted right up. The smell of ash and snow still hung over her. She felt the snow against her cheek. Cold and wet. The scent of earth and green filled her nostrils. She looked up. Moonlight peeked through the trees, pale and lonely. Her fingers pushed into the snow, into the soil, hands burrowing up to her wrists. A ringing filled her ears. As soon as she realised she was alive, she sucked in air like it had never felt so good inside her lungs.
She was sprawling on the lakeshore, soaked from head to toes yet she couldn’t feel the cold or pain. She rolled up her sleeves and lifted her arms to see that the scars and wounds were all gone. Her skin was as smooth and soft as that of a baby. She looked like she’d stripped off her old skin and put on a new one.
The surface of the lake was as smooth as black glass. Y/N threw a stone and watched it skip across the still water, the radiating ripples caught the moonlight. After three skips, the stone sank, then once again, the lake looked like glass.
She’d found it.
The lake that wasn’t frozen on the coldest winter night on the North mountain.
The lake which had healed her.
The sound of footsteps on the snow startled Y/N, snapping her back to reality. She whipped her head around to find a tall dark figure towering over her. She was just about to fight when she heard the voice.
“Peach, it’s me.”
His face emerged from the shadow, brightened by the moonlight.
“Harry!”
Y/N jumped right to her feet, her arms tightened around his neck. He was wet too, but she’d hold him forever if she could. He hugged her back and everything felt right again. She knew that he was real and not just a figment of her imagination.
He was the first to pull away and cup her face between his palms, bringing their foreheads together. “Peach, are you okay?” he asked, gently.
She nodded fast, not sure if she was laughing or crying. Her voice cracked as she spoke. “You jumped. You could’ve died.”
He let out a shaky laugh as his fingers buried into her tangled hair. “You would’ve definitely died. You can’t swim, Peach.”
Her heart skipped a beat. She blinked up at him. “What? How...how do you know that?”
His mouth curled into the smile of the man she loved. “I’ve saved you from drowning before, haven’t I?”
Realisation finally sank in.
She let out a sob, then burst into tears.
“You remember,” she said quietly.
He gave a nod, brushing his thumbs across her cold cheeks. “Everything, my love. I remember everything.”
79 notes · View notes
jumbojamba47 · a year ago
Audio
Empty Crown
Pt. 5 of In Her Orbit
A/N: Hey gals and pals, pt. 5 is HERE! (brought to you by my friend Matt who’s uploading for me hehehe) Since I’m celebrating MY 23rd Orbit around the sun this Wednesday, I have the day off and I decided I’d open up drabble requests to thank all of y’all for all the love and support. So until 11:59pm wed. night (Sept. 9) send me a song, a marvel character and whether you want fluff/angst/crack/whatever into my askbox and I’ll start to crank them out in my downtime! Feel free to send them anonymously and I’ll just tag them as anon
We’re nearing the end, party people. Pt. 6 is in the works
This one is dedicated to @imnotasuperhero for reminding me that Sad Song by We the Kings exists (another heavy inspiration for this chapter)
ALSO MATT, if you’re reading this… if you fuck up this upload on purpose, I have THAT picture of you locked and loaded in my email drafts and I WILL NOT HESITATE to send it to HER if you do.
Pairings: Natasha Romanoff x Reader
Warnings: Angst, Swearing, Mentions of depression
Word Count: 4356
There’s a war inside my head
Pained grunts echo throughout the concrete room. Bodies thud to the floor as a black and red blur moves fluidly through the air, incapacitating her opponents with deadly precision.
A beat later, silence.
Panting, the Black Widow takes in her surrounds, eyes searching for any potential enemies that may remain lurking just out of sight. Seeing none, she straightens from her low crouch.
She never wanted to come on this mission. The moment she received the assignment from Agent Hill, she had protested vehemently.
She couldn’t leave you so soon after everything that had occurred the night of the Gala.
At least… not like that.
Determined to complete the mission as swiftly as possible in an effort to return to your side and make things right before it became too late, the redheaded assassin infiltrated and incapacitated the residual Hydra base with a merciless, deadly grace that left little room for survivors.
Stepping over the unmoving bodies, she makes her way towards the exit of the underground bunker, pulling the communicator on her widow bites to her lips. As she steps out into the open air, she’s immediately assaulted by the chilling gale of a slowly forming blizzard swirling around her.
“Mission complete. Requesting evac,” she grunts as she pulls the zipper of her combat suit higher.
There’s a short pause before a crackling buzz cuts through the sound of the wind howling in her ears.
“Negative, Widow. An incoming blizzard makes current extraction too dangerous. Return to the safehouse and a jet will come in 0900 hours.”
She curses under her breath but indicates an affirmative before navigating her snowmobile back to the small cabin hidden in the mountain side.
Frustrated, she kicks off her boots in the entryway, before collapsing on the couch settled in front of an empty fire, cold hands cover her face.
She needs to get back to you.
She prays to whoever will listen to grant her this one mercy.
Please. Don’t let me be too late.
Replaying her last interaction with you in her head, her body starts to shake with small, broken whimpers, tears sliding down the side of her face.
“Let me go, Natasha.”
“Please.”
“You have to let me go.”
“I can’t lose you.”
“You already did.”
“Goodbye, Talia.”
You stepped away from her, turning and walking away, unwilling to remain in her presence any longer.
As she stood there, watching you leave, her voice cracks as it echoes in the nearly deserted hallway.
“I love you. Please, believe me.”
You duck your head with a small, broken chuckle, before turning slightly to give her one last glance.
“You don’t, Talia. But that’s okay.”
She loses sight of you as you turn the corner.
But… I do.
Sobs threaten to wrack Natasha’s body as she curls in on herself, alone in a cold, empty cabin.
Simultaneously, determination fills her as she resolves to make things right with you as soon as she steps foot onto the compound.
She’ll prove her love for you is true.
Whatever it takes.
xxxx
The quiet rumble of the quinjet as it hits a patch of turbulence washes over her.
This is it.
She’s been gone for a week but she finally, finally, has the chance to make things right. Once you’re in her arms, she’ll vow to never let you go.
She can only hope that you’ll let her.
No.
She can’t let herself be deterred by her own doubts and insecurities.
Not this time.
She’ll get this right.
Inner musings interrupted by the sound of the jet lowering itself onto the tarmac, Natasha takes a running leap off of the ramp before it’s even managed to fully reach the ground.
She flies past training recruits, crowded laboratories, and disgruntled field agents.
She ignores the sound of her name being yelled from multiple directions as she bounds straight towards your quarters.
As she skids to a halt in front of a familiar door, she doesn’t even pause to knock before throwing the offending barrier open.
Only to find… nothing.
The panting assassin is met with nothing but an empty space with no remaining signs of living.
Every knick-knack, every memory, anything that could possibly remind her of the very essence that was you, was just... gone. Stripped from existence as though they were never there in the first place.
And I'm drowning in regret
Suddenly, every ounce of adrenaline that fueled the ex-soviet’s body abandons her. Her knees give way and she crashes to the floor. Kneeling, all she can do is stare at the empty room in abject horror. Terror over the possible implications beginning to cloud her mind.
Absentmindedly, she notes the sound of several footsteps coming down the hall.
“Natasha?”
“Tony… where are they?” she croaks.
She can make out hesitant muttering between Tony, Sam and Steve, before Steve finally breaks the silence.
“They’re gone. They left this morning.”
When the lights come down
You’re gone.
She’s too late.
You don’t love her anymore.
She didn’t do enough.
You didn’t even say goodbye.
She wasn’t enough.
You left.
SHE WASN’T ENOUGH.
A choked sob rips itself from her throat as the rest of her body falls to the floor like a puppet with its strings cut.
There’s a rustle of movement before Tony lifts her torso until her head is cradled into his chest and he gently begins to rock her shaking form in his hold. Sam and Steve look to each other and nod before making their way down the hall to give her some semblance of privacy.
“Shhhh. I’ve got you, Red.”
“They’re gone,” she hiccups.
He lets out a small, pained sigh before tightening his grip.
“Yeah… they are.”
The broken assassin curls in on herself further, before her haunting wails begin to echo throughout the rest of the compound.
Down the hall, two veterans grimace before continuing on their way.
In the labs, a green hand trembles slightly as it writes down its latest equation.
In the training room, cold metal tears through a fifth sandbag.
In the kitchen, viridian eyes turn to the ceiling, speaking a silent prayer for the well-being of her family.
Got an empty crown
xxxx
My body's missing pieces
The next morning found all of the team sans a certain redheaded master spy gathered in the common kitchen assembling their own breakfasts.
A somber atmosphere permeates throughout the room as each Avenger silently ponders their own thoughts over the events of the night before.
Footsteps tap lightly along the marbled floor outside the kitchen and each member bristles slightly as a sense of trepidation washes over them.
What would they face?
Only… shock rocks through each of their systems as they’re met with a relaxed assassin, humming a soft tune as she gracefully moves to putter about the kitchen, pouring herself a mug of coffee.
Exchanging weary glances, the team can do nothing but watch as she moves about with a slight bounce to her step.
Coffee made, she spins around and faces the team.
Noticing everyone’s concerned facial expressions, a light furrow spreads across her brow.
“Good morning?” She questions.
“Uhhh… hey Nat, you feeling okay?” Clint asks with hesitation clear in his voice.
“Of course, I am. The mission was a complete success. Why wouldn’t I be?”
Unwilling to open up something none of them were equipped to handle, the team opts to just ignore the strangeness of the interaction and go back to their respective morning rituals. Until her husky voice breaks the silence once more.
“When’s (y/n) coming back?”
Several sharp inhales fill the air.
Her question is met with nothing but silence before Steve, as team captain, is elbowed forward by Sam.
“Oof- Err… Natasha.”
She glances at him uninterestedly.
“Hm?” She questions over the rim of her mug.
He sheepishly begins to rub at the back of his neck.
“They… they uhh… they aren’t coming back. Ever. They’ve moved out.”
CRASH!
Her mug slips out of her hand. Shattered ceramic scatters across the kitchen floor while coffee slowly flows between the cracks in the marble.
Panic overtakes her emerald eyes and they all watch as she begins to tremble.
Silently, she moves.
Her foot crunches on the broken pieces of her favorite mug. One you had gifted her with after a solo mission abroad.
Without another word nor a glance spared towards her family, she leaves.
Can't pull it all together
xxxx
My body's missing pieces
If anyone were to walk past the training room at this hour, all they’d hear would be enraged grunts and the sound of limbs pounding into reinforced vinyl.
Sweat drips down Natasha’s forehead and into her eyes, further blinding her already blurry vision as frustrated tears stream down her face.
With each blow to the hanging punching bag in front of her, a new devastating question cuts deeply across her train of thought.
How could you just leave?
After everything you told her about your own feelings, did she really mean that little to you?
Was it all just a lie wrapped up in pretty little bow and presented to her just so you could crawl your way under her skin?
Your very presence permeated through every cell of her body. The light you shone on everyone around you, flooded her very veins, engulfing her in a feeling of home and belonging that she’s never found before.
And yet…
Did she ever mean anything to you?
Exhausted and dizzy, she collapses to the mat below her, supported only by her hands and knees. Chest heaving, frustrated tears drip onto the floor, her hands curl into fists, nails digging into the calloused flesh of her palms.
No.
You didn’t leave through any fault of your own.
You left, because of her.
How could she let things go this far?
You left because you felt like you had no other choice.
So sure you would never be able to love her along with her demons, she drove you away until you were standing on the brink of an edge no one would be able to bring you back from.
She dealt the final blow the moment she let you witness her kiss a complete stranger with the same look on her face she only ever reserved for you.
And now… you’re gone.
She never deserved you in the first place.
All she could ever bring you would be destruction and pain. It was who she was. Who she was made to be.
She wasn’t upset with you.
She was enraged with herself.
You willingly gave yourself to her, asking for nothing in return but the chance to bask in the dim glow of Natasha’s moonlight to your sunlight.
But she betrayed your trust and broke the bond that tethered you both, irreparably.
She doesn’t remember a time when she could function without you.
I wish I could remember          
xxxx
My body's missing pieces
Roughly two weeks had passed since your departure. In that time, the Black Widow was rarely seen outside of her room and the community training room.
Always, in a volatile state, she caused every recruit and agent to recoil from her mere presence, until one day, the murderous atmosphere around the redhead finally receded.
That was when the desperation set in.
Once she moved past her own anger, there was no emptiness. Instead, a deep-rooted need to just see you burrowed its way into her heart.
Some of the team is lounging around the common area when Natasha comes storming in, making a bee line for Steve.
At the sight of the determined assassin, he sits up, pulling his head away from his boyfriend’s lap, closing his book.
Tension presents itself in his shoulders as he prepares for some type of confrontation, only for Natasha to plop down onto the coffee table in front of him, a pleading look in her eyes.
“Steve, where did they go?”
He releases a small exhale of relief he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
“Natasha, I told you. They don’t want to be found.”
“Please.” She implores.
“I just want to make things right. I have to make things right. If you just tell me, I swear to you that I will never hurt them voluntarily again, I would rather leave this life forever than see them experience any more pain.”
At this, a low growl escapes the Winter Soldier’s lips as he sits forward with a snarl.
“Your word means nothing, Romanoff. You had your chance. Multiple of them. Each more than you ever deserved. And what did you do? You. Broke. Them.” He moves to stand, looming over her in the process.
“Every time they opened themselves up to you, hoping you’d finally let them in, you turned tail and ran. Who was left to pick up the pieces? Us.”
The redhead begins to bristle as her former trainer grows more and more hostile, but he presses on.
“I have spent far too many nights holding them in my arms as they cry themselves to sleep wondering why they weren’t good enough for the likes of you. Questioning what exactly it was that made them. So. Damn. Unlovable. And we WILL NOT let you drag them through the same exact shit, AGAIN.”
At that, the spy leaps to her feet.
“Oh, come off it, Barnes! You don’t get to stand there and pretend like you don’t know what it’s like.” She’s fuming.
“What what’s like?” He takes a step further into her personal space.
Suddenly, she deflates and turns to stare anywhere else.
“To be unmade. To have someone else reach into the deepest parts of you and play around. Molding you into who theywant you to be, until there’s nothing left but broken memories and a machine. You of all people know what it’s like to learn how to love under those conditions,” she mumbles.
The ex-soldier sucks in a breath as his eyes dart to Steve watching them silently beside him.
He did know.
It took months for he and Steve to get to a place where he could comfortably love him the way he always had when they were younger.
Looking back at Natasha, he can’t imagine how it might have been had he belonged to Hydra’s grasp as a child.
The way she belonged to the Red Room.
A pained grimace crosses his face as he opens his mouth to speak, but by then she’s already turned and stepped halfway out the door, head hanging lowly.
“I just want to feel alive again,” is the last thing they hear before they lose sight of her.
Can't pull it all together
xxxx
My body's missing pieces
Late at night, exhausted emerald green stares at her dark ceiling. The pale light of the waning moon trickles in through the crack in her curtains, casting shadows across the room.
Yet, they’re nothing in comparison to the shadows that cross her mind.
Ever since you left, the assassin’s night terrors had reached new heights of horrifying.
Her nightmares soaked in the same deep red dripping all over her ledger.
Each night, she wakes, screaming, drenched in a pool of her own sweat and tears, bile rising in the back of her throat as images of you being driven to your death, either directly or indirectly, by her hand plagues her every thought.
The night terrors, themselves, were nothing new to the Russian.
She had never known a peaceful rest until the night you held her in your arms and chased her demons away with nothing but the dulcet tones of your voice.
Even now, she feels her heartbeat begin to find a steady rhythm as she allows her mind to reminisce on the first full night she’d ever spent in your presence without other activities taking precedence.
“Talia, come back to me.”
“Shhhh. I’ve got you. You’re safe. No one will get you. I’m here,” you repeat over and over in a soft mantra.
“I’m lying on the moon. My dear, I’ll be there soon. It’s a quiet and starry place. Time’s we’re swallowed up in space. We’re here a million miles away.”
Her shivers begin to slow down in frequency.
“There’s things I wish I knew. There’s no thing I’d keep from you. It’s a dark and shiny place. But with you, my dear, I’m safe and we’re a million miles away.”
All that’s left is the occasional quiver that runs through her and you continue to whisper out the final verse.
“We’re lying on the moon. It’s a perfect afternoon. Your shadow follows me all day, making sure that I’m okay and we’re a million miles away.”
Her consciousness drifted away on the calm waves of your voice. Her mind blissfully blank.
Distantly, she felt herself be lifted into your strong arms and gently laid on the soft mattress.
Warmth engulfed her as you slipped your favorite worn sweatshirt over her.
As her conscious mind slips further and further away, she finds her body automatically seeking the comfort of your skin on hers, pulling herself over your chest, wrapping an arm around your torso, and pressing her face further into the warmth radiating from your neck.
At peace, she finally succumbs to the realm of Morpheus.
A broken smile crawls onto Natasha’s lips.
You will never know this, but she awoke first the following morning.
She could feel the smooth rise and fall of your chest beneath her cheek as she burrowed herself deeper into your arms, exhaling a sigh of contentment.
You looked like an angel descended from the heavens above just to bring her the peace she so desperately craved as a child.
The memory fades; her eyes slowly open to a dark and empty room.
She weeps at the thought of what could have been.
I wish I could remember
xxxx
There's a war inside my head
Three months have gone by since the day you left the Avengers Compound.
Natasha no longer pauses in front of your door to stare forlornly every time she walks down the hall.
She’s begun to function with a mechanical numbness that allows her to live day by day.
Yet, she remains… a ghost of herself.
She’s drowning without you, but she’s learned to accept it.
xxxx
Mid-afternoon, Natasha reclines alone on one of the loungers in the common area, reading a well-worn tome on Russian folklore you had given her as a birthday present a few years beforehand.
Her quiet reading is interrupted by the excited chatter of Wanda, Steve and Bucky, the three make their way into the neighboring conference room directly in her line of sight if she peers over the back of the couch.
She goes unnoticed as she silently watches Steve set down some sort of projector on the conference table. She can hear excited mumbles about how Stark had finally finished creating something and its counterpart had arrived at the Charles Xavier’s school for the young enhanced.
Curious as to why they might have ties with the institute, she remains seated, waiting to see how this plays out.
There’s a brief flicker of light as the projection comes to life, and suddenly, all the air is sucked out of her lungs.
You’re here.
Not seven feet away from her, there you sat in all your ethereal glory, lounging in a padded armchair, your legs crossed, head resting casually against your knuckles leaning against the arm of your seat.
The blue and grey tones of the holographic projection do nothing to take away from the fact that you were presented before her, a hedonistic vision of elegant nonchalance, clad in your signature leather jacket and combat boots, hair falling in a tousled disarray that looked as though it were perfectly arranged by the gods themselves.
She vaguely hears Bucky attempting to do a terrible impression of a ghost while Steve cuffs the back of his head, but all she can pay attention to is the smooth curvature of your face as you sit there, head thrown back in joyous laughter.
She takes in the sight of you and finally, finally, she feels as though she can breathe again.
The sound of your voice alone drags her soul back up to the surface; a siren call for her to come home.
She feels as though she’s soaring.
When she finally manages to gather her wits about her, she nearly kicks herself for not realizing you had taken up residence in X-Mansion.
In the past, you had told her about your dreams to make a difference for young mutants, to help them understand themselves and teach them that they could be more than the stigmatization that society demands of them.
It seems as though you’d finally achieved your dreams and she couldn’t be prouder of you.
She watches you lean forward, animated movements acting out the different tales of your latest experiences you regale to your friends.
Your eyes sparkle with joy as you discuss your new passion for teaching. Love and pride evident in your eyes as you talk about how the kids have taught you just as much as you teach them.
You’ve finally managed to figure out how to combine the basic four elements to form new branches of elemental energy using your powers just from watching and helping your students, something you had been working towards for MONTHSprior to departing from the compound.
Tears of pride begin to well in her eyes as she sees just how much you’ve grown in your time away.
You’re so perfect, and she is deeply, irrevocably in love with you.
She debates over whether or not she has the right to make her presence known, when she’s interrupted from her thoughts by the sight of your figure turning its head to glance behind you.
Curious, she sits up just a little to get a better view of the newcomer.
Her stomach plummets when she hears the sound of a musical voice calling out your name with clear fondness before she sees a pair of slender arms wrap themselves around your shoulders, a chin rests itself against the top of your head.
Jean Grey. Class Five, Omega level mutant. Enhancement: telepathy and telekinesis. Her subconscious helpfully supplies as her thoughts continue to race.
Why is she acting so familiar with you?
The others greet her with pleasantries and jokes, clearly comfortable and familiar with her presence, making Natasha wonder just how often they’ve been in communication with the both of you.
Her eyes betray her, refusing to stray from the way the other redhead’s fingers idly trace circles around your shoulders while she talks and laughs, still draped over you.
The assassin’s heart clenches when she sees you relax and snuggle back into what’s obviously a familiar hold.
Several moments go by before you tug lightly at one of the mutant’s hands, getting the message, she circles around the side of your chair, before unceremoniously plopping directly into your lap, making herself comfortable. Legs stretched out over the arm of your chair, her arms wrapped around your waist, head resting on your shoulder.
Your own arms automatically come up to wrap around her, providing support.
The movement is so natural, Natasha can tell it’s an action you’ve performed hundreds of times before.
She can’t remember the last time you looked so at peace with yourself.
And I'm drowning in regret
She feels as though she’s been shoved right back under the water.
You and your friends’ muffled voices barely reach her over the sound of her own blood rushing in her ears.
One of the men asks you when you were finally going to come back to the compound for a visit, telling you you’re more than welcome to invite your new friends from the institute for a grand tour.
Despite the anguish she feels, Natasha can sense a bubble of hope rise within her, at least she’d be able to see you in person again.
That bubble implodes when you hesitate and fall silent.
You tell them you don’t think you can come back quite yet. Your voice trails off.
Sensing your discomfort, the telepath in your arms snuggles further into you, curling herself around your body.
She takes a hold of your hand and starts to rub soothing circles, massaging your palm and pressing soft kisses to your knuckles.
Natasha realizes why you hesitated.
It’s because of her.
The Avengers were your family.
The compound would always be your home.
But with the aftermath of everything that took place between the both of you, you weren’t certain if you had a place with them anymore.
And that shatters her.
She cracks further at the intimate familiarity between you and the young woman in your arms.
Natasha wonders if she treats you better than she ever could. The way you’ve always deserved.
Her chest constricts at the idea that she might have truly lost her chance to fix everything that was broken between you.
Your inner circle, however, is very understanding. They reiterate that everyone misses you deeply, but your happiness comes above all else first and foremost.
Steve grins fondly as he tells you that they’ll just have to come to you.
Your entire demeanor lights up again as you launch into all of the things you wish to show them; the introductions you can make with the young generation in your care.
Eventually, the call winds down and you all exchange your fond goodbyes.
As the connection is severed, Natasha is still left reeling.
When the lights come down
Distantly, she can hear the others gathering themselves and exit the conference room.
She collapses back onto the couch beneath her, staring up at the ceiling with blank eyes.
A single tear escapes out of the side of her eye, sliding down her face, before falling into auburn locks.
You deserve the chance to move forward and she’s so happy you’ve finally found some semblance of peace.
She doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to do the same.
Got an empty crown
Tag List:
@natasha-danvers , @ohfuckno , @thelastavenger-3000 , @imnotasuperhero , @dynnealberto , @wildhoney32 , @messuhp , @username23345 , @trikruismybitch , @wolvesareawesome33 , @echolarain 
(sorry if the tags don’t work for some reason sometimes the blogs don’t pop up?)
142 notes · View notes
1zashreena1 · 11 months ago
Text
No Shame 22
Pairing: M/F,  OC/Priest!Diego (OR NOT) Jimenez [Starz Power] AU IMAGINE
Rating: PORN WITH FEELS
Warnings:  Come get this matrimonial dick, power imbalance (that has shifted), soft daddy, Diego’s pornographic mouth, baby stuff, old timey woman related bullshit, consent issues, set some time before 1900 in what will be present day Mexico.
Summary:  Remember the Zorro TV shows? And the movie? And also Beauty and the Beast? It’s like that but with Diego dick.
Word Count: 2400
A/N:  I guess I’m just gonna keep writing until it stops??  I am an atheist so please keep that in mind as I unintentionally mangle Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. This was prompted by an ask, you know who you are >.>
Tag a friend! @girlpornparadise @nicke0115 @heresathreebee @chensingmachinee @kid-from-new-zealand @xxidontwikeitxx @demoncatstone @allalngthewtchtower @dirtynerdy98 @lettherebrelight  @revolution-starter @catnip987​
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The wind howls and it rains with ghastly power. Trees creak, the windows rattle, and the main house itself makes little cracks that startle you without fail every time. The first few times you hear unidentifiable noises you jump and look to Diego for reassurance. He remains alert but calm, you take your cues from his body language. 
Your husband is currently back in the same corner, only now he is sat on the floor under a blanket. An unknowable amount of children share the blanket with him, you cannot keep count of how many are completely under the striped fabric because they keep moving about. A little girl with two long braids has climbed Diego's chest to wrap both arms around his neck. One solid arm has secured her stably enough that the girl is sound asleep, your husband is dozing with his scruffy chin propped on her head.
With his features relaxed in slumber, Diego seems ageless. The full lips and gently arched brows balance out the sharpness of his defined jaw and long nose. The big hand holding the child spans her entire back; those hands are big enough to do significant damage, but you know they never will. You observe your husband as children clamber all over him, one drools profusely down the front of his shirt, two little boys pull at his whiskers, a girl old enough to be reading steals Diego's boots (as he pretends not to notice, of course) and clomps around giggling.
I made a good choice, you realize. This man may have had a notorious reputation, but it is clear that his heart is pure gold. Movement to your left pulls your attention to Rosa settling down on the floor. Her skirts flop over yours and her elbow jostles your own. She smirks down at you knowingly, "You are enjoying the show?"
"Has he always been thusly?" You choose to ignore her cheekiness. Diego is now tying tiny shoes, a small queue has formed by the time you can gesticulate. 
"Oh yes," Rosa smiles fondly and continues, "Don Diego is not simple. Here at the hacienda he is warm and casual, we trust him. In the city and in the words of other Dons, he is not so virtuous. He does not drink so much since you came along, and he has quit the brothel entirely." Here you shoot her a look, feigned shock is thwarted by a comically raised brow. Rosa snorts and waves you off, "He used to gamble with the other Dons, until they accused him of cheating. His pride did not allow him to return to that circle of society. The other Dons only know what Don Diego's father has told them: that he cannot be trusted."
You blurt out in exasperation, "He was a literal child!"
"I know," Rosa soothes as she takes your flailing hands. Her next words are lower and quieter, "But his father was not so big of heart. He was a ruthless man before, but after her death he became cruel. Don Diego takes after his mother almost entirely. We are most fortunate in this way."
"I am fortunate in myriad ways." You murmur as your husband disappears under a pile of squirming children. A massive bolt of lightning illuminates everything and the entire horde of children shrieks in terror. Diego gathers at least five of the smallest in his huge embrace and shushes them gently. One toddler tucks her face into his neck to hide, Diego kisses her unruly curls and rocks them all just the tiniest bit. 
Rosa takes your hand and simply holds it. You had forgotten how nice it was to have a friend.
---------------
"Zerrrra. ZeraaaAAaa." Diego’s rough voice is not meant to be used in such a way. I love you, but never sing again.
"Come, niñita. Up. Off of the floor, pregnant woman." He is snickering at you now. It furrows your brow and squeezes your eyes shut tighter. 
"I know you are awake. Your adorable little sneer cannot be hidden." And now he is mocking you. Fine.
Cracking open the left eye shows a widely smiling Diego. It is quiet, you look around to see that most of the children have fallen asleep just as you did. The wind is still howling, you find the constant noise exhausting. You capitulate with a sigh, "Fine. Where are we going?"
"We will walk the house, check for broken windows and such, then go to bed." Diego seems to already have a plan in place, who are you to argue? He takes your left hand in his right and whisks you away.
He checks the other rooms to find almost everyone else is asleep as well. Mama, however, is awake. She waves him over to cup those bearded cheeks and kiss Diego's forehead. He returns the gesture and then comes back to your now extremely curious self. 
"Why does everyone call her Mama?" You ask softly as Diego heads to the study. You had assumed it was simply her age, but the scene you just witnessed is a bit deeper. The room full of books is dark, the only illumination comes from the short candle in one of his big hands. You await him in the doorway.
"She has helped many lost children over the years," Diego crosses over to the far side of the study to check the windows before he continues, "Including me."
Lost children, you repeat the particular phrasing in your mind. Diego’s face is purposely blank when he turns back. It occurs to you that your husband was probably lost for a time. In your mind you picture a tiny Diego, big brown eyes and somber expression, alone and scared. Gratitude washes over you, That is where he learned to be kind.
"Come," Diego takes your outstretched hand and his shoulders relax as you lead him away with a soft tone, "We should check the nursery."
All of the windows are intact in both the nursery and the bedroom. Diego lights the sconces while you perch on the bed. He begins to disrobe and your paralysis is immediate. The musculature on display is deafening, your heart pounds so loudly that it is the only thing you can hear. All of that solid bulk and supple skin is undeniably enticing. Diego stands before you, gloriously nude and completely shameless.
"Zera?" The rasp draws your gaze upward to his face. His brow is knitted with concern, those bottomless eyes pulling you under his spell. 
"I am frightened." The tiny confession is no more than a squeak. Your vision blurs as hot tears roll down your cheeks. Diego steps forward to cup your jaw in giant hands, your fingers wrap around his muscled forearms tightly and you cling to your husband. 
"Is it the storm? Or the baby?" He murmurs. You can only nod miserably before hiding in his solid belly. Diego gently manhandles you into the bed while you sob quietly, he curls that big body around you, then covers you both with the quilt.
"I-I worry about my father. I have never seen a st-storm like this. And I do not want to die in childbirth!" The piercing wail of your voice is dripping with terror. Diego folds you into his chest and compresses your form to his. There is no fighting this, you are engulfed in his warmth. Diego only pets over your hair and allows you to cry untempered. 
The sobs grow further and further apart, the chest tightness eases, and air becomes softer to breathe. You have never been so vulnerable in front of anyone before, Diego only takes it in stride. Your husband is sure and steady in the face of female distress. It is everything your very emotionally unstable self needs. Maybe I have been blessed.
"Come, take off this dreadful corset and be comfortable." He whispers roughly. His long fingers strip off your clothing and toss the items carelessly over the edge of the bed. The blazing heat of his bare skin burns your fear away. Diego drops kisses over the crown of your head as he shields you within that broad chest. His rumble is a physical force as he reassures, "I will protect you, I will take care of you, and I will keep you, little girl."
-----------------------------
Time is meaningless in these circumstances, you assume it is daytime, but everything is still dark chaos outside. It takes some effort to untangle from a clingy husband, you manage an ungainly escape to the bathroom. The cavernous tub is full to the rim with clean water and you scoop some out in a pitcher to wash up. 
The woman in the mirror looks odd. Despite the inclement weather outdoors, she appears well rested. Almost glowing, you admit upon closer inspection. The mask of freckles over your nose and cheeks is prominent, a byproduct of spending time in the paddock with Diego. The wild mane seems infinite in the dim lighting. Your nails have grown out to a more typically feminine length, and so have your already wide hips. The bulge of your stomach is nearly the size of a stuffed chicken.
And that is when you see it. The movements that were only felt previously are actually visible. There is no way to know for sure, but it certainly feels like the baby may be turning somersaults. You smile wryly, Clearly taking after their father.
Diego is awake in the bed waiting for your return. Sleepy eyes, a lazy grin, and capable hands pull you back into the bed like a moth to a flame. Rather than lie next to him where he is flat on his back, you climb atop the big body and settle squarely upon his very alert lap. Long lashes flutter as Diego groans lowly at the pressure on his burgeoning length. With a diabolical grin, you greet him smugly, "Good morning, sweetheart."
"Well, it certainly is now." Diego croaks. Fingers spasm tightly on your thighs and he bucks up the tiniest bit. You ride his movements fluidly with your small hands braced on that heavenly chest. His sheet clad erection feels wonderful against the center of your pleasure, it takes very little time for the fine cotton to become sopping wet. Diego's huge eyes are glued to your bouncing chest on fully bared display. The dark hunger in those bottomless depths is ravenous. Your husband orders lowly, "Go on then, little girl. Show me how much you enjoy riding."
The lewd permission tears a long moan from your throat. You bite your lip, throw your head back, and roll your hips forcefully. It is similar to the saddle, but made better by the ferocious heat of him. Every solid inch splits your lower lips and grinds on the bundle of nerves perfectly.
"Look at you, so beautiful and round. Does this feel good?" Diego rasps as he relocates his hands to your hips. That grasp is possessive, the thought provokes a full body shiver. You nod mindlessly, eyes still closed in bliss.
"I like to watch my little girl pleasure herself. Hear her moans and sighs. You sound so lovely, niñita." He rattles on, oblivious to the damage his voice deals you. The muscles below are tightening, every rub brings you that much closer to euphoria. 
"Will you let me watch you achieve release?" Diego’s grin is audible, he already knows that he has you. His abdominal muscles flex in order to push narrow hips up in resistance for you, intensifying the force.
"Yes? You will come for me, little girl? Come all over this cock. Come for Father." The rasping order is wrapped in velvet. You are unable to deny him anything, most especially this. Your nipples pebble and your hips stutter, you press down harder yet and whine wordlessly with your peak.
"Ahh, ahh! Ohhhhh, ohohoh…" The contractions are strong enough to shake your entire belly. Arms quivering with effort finally give up and you collapse to sprawl limply all over Diego's solid torso. 
"Very good, little girl." Diego praises you warmly, he strokes over your hair and down your back to grip your rump firmly. His obvious pride flushes your cheeks, but the hardened man beneath your pelvis will not be neglected. Your teasing wriggling is rewarded with a stinging slap to your left cheek.
"Oh!" The high pitched yelp dissolves into giggles as Diego rolls to invert your positions. His bulk blocks out everything else as he captures your gaze. The soft expression catches you off guard; deep eyes watch closely, the laugh lines are prominent, and his full lips are parted ever so slightly. Happiness, need, desire, vulnerability, trust, so many things reflect in those beautiful brown eyes. Everything you have ever dreamt of is yours in this man, your man. 
"I love you, Diego." You whisper. His Adam's apple bobs as he gulps and his eyes shine. You pull the last bit of sheet out from between your bodies and wrap legs around him tightly. The heat of his arousal is searing, you need him deep inside now and entreat, "Come home, sweetheart."
Diego's face twitches with several emotions before he flexes that thick stomach and sinks himself into your core. The stretch pulls your back off the bed to arch under him. Diego purrs happily at your involuntary reaction, then he begins the long, slow thrusts that addle your senses. He tucks his beard into your exposed neck to lick and nibble and suck indiscriminately. 
The squeaks are uncontrollable, you mewl and cry out with each full sheathing. Diego gradually increases the pace until both of you are panting. The feel of his muscles under your hands is intoxicating, hot breath ghosts over your throat, his stomach rubs your with each thrust, and the friction of his girth shatters your mind. This climax is deep to your heart, it brings forth tears and sobs.
"I love you, Zera. Love you so much. You. Our f-family, I--" Diego chokes as his last few thrusts pierce through your convulsions to his own release. He flops down on top of you to cry silently. 
A pinch in your belly makes you gasp. Diego launches up instantly, clearly terrified that he may have hurt you or the baby. Nausea rolls up your chest in waves as your belly flips and quivers. You watch intently, small movements are visible under the pale skin. Diego reaches out cautiously to lay his fingers on you lightly. He looks to you and you cannot help the amusement at his pitiful expression.
"I do not think he liked you poking him, Papa."
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whimsimmortal · a year ago
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Plot Bunny
Wow, I’m alive! And posting fanfiction on tumblr, as if I have any idea what I’m doing!! Please check it out on AO3, where I am actually capable of navigating the website: https://archiveofourown.org/works/27441853
Plink. Another small, innocuous sound scarcely registered past Danny’s homework-induced stupor. It could have been a stray raindrop or a kamikaze bug. He had more important things demanding his attention; namely, the book report due tomorrow. This was at least the fifth time he’d rewritten the same paragraph. Words had lost all meaning to him by this point, but he was so close to finishing.
Tip-tap. Clonk, the noise emitting from the bedroom window insisted. He glared suspiciously towards the disturbance, envisioning ethereal arrows or blob ghosts intent on breaking in. He hadn’t sensed anything ghostly nearby, but given his luck, the paranoia was usually warranted. Emitting a groan from the depths of his soul, he rose from his desk to inspect the noise. He spared a second to stretch and shake the pins and needles out of his fingers, trying to wake up. Just in case it was something serious, y'know. Tink. “Alright, jeez, I’m coming,” he muttered, pulling back his curtain.
There weren’t any ghosts, of course. That was somewhat of a relief, even if going down swinging  was preferable to succumbing to a failing high school education. The early sunset gleamed amber off the windows across the street, and the sky was clear, except for— chink— the pebbles bouncing off his window. A lone kid was standing on the sidewalk below, no older than eight or nine. He looked vaguely familiar. He was pulling his arm back to throw more stones and bawling his eyes out.
Danny yanked open the window, sliding up the screen to fully stick his head out. His core vibrated, unsettled. There wasn’t any obvious danger, and the kid didn’t look hurt. Where were his parents? Why was he here? “Hey! What’s wrong, buddy? Are you okay?”
“You, you, you,” the kid tried to start, but great hiccupping sobs interrupted him. He scrubbed his face with his fists, obviously trying to regain his composure. “You’ve gotta send the ghost hero out!”
Danny jerked back, unintentionally smacking the back of his skull on the underside of the window. Well, now he was awake. What? “Uh, a ghost? Here? No, there isn’t—I can’t—what are you talking about?”
The boy was right up against the side of the house now, sniffling loudly and staring straight up at Danny with wide, sad eyes. “Please?” He whined, winding his hands up in the fabric of his sweater nervously.
Well, now he was stuck. Some random kid was going to out his whole identity, but the urge to help was almost overwhelming. “I can’t—there can’t be any ghosts here, but give me a second and I can just come down?” He offered. “Do you want me to find your parents?”
“Noooo!” The kid wailed and stomped his foot, banging on the wall with his tiny fists. “Don’t lie to me! I’ve seen the superman ghost go in there! Let him out! I need him!!”
Oh, crap, someone was going to hear. This kid’s parents were going to freak out, or his own parents were going to notice, and what if they took that kind of claim seriously? Shoot. Literally. He chuckled nervously. “Hey, hey, shhh, okay! You win! I’ll, uh, summon him, or something! But you have to be quiet, or you’ll, y’know, scare him off.” The child nodded solemnly, wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve and stifling his sobs.
Danny ducked back behind the curtain, gracelessly crumpling to sit with his back against the wall. He ran his hands through his hair. He’d been seen? When? He’d tried so hard to be careful, and use invisibility whenever he was close to the house. Maybe he’d gotten lazy. Maybe, sometimes, he let the promise of sleep take priority over precautions. Stupid.  He smacked the palm of his hand into his forehead, frustrated. How long had this kid known? Who else had he told? He couldn’t just scare him into silence, he was too little. That was just messed up, he’d give him nightmares or something.
He wasn’t going to figure anything out by sitting here moping. He triggered the transformation, the familiar prickling electric feeling swiftly replaced by the soothing cold. He turned to peek over the edge of the window, checking for anyone else around. It was still just the same kid, kicking at a pebble on the concrete while he waited.
He floated down slowly, not wanting to startle his impromptu visitor, who turned and saw him as he touched down. The little guy gasped, forgotten tears slipping away from unblinking eyes.
“Hi there,” Danny prompted gently. “Were you looking for me?”
The kid kept ogling, mesmerized, and a few seconds passed by before he could shake himself out of it. “Wow, you’re the real superhero guy,” he whispered reverently.
Oh. That was pretty cute, actually. He couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, that’s me. You can call me Phantom,” he offered.
“I’m Wyatt,” the kid mumbled, covering his damp cheeks with his hands shyly. He tipped his head down, still staring through his eyelashes.
A neighbor’s front door opened down the street, and Danny swiftly disappeared. Wyatt startled, blindly swinging his hands back and forth through the seemingly-empty space. “Wait! Come back!” He recoiled with a yelp when his blundering reach made contact with the specter.
“It's okay, I’m right here,” he reassured the kid. “But we can’t let people know I’m here, okay? They’ll—um. I’ll get in trouble.”
Wyatt squinted, reaching forward again. Danny offered his hand, and the little fingers gripped his glove tightly. He looked like he was offering the empty air a fist bump. “Right,” the kid agreed earnestly.
“Seriously,” Danny pressed. “You can’t tell anyone that I li-” he bit his tongue. Don’t say ‘live’. That’s so dumb. “Uh. Hang out here sometimes. Not even your friends, okay? Promise?”
Wyatt’s little dark eyebrows drew together, and despite his trembling chin and small stature, he looked profoundly serious. He shook the hand. “I promise.”
Well, that would have to do for now. “Thanks. Uh, what did you need me for?”
The kid’s eyes immediately started to well up again, but he squeezed Danny’s fingers and pressed his lips to put on a brave face. “C’mon, Phantom, you’ve gotta-” he sniffed. “You gotta save Fuzzy,” he warbled, turning and pulling. The ghost floated behind like a balloon on a string as the pair stepped down from the curb, heading across the street.
Oh, man, if this was about a dead pet, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. That was closer to Jazz’s expertise. He swallowed his mounting dread. “Who’s Fuzzy?”
Wyatt’s face scrunched up. “He’s my bunny,” he explained, looking away. “I was just tryin’ to show ‘im to Audrey, and—and then,” he sobbed. “He went under the house! And he’s gonna get lost and stuck, and I’m-, never-, gonna see him ever again!” He let go, burying his face in his hands and howling.
Danny rested a hand lightly on Wyatt’s little shoulder, throat tight. He’d never had a pet like that, but he could understand the fear of losing loved ones a little too well, and empathy always felt more forceful when he was in ghost form. Probably something related to ectoplasm being shaped by residual emotional energy, blah blah ecto-science theory. “Don’t worry, we’ll find him.”
The unusual duo walked two more houses down the block and cut through a side yard to a modest backyard, strewn with outdoor toys and an overturned wire fence—likey an outdoor pen for Fuzzy. An even younger girl sat on the paved patio, chewing on the end of her braid. She leaped up as they drew close. “Wyatt! I told my dad about Fuzzbutt, and he’ll call the—um, animal people. But they’re not here yet. Did you find him?”
Wyatt glanced a little to Danny’s left with a guilty expression. Well, crap, so much for his secret. He bit his lip, trying to keep his cool. First things first. A cursory scan of the area didn’t show anyone else in the immediate vicinity, so he faded back into visibility. The little girl—‘Audrey’, he guessed—gave a muffled shriek. “Ghost man!”
“Hush,” Wyatt scolded, voice quavering. “He’s a secret.”
“Oh,” Audrey whispered back. “Hello, mister normal guy man. I think you’re cool.” She beamed up at him.
“Hello, small ordinary human,” Danny quipped, and Audrey giggled delightedly. Wyatt dropped to his hands and knees, crawling up to the house, where a gap between the foundation and dirt was evident. The other two peeked over his shoulder, but there wasn’t any bunny visible past the darkness.
“Fuzzy,” Wyatt choked out. “Hang in there, we’re gonna rescue you!”
Danny turned intangible, letting his molecules seep down through the dirt past the level of his nose. He drifted close to the base of the house, juicing up the glow from his eyes. “Just wait here, okay?” Two grim, round little faces nodded back, and with that minor assurance, he delved beneath the house.
The weight of the floor above loomed. It was claustrophobic, like being buried… well, half-alive. The musty, dank mildew smell was gross, even though he wasn’t breathing. He could taste it. “Here, bunny, bunny,” he muttered. Please don’t be hurt.
A tiny pair of eyes reflected green through the gloom. The little ball of fluff was backed into a corner, and it snorted like a tiny angry bull, stomping its feet. Danny hadn’t even known rabbits could make that sound. It probably didn’t like his creeping, unnatural aura, like most rational animals. “Shhh,” he cooed, reaching for the tiny, grubby ball of fluff and dimming his glow. “I’m not gonna hurt ya.”
Fuzzbutt wasn’t convinced. In a courageous move, it darted through Danny’s forehead, wedging itself under a crooked board and squealing. Danny reached easily through the plank and wrapped his hands around the unhappy creature, sharing his intangibility. It writhed and fussed, trying to bite through his gloves. “Stop that!” He clutched it close to his chest; if he dropped it here, the stubborn thing really would be stuck. He swooped back out into the backyard, startling the anxiously waiting kids.
Audrey shrieked and tipped over. Wyatt recovered first, leaping to his Velcro-sneakered feet expectantly. “Is he okay?”
Danny recovered a more solid form, holding up the wiggling rabbit. Wyatt gasped, fresh tears glittering on his eyelashes. He reached out for the beloved pet, unable to contain his joy at the reunion. “Fuzzy! You’re okay! I love you, Fuzzy!”
“Let’s go inside first, so he doesn’t get away again?” Danny suggested. The last thing anyone needed was an instant replay. Audrey darted to open the back door, and Wyatt led the way inside. He sat on the wooden floor with open arms, and as soon as the door was firmly shut again, Danny deposited the squirming animal into his lap. Fuzzy looked marginally more content to receive numerous sloppy kisses from his adoring owner. He was actually a pretty cute little guy, black and white like a panda.
Even footsteps padded around the corner. “Wyatt, baby? Did you find-” the woman’s question cut off abruptly as she noticed the glowing stranger in her living room.
Crud. At this rate, the whole block was going to find him out before the week was up. He edged back a little, rubbing the back of his neck. “Sorry, I was just, um,” darn it, wrong persona. He cleared his throat and squared his shoulders. “Doing my heroic duty, ma’am,” he finished in a falsely deep voice.
Audrey giggled (he didn’t sound that bad!), and the woman smiled nervously. Wyatt hopped to his feet, still cradling his bunny. “Mama! Look, he saved Fuzzy! I’m gonna rename him Fuzzy Phantom,” he declared.
Mama Wyatt dutifully stroked the bunny’s dusty ears. “Fuzzy Phantom needs a bath,” she commented, before looking back up to meet Danny’s eyes. She held out her clean hand, and it took him a second to recognize the offered handshake. He started to reach back, thought twice about his messy glove, and hastily peeled it off to shake her hand. Her fingers were delicate, but they didn’t falter at the chill. “You look taller on the TV,” she joked lightly. “It’s nice to meet you. Phantom, right?”
He nodded. “Uh, it was nice to meet you, too, Ms.-?”
“Sylvie Rosales,” she supplemented. Audrey snuck around her to flounce deeper into the house, taking the adult’s distraction as an invitation, and Wyatt started to follow her, but hesitated. He snuck a hand out around Fuzzy to tug on Danny’s arm, so he leaned down accommodatingly.
Wyatt stood on his tiptoes to whisper in his ear. “Can I come see you sometimes?”
Oh, heck, no. That would be truly asking for disaster. “No,” he quickly replied, but before Wyatt’s pout could evolve into a true objection, he added, “but if you really don’t tell anyone how to find me, I could drop by sometimes.” He looked towards Ms. Rosales. “If that’s okay?”
Wyatt looked over to his mom pleadingly, stars in his eyes. What have I gotten myself into, Danny wondered, but he couldn’t help feeling charmed. Ms. Rosales looked like she was thinking along the same lines, with her thin-lipped smile and folded arms. “As long as you don’t cause any trouble,” she hedged.
“Thank you!!” Wyatt hugged Danny spontaneously, smushing his face into his shoulder. Fuzzy grunted his objection.
Danny ruffled the kid’s mop of hair. “I should get going. Take care of Fuzzy,” he grinned, pulling away. “And stay safe,” he added in his false baritone with a mock salute.
“You, too,” he heard Ms. Rosales call after him as he phased through the wall. He looped above the street once cheerfully before disappearing to sneak back home. He’d left his window open; rose-tinted light and a handful of moths had spilled onto his bedroom floor. This time, he didn’t reappear or turn back until he’d stealthily drawn the window and curtains closed.
He still had an hour or so to plug into his homework. He hummed as he started back in on the paragraph he’d been stuck on. It didn’t seem as daunting now, even with the lost time and near reveal. He’d have to keep an eye on his nosy little neighbor, but in the end, maybe it was the moments like today that made the whole gig worth it.
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ribbons-halos · a year ago
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a halloween gency fic
rated: Teen and up
tags: gency, halloween au, witch mercy, swordsman genji, violence, blood, established relationship, romance, fluff, angst, death, flashbacks
a/n: What’s your opinion on candy corn? I love it, but I can only eat three or four in a sitting, and I never touch those pumpkin candies. They’re too much!
next  |  table of contents
The witch is coming.
Panic and fear live in the village of Adlersbrunn. Lord Reinhardt hears the hustled footsteps, the creaking of carts pulling away valuables from out of houses, and animals complaining about the abruptness at which they are pushed. The people are fleeing, save for his loyal guards and holy man. From on top of his stone wall, he watches the exodus before returning to his fortress.
He knows the witch’s warning is not of little consequence. Whispers and sobs echo. Some demand the swordsman’s body be returned and spare Aldersbrunn of the witch’s wrath, but Lord Reinhardt refuses. He had already watched the man’s death, he won’t watch the man’s afterlife be taken by the one who imposed his end. He lets the people flee to safety.
In the darkness of his throne room, the lord of the castle sits and ponders. He has known many battles and fierce opponents, but they always met the blunt end of his war hammer. How would a witch, armed with supernatural forces and damned entities, fair against him? He can’t say he has an answer. He’s not nervous, never, but he fears for the village and the people. He must stand his ground. He won’t allow her presence to enter his castle and take the resting man’s body, no matter what magic or spirits she throws at him.
He orders a candle and letters and many, many ravens to be brought to him. He writes quickly, calling for heroes to come to his aid, and defend him against the wicked Witch of the Wilds. One by one, black birds flap their wings and charge out into the night. 
During his fervent explanations and promises of pay, the lord of the castle is struck with a wicked idea. He must meet fire with fire, and forbidden magic with forbidden magic. There is no other choice. This last call for aid will be to a supernatural creature. 
When the last letter stroked in ink is dry, he ties it to the raven’s leg and watches it disappear outside the castle walls. There are so many more flocking into the world, he has no idea who or what will respond to his plea. He looks out over the cobblestone and high bridge leading to the tall unbreakable doors of his home. He’ll see this again by the dawn two days from now. She warned him to prepare for tomorrow night. 
His people have mostly fled. The shrieks and wails, with deaths following soon after, haven’t stopped. If it’s the witch, none can say for sure. A great tension fills the air like smoke. Lord Reinhardt breathes it in. He sits down heavily on his throne, hands clasped together and bent forward, nearly touching his mouth. He spends time there, pondering heavily. At last, he goes with his people to be their shield from the other dark things out in the woods surrounding Adlersbrunn.
The witch is coming.
*
A lone raven laces between autumn trees, a message tied to its leg. It caws, the sound reverberating through the orange leaves, calling for a recipient to the lord’s plea. A dark pull of magic grabs the raven and infects its body with purple veins and wilting feathers. The winged creature falls, dead before hitting the ground with a quiet thud. 
A figure steps up to the downed bird on the brown ground, releasing a clenched fist. Curiously eyeing the messenger, the dark magic of taking life swirls between long gray nails before pinching the paper and tearing it free from the dark raven’s leg.
A silent moment to read, allowing inspiration to creep to the front of an ambitious mind, and then laughter echoes through the woods.
The witch is coming.
*
The lavender smell of summertime is lighter and far sweeter than Mercy has ever experienced before. Perhaps Genji was right to question her. She can do these things alone, but she doesn’t want to, not anymore. 
They walk together through the cedar and ash trees. The trunks are thick and the leaves of deep green are a cool comfort to the glaring sun overhead. The mottled shadow of the ground they walk on is hardly anything to notice when she moves so close to the swordsman. He wears his faceplate, perhaps out of familiarity than a necessity, but Mercy sees no difference. 
Deep in the woods, there’s a meadow filled with witch-adler and lavender. She knows this place by heart, having cultivated the floral for her witchcraft and brewing spells. Genji looks over the purple and white blossoms making up the sea of plants. 
“The witch-adler,” Genji nods at the low growing shrubbery with white flowers as amusement decorates his eyes. He laughed at the name when she first told him of the plants she needed to gather.
“And lavender.” Mercy kneels in the middle of the meadow, bunching up her skirt around her legs and opening her knapsack on her lap. “I need a few dozen of both.”
Genji wordlessly takes to the far end of the meadow and plucks the blossom heads, twigs, and leaves from the witch-adler while Mercy digs up the roots of lavender plants. The delicate perfume fills the air, softening her mind but not her focus on the task at hand.
Genji begins speaking about the cherry blossoms and the ocean so close to his home that he could smell the salt every day. The place where his brother fatally wounded him. Her heart flares with fear and anger at the idea of his own flesh and blood laying hands on him, but she contains it within the certainty of his figure standing tall and well. He’s safe but scarred. He’s alive and with her. 
Oh, but how he loves the ocean. Mercy has never seen it. He talks about taking her to it one day, and Mercy smiles softly at the thought of embracing saltwater with Genji already holding her.
Summer is playful with its tricks, making hours into minutes. Mercy and Genji have gathered all of the witch-adler and lavender she needs, but they rest among the meadow, speaking of oceans and The Wilds and of other far off places no one can see from this bed of flowers. She watches his dark hair in the brief scatter of sunshine. She feels his hand slip across her fingers and traces circles around her knuckles and along her wrist. He lounges back, but close enough to touch her. Mercy stays sitting, legs tucked underneath her, and leaning her weight on one arm, shivering at his strong fingertips dancing across her skin but she has never been warmer.
They melt into laughter over the silliest comment. Mercy claps her hands together in delight, then self-consciously, draws back to hold a loose fist over her heart. She stares at the swordsman throwing his head back and giving a hearty laugh that’s confident but at ease, all at once. How does he conspire to seduce her with merely the way he expresses joy? 
He lifts his hand to his faceplate and removes it. He sets it on a bed of lavender. His hands wander away from brushing against her knuckles and instead plucks a blossom of witch-adler, white and feathery in appearance, and hands it to her.
“It smells good,” he murmurs.
Mercy takes the offering, noticing how he clenches his fist when she lifts the flower from him, as if trying to hold onto something intangible which affects his heart. She closes her eyes as she buries her nose in the satin-like petals. 
It smells like home, like a piece of her soul. Unseeing, only focused on the sensations of touch and smell, Mercy lowers the witch-adler to her mouth. The softest brush of light magic sticks to her lips like a shade of red. When she opens her eyes, Genji is watching her with a desire that’s startling and tentative. 
“If I became a flower, I would have the chance of knowing your kiss,” the swordsman lowers his voice, becoming softer before her very eyes.
Mercy reaches out slowly, the witch-adler forgotten and brushes her thumb against his bottom lip. He stays still underneath her touch, like a forgotten statue in a garden allowing climbing ivy to cover its marble skin with vines. She wishes she could be so entangling, so consuming to his body. 
He tenderly reaches back and gathers her face in his hands, cradling her cheekbones. He brings her closer, for she is the witch-adler, and his mouth must know the softest petals of white and perfume. 
A swift and cold wind cuts through Mercy’s ribs. A howl of fear circles her heart and freezes her in its haunting wail, but Genji’s pinky finger hooks softly underneath her jaw and his thumb brushes away the dust of pollen and the unknown. As if holding her above it all, the swordsman looks into her eyes, and Mercy feels more than her titles or the accusations. 
Genji pulls her into a kiss. There is no loneliness or concern, just the contact of his gentle hunger and Mercy’s steady answer to divulge and make anew. She tastes him like water. He wets his tongue against her lips. There’s no better haven than in between their souls and heartbeats. She wants to remember this always. She seals it away in the back of her mind for it will be the moment that comes with eternity. 
The witch kisses the swordsman, both entirely and ardently in a charm of love and affection. He touches her hair. She whispers his name between the rare gaps of breathing and returning. She feels his lips and feels well in the knowledge that she has chosen him to fall for. 
*
There’s no more time for tears. Darkness draws near on the night of Mercy’s arrival to the castle sitting high in the village of Adlersbrunn. She stands by, attempting to contain the rapid beat of her heavy heart. The silence before the conflict, or the hopeful pacifying of one, eats away at her mind. Mercy can’t rest, she can’t pace, and she can’t stay still and keep thinking of the burned down remains of what was her and Genji’s home.
The Reaper prepares himself away from her, but she wants the isolation now, as much as she hates it. She sharpens her mind. It’s only a moment of quiet. A moment that stretches on too long without her love.
Genji.
She can’t cry. Mercy stands once more in her nervous state and looks through the trees. A slant of gold and orange cuts her vision, and for a second, Mercy lets herself be blinded before closing her eyes. The cool autumn breeze is nowhere to be found. There is only a stark coldness even in the sun. It will die soon, and make way for the rise of her challenge of the lord of the castle for Genji’s body. He has been alone all this time, rotting away slowly. Another spell Mercy will have to conjure to fully restore his life. She paces once more, stepping on dead brown leaves and passing her apprehension from hand to hand. 
She makes a mental account of all of her allies and their abilities. The idea doesn’t sit well in her mind but it is like an army marching onto a small village. She has her servant, the Reaper, a mad doctor with his life-like automatons and a monster, and as a last resort, a being she will summon who embraces the dragon’s fire. Her own magic will aid all of their efforts, supporting them through the doors and to the body of the one she must retrieve before it’s too late.
Mercy takes a step and in the corner of her vision, catches a fleeting flash of light colored a haunting pale green. She stops in her tracks. Turning her head, she surveys the woods and the dense quiet surrounding it. The trees are slim but packed. Standing as still as one, she waits and listens closely.
A branch breaks. Mercy whips her head towards the noise, closer to the pumpkin patch.
“Reaper?”
“Why do you call me, witch?” The Reaper appears in a swirl of darkness, arriving like a bad dream but he stands at her side.
“Something’s here.” She doesn't look at him. Did the lord of the castle send another archer to pierce her heart with an arrow?
Immediately, the Reaper changes his position, hunching low like a predator about to lunge on its prey. His metal claws are tense. Mercy grips her broom staff in both hands, waiting for a whistle of a projectile or the ringing of a sword. 
A flash of green light and the Reaper darts forward but misses the specter. A loud cry echoes of a girlish voice before the light stops inches before Mercy. She blinks down at a will-o’-wisp who wears a mild look of annoyance on her face.
“Whoa, watch out!” a woman with short cut hair and a round youthful face but glowing green complexion says. A spirit certainly, but a dark feeling gathers in Mercy’s stomach at the sight of the ghostly girl. 
“We can collide, you know. We’re both spirits,” the specter throws a look at the Reaper, who irritatedly straightens and stalks forward. Before he can swipe at her, she zips away in a flash of green light, appearing several yards away from them.
“I like your pumpkin head!” she says. “It’s scary.”
“Excuse me, but who are you?” Mercy asks as her servant growls through his jagged pumpkin teeth. Mercy lowers her broom staff. The girl is hardly a threat, but the appearance of a magic spirit causes anxiety to flood her heart.
“Just another cursed traveler.” She smiles ruefully. “I’m in search of a swordsman. He has a glowing green dragon attached to his sword and hides his face very mysteriously. He’s a little hard to miss. Seen anything like that around here?”
“She’s a will-o’-wisp,” the Reaper says. The black pit growing in Mercy’s rib cage is understandable now. He starts to glide forward in a dark mist but Mercy holds out her arm, and steps closer to her.
“How do you know Genji,” she whispers, eyes shining.
“Oh, we’re friends! We fought side by side once,” she says while zipping back to hold a proper conversation. She puts her fists on her hips, standing boldly with youth and vigor despite her incorporeal body. A lock of hair falls down into her eyes and she comically blows it out of her face. “How do you know him, love?”
“I love him,” Mercy finds the words slipping out of her mouth like a confession of sin. Somehow, those three words coalesce into the reason for his absence, and Mercy resists choking on a sob. 
The specter beams.
“Where is he? I’m dying to ask what he’s been up to, and who he’s been with,” she winks at Mercy, but then stills as she takes in her expression. Slowly, the will-o’-wisp grows troubled. “I sensed something in the different worlds, this one and the next, a couple of days ago, and I had a feeling to find Genji… Where is he?”
The Reaper crosses his arms, looking down at the supernatural creature with a grimness. Mercy almost falls back. She bows her head as strands of hair fall into her face, shielding her from the newest damage rippling out from her failure to keep him safe. 
“Your name is Lena, isn’t it?” Mercy whispers. He told her about the will-o’-wisp and the battle they faced together with an alchemist that led them. 
“That’s right.” She slips closer, eyeing Mercy with worry taking up her pixie like face. “Where is Genji, love?”
“He hanged two days ago.”
Because I was too late.
The will-o’-wisp staggers back as if physically struck. She gasps and struggles to find her tongue before asking how, why, what happened.
The Reaper takes the explanation and gives it to Lena as Mercy clings to the edges of a slick cliff, barely holding on. A friend of Genji has arrived only to hear about his death. Worst of all, Mercy can’t stop staring at the will-o’-wisp whose appearance is darker than is her fault. 
It is said in stories that will-o’-wisps come to lead on hopeless souls to impossible goals. 
Mercy can’t be that hopeless, not now when there’s so much depending on this night and her allies. Lena can’t be foretelling her failure, but the black feeling in her heart gathers, horrid, and relentless. She buried it deep, folding it between valves as Lena grasps the situation and what their plan consists of.
“I’ll help. I’ll stand and fight with you if it means getting Genji’s body back,” she proclaims in earnest. “You’ll bring him back to life and he’ll be okay.”
Mercy relapses from her brief spiral of despair and returns to her servant and the offering specter. Her presence will be difficult for mortal eyes to detect. A sure path to Genji’s body will aid in his recovery. 
“If you're certain.” Mercy holds her gaze, her mind abuzz with opportunity. “When the conflict starts, I need you to get inside the castle and find where they’re keeping Genji’s body.” 
“That’ll be easy, love!” Lean jumps, fists pumping in the air. The excitable energy perplexes Mercy but in truth, it’s refreshing and needed. The optimism of the will-o’-wisp is infectious. The Reaper growls in annoyance but turns his pumpkin head.
“We’re going now to gather Dr. Junkenstein and his creations to approach the castle,” Mercy says. Every event preceding this night races downhill towards this moment where she can finally take Genji back and pull him out of death. Her hands twist around her broom staff, anxious to begin.
“What are we waiting for then? Let’s go!” Lena says before Mercy can ask. 
She lifts her hat back, the brim revealing the intent written along the wispy strands of hair framing her face. She lifts her staff. The Reaper stands close to her side and Lena slides in close. In a flash of light, the witch, her dreaded servant, and the will-o’-wisp disappear, ready to face a battle. The sun sets on the empty and dead pumpkin patch. 
The witch is coming for her love.
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gogo-imaginezz · a year ago
Note
I think for part 4 for Moving into Townsville, both the reader and ace should take turns and pull a prank on each of the bullies on the group. I was thinking for one of the bullies, the reader should make a pie that is made of dog sh**t.( if you ever watched “The Help” you know what I’m talking about lol). But you decided what you want to do with the last to bullies, just as long as they ✨suffer✨🥰
[ur evil anon, evil 🦹‍♀️ TW: ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING PRANKS UNDER CUT! i think i don’t have 2 tell y’all to NOT DO ANY OF THIS! seriously. DONT. i don’t condone or encourage any of this.]
Your left ankle shook, Ace’s unsteady grip on it making you wobble a bit.
“You see anythin’?” Ace whisper yelled.
“Yeah. They’re all here.” You peeked over a brick wall in the parking lot.
“Good. time to take down the Queen Bee, sweetcheeks.”
“Babe! Not in public!” You giggled in your hand as he lowered you into a hug.
“We’s not in public.” He tilt his face closer to yours, you scrunched up into yourself because you knew what was coming. He blew a raspberry into your cheek, a wet one at that.
“Ace! They’re gonna hear us!” “Theys not gonna be on to us, theys just gonna think whoever is behind this wall farted.” “Ace! Let’s get serious!” You sounded like a balloon deflating trying to hold in your laughter.
“Alright, Alright. So... you got the pie?”
“Hell yeah.” You shot an evil grin at him.
This was it, the creme of the creme, you and Ace had already messed with the other two girls, Juliana and Marianne, the only one left now was Chrissy. The leader.
Ace dealt with Juliana, the thin one that looooved makeup. You couldn’t help but surpress a gag as he killed all the roaches he could find in the dump. You couldn’t help but actually gag when he asked Snake to grind them up into a thin powder. You don’t know how Snake did it, but you didn’t wanna ask.
“Ace this is- oh godd. What are we gonna do with this?”
“I know a guy, makes dupes of lipstick, eye paint and allat’ I means yous a giyl yaknow what I’m talkin’ about. Ima just tell him to put this in a container.”
“I know what bronzer she uses.”
“I dunno what yous talking about, sweetheart. Just tell the guy when we get there.”
You covered your mouth with shaky hands as you watched from a distant bench. Ace dumped into an unaware Juliana, she was rummaging through her book bag and all of the contents fell out. You saw how she yelled in anger and paced in a small circle for a second before composing herself. Rookie mistake. This gave a perfect opening for Ace to do the old switcharoo.
When he came back with her actual bronzer you couldn’t help but squeal, pull him into the nearest corner and pepper his face with kisses.
“You’re.” kiss. “so.” kiss. “gross.” kiss. “but at the same time.” kiss. “so smart.” You planted a big kiss on his lips. “That was so disgusting but so genius!”
He held you close, lovestruck eyes peeking through his sunglasses, “Anything for yous.”
You, dealt with Marianne. She was a powerhouse of muscle, the hardest that hit, that’s why you wanted her for yourself.
“To get the gains you need the meals. And boyy, does that girl eat.” You explained to Ace as you bought the horse laxative.
“This is gonna be reeeal embarrassing for her.” Ace almost couldn’t believe your ruthlessness in choosing this.
“I hope the years of track made her fast enough to get her to the toilet in time, for her sake.”
The girls always made the mistake of all washing their hands together and leaving their food unattended in the lunchroom. You could tell which plates was Mariannes by just the amount of food. You hurriedly did your thing.
Once the bell rang at 3 you ran to the spot you knew Ace always waited for you in.
“Heyyy, toots.” Ace engulfed you in a big hug and twirled you around, you threw your head back in laughter. “How’d it go?”
“It worked!” “Atta giyl!” he dipped you and gave you a chaste kiss. “So tell me, did she make it? Or was it a spectacle to behold?”
You slid his glasses up his nose, “Thankfully, she made it on time. The whole school still found out about it though. It wasn’t exactly silent.” You snickered to yourself, “But it would’ve been too cruel to do that to her in public. I would’ve felt horrible.”
“Yous too nice.” Ace gave you one last peck before pulling you back up. “2 down, 1 more to go.”
“This is probably our greatest feat together, Ace.” you said as you pulled out the pie. “You ready?”
“Born ready, doll.”
You and Ace walked into the school parking lot, a sheepish look on both of your faces. At the sight of you all the girls scrunched up their faces.
They didn’t say anything, just stared, thinking you were going to just walk past.
“Chrissy... Can we talk?” You croaked looking down at your feet. Ace looked at you while rubbing the back of his neck.
“And why would I want to talk to the Grinch and Max?” The rest of the girls laughed.
You saw how Ace’s fist clenched, you prayed he could keep his cool.
“Truth is... Me and my boys ain’t the bad guys everyone makes us out to be. Wes just homeless and desperate!”
“And why should I care?” Chrissy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.
“Well because, you beat up my dear friend when the truth is we’s an innocent bunch!”
“If you were so innocent you wouldn’t have beat up my brother.” Juliana snapped at him.
“We’s- We’s didn’t! It’s a misunderstandin’.”
Juliana was going to continue talking but Chrissy raised her hand. “And what does that have to do with us?”
“I felt real bad, y’know, I just moved in and I suddenly had problems with you three. It didn’t seem right to start off a new city with new enemies...” you fidgeted with your fingers.
“Oh please- Save me the sob-fest!” “No Chrissy! Seriously! I even made a peace offering!” after your words, Ace reached into your bookbag and pulled out the pie.
“I know it’s not a lot, but baking is my passion...” you let out a soft giggle, the girls interpreted it as shy, but Ace knew the true meaning behind it.
Marianne spat, “You really think a pie is-” “Shush.” Chrissy cut her off. “I love pie. If I could eat one food for the rest of my life it would be pie.” she said, as-a-matter-of-fact-ly.
“I accept your apology. But don’t even think about talking to us ever again.” Chrissy took the pie.
“Wait wait- before you giyls leave.” Ace handed each one of them a fork.
“Give it a try, won’t you? I worked hard on it.” You pleaded.
“Can’t. Not in the training regimen.” Marianne rejected. “I’m watching my calories.” Julliana turned away.
“You girls are so stuck up.” Chrissy stabbed her fork into the pie and took a bite.
“Stuck up and stupid, because this pie is off the chain.”
You and Ace shared a look before you looked back at her. She was really enjoying that pie.
“I’ve never had this type of pie. What’s in it?” Chrissy piped up.
“Dog Shit.”
“Oh shut up bitch, I’m serious. What’s in it?” She said casually, that was the way Chrissy naturally talked, but it still rubbed you the wrong way.
“Dog shit.” you repeated. She looked up, confusion written all over her face. “There’s heaps of dog shit at the dump. Baking’s my passion but I’m not the best at it. That’s my special ingredient. Adds a real kick to it, huh?” Your smile etched across your face.
Chrissy gasped and dropped the pie. “You’re joking right?” the teenage girl was breathing heavily.
“Fraid not.” Ace clicked his tongue and smirked at her.
“I’ll kill you [Y/N]!” she screeched at the top of her lungs and gagged. She ran to the nearest trash can to throw up.
“You guys are sick!” Julianne’s horrified face now bore in your memory forever.
“Says the giyl wearing wearing the latest brand of cockroach cosmetic.” Ace must’ve thought hard about that line.
“What?!” Panic coursed through Julianne’s face.
“What you heard giylie.” “Roach bronzer.” You boasted and howled with laughter, Ace joining you.
Tears streamed down her face as she ran to the nearest bathroom, undoubtedly to wipe everything off.
“And you-” you turned to Marianne, who was shocked at everything that just happened, “You gave me this!” you pointed at your eye. “Chrissy told me an eye for an eye before you guys beat me up, well I think revenge is a dish best served cold, wouldn’t you agree, Moaning Mary?” you used the new nickname the school put on her, she wailed a lot when it went down. The moment you called her that she realized it was you who gave her food poisoning.
“Horse Laxatives, Nothing less for a Mare like you.” Ace doubled over in laughter at her horrified expression.
“An eye for an eye.” You quoted Chrissy’s exact words before they beat you up. To finish your vendetta you waved goodbye, a fake smile adorning your face.
You turned and grabbed Ace’s hand, “Let’s get outta here, babe.”
[EWWWWWWWWWWW]
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the-winter-witcher · a year ago
Text
🥀Echoes {26/30}
Flowers Of Evil Masterlist
Pairings: Geralt x f!reader x Jaskier, Shelley x f!reader
Summary: Justice has finally caught up with Shelley...
Warnings: graphic depictions of violence, torture, pain, blood, guns, knives, degrading language, threatening language, dismemberment, death
Word Count: 2.3k
A harsh cry breaks through the ringing in your ears and you realise loosely that it’s Jaskier. The shock of hearing his pained shout brings you back to your senses and you find yourself hitting Shelley hard over the head with the hilt of your knife, just once is enough for him to go limp in your grip.
“Jask, shit, Jask, are you okay?” you drop Shelley to the floor unceremoniously, both you and Geralt leaving him behind as you run to where Jask is leant against a tree for support. He’s still standing and you take that as a positive, though when your eyes track down to find the wound you can’t help but let out a sob. Blood is saturating the leg of his trousers and you can clearly see where the bullet has entered.
“Did it come out, fuck, did it come out?”
He mumbles something back that’s barely audible through his laboured breathing and Geralt is quick to wrap his arms around Jask and gently set him on the floor so that he doesn’t waste any more energy trying to stay upright. He’s growing pale rapidly and the darkening pool of blood on the ground beneath him has fear spiking in your veins.
“It’s still in” Geralt confirms your fears and you can hear the strain in his voice.
“Can you get it out?” “Not here- maybe back at the house? Should have something”
“Geralt, that’s- fuck- okay, you go. I’ll take care of Shelley”
“I’m not leaving you with him”
“And I’m not letting him go, so you have to Geralt”
You can see him debating it in his head, the chances of Jaskier surviving if he stays, the chances of you getting hurt if he goes. He looks like he’s about to say something when Jask makes a choked off sob from where he’s still cradled in Geralt’s arms and it makes his mind up for him. 
“Be safe, okay? You need me just call me, just, just make sure the bastard pays for what he’s done. Please” 
You take the chance to hold him while you can, your arms wrapping tightly round his broad waist and pulling him close as you bury your head in his chest. 
"Just make sure Jask is okay, please, I couldn't bare it if-" 
“He’ll be fine, I promise you, I won’t let anything happen to him” Geralt presses a fierce kiss to the top of your head, inhaling deeply as he does, and you know he’s terrified of leaving you here alone after what’s just happened. 
“Thank you, now go, go, get him safe” it takes all of your strength to let go of Geralt. 
He’s careful as he lifts Jask into his strong arms and you don’t miss the concern that paints his features as he gingerly positions Jaskier’s limp body so as best to avoid any further trauma. You take the chance to press a soft kiss to his forehead, a murmured “I love you” against his hair, and then Geralt is carrying him away and you’re left alone with Shelley.
You take a steadying breath as you fight back the tears that are threatening to spill, you know now isn’t the time for this, you have a lot to do before Shelley wakes up, and you’ll be damned if you let this bastard see you cry. It’s hard work without Geralt to help you with the heavy lifting and you find yourself tiring as you drag Shelley’s still limp body through the forest clearing; you strain as you make slow progress on your mission and by the time you have him suitably restrained to a tree you can feel the sweat trickling into your eyes from the exertion. Fucking built bastard. After checking the ropes a few times for strength you make a quick run back to the tree where you’d left your tools, before settling in to wait for him to wake up. You lose track of time as you sit resting against the same tree Jask had been not even an hour before, your mind caught up in the haze of emotions that wash over you. Every few minutes you find yourself pulling your phone out, desperate for any news at all on his condition as you wait. 
After what feels like hours you finally see Shelley stir with a groan, and you practically leap to your feet to get to him. His eyes are wild and frenzied as he sees you approach and he starts to strain desperately at his binds in a futile attempt to get away.
“I told you to pray it wasn’t me Shelley” there’s no joy in your voice as you drop to a crouch in front of him. His face somehow grows paler as the realisation truly hits home for him. He’s stuck, no way out, and he’d made things worse for himself, “I want you to be truthful with me, just like I’m about to be with you. It won’t make it any easier on you, you have no hope of that after what you’ve done, I just want to know why”
He doesn’t attempt to answer for a few moments and you feel white hot rage bubble up in your veins at his silence. A snarl tears from you as you pull your knife from it’s strap on your chest and press it against his thigh in the exact same spot that Jaskier had taken the bullet.
“I’m sorry, I never-”,
“Never what?” you growl, viscous and sharp, as the knife slices a thin, deep cut, “fuck, and to think I felt bad about what I did to Renfri” 
His eyes go wide for a second as he contemplates what that could possibly mean and you shoot him a sadistic grin in response, “She was strong willed, I’ll give her that, could’ve made it so much easier on herself if only she did as she was told, but she didn’t want you to hear her in pain. Stupid bitch”
“What did you do?”
“Nothing compared to what I’m going to do to you”
“Please-”
“You tried to take everything from me, and for what? Was it fucking worth it?” the knife twists deeper and Shelley howls in pain. 
“I thought- I thought” his words are cut off by another cry as you pull your blade out and leave the wound gaping and open, gore now flowing thick and fast to the dull forest floor beneath.
“You thought what?”
“I- If you didn’t have them, you would come back”
“Come back? To what?”
“Me” it’s a whimpered confession, born of loss and sorrow, and if the situation had been different you’re sure you might even be able to feel some sympathy towards the deluded idiot. But right now, with the splattering of Jaskier’s blood not even 10 feet away and the hilt of the knife you’d used on Geralt still firmly in your grip, all you can feel is anger. You can’t help but to laugh, a hollow, empty bark that shows your incredulity at just how stupid this man could be.
“I’m not even going to entertain that with a response”
“Please, need you to know-”
“All of this for some deluded daydream. You had years, Shelley, years to reach out to me before I found Geralt, before I found my home. You let me think you were fucking dead until you got jealous? Fuck you” Rage permeates every word as you let the full extent of your fury be known, “I wasn’t expecting something so fucking stupid from you. I assumed Stregobor had some hold on you. But this? Of your own volition?”
There’s nothing else you can say right now, no way that words can express the pure hatred you feel for the man currently bound and bleeding at your feet, all that you have left to do is make him feel as much pain as you had before you end him. Your thoughts jump back to the bag at your side and an absolutely sickening grin creeps across your face.
“Do you want to see your precious Renfri one last time? I’m not even sure why in the fuck she was so loyal to you, not after what you just told me”
“Renfri, she- she’s here?”
“Of course, she’s going to watch what I’m about to do to you. Say hello Shelley, I’m sure she’s missed you”
His face grows even paler, though you’re not sure if that’s because of the blood loss or the head that you’re slowly lifting out of the bag to greet him.
“Now, she’s just gonna sit right here,” you set the severed head down on a tree stump close by, eyes pointed directly at Shelley’s now trembling figure, before heading to collect more tools from your collection, “while I get the information that I need from you”
He swallows thickly as you crouch down next to him to assume the same position you had been in previously and you’re thankful that he seems to have realised there’s no use in pleading with you. Smart man, just not when it really counts.
“I only have one very simple question- where is Stregobor?”
“I don’t know”
“Wrong answer” you hold up a small metal object just quick enough for him to see, before plunging it deep into the knife wound and he howls with pain as the jagged edges rip into the tender flesh, “try again”
“I don’t fucking know, fuck, I swear, please-” 
“Wrong,” you twist the top of the metal device, “fucking,” you twist again, “answer” each twist causes the device to spread out, opening up the knife wound and tearing out new chunks of skin and muscle with each movement, “I know you know what this does, and I know that you aren’t going to enjoy it if I have to use more of them on you, so I’ll ask again. Where is he?”
“I swear, I fucking swear, I don’t know”
“Always were a stubborn fuck. No matter, I have plenty more toys where that came from”
The next one sinks into his shoulder, but unlike the one embedded deep in his thigh, this one cuts deep and encloses a thick swathe of muscle, before being ripped out violently. The spray of blood left in its aftermath has you smiling sadistically at Shelley who’s already starting to go limp in his binds.
“No, uh uh, you aren’t getting out of this so easily” another quick spear of the now dripping weapon into his other shoulder has him practically wailing, “I can do this all day, Shel, so you might as well save yourself the effort of trying to hide this from me”
“I- fuck, fuck, okay, I know where he is”
“I’m waiting”
He shakily breathes out the words that you so desperately needed to hear from him and you quickly text the information across to Geralt while it’s fresh in your mind.
“Well done,” you get back to your feet with a smile and begin to tidy up your supplies, “took less time than I thought”
“I- are you, are you letting me go?” The hopeful lift to his strained words has joy practically soaring through your veins.  You can’t wait to crush that from him. But not yet. 
“Well you did give me what I asked for. Do you think we’re even?”
“I don’t- uh- no, no I don’t”
“Good, glad we agree” before he can say anything else you pull your gun from it’s strap and aim.
“That,” you shoot his unmarked thigh, “is for Jaskier” he can’t hold back his scream of anguish as you inflict more pain on his already wrecked body, “and this,” you fall back to the now familiar crouch and slide your knife quickly and deeply between his ribs, “is for Geralt”
“P-Please, just, just kill me, fuck”
“You don’t deserve that luxury, not after what you did to me, to them, no. This is going to be as painful as I can make it,” your hand reaches down to put pressure on the head of the metal pear still stuck in his thigh and he hisses, a sickly sweet noise to your ears, before ripping it out in one fluid movement, “you’re fucking lucky Geralt isn’t here with me or I’d be ripping your damn ribcage open and pulling your lungs out like you deserve” 
“Please” his words are hushed and you know he hasn’t got much longer left, not with the blood loss and the toll the pain will have taken on his body.
“Luckily for you I’m not strong enough to break ribs with my own hands, so this will have to suffice” you smile sweetly at him as you pull your knife out from its resting place in his chest and ever so slowly press it in, a fresh wound opening right next to the previous one; you repeat the motion over and over, new incisions lining his chest and welling fresh fountains of blood, until finally you feel him still beneath you. 
A quick press of your fingers to his neck confirms he’s dead, no pulse to be found, and you let out a sob you didn’t even know you’d been holding in. Your hands shake as you grab at your phone to call Geralt, to let him know that clean up is needed asap and that it’s done, and the sound of his voice on the other end of the line helps to ground you from the spiral that you feel is fast approaching. He won’t be long, he says, Jask is currently being treated by the best private doctor that money can buy, he’ll tell you more when he sees you, and despite his words not being as hopeful as you’d liked his tone is reassuring and comforting in the way that only he can be.
You settle against an unmarked tree with a sigh, fighting the tears that are threatening to overtake you, and wait for Geralt to arrive.
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ythankucaptainmccoy · a year ago
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Commander Wolffe x Reader (Inadequate)
This one was next on the list, and it was an imagine from @gabrielewolffe​. Imagine being bullied by some clones so you try to end your life, but Wolffe caught you before you can do it. Of course there will be a warning on this, and please if anyone ever feels like they want to end their life please seek help. There are several hotlines you can call or even text. While writing this I listened to Love Story by 2cellos because it is a mood setter. WARNING: Angst, Bullying, War, Death, Flashaback (italics) and Attempted Suicide.
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The last mission you had led was a complete disaster that caused the death of your entire platoon. You were sitting on the edge of the cliff still contemplating your decision. You were a bounty hunter you were supposed to be strong not weak like you were now. Your helmet sat beside you glinting in the light of the setting sun. 
You were screaming at your squad to take cover as explosions were happening around you. The clankers had you all pinned and it didn’t look good. You yelled to the troops to run that you would cover them, but they refused to leave you alone to fight. You looked at them as the blasterfire drew closer. “If any of you want to retreat go now!”, you shouted. They all stood their ground and nodded at you. You gripped your blaster tightly and nodded back.
Jumping over the low wall that protected you; the troopers followed as you howled your battle cry. One by one your troops were blasted down and then a tank fired taking out more. It was now you and three others as you yelled for them to retreat. A tank aimed and fired at the four of you. A large explosion landed to your left causing you to go flying through the air. You hit the ground hard knocking the breath out of you.
You were trying to focus your vision, and you could see one trooper left. He was crawling toward you, and you started to crawl towards him as well. He was almost to you when someone kicked him onto his back. When you looked up Ventress was there, and she looked at you and chuckled. “How long has it been since I took your eye”, she laughed. “I’ll continue to kill all the clones you hold dear, and I will get that blasted Commander of the 104th”, she hissed. 
She wrenched the trooper up and pulled his helmet off. “I want you to watch as I kill him”, she grinned. “PLEASE DON’T DO THIS!”, you screamed trying to get up. Ventress laughed and ignited the saber going through the troopers chest. “NOOOOOOOO!”, you wailed. Ventress was about to come towards you when several LAAT’s showed up laying down covering fire. She turned tail and ran like the coward she was. 
You scrambled on hands and knees to the trooper as he gasped for air, wide eyed. You yanked your helmet off, and cradled him to you. “I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry. I should have made you all retreat”, you sobbed. The trooper shook his head, “It’s okay sir”, he said as a peaceful expression passed over his face. He stopped breathing and you rocked him sobbing, and begging for him to come back. That's how the rest of the 104th found you cradling the trooper as tears streamed from your good eye.
Sinker was the one to get to you first and Boost right behind him. Sinker had Boost pull the troop from your arms, and Sinker looked you over. You stood up shaking and you took a couple staggerings steps when you collapsed. You woke up later in a medical tent where your leg had been wrapped. The medic telling you that you had taken some shrapnel there, but it was a minor wound. You made your way out of the tent only to be pushed by some clones.
“You let them die”, one of the clones growled. “Your no good to us here bounty hunter if you can even call yourself one. She couldn’t even stop Ventress from taking her eye”, another hissed. You would normally say something back or even fight, but they were right. Everytime it seemed that you had screwed up. “You should just leave, and never come back to the gar”, the leader of the group growled. There were three of them, and you could take them, but you kept seeing all the dead clones that you had lead earlier. 
You tried to ignore them as one of them shoved you again. “You should have made them retreat because if you had they would still be alive”, a trooper with a mohawk seethed. Every word felt like a punch to the gut, and your chest tightened. You wished that one of them would just hit you so that the pain would help you cope, but none of them did anything other than insult you, and curse at you. When you walked out of range you made your way to the cliff overlooking the sunset.
Looking down into the canyon below you kept thinking about ending the pain. Just one foot and then the other to plunge to your death. You should have died back there with your troops instead of alive, and watching the sun set on this planet. The one clone was right, you didn’t belong here with them, hells you didn’t belong anywhere, and you were a poor excuse for a bounty hunter. You got up as the breeze swept your hair around you. This was it you had made your decision; you were just so tired and ready for it all to end.
You stopped for a moment thinking about Commander Wolffe. You loved him, and you wanted him to know you would always love him. You picked up your communicator and left a message for him that what you were about to do you had thought through, and that you loved him. Also letting him know that he wasn’t the reason for what you were about to do. You were crying again as you hit the button on your com.
Wolffe had just walked into the med tent to look for you and his communicator chimed. He pulled up a message from you, and hit play to hear your shaky voice. He stiffened at the mention of going and never coming back. Wolffe knew what that meant and he wasn’t ready to lose you, and he wondered what had driven you to this point. He ran out of the tent and frantically searched for you. 
Three troopers were talking about the encounter they had with you and Wolffe overheard. So they were the culprits, and he was determined to get to you before you did something irreversible. He rushed the leader and pushed him against a rock wall. “Where is she! Where is (Y/N)?!”, he growled. “She took off, and thats whats best for her hell hope she never comes back”, the clone sneered. Wolffe threw a punch right to his nose and heard the crunch of it breaking. “Where did she go!”, he shouted. “You broke my nose”, he groaned. “I’ll break more than that if you don’t tell me where she is”, he pulled his fist back again. “She took off toward the canyons”, one of the other three told him.
He didn’t wait as he rushed to the cliff overlooking the canyon. He could see you, and you were so dangerously close to the edge. He was almost to you when you walked off the edge. “NOOOO!”, he screamed as he launched himself to the edge landing on his stomach and grabbing hold of your armor. You gasped and looked up to see Wolffe holding the back of your armor. 
You didn’t say a word as he pulled on your armor, and once back on the cliff he pulled you up. Taking several steps back he pulled your helmet off, and kissed you bringing your body tightly to his. “I’m just so tired”, you shakily told him. “Everything I do, and I still can’t save them. I’m useless and have no home. I’m a horrible bounty hunter”, you sobbed. “You aren’t useless. You have saved many troopers (Y/N). This is war we win some and we lose some it's just how it is. I never want to see you get hurt. I love you (Y/N), and those clones from earlier don’t know the real you”, he whispered in your ear as he held you close. 
“And having no home is a lie. You have a home with me and the wolfpack. They adore you, and know that you would do anything to save them”, he continued. “Come on, let's go back to camp”, he told you, kissing you again. You picked up your helmet, and he picked you up bridal style to take you back to camp. He entered a large tent that had the wolfpack all curled up together. 
You had noticed they slept like that most of the time, and Wolffe had told you that he, Sinker and Boost lost all their comrades to the malevolence. You quickly shed your armor and Wolffe did the same as he made some of the boys move over. They were all awake now, and realized that something was wrong. Wolffe didn’t give all the details, but they understood, and made room for you and the commander.
Wolffe lay down and pulled you to him as the wolfpack molded back around and on top of you in what you would later call the pack pile. Wolffe noticed how you relaxed and seemed to be content. He kissed the top of your head while you slept, and wanted to make sure no one could hurt you. Plo Koon had made his way into the tent to make sure the wolfpack were okay to see you glued to Wolffe’s side and the others draped over you in the pile of clones. He smiled at the sight, and could sense the calmness that surrounded you.
 Once the wolfpack learned of what happened in detail from Wolffe they were ready to tear the three clones apart. The whole day was spent with them, and they made you feel wanted and needed. You would live for them, Wolffe and the troops that had fallen in battle. Any time you felt that you weren’t enough or depressed you would make your way to the wolfpacks quarters. When you would wake Wolffe he would wake the wolfpack and they would huddle around you settling back into sleep. You had never felt safer or content in your life.
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Alright I seriously had tears writing this one. The clones all deserved better, and Palpatine can suck a cock to then choke and die. Anyway guys hope you liked your ride on the angst train.
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martelldoran · a year ago
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i have too grieved a heart (redux)
Fandom: HP Characters: Lily/Narcissa, Snape, James, Mary, Dorcas 
NSFW: no
Summary: After the incident at the lake, Lily realises that more than just her relationship with Severus Snape is doomed. She now must say goodbye to Narcissa.
Read on AO3
May 1976
Lily Evans was many things. She was a witch first and foremost, and currently – though not for very much longer – in her 5th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was a proud Gryffindor. She was muggleborn, the first witch in her family. She was a talented potion maker, often spending her free time down in the dungeons mixing her brews and revelling in the multicoloured fumes. She was a dab hand at her charm work and liked to summon little sparkling lights to brighten up her study spaces. She was a passionate friend. She was bright, loved nothing more than spending her afternoons listening to records in the sun, and adored being outdoors surrounded by nature. Yes, Lily Evans was many things.
But at that precise moment, on a sunny afternoon in May after having just sat her Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L, she was absolutely fucking furious.
“Evans!”
It was the bellowing voice of James Potter. He had not stayed to try and remove Severus’s underpants as he had said, instead choosing to charge after her. Reaching the steps to the main door with her breath rushing and chest tight, she didn’t pause.
But then a hand closed around her wrist.
She wrenched herself away. Her wand was lifted and a spell teetered on the edge of her snarling lips as she spun round.
“Do not touch me!”
The boy staggered back onto the grass, hands lifted with the palms facing her. His mouth was a small ‘o’ shape and his hazel eyes were wide.
“Okay, I won’t.”
Her wand did not lower and neither did his hands. White knuckle fury still beat through her.
“I’m sorry, Evans. I went too far. I always go too far,” he said, his voice was tight, restrained as he measured each word. “Not that it’ll make a difference but I’ll apologise to Snape too, though I think I burned that bridge a long time ago.”
This last part he added as an afterthought, saying it more to himself than her. He shifted from foot to foot before slowly lowering his hands. The normally perfectly tousled black hair had fallen flat and was falling into his eyes but he didn’t try to fix it. Instead he continued looking right at her. It made him look like a little boy again.
“I am sorry. Truly. I hope you can see that, Lily. If not now, then later.”
He had said his piece. With a stiff, defeated nod of the head, he turned and made his way back to the lake. The fury had lessened somewhat. She watched his retreating back for just a moment before beginning her ascent up the stairs once again.
Half way across the Entrance Hall he made himself known to her, calling her name. Somehow having detangled himself from the clutches of Sirius Black, he must have skulked in a bush until he’d seen James leaving. Severus Snape’s normally pale, sallow face was flushed and his eyes darted around the hall, never resting on her face for long.
It was as if she was seeing him for the first time. And she was repulsed.
“Lily,” he began, taking a step towards her.
She retreated and raised her wand once more.
“Stay away from me,” she growled, in no mood to hear his excuses.
She knew what he’d say. She was a vengeful, wrathful god, ready to smite down those who had wronged her. She was Artemis condemning Actaeon to die by the jaws of his own dogs.
“Lily, please, I’m sorry,” he pleaded. He had his hands up like James but he took another step towards her. “I didn’t mean it. It just slipped out.”
“And is that supposed to make me feel better?” she snapped, wand trained on his face. “How many times have I heard you say you’re not like them, Mulciber and Avery? Then heard you defend them in the same breath? You agree with what’s being said, don’t you, by the one they call the ‘Dark Lord’. Maybe not all of it but there’s something in there isn’t there, that calls to you.”
Severus, inching forward, shook his head vigorously, lank hair dancing on either side of his face.
“No!” he wailed. “I don’t, I don’t think that, Lily. You’re my friend.”
She wavered. He was her oldest friend. He’d introduced her to magic, told her she was special, been there for every rant and every time her sister rejected her. Emboldened by her indecision, he took yet another step towards her.
A warning shower of red sparks streamed from her wand and crackled at the boy’s feet. He yelped and jumped away.
“I told you. Stay. Back. I don’t want you anywhere near me.” Her voice rose, ringing in the empty Entrance Hall. It was deserted, everybody had surrendered themselves to the sunshine. She hardened herself. “I see it now Severus, you’re one of them or if you’re not, you want to be. You and that fucking chip on your shoulder.”
She gave a humourless laugh, staring him dead in the eye. Her rage had not cooled but she was steady, held up by steel and smouldering fire.
“You’ve made it clear where your loyalties lie. And let me tell you now, if we come across one another out there” -- she gestured vaguely around the Entrance Hall – “I will not hesitate to cut you down.”
At this, he lurched forward, a cry on his lips. He tried to reach for her.
‘Petrificus Totalus!’
The spell screamed within her mind hit him square in the face, freezing the boy’s pained expression to stone. He tumbled to the floor, landing frozen on his side. She was Medusa victorious
“I warned you. Come near me again and I won’t be so lenient.” In that moment with fire coursing through her veins, she meant every word of her threat.
Turning on her heel, Lily tore up the staircase. All in a rush, she could feel the weight of everything that had just happened come crashing down around her. Hot tears bulged in her eyes and a golf ball sized lump in her throat threatened to choke her. A bathroom, a bathroom was what she needed, somewhere nobody would disturb her. Without thinking she turned her course to the girls’ toilet on the second floor.
Bursting through the door with a loud, resonating bang, a painful, heavy sob wracked her body. She stumbled towards the nearest stall and locked herself in. Animalistic wails tore from her mouth and echoed off the tiled walls. It was like her grief had manifested into a physical form and was joining her for a macabre duet.
Hugging herself, she crumpled to the floor. With her back to the door, she leaned her head back against the wood and let the grief she felt come in waves. How had it come to this? All she’d wanted to do was help her friend and now here she was.
Lily had been called a Mudblood before. More times than she truly cared to count. But never had she imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she’d hear that word come from the mouth of someone she considered her friend, let alone said with such venom.
Tears slid in a continuous stream down her flushed cheeks. They hung off the end of her chin and pooled in the hollows of her neck and collarbones. Slowly, a damp patch grew down the front of her robes but she paid it no mind. Lily was a raw, gaping wound and nothing else mattered but her pain. Her mind was a jumble. The scene by the lake replayed in a hideous loop. Then it was the argument in the Entrance Hall. Severus’s pained expression was seared onto the back of her eyelids and her words echoed in her ears.
How long did she sit there sobbing? She cried and she cried and then, when it seemed like she had no more tears left, she cried once again. Time had no meaning in that cramped toilet stall. It could have been seconds, it could have been days, she didn’t care. Noone would come in here and disturb her anyway. They would hear her howls, assume it was Moaning Myrtle off in one of her moods and steer well clear.
Eventually, however, she stilled and the tears dried up. There was a certain calmness to her now. With a dull realisation, she was unsurprised about Severus. Some dark part of her already knew that he was lost. He wanted to be the best, he always had. And if following this man got him what he wanted then so be it. He would do it.
Ever since they were children, there had been this urge to prove himself and to rise above everyone else. It came out when they raced across fields and threw stones into a lake. It came out during exams and every time there was a potion or poison to be brewed. Glory would be his one way or another.
“Lily? Lily, are you in here?” Dorcas Meadowes’s husky, mellow voice cut across her reverie. She hadn’t even heard the door open.
“Yeah, I’m here.” Her voice was thick and raspy with disuse.
“Will you come out? We’re worried about you.” She was closer now, right outside the door.
“I can’t. I never want to come out,” she moaned. Her face hurt. There was no need to look in a mirror to see how awful she looked, she could feel the swelling around her eyes and cheeks.
“Don’t say that, come on, open the door,” Dorcas reasoned, giving the handle a gentle shake.
When no answer came, there was a weary sigh and she murmured, “Alohamora.”
Lily shifted her weight off the door just enough so that she wouldn’t keel over when her friend opened it. Dorcas knelt next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. The redhead leaned in, the familiar scent of wood smoke and amber in her nose. Dorcas’ shirt was open at the collar - her blue Ravenclaw tie undone and hanging loose around her shoulders – exposing the dark skin of her throat.
“Let’s go.”
Not wasting any time, Dorcas pulled Lily up by her armpits and observed the damage. Her glittering black eyes skated over her from top to bottom. She pursed her full lips together and tsked loudly.
“Oh dear. You truly look awful, you know that,” she said, a sad but understanding smile on her face.
A sniffle and a half-hearted quirk of the lips was all the answer she received. With a sigh, Dorcas propelled her from the bathroom. Quick steps and a firm hand on the small of her back guided her through the corridors. They didn’t meet a soul, the castle was almost deserted. Through the fog clouding her brain, Lily registered this and was thankful. The last thing she wanted was for anyone to see her, a Prefect, like this.
“Oh, good heavens! Is everything alright Miss Evans?” It was the deep, plumy voice of the Fat Lady. She ignored the portrait’s question.
“Pygmy Puff,” she mumbled. Somehow, from somewhere, a new wave of tears rushed up and threatened to spill down her cheeks.
The portrait swung open but Lily didn’t move.
“Marlene is waiting for you, honey. Go on in,” murmured Dorcas, giving her a gentle push.
Silently, she climbed through the portrait hole, leaving Dorcas to make her way back to the Ravenclaw common room, and was immediately met by Marlene. She appeared in a whirlwind of blonde hair, ready to ferry Lily up to their dormitory. The common room was full, that much she knew, and she could tell that every single pair of eyes were trained on her as a heavy silence fell. But she was too tired to care. She wanted to go to bed.
“Is Remus here?” she rasped.
Marlene nodded and pointed to the cluster of armchairs by the fire where all four of the Marauders were staring at her. All but Peter Pettigrew were unnaturally still, caught in the spell of Lily’s dishevelled appearance. Peter couldn’t seem to stop himself from twitching, fidgeting with anything he could lay his chubby hands on.
In a daze, she approached the four boys. Although she could feel James’ eyes boring into her, taking in every single red blotch and the puffiness of her face, she refused to look at him. If she did then there was no way to stop the tears that were once more lingering right beneath the surface.
“Remus, I can’t do my rounds tonight. Can you cover?” Her voice was dead, a thick monotone that didn’t sound like her.
“Uh, yeah, yeah of course I can. Whatever you need.”
There was a slight pause before he asked, “What will I tell Cissa?”
But she had already turned away, Marlene her golden shadow.
“Whatever you want. I don’t care,” she sighed.
In that moment, she didn’t. She couldn’t bear to think of Narcissa, with her star bright eyes, gleaming hair and the purest of pureblood status. It hurt too much.
Never before had the walk up to her dorm seemed so long. Every step was an effort. It was like her bones had been replaced with lead and added weights had been strapped to her ankles and wrists for good measure.
The quiet of the dorm was a blessing. Not bothering to undress, Lily kicked off her shoes and collapsed into bed. Marlene perched on the edge. Her blue-grey eyes were stormy. Words pressed up against her lips, clamouring to be released but she kept her mouth shut tight. She simply stroked Lily’s hair, placed a gentle kiss on her forehead head, told her to get some sleep and bade her goodnight. With a flick of her wand the curtains to her four-poster shut, enclosing her in blessed darkness.
It didn’t take long for sleep to claim her.
When she awoke, the grey light of the pre-dawn leaked between the curtains of her bed and the familiar snuffles and even breathing of her roommates cradled her sleep addled mind. She was still in her robes from the day before, rumpled and creased. Her sleep though deep had clearly been plagued by ceaseless tossing and turning. Mouth dry and tasting stale, Lily sat up and pawed at her still puffy face. The damage of the day before a cruel mask she would have to wear for a few more hours yet.
Lily slid from bed as silently as she could, gathered her wash bag and towel, and slipped into the stone stairwell. Before the cold could seep from the flagstone through her socks to chill her feet, she flited upstairs to the wash room. Peeling off her soiled robes, she shivered as the cool air met slid over her bare skin.
The shower’s warm water was bliss. It beat the last of sleep’s cobwebs away, leaving her mind clear and focussed. Of course, all she could think about was the previous day’s events. If it hadn’t been clear to her before, it was now. For some witches and wizards, it didn’t matter what she did or who she became. It wouldn’t matter if she was the most powerful witch or the most talented. For those few people, she would be a Muggleborn before all else, a parasite siphoning off magic from those who they deemed needed, no, deserved it more.
Names flashed in her mind: Rodolphus Lestrange, Evan Rosier, and, of course, Bellatrix Black. Narcissa’s sister. Her sweet, darling Narcissa who she loved so dearly. Bellatrix’s name appeared in The Daily Prophet almost daily now. The young witch made no attempt to hide her name or her loyalties. The more chaos and misery she sowed the better. It was reported just yesterday that she was single-handedly responsible for over 80 muggle deaths and had seriously injured several muggleborn witches and wizards over the last few months. Details on the way she conducted her business were scant but gruesome. Torture was her art and her greatest pleasure. After all, what information could a muggle possibly give her? No, it was all a game.
As she pondered these thoughts, Lily scrubbed herself clean with care and precision. She dragged the sponge across her skin until she was pink and raw. A growing sense of dread grew in the pit of her stomach and settled there, rock hard and heavy. There was something she knew she had to do.
She couldn’t shake the feeling of dread for the rest of the morning. It was there while she dressed, and crowded her while she ate a solitary breakfast in the Great Hall. Her owl, Artemis, somehow knew she was there and brought her that morning’s copy of the Daily Prophet but she couldn’t bear to open it. She didn’t need to know about the latest terrors and growing anti-muggle sentiment that was growing in certain wizarding circles. Any other morning it wouldn’t be an issue, but after the previous afternoon’s excitement, she could live without it.
Th first of her friends to make their way to the Great Hall that morning was Mary MacDonald. Mary had not changed much in the five years she had known her. She was still small and slight and still wore her hair in a blunt bob with a heavy fringe that hung into her eyes. When she rose to meet her, the Hufflepuff embraced Lily without a word. They stood like that, intertwined, for several minutes.
“Yesterday was a bit shite, wasn’t it,” said Mary, stepping back from their hug.
Lily chuckled.
“That’s something of an understatement.”
Mary inclined her head and shrugged one shoulder.
“Look, I know that Severus has been your friend for a long time, but maybe it’ll do the two of you some good to have some distance? Let the dust settle. He can maybe get his priorities in order,” she offered.
Lily wasn’t so sure but she nodded anyway.
“I meant to ask,” she said, with the most unsubtle change of subject known to witchkind. “How did Dorcas find me?”
“Oh, well, we looked for a while but couldn’t find you so we asked Remus, who asked Sirius, who asked James and for some reason, he knew that you were in the bathrooms,” Mary explained. “I don’t know how he knew. He disappeared up into his dormitory and when he came back, he knew where you were.”
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Lily murmured, unable to work out how on earth James Potter could have worked out where she’d been hiding.
After a few more minutes, Lily left Mary in the Great Hall and hurried up to the owlery. She scratched out a quick note and sent Artemis out to find the addressee.
As she watched her owl swoop through the sky, she felt a tremor of trepidation through her body.
A rap on the door alerted Lily to her presence. She swept into the spare classroom with a flourish, her long, white blonde hair swishing as she twirled. Star bright eyes twinkled at her and a broad smile adorned her face. She was as brilliant as a winter’s day and just as beautiful. Lily’s heart wrenched and she longed to fall into her embrace, to lose herself to a thousand kisses.
Narcissa pulled her close before she could say a word. She cupped her face, one hand slipping through her hair, and kissed her deeply. Lily could feel her resolve weakening with every second. All too soon, Cissa pulled away with a coy smile.
“Hello darling.” Her voice was warm, an undercurrent of excitement running through her words.
Her head was cocked to the side and she ever so gently pushed a stray strand of hair away from Lily’s face. The redhead shifted out of the embrace needing to put space between them. If she felt her touch again then she knew any remaining resolve would leave her.
“We, uh, we need to talk,” Lily mumbled.
“Uh oh, that sounds ominous!” she laughed, her smile hadn’t faltered for even a second.
“This has to end.”
The words were out like a bullet train.
Narcissa let out a cold, humourless laugh.
“No. Don’t be ridiculous. This isn’t ending. Lily, come on, this is us,” she insisted, reaching to take her hands. But Lily avoided her touch.
Hurt flashed across Narcissa’s face. It was only for a second then a mask of cool collectedness covered it.
“Is this because of what happened at the lake?” she asked, very matter of fact. “Snape is an idiot. Mulciber and Avery are rubbing off on him.”
She was being dismissive. Of course she was. It was her go to defence mechanism.
“Well, yes. They are. That’s part of the problem. What he said, there are others who think that as well.”
“And they’re wrong.”
“Even when it’s the likes of your family saying it, Cissa?”
There was a beat where neither of them said anything.
“Oh, come on, Lily! Just because my family runs their mouths about Muggleborns and blood purity doesn’t mean I believe that nonsense.”
Lily wanted to stop this. She wanted forget about the lake, the war, and the man hellbent on securing pure blood supremacy but there was no turning back now. Even if she wished it with all her heart, she couldn’t go back to how it was before. If there had been such a thing as before.
“Bellatrix isn’t just running her mouth though is she. She’s killing people Cis. She’d kill me too.” The words faltered in her mouth, turning to ash.
She couldn’t keep looking at Narcissa. She shone too brightly.
The blonde shifted, stiffened.
“I wouldn’t let that happen.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. But you told me yourself what she did to Dromeda. Why wouldn’t she do the same to you?” Lily reasoned in a quiet voice. Her eyes were trained on the hem of her robes. “I don’t want to be the reason you get hurt. . . And I don’t want to get hurt.”
The pause was bloated, filling with unsaid words, waiting to burst open like a sore.
“That’s bullshit Lily and you know it. We could run away. I could protect you.”
“I know that you would try but your loyalty is to them, not to me, and I wouldn’t ask you to choose. But, I can’t be with you like this. Your family would never accept me, never accept us. It was always a fool’s game to think otherwise.”
“You know what, Lily, you could have been a Slytherin with that attitude,” Cissa snapped, lips pursed and jaw jutting.
“Yeah, well we both know why that didn’t happen.”
“There are Muggleborns in Slytherin!”
“Oh, and Elijah Robertson’s head just magically cracked itself open on the flagstone did it?”
Narcissa drew up short, whatever she was about to say died in her mouth. And whatever it was must have left a sour taste judging by the way her face twisted.
“N-nobody knows who did that.” She faltered, voice meek and unsure. It was an unsettling role to see her play.
“Yeah. Sure. But it’s an open secret. Everyone knows that it was Dolohov and his goons,” Lily scoffed. She could feel her ire beginning to rise, heart racing. Before she could argue any further, she added, “I’ve made up my mind. I can’t be with you anymore.”
With a huff, Narcissa slumped against a desk.
“I don’t want this to end.”
It was a whispered admission. Tears glimmered at the edges of her star-bright eyes and there was an almost imperceptible wobble to her bottom lip.
“I know. But it has to.”
Lily hated seeing her like this, hated the fact that it was her fault. She shifted, twisting her hands together. They sat in silence once more. There had been a seismic shift between them and now they stood on opposing sides of an endless ravine. There was nothing either of them could say that would bring the other back.
“So, that’s it,” murmured Narcissa. Her tears remained unshed and her light had dimmed. Their eyes met and Lily thought she saw the faint ghost of a smirk pulling at the corners of her mouth. “I don’t suppose I get one last kiss?”
There was no question. Pushing off the desk she had been leaning against, Lily closed the gap between them in two strides. The pull was as magnetic as it had always been. With gentle hands at her waist, she pulled the blonde girl into a standing position. The rich silk of her robes was slippery under her fingers; its familiarity calmed the fluttering of her pulse. The expensive perfume Narcissa so loved to wear tickled her nose as they drew closer.
Their lips brushed together like a sweet whisper. Again and again and again. They were all featherlight touches.
Until they weren’t.
They were a thunder storm breaking through a summer drought. Mouths hot and bruising, they drank each other up. Hands tangled in hair and grabbed at clothes; all Lily wanted to do was lose herself in this last fevered embrace. She gripped the girl tight, crushing her against her as if they might sink together and never be apart. Heart pounding and blood rushing in her ears, her mind was a tumultuous sea of everything Narcissa.
But, with time, as with all things, they slowed. Foreheads pressed together, still breathing each other, their eyes locked together. A pink flush had crept into the blonde’s cheeks and her lips were cherry red. They stayed that way until their breathing stilled and became even once more.
It was Narcissa that pulled away first, smoothing her hair and straightening her clothes. She now avoided Lily’s gaze, trying to compose herself.
Lily said nothing. What more could she say? Anything else would be an insult.
Cissa brushed and brushed and brushed down her robes but the wrinkles in the silvery silk would not disappear so easily. She paused, head bowed, and sighed. When she raised her chin once more her jaw was set and eyes tight, but that practised mask of cool collectedness was full of cracks.
“I will see you around, darling,” she said, squaring off her shoulders and drawing herself up to her full height.
With a flash of a smile and an airy wave of the hand, she spun on her heel and left. It was only as the door snicked shut that Lily allowed her tears to come. From some unknown reserve, the tears came and fell silently onto her cheeks. She had never felt more alone.
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givemeunicorns · 2 years ago
Text
Heavy in Your Arms
Yasha & Molly reunion fic based on @millimauk amazing art
read it on ao3
He was a ghost. He had to be.
It wouldn't be the first time she'd seen his ghost in recent months. His lifeless body haunted the worst corners of her nightmares. Though the dreams, the ones where he's whole and alive, sitting in the sunshine with her head in his lap, braiding flowers into her hair, and telling her about some handsome local, laughing about the show, or gossiping about their fellow circus people, those were far worse.
She couldn't escape him in her waking hours either. Standing on the street or sitting in a tavern, she would see a flash of lavender  or a glint of gold out of the corner of her eye, or catch the familiar smell of the lavender soap he so favored when they could afford it. In the liminal space between sleeping and waking, she would feel his fingers ruffle hear hair and the touch of his breath on her skin as he teased “Wake up sleepy head. It's a going to be a good day, I can feel it.” His laugher rang in her head like a bell, a harbinger of the shadow of madness she couldn't seem to shake. In her months with Obann, Molly's voice had been a phantom, calling to her as if over some great distance, trying to draw her back to a light she couldn't ever seem to reach.
A lean purple tiefling had unfolded out of a shadows like a vengeful ghost, blades glowing bright as he leaped onto one of the cultists, cutting man down in two blows. Seeing him there, she knew it'd finally happened. She'd finally gone mad. It couldn't be real. She couldn't let herself hope, not after so long. It hurt too much
But Molly stayed solid and the man at his feet stayed dead. Fjord dropped another in a blast of light, ending the fight. No one moved to loot the bodies, they could only stare in stunned, communal silence. There was a wave of relief that washed over her; they could see him too.
“Molly?” Beau breathed, the first to speak, her fists lowering just a bit and she stared, “What the fuck?”
Something like fear passed his face for just a moment, before he spun the scimitar with a flourish and grinned. Jester's hands went over her mouth and she made a soft sound like a sob the moment she heard his voice. Caleb's expression was a strange mix of horror, confusion, and relief. Fjord gaped. Nott cursed. Caduceus cocked his head, seemingly curious but otherwise unbothered byt the is strange turn of events and whatever his sense of death allowed him to see.
“I could ask you the same thing. I've been chasing you assholes for months,” Molly answered. His hair had gotten longer, and there's a scar under his eye that wasn't there the last time. But his smile hadn't changed, warm and kind, even when it was a lie.
“Catching up will have to wait,” Caduceus cut in, ears drooping, smile fading, as he gripped his staff tighter, “We've got company.”
The sound of shouting echoed down the chamber as a new wave of cultists pour into the chamber. The fighting thick and ugly, and Yasha raged, forgetting everything but the anger and the weight of Skin Gouger in her hands. It was easier than remembering, than acknowledging the weight of all that's happened, and all she's done, since her and Molly were parted. The man before her died on her blade and a part of he wondered how many of the dead fought of their own free will or if any of them were like her, held under the sway of darker magic. For the former, she thought, death would be a mercy, for the later, justice, neither of which a thing she is worthy of dispensing, not after all she'd done. It didn't matter. It couldn't. Worthy or not, she wouldn't let the chains be broken. That was her penance.
Even focused on her work, her two toned eyes still looked for him in the mire, the act coming back to her with the same muscle memory as fighting. A glimpse of silver, a flash of purple and red and dancing light. He moved like something out of a dream, a scimitar that she remembered in one hand and a newer, rougher hewn blade she's never seen in the other. He had always been a strangely graceful creature, especially in a fight, like his body knew the steps to a dance his mind couldn't remember. The sleeves of his coat are the same familiar maroon, dotted with stars and beads, but the body of his coat was had changed. It was crafted fine tapestry, the image of the Platinum Dragon winding across his back. Just like Molly, to turn his burial shroud into a fancy coat.  
She didn't see the woman with the knife, not until she was right there, under Yasha's guard. The knife sank in and Yasha howled, more rage than pain, as the blade caught in her armor, stopping a flesh wound from becoming a killing blow. She turned to swing but the woman was too close. In a flash, he was there, pushing her attacker back, hissing in infernal. Yahsa couldn't understand the words but the meaning was clear. Blood clouded the woman's eyes and she wailed before Molly cut across her throat, silencing her forever. He wasn't not smiling anymore, when he turned to look at the barbarian, red eyes roving her her form, checking for wounds.
“You alright darling?” he asked, breathless and all she could do was nod. For a heartbeat, it was as if time had frozen and she could see the bone deep weariness in him. Like he might reach for her and just, crumble to nothing in her arms. Another cultist raises a blade, rushed into his space, and, suddenly as it had come upon them, the spell is broken and they're back in the thick of it again; Yasha cleaving apart enemies with her sword while Molly cut through them with blades and blood magic. The second wave of attackers began to thin, the fighting grown desperate and mad cap. When the last body fell and it was over, the silence was deafening. Caducues moved to the opening, holding up a hand. The Nein tensed as his ears twitched. Finally, he sighed and nodded.
“ I don't hear anyone else. I think that's the last of them.”
A collective breath of relief filled the room. The Nein looked at each other and then at their once fallen friend. His smile slipped back into place, the mask of the jovial fool, the lovable charlatan, even in the face of these people he'd so loved.
“Nice to see you all too,” he snorted, as if he hadn't just come back from the dead, cloaked in shadow and ready for a fight.
They all erupt at once. Jester crashed into him, nearly taking him off his feet as she sobbed an endless stream of unintelligible questions he didn't even try to answer as he returned the embrace. Fjord offered a sheepish and lopsided smile, no doubt remembering the Summer's Dance, melted away to nothing in the kiln, along with that unholy falchion. His folded himself around both of them and it struck Yasha that she couldn't remember the last time she'd seen Fjord hug anyone. Nott erupted with questions, her verbiage far more colorful than Jester's, but she was smiling around a mouthful of jagged teeth as she tugged at his coat tales. Caleb was shaking his head, muttering to himself in Zemnian, a cautious smile creeping onto into his expression. Beau was quite, staring with an intensity that was almost frightening, until Fjord pulled back and gently took Jester with him. Molly offered a cocky, lopsided  to the monk, opened his mouth to make what was likely some kind of goodnatured if slightly snide remark, when Beau pulled back and clocked him, hard enough across the jaw. His head snapped back and he stumbled a step, but Beau is already on him, wrapping him in a crushing hug, face buried in his neck so they can't see her cry. Molly seemed shocked for a breath, more surprised by the embrace than by the blow, eyes lingering on the tattoo on the back of her exposed neck and shoulders. He touched the marks carefully, before he wrapped his arms around her and let her stifle her grief in the collar of his coat.
Yasha wanted to run to him, push past them all and hold him into her arms until they became one person. She wanted to scream at him, admonish him for his recklessness, beg him never to leave her again. She wanted to see the scar, touch the wound that took him from her. But she couldn't make herself move, couldn't find her voice to speak, to call out his name. She couldn't look at him. Somewhere in her soul she knew, this if he looked in her eyes, he would know what she'd done. What she was. He would ask about the scar on Beau's stomach, twin to the one he must have hidden under his shirt. He would know she was a coward. That she had nearly killed their friends, the family he so deeply wanted to keep together, not one time but over and over and over again. That she had murdered innocent people. If he looked in her eyes, he would know her for what she was, before them, before him. Not Yasha, not the lonely girl he found in the circus, not the person who's broken soul he'd cobbled together with the shattered, mismatched pieces of his own. He would see only Orphanmaker, fool puppet of mad god.
A furred hand came to rest on her shoulder, Caduceus's presence warm and solid at her side, as he paused in his work of sending bodies back to the Wild Mother.
“This is nice,” he said kindly, always so aware of her loneliness some how.
She only nodded.
He patted her shoulder once more before his hand feel away, going back to his grim work alone while the others laughed and cried.
Beau released Mollymauk from her crushing hug, wiping at her face with her sleeve, Molly lifted Nott into his arms, and she cried and cursed him, hugged him and hissed at him. Caleb even allows himself to tugged into a brief embrace. He took the goblin from Molly and quiet words pass between them and the teifling turned to her, a striking sadness on his face that left her aching. She wanted to bolt, her animal heart beating wildly against the cage of her ribs. But couldn't. She was rooted, thunder shaking in her bones so hard she trembled. She clenched her fists, willed herself to be invisible, but that was never one of the Stormlord's gifts. Instead, she dropped her gaze to the blood covered stone, turned her back to him, let her hair hide her from the world. She wished she could make herself smaller, that she could disappear into nothing. It was cowardly and cruel, but she didn't care. It would be better than waiting, waiting for him to find the monster lurking in her skin.
“Yasha,” he called, and her name sounded like honey and she hated herself for loving him so much. Her loving him had killed him. Molly had always returned affection with affection, he loved her because she loved him, because she had been weak and cold and alone, unable to to turn away the warmth of his fire. If he had not cared so much for her, he never would have tried to save her from the Iron Shepherds, he never would have faced Lorenzo. He never would have been murdered, laid in the cold ground, alone. She had told him once that she wasn't sure she could ever love someone the way she had loved Zuala. At the time she had never thought she could love someone as much either. She had been wrong. Her love for him was different, yes, but no less strong, no less deep, no less able to hurt her in the end. He had left her, and for all that she had missed him, god's she was angry with him, and she hated herself for that too.
“Yasha love, what's the matter?” he asked, his voice so familiar and deeply missed that it ached.
His hand touched the small of her back and she flinched, squeezed her eyes shut. The tears spilled over and ran down her face, hot as blood.
The others had gone quiet again, save for a few assorted sniffles. His movements were careful, his voice low and soothing, like he was gentling an animal.
“Hey now, what are those tears for,” he asked, his tone almost playful as he circles round her, trying to peek under the curtain of her hair.
Her fists clenched and he took them in his hands, scarred and calloused, covered in rings, just like she remembered. He was nearly nose to nose with her now, so close she could feel her hair catch on his horns, feel his breath against her skin. The motions were almost playful, this well rehearsed dance they did when she was lost in herself and he's play the fool to make her smile. He still smelled like she remembered, like incense and smoke and sharp liquor, the sweet flower oil he used on his hair, and the metallic tang of blood. He leaned into her, chest to chest, warm, solid. Real.
“You know it's very rude not to look someone in the eye when they're talking,” he teased, but his voice sounded so small.
She couldn't hold out. Her shaking hands moved without thinking, cradling his jaw, touching the familiar lines of his face, curve of his horns. He exhaled sharply, as if the touch ached, but he leaned into all the same. She breathed his name for the first time in months.
“Molly?”
“Ja, ja,” he chuckled, a private joke she'd almost forgotten, arms coming up to hold her, the way he used to when she was feeling small and alone. A refuge in a storm. The only person in the world who didn't ask her for more than she could give. She sobbed, her body crumpling under the weight of her grief. Suddenly it's all too heavy. She can't carry it anymore.
“Hey, Yasha come now....”
She opened her eyes, meeting his ruby red gaze. Love and rage battled in her, the grief clawing at her insides like a living thing. She'd spent so long, chained and alone. Obann's sweet, cloying words the only sound in her mind, his menacing smile the only familiar face. First she'd gotten the Nein back, and now Molly too. It can't be real. She's never gotten to keep the things she loves. It was more than she could have allowed herself to hope and she was certain, any moment, something was going to come along and snatch her happiness away again. That her friends would walk out of this place and leave her behind. That he won't be Molly at all,  it will be a stranger wearing her friend's face or that she'll wake to find it all a dream. She had spent so much time, wondering what was real.The weight of wondering was too much. Her knees buckled and she let gravity carry her down. Molly tried to catch her, to hold her up, but there has always been so much of her and so little of him. The stone was cold and unforgiving under her knees. His name clawed it's way out of her throat in an ugly, wrecked sob.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered,  his voice breaking as he followed her down. It's a voice he kept only for her, hidden away in their tent at the circus, or the room they would sometimes share at the inns. The voice he used when he told her how he got his name, about the dreams of a life before, about his anxiety over who he might have been, what he might have done, the fear that one day that person's life might catch up with him.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered again and he was crying too, half in her lap, pulling her to him, face pressed into her hair, holding her to him so tightly it hurt. The way he used to when she'd wake up screaming, Zuala's blood still too bright behind her eyes, “I'm sorry it took so long.”
Her arms wrapped around his shoulders, the breath she felt like she'd been holding for months finally rattling out of her chest. She let herself lean on him, finally at rest. There is an ocean and nothing between them all at once. He was real and warm and alive. He'd found her. He'd came back for her.  The hurt wasn't gone, the grief wasn't vanquished, but it quieted, settling in chest, leaving her to fight another day. The thunder rumbled in her bones, no longer hollow, no longer empty. Her Mollymauk had come home.
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erenscockslut · a year ago
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Game Over [Supernatural] [SAW!AU MINISERIES} CH2
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Series Summary: The Winchesters and their allies bite off more than they can chew when they try to track someone who isn’t exactly a monster…
Warnings: Blood, gore, torture, character death, drug addiction, alcohol addiction
Theme: Hello Zepp (Charles Clouser)
Contents: saw!au, serial killer!au, pawn!reader, victim!reader, former victim!reader, Senior Player!Reader, Senior Player!OFC, Senior Player!OMC, Senior Player!OMC, Player!Dean Winchester, Player!Sam Winchester, Player!Rowena MacLeod, Player!Crowley/Fergus MacLeod, Player!Castiel Novak, Player!OFC, Player!OMC
Note: Certain gifs used were made by the lovely @marril96, who inspired this AU. Go send her some love, she’s absolutely incredible!
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With Sasha leading the way, the group chatter mindlessly amongst themselves until they reach a door. Tom looks around before discovering a crowbar nestled in a small crack in the wall.  He takes it and tries to break the door open with the crowbar supplied, but steel bars behind the doors block their escape.
“Fuck!” The African-American man curses, slamming a fist against it before grunting with pain. Y/N groans and covers her eyes with one hand.
“Well, we've established that the macho-bullshit approach isn't opening the door.” Sasha snaps. Tom sends a glare her way, but she ignores him. “Any other suggestions?”
“Look who's talking.” The skinny Caucasian man was speaking now; he’d told everyone his name, but no one could actually remember it. Y/N had called him ‘Weasel’ and it had stuck. “The only door you know how to open is between your legs!”
Sasha lunges toward Weasel and the majority of the men in the room let out cries of outrage, as do Rowena and the young girl.
“How dare you?!” Rowena snaps.
“Why don't you just shut the hell up?!” Sasha growls.
“Come on, man. Don’t start that shit.” Dean says warningly.
Weasel turns to Dean.
“Why don't you shut the hell up, man?!” He cries before turning back to Sasha. “Tell the street whore-“
He’s interrupted by Sasha leaping at him and clawing at his eyes; the man screams and falls to the ground, the woman slashing his face with her short nails. Y/N rolls her eyes for what seemed like the millionth time.
“It hasn’t even been an hour and I'm already sick of your bullshit!” Y/N mutters. “Tom and...Sam, was it?”
She’s looking directly at Sam, who nods at her in response. She nods back tiredly.
“Please pull them apart.”
Tom and Sam begrudgingly try to separate Sasha from Weasel; neither really wanted to. He deserved to have his eyes scratched out for talking to the woman that way.
“That's right! Back up, bitch!” Weasel screeches. Sasha struggles to get back at him.
“You’re lucky they’re here to yank me off of you!” She hisses. “Trust me, you ugly fuck, when we get out you’ll bending on over for some new buddies in prison! You hear that, you little dickhead?” She asks. “Huh? Asshole!”
“What you gonna do?” Weasel asks. “Bitch!”
Tom and Sam finally separate them.
“Hey! Hey! Okay, man. Nobody takes shit from nobody.” Tom says, turning back to the door with his crowbar again. “We've established that. Now everybody shut the fuck up.”
“You don’t tell me to shut up!” Weasel snarls. Tom’s eyes darken, and the pair suddenly start yowling at each other again. Ignoring them, Y/N struggles to hear...clicking?
“Shut the fuck up!” Y/N snarls. Everyone continues arguing-that is, everyone aside from Crowley.
“What do you hear?” He asks, voice low enough that no one can hear him aside from her.
“I hear a ticking-“ Y/N mutters. Suddenly she leaps back from the wall, catching the attentions of everyone in the room. “Fuck! Fuck!”
As the other players watch, three of the four walls around themstart to slowly inch their way closer; it doesn’t take long to realize that the three were meant to meet. Everyone begins panicking as the walls squeeze together.
“The fuck do we do?!” Weasel shouts. Holly is just crying. Sam and Dean are pressing on the walls that grow closer to them by the second, hoping to find a trigger to stop them. Rowena is stomping her bare feet on the floor desperately, hoping for a pressure plate while Crowley carries on watching Y/N. Said woman finds screws and hastily shoved them between the floor and the bottom of one of the walls in a desperate plot to save her life. Crowley, realizing what she’s doing, rushes over to Tom and Sasha.
“Shove your bloody crowbar u set the wall by Y/N!” He urges. Tom looks over to his friend and his eyes widen in realization. He practically flies over and shoved one ends of the crowbar beneath the wall, bearing down against it with all of his might. There’s a creaky series of groans as mechanical bits within said walls are forced to stop. Smoke begins to rise from between the floor and wall before it finally stops with a noisy shudder.
“Again!” She snaps, fingers bloody.
“What do we use?!” Tom exclaims. “I only had the one crowbar!”
Y/N looks around frantically before her eyes stop on Holly.
“Give me your shoes!” She exclaims.
“These are Louis Vuitton heels, my father spent a whole paycheck on these for my birthday-“
“GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING SHOES!” Y/N screeches, and Holly whimpers before doing as told. Y/N shoved the heeled ends underneath the wall. It freaks and slows, but it doesn’t stop. She looks around, panicked before her eyes land on Allen.
“Al, your belt.” She says. The man immediately yanks it off and slides it to her; she slips the sizeable belt buckle beneath the wall and it screeched to a stop. Taking her own heeled shoes off, she shoved them under a third wall then demands Sam’s belt. He gives it to her in blind faith and she shoved the whole damn thing beneath it, ignoring her bloody hands. This wall also squeals to a stop, and the door on the final wall opens with a resounding click. The group look into the dark hallway that was revealed; no one wanted to enter first. Y/N inched forward, then backed away. The other senior player's eyes widened and they followed suit. Everyone stands in the room in silence for nearly twenty minutes when the peace broke. Still barefoot, Holly storms forward. 
"I can't take it anymore! " She shrieks. "I can't wait! I can't!"
"I wouldn't do that." Y/N says lazily. Holly is practically shaking with rage. 
"No! I'm going!"
"Maybe you should listen to-" Sam starts warily, but Holly isn't having it.
"No, shut up! I'm going and you can't tell me not to!" She screams. Sam goes to stop her, but Rowena hooks an arm through his and yanks him back upon catching the warning look Y/N shot her way.
"No, Samuel." She whispers.
Sam wants to follow, but Rowena has a bruisingly tight grip on his arm and refuses to let go. Holly storms into the hall and is fine the entire time. She whips around to face the group that was peeping through th doorway.
"See?!" She screams. "I'm-!"
Multiple needle-like rods fire from the dark walls at the same time, deeply piercing her body. One slams through her skull, obviously impaling her through the brain. She repeats her final words ( "I'm FINE!" ) in a weak gurgle for a moment, physically dead but her brain still sending signals to speak. Once she goes silent, she collapses just inside the doorway. Rowena releases Sam in favor of backing up ever so slightly. Sam quietly retreats to stand by his brother.
"Move aside." Y/N warns. Everyone does as told and within a second a rod similar to the ones that had impaled Holly bury themselves in the back wall. Weasel starts screaming and everyone looks back at him only to discover one has sliced through his calf due to him only slightly listening to Y/J's warning.
"My leg! Oh, my fucking leg!" He wails. Y/N ignores him, choosing instead to pull off his shoe and throw it into the hall. Nothing happens. She smiled softly before rolling her eyes once Weasel's screams reach her ears again. 
"Shut the fuck up!" She snarls. He continued to sob behind her.
"B-B-But my LEG!" He howls, and Y/N storms over. She lifts him up off the ground by his collar.
"Shut. Up." She hisses. "Your leg was grazed by a metal pole. This pain? It's nothing."
"But-" 
"I have cut out my own appendix just to escape this fucker. Your leg is fine. Stop being a little bitch and stand the fuck up."
Weasel whimpers pathetically but does as told, afraid of the woman in front of him. The hunters and their allies in the room she the woman warily; who was strong enough to cut out their own organs? Who would be willing to?
Y/N stands up, her back ramrod straight.
"Let's move on." She says softly, cold tone having disappeared. Tom avoids her eyes as she strides towards him. "What's wrong with you?"
Her voice is empty, like she no longer has the urge to express herself in the way her voice sounds. This bothers both the Winchesters and Crowley; even his demons weren't this way.
"I miss my little girl." He mutters. Y/N's eyes soften.
"Aniyah no doubt has her babysitter or a neighbor watching her, Tom." She says gently. "She's okay. Jigsaw doesn't harm children. It's one of his rules."
" I know...I just worry."
Y/N Send a the talk African-American man a sweet smile.
"Let's move on." She says again. Her voice was kinder this time.
The group quietly walks through the dark hallway, stepping over Holly's corpse while being careful not to accidentally kick it. Allen helps Weasel walk; the junkie keeps moaning about his injury. Rowena makes her way to the front, curious about their somewhat self-proclaimed leader.
"Hello there." She says in greeting.
"Your lipstick is smudged." Is the response she gets. "You look like a ginger clown."
Rowena scowls.
"Well, I'm so bloody sorry that I can't keep my makeup on a professional level after being kidnapped by a serial killer who we are currently trying to damn well escape from!" She hisses.
"Forgiven." Rowena almost growls and falls silent. Around a minute later, she hears a chuckle. "I like you. You're adorable."
"I am not!" Rowena almost shrieks indignantly. "I happen to be a highly trained witch! I could kill you in the blink of an eye of I wanted to!"Dean
"Oh, really?" Y/N replies.
"Aye! Of course, I'd tie you up first and torture you until you begged for death, and even then I wouldn't release you from-"
"Sounds kinky." Y/N says slyly, and Rowena groans. 
 "No! It isn't a kinky thing, it's an I'll-put-you-through-severe-pain-until-you-die thing!"
"Right."
A silence falls between them, and despite their brief argument it's comfortable. The others all murmur quietly to one another, wanting to learn as much as they could about their fellows before they all died. After a moment, Rowena speaks again.
"I don’t understand-why am I here?" She asks. Y/N shrugs.
"We all have something in common." She says.
"But what?" Rowena pressures.
"I dunno." Y/N says, shrugging again. "What do you have to do with Jigsaw?"
"Nothin'!" Rowena lies almost instinctively. Y/N snorts.
"Liar."
"Well..." Rowena starts quietly. She glances back at the others before choosing to tell the truth. "My fellows and I know that he’s some supernatural beast and we aimed to kill him-"
Y/N barks out a laugh.
"Hah! There it is." She exclaims. Rowena quirks up an eyebrow.
"What?" She asks simply, confused.
"Jigsaw...he’s a different kind of monster." Y/N replies quietly.
"How so?" Rowena asks, not expecting the answer she was given. It leaves her reeling just a bit.
"He’s still fucking human."
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Original Post: Supernatural AU | Saw
Idea Credits To: @marril96
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mollymauk-teafleak · a year ago
Text
I will love you if I never see you again (chapter five)
Again, thanks and sincere apologies to my lovely beta readers @minky-for-short and @spiky-lesbian. Again, I am just so, so sorry.
Please consider leaving a comment on Ao3, it really means a lot to me!
Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
------
It had been four days, not even a full week, and Nureyev was already losing his mind.
Bianca only howled louder when he picked her up, this time right in his ear. Nureyev winced, jostling her, patting her back, feeling the anger of her flushed skin through the thin cotton of her pyjamas. He tried to fall back on everything he’d learned, everything he’d frantically researched on the long trip back from Brahma into solar planet space with an hours old Bianca curled up in one arm, everything he knew worked from times when she’d fallen ill or gotten herself in a state. But the truth was she’d never acted quite like this.
She wasn’t sleeping, she wasn’t eating right, she was acting out in a way she just hadn’t before. She’d always been so good, quiet enough that Nureyev had pulled countless scores with her strapped up against his chest in a sling, calm enough that she’d never once given them away even in situations tenser than he’d ever wanted to get her in.
But ever since they’d lifted off from the Cerberus Province, she’d been in some holy terror. There was just something about the Carte Blanche that Bianca did not like and refused to cooperate with.
Nureyev dodged a flying fist and took her over to the window, hoping the sight of the stars would help calm her down, help her realise that this was no different from their previous hops between planets, just a little longer and with slightly more comfortable accommodation. When observed through the tight circle of the porthole, it was hard to believe they were even moving, the stars not even seeming to creep past. It was like looking up from the very bottom of the sea.
But Bianca was having none of it. She only cried, sobbing ‘dada’ miserably over and over against his shirt, the silk of which was now soaked beyond saving. It was like she was begging him, desperately trying to make him see and understand.
But he couldn’t.
Nureyev held her closer in spite of the noise and the flailing, sighing deeply. He felt like he needed to apologise but when he wondered what for, so many unpleasant thoughts crowded on the end of his tongue that he couldn’t pull away fast enough, as if from a burning stove.
Thoughts like why he’d ever assumed he could do this, why he’d ever thought he could be a father. Why he’d ever thought subjecting a young child to this kind of life, essentially reenacting all the wongs that had been done to him, had been a good idea. He could tell himself his intentions were good until he was blue in the face but didn’t they all say that?
Wouldn’t Mag have told himself the exact same thing?
The name was enough to make himself start and he pushed it away, trying to force it into its box. But it was so hard, when he was so tired and empty and wrung out. He needed his wits about him to keep his mind in order, like prison guards with unruly tenants, and right now whatever wits he’d ever had were in pieces on the floor.
When it was clear the stars weren’t working their usual magic, Nureyev stood, not really knowing why but needing something to do. Perhaps a shower would help cool and soothe her or maybe a walk around the ship, though that would only make her distress echo through the halls all the more and Nureyev got the feeling his good will with the rest of the crew was eroding fast.
Except with one of them.
He’d been keeping his distance in an attempt to be respectful but it was impossible not to feel his presence like an itch. In the captain’s ridiculous family meetings, every glance the former detective stole in his direction felt like someone had flicked him on the ear. He’d stopped bringing Bianca to those things, not just because she screamed through them and made the transmission of information rather tricky but because that single brown eye kept dancing everywhere but on them, expect for those moments where he would slip. Those mistakes seemed to come more frequently than either of them would like. His secretary too, the one with the bright purple hair, would be looking too and would often glance furtively at her old boss, like she was waiting for him to do something or say something, like the silence was killing her. But Juno would set his jaw in that damn stubborn way and turn his eye elsewhere.
But it wasn’t just that, it was Bianca herself. Nureyev had assumed a month when she was so small she was barely aware of anything around her wouldn’t have left such an imprint. He’d assumed because that felt so much more sturdy than simply hoping. But every time Juno was in her eye line, she would wriggle and attempt to make escapes Nureyev himself would never have dared. She would babble and bounce and coo, even stretch her arms out towards him.
As soon as she started, Nureyev would quickly bundle her off, making some excuse out loud or in his head that no one would really believe. He’d walked away from dinners the captain had insisted he attend, strategy meetings, he’d turned back out of the kitchen when he’d needed a coffee more than he needed air in his lungs. He’d left Bianca in their room when she’d been crying, breaking his heart in the process of closing the door.
Nureyev was being a fool, in short. And on top of that, he was being a poor member of the crew. The captain had talked about them as a cohesive unit, working together to achieve the impossible, each one of them part of the chain. And he was the weak link, he was the hinge who stuck, the corner that broke away.
It was hurting his professional pride as much as it was his sense of identity. Some mornings, in the blissful few hours when Bianca’s exhaustion made her snatch a little sleep, he would stagger to the bathroom. Looking at himself in the mirror, flyaway hair and bleary eyes and no makeup, he would struggle to recognise himself.
He could look at that man and tell himself he was Peter Nureyev, but what good were the words when he didn’t have the credentials?
Back in his own mind, in the present moment with a distraught daughter chewing miserably on his shoulder, Nureyev decided it was late enough to attempt a walk, maybe take her up to the observation deck. He’d been so excited to show her the view from beneath the blown out dome of the ship, he bet you could almost believe you were completely suspended in space, floating amongst it all. Sure every time he’d attempted it for her, she’d just cried but maybe this time it would work.
Nureyev went to get her a coat, it was cold when you were surrounded by nothing but metal and the vacuum of space. Her booties too, in case she wanted to be set down, he needed to have something between her soft little soles and the grating. And of course her cat had to come…
Nureyev stopped, holding two of those items in his hand and realising he had no clue where to find the third. It must have been abandoned in the kitchen after the most recent of the meeting disrupting tantrums. Maybe once she had it back, she would calm down.
He pulled on her little coat and shoes, taking twice as long as usual with her flailing about, and went for the door, glad to at least have a goal in mind, a reason to move and make the dark thoughts chase him rather than sitting there as an easy target.
He found his momentum thrown off when he trod on something soft in the dark hallway, making him stumble and Bianca lurch in his arms. He looked down, fingers twitching towards the knife at his belt on pure instinct, and saw the very cat he’d been about to hunt for. There was a note tucked under the ribbon around its neck. Once he’d adjusted to the simulated night of the Carte Blanche, he could read the handwriting from here.
Found on the kitchen table. Thought B might be missing it- J.
Part of Nureyev didn’t want to take his foot off the thing but he did, bending and rescuing it from underneath his heel. The note came with it, as well as the knowledge of Juno’s thought, his care, his attentiveness. Everything that might be contained with those glances he gave them and all that might be behind them.
He folded the note between his fingers and put it in one pocket, wishing he could do the same with the thoughts crowding his mind. The cat he passed to Bianca, who’d been startled by the near fall and was clinging to him with tight little hands, sniffling quietly.
“Look who found us, little treasure,” he murmured, trying a smile.
Bianca looked at her cat, eyes wide and wet and bottom lip still pouched out. She reached out a hand to close around its neck, slackened by all the times she’d held it there while she slept or while she rested against him or while she threw it around happily. She held on tight, like she always did, since the one time she’d dropped it as they’d been creeping around a cathedral in search of some ancient scrolls a buyer had expressed interest in and Nureyev had been forced to break one of his rules of thieving and revisit a crime scene to retrieve it the next day.
For a moment, he actually hoped the tears had run their course and the much loved toy had been enough this time. For a moment. Namely, the moment right before Bianca threw the cat fully in his face, knocking his glasses askew and began her wailing again with renewed force.
Nureyev gave a deep, long sigh and started his walk to the observation deck, leaving the cat on the bedroom floor for now.
It had been a week now, but fortunately for everyone on board the Carte Blanche, there was only so much little lungs could take. There had to be some time, whether it was ten minutes, twenty or, if the stars were aligning, maybe even a full hour, where Bianca just physically couldn’t howl anymore. Nureyev tried to get as much done in that time as he possibly could, feeding her and himself in those snatched moments, risking journeys outside of his room safe in the knowledge that someone wouldn’t try and push them out of the airlock and have done with it. Probably the green haired medic, when he’d gone to her to ask if there was anything physically wrong with Bianca, she had looked positively murderous after his daughter accidentally caught her on the jaw with a swinging foot.
It wasn’t to say that things went back to normal when she wasn’t crying. There’d be a distance with Bianca, as her breathing would hitch and she’d tremble with the aftershocks of her tears. Nureyev would try and wipe the tears from her cheeks, he’d make funny faces and dredge up his most ridiculous voices he’d ever used for his personas, he’d tell her she was his treasure and he loved her but he wouldn’t get the response she used to give him. She’d just slump against him, boneless and sad in a faraway kind of way. In a lot of ways, it was worse than when she was filled with her fury.
But she needed food and that was something Nureyev knew he could fix. So, with the lights on the ship simulating a late dusk, he walked with her down to the kitchen. Even if she could toddle on her own sometimes, he did not look forward to the day when he would reach down to her and she wouldn’t answer by stretching her arms up towards him, hands opening and closing. Even as exhausted as he was, as much as his muscles ached, he carried her gratefully.
He was tired though. He couldn’t remember being so exhausted and feeling so helpless, not since the day Bianca was born. Even when she slept, he couldn’t, losing himself in just gazing at her, like studying her face would make it all click and he’d see how to help her. So he dragged himself rather than walked to the kitchen, not able to rouse enough energy to put on the usual straight backed swagger he’d made part of his identity. He actually slouched his shoulders, God help him.
No one else was in the kitchen which was for the best. Nureyev had grown far too used to living alone to be fully adjusted to other bodies in his space yet. And he was so tired, it was very likely he’d put a hole through his alias that he couldn’t afford.
He worked efficiently with one hand, putting together Bianca’s meal of paste of various colours. It looked entirely unappetising but his research showed it was one of the best brands out there in terms of vitamins and minerals for healthy growth. He sat down on the sagging old sofa, balancing her on one knee, the brightly coloured plastic tray on the coffee table. There was no fight in her tonight, she accepted each spoonful and raised barely a coo at his spaceship noises. Maybe she’d had enough of spaceships, living on one. And she didn’t eat as much as he’d like either before burying her face against her cat, who was apparently back in her good graces, and accepting no more.
Nureyev sighed and acquiesced, setting down the spoon, “Well, we’re going to try again in a bit...you need your energy, little treasure.”
Bianca just murmured indistinctly, the cloth cat’s ear in her mouth, the remnants of her last spoonful staining his fur orange.
He could get up and go back to his room, he should before someone else came in. But his legs were so leaden, he felt so strangely heavy and empty at once. Just a moment to let go and let his muscles slacken but of course not his hands, never his hands.
He just wanted a moment.
The next thing Nureyev was aware of was a shifting softness against him, the whisper of cloth. He frowned a little, turning his face into the pillow under his head, about to slip back into sleep, his consciousness just rising to the surface before sinking back under.
Almost. Instead it froze solid and his eyelids snapped open. Where was Bianca?
Nureyev shot upright, too fast, his vision swimming. He was asleep, how could he have fallen asleep, what sort of father fell asleep when he was meant to be awake watching his child…
When his brain finally stopped spinning in his skull, the first thing he registered was a high sweet sound that soothed his panic but did nothing for his confusion.
Bianca was laughing. She was laughing.
Nureyev whirled around to see her, sitting up on the rug, her face bright with delight, grasping up at something. Her cat, being wiggled in an odd little dance and chuntering in a silly voice. Held by Juno Steel.
He was grinning, the eye he still had crinkled in the corner with those creases that had knocked Nureyev off his feet the first time he’d seen them. He walked the cat back and forth in the air, letting Bianca grab for it, making it talk. He was dressed for sleep, slouchy faded trousers and a shirt that was hanging off one shoulder, slippers on his feet that were clearly a gift from Rita. But he’d never looked so animated, as he sat cross legged and played with Bianca.
“Gonna have to try harder than that, Chainmail Warrior, if you want to defeat this beast,” he challenged, moving it ever so slightly closer to her grasping hands, clearly ready to let her win in just a moment, before her delight turned to frustration.
Bianca giggled, seeing victory within her grasp, rising up a little onto her knees, nearly overbalancing. But if she did, Juno would catch her. Nureyev knew he would catch her.
“Bianca…” he croaked, sitting up further. He realised there was a blanket over him, a blanket identical to the one he’d been provided but also different. Juno must have taken it from his own bunk. Same for the pillow that had appeared under his head.
Juno jumped, as if caught red handed, turning to him anxiously. Bianca snagged the cat when he wasn’t looking, hooting loudly in excitement, though her face dropped quickly when he didn’t praise her immediately.
But she followed his gaze, realised Nureyev was watching them and only smiled the brighter, “Dada!”
This is how it could be, Nureyev thought, some part of him that had been in control when he was asleep, if she was ours rather than mine. I could be waking up and looking at them both and seeing love in their eyes, being theirs…
He slammed that door shut as fast as he could mentally make himself move. He needed no more scars.
“Uh, sorry...Ransom,” Juno still looked guilty, like a kid caught in the middle of doodling on his desk, “You weren’t asleep for long, promise, I came in just as you were nodding off and decided you could use the rest so...so I was just keeping an eye on her. I was gonna put her back and walk away after an hour so you could wake up and…”
His eye slid down and Nureyev followed. Where Bianca’s tray of congealing food had been, instead there was a plate of food, the same pasta dish he’d seen Juno make for the rest of the crew but had always turned away before he could even offer some to him. It was still steaming and smelled good enough that his stomach woke up.
“I would have done it, it’s just I thought it should cool down and we could play a little longer and...sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you…” Juno had shrunken in on himself, seeing his explanation wasn’t getting listened to, bracing himself for more anger.
But Nureyev couldn’t find any. He shook and kicked every box, trying to wake some up but there simply was none. Which meant he could only feel sad and that hurt so much.
“Apologies, Juno,” he eventually said, voice a bad imitation of his usual self, “That was a lapse on my part and…thank you for stepping in. I’ll take Bianca now.”
Though he hadn’t received the blow he’d been expecting, Juno still looked forlorn at that, “I don’t mind keeping an eye on her while you eat? When’s the last time you did that, I’ve never seen you actually-”
Stop it, please stop it. Don’t do this to me again, Juno Steel.
“Ah yes, very kind of you,” Nureyev burst out over him with false cheeriness, the only shield he could gather at such short notice, “Perhaps later, come Bianca…”
He lurched up, realising in the back of his mind that the smell of Juno’s skin would cling to him for who knew how long and what was that going to do to him, and reached for his daughter. She only looked sorrowful, eyes darting between him and Juno, beginning to whimper.
Juno groaned, dropping his voice, “Nureyev…”
Don’t, not again, not again…
He shook himself, starting to find some of that anger but at who he couldn’t say. He moved forward and plucked Bianca up off the rug, muscles already tensing like an animal ready to run. He was halfway turned, Bianca was halfway to another meltdown, when Juno spoke, voice barely a whisper.
“What can I do to prove I won’t hurt you again, Nureyev?”
He froze, the only sound left beyond the constant soundtrack of the creaking ship being Bianca’s stuttering pre-cries. His voice sounded so lost, so quiet. Heavy, like someone who knew exactly what they’d done wrong and couldn’t see a path away from the person he’d been. But still trying, still groping for some sunlight.
Please, Juno Steel.
“I don’t know,” he eventually whispered.
He wasn’t looking but he felt Juno sag, felt the fight go out of him. He heard him get up, with a muted groan at some old ache in his limbs. He heard him walk up behind him, saw him come into view, the bowl in his hand.
“Please take it,” he sighed, holding it out towards Nureyev’s free hand, “Eat something. You look like death.”
After a pause and half a hundred petty, vindictive actions quickly dismissed, Nureyev took it.
“Thank you,” he said in a quiet voice. He’d gone hungry far too many times in his life not to take food when it was offered with good grace.
Juno just nodded, still looking even more hurt than when Nureyev had exploded at him. He leaned in, kissed Bianca’s forehead and his eye dared the thief to deny him. He did not.
“Night, Bee Bee, don’t let the bedbugs bite,” he murmured, managing a smile for her as he patted her cheek. It fell away immediately when he raised his face back to Nureyev, “Goodnight, Ransom. We’re on that job together in two days, remember, the auction? Don’t fancy going in with a partner about to faint. So get some sleep.”
Nureyev’s heart sank at the thought but he didn’t let it show on his face, “Of course. Who do you think I am?”
Then he did smile for him, a sad and tired kind of smile with no sincere humour in it, “I know who you are, Peter Nureyev. I mean it, get some rest.”
He turned away first so Nureyev wouldn’t have to. Juno Steel was full of mercies tonight, it seemed. His footfalls echoed down the corridor even after he was out of sight, only disappearing with the click and thunk of his own door opening and closing in quick succession.
Bianca, no longer about to cry, only pressed into him and mumbled softly, a collection of muddy syllables that weren’t quite a word yet. But when they were, the word would be mama.
Nureyev straightened himself and shifted her slightly so he could hold her more securely. However much sleep he’d been able to snatch let him run around and force a lot of it into boxes, filing it away, reordering his mind. Maybe the time would come to open them again but the time certainly wasn’t now.
There was the job. Zolotovna’s auction and the Gilded Globe of Reaches Far. And there was all the preparation that came with the job, the busy hours, sitting on his bed combing through his comms on sites that were never meant to be accessed, the crafting of a seamless personality, all while Bianca played contentedly on the floor or sat in his lap just like old times. There was the work, the chance to prove himself. The chance to feel like Peter Nureyev again.
Juno Steel would have to wait.
As much as he’d missed her, Nureyev had to admit, rather guiltily, that he was glad Bianca was sleeping when he returned from the auction. He was exhausted and he was glad of the opportunity to just sit down and kick his shoes off, rub his aching feet and turn the events of the night over in his mind. With one hand resting tenderly on her sleeping shoulder, he tried to examine the ache inside himself with a distant eye. Unsuccessfully, every time he leaned in, it would reach out and take hold of him and he’d be unable to deny it was a part of him. He could try and shake it off but it would only spread and cling harder.
He had come so close. There was no pretending it hadn’t happened, Nureyev had considered it. Signing himself away, agreeing to whatever Zolotovna would have asked of him, his pride and place on the team and even his sexuality be damned. Just to have things be easy. He told himself firmly that of course he’d have made Binaca part of it, he’d have come and collected her first, he’d come so close because of her. He told himself that and under no circumstances would he press further, far too afraid of what might be beyond that.
But he hadn’t. Because he’d looked at Juno from across the ballroom, looking like one of the most distant, most beautiful stars had come loose from the sky and decided to attend the party, and he’d thought again of everything they could be. And he’d remembered who he was. He wasn’t Monsieur Dauphin, he was Peter Nureyev.
And he’d come home.
Bianca yawned, turning over in her sleep, her dark curls spreading around her face like she was underwater or floating in space. Rita had been watching her while they were at the party and said she’d been a dream, falling right asleep twenty minutes before they came back. Nureyev tried to just be grateful.
“Well done,” he murmured to her softly and he’d repeat it when she woke up, “Well done...Bee Bee.”
It was worth a try. It was a pretty cute name, actually.
Nureyev leaned in and kissed her forehead, just as a knock came on his door. Still dressed in his elaborate, expensive suit from the auction, just barefoot, he decided he was decent enough and went to open the door.
Buddy stood in the hallway, looking relaxed as ever, as if she’d been anticipating their success all along. She didn’t even greet him, just looking past his shoulder into the room, smiling softly at Bianca.
“She really is a peach, isn’t she?” she hummed with all of the familial pride of a grandmother, which Nureyev had always found a little presumptive but it wasn’t in him to argue tonight, “Mind if we have a talk, Ransom? Come in the hallway, I wouldn’t want to wake your little roommate. We all know what would happen then and everyone’s ear drums are only just finished healing....”
Nureyev frowned. Maybe he was in the mood to argue. But he did as she asked, closing the door gently behind him.
And they talked. Well, mostly Buddy talked and he listened, both as Ransom and as Nureyev. But sometimes it was good to listen. He had the feeling he’d not been doing that enough lately.
When the captain left him, it was a few moments and a few deep breaths before he went back inside. Bianca still slept soundly, hugging her cat to her chest, face buried in it’s fur. Nureyev smiled and wondered if she dreamed of stars.
He’d only managed to take off his tie and his jacket before the second knock came. This one he’d been expecting.
Juno Steel had taken off his dress and clearly showered, judging by the way his hair sat a little flatter than usual, but the remnants of glitter still dusted his cheekbones, catching the simulated almost dawn. He wouldn’t get that out for weeks. And he still wore one set of the earrings, studs in the shape of stars, looking simple on their own without the rest of the gold that had dripped from his ears all night. Had he forgotten they were there or did he just like them and wanted to keep them? Suddenly Nureyev’s heart was aching to know.
“Uh, hey...Ransom,” Juno looked awkward and so different, with it all stripped away. But he still sounded the same, “Can we, ah...talk? I know you weren’t ready before but it feels like we...ought to.”
“I agree completely,” Nureyev said simply, closing the door behind him.
“Now, before you slam the door, let me...wait, what?” Juno blinked, starting a little, “What did you say?”
Nureyev took a breath and steadied himself, “I agree that we should talk. And I also agree that I didn’t want to before though I’d say you’ve put it very charitably. I was...not kind to you, Juno. To say the very least.”
Juno still wore the expression he’d had in the split second before he’d gone over on his heels on Zolotovna’s red carpet, “I mean...after what I did to you and...and Bianca…”
“That was a mistake,” Nureyev shakes his head, pushing his glasses up his nose with his forefinger, a nervous tic he’d thought he’d trained himself out of in his teenage years, “A mistake with motivations and I’ve made far too many of those myself to judge you as harshly as I have.”
Juno shuffled from one foot to the other, “I...I just want to show you I’ve changed, Peter. And I know that sounds hollow the second time around and I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to but…”
Nureyev cut him off with a hand, “The last time you hadn’t changed, you were the same lady who left me in that hotel room.”
“And...and now?”
He bit his lip, making himself look into his dark eye, reflecting the gold on his cheeks like they were still in that ballroom but now with their own names and their own faces, “And now…”
That was when the third knock came. The one neither of them had been expecting. The one so loud it was impossible to pin down the source, so loud each of them felt like it was coming from inside their skulls. And then came the tearing.
Screeching, screaming metal erupted around them and both of them were thrown as the ship tilted dangerously. Nureyev felt himself cry his daughter’s name but it was lost in the shuddering wrenching, the burst of pain as the back of his head connected with the left hand wall and he lost his vision for a few moments. It wouldn’t have made sense anyway, the axis of the universe lurched sickeningly so his feet were above his head and the ceiling was the floor. The only thing that did make sense was the strong grip on his arm, his one anchor.
It didn’t last forever, the Carte Blanche eventually settled, shuddering like an animal in pain as it rocked back to the position demanded by its weight distribution. The back of Nureyev’s head felt wet but it was a far away, detached part of his mind that noticed that. Everything else was focused on one thing.
“Bianca!” he shouted, pouncing for the door, wrenching it open while the same untethered part of his brain wondered why it seemed so heavy when it didn’t before.
Yawning, sucking, hungry emptiness. His eyes saw nothing but blackness, peppered with stars, raw edges of a room that wasn’t there any more, simply gone like something had come along and taken a bite out of the ship.
No…
Familiar, strong hands yanked him back and the door closed, “Nureyev, you can’t!”
And then he was fighting, all semblance of composure and cool gone, screaming his daughters name, screaming for Juno to let go, he had to get her, he had to go save her, why didn’t he see?
And that floating, detached voice murmuring that it was too late, it was far too late. She was gone.
“Nureyev, we’ll figure it out, we’ll figure something out, I promise, but you can’t go out there!” Juno shouted, never once slackening his grip, taking every blow and scratch even as blood trickled from the corner of his mouth and his lip swelled. Had the crash done that? Or had he?
Don’t stop, don’t listen because then comes the realisation, the truth, that’s when you break.
There were echoing footsteps coming towards them, multiple sets, Buddy barking orders, Rita mumbling fretfully, Vespa snarling.
It was only Jet’s voice that mattered, cutting above the rest.
“It was a drone,” he projected his voice out, not shouting, he never shouted, “I saw it from the cargo bay, an unmanned drone. It took her.”
Nureyev stopped, laser focused on him now, eyes still wild but sharp, “What did you say?”
Jet didn’t flinch, even when confronted by a man half insane, “Your daughter, the drone took her. It sealed her inside itself then tore the room away as it disconnected. The intention was likely to make you think she was dead.”
Nureyev felt the panic pressing against his fury, threatening to break through and render him useless, “Where is it going? Where?”
“That I cannot say, it had no identifying features,” Jet continued implacably, “But it was a short haul vessel, built to travel no more than a day. Wherever she is being taken, it is not far.”
“Then there isn’t a second to waste,” Buddy jumped in immediately, eyes hard with determination, “Check the security tapes, every single angle, there has got to be something about that drone that we can identify. Contacts on nearby planets, I want eyes open in every seedy port where someone would take something they didn’t want other people to see, every smuggler’s den. If someone has any favours owed, now is the time to call them in.”
Nureyev tried to follow along, he swam towards the actions, the need to move and do and fix. But he was drowning in images of Bianca, sobbing in terror, crying out for him, trapped behind cold glass and adrift in space, not knowing if he would come and save her. And he didn’t know either.
That was when the universe tilted again, this time in total silence, as he sank to his knees, fists clenched tight on the metal floor, the grating digging impressions into his skin. His eyes burned and his vision swam and his lungs were inert in his chest, unable to take in any air. All he could hear was his daughter crying.
But then there were those hands on his arms, that stabilizing, firm presence by his side. Juno’s face was drawn in agony, eye wide and fearful but still he clung tightly to Nureyev.
“We’ll get her back, Peter,” his voice was steady, despite the tears in his eye, “I promise. Whoever took her, we’ll find them and we’ll bring her home. I know we will.”
Nureyev looked at him, hands finding his forearms and gripping on tight. He recalled another time like this, racing across the Martian desert, facing the enormous maw of an ancient tomb and every horror they could imagine within. He remembered a man, so far from who he was in that moment, saying they would make it through. He’d been right, that man, and here was Juno Steel with the same fire in his eyes, making the same promise.
His lungs heaved in his chest, taking in the stale air, still sharp with the ozone that had rushed in through the open door. As he always did when things grew too chaotic to handle, he told himself the facts.
He was Peter Nureyev. This was Juno Steel. And they would bring their daughter home.
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need-a-fugue · a year ago
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Why Not? - Chapter Nine
Summary: With a garage to run and a young daughter to, well… run after, Bucky Barnes doesn’t exactly have time for dating. And with his relationship track record – and the constant meddling of a certain overbearing best friend – he’s not so sure that’s a bad thing. But then he meets Annie – a rather insistent, pretty damn cute fellow car enthusiast – and it’s got him asking himself, despite all his hesitations, why not?
Author’s Note: Written for Little Darlin’s Mystery AU Challenge. Thanks to @sourpatchkidsandacokecan​​ for triggering this… sprawling thing simply by supplying me with the prompt of Mechanic!AU for Bucky. It’s taken on a life of its own already… look at what you’ve done! 
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x OFC
Warnings: SUPER fluffy. Always some language.
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The beginning of the week – and all of Wednesday thus far – passes slower than molasses in January. Slower than a herd of turtles in a marathon. Slower than rush-hour traffic in downtown Boston. Slower than…
“Hello?” rips into her periphery, tearing her focus away from the melancholy countdown percolating in her head. “Angela,” Tony intones thickly as he glides into her small office. There’s a sly, knowing smirk brewing on his lips, his voice full of innuendo when he goes on to ask, “What has you so… deep in thought?”
“Sorry,” she mutters, straightening upright and beginning to shuffle papers back and forth erratically in an attempt to make herself look busy. “Nothing.”
A long, haughty laugh, a lingering pose by her desk, a deliberate quirk of his brows followed by a clever wink… and Annie’s done. She rolls her eyes, pushes back in the oversized office chair, and rises to leave. “What? No chitchat? No coffee klatch?” Tony almost whines as she grabs her cell and prepares to head out. “Where’s the gossip, huh? C’mon, kid, spill the tea!”
She tries – tries damn hard – to keep from laughing as he sputters next to her. But the corners of her mouth tick up nevertheless, even as she works to keep her lips pinched firmly shut.
He steps slowly over to her, looming in front of her. “Is tonight the night?” he asks with a wiggle of his brows. Then, eyes tracing down along her frame, expression setting in something akin to disappointment, “Is that what you’re wearing?”
“Tony!” she gushes, her shoulders drooping. All at once, a wave a trepidation rolls over her, pushing all of the impatience and excitement to the far back corner of her mind. She glances down at her black cropped trousers, eyes catching the hem of her flowy red, silk tank. “Wh-what’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
He shrugs. “Guess it really depends on what’s underneath.”
Wide eyes fly up to meet his smug, grinning face. “Tony!” she exclaims – for probably the twentieth time today. “How many times do I have to tell you? You cannot talk to employees about… what lives under their clothes.”
His nose twitches, lip pulling into a disgusted snarl. “I hope to God there’s nothing living under there,” he states with a snort. Annie lets out a huff and rolls her eyes yet again. “I’m just saying that there better be some lace and silk between you and those really unsexy pants if you want to get laid tonight.” He cocks his head assessingly, his posture and expression – and attention on her body – eliciting a thick, hot blush along her cheeks. “Or maybe something… edible?”
Her jaw drops, an short gasp popping loose from her chest and bringing a swift howl of laughter from her terribly inappropriate boss. “I can’t… I don’t… Why would I…”
Tony waves a dismissive hand through the air – “Relax, kid. I’m just messing with you.” – and turns on a sincere, if still jovial, expression. “You look great. He’d be crazy not to want to – ”
“Please don’t finish that sentence,” she murmurs – almost begs – as a look of humiliation washes over her face.
“Alright, alright,” he laughs out, dropping a hand to her shoulder and giving her a small shove towards the door. “You’re the one who said you had to be gone by five today. No matter what. Now look,” he intones, flashing his hundred-thousand-dollar watch in her face. “It’s 5:04.”
She huffs out a reluctant goodbye and spins to leave, doubts about her clothes – and her less than exciting underwear – clouding her mind as she meanders to the garage. But the minute she makes it to her Bronco, the minute her fingers turn the key in the ignition, one wonderful, beautiful thought spills out into her consciousness and overtakes all of the trivial worries and pesky nerves. It’s Wednesday. Finally, it’s Wednesday.
Annie spends the entire – too damn long – drive over to his place thinking about Bucky’s face and the way his stubble felt beneath her fingertips. About his lips, plump and just slightly chapped, and the way they pressed so urgently into hers. About the soft tenor of his voice – Got to spend the day with my two favorite girls – low and husky and just for her.
It is all that she can focus on. Throughout the drive out to Brooklyn. And the brief stop at the Indian place down the street, where she looms for ten minutes waiting on her order, looking every part the dreamy, doe-eyed – possibly creepy – love-struck teenager. For the several minutes it takes to gather all the food – and the bottle of wine that Tony had gifted her this morning – precariously in her arms. And for the too long trudge down the block – because parking is miserable out here – and up to his door. She is positively fixated on all things Bucky Barnes.
But the spell is swiftly broken – and the silly, goofy smile she’d been wearing all day long vanishes in an instant – the moment Bucky sharply swings open the door to his apartment.
“Shit,” he groans, the single word barely audible over the piercing cries of the little girl in his arms. He spins away from the door – away from a rather stunned Annie – and gently sways Lana in his arms, soft shhhs continuously falling from his lips despite getting thoroughly drown out by her pitiful sobs.
Annie’s jaw drops, eyes blinking rapidly as she takes in the scene. The cluttered room, not yet tidied, though she’s certain he planned on cleaning up before she came. The echoing misery of a sobbing child reverberating off the walls. The shirtless specimen in front of her, his perfectly toned back rippling distractedly, each and every painfully defined muscle shifting as he cradles his baby closer.
She shakes her head vaguely – sloughing off those desirous thoughts – and steps through the door, casually bumping it shut with her foot behind her. Bucky turns back to her when he hears the click of it closing, looks at her with what can only be described as utter desperation in his eyes. Now she sees that Lana is shirtless too, wearing only a pair of pink pajama bottoms. And she smells – mixed in with the heady scent of the Tikka Masala still in her hand – the sickly tang of vomit in the air.
“Sorry,” Bucky mutters over the top of Svetlana’s head, his right hand creeping up to gently weave into her curls and tug her screaming face back down to his shoulder. “Nat’s running late. And…” A long, languid, completely depleted sigh falls from his lips before the rather obvious declaration of, “Lana came home sick.” He steps back, moving toward the hall where he carefully kicks away a small pile of discarded clothing, soft utterances of shhh and It’s okay, baby repeatedly tumbling from his mouth and into the inconsolable creature in his arms.
Annie sets down the food and wine on the breakfast bar and follows on his heels, still silent, still unsure of quite what to say.
“She just threw up again,” he breathes out, his voice a mix of frustration and sadness, a put-on gentle tone overlaying it all for his daughter’s sake. He stops at her bedroom door and turns to face Annie, sees her reaching down to collect the felled – vomit-covered – shirts from the floor. “No,” he snaps, a single, stilling hand dropping from Lana’s back and shooting out towards her. “Don’t. Just… I’ll take care of it.”
“It’s okay,” she issues out, face contorting into a closed-lip grin that doesn’t quite manage to convey the reassurance she’d been aiming for. “You’ve got your hands full.”
Lana’s cries begin to wane – if only the slightest bit – but Bucky can still feel her hot tears steadily cascading down his shoulder and chest as he offers Annie a quick nod and steps into the dimly lit room.
It hadn’t been like this all day… thank God. She had seemed fine this morning, bouncing around as usual, making it nearly impossible for him to comb out her hair and secure it into the requested pigtails. She ate her breakfast – or as much of it as she typically might – and scurried off into her pre-K classroom the moment he dropped her off, very nearly forgetting to give him a kiss goodbye. So it was a surprise to say the least, when the daycare called around noon and told him that his little girl wasn’t feeling well.
Truthfully, he didn’t think too much of it. Just asked Steve to cover for him and took off to go gather his baby up.
Now, Svetlana Barnes is no stranger to the fine art of temper tantrums and manipulative weeping. She is a four year old after all. She can cry and scream and wail with the best of them. But it’s honestly pretty rare – especially with a you know that wobbling lip won’t work on me mother like Natasha. And what’s rarer still is their tough little cookie crying in discomfort. She’s more the type to get angry when she’s tired or under the weather. And silently broody – though utterly clingy – when hurt.
So Bucky knew something was wrong when she started softly crying just as he began to buckle her into the car seat. In a breath of a moment, instinct kicked in and he frantically tugged at the buckle to release her, to pull her back out of the car and… aim her somewhere else. But by the time he realized what was about to happen, it was already too late. As soon as his fingers bent around the seatbelt, she upchucked into her own lap. He had managed to flip his hands up in time to catch most of it – and not-so-sneakily dump it off to the side of the daycare parking lot – but the very act of getting sick had turned the poor little girl into a wailing heap of flushed cheeks and trembling limbs. He wiped his hands on his pants with a disgusted grimace, shaking his head at the absurdity of it all, and jumped into the front seat, driving as fast as he felt safe doing to get his baby back home.
One bath and a too-long battle over children’s Tylenol later, and Lana had finally fallen asleep, giving Bucky just enough time to shower, change, and finish a load of laundry. But not five minutes after Natasha called to say she was stuck in a meeting and would be late picking her up – I’m so, sorry, James. I know you have plans and… Just tell her I’ll be there soon. – he heard the short, pathetic cries resume.
He tried to get her to the bathroom in time, but no such luck. Less than an hour before Annie was set to arrive – and she was always early for everything – and he and Lana both were covered in vomit in yet again. Not that any of that really mattered when he had his despondent little baby cradled so tightly in his arms, her steady weeping ripping through to his very soul.
“Shhh,” he tries again, patting her warm, sticky back before reaching down to open a drawer, grabbing a clean T-shirt and tossing it out onto her bed. The only light in the room is from the early evening sun filtering in through the edges of the closed blinds, and from her pale yellow monkey night lamp off in the corner. He slowly lowers himself into the old rocking chair near the door – the one that used to be his mom’s… used to be for her to soothe him and his little sister all those years ago – and hikes Lana a little further up his chest, guiding her head down to his shoulder once again. “I know, baby,” he utters absently, one hand slowly swiping along her back, the other softly petting at her sweaty hair as he begins a methodical rock. “I know. It’s okay.”
From the hall, Annie can hear his tender whispers only vaguely. But that almost makes it worse… harder to take in. The softness in his voice, the subtle desperation, not only breaks her heart, but makes her feel terribly out of place. Like an interloper in this sad, sweet moment. She finishes gathering the soiled clothes and pops them into the washing machine next to the bathroom, next to Bucky’s bedroom. The door is wide open and she chances a glance in, sees the neatly made bed, smiles softly to herself, and then realizes all at once that this may well be as close as she’ll get to that bed tonight.
She slowly saunters back to Lana’s bedroom, looming listlessly in the doorway for a moment, watching as Bucky’s hulking shoulders lean back into the small wooden spindles of the rocking chair, tiny fingers grasping at his flesh. He rocks with a slow, practiced rhythm, like he’s done this dance a hundred times before. Of course he has, she thinks to herself, rolling her eyes. He’s a father.
Tony’s words from the other day come back to her, urging her to consider whether or not getting involved with a dad might be too much. You’ll never come first, you know. The utter truth to those words, and the frightening simplicity of the all-too-obvious statement, cause her gut to clench.
He didn’t call to cancel, she reminds herself. He didn’t text to say not to come. He didn’t turn her away when she arrived either. She may be on the outside looking in at this moment in time, but at least she’s here. Can’t that be enough?
A knock at the door rips her from her reverie, her eyes shooting down the hall for a beat before veering questioningly over to Bucky. Through the dimness of the room, he locks onto her curious gaze and gives a gentle nod, a silent command – a plea – to help him out by seeing who it is.
She hurries down the hall and pulls open the door to find Steve, a sweet, almost nervous smile splitting his face when he sees her. “Hey, Annie,” he intones, stepping blithely into the apartment. He’s several paces in before he spins back to face her. “I am so sorry about this. Nat got caught up at the office… she should’ve been here an hour ago. I know you and Buck have plans.” He ducks his head meekly in apology. “He was really… excited about it.”
A fleeting trill of elation shoots up her spine – he was really excited – before swiftly flickering away. “No, no, it’s nothing,” she mutters, winding her arms tightly around her middle. “I just feel bad for Lana.” She ticks her chin towards the hall – “They’re in her bedroom.” – and heads over to the living room to start picking up, absently tidying to both pass the time and quell her nerves.
He gives a nod of thanks and disappears down the hall, breathing out a soft, “Hey there,” as he steps through the doorway to the little girl’s room.
Bucky looks up at him with weary eyes, never stopping the slow, steady rocking nor his gentle stroke up and down his daughter’s back. “Hey,” he says simply, his voice rumbling though his chest and into Lana, causing her to stir.
She rubs her face sleepily into his him, warm tears and saliva causing a slick beneath her cheek as she turns to see Steve lingering in the doorway. He ducks his head to make eye contact, offering a small, crooked smile before stepping into the room and dropping to one knee by the rocking chair. “Hey, bud,” he says, reaching out and swiping at the sweat-laden hair sticking to her forehead. He tenderly nudges it from her face, letting his thumb drift down to wipe away a thick, salty tear track. “Heard you don’t feel so good.”
The sobs had all but stopped, leaving only small moans and shuddery hiccups in their wake. But still, it seems it’s too difficult for her to speak, nothing more than a short nod and sniffle being offered to her uncle as he flattens his palm on her cheek to test her temperature.
“She puked in the car when I picked her up,” Bucky mutters, the hand atop her back now moving in a rhythmic pat to help quell her hiccups. “Got her cleaned up and into bed… then she blew again about twenty minutes ago.”
Steve cringes in a sort of awful solidarity. Then he raises a brow, teasing glint in his eye as he leans back and looks assessingly at the pair before him. “And judging from the lack of clothes, I’m guessing she nailed you?”
He releases a dejected huff. “Both times.”
A small laugh spills from his lips and he leans in close, locking onto Svetlana’s dull blue eyes. “Well, buddy, what do you say? You want me take you back to mommy’s? She should be home real soon…”
“She was supposed to be here a fucking hour ago,” Bucky seethes as he presses Lana’s head back down to the crook of his neck. He feels her hot skin slide along his and lets out a small hiss. “Probably time for more Tylenol.”
That gets a bit of a rise out of her, tiny limbs pulling together to push back on her father, form writhing as she struggles and whines out, “Nooooo,” in a hoarse, pathetic tone that very nearly breaks his heart.
He looks down at her as she pulls away, raises his brows in a listen to your father way, and says simply, “Yes.”
The tears start up again, her face twisting and reddening. And she leans further away, tilting over the arm of the chair as she reaches pitifully out for Steve. “Oh, poor baby,” he intones thickly, reaching for her as well. He easily scoops her up and out of her father’s lap, giving Bucky a shit-eating grin over the top of her head as he rises with the sweaty, crying, clingy girl in his arms.
Bucky merely gives a tired – and thoroughly annoyed – eyeroll in response. “You’re really gonna make me be the bad guy?” he asks, letting out a small, exhausted groan as he hauls himself up from the rocking chair.
He swipes the little blue T-shirt off the bed and turns to tug it on over the top of Svetlana’s head – quite a feat as she hangs onto her uncle for dear life, desperate to stay as far away from her father as possible now that he’s promised more medicine. He finally works both of her arms in and pulls the shirt down her clammy back.
“C’mon,” he sighs, side stepping Steve and heading into the kitchen, assuming he’ll follow.
Lana doesn’t see him grab the bottle of liquid Tylenol from the counter, but the moment Steve pivots to pluck her coiled form from around his chest, she senses what’s coming. And she blows a gasket, the soft, stifled cries rising quickly into vicious, ear-splitting screams.
“Baby, you’re gonna make yourself sick again,” Bucky laments loudly as he tries to speak over the shrill, deafening sobs. More than a hint of impatience spills out of him as he takes hold of her arm to keep her from turning back into Steve, tugging a bit harsher than he wants to as she continues to struggle against him. “There’s no reason to get so damn worked up.”
Steve gives her a little bounce and tries to look down at her, tries to make eye contact with the wild, thrashing creature. “C’mon, bud. You choke down some medicine now and we can have cookies back at home.”
Bucky drops her tiny arm and gives his friend an incredulous glare over the top of the little girl’s head. “You’ll regret doing that, I promise,” he tells him with a raised, warning brow.
Steve offers little more than a dismissive shrug before giving Lana a quick, tight squeeze and saying to her, “You know how mad mommy’ll be at me if I bring you home without any medicine in you?” She wildly tosses her head back and forth, a no and an I don’t care in one frantic gesture. “What if she yells at me?” he asks in an almost desperate tone. He gives her another light bounce and ducks his head to capture her gaze, offers a teasing sort of smile as he asks, “What if she hits me? You don’t want that, do you?”
Bucky snorts loudly from his side, but holds back his own sarcastic response, noting that Lana’s cries are diminishing as Steve continues to beg for her help.
“You could be saving my life, pumpkin,” he says with a thick – faux – sincerity. “Just take a teeny, tiny bit of medicine so mommy doesn’t hurt me.” A full, pouty lip juts from his face, the sides of his mouth tugging down into an overdone frown. “Please?”
She shakes her head again, a mighty pout of her own pulling across her countenance. But it’s obvious that she’s too tired to keep fighting. Finally placated by her uncle’s ridiculous pleas – and maybe a bit by a very real desire to keep him from getting in trouble – she drops her temple to his chest and looks up at her father with weary, red-rimmed eyes.
He gives her the liquid Tylenol, glides a thumb over her disgustedly pursing lips to wipe away the remnants, and bends over to drop a lingering kiss on her warm forehead… even as she whines and tries to pull away.
Steve catches the worried, sad look washing over his friend’s face as he straightens upright, his voice dropping into a low, tender tone as he tells him, “She’ll be alright.”
He nods – “Yeah, I know.” – never removing his desolate gaze from the flushed little face in front of him. “I know,” he repeats with a sigh.
“We’ll call you later to let you know how she’s doing.”
“Yeah,” Bucky mutters again, finally looking up at Steve and breathing out a long, pained sigh.
“Don’t worry,” he tries again, adding on a carefree smile for good measure. He glances over at Annie, her arms laden with the toys that she’s picked up from all over the apartment, and his grin grows wider. “You two just have fun. Really. We’ve got this.” He ducks his head, dropping his nose to Lana’s sweaty curls. “Right, buddy?”
She doesn’t respond, opting instead to tightly pinch shut her eyes and crumple her face in that way that both men recognize as near sleep. Bucky grabs the small, already packed backpack from the sofa as they head for the door, handing it over to Steve and leaning down to kiss Lana goodbye a final time. “I love you, baby,” he whispers to her, surprised when she mutters a love you back at him before twisting further into Steve’s hold and being whisked out the door.
Annie finishes depositing the toys in their rightful cubbies before turning to look at the forlorn man across the room. “I…” she stutters for a moment, eager to break the sudden, heady silence. She clears her throat and steps out from behind the couch, moving slowly towards him. “Is there anything else to throw in the wash? Her sheets, maybe?”
He turns to her – just as she sidles up next to him, her considerate words heavy on the air between them – with the most pitiful expression she’s ever seen grace that handsome face. His deep blue eyes look shadowed and hazy, dark bags already forming beneath. And his lips part just slightly, ready to talk, yet painfully silent.
She’s about to speak again, to ask if he’s alright or if he needs anything. Or – the awful words bubbling in her throat like thick bile – if he’d rather she just left.
But the moment her mouth bobs open, he lunges forward, grabbing hold of her and spinning her round, thrusting her back so that she’s pressed against the closed door. His hands grip at her biceps for just a fraction of a moment before shifting up to grab and tug and simply lose themselves in her long, thick hair. A short, strangled breath catches in her throat as their teeth slam almost violently together, lips twisting and pulling and nipping as she lets herself get lost in the desperate kiss.
Then, all at once, just as she’s about to wrap herself so completely around him – run her fingers through his hair, grip tight to his still-naked shoulders, trail her nails down his perfectly chiseled back – he pulls swiftly away. “Sorry,” spills from his lush, swollen lips as he slowly backs away, gaze averted, hand now tugging at his own hair before sliding down in his face in utter frustration. “Shit,” he groans languidly. “I’m… I’m sorry.”
She wants to say, no. To refuse his apology and tell him that there’s no reason to be sorry, no reason at all. She wants to laugh at him for thinking that something like that could ever require an apology. Hell, in this precise moment, she wants to leap forward and climb him like a fucking tree. But all she does is remain – cemented to the spot, legs now wobbly beneath her – stiffly silent as her back gathers sweat, even while firmly pressed against the cool wood of the door.
“What…” he sputters out amid a crazed sort of laugh. He tugs at his hair again, looks up at her with wild, almost startled eyes. “What the fuck are we doing?”
A loud click reverberates between them as Annie finally slams her gaping mouth shut, teeth clanging together. His expression shifts, just a bit, changing from manic and alarmed to… amused. “I think we were… kissing,” she utters, almost a question.
And he can’t help but laugh. “Yeah,” he breathes out languidly, shaking his head as he does so. “Yeah.”
She steps forward, finally finding her legs – though, admittedly, they’re still more than a bit shaky – and blurts out, “Do you need help?” a little more enthusiastically than intended. “I mean… cleaning up… or…”
He waves an absent hand through the air, avoiding her gaze once again. “No, doll,” he intones gently. “No, I got it.”
“I really don’t mind,” she says, sidestepping him and moving into the kitchen, her entire body buzzing as she flits around, putting things away – Tylenol, cereal, a container of Pedialyte – not even registering the fact that she somehow seems to know just where everything goes. There are a handful of dishes in the sink, soaking in now-cold, sudsy water, and she flips on the faucet to begin finishing them up, reaching out for a sponge on the side of the sink before having her hand stilled by his. A small gasp escapes her as he moves closer, presses his chest into her back, leaning forward enough to pin her hips between the sink and his warm, muscular frame.
“Don’t,” he whispers into her hair as his wide-open palm stretches over the back of her hand. His fingers wind with hers, knocking the sponge loose as he reaches around from the other side to turn off the water. He pulls her hand to her side, wrapping both of their arms across her middle, his left dropping to almost violently grip the edge of the sink. She stills before him – beneath him – feels his hips press her further into the counter, a dull pressure building in her abdomen. His forehead drops to the base of her skull, his breath hot on her neck and back, seeping through her hair, as he utters again, “Don’t.”
“Bucky,” she chokes out, his name catching in her chest.
He holds her close for just a moment more, tightening his arm around her middle, stepping close enough that she can feel him growing hard as he continues to press firmly into her. He nuzzles at her hair, breaks through the thick, dark curtain with his nose and lazily trails several soft kisses along the ridge of her spine… up and down the center of her neck. Then he lets out a long, deep breath and simply steps away.
The moment he moves, she’s left feeling cold, the sudden absence of warmth at her back sending a swift shiver throughout her body. She spins to look at him, sees him once again run a nervous hand through his hair, a sheepish flush blooming on his cheeks. “You’re not going to apologize again, are you?” she asks, somehow managing to level her voice and raise a teasing brow despite the lightheaded thrill that still pulsates through her.
“No,” he chuckles. Then with a shrug. “Maybe.” He looks up at her, locks his bright blue eyes onto hers and shakes his head slowly… regretfully. “This isn’t how I wanted tonight to go.”
She steps forward – just a bit, nervous hesitation stunting her movements – and she asks, “Isn’t tonight just starting?”
“Annie,” rumbles out of him, equal parts longing and chiding. “You’re probably gonna get sick just being here.” He too takes a halting step forward, just close enough that he’s able to reach out and tuck a lock of hair behind her ear. “I don’t want you to get sick, doll.”
“I don’t really want that either, but…” She gives a casual shrug. “I’ve already been exposed, so…”
A crooked smile splits his face, head ducking almost bashfully for a moment. “This kind of thing,” he mutters, shaking his head once more, “it happens, you know? It happens a lot. Kids get sick. Or hurt. Or they… throw tantrums. And they… ruin plans.” He sighs, lets out the smallest chuckle, and steps back to lean into the refrigerator… to lean away from her.
“Are you saying our plans are… ruined?” she asks, more of a bite to her words than intended.
He raises his brows and lets out a long sigh. “You gonna tell me all of this gets you in the mood?”
“Not this,” she blurts out fervently. “But…” She waves a hand out in front of her, gesturing vaguely at him… at his shirtless, beautiful body. And at the hardened length still swelling in his jeans.
He lets out a small laugh before letting his gaze simply linger on her face, on the bright blush still coating her cheeks, washing over those beautiful dimples. But he doesn’t step closer, nor does he reach out.
The longer he lingers – still and silent – the easier it becomes for her to see that, as much as he seems to be struggling to tear his eyes away from her, he’s not planning on approaching her again. Bitter frustration roils in her gut and a low groan slips from her lips as her eyes roll dramatically back, an irritated expression designed to mask her absolute disappointment.
He blows a tired breath out of his nose, nostrils flaring as he finally forces himself to pull his gaze away from her, directing it to the floor, back to the other room, to his hands as they nervously fist and knot in front in of him. Anywhere but her. “This is so… stupid,” he mutters, annoyance leaking from the words. “I mean… we shouldn’t have to have this conversation now. Not now… when we’ve only been on a handful of dates… fuck,” he chokes out. “We haven’t even fucked.”
Her lips split open, ready to speak, but it takes a moment for her to form the words, mouth bobbing aimlessly as she shoves down the response of, we could just take care of that last part now. Instead her brows twist curiously together, head cocking confusedly to the side as she asks simply, “What conversation?”
He finally looks back at her, but his expression is so dramatically changed, eyes no longer hooded with lust, but darkened with a sort of profound sobriety. “Kids,” he bleats out with a shrug, unfolding his hands and shoving them into his pockets as he goes on to ask, “Do you want kids?”
“Well, yeah,” she breathes out easily, puzzlement still painting her face.
“Now?” he asks, raising a brow to drive home his point.
She doesn’t respond, not immediately anyway, because truthfully the answer is no. Of course she doesn’t want kids right now. She’s just getting started in her career. She only just met him. It would be crazy. But isn’t it also a little bit crazy to be asking her that right now? To be asking… like this?
Her face slowly hardens, eyes narrowing a bit as a wave of involuntary anger rolls over her. “Are you asking me if I want to be Lana’s mother?” she asks, tone drenched in sarcasm. “Because I thought Natasha already had that covered.”
“I’m being serious,” he tells her in a deep-set tone to match his words.
Her hands drop to her hips, a brutally defiant stance – which, admittedly, she rarely wears – popping out full force. “So am I.” He rolls his eyes in annoyance, and the flippant gesture sets her blood to boil. “What? I can’t be with you if I’m not willing to be a mother right away?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Did you ask Steve if he was willing to be a father?” She shoots back, the words spilling out of her before she gets a chance to think them through. “Because I was under the impression that you were pissed as hell with him for just trying to be!”
“I’m not…” he sputters before pinching his lips firmly shut, a look of pure annoyance settling over his now stern face. “He’s being a parent right now, whether he wants to be or not. Because he has no choice. If you live with a kid…”
“I didn’t realize we were that serious,” she snipes. “Are you asking me to move in?”
“Damn it, Annie, I’m trying to… I just want to…”
“Have that conversation,” she finishes for him, no question to her voice.
“Yes!” he exclaims, pushing off the fridge and pulling up to his full height – shoulders stiffly set – as he stares down at her. “Is that so wrong?!”
“Okay, fine. Let’s do it,” she nearly snarls at him. “How ‘bout you?” A single, questioning brow rises high, her voice shifting into a mocking tone. “Do you want more kids?”
A startled silence fills the room, Bucky’s face taking on a lost quality for a long moment before pinching tight, his posture slumping as he breathes out, “I… I don’t know.”
“Oh,” she intones with a self-satisfied smirk. “You don’t know? Or maybe you just haven’t thought about it, and now you’re being put on the spot in the middle of a… heated discussion? Are you finding that these sorts of questions are difficult to answer?” Her head cocks to the side, faux-sincere frown pulling as she goes on to ask, “Maybe a little unfair?”
“Yeah. I get it,” he spits out. “I’m just trying to explain…”
“Bucky,” she sighs in frustration. “I’m not an idiot. I know that getting involved with someone who has a kid means a whole… plethora of other things. Other responsibilities. And… annoyances. And the truth is, this conversation… these questions… they’re important. I know that. But…” Her shoulders bounce up and down in a sort of desperate shrug. “I don’t know what you want from me here. I… I like you. And I like Lana. And I am… willing…”
His own shoulders drop, the righteous air being swiftly taken from his sails. “I just don’t want…” He looks up at her and smiles… a sad, distressed smile. “I really like you,” he admits, the words tumbling out in a single, low breath. “But if this isn’t gonna work… if you can’t…” His head once again begins that slow, deliberate pivot to-and-fro.
She steps closer, hands finally falling from their stiff posture at her hips. “Have I made it seem like I can’t?” she asks, taking another small step towards him. “Or like I don’t want to try?”
“No,” he mutters softly. “But… it’s a lot.”
She shrugs, “Maybe,” she admits, pulling up closer and issuing out, voice breathy and low, “But maybe I think you’re worth the trouble.”
He glances up to find her mere inches from him, “Annie,” falling from his lips in a coy sort of warning.
She leans closer, her breath hot on his skin, nose grazing his stubbled cheek. “I know you had a really rough day, Buck,” she intones, barely a whisper. “But Lana’s okay with Steve and her mom. And you… you’re okay here with me.”
He pulls back a bit, looks down at her with questioning – imploring – eyes. The way she gazes back up at him – full of reassurance and comfort and… certainty – sets his heart to stutter, causes his breath to catch in his chest.
“Fuck,” he mutters vaguely, the single, heady word echoing thickly in his own ears, voicing his trepidation, covering his excitement. He reaches up to take hold of her face, both palms pressing into her still-burning cheeks, thumbs dipping briefly into those perfect dimples as her growing smile presses into him. “Fuck,” he repeats with a chuckle before dropping his lips to hers and letting himself simply… fall.
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