okay there’s so much to talk about here I just. I just need to go through the whole thing I’m sorry.
picture sourced from twitter thank you for posting it
old guys having sake
DON’T WEAR A TANK TOP IN THE ONSEN YOU DILWEED
(it says it’s a swimsuit but STILL)
Mumen took his glasses off! Turn around and let us see! D:
lol, trying to tough it out in the extra hot bath. Please, boys, you’re gonna pass out.
Flash continues to be the most extra, somehow
Drive Knight analyzing the hot springs water. He should have followed Genos’s lead and gotten a rust-proof body.
see? He knows what he’s about.
also they’re so cute eating eggies in the bath, ugh.
If you’re wondering why eggs, that’s a thing at onsens! They boil them right in the water of the hot spring.
lol poor King
Suiryu can you please chill
yuzu baths at onsens is also a thing!
you’re supposed to relax in them, not juggle
Garou accidentally saves everyone from, uh, mild inconvenience. Sorry Sonic.
okay this part’s my favorite, for obvious reasons. I just love so much that we’ve learned Zombieman is kind of a troll. He’s having a great time.
meanwhile Amai is just:
and below them we have
the baaaaaabies. Awwwwww. Child Emperor brought a toy! and I’m so glad Tareo and Waganma are friends now.
if you’re wondering what CE is looking at, well
... yeah. Hm. I guess he’s not causing any trouble right now.
and finally, the ladies bath! Where everyone is just having a nice time and chilling, and Tatsumaki is being a good big sister. Good for them. <3
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This started out with me just trying to write Huxley cuddles and it turned to angst.
I hope I didn't confuse any of the information about Bridging in this.
TW: self-doubt, self-blame, Bridging (I'm pretty sure this counts as magical assault at least when it comes to Kody) angst with comfort
It was raining again, fat droplets running down the windowpane as the Freelancer stared. The weather sure fit their current mood. They used to like the rain, the sound used to be a comfort, the smell brought them back to when they were a kid jumping in puddles... now the thunder made them tense, the chill seeping into their bones and weighing them down.
They should never have stopped to talk to Kody. They should have turned and walked away but no, that would have been the smart thing to do. Instead, they saw him sitting on that bench, looking so dejected and lonely that it had their heart twisting in their chest which only tightened as he spoke.
The water elemental’s words kept spinning around in their head. Maybe they shouldn’t have said anything. It wasn’t like they’d gotten hurt by Bridging with Kody. What if he was right and they were just blowing this whole thing out of proportion? What if Kody had just been being friendly and doing what he thought was the best method of helping them understand water manipulation? But now because of them, he’d now have a mark against his record and they knew how rumors could escalate...
But then there was the fact that he’d known about them before they could introduce themselves. He’d known they were human-born. How persistent he’d been to teach them. Locking the door to make sure they’d be alone. Taking their hand when their eyes had been closed. How he rushed into offering them to draw on his powers, initiating the Bridge... The feeling of that place in their chest shifting, changing into something that was foreign. They couldn’t shake that feeling of waves crashing into them, pulling them out and weighing them down until they were lost and disoriented, the pressure surrounding them too much, it was all they could do to try and breathe-
The Freelancer startled from the memory at the knock on their door, their joints stiff as they uncurled themselves from their little corner. They shuffled up to the door, looking through the peephole to see a wide chest take up the space in front of their door. They almost thunked their head against the door, how could they forget they invited Huxley over after practice to go over the new section of their beginner elemental control class?
They took a deep breath, willing those turbulent emotions down before they opened the door, “Hey Hux! How was practice?” They stepped back so their larger friend could walk inside, water dripping from his hair but that easy smile on his face as he took off his shoes so he couldn’t be tracking any mud inside.
“Hey bro, it was good! We’re so ready for the game tomorrow night. You should come watch, you know, if you’re not busy or anything?”
They hummed as they tried to pull up their schedule in their head, they had a study date with Damien but maybe they could convince him to make it shorter than usual. Maybe even get the fire elemental to come along? Even if sports didn’t seem to be his thing, they didn’t really want to be there alone while Hux was on the field. They pulled two bottles of water from the fridge, offering one out to the big guy as they thought. “I think I’ll be able to come. When does it start again?”
“Six o’clock, it’s kind of um, a late game since it’s Friday. You don’t have to like, change your plans or anything, there’ll always be another game-” He started to ramble, something they’d started to catch on when he was worried that he was being too pushy or enthusiastic.
They put a hand on his arm, “Hux,” Their voice gentle and yet firm as they interrupted him, tilting their head back to look into his eyes. “I’d love to come see you kick ass. I have a study date with a friend but it should be done before the game. And then I can cheer you on so loud you’ll think I’m a Sonic Energetic.”
Huxley’s eyes crinkled as he let out one of his rumbling laughs, his hand landing on their shoulder with enough force that it had them stumbling a bit. “Seriously? Fuck yeah, I’m so pumped up now!”
They grinned up at him, that knot that had been twisting and tangling in their chest loosening. “You think you can take some of that energy and use it for elemental practice?”
He blinked down at them for a moment before realization dawned in his eyes, “Oh right! The reason you invited me over. Heh, sorry bro. Didn’t mean to get us off track.”
They chuckled as they waved him to the living room, pushing the coffee table out of the way so they could sit across from each other on the floor and have some room to practice. “It’s all good Hux. I can’t tell you how many times I annoy the shit out of Damien when we work on psychokinesis together. In my defense, it’s way too fun to get a rise out of him.”
Huxley chuckled as he sat criss-cross applesauce style, leaning forward with his arms resting on his legs, “Damien... oh yeah! That’s the fire elemental friend? I’ve heard people say he’s uptight but I bet he’s not all that bad. I mean, like, you hang out with him.”
“Oh yeah, I’m a great judge of character.” The grumble slipped past their lips before they could stop it, clearing their throat in the hopes he hadn’t heard it. “But yeah, Damien is a total softie, even if he denies it. We should hang out sometime, it’ll be fun. Maybe we should invite Lasko over too? We can have a little get together thing with like pizza or something.” They cracked open the water bottle and took a long sip.
Hux had a crease between his eyebrows as he looked at them, head tilted a bit, “Hey, you okay? You seem kinda…off? Sorry if that’s like rude or something.”
They waved him off, “Oh yeah, just tired. Full class schedule. Life…” A Sadism demon threatening me and my pseudo little brother empathy daemon just because he stumbled into his fucked up project, Caelum coming to me in so much pain and I couldn’t do anything to help him, Kody- “But it’s all good! I got this! You don’t have to worry, big guy.” They grinned up at him, “So, you ready to practice? You said that you’ve been having issues with the water part, right?”
“Freelancer.” They blinked at the firm tone their usually laid-back friend had, “I know when something’s up with my friends. You can talk to me, you know?”
They swallowed the lump in their throat, that self-doubt creeping back in as those shining, worried, sincere eyes broke down their walls and left them bare. Huxley’s lips curled up in a little smile as he opened his arms wide, “It’s okay if you don’t wanna talk… but um, would a hug help?” The invitation was the only thing they needed before they were latched onto him, his large arms wrapping around them.
Hux gave the best hugs, he was so big and strong and just surrounded them. He always smelled like dirt, like the dark, nutrient rich dirt that helped things grow. The weight of his arms wasn’t restrictive, but more protective. They felt safe with him.
“It’s okay, buddy. I’m right here with you.” He murmured, voice so gentle yet steady as his large hand smoothed up and down their back. “You’re not alone, you know?”
They could feel their lower lip wobbling at something so simple, their eyes burning as they squeezed them shut, their fingers curling into the soft, worn fabric of their friend’s sweatshirt. The words falling from their lips before the self-doubt could make them second-guess themselves. “Did I do the right thing? What if I was wrong? What if I just misunderstood? What if he was just trying to help me and I’m making too big of a deal out of this? He’s right, I didn’t say no-“
“Hey, bro, bro, breathe. Deep breathes.” Huxley shushed them gently, fingers patting a rhythm against their back as they gasped in a breath. They lifted a hand to hastily scrub at their damp cheeks, not even sure when the tears had started to fall. They tried to mimic the deep, steady breathing that made the earth elemental’s chest rise and fall. “There you go… you got it. Can you explain… what you mean, bud?”
“The… the thing with… K-Kody. I-I’m not hurt, Hux. There’s nothing there now. And I… I got him in trouble and he has marks on his record now. I affected his future and what if what I did really screws him over? And for nothing-“
“Hey. It wasn’t nothing.” His voice was like steel, leaving no room for argument, “What he did was wrong. He took advantage of you not knowing what it was. It was a fucked up thing to do. And even if he didn’t leave a mark that you can see…it doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.”
His arms tightened around them for a moment before he relaxed, still keeping them in his arms, still sheltered and warm. “And you didn’t do anything wrong. You told me what happened and from what you said, he didn’t give you time to say no. His actions are all on him. And if he can’t handle the consequences of what he did, that’s on him too. It’s not on you to shoulder the guilt because you did the right thing and spoke up. Okay?”
They hiccupped in a breath as they nodded, that lump in their throat blocking their words but they wanted him to know they heard him. His words didn’t make the pain go away, didn’t just instantly make them feel better. But they helped, gave them another voice to speak up against that nagging that still tried to raise its ugly head in their mind. Gave them a sturdy foundation to stand on so they weren’t being dragged back under again.
Their voice cracked as they spoke, forehead pressed against his chest, “Can we… can we stay like this for a bit longer? Please?” Those strong arms gave another squeeze, so strong yet so gentle where it mattered most.
“Of course, bro. I’m not going anywhere. Whatever you need, I’m here for you.”
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