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#it worked nicely to find a bit where she was on a screen to match good for you
pyroclastic727 · a year ago
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Is Amity autistic?
In the Owl House fandom, we hear a lot about how Luz is written to be ADHD. Now I would like to present the flipside: Amity is coded as autistic.
Here’s the breakdown.
Amity is touch-averse. “BuT aMiTy ToUcHeS LuZ aLL tHe TiMe” nice try. The key to autistic touch-aversion is only being okay with touch when she initiates it. And that totally matches up with Amity. See, Amity is really happy when she initiates touch with Luz. She’s also cool with it when Luz holds her hand after standing near her for enough time that Amity can predict an incoming touch. That’s because Amity consents to that touch and expects it.
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But when other people touch her? She doesn’t take kindly to that. When Luz initially bumped into her at Covention, she snapped at her and degraded her. Even when she bumped into Luz in Enchanting Grom Fright, her initial instinct was to snap at Luz, since she didn’t expect to be touched. When Hooty touched Amity’s face without consent, she flipped out and beat him up. Not even Lilith beat Hooty up when he wrapped her up in his mucus-filled tube, but Amity gave Hooty the injuries we all wanted to see him with, because he breached her boundaries without her consent. Even as late as the last episode, Amity fell over when her face got close to Luz’s on the bleachers, because she didn’t expect it.
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Amity stims. Okay, this one took me a while to catch, since most of the time, Amity is very controlled with her actions. This symptom isn’t very intense; her senses aren’t understimulated too often, and she really only does it when she’s really excited.
Mainly, when Luz offered to carry her. While she adorably scrambled for words, she also flapped her hands against her legs. At first I thought it was just a cute thing she did, but there’s more to it. She was so excited to be held by Luz that it showed up in her hands flapping...a common stim. With Amity feeling more comfortable around her new friends than the old ones, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more stimming in the future.
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Amity always has The Mask as her expression. You know, the one with her eyes half-lidded, eyebrows raised, mouth slightly downturned. I also call it the Resting Blight Face, for...reasons.
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At first I thought it was just a way to hide her true emotions, since her parents are assholes. But even though Luz makes her feel accepted, she keeps doing it. It’s more like...you know that feeling when you’re thinking really hard, or uncomfortable, or ashamed, or even just relaxed, and you can’t think of which expression to wear quickly enough, so you put on an unreadable one to tide people over? Apparently most people don’t do that, since allistic people tend to have expressions for those feelings, ones that arise naturally.
Another symptom of autism is having hard-to-read expressions, or being less expressive. In Amity’s case, it’s the fact that she doesn’t see a need to have an expression in calmer moments, so she just uses her usual expression.   
Amity hyperfixates. This has several facets, so I’ll break this down.
She initially hyperfixated on school. And that’s how she became top student. Amity Blight is who you would mistake for a “gifted student.” But make no mistake...she is not gifted, and gifted is a bullshit label used to overexert people and force them to keep school as their special interest for their entire lives (and I may have a bit of a vendetta against it). Anyways, we already know she’s a perfectionist. My theory is that Amity originally was hyperfocused on school--the Abominations track, to be exact--and that’s part of how she got so good. Then, her focus shifted, but the school expected her to keep being top student. Cue the perfectionism; she was no longer able to focus on school like she wanted to, but everyone expected her to, so she got insecure about it.
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She hyperfixates on Azura, just like Luz did. Yeah, she keeps it secret from the world, for most of the time. But she definitely likes Azura a lot. I mean, she started to reconsider her opinion on Luz when Luz offered her an Azura book. She destroyed her jock career because she tried to use an Azura move in real-life Grudgby. Her interest in Azura is long-lived, starting about the time that her interest in school would have expired (which would explain why she stayed closeted). And we can’t ignore the fact that she sees Azura in Luz and is definitely enjoying the parallels between herself and her fictional counterpart. (Which might not be a coincidence, but that’s an entirely different theory).
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She hyperfixates on Luz. Yes, part of this is a crush. But a lot of us have watched Amity’s personality go from alpha bitch to cutest little bean in the Boiling Isles, all thanks to Luz’s influence. Lumity is not a rivals-to-lovers speedrun due to bad writing, it’s due to Amity hyperfixating. She’s already extremely introspective, going so far as to keep a diary where she analyzes and makes sense of herself. It’s not a stretch to say that she identified the faults that kept her from Luz and worked hard to change those off-screen. 
Amity keeps a journal. To me, this seems like masking. You see, Amity is what people would consider to be high-functioning, since she can pass for allistic. But in order to do this, she has to put in significant effort on her part. See, when she does something that makes it so she doesn’t pass, she just sees it as a problem (since she probably doesn’t know about autism, and she passes well enough that she would totally be undiagnosed). Then she tries to fix the problem, in order to keep being perfect. 
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Amity has awkward body language. Thanks to the journal and other ways of masking, you don’t see this early on. But once she feels comfortable enough around Luz to let her guard down...she completely forgets boundaries. To review: in episodes 15-17, she throws herself at Luz, holds her formal rival’s hand for 24.71 seconds, blushes every time she sees Luz, and loudly declares her thirsty thoughts about Luz in uniform before literally running away. While some of this can be seen as normal gal pal things or crush things...you’d think a repressed wlw like Amity would try very hard not to touch Luz, so as to avoid being outed. Or at least she would do less of that stuff, so as to respect Luz’s boundaries the way she wants her boundaries to be respected. But that’s not the case, since she straight-up misses a lot of social cues. And since she feels comfortable around Luz, she doesn’t feel the pressure to be so paranoid about the cues, and can be her awkward self. From her point of view, she probably sees it as being freed from her parents’ judgment.
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Amity takes things literally, sometimes. Now, this doesn’t happen all the time, since she isn’t heavily affected by this autistic trait. But when Luz says “I’m picking up what you’re putting down” and Amity says “I’m not putting down anything” and looks down...she not only missed the conclusion Luz drew from her words, but also assumed a literal meaning from her words. I can’t come up with many other instances of this, mostly because this doesn’t happen often. I would assume that Amity missed these a lot early on, and learned how to mask/identify them.
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Amity is easily upset when things don’t go as planned. Let’s review these. In the library, she gets really mad at Luz when they end up stitched to a book, and it takes Luz’s sweet personality to get Amity to loosen up and laugh over it. When she goes to practice magic, and Luz steals her wand and uses it to get her siblings kidnapped, Amity locks Luz in a cage and assumes that she will get badly injured if she tries to fix the problems she caused. When Luz comes to her school, she panics and focus on how that doesn’t change anything. When she burns Willow’s mind, she appears absolutely terrified of being punished, flinching and bracing for impact when Luz finds her near the memories, constantly trying to distract Luz as they work together to save Willow, and hiding behind Luz when she confronts the Inner Willow. When Luz asks her to join her in Grudgby, Amity doesn’t initially agree, instead taking much more of the episode to come to terms with her involvement in it.
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Amity likes predictability. She’s not attached to routines, but she does like being able to expect things. If she makes a plan for the day, she expects that day to adhere to that plan, and she doesn’t respond well when it changes. When Luz comes to her school, she focus on how that doesn’t change anything...not how that would ruin things or complicate things. Whenever she gets involved in Luz’s shenanigans, she either gets angry, scared, or takes a while to accept it. In a broader sense, she takes a while to accept that Luz and her shenanigans are a permanent fixture in her life--sixteen episodes, to be exact.
Finally, it would make for some excellent representation. An ADHD Dominican-American bisexual protagonist is pretty groundbreaking. But an ADHD Dominican-American bisexual protagonist girl who dates an autistic wlw witch girl from another dimension is exactly the kind of intersectional representation you’d expect to see from an unrestricted Owl House crew.
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...Now, this might just be me hardcore projecting. I’m a little scared to post this because I don’t know how much of this is me reading into imaginary things, or trying to convince myself that Amity is like me. Feel free to debate/disprove me or support me in the comments. 
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slothspaghettiwrites · 10 months ago
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Snacks and Nibbles
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Snacks and Nibbles
Story Rating: Explicit, 18+ only
Warnings: Alien Sex, Poly Relationship, Monster Fucking, Biting, Venom Being Venom, Canon Typical Violence, Canon Divergence, Threesome (kinda), Pet Names
Relationships: Eddie Brock x Venom x Fem!Reader
Word Count: 7940
A/N: From my It’s a Match Series on Ao3, let me know what you think of this breakdown v seperate parts/posts for chapters. Gifs are not mine just chapter breaks (though I did make the header). 
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“I’ve decided that I’m a fuckin’ snack and no one’s hungry.” I groaned at my coworker. 
“Yeah, yeah,” They muttered, gazing moving from one monitor to the other, watching a gif and editing where required. 
“Oof,” I murmured, peaking out to ogle at the leather jacket-wearing man who just marched past my cubicle. 
“That’s an ass I could sink my teeth into,” my cubby-mate exhaled next to me.
“You’re telling me, dude,” I flicked my gel pen away and pulled out my phone. 
I just started swiping. I needed to see if I could find him while he was in the building. That was how this stupid dating app worked right? Closer the target the quicker you can match with them? I continued to swipe left until I saw the man in questions, Eddie, on my screen. 
“Found him,” I grinned. 
“Lemme see them pics,” he demanded. “What fucking CGI shit is that?”
His cover picture was certainly a strong choice. No idea what fucking movie he thought he was in, but christ did I want to be apart of it. The rest of his profile was pretty normal. He was a reporter, 38, seemed to own a motorcycle, and into dark chocolate. All things I could get behind… or under. 
“Does he work here?” Cubby-dude asked.
“Fuck,” I whispered. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, what if he does? Shit.”
I’d only been working as a designer at the Daily Bulletin for six months. I had just signed a 12-month lease on an overpriced studio apartment just a 30 minutes cycle from the office. Dating a co-worker would probably put me at serious risk of doing something stupid and getting fired. 
All that reasoning didn’t stop me from swiping right though. Just gonna keep letting my genitals do the talking, I thought. Both my coworker and I let out a deep sigh and turned back to our work. Projects needed to be finished more than our gossip did. 
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Of course, that would be my luck. Five minutes out from my house, I puncture a tire on my bike and have to lug the stupid hunk of metal all the way home. That’s the last time I leave my repair kit at home. The aluminum crossbar dug into my shoulder, but I tried to focus on anything else. Literally anything. I stare around at my surroundings, avoiding the few needles and nitro canisters that lay in the gutter. Sure the Tenderloin district wasn’t the nicest, in fact, it was a bit scummy, but like fuck was I going to go back to dorm-style living. I needed my own kitchen and bathroom damn it. 
I stared into the dark empty lot near my building. The regular crowd of homeless people wasn’t huddled in the far corner. Something compelled me to stop and stare. Which was fucking stupid, but hindsight was 20/20 and I’m kinda dumb bitch sometimes. 
A gloved hand landed on my shoulder just as another person stood in front of me. They spun the front wheel of my bike, assuming it would still be my bike by the end of this encounter. 
“What’s a short stack like you doing around here?” 
“Just trying to mind my own business,” I clutched the strap of my backpack. 
Stupid safety. Stupid fucking neon jacket. Stupid bike.
“Didn’t look like you were minding your own business,” The hand on my shoulder dug a thumb into the skin.
“I’m sorry,” I winced. “Look I don’t want any trouble.”
“Looks like trouble is what you’re getting though.” Both men pressed into my personal space, blocking my view of everything else. 
The grip I had on my bike never loosened, in fact, I was white-knuckling it. Fear seized my body. I could have just swung my bike and made a run for it. But I couldn’t lose this bike. It was how I got around. I needed it. 
I also needed my body to be intact and not brutally assaulted, but semantics, right?
“DINNER TIME,” A guttural voice sang.
Oh fuck. OH FUCK. The Demon of San Francisco. I’m dead, so so so dead now. 
I groaned. Like a fed up, annoyed child who didn’t want to go to school. This would be my day. Eddie didn’t match with me on Tinder, I punctured my bike tire, I was getting mugged, and now I was gonna be eaten by some demon thing in a completely not sexy way.
There was a loud wet crunching sound behind me, followed by a shriek and another crunch. When a third crunch never came, I opened my eyes. There was nothing left, the would be muggers had been eaten boots and all. 
“ARE YOU OKAY?”
“Yeah, I guess, I’m sure there is some crime statistic about the percentage of you being attacked closer to home than further away, but I doubt they have any stats on being saved by you. Thanks, dude,” I laughed. When I was nervous I laughed. 
“YOU HAVE A NICE BAG,” I felt my savior pick at my backpack.
“Yeah, I think sharks are really cool. Fuck what everyone else says. They are like sea puppies,” I laughed, again, my pulse racing.
There was a pause in the conversation. I turned around, finally, to look at him, to see the Demon for myself. Maybe he had just gone away after that last comment I made. 
Nope. Still there. Fucking towering over me. The oil slick black… being in front of me seemed to be staring very intently at me. It’s milky white eyes emoted - slightly expanding and then squinting. The white veins across its body convulsed.
“Thanks again dude,” I stuck my free hand, staring at their face, their teeth specifically, which twinkled under the streetlamp.
A hot, clawed hand grabbed mine.
“Also, uh, nice teeth. I think they’re cool. Kinda like shark teeth. Okay, I should let you go now, you don’t want to hear me ramble on about sharks or whatever else weird shit just starts spewing from my mouth. Have a nice night,” I wheezed, trying to hold in my laugh.
“DO YOU NEED HELP GETTING HOME?”
“No, I should be okay, just a few minutes down the road.”
“WE WILL WALK YOU.”
There was no question, just the shift in how they grabbed my hand. We walked hand in hand like a couple, LIKE A COUPLE, all the way back to my five-story walk-up. The automatic light on the porch turned on and fully illuminated their face. 
“Oh, um dude,” I started.
“VENOM.”
“What?”
“WE ARE VENOM.”
“Oh, sorry, I was using dude as a non-gendered term. Didn’t want to assume anything. But not the point. You got like a huge chunk attempted mugger in teeth.”
“DO YOU WANT IT?”
“Nah, I’m having mac n cheese for dinner.”
With that decided, Venom’s long tongue slithered out of its mouth and removed the chunk from their teeth. Heat rose to my cheeks. That should not be sexual. I should have been traumatized several times over by now. But I still felt that slight tingle between my legs.
There was another pause like they were having some kind of internal argument before Venom huffed very loudly, his hot breath wafting over my face and smelling weirdly like tater tots and raw bacon.
“HAVE A GOOD NIGHT, NIBBLES,” Venom’s tone was grumbly like he was now the annoyed child.
“See you later,” I waved and ran up the steps and entered my passcode. 
“See you later?” I mumbled to myself. How was I going to see him later? I’m not gonna risk getting fucking assaulted on the off chance he finds me. I might have been a bit fucking weird, but I wasn’t suicidal. 
I racked up my bike into the wall mount, waved into the open doorway of the resident manager, and trudged up to the top floor. Once the hideous red door to my apartment was unbolted, I stepped in and redid the locks. My hands were shaking, almost uncontrollably, now. The adrenaline of nearly getting attacked faded quickly and was replaced with panic. I dropped my bag at the door and took off my jacket and shoes. 
Fresh air, I needed fresh air. Even though I was just outside, I needed fresh air now. I opened the one window in my apartment and climbed out onto the fire escape. Codes be damned. My legs dangled over the railing and hard grates hurt my butt. I pulled up Tinder on my phone, praying to whatever fucking gods there were that someone would be interested in me, so I could distract myself from my current freak out.
EDDIE. I matched with Eddie. Like two minutes ago I matched with Eddie. 
Oh god. What do I do? Do I message right away? Do I wait? Oh fuck.
Eddie- Hey, you work at the Daily Bulletin, don’t you?
You- yeah, just a designer though. no writing for me. 😅
Eddie- I thought I recognized you. 
Eddie- Do you want to get a drink sometime?
You- tomorrow night? after work maybe?
Eddie- Awesome. Leave your bike at home.
I squealed into the night air and pumped my phone free fist over my head. Fuck that was easy. I climbed back into my apartment, locked the window, and made my mac n cheese. Dinner eaten, shower taken, I crawled into bed and opened my laptop. I may have a date tomorrow, but there was still the issue of my burning ‘monster fucker’ desire to deal with. A few keystrokes in an incognito window and few key strokes on me later, I was blissfully drifting off to sleep to dream of leather jackets and sharp teeth.   
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“EDDIE.”
“Vee, it’s 4 in the morning, I need sleep, so I can do my job, and buy you more chocolate and pay rent.” Eddie rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. 
Venom was awake so Eddie was awake now. The symbiote fluidly wrapped tendrils around his waist and thighs, cuddling him while the floating noodlehead of them came to rest on Eddie’s chest. There was a deep, comforting rumble from Venom before they spoke again.
“WE MUST KEEP NIBBLES.”
“I asked her out, didn’t I?”
“YES, BUT SHE WANTED US TONIGHT AND YOU WERE A PUSSY.”
“I think she liked us both and we’d just saved her. We can’t take advantage of her, especially in a state like that.”
“YOUR SILLY PHONE APP MEANS NOTHING.”
“Hey, she swiped right on us first. She clearly thought I looked nice enough,” Eddie huffed and patted Venom’s head. They’d agreed it was well past time to get over Anne. Venom was great, but having another person to talk to and be with would be nice.
“SHE LIKED OUR TEETH, WE COULD BITE HER.”
“No.”
“SHE WOULD LIKE IT. SHE SAID SHE WAS A SNACK. WE ARE HUNGRY.”
“Vee, we don’t know what she likes yet. That’s why we are going for drinks tomorrow.”
Venom rumbled, slinking up Eddie’s chest to nuzzle at his neck. Their tongue snaked around Eddie’s ear, teasing him.
“Really? Right now?” Eddie didn’t protest as Venom shifted the tendrils around him, stroking him to full hardness.
“YES. WE WERE THINKING OF NIBBLES AND HER SCENT.”
Venom flooded Eddie with the reminder of just how you reacted to seeing them use their tongue. How your cheeks flushed. The way your heart rate increased, but with no trace of fear. You hadn’t freaked out after they saved you. You held their hand and let them walk you home. Your skin was soft and smelled delicious. They reminded him of how your scent changed from buzzing, nervous excitement to a spark of arousal. 
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
Eddie walked up to your cubicle in the office building promptly at 5 pm for drinks after work. He normally wasn’t in the office on Fridays, not that he was ever really here. Mostly he came in on Mondays to discuss weekly agendas and then to walk through articles with the editing team whenever the team was ready. It was an easy job. It meant he had the freedom to investigate and write up reports whenever he wanted. It also made it easier to continue his work with Venom. 
You were wearing massive headphones, dancing in your swivel chair while working through a series of images. Eddie wasn’t even sure if you could see the details in the images with how much you were moving. When your coworker noticed him the pen fell from his mouth. He turned to tap you on your shoulder, eyes still staring at Eddie. You jumped and ripped off the headset like you’d just completely forgotten you were at work. Whatever you were listening to, it had been loud and very obscene from the few lyrics he and Venom could make out.
[DID THE MUSIC JUST SAY THEY WANT TO SUCK OUR TEETH?]
Yeah, it’s just a song though, don’t read into Vee.
[EDDIE. WE WANT THAT.]
Maybe if you ever fucking brushed your teeth.
“What?!”
“Here is you stupid fucking $5,” the coworker pulled the crumpled bill out of his pocket. 
“Hey Eddie,” you smiled up at him from your seat, smoothly taking the money.
“You ready to go?” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
“Give me two secs to close down,” You swiveled back to your monitors and started rapid-fire typing. Flashes of images and documents started to disappear from your screen. How could you be working on so many things at once?
“So Eddie, where are you two going tonight?” the other man asked.
Venom gave a distinct grumble in the back on Eddie’s mind, annoyed by the nosy man.
“We’re going to a bar for drinks, you tit. Why do you never listen to me? I listened to you moan all morning about how small your date’s dick was last night.” You taunted him.
“Because until five seconds ago, I was convinced you were lying.” Tit crossed his arms and rolled back to his own monitors. “Also, like you didn’t fucking demand I show you the dick pics.” 
You snorted.
“You can’t say ‘it was so small a cornichon would have been better’ and just expect me to be done,” You turned off your computer and grabbed your shark bag. 
Jesus. What a fucking conversation to end your workweek on. Eddie just stared, bit bug-eyed at the exchange you’d just had. You had zero shame apparently. That was probably a good thing, when they thought about it. When you stood up, signally you were ready to go, Eddie and Venom stared for a moment, taking stock of your outfit. Without the helmet and ridiculous cycling jacket, you almost looked like a different person. 
You were wearing some kind of black mechanics outfit. The sleeves were rolled up, revealing your vintage style tattoos. Venom particularly liked the look of the thick black lines running across your forearms and up under the sleeves of your suit. You slipped your phone into the breast pocket of the outfit, the weight of it revealing the soft round flesh of your breasts.
“You got a night job workin’ at a garage?” Eddie teased, leading the way out of the office building.
“Eh, I wouldn’t let me anywhere near something with an engine,” you laughed and wrapped a hand around Eddie’s arm.
“Am I gonna regret bringin’ my bike then?” they guided out of the elevator into the lobby.
Richard sat behind the security desk, head resting the helmet Eddie’d left there that morning, watching the video monitors. When he saw the two [THREE] of you, he smirked and raised a hand.
“Hey Rich,” You smiled but didn’t let go of his arm, instead you rested your free hand on the tall counter, fingers running over the glass.
“So this is why you didn’t cycle into the lobby today?” he grinned.
“I could be turning over a new leaf,” you squawked.
“Can we have the helmet now?” Eddie pointed down at the headgear.
“Yeah, if you stop parking your motorcycle where it doesn’t belong,” Richard turned to frown at Eddie but handed over the helmet.
“I’ll think about it. Have a nice weekend.” Eddie smiled at the security guard.
“Tell Margot I hope her first year at school went well, bye Rich,” you waved and followed them outside to his bike. 
Eddie handed you the helmet and pulled the keys from his pocket. Venom purred in the back of his mind. They were excited, just like you were. They also really like how easily you just touched Eddie. You slipped on the helmet and flicked the visor up. 
“Do I look cool, or do I look fucking cool?” You laughed, cheeks a bit smooshed together like a chipmunk. 
“You look pretty fucking cool,” Eddie grinned, mounted the bike, and patted the space behind him. 
You climbed on and scooted around until you were plastered against their back, arms firmly wrapped around his waist. The engine roared to life and Eddie gunned it down the road, weaving in and around traffic. Your excitement and thrill spiked with every turn or whenever Eddie gunned it. Venom let out a pleased rumble at a red light at one point, slipping out of Eddie’s torso and gripping your hand. You hummed, seemingly not noticing Eddie still had both hands on the handlebars.
At the bar, you ordered a large glass of red wine, while Eddie ordered a light beer. Venom didn’t care for the malty taste of other beers. They preferred a more metallic taste. 
Talking with you was easy. Well you seemed to do most of the talking. Anything that seemed to come to your mind you talked about. You asked a lot of questions about Eddie. Why was he here? What did he want in life? What was better, chocolate or sex? You smelled like excitement, red wine, and coconut chapstick. 
[WHY DOES SHE KEEP DOING THAT?]
Doing what?
[NIBBLES KEEPS HOLDING HER DRINK BY THE TOP.]
True, between touching nearly any surface with one hand, your other hand was firmly planted on top of your drink. It was only moved when you took a sip. Were you concerned someone was going to spike your drink?
[WE WOULDN’T DO THAT.] Venom hissed at Eddie.
It’s probably just a habit. 
“You okay?” He asked, eyeing the glass.
“Oh, uh, yeah, sorry force of habit. They really drill you about drink safety at college and those kinds of things really stick with me,” You gave him your nervous laugh. “I actually saw this thing on Instagram the other day about…”
[WHY DOES SHE KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT DRUGS?]
Have you not been listening?
[WE WERE BUT IT IS VERY CROWDED AND LOUD HERE.]
“Eddie?” You touched his thigh. 
“Sorry, what?” He shook his head and refocused on you.
“I, uh, was wondering if you wanted to come back to mine for takeout or something? It’s getting a bit too crazy here for me.” You did the same nervous laugh you did last night. 
Venom’s lizard brain immediately zeroed in on the ‘or something’ part of your question. 
“Yeah, do you like Thai? There’s a really good place near your apartment.” Eddie tried to focus on something other than Venom’s lust.
Fuck, had you noticed? Technically he wasn’t supposed to know where you lived yet. You didn’t know they were Venom.
“I’m down for anything at this point, I could eat a horse,” you grinned and slid the empty glass down the bar.
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
You weren’t lying about being hungry. With each skillful slurp of noodles, you seemed to only eat faster. They were sitting on your tiny couch that you somehow squeezed into this studio apartment along with a queen-sized bed. That didn't leave much space for anything else, but you’d done quite a lot with the space you had. Beyond the couch and bed, you shoved two bookshelves and a small desk and chair into the room. You had said that despite the rough area, this was one of the only places not in Oakland that offered a private kitchen and bathroom. Eddie hadn’t thought about that in a while, but yeah SF was fucking expensive.    
“But yeah, last night was super weird amazing. I kinda thought the dude was a myth, but then they just appeared out of nowhere.” You chewed your noodles thoughtfully.
“The Demon of San Francisco?”
[VENOM]
“Yeah, Venom. They were cool,” you smiled.
[NIBBLES IS COOL. SHE HAS GOOD TASTE.]
“I know,” Eddie smiled and took the last bite of his own noodles.
“Have you met them?” You asked, excitement buzzing in the air.
“Yeah, more than once,” Eddie rolled his eyes.
“Do you want dessert?” You asked suddenly.
[YES, YOU.]
“Sure,” Eddie grinned and watched you take the empty containers into your kitchen. 
[EDDIE.]
“What?” He whispered.
[LOOK AT HER SHARK.] 
Venom whipped their head towards your bed. A huge plush shark laid on your bed. Like your backpack, that thing also had a huge set of flappy teeth. Eddie smirked.
“So I’ve raided my stash, and I’ve got snack sized Kit Kats, a pack of dark chocolate Reese’s, or some dark York mint patties.” You walked back into the room with a jar full of candy bars.
[GIVE US THE WHOLE JAR NIBBLES.] 
“The mint ones sound good,” Eddie smiled. 
You set the jar on the floor and folded yourself onto the couch, tucking your legs under you, facing them. You also grabbed a York candy and started unwrapping it. The silver foil crinkled as your fingers ripped the packaging, mimicking another kind of foil ripping. The moment your teeth met the chocolate, your eyes met Eddies’. 
[DO YOU SMELL THAT EDDIE?]
Eddie took a bite of his own candy, feeling Venom taste the dark chocolate. You continued to stare at them. The lust in the air grew. 
[KISS HER.]
Stop.
[PUSSY.]
Shut up.
Eddie had been so caught up in trying to force Venom down, that he’d missed you move across the couch. Venom didn’t miss that though. They took control and crashed Eddie’s lips into yours. You tasted like the candy, sweet and minty, and a bit like peanuts from the Thai food. Their hands wrapped around your hips and pulled you onto Eddie’s lap. Your hands ran through his hair. Venom pulsed under the surface Eddie’s skin, egging him on. 
You were really going for it. Your mouth slanted over Eddies, tongue battling with his for some kind of dominance that Venom refused to let him back down from. Eddie moved one of his hands up your back to caress your neck. At the same time, he pulled you down further onto his lap. You rolled your hips against him, moaning at the friction.  
Venom was getting restless and Eddie felt inclined to agree. They’d be happy to move the current situation a few steps further in the direction of your bed. And apparently so did you. Your hands left Eddie’s neck and ripped the zipper of your jumpsuit down. 
“Fuck,” your arms were caught behind you, trapped in the sleeve. “So much for sexy,” you huffed a little laugh.
“Let us help,” Eddie grinned but kept his hands on your hips.
In truth, they were totally fine with your arms being caught behind you. It meant that your boobs were thrust forward into his face and he could almost taste mesh fabric covering your nipples. Eddie kissed your neck slowly, his tongue traced over your pulse point. 
“Bite me.”
[YES. WANT A NIBBLE.]
“Fuck,” Eddie whispered before he trailed his teeth over back over your neck.
“Yes please,” you grinned and rolled your hips against his again, reminding him of his growing erection.
[EDDIE DO IT. BITE. NOW. OR WE WILL.]
Eddie bit down over your neck. The scent of your arousal spiked. Venom was losing it. Eddie’s control over the symbiote waived and his teeth were replaced with Venom’s sharper ones. They bit you again over your collar bone, not hard enough to draw blood, but enough to leave a mark that would last longer than tonight. You moaned louder than before, which seemed impossible. They could only smell your lust and desire now. 
“Bed,” you demanded, pushing them back into the couch anyway.
“You got it, Nibbles,” They growled, voice deeper and more rough.
Eddie, with the help of Venom, lifted you up off the couch and took the three steps to your bed. You leaned into them, kissing and sucking at their neck. Venom purred in the back of his mind. They turned and fell backwards so you were still on top. Your little giggles filled the apartment at that and you continued to grind against them. Finally Eddie helped out of your jump suit. Your mismatched mesh bra and lace panties were an interesting combo. 
His mouth latched onto one covered nipple, while his hands delved into the waistband of your panties to massage your ass. Your hands scraped at Eddie’s scalp urging him with your moans and rolling hips.
“You’re wearing too many clothes Eddie,” you growled at them, but made no move to stop what he was doing. 
Eventually you pulled him off your body and crawled up to the headboard. Venom nearly ripped Eddie’s shirt with their eagerness to get to you. Eddie threw off the last of his clothes and you bit your lip, staring at him. 
[WE NEED TO TASTE EDDIE. SHE’S FUCKING DRIPPING.]
You’re telling me Vee.
Eddie didn’t need the symbiote to see just how fucking wet you were. You removed all your underwear and beckoned him forward, legs spread. He grabbed hold of your ankles and yanked you closer. You giggled again and he bit your calf. Both of your legs were thrown over Eddie’s shoulder and he began his assault on your core. He nipped and sucked a trail from your inner thigh to your sex. You were a squirming panting mess before he even had his first taste. Venom acted like a caged animal, desperate to at least take over his mouth. Eddie knew if you looked into his eyes all you would see are Venom’s milky whites
Fuck it, Eddie thought. He let Venom’s tongue form over his own. You gasped as their tongue lapped at your soaked pussy. Your hips moved against their mouth, demanding more. Eddie slid one of his hands up to your stomach to stop your writhing, but you grabbed his hand and put it on your breast. Venom flicked their tongue across your clit, while Eddie used his free hand to stroke you into a climax. You nearly came off the bed with the force of it. 
Eddie reeled Venom back in for a moment, sucking your cum off his fingers. 
“Holy… just… wow,” you panted, chest heaving as you tried to catch your breath. 
“That good huh?” Eddie teased, kneeling between your legs.
You scrambled to sit up and crushed your lips against Eddie’s. 
“Can’t have you showing me up,” You grinned.
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
There was a siren going off or some kind of security alarm. Venom jerked Eddie awake, flushing his system with adrenaline. He struggled to breathe, but shook his head to see where the trouble was. The sun was just starting to rise, peaking through your curtains. It must have been early morning.
“Fuck, shit, sorry,” you groaned awake and rolled across the bed. 
You fumbled to turn off your phone alarm. 
“NIBBLES WHAT THE FUCK?” Venom suddenly erupted over Eddie's chest. 
You screeched and fell off the bed. The phone went off again and you turned it off. Then in all your naked glory, just stared at them. 
“Dudes!” You shouted and pointed at the two of them.
“Shit Venom,” Eddie grabbed the floating noodlehead.
“What the fuck dudes?”
“WE ASKED FIRST,” Venom hissed, eyes narrowing. 
“Sorry, normally on Saturdays I do free senior citizen yoga in the park across the way. I forgot to turn my alarm off,” You ran your hand over your eyes and through your hair. 
Whatever fear you had was gone now. It was from the shock of being shouted at first thing in the morning that must have caused it then. Your once racing heart rate was slow once again. You just smelled of sleepy determination.
Interesting
[WHAT? THE YOGA?]
No, she ain’t scared.
[WHY WOULD NIBBLES BE SCARED OF US?]
You did just jump out of my chest.
“YOU’RE NOT A SENIOR CITIZEN.”
“Yoga classes are expensive,” You half shrugged before picking up your shark plushie and crawling under the covers.
“Aren’t you scared of this?” Eddie shifted his position to lean on his elbow and side. Venom floated around his head.
The shark was pulled over your face, but they didn’t miss your flushed cheeks. A nervous laugh bubbled out of your mouth. 
“Aw christ, just don’t look at my internet browser history, okay? It’s not really a first date sort of topic.”
“WE TOLD YOU EDDIE. WE TOLD YOU.” Venom growled, knocking his head against Eddie’s.
“What did you tell Eddie, dude?” You moved the shark away, a mischievous glint in your eyes.
“WE KNEW YOU LIKED US. EDDIE WAS BEING A PUSSY.”
“Oh,” You yawned. “What’s not to like? You guys seem cool.”
“C’mere,” Eddie pulled you up against his front.
“Sleep,” you simply murmured, cuddling into his chest.
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
[CHHHOOOOOoooooCCCCcccclllllLLLLLLAAAAAATTEEEEEEEEEEEEEE]
The room smelled of chocolate and maple syrup. There was the gentle sound sizzling butter and coffee dripping. You were making breakfast. Eddie sat up to roll his neck and shoulder. He stretched in the bed before finally standing up. Venom pulled them into the kitchen.
You were wearing those massive headphones again. The tank top you wore was practically see through and the sweatpants looked way too big on you. There was a series of dotted bite marks across your neck from Venom last night, along with a few more subtle hickeys from Eddie.
Dancing along to a song that they couldn’t fully hear, only a low vibrating beat, you flipped a pancake. When you moved away from the stove, Eddie pulled your headphones off as you put the final pancake on the stack. He wrapped his arms around your waist and while Venom wrapped tendrils from his hip to yours, locking you all together. 
“Mornin’,” he hummed. 
“Hey dudes,” You sighed. 
“GOOD MORNING NIBBLES,” Venom appeared to nuzzle at your neck.
“Oh that’s gonna take some getting used to,” You shivered and giggled at the same time. “Well unless this was a one night thing, which is totally acceptable. However I will have to rescind my offer of breakfast. Only nice boys get homemade breakfast.”
“EDDIE BE NICE. WE NEED THOSE PANCAKES.”
“I’m always nice Vee,” Eddie smirked and swayed you gently.
You pulled your phone from the pocket of your sweatpants and turned off your music. It was some song Eddie'd never heard of, not that he listened to much music nowadays. You left your phone and headphones on the kitchen counter, bumping them with your ass to get them to let go. Maple syrup in one hand, pancake stack in the other, you led the way back to the couch.
For while it was just silence. The three of you ate pancakes, Venom with a bit too much vigor, and sipped coffee. 
“Are you two a couple or like just kinky?” 
Eddie choked on his bite of pancake.
“EDDIE IS OUR HOST. WE LOVE HIM.” Venom bobbed up and down.
“Aw, cute,” you cooed.
“Vee and I have a kind of relationship. We aren’t exactly dating.”
“To each kinky fucker their own. I can’t really say shit. I got some impressions yesterday that you weren’t telling me the whole truth. I just assumed you were Venom. Not that you were two people. Like c’mon they’ve got pretty memorable feeling skin or whatever and they did that thing with your teeth and tongue and then you called me Nibbles.” You shrugged, like it was all completely normal.
“And you’re just cool with all this?”
“YOU ARE NOT SCARED.” Venom stated.
“What can I say? Hentai monster fucking porn really does it for me despite all the horribly inaccurate female anatomy.”
[SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?]
I don’t know...
“Should, uh, that concern us?” Eddie choked out.
“Eh, it should probably register at about the same level as me just being completely fine with a polyamorous relationship,” You shrugged.
“AND EDDIE WAS CONCERNED YOU WOULD FIND US WEIRD,” Venom chuckled. 
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The patisserie was rammed. Every seat in the shop was taken up by people. I wasn’t sure what they were thinking suggesting this place for a date. Also this earlier on a Saturday as well. Eddie was not a morning person in the slightest, so why meet after my yoga class? After the first time he experienced my Saturday alarm, he and Venom decided that they would prefer to not stay over on Friday nights, opting to meet up some time on Saturday and staying over until Eddie and I went to work on Monday. It was a cute, effective system for us that had been working for months now. 
I spotted them tucked into a corner. There were two coffee on the table already, but the second chair was missing. Probably taken by some other customers. 
“Hey dudes,” I smiled and set my roll and backpack down.
“Mornin’ babe,” Eddie murmured, still a bit blurry eyed. 
I sat down on Eddie’s lap and picked up my coffee. Venom released a few tendrils to wrap underneath my jacket. I leaned further against Eddie, noting the black earpiece. My tongue darted out quickly, circling the shell of Eddie’s ear and around Venom. 
“Jesus, fuck,” Eddie shuddered.
“GOOD MORNING NIBBLES,” Venom snickered.
I leaned away and grinned. Eddie was so easy to rile up. 
“What do I owe the honor of this early morning date Eddie Brock?” I sipped more of the coffee.  
“Can’t we just take our girl out for breakfast?” Eddie picked up his own mug.
“I see no pastries or cake here my dudes,” I gestured to the empty plate on the table. 
“YOU WERE TAKING TOO LONG,” Venom whined, or as much as the symbiote could whine.
“Well then I do so apologies Vee, but I got caught up in a chat with Mrs Chen about how nice Eddie’s last article was.” 
“At least someone reads them,” Eddie rolled his eyes. 
“Back to the point, you are so not a morning person Eddie, I’m surprised you are even functioning enough to order coffee right now,” I smirked.
“We wanted to know if you’d go to IKEA with us. We need to get some new furniture,” Eddie rubbed the top of my thigh.
“Oh how fun, let's spend our Saturday in a crowded maze of arguing couples and screaming babies staring at display units,” sarcasm dripped from my mouth.
“You don’t have to come, Vee and I can go without you and eat a whole Diam Cake ourselves then.” Eddie smiled
“What? No, you can’t do that,” I protested.
“YES WE CAN,” Venom sniggered, knowing my snack addiction rivaled his.
“Can we at least go back to my place first and shower?”
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
The color combination of royal blue and sunshine yellow made me want to vomit. The uniforms that these people were forced to wear were horrendous. The warehouse smell in this place was also really unpleasant. Eddie claimed we couldn’t have just done this shopping online. That things needed to be measured. He also said it would be nice to go for a drive, and that part was true. It was nice to get to go on drives with my boys. Eddie loved revving the engine and Venom used it as an excuse to wrap the three of us together in public. 
We are walking through the maze, Eddie stopping occasionally to look at the list on his phone. My fingers run over the different textures of the couch cushions to my left. I felt Venom vibrate against my palm, trying to draw my attention. We moved forward slowly, this time into a section of living room display units. I stopped dead right at the entrance of one particular room.
“Oh my god,” I gasped.
“What?” Eddie came up behind me.
“This is the vampire sex dungeon of my dreams,” I laughed, pulling him into the room.
“Vee thinks for a dungeon there aren’t enough chains or torture devices. While I think this is a single middle age vampire who hasn’t been laid in 50 years. I mean who has a fucking Marylin Monroe posters these days?”
“True it is missing the whips and chains, but the potential, it’s all here.” I plopped down on the couch, then grimaced.
“What’s up?”
“Regrets, I have regrets. This couch is sticky,” I waved my hands like that would get rid of the feeling.
“So the sex part of your fantasy for this room apparently happened,” Eddie snickered and pulled me back to my feet.
“Rando sex fluids are not a kink of mine dudes. I need to wash my hand now.” I held out my hands, careful to not touch Eddie or myself.  
Eddie put his hands on my shoulders to ground me, then guided me back to the restrooms. I quickly washed my hands with hot soapy water. Before heading back out I also checked the rest of me, clear thankfully. I trailed one hand over the counter, careful to avoid wet spots, while my other fidgeted with the strap on my backpack. The crowd was starting to get a bit nuts and I swore if that baby was still screaming when we got back to the display units, I was gonna make Venom eat it. 
I didn’t see Eddie when I left the restroom. That was okay. He was probably around here somewhere. I could definitely find him. I stepped up on my tip toes and peered over some of the taller racks of fake plants. Still no sight of him. I called out, somewhat loudly, but hopefully not loudly enough to attract too much attention. Venom should have been able to hear me anyway. I waited for a few more minutes. I checked my phone, but couldn’t get fucking reception in this useless tin hellhole.
After what felt like ages, I took a deep breath and moved forward. I could manage this. I was a strong, independent woman. I was dating the fucking Demon of San Fransico for fuck sake. I could manage fucking IKEA on a Saturday afternoon! I retraced our path back to the display units. There was no sign of Eddie. I called out a few more times, hoping that Venom would hear me, but nothing. I paced in the vampire sex dungeon trying to think of what to do. I could always make an announcement over the loudspeaker thing. Tell the store I’d lost my boyfriend and ask for him to be called to wherever I was. 
A tap on my shoulder made me hurl around fist first. Gray ooze, not too different from Venom’s, caught my hand and formed over it. I felt the pulse around my skin. The man connected to the goo stared at me with interest. When I tried to pull away, the ooze constricted around my hand. 
“Hmm, we heard Venom and Eddie found a new toy. How interesting,” the man studied me, eyes travelling over my body. 
“So, you got one too huh?” I let out a weak nervous laugh, “Your skin feels different though, kinda like metal, which is a bit creepy tbh. Do you do that on purpose? And your silver, not black. Are the others different colours? Or do you only work on a grayscale?”
“Shut up,” he frowned. 
“So are you gonna start a fight here in the middle of fucking IKEA? Or are you gonna take me somewhere? Did you hurt Eddie and Venom? Is that why I couldn’t find them? Pretty smart doing it here I guess. They wouldn’t get all big and there’s no cellphone reception.”  I wheezed a bit, trying to keep my laugh in.
“Do you always talk so much?” the man began to drag me into the back area, out the public display sections. 
Half built units and damaged beyond use furniture littered the area. It must have been some kind of load dock as well. There were huge opened garage doors at the far end. I could maybe make a run for it, but where the fuck were Eddie and Venom?
“Yeah, I talk a lot. Eddie thinks it's cute I guess, I don’t really know. Vee just says they like the sound of my voice cause I don’t irritate them. Though they did get really upset when I ate the last Reese’s cup at my apartment a few weeks ago. But it’s my apartment and my candy. I can eat it if I want. Vee didn’t talk to me for two whole days. He just made Eddie tell me things. Like that I forgot to turn the gas burner off one night. Or that he thought I looked nice this new black top I’d gotten. It was kinda weird. I sent them one of those stupid edible chocolate arrangment thing so Vee would actually talk to me again.”
The man finally stopped trying to yank my arm out of my socket and turned back to me. When he spoke next, his voice was different, rougher, and I saw the blurry off white cover his eyes for a moment.
“Why do you put up with those losers?”
“They aren’t losers, especially not to me. You know we may fight, but I’m not the easiest fucking person to deal with. I mean I’m on the verge of having a fucking melt down right now. I can’t deal with crowds, or weird textures. I obsess over weird shit. I’m surprised they put up with me.” Fear and uncertainty crept into my voice. Why did they put up with me?
The symbiote attached to the man trying to kidnap me took control. They were big, a metallic silver with red raised pulsing veins. Their lips curled cruelly over their razor sharp teeth. I was never scared of Venom’s teeth, but these ones, they really were trying to put the fear of god into me. 
“Not so grayscale then,” I laughed, panicked tears surfacing in my eyes. Everything was becoming too much. “What are you called?”
“We are Riot,” the symbiote rumbled.
My breath hitched, “Nice to meet you I guess.”
“You will make an excellent meal,” their jaw unhinged, it’s metal tendrils on my hand lifted me off the ground. Oh god, I’m gonna be eaten feet first. 
I slammed my eyes shut and I tried not piss myself when I felt a tongue touch my leg. 
“NIBBLES IS OUR SNACK!”
I heard the roar, remembered my body being jerked around, before the world went dark. 
~~~~~~~~~~~o0o~~~~~~~~~~~
The sound of steady beeping reminded me of my new alarm. The one I had to learn to use to not bother Eddie or Venom when I woke up for morning yoga or work if I had stayed over at their place. I groaned, my body ached. There was something hard and scratchy in my hand. I didn’t like how that felt, but I couldn’t let it go. When I peeled my eyes open, they were assaulted with harsh artificial lights. 
I was in the hospital. My hand and most of my arm was wrapped up in a cast. That was why it was so scratchy. It wasn’t even a nice colour. In another second, I realised it was my dominant hand. My hand that I used to work and most importantly my hand for touching and snacking. The horrible stupid hospital gown also didn’t feel nice. The material papery and artificial. 
“Hey, you’re awake,” my mom shot forward. 
“Mom, why are you here?” I rubbed my eye with my free hand. 
“Eddie called, said you two were at IKEA with that alien attacked and that you’d been taken to the hospital.” Mom explained. 
“So drove all the way here from Fresno?”
“Of course sweetheart, I’m your mom.” She patted my leg carefully, “Also had to meet this boyfriend. First I hear of him, and you’re in the hospital. Really, I thought I raised you better.”
“I was gonna tell you Mom, just wanted to make sure this guy stuck around first okay?” I groaned.
“He’s real cute,” Mom smiled.
“Where is he?” I looked around, only seeing other empty hospital beds. 
“He went to get some food, said he’d come back cause he knows you won’t eat the hospital food.” She smiled. 
“What exact kinda condition am I in?” I rubbed my hand over the cast. 
“Concussion, a couple of broken bones in your arm and hand, and just generally being a bit beaten up.”
We talked for a while longer, catching up about things in my life, mostly regarding my relationship with Eddie because I was hopeless at keeping my mom informed on the going ons of my life. 
“You really love him don’t you?” She laughed after a particularly rough story about how I once took Eddie to yoga with me. 
“Yeah, I do. Haven’t told him yet, not sure I wanna say it first.” I blushed at the admission to my mom. Sure I’d kinda been feeling it for a few weeks now, but I wasn’t sure when the right time would be to tell Eddie or Venom how I felt. They’d had it rough in love and I didn’t want to push them. 
Soon however, Eddie was stumbling back into the room with a semi angry looking nurse closing the door behind him. My face lit up when I saw him. He was okay, tired looking, but whole. We walked to the otherside of the bed, dragging a chair behind him. The tray attached to my bed was rearranged and Eddie set up an array of my favorite snacks. There were even some of my favorite chocolates left. 
“How ya feelin?” He pressed a kiss on my forehead and sat down. 
“Better,” I grinned.
“Eddie, I thought you were getting dinner, not snacks?” Mom frowned.
“Mom,” I hissed.
Eddie opened a bag of crisps, “Technically these are veggie chips.”
“See vegetables Mom,” I dug my hand freehand into the bag and started eating.  
“You would find someone to enable you,” she huffed. 
“Yeah, yeah, I ate a real meal yesterday.”
“I’m going to get coffee and check out the cafeteria. Tomorrow I will cook both of you animals a real meal,” Mom smirked, rubbed my shoulder, and then left. 
“Jesus christ, both of you come here right now,” I pushed the tray away and sat up further.
Eddie and Venom were on me in a flash. My good arm gripped Eddie like he was my life support. Venom pulled my body further into theirs. I felt my first easy breath since I’d woken up. Venom purred, sensing my relief. 
“Thank you for being here, I know you dudes don’t like it,” I sighed. 
“WE ARE SORRY NIBBLES,” Venom rumbled. 
“We’re just glad you’re okay,” Eddie pressed his forehead to mine. 
I laughed, sudden nerves getting the better of me. I ran my hand over his face, feeling the stubble and short hairs at the back on his neck. Eddie and Venom felt right to me.
“I love you, both of you.” I whispered.
“We love you too.”
2K notes · View notes
moonchildstyles · 8 months ago
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could you possibly do an aster blurb where its harry that gets really clingy🥺 i love the way aster!y/n seeks him out but I would love to see how harry reacts when hes not getting the attention he usually does from her🥺 i imagine him like a kitten or a puppy just following her all around and pining for her attention🥺
its soft hours🥺
—————
"What are you all smiley about, lovebug?"
Harry pressed a kiss to the top of (Y/N)'s head as he settled onto the couch beside her. He slung an arm around her shoulders, a smile matching her's on his face as she cuddled into his side instinctually. She locked her phone and dropped it into her lap before looking up to him with her wide eyes and bubbly smile.
"Nothing, Sarah just sent a funny picture in the group chat," she answered, reaching for his free hand to hold in both of hers.
"Y'guys have a group chat without me?" Harry pressed, a teasing pout on his face.
"No, its just Sarah and a couple of girls from the library. We've been talking a lot lately, it's been nice." (Y/N) held a bashful smile on her face as she spoke, gaze trained on their joined hands, "We've been talking about doing something all together soon."
"Yeah? What've y'got planned?" Harry asked, elated knowing that she was branching out a bit more in her comfort zone. As much as he wanted to be in a part of every corner of her life, he was happy to know that she had more friends than just their little group and was getting more comfortable with herself.
(Y/N) slightly shrugged beside him, her fingers tracing the tattoos on the backs of his hands. "They want to have a girls' night, but I don't think I really know what that means," she ended with a smile, one that only Harry could pick up on the curl of sadness at the very edge of her lips.
Harry flipped his palm up under her hold, delicately wrapping his fingers around hers. "Depends," he started, "Y'guys could go out and drink and have fun that way,"—(Y/N)'s features scrunched up at that idea, still not comfortable doing those kinds of things without Harry with her—"Or y'could all get together and watch movies or talk, whatever y'want to do, jus' no boys allowed I think."
"The second one sounds more fun," she settled, mimicking the smile on Harry's face.
"Tell them that, and maybe y'could invite everyone over here. We could fix up the guest room, I'll clean up all m'stuff and I'll leave y'alone for the night while y'hang out in there?" Harry offered, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand.
A smile bloomed on (Y/N)'s features, one that molded her features to carry softened edges and rounded curves. Her eyes were bright and excited, matching the way she practically bounced in her seat as she looked up at him. "Really? You'd let me invite them over here?" Her tone was animated as she spoke.
"'Course," he simplified, "If that's what y'wanted, then, of course."
She slipped her hand out from his, Harry immediately missing the warmth though he couldn't feel too upset when he saw how she excitedly she scooped up her phone. "I'll text them and see if they might want to this weekend!" She began tapping away at the screen before she paused, "If that's okay."
Harry was quick to nod, letting her know it was definitely okay with him before she lost any of her gusto over the idea. "I gave myself this Friday night off since I worked those doubles, so if y'wanted to invite everyone over then?"
(Y/N) happily agreed, resuming the tapping at her phone. Harry settled his arm over her shoulder, the black of his fingernails tracing over the bare skin of her arm showcased by the short sleeves of her shirt. He felt a matching bubble of elation settle in his system, working its way through his bloodstream as he could practically feel the excitement of the girl beside him.
He knew his offer alone was something that meant a lot to her, knowing just how limited her exposure and time with friends was growing up. She shared once that she'd never even been allowed to spend the night away from home, especially not with anyone from school or that her parents didn't personally select for her to spend time with. When she moved in with Sarah, that was the first time she had stayed away from her parents in her entire life. Those small facts and insights into who she was before him, broke little bits of his heart. He couldn't imagine what it would have been like to be so tethered to the same people she wanted nothing more than to get away from, even if for only a night. So, he didn't blame her exorbitant amount of excitement at even just the prospect of having a girls' night, even if he had to explain the ground rules to her.
"They said they can come by at six on Friday!" She bounced in her seat beside him, Harry able to see a flood of exclamation points ending her message on her phone.
Now, all Harry had to do was find it in himself to clean up the spare bedroom. Maybe he should have told her next week.
—————
"Are y'excited?"
(Y/N) practically jumped at the sound of his voice. She was trying her best to pretend she wasn't as antsy as she was, having been flitting about Harry's home as soon as she came by after class. He had stayed true to his word, having cleared out the spare bedroom with the space now actually resembling a bedroom and not a storage closet. (Y/N) was taking her time to make it perfect for the night, fretting over small details Harry hadn't even considered. There was still another forty-five minutes or so before anyone was set to arrive, but (Y/N) didn't seem to have any plans of slowing down for even a moment.
"Mhm," she hummed, fluffing the extra duvet on the bed, making something akin to a nest out of the bedding. She didn't offer any other information, brushing through the sentiment without tracing her eyes to where Harry stood leaning against the doorframe to the room.
"(Y/N)?" he started, conscious of the way he was calling out her name instead of one of the tender pet names he had donned her as. He needed to talk to her seriously and ensure she was okay and her behavior wasn't anything more than the result of nerves.
She stopped in her tracks at the sound of his voice, stopping her fretting hands. "Yeah?" she peeped, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.
"Are y'okay?" He felt his own features soften as he took in her visage. Each of her anxious ticks were at play with her fumbling fingertips picking at the fresh nail polish she applied yesterday, and her anxious shifting of her weight from one foot to the other.
"Yeah, just want everything to be perfect," she simplified, giving him what was barely a trace of a smile as opposed to the bubbly grin she had been gifting him with previously.
"Love, 's jus' your friends, even Sarah's coming. Everything's gonna be okay, don't know why you're getting so worried." He spoke softly as he rounded the bed frame to reach out for her. "What's got you all upset, hm?" he prompted, collecting her in his arms with his palms settling over her hips. She trained her gaze on the ink of the chest piece that trailed out of the neckline of his shirt, the vined rose bush taking her attention. She only shrugged her shoulders at him, keeping her hands to herself to continue to pick at the polish.
Harry sighed, knowing she was starting to curl in on herself and let her racing mind decide the course of the night before it had even begun. One of his hands abandoned its spot on her hip, tucking his knuckles under her chin to tip her face up to make contact with her eyes. She looked to him with big, worried eyes, the gaze he knew a little too well. The pad of his thumb brushed along the line of her jaw as a soft smile tugged at his lips.
"You know 'm gonna be here the whole night, yeah? If y'need me, 'm only a wall away. But, I know you're going to have so much fun, yeah? Probably going to forget all about me as soon as you're all holed up in here," he spoked gently, his tone lighthearted as to try and draw her from whatever headspace had dragged her under.
Despite his efforts, (Y/N)'s lips stayed in a lamented line. "I just want everyone to have fun, and I don't even know what I'm doing."
"You're putting too much pressure on yourself, darling," his hand under her chin shifted as he spoke, moving to cradle her cheek in his palm, "We've had people over before, haven't we? The first time we met, you and Sarah hosted that night at your apartment, remember? You've done this before, jus' because it has a different name doesn't mean anything's different, yeah?"
"I know," she peeped, wilting in his arms, "I'm just... nervous."
A sad sort of smile tugged at Harry's lips. "I know, angel, but 's okay, yeah? I know 's hard, but try not to get too upset over this, 'kay? Jus' try to have fun, and I'll be here if y'need anything."
She minutely nodded at his words, only perking up to rise to the tips of her toes with her lips searching for his. Harry was quick to grant her her wish, smoothing his lips over hers. The kiss was simple, nothing short of reassuring as he knew that was what she was looking for. He drew back first only to press a string of playful pecks against her lips, fighting off his own smile as her's bloomed across her lips. He paused to nudge his nose against the tip of her own in a puppy's kiss, the cool of his nose piercing brushing against her skin.
"Thank you," she squeaked, her eyes fluttering open as Harry drew back from her. His hand on her cheek stayed still, only grazing his thumb over her cheekbone with his other hand on her hip.
Harry only smiled to her with the curl of his lips going lopsided, only one of his dimples denting his cheeks. "You're welcome, baby."
She looked like she was going to say more, but (Y/N) was cut off by the sound of her phone buzzing somewhere in the pile of bedding she had been fretting over. She pulled herself from Harry's embrace, crawling atop the mattress as she dug through the layered duvets for her phone, his eyes affectionately following after her. She settled in the middle of the nest she created, her phone now cradled in her hands as she gazed at the screen with her lip between her teeth.
(Y/N) looked to him with big eyes, something much more excited swimming in her irises than he had seen only a few minutes prior. "They said they're here."
Harry's crooked smile unfurled into a large grin at her words, reaching towards her hands to lace his fingers through hers. "Then c'mon, need to go greet your guests," he urged, tugging her off the bed to lead her towards the living room.
She pliantly followed after him, seemingly getting more comfortable with each step she took. Harry released his hold on her hand before stepping back as she went to the front door, replying to a message Mitch had sent. He looked up when he heard the telltale giggled greetings and found his girl hugging her friends and telling them how excited she was to see them. A glowing smile was etched onto her features, making it hard for Harry to not mimic the expression as he watched her.
"Hey, H," Sarah called as she kicked off her shoes by the door, shooting him a smile.
"Hi, Sarah," he greeted, pocketing his phone before standing from his position on the arm of the couch. He wrapped his arms around Sarah in a friendly hug, keeping his eye on (Y/N) over her shoulder as she directed her newer friends on where to put their things.
"She seems nervous. Is everything okay?" Sarah whispered before pulling back from Harry, her smile light on her face as to make sure (Y/N) didn't catch onto what they were discussing.
Harry nodded his head, making sure his girl was still distracted before verbally answering, "She wants everyone to have fun, and is worried she's not doing enough. You know how she gets sometimes."
Sarah's expression dropped just the smallest bit at the new information. "I know. Thank for helping her though, H," Sarah got out before (Y/N) directed her attention to the two of them.
"And, this is my boyfriend Harry," (Y/N) introduced, gesturing to him as her friends stood beside her, "Harry, this is Charlotte and Emily from the library."
Harry politely smiled, reaching his hand out to shake the two of their's. "Nice to meet you."
The two girls reciprocated his greeting, Harry ignoring the way their eyes flitted over his form before flicking to (Y/N). Most people did the same thing when they saw the pair of them, not quite sure how someone so cotton candy sweet and pastel pink as (Y/N) would end up with someone like Harry.
"Are you ready, Sarah? Harry helped me clean up the spare room so we can hang out there tonight," (Y/N) beamed, seemingly unaware of the conversation she interrupted.
Harry stood back as (Y/N) pointed them down the hallway to the spare bedroom, lingering behind for only a second. While a small edging of nerves were still working their way out of her system with her fumbling hands and the way she shifted on her feet, most of the previous anxiety seemed to have melted away now that her company had arrived.
"Thank you," she reiterated from earlier. She popped onto the tips of her toes before pressing a quick kiss to Harry's lips, too quick for Harry to react before she was scuttling her way down the hall to follow her friends.
He could already hear the sound of her laughter and the beginnings of the "girls' night" fluttering from the bedroom, drawing his own smile to his features. He brushed his fingers over the plush of his bottom lip, over his lip ring and where the full of her lips had planted a kiss. He had half the mind to chase after her, in search of a conclusion to her kiss, but he couldn't. Not when she so excitedly ran to join her friends, along with the happy smile that decorated her features after she pulled away. And there was nothing that made him more happy than seeing her happy. He could wait for another kiss.
—————
Maybe Harry overestimated himself.
He could hear the way (Y/N) was happily giggling and chatting away in the other room, the sound of her muffled voice only momentarily interrupted when one of her friends spoke. The sound had kept his lips curved into a smile for the hour since she had started her night, the happy noises satisfying him with the knowledge that she was having just as good of a time as he had promised she would. It wasn't until he was halfway through a movie he had watched only a couple times before with (Y/N) tucked under his arm, did he realize that he felt... lonely.
It was a silly thing to feel, he was sure. His girlfriend was still in the same house as him, close enough he could hear her, but it just wasn't enough. He felt clingy as he recognized just how much he yearned to have her back in his arms and her attention back on him. All he wanted to do was go whisk her away, tugging her from the spare room and wrapping her in his arms in an effort to hear that laugh in person and not through a layer of drywall and plaster. What was he supposed to do when she was right there but he couldn't touch her or talk to her, even? It shouldn't be hard to be away from her like this, especially seeing as to how they still didn't even live together. He couldn't remember ever being this needy before.
He only made it another ten minutes before he heard a loud burst of laughter he knew immediately came from his angel. It was the one she let out when she thought something was especially funny or really happy in the moment, the one Harry always felt the proudest of when he could draw it from her. After hearing that, he knew he had to do something. Even if the silly plan he made up only allowed for a moment or two to see her, he'd do it.
Harry remembered the small agenda (Y/N) had put together, knowing that she had planned on starting a movie around now with her friends in the other room. They would want popcorn if they were watching a movie, right? (Y/N) always wanted something like that to snack on when they had their own movie night (though she only made it through a few kernels before she was slumped against his shoulder with sleep on its way to take her). So, he went out of his way to fish for the last remaining packet of popcorn in his cupboards.
Keeping his ear trained on the sound of (Y/N)'s muffled voice over the popping of the kernels, Harry moved about the kitchen with antsy motivation. He rifled around the cabinets in search of the large white and purple spotted bowl she liked to eat popcorn from, trying his best to slow himself down when he realized he still had ninety seconds on the microwave timer. He swung the door open as soon as the timer beeped, dumping the contents of the paper package into the bowl before checking his phone. He hoped to see a text from (Y/N), but was disappointed to find his screen notification-less.
With the heated bowl in hand, Harry didn't have it in him to feel even a little embarrassed at the small lengths he was going through just to quell the need in his tummy to catch a glimpse of his girl. As he drew closer to the spare bedroom, he could hear the collection of voices much more clear. (Y/N)'s was the easiest to pick from the bunch, Harry sure he could pick her out of a crowded room. He hesitated for a moment before he rapped his knuckles against the wood of the door, the girls on the other side quieting at the noise.
"Come in!" (Y/N) called. Harry tried not to dwell on how fast his heart started beating at the sound of her voice directed at him.
He carefully cracked open the door, popping his head in to find the group of them all huddled on the nest of blankets (Y/N) had put together on the bed. Each pair of eyes was directed on him, Sarah's much more knowing than the others, but Harry only had eyes for (Y/N). She looked to him with her eyes wide and questioning, the remnants of her bubbling laughter being found in the light in her eyes and the lines acting as parenthesis around her mouth.
"I—uh—I made popcorn, if y'wanted some," Harry offered, pretending as if he didn't notice that there was no movie playing on the T.V. like he had predicted.
(Y/N)'s brows shot up in happiness at his words, gifting him with the sweet smile he had missed in the short amount of time they'd been a part. "Yes, please!" she bubbled, climbing off the bed as she reached for the bowl in his hands, "We were just talking about getting some snacks. Thank you!"
Harry replaced the warmth of the bowl that was now in her hands by settling his palms over her hips. She leant up and pressed a quick kiss to his cheek, the contact short-lived before she turned around to face her friends again. Just before they started chatting about whatever it is he interrupted, Harry took that as his cue to leave.
Well, at least he got to see her, right?
That should be able to hold him off, right?
—————
Harry only made it another thirty minutes.
He knew he was just making up excuses at this point. He had become used to hearing the constant flow of laughter and muffled words coming from the spare room, the string tethering his heart to her's now feeling a constant tugging that tried to lure him over to her. Turns out the small interaction ending with a kiss on the cheek wasn't enough to tide him over until each of the girls decided to call it a night and he would get his lovebug back.
Sorting through his mind for anything to do to keep him from interrupting her night again, he found himself finally folding the pile of laundry he had promised himself he would do a week ago. He barely paid attention to any of the pieces, only really caring for the small pink and purple socks that definitely weren't his, and the much too small pink crop top he remembers (Y/N) spilling spaghetti sauce on last week. The bottom of the basket was filled out by a familiar pink blanket, unfailingly soft and one of Evie's preferred things to sleep on. It was (Y/N)'s favorite blanket, one she had left at his house over a week ago when she noticed just how much Evie pined over the fabric (and because she spent majority of her time as his place anyway).
She'd want to have this, right? She would probably be happy to find that he had finally taken care of the laundry and found her favorite blanket. So, it wouldn't be that bad of an idea to just go knock on her door and see if she wanted it, right?
Harry didn't have a chance before he had fully talked himself into the plan. He wanted this offer to be as tempting as possible, maybe earning him just a second longer with her or even—if he was lucky—a real kiss. Knowing she was still fairly private when it came to PDA and expressing her love for Harry publicly, he knew it was a long shot, but he couldn't help but hope that maybe she would take pity on his obvious attempts to see her and indulge him a little.
He gave the blanket a spin in the dryer, hoping she would appreciate the extra warmth swaddling the fabric. This time, Harry did feel just a tiny bit embarrassed as he trekked down the hallway to the spare room, something akin to a walk of shame. The blanket was bundled against his chest, the downy material brushing against the bare of his arms; he wasn't sure if it was the truth or just his yearning heart talking, but he couldn't help but compare the cushiony textile to the feel off her lips against his or even her touch along his skin.
Just as the last time, he gently knocked on the door. (Y/N) hadn't been speaking when he had arrived on the other side, a small disappointment that was quickly shooed away when she called for him to come in! just like before. The bundled blanket in his arms made for a much clumsier entrance than before, the pink material being seen before Harry.
(Y/N) helped open the door for him, having climbed off the bed as soon as she heard Harry knock on the door. She looked up at him with a soft smile on her face, rivaling the down of the blanket in his arms. "What did you need, H?" she asked, her gaze flitting to the blanket in his arms before retreating to his face.
He could feel the eyes of the other girls trained on him again, but this time one of them (Charlotte, he thinks she's called) leaned over and whispered something to Sarah before the pair of them shared a quiet laugh. He was aware of the way Sarah whispered something back before talking to remaining girl to her right, but he kept his gaze fixed on (Y/N).
"This jus' came out of the dryer, so 's all warm like y'like it. Was just wondering if y'wanted it, maybe?" He felt shy as he explained his appearance, keeping his voice low between them.
(Y/N) didn't seem to catch onto the clinginess of Harry's actions, only gratefully pulling the blanket from his arms. "Yes, thank you, H," she smiled, trying her best to keep the bundle contained in her arms.
Harry was sure this was his cue to leave again, to leave his girl to hang out with her friends as they had planned. But, he couldn't help but linger for just a beat, hoping she would do as she did before and plant a kiss on his cheek. Instead, she shot him another smile before turning back to her friends and bouncing back onto the bed with the blanket tumbling out of her arms. Sarah shot him a look over (Y/N)'s shoulder. She was onto him.
Closing the door behind him, Harry couldn't help but feel the remnants of a pout take his features. She didn't kiss him.
He tried to convince himself that just because that minor detail was missing, he didn't need to make his presence known again and interrupt her night further. But, he couldn't help but notice that the bottle of wine they'd been drinking was now empty with each of the stemless glasses placed on the bedside tables being equally dry (excluding (Y/N)'s, but he knew she was still building up the confidence to let herself go like that around people who weren't him).
It wouldn't hurt to see if they wanted more, right? He'd picked up that extra bottle for a reason, right?
The one thing holding him back was racing right back to the bedroom, bottle of muscato in hand, was his worry. He took a page from (Y/N)'s book and launched into a web of anguished thoughts of whether or not he was being overbearing. He knew he doted over (Y/N) majority of the time he was with her, Mitch and Sarah always teasing him for waiting on her like she was some long-lost princess. Maybe he was being selfish for wanting so badly to inject himself into her night, the first time she'd ever been able to indulge in the teen movie cliches of having a girls' night and being without his overbearing presence.
Harry attempted to remind himself that (Y/N) had expressed just how much she appreciated and loved his doting qualities. She was never even a tick under being absolutely comfortable and happy in his presence due to each of the small things he went out of his way to do for her. She never mentioned anything about feeling suffocated or finding his affection bothersome. So, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to pop in one more time, see if they needed anything—if she needed him.
And, god, he was just so bored without her! What was his life even filled of before she fluttered in on her angel wings to steal his heart?
With the promise that this would be the last time he invited himself into their girls' night, Harry held the neck of the wine bottle in one hand and the other gripping (Y/N)'s baby blue, reusable bottle filled with cold water.
It had only been twenty minutes since he had popped in last. Hopefully, he wasn't being annoying.
He performed the now familiar routine, knocking on the door where he could hear (Y/N) and her friends quiet down on the other side. Instead of the typical radio silence coming from the girls beyond the door, a smattering of laughter could be heard through the wood.
"H, you can come in!" (Y/N) laughed, the sound of her smile warming him more than any bottle of wine or blanket fresh from the dryer could.
He nudged the door open, no longer finding it in himself to care that Sarah had most definitely been onto him the second he started popping into the room, his eyes only finding (Y/N)'s. A softened smile unfurled over his lips as he found her with her blanket stretched over her legs as she shared it with the rest of the group.
"Hi," he started, huffing a laugh at himself over how relieved he was to simply see her smiling, "I brought another bottle of wine if y'wanted, and some water?"
Charlotte seemed to perk up at the idea of more wine, Emily seconding the notion with a soft ooh! escaping her lips. (Y/N) carefully untwisted herself from the bedding to move to Harry and the amber colored wine in his hand. The girls behind her started up their own tittering conversation that Harry didn't have the mind the pay attention to.
"Thank you, H," she said, keeping her voice quiet between them, "You're being very sweet tonight."
"Aren't I sweet always?" he teased, feeling more himself now that she was allowing him a larger portion of her attention.
Her smile only widened at his words, a small nod tipping her chin as she reached for the bottles in his hands. He happily passed them off to her. (Y/N) turned around again, but didn't seem to be kicking him out the way she had before. When she faced him again, Harry hoped she was readying herself to indulge in the kiss he had been pining for all night. Instead, he was gifted with an empty bottle of wine and a second calling of thank you! falling from her lips.
The door clicked behind him as he shut it, leaving him alone in the hallway with an empty bottle of wine at 9:04pm. He was out of ideas; out of excuses to meander his way into her night without him, leaving him with a cold bed and thoughts of her keeping his chest warm. Evie had effectively taken root in Mitch's room for the night, the one place free of Harry's anxious energy and the giggles of four girls to keep her up. Mitch wouldn't even be home till later, but even then he was coming to pick up Sarah, then the two of them would go back to the apartment, so he had nothing to entertain himself with besides the clock that ticked down the minutes until (Y/N) was free to wrap him in her attention.
How was it possible to miss someone who was right there?
Harry begrudgingly trekked back to the kitchen, throwing out the empty bottle of wine and getting himself some water. The movie he had started at the beginning of the night was still paused on a scene he didn't remember ever viewing. Now, come to think of it, he had no recollection of what the film was even called, his thoughts having been plagued by (Y/N) and different schemes to weasel his way into the spare bedroom. He dropped himself down into the worn cushion before pressing play and pretending like he had any idea of what plot was playing out on his screen. Instinctually, he draped his arm over the back of the couch, used to the way (Y/N) was attached to his side as soon as a film started rolling on the T.V.
Maybe he could paint his nails? Harry glanced down at the chipping black and pink paint on his fingers. No, (Y/N) painted these, he wanted to keep them for as long as he could. Maybe he could do more laundry? No, he didn't think he could handle finding more articles of her clothing and not immediately using the act of returning them as an excuse to see her again. Maybe he could get a head start of sketching this coverup piece that he had scheduled for Monday? No, he would only lose himself in the pages and pages filled with sketches of his angel.
Was there any part of his life that was untouched by her?
It wasn't until the movie had ended, the time on his phone now showing 10:13pm, that Harry broke again. This time wasn't as bad as the others, he reasoned with himself. He wasn't popping in there with a lame excuse to get him through the door. No, this time he was just going to be cool and casual about it.
Nothing was clingy about a text to just check in with his girlfriend, right?
Do you need anything? xxxxx
He forced himself to lock his phone and set it face down on the cushions beside him. He busied himself with taking a long sip form his water, pretending as if he wasn't as antsy as he really was for her response. As soon at the device buzzed beside him, all thoughts of letting a couple of moments pass before checking were thrown out the window.
(Y/N) 🌸🤍🎀
no im good but thank u!!!!!
He couldn't help but deflate a bit at her answer. But, could he really be surprised? He'd made it his mission for the past hours to make sure each of her needs were taken care of before she even knew she needed them.
Harry reluctantly melted back into couch after sending a simple okay, back with a smattering of kisses following after. He didn't pine over the three dots he knew wouldn't show, instead forcing himself to browse the Netflix queue on his screen. He hoped, futilely, that something would catch his attention and draw it away from the giggling girl in the other room.
After what he was sure was at least forty-five minutes (it was really only about twenty when Harry ended up checking the time) of scrolling through Netflix and settling on a movie where he only got through the first five minutes before having to stop, did Harry resign himself to get ready for bed. He wasn't quite sure how long (Y/N) was going to have her company over, all he knew was that Mitch didn't get off work for another hour or so, making that the earliest the night could end. He had wanted to wait for her, wait to get ready and go to bed together so neither of them would have to lay without the other. But, he was running out of distractions.
Rifling through the freshly folded clothes in his drawers, Harry tried to find articles of his that (Y/N) most frequently wore. Despite going through the wash, he hoped remnants of her scent would linger in the weaving of the fabric enough for him to feel even a bit of comfort. He finished with a large pink crewneck adoring his torso, one she typically wore as a dress before she wrapped herself around him in her sleep, and a pair of too short sweatpants she had to cuff at least five times over to ensure she didn't trip over herself when wearing them. All he had left to find was a pair of socks, the temperature in the house having dropped some (whether that be from (Y/N)'s absence or something Harry perceived all on his own, he wasn't sure).
As soon as he slid open the top drawer, he should have known it was a bad idea. Several pairs of petite, fuzzy socks took up the space in the drawer, pairs too small for him but perfect for the girl sitting only a room away. Harry felt as if he was going for a record tonight with the speed that another bad idea popped into his mind. He tried his best to shoo it away, having spent all his chances of spending time with (Y/N) prematurely in the night; he had no good reason to peek back in.
But, just because it wasn't a good reason, didn't take from the fact it was still a reason, nonetheless.
Harry sighed as he plucked out a pristine white pair, the toes and heel stitched with pale pink patches. He knew his logic was flawed, but he was practically grasping at straws by this point, and this one seemed to stick.
If he thought it was cold, that would mean that (Y/N) most likely felt the same way. She typically liked to pad around the house in a pair of her fuzzy socks, especially the pair in Harry's hand, having told him that where she got coldest first and the fastest. All he would need to do is just ask if she wanted them. It didn't matter if she was with her friends or not, this was something that effect the quality of her night. If she wasn't comfortable, she couldn't keep having fun and that was the point of the night. This idea, though leaning on the side of desperate, was as good as any at this point.
The walk to the spare bedroom had become Harry's version of the walk of shame, an embarrassment shifting up his spine further and further with each trek back and forth. This time, instead of immediately enacting the familiar routine, Harry stopped in front of the door. He'd heard his name.
It was never a good thing to eavesdrop, but Harry couldn't help himself as he hesitated on the other side. He wanted to see what they were talking about.
"You never tell us anything about him," someone—Emily, maybe?—teasingly accused (Y/N), "I had no idea he was going to look like that from the way you described him!"
Harry furrowed his brow. What was that supposed to mean?
"Yeah, I never would have pictured him for you. I didn't think you even knew what a tattoo was," Charlotte(?) laughed.
Harry understood what they were getting at now. It wasn't hard to see that they had been shocked to find he was who (Y/N) was dating. They just showed to prove that opposites attract.
Sarah was the only one that didn't immediately join in on the prodding over (Y/N)'s love life, being the only other person in the room to know more about their relationship.
"He's...," (Y/N) trailed off, Harry able to perfectly imagine the way she shrugged her shoulders and allowed a shy smile to take her features, "Yeah."
She stopped abruptly there, Harry not entirely sure what being "yeah" meant, but he'd happily take it if the audible smile she spoke through meant anything. He shifted his weight on his feet, moving to lean soundlessly against the wall as he continued to listen in.
"Oh, c'mon!" Charlotte pipped up, punctuated by the sound of Sarah's familiar laugh, "He's more than just yeah. You're so private about him, I can't even imagine what goes on when you're alone."
"You don't want to know," Sarah mumbled, a teasing tone to her voice that had the other girls laughing and presumably (Y/N) left with a heat behind her cheeks.
"It's not like that," (Y/N) argued (though Harry was pretty sure he could debate that it was, in fact, like that), "I just...I love him. A lot."
He felt his heart melt in harmony with the girls aw'ing on the other side. Would it be too soon to burst in and tell her he loved her a lot too?
"It's kind of crazy since we haven't been together for even a year yet,"—they were just a month and some change shy of their year anniversary actually—"But, I love him so much." (Y/N)'s voice held a dreamy quality to it, her breath coming out in sighs with the words curling around his heart in comforting squeezes. "I didn't even know you could love anyone like this, but he's so gentle with me, and kind, and you've seen the way he's been in and out of here all night. He cares which is... so nice. It's nice to think that he loves me like I love him."
Harry was sure he was going to be found as a heart shaped puddle in the middle of the hallway, her words having liquified his bones and tethered his lungs to his heart. There was no thought in his head left unturned and marked with her kiss and the promise of her forever love. He didn't really have to worry about what his life was like before her, because he didn't think there was ever going to be a reason to go back.
A chorus of retreating aw's sounded on the other side of the door, Harry trying his best to cling to the noise to keep him afloat and aware of the moment.
"He definitely loves you so much," Emily chimed in, a pouting tone to her voice like one would use to speak to a puppy.
"Mhm," Sarah hummed, "Every time he's come in here tonight, he doesn't even see us, he's just looking right to you. It's like there's no one here but you, and I've known him longer."
Harry was quick to pick out the sound of his lover's laugher, the sound taking him from the puddle he had become and making him as light as a cloud that floated on the sound of her happiness.
The soft moment was interrupted when one of the girls, Harry wasn't able to pick out who, posed her own question.
"...And how's the sex?"
"No, I'm not telling you!" (Y/N) laughed. Some mumbles from the other girls elicited more strings of laughter to fill the room that Harry wasn't able to make out, but he figured it was enough to get that bashful heat to warm his angel's cheeks and drop her gaze to her hands in her lap.
The conversation shifted after that, the topic leaving Harry behind to dwell on the honeyed information filtering through his brain. He looked at the pair of socks still in his hands for a moment before turning away from the door.
He'd leave her be, he decided. The words of her love were enough to tide him over until she was ready to end her night.
—————
Harry jolted out of his half sleep as he sat on the couch when he heard the front door shut behind Mitch. He blinked open his sleep coated eyes, having been dancing between dreams filled with soft laughter and declarations of love, and wanting to stay awake for whenever (Y/N) was ready for bed with him.
"Hey, man," Mitch called as he yawned, "The girls still hanging out?"
"Yeah," Harry sighed, "I don't know when they'll be done either. Gone through two bottles of wine, though."
A smile cracked at Mitch's features, shaking his head as he stepped towards his room. "Have you been waiting all night for her then?"
A sheepish smile tugged at Harry features, happy that his friend couldn't see him as his back was turned towards the open door of his bedroom. The tip of his tongue played with the ring pierced through his lip, "Uh, yeah. Kinda."
He could hear Mitch scoff from his room, the sound of him putting his things away before toeing of his shoes. "Kinda," he laughed, "I don't know how you haven't crashed the whole night, you can't be more than five feet away from (Y/N) when she's not in class."
"That's not true," Harry countered, though he knew it was, in fact, true, as this night had proved to him. "I've checked in a couple times, but that's it. And there's nothing wrong with that anyway, y'know how (Y/N) can get nervous sometimes."
"Yeah, you were checking in for her, right," Mitch teased, before shutting his bedroom door.
Only a beat later, the door he had been waiting to hear creak open all night pulled him from his spot on the couch.
"Did I just hear Mitch come home?" Sarah called from the hallway, leading the line of girls from the room. Charlotte and Emily were chattering away between each other, sounding like they were arranging rides to get home while (Y/N) took up the end with a tired set in her eyes.
"Yeah, I think he's jus' getting changed," Harry nodded towards Mitch's room before his eyes were fixed on his girl again.
She shot him a sleepy smile before being pulled into a small conversation with Charlotte. Sarah had meandered her way to sit on the arm of the couch beside Harry, looking to him with a small smile on her face.
"You're not very subtle, you know," she mused, "If you wanted to hang out with us tonight, all you had to do was ask."
Harry gently nudged her with his shoulder, running a heavy hand through his hair. "I jus' wanted to make sure she was alright and had everything she needed, is that wrong of me?"
Sarah shrugged beside him, "I'm just surprised you didn't feed her the popcorn by hand and help her drink her water."
"Hey," Harry whined, elongating the ending with a feigned look of hurt on his face, "'M not clingy."
"I never said you were," Sarah countered, her tone teasing to match the smile on her face.
Just as Mitch emerged from his room, pajamas donned on his figure and the familiar duffle bag he lugged to the apartment over his shoulder, Charlotte declared that her boyfriend was here to take both her and Emily home. Harry stood from his spot on the couch at the sound of the announcement, playfully shoving at Sarah's shoulder beside him. She only shot him a glare that was softened by the huff of laughter that fell from her lips. He watched on from his background point of view as Sarah rejoined the group and the four of them all said their goodbyes for the night.
"Thank you guys for coming over, I had a really good time," (Y/N) beamed before pulling each of them individually for hugs. Each girl reciprocated the sentiment, telling her how happy they were to come and they couldn't wait to do it again.
"And thank you, Harry, for the wine and everything. It was really nice to meet you," Charlotte said, pulling Harry from his fixed attention on (Y/N).
"Of course," he smiled, though there was something very familiar to Sarah's teasing he could find on her face, "It was nice to meet you too."
They definitely all knew the real reason he found himself popping in on their night.
Charlotte and Emily were the first to exit, (Y/N) watching from the threshold of the front door to make sure they drove away safely before turning to Sarah.
"You should come back home more often, this was so much fun," Sarah started, an exaggerated pout on her lips, "We can have our living room sleepovers again."
"I know, I miss you," (Y/N) reciprocated, her eyes momentarily flicking to Harry before being directed back to her friend, "I promise I will next week, I've just been... busy lately."
Her pout turned into a teasing smile that Harry already knew would turn (Y/N) into his bashful sweetheart. "Oh I know, you just love him so much you get so busy—"
"Stop it!" (Y/N) got out in a laugh, jokingly urging Sarah towards the front door where Mitch was leaned against with a smile matching his girlfriend's on his face. "Go, I'll see you on Monday!"
Harry crossed the space between them in lazy strides, saying his own goodbyes to the couple as they headed towards Mitch's car parked in the driveway. Harry wrapped his arms around (Y/N)'s middle from behind, tucking his chin into the crook of her neck as they gave their final waves to their friends before driving away. He reluctantly let her go to shut the front door, locking out the cold air that was waiting outside.
(Y/N) looked to Harry with her tired eyes as she lent back against the door, hands clasped behind her. "Hi."
A blooming smile unfurled over Harry's features, reaching out for her to take her spot back in his arms. "Hi," he mumbled once she was flush against his chest, the greeting tucked into the strands of hair at the top of her head. "I missed you."
(Y/N) pulled back at his words, her arms stationed around his neck to ensure she didn't stray far. "I was here the whole time, silly," she laughed, the sound coming out dreamy and melodic to Harry's ears.
"That was the problem," he started, moving his hands from the soft of her waist to cradle the full of her cheeks in his palms. He dipped his head down and indulged in the small contact he had been craving all night, sweet kisses smoothed over her lips with the whisperings of her honey sweet taste stamped against his mouth. "Y'were right there, and I couldn't even go in and cuddle you, and kiss you, and do all the things y'know I love."
Harry didn't have it in him to feel childish as he pouted at her, only reveling in the way she allowed him to steal as many kisses from her lips as she leaned into the palms of his hands. "It was hard," he lamented, dropping his forehead to rest against hers.
"Oh, H," she sighed, her eyes rounding out at his admission, the fingers in his hair curling a little deeper through the tumbling strands. "I know, I missed you too. Thank you for coming by with all that stuff and making sure we were having a good time. It was nice to see you each time, too."
Her own confession could have brought Harry to his knees, recalling the affectionate praises she shared with her friends over him. Instead, he allowed himself to press a kiss to the tip of her nose before drawing away.
"Good, good. Wanted y'to have fun tonight," he mumbled, dropping his hand from her cheek to twine between her fingers. He began leading her towards the bedroom, where he already had everything set up from when he so optimistically yet futilely planned on getting some sleep without her.
(Y/N) dismissed herself after Harry closed the door behind them, Evie slipping through before the click sounded, citing the need to get dressed into some pajamas before she could sleep. Harry climbed into bed to wait for her, turning down the duvet in anticipation for her to join him as Evie made her own bed at the foot of the mattress.
Now in a shirt of his and a pair of comfortable shorts, (Y/N) emerged from his closet. Just as she was about to join Harry in a cuddle under the covers, she spotted the pair of socks he had left at the end of the bed where Evie was just a couple of inches shy of laying atop.
"Oh!" she bubbled, already reaching for the pair to slip onto her feet, "My feet have been cold all night, how did you know?" She shot him a grateful smile over his shoulder, warming Harry from the inside out.
He could have gone in one more time, and with good reason, too. He'd just save that for next time.
—————
I hope u guys like this !!!! it was really fun to write I loved this idea so much!!! thank u all sm for reading and to whoever requested it!! sorry for any mistakes and if u have any ideas please send them in !!
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vancityfire13 · 6 months ago
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Lost and Found
Natasha Romanoff x Reader
Total Word Count 3.1K
A/N - This is kind of based on an excellent request for a story where Natasha recruits a new Avenger. To that Anon, I know this isn’t your request, I loved your idea too and I’ll try it more exactly at a later point. I hope you enjoy this in the meantime
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It wasn’t surprising that the busy train station made you feel uncomfortable. Officially, you were now on the run. You didn’t look at the news coverage playing silently on the flat screens around you. You were the news coverage. You prayed the blurry footage of your stunt on the bridge hadn’t been sharpened up. You’d taken two trains already, crossing half the country just to lose yourself in the new city.
It wasn’t like you’d committed a crime. You’d stopped a school bus from careening into the deep river, it was technically heroic. The news anchors certainly seemed to think so. But, friendly manhunts could only last so long. You’d heard enough rumours about the vultures that hunted down anyone with potential enhancements.
This station was bustling, you tried to savour the anonymity of the crowd. Your heart thudded horribly in your chest despite the calm facade you tried to maintain.
Then, you felt what you had been dreading. Though your super strength may have been on full display to the world, your other talent was far less obvious. The hairs on the back of your neck stood up abruptly and you knew someone nearby was looking for you.
You followed the instinctive pull and found her immediately. Red hair in two neat dutch braids, a bright floral dress. The woman looked beautiful and unassuming as she read her book. You kept your gaze as covert as you could while you tried to make out the title. You nearly groaned aloud.
‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’
The stereotypical image of the single woman travelling to find herself was complete.
You tried to keep up your brisk walk, while you took her in fully. A puzzled frown sat lightly on her face as she flicked through the pages of the book. Your warning instinct had never been wrong before, and  yet she seemed completely zoned out to her surroundings. You glanced again at the flat screens, wondering if she’d just been interested enough in the televised mystery to trigger your awareness.
The woman bit her lip in concentration and that was the last glance of her you stole before you left the station.
-
She played on your mind as you made your way across the city. You’d had a back up plan ready for a while now, ever since you’d decided to take the saving people thing seriously. You’d been keeping up the rent on a small apartment and now that foresight had paid off.
You left the building’s elevator, fumbling for the front door key that you’d never actually used before. Distracted, you bumped into the only other person in the hallway. You looked up and your jaw dropped. An apology stopped in your throat, shock washing other thoughts away.
It was the woman. 
She smiled brightly at you, giving you an awkward little wave despite her arms being wrapped around a large cardboard box.
You’d been effectively hunted down in less than a day. This was one of the vultures. Your stomach lurched at the thought of what would happen next. 
The woman immediately put the box on the ground.
‘I’m Natalie.’ She beamed at you. Your breath caught in surprise.
That definitely wasn’t her name and this definitely wasn’t what you’d expected.
Your hand fell automatically into her outstretched one.
‘Sorry.’ You tried not to give anything away, unable to assess the danger you found yourself in. ‘I didn’t expect someone else to be moving in today.’
‘You’re new in town too?’ Natalie’s eyes widened hopefully.
‘Yeah.’ You muttered, cursing yourself for giving any truths away.
‘That’s Awesome.’ Natalie stressed the word, touching the end of one of her braids.
You tried not to bristle at the falseness of it, standing stiffly.
‘Could you help me?’ Natalie prompted after a moment of silence, gesturing to the box. ‘You look stronger than me.’
‘Sure, I can try.’ You said carefully, faking a heave as you lifted the box. You tried to imitate a stagger under the weight of it.
You caught the flash of confusion on Natalie’s face at your lack of strength and, suddenly, a wave of satisfaction rushed through you. Whoever she worked for wasn’t completely certain of you and your abilities.
You huffed a breath as you walked the box into her apartment. It was filled with several other boxes already. You wondered how much it had cost to sublet it last minute. One of the reasons you’d chosen this building was so you could blend in with the mainly student neighbours who were all new in town. Clearly, they also accepted cash bribes readily.
You pretended to wipe your brow when you put the box down, committing fully to your act. 
‘Nice to meet you Natalie.’ You said as you left her apartment, regaining yourself with some false cheer. ‘I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.’
Of that, you had no doubt.
---
You were still the top story on the news. The well meaning kids who had been on the school bus were starting a national search effort to locate you. The morning show hosts cooed over the younger ones who held up drawings of their best guesses as to your likeness.
Consequently, you didn’t leave the apartment for nearly a week. Only after a few days were you brave enough to start using the building’s small basement gym. You first went in the early hours of the morning, correctly assessing that it would be empty. You liked to burn off energy in a workout, and there was no way you’d be able to exercise at your normal level with other people around.
You returned the next night at the same time. In the second before you opened the door, you felt the familiar sensation of the hairs on the back of your neck raising. Natalie was already there, lifting weights in just a sports bra and leggings. There was a slight sheen of sweat on her exposed collarbones, she’d clearly been here for a while. Your eyes got stuck staring at her chest and it took a moment before you could drag them away. Her own eyes widened comically at the sight of you. Then, the friendly wave came out again.
‘Hi.’ She said brightly, like it wasn’t 3am on a Wednesday.
‘Sorry, I thought it would be empty in here.’ You mumbled.
‘I work weird shifts.’ Natalie rolled her eyes playfully. ‘You don’t mind sharing the space, do you?’
You absolutely did mind. 
‘No, that’s fine.’ You said resignedly, moving to use a treadmill at a reluctantly slow pace. Before you could fish out your headphones, Natalie started to talk.
‘How are you finding the new apartment?’ She prompted, moving to sit on an exercise bike that was close to you.
‘It’s fine.’ You replied, trying to seem out of breath.
‘Are you new to the city?’ You heard the probing question for what it was.
You hummed vaguely. Natalie gave you an interested look and you found yourself caught up in her eyes as they assessed you.
Before she spoke again, her phone buzzed from its place in the corner of the room, resting on her towel.
You read the annoyance in her face and felt curious as to whether this was all still part of the act. You doubted it when you saw the look of resignation on her face at the message.
‘Work?’ This time, it was you who prompted her. You gave her a wry half smile.
Natalie glanced back at you, surprised at your observation.
‘Weird shifts.’ She repeated, matching your half smile.
‘I have to go.’ Her eye roll was less playful this time. There was something in the frustration that bled out of her. The flash of authenticity that threw the falsity of her Natalie persona into the sharp relief.
You shamelessly watched her ass as she walked away. A heat flushed through you that was equal parts attraction and affection. You felt like you’d really seen her for the first time.
-
Natalie didn’t return to her apartment for two nights. You pretended to yourself that you weren’t waiting to hear the only other door on your floor be unlocked. 
You thought about her constantly. You thought mostly about that flicker of someone else that you’d seen. You wondered who she really was. You worried that this was all part of a larger scheme and you were falling for it.
Natalie arrived back in the middle of the day. You heard her footsteps in the hall and did the reckless thing that you had been daring yourself to do when she returned.
You left your apartment just as she was unlocking her door. You nearly walked right into her again. This time you were prepared. She was not.
The large black eye, standing against on her pale complexion, was extremely jarring. Your hand flew to your chest as you took an automatic step back. It took another moment to register that exhaustion that had only worsened the contrast of her face and the bruises. Natalie was dressed in the same leggings as when you’d last seen her, paired now with a large grey hoodie, zipped completely up. 
‘What happened?’ The words fell from your mouth before you could realise that she wouldn’t answer honestly.
Natalie’s lips drew together and you saw her hand reflexively clutch at the unremarkable leather bag she was carrying.
‘Bar work.’ She muttered, looking downwards. ‘There was a fight, but I’m okay.’
The instinctual need to protect her overrode logic again. You felt an urge to use the strength you worked so hard to hide. But there was nowhere for it to go. You clenched your jaw and, instead, took an impulsive leap of faith.
‘Can I come in and make sure you’re okay?’ The worst part was already anticipating her answer.
You could see the flash of distaste for the offer in the half second before Natalie assessed it as a prime opportunity to assess you further. You didn’t let yourself care, your jaw clenched every single time you looked at the bruise.
‘Okay.’ She said hesitantly, playing at shy. You didn’t believe that act at all.
You followed her into the apartment.
‘Hungry?’ You asked, bringing your phone out. You’d had more than one takeout delivered since you’d become a recluse in a new city.
‘Yes.’ Natalie said. Here, at least, there was no doubt that she meant it. You called for pizza, while she disappeared into a backroom.
When she came out, she was wearing pyjamas. You tried not to flinch as the feeling returned.  Natalie had returned full force to the mission of analysing you.
‘I really appreciate you coming over.’ Natalie said sweetly. You noticed immediately that her hair was loose now, it held waves from her usual braids. Without your warning instinct, her habit of twirling strands of it could have looked natural.
‘It was so scary at the bar.’ She told you quietly when you sat together on the sofa. You felt yourself drawn in to the vulnerability in her face. You swallowed reflexively, fighting the hot sympathy that rose up in you.
‘I feel horrible that someone hurt you.’ You told her honestly.
‘I feel better knowing I’m not alone.’ Natalie bit her lip. You felt sure that wasn’t true, you’d seen her face on the doorstep.
‘My pleasure.’ You agreed, wishing desperately that you weren’t falling for her.
Maybe it was her plan along, maybe this was you being tricked. 
But, as you sat together sharing the pizza, you still answered Natalie’s questions. 
The really dangerous part was how you looked forward to her own answers to your questions. You knew they were lies and you still searched for the kernel of truth in each one. You didn’t think her childhood pet was really a turtle, but you did think her family had been chaotic and absent.
You breathed in every change to her expression like it was fresh air. You wished her interest in you could be real too.
Natalie opened a bottle of wine, telling you she needed it after the long day. You didn’t resist, you actually enjoyed the way it loosened your tongue, how it made you braver with her.
You could sense her frustration as you avoided all discussion of your powers, you could feel her try and lead you into the topic, like a constrictor winding its way around unsuspecting prey. 
The alcohol didn’t make you more honest about your secret, but it did make you bolder. You interrupted her carefully constructed story about a cheerleading camp abruptly, placing your hand on her knee. You liked the feeling of impulsivity in the face of her careful facade.
‘I hope no-one hurts you like that again.’ You told her seriously and simply. The words cut directly into the space between you.
There was the split second of confusion and then Natalie’s face schooled itself to neutral. You wondered if she knew how scared and defensive neutral could still look.
Her eyes were conflicted for another second, staring at you with an intensity that you hadn’t experienced before. It felt like static was running from your neck down your spine as she searched your gaze.
‘Thank you.’ She said carefully. ‘At least it’ll heal.’
You squeezed her hand once and then you left before doing something even more stupid.
-
The next morning, Natalie knocked on your door. She held two coffees from the nearby Starbucks.
‘Let’s really be friends?’ She asked when you opened the door. The voice sounded like Natalie, even the hairs on your neck told you it was not all genuine. But, you took the coffee.
-
Natalie saw you nearly every day for the next month. You watched her build natural meeting points into your day. The morning coffee, the late night gym. You took them placidly.
What you lived for was the times after she was called away. Now, she’d knock your door, bottle of wine in hand. You’d order the takeout.
The moment it happened couldn’t be overstated. But it was also as casual as a breath.
You sat relaxed on your sofa, waiting for Natalie to return with the tub of ice cream and spoons. Her phone buzzed in that way she would never ignore. She looked at it once, then she stopped in her tracks. When she put the ice cream down on the table in front of you, there was a beat.
Natalie sat next to you. You moved an arm around her. She leant in to your touch. The hairs on the back of your neck stopped standing up.
She’d stopped trying to find you.
You didn’t play your usual game of asking her what the text had said. For once, you didn’t want to know or see what lie she came up with. You knew it wasn’t a text she had wanted to receibe.
Natalie’s head rested sadly on your shoulder as she ate from the ice cream tub. She offered you the fudge bits when she found them.
The next evening, she did the same.
-
Seasons changed, and so did Natalie. Her fashion had been the most abrupt alteration. Though it had been passed off as part of the weather wardrobe change, the sundresses had been switched for leather jackets.
When you walked together, Natalie looked like the strong one. On the days she disappeared, chasing a text, she’d wear the braids. But, you would brush them out with your fingers when she returned. You didn’t ask about her work, she never asked why you didn’t want to get a job. Lots of things were unsaid. 
When you got the courage to ask, Natalie told you that she had nowhere to go for Christmas. Selfishly, you hoped it was true, so that Christmas with you wouldn’t be second best. 
You had to drag her one evening to buy the tree. She wore a red scarf that was yours. The only trees left were the small dregs after a busy day of holiday goers. 
She looked at the skinny tree skeptically. But, you promised her it would be beautiful. 
You decorated it together. Despite your best attempts, it wasn’t a masterpiece. You stood together in the dark, enjoying as the fairy lights illuminated her apartment. Natalie told you quietly that it was the first tree she’d ever had, and that made it special enough.
You bought her a gift. It was specially made and you worried about it whenever you weren’t with her. You left it under the tree a week in advance. Natalie looked at you funny. 
‘I didn’t know you were going to get me something.’ She mumbles at your questioning look. 
‘I don’t have Christmas with other people.’
‘Well this time you’ll have me.’ You assure her. 
You’re in love with her.
--
You go to the gym alone the next morning. Most of the students have already left to see their families for the holidays. The building feels deserted, but it also feels intimate with just you and Natalie.
There’s a man wearing an eye patch standing in the gym. The hairs stand up on your neck yet again.
‘Are you going to take me in by force?’ You ask coldly and immediately, ready to fight. ‘What happened to the spy next door act?’
The man doesn’t say anything. His one eyes glances to the other side of the gym.
Natalie comes around the corner. Her face tells you everything. You can see the alarm as she realises you knew all along. For some reason, it is the worse betrayal. You can read the pain in her eyes, because you know her. She is the one who didn’t know you. 
Natalie leaves the gym and Fury speaks again.
-
When you leave the Shield headquarters, it is peacefully. Fury will ask you again to join the agency, someday in the future. You would have said yes today if it wasn’t for that look you’d seen in Natalie’s eyes.
You leave your apartment for the last time, the vultures came and now you can go home.
You walk back through the same train station. It’s as busy as the first time you were here.
Now, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you least expect it.
Natalie is on the same bench as before. Except, now she’s not Natalie. She’s the woman you know.
She’s pretending to read the novelty self-help book you had left wrapped under her tree.
‘She’s Actually Really Into You.’ 
When you stop in your tracks, she finds your eyes through the crowd of people. 
She smiles because she found you.
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ryosmne · 6 months ago
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Three brats??
Dad!Sukuna x f!reader
So this is basically a comfort fic, featuring dad! Sukuna because the brainrot was too much. Ok so, the reader and Sukuna have a son together, yes their son is Yuuji, I know this is usually the single father Sukuna trope, but I wanted to give it a go, feedback is always appreciated. Thanks for brainrotting with me @likeab-o-s-s cause this is the reason this exists. That's all from me enjoy reading.
Warnings: none really, just family, heartwarming fluff.
The air was crisp and fresh, unusually refreshing for the beginning of summer. Parents were already gathered outside the daycare, Yuuji, y/n's and Sukuna's son attended, patiently waiting for their kids to run in their arms again.
Sukuna arrived a couple of minutes before the final bell on his motorcycle, he took off his helmet, leaned back on his bike and waited for the familiar little pink head of hair to come wobling to him.
The three mothers next to him, scooted a bit closer to him to get a better look nothing he's unfamiliar with and no one can blame them, Sukuna is a sight for sore eyes. Leather jacket with the sleeves rolled up, extenuating his board shoulders, exposing his tattoo covered skin, v neck white t shirt, allowing his toned chest and even more of his tattoos to show and a simple black pair of pants hugging his muscular thighs in the best of ways.
In the past some of the bolder ones had mustered the courage and asked him if he was a single father since they had never seen his son's mother, but with a laugh Sukuna brushed them off telling them how his lovely wife was a working parent and her schedule just didn't match the daycares. Maybe the very unconventional wedding rings they got weren't the best idea in this situation, even though they were extremely beautiful and unique.
"I really admire the work you put in the little guy" Sukuna's gaze met a woman who attempted to strike a conversation, oblivious to what she had meant by her statement he replied, maybe these three minutes would pass faster talking about normal things and not stressing about work.
"Don't we all put work on our kids?" He spoke calmly with a slight smile that he always wore when talking about Yuuji.
"Yeah, we do, but it still must be hard I can't imagine what you're going through" Sukuna's mind went to the worst scenario. Was Yuuji a trouble maker at school? He is a very well behaved child, both him and y/n made sure to teach him proper manners and how to be polite, that couldn't be it right?
The bell rung, and kids made their way out of the daycare, Yuuji in the blink of an eye was hugging his father's leg, exited to see him after the hours he was gone. In a swift motion Sukuna put Yuuji's little backpack on his own back and scooped the boy up in his arm.
"Yuuji's a pretty good kid, hes never been difficult" Sukuna smilled again resuming in the short conversation with the woman next to him. "Single father's like you don't get the credit they deserve". She spoke again smiling sadly down to the little pink haired boy who seemed too fixated on the earrings his father was wearing.
Sukuna finally understanding what this whole thing was about, chuckled, this had happened before after all, he should've known.
"I'm not a single parent, speaking of that your mom said she has a big surprise for you after dinner" he said directing his attention to his son again, the woman next to him quickly fumbled an apology for missundertanding, to which Sukuna replied to with a simple 'dont worry about it'. He placed Yuuji on his bike, put on both his and his boys helmet and drove off.
Y/n was still stuck at work, thankfully her husband would cook dinner tonight cause overtime was killing both her and her mood, good thing she finally had a day off tomorrow.
Y/n checked her phone to see how close she was to going home only to find a text that Yuuji's teacher had send her that was obviously meant for her husband.
Hello Mr Itadori, this is Mrs Laura from the day care. I was wondering if you wanted to get launch with me after school tomorrow, you can bring little Yuuji too, I'm awaiting your response, have a nice night.
What the hell was that? Well y/n's number was in Yuuji's contact information, she chuckled at the words displayed on her screen but she couldn't really blame the teach, Sukuna was a walking temptation, she knew that first hand, hell she fell head over heels for the dangerous looking guy who hid a heart of gold under his hard exterior, but the teacher could at least check who the number belonged to.
Y/n run her last errands and made sure to pick up Yuuji's surprise before heading home, she even tipped Sukuna off so their son wouldn't know what hit him.
Y/n made her way inside the family house, tossing her keys somewhere on the living room couch.
Yuuji immediately after hearing her car in the driveway came rushing down the stairs, jumping around her like he always did when she came home.
"Mom, mom you're home." The happiness was evident in the boys face, his smile was wide when y/n dropped to his level to pick him up and spin him around
"Yes I am little devil, did you give your father hell like we agreed?" She spoke in the happiest of tones with Yuuji still in her arms. Another set of arms engulfed her frame making her halt on spinning the little boy.
"So you're telling him to be a little brat now huh?" Sukuna's breath tickled the side of her neck and ear as he rested his head on her shoulder and wrapped his strong arms around her waist. "Welcome home love" he spoke again giving her jaw a ghost of a kiss.
"Daddy is the food ready" Yuuji spoke from y/n's arms, Sukuna only laughed at his son's appetite, and directed both him and y/n to the kitchen where he had already set everything up.
"Mommy, what is a single dad?" Yuuji asked in the middle of dinner in typical fashion of his, any question he had from something he heard through the day would always come up during dinner.
"Well Yuuji, single fathers are the fathers who raise their kids alone." The young boy seemed to think about his mother's words before speaking again. "So its just a daddy ?" Yuuji asked again with his eyes growing a bit sadder, his mother nodded, and Yuuji's eyes started to water.
"Baby what's wrong?" y/n asked. "Hey buddy what's going on?" Sukuna was growing quite concerned too. Yuuji burst in tears leaving his seat, climbing up his dad and hugging him tightly. Sukuna was rubbing his back to comfort the young boy and y/n's hand was stroking the kids hair in an effort to calm him down. "B-but why did that lady c-call you that, is m-mommy l-leaving?" Everything seemed to click for Sukuna, y/n was still confused but in the calmest sweetest voice said "Yuuji, baby look at me, I'm not going anywhere ok?" And the boy left his father's arms and clung on to her like his life depended on it.
Sukuna cracked a few jokes and lightened Yuuji's mood so he could enjoy the rest of his dinner, which went pretty well, he was his smiling adorable self very soon after his parents reassured him that none of them were ever leaving his side and the boy was now drawing with crayons in the living room. He seemed to have completely forgotten about the surprise his father mentioned when he picked him up.
Y/n and Sukuna were doing the dishes in the kitchen, each one talking about their day, Sukuna explained the awkward conversation he had at the daycare that sparked Yuuji's sadness, y/n took a turn in talking about how her son's teacher, basically asked Sukuna out on a date but messed up and texted her. "How about you set up a date and you show up? I mean it's you she texted right?" Sukuna joked "Babe, that's cruel" y/n chuckled at her husband's mischievous nature.
"So you've got everything ready?" Sukuna asked. "yeah who'll bring him over?"
"You do it I'll keep Yuuji busy."
Sukuna joined Yuuji on the couch. "What are you drawing little brat?" Y/n heard him ask their boy in the usual sweet tone he had with him. She made her way down the basement, where she kept the surprise since she came home. Yuuji was going to love this, Sukuna was too, she knew she was already in love as well.
Y/n climbed the stairs quickly, and snuck up behind her son, who was occupied by his dad, she gently tapped the boys shoulder.
"A PUPPY" Yuuji announced exited making sure his voice was still soft not to scare the eager dog that his mom brought to his arms. Yuuji gently held the puppy that was licking his face as he was in a fit of laughter and excitement. Sukuna was as exited as his son and y/n had a huge smile on her face too. Their son had begged and begged for a dog ever since his best friend, Megumi got a black German shepherd puppy. Of course y/n and Sukuna wanted to comply to Yuuji's request right away, but they took time to teach little Yuuji everything there was about the responsibility of owning a dog. They took him to dog cafes and shelters, so he would be the perfect little dog owner, they taught him patience and responsibility beforehand. Sukuna visited the local shelter and decided with y/n on a white Shepard puppy that Yuuji always pointed out in your visits because 'he looks like Megumi's puppy they can be friends like we are' who can say no to that little adorable devil?
The puppy momentarily left Yuuji's arms to lick Sukuna's face. "Now we've got two little brats and a big one in our house." He laughed, enjoying the moment.
Y/n was admiring her son and husband as well as the newest member of the family with a smile plastered wide on her face, life was indeed beautiful.
The next day, both Sukuna and y/n were waiting for Yuuji to finish school, since y/n had the day off. Sukuna had his arm protectively around her because this time, others were staring at what was his, but he was proud to show her off to everyone, even in a place as mundane as his son's daycare.
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matan4il · 9 months ago
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Buddie 407 meta
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I do adore that Bobby naturally pairs off Buddie twice in this ep and the way they move together as one as they walk to their task. It’s small, but I am forever here for how in sync they are when they work as partners.
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I had an anon who sent in an ask regarding how we see Eddie repeatedly confiding in Buck about his love life, but not the other way around, at least not on this topic and not on screen. I answered that we could deduce that he did so off screen, but I’m glad this ep finally provided us with such a moment on screen too, when Buddie are hunting for the turkey. Buck also mentions his therapist during this talk, which we know, but it serves as a nice reminder of just how fully these two open up to each other.
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Buck and Eddie went from murder mystery detectives in ep 404 to turkey hunters in this one, set to the soundtrack of a western. I swear that it’s like the show wants us to write every possible Buddie AU. But then I also enjoyed that even though it was Michael and Bobby as a duo who set off this small adventure in crime solving, we had detectives!Buddie being told off by Athena in 404 and her telling “amateur detectives” Michael and David off here (yes, I know she was unhappy with Bobby too, but when she’s spewing off, the scene only shows Michael and David, and specifically in a rather couple-y moment, as David helps Michael up). It’s a very interesting framing, I think. ;)
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I’m sure everyone’s talked about how... eyebrow raising it is that the show has Buck and Eddie starting to date again at the same time, but let me recount how long’s been going on for, this thing where major changes in their romantic life are happening at the same time. Eddie reconnects with Shannon in ep 207, the ep when Buck realizes he needs to let go of Abby, with him starting to date again (Taylor and Ali) the very next ep. Then the next big change is in 217, when Eddie loses Shannon (as she asks for a divorce and then is killed). Buck loses Ali the very next ep, in 218. Then the two of them spend ALL of season 3 single, which is… almost unprecedented that a show would keep both of its only single regulars without a date for that long. But seriously, at least one of them could have been shown to be dating, yet neither was was. And then when they do start dating, it’s again in two subsequent eps. It’s like the universe, I’m sorry, the show is screaming at us that these two storylines are somehow connected...
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There’s a small parallel between Buck and Eddie at the start of the ep: they both get mistreated by women. Eddie is full on harassed on a call by one of the rocker moms (first verbally and then she actually slaps his ass) and, while a lot less severe, Buck is mistreated by Veronica who chooses to interpret every single thing he says as having the most malicious intent possible (my guess is she wasn’t into him and instead of just saying so, she attributed bad intentions to him to justify her rejection). He returns from his date so deflated, he’s kinda ready to give up on dating by deleting his dating app. If he’s so easily discouraged by one bad date, it’s almost like he’s not fully into the idea of going out with new people; like he wishes he could instead just jump into dating someone who knows him and would treat him right. And who’s right there, also in need of someone who would treat him right? Consider the contrast, how Buck was kind of a jerk in 201, but Eddie still gave him the benefit of the doubt that he’s a ‘good guy’, while Buck heard ‘Whatta Man’ playing out as he eyed shirtless Eddie, but didn’t treat him like a piece of meat, and instead ended up admiring him for his professional skills... No one would treat these two better than the other one.
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My fave thing about the whole Veronica storyline is that usually, when a show sets up a male character on a date, it goes awful, but the woman does show intelligence and spirit, and then he suddenly discovers she’s his neighbor and he will have no choice but to be nice to her, it’s the start of a rushed enemies to lovers plot, where they’ll discover they actually like each other more than was apparent on their date. Yet here, even before the end of the ep, we get clues that it will be Albert she ends up with (he’s there at the end of the date to hear about her and also when Buck finds out she moved in, a reminder that she’s Albert’s neighbor too; Buck mentions to Eddie that Albert distracted her the day before; then he also brings him up with Madney, wondering what’s up with Albert). I find it so interesting that Buck is finally dating again, for the first time since 218, after an entire season of building single and the show building up to him dating again (with Abby’s return in 318 and the whole storyline in 404-5 that explains his feelings of being unloved and working on himself to leave that behind), yet this culminates with Albert finding a match? It’s almost like the show doesn’t want Buck to be dating random people, either. Huh. Imagine that.
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Last small thing, but maybe one of my fave bits of the ep: at the end of it we see a moment of wordless communication between Hen and Karen (Hen just looks at her wife and Karen already knows how to answer their son on whether Hen’s mom is staying with them). Think about how many moments of such wordless communication we’ve had with Buddie...
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Thank you endlessly to my incredible and talented friend @bicepsie​​ for making her amazing gifs for this meta post! xoxox Also, if you like my takes on Buddie, you can find more of my meta and fics for them here. Thank you in advance for any like, comment and of course reblog, they all help so much! xoxoxox
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doderyscoffee · 7 months ago
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don’t you dare kick my art | l.jn
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art is easy. or so jeno thought. as someone who only truly finds joy kicking and chasing a ball up and down a field, he can’t find peace sitting and mixing paint. so what does he do instead? well, he picks on you—the girl who makes his heart do somersaults and fills his world with colors other than green, white, and black.
PAIRING: soccer player!lee jeno x artist!fem!reader
CHARACTERS: ft. nct dream members
GENRE&AU(S): fluff, angst, classmates to slight enemies to lovers, love triangle (but not really), soccer!au, artist!au, high school!au
WARNINGS: language, bullying (jeno makes y/n cry a little bit), minor implication of suicide, jeno not knowing how to properly express himself, jealousy, slight possessiveness, mentions of dead family members, y/n forgiving jeno kind of too easily, y/n is depicted to have long hair, if i’m missing anything, please tell me!
LENGTH: 4.8k words
AUTHOR’S NOTE:      here is jeno’s part of the heart is the goal series! i really loved writing this one because i personally find their dynamic fun (i’m a sucker for the ‘i bully you because i don’t know how to tell you i like you, but i will beat up anyone else who bullies you’ trope). there is a reference to @quokkacore​‘s with great power. please let me know if you enjoyed this! feedback is very much appreciated <3
TAG LIST:      @quokkacore @leetaeyonglover @lebrookestore @sleepylixie @lovesiyeon​ @sprngfeverr​ @colpen​ @aevizen​ @yoongischeeksluv​ @ncteaology​ 
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Jeno chewed on the end of his paint brush, his canvas fruitlessly staring back at him, embarrassingly blank. His eyes mindlessly drifted over to you, with your hair tied back in a messy bun to keep it out of your face, dragging your brush across your own canvas with a focus like no one else in the room. The spaces under your brush bloomed with blues and greens, creating the scene of a young girl in a small, wooden canoe drifting through a lake filled with lily pads, forever frozen in time. If Jeno was being completely honest, he was a little envious of you and the creativity that seemed to spill from your fingers like a fountain.
“Psst, Y/N!” Jeno leaned towards you when you turned around with a confused expression, and he almost cooed at the sight of the yellow paint smeared across your left cheek. He tilted his chin up to motion towards your unfinished painting. “Is she going to jump off or something?”
“No,” you whispered back. “Are you actually going to paint or something?”
Jeno scooted his stool closer to yours, peering around his canvas to check that the art teacher was still occupied doing whatever on his computer. When he was sure it was safe, he dipped his finger in one of the small blobs of paint on his palette and reached over your shoulder to smudge a bold streak of red over the girl’s incomplete face.
The shriek that came out of your mouth was akin to a shriek that one would emit if they watched their best friend get hit by a ball, and it filled the classroom, followed by the sound of your free hand coming down hard against Jeno’s cheek, painting it a red that matched the atrocity he did to your canvas. “Jeno, what the hell!” you cried, raising your hand as if you were going to deliver another blow but thought better of it.
“You asked me if I was going to paint… and I did.” He shrugged with a smug smirk on his face, acting as if he was completely unfazed by the sting on his cheek. He had to admit that you held a powerful slap in that graceful hand.
By now, the whole class was watching you and Jeno with bated breaths, and the teacher had finally looked up from his computer screen. “Is there a problem, Y/N?” he asked, not at all caring that you were on the verge of tears. “If there isn’t, sit down and be quiet.”
“No,” you gritted out, doing your best to not allow the tears to fall. “There isn’t a problem.” You flumped back onto your stool, digging your teeth into your lip in hopes that a sob wouldn’t erupt from you. Even though you had only started this piece a few hours ago, you had already grown attached, and now, with the streak of red ruining the calm of your work, it was as if Jeno had slashed it with a knife.
Thankfully, you didn’t have to be in the presence of Jeno, or the painting, or that goddamn classroom any longer as the bell rang, signalling the end of the period. You quickly cleaned up your station, somehow able to thoroughly clean your brushes through the blur of your well-contained tears. Wiping the yellow paint off your cheek with a spare rag, you picked up your backpack from where it sat on the floor next to the table you shared with three other students you didn’t care to get to know, slinging it over your shoulder and dashing out of the room as if you were being chased by killer dogs.
The hallway was bustling with the end-of-the-day excitement, and you had to fight your way through the mob of students just to be able to maintain your footing. You followed the stream of bodies out the main doors, sucking in a deep breath of the afternoon air when you finally stepped out of the school after a long, and slightly heartbreaking, day. 
Gripping the straps of your backpack, you started the walk back home, determined to forget all about the terrible, horrible, no good Lee Jeno.
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“You made her cry?” Jaemin half-yelled as he changed out of his school uniform in favor of his trusty workout clothes. “Not that I’m an expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure that is not how you let the girl you’re crushing on know you’re crushing on her.”
“I know,” Jeno sighed, slumping his arm against his gym locker. Out of habit (and partly—mostly—out of trying to avoid his best friend’s piercing gaze), his eyes scanned over the crowded locker room. Jeno and his teammates were getting ready for soccer practice, each one dreading the amount of exercise they were about to subject themselves to, but he doubted that anyone wanted to be anywhere else. Scratch that. Jeno did want to be somewhere else. He wanted to be finding you and profusely apologizing for being an absolute dick.
“Well”—Mark clapped his hand on Jeno’s shoulder—“you fucked up. And you’ll be lucky if she even lets you talk to her any time soon.”
Jeno groaned, pushing his older friend’s hand off of his shoulder. “You two are no help,” he huffed, pushing himself off his locker when the coach came out of his office. “Alright, team!” Jeno announced with enthusiasm that wasn’t present seconds before. “Let’s get on the field!”
There were a few grumbles from the boys as they slammed their lockers shut and headed out the side doors to the soccer field. Jeno and Jaemin waited until the last of their teammates trickled out into the afternoon sun before following behind them, grabbing the stack of neon orange cones and the ball bag on the way out the door.
“What are you going to do?” Jaemin asked, placing the cones on the grass and taking a swig from his water bottle.
“I don’t know,” Jeno admitted. “Apologize, probably.”
“Probably?” The co-captain raised his brow. “I love you, Jen, but you need to come up with something better than”—he dropped his voice an octave—“‘Hey, Y/N. I’m sorry I was such an asshat, but I really like you. Please go on a date with me.’”
“I wouldn’t ask her like that! I would ask her with chocolate or something,” Jeno said the last part in a voice no louder than a whisper.
Jaemin patted his friend on the back with an equally sympathetic and amused smile. “You’ll figure it out.” With that, the co-captain grabbed the bag from Jeno’s hand and made his way over to the middle of the field to start the stretch circle while Jeno set up the cones for suicide drills, racking his brain for something, anything, that might make the heaviness in his heart ease.
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Jeno crumbled the late pass in his fist, dropping it in the trash bin when the art teacher marked his late as excused and instructed him to get his supplies and get started on his painting. Dropping his bag on the floor next to his table, he gathered his palette and cup of brushes and made his way over to his still blank canvas. He opened his mouth to call out to you, to crack a joke like he usually did every time class started, but to his horror, you weren’t sitting next to him. Instead, there was another girl in your spot, painting something that was devastatingly emotionless compared to your heart-felt work.
Placing his supplies on the small table that he used to share with you, he scanned the painting corner, searching for the familiar face that made his heart leap with joy. When he finally found you, hidden behind the second row of canvases, his heart threatened to stop beating altogether as he watched you drag your brush across the surface of the canvas next to you, your hand oh so close to someone else’s. And that’s when his eyes zoned in on your new partner.
Jung Sungchan. The other boy who made it painstakingly obvious that he wanted nothing more than to wrap you in his sweatshirts and plant kisses on your hair every morning before class. Jeno was shaking so much he thought he was actually going to explode.
He should have known that stupid Sungchan was waiting for him to mess up, and his dumb self made it too easy for Sungchan to swoop in and steal you from his grasp. Jeno contemplated marching over there and planting himself on the other side of you, but he couldn’t afford to push you closer to the other boy. He would just have to watch from afar.
Forcing himself to take a seat, Jeno grabbed one of his brushes and dipped it in the water cup he shared with the girl next to him. She seemed nice enough, if he was being honest, as she offered him a warm smile when she dipped her brush in a baby blue. But he couldn’t stand that she was attempting to paint a scene similar to yours. The one that he ruined.
Jeno dropped his brush back in the cup that held his other painting tools, rolling up his sleeve and covering his index finger with black paint. With newfound focus, he drew a circle on his canvas, followed by a line straight down and four other lines that stuck out like limbs. Plunging his finger into the water cup, he wiped off the black acrylic with his thumb, and the scraped off pieces floated to the surface. He covered the same finger in the same red he destroyed you with yesterday, and smeared it over the blank face of his stick figure.
“That’s terrifying,” the girl next to him whispered with a shudder, wiping off the excess water on her bristles.
The soccer captain ignored her, picking up one of the napkins that were always on the table, and rubbed the paint off his index. He heard her mutter a “whatever” under her breath, probably at the end of her rope trying to be nice to him. It wasn’t a long rope. And Jeno didn’t want her kindness.
The rest of the art period was spent with Jeno watching you and Sungchan like a hawk, clenching his jaw every time Sungchan leaned in close to you, and his heart melting every time you gave him a smile that reached your beautiful eyes. You had only given him that smile once, and he almost cupped your cheeks and kissed you right then and there. But he had held himself back. And now look at him with his eyes stuck on your figure like a creepy person. What an upgrade.
You must’ve felt his piercing gaze on your back because you turned around, paint brush pointed upwards in your nimble fingers. You cocked your head to the side when your eyes met his, and he swore he saw a hint of regret swimming in your irises. But you must’ve regretted turning around more, for you only sighed and returned your attention to your work. At least you looked at him.
Jeno never thought he would love the sound of the bell signalling for the end of the day as much as he did right now. Just like his classmates, he made quick work of cleaning up his station and making sure no paint stuck to the bristles of his brushes, which was an easy feat since he didn’t use said brushes. Picking up his bag, he followed your figure out into the crowd of students, your name on his tongue, but the ruckus of his peers carried his voice to no one.
“I’ve never seen you walk so fast,” Chenle teased, falling into step with his captain. “What—or who, should I say?”—he nudged Jeno—“are you chasing?”
“No one,” Jeno panted, pushing past a group of friends, who gave him and Chenle a disgusted look, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. “Shouldn’t you be going to the locker rooms?”
“Shouldn’t you?”
There was a mischievous twinkle in the younger boy’s eyes, and Jeno had to restrain himself from—playfully—knocking Chenle upside the head. “Watch yourself, Zhong.”
“Watching myself,” Chenle said in a sing-song voice. “I hope you catch up to her. I’ll be spilling my guts to Jaemin until you return.” The younger boy blew a kiss to Jeno before disappearing in the other direction, fighting against the current with ease. If only Jeno were as agile as him.
Sunlight streamed in through the open doors, and it’s brightness was blinding. Jeno made one last push, stumbling out into the open before stabilizing himself, head whipping around until he found you. You were strolling down the walkway, a few feet away from the gate that separated the school from the rest of the world, with your earbuds in your ears and your hands gripping the straps of your backpack. Jeno’s legs moved on their own, and he was running faster than he had during suicide drills yesterday.
“Y/N!” he called, but it was evident you didn’t hear him. “Y/N!” He tried again, pushing himself to move faster, and he appeared in front of you, effectively stopping you in your tracks.
You pulled your earbuds out of your ears. “Hi?”
“Hi,” Jeno panted, holding up his hand for you to give him a minute to catch his breath. Running in khakis was not something he was used to.
“Don’t you play soccer?” you asked with a raised brow. Jeno thought his heart was going to stop as you smiled at him, no hostility or hatred in your gaze.
“Yeah,” Jeno chuckled. “I didn’t stretch first.”
“Right.” Shifting your weight from one foot to the other, you ran your hand through your hair. “I’m sorry, but did you need something? I kind of have somewhere to be…”
“Oh. Uhm. Yeah,” the soccer captain stuttered out all in one breath before composing himself. He cleared his throat. “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for being a dick yesterday. Your painting was…” Jeno whistled at the memory. “... really beautiful and I am so sorry for ruining it. I—”
“It’s already been done,” you cut him off, and he was taken aback by the cold edge in your voice. “But thanks, I guess. I really have to go now.”
“Yeah.” Jeno’s shoulders sagged as he exhaled a defeated breath. “I’ll see you around.”
You gave him a nod, putting your earbuds back in your ears and pressing ‘play’ before gripping your backpack’s straps once again. When you were a good distance away from him, you let out a long breath, closing your eyes to piece the feelings swirling around in your heart back in place. 
If only you knew that behind you, Jeno was struggling to keep his tears at bay.
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Jaemin loved his best friend. But there were times—like right now—when he really wanted to kick Jeno’s ass to Pluto. “So you did exactly what I told you not to do?” he asked, although he already knew the answer.
“I didn’t say the whole ‘I like you’ bit,” Jeno corrected, flexing his fingers only to grip the ball bag again.
“I told you, Jaem,” Chenle said in a sing-song voice that was practically his only way of speaking now. “Jeno doesn’t know how to listen.”
“And you don’t know how to either, Zhong,” Jeno countered. “I told you to watch your mouth.”
“And it’s times like this when I wonder how you became captain,” Jaemin sighed. “Anyways, I think it’s time you let this go now. You tried and failed—”
“Horribly, might I add,” Chenle said with a shit-eating grin.
“Yes, horribly,” the co-captain agreed. “Unless you can manage to—I don’t know, honestly—sweep her off her feet? Or something? Then maybe you’d have a chance. But, I’m telling you right now to let it go, Jen.”
Jeno loved his best friend. But there were times—like right now—when he really wanted to punch Jaemin’s face until it resembled the moon with all her craters. “Easier said than done,” he huffed. “I just—And now there’s this stupid boy trying to make a move on her!” He had to resist the urge to punch the air.
“Jeno.” Jaemin stopped in his tracks, placing a hand on the captain’s shoulder. “You sound a little obsessed. You tried. That’s all you can do. Now, leave it alone and let the world keep spinning. You’re not going to die.”
“It sure would be entertaining if he did!” Donghyuck teased as he passed Jeno, Jaemin, and Chenle on his way to the soccer field. “Oh.” He spun on his heel to face the captains. “Do you two need a hand? Jisung said he invited someone to join the team, so I can do your check-in sheet and set up the cones while you see what that’s about, if you want.”
Jaemin shrugged, pushing Chenle to go join Donghyuck. “Yeah, sure. Don’t be a menace, though, or I will hunt you down.”
“I would never!” Donghyuck feigned offense, taking the clipboard Jaemin handed him as Chenle took the ball bag from Jeno. “See you two soon!” he called over his shoulder before leaning in to hear Chenle’s daily dose of their friend group’s gossip.
“I wonder who the new guy is,” Jaemin mused, glancing down at his watch. “But he better hurry or he’s going to be late.”
Jeno shoved his hands in his pockets. “If he’s late, that’s his fau—”
“Sorry I’m late!” called out a voice as a tall boy came into view. “I had to do something for my art teacher.”
Jung Sungchan.
“Oh, no worries.” Jaemin offered the new player a warm smile. “Just make sure to be on time tomorrow, okay?” Sungchan nodded, and Jaemin continued, “I’m Jaemin, the co-captain, and this is Jeno…”
The only thing Jeno saw was red.
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“Hey, Jisung!” Jeno called out to his youngest player as the soccer team trickled out into the night, walking or taking public transportation home. Even though the sky hadn’t completely succumbed to darkness yet, it wouldn’t be wise to walk home alone, and Jisung and Pip (Jisung’s best friend) were just about to cross the street. “Wait up!”
“Hey, Jeno!” Jisung rose his arm and waved. Poor Pip looked like she was about to throw up at the stench that was coming her way. He shot her an apologetic glance and lowered his arm. “What’s up?”
Jeno came to a halt in front of the two, shoving his hands in the pockets of his khakis. “How do you know Sungchan?”
“Oh.” Jisung scratched the back of his neck. “He’s my mom’s friend’s son, and he doesn’t really have a lot of friends, so I told him he should try out for the team! He’s really nice once you give him a chance.”
Pip nodded her head. “I’ve been over to Sungchan’s house a couple times and he’s pretty cool. Just really shy. He has a pretty smile, too.” She said the last part almost dreamily and both Jeno and Jisung snapped their heads to glare at her. “What?! I’m just saying!” She held her hands up to show she meant no harm.
Jeno shrugged, turning his attention back to Jisung. The younger boy still looked at Pip, and if Jeno didn’t know Jisung so well, he would’ve missed the flash of hurt in his irises. “Anyways, I was just coming to say that he’s good and he’s on the team now. Jaemin told him before he left,” Jeno said, rocking on the balls of his feet. “Thanks for scouting him.”
“Oh, okay. Cool. No problem.” Jisung gave Jeno that smile that had his eyes crinkling and made anyone on the soccer team bend over backwards to serve their precious younger teammate. “I’ll see you tomorrow, then. Bye.” He gave Jeno a small wave, and Pip did the same, before the two turned on their heels and continued on their walk home.
“Bye,” Jeno whispered, even though they couldn’t hear him. With a sigh, he gripped the straps of his backpack and started his journey home. Since Jeno was all too aware of the dangers that came with walking in the dark—he might’ve listened to one too many episodes of true crime podcasts—he opted to keep his earbuds in his backpack and his thumb on the power button of his phone.
Up ahead was a convenience store, and as if on cue, his stomach grumbled embarrassingly loud. Picking up his speed, he made his way over to the well-lit store at the end of the street, breaking into a run the closer he got. He pulled open the door and slipped inside, the little bell attached at the top announcing his presence with a ring. The cashier gave him a brief nod before going back to whatever he was doing.
Jeno wandered through the aisles, not exactly sure what he was looking for. When he turned into the dairy aisle with a chicken wrap in his hand, he almost fell flat on his face when he saw you, dressed in a baggy hoodie and matching sweatpants, reaching for a pint of ice cream that you just couldn’t reach. He almost swooned when you did a tiny hop akin to a baby bunny to grab it, but it was to no avail.
“Here, let me help,” Jeno said, placing his wrap in your hands and picking out the ice cream you were eyeing with ease.
“Thanks.” You traded your goods. “I’m guessing practice just ended?” you asked as the two of you walked over to the check-out counter.
“Yeah,” Jeno chuckled, placing his wrap on the counter and plucking your ice cream out of your hands, putting it right next to his dinner. He fished his wallet out of his pocket, handing the cashier the amount he owed for both you and himself. “Have a good night,” he told the worker as he picked up your items and made his way outside.
“Let me pay you back,” you said, joining Jeno on a bench. He handed you your late night snack before taking a bite of his wrap. 
Jeno shrugged, leaning back against the backrest, crossing one leg over the other. “You don’t have to. It’s no big deal.”
“Thank you.” Your voice was quiet, barely audible over the crickets that just started their nightly chirps. “This is my favorite flavor, you know,” you laughed softly, opening up the plastic the spoon came in. “My grandma used to make it at home when I was a kid.”
“How is she?” Jeno asked, bringing his eyes to study your face under the moonlight and dim street lights.
“She’s dead.”
“Oh.” His cheeks burned a hot red, and he prayed to whatever entity was above that he didn’t offend you. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
To his surprise, you only shook your head with a laugh. “Thank you, but it’s okay. She died of old age, so there’s no need to tip-toe around it. We all die eventually.”
Jeno nodded, not exactly sure how to respond.
“You know,” you laughed again, softer this time, and he wasn’t sure he could ever get bored of the sound, “the girl I was painting in the boat? She was my grandma.”
Jeno choked. His hand flew to his throat as he tried to cough up the chicken, lettuce, and tortilla that lodged itself in his esophagus. “Oh my god,” he gasped out when his throat was clear. “I’m so sorry, Y/N. I—I don’t—God, you must hate me.”
“No, actually, your red stripe inspired me.” You jabbed your spoon into your icy treat, scooping out a generous bite. “I painted over and around your red stripe, only leaving the part where it runs across her face, and painted a bow at the back to make it a blind fold.” Bringing your eyes to meet his, you gave him a smile that Jeno had never seen before, and his heart swelled at the fact that you didn’t smile at Sungchan like that.
“Do you have a picture?” Jeno asked, running a hand through his hair, suddenly growing self-conscious when he caught a whiff of his underarms.
“Yeah, hold on.” Placing the ice cream on the bench, you pulled your phone from your backpocket and clicked on the picture. Jeno leaned in close, his breath tickling your shoulder as he took in the familiar scene. The lake, canoe, and girl was the same, but there were now yellow flowers floating on the water’s surface, and the girl held a singular oar in one hand while the other was reaching up to the sky. The red blindfold was a little darker than the original shade Jeno had ruined—inspired?—the painting with, and it complimented the yellow and white of the girl’s dress. “It’s still not completely finished yet,” you said. “I want to add more flowers and more details to her face. Maybe some hidden quotes in the water and on the boat. I’m not sure yet.”
“You’re really talented,” Jeno said, separating himself from you even though he wanted to wrap his arms around you, snuggle into your warmth and stare at more of your works. “And I really am sorry. I’m not just pulling it out of my ass.” His gaze dropped to his lap, and he knew that the words that came out of his mouth next would send Jaemin into cardiac arrest. “There’s something that I need to tell you, Y/N.”
“Hmm?” You tilted your head the tiniest bit, and Jeno just wanted to cradle your cheeks and press kisses all over your face.
Jeno sucked in a steadying breath, not able to meet your eyes. “I like you, Y/N. Like, a lot. So much that I was willing to do anything to get your attention. And that meant… you know.”
“Oh.”
Jeno snapped his head up at your curt response, wondering why you weren’t yelling at him, hitting him, or walking away. Instead you sat there, looking at him like he had just given you the best birthday gift you could’ve asked for. He didn’t even need to look at the stars to know your eyes shined brighter than them.
“Oh?”
“I don’t know why you didn’t just talk to me,” you admitted. “I’ve liked you for a while, honestly. You’re really funny and everything, but with my grandma’s picture? That really hurt.” You chewed on your bottom lip. “I can’t give you an answer right now, but how about I switch my seat back and we’ll take things from there?”
“Yeah. Of course.” Jeno couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face.
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You plopped down on your stool, snuggling yourself further into Jeno’s hoodie. It smelled of classic cotton with a hint of blueberry and the unmistakable scent that was your boyfriend. You almost didn’t want to straighten your posture and paint. Key word: almost.
“What are you going to paint today?” Jeno asked from behind you, placing his palette and cup of brushes on the table. He still wasn’t used to seeing you in his hoodies, and it sent his heart into a panic every time, as if he was first seeing you all over again. It was silly, he knew, for you two had been dating for four months now, but who was he kidding? He had no control over his heart.
“Hmm,” you mused, rolling your—his—sleeves up and tying your hair into a low bun. “I’m thinking an abandoned soccer field with yellow and blue flowers and a doe with her baby in the middle.”
Jeno nodded, trying his best to picture the scene you had just described. “Sounds complicated,” he commented after a minute of bad imagining. “You’ll make it pretty.”
You giggled, dipping your brush in the water cup. “I sure hope so.”
The class quieted down and the art teacher started some soft jazz before becoming sucked into his computer screen. Jeno surveyed the other students and, when he deemed them too preoccupied with their works, scooted his stool closer to yours. “Psst, Y/N!” he nudged your arm with his.
You turned to face him, and he almost swooned at the sight of green acrylic on your cheek. “What?” you whispered back, fighting back a smile.
Jeno checked his surroundings one more time before bringing his hands up to your cheeks and pulling you in for a kiss. His lips were soft against yours, and they tasted of the milk he had chugged that morning at breakfast. He pulled away with a pink tint on his cheeks, breathless as if he had just run up and down the field for hours. “I love you.”
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broadstbroskis · 6 months ago
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take my hand, wreck my plans | william nylander
a/n: if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ve probably seen me talking about “willy fake dating fic” for quite a bit now...well here she is! settle in for a long read (the longest i’ve posted in one go before) and i hope you enjoy reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it! so so so much love to literally every single person who cheered me on while writing this, but extra special thanks to @denis-scorianov​ and @danglesnipecelly​ for all your love and support
also shoutout to my girl tswift for the title, evermore still slaps
word count: 21.5k
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It’s right in the middle of the busiest hours of the day when Steph’s text comes in, which means Aubrey barely even reads the message. She sees the words dinner and Friday and responds that she’ll be there, and then goes back to trying to fix the clusterfuck of code that one of her coworkers messed up earlier in the morning before her project has to get sent off to a client at the end of the week.
By the time Friday comes around, she’s only just managed to fix the code but the project is finished enough to send off as a first draft, so Aubrey races over to Steph and Mitch’s place after work, knowing she looks frazzled as hell from the look on her best friend’s face the minute she enters their kitchen. “Sweetie.” Steph says, then bites her lip. 
The feeling is mutual to Aubrey, because she’s giving Steph the same once over that Steph’s giving her. She’d arrived from the office, which took casual Friday to the extreme, in her favorite leggings, denim jacket, and converse- still enjoying the last bit of summer before Toronto turned to fall. Meanwhile Steph was dressed up for the evening in jeans and a flowy top. Her hair was done, her makeup looked beautiful; nothing about her screamed casual dinner at home. Certainly not like the messy ponytail Aubrey was rocking, after running over from work.
“Wine?” Mitch offers, breaking the silence, and Aubrey nods immediately, forgetting entirely about...whatever is going on here in favor of the alcohol she’s been needing since she arrived at the office today.
Mitch pours a glass and offers it out, but honestly, fuck that; Aubrey reaches for the bottle instead and takes a sip. “Nope, listen, these motherfuckers-” And then, she cuts herself off abruptly as she catches sight of the single most beautiful man she has ever had the pleasure of even having in her field of vision, leaning against the counter.
“No, go ahead.” Blondie grins, and fuck that, of course, he’s got the most beautiful smile too. “These motherfuckers, what?”
“Fucked up a huge project at work this week.” Aubrey finishes, pretty lamely, compared to how heated she’d started that sentence. 
“Gonna start throwing that at Matts.” Blondie grins again. “Anytime he fucks up a pass to me. This motherfucker.”
“Heh.” She laughs, lifting the wine bottle in a cheers-esque manner, and then, not knowing what else to do, she takes another large sip.
Blondie is still grinning when Aubrey brings her bottle back down and Mitch is doing a very poor job of hiding a laugh, but it’s not hard to see that Steph’s making murder eyes that Aubrey pointedly ignores, so Steph turns her attention away with a sigh. “What’s up, Will?”
“Oh, uh, Matts and Alison nominated me to see if there was anything we could do to help.” Will says smoothly.
“We?” Mitch raises an eyebrow, at the distinct lack of we that arrived with Will.
“Well.” Will shrugs, like that should explain everything, and maybe it does, because Mitch only snorts.
“We’re okay.” Steph jumps in. “We’ll all be out soon.”
Will nods, and leaves Aubrey with one last grin, before he turns and heads out towards their back patio, which must be where dinner is taking place, but as soon as the door shuts behind him, Aubrey turns to round on Steph and Mitch. “What the fuck?”
“Me, what the fuck?” Steph, her best friend since grade school, knows exactly what she’s talking about. “You, what the fuck?”
“This was a setup?”
“You didn’t know?” Mitch cries, turning immediately to his girlfriend and looking incredibly offended.
“Yes she did!” Steph defends. “I literally texted you: Mitch has a single friend we think you’d get along with if you’re interested. Are you free friday for dinner? We were thinking of having you all over. And you said: sounds good I’ll be there.”
“Well, in my defense, work was a dumpster fire this week and I really only skim-read that text.”
“Well now I know why you showed up like that.” 
“Rude, Stephanie.” Aubrey sticks her tongue out at her best friend, grinning immediately afterwards, because Steph’s her best friend and she’s the only one she would let talk to her this way. “Just for that I’m not using a glass the entire night.”
“Not like your first impression could get any worse.” Steph deadpans.
“Meh.” Mitch shrugs. “It’s Willy. He’s done way worse.”
Steph sighs, pinches the bridge of her nose, and then looks over. “Could you use your one free hand then to take a second bottle of wine out then please? For the rest of us who’d like some, to share?”
Aubrey grins. “Gladly.”
That this was meant to be a setup couldn’t be more clear to her as the three of them make their way out to the porch with more drinks and some snacks. Mitch and Steph have dragged some of their comfier patio furniture around the firepit; there’s a couple curled into each other on one of the couches, an empty one with Mitch’s favorite type of beer on the table next to it, and one seat open on the couch that’s occupied by Will. 
Aubrey shoots Steph a look as Steph practically leaps back onto the empty couch, and then she slips herself into the empty seat next to Will. That level of distinct lack of chill is really her thing, thanks Steph.
Steph merely grins back, formally introducing her to everyone around them. And okay, their friends are cool- like Aubrey knows they are; she’s met more than a few of Mitch’s hockey friends before. She’s many-a-time fifth-wheeled dinner with Mitch and Steph and Matt and Syd. She, Mitch, and Steph still had a group chat going with a bunch of Mitch’s old teammates from the Knights. Hell, Strome and McDavid had joined Mitch in playing with her and Steph on their families’ summer softball team last summer.
But she just can’t seem to understand what they see in Will that they think he’d be good for her. Like sure he’s nice enough, and obviously good looking, and like, yeah she has a good time while she’s there, but like, sparks? Nothing. 
Regardless of the lack of sparks between them, it is a fun night, and she curls up in one of the guest rooms in Steph and Mitch’s that night, fully planning on laughing at them the next morning. 
Except, the next morning, Mitch is already gone for practice and Steph’s first question is, “So when are you going to see Will again?”
Aubrey frowns. “Uhh I don’t know. Probably whenever you have us both over for dinner again?”
Steph frowns back. “What?”
“What what?”
“You didn’t, like, give him your number? Make plans? Anything?”
“Why would we?”
“Because he’s perfect for you?”
Aubrey gives her a look. Was Steph even at the same dinner that she was? They, like, barely interacted; Will chatting more with Auston and what’s-her-name or Mitch and Auston, and her with Steph pretty much the entire night. “Perfect for me? Seriously? That’s the guy you think is perfect for me?”
She huffs. If Aubrey didn’t know her best friend better she’d think she was offended, but, well, she does. “Yes!”
“No!”
“I mean, at least give it a shot!” Steph needles.
Aubrey pulls a face. “Why? So we can break up and make things super awkward at anything you and Mitch throw for the rest of your lives? No thanks.”
“I’m telling you.” Steph says. “Perfect match.” But she drops it after that, suggesting brunch, an offer that Aubrey immediately agrees to.
-----
It’s a quick stop for Aubrey to pop home to change and pick up her roommate, Erin, before the three girls head over to what’s long been a favorite brunch spot, laughing as Aubrey and Erin watch Steph fire off a series of snapchats to Mitch featuring her bottomless mimosas- her favorite way of asking to be picked up on his way home from practice.
Erin laughs so hard she almost snorts mimosa out her nose as Aubrey and Steph recap dinner from the previous night, but once she recovers, she hits Steph with a look. “I am begging you to invite me to this next time, solely so I can watch the two of them interact.”
Aubrey gasps as Steph laughs. “Rude!”
Erin giggles, beginning to recount the date she’d gone on last night-her fourth with this guy from the gym she belongs to-and Aubrey finds herself nodding along with Steph in all the right places, as friends should, happy that Erin’s happy, especially after her shitty last boyfriend, and eager to meet this guy for more than the five minutes he’d shown up at their door. 
Her story is interrupted-for Aubrey, at least-by the vibration of her phone, and she checks the text from an unfamiliar number, rolling her eyes when she sees the message.
hey this is will, followed by an amount of emojis that could only actually be from Mitch. 
hi mitch. She sends back.
lol. Comes the response. sorry.
you don’t have to apologize for mitch. i’m familiar
Will reacts to that with a haha and then it’s a while before she checks her phone again, enjoying brunch with her girls and laughing at the look on Mitch’s face as he comes to pick Steph up and realizes he’ll be driving her and Erin back as well.
he’s really found his place between annoying and relentless. Will’s texted, when she checks again a little later, at home on the couch and pleasantly tipsy, deciding what to Netflix with Erin.
that’s his sweet spot. Aubrey sends, and then points halfheartedly at The Office on the screen, well on her way to a post-brunch nap.
-----
Aubrey knows Mitch and Steph well enough to know that’s not the end of it, and sure enough, the subtle (and not so subtle) hints keep coming. But luckily, training camp is about to begin, and so even if they do keep coming, Mitch, and by extension, Will, are both too busy for Mitch and Steph to push anything too crazy on her and Will.
Until suddenly the season begins, and even though things are still crazy for them, suddenly they’ve got days off or afternoons free and she finds that the subtleness of the hints becomes gradually less subtle.
jesus fuck. Will sends one afternoon and she laughs at it immediately, even as he continues typing. tell steph i’m sorry but mitch had to go.
She laughs loudly, which earns her a look from her nearest coworkers. right there with you.
considering just lying and telling him i already took you out last week to just get him off my back jfc. 
tried that already. knew i was lying right away. Aubrey sends back. She appreciates him trying, but come on. That was like, the first thing she tried.
well, Will sends, and then those annoying three dots appear and disappear about four times, before he finally finishes. let’s just go somewhere then and get them off our backs.
time and fucking place. She replies.
-----
Aubrey meets Will at a bar that’s close to her work, a couple days after that text exchange, just in time for the end of happy hour. He’s got a drink in front of him already, that he quickly finishes when the waiter comes to take her order, so he can order another one while she orders one of her favorite cocktails, before it becomes full price again at the start of the next hour.
“You know, I thought Mitchy would have been more…” Will trails off, looking thoughtful, but then continues after a moment. “Smug, when I told him we were going out tonight. What’d Steph say?”
“Oh don’t get me wrong. They’ll be smug to each other.” Aubrey tells him, confident that the two of them are at home right now boasting about the fact that they were right. “But if they think we’re actually on the same page now and they say anything that I hear, that would be the end. Downward tailspin, cut my hair six inches, new tattoo, you name it.” 
Will laughs. “So it’s like that?”
She nods. “A little lacking in some impulse control.” She holds her thumb and index finger up to him, with about 10cm of space between them, to show him just how poor it is, and Will laughs again. 
“Guess I’ll just have to wait for a nice, big I told you so tomorrow.” He says.
Aubrey snickers. “One a day for the next few weeks more like.”
Will shrugs. “Meh, I’ll figure something out to give him a taste of his own medicine.”
“We should.” Aubrey nods absentmindedly, as a comment she’d made to Steph right after the initial dinner comes back to her. 
“Should what?” Will frowns. 
“Give them a taste of their own medicine.”
“Where are you going with this?” Will asks curiously.
Aubrey grins, as the idea starts to form. “A tragic break up to make things so awkward for the two of them that they’ll regret setting us up in the first place.”
Will pauses for a long moment, but then he grins and leans toward her. “I’m listening.”
-----
Steph is bouncing when Aubrey walks into their weekly Thursday barre class. She’s sure she knows why, but Aubrey gives her a strange look anyway when she slides in next to her. “What?”
“What?” Steph repeats. “Seriously?”
Aubrey laughs. “Use your words, Stephanie.”
“Bitch, you know what I want.” Steph says, which makes the woman in front of them turn and give them a scandalized look.
Aubrey giggles. She’d really just wanted to annoy Steph a little but that was totally worth it all. “Yeah I know. It was good. Like whatever.”
“I hate you so much.”
“I’m going to see him again!”Aubrey protests. “What more do you want from me? I’m not going to like, profess my undying love for him after one date. I’m not Mitch.”
“It was like, our fifth date, and he didn’t profess his undying love for me! He just said he loved me!” Steph huffs as Aubrey snickers. She laughs about it now, they all do, a thing she teases both of her friends about, but she vividly remembers the panic Steph had been in coming home from that date. 
“Well.” She says, grinning. “I guess I’ve got four dates to go then. Or maybe Will does.”
“Will’s too chill to do anything like that.” Steph decides, just as their usual instructor enters. “Ridiculous shit is definitely more your move.”
Aub thinks back to her date with Will the other night, where they’d carefully crafted an entire narrative to start this fake relationship, and fights back a grin, because she’s pretty sure Will can be just as ridiculous. He just does a better job at hiding it. 
-----
Just after noon one day, a few weeks into her arrangement with Will, Aubrey’s phone buzzes and she more than welcomes the interruption from the current project she’s working on.
need a favor. Will’s sent, followed immediately by, please.
sure, what’s up?
His name pops up on her screen next and Aubrey frowns, swiping to accept the call. “Hey.”
“I’m downstairs.” Will says and she frowns, both at the skipped greeting, and at his words.
“Of my office?” She blurts.
“Yeah.” Will says, like it’s the most casual thing in the world, and Aubrey pushes her chair back abruptly.
“Uh ok. I’ll be right down.” She’s already pushing the button for the elevator, waving off the coworker calling after her, asking if everything’s okay. 
Will’s waiting outside, with two cups of coffee in hand, and even though he’d said that he was, Aubrey’s still kind of surprised to see him. He passes her one of the cups in his hand and she takes it, thanking him as she does. “So what’s up?”
“I need a favor.” Will says, starting to walk, and Aubrey follows easily, sipping on the latte he’d brought her. 
She laughs. “You said. What do you need?”
“The team’s got this thing on Friday.” Aubrey gives him a look, because she knows what the thing the team has on Friday is, Steph’s been talking about it for a few weeks now, and it is not as casual as Will is throwing it out to her right now. “And I think I need you to come with me.”
“Do you though?” Aubrey says. “Do you really?”
“I tried for you not to.” Will admits, shooting her a grin, which she appreciates. “But, well, it’s a thing I would have brought any other girlfriend to and then Mitchy opened his mouth too…” He trails off.
“So find a dress.” Aubrey sums up.
Will nods. “Please. I’ll pay for it.” He adds, but she brushes it off. 
“If we’re still stuck in this for Blue and White, you can buy me a dress then.” She grins, and Will returns the grin.
“Deal.” 
-----
Fixing her curls one last time in the mirror by the door, Aubrey grabs her clutch and runs downstairs to meet her Uber. She’s late, not like super late, but more so than she’d  hoped to be, even after texting Will that she was running behind with work and that she’d have to meet him at the venue probably, if he didn’t want to be late.
She shoots off a text to him when she gets in the car, letting him know she’s on her way, and makes polite chatter for a few minutes with her driver, leg bouncing anxiously until he pulls up to where she needs to be.
Will’s standing outside the door when she pulls up, like he’s waiting for her as if this was an actual date, looking at something on his phone in the meantime, which gives Aubrey a minute to take a peek at his suit. He looks good; she might not have any desire to actually date Will, but she can absolutely admit to both herself and anyone (including Steph) that he’s probably the most objectively attractive human she’s ever met, and the suit only ramps that up. It’s custom made, perfectly fitted, a navy blue that brings out his eyes, and maybe a little more casual than some others she’s seen but in a good way. 
His choice in suits makes her feel better about what she’s wearing. Aubrey’d been trying to work off what Steph was wearing, while making sure that what she'd picked out wasn’t overly fancy for the evening or too similar to what Steph had already chosen, ending up in a knee length dress with a sheer high neckline. 
“Hey!” She smiles, catching his attention, mildly disappointed that he doesn’t even flinch in surprise, only looks up as smooth as can be and returns her smile.
“Hey.” He slips his phone in his pocket, reaching out for her hand.
“Fuck, I’m sorry.” Aubrey says immediately, that terrible feeling of letting anyone down instantly relieved when Will waves her off. 
“You haven’t even missed the entire cocktail hour.” He says and she feels her eyes widen as he nods solemnly. “Yeah, it’s like that.”
“Our first stop better be to get me a glass of wine.”
Will laughs, pressing the button for the elevator. “Wouldn’t dream of it being anywhere else.”
Will refreshes his own drink as well, and selects a red wine for her after Aub hems and haws over the options for a minute, a choice that she almost can’t bring herself to take a sip of once the glass is in her hand, for fear that she’ll never be able to drink another Malbec again, guessing this one is well out of her price range based on name and bottle appearance alone. (She takes a sip anyway, it’s as delicious as she’d expected).
Will’s smiling, as if waiting for her reaction, like there’s not a wine she doesn’t like (well, chardonnay, but like, even that she’ll drink if it’s all that available). “Should we do this?” Aubrey asks him, ready to watch him be roasted by teammates for the evening, and he nods, hand moving to the small of her back, leading her deep into the crowd.
But for all the shit he claims to have taken recently about her, they must be on their best behavior, out in public. Everyone he introduces her to is nothing but friendly; the few people she’s met before this event greet her with smiles and open arms, welcoming her into the fold. 
“Are you sure these are the same teammates you warned me about?” She asks Will, when they have a minute to themselves, just finishing up a long and very nice conversation with Justin Holl, Jake Muzzin and their wives, and thinking of the series of texts he’d sent her this morning about “all these assholes.”
“They’re being nice, just for you.” He insists. His arm is still at her waist; it’s barely left there all night. 
“Ugh, so I grew up with seven siblings and I’m not even going to be able to use the skills I got from that to throw down?” She jokes. “What was the point?”
Will actually stops walking for a second, drawing her into him quickly when she stumbles, not expecting the abrupt stop in walking. “You have seven siblings?”
Aubrey nods, wondering if she should bother getting into her family dynamics right now, and settles for a short version. “On my mom’s side, yeah. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and they both remarried. My brother and I have more siblings from both of them; it’s just like a whole thing with my dad.” She winces.
Will’s grinning again, though, like he didn’t even catch it, and he points to himself. “One of six.”
“Oh my god!” She blurts out excitedly, before she can help herself. There’s not many people she knows with sibling counts even close to hers, step and half siblings including, let alone a family like Will’s. “See, you get it!”
“Get what?” She hadn’t even realized that Mitch and Steph had approached them, until Mitch pokes in nosily.
“That younger siblings are actual monsters.” 
“You talk to your sisters everyday!” Mitch frowns, because he doesn’t get it; he never has.
“Yeah, your point?” Aubrey gives him a look as the others laugh around them. “That’s literally what having younger siblings is, and you just don’t know it because you are one.”
“Shots fired.” Steph nudges him.
“You’re the younger sibling too!” he nudges her back.
“Mmm, traditionally, Aub and I count all our siblings together, soo.” She trails off, laughing at the look on Mitch’s face.
Aubrey’s nodding; their families had grown up so close that it wasn’t uncommon to see Steph and her sister hanging around with Aubrey and her brothers, from the time they were children, all the way until today. “That’s why when Cam starts driving me crazy when she’s here next weekend, I’m just dropping her at your place. Basically the same thing.”
“Ohh, so she’s definitely coming?” Steph asks, eyes wide.
Aubrey nods. “Confirmed it with my mom today, I’m going to meet her halfway.” She pauses for the briefest of seconds. “Want to come?”
“Yes! Coffee on the way?”
“Obviously!”
“Yeah, Will and I are definitely going to sit this one out.” Mitch nods firmly.
“You weren’t actually invited, but okay.” Steph pats his shoulder mock-comfortingly. “But we should all do dinner when we get back!”
It takes everything in Aubrey not to show the internal panic on her face. She’s insanely close with her sisters, despite the age gap- she’s close with all her siblings, the brothers that she’d grown up probably terrorizing their parents together and the younger ones that terrorize them all now. It was probably unrealistic to think she could make it through “dating” Will without him meeting any of them, especially knowing how close Steph is with them too. “Yeah, that would be fun.”
She feels Will squeeze her side gently, almost comfortingly, but before they can get much further with this conversation, someone’s coming around and asking them to find their seats for dinner, so they split off to their tables, with promises to make plans for the following Friday over the next few days.
-----
Will’s quiet on the drive home after dinner, in his very expensive car, which is fine because Aubrey spends that time marveling over it. Like, she knew he was boujie, but, wow. 
“Is your sister staying all next weekend?” Will asks, abruptly interrupting Aubrey’s caress of the soft leather of the seat beneath her legs.
“Hm? Oh yeah.” She nods. “Cam’s been a super pain since Kayls started high school this year since she’s still back in junior high, but worse since Kayls just got invited to her first high school party and it’s next weekend.” She sees Will’s wince out of the corner of her eye and laughs. “Oh my god, you don’t even know the half of it! When I texted Cam to invite her up next weekend, she was like why would I want to come hang out with a bunch of old people like you anyway?” 
Will’s laughing and Aubrey’s jaw drops until he shares, “When I was home last summer, my youngest sister made me drop her off at a friend’s house three doors away because I wasn’t cool enough to be seen with.”
She actually laughs at that- if Will, an actual professional hockey player, isn’t cool enough to be seen with, then who is?- but the attitude is so familiar.  “They’re super close, Kayls and Cam, and like I kinda get why Cam’s being super annoying about a lot of shit. Like, I know she feels like she’s being left behind. But god, does she have to take it out on the rest of us?” She shakes her head, clearing both the thoughts and a piece of hair out of her face. “It’s just the age, my mom and I talk about it all the time. They’ll be nice again in a few years.”
Will glances over at her briefly with a look of panic on his face, before flicking his eyes back to the road. “That’s not really a comforting statement. As someone with three younger sisters,” He clarifies. “Not someone meeting yours this weekend.” Aubrey giggles. “But actually, I was wondering what your plans were with her on Saturday night? If you wanted tickets to the game for you guys?”
“Oh!” Aubrey blinks in surprise. “That would...that would actually be really nice. She’d like that.”
“Yeah?” She can hear the smile in Will’s voice.
“Well, she’d like the flex on all her friends on Monday.” Aub admits, knowing that her sister could probably care less about actually seeing a Leafs game. “And on the boys, they’d be super jealous.” At his glance, she clarifies. “Cam’s a triplet.”
He mutters something under his breath and she giggles again; she’s pretty sure that was Swedish and she can guess what it was. “But they’re not coming?”
“Not this weekend.” She confirms. She is definitely not hosting all three of Cam, Tyler, and Danny for the entire weekend. No way, no how. “But once they find out you’re offering tickets? I’m sure my phone will be ringing.”
“You know where to find me.” Will shrugs, pulling up in front of her building. “Thanks for coming tonight.”
Aubrey grins at him. “Fooled Steph and Mitch no problems.”
It feels like it takes a second for the comment to register with Will, but when it does, he returns the grin. “Yeah, no problems.”
-----
Steph waits until they are well on the road to meet her mom and both sisters (because in a surprise twist that everyone saw coming, a high schooler got grounded and a party was cancelled) sitting in stop and go traffic, before bringing up what Aubrey knows she’s been dying to ask. “So how’s Will?”
“Fine?” She responds, before she remembers that she’s supposed to know these things and hastens to finish. “It’s been a busy week with like, work and this shit, but like, he’s good.”
Steph makes a noise, like she’s unsatisfied with that answer and Aubrey gives her a look after she’s braked with the masses, waiting for it to pick up again. “But, like, how are the two of you?”
Ah. Ok. So that’s what this is about. “We’re good.” She assures Steph, absolutely certain her best friend is going to see right through her. “Just like, figuring shit out, you know? It’s still new.”
Steph’s nodding. “I mean, it wouldn’t be if you’d just gone out when Mitch and I first brought you to dinner…”
“Stephanie.” Aubrey says warningly, picking up speed, probably with too much hope that the traffic has cleared.
“Fine!” Steph laughs. “I know, I can’t say I told you so to you or you’re going to panic and break up with him and probably dye your hair and get bangs or something, but like. I’m super happy for you guys. You were so cute last week.”
“What?” Aub says blankly, because she really doesn’t have much else to say, but it doesn’t seem to matter, because Steph’s on a roll now.
“Like, Will couldn’t take his eyes off you the entire night.” She continues. “It was super cute; he kept, like reaching for you, you kept finding him.” She taps Aubrey’s leg excitedly. “Ok, I know I said I wouldn’t, but I’m too fucking excited and I knew you’d be perfect for each other, I knew it.”
“Oh, look! There’s a tattoo place right at the next light.” Aub says loudly, even though she has no intention of getting a tattoo right now- all four of her tattoos were impulsive decisions and the three threats she’s made since she’s gotten in the car feel like far too much thought, not to mention the time crunch they’re on to get back for dinner-but it does serve as the threat she intends. Steph clearly has no desire to try and talk her out of getting one today and switches the topic to something she just saw on the Insta of one of their friends, which lasts them until they pull into the parking lot that’s serving as the meeting point.
“Aub!” For all that Cameron pretends she’s too cool for everything, just like every 14 year old Aubrey can remember, she throws herself at Aubrey the second that Aub and Steph get out of the car. 
Aub squeezes her back, wondering when she got so tall. “Hey Cammie.” Cam swats at her as she pulls back. She hates that nickname, the one that Aub and her three older brothers have called her basically her entire life, but they’ve never stopped, no matter how much their youngest sibling had begged. “Where’s Kayls?”
“Here!” Kaylee huffs from next to their mom, who’s chatting with Steph, has been since she hugged her the minute she got out of the car. 
Aubrey’s eyes narrow, taking in the sibling who looks most like her. “Is that my sweater?”
“No.” Kaylee says too quickly to be true. “Are we ready? We have dinner plans, right?”
“Meeting Aubrey's new boyyyyfriend.” Cam sings, and Aubrey shoves her hand in her sister's face. 
“Not if you’re going to act like that, we don’t.”
“Girls.” Their mom pauses, mid-reach for Aubrey, to give her youngest two daughters a full-on mom look. “Be nice.”
Aubrey laughs at the looks on their faces, before clutching at her mom. “Hi momma. Love you.”
“Love you too.” Her mom squeezes. “Thanks for this gift.” She whispers and winks because Aub knows that her mom loves all eight of them dearly, but these two in particular are driving her nuts right now. “See you Sunday, at Luke’s.”
“Bye, I’m sure I’ll call you ten times before tomorrow!” Aubrey waves at her mom as she gets in her car, sliding back into the driver’s seat of her own, where Steph, Kaylee, and Cam are chattering to each other as they buckle their seatbelts. 
It’s just as she’s pulling back onto the road that Kayls gasps. “Aub, I think I forgot to pack toothpaste.”
“Ohh, me too!” Cam realizes.
Aubrey exchanges a look with Steph quickly. It’s not looking promising that she won’t be making a call to her mom, to talk her off the ledge.
-----
“What do you mean, you didn’t bring pants?” Aubrey rubs her temples as she stares at her sister.
Kaylee shrugs. “I forgot to pack them.”
“I forgot shirts.” Cam calls from the bathroom, where she’d just showered. “Can I borrow one?”
“Did you bring anything?” Aubrey asks wearily. “Toothbrush? Underwear?”
“Of course I brought underwear.” Kaylee huffs, sounding legit offended, like she didn’t forget to pack pants on a weekend trip away.
“Well excuse me for thinking you might not have, since you didn’t bring anything else!”
Her phone buzzes on the nightstand again; it’s got to be the third or fourth time, but she’s honestly been so caught up in her sisters that she hasn’t had time to check. “Just, like, grab whatever from the closet. We’re already late.”
Sure enough, it’s Will texting, letting her know he’s downstairs. be down in a few, She responds, not bothering to go into the whole pants story. “Girls! Three minutes!” She grins at their shrieks, packing a couple things into her purse and laughing to herself as she listens to them get ready. “Kayls! Cam!”
“We’re ready!” They rush out together, Kayls dressed in a pair of her favorite jeans and Cam in one of her favorite sweaters-how they always manage to find her favorites is ridiculous-but they don’t have time for her to make them change. 
“Ugh.” Aubrey just says instead, ushering them out and locking it behind her. “Come on, Will’s been waiting.”
“Will’s here?”
“Yes?” She frowns at the two of them. “Where else would he be?” But Kaylee and Cam are already giggling to each other, enough for her to roll her eyes to herself as she leads them out to Will’s car, knowing it’s definitely too much to expect them to just be cool.
“Hey.” Will greets, as she slips into the passenger seat.
“Hi.” She returns, smiling at him.
“Uh, hi?” Cam says impatiently from the backseat. Will laughs, but Aub gives her a look.
“It’s been literally two seconds. Could you, like, chill?”
“Nope!”
Aub side-eyes her again, but turns back to Will. “These are my sisters, Cam and Kaylee.” They greet him eagerly, a sentiment he returns, and then spends the entire car ride to the restaurant where they’re meeting Steph and Mitch at answering every question they ask with absurd patience. 
“Oh, I smell garlic.” Kaylee says, once Will has dropped his car off with valet. 
“It smells delicious.” Aub corrects, because it’s definitely heavy on the garlic, but it smells heavenly. 
Will smiles over at both of them, though Aub’s not sure if he means it more for Kaylee or her. “This is one of my favorite restaurants.”
“Really?” She blurts out, before she can stop herself, and he nods, reaching for her hand. 
“Great food.” He confirms. “Come on; Mitch and Steph are already here.”
That certainly serves to get her sisters moving-all her younger siblings have stopped being impressed by Mitch but they still love seeing him just as much as they love seeing Steph- and they push their way into through the doors quickly enough that Aubrey rushes to catch up to them, not trusting them alone, and tugging Will along with her.
Cam and Kaylee have already found Mitch and Steph, already chatting away with the two of them, like they didn’t just see Steph two hours ago in the car, and Aubrey and Will slip into the last two seats at the table. 
“You good?” Will nudges her as they sit. 
Aubrey nods. “Yeah. Pretty good.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Pretty good.”
“Well, Frick and Frack may legitimately drive me crazy this weekend but.” She shrugs. “We’ll see.”
“What happened to dropping them off with Steph if they drove you too crazy?”
She laughs. “God, if only, Will. If only.”
“Will!” Kaylee interrupts, looking up briefly from her menu. “What’s good here?”
“Will! What’s this mean?” Cam adds and Aubrey takes a deep breath, even as Will looks like it’s his absolute pleasure to walk them through the names of some of the different dishes on the menu. 
“Wine, please.” Aubrey requests from the waiter, the second he arrives at the table. “Literally, anything you’ve got.”
But Will waves that off, ordering a bottle of red for the table, in perfect French. “Show off.” She grumbles at him quietly and he grins at her from over the top of Cam’s menu, before he goes back to helping her out.
From her other side, Steph’s hiding her own smile, or rather, doing a very poor job at hiding one. “What?” Aubrey presses.
“Nothing.” Steph says. “Just happy to be having dinner all together.”
“Well that’s bullshit.” Aubrey calls her out, at the very blatant lie; Mitch snorts into his hand to cover his laugh. “But always happy to be having dinner with you too.”
Steph beams, clinking her wine glass with Aubrey’s the second the waiter fills them both. “Again, tomorrow, pregame?”
Aub looks over at her sisters, who have moved away from asking Will menu questions and are, instead, asking him questions about the bun in his hair. “Assuming you aren’t bailing me out of jail instead? Sure.”
-----
Aubrey Dupont: we’re going to do apps with steph pregame but want to say thanks again for tix tonight! want to do dinner again with us after if you’re free? 
Will Nylander: i’m free dinner sounds good 😁 it’ll be late though once I get out
Aubrey Dupont: that’s fine! Id say breakfast but we’ve got to leave pretty early tomorrow to get to my brothers to knock a wall down!
Will Nylander: ….holy shit cam was serious
Aubrey Dupont: 😂😂lollll yeah they’re opening up the dining room and living room! We’re all going out to take the wall down, we’re supposed to meet Steph and Mitch and then head out
Will Nylander: lol does mitch know? he booked us a tee time Sunday 
Aubrey Dupont: stfu he did not😂 lol he probably just doesn’t want to get iced that early
Will Nylander: haha what??
Aubrey Dupont: hahaha the first time steph brought him home to meet our families, it was my parents Christmas Eve party, my brothers iced him like three times in the first hour. He was so trashed he couldn’t even walk back next door to Steph’s house. 
It’s just like a thing we do, all our siblings and he was not prepared for it at all 😂
Will Nylander: sooo if I left one in his locker this week, how much trouble would you be in?
Aubrey Dupont: lol a lot but it’d be worth it, you should 100% do that
Mitch Marner: we’re knocking down a wall tomorrow wtf why didn’t you tell me? I’ll brave a Smirnoff to knock down a fucking wall. What time are you and Will picking us up?
Will Nylander: i fucked up, sorry
-----
“That’s really cute!” Zach Hyman’s wife smiles as she hands Kaylee her phone back. 
“Thank you.” Aubrey mouths to her, as Cam and Kayls flock to the phone to check out the pictures she’s taken of them, and Alannah smiles at her knowingly. Aub’s sure she’s got sisters of her own. 
“I’ll see you soon.” Alannah promises. “We should do dinner soon, the three of us, next time the boys are out of town.” And then she’s pushing her way toward Zach before Aub can respond to anything.
“Not a word.” Aubrey says warningly to her sisters, as Steph snickers, thinking of how picky the two of them are about pictures almost always.
“These are actually really cute though.” Cam says, like she even means it.
“Yeah, she did good.” Kayls adds, sliding her phone back into her purse.
“So happy they meet your standards.” Steph says dryly.
“They are the ones to meet.” Kayls flips her hair and it’s all Aubrey can do to fight back a laugh. She honest to god forgets how funny they are sometimes, when they’re driving her as crazy as they are now. 
“You’re too much.” Aubrey tells her and Kaylee grins, looping her arms around Aub’s shoulders and squeezing tightly. “Okay, now you’re really too much. You’re suffocating me; get off! Look,” She nudges Kaylee away, noticing quickly that Mitch has appeared recently- without Will, but with Auston-and tries to draw her attention there instead. “Mitch is here, bother him instead.”
Kaylee peers over. “Honestly, who even cares about Mitch? I’d rather bother Will instead.”
Mitch’s jaw drops as Steph and Auston laugh, but Aubrey feels the tension immediately in her shoulders. “Jesus Christ, could you just say thank you to Will so he doesn’t think you’re a literal monster like the rest of the world does?”
“Thanks, Will!” Kaylee and Cam chorus, and she glares at them right up until she feels a presence at her side and realizes he’s actually right there. 
“It was great to have you guys here this weekend.” Will smiles at them, sounding absolutely sincere, not a hint of sarcasm. 
“We had so much fun.” Kayls is already gushing before Aub can even turn her death glare to her. 
“What’d you guys do today?” Will asks her and again, it’s the sincerity that gets Aub, like he actually cares to listen to her sisters tell him about the brunch place that she and Steph took them to this morning, the stores they hit afterwards, a few of their favorite spots, before they had to go home and get ready for the game. 
He’s sweet and attentive, asking all the questions that he should and nodding in all the right places. “You guys still want dinner?” He asks, probably as soon as he can find a time to interrupt. He’s got to be absolutely starving after that game.
“Yes.” Aubrey answers for them all; she doesn’t really care what her sisters actually have to say on the matter. If Will’s hungry, they’ll eat right now whether they want to or not.
“Can we go back to that bakery we went to earlier, first?” Cam asks, and Aubrey straight up glares at her, but before she can even say no, Cam’s already whining to her. “Oh my, god, seriously? Stop, Aubrey!”
“Ryan, like, swears you’re fun; I just don’t see it.” Kaylee adds, about their brother, the one just younger than Aub.
And like, Aubrey knows they’re just trying to get under her skin, but like, Jesus Christ. “That’s because Ryan’s an actual adult and whenever you two come up here I have to be your literal mom, because you forget to bring toothbrushes and pants and use manners!”
“Take like four deep breaths.” Will says, in that chill way he is about basically everything, and immediately Aubrey feels her glare swing over toward him. That’s basically being told to calm down and there’s literally nothing fucking worse than that, doesn’t he know that?
Probably not. He’s probably never been told to calm down in his life. Jesus, what was it again that made Steph think he was perfect for her?
Mitch, probably recognizing that Aubrey’s about to lose it, pulls Cam into his side for a one-armed hug, mentioning that he’s starving, which at least cues Kaylee into the fact that Will might be too. “Yeah, dinner does actually sound good.” Her eyes flicker over to Will first, before landing on Aubrey, and only when Aub sees the flicker of remorse in them does she actually take that breath that Will had mentioned. 
“What time are we meeting in the morning?’ Steph asks, and Aub knows she’s looking to smooth over any potential blow up.
“9:22.” She deadpans, laughing at Mitch’s face.
“It’s supposed to be a nice day!” He protests. “I wouldn’t have made a tee time if you two had told me we were knocking down a wall! I had to hear it from Willy! What’s this shit?”
“Kicked out of the group chat again.” Aub shrugs, even though she knows well and truly that he hasn’t been- and won’t be again until sometime early spring, when someone does it symbolically for a day as they do every year.
“I’ll kick you out of the group chat.” Mitch says childishly, as Steph tries to collect him, Auston already ready to leave, and promising Aub that they’ll make plans later that night about the next morning.
“Will, where do you want to take us tonight for food?” Kayls asks, as they part ways in the lot.
Will looks a little startled. “Oh! Uh, what-where do you guys want to go?”
“We want to go where you like to eat.” Cam says. “We’ll eat anything.”
Will looks at her for confirmation and Aubrey nods; none of them are picky eaters. “Sushi?” He suggests and both girls nod excitedly, racing off towards Will’s car. “See?” He nudges her as they walk to catch up. “They’re fine.”
She glares up at him; he bumps her again and then again, repeatedly until she smiles. “They’re not awful.” She agrees, especially now that they’ve reminded her just how nice they can really be, at times.
Will’s grinning, matching her own smile. “I know you love them.”
“Don’t call me out like that, William.” He mimes zipping his lips and she laughs. “Ugh, you dork. Let’s go eat.”
-----
Kayls and Cam are in peak hurricane form, only barely dressed and nowhere near packed and ready to go, when Will texts to announce that he’s arrived to pick them up in the morning, so Aub just responds with her apartment number and tells him to come up.
He arrives at her door a minute or two later, with a guest in tow. “Mitchy invited him.” Will explains sheepishly, as he and Auston make themselves at home at the breakfast bar in her kitchen.
“Sorry to just, like, crash.” Auston adds.
Aubrey blinks at them. She feels like Will, of all people, should know better. “There’s legit eight of us; we adopt strays all the time.” He cracks up at that; they both do actually, and she smiles, just as Kayls shouts something about Cam stealing her leggings, from where they’re still in her room gathering her stuff.
“They’re not even yours!” Cam shouts. “Aubrey, tell her I got them first.”
“Well I was planning on wearing them!”
“Well you didn’t say that!”
“It’s just like being at home.” Auston says, smiling fondly enough that Aub laughs. “Make sure you check the straightener before you leave or they’ll fight about who forgot to turn it off in the car.” And then she straight up cackles; that’s a fight she knows well.
Auston and Will are both laughing as well, even as she hears her sisters shout for her. She ignores it, running her hands over her temples and turns towards the cabinet. “Coffee?” She asks them, and they both laugh as a muffled shout can be heard.
“Please.” Will says and Auston agrees so she pours mugs for them both, making idle chit chat, interrupted occasionally as they wait for her sisters to finally appear and be ready to leave. 
They do, eventually, far later than Aubrey would have liked, and late enough that she’s grinding her teeth about it, loud enough that Will nudges her gently when she passes him to get her coat. He’s right though, it’s not like they’re in a rush to get out to her brother's house, but she’s anxious enough by that point to get moving that she doesn’t even realize what Kayls has taken from her closet to wear until they’re all climbing into Will’s backseat. “Oh my god, what are you wearing?”
“They’re literally yours!” Kayls snaps back and that’s not a lie, but it’s not what Aub’s got issue with either. It’s the absurdly clashing patterns in her leggings and oversized long-sleeve.
“I never wear them together.”
“That’s because your fashion sense is basic a-f.” Kayls pronounces each letter individually and Aub knows, she knows that Will and Auston are laughing at the look of disbelief on her face, even if she can’t see them. “You should take some tips from Will; his is on point.”
“Thanks, Kayls!” Will beams at her through the rearview mirror.
Aubrey ignores him. “Will’s homeless, that’s why he dresses like that.” She deadpans, which he protests immediately even as Auston cracks up.
“You’re not homeless.” Cam says to her, and it’s the fake innocent thing that does it for Aub. “Will could live with you.”
Aub pulls a face even as Auston just laughs even harder and Cam stares at her like she’s waiting for an actual answer. “Walked right into that one.” She mutters to herself, as Will meets her eyes in the mirror. He’s fighting back a grin; she can see the laughter in his eyes. “Will, coffee at the next Tim’s, please?” She’s going to need one to get through this.
Will’s full on grinning now, but he pulls off at the next exit in search of coffee and hands over his credit card before she can even object. The rest of the ride to her brother’s house feels like it passes in a flash, Kayls and Cam tumbling out of the car to greet Luke practically before Will’s even put it in park. 
The only thing that stops Aubrey from having a complete heart attack is the immediate sense of calm she feels from no longer calling herself in charge. Luke’s here; he can deal with this shit now.
She feels Will laughing at her as they exit the car. “I thought you’d be more nervous.” He says, as they walk toward her brother, side by side, with Auston.
She snickers. “For what?” And then leans herself into Luke for a hug. “Hi!”
“Jesus, what’d you give them before you brought them here?” Luke returns the hug. 
“Literally anything that would shut them up.” She says, dead serious, and then introduces Will, and Auston, almost as an afterthought. 
Luke is friendly and welcoming, like she knew he would be. They’ve never had the overprotective sibling relationship she hears about from people. They’re too close in age, only a year apart in school; or too close in general, sharing too much as they grew up shuffled to their dad and stepmom’s every other weekend for their court-mandated time. She’s never doubted that he has her back, but he lets her live her life, no matter how stupid the decisions she might make (though he’s certainly not shy about telling her when he thinks she making one).
“Fitz and Steph and Mitch here yet?” She wonders, as they walk inside, the chatter between her sisters and sister-in-law already evident.
“Running late.” Luke says. “But Ryan’s upstairs sleeping. He stayed last night.”
She grins at him, contemplating running up to wake him, but in the end decides against it, settling for following the sound of her sisters’ voices into the kitchen. Rachel’s standing at the counter, setting out snacks and listening patiently as Kayls and Cam detail their entire weekend to her.
“-Will got us tickets for Saturday’s game-”
“-we ate at this amazing sushi place-”
“Rach!” Aubrey interrupts, tugging her sister-in-law away from Kayls and Cam, who are talking over each other. “Come meet Will.”
Rachel sends her a grateful look and immediately turns her bright smile at Will and Auston, introducing herself to them both and offering them drinks. By the time that she, Luke, and Aub finish getting drinks for everyone, Ryan’s coming downstairs, rubbing a hand over his face sleepily, and the introductions begin all over again.
Then Aubrey and Steph’s parents come in with her two youngest brothers, which cues another round of that, and then finally, Steph, Mitch, and Fitz roll in, which has Aubrey cackling when Auston leans over and whispers. “You didn’t tell us your brother is Little Fred?”
“What the fuck are you on?” She frowns at him, but Will’s got the same look on his face.
Will nods over at Fitz, the stepbrother who’d been in the same grade as her growing up and one of her best friends for about as long as she could remember. Said brother is currently trying to mess up Cam’s hair with one hand, while fighting one of her triplets, Tye, for the last danish. “He’s come out with us a few times, I guess with Mitch? He looks like Fred.” She gives the two of them a look. Literally the only thing her brother and their goalie have in common is red hair. Will shrugs. “Little Fred.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” She declares. “The bar is so low.”
“Must be.” Ryan nudges her side. She hadn’t even heard him come up beside her. “Dating you and all.” 
She flips him off and he grins; Ryan’s actually the sibling closest in age to her, with the way all their birthdays work out, but from Luke to Ryan, all four of them are close and when Steph and her sister were added in there as well…well, the group chat gets chaotic.
“Hey!” Her mom snaps her fingers at them. “I don’t want to see any of that today.” And Aub can feel it in her face, the look she’s giving back to her mom, like certain that she’s not serious, because, honestly, has she met any of them? She peeks over at Ryan; he’s fighting back a laugh and that’s all it takes for her mom to lose it, the seriousness on her face quickly turning into a laugh.
It’s enough to get them all moving though, toward the wall they’re going to be tackling today, where they’re divided into teams by her stepdad and Steph’s dad, the only two who competently know what they’re doing.
“Ohhh!” Cam says immediately drifting towards the power saw. “Can I use this?”
Will pulls it away from her hands before she has the chance to even touch it and Aubrey’s calling out to her stepdad. “Mike! Are we stuck with these people all day?”
“Yes.” Her stepdad calls back; he’s already showing Tye and Danny how to demo their end of the wall.
Aub looks at Will and immediately mouths, “I’m sorry,” but he’s already loudly laughing at her. She kinda hates that he’s laughing at her, but she hates even more how contagious his laughter is.
-----
It’s a little past dinner time and Aubrey’s exhausted, too tired even to take her empty pizza plate to the kitchen trash can from where she’s sitting on the family room floor. 
Around her, the rest of her family is in a similar state. Ryan’s actually asleep on one end of the couch, and on the other end, Auston’s half-heartedly grumbling at Derek Carr and the Raiders, while Steph’s lying across Mitch’s lap on the other side of the room. It’s about as quiet as they’ve all ever been, even Mitch and her sisters, which is how she knows they’re all exhausted.
Next to her, Will’s been quietly munching on a plate of fries since he finished his pizza a while ago. Aubrey reaches over and steals one from him. “Hey!” He protests.
“You’ve had the whole plate!” She thought she ate a lot; she honestly doesn’t know where he puts it all. “I just wanted a couple!”
“A couple?” Will repeats and Aubrey nods with a grin, reaching out and swiping another one from the plate. “Keep this up and we’re going to have to stop for second dinner on the way home.”
“I could probably eat again by then.” She rationalizes, stealing another. 
Will laughs, sliding the plate over a few inches toward her, and Aubrey grins triumphantly. It’s quiet for a minute, or mostly quiet, the only sound for the next minute Auston moaning about a fumble, and Kaylee and Cam asking a question about it and then giggling to each other about it before they even get a full answer to it. 
It’s Auston’s perplexed face that reminds her and she nudges Will as she goes in for another fry. “Hey.” She bumps him again, grabbing his attention. “Thanks.”
Will hums, sounding almost confused, and glances over at her. Every time Aubrey thinks it’s impossible for him to be more good looking, he proves her wrong; and always doing the most innocent things. He’s just looking at her, with this tiny little smile, but the light’s catching his eyes and they look impossibly blue and gentle, so soft like the rest of him does right now, in a way he almost never publicly is. “For what?”
“For putting up with my sisters all weekend and their increasingly ridiculous comments.”
Will laughs and he’s so close that she can feel the vibration. He’s leaning back against the wall again, but his head’s tilted a little, just barely leaning against hers, and Aub leans into it a little as he starts to talk. “My two youngest sisters play this game, every time we go to the airport, yeah? After we’ve said goodbye and everything. It’s like this competition between them, for who gets the last touch. And they’ll like chase me down as far as they can until I get to security, back and forth between the two of them…”
Aubrey’s already giggling, picturing the scene. “Same shit, different day,” She summarizes the weekend.
He flicks his finger across her nose and she giggles again. “Bingo.”
-----
It’s only when they’re back in the car and on the highway back toward Toronto after stopping for sushi for a second dinner that Auston says, sounding entirely too casual to actually be casual, “So, like, what’s really going on here with you two?”
Aub feels her stomach drop and it takes everything in her not to look at Will, who of fucking course, plays it enitrely cool. “What do you mean?”
Auston leans forward, from the middle seat in the back, which he’d generously offered to take so that she could sit up with Will even though she’d insisted he’d want the leg room up front; she’s starting to wonder if there was more to it than that. He gestures between the two of them. “It’s just, like, not how you usually are with girls.”
Will’s head whips back to look at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?” He demands.
“Will!” Aubrey hisses. “Eyes on the road.”
Auston’s cackling as Will turns his attention back to driving, but continues to eye him up through the rearview mirror. Aubrey twists in her seat; she can still stare him down. “So anyway,” He continues. “There’s that. And then, I mean, I was in the car with him when you literally texted him your apartment number. That was pretty sketch.”
Aub swings her gaze over to Will. “It came over Bluetooth.” He defends. 
She pats his thigh. “Stick with hockey, kay?”
He laughs, and when she looks back at Auston, he’s laughing too, but he’s also got this thoughtful look on his face. “So anyway, what’s going on?” He presses.
“Steph and Mitch.” She says finally, after exchanging another look with Will.
“Ah.”
“That’s it?” She frowns at him. “That’s all you have to say?”
“Well, I mean, I’m sure there’s more to it, but like, I have met them before.” Auston grins when she and Will both laugh. “So what’d they do now?”
“Do you have an hour?” Will drawls.
“I have beer upstairs.” Auston offers, since they’re basically pulling up to his apartment, and since Will looks over at her for confirmation, Aub barely even takes a second before agreeing.
“Any wine?”
-----
It’s actually kind of crazy how relieving it is for someone else to know about her and Will, outside of the two of them. Aubrey hadn’t even realized how much it was weighing on her until it’s not, until the three of them had spent three hours laughing about it, recapping the entire thing and then just laughing about nothing.
She notices right away that it's equally relieving to Will, that the two of them will drift over to Auston when the team does something together, or that she’ll get a snapchat from one of them from the road that features Will and Auston off doing something ridiculous.
Steph calls her out on it one day, when the two of them are at a game one night. “I did not introduce you to Will for the two of you to spend time with Auston.”
“You ditched me last night!” Aubrey protests, but really, Steph’s not wrong. That was one time, because Mitch’s brother wanted to introduce his new girlfriend to them, and she’s been out here avoiding invites like it’s her job.
Steph continues like she didn’t hear a thing. “I introduced you to Will so that we could have great couples’ friends and hang out all the time, so why aren’t we?”
“I thought you introduced me to Will because we’d be perfect together?” Aubrey bitches and Steph gives her a look, so Aubrey promises that she and Will will do dinner with her and Mitch again soon.
Dinner soon, to Steph, apparently means that weekend, and Aubrey finds herself in Will’s car again, with a bottle of wine and a plate of dessert, driving out to Etobicoke on Friday night. “I like that I’ve claimed this seat now.”
Will laughs. “What?”
“It’s always set where I want it to be!” She grins. “Perfect leg room!”
Her phone buzzes as Will laughs again, but it only takes a quick glance at the screen to click back out of it. “You okay?” Will asks.
“Huh?”
“You just got real quiet, real quick.” He says, turning onto Steph and Mitch’s street. “Everything alright?”
Aubrey huffs out an aggravated breath, trying to decide what, if anything, she wants to say. “My other dad is being...my other dad.”
“Oh?” Will parks in their driveway and she huffs out another annoyed sigh as her phone buzzes in her pocket, knowing it’s just her half-brother again with more shit about their dad. 
“He’s like…” She gathers her stuff and tries to find the words as they walk inside. “I don’t even know. Everybody’s been freaking out since some lady tagged him in a bunch of pictures on Facebook last week but my siblings are at dinner with him right now and they asked him about it and he told them he’s not seeing anyone.”
“Wait, seriously?” It’s the first thing Steph says to her; Aub’s been bitching to her about the whole thing for a week now and she’s more than familiar with her issues with her dad. 
“Yes!” She cries. “My sister asked if he was seeing anyone, he said no. I guess one of the boys asked if he’d taken any trips lately, because of the pictures, and he said no. So he’s just straight up lying and I don’t know why!”
“Maybe,” Will says. “He’s not actually lying.”
Aubrey pats his arms gently. “You’re new here, so I’ll let that terrible thought pass.”
Will looks taken aback but she can barely spare a thought for that as Mitch says, “Maybe he got secret-married again and is just waiting until you’re all there to tell you-OW!” Steph elbows him hard and he grins anyway. “What? I’m just saying!”
“I already went to therapy once this week, Mitchy.” Aub mock-glares at him. “I cried for three hours and only didn’t dye my hair blue because Steph came to pick me up for the game. I don’t need to go again. Keep that shit to yourself and get me some wine.”
Mitch laughs; he’s equally familiar with her post-therapy routine and her feelings for her dad. “Alright fine.” He says, but there must still be something on her face because Will’s hand comes to rest on her shoulder right after that and he rubs it gently for a minute before he comes to sit next to her.
Conversation turns lighter after that- to Mitch’s brother’s new girlfriend, who Steph liked and Mitch thought was only okay and then to Will’s sister’s new boyfriend, who he hates-before they’re all more focused on food and a game later in the evening. 
It’s easy to ignore her phone buzzing when Aubrey and Mitch are dominating Steph and Will at Codenames (or calling cheaters, because Will and Steph most definitely are), but much harder to ignore in the car when she and Will are alone again, and Aub barely even notices when Will doesn’t make the turn for her place, instead just driving straight to his place.
“Oh.” She says quietly when he finally parks and they’re in the garage, instead of just pulling up out front of her building, like he has been recently.
“Didn’t want you to dye your hair blue tonight.” Will deadpans and Aubrey laughs, surprised that it’s kind of watery. 
“Fair, it was definitely a risk.”
Will smiles at her gently. “I’ve been told my guest room is supremely comfortable.”
Aubrey raises her eyebrows; she can siphon out the source of that one. “I hear your brother has pretty shitty taste.” She says and he laughs, that loud one he’s got that she can’t help but smile at because it sounds so ridiculous, but Aubrey’s already getting out of the car, ready to follow him up before he can see.
Will’s condo is pretty much everything she expected- a lot of modern pieces, a lot of white, very Scandanavian- but there’s plenty of Will in it as well. A lot of family pictures. Some hockey stuff-both Leafs and Team Sweden-but not an overwhelming amount. 
She’s still looking at some of the pictures (he looks so much like his mom) when he returns with a couple glasses of wine, and she accepts hers with a gracious smile. “Thank you.”
“We’ve been at this long enough for me to know that wine’s your thing.” He jokes and she laughs.
“I meant for bringing me here.” She shoves at his shoulder; annoyingly enough he doesn’t even move. “I definitely would have done something stupid.”
“What are friends for?” Will smiles and there’s that annoyed feeling again, maybe even more so than just a minute ago, tugging at her stomach, for really no reason. They are friends now, in pretty much every sense of the word. They hang out, they text, they do all kinds of things. It’ll actually probably be hard for her, to not be friends with him, or at least pretend to be, when they have to “break up” for a bit to annoy Steph and Mitch. 
“Yeah.” Aubrey says and it just sounds off so she takes a sip of her wine right away so he can’t see whatever her face is doing. “If you were really my friend, you’d let me borrow some sweats to sleep in. You know. Since you kidnapped me to bring me here.”
“Ohh, I don’t know if we’re that close.” Will says, but he’s laughing as he walks toward his room so she knows he’s kidding.
It’s a pretty quiet night between the two of them once they make themselves comfortable, just chilling on the couch and watching Netflix, and Will’s not stingy with his pours so Aubrey pours herself into his guest room a little tipsy, and maybe that’s why she texts him from bed. You were right, your guest bed is pretty comfortable.
*Supremely* comfortable. Told you so 😜
-----
Aub’s still in Will’s absurdly comfortable guest bed when her daily FaceTime call with her sisters comes in and she answers it without thinking. “Hey.”
“Where are you?” Kaylee asks immediately. “That’s not your room-oh my god, are you at Will’s?” She blurts and Aubrey wants to smack herself.
“That’s Leafs stuff!” Cam exclaims, popping her head into the frame. “You never wear Leafs stuff! Oh my god, do you live there now?”
“Back up, calm the crazy.” She’s cutting off this spiral before they’ve got the story of her and Will eloping spread to her entire family. 
Kayls pouts. “You never let us have any fun.”
“I do not want a call from Grandma this afternoon asking me why I got married to the blond hippie from the Leafs because you two can’t keep your mouths shut and she saw one bad picture.” 
Cam’s jaw drops in outrage. “That’s so rude, we would at least send a good picture out! Like she’d know how hot he really is; there’d be no need to google and accidentally come across a picture of him in a Sugo hat.”
That’s it. She’s up for good now. Aubrey throws the blankets off herself and sits up off the edge of the bed, rubbing her temples in hopes it’ll make her tiny hangover headache go away. Limited success. “You googled him?”
“Of course we googled him!” Kayls says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Aub, oh my god, he’s got-”
“I’m leaving this room right now.” Aubrey warns; she’s already at the door. “Stop talking about him like he’s not here.”
Cam immediately launches into a story about a couple of the girls on her field hockey team and something that had happened at practice after school yesterday, a story that she’s still detailing when Aubrey walks into the kitchen to find Will also looking into his phone with a fond look on his face as a loud jumble of voices shout back to him in what she can only assume is Swedish.
“Coffee’s back there.” He points, greeting her with a smile. “And mugs above it.”
“Thank you.” She’s pretty sure, from the expression on his face, that he knows how much of a lifeline that’s about to be for her.
“Hi Will!” Kayls calls and Aub glares at her, but Will calls back a greeting in return before returning to Swedish, but definitely in an argumentative tone.
It’s a couple more minutes of that-listening to Will speaking in Swedish and going through her usual morning nonsense with her sisters-before Will lets out the smallest groan and then looks at her. “My sisters want to say hi.”
“Oh.” Aubrey says, surprised more than anything.
And before she can really say anything, Cam adds. “Yes! Then we can talk with Will!” Which is how she finds herself sitting next to Will with his dog curled in her lap, both their phones in front of them, speaking with her sisters and two of Will’s sisters.
It’s pretty much maximal chaos, but when they both end their calls a few minutes later, Aubrey’s still smiling as she runs her hand through the dog’s fur and Will’s laughing to himself. “Mmm, good luck to you.” Aub nudges him, easy enough to do since she’s still sitting flush up next to him. “When they’re in town next month. They’ve probably all followed each other on Instagram by now already. Best friends in no time.”
“Gonna be busy with games.” Will says weakly. “Practices, media things. Think it’s gonna be your problem.”
“Like hell.” She laughs, shaking her head when he joins in and doesn’t stop. “Oh my god, that was not that funny!”
“Just thinking of all the ways they’re going to torture us when they’re all together after they’ve spent the last month talking shit about us in a group chat.” Will says, somehow still laughing about that, because he’s literally the most chill person on the planet. Like of course he’s not even bothered by that.
“I don’t have enough food in me to deal with that thought.” Aubrey declares, laughing decidedly less at the thought of actually meeting Will’s family. In person. Where they’ll have to actually see her and see what a farce this is. “Feed me.”
Will shrugs. “Let me change and we’ll grab brunch.”
Aub looks down at the very large sweats she’s borrowed to sleep in. “We’ll stop first, yeah?”
“Depends on how hangry you are.” Will calls back, already walking away.
She pulls a face at his back at that one. She’s actually pretty hungry, but like, she’s not dumb enough to go out to brunch with him in a walk of shame. Not when there’s already a group chat forming about her on Instagram. She doesn’t need Leafs Twitter coming for her too.
-----
It’s easy to settle in a routine from there; meeting Mitch and Steph for dinner a few times, joining Steph for games and then leaving with Will for a second dinner after, and easily splitting off to spend time with her own family and friends or catching up with them when Will is off on road trips. 
It’s so easy to settle into a routine like that, a relationship routine, that she lets herself get lulled into a false sense of security, the message from her dad catching her off guard completely one day.
“What’s wrong?” Will asks, when they’re at dinner after a game. It’s their thing now; pick a restaurant and grab some food right afterwards before he drops her off at home. It’s a nice way to wind down actually; she usually looks forward to it.
Tonight though, Aub has been uncharacteristically quiet since they met up and she was a downright bitch earlier when she and Steph were fighting about something. Like, she knows they’ll forget all about it tomorrow, but still. She owes her best friend coffee at the least. “Hmm?” She looks up at him, barely hearing his question. 
“What’s wrong?” He repeats, giving her a look before she can fight him against answering.
She pushes her food around a little-very uncharacteristic for her, and she can tell even Will’s picked up on that. “My dad wants to meet us all for dinner this week, which means he probably did get secret-married again.”
“Oh.” Will makes a face and Aubrey returns it, laughing when he contorts his even worse. “And that’s-I mean-again?” He finally settles on and she nods, ready to drop this bomb.
“It’ll be wife number six, but secret wedding number three.” She says, delighting in the way his jaw drops. “This is just, like, what he does; he just announces he wants to have dinner with us and then shows up and is like and here’s my new wife, like it’s super casual, and then we all wonder why I need therapy when he’s out here hiding wives and families like it’s a fulltime job.” She finishes, only realizing how heated she is about it when she looks up to find Will staring at her with wide eyes.
“Um.” Will starts.
“Sorry.” Aub hastens, flushing.
“No!” Will says. “No, don’t apologize at all, you can, like, share whatever you want. I just...I got like half of what you just said.” He gives her an apologetic look. “Missing a big chunk of this story.”
“Right.” Aub nods, pretty proud of how calm she sounds. Dr. Seth is going to be so impressed with her next week. “Sorry. We haven’t talked about the two secret families he was hiding when I was growing up. Ok, I’ll back up.”
“He what?” Will cries, but Aub waves him off, diving into the whole history of her dad, her half-siblings, and her step-moms...as well as their various divorces. 
“...and that brings us to now.” She takes a sip of her wine thoughtfully; Will has long since drained his and refilled. She’s pretty sure she didn’t miss anything. “And dinner that’s going to be an absolute disaster.”
“Do you want me to come?” Will offers.
“No!” She says immediately. That’s like-god, that’s the worst idea ever. They do not need to get her greedy father involved in this, who’d take one look at Will and see dollar bills. She’s accepted that she can’t change the way her dad treats her (after many years of therapy); she’s got another dad who loves her and it’s not fine the way her dad doesn’t remember her birthday or what she does for work or pretty much anything important about her, but it is what it is. But like, she’s not going to subject Will to it. “It’ll be-fine.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You think so?”
“No.” She shakes her head. “But thanks anyway.”
Will purses his lips. It’s clear that he doesn’t love that answer, but he doesn’t say anything more on the subject, asking her instead if she wants to split a dessert, as if he doesn’t already know the answer to that question, and Aub, grateful for the change in topic, even agrees to let him pick this time.
It’s a rare gift.
-----
Aubrey knows she had a little too much to drink at dinner with her dad, but she’s not so drunk that she can’t recognize that this is Will’s door she’s standing in front of, knocking loudly and repeatedly. 
She has only a moment to contemplate that-that it’s here she chose to come to after yet another disaster dinner, instead of Steph’s or her brother’s or back home to her own place-before Will’s opening the door, the confusion passing quickly over his face when he realizes it’s her.
“Hey.” He beams and steps back, silently inviting her in, but Aub doesn’t want him to go further away from her. That’s why she came here. “Whoa, hey!” Will says, as Aub steps in the condo and presses herself against him. “Are you-” He lets out a strangled choke as she tiptoes up and loops her arms around the back of his neck. “-okay?”
“Peachy.” She says, pulling him down to kiss her.
It’s not really a great kiss; Will’s kissing her back for a moment, and then pulling back. “Wait-”
“No.” She whines, leaning in for another, and he does it again, caught up for a moment in kissing her, but then it’s like his thoughts catch up to him and he breaks it.
“Aub, we shouldn’t- we aren’t-”
And like why shouldn’t they? They’ve been doing this fake relationship for a while now and not able to hook up with anyone else because of it. He’s objectively the hottest person she’s ever seen. There’s no reason that’s coming to her right now that says she shouldn’t. “We’re friends now!” Aubrey says, running her palms over his shoulders. God, why weren’t they doing this the entire time? “Right?” And Will nods, slowly, but it’s a nod, “It’s fine, friends hook up all the time.” 
“You really want this?” His thumb brushes her cheek as she nods and only then does he pull her back in for a kiss.
-----
If Aubrey thought Will’s guest bed was comfortable, it’s really got nothing on his actual bed. She rolls over, curling into the pillow a little more and opens her eyes to see the sliver of sunlight coming through catch the edge of Will’s face, that one piece of hair that’s sticking up that should be unattractive, but is totally not.
It’s really just unfair.
The sound comes from behind her and Aub jumps when she realizes it’s Will’s alarm going off.  It seems like it barely even fazes him; he just reaches across her and silences it; his arm falling across her when he drags himself back.
“Hi.” She smiles.
“Hi.” Will laughs and it lights up his whole face; she can’t help the hand that comes up to trace over his features. “Come on, that’s not fair.
“What’s not fair?” Aubrey asks innocently, trailing her nails down his chest.
He groans. “I have to go. Skate.”
“You don’t have to go.” She pouts and he groans again.
“You’re making it really hard to have to.”
“Good.” Aubrey giggles, only stopping when Will shuts her up with a kiss.
“Really hard.” He repeats as she rolls her hips into his.
“Fine.” She sighs, flopping onto her back, and she knows the move does exactly as she’d intended when his eyes go right to her chest. “I guess I’ll just have to stay here in bed until you get back.”
“Please do.” He insists, leaning over to kiss her again. “Fastest skate ever.” Will promises.
“You can’t control that.” Aubrey reasons, even as Will’s shaking his head at her while he climbs out of bed.
“Fastest skate ever.” He repeats.
She can’t really confirm or deny that it is; but when he does return, pulling her out of a doze by jumping on top of her, there’s coffee on the table for her too. It’s cold by the time she gets to it.
-----
“You guys are being weird.” Steph comments one night, as Aub’s cheering after Will scores a tie-breaking goal. 
“What?” Aubrey gives her a look. “What do you mean?”
“You and Will.” Steph says, like it should be obvious. “You’re like-” She breaks off, making a noise of frustration.
“You’re in the honeymoon phase.” Alannah supplies helpfully and Steph lights up.
“Yes!” She cries and Aubrey glares over at Alannah but she merely smiles back. “But it’s like, you’re back in it? Like, you weren’t for a while and now...you can’t take your hands off each other again!”
Aubrey doesn’t really know what to say to that. She’s not denying that she and Will have been all over each other ever since that first night they slept together. She can’t even remember the last time she went to her apartment for anything more than to pack clothes and she’s lost track of the number of times she’s reached out for him only to find Will already reaching for her.
But before? She can’t think of any moment where they were ever like they are now. Like there’s too much space between them even when she’s right next to him. Or this pull that brings her toward him no matter where he’s at.
But she doesn’t...she doesn’t know what to say about that. Because it’s not like anything has changed between them. They’re still friends; they still laugh and joke as usual, still gossip about their friends together, are still just waiting to drop a big break up on Mitch and Steph. 
Nothing’s changed, even if maybe, she thinks, something has.
So she shrugs at Steph and says, “We’re just happy. Is that so bad?”
Steph beams and leans her head against Aubrey’s shoulder, and like, Aub knows that’s exactly what she’d been hoping for since she introduced her to Will, but Aubrey still feels like something wasn’t right about what she said.
-----
Aubrey tugs on the Nylander jersey that drapes over her frame as she and Will walk into the hospital conference room. “Are you sure about this?”
“It’s tradition.” He grins. “Stop playing with it.”
“That’s what she said.” She says as dryly as she can, managing to keep the face until he laughs, and then she cracks up with him. 
That’s how the two of them walk into the conference room where the team is meeting; laughing so loudly that everyone stops what they’re doing to turn and look, but she and Will only get a bunch of fond smiles before everyone turns back to their own conversations.
Steph gives her a knowing look when they approach hand in hand, which Aubrey ignores pointedly. “You didn’t warn me we’d have to actually go things wearing this dumb jersey when you plotted to get us together.”
“Oh I didn’t?” Steph says innocently as Mitch and Will sputter in protest. “Must have slipped my mind.”
“Dumb jersey?” Will nudges her.
Aub shrugs, looking up at him with a cheeky grin. “It’s a little big. Might have some trouble getting out of this thing.”
Will grins. “I’m sure some help can be arranged.”
Mitch feigns gagging. “There are children around.”
Wills hand drags up her side briefly-too briefly- as he grins at Mitch. “Where, Mitchell?” But he backs off and Aub does too, both of them catching up with teammates and wives and girlfriends around them.
Or they back off a little, but Aub still finds herself drawn int0 his orbit, especially once they start splitting off into groups to move through the hospital to go see the kids. His hand will brush against hers as they move between rooms; she’s bumping her shoulder against his arm comfortingly as they talk with parents.
It’s not very subtle, but they don’t need to be. Except…
“What is going on?” Auston hisses at her, in passing, as he’s about to step inside the room Will’s just about leaving.
“Nothing.” Aub says innocently, but Will reaches for her hand when he leaves, opting for a fist bump with Auston instead, and Auston’s eyes widen, but Aubrey tugs Will along before he can say anything. “Come on, let’s grab some water real quick!”
The diversion doesn’t last long; Auston catches up to her only two rooms later while Will’s in talking hockey with a little girl and she’s waiting outside, leaning against the wall. He joins her, looking in as well for a moment, before looking over at her. “This is a terrible idea.” Auston says flatly.
“You were on board with it!” Aubrey hisses, trying to keep a smile on her face.
“That was before I realized you guys were sleeping together. Now it’s going to backfire and go to shit.”
Aubrey frowns. “Why?”
“Why?” Auston repeats, like he can’t even help himself. “Oh my god, you don’t even-” He stops abruptly. 
“Don’t even what?” She prompts, when it’s clear he’s not going to continue.
But he doesn’t continue. He just rubs his temples for a minute and mutters under his breath. “Fuck me, how do I have to be the smart one here?”
“Hey!” Aubrey protests, offended. “I am always the smart one.”
“Not right now.” He says cryptically. “And it’s hard to tell who’s being dumber: you or Willy.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Aubrey frowns, but Auston’s already walking away. “Auston!” He ignores her. “Auston!”
“Hey.” Will’s reaching for her arm gently. “What’s wrong?”
Auston’s out of sight now anyway. “Nothing.” She shakes her head, clearing her thoughts and then looks up at him. “Next room?”
-----
“What are you doing Friday?” Aubrey looks up from scrolling through her family’s group chat; Will’s peering at her from across the island.
“Nothing.” She says, after thinking about it for a minute. “What’s up?”
“We play my brother on Saturday.” He says and the shoe doesn’t drop until he adds, “So my parents and sisters are coming in for a bit. Watch the game. Do early Christmas. Hang out a bit.”
“Oh.” She bites her lip. It shouldn’t-it shouldn't be weird. He survived a whole weekend with her sisters, he’s met her entire family; they’ve gone out a few times with varying numbers of her brothers since then. It just...feels weird now.
Will eyes her carefully for a second but continues. “They come in early Friday morning and I made dinner reservations for that night, if you want to come with us.” 
He says it super casually, the way he is about pretty much everything, but she knows him well enough now. There’s a little hopeful tone at the end of it, almost like a question even though it’s not phrased as one. “Yeah.” She says, and even though she’s already nervous about this dinner that’s literally days away, it’s worth it to see the smile grow across his face. “I’d love to come with you guys.”
“They’ll be excited.” Will says, which really undersells just how excited his sisters actually are when they do roll into town later in the week.
Daniella throws herself at Aubrey the second she walks in the door, chattering excitedly about meeting her, and spending the weekend together, and dinner that night, all before Aubrey can even put her purse down. She doesn’t know what her face is doing but whatever it is is bad enough that Will says something to his sister in Swedish and follows it up with a glare when she giggles something back to him.
It works though; Daniella detaches herself, but she does stay close, almost bouncing along next to Aubrey as she steps further inside. “Come on.” Will nods toward the kitchen. “My parents are in here.”
Fuck, his parents. She takes a deep breath. “Cool.”
He grins. The panic must definitely be showing on her face, but his sister just keeps talking through it- Aubrey can relate- or Daniella just doesn’t notice it in her excitement. But Will does, still grinning at her, and she brushes against him purposefully with her shoulder as she goes to follow Daniella, only for him to grab her hand as she passes.
“You don’t have to be nervous.” He squeezes her hand and the only thing that stops her from frowning is his sister. It’s kind of a harsh reminder of the circumstances that she is meeting his family under, the details behind what’s happening here, and that someday-probably soon even- they’ll go back to...well, she hopes that they’ll at least still be friends. 
Even if they stop hooking up.
Danielle goes right up to Stephanie in the kitchen, the two of them whispering to each other in a way that immediately reminds Aub of Kaylee and Cam, enough that she has to fight back a laugh. But it’s Will’s parents that really draw her attention. Michael and Camilla are exactly how she’d pictured from every story Will’s ever told her, full attention on her as soon as she and Will enter the kitchen.
“This is Aubrey.” Will introduces.
“Hi!” She smiles, hoping it’s bright and warm enough to hide her nerves. 
And it works- or more likely, Will’s parents are as perceptive as he is- because they jump right into chatting easily with her. 
She loves them immediately.
They’re warm and friendly, like they’re welcoming her, even though they’re the ones who spent hours on a plane recently. Will’s mom- Camilla, she insists- draws her into a conversation about her family right away- “William told me you have many siblings as well.” “Mum!” “Mum, they’re the best!”- which keeps them going for a while until Michael reminds them they have a reservation to keep. 
“You can keep talking at the restaurant.” He teases Camilla, who’s glaring at him. “Some of us are hungry!”
She rolls her eyes at him- a look that is so similar to one Aubrey’s seen Will make a thousand times- but it serves to get all of them moving. They do keep talking at the restaurant, Camilla shoving her own son out of the way to pull Aubrey in the seat next to her, and Daniella sliding in the seat on her other side before Will can grab it, only for him to mutter something to her in Swedish, sending her quickly sliding over to the next one.
Dinner seems to fly by but it’s actually a few hours later that they’re returning home, pulling out a bottle of wine for a night cap. Aubrey’s just about preparing to go home to her own place before Will’s mom stands up and kisses the top of her head, right in line with all her own kids, promising to see her in the morning, and then the night wraps up and Will’s pulling her into his room, like it’s any normal night.
“Are you-” She trails off abruptly as Will walks right to the closet, like no strange thing. But, what did she even want to ask? Are you sure you want me to stay? It’s not going to be weird if I do?  
“What’s up?” Will pops his head out of the closet.
“Nothing.” Aubrey shakes her head, moving to brush her teeth. She’s not even sure she knows where that question was going; she can’t explain why tonight feels weirder than any other night that she’s climbed into his bed before.
It does though, and that’s made even more evident by the way she tosses and turns once they climb into bed and turn the lights off, settling in on what’s become her side of the bed, right after she brushes her teeth and runs through her nightly skin routine.
It feels like it shouldn’t be so hard to sleep- it’s been a long day, following a long week, preparing for Will’s family to arrive, but she can’t seem to get comfortable and her thoughts are racing.
She rolls over again, facing Will this time, only to find him looking at her with amusement. “You okay?”
“Can’t sleep.” She admit, biting her lip
Will grins, pulling her close. “I can fix that.”
“I’m not having sex with you while you’re parents are here!” Aubrey hisses.
“No?” Her breath hitches as his fingers dance lower down her stomach and then-
“Will!” She laughs, as he gently pinches a ticklish spot.
“Shh!” He’s grinning, she hates him so much. “My parents are-”
“Don’t say it.” She says, surging up to kiss him so he can’t finish that sentence. God, she hopes his walls are thick.
-----
“Stop.” Aubrey hears Will right outside the door. “Go away.”
She can hear one of his sister’s respond, but the actual words get lost in the chaos of her own sisters’ FaceTime, which she’s wrapping up as she lies in bed. It’s loud enough outside that she knows Will’s family is awake already, bright enough that she probably should get up, but she’s too comfortable to make herself move.
“Daniella!” She hears, followed by something in Swedish just as the door opens and a blonde head pokes in.
“See! She is awake!” And that’s all the warning she gets before Daniella is jumping up right next to her.
“Daniella!” Will snaps again, but Aubrey’s already sliding over to make room for her.
“She’s fine.” She assures him, wrapping her arm around Daniella’s shoulders as she cuddles in close.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Daniella says to her brother, not bothering to pull herself away from Aubrey’s iPhone screen, where she’d barely wasted a minute before jumping into chatting with Kayls and Cam. 
Will’s leaning against the dresser and shaking his head in amusement, watching as Aubrey manages to finish up her call (a task much harder with Daniella in her ear, calling just as much nonsense back as her sisters do), but there’s a soft smile on his face that Aubrey almost can’t bring herself to look at, so she starts twirling her hand through the ends of Daniella’s hair. 
“I can’t believe you two.” Daniella huffs, and she’s so much like Will, just loving her hair played with; Aubrey tries to hide her grin because she knows he’d fight her on it if she had to say it out loud right now. “Not even inviting your sisters here for the weekend.”
“Why would we invite ourselves into that kind of roast?” Will says dryly. “The two of you are bad enough.”
“Like you’re not going to talk about us anyway,” Aubrey adds. “I’ve seen the receipts.” She teases. “I know you talk about us on instagram.” 
“You talk about us on instagram?” Will demands immediately.
“No.” Daniella says, unconvincingly.
“They talk with my sisters every day.” Aubrey whispers to him and laughs when he turns his outraged face toward his sister, who avoids his gaze completely.
“Seriously?” Will cries.
Daniella shrugs. “We have a lot to say.”
“I’ll give you a lot to say.” Will says, mock-threateningly, before throwing himself on the bed on her other side and poking his finger in her side until she’s laughing so hard that she’s begging for him to stop. He does, after one last poke, which Daniella returns with a pout. “Go get dressed.” Will nudges her. “Or Aubrey’s going to go to brunch without you.”
“Aubrey wouldn’t do that.” Daniella says confidently, standing to leave. “She’s nicer than you.” 
Will barks out a laugh. “Is she?”
Both Nylanders turn to look at her, just as she’s swinging her legs out of bed and Aubrey shrugs. “I wouldn’t leave your sister behind.” She says, grinning when Will laughs and Daniella’s got her phone out of her pocket before she even leaves the room.
-----
Will and Alex are close. Aubrey knows this. She knows they talk pretty much everyday whether it’s texting, Facetiming, or even actual phone calls. They’re brothers, sure, but more than that; they’re best friends.
And maybe that’s why it’s hard not to shrink under Alex’s gaze the second they meet. It’s not that he’s not friendly when Will introduces them, returning the smile she gives him.
It’s just that his gaze feels piercing in a way that none of the rest of his family did. It feels like Alex sees through all of her but more than that; he’s studying all of her and doesn’t like what he sees.
God, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do if Alex doesn’t like her.
She tries to be bubbly and bright, more listening than contributing to this conversation that’s mostly just brothers catching up. She knows that dinner later, and at their early Christmas celebration tomorrow, will really be when she gets to make her big impression on him. 
“Willy!” John Tavares calls, looking apologetic about the interruption. 
“Be right back.” Willy pats her arm gently before jogging down the hall and now Alex’s full attention is on her. Now she can’t help but shift her weight from foot to foot, even as Alex smiles at her. “So, Aubrey, huh?”
She fights back the urge to bite her lip. “Yup.”
“It’s exciting to finally meet you.” He grins and Aubrey’s jaw drops a little. “Will talks about you all the time.”
“He-he does?” She asks quietly. It’s about the most unexpected thing Alex could have said to her.
Alex bursts into laughter. “Uh yeah.” He says, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, but before she can press anything further, Will’s back, slinging his arm around her shoulders and squeezing her into his side tightly. 
“Ready for second dinner?” Will presses a kiss to her temple.
“Always.” Aubrey leans into him, ignoring the knowing look that Alex is sporting currently and the feeling in her stomach that doesn’t quite feel like butterflies.
-----
Aubrey tries to give it a few days after the Nylander’s leave town, hoping the feeling in her stomach will calm itself, but when it’s been a week and it hasn’t settled, she’s forced to admit that she’s going to need outside help.
Can you let me in? She sends, when she’s sure she’s outside the right door.
Open. Come in. 
She frowns at the response, opening the door. “I don’t love that!” She calls as she walks deeper in the condo. “You should really-” She stops abruptly, as a blonde whips her head around to glare at her and Auston stares at her wide-eyed. “Oh!”
“Oh?” The blonde repeats, kind of mockingly, but also seething, and Aubrey doesn’t really know what to do, so she looks over at Auston, who’s pointedly avoiding both of their eyes. “Unbelievable.” She shakes her head, shoving past Aubrey and only when the front door slams does she hear Auston breathe.
“What the fuck?” She asks him immediately, “You could have just said no, it wasn’t a good time to come over!”
“I wanted her to leave!” He protests. “I tried everything! She even volunteered to come take Felix on a walk with me!”
Aubrey cackles, barely managing to compose herself at Auston’s glare. “Well, go and get his leash. We can walk and talk.”
She gets quickly distracted by Felix’s excitement for a walk, snapping like twenty pictures on her phone, before Auston finally prods her about the reason she even wanted to meet today. “So what’s up?”
She takes a deep breath. “Am I in love with Will?”
“Are you in love with...are you fucking kidding me?” Auston responds immediately, looking at her like he had that day they were at Sick Kids- like she’s completely missing something that everyone else knows.
“I’m gonna take that as a yes.” She says reasonably.
“Oh my fucking god.” He says, sounding distressed. “Don’t you have, like, a therapist for this shit? How did I get drafted for this?”
“I mean, yes, I do, but I haven’t gone into the details of it with Dr. Seth before this and I don’t think an hour would cover it.” She says; she’s thought about that already. Auston rubs his temples. “Stop that.” Aubrey chides. “Your hairline is bad enough.”
“Well you’re not helping!” Auston cries. “Jesus Christ, am I in love with Willy? Where the fuck have you been?”
“Egypt, I guess.” She says and he stares at her flatly until she explains. “Denial?”
“Fuck off, I hate you so much. Oh my god.” He groans. “Willy would have laughed so hard at that, fuck you.”
The worst thing is that she knows he would have. He’d have laughed and laughed and laughed, his eyes crinkling and his smile bright and warm, so loud that she couldn’t help but join in.
“Holy shit.” Auston says quietly, watching the smile on her face. “You’re really in deep.”
“Ugh, yes.” Aubrey groans, covering her face. “I hate it. I hate these feelings. I hate not knowing. I hate-”
Auston cuts her off, choking out a laugh. “Not knowing? Not knowing what?” And then he chokes again, once he looks over at her. “Not knowing if Will-” He stops abruptly looking like he’s got a secret that he shouldn’t be telling. “Come on, you aren’t this dumb.”
“You’re being serious?” She says quietly, looking over at Auston hopefully. 
He avoids her eyes, bending down for a minute to pet his dog, but Felix absolutely betrays him by trying to run towards a new smell on a nearby bush, giving him absolutely nothing to look at instead of her. “I mean, come on.” Auston gives her a look. “Don’t make me say it.”
“Did he say it?”
“No.” Auston shakes his head, tugging gently on Felix’s leash to turn around. “But Aub, really? He brought you to meet his whole family.”
“He met mine too.” She reminds him. “And so did you!”
Auston shakes his head. “You...you just don’t see how he looks at you.”
Aubrey bites her lip, but she can’t resist asking. “How does he look at me?”
Auston doesn’t even have to think before he responds. “Like the rest of us aren’t even in the room.” 
“Oh.” She says quietly, looking down at the ground. Felix is just trotting away happily, like Aubrey’s entire world hasn’t been flipped on its axis. 
Auston, at least, seems to recognize the effect of what he’s said. “Look, even if you’re not ready to talk with him, just, like, look at the guy. You’re not in this alone.”
She’s definitely not ready to say anything, but, well, she could give that a try. Just try and see what Auston sees.What everyone sees apparently. “Alright.” She agrees.
“I won’t say anything.” Auston adds. “You two can figure this mess out on your own.”
“You’re the best.” Aubrey declares, leaning up to kiss his cheek.
“I know.” Auston smirks, pulling Felix’s leash out from under her feet.
“Jerk.” Aubrey laughs, shoving his shoulder gently. “If you didn’t have the second best dog in the world right here, I’d push you harder.” She crouches down to scratch Felix’s ears, only for Auston to pull him out of her reach.
“Second best?” He cries, outraged. “Nuh-uh. You don’t get to pet my dog after that kind of disrespect.”
“I just ranked your dog above Zeus!” She protests. “But Pablo’s my boy.”
Auston releases his hold on the leash a little and Felix trots over toward her arms as he teases, “I thought we just agreed Willy was your boy.”
“Yeah, well,” Aubrey scratches behind Felix’s ears, smiling as his tongue lolls out. “Man’s best friend.”
-----
Will’s acting funny when Aubrey sees him the next day.
She only catches him for a few minutes before the game, when they briefly cross paths at his place when she goes to pick up a jacket she left there, and she doesn’t know how to explain it, but something just seems...off.
It’s like...he barely looks at her when she’s in there digging around what’s become her side of the bed and then he brushes past her, muttering something about how he needs to go and for her to just lock up whenever she’s done, which would be fine, except he usually waits for her if she’s around when he leaves so they can walk out together.
Something’s just off.
“Are you sure you didn’t fight about anything?” Steph frowns at her, later that night. “Even like a small, stupid thing that maybe you brushed off? Because you do that.”
“No!” Aubrey swears. “At first I thought he was just annoyed about the book, because the book I’m reading right now takes place in Sweden, so like every few pages I ask him if it’s real? Or what it’s like?”
“God, you must be the most annoying girlfriend.” Steph giggles.
“Don’t even, I know everything about you and Mitch.” Aubrey pokes her and Steph giggles again, admitting defeat. “But no! He wouldn’t even look at me! Something’s up!”
Steph purses her lips. “That is weird.” She admits. “It’s very...not Will.”
“No!” Aubrey cries. “Will doesn’t sit and let things stew! He doesn’t care enough about what people think about him for that.”
“So why is he acting like this then?” Steph asks and Aubrey blows out a frustrated breath.
“I don’t know!” She says. “And I just want him to tell me what’s going on.”
The rest of the game is fairly uneventful for the two of them, slipping quietly out of their seats after the win and chatting between themselves and a few other friends as they all wait. One by one, the boys all make their way out of the locker room, and Aubrey frowns as even Auston and John walk out, stopping briefly to chat with her, before even they go, until finally, finally, Will steps out, his face flickering when he sees her. 
“Hi?” She says, a little annoyed.
“Hi.” Will says, like nothing’s just happened, like he didn’t just do a double take of the worst kind at her mere presence.
“What’s wrong?” She frowns, reaching out for him and gently sliding her hand on his forearm.
“Nothing.” There’s no other word for it; Will flinches. 
“Will.” Aubrey breathes as he shrugs off her arm.
“It’s nothing.” He repeats. “I’m just tired.” Which is so clearly a lie and she frowns, ready to call him out, but he reaches for her hand and says, “Let’s go eat,” with such finality that she doesn’t really know how she’d bring it up.
All she knows is that his hand feels cold in a way it never has before and the silence they sit in at dinner is like nothing she’s ever felt with him, even before they started sleeping together.
-----
“Merry Christmas!” Cam throws open the front door dramatically before Aubrey, Will, Steph, and Mitch have barely even shut their car doors. “Come on, you’re late!”
“Oh boy.” Aubrey mutters and she hears Steph and Mitch laugh.
Will, however, is as quiet as he’s been all drive up to her parents for their annual Christmas Eve party- as quiet as he’s been all week, as he’s been since whatever happened- and it makes her wonder why he even came. She’d told him he didn’t have to come if he didn’t want to; he’d just given her this tiny smile and asked her what time they had to pick up Mitch and Steph.
“How are we late?” Steph asks, as all four of them start yanking off coats and scarves the second they walk in the door. “None of the neighbors are even here yet!” 
Cam huffs at that bit of logic and turns on her heel, walking away from them as they laugh, which cues Aubrey’s brothers into their arrival. Tye and Danny poke their heads around the corner of the wall, calling for Mitch immediately to show them how to do something on a new video game, but right away they’re thwarted by their mom. “Later.” Mitch whispers to them, as Tye and Danny grin, following the four of them into the kitchen. 
In the kitchen, they find Aubrey and Steph’s moms working in tandem- the way they always have on Christmas Eve- to finish the appetizers and set food out. They stop only briefly to greet their daughters and their daughters’ boyfriends, and to direct them on where to put the desserts they brought, before they’re shooing them all right back out.
“Dads in the basement?” Steph asks, like they all don’t know the answer already, and Danny nods, leading the way down the stairs, where Fitz and Ryan have already started a beer pong game against Mike and Tom.
“Shotty next.” Mitch calls, while he waits for Aubrey and Steph to say hi to their dads.
“You gonna be able to walk back next door?” Fitz snorts out a laugh.
“That was one time!” Mitch protests. “Nobody warned me how much drinking there was on Christmas Eve!”
“It’s like we hadn’t spent the last four months together before that.” Aubrey deadpans, focusing more on watching Will greet her stepdad with the same enthusiasm as he had her mom, and her brothers, and Cam.
But then, he comes back to her side, and when she goes to tangle their fingers together, his hand stays limp, just kind of letting her do what she wants, not returning the gesture at all, instead of pulling her closer like he used to.
“Guess I thought you two were the anomaly.” Mitch teases. “Then I learned I’d have to bring my A game all the time.” 
“Yeah buddy.” Tom says, looking over at his daughter’s boyfriend right after he sinks Fitz and Ryan’s last cup. “Who’s with you?”
-----
By the time Mitch and Will get demolished in beer pong, Aubrey and Steph are fighting back a laugh at their dads’ light buzz already going and the neighbors have started to arrive, which brings a temporary pause to pong play for more introductions.
The neighbors all love Will, which, of course they do. Aubrey’s not surprised at all. He’s funny and charming and personable, just has this air that draws people in, and every one of her mom’s friends finds her at some point after they meet Will to gush about how wonderful he is.
“Yeah.” Aubrey says, almost helplessly to Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Morris, as she watches Will with Kayls and Cam across the room. “He’s pretty great.” They smile knowingly at her, Mrs. Jones winking as she passes, leaving Aubrey to watch them with a fond smile on her face.
It’s Will who notices her staring first, because of course it is. Kayls and Cam are oblivious to everything around them. He catches her eye, still laughing about whatever they’re talking about, and there’s a second where his smile grows when he sees her, a second Aubrey feels a grin growing across her own face.
And then it all stops abruptly as something flashes over Will’s face, and as quick as the grin was there, it’s gone.
Aubrey frowns and watches as Will returns to talking with Kayls and Cam again, but notices the smile on his face seems forced now. She wants...well, she doesn’t know exactly what she wants, but she’s tired of not knowing what’s going on with him.
“Hey.” Fitz nudges her shoulder. “It’s too early for you to be sad about going to your dad’s tomorrow. Come take a shot with me.”
“I-” It’s not that. She starts to say, but stops herself. Today’s not the day to try and tease out whatever’s going on with Will. Whatever it is could wait until after Christmas. “Yeah, sure.”
Fitz grins, leading her over to the makeshift bar, corralling a few friends as they go, but by the time he starts pouring, the crowd around them has gotten bigger. Will’s standing next to her, but the space he’s left between them feels so purposeful, and it only makes Aubrey frown as she listens to Fitz’s Christmas toast, as he cheers to a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, to good friends and great family. “And a way too cool future brother-in-law.” He jokes. “Don’t fuck this up, Aub!”
“Yo!” Mitch protests loudly as Aubrey feels the breath get stuck in her chest. 
She can’t even look at Will, so tense she can hardly bring her shot glass up to her mouth. The alcohol barely even burns and she knows it’s not because she’s too drunk to taste it; the numbness of her brother’s comment still stinging, and it’s well after she’s deposited her shot glass on the counter that she realizes, “Where’s Will?”
Mitch frowns, looking behind them. “He was right here, wasn’t he?”
Aubrey nods slowly, trying to stand on her toes and search for him. “Can you just-” She starts.
Steph’s right on her wavelength. “You look up here; we’ll check downstairs.”
Will is nowhere to be found on the main floor, so she heads upstairs and finally finds him in the room they’d thrown their bags in earlier. “Hey.” She breathes out a sigh of relief. “There you are.”
“Here I am.” Will says quietly. He’s in front of the taller dresser, looking at the bulletin board covered in pictures from high school and college- one of the few relics left in the room from when it was hers before her mom refashioned it into a guest room. 
“I’m sorry about Fitz!” She blurts. “He didn’t mean any-”
“We should be wrapping up soon, right?” Will says abruptly, interrupting her.
“What?” Aubrey frowns, shocked. That is...not at all what she thought he’d say.
“This?” He gestures between the two of them. “Like, Mitch and Steph definitely think we're a thing. Can call this off soon?”
“Um.” Aubrey tries to breathe but something’s definitely restricting that ability. “We…what?”
“We can stop this pretending.” Will says, like it’s obvious, and Aubrey feels her stomach drop. This...this was all pretend to him. “Do that break up that’s going to crush them. The whole reason we did this.”
“Right.” She swallows the lump in her throat. “Uh yeah, we can do that.”
Will shrugs. “Cool.” He says, and then turns and walks away, leaving Aubrey standing there wondering where exactly she went wrong.
-----
“Ok.” Steph snaps her fingers and only then does Aubrey look up from the Leafs vs. Calgary game that her best friend invited her over to watch that she’s paying absolutely no attention to- and hasn’t actually been able to focus on all night. Her best friend is standing in front of her, holding a new bottle of wine, and looking concerned. “I’ve asked for your glass like four times now. What’s going on?”
Aubrey bites her lip and holds her glass out. If she’s going to do this, they’re both going to need refills. “I have to tell you something.”
Steph frowns immediately but fills Aubrey’s glass and then her own. “Uhh, ok? What’s up.”
Aubrey doesn’t know whether she needs a deep breath or a sip of wine to settle her nerves. She goes for both. “Will and I aren’t together.”
And maybe...maybe that was the wrong way to phrase it, because Steph’s face just falls. “I’m so sorry, babe.” She says, reaching out and rubbing Aubrey’s arm. “I really thought-” She shakes her head and Aubrey’s still trying to figure out what she said wrong, what she can say to make her see what she really means. “Are you okay?”
“No.” Aubrey says and Steph looks like she wants to reach for the wine bottle and pull her in for a hug at the same time, until she continues. “No, I mean; Will and I aren’t together now because we were never really together at all and no, I’m not okay either, actually, now that you mention it.”
Now Steph frowns uncertainly, like she doesn’t know what to say. And that look? The one on her face right there? If it didn’t feel like her heart was already breaking, she’d be cherishing that look.
Now she can’t even enjoy it.
“You’re going to have to explain this one to me.” Steph says, her voice carefully neutrally.
So Aubrey does- beginning with the night that Mitch and Steph had had them over and her and Will’s plan to get them to stop nagging, to when they’d started sleeping together, to how it felt like they were together for real and on the same page, right up until they weren’t.
“I wanna be so mad at you right now.” Steph says, after a long silence.
“You should be.” Aubrey admits. “I would be.
“Well, you’re making it really hard looking so sad.” Steph glares. “And being so dumb.” Aubrey’s jaw drops, even if the callout is probably well deserved. “Will looks at you like you are the center of the universe. He looks like his entire day has gotten better every time you walk into the room. For God’s sake, he willingly met your dad on Christmas last week! You cannot honestly tell me you think he doesn’t really want to be with you!”
“He told me he wanted to stop!” Aubrey cries. “He was the one who said we should do the breakup!”
“Well if you don’t want to, then tell him!” Steph dares.
“Stephanie.” Aubrey frowns. 
“What?”
“I can’t do that!” Aubrey hisses.
“Why not?” Steph pours another glass of wine for herself and then passes the bottle over. Aubrey accepts eagerly. “Did Will tell you why he wanted to stop this...dating thing?”
“...no.” Aubrey sighs. It’s another thing that’s been driving her crazy.
“So ask him.” Steph says plainly. “And tell him you don’t want to stop.”
Aubrey bites her lip nervously. “But what if he says no?”
“Honestly the worst thing that happens here is that you still break up.” Steph says gently. “But this really just sounds like a matter of you two actually needing to talk about where you stand. Will’s not a mind-reader, Aub; he can’t have known you didn’t want to stop things, especially if this was all your idea in the first place.”
Ugh, she’s right. “I hate everything about this.” Aubrey sing-songs. “Including the fact that you even introduced us.”
Now Steph grins. “You do not hate that we introduced you. You just hate feeling vulnerable.”
That’s too accurate to address, so Aubrey flips her off and reaches for the wine again.
-----
Will picks her up for the Leafs annual New Year’s Eve party and it’s unfair because no one should look that good dressed in black pants and a sweater, but there’s Will waiting by the car with a beanie on his head and a pea coat left open, for maximal torture is the only reason Aubrey can think of.
“Hi.” She breathes, running across the street to him as best she can in her heels. 
It takes him a second to respond. “Hi.” He says finally, opening the door for her. “You uh, planning on blinding us all tonight?” He teases, once he slides into the backseat of the uber with her.
Aubrey giggles at the lame joke as she looks down at her glittery skirt. It’s such a lame joke but she’s just so relieved he even made it. That they still have dumb things to laugh over. “Hmm, over-under on how many of us are wearing something sparkly tonight. 10?”
“Over.” Will answers immediately and she giggles again.
The ride doesn’t take long so it’s only a few minutes before they’re pulling up to the club, where they run into Travis Dermott and his girlfriend exiting their uber at the same time. “Nine more.” Will whispers in her ear, as Kat turns to greet them, and they both catch sight of a sparkly tank under her jacket.
“Hush.” Aubrey bites back a laugh, but only barely, before she pulls Kat in for a hug. Inside is about as loud as she’d expected but once they all step upstairs into the VIP section roped off for them, it’s easier to hear, easier to think, and easier to breathe.
Or at least, it is for a moment. She can feel Will’s eyes on her from across the room, where he’s at the bar ordering drinks for the two of them, and she and Kat have gone to say hi to more people.
“So, uh.” Steph says, in lieu of hello. “I don’t think Will’s being weird anymore.”
When Aubrey turns and follows Steph’s eyes, Will’s still looking at her, unashamed in his gaze or getting caught. He winks back at her, grinning when she smiles at him. “No.” She says slowly. “I guess not.” Steph just grins at that, kind of smugly, and Aubrey huffs at that, turning away to greet Morgan and Tessa behind her.
It’s not long before Will returns with drinks, still grinning as he pulls her immediately to the dance floor. He pulls out some of his most ridiculous moves and Aubrey laughs, harder and harder the more she drinks, and then finally falling against him after he and Mitch attempt the Toosie Slide together. 
“Why are you laughing?” Will demands, wrapping an arm around her waist and taking her hand, leading her into some weird kind of slow dance, even as the song changes into something by The Chainsmokers.
“I just like seeing you like this.” She grins.
His brow furrows. “Like what?”
“Just-” She doesn’t know how to explain it. How open he is right now, how loose and easy and warm he looks because he’s just able to be himself, and how happy she feels to be with him, especially when he’s like this. “Just happy, I guess.”
Will grins again and presses a loud kiss to her temple, that she barely has time to giggle at, because he says, “Always happy to be with you,” like it’s the most casual thing in the world. 
And Aubrey gasps in shock, but she doesn’t think Will even notices, because he’s dipping her back over his arm right after that and then she’s too busy laughing again.
-----
Steph flops down on the remaining couch seat and ignores the look that Auston sends her in favor of fanning herself with her hand. “Sure.” He says dryly. “I’ll move over a little.”
“Would you? Thanks.” She snickers and he shakes his head fondly at her.
“How about you?” He looks over at Aubrey. “Gonna squish me in the corner even more?”
Aubrey’s already settled herself on his other side, on the edge of the couch. “Nah, I’m good here.” She bumps her shoulder against his.
“Is it even possible to squish you in the corner?” Steph muses.
“Why are you squished in the corner?” Aubrey asks, confused. “What, you couldn’t find a date for New Year’s?”
“I make it a point to not bring dates to holiday parties.” Auston says and Aubrey’s jaw drops.
Steph’s snickering into her palm though, so it’s clear this particular brand of assholery isn’t unfamiliar. “Holidays and events.” She cackles. “Keep those expectations low.”
“Although now that I know that all it takes to make a girl leave is to just have you walk in my house the next morning…” Auston trails off thoughtfully.
Aubrey shoves at his head, ruffling his hair on purpose, but she can’t help but laugh along with him. “Don’t you fucking dare. I’ve got better things to do than that.”
“Like what?” Steph says, too innocently to be real. “Will?”
“I’m leaving.” Aubrey stands, as Steph and Auston both laugh. “I don’t have to listen to this.”
“Is noon good tomorrow?” She hears Auston call after her, while Steph cackles next to him. “How about 12:30?” She flips him off over her shoulder, without looking back, instead pushing her way around Fred and his new girl, to find Will where she’d left him at the bar with Mitch.
But at the bar, she finds only Mitch, who’s looking a little confused. “Where’s Will?” She asks.
“Um.” Is all Mitch says and Aubrey frowns immediately. 
“Mitch, what happened?” Aubrey says flatly and Mitch caves right away.
“I don’t know!” He says. “We were just ordering drinks, watching you guys, everything seemed fine, and next thing I know, he was walking away!”
“Well where did he go?” She asks impatiently, barely waiting for Mitch to point before she’s shoving her way through the crowd.
It feels like she circles the entire building before she finally finds Will, and it’s more like she happens to run into him than she actually finds him, which just annoys her even more, enough that she grabs his hand and pulls him outside to a spot far enough away that it’s quiet enough to talk.
It’s not quiet- it’s still New Year’s Eve and there’s people all around them going up and down the street- but it’s far enough from the door that they can’t feel the music anymore, at least. 
Will’s staring at their hands, still linked, but he’s not saying anything, and even though she’s the one who dragged them out into the cold, he’s the one who started acting weird in the first place, and she feels her annoyance grow. “I thought we were having a really good time tonight?”
Will sighs. “We were.” He pauses. “I was, at least.”
“Ok, I was too.” Aubrey says slowly. “So, what happened?”
Will sighs again. “Look, it’s fine, like this was never supposed to be a thing with us, yeah? I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at me. I’ll get over it.”
She’s so confused. “Get over what? Why are you mad?”
“I saw you,” Will says. “Coming out of Auston’s one morning. I was driving past, after practice on my way home.” He shrugs, almost casually, but she can see in his face how hurt he is. “And like, we were never supposed to be a thing.” He repeats and she frowns. Why does he keep saying that? “So I’m not mad at you and I can’t even be mad at him. But I saw you and Matts together and I knew I liked you more than you liked me.” He shrugs again, trying to play off his words as light as casual, but Aubrey’s trying to put the pieces together of what he said. “I know you’d rather be here with him tonight, but that’s why I can’t do this anymore.”
“Oh my god.” She breathes. “You’re so dumb.”
“Hey!” Will protests.
“We’re so dumb.” She corrects, because, really, it’s the truth. “I was at Auston’s that day because he was the only one who knew about us at the time and I needed to talk to someone about if I’m in love with you!”
Will doesn’t move for a second, the longest second of Aubrey’s entire life. “Where, uh, where’d you land on that one?” He asks, like he’s kind of nervous for the answer.
And Aubrey can relate; there are butterflies in her stomach, even though she’s positive she knows how this is going to end now. “Pretty strongly in favor for.” She says and Will beams, that bright smile that lights up his entire face. “I didn’t get to tell you earlier, but I’m always happy to be with you, too.”
“That’s good.” Will says mildly, and Aubrey grins, waiting for the rest. “Because I really love seeing you smile like that.”
Her jaw drops a little. She’s not upset about what he said at all; it’s just so not what she expected him to say. And in that moment of silence, Will grins down at her once more, before leaning down to kiss her.
-----
It’s late the next morning by the time Aubrey tumbles out of bed, yanking a t-shirt of Will’s over her head. Will’s been up for at least an hour already, and she kisses his cheek as she passes, giggling as he lightly pats her ass in return.
“Coffee’s still warm.” He says.
“I still love you.” She teases. “That’s not changing just because you kept the pot warm.” Will flips her off and returns back to the game he’s playing on his Switch. “Have you seen my phone?”
“Near the front door.”
Most of her stuff is still by the front door, thrown hastily down when they’d come in late last night. Her phone’s still got a little battery left, filled with messages from late last night and earlier this morning, but one in particular catches her eye.
Steph LaChance: i told you so 😉
345 notes · View notes
kozuken-ma · 9 months ago
Text
haikyuu boys reacting to you flinch
characters: suna, kenma, oikawa, yamaguchi
a/n: hey guys, um- i know i usually keep hcs here vv light hearted and i’m also sorry for extending the process on part 5 of the tsukishima fic. but today has been a fairly great day but yet i’m kinda just bleh rn thinking about how much i want things in the future like moving away, certain plans, ideals, who i still want and dont want to keep in my life if i do end up doing things i deem right, and if i think i’d genuinely be happy if someone labeled my problems with a diagnosis or any reason for that matter. sorry i’m reALLY OVERSHARINGKSDJGHDFSJK but uHH this is vv self indulgent w all my main (haikyuu) comfort characters xoxo ty for understanding and i’m sorry if you dont. i’ll post this in the morning when wifi comes back #savemyanmar uwu
ps. i’m also sorry if you think y/n doesn’t sound like someone you can project on, on some she’s very apathetic and indifferent, and in others she’s lashing out a lot. again its bc this is vv self indulgent. (gender neutral except f!reader for yamaguchi)
warnings // some timeskip spoilers (for suna) mentions of panic attack, (implied) physically abusive relationships too #traumatingz🤗
——
suna
you and sunarin in always found a way
when he moved to tokyo to try out for the EJP Raijins?
you guys made it work
when you got into Tokyo University?
you guys moved in together
the first fight you had was easily brushed off too, both never finding the energy nor care enough to disagree
but this? it might’ve topped it all off
man, all you wanted was to eat some nice cold soba in the midst of volleyball season
six times you reminded him, six times he promised you he’ll be there and six times have you both ignored this growing rift between the two of you.
you guys should be fine, shouldn’t you? you had to wait 3 months doing long distance, among studying for university entrance exams and rin’s heavy practice schedule you both still found a way. but right now in the small restaurant in a cozy alley district you feel like it’s absolutely intolerable.
you guys should be fine. best friends turned lovers have prepared you for knowing when things should become playful and when things should come to a stop, never letting things go too far. or far in general.
you guys should be fine.
“what dont you understand rin? i just dont feel like cooking right now.” you really are not up for this. suna coming out of your shared bedroom coming up from behind you asking if you ordered anything for dinner. domesticity was overrated, after all. neither of you truly wanted to put in the effort of doing general things you should be doing. and right now you really dont want to put up the effort of having to talk to someone that just stood you up.
“yeah. and thats why i’m asking what you want to eat.”
“maybe i’m just not hungry, you can order for yourself if you’d like.” clipped and short. just the way both of you were like. suna rolled his eyes playfully as he sees walk out of his embrace to get out of your clothes.
“aw cmon dont be like that. both athletes and students with insomnia need to eat.”
“i’m serious rin i really just dont feel like it. not much of an appetite yknow?”
“yeah yeah, mhm. sure. and you really think i’m gonna let you study yourself to death? nuh uh. now cmon i’ll make some ramen.”
he tries to grab your wrist to romantically swing you into his embrace but, but why did you yank your hand away?
the arm that he was holding just a brief second ago is now defensively in front of your face, an alarmed expression on your face with your eyes wide and your stance is very obviously trying to lean away from him as much as possible without falling down. you exhale a tired sigh and intense your body, moving your fingers toward your forehead to relieve the oncoming migraine.
“i told you i’m not up for food right now, rin. why would you-“
“why did you react away from me?” he states. its not a question, its a demand. he wants- no, needs to know.
“ i didn’t-“
“yeah, you did.” there’s a heavy silence looming between the air and he hesitates, fearing the answer, the reaction, he could get from you. “are you- are you scared of me?”
“what?” you look at him in disbelief.
“i asked you if youre scared of me. do you think i’m going to hurt you?”
to say youre incredulously confused was an understatement. “no, suna i’m not-“
“its rin. you call me rin.”
“i’m sorry, rin. i dont think i understand where this is coming from i’m not scared of you nor do you think you would ever hurt me in any way whatsoever.”
you stare at him expectantly, waiting for him to deny your opinion or just leave another time to blow off some steam. when no reaction is given from him, you sigh once more in a routinely matter, it always goes away when the both of you ignore it. it always has.
leaving him in this argument, you finally move to shrug off your coat and to slip into something more comfortable, getting ready to bury yourself in the textbooks and blasting your music on the highest volume into your earphones in hopes you’ll be able to muffle suna and his avid yelling whenever he plays video games with his friends.
but the soft “y/n” that emits out of suna’s lips is what catches you off guard.
you look at him with a hesitance.
“we’re- we’re okay, right?”
for the first time in your long week, you smile. a genuine smile.
“yeah. we’re okay.”
you guys will change, everyone does. and one day you’ll change enough to be able to talk about it.
kenma
lately you’ve been feeling more and more irritated
when you do school work, youre so anxious you feel like if you look at your screen for even a couple more seconds you’ll end up doing something you’ll regret but when you dont do it, you feel worthless and can feel the looming infinite pile of work that weighs your shoulders no matter how much you try to distract yourself.
it doesn’t help when your parents keep trying to undermine and invalidate everything you do too.
and it certainly doesn’t feel so nice when all your dates with your supposed boyfriend just end up with you on his bed while he continues to play.
its been two hours. two hours since you politely greeted the kozumes, two hours since kenma uttered a word to you, and two hours since you thought you wouldn’t feel as dejected with your boyfriend.
gods what are you doing here? did you genuinely think you guys would go out? why are you so dressed up? you didn’t have to wear those high waisted pants that feel uncomfortable when you lie down, you didn’t have to bring a hat in case it got too sunny. you didn’t have to do anything.
dejectedly, you get up from the seat on his bed, collecting your things to leave earlier then planned. kenma, being so ever so perceiving he flits his eyes your direction before asking you where you’re going.
“out.” you mutter a bit angrily. did he really expect you to just stay there doing nothing? not even slight breaks? hell you dont think youre high maintenance. frankly you most times preferred staying in with him but that was when he actually acknowledged you sometimes. youre not asking for much, are you? just the occasional hug or “what are you up to?” whenever he finishes a round. you’d even be satisfied with a short conversation just every now and then.
he sighs frustratedly. of course he does. he’s kenma. he knows if he leaves you alone right now you guys will end up worse. he talks int o his mic, telling kuroo to play without him for this match, proceeding to mute his mic.
“what’s wrong with you today?” he asks pointedly, raising his eyebrow expectantly. and you whip your head to look at him with such exasperation.
“what’s wrong with me today? what’s wrong with YOU everyday?? should we even be considered a relationship if all i’m here for is what? to do literally nothing but exist? i can do that literally every where else, kenma!”
what did you expect? for him to grovel and say sorry? kenma’s a future professional gamer for gods’ sake. “well what do you want me to do? i like doing things i enjoy, y/n! its literally just human nature!” he yells back
“yeah well maybe you could do those things by yourself?? i’m not here just to be here, kenma, i’m here to be with YOU.”
“and you ARE with me!”
“but AM I?? you’re playing your games and i just sit here with my phone wondering when is an appropriate time for me to be leaving your house! i’m tired of it!”
“my gods y/n could you just SHUT UP!”
you flinch, quite visibly actually, if kenma had blinked at the exact moment he would’ve missed how his booming voice made you jolt in fear, and if he had turned away from you he would miss the tears pooling in your eyes.
“y/n-“
“no! YOU dont get to be the one that gets to yell at me! i get it, okay? you love gaming, you love games! i have things i love to do too! and maybe if it was ANY other time i would actually be happy to be ignored by my boyfriend on what i think is supposed to be a date! but not today. i’ve had so much shit this entire week and you get NO right to tell me to shut up. if anything i stay quiet too much for the sake of YOU and you STILL dont appreciate it! gods i hate it here i-“
he walks up to you mid-rant to hug you, allowing you to continue sobbing into his chest, his head in between the nook of your shoulder and his hand on your head caressing your hair.
“shh. hey hey, its gonna be okay. i’m sorry for yelling at you, okay? i shouldn’t have done that. but you also need to tell me when somethings wrong. hm? or else i can’t help you.”
knowing your voice would stutter and crack, you simply bury your head even more into his embrace. making him smile softly.
“do you want to go get ice cream? we can pull an all nighter watching and making fun of the twilight series.”
you look at him with red puffy eyes, smiling a bit more widely.
“i’d like that a lot.”
oikawa
you would think he understood by now
its not that you dont trust him
but gods with that small possessive being in your body it makes you feel like shit when he talks to his fan girls so casually
youre not asking him to just stop talking to them at all
but maybe once he wouldn’t be so oblivious
maybe once you wish he knew they just didn’t care that much about your relationship status
oikawa tooru is 19 and in college playing beach volleyball with his friends for his first summer as a university student, first time being able to pay for a hotel by himself, first time on vacation with his girlfriend.
you are 17 when you heard your classmates talking about how they’re planning on taking the exam to enter the same college as you and oikawa, solely for the purpose of still being close to him, and its the first time you truly feel uncomfortable with his fans.
on the bed of your resort room you and oikawa have been arguing for an hour, he just doesn’t get it. yeah you’ve been dating but both of you are young and you should know he cant help his flirty nature. its something that just comes naturally to him and he has no intention of actually initiating anything romantic with anyone else but you at this moment in his life. you should know that more then anything else that he just cant help it.
you dont get it either. why doesn’t he understand? you and him are together at this moment because of his flirtatious manner. that his constant singing of your name and his playful personality is how you guys slowly fell for eachother.
“y/n they’re literally strangers. after today i doubt i’d even meet them again.” he argues
“but thats not the point, tooru. its the fact that you know about my insecurities. its not too hard to just tell them “hey! i’m sorry if i might’ve took this the wrong way but i do have a girlfriend” is it?”
“do you not trust me? do you think i’d actually cheat on you?? i love you yn we’ve been over this!”
“of COURSE i trust you!! and i know you’d never do that to me but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes me uncomfortable! tooru, i love you too but you seriously cant just expect me to be okay with girls constantly throwing themselves at you! especially if you dont care that they do it! if guys constantly threw themselves at me i would feel so BLEH and icky but youre here looking like you dont even care!”
“because i dont! they only like me on a surface level and i know that! i’m the one thats getting people being thrown at, not you! if i dont feel bad about it you dont have to at all!”
“fuck you, tooru. i can’t be here right now.” you walk to your suitcase to grab essentials
“where are you going?”
“i’m going to go take a walk on the beach. i’ll talk to you when i’m ready to. and i’m sure you want to do that too”
the moment you leave the hotel room oikawa groans in frustration, scanning the room to find something not so valuable, then proceeding to find a charging adapter,
throwing it at the direction of the door aggressively, trying his best to get all of his anger in that one swing.
the squeak of your voice brings him back to reality,
wide eyes looking at you in absolute fear as your forehead starts bleeding.
rushing to your direction, you drop to the floor, back against the door you just reentered from, arms defensively coming to wrap around your head.
“dont- dont hurt me.” you whisper, so softly oikawa could barely hear it. barely.
he slowly comes to kneel down scared that one touch could break your relationship.
“y/n...” he can feel you shaking, and he curses himself
what’s happening right now? he doesn’t know what to do, yeah, hes had his fair share of meltdowns but right now you just look so,,,
so scared
he breaks out of his trance when he hears you hyperventilating, your heavy breathing quickly turns into wheezing, being unable to breathe, feeling yourself choke on your sobs and chopped breathes and your hands shake so aggressively, while simultaneously trying to hit yourself in the head as form of self punishment, muttering to him, yourself, you dont know but oikawa certainly knows its not okay. especially when you start to repeatedly whisper i’m sorrys and he realizes
oikawa’s not dumb, hes had them before. panic attacks.
“i’m so sorry i, i didn’t know you were there. i didn’t mean to do that okay? i would never hurt you. baby, look at me.” he cooes softly, trying to ground you, help you know where you are, who youre with, and how much he loves you.
when you dont do as he says he slowly starts to pry your hands that were once shielding your face, then turning to carress your cheek, using his thumb to wipe off your shed tears.
“i love you, okay?”
yamaguchi
what happened?
you guys were just expressing how you two were feeling about the current situation,
japan’s covid rates were increasing,
and it was in these rare moments you and yamaguchi got to see eachother other then during your traditional japanese class with him and tsukishima on zoom, but that didn’t count
oh right, why are you so clumsy?
its in the family kitchen of yamaguchi’s house. you and yamaguchi were just talking about homework, wondering if you’d be able to enjoy both of your last years of high school together.
you just wanted to feel what it’d be like to be in the movies, where the main protagonist and their significant other dances so carelessly, laughing a long to the music
“cmon ‘dashi! it’ll be fun.”you smile brightly, trying to coax your boyfriend into slow dancing with you
“i dont know y/n.”
“please” you pout, attempting to puppy eye him and he sighs, reluctantly getting up from his seat and you bounce with glee, knowing he really didn’t feel any objection to dancing with you. both of you were special to each other like that.
he dances awkwardly with his hands on your waiste, music slow and steady and you grin with sly.
“if you want, yamaguchi, i can teach you how to dance.” he smiles back with a feint blush dusting his cheeks.
“lead the way, ms. y/n” you move your arms to guide his to wrap you tighter. and then you look up at him again,
“thats better.”
preparing to put your own back in the solace of his neck, your elbow hits something hard and you yelp.
he lets go of you in concern and the crash comes. slowly caressing your slowly brushing injury, you open your eyes to see the potted plant vase broken, soil all over his wooden floors.
you turn frantic, worry flooding your eyes as you apologize profusely
“yamaguchi i’m so sorry i, i swear i didn’t mean to do that i-“
“its fine, y/n we can always-“
he stops when he notices what youre doing, youre getting on your knees, your hands set in a praying positions and are you- are you begging?
“please i promise i didn’t mean to. please. i- i wont do it again, i’ll get you a new one or i’ll do anything you want but please dont hurt me dont do anything to me dont-“
“y/n!” he raises his voice, causing you to become even more apprehensive
“please i promise!! dont leave me i’ll do better i promise just dont leave me i cant go back to them i cant- i cant.”
“y/n. i’m not gonna leave you.”
“you’re- you’re not?” you look up at him with wide, glossy eyes.
“no, and i’d never hurt you either okay?” you nod slowly, feeling the embarrassment of making a slight scene, “do you, want to talk about who ‘they’ are?”
silence, and he rethinks his words “you dont have to of course but-“
“no!” you shout. and he stares at you intently, patiently. “i- i want to talk about it.”
he nods, leading you back to the kitchen table and pausing the song.
but he hopes he can be the one to help you heal your wounds, scars all emotional and physical.
549 notes · View notes
bokuroskitten · 11 months ago
Text
Business Trip.
➟Summary: Kuroo is away for business for the weekend, but decides to get a taste of his partners through FaceTime. ➟Genre: NSFW 18+ ➟warnings: Poly relationship, Dom/Sub dynamics (Daddy title used), webcam sex, fingering (female receiving), handjobs, begging, kenma slaps your thigh once  ➟Character(s): Kuroo Tetsuro x Kenma Kozume x Fem!Reader ➟Word Count: 3k
It had been a long day for Kuroo, business trips were never his favourite. Especially the ones where the company was too cheap to accommodate for his significant others as well.
The pouty little face you had given him as he dragged his suitcase out the door still made him laugh. But it did suck, being away from the two of you for the weekend. He let out a gentle sigh as his fingers tugged on his tie, loosening the constricting fabric as his eyes darted over room numbers to find which belonged to him. It didn’t take long for him to find it, easily slipping the white card through the reader and letting himself in.
“Welcome home.” He mumbled to the empty suit, kicking off his shoes and dropping his suitcase by the door. He was too tired to do any unpacking right now, plus the beer cooler was calling his name. After he had a bottle, took a small swig his phone buzzed in his pocket. Easily slipping it from his slacks he scanned the message, amber eyes lighting up a bit when he saw your name.
“You settled in yet? Wanna FT when you do?”
He couldn’t hold back the giddy laugh that bubbled from his throat. He knew you and Kenma would miss him this weekend just as much as he missed the two of you, but seeing the text still managed to send butterflies straight into his chest. So, without a second thought he pulled his laptop from its brief case and set it up on the desk in the corner of the suit. After a quick plug in and a few adjustments he settled into the leather chair, taking another swig of beer as he found the FaceTime icon.
Kenma’s contact was the first one on there.
It rang three times before Kenma’s face popped up on the screen, controller in hand and gaming headset on. Kuroo had assumed he was gaming. With a large grin he waved, earning an eye roll from Kenma.
“Kitten C’mere, Tetsuro’s on.” Kenma called out to you, and Kuroo had to laugh at the shuffling from the other end of the screen, watching your face pop before the webcam with a large smile.
“Hi lovey!! How was the first day?” You spoke, smile staying wide on your face as Kenma pulled you into his lap, his eyes glancing between Kuroo and what he assumed to be the game he was playing previously. Kuroo let out a happy sigh, leaning back into his chair a bit. “Hey kitty... it was okay. Business as usual. I miss you too already.”
“We miss you too Tetsu.” He could hear the pout in your voice as your lower lip pushed out, giving Kenma a little nudge to follow your lead. The faux blonde grunted softly, eyeing you. “It hasn’t even been a full day yet; I don’t miss him— “
“Wow Kenma Cat, affectionate as always~” Kuroo chuckled against the lip of his beer, eyes taking in his significant others. He assumed you were going to bed soon, considering you were wearing one of his old volleyball t-shirts and pyjama shorts. Even Kenma had his hair pulled back into a low ponytail. He watched the way you leaned into Kenma, the way your fingers pet along his thigh softly despite nagging at him for being mean to Kuroo while he was off doing business.
The older male smirked a bit to himself, leaning onto his elbow. “You being good for me Kitty? Not giving Kenma a hard time, are you?”
“Please lovey, he’s the one giving me a hard time— “you respond, pulling back one side of his headphones to snap it back against his skull. The action has him grumbling, finally releasing the controller only so he could tickle along your sides.
There was a stream of giggles to follow and Kuroo sighed in delight. He watched the two of you for a moment, wishing more than anything he could be there with you in that moment. But he gets distracted when amber eyes reach your thighs. From all the squirming you were doing he realized those sleep shorts that he thought were sleep shorts were not that at all. They in fact were just panties, pretty ones at that.
He bit along his lower lip, fingers traveling over the lip of his almost empty beer bottle. When Kenma finally gave up on the tickling you were straddling his thigh, face dug into the crook of his neck as you whined about how unfair it was to bring tickling into a match. Kenma noticed the way Kuroo looked at the two of them through the webcam and his brow twitched, one of his hand slowly pulling his headset around his neck.
“What is it Tetsu?” He spoke, causing you to also peak your head up. Kuroo couldn’t hold back his amusement, the slacks he was wearing beginning to feel a bit too tight.
“Kitty didn’t answer my question... but I think I know the answer since she’s only wearing panties under that T-shirt.” That caused a little light to shine behind your gaze, lips puckering up a bit as Kenma let out a soft scoff. “Observant as always.” He spoke, one hand smoothing down your back, only to cup your rear. His fingers dug into the shirt you wore, clumping it up a bit in his palm to show off more of the panties.
“If you’re just gunna wear panties when you call me baby, you might as well show me them hm?” Kuroo purred, eyes narrowing a bit in delight as your thighs subconsciously tightened up around Kenma’s. The blonde nudged his nose gently into your hair, his chest tightening up at the way Kuroo was eyeing them through the monitor.
It made him desperately wish he was home.
“C’mon Kitty, you’ve been good for me all day so let’s be good for Daddy now.” Kenma murmured, hearing a little hum of approval from Kuroo on the other end of the computer. Feeling an encouraging pat on your rear you let out a pleased little sound, nodding a bit as you slowly rose from Kenma’s lap. With his help you settled into his lap again, this time with your back against his chest. Feeling his hands grip your thighs you followed their lead and rose them up, spread them far enough apart so that Kuroo could have a good view of the panties you wore. Kenma slid one hand low enough on your thigh that his fingers brushed along your covered slit, a needy little noise bubbling past your lips as you turned your face into Kenma’s shoulder.
“So pretty...” Kuroo spoke, his eyes staying trapped on Kenma’s lean fingers against your dark panties before slowly traveling up to look at your face, the way your eyes glistened with need and how you began to bite your lip swollen. Kenma had a light blush on his cheeks, his own amber gaze following his fingers as they left feather like strokes over your core. “Was she really good Kenma? Think Kitten deserves a treat?”
“I think so...” he mused, his lips pressing subtle kisses to your hair line, attempting to bring your face back to look at Kuroo. “She finished that essay, made dinner for herself and me, even called the doctor and made an appointment all by herself. Isn’t that right Kitty?”
Kuroo raised a brow at that, a little bit of pride swelling in his chest. You really had had a productive day and he always loved seeing you and Kenma do your best. But when you slowly met his gaze again, eyes glossy and lips slightly hung in a silent plea he groaned, fingers squeezing along his length as you nodded.
“What a good girl we have, want Koz to give you a treat baby?” Kuroo asked, easily easing the belt he had on out of its loops considering he already knew your answer. Your answer slipped between your lips soft and pretty. “Yes please...”
“C’mon Kitten, louder so Daddy can hear.” Kenma encouraged, a little smirk on his face as he watched Kuroo lean back in his chair, fist gripping was he assumed to be his freed cock. He probably had a long day and deserved a treat himself.
“Y-Yes Please...” you spoke again, this time a bit louder, your own eyes traveling back to the monitor to see Kuroo looking at the two of you with desire. “Please what Kitty? I wanna hear you say the whole thing.” Despite being behind a screen there were still rules to be followed, and Kuroo intended to make you keep every one of them.
Although your voice threatened to give out due to Kenma’s fingers that suddenly began to add a bit more pressure over your panties, you spoke, voice a bit shaky and filled with need. “Please... I want a treat please Kozume... Can he give me a treat, Daddy?”
“Yea Baby, let’s see it.” Kuroo urged, spitting into his palm before slowly working it over his length, which already stood very much at attention. He watched the screen closely as Kenma hooked two fingers around your panties, easily pulling the damp fabric to the side. You whined as the cold air hit your cunt, hips pressing forward a bit only to be held back by Kenma’s free hand. He ran two fingers over your folds, slowly peeling you open in a lewd manger that had your face heating up.
“Pretty thing isn’t it Tetsu?” Kenma murmured, holding back a snicker at the way Kuroo devoured you through the camera. “Fucking right it is.” Kuroo agreed, his hand squeezing along his shaft. He desperately wished he could press his length into your welcoming pussy, make Kenma watch instead with his arms bound and begging, but due to business this would have to do. “Sink two fingers in her cunnie Kenma, nice and slow for me.”
Kenma did as he was told, his index and middle finger slowly sinking into your pussy. Your head lulled back onto his shoulder at the action, a sweet moan slipping from your lips as you clenched about his fingers. Kuroo smirked, his own hand working along his shaft. “C’mon Kitty keep those pretty eyes on me, tell me how it feels.”
You whimpered softly, cheeks heated, and lips parted as you slowly made eye contact with Kuroo through the screen. “It—It feels so good Daddy.” Kenma began to press kisses along your throat, making it much harder for you to form coherent sentences. “I bet it does baby... want him to pump his fingers in there? Make you cum?” Kuroo knew the answer but wanted you to say it in that needy voice you held during times like this.
Kenma’s thumb pressed along your clit then, causing you to let out a pleased cry. Kuroo chuckled when your thighs threatened to close, only for Kenma to swat the skin of your inner thigh and make a noise of disapproval. “Thighs open.” Kenma spoke lowly, eyeing Kuroo and the way his muscles seemed to tense.
Sucking in a trembling breath you urged your thighs back open, whining softly as Kenma continued to rub slow circles into your clit. “I—I want that Daddy... Please can Kenma move his fingers— please.” You gave Kuroo a pleading gaze, hips pressing forward ever so slightly off Kenma’s lap in an attempt to feel more of his fingers. Kuroo couldn’t keep that damn grin off his face as his pumped himself a bit faster, a bit of sweet building up behind his bangs. “Yea babygirl he can. Koz, fuck our Kitten good for me.”
Without another word Kenma began to pump his fingers in and out of your cunt, going all the way up to his knuckles before pulling back out again slowly. You couldn’t help but cry out, one hand desperately gripping his shoulder as your eyes threatened to spill tears. The pads of his fingers pressed along your inner walls, feeling for that one spongy spot that would have you crumbling in his grasp. All the while he kept his eyes glued on Kuroo who watched the whole thing with blown out pupils, moans of his own slipping out as he worked his length.
“Isn’t she pretty Daddy...~” Kenma murmured, his hand leaving your clit only to take hold of your chin, force it forward so you could look into the webcam. The action made a little bit of drool dribble from your lips, making Kuroo groan in delight. “Yes, she is baby, so fucking pretty... I wanna see her cum around your fingers.” He demanded again, his own tolerance running thin as he watched your pussy greedily suck in two of Kenma’s digits.
Kenma hid his smirk against your hair but could tell by the sound of Kuroo’s voice that he wouldn’t last much longer. Wanting to make him happy he brought his free hand back down to your clit, giving the swollen bud some much needed attention as his fingers picked up their pace, finally finding that sweet spot. Your eyes widened, a gasp of delight making you arch your back in Kenma’s lap. “That’s the spot isn’t it Kitty... need you to cum around my fingers for Daddy, can you do that?”
“Yes, yes yes please— please Koz— “Your words were nothing but babbles at this point, words slipping into whimpers and moans as Kenma’s fingers continued their assault on your sweet spot. Kuroo was panting himself, watching the way tears finally spilled down your reddened cheeks, the way your thighs trembled uncontrollably, the way Kenma’s fingers looks so slick slipping in and out of your puffy lower lips.
With a small grunt he finally reached his high, his own back arching some as he spilled along his palm, certainly making a mess of the slacks he wore. He fist slowed a bit as he rode out the waves of pleasure that washed over him, amber eyes fluttering as he couldn’t help but chuckle. “Fuck— cum Kitty. C’mon cum right now.”
You wanted to respond, but instead the cord in your stomach snapped when Kenma’s fingers hit your sweet spot again. With a sob of delight your head flew back into Kenma’s shoulder, your pussy clenching about his digits tightly before releasing a little flood. Kenma bit his lip to hold back a moan, the sound of his fingers pumping within you and being covered in your release certainly being loud enough for Kuroo to hear over the monitor. He waited until your core stopped its clenching before he slowly pulled his fingers from you. The fingers that were petting your clit slowly moved to cup your sex instead, petting along it gently as he held his fingers up to the webcam.
“She did good...” Kenma spoke, pulling his two fingers apart to show the slick that stuck to him in strands. The action had Kuroo’s cheek flair up a bit pink, wanting nothing more than to lick it up all for himself. He let out a shaky sigh, finally sinking into the chair. He didn’t bother tucking his now soft cock away knowing he would just hop into the shower after this, but instead he used the napkins nearby to clean off his hand. “She did do so good... you hear that Kitten?” Kuroo spoke, a little grin on his face as you lulled your face back over, tear stained cheeks and all.
“Mhm...” You hummed, body twitching a bit as you slowly closed your thighs about Kenma’s palm, nuzzled your face into the crook of his neck. Kenma let out a soft chuckle of his own, using his clean hand to pull your panties back over your sloppy core. “Sleepy Kitten...”
“Make sure you shower her before you put her to bed.” Kuroo spoke, getting an eye roll from Kenma who already knew to do such things before bed. Holding his dirtied fingers to your lips you allowed your lashes to flutter, before taking his fingers into your mouth without objection. You sucked on them softly, a blush rising on your cheeks as you tasted yourself on his skin.
“Fuck... you’re such a good girl.” Kuroo spoke from the other end of the monitor, the act alone enough to get him hard all over again. But sadly, another hand job given to himself just wouldn’t cut it. Blowing his dampened bangs from his face he watched Kenma nod to his comment, slowly pulling his fingers from your lips before pressing a gentle kiss there. “You are a good girl baby, time to clean you up okay?”
You nodded, and despite your body being a bit twitchy you adjusted yourself so you could straddle Kenma once more, allow him to carry you when he stood. Kuroo watched with a fond smile as you leaned your head into Kenma’s shoulder, fingers gripping his sweater. Kenma leaned into the camera then, spoke softly. “Say goodnight, (Y/N).”
“Goodnight Tetsu... I love you.” You mumbled, briefly looking up to send a smile Kuroo’s way. The little gesture had his heart fluttering. “I love you too Kitty, sleep well.” Kenma huffed softly as he readjusted a bit, held you to his chest. Kuroo sent him a grin then. “If you need some relief Kenma, just do it after you’ve put the baby to bed okay?”
“Nah it’s okay.” The faux blonde spoke, his palm smoothing over your rear. “I’ll wait till you get home. G’night Tetsu. Love you.” He didn’t wait for Kuroo’s response before hanging up, knowing that he would respond with--
“Love you too Koz...” he spoke to now a black screen. Kuroo leaned his head back on the chair, sighing out loud to his now quiet room. He took a few moments before finally standing and heading to the shower. He prayed this weekend would go by faster, just so he could get him to his partners.
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buckycuddlebuddy · 6 months ago
Text
𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦
summary ─ “it’ll be okay. i’m gonna make sure of it.” you sniffed as you buried your face into his tank top. his arms were an anchor around you, a cage that made you feel safe.
pairing ─ mickey henry x reader
warnings ─ exes to lovers, language, angst, fluff, kissing, no freaky things in this one, in the upcoming part however...... hmm
a/n ─ this is my first time writing a character other than bucky in this blog *sniffs* be easy on me? 👉🏻👈🏻🥺 hope you like it! please leave a comment if you do! thank youuu <333
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𝙿𝙰𝚁𝚃 𝙸
You were at your friend’s wedding. A wedding that they decided to plan it like it was a regular beach party. It was crowded. You probably knew only two─ three people. Four. You knew four people here, and he was the least person you expected to see. Especially what happened between you two, but it somehow made sense for him to be here. He was a DJ at the end, and he was obviously hired for the party.
Mickey was standing by the DJ booth with his headphones hanging on his neck. He was solely focused on the board in front of him, sometimes turning his attention to the laptop on his left. He was bobbing his head to the song, frowning a little when he focused even more to the changing beat.
He looked good.
His skin was shining with gorgeous tan he got throughout the whole summer, it was a nice, warm golden color. His hair’s gotten longer since the last time you saw him. It looked fluffy and soft, and suddenly you were burning with the urge to run your fingers through it. He had a light scruff going on; some whites were shining through the dark ones. He looked really good. You wanted to cry.
All the emotions you have denied yourself to let out were there, wanting to get out, but you couldn’t. You couldn’t cry at the first time you saw him after years. It would be too… pathetic. You took deep breaths, desperately trying to calm down and to send the tears back. When you felt you weren’t going to cry, you made your way to the bar to get yourself a drink as a reward.
“Can I get a gin tonic? Thanks,” you said, smiling at the bartender. The guy nodded politely. His hands worked fast as he prepared your order. In under a minute, you were sipping your gin tonic.
You were sitting at the very end of the bar counter when he came, all smiling. “Hey man,” he greeted the bartender. “Vodka? You know what I like.” The guy nodded like he did to you, but he was all smiley this time. It was obvious that they knew each other; probably from other wedding or party gigs, you thought. You watched him as he waited for his order.
He kept looking at his phone like he was expecting a call or a text. His eyes were wandering around, too. You felt a pang in your chest when the possibility of him having a girlfriend came to mind. Not that he wasn’t allowed to move on, it just hurt to see him move on this quick and that he looked like it wasn’t affecting him. You sighed. Taking a sip, you continued to watch him.
He was still wearing the rings you bought to him as a birthday gift. You knew he loved rings, so you thought it could make a great birthday gift, you were right. Mickey loved them so much so that he only took them off when he was showering. You smiled at the memory. Your fingers were tracing the small tattoo on your wrist. A matching one was winking at you from Mickey’s own wrist.
“Are you gonna pine after him all night?” You shrieked when you heard your friend’s, Rose, voice right next to your ear, making a couple heads turn.
“Fuck’s sake, Rose!” You frowned. “You scared me!” She rolled her eyes.
“You can’t pine after him,” she said, ignoring the stinky eyes you were giving her. You shrugged and returned to your drink. “He has a girlfriend, Y/N. Tell me you’re not gonna do anything.” You felt another pang in your chest, stronger than before.
“Girlfriend?” You murmured and heard Rose’s approving hum. “I wasn’t going to do anything, but thanks for telling me anyway.” You swore you could hear Rose’s taunting ‘huh’ in your mind, but in reality, she stayed silent.
“Whatever,” she said, waving her hand. “I’m gonna go see if Lara needs help with anything.” You nodded absently and watched her disappear in the crowd.
Girlfriend. He did move on. You swallowed the bitter laughter crawling its way out of your throat with the last of your gin tonic.
Your break-up wasn’t exactly messy, but it was expected. You saw it coming and tried to save it many times, but the effort was one-sided so, it didn’t work. You tried damn hard to make it work, though. You wished he’d make some efforts, too, sometimes. It wasn’t a secret that you haven’t moved on from Mickey; a small part of you would always be in love with him in a way, you knew it. You were only thankful that he didn’t go and cheat on you or something while you were still together. You grew apart, that was what happened, and then you had to move away from Greece, and he didn’t stop you…
Sighing again, you signaled the bartender for another gin tonic. You weren’t going to drink your emotions away and get drunk, that’d be absolutely the worst thing you could ever do. This second glass was your last, and then you were going to make up an excuse and walk away.
You thanked the bartender when he brought you your drink. You started sipping it while you searched for Rose so that you could excuse yourself. The wedding part of this party had happened already, so there was no reason for you to stay. Quickly finishing your drink, you looked for Rose only to find her by the altar, talking to a guy you didn’t know.
“Hey, Rose,” you called out to her. “I’m leaving,” you said when she turned to you. A frown sat between her brows immediately. “Alone, fuck’s sake. I had two drinks and I wanna go home before it’s too late. Alright?” The frown didn’t disappear, but she nodded.
“Alright,” she said. “Let me know when you’re home, though,” she added.
“Sure,” you agreed. You could do that. “See ya later.”
You decided to walk home through the beach. The sound of the waves and the smell of the sea always calmed you down right away. Tonight wasn’t so different. You hugged yourself. It wasn’t cold although there was a breeze. You didn’t mind, though. It was a nice change after the burning heat of the day.
Walking slowly, you closed your eyes and breathed in deeply. It was peaceful. You forgot how nice this walking-on-the-beach-at-nights thing felt. A smile made your lips twitch. You exhaled slowly, shivering pleasantly when the breeze licked your skin. You were away from the party now, and with the music gone, it got quiet and, like it was possible, even more peaceful.
You smiled.
“Wait!” You froze. “Y/N!”
No, you thought. You didn’t want to deal with him. No, please. I’ll cry, no.
“Hey,” Mickey said when he caught you. “I, uh, didn’t know you were going to come to the party,” he added. His fingers were already playing the short hairs of his nape. You gave him a forced smile and nodded.
“Last minute decision,” you murmured, not bothering to go into detail. Mickey nodded, too. He looked like he wanted to say something but couldn’t, or didn’t know how to. You didn’t pressure him. You just wanted him to go because you didn’t want to cry when he was with you. He didn’t deserve to see you vulnerable anymore.
“Well,” he started. “I’m actually glad you came,” he said, chuckling lightly. You frowned. He’s glad? That’s new, you thought. Mickey hummed softly, seeing the slight frown appearing between your eyebrows. “I wanted to talk to for a while, but you changed your numbed and moved away, so I couldn’t,” he explained. You stopped in your tracks. Taking a deep breath, you tried to swallow your tears away.
“What do you possibly want to talk about, Mickey?” You asked. Your voice was angry and a little shaky. You could feel the lump in your throat. Mickey sighed.
“I wanted to apologize, Y/N,” he murmured. He played with his fingers, pulled on his bracelet and sniffed lightly. He was nervous. You clenched your jaw. “The way we ended was… bad. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to end that way.” Then, he rolled his eyes. “I didn’t even want it to end, actually. It just happened.”
“What?” Your frowned deepened. “You didn’t want it to end? What the hell are you talking about, Mickey?”
“It was a misunderstanding!” He exclaimed. “Look, we got distant, yes. It was…” He exhaled harshly. He suddenly looked tired, like he was about to cry. “I have a kid,” he murmured. “A son. He’s six, and I’ve been trying to get his mother to let him see me. There were some legal shit I had to do, and then I learned that he got sick. I didn’t mean to get distant, but I did, I know my mistake.” Mickey lifted his head; his baby blue eyes were teary, and they looked earnest, soft and sad. You bit your lip. “I’m sorry for not telling you that I have a kid. I’m sorry for closing in and for getting distant.” He took a deep breath and stepped into your personal space. His fingers brushed your knuckles. “I’m sorry for letting you go. I should have stopped you, should’ve been honest to you. I’m so sorry, Y/N.”
You looked down at your hand where he was still brushing your knuckles with his fingers softly. Your chin was trembling, and there was no stopping your tears: They were running down freely. “Why…” You started but had to cut yourself and clear your throat. “Why would I believe you?”
Mickey nodded slowly. “You have every right to not believe me,” he agreed. “I can show you his pictures. The paperwork? I’ll do anything to get you to believe me, Y/N. I’ve never wanted what we had to end like this.” You sniffed.
“Picture,” you whispered. Mickey immediately reached for his phone and opened the gallery. He scrolled down a little and clicked on a picture, and then turned the screen to you.
“His name is Hector,” he said. You grabbed the phone, eyes already taking in the details.
The little boy had his hair. It was chestnut brown, fluffy and slightly curly. He had brown eyes, a cute nose and a chin dimple like Mickey’s. He was smiling in the picture, and you could see the resemblance. You smiled when you saw him wearing a Scooby-Doo t-shirt.
“He’s cute,” you murmured, handing him the phone. You watched his lips stretch wide for a smile as he, too, looked at the picture briefly. The love and adoration were obvious on his face, and fatherhood would look great on him, you thought. “Looks like you.” His smile widened.
“Yeah, his mother isn’t happy about it,” he grumbled and then rolled his eyes. You hummed. Mickey locked his phone and stuffed it into his pocket. “I’m sorry for not telling you about Hector earlier.” You shrugged. It had been years, you didn’t have the right to get mad.
“It’s fine,” you whispered. Sniffing, you looked around. “Go back to the party,” you told him. “Your girlfriend might be looking for you.” You ignored the slight venom your voice was carrying.
“Girlfriend?” Mickey said, grimacing. “I’m single.” You looked at him.
“No need to lie, Mick,” you murmured. “It’s fine if you have one.”
“But I don’t?” Mickey muttered something to himself. “Who told you that? Was it Rose?” Your eyes snapped at his, giving him the answer he was looking for. He laughed bitterly. “Your friend is into me. So, she’s keeping everyone away from me.” He shook his head like he couldn’t believe this was happening. “I rejected her a couple months ago, and since then she’s been a bitch to me.” Then, he gave you a side eye. “Sorry.” Shrugging again, you continued to look at him.
“Rose?” You asked. He nodded. You frowned for a couple seconds, and then rolled your eyes. “Fuck’s sake.” Mickey gave you a questioning look. “She was way too happy when I told her that we broke up.” He snorted. When you started walking slowly again, Mickey was quick to adapt your pace.
You walked on the beach for a while like that: Mutual and peaceful silence, calmness on the air now that each other’s presences’ were soothing you both in a way. You took deep breaths. You didn’t know what you were supposed to do with this new information that was dumped on you. You didn’t care that he had a son although you would have appreciated if he were to tell you while you were dating, but it was okay. You sighed.
“I wanna try again properly,” Mickey said, abruptly. “If that’s what you want, too, of course.” He gave you a small smile when you turned your head to look at him, shock etched on your features. “I never wanted it to end, I told you. I’m willing to try again and willing to make up all the pain I’ve caused unknowingly.” You turned to him.
“I’m scared,” you said, and you were. You were scared that you’d get hurt. The first months after your break up were the worst, and you didn’t want to go through those times ever again. With shaky hands, you held his ring clad ones. “Mickey, I’m scared.” He cooed at you.
“Ssshh,” he whispered. His arms were wrapped around you in a blink. “It’ll be okay. I’m gonna make sure of it.” You sniffed as you buried your face into his tank top. His arms were an anchor around you, a cage that made you feel safe. You took a deep breath, filling your lungs with his faint cologne. “I’m gonna make everything right this time. I promise.”
After a short while of silence, you heard him taking a deep breath.
“While we’re at being honest thing,” he murmured softly and slowly, like he didn’t want to ruin this moment. You frowned lightly, pulling back to look at his eyes. “There is someone else that I think you should meet.”
──
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kueble · 7 months ago
Text
I Used to Dream You Up and Make You Up in My Mind (Up in My Mind)
Teen, 2700 words. Follow-up to Guilty Pleasure.
---
Geralt walks into his house and slams the kitchen door behind him. It’s been the longest day ever, one rude customer after another, and he just wants to put his feet up and do nothing for the rest of the night. He’d called for delivery before he left the shop, so at least dinner is taken care of. He drops his keys and wallet into the ceramic bowl on the counter, smiling down at the misshapen Father’s Day gift Ciri made him at least a decade ago.
He scrubs a hand over his face and grabs a beer out of the fridge, twisting off the cap and fiddling with it, moving it between his fingers as he takes a long sip. He grimaces, not realizing he grabbed one of the stouts he keeps around for Eskel, but fuck it. He’s not letting that expensive shit go to waste. Thankfully he showered at the shop before he left, so all traces of work are gone. He checks the clock and realizes he has about twenty minutes before their pizza should arrive. He’s about to go sit down at the kitchen table and fuck around on his phone, but Ciri bursts into the room, squealing as she bounces over to him.
“Dad! You’re famous!” she cries out, nearly slamming him in the face as she holds up her phone. He flinches and sets his beer bottle down on the counter, taking her phone from her so he can focus on the screen.
It’s the Instagram app, and it’s a photo of him and Jaskier. He grins down at the screen, feeling soft as he takes in it. He’s dressed in his usual black tee, hair up in a messy bun with strands framing his face, and Jaskier looks like a rock star next to him. His hair is tousled, all sexy and bed-headed, and he’s blowing the camera a pouty kiss. A lime green muscle tank clings tightly to his broad chest, and he has one arm thrown over Geralt’s shoulder. Geralt hates having his photo taken, but he’s obviously charmed by Jaskier’s very presence and it shows. He’s not smiling, not really, but his eyes are bright and the corners of his mouth are slightly upturned. The captain reads “Bitches be swoonin’. It’s me. I’m bitches. #FangsUp #ViperStarship #DILF #GetYourOwnHesMine.”
It’s from their first - and sadly only date - and Geralt can’t help but think it’s a good sign Jaskier is posting this a couple days later. Their schedules are tight, but they’ve spent a lot of time texting and chatting, and it’s bizarre but he’s already falling for the ridiculous man.
He has an unbearable urge to print it out and hang it somewhere where he can look at it everyday.
“What’s this?” he asks, playing dumb because he knows Ciri is tripping over herself to explain.
“Jaskier posted it like an hour ago and everyone at school texted me freaking out! Like everyone, dad. They think you're hot, which is gross, but they think it’s cool that you’re dating my favorite singer! This is just so freaking cool!” she squeals, and for once Geralt doesn’t mind being the cool dad.
“Well, we’re not even official yet,” he reminds her, but she just scoffs at him.
“Oh my actual god, dad. What are you going to do? Give him your old letterman jacket? You’re just hanging out, but obviously he thinks you’re great. I have to go call Dara, but I started an account for you. I’ll show you how to use it later,” she says before rushing off.
“Pizza will be here soon!” he shouts after her, but he knows she’ll be talking to her best friend for hours, so he resigns himself to dinner alone. Least he can eat on the couch this way.
---
A couple hours later, Geralt is still on the couch, but he has a newly installed Instagram app to browse thanks to Ciri. The photo of him with Jaskier has a ridiculous amount of comments and likes, and it’s a bit terrifying. Strangers think he’s hot? He’s not quite sure how to digest that, so he’s pushing it into the back of his mind and distracting himself by swiping through Jaskier’s account.
Geralt’s kind of gone on him already, and he’s not sure what to do about it.
So again, time for some distractionary stalking. Jaskier has the occasional fan photo, and it seems like his band has as good of a local following as Ciri claimed they do. There’s one photo of him with a group of kids that look roughly Ciri’s age, and everyone in the group is making what appear to be fangs out of their fingers and holding them up. He’s fucking ridiculous, and Geralt is starting to question his taste in men, but he can’t stop scrolling.
The next photo is Jaskier and the bassist, their hands held together and each one of them making half of a misshapen heart. He doesn’t remember the woman’s name, but the caption helpfully provides “Jaskier and Valdo, bitter rivals to the end #ViperStarship #SheLovesToHateMe #Frenemies.” They both look mussed up, like this was probably taken after a show, and Geralt tries not to think too much about how nice Jaskier looks covered in sweat and swipes to the next photo.
Jaskier is wearing a bright orange tee with green lettering that reads “Head Empty. Only Thots.” on it. He has matching lime green glasses and the most ridiculous looking pink and blue striped sweatbands on his wrists. He’s grinning widely at something off screen, but his eyes are crinkling in the most adorable way and his profile is gorgeous. The cut of his jawline should be illegal.
He should probably stop, but these are public photos. Trying very very hard to ignore the fact that his daughter has seen and apparently liked all of these, he moves on to the next one. Jaskier is in a neon purple, blue, and green plaid shirt. The buttons are halfway undone, and Geralt desperately wants to tug on his chest hair. It’s simply unfair for one man - one sarcastic sassy little man - to be this attractive. He’s on stage again, and the lighting tints his messy hair blue and purple and the effect is simply stunning.
All decent thoughts fly out the window at the sight of the next photo. Jaskier has a ridiculous pair of strikingly white-framed plastic glasses on his face, and it doesn’t even look like they have actual lenses. He’s on stage, mic in one hand and the other tangled in his bright purple tee. He’s tugging it up to expose a soft stomach, and Geralt wants to sink his teeth into it. His chest hair is curly, glistening with sweat, and Geralt has to take a moment to himself. He crushes the phone to his chest - as if anyone could see it - and takes a deep breath.
This is creepy. He’s being creepy, right? Do people do this? Scroll through the very public photos of someone they’ve only been on a single date with?
His phone beeps and he’s startled by it, nearly dropping it to the ground. He looks at the text that just popped up and smiles to himself.
Jaskier: Miss you. We should both work less.
Geralt: At the bar tonight?
Jaskier: Til 12. Little birdie told me she showed you my IG. Like anything you see ;)
Geralt: Do you even need those glasses? You look ridiculous.
Jaskier: Ridiculously cute, you mean. I prefer contacts, so half the glasses are just for show. But style is important. Break’s over. But just know that I’m thinking about you.
Frowning down at his phone, Geralt realizes that Jaskier is busy bartending, but it’s Friday night and he could easily get his ass off his couch and go to said bar. They’ve been trading texts for long enough that it wouldn’t be weird. Plus the guy literally just told him that he missed him. He checks the time and realizes there’s only a couple of hours until Jaskier is off shit. He heads to his room to spruce up a little and then let’s Ciri know he’s going out for a bit before grabbing his helmet and the keys to his bike.
---
The place is busy enough, but Geralt still manages to find a seat at the bar. He’s surrounded by hipsters and more scarves than anyone should own, and all of a sudden he feels a thousand years old. But then Jaskier spots him and his whole face lights up, crow’s feet forming in the corners of his eyes as he holds up a hand in a quick wave. He’s mixing drinks for a couple, so Geralt just settles in and looks at the taps behind the bar.
“Geralt!” Jaskier calls out, shouting over the loud indie music. “What a lovely surprise!”
“Well, a cute guy tells you he misses you, and you jump on your bike and come over,” Geralt says with a shrug.
“Hold up. Do you have a motorcycle?” Jaskier asks, pressing a palm over his heart. Geralt follows the movement, swallowing thickly as he takes in the way it accentuates his broad chest.
“I do,” Geralt confirms with a smirk. “Why, you wanna go for a ride some night?”
“Oh darling, there are several things I’d like to ride. But alas, I’m working for the next couple hours. What can I grab you? On the house,” he offers.
“I’m a third date kind of guy, anyway. Call me old fashioned,” Geralt winks at him before snorting awkwardly. “I’ll have the Harpoon IPA please. And I can pay. I was planning on sitting here until your shift ends if that’s ok? Maybe take you to a super early breakfast?” Jaskier nods, somehow able to follow the conversation even as he pulls Geralt a beer.
“Of course! I’ll be over here as much as I can, but Friday nights get kinda crazy. Just flag one of us down if you need a refill. And put those away, your money is no good here,” Jaskier argues, grinning again as he sets down the draft and brushes off his attempt to pay for it. Geralt glares at him and shoves a handful of bills down on the bar. Jaskier ignores them and goes back to helping other customers. Once he’s sure he’s not looking, Geralt slides the money down the bar so it looks like a tip someone else left. He sits back and starts to people watch.
Later on he realizes his glass is nearly empty, and he’s about to flag down one of the other bartenders, but a new pint is set down as soon as he takes his last sip. Geralt looks up and is face-to-face with the mohawked drummer from Viper Starship. His eyes are narrowed and he appears to be doing his best to look intimidating, but Geralt doesn’t scare that easily.
“Didn’t know half the band worked here,” he offers as a greeting, and the drummer snorts.
“We’re all a bunch of crazy fuckers who decided to start a band while serving PBR to an assload of hipsters. You don’t seem like the groupie type, though,” he says gruffly.
“My daughter needed a date to the show,” Geralt laughs, as he pulls out his wallet and tosses a ten on the bar. “She seems to be in love with Priscilla over there, but I didn’t catch your name.” He points down the bar to where the blonde keytarist is pouring shots for a group of frat boys.
“Zoltan,” he says and holds out a hand. It should be awkward since he’s just slightly taller than the bar, but somehow the attitude makes up for it. They shake hands and Geralt hides a grimace as his hand is thoroughly crushed.
“Is this where you threaten me?” Geralt asks honestly. He’s impressed at the solid group of friends Jaskier seems to have, but it would take a lot to run him off at this point.
“Don’t need to,” Zoltan chuckles loudly, “Jaskier is more than capable of kicking your ass if you treat him wrong. Not saying I wouldn’t kick you once you were laying on the ground, though.”
“I like him. A lot,” Geralt says quickly. He can feel his cheeks heating up and takes a long gulp of his beer to cover it up. The smirk Zoltan sends him makes it seem like it didn’t help, though.
“He likes you, too. He doesn’t date much, just fucks around normally, but you make him smile at his phone. So do what you will with that tidbit,” Zoltan gives him a mock salute and then saunters off, already being shouted at by other patrons.
It feels like he passed some kind of test, and Geralt is all smiles when Jaskier catches his eye from down the bar. He’s clearly in his element, slinging drinks and chatting with people as the night goes on. Geralt doesn’t mind just sitting here and watching him work. He could see himself doing this a lot more in the future, just sipping a beer while Jaskier works the crowd. Maybe on a slower night they’d have more time for conversation, but he’s just happy to be here tonight.
Truth be told, both of his brothers have called him out for smiling at his phone lately, too. He’s never been in a relationship where he’s this happy this early on and it’s both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Just knowing that he actually wants to hear from Jaskier feels like it should be crazy, because Geralt doesn’t work like that, doesn’t fall fast and quick for people.
But apparently he does now.
---
“Sorry that I only brought the one helmet,” Geralt says as he gestures towards where he parked his bike.
“Just gives me something to look forward to. Is the diner far?” Jaskier asks. He’s sweaty even though there’s a chill in the air, still warm from the crowded bar. Geralt ignores the way he wants to lean forward and suck the salt from his exposed collar bone and does his best to focus on the conversation. He seriously hasn’t been this attracted to anyone in years. It’s a bit terrifying.
“Yeah it’s a couple blocks over. My brother, Lambert, used to wash dishes there during high school. It’s a hole-in-the-wall run down diner, but they serve the best home fries you’ve ever tasted. I promise,” Geralt assures him as he starts to walk. But then Jaskier stops him, just gently grabs his upper arm and pulls him so they’re facing each other.
“You’re sweet, you know that? I know we’ve been texting for a bit and dinner last week seemed to go well, but I don’t know how many people would show up at my work and buy me home fries just because I said I missed them. Thank you,” Jaskier tells him, and he looks impossibly sincere with his big blue eyes and a slight pout. It’s all Geralt can do to hold himself back, to keep from kissing him.
But then he realizes he’s allowed to kiss him. He’s even pretty sure they’re dating at this point? He’s not even that old, he just doesn’t have a good track record with relationships, but he feels like this one might change that for him.
“Can I?” Geralt asks as he moves closer and reaches out to cup Jaskier’s cheek in his palm. He strokes his thumb over Jaskier’s sharp cheekbone and smiles as he nods at him. Jaskier’s lips are soft and giving under his, and he curls his fingers around Geralt’s hips as they kiss. He deepens the kiss, licking into Jaskier’s mouth and swallowing down the soft sigh he lets out. They stand there on the sidewalk surrounded by the brisk night air and with the moon shining down on them, mouths moving against each other, and Geralt can’t imagine a more perfect place to be.
---
Tags: @halerune @eya-trying-to-function @honeysuckletook @mayastormborn @dani-dandelino @feraljaskier @jaskierswolf @littoraly-art @lovesight @saphiramalbec @dapandapod @theweirdlynx @tedrakitty @sharinalein @theamazingdevilgivesmehope @iamaqt314 @silvermidnightprincess @rockysstupidity
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pitubea1910 · 8 months ago
Text
Ready
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Featuring: Avengers
Word count: 5k
Warning: some swearing, alcohol, mention of sex, a bit of teasing.
Tags: -
Request: -
Notes: -
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Masterlist
A few months ago, you and nine other recruits received a phone call saying to be at the training facilities first time in the morning. Once you got there, you were told that you would be receiving extra training, long hours and double effort. Whenever you asked why, they just said it was classified.
After two months of training ten hours per day, seven days a week, being put through several trials and tests, you were called to the office of Maria Hill –the head of all the recruitment process-. To your surprise, she wasn’t alone when you got there: Nick Fury was there.
You had never met him in person, although you had heard many stories about him. And his presence was as intimidating as you imagined. Or even more. He had a deep voice that shook to your core, a way of talking that let you know he was someone not to mess with, he owned S.H.I.E.L.D and he knew it.
“Agent (Y/L/N)”, Hill started as soon as you took a seat after recovering from the surprise of finding Nick Fury in the room. “Let me introduce you to Nicholas Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Yeah, I know who… he is”, you said with a small smile. There was no one around the facility who didn’t know who this man was. Maria Hill smiled too.
“Nice to meet you, Agent (Y/L/N)”, Fury said. “I have been following your training for the last two months quite closely.”
Your felt your mouth go dry. He had been following your training?
“And I have to say it is quite impressive”, he added. He took a tablet from Hill’s desk and swiped the screen a couple of times. “When it comes to strategy there’s no one who can beat you, you’re strong, fast, your combat skills could be a match for Black Widow’s… definitely impressive.”
“Thank you, sir”, was all you could say. You knew you were good, but you never thought you would be good enough to hear it from Nick Fury himself. He was a legend.
“As you know, these last two months we have been testing you on a daily basis”, Hill said and you nodded. Of course you knew. You could feel it in every bone and muscle in your body. “What you don’t know is why.”
“And I guess you’re going to tell me?” You asked, looking at the two of them.
Fury put the tablet back on the desk without taking his eye off you. You would be lying if you said he didn’t make you nervous, but you had the feeling that looking away wouldn’t help you there, so you were determined to hold his eye. After a few minutes, you thought you could see a hint of smile on Fury’s lips, but you probably just imagined it.
“The Avengers have requested a new member for their team”, he simply said.
If you had been drinking something, you would have choked on it or spitted out for sure. Out of all the things you thought this meeting was about, the last thing you expected was something like this.
“The Avengers?” You asked. “As in… Captain America, Black Widow and Iron Man?”
“Are there any other Avengers that we don’t know of?” Fury asked with a teasing tone.
“Fair enough”, you mumbled.
“We chose 10 candidates and we have been putting you through tests and trials without telling you why”, Hill said now taking the tablet and showing you some graphics. “All of you started off with enthusiasm, showing the best results you had got since you got recruited. However, as the weeks passed, most of your colleagues’ performance started to deteriorate.”
“We had meetings with them”, Fury said. “We asked if there was something wrong, why this change when they had proven to be among the best of their class. They said that they were tired. That they didn’t know what was going on, what was the point of all this suffering.”
“I never got any meeting”, you said.
“Because your performance only got better”, Hill said, showing you a graphic with your name on it. “You have been the only one who, despite not having a purpose, a goal, not knowing what was going on, kept on working as hard as you did on the first day.”
“And that, Agent (Y/L/N)”, Fury said, “is exactly what we need. Someone who won’t fail, who won’t slow down, who will be there every day no matter what, with the same spirit as the first day. However, as much as we thought you are the perfect candidate, we are not the ones who have the final say.”
“Then?” You asked confused.
“We sent all of your files to The Avengers, with all the progress of the last two months. And they have made a decision. They want you, Agent (Y/L/N).”
A week later you packed all of your belongings in a suitcase and left the S.H.I.E.L.D HQ in a black SUV to move into The Avengers Headquarters in Upstate New York. Their welcome had been incredible. Since the very first moment you walked in the residential quarters of the huge compound, you were warmly welcomed by the team.
It took you a time to get used to your new life. You still had to train every day and soon you found out that it was a harder training than the one you did as a simple recruit. Obviously, they didn’t hold their punches. At first, you ended up at the infirmary most of the days, but eventually you started getting stronger and getting used to this new way of fighting. There was less theory and more instinct. And, soon enough, you started going on missions.
At first, they would be recon missions, nothing major. However, in a few months you proved yourself to be able to do more. You would never forget your first mission with Steve, Tony, Bucky and Natasha. It was the most exciting, exhausting and hard day of your life and, despite coming back injured, everyone kept on telling you how amazed they were by you, your work and your skills.
They took care of you, visited you every day until you got better, helped with your recovery and to get back on your feet in no time. You had found a family in them and it looked like they saw you as one of them now.
“You know what day is it tomorrow?” You asked when you walked into the kitchen.
You had just finished your training and had walked into the kitchen to have a smoothie. As usual, since you had the same training hours scheduled, Bucky was there as well.
Since the beginning, you had started training with Bucky as your mentor. You didn’t really fight against him, since he could knock you out without even trying, but he was there to observe and correct, give you advice, put more weight on your weights and push your limits.
When you first started training with him, he wouldn’t talk much. But, eventually, he started opening up and you gladly discovered that underneath all that sulking attitude was a really funny, easy going, teasing and loving kind of guy.
You spent so much time together that soon you found yourself looking around for him every time you walked into a room, sitting in front of him in every meal, next to him every time you would watch a movie, spending hours in his room just talking or playing videogames. You just couldn’t picture your life without him in it anymore.
“Saturday?” He said, throwing a bottle of water at you, which you caught without problem.
“Something else?” You asked, unscrewing the cap. Bucky thought for a moment and shook his head. “Really? I should be offended. A year ago, your life changed.”
“Did it?” He asked, a smirk forming on his lips. You narrowed your eyes and threw the cap of the bottle at him. He laughed and dodged it. “I know, I know. It will be a year since the most annoying person in the world walked through those doors with that lost puppy look on her face.”
“I wasn’t lost!” You exclaimed.
“So you’re annoying?” He teased.
“Not as much as you are”, you said and stuck your tongue out. “Maybe we should celebrate.”
“Why?”
“When was the last time someone put up with you for so long?” This time, he was the one narrowing his eyes at you, which made you laugh. “But seriously, it doesn’t have to be a party. But we could have a drink all together or something.”
“Ask Tony”, Bucky said. “He will organise anything in the next 45 minutes.”
“Good point”, you said nodding your head. “I’ll talk to him.”
You were about to walk out of the kitchen, fully intending to talk to Tony as soon as possible, when Bucky called your name. You turned around to find him walking over you.
“Yes?” You asked.
Once he was standing in front of you, he sighed and moved some hair that had flown out of your ponytail and put it behind your ear. He caressed your cheek and looked into your eyes, making your heart beat louder and faster. You took a deep breath, trying not to look down at his lips.
“A year ago, I met the most important person in my life”, he said. “She’s strong, funny, annoying as hell and incredibly oblivious. But I wouldn’t change her for anything.”
He leaned in and kissed your cheek softly before winking an eye at you and walking out of the kitchen, leaving you flustered, confused and on the edge of fainting.
***
Just like Bucky had said, as soon as you said to Tony that you would like to have a little celebration, he took out his phone and started organising a little party. You made it clear that you didn’t want or need anything big, but once Tony started organising a party there was no way of knowing the size of it until you were in it.
“I thought you didn’t want anything big”, Bucky said when you stepped into the main living room of the residential quarters the following evening.
Looking around, you barely knew anyone. You had no idea how Tony had managed to pull this out in such short notice. There was people everywhere, food, alcohol music and banners everywhere saying ‘Happy Avengesary (Y/N)’. It was incredible.
“This is what happens when you leave Tony in charge”, Steve, who walked in after you two, said.
“I’m not complaining”, Natasha said with a huge smile as she looked around. “See you later guys.”
“Where is she going?” You asked, looking at her as she got lost in the crowd.
“She has seen that IT guy she likes”, Steve said with a chuckle.
“I say we make the best out of this and get a drink”, Sam said.
“And that’s the most intelligent idea I have heard so far”, you said and took Sam’s hand to follow him through the crowd.
The bartenders that Tony had hired knew exactly who you were and the reason you were having this celebration. So the moment they saw you, they made sure you had a drink in your hand without even asking for it. It looked like Tony had told them what you liked.
The next couple of hours went by in a blur. Despite not knowing most of the people in the party, it was obvious that they knew who you were and many kept on stopping you to congratulate you on the work you had been doing the past year or just to take a photo with you. Definitely, that was something you would never get used to: being a public figure.
When you finally managed to sit down on the couch, next to Bucky, you didn’t even know how many hands you had shaken, how many photos you had taken and how many hugs you had given. But your mind was buzzing.
“How you doing, superstar?” Bucky smiled when you let yourself fall on the couch.
“Exhausted”, you admitted.
“It will wear off, don’t worry”, Sam said, patting your shoulder. “Once they get used to you, they won’t pay much attention.”
“Unless you’re Captain America or Thor, of course”, Clint winked.
“Shut up”, Steve rolled his eyes.
“It took us an hour to get some milk from the grocery store”, Clint said. “An hour because people kept on asking Steve for photos and autographs.”
“One would think that after a century, no one would be impressed by Captain America right?” Sam laughed.
“It’s not Captain America”, you said. “It’s… you.”
“What?” Steve asked confused, which made you laugh.
“Are you really that oblivious?” Wanda laughed as well.
“You’re a specimen, man”, Sam winked playfully, making you all laugh.
“Oh, c’mon, it’s not that”, Steve said as you could all see him blushing.
“Oh, trust me. It is”, you said. “Everyone has a crush on Captain America”, you added.
“Do you?” Bucky asked, his arm casually over the back of the couch and your shoulders.
“Don’t you?” You asked back with a laugh.
“I saw him putting newspaper in his shoes to look taller”, Bucky shrugged. “It’s kind of a turn off.”
“So that means that there is a turn on?” Clint asked wiggling his eyebrows.
“There’s always at least one turn on”, you smirked.
“Oh really?” Bucky smirked. “What turns you on, (Y/L/N)?”
“Right back at you, Barnes”, you said, looking at him with a playful smile.
“Okay, this just gave me an idea!” Sam said.
You forced yourself to look away from Bucky, whose eyes were burning through yours. You had felt that electricity running between you two many times before, but you had never felt the heat you felt at the moment. So you needed to focus on something else beside the warmth of his body next to yours.
“Please, enlighten us”, Natasha said.
“What about an old good game of Truth or Dare?” He suggested. You laughed out loud, just like Wanda and Natasha.
“Are we 16 now?” Steve said, although he didn’t look like he rejected the idea completely.
“Afraid of airing your dirty laundry, Rogers?” Clint asked.
“I have no dirty laundry to air”, the alluded said with an innocent smile.
“Yeah right”, Natasha laughed. “Okay, let’s do this”, she said.
“Seriously?” You asked.
“Why not?” Natasha shrugged. “It’s always fun to get to know each other in different ways”, she winked.
You sighed and shrugged. It looked like you didn’t have a choice. As soon as you all agreed, Sam asked a waiter to bring a couple of bottles of tequila, shot glasses for everyone and an empty bottle. In addition, Bucky he asked for a bottle of the Asgardian liquor Steve and Bucky used to drink in these situations.
“It’s no fun if two of us can’t get drunk”, he explained once they brought the small bottle and everything was settled.
“Fair enough”, you laughed. “Okay, who goes first?” You asked.
“You’re the honouree, so…” Sam said.
“Okay”, you laughed and spun the bottle that stopped pointing at Sam, who smiled widely at you. “Truth or dare?”
“Let’s start with a truth”, Sam said.
“Have you ever practised kissing in a mirror?” You smiled.
“First, that’s a lame question. Second… yes”, he admitted, making you all laugh. “I was 10, okay? And I was nervous about a potential first kiss”, he shrugged.
“That’s cute”, you admitted still laughing.
“Okay, here we go”, Sam spun the bottle and this time it landed on Bucky.
“Truth”, Bucky quickly said.
“Mmm…” Sam smirked after looking at you for a brief second. “Would you make out with someone in this group?”
Bucky looked at Sam like he wanted to kill him and you felt him tense up beside you. You looked up to him although his eyes were fixed on Sam, whose smiled only grew bigger.
“You can always drink. Although that will give us half an answer”, Sam shrugged.
“I would”, Bucky finally said. You raised both eyebrows and looked up again, surprised.
“With who?” You asked.
“That’s not part of the question, doll”, Bucky winked before spinning the bottle, which landed on Natasha. Yet, you didn’t stop thinking about it.
“Dare, of course”, she shrugged.
“I dare you to go to that IT guy and ask him out”, Bucky smiled.
“You know I don’t ask out”, Natasha said.
“Is Black Widow backing off a dare?” Clint smiled.
Natasha narrowed her eyes, her pride obviously taken the best of her. Immediately, she got up and you all looked at her while she walked up to the IT guy. It was a quick conversation and, by the end of it, the guy looked like was about to marry her while she came back with her face as red as her hair.
“I’ll get back at you, Barnes”, she said, spinning the bottle.
There were all kind of dares and questions. The more you drank, the juicier they got without even realising it. At some point, Steve was playing without his shirt –to the delight of many of the guests-, Clint was speaking only with the vowel E, Wanda was wearing Natasha’s clothes and viceversa and you were on your pyjamas.
“Okay, let’s go”, Natasha said when it was her turn to spin the bottle after reading out loud the last text she had sent –Rated X-. “Finally!” She said when it landed on Bucky. “Barnes?”
All along, every time it was Bucky’s turn, there had been numerous hints of him liking someone, someone he would sleep with, his crush, but no name had come out of his mouth. You didn’t even know Bucky liked someone, which was strange since you spent so much time together, and to say you were curious was a misunderstanding.
“Truth”, he said.
“Playing it safe, huh?” Natasha smiled.
“You’re a dangerous woman, Romanoff”, Bucky said, his fingers brushing your shoulder absently.
“Fine. Have it your way”, she said. “Is (Y/N) the one you’ve been talking about all along? The one you would make out with, sleep with, have a crush on?”
Bucky’s whole body tensed up, just like yours, with that question. It was obvious she had been saving it for quite a long time and it looked like everyone was waiting for someone to drop the bomb. They all looked at Bucky smiling a little, as if they knew something you ignored, waiting.
“Damn you, Natasha”, Bucky finally chuckled.
“Would you prefer a dare?” She smiled widely.
“I don’t trust your dares”, Bucky said.
“Then… answer or drink. Although… drinking would be an answer itself”, she innocently shrugged and winked an eye at him.
You saw Bucky biting his lower lip without looking at you, his eyes fixed on Nat, as he was deliberately trying not to look at you. Your heart was pounding in your ears and you swore you would explode if he didn’t say something soon.
“Yes”, he finally said, taking your breath away. “She is”
And he spun the bottle.
***
The game was finished in no time after that moment. Although you didn’t pay any attention to it anymore. All you could do was look at Bucky, waiting for him to look at you and explain what he had just said. However, all he did was smirking whenever he felt his eyes on you.
“Okay, come here”, he said once everyone had scattered around.
He took your hand and took you through the crowd. You didn’t know where he would take you until he scanned his finger print on the door that lead to Tony’s office. He let you walked in first and looked around to make sure no one was looking before closing the door.
“What was that?” You finally asked after a few moments.
“Do I really need to explain?” He smiled, getting closer to you which only made you nervous.
“I think? Why didn’t you say anything sooner?” You asked.
“When would I say anything? When I was kicking your ass during training?” He asked.
“You don’t kick my ass”, you said. “We never even fight against each other because you’re too afraid of me kicking your ass”, you added, crossing your arms.
“You’re so damn blind”, he laughed shaking his head. “I don’t fight you because I would never forgive myself if I ever hurt you. Even if it happened during training.”
You blinked a few times and looked away, trying so hard not to blush and failing completely. He was now so close that you could even feel his breath on you. It wasn’t the first time he was this close, but it was the first time it made you so nervous.
“That’s just another way of saying it”, you mumbled.
Bucky placed his index finger on your chin to make you look up at him and to his eyes before rubbing your cheek softly. His eyes moved down to your lips, just like yours to his, just in time to see him biting his bottom lip. Your breath got caught in your throat and an urgent need to kiss him overcame you.
“You drive me insane in every possible way, (Y/L/N)”, he said leaning in. You closed your eyes instinctively but his kiss never came. “But you’re not ready for it yet.”
You opened your eyes to see him slowly walking backwards, with a smirk on his face.
“What…? What are you doing?” You asked breathless.
“I could kiss you right now and make you realise that you feel the same way about me”, he said, a hand on the doorknob. “But I have decided that, if I have waited a year, I can wait a few more days and make you want it, drive you crazy just like you do with me.”
“Don’t walk away, James. Don’t you dare”, you said.
“See you later, doll”, he said.
Before you could even take a step forward, he opened the door and walked out the office, leaving you with your mouth open and your brain completely melted.
What the hell had just happened?
You had to take some time before you went back out to the party. Your heart had never beat like this. It felt like it would jump out of your chest at any given time and getting it back to ‘normal’ wasn’t easy.
When you finally made your way back out, you spotted Bucky at the bar, talking to Steve. When he saw you, his eyes were on you for a moment, while his lips formed a smug smirk, and then looked back at his friend to continue the conversation. All you wanted to do was go and punch him in that perfect face to kiss him afterwards. Or maybe kiss him first and punch later. You were confused.
The rest of the night you were completely unfocused. It felt like you couldn’t hold a single conversation, like you were zooming in and out all the time, looking around for Bucky and imagining his lips, hands, body on yours. In the end, you decided to leave the party earlier than expected. It wasn’t like anyone would notice, since most of the guests were too drunk to pay any more attention to you.
Once in your room and in your pyjamas –an oversize t-shirt and your underwear-, you laid on your bed and looked at the ceiling, thinking about what the hell had happened and trying to process how you felt about it.
It would be a huge lie to say that you didn’t have feelings for Bucky. You knew they had always been there, but you had always considered them platonic. He was one of the most attractive men you ever met and he was also kind, funny, witty, smart and incredibly thoughtful. You would have never thought he felt the same way about you. You thought all those times he flirted with you, it was just a game to him. Maybe you had been wrong.
You didn’t even know when you had fallen asleep, but when you opened your eyes, you heard the rain against the huge window of your room. You sighed and rubbed your eyes, your mind immediately racing as memories from last night flooded your head. Damn James Buchanan Barnes.
When you heard the buzzing of your phone, you sighed and picked it up from the bedside table to find a text message from the man himself.
“Training in 10 minutes”, the text said. He had to be kidding you. It was Sunday.
And did he really think he could just act like nothing?
“Sorry. As someone said to me last night: I’m not ready yet”, you texted back.
He read the text immediately, but it took him a little while to reply.
“If you’re not in the training room in 10 minutes, I’ll drag you there myself”, you shivered, knowing he fully intended to act on his threat. But you weren’t going to just do as he told you.
“Didn’t you say I drive you insane? Then good luck, babe”, you texted, smirking to yourself as you pictured the look on his face.
You knew what was going to happen. Maybe you were pushing him a bit, but you weren’t going to let him dictate what to do or when to get up. Especially after how flustered and frustrated he had left you the previous night.
Yes, you were dying to kiss him. That was all you could think about since last night. But, unless you were mistaken, he wanted that kiss as much as you did and you were going to get it, even if you had to drive him insane.
At first, you thought he would go to your room immediately, but it looked like he really waited those 10 minutes in case you showed up. Or maybe he was just waiting outside of your room, because exactly 11 minutes later, there was a knock on your room. You smiled to yourself and stretched out still in bed, but didn’t move.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y, can you please tell him that I am not training today?” You said to the A.I.
“You know I can hear you, right?” You heard Bucky’s voice on the other side of the room.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y, can you please ask Tony to make the rooms soundproof? That would be extremely useful for certain people”, you said.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y, open (Y/N)’s door, please”, Bucky said.
“I’m sorry. I can’t. Each room has its own personal protocols and can only be lifted with the permission of said owner”, the A.I said, which made you smile.
“Too bad, soldier”, you said.
“You know I can just kick him in, right?”
You narrowed your eyes, looking at the ceiling. You knew he could, but did you want to push him until that point? It could be fun, but you didn’t want to deal with Tony afterwards. You knew how much he hated when doors got kicked in –something that happened surprisingly often in the compound-.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y, unlock the door, please”, you finally said.
The A.I. obeyed and unlocked the door. In a second, Bucky walked in and closed behind him. You looked at him from the bed, still not moving, and smiled. He was wearing his usual training gear –black sweatpants and a black t-shirt- and was looking at you with an eyebrow raised, waiting.
“Do you need anything?” You asked.
“You were supposed to be in the gym 5 minutes ago”, he said with his arms crossed.
“Yeah, well…” you stretched out again, making sure your t-shirt went up a few inches, enough to let him see your underwear and belly. “I’m kind of having a lazy day”, you said with a smile as you saw his eyes on your exposed skin.
“I know what you’re doing”, he said. You raised both eyebrows.
“And what is it?” You asked innocently.
“Pushing me”, he said.
“Don’t be so egocentric, Barnes”, you said. “Not everything is around you.”
“Oh really?” He said.
Slowly, he walked around the bed, taking a seat just next to you. You got nervous when he leaned in, placing one hand around you to support himself as he got closer. You looked at his lips and then his eyes, which hide the smile he forced himself not to show.
“Tell me you haven’t been thinking about kissing me since last night”, he said in a low voice.
“I…” you mumbled, your eyes moving down to his lips, which finally curved up into a small smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Are you going to tell me that if I kissed you right now…” he said, almost brushing your lips with his, “you wouldn’t melt against me?”
You took a deep breath through your nose, trying to control your heart rate, which felt close to impossible. All about him was overwhelming and you had no idea how to manage his closeness. You just wanted to grab him by the neck and kiss him. However, it looked as if he was reading your mind. Just when you were about to move your hands, he moved his and pinned your wrists against the bed.
“Gym. 5 minutes”, he whispered so close that you thought you would die if he didn’t kiss you.
Then, he just let go, got up and walked to the door. You couldn’t believe this was the second time in less than twelve hours that he was going to leave you like this. You looked at the door to see him smirking before walking out of the room, closing the door behind him.
“Fuck!” You exclaimed, punching the mattress.
Five minutes later, you walked through the doors of the gym, still sulking and flustered. You had been quickly to put some leggings and a training top. If Bucky wasn’t going to give in or let you kiss him, you needed some other way to let your frustration out. Fighting.
“Maybe today we can try something different”, you said to Bucky, acting as if nothing had happened, as if your mind wasn’t full of imaged of him kissing your whole body.
“Oh yeah? What is it?” Bucky asked while he adjusted the punching bag.
“Why don’t we fight?” You asked. Bucky laughed quietly and shook his head. “What?”
“Have you warmed up?” He asked.
“I’m warm enough, thank you” you said making him smile. Anyway, you started stretching since you didn’t want to pull any muscle or cause any injury. “You didn’t answer my question.”
“You know I’m not going to fight you, doll”, he said, taking the bandages from the floor. “I could hurt you.”
Your eyes went to his hand as he started wrapping the bandages around it, wrapping it tightly. You had always loved watching that routine. There was something about the way he moved his hands, how he wrapped the bandages around them that was hypnotizing.
“You won’t”, you said, coming out of your little trance.
“How do you know it?” He asked.
“Because I trust you”, you shrugged. He looked at you for a moment and smiled.
“You just want an excuse to hit me because you’re frustrated”, he said.
“That’s just a bonus”, you shrugged and took the other pair of bandages from the floor when you finished stretching. “I really think it would be helpful to fight against an actual person and not just a bag.”
“You have fought against Natasha, Wanda, Peter, Scott and Clint many times”, he said.
You sighed while you wrapped the bandage around your left hand. You knew him well enough to know he wasn’t going to change his mind. It wasn’t the first time you had this conversation and you understood his fear of hurting you, but you really wanted to punch him. Maybe if you caught him by surprise?
When you finished wrapping your hands, you looked at him. He was checking his own bandages and looked kind of focused on it. Without even taking a minute to consider your next move, you quickly took a step forward and threw your leg up to his stomach. To your surprise, your kick caught him completely off guard. Unfortunately, you weren’t strong enough to make him fall, but he took a few steps back with a hand against his stomach.
“What was that?” He asked with an amused smile.
“If you don’t want to fight me, okay”, you shrugged. “I’ll fight you.”
“Stop before you get hurt”, he said.
“Stop patronising me”, you said through gritted teeth.
Quickly, you launched against him, but he just took your arm before it came in contact with him and pushed you aside as if you were a mundane annoying fly. You groaned to yourself and turned to look at him. He looked at you smiling, which only infuriated you even more.
“It’s just facts, doll”, he shrugged.
You narrowed your eyes but decided to launch again. This time, you went for his face, but he grabbed your arm and twisted so your back was against his chest. You took a deep breath at the contact when his lips were on your cheek.
“Stop”, he whispered and nibbled your neck.
With a grunt, you stomped your heel against his feet. He hissed, which was enough for you to drive your elbow against his ribs and your fist against his nose when he leaned down breathless. You hooked your arms around his neck and used your weight to bring him down, straddling his waist and pinning his arms to the ground.
You knew how easily he could just turn the situation around, but maybe he didn’t expect to find himself like this so easily and all he did was looking at you with a smile playing on his lips.
“What are you going to do now, (Y/L/N)?” He asked.
If you were honest to yourself, you just wanted to tease him like he had teased you. But you also knew you weren’t strong enough, not after last night and that morning. You bite your lip and leaned down, wondering if this time he would finally give in. He didn’t move, but his eyes turned a bit darker as his eyes moved down to your lips.
“I should just leave you wanting it”, you whispered against his lips. He chuckled a little.
“You wouldn’t make it to the door”, he warned you. You knew it was true.
You let go of one of his hands, which quickly moved to your hair, moving it out of the way. You took a deep breath, enjoying the moment, before finally closing the distance between your lips.
The moment your lips touched, you let go of his other hand. Immediately, Bucky flipped you around to have you pinned under him and kiss you deeply. You wrapped your legs around his waist in an attempt to bring him impossibly close to you. A moan escaped his throat, making you smirk against his lips while your hands sneaked under his t-shirt and brushed his warm skin.
You wanted him. Badly. But, of course, he wasn’t going to give you everything in just a moment, let alone on the gym floor. Instead, he pulled away after a few minutes and looked at you.
“You always get your way, huh?” He whispered, gently brushing your nose with his, a gesture you never saw coming from the big and fiery Winter Soldier.
“I have my skills”, you smiled.
With a smile, Bucky got up and helped you up as well, although he didn’t move away from you. He caressed your cheek and kissed your forehead.
“What now?” You asked a bit nervous.
“Maybe we should start with breakfast?” He suggested.
You laughed nervously and nodded, letting him take your hand and lead you out of the gym while all you could think about was kissing him all over again. Maybe over breakfast.
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anabsolutetrainwreck · 9 months ago
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in your rainbow paradise || h. styles
warnings: famous!reader, no covid/pre-covid, mentions of kissing
word count: 1.9k
summary: harry’s your date to the premiere of your new film...
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The premiere of a new film was always nerve-wracking for any actor. Sitting through the first viewing of the finalised product, waiting for the opinions of the critics to start rolling in was a feeling you’d only become aware of six years ago when your first film came out. And now, here you were, preparing for the premiere of your eighth film. As well as nearing the six year anniversary of your so far successful acting career, you’d just celebrated five years with Harry. 
For about four and a half of those wonderful years, you’d been the ‘it’ couple. Constant eyes tracing every move you made as a partnership and interviewers never failing to ask about marriage and kids. Truth be told, you and Harry were both young. You were at the height of your careers, or at least on the way to the climax of it. There was time for settling down later. 
The night before a premiere was always the worst. You’d find yourself awake, sleep not even seeming an option for you. Harry would be asleep most likely, being one of the most carefree people you know. Most of the time on nights like these, you’d light a candle and venture out onto the balcony with a blanket and simply admire the empty streets below and the skyscraper-filled horizon. And, while these tranquil nights were heavenly to you, they almost always resulted in Harry scolding you for sitting outside in the bitter cold of the night. On top of Harry’s scolding, you’d receive the same from Danny, your stylist, for the bags under your eyes. 
Yours and Harry’s stylists had worked together on your premiere look. They’d opted for a cohesive look, bringing small elements of Harry’s suit into your dress to make for a matching set. ‘Just one big look’ was how Danny had put it as you were at your first fitting. 
The sound of a cheering audience approaching got increasingly louder. Your knee was bouncing slightly, Harry’s hand on your thigh. “They’ll love it,” he whispered, kissing your forehead. 
“You don’t know that,” you replied. 
He smiled, “They love anything you’re in.”
That brought a smile to your face. He was so supportive and it never failed to make your heart melt. Now Harry had had a taste of what it felt like to attend the premiere of your own film, he could understand the nerves you felt before every one. “Right, come on,” Harry smiled softly, leaning down to kiss you. 
You got out of the car after Harry, being met with screams of fans. Putting on your best smile for the cameras as Harry leaned over to squeeze your hand. He guided you along the red carpet, his hand placed on your lower back. He couldn’t help but find himself admiring how gorgeous you looked. 
Taking pictures with fans was always one of your favourite things at premieres. Getting to be so close with the people who admired you was a joy of yours. You always tried to chat with them, though that wasn’t always possible. You were just as excited to meet fans as they were to meet you, apart from the three times you’d accidentally dropped fans’ phones. The best part about bringing Harry along was that the fans usually wanted pictures with Harry too. “You look stunning, by the way,” Harry whispered in your ear. 
“So do you,” You replied, turning to grin up at him. He squeezed your waist, pressing his lips to your temple. Your names were being cried out by photographers and various news outlet journalists. All you could do was smile, leaning into Harry’s side slightly. Posing for pictures was perhaps the worst aspect of a premiere. For two or three minutes you had to stay perfectly gorgeous, turning your head slightly and twisting your body to face whichever photographer demanded you do so. And then you’d have to do the same all over again on your own, Harry stood to the side sending you supportive grins. 
A security guard ushered you along towards the hoard of journalists, their microphones outstretched. You could see your costar, Tom, take your spot in front of the photographers. “Y/N! Y/N!” a woman called, catching your attention. “Hello.”
“Hi,” you grinned, pulling Harry over with you. “How are you?”
“I’m great, thank you! And you? How are you two?” she asked. 
“We’re good, aren’t we?” you smiled, looking up at Harry to see him nod. 
“You both look wonderful, by the way. The matching outfits are beginning to become a bit of a trend between the two of you,” she said, admiring the outfits. 
“I guess so. Our stylists are friends, so they like to collaborate on looks,” you replied. “I think this is my favourite, though.”
“I’m not surprised! They’re beautiful. And Harry, which of yours and Y/N’s matching looks is your favourite?”
He hummed in thought for a moment. His eyes trailed up and down your body, getting a proper look at the dress you were wearing. “Probably the Met Gala look. I loved that one,” he finally answered. 
“That was a good one. Now, Y/N, how excited are you for your fans to see the film?” she questioned, her face lit up in an incredibly bright smile. 
“Very excited. It’s a project I’m really proud of and I hope they enjoy it,” you said.
“I’m sure they will. Now, I have to say, people are predicting a few Oscar nominations from the trailer alone,” she grinned.
“Oh, are they?” you laughed. 
“They are. What do you have to say about that?”
“It would be incredible to even be nominated but there are a lot of much more talented actors in the industry, so I doubt it’ll happen. We can always hope, though,” you said. 
“Don’t say that,” Harry said, his eyebrows furrowed slightly. “You’re incredibly talented.”
You grinned up at him, laying your head on his shoulder as a means to thank him. This man never failed to make you feel worthy. Your little moment was interrupted by the journalist grinning, “Get yourself a man who hypes you up like Harry hypes up Y/N. Well, it’s been lovely talking to you both.”
“And you,” you said quickly.
“Thank you very much. I hope you both enjoy the film,” she smiled, before turning her attention to Greta, the director. You quickly exchanged a hug with her, telling her how beautiful she looked. It had been almost a year since you’d last seen her on your final day of production. 
You did a few more interviews with Harry, laughing and joking with him throughout. Besides, the fans loved it when you were both yourselves around one another at big events. Finally, you were doing one final interview before heading in to actually watch the film for the first time. “Hi, guys! It’s great to see you here today,” the interviewer smiled - though you were sure he was probably sick of the cheering fans and asking the same questions to the cast, only to receive almost identical answers every time. 
“It would be pretty rude for Y/N not to show up today,” Harry joked, a cheeky grin etched into his features. 
“This is true,” he laughed. “Now, Y/N, I just want to ask, this is your eighth film, do you have any plans for anything slightly different in the future?”
“What, like music? Yeah, I’ll just do what Harry did, randomly enter a whole new area of show business unannounced. Look out for my album, dropping next year!” you joked, earning a slight nudge in the ribs from Harry. 
“Hey,” he frowned. “That isn’t very nice, Y/N.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” you said. “Is your ego too fragile?”
The journalist laughed at the banter the two of you shared, feeling as if he was invading a moment of privacy slightly. You looked back to him, smiling sweetly, apologetically, “But to answer your question seriously, I am working on a project. Something is in the works. It’s a little bit different to acting.”
“Can we have any hints as to what it may be?” 
“Something directorial maybe?” you teased, grinning. 
“That sounds exciting. Now, I’m curious about the two of you. You’re both very talented in what you do. So, Harry which of Y/N’s films is your favourite. And, for Y/N, which of Harry’s songs is your favourite?”
You both took a moment to think about that question. It was a nice change from ‘Harry, when are you proposing?’ or ‘are kids a plan for your future?’. The two of you exchanged a glance, waiting to see who would answer first. In the end, it was Harry, “Probably Clementines of the Ripest Variety. I really loved that film and I loved Y/N in it.”
You felt your cheeks heating up; hearing Harry sing your praises, particularly in front of lots of people always made you feel warm inside. He rubbed circles on your bare back, where the dress didn’t cover it, sending nerves rippling through your system. Clementines of the Ripest Variety was a courtroom film you’d shot back in 2017 that had been received particularly well by the critics. It ended up winning the most awards out of any movie you’d worked on and it was some of your proudest work. That was why Harry loved it so much - he knew how hard you’d worked for it. “And Y/N?” 
“My favourite song of Harry’s? There are so many incredible ones. I’ll go with Fine Line. Such an amazing song,” you smiled.
“Amazing,” the journalist grinned. He asked a few more questions about the film before finally saying, “Thank you so much for your time. Have a great evening.”
“You too,” you smiled as you and Harry left the red carpet.
Your feet were aching and your cheeks were sore from all the forced smiles you’d had to endure throughout the course of the evening. Once you were settled in your seats, you could finally relax out of the ever piercing gaze of the public. After a quick introduction from Greta, the film began. And you could feel the nerves that had been exploring your stomach beforehand slowly dissipating as you got lost in the flow of the film. You’d occasionally sneak a glance at Harry in an attempt to gauge his opinions before the credits rolled and you could finally ask him how he felt about your latest work. 
He’d always smile whenever you were on screen. It was a habit he’d adopted for as long as the two of you had been together. No matter what you were doing on screen, he was just proud to see his darling succeed. Although, you were the same really. Whenever one of Harry’s songs came on the radio or he was mentioned in passing on the television, you became beyond proud of him.
As the credits finally did roll and your name came up in big against the blackness of the screen, which was a feeling you were sure you’d never become used to, Harry leaned over to kiss you. You smiled into it, feeling him do the same. “You were perfect, love,” he said. 
“You’re too kind to me,” you laughed quietly. 
“It was just an observation from a fan,” he shrugged, smirking. 
You shook your head, laughing at him, “Was it? But, from a boyfriend’s perspective, what did you think?”
“I still thought you were perfect, my love.”
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justreadingfics · a year ago
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It’s a Deal (Chapter 12)
Chapter Summary: Bucky romances the shit out of you. In his own way.
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Words: 5.4k
Warnings: drinking, cursing, old friends partying together, smut, semi-public sex, oral sex (f), face fucking.  
A/N: I shouldn’t tease you guys as much as I do when I respond the comments, lol! Thank you so much for all the feedback, btw. Be nice to Bucky, he’s never been in love before. Thank you, @lesqui​, for sparing me some time even when you have so much in your plate. Love you. The link to my masterlist, where you can find the other chapters, is on my description. Feedback is highly appreciated.
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*no Alpine in this particular chapter, but the art is just too amazing and fitting for the two of them in this story not to seize the opportunity to use it when the talented @muffinshark​ gave me permission. 
The sour taste of lemon eases down the burn in your throat after the second shot of tequila of the night. Laughs and chattering sounds mingle with the beats around you in the dark place.
“So, how’s single life treating you, Y/n?” Brianna asks raising her voice to be heard, making the attention of your other friends, Maddie and Taylor, turn to you as well with expectant looks on their faces while the four of you stands around a tall and stylish table.
Since they all wanted to dance, you ended up choosing a restaurant that turned into a club later in the night. The place is a bit too fancy for your taste, but the music is good, as well as the drinks and the company. 
At college, they were your little gang, but with time, as your relationship with Eddie became more and more serious, the group ended up drifting apart, shrinking the relationship into occasional text messages and even more rare encounters. Maddie is the exception, since her fiancée, David, is friends with Eddie, which led to the four of you keep hanging out as couples.  
You feel guilty and stupid for letting them aside, because you missed this, so much. And so did they, for when you called them, they were all on board to start seeing each other more.
“Pretty good, actually,” you answer, taking a sip of your bottle of water. You don’t mind getting a bit tipsy that night, but you need to get an uber by yourself back home and you definitely don’t want it to escalate to you ending up drunk on a stranger’s car, “I mean, I’ve been seeing you guys more often, I’ve been reading a lot, watching all my favorite films-”
“Don’t you miss banging?” Brianna asks, frowning at you.
“Bri,” Taylor scolds, but turns her focus on you, anyway, waiting for an answer, as does Maddie. 
You clear your throat, making some time before answering. You haven’t told them about Bucky… you’re not even sure why, but you suspect that it’s just because you don’t know exactly how to define him in your life. For a reason you still don’t have clear in your mind, you can’t just refer to him as a guy you had a deal with to bang, “Ahm… I’m not focusing on that right now.” You shrug, not telling a complete lie.  
“Ugh, girl, you should,” Brianna grimaces, “I mean… we all know Eddie was your first and only,” She huffs, “Now that you’re out there in the world, there’s so much you could explore. I mean… so much.” She smirks.
“You better hurry up, though,” Maddie says, gulping down some water, “Eddie is determined to get back with you, he’s been talking to David a lot about it and, I mean, he proposed and all.”
The grimace on Brianna’s face twists hard, while Taylor smiles sympathetically at you.  
“I know…” You sigh, looking down for a second, “I just don’t know how I feel about it.”
“You know what? It was about time that relationship of yours with Eddie to be over-“
“Alright, alright,” Taylor, ever the peacemaker intervenes, shooting a warning look at Brianna, who stays quiet but doesn’t seem too happy about it, “Enough about exes and fiancées.” Taylor looks past your shoulders and nods, just when a small smirk curls up her lips, “Look at that guy right there… a damn greek God, he would be perfect for you to explore, like Bri said.”
You chuckle lightly, not really getting as excited as you are expected to be.
While Maddie stands on her toes to look for the guy, you spot when Brianna’s face light up right before she shrieks, “Holy shit, that’s not just some hot guy, that’s The Winter Fucking Soldier.”
The air catches in your throat as your eyes widen, “Bucky?” You swiftly turn towards the direction they’re looking at. And there’s the man himself. Sipping from a glass of whiskey while listening to what one of the two girls he’s talking to is saying. Before there’s a chance of his gaze lock with yours, your face snaps forward again.
You ignore Brianna squinting at you, and bring your bottle of water to your suddenly dry lips. Seeing him there made you, all of a sudden, a nervous teenager who spots a crush at a party. You do need to figure out your damn feelings soon…
“Oh, yeah…” Maddie says, realization running over her face, “That’s him. Damn he looks good… Y/N, oh my God, do you often come across him at work?” She asks, excited curiosity on her voice.
“Sometimes, yeah…” you mumble, biting your lip, still a bit shook by his presence. Could it be just a coincidence? You remember telling him you were going out, but you don’t remember telling him where you would be…
“You’re so lucky to work there,” Taylor sighs while your mind runs at full speed, “The Avengers… holy shit, why are they all so hot? That Falcon dude…”
“What about Captain America? That ass…” Maddie says, with a dreamy tone, “And Thor… Tony Stark…the damn Hulk...”
“Bucky?” Brianna finally speaks, squinting harder at you and interrupting Maddie while she went over all the Avengers names and hotness, “Bucky? When did you two get so intimate… and why are you so flustered to see him here?” She tips her chin and waves all over you. Her eyes go bigger before she smirks, “You sneaky little I’m not focusing on sex right now bitch, you’ve been fucking him, haven’t you? You’ve been boning the Winter Soldier.”
You’re sure you look like a deer caught in headlights, because Maddie and Taylor gaping expressions now match Brianna’s. Seeing no point or really no good reason to hide the blatant truth from your friends, you allow you initial fluster to mold into a smirks, “A lot of fucking, actually,” you admit.  
After the squeaky reaction, you tell them all about the deal you had with Bucky, just leaving out the part when he confessed his feelings. That’s still a sensitive topic to you and you’re not sure how much Bucky would be ok with having such an intimate situation exposed. The sex bits, though? You’re pretty sure he wouldn’t mind whatsoever.  
“Oh my god,” Taylor gasps when you’re done, “I’m gonna need another shot after that.” She fans herself before calling for a waiter.
“Make it four, we’re all pretty thirsty now,” Brianna wiggles her eyebrows at you, “Holy shit, and here I was thinking our girl was moping around and drying out from the inside of that vagina out.” She scoffs to herself, ”You go, you glorious bitch.” She reaches out for a discreet high five under the table, to which you quickly respond with a laugh.
“Ahm, guys…” Maddie calls, frowning at the screen of her phone after looking up with an apologetic expression, “David just texted me. He and Eddie are at the door to come in.” She cringes.
“Oh…” You frown at the news.
“Shit…” Brianna laughs, while the waiter arrives with the trail of shots Taylor had ordered, “This sure is going to be an interesting night.” She catches two glasses from the trail, handing one directly to you.
“Maddie, did you tell David to come? Of course he would bring Eddie…” Taylor tilts her head in a chastising way while the waiter places the other two shots on the table. 
“I didn’t know,” Maddie looks helpless, before turning to you, “Y/N, I swear… I can call David and tell them to go somewhere else, he will understand-“
“Shh,” you wave and shake your head at her dismissively, “Don’t worry, Mads, it’s fine.” You soothe her, “But my plans of going home sober have just gone down the drain.” You shrug, right before turning down your shot.
Grimacing at the sower taste, you glance behind your shoulder. You don’t spot Bucky there, anymore. You doubt he has left the place, but you catch yourself wishing that was the case. Eddie being there doesn’t bother you as much as the possibility of Bucky thinking you had made plans with your ex. 
Damn… you really need to put your feelings in check.
“Alright,” Brianna turns down her shot and claps her hands, “Come on, let’s dance, we can fix ourselves another shot in our way,” she decides, pulling you by the hand, to which you offer no resistance.  
You have no idea what Eddie or Bucky are doing there and of course it puts you off a bit, since you weren’t expecting an encounter with the two of them that night… but you know one thing, you came here to have fun and you might as well do exactly that.
While Taylor and Maddie choose to stay by the table, you and Brianna go to the dance floor. There’s a lot of dancing, drinking and laughs… so much laughing. The DJ puts on a playlist from your college decade and you two go wild with that.
“I need some water, be right back,” Brianna pants in your ear at some point, and you just nod, too involved in the music to stop dancing. This is one of the perks of staying single. You discovered a lot about you and just how much you enjoy dancing was something you’ve never been aware of yourself before.
A few minutes pass after Brianna left and you keep swaying to the music until you feel a pair of arms around your waist. A smile pops in your lips as an instant flashback surges in your mind: the first time you went out with Bucky… met his friends… danced with them until he came to get you… circling his arms around you just like that.
Chuckling, you turn around but the smiling face your gaze meets is not the one you saw back then.  
It’s Eddie.
“Hi,” he greets, keeping his hands on your waist.
You sure hope the disappointment isn’t etched on your face when you greet him back with a weak but friendly enough hello. You take a step back, unraveling yourself from his hands.
“Ahm…” He clears his throat, letting his arms fall to each side of him, “I saw you dancing when I came in.” He smiles, tilting his face closer to you and speaking loudly so you can hear him, “You looked beautiful…”
At the compliment your eyes shift to the floor and, not really sure how to respond, you just let out a small and breathy laugh. 
“I hope you don’t mind me being here, David called me and I… I’m not gonna lie, I really wanted to see you.” He leans even closer.
“Eddie…” you sigh, taking another step back as your eyes, almost involuntarily, roams around, trying to spot if anyone is watching you. And by anyone, your mind means Bucky. You find him. He’s up there in one of the mezzanines, engaged on a conversation with a group of people. You’re not even sure he’s seen you there. He’s not looking at you and he hasn’t come to say hello…
“Ahm,” Eddie brushes the back of his neck and your attention is on him again. He presses his lips in a tight smile before speaking again, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen the girls, I’m gonna go say hello and grab something to drink.” He nods towards the direction of the table you were with your friends before.
“Oh, ok, ahm, I’ll go with you,” you say and his whole face light up, “I need something to drink, too.”
He nods with a smile and gestures for you to lead the way.
Despite some initial wariness of Eddie’s presence among the girls, the night plays out pretty smoothly, actually. The little group you’re a part of engages in a jovial and light conversation. It seems like college all over again and it’s so much fun. You like that. Every once in a while, your gaze meets Eddie’s and, for that split of moment, it seems like nothing’s changed, but at the same time, it’s all different. Going out with your friends and having so much fun with Eddie at your side weren’t something that was a part of your relationship. But you could get used to that…
At the same time… more often than you dare to acknowledge, your gaze navigates unbidden to search for Bucky, to see what he’s doing, to check if he’s looking at you, to see if he’s still there or maybe has left… with someone else… Every single time your eyes find him, but not once he looks at you.
It makes you feel some kind of way… some longing kind of feeling.
When the shots and the water become a bit much, you excuse yourself to the ladies room, to where Taylor goes with you.
“So… it seems like you’re dealing pretty well with Eddie being here, huh?” she says, looking at you through the mirror while you both fix your lipsticks by the sink.
“Yeah…” you frown and shrug, “I’m kinda surprised to be honest. We almost never did this while we were together. I thought he didn’t like it, but maybe it was just us being too accommodated into a routine, I guess…” You look to your lips and resume to apply your lipstick.
“Yeah…” she closes her lipstick and places back in her purse, “Or he’s just making an effort to win you back…”
You sigh, watching her through the mirror, “Maybe… I don’t know…”
“What about…” she looks around the bathroom, there’s only a couple of other girls, but Taylor has always been the more discreet one, “the other guy? What’s really there? The way you talked about him, the way you looked at him… it didn’t seem like just sex to me…”
Oh… the million-dollar question. You put your lipstick away and turn to face her, “I don’t know…” You lick your lips after letting out an exhale, “He did tell me he was feeling something more,” you admit.
“Ah… I see…” She smirks. “What about you, huh?” She pulls you away from the countertop and to a small lounge area there in the restroom.
“I don’t know.” You shake your head, while a small smile curls your lip, “I mean…he’s… incredible… such a free spirit…” You grin wider as you think of him, “I had never met anyone like him before. I guess it’s impossible not to end up feeling something, but…” Your smile falters a bit, “I’m not sure how much he would be up to everything else, all the drama, I mean, that comes with a relationship… with experiencing a feeling deeper than just… sex.” You shrug and look down, crossing your arms in front of your chest.
“I see… but… Can I tell you something?” She asks, tilting her head.
You look up at her, nodding for her to continue. 
“Don’t get me wrong but, I feel like maybe you’re feeling and thinking that way because in your relationship with Eddie, you’ve learned that love, freedom, fun… all of that couldn’t work together and… I’m not sure that’s the rule of every relationship, though. It can be light, fun, meaningful and still be a committed relationship. It sure seems like you enjoy yourself with Bucky, and that’s what really matters in the end, right? They way you feel about yourself when you’re with someone?”
You just ponder her words for a second. You’ve been thinking about it a lot… the time you spent together makes you wonder how a relationship with Bucky would play out and… it makes your heart so light and hopeful… But it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t lead to hurt or even that you have your feelings all figured out, yet.
“Anyway…” You shake your head, “He didn’t even look at me tonight, so…maybe it was really just an infatuation all along…” You run your tongue inside your lips, trying to suppress the heaviness suddenly in your chest, “Come on, let’s not spend the night in here.” You chuckle, nodding and walking towards the way out as Taylor just eyes you but follows you nevertheless.
The sight you come across as soon as you step out of the restroom makes you stop on your track.
He’s leaning by the wall of the alleyway, both hands behind his back, one leg folded up, his foot pressed against the wall. Dark grey t-shirt and blue jeans. Short fluffy hair in a combed back style. Perfect enough to grab… just how he likes it. Plump lips shadowed by a light scruff and soft blue eyes trained on you.  
Damn… He takes your breath away.
“Ahm, ok… yeah…gotta go, see you, later, Y/N.” Taylor says and swiftly leaves the scene.
All the while, you just don’t seem to be able to move your gaze away from him. When you spot the smile starting to curl his lips, you feel the tug on yours, too. And there you are, looking and smile at each other… the sounds of music and chattering muffled by the big door that separates the bathrooms area from the rest of the club.
Without uttering a word or parting his eyes from yours, Bucky extends a hand to you. An invitation…
Your gaze drops to the tempting hand, and then you glance at the door to the club. In your chest, your heart beats fast and almost louder than the music, like it’s making you notice it, telling you loudly and clearly you what it wants. When you look back at him, you have your lower lip pressed between your teeth and you step closer.
Your hands barely touch before he gently envelops yours in his. As the heat of his skin covers yours, his smile widens at you and he moves away from the wall he’s been leaning onto, moving towards the opposite direction of the music, leading you with him by his hand.
You hadn’t even seen the small black door by the end of the hallway, but he opens it and you follow him. Walking behind him, never letting go of his hand, he walks you through what seems like a storage room, until you find another door that leads you to a flight of stairs. Your breathing increases and you gulp down as you climb up the stairs with him. No questions. There’s no need.
When you get to the end of the steps, he stops in front of a two-leaf door and lets go of your hand to open it. He turns to you and, with that sweet smile of his, gestures for you step to the other side.
You breathe in the fresh outside air and step into what seems like a roof deck in construction. The sound of the door shutting behind catches your attention before you feel his heat on your back and his arms around your waist.
You lean back and your eyes flutter shut once he breathes in through your hair, making your arms go slack. Shit … you really missed him.
“It’s going to be pretty when it’s done, don’t you think?” He talks to you for the first time that night. His voice comes out in a low and raspy sound while the warmth of his breath covers your neck. Your thighs clench against one another, “I had a survey around the area once I got here and found this place. I thought it was perfect...” He whispers, tightening the hold on you.
You just let out a hum in response… The faded beats of music sound distant from where you are, but his hips start swaying, leading you with his rhythm... You sigh as a small smile pops on your lips when you cover his hands on your waist with yours. 
 “How’s your night so far, huh, having fun?” His low voice vibrates through the skin of your neck.
“Lots of it,” you let out a long exhale, leaning further against him.  
“That’s good.” A faint of a kiss lays on your shoulder.  “I saw you having fun down there with your friends…” He keeps the slow sway of his hips with yours, “So sexy, and beautiful,” he praises, and you lick your lips, “I hope you don’t mind me crashing in.”
A sharp gasp leaves your lips once he turns you around in his arms and you catch yourself by circling yours around his neck.
The intensity in his eyes is almost unbearable in a delicious way and his gaze roams around your face, carefully scrutinizing every single detail. With a will of its own, your lips part when your eyes drop to his, and next thing you see, you’re caged between him and the nearest wall.
He doesn’t relent to the silent plea in your parted lips and eyes focuses on his lips and, instead of locking them with yours like you can’t for a second deny that you want, he drags them over the bare skin of your neck up to your jaw.
“I thought that maybe I could add a little something to your night,” he whispers right above your pulsing point before his tongue darts to lick the skin there.
A wanton moan escapes you at the feeling… the sweet feeling of having him so close to you again. This time you spent apart from him… not for a second you forgot about the effect he has on your body… on you… and there he is again, turning you into putty under his touch.
“You look so sexy in this dress,” he continues and, without parting his lips from your neck, his hand skims up your bare thigh towards the hem of your dress, “Made me eager for a taste…” He whispers into your ears, turning your senses into a blurry fog when he drops on his knees in front of you.  
His both hands continue their ascend on your thigh and underneath your dress when a stubborn reasonable thought slips through the cloud of your senses.
“Bucky…” You pant, looking down at him, “I don’t…”
His hands stop right before they get to your underwear, “You don’t want it?” He asks, staring up at you.  
“No…I do...” you admit, completely unable to lie to him while you run a hand over your face, “Fuck, I do... I just…” You sigh, trying to organize your thoughts and words, “You said you’re…” You let out another frustrated breath by not being able to be straightforward with what you’re saying. He’s said he’s in love with you. You still don’t have a clear picture of your feelings, you’re afraid that if you go further with this, you might end up hurting him, which you absolutely do not want, “I’m still…” You shake your head, “I don’t wanna complicate things…”
“Shhhh,” he soothes, placing a long kiss on your thigh and then the other, which makes butterflies fly in your belly, before he looks up at you again, with a smile on his lips, “Don’t you worry, sweetheart… I told you before…” He brushes his hand lightly up and down your thighs, “I’m a grown ass man, I can handle my feelings…” He licks his lips and takes a piercing bite on his lower one, before aiming you a devilish dark gaze, “A grown ass man who wants a taste of that sweet pussy of yours... It’s just a taste. I missed it so bad…” he pleads, nuzzling into your mound through the fabric of your dress.
“Fuck…” your head falls back into the wall. If this is going to complicate things… you’re both adults who can deal with complications… right? You’re not that sure. All you’re sure about is the aching throb in your clit and your hands moving to lift up your dress.
Taking it as the yes that he needs, Bucky wastes no time, hastily helping you pull up the skirt of your dress up your waist. He swiftly drags the base of your underwear aside and digs in with an open mouth.
At the sensation of his wet and warm tongue on you again, shivers run up your skin to your nipples and your face contorts in a silent cry. Your hands close into tight fists, bunching tightly the fabric of your dress.  
He hooks a hand under your leg and places it over his shoulder, opening you up to him and you gasp, sneaking your fingers on his hair. He laps at your clit with a furious desire that makes your thoughts faint and your eyes shut, focusing your mind solely on the delicious mouth on you and how it brings an inferno upon your core and skin. The kind of feeling that only him can bring you, making you moan like that and kicking the air out of your lungs.
Bucky lets out a hum that vibrates all through your core and your eyes snap down to see his face shoved deep into your pussy, back and forward, while he grabs your ass and presses you harder against him. It’s like he’s desperate to taste you, to feel you, to have you all over him… and, damn… that makes you feel hotter and sexier than ever.   
 “Fuck,” you whisper under a heavy breath and grabs his hair harder.
That’s when he moves away and rests his cheek on your thigh, seeming on a fight for air himself while his stare remains on your exposed sex right in front of him, “Damn you taste perfect,” he pants before turning his face to grab the soft flesh of your inner thigh in a piercing but delicious bite that makes you yelp, “So good,” he breathes again, before flattening his tongue and licking a long stripe of your pussy.
“Bucky…” you whisper, letting your head fall back while your knees shake.
“Fucking perfect,” he moves to bite your other thigh sharply, which draws out a breathy and delighted laugh out of that dies shortly in a gasp when his tongue comes back to lick your pussy with renewed hunger.
You breathe erratically and stars appear behind your lids, shut in a dreamy state while he devours you out. He doesn’t use his fingers… only his mouth is enough to bring you to a little paradise in a roof deck under construction in the middle of the city.  
Your face snaps down at him with a glare once you can’t feel the wet and soft touch of his lips anymore. But the plea that comes out of his lips in a low and seductive tone makes it all worth it.
“Fuck my face, sweetheart…”
“What?” Your eyes widen a bit, in sheer disbelief, but with a hint of eagerness speeding up your breathing even more.
“Fuck my face,” he repeats, brushing his nose on your mound before laying a kiss on the spot, “You wanna come on my mouth don’t you? I want you to come all over my face, sweetheart, please...”
Fucking please? Does he really think he needs to beg you for that, “Oh…Yes, fuck yeah, I do.” Your voice comes out almost in a grunt.
He smirks and groans in response before digging in again and pushing your hard against his face.  Propped by a frenzy that rushes up your whole body, you do exactly what he asked of you. Positioning your hands on the back of his head you grind your pussy harshly up and down against him, feeling all of his beautiful face against your dripping and sensitive flesh.
His growing beard rasps against your thighs and it only makes the sensations even more intense. You can’t hold your loud moans back, that mixes up with his muffled groans, while you properly fucks his face. It’s all too much and it’s not long before you let out a strangled cry and your whole body shivers in a potent climax while you come all over his mouth and face, just like he asked.
Bucky tightens the hold on your thigh and ass, grounding you on your spot at the same time he peppers soft kisses on your mound, thighs, pussy… Your body spasms at the feeling and the aftershocks of your pleasure, until you can’t take it anymore and gathers the strength to grab his collar and pull him up to you. 
As soon as his face – glistening in your pleasure- levels yours, you steal his lips in a furious kiss. His taste is all yourself and, fuck, it drives you wild. You reach a hand down and cups his cock, moaning at feeling it hard and throbbing against your hand through his pants.
When you start gently palming it up and down, he grabs your pulse with his metal hand, stopping your moves.
Parting your lips from him, you frown, to which he answers smiling and bringing your hand to his lips, to place a kiss on it before lacing his fingers with yours and trapping your joined hands between your chests. The gesture itself is enough to make your face soften while you take in a deep breath.
“I’m gonna go home now,” he says, leisurely wiping his face with the back of his flash hand.
The frown comes back to your face, “Huh?”
He chuckles, having his face delightfully close to yours, “I’m not here to disturb you night, sweetheart. You go back and have fun with your friends, they seem great,” he brings his lips to your forehead, “You look so sexy in this dress,” he speaks with his lips on your skin, while your hands are still linked between the two of you.  His flesh one, he dips beneath the hem of your dress that now has fallen over your thighs again.
You’re suddenly out of breath one more time and can’t part your eyes from him, completely in lack of words.
As for him, he skims up your thigh and leans back to look down at his hand, “You go show this whole club how beautiful and hot you are. Dance with somebody,” he suggests, nonchalantly, like he’s not just now hooking a finger under the base of your underwear that he had pushed aside, to put it back in place and cover you up.
You watch, completely entranced, while he brings his finger to his nose, his eyes fluttering shut as he sniffs and hums, before his dark blue gaze is on yours again, “Let them know how good you smell… how perfect you are.”
A strangled noise comes out of you.
He chuckles, and cups the side of your neck, placing another kiss on your forehead, “I’m getting down first, and don’t worry. I know how to be invisible… don’t wanna bring any kind of drama to your night,” he says with no sign of bitterness or anything like that on his tone.
He doesn’t mention Eddie, but you swallow dry because you know he has him in mind when he mentions “drama”.
With a smirk on his face, he winks, before locking his lips on yours in a chaste but intense kiss. Too soon he parts away, walking through the same door you two hat gotten there by, leaving you completely speechless and wrecked behind.
~~~
When you were finally out of your daze and deciding that only tomorrow you would think of the many possible consequences to what had just happened, you managed to climb down the stairs and, after a quick stopped by the bathroom to put yourself as together as one could be at that situation, you walk your stubbornly wobbly legs towards the table with your friends again.
“Where the hell were you?” Once she spots you, Maddie shouts, with no control on the volume of her voice, looking quite a bit drunk with a margarita in hands, no sign of David or Eddie around the table.
“Ahm,” you risk a glance at Taylor, who avoids looking at you and focuses on sucking her own drink from the straw, “I saw a friend from work, I went to say hello.” You clear your throat.
“Don’t you bullshit us, bitch.” This time Brianna shouts, stepping forward and pushing you on the shoulder, making you almost fall ass-first to the floor if Maddie hadn’t helped you out by grabbing your arm. “Look at you. You look thoroughly fucked. Literally.” She starts laughing loudly, as the others follow.
“Shhhh,” you shush them, holding back your own laugh, “Holy shitballs, you guys. The whole club doesn’t need to know.”
The three of them start a drunken mess of applause, cheers and shrieks at your little slip. You’re too involved with them to notice that a particular pair of ears isn’t really that far from the table and hears the whole interaction. 
~~~
To be continued...
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karkalicious769 · 23 days ago
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Oh man Ben 10, the nostalgia. I loved it as a kid tho don't remember that much of it anymore. My favourite was always Kevin, even during classic when he was an occasional villain (tho he might have shown up in only one episode? I don't quite remember). Would you be willing to do a small Character analysis on him?
I've been into Ben 10 for as long as I can remember. I have memories of watching it as a child, buying the DVDs and merchandise, recording new episodes... Aah, good times. I've been a fan for easily longer than a decade.
Haha, no, Kevin was in plenty of episodes in the Classic series! And those episodes are all great. "Back With A Vengeance," "Framed," and "Grudge Match" are some of my favorite episodes in animation. Just, in general.
As for character analysis... Well, it'd be easier if you asked for something specific rather than just his whole character. But, sure, I can ramble a bit about Kevin.
Side note: if you're into fanfics, and Kevin, I highly recommend "Thaw" by Xparrot. It's a great character study on Kevin and his relationships with Ben and Gwen.
Anyway. Something that I think is interesting about Kevin is that his mistakes/character flaws are not usually directly addressed by the writing. This might be because Ben is the main character (duh), so he naturally gets the most screen time/focus on his interpersonal struggles, but Kevin's flaws are usually more lowkey.
Here's an example: Kevin's biggest flaw, since he met Ben as an eleven-year-old, is his inability to accept his own mistakes. It's always someone else's fault. This is made abundantly clear in the Classic series — every time he sees Ben, no matter the circumstances or how many second tries he's given, Kevin always defaults to, "This is your fault." He gets mutated after touching the Omnitrix completely of his own free-will? Ben's fault. Overusing those powers mutates him irreversibly? Ben's fault. While fighting Ben, they both get sucked into an inter-dimensional gladiatorial arena that has nothing to do with Ben in the slightest? Ben's fault.
A lot of Kevin's more psychotic tendencies in the Classic series is due to his power overload, sure, but this flaw is all his. As soon as he found out about the Omnitrix, he was already planning to somehow take it from Ben.
This carries over into Alien Force where, again, Kevin ends up mutated. This time, he's Ben's ally/friend, and Gwen's maybe-sorta-kinda-boyfriend. Now, admittedly, his second mutation is sort of his fault as well as Ben's. Although placing the blame for this one isn't really going to work because it was an accident on both of their parts. Either way, Kevin does exactly what he did as a child: he wallows. He gets bitter. He stews in resentment.
This is actually a great example of the show addressing Kevin's flaws directly. The episode "In Charm's Way" is all about how he's being an ass to Gwen (and, to a lesser extent, Ben) over this whole thing. Most of Kevin's character development is subtle (I.E., he never apologized to Ben for trying to kill him as a kid, but in Omniverse, says that Ben is "like a brother" to him, which is fucking adorable) so it was nice to see it outlined so blatantly.
Gwen: I mean, why were you even hanging out with her? Kevin: Because I thought she liked me. Gwen: And I don't? Kevin: If you liked me so much, how come you haven't bothered to find a way to change me back? Ben: Dude! Kevin: After all, as long as I'm a monster, no other girl would want me, right? Gwen: We are not having this conversation.
Kevin is, at his core, really insecure. Not surprising, since it seems more and more like Gwen and Ben are the only consistently positive people in his life. His dad is dead and he doesn't seem to live with his mom, despite only being sixteen. He spent a lot of time in an inter-dimensional prison. He's insecure about his looks, about his personality, about his ability to keep/maintain relationships, etc. (Another great example of that flaw of Kevin's is in the episode "Kevin's Big Score," but moving on...)
At this point in the series, Kevin's relationship with Gwen is ambiguous. She ended the last season by bluntly stating that she likes him and asking him out, and it seemed like they'd finally gotten together after two seasons of completely unsubtle UST. But, again, Kevin is insecure. He doesn't think that Gwen is still into him now that he looks like this, so he starts making excuses, each one more stupid than the last. She must be into him because she hasn't dumped him yet, right? But if she's into him, why hasn't she helped him? (As if it's Gwen's job to fix him.)
Thankfully, he rightfully gets his ass chewed out by Ben for being a bitch at the end of the episode.
Kevin: Where's Gwen? Ben: Went home. You hurt her pretty bad. Kevin: I hurt her? I'm the one that looks like this, and she hasn't done a thing about it! Ben: You are a giant, rock-faced jerk! Kevin: Yeah, whatever. Ben: Not whatever. She's been spending every spare moment going through every magic book she can find to try and help you. She's been doing it since the accident. Kevin: She... she never told me. Ben: Should she have had to?
Kevin is also shit at communicating, which is what directly leads into the next episode, "Trade Off." Good news! Kevin has realized that it's not Gwen's job to fix him and is trying to do it himself. Bad news! He forgot to communicate all of this to Gwen and to apologize for making her feel like shit by sorta-kinda-maybe cheating on her with her arch-nemesis in the episode prior.
You can mostly see Kevin's character development in the background. Watch the first episode of Alien Force and then watch his last appearance in Omniverse. It's like looking at two completely different people! Kevin has gotten much more open with being affectionate, particularly towards Ben. (Episodes like "The Ultimate Sacrifice" and "Weapon XI: Part 2" are near and dear to me for that reason and that reason only.)
Personal accountability is a consistent flaw of Kevin's, and something that he really grows out of following his third mutation arc in Ultimate Alien. This was a mutation that he did to himself willingly, fully knowing the consequences but prioritizing saving Ben, Gwen, and the rest of the universe over his own mental state. Coming out of this arc, his changes are subtle, but knowing that he could have hurt/killed the two most important people in his life (or have been killed by Ben instead) really struck him, I think.
Anyway, Kevin is a good boy who's made a lot of efforts to better himself, and he's rewarded with a strong wife and a best friend that he would kill for. Also, he got a dog!
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sehunniepotwrites · 11 months ago
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when the ball drops, our hearts stop | mk.l
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gif created by @nctsworld​ 
SYNOPSIS ☆ In which being dragged and ditched at a New Year’s Eve gala with your so-called enemy doesn’t end as badly as you thought it would. 
GENRE ☆ enemies-to-lovers!au, fluff, suggestive PAIRING ☆ mark lee x (f) reader WORD COUNT ☆ 2666 WARNINGS ☆ suggestive content ahead!! dirty dancing, neck kisses, alcohol consumption, mentions of cheating, cursing
PLAYLIST ☆ new year’s day - taylor swift
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“What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?” had to be the number one question that was sent your way and unlike last year, you didn’t have an answer. Finding your lack of plans to celebrate the upcoming year with a bang, your best friend Wendy decided to drag you to the great outdoors. 
And by the great outdoors, she meant the biggest New Year’s Gala in the city. So there you were, in the grandest hotel in the heart of the city, downed in a glittery silver power suit that hugged your body in just the right way. A matching belt wrapped around to cinch your waist and the low cut of your blazer and lack of undershirt only accentuated the curves you usually preferred hiding. Hair curled up and face painted with the most flattering colors for your skin tone, you were rocking and ready to go.
The gala was packed with people your age and older with a mix of top forty music blaring from the loudspeakers. Everyone was dressed to the nines, wearing suits and dresses that went with the gold and silver theme. Bodies were pressed against each other on the dance floor and you were sure Wendy and her boyfriend Johnny were in that crowd as well. They were always the type to be caught up in all the fun— you, not so much, not since your breakup with your ex that occurred five months ago anyway.
You wanted to stray away from the party scene since it was your ex’s scene as well but fuck it, it was New Year’s Eve and you deserved to have fun. Your definition of fun included an obscene amount of alcohol, courtesy of Son Wendy and the credit card she slipped into the palm of your hand before making her way to the dance floor.
Of course, you promised that you would chat and get to know some people, maybe find someone to share a New Year’s kiss with but it was all a lie. You just wanted your free drinks and the loneliness haunting your mind to fade away.
Three Long Island Iced Teas and a bit way past tipsy into your night, a person pushed their way next to you at the bar, their body pressing against your side as they ordered a drink. You couldn’t see them, your hair creating a curtain and blocking them from view but you felt their eyes on you. It wasn’t until you leaned forward and took another sip of your drink that the person talked to you, immediately recognizing your face.
They called your name a bit cockily and you flinched at the sound, sober enough to pinpoint the exact person next to you but drunk enough to engage in a conversation with him. Swiveling your barstool to face him, you shot him a curt smile, lifting your drink up from the bar in greeting. “Mark,” you nodded as you drank him in. 
“Yo.”
As much as you hated to admit it, Mark Lee was handsome. His hair had been dyed a shade of blond and was styled in a way that made your heart unwillingly skip a beat. His grey velvet suit clung onto his body oh-so-well and the black tie that contrasted against the bright white of his shirt looked almost too tempting, the drunken state of your mind was urging you to pull it so he could step closer to you.
What did people say? Drunken thoughts, sober words? Yeah, fuck that.
“Johnny invited you?” you questioned as you sucked on the straw of your drink. You watched as his eyes flickered from your eyes to your lips for a fraction of a second, his lips curving into the smirk you wanted to punch off his face. Or kiss. 
“Yeah, should’ve figured I would see you when John invited me. You and Wendy are like a packaged deal, you know?” he replied as the bartender dropped off his drink. This time, your gaze was glued to his mouth as he took a swig of his drink, eyes slightly widening as his tongue peeked out before he downed the liquid courage. 
Coughing out of embarrassment, you looked away before Mark could catch you eyeing his seemingly delectable mouth. 
“You look like the mirrorball that’s about to drop,” he commented on your fit of the night. Glancing down at your suit, you frowned. It didn’t look that bad, did it?
When you shifted in your seat yet again, it sent your head spinning for a second, leaving you to grasp against Mark’s toned arm for balance. “I feel like one too,” you threw back. “Is the room spinning?”
“Shit, dude, how much did you drink?” His voice dropped lower in slight concern.
You hold up three fingers before blinking. No, it was four. You raised another finger. 
“All of them iced teas?” 
“Yup!”
He cursed “Where’s your asshole of a boyfriend? Don’t see him around anywhere— doesn’t he know it’s not safe to leave their girl alone at the bar?” Mark pushed, suddenly worried about your safety. He asked if anyone had hit on you yet and let out a sigh of relief when you reiterated that no one had bothered you. Despite the insult thrown your ex’s way, you remembered how considerate the guy was. The only real reason you hated Mark was due to the rivalry he held with your ex-boyfriend.
“I dunno,” you shrugged, shoulders raising and the material of your blazer shifting. Mark coughed, eyes quickly darting away so they wouldn’t land on the deep cut into your cleavage. “Probably sucking face with the bitch he left me for.”
Another long swig of your iced tea and suddenly, the drink was gone with only ice in the glass. You pointed a finger at his face, “Don’t cheat, folks. It’ll wreck a person.”
“Fuck,” Mark muttered under his breath, now fuming with anger that someone would cheat on a girl like you. It only grew when he realized your best friends had left you at the bar alone. He was going to rip their heads off later— how irresponsible of them. 
“Maybe that’s enough drinking for you today,” he told you, wanting to cut you off so you could sober up. He waved a hand in the air to call the bartender over to request two glasses of water, which was immediately prepared for you.
“Drink up,” Mark commanded, holding the straw to your lips. 
You thanked him with a lazy smile before drinking away, sighing at the refreshing feeling of the cold water running down your throat. He held the drink for you in his hands as you continued to work on the glass, only setting it down after you finished it. 
“Thanks,” you whispered, touching your forehead to his shoulder. He felt comfortable and you didn’t want to move as you breathed in the addicting scent of his cologne. You always preferred Mark’s fresh cologne over your ex’s overwhelmingly woody scent. It was consoling and safe and nice and—
“Hey, why don’t we move you to a booth? You’ll be more comfortable there,” Mark softly suggested.
“But what if I want to dance for once?” you whined.
“Let’s get you to sober up a bit more and then I can take you dancing, how ‘bout that?” His breath hit your ear and you laughed at the cold sensation before nodding. A flush that had nothing to do with the alcohol you consumed took over your face as the man you said you hated wrapped a supporting arm around your waist.
An hour later, your drunken state was fading as was the loneliness you were dreading. Mark Lee made an excellent company; he wasn’t at all what your ex painted him out to be. He was kind, caring, and endearingly sweet with the prettiest pair of eyes to match. The way his body wiggled to match his overflowing giggles brought the brightest smile to your lips, something you hadn’t experienced in quite some time. 
The time spent with him in the small booth rekindled the crush you harbored for him before you met your sad excuse of an ex, heart fluttering against your chest.
“Hey,” he leaned over the table, his face so close to yours. “You wanna move closer to the screen so we can see the ball drop clearly? It’s forty to midnight. We can dance, too.”
Your eyes curled up in excitement as you agreed, easily slipping your hand in his like you had done it a million times before. The feeling of his larger hand wrapped around yours sent you into a high that you couldn’t really describe. All you knew was that you didn’t want him to let go and thank god he didn’t.
Mark only held you tighter as you arrived on the dance floor with a clear view of the screen. The bass thumped as he tentatively quirked a brow, silently asking you to dance. You replied by draping your arms over the slopes of his shoulder, your fingertips playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. Tugging you closer at the waist, Mark shot you another look to see if you were okay. The tightening grip around his neck was enough of an answer for him. 
You shivered as his hands ran up and down the sides of your body, his touch almost burning through your glittered suit. When Mark least expected it, you turned around in his hold, pressing your backside against his front. A groan slipped out of his lips before his head dropped against your shoulder, his moist lips ghosting against the exposed skin of your neck. You reached back to hold his head in place as your body grinded into his.
The hand holding your waist tightened at your ministrations, squeezing you in a way that drove you crazy and the pair of lips that left a cautious kiss drove you crazier. The moan you let out and the way your free hand depressed against the one placed on your side was all the confirmation Mark needed to continue the trail of kisses he planned on leaving over the expanse of your neck. You enjoyed the feeling of his lips on your skin so much, your head rolled back and your eyes fluttered to a pleasured close as he nipped at your skin. 
The next half hour was spent with you encaged in Mark’s hold and you weren’t ashamed to say that you enjoyed every minute of it. When catching eyes with Wendy and Johnny across the dance floor, you laughed as your best friend wiggled her brows at you and shot a thumbs up your way. It was then, you realized, that it was their plan to get you two together all along.
Your friends had always mentioned you would get along great, the only thing stopping you was the blasted and unnecessary rivalry that blossomed between Mark and your ex. Now that the terrible excuse of a person was out of your life, there was room for a new man and you found yourself not hating the idea of Mark being the next keeper of your heart.
Five minutes to midnight, you turned around in his hold and smiled up at him. He returned the look with a soft grin of his own. 
“You’re not as bad as I thought you were, Mark Lee.”
“Took you long enough to notice,” he chuckled lowly, the sound sending a warm feeling to the pit of your stomach. “I never thought of you as bad, you know?”
“Is that so?” you countered, your hand freely running through his blond tresses. 
“Yeah, I always thought you were great.”
“Just great?” you teased, leaning a bit forward.
He groaned, “Ugh, dude, you know what I mean.”
“I don’t think I do, dude,” you pushed further, leaving him to touch his head against your shoulder again. You were starting to think that he loved to do it. 
“I always thought you were pretty special,” he whispered into your skin. 
Placing a kiss on the top of his head, you answered back, “I never wanted to admit it but I thought you were pretty special, too.”
“Glad to finally see that the feeling’s mutual,” he laughed before he returned the favor with a kiss to your jaw.
When the countdown from twenty began, Mark shifted both your bodies to face the screen as the people around you started to shout the numbers at the top of their lungs. Wendy and Johnny fought their way through the crowd to get to you and you briefly squeezed your best friend’s hand in greeting. Ready to leave the current year behind and welcome in the new one, you pressed your side into Mark’s before joining in on the countdown. 
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You were shining, Mark noticed, like the mirrorball that was projected on the screen. It wasn’t like he mentioned earlier— it had nothing to do with the silver of the suit. It was just you and the way you shined so brightly as your voice blended with the others in the room. You were lost in the feeling and he loved the way you looked under the dim lights. 
He hoped he could see you in more nights to come, for more opportunities to hold you the way he did on the dance floor.
Mark Lee, who was in love with you longer than he could even remember, wanted your midnights and more. He wanted to hold on to the memories of keeping you close and to create new ones if you would let him. 
Hold onto the memories and they’ll hold onto you or so they said.
His eyes were stuck on you like glue as the crowd reached number ten.
Nine!
Mark’s hand wriggled around the ends of your blazer.
Eight!
His fingertips were hot against your bare skin.
Seven!
Mark tugged you closer to him, making you lose your grip on Wendy’s hand.
Six!
He found your hand reaching for his, fingers tangling together like the red string of fate.
Five!
His heart was beating a mile a minute at the feeling of your thumb rubbing against his skin.
Four!
You jerk your head towards him with glistening eyes and the widest smile. His eyes darted down to your colored lips before shifting back to meet your gaze.
“You wanna kiss me so bad,” you teased as your eyes followed his actions and ended up watching his tongue peek out to moisten his now dry lips.
Three!
“And what if I do?”
Two!
“Well, I’m not going to stop you,” came your flirty reply.
One! 
And when the ball dropped from the sky, your hearts stopped for a brief moment.
Cheers for the new year came from all around but Mark Lee didn’t care— all he cared about was your lips fiercely crashing against his. He spun your body round so it slotted so perfectly against his, much like two pieces of a puzzle coming together as a whole. 
The sensation of finally kissing your lips after secretly longing for you was more than satisfactory; it was addictive, more addictive than the drinks he consumed or any other tempting substance that existed in the world. Mark Lee was enthusiastically devoted to kissing you and the idea of ceasing never crossed his mind.
The only reason he did was for you to catch a breath. His eagerness never faltered, his lips running down to your jaw and the sides of your neck. He pecked your temple and forehead as you giggled at his over-the-top display of affection and it was music to his ears.
Pulling you flush into his chest, he whispered a late greeting into your ear, “Happy New Year.”
With your hands resting against his pecs, you glanced up at him with a charming smile, making his heart drop for the second time in the new year. 
“A happy new year indeed.”
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author’s note ☆ surprise! happy new year, everyone! (and happy 500+ followers to me!) i coughed this out in like five hours so it’s unedited and not my best work, but i wanted to release something in time for the new year! wishing you the best 2021!! 
this was originally a request and i finally filled it!! ✨
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quindolyn · 9 months ago
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Midnight Walks || James Potter
Pairing: James Potter x Reader
Word Count: 4363
Note: Dedicated to 🦎anon from @/randomoutsiders blog. Where I live it’s already 84℉ so this completely feasible but if you don’t live in hell and it's still cold and wintery outside just push it back a few months.
Warnings: Insecure reader, like 2 sexual comments because I’m filthy, talk of men being pigs and not keeping their hands to themselves, lots of fluff, modern muggle au, monkey bars, public nonsexual stripping,
Masterlist
Part 2
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There were ants in your bones, there must’ve been. Either that or someone was trying to feather dust their way out of them. Your entire body itched with the urge to move, to run, to scream and jump in the middle of the street. You couldn’t quite put your finger on what drove this overwhelming desire, perhaps it was some sort of primal reason coded into your DNA, alternatively maybe it was the sitting at your computer all day. One could only attend so many online classes before they went insane, and a decent way into your second semester and still no sign of going back in person anytime before the next school year. You were like a purebred who desperately needed exercise. It would’ve been a simple enough fix if it wasn’t already 10:17, the sun having set four or so hours ago, even though you lived in a pretty nice area you didn’t feel comfortable going out. Men were disgusting, and going out this late alone meant risking life and limb because too many men thought it was okay to touch what wasn’t theirs. Fucking toddlers. So instead you were forced to open your windows in attempts to replicate the natural breeze and try to find another outlet for your energy. You tried. You really did. Jumping jacks, planks, the few yoga poses you could recall off the top of your head, dancing around your house to your favorite songs, but the music didn’t feel like it usually did, even it couldn’t soothe the itching in your bones. You were fucked, simply and truly. Too energetic without the proper outlet. After none of those things worked you sat down to attempt to get some of your weekend homework done, but somewhere between ionization energy and confidence intervals you found yourself picking at your nail polish instead of paying attention to your work. Groaning you threw your head down onto your desk, wincing as the pain from the impact spread through your skull. Closing your eyes you tried to imagine it, the cool night air in your face, blowing through your mangled tresses, the thud of your feet against the pavement of the sidewalk, the feeling of the grass at the park tickling your exposed skin as you stared up at the cloudy sky, looking for stars. You swore you could almost feel it all, almost pulled into bliss when you were yanked from your reprieve by the buzzing of your phone. Groaning, you pulled your head up, it wobbled on your neck, as though it was loose and needed to be tightened. Had you wanted to you couldn’t have stopped the smile that broke across your phone when you saw the notification on your lock screen, a text from James. Can I call you? Sure. You typed out waiting anxiously for your ringtone to blare through your room. Instead you were met with another brief buzz. One second, Sirius is being an idiot. Another smile, smaller than the last, bloomed across your face, Sirius was often an idiot. Picking up your phone you pressed it to your ear just in time to hear James greet you. “Hey baby.” Loving James was potentially one of the easiest things you’d ever done, if asked you would've said it would be easier to stop breathing before you stopped loving him. There was just so much to love and as his voice tickled your ear you remembered one of the things you so loved about him, the sound of his voice. With two simple words he was able to soothe you, if only a little bit. But still the ache to be outside lessened a little. “Hi Jamsie.” You crooned into the phone as you shut down your laptop coming to the conclusion you were going to get jack shit done tonight. You distantly heard Sirius in the background but couldn’t make out any words, “Pads says hi.” James conveyed. “Hi Siri!” You yelled into the phone, you waited until the bickering and laughing on their side of the phone quieted before continuing, “Whatcha callin’ about bub?” “Missed you is all, was wondering what you were doing?” “Nothing much, tried to get some homework done.” James chuckled knowing how distracted you could get if someone wasn’t there to help you stay on track, “How’d that go?” “Not well,” You grumbled, “S’not my fault either, can’t focus. I just need some fresh air, I need to go on a walk but I can’t.” Flinging your body onto your bed and landing on your back you pulled the phone from your ear, turning it onto speaker and setting it on your belly, liking the vibrations against your body as James spoke. It was almost like he was there with you. “I’m sorry darling,” James knew exactly what you were talking about. Unlike a lot of men he wasn’t afraid to broach topics like these, he would sit and kiss your head if some guy at the grocery store had been a prick and couldn't keep his eyes or his hands off of your ass, or if one of the boys in your class had made an objectifying comment. He’d listen to you lament and apologize, on behalf of all men, for the disgusting things you were forced to deal with. He had learned a lot since you started dating, he’d always been a feminist but before you hadn’t really understood what that meant. His mother and father always made sure he was aware of gender biases and he’d heard stories of women being assaulted, harassed, discriminated against and perhaps it made him a bad person but when it happened to you, when you told him about these things it was different, it was worse, he couldn’t control the rage that bubbled up inside of him. You were (Y/N) (L/N), you were his, you deserved to be treated like royalty. No one got to disrespect you. He felt the pang in his heart when he pictured you holed up in your house, like a caged animal, desperate to get out. “I know, and I love you.” You responded, knowing he hated how you had to be afraid and cautious all the time. “I love you too.” “What were you doing before you called?” You asked after a beat. “Watching a movie with mom and Sirius.” A twinge of guilt twisted in your stomach, “Oh, you should go back to them Jamsie, I don’t want to keep you from your family.” James stopped himself before he could tell you that they’d already finished the movie as an idea hit him like most of his ideas hit him, suddenly and fleetingly. Remus once compared them to a freight train. “Okay angel, talk to you later.” “Bye, Jamsie.” He hung up immediately as the last syllable left your lips causing a frown to tug downwards at those aforementioned lips. Sure, you felt a bit guilty that he’d bailed on his mom and Sirius for you but you couldn’t help feeling a little sad that he was so ready to get rid of you the second he had a chance. Feeling all too familiar insecurity simmer from under your sternum questions popped into your head one after another. Did he really want to be with you? Was this all because he just pitied you? Were you just a substitute for Lily? Did his heart still belong to her? What did he even see in you? You couldn’t help but feel like nothing compared to her, she’s Lily Evans. And you’re, well you’re just not. Time had slipped away from you, you hadn’t realised how much until you felt your phone buzz against your stomach and saw that almost 15 minutes had passed since James had hung up on you. You only briefly noted the time before your eyes flashed down to the banner displayed across your screen, another text. Look out your window. Lifting your torso, propping yourself up on your forearms and twisted your head to see James’ smiling face plastered against your window, a huge, beautiful grin, stretching across his face. You could feel a matching one fan out across your face as you skipped to the window, pulling it open relishing in the cool breeze that let itself into your room. “Hey there handsome.” You joked. “Hey beautiful.” “What are you doing outside my window?” You were befuddled, wasn’t he supposed to be watching some Quentin Tarantino or equally violent movies that he and Siri liked? “I was thinking we could go on a walk,” He explained unabashedly. “A walk?” You asked, a blush blossoming on your face, creeping its way down your neck. “You wanted to go on one, yeah?” “I love you.” Was all you said in response, he caught you as you threw yourself into his arms, the middle of your thighs biting into the sill of your window, but you didn’t care. How could you? All you could focus on was the way his arms wrapped around your body, pulling you close to him so he could bury his nose into your hair. “Love you too darling.” There was a part of you, an admittedly large part, that wanted to stay standing there forever but the cool evening air reminded you about how much you wanted that walk. Peeling yourself away from him you placed your chin on his pectoral, not considerably comfortable for either of you, but you were close to each other, and that’s all that mattered. “Come in.” “I was waiting for you to ask.” He winked, slinging one leg over the windowsill giving him room to maneuver his rather large body through the small opening, but James had experience fitting his body into tiny things (namely your cunt). “Are your parents home?” “No, everyone’s gone for the night.” “Why didn’t you tell me baby, I would’ve come over and kept you company.” You felt heat creep back up your neck to your face, embarrassed by the answer. Though your insecurities could swallow you whole when you were alone, they seemed trivial when James was actually there, staring down at you with so much love in his eyes. “Don’t want to be clingy.” The confession bringing even more heat to your cheeks. “Never, (Y/N), absolutely never. If anyone here is clingy it's me not you.” You corrected him, “You’re wonderful.” “So are you bub.” Reassuring you he brushed a piece of hair out of your face. “Now come on! Let’s get some shoes on you and we can go out.”
James was filling up an old water bottle he found in one of the cupboards in case either of you got thirsty when you entered the kitchen, shoes and socks in hand. Your boy smiled at you, twisting the cap of the water bottle on all of the way before setting it on the countertop and moving towards you. “Want me to put your shoes on for you?” “Yes please.” You nodded, grinning cheekily. His large hands found your waist, lifting you up and setting your bum onto the cool counter. Slipping the socks from your hand he knelt down to roll them over your feet, leaving a kiss on the inside of each of your ankles. “You wanna walk to anywhere in particular?” “The park?” You offered, handing him one of your tennis shoes which were a little beat up, but still a long way from needing to be replaced. “The one with the fountain?” “Do you know of any other parks within walking distance?” You snarked, swinging your legs, feeling the need to be outside return, faster and more powerful than before. “Guess not,” He grumbled, looking up at you with a playful smile so you would know he didn’t really take your sarcasm to heart. “Hey watch it!” He chuckled when you accidentally swung your leg a little too hard and knocked his left shoulder with your socked foot. “Sorry.” You apologized looking about as sorry as Sirius usually did when he was apologizing, which honestly wasn’t much. “There you go Cinderella.” He said, as he pat your thigh once he finished tying your laces, rising from his kneeling position. “You think you’re funny do you Potter?” “In fact I do (L/N).” He grinned, sliding you off the counter, onto your feet. “Shall we?” You offered your hand to him which he accepted like a true gentleman. “We shall.”
You were right, but then again, when were you ever wrong? Fresh air was exactly what you needed, the feeling of the wind in your hair, the twigs snapping beneath your weight, the solidness of the ground. You couldn’t remember the last time you had felt this alive. That was probably stupid but it was liberating to be out of your house, and on top of it it was nighttime too. You weren’t often able to be out this late because you usually didn’t have someone to go out with. You had almost forgotten how beautiful it was when there was no glass separating you from the moon and the stars. Despite the fact that his legs were far longer than yours James still had to speed walk to keep up with you. His heart swelled seeing you so happy and carefree as you strode unapologetically down the sidewalk. “Stop walking so fast.” He complained, finally matching your stride as he loosely looped his left arm around your waist, pulling you as close to him as possible while still keeping the two of you moving forward. “Not my fault you’re a slowpoke.” You retaliated but nevertheless still resting your head on his broad shoulder. “It’s nice out isn’t it?” He pondered aloud. “It’s wonderful,” You agreed, closing your eyes and turning your face up towards the sky, trusting James to guide you safely down the sidewalk, “I’m sorry you had to ditch your mom and Siri to come be with me.” You apologized as another wave of guilt from earlier hit you. “I didn’t bubba, we’d already finished the movie when I called you.” “Really?” Your head perked up. “Mhm.” James hummed. “Why didn’t you tell me that?’ “Wanted to surprise you.” He explained and your heart soared, he really was indescribably sweet. “Well I was surprised.” “Good.” “What movie did you watch?” Wondering if your suspicions had been correct. “Forrest Gump.” He responded by popping his “p”. You laughed squeezing two of James’ fingers on the hand splayed across your stomach. “What?” “Nothin’, just thought you and Pads would’ve made your mom watch Reservoir Dogs or something.” “Come on, you know me and Padfoot (Y/N), nothin’ but a couple of softies the two of us.” “Yes, yes you are.” You responded completely seriously. “You were supposed to disagree, he whispered into your ear. “I cannot tell a lie.” “Hey!” He exclaimed in mock offense. “Come on I found the two fo you cuddling when I came over Wednesday, he was literally spooning you Jamsie. It was rather cute really.” James let you have the last word and the two of you were silent for a minute as you passed a house with a line of cars in front of it, stupid fucking people and their stupid fucking parties. You thought, thinking they’re more important than the rest of us, that it’s okay to throw a party during the middle of a pandemic. “There’s a pandemic going on people,” James muttered as you crossed in front of the driveway, as though he was reading your thoughts. You just nestled into him more. Once you cleared the super spreader house it was only a few feet before you turned the corner and your desired destination came into view causing a ginormous smile to practically crack your face in half. “Come on Jamie!” You giggled, grabbing his hand and pulling him down the street towards the park, not even looking both ways as you bolted across the street to the park. You’d always thought that parks and playgrounds and such looked a bit creepy after dark and while today was no exception you still didn’t think twice before bounding up the steps of the play structure. Laughing, you turned your face back up towards the sky as you reached down to slip your shoes and socks off, tossing them off the play structure onto the wood chips scattered across the ground. “You look beautiful up there.” You hadn’t noticed James approach you, but he was now standing at the foot of the play structure, looking up at you. “Come up here with me Jamie, please?” You pleaded, tugging on his arm. “How could I deny you anything?” “Simple,” You responded, “You can’t.” Pushing himself up onto the structure he tried to envelop you in his arms but you squirmed away, giggling. As you ran toward the slide at the opposite end of the playground he broke out into a run after you, purposefully keeping his strides short to give you the upper hand. Breaking out into a sprint as soon as your feet touched the ground you raced towards the open field, James hot on your heels. He chased you around the perimeter of the grassy clearing, the two of you yelling at each other and laughing until your lungs hurt when he finally caught you in his arms, trying to get you as close to him as possible. He loved the feeling of your body against his more than he loved life itself. Or even Sirius. “What should I do with you now that I’ve captured you?” He mused tauntingly, tightening his grip on you. “Well I know one thing you could do to me.” You murmured. “(Y/N) (M/N) (L/N), get your mind out of the gutter Miss,” “Make me.” You teased, wiggling in his grasp. “I know what’ll fix your attitude.” James declared, adjusting his so his arms were around your waist instead of one there and one wrapped around your shoulders. “And what’s that?” “A nice February swim!” He roared jovially, hefting you over his shoulder as he bounded towards the fountain located on the east side of the park. “Jamie!” You shrieked as you bounced against him, “Slow down.” “Sorry Princess,” He huffed once you reached the fountain, he carefully lifted you off his shoulder and sat you down on the ledge of the water feature as he kneeled before you, hands pressing against your thighs. “Come on baby, go swimming with me?” “Course.” You smiled as you reached for the hem of your shirt and pulled it over your head, throwing it somewhere over Jamie’s shoulder. You didn’t bother watching where it landed, too enraptured with the gorgeous boy on his knees in front of you. “You look gorgeous (Y/N).” He murmured, taking it the sight of your bare stomach and chest clad in a lacy lavender bra. “I let you see mine, now get your shirt off Potter!” You commanded impatiently, you loved James all the time, but you especially loved James shirtless. “Okay, okay woman, calm down, I'm moving.” He playfully chastised shrugging off his jacket which you just now realised was his varsity jacket, his last name emblazoned across the back of it. When he caught you staring at him he teasingly played with the hem of his shirt, rolling it in the tips of his fingers until you lightly kicked his bent knee. He then discarded his pants, throwing them and his shirt somewhere to his right, carefully laying his jacket on a bench a few feet away he was left only in his boxers and you took this time to appreciate how his skin shown in the moonlight, his darker complexion brilliant in the darkness of the park. “You wanna keep your shorts on? He lilted, moving towards where you sat on the bench encircling the fountain. You nodded in response, not wanting to be so vulnerable in such a public space. “Okay baby sounds good.” James leaned in towards you pressing his lips to yours before he scooped you into his arms before stepping into the fountain, even though it was warm ish outside the water of the fountain hadn’t had enough time to truly heat up because the water that lapped at his midcalf almost had him feeling bad for what he did next. Which was dropping you into the freezing cold water, keeping you upright by his hold on your shoulders before you were able to ground yourself on the floor of the fountain. With water sprouting up from the top and cascading down 4 smaller tiers reminiscent of bird baths, getting larger and larger in radius as they went down, cold water nipped at your skin. “Agh!” You shrieked, “It’s freezing!” “Calm down drama queen!” James snorted, “Little cold water never hurt anybody.” “Speak for yourself!” Screaming as James bent down to splash you with water you tried to run away resulting in you falling backwards onto your bum. “You okay baby?” James asked nervously bending down next to you, surveying your near naked body for any cuts or bruises. Your response came as you looped your arms around his neck and pulled him down, submerging the entirety of his body in the chilly water. He quickly pulled you down with him so that your head was submerged, your hair billowing out around you in the water. When you pulled back up to the surface your wet hair was plastered to your face. And though you were cold, wet, and maybe a little banged up your heart was aflame, this had been exactly what you needed, to run around like a little kid and lose yourself, if only for a little while. Glancing back down your jaw dropped, the light coming from the fountain walls made the shadows of the water reflect on James’ dark skin making him look even more beautiful, like something out of a book. He took your temporary lapse as an opportunity to flip you around so that he was on top of you, he thought you were always stunning but something about you beneath him made you shine like nothing else he’d ever seen. Taking good care to make sure your head didn’t bump against the fountain, and that your head was above water, he trailed kisses from your temple to your jaw. When he reached your chin the second freight train of the night hit him head on and he stuck out his tongue licking from the point of your chin, up your lips, the bridge of your nose, and up your forehead until he reached your hair line where he left one more gentle kiss. “James Potter!” You shrieked, a giggling mess, “What the hell?” He lifted himself off you so he could once again scoop you into his arms, “Come on my little water nymph, let’s get you dry, don’t need you getting sick on me.” “Think you should’ve thought about that before you dunked me into the fountain in nothing but my bra and shorts.” You retaliated to which he only rolled his eyes, before shaking his head like a wet dog. “I swear to God Potter, you’re a Golden Retriever.” “Hmh?” He asked, stepping out of the fountain. “Playful, loyal, energetic, smart.” You explained, planting a kiss on his nose. “Shaking off to dry like a fucking dog.” “You love me.” He grinned, like the thought was just now hitting him, like you hadn’t said it already multiple times that night. “That I do Potter.” You agreed as he set you down on the bench where he had laid his jacket, taking care to slip your arms into it one at a time he pulled it close to your body to keep you warm before coming up behind you, tipping your head back so he could wring the excess water out of it, taking this as an opportunity to kiss the hollow of your throat to which you hummed. Upon slipping on his previously discarded pants and shirt, an endeavor you watched very closely, not wanting to miss a second of how his muscles shifted underneath his smooth, taut skin, he sat down next to you. “It’s a beautiful night.” “That it is.” You agreed. The two of you sat there for a moment before James carefully stood up, “Where are you going Jamie? Too tired now, m’done playing.” “I know angel, come on, not gonna play, just get more comfortable.” He soothed, taking you by the hand and walking you over to a set of fairly new monkey bars. Picking you up from the bottom of your thighs he pushed you up and above his shoulders to sit on top of the monkey bars and you were reminded why it sometimes came in handy to be dating the captain of the football team. Swinging up next to you on the monkey bars he slid his arm around your shoulders, both of your legs meeting the edge of the cold metal at the bend of your knees, your bodies there down hanging off leaving the both of you on your backs staring up at the unusually starry night sky. “There’s Orion.” You lifted your arm to point out the constellation, “ Surprised we can see so many.” You marvelled. “It is rather pretty.” “‘Rather pretty’?” You gasped exasperated with the boy next to you, “It’s not just ‘rather pretty’, it's gorgeous!” You corrected with a huff, turning your visage back up towards the heavens. “Eh,” He shrugged, “I’ve seen better.” “I swear to God, James Fleamont Potter if you say ‘You’re prettier than any constellation’ I’m going to push you off these monkey bars.” A chuckle pushed its way past his lips as he brushed his lips along the part of your hair, “You know me too well don’t you (L/N).” “Yeah, I’ve got your number Mister.” James pulled out his phone to check the time, “Hey baby, it’s midnight.” He whispered in your ear, turning his phone screen so you could read the time. “Happy Saturday my darling boy.” “Happy Saturday Princess, let’s get you home.”
Note: I know in my initial ask on @/randomoutsiders you guys went home and more fluff ensued. Maybe a part two?
tagging: @randomoutsiders​ 
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nctsworld · a year ago
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pedal to the metal
✩ jaemin x reader | mall au | arcade attendant!jaemin | fluff | 3.3k
SUMMARY ⇾ when the claw machine eats your money, jaemin, the cute arcade attendant, offers to play a game with you in lieu of a refund. little does he expect you to beat him. | based off of @mistymark​​’s nct mall employees post WARNINGS ⇾ fluff, bit of angst, jaemin is competitive, kissing in the epilogue     RATING ⇾ teen+ 
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⇾ gif created by me, please don’t share or repost without credit!
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Leaning over the glass counter filled with endless prizes, Jaemin holds out two large plushies, one in each of his hands. 
“Pikachu or Spongebob?” He swivels his head to them individually before beaming down at the little girl in front of him. 
With the alternating supervision of her parents, she’s been one of the recent regulars at the arcade and finally saved up enough tickets fo a decent prize, deciding to cash them in today. Her face lights up and targets in on one particular plushie, already inching towards it with open hands. 
“Pikachu, Pikachu!” she squeals. 
The worker’s smile deepens, “Great choice. Couldn’t have picked better myself.” 
He laughs airily as she squeezes Pikachu like it’s the last thing she’ll ever love, bouncing up and down with joy. Today, the girl’s mom is with her and she holds her ecstatic daughter close to her leg, rubbing her arm warmly. 
“So I guess I’ll see you two next week?” Jaemin asks. 
“If she gets over Pikachu as fast as she did with Olaf, then probably yes,” the mom replies with a defeated head shake. “Thanks again, Jaemin. Say bye to the nice boy.” 
“Bye, Jaemin!” 
The mother and daughter wave good-bye with wide smiles, as did Jaemin. Giving prizes out and seeing the delightful reactions on the recipient’s face was one of the best parts of his job. 
Oh, and so was being able to play all the arcade games for free. 
For Jaemin, being the arcade attendant at the local mall was a dream come true. He was once in the same place as the little girl—always coming to the same arcade every day after school. Although he loved winning prizes (who doesn’t?), he also prided himself in being the best at every game, knowing all the secrets and strategies like the back of his hand. Dance Dance Revolution, Street Fighter, Beatmania, Time Crisis, Super Bike, Pac-Man… You name it, and Jaemin can wipe the floor with anybody. It’s why none of his friends liked to play the games with him, but they still had fun nonetheless.
“That girl is insane!” Chenle exclaims with a point of his thumb, strolling up to the counter. He’s one of Jaemin’s many friends and an everyday mall-goer. Jisung comes up next to him, also a friend and works at the mall’s McDonald’s. The mall was really a second home to them all. 
Jisung bobs his head in disbelief. Then, he turns to face their worker friend. 
“You’ve gotta admit she’s really good, right?” 
The lanky figure cocks an eyebrow. “What are you guys talking about? I was busy giving out a prize to someone.” 
The shortest individual of the three widens his eyes. “There was a girl who was just playing Super Bike. She kept kicking everyone’s ass, even us.”
Jisung nods fervently, “I was telling Chenle that she’s probably as good as you, maybe even better.” 
Jaemin scoffs, running a hand through his hair. “No one can beat me at Super Bike, you both know that.” 
“You haven’t seen her play, though…” Chenle sighs dreamily, perching his chin into his palms, as he drifts off into space and replays the gameplay in his mind. 
“I don’t know, Jaemin,” Jisung shrugs. He absentmindedly fiddles with the bundle of tickets left by the little girl. “It’s about time someone beat you at one of the games.” 
Suddenly, Jaemin snatches the tickets from his hands, startling the younger boy. Said younger boy glances up to meet a pair of slitted, burning eyes. In an instant, Jaemin’s eyes melt and a cocky expression flashes by.  
“Like I always say, I never lose.” 
He begins to count the tickets, but the thought of someone being better than him makes him lose track. 
After he finishes counting the tickets, he casually checks-up on the motorcycle racing simulator to see what all the fuss was about. To his disappointment, he is met with a young boy, playing by himself.  
Jaemin makes a mental note to keep an eye and ear out for this mystery Super Bike girl.  
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A few days pass. You’re at the mall by yourself to kill some time and to procrastinate on studying. You spent a while at the bookstore already, so you decide to do something a little more fun. 
At the bustling arcade, you’re quickly drawn towards the claw machine with the mountain of plushies. You know the odds of winning are low, but one round couldn’t hurt. Placing your money into the claw machine, you begin to fiddle with the joystick. However, nothing’s moving. 
Your face crinkles in confusion, so you add money again, thinking that maybe it was a one-time fluke. Nope, definitely not a fluke because the claw still doesn’t work. You’re now two dollars down and you didn’t even get the chance to play.  
Walking around the arcade, you try to find a worker, but to no avail. You stand in front of the glass counter, waiting for an attendant. While waiting, you’re peering at all the variety of prizes to be won and wish you were skilled and patient enough to obtain such things. It’s no wonder why the claw machine drew you in, at least that game filled you with a false sense of a fast and easy win.   
After finishing a supervising round in the arcade, Jaemin notices a girl at the front counter. Actually, scratch that, a stunning girl—one that he hasn’t seen in the arcade before. He’d definitely remember you if you had. The ends of his mouth stretch and he strides towards you with a wind of confidence.
“Hi, do you need help with something?” 
Jolting slightly, you’re taken aback by both the handsome figure and the question. You saw him earlier at one of the games, but it never crossed your mind that such a young, attractive guy like that would be the resident arcade attendant. You subconsciously do a double take, eyeing him up and down, causing Jaemin’s grin to become more cheeky.
“Hi, yeah,” You point to where you were previously. “I was trying the claw machine and it took my money, but it didn’t let me play any rounds.” 
“Oh?” He scrunches his face and heads toward the machine. You follow behind. “We just fixed it a few weeks ago, that’s weird.” 
At the claw machine, Jaemin feels around the machine, checking on the knobs and buttons, and even places a coin into it to test out your claim. He tinkers with the joystick, and realizes you’re right; the machine’s only taking money without allowing any plays. 
So he kicks it. Hard.  
You break out into a chortle. “Does that actually help?” 
“Always works like a charm.” 
Another kick, and more chortling. 
Jaemin shifts his head towards you and places a hand on his chest. His eyes waver, searching around him as if someone would be listening, and lowers his voice in a hush. 
“I’m a secret machine whisperer, you gotta trust me,” he says with a small wink, and you trust him by standing back and resuming to observe him with a fluttering heart.  
The attendant tries the machine with money once more, but the kicking evidently didn’t help. This only leads Jaemin to increase the intervals of his kicking. Soon, kicking evolves into desperately shaking the contraption.  
Bemused and shaking your head, you comment, “I don’t think your whispering is working very well.” 
He attempts one last time, but to nobody’s surprise, it fails. He tapes an out of order sign onto the glass. With hands on his hips, he exhales a lengthy sigh.  
“Sorry for your lost money. I can give you a refund.”
“Aw, no. It’s okay, it was only a couple of bucks. I was more so looking forward to playing the game, really.” 
A lightbulb goes off in Jaemin’s head. 
“Did you wanna play a game with me to make up for it instead?” 
Although he enunciates the question slowly, cautious of your reply and potential rejection, there’s a contrasting smug expression on his face. Your teeth tug at your bottom lip, about to answer, but then you pout.  
“Aren’t you working right now though?” 
Jaemin shrugs nonchalantly, “It’s kind of slow at the moment and I can argue that I’m maintaining the game.”
“Like what you were just doing with the claw machine?” 
“Exactly.” 
Both of you laugh in unison, gazes converging together. If only the strong sparks flying between you two could somehow fix the claw machine... but then again, you would’ve never had a reason to speak to the beautiful boy in the first place. 
“Sure, what game did you have in mind?” 
Tapping a finger on his chin, Jaemin runs the possibilities in his head. What’s a game that he can easily impress you with his skills, but is also equally fun for you to play? 
“Super Bike?” he offers. 
You nod with a small smile, “Okay, lead the way.” 
Thankfully, as the two of you arrive at the game, no one’s currently playing. You jump onto the left motorcycle, while Jaemin gets onto the right. He enjoys how you cutely sway back and forth, accustoming yourself to the fake motorbike. He gives you a quick breakdown of the controls, and tells you to focus only on the gas and brake since he’ll choose automatic transmission to make things easier for you. You hum with puffed cheeks, ready to play. 
Following Jaemin’s choices of the easiest map level and transmission settings, the race immediately starts. 
Jaemin can play Super Bike in his sleep, so he starts off the first half of the lap with his eyes on his screen, then for the second half, he looks over at you for a few moments. You’re glued to your screen. The glint in your eyes sparkles with pure amusement and an edge of competitiveness. He breathes in the enticing sight, especially as you bite your lip with heightened focus. 
But then, flashes of red flare upon your face. Jaemin’s heart knocks nervously at his chest because the flashes are coming from the sign above your screen with the words ”RACE LEADER”. He’s dragged straight into the match again, not wanting to lose.  
“Have you played this before?” he shouts over the background noises and music. 
“Only a few times,” you shrug lightly. Your eyebrows raise as Jaemin catches up, trailing almost nose to nose with the end of your motorcycle, yet the finish line is approaching fast. Narrowing your eyes, you accelerate and curve around the last bit of the map without struggle. Before you know it, you reach the finish line right before Jaemin does. 
As the first place win radiates from your screen, you pump your arms in the air and remove yourself from the bike. 
On the other hand, Jaemin’s gaze is stuck on the screen, jaw hanging. The big two taunts him with every flicker.  
“Well, that was fun. Thanks for the game—” 
You’re about to ask for his name, but his odd reaction catches you off-guard. You take a step closer to him until someone cries out:   
“That’s Super Bike girl!”
Swinging your head towards the origin of the cry, you see a boy jog over with a wave of his index finger. Chenle’s voice breaks the arcade attendant out of his frozen state. Jaemin whips his head towards you, still on the motorbike.   
“You’re Super Bike girl?!” he echoes, eyebrows knitted. 
“I already have a nickname around here?” you giggle. “I only played this game once a few days ago.” 
Chenle asks him, “Did Biker Girl beat you?” 
Jaemin avoids the inquiry, darting his eyes and pressing his lips together tightly. The friend passes the question onto you with owl eyes, and you shyly nod. 
“Oh, my God, and I missed it?!” He huffs in disappointment, but then recollects himself as he takes a few steps toward you. 
“Are you free after seven to come back and play again? Our friends need to witness this. This is history in the making.” 
Immediately, Jaemin shoots daggers into Chenle. The daggers definitely have profanities written all over. You catch a glimpse of Jaemin and can practically read every word.  
“Uhm,” you lower your voice, despite the fact Jaemin can still hear you. “Your friend looks pretty pissed. I feel kinda bad to just come back to beat him in front of people.”
“Oh, don’t worry about feeling bad,” the attendant’s friend waves his hand carelessly. “He always makes us feel bad when he constantly brags about how he’s the best at every game in here.” 
“Is that so?” You glance at the boy on the bike with a new perspective. You could definitely see this guy as cocky, but maybe he’s still sweet underneath the exterior. You also wouldn’t mind seeing him once more before you head home, and now you had a reason. 
“Well, count me in. I’ll be back at seven on the dot.” 
With a flutter of your fingers, you say your temporary good-byes to the pair of boys and head out of the arcade. Jaemin finally props himself off the motorbike, getting back to work.   
Passing by Chenle, he half-jokingly seethes, “I hate you,” into his ear. 
Without a care in the world, Chenle frantically messages their group chat to come by the mall later to witness the match of a lifetime. 
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“Hey, did I miss it?” Mark pants as he puts an arm around Jeno from behind. 
“No, you got here right on time. Super Bike girl should be coming any time soon.” 
On the backend of the motorbike, Jaemin sits at the edge of it, studying the modest crowd around the racing simulator. Along with Jisung and Chenle, several of Jaemin’s other close friends are here to cheer for his downfall. For those who aren’t there, his friends are equipped with their phones in hand, ready to record the monumental event. 
Weaving through the crowd with mumbles of “Excuse me’s,” you reach your destination and appear in front of the arcade worker. 
The rising buzz of the crowd fades from your ears and into the background within his presence. You melt at him looking so coolly, bending over the motorbike with folded arms, and give him a warm smile. 
“Just because you’ve got a sweet smile, it doesn’t mean I’m going to go easy on you.” 
You playfully drop your mouth as the people around “Ooooh” in harmony. Your tongue is pressed against your lower teeth as Jaemin spins himself to the front of the bike. You get onto your previous seat from hours ago, grasping onto the fake vehicle as if you owned it.
You watch Jaemin enter the settings in. He’s not underestimating you this time and he executes his promise of not going easy on you—the hardest map and manual transmission are chosen, signaling you to really bring your A-game for this round.    
At first, the match is tight. You’re practically side by side on the map, even having the occasional opportunity to push him off track and vice-versa. Changing up techniques, as the second lap rings in, you switch transmission gears and ease on the brake for a brief moment, hugging the curve of the map. 
With that move, the red light flashes above him. Jaemin believes, no, he knows he’s going to win. Sweet victory is on the tip of his tongue, he can taste it. Ten seconds are left on the clock, ten seconds left until he beats you and continues to reign king of the game.
But, you suddenly speed past him and the game’s over before he can properly process it.  
The screams surrounding you engulf the entirety of the arcade.
Jaemin’s mouth is on the floor as he realizes he lost. 
No, his mouth is six feet under because you’re currently entering a nickname into the all-time best rankings. You beat Jaemin’s time on the map, seizing the new first place rank for the game. 
Everyone circles you in congratulations, but your eyes are honed in on one individual in the crowd. He hops off the bike, brushes past the crowd, and escapes to the counter, continuing his shift like nothing happened. Hastily, you go after him and find him crouching down behind the glass. He’s unpacking boxes filled with what you assume are prizes. 
On your forearms, you lean over the glass counter. “Hey, when does your shift end?” 
Your assumption is answered as you see him restock some of the plushies in the transparent container underneath you. 
“Why do you want to know? So you can beat me again at another game?” he grumbles, the bitterness blatant in his voice. Nevertheless, you persist. 
“‘Cause Super Bike girl wants to get to know the cute Arcade Boy she met today over dinner.” 
He pauses and his eyebrows perk up at the words cute and dinner in the same sentence. His ego is still sore, but he’ll bite.    
“Is it a date?” he presses further with a disinterested tone, continuing to move the items.  
You drag your bottom lip up, drumming your fingers slowly against the glass. 
“Only if you want it to be.” 
Your words bandage his sore ego quickly, but he wants to bathe in his pity a little while longer. He twists his mouth, fighting against the urge to show you his teeth.  
The boy stands up and leans over the counter too. He’s greeted by your strong aura, yet it doesn’t completely reach your eyes; your gaze is soft and gentle. “I get off at nine, so it’s pretty late.” 
“That’s okay. I can play games until then—” 
You peel yourself off from the glass and properly introduce yourself, holding your hand out. He glances at it for a second, then at your tender look. He gives in and can't help himself from grinning. The arcade attendant reaches for your hand and reciprocates the shake.  
“I’m Jaemin.”  
That day, Jaemin learned that losing at the arcade games wasn’t the worst thing in the world. 
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EPILOGUE 
Clutching onto Jaemin’s waist underneath his leather jacket with your chin resting on his shoulder, you’re swaying side by side with him on the racing game that brought you two together. It’s his day off today, and both of you thought it’d be cute to spend some time at the arcade before the movie showing later that evening. 
“Ease on the gas!” you dictate. He rolls his eyes at your backseat driving.    
“No, it’s too early!” he protests and goes against your advice, accelerating further. When that makes him go off-road a bit, you sigh smugly while he groans meekly. 
“See, and this is why I’m better at Super Bike than you,” you tease before pecking a kiss on his cheek. Tingles rise to his cheeks.
“Yeah, but I’ve played this game a lot longer than you.” It’s the second lap and he’s inching towards the finish line.  
“Yeah, but who holds the record?” 
After he speeds through it, the list of the best times roll onto the screen. Your nickname still stands proudly at number one from the day you asked him out on a date. 
Jaemin smiles at the not-so far memory. He then twists and extends his neck over his shoulder, sharing a sweet kiss with you. Your grip around his waist tightens, your fingers sinking into his skin. His palm raises and cups your face, deepening the kiss.    
Breaking away for a moment, he says, “Yeah, well, I’m the better kisser.” 
You sweep your nose against his. “That’s up for debate…” 
Your lips meet once more lovingly.  
“Can you guys stop making out in the arcade again?” Jisung groans. “Kids are here, you know. Like me.” 
Chenle cuts in, “I thought you were glad someone beat Jaemin for once.”
“I mean, yeah, but I didn’t expect the same person to have her tongue constantly down his throat!” 
Still lip-locked, Jaemin and you smile into the next kisses from their remarks while Jisung and Chenle run off to play another game, far away from the new couple.
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