#in which i am a park ranger
You know what the most frustrating thing about the vegans throwing a fit over my “Humans aren’t Parasites” post is? I really wasn’t trying to make a point about animal agriculture. Honestly, the example about subsistence hunting isn’t the main point. That post was actually inspired by thoughts I’ve been having about the National Park system and environmentalist groups.
See, I LOVE the National Parks. I always have a pass. I got to multiple parks a year. I LOVE them, and always viewed them as this unambiguously GOOD thing. Like, the best thing America has done.
BUT, I just finished reading this book called “I am the Grand Canyon” all about the native Havasupai people and their fight to gain back their rights to the lands above the canyon rim. Historically, they spent the summer months farming in the canyon, and then the winter months hunter-gathering up above the rim. When their reservation was made though, they lost basically all rights to the rim land (They had limited grazing rights to some of it, but it was renewed year to year and always threatened, and it was a whole thing), leading to a century long fight to get it back.
And in that book there are a couple of really poignant anecdotes- one man talks about how park rangers would come harass them if they tried to collect pinon nuts too close to park land- worried that they would take too many pinon nuts that the squirrels wanted. Despite the fact that the Havasupai had harvested pinon nuts for thousands and thousands of years without ever...like...starving the squirrels.
There’s another anecdote of them seeing the park rangers hauling away the bodies of dozens of deer- killed in the park because of overpopulation- while the Havasupai had been banned from hunting. (Making them more and more reliant on government aid just to survive the winter months.)
They talk about how they would traditionally carve out these natural cisterns above the rim to catch rainwater, and how all the animals benefitted from this, but it was difficult to maintain those cisterns when their “ownership” of the land was so disputed.
So here you have examples of when people are forcibly separated from their ecosystem and how it hurts both those people and the ecosystem.
And then when the Havasupai finally got legislation before Congress to give them ownership of the rim land back- their biggest opponent was the Parks system and the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club (a big conservation group here in the US) ran a huge smear campaign against these people on the belief that any humans owning this land other than the park system (which aims at conservation, even while developing for recreation) was unacceptable.
And it all got me thinking about how, as much as I love the National Parks, there are times when its insistence that nature be left “untouched” (except, ya know, for recreation) can actually harm both the native people who have traditionally been part of those ecosystems AND potentially the ecosystems themselves. And I just think there’s a lot of nuance there about recognizing that there are ways for us to be in balance with nature, and that our environmentalism should respect that and push for sustainability over preserving “pristine” human-less landscapes. Removing ourselves from nature isn’t the answer.
But apparently the idea that subsistence hunting might actually not be a moral catastrophe really set the vegans off. Woopie.
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sin city: can I request one when you go down on Bucky while he is driving a car?
warnings: nsfw, 18+, oral (m receiving),
a/n: hello! i’m back with sin city and i’m hoping that it doesn’t flop, because writing at 2 am after i just finished a bunch of lecture notes isn’t easy at all, so please don’t let sin city flop because i really want it to stay, thank you!
“(Y/n),” Bucky started as you shushed him, “Keep your eyes on the road sarge,” you replied, smirking when he glances towards you, his grip on the steering wheel growing tighter as you undid the button of his jeans, a sultry smile painted on your lips as you watched him bite down on his lip, trying his best to drive without speeding down the already empty roads of New York because the only thing Bucky wanted was to get home and get that dress off of you, kiss every fucking inch of your body, watch you squirm under him as he thrusts into your heat.
god, it was the only thing on his mind, and to keep his gaze fixated on the road was too damn hard, given how you had already unzipped his fly, releasing his cock from its restraints, you warm hand wrapping around his girth, hell he was this close to stopping the car.
“(Y/n), ffuck,” he groaned as you pumped him in your hand, running your thumb across his tip, sliding his precum across his length, tonight was supposed to be a stargazing experience, but given how the two of you could barely keep your wandering hands off of each other, it ended up with the map of the stars being untouched as you rocked your hips against his as his lips met yours time and time again, your tongues intertwining as he bucks his hips against your heat, it was heaven, until the both of you were almost caught by the park rangers, did you make a dash to the car, laughing as Bucky started it.
The brunette grunts, “Doll, please, oh fuck” he groaned as you lowered your head, peppering kitten licks on his cockhead, your tongue swirling around it ever so teasingly, “Don’t pretend you don’t want it,” you said, looking up at him innocently through your lashes as you took him into your mouth, inch by delicious inch until he hit the back of your throat, his chest heaved as he tried to control his breathing and stifle his moans, his metal hand easily carding through your hair, gripping it tight as his flesh hard remained on the wheel, trying to keep track of every red light.
His attempts to stifle his moans failing miserably when you swirled your tongue around his cockhead, you simply basked in every sweet noise that fell from those perfect lips as he watched you hollow your cheeks around his thick length, you knew exactly how to get him off, the brunette looked so beautiful with his bottom lip being held hostage by his teeth, eyebrows furrowed, as his hips bucked up to meet your warm mouth, whined when you clawed at his thighs, forcing him to control his lower half as you engulfed him into the depth of your mouth, and Bucky cursed under his breath, wishing for nothing than to be home right now just so he could take you as he pleased.
“Ssshit, princess,” Bucky groaned as you were instantly rewarded with ribbons and ribbons of cum spewing from his slit which you happily swallowed, cleaning him up before letting him go, licking your lips as you did and in time too, because as soon as the car pulled up in front of the apartment block, you were ushered out of the car, barely making it to the entrance of your apartment before his lips found yours.
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Why Do I Have to Feel Like a Fucking Conspiracy Theorist -- OR -- How I Find a Semblance of Peace on Sunday Night
I’m also going to start this out with a GIANT DISCLAIMER.
I am about to theorize about what may have happened to the SPN finale. I have absolutely no insider knowledge. I am merely speculating here based on the panels and a bunch of Twitter and Tumblr posts that I have been reading over the last few days. If you are not in a good place to read such things, TURN BACK PLEASE. Go take care of yourself and your mental health. You and your feelings are valid and deserve to be handled gently right now.
Additionally, if you are here to give me shit for being unhappy with the ending, please walk away as well. I am here to reach out and share my feelings with people who might be struggling to make sense of something that upset some of us in very deep-seated ways. I am not here to bother you or critique you or tell you that you’re lesser because you liked the ending. If you felt it was good, then go enjoy it.
Long-ass post beneath the cut, everyone.
Alrighty folks...I debated whether or not to do this because I have been spiraling down the hell that is the SPN finale since Thursday. The travesty of what happened to our show--to this beloved show that seemed to have been so perfectly and precisely written for at least four years that it had basically already paved its own tarmac on which to land its plane and we all thought we knew exactly what we were going to get. And then we didn’t. We had a nigh Cas-less and entirely Eileen-less ending. We had no goodbye between Cas and Jack. We had Dean dying young after finally finding his freedom, only to ascend to heaven with no one but Bobby. We had the weird, weird, weird incest-y death scene. We had the bridge crane shot thing because...sure. You do you, Robert Singer.
It was so terrible, so truly awful, and I couldn’t seem to square any of it with anything we had known going in. I tossed and turned and cried and didn’t eat or sleep all weekend. I spent hours just reloading tumblr and twitter, going to the Misha panel, reading and reading and listening and trying to figure out what the fucking hell is going on because I needed to know exactly where to direct my anger. And after a fuckton of talking with @winchester-reload, I think we have at least a very plausible theory about what happened here--I’m laying it out below as much for my own peace of mind as anything else, because otherwise all of these thoughts are going to continue to spin around in my head for weeks and I won’t be able to do jack shit.
Now to start off, unfortunately I do think Dean was slated to die from the beginning of this season. I don’t know WHY they thought that was the best way to go, and I wish they had listened to Jensen on this one. Part of me wonders if it was an order from on high based on the discussion between Becky and Chuck earlier this season--the writers knew it wasn’t a great choice, but they were trying to signal to us that we should feel free to write our own endings to the story because they’d be better (I can wax poetic on the signs of why many of the writers probably wanted Dean to live, but that’s another post). I’m not defending that choice by any means, just laying it out there that I think they didn’t necessarily all want to kill Dean like they did.
However, what I THINK I can explain now is what happened with Misha and why we got so jerked around with Cas’s story. Consider what we know (I can’t immediately source all of it, but I did my best):
At the end of episode 15x19, Lucifer has been returned to the Empty after being killed AGAIN. He talks with Cas. Maybe harasses him a bit about Dean, idk. But then...Jack shows up. New God Jack. And he picks up Cas and pulls him out of the Empty, leaving Lucifer behind, because seriously. Fuck that guy (also leaving behind his abusive father is character growth for Jack, so yay for that).
-Misha was contracted to film 15 episodes this season. He was only in 14.
-Misha told Michael Sheen he had to go back to film 1.5 episodes after the shutdown in March. (Starts at 6:13)
-Misha was in Vancouver during filming of the finale.
-Mark P said at Darklight Con that the last scene he filmed was with Alex and Misha (and Mark P was only in episode 19).
-Misha implied that he was present for various filming moments, including Dean’s death (start at 35:15), and said that it felt like a “mini-reunion.”
-Various sources have mentioned that Jimmy Novak was supposed to be in the finale.
-After episode 18, Stands tweeted a fan who was angered and hurt by Cas's death that they could talk about the “bury the gays” issue after the finale aired.
-In episode 19 we know there were takes of the parking lot scene where the only thing fans observing could hear was Dean yelling “CAS” at Chuck (fuck I can’t find this one right now, but it’s definitely out there)
-Also in episode 19, we had a very strange, awkward montage at the end of the episode.
-In episode 20, we know there were a FUCKTON of missing scenes
-We also had no opening montage, but three other separate montages.
-Carry on My Wayward Son was played TWICE, back-to-back at the end of the episode.
-Episode 20 was shorter than normal and had surprisingly little dialogue. The pacing was VERY strange.
-The cast and crew has been almost completely silent about the finale since it came out. When they have spoken, it has been with an awkward excuse of “Uh...COVID?”
-Samantha Ferris has specifically noted that, despite the Harvelle’s being back in play and a big heaven reunion having been planned pre-COVID, neither she nor Chad Lindberg received any such invitation to return.
-Cas and Dean POP Funko figures were pictured together in a replica of Harvelle’s in 15x04.
NOW with all of this in mind (and I’m probably missing some stuff too because there is so much--feel free to add on to that list), please bear with me because here is what I think we were SUPPOSED to get POST-COVID (after it was determined that the reunion couldn’t happen because of the virus):
In episode 20, we start with our NORMAL OPENING MONTAGE, like always. It traces everything that happened during the season. We are reminded of Cas. The confession. Rowena. Eileen. Jack. Billie, God, the Empty, all of it.
Things then follow along in the episode where they did up until Dean dies and wakes up in heaven. After his conversation with Bobby, he drives off to find Cas (who, in the script, was listed as “Jimmy Novak” in order to protect against script leaks--who wouldn’t want to do their best to avoid spoilers about the finale with the wrapping of a fifteen-year show?). He does indeed find Cas. We get Dean’s end of the confession. Hell, maybe we even get a kiss. And then Dean sets up his new heaven home in the recreated Harvelle’s. Maybe Cas even fucking moves in.
Years pass. We get Sam having his life on Earth (still can’t explain why they cut Eileen and couldn’t even have Sam signing vaguely to the blurry brunette in the background; if anyone wants to take that on, go for it). Eventually, Cas tells Dean that it’s almost Sam’s time. Dean takes Baby and goes to meet Sam at the bridge. The cover of Carry on My Wayward Son plays during this much shorter sequence. End of episode.
But that’s not what we got. Instead, much of what I just wrote about was excised from the episode. The remnants were stitched together after shooting had been wrapped. Filler was added in the form of montages and long, unnecessary extra shots to get the episode to something approaching a reasonable length.
But why? Why would they spend all that time and money and quarantining on Misha, only to almost completely cut him out of the finale? I struggled with why the fuck the CW would want this mammoth show to go down as the greatest queerbait in TV history when they had the chance to do something truly beautiful and monumental with it? It couldn’t just be sheer homophobia, right? Well, I think that factored into it, my friends, but here is where my head is at right now.
It was about cold, hard cash.
Now I could be wrong, but this is what I’m thinking at the moment: Supernatural is going off of the air. Supernatural, the CW’s cash cow for fifteen years. Sure there is still money to be made on blu-rays and merchandise and cons...but they need people watching their shows. They need that sweet advertising revenue. And you know what show they have about to premiere? A show that could, potentially, bring with it a chunk of that SPN revenue?
And if any of you know anything about the original Walker Texas Ranger, you know that the show was predominantly a show about a very heterosexual white man being very excessively heterosexual. And for SOME REASON over the years, many of the execs at the CW still seem to think that this show, Supernatural, is really attractive to a lot of middle-American white men...whom they desperately want to watch this new show with this guy from Supernatural that they already know.
Now here’s where COVID fucked us. I think Destiel was greenlit by TPTB, at least in SOME form, before COVID. But then the pandemic happened, and they panicked. They got the cut of the last two episodes and watched them in their original, probably queer form. And then, the execs at CW looked at the economy. They looked at their cash cow, about to make its journey to the great beyond. And they looked at this new little calf Walker that they were so desperately worried about. And they made a choice.
They decided that it would be too risky to take the step with Destiel. They were worried about frightening off their ever-so-valuable hetero male demographic with the possibility that a traditionally masculine man in his 40s could be in love with another man in an overt way. It was homophobia mixed with greed, spun up by fear for their revenues because of COVID.
So they called in Singer, possibly Dabb, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they went straight to Singer. They told them that Destiel had to go: executive orders. And the only way to make it go in a way that removed any trace of what had been there was to rewrite what happened to Cas and cut him out from the last two episodes entirely. It was too late to reshoot anything. They had to just cut and stitch and fill with bullshit montages.
They removed the scene at the end of 19, probably because Cas and Lucifer discussed Dean. All that was left of Misha there was his voice on that fake phone call. They may have cut other things too, but I would bet my life that they cut a scene from the end of the episode and replaced it with that very strange montage. Then they moved onto 20. They cut out every scene with Cas. And left in only two platonic mentions of him, neither made by Dean. They tried to imply that Cas might show up in Dean’s heaven at some point, but that was as far as the editors could go in the time they had. They filled in with montages, awkwardly long shots, anything they could do to fill all of those missing scenes.
And they even had to take the opening montage, because literally everything in it pointed to Cas being there at the end of it all. They wouldn’t be able to leave out his scenes, they were too critical to the season. They couldn’t cut his confession without raising eyebrows. So they cut the whole thing and moved “Carry On My Wayward Son” to one of the newly-added driving montages at the end. Which is why we awkwardly had both songs play back-to-back--again, such a strange choice unless they were out of options and couldn’t exactly buy rights to a new track or compose anything else.
And so we were left with the shadow of the finale that we deserved, that Cas and Dean deserved. We were left without resolution or happiness or words. Bobo told us the most important thing about happiness is just “saying it” and our characters were silenced without anyone ever knowing the truth.
I think the writers might have known and been given the new party line that “Misha never filmed, he couldn’t, sorry, it was COVID, no one’s fault!” But I don’t think most of the cast even knew it had happened until they watched the finale on Thursday with us (though they might have been confused why the bit from 15x19 was sliced, they could reasonably have assumed it was a time thing and also BL episodes don’t make sense anyway). Why do I say that?
Well, first of all, Misha started sending out a bunch of excited texts to fans with some old BTS pictures about an hour before the show started airing on EST. He also wanted his children to see the episode, his YOUNG children. Why would he show them such a traumatic episode if their Dad wasn’t in it? What if it was because he wanted them to witness what was going to be a monumental moment in queer television history that their DAD got to be a part of? And then that was all dashed.
Which is why I think the cast and crew went almost completely radio silent the next day. I don’t think they knew. And based on how they have been acting on social media since then, I think many of them are absolutely furious, but they have been silenced because of NDAs, because they want to find work again in a cutthroat industry, because they don’t want to bring down the hellfire of Warner Brothers Entertainment upon themselves. So the most we have gotten is a little acknowledgement from the MERCHANDISING COMPANY trying to validate our pain (god bless Shirts, she is a LIFESAVER) and a response to my salty tweet about keeping good stuff in the closet from Adam Williams (the VFX coordinator) that seemed to acknowledge the validity of my complaint.
Then there was a scramble behind the scenes, I would bet my life. Talking points were fed to the boys who had panels today, to CE, to all the cast and crew:
Toe the party line. Misha never filmed. This was always about COVID. Do not mention Destiel. Do not mention Dean’s feelings for Cas. Do not promote the Castiel Project or anything that validates the idea that this was anything less than a superb ending.
And that is why we have heard so little from the cast on this front, and what we have heard has been muddled and contradictory. That is why the writers are saying nothing. That is why we have been left adrift.
Now before I close this out, I do want to say that I really, genuinely do not think this was on the writers at all. I feel like they tried to give us the best ending that they could, in a writers room that we know is notorious for splitting along party lines about the overall story (BL and Singer, who have always been about the brothers and their man-pain vs. Dabb and the rest who always seemed to want more for them and for Cas). I think they did everything in their power to at least end with Dean and Cas happy together. If they could give us nothing else, they wanted to give us that. And then the network took it from them. From us. From everyone.
For the sake of fucking money.
And the WORST PART OF IT ALL, for me, is that in the wake of this disaster, the fans have been left to try and figure out what happened. We have had to wade through a mire of conflicting information in the midst of all of our collective anger and grief over this garbage ending of a show many of us have loved and even relied on for YEARS, all the while wondering if we’re just fucking crazy, if we have all fallen collectively into the hole of conspiracy theories. That hurts ESPECIALLY badly because we have taken so many hits over the years from other groups on social media saying we were crazy for seeing things that weren’t there (especially Destiel), for writing meta and analyzing tropes and believing the evidence of our eyes and ears. The network has made us relive that entire nightmare WHILE processing our grief for a show we wanted so badly to celebrate and which instead we now have to mourn.
So again guys, I cannot prove that this is exactly what happened at all; this is simply my idea of what may have happened. But right now, it’s the most sense I can make from this mess, and to be honest, the act of typing it out has helped me enormously in my processing of it all. I feel like I can see more clearly, like I know where to target my outrage and where to direct empathy. I feel like just fucking maybe, I might be able to do my job tomorrow without bursting into tears at random moments.
I really hope that this post has helped some of you to, in some small way, process this too. We get through this the way that Misha told us at his panel this morning, the way the writers have told us to do all season long...we throw out the story God gave us and we make it better. We write our characters the happy endings they deserve.
We save them.
One last thing--if you have not already, please consider channeling your rage into a donation to one of the five causes our fandom has put together to pay tribute to our beloved show and to mourn the ending it should have had:
-The Castiel Project
-Dean Winchester is Love
-Sam Winchester Project
-The National Association of the Deaf
-The Jack Kline Project
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A Man and a Woman (hotch x reader)
Criminal Minds OneShot - Aaron Hotchner x Reader - read on AO3]
> PART II.
18+!!!!! CONTENT ! DNI if ur not of age!
Summary: What they don’t tell you about living in subzero temperatures is that the most common of actions in your day-to-day life turn bothersome, slow and dull. The FBI had been here for 2 days, and it only took you the second day, under the blinking fluorescents of the precinct’s kitchenette to notice how attractive Aaron Hotchner is. It was due to the easy back and forth too, you can’t deny it. The small little bit of happiness of the day is broken fast when calls come up all around the precinct: the person the FBI is here for has been seen right inside the National Park. It’s how you end up with Agent Hotchner and an old park ranger, leading you both through the dense vegetation and snow-covered trail. A few altercations lead you to be stuck in the middle of a snowstorm with the agent as you race to find shelter and try to fight your attraction to him.
WC: approx 10k
tags: Smut, there's only one bed, Strangers to Lovers, Angst, slow burn because it takes SOME to get there, Vaginal Sex, Cheating, Porn With Plot, Unprotected Sex, Case mention, weather talk again! who would have thought, Yearning, Angst and Hurt/Comfort, hypothermia talk
Comments: y'all i KNOW said i wouldnt write smut but here i am with another oneshot (too long i know :( ) BUT it's very very different from that first trial - inspired from the 2016 movie with the same title!
TW: crime, usual cm talk, blood mention, death, death scares
What they don’t tell you about living in subzero temperatures is that the most common of actions in your day-to-day life turn bothersome, slow and dull. Working in the same conditions is as mentally taxing as it is physically. These days, though, it’s significantly better, because you are used to it.
“Here” A cup of steaming coffee is left in front of you, large hand retreating from it. The knuckle is bitten red from the ice and the cold.
“Thought it wasn’t working” you retort, looking up at the man who so kindly, and unprompted brought it, SSA Aaron Hotchner from the FBI. You have to crane your neck to do so, because he stands tall, dressed in a thick grey pullover, corduroy slacks, and hair all slicked back. There’s a tiny smile on his face, which makes his cheekbones pop, and a dimple appear at the side of his mouth.
“It does now” he mutters softly with a playful glint in his eye.
He stays put just like you, and you’re thinking about more than the conversation you had last night before leaving work. He’d retreated with his unit to the small and only hotel in town, and you’d gone back to the recently rented cabin you still struggle to call home since relocating to Alaska one and half years ago. Last evening, only a few police officers had stayed behind like you, trying to assist his team, and he’d caught you at 11 pm, trying to sweet-talk the coffee machine into working.
The FBI had been here for 2 days, and it only took you the second day, under the blinking fluorescents of the precinct’s kitchenette to notice how attractive the man is. It was due to the easy back and forth too, you can’t deny it. He had caught you in a moment that had been embarrassing and appeared charming.
“Come on, be good to me, give me everything you’ve got” you say, tapping the appliance again with the heel of your palm, “I know you can. You did this just this morning, baby. Only one cup”
Someone clears their throat and you freeze on the spot. Straighten up and dust off your pants as if you hadn’t been attempting to talk dirty to an inanimate object.
“Up until that last sentence,” Agent Hotchner says, taking a step towards you, “I wasn’t sure if you were on the phone”
Your face heats up. You don’t know how to respond to that, solely because it’s embarrassing. He studies your face, dark eyes set on you as he takes your right side. He looks so different than how you’d gotten used to seeing all other FBI agents. Different even than himself the day before. For starters his eyebrows are not furrowed, there’s no scowl, no glare, no intensity to intimidate anyone with. His expression is soft, a bit unguarded, but still rehearsed – the same way anyone acts when they’re interacting with an acquaintance. Secondly, he’s rolled the sleeves of his zip-up to his elbows, and it makes him younger, playful, good – looking. He already is, you see it clearly now.
“I mean, I could have been on the phone” you reply, and one of his brows shoots up, “I could have been talking to the coffee machine at my house”
Agent Hotchner chuckles, catching you off guard. He turns to stare at the appliance you’d been talking to.
“Is it obligatory…? For it to function?”
You can’t quite look away from him and it isn’t entirely your fault. In the interrogations you witnessed, the talks with his colleagues, and even the few confrontations that required him to pull out the gun and command someone – you’d thought you’d figured him out. He is serious, strict, conservative, and - to your humble opinion, privy to a sense of humor. Now, he smiles. He teases, makes jokes and plays along.
“My sweet words aren’t affecting her any longer” you sigh in defeat.
He shoves his hands in his pockets, which makes his already broad shoulders stretch wider. “Aha. She’s a lady”
The way he says that, serious and slow, does something to your insides.
“So, I’m at fault?”
Agent Hotchner holds your gaze like he might as well be reprimanding you on police reports.
“Maybe it can read true intentions. You need to be gentler.”
You’re not sure if the innuendo reaches you or him first, but the curiosity from the implication of his words renders you courageous.
“How would you treat a lady, then, Agent Hotchner?”
His jaw clenches as he swallows and you suddenly dislike his attire choice, solely because you can’t catch a glimpse of his Adam’s Apple moving – his throat working.
The time, the tiredness, the fact the warm temperature of the precinct makes you all cozy and sleepy could factor into why you feel like you’re burning inside out, just from his eyes on you.
In the end he never answers, because one of the officers interrupts, asking to leave early. In turn, it makes Agent Hotchner call it a day for everyone.
That night had been such a strange occurrence that today you think it had been only your imagination. Now though, looking at your cup, you’re sure it’s a shared hallucination.
“What did you say to it, Agent Hotchner?”
He puts a hand over the table, and from this angle – you sitting down, back to him, while he stands, holding himself up through that point of balance – he looks larger, and his sweet cologne engulfs you, making you just the right amount of tipsy.
He’s serious in a split-second, eyes darting around and then he does the strangest thing. Suddenly, he bends forward, hot breath fanning the back of your head sending a shiver along your spine, and then his voice is a whisper just above your left earlobe.
“I sweet talked, obviously”
His words turn your blood into liquid heat, and they all pool in a very specific place.
“That’s nothing I wasn’t doing before” you reply, turning your head slightly to him. He’s so close it almost takes you aback, but the faint smell of his aftershave, fresh and like pines, keeps you locked in place.
“You weren’t pressing the right buttons?” he offers and you give him a surprised look. That has to mean something else – it has to – but his face doesn’t change. Lips set in a thin straight line, brows at a soft impasse, and you decide right then and there that the fact you can’t read him gives him more appeal.
You have nothing to say to that.
“Hmm” you hum, thoughtfully and bring the coffee slowly to your lips, tasting it.
“A lungo right? Or was it an espresso?”
Before you can reply he fixes his posture, twists around and heads back inside the conference room he and his unit have been using these last few days.
The first sip hasn’t even hit your tongue, and you’re thankful he’s gone, or you wouldn’t have been able to explain the gasp you let out. You can’t decipher it either. Is it wonder? Shock? Or overwhelming delight? Profilers must be really good at capturing overlooked details because he’s got you figured out. Starting from your coffee order.
The small little bit of happiness of the day is broken fast when calls come up all around the precinct. The person the FBI is here for has been seen right inside the National Park.
“We split up” Agent Hotchner commands, “I want everyone to stick close to a park ranger and a police officer, we follow their lead navigating the territory”
His agents follow without a hitch and because the precinct cannot spare all of its officers at once, they delegate only one per team. It’s how you end up with Agent Hotchner and an old park ranger, leading you both through the dense vegetation and snow-covered trail. The latter is short-tempered, not well-mannered, and keeps making snappy comments that are slowly driving you insane. You reign it all in, for the sake of the investigation. Two hours of digesting his rambling and you think you’re slowly losing your patience. The repetitive sight of the blinding white snow doesn’t help either.
“You’re lucky they saw your guy today ” the old man says, not looking at either of you, eyes trained on the ground below his feet, “We were thinking of closing the parks tomorrow. The weather station is predicting heavy snow”
“Yeah” you exhale through the wool scarf covering your mouth, “It’s lucky for that bastard too or we would have found a frozen corpse”
“That’s not so bad, is it, darling?” the ranger asks, and you don’t like the way he addresses you, “better he gets killed for what he’s been causing around our town. It’s been destroying businesses, scaring off the tourists too. Nobody wants to get out of their house now.”
“Sir-” Agent Hotchner starts but you’re quick to interject.
“It is the worst thing” you spit out, rage finally boiling over, “The families of those missing people deserve to know what happened and it’s cowardice to let him get away with it. Instead of wishing on someone’s death, rendering our job even more difficult than it is – why don’t you teach us what to look out for in this terrain?”
The man stops to glare at you, and you’re not aware you’re moving until you’re stopped – two hands grasping your elbow and bicep, shoving you back with force. You blink and see blue – Agent Hotchner’ back clad in a heavy jacket.
“I suggest you put the knife away” he orders calmly and your heart jumps to your throat. Knife? You try to move and see whatever is going on but he shields you from it. Did the snow make the park ranger break? Is he really out here threatening two law enforcement agents – or rather, you?
“ I won’t say it another time” Agent Hotchner’s voice is thick, dangerous. “It’s not a warning”
There’s a fallen tree bark, rotting at your right, too high for you to jump over or maneuver so you go for your left.
You take a step and catch sight of the ranger but he’s not the one with the weapon – the unsub is. The man who’s been kidnapping and slaughtering women and men and leaving only few of them on boats – the criminal that the BAU is here for, stands before you two. He’s bigger than the sightings had given him credit for, larger than the photos and police sketches have portrayed him. And with an animal’s fur over his shoulders and disheveled hair and traces of blood on his chest and spluttered over his torso - he looks feral.
He’s got a large hunting knife over the throat of the park ranger who visibly shudders, scared for his life.
You reach for the gun strapped to your side, and for the radio on the other.
His eyes dart to you like a wild bear’s would. Something tells you that the same rules apply here. No sudden movements. Do not startle, do not yell. Communicate calmly. It’s everything Agent Hotchner is doing, so you follow his lead.
You fail at another step, since your heart hammers: you’re not calm yourself. It’s why the unsub looks at you, eyes not blinking. You gulp.
“Look at me” Agent Hotchner commands, gun aimed steadily at him. “Drop the knife now”
The ranger mumbles something under his breath, but you’re not looking at him at all. The last days pass by you in a flash, remembering the photos of every crime, the state of the bodies, the mess. You remember even the deduction Agent Reid had made – the bodies that haven’t been found yet must have suffered the worst. If it happens here, right before a snowstorm, it will take spring for the dogs to find you. And if even that doesn’t happen – how will you manage to find your way out? Fear paralyzes you.
“Agent Hotchner” you plead, but your voice is muted, “if - if...”
“Shoot him!” The ranger yells out with no warning and the shrill of his voice makes things turn south fast.
A flash of a hand movement, the knife catching sun rays while it glides through the air – sharp and precise, and your mind doesn’t let you see the consequence of the action. Your eyes squeeze shut, but the blood-curdling scream that turns into a gurgled sound will replay in your head forever.
You’re pushed to the ground, before you can react, a gun falling from your grasp as your ankle collides with a tree trunk. You see stars for a split second, then the blast of a gun rings around the forest. Everything goes silent.
You crawl on your hands and knees, away from the echo, and wearily stand up. You expect the worst. The absolute worst. They're all dead. They’re all dead and the unsub will come after you while you’re unarmed.
You wince as you fix your posture, pain shooting from your right ankle up to your spine. You hadn’t failed to take notice of the way his agents addressed him. Had meant to even ask him about it, in one of your shared coffee moments. Now it slips easily from your mouth, tinged with worry and urgency.
“I’m here” his voice comes muffled and he’s bent forward over an animal carcass. He stands up, unharmed, unbothered – no sign of anxiety over whatever just happened.
“Are you okay?” he asks before you can. His eyes stay on the animal at his feet even though his voice is softer than before.
“Yeah” you manage, limping to where he is. “Are you? What are you--”
You stop dead in your tracks. The animal is the unsub, the serial killer whose list of victims just expanded by one. You suck in a breath and that’s when Agent Hotchner looks up at you.
“He’s dead” he says and the words are comforting. Relief mixes with guilt because after all, the park ranger had been right.
“Unfortunately,” Agent Hotchner confirms, brows pulled together in pain. His eyes scan your figure, checking for any signs of distress or harm, before sliding back up to meet your gaze. “We need to call off the search.”
You reach for the radio, turn it on and off, but nothing happens. You slip off your glove, revealing your hand to the cold air, and fumble with the buttons again.
“Fuck” you mutter under your breath, “fuck, fuck, shit”
“You okay?” Hotch curls forward, hands skimming over the unsub’s belongings. He turns the man’s jacket into a make-shift bag, where he piles on the knife and whatever he finds in his pockets. You’re hypnotized by his practiced motions, you don’t register the question.
“______?” he looks up and you comprehend it’s for gathering evidence since the snow will pile over the body if they don’t find him before then.
“The radio is not working,” you mutter.
He grimaces. “Is it not fixable?”
You remember then the park ranger’s radio – more powerful and far-reaching than those of police officers. The other body is amidst frozen shrubs, snow hiding the blood and the crime, rightfully concealing it as if paying respect to the man. He didn’t deserve this death – just like he didn’t deserve the last words directed to him to be out of disrespect.
You unhook the radio from his waistband. You switch it on and luckily – and you do mumble out a prayer – you’re met with the buzzing of static. You hold down the talk button on the side for two seconds and release. It works – and you’re on the right repeater. Thank God.
Holding the radio two inches from your mouth, you initiate the call. “Dispatch, Officer ____, Paradise” You release the talk button and wait in agony.
“Officer _____, go ahead”
Oh God, you breathe out in relief. They’re reachable. You’re reachable.
“Call off the search. The unsub found us two hours into the trail. Our team was led by ranger Doley. I’m with Agent Hotchner of the FBI. The man is dead, gunshot to the head, body lying on a tree trunk amidst a forest clearing, away from the coast. Break --”
You hear shuffling and Hotch’s finished the job, and his footsteps are heavy as he trudges through the snow, approaching you.
“Unfortunately, Park Ranger Doley didn’t make it out. He was killed by the unsub. Awaiting for instructions.”
You wait again, and hold up the radio to Agent Hotchner. He shakes his head.
“Officer _____, Clear”
Agent Hotchner rests a hand over your shoulder and the small gesture makes you slump back, leaning into him.
“Officer _____, search has been called off an hour ago due to extreme weather conditions. Park Ranger Doley has been notified to guide you to a safe location.”
What? You and Agent Hotchner share a look.
“Dispatch, we were not notified. We’ve been continuing through the search like normal. We’re far out from any safe location”
Hotch squeezes your shoulder, and you take it as a sign to restrain your frustrations. You take a deep breath. Last time you visited the national park was in the springtime, but you hadn’t been alone back then. You’d seen the small cabins along the trail, the safe houses and sheds park rangers have erected throughout the territory to maintain the plants and ecosystem. Now though, the snow makes every single thing look dull, identical. You’re not certain you can even retrace your steps from back then.
“Officer____, Clear.” the man on the other line says, acknowledging your communication, “We calculated your speed and the original maps laid out by the FBI – we presume you’ve travelled south-east. There are two sheds nestled in the woods and they are equipped with emergency EMS blankets, space blankets, hypothermia heat insulators and food.”
Another light squeeze on that same spot, then Agent Hotchner’s hand trails down, following the curve of your arm, bicep, elbow and wrist. Your eyes flutter, not sure if the premise of something warm or his hand is the cause for your reaction.
“Another mile up ahead, if you continue on the original trail,, there is also a cabin. It is privately owned but we suggest you do whatever you can to ride out the snowstorm.”
“Affirmative” you say breathily, Agent Hotchner’s hand now clasped firmly over yours, holding the radio. You’d forgotten all about the discarded glove, and your bare skin prickles with tiny needles that burn as if you’d poured boiling water over your palm.
His gloved hand is large, steady, warm even through the insulated layer as it covers your knuckles. It makes you feel frail, and out of everything else he’s done, it’s the one thing you can’t stand. Your heart jolts, going against your logic.
“Here” you say, dropping the radio from your hold, taking a step away from him, not unlike that of a wounded prey. “I’m sure your agents will want to hear your voice”
His eyes are curious but at least he follows directions. “Dispatch, this is SSA Aaron Hotchner from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Can you update me on the location of my unit?”
You don't expect him to ask about the wellbeing of others, and it renders your insides mellow.
“Agent Hotchner, sir, every single team has returned safe and sound to the precinct.” The man answers and you notice the small bit of relief crossing in his features. “I have Agent Morgan and Garcia at the station. Would you like to speak to them, sir?”
“Yes” his answer is rushed, no hesitation. You want to give him some privacy but you don’t dare move away. Something about his presence feels like the only anchor to comfort at the moment.
“Hotch?” There’s not one single voice in the background but two, male and female, muffled together in a sort of cacophony. But it still brings uncensored joy to the features of the man standing before you.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” asks Agent Morgan, at the same time that their tech analyst asks “Oh, God, are you cold?”
“I’m fine” he huffs out, a sort of noise in between a laugh and a grunt. “Morgan, once it’s clear out – and only then – direct the search with the guidance of the rangers. You will find two bodies” He pauses, glances quickly at you and his face changes drastically. Your throat goes dry, because you can only imagine he’s thinking the same – today there are two, but who knows what they’ll find tomorrow.
“Listen carefully: the unsub was attracted by sound. In contrast to what we suggested Doley, he talked the entire time – I assume it’s how he found us. He went for him first, with a hunting knife. He was unresponsive to directions. He was too quick and I couldn’t--” he swallows thickly, and it’s the only sign that he’s as affected by what happened as you are. “Then, he went after the officer. It was only one clean shot. I’m taking any evidence I found on his person and keeping them out of the snow so you will be able to extract DNA”
“We” Morgan corrects, “ We will trace DNA, Hotch. You included”
All breath leaves your lungs. The collection of evidence, the testimony – he's trying to give it all now so if you don’t... If both of you don’t find the sheds, or the cabins...
You nod, and it helps – Hotch continues talking.
“We will continue on the original trail” he makes the decision for the both of you and it’s a relief. “We will find that cabin”
His words are grim but you know the tone doesn’t transfer through the radio communication, because Morgan repeats his statement back, like a mantra: “you will, Hotch. It’s just a snowstorm. We have been through worse things.”
Something flashes in Hotch’s eyes but it’s too quick for you to catch.
“You’re in charge,” Hotch concludes. “You know about the envelope in my desk drawer. If anything happens... Haley, Jessica and Jack...”
“You’ll make it back, man” Morgan says desperately, voice higher, “Don’t waste time telling me this bullshit. Keep walking, man. You’re strong, and a goddamn snowstorm won’t get to you.”
“Serial killers surely didn’t” you blurt out and Hotch looks up, “you proved my point a few moments ago”
A gasp of a laugh resounds from the other line and it serves them all to break the solemn moment of grieving for something that hasn’t occurred yet.
He turns the radio upside down, motioning for you to take it – for goodbyes or any directions you want to give. You have none.
Actually, there’s only one.
“I want a fucking espresso tomorrow morning Agents” you say aloud.
Hotch’s eyes crinkle at the sides. His mouth and his smile – you presume – are hidden beneath his thick scarf.
“Got it, ma’am” Morgan says cheerily, “I’ll bring a big ass thermos. Stay safe out there”
“Take care of each other” Garcia yells out, just before silence expands again.
Hotch watches you for a second too long, and it makes your entire skin under your layers feel as prickly and tender as your exposed hand.
“Come on, we’ve got a lot of a walking to do”
In the end, you do something that makes Hotch look at you shocked – you search Doley’s person like he’d done to the criminal. The whole ordeal had made you remember the first case you’d worked on in Alaska – an accident where a park ranger was involved. Because of that you remember they carry a small first aid kit, bug spray, an all-purpose knife, and sunblock in their backpacks. Even in the winter. The one thing that makes you exclaim “jackpot” aloud is the flare gun strapped to his waist. You hope Hotch doesn’t pay any mind to you mumbling apologies to the man you’re looting, how your hands shake the entire time, or the tears prickling in your eyes.
Like a gentleman, Hotch doesn’t mention any of it as you get back on the road, walking 5 steps away from each other, side by side. It’s how one hour goes by, and the snow starts thirty minutes in.
“You’re limping” Hotch speaks for the first time since what feels like forever. The cold or the walk has made his voice raspier. “You said you weren’t hurt. Did you sprain your ankle?”
You’ve kept your hands tucked inside the pockets of your snow and wind resistant jacket; and you’ve done your best to walk as normally as you could. It works, up until the moment it doesn’t anymore. You don’t remember when you gave up trying to hide it.
“No, I’m fine. It's nothing.”
“It’s not nothing” his voice sounds nearer, and he’s moved closer, only two steps away. You don’t recall when that happened either. “We’ve been slower. If you’d told me --”
You twirl around to face him, acting impulsively since your mind feels hazy. “Ditch me then. I’d rather not slow you down.”
“That’s not what I meant” he retorts, stopping as well. His face betrays exhaustion and you wonder if you’re a reflection of him too. “If you’re walking on a bad ankle it’s going to make the situation worse and if you’re bleeding it may cause an infection”
His tone of voice is impossibly soft, but there is lingering frustration in your body and you’re cognizant only that he’s the source of it. You don’t remember the reason for it though, or what he has done. Maybe it’s proximity’s fault. Being scared over your life, tired and on the verge of collapse will transform you into a bad person, wanting to blame anyone else but you for your own mistakes.
Hotch watches you in silence and something connects. “I caused it”
“I caused it. I pushed you out of harm’s way. I thought he was going to throw the knife”
That frustration overflows, switching to anger – that's right. He shoved you out of the way, in the middle of a fucking confrontation.
“You didn’t push me out of harm’s way, Agent” you spit out, and he jolts, surprised by your sudden aggressive tone, “You fucking underestimated me. I’m a trained police officer. I know these grounds better than you. Have dealt with rangers for a year and a half too! What was your train of thought? That I’m fucking useless?”
Hotch shakes his head. “What? No. No, I wasn’t thinking that. I didn’t...”
“You said on the radio that he went after us because Doley wouldn’t shut up. Well, I tried to make him shut up. ``Your anger makes you heated and shake, as you make the distance to stare at him. “He kept talking over and over, making sexist little jokes while you just stayed silent, letting me bear it all. Then, when I fucking confronted him about it, you think I can’t handle it?”
The scarf around your throat is in the way of your talking; you bite it a few times until you’ve had enough. You push it down, baring the lower part of your face, just so you can show him your teeth.
“Guess what, Agent Hotchner? I can handle angry men! I can do more than handle them and I am not fucking scared ”
He doesn’t interrupt, nor react when you slam a hand over his chest, wanting to push him away – just to demonstrate how he’d acted with you. Unfortunately for you, this entire day has made your limbs useless, because his body doesn’t move an inch.
“You pushed me out of the way” you huff out, “you made me lose my gun. I’m unarmed and I was useless back there”
His eyes remain tender despite it all, and they drop to your mouth. In a perfect, logical world, you wouldn’t be affected by it but you are. The man in front of you , you consider, could look at the back of your neck and still make you flush . It’s something you’re realizing now.
“You’ve made me useless” you breathe out, voice shaky.
“I’m sorry,” Hotch says, looking down at his chest. Your bare hand rests over it, and he wraps one of his over it. You stop trying to decipher his gestures because you’ll drive yourself crazy. It's all because of the cold. The snowstorm is making you into a bad person while he stays the same – kind, and altruistic.
“I didn’t intend to make you lose your weapon. I thought he’d be much faster than he turned out to be.”
“He was,” you mutter. Something about his confession makes you feel guilty. “He got Doley”
“Right” Hotch nods, gaze unwavering. “Yes” He squeezes your hand, a bit too hard than necessary but a wave of hot affection carries through. “Will you let me see your ankle?”
“Out here?” you laugh out, and fight the feeling of wanting to squirm while he’s transparent in giving you attention. “I don’t think taking my boot off is a good idea”
Hotch lets go of your hand, and you hope you’re good at hiding disappointment from a profiler. He reaches down, both hands on the scarf under your chin and he pulls it gently up, to cover your face again.
“Not here” he says, voice thick. “Not yet”
You blink and he kneels before you can understand what’s happening. You look down – his hands wrap around your right leg, below your knee and even through the cold, the wind, the snow gently covering the ground around you both, you still feel his touch, like you’re standing bare before him. His large hands travel down until they stop and hover over your ankle.
“I’m not a medical expert” he exhales, looking up, “but I have to touch you to know if it’s serious. Just tell me if it hurts. Can I go on?”
You nod, but he waits for you to talk. “Yes.”
You hold your breath as he presses his fingers lightly on your ankle. “Your shin is good. No fractures on the bone”
Nothing happens for some seconds, but then his thumb taps your Achilles' tendon and you let out a whimper. It makes your vision blacken and sweat prickles at your temple.
“Fuck - what was that?”
“You can’t walk like this” Hotch says, voice back to that of a unit chief: commanding and stern. “I’ll carry you. We’ll be faster.”
Your mind blanks out but not because of the pain. “I’m sorry – you'll what?”
Hotch shoots you a glare then takes your backpack, and straps it in the front, so it covers his chest.
“Get on my back” he orders, and those words and that tone make you wake up, “Now.”
Fuck , maybe this is why this man is good at his job, though you doubt all of his subordinates are heated by the way he carries authority. You do as he says, just as he turns your back to you. You wrap your arms around his neck, and you’re too slow – too shy – to do the rest. He stands, not waiting, and guides your legs around his waist himself. That action makes you grateful for all the layers in between you two, lest he feels the way he affects you. He runs his right hand, up and down your right calf, careful not to touch your hurt ankle.
God – and that’s suddenly foreplay because you’ve never been more turned on in your life. Before he takes hold of the underside of your knees to keep you fixed in place, he takes off a glove and hands it to you. You're ready to protest but he uses that tone again, the one that goes straight to your lower belly.
“Here. You’re high up now, and can spot the cabin. That’s your job.”
You place both hands on his wide shoulders as he looks up to you. He’s rendering you useful . After you put the glove on, and he hooks his hands under your knees, he starts walking. He’s much slower than before, but you don’t tell him that. You don’t know how long you spend in silence once again, but it feels more intimate than before.
“Do you do this often?” you ask, not wanting to let yourself obsess over him. Over how his cologne still lingers even in the wind and the snow, though now it’s faint. Or how strong he is piggybacking you. Or how big his hands really are, now that you can compare them with the size of his glove, and how that takes your mind to sinful places, wondering what else is --
“Hiking in the snow?” Hotch interjects, voice playful like this morning. He keeps his eyes trained on the scenery before him, while you scan the horizon for any buildings.
“Yeah” you reply, feeling lightheaded, “or carry local law enforcement over your shoulders”
“Only as a reward”
You let out a laugh, and he squeezes your thighs with his hands, leaving you breathless.
“Are you tired?” you whisper, barely trusting yourself to speak. “We’ve been walking for so long”
“I run every morning”
“Yes” he turns his head side to side, scanning the terrain that unfolds every time he takes a step. “I’ve done quite a few marathons too.”
Wow, okay that’s something. So, no wonder he’s athletic. You say it aloud too.
“I guess” he admits, sounding almost sheepish. “My turn”
“ I’ve got a question of my own.” Oh, here’s that playful side of him again that makes you feel like you’re hallucinating. “You’re not from Alaska?”
“No” the answer slides from your mouth easily. You blame it on the two death scares for making you pliant and so forthcoming in sharing your secrets. “I transferred here one and a half year ago”
Hotch takes a deep breath, and you feel the movement of his torso right against your chest. Just as the clothes are a blessing, they’re also a curse.
You could say that he’s asking two questions but you choose to give up that information willingly again. Usually when you recount the past, it affects you like the day it happened. Now though, stuck in the middle of nowhere, while snow falls over you, and wrapped around the shoulders of a man you met just this week – it does not make you falter.
“A case went wrong two years ago – a woman washed up on the shore in LA”
Hotch sucks in a breath.
“She was supposed to give a testimony against one of the biggest drug lords we managed to catch. It was like she fell out of the sky” you talk fast, scared that your logic will catch up with you and shut you up, “I spent my whole career – though not long enough – searching for that man. He’s killed children, men, women, and who knows how many others have passed away because of his drugs.”
Hotch continues trudging on the snow, his steps even slower as the snow picks up speed, the flakes larger than before. At least, the sky is still visible, so the worst hasn’t come yet.
“She showed up at my house, told me she wanted to give a statement against the man. Her family had all perished because of him.”
You snuggle to Hotch’s back, and the comfort radiating from his body helps steer away the bad feelings.
“I promised her protection. A future. Hope”, you swallow, “She washed up on the shore, shot three times – a message to me, as it was the third time I tried to go after him.”
You don’t think you imagine the way Hotch’s hand runs up and down your legs, as if to remind you he’s there, and he’s listening.
“So, I took the cowardice way out and transferred departments”
“It’s not cowardice”
“My boyfriend at the time didn’t think like you”
Hotch is silent for a good minute before he talks. “It’s not your fault”
You scoff. “I appreciate the sentiment, Hotch, but she was my responsibility. It is technically my fault”
“I know” he says, voice slightly thicker than before, “but you can’t save them all. You weren’t the one holding the gun and you didn’t --”
“Oh God” you breathe out, shocked.
Hotch beneath you stops in his tracks. “What?”
You let go of him, and your weight is too much for him to hold you up, so you slide down. Your foot connecting to the ground makes you hiss out in pain but it’s nothing compared to the discovery you’ve made.
“The cabin” you yell out, and Hotch looks at you like you’ve seen a mirage in the desert. “It’s right ahead, Hotch. Come on”
Without thinking it, you reach for his hand and lead him towards the cabin. It is much smaller than expected, more like a small refuge or an escape, than a motel. But you’re not one to complain, not now, not when you get to finally be away from the cold and the snow and the woods and...
Hotch chuckles and you finally realize how fast you’re walking, limp or not, dragging him behind with sudden strength. When you make it up the first three steps, and you’re hissing more than breathing, he takes hold of you – large hands grabbing the sides of your waist, hoisting you up with ease and putting you down before the entrance door. Your lungs give out, brain short-circuiting, and he comes to stand beside you. This man - you realize – is going to make you wild.
“ How do we go about the door?” He says, trying the door handle. It doesn’t budge and you frantically search the front porch. Over the windowsills, inside the lamp fixture over the front door, and then you spot the hanging flower pot – nailed to the ceiling. It can resist violent winds and it’s out of the snow and rain. You stand on your tiptoes and reach out. Your fingertips hit the metallic key and you shriek, making Hotch laugh again.
“Good sign?” he says, leaning heavily against the door.
“This house is my favorite place in the world, right now” You show him the key and he nods, satisfied. He doesn’t move as you unlock the door, and it makes your heart beat louder.
Hotch doesn’t wait for you to be gentle – he kicks the door open, and holds a hand up in apology. “Sorry. I promised gentle”
You blink slowly at him. Amongst everything else that’s happened, you’d failed to consider that you’re going to have to spend the night, holed up in a tiny space with him. The only man you’ve found yourself attracted to since one and a half years ago will be your companion for the night.
You find you don’t care about holding yourself back – not when you’re doing the impulsive thing now. Hotch looks at you differently too, his eyes turning darker than before. The smile wipes off both your faces.
“Check the inside” he commands, “I’ll do a quick scan outside”
“What for?” you croak, mouth dry. “The storm is bound to hit soon and we’re out. Let's not do that”
“Trust me” Hotch breathes out, and you can’t help the way your body inches closer, as if pulled by gravity, “I have to.”
Before you can react, he moves away from the door, and you hear more than you see him climb down the steps back to the ground.
“I’ll check for resources” you say to yourself.
Factually, what you end up doing is visiting the bathroom, and are relieved to find toilet paper. The cabin is small, open-space design with no walls apart from the toilet. The bedroom – which is just one large double-bed, perched to a wall of the cabin – a small kitchen and living room, which is just two couches positioned in front of a small fireplace, all share the same space. You find some hiker’s food: trail mix, nuts, seeds, nut butter packs, dried oranges, persimmons, granola and energy bars. Even dried jerky but you leave that to Hotch if that’s his thing because it’s not yours. All in all, a great find.
You’re messing with the insides of the fireplace, when Hotch returns. The door slams open and you hold out the all-purpose knife like you know how to use it.
Violent wind makes it inside the cabin, before Hotch does, bringing together ice-cold temperatures.
“What happened to you?” You gasp when Hotch walks in, completely drenched. He drops on the ground a stack of firewood.
“For warmth” he replies, and his large body shakes. You shut the door behind him, locking it so it stays closed.
“Jesus, where did you fetch them? In Antarctica?”
“Funny” he says through gritted teeth, “Thought we were already there?”
“Sit down” you push him towards a couch and he begrudgingly plops down. You strip a blanket off the bed and wrap it over the wood.
Hotch gives you a strange look. “I don’t think they can freeze”
You roll the logs, drying them off and thank the lord for that wilderness training you’d had to take as a welcome package to starting work in Alaska. It proves successful now, as you manage to light up a fire, with very little smoke entering your lungs or Hotch’s.
You give him a triumphant smile when the fire starts to sizzle, but he’s in full blown-out shivers. Your voice sounds foreign to your own ears as you say the following words.
“Take off your clothes”
Hotch looks at you like he’ll do just about anything you ask, but he still doesn’t move.
“Hotch” you kneel before him, just like he’d done with you out there, “I trusted you. I need you to do the same now. Your clothes are wet. You need to take them off so they can dry. You won’t make the night if you stay like that”
“I - I...”
“I’m not trying to get in your pants”
He looks at you like you’re lying. Your breathy voice betrays you, so you add “right now”. To convince him – and yourself – you go back to take another blanket off the bed.
It’s enough to persuade him as he takes off the beanie first, then the hood of the jacket – and you help him unzip it. You push it off his shoulders with much more exaltation than you should even have in this scenario. You help him out of his boots, then his pullover, and when he’s just in an undershirt and pants he stops you. Squeezes your hands together in his.
“Slow down” Hotch mutters, cheeks flushed completely, and his eyes glint with want, lit by the flames of the fire, “or you’ll have me stripping you as well.”
Your heart jumps to your throat.
“Sorry” you mumble, wanting nothing but for him to do just that. But you can’t. You can’t. So, you stand up, and pace to a corner of the room, and sit down on the bed. You try not to stare. Keyword: try. But your hands shake just like he did. They itch, wanting to get back to him. You held hands; he held you with so many barriers in between. What would it be like, without any?
You stare at your lap, and shift on the large bed, not managing to get into a comfortable position. Then you think back at Hotch in the tiny living room of this cabin. That’s how a wild idea comes to you. You hop down, and pull the mattress off the bed stand.
“I’m not insane” you say aloud, not daring to see the state of him, knowing all strength will leave you. “I just think we should sleep near the fire”
You grunt and curse, pulling the heavy mattress across the dusty floor, and when you arrive at the couch area, Hotch stands, a small smile on his face. He’s got the blanket around his shoulders, and the smile goes wider when he catches you staring.
Luckily, he’s a gentleman and doesn't mention it.
You unzip your own jacket and push away one couch, and he pushes the other. A small repositioning of the mattress and you manage to place it directly in front of the fireplace. Hotch sits down without much need for guidance this time, and you’re eternally grateful.
“Sit” he pats the empty place by his side, and you take small steps, like you’re testing him.
He looks infinitely better, though he still shivers under the blanket. You open your mouth to say something but he catches you off guard, approaching you first. His hands pat your shoe, “let me see your ankle now.”
“Is this foreplay?” you roll your eyes, but take off your shoes just the same. You gasp when his cold hands touch your bare skin and he mumbles a soft “sorry”.
After an excruciating inspection, he lets you go, stating that you’re not bleeding, and you might have just sprained it.
“Thanks, Doctor Hotchner” you tease and he squeezes your knee in turn. God, just how many erogenous zones do you have – and why is he the one discovering them all?
He lets you go and you stand like that, both stubborn and refusing to look away first. You realize, with everything else that’s happened today, that you’re also both reluctant in breaking your personal boundaries. Except with each other.
You feel your breathing go slower, calmer, as the cabin fills with warmth. The wind outside howls, sounding like it is bending trees and mountains. Hotch’s chest heaves, and he blinks, the shivering not stopping yet. Worry seeps into your bones, and the lust is shaken off, like leaves in autumn.
“Hotch” you start, “please would you let me help you?”
Your eyes stay fixed on his throat as he swallows. Then he mumbles, “Yes.”
He has near to normal consciousness and that’s the first stage.
You don’t hesitate a second. You pull off your pullover, then the two other layers of insulation, remaining only in a bra. You do the same with your pants, shimmying them off your legs, and you feel Hotch’s eyes on you the entire time. Sitting back down in the same place as before, you turn to him, and take the ends of his blanket from his grip.
“Hotch --” you plead, hoping he reads your mind, and that he needs to shed off all of his clothes. “You’re going to get hypothermia.”
Hotch nods, but his hands are too slow. You take the lead, handling him gently, taking off his last piece of clothing, being careful not to make excessive or jarring movements. You guide him with his back to the mattress, and cover his head with a blanket, leaving only his face exposed. You pull off the sheets, the blankets, anything you can find and lay down over him, trying not to squeeze him with your own body weight. He lets out a small puff of air over your forehead when your bare chest makes contact with his.
“Do you -” he looks down at you, and audibly gulps, “do you do this for every law enforcement agent?”
You let out a laugh, and he reacts with his body language. His arms loop around your waist, repositioning you fully over him, until you’re sprawled over his torso, and your head fits in the crook of his shoulder and neck. No man has ever let his actions speak more than his words when they were with you.
“Only for the FBI” you whisper against his cheek.
He feels so cold, still inhumanly so, but some of the color has returned. You take it as a good sign. On the radio he’d talked about people he had to say goodbye to, that he wanted to return to, and you have your own tie to reality so you rein it in for all of them.
“As a reward?”
“Yes” you say, trying very hard not to look at his mouth when it’s so close to yours. You repeat his words from when you were out in the woods: not now, not now, not now. “ Yes, Hotch. Now, please, get better.”
Sometime in between his incoherent mumbling, and your soft-spoken prayers over his well-being, you fall asleep. You wake up only because the fire starts to crackle, close to dying out. You extricate yourself out of Hotch’s hold, not waking him up. He breathes, he’s stopped shivering, and he’s got a healthy flush on his cheekbones, neck and chest.
God, you exhale, the worst has passed . The wristwatch you’d taken off and left over the fireplace signals it's around 3am, and the wind continues strong outside. You put in new firewood, and stir it slowly until the flame is alive again.
When you lie back down on the bed, you do so chest and face against it, turned away from Hotch, because there’s no need for it anymore. Whatever happened these last few days is about to end in a few hours. You’re certain the entire police department, EMTs and park rangers are ready to descend in the park to search for the both of you. It's a good thing, ultimately, but you want everything but to return to normal.
“_______” Hotch pronounces your name like it’s the first time he's saying it.
You turn your head to him, not changing your posture, very aware that you’re shirtless and the mattress is your only cover.
“How are you feeling?” you ask as his eyes travel up and down your figure, taking you in. It makes your skin tingle all over.
“Good” his voice is rich and relaxed, like the flames inside the fireplace, “How’s your ankle?”
Everything about him – his hair, his face, the look he’s giving you, like need, ache, hunger, and his lean, strong body, that you hadn’t dared to sneak glances at – makes you feel dizzy. You want to run your hands through that hair – now smooth and dry and dark, and make it messy, by pulling it and scraping your nails against his scalp. You want to feel those wide shoulders under your bare palms. You want to taste them with your mouth. And that torso, that back – God , you’ll never admit just how much you didn’t want to climb off him, or how he’d managed to rewire your entire nerve endings. They all seem to react to him now, not to you , because you have no thought left in your brain.
You want to touch all of him.
“_____, please” Hotch says tightly, blinking, “How is your ankle?”
“Good” you reply, voice light and breezy. His eyes flutter open and they’ve turned stormy and dark. “Good like new”
“You’re lying” he scooches closer, the blanket falling off his shoulders and baring them to air. The sight makes you breathe out in agony. Tiny flames - that’s what the feeling resembles – now originate from deep low in your belly.
“I can read it in your face”
You could play the game or you could skip it altogether. It’s late already, so the decision isn’t difficult.
“What else can you read on my face?”
Can he read the want ? The desire?
The blanket slides off his torso, and he moves closer, hand reaching up, and your body thrums in anticipation. He runs his fingertips along the pearls of your spine, starting from the waistband of your underwear, in the spot between your hips, and trailing upwards. It makes you feel feverish, and you shiver from the light touch. His hand stops at the nape of your neck and your eyes flutter when he wraps his palm around it. It's warm and rough but tender – like he’s been this entire day. His fingers dive into your hair, and you gasp out.
Twice – he's touched you twice in total and you feel thoroughly wrecked. And impatient.
“Hotch --” you don’t manage his full name, not when his hand around your neck pulls you gently to him. He closes in the distance and kisses you.
It’s not gentle. Nor soft. Hotch kisses like he’s been struggling to restrain himself all day and has finally let go. He nips your lower lip and you gasp out, making him only kiss you harder, firmer, with a more desperate frenzy. His mouth is so good, so adept that you’re moaning, unbothered by the angle, or the fact he can see all of you, just like you can him.
You have little to no control in fact, and he finds that out when he parts away, mouth falling open into a muted moan as your hand reaches for his hard dick, standing upright over his stomach.
It makes your blood rush from your head to the pulse between your legs. He closes his eyes, letting his head fall back in the blanket pile, and you change your posture, curling forward to kiss his throat, that nook where it touches his shoulder. You suck at that particular spot, nipping it gently with your teeth like you’d wanted to for so , so long. One more day – no, one more hour – and you would have lost your mind.
His large hand closes around your fist, still wrapped around his length, while you drive grunts out of him. Instead of stopping you, an internal fight occurs between his eyes. He presses you down, while he jerks his hips up, keening into the pressure of your palm. You want him in your mouth – you want him gathering your hair all up in his large hands, and maybe, just maybe you want the same treatment back.
But that’s not what stops your motions – his hand is. He pulls you away from him and before you can protest, or tell him your wants aloud and how they benefit him , he covers your mouth with his again.
Hotch kisses like devouring, and filthily too – sucking on the tip of your tongue. He hasn’t even put his hands on you and you arch your back either way.
“Fuck me” you breathe against his mouth, “ Hotch ”
He hums against your lips, his own name turning him wilder. His hand grips your waist, hip and draws back to cup your ass. He studies your reactions meticulously with his hand. All while kissing you. Your mouth falls open when his hand drops below, and palms your pussy. He runs a finger slowly up and down, watching you quiver and shake, and he moves back, to meet your eyes.
“I’m not gentle” Hotch says softly, but it doesn’t sound like a warning, when his eyes are trained on yours, with a steely intensity only he can manage. “Do you want me to be?”
You buck to his hand, still moving agonizingly slow, not doing enough to make you as wet as you are, and shake your head. “No, no. I don’t want that”
You don’t want to be revered – you want to be owned.
As if to punctuate it, you initiate the kiss, pressing with force to him, and he rewards you for your eagerness. His hand finally dives down, a finger slipping inside, curling right away. Your breath catches, turning into a fervent gasp. Your lungs get no reprieve as Hotch bends his head, and grazes his teeth along your throat, and shoulder. A zip of electricity shoots from that spot and seeps below, right where his hand is.
Hotch’s so good – so fucking good – you make sure to tell him that, those words repeating even as you press your head down on the mattress, lifting your lower half up, so he has free rein to all of you. The wet, hot glide of his mouth trails down below, between your shoulder blades, and back at your throat. When he slips another finger in, you fist the mattress, whimpering while his fingers fuck you faster, harder, deriving louder noises out of you, until you’re utterly incoherent, a mess of breaths and cries.
“Can I sink in you?” He rasps right over your earlobe and you turn your head to him, contorting your body the right way so you can meet his mouth.
Fuck. You pant, his hand never straying away or slowing down as you drench the bed. “Yes, yes, yes. God. Yes”
“_______” he parts away, word mumbled over you, it might as well be a kiss, and then he shifts his body, knees on the outside of each of your thighs, hovering over your back.
The heat radiating off his chest against your back makes you hold a breath, his hands press against the mattress, on the sides of your head, hoisting his weight up. His smell – lingering cologne and him – engulfs you completely, wrapping around your throat and rubbing against your bare skin.
Hotch lets out an appreciative hum when you melt under him and jut your ass out, wanting to meet him halfway. You grind against him, and the groan he lets out is downright erotic when it’s pressed against the nape of your neck.
It’s only a moment while he holds himself up with a hand, and you bring your mouth to his left wrist, brushing soft kisses on his pulse point, his knuckles, and your heart jumps, when your lips touch the golden band on his finger. The kiss turns into a bite around his wrist, a loose attempt of muffling your whimper when he presses his dick between your folds, parting you before thrusting forward. He grips your hip, as he continues the movement like a tide. It’s not exactly comfortable, not when the pleasure shooting to every nerve renders you spaghetti-limbed, and you struggle to keep upright.
Hotch is a goddamn profiler and he’s exceptionally great at sex too - and reading minds apparently, because he stands on his knees, bringing you with him, changing the angle as he gathers all blankets, sheets and pillows, and with a hand at the base of your spine, pushes them underneath your belly. The relief of not having to do all the work is immense, and it helps the position, because he resumes it, landing scorching kisses on your shoulders, spine and throat again, gentle hands squeezing yours before letting go and returning to hold up his weight.
The contrast of him being tender and then firm again is so overwhelmingly good; you can do nothing but rock desperately against him, moving your hips in any way that allows you to get that needed friction.
“So good” Hotch chokes out, “so fucking good”
“ You are” you whimper, feeling ruined by the infliction of his voice, “More, Hotch, more”
He holds on tight, fisting the sheet covering the mattress underneath you, and thrusts hard. Nothing matters but him – nothing feels as good as him, as being held, pressed under his body and in his mercy, but still regarded with impossible adoration – and you make a strangled noise, between a moan and sharp scream, crying out his name.
You meet him each and every time as he goes deeper, harder, until your incoherent noises get lost in the comforting crackling of the flames in the fireplace, and the never-ending roaring wind outside, fighting to get in and disrupt.
Your soft body succumbs, going rigid when you come, breathy sounds turning sharp, and legs shaking, body shuddering around him. He mumbles soft praises, unfiltered, uncensored, and you register them as “ good, perfect, beautiful ” and you think he’s turned sentimental, but then he moans, pulls out and shatters over his stomach, not a trace of it on you, and you bite your lip, containing the discontent. You’ve never wanted a single man to mark you or have you like he has – without a condom and with so little time knowing each other. You hardly have any time to register your confusing feelings when he leans forward again, his chest rubbing against your back, and leaves a bite mark over your shoulder. Then, like that had been the sole thing keeping him from falling, he drops to the side, and yanks you to his chest, possessively.
You’re perfect” Hotch mutters against your cheek, and you gasp when he presses a hand between your legs again, deft fingers rubbing the swollen bud of your clit with repetitive motions. "I know you can give me another one" You let out a whine of pleasure, eyes fluttering closed as your body overheats again. You grip his free hand, nails biting into skin, not letting go as he works out another orgasm out of you, panting "yes, yes, yes" as he does. He makes you come with his fingers, and your body spasms more violently than before. He holds you to his chest, not moving until your breathing returns to normal again.
“Thank you” Hotch whispers.
You latch onto both hands over your belly and lace your fingers through his, “For wanting to have sex with you?”
Hotch lets go to cup your chin, turning your face gently, forcing you to meet his gaze. Maybe you can read him too now because you can recognize the longing swirling in his eyes. It makes your chest tighten.
“For saving my life”
You nod and he doesn’t let you get off easy, or shut down the swell of emotion. He holds you tight to his chest and kisses you – slow, deep and sensual – until you’re left panting, chest heaving again. His possessive hands gather you to him, keeping you steady and warm, never wavering or flinching.
Even as you run your hands over his knuckles, feeling the distinct curve of his wedding ring, his hold never falters. He never lets you go. Guilt never quite reaches you.
The morning makes you both get ready quickly, especially when sun rays enter through the windows, and fall directly over your eyes. The sky is clear. The snow is all settled but not unmanageable by experts. Hotch tries for the radio again, picking no frequencies, and you both eat some dry food, before readjusting the mess made. Strangely, he doesn’t act cold or stand-offish, like you do.
You’re the first to put some distance in between, while he tries to make small talk, and open you up again like he did that first day you met.
When you hear distant car engines you both shoot up from your seats. Your eyes scan the environment quickly, heart dropping to your stomach, imagining the worst-case scenario again, while Hotch turns to you. He stops you with a hand around your wrist and pulls you back.
“Agent Hotchner, please --”
“Look at me”, his tone of voice is commanding but it’s the tapping of his fingers on your wrist that convinces you – the language you’ve fathomed together.
“I don’t need to hear it” you confess.
Not the: I fucked up, I shouldn’t have, I thought I was going to die.
But just like he always seems to do, Hotch catches you by surprise. His other hand cradles the side of your face and angles your head, before he bends down and kisses you, gentle, just like promised that second day. But too short. It causes flutters to explode inside your chest, electrifying and dizzying. He takes a step back and you follow, crumbling the material of his jacket and pulling him in to continue the kiss and finish it like he’d done yesterday.
When you part, the car engines are right outside and he holds a hand over the door – not allowing anyone to come in just yet.
He runs the pad of his thumb over your lower lip, making you shudder, eyes intent on your mouth, and then pulls back.
You blink and he’s back to being SSA Aaron Hotchner, the unit chief, the man who saved your life with a single deadly shot.
The door opens up and you’re met with familiar faces – his agents: Morgan, Prentiss, Garcia too, and more, and you nod and smile as they let you pass through. You descend the steps, and before you make it to the ground, strong arms lift you, and your eyes go wide.
“You’re safe” His voice is distinct, recognizable even after all this time. Luckily, he puts you down on the ground a second later, and his blue eyes search the faces of the agents you left behind.
“Thank you!” he cries out, “thank you for keeping my beautiful wife safe!”
You don’t dare turn around, not when you feel Hotch’s eyes burn the back of your skull.
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masterlist of w*lker reviews to brighten up your day!
‘W*lker’ review: A forgettable reboot which takes itself too seriously
“The prolific American freelance satirist and cultural critic Joe Queenan had once described the Chuck Norris-starrer Walker, Texas Ranger as a show ‘so corny and predictable that it appears to be in slow-motion even when it’s not.’ (...) Its 2021 reboot, simply titled Walker, seems no different.”
The CW's W*lker Is Just as Cheesy and Awkward as the Original W*lker, Texas Ranger
“W*lker’s political point of view may be slightly updated, but everything else about the show feels musty and stilted, completely out of place with the modern genre shows (...) P*dalecki fits awkwardly into the role (...) W*lker’s fixation on his dead wife is manifested in gauzy, Hallmark-style visions of her watching over him and his family, giving the P*daleckis the chance to gaze longingly at each other (...) When he tries to call her back and gets no answer, he lets out a hilariously overwrought manly wail of sorrow (...)”
‘W*lker’ Review: ‘Ranger’ Gets a Reboot
“only the pilot was available to review and the introductory episode is hampered by the task of having to introduce everything. That said, the show’s creator, Anna Fricke, might have done this more tidily (...) The opening moments of the first episode involve the death of W*lker’s wife under circumstances that go unexplained, as do the man’s anguished cries (...) All this soft-spoken Texas muttering may be regionally authentic, but it doesn’t help with the details.”
and (because I am in love with how passively-aggressively Wall Street journal phrased this):
“it is suggested that he ran away at precisely the time his kids needed him. Rather than rush home to see them when he gets back from his mysterious mission, he parks his enormous pickup truck in a public park. Where he starts drinking. Only to be taken into custody by State Trooper Micki Ramirez, who, just coincidentally, is about the become a Texas Ranger and—gasp—W*lker’s partner.”
CW Reboots W*lker but Forgets to Give Him a Personality
“W*lker is very much one side of the coin, and that's one of the main problems with a show that wants to be a little progressive but can't leave behind its black-and-white origins (...) Introducing audiences to this many characters and tossing in a mystery of the week makes the premiere a little crowded, but it’s also surprisingly flat and slow in terms of pacing (...) There’s just nothing here to hold onto (...) "W*lker" isn't the edge of the coin as much as one of those quarters that's been through the system for so long that it's lost all of its luster.”
'W*lker' Review: A Rusty Texas Ranger Reboot Led By An Awkward J*red P*dalecki (my favourite by far)
“the CW reboot is as outdated as they come but hey, at least it pretends to be serious (...) His sorrow-channelling reaction is cringey at best (...) It all hints at an all too simple, nay, mind-numbingly basic plot (...) W*lker is a show you have watched all too many times (...) a wholly forgettable story (...) no emotional depth”
“P*dalecki is so awkward in his ridiculous Ranger hat, it had me wishing I could knock it right off his head by the sheer power of my will. This wayward son has “carried on” to a very bizarre destination.”
+ bonus (not a review per se, and it will probably make you angry)
‘Walker’: How Detention Of Children At U.S.-Mexico Border Served As Jumping-Off Point For CW Reboot
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del myaimistrue’s underrated destiel fic recs! (part 1)
these are all fics i’ve read and realllllllly enjoyed, and they’re all ones that i don't often see people discussing on here. bc of that they all either have less than 10k hits OR were published pre-2015 OR both. i hope you all like them, and if you do, please consider giving the authors some love and leaving a comment saying so. we fic writers live off that kinda stuff :)
list under the cut, organized by word count!
I Know! Straight Out of a Telenovela, Right? by @credentiast
quick 800ish word meta joke about y yo a ti. so sweet and domestic and lovely. i read this right after it was uploaded and have gone back to read it multiple times since then. always makes me smile!
strap the wing to me by a_good_soldier (aka @s11e17)
as i’m sure we all know, basically everything a_good_soldier writes is wonderful. this little 1.9k bit of sweetness is one of my personal favorites of theirs, and is sorely underrated. a bit of conversation between dean and cas about how much cas loves him. nothing like holy devotion to a human man!
The First Thing There Is by bendingsignposts
cas seals off dean's memories as part of the effort to stop michael, and amnesiac dean immediately realizes that cas loves him. 5k of really sweet, in-character moments and a healthy dose of humor.
Eyes Like the Texas Sky by RogueTranslator
do you hate john winchester? do you want to read about dean’s queer awakening and how that relates to his love of cowboys? do you love sweet stories about finding love and acceptance in places you didn’t expect? this 5.6k fic is for you! dean tells cas the story of the first guy he ever had feelings for, and boy is it sweet and heart-wrenching and wonderful.
Nothing Equals the Splendor by RurouniHime
7.8k fic in which 15x20 was all part of a djinn dream. perhaps my all-time favorite finale fix-it (which is why it’s on this list despite having like 12k hits shhh) featuring full-powered angelic cas blowing out all the lights in the bunker when he and dean have sex. beautifully written and so sweet. and the sequel is also great--highly recommended as well
Telemetry by scifive
DEAN STUDIES FIC!!! 9k set during the first seven episodes of season 4 that actually addresses and deals with dean’s ptsd and trauma from hell. dean’s voice is absolutely perfectly in-character. also it’s pre-relationship destiel but the moment with them at the very end is so tender and lovely.
the pie isn’t a metaphor (it’s just pie) by noviembre
9.3k post-canon fic in which dean and cas get comfortable with their relationship and bake some pies together. it’s a very soft little story that features dean being head over heels and cas being beautifully sarcastic.
Talk Therapy by shara
9.3k of dean figuring out what he wants from cas and how to be in a relationship with him. sex-focused, but intentional about what details are shared so it feels very natural and sweet. cas is so steadfast as dean tries to unlearn what he’s been taught his whole life.
it’s such a mystery (the way you know me) by fleeceframe
another memory loss fic, except it’s cas this time! 10k words about cas getting hit with a temporary memory loss spell and his rediscovery of love and friendship. straight up this one made me cry happy tears. fleeceframe writes beautiful stuff, and this one is no different--the language is just gorgeous.
killing time by orestespdf
11.2k post-canon fic. it’s kind of a day in the life of dean and cas in the lake house they’ve made their home that doubles as a cas character study. very cathartic and romantic.
Kingdom Come by ahurston
17.3k cas comes back from the empty fic featuring a road trip and lots of cas introspection. dean and cas’s interactions are so so so in-character the entire time, and the final moments of the story are absolutely perfect. one of my personal favorite fix-its.
a certain light by flightagain
24.3k au in which cas works at a gas-n-sip and dean’s a customer that comes in a lot, with a supernatural twist! this story is so gorgeous and gentle, and dean and cas’s relationship is portrayed beautifully. if you’re a cas fan, this story is his from pov and nails it in a way that i think is really hard to do in an au.
Peace And Good Luck to All Men by KismetJeska
31.3k human au in which dean is anna’s boyfriend she brings home for christmas, and he and cas immediately click. i am not a big au person, especially when it comes to angel characters, but this fic is so genuinely in character and still hilarious. also a long time fandom classic.
Everybody Needs the Light by opal_bullets
46.5k words of another banger by opal_bullets of poet dean fic fame! actually i might like this one just a little better which should tell how great this one is. it takes place pre-series. dean stops at an old motel in minnesota that cas is running, and something strange is going on… this fic has one of the most interesting conclusions i’ve read in a spn fic and there is such a cool atmosphere to the whole piece. highly recommended if you’re a fan of mysteries and/or supernatural’s angelic dynamics and/or pre-series dean.
Smells Like Roses by orphan_account :(
53.8k words. an absolute classic. seriously, if you haven’t read this, ESPECIALLY if you’re a dean girl, it’s a must-read. set in season 5, dean has a vivid djinn dream of an entire life he spends married in domestic bliss with cas. when he gets pulled out of it, he struggles to readjust and focus on the coming apocalypse. dean is so in-character and so heart-breaking. def a dean thesis fic with a healthy side of destiel sweetness.
The Hanged Man by ellispark
87.6k words. PARK RANGER CAS. literally need i say more?? if that alone hasn’t sold you, the story is that he finds dean out in the woods after someone has tried to kill him, and the mystery unfolds from there as the two of them grow closer. the plot is really interesting and in-character despite being an au. also, if non-verbal dean is something you like/find interesting, you will really love this fic. absolutely worth the read and frankly deserves more hits!
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Why do I even have Nextdoor if it infuriates me so much? Recently there has been a couple of posts from people wanting to rehome pets, and people get so nasty about it in the comments. One person even told someone they are "going to hell" !!!!!
I got sick of seeing it so I posted my own thoughts.
"Tired of shaming people for rehoming pets. I really am. I used to live in Bakersfield and I would often see dogs and cats wandering the streets. There is a park where feral cats are known to frequent and they established a population. One time I saw two dogs across from my work and I flagged down a ranger. She told me they were probably dumped there because it happens all the time. Another time in my apartment complex I saw a cat, which I normally saw hanging out in the window, roaming around outside in the cold. If it wasn't for my amazing friend who found a home for him and took him down to San Diego, he would have stayed out there. That was not the only time I ran into extremely friendly cats that were out in below freezing/above 110F degree weather.
My point being, you cannot change someone's mind by relentlessly shaming them for wanting to rehome a pet. You only change their means of getting rid of it. Do I like seeing it? Of course not. Would I rather see it than the animal going to a shelter or getting dumped on the street or staying in a home that resents them possibly leading to abuse? Yes yes yes. So withhold judgement and consider the consequences of shaming someone for trying to rehome their pet."
Really just withhold judgment when you see that kind of thing, please. People are especially bad in the reptile community with getting animals they have no commitment to and I especially get angry to see that, but lashing out is ultimately going to hurt the animal.
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archetrope: An identity under the alterhuman umbrella in which one heavily identifies with or otherwise experiences an archetype, trope, or otherwise preestablished character model in a way that is central to their identity. It may not necessarily be inherently nonhuman, but has a significant enough impact on one’s identity to be experienced in similar ways as other alterhuman labels. Archetropy may specifically or especially inform one’s identity in deeply influential ways in regards to aspects such as personality, occupation/profession/field of study, gender expression or identity, philosophy, spiritual beliefs, or political alignment. It is a nuanced and complex identity which can fall anywhere on the voluntary-involuntary and “identify with”-“identify as” spectrums. This identity can also have spiritual, psychological, or other origins. It could present as an intrinsic identity one is born with, an identity one takes on for the purpose or self-expression and enjoyment, a coping mechanism, or in a myriad of other ways. It is a flexible term that describes a broad range of experiences of identity and alterhumanity. (Examples of archetropal identities include pirate, clown, ranger, royalty, etc.)
"person who is" noun form: archetrope (For example, "Jane is an archetrope.")
"state of being" noun form: archetropy (For example, "John's archetropy affects their identity.")
adjective form: archetropal (For example, "Jane's archetropal identity makes them happy.")
To refer to specific archetrope "types" (as one would specific kintypes or kithtypes) use the prefix "arche-" followed by the identity itself. (For example, "I am an archepirate," "They are archeroyal," etc.) The term can also be hyphenated if the identity label starts with a letter that would make the term difficult to read such as in "arche-explorer," if the term is multiple words long such as "arche-raised by wolves" or "arche-mountain man," or if one simply prefers to use that syntax.
It is very important to note that those who created this term do not believe in anyone being forced to identify with any particular term or label themselves any specific way! This term exists to describe a community and identity that is commonly experienced but doesn’t have any specific preexisting terminology, but no one should be forced to identify with it if they prefer to describe their identity in some other way. The way you define yourself is up to you, this is just another option!
This term was coined (and both its flag and symbol were designed) collaboratively in this thread on the Nonhuman National Park forum. Additional credit goes to @monsterqueers and @thelightfluxtastic for their contributions.
For more information on flag and symbol meanings, see the information below!
As mentioned, this term, its symbol, and its flag were all collaboratively designed on a forum thread! For information on the history of the term and its development over time, you can check the linked thread! As you can see, it went through quite a bit of change over time, but we’re all glad with how everything turned out! The two accounts mentioned (The Dragonheart Collective and Vyt) contributed the majority of content, but there were a few other forum users who helped us or gave valuable input. Flick, from our system, is the one responsible for a majority of our contribution, including all art (symbol/flag designs) we created. (He is a rogue archetrope, in case you were curious.)
A lot of thought was put into the meaning of both the symbol and the flag! The symbol has a few general meanings or ideas which it represents:
The teardrop shape in the symbol represents both a seed, which represents the capacity to grow and develop in infinitely many ways, and fire, which represents the torch of storytelling and the many character models carried on over time across so many mediums and in so many ways.
The seed’s shadow, which is an outline of the seed itself, represents archetropes themselves, which are “cast from the original mold” of a trope, archetype, etc. so to speak. It represents the way that archetropes are just as diverse and complex as anyone else, yet fall into or follow a certain character model in some capacity, and how that identity coexists with the great nuance and diversity of their identity as a whole. The shadow is its own distinct shape with an entirely different center, but it follows the outline and general shape of a preexisting model, as do archetropes with their archetropal identities.
The roots shooting down from the seed represent both the growth and disseminating of archetropes and their community as well as the development of character models themselves. The many roots also represent the many different aspects of archetropal identity and the many ways it may manifest in an archetrope’s life. All of these many individual aspects of identity, from morals to aesthetic tastes, come together to create a greater picture of a character model of some kind.
Though not pictured, the symbol can also be drawn without a circle surrounding it, simply as the shadowed teardrop shape with roots branching off from beneath it. Both the simplified and more detailed versions can be used in this way.
As for the flag, there is a meaning represented by each stripe/color:
cyan: tropes, archetypes, and other established character models that are consistent or pervasive enough throughout media as a whole over time to be considered a distinct identity one could have
blue: the significant relationship between archetropy and other parts of identity, and the impact of archetropy on many aspects of identity, from moral philosophy to personality to clothing style and much more
magenta: the depth of and intensity with which archetropes express their sense of self, the inherent desire for self expression and autonomy associated with being an archetrope
red: archetropy as its own unique experience which is distinct but still falls under the alterhuman umbrella, the potential relationship archetropy has with other alterhuman experiences
yellow: the creativity and diversity archetropes have in their expressions of identity and how they interpret their experiences, the many different perspectives and experiences of archetropes and how diverse and varying they are (psychologically, spiritually, regarding identifying "as" or "with" or somewhere in between, and in every other way)
green: the development and transformation of tropes and archetypes over time, the vast diversity and variation in interpretations of tropes, archetypes, and other established character models
black: the shadow/imprint of an archetype, trope, or other established character model, which is what an archetrope is in essence
Once again, thank you so much to everyone who participated in this project! We hope to see other archetropes finding much use and value in this term and the art associated with it.
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Why Rick Feeds Grundy
Some people have different opinions about what Rick is doing with Grundy and whether or not he should be feeding him etc and I’m surprised that nobody has brought up the following:
Rick’s goal the entirety of season 1 was to destroy what had haunted him. Grundy. Once he found out that Grundy killed his parents it was his sole mission to get revenge and to basically even out the numbers to put an end to Grundy. Obviously, as we know, Rick when given the opportunity couldn’t actually bring himself to end him and let him go. So technically, even though he did the right thing, he still failed. In his mind, we know he still is very much tethered to this one thing that he had channeled all his anger into and yes, while he’s still grappling with his understanding of Grundy’s dignity and the compassion or mercy he can bestow, there is still that sense of urgent responsibility.
Rick is still lying to everyone that he beat Grundy. We know only Sir Justin properly witnessed what happened down in the tunnels and I am still figuring out if Rick blatantly told the others that Grundy died down there or if they just never bothered to clean up the presumed mess Rick left him in if they did believe he beat him but okay I’m rambling...
Basically, Rick says he “beat” Grundy. As in, he is attempting to assert that he is no longer a threat. Rick took care of him, so to speak. Even though we, the audience, and Rick, the character, knows very much that this is not true. Therefore, this duty Rick has assigned to himself has become an entrenched responsibility. If Grundy is free by Rick’s own doing, Rick will also attach a sense of responsibility for Grundy’s future actions. This is also curious because it aligns with another character arc that has started for another JSA member:
Checking in on the Blue Valley forest radio to track Grundy’s movements and feeding Grundy very much parallels Courtney’s obsession with scouting for danger.
What might happen if Grundy wasn’t fed? Would he attack innocent hikers and eat them? Kill them? Get irritated and lash out and harm park rangers or others in Blue Valley since he’s no longer locked up? If something like this happened, Rick would feel it would be his fault. Since he was the one who couldn’t end him. In essence, in this type of situation Rick would facilitate the continuation of the trauma he had been inflicted upon himself, which may arguably be his worst nightmare.
And what would happen should this occur? We’re talking of nightmares and guilt over their decision on the night of the Project New America battle, sounds familiar? This aligns and parallels with yet another JSA’s character arc:
Rick’s caution over Grundy’s whereabouts is to ensure the prevention of a looming guilt that Yolanda is feeling in the aftermath of brainwave’s death.
And I think Rick knows this. Rick is very much in tune with his emotions. He knows how he feels.
Yes, he’s impulsive and often makes bad spur of the moment decisions, but his struggle with that is connected to how to respond with sudden inflammatory feelings. When it comes to non-negotiable cold truths or aspirations, Rick is actually a very great thinker about long-term plans and has a stubborn drive. It may sound contradictory to his character, but he’s instinctively a survivalist. Examples: Getting that car up and running at his age and with his lack of support or resources, the routine in which he would walk to and from school, pass that tree and punch it every day, the persistence of attacking Grundy in s1, learning how to manage and fend for himself in the abusive environment his uncle has created, teaching himself advanced and coded chemistry. The list goes on.
He knows that he’s on thin ice with this Grundy situation. Is it truly Rick’s responsibility to care or manage the actions of a weaponized creature of the ISA? Of course not. He’s just a high school kid, but that would not negate his attachment to this situation and how it would drive his conscience.
He’s feeding Grundy because if Grundy goes hungry or angry and hurts someone else? That would be blood on Rick’s hands, he’d no longer consider himself a hero.
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This is the third part to the Greyback audio series! The first is Silver Screen and the second is Oh, I Want to Linger, both linked here. The original ask for this was tragically deleted, so sorry to whomever sent it in! Sweater Weather credit goes to @lumosinlove!
TW for discussion of past injury and threatened forced outing
Cameras were already flashing as Remus cleared his throat and gripped the edges of the podium, desperately hoping that his shaking would not be noticed. “Remus?” Alice touched his arm gently. “Whenever you’re ready. All you have to do is read.”
Remus nodded silently and looked down at the paper before him. The words blurred together and he glanced back up at the rows of reporters with their notepads primed. There was a bit of movement along the side of the room—Sirius came into focus, his face calm and full of love. Remus cleared his throat again.
“Good afternoon, everyone.” His voice trembled slightly and he took a deep breath. “Good afternoon. My name is Remus Lupin and I’m a player on the Gryffindor Lions hockey team. Yesterday, a section of security footage from my time as a player at the University of Wisconsin was leaked to the press, who in turn sold it to the larger media.”
He looked over at Sirius again, who gave him an encouraging nod. He looked down at the paper again and his watch face caught the light. Mon voeu.
“I am here to confirm that the two people in the recording were myself and Fenrir Greyback, an old teammate of mine. He cornered me in the locker room after a game and dislocated my shoulder, then continued to pull until several tendons were damaged and needed reconstructive surgery.”
Remus swallowed thickly. “Everyone has secrets. I thought Fenrir Greyback knew mine, and he used that power to blackmail into calling this attack an accident. I was terrified that he would expose my sexuality to the world if I told anyone, even those closest to me.”
There was a moment of rustling as the reporters took notes and pictures. “We are now opening the floor to questions,” Alice said. Immediately, hands went up and several people began shouting. Remus looked over at her and she smiled; he looked to Sirius, who blew him a kiss. Here goes nothing.
“Yes, you in the front?”
To say Remus was exhausted was an understatement. He had answered about eight thousand questions before the forty-five minute time slot ran out and all he really wanted to do was go home and cuddle his fiancé.
As soon as he stepped out of the press room, something barreled into his legs and nearly knocked him over. “I love you,” Jules said, his voice muffled in Remus’ sweater.
Remus immediately crouched to give him a proper hug, squeezing his eyes shut. “Hey, buddy. I love you, too.”
“Why wasn’t I allowed to come with Mom and Dad?”
“Because—“ Remus sighed and ran a hand through Jules’ hair. “Because a lot of people are sticking their noses in my business right now and they would be bothering you about it. None of us wanted that because those people are annoying.”
“Remus! Remus, we have one more question for you!” The click-clack of high heels echoed in the lobby and he glared at the approaching woman and her posse of reporters. “How did this affect your relationship with—"
He stood up, pushing Jules slightly behind him. “Fuck off and let me hug my brother. I’ve answered all your questions and I’m going home now.” The woman’s face went slack with shock and he turned to usher Jules down the hall, placing himself between him and the cameras. “Don’t tell mom I swore in front of you, okay?”
The locker room was empty, save for his packed duffel bag and Sirius leaning against his stall. He immediately broke into a smile when he saw them and held his arms out for Remus to fall into. “Hey, sweetheart.”
“That was the worst.”
Sirius hummed in agreement and ruffled Jules’ hair in his periphery. “People are already blasting him on the internet. The league officially suspended him an hour ago and it looks like they’re going to kick him out. Even the Knights posted a statement about it.”
“God, I’m tired.”
“It’s a good thing you’re done now, eh?”
Remus nuzzled into his sweatshirt and pulled Jules close against his side. “Let’s go home. How are mom and dad doing?”
“Your mom was stress baking when I left, and your dad was pacing. They’ll be glad to see you.” Sirius bent down so Jules could climb onto his shoulders as they separated; Remus put his baseball cap on, only for someone to grab the bill and turn it around immediately.
“It’s sunny out, I need that!”
Jules flicked the brim until it made soft thwip thwip noises in Remus’ ear. “It looks better backward. You look almost cool.”
“Gee, thanks. That means a lot coming from my little brother who wears Power Ranger pajamas. Keep that up and I’m putting mom’s cookies out of your reach, Tiny Tim.”
“What are you laughing at?” Remus asked as Sirius ducked his head to hide his snickering. “What is it?”
“You two bicker like nobody I’ve ever seen before. It’s like watching someone argue with a mirror, I love it.”
“Rude,” they said in unison, which only made him laugh harder as they walked into the parking lot. The cool, fresh air soothed Remus’ muddled emotions and his muscles relaxed slightly.
“Is that your car over there?” Jules asked, pointing across the nearly-empty lot.
“Put me down, I have to do something.” Sirius raised an eyebrow at Remus, who shrugged. Jules was running the moment his sneakers touched the ground. “I call shotgun!”
“What?!” Remus sprinted after him, leaving Sirius in the dust as he burst out laughing. He caught up to Jules about ten feet before he reached the car and swung him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “Oldest gets shotgun, that’s the rule.”
His phone pinged as he sat down in the passenger seat and buckled up; several people had sent him supportive messages over the last hour and Twitter was losing its collective mind, but only one person had texted in the past few minutes.
New Message From: Mom :)
Proud of you
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Your thoughts on the uptick on tourist/ wildlife conflict? Seems like it’s every week this season!!!
It has been bad this year. We’re on track to have the most injuries of any year in recent history.
So I’m of the belief that this comes down to a couple things, one of which is going to expose a major personal bias of mine (you’ll know it when you see it):
There aren’t enough Rangers this year to keep folks appraised of the rules: So this year we’re operating on a highly reduced staff. Most years Interpretive Rangers are out in force, and we’d be able to keep folks away from animals, respond to calls about wildlife jams (traffic jams caused by animals, either by their standing in the road, or by folks stopping to look). That gives us the ability to both educate the public about safe wildlife viewing rules, and prevent folks from getting into situations that might be dangerous.
People Don’t Read Signs: This is a maxim in the NPS, folks just... they don’t try to read the signs, or the park newspaper, or anything. They will make no effort to educate themselves for their own safety, and will deliberately misread signs they understand to try and get away with things they want to do, which brings me to...
People want a ‘unique’ experience: People right now, for better and worse, are inundated with social media. There’s an expectation that there are things you need to see, because that’s What You Do in the area. Add to that though that folks are always going to want something that other people don’t have. That means getting closer to the bear for that great picture. Getting closer to the bison because ‘he seems calm.’
The Government Encouraged Unprepared Folks to Come into Wilderness Spaces: When COVID was first getting serious, many state and local governments encouraged people to go outside, go camping and hiking. The CDC is still saying that camping is an extremely low risk activity. As a result a FLOOD of people with no outdoor experience rushed into outdoor places. Zero preparation, zero outdoor knowledge, all these people who would usually vacation in Hawaii are trying to visit the few National Parks that they know offhand. As a result they are used to a resort-type experience, and assume that the space they’re entering is as controlled of an experience as a big hotel complex in the Bahamas. They are, of course, wrong.
The Disney-fication of Wild Spaces
Movies: People get these images in their heads of movie characters, especially Disney movie characters, having these magical experiences with animals. They hold out their hands, and the animal comes to them. They think they have a special connection with wildlife, that they’re different than those fools who get hurt. They hold onto this mindset and do things that they really shouldn’t be doing because they want to think they’re special.
Theme Parks: So Disney has made a lot of money off making fake, sanitized versions of America’s outdoor spaces, packaging them and selling them to folks. People see the old 1903 Inn near where I worked last year, and their first response is always “Oh like the one in Disneyland!” This is the introduction a lot of first-time National Park travelers have to our park. Then they come out here, where there are no smoke machines on the hot springs, they are boiling; there are no safe animals; there are countless ways to die, even in the front country; and they have NO IDEA how to deal with that. Their image of a National Park is a sanitized theme park area, so they show up here asking “What are the Best Attractions to do here?” and assuming that they are as safe here as they would be in Disneyland. They assume we wouldn’t let them do anything dangerous, and wouldn’t allow dangerous things to come to them, because of course! There’s just this fundamental misunderstanding about what National Parks are for. Yeah, we want you to have a good time, but this isn’t a theme park and if someone can’t get their head around that they’re going to always be in a more dangerous spot that someone else.
This is America and I’ll Do What I Want: Self explanatory.
Anyway, here are the rules for seeing large wildlife:
Stay 25 yards (25m) away from all large animals, except...
When watching bear and wolves stay 100 yards (100m) away
If an animals moves toward you, it is on YOU to maintain that distance
In a car you are not obligated to maintain that distance
If you’re watching a bear from your car you probably want to keep your windows up
Do not feed animals, or by inaction cause an animal to eat human food
A fed animal is a dead animal
Wildlife management doesn’t want to remove animals, but by feeding the animal you killed it
Throwing a bite of food to a bear is as good for that bear as you getting out of your car with a shotgun and pumping a dozen rounds of buckshot into its face
A habituated bear is more likely to hurt humans in the future, so feeding that animal might also get a person hurt or killed
Even squirrels and birds (but we won’t have to remove them, they’ll just die by themselves)
If an animal changes its behavior because you’re around, you should move further away from it
Do not fly drones near animals (they are illegal in National Parks anyway, but it stresses them out A LOT)
Remember you are a house guest in this animal’s home, be a good guest by practicing leave no trace
If the next person to pass by where you were can tell you were there, you did not practice leave no trace
This means no making cairns, no painting rocks, no carving your name into a tree
Do not disturb anything you don’t have to
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The Three Bears: Part One
This isn’t your mother’s Three Bears story. I am fully prepared for all the jokes in the comments.
Female Reader x Male Monsters
Ever since I was little, animals have always hated me. I’m not sure if it’s something I do, or a smell I give off, but animals can’t stand me. Particularly wild animals, it seems. Dogs tolerate me, cats are fine, hamsters ignore me - but if there are birds or racoons around, they just don’t like me.
Growing up, I lived in a pretty rural area, so wild animals were normal. I can count on both hands the number of times I had squirrels chase me. There was also that one time an opossum got into my room somehow, and would hiss at me from the top of my wardrobe. It’s part of why I went to a college in the city - fewer animals around. I ended up staying there as I grew up, moving deeper and deeper until there was no nature around me whatsoever.
I started seeing a guy who didn’t quite believe my tales of harrowing animal attacks. He would bring stuffed animals over to my place and hide them, so I would scream when I found them. He took me on a surprise date once that ended up being to the zoo, and while I tried to go along with it, I panicked when a gorilla charged towards me and banged on the plexiglass wall. I ran screaming then, which only fueled my boyfriend’s taunting.
It wasn’t too bad, though. If you can’t laugh at yourself then you’re just an asshole. I went along with his jokes, hoping that if I acted like they didn’t bother me, he would give up and move on to making fun of my love for cheesy romance novels. But no, the animal thing seemed to be the one thing he clung to.
Our anniversary is coming up, and he says he wants to plan a trip for us. I’m hesitant at first, considering the last time I let him surprise me with a date, I almost got eaten by King Kong. He seems so excited, though, like he has something really remarkable up his sleeve, so I relent and let him plan the whole trip. When the time comes, he packs my suitcase to keep everything a surprise. I have no idea if where we are going is hot or cold.
During the drive, I start to get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps I made a mistake in letting my boyfriend choose our trip. I start playing on my phone, going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole to keep my mind off things.
I eventually check up on my favorite website, which I enjoy for the crazy conspiracy theories and cryptid tales it provides. I can’t tell if the website is an intensive study of fantastical fantasy writing, or just some whack job with a journalistic flair only few could dream of. It became such a favorite of me and my friends during college that all of us still talk about it in group chats to this day.
There is a new cryptid report about a werewolf community, and even sightings of a supposed demon circus. But the one that catches my eye is about a hunter who came across these giant boogeymen in the forest. There are the obligatory blurry photographs, which either look like bears or sheets fluttering in the wind. Whatever they are, the story is fascinating, as the hunter talks about being injured and trying to hobble to safety while being chased by two or more of these creatures.
My boyfriend glances over, chuckling when he sees what I’m doing. “You really still visit that crazy website? You know the guy who runs that has to be on meth or something, right?”
“I’d like to see you get on meth and try to write anything.” I turn off my phone’s screen and look askance him. “It’s just fun to read. Am I hurting you?”
He smirks and looks back at the road. “No. I just think it’s ridiculous you believe in any of that shit.”
“Who said I believe in Bigfoot and Chupacabras? I just like them, that’s all. Cryptids and monsters are fascinating. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t good for someone else.” This is not a new argument. In fact, it’s such an old argument, it could retire and move into assisted living.
He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, but all those stories are fake.”
I want to roll my eyes in return, but I keep them still for when I really need it. “So is Overwatch, but you’ll play that for hours on end and still call it the greatest invention of all time.”
“It’s different. You’re reading the ravings of a lunatic, and I’m playing a game that was curated and crafted by some of the best game developers...” He stops and shakes his head. “I really don’t want to get into this with you again, Mari.”
“Then why start it?” I know I’ve won this. He always deflects like that when he doesn’t feel like he has equal footing. “Anyway, how much longer until we reach where we’re going?”
He huffs and squeezes his hands around the wheel. “Not too long. We’ll stop somewhere to get something to eat, then it should be another couple of hours.”
Looking out the window, I can’t help but notice that the trees are becoming denser and denser. The longer we drive, the more trees I see. I don’t like this, and in fact I’m starting to get angry, genuinely angry. “Where are we going?”
“I told you, it’s going to be a surprise. Sit back and relax, there’s nothing to worry about.” He reaches over, patting my knee as if that’s a comfort.
I look back out the window and grimace. I made a mistake, both with this trip and, I am starting to realize, with him. If this doesn’t end in a cruise or some sort of airport, I may have to end this whole relationship.
The farther we go, the angrier I get. I see a sign for cabin rentals, and I know exactly what he’s done. I glare out the window the entire time, seething in a stew of rage all the way. We pull up to what looks like a ranger’s station, and he parks.
“I’ve just gotta go get the keys, and then we’ll go to our romantic cabin in the woods.” He leans over to get a kiss, and I yank my head back. He grunts and steps away. “Oh, c’mon! What’s the matter? Are you still into that idea that animals hate you? That’s so stupid, Mari.”
I jab my finger towards the trees. “I told you I don’t like the woods! I don’t like nature! You saw what happened at the zoo! Imagine me getting out there where there won’t be any plexiglass between them and me.”
“It’s just squirrels and chipmunks! Is that so horrible?” He gets out of the car. “Just stay here while I get the key. I thought you’d like this because it’s secluded.” He slams the door shut.
I get out of the car and chase after him. When we enter the station, I see that part of it is for cabin rentals while the other half is the rangers’ office.
“I told you to wait in the car. I don’t want to argue here,” he whispers.
“I don’t want to wait in the car. I don’t even want to be here.” I look around and see a ranger minding a radio, but he keeps glancing our way. “You know how I feel about these things.”
His brow untenses, and he gives me a puppy dog look. “But you love stories about Bigfoot and all. I thought you’d gotten over all that. I thought you’d like having your own Bigfoot adventure.”
“That’s not...” I scoff and shake my head. “That is not the same and you know it.”
A man walks out from the back with a scowl on his face. “Luis!” he snaps at the man on the radio. “Stop turning the AC down! It’s so freaking hot in here.” He’s fanning himself, and his cheeks look flushed.
Luis looks up at him with a small pout. “You keep it way too cold. This is an office, not a freezer unit. Not all of us are born with boiling water for blood.”
His thick brows pinch together and he scowls. “These uniforms wick heat away! I’m boiling alright. Boiling alive.”
Luis points to the counter. “Novikov, you have people waiting.”
Novikov flinches and quickly comes up to the counter. He has white hair, but thick black brows. He’s older, but he’s built like a brick house. White hair coats his arms and knuckles, but his face is clean-shaven. He adjusts his glasses and looks down between us.
“I rented a cabin for the week,” my boyfriend says. He gives his information to the white haired man.
The white haired man looks at me first, then down to the computer. “We have you in cabin thirteen. It’s closer to the lake as you requested.” The computer squeaks, and his brow pinches. He pushes the same button over and over, getting the same squeaking noise each time.
“Novikov, stop!” The man minding the radio jumps up and races over. “You can’t keep doing that.” He’s much younger and looks to have vitiligo. His dark skin has patches of white that make a mask around his eyes, then down around his mouth and neck. His arms are speckled as well, mostly around the fingers. His hair is extremely fluffy and wavy.
“Thank you, Luis,” Novikov huffs. He takes out a set of keys and hands them to my boyfriend. “The trail marks everything clearly, but I will have Yuan guide you to the cabin.”
My boyfriend then turns to me. “Just one night? OK. If you don’t like it, we’ll leave in the morning.”
I glare at him, fully planning to break up with him after we get home. “Fine.”
Out from the back comes a stocky ranger with a long black ponytail and thick stubble. He looks up at us. His sharp eyes are piercing, and his expression reads as ‘just woke up from a nap I was enjoying’.
“I’m Yuan Fang. Follow me and don’t be stupid.” He grabs a radio from the desk and then stomps out the door with us in tow. He waits a moment while we get our bags, then leads us into the forest.
I stick close to Yuan, trusting him to protect me more than my boyfriend. At this point, I know this is all a joke to him, but surely Yuan will take this seriously. We get to the cabin - which, I hate to admit, is adorable, with a breathtaking view of the lake. I almost let that lull me into a false sense of security as we get inside.
“See, it's not so bad, right? If we stay sequestered here, you won’t have to worry about anything, unless there’s a monster living in the lake.” He comes up to me, putting his hands on my hips and trying to get all kissy and cute. I give him a few smooches, but I’m still livid about the situation.
“Look, let’s unpack before we really unpack.” I take my suitcase and go to the bedroom. “Good, there’s a dresser. I’ll take this row of drawers, and you can have the others.” I open my suitcase, and inside is not what I would have packed. The anger comes back, much more vicious than before. Inside are my laciest panties, a couple of bras, the lingerie set he got me for my birthday which barely fits anymore, and a couple of shirts and a pair of shorts. No socks. No shoes. No truly usable underwear.
“What the fuck is this?” I thrust a fistful of underwear up towards him.
“I figured we wouldn’t be going anywhere,” he laughs.
“I still need to wear clothes. I don’t even have pants! I need socks! I need underwear that doesn’t turn my vulva into an open-faced sandwich!” I chuck the wad at him and he grimaces.
“That’s disgusting.” He tosses the panties aside. “We aren’t going to go anywhere. It’ll just be you and me.”
“I deserve comfort too!” I grab his suitcase, finding all sorts of clothes inside. Pajama pants, jeans, shirts, even a jacket. “You know how to pack for yourself, but you just want me strutting around in lingerie! For what? Your dick?”
“I thought it would be fun. Even if you have put on weight, I still thought you’d look cute in it.”
Every hair on my body stands on end and I glare at him. I force him from the bedroom and lock myself inside. He can sleep on the couch for all I care.
It takes me forever to fall asleep. For one, I don’t have clean panties I would even want to change into, and two, I’m angry. I toss and turn forever, so when I do wake up, it’s quite a surprise. I step out of the bedroom to see if my boyfriend is awake and wants to talk, but he’s not there. I get a sickening feeling as I get myself dressed in my clothes from yesterday.
Despite my hesitations, I walk out onto the path. Every time I hear a noise, I flinch and shrink away. Eventually I take off into a sprint, and come out at the ranger station. His car is nowhere in the parking lot. He’s gone.
I stand there, my mind spinning as I take in the situation. Not only did he drag me out here, he’s abandoned me here. Miles in the middle of the woods, surrounded by millions of my posible murderers. I sway a little bit, feeling dizzy and nauseous.
“Someone is up early. Going for a hike?” Novikov is walking towards the entrance of the ranger station with a cup of coffee in his hands. “Hey.” Concern grows in his voice. “You OK?”
I start to careen towards the ground, but Novikov tosses his coffee aside and rushes at me, catching me in his arms. He picks me up and carries me into the ranger’s station.
“What the hell did you do, Novikov?” Yuan scoffs.
“She was just standing there, and then she started to fall!” Novikov lays me down on a couch. “I don’t know what happened.”
Yuan clicks his tongue. “Well, I saw that guy she was with yesterday drive off this morning.”
“Surely he’s just getting something to eat for them,” Novikov says gently.
“With his suitcase?” Yuan laughs. “I doubt it. Go get her some water, make sure it’s not too cold.”
I start to sit up. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” I push against Yuan’s arm, which feels surprisingly solid. “I’m OK.”
“Slow down there, Goldilocks,” Yuan continues to chuckle. “Don’t push yourself. Most women would faint at a chance to get Novikov to carry them across the threshold like that.”
“Shut the hell up, Yuan.” Novikov kneels and hands me the cup of water. “What’s your name? Are you alright? Can you tell us what happened?”
“You can call me Mari.” I gulp down the water, but it sits like a stone in my gut. “My fucking piece of shit boyfriend abandoned me.” I start to laugh. “Oh, excuse me, ex-boyfriend.”
Novikov adjusts his glasses and gives me a sensitive look. “We’ll get you a way home, don’t worry about it.”
“I’m not going back. The cabin is paid for, right? Non-refundable? I’ll stay! I’ll prove that piece of shit wrong.” I grimace as I remember the contents of my suitcase.
“Look, we’ll help you get home, regardless. If you want to stay and blow off steam, fine. We’ll help keep an eye on you. If you really wanna blow off steam, I’ll take you to the shooting range and let you pop off a few on a target with his name on it.” Yuan pats my back. “It’ll be OK.”
“Yeah, but I have no food, no clothes. I might as well slap on some fig leaves and call myself Eve.” I finish off the cup of water and Novikov gets up to get me another.
A cross look spreads on Yuan’s face. He shoves his hands into his pockets and tilts his head down towards me. “No clothes?”
The anger bubbles back up as I remember the contents of my suitcase. A selfish mix of lace and fishnet for a man who bolted at the first sign of distress. “A fistful of lace panties and a push-up bra that shoves my tits into my throat.” I look at him and see him break into a smile. “It’s not funny.”
Yuan is struggling to hold back his laughter. “Why would you pack something like that? You didn’t have any plans did you?”
I want to slap him. “I didn’t! He wanted to surprise me, so he packed my suitcase for me. He packed his suitcase just fine. But me?” I reach for the cup of water as Novikov comes back. “Thank you.”
Novikov sighs disheartenedly. “So he planned the trip, packed your bag, and abandoned you? You should marry him. He sounds like a keeper.” He does such a dramatic eye roll it deserves an award.
“He’s dead to me.” I look down into the cup of water. “You wanna know why he dragged me here?”
“You hate bugs?” Yuan teases.
“Worse. Animals hate me. Everywhere I go, they just seem to chase me and wanna get at me.” I frown deeply as I gaze out the window. “He always found it so funny, or tried to convince me I was overreacting.” I gulp down more water. “That’s why he chose a stupid cabin in the woods for our anniversary.”
“If you say this was more than your first anniversary, I may get mad at you.” Novikov crosses his arms against his broad chest.
“Look, I’m mad enough at myself. I kept making excuses, all this stupid girl nonsense.” I scoff and shake my head. “This breakup should have happened years ago.”
“Where is everyone?” Luis comes in, carting a box of food in his hand. “Oh.” He stops when he sees me. “Is something wrong?”
“Someone left a pretty girl at our doorstep,” Yuan smirks. “We’re trying to decide if we should keep her.”
Luis sets down the box on the table, then turns and looks over at us. His cheeks are slightly redder than before. “So what happened, really?”
“Asshole boyfriend abandoned her here,” Novikov answers. “She’s a bit shaken up, so we’re just making sure she’s OK.”
Luis opens the box, pulling out tinfoil-wrapped biscuits. “I made breakfast. There’s more than enough.” He shyly approaches, offering me one of the baked goods. It smells amazing. “If you’re hungry, that is.”
“Thank you! That’s so sweet.” I take the treat, finding the biscuit has spicy sausage and honey inside.
“Could we get you to take her into town today?” Yuan asks Luis. “He left her with no clothes or food.”
Luis stares in disbelief. “What the fuck?”
“Exactly. So can you take her today?” Novikov says as he rummages in the box of food, taking out at least three biscuits.
Luis shrugs. “I mean, I guess, if I’m the only one.” He looks back at me. His dark brown eyes are lined with thick black lashes, and I notice a few are soft white.
“I’ll walk her back to the cabin so she can relax for a bit.” Yuan takes one of Novikov’s biscuits. “Be right back, boys.”
Yuan walks with me, eating his sandwich. As we go down the trail, a squirrel appears on the path. He rushes towards me, but dashes away as Yuan takes a step forward. The squirrel attempts to charge again, but runs off back into the woods and skitters up a tree.
“See?” I scoff. “Every damn time!”
Yuan smirks at me. “How long has this been a thing?”
“I can’t recall. Animals just hate me.”
“Or maybe, they really like you.” Yuan takes a massive loop of keys off his belt and starts searching through them.
I scowl. “What?”
“Maybe they just wanna get to know you, say hi, get a hug.” He takes a key off the keychain and hands it to me. “Since he took the keys with him, no worries. We’ll charge him for that.”
“Thanks,” I sigh. “I’m sorry I have to be a burden this way.”
“Nonsense, Goldilocks,” he chuckles. “Not often us three bears get much to do around here. Taking care of you is a much needed breather.”
“It’s funny you call me Goldilocks. That’s what my dad calls me.” I smile at Yuan. “My full name is Marigold.”
Yuan throws his head back and laughs. “I was just calling you that because of your hair, and the fact you got lost in the woods.” He stops before the cabin door. “You can call me Winnie the Pooh, because I’m roly-poly and my shirts turn into crop tops easily.”
I chuckle. He does have a belly but he doesn’t look that roly-poly. In fact, he looks quite cuddly even if he could be a sidekick to Wolverine.
Yuan fumbles with the keys. “There’s an emergency phone in there. All you gotta do is dial ‘1’ and it calls our front desk. Won’t reach anything else, but at least you can give us a call. I’ll ring you when Luis is heading over.”
“Thanks again.” In the back of my mind, I’m half tempted to invite Yuan inside and have a little revenge sex with him. He’s handsome in a grumpy sort of way, I wouldn’t have minded working some tension out with him. “Tell Novikov I appreciate him catching me.”
“I’m sure he knows.” Yuan bows his head. “Get some rest.”
“Thanks. Bye.” I close the door behind me and flop down on the bed. After a while, I decide to take a shower. I stay in for longer than I probably should have, but standing in the hot water, I don’t want to leave. Once I step out, I’m rubbing the towel through my hair when I hear a knock at the door. I quickly wrap the towel around myself.
“It’s Luis.” He sounds nervous. “Yuan said he tried calling, but you didn’t answer.”
“I was in the shower.” I unlock the deadbolt and open the door a crack. “Let me get dressed and you can wait inside.” I quickly dash off to the bedroom. Unable to stand my dirty underwear anymore, I put on the least offensive of the lacy panties. It still feels a bit too small and it digs into certain places, but I’ll deal.
Luis takes me into town, where there isn’t much to choose from. There’s a small department store where I get some food and supplies, then buy myself a pack of underwear, a pack of t-shirts, and a couple of pairs of pants and a set of pajamas. Luis is shy and kind of quiet, but he’s very sweet. He always opens the doors for me, pushes the cart, even buys me lunch. He is very cute too, and has such pretty lips. I can’t stop staring at them.
That evening, I sit on the back porch of the cabin looking out over the lake. I’m shoving some junk food down while reading a cheesy romance novel I got at the store that afternoon. While I reach for another fistful of spicy chips, I glance at something across the lake. It is hard to miss - a bright white spot. It looks big, like someone wearing a sheet, but the way it moves doesn’t look like a sheet. I step off the porch and walk down to the lake to get a closer look.
It moves into the water, splashing around and slapping at the surface. Then it rises up on hind legs, and I swear to god it is a polar bear.
I race back into the cabin, clutching my romance novel and junk food close to my chest. There’s no way! There is absolutely no way! I can handle squirrels, but I will not wake up to find a bear at my door! I dial 1on the emergency phone, hoping someone is still there.
“Hi, this is Novikov, how may I help you?”
“Yes, this is Mari, in cabin thirteen.” I glance out the window. “I just saw what I am fairly sure was a white bear in the lake.”
Novikov goes unnervingly silent.
“I’m not making this up, I swear!”
“No, no, it’s not that.” He clears his throat. “I’m doing some patrol right now. I’ll come by and have a look. Nothing to worry about,OK? I’ll be right there.”
I keep peering out the window, staying hidden so the bear can’t see me. Finally, there is a knock at the door and I throw it open, nearly yanking Novikov inside.
“It’s not there anymore, but I swear I saw something!” I take him onto the porch and point. “It was across the lake there.”
“And it was, uh… it was all white, you say?” He fidgets.
“I know it sounds crazy. But at least I’m not screaming Bigfoot or something.” I groan and scrape my nails against my scalp. “The last thing I need is bears on my porch!”
Novikov gets a guilty expression on his face, but then he puts on a smile. “You know, one of my favorite websites to visit has stories about cryptid sightings. Have you ever heard of Truth in Excess?”
“Yeah,” I look up at him in surprise. “It’s my favorite website too!” I start to smile. “I was reading the article about the giant boogeymen and the hunter before I got here.”
“That hunter actually frequents here,” Novikov grins. “Well, poaches, actually.” We both take a seat on the sofa. “He’s been trying to sell that story and picture of his for months now. He kept coming into the station, ranting and raving about how dangerous it is out there, and how we should just let hunters roam free in the woods to kill those creatures.”
Novikov is obviously the most attractive of the three rangers. Yuan even said so himself. His soft white hair and thick black brows certainly give him an aesthetic edge. But it is his big hands and arms that cinch it for me. I get that idea of asking him to stay the night to spend a few hours the kinks from my system.
We end up talking about Truth in Excess for a few hours. It’s nice talking to someone who doesn’t find it laughable. He enjoys the stories like I do, and that’s enough to make me feel better.
“If you see that bear again, Yuan will be the one with the phone next. He prefers horror stories, so prepare yourself for that.” Novikov’s smile is bright, and I notice his canines are quite pronounced.
“Only if he doesn’t mind cheesy romances. Thanks again for talking. I really enjoyed it.”
Novikov’s smile is shy and flustered as he nods respectfully. “I enjoyed it too. Maybe we can chat again before you leave.”
“Sounds good to me. Be safe out there,” I tell him before closing the door.
That evening, I have a dream ,where I am lost in the woods and come across the cabin. Once I step inside, I see three beds to one side, and a table with three bowls at the other. I sit down at the table, taking a taste from each bowl of food. One is hot and spicy, nearly burning my tongue, but tastes so good. The other is cold and sweet, almost like a slushy ice cream. The third is warm and fragrant, making my tongue tingle.
As I look up from the food, I see the three beds have joined together. Each individual headboard is still there, but it’s all one single giant bed. I undress and climb into the bed, laying myself down. As I do, three figures rise up around me. They range in size, but they’re all massive. They lean over me, touching me and pampering me. They sniff my hair and nuzzle my breasts. Their big, clawed hands gently stroke my skin, making me feel soft and warm. They curl around me so I can feel their fluffy fur. I kiss each one, giggling happily to myself.
I wake up to the sound of rain and thunder. I sit up in bed, rubbing my eyes. The emergency phone starts to ring so I answer it.
“Hello?” My voice slurs from sleep.
“It’s me,” Yuan says. “Were you asleep?”
“Just woke up,” I yawn.
“How can you sleep through this?” Yuan demands. “Trees are falling, the lake is overflowing. I’m coming now to get you and take you somewhere safe.”
“It can’t be that bad.” I peer out the window and see the lake is frothing. A tree has collapsed right in front of the porch. “Oh.”
“Yeah, ‘oh’!” Yuan scoffs. “Gather your things, I’ll be there in a minute.”
I pack quickly. Once Yuan arrives, he helps me load everything into the tiny, rugged jeep. We drive back to the ranger’s station, where he makes a few calls, but the power soon cuts out and the phone line goes dead.
“Novikov and Luis have their radios,” he says. “Come on, I’m taking you to our place to wait this out.”
My heart thuds. “Your place?”
“I’ll give you a gun if that worries you. But I would rather you be somewhere safe than in that cabin, where any tree limb could fall and hurt you.” He gives me a rain jacket from the closet. “Not to worry. Once Luis gets back, he’ll make you breakfast, and you can watch Saturday morning cartoons together.”
He puts his arm around me as we leave the building. The wind buffets so hard it feels like I might get blown away. We get into a truck and he drives me off, taking us through town and then to a brick house. He gets me inside and, already, Luis is in the kitchen.
“I’m going back for Novikov. Take care of Goldilocks.” Yuan commands.
Luis seems speechless, almost afraid as we’re left alone together. His cheeks darken and he fumbles with the whisk in his hand. “Coffee?” His voice cracks.
“Yes, I would love some.”
Luis motions to the coffee pot and takes down a mug from the shelf. “This must be a rough week for you.” He pours a full cup for me. “Breakup and all that, now this.”
“I’ll be OK.” I take the cup and add just a dash of sugar. “I feel better about the breakup than anything. Not only that, I have three cute guys looking after me.”
Luis’ cheeks grow darker and he chuckles. “Well, make yourself at home. Breakfast will be done shortly, and hopefully Yuan and Novikov will be back too.”
I take a seat at the kitchen table, glancing out the window at the storm. I’m halfway through a plate of pancakes and bacon when the door flies open, and Yuan and Novikov stumble inside. Yuan has on a raincoat, but poor Novikov doesn’t and is soaked to the bone. He stands in the doorway and peels off his clothes right in front of me.
“Mari is right here!” Luis screeches.
Novikov turns, shirtless and in all his glory. “Oh, hi,” he says breathlessly while Yuan starts to cackle. He stares blankly and I wave. Maybe this is my cheesy romance novel fantasy, after all.
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Hoodies are for Comfort
Based off the promo for 2.08 & helped along by @moviegeek03 . Girl your support means everything & I hope this fic delivers everything you want
GTHB Masterlist; Read on A03
Carlos was currently holding his boyfriend on the couch with the TV playing quietly in the background. TK was currently wearing his favorite grey hoodie and over top of that was Carlos’s zip-up APD hoodie with sweats and two pairs of socks. TK always insisted he likes Carlos’s hoodies better because they always provided more comfort. So Carlos had done his best to find one that would fit over the one TK was currently wearing, even though his hoodies usually swallowed TK whole. TK also had every blanket from the living room laid over him, and he was still shivering a little. Carlos hated it; he just wanted to warm TK up.
“Hey, you still awake?” he murmurs as he cards a hand through TK’s hair being as careful as possible of the stitches in the back of his head.
"Mmmm," TK hums softly as he leans back on Carlos more.
"Mmm is not good enough," Carlos teases as he kisses the back of TK's neck.
"Babe," TK whines softly as he burrows further in the covers and hoodies.
"I know. I'm sorry. But I can't let you sleep yet. That's what we promised the doctor when he released you. Otherwise you'd still be there."
"I know," TK sighs. "But I just wanna sleep and it's too cold."
Carlos runs a hand to TK's forehead. "You're pretty warm mi amor." Hr reaches for the thermometer on the side table beside him. He holds it to TK's ear and watches the numbers rise filling him with more relief. "You're right below normal," Carlos tells him, showing him the thermometer.
TK nods as he relaxes more into Carlos. "Can probably sleep for a little bit," TK murmurs.
Carlos let's out a soft sigh. "Ok short nap. I'm waking you in an hour," he says as TK gets comfy, being careful of the bruises and stitches. Carlos tucks the blankets around him more, and sets an alarm to wake TK in an hour. He softly keeps his hand moving through TK's hair as TK falls right to sleep.
Carlos softly kisses his head as he thinks back over the most stressful twenty-four hours of his life.
When he'd gotten the call from Owen that the entire paramedic team was not responding and appeared off grid going on an hour and half, he'd felt worried. When he'd broken away from his dad with the excuse of a case even though he'd just clocked out, he thought they'd find them quickly. Only he discovered the empty parking garage, and TK wasn't answering his calls, texts or SOS messages.
They reported it like they were supposed to, Grace having already alerted her supervisors the paramedics weren't responding. His entire precinct was on the case, even some of his off duty friends coming in to help. The 126 team still descended on the parking garage as one unit, but split off into pairs to looks for their missing members not wanting to be left out of the search for their family. Judd declared he was going with Carlos, having taken on the captain role for Owen who was equally distressed he couldn't reach his son. Paul took Owen leaving Marjan and Mateo to team up.
Carlos nods knowing Judd is right, so they stop for coffee and a sandwich. Judd makes the comment trying to fill the silence and distract Carlos about wrapping TK in bubble wrap and never letting him leave the station again, and Carlos can't help but agree. He thought the medic job would be safer and he wouldn't have to worry about grey hair just yet. But TK, as always, is proving him wrong. "Hey, isn't your dad a Ranger?" Judd asks.
After three hours of looking and tracing every step they could think of with no luck, Carlos was at his wits in. Judd was making him take a coffee break, despite his instance to keep going. "Carlos, you're not gonna be any good to him if you don't take a minute for yourself. Believe me I wanna find him just as bad, but he's gonna need you in top shape."
"Yea. Why?" Carlos asks confused at the change in direction of conversation.
"Just thinking he might have some pull somewhere we could use."
Carlos nods as he thinks it over. It doesn't take him long and he's pulling out his phone making the call. He gives his dad the short version and agrees to wait for him at the coffee shop. "He doesn't know about us," Carlos tells Judd quietly not meeting his eyes.
"I know. TK told me. I won't tell your secret Reyes, but I hate to be the one to break it to ya. If your dad is anywhere as smart as I image he is, he's going to figure it out. You're not gonna be able to hide that emotion," Judd says gesturing to his face.
Carlos nods knowing Judd is right. They sit in silence for a few more minutes before he sees his dad's truck pull up behind Judd's. "Could you give me a minute with him? I'll tell him, then we can go."
"Course," Judd nods as he heads out to his truck, nodding at Carlos's dad as he goes. Carlos tells his dad the truth, that one of the missing paramedics is his boyfriend and that he'll explain more on that later, before he tells his dad all the case facts they know. "We'll find him," Gabriel says squeezing Carlos's shoulder. Carlos does his best to hold back the tears, but one does escape.
They leave the little coffee shop in Gabriel's truck as Gabriel makes some calls. As they drive around Carlos explains things to his dad, Judd having decided to follow them so Carlos could speak freely. He hates the pained look on his dad's face when he explains why he lied and how long he and TK had been a couple, but thankfully he doesn't press Carlos for more than he's willing to share just yet.
It takes another 2 hours before TK's phone location comes back on; it takes another 30 minutes for them to get to the location. Carlos and his dad go in guns drawn not waiting for backup having gotten a text Nancy covertly sent from TK's phone because his was the only one not busted. The rest of the 126 arrive not long after them. Tommy and Nancy appear unhurt, but shook up and terrified. When Nancy told Carlos that TK was in the freezer, he panicked. He opened the door and saw TK slumped against the wall passed out with blood on the back of his head. Thankfully he hadn't been in there too long Tommy informed them, but long enough his body temperature had dropped, and he had stopped shaking despite the cold.
Gabriel shooed Carlos into the back of the ambulance with the promise to talk to Andrea for him and to check on them soon. "Thanks Dad" Carlos says trying to hold back his tears as he climbed in the back with his boy. It took several hours in the ER for TK to get stitched up from being pistol whipped Carlos learned, and for his temperature to come up enough for them to be released. He had a concussion, six stitches and several bruises on top of almost severe hypothermia. They're discharged about eight am with strict instructions to take it easy and return if TK's symptoms worsen.
Carlos let's out another soft sigh as he kisses the top of TK's head glad his boy is safe in his arms once more. Today, well yesterday at this point, had been one of the scariest of his life. He didn't know what he'd do if he ever really lost TK. He knows he needs to call his parents too; needs to properly talk to them about the new bomb he just dropped on them, but he can't bring himself to do it just yet. He feels emotionally drained, but he can't sleep either, fearing something will happen to TK while he's asleep.
"You're thinking too much," he hears murmured as TK tries to burrow closer. Even though his temperature is almost back to normal, he can't shake the cold feeling.
"Sorry cariño," Carlos whispers as he adjusts to TK's wiggling. He tucks the blankets around him more, and before he can ask TK if he's ok, there is a knock at his door making him furrow his brow. He silences his alarm to wake TK, even though TK woke on his own, thankfully.
"Who the?" He questions not happy about the interruption.
"Probably dad," TK sighs knowing Owen has asked for hourly updates, which he thought was a little ridiculous. He knows his dad wants to talk about his and his mom's previous behavior, and try to make amends, but TK just isn't ready to deal with his parents’ problems yet.
Carlos rearranges TK on the couch before he goes to open the door. Carlos is extremely shocked when he opens it to see his parents standing there. Gabriel is holding a crock pot that Carlos is almost positive is full by the smell, and Andrea is holding a rather large bag.
"Mamì? Dad?" Carlos greets as he opens the door wider at Andrea's expectant look.
"Carlitos," she smiles patting his cheek as she walks by.
"Don't try and argue with her mijo," Gabriel says heading for the kitchen when he sees the argument forming on the tip of Carlos’s tongue.
"Don't you dare," Andrea says to TK when she sees him trying to sit up and uncover. "I hear you've had a rather rough day TK. So please stay put," she says as Carlos stares on with the most adorably confused face.
She turns to her son next, "Well Carlitos not even a hug again?" She questions with a grin reminding them of the farmer's market day.
"Mamì," he groans but he does hug her. "What are you doing here?" He finally asks.
"Manners mijo! I raised you better than that," she scolds making TK giggle a little as Carlos blushes. He does finally make his way back to the couch to help TK prop up more as Andrea pushes him that way. He sits beside him, TK understanding Carlos is not comfortable with a lap full of boyfriend in front of his parents.
"Your dad explained everything that happened," Andrea starts as Gabriel joins them, and they finally sit across from the boys. "So I made your favorite Chile Verde for you two and brought a surprise," she says with a large grin as she finally digs into the bag she carried in.
"You really didn't have to go through all this trouble mam," TK says as Andrea starts pulling out a gorgeous quilt. He sees Carlos's eyes go wide and is slightly confused.
"Nonsense," Andrea says carrying the quilt over to the couch. “And you don’t have to ‘mam’ me even though it’s sweet,” she grins at him. Carlos still hasn't said anything, and it's really stressing TK out. "Besides I wanted to. Chile Verde is Carlos's favorite soup, and it will warm you right up. This will too," she says tucking the quilt around TK atop his mound of blankets. "This was Carlos's favorite, especially when he was sick. His Abuela made it when Gabriel and I got married. Carlos always told me he wanted it when he was older. His sisters all have one picked out as well, and I figured now would be a good time to give it to him."
"Mamì," Carlos finally chokes out his eyes filled with tears. TK sneaks a hand out from under all the blankets and lays it on Carlos's knee giving it a squeeze.
Andrea moves over and cups Carlos's cheek before kissing his forehead. "Shhh mijo," she whispers as she wipes his tears, hearing everything he can't say just yet. "We love you, and that's all that needs to be said right now," she whispers hearing her husband agree.
Carlos nods and let’s his mama hug him tight. He feels TK squeezing his knee. “Gracìas Mamì,” he murmurs as she moves back to sit by Gabriel.
They stay a little longer, getting to know TK, which helps Carlos keep him awake a while longer. The soup is absolutely delicious, and TK praises Andrea for passing her culinary skills on to Carlos. When they see both boys on the verge of crashing from exhaustion, they decide to head back to the ranch. Andrea makes them promise to come out for Sunday dinner soon as well as call if they were to need anything in the coming days. Carlos promises they will, and promises to have dinner even sooner with just his parents so they can talk like they need to.
Once he sees them out, he helps TK up off the couch to go to bed. TK insists on taking the quilt because it is super warm and will look amazing on their bed. They curl up together, TK finally feeling warm and happy and Carlos feeling exhausted enough to sleep. Things might not always be perfect, but they'll always have each other and their family.
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wait. WAIT. YOU WATCHED PACIFIC RIM???? oh my god. i was planning a whole ass pacific rim au with luke that will probably never materialise but. OH MY GOD. PACIFIC RIM. imagine ranger luke pearce. plus the stripping. *scream* - 🌃
NightStar, i havent just watched pacific rim, i was deep in the pacific rim fandom in 2013 when the movie first came out.
that being said oh my GOD do not put this idea into my head, oh god, i think you meant for this ask to focus towards sexy luke---which, granted, very compelling, mmmmm luke in the jaeger pilot suit, MMMMMM---but also oh NOOOO I NOW AM THINKING ABOUT
luke pearce, youngest pilot the Pan Pacific Defense Corps has ever seen, began piloting with his partner aaron yishmir when he was only 19 years old. together, aaron and luke piloted the jaeger named Raven, and their strong neural bond paired with aaron's foresight and luke's combat expertise made them a force to be reckon with until---
luke pearce, poor pilot who got into a terrible incident 2 years into his service. category 3 kaiju shows up in anchorage, the kaiju pierces through Raven's hull, knocking aaron out cold. neural bond broken, luke pilots solo for the rest of the fight, managing to take the kaiju down in the end, but not until the neural load of piloting solo fritzes his body, his nervous system, sends electric pain so agonizing it rips something inside him apart, irreparable and---
luke pearce, 22 years old, being told by the PPDC doctors that the effects of piloting solo damaged his central nervous system so bad that he's got 5 years left to live before the damage inches into his brain and shuts him down for good, but thats still 5 years left to---
luke pearce, stubborn pilot, doesnt listen to aaron who tells him he shouldnt pilot anymore, aaron who tells him "spend the rest of your life with the people you love, the people you left." luke stands his ground, and aaron, refusing to enable him, drops out as a pilot and serves as a surgeon instead.
luke pearce, 24 years old, the legendary jaeger pilot who cant fight anymore because he has no co-pilot, because every other person in the past 2 years hasnt been drift compatible with him, because the PPDC therapist he's required to see every friday tells luke that he's shut his mind, his heart, completely closed. luke cant accept it, wont accept it, he has to keep working, he has to protect---
luke pearce, breathless and afraid, because she's not supposed to be here. he left, he joined the jaeger program, he did all of this because of how she looked that one terrible day a kaiju attacked the amusement park they were at, her, her parents, and luke, so young and unaware, and then in a split second, her parents are gone and she's standing there, horror in her eyes, and he promised he would make sure that would never happen again so she cant be here, she cant but---
"luke," mc says, standing in front of him, here at the last remaining jaeger base as the rain patters down around them. he heard of the news of there being new pilots coming in for the first time in a long time, but he never thought that his worst nightmare would come true. the one person he swore to protect, showing up at the frontlines of the war. mc smiles, a little awkward, just like how remembers, and his heart. shatters. "it's good to see you again."
"it is," luke says softly, dreading the facts he knows in his mind:
she's a pilot.
she'll be tested for compatibility with him.
he knows without a doubt that his mind, his heart, closed shut from everybody else in the world, will let her in.
luke pearce, standing in the rain, looking at her, more afraid than he's ever been in his life.
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So my brother and I were talking about unstable power ranger colors because that’s where my brain is and his is currently on color theory and using it for therapy in conjunction with smart prosthetics for patients getting prosthetics.
Yes it kinda syncs, we make it work lol.
So I was telling him about the unstable colors and he was really interested and we were also talking about monster themed (vampire, werewolf, the like) as power Rangers, as his favorite team is mystic force. We got on the subject of them and I pointed out Leelee from it is half vampire. To which
“What if a team of entirely unstable colors with half human monster kids-maybe even kids of past foes-as Rangers”
And I responded “their villains is a corrupted first time of the stable, traditional colors who uses a game show style a la monster park by rl stine”
Suffice to say we want it and I now am fighting myself on the urge to draw them.
Orange, violet, indigo, grey and bronze.
We’ve never been told the entire list of unstable colors, we know a few. Gray and orange, silver and gold, purple sometimes, but nothing on bronze. However all the Metallics seem to have issues playing nice with the people they’re used by so I’d wager bronze does too. We’ve only had orange once and it was Skull Violet was an evil color, Indigo had issues.
Your villains is the traditional team who all collectively went Lord Drakkon in a “the darling children who live down the lane” from kids next door style. They’re corrupted and their suits now serve as your traditional monster forms, but with carnie elements. Each time they send someone out it’s via a game show thing deciding on it. There’s a “live” audience of Rangers who have died in different realities and are trapped there.
have no idea what their weapons would be like, but Saban, Hasbro, talk to me, I got ideas.
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I am considering doing a power rangers and Danny phantom cross over au and don’t know which of the following would be better
Anton and Vlad being business partners for something and Trent and Dani having a conversation about the thing their dads want them to be
Lightspeed Rescue rangers working with the guys in white to catch Danny
Mystic force trying to fix the ghost problem in amity park once and for all and getting told off by each member of team phantom about staying in their own lane with magical nonsense
Dani running into operation overdrive multiple times on her travels and becoming an informant for what the villains are up to due to her own evil up bringing
Wild force encountering Wolf and fighting off Walker and his goons to try and help him
The silver guardians setting up a division in Amity park and Wes trying to convince Wes that phantom and Fenton are the same person only to be laughed off but somehow convince Eric in the process
Dani meets Lauren while she’s in hiding training to use the sealing symbol and is her sparing buddy for a while
Jazz being a therapist to the Bradley brothers and realizing they are power rangers pretty quickly
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Tricked Into It (Greg Gerwitz x Reader)
Word Count: 1,957
Pairing: Greg Gerwitz aka Mouse x Reader
Summary: Ever since your last breakup with someone who cheated and abused the love you had for them, you have been wary of dating. And it doesn’t help when your friend Kim Burgess won’t stop pestering you about some cute techie guy at the 21st District.
Warnings: talk of bad relationship (cheating, emotional abuse, PTSD from the relationship), descriptions of what might be an anxiety attack (I described feeling anxious but it ended up bordering on what could have almost been an attack.)
A/N: So I am working on a Kelly Severide Imagine, but I’m a but stuck on it so I came up with the idea that I take the last imagine I wrote, the other Mouse Imagine and make it into a little series of one shots, mainly cause I wanted to explore the relationship of Mouse and this librarian!reader. So this is a sort of prequel to the first Mouse imagine, how they first met which is talked about in the other imagine.
HERE is the first Librarian!Reader fic if you want to check it out!!
If you want to be added to my tags, just ASK!!
“Kim, I swear to god!”
You slammed your book shut with a snap and looked up at the Chicago police officer, aka Kim Burgess aka your best friend, in front of you. She looked almost as annoyed as you felt, rolling her eyes and sitting down on your couch across you in your reading chair. Kim had come over after her shift at the 21st District ended, and only after a couple of minutes of peace, Kim started up on her latest crusade; your love life.
“No! I get that you care, believe me, but I don’t need you trying to set me up with someone.” You said with a heavy sigh.
Kim scooted closer to you and leaned forward, trying to catch your eye which was avoiding hers, “Hey,” She paused and waited for you to look her in the eye, “I just want you to be happy. And I think this guy is a good match for you. Much better than -”
“Don’t say their name.”
“...Fine. But Mouse is so your type!”
You were about to start arguing again when her words actually registered into your head, “His name is Mouse? There is no way that this cop’s name is Mouse.”
“Okay one, he isn’t a cop. He is a tech expert that works with Intelligence, a civilian hired by the unit and the department. And two, Mouse is just what everyone calls him, its a nickname from when he was younger.” Kim explained.
“Yeah, crazy smart when it comes to hacking and stuff like that. He got the job after hacking into Voight’s cell phone in like a couple of seconds. And he was in the Rangers with Jay, plus he is pretty funny and cute.”
You looked away from Kim as you thought it through. Clearly Kim was just looking out for you, but there was no way this guy, this super-smart-tech-genius-ex-ranger, could ever be interested in someone like you. You were just a simple librarian at Chicago Public Library, living alone aside from your cat companion, Geraldine. You hadn’t done anything extraordinary with your life, and as your thought process started to spiral in an anxious tizzy, you started to shake your head.
“No, no I can’t see this guy. He wouldn’t want to get stuck with some boring librarian.” You said, your body shrinking in on itself as your self confidence crumbled. All the comments your ex significant other made to you while you were still dating came popping up into your mind one after the other after the other. Comments on your weight, your looks, how you were boring and that was why they stepped out and cheated on you any chance they could. Tears were misting in your eyes and you tried blinking them away, not wanting to cry in front of Kim.
“I mean it Kim. Drop it.”
Kim looked you over and saw how you had retreated into yourself, clearly looking uncomfortable with the topic. That’s when she sighed and nodded, forcing a small smile on her face, “Okay.”
A week has passed since the confrontation with Kim about that techie guy, and you were slowly trying to purge the whole instance from your head and get back to your quiet life. Every once in a while, the conversation would slide to the forefront of your mind, along with your anxiety-fueled spiral about your ex, and you would try and shake away the ordeal. It had made you feel small and disgusting thinking about your ex and how your self worth was diminished because of them, and you never wanted to go back to that place again. Even if that meant never being in another relationship again.
On Friday, you had gotten a text from Kim around midday about having a girl’s night and heading out to have a drink at Molly’s, this pub which had become pretty popular with the cops of the Intelligence Unit. You had been once before, and one of the owners, Gabbie Dawson, was really nice to you when Kim introduced her. So you agreed, excited to go out and hang out with Kim.
Once you got out of work around 6, you got back to your small one bedroom apartment and fed Geraldine before retreating to your room to figure out what to wear. You settled on a pair of slender black pants and a long sleeved dark green blouse matched with a pair of green heels. Once you showered, dried and got your hair the exact way you like it, added a little makeup and got dressed, it was time to head out and meet Kim at Molly’s. You drove to the neighborhood where the pub was, some cars already lining the streets letting you know that Molly’s would probably be busy.
You parked, and hurried to get inside, pulling your winter coat around you a litter tighter as a gust of wind tried to chill you to the bone. The November night air was lung chilling and while you weren’t dressed like those young twenty-somethings with short dresses and no coats, you still did not want to waste another second with the wind chill. Once you got in, you saw that your assumption about the pub being busy was right, many people scattered around the bar, others in groups were seated or standing next to tables against the other wall. You looked around, trying to catch Kim’s face in the crowd but having trouble with how crowded. You pealed off your coat and made your way to the bar where you saw an older man behind the counter, cleaning off a glass.
“Excuse me?” You said, slipping into the space in front of the bar, and accidentally grazing your arm against the guy sitting down to your right, “Oh sorry.” You said quickly to the guy, not really looking in his direction so you didn’t notice when he started staring at you in awe.
“What can I get ya?” The older man said as he put the glass down and gave you his full attention.
“I know this is probably a long shot, but my friend comes to this bar a lot and I was just wondering if you’ve seen her tonight? Kim Burgess?”
“Ah! I know Burgess. From the 21st District?”
“Yeah! Yes, that’s her.”
The man smiled before turning around and grabbing something from behind the bar and then turned back to you, “I haven’t seen her, but she called about 5 minutes ago saying that her friend would be stopping by tonight. She also said to get her a vodka cranberry on her and to give her this.”
He handed you a napkin and then turned away, most likely to get your drink ready. You looked down at the napkin with a rough note written on it, reading out loud the note, “Hey, something came up super last minute, have a drink on me and enjoy the night. Sorry, --Kim.”
“Sorry about that, kid.” The man said as he returned with your drink, giving you a warm smile that also had a hint of pity in it.
“No problem. It’s not your fault.”
With one more smile he headed towards the other end of the bar, leaving you with your drink. You let out a sigh and brought the drink to your lips, trying to figure out what you were going to do next when a voice from next to you started speaking.
“You’re friends with Burgess?”
Looking over, it was the guy you had apologized to earlier. Now that you weren’t in a rush to find Kim, you got a good look at him. He had brown hair, you could almost consider it floppy-like if it didn’t also have a clean-cut feel to it. The man’s eyes were bright blue, and they looked at you with a mix of intrigue and surprise. He was wearing a blue button-up which matched his eyes, the first few buttons undone.
“Yeah, do you know her?” You asked. He nodded and looked down to his beer bottle, his fingers anxiously playing with the paper label.
“I-I work with her at the district.” He explained. “Are you one of her flight attendant friends?”
“No, god no. I’m a librarian at the Chicago Public Library.”
“Oh, that’s cool.”
“You don’t have to lie. I know it’s boring..”
“No! I genuinely think it’s cool. I-I mean I’m not a huge book guy myself but-but I did read a lot of Shakespeare in school and that was really cool, especially the-the one about the guy who dressed as a woman to hide from a mob or something and everyone thought he was a witch?” The guy rambled, his face flushing as he tried to save himself. You smirked at the clumsiness of his words and took a drink of your cocktail.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor?” You offered, and the guy snapped at the name.
“Yeah, yeah. The whole play now that I think about it went over my head at 16. But I was too interested in the Blackhawks and code. Like-Like the game that happened the other night, I was invested until that left winger from the Rangers totally checked Hartman and they put-”
“Hartman in the penalty box! Yes!! With only 3 minutes left on the clock and the take out the best right winger on the ice.” You jumped in, a smile growing on your face as the topic of hockey came up. “If he was still playing the Blackhawks would have got at least 2 more points and would have won instead of losing to the worst team in the league.”
The guy sputtered his drink and starts laughing, and immediately think its cause you had embarrassed yourself and he was laughing at you, not what you said. That was until he smiled at you and nodded his head.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
You felt a small fluttering in you chest when he smiled, something about him not making you nervous or anxious which was a change. With a smile on your own face, you put your hand out to him, “I’m Y/N by the way. Y/N L/N.”
“Greg Gerwitz.” Greg took your hand and shook it, lingering for a couple extra seconds before pulling away. “Or you can call me Mouse.”
You froze as he said that, your eyes widening in shock. He seemed to see your reaction and frowned, “Or not?”
“No, sorry.” You said quickly, trying to recover. “It-Its just that Burgess has been trying to set me up with you for the last few weeks.”
“Wait...oh! You’re that librarian! Burgess has been telling me about you too.”
“Yeah, says how you are the best person ever and that I would like you the minute we met.” He chuckled. Greg smirked and turned more towards you, “And she wasn’t wrong.”
You flushed, feeling the heat of your blush against your cheeks as his smirk widened. It was quiet between the two of you as the pub continued with it’s noise like it wasn’t watching the start of something amazing. Greg then spoke up, getting your attention again, “Hey, I know this might seem fast but I really like talking to you.”
“I really like talking to you too.”
“Really?” He asked, his face getting red again as his smirk melted away into a nervous smile, “Well, what would you say about a date? Maybe the Blackhawks game tomorrow?”
It took quicker than you thought, but all your anxiety from the week before seemed like a long lost bad dream and you just wanted to spend some time with Greg Gerwitz.
“I would love to.”
ONE CHICAGO TAGS: @carnationworld
NORMAL TAGS: @l4life @ithoughtiwasflying
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Part of The Untamed - EXO Wolf Universe
Pairing: Yixing x Reader
Summary: Medical school abroad was the last line on your to-do list before starting the rest of your life. Everything was going according to plan. Everything, that is, until tragedy strikes your campus. In the wake of a professor’s untimely death, you’re partnered with the cute boy with a breathtaking smile in the newly combined labs. You find yourself unable to resist the dimples and shy glances, but his life is here with no plans of leaving. Will you continue on as planned or will you accept the hand that Fate had dealt you?
Part: 1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5 I 6 I 7 I 8 I 9 I 10 I Final
You were anxious, but you couldn’t describe exactly why. Was it as narrowed down to Ran and Yixing simply interacting? The two worlds colliding? Or was it as broad as the fact that Yixing was stepping into your apartment?
The place wasn’t dirty. Both you and Ran were diligent on keeping on top of the dishes and dusting. You weren’t necessarily the “make your bed everyday” type, but it wasn’t too much of a jumble of sheets. There were no leftovers out on the counter or crusted plates in the sink. The air smelled of artificial citrus thanks to the plug-in that Ran kept up with on a steady rotation.
Ran ushered everyone in and then closed the door with no concern of a noise level. “Pizza should be here any minute.” The only responses she received were silent nods.
It was awkward as the three of you stood around, no one talking, no one moving towards the available seating in the living room. Ran often brought friends over and they naturally made themselves at home. Whenever Victoria or Amber were in town, you met up with them at coffee shops or restaurants serving brunch. Your apartment was not a typical place to congregate. It was your sanctuary, the place you went to in order to get away. Now the outside world was coming in and you weren’t sure what to do.
“Yixing, you want a drink?” Ran offered.
He nodded. “Yes, thank you.”
Ran shot you a very pointed look before whisking off to the kitchen. Yixing’s eyes roamed over the mostly empty walls. Neither you nor Ran were good with tools so ramming a nail into plaster didn’t seem like a logical way to spend an afternoon. Any decorating done to give the apartment a homey feel was done on the side and coffee tables. Ran’s novels were stacked in with your medical textbooks for easy reaching. Picture frames containing silly faces and fond memories sat on top of the wooden surfaces. Your favorite was the one of you and your aunt mid laugh, soaking wet from the water ride that had splashed from behind. Wherever you went, that picture went too. Yixing found it after a few seconds, walking over to it like in a trance. He picked up the cheap, plastic black frame with a gentle hand. A dimple made an appearance in his right cheek as he studied the photo.
“You look like you had fun.”
A small laugh pushed out as the memories of that trip flashed through your mind like a PowerPoint. Lost chargers, multiple changes of clothes from water rides and dropped ice creams, and dozens of wrong turns to get to the right ride. Neither you nor your aunt were good at working the app made for the amusement park, but that only added to the adventure.
“We did,” you replied. “That was right before my freshman year here. One last hurrah before moving on to adulthood.” That was what your aunt had said, anyway, though both of you knew she meant it sarcastically. She didn’t believe in full adulthood. A little bit of childishness was necessary to live life to the fullest – a concept that you couldn’t quite fully understand in words but could when you were looking at her. Yixing nodded, the smile growing by a few centimeters as he set the frame down again. Ran entered from the kitchen and handed him a steaming mug of fresh tea. You nearly hid your face in your shirt when you noticed which cup Ran had chosen or the gesture of a gracious host.
Little chibi figures depicting characters from your favorite drama danced around the porcelain mug. It was cute in your eyes when you’d ordered it from the online shop. Now, it was mortifying. You just hoped that Yixing assumed that it was Ran’s and that Ran didn’t mention anything to the contrary.
“Thank you.” Yixing blew on the steam that danced from the caramel colored liquid and took a sip small enough for a mouse. Still, no one sat. Ran glanced at you with a curious expression. If she was telling you to do something, you weren’t able to pick up on what that thing might be. Miraculously, you were saved by the door knock.
Ran shuffled over to the door to answer it. Yixing leaned down and placed the mug on the coffee table and that’s when it hit you.
He still wasn’t wearing a shirt.
Grabbing his wrist, you pulled him into your bedroom while Ran was distracted with the delivery guy. You let go of Yixing and started rifling through your closet for a more unisex shirt.
“What’s wrong?” Yixing asked right behind you.
You jumped at his sudden closeness but didn’t look behind you. “You’re still just wearing the jacket. When Ran notices, she’ll start asking questions.” Your fingers landed on an old band t-shirt that you hadn’t worn in a while. The black was a neutral color and most of the wording was faded. You doubt Ran would recognize it. “Here. Put this on.”
Seemingly laughing at you in his head, Yixing smiled and unzipped his jacket.
The first time you’d seen him shirtless, you were too distracted by the hiker to take real notice. Now that he was the only one around and standing in your bedroom… heat exploded all over your body. And the jerk seemed to notice as he took his time to take off the jacket and push his head through the shirt. You scurried around him and poked your head out of your room just in time to see Ran hand over the tip, closing the door with the pizza boxes in hand.
“Smells good,” Yixing commented as he snuck up behind you once again. He really needed to stop doing that.
“And its still warm, too,” Ran cooed, having heard him. She took a long whiff. You couldn’t help but take one, too. Delicious. Your mouth was already swimming when you sat down at the table. You didn’t even remember telling your feet to move. Ran grabbed plates from the cabinet before flipping open the lids, engulfing the apartment with that familiar scent. “Bon appetite!”
“Thank you for dinner,” Yixing said again. He was always so polite. It was endearing. So much so that you had paused midbite and started staring at him with a grin of your own pulling at your lips’ corners.
Ran chewed through a mouthful before answering. “No problem. You just have really good timing.”
A silence that you couldn’t quite call comfortable settled over the meal. You thought over and over of what you could say to continue a conversation, but all options fell flat. The consequence of that? Ran jumping in.
“So, Yixing, how do you know (y/n)?”
“We have class together,” he explained, not bothered at all by the questionnaire he was about to receive. Or he was simply unaware that this might only be the beginning.
Ran’s eyebrows shot up. “The one that just combined? So, did you have the other professor?”
Yixing nodded solemnly. “I did.” Though there were still several bites left of his current slice, he put it down and folded his fingers with his elbows resting on the table. “She was a good teacher.”
“That’s what I heard a lot,” Ran agreed. “It’s scary what’s going on. You never know who’s going to be next. I heard that there might have been another attack today.”
You looked at Yixing thinking that he would do the same given your shared knowledge that there was indeed another attack, but he didn’t turn his head in the slightest. He kept staring at the table. You knew this was bothering him. It was written in every facet of his posture and face. But Ran didn’t seem to notice.
“I think they should send the rangers out and put down the animal. I mean, I hate to kill anything that is just living its life, but there’s obviously something wrong with it. Like it went mad or something. Putting it out of its misery might be—”
“Ran, do you have plans tonight?” you jumped in.
Ran blinked as her mind quickly changed gears. “Yeah. Hae In is picking me up in a few minutes and we’re going to go out. You two are welcome to join us.”
“That’s okay,” you answered for both of you. “Thanks, though.”
Ran grinned cheekily. “I kind of figured.”
A quick succession of knocks rattled from the front door. Ran leapt up and ushered her friend inside.
Hae In, a girl whose personality was as bright as her blonde hair, waved excitedly at you and Yixing. “Hey! Ooo, that looks good!” She was quickly distracted by the pizza, grabbing a slice as soon as Ran gave her the okay. She swallowed down a few bites. “I’m Hae In, by the way,” she said to Yixing. “Are you (y/n)’s friend?”
“Yes, I am,” he said, a bit his previous light coming back. “I’m Yixing.” Standing up, he held out his hand for her to take.
“Nice to meet you,” Hae In shook his hand after wiping the grease off on an unused napkin.
“We should probably get going,” Ran suggested. “You know Marnie will take forever and we want to get there before they start charging covers.”
“No kidding,” Hae In giggled. She waved goodbye and followed Ran out the door.
Yixing turned to you. “They seemed nice.”
“They are,” you nodded as you stood to your feet and started clearing the table of the dirty dishes. Yixing was soon on his own feet, helping by moving all the leftover pizza into one box and then closing the lid so it could fit in the fridge. You rinsed off the plates, the water plashing all over the counter. After a quick clean up, you put the plates in the dishwasher. Yixing had moved on to the living room. He was seated on the couch, leaning forward with his forearms resting on his thighs and looking deep in thought. You sat down beside him. “Is everything alright?”
“Yeah,” he said none-too-convincingly. He sat up so he was now sitting back into the couch. “I’m okay. It’s just been… a day.”
You snorted. “Yeah, you can say that again.”
He didn’t respond to what you had said. He changed the subject in a sharp turn. “This shirt’s comfortable.”
You frowned, confused. “Yeah, its old so its been washed a few times. But it was soft like that when I bought it.” What were you even saying? Why were the two of you talking about your shirt? Honestly, you wanted to forget for a second that he was wearing your clothes at all. Because then you mind drifted to what was underneath the cloth.
“I think I’ve heard of this band,” Yixing said as he tugged on the front where the members were proudly displayed in a tough-guy fashion. There were a few breaks in the plastic-y photo that split some of the faces at odd angles. “They’re a pop group, right?”
You cleared your throat as you shifted in your seat. “Yeah. I guess you could call them that.” Why were you suddenly dying of humiliation? Why should you have any anxiety over what music you liked? One fear might have been that he was one of those people who looked down on others for liking such “shallow music.” You never thought the group in that way. If the vocals were good, who cared if the songs were mostly about love? “I like them anyway.”
To your surprise, Yixing was smiling. “I like them, too.”
In your heart, you were sure he was saying something else. Implying someone else that he really liked.
Or maybe that was just wishful thinking. Because… well, you were realizing that you liked him. Very much. More than a friend. You liked Yixing. And you wanted him to like you, too. While you weren’t a mind reader, you thought that maybe there was a chance that he already did.
Going with the second thought that popped into your head, you looked at him shyly. “Thanks for coming along when you did, by the way. I don’t think I would have been to get him help in time if you hadn’t.”
Instead of returning your soft expression, Yixing remained stoic. He reached out and touched your cheek with the tips of his fingers. They were warm against your skin – No, not warm. Even with the minimal contact, you could feel the fire. It felt like a constant wave of sunshine pulsing into your skin. By sheer instinct, you leaned in deeper to his touch. That was encouragement enough for him to shift so now his palm was against your cheek. The reaction to pull away coursed in your mind, but you couldn’t bring it to fruition. If it had been anyone else, you would have been up and off that couch, putting plenty of room between you and them. But with Yixing… you simply wanted to move closer.
And someone did.
You weren’t sure if it was you or him – your money would have been on a mutual understanding, an equal pull that shifted both of you like magnets. But there was no gnashing of teeth or crumpling of shirts. It was a softer collision. A hesitant one. Your hands dug into the cushion to force you not to move as his lips brushed against yours. When he pressed more, his other hand came up and pulled you in closer by your hip. You didn’t resist, encompassing the space that was his lap.
That fire – that heat and warmth like a log alite on a winter’s day – was everywhere now. But just as it was growing, it was also drifting farther back in your mind. Yixing’s presence, his touch, was consuming your thoughts. You were not the kind of person who did this. You shied away from intimate moments like this. The weeks you had known Yixing were short, but that felt like a detail of little consequence. You believed yourself safe in his embrace.
The kiss ended abruptly. With hands that were simultaneously harsh and gentle, Yixing removed you from his lap, placing you on the cushion beside him. He gave no explanation for his sudden switch in direction. You weren’t sure what for, but the urge to apologize was swelling up, like you were the only one who had crossed a line.
Yixing rubbed his eyes, releasing a sigh. “No. Don’t be. I just… I need to figure some things out first.”
“Some… things?” Was he… already seeing someone else? That’s what that usually meant, right? In all this time, he had never mentioned having a girlfriend. He wouldn’t have let you borrow his jacket if there was a chance that another girl might see it. Unless— unless she didn’t go to the university in town and they were in a long-distance relationship? The more you thought about it, the more your stomach was beginning to churn.
“I know that’s— What I mean is—” With another heavy sigh and a shake of his head, he stood to his feet. Not looking at you, he concluded, “I should… probably go.”
You were in state of confusion and sadness as he hurried out the door. Your eyes stayed trained on the last space that he had occupied. This was exactly why you didn’t do things like this. No moment of bliss was worth the terrible heartache that was always doomed to follow. Bringing your feet up on the couch, you made yourself as small as possible. Minutes went by. You weren’t sure why you didn’t move. Was there some stupid part of you that was waiting for him to come back through the door? Things like that only happened in the movies or a teen novel. As if to prove yourself wrong for why you were still in that spot, you peeled yourself up and walked into your room.
Laying there on your bed, folded like a store window display, was the jacket. Divided more than ever, you continued to stand in your doorway and stare at the last remaining evidence of Yixing’s presence.
As soon as he was outside, Yixing whirled and threw his fist into the grimy brick. Shaking out the pain, he cursed at himself under his breath. Stupid. He didn’t lash out like this. It wasn’t the right way to work out his anger. Even if it was towards himself.
The wolf both cheered at the line he’d crossed and whined at the sudden retreat. Part of him knew what the outcome would be once Ran left the apartment. The right thing to do would have been to say goodbye immediately and leave. But he had you to himself and to a wolf with his mate, that was a drug that couldn’t be discarded. So, he sat down on that couch, waiting for you to join. Sitting so close, Yixing’s muscles had tightened from the restraint. And then he snapped.
The scent rolling from you was too great to resist. Besides, you were leaning in, too. You were wanting it, too. Lips so soft as they kissed him back. Minseok had been right; it was like heaven on earth.
Then his mind pulled him back to hell.
A hiker had been attacked right around the time that he had blacked out. Again. And this time, they’d lived to describe the animal that had charged on him. A gray wolf. The same color as his own fur.
He fought against the thought that it might have been him. He held on tight to the chance that it was coincidence. But if it wasn’t… he couldn’t risk you getting hurt. If he did something to cause you harm… he’d never be able to forgive himself. He needed to get a handle on this, and fast. He just hoped that you didn’t hate him for the stunt he pulled back there.
In his pocket, his phone rang. Thankful for the distraction, he pulled it out and then the gratitude scrambled away.
It was Junmyeon.
Already knowing what this call would be about, he answered it. “Hello?”
“Yixing? Where are you? I need to come back to the house for a family meeting.”
He didn’t even bother to pretend to not understand. He didn’t ask for the reason to cover his current state of mind. “Okay. I’m in town, so it’ll take me about an hour to get home.”
“We’ll wait for you.”
Exhaling as his thumb hit the red button on his phone, Yixing pushed off the wall of the building and hopped into his car. A back and forth debate carried on as he drove down the backroad. Would he tell his pack what was going on and risk being ostracized? Or did he try to do this on his own and risk everything?
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Day 15: Dating
Ao3 ~~~ First ~~~ Previous ~~~ Next
Since this is going up on October 1st I just want to say that I will finish it, so please be patient with me, sorry for this being late.
Chat Name "Robins"
WonderBoy: Alright everyone we have a mission
TriggerHappy: I'll grab the weapons ￼🔫⚔️ and meet you guys in the cave
WonderBoy: not that kind of mission Jay🤦🏻♂️
Stitch: then what is this about then?
WonderBoy: we all know that the New Years Gala is coming up
Android17: Where is this going D?
WonderBoy: As good brothers we should help our dear little sister and get her a date🥰
Android17: You want us to play matchmaker😬😱
WonderBoy: well yes
TriggerHappy: 🤬You do realize that this is a bad idea right?
WonderBoy: It's not that bad
TriggerHappy: come on this is going to go south fast
Stitch: Todd is right this will end badly
WonderBoy: come on it won't be that bad
TriggerHappy: Holy shit if even Demon spawn agrees with me then it's a bad idea
Fine if they weren't going to help he would just have to find his sister and set something up himself.
With that Dick went in search of Marinette to start this mission.
Maybe Barbara will help him.
While the boys texted, Mari went to talk with her dad.
She knocked on his office door.
"Come in" she opened the door and he was looking through paperwork. She nearly reached his desk when he finally looked up. "Mari is something on your mind?"
She hadn't noticed it but she was chewing her lip and wringing her hands. "well... a friend asked me on a date and I haven't responded. Because..."
"You want to know if you are allowed to go on dates." she nodded. He had come around the desk and pulled her into a hug. "of course you can date, Mini"
"Of course, but can I at least know who this is, so I can at least run a background check, and if he hurts you..."
She cut him off with a hug and her laughter. "Thanks dad"
"So can I get the name now Mari"
She giggled "Jon asked me, and offered to show me around Metropolis."
"Hm. That's fine. Just be back by 2"
"2 pm" she nearly fell. Sure it was roughly 8 am but she couldn't see much with that time frame.
"2 am so you won't get an interrogation from your brothers."
"Besides Jon's a good kid, and Superman is in Metropolis so you'll be safe."
"Thanks dad" she hugged him and kissed him on the cheek as she ran out of the room pulling out her phone.
Chat Name "Sunshines"
Mari: It's all good
Mari: what time should we meet up and where
Jon: I should be there in an how to pick you up.
Jon: or do you want to meet outside the Manor?
Mari: knowing my brothers out of the Manor is better
Jon: Your right
Jon: see you soon
That's done. Now all I need is to cover all of my bases.
What to do?
Got it! She literally ran through the manor until she found him.
He was in the cave making his way to the zeta tubes. "Damian" she shouted and he turned around watching her as she approached.
Once she was in earshot he spoke "Do you need something Marinette?"
"Oh that's right" she hit her forehead lightly "Your spending the next few days with the Titians."
"Oh I was going to hangout with Jon and was wondering if you wanted to come with but you need to go huh" she wore a small pout.
"Unfortunately, but say hello to Kent for me" he pulled her into a short hug and began to walk away.
"Okay." she waved him off until after he left. She knew he was leaving today, but who would now suspect a date if she had invited her brother along. And oops he had a prior engagement he could not get out of.
Now just to get out of the house.
"There you are Little Bat"
Mari turned to face her brother. "Hey Blue, what's up?"
"I was wondering if you had some time to spend today" he said with a bright smile.
"Sorry Dick but I'm pretty busy."
"With what?" he asked genuinely.
"My dress for the gala. Besides..." he cut her off.
"Speaking of the gala anyone special you plan on inviting." she didn't mean to, but she blushed, "So there is someone! Who is it?"
"Dick, please I don't need help getting a date. Besides kwamii knows what a mess I was around Adrien and Luka" she covered her mouth as soon as the names slipped out. She did NOT mean to say that. Dick's smile grew wider. "Oh no. Dick please stop whatever your planning."
Dick practically flew from the cave. Oh great now to do damage control. She pulled out her phone.
Chat name "Be Right There"
Vocals: We may have a problem
Strings: What is it Melody?￼🎶
Vocals: I don't know how but my brother may try to get one of you to be my date for the gala
Keys: And why is this a problem
Vocals: I already have a date￼😅
Vocals: Besides you two are practically my brothers
Keys: This sounds like the perfect recipe for chaos 😏
Strings: Adrien I don't think that's a good idea
Keys: Besides we're both going to be there anyways
Vocals: That may not be a bad idea🤔
Strings: You can't be serious
Vocals: If you do this they may think twice about messing with my love life
Keys: Your wish is my command😏😆
Strings: If you're sure
Vocals: I'm sure
Finally she was able to leave. Jon said to meet him at the park not far from the shopping district.
"Hey Jon" she smiled at him and he retired it with one of his own. "so how are we getting to Metropolis?"
"Hm." he tapped his chin. "Have you ever flown before"
"I've been thrown and grappled over Paris but never flown."
"When akuma are the height of Godzilla it happens."
"That actually makes sense. So you ready" she nodded and he picked her up.
Once in the air her breath caught on the sight below. The shadows danced on the skyscrapers of Gotham and the light danced on the windows.
"Now that is a view"
"Yes it is"
"Eyes on the sky not on me, Jon" she met his eyes and gave a knowing grin, at which he turned bright red.
"Just making sure your not scared or going to fall" he tried to justify.
"Now why would I be scared, I trust you Jon"
with that she turned back to watching city as it turned into rural neighborhoods to small cities. Until they had arrived in Metropolis. The two walked around the city and Mari drew up a few designs. They had lunch at a little cat café after which Jon took her to a fabric shop where she got the final things for her dress.
"Okay, so now that I have my fabrics. Where do you like to go?"
"Are you sure you don't want to keep doing the sights?"
"There will be other chances." she smiled. "Besides I want to see your spots, Kent" she nudged him, and he blushed.
"Okay but you asked for it, Wayne" he countered, and now it was her turn to blush. He grabbed her hand and began to pull her.
They ended up in front of a huge arcade.
"Your on Sunburst"
"You really think you'll win Sunbeam"
"I know I will"
Several hours and high scores later they left the arcade.
"How is it that you beat me at every game. How is that even possible" Jon pouted.
"Tim still hasn't won against me, and he enhanced his mecha beyond normal"
"You beat Tim's ultimate mecha. Okay that does it. You are officially the Goddess of Video-games." They both began to laugh as they made their way through the crowded evening streets." I should get you home before your father sends the birds for Me"
"That would be bad, luckily you wouldn't need to worry about Damian" she chuckled.
"Damian I know. Jason and Tim are the ones thats I worry about."
"Huh, I did not expect that"
"Jason is scary on his own without adding in a long range projectile. And have you seen Tim when he is running on coffee and no sleep."
"Okay I get your point, but if we go now they would catch us during their patrol. Unless..."
"If you have a way to bypass them I'm all ears!"
"Is anyone home at your apartment" he shook his head "perfect" they made their way to the Kent's apartment and Tikki appeared followed by Kaalki.
"That's Tikki, but is that another kwamii." she nodded her head.
"Kaalki, full gallop"
"Okay now what?"
"I call on voyage" a portal opened behind her "And I get a portal straight to my room and bypass my bothers"
"And one express ticket anywhere"
"Yes, but flying has a better view" she stood on her toes as she kissed his cheek "Good night"
"Goodnight" he returned as she backed into the portal.
@mochinek0 @justafanwarrior @abrx2002 @ranger-gothamite @fantasiame @moonystars14 @mochegato @bigbeautifulandfullofsugar @maribat-is-lifeblood @iglowinggemma28 @miraculous-ninja @talutah0 @vixen-uchiha @danielslilangel @witchsblackfox @pawsitivelymiraculous @lizziejay @marinettepotterandplagg @colorfulmongerpsychicranch @dast218 @sassakitty @miyla-lokidottir @lilkymilky @tazanna-blythe @tired-butterfly @lozzybowe @smolplantmum @queencommonsense @loopingtangent @chez-pezeater @paintedhope7 @technicallyburninggarden @meme991001 @wannajointhecrabcult @melicmusicmagic @trippingovermyfeet @greatcatblaze @fidget-eep @miraculouslydumb @iamablinkmarvelarmy @laurcad123 @hauntedwintersweets @fc-studios @fusser90 @madking-warqueen @buginetye @little-lady-bird @thebooki3h @iamabrownfox
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Today Ross and I went on a road trip to Bonneville Salt Flats. We’ve known each other 37 years, and I’m sure this is the first trip we’ve made together that wasn’t contained between Madison and Chicago and didn’t include a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle near the WI/IL border.
My years of being a racing fan and car guy, I’d read plenty about the fast vehicles that go to Bonneville’s smooth salt surface to race or attempt speed records. I was excited to see it. Approaching the area reminds me of driving through North Dakota in the winter. White stuff, not much else though NoDak’s majestic backdrop is beet fields, not mountains.
With not much to see, the state of Utah allows drivers to motor quickly through the area.
Few gas stations, or even highway exits, are in the area. If you need fuel prepare to pay a premium. It’s $4.29/gal if you can’t see it in the picture, though I suppose a few of my California friends might ask, where do you get gas that cheap?
I have a child-like fascination with trucks pulling three trailers of which we passed several. Later I should make another Tumblr post with pictures of all I saw today!
Approaching the Bonneville Speedway, about 11 miles east of the Nevada border, we saw some cars, trucks, and three motorcycles. There’s nothing else there (outside of events, I guess). On the four mile road from I-80 to the Speedway a sign said “Welcome to your public lands.” That made me smile.
The road ended in the the dry lake. The salt is as smooth and hard as a freshly blacktopped highway, for as far as the eye can see. There was no kiosk with a park ranger collecting parking or entrance fees. No signs are posted. Speed limit? No. Only you can prevent forest fires? Nope. Warnings, admonishments, or cautions? Buddy, you are responsible for your own self. They must assume people can behave as responsible adults. I felt Ross and I were up to that task.
We took turns driving around, but didn’t get Ross’ SUV up to any crazy speeds. Then we left. There’s only so much you can see or do on a dry, salt lake.
From there we went west, to Nevada, where casinos exist everywhere. Even the gas station had two rooms of slot machines. A big cowboy welcomed us to West Wendover, NV. Plain ol’ Wendover is in UT. I’m not aware of any rivalry, other than who has the best time zone, Pacific or Mountain.
After lunch at Arby’s we went into the slots area between the Arby’s and the gas station. It has a smell that is pretty rare these days inside any building: heavy cigarette smoke.
I dropped $20 in a slot machine. $5 for the first pull, I won $1. Second pull put me back five dollars. Third pull won me $46. I am happy to quit while ahead and promptly cashed out, taking home $37 more than I started with.
Ross wouldn’t let me pay for gas so imagine how I’m enjoying sitting on my fat wallet!
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