I thought of this line as soon as I saw that lizard 😂
media that has hair cutting scenes in it never fails to make me go a little unhinged. is it a symbol of catharsis? growth? rebirth? shame? taking agency? gender? loss of power? loss of identity? new identity? mental breakdown? self-destruction? control? something else? a mix? i dont care i am frothing at the mouth nonetheless
if you watched Mulan as a kid, then Shang successfully made a man out of you
Anon what does this mean —
Let's not forget the son of Mom's best customers, who happened to attend my school--Li Qiang.
'Doesn't his name remind you of that captain in Mulan? You like him, don't you?'
Yeah, well, Li Shang was hot. Li Qiang reminded me of a dumpy tree frog. Hard pass.
Jennifer Yen, A Taste for Love
Just to say I completely agree with everything you’ve said about Mulan but I’ve heard that the cast was forced to support the police, I’m not sure what to believe but just wondering if you know anything about that?
hi!! okay so the Chinese government does have strict censorship laws, and the cast could be blacklisted for speaking against it, but I don’t know if the cast supported HK police because they were “forced” to. Either way, they helped sway popular opinion against the HK movement, which is incredibly awful. But I’m a 16 year old Chinese American and not, you know. the Chinese government? I’m not really comfortable with speculating on this so I’m really sorry, but you’re going to have to make your own call with this one, anon.
I refuse to forgive Aro for the Mulan reference they made in the tags for Darkside I will NEVER forgive them for that EVER
Me when the hardcore theatre kids in the cast constantly make jokes and references about shows and musicals I’ve never heard of because I grew up on movies and am a film nerd, leaving me to understand nothing that they say:
Can we just draw attention to...
Dishonor! Dishonor on you! Dishonor on your cow!
Okay I know you didn't ask me for this one @ezrabylene but I really love Disney and I need something to get me out of my writing funk and I really enjoyed this prompt. So, even though you didn't ask me for it, I hope you can still enjoy it!
Paul sat perched on the picnic table, Daryl situated on the bench between his knees. It wasn’t nearly often enough that Paul got to eat lunch with his husband, so he might have been drawing out the eating of his sandwich a bit.
The Hilltop had more peaceful day than otherwise but that didn’t mean there wasn’t much to get done on a daily basis. Everyone had their own duties to attended to and Paul’s usually had him going in the opposite direction of Daryl. Not that day however so Paul was enjoying Daryl leaning back into him as he watched Hershel get his first lesson with Henry.
Henry, thanks to Morgan’s teaching and years of practice, was the Hilltops staff master. Since he had come to apprentice at the blacksmith Hershel had been begging to learn some of the skill too. Though barely about to be seven the boy already was handy with a knife and had great aim even with only a pistol. Ever the little sponge that all kids should be, he was always ready to learn more.
Paul didn’t think he did half bad. Of course, it was mostly basics but Hershel had taken it all in with a serious face that was so much like his mothers. When Henry dismissed him, ruffling his hair and telling him his staff was his to keep, the boy sprinted over to their picnic table.
“Uncle Paul! Uncle Daryl! Did y’all see me?” Hershel's eyes were bright and brown hair a mess as he reached them.
“Sure did, bud!” Paul smiled just as wide as the boy. When his face lit up like that it was Glenn all over.
“Ya got yer own stick and all, huh?” Daryl grinned and Paul swatted at his head.
“Yes, sir. I’m gonna learn really fast, promise.” Hershel started giggling as he turned his eyes up to Paul, “I was really concentrating but you wanna know what I kept thinking Uncle Paul?”
Paul scooted up, knocked Daryl around between his knees who huffed at him, “What? I’m on the edge of my seat here.”
Hershel took a step back, calming his giggles as he turned serious. He waited a beat before taking the staff in both hands and thrusting it out horizontally in front of himself while barely on key bleating, “Let’s get down to business!”
Paul could have squealed like he was the little kid here not just Hershel as he sang, “To defeat the huns!”
“Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?” They sang together as Daryl just looked back and forth between them in complete confusion.
“You and Uncle Daryl are really different, huh?” Paul blinked at the question being asked by the little boy wandering around his trailer.
It wasn’t uncommon for Hershel to stop by and want to hang out. Paul didn’t mind, he loved his nephew but that seemed to come out of left field. Paul looked up from the book he was reading, had been reading out loud to the boy since he now seemed old enough to enjoy the wonders of the wizarding world.
Hershel had been poking through their stuff, nothing harmful just childlike curiosity. Not that he or Daryl had anything to hide in their closet or among the many drawers and cabinets throughout the trailer. Hershel was glancing from Paul’s rows of books on the shelves, that Daryl had installed to get Paul to stop leaving piles of them lying around, and at the many different animal pelts that Daryl placed here or there.
“Well, everyone is supposed to be different, bud.” Paul smiled as Hershel wrinkled his nose at the fur of a skunk that was almost as old as the boy.
“Duh, I know that,” Hershel rolled his eyes as he opened a draw that housed Paul’s many bandanas along with Daryl’s tons of rags, “It just seems weird that y’all like such different stuff but you’re married.”
Paul was at a loss for a moment on how to respond. Love was a confusing thing to even adults, how could he explain it to a six-year-old so that he would understand. Paul closed his book around his finger so he wouldn’t lose his place as he scratched at his chin.
Hershel looked over the many knick-knacks scattered about, Paul liked to grab the more novelty ones when he spotted them while Daryl sometimes would snag a snow globe. Paul didn’t know why it was always snow globes but it was so cute to question and risk him stopping.
“You know how Tarzan grew up in the jungle?” Paul spoke after a moment, Hershel turned to with a nod, “And Jane, she grew up in England, right?”
“London,” Hershel nodded again, “I’ve only seen that movie a billon times, Uncle Paul.”
“I’m sure you have,” Paul chuckled, he had been the one to find the miraculously undamaged DVD and he watched it almost all of those billon times with him, “Jane and Tarzan were really different, huh?”
“Oh yeah.” Hershel came to sit on the bed next to Paul.
“But they loved each other anyway, right?” Paul smiled as Hershel seemed to think this over before grinning with a nod, “That’s what me and your Uncle Daryl are like. We are really different but we still love each other so, so much. Get it, bud?”
“Makes perfect sense!” Hershel agreed.
“I think so too!” Paul snagged the boy tugged him to lean back against the pillows with him.
Hershel snuggled against his side as Paul reopened his well wore copy of ‘The Sorcerer's Stone’ and picked up where he was interrupted.
“Why doesn’t Mama ever let me do anything?!” Hershel stomped his foot and Paul looked down at the huffing boy.
Paul was standing at the gate as Maggie and Kal took a cart of supplies to the Kingdom. Though things were still sour with Alexandria, Maggie made a point to stay in contact with the other communities and it had been clear for some time how much help Ezekiel needed. That was why Henry was at Hilltop after all, to learn how to properly repair his home.
Hershel had asked to come with his mother but she had told him no. To stay back and finish his school work and she would be back no later than the next day at lunch. Her son had protested, of course, but she wouldn’t budge on the subject.
“When I get bigger and I’m in charge and not Mama, I’ll get to do whatever I want.” Hershel crossed his arms and stamped his foot again.
Now Paul had a very red-faced child just seconds from a tantrum at his side. Paul reached down and petted his hair with a grin, “Alright, calm down there, Simba. Let’s not get in too much of a hurry to be king.”
Hershel looked up at him and blinked for a second before a smile took over his face, “But we don’t have a king, silly.”
“That we don’t,” Paul chuckled as he got down on one knee so he was level with the boy, “I know you wish your mom had let you come along but I think she made a much better choice by letting you stay.”
“How’s that?” Hershel cocked his head to the side.
“Because that means she trusts you to help look after all of us here at Hilltop,” Paul gestured around then at all the people milling about and going in and out to the fields. Hershel’s eyes widened has he took all of it in, “And I figure, that’s a much better job than riding some stuff out to the Kingdom.”
“It is!” Hershel nodded putting his hands on his hips and looking very proud.
Paul stood back up, glad to have lifted the boy's spirits. Paul turned to leave Hershel to oversee his new charge but stopped when Hershel called out, “But Uncle Paul?”
Paul looked back at him with a cocked eyebrow, Hershel grinned huge as he sang, “But I just can’t wait to be king!”
Paul’s laugh just made the boy grin even bigger.
Daryl’s hands had just slipped under the hem of Paul’s shirt, Paul moaned into his mouth as he crawled into the redneck's lap. Calloused fingers squeezed his hips at the same time that a small knock came to their door. Twin groans left them as they looked over at the door and another knock came.
Paul untangled himself from Daryl, who huffed as he swung his pajama clad legs over the side of the bed to sit on the edge. Paul opened the door but he was sure that only a few people would come calling so later. Hershel looked up at him, the glow from their lamp lighting his face as he clutched a stuffed animal to his chest.
“What’s wrong, Hershel?” Paul asked softly but he figured he knew the answer. Whenever Maggie was away for the night Hershel would sometimes come spend time with them.
“Can I...Can I spend the night?” His voice was a tiny whisper and it made Paul want to scoop him up like he did when Hershel was a baby.
“Of course, bud.” Paul ushered him inside, locking the door behind him. In the distance thunder rumbled and Paul figured that was another thing that sent to boy to their trailer.
Daryl sighed as he saw the boy and got up to tug a thermal on. He wasn’t as shy about his scars as he used to be but Hershel was just a kid and he didn’t need to see them. Paul pulled the spare blankets and pillow out of the closet and set it up on the couch.
“You get cozy, I’m going to hop in the shower and will be right out. Then how about another chapter of Harry Potter?” Paul watched as Hershel got on the couch and nodded happily.
Paul had just started washing his hair when Daryl came into the bathroom, “Really, babe?”
“What?” Paul scrubbed at his locks as Daryl sighed on the other side of the showers glass door.
“Why did ya let him stay when ya know we ain’t done...ya know what, for weeks?” Daryl grumbled. Paul almost giggled at Daryl’s reason for annoyance.
“He’s just lonely, love. I can’t turn him away with those puppy eyes he has, he is just a kid.” Paul reasoned and Daryl threw his hands up in defeat as he left the bathroom.
Daryl sat on the bed, his back to the head board as Hershel moved his blankets around. The little boy jumped when a clap of thunder went off above them. Daryl could see a slight tremble to his lip as Hershel looked up at the ceiling then over at Daryl.
“C’mon.” Daryl patted the bed next to him and Hershel darted over as thunder rolled again.
Hershel pressed to Daryl’s large side and Daryl wrapped his arm around him, rubbing his back. Poor kid really didn’t like thunder storms as the next and loudest so far crash had him almost lifted off the bed, he jumped so hard.
“Ain’t nothing to be scared of, kid.” Daryl mumbled as he looked down to see Hershel pressing his face into his stuffed animal. It was a small orange cat and something he hadn’t thought of in ages came to him.
Daryl tugged the boy up into his chest, more cradling him than Paul would be able to do with his slighter frame. Hershel burrowed into it as Daryl started humming and rocking just the slightest.
“You and me together we’ll be. Forever you’ll see. We two can be good company. You and me,” Daryl’s voice wasn’t as nice as Paul’s but Hershel relaxed as he rumbled over the thunder, “Yes together we two. Together, that’s you. Forever with me.”
Hershel had calmed, humming softly along to the song he had heard before but didn’t know as well as Daryl as his eyes slipped shut.
“We’ll always be good company. You and me. Yes, together we’ll be.” Daryl glanced up to see Paul standing in the doorway to the bathroom.
A smile on his wet hair framed face as he watched Daryl with Hershel. They looked so warm and soft, Daryl’s arms holding the boy to his wide chest as he sang in a voice even Paul didn’t know he had.
“You and me, together we’ll be. Forever you’ll see,” Daryl kept singing softly even as he noticed Hershel go limp into his chest with sleep. He carefully turned him so he was laying on Paul’s pillow, rubbing his arm so he wouldn’t wake, “We’ll always be good company, you and me. Just wait and see.”
Hershel was sleeping soundly, orange kitty squeezed in his arms as Daryl covered him with the sheets. Paul sighed as he whispered, “I love you, so much, Daryl.”
“I know,” Daryl grinned as he settled into bed next to Hershel, “Enjoy the couch, babe.”
Paul’s face fell as he realized Hershel was taking up his side of the bed. He opened his mouth to protest but Daryl shook his head as he reasoned, “He’s jus a kid.”
Paul sighed in defeat as he turned the lights off and laid down on the couch. Paul got under the blankets and whispered, “Cast out of my own bed, like some street rat.”
Daryl flipped him off though it was barely visible in the dim room as he warned, “One more Disney reference and yer sleeping out in the storm.”
(has homework due/overdue)
brain: make. protest sign
Hello this is now lowkey a horse tumblr
I made this horse drawing and design as an example to exploring the question, "how do I draw stylized animals?"
I like to go on rabbit holes on what kind of things have influenced design choices, and though I chose very simplified examples, the influence can be seen quite clearly. Humpbacked Horse is a Russian feature animation and its horse designs draw directly from Russian folk illustrations, as the story is also a folktale. Mulan's choices similarly are easy to justify, the design is influenced by Chinese art because it is a story set in ancient China. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a bit less obvious, but I recently learned that the illustrator and designer for the game, Yusuke Nakano was inspired by Frank Frazzetta at the time. Looking at the art he made for the game I definitely see the defined muscles, shinyness and heavy use of shadows as very Frazzetta-like. Of course, each designs have lots of other influences but some come through more strongly when it's also fully intended to.
Real life references can only be guessed at really, but when I started drawing horses it became clear how many different breeds there are. So I looked at horses from different parts of the world, and bred for different purposes. I'm certain that because artists have observed different horses, they came to exaggerate or focus on different features of a horse. Thinking questions like, "is this horse for a show? Riding long journeys? War? Work? Wild?"
Speaking for myself, how I stylize animals is about what I just find cool and interesting. I was obsessed with Humpbacked Horse as a kid, so even now it comes through when I exaggerate horse's manes and necks and I like certain color schemes or compositions. To me, they really nailed the feeling of "a magical horse". When I was doing this post, I started discussing it with my partner and one thing came up. I still can't answer WHY I found it so appealing exactly. Someone else might think it's just a movie, whereas I was obsessed. But maybe that's nice thing about being an artist, just allowing self to be absorbed in something and exploring why thing is cool and interesting for no clear reason and then putting it in some form of art. Letting the influences and inspirations show is not a bad thing.
Mulan's second look in the movie is super iconic! So I did take some liberties so as to better the reference the movie. (Aka this look is obviously only semi-historical bc I wanted the movie references so..... here we go again!)
Still in the ~386–535 AD range of the Northern Wei or more generally the Northern & Southern Dynasties.
This look is based on fashion attributed to the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasty time period: 220-589 AD.
I am the artist!!! Don’t repost without permission & credit! Thank you! Come visit me over on: Instagram , Patreon
oh fuck, fuck, shit. this was not how things were supposed to go down.
what was supposed to happen, according to the magnificent imagination library of sugawara koushi (don’t judge him, he made the name when he was like 5), was that he’d get a little drunk after spa night and share his story with his newfound friends. he was hoping for a maybe a few hugs, no words of pity and, once again if he was lucky, a seat beside you while you watched some sappy lighthearted comedy to get his mind off of the whole situation.
what suga got instead, however, was an increasingly pissed you, ready to pounce on meiko the second you got. he couldn’t pretend that your reaction wasn’t incredibly endearing, especially since he’d never seen you get this angry in all the time he’s known you, but koushi couldn’t help but worry that after this... everyone would know.
so he raced after you down the hall, until you burst into meiko’s room with the rest of the group hot on your heels.
meiko looked up from rummaging through her bags, startled, while iwaizumi immediately jumped to her defense. you were not deterred, peering around him with such fire in your eyes that not even meiko was immune.
sugawara was actually rather impressed with the stoicism you held even when you stood face to face with iwaizumi’s biceps.
god, those arms.
“meiko, you fucking bitch,” you muttered, lowly and under your breath. the gasp meiko let out was absolutely scandalized as iwaizumi pressed himself closer to you.
“hey, don’t you dare talk to her that way,” iwa expressed, instantly drawing your attention. suga didn’t even pretend to hide the gasp that escaped his throat as he watched your eyes turn even more steely and cold.
he’d hate to be on the receiving end of your empty gaze.
“get the fuck out of my way,” your smaller hand found its way to the center of iwaizumi’s broad chest and pushed.
faintly, over the sound of blood rushing in his ears, koushi could hear atsumu yell something along the lines of get em angel! but his eyes were utterly stuck on you fiery form.
your own eyes remained focused on meiko who was now cowering behind iwaizumi’s back but for the first time ever she actually looked... scared?
koushi felt something alight in stomach (rage? hurt?) as he watched the woman who’d unapologetically taken something he’d never ever get back with no remorse, look fucking scared.
of course she would have the audacity to be afraid in the eyes of pain and not her horribly absent morality.
fucking hell. she was so going to get what was coming for her.
koushi let a manic grin grow on his face as he watched you shove iwaizumi harder to finally, finally, get your hands on the woman who’d destroyed his life.
when hajime tried to get back between you and meiko, bokuto, atsumu, and sakusa stepped up to keep him away. suga suddenly felt two solid presences appear at his sides, a quick glance out of the corners of his eyes informing him it was kuroo and kenma beside him.
“do you wanna leave?” kuroo leant down to whisper, his deep voice vibrating at the shell of suga’s ear. koushi absentmindedly shook his head no, brown orbs watching as you whispered something in meiko’s ear, her eyes immediately going wide in shock.
god, he wished he was right there next to you, listening to every piece of bullshit meiko spat out of her mouth and from the looks of it, it was a ton.
kuroo and kenma began to speak over suga but he was too occupied with you — you looked so powerful and in control as you stood over meiko, saying something else that he couldn’t hear but whatever it was, it must’ve upset meiko because her face twisted from afraid to fucking pissed.
he couldn’t do anything but watch in slow motion as meiko’s hand flew up and slapped you square across the face.
the room fell silent as everyone looked on in utter shock. (un)surprisingly, you weren’t startled at all — you actually looked pleased as you touched your cheek gently as though you were surprised it even hurt.
koushi’s theory was then proved correctly as your voice rang out through the silent room. “wow. that actually kind of stung.” kenma snorted next to him at your nonchalance as another wave of admiration overtook him.
suga knew he must have been looking pretty enamored by you but it was only amplified as the whole house watched your hand fly down into meiko’s face, slapping her at least twice as hard.
now, kenma straight up cackled as you and meiko fell into an all out fight where you clearly had the upper hand.
behind your little defense squad, iwaizumi attempted to fight past the wall of strong men to get to meiko, but there was no way he could get past bokuto’s arms that were big enough to rival his.
unfortunately for suga (and kenma who was having the time of his life), all the noise from the thrashing and screaming (coming mostly from meiko) had attracted quite the crowd. daichi and osamu immediately rushed to yank you off of meiko who was now lying on the ground yelling and sobbing.
she was an absolute wreck, her mascara smeared across her face, extensions pulled every which way and a bright red handprint plastered on her left cheek as a black eye seemed to be coming in on the same side.
you, on the other hand, whilst being dragged away by osamu and daichi, looked absolutely stunning.
your hair was a mess, blood was running from your nose down your to your chin, and you had a feral grin spread across your face but even still, to suga, you’d never looked more beautiful.
at first, koushi thought it was because he had a minor blood kink (don’t ask) but after more thought, he discovered that it was more than likely due to the fact that you had physically fought for him.
you’d decided, on some merits unknown to him, that he was worth getting bitchslapped for and that meant more to him than you could ever know.
“hey,” kenma’s soft voice shook him out of his thoughts as he gently led him out of the room. “they’re putting yn in her room so we’re gonna go there, ok?”
koushi thinks that kenma could’ve led him straight into a pit of lava if that’s where you were. he just desperately needed to see you, to thank you for what you’d done for him.
suga needed to prove to you that your bloody nose wasn’t in vain — that he was somehow worth fighting for.
℗ poker face
a boy worth fighting for
an - ahaha get the mulan reference?? wow m so funny ALOS this chapter sucks ass cs i’m so bad at writing fighting (&& it’s 1a m so tired) lmao pls just take this w a grain of salt ;-; don’t forget to feed me <3
taglist - if your name is in bold, i cannot tag you
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the rest of the tags will be in the replies!!
Disney Film Characters That Should Have Been LGBTQ+
After my list of all lgbt characters in disney films I thought I’d make a list of those who should have joined them. This won’t be a fan-ficy post as all these characters had great reason to be not straight.
When this scene aired the lgbt community lost there minds as in the sauna there appears to be four children between the ages of 5 to 17, and 1 adult male, and since he referred to those in the sauna as his family many people automatically assumed that the man was his partner and the one he was raising his children with. This would have been so easy for Disney to leave in a sort of limbo canon but instead (despite gay marriage supposedly being legal in Arendelle) they eventually confirmed he has a wife. This inferiorities me because all they had to do was nothing, but they couldn’t let people think one of there characters were gay.
I know she is confirmed bisexual, my beef is how marvel and the mcu has cut both of her only lgbtq scenes. There was one where we see two people leaving her bedroom (one of which female) and they are implied to be her lovers, and then an extended version of her flashback where we see that the blonde Valkyrie was her girlfriend. They are so proud of her but cut the only two scenes that would have made it canon on screen. Maybe Love and Hammers will fix this, but for now I am very mad and what they did to her.
Poe and Finn: Star Wars
For four years this ship was teased, from the very first time Oscar Isaac said there was a small romance in tfa to every single actor saying they want Finn and Poe to be a couple, to the director saying there would be an lgbt kiss in tros. But what did we get in the final film, a far background kiss of two background characters and am implied straight Poe. It was 2019, after all those years of teasing and onscreen chemistry it would have been so easy to have Finn or Poe confess there love by the end that could have been redubbed in foreign countries to still be a bromance. Instead they chickened out and to make sure there wasn’t even an implied romance, gave Poe a sort-of girlfriend.
Pumbaa and Timon (2019)
I don’t have much to say here, they were queer coded in the original, it would have been easy to have them actually be a couple or at least gay in 2019, especially considering one was even played by a gay actor in the remake.
Chen Honghui: Mulan 2020
Even though it was never canon, Li Shang was a bisexual icon amongst the lgbt community, and it would have been so nice if his 2020 counterpart actually got to be bi. But no, the little screen time he does have is just as ambiguous as Li Shang.
Elsa and Honeymaren: Frozen 2
They don’t have much dialogue, but what they do have is very sweet. And when Elsa says she is staying behind she is looking directly at Honeymaren. Since the first film there had been a huge movement called GiveElsaAGirlfriend that was proof to disney that we are ready, and wanting an lgbt disney character, and although they flat out said they wouldn’t, they gave us Honeymaren who totally isn’t flirting with Elsa and Elsa totally didn’t decide to live with. It would not have been hard to make these two a couple, especially considering so many people want them.
Raya and Namaari: Raya and the Last Dragon
They obviously couldn’t be girlfriends in the actual film as they were trying to kill each other and that would give bad messages, but once they were allies they could have implied there was romance in there future. They flirted the entire film, when they first meet Namaari tucks her hair behind her ears like a crush would talking to who they like, and they call each other “Strangly Beautiful” repeatedly throughout the film, they were gay in all but words. Kelly Marie Tran who plays Raya (who also supported Stormpilot) stated she thinks they should be a couple. This was the most Queerbaiting I have ever seen. Actually I take that back:
Luca and Alberto: Luca
No, this entire movie wasn’t just one big metaphor for being in the closet in a homophobic town, defiantly not. I have gone into depth about these two on many an occasion so I am not going to again, however I will summarize. Alberto showed Luca a whole new world, they both fantasized about running away together, Alberto gets extremely jealous when Luca changes his mind about running away together, they both out themselves to save each other, and Luca only cries when he wishes Alberto goodbye. Despite what the director says, THEY ARE GAY! (also they watch multiple sun sets together)
Katy and xialing: Shang-Chi
The only time Xialing smiles as an adult is when she is talking to Katy, she is awfully smitten with her and despite seemingly disliking America, listens to Katy’s compliments and gives a seemingly genuine one back. They had very instant chemistry and I want to see where it goes.
I'm finally home...It was a big eventful chapter.
And I can finally write my impressions!
Attention next come spoilers. You don't have to look any further.
why are you still here? I warned you that there are spoilers here! Come on, honey, go.
I may be wrong about the details or not know the exact translation. Let's get started!
The chapter begins with an Idia that finally started data analysis. And not to be the "boss" at the beck and call.
And he corresponded with his gamer friend "MUSCLE CRIMSON". Their chat was voiced.
My dear............I'M SO HUNG UP ON THAT VOICE!!! THE VOICE WAS SO DEEP, BEAUTIFUL, AND ON THE ONE HAND TERRIBLY FAMILIAR?!
I thought it was Leona's voice actor?!Because such a deep rich timbre....but the manner of speech was different.
But the voice was completely different and then it hit me....
HOLY ICE CREAM. WAS IT LILIA VOICE?!?WHY DID HE SOUND SO MATURE AND MORE OLDER?!?
Lilia is still not in her original form?!Somewhere there was a theory that his clothes were "big in size" because the measurements were taken when he was "older"
That would be a very logical move.
AND NOW I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE.
Why didn't the Lilies leave this beautiful voice...although I understand that there will be too sharp a contrast in appearance and voice.
But I would listen to more lines from the "adult version"
Lilia, you should at least do asmr seriously.
Then we are abruptly transferred back to Lilia's room?
Uh, hello? It was very sudden, you know!
Preparatory ground for Chapter 7? ALREADY?!
Silver arrives and barely has time to ask about Malleus when Sebek comes running in a panic. Speaking of which, Waka-sama has disappeared.
Lilia lets them both rest and says that his will do it herself.
And now we're back in the dilapidated Ramshackle dorm...
My poor heart can't stand it when I see these destructions. Seriously, it's very disturbing and unbearable to watch.
And guess who's there?
The night guest is............... Malleus.
I'm serious. He was right inside. Right in the living room.
Malleus...sweety...Yuu can invite you inside if you really want to see everything from the inside.
So next comes the dialogue....because of which my heart made a BONK TUDUM and somersault several times. Or maybe I had a panic attack because of the monstrous amount of work... ahah..
WHY DO YOU KEEP BEING SUCH A CUTE ADORABLE DRAGON?!? EH??IT'S ILLEGAL!!!
SOMEONE TELL HIM ALREADY THAT THIS IS NOT AN OTOME GAME!!!
Lilia said that Ramshackle has been Malleus' "secret base" since his admission.
Malleus said that when Yuu and Grimm moved in, he was upset.
Because before he was attracted by these crumbling walls, broken glass, silence and the fact that Yuu was gone.
But he doesn't feel happy about it, that everything is back as it was.
He asks why this has changed. Why are his feelings different?
Malleus prefers Yuu to be in Ramshackle.
Lilia, please explain to Malleus that he just misses his human friend.
ALTHOUGH JUDGING BY HOW LILIA WAS IN SHOCK. MALLEUS IS ALREADY IN LOVE WITH YUU.
Malleus tell me what do you feel when you see or communicate with Yuu? Butterflies in the stomach?Goosebumps and palpitations?
Meet this Yuu - man who has passed 5 overblots, 2 fights with phantoms. Appointed by the Prefect in the first 24 hours of their appearance.Has a special position and status in the college. Has a fire-eared ward. AND SHAMELESSLY, WITHOUT REALIZING IT, THEY STOLE THE HEART OF ONE OF THE FIVE STRONGEST MAGICIANS.
Briefly about Chapter 7 - WEDDING!!! PFFFFF. sorry.
Oh and this scene...AJDKLFDSGJHGKLFG
Lilia: Malleus, look up.
Malleus : .. theres a hole in the ceiling
Lilia: I meant the sky.
Malleus : Oh.
I WAS LAUGHING SO HARD. PLEASE CONTINUE.
And Lilia compared the "child of man" with the same rare phenomenon when the stars line up in the sky.
Was it some kind of reference to Mulan? There was the phrase "A flower blooming in bad weather is the rarest jewel....Such girls are not born every century"
Overblott has not been shown yet. A PITY. EVERYONE HAS BEEN WAITING SO LONG.
IDIA ACTUALLY HAS A STONE!!HE WAS IN THAT FLYING GADGET!!!
We were shown the Unique Magic of Epel!!!
You're my good boy, you're my joy.We are all so proud of you!!
Creates a magic shield similar to a crystal coffin and the "victim" falls asleep soundly. It can be used both as a shield and as a cage.
Yuu gives all the money to Epel - put me to sleep and bury me somewhere I don't want to deal with any problems anymore..
There was still a trick with the cosmetics of the Pitchfork!! I KNEW IT.
Rook and Vil are like proud parents who caught the moment when Epel had a unique magic.
A nice little family ...... who can track me everywhere, poison and curse me, and now lock me in a crystal coffin. NICE! Ahaha.
Ortho knocked out everything in STYX. Literally everything. The Cerberus system, which was created by Idia. Access to electricity and communications.
And Idia also said that Ortho is a humanoid robot with AI.
Actually, I guessed.
It turns out all this time the real Ortho was ........ in Tartarus with other phantoms?
AND YOU WANT TO TELL ME THAT WE HAVE TO WAIT A HELL OF A LOT OF TIME AGAIN TO FIND OUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?!
I also liked the scene where Vil first praised and agreed with Ortho's plan to "restart" the whole world. So that everyone could live with phantoms and Idia wouldn't be locked up.
Vil - I approve of this plan that you will stop being "recluses.....BUT FOR A MOMENT I HAVEN'T REACHED MY GOAL YET. SO CLOSE YOUR PLAN.
Boys, stay the same angry problem asses. I love you for that.
Saving the world?For the sake of goodness and other things? HA!!
Boys, we all understand you want freedom - BUT.
Vil - I'm only halfway to my goal!
Leona - is not attracted to this new world at all.
Jamil - I will not obey those people who have power.
Azul - because of your plan, the economy will collapse, and all my assets that I have made with such difficulty will burst like a soap bubble.
Riddle - rules should not be created by a selfish mind!!
* wipes a tear from the corner of her eyes with a handkerchief * oh my dear boys, I'm so proud of you.
And now they will have a powerful weapon against the Titans.
For God's sake, please don't steal it.......YES, BOYS. I KNOW YOU CAN.
There are still a lot of moments....But I'm sorry, I'm very tired...I literally don't know how to make it so that I finally feel this state of "rest"
Semblance of the Soul: Lie Ren
What beautiful blossoms we have this year, but look! This one’s late, but I’ll bet that when it blooms it will be the most beautiful of all.
Ren’s story is full of flowers:
His own family name, Nora, his hometown all reference specific flowers. Moreover, his semblance too makes use of flower imagery to convey its effects.
Why is that so and what do all these flowers mean?
Tranquility gives us the perfect lens to discover it. Let’s use it to explore all the different colors and fragrances that make Lie Ren the “most rare and beautiful flower of all”!
THE LONELY LOTUS
Ren: I've found a flower on the water! Can we take it home and plant it in the garden?
An: Oh no, sweetheart, that flower lives here.
Tranquility lets Ren mask emotions, so that he can protect both himself and others from Grimms. Still, what is this power really about? And why is Ren thematically able to activate it? Moreover, why is the lonely lotus in focus when Ren unlocks his semblance?
The answer lies in Ren’s flashback. There it is shown that he used to be a happy and sheltered kid. In particular, his childishness is highlighted in many ways:
He can’t wield a weapon, he can’t buy alcohool and he is enchanted by the pastry shop. All these attributes fit his young age, as his reaction to this situation does:
Ren is immature and even if he wants to help Nora, he freezes and can’t bring himself to act out of fear. His father directly calls him out on this:
Li: Do you wish to run with the rest of them? Sometimes the worst action to take... is taking no action at all
However, Ren is forced to grow up suddenly because of a huge tragedy:
Ren alludes to Mulan, but he is also the child who loses his home because of the huns:
His hometown is destroyed, his parents die and the flowers are left to rot. However, Ren is still able to make a first step into adulthood.
He is finally given a weapon:
And he is able to protect Nora and not just from some bullies, but from real monsters:
Ren manages to do so because of his father’s words:
Li: Listen to me, son. You have to be brave now. Do you understand?
Ren: No, please. Please, I can't!
Li: Yes, you can! Take action, son.
Ren unconsciously follows Li Ren’s teaching. He is so scared that he can only watch and cry. His feelings, just like with the bullies, are preventing him from acting. So, out of stress, he unlocks a semblance that masks these emotions and helps him control them. Tranquility is a magical coping mechanism that helps Ren doing what he is unable to do on his own, aka keeping his strong feelings in check, so that he is free to act.
In other words, mere minutes after losing his parents, Ren is already upholding their legacy and surely making them proud. This is specifically why him unlocking his power is juxtaposed with the image of the lotus.
Ren himself is the lonely lotus. Quite literally, since ren (his family name) means lotus. Not only that, but Ren, just like the flower, can’t stay safe with his family forever (he can’t be taken home). So he finds himself alone, just like the poor lotus isolated in the water.
Still, Ren, just like the lotus, can’t be so easily eradicated because his roots are deep. He might have lost his family and his hometown, but they keep on living in Ren himself (that flower lives here). This is conveyed through Ren’s choice to be called by his family name, his clothing and his weapon being designed after his father’s dagger. Ren can’t go home physically, but home is always with him spiritually and it has the shape of a lotus flower. Just like the emblem he inherited from his family:
Ren: How do I bring a flower?
Jaune: I- Uh- No, it's your symbol!
Jaune: Flower Power is Ren and Nora! Ren brings the flower, Nora brings the power!
Ren brings the flower and Nora brings the power. Is that really so?
Superficially the answer is yes and it is confirmed also by the two characters’ semblances and emblems.
As shown above, Ren’s emblem is a lotus and fittingly his power lets him and others find “tranquility”, inner peace. Nora’s symbol is instead a hammer like the one she happily smashes around. Not only that, but her ability lets her absorb electricity, so that she can become super strong.
That said, when one takes a closer look, things are revealed to be more complicated:
Ren: We have to be brave. We’ll keep each other safe.
Nora: No. I won't let you kill yourself like this. After everything we've been through, I won't let it end. We can do this.
Nora receives her weapon, her emblem and so her sense of identity from Ren. He is the one that symbolically gives her the power, so the strength to keep going. Nora is deep down very frail because she is rootless. So Ren becomes her roots:
Nora: When my mom ran from the Grimm and left me behind, you found me. We became Ren and Nora. But I realized on this mission apart, I don’t know who “Just Nora” is.
At the same time, Nora is actually much more emotionally intelligent than Ren:
Nora: Ren. This... is... happening!
Ren: Wait, what "is happening"?
For example, she is able to easily see Pyrrha’s feelings for Jaune, is honest about her feelings for Ren and understands where Blake and Yang’s relationship is going.
In short, the twist with Ren and Nora is that they are not naturally “calm” or “strong”. Ren is actually a mess at handling emotions and Nora has deep insecurities and identity issues. Their semblances are just coping mechanisms that help them overcome these weaknesses. However, it is precisely because these issues are their major struggles that these mechanisms have limits.
Nora hurts herself while she tries to be strong:
Nora: Be strong... and hit stuff.
Ren has problems dealing with his most complex emotions and this is evident when he goes back to Kuroyuri and has to face the same Grimm who killed his family. It’s important to note that Ren is not frozen by fear anymore. Still, he is blinded by hate to the point that he puts in danger both himself and others.
It is only thanks to Nora if he manages to calm down:
In a reverse to their childhood, this time it is her that gives Ren tranquility while they are hiding under the bridge. She manages to do so without a magical power simply because this is Nora’s strong point:
Ren: You put everything you have into what you do. You support everyone around you, you help without worrying about how it might hurt.
Nora brings the flower because she herself is part of the bouquet of Ren’s life. After all, Nora is probably called after the Nora Barlow Columbine aka a pink flower.
After this confrontation, Ren is able to finally face the Nuckelavee and in this way his own grief. As a child, he could only imitate his father, like repeating to both Nora and himself they had to be brave. Or giving Nora the imitation of a weapon just like Li gave him the dagger. Now, he can overcome his dad. Li was a hunter, but Lie has become a Huntsman. Li could not kill the Grimm, but his son succeeds:
Ren: (in his thoughts) For my mother. For my father. For all those that you've slain. (aloud) For myself.
In this way, Ren can finally move forward. He can make another step into becoming his own person.
Kuroyuri is the perfect setting for this step. Not only because it is Ren’s hometown, but also because its name means black lily, a flower symbolic of both love and curse. Kuroyuri was a happy heaven for Ren (love), but it was destroyed (curse). Still, despite grief (curse), Ren meets Nora (love). Now he doesn’t have to let himself be defined by the tragedy of his childhood (curse). He can keep moving forward with his partner and friends (love).
THE FLOWER OF EMOTIONS
Nora: You shove people out so you don’t have to feel things that are hard!
Ren has learnt that he should not let negative feelings (fear, anger) go in the way of his decision making. Emotions should be managed. How, though? Ren’s answer is to shut them off completely.
Throughout volume 7 and 8 Ren pushes others away:
Ren: It's just, there's a lot of things going on right now.
Nora: Well, how can they figure things out if they don't talk about it?
And stubbornly represses his feelings:
Just like Ironwood and the Ace Ops.He thinks that only in this way he can become strong enough:
Ren: I thought if I just focused on working harder, getting stronger, that we...I, wouldn’t fail.
It is a flawed idea that emotions should just be ignored because they are a weakness. However this is just another way fear has to mess you up. Ren is able to overcome this idea thanks to his meeting with the Ace Ops in volume 8:
Harriet: I really had you pegged as the most level-headed of the bunch, but I guess you’re just as naive. Feelings don’t matter, the job matters. When you lose someone on your team, you move on. Replace them.
A great part of Ren’s life has been about dealing with grief. Grief for his family’s loss and grief for Pyrrha’s sudden death. Fear over the idea of losing either Nora or Jaune. This is why he can’t absolutely accept a mentality that just replaces lost loved ones:
Ren: No! No one is replaceable.
And once he admits this to both himself and the Ace Ops, he is finally able to evolve as a person:
He has been trying to get stronger by focusing on physical strength and on himself. Still, his major power comes from emotional intelligence and in observing and understanding others. As a result, Ren develops his own private flower language that lets him see unexpected sides of people.
The inspiration for Ren’s semblance might come from Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, also known as The Flower of Emotions:
It is a model made of many “petals” of different colors. A specific primary emotion is associated to each one. I do not think that all the colors and emotions overlap in the show (some fit and some do not). Still, the basic idea is the same and it is an interesting trivia fact to know.
When Ren becomes able to properly see this Flower of Emotions, he starts discovering more abt others and fear itself.
For example, he sees the way his friends manage it:
Yang: Well, at least you guys being friends again takes the sting out of impending doom.
Ren: It's okay to be afraid, you know. You don't always have to hide it with a joke.
And he also discovers that sometimes fear can also bring people together:
Yang: You're gonna have to try and summarize it. Why should we trust you?
Ren: Because she's scared. Just like us.
Because of all these discoveries, he is now able to open up to Nora:
Ren: That’s why I... I love you.
Fear of being vulnerable and of losing her has gone in the way of their relationship up until this moment. Now, he is finally ready to take a risk. And this risk, just like many others last volume, does not work out:
Nora: But I still got to get mine sorted out before I can be the partner you need. Is that...okay?
He has figured himself out, but now Nora has to do the same. Despite this, Ren has become good enough emotionally to understand it. It is now his turn to support her with everything he has:
THE MOST RARE AND BEAUTIFUL FLOWER OF ALL
The flower tha blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
Ren’s semblance comments his emotional growth. Not only this, but its two effects are thematically tied to important messages of respectively the Mistral arc and the Atlas arc.
On one hand, it is important not to lose yourself to negative emotions, like fear (Raven) or anger (Jaune). On the other hand these negative emotions must not be repressed (Ironwood and the Ace Ops), but accepted as part of one-self.
Only in this way a person can grow healthily and bloom. This is what Ren is able to do. He might struggle, but when he finds himself in a storm, he has the ability to move forward in the right direction. He blooms even in a storm (StormFlower). This is why he is an amazing person and the most rare and beautiful flower of all.
Honor To Us All - Z.Chenle
Pairing - Street Racer!Chenle x Street Racer!Reader
Genre - Street Racer!AU, Action, Fluff, Slight Angst
Warnings - street racing, mentions of violence, reader has a panic attack, use of a gun (signaling the start of a race), chest binding, the reader is described to be a female with smaller breasts and younger than Lucas, there are a lot of descriptions of the reader’s appearances so please refer to the author’s note for further explanation
Summary - When your older brother Lucas becomes unable to compete in a large race, you seize the opportunity to take his place. You were already an established racer in your own team so it couldn’t be that much more difficult. But Lucas’s team is all-male and you knew for a fact that they did not want female members.
Word Count - 7.6k
A/N - this fic is inspired by Mulan for the Dream Land Collab so it will contain essential events in the story such as the reader changing their appearance to look like a guy by cutting their hair and binding their chest. if I mention the reader having smaller breasts, please know that it is not my intention to out those of you who do not fall into that category. these are simply fictional characters that I am creating based around an already existing storyline.
Taglist - @sly-merlin @danishmiilk @uyuzo @nct-writers @czennienet @kwritersworld @superm-net @neowritingsnet @subhyuck @ilovjaehyun @rbf-aceu @sheloveseating @leeknowsredeyeliner @horanghoe @itbecina (fill out this form if you want to be added to my general tag list.)
Written for the Dream Land Collab hosted by @sunhyuck. Check out the masterlist here. Also part of the Adrenaline Rush! Collab and the NCT Sports Collab hosted by @yuta-nakamots (me).
You wouldn’t call yourself a gang member, really, but your friends would say otherwise since the most accurate description of your hobby is something along the lines of illegal racing for a group of people, some of which with lengthy criminal backgrounds. If you allowed them to go further, they would say you raced to receive prize money that was obtained through morally unsound methods.
The money was a nice reward, though it was not the reason why you continued to race. You should have stopped racing a long time ago when people warned you to do so. Maybe then you would be leading a normal life, going to college, and finding other recreational activities that did not require you to constantly be on the lookout for police or have others worrying about your physical health.
But it was the thrill of it that kept you seated in your car with your foot on the gas. The power you felt when the engine rumbled and pulled you to speeds normally found only on a racetrack, now that was your adrenaline rush. The best feeling yet was the recognition you received when you stepped out of your car at the end of every race, people cheering for you and congratulating you. You made your friends, team, and most importantly, your brother, Lucas proud.
Lucas was the one that introduced you to cars and racing since he was the star racer of his team and would bring you to smaller racing events when there was nothing else to do at home. He was there at your first training session with his team’s mentor, Doyoung, and he was there at your first race. Of course, he isn’t able to come to every single one of your races but he sure does try and you appreciate the support. It was truly unfortunate that Lucas was on an all-male team because you wished so badly to join them and compete with them.
You thought about those things all day and even while you were working. It didn’t help that you were around cars at work too, being a car mechanic and everything. It felt therapeutic to blast music while fixing up cars, cleaning them to perfection, and even occasionally giving them a new look when your boss handed over designing duties to you.
Currently, you were working on a Ford F-150 and replacing the oil for your friend who had not a single clue about anything related to cars other than what he had learned from the Cars movie as a kid. When he drove in earlier, you almost fell to the ground laughing at the image of your 5’4” best friend and his bright pink truck seeming so giant next to him when he hopped out.
“Andro I swear I’ll never get used to the way you look with your truck,” you remarked through gasps of laughter.
He rolled his eyes at you, “she has a name, you know. It’s Elise, give her some respect.”
“Right, Elise,” you repeated, playing along. “Just to reconfirm, I have Miss Elise today for an oil change and ‘whatever else is wrong with this bitch?’” You recited the last part as per his text message to you read.
“Yes queen,” he responded, tossing you the keys to his beloved truck. “I’m gonna go shopping, call me if you want anything!” Andro turned to exit the garage.
“Thanks, I’ll let you know when she’s done!” You called out as he rounded the corner of the garage, heading towards the mall.
Putting the keys down on your desk, you sat down to start on the paperwork for the car but the tip of your pen barely touched the sheet before your phone rang. Checking the caller ID you see the name ‘Kun’. You recognized him as someone on Lucas’s team and answered the call.
“Hey, this is Kun,” he began, “I think you should know that I’m in the hospital with Lucas right now.” Your breath got caught in your throat as you continued listening to Kun. “He got into a fight with some other racing team and was…incapacitated.”
“What do you mean by that?” You quickly inquire.
There was a pause on the line. “Things got physical and there were some weapons used so he is suffering from a few injuries, though I was informed that none of them are particularly life-threatening.”
You felt a little more at ease though you were worried for Lucas since he had mentioned having a big race coming up. “Is he still going to compete?”
“I don’t think it would be in his best interests to compete in this next event,” Kun informed you, “his training is now put on hold so I don’t see any way for him to be on schedule to race.” Your heart dropped.
Lucas had told you how this was one of the annual events that determine the sort of ranking the drivers had among themselves and for the teams in the area, which also comes into effect when negotiating how much each team gets for funding. Part of you knew that if Lucas could hear what Kun was saying, he would utterly refuse and insist on resuming his training.
“Oh, I see,” you went quiet for a bit. “Am I able to visit Lucas while he’s in the hospital?”
“Yes, he is out of the emergency room and I believe they will allow visitors tomorrow once his condition stabilizes,” Kun explained. “I’ll be here again tomorrow if you’d like to pick up his belongings.”
“Okay, I’ll be there! See you then.” You were infinitely grateful that Kun could maintain his composure in a situation like this.
“See you then!” He echoed before ending the call.
You gathered all the things you could imagine Lucas might want from your shared apartment with him. A blanket, his phone charger, his AirPods, and even a few snacks. You hated the way you had to pay such a high price to park in the hospital’s lot but you reminded yourself that you were doing this for Lucas. You were here on a mission and you were going to succeed.
“Kun!” You called out when you saw his familiar figure leaning up against the hallway outside of Lucas’s room. “Nice to see you again!”
“It’s nice to see you too.” He greeted you with a hug before leading you in.
Lucas was sleeping so you set down the bag you prepared for him and took a moment to look him over. It was weird to see such a lively person in a muted state, hooked up to an IV drip and dressed in a plain medical gown. “At least he looks okay,” you remark.
“Yeah, he was a bit cranky when he woke up earlier though,” Kun shared with a smile, “I didn’t tell him you were coming so maybe he’ll be a little happier to see you here.”
You shook your head, “no, definitely not. We see each other too much already.” Both of you laughed, causing Lucas to stir. Kun motioned to head outside, ‘ladies first’, polite as always. “So how has the team been? Is there anyone set to compete in place of Lucas?”
“Still ever so interested in racing, I see,” he chuckled, “but the team has been good! We’ve got a few new faces and are training them, though we haven’t yet decided if someone will take his place or if we’ll even compete this year.” He stopped to think of his next sentences. “I’d rather we sit out and wait for Lucas to recover for the next big event instead of putting in someone else and possibly letting our value go down if that makes sense.”
“Yeah, I get what you mean.” You were still interested in the newbies since they would likely be competing in smaller events and maybe even against you. “Are there any interesting individuals out of the new members?”
“Hmm, there are a few and they’re around your age I believe,” he hummed in thought for a second, “I can’t remember all of them but Doyoung, in particular, told me to keep an eye on a guy named Zhong Chenle.” You made sure to repeat that name in your head, slapping it to the inside of your brain and gluing it there. “Doyoung said he’s nearly the same as Lucas when he first started which is why he sees potential in this guy. He’s been learning pretty quickly so if I were to pick anyone to take Lucas’s place in the future, it would likely be him.”
You nodded your head, “nice, nice. I’ll look forward to meeting him when the day comes. Will he be at any upcoming events? I was thinking of competing in the small one next week.”
Kun let out an exhale, “unfortunately, Chenle is temporarily suspended for ‘foul play’ since in his last race, another driver claims Chenle purposely drove into him.” Kun rolled his eyes as he recounted the event. “This driver slowed down on a straightaway so naturally Chenle swerved to go around him, yet this dude cut him off causing Chenle to clip the back of his car.”
“Gross. I hate people like that. Is there any footage of it?” You knew Kun probably did all he could to fight the suspension but there wasn’t harm in asking.
He nodded, “there was.” He made sure to emphasize the second word. “The team the other driver belongs to paid to have the footage erased and we didn’t know until it was too late. We could have offered a larger sum of money but the files were already gone.”
“Yikes.” There was a moment of silence as a nurse came by to check on Lucas’s condition. “So would there be no one you could ask to take Lucas’s place in the event?”
“Well, if he would like to recommend someone of equal skill or close enough that we can train to that level, I would maybe consider it” Kun pondered. “But speaking of training, I have to get going. I have to lead a session today since Doyoung has a class he can’t get out of.”
“Doyoung’s in class?” You knew the aforementioned racing coach was the same age as Kun so why would he be in a class?
“He wanted to go back to school and finish his undergraduate degree,” Kun shrugged, “don’t know why but I’m glad he’s doing what makes him happy.”
“Right, I’m glad he’s happy,” you agreed. “I guess I’ll see you around then.”
“Of course! You have my number so just let me know if you or Lucas need anything,” he offered with a smile before giving you another hug and parting ways with you.
You headed back into Lucas’s room after the nurse left and informed you that he is in a stable condition. Grabbing his phone from where it lay next to him, you positioned it so it unlocked through facial recognition and you put your plan into action. Scrolling through his contacts you quickly found Kun and typed up a message.
’Hey I think I have someone that can race for me. Their name is Nalu and I think Chenle could probably train him since he knows the rules of the event already and you and Doyoung are busy. Let me know what you think’
You waited about half an hour before hitting send, thinking that was probably enough time for Lucas to reasonably wake up. Ironically, he came to just minutes after the message was sent. He groaned when he looked over and recognized you, already annoyed that he was being taken care of by his younger sister. “Why are you hereeeeee” he whined.
“Because Kun called me and I was worried” you answered curtly. Lucas huffed, not happy with your roles being reversed. “Look, I brought your blanket and your favorite dried fruits so be grateful.”
He couldn’t help but turn his head when you mentioned the dried fruits. They were his favorite thing to snack on ever since childhood. “Okay fine, thank you.” You handed the bag over and let him open it. His phone vibrated in your hand and you were glad he was already preoccupied with trying to rip the package open.
‘Okay, sounds good. Send them over to the track on Tuesday next week around noon. Chenle has a personal training session at that time so they can get acquainted then.’
You responded with a thumbs-up emoji which was typical of Lucas anyways. Just to be safe, you muted the conversation as well so if Kun sent any further messages about it, Lucas wouldn’t see it. “You dropped this, by the way,” you told him nonchalantly while handing the phone back.
“Thanks,” he mumbles through a mouth full of food. “How’s the job at the shop?”
Lucas’s words were barely decipherable but from your many years of listening to him talk with his mouth full, you could understand what he was saying. “It’s nice, nothing really exciting. Andro stopped by yesterday and dropped off his truck for an oil change but I haven’t started on it yet.”
“Oh, how is he doing? Any news on the guy he was going after?” You often told Lucas about developments in your friends’ love lives since they had it more entertaining than you.
“He told me that the guy wasn’t sure if he was into guys or not so he just gave up because he didn’t want to waste time on someone that ‘didn’t know who they were’” you told Lucas with air quotations, reciting your past conversation with Andro.
Lucas stuffed his mouth with a large piece of apple. “Yeah, that makes sense. Do you have any plans for the week?”
You eyed him suspiciously, “no, why? Do you want me to do something for you since you’re stuck here?”
“No I’m just curious about what you’re doing,” he insisted. “Can a brother not want to know what his sister is up to?”
You scoffed at him. “You always know what I’m doing. We live together for crying out loud.”
“Yeah but that doesn’t mean I can’t ask” Lucas argued.
“Ugh, whatever. You’re so annoying,” you ceded, “but I have a thing on Tuesday next week. I have to go into the track to check on a car or whatever.”
Lucas grunted in acknowledgment while he threw an orange slice into his mouth. “Have fun.”
“Gosh, stop talking when you have food in your mouth and chew with your mouth shut.” You reached over and pinched his lips together. “This is exactly why you don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Wow, rude,” he commented once you released his lips, “and that’s why you don’t have a boyfriend.” You rolled your eyes and shook your head in disbelief at how you came to the hospital and paid an exorbitant amount for parking just so Lucas could get you on your last nerve. “Shouldn’t you be working on a truck right now?”
“Fine. Fine. I’ll leave then.” You got the message he was trying to send to you. “See you whenever you come home, I guess.”
“Bye!” Lucas waved excitedly as you finally exited his room.
Your chest only grew tighter while you approached Chenle, worried that he might immediately see through your disguise. Just earlier in the day, you had cut your hair to nearly the shortest it had ever been. You even watched a few videos on chest binding and clumsily wrapped yourself for the first time. It felt uncomfortable but you did like the way your suit fit on you with a flatter chest.
“You must be Nalu.” Chenle’s voice pulled you out of your incessant thinking, his hand extending out.
You took his hand and greeted him as firmly as you could. “Yes, that would be me.”
“I was told that I have to train you and see if you’re fit to race at the upcoming tourney, right?” You nodded in confirmation. “And I heard that Lucas recommended you to Kun?” Again, you nodded, wanting to speak as little as possible. “So how long have you been racing and how do you know Lucas? I’m assuming he wouldn’t recommend just anyone to take his place but I’m surprised that I didn’t even know of you before if you’re supposedly just as good as him.”
Trying not to pause, you carefully recited the story you rehearsed an obscene amount of times before arriving at the track. “I’ve been racing for about five years now. I started just a little while after learning to drive. Lucas is a childhood friend of mine and he’s the one that first introduced me to it and taught me a few things on the side.”
“I see. You’ve got a bit of field knowledge then,” you could tell Chenle was sizing you up, “but how have I never heard about you before?”
“Oh, uh, I’m not from here actually. I mostly raced back home but I’m here for college so I don’t really have much time to train and compete.” At this point you were hoping he didn’t ask you any more questions because this was all you thought up.
“You must be a little rusty then.” Chenle’s eyes locked onto yours as if challenging you.
You shrugged, trying to not give away any emotion. “Just a bit.”
“How about we take you out for a test run and we can maybe hang out later if you’re not too tired” he suggested.
“Sounds like a plan.” You don’t know why you agreed to that. If you spent more time with him, that would just give him more opportunities to find out that you’re now this Nalu guy and that Nalu doesn’t even exist. But regardless, you went along with him to the small garage and got into one of the spare cars, hoping that it would handle kindly.
You met him out at the line, putting down your window as you approached him standing with a stopwatch and green flag. He leaned down to get onto your level, “let’s take maybe five laps around so I can see how you drive.”
Giving him a thumbs up, you put the window back up and watched for Chenle’s signal. He started counting down using his fingers. 3, 2, 1, and there was the green flag telling you to go.
Five laps around the circle never felt so long. The pressure of knowing that someone was watching and judging you on your technique was almost overbearing. Turning the wheel nearly felt foreign and you became increasingly aware of the way you accelerated and took your corners.
You let out a breath you didn’t even know you were holding when you passed Chenle for a fifth time and brought the car to a stop a few seconds later. “Impressive” he confessed while showing you your times. It was nothing shy of your usual and you had hardly been away from the track in the past month anyways. “I can’t wait to see you on a larger track and see how you really handle the road. I guess the only comment I can give you for now,” you waited anxiously and he thought about how to word his feedback, “stop thinking so much.”
Could he read your mind? Your thoughts were going a mile a minute you felt terribly called out by his words. But if he could read you mind, wouldn’t he already know that you are not Nalu? And that you’re not even a guy to begin with? And that Lucas isn’t really just a childhood friend? Or even that-
“Hey, are you even listening?” Chenle snapped you out of your worries once more. “I was just saying that Lucas is the same way on this track, you both try too hard to calculate things since it’s just the same turn over and over again. You already know what’s coming so don’t work yourself up too much.”
Interesting. You never really noticed that about Lucas and you planned to keep that in mind the next time you saw him driving on this track. It seemed like Doyoung and Kun were right to have high hopes for Chenle because no one has ever offered you that comment before. It was always about tecnical things, making your corners tighter, finding your speed limit on the straights, evening out your curves to the outside. This, too, was a bit of a technical comment but it also wasn’t.
Chenle definitely knew a bit more than he let on. He seemed genuine about the sport and wanting to help you, even if he was told to do so. Maybe the next month wouldn’t be so bad.
Two weeks went by training with Chenle and it was late in the afternoon when you drove through the gates of the large practice track and spotted him sitting in his car, parked in the middle of the tarmac. You pulled up next to him, put your car into park, and were about to turn off your engine when you noticed him signaling for you to drop your window through his already open one.
“What do you want?” You tease while lowering your window.
He rolls his eyes at you, scoffing. “I was going to ask you nicely if you’d like to race each other today but seeing as how you have such a bad attitude, I’m going to change that statement to ‘we are going to race each other today.’”
You rolled your eyes back at him, mimicking his expression, causing him to shake his head while raising his window while he drove up to the checkered lines. Chenle yelled out “let’s go, loser” right before his window shut and you had to fight the urge to yell back at him even if he wouldn’t be able to hear you.
Driving up next to him, you flipped him off once your car was mirroring his. Chenle only smiled, before putting on his helmet and picking up his phone to text Doyoung up in the command room that both of you were ready. You did the same, barely having enough time to fasten the velcro under your chin before the red light was already moving towards the yellow on the scoreboard.
Revving your engine as if taunting Chenle, you gripped the steering wheel as the blinking light slowly traveled across the board from red, then to yellow, and finally, green.
Both of you took off on the straightaway into the curving and weaving of the track. You drove on the track before but something about just felt unfamiliar today. Every turn was where you knew it should be, every line the same as it was before. It wasn’t the car you were driving either.
Maybe you were just letting the nerves get to you. The reality of having to race at a higher level against older and more dangerous opponents for a well-known male team despite lying about your identity and acting as a man for the past two weeks…it was a lot to take in. Part of you wanted to end this whole thing and admit you were a scam but the dishonor it would bring to not just you but Lucas as well was insurmountable. Besides, your ego would beat you to death if you gave up now.
In your brief moment of contemplation, you failed to prepare for the tight turn up ahead, slowing down a little too late and whipping the wheel in a last ditch effort to fit around the bend. The car jerked and tilted with the sudden change of momentum, the turn to small and unforgiving for your mistake.
The was a large crash and lots of jumbling around but you didn’t process what was happening until everything stopped and you were stuck upside down, your body being practically dangled by the seat belts that kept you from flying out of the vehicle. The helmet felt too heavy on your head as if it were weighing it down, working with gravity to bring you to the floor, or rather the roof of the car.
Your world was literally upside down and collapsing. There was a part of the roof that had caved in, making the car slant a bit towards the side you were not on and you could feel the heat of the engine still running, unaware that its energy was being wasted.
Everything was too small, too tight for you to think or even breathe for that matter. You wanted to get out and rip off your helmet but you just couldn’t. It’s not that you didn’t know how to get out or that you couldn’t get out. It was just too much.
The world seemed to be frozen as if waiting for you to make your next move. Perhaps you were the frozen one in actuality, waiting for the next misfortune to happen. You were so petrified that even your mind froze, not even realizing that you were being unbuckled and dragged out of the car.
“...Nalu, hey! Nalu!” Who was yelling? And who are they yelling at? “Nalu, focus! Open your eyes! Nalu!” Right, you were racing against Chenle and somehow you ended up lying down on the grass next to an upside down car. Did you do that? You think you did. Unless this was all a dream, which it would have felt like if it weren’t for your lungs screaming for air.
Your eyes shot open, searching for Chenle’s. “Air,” you tried to tell him but the mask and helmet were in the way. Your gloved hand flew to your chest in a vain effort to rip your suit off which seemed to give him the message. He pulled the zipper down and pried the suit away from your shoulders. His hands then went to the hem of your shirt, about to pull it off too and you tried to stop him but he beat you to it. You watched, frozen once more, as Chenle learned of your secret.
He paused for a bit before putting your shirt back down. You closed your eyes, not wanting to see his reaction. What seemed like a peaceful silence was broken when he spoke. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
You sighed, not knowing where to start. “So my name isn’t actually Nalu and I’m not actually joining the team.”
“That much is obvious” Chenle muttered.
“Look, I nearly died just now. Cut me some slack, alright?” You felt like you had zero energy left in you.
Chenle was wringing his gloves, watching the way they creased and uncreased. “Yeah but now both of us are going to get into trouble if anyone else finds out unless you tell the truth first.”
“Please don’t tell Kun! And especially not Lucas,” you begged, “gosh Lucas would throw me out if he knew what I was doing.”
Chenle gave you a confused look. “You live with Lucas?”
“I’m his sister.”
“And that’s probably how you knew he wasn’t going to be able compete,” he began piecing everything together, “which is also how you somehow got yourself in and took his spot…but why? Why go through all this trouble for a team that you’re not even in?”
You threw your hands in the air out of exasperation. “I don’t know, okay? I just felt like I owed something to them for taking such good care of Lucas and I for so long and this seemed like a thing I could do.”
Chenle let out a loud laugh, “a thing you could do? This isn’t some small task that you took on just to thank the team. I don’t think you realize that this race determines the fate of the team for the next year.”
“No I know-”
“So you better be good and win because I don’t want word to get out that we’re a bunch of losers and shit drivers, and more importantly that I trained a loser and a shit driver.” He was seething but he seemed to be more worried about the outcome of the race than the fact that you were a woman.
You sat up and finally opened your eyes only to find his staring back at you from where he was seated. “And why does that matter so much to you?”
“Because…because this is the one thing that I’m good at. This is the one thing I enjoy in this rotting pit of hell. I’m not smart enough to finish college nor do I really want to. My driving is the only thing that I am proud of and I,” he choked on his words, “I just want to be good at something for once and show people that I’m not worthless.” You thought about going to comfort him but you held yourself back, unsure if it would upset him further. “Then you come along, and you…you have everything pretty much cut out for you. You’re Lucas’s sister for fuck’s sake, even if he dies he already brought a lifetime of honor to his name and yours.”
“I absolutely do not have everything cut out for me, I’ll tell you that much,” you start, “Lucas and I turned to racing because we needed the money. Our parents are old and sick and unable to pay for their own medical bills. Lucas and I didn’t even get to think about going to college because we have to pay off bill after bill, and they’re not even for us! Man, I’m here because Lucas himself is in the hospital and here you are worry about what? Your honor? Your glory? Get a grip.”
“At least you have parents that support you-”
“They don’t even know that we do this. They were sick before either of them could teach me how to drive” you spat at Chenle.
You laid down, letting the weight of everything press you into the grass as another silence fell upon the two of you. “I’m sorry” was all Chenle said.
“Don’t be.” You didn’t want some guy to pity you just because you dumped your trauma on him. “If it helps, when I win, I’ll give you credit as my mentor and trainer so people know that you contributed to the outcome of the race.”
“And how do you know that you’ll win?”
“Just trust me.”
Chenle laughed again, this time out of shock. “How am I supposed to trust me when all you’ve been doing is lying to me? I don’t even know who you are.”
“Okay fine then, don’t trust me and see where that gets you. I don’t care.” Not wanting to be a part of the conversation anymore, you forced yourself up and made your way to where you parked your own car outside of the garage.
“And where do you think you’re going?” Chenle called out after you.
“I’m going to win a race whether you help me or not.”
Later that night, you found yourself sitting next to Lucas’s bed in the hospital mostly for comfort, but you did receive a call saying that he is doing okay and will likely be able to go home within the next few days so you wanted to see his condition with your own eyes. “So what’s up with your hair?” He asked, ever so interested in your life.
“Nothing, I just felt like I needed a change” you told him quietly.
“You know, speaking of change, I got an update from Kun about the race coming up.” Your heart sped up while wondering if he had found out what you did. “He told me that Chenle is doing a good job training the new guy they got to sub for me. Didn’t even know that they found a dude.” It felt like he was lying to you. “I would have recommended you though,” you stopped breathing, “but you actually don’t have the balls to do it.” You wished Lucas would stop breathing for good. It was like he was purposely baiting you then letting you relax while chasing you in this sort of cycle.
“Thanks, I definitely needed to be reminded that I don’t have a giant horse cock like you.”
“Hey, no, that’s not what I said but thank you. If only the ladies knew what I could offer them-”
“Ew, stop, you’re gross and I’m leaving” you blurt out as you stood up and grabbed your stuff.
Lucas chuckled at you getting all flustered. “It’s okay, you have a giant horse cock too, even if only spiritually.” You shook your head, about to leave the room. “But hey, Kun told me that Chenle said he really likes the new guy and he thinks we’re going to win!”
“That’s…good, I guess.” Did Chenle actually say those words? He couldn’t have.
“Yeah, I really hope I get to meet this guy someday. Maybe even race against him to see what all this hype is about too” Lucas wished out loud.
“Right, me too…Hey, uh, I have to get going so I’ll see you in a few days or whenever you’re ready to go home,” you shared.
Lucas nodded in agreement. “Make sure to clean the place up before I come home, got it? I want to be able to lie down in my own bed without having to worry about cleaning up after you.”
“Please, as if you ever did that before. You’re the one that leaves your underwear all over the place” you reminded him.
“Man…didn’t you just say you had to leave or something?” Lucas whined, once again annoyed at your presence.
“I’m going, I’m going. Jeez.”
Your relationship with Chenle seemed to become increasingly more intimate and touchy after ‘the incident’ as the two of you refer to it. He told you he said to Doyoung and the rest of the guys that came to clear the car that you saw something on the track and swerved to avoid it which is why the car flipped over. You didn’t ask him to confirm the things he had told Kun though, not wanting to set your hopes too high.
Gradually, there were more shared smiles and laughs between you and Chenle until he began holding you by your waist while giving you advice or massaging your shoulders after a bad run. Maybe it was just the way he expressed his faith in you, yeah it was probably that.
Those short moments became longer and more frequent until the day before the race. You and Chenle had been driving around the area the race would take part in and stopped at a park to get some fresh air. It was already relatively dark out but the sounds of people bustling around and nature thriving made it seem lighter.
“Any last thoughts before the big day?” He asked while the two of you sat at the edge of a small pond.
“Hm, I have a few worries but I’m just thankful to have had such a wonderful coach this whole time.” You looked at him with a smile.
His expression mirrored yours. “And I’m thankful to have such a wonderful student that I know will make me proud tomorrow.”
“Ugh, you and your ego again” you teased playfully.
Chenle laughed lightly at your joke. “No, but I’m serious,” he reached over and placed a hand on your jaw, directing you to face him, “no matter what happens tomorrow, I am proud of how far you’ve come as a driver and sometimes it makes me think that maybe our roles should be the other way around.”
“You think so?” Your eyes met his, the fading brightness of the sun sparkled in them.
“I know so.” His eyes held your gaze until he closed the distance between the two of you, his eyes fluttering shut and his lips meeting yours. There was only a second until you let your own eyes close and your lips move with his. You felt Chenle smile into your lips when you reciprocated his actions.
He went back to kiss you once more before leaning back and pulling you closer to him. He kept an arm around you as you watched the water ripple and dance in the pond. “You’re going to do great tomorrow” he reassures you, rubbing your shoulder for extra comfort.
“Thanks” you nearly whispered while leaning into him. “Will you be there?”
“From the start until the end,” he promised, “I won’t leave until you cross the finish line.”
Chenle had every intent to keep his promise, going as far as to insist on driving you to the event and only stopping a block away from the starting line so he could go join the audience. “I would wish you good luck but I don’t think you need it” he said while holding the driver’s door open for you to get in.
“And I would say that all I need is you but I think you already know that” you tease, situating yourself in the seat that would be your home for the next hour of the night.
“Wait,” Chenle blurted, causing you to pause in putting on your mask and helmet, “there’s a thing I have to do before you go.”
“And what would that be?” You weren’t able to say much else as he leaned down to give you kiss, his lips tenderly greeting yours. He pulled away and pushed your door shut while looking off to the side, hoping to hide the pink in his cheeks.
His shyness made you laugh so you breathed onto the window and drew a small heart into the fog. Once he looked your way and saw the heart, he gave you a smile though he urged you to get a move on to the start. After putting on all your safety gear and double checking everything was at is should be, you pulled away and drove to fall in behind the other racers.
Some of them were out of the cars chatting to people on the sidelines or other drivers but it seems you were not a moment too soon, the girl you recognized to be Doyoung’s girlfriend hopped over the fence with a gun in hand. The drivers made their way to their car while the spectators settled down.
You spotted Chenle chatting with Doyoung and Lucas, who had been gently informed of your situation from Chenle a few days prior. Lucas took it better than you thought he would. He was more or less proud of you for stepping up and being skilled enough to take his place despite the fact that it was arranged in a dishonorable manner. He put up a good act though, learning Nalu’s story in preparation for anyone who mentioned your name in conversation with him.
Turning your attention back to the road, all the cars ahead of you were ready with their engines rumbling in anticipation. Doyoung’s girlfriend slowly raised her arm, giving a makeshift countdown. The tension in the air was so thick you could nearly feel its grip holding everyone still, the night breeze even calming itself for a moment.
You pushed on the gas and followed the rest of the cars out from the narrow city street onto a main road. If only you weren’t competing, you would have put your window down to enjoy the freedom of speeding down a lane late at night but the roar of engines all around you pulled you away from your little daydream.
As the pack of cars began to spread out through all the turns and curves of the streets, you wove in between your opponents and slowly climbed your way up the standings. You were just about to slip through another gap but the car next to you jerked ahead and closed the space you would have been in. Out of pure shock you looked over to find just who was controlling the car only to find it was the very man Chenle had warned you about. Moon Taeil, one of the most experienced drivers around, the racer that had gotten Chenle disqualified.
You had heard from Lucas that Taeil was once part of the team but apparently he had a falling-out of sorts with Kun because they fell in love with the same girl. You hoped the girl ended up with Kun because man, this guy was a rude driver.
Taeil pushed his way through the crowd of cars and you followed the wake he created, pulling into the top of the rankings. By the time you had reached the last turn before the final straightaway, it was just you and Taeil leading the pack. He swerved to take the inside and forced you to fall behind on the outside but you gassed it, catching up to him not even a second later.
He must have seen you matching his speed so he began his final push to the checkered line. You did the same, your foot pressing the pedal as far as it would go, quite literally pedal to the metal. At this point it was no longer a race between the two of you, it was a race between your cars and their engineers.
The finish was drawing ever closer and it seemed like Taeil was a mirror image of you. Neither you or him moved forward or backward. You left the result of the race up to fate, gluing your eyes to the white and black square of the flag whipping in the wind. You blew past the line and slowed down a fair bit away to leave room for the other cars coming in after you.
Taeil killed his engine, getting out his car and slamming the door. You prepared yourself for the worst but instead of coming to you, he was storming towards the officials of the race. You followed in the same direction since Chenle was already wrapped up in conversation with the officials, poring over a laptop.
“Stop looking at that video,” Taeil demanded as he took of his helmet and mask, “I know I came in first.”
“Sir, please let us monitor the footage,” the official reprimanded, “we want to correctly honor the competitors of this race.”
There was a smack on your helmet, you head falling victim to the momentum and leading your body astray just a bit. The person obnoxiously laughing behind you was none other than Lucas. “Good job, dude” he managed to choke out through his laughs.
You crossed your arms and turned to look at him. “Thanks.”
“Man, relax a bit, you still did great” he assured you.
“I was relaxed until you came and nearly snapped my head off” you argued.
Lucas mocked your pose. “It’s not my fault that you look like a bobblehead with your helmet on.”
“You know what? Next time you have your helmet on I’m going to-”
“We have determined our winner,” the official announced, standing up from his seat, “the driver that crossed the line in first place was…” a wave of silence fell upon everyone, “Nalu by 0.02 seconds! Congratulations Nalu!”
Taeil threw his helmet to the ground the same time Lucas ripped yours off your head, pulling the mask with it. “You did it!” He yelled, thrusting your helmet up as if it were a trophy of sorts.
Chenle climbed over the barrier, running to give you a bone-crushing hug. Tapping his back to let him know you couldn’t breathe, he released you and proudly acknowledged “that’s my girl.”
“Wait what?” A confused Doyoung questioned as he came into earshot, wondering if he had heard incorrectly or if it was a nickname of sorts.
The three of you shared a look, eyes darting back and forth in panic. “She’s a girl!” Lucas exclaimed. “Surprise!”
“You didn’t know?” Kun asked, joining the conversation. You were merely frozen in your spot. “Come on, I’ve known you and Lucas for years now,” Kun directed at you, “did you really think I wouldn’t recognize you and your car for that matter? It’s quite obvious when I see it so often in our facilities.”
“So you knew Nalu was a girl yet you still let them race? We could get disqualified if people find out!” Doyoung was equally as panicked as you.
“Which is why we simply won’t say anything,” Kun gritted, upset at Doyoung’s volume, “Nalu will be joining us as a member though they will be listed as a staff member and not a driver.”
“But that’s not right! That’s not-”
“Doyoung. Babe. Stop worrying, it’s not good for you” his girlfriend comforted, her hands coming to rest on his waist and chest as she joined the slowly expanding circle of conversation.
“So what’s up with the two of you?” Lucas inquired after acting disgusted at the way Doyoung immediately mellowed out at his girlfriend’s presence. You looked to Chenle for an answer.
“I know it’s a bit late, but will you be my girlfriend?” He asked, reaching for your hand.
You held it, not caring about the people watching or Lucas’s eyes that glared lasers into your hand that held Chenle’s. “It would be an honor.”
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