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#i’ve already spent too much of my life trying to figure out canon timelines
companionjones · 4 months ago
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What’s In A Name?
Fandom: Kingsman (Movies)
Pairings: Merlin x Reader, BestFriend!Eggsy x Reader
Summary: After a more than troubled past, you work as a free agent, helping good people whenever you can. In your travels, you come across members of a secret service called Kingsman. You help them, but do not trust them. Will anyone be able to change your mind?
Warnings: Canon level cursing and perhaps above canon level violence (it may get dark), torture
Author’s Note: This takes place in a timeline where Harry, Merlin, and Roxie are all alive. Harry is King Arthur, Eggsy is Galahad, and Roxie is Lancelot. Roxie only gets a mention in this one, but I still wanted to bring her back. I hate that she died in the movies. Also, spoiler alert but it has to do with gender identity, Reader eventually gets the codename Morgana. It is traditionally a feminine name, but Roxy does get the codename Lancelot in the movies, so I figured anyone with any gender identity can get any codename.
Please take some time to sign some BLM petitions! Please remember not to give any money to change.org because the money would go to the website, not the cause.
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    “Identify yourself immediately, or else your chopper will be gunned down.” The hard Scottish voice threatened you for the fifth time since you had entered the air space of a mansion in a helicopter you had stolen.
    You rolled your eyes. “Calm down. I found a friend of yours. He’s not doing too hot. I’m returning him to you. I’m not looking for a fight.”
    The young man next to you slouched forward to press the button to speak. “I’m here, Merlin. I’ll vouch for them.”
    The mystery voice, apparently named Merlin, went quiet.
    When you landed on the mansion, a med team carried away the extremely injured man you had picked up. When you got out of the helicopter, however, several military-grade weapons were aimed at your head. You put your hands up in surrender, and tried to bite back a smile. You were already planning your strategy to fight your way out of there.
    “Don’t shoot!” a barely-conscious voice called out. It was the man you had rescued. “Let them go. They saved my life.”
    Maybe you wouldn’t have to fight your way out.
    “And why should we trust that you won’t come back?” That was the same voice from before. Merlin.
    You turned around to find a tell, bald man with glasses. You answered his query by shrugging, “Cause I won’t. And you don’t have to worry about that human trafficking ring. I don’t know if you heard, but it’s all over the news. All of the victims have been sent home with a healthy pension, and every guilty party from the bottom to the top has been arrested by the proper authorities. I have a feeling they’ll stay in prison this time since all of their bank accounts have mysteriously emptied. I do wonder where all that money went.”
    The bald man stared you down for a moment. “I’ve spent the last ten minutes trying to find information on you. It wasn’t much time, but I’m good at my job. If there was anything to find, I would’ve found it. I didn’t find anything. Why is that?”
    “What? Like I’m gonna tell you?” you smiled after a moment. “Look, you’re gonna have to trust me. I’m guessing this is a secret service of some sort, right? Well, my personal opinion on organizations like this isn’t very high. I won’t be coming back. Just let me get back in the helicopter. I’ll fly away, and you’ll never see me again.”
    Merlin took a moment to survey you, then stated, “That better be true. Stand down, agents,” Merlin ordered his people.
    “Thank you!” Your smile grew as you turned back to the stolen aircraft. “See you never!” You took your place in the pilot’s seat, and flashed Merlin one more grin before you took off.
    In the months following your first interaction with the secret service, you ran into it’s members several more times. The agent you developed the most rapport with was the young man you had saved. You were supposed to know as Galahad, but he had let it slip to you a few times that his real name was Eggsy. You also guessed that wasn’t his real real name. It was just a nickname he preferred to be called. But in all honesty, you didn’t care if you knew his real name, Eggsy was good enough for you.
    Despite the life-threatening conditions the two of you met under, you and Eggsy would end up telling each other about the most normal aspects of your lives. Eggsy mentioned his mom and sister a few times, but he mainly talked about his family at Kingsman, as he eventually named the agency. The leader of the service went by the codename King Arthur. Eggsy looked at Arthur as a father figure, you noticed. Eggsy had a bestfriend there, too. Her codename was Lancelot. She and Eggsy had joined Kingsman at the same time.
    Then, there was Merlin. You would never admit it to Eggsy; hell, you wouldn’t even admit it to yourself, but you liked most to hear about Kingsman’s tech expert. You had been told that Merlin was a very serious man. You could’ve guessed that much. Contrastingly, Eggsy seemed to be part of the select few that Merlin showed his more human side. Eggsy was very proud whenever he was able to get Merlin to crack a smile at one of his jokes, and you could tell that by how often Eggsy brought up those few instances. You laughed when Eggsy jokingly cursed out the voice in his ear, because Merlin was trying to get him to focus on the task at hand.
    In spite of the fact that Eggsy let his own name slip so easily, he made a conscious effort to make sure you would only know his friends by their codenames. You respected that. You also found it funny when you came to realize that even Eggsy didn’t seem to know Merlin’s real name. Eggsy tried to hide it, but you had been doing what you were good at long enough that you could read people too well.
    Speaking of yourself, compared to Eggsy, you talked about your life a lot less. That was on purpose. The most personal you ever got was talking about your interests, like your favorite movies and TV shows. You actually had a couple in common with Eggsy.
    You wondered if you had any in common with Merlin. It wasn’t like you could speak with him, but you knew he was always on Eggsy’s comms. You made a point to say hi to Merlin whenever you ran into the younger Kingsman agent. You wondered how much Merlin really listened to your conversations with Eggsy, and when you weren’t thinking about that, you were berating yourself for thinking so much about some random man you had met once on a mansion’s rooftop.
    Did Merlin have favorite TV shows too? What was his real name? Was he thinking about you as much as you were thinking about him?
    All those thoughts were running through your mind as you snuck up on a gunfight. You usually avoided those types of situations, but as you were passing by, you saw that Eggsy was caught in the middle of it all. Once you got involved, the fight didn’t last much longer. You only worked with your hands. You knocked some people out, and cut off the air supply for others long enough that they would be unconscious for a long enough while for you and Eggsy to get away.
    “Come on.” You offered a hand to Eggsy. “I called the police. These guys’ll be out ‘til they get they get here, but we should still probably go.”
    Once he saw you, Eggsy took a few breaths to process what had just happened. “...That was ruddy awesome! I haven’t seen violence that impressive since Arthur took down a whole church full of people! I gotta ask though, why didn’t you use a gun? I know you have...several.”
    “I don’t like killing people,” you simply responded, turning to lead the Kingsman agent away from the scene.
    “Well, that’s always good...but sometimes it’s just easier, y’know? And these guys are bad people anyway--”
    Abruptly, you stopped and turned around to repeat. “I just don’t like killing people.” You saw that you had clearly taken him off guard, and you sighed and turned back around to continue your trek. “I’ve done enough harm in my life.”
    There was a bit of silence after that. Before he started following you, Eggsy griped, “Well, what the fuck is that supposed to me--”
    A gunshot rang through the air.
    You had turned back around when Eggsy started talking again. At first you had been annoyed at Eggsy, but then you saw that one of the people you thought Eggsy had gunned down was still alive by a small margin. He had aimed his gun at your friend. You had pushed Eggsy out of the way. Seconds later, Eggsy had shot your gunman directly through the head, and blood was spilling from your stomach.
    “Fuck!” Eggsy caught you when your legs gave out. “Hey, hey! Don’t die! Don’t die because of me. Please!”
    The last thing you heard before you lost consciousness was Eggsy’s voice. “Calm down, Merlin! You know where we are, right?” He addressed you, “They’ll be here in ten minutes, okay?” Eggsy looked away from you again, presumably talking to Merlin. “Of course I’m keeping pressure on it. This jacket is bright red now. Just tell them to hurry.”
    You smiled when you thought of Merlin.
    When your eyes opened again, the light was so bright you thought you were somewhere you shouldn’t have been. Turns out you weren’t in heaven, but you were still some place you should not have been.
    “Hello there,” an older man greeted you with a warm smile. He looked to be about the same age as Merlin, and his suit looked a lot like Eggsy’s.
    Suddenly, you realized you were inside Kingsman’s home base. “What the fuck.”
    “You have a fantastic first impression,” the man complimented with good-natured humor shining in his eyes.
    “I need to leave,” you stated, and tried to sit up in the hospital bed in which they had you.
    The man quirked an eyebrow. “Are you sure you want to leave? You were injured badly protecting one of my men. Thank you for that, by the way.”
    “You’re King Arthur,” you realized.
    He nodded. “That is my codename, yes. But I believe your character is one I would be comfortable with sharing my real name. Harry Hart. It’s the name I prefer, anyway.”
    “Harry Hart. It’s nice to finally meet you. Eggsy talks about you a lot.” It did make you pause to be trusted so easily by someone. It was something you weren’t used to at all. You shook your head clear, however. “I have to leave, though. It’s not that bad anyway.”
    “Oh, yes it is.” That wasn’t Harry. Merlin had entered the room. He locked eyes with you. “You broke your promise.”
    “Literally none of this is my fault,” you protested dryly.
    Merlin raised his brow. “Is that right? Because that was a Kingsman mission--not a random person off the street mission.”
    You rolled your eyes, and let your head fall back on the pillow.
    “I’m going to take my leave, and let the two of you have the room.” You almost missed the look Harry gave Merlin before Harry left.
    As if it was nothing, Merlin walked over to your IV machine to check your vitals. “Are you okay?” he quietly asked.
    “I’m fine,” you stated.
    “I’m serious, you know. You really shouldn’t have done that. Galahad had the mission under control.”
    You sighed, “If I didn’t show up, Eggsy could’ve ended up where I am, or worse. And he lets me call him Eggsy.”
    “I’m aware.” Merlin was reading over a tablet he had in his hands.
    Your face lit up. “I knew you were listening in on us!”
    Although it was quick, Merlin spared you a sideways glance. He changed the subject. “The bullet tore through your large and small intestine alike, but you’ll live. However, you’re confined to that bed for the next month and a half.”
    “Goddammit.” You fell back onto your pillow again. “I’m going to kill Eggsy.”
    Merlin sighed, “I say spare the boy. You should see him. He blames himself for everything. Even cried during the surgery, of which I did not approve.
    “He watched my surgery?” you asked, a little distracted. Your gaze had fallen to Merlin’s tablet, and you were decoding the effects of your injury.
    “We both did.”
    Your eyes snapped back up to Merlin’s, though he wasn’t watching you then. He swallowed, almost like he found his next words difficult to say. “It took hours. There were many close calls.” Merlin turned to leave, then. Your wishful thinking told you he might have been preventing himself from showing any more emotion.
    Fear spilled through you when he reached the door. You were reminded precisely where you were. “Merlin, wait!” You sounded a bit more afraid than you wanted.
    When Merlin turned around, concern in his eyes.
    “Um...Listen, I-I know we barely know each other, but you and Eggsy are the only two people I know here. I just...I know it sounds childish, but, um--”
    “I’ll stay with you.” Merlin left the door, and pulled up a chair beside your bed.
    His kindness took you off guard. It took you a moment to breathe out, “Thank you.”
    “So, do you want to tell me your name?” Merlin then asked a little too nonchalant.
    It caused a smile to peak out on your lips. “Need help finding info on me? I thought you were good at your job.”
    The Kingsman agent stabbed back. “I would be kinder to the man who controls your morphine.”
    Merlin stayed with you the entirety of that night. The next day, Eggsy came back from a mission he’d been on, and he was ecstatic to find you awake. After you assured him that your bullet wound wasn’t his fault and that you were okay, he barely left your side for a week. When Harry and Merlin finally forced him to go out on another mission, Merlin was back at your bedside. That became the norm. Merlin did most of his work in your room, and on the rare occasion the tech expert was otherwise busy, you had Eggsy to keep you company.
    On one such day, Eggsy and you were enjoying your favorite sit-com. You were nearing the end of your month and a half of healing. If you were being honest with yourself, you could’ve left by then if you really wanted. The thing was, you didn’t want to leave. You looked over to Eggsy, who was still watching TV, and realized that you felt like you had a family at Kingsman. You had gotten closer to Harry and Roxy (she’d told you her name) during your month and a half. Merlin, too. You were practically attached at the hip to the tech expert, and you weren’t complaining at all.
    Speaking of your favorite Kingsman agent, he entered the room then. He wore a more serious look than usual, which was saying something.
    It didn’t bother you though. “Hey, you,” you smiled.
    Eggsy was smiling, too, and he was about to greet Merlin as well.
    Before he could, however, Merlin ordered, “Galahad, give us the room.”
    The younger agent was confused, but he did as he was told.
    “Jeez, if you wanted to be alone with me, you could’ve been a little nicer--” you were teasing, but you were interrupted.
    “Y/n L/n.”
    Two words. They were all it took to make your blood run cold. It was  suddenly taking all the power in you not to start crying on the spot. “...How do you know my name?”
    “I’m good at my job.” Words that used to almost be an inside joke between you and Merlin were suddenly stabbing you in the heart. “How many organizations have you worked for? CIA, Mossad, I get an alert for another one almost every hour. All of them are looking for you.”
    “What did you do?” Your own voice didn’t even sound like you anymore.
    Merlin raised his eyebrows. “You’re seriously asking me that right now? What did you do, Y/n?!”
    “Don’t call me that! Dammit, did you call someone, Merlin?” You started undoing your IV and sitting up in bed.
    He called after you as you exited the room, “Oh, so you can call me by my name?”
    “It’s not your real name!” you shouted back.
    In hindsight, you should’ve realized Merlin not stopping you from leaving was a warning sign. MI6 was waiting for you outside the Kingsman mansion.
    “No!” you screamed, but they surprised you from behind as well. “No! Let me go! Please! Let me go, please!”
    As you were being dragged away, you saw Merlin at the door of the mansion, watching you go. He seemed taken off guard at seeing you so scared.
    But you couldn’t think about that then. You were too busy kicking and screaming and trying to get away from the type of people you hated most in the world.
    MI6 was the fifth organization you were ever involved with. That was back when you still thought governments had the people’s best interests at heart.
    Over the years, however, you learned that you couldn’t have been more wrong. No matter what country you moved to and no matter what excuses they had for what they asked you to do, you always found eventually that they were only interested in power and winning an imaginary game they had all convinced each other they were playing.
    You played that game for years before you realized there was no winner. To those people, it didn’t matter whose side you sued to work for. It only mattered who’s bidding you were doing in the present. And you did so many unspeakable things for them. Your deeds were what got to your conscience first. After that, you realized it didn’t matter who was giving you orders. All it would always result in were more dead bodies and more money being given to the rich.
    And you were back under the roof of one of the institutions you despised so much.
    The agents that took you injected something in you to knock you out, and you woke up in a white room that was all too familiar. Each of the groups you hated had one. In that room, you knew that you would be brainwashed and tortured over the next few weeks until you were ready to comply.
    You were right. You didn’t know how much time had passed, you were never sure in those rooms, all you knew was you were in so much psychological pain that you couldn’t move from the corner of that white room you hated so much.
    The door opened. You couldn’t look at it. You couldn’t even speak. All you could think was that you wanted it all to end. You didn’t care how.
    “Y/n?”
    You flinched at your name. Your first thought was that you had gone mad. You shut your eyes tight and hoped he would go away.
    “Y/n...it’s me.”
    Please, just go away.
    You heard his footsteps across the floor, then Merlin kneeled down in front of you.
    “My god. What did they do to you?”
    You had your head turned to the side. Gently, Merlin tried to turn your face toward his. You fought it.
    “I’m sorry, Y/n. I didn’t know. Having finally learned who you are, I was able to dig deeper. I know what happened. They all tried to hide it, but it’s all there. I should’ve seen the red flags when they were trying so hard to find you while keeping the search secret. I’m so sorry, Y/n.”
    “Don’t call me that.” Even in your confused state, that name reminded you of every single bad thing you’d ever done. Your voice sounded so broken, not even you recognized it. You doubted Merlin recognized it either.
    His head dipped down as he sighed. Then, so low that you barely heard it, “Hamish Mycroft.”
    Still, you didn’t look at him, but your brow furrowed.
    Merlin continued, “That’s my real name. Hamish Mycroft. The only Kingsman agent I’ve ever told is Harry. I haven’t told anyone else in four decades.” He gingerly put his hand on one of the knees you had curled up to your chest. “But, I’m telling you because I trust you. I...I love you. I have for weeks now, I just wasn’t man enough to admit it to myself.”
    Somehow, his confession broke through your haze. You finally looked at him.
    Sadness and surprise were written all over his face. Hamish informed you, “I’m here to get you out of here, okay? Roxy and Eggsy are taking care of anyone who knows the location of the mansion. You can be safe there.”
    “Safe?” you whispered, wondering if the notion was even possible.
    Hamish nodded. “You never have to go out into the field again. If you want to, you could work with me. This is the first time I’ve been out in the field in twelve years.”
    “You came back into the field for me?” It was nice for you to hear that you could form full sentences again, even if tears were still falling.
    One of the corner of his lips twitched upward. “Of course I did. I figure you have to be pretty good with the tech side of things to get along by yourself for this long.”
    A laugh slipped through your lips. “Yeah, I’m pretty good.” You observed him for a moment. “Hamish Mycroft.” You said his name for the first time. “I like it.”
    He smiled, “I like your name, too, just so you know. I hope one day you’re able to use it again. But, until then, I was thinking Morgana.”
    “Morgana?”
    “Your Kingsman codename, if you choose to accept it.”
    You thought for a moment. “If I work for you guys, I don’t have to hurt people anymore?”
    “Never again, if you don’t want to.”
    Another moment. “I want to be able to speak out against you guys, if I see something wrong.”
    He notified, “That comes with the job. We’ve had problems with our leaders acting without our okay in the past, but not since Harry’s been in charge. And with how well I know you, I know I’ll agree with anything you’ll have to say.”
    “...Promise?”
    Hamish nodded, “From now on, I’ve always got your back. You have my word. Now let’s get out of here, yeah?”
    You nodded in return. Another smile growing on your lips.
    Hamish helped you to your feet. Full of pride, he softly proclaimed, “Welcome to Kingsman, Morgana.”
    Then ginning, you replied, “Thank you, Hamish...my love.”
*******
Author’s Note: Thank you so much for reading! Fill up that heart and reblog if you liked it. I would also really appreciate the comment, if you have the time. If you would like to read more, I have more Kingsman fics over on my page. You should check it out. Have a nice day, night, or whatever time it is for you! <3 <3 <3
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doitwritenow · a year ago
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IronStrange Starter Kit - Master Fic Rec List for all Y’all Because You’ve been Asking and I’ve been Avoiding
Hi! All you anons and askers, I made a list!!! Hopefully some of these are what you’ve been after. :D
(Please reblog this, lol, I spent too much time on it...) 
General rules: These are complete unless indicated otherwise, and end happily unless indicated otherwise. There’s a variety of ratings, as I have no qualms against smut, but I don’t usually read it outside of a larger plot. So I don’t think there’ll be many explicit stories on here. Word counts vary; I indicate general length but don’t go into specifics. What else, uh... Bold stuff is the headers and general subjects. I link the titles. Block quotes are author summaries. Enjoy!!
Okay so first off, there are a couple of Fandom Staples who just have leagues worth of good short stories, and if you haven’t read them, then definitely treat yourself to the array:
A Thousand Futures of Me and You - VisionaryGalaxy (Vishanti, what a legend, ily so much). This is a series of unconnected one-shots, each their own and covering a variety of tropes and moments and themes and AUs. They’re so fun (and/or painful and/or thought-provoking and/or tense and/or sexy)! In-character and amazing, consistantly. 
Prompt Collection -  amethyst-noir (Arbonne). (Also a legendary human). This is exactly what it sounds like: a series of prompt fills in all sorts of tones. You’ll almost certainly find something here that feels like it was just made for you!
Alright, onto the individual stories and series!
Long fics/series:
The of overqualified hands and pi figures series - lantia4ever. (This was my first Ironstrange story, and it is no less magical now.)
A series of one-shots, all set in the same alternate verse in which Tony and Stephen first meet following the events of the first Avengers and then continue to meet after that throughout the canon up until Infinity War and eventually beyond it. Becoming friends - and more along the way.
Time After Time - fancylances. (I love love LOVE this one. Highly recommended.) 
Tony Stark is unstuck in time. Stephen Strange might just be the only person in the universe qualified enough to help.
Citizen Erased - Imagined. (This author. Just... such a wonderful, talented, stunning person who makes wonderful, talented, stunning works. This story is masterful.)
What do you do when no one in the world ever manages to remember you?
Anyone who sees Tony Stark promptly forgets he ever existed after mere seconds. When everyone he has ever cared about has lost their memories of him, he goes to Stephen Strange, possibly the only one who can help him lift the curse. But a terrifying danger is coming, and saving the world isn’t an easy job to do when no one can remember who you are.
if only the gods had mercy on us and it’s sequel a soul too deep - orphan_account. (Vishanti, this series...  It’s so beautiful and emotional and heart-breaking and heart-warming. And it has so few views for so many words! One of my absolute favorites, VERY highly recommended.) 
Tony Stark loved Stephen Strange. He loved him more than anyone could ever imagine. But then a terrorist group attacked the convoy. Then there was a car accident. In the middle of it all, there is tired, battered love. (And, maybe, a little bit of genius)
From the Top - lucifersfavoritechild. (Everyone reads this fic. Written by the blogger Monarch Of The Ironstrange Ship, it’s an MCU rewrite around the relationship. Very fun.) 
“Stephen, if you’re . . . there somewhere . . . when I drift off, I’ll be with you again. I can’t wait.”
|| Personally, I think the MCU would be much better as a love story between Stephen Strange and Tony Stark. Don't you?
Starting from Iron Man, and going all the way to Endgame, with all the appropriate stops in between. Let's take it from the top.
UNFINISHED: Skin Deep - Mystical_Magician. (Super cool premise, and super interesting to read! The dynamic here is very fun.)
A battle that should have finally killed Stephen instead launches him into a parallel universe. Exhausted from centuries as Sorcerer Supreme, he chooses instead to explore this new world in any animal form except human. Having hoped for peace at last, he can't stand to be looked up to, to be responsible for others, to have the world on his shoulders.
If he'd hoped to avoid excitement, however, he really should have stayed away when he noticed an enormous explosion and a falling metal suit of armor as he passed through Afghanistan.
UNFINISHED: The End of Infinity - FriendlyNeighborhoodFangirls. (Self rec. Very long, very slow-burn. Canon-compliant Endgame fix-it. I’m trying so hard, lol.)
In 2023, the battle for the universe has been won. At a cost no one can forget, the fight is over—for all but one. Stephen Strange has an idea. An impossible idea spanning dimensions and timelines, life and death, and the lines of good and evil. But he's played impossible odds before—perhaps he never stopped.
All that Loki wanted was to fight, one last time, for the fate of his universe. So when he finds himself fighting for another, crashing into the past, he has a few intended words for the wizard that forced him there. But not before he finds a boy. Or, more accurately, before the boy finds him.
Peter Parker had been waiting for the next mission. He just doesn't expect it to come from the future, armed with a ridiculous story demanding a ridiculous quest. And he doesn't expect not to be able to tell Mr. Stark.
Tony Stark is trying to rebuild from the Civil War, knowing that someday, something will come that he needs to be ready for. And he doesn't know it yet, but two universes are trying to rebuild around him, and that something is already here.
Seven Stones. Five dead. Two universes. And one impossible quest to tie it all back together.
UNFINISHED: Sunrise in Exile - Ragdoll (Keshka). (Another fandom favorite! And for good reason. This is really really good!) 
Tony does the math and realizes their best chance to save the universe is by... not confronting Thanos on his own turf.
So he steals a wizard and a spider and a space ship. And he runs.
(Three humans and an A.I in space, the alien friendships they make along the way, and discovering how science and magic might coexist in a universe where they can be one and the same.)
Shorter plotty ones: 
Out of Suffering - Mystical_Magician. (So this author??? THIS AUTHOR??? Very very good, much yes, very good.) 
Stephen Strange does not like people, but 14,000,605 lifetimes of fighting and dying alongside this small group have worn down his walls. He likes them, gods help him. He might even consider them friends. It’s really for the best that they all go their separate ways once Thanos has been defeated. In their eyes, he’s barely even an acquaintance.
Now if only Tony and Peter would stop surprising him.
moros - spookykingdomstarlight. (Almost got a spot in the angst section. Very good). 
There were fourteen million universes Stephen had birthed into existence and let die and, in far more than he cared to count, the visitor standing before him had become something… dear.
Shaking is Caring - mariadperiad20. (This is just STUNNING. Highly loved.)
5 times Stephen's hands would shake, +1 time they didn't.
It's Kinda Chalky - DestielsDestiny. (This one’s pretty short, but definitely worth it.) 
You can live an entire lifetime by looking into someone’s eyes. His sister used to say that all the time. Stephen never gave it much thought back then. These days, he can think of little else.
Something Magic - Imagined. (Beautiful!)
There is only ever one rule that matters:
do not fall in love with the enemy.
An Idiotic Theory - FriendlyNeighborhoodFangirls. (Self rec! I tried to be funny.)
His wizard has been cursed, again, and Tony's already used up his luck for the day.
(Stephen says it's not a curse. He says Tony's whole daily-allotted karma-based luck theory has minimal merit, citing the fact that Tony had come up with it while he was drunk.)
Tony really should have saved his miracle.
Love Through Time - babywarg (morphaileffect). (I love this one. It sticks with you.) 
Tony discovers an old drawing of, and finally remembers, his invisible friend Stephen from when he was a child.
Alternates - doobler. (Super cool!)
After being punked by a lowbrow magician, Stephen finds himself falling through doors to otherwordly dimensions. How will he ever get home?
132 - 28ghosts. (Soulmate AU! Very fun, incorporates Stephen’s time-loop with Dormammu.)
Ninety-nine point eight percent of humans have a soulmate mark that tells them the age their soulmate will be when they meet them. Tony Stark has a mark. It's just that his is...different than most people's.
(Or: six people who aren't Tony Stark's soulmate, and one who is.)
and when the world falls (I will fall with it) - HeavenChild. (Another multichap soulmate AU. Absolutely lovely.)
Tony will give anything to those he loves.
People will take everything he gives before leaving him in shambles.
Rhodhey, Pepper and Vision have had enough.
Or the five times Tony had his heart broken and the one time he didn't.
i saw the end of the world - JumpToConclusions. (Why has no one read this fic??? It’s so good!!! Stephen knows the future since he saw it on Titan, and things grow more complex from there.)
Tony and Strange are trying to make this work, this being remaking The Avengers. ...And maybe they'll stumble into something else along the way.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying - Mystical_Magician. (R e a d  t h i s  p l e a s e. The mythology is so cool and the symbolism is so beautiful and the prose is so satisfying. One of my absolute faves.) 
As a fledgling crane, Stephen was too curious for his own good, and it was this curiosity that led to Eugene Strange finding and stealing away his feather robe. Trapped in human form, cruelly forged into the perfect son, not even his father's death freed him when his robe was so well hidden. He only managed to break his father's mold after breaking completely in the aftermath of his accident, and slowly gluing those broken pieces back together at Kamar-Taj, but not even magic could find what had been hidden. Enter Tony, after the defeat of Thanos.
Fluffy ones:
From The Outside - Live. (Hilarious.) 
Being a sentient life-form surrounded by humanity can be hard. Especially when said humans just can't admit their feelings for each other.
Sleeping Iron Man - Golden_Asp. (Another fun one. Perfect balance of ridiculousness with a touch of angst to make it interesting.) 
Stephen Strange stared at the Avengers on his doorstep, Tony Stark flung over Steve Rogers' shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "He touched something, didn't he?" "Yuup." or The one where Tony touches Sleeping Beauty's spindle, is put into an enchanted sleep, and everyone, even Rocket Raccoon, take their turn kissing him. But Tony only has one prince charming.
Doctor Ob(li)vious - lantia4ever. (One of my very favorites. So cute.) 
Stephen starts getting some weird looks from the Avengers, spanning across disturbed, confused and even scared all the way to curious. He dismisses it at first until weird turns into knowing.
And knowing turns into realizing...even if the scheming teenagers had to all but paint it on the walls for him to do so. Oh wait...
Applied Combinatorics in Two-Player Games - 28ghosts. (Short and fun and full of snark.)
After a battle, Tony Stark and Stephen Strange argue about games.
-
“Chess is not a solved problem.”
“Has been since ‘97, Kasparov versus Deep Blue. Kasparov, 1; Deep Blue, 2; three draws.”
“Chess is a game, not a problem.”
The Courtship of Peter Parker's Father (Figures) - flyingonfeatherlesswings. (Peter plays matchmaker! Adorable.)
Peter couldn't stand to sit by while Tony and Stephen danced around each other any longer. Something had to be done.
Speaking Eyes - Vrishchika. (Not Steve Friendly. Tony is amazing in this. And Stephen is so fantastically dramatic.)
Tony has always had expressive eyes.
The Signs of Sleep Deprivation - FriendlyNeighborhoodFangirls. (Another self-rec. <3)
"Tony said to put the potato in the dishwasher, so that's what I did."
Sometimes, Avengers just show up to say hi. Sometimes, they all show up at once, and Tony makes an party out of it. Sometimes, he invites the snarky, oblivious, somewhat insecure wizard because, and Peter quotes: "everyone else is coming".
Sometimes, something needs to be done.
Show Me Your Scars (And I'll Show You Mine) - Imagined. (Adorable. Lovely. Imagined does it again.)
The worst part is that Stephen keeps tucking his hands away, just as Tony wants to hold them. He keeps hiding them, surreptitiously, no matter what they’re doing. It’s only when Tony kisses Stephen, or hugs him, that he feels the hands settle on his back, uncertain, ready to pull back within seconds.
It only makes him want to cuddle up to Stephen even more, but he backs away, not sure if it’d be welcome.
Promise? Promise. - sharonscarters. (AU, kidfic, absolutely adorable.) 
A four year old Tony Stark runs away from home and finds his Guardian Angel.
What The Doctor Ordered - wakandan_wardog. (Post CW. Kind of not Rogues friendly? So fun, makes me smile. I re-read this one a lot.)
The Rogue Avengers are called back to New York because the heavy hitters are going to be needed against Thanos. Of course, there are some truths that Steve Rogers will need to accept sooner rather than later. Tony Stark has moved on and Stephen Strange will not suffer fools lightly.
Hurt/Comforty ones:
Among The Chaos of The Stars (You're My Safe Harbour) - ShootMeDead. (Oh my vishanti. OH MY VISHANTI. So so so so SO good.) 
Stephen has always been able to hear the stars. Tony is the only one who can silence them.
each night like a white noise frequency - Phierie. (I ADORE THIS FIC. OKAY. I LOVE IT. READ IT.)
Stephen is no stranger to making hard choices. He doesn’t regret his actions on Titan, but months later they weigh on his mind heavier than ever; the cracks begin to show.
Just An Accident - CucumbersInGold. (I really like fics with Stephen’s hands and the difficulties thereabout. Idk, just one of my favorite things. This is beautiful). 
Stephen's hands act up.
Learning, Unlearning - Caaaaaaas. (More character study than anything else. Really good.)
Whatever Stephen wanted with life, life just didn’t seem to know what to do with him.
In which Stephen learns and unlearns some very important lessons.
your eyes have their silence - doctortwelfth. (Oh look it’s another scars fic. I told you I liked them.) 
Tony is gentle with Stephen’s hands even when Stephen forgets to be.
Burning Lines Into The Snow - petroltogo. (Not very Steve friendly. Short and sweet.)
Post CW: It's not just the team that's so broken they are barely able to comprehend how many parts they're missing now, how many have been ripped and twisted and torn. It's Tony as well, right down to the core, the damage so far-reaching even he doesn't know how to fix it.
And then there's Strange, who has his own way of covering the cracks.
Old Bones - CJtheWeeb. (Owch. Dumb geniuses trying to be invulnerable.)
Sometimes Stephen Strange has great days, where he was nearly pain free and his hands still enough to where he could pick up a cup of water and barely spill a drop.
Today was not one of those days.
something taken, something new - meowrails. (So in-character. The premise was a little off to me, but I’m so glad I decided to read this one. I really really like this fic.)
The ChronicConnection implement and app allows a person that lives with chronic or illness-induced pain to transfer their burden temporarily to a willing loved one.
Tony and Stephen sign up as beta testers.
Angsty ones (happy ending unless otherwise mentioned):
day one - days4daisy. (THIS IS SO GOOD OKAY IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE ON THIS LIST READ THIS).
Three days in Stark Tower. Stephen must be in bad shape if he just agreed to this.
His Merlin - babywarg (morphaileffect). (This author keeps showing up on this list because they are A LEGEND. A LEGEND I TELL YOU.) 
As a child, Tony imagined himself a Knight of the Round Table. Little did he know he would grow up to be a king. And that he would have a wizard by his side to lead him to either glory or destruction.
there is no heart for me like yours - turtle_abyss. (Soulmate AU! Wonderful. <3)
Being able to feel your soulmate - a phantom touch, a bone-deep awareness - is a divine torture. To know, but not see. To seek, but not find. To feel someone holding your hand and not be able to hold theirs.
Grace - StrangeMischief. (*cries in beautiful fic* Happy ending!)
“Pain’s an old friend.” 
Us...Me - StrangeMischief. (This will hurt you. So melancholy. Pepper and Tony live their life, and Tony remembers. Not a happy ending.) 
“I don’t believe in happily ever after.” 
One-Thousand Cranes - FriendlyNeighborhoodFangirls. (Self rec, sorry. Hopeful ending.) 
After it all, a man with shaking hands makes a wish.
courtesy - deathofglitter. (Dealing with the fourteen-million futures. So good.) 
Stark looked at him like he looked at the amulet that rested on his chest like a steady promise - dutiful, a bit burdened, and trying to hold a profound lack of personal emotion whatsoever, still personal enough to protect as anyone would a precious object.
La Douleur Exquise - BananasofThorns, StrangeMischief. (More pain. Pepper and Tony, and Stephen watching and trying not to wish. Very good, no happy ending.)
The before was easy. There were fewer boxes in their minds and no chains around their hearts. There was no hurt. No tears. No dreams.
But those days were long gone.
Stigmata - babywarg (morphaileffect). (AU! Soulmates again. Very interesting, beautifully done.)
Since Stephen was little, mysterious wounds have appeared and disappeared on his body, leaving mysterious scars. His mother says it's because he's one of a Pair, and he's absorbing pain meant for someone else.
*wipes brow* PHEW! That gotta a little more in-depth than I first intended... Have fun, my MysticIron friends. Happy quarantine. 
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waynedunlaptheorgandonor · 9 months ago
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caryl first date headcanon
i wrote a stream of consciousness caryl headcanon i was thinking about when i couldn’t sleep last night. no i did not proofread it. yes it is rambling nonsense. yes you can read it if you want: 
so i genuinely don’t know what the timeline for canon is gonna be now that we got bottle episodes, s11, and the spin-off, but just for a moment let us pretend that it happens during the bottle episodes and then we have all of s11 to watch caryl trying to figure out how to navigate a relationship with each other
cuz like, they gon fuck right away, bc things are gonna get heated, and tensions are gonna be high, and they’re gonna snap like a trip wire and fucking ravish each other, that’s without question
so the first little while of their relationship will be mostly getting intimately familiar with each other’s bodies down to every last freckle
but once they’ve simmered down some they’re gonna need to address the “oh shit, wait, how does a relationship work?” problem
cue: caryl’s first date
it’ll take place in commonwealth, and i’ve never read the comics and i know jack all about it outside of what i’ve skimmed, but we’re gonna ignore that for the sake of my fun post
i know enough about it to know that there are definitely places to have a date
daryl knows this too, tho he doesn’t rly think about it right away. at first he’s more confused and sort of standoffish about the whole place, bc he was always a forest-dweller even before the apocalypse, so seeing this new metropolis-like place after years of living like a gd pioneer is gonna throw him way off kilter
right up until he’s chillin’ with judith and she’s talking about how she’s excited to see her first concert, and they have restaurants, and things she’s only ever read about, and then out of nowhere she’ll pull out, “are you gonna take aunt carol on a date?” 
and daryl will stare at her
and she’ll be like “rosita was telling me about how father gabriel took her on a real date and how nice it was. you should do that for aunt carol” 
and daryl will stare at her
and then will hastily change the subject (she’ll see right through him, ofc, but she’ll let it slide)
but the thought will stick with him, and suddenly he’s looking at the schedule of upcoming concerts and plays and wondering if carol would care about any of it. does she like shakespeare? the most experience he would have had with shakespeare was ripping out a couple pages of his school copy of romeo and juliet to use to light some firewood
but maybe she’s into it???
eventually he’ll reach the inevitable conclusion that the only way this is going to work is if he actually asks her to go on a date with him, which should be easy, right? like, he was ball’s deep inside her last night and told her good morning by putting his face between his legs, so surely asking someone on a date is simple
it will not be simple
bc yeah, they fuck all the time, and obviously they’re head-over-heels in love with each other, they’re each other’s soulmates, yada yada, but also daryl’s extremely emotionally repressed and has the romance skills of a fifteen year old having his mom drive him and his date to his first homecoming dance, only worse bc he never even went to any school dances
but after Dwelling On It for ages he’ll finally get fed up with himself and will vow to stop being a pussy. he’ll ask her before the day’s over or he’ll shoot a bolt into his own foot, ok, no more excuses
so the whole day he’s jittery af
you’d think he’s trying to pop the question, but all he wants to do is go eat dinner with carol and then watch some people recite lines from a play written hundreds of years ago, like, what is his Deal(tm)??? 
(his deal is, ofc, that he waited so long to have her, and now every new thing feels tenuous, bc he’d rather die than lose her, and sure she knows him better than anyone, but never in this context, and plus her last dude basically bled passion and romance no matter how obnoxious, and what if she realizes just how fucking clueless he is and decides she doesn’t really want to be with a middle-aged man who still gets tongue-tied around a pretty girl?)
(but also she deserves a gd date, alright? she deserves it, and so he’s going to give it to her, even if going face-to-face with a walker horde is less intimidating)
carol notices something’s off with him right away, but she waits until after dinner, when the kids have gone to their rooms and the two of them are alone washing dishes to ask, “hey, so what the fuck?” 
and daryl will be like, k, it’s now or never
and he will 100% make a fool of himself by stumbling alllll over his words, like, “nothin’s wrong, i’m fine, everythin’s real fine, i was just wonderin’ if mb you’d wanna, y’know, i dunno, they got all these shows and shit that we ain’t had in forever and i didn’t know if mb you’d wanna go see one? and mb get some food? with me, i mean. like, together. like i’d take you there and we could do those things, like a, you know, a date. but it’s cool if not, no worries, i get it if it’s not your thing, but i just thought i’d ask, but no, you’re right, it’s stupid, forget i said anythin’, hey look at the time, well i’m beat, gonna go to sleep now, goodbye”
and carol will go, “hold up”
and she’ll take daryl by the wrist before he can flee the room (bc he definitely intends to), and pulls him close and kisses him all sweet, and she’s gotta stand on her tiptoes to do it bc she’s in a pair of knit socks and he’s got his boots on so there’s more of a height difference than usual, and after she’s successfully managed to keep daryl from falling straight into a panic spiral, she’ll whisper, “i’d love to, let’s go this weekend”
and then she’ll just turn back to doing dishes without another word on the matter 
(bc, as previously stated, she knows daryl better than anyone, and she knows exactly what all his insecurities are and how much it must have taken him to ask her that, and so she’s not gonna harp on it or tease him)
(daryl recognizes this and loves her desperately for it)
the actual date is way easier than daryl expected
bc he spent all this time hyping it up, but when it comes right down to it, he just gets to spend a night with carol where they don’t have the kids to worry about, or any council business, and they just get to enjoy each other’s company
she even dressed up a little for him, which was unnecessary, but he most certainly appreciates it and can’t wait to tear the outfit off of her later
(it does make him regret the fact that he’s only had one pair of pants for the past ten years, but she doesn’t seem to mind)
they end up seeing a shakespeare play
daryl understands like 2% at best, but carol holds his hand and rests her head on his shoulder the whole time, and apparently it’s a comedy bc she laughs a lot, and that alone makes it worth it
they fuck like crazy when they get home, obviously
but it’s different than it had been previously, bc now their “togetherness” seems more solidified
like, they’re officially a “couple” now
like the type of couple that gets a babysitter for the night so they can go to the apocalyptic version of dinner and a movie together and then have sex and then fall asleep right afterwards bc they’re domestic af
and like, deep down both of them knows that this isn’t the life that they’re meant to live in forever, a la commonwealth/domestic bliss, and he wasn’t kidding when he told her new mexico was still out there, and he can feel a shift coming sooner rather than later
but he also knows they’ll be together when it happens, and they’ll figure out their own version of “date night” when they’re out exploring
but for now he’s content to do it the old fashioned way, though
when she falls asleep on his chest that night he rubs her back and kisses the top of her head, and he’s already planning their next night out
he might pick a show with modern english, though
but it’s not required
just so long as they’re together
the end 
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stubbornness-and-spite · 7 months ago
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the ink on our skin and the blood in our hearts(are intertwined): Chapter One
I finally wrote the EJ/Nini/Ricky soulmate fic I’ve been craving(the first 5 chapters at least). AO3 link in reblog 
previous chapter | next chapter
Fandom: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Genre: slowburn soulmate au with sprinklings of fluff and angst
Notes: I didn’t want to rewrite scenes that were essentially the same as canon just with a little bit of soulmate au mixed in, so I only wrote in the scenes that were either different or we didn’t see them in canon to begin with. Any scenes I left out happened basically the same as canon. 
In this universe, soulmates share any ink or marks on their skin after the youngest soulmate turns 16. Makeup companies design their products to not transmit through soulbonds. 
Let me know if anything(timeline/universe/POV switches/etc) is unclear and if I should edit. I’m open to critisism, but be aware that this is unbetaed and I am writing it for fun. 
Warnings: swearing
Word Count: 1471
Summary: Ricky Bowen and Nini Salazar-Roberts have known they were going to be soulmates since they were in kindergarten. They had is all planned out. Ricky would turn sixteen to blank skin and two months later when Nini turned sixteen, their skin would share ink. Fate cares little for the plans of kindergarteners.
E.J. Caswell doesn't believe in soulmates. Oh, he believes that there are people who share ink, but he doesn't believe that marks on anyone's skin are enough to dictate how people live their lives. He's never seen a mark on his own skin and he never plans to make a mark his soulmate can see. Fate cares as much for the stubbornness of teenagers as she does the plans of kindergarteners.
Reblogs are greatly appreciated! 
~
Ricky POV
When Ricky turned sixteen, his arms were blank, and he called Nini immediately.
“Nini, Nini, Nini!” he shouted into the phone as soon as she answered. “I don’t have any marks!”
“Ricky?” Nini asked groggily, yawning and blinking sleep from her eyes. “What time is it?”
“Just after midnight on my sixteenth birthday!” Ricky exclaimed. “Why are you asleep?”
Nini yawned. “Because it’s also just after midnight during tech week, and I had rehearsal until 11 and again at 6 am tomorrow.”
“Sorry,” Ricky mumbled.
“It’s fine,” Nini replied. She yawned and sat up. “I’m awake now. Tell me what happened!”
“I have no marks!” Ricky exclaimed again.
“Oh?” Nini asked. “ Oh, ” she repeated. “Your soulmate’s younger than you.”
“Or I don’t have one, or they just never bothered to write anything, but what are the odds of that?” Ricky asked through a wide grin. “Now we just have to wait until your birthday!”
“Two months,” Nini said softly. “Two months and we’ll know.”
“Yeah,” Ricky sighed fondly. “Two months.”
“What if-” Nini cut herself off and started again. “What if we don’t match? What if my birthday comes and I don’t have any marks either or I have someone else’s marks?”
“It won’t happen, Nini,” Ricky reassured her. “And if it does, we’ll figure it out.”
(chapter continues under the cut)
Two months went by quickly. Ricky went to see Nini perform in some show he couldn’t remember the name of. He didn’t know enough about theater to compliment her properly, so he told her that she lit up the stage. He also gave her a few compliments that he’d picked from a list online. It was the thought that counted.
They spent most of their free time in Nini’s bedroom or Big Red’s basement, swapping stories that they both already knew.
Ricky begged his dad to let him stay the night at Nini’s on her sixteenth birthday, and they stayed up until midnight to see if anything appeared on her skin. Around 11:30, Nini changed into her shortest pair of shorts and a tube top to show as much of her skin as possible. At 11:45, Ricky considered writing on his hand for the first time but decided not to, wanting to wait until he could see the line appear on Nini’s hand too. At 12:01, a splotch of ink appeared on Nini’s right shoulder. At 12:02, Ricky stopped breathing.
“I didn’t do that,” he whispered. “I didn’t spill ink on my shoulder.” His hand drifted to cover the spot on his shirt that mirrored the mark on Nini’s shoulder.
Nini tugged a sweater on and slid her legs under the blanket. “This doesn’t have to change anything. I love you, Ricky.”
“I-” Ricky’s eyes were wide. “I don’t-” His breathing quickened. “Maybe we should take a pause. You’re going away for the summer and I just-” His breath caught. “I need some time, Nini.”
“Okay,” Nini murmured. “Okay.”
“I’m just going to-” Ricky pointed at Nini’s bedroom door and stumbled towards it, clumsily pulling it open. “I’ll see you?” Nini didn’t respond and Ricky pulled the door shut.
~
Carol had driven him home without asking any questions, which Ricky was grateful for because he didn’t think he could answer without crying. Soulmates were supposed to be the thing that kept people together. He thought he loved Nini, but Ricky knew that wasn’t enough. His parents were proof of that. They’d both gone against the system when they were younger and had thought they were in love with people who weren’t their soulmates, but they had ended up together anyway. Nothing was stronger than soulmates and Nini wasn’t his.
Ricky slipped in his front door without waking his dad and fell asleep in his clothes, on top of his blankets, never noticing the spot of ink on his shoulder that was washed away by morning.
~
The summer went by in a blur. Ricky swore up and down it was the longest summer he’d ever lived, but at the same time, it was over in the blink of an eye and he was seeing Nini again.
He wanted to try again with her. Maybe soulmates weren’t everything because he was miserable without Nini. Maybe even if they did end up with their soulmates eventually, they could share the rest of high school with each other.
“I met someone.”
Ricky’s heart stopped. “You’re kidding, right? It was a break, not a breakup.”
“Well, it’s a breakup now.”
And what the hell was he supposed to do with that?
~
EJ POV
EJ was glad when his sixteenth birthday rolled around and his skin was blank. Maybe he was one of the lucky few without a soulmate. He hated the idea of soulmates. He wanted to control his own life, to decide for himself who he was going to spend it with, not have his life dictated by whose skin shared ink with his.
He went out of his way to make sure he never wrote on himself or let anyone else draw or write on his skin. He carried bandaids and wipes with him everywhere so if he ever got a cut, he could keep the blood from staining his soulmate’s skin. Ashlynn insisted that he was being ridiculous, but EJ was adamant. He was not going to have a soulmate. He was going to love whoever he wanted.
And he did. He dated a lot of different girls and didn’t care at all when they left him for their soulmates, whether they had met them yet or not. He didn’t care at all. He just moved onto the next girl.
He made it until the summer before his eighteenth birthday without incident. The few times he got ink on himself, a few times on his hands, and once on his left shoulder when a pen burst, he washed it off completely before the next day and he never saw a message back.
The summer before he turned eighteen he met Nini. She was the first girl he’d met who had turned sixteen, seen her soulmate marks, and wasn’t searching for her soulmate. He fell a little bit in love with her right then and there. Then he heard her sing and saw her act and he fell for her even more. By the time they actually started talking, EJ was head over heels for the girl and ready to run away from the soulmate system and off into the sunset with her.
“Where are you headed once camp’s over?” EJ asked, as close to Nini as he could be without actually having his arm around her.
“Back to Salt Lake City,” she replied. “We go to the same school, EJ.”
“I’m stupid!” EJ hit his forehead with his palm and grinned. “How have we not talked before now? You’re amazing.”
Nini snorted and rolled her eyes with a smile. “You’re sweet. I’ve been kind of under a rock for the past few years. I’ve been in the ensemble of the last few musicals but I really only talk to Kourtney, Big Red, and…” she trailed off.
“Who else?” EJ prompted.
“Ricky,” Nini said, her voice turning slightly sharp. Her bright smile dimmed. “We’ve been friends since kindergarten and kinda-dating since middle school. We started actually dating at the start of sophomore year. We kind of broke up when summer started.”
“How do you kind of break up with someone?” EJ asked. “How does anyone break up with you?”
Nini laughed. “He’s a few months older than me and we always thought we’d be soulmates, so he was really excited when his skin was blank on his sixteenth birthday, but when my sixteenth birthday rolled around and I had ink on me that he hadn’t drawn, he freaked out. He was supposed to be my soulmate, whatever the ink on our skin said, but when he saw someone else’s ink, he said we should “take a break.” Whatever that means.”
“It means he’s not good enough for you,” EJ said, smiling earnestly.
“And you are?” Nini asked.
EJ sputtered. “I wasn’t saying that, but…” he hesitated. “I’d like to try to be? If that’s something you want too?”
“EJ Caswell, are you asking me out?”
EJ coughed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Was that not clear?”
Nini pushed her hair out of her face and grinned. “No, it was clear, but I want you to ask me properly anyway.”
EJ pulled away from her and lifted himself up onto one knee. “Nini… I-don’t-know-your-last-name,”
“Salazar-Roberts,” Nini said, her smile practically splitting her face.
“Nini Salazar-Roberts,” EJ continued. “Will you do me the honor of being my girlfriend?”
Nini pretended to think it over. “On one condition.”
“Which is?”
Nini leaned forward and kissed him quickly. “If you be my boyfriend.”
~
Taglist - let me know if you want to be added or removed!
@after-nine-at-the-oasis
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winchester-reload · a year ago
hi! i just read your fic, After Dark (for the second time, it’s amazing, easily going into my top five favorite fics of all time, your writing and characterization of dean especially is phenomenal and knocked me off my feet), but i’m still a little fuzzy on the ending. if you find time, could you possibly explain? thank you so much, your writing is beautiful
Okay, so I know I’ve had this ask for a while. I haven’t been ignoring you. It’s just that this fic is one of those stories that was so consuming when I wrote it, I have a hard time diving back in when I get asks. It was my Everest. I was obsessed with finishing it but kept trying to die at the top of the mountain (so to speak).  I started writing it in June 2015 and didn’t finish it until December 2018. I have sooooo many notebooks filled with notes and rewrites for this story, it’s almost embarrassing. And, you’ve read it, so you probably know why: it’s INVOLVED. I mean, the very first chapter gives you the most important line from the penultimate chapter of the book.
So, yes. You know what? Let’s talk about After Dark. I’m ready.
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Spoilers after the cut
I’m gonna do my best here to clear things up, but since you’re specifically asking about the end of the fic, I won’t do a complete chapter by chapter breakdown of the plot. Let’s instead pick up at Chapter 19 with a little more of a abridged version. 
In 19, we finally get our Sam breakdown of what he’s been trying to figure out from the beginning– why it struck him as odd that Dean and Cas had hooked up this time over all the times before. He realizes that the general assumption that God was the light that beat back the darkness wasn’t actually a metaphorical idea, but was, in fact, a literal one. God wasn’t the thing that conquered the Dark, the light he yielded was. That light was Love. Fun side note: The sources Sam cites in that chapter to support his theory are all actual academic sources/philosophical ideas. You can look any of them up to find out more about love as a daemon, or The Unity of Opposites theory. So, Dean now knows that Cas is being used by Alice for something, but doesn’t know what.
Ch 20: Alice explains that the only thing that can save Dean’s soul from its eternal fate with the Darkness is if he’s “released” (so to speak) by his light. She says that the way it works is through Cas’ ultimate broken heart.
“If he takes you, you don’t die out of hate, or spite, or fear,” she whispered. “There’s no jealousy or malice or revenge. You die in stark contrast to all those things. It’s the opposite of everything he’s ever wanted for you— Wanted with you. Everything he’s ever hoped or dreamed or fought for; he does it only because he loves you, and it’s that selflessness that cleanses the shadows. It’s the power of a broken heart.”
It’s Cas’ sacrifice that will save Dean’s soul. Alice is careful to tell Dean that he was never going to survive this. Cas  and everyone else is supposed to, but for Dean, it was always just a matter of where his soul ended up. 
Cas, of course, says he’ll do it and that Dean needn’t ask, because there’s not really a choice here.
Ch 21: We pick back up with an echo of Rowena and realize that everything she told him in Chapter 2 actually came true. (weird, right?)
Ch 22: Cas wakes up at “the start”, only, this time’s he’s fundamentally changed from the journey. It’s in this chapter that we find out why Cas was getting glimpses from the ‘end of the story’ throughout the book: 
Angels are ethereal. They’re not contained to a specific timeline–this is something they’ve talked about in canon. It was ONLY while Cas had his grace AND was actively dying that he was able to see snippets of the things that would happen after the events in Chapter 20. (IE: the dream he had in Chapter 8 of Crowley, the dream in Ch 15 where he’s walking across the field where the Winchesters crashed, even though he hadn’t actually been there yet, etc)  It turned out he wasn’t actually seeing or speaking to Rowena. She was more a figment of his subconscious as he tried to warn himself where this story was going. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really any way for him to stop the train. HOWEVER,
In Cas’ lame attempt to keep from drowning Dean like “The Fish” Rowena kept calling him, he’d made the conscious decision to give Dean some “wings” in Chapter 15. The grace had proven threatening/effective enough in the fight against the Darkness to that point, that it had spent the entire story trying to snuff Cas out. It was also the only element keeping Cas from becoming infected by the Darkness the same way Sam and the rest of the people were, which is why Cas quickly became infected after extracting it. 
So, when Dean got the grace in Chapter 15, it was enough to pull him back out of the Darkness’ grip and bring him back to life.
When Cas comes out the other side of the spell in this chapter, alive, as he was supposed to be, he realizes that everything had reset like Alice said it would– Except for him. He was still wearing the same clothes, and still dying from his own self-inflicted knife wound (sans Darkness insanity). (Dean, remember, was not supposed to reset. The actions he took during the fic were always supposed to be permanent for him.) 
It’s then that Cas understands that it’s not over yet; they’re still fundamentally connected through Cas’ grace, and that means, there’s a CHANCE that Dean’s still alive too (and with Cas’ grace). He asks Crowley to teleport him to the field he saw in his dream and it’s here that he finds Dean, still clinging to life and staring up at the newly found stars.
Cas rallies his grace one last time by laying a hand on the burn mark left on Dean, and uses the rest of it to save him. Then, the very exhausted, very exsanguinated human Cas topples over in the field.
Ch 23: is probably where I lost you and I’m gonna tell you, it’s very intentional that I’ve made you unsure. 
It starts with a dreamlike Cas in the field staring at the back of an ambulance bed. There are elements of the Darkness around him, filtering into the sky. He panics when he thinks it’s Dean on the back of the stretcher dead, but specifically points out the bare feet (Dean was in socked feet. It was mentioned multiple times in Chapter 18-20). Alice then comes out of nowhere and tackles him to the ground. She’s our dream stand-in for the things the EMTs are doing to save Cas in that moment (Cas was the one with bare feet) while she warns him that the Darkness is not gone. She tells him she’s proud of him for finding a loophole, but that he shouldn’t believe he’s won. He should, in fact, fear the opposite. 
“…it doesn’t matter how fucking proud of you I am for finding it” she says. “The truth of the matter is, it’s gonna take what it’s owed— Or try… ”
Cas then wakes up in Dean’s bed and Dean tells him he was having another nightmare. It’s established at this point that Cas has been having a lot of them since becoming human. So much so, that Dean is practiced in dealing with bringing Cas back down. Cas gets frustrated with the situation and with himself and goes to wander through the bunker and get water. Dean chases after him, like the good caretaker he is.
Cas tells Dean that he doesn’t believe it’s a nightmare. He believes that the conversation with Alice really happened and that the Darkness is not gone, but, maybe, lying in wait either to attack again, or, even, MAYBE, that it already has him… (Not Dean, but Cas this time. Like a trade.)
This leaves us, the reader with the uneasy feeling that that might be true. We’re in Cas’ POV and the last we saw him, he was face down in a field bleeding out from a wound he was probably not gonna be able to recover from. If he’s not sure what’s real and what’s a dream, then how can we be? This is amplified by the fact that everything Cas has done in the story to this point has been proven true, so we want to believe him. But his unsureness feels so much more like the answer we don’t want. 
Our unease is punctuated by small things like 1. Dean wearing a purple shirt* when Cas had specifically named that as a color he’d never seen Dean wear before (Ch 19). And then, of course, 2. the fact that his coat is there when it shouldn’t be. Did Alice leave it? Why would she leave it? How could she leave it?
We’re left, like Cas, not sure if the story has ended like it appears to have ended. We’re unsure if they both made it out safe. If they’re really together. And with everything so damn woven, how can we just have these plot holes???? 
But, that’s also kind of the nature of the trauma Cas has endured. And, if he wasn’t really living this moment with Dean, then why is he healing slowly from his wounds? Why is he out of breath before he gets to the kitchen? (You know how it is when you’ve been laid up for a long stint. EVERYTHING IT HARD.) 
So, you, like Cas, find yourself placing your trust in Dean as he reassures Cas that it wouldn’t matter if it’s not over.
 “Because you an’ me, we’re unbreakable.” 
And now this is where you really hate me because I’m not going to tell you one way or the other. I’m gonna let the story speak for itself. I will say that I would NEVER want to put them through all of that if they couldn’t live in the sunshine on the other side, though.
*more on the color purple
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wovenstarlight · 7 months ago
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YWBK update: chapter 25 + liner notes
yesterday will be kinder has updated! you can read chapter 25 here, or start from the beginning here
okay, on to notes and commentary! first time i’m doing these, let’s hope this works out. commentary under the cut to save people’s dashes
Hamin laughs. “Given how bad you are at not being suspicious, that’s understandable.” “Oh, come on, I’m not that bad.” Hamin screws up his whole face in a squint. “Okay, so maybe I’m a little bad.”
this part was really funny to me when i wrote it because i was like “hmm reasons for DHM to understand why HHJ wouldn’t work in the guild” and then i was like Wait. Their Whole First Meeting, Dude. DHM was lowkey convinced for the longest time that HHJ was like, on the run from the KR version of the mafia, and got plastic surgery to look like his little brothers, and is possibly in some sort of witness protection program??? or something??? how else does he not have cops on his ass this man is so suspicious all the time
“I don’t think… They said the dungeons were, like, different worlds? Did they find people there?”
mafia theory second place. dungeon theory first place
“Like, humans? Um. No, no humans.” “So then you can’t be from there. Okay.”
dungeon theory shot down. mafia theory back in the running
“Hey,” he says cautiously. “I’m— I’m gonna go get us some water, okay? Why don’t you… take a minute.” “Okay.” “The bathroom is over there, if you need it.” “Okay. Thank you.”
after four years working alongside a guy you start to notice when he’s feeling a little out of it and needs a bit of a break... but as JHW mentions later you also learn to be a little subtle about giving him one
jung heewon What’s with your typing? It reads like Jihye’s [HYJ]’s fine. Very energetic Too energetic? He’s going to burn out. How do I make him calm down
Epic Burnout Man makes a reappearance! when translating sclass one of the things that makes me want to shake HYJ most is his habit of constantly adding things to his to-do list while he already has 1 billion things on his plate. and all the time he’s whining about “UGH there’s SO MUCH WORK to do” No One Asked You To Do It
Anyway. the point is. HYJ isn’t about to be beat by HHJ at Developing Issues 😔
jung heewon I haven’t spoken to him directly about this because if he’s anything like you he’ll take it as an insult You wtf whts tht supposed 2 mean quit typing jung heewon Better not say shit, mr “No, I can’t take days off and cater to my interests or go out with friends or on a date, I’m too busy taking care of the kids and making sure their needs are met, no I don’t care that there are thousands of people out there balancing personal enjoyment and romance and work AND kids at the same time, are you suggesting I be a BAD GUARDIAN to MY KIDS?”
see above re: not being too direct with pointing out when HHJ’s having Issues because he doesn’t react well
You wht but our eyes r fine jung heewon Even if having glasses doesn’t run in the family, you should still get him checked, just in case
top 10 funny time travel moments: referring to you and your past self as “us” (our = my eyes are fine), but other people think you mean “our family” (our eyes are fine = no family history of long/shortsightedness)
Also. Sooyoung-ie says hi [Attachment: 20XX1213_144516.jpg] 
ok no lie this was one of the parts that pissed me off the most, even though it’s Literally One Line, because. i love chat exchanges. i really do. when done right they’re a lot of fun to read. But Do You Know How Long It Took Me To Figure Out A Calendar For The Events In This Fic. now everything’s TIMED i have to count HOW MANY DAYS IT’S BEEN since XY event so i can CORRECTLY NUMBER the FILE ATTACHMENTS!!! this sucks!!! it took me fucking forever to pin down a timeline just so i could write this chapter plus the few before and after it!!!!
anyway i gave up when i reached year. i just put 20XX. fuck it. we are running on fairy tail time now. (actually i think that’s XXnumber number? XX76? or was it X796. something like that. Who cares i stopped watching fairy tail forever ago)
Fuck it! Hamin will understand!! “If you Awaken you should come work with me,” Han Hyunjae says all in a rush. 
“HAMIN WILL UNDERSTAND” => he literally was cool with me giving zero context for half a dozen absolute balls to the wall nonsense bullshit things i’ve done before. he’ll be fine with this too. dog_in_burning_house_this_is_fine.png
“You already know about the guilds, those are going to be for dungeon Hunters, but I was thinking of forming something like an independent group of contractors. Awakened people with skills that aren’t useful for combat, but that might… that will be generally useful. It’d be you and me, and maybe one other guy I met recently. Probably more in the future.”
given that HHJ has no idea currently that peace exists (i’m so sorry baby i’ll find a way to shoehorn you in soon i miss you so much) he’s got no intentions to start a kiseungsu business yet! he mostly wants to live quietly while just acting as a manager for other Awakening-related services, like YMW’s forge and DHM’s tracking service, along with the information exchange/lowkey spy ring that he’s planning on setting up with JHW and the bar. since HYH is fine associating with him in this timeline, HHJ’s thinking he can get a foot in the door that way, then eventually spread out into dealings with most major guild leaders
RIP to this plan. you were well-made but you will not last long.
“Please, I can’t tell you how I know that, I really can’t, it’d put me and my brothers in danger if it got out. But—” “No need.” Hamin looks slightly alarmed, and Han Hyunjae feels himself settle at the obvious concern in his eyes.
MAFIA THEORY RAPIDLY RISING TO PROMINENCE??? THIS IS NOT HOW DO HAMIN WANTED HIS GUESS CONFIRMED
“I spoke to the Task Force Head and she said that there’s been discussion about hosting a meeting for the nearby high-rankers, where they’ll announce the guild proposal and see who else is interested in trying it out.”
“they’ll announce” i’m sorry king 💔 you deserved a nap
(OH ALSO FUN FACT choi eunyoung is a canon character, not an OC of mine! she appears in uhhh i think late 140s? 150s? something like that)
“I think there’s… probably only one other S-rank who’s Awakened right now?”
Hehehehehehehehehehehehehhehe
Hamin beams. “No, they’re doing great! Spookie’s taken really well to the new housing situation, but I think Spots might miss the store…”
shoutout to @daemonic-dawn​ for letting me borrow a pet name, love u king. i had a much longer ramble about pet names here but i finished typing and realized it was all entirely off topic so i removed it for convenience
Hyunjae makes an annoyed noise in the back of his throat. “Don’t— I mean.” He huffs, visibly taking a deep breath, and Yoojin frowns reflexively. [...] “Is everything alright?” Yoojin kind of wants to be annoyed at his tone on principle, but he forces his shoulders to relax, matching Hyunjae’s posture. Though he can’t stop himself from being a little short when he answers.
things the brothers have learned in four years living together: getting confrontational often leads to arguments that just fizzle out anyway, so it’s way fucking easier to consciously tone down their combativeness in advance when talking to each other about things they have problems with, instead of screaming their heads off and then having to calm yoohyun down afterwards to boot
“I guess. Whatever.” Yoojin slumps. “Can I…” “Hm?” Hyunjae blinks at Yoojin as he gestures to the spot on the bed beside him, then jolts. “Oh! Yeah, sure, c’mere.” He opens his arms, and Yoojin goes over and flumps on the bed, head in Hyunjae’s lap. Almost immediately, Hyunjae starts stroking fingers through his hair, and Yoojin relaxes into the touch, listening as Hyunjae continues speaking.
cuddles 🥺🥺🥺 sorry i don’t have any other commentary here just. cuddles. extremely and overwhelmingly comforting for a man who spent the better part of 8 years(?) with no major positive relationships, and a kid who spent 12 years of early life basically abandoned by his parents. you had best bet they gave up on not hugging each other 1 year into this whole mess
Yoojin hums in acknowledgement. It’s not like he’d ever let himself get hurt; he has too many responsibilities to his family and friends. If he wants to be good enough to keep up, he can’t afford to fuck up like that. But… hyung will worry if he keeps working so hard. He can slow down a little for him. 
Problems disorder man when will you stop. the way he sees “getting hurt” as an inconvenience and an obstacle to his duties rather than a danger to himself. the way he doesn’t really care if he himself gets hurt, but if it’ll worry his family, then it’s a no-no. it’s just. wow. i know i wrote this but i hate him
“Not really. I talk to Myeongwoo about it sometimes.” “Ah, right, Myeongwoo.”
haha gays
“Don’t be weird about him,” Yoojin warns[...]. “I won’t, promise.”
if the “i won’t” line had a dialogue tag it’d be “Han Hyunjae lied”
“Is Eunwoo still in his relationship?” “Mhm, happy as ever. Apparently they’re trying long-distance, now that Eunwoo’s gone off to university abroad.”
three guesses for who eunwoo’s dating and you won’t need the first two
Hyunjae raises his hands like he’s going to deny the accusations levelled against him, so Yoojin seizes him by the collar and shakes him until he cries for mercy
oh my o/rv ass struggled so bad with not writing “shakes him like a man betrayed” here. it killed me not to. but in the end i prevailed (against, uh, myself. don’t think about it too hard.)
“Jeez, okay, he’s an F-rank!” “Eh?! Then why—” “He’s also got an SS-rank potential skill,” Hyunjae admits[...].
play-by-play of this scene because god if i draw any scene in this fic it would be this one just for the sheer hysterical nature of HYJ’s reaction:
YOOJIN: I HATE YOU WHAT THE FUCK WHY. TELL ME HIS RANK
HYUNJAE: HE’S AN F
YOOJIN: WHAT? WHAT THE FUCK?
HYUNJAE: he’s also got an SS-rank skill,
YOOJIN:
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travllingbunny · a year ago
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The 100: 7x01 From the Ashes
Disclaimer: This post is about the episode of the show The 100, From the Ashes, the season 7 premiere, and only about it.  In this post, I will NOT be discussing any original scripts, unused takes, bloopers, behind the scene photos or videos, scribbled notes exchanged between the writers, or any  tweets, Instagram posts, SMS or e-mails by any of the cast or crew members,  considering the fact that none of those things constitute the  show’s canon, which consists of the actual episodes.
I will also not be discussing anything about the future episodes posted by any ‘spoiler accounts’, and, in fact, I am unaware of most of these things, since I’m trying not to read any spoilers. Please do not tell me any spoilers for future episodes or ask me about them.
I really enjoyed this episode, in spite of the unfortunate lack of Bellamy (which I was already expecting since what happens to him here was already spoiled by the trailer. Of course, I’m looking forward to see Bellamy again, and, before that, to everyone finding out about disappearance and it becoming the focus of the season. But until then, the show has quite a few other storylines to deal with, from setting up and delving more into the Anomaly mystery, to dealing with the fall-out of season 6 in Sanctum, and both of these were handled well, for the most part.
This episode in particular had really good characterizations all around - for Murphy, Echo, Indra, Madi, Raven, Emori, Gaia, even Jackson - and, of course, Clarke, who had an arc that took her tendency to try to repress her feelings to an extreme, until they exploded in a most memorable way. It will cause her trouble, no doubt, but it was great to watch, and something I had been wishing for for quite some time. 
There is just one character whose storyline I’m still not sure how I feel about, because I’m not sure what the show is doing with him. 
After the last season’s cliffhanger, there was some concern in the fandom that Bellamy would regress to being all about protecting his sister, after their relationship had been redefined with “You’re my sister, but you’re not my responsibility”. Some of that was really exaggerated: there’s absolutely nothing odd or surprising about Bellamy crying over his sister disappearing in his arms. Of course he loves her and wants her safe. But I was concerned they may regress his development if they make him forget about everyone and everything else in his life in order to impulsively jump after her into the Anomaly. However, that did not happen - Bellamy didn’t decide to go on his own, rather than tell others and make a plan. He was taken.
The mysterious people from the Anomaly seem to be able to control the Anomaly, and have some sort of a cloaking device, presumably connected to their suits and helmets, that makes them invisible to others. They also have some sort of a screen inside their helmets, with facial recognition of targets and commands. It’s all a bit creepy - these seem to be humans, but they are receiving orders the way a robot would. (It’s all very Terminator-like!) Maybe because they also have lost their memories while going through the Anomaly? Where did they get the info about who Bellamy, Gabriel and Echo are - was it from Octavia’s memories? 
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Memories and memory loss are obviously going to play a huge role this season. People who come from the Anomaly to Sanctum seem to lose their memories, except when the Anomaly is still there. Does this happen only on Sanctum, or at the other side(s) as well? How does the fact that the Anomaly sucks in radio signals fit into that? Hope had to use a message she put into her own arm to remind herself to “TRUST BELLAMY”. (Interstellar is mentioned a lot as an inspiration for this season, but this reminds me of another Nolan film, Memento.)
We also see Clarke spout knowledge about how the big mansion was built (by Russell for Simone, to remind her of her house on Earth), which she would know due to still having some of Josephine’s memories. And I’m sure that the fact Madi still has the memories of past Commanders will play a big role - specifically, the fact she has Becca’s memories, which could be the way to tie the present day story to the prequel/story about what happened during and right after the apocalypse. (She also probably knows about Sheidheda more than anyone else alive, which may play into the Sanctum story.) 
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It’s too early to judge Hope as a character, but the mystery surrounding her is certainly super interesting. Why do the mysterious people from the Anomaly have orders to kill her on sight (as opposed to capturing, which they were supposed to do with Bellamy, Echo and Gabriel)? Is it because of who she is, or what she is - is it about her actions, does she know too much, or is her existence itself that’s the problem? 
I loved the Octavia cameo in Hope’s hallucination, with the confirmation that she was an “aunt” figure to her, a part of a found family with Diyoza and Hope. The Anomaly makes you see your biggest desire or biggest fear - and Hope’s biggest desire seems to be to be reunited with her family 
Echo’s hallucination, on the other hand, is obviously about her biggest fear - so it makes perfect sense that it’s Roan who appears to her, as he exiled her from Azgeda. Of course biggest fear would be losing her kru and her king/queen and being left alone and adrift. I’m as surprised as anyone that I found Echo's scene to be maybe the best in the episode. But she did have some really good character moments in seasons 6, and this is IMO her best character moment so far, picking up from her red sun hallucination in 6x02, and flashback from 6x11. which revealed that even her identity as “Echo” is fake. It seems the show is finally doing the character development it neglected to give her in season 5, and addressing all the obvious issues with Echo’s development and her relationship with Bellamy. I think this confirms that it was indeed Echo talking to herself while hallucinating Emori in 6x02, since her hallucination of Roan tells her the same thing, that she is still just a killer following another master’s orders. We finally see Echo feeling guilt over the things she did in the past, including her betrayal of Bellamy in season 3. When she imagines him calling her out on betraying “the man she now claims to love”, is it just about her thinking the others would doubt her love, or is she herself questioning whether her feelings for Bellamy are really romantic love, or just loyalty to her current leader? Their relationship, especially in S6, often came off more as the latter.
 (It was also really cool to see Zach McGowan again) 
The timeline of 7x01 seems to have confused some fans, but I think it’s pretty obvious that, at the beginning of the Sanctum story, no more than a day (probably less than that) has passed since 6x13 - going by the facts that 1) the Anomaly storyline picked up minutes after the end of 6x13, and the Sanctum story was presumably happening at the same time, and 2) Indra had to explain the situation in Sanctum to everyone. The only thing that seems to go against that is that Russell is said to “not have slept” since what happened on the ship, which makes it seem like it’s been longer. Or maybe Russell was just being extra dramatic. “Oh, I have no slept for a whole day!” He certainly spent a lot of this (his last) episode feeling sorry for himself. At least he seemed to have finally realized he wasn’t the superior good guy in all of it (”Tell them I’m treated better than I deserve” - yes, indeed.)
Indra was great, even though poor Adina was forced to be an exposition machine for a part of the episode. 
A common complaint I’ve seen among fans is that it’s weird that Clarke and others in Sanctum aren’t worried about Bellamy and co. I don’t understand this complaint, as it’s clear that very little time has passed and that Bellamy, Octavia, Echo and Gabriel must have told everyone they were leaving and why (though I don’t know how many details they told them about the Anomaly Stone). People have been gone for a whole day in season 6 when they just went to the Offering Grove (Echo in 6x06) or the radioactive shield (Raven, Emori and Echo in 6x05), which are within the confines of Sanctum and much nearer than the camp by the Anomaly. What are they supposed to do but wait for a couple of days for them to come back? It’s not like they can call them, when radios and other means of communication usually don’t work on Alpha because of the Anomaly sucking the signals.
In fact, their absence was mentioned in the picnic scene, when Raven toasted to “absent friends” and we got a reaction shot of Clarke (I know, Clarke, I'd be annoyed too if I was you, but Bellamy had to be all "I'm gonna go now and explore the Anomaly Stone while Sanctum is in chaos and you're in mourning for your mom" because the plot needed him to..., before Niylah toasted to the “departed ones” (which would include Kane and Abby) and we got a close-up reaction shot of Clarke trying to keep it all inside, as she did every time in this episode someone mentioned Abby. 
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The idyllic picnic by the mansion - everyone’s attempt to get some rest and nice time after everything they had been through - was such a contrast to the “powder keg” of Sanctum and the end of this episode. But it also felt fake - just as fake as the deception and lies that Murphy and Emori are Daniel and Kaylee Prime, or that Madi still has the Flame in her head - to keep the devout and Wonkru under control, respectively - and just as fake as Clarke’s attempts to convince everyone she’s “fine”. As usual, the song playing in the background (”Darkness” by Pinegrove) was very fitting:
Suddenly I find I've got darkness on my mind It's a question mark that keeps me looking And it's never satisfied And it's never what I thought Saying I'm happy when I'm not No, I got darkness on my mind Leaning out the frame When it's particulate and gray I'm perpendicular to my whole being When I lean a certain way Saying I'm happy when I'm not Finding roaches in the pot Oh, I got darkness on my mind Some people spend their whole lives looking For someone who could understand While meanwhile a lilac blooming Sometimes on the driest land And I know it's been a long time coming I'm angry and I know that's weak And I'm longing out that open window For whatever it is I seek [musical breakdown] Some people spend their whole lives looking For someone who could understand And while meanwhile a lilac blooming Sometimes on the driest land And I know it's been a long time coming I'm angry and I know that's weak So I'm trying not to be so bitter I'm just looking at it honestly Well, I know it's been a long time coming I'm angry and I know that's weak And I'm longing out that open window For whatever it is I seek Some people spend their whole lives looking For someone who could understand While meanwhile a lilac blooming Sometimes on the driest land, yeah 
I like that there was anger, blame and conflict between our kru and that everyone didn’t just forget what happened last season (and for once, Clarke is not the one getting the blame!) It would've made no sense if no one was blaming Murphy, and it makes sense it would be Jackson, who was so close to Abby and who’s not particularly close to Murphy. It also makes sense there was disagreement about the method of keeping peace in Sanctum, and that not everyone would be happy with Memori cosplaying the Primes. 
Murphy himself had a really good characterization in this episode - we saw his grief and his feelings of guilt. While he tried to defend himself when blamed that he didn’t know what Russell would do, when left alone, he blamed himself for various actions that led to it, which is something Murphy from a couple of seasons ago wouldn’t do.
It’s great to see Raven looking more like her old, pre-season 6 self, and even better to see that her self-righteousness has gone. She’s more like the old Raven but without the snarky b1tchiness. I’m glad that she got called out by Murphy on her “Miss Morality” role from last season (which never really made sense, pre-time jump Raven was never a moral compass of the group, she was smart, pragmatic and could be as ruthless as anyone).
Another major theme of the Sanctum plot were the new beginnings.  Clarke pointing out season 3 feels like another world seems almost like the show going meta and pointing out to the audience how much Clarke and all these people have lived through and been since.What is Sanctum now after the Primes have been defeated, with Children of Gabriel coming back home and clashing with the Devout - brainwashed and loyal followers of the Primes, with the rest of the Sanctumites in between? How are Wonkru and the 36 Eligius prisoners going to start again on a new planet moon? (36?! Wow, so they really suffered heavy losses in that gorge, too, when there are so few left?) Can Grounders be without a Commander? Gaia without her religion? Can Madi be a normal kid, without the Flame - or is that even possible while she has to pretend to still be Heda? The title From the ashes seems to refer to that - and maybe the end of the episode means that you have to burn down the old beliefs and old idols to build something new? 
Mothers and daughters were another theme.  I liked that Madi mentioned her biological parents (well, mother) on-screen for the first time, since the fandom tends to forget about them and ignore them too often. Madi was unsuccessful in her attempt to make Clarke share her feelings with her - maybe because this conversation showed a big difference in how they see each other? Clarke thinks of Madi as her child, but Clarke has never had a child before, while Madi had parents and suffered their loss; Clarke assumed Madi was talking about her and what happened in S6, but Madi always calls Clarke “Clarke” rather than “Mom”, and tried to connect to her on the equal level, as another daughter who’s lost a mother. Maybe it’s exactly because Clarke sees Madi only as her child that she feels she must be “strong” for her all the time and not show grief. 
There was an unexpected parallel between Indra and Clarke in how Indra also tried to suppress outward expressions of grief when her partner - Gaia’s father died, which clearly wasn’t healthy and caused a rift between mother and daughter. (I’m not sure about when that happened, i.e. when Gaia first decided to become a Flamekeeper. I guess it must have been before the timeline of seasons 1-3. So Gaia’s dad is probably not the man that Indra recognized in 2x15 as one of the Reapers? I’m still angry that we never got any resolution to that storyline and that the Reapers were forgotten after season 2.)
 The one thing I’m not sure about is Jordan’s characterization and arc. I’m not sure what the show is doing with his exactly, and I’m afraid that they’ll try to leave it ambiguous just how much he is or isn’t brainwashed. 6x13 made it very clear that he has been “adjusted”, which Russell confirmed here, and Jordan’s “adjustor”, who was creeping behind him in the season 6 finale, was very present and active in this episode, and clearly still had a big influence on him. At the same time, we learn that Jordan does not believe in the divinity of the Primes - instead of that, his hallucinations made him see something connected to the mystery of the Anomaly, which Russell describes as something “greater” (almost like he has finally found God, of sorts, after all, which he talked about 236 years before when he first landed on Alpha)? The good news is that it means Jordan will have a role in the Anomaly story, rather than being the advocate for the Devout. What I’m afraid of is that the show will gloss over the fact that Jordan was brainwashed - whether or not he came to believe that Primes were gods, he certainly did a 180 from despising Primes as murderers, being outraged by their actions and knowing very well that Priya was not Delilah but someone who took over her body; to (just a few days later, after “adjustment”) spouting Prime propaganda about the “peaceful” society they had before the Bad People from Earth came (that’s the peace they had when they regularly murdered their people to steal their bodies, left babies to die, and made them go crazy and kill each other from time to time) and having some kind of attachment to Priya herself and her mind drive.
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At least, I hope that Russell unceremoniously smashing the mind drive means we’re done with that storyline. I loved it, it was my favorite storyline of the show, but it’s time for it to be over. It makes no sense that anyone is still letting Russell keep his mind drive, for starters. When will they realize they need to destroy these things?
- Clarke’s way of dealing with grief over her mom’s death was certainly unhealthy - repressing her feelings even more than usual, trying to be calm, composed, logical, to do the things needed to keep peace. In her last scene in 6x13, Clarke was open about her grief with Bellamy, looking to him for comfort, finding comfort in his arms and his words. But now he’s absent, there’s no one else she can be that open and vulnerable with. (The only other person Clarke looked for comfort to was Abby.) It’s nice to see that she and Raven have mended their friendship with Raven, she is starting to develop a new one with Gaia over their mutual care for Madi, she has mutual respect with Indra, she’s known others - like Murphy or Miller = for years, since the Delinquent days... and they all want to help her, but she’s not opening up to anyone, not even Madi. She thinks she must be “strong” for all of them, and her Head and Heart are unbalanced - she’s repressing the latter, until she finally explodes. 
I love the scene of Clarke finally losing it and beating up Russell (I had already seen it in the trailer, and it was my favorite moment) and then crying while holding Abby's clothes. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love seeing an angry, emotional Clarke, letting it all out, especially when it's anger at people she has every right to be furious at. We haven’t seen that from her since early season 3 (when she yelled and spat in Lexa’s face over her betrayal). It had bothered me for a few seasons that Clarke - who used to be vibrant and could be impulsive, angry, hold grudges, yell at people in seasons 1-2, had become so repressed and muted due to her constant self-blame. I’ve had enough watching Clarke look sad while other people keep yelling at her and blaming her. (The only other instance of Clarke being furious was her hurt and rage at Bellamy and the slap in 5x09, but that was more of a silent, “internally screaming” rage/hurt, which turned into Clarke being emotionally frozen for the next couple of episodes, until learning he was alive. When Clarke is keeping everything inside and not yelling, that’s when she’s in the worst emotional state.)
It is, however, so sad that she still blames herself, too, for her mother’s death, whispering “I’m sorry”, the same way she whispered after seeing her father floated.
My only problem with the scene of that stupid palace burning down is that  "mistakes" is a serious real understatement for what Russell has done. I know, I know, this will cause a lot of trouble in Sanctum and Clarke will probably have to go back on some of these decisions to keep peace. But there’s really nothing morally wrong with deciding to execute Russell - not only does he deserve it, but he’s arguably even an exception from the general objection to death penalty, since he’s lived several times the normal human lifespan, by stealing other people’s bodies. And the palace burning down is a symbolic way to send the message that the old power structures are gone - which Clarke pointed out when she said there will be no kings or queens anymore.
Sheiheda taking over Russell’s, or rather his latest host’s body, wasn’t surprising, as that was the most popular theory. But it was cool to see Sheidheda’s creepy mindspace again and Sean Maguire as the original Russell. The bodysnatcher got bodysnatched. That’s something like poetic justice.
I just have to post this because it’s such a beautiful shot!
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Rating: 8/10
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undeniably-irrelevant · 4 months ago
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Ramblin bout my stories (part 2)
ASoC is just one of the ones i'm very tentative to talk about cause the entire project has become weirdly important to me, so uh yea i intentionally left out some stuff, but i am tryin to make these make some sense even as i just prattle on about whatever. That being said oh boy, where do i even start? In terms of the setting all you really gotta know is that there is a canonical multiverse with alternate universes and all that, there's a lot of bullshit with pocket dimensions and dimensional tomfoolery in general, as well as uhhh time travel technically? (one of the pocket dimensions exists outside of time and it makes the entire timeline even more confusing with how it works in the story but uh yea), oh and these losers have powers that are all tied into their character somehow. I'm literally just gonna talk about the characters though and not the horrible train wreck that is their relationships or the timeline cause all of there's eleven of them and all of them are kinda hard to talk about.
Uhhh slight tw for mentions of guns/gun shots and references to death/murder. ASoC is a trainwreck, and yea while this is just talkin bout characters and not getting into the absolute hell hole that is the plot of this edgy bs it's better to be safe than sorry.
First up we got Penthus, the oldest of these horrible interdimensional things. Essentially Penthus spent the first uh like 5000 years of their existence in a blank white void that only provided enough for them to survive, but when others began arriving the void took on the form of a house and Penthus had to get used to actually having a place to live that provided more than just basics for survival. There's a bunch of stuff I can't really get into, but eventually everything settles down and Penthus ends up as the de facto parental figure cause they're the oldest and out of the three eldest they're generally the most friendly and caring. Uh stuff happens and essentially we skip to present times with Penthus still trying to be that parental figure despite having to be extremely secretive and having something very clearly weighing on them to the point where the younger ones are having to care for them to an extent.
Agon... is certainly a character. This is in order of when they appeared, so I guess I'm talking about him now. Essentially he was Penthus's significant other during the past and another parental figure to the others due to his age, but let's just say Agon isn't a great influence.
Ulysses is the 3rd oldest and one of the catalysts for the spiral that leads into the current point in the time line. Sadly the 3 eldest did not know how to not traumatize younger ppl </3. They're the most distant and most unable to have stable relationships cause they are a compulsive liar that gets demonized by other characters for their inability to be upfront with people without lying, which has led to them just bein really emotionally unavailable. That being said they're the only person Penthus is able to talk about their secrets with cause Penthus has known them so long that they know Ulysses would literally never break a promise or spill a secret intentionally. In current times they've also taken a bit more of the parental role, but mostly in the way that Ulysses is responsible for these idiots cause they're literally stuck with them most of the time.
Orpheus is harder to talk about, but mostly cause a lot of his thing is focused on a part of the story i cant talk about but once again a big importance on secrets and a big thematic thing of the sun and all the references to Icarus that come with it. He's very much an introverted creative type, but he's literally stuck in a perpetual state of burn out at the moment. A lot of his arc is about regret. (About looking back if you will.) Uhhh Orpheus has a very black and white sense of morality and isn't afraid to play a villainous role + with Penthus generally spending times stuck in bed worrying their life away, he's the oldest person that he thinks is good and he thinks that means he can play judge, jury, and executioner. Overall well meaning but his very harsh sense of morality paired with the fact he can't really know the full story behind anything done by those he deems bad means his judgements are misguided at best.
Theseus is one of my favorites to write for, because out of everyone vae usually have the braincell. Theseus is also a introvert, like basically everyone else here. (no wonder why miscommunication is such a problem lmao). Vae are really into philosophy and was previously into technology and science in general, so vaer room is still very reminiscent of the a lab. Vae are very quiet and due to vaer hatred of conflict vae tend to just disappear in the middle of fights only to reappear once everything calms down. Fun fact vae aren't mute or deaf, but vae primarily communicate through sign language. That being said only Penthus and Agon learned sign language with vaem so the others tend to rely on Penthus to translate. Just a character who is unintentionally mysterious and tends to be overlooked because the others are too caught up in their own problems to pay attention to vaem.
Epiphron is a big mess. This is the only one who's power plays a big part in the general story for em so yea ey literally bring fears to life, both eirs and other peoples. This is not a good power for a paranoid disaster with an interest in horror to have as you could probably guess and it’s lead to eir room essentially being a halloween haunted house but with real monsters. Seriously ey always have weapons on em cause there's almost always something in eir room that will try to murder em or the others. Uhhh personality-wise Epip is generally a bitch to put in simple terms. Ey went the Ulysses route and said no emotions, just angry. Overall just a pretty edgy bastard who will talk about a game that eir are playing while casually mentioning that if anyone heard gunshots it was cause something in their closet kept whispering during cutscenes.
Alastor is a horrible person, but also really fun to write cause sometimes you just gotta write someone spiraling and making everything around them worse to feel better. Xe went completely off the rails in comparison to everyone else who acts like their trauma is completely normal and not harmful in anyway. Good for them acknowledging that what xe went through was fucked up, but xe took that knowledge and started being a literal criminal. Just straight up a criminal. Al likes power and attention and either xe get what xe want or something dead turns up in the house, so usually Ulysses is begrudgingly placed on baby sitting duty of the extremely petty and violent bastard who causes trouble for fun. Al bounces around in characterization a lot though so its a pain to try to describe xem cause fuckin hell half of xyr character is based purely on wanting to create chaos. (And also i have no clue what the hell I'm doing with Al)
Corus is dead technically. I forgot to mention the casual reanimation of the dead in that splurge at the beginning, but uhhh yea am was dead. Ams part of the story is very much in spoilers territory, but uhhh am's a very cool dude, who is nothing like the Corus that someone else in the main cast murdered. Am is ostly here in search of ams murderer cause they're the only person who could give am answers about who am was before, but am decided to stick around and help out with the shit show here, since no memories means this guy doesnt have the angst and the negative associations almost everyone else has with each other.
Somehow Anteros the only other one allowed to have the braincell. Very uhhh prince-like or gentlemanly??? Just all about chivalry and treating others kindly. He's really into "boring" work and mundane tasks, cause what can I say he likes repetition and things that he can just work at all day. He's also just very into metaphors and being all flowery and stuff with his language, meaning he absolutely uses outdated words and slang and just assumes everyone will understand him somehow. Ant is very much someone that can sit and listen to someone talk about something he doesn't care about for hours. Despite being one of the youngest he acts very much like someone's grandpa or dad and that's cemented him as the person the others (especially Zelos) will immediately go to for comfort, because Zel took one look at this dude in a cardigan ignoring the fact that his crippling fear of rejection and chronic headaches cause him physical pain and went "That's father material. Anyone want to get adopted by that man??"
Speaking of Zelos, Zel is probably the most genuine character here? E just kinda vibes and like even though e has stuff e's dealing with e just kinda talks about it. Of course its not with the other characters mentioned here, but e has a pretty large group of friends and people e hang out with over the internet. Sure e is chronically online and generally only has hobbies and interests that e use as escapism, but e is working through es baggage and not ignoring it like the others. Zelos is actually a character I'm quite fond of, e are just really bubbly and how willing e are to just do things like sit silently in a room with Moros or listen to Epiphron rant about a particularly hard level or annoying boss is just so endearing. Like yea Zel is very excitable and has a bunch of es own interests e can and will talk about for hours but i really like thinking about the quiet moments where that energy is just put towards getting other characters into talking about or doing the stuff they like with em. It's just very pleasant compared to everything else in the story. I’ve had one scene in my head of just Anteros trying to teach Zelos how to dance and it’s very soft. If I wasnt so weird about posting art for my stories yall probably would already have seen a fuck ton of doodles of just Zelos vibing with other characters cause yea they hate eachother for the most part but that doesnt mean I’m not allowed to just let them vibe between angst.
Moros is quite literally the self in self loathing. It's all about deals and contracts with this tired business man. Xi try to present xicself as the most practical and intelligent person in the room, but generally end up coming off as an uppity bastard for lack of a better word. Xi are Zelos's twin and while at times Zelos's antics are endearing to xic, Moros tends to be very critical and generally rude to xis sibling. Fun fact: It isn't very clear any more but at the start of working on ASoC i did kinda base some of the characters on the stages of grief a bit just cause I thought it would be fun. Moros is bargaining, if you couldn't tell from xis entire serious business man thing. Honestly writing Moros is kinda painful cause a lot of it is cynical and just draining, but its also really cathartic cause sometimes you just gotta write about a character hating themself so much that it fuels an entire mini arc of the story.
Yay that’s all of them! Bonus fun fact: All of em are named in relation to greek mythology in someway cause I thought that'd be a fun way to tie all of them together. uh yea I'm not gonna bother to explain that but uh yea. fun fact :)
(PS- Might make another post bout this one but just on asoc aus/the multiverse, cause oh boy I have things to say about that mess)
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sandalaris · a year ago
DVD Commentary A: Lesson in Navigation - The End of Chapter 5? Starting with: "She wakes to the sounds of the shower running and an empty bed across the room." (it may be slightly longer than 500 words, but only by like 60, don't cut off this line: "It reminds her a little of the way he'd case a potential score, half-lost in the calculations and newly revealed details, and she fights a shiver, looking away as she ties her laces and stands." cause it's one of my favorites)
A. Send me any passage of 500 words or less from any fanfic I’ve written, and stick that selection in my ask. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what’s going on in the character’s heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.
She wakes to the sounds of the shower running and an empty bed across the room. There’s a pounding behind her eyes, a physical protest against the late night and too short hours of restless sleep, and an irritation at the world under her skin.
This was a mixture between my personal dislike of developing a crush, because it feels awful in the beginning and I don’t get anyone who says they like feeling that way, and my being convinced that Kate didn’t sleep well after her realization the night before that led to Kate waking up cranky and with a headache from a bad night’s sleep.
Not gonna lie, I’m a little proud of the line “an irritation at the world under her skin.” I made a point not to cut it when my editing almost reworded it in such a way that it didn’t work.
She wants to roll over and escape back into unconsciousness for a few more hours but the digital clock beside her tells her its already well into late morning. Her stomach grumbles in hungry protest as Kate slips from the bed, blinking groggily in the muted light from the curtained window. 
I probably spent way too long trying to figure out exactly what time motels stop serving breakfast, especially when I didn’t even specify what time it actually was that Kate woke up, but that’s a big part of writing, doing a bunch of research you never actually use. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the timeline so that I could stick as close to canon as I could, and I needed it to be late enough that they wouldn’t arrive at Uncle Eddie’s too soon but also wouldn’t have to skip out eating. Parts of the breakfast scene were already written and I really didn’t want to have to chuck them all and make them eat in the car.
The shower turns off and Seth appears a few minutes later clad in boxers and pulling his undershirt on over his head.
Seth was always going to come out in some kind of clothes, but I did amuse myself with the idea of writing him coming out in a towel and a flustered Kate grumpily dealing with that.
It’s such a small thing, I doubt anyone’s noticed or cares that much, but I try very hard to only call Seth’s white tanks “undershirts.”
Lingering patches of moisture glue the thin material along the lines of his chest and torso and Kate’s eyes catch and stick for a moment, a faint echo of heat pulsing low in her stomach.
Because now that Kate’s realized she’s attracted to him, she's going to notice such things in a way she didn’t quite before. And Seth seems like the kind of guy to not fully dry off before pulling some of his clothes back on (but not all, because pants on damp skin doesn’t work). They’ve also developed quite a bit of casual intimacy with each other by the time season two starts, and coming out in what is essentially his underwear falls under that.
I was also wanted to touch on the idea that Kate finds her feelings/attraction to him a bit inconvenient. Not only does she have to deal with everything else going on in her life, she’s now distracted by Seth in a damp undershirt and runs the risk of being caught staring.
I’m also asexual and do not understand the appeal of visual stimuli in a purely sexual context. I read a lot various slowburn romances dealing with sexual attraction in hopes that I could get Kate’s physical attraction/noticing of Seth across in this and the chapters following. I know this is just a short line, but “a faint echo of heat pulsing low in her stomach” was practically agonized over as I tried to figure out if that was something that was plausible. *shrug* It’s easier to imagine/write about when there’s touching and/or emotions involved.
He pauses when he sees her, gaze flicking down to her bare feet before coming back up to her sleep mussed hair.
“Sleeping Beauty finally wakes,” he greets almost cheerfully and Kate scowls at him.
It’s a cliche and I don’t care, Seth one-hundred percent noticed her wearing his shirt and only his shirt, especially with her just-out-of-bed hair. He’s also more than a little amused by Kate’s sleepy state, because sleepy people are adorable and you can’t convince me otherwise.
The fandom refers to Kate as a Disney princess enough that I just had to put a reference in as well. :P And Seth will take a teasing opportunity when it presents itself, especially after last night and her new awareness of him. And I’m stopping there because I do have his version of this scene written and I don’t want to spoil everything that’s going through his head.
And of course, grumpy!Kate.
Seth, she’d discovered shortly into their life on the road, is a morning person. Even when hungover he’s able wake-up fairly alert and ready to get moving, while Kate has always needed time to shed the lingering effects of sleep. “Get dressed. Breakfast ends in forty-five minutes.” 
“Yeah yeah,” she mumbles, rolling her eyes as she heads towards the now vacant bathroom.
I took most of that from canon and just expanded on it a bit. We only see him wake up the once, but he definitely got up and got moving really quickly. It wasn’t much to decide that he’s a morning person.
She finds her clothes folded haphazardly on the bathroom counter, pausing with a flash of muted embarrassment at the sight of her underwear sitting on top of her jeans.
It amused me to think of Seth catching sight of Kate’s clothes on the shower and then having to pull them down and poorly folding them. Just the domesticity of it, of sharing a living space with another person and all those little things that you end up doing/seeing. But it also takes on a different, more embarrassing context when you like someone and you realize they’ve seen your bra and panties sitting out.
It’s ridiculous, Seth must have seen every article of clothing she owns at some point or another, either when doing laundry or because life in one room motels doesn’t leave a lot of space for modesty, but there’s something about knowing he had to pull her delicates down from the top of the shower curtain that leave her self-conscious and eyeing the simple faded green cotton critically.  
I was thinking of those moments when you run into your crush and suddenly you’re thinking about how your shirt still has that coffee stain from this morning or how messy you’re desk/apartment/workspace/etc looks and just becoming suddenly self-conscious of how they are taking in you and your stuff. And again, the whole he saw her bra and panties thing and then had to move them out of the way.
She shakes it off, brushing her teeth and using the restroom quickly before pulling on her panties and jeans.
I’ll admit, this line was mostly because I didn’t want to forget that these are people and they need to do basic human things like use the restroom.
Her shirt from the day before is full of weird wrinkles and her bra still too damp from where the lightly padded cups absorbed their fair share of water and she hesitates only a moment before shoving them both in the plastic shopping bag.
Part of this was an excuse to get Kate in Seth’s shirt for a bit longer (for reasons), although the bra part was more inspired because I noticed Kate wears bras with slight padding and I know they can take too long to dry.
Folding the sleeves of Seth’s shirt up to her elbows and removing the smudges of make-up from below her eyes go a long way to making her look presentable, but she still morns the loss of her few cosmetics and face wash. Or god, even a hairbrush, running her fingers through her hair only does so much.
I hadn’t entirely realized the implications of Kate and Seth running into Carlos right after their dinner and then having to flee until the conversation Kate had with Sonja in the parking lot. (I’m a pantser, I set write something and then think about the consequences after :P) In the first draft, Seth didn’t come back with anything after getting a room so there was no bag or Tylenol for Kate’s headache or toothbrushes. But he also didn’t get much, and I wanted to show the consequences of running with virtually nothing and how much you miss the little things.
Seth’s brows knit together when he sees her, but he doesn’t comment.
Seth and seeing her wearing his damn shirt and the statement it implies... yeah...
He watches her though, throwing on his suit jacket and buttoning it closed as Kate pulls on her socks and shoes, something thoughtful and a bit intense behind his eyes. It reminds her a little of the way he'd case a potential score, half-lost in the calculations and newly revealed details, and she fights a shiver, looking away as she ties her laces and stands.
Seth is a strategist guy, and when he’s casing a job he’s figuring out angles and how to best approach. He knows how to work the job, how to study all the pieces and get everything set up to give himself the best possible outcome. Its a rather focused look he has, his attention devoted on gathering as much information as he can and working out the steps he’ll need to take. Not to imply that Kate is something he's going to steal (although he kind of already did that) or that he’s got some grand master plan here, but rather this newly discovered (on her part) possibility between them and the statement she’s subconsciously implying and just this shift in their relationship... there’s a strategy to courtship and Seth knows strategy.
“C’mon,” she mutters, shoving what little possessions they have into the bottom of her bag. “I’m hungry.”
I’ll be entirely honest, I struggled way too much with how to end this scene. I swear that line gave me more trouble than the rest of the scene combined.
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legobiwan · a year ago
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Just got home from The Rise of Skywalker. No pithy intro, I’m just going to jump right in and it’s going to be a LONG rant here so buckle up, my friends, and be sure to read below the cut. SPOILERS AHOY YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Okay, so yes, the first third of the movie went at a blistering, nearly nonsensical pace. JJ  really had to cram a whole watermelon’s worth of exposition into a...well, you know, there was a lot to take in. This movie had to do so much telling instead of showing because it was such a departure (and middle finger to TLJ) from what came before. 
The thing was, the first third was also the most interesting part of the movie. I actually wish the whole trilogy had started with all of the Sith nonsense. (Actually, I wish they had started with Kylo absolutely wrecking shit like he did and then the Palpatine scene. People would have made all the wrong assumptions and it would have been glorious to unravel it over three films.) There is a strong history of Sith artifacts in both Nu-Canon and Legends, and it wouldn’t have been out of place, considering what we know now, to have made Rey, Poe, and Finn’s quest for these artifacts the start of the new trilogy, and then told the rest of the story in a non-linear timeline. Probably too experimental for a Star Wars reboot, but it would have grabbed attention and everyone like creepy Sith shit. 
Frankly, I would have dropped zombie-robot Palpatine at the very start of the trilogy, as well. It’s bonkers but I don’t hate the Rey Palpatine thing and they could have spent the rest fo the movies explaining this weird-ass lineage and how it relates to Kylo, Snoke, etc. and then have built back to the final confrontaion on Exegol. 
Leia. Trained. Rey. I so so so so so wished we had been able to get more of this. This, in my mind, is what it should have been all along. I liked TLJ (okay, so shoot me) but Master Leia is a whole other level of awesome. If I had to rewrite Luke and Leia’s roles, it would have went something like this:
Luke was searching for Sith artifacts. Luke was becoming disillusioned by what he was learning of the Jedi through “The Sacred Texts.” WHO DOES THAT SOUND LIKE? Hmmmm, I wonder....
Could you imagine Luke started to go a little Dooku in this respect, and so instead of fucking off the Ach-To because he had a feeling that was more “gravy than of grave” about Ben Solo’s dark sidedness, he fucked off to Ach-To - or even better - gave up training in order to keep himself from going down a darker path. 
And so instead, Leia is getting involved with training (and probably also governing at the same time because she would be an overachiever like that.)
Enter Ben Solo, who is Force sensitive, strong, being trained by his mother and occasionally his uncle, who is not totally plugged into the light side at the moment, which can rub off on Ben. Meanwhile, Han is maybe not the best father (he wants to be, he tries, but it all comes out wrong. I’ve been watching a lot of Psych lately, so I’m thinking of a dynamic similar to Henry and Shawn, but a little more dramatic.)
Of course, Palpatine is seeing all of this behind the scenes, he’s fostering ill will and discontent through the scattered remains of the Empire, sending Snoke clones out to be almost pseudo-religious/cult figures in the wake of the economic and social devastation left by the Empire’s fall and the floundering new government. Extremism, in pockets, rises. Extremism which preys on discontent, which preys of the desire for family, for belonging. 
Enter again Ben Solo, who has been pitted against the other strongest trainee, Rey (insert whatever last name you want. She knows it’s not her real name, she knows she was an orphan on Jakku, but she was brought by Luke to be trained). Ben is pissed how she and Leia bond, has been talking to his uncle, and perhaps encountered a Snoke clone on the way. 
Rey, on the other hand, is no one but wants to be someone, and that manifests in weird ways during her training. Perhaps she leaves at some point, perhaps not. But the seeds of her being Palpatine’s bloodline are laid within her. She wants to seek that belonging Ben has.
Okay, but getting away from my personal rewrites of the sequels, Star Wars is about family and lineage, both blood and found. There was so much potential to play on this throughout the trilogy with the Skywalkers, with Rey’s relation to Palps that if they had just planned the damn thing, it could have been brilliant. 
Moving ...(for now)
I felt so bad for Oscar Isaac. I felt like I watched his soul slowly depart his body over almost 3 hours. That man was not a happy camper and it came out in his performance. 
Power levels. Here’s the thing, guys. Magic needs to have consequences. Sure, you can cast a spell, but what does that take from you? You can use the Force, but to what degree? How much? Even Anakin exhausted himself at some points, and he was (allegedly, according to one Qui-gon Jinn), the Chosen One. It’s the first law of thermodynamics - energy can neither be created nor destroyed - and the Force is literally the energy of every life thing in the galaxy. You take the energy, use it towards something else, it has to drain from somewhere. This is what bugged the hell out of me with Rey’s Force Healing abilities (an ability that doesn’t thrill me to begin with as it’s so easy to overuse). Kylo keels from resurrecting the dead (and yeah, he was pretty beat up already), but Rey barely seems to breathe a beat harder. Once you start ignoring the consequences for magic, you end up like a shitty video game, and one of the criticisms I’ve leveled at the movie is that it feels like a montage of Battlefront and I can’t say that’s totally off point.
JEDI HUNTERS. Ochi. I will bet my right liver we’re going to hear something about this on The Mandalorian. 
So I know a lot of people wanted to see Rey Kenobi, but there was one piece of glaring evidence in the film why that would never be. (Aside from Kylo just announcing it to Rey.) She has a lightsaber, but she still ends up using a blaster. So uncivilized.
Speaking of The Mandalorian - Stormtroopers with Mando jetpacks. Hmmm.....
I loved techno-Sheev hooked up to all the equipment just floating. That was creepy as hell and played with the whole cloning and extension of life that was such a large part of the Darth Plagueis novel (which I still consider to be canon, higher powers be damned). Also, Palpy’s glowup with the wardrobe was hilarious. 
Dark!Rey was hot. There, I said it.
Let’s talk about romance. Or the lack thereof. Or the shoehorned thereof.
Poor Rose got shafted in this film with no explanation. I didn’t buy that whole thing in TLJ, but god damn anyway. (Finn also got shafted, for different reasons, which I will talk about later.)
If they were going to romance, just let it have been Finn and Poe, Finn and Rey, or fuck it, even a trio. 
I mean, I could have bought Reylo if it had been presented better. (With context. Adam Driver is an amazing actor, another thing I’ll talk about later.)
The Reylo kiss though - my theater laughed. No joke.
Of course, this was the same theater that thought Lando was trying to mack on Jannah at the end, so who knows what we were all thinking in there. (On that note, Lando was hilarious because no matter what, he was just having a grand ‘ol time in the movie. I like to think he got a medical spice card in his retirement years and was just enjoying anything that came his way, be it Wookiees, Jedi, starships, wars, whatever.)
While the Reylo kiss didn’t hit the mark the space lesbian background kiss got cheers, so there was some hope for my fellow theater-goers.
Did anyone pick up on Threepio saying the Senate made the bill that would render him incapable of translating the Sith language? No doubt that was a Palpatine move from TCW era. 
What is up with these movies and desert/jungle planets? Ugh. Thank everyone for Kijimi, at least that was interesting. 
New characters I loved: Babu Frik and DO. 
Finn’s Force sensitivity. Yes, I totally buy it. I wanted more. I wanted more fucking context of a Stormtrooper who would have known nothing of the Jedi getting these feelings and then bailing from the First Order (or, if I were writing the movies, bailing from the remnants of the Empire/Snokes weird military cults.) Totally underutilized character development. 
We. Were. Robbed. of Good!Ben. Adam Driver is so phenomenal. Form the little we saw of redeemed Ben, he is the perfect mix of his parents, from the “Ow” to the eyebrow wagging, the swagger, the smirks...I LOVED good!Ben. I wanted so much more good!Ben. What a transformation.
Speaking of which - the scene between Kylo/Ben and Han was terrific. I wish we had had more context for why everything went south, but it was so good and the type of family dynamic we really needed more of. 
The Knights of Ren looked awesome in this film? They needed to be like the Black Order of Star Wars, and they were getting to it, but not quite there. Gods, they could have been the enforcers of Snoke’s cults (Palpy’s puppet cults) that could terrorize far more than a normal, brainwashed Stormtrooper, who was only useful as cannon fodder (I mean, if we look at the history of the clone army to the Stormtroopers, it would be terribly fitting.)
That ship tug-of-war was DUMB. (See my rant about magic and consequences). But, if Rey was going to shoot lightening Palpy-style and blow up a ship, Chewie should have died. I’m sorry, that’s terrible, I love him, but there needed to be consequences for actions and throughout the film, there were either no consequences or random consequences that were a narrative convenience rather than developed into the plot/characterization/worldbuilding. 
Here’s the thing with the ST - there is so much potential. There are some awesome ideas. But they wanted to play if safe with JJ by rebooting the OT, Rian was too far out for them, there was no cohesive storytelling, and so we get these little glimpses into what could have been amidst a shitstorm of trailers for Battlefront 17. 
we could have had it allll....
Final rating: 4/10
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fasterthanmydemons · a year ago
How would Alive!Pietro react to losing Wanda in the Snap? I mean, I don't think the two of them would die simply because they're twins. The Snap wouldn't care, it would just tear families apart. And Clint, who is like a father figure to Pietro, would be too busy angsting over his own family in Japan to be there for him. Feel free to go on a long rant if you need to! Your blog does justice to Pietro.
{out of breath} So this is an interesting question, and I’ll warn you right off the bat that the answer is going to be very depressing. Trigger warnings ahead for mention of suicidal tendencies and self-destructive behavior.
If you’re the same person who already asked me about what would happen if Pietro lost Wanda after Ultron instead of the other way around, you can ignore what I’m gonna say next because you’ve already probably read all this, haha, but I’ll draw your attention to these three posts. Two of them are starters and one is an answer to an anon who asked me to elaborate on one of them. Pietro would have one of two reactions to losing Wanda in pretty much every scenario you can imagine, regardless of when it is in his timeline: 1) anger, 2) despair. The two starters deal with each of those overwhelming emotions. So even though it’s not the exact scenario you are asking about, you might find them interesting to read:
“Nothing Left” Starter
Ask Answer About “Nothing Left” Pietro
“Carrying On” Starter
With regard to what you asked about specifically... I feel like his reaction would be the same, but by that point, he’d probably have a lot more support than he would after Ultron, for example. He will have been with the Avengers for... what 2 years? 3 years? I see him staying close to Clint as well as making friends with Natasha. That doesn’t mean his reaction to Wanda dying is going to be any less intense, but it might mean that either Clint or Natasha (more likely Nat given how Clint reacted to his own family being snapped) might try to actively keep Pietro from hurting himself, whether in the literal suicide sense or just by getting into fights and reckless behavior.
Anytime Pietro loses Wanda, no matter the circumstances, he’s going to blame himself. He’s the big brother, he’s supposed to protect her. If she’s dead, then he failed her. That failure would be compounded even more by losing her in the snap, because like all the other Avengers, he’d feel like he failed the world, didn’t try hard enough, didn’t do enough, could have done more, etc. So... huge let down ego-wise and morale-wise, and he’s losing the most important person in his life. It’s all downhill from here.
Anger is a natural thing for Pietro to express at this time, because in a lot of ways it’s easier for him to be angry, explosive, and self-destructive than it is for him to cry and be sad. For someone who grew up with a somewhat antiquated notion of men, Pietro feels like there’s more strength in anger than sadness. So covering up his grief with explosive temper is a natural path for him to go down. Combine that with guilt and him feeling like he deserves to be punished for failing her, and you have a Pietro who is starting fights with everyone hoping to be hurt, doing dangerous parkour to burn off energy and oh, maybe he’ll fall and die. Just very reckless behavior in which he doesn’t care and almost would prefer if he got seriously injured. Because what’s the point? Wanda’s gone, and she was his life.
It’s a very sad outlook, but as I've said many times in the past on this blog, I have always headcanoned that Wanda is stronger than Pietro emotionally. He’s stronger physically... and he appears to be stronger emotionally, but we all know Wanda can survive without Pietro. I headcanon that there is a good chance Pietro would not survive losing Wanda. Suicide is a real thing he would consider, unfortunately, and it would take very persistent and patient intervention from someone he trusts (Clint, Nat, maybe Sam or Steve if he got close with them) to help him through his grief in a more constructive manner.
Let’s say he is helped by Nat or Steve or a similar friend in the Avengers. Fights will probably happen, both shouting matches and physical ones. They might have to kick his ass a few times or at least tire him out to get him to calm down and listen to them. It sounds cruel, but this actually isn’t a bad way to get Pietro to listen, as long as he isn’t seriously injured in the fights. It tires him out, expends a lot of that rage he’s using as a coping mechanism, and gets past it. He’s more likely to break down and cry once he’s tired/spent enough, but that’s actually a good thing because he’s not suppressing his sadness anymore. At that point, he’d be more conducive to listening to them. What would they say? It’s not his fault. That they’re all in the same boat, they all lost someone they cared about. Maybe that they’ll work to find a way to reverse it. That Wanda wouldn’t want him to hurt himself or to just self-destruct because of her. Things like that. It would take several times of getting him down to a more open and vulnerable state enough to learn that they’re not going to judge him, take advantage of him, or mock him in that condition. That’s when the healing begins.
But before we get too optimistic, I will say that even if Pietro is able to be saved from himself after losing Wanda, he will never be the same. Ever. A light, a happiness, a spark he had inside him will be gone forever, and even if Wanda is brought back to him after the events of Endgame, something will still be broken in him. He might be able to get back to 95% of who he was before, but the scarring and traumatic experience of losing his sister is something that will permanently effect him, even if he gets her back.
Now... there is one more way he could be saved from his rage benders and other destructive behaviors. Well, sort of. He does trust and respect Clint as a father figure by this time (I headcanon anyway, that their relationship would only deepen the longer Pietro is with the Avengers), so he might follow suit when Clint decides to go rogue and become Ronin. I could easily see them bonding over their grief by basically adopting a “screw everything” kind of attitude. Like, they’ve lost their families and there’s a feeling of well... we don’t care what happens to us, we may as well make various assholes pay. I can see Pietro jumping on that bandwagon real fast and helping Clint take down various mafia, Yakuza, crime syndicates. They’d become a duo, taking matters into their own hands and staying off the grid.
That would be a satisfying outlet for his anger, however, not a healthy outlet for his grief overall. Like Clint, he would be suppressing things like grief, sadness, and guilt in favor of anger, self-righteousness, and a misguided sense of vigilante justice. It might serve to keep Pietro from becoming completely suicidal, but it also will do next to nothing to help him process his grief and begin to move on in a healthy fashion.
Okay, so I think I’ve dished out most of my headcanons on this topic, but if there’s anything else you want to ask or if I raised more questions in your mind, please feel free to send in more. I love asks like this because they really help me to flesh him out if I don’t have headcanons on the subject, or to get them all written out “on paper” so to speak so that I don’t forget them. Thanks for sending this in! =) Also thank you do much for saying I do justice to Pietro! That’s the best compliment the mun of a canon character can get. <3
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ragnarachael · a year ago
Text
the valiant arsonist — curiosity
Pairing: Loki x TVA Agent!Reader
Word Count: 1,285
Summary: You and your team at the TVA have captured Loki, and it's your job to research things about the man.
Note(s): ....don’t look at me like that. As we know, I originally wrote this on tumblr at 1 in the morning right here BUT I spent a day or two revamping it, made a bit of lore, and now am invested in this idea. a mix of MCU canon, marvel comics canon and me canon lie ahead ‘cause i can(on)! (also cross-posted on my AO3 account!)
MASTERLIST !  FEEDBACK !
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“He’s plotting something.”
“Plotting, agent? Plotting what?”
“I.. I don’t know?” You huffed out finally, shifting the files under your arm as you grab your coffee cup from the countertop of the break room. Your director let out a harsh sigh as she grabbed her coffee. "He's a suspicious character, director—" 
“Don’t waste my time with your delusions, agent. This man—”
“God.”
“—whatever, he’s dangerous. He was on our radar for a reason. We need to find out more information as to how he's been disrupting timelines and then work our way from there. I don't want to hand this over to the faceless bastards upstairs. That's the last thing we need,” your director scoffed, flipping her hair over her shoulder before sipping at her styrofoam cup. "Mindless clones trying to do our work? Hilarious."
Just as you were about to speak up again, your director turned and walked out of the breakroom which left you alone with your paperwork and research files under your free arm, along with some slightly stale coffee in your hand.
You decided to follow suit, heading to your desk and placing the files on the desktop with a sigh. 
Loki was… something. 
A terrifying something.
He scared you, sure. However, he intrigued you even more. He seemed like he wasn’t used to Earth customs.
But that’s what you were here for. For researching his parentage, figuring out what and who he actually was.
To you, he was definitely some kind of God. Your research even confirmed it to a T.
What kind of God, you had no clue. But you had a hunch.
The last time you interacted with the man, he was being hauled away from the "crime scene" in thick metal cuffs, looking beaten and bruised as if he fought his way to the top of some weird chain. SHIELD would have to get involved with that side of the arrest, but it wasn't the first time.
You still had so much research to do, but you couldn't itch the creeping feeling that something bad was going to happen because of him. And were sure that you couldn't look it all up on the computer at your desk.
The only person who could answer your question and prove you're right was Loki himself.
And that meant finding a way into the interrogation room, which was already complicating things further for you.
You're barely qualified to hold an interrogation, which means that you're not allowed access to any of the interrogation rooms.
But you know someone who is.
"Heey, Travis," you said with a fake happy tone. "What'cha doin'?"
"Trying to access files from Earth-199999. What're you doing?" he questioned back suddenly, not even spinning in his office chair to look at you. You wanted to huff just to get his attention.
"I was just wondering if you wanted lunch?"
Travis rose a brow then, looking at you as he stopped typing on his keyboard. "Lunch?"
"Yeah."
"With me?"
"Yes!" You exclaimed, making a show of looking around before leaning down to speak quieter, "Agent Smith has been hitting on me again. Just do this for me, please?"
Travis seemed to take the bait and was quick to glance over Agent Smith's way before turning back to you and nodding.
"Lunch it is—"
"Oh my god thank you so much!" You were borderline squealing as you hugged Travis in his seat, your hand immediately finding his badge that was clipped on his shirt. Travis laughed nervously as he hugged you back. You started to rattle off on where you should go, still bouncing while hugging so you could successfully unclip the badge.
Once it was unclipped you were sure to move away from Travis as fast as you could, continuing to talk about places to eat as the badge made its way to your back pocket.
Eventually, you and Travis agreed on a local sandwich shop to meet up at around noon and you were on your way to the hallway that led to the interrogation room.
It wasn't too hard to persuade the guards to go off and do their own things once you found the correct room Loki was located in.
After getting the I.D. scanned by the small key pad next to the door, the locks seemed to click before your hand drifted to the handle. Twisting the handle, you didn't expect to see Loki just sitting in the middle of the room.
He could have at least be put up in his cell.
Loki was at the metal table, hands cuffed in the middle of the table by the same thick cuffs he had been in when you first saw him. He was adorned in TVA attire as he immediately eyed you the second the door was closed after entering.
“I don’t bite,” he said, which caused a chill to travel down your spine as you pressed your back into the door from the sudden attention, taking a deep breath as he finished: “hard.”
You let out a weak and uneasy laugh, pushing off the door to carefully walk to the pushed in chair across from him at the table.
“Funny.”
“Quite,” Loki replied, a brow raised in confusion. “What are you to try and get out of me now? I’ve told Agent Packard all he desired to know.”
“You—You literally hypnotized him,” you stumbled over your words slightly as you grabbed the back of the metal chair, trying to think of a way to be intimidating by squaring your shoulders as you leaned against the back of the chair.
It didn't seem to be working.
“And in turn, I've given him a key to a new gateway of life.” Loki looked amused by the scrunch of your nose due to his response as you pulled the chair out to sit down. “Do you not agree, mortal?”
“Well I mean I wouldn’t know, I’m just.. I’m just…” You trailed off, looking around the room to try and find a way to phrase what you wanted to ask as Loki sat up in his seat, starting to watch curiously. Closely, even.
“I’m just here to ask a question. A.. personal question, you could say.”
Loki was interested by that, letting out a low, seemingly devious hum as he leaned forwards on the metal table top. “A personal question?”
“Yeah. Personal.”
“Well, agent,” he mused, barely gesturing his cuffed hands for you to go on, “I’m all ears.”
The tone in his voice screamed mischief.
It took everything in you to muster up the courage for your question.
“What are your plans once you’re out of here?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Y'know, your plans. Once you’re not tied up with us, of course.” You smirked a little as you tapped at the metal cuffs that were surprisingly holding him down.
You recall your research saying he could easily do otherwise, and Loki didn’t look as if he liked your question.
“That is for me to know—”
“Are you sure about that?”
Loki glared at you, leaning back in his seat as he started to relax, a lazy smirk falling onto his lips.
“What are you to do with my reply, pet?”
That nickname made your skin crawl, especially with the tone he used.
“Whatever I please with it. It’s a personal question, afterall,” you replied evenly, shifting in your seat as you started to feel a bit too comfortable in the hot seat.
Loki inspected you for what felt like hours. Green eyes scanning over your face and upper body, uniform, and name badge multiple times before speaking up again, no hesitation in his tone.
“I’m going to burn this place to the ground.”
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bilbotargaryen · a year ago
Text
Loki and Ydris
Okay guys I did it! I wrote it down *yay* Hope you enjoy it and look through the different parts I had to puzzle together to make the timeline coherent. - A Word to Elli: She’s actually part of an AU but I built her main arc into the canon.
If I have any logical mistake(In their actions or canonwise) I’d appreciate to be pointed out to me so I can try to fix it xD Also critique and discussions are always welcome :)
Enjoy <3
„You don’t need to tell me if you’re not comfortable with it“, assured Stephen as Loki hesitated. “One day you’ll hear it from Elli anyways so you might as well hear the complete truth”, Loki said quietly.
He took a deep breath before he poured his heart out.
“You know, I was not a real son of Odin. I was rather, a trophy for the victory against the Frost Giants. And everyone knew it. Except me. And everyone treated me like shit and I never knew why but I had Thor and my mother who told me that it didn’t matter why and that I should ignore them.
So I did and studied all day long. Sometimes alone in the library, sometimes with my mother, where she teached me to cast illusions and other small tricks with my magical abilities.
But after a while it got boring and even though the town folk despised me, I went outside. With a lot of guards, of course, but, luckily, they were easily tricked and I always got away without them noticing.
One day, as I sneaked away another time, someone had watched me and stopped me a while later. I asked him who he was and he introduced himself as Ydris Oleander. That didn’t ring any bells but he didn’t care about that either. He rather started to mock my illusions and that it is no real magic.
I asked him why he thought that and he explained to me that he knew what real magic was and that he’d be able to teach me.
You’re probably asking yourself why I let him talk to me like that but you should’ve seen him.  He was a bit older than me, I suppose, tall like me, had dark brown shoulder-long hair, his left eye shone lilac, his right eye was icy blue and his aura was absolutely impressive and intimidating.
I was eager to learn, naturally. So, I accepted and he invited me into “his secret realm” as he called it. It was a wooden cabinet in the forest outside of the city. I’d later learn that he had lived there all his life since he became an orphan after his father died.
He started with the basics. Showed me how I could access my magical core.
I was impressed. My mother never showed me stuff like that and I was intrigued to learn more.
So we met soon everyday and he showed me more and more spells and abilities I never knew I had.
In hindsight I realized that he must’ve known my suitability. Frost giants have a good connection to their magical core by nature, if they had one. Also, he complimented my eyes a lot or rather the green pulsing light inside them. They’re basically showcasing the magical energy inside me.
You need to imagine the beings that use this kind of magic like vessels. In our center is our magical core that produces magical energy for us to use. Normally it keeps surrounding the core and only rises up to our eyes, making them shine when we use it, like it happens to Elli. But if a being has a lot of magical energy, magical potential, inside them it fills the whole body, making the eyes pulsing with it forever and always.
That’s what he was seeing and that’s what he was after. At least, in the beginning.
We got along well during our Training sessions and soon spent our leisure time together as well.
We became friends. He was my first and only friend back then. Sure I had mother and Thor but it was just not the same.
I realized then how lonely I’ve been. And how much I enjoyed it, being around him, no matter what we were doing.
I even brought him into the palace. Thor hated him from the start. He saw him as an arrogant, insolent Know-it-all. It amused me, so I brought him more often until Thor managed to make the guards block the entrance for him.
That time went on for a while until he met his future wife: Asa. I was his witness for the marriage and also godfather to all the children they’d have.
First came Ellisif (pronounced Eklisif), or Elli how we use to call her, then her brother Kjetil and her sister Wintyr.
Of course I was afraid that I would be alone again and we indeed didn’t spent as much time together than before but we still met up regularly and I took care of the children some days.
Actually, when I think about it that was the best time he had. He had his family, he had me and he had finally found his place in Asgard. Before Asa he was a disliked outcast as well. He told me that he was only Half Asgardian, his other half, from his mother’s side, was human. He was born on earth and brought back to Asgard by his father.
I laughed about it as I didn’t believe that that would be a reason to treat someone like that. But, as I later realized that seemed to be just enough.
However, this time ended as his son challenged Týr to a fight who, naturally, didn’t turn the unfair battle between him and, what you consider, a teenager down.
Of course the god of war won by killing him.
That’s where it happened. Remember that you should see us as vessels? I later learned that his was already weakened by his half blood, as humans aren’t compatible with that kind of magic. So, due to this traumatic experience, it cracked, metaphorically.
The magical energy started to creep into his brain, twisting and turning it.
I didn’t realize it from the start but looking back he soon started to become weirder and weirder after what happened that day.
Back then, I didn’t pay too much attention. I was happy he spent more time with me again.
He told me that my education needs further experiences and so we started visiting other worlds, testing my abilities and later also his and mine together. I didn’t mind. I just wanted to spend time with him. Not being alone, at all costs.
He more and more neglected his family and I was blind, or rather ignored his weird behavior for my own good, until that one talk we had before it got even worse.
We sat by the lake, our feet hanging into the cold refreshing water.
During last weeks, I had heard the Aesir talking about the crazy Ydris. Some more quietly, some louder and harsher.
Then, Thor had told me, after he had heard of our “little adventures” that I should stop seeing him immediately. But I couldn’t abandon him and that’s what I tried to explain to my brother but he just kept screaming at me, telling me that Ydris brings out the worst in me.
My mother also had asked me to stop but I told her the very same and she didn’t ask further, just looked sad and left
So, at that lake I asked him how he felt and he told me that he never felt better. He told me how happy he was to have me and how proud he was of me. I expressed my concerns about what the people were talking about but he seemed unbothered. Rather marked it down as positive that they were talking about him. Attention is Attention, he said. And he asked me, if I’d like to be forgotten.
I said that I’d hate it. And he agreed. He’d hate it too but he would never be forgotten. I asked him why he was so sure about that and he took my head into his hands, coming closer and closer, saying the words that I’ll never forget and still run shivers down my spine: Because I AM YOU.
He repeated them and I felt despair inside me. You know, back then I didn’t believe any of those rumors until then. He hugged me and I cried upon the realization that I am losing my friend.
Since then I thought about him all day and all night. And I figured that I needed to do something. I could indeed not abandon him. He needed help and no one else could help him or wanted to besides me. I talked to Asa but she had tried everything in her might to stop his descent into madness.
So I searched the library and only found the information I have told you now. That the madness came from his unstable vessel, why his vessel was unstable and how our magical ability even works in general. But I found no cure.
As Asa became once again pregnant he seemed to get a bit better but as she gave birth to the little girl Bryn it got immediately worse again.
We spent much less time now together, because I often was searching books in the library but we still met from time to time. Once, he revealed to me that he had started learning  forbidden spells and that he’d like to teach them to me as well. But I was terrified by that thought alone so I declined. He didn’t react angry but was rather disappointed with me.
I spent more time in the library but as I realized I wouldn’t find anything more in this one, so, I travelled to other worlds searching their written knowledge. I found that it was very rare and would only happen if the magical core isn’t inherited but implemented into the being after birth.
I found that believable as I always asked myself why a Half Asgardian Half Human would’ve been able to inherit such a powerful core like he had.
But I couldn’t research any further as I heard one day on the streets of Asgard about his arrest. He was brought into the palace, they said, to be judged by the highest court: Odin himself.
I hurried, but just arrived as the verdict was spoken: Death.
I tried to stop them, demanding to know what had happened and exclaiming that this judgment was unfair.
But he was dragged away, laughing loudly and I was held back.
I picked up on what had happened later.
He used a forbidden spell on his wife Asa to get her pregnant with a boy killing her in the process, at least that’s what the people said. But it sadly sounded to true to be a lie.
I was devastated and felt guilty. Guilty that I wasn’t able to protect her and realize what he was obsessed with since the day Kjetil died.
After their deaths I took care of Elli, Wintyr and Bryn for a while but I couldn’t do it for long. They reminded me too much of him. All had inherited his icy blue eyes and I couldn’t stand the thought that his would be staring lifeless into the void forever.
My visits became rarer and rarer until I stopped visiting them at all. I regret it. Even though Elli says she understood me I regret it deeply.
Luckily, she could take care of her family on her own now but it was not a good life. I think you already know the rest of the story.”
Silence.
“There is no cure”, Elli’s voice broke the oppressed quiet.
She came into the room and threw her long black curls behind her shoulders as she sat down next to Loki, grabbing his hand.
“I think, after we both searched every book in our reach about it, it is safe to say that there is none. You could’ve done nothing to save him. And it’s not your fault that it happened”, she said, rubbing her thumb on the back of his hand.
“I am still sorry that I left you alone in your misery”, he said, his voice throbbing with guilt and tears in his eyes.
“That’s not your fault either”, she said, “Everything what happened would’ve happened with or without you. I probably would’ve avoided us too if my memory would’ve been that painful.”
“I doubt it”, Loki said while he returned the hug she gave him.
***
After Ydris’ Death the “Daughters of Ydris” were excluded and spit on. Their family reputation was utterly destroyed by him and they were seen as cursed and crazy just like their father.
The pressure was so big that one day Wintyr committed suicide and Bryn was so scared that she never left the house nor used any of her magical abilities.
Elli, who was trained a bit in using them, became frightened that they might creep into her mind as well, so she started her research. First for a cure, where she found nothing just like Loki. Then she searched for the reason why he turned and found more.
Just like Loki she found that his magical core must’ve been implemented into him but that was not it. It must’ve been a very strong source to be later inherited by his progeny. And with help of the Chief of the Valkyries she found the source Ydris’ father must’ve used to give his son this power, dying in the process.
As she visited the source, she gets caught by Loki, it was the first time since his last visit after Ydris’ Death that they met again, and so they talked:
***
Loki ran into the cave that he saw her disappearing in; it turned darker and darker the deeper he got into it.
As he suddenly saw light again he was in awe.
Through a hole in the roof fell a single ray of sunlight enlightening the cave filled with violet crystals making them shine their light all over the place. He recognized the color immediately. It was the same as Ydris’ magic and the same as Elli’s as well.
Right in the middle she stood, looking around, disappointed.
As she saw him, she shook her head in disbelieve
Loki asked her what she was looking for
“A solution”, she answered, “Like you once did.”
Loki fell silent as she had said that. “He’s gone”, he said dryly, voice breaking – a rare thing for the silver tongue.
“He is but I am not”, she said.
This was their first talk for decades and Loki felt his responsibility towards her once again like all this years ago.
He tried to reassure her that it won’t happen again.
She was not her father.
Elli didn’t seem to listen to him as she broke one of the crystals off the wall. Nothing happened.
“When did you realize he was lost?”, she asked.
Loki thought about that for a while and then answered: “After I searched every book, loose script, really anything in every library I could access and still didn’t find just a hint of a cure.”
“Like me”, she said, “Like this. It’s a dead end.”
She turned around to find Loki standing in front of her
“I am sorry that I weren’t there for you”, he said, “It’s just...”
“Hard. I know. I missed him more than anyone. Not the monster he had become but the father I loved a long time ago that my sisters will never know of. I understand you and that’s not the thing that lets me hold a grudge against you”, she said and walked past him out of the cave.
(During the time after he stopped visiting them and this talk Loki went around the world and caused Chaos and Trouble everywhere he went – what she didn’t know is that he tried to find another friend to not be alone again but his reputation was also destroyed by their deadly adventures, after he gave up he turned bitter and he passed the time like that)
***
Right after that talk Thor’s crowning ceremony is announced and held.
They don’t talk again until he saved her during Thor: Ragnarok where Hela had tortured her to give away the Asgardian refugees. First physically, then mentally by abusing her little sister Bryn, killing her in the end – as she found the location of them with the help of Skurge, she leaves Elli to die.
Loki found and freed her as he had to start Ragnarok.
In Avengers:Infinity War she was part of the Aesir who survived Thanos attack on the ship.
In Avengers: Endgame she fought alongside the other Heroes to defeat Thanos and met Dr. Stephen Strange who’d later become her boyfriend.
After Loki is able to come back into the current timeline she helped to restore a better version of him.
The conversation between Loki and Stephen happened after Stephen had asked him several times why he’d never teach him Asgardian Magic and he had several times explained to him that it would not be healthy for him and he had very personal proof to that.
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sometipsygnostalgic · 2 years ago
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Suicide and the Homestuck Epilogues
I don’t really want to make a super long post at this time. Turns out, I did so anyway! I don’t have too much to express on this topic that you might not have already figured out for yourself. But I feel like what there is to discuss about suicide in the epilogue is important, so it’ll do well to get this off my chest.   
One of the most serious themes in the epilogue, explored THOROUGHLY in Candy, is about the Will to Live. The will to move on with your life and see the next day.    This is disguised as a metaphysical battle with non-canonicity and irrelevance, but multiple characters in the epilogue have metaphorical and literal battles with their own hopelessness. Characters on the cliff-edge of suicide.   
These depictions of the characters caused an extreme reaction in the fans reading the story. It can be incredibly distressing to read something from perspective of a suicidal character, especially if you’ve been fighting that battle yourself. However it can be therapeutic if you read a story about someone actually discovering a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dim.  A fictional depiction that hits so hard, ending with a candle of hope, can flip a switch in your mind.  
Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how Homestuck both failed and succeeded at giving a light at the end of the tunnel.   
Skip to the end if you don’t want to read the whole thing - I’ve done a TL;DR.  
So there are five characters I would like to touch upon:
Dirk Tavros (jr) John Terezi Dave
All of these characters warrant discussion in the context of hopefulness and hopelessness.  
Dirk:
Dirk is the first character I want to get over with. Dirk’s an example of homestuck giving a hopeless ending to a character.
Despite Canon!Dirk’s struggles with his self worth, with the ideas that he’ll become a bad person, getting a nice enough resolution when he met Dave, epilogue!Dirk has lost that battle against himself due to means entirely out of his control. Because of how close the square root of Dirk is with “bad”, in the form of his prescratch self’s carelessnes and his offshoot connections to Doc Scratch, Dirk’s cursed with the inevitability of becoming that evil ultimate self no matter how hard he tries to be a good person.  
Dirk is not entirely evil. He’s lost his humanity but still clings to some memory. I’m pretty sure he kills John??? But he wouldn’t kill Dave, and I don’t think - no matter what he does to him - that Dirk would ever kill jake. 
Now, CANDY!Dirk. Candy!Dirk sees no point existing in a world where he cannot maintain canon relevance and seize the narrative. It would also be dangerous for him to continue existing in the world. 
But the way Dirk’s friends see his suicide, the way this is played out in Candy if you’re isolated from his shenanigans in Meat, is a very significant depiction of people struggling with a friend who killed themselves. 
There’s the critical failure from Meat in retroactively making this look like one of the best things Dirk could’ve done. Even if his friends led shitty lives, they led their own lives. But his friends in Candy don’t see it that way, and it wouldn’t be that way if Dirk didn’t become his ultself. As far as they believe. he maybe saw himself as a hopeless case and died.   
Because of Dirk’s death Dave in particular is dealing with a lot of feelings. He’d known Dirk as a better version of his really nasty bro-dad. Because of Dirk’s death, Dave feels deprived of his friend and family member, he feels like if Dirk had been alive he’d have taught him about love.  
I found this touching. Knowing how suicide impacts others can greatly affect a decision. Even Dirk, who was distant from all his friends and whose suicide protected them from his influence, ended up being missed for all the good things he could’ve given the world.  
So, all in all: Dirk’s relationship with suicide is depressing. It was better depicted in the comic, which had a hopeful resolution. This epilogue shits all over that. There’s still some important messages however, in that Dirk being alive would’ve given everyone very different lives, some ways for the better, some ways for the worse. Dirk’s existence is not meaningless.   
Talking of meaningless existence, let’s move on to....
Tavros:   
Nope, not John yet.  John’s going to take a lot of thinking. Let’s deal with baby Tavros.  
Tavros is not a depiction of a suicidal character. He is however a key player in the “hopelessness” of the Candy timeline. John sees Tavros, and his father Jake, as in a hopeless situation. Tavros and Jake’s changing situation influence’s Johns thoughts on his timeline at the end.   
Tavros is born into a world that is not canon, into one of the worst households imaginable where all the cards were held against him from the start. His name is fucking Tavros. That’s immediately dooming him to a life of being treaded on. Tavros lives with his mother, the domineering Jane Crocker, and her fuckclown, and while the other kids - Harry Anderson, Vriska - live spoilt happy childhoods, Tavros is never allowed to be a child expressing his individuality. What is his personality? It’s pretty much being a bit smart and doing exactly what he’s told.  
Tavros reminds me of a more muted Gohan in the Dragonball Z universe, if Goku was a fragile human dweeb instead of a saiyan and ChiChi became Space Hitler. If Gohan never got those tastes of freedom when fighting against the Saiyans, then he’d have no capacity to stand up to his mother. 
John fantasizes about helping him, and Tavros catches onto that fleeting fantasy, but it ends in disaster as Jade tries to reason with John that there’s no way he can keep Tavros safe, then John gets into a fit of rage and nearly injures him as well as all the other kids in the room. Tavros becomes scared of John.  
There’s something here about John seeing himself in little Tavvy. They’re nothing alike personality wise, but Tavros is John’s full blooded brother, and what he might have become like had he been brought up in a dysfunctional home.
At the end of the story, after years of this treatment has led to Tavros becoming a very passive boy who has an obsession with faygo, Jake finally makes the decision to leave his wife and go live with John. Even though Tavros is 15 and his personality or lack thereof is mostly realised, he’s given this spark of hope that maybe he will develop a bit of individuality. After all, John sees him as one of the most important, devastating consequences of the timeline, and somebody that he must help out.   
It is fitting that Tavros finds a record player at the end and put on some fun music, a self-expression of sorts.   
Right okay, time to get into the meaty part.   
 John and Terezi
There are some parts of these characters that I want to write about in isolation, but their relationship is the major distinguisher between their internal battles and, say, Dirk’s internal battle. John and Terezi are examples of two suicidal characters who interact with each other. The interactions between them cannot be isolated from their suicidal subtext, because they influence each other’s outlook on the world and their futures.    
I’m having difficulty, however, figuring out how to structure this part. There’s too much beef to get into if I’m going to discuss their histories.  So let’s try to make it brief:  
Terezi’s Context: Terezi has history as a character with suicidal subtext, especially in the Pre-Retcon universe.  She was overwrought with guilt and grief, became alienated from her all friends, spent all of her time either in the dreambubbles looking for vriska or unhealthily warrowing in her orrows in her abusive relationship with Gamzee. She then goes on what appears to be a suicide attack against Gamzee, wanting him to fight back.... until he does, at which point she tries to break free, indicating a will to live in there somewhere. In the pre-retcon Terezi finds herself having both a “hopeless” and a “hopeful” resolution. She dies by her own knife, under Aranea’s influence - yes, Terezi stabbing herself with the other half of the cane sword is ironic on like 12 levels - but in watching everybody else die, ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to fade away. Terezi is filled with determination, and will not rest until she sees to it that John’s on his way to fix everything. After this though she backs into her depression again. One of these Terezis tries to use her powers and does not see the effect. Even though she must’ve known there’d be a timeline where the effect hasnt happened yet she loses all self esteem and tells John to go leave her to die. The other Terezi, in seeing John return, is filled with a glimmer of faith and sends John off to follow her instructions.  I’m pretty sure the depressed didn’t die. The one who died in the chalk outline however walks sadly in paradox space, seemingly hopeless now her story’s ended, before reuniting with Vriska.    POST retcon Terezi has a plethora of self esteem issues, many of which were exposed by the knowledge of the pre retcon existing. In the body of A6A6I5 she’s chasing the idea that the other her had “figured out” all those self esteem issues, which we know to be false, and Terezi cannot connect with others properly despite being so good at reading them.  This lack of strong connections and lack of self esteem makes her feel a bit empty inside.   After remembering the pre retcon then seeing the vision of herself and Vriska reunite, Terezi decides to chase after Vriska, refusing to let her die against Lord English. But because of Furthest Ring shenanigans, she can’t find her.  
So Terezi ends Homestuck as a character with... not a whole lot of light in the tunnel, but there’s something there. That something takes the form of 
1. The hope that she’ll find Vriska some day 2. Her friendship with John, a growing connection with somebody other than Vriska.  
John Context:   
You know what? There isn’t a fucking lot! John throughout the majority of homestuck, completely opposite to Terezi and pretty much every other character, has NO SUICIDAL SUBTEXT WHATSOEVER. Hooray, no 500 word expository essay! It’s not until the CREDITS where John looks miserable.  
...John in the credits, now living on a peaceful new planet after focusing for 3 years on his sburb adventure, feels completely lost. Where his family and friends have met with the alternate versions of their parents, Dad Crocker isn’t actually John’s family, so that relationship doesn’t work as a surrogate for his lost dad.   John doesn’t know why he feels so empty inside and depressed, when his friends are trying to make him so happy. But as soon as he starts recieving messages from Caliborn you get an indication that John WANTS conflict. He wants to serve a purpose.  And the prologue of the epilogue (ha!) supports this.  
He’s captivated by Rose’s discussion of “canon”. Since he’s tied to canon, he feels some responsibility for preserving it. But Rose and Roxy’s reactions imply that John is about to go on a suicide mission. John laments that he’s spent so much time being depressed when he could’ve been enjoying life instead. This implies here that John wasn’t suicidally depressed at this stage, and he starts to lament how he hasn’t put his life back on track. 
So John, at this stage in the prologue, is a depiction of a hopeful AND hopeless character. However the hopelessness does not derive, yet, from any lack of will to live. It’s lamenting how he has so little time left.    This lament is still related to the discussion of suicide. John thinking of how much he’d miss out on if he left the world and died. So, altogether, John in the prologue is someone who has a light in the tunnel that someone else might sniff out. But that light might still shine on some readers who relate.  
CANDY: 
This is Terezi’s chronological start, and the “meat” of John’s suicidal subtext. 
As soon as John splits the world into Candy and decides to enjoy his life on Earth C, he begins trying to appreciate the world and get a taste of all the things that he thought he was going to lose out on had the suicide mission started.  However, things seem “off” to him.  He thinks Roxy is not in-character, Jade’s fucked up Davekat, Jane’s becoming a nazi, GAMZEE’S HERE which is an IMMEDIATE red flag, and everything is starting to go off the rails.   John wonders if this is all his fault. He sees everyone on earth C as not being themselves, as being almost like “NPCs”. They don’t have the same reactions to stuff as him. They don’t have the same feelings. Except for ONE person - Terezi, who is isolated from all these shenanigans and is the perfect venting post, giving John grounded feedback that he agrees with based on his previous knowledge of the kids.   This is not yet an interaction between two obviously suicidally depressed characters, but the idea of the world being “fabricated” and people acting “fake” is already here, and THIS is something a lot of people who have struggled with depression may be troubled by. The fuel to John’s theory is his position in an actual fictional world where the events are not canon, but even so, it’s still something real people go through.   
I think it’s worth pointing out that John and TZ are going off completely different time scales, emphasizing the disassociation they have with the timeline. John only feels grounded while talking to Terezi, who is stuck in the past. Terezi is seeing her friends grow up into crazy-ass adults without her.  
John’s depression escalates dramatically when he has a go at everyone on his son’s birthday party and nearly hurts the kids, then he felt like everybody hated him. This scene was powerful, but was also just like something out of a DBZ fic I read where everyone forgot Gohan’s birthday, he upset baby Goten (the only person who he felt unconditionally loved by), and then he goes to blow himself up somewhere. Yes, THAT scale of melodrama.   And John wants to float up into space, to leave the earth, maybe freeze up there. He is now suicidally depressed. He feels awful. It’s only going to get worse for the time being.  
After that point John turns to Terezi again and we find out she’s the same fucking way. Her journey to find Vriska, which looked to us at first to be cautiously optimistic. is a bit of a suicide mission itself. She does not intend to come back if she can’t complete the mission, even to pick up new supplies. Terezi is starving to death but she refused to return because she sees Earth C as a false paradise, a fake recreation of Alterna where everything is a bit too perfect and the people are too happy and she feels lost when she left the only route to happiness she can see behind in Sburb.  Turns out Remem8er didn’t so much give her a new perspective as it doubled the dependency she had on Vriska.  
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John and Terezi connect with each other because of how they both see themselves as empty, and Earth C as empty, and John tries to appeal to Terezi’s need for friendship. He tries to get her to see the light side of living. But because he has hard time seeing it, he can’t express it.     He tries to help her get over vriska, by saying she deserves better companionship. This DOES plant a seed in Terezi’s mind, the idea that she’s wasted her life looking for someone who has been a shitlord to her.   
To an extent, they have been enabling each other’s depression. Seeing each other as the only “real” characters and discussing that idea, John going into how he thinks “everybody is already dead”, Terezi confirming other characters are acting strange and expressing how she hates the new world so much she’d rather die than return empty-handed, they’re lighting the fire to their own negativity. John’s in panic mode about losing the one outlet he has. And if anything’s made Terezi feel alienated from Earth it’s seeing how it is turning out.... But there’s not a lot John can do about this, because yknow, she feels the same way in Meat.    
This interaction between two suicidal characters has a positive and negative representation of dealing with those thoughts.  John’s begging Terezi to come back and forget about Vriska, which is a good thing, but Terezi’s too stubborn. She won’t budge. John has to traumatically read what may as well be her suicide message to him, further cementing his own issues. Bear in mind - because of her predicament, he has has been sidetracked from talking to her about his argument, and probably thinks he’s been a moron for venting to her about all of this while she’s been slowly dying in space.  Altogether I’d say this conversation veers towards absolute hopelessness, at least for those who have read Candy first and haven’t been spoiled on what happens to Terezi next. 
The next scene’s also retroactively hilarious, but that doesn’t stop it from being powerfully depressive.  John find the car with her “”””””blood”””””” and freaks out. 
In losing Terezi, who he saw as his one outlet to canon, John loses all of his composure. He is completely incapable of holding himself together any more.
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Remember that DBZ fic I mentioned earlier where Gohan runs off and blows himself up with a suicidal tantrum? Yeah. It was a lot like this, but with rocks flying everywhere.   
John at this stage is at rock fucking bottom. He’s completely hopeless. 
Then 10 years pass. He’s been so depressed his wife and kid have left him. But... he’s still around.  Dave at one point thinks John’s going to kill himself, directly addressing this subtext, but John was actually talking to Karkat. Karkat’s position as a revolutionary leader, Dave’s caring for him, and John’s presence at Jade’s wedding to Dave despite having thrown a mega-tantrum that made him think they’d hate him forever, all of these things are........ starting to contradict John’s idea that the world is full of empty heartless people who don’t feel things. John has not been rejected by everybody.   
He accepts Terezi’s gone, and rips her picture into tiny pieces, letting them drift in the wind. This is the start of John’s progress away from his suicidal depression. 
He bumps into Vriska, has a go at her about Terezi, then Vriska does.. THAT with Gamzee. Gamzee’s death does restore some peace in the hearts of the viewers, at least. Not entirely relevant but I felt it was positive.  John’s been calling Vriska Jr shitty for all this time too, but she and Harry are alright characters who feel real enough to us as the reader. It’s now that we may be starting to question whether he was correct in writing off the world as his own bad fanfic. We’re questioning whether John is justified in hating Candyland as much as he does. If people care for him, if Karkat’s going to become Jesus, and if it birthed these two losers, then... is it so terrible? Maybe there’s hope?   
He bumps into Rose  who thanks him for everything he’s done. Rose is SO IMPORTANT here because she was the one who planted the idea he was in a fake world to begin with, and now she’s telling him even though it’s not canon, she feels happier than ever COULD in the canon world. John’s wishy washy on this. When he talks to Rose he feels optimistic, but when he gets back to his house, he’s thinking about how she just confirmed nothing matters at all.
At his house, he has a couple of surprise intruders. Turns out Jake discovered free will. John has some real talk with him. And while he’s at first negative, Jake’s infectious mood and the opportunity to give Tavros the life he deserves gives John that little push of motivation he needs to go speak to Roxy.   
His chat with Roxy is the climax of Candy!John’s arc. She gives us, for the first time, a third-person perspective of depressed John. We see him how she sees him, a sad little man who appears to be blaming outside forces for problems that he isn’t willing to confront himself.
She TEARS DOWN his perception that the world is fake. She explains why she may have seemed fake and why he was a fucking fool for thinking so. She says she doesn’t CARE whether it’s canon or not, because she knows a bit of how it would’ve gone down, and it would not have been good for John or Rose.  Roxy throws a great big surprise on us as the reader - she’s been dealing with gender dysphoria the whole time and overcompensating for it! Holy fuck!!! Our minds have just been blown!!!!
So the audience, and John, who have for this whole time been feeding into this depressing idea that the world is fake and it’s probably better for John to be dead than in this fake life, that everything is terrible.... Roxy’s rant makes us do one of the most amazing double-takes I’ve seen a story throw. 
John..... sees light for the first time in years.   He decides to take the step to work on his relationship with his family. 
And then it ends.  
All of this - Rose, the wedding, the kids, Jake and Tavros, Roxy - The way these make us revise our perspective on John’s depression is one of the most hopeful representations I have ever seen in media.  An AMAZING turnaround for a suicidal character. They made us hyper-invested in all the bad things John’s feeling, taking advantage of our awareness he’s correct in thinking it’s fake.  Taking advantage of all the nasty thought that may have crossed in our minds about the world not being real, about people acting not real, the little cells we build ourselves into...... and opening the door to a wide world with people who have had a lot going on that we’ve been blinding ourselves to.   
Roxy going into how we have our whole lives ahead of us and countless years to fuck up, to discover new things, breaking down how John and Terezi think that because they hadn’t figured things out as young people they were never going to be happy....  
Candy!John is an overwhelming success. Fucking KUDOS to the writers for this representation.  But to get there, you have to slog through the entire thing. And there is a risk that maybe you relate to his depression, but not to how he saw through his depression. That would be for yourself to confront.  For me personally, I honestly feel that this has given me a refreshing outlook.  It makes me so happy to be writing about John’s turnaround after all of this analysis of his depression.    
...Okay, fun’s over. Now to the depressing ending. The point where the epilogue kind of fucked up.   
MEAT: 
It’d be unfair for me to make you read through this with the bias that Meat is an entirely depressing resolution for two characters struggling with suicidal depression. There’s much that Meat gets right with John and Terezi. I think, however, it trips at the finish line.  But how badly it tripped depends on whether you think the comic falls into the trap of suicidal depression, or just about subverts it
Let’s get into it!  
John for the start of Meat is contemplating how he’s just launched himself into a bit of a suicide mission. Roxy and Calliope walk away without giving him a hug, which is... upsetting. Not sure why, if they knew he was going to die??? Legitimately makes me angry that this happened. But going back to the point - John is isolated in his fate. He does not have any friends he knows to back him up. He’s leaving the fake fake Earth C for good.   John leaves notes behind for his friends. These will never be read.  
Ouch. Off to a rough start already. This has the makings of an angst fic by itself.  
When he’s fighting Lord English with all these other versions of his friends, he’s actually having a bit of fun. But all his friends die and you get the impression he’s very very doomed. And he gets bitten by the tooth, etc. Oh and Davepeta performs a suicide attack! Holy fuck, forgot about that! But there’s no suicidal subtext, Davepeta’s just being a martyr, so nothing interesting to dissect here.  
AFTER the fight with Lord English:   John just floats in space. He’s seemingly hopeless. He does not take any action to help himself, having sensed he’s got nothing to back to. But PART of this is the influence of Dirk Strider, planting thoughts in his head. Dirk wants John to stay there, until he finds Terezi.  But John does challenge the depressing thoughts Dirk’s putting into his head:
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Dirk’s relationship with John and Terezi’s depression has increased importance in the end chapters, but for now, it looks like he’s trying to get them to reunite. Is Dirk actually feeding their emotional dependence on each other? Even though we know they still have that dependence isolated from his influence, I get the impression he’s trying to make things unhealthy.  
 Either way, John has no willpower to go ANYWHERE until he finds her. John for these two chapters is drifting aimlessly, hopelessly. He’s signing himself off for martyr death.    
Terezi finding John has equal meaning - she was willing to die until she bumped into him. 
A mixed interpretation so far of the suicidal depression. They were both waiting to die, but the way John was going to die was so abstract that it doesn’t feel as impactful as when he was depressed in Candyland. I think this would’ve had a weaker impact on the viewership. But the moment he finds Terezi, it becomes a hopeful interpretation, and remains that way for the next few chapters. 
On Meat 28 and Meat 31, they spend these chapters dealing with their suicidal depression, in particularly Terezi’s. She’s directly confronting all of those emotions, with a person she cares about that she thought she’d never see again. Terezi is still incapable of letting go. She’s still starving to death out here and refuses to return, but... she doesn’t want John to leave either. She wants him to stay.  Terezi is being very foolish here, and it’s unknown how much the decision to stay escalated John’s death. It’s notable that John would rather stay here with her than go back to Earth for backup or healing, or drag her back kicking and screaming.   
They’re still on the edge. They’re at what we assume to be their low point and don’t think anything matters, and they have little self preservation... but because they care about each other, John gets motivation to go back to Earth with Terezi, and she becomes concerned about his failing health.  
John continues trying to get through to Terezi and convince her to go back. The below conversations takes place:   
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John sees hope in Terezi, because she gave him hope when he thought nothing could get worse. He values the hardass attitude she brings to the table, kicking everybody else back into gear. John thinks several times through the epilogue that if Terezi was on Earth, she would’ve stopped everyone from falling apart.  
I think this is relevant because the scene in GAME OVER itself is an example of the characters finding shining hope and determination even when the narrative forces have taken a hard dump on them. It’s an important reminder here when John and Terezi are deciding whether they want to live or not.   
And here’s my favourite part of the entire conversation: 
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John has now given TWO examples of Terezi fighting on when she just wanted to give up. And the relationship this has with the reader is Terezi’s acts of self preservation are indicators that maybe she does want to live? If she wanted to die, why would she eat fucking shaving cream--- okay maybe yes most people who want to die would try that, but in this situation she’s crazy and thinks it tastes like cream.   
Because John’s giving Terezi reasons to live, she gives him an opportunity to live by performing some haphazard surgery and removing the tooth embedded in his body.  
Following this, they realise their connection to each other, and consummate their relationship... in the back of his dads car.   
Hooray, you cry! Terezi and John have found reasons to live - they care about each other, and as each wants the other to live, they want to survive so as not to disappoint. They’re able to connect with each other in ways they can’t connect with other characters.  
AT THIS STAGE, this has an... optimistic outlook. Terezi letting go of Vriska is very very important. But you might be noticing she’s latching onto John. If it was left like this, and they went back to earth and fell in love or whatever, it might have been a happy enough resolution for two depressed characters. Not as RAW as Candy!John, but Terezi’s been through enough already that it might have been as impactful. And John’s finally getting what he wanted all throughout Candy. Cliche... but happy days. If they could’ve overcome their depression it, would’ve been fine.    
.....
And then Meat 35 happens. 
Soon as Dirk takes the narrative back he decides to start killing John with LE poison inside his body.  John fucking dies in the middle of a love confession.  
Oof!!!  Well there goes any hope for John’s depression arc. But at least he was happy and canon when he died. It wasn’t as deep as Candy’s anyway, and we were expecting it. John’s death does NOT feel like a suicide, because he wants to live. So Meat!John is a mixed result for a suicidally depressed character; someone who was suicidal, but then found the will to live, and then had his life tragically taken from him.    
Terezi though, Terezi who I wrote a 500 word paragraph INTRODUCING the context of her suicidal depression story, is now left with absolutely nothing. Because she had done a rebound away from dependency on Vriska, and now latched onto John, Terezi doesn’t know what she’s doing on earth. Her perspective hasn’t changed and she still thinks it’s very fake. She feels like all of her friends are embroiled in social dynamics and petty fights that exclude her. She feels like she can’t confide in anyone about the traumatic shit that she’s been through, including John’s death.   
At least, that is how Dirk wants her to feel.  
Terezi has a history of challenging the narrative. She rewrote the timeline with the retcons, but before then, Terezi’s spoken to people who have tried to write narrative prompts in her head. In this act of defiance, Terezi calls out Dirk for being full of shit when he tries to go into how depressed she’s feeling. 
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This challenge, though weak because we know Dirk’s right on the money, ends up turning this confrontation from a fully depressing one into dark comedy, not ENTIRELY unlike the scene in Candy where John’s crying over her... stains. Because Homestuck is dealing with a hopeless case, it can’t just END it like that. Terezi, despite feeling that way, refuses to allow herself to be seen as completely hopeless and gets mad at the author for reading into her like that. This is getting metatextual but the self-awareness in this conversation is an important reminder to the reader that this ultimately a story, and maybe Terezi isn’t as hopeless as Dirk’s making her out to be.  
Of course, Dirk tells her that she can put an act on her whole life, and never be happy. Terezi... agrees with him, insofar as we know. Despite her challenge, she gives up on living with the Earth kids, joining the villain to create a new sburb session. 
Terezi’s conversation with Roxy was dysmally depressing. However, Roxy was thinking about her and trying to get through to her. Roxy seeing through Terezi’s feelings makes me think if she’d stayed on Earth, they would’ve become friends of some kind?  That would’ve been a light at the end of the tunnel. If Terezi had showed Roxy that John had died, that’d have been a massive step. But Terezi chooses isolation, leaving the planet for a new, more canonically relevant adventure.   
This scene does make it seem utterly hopeless for Terezi, especially when Callie says later that while John may theoretically be revived, he will never be relevant again. So while Terezi continues to be relevant, she’ll be isolated from the TWO people she cares about most.   
...There’s a flicker of hope there though. If you read Candy, there’s a scene where Vriska tries to send Terezi a sort of apology love confession. And we see Terezi recieving the messages for this!!!! But, she doesn’t read them onscreen. We don’t SEE her become aware that Vriska’s alive. And “seeing” is important.  Terezi in the Epilogue is also doing some goofy shit. While life on the Dirkship is probably depressing as fuck, she’s trying to eat Metal Candy for shits and giggle despite Rose challenging her.  Terezi’s personality defiantly shines through, when John dies, when Dirk wants to make her grovel, and when she’s on a ship with Robot Rose. The comic can take everything from her, but it can’t take away her goofiness. Terezi continues to live in defiance of the comic.   
BACK TO HOW THIS RELATES TO DEPRESSIVE SUICIDE, How do I rate Terezi’s arc? Both in the epilogue, and across homestuck?   
I get the impression the reason other characters have been able to move on from this stuff while Terezi gets dragged back into hopelessness is because of meta reasons. She’s the dark comedy, and one of the most continuously relevant characters. If things calmed down for her maybe she would be a less interesting or funny character. She’s cursed by her own relevance. Like Vriska, and John! Except instead of dying or being sucked into a new world she just continues being a bitter protagonist.       But.... what Terezi’s story brings to the discussion on suicidal depression is hopelessness. The sparks of hope and self awareness presented at the end are good to remind the reader this is just a silly story, but there’s not too much light for her at any stage. Getting continuously trodden down, throwing away her own chances of happiness. Not being able to get over anything. Therefore, Homestuck fails to bring a light at the end of the tunnel for Terezi Pyrope, even after all of these years of going into this theme.  Even if she has hope from Vriska, there’s the issue that she’s chasing after John like she was chasing after Vriska. Terezi’s fallen into the trap of being a character who goes around in circles with her depression arc. If you were personally invested in her getting better, you might be hurt by her presentation. The story tries to mitigate this by giving Terezi enough self awareness to poke fun at her own situation, and stop it from feeling too much like a melodramatic dragonball z angstfic like John’s. After all, Terezi would rather be tragicomic than plain tragic.    
Holy fuck, this is long!!!!!! Thanks Terezi!    
DAVE: 
To cap off this post I wanted to do a character that did not have a direct depiction of depressive suicide, but still related back to suicidal themes and did, ultimately, kind of kill himself. Dave in the Candy timeline. 
Dave goes through a lot of shit in his timeline. He’s in a terribad  relationship with Jade at the start, and all of his attempts to seek advice on his own sexuality are met with opposition by... fate itself. John’s not very useful. Dirk KILLS himself.   
Things go from bad to worse for Dave. He loses Karkat for good, when Karkat gets outraged at everyone for letting Jane’s bullshit slide. 
Dave... does not appear suicidally depressed following this. But he is a very repressed man. And years in the future when Obama comes to offer him the choice of accepting his ultimate self form, leaving EVERYTHING behind? He takes it without a second thought. Dave is so miserable that he doesn’t give a fuck if he does, because he gets to become an awesome robot with awesome powers and memories.  In the Meat! postscript, he abandons the Candy!planet to go fight the relevant fight in the new session Dirks’ overtaking.   
Because of how detached this suicide is from the suicidal depictions of Dirk, John, and Terezi, it’s not easy to analyse. But I think that this would count as a mixed representation.  JUST like Terezi, Dave has given up on his new world and decided to go run away for adventures elsewhere. JUST like Dirk, Dave’s let go of his individuality.   UNLIKE both of them, he’s with the good guys, he has enough individuality to still be himself, he has ALLLLLLLL of the self confidence... for now, and he is already making new friends. 
Unfortunately because most people IRL can’t merge their minds with epic robots, things for regular ol Candy Dave appear to have been so awful he gave it all up just like that for Obama.  If it wasn’t so absurd, it would probably be depressing, and I think a lot of Dave fans who read a more depressed interpretation of his character might see this as a failure on the part of Hussie to depict light at the end of the tunnel.   
Now we’re at the end of this stupidly long essay, let’s do a TL;DR:  
DIRK: Hopeless depiction of character dealing with suicidal depression, when their depiction was previously more hopeful
CANDY!JOHN: Excellent representation of character overcoming suicidal depression, best in the comic by far
MEAT!JOHNL: Weak representation of character dealing with suicidal depression
TEREZI: Semi hopeless representation of character dealing with suicidal depression
CANDY!DAVE: WH4T  
TAVROS: Not depressed, but symbolic of Candy’s hopeful outlook
EPILOGUE
Oh, sorry,  I mean “Conclusion”. Except we can’t really call it that either. Oh you meant the ESSAY?  Okay!!! Right.  
The epilogue’s depiction of sucidial depression is mostly upsetting. It’s negative, with a not very hopeful outlook.  
But what bits of there ARE end up being very powerful, in particular Candy!John who is the focus of this theme.  
However, Terezi - the COMIC’s focus character for sucidal depression -  does not get a good enough deal at the end to be seen as having much hope. The story tries to mitigate this with self awareness that it is, in fact, a story. 
It does this MORE with Dirk, and Dave too.  Dirk is hyper aware of his status as a fictional character. Although he kills himself, it’s not much of a suicide when he’s doing it to consolidate his influence elsewhere.  
But Dirk’s depiction as a supervillain shits on a previous arc he had, where he thought he’d be better off dead than alive because he might become bad one day.  Dirk was getting over this. Then the epilogue makes it look like Dirk would’ve been better off dead!!! He lost all of his individuality.   
So, Dirk is the most critical failure of this theme. Terezi is a big failure but as always she’d be salvagable if there was more content.  Candy!John is an overwhelming success.  Tavros is a part of John’s success.  Dave is in a weird place. I’d call him a failure though.    
The lesson to be learnt here is that.... even though the end did some GREAT things, like Candy!John, it’s advisable to distance yourself from relating too hard to characters going through suicidal depression. If they are like Dirk or Terezi you might be feeling depressed yourself at the end. 
It’s not up to the author to live up to the reader’s vision of how something should end. In this case Hussie gave hopeless endings to characters. But if you’re consuming media responsibly, you make sure you are not too sensitive to negative depictions like this, which while relatable are still the fictional musings of some dude.  
It’s not fair to ask Hussie to give everyone a happy ending, if that’s not his artistic vision.  We can criticise it artistically all we want, but we can’t call it unethical, not unless he’s deliberately aiming to hurt people. And despite everything, I don’t think he ever has been.   
What do you think? Do you believe the epilogue team wrote a good representation of characters coming to terms with depressive suicide, or suicidal tendencies?  
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victorluvsalice · a year ago
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AU Thursday: Alice Vs The Questionnaire I Just Made
Because it would be remiss for me to send it out into the world and not answer it myself, right? ;p
1. How many of the sidequests did your characters do? Did they manage to complete all of them?
Alice completed most of the sidequests, mostly because I find them interesting, they're good to advance the plot of my story, and -- in-game -- they're good sources of XP. The only ones I skipped/failed were (Edit: naturally I forgot a few on my first posting; what can I say, there’s a lot of side quests!):
Drug Trip -- The Unofficial Patch Plus only quest where you can get some XP and +1 Finance by stealing some drugs for Trip from the clinic. In-game, I completely forgot this was an option and never did it. In-story, Alice is trying to get drugs by more legitimate means for Mercurio rather than steal morphine, so I don’t think she’d be keen to get the recreational stuff for Trip.
Daydream Believer -- Only marked as an official “quest” by Unofficial Patch Plus, this is where you can sell Copper “unicorn blood,” fang-blunting gum, and a stake to kill the head vampire if you’re feeling maliciously playful. Alice was not -- in fact, she likes the Thin-Bloods and wants to help them. And that includes sympathizing with Copper about his desire to become human again, while also warning him off doing anything stupid.
Replanting A Lily -- The quest where you send Vandal someone to replace Lily in his blood-draining chair once you’ve freed her as part of Thinned Blood. In-game, I simply Demented him into some hysterical laughter to forget the whole thing (in case I needed him for emergency rations). In-story, Alice slammed him up against the wall and informed him the only reason she wasn’t about to kill him was because she needed to stay in the Voerman sisters’ good books. Vandal being Vandal, he immediately found this the sexiest thing that had ever happened to him and tried to give her free blood (like might happen with the Intimidation option), which she told him to stick where the sun don’t shine. Yeaaaaah, Alice doesn’t like Vandal.
Occultish Personality -- The quest where you get occult items for Pisha, and she gives you powerful items in return. Rather than work with Pisha, I had Alice kill her after taking care of the Simon business. This was purely a character choice, as I didn't see Alice ever working with her (she disapproves too strongly of what Pisha does to sate her Hunger -- she understands that the woman is under a pretty nasty curse, but the entire camera crew?!).
Venucide -- Okay, this is an interesting one -- this is the alternate side quest you get if you take Boris up on his offer to kill Venus during And Her Name Was Venus. I didn’t do this in-game -- I’m not doing low Humanity with Alice, and besides you earn a lot more with Venus alive and giving you club profits -- but I mention it because Alice pretends to take the offer, goes back to Venus, and works with her to fake her death before going back to Boris to get the reward, then kill him. Venus is quite tickled by the whole thing. XD
Dirty Dishes -- The quest where you help one of the three Giovanni relatives at the party to gain an advantage over the other two. I attempted this one, with the intent of having maybe Victor or Victoria do something with the info in the story (as they're the ones actually doing the social stuff -- Alice snuck in Obfuscated with them), but as it turned out, I didn't have the Persuasion necessary to get the dark secrets out of all three. I only managed to get Adam Dunsirn to admit he’s broke -- ratted him out to Mira for an experience point. Ah well. . . In-story, Victor will probably learn Adam’s secret while socializing, but not actually tell anybody.
Model Citizen/Cover Girl -- Imalia's quests -- either planting webcams to spy on her rival Tawni, or (if you piss her off/want extra XP after the previous quest), getting her a copy of a magazine with her on the cover back before Nosferatuing. Imalia is one of those characters who reacts very poorly to meeting a Malkavian, and is generally pretty conceited, so I didn't have Alice stick around to actually get the quests. By this point in the story, she's not doing favors for people who treat her like ass unless she has to.
Poster Session -- The quest where you trade various objects you can collect around the world to Gary for posters of the ladies in the game. Okay, in all actuality, I am doing this one in my game, if only because I'm collecting the objects he's asking for anyway while doing other quests and I might as well, but Alice in-story wouldn't be interested, and I'm not sure Gary would make the offer anyway, given their relationship.
2. How long do you think their stay in L.A. lasted, from Embrace to ending?
I'm working on figuring this out right now in my current playthrough! Part of the reason I fired up Bloodlines again was to actually work out a timeline for "Londerland Bloodlines," as the one given on the wiki feels absurdly short (and cuts out all the side quests). The way I've currently got it, it looks like Alice's Adventures In Los Angeles will stretch from October 21st, 2004, to the middle of November that same year (maybe about the 15th or so?), though I think I'm going to be adding in extra time in the story to help develop relationships and build in some extra breathing room for the characters. So, at a rough estimate, about two months.
3. Which ending did they go for? And if they're the rare Kindred who sided with Ming or LaCroix, did they somehow manage to escape their canonical fates (blown up/sunk to the bottom of the ocean)?
Alice is Independent all the way -- by the end of the game, she neither likes nor trusts practically anyone in the Kindred/ghoul community of L.A. (with four key exceptions, and one of those -- Beckett -- has already skedaddled by the end game) and just wants out. Hell, she would have left earlier if she'd gotten the chance -- she would have happily left L.A. the moment LaCroix sent her up against the Sabbat alone if said Sabbat hadn't kidnapped Lizzie and Victoria, and she would have just left straight after rescuing them and killing Andrei if she hadn't had a guilt attack about helping to get a Blood Hunt called on Nines and deciding she had to tell him about what Ming-Xiao told her. And the Cabbie is the one who talks her into taking down LaCroix and Ming-Xiao when she escapes the Blood Hunt, telling her that the only way to truly feel free is to make sure neither of them can come after her again. She is only too happy to leave the city when everything and everyone is done and dusted.
(Also, semi-related I had what I feel is a pretty awesome idea regarding why she gives LaCroix the key -- a post in the vtmb tag mentioned that anyone who had Auspex might be able to scan the sarcophagus and see there's no uber-vampire inside. The way Alice uses Auspex in her story, it functions partially as a real-life "Shrink Sense,” to fit with her madness. Maybe, at the end of the game, Alice finally uses Auspex on the sarcophagus to see what she can glean, and sees that a) there's no vampire and b) the Insane Children have drawn jack-in-the-boxes all over it, along with arrows to leave. Figuring LaCroix can suffer the disappointment of it being empty, she drops the key and heads off, not QUITE realizing WHY the kids told her to leave -- that is, until her Wonderland friends start BOOKING IT out the door when she gets down to the lobby, and she realizes those jack-in-the-boxes look like her own Jackbombs. . .)
4. How do they feel about the major power players in L.A. (LaCroix, Strauss, Smiling Jack, Nines, Isaac, Ming-Xiao, Gary)? Did their opinions of them change at any point thanks to a quest or just more time spent with them?
LaCroix: Hates him from the moment he Dominates her into leaving the Nocturne Theater instead of bothering to answer any of her questions. She's willing to keep her head down when she's around him (for fear of more Domination) up until Grout's mansion -- then she starts demanding she be paid like a proper employee, at least, and getting a lot snarkier in his presence. When the Blood Hunt on Nines was called (which involved him Dominating her AGAIN so she wouldn't warn Nines beforehand), she was about ready to gut him, and sincerely hoped there was something in that damn Sarcophagus so it would eat him. She doesn't particularly mind he got blown up in the end -- she was much more concerned for anyone else who was in the upper levels of the tower.
Strauss: She found him a little condescending, but helpful, when she first arrived in Downtown and sought him out. (Didn't think much of his poetry skills, though.) He gave her some good information on vampires around the city and the Camarilla in general, and she can't deny he paid well for helping take care of the plaguebearer situation. Her opinion of him plummets the moment she learns about his role in creating the Gargoyle, though. The idea that he kept that living, thinking being as his slave. . .not to mention, his low opinion of ghouls doesn't do much to endear him to her either.
Smiling Jack: Like Strauss, she spends most of the game thinking he's not exactly the best company, but he was helpful and gave her a hand in a very tough spot in her life. And he seems to be the most chill of the older vampires she's come across.
And then the sarcophagus explodes, Alice manages to put together the clues on who's behind it, realize he slaughtered all those people on the Elizabeth Dane and is indirectly responsible for a lot of the shit she's gone through. . .and basically exiles herself from Los Angeles forever by staking him and leaving him for the sunrise on her way out. (She is as shocked as anyone that she managed to pull it off -- she thought it would be a much worse fight!)
Nines: Alice is grateful to him for helping to save her life at her initial trial, and she likes his philosophy just fine. Unfortunately, their relationship was wrecked fairly early on by two factors:
1) Alice making a joke about the Last Round, which Nines took poorly -- Alice attempted to apologize, but Nines refused to hear it
2) Alice not liking Skelter and Damsel, both of whom immediately gave her shit for being LaCroix's "lapdog" and a Malkavian
So yeah, there was definitely some tension there. And the whole Blood Hunt mess happened, and frankly Alice is shocked Nines was willing to talk to her when she went looking for him on her way out of L.A. post-Sabbat. She sometimes wishes they'd had a chance to make up, but given that she doesn't think much of the Anarchs in general anymore. . .she's not losing sleep over their cool relationship.
Isaac: He's one of the main reasons she doesn't think much of the Anarchs in general. She thought it was pretty smart of him to have someone to direct vampires new to Hollywood to him to say hello -- up until he mentioned "tribute." That and his generally imperious attitude toward her at first means she considers him just another Prince under a different title. Learning what happened between him and Ash didn't help either -- she can understand not wanting to let someone you care about just die, more than she would admit, but he doesn't seem to have handled things well post-Embrace, given he didn't do jack shit about the hunters menacing him. (Hoping the threat would drive Ash back into his arms, perhaps?) Add in that he didn't even pay her for taking care of the Gargoyle (never mind Alice didn't actually kill it -- she still convinced it to leave), and -- yeah. She considers him everything wrong with the Anarch movement.
Ming-Xiao: Alice considered her fairly stuck-up when they first met, but really no worse than any of the regular Kindred she'd met -- and it was interesting to quiz her on how Kue-jin are different. Of course, learning that the Mandarin was on her payroll and she's actively trying to kill her lowered her opinion of her a bit. She actively avoids Ming-Xiao after the Fu Syndicate stuff, and nearly just puts her new enchanted katana straight through her when she shows up post-Sabbat. She certainly doesn't shed a tear when she has to destroy her at the end of game.
Gary: Alice thinks he's a bit of an overdramatic jerk, but she kind of enjoys matching wits with him. And at least he's more honest about being a jerk than most vampires, and keeps up his end of the bargain when she frees Barnabus, no problem. Whatever relationship they have is built upon snarking at each other, basically. :p
5. How did they handle the situation with Heather (or, if you're like me, whoever you replaced Heather with in their personal story)?
Obviously, in my world, Victor got hit by the car and got the ghouling treatment. Alice saw him lying all alone in that room and -- couldn't let him just die like that. She's utterly horrified to learn that she created an addict by doing so, and actively has Betram and Knox seek Victor out (using the Cathayan's laptop as payment) and send him her way so she can keep an eye on him and hide any Masquerade violations he may commit. Her original intent was to hold onto him until he stopped being a ghoul, then quietly set him loose, away from prying Kindred eyes. . .
. . .And then she fell in love.
Cue quite a lot of angsting over the fact that she doesn't want to lose him, but she feels so guilty about the Blood Bond and she doesn't know if Victor's feelings are actually real -- which only gets worse when Victoria and Emily join the group, as then she's like "I should let Victor be with one of them -- oh crap I like them too, what the hell Alice, years of not falling in love and now it's two mortals and a zombie." It took Mercurio explaining that his Blood Bond does not actually force him to like LaCroix, just be loyal to him, to convince her that keeping Victor -- and turning Victoria into her ghoul -- might not be as bad as she feared.
And then Victor had his prophetic dream about the Sabbat. He and Emily successfully fled the city (the "letting Heather go" branch of her mini-storyline), but Lizzie and Victoria got captured by the Sabbat and used as bait for a trap for Alice (the "Heather gets captured and killed" branch). Unlike in canon, though, Alice is able to successfully save them (with the help of Bonejangles, VV, and Bertram), and ghouls Victoria to help her heal before sending them away. They all reunite once she's done with the endgame. :)
6. More generally, how closely does their storyline stick to how you have to do things canonically? For example, in quests, did they find third options that weren't offered by the game? Are their stories affected by mods you use while playing the game?
I play with the Unofficial Plus Patch, so there's going to be some stuff from that included in my story, just because that's what I'm used to -- for example, Alice is doing the restored library quest featuring the Lasombra in her storyline. As for the main storyline itself, I'd say that, even with the character replacements and suchlike, it stays pretty much true to the game until about the time Alice hits Hollywood -- namely because I've replaced one-shot character Sam with Victoria, who has a much larger role in "Londerland Bloodlines." After that, it starts to veer off a bit more, in particular during "Italian Dinner," where Emily, Lizzie, and Bonejangles join the party --
But the most major break with canon is in the endgame. Namely, Alice decides to skip fighting her way up Venture Tower and instead climbs up the outside with the help of some climbing equipment she sources from Mercurio. :p Lacroix is more than a little surprised. XD (Though she still has to fight the bat-form of the Sheriff -- can't escape the whole boss fight, Alice!)
7. Do they have an alternate storyline/history of what might have happened had they been Embraced but not ended up the protagonist Fledgling?
I covered that a couple of weeks ago! You can read the "Mistakenly Thinned Blood" AU of the AU in detail here, but the short version is "Alice is Embraced more secretly by her sire Fish, manages to kill him post-Embrace, goes to Santa Monica, and ends up hanging out with the Thin-Bloods because everyone thinks she's one of them. Still saves Victor, meets Victoria, and rescues Lizzie, Emily, and Sam from the Giovannis, though -- and then gets out of town before the freaking-out populace who just learned what she actually is can catch up with her."
8. Is the Cabbie a) Caine, b) another Kindred who believes himself to be Caine for whatever reason, c) another Kindred playing the long con by pretending to be Caine, d) something else entirely?
He's Caine -- I like the headcanon, and the idea of him posing as a random taxi driver in L.A., looking upon all this chaos and wondering "why. why." amuses me. XD
9. How do you handle/explain away obvious "this only works in a video game" mechanics in their storyline (e.g., the inventory system that allows them to carry like seven guns and five melee weapons at once)?
With me, Alice is going to be carrying a lot fewer weapons at once -- she'll generally pick a few favorites to take with her on missions (she always has a knife on her, at least), and uses Obfuscate to truck them around invisibly when she's in crowded areas. She probably also gets a bag or backpack to carry useful things. She also goes through a lot more clothes until she gets some decent leather jackets and such -- her starting outfit is basically wrecked by the tutorial mission, leading to LaCroix's agents having to buy her a new dress before she can pick up her things and go to her new haven in Santa Monica. (I have decided to make it Symbolic by having her wear the modern equivalent of her London outfit from A:MR when she gets Embraced, and the outfit being destroyed representing her change from human to vampire.)
10. How do you explain why the Fledgling is so ridiculously overpowered when compared to most other vampires their age (beyond the fact that they're likely 8th generation, going by their blood pool)?
My personal explanation, which might come up in the final conversation Alice has with Caine in the cab, is that some people in this universe are born with great supernatural potential, for whatever reason, and Alice is one of them. There's just something about her that lends itself well to being a supernatural creature -- and a powerful one at that. If she'd been from a werewolf line, she would have been an amazing werewolf; if she had awakened as a mage, she would have been a super-talented mage. As she was Embraced, she gets to be a terrifyingly strong vampire. Alice personally considers this a pretty shitty "chosen one" status, but she can't deny she liked getting really good at Obfuscate really fast!
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tartareus · a year ago
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CAOS MUSES CANON DIVERGENCE; not unlike many here, i too found the third act of sabrina’s adventures a bit…lacking, to say the least. bad writing got me more and throwing character development to the bin made me finally decide that i am not going to accept most of what happened as true -  i will, however try to keep the changes to mininal as a say to make canon complying muses’ interactions with mine run smoothly.
for starters: my edward, salem and my della are primarily based on the comics (the chilling adventures of sabrina and sabrina the teenage witch) + my own head canons, therefore do expect their nature to be a bit darker\different than the show presents them. with that in mind…
edward did not die - he was in a circle of hell trapped inside a tree. once lucifer’s power over hell waned, the prision that kept the warlock there started to weaken and, thus, eventually he got out, finally free… only to find himself in…
queen lilith’s hell - yes, i am not going for that idea of lilith not being their queen, more than anyone else she does deserve the title, she worked for it and there is no point to not make all the effort during pt1 and 2 to go without a reward; for that to happen, though, i still accept the plot that sabrina went after nick, but instead of just taking satan back to earth…
edward becomes the morningstar’s host - besides being more than capable of taking him, edward is a known, talented, conjurer, had a somewhat deal or even relationship with empusa (a shape shifting demon), he knows how demons work. he knows what to expect and, other than that, he knows the boy will struggle. he won’t. although his very own existence is kept a secret from sabrina, in a similar fashion of b.ckwood, instead of struggling for dominance, edward will try and strike a bargain with lucifer (unknown to anyone else), if only to be sure that everything goes along with his own secret agenda…
he still helps zelda, though - as he is in hell and is not dead but trapped there, he makes use of some of lucifer’s powers to cross the veil and go for their aid.
della still remains a head witch - that is, still works for the council in rome, but with a slighly different twist. she herself is a hedgewitch. i’ve thought about this, and what it would mean for her character (originally in the sttw comics as sabrina’s mentor and the one that tried to guide her to the path of night, and them also as the queen of sabbath in the tcaos comics) and it seems that it just might fit her character altogether. hedgewitches are, after all, very old, powerful, lone witches who are but a few - which was what i was going for her originally. with that in mind, i have come to an hc that
della has her own very unique abilities - much like gryla, sycorax, and pesta, della possesses her own abilities as her own deal was slightly different. instead of having an aggressive ability like pesta and sycorax, she has a spiritual one - although not too similar from gryla’s ability to gather the spirits of her lads - that is very subtle: she can walk through the veil between the living and the dead, roaming in the in between without the fear of never returning (unless, of course, it is her time). that means that in her astral projections the psychopomps do not acknowledge her presence at all, one of the reasons she was hired by the council.
her age is hard to determinate -  she is clearly younger than the members of the council, but way older than the spellmans. to maintain her youth and looks, and not require a powerful glamour that would make her tired and weak if she kept holding for years, della consumes babies, mostly mortal orphans, in order to survive. that ritual is only required after some centuries (if it is a witch baby) or after the lifetime that mortal would’ve had. for that, it is needless to say that…
her relationship with gryla is of mutual hate and disdain - for the two of them are rivals in their quest for younger souls. although gryla herself has no choice but pick orphans, della prefers them because it usually avoids the whole ordeal of stealing a child. imagine how complicated it must’ve gotten when she answered the distress call from the coven in greendale…
although she is part of not coven, per se, della goes to their aid - or rather, is summoned against her own will, but she’s never going to admit that. particularly taking great joy at hunting the pagans, chasing them off greendale in the timeline that was fixed. in the broken timeline (aka the end of the world), not unlike ambrose (however using slightly shadier strategies) she managed to survive and remained hidden, safe in a witch’s cell in the vatican’s necropolis. sadly, she does end up going a little mad, but before she loses it all…
she manages to send ambrose some books that once belonged to the council - in hopes that these unholy scriptures, that had never been to the access of other witches and warlocks other than the scholars of rome, would help, hoping that he would be able to do what she had failed to: figure a way out of this mess.
salem is not a goblin but, in fact, a mortal curse by a witch he scorned centuries ago. cursed to become her familiar, after the witch he was forcibly bound to died during the salem trials the dark lord himself appeared before him, telling him that he would only lift the curse if he sold his soul to him - which he did, however what samuel (his mortal name) failed to realise was that he had not been specific as the date he should be free and, as such, the father of lies told him he would only be free once he had met, served and protected a white haired witch that was and was not daughter of night. it took centuries for him to find her, but when he saw sabrina he knew inside his old bones that it was her. 
he has come to terms to his current situation - he used to be a good christian, yes a bit reckless and an asshole with how he treated women, but he changed.  it was a hard lesson he had to learn. as he learned to repent, he also learned to understand the nature of witches better. they reacted with what they had. as such, he started to grow fond of sabrina and her family, even her friends (although he does not fancy being treated like an ordinary house pet).
he never liked robin nor lilith (when she was pretending to be ms wardwell), hissing soundly at them as he deemed them a probably threat to his witch.
lucifer granted him a couple of gifts to endure his long life - magical abilities akin to a warlock’s (but never enough to turn himself into human again, at least not for a long while) and speech (although he spent such a long time silent that he wonders if his throat still can produce anything other than a felinesound), as well seven lives. he is currently on the begining of his last life.
in both timelines salem tries to protect the spellmans - in the broken timeline, salem is dead (with satan no longer on the throne to secure his powers, the cat, much like the witches he served, started to weaken), probably trying to find sabrina and failing miserably. in the fixed timeline, he stays with zelda and mambo, refusing to leave her side. as they escaped, salem found that a good way to distract them was by attacking blackwood with the last remnants of his strength, unaware that faustus beared the mark of cain. wounded, he hides behind vinegar tom, trusting that the protective magic surrounding zelda’s old familiar (which she insisted that was still alive, just his vessel dead), would keep them from fiding him. he eventually recovers his strength and rejoins the spellmans, but feels something off, as if there was something wrong with sabrina.
overall, my main pet peeve with this season was how poorly handled some archs were. as much as i love the new order of hecate (which btw sounds very pagan to me but okay), i wish they had kept the church of lilith and, as such i will accept both realities and place them in different timelines, especially for hilda. 
i do hc that she still prays for her, away from zelda’s hearing of course, because when she was in the pit (unaware that they were praying for hecate) and in the in between when zelda and edward left, she prayed for her even though she is not the religious type, and came out of it alive. it was only after all that mess that she realised that maybe her prayers were in vain, but she didn’t mind at all.
i also hc that, after her spidey-incident she's been getting a bit uneasy near her own familiars (and they seem to notice that too, being slightly worried for her), she also decides to take a break from her relationship with cee; even though she loves him, and he proposed, she almost killed him ( and may or may not have tried to make him fertilize her eggs , unholy fuck that sentence shall haunt me for some good while) and that starts to make her realise that their relationship might be too dangerous for him, as a mortal. he already faced a witch hunter to protect her and now this? the last thing she wants is to cause him harm.
with mambo being around to look after zelda, hilda just might look for a place of her own, perhaps a little cottage in england as she so desires. it's not that she doesn't want to be part of the coven, or better the order, but even for her, non-religious and almost skeptical, bouncing off from deity to deity is not proving to be a good thing. besides, she's grown quite a backbone (about damn time) and she will no longer endure how she has been treated by her sister - i will elaborate further on the domestic abuse and the ptsd hilda suffers from being killed so many times and the mutual codependency of her relationship with her sister on a separate post, eventually
sometimes hilda puts a few drops of a soothing draught on zelda's food, because apparently if she asks for her sister to take a deep breath or watch her blood pressure it is a reason to receive a dark look. Sl instead of fretting and being pushed away, she just gets it done anyway. it is also comforting for her to know how easily she could kill zelda by putting something lethal on her food. whilst she does entertain herself with these thoughts, she knows she would never be able to kill her ow flesh and blood.
she raised ambrose almost mostly by herself, back when she lived in England. as her first child,she did spoil him rotten. Hilda never really thought of having kids herself, being demiromantic/demisexual she couldn't find it in herself to partake on the coven's festivities and enjoy lupercalia with a random witch or warlock, zelda was the baby crazy one, who had held sabrina almost possessively. she spoiled sabrina as well, perhaps due to Edward's recent death or because she knew how much her murders took their toll on her young niece, but not enough to "ruin" her as zelda always made sure.
although she could easily wear glamours to look more like the rest of her family (tall and slender), hilda learned with time to love herself, being more positive both inside and out.
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darthstitch · 2 years ago
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Castlevania Netflix Season 2 Review: All My Bloody Tears
Yeah. Uh. SPOILERS. MASSIVE GINORMOUS SPOILERS. Consider yourself warned.
I'm kind of a complete mess as I write this because PAIN! PAIN AND SUFFERING! TEARS! BLOODY TEARS!
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While it's not without its flaws, the second season of Netflix's Castlevania is incredible and lives up to the promise of Season 1. This, gentlebeings, is how you set up a sequel and leave the audience wanting more, but still walking away satisfied with what we've currently got.
The Good Stuff
The thing about Castlevania - as the game series by Konami - is that it's pretty much a patchwork quilt of everything goes. Think your favorite fan fiction peeve on AO3, the ones with the ten million tags before you even get to the goddamn story. So on one hand, it's got its clear inspiration from the classic Hammer and Universal Horror renditions of Dracula. But the game series is Japanese, so you have your beautiful anime-esque artwork by Ayami Kojima and the obvious anime influences.
I've played a few of the games, but I'm not going to claim gamer-god status. I just play for the fun of it and I don't hesitate to use walk throughs as a map of sorts, basically figuring out where to go, because the general castle layout is set up like a labyrinth and it is INSANE and FUN at the same time. So far, I've played and finished Symphony of the Night and two of the GBA ones: Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow. I'm still trying to master the ones on the NDS. But basically, the premise is the same: You're the hero/heroine, you need to enter the big spooky castle, gather weapons and/or spells to make you stronger and add to your abilities, take down monsters and Major Bads - including Death Himself - and hopefully prevent Dracula from resurrecting and covering the world in Eternal Night. The main timeline basically has Belmonts, assorted Not-Belmonts who also hunt vampires and of course, pretty, pretty Alucard.
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Then, there was your AU timeline in which Gabriel Belmont goes to defeat a Big Bad and becomes DRACULA ... and Trevor Belmont is his son, a.k.a. Alucard. Yeah, wrap your head around THAT one.
In short, Castlevania canon is fucked. To quote our Trevor, "Snake-fuckingly insane."
So Warren Ellis does the smart thing and basically picks up what works from the "canon" and crafts a damn good story out of it.
The Disaster Trio that is Alucard, Trevor and Sypha, end up bonding even closer together and spend much of this series in the Belmont Basement...er.... I mean, "Hold," trying to do the game equivalent of gathering spells and weapons to storm the castle with. We learn a few more interesting things about the Disaster Trio. Trevor actually ended up losing his family at a way too young age. Sypha and her people have some pretty "interesting" views about God. Alucard has artistic talents and basically acts his real age, which is a traumatized snarky 20 something year old, who's barely holding on to his composure with his shiny fangs and claws. There are epic moments such as "Treffy" and I would absolutely LOVE to hear the Belmont family story that explains how the hell a book of "penis spells" ended up in the Belmont Family Library.
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Seriously. Fan fiction writers, don't fail me now!
Also, Lisa gets a few more minutes to shine and break our hearts at the same time. This is the woman who managed to charm and get one Seriously Scary King of Vampires wrapped around her tiniest finger. She's snarky and sassy as before, but so real, so kind and just basically trying to be a decent person in a Crapsack World. She loves her husband but she knows he can be monstrous. She loves her son but as Alucard himself puts it, she wants him to be able to be himself, be happy and not be overshadowed by his father. Seriously, as long as each season gives us something more about Lisa, I'm gonna be content.
We also get introduced to a few more new characters, who basically make up Dracula's Court of Evil. Hector and Isaac are humans but sociopathic enough to despise their own kind and willing to take part in their death and destruction. They both have their requisite tragic and abused pasts. Hector, however, has an element of naivete that makes him an easy target for the machinations of Carmilla, the only general in Dracula's court who's figured out which way the blood's flowing and wants to make sure she comes out on top. Isaac, however, is somewhat the mirror of Alucard himself. This is the guy who gives his unconditional love and loyalty to Dracula and refuses to abandon him no matter the personal cost to himself or his remnants of a conscience or whatever he has that passes for a moral compass. I figure that it's there, it's just not one that I would recognize. Isaac is a scary, scary mofo and it looks like he and Hector are gonna be back for season 3.
In fact, if Isaac ends up becoming "Death" in this entire series, I'm gonna be evilly delighted.
And then, there's Godbrand, who is basically the vampire equivalent of YOLO. Basically, all he wants is to fight, fuck, drink blood and make boats out of things he shouldn't make boats out of. Generally, he just wants to have a good time, rule the world like a king and make sure the humans know their place.
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So okay, let's give Carmilla her due. Evil? Check. Manipulative? Check. Sadistic, vicious and cruel? 10 across the board. In the absence of a Certain Fanged Someone taking a more active role in what should be "The War on Humankind," Carmilla wants to make sure she's keeping things moving, spinning her webs of intrigue and plans upon plans, thinking she's going to come out the winner and make herself the new Queen of the Damned.
Here's the problem. Dracula figures that out, easily enough.
Here's the OTHER problem. His Fanged Nibs is all out of fucks to give. He's done. Finito. Finished with everything.
Yeah, about that.
While the humor of this series is a gift that keeps on giving, the drama and the feels will DESTROY you.
You know that moment when you realize Dracula isn't just waging a war on humanity, he's waging a war to destroy all vampires too? Because in that moment when he lost his beloved Lisa, he hated not only humans, but he also hated HIMSELF. He hates the fact that his life of evil, wanton death and destruction, wrought this price on the person that he loved. And she damn well didn't deserve that treatment. He hates the humans who killed her but he also hates his own kind, who are just as monstrous as he is.
So when Godbrand basically asks him, "If we're killing all the humans, what are we going to EAT?" Dracula basically tries to fob him off with some excuse or the other. Yeah, His Fanged Nibs is a LYING LIAR WHO LIES. Also, this lying liar who lies is actually spending most of his time sitting, brooding and being HUNGRY. Because he's not drinking blood. At all. Any blood drinking we see from His Fanged Nibs is in flashbacks.
Let that sink in for a second.
Aluard accuses his father of basically doing history's longest suicide. Yeah. It is - Dracula wants to take EVERYBODY down with him.
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The fight scenes are worth the wait. I was screaming when the classic "Bloody Tears" started playing in Episode 7, an episode that I'm gonna watch like ten thousand times more, because OH GOD THE EPICNESS OF IT. The sheer badassery. The fact that Alucard is actually the secret identity of Moon Moon.
And then, the final fight between Dracula and our Disaster Trio is just as epic as expected. Even when he hasn't drunk blood, the trio is outmatched and outclassed and this is where you remember that if Dracula had only roused himself long enough to give a flying fuck about something, Carmilla's head would have been rolling on the floor a long time ago.
But then: "My boy.... I'm killing my boy. This is your room. Your mother and I painted these walls, made these toys. Lisa.... it's our boy. Your greatest gift to me. And I'm killing him. I must already be dead."
GDI WARREN ELLIS HOW VERY FUCKING DARE YOU.
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The only way they take down Dracula is because he basically wants to die. So he lets his son kill him and end his misery. And when his rotting, decaying, corpse seems to be reaching out to his son for some kind of last embrace, Trevor, thinking that Alucard's going to be hurt, takes Dracula's head off. Sypha burns off the remains.
And it's done.
Castlevania is a game with numerous endings, all depending on how you played the game and whether you got this artifact or what not. The series pays homage to it because Trevor bequeaths the Belmont Hold to Alucard and asks him to be the last defender of it and his father's Castle. It's not going to be Alucard's grave, but his home now. Trevor and Sypha wander off into the sunset, for more adventures and mischief and Alucard lovingly sends off his BFFs with a fond "Fuck you."
We check in with the villains who survive and of course, we know there's gonna be sequels, because, hey, that's kind of the point of each and every Castlevania game. There's always gonna be a new Big Bad coming around. And trust me, Dracula's gonna be back. He's not just going to lie quiet in his grave.
And just when you think you can end this series with a satisfied sigh, our very last moments are spent with Alucard. Who is haunted by the ghosts of the parents he loved so much. Who gets to relive one happy memory with his mom, who loves him with all her heart. And she's so proud.
And Alucard finally breaks down into heartbreaking sobs.
We grieve with him.
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The Bad Stuff
Yeah, okay, so I need to get this explained. Why bother to have all these interesting character designs for Dracula's other generals AND NOT HAVE THEM TALK? I'm serious. Not one of these fascinating-looking vampire bastards HAVE ANY GODDAMN LINES. Netflix, FFS, DON'T WUSS OUT ON YOUR CHARACTER ACTORS. YOU CAN'T BE THAT POOR. GIVE THEM VOICES. PAY YOUR CHARACTER VOICE ACTORS. OMG.
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They basically just get killed off in the end, but while we know they were pretty scary and formidable, we don't really know anything about them other than: Vampire, Scary, Dracula's General. They were just pretty much Red Shirts, because the heroes never did get to confront Carmilla, Hector and Isaac directly.
There was evidently so much story to be told here, like they seem to have come from all over the world, even as far off as China AND THEY'RE. NOT. TALKING. The only ones with any dialogue are Carmilla, Hector, Isaac and Godbrand and none of these guys even get to share screentime with the Disaster Trio. Godbrand doesn't even make it to the final battle.
I mean, if these guys were just going to be cannon fodder, then let's just use any of the voiceless Major Bads from the games. Put some requisite scary music and sound effects and let the Disaster Trio take care of them. Let them speak in mysterious archaic languages or whatever, since we're not going to care about them anyway.
The Conclusion
Apparently, this is gonna be a pattern for this series. It's going to be good, it's going to be GREAT but there's always going to be that ONE THING that would drive us batshit crazy. But not enough to wreck my enjoyment of it.
The best parts of this series is the faithfulness to character, the layers upon layers of motivations and feels you're going to uncover as you rewatch it, the fact that it's not afraid to put tongue in cheek and leave canon at the door, while still being true to the source material.
So. "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk! Have at you!"
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crescentmoonrider · 2 years ago
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Fics I sorta want to write, sorta don’t want to, probably never will (a non-exhaustive list)
A:tla/LoK
Of the inequality of palindromes
What it is : A canon divergence in which Noatak and Tarrlok leave together, build the Equalists much earlier, and the world once more descends into war. Avatar Aang is killed, Equalists occupy most of Earth Kingdom and spread the mercy of the Spirits-sent brothers who will make all equal, and a young Korra is raised behind the walls of the Northern Water Tribe. Also Jet is here, somehow, and would probably be one of the PoV characters, maybe along with Tarrlok ?
Why I want to write it : Lots of potential here for a lot of stuff, I’ve always loved Tarrlok and Noatak’s story, I already made a few sketches after the inciting dream and I kind of like what this all looks like. Lots of situations, lots of characters, lots of trauma. I feel like it could work with a non-chronological storytelling - or at least less chronological than A viper-lizard’s tales - and I’m curious to see how I would go about structuring that.
Why I don’t want to : The Timeline Is Fucked !!! I seriously have no idea what would be going on with the dates and ages of most characters and just trying to figure out and make sense of that stuff is killing me. Also, it would be Long, and Viper-lizard will probably have exhausted me by the time I finish it, so starting another long fic would be. HHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Ace Attorney
I will fill your thermos with Worcester sauce or so help me
What it is : A canon divergence in which bratty prosecutor Miles Edgeworth and Diego “I think I am a good person but I’m barely there” Armando somehow join forces to take down Dahlia. They’re both douchebags who despise each other. It’s a great collaboration. They meet one young and innocent Phoenix Wright at the legal library and it’s all downhill from there.
Why I want to write it : Douchebag duo !! Reluctantly working together !! I want these two to interact and to barely resist kicking each other in the shins like the little brats they are. And well, I’ve already made Content(TM) for this, so I’d say it speaks to how much I like the idea. There is a scenario somewhere in my mind and in the sketches I did.
Why I don’t want to : I’m barely in this fandom anymore (if I ever really was) and I don’t like research. What the fuck is a legalese and do I need to know it to write about lawyers ? Whatever the answer may be, I’ll have to look shit up, and it will take time, and I’ll get distracted, and the fic will never write itself.
Hannibal (NBC)
Ode au pêcheur (long ver.)
What it is : A role-reversal AU, in which Hannibal is not a cannibal but still a psychiatrist, and Will is a teacher and profiler with a, uh, taste for uncommon meats. They still meet during the Shrike case, which is what the current Ode au pêcheur is about, and this would be the following events.
Why I want to write it : For one, I already wrote a short piece for this verse, so jot that down. But also I want to explore the change in dynamics, and also Hannibal being completely fucked up but in a different way. And writing Will as this kind of mysterious and fascinating being through Hannibal’s eyes... yeah, that’d be good.
Why I don’t want to : I spent hours reading the scripts, deciding what I would and would not keep, how to phrase it, for a 878 words standalone. I do Not want to know what I’d do with a long fic.
Six Sibylline Books (oracles willfully blind)
What it is : A Psycho Pass AU, with Will as an Enforcer specializing in profiling, having been declared a Latent Criminal since he was 6, because of his high empathy. He lives in fear of the day his Coefficient will reach 300. Hannibal is, of course, criminally asymptomatic, and working as a therapist for the government.
Why I want to write it : Let’s be honest, these two in the Sibyl System would be a fucking mess, and I for one am here for it. Mostly I want to see Will struggle with his place in this world, and watch what his Becoming would be like. Hannibal as a worse version of Makishima who just does shit for fun is terrible too, I love it. He probably wouldn’t even try to do a revolution and pretend to help people, the asshole.
Why I don’t want to : I Would Die. Two very complicated shows with literary references and philosophy mixed in just about every sentence, and a very well-rounded world as the setting ? Instant death. Or a very slow one, induced by the constant need to reference every little detail.
Kekkai Sensen
Fallen Hellsalem
What it is : A noir AU in which Daniel Law is a hardboiled detective who has been looking for answers regarding the disappearance of his younger twin brother for the past three years. A two-parters (by which I mean, two fics of consequent length, or a Huge fic with two very long main arcs), with the first case introducing the world through Steven A Starphase being accused of murder and needing Daniel’s help to find the real culprit. Turns out he didn’t do This murder but is also a crime lord involved in the disappearance of many other people, reigniting Daniel’s quest for answers. The second case is actually much more focused on the actual investigation surrounding Marcus’ disappearance, with Daniel gaining an apprentice in the person of Leonardo Watch, and learning to let go of the past a little.
Why I want to write it : I made a 5 page comic of the very first scene in 20 days. I just really like the noir aesthetics, and also Daniel. I have something resembling the beginning of an actual plot. I love Daniel. Did I mention I love Daniel ? It would be very interesting to have to actually think things in advance and build a case that makes sense.
Why I don’t want to : It would be so much work !! Two parts ?? Two fics for one story ? Or even just a Mega Fic - I would just fucking die. Also, while having to figure out how to build a case that makes sense is a fine challenge, it’s also a Lot of work, especially when I’m more the type of writer to figure stuff out as it comes, or to plan for Big Emotional moments and then turn the plot around it so that it all works organically. I’m not really a planner of plots, more of scenes. Plots kinda just happen. And that doesn’t fly for detective stories if you want it to be decent.
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Psycho Pass
The blind Sibylla (long ver.)
What it is : A canon divergence directly following the events of The blind Sibylla (in which Akane shot Makishima during episode 11). Makishima didn’t die but is injured, still somehow escapes ; meanwhile Akane is kind of scouted by Sibyl because she shot a guy with the intention to kill him and her Crime Coefficient didn’t rise, and she considers the offer. Kogami gets a phone call that leaves him sick to his stomach, and he too has to make a choice.
Why I want to write it : I mean, I already wrote two short chapters on impulse, so it’s more of “why I want to continue it”. Anyway the answer is that I’ve got ideas and I want to see where they go. Also if I can get Kagari and Choe Gu Sung to stay alive that would be swell.
Why I don’t want to : Psycho Pass Is Complicated. The worldbuilding is on point, but that also means fucking it up is incredibly easy. Also the literary references. It would be a lot more work than I am used to putting into my writing and I really don’t feel like memorizing the wiki and constantly rewatching the series just to get everything as accurate as possible.
Reborn
The illusion of love and the reality of hate
What it is : A TYL 186918 story about Hibari and Mukuro navigating their hate-relationship and trying to make it work. Especially after Mukuro was thought to have been killed by Byakuran. Would involve Mukuro asking Ryohei for advice because he is literally the only person in a stable relationship who has any idea what he’s doing, and also he knows what Hibari is like. A contract is drafted. I’m not saying Mukuro and Hibari get hate-married but. They get hate-married. Kind of.
Why I want to write it : I’ve wanted to explore a full-blown, healthy blackrom for a while now, and these two are one of my oldest ships, and also one I’ve written a lot for in the past. Love me a good mix of fucked up shit and humor. And boy would there be fucked up shit between these two.
Why I don’t want to : Two words : Sex Scenes. I can’t imagine this story (or this relationship, for that matter) without sex, as it would be one of the most primal way they have of communicating with each other, along with fighting. But I’ve never written smut in my life. Also I barely remember the TYL arc (better than the later ones, but not by much) so I’d have to look that up again, and probably more (likely re-reading the whole thing), but that’s a minor issue.
Red Raven
Cave Canem
What it is : An early canon divergence in which Ricardo gets lost in the panic of the five days of blood and is believed to be dead, while Walter meets Calogero at Castor Arte and decides to follow him around out of a mutual hatred of the Scaggs. Anyway Ricardo joins the Red Ravens because he believes he was abandoned and can’t trust the mafia anymore, while Walter more or less gets adopted by Calogero and becomes Laura’s right hand.
Why I want to write it : I just. I love this manga so goddamn much,,,,,,, Also Walter and Ricardo are very similar while being pretty different, and the changes in dynamics a switch would make are. Pretty darn interesting. I made sketches. I want to see what would stay the same and what would go differently. I want to send more Red Raven content into this world.
Why I don’t want to : This fandom is comprised of three people and a crow, and I know myself well enough to be certain I’ll have trouble staying motivated in these conditions. Also this would be Long, I can feel it. And I don’t really have a scenario planned, so that’s that.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
Snow blossoms
What it is : A canon divergence (?) in which Fai (the dead one, not our Fye) is a dream-walker and meets child Kurogane a few times this way. At one point, Kurogane promises to find Fai and Yui and to help them, no matter what. Later, the then grown Kurogane is eternally confused by Fye’s presence for one more reason.
Why I want to write it : It’s an old headcanon of mine that Fai is a dream-walker, I figured I might as well do something with it. Also I want to write this kid !! Give him some life !! And of course the KuroFye angst might just triple from this. Also, the truth is that I started this one (in January 2018...), and it looks promising. I already have a structure for the first arc, so that’s neat.
Why I don’t want to : For one, it would be Long, and as mentioned earlier in this post, I don’t think I’d have the strength to go through this again. For two, TRC is a cool story that I like a lot, but I hardly think about it anymore most of the time.
W.I.T.C.H.
Whispers under my skin
What it is : A canon divergence in which Cedric (still in his kind librarian skin) seduces Matt as a way to get to Will, and it backfires horribly when he realizes he is loved by this human and Phobos will never love him like that, and he will never get what he really wants. So at the final battle in Meridian, instead of going full Super Saiyan Lizard, he betrays Phobos. He gets badly injured, but he also gains a half-freedom as thanks from Kandrakar, in the way of a human life (plus some minor magic if the girls allow him to) and a duty to help the Guardians in their mission.
Why I want to write it : Like many of my dream-inspired things, it is very weird, and for once I think it’s a very good thing. Yes I had a dream in which Matt and Cedric had A Thing, no don’t ask me how that happened I don’t control my brain. Anyway, I’ve always liked Cedric and I want to explore his character, and the dynamics he could form with the girls in such different circumstances. Also, I’d get to play around with the magic system, which is very cool.
Why I don’t want to : I re-read my w.i.t.c.h. comics maybe once every two years, and while some of them still make me cry (why did you have to die you filthy lizard man), it’s probably not enough of a basis to start a Long Fic. Also it would be Long and I am tired. And ! I don’t have nearly enough references at home and that means I’d have to look shit up, and the wiki is Not Great, from what I’ve seen.
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ampersands-and-guitars · 2 years ago
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Endgame Reaction (spoilers)
You know, I hate it when fans get angry when a movie doesn’t go the way they personally wanted or expected. I try to not be that person, but man is Endgame making that hard.
I was a huge fan of Infinity War. I’d never felt that devastated coming out of a movie theater and I felt that it just hit all the right notes and set up an incredible solution. But I’m still trying to process Endgame, and I’m not sure it is a complementary follow up to Infinity War.
Criticisms
The deaths of Loki, Gamora, and Vision were, to me, the heart and emotional anchor of Infinity War. Those deaths deserved emotional payoff in Endgame. We had Thor walk right past Loki in Asgard and not even look at him, there was one brief reference to Vision, and only a quick moment between 2014!Gamora and Peter that was a weirdly light moment.
Thor’s trauma from Infinity War was mocked and played for laughs even though Cap ran a support group.
We spent so much time talking about time travel, joking about time travel, and figuring out the logistics of time travel that we didn’t have enough time to wrap things up in a satisfying way. It leaves the audience to connect all the dots re: What happened to 2014!Gamora (dusted, I guess, but Peter seems to be searching for her — does that mean 2014!Thanos and crew are not dead, but somewhere else in time?), the fact that Peter and Ned and probably MJ were all conveniently snapped together so that they could finish out their high school years together, how Old Cap got to the bench, how the hell society will readjust the the other half of the population returning, what Avengers will continue the legacy of the OG6, etc. We can figure most of these things out, but as of right now they’re just head canons.
The shift in focus with characters was a bit odd to me from Infinity War to Endgame. Of course we always love and care about our OG6, but...I don’t know. There was a lot of weight put on Doctor Strange, Wanda, the people of Wakanda, and the Guardians in Infinity War. To have this one be focused on the OG6 was to be expected given the snap, but I wish we could’ve spent more time with everyone else other than the battle sequence.
Also with that...I’m not sure this movie carried the emotional weight I anticipated. Infinity War was devastating. This one was...kinda more like the 2012 Avengers movie in tone for me for the first half of the film, at least. It was certainly incredibly sad in parts, obviously, but on a whole I didn’t feel as moved as I thought I should at the conclusion of a 22-film saga. It felt kinda...empty? 
I totally understand not wanting to erase the five years that went by after the snap. A lot of babies were born and life went on. But that puts the people who come back from the snap in an awkward, potentially devastating spot. What if their spouse remarried or died? What about the people who missed five years with their children that they’ll never get back? What if a family member committed suicide because it seemed like the end of the world? What about the plant and animal life that is now suddenly back — wouldn’t that cause a catastrophic event on its own? What about the people who died as a result of the snap, like in car accidents? I completely agree with Tony’s logic. But I don’t agree with the writers that they chose to jump five years ahead in time instead of maybe like, six months or a year. Five years is way too much time to expect the world to go back to normal, sorry.
Nitpicks: 
How did Nick Fury not get a single line when he started the Avengers Initiative? 
How did he and Carol not have even a tiny reunion after what we just saw them go through? 
In fact, another way this film didn’t match with what immediately preceded it: Nick signaled for Carol, and then we saw Carol showed up at the compound asking for Nick. How did she know to go rescue Tony and Nebula? How did the Avengers on Earth know Tony needed to be rescued? 
We’re just like...not gonna talk about Vision?
We’re just not gonna worry about the fact that 2012 has a branch alternate timeline now because Loki escaped? It was just an oopsie-daisy? (I know, it’ll lead to his Disney+ show and I’m SO EXCITED, but the reaction from Tony and Scott was freaking weird.)
After all that Nebz didn’t have an true opportunity to get revenge on her father, eh? K.
I am feminist through and through and find it SO important for good women’s representation in media, but ugh that moment where all the women came together in battle felt kinda cringeworthy. It was just so ham-fisted. Seeing all of the women displaying their powers and fighting like badasses would’ve been enough. But all of them just so happening to be together at the exact same moment on a giant battlefield? Alrighty then.
If I were Taika Watiti I’d be a lil pissed that all the development in Ragnarok is just POOF. Gone. Love me some Valkyrie though. I can’t believe Thor casually handing the throne to her didn’t summon Loki to stab him right then and there.
Loved:
Loved Nebula throughout. Loved her growth and relationships with Rhodey and Tony. Loved the idea of 2014!Nebula switching places with present day Nebula and bringing forth the 2014!Thanos and crew. That surprised me and was a cool twist. I also like that present day Nebula had a chance to talk to 2014!Gamora.
Tony’s anger when he was first rescued and brought back to Earth was excellent. He was completely and entirely right, IMO.
Loved the throwbacks to old movies and extra details we got to see. I’m partial to 2012 New York (moments of Sassy!Loki made my life), but I also loved Tony’s conversation with his father.
LOVED the battle scene. Goosebumps everywhere. What an incredible moment. It felt very Lord of the Rings, which is a very good thing in my book.
I thought Tony’s death was beautifully done. I think Cap was the more obvious (and better) choice to die as he was already living out his second chance at life. But if Tony had to die, I thought it was handled well. I cried. I cried a lot. Love you 3000, Tony.
Final Note: I am admittedly a fan of the more space-oriented Marvel films a-la Thor and Guardians. I always kinda knew I possibly wouldn’t enjoy this Earth-based story as much as the space-based Infinity War, but...oy. I’ve been sad all day at how disappointed I am. It didn’t help that this movie got GLOWING reviews that I’m currently not understanding. I’m hoping another viewing will change my mind. 
I’ve always felt (and I think a lot of people feel this way) that Empire Strikes Back is a stronger film than its follow up, Return of the Jedi. It doesn’t impact my love for the trilogy, it’s just how it is. That might just have to be my final opinion on Infinity War and Endgame too. 
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simplelinesunfashiond · 2 years ago
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Character Creation Tag
@idreamonpaper tagged me for this one and??? Since I’ve been sort of reworking her and she somehow gets the least attention despite being the first PoV character in the series I’m going to do this one for Sydney
What was the first element of your character that you remember considering?
That she would be the youngest, and that she would be a singer. This took on a very different form, as the timeline was ridiculously different in the original concept, but. I had this image of her as sort of a cute and bubbly teenager singing with an old-school rock band.
Did you design them with any other characters from their universe in mind?
There wasn’t really anyone I associated her with, overall? Other than that I already had this kind of rocker vibe from them to patch her in with.
How did you choose their name?
Honestly? At first it was semi random, and at a point it became sort of a theme to give them the most mundane names I could think of? So Sydney got the last name Thompson. Her middle name (Marie) was a recent addition I actually stole from my one friend who has (been) stuck with me since Day 1 of this series. At one point years ago I did realize that Jackson and Sydney (and Nix, short for Phoenix) all have city names. This was not planned.
In developing their backstory, what elements of their world played the most influential part?
As much as her actual family history has been rewritten recently, a few things have always been the same. Sydney was raised by her aunt, who miiight have stolen her from her mother, and was deliberately raised with no knowledge of magic. This allows us to still be able to learn through the eyes of a main character without taking away her agency – it’s not her fault she doesn’t know, and frankly, she’s not happy about it.
Is there any significance behind their hair color/eye color/height?
Originally there wasn’t much reason to her hair color? (Sort of…a little washed out, a little silvery), but with some recent decisions it has become Important. Hers and Jackson’s eye color actually switched a couple times in early drafts. As for height, I knew I wanted Jackson to be short for a man and her to be borderline tall for a woman? And sort of decided it would be cute if they were the same height.
What do you relate to within their character/story?
There are a lot of things she has always wanted to believe in, but been afraid to. Despite liking being the “different” kid, she tended to shy away from the things that really did make her stand out. And she’s really afraid of letting fate take the wheel – she wants to make her own decisions, and is kind of pissed that she doesn’t always have all the info.
Are they based off you in any way?
Other than those couple of things listed above (I feel like that applies to a lot of people, so it’s not exactly that big a deal)? Not so much. Honestly, she fills a very important niche to a certain other character who is a lot more “me.”
Did you know what your character’s sexuality would be at the time of their creation?
I mean, even in very early versions where she was a literal child (like, 11), she definitely had some mushy crush feelings for Jackson. (*squinting at the girl* Are you actually straight? Are you like my token heterosexual character?)
How far past canon events that take place in their world have you extended their story?
I could write this series for the rest of my life. But it’s not necessarily always about this same group. I’ve got some prospective sequels, though, where let’s just say she’s mostly retired from adventuring but heavily involved in the politics of magic.
If you had to narrow it down to 2 things you MUST keep in mind while working with this OC, what would they be?
1. Describe what everything sounds like.
2. Instinct vs. Prophecy – trust no external source inherently.
What is something about your OC that makes you laugh?
Her priorities get screwy when she gets excited, and she’s somehow always in everyone’s business, even as a newcomer. She would be the type to stop an ally in the middle of an important discussion to say, “Wait, go back, you said you had a date?!” while they’re like, “Do I even know you?”
What is something about your OC that makes you cry?
Who she really is, is a major secret. And she’s the last one to know. If, at any point, someone would have figured it out and told her, it could have prevented everything…
Is there some element you regret adding to your OC or their story?
Not really? I mean, I’ve been reworking some parts of the series as I go over some changes. More like “Regret how long I spent trying to write a generic girl character before I finally figured out Who She Is.”
What is the most recent thing that you’ve discovered about your OC?
This is something I should have had years ago, buuut probably the same secret she doesn’t know – who, and what, she actually is. Which is to say, who her parents are, and who their parents are, and how that lent her the strange combination of abilities she manifests later.
Favorite OC Fact?
She is actually sort of a bookworm, and has read a lot of things in the genre of this series? And she occasionally makes decisions based on them. Namely, using weak characters as examples of what NOT to do, and questioning everything. Makes it really difficult for characters to convince her to do Prophecy things like a good Chosen One.
Hm…I don’t have much of a list for tag games, but if they want it, I’ll tag @abalonetea and @adie-dee, plus an extra for @drabbleitout if they should want it (aaand if @idreamonpaper is willing to take a tag-back, I am always interested in more from you too~)
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