When someone asks me how bad my headache is at its worse, I tell them that if someone offered me $1,000,000 to have this headache, even just for a few hours, I wouldn't take the money. That's how bad it is.
And they'll reply, "Oh, you're exaggerating. It can't be that bad."
Yes it can, and it is.
Believe people's pain.
very few characters actually have adhd in media, and when they do, what people mean by that is just that they fidget a lot, not that they have adhd. the only character with adhd I can think of where I’ve watched/read it and I’ve gone, “oh, this character actually has adhd” is Jake peralta from Brooklyn 99. so, here’s my take on how to write adhd, with examples from Brooklyn 99.
I’ll do the best I can to separate them into three categories; the three things people look for in adults with ADHD, which are rejection sensitivity dysphoria, an interest-based nervous system, and emotional hyperarousal.
I’ll also randomly bold and italicize bits so people with ADHD can actually read it.
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, or RSD
Rejection sensitivity dysphoria makes people with ADHD overly sensitive to criticism, even if they perceive a rejection and there actually isn’t one. Their emotions are also very strong generally. Because of RSD, people with ADHD become people-pleasers and can develop anxiety because they’re so eager to please.
For me, RSD makes me cry an embarrassing amount for any little reason. in your writing, make your characters overdramatic, criers, and/or people-pleasers. They’ll have trouble saying no. They may also be over competitive, as their perceived rejection may include losing.
how does Jake show this in b99? When Jake comes up with a catchphrase and Rosa says it’s terrible, jake is far more hurt than he should be. He hates losing, and he gets overly upset whenever someone says they don’t like him or don’t trust him, etc. he’s also a people pleaser who has trouble saying no.
An interest-based nervous system
An interest-based nervous system includes hyperfocuses and an inability to pay attention. It stems from the fact that we can’t make as much dopamine as neurotypicals. This means that while neurotypicals get dopamine after completing a task, people with ADHD don’t. That means that people with ADHD don’t have any reason to do tasks, especially those they don’t like. This leads to executive dysfunction—people with ADHD will know they have to or want to do something, but they can’t seem to do it.
people with ADHD hyperfocus on things that bring them dopamine. I was obsessed with warrior cats for three years. But hyperfocuses can also last a short amount of time—I’ll have a drawing idea in the middle of class and won’t be able to concentrate on anything else before I finish it. this is where our impulsiveness comes from. we can leap into things we think will give us dopamine without thinking, which can lead to injury. We also tend to tell people personal things they don’t want to hear because of this, and don’t have very good boundaries. We sometimes say whatever comes into our head, which can also result in us being rude on accident. Our voices can also get very loud or we can interrupt people frequently because we’re so impulsive. When people with ADHD hyperfocus, they can forget about anything else. I’ll forget to eat if I’m busy reading a Wikipedia article about feminism in the 1850s, and won’t go to the bathroom or drink water either. It’s also important to note that taking away distractions doesn’t help, because we can do things like pick at our skin and daydream—something that people with ADHD do a lot of. Because of executive dysfunction, people can call people with ADHD lazy or irresponsible.
people with ADHD can also be extremely indecisive because ADHD affects our executive functioning, and making decisions requires planning and prioritizing, and task initiation, which are both executive functions!
people with ADHD also have poor memory for important things, but tend to remember random bits of trivia. Poor memory leads to object permanence problems, which means people with ADHD can forget to call a friend back for weeks, forget that they need to read library books in a closed cabinet, or forget that the vegetables they got will go bad. People can sometimes say that people with ADHD don’t care about anything because of this.
people with ADHD can also be prone to depression because of under or overstimulation. Boredom feels painful for people with ADHD. If we’re overstimulated, we can experience sensory overload—if things are too bright or too loud, if too many things are touching us at once—often it’s not because the thing is too intense, but because too many things are happening at once.
We also have something some people call dolphin brain, where we jump from one thing to another. From the outside, it looks really random, but I find that when I’m talking to another neurodivergent communication is generally easier. For instance, someone with ADHD might see a bee at a baseball field and tell their team about the time they saw whales at seaworld because their little brother was also stung by a wasp there. people will see no connection on the outside, but it makes perfect sense to the person with ADHD.
people with ADHD can also be overachievers, either because they hyperfocus on schoolwork or their RSD makes it so that failing at something isn’t an option. people with ADHD can also be very controlling and stubborn, probably because we hyperfocus on something and cant handle it being any different, and any change to our plans can be seen as rejection.
we can also have a hard time ordering our thoughts or doing stuff like math in our head. a lot of the time I number my thoughts like, 1. this reason, 2. this reason, etc. even if theres only two or sometimes I just need the 1. as a transition for my brain. when I don’t write it down or organize it like that it feels like I’m trying to grasp ropes that have been covered in oil (it’s not going to happen) and then my brain gets all jumbled and I have to restart at the beginning. this is probably just me, but it feels the same way when I’m reading long paragraphs of something uninteresting, or even short bits of historical documents because the way they phrase things is really pompous and hard to process.
also, stuff like caffeine calms us down and helps us focus. people who don’t take medication (me) often drink coffee or caffeinated sodas to focus.
another random tip, but if your character with ADHD also is genderfluid or genderflux, they might have a hard time figuring out their gender sometimes, because we can be known to have a hard time putting our feelings into words or our brains will just go, “nope, not thinking about that right now” and move on, which can be pretty frustrating.
people with adhd also have a trait called time blindness, where we have no idea how long something takes and therefore can’t manage our time very well. this often results in us being late or just sitting around the house because we got ready way too early.
we also have something called consequence blindness—we do things and are completely unaware of the consequences. if I don’t brush my teeth, I get cavities. but I don’t think about that when I’m deciding I’m too tired to brush my teeth.
in b99, jake regularly stays up all night solving cases and watches documentaries on random topics. He’s also very distractible—when they’re trying to find the person who sent Captain Holt death threats in the train yard, Jake says he and captain holt should take a train trip together sometime. Jake says that he’ll forget Amy if they don't work together because he’s like a goldfish.
This is the only thing people tend to include when writing characters: the fidgeting. People with ADHD tend to need more stimulation than others, so we’ll do things like draw during class and chew on pens.
people with ADHD can also have apd, or auditory processing disorder. we tend to watch shows with subtitles on and may take a second to process what you’re saying, or hear it wrong. The subtitles thing may be partially do to creating just the right amount of stimulation, but if I don’t have subtitles, me and my other friends with ADHD will watch tv with the volume turned up very high. People with ADHD also can have a hard time interpreting other people‘s tone and have a hard time controlling their own. They can be bad at social cues and have poor manners because we don’t pick up on that stuff.
people with ADHD also tend to observe everything or nothing at any given time, mostly based on the amount of stimulation they have—if they dont have a lot in their main task, they’ll need to take in something else at the same time. Likewise, if I’m hyperfocusing on something I often don’t notice anything else, like if someone asks me a question.
in b99, Jake fidgets with things a lot. In the intro, he’s picking up and examining a figurine on his desk, likely because he was bored with paperwork or some other task.
Chapter 2 of Latch
Summary: Just when you thought you'd never see him again, there he was. You've got him questioning things he thought he would never have to deal with.
Pairing: Firefighter!Din Djarin x fem!reader (no y/n)
Series content: modern AU, firefighter!Din, coffee shop AU, fluff, slowish burn, sexual tension, mentions of fire/burning buildings, mentions of burn injuries/scars, eventual sexual content (will tag for specific chapters), falling in love, Din is a sexy firefighter, you’re a cute barista/baker, sweet and spicy, eventual mentions of abandoned children (will tag for specific chapters), some bits will be from Din’s POV but most is from reader’s
Notes: So sorry this took so long my loves; I've been out of town and away from all my fics! But here is chapter 2, and I truly hope you enjoy! Please let me know what you think!
Thank you so much for all the support for this story! Lots of love to you all! ❤️
Taglists under the cut; let me know if you'd like to be added/removed!
Din was pacing around his apartment. Mental contemplation plagued the course of his entire day. He was going to do this anyway, why did his brain’s doubts have to be so loud?
Should I go? Would it be creepy? What do I even say? What if-
Several scenarios played out in his mind. Questions and concerns ran a marathon around his consciousness. But one thing did not change: he wanted to see you again. And when Cobb had waltzed into the station the day before with everyone’s coffee orders and said he saw you working at Cal’s, he found out there was a sure-fire way to do so.
But what would he do if he actually came face-to-face with you again? Would you even want to see him? You’d been stuck in his mind since the day you came to the station. He wasn’t sure why, and he had to find out. And now he could. It’d be stupid to toss away this chance, he thought to himself.
With a sigh he ducked his head into his bedroom and looked around. It was dark, the bed half-made and the crib against the back corner. He peered at it — the little lumpy figure within was still and silent.
Good, he’s still asleep.
He nodded to himself and gently shut the door, whipping out his cell and pulling up a contact before pressing it to his ear.
“Hey, sorry to call you on your day off. There’s somewhere I need to be, is there any way you could watch him for just a couple hours?”
He listened with bated breath before sighing with relief.
“Thank you, Luke. I’m giving you double for this.”
Din shrugged the first jacket he could grab over his shirt and felt his pockets for the essentials: wallet, phone, and keys were all accounted for, and Luke’s check was in hand. Minutes later, the doorbell rang.
“Thanks again for coming,” he said as he stepped aside and invited Luke in.
“No problem, Mr. Djarin, is he asleep?”
“Yeah, I put him down not too long ago.”
Din toed on his shoes and gave Luke a few more details, along with his payment.
“I won’t be long. Call me if you need anything.”
He gave Luke one last nod before leaving.
Din didn’t register flying down the stairs to get to the parking garage. Or getting into the car and driving downtown. Or parking in a small lot down the street from Cal’s.
He did take in the light of the setting sun and the sight of the buildings surrounding him, which blocked out the golden glow from below and reflected it from above. The sight was lovely, though it did little to calm his mind. He shivered against a small chill in the air — or maybe that was nerves.
Din clenched and unclenched his hands within his jacket pockets as he got closer to the door. What if you weren’t even working right now? What if coming here was a mistake and this whole thing was about to blow up in his face?
He stopped and took a deep breath. It’ll be okay, he said to himself. Just go inside.
Without giving his mind any more room to talk, he gripped the door handle and walked in.
Any anxieties he was holding before melted away the second his eyes found you. He couldn’t hold back a grin as he took in your face and glowing eyes, your growing smile illuminated by the setting sun.
You were stunning.
You couldn’t help staring. He’d been taking over your mind for days. You thought you’d never see him again.
But here he was. Right in front of you. Staring into your eyes with his own fiery, gorgeous gaze, and speaking to you with that sweet, deep tone. For a moment the world around you vanished. All you could see was Din. Butterflies erupted in your gut, flying through your every nerve.
The faint sound of a timer dinging in the kitchen behind you pulled you back to Earth. You cleared your throat and glanced at the cash register.
“What can I get started for you?” you squeaked. You cursed yourself for sounding so small.
He didn’t speak right away. His eyes were a bit wider, stance more stiff, when you looked back at him. He looked at the menu above your head, Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed.
“Um… a macchiato?“
His skeptical tone made you grin.
“Okay, one macchiato — for here or to go?”
You glanced at him to see him smiling at you. That cute little quirk of the mouth that was the perfect companion to that honey-sweet gaze. You got to work on his drink, trying to maintain your breathing while your heart began to race. Din wandered from the register to the adjacent bakery display, eyes scanning the contents.
As you finished up the beverage and started pouring it into a mug — doing your best to create some form of art on the top — Din took a seat at the bar in front of you. When you looked up he was staring at your bandaged arms, jaw tight and brows creased. You let out a small laugh.
“Don’t worry, it’s not that bad. The doctors want me to keep the bandages on for a bit longer, but the burns don’t hurt anymore.”
“That’s good,” he said. It was so soft; if you were any farther away you wouldn’t have heard it. A small pout made its way to his lips. Your heart fluttered at the sight.
“Here we are,” you said while placing the mug into a saucer and presenting it in front of him. “One macchiato.”
He thanked you and wrapped his hand around the mug. His grip made it look puny, like an espresso cup. You bit your lip and looked up at him as he took the first sip. You quirked your head as you watched his expression. His brow shot up as he set the mug down.
“It’s great,” he said with that signature small grin.
“Oh good! That’s the first macchiato I’ve made, I’m glad it turned out okay.”
“Seems like your talents are pretty vast.”
You let out a nervous laugh as heat filled your cheeks.
“I don’t know about that.”
“Well,” he started, “I actually don’t really like coffee. But I like this.”
“Wait — really?”
He nodded and took another sip. A pleasant sense of curiosity entered your thoughts.
“So you just decided to try something new tonight? Out of the blue?”
His eyes didn’t leave you as he shrugged and said,
He took another swig of his drink. You got lost in his eyes again, their deep hue painting your line of vision in its likeness until it was all you could see. There was that sensation again, of those eyes dissecting you atom by atom, learning about every facet of your composition. Under any other circumstances, with any other person, this would feel like an invasion of privacy. But not with Din.
Why did it feel so good?
You can’t just be staring at him like this, you scolded yourself. Say something!
“I-um,” you cleared your throat. “I’m happy to see you, we didn’t really get a chance to talk when we met at the station.”
His smile grew a bit. He tilted his head to the side.
“Well, I’m-” he cleared his throat, “-I’m yours now. What should we talk about?”
Something about him saying those words in that tone of his voice made your knees buckle under you. Slightly raspy, yet full and deep. A bit nervous, but with sincerity and just the right amount of softness. Heat rippled through every nerve in your body. You bit your lip with a small shrug.
“I don’t know,” you said with a small laugh, “is there anything you want to talk about?”
He shrugged back and gave you a once-over.
“Tell me about you.”
You forgot who you were for a moment while your heart squeezed. This unbelievably handsome man, who has a fascinating job and saves lives on the daily, wants to know about you? You searched your brain for any interesting facts to give him.
Luckily, he saved you some trouble with a question.
“Have you always been a book person?”
“Yes,” you said with a grin. “I have always loved reading. I grew up going to the Mark; working there was a dream come true.”
“‘The Mark?’ That’s cute.”
Your face got hotter. He didn’t call you cute, but why did it sound like he did?
“Yeah,” you breathed, ”that’s what we call it for short. Do you read much?”
Din took another sip before answering you. You tried not to stare as he straightened up and took a breath, making his broad chest puff out in the most flattering way.
“I used to. But it’s hard to find time now, and sometimes it’s hard to keep my focus on a book.”
“I definitely get that.”
“But I do enjoy learning. I, uh, watch things mostly.”
“That’s really cool,” you started, “what sort of things do you like learning about?”
You were grateful the conversation had steered in his direction. You were even more drawn to him than you had been before, and the feeling only grew as he told you more about himself. He went on to briefly tell you about some documentaries he’d watched recently, many of them revolving around astronomy and mechanics. His sentences were short and to the point, as if he were worried about saying too much; you egged him on with questions along the way, utterly absorbed in hearing him talk. You rested your elbows on the counter to lean in closer.
“That’s amazing, I always fall asleep when I try to watch a documentary.”
“Really?” he chuckled.
“Yes, I’m not kidding! Even if it’s something I want to watch and learn about, it just happens anyway.”
His little laugh was contagious. Light and airy, a beautiful ricochet in your ear canal. You could listen to it for hours.
As the conversation went on, he guided it back to you. You told him more about you: how long you worked at the Mark, what books you liked the most, gave answers to questions he posed along the way. The two of you jumped to other topics after that with ease. Even as you took his emptied mug and washed it out there was no lull or interruption to your flow. You loved it.
“Did you bake anything that’s in the case right now?” he asked.
You glanced at it before coming back to your spot in front of him.
“I made the muffins, but that’s it. My main responsibility today is the coffee.”
He leaned back and gazed at the row of the day’s offered muffins: poppy seed, chocolate chip, double chocolate, blueberry, and honey.
“Which ones do you like?”
“I’m usually a sucker for the chocolate chip. But the honey ones are also good. Though Kuiil is better at making those than I am.”
He tilted his head as he looked back at you. You smiled.
“Kuiil is my boss. He’s the Senior Baker here.”
Din looked back over and gestured to the display.
“Could I get one of the honey muffins?”
You looked between him and the display a couple times before jolting yourself into action. While pulling out one of the muffins for him, you tried to suppress your grin. The possibility that he only ordered a muffin because he knew you made them had your heart soaring on cloud nine. You made sure to pick out the fluffiest one for him.
“This one’s on me,” you said as you plated it and presented it to him. He shook his head.
“I insist,” you pushed it closer. He tilted his head forward and raised a brow with a sigh.
“Fine,” he said with a slight roll of the eyes. “Thank you.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled something out.
“I am going to tip you, though.”
He held a bill out to you. You replicated his eye roll and reached for it, trying your best to stay composed when your fingers brushed against his. You started walking over to the tip jar by the register.
“Hey, hold on,” he called, “that’s for you.”
You stopped in your tracks with a sigh. You turned back around. He raised both brows at you, head bowed. You couldn’t resist it. You scoffed and pocketed the bill.
“Well, thank you.”
He nodded and started on his muffin. His expression softened again, just as it did when he tried your brownie. He looked up at you while he chewed, eyes bright and sparkling. You smiled as he finished his bite and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He breathed your name with a shake of his head.
“You’ve done it again.”
You tried so hard to hold back your glee. This was far from the first instance of someone complimenting your baking skill, but it was a different sensation coming from Din. Your heart was filled with a renewed sense of pride after hearing his praise. Not to mention how beautiful your name sounded on his lips — how right it felt to hear. You ran your lips between your teeth and wrang your fingers together.
“I’m glad you like it.”
He smiled as he continued to eat. You busied yourself with some cleaning, if only to hide your face as it grew even hotter. You thought about what you could say that might help ease the tingles in your veins.
“So,” you started, “if not coffee, what do you usually drink?”
“Sometimes I’ll have tea, but I mostly just drink water.” Din said. You perked your head up and returned to the counter in front of him.
“Might I recommend the black mango tea? As someone who doesn’t typically have tea, I love that one. Sometimes I’ll pair it with the pear ginger-” you mimicked a ‘chef’s kiss’ gesture- “excellent.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said with a point to his head. “How about you, what’s your go-to drink?”
You thought for a moment.
“I like hot cocoa. From here I really like the white chocolate version, but I’ll drink any kind.”
“Nice,” he said with a nod. “Sweet and comforting, it’s a good choice.”
He stared into your eyes again. You smiled and met his gaze.
The brown of his eyes reminded you of the cocoa you loved so much: warm, bright, deep, sweet, senses of delight and belonging engulfing your being.
You cursed the ringing of the front door as a customer walked in. You excused yourself and helped them.
Even as you took the order and rang it up, your mind was still drowning in those eyes. Din’s eyes.
Your brain did not register the movements of your body preparing the order, but they did pick up the tingling sensation of a gaze flicking towards you. As you filled a to-go container with the finished drink, you turned to glance at Din.
He was mid-bite. His eyes went wide before he looked away from you, cheeks glowing pink while he nibbled at his food. You giggled.
The customer thanked you after you handed off the drink. A tiny skip accompanied your step as you planted yourself in front of Din once more. He’d finished his muffin already; you eyed the empty plate with a smile.
“It was really good,” he said.
The yellow lights of the café grew brighter as the sun continued to set and the natural light dimmed away. You and Din continued your back and forth while you cleaned and straightened up the counter space. You were amazed at how easy it was to talk to him, especially given your first impression of him. He wasn’t very expressive, but with those eyes, he didn’t need to be. It was as if he could speak with a look alone.
As the hours passed and the buildings outside began to shine with neon light, Din checked his watch with a furrowed brow.
“Oh- I didn’t realize how late it was getting-“
He looked up at you. You did your best to hide your disappointment at the thought of him leaving.
“Need to get home?” You asked.
“Yeah,” he said with a sigh. “Thank you for tonight.”
“Thank you for coming in,” you said with a smile. “I’m so glad to have seen you again.”
He tilted his head at you, lips twitching into a grin.
“As am I.”
Din’s mind buzzed with delight, playing back moments with you as he drove home and made his way up to the apartment. For every sentence he could’ve said better, there was an accompanying image of your face that ebbed away his anxiety.
He came through the door to find Luke on the sofa, baby in his arms. He gave him a skeptical look.
“Someone looks happy,” he whispered.
Din brushed him off as he toed off his shoes and took the baby into his arms.
“Nope, he woke up for a little bit, but after a diaper change he fell asleep again.”
“Thank you again for coming on such short notice. I really appreciate it.”
Luke shrugged and smiled at him.
“If it means seeing you this happy, I’d do it again. Have a good night, Mr. Djarin.” Luke walked up and gave the baby’s head a gentle pat.
“And good night to you, Grogu.”
Din replayed Luke’s words while he saw himself out. Did he really look that different? He cast the thought aside and looked down at the bundle in his arms, whose big brown eyes were slowly beginning to open.
“Hey, kid,” Din whispered. He smiled at the wide grin that split Grogu’s face. Din walked over and sat in his armchair, gently rocking Grogu in his arms.
“Did you have a good sleep?” he asked, ticking Grogu’s tiny chin, eliciting an adorable little giggle.
“I missed you.”
Grogu grabbed onto Din’s finger with both of his little hands. Din’s heart clenched in his chest. Grogu quickly grew drowsy once more, eyelids drooping while still keeping hold of Din’s finger.
“I hope you had fun with Luke, kid. I had a nice night, too.”
Din looked up at the ceiling, mind wandering back to you. Portions of your conversation continued to play back in his mind, each one accompanied by more glittering images of your smile. The taste of the macchiato and honey muffin you’d prepared with your own talented hands lingered on his palette.
Would he order coffee again? Probably not. Next time he’ll remember that he was expected to actually buy something going into a place like Cal’s, instead of just ordering the first thing he saw in his anxious state. But it was worth it this time.
He let out a sigh and grinned. What a nice night, indeed.
The next day, you were gathered at Nico’s for another update about the Mark. You all sat at the bar while Rita was working behind it, Karga filling you in on what he’s been up to.
“Now about the contractors — I’ve got some good news, and some tricky news,” Karga began.
“Thanks to Tom over here and his viral video, we’ve gotten a lot closer to the fundraising goal.” He gave Tom a pat on the shoulder. “We’re now short about a thousand bucks. Much less than what we were originally dealing with.”
You smiled and looked around at your colleagues. Rita returned your expression.
“The tricky thing is…“ Karga sighed before continuing, “we might need more than we originally thought.”
He went into the details of his meetings with the contracting companies. Two of them had given him estimates much higher than what he expected, and the third proposed an interesting deal.
“If we can provide some manpower of our own, they’ll take the job at a discounted rate — one we can afford. They would obviously do the more important parts, like foundation, insulation, and plumbing and electricity, but there’s more leeway with the less technical areas.”
“Karga, are you suggesting we help build?” Rita asked.
Karga gave her a look and raised his brows. That was the only confirmation any of you needed.
“That’s kind of wild,” you said, “to let a bunch of random, untrained people rebuild a commercial building? Are we even allowed to do that?”
“I mean, the building permit from the city doesn’t have any restriction that says we can’t,” Karga said, “but we obviously can’t do it alone. We’re going to need more muscle. So I made some calls and we’ll see what I can come up with. Otherwise we’ll need to come up with more money to cover the full cost.
“In the meantime, if any of you have any ideas, send ‘em my way. We’ve got a little over a month to sort this out.”
After wrapping up the update, Karga moved on to a lighter subject.
“How’re you all holding up?”
“Eh,” Rita said with a shrug, “just more of this for me.”
“Same,” Tom said, “took more shifts at City Hall and started babysitting my nephew.”
“Good,” Karga said with a nod. “I’m glad you all are still taken care of.”
He turned and called your name.
“What about you? How’s Cal’s working out?”
“It’s actually been great,” you started with a grin. “I’m liking it. And there are plenty of open shifts so I won’t have a shortage of hours.”
Karga clapped your shoulder.
“How about you, boss?” you asked, “you’re still taken care of too, right?”
His smile grew dimmer.
“I’ll be fine. Got some saved up, plus once we put all the steps together for the shop, I’ll pick up some work for myself.”
You glanced at Rita, then across to Tom. They didn’t seem any more convinced than you were.
“Are you sure?” Rita asked, a new softness in her tone.
“I swear I’m fine,” Karga said, “would I lie to you all?”
“To potentially keep us from worrying, yes!”
He sighed and ran a hand down his face.
“Rest assured, if I end up not fine, I’ll be upfront about it. Okay?”
You held out your hand.
“Gotta shake on it.”
He rolled his eyes before shaking your hand.
“There. You all happy now?”
The three of you chuckled before moving on to a new topic.
“So, catch me up, how’s working at Cal’s?”
You and Harley finally found time to get together later that week. You hadn’t seen them since they brought you home from the hospital. The two of you sat at a table in a little restaurant, waiting for your lunch orders to arrive.
“It’s really good,” you started, “I wasn’t sure if I would like it but it’s actually been really fun.”
“That’s great!” Harley said with a grin.
You told them more about your coworkers, and the skills you’ve been learning. They listened, asking questions along the way.
“Any interesting customer encounters yet?”
Your mind immediately went to Din. Heat filled your cheeks.
“It’s funny, Cal’s is right by the fire station so I’ve seen quite a few firefighters come in.”
Harley’s brows shot up.
“Ooh, anyone you knew from your visit?”
The image of Din’s face remained in your head.
“Yeah… one of the guys I talked to came by the other night.”
You fixed your gaze onto the table while you tried to squish the flock of butterflies taking over your gut, and tried to slow down your suddenly racing heart.
“Girl- you okay?”
Your head snapped up. Harley chuckled.
“Your face is so red right now.”
You placed a hand on your cheek -- it was burning up.
“C’mon now, don’t hold back, what’s got you so hot and bothered?”
You sighed at Harley’s teasing tone.
“My dear, please, it’s nothing,” you insisted.
Harley was not convinced.
“Wait, was it the guy who saved you? The one you told me about — with the pretty eyes?”
You squeezed your eyes shut as your face got even hotter, the embarrassment of the moment consuming you whole. Harley let out a small gasp.
“Tell me! Tell me what happened!”
You buried your face in your hands with a groan in an attempt to compose yourself before giving Harley the details of Din’s visit. You finished with a sigh, taking a sip of your drink and itching at your bandaged arm.
“So that was it. Just a nice little visit.”
“Do you think he came by because he knew you’d be there?”
You furrowed your brow. Harley’s brows rose.
“I mean, if he’s not a coffee drinker I’m assuming he doesn’t go into coffee shops often. And he just happens to waltz into Cal’s?”
“It’s right by the station,” you reasoned.
“So he came to a place near work on his day off? Just for a drink? Do you know anyone who even breathes in the direction of work on their day off?”
You were grateful for the waiter showing up with your orders right then, giving you a moment to digest Harley’s points.
“... Cobb did come by the day before…” you murmured, “Maybe he found out through him.”
Harley pointed at you with their fork before digging into their meal.
“Not saying it’s absolute, but it is very likely.”
“That’s just too much,” you said with a shake of your head. “Too far-fetched, I think. We don’t know for sure if it was his day off. Plus, I just don’t get what reason he’d have for coming in if not for a drink.”
Harley tipped their head down.
“Really? You can’t think of anything?”
You shook your head earnestly before taking a bite of your sandwich. Harley sighed with a smile.
“First off, I’m pretty sure firefighters work around-the-clock shifts. So if he came by, it’s pretty likely he was off. And darling, I think he’s into you.”
You nearly choked. A hand flew up to your mouth to stop anything from spilling out. Harley laughed at the display. Your face was beyond flushed at this point. You shot Harley a look, unsure of what to make of their words.
“Would you be into that?” they asked, “would you want to go out with him?”
You swallowed your bite and stared down at your meal. The idea hadn’t even crossed your mind. You’d only met the man two times, after all.
“I don’t know,” you breathed, “I’ve only just met him, it’s not something I thought of.”
Harley nodded and smirked.
“Who knows, maybe he’ll come back again. Then you can consider it.”
“Harley,” you warned.
“Just saying,” they started, “if he asks you out, I think you should say yes, considering how much you’re blushing right now.”
You sighed and felt your cheeks once more.
“But, send me your location if you do because he is still a stranger. Got it?”
You rolled your eyes.
“Yes, parent, if this random story you made up in your head somehow actually ends up happening, I will send you my location.” you spat as your attention turned back to your food.
You had an opening shift the next day. You walked through the brisk morning air, cold nipping at your cheeks. It had been a while since you had to be anywhere this early. You yawned into your fist as fatigue weighed your eyes down.
You turned the corner and crossed the street, steps slowing down as the fire station across the way came into view. One of the trucks was outside, and two firefighters were making their way into it.
You recognized Din within seconds. His image stopped you in your tracks.
He was beside the truck, seemingly inspecting its side. His brow was scrunched in concentration, his uniform struggling against the thick muscles of his arms when he crossed them over his chest.
Despite the chill in your bones, heat erupted from your heart. Harley’s words from the day before played back in your mind.
‘I think he’s into you.’
‘Would you want to go out with him?’
‘If he asks you out, you should say yes.’
You sighed. What exactly was this feeling he gave you, you asked yourself.
You didn’t realize you had been staring until he turned his head, making perfect eye contact with you. Your heart skipped a beat as his eyes dismantled you once more; even from such a distance the sensation sent a surge of electricity through you.
You cleared your throat and gave him a small wave. He looked you up and down before returning the gesture with a small nod.
You took him in for another moment before shoving your hands in your pockets and forcing your feet to continue onward.
His gaze bore into every move you made. You bit your lip at the pleasant tingle it caused.
Needless to say, you were wide awake now.
Din’s eyes did not leave your figure as you continued past the station. You were the last person he expected to see, especially at this hour. He took a deep breath in an attempt to slow his jumpy heart; it had only been a few days since he came into Cal’s, but this moment had him feeling as though that was far too long ago.
“Um… Lieutenant, you comin’ on this drill or what?”
Mayfeld’s voice broke his trance. He quickly climbed into the rig’s driver seat.
“Who was that?”
Din ignored the question and fastened his belt.
“Oh come on, you were making the biggest goo-goo eyes at her! You gotta clue me in.”
Din gave Mayfeld a side-eye before starting up the rig. He scoffed.
“I see how it is. I swear though, instead of calling you ‘Mando’ like everyone else does, I’m calling you ‘goo-goo eyes’ from now on.” He let out a chuckle. “That was a cute sight.”
Din pressed the gas a bit too quickly, making him jerk forward.
He gave Mayfeld the most innocent look he could muster.
“Guys, guys, you’re not gonna believe this!”
Din hung behind near the rig while Mayfeld ran up to some of their crewmates, mentally groaning at what was about to unfold. They’d just pulled back in from the morning drill and Mayfeld was all too eager to publicly embarrass him.
“Before we left, Mando saw this girl walking across the street and he was gone. Completely checked out!”
Fennec chuckled. Cobb looked over at Din, brows raised in interest.
Din tuned them out as best as he could, turning his back and pretending to inspect the rig’s equipment.
“No way. Who’s the lucky lady?”
Din sucked in a breath through his nose and ignored Fennec’s question.
“Oh come on, you can tell us!”
Din could hear the tapping of shoes on the cement floor. He closed his eyes and sighed.
There was no escaping this.
Cobb clapped him on the shoulder.
“At least tell me you’re not givin’ this girl as cold a shoulder as you’re givin’ us, huh?”
“Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” Cobb leaned in closer, “was it that girl from the bookstore? The one who made those brownies? You did seem a bit starstruck when you met her…”
Din stepped away and glared at Cobb. He chuckled.
“Glad to know that now, before I shot my shot.”
Din’s eyes widened, a surge of nerves erupting in his gut. Cobb asking you out? It didn’t surprise him, but something unfamiliar flooded his veins at the idea of him trying to coddle you the way he’s done with so many others. Cobb held up his hands.
“Don’t you worry, I’m backin’ off. You gonna ask her out?”
“You should,” Fennec chimed in as she joined them. “I bet she’d say yes.”
Sweat beaded at Din’s forehead as his face grew hotter. This was not a conversation he wanted to have with anyone, let alone these three. He shoved his clammy hands into his pockets.
“Really, guys, it’s nothing. I...“ he searched for something, anything, else to say,
“... I don’t even know her.”
“Then go change that,” Fennec said, “get to know her.”
Din thought back to the other night. He remembered every word that left your lips — from your favorite book to your go-to drink. But did those things count as getting to know you? It had been so long since he’d had that kind of conversation with anyone, he wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like.
“You’ll never know if you don’t try, pal,” Cobb said.
Din looked between them, and then at Mayfeld, who hung a few paces behind. He nodded.
“They’re right, Goo-Goo Eyes.”
Din shot him a glare before returning his attention to Fennec and Cobb. He shrugged. That was what he wanted, after all. He wanted to know more about you and spend more time with you. He still wasn’t sure what was pulling him to you so strongly, yet he didn’t want to question it.
But how in the world was he supposed to go about actually doing any of that?
“I’m… not very good at things like this.” he breathed.
“Just be yourself. Don’t overthink it.” Fennec said as she gave him a smile.
“Next time you see her,” Cobb started, “just casually bring up the idea of going somewhere together. You don’t have to label it or anythin’. Just two folks getting together.”
Din took a deep breath, taking in both Fennec’s and Cobb’s advice. His heart was racing at the very idea of having such a conversation with you.
“You’ve been puttin’ yourself off for too long now. It’s time to indulge a bit.”
Din stared into Cobb’s eyes. He hated that he was right. Din would do anything for Grogu, and that’s exactly what he had been doing since the little bundle came into his life last year: anything and everything.
“Nothing is more important than my son, Cobb.”
“And I respect that. But one night away from him won’t hurt you.”
Din furrowed his brow and walked towards the break room. No one called after him, for which he was grateful.
When he closed the door behind him he slumped against it and sighed. His mind began to wander.
He never had much luck with romance in the past. He frankly didn’t have much of a desire for it. A few flings here and there to relieve tension, but nothing more serious than that. And it wasn’t on his mind at all after he found Grogu.
Not until now.
And it scared him. He scratched at the back of his neck. He wasn’t sure what to do, or how to do it. Everything those three said was right, so why did this seem so impossible?
He took a deep breath. It’ll be okay, he told himself.
One step at a time.
Latch taglist: @the-scandalorian @tobealostwanderer @captain-jebi @prismaticpizza @kesskirata @sunipostsstuff @jaa1682-27 @onebrownoneblue @fangirlalexia @tortles
perm taglist: @booksarekindaneat @bluemacaron @c-a-v-a-l-r-y @whataenginerd @girlofchaos @christina-loves
Tequila (Bucky Barnes x Reader)
Summary: Every person has a soulmate. When your soulmate experiences pain, so do you, and any bruises, scars, or other markings that they get appear on your skin. Or, the story of how aliens attacking Las Vegas was the best thing to ever happen to you.
Notes: Hello! I already did a very similar soulmate AU for Sam Wilson (which you can read here), but I love soulmate AU’s so much that I decided to do one for Bucky, too! Hopefully, I made them different enough that they don’t seem too repetitive. Did I write this while I was supposed to be watching a documentary on Bach for music history? Maybe. But I think this was a much better use of my time. Hope you enjoy! (no y/n, no pronouns)
Warnings: canon typical violence, alien invasion, blood (not too much tho), car crash
WC: 1.9 k
For all of your life, you couldn’t feel your left arm.
When you started to crawl, your parents noticed you only used your right arm to pull yourself forward while your left would hang limply at your side. Your parents brought you to the doctor, deeply concerned, but when she examined your arm, she found nothing wrong. No x-rays showed broken or deformed bones, and no MRI’s showed any problems in the brain. By all medical standards, you should be able to move your left arm. You just couldn’t. Everyone hoped that it would go away, but to their chagrin, it remained unmoving throughout your childhood. You obviously knew your arm was there since you could clearly see it, but you couldn’t feel the nerve endings inside it. When you poked your arm with your other finger, you felt absolutely nothing. And weirdly enough, your family said it was always cold to the touch, no matter how warm the rest of your body was.
You had a feeling that it had something to do with your soulmate, and when you reached adulthood (specifically around 24), you were almost positive that was the reason. You often woke up with random injuries that you knew you didn’t give yourself. Gunshot wounds, deep slashes, broken bones, and large bruises were commonly branded on your skin. You were positive that if your soulmate was getting shot at every other night, then they almost definitely had some sort of damage done to their arm that affected your own. But if they had had this condition since you were born, how old were they? That was always a question that kind of weirded you out. You didn’t particularly want to be “meant to be” with some wrinkly, old person! Especially if they were somehow getting themselves into this much trouble. And now that you thought about it, none of these injuries were on your (or their) left arm. How could that be if they’ve literally been hurt everywhere else on their body?
When you weren’t in and out of the hospital with randomly serious injuries, you were quite busy cooking up a storm in Turkey, Tacos, and Tequila, your restaurant in Las Vegas. You and your best friend, Nicolás, had opened it three years ago; you were the head chef and he ran the business side of things. The two of you had talked about opening a restaurant together since you were teenagers, so both of you had moved to Vegas together after college/culinary school. Together, you found that you were an unstoppable team, and within a year of opening, you were one of the most popular restaurants throughout all of Vegas! Most times, because you were so busy, your soulmate problem stayed in the back of your mind. But every once in a while, a bruise would appear on your eye or a large cut down the length of your leg, and you would be reminded again.
Nic, as you called him, already found his soulmate. Oliver had moved in with you a year ago, and joined you side by side in the kitchen. You became almost as close with him as you had with Nic. They were adorable together, and never made you feel like the third wheel. There were some times, though, where you found yourself a little bit jealous that they had found each other so quickly, and that neither of them had ever suddenly started bleeding all over a nearly complete order of mango fish tacos.
Whenever you got a little down about it, Nic would always clap you on the shoulder and say, “You’ll find them someday. And when you do, break their nose. They deserve it for the hell they’re accidentally putting you through.”
It never failed to make you laugh. You had half a mind to do just that when you met the love of your life. You just didn’t know when that would be.
On yet another hot and dry Nevada night, you were closing up at the restaurant (or morning, you supposed, since it was nearly 1 am). Nic, Oliver, and your other employees had gone home already, so it was only you that remained. You turned off the lights and locked the door. You pushed your way through the drunken crowds and tourists on the street and made your way to your car. As you were opening the door, you could hear gasps of shock coming from the crowd of people roaming the streets. You looked up and saw an eerie flash of green across the sky, and a strange-looking, portal appeared in the sky! Shrieks of fear permeated the air as grotesque, reptilian creatures began spilling from the portal.
Frantically, you flung yourself into your car and turned over the engine, hoping to escape the clutches of these aliens. Though your apartment was in the opposite direction of the portal, as per usual, there was a decent amount of traffic, so you weren’t sure how good your chances were. But you figured you’d at least be safer in your car than exposed outside of it.
You were able to pull into traffic and weave through it fairly well, making good use of the side streets that only the locals knew about. But the creatures were overtaking the city faster than you could drive. You knew you didn’t have long before they caught up with you.
Just when that thought popped into your head, a blinding flash of light appeared in your rearview mirror. A loud bang, almost like a cannon, sounded, and through your mirror, you saw a truck hurtling toward you at breakneck speed! You attempted to swerve out of the way, but the truck crashed into your car, shoving it against a street light! The driver’s side of your car crumpled against the lamppost, and the glass in your window shattered at the contact. You attempted to cover your face with your hands, but a piece of glass still managed to make a pretty deep cut above your left eye, as well as a few pieces of shrapnel sinking into your legs. The whiplash from the contact damaged your neck as well; pain spread throughout your neck and back. All you could do was sob in agony. You had never felt this much pain in your life.
Your hand was trembling as you unbuckled your seatbelt, but you found yourself unable to leave your car! The driver’s side door was crushed, the truck was smushed against your passenger door, and there was no way you would be able to climb out of the backseat, nor lift yourself out of the broken window with the injuries you sustained. You were trapped. You waited for a little bit, until some of the chaos surrounding you died down; even in your damaged state, you knew that no one would be able to hear you even if you screamed for help as loudly as you could.
You strained your ears, and were able to hear gunfire, commands being shouted, and the hissing of these reptilian creatures. Eventually, instead of the noise of a battle, you could hear voices trying to dig people out of the rubble. Somehow, they sounded familiar, but you couldn’t place how. Well, if they were rescuing people, you figured they were your only chance.
“Help,” you screamed, “I’m trapped in my car! Please help me!”
You heard footsteps sprinting in your direction and a voice call, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you out of there!”
You watched in amazement as the truck on your passenger’s side was surrounded by a glowing, red presence, and moved out of the way! It had to be the Avengers! Who else would be able to do something that crazy? You were brought out of your thoughts by your car being dragged away from the pole, making you jump. A face popped up in your shattered window. He was gorgeous; bright, blue eyes, short, chestnut hair, and a warm smile. He took hold of the broken door and wrenched it from its fastenings.
“Hi. My name is Bucky Barnes. This is Wanda Maximoff,” the man said, gesturing back to a woman wearing scarlet, “we’re going to get you out of here, okay?”
“Okay,” you replied, relieved, “thank you so much!”
He smiled again, “Oh, it’s no problem. You should probably stay there until the EMT’s get here. Moving might make your injuries even worse.”
You nodded slightly in reply, but the pull in your neck made you groan in pain.
He winced, “Try not to move that, either. You may not be bleeding there, but I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
“Here, let me help you with that. I can at least stop the bleeding,” he offered, gesturing to your forehead and leg.
“Oh, thank you!” you answered.
He nodded and reached for some bandages he had in his jacket with his metal arm. His left arm. Suddenly, you noticed things you didn’t notice before. He also had a large cut above his left eye, in the same spot as your injury. It wasn’t bleeding, though, perhaps because of his enhancements. You noticed him moving his neck in a circular motion, seemingly to stretch it out. He had holes in his pants and small puncture wounds on his legs, in the same spots where glass was sticking out of you. Again, though, they were already healing. Could that be why you had never felt your arm before? Because your soulmate’s was metal? It would make complete sense.
“Are you okay?”
You didn’t even realize you had zoned out until Bucky addressed you. He was gently cleaning the wound on your forehead.
“Yes,” you whispered, fixated on the wound on his forehead.
His eyebrow raised, “Are you sure? You seem a little out of it.”
“I-I’m fine. I just noticed something kind of strange. I think the cut on your forehead matches mine.”
He touched his forehead, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that with the adrenaline and everything. Only got it maybe 20 minutes ago.”
“That’s when my car crashed. And you’re having neck pain, like me,” you murmured, “and your arm is metal. I’ve never been able to feel my arm.”
His eyes widened, “Really? You think we’re meant to be?”
“Maybe,” you replied.
He nodded, “It seems likely. What’s your name?”
You gave him your name and he smiled again.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a century.”
You giggled softly, “I guess that explains why I’ve been experiencing this since I was born. I was afraid you’d be gross and wrinkly.”
He chuckled, “Well, hopefully you don’t think I’m either of those things.”
The EMT’s arrived then. Bucky stepped aside and the medics removed you from your car.
As you were being loaded into the ambulance, Bucky approached you.
“How can I get in contact with you after this?”
“Just come by Turkey, Tacos, and Tequila. It’s my restaurant, I’m almost always there,” you told him.
“Okay. I’ll drop by sometime soon, when you’re better of course.”
“Looking forward to it.”
As he was walking away, you couldn’t stop the grin forming on your lips. Sure, what had happened to you today was terrible. But you knew you would heal, and now, you had also finally met your soulmate. No wonder why you were randomly injured all of the time! If today was any indicator of what the rest of your relationship would look like, though, you’d probably need all of that tequila you were selling for yourself.
Peachy: I have such bad Kaeya brain rot that it makes me MAD. Enjoy my concepts in headcanon form of a pirate AU with Kaeya! Wanna thank my tired self for clicking on that pirate documentary it was very interesting
Warning(s): Mentions of kidnapping and patching up wounds
Is this enemies to lovers? Well yes but actually no. It’s you who hates Kaeya
Y/n is part of a high-class family. Royalty if want hints of royal AU. They don’t know the life of struggles and such that other people have
Strolling and running through the streets is an escape from your posh life. Sometimes it was a lot for you to keep a certain image of yourself to the rest of the world. So you put on a hood and escape to the outside world to explore
The ocean and ships that come and go were interesting to you. Where did they go? What things did they sea see? A part of you wanted to hop aboard one of them and start fresh where ever they go
Your new life started when you were on your daily exploring day. You had a small basket of goods you bought and you were going to watch the ships go by as you munch on. A certain ship caught your eye though. It was one that you haven’t seen so you want to get a closer look at it. Of course, you were being sneaky about it since you were familiar with being mindful of strangers
While you were admiring the dents the ship had, a sack covered over your head. Leaving you blinded and you felt a hand cover your mouth so you wouldn’t shout. Everything was hopeless and you knew that you had made a grave mistake
The sack was later taken off. You could tell you were on a ship due to the swaying of it. At first glance of the people in front of you, you could tell they were pirates and you felt like getting mad at them
Let’s just say idk a group of pirates destroyed your city once or took one of your family members. We need that for that enemies to lovers element lol
Whenever one of them got close to you or tried to touch you, you backed away and if they did touch you, you made sure to be difficult. Moving around, even if you were in restraints, and attempting to bite them
A new person arrived and the few pirates stopped and waited for him to speak. His attire seemed very lavish than the others and you wondered if this was the captain
“So this is the treasure you mentioned,” The crew nodded at his words, “Well, I might say, they do seem to be quite the look of treasure.”
As he got closer at you to inspect more of you, you were tempted to spit at him. Just anything to show him to back away. The captain finds all of this amusing and laughs a little at you
"Everyone else may go now. I'll have a chat with the royal now."
Kaeya would def call you nicknames but i just used royal for this time. Some nickname ideas i had were princess or princey, little gemstone, little clam, just anything but with little in front of it, goldie, and pearl
He reassures you he won’t do anything to harm you, “Sorry for them. We usually don’t do this stuff but those few can be a little wild. Now tell me royal, what is your name?”
“As if I’d tell a pirate my name.”
“Daring I see,” The blue-haired man laughs at you, “Well little royal, I’m Kaeya. Captain of this ship and famous for my so-called crimes.”
You get a good look of Kaeya from where you are. He has an eyepatch that seems to be bedazzled with tiny jewels. A hat with the plume of a peacock coming out of it. Overall from the rumors you’ve heard of how pirate captains dressed, he seems to be checking all those requirements. He gives you a toothy grin as he looks at you, and you can see that he has a gold fanged tooth
“I think that’s enough starring, don’t you think royal? Now, I don’t really have anything to do with you. You’re attractive, I’ll give you that, but I just want you to help us get goods from your kingdom. It’ll help my ship out.”
“I won’t do anything to help you uncivilized pirates. All you do is mess with our trade ships and steal whatever you desire.”
The captain sighs at your speaking, “All you self-centered royals are given such lies about us. Breaks my heart if I’m being honest,” Fake sniffles could be heard from the pirate which makes you roll your eyes, "While you stay here you'll see past those lies."
Stay here??? You wanted out of this mess
"I demand you to let me out of these ropes and let me leave."
"Sure, but I do hope you'll enjoy the sea creatures as you swim."
Kaeya has a teasing grin that shows off his gold fang, and you stay there not being able to do anything
So there you stay on the ship as a so-called guest. Felt more like a prison. Kaeya keeps you contained in a room and surprisingly, he lets you out of your ropes. He brings you food and water to drink and stays to make sure you eat everything. Chats with you even though you sometimes don't respond
You do slowly warm up to him after a few weeks, maybe a month and a half. From hearing all his stories you see why many people chose this lifestyle. They were poor people who basically had no worth in the cities. Being part of this crew gave them a new chance at life. One they wish they had, one that you had as a royal
Since you were mostly at sea, you didn't really know what was happening in the mainlands. So you were quite surprised when Kaeya asked you to come along while getting supplies. When you questioned his motives he simply said you might want some fresh air. You decide to go out but you are cautious about everything
Obviously, you had to wear a disguise for if anyone found out you were the missing royal, everyone would go crazy. You didn’t mind it that much and overall you had fun with Kaeya. Buying snacks to share with each other and chatting the day away. Even hiding in an alleyway to escape some guards but the both of you were laughing about it
LIKE THAT SCENE IN TANGLED WHERE THEY BOTH HID FROM THE ROYAL GUARDS YEAH JUST LIKE THAT EXACTLY THAT
Before you know it, night has fallen and as you drift to sleep, you think about your life. Kaeya could’ve used you as a ransom but he never did. You could’ve shouted at the guards and shown your identity, but why didn’t you? Many questions arose thanks to this day with Kaeya
After that, you started becoming less aggro with the crew and Kaeya. You even offered a helping hand when they needed it. It was hard at first but the crew didn’t treat you as someone helpless. Showed you the ropes of everything while you stayed on board. You were turning a new leaf
Your relationship with Kaeya was different as well. Whatever flirty remarks he did towards you now seemed to affect you. Your cheeks warming up in embarrassment at some of his remarks
Whenever the crew took on another ship though, you did tend to stay away from the action. Only when they finished you would come out to help their wounds and help them with their stolen goods. They always treasure you for taking care of them during those times
Kaeya would always give you the best pieces of the jewels if he could. Would be extra when it comes to spoiling you. He says it’s because you’re his royal, he must pamper you. You just scream on the inside as he does this
You confessed to him first but did it slightly differently than just saying “I like you”. Everyone had finished pillaging a ship and you went around helping the crew. You later checked up on Kaeya who seems to have the most injuries out of everyone. A bunch of cuts around the shoulders and arms which you had to stitch up
Helping people with wounds like these was normal, but for some reason seeing so much exposed skin on Kaeya leaves you making small mistakes that Kaeya picks upon. You try to concentrate on something else instead of Kaeya
“Something wrong royal? You seem to be making some mistakes.”
Thanks to his sudden talking, you accidentally poked him with the needle. Causing a slight sound of pain from Kaeya, “Oh geez, sorry about that. I’m fine, just...distracted.”
“Distracted? How so?”
His voice is low which doesn’t help so much with your case, “Well, don’t you think it’s good to have a second in command? Someone to be by your side to take care of you maybe?”
“And who do you think would be a good person for that?”
You don’t hesitate and get on to what you've been trying to tell him, “How about me?”
Kaeya gives you a sincere smile, “I would like that. Although you’ll definitely cause a stir among anyone who isn’t part of our crew.”
You laugh at that. It’s true that if you wanted to be second in command you would help them with their raids on ships, but you saw that it would help the crew out. This whole ship has become like a new family to you and you really liked it here
“I guess I’ll change my appearance then. Maybe get an eyepatch like you.”
The both of you are laughing and Kaeya decides to plant a small kiss on your forehead, “That can be arranged for you. Although I think jewels in your hair shall look better. It’ll be almost as if you were wearing a crown.”
“You’re never going to let go of my past are you,” After all this time, Kaeya still thinks of you as royalty
“Never little royal, and that’s a promise I’ll keep.”
BONUS STUFF WITH BEIDOU CUZ I SAID SO
Kaeya and Beidou are friends you found out when you met her. At first, she kinda intimidated you, but you find out she’s loveable. She has heard of you and has been wanting to meet you after Kaeya mentioned you
Beidou kidnaps takes you aboard her ship to get to know you more. She goes on about how she has heard about you through letters that Kaeya has sent
“Has he said anything bad about me?”
“The opposite actually. He gushes about how marvelous you are and how you help so much with the crew. He adores you, really.”
You smile at the fact Kaeya talks about you, “That’s nice to hear.”
“What a shame though. I could use someone like you with my crew. How about you join my ship instead! We’ll take good care of you.”
“Thanks for the offer but I think I like where I am right now,” You politely turn down her offer
You both have a good time and later when you return to the ship, you tell Kaeya about how you shall be leaving with Beidou (joking of course). Kaeya was like “??? You’re my second in command, you can’t do this to me. What about the months/years we spent together. I’m literally your boyfriend bruh”
Kaeya did talk to Beidou about “you better not steal them away from mE”
1300 miles | chapter one | b.b.
Summary | Bucky Barnes is adjusting to civilian life, living in Brooklyn, visiting Sam in Delacroix when he can, and trying to figure out what he wants. When he meets Jo Landry, the tattooed lead singer of a New Orleans-based band, he thinks he might have found the answer. Too bad they live 1300 miles apart.
Time Frame | post-TFATWS
Pairing | Bucky Barnes x fem!oc
Rating | explicit
Warnings | mentions of combat-related injuries, alcohol use, tattoos/body piercings, coarse language, gay male character, bisexual female character, recreational/medicinal drug use (weed), pet names (doll, Sarge), smut (f/m, mutual masturbation, fingering, slight dom!Bucky, praise kink), angst if you squint but not really, and all the romance tropes/fluff because I'm a sucker for it; more warnings to come; 18+ ONLY, minors DNI
A/N | It’s my birthday, so to celebrate I’m sharing chapter one of my new WIP. This started its life as a one-shot but then my enneagram 4 brain took over and now it’s looking like it’ll be a multi-chapter short. Enjoy!
Also, feedback – comments, likes, etc. – is always appreciated, my loves.
AO3 link | 1300 miles playlist
The sun is just starting to sink in the sky as Sam and Bucky finish the latest repairs on the boat. Sam has spent the last hour pestering Bucky about things he’s missed over the last 80 years — things he needs to do, shows and movies he needs to watch, music to listen to, places to go. Bucky is considering the consequences of putting his vibranium fist through the new Captain America’s face.
“You’re telling me you’ve never been to New Orleans?” Sam half-shouts at Bucky in amusement.
“Sam, besides the airport, when would I have been to New Orleans?” Bucky sighs.
“We’re going. Tonight.” He stands up. ��But none of that Bourbon Street bullshit. I know a place,” he says.
The bar is crowded on a Saturday night, but they manage to find a table near the small stage where a band is setting up.
“I’ll get drinks,” Sam says, heading to the bar.
“Sam said he knows the owners?” Bucky asks Sarah.
“Jo and Danny. Yeah,” Sarah says. “Danny served with Sam on his last tour. Real young kid when he served. Took some shrapnel to the chest and face in an RPG explosion and got out early. He and Sam kept in touch.”
Bucky watches Sam talk to a man with a mop of curly, brown hair and an auburn beard behind the bar. From where he sits, Bucky can see a jagged scar peeking out from the top of the man’s beard over his cheek, stopping just below his right eye.
Sam returns with three beers. "Danny says hi," he tells Sarah. "Says he'll come over when he has a free minute."
"Jo around?" Sarah asks.
Sam nods toward the stage. "She's playing tonight. Danny says she's in the office rewriting the set list."
Bucky sips his beer and looks around. When they entered, there was a wave of enthusiasm as people recognized Sam as Captain America, but it seems to have died down and now no one is paying them much attention. Bucky prefers it that way, though he’s happy that people are excited for Sam.
“Speak of the devil,” Sam says, smiling and nodding toward a woman emerging from a door beside the bar marked ‘Employees Only.’ She’s wearing a loose-fitting white tank tucked into light-wash jeans cuffed just above a pair of black combat boots. Her wavy, dark hair fans out behind her as she rushes towards the stage. She's clutching a piece of paper in one hand, and the smile on her face makes Bucky's heart stutter for a moment.
Sam catches the way Bucky is watching Jo as she jumps onto the stage. He elbows Sarah and nods at the lovestruck look on Bucky's face, and they share a smirk. Bucky doesn't notice the exchange. He's too busy studying Jo. Her arms are covered in tattoos, from shoulders to fingers. When she tucks a strand of hair behind her left ear, Bucky can see the row of piercings adorning the curve of her ear. There's a gold ring between her nostrils. Bucky's seen some of the kids in Brooklyn with that piercing, but he doesn't know what it's called. He's seen plenty of women like her since moving back to New York — with tattoos and piercings and dark hair — but there's something about the combination with her green eyes and soft smile that makes his mouth go dry and his palm sweat.
He takes another sip of his beer to ground himself.
Jo picks up an acoustic-electric guitar from its stand, swings the strap over her shoulder, and plugs the guitar into a small amp at her feet. She raises her right hand in the air and sets a count with her fingers — one, two, three, four. The band starts, and Jo strums the guitar, smiling at the crowd. When she steps up to the microphone and opens her mouth, Bucky is surprised at how sweet her voice sounds. He was expecting it to be rougher, but it's gentle and warm, and he likes the way her mouth looks as it forms the words to the song.
Next to him, Sam taps his foot along to the music. Bucky can't remember the last time he saw a band play live. God, he thinks, it was before the war, before everything. He takes another sip of his beer before Sarah hands him a fresh bottle. He hadn't even noticed that she'd left the table and gone to the bar. He smiles and nods his thanks.
Sarah leans over and whispers to Bucky just loud enough for Sam to hear, as well, "You should ask her out after the show."
Bucky grimaces and shakes his head. As he told Yori once, there's a dance to these things, and he's eighty years out of practice. Plus, his last date didn't exactly go as planned.
But he can't stop staring at Jo's painted black nails and tattooed fingers as they move across the guitar strings. LOVE is written across the top knuckles of her right hand, HATE on the left. A series of lines and dots decorate her lower knuckles. There’s a snake curling around her left wrist, its inked head resting on her hand, and several large peonies cover the back of her right hand and up her forearm. Bucky wonders what her tattooed hands would look like wrapped around his cock. He also wonders where else on her body she has tattoos and what that voice would sound like when he's between her thighs. Fuck.
The band transitions into another song, and Jo's eyes land on Bucky. She's used to people staring at her, especially when she's on stage, but she's caught by the way his eyes never leave her, never wander to look at the band's female bassist or to Sarah sitting next to him. She's certain his stare could burn a hole right through her, and she wouldn't even complain. He’s fucking gorgeous.
She knows who he is, of course. She’s seen the recent footage of him with Sam in New York and read the Times article detailing his move from assassin to almost Avenger. Plus, her twin brother, Danny, was a bit of a history nerd as a kid so she’s definitely seen a Captain America documentary that mentioned the Howling Commandos. And they may or may not have hidden a fugitive Captain America and Falcon following the Accords.
Jo tears her eyes away from the super soldier and focuses on the rest of the audience. She can see Danny behind the bar, flirting with the man he's been trying to sleep with for the past two weeks. She catches his eye and smiles her encouragement between lyrics. Get his number! she tries to say with her eyes. Danny's usually pretty good at reading her mind. She doesn't know if it's a brother thing or a twin thing or just a Danny thing, but when he holds up his phone in surrender and smiles back at her, she knows he got the message.
The first half of their set ends with a crash of drums and a long guitar riff. Jo takes a swig from the mason jar full of water she keeps on stage. Her eyes meet Bucky's again as she swallows, and he licks his bottom lip. Heat curls in the pit of her stomach at the thought of what else that tongue could do.
Willow, the band's bassist, steps over and whispers in Jo's ear, “If you don’t fuck him after the show, I’m going to."
When Jo looks at her, she can see the amusement dancing in Willow's eyes. She rolls her own eyes and avoids looking directly at Bucky for the rest of the set.
After the last song, Jo thanks the crowd and helps the rest of the band tidy up the stage, unplugging amps and turning off the mics. She's still trying not to look at Bucky, even though she can feel his eyes on her.
"You have to stop staring, man," Sam whispers to Bucky.
"I'm not staring," Bucky grumbles.
Sarah laughs, "You're definitely staring."
“Here," Sam says, "I'll introduce you." And before Bucky can protest, Sam is waving Jo over. "Josephine," Sam says, hugging her.
"Samuel," she returns, smiling. "Congrats on the new gig." She punches his shoulder lightly. "Better you than that John Walker douchebag," she says. Bucky snorts, and she catches his eye and smirks before turning to Sarah. "Hey, Sarah." They exchange pleasantries while Bucky tries to get his tongue to turn back from lead.
Sam points at Bucky, "This is—"
Bucky stands. "Bucky. Barnes."
Jo smiles and shakes his gloved hand. "Jo. Landry," she says, matching his cadence.
Sam was right. Bucky can't stop staring at her. This close, he can see there's a bit of gold in the green of her eyes and a slight gap between her two front teeth. She smells like sandalwood and citrus and just a little bit like pot.
Jo returns his stare. His five o’clock shadow doesn’t hide the dimple in his chin, and she briefly imagines pressing her lips against it. She’s trying to name the exact shade of blue of his eyes when Sam clears his throat.
She’s not usually so easily flustered by attractive people, but Bucky's blue eyes and chiseled jaw have done a number on her self-control. “Let me grab a drink,” Jo says, turning quickly.
“No need,” Danny says, appearing in front of her and handing her a glass. He leans in and whispers in her ear, “He’s cute.”
“Please fuck off,” Jo hisses in return, widening her eyes at him. She’s only half-serious, and Danny knows it. It’s a twin thing.
When she looks at Bucky again, he’s smirking, and she wonders if enhanced hearing is a super soldier trait. Bucky pulls out the fourth chair at the small table for her to sit, and Jo can't remember the last time someone did that for her.
"The show was great," Sarah says, grabbing Jo's attention.
"Thanks," Jo replies. "Took a while to get back to it after…” she snaps her fingers but doesn’t finish her sentence.
"You were snapped?" Bucky asks.
Jo nods. "Yeah. You?"
"Cheers," she says sarcastically, raising her glass in a toast. She shakes her head again and pushes her hair behind her ear. "Five years just," she holds her hands open, "gone. Danny was still here, holding all this together by himself."
She tucks one leg under the other, and her knee bumps Bucky’s beneath the table. When she moves to pull her knee away from his, he places a gloved hand on her thigh, holding her leg in place.
Bucky surprises even himself with this move. He hasn’t been this forward with a woman since an auburn-haired nurse in Italy during the war. With her, it was all hands and mouths and skin on skin because he was certain he was going to die any day. Now he supposedly has all the time in the world. He just isn’t sure what he wants to do with it.
But in this moment, he's comfortable here, in this tiny bar, with a beer in his hand and Jo's knee pressed against his. He's confident that Sam would never introduce him to someone he couldn't trust.
Bucky's flirted with Sarah, sure, but that was mostly to irritate to Sam. And as much as he doesn't want to admit it, the thought of something happening between himself and Sarah and then ending badly and ruining his relationship with Sam makes his stomach hurt. Pursuing Jo seems safer in that regard. She and Sam are friends, but if — when, he thinks — he ruins things, he can just go back to New York instead of losing his only friend.
Jo asks Sarah about AJ and Cass to distract herself from the butterflies forming in her stomach at Bucky’s touch, and Sam starts a story about the boys' latest interests. Bucky is content to listen to the three of them talk, his eyes barely leaving Jo. When she flicks her gaze over to him every now and then, she doesn't seem phased by his staring, and she hasn't pulled her knee away from where it's softly touching his. After a while, Danny emerges from behind the bar and joins their table, introducing himself to Bucky with a firm handshake.
While Danny and Sam trade updates about people they know, Jo leans towards Bucky and asks, “You want another drink?”
“Sure,” Bucky replies.
Jo doesn’t say anything else, just nods her head toward the bar, stands, and offers Bucky her hand. He takes it, the leather glove of his right hand warm against her palm. He wishes he could feel her skin without the gloves between them. He doesn’t usually wear them around Sam and Sarah and everyone in Delacroix, but he wasn’t sure how the metal arm would be perceived at this bar he’s never been to. Sam told him not to worry about it, but Bucky doesn’t like to draw unnecessary attention to himself.
Jo leads him through the sea of tables to a barstool, then moves behind the bar and grabs him a fresh bottle of the beer he's been drinking all night. "Unless you want something stronger," she says, pausing before she hands it to him.
"This is good," Bucky replies.
She pops the top and hands him the bottle. He takes a sip as he watches her maneuver around the bartender on duty to fix herself another whiskey sour before taking a seat on the barstool next to him.
"Full disclosure; because it's only fair," she says, taking a sip of her drink. "I know who you are, Sergeant Barnes. Not the whole story, but bits and pieces."
Bucky pauses. He searches her eyes for the fear he's expecting but finds none. "And you're okay with that?" he asks.
Jo quirks the corner of her mouth up in a half-smile and says, “If Sam trusts you, I trust you."
“I’m not great with meeting new people, and I was telling myself the same thing about you," Bucky admits, almost sheepishly.
“You know we can never tell Sam about this, right?" Jo says, conspiratorially. "We’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Never,” Bucky agrees, and knocks his beer bottle lightly against her glass in understanding.
They talk for a while, just the two of them alone at the end of the bar. Jo asks him how he likes Louisiana ("Hot, but the people are friendly"); where he's staying ("Sarah's"); when he's heading back to New York ("A week from tomorrow"); what he likes to do for fun ("Still figuring that out"); his favorite place ("Wakanda") and favorite book ("The Hobbit"); and a myriad of other questions — some of which Bucky answers easily and some that make him pause. He makes her give her own answers to each one in turn.
Jo leans close to Bucky so she can hear him over the noise of the room, and he takes the opportunity to study her features more closely. He's practically mapped all of her face when her eyes leave his for a brief second and land on Sam, Sarah, and Danny staring at them from the table across the room.
"Don't look now," she whispers, leaning even closer, "But we seem to have an audience."
Bucky makes a big show of looking over his shoulder at the group.
"I said 'don't look!'" Jo laughs and swats casually at his arm.
Bucky takes the opportunity to pin her hand with his own, holding it tightly and licking his bottom lip before smiling at her. He can see the blush paint her cheeks and creep down her neck and chest.
He likes Jo, likes how easy it feels to be around her. He isn't used to that. He isn't used to feeling comfortable with people. Hell, he thinks, I barely feel comfortable with myself. But there's something about Jo that makes him feel safe and calm. Of course, there's attraction there — plenty of it — but he's sure it's more than that.
For her part, Jo is enamored with Bucky. She likes his hard edges and his snark, but she also likes the small glimpses he's given her of the man beneath all of that. She doesn't usually fall for people so easily, but she's found herself drowning in the sea of blues that make up Bucky's eyes, and she doesn't want to be rescued. How fucking cliche, she tells herself.
"We should probably go back over there," Bucky says, squeezing her hand once before releasing it.
They both stand and make their way back to the table. Bucky pulls Jo's chair out for her again, but this time, he makes sure to pull it a little closer to his chair in the process. This doesn't go unnoticed by Sam who smirks at him. Bucky returns the smirk with a thin-lipped smile of his own before scooting even closer to Jo.
Jo finds it hard to focus on the conversation in front of her with Bucky's warm body so close to her own, and she realizes she misses the pleasant feeling of his gloved hand around hers. She places her own hand on his thigh and hopes he gets the hint.
Bucky’s fascinated by even the slightest movements of Jo's tattooed fingers, and when her hand rests on his denim-clad thigh, he thinks the sight alone might kill him. Before he can second-guess himself, he pulls the glove off his right hand and links his own flesh and bone fingers with hers.
Jo doesn't look at Bucky — she's trying not to draw attention to her hand in his lap — but Bucky watches the corner of her mouth quirk upwards into a smile, and he squeezes her hand in response.
The conversation continues a bit longer before Danny leaves the table to check in with his bartender. Jo excuses herself to get another drink, and Bucky watches her pop behind the bar to fill a glass for herself.
"I need to get home, relieve the babysitter," Sarah says when she finishes her beer.
"We're heading out then," Sam says, then turns to Bucky, "You coming?"
Bucky looks toward Jo and says, "No, I'm gonna stick around. I'll get a cab back or get a hotel room in the city."
Sam smirks. "I don't think you're gonna need a hotel room, man."
Bucky rolls his eyes.
"Just promise me you'll use protection," Sam laughs. "We don't need any little super soldiers running around just yet."
Bucky gives him a sarcastic smile, but realizes Sam's probably right, and he definitely doesn't have any condoms in his wallet. He's not planning on sleeping with Jo tonight — he just met her, and he's not sure he's ready for that yet — but if the army taught him anything, it's to be prepared. As if reading his mind, Sam pulls out his wallet and places a condom in Bucky's palm before pulling him in for a hug and clapping him on the back.
"Have fun, man," Sam says.
Sam and Sarah say their goodbyes to Danny and Jo on their way out, and Bucky joins Jo at the bar, sitting on the barstool next to her where they sat earlier.
"Sticking around, soldier?" she asks. She reaches for his dog tags and tugs them gently. The drinks have been strong, and she's feeling more flirtatious than she would otherwise.
"If you don't mind," Bucky replies.
Jo smiles and reaches for his hand this time. "Not at all."
"Are you gonna finish your interrogation of me?" Bucky asks, amusement apparent in his voice.
Jo laughs in return. “I thought I'd read your palm instead," she says, turning his hand over in her own.
Bucky snorts but doesn't pull his hand away. "Is this a trick you use on all the guys?"
"And girls," Jo says, meeting his eyes. Then she studies his hand carefully, running her index finger across the lines that crisscross his palm.
"Your dominant hand," she continues, "determines your future, while your non-dominant hand is tied to your past."
Bucky snorts again at the truth of it all.
"I'm not making this up!" Jo laughs. "I mean, someone did, but I'm not!" She can see the laughter shining in Bucky's eyes, so she goes on, "Your head line is deep, meaning your thinking is clear and focused, but it's also curved downward which indicates a creative spirit and an appetite for literature and fantasy." She looks up at him, "Explains the love for Tolkien."
"I'm not sure I'm buying this," Bucky says.
"You've literally fought aliens, and you're gonna give me a hard time over palm reading," Jo laughs.
"The aliens were real," Bucky deadpans.
"And in New Orleans, palm reading and psychics and crystal balls and voodoo are real," Jo says, still laughing. "But I promise not to read your palm again or read your aura or get out the tarot cards."
Bucky likes the way her slight accent makes New Orleans sound more like Nawlins. He also likes the sound of her laughter and the way her face lights up when she smiles. She's still holding his hand in her own, so he turns his palm over in hers and brings her tattooed knuckles to his lips.
Meanwhile, the bar closes, and Danny and the bartender clean glasses and close up for the night.
Danny points at Jo as he comes around the bar. "I’m locking up then heading upstairs," he says.
"Thanks, love," Jo replies.
Danny walks the bartender out and locks the front door, then retraces his steps to the back of the bar. On his way past Jo, he stops and kisses her on the cheek, saying, "Be good. And set the alarm."
He turns to Bucky. "And you, Sergeant Barnes," he says, pointing at him now, "I know you're an Avenger or whatever, but if you hurt her, I'll kill you."
"Bye, Danny," Jo says, rolling her eyes as he disappears through the door marked 'Employees Only.' "Don't worry about him," Jo says, turning back to Bucky.
“Older brother, right?” Bucky says. He understands; he was an older brother once.
“Twins, actually,” Jo smiles.
Bucky takes a sip of his beer. "Sarah said Danny served with Sam," he says.
"Yeah. Afghanistan. A lifetime ago," Jo says. “He only had one more mission before he could come home so he switched with someone. An RPG barely missed the helicopter he was in, and he was pretty badly injured in the explosion and the resulting crash. Almost lost an eye. He came home, got out of the Air Force, went to business school. Now we own the bar..." She pauses to take the last sip of her drink. "...and the building. Sam's really helped Danny get past everything."
"He's good at that," Bucky says.
"Another thing we can never tell him," Jo laughs.
"Agreed. So, when do I get to ask about your tattoos?" he questions.
"What do you want to know?" she asks.
Bucky licks his bottom lip. "Anything."
He likes her dagger tattoo the best. It’s inked on the inside of her right forearm, nestled amongst the peonies, the hilt facing the crook of her elbow and the knife’s tip pointed toward her wrist. It’s feminine and dangerous and incredibly sexy. She blushes when he tells her how much he likes it. He doesn't tell her it reminds him of one of his favorite knives, currently tucked at the bottom of his backpack back in Sarah's living room.
"In some ways, they're my armor," she explains. "When I'm on stage, people look at the tattoos, not me, and I kind of like that. It lets me be whoever I want to up there."
Bucky understands the desire to hide better than anyone. But she knows who he is so there's really no point in hiding from her any longer. Plus, he feels like his arm is something she would understand, something she could accept — not just because of her brother's military record but because of her own unique body modifications.
He pulls his left glove off and shrugs out of his leather jacket, revealing the vibranium arm beneath his black t-shirt.
Jo takes in the black metal and gold details. "That," she says, pointing to his arm, "is lovely."
"It's lethal," Bucky warns.
She cocks her head to the side and says, "If you're trying to scare me, it won't work, Sergeant Barnes."
Bucky can't stop the corner of his lip from pulling up in the slightest hint of a smile.
"Okay,” she says, placing her palms flat on the bar top. “You want another beer?" she asks.
Jo stands and turns to move behind the bar, but Bucky's vibranium hand on her arm stops her. She looks at him curiously, and he slides his arm behind her back and pulls her flush against his chest. She settles between his open thighs, her palms resting gently on top of his legs. He's staring at her so intensely she's convinced he willburn that hole right through her, but she can't bring herself to look away.
He leans in, his lips only a breath away from hers.
"Can I kiss you?" Bucky finally asks, his flesh hand moving up to cup her cheek.
"Please," Jo whispers, desperately.
Bucky closes the distance between them, and his lips meet hers. He's hesitant at first, but when he feels Jo respond, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing even closer, he runs his tongue along the seam of her lips until she opens them for him. She tastes like bourbon and lemon from the whiskey sours she's been drinking, and Bucky loves it. His tongue sweeps along the roof of her mouth, and Jo moans. Bucky is determined to hear that sound again.
He kisses across the corner of her mouth and over her jaw. The hand that was cupping her cheek moves to her hair to angle her head backwards and give him better access to the bare skin of her neck. He laves his tongue over the corded muscles there, then nips at the skin with his teeth. She moans again, and Bucky is on fire.
Jo's right hand weaves into his short hair and tugs until his mouth comes away from her neck. He catches his breath while Jo nuzzles his nose with her own and places a soft kiss against the Cupid's bow of his upper lip. His eyes meet hers, and her pupils are blown wide with lust.
The need to kiss her again is overwhelming. Bucky’s lips find hers, and Jo somehow leans even closer into his body, her hands tracing down his chest to his waist. Bucky lets his own hands move to Jo’s ribs, resting just beneath her chest, his thumbs teasing the underside of each breast. Jo gasps when Bucky’s right thumb moves across her taut nipple.
Fuck, he thinks, I need to slow down. While he’s shared kisses with the handful of women he’s met on dating apps, he hasn’t done anything this intimate in a lifetime.
Bucky pulls away, panting. He rests his forehead against Jo's and stares into her green eyes.
"I should leave," he says. “I’m getting carried away. I…I want to do this right.”
And he does. Desperately. He wants to buy her flowers and take her out and learn what makes her swoon. But he also wants to map every tattoo on her body with his fingers and tongue and then fuck her until she can’t walk straight.
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.
Jo laughs breathily. “We don’t have to do anything, but it’s almost three o'clock in the morning and your ride already left. You can sleep on my couch if you want to be a gentleman.”
Bucky groans. “I should be a gentleman."
She kisses him again, lightly, then moves away to set the alarm and turn the rest of the lights out. She leads him through the 'Employees Only' door and up a set of stairs to her apartment.
"You're not allergic to cats, are you?" Jo asks, as she unlocks the door.
"No," Bucky says. As far as he knows, he's not allergic to anything thanks to the knock-off serum, but he doesn't say that.
Inside her apartment, Jo kicks off her combat boots at the door, and Bucky does the same, leaving them both in their socked feet. There's a fluffy black cat sitting on the back of the green velvet sofa.
"That's Toulouse," Jo says. "Or Louie. He doesn't answer to either, so it really doesn't matter what I call him."
The cat regards Bucky with indifference before standing up, stretching, and leaving the room.
"Guest bathroom’s just there,” she nods. “Let me get you some blankets and pillows for the couch," Jo continues. "Unless you've changed your mind about being a gentleman." She smirks at him.
Bucky laughs through his nose. “Don’t tempt me.”
Jo leaves the room for a moment, which gives Bucky a chance to look around. He's standing in her living room; one wall features a set of French doors that lead to a balcony overlooking the street, and the opposite wall holds bookcases stuffed from floor to ceiling with books, framed photographs, and various knick-knacks. From where he stands, he can see a small room with an upright piano and guitars hanging on the walls. The exterior walls of Jo's apartment are brick, and everything else is set in jewel tones. He likes it. It's dark and cozy, and from what he knows of Jo so far, her living space matches her well.
When she returns, Jo is holding a stack of blankets and pillows. She sets them on the ottoman and moves across the room to close the curtains.
"There are some sweats and a t-shirt there that should fit you" she says, turning to Bucky.
"Thanks," Bucky says, smiling softly.
Now that they're here, in her apartment, Bucky isn't sure what he's supposed to do or say. He can still feel the heat of Jo's lips on his, and he's painfully aware that the condom Sam gave him is still in his pocket.
Jo must sense the hesitation rolling off him because she crosses the room to stand in front of him and takes his hands in hers.
"Get some sleep, Sarge," she says, squeezing his hands in tandem before dropping them.
"Goodnight, Jo," Bucky returns.
Bucky lays on Jo's couch in the dark beneath blankets that smell like laundry detergent. He wishes they smelled like her. He unlocks his phone and looks up the distance between New Orleans and Brooklyn. Just over thirteen hundred miles. He sighs and drops his phone onto the coffee table before closing his eyes and reliving each kiss as he falls asleep.
On the other side of the wall, Jo falls across her bed, deflated. She likes this guy. She wants him — painfully so. But leave it to her to fall for the one guy in her bar who lives half-way across the country.
who are you?
star sign. pisces ( 🤡🥺😁)
height. 5′ 2″ ( 1,57cm )
middle name. don’t have one
put your spotify on shuffle. first 6 songs? (imagine dragons and AJR for the win...)
𝆕 jalebi baby by tesher & jason derulo
𝆕 bones by imagine dragons
𝆕 way less sad by AJR
𝆕 record player by daisy the great & AJR
𝆕 follow you by imagine dragons
𝆕 we don’t talk about bruno 🙈🤷♀️ ( ʷᵉ ᵈᵒᶰ'ᵗ ᵗᵃˡᵏ ᵃᵇᵒᵘᵗ ᵇʳᵘᶰᵒ˒ ᶰᵒ˒ ᶰᵒ˒ ᶰᵒᵎ )
ever had a poem / song written about you? not that i recall, no
when was the last time you played air guitar? i don’t play air guitar?
celebrity crush. tom hiddleston 😍 tom holland 🥺😍 samara weaving 🌹 sebastian stan (ik he became problematic after the tom and pam & i don’t approve nor support that, but his face is 👌👌) and i don’t watch that much tv or movies so i don’t have much 🤷♀️ (samara is a hot babe 🔥😍) also i probably have a couple more but my brain is like tv static right now so yeah...
a sound you hate and a sound you love? i HATE when people speak to me in like a zen voice, like, in super soft and low (not whispering though, i love whispering) i LOVE tapping sounds, on basically anything, also crinkles, like you know bags between wrinkled or something like... asrm basically.
do you believe in ghosts? yeah, have you watched the warrens documentaries?
how about aliens? i mean, it’s a large universe out there. i don’t believe we humans are the only living organisms...
do you drive? not yet! i plan to tho
if so, have you ever crashed? i mean, i had tried driving once i did crash against some glass bottles in my garden 😁
what was the last book you read? i re-read through my window for the umpteenth... 👈👈😎
do you like the smell of gasoline? it makes me sick. i can’t go to gas stations without feeling sick to my stomach.
what was the last movie you saw? i don’t really remember... i’m more into documentaries and true crime videos like the psycho pisces i am 🙃
what’s the worst injury you’ve ever had? oh, i think that’d be when i fell down the stairs, sorry... not fell, slid down the stairs... back pressed against the steps... and i had a party that same night............. i think i have scoliosis due to that tbh
do you have any obsessions right now? crystals and positive energy, asmr, making soy candles, stress-shopping 🥴 (crystal and soy candles) & incenses and all sorts of cleansing stuff...
do you tend to hold grudges? sometimes, not so often though, depending on the situation, the person and my mood 🤷♀️
in a relationship? no, i’m single af... someone date me please 😫😫
totally stole it from @lockwoodtm
totally allowing you who’s reading this to steal it
Series Summary: When you’re caught in an attack and get struck by an enemy shock wave, Bucky saves you and brings you to the Avengers for help. They quickly discover that the wave altered your genetic structure to send out energy bursts, energy bursts that you can’t control. Fearful of the damage you could cause, you refuse to be around anyone except superhumans Steve and Bucky, the latter of whom you form a quick, intense bond with while he teaches you to control your newfound powers.
Chapter Summary: In the aftermath of the attack, you wind up unconscious in a hospital bed surrounded by Avengers. Upon waking up, you feel fine, but all of you quickly discover that is not, in fact, the case.
Pairing: Bucky x Reader
Word Count: 1969
Warnings: Medical situation, swearing, intense moments, injuries
A/N: Thank you all for reading and giving this story a chance. I appreciate every single comment and reblog.
A memory tugged ever so softly at the edges of your consciousness.
It was fuzzy, out of focus, but it was insistent, pulling you out of the inky darkness you’d found a home in.
Eyes, clouded grey with fear. Whispered pleas, hurried and frantic. Four words, repeated over and over, keeping you from slipping away. “Stay with me. Please.”
You could see the images so clearly, playing on a loop in your head, but you couldn’t quite reach them. They were far off, clouded, but the voices breaking through them weren’t, tugging you even further out of your haze.
“I don’t understand it, Tony. I’ve never seen anyone survive a blast like that before. It should be impossible.”
“Yeah, Bruce, because aliens invading Earth seems so possible every time that happens.”
“Look, she’s here, okay, so that obviously means she survived. It’s clearly possible. Let’s just figure out how.”
There was a pause and then a long sigh. “But, a blast like that, that much energy, the damage it must’ve done…”
Damage. The word, and its implications, began careening through your mind, making you gasp, albeit involuntarily. It was soft, but it was enough to quiet the voices in the room, a new one quickly replacing them.
“Y/N? Can you hear us?”
It was a woman’s voice, close, warm. You blinked your eyes open, focusing on the soft smile of Dr. Helen Cho. Another face you recognized from the documentaries. You were really starting to hate those documentaries. “Where am I?”
Her smile widened, and she held up a small penlight, shining it in both of your eyes. “You’re at the medical facility in our compound. Upstate New York.”
New York. How could you have gotten to New York without remembering? You wracked your brain, but then those whispered words came back to you, fragmented but bright as day, and you knew. “Bucky.”
Dr. Cho’s smile softened the same way your voice did, and she nodded. “He got to you after you…” She paused, looking back at the others to find the right words. “After you were hit. He carried you out of the rubble, and the team brought you here.”
You furrowed your brow, trying to remember, but everything was still too much of a blank. “Is he?”
She nodded her head towards the corner, anticipating your question. “He’s here. He never left.”
Your eyes moved instantly, shifting on their own accord until they found Bucky’s in a sea of bright lights and blinking screens. His eyes flashed when you made contact, blinking once but otherwise staying unreadable. He did, however, straighten up from where he was leaning against the wall, placing the foot he’d been resting against it back onto the ground.
He was staring silently at you, obviously waiting for you to speak again, so you did, saying the first thing that popped into your mind. “Is the kid okay?”
His eyebrows raised slightly, surprised by your question, but the edges of his mouth tugged upwards and he nodded. “He’s fine. Not a scratch on him.”
“Thanks to you,” Tony said, stepping forward. He moved between you and Bucky, so you tried to look around him, but Bucky shot you a reassuring grin and looked Tony’s way, signaling for you to follow his lead.
“Maybe not the smartest decision,” he continued, gesturing towards where you had ended up. “But, a damn gutsy one. Although, next time you might want to duck first.”
Bucky’s face hardened, and he tightened his fist. “She’s a hero, Stark…”
You interrupted him, your voice quiet and unsteady, but clear enough to break through, stopping the brewing fight. “When can I go home?”
All of the eyes in the room turned to you, but their somber expressions did little to bolster your confidence. “I am going home, aren’t I?”
Bucky took a step towards you, but Tony just hung his head, leaving you to turn to Bruce. He looked almost pained watching you, wringing his hands and taking a deep breath to respond. “Honestly, we’re not sure.”
You began to feel panic prickle up your spine, and you used your forearms to push yourself up to a sitting position, accepting Dr. Cho’s help to get the rest of the way. “What does that mean, you’re not sure?”
The three of them exchanged a glance, some kind of silent communication passing between them, and you knew this wasn’t the first time they were discussing this. Tony finally sighed, ending the standoff and turning to answer your question. “From all appearances, you look fine. You don’t have any serious injuries, all of the tests come back normal. Theoretically, you should be able to go home.”
Another sigh, this one even heavier than the last, sprinkled with sympathy, but filled with frustration. “The shockwave isn’t like anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s done more damage than we first thought. It seems to have somehow...altered your genetic structure.”
A foreboding sense of horror washed over you, and your eyes found Bucky’s once again, shaking your head, trying to convince yourself it couldn’t be true. His slow nod back told you otherwise.
That was the moment you really lost it. Panic flowed through your veins like ice and bubbled straight up to the surface, seeping out of you in waves. “No, no, that’s...no.” You stood up from the bed quickly, flipping your palms out, fingers spread wide. “See, I’m fine, completely normal. My genetic structure is just as...geneticy as it always is.”
You stepped forward, but Dr. Cho rushed around the bed to intercept you. “Y/N, please, you should really rest.”
You shook your head, more insistently this time, your hand gestures growing more wild. “No, I told you, I’m fine! Whatever tests you ran, you can just run them again, right? I’m sure you’re…”
You froze at the warning in Bucky’s voice, spinning your head around to reveal the three seasoned superheroes backing away slowly, their bodies tensed. But, they weren’t looking at you, they were looking at your hands.
Trailing your eyes down, you felt your pulse quicken with every breath, every millisecond. But, the real fear didn’t come until your eyes finally reached your hands, and you saw purple static streaming in the air around your fingertips. Bands of energy, crackling and fluctuating, and all of it was coming from you.
That’s when your heart really started beating out of control. “What is...what’s happening to me?!”
Dr. Cho stepped closer, holding her hands up warily like she was approaching a wounded animal. “Y/N, please, just get back in bed...”
“No!” you screamed, throwing your arms down towards the ground to keep her away.
That’s when everything went to hell.
All of it must’ve happened in just seconds, but, to you, it felt like an eternity. Time slowed to a standstill as you watched the room blast apart, a giant wave of purple pushing back everything and everyone in its path.
The power from the blast knocked you back into the medical cart, but all you could focus on was what it was doing to the others. It didn’t discriminate, cutting through each of them like a blade, sending all four of them flying up into the air and back into the walls with sickening crunches.
You could feel yourself scream but no sound came out, the shock of what you’d just done hanging too heavy. It was surreal, like a movie, but you weren’t watching it, you were living it, had caused it, caused the destruction laid out in front of you.
Tony stirred first, pushing himself out from underneath the rubble with a loud curse and moan. Bucky followed, immediately moving towards you, but you backed away clutching your hands to your chest and shaking your head. “No, no. Stay where you are. I’ll just hurt you again.”
Bucky slowed, but he kept advancing, holding one of his hands out gingerly towards you. “Hey, hey,” he whispered, cocking a smile that made his eyes shine. ““You can’t hurt me, Y/N. Super soldier, remember?”
And, just like that, a wave of calm washed over you, because you could feel his confidence, his gentleness. You knew he really believed what he was saying, because if anyone had been there it was him. He wanted to help you, to take care of you, and you trusted him.
You reached your hand out to brush against his fingers, but, before you could grasp the lifeline he was offering, Tony drew him back, his voice suddenly filling with alarm. “Barnes, the doctor.”
Bucky spun around to find Tony and Bruce kneeling by Dr. Cho, who was still lying unconscious across the room. He inhaled sharply and stepped back from where you stood, rooted to your spot by the medical cart, disbelief still coursing through you.
The three of them stayed huddled by her side for a moment until she started to stir, and you let out a breath you didn’t even know you were holding. Bruce helped her up, casting a watchful glance your way as he ushered her out of the room, while Tony and Bucky turned back to you.
Bucky made his way back to you without hesitation, placing his hands on your shoulders and capturing your gaze. “Hey, don’t worry, she’s going to be fine. Bruce will take care of her.” You tried to shut your eyes, to disassociate, but he protested. “Look at me, it’s not your fault, okay? None of this was your fault.”
“Barnes is right,” Tony said quickly, breaking his silence. “We’re going to help you, Y/N.”
He started to walk toward you when Bucky turned to face him, but you freaked out, grabbing Bucky’s arm and moving to hide behind him. “No,” you whispered, placing your forehead against his back and shaking it slowly. “I’ll hurt him.”
Bucky reached across, placing his hand over yours and squeezing softly. “I got you. It’s gonna be okay.”
Gently, he lifted your fingers, dropping your hand and moving to meet Tony halfway. He shook his head, grabbing his shoulder and leading him away, where the two of them began to confer quietly, something Bucky seemed to do a lot around you. You made a mental note to tell him how infuriating that was.
After a few moments, Tony nodded and Bucky turned back to you, his encouraging smile finding its way back to his eyes. “Y/N, I know you’re scared. Scared is an understatement. I’m sure you’re fucking terrified. But, I can promise you, you’re not going to hurt anyone else. I’m not going to let that happen, okay?”
You nodded, and he reached his hand out again, holding it out to you just as he had before. “I know I can’t make you do anything, and I know you probably think you’re past saving, but we can help you, Y/N, I know we can. If you stay here, if you trust me, I swear to you, our team, we’ll do everything in our power to fix you. We will find a cure.” He extended his hand out even further, waiting for you to make the choice. “Will you let us try?”
You stared at him for a moment, your heart vibrating as you thought about your options. You could very easily say no, run away from it all, and go hide in the mountains where you couldn’t hurt anyone else, but then you thought about your family and friends, of any chance you had of ever being able to see them again without blasting them across the room. Staring into Bucky’s eyes, you knew there was only one thing you could do. The choice was clear and you made it without any hesitation.
You grabbed his hand.
Under The Microscope: Did Christer Pettersson Murder Prime Minister Olof Palme?
Sweden was in a state of shock when prime minister Olof Palme was assassinated on 28th February 1986. There have been many leads over the year as to who murdered Palme, but one of the most prominent suspects was Christer Pettersson. Who was Pettersson? Could he have killed Palme?
Who was Christer Pettersson?
Christer Pettersson was born on 23 April 1947 in Solna, nearby Stockholm. He had quite a mundane upbringing, except for a short-lived separation between his parents and his father's alcoholism. He had two younger sisters, born in 1953 and 1960. However, Pettersson began his criminal life quite early; at nine years old, Pettersson stole a wallet and was sent to a psychologist. At age 15, Pettersson was hit by another adolescent in the eye and suffered a seizure as a result. It could not be determined if his brain had sustained any injury. He continued to steal throughout his adolescence, but it seemed like his life could turn around when he found interest in acting. Pettersson was a gifted actor and was accepted into the prestigious acting-school Calle Flygares teaterskola. However, Pettersson seldom showed up to class which resulted in him being expelled. Petterson started to burglarize homes and used amphetamine regularly. This continued for many years until he was hospitalized in 1970, but he was released into society after just 11 weeks. Christer Pettersson was at this time severely alcoholized and addicted to drugs.
On 20th December 1970, Pettersson stabbed a stranger to death. The motive for the killing was that the stranger had kicked Pettersson's bag with Christmas gifts, and a teddybear purchased for one of his sisters had fallen out and gotten dirty in the snow. Petterson was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to psychiatric care. He was released after one and a half years.
Christer Pettersson becomes a suspect
Christer Pettersson was apprehended in December 1988 and was the primary suspect in the assassination of Olof Palme. An anonymous letter had been sent to the police telling them that Pettersson looked similar to the drawing of the murderer the police had released shortly after the murder (this drawing was made with the help of witnesses). Several witnesses identified Christer Pettersson as the murderer; one of them was Palme's wife. However, all of the evidence that pointed to Pettersson is questionable, to say the least. The drawing of the killer was later considered to be inaccurate; it was either a drawing of a random person or of someone who did not exist. The witnesses who claimed that they were certain that Pettersson was the killer were also unreliable; several of them had previously identified other people as the murderer. Lisbet Palme, who had been standing next to her husband when he was shot, was the primary witness. However, before she identified Petterson at the police line-up, she was told that the suspect was severely alcoholized. When she saw the line-up, Lisbet told the investigators that it was clear who was an alcoholic and pointed to Pettersson. This made Lisbet an unreliable witness as well. Another important aspect to take into account is the fact that Christer Pettersson had a slight limp. No witnesses had ever mentioned the perpetrator limping, but they were certain of this after Christer Pettersson was arrested.
The trial began in 1989, and he was found guilty in July of the same year. Christer Pettersson was sentenced to life imprisonment, but Pettersson appealed. He was found not guilty in November 1989, but most of the public had accepted Pettersson as the murderer.
In 1997, another trial was requested regarding Christer Pettersson's possible role in the murder of Olof Palme. This appeal was denied, and Christer Pettersson's reaction to the news was captured on film. He began to cry and said (my translation from Swedish to English): ''I believe in God, and I have prayed. I have prayed for my sisters. They now know that their brother is no murderer''.
Christer Pettersson took advantage of his celebrity status by appearing in interviews where he sometimes said that he ''may have killed Palme''. He was paid enormous amounts of money for these interviews, which is probably what motivated him to continue with them. He appeared in a documentary in the late '90s where he stated the following after being asked if he killed Palme (my translation from Swedish to English): ''No, I did not. I think everyone knows that. People's souls are never wrong''.
Christer Pettersson died on 16th September 2004 after suffering a seizure and hitting his head on the ground. The prime minister at the time, Göran Persson, released a statement saying (my translation from Swedish to English): ''It is the end of a tragic life''.
Christer Pettersson was, just as Göran Persson stated, a tragic person with a tragic life. He suffered from substance abuse throughout his adolescence and adulthood and became famous overnight after his arrest. The main question remains; did Pettersson kill Palme? The evidence pointing to Pettersson is easy to dismiss which makes it quite unlikely that Christer Pettersson was the murderer. His confessions in the media are not reliable either, since he received payment for his participation which was much needed since he was an unemployed addict. It is time to let Christer Pettersson rest, once and for all.
Ethan + MC: “PUSHING DAISIES” AU: P1
Summary: Ethan Ramsey has gift that goes beyond his medical experience. With a single touch he can revive the dead for one minute before consequences take place. It’s handy, for his position at the hospital in a small town called Delarosa where crime is suddenly on the rise. Except it’s dangerous when he has the chance to revive the last girl he ever loved. Because nothing is for free.
Warnings: This is less lighthearted than the show. Death, mention of physical attack and injuries. Also Pushing Daisies (2007-2009) is one of the best shows ever so this is your warning to watch it.
Word Count: 1550
Ethan Ramsey was thirty-seven years, twenty weeks, four days and fifteen minutes old. He was unlike most of the people who inhabited the small town he had lived in all of his life. At a very young age he had learned more about the balance of the universe than anyone he had ever met. He had suffered because of the ignorance around him, but it meant that he could stay, possibly forever.
Perhaps it also meant that he could not leave, the risk too great to expose to a greater audience than the regulars in his life. Thinking about it that way only made him feel trapped.
There were only two people who knew of his capabilities, one being June Hirata who was the director of Diagnostic Medicine until two years prior when the program had shut down. Believe it or not, there was little need for a diagnostic team when there were fewer than ten thousand people in their hometown. Ethan was moved to head of Trauma and June was head of Neurology, and while those titles sounded exciting, they were both too good for the very small hospital.
A lot had happened in the past two years, including Mariana Valentine leaving their hometown. Leaving him.
“Call it.” June’s tone was firm, and the resident who followed her around like a puppy hesitantly exited the room. Ethan stood still, his whole body attuned to only one person in the room. He couldn’t look away.
Mariana wasn’t supposed to be here. She shouldn’t have been lying on the gurney, head trauma severe enough that the resident had almost thrown up. One good blow with a weapon and she was gone within two hours. This was not how he was supposed to remember her, the last memory he would ever have.
He couldn’t breathe.
“Go grab some coffee, Ethan. I’ll finish everything here.”
This was not an offer she would make under any other circumstance, she only ever volunteered her puppy. Lahela, to name him, something that Ethan should have gotten better at doing. There were many things he was supposed to do and change. There always felt like there would be more time.
Mariana was an unexpected threat to his perception of reality. There was always time, until there wasn’t.
“Leave, Ethan.” That was a warning.
“Why is she here?” His voice didn’t waver, but his legs threatened to falter. Something seemed fitting about falling to his knees, but for what purpose? He did not need to pray when what he dreamed of asking for was woven into the tips of his fingers.
“Don’t pretend like I would know. She was attacked on Mirani Drive, that’s all that they got out of Aveiro before he was called off again. The police will probably come in to question her, I’ll let them know she didn’t make it.”
“She was only a street away from her parents house.”
He could feel June’s stare burn through him, but he still couldn’t look away. He took a step closer to the bed and reached out--
“Ethan, I did not sign up for what happens when you watch her die again.”
His gaze snapped to Dr. Hirata and she took a deep breath when she saw his expression. She was always stubborn, and exceptional at whatever job she had in front of her. But she was not God. And in that moment, it would take absolute proof of a higher power forbidding him one touch, to stop him.
“Why doesn’t she deserve justice, just like the others?”
Dr. Hirata shook her head slowly, sighing. “You don’t know the others like you know her. I know that she was your best friend once, and you know that one minute will never be enough!”
One touch, anywhere upon her skin and her eyes would open to him for the first time in a long time. He couldn’t remember the last time they had touched, it felt like a betrayal to everything he felt for her. He owed her the truth, it couldn’t really be too late.
“One minute is all that I want.” A lie. He wanted an entire lifetime.
“Fine, but I’m not leaving.” She crossed her arms and stepped back into the corner, looking away from Ethan and the bed. June did not enjoy watching all laws of the universe being thrown out the window, even if she agreed that it helped in criminal cases.
He reached for Mariana’s cheek and then pulled his hand back. Nothing felt quite appropriate, not when their friendship never involved a physical relationship in any form. Mostly. One single memory disrupted that truth. But they had not spoken in some time, so he reached out again and did not hesitate to put his hand in hers.
Before there was a gasp for air, her hand tightened in his. But he had to let go.
“Mariana,” he entreated, almost breathless. “You’re at Delarosa General, you were attacked and I need to know who hurt you.”
“Ethan,” she whispered hoarsely, her eyes wide and alert, “you found me.”
Mariana Valentine; twenty-eight years, forty weeks, three days and two hours old. She would only grow one minute older.
“We don’t have much time. Do you know what happened to you?”
“Oh.” Mariana shook her head. She brought both of her hands to her face, wiping away at the tears that immediately formed. She felt no pain, Ethan knew that, but the agony written across her face was not physical. “It’s all over, isn’t it?”
“I’m so sorry, I don’t know why this happened,” Ethan lamented, his hands tightening into fists at his sides. He wanted to wrap himself around her and promise that this was the end of all pain, the beginning of eternity.
Except his next touch would be the last and he did not know if death was an end or a beginning. He had no way to console her and no promises to make, only a heavy and permanent fate when his skin next brushed against hers. When he touched her again, she was dead for good.
His gift was often cruel, but he felt forsaken by all good in the universe. He had already lost his mother because of what he could do, he was surely being punished. He could not explain it any other way.
“Tell my parents I’m sorry I went for that walk. I should have stayed home. And Ethan...” She looked away, her eyes catching June leaning against the wall. “I wanted to come back, I missed you and I missed my parents. I would have come back to you.”
“Every minute of our friendship changed me, I want you to know that.” He didn’t know what else to say, there was too much to filter through in seconds.
That was their conclusion, a harrowing and blood soaked finale with no assurance of justice. One single minute on a gurney that ended as quickly as it began.
“Ethan,” June commanded.
“No.” He didn’t recognize the sound of his own voice.
Two seconds was no time to argue, and June was a survivor as much as she could be a fighter. She left so quickly that the room seemed to shudder upon her exit.
“Ethan.” His name came from Mariana’s lips. She looked up at him in fear and confusion, and the weight of his choice had a tight grip around his throat.
He didn’t know what to say. Their time was up, seconds past, and an alteration in the universe was completed. A life for a life. Mariana Valentine breathed because somewhere close by them, someone had just taken their last breath.
June, he thought as the panic burned in every vein. Guilt from every area of his life began to resurface, a compilation of every life he bruised, betrayed or buried. Who had he sacrificed to alter fate? This was not the person he wanted to be, the one he convinced himself he could be. He had never been more selfish in any minute of his life.
“I’m still alive,” she cried, “what did you do?” She wasn’t angry or upset, rather overwhelmed with shock.
“I couldn’t let you go, you were supposed to have more time.” His shame slowly evolved into a guilt ridden relief. She was safe, breathing against all odds and completely unaware of how complicated her life was about to become simply because she lived.
There was one thing she had already considered, the beginning and end of her life after death. Ethan’s touch.
“You can never touch me again.” She knew that something changed between then as soon as it was spoken aloud. Perhaps the one thing they hadn’t gotten the chance to explore; touch.
He could recall almost every time their shoulders grazed when they watched documentaries together. Or when she covered his hands with hers and promised him he had a purpose. The very first and only time they had ever kissed held permanent real estate in multiple parts of his brain. The last time he was completely and purely content, unbeknownst to anyone in his life, was that kiss.
They would never kiss again.
And then, like an alarm during a ceremony, a scream sounded off throughout the trauma centre. The consequences found Ethan before he could find them.
“Declan Nash isn’t breathing!”
Note: If there is any interest for me to continue this, I have a whole plan in place for the story. Also, it only makes sense for me to include some characters over others based on their value to the circumstances of this AU (not to Open Heart in general). I’m keeping what characters I think would fit into the story well and using other names in the story as places and so on. This would have lighter moments if I continued, the sad is out of the way...
Tagging: @ethandaddyramsey @binny1985 @openheart12 @bellcat2010 @edith-eggs1 @missmiimiie @queenofspades6 @schnitzelbutterfingers @longneckramsey @queencarb @kaavyaethanramsey @mkamra2355 @ethxnrxmsey whimsicalreader @jooous @blazerina @choices-lurker @itsgoingnuts @lilyvalentine @aworldoffandoms @choices-love-affair @nooruleman @junehiratas
‘The Power of Four’
Right, everyone is picking Lions squads with less than a year to go until the next South Africa tour is meant to happen. Only so much brainpower I want to put into considering the pros and cons of scrummaging abilities though so I’ve gone for the Deeps Cult Lions XV made up of past tourists from of the last 20 or so years.
1. Allan Dell. What better way to start than with a South African born Scottish prop that only got called up as part of the ‘geography six’?
In the squad: Andrew Sheridan (built like one of those GM bulls) and Tom Smith (badly underrated player,
2. Keith Wood. The ragin’ potato. Came to Quins and inspired a character in the first ‘book’ I wrote aged 8. Weird obsession with belly buttons, understandable obsession with trying drop goals from 40 metres.
In the squad: Shane Byrne (1- mullet 2- not actually very good) and Andy Titterrell (Pro Rugby Manager 2 legend and extremely small man)
3. Kyle Sinckler. Why? He’s my guy, that’s why. He’s the opposite of that ruddy faced, sweaty tweed rugger culture. He makes me smile.
In the squad: Jason Leonard (The Fun Bus. Non-playing tour captain. Once ruffled my hair - give him all the ale he can drink.) and Adam Jones (The Hair Bear. My sister used to see him all the time in Neath Tesco - give him all the pic n mix he can eat).
4. Martin Johnson. Looks like a character from a Guy Ritchie film, universally loathed by opponents and taped up his fingers(??). Summed up by the saying ‘Last time I saw a mouth like that it had a hook in it’.
In the squad: Paul O’Connell (has some weird mythical power about him. Came to Quins with Munster and made south west London echo with ‘fields of Athenry’) and Simon Shaw (his emotional final interview post 2009 third test, aged 37, was pretty special)
5. Doddie Weir. Could not be anyone else. Farmer strength. Permanently looked 20. Built for Lions tours. Still fighting the good fight. Go on big man.
In the squad: Nathan Hines (perma-suspended and a ‘tartan wallaby’) and Maro Itoje (Sometimes it’s not all about drinking and bungee jumping. Itoje’s one of the few that would be able to have an actual conversation)
6. Peter O’Mahony. One of those players that always grows into a series and ends up being important. Entirely unremarkable player but must be nasty to play against. Can’t actually imagine he’s that nice to be around at all. Big ‘school bully’ vibes.
In the squad: Richard Hill (the only one of England’s 2003 RWC forwards that didn’t vote Brexit) and Alan Quinlan (Hit form at the right time, finally being picked in 2009 after a good but near-miss career. Expresses immense pride in selection. Then gouges someone. 12 week ban. If that’s not a cult player then I’m not sure what is).
7. Sean O’Brien. Another one with farmer strength. Thick in the arm, thick in the head but unlike a lot of the others won’t ever let you down. Plus on a tour you need characters and I bet, deep deep deep down he’s actually got a personality. Well, maybe.
In the squad: Martyn Williams (a face that belongs in a back office of a mid sized electronics company. Somehow helped to invent modern rucking) and Sam Warburton (picked only so I can annoy people by saying his name as War-burrton’ not ‘Wabatan’ as they seem to say. Also looks like an Easter Island statue)
8. Scott Quinnell. Just rugby league all over. Overweight, comedy accent, illegal use of a plaster cast on his arm, despicable post-career lad culture DVDs and even had a stint on Soccer AM. If you kick him, all the Quinnells walk with a limp.
In the squad: Ryan Jones (about the only player to come out of 2005 with credit) and Andy Powell (body of a god, brain of, erm... Great on tour as he’s a six foot five version of that kid in school you could make do anything by saying ‘oh go on!’)
9. Chris Cusiter. Born in Aberdeen which obvs piques my interest. Somehow got called up aged 22 while playing for the ill-fated Border Reivers. Played in Scotland, England, France and Australia and now lives in California running a whiskey retailing business. International.
In the squad: Matt Dawson (over the head dummy try) and Austin Healey (absolutely horrible grinding shithouse). The two of these would be encouraged to collaborate on deliberately provocative articles similar to what they wrote in 2001.
10. Jonny Wilkinson. The best player of all time. Note to self, don’t hang around him too much because you’ll look pathetic and probably annoy him.
In the squad: Mike Catt (Utility back. My fave) and Finn Russell (Joué Joué 🍷)
11. Ugo Monye. A huge part of my weekends for about 10 years was getting excited every time he touched the ball. Top scorer on his one Lions tour, shock.
In the squad: George North (need a scapegoat for when we lose 49-0 to Japan in a warm up game) and Jack Nowell (wouldn’t play a single game, only being taken to let the squad mock him and call him a yokel - bet he’s got a dead short fuse).
12. Rob Henderson. Looked like, acted like, presumably ate like and definitely played like that guy from your local club who played England U16s and let it get to his head. And gut. Crash ball.
In the squad: Scott Gibbs (hefty) and Gavin Henson (Insane talent, probably got good stories and even if he’s a prick he’s nicer to look at than some of the other options).
13. Ollie Smith. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Life gave Sir Clive Woodward the entire player pool of Britain and Ireland and somehow he picked Ollie Smith. In my team because he just looks like a nice guy. Defo pro-HS2 and his dad would pick up the bar tab.
In the squad: Brian O’Driscoll (meh, guess he gets a place) and Will Greenwood (but only with bleach blonde hair. He genuinely almost died on the pitch playing for the Lions, looks like Shaggy and is a rarity in being a Lions player selected while playing Championship rugby).
14. Dan Luger. Always looked like he’d just come off a 10 hour shift at B&M. Even made skintight shirts look baggy. Played for Perpignan and Toulon before it was cool. Tryscoring machine. Injury prone as fuck.
In the squad: John Bentley (so long as he isn’t a massive sexist like on the 1997 documentary) and Christian Wade (I will never forgive rugby union for wasting his talent).
15. Neil Jenkins. Ol’ dependable. Looks like a man off the street. Can imagine he’s almost always terrified around these peacocking ‘alpha males’.
In the squad: Tim Stimpson (remember him?) and Iain Calamity Balshaw (Brendan Laney never played Lions so he’s there to mess everything up instead)
A/N: *dusts off brain cobwebs* Hey, it’s been awhile since I wrote fanfic, let alone spec fanfic. Feels good. Hope you enjoy this little post-7x13/early 7x14 scene between Mia and William.
“Sorry,” muttered Mia. Again. Exactly how many times was a person expected to apologize for unintentionally causing injury? Ok so, the punch was her fault, but that had been pure survival instinct before she’d realized who Baby Warbucks was. “Though, for you information, the whining? Not so endearing right now.” Still, Mia was careful as she reapplied the towel to his split lip.
“Oh, well, I’m sorry if my pain is inconvenient for you.” Baby Warbucks shot her a glare before wincing again.
William. His name was William.
Mia swallowed, ducking her head to shield her face behind a wall of hair. She had a brother. She’d known that, of course. In theory. Growing up, Mom had recounted as much of her family history as she’d had the preference to provide, but Mia’s thirsty inquisitiveness was never fully quenched. Mia read more into her mom’s quiet frowns than in her meticulously vague answers. There was always more to know about the missing gaps in her childhood and in the years before that, of a different time, a time where her mom had been happy and her dad had been...still accessible.
And now, by some twisted miracle, all the answers she’d spent years searching for were sitting right in front of her. Of all the worst coincidences.
Mia pulled the towel away, relieved to see the bleeding had finally stopped. She suspected her newfound family member would not have taken to stitches very well. And she was terrible with a needle anyway.
As it was, William hissed when she pressed a bandage to his face.
Mia rolled her eyes at the ceiling and barely resisted the temptation to press harder. Was he so pampered he can’t even go five minutes without complaining? Pain tolerance was clearly a skill he needed to learn, and soon. He wouldn’t last a day in Star City with that pitiful attitude.
For the second time in the last hour, a strange wave of concern washed over her. She wanted to protect him.
Mia flinched, pulling back like he’d struck her.
Why did it matter what happened to him? Because he was suddenly family?
No. Mia dismissed that thought with a shake of her head. She only wanted to keep him safe because somehow he was the key to helping her find Felicity...find Mom.
While she hated to admit it, she was intrigued why Mom had risked contacting someone who clearly didn’t want to be here. But she wouldn’t tell him that. Information was power. And he may have been her long-lost, half-brother, but that didn’t erase years of zero contact on his part. If he’d wanted to help earlier, he would have.
Yet for some reason, her mom had trusted him enough to lead him to the Archer program, hoping to bring him back to her. Whatever Mom was up to, William was a part of the puzzle. That made his safety a priority.
Well then, Mia was just going to have play along at a safe distance. She could protect both of them--from each other, if it came down to it. And she knew whose side she’d fall on when things came down to the wire, as things usually did in Star City. Besides, once he got whatever closure he was after, he’d leave. And then she and mom would be all alone again. Best to steer herself against disappointment later.
As though listening to her train of thoughts, William looked at her and asked, “So, you willing to help us find Felicity?
Mia huffed, crossing her arms. “I’m sorry, us?” She shot a skeptical look around the room at his so-called friends. “Look, just because we’re...family does not mean that we are working together now.”
William looked more annoyed than frightened, so that was an improvement at least. “You can trust me. Felicity is the reason I’m here. She sent for me.”
“Oh, she sent for you, did she? Well, that wouldn’t have been necessary, if you’d been here in the first place.”
With surprising agility, William jumped out of the chair. “Hey, I’m not the one who abandoned her! She abandoned me!” He hesitated, a sudden, pained looked clouding his face, sending a sharp ache through her gut. She knew that look very well. It was the same, secret look her mom wore when she thought Mia wasn’t looking. It was the same look she saw in the mirror when she tried to force newborn memories to the surface of her mind.
In a softer, more unsure voice, William said, “She and my dad.”
Mia shut her eyes, fighting the onslaught of pain that was always creeping up behind her, ready to swallow her whole. It wasn’t fair that he got to utter that word and know what it meant, have an entire array of memories to go with it, while she...she had nothing but a stolen documentary and the secondhand pieces of a grieving mother.
Her lips shook, but she managed to keep her voice in check. “Look, I’m sorry that I hit you. But you should leave, go back to where you came from. This isn’t your fight.”
Mia turned away, her feet scraping against the concrete, echoing in tune with the dull pang in her heart. Long moments passed, and then...
“Is that what Dad would have wanted?” William called. “For us to turn our backs on each other?”
Mia spun, fire rushing through her veins. “You know nothing about me or my life!” she spat, retreating to the dark side of the platform and into the darkest parts of herself. She let the anger take over, let it guide her, let it remind her of her mission. Anger was safe, familiar, protective. Anger was the only emotion she could feel that drove her to do something, to be something…something more than the frightened daughter of two vigilantes. If she wasn’t angry, she’d have no reason to go on.
“You’re right.” William lifted his hands, resigned. Desperate. “But I want to. Let me help you.”
Mia raised an eyebrow. “You help me?”
But his eyes were genuine, even if his perspective was naive. If there was one thing she’d honed after all these years, it was the ability to read people.
“We’ve both been hurt by our parents. Let’s not make the same mistakes they did.”
Mia regarded William in a new light. Underneath all that geeky insecurity, there was a heart that wanted to do good, even if it was misguided in its efforts. She could help with that, at least. They had nothing in common, except they were both chasing something their parents had put into motion long ago. She knew what she was after, but what kind of closure was he seeking? What more could he possibly want after having unfettered access to Dad and still leaving like he did?
Knowing Felicity, she’d probably been sending that distress signal for months. So why was he only now responding to it? What had changed?
The only thing Mia hated more than the vigilantes that had destroyed her life was mysteries. Mysteries needed to be solved. And her new brother, wealthy yet a runaway just like her, was a terrifying enigma.
March 2021  I didn’t see the film Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo when it first came out, but I did see it. Not a boycott ... just late as all hell. Back before I realized that #ADOS was trash, I allowed the noise chorus to influence me that it was no big deal to see this film. More than the trash about Erivo being Black British and her having said offensive remarks about NuAfrikans*, I allowed the cacophony of #blackmaletears to overload my senses. The concern about a “fictitious Black male brute of a slave catcher invented for this film, only to be killed in the end by Harriet’s former master thus positioning himself as a sort of white savior,” is how the story went. I should have known betta. I do now, and I promise to do betta from here on out. Now that I have seen it, here are my thoughts.
I hadn’t planned on this happening, but in this film I saw several positive portrayals of Black men, at least five:
Former slave-catcher-in-training, portrayed by Henry Hunter Hall. All the noise and fuss, all the whoopin’ and hollerin’ and cryin’ I heard about a Black male slave catcher in this film; how come I never, ever, not once, heard there were TWO Black male slave catchers, one of whom switched sides and became a slave free - er? How come I never, ever heard about this young brutha who says to Araminta**, “ ... since you talk to God and God OBVIOUSLY talks to you, maybe I should help you?” ? How come I never, ever heard about this young brutha who proves himself to the point where Araminta entrusts the safety of her family to him? Makes him promise her that he will get her family to safety and he says yes? How come I never ever heard about this young brutha? Because he did not fit in with the #ados (which is trash) talking point, that’s why.
Araminta’s father, portrayed by Clarke Peters (my man Lester from HBO’s The Wire and Big Chief Albert Lambreaux from Treme). I saw a loving and devoted husband and family man; one who surreptitiously aided enslaved Afrikans in their escape to freedom. A father who understood his child needed to be free and instead of his love smothering her with worry and trying to keep her “safe” on the plantation he encouraged her to run. It was Araminta’s father who put her in touch with her first crucial link to the Underground Railroad￼, Reverend Green. When she tells her father she doesn’t trust the pastor he tells her to do as he says. Fortunately Araminta was an obedient child. When Peters’ character refuses to open his eyes to look at her before she leaves I found the scene amusing. It was done so he would be able to truthfully answer that he had not seen her￼. Later in the film when Araminta￼ returns￼ to take her brothers and a few others with her to freedom, Peters’ character now has a blindfold on so that he cannot see them￼. Still amused, I thought “this man really does not want to be able to see them.” I soon realized what was truly in play: the last sight of his children leaving for what could perhaps be forever may have been too much for him to endure. Lastly, when Araminta returns and informs her father that he is in danger because of his aiding and abetting enslaved Afrikans and that he must leave with her now, he realizes his baby girl’s words are wise and he doesn’t argue with her. No “man tones” or “mansplaining,” he agrees and he leaves. End of discussion.
When we first meet Rev. Green, portrayed by Vondie Curtis-Hall, he is leading folks in the singing of “Keep Your Hands On The Gospel Plow,” a traditional Black church hymn. Many of us will recognize it because the rhythm is that of “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize,” sung during the Civil Rights Movement and as the soundtrack for the documentary series Eyes On The Prize. This was our first clue: Reverend Green had Black folks singing about freedom. Araminta does not trust Rev. Geen when her father tells her to go to him, and Araminta’s older brother tells her the exact same thing when they set out for freedom, and for good reason. For no sooner than he finishes leading them in a chorus of The Gospel Plow does he tell the enslaved Afrikans that they must obey their earthly masters even when the masters aren’t around. The quintessential handkerchief-headed, fried-chicken-and-biscuit-eatin’, non-violent-turnin-the-other-cheek Negro Christian pastor. Not. Rev. Green is the trickster. The OG Spook sitting by the door (to freedom). It is Rev. Green that Araminta sees when she first sets out for freedom, her first contact on the Underground Railroad. When Araminta returns after one year and brings her family members and others to Reverend Green’s door, not only does he embrace her and tell her how happy he is to see her; not only does he bring them into the church sanctuary and give them the information they need, when it is time to hide them under the church there are at least three other people down there waiting. These other individuals bypassed Rev. Green all together and just hid out. With a look of “surprised but not”, the pastor tells Araminta “the word about her returning to take folks to freedom has “gotten out.” Obviously, the word was also that Rev. Green was the man that needed to be seen. Shout out to Kasi Lemmons for the family hook-up in hiring her husband.
William Grant Still
￼Conductor on the Underground Railroad, portrayed by Leslie Odom. My my. Brutha Still. Looking good. So handsome. And sharp. Fine clothing. Able to read and write. And absolutely committed to breaking the law of the land to free the enslaved. William Grant Still was absolutely, positively breaking the law. And he absolutely, positively didn’t give a damn. Once he and Araminta’s relationship deepens he tells her she is too important to simply just go off on missions whenever she chooses. I appreciate this aspect of his strategic and tactical mind. What I didn’t appreciate is when interviewing Araminta upon their first meeting Still noted that she may be suffering from “brain damage” because she said God talked to her. He ain’t had to go there. Be that as it may, Still asks Araminta if she wants a new name now that she is free. She decides to take her names of her mother and husband. Araminta Ross is now Harriet Tubman, thanks to Still asking the question. Towards the end of the film when news of the Fugitive Slave Law is announced, Still shows up with white abolitionists toting guns, with real bullets, who let off actual shots. Still does not carry a firearm but he shows up on the scene with the folks who do and that’s alright with me.
Husband of Araminta/Harriet Tubman, portrayed by Zachary Momoh. Next to Walter, this is my favorite character. The film opens with Araminta/Harriet laying out in an open field and Tubman coming upon her. She has had one of her “spells,” blackouts from a horrendous head injury inflicted by an overseer when she was a child. Momoh’s character gently caresses her face and calls her by her nickname “Minty”. Tubman does not lose his patience or his temper with her; there is no wondering of how long he has to put up with this or why he even has to; no asking of why she doesn’t get a grip or get “over” whatever this ailment of hers is. There is a loving acceptance of who and how she is, and worry that she might forget his name. Minty begins to repeat his name, assuring him that she knows who he is and that she will never forget him. One of the most touching and loving scenes I have ever witnessed between a Black man and woman. My only other comparison of this film would be to the version that Our Mother Cicely Tyson did in the 1970s. Though young when I saw it, I got the distinct impression from that film that John Tubman “punked out” (as we used to say) and was too scared to run away with Harriet once she returned for him. In no way shape form or fashion did I get that impression from this portrayal of Tubman. The only impression I got from this film was that John Tubman LOVED-DE-DED him some Araminta. I said he LOVED-DE-DED him some Araminta. Tubman wanted to make the trek with her but we are reminded that she wanted him to stay. She did not want him to risk his status as a free man, so she made the decision to run alone.
When Araminta/Harriet returns after one year to bring her husband to freedom and he informs her that he has remarried, to say that she is shocked angered hurt and heart-broken are the least of the descriptors we can use. But it is here where Tubman details his love for her. He tells her that when she left without him, he prayed for her. When her master “whipped the sight out of his eye” (a scar crosses his face from forehead to cheek covering his eye) in an attempt to get Tubman to tell where Minty was, he prayed for her. Tubman tells Minty when he heard, erroneously, that she had drowned trying to be free, he prayed for her. “I would’ve died for you,” he tells her, “if you’d’ve let me.”
GAHT DAMN! Where dey do that?!
If the love had been any thicker it would’ve stopped the playback on my laptop.
At least five positive, redeeming qualities of Black male characters in this film about one of the greatest Black women who ever walked this earth. How sad and miserable must some folks’ lives be that they didn’t have the eyes to see this?
But I digress.
From Araminta to Harriet
This was not a film about Black men but about a Black woman. One Black woman. Although this film did not begin with Harriet’s childhood it did a good job for me of showing her develop into a confident Black woman who understood and embraced her purpose. Despite naysayers surrounding her, Harriet not only knew she needed to bring others to freedom, she knew she would be victorious in doing so. This portrayal of Harriet Tubman has made real for us the dictum of “if God be for us who can be against us?” Harriet not only believed God told her she must free others but that God guided her missions safely so she would never, ever lose a “passenger” on the Underground Railroad. There is no earthly explanation for an event such as this; you simply say Ase’ and keep it moving.
On a related note, I appreciated the film’s portrayal of Harriet’s “spells” as visions where the audience gets to see what she sees. I always appreciate when something is made manifest before my eyes as it draws me in to the story more. I love suspending disbelief. I want to be taken on a journey; it’s why I’m here!
“No Black People Were Harmed During The Filming of this Movie”
Years ago, decades, I would see that disclaimer at the end of a film about animals and wonder, why don’t we have one for Black people? This was well before we had both the phenomenon and the language of trauma porn. The energy of the past few years has confirmed that this is an actual phenomenon that concerns a critical mass of Black people; to the point where former Shadow and Act editor Brooke Obie has coined the term “Hurston-Walker Test”*** for it.
On this point, then, I was saddened and a bit unnerved at the demise of Janelle Monae’s character at the hands of Harriet’s former master and his hired slave catcher. She was violently murdered. Fortunately, if that can be said, that was the only instance of trauma porn I detected. And yet, it existed. Six of one, half dozen of another.
As for the White Savior, I saw none. I saw a demon who gave an instruction to a brute. Said demon killed said brute when the instruction was disobeyed because hey, that’s what the system of white supremacy allows. I then saw said demon attempt to kill Harriet Tubman, who disarmed him by shooting him in his hand. Should Harriet have finished him off? Of course she should have, and she would have had Thandisizwe Chimurenga been the director. But there was no white savior in this film. None.
I’m glad I saw Harriet. I wish I had seen it when it first opened and I had written this then.
Sonia Sanchez asks us what work does this do? Each of us must ask this question and answer it for themselves. I have stated above the work I think this film does. I make my commitment to doing so in writing on other films from here on out.
*NuAfrikan or New Afrikan: descendants of Afrikans enslaved in the United States between 1619 and 1865, designated at the 3rd Black Power Conference held in March 1968 in Detroit, Michigan.
**Araminta, Minty for short: Harriet’s name at birth.
***Hurston-Walker Test, named for Zora Neal Hurston and Alice Walker: “Those who love us never leave us alone w/our grief. At the moment they show us our wound they reveal they have the medicine.”
Well... im getting kidnapped
It isn't the worst start to a day that I've had but being stuffed in a red sack, tied up like a Sunday roast isn't exactly far off, and after some kicking and a few unsuccessful bites i was in the sack being dragged along the cold tile floor, getting hit by the lift door on the way in and after a brief few moments of jamming out to Kevin Booths set me free, i was tossed in the back of a vehicle as we set off
I couldn't tell you how much time had passed, but enough for the cold and damp to seep through the wet sack, the wind and snow whipping the now bordeux sack, cursing the day people decided open top cars in winter are cool, and why i didn't sleep with more cloths on, but finally we stopped, the sound of the wind changed to... bells? Those tiny bells you find on stockings that your cat always finds a way to take off and play with them in the early hours of the morning as if to remind dawn its time to show its colours
As the jingle came near i was grabbed out the car and dropped on the sidewalk, and after a buzz of a doorbell the bells turned to the sound of hoofs striking the road and a door opening, the sound of snow crunching under someones shoe slowly approaching
They opened the sack, letting me see for the first time where i was, tossed on the pavement in front of a house i didn't recognise, shaking from the cold as the wind hit my bare chest, snowflakes stinging my already numb skin, that's when i saw her, her brown eyes hidden by her mist covered glasses as she quickly dragged me into the house and unceremoniously dumped me in the living room, before in a hurry darting off to the kitchen
The house itself wasn't anything big, just big enough for one, a few Christmas lights draped over the curtain poles, a couch backed up into the corner barely large for two, a small dining room table covered in papers and books with a laptop open playing a video about napoleon backed up to the bar separating the living room and the kitchen where she was frantically searching through drawers, the sound of the kettle being made in the background, a single door going out to a small balcony in the far side of the kitchen
As i try to sit up i see the knots around my my ankles has chewed through the skin, tainting the white rope a light shade of red, as i began to try to untie my hands from behind my back, flopping around like a fish on a boat trying to work some slack into the rope only to have my leg cramp as she walked outside the kitchen with two mugs of hot water and a box of tea bags on a tray
Cursing she set the tray down and yanked the tape off my mouth, smirking lightly from the not so quiet ow that escaped my mouth, slowly loosening the knot around my hand enough for me to grab it
"Go make what you were making in the kitchen, i got it from here" i said as i slowly untied my hands, my countless hours tieing knots in scouts and sailing making it relatively straightforward, as she quietly left through a door i hadn't previously seen, only for her to emerge back into the room with a couple blanket and a small first aid kit i got her as a joke
"Here you go Mr tough guy, do you want me to make you something to eat or am i still too clumsy to handle hot things?", you could almost hear the smirk in her voice as she went back into the kitchen, grabbing some pot noodles to make along the way
"If you have something warm you can make it would be appreciated, but try not to burn yourself this time" i said as i heard a thud and swearing come from the kitchen "How did you hurt yourself this time?"
"Oh shut up.... I knocked the cat water bowl with my foot, that's all", i grabbed the first aid kit and after some disinfecting cream i wrapped my ankles and arms in some gauze and tried to get up to go to the kitchen only to stumble a bit and fall on the couch
I got back up, making sure to support myself off the couch, and i carefully made my way to the kitchen, where i was greeted with the sight of her grabbing a fork and putting it the noodles before turning around to head out again, only to stop in her tracks as i slowly approach and give her a hug, a few errand tears streaming down my face relishing in the warmth of her embrace
She slowly looked up at me, letting me look in those beautiful brown eyes, concern still lingering in them, her hand rubbing my back to ease me, quite ironic after the countless times I've comforted her, but after a while, and a few rumbling sounds from my stomach we went to the couch, where i inhaled my noodles, getting a few drops of the broth trail down my face to her amusement, where we sat in silence, waiting for the other to speak, no one brave enough to make the first move
"So, while i appreciate your company, do you have any idea why you were dropped on my doorstep, during a lockdown no less?"
"I... I don't know, i mean, i can't think of anyone who has the man power to do something like this, or let alone why, i couldn't see there faces but... But they were in an open top ride, and i probably hit my head somewhere but and i heard bells and hooves when they left"
"Hooves, as in horses? I heard them too but i thought it was probably from the documentary, but who would kidnap you and just dump you here?
I mean, it's quite a random place to drop you off, they could have gone a few hundred metres either side and no one would find you till weeks after, so why here, and why ring the bell? "
We sat there in silence, thinking of why it would happen, each question bringing with it five more, she opened her mouth as to say something on a few occasions but never spoke in the end, this went on for what felt like hours, till i went to take a sip from my tea and sneezed at the same time, spraying it all over me as she sat there giggling
"You never learn do you?" she walked into the kitchen and emerged after a few moments with some paper towel handing it over for me to clean up, as she brought the cups and bowls back into the kitchen, and grabbed a few biscuits, only for her to thwack me across the head when she walked back out
"Why did you do that?" i said while rubbing the back of my head
"You small brain monkey, you are still half naked wearing wet clothes, you'll catch a cold at this rate" she threw me the blankets she took out before, and tossed them into my face only to disappear through the doorway snd emerged with an old sweater of mine and a clean tracksuit
"I was wondering where i had left that sweater"
"Well wonder no longer, out these on and give me the wet stuff to wash"
"Right here? Shouldn't i go to a bathroom or something?"
"Through the door to your left, and try not to slip on the floor, it's like ice sometimes"
"Thank you" i went to the bathroom and true enough, you could almost skate on the floor it was that slippery, it would be embracing to fall and get injured, so i tried my best to stay upright by holding on to the sink, but i fell and whacked a glass covering the floor in glass and falling into it
Hearing the noise she ran into the bathroom to check on me, only to sigh and give me a hand up,she brought me into the kitchen under the bright light and with a pair of tweezers started plucking small bits of glass out of my arm and shoulder
"Why do you find new and creative ways of hurting yourself?"
"I don't always get injured"
"The lollipop incident?"
"How was i supposed to know that bard sugar can make stabby things"
"You poked me"
"Ok yeah, that's on me"
"Mashed potatos, plastic knife, a pen"
"ok ok you have a point"
"Now don't get injured while i grab whatever bandages are left"
I sighed in defeat, as i slowly inspected myself, looking for any other possible injuries, the clean sweatpants are a bit small, but that's to be expected, i was a head taller than her and women's clothes are a pain in the ass in terms of sizes, ill need to thank her properly tomorrow for all this, as she came back into the kitchen and finished bandaging me up while mumbling how stupid i was for getting injured all the time we sat down on the couch, blankets draped over us watching an old Christmas movie
Next morning we woke up on the couch cuddled up, her arms locked around me as if i would disappear if she let go, her drool on my chest as she slept peacefully for once after her recent spell of nightmares, i lied there, feeling relaxed for once, until she moved and jabbed me in the ribs with her elbow, my small groan of pain waking her up, giving me the opening to give her a quick kiss on the head, startling the daylights out of her as she looked in my direction with a surprised expression on her face
"You're actually here, i thought i dreamt the whole thing"
"Yeah im here, why do you ask?"
"I think i know who kidnapped you then"
"what do you mean you know who kidnapped me"
"You remember the old tale of the Christmas lovers?"
"Yeah, you used to groan that it's random nonsense and why do they have to be lovers and you can't just wish for anyone you care about to have them brought to you"
"Well, since March when lockdown started i kept on wishing that for Christmas my gift would be a hug from you..."
"So you think this was..."
"that does explain the hooves and the bells... And sleighs are open to the elements... The sack, why i was left here of all places"
*how does the story end? "
"They check the stokings amd there is a key to the others house for him to grab his stuff and move in"
"Did you put up any stocking this year?"
"Not really no"
As i slowly move around and hear my joins crack i notice that there is some Christmas stocking on the table, as i slowly pick it up and put my hand inside i find my wallet and my keys, with a note that said :
Sorry for the ruff treatment, we were very close to falling beginning schedule, we locked you apartment up so you don't have to worry about your stuff getting stolen
I’ve seen like one ask meme full of year-end asks going around, but I didn’t really like the questions on it and also it’s not the one I’ve been doing for the past three years. So, despite the fact that no one asked for this, here is a wrap-up of 2017! Answers under the cut, as always.
1. What did you do in 2017 that you had never done before?
This year wasn’t as full of exciting firsts as last, but let’s see what I can come up with. I stayed at a hospital (twice), I visited the state of West Virginia (for spring break), I wore my binder at home, I participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange (three to be exact), I attended group therapy, I got a couple new diagnoses and tried new medications, I met David Sedaris, I saw John and Hank Green, I went to New York City, I tried sangria, I went to a brewery, I went to a film festival, I developed a crush on a boy, I went to a Classics conference, I won an award for a podcast I produced, I spoke at my school’s chapel, and I met Peter Staley.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My New Year’s resolution was to make more media than I consume and to Tweet more. I definitely do not Tweet more, and I’ve been working on the media thing (my job at the school newspaper ensures I do) but I would argue I definitely haven’t upheld that one either. My only resolution for the next year is to get through graduation, and to find something to do this summer that will enable me to eat/pay rent for an apartment and focus on my mental health.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nobody I feel super close to, no.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.
5. What countries did you visit?
I stayed in the US of A.
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Stability. Peace and quiet. A brain that remembers to pick up my medication when I need to.
7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
January 20 -- Inauguration and the protests surrounding it. February 18 -- the day I met ACTUP activist Peter Staley at a Chicago art museum. March 9 -- the day my LGBT alliance’s spring speaker came to campus (and all the ruckus surrounding that). May 1 -- protests at my school and the class shut-down, and the day I spent so many waking hours in the school newsroom producing a podcast about it. May 5 -- Dylan’s second birthday, and the day I was admitted to the hospital for the first time. May 15 -- the Classics department BACCHANALIA, the thought of which got me through my first hospital stay. June 11 -- the day I began a relationship with my second girlfriend. June 18 -- the day my second relationship ended (shut up). June 21 -- the day of my second hospital admittance. August 19 -- Hannah’s 21st birthday, for which I flew into Chicago (we had a fantastic time). October 14 -- the day Kit and I visited Stonewall and got Big Gay Ice Cream. October 20 -- my 22nd birthday dinner, which was an excuse to eat calamari and cake with friends. October 21 -- the day Hannah, Kit, and me made Halloween cookies and watched Sense8. October 22 -- the day I saw John and Hank Green. November 3 -- the day I saw Tegan and Sara for the second time! November 5 -- the day Kit and I went to a David Sedaris reading. November 10 -- the day Katie and I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch. November 20 -- my chapel talk. December 23 -- the day I wore my binder to my Grandma’s house and faced my fears!
(Yes, most of this is off the top of my head.)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being alive, getting all A’s and a B+ for the fall semester, FINISHING all of my coursework for the spring semester and my summer class after the two hospitalizations, giving my incredibly vulnerable chapel talk.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Hard to say. I’m really not proud of the B+, though, since it was a class that I found easy and that I should have blown out of the water. Oh well.
I’m also learning not to consider the hospitalizations a failure. I might have a few months ago. But I didn’t go to the hospital because I messed anything up (for example, I was taking all of my medications! both times!!!), I went because I was sick and couldn’t manage it by myself. Not my fault.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was deeply depressed for six months and low-grade depressed for four more. So that sucked.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A button-down shirt with cats on it from Wildfang, a green hat with a very wide brim, all the various bath bombs I got, a Tegan and Sara baseball cap, these mussels during my vacation in Portland.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All the nurses and doctors in the hospital, and my therapists outside the hospital. My academic adviser for keeping me on track academically, giving me life advice, and visiting me in the hospital and bringing me books (especially American Gods). And all my friends, once again, that stuck around in the spring, visited me in the hospital in the summer, and have driven me to therapy in the fall and winter (in no particular order that would be both Josephs, Maggie, Mickey, Katie, Kit, Athena, Emma, Becky, Spencer, Hannah, Ella, Jacob, and everyone else in Aquifer Pod). Plus my campus pastors for letting me crash in their office when I was dissociating, and for helping me with my confirmation.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled?
It’s always our president, isn’t it? Ajit Pai also goes on the list this year. And the bastards that murdered a trans girl who lived in my county. Fuck those assholes.
14. Where did most of your money go?
I spent a good chunk of it at the end of the year on film festival entrance fees for the documentary I produced in the fall. I also did buy way too many bath bombs. Otherwise, probably food.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing Tegan and Sara, David Sedaris, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Also my birthday! I was so excited I woke up at 5 in the morning. Oh, and of course going to New York City!
16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
"Feel It Still” -- Portugal. the Man
“1-800-273-8255″ -- Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
“Young, Dumb and Broke” -- Khalid
“The Cure” -- Lady Gaga
“Yet Another Dig” -- Bob the Drag Queen ft. Alaska Thunderfuck
“Sissy That Walk” -- RuPaul
“Green Light” -- Lorde
“I Miss Those Days” -- Bleachers
“Praying” -- Kesha
“Humble” -- Kendrick Lamar
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? © richer or poorer?
a. DEFINITELY HAPPIER, DEFINITELY HAPPIER.
b. Like twenty pounds fatter. I don’t want to talk about it.
c. The same, probably?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Stayed present and mindful in all my activities.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sleeping. There was so much sleeping. Also self-harming. I’d have liked less self-harming.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
On the 23rd, my grandma hosted the big family ordeal. We ate food and opened presents, and played this gift card swap game that turned out to be pretty fun. On Christmas Day, I woke up at 9. We ate French toast, opened presents, watched Christmas specials and Stranger Things 2, and for dinner Dad made steak and potatoes.
21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
22. What was your favourite TV program?
Bojack Horseman, Please Like Me, Stranger Things, Great British Baking Show, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I’m a bit pissed off at the doctor at the hospital when I went in April who said I was seeking attention and didn’t think I was “bad” enough to be admitted. Fuck him.
But I don’t hate him, you know? I don’t think I hate anyone.
24. What was the best book you read?
Columbine by Dave Cullen. I devoured it in three days. Also Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The song “Material Girl” by Madonna! Also music by drag queens (I’m a fan of Adore Delano, Trixie Mattel, and Bob the Drag Queen).
26. What did you want and get?
A shit ton of lavender products, a new audio recorder, a graphic novel called The Fifth Beatle, that zine about mental health featuring a contribution from Sara Quin, fancy Oxford shoes.
27. What did you want and not get?
My family to use my name and pronouns. *whomp whomp*
28. What was your favourite film of this year?
Time to consult the movie list. New movies: Moonlight, Get Out, Moana, Rogue One, Fences, Hidden Figures, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver. Old movies: The Blue Angel, M, The 400 Blows, Finding Vivian Maier, Matilda (no, I had not seen it before 2017), Paris Is Burning. (Yes, some of the new movies I have on here were made in 2016. That’s how my school’s movie theater works.)
29. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Depression chic. Lots of gray monochrome outfits.
31. What kept you sane?
YouTube and Spotify, mood stabilizers, about thirty mental health professionals, my podmates.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy most?
The answer is always Tegan and Sara. Janelle Monae and Annie Clark are in a battle for second and third. I’m also really into that video of Tom Holland and Zendaya doing a lip sync battle. Also, can I put RuPaul on here?
33. What political issue stirred you most?
Hoo boy. This was a very politically stirring year. I feel like I was often pushed into a box of being only a spokesperson for trans issues, especially when the military ban came about. I also got pissed about Russian influences on the election, the Roy Moore election, the events in Charlottesville, the attempt to repeal healthcare, Sean Spicer drama, and the Muslim ban. (This I did not get off the top of my head, I consulted my Twitter.)
34. Who did you miss?
For some reason I missed my grandparents a lot this year -- I think it’s because I’m starting to become more and more aware of their mortality, and any moment I’m away from them makes me anxious that they’re going to die. Also, the death of Tom Petty really got to me.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
I feel like I didn’t learn a whole lot. I learned a lot about myself and how much I can handle, and I learned for sure who is in my corner. I learned about the importance of faith, at least in my life. And I learned firsthand through the process of giving my chapel talk how important sharing your story and being vulnerable is. There’s zero good in keeping secrets and staying silent if you have something to say.
Also, like, being alive is pretty OK I guess.
36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I’ve been on the low, I’ve been taking my time / I feel like I’m out of my mind, it feel like my life ain’t mine” -- “1-800-273-8255,” Logic feat. Alessia Cara and Khalid
“Come on motherfucker, you survived, you’ve gotta give yourself a break (hey!)” -- “Everybody Lost Somebody,” Bleachers
TL;DR: If my life were a book, 2016 would be a chapter where a ton of shit happened to advance the plot while 2017 was the following chapter where it looked kinda stagnant plot-wise but the character’s internal life went from being an absolute mess to -- well, it’s still kind of a mess but he’s doing better at the end of the year than he was in the beginning or the middle. I’m tempted to write it off as just another year, and in fact a pretty shitty one, but there have been good things too and overall I’d call it a very important year in my development. I really can’t wait for 2018 though!
Same thing for 2015…
Feel free to read others if you want.
We Are What is Left Among the Ashes: chapter 5
Hey, hey under 12 hours! See what being bored at work can do for a gal?
I hope those who read this story enjoy this chapter. I know it took forever and I’m sorry. I’ve reread and rewritten this chapter enough to be fairly certain that I could recite it for you from memory, and I’m still positive it could be better.
In related news: are you interested in maybe helping me edit my stories? Inquire within for more information!
As always comments and constructive criticism is always welcomed.
While the people in the story are real, the events and situations are 100% fiction and entirely for entertainment.
And now on with the show!!!
She was fine, perfectly fine. To anyone who looked, it was just another day. She was still Cait, she still smiled and told jokes, she made plans and kept busy. Everything appeared to be business as usual; and that was exactly how it was supposed to be. She had never been one to outwardly show distress or any real emotion. She did as expected, she was calm, cool, and collected at all times. Thankfully, no one here knew her tells, no one at work knew her quite well enough to pick up on the little things. Well, no one right then at least. No one would notice her biting her nails, picking at her clothes, or how quickly her fists would ball up when talking to anyone. These were the defenses she had developed years ago.
Today was just another day at work, nothing could be different. Despite what she knew was coming, she was confident in how her performance would play. If nothing else she had, had years of training under her belt to show nothing at all. So, from the outside she would be fine, normal, ready for a day of pick-ups and voice overs.
She had worked herself into a frenzy though, her mind a swarm of imagined situations and conversation; mixing seamlessly with hope and dread. Pouring herself yet another cup of coffee, she tried desperately to calm her mind, bringing forth the white room that had always calmed her before. In that imaginary room, there was nothing, no work and plans, no sound, no hearts, nothing. Another mechanism. She could completely clear her mind and start to relax, block out everything. It was working too, between the hot coffee and the white room her shoulders relaxed, her breathing evened out and she was no one; until a door opened and in he came. Suddenly, she was no longer sure if she could play this part.
A single door closing had never sounded so loud to her before. The click echoing in the hallway, deafening to her mind and forever altering the rhythm of her pulse. She stood there, in front of his door for what could have been seconds or years. She stood there until her eyes ran dry and her brain forgot the coding for movement. She stood there counting to any large number she could think of, then began again until she could have told you the number of stars in the sky. Waiting. She knew what she was doing, she was waiting. She was waiting for him, waiting for herself. She waited for the romantic music to start and the lead to rush out begging her to stay, Waiting for happily ever after; but none of it came. What eventually did come was the silence and worst of all her thoughts. Doubt came flooding back and right behind it was regret. She went to turn around and go back; but when her hand made contact with the cool metal handle, so did her pain and anger. Before more emotions could come to her and her strength had time to fail, she re-learned how to walk. One foot in front of the other down the hall and into the quiet chaos of the night.
The night had always been her ally, a warm dark blanket of anonymity; that allowed her the freedom to just exist. Stepping onto the streets, the chilly air hit her and finally the urge to… fight, scream, flee, anything but just standing there, near him, engulfed her. That was the bitch of it really. While she knew this was for the best, that they had both played a part in getting here; when all was said and done, all her heart wanted was to turn around. Run up the stairs and tell him everything, let him hold her and promise forever; be what they were. Instead though, she closed her eyes, spun twice in a circle and walked away.
Cait’s flat was only a few short blocks from Sam’s. She was there all of ten minutes. Eddie was fed, an overnight bag was packed and the doors locked as she left everything else behind. The world could wait for a night.
Despite her will to run as far away as her bank account and passport would take her, she still had to be in the area. She’d be damned though, if that meant being too close. She booked a night at decent hotel across town, stopped at a corner store and purchased everything needed to thoroughly regret this night in the morning.
A bottle of wine, two airplane bottles of vodka and nine cigarettes later; she finally cried. She hadn’t before, not really. While she had shed a few tears, she never achieved the cleansing relief that tears were supposed to bring. Her chest would get tight, the world seemed to slow as her ears rang, but nothing ever came. Here though, in a room not her own away from everyone, she could allow it to all rush over her. She welcomed it. The burning lungs, the sudden stabbing sensation in her head, the memories. She looked to it to help her heal; but she forgot that sometimes healing is more painful than the original injury. Neither the world nor herself seemed to exist then. Memories assaulted her, getting stronger and more vivid with each one. They became a movie of her past. Her sobs, the soundtrack; and try as she might, she couldn’t shut it off.
A little boy on the playground shoving her off the slide
A classmate mocking her slight stutter when reading aloud
every boy’s name she ever doodled on a notebook
Models mimicking her accent
The grains of wood on her grandfather’s coffin.
Each and every rejection from a job
His shirt from uni that hung in their closet
The white sterile sheets of the A & E
The color of the doctor’s mask
The smell of the antiseptic
Blue post-it notes
The sound of the tissue paper being pulled away from a small knit blanket
Desperate, Cait tried thinking of happy things, sunny days, ice cream, kittens; anything. Nothing she could do seemed to stop the onslaught. Praying to anyone listening that this at lease would stop her memories, she opened a second bottle of wine. That was her last clear thought.
A vacuum woke her up, sounding very much like the person cleaning was attempting to clean the pillow she was currently using. She cracked one eye and attempted to focus the room enough to find the clock. It was still early, there was enough time to get up and get to her flat. She could still check her phone and talk to Maril; see if she was needed for today. She hoped not, she’d rather not have to explain everything just yet. That brief thought alone was enough, her stomach flipped and she launched herself out of bed and into the bathroom. The vacuum could no longer be heard.
Looking around her rented room, nothing was askew, everything was in its place. The exception being empty bottles, a slightly worse for wear cigarette pack, and a cheap lighter. Thankfully, Cait was never a destructive drunk, at least not towards much past herself. If things were normal, this is how she would want them, tidy and ordered. Today though, she longed for destruction. She lay there and hoped above hope for something shattered, something that didn’t look perfect. Because, to her, if she couldn’t show her internal wreckage, the lease the world around her could do was look a bit battered.
Taking a sip of coffee she willed her hands not to shake. It was her only shield, the only thing near enough to provide her with time. When she assumed it safe, she looked up. That was her mistake, she thought she was prepared for what she’d see, and once upon a time she would have been right. She was very suddenly reminded of every documentary she’d ever seen on sharks. His eyes seemed to be unseeing; but she knew better. He saw everything, wouldn’t miss a movement. She stared at him, allowed herself the luxury of a moment to read his face; but there was nothing there. No recognition, no illumination, no feeling. She stopped silently begging him when she saw it, stopped holding out for the hope that she might have been wrong. Instead of the cold dread she had felt before, the coffee seemed to have ignited her blood. Staring into his eyes, her own going shark-like,
She hoped that this killed him.
She hoped that standing right here was just as painful for him.
She threw away her coffee cup, and walked away; hoping that he was fine. Perfectly fine.
Who knows why thoughts sometimes lose their wings
11 juin // scattershot consciousness, or: a mind in motion [transcribed from notebook]
What does it mean to wake with a feeling, & why?
Nobody knows why. Nobody knows why life was given to us.
Sometimes you wade through junk self-help advice only to stumble upon curious nuggets of truth,
about love’s closeness to death
or how love lets us glimpse the soul beneath layers of flesh
As we decay–
that thing, stubbornly itself.
“Soul is hewn in a wild workshop.”
Yesterday I watched the plants blowing & marveled that something invisible acts on matter: wind.
Is that why we conceive of God as Breath?
The person touched by God is in a windstorm
like the film character Wakefield dislodged from his low self.
In some other world, did I volunteer for this?
Like an astronaut: I volunteer—now make me born!
Was I counseled by a bureaucrat of heaven
was I an angel who came to Earth
on the Wings of Desire
to be human
gasping alive every time I step out of buildings into the sun, how the exits of libraries & my psychoanalyst’s office become birth canals.
Weep thinking about that grace.
Consciousness expanding & contracting—a sparrow beneath my chair.
What was that moment when all of life contracted to a single point of
Woke up from the dream of hanging succulents with the Agnus Dei liturgy on my tongue
“Jesus lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us”
When I was counseled, pre-birth,
did they tell me about this pain
did I wake inside the pain-joy dialectic
between babble & searing beauty
Who knows why
we wake to life
beneath a red umbrella, consciousness blooming
& somewhere, the tree beneath which we will rest for Eternity
Do you see yourself
stopping to admire the roses in the setting sun?
I remember, desert nights listening to “I Lost Something in the Hills”
gliding beneath the big moon.
It was not Jesus imbibing & transforming all human suffering that touched me in the liturgy
but the cry for mercy that is answered.
It is usually not answered.
On the floor of the world, a cry for mercy
& only the silence of God.
But from that unanswered cry—grace?
Just as soon as it arrives
it is gone.
They put a new date on the birth of our species
We are 300,000 years old, at least
But how did we come to this?
did we eat mushrooms to grow language
& how did we become bipedal
& what vestigial body parts still exists as phantoms hooked up to my neural map
& what pre-adaption invisible (potential) limbs can I control with my brain?
is it a memory of what was
or a pre-cognition
of what is to come?
How glorious that every form contains both what it once was & what it could be
The historian looks in one direction,
the artist in the other
Between archive & horizon,
we are floating on ourselves
There it was
in absolute clarity
rinsed myself of me
but now I want to sleep
Life not calm
but we were
“how elegant, your back” Alex said
He’ll be here tomorrow.
My head filled with the sound.
Life & then…I want to make a poem out of flowers.
“The poem is almost over"—where did this line come from?—the unconscious belting STOP THE POEM!
You can’t keep going forever
But…head, soup, nowhere
the Górecki symphony he listened to deep in his sorrow, when he decided to come back & fight for love
Now imagine an image shattering & the shards congealing to form a new image
He said going through the pain was like that—
that on the other side was clarity
I hear Michael Eigen saying, go all the way into it, push through until you reach the Ecstatic / there’s no retreating
you aged—you can’t summon what once was so easy, to feel, but I was alive, & more myself when destroyed.
You read. You imagine all the things you could write, your own book on female lust, wandering, flowers, ecstasy.
Life was once—& then, I grew a brain
Tho I was still myself before I was born
Now imagine matter exploding
Now imagine this big rock growing an atmosphere
then the sadness breaks
who would have thought
that out of that primary matter
sadness would be born?
Who would have thought
we’d make a world without mercy for the afflicted, brains disfigured & reordered by toxins, war, trauma—
what one has lived through
& the proverbial roll of the dice
My brother mentally impaired by a brain injury caused by a difficult birth
& the thought: I could be in his place. In prison.
Remember Eigen’s description of Kurt’s documentary
about a single lost soul adrift on the planet
What consolation was there except the light
& why wake up weeping at the memory of stepping into the sun?
Because in that sun, I could love
& you remember
stepping out of Widener Library
into the glory that was the setting sun
the way it set all particles alight
turning dust & pollen into glitter that fell from the trees in slow motion
or the way the highway became a snow globe on that gentle day in early June
when the cottonwoods released their seeds.
On the bus you imagined a single airborne cottonwood seed blowing across the length of your life.
Don’t you see
nothing is more significant than anything else
I hear them cry: have mercy
the worm crushed on the pavement cries
I see the church spire from another angle
everywhere, spires of consciousness
jutting out of the soil
"Mercy, mercy” we sing to the transmogrification machine some call Jesus
Spires of mercy
How is it possible that billions of years ago a light appeared in that vast darkness
what symphony was made in that instant
a dog, a cat
a squirrel thrashing itself to death:
all waiting to be made.
The mind quickens
the shore creeps
Tops spin, monuments are erected
complexity, tessellation, pyramids amid sand dunes, waves of mass extinctions
& the world growing dimmer
human consciousness wiped out. We saw,
we woke up. & then, the wind. What edge did we find, an emotional cliff.
My heart—throwing it into the sea.
There was everything
& then you can see
the contraction of sorrow
growing ever denser
until it disperses as sparrows
Is consciousness an accident of nature?
How, out of the infinite range of possibilities, did the shape of the honeysuckle flower become perfectly suited to the beak of its pollinator? Without striving—how is there elegance of design?
Why make a written language?
Why use it for something as inconsequential as this: to write down what passes through my head.
I wonder if the world will be sorry to one day lose me as a witness
I was not coherent
but I did my best
Why wake up weeping at the thought of the universe without a witness?
Then, the shift in the 3rd movement of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, when sorrow is released & transformed into grace.
that some make symphonies
before one by one, the lights are extinguished
& all language is lost
My memories left me
I walked across the field weaving my way around the the spires of splendor
Who was it that wrote
Medbh McGuckian’s language is made of flowers?
Oh how quickly the branches of the deciduous trees sprout new wings
But why do my thoughts sometimes lose their wings?
Why does consciousness sometimes flag, become a dark room without windows?
It is happening:
the future has already happened
because it will.
All I wanted was to stay awake long enough to feel—that’s all there is.
everything is as good as everything else.
Somewhere, someone weeping.
Why—this total equality of mercy,
even for the ones who wronged you
Who were you, touching across some distance?
What gift did you bring that I needed?
Why weep during the film Wakefield
when that awful man spoke the word “mercy”?
Did even he deserve it?
My heart aches for everything lost.
Mercy. How the word is an ax to the sea frozen inside me.
Mercy, they cry, have mercy.
I hear Cornel West quoting William James: religion is a cry for help.
Why cry for mercy in a merciless world?
Through the pain—mercy
what capacity for sensing the other was lost when he was in a rage
then found, when he looked & turned back from the path of cruelty
& in those moments hatred turned inside out & he emerged, disarmed.
Wind today shows no sign of abating
& still some are crying, mercy be this good weather
Lay your weapon down—
let the spires cut the wind
as ghosts rush through the forest
Here—in this moment.
a soul in flight.
Someone raised the question—
what if the universe is one giant feeling being?
Weep for Kurt
& remember the profound equality of all things, how money distorts that fact.
Released from hatred.
In what ways did my wound make me merciless?
Title: Now The World Is Ours
Name of creator: @shipaholic
Prompt: “Angst” + “bottom!Light"
Characters: Light, L
Rating, warnings and no. of words (for fics): R (M for part 2), nuclear apocalypse, 1781 words (this part)
It’s day thirty-eight. The air is yellow and L is still not back.
Light sips his coffee. There isn’t much else to do. The monitors have been blank ever since the bomb hit, and the back-up generator hasn’t brought them back online. Venturing beyond the control room in search of a fix has been deemed inadvisable.
So, this is where they’ve holed up. This bland square space filled with non-functioning tech is all that’s available to them. Light considers his good luck, in spite of it all. Of all the places to be when nuclear warfare breaks out, L’s stupid ostentatious building had turned out to be a godsend. Radiation-resistant walls. The backup generator whirs along and keeps the lights on and the kettle working. A water filter, for L’s million cups of tea. Gas masks.
The only exit to the room is the exit to the building. L goes out to get supplies. Mostly other people’s radios and televisions he’s deconstructed. They don’t need food, for now - the kitchen is well-stocked, and Light has drawn up a plan for rations, just in case. Neither of them suffers easily from cabin-fever. Light learned that about himself during his fifty days’ confinement. As for L, Light wonders if his stint at university was his first time out of doors.
Light takes another sip of coffee. The handcuff chain clinks against the arm of his chair.
Ah, yes. Those. Light had really, really hoped he’d seen the back of those.
L had disillusioned him the first day he’d decided one of them would need to go outside.
“Kira cannot be trusted on his own.”
Light had stared at the twin loops dangling from L’s crabbed, pinched thumb and forefinger. He’d pushed down the urge to scream.
“We proved my innocence. You stared at those rules for hours and you couldn’t think of a loophole.”
“I think we’re beyond proof now, Kira-kun. Hold out your arm.”
“I am not Kira. It is impossible for me to be Kira. The policemen of my country have determined that I am innocent. I don’t have to do anything you say.”
L sighed. Light laughed. The sound was sharp and echoing in the metal box they now called home.
“You must be overjoyed, now it’s just the two of us. Nobody can stop you tormenting me now. It was never really about proof, was it? You know I didn’t do it, and that’s why you’re out to get me - because I showed you up. I showed everyone The Great L was wrong. You want to punish me for not being Kira.”
L’s jawline twitched. It was the first time Light had seen an emotion force its way onto his face.
“I went easy on you before, Light.” There is no pleasure on L’s plain, tired face; only immovable dislike. “During our fistfights. A trained martial artist versus a teen with a handful of high-school boxing lessons under his belt? Don’t fool yourself into thinking we were evenly matched. If I’d fought back with no care to your safety, I would have done you a serious injury. Now, I could spend the next few hours laying out why you are Kira, and why those rules in the Death Note are fake, and how you have engineered this situation to provide yourself an alibi. But I am tired, and we are out of time. Hold out your arm.”
Light laughed again. It was hard to hold back, in this new ruined world. His laugh rolled around and around the room.
It was a miscalculation.
That was weeks ago.
Light rubs his jaw with the hand not holding coffee. It still twinges when he presses too hard.
In the end, he can’t stop L doing what he wants. A small light of rage burns within him, replenishing every time he looks at L, every hour he spends tied to this chair. But it isn’t defeat, not really. L is just as trapped as he is.
Footsteps sound in the corridor outside.
Whenever L comes back, Light has a shameful urge to prick up his ears and lean towards the entrance, like a dog. He only does it because nothing else happens here. But for an instant that flame of rage gets directed at himself, for feeling anything at L’s comings and goings. Light’s priority is to ensure he stays alive and L dies, and the latter will happen as soon as the former is assured.
The door sweeps open, and a yellow astronaut steps into the room.
The astronaut places a backpack carefully on the ground. It straightens up and removes its helmet. Underneath is L’s head, smaller than usual with his body covered in bulky hazmat-wear.
Light lets out a breath. He hates the feeling of relief creeping up inside him. If L became a shambling radiated zombie, or got his head bashed open by some desperate person, Light’s only reason to mourn would be for his own odds of survival.
“You were gone overnight. I was worried,” he said out loud.
L starts to wriggle out of the hazmat suit. No doubt it’ll be left in a pile on the floor until the next trip. “Apologies, Light. I found an office that was still accessible on the ground floor. It made sense to work through the night.” Just as Light knew he would, he discards his suit on the ground like an old skin. L crouches on the floor and unzips the backpack.
“Well, I’m glad you’re alive. I could do with another coffee when you’ve got a moment.” Light watches L pull bits of deconstructed computer out of the backpack. Unusually for him, he has remembered Light’s request for more toothpaste. A bright pink, half-empty bottle of shampoo, obviously stolen from some teenage girl’s bathroom, is crammed at the bottom. And so are… condoms.
Light blinks as L lays the little box on the floor with the other personal items. Definitely condoms. There’s no reason Light would hallucinate that.
“That’s a little presumptuous,” he says.
L lifts his huge eyes. His dark circles are worse than ever. If he stayed up all of last night, Light calculates he must be nearing hour eighty without sleep.
“It is still possible there are other survivors. In case we end up accommodating more people, I am trying to prepare as broad a range of supplies as possible. These don’t expire for another five years, so that gives us plenty of time.”
Light wants to laugh, but he feels too exasperated. “L, quite besides the fact that no-one else in Tokyo is likely to have been inside, effectively, a nuclear bunker when a bomb was dropped on them with no warning -”
“Breathe, Light,” L mutters.
“- And besides the fact that we now live in a single room, which while spacious, does not provide for privacy or sound-proofing -” Light does pause for breath at that point. L inspires a lot of run-on sentences - “I doubt anyone with the dubious luck of being alive in this hell on earth has sex on their mind.”
“Oh well. I’ll put them with the spare batteries.” L sets the condoms aside.
Light watches him as he sorts through the guts of the computers he’s shredded. He feels vaguely rattled, though he doesn’t know why. It isn’t just because he spent the night chained to a chair, while L was apparently raiding strangers’ night stands for sex aids.
“You’re lying to me,” he says, half to himself.
L’s nimble fingers stop sorting bits of metal. Light’s always found them interesting to watch, the strange crabbed way L holds them at odds with their dexterity. They remind him of spindly pale insects he once saw in a nature documentary.
“I regret, due to the nature of my work, I am frequently lying to you, Light-kun. As ever, I pray you won’t take it personally.”
“Oh, spare me,” Light snaps. “It’s the goddamn apocalypse. Nobody has a job any more.”
The words surprise him. The concept of an apocalypse feels straight out of comic books. It’s not a word he would normally reach for. Still, he realises that this is how it feels. Not just that Tokyo has ended, but the world has.
His New World has died, right when he’d begun to shape it for the better.
L gives him a look, but doesn’t comment on his odd word choice. “As far as I am concerned, L is a job for life. It’s not as if I was drawing a salary. I am still working a case, even as the circumstances I am working in become… highly irregular.”
“Ah, the case.” Light rolls his eyes and tips his chair back. “Some might call it selfish to fixate on catching one murderer when millions are dead and the world is in shambles.”
“What an abrupt change in Light-kun’s attitude.” L’s voice is sharp. “I recall you giving me a black eye the last time I lost focus on the Kira case.”
“Well, what can I say. Statistically, Kira is probably dead. And if not, he must be having a job locating new victims at the moment.” Light sets his empty cup down on the ground. His eye catches the condom packet and he almost loses his train of thought. “But far be it for me to question your priorities, L. One: acquire as much junk as you can carry. Two: provide for the sex lives of hypothetical guests. Three: chain up the one person who could help you and call them a murderer. Four -”
L drops the bit of piping in his hand to the tiled floor. The crash rings throughout the room.
Light almost jumps out of his skin. He stares from the pipe on the ground to L’s tightly drawn mouth.
“Light. Shut up.”
Light’s mouth snaps shut. He has never seen L lose his temper.
L resumes picking through his stack of parts, while Light’s brain whirs into overtime. It is the condoms that’s bothering him. L’s explanation makes no sense. And everything he does is calculated. Dropping them in front of Light like that… it was a provocation.
The conclusion drops neatly into Light’s head like the answer to a test. He smiles.
“You’re lonely,” he says.
L pauses. He doesn’t look up.
Light’s voice brims with satisfaction. “You’re afraid you’re going to die. So you’re hoping for a pity-fuck.”
L still says nothing. Light doesn’t need him to. His smile widens.
They spend the rest of the hours until bed in silence. Light doesn’t get his coffee. He doesn’t care. The triumph burning inside him, for once, is enough to drown the anger.
Ship: analogical Tw: car crash Plot: anxiety and logic crash the car in an area with no signal. ________________________ "I just want to be home with wifi and blankets and movies" Anxiety grumbles under his breath as he stared out the window with his head rested on his right angled arm. The snow was a white blur as they drove steadily down the road, nobody trusted anxiety with driving because of his random outbursts so logic was driving. It was only logic and anxiety in the car on their way back from an egg farm because morality needed free range eggs for his recipe. "You really think I want to be driving right now? I'd prefer to be doing a puzzle or watching a documentary" Logic spoke while keeping a car under control as the roads started to be slick. He didn't notice their phones beep about no service. "Geek" Anxiety laughs at the elder trait gently before he noticed that what he once saw went diagonal and then in circles as they turned a corner. The car had lost traction and the world had lost stability as they spun and went into a ditch, rolled and then smashed diagonally into a tree. Anxiety's head smashed against the dashboard right before the air bags were triggered. He had cut across his forehead and he felt like he was going to throw up from all the spinning. Logic felt terrible, he had a horid headache and his hands were cramped from gripping the steering wheel so hard. He was so glad that he and anxiety had worn their seat belts. The car had stopped on an upside down diagonal in such a perfect position that no doors could open. The only thing he could see was the snow that their headlights lit up. "Logan you okay?" Anxiety asks after trying to flatten the air bag in front of him to look at the other trait. Logan had no visible injuries or abrasions. "Physically I am fine other than a headache, though my heart rate is rather high from that event. You, however, are bleeding" Logan pointed out and undid his seat belt so he can be closer to anxiety and check out the cut, Anxiety didn't fight logic physically away from him. He always had a slight sense of comfort when the elder was near him. "I'm fine, logan. Just a scratch. A flesh wound that will heal. Are you sure you're okay?" Anxiety asks and Logic nodded and found some bandages in the glove compartment and placed one on Anxiety's forehead. They were Morality's so they were hello kitty, Anxiety groaned. Logic grabbed his phone but frowned when he saw the little circle with a cross through it. "Bad news, we have no signal" He informed anxiety who groaned again. Logan couldn't help the exhausted trait as he looked out the window in a tired, unamused daze. "Well that's just great!" Anxiety commented aggravated before undoing his own seat belt and climbed into the back instructing logic to do the same. "We were low on gas to begin with, the car battery is going to run out and it's 6 pm everyone is at home which means we have a good hour in this car maybe more" Anxiety says and logic agreed that what anxiety had deduced was very true and, well, logical and he then complimented the trait for his deduction which brought a small blush to Anxiety's cheeks. "This car will get cold in that time which is why I'm glad we took Morality's car because I hid my nap kit in here." Anxiety reached under the back seats and pulled out one giant and thick duvet, hand warmers, a pillow, and a solar charged heat blanket. "I only really planned to use any of this stuff for me so we will have to be close to each other for using it" Anxiety blushed at what he said. Close to his crush? In more than a sharing-half-a-room-or-car way? "Seems logical. Alright should we wait for the car to-" the car battery died "Never mind" Logic moved closer to anxiety with his own small blush as they shared the back seat all squished to each other, Anxiety laid the duvet over them after finding that the heat-blsnket was dead. They cuddled close to each other, each holding a hand warmer nut eventually moved them to their necks after logic commented about the brain needing warm blood. Within the next 20 minutes the pair had found themselves cuddled to each other closer than two friends should be. Anxiety had decided it was now or never to tell logic how he felt because they could freeze to death right now and he didn't want to die without saying it. "Hey logan? Can I tell you something?" He asked nervously, worried logan would get mad. "Y-yes" Logan's teeth chattered so anxiety removed his own warmer and put it on loans chest. The eider trait looked at the emo with expectant eyes but behind that was a love and care like no other in the world. "Ithinkiminlovewithyouandhavebeenforaverylongtime" Anxiety spoke really fast and then hid his face in logan shoulder while Logic deciphered Anxiety's words. Logic blushed darkly when he understood Anxiety, so Moralitywas right... the feelings were returned. "Well Anxiety, I regret to inform you but I do not think I am in love you" Anxiety's heart broke hearing that "I know I am in love with you, based on what morality has told me about that feeling it has all mashed up since thomas first found vine" Anxiety heart pounded did he just hear what he thought he just did hear? "W-what?" Anxiety asks looking up at logan, the trait uncharacteristically rolled his eyes before their cold lips met in a clash of love and care that made them warm and filled each of them with the warmth they each needed to keep them alive. When they did get help and finally made it home around 10 pm they ignored the others two worries, simply stating everything was fine just a small accident even though the car was just scrap metal now and retreated to Logic's room. Where they cuddled in a warm bed watching Black Fish. Anxiety couldn't have been happier he had gotten the love if his dreams. ____________________ @the-prince-and-the-emo @analogically-prinxiety @thatsthat24
Robert Nesta Marley (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican reggaesinger, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim. Starting out in 1963 with the group The Wailers, he forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide. The Wailers would go on to release some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. After the Wailers disbanded in 1974, Marley pursued a solo career upon his relocation to England that culminated in the release of the album Exodus in 1977, which established his worldwide reputation and produced his status as one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for fifty-six consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: "Exodus", "Waiting in Vain", "Jamming", and "One Love". In 1978 he released the album Kaya, which included the hit singles "Is This Love" and "Satisfy My Soul". Diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma in 1977, Marley died on 11 May 1981 in Miami at the age of 36. He was a committed Rastafari who infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularizing reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. Marley has also evolved into a global symbol, which has been endlessly merchandised through a variety of mediums. In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match that year, but was instead a symptom of the already-existing cancer. Marley turned down his doctors' advice to have his toe amputated, citing his religious beliefs, and instead the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft taken from his thigh to cover the area. Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980. The album Uprising was released in May 1980. The band completed a major tour of Europe, where it played its biggest concert to 100,000 people in Milan. After the tour Marley went to America, where he performed two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Uprising Tour. Bob Marley appeared at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1980; it would be his last concert. The only known photographs from the show were featured in Kevin Macdonald's documentary film Marley. Shortly afterwards, Marley's health deteriorated as the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at theBavarian clinic of Josef Issels, where he received a controversial type of cancer therapy (Issels treatment) partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances. After fighting the cancer without success for eight months Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica. While Marley was flying home from Germany to Jamaica, his vital functions worsened. After landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Bob Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (nowUniversity of Miami Hospital) at the age of 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were "Money can't buy life." Marley received a state funeral in Jamaica on 21 May 1981, which combined elements ofEthiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari tradition. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his red Gibson Les Paul(some accounts say it was a Fender Stratocaster). On 21 May 1981, Jamaican Prime MinisterEdward Seaga delivered the final funeraleulogy to Marley, declaring: His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation. Bob Marley was a member for some years of the Rastafari movement, whose culture was a key element in the development of reggae. Bob Marley became an ardent proponent of Rastafari, taking their music out of the socially deprived areas of Jamaica and onto the international music scene. He once gave the following response, which was typical, to a question put to him during a recorded interview: "Can you tell the people what it means being a Rastafarian?" "I would say to the people, Be still, and know that His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the Almighty. Now, the Bible seh so, Babylon newspaper seh so, and I and I the children seh so. Yunno? So I don't see how much more reveal our people want. Wha' dem want? a white God, well God come black. True true." According to Marley's biographers, he affiliated with the Twelve Tribes Mansion, one of the Mansions of Rastafari. He was in the denomination known as "Tribe of Joseph", because he was born in February (each of the twelve sects being composed of members born in a different month). He signified this in his album liner notes, quoting the portion from Genesis that includes Jacob's blessing to his son Joseph. Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq baptized Marley into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, on 4 November 1980, shortly before his death. Bob Marley married Alpharita Constantia "Rita" Anderson in Kingston, Jamaica, on 10 February 1966. Jason Toynbee (2013). Bob Marley: Herald of a Postcolonial World. p. 88. Rita has claimed that she was raped there [Bull Bay] by Bob in 1973 after he returned from London, and asked her to care for another child he was going to have by a woman there (Roper 2004). The formulation changes to 'almost raped' in her autobiography (Marley 2005: 113). But in any event, it seems clear that Bob behaved in an oppressive way towards her, always providing financial support for herself and the children it is true, yet frequently humiliating and bullying her. Marley had a number of children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita's previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children. Sharon, born 23 November 1964, daughter of Rita from a previous relationship but then adopted by Marley after his marriage with RitaCedella born 23 August 1967, to RitaDavid "Ziggy", born 17 October 1968, to RitaStephen, born 20 April 1972, to RitaRobert "Robbie", born 16 May 1972, to Pat Williams, born 19 May 1972, to Janet HuntKaren, born 1973 to Janet BowenStephanie, born 17 August 1974; according to Cedella Booker she was the daughter of Rita and a man called Ital with whom Rita had an affair; nonetheless she was acknowledged as Bob's daughter, born 4 June 1975, to Lucy Pounder, born 26 February 1976, to Anita BelnavisDamian, born 21 July 1978, to Cindy Breakspeare Other sites have noted additional individuals who claim to be family members, as noted below: Makeda was born on 30 May 1981, to Yvette Crichton, after Marley's death. Meredith Dixon's book lists her as Marley's child, but she is not listed as such on the Bob Marley official website.Various websites, for example, also list Imani Carole, born 22 May 1963 to Cheryl Murray; but she does not appear on the official Bob Marley website. Football. Aside from music, football played a major role throughout his life. As well as playing the game, in parking lots, fields, and even inside recording studios, growing up he followed the Brazilian club Santos and its star player Pelé. Marley surrounded himself with people from the sport, and in the 1970s made the Jamaican international footballerAllan “Skill” Cole his tour manager. He told a journalist, “If you want to get to know me, you will have to play football against me and the Wailers.” Marley was a Pan-Africanist, and believed in the unity of African people worldwide. His beliefs in Pan-Africanism were rooted in his Rastafari religious beliefs. He was substantially inspired by Marcus Garvey, and had anti-imperialist and pro-African themes in many of his songs, such as "Zimbabwe", "Exodus", "Survival", "Blackman Redemption", and "Redemption Song". "Redemption Song" draws influence from a speech given by Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia, 1937. In the song "Africa Unite", Bob Marley sings of a desire for all peoples of the African diaspora to come together and fight against "Babylon", which represents imperialist and colonialist ideals that have oppressed African people through the eradication of their original culture and beliefs. Marley believed that independence of African countries (such asZimbabwe) from European domination was a victory for all peoples of the African diaspora. Marley considered cannabis a healing herb, a "sacrament", and an "aid to medication"; he supported the legalization of the drug. He thought that marijuana use was prevalent in the Bible, reading passages such as Psalms 104:14 as showing approval of its usage. Marley began to use cannabis when he converted to the Rastafari faith fromCatholicism in 1966. He was arrested in 1968 after being caught with cannabis, but continued to use marijuana in accordance with his religious beliefs. Of his marijuana usage, he said, "When you smoke herb, herb reveal yourself to you. All the wickedness you do, the herb reveal itself to yourself, your conscience, show up yourself clear, because herb make you meditate. Is only a natural t'ing and it grow like a tree." Marley saw marijuana usage as a vital factor in religious growth and connection with Jah, and as a way to philosophize and become ✊