Tumgir
#look at her...just a nice ol car trip and you could be anywhere..
expectingtofly · 9 months ago
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Incident at Playgroup
2.8k
fluff, established dean/cas, baby jack, human!cas, cas and dean terrorize other parents
dedicated to @thiscastielhasflown bc a few weeks ago we talked about tfw’s mcdonald’s orders and this fic happened. wishing you a good week with schoolwork assignments that only take half the time you expect them to, eventual restful sleep, and good grades <3
also posted on ao3
“Clown!” Jack yelled, pointing at the entrance to the McDonald’s indoor play area. A Ronald McDonald cardboard cutout guarded the door, holding a sign reading, You must be this tall to enter.
“Inside voice,” Dean said, though he wasn’t sure it mattered much when he could hardly hear himself speak. Recently, they’d joined a playgroup of parents and kids from Jack’s preschool, and this weekend, some of the moms had organized a playdate at the McDonald’s in town, one with a huge play area.
Meaning, they were now surrounded by screaming kids, diaper bags, and stressed out parents.
Dean winced as a kid shrieked from across the room. “We need to take a photo of you next to ol’ Ronald to show Sam.”
“Okay,” Jack agreed, jumping up and down in his chair.
Coming over with the tray of their food, Cas put out a hand to steady Jack’s chair. “That would be unnecessarily cruel."
Dean grabbed his Big Mac. “Yeah, well, he deserves it.” Before they’d come here today, Sam had repeatedly told them, quote, “please don't fuck this up again." Always was a polite bastard. “He’s gotta have more faith in us. What are we, amateurs?”
“Unfortunately, I believe that’s the point,” Cas said, sitting down and giving Jack his Happy Meal. “We don’t have the best track record with these sort of things.”
These ‘sort of things’ being playgroups. 
So, they’d tried a couple that hadn’t worked out. “Not like it’s our fault,” he said. “Take a seat, kid.” Jack ignored him, jumping in his seat as he waved to another toddler sitting nearby.
Cas beamed, holding onto the back of the chair. “He’s making friends, that’s a good sign.”
“Kid could make friends with a blank wall,” Dean said, but Cas was right—making friends was the whole point they were here. While Jack could make friends with just about anyone and anything—every crayon had a name and backstory, Cas’ trenchcoat was taken on make-believe-adventures, and the Impala could apparently talk, if Jack’s one-sided conversations during long car rides was anything to go off of—it was true that Jack was lacking in the friends-that-aren’t-hunters-or-over-a-decade-older category. There weren’t exactly many toddlers running around the bunker.
Hence, why they were spending their Saturday afternoon at the Hell on Earth known as McDonald's PlayPlace.
Jack held out the bag of apple slices that came in his Happy Meal. “Open.”
Dean stared him down and Jack added, “Peas.”
Close enough. Taking the bag, Dean told Cas, “Don’t look now, but Amanda is handing out brochures for Pampered Chef again.” According to Sam, that was another reason this playdate had to be a success—making friends with the right parents meant getting invited to more playdates and whatever other random events the parents came up with. It was like a weird society Dean had never known existed until Jack started preschool and started interacting with other kids his own age.
“I saw you using the food processor the other day,” Cas said, glancing over his shoulder to look despite Dean’s warning. Dean rolled his eyes. “I think it’s ingenious.”
“I’m not going to another two hour cooking demonstration.“
“Sam said we need to make a good impression.”
“He can go buy overpriced kitchen tools then.” It was a little too convenient that Sam had gotten out of taking Jack to this playdate—Dean had a suspicion that the multiple Ronald McDonalds stationed around had something to do with that.
He tried to hand Jack the apples, but Jack pointed at the play area. “Wanna play!”
“You have to finish your food,” Dean told him. Crossing his arms, Jack glared at him and stomped his foot on the chair.
“Just eat two more nuggets,” Cas told him. He picked up his filet-o-fish sandwich and glanced at Dean. “What?”
“You’re spoiling him.”
Jack stuffed his face with two chicken nuggets, which prompted Cas to give Dean a look. “Well, you’re teaching him bad table manners.”
Just to be obnoxious, Dean shoved half of his burger into his mouth in one bite. Jack laughed at him and Cas rolled his eyes.
“Done!” Jack announced, and Cas pushed his chair back so he could escape.
“These play places are gross,” Dean said, swallowing. “He’s gonna catch a disease.”
“Good thing he can’t get sick,” Cas said, watching Jack clamber up some stairs to reach a slide.
“Yeah, well I can,” Dean retorted. Jack went down the slide with a squeal. Landing at the bottom, he waved at them and Dean waved back.
“The Winchesters are here!” someone called too cheerily and Dean rolled his eyes, turning to see Ashley walking over. Lady thought she ran the group, always recruiting parents to bring snacks and toys to playdates. A little too high and mighty when Dean knew for a fact that the cupcakes she'd brought last week were store-bought.
Settling down into the seat next to them, she asked, “I wasn’t expecting you two today. Where’s Sam?”
Dean resisted rolling his eyes. Of course Sam was everyone’s favorite. Wasn’t his fault Sam was better at feigning interest in grocery lists and laundry piles. Parenting was hard enough without getting subjected to the unique torture of playgroup small talk.
“Him and Eileen went on a weekend trip,“ Cas answered easily and Dean nodded. They’d long given up trying to explain to others why Jack had a rotating list of parental figures accompanying him to playgroup, figuring if the other parents thought they were in a weird cult situation, at least that was better than them knowing the truth—like the fact that Sam and Eileen were away hunting a rugaru in Missouri. Though they were going to run out of excuses soon for why playgroup couldn’t be hosted at their place—an underground bunker with enough weapons to hold off an army.
“Well,” Ashley said, “I’m glad you guys were able to make it.” Yeah, that was a fake smile.
“We wouldn’t miss it,” Dean said, plastering on his own fake smile. “I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.” Cas kicked him under the table.
“We’ve loved having Jack in the group,” Ashley said, and that might not be a fake sentiment. Jack could charm anyone. “Such a sweetheart. Lily adores him.” She smiled at where Jack and her daughter Lily were crawling through a tunnel at the top of the play area.
“Jack, no!” Dean called, seeing Jack stick his fingers in his mouth. “I’m so getting sick,” he muttered under his breath.
He was trying to come up with an excuse to get away as Ashley pulled out her phone to show them a new post on her mommy blog—boring, same old content. Give him a blog and he’d actually have something interesting to say—when he heard familiar crying from across the play area.
Without a second thought, he was pushing back his chair and rushing over, squeezing past playing kids and their parents to find Jack sitting on the floor bawling his eyes out and a bigger kid standing over him.
“What the hell happened here?” he demanded. He went to pick up Jack, but Cas was already swooping in and grabbing him.
“He pushed me!” Jack managed through his sobs, and Dean turned on the older kid.
“What the hell’s your problem?” The kid’s baleful expression faltered. He took a step back and Dean advanced on him. “You get off on making kids half your size cry?”
“Don’t speak to my son that way!” someone exclaimed, pushing through the crowd of kids and parents to glare at them. “What’s going on?”
“Your son is a menace,” Cas told the woman—Denise. Playgroup gossip said her son had gotten held back from kindergarten due to his inability to ‘play nice with others.’ Jack’s crying had subdued to sniffles, but Cas still held onto him like he might break apart. “He was bullying our son.”
“I’m sure it was an accident.” She put her hand on the kid’s shoulder. “You didn’t mean to hurt him, right, Tommy?”
Tommy only glared at them, and Dean glared right back. “He needs to apologize to Jack,” Cas said.
“Tommy, apologize.”
After several long, drawn out seconds, Tommy muttered, looking down at his feet, “Sorry.”
“I don’t think that was a real apology,” Cas said.
“It’s not my fault Jack’s a crybaby,” Tommy shot back.
“You little—” Dean started
“Take that back,” Cas snapped, and if he wasn’t human, Dean would’ve expected his eyes to start glowing fiery blue. Denise’s eyes grew wide, her grip on Tommy’s shoulder tightening.
“Is there a problem here?” someone asked, and Dean turned to see a McDonald’s employee hurrying over.
“Yeah, this kid shoved our son,” Dean said. “And he’s being a little shit about it.”
The employee’s expression turned shocked and Dean heard a few gasps from the parents that had crowded around to see the commotion. “I’m gonna have to ask you to leave,” the employee stammered. “This is a kid’s play area, we won’t tolerate fighting here.”
“We were already going,” Cas said haughtily. He glared at Denise. “And if 'Tommy' ever lays a hand on Jack again, he will be sorry.” Jack’s expression was eerily similar to Cas’ as they shot twin glares at Tommy, and Dean thought he caught a spark in Jack’s eyes.
“Let’s go,” he said, taking Cas’ elbow and guiding him through the crowd of spectators before Jack tried to incinerate the kid. He wasn’t sure if that was one of Jack’s powers or not, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to find out in a crowded McDonald’s. Even if the snot-nosed kid deserved it.
The staff behind the counter was watching along with everyone else in the store, the once noisy place now brought to tense stillness. Cas snatched up the rest of their food and Dean knew they were already on the verge of getting the cops called on them, but he couldn’t resist turning and jabbing his finger at the little brat. “And don’t you ever fucking touch Jack again!”
Cas shot Denise and Tommy another look, Jack copying it over his shoulder, and Dean let the door slam shut behind them.
“I can’t believe the audacity of that woman,” Cas raged, strapping Jack into his carseat. Dean grabbed the wipes and leaned over the front seat to wipe Jack’s hands before he touched everything and spread germs around. “And her kid is exactly the same!”
Jack craned his neck to look back at the McDonald’s as Cas finished strapping him in. “Play!”
Getting into the passenger seat, Cas slammed the door shut. “You will not be going back there, not when those children are around. Dean was right, these play places are vile.”
“You alright, kid?” Dean asked Jack, shutting the wipe container.
Jack kicked his feet against the seat. “Hungry.”
Cas pulled out the container of Jack’s half-eaten chicken nuggets and Dean protested, thinking of a fateful day with a bag of cheerios—he was still finding them in every nook and cranny of the car. “No eating in the backseat.”
“He’s just been through a traumatic experience,” Cas said, handing the container to Jack. “We can make an exception.”
“Fine,” Dean muttered, gripping the steering wheel as he pulled out of the parking lot. “I always knew Denise was shifty. You saw the way she was trying to spin the story, making it out like it wasn’t her kid’s fault? Fucking asshole.”
“Asshole!” Jack agreed cheerfully from the backseat.
“That’s not a nice word, Jack,” Cas said. Quieter, he added, “But it’s accurate.” He pulled out his phone. “I’m gonna send a message to the playgroup chat. Tommy’s behavior can’t be tolerated. Soon all the kids are going to become bullies.”
“He needs to be taught a lesson,” Dean agreed, glancing at Jack as he stopped at a red light, trying not to flinch at the crumbs on Jack’s lap that threatened to fall to the floor. “Needs to get knocked down by someone. Hear that, Jack? We’re gonna teach you how to fight back.”
Jack nodded. “I can fight!” He waved a chicken nugget around in mock punches and Dean gave up any hope of keeping the backseat clean.
“Maybe we can convince the other parents to kick Denise and her son out of the—Oh.” Dean looked over at him and Castiel winced. “We’ve been blocked from the group chat.”
“That makes three of them,” Dean muttered, pushing the accelerator as the light turned green. “We’re gonna end up on some blacklist soon.”
First playgroup, Jack had set a couch on fire. Since the "baby god testing out his powers” explanation wasn’t gonna fly, they went with the tried and true, “playing with matches” excuse. Didn’t stop the group from voting to kick them out.
Second playgroup, Cas had gotten in a fiery debate over the ethicality of beekeeping, and what was Dean supposed to do? Not back him up? He hadn't known you could get kicked out of the zoo for "disorderly conduct."
Alright, maybe Sam’s fears that they’d fuck up this playdate too weren’t completely off base.
“I think it’s time we give playgroups a rest,” he decided.
"But Jack needs to make friends."
"He's already got us, and Claire and Kaia and Alex and—"
"Charlie!" Jack added from the backseat.
"Charlie," Dean agreed. "He's got plenty of friends." Cas only stared him down with a particular smitey look in his eyes, and though Dean knew there wasn't a real threat behind the gaze, he sighed. "Fine. We’ll try again.”
"I already had one in mind," Cas said, brightening. "In case this one didn't work out."
“Done!” Jack yelled.
“Inside voice,” Dean said automatically. “Wait, you had a backup plan?"
“Yes,” Cas said, taking the empty container of chicken nuggets from Jack. “I thought it wise considering our track record. It’s a smaller group than this one was—Here, Jack, you want my ice cream?”
“Dude, seriously?” Dean protested as Cas handed an Oreo McFlurry back to Jack, who excitedly held out his hands. “That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
“Not necessarily,” Cas said. “I don’t think we’re that destined to fail again—Oh, you mean the ice cream.” He glanced at Jack, who was dripping ice cream onto his lap with every spoonful. “Um. Traumatic experience?”
Dean wasn’t falling for that excuse a second time. He started to say so, but Cas wasn’t listening, picking up his phone as it beeped several times in quick succession.
“What?” Dean asked, seeing a slow frown cross Cas' face as he stared at the screen.
Cas held up his phone to show several texts in a row. “We’re in trouble.”
On cue, Dean’s phone started ringing, the screen lighting up to display Sam’s name. Fuck.
“Sam would like to know why we’re all blocked from the group chat,” Cas said unhelpfully, and Dean rejected the call.
“Good luck explaining why.”
“Maybe the problem is us,” Cas said slowly. He met Dean’s eyes, then they both shook their heads.
“No, it’s those stupid parents,” Dean said.
“And their insufferable children,” Cas agreed.
“Insufferable!” Jack agreed from the backseat, ice cream smeared across his chin. Or that’s what Dean thought he was repeating, the word losing a few syllables along the way.
“Not you, Jack,” Cas said. “Every playgroup would be lucky to have you.”
“Just, they apparently don’t know it,” Dean pointed out. “Or we wouldn’t keep getting kicked out.”
His phone started ringing again, as if to remind him of the fact, and he looked pointedly at Cas. “You deal with him.”
“No, you,” Cas said.
“For fuck’s sake,” Dean muttered. Then he had an idea.
“Hey, Jack, tell Sam about what you saw today.” He turned on speakerphone and handed back his phone, not even caring that Jack’s hands were a sticky mess. Okay, maybe he cared a little, but that’s why the Impala now always held wipes in the glove box.
Jack grabbed his phone eagerly. “Sam!” he crowed. “Guess what I saw!”
Dean caught Sam’s voice over the phone. “What—Jack, hey, where’s Dean?”
“Clowns!” Jack said, waving his ice cream spoon around. “Clowns everywhere!”
“Very mature,” Cas told Dean.
Dean shrugged. “Buys us some time.”
“That’s nice, Jack, but put Dean on,” Sam said. Jack started to give the phone back, and Cas whispered,
“Tell him about the slide.”
“Sam, Sam! I went on a slide!” Dean gave him a thumbs up in the rearview mirror and Jack copied it.
“Dean! I know you can hear me!” Sam yelled as Jack continued on about his eventful day.
“We’re horrible influences,” Cas said, unsuccessfully fighting back a smile.
“Nah,” Dean said. “We’re the best.”
tag list
@becky-srs @xojo @marvelnaturalock @aelysianmuse @prayedtoyou @letsjustdieeveryone @good-things-do-happen-dean @misha-moose-dean-burger-lover @theninthdutchessofhell @madronasky @famouspsychicpizzabandit @multifandomdisorder @arcticfox007  @improvedpeanut @castiel-is-a-cat @harmonyhelms @thetrueliesofafangirl @dean-you-assbutt-cas-loves-you @confusedisaster @welcome-to-crowleys-hellhole @celestialcastiel @wormstacheangel
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charlieliqueur · a year ago
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AHWM Yancy X Reader
Just One Date?
---
Yancy had made it clear time and time again.
"I'm waitin' for parole. I ain't takin' no shortcuts."
You were right there, in stealth clothes from the heist a few months ago, the key in your pocket, a hopeful look in your eyes, as always. Everytime you came back, everytime you broke in to visit him in person, he refused to sneak out for even a single night.
But this time would be different.
It was your 21st birthday. Yeah, so young to be out pulling heists and getting sent to prison and all, but you didn't care. The thing was, you could finally 'officially' buy a drink, and even if alcohol wasn't your biggest thing, you were gonna use this important birthday situation to guilt trip Yancy into sneaking out for just one night.
You wanted to see him in something other than his prison clothes (and maybe one day, nothing at all). You wanted to see him out and about, normal, happy, getting a taste of what the free world was like now. Maybe you just wanted to make sure he was serious about parole, by reminding him of what waited outside. He seemed determined, every third Sunday when you visited legally, he had a cleaner and cleaner report sheet. He hadn't gotten into a lick of trouble since you 'left'.
It was 11:40 p.m.
About an hour past 'lights out' at Happy Trails. You unlocked the gate, entered, locked it again, and headed for the right cell block. Then you unlocked an outer door, went down a few dark back hallways, through another doorway or two, another hall or three, waited for some guards to pass, silently crept past the other prisoners asleep in their cells, unlocked Yancy's cell, and finally shut the door behind you.
You snuck up, gently easing onto your knees at his bedside, he was fast asleep. You gently shook him, cooing his name. "Yancy... Yancy...?" You whispered, brushing his soft hair out of his face. It was a mess of curls when he didn't have it greased back.
"Hmmmmm?" He groaned, rolling over onto his side, his eyes opening slightly. He was so used to your late night visits he didn't even flinch. "Oh, its youse... happy birthday too..." he said softly, closing his eyes again. You smiled, your heart swelled at the fact that he remembered.
"Yeah, my 21st," you whispered.
"Mmm, 21st, ain't youse so young... gotten youself a couple'a shots yet?" He asked chuckling, tired. He'd probably only been asleep about half an hour.
You sighed, smiling. This man was half asleep in bed making sleepy conversation. "Um, not yet, I was hoping you'd tag along..." you whispered.
Please say yes, please say yes, please say-
"Come on y/n, youse know if I gets caught, it'll be solitary for weeks. And you may end up back in 'ere..." he said, rolling onto his back.
"What if we don't get caught? Hmm? Just one date?"
The last statement surprised him. You knew because he opened his eyes, and propped himself on his elbow, turning towards you. "Date? I ain't been on a date before..." he said surprised. "D-Did I say date? I-I mean, it doesn't- I just thought-" your face had flushed red.
He chuckled slightly, nodded a little, and sat up. "Alright, alright, we can head out for a few drinks. But then we come right back, okay?" He said, and you nodded, standing up happily. He pulled on a shirt and shoes. Not that it mattered, you had clothes in a dufflebag for him. He'd change once the two of you were outside.
He looked in a mirror a moment, before reaching for a small plastic tub. You stopped him and said "I like your hair loose... besides, you won't have to shower again before you get back."
"Youse smart, y'know?" He teased, before you both left.
He knew his ways out, you knew yours. Both were pretty fast, so you picked an option and went with it. Once outside, you passed him the dufflebag and told him to go change, which he hesitantly did so. Then, you were keeping watch outside the storage shed he changed in. Your eyes followed cars as they drove by on the far off road. Safety distance, since this was a prison.
You also kept your eyes out for the guards. When you knew it was safe for a few moments, you quickly changed in a different building. You were done much earlier than Yancy, most likely because he was used to tshirts and prison sweats.
Suddenly you heard a sound. You looked to see Yancy messing with his hair. Your eyes widened, and lips parted slightly in shock. Even if you had bought the clothes and knew exactly what they looked like, you didn't know what they looked like on him. Now Yancy was always handsome to you, but damn. Prison clothes weren't doing him justice.
You hadn't been sure what to get, so you went with a gray dress shirt and some black jeans. He still wore the white prison shirt under, leaving the dress shirt unbuttoned and he'd rolled the sleeves up. The boots you'd stolen from Mark fit Yancy rather well. He looked normal, like what a free man would. He deserved to be free, even if he didn't realize it.
Your eyes watched him as he looked at himself, saying "Not used to wearin' clothes like these. Youse sure about dis?" Then he looked up at you, stopping in his tracks. He only saw you in your stealth outfit, or whatever strange disguises you managed whenever you came on Visitation Day. But not in casual clothes, not going anywhere as yourself. He smiled slightly, and said "Y-Youse look nice." You smiled, looking down, a little embarassed.
"Thanks..." you gushed, before he walked up, and patted his hands on the sides of his legs, unsure of what to do. He hadn't been out in years. Many, many years. You looked at him, and then gestured for him to follow. "I already know a bar, someplace quiet, shouldn't be too busy."
"Alright, let's go then."
The bar was not quiet.
The bar was busy.
Dozens of people, eating, drinking, singing along to a classic jukebox which blared out of older speakers. Yancy looked around as people threw darts and each other around the place. You saw two people get up and start to leave, so you quickly grabbed Yancy's arm and guided him over to the seats. You both sat down, and he looked around curiously, fidgeting with the shirt collar.
"Youse sure about this? I didn't think this would be youses kind'a scene..." he said, and you shrugged. "It's not my favorite, but it's"-memories of the others getting drunk and rowdy filled your head-"...familiar."
"So what's it you want?" Asked the bartender, now standing infront of you two across the bar. "Um, not sure, didn't really plan it out..." you said nervously, looking down a little. The bartender seemed a little impatient, but Yancy casually said "Two doubles, scotch."
The bartender nodded and went off to his work. He returned, set down the glasses, and poured them. "Been a while since I've had one of these..." Yancy said, picking up the glass and watching it a moment. You grabbed yours. The shot glass was thick, and the scotch was a dark golden color. You weren't sure what to expect. Yancy held his out to you, and you smiled and tapped your glass on his, then against the bar, the downed it in one fell swoop.
He stared a moment, as you exhaled sharply. From what you tasted, it was an earthy sort of caramel flavor, with something a little more bitey. He chuckled, taking his a little slower, with less gusto than you had taken yours. He set his glass down on the bar, and out of nowhere a female voice said "Hey there... where are you from?"
Both Yancy and yourself looked to see a woman sitting down in the bar seat next to Yancy. She had a look in her eye, commonplace at bars. You had to admit, she was good looking. That worried you. Technically, Yancy and yourself weren't a thing... He wouldn't be interested, would he?
"Ohio," Yancy answered innocently. He wasn't naive, and knew exactly what she was up to... right?
"Really now?" She said with a smirk, and then introduced herself. "Yancy," he said. You began to worry. The Ohio answer was one thing, he didn't need to be getting swept up into conversation. You, however, were not up for confrontation at the moment. You waved down the bartender and ordered another shot while Yancy wasn't watching. Maybe enough alcohol would calm you down. You didn't want to get drunk, but you didn't wanna get possessive either.
It was a few more shots later, and a bit of conversation between Yancy and the woman later, that you felt this dread in your gut. A pit of worry and jealousy that wasn't quite familiar. You looked over, listening to them talk. Every time she replied to him, in that annoying 'trying to be flirty and sexy' tone, the pit worsened.
"Street boy? Hmm..."
Your body trembled a moment.
"Singing?
Your leg began to bounce anxiously.
"Dance? Now that's something. Didn't think you needed to be a muscle man for musical numbers," she said winking at him, caressing his bicep. That was the line she shouldn't have crossed. You stood suddenly, ready to fuck her up, but you were kinda drunk, and had stumbled into someone. A very large, very intimidating, very temperamental someone. He turned, glared, and grabbed you by the shoulder. "Watch it kid," he growled.
Suddenly he stumbled back, a red spot forming on his face, and beside you Yancy. The prison man stepped infront of you defensively, and glared harshly at the man, fists still clenched. His mood shifted so suddenly, and you worriedly asked "Yance?"
"Hush, doll," he said softly, as the other man stood back up. He tilted his neck to each side, and a series of cracks erupted from the joints. Then he said lowly "Bad move punk."
"Word of advice, walk away," said Yancy, not a whisper of fear. The man glared, and the bar patrons seemed to watch, either choosing a side or stepping away. You glanced back at the stool, and sighed. You started this, might as well make it interesting.
"Ready Yancy?" You asked. "Always," he replied, putting his fists up again. You immediately seized the stool, with a sudden clarity of sobriety, and threw it, knocking the man down.
So it began.
There was the clamber and chaos of a good ol' classic bar fight. Chairs being thrown, pool cues snapped, bottles shattered. People yelled, screamed, and fought. You had your back to Yancy, and his back was to you, as you both kept attackers off one another.
As a majority were either unconscious or had bolted, you both panted and stood a moment, before looking at one another. "Shows what I get for leavin' with youse for a night..." he teased, chuckling. You rolled your eyes and wearily rubbed blood off his broken lip with your thumb. He licked them, before glancing at your own.
He almost seemed to lean in a moment, before suddenly you could hear the police sirens. "Ah fuck," Yancy said in despair, looking towards the front door and windows, where red and blue lights seemed to be approaching. You immediately grabbed his arm, and you both rushed to a back door. You climbed over boxes and crates and anything, eager to escape.
Once you both made it out, you hurried back to Happy Trails. There was still a lot of commotion, so you waited until the heat died down a little before changing. Yancy made his way over the wall, but before you could, he stopped you and said "It's best youse lay low a while. Don't need you stuck waitin' for parole too. But, I'll see youse around, and, uh, thanks. Tonight was, well, interesting to say da least." He smiled, his eyes squinting up adorably as he chuckled. You nodded, and glanced down a moment, but a smile found your face anyways.
"Alright... but Visitation Day, you're stuck with me," you assured. He laughed and nodded. "Wouldn't want it any other way. Night y/n," he said, before pulling away from the gate. But you quickly reached forward, grabbing his shirt. Your face began to flush red, but you had a bit of courage in you. He looked confused, and you pulled him close again, and once he was close enough, you pull his face to yours before he can resist.
Your lips found his, and even if the kiss wasn't that comfortable, given the bars separating you two, it wasn't bad. Not bad at all. It was soft and warm and sudden. When you both pulled away, Yancy's cheeks had been tickled pink. He rubbed the back of his neck, smiling slightly. "W-Why'd youse do that now?" He gushed, unable to meet your eye a moment, his cheeks getting redder.
"Cause I think I'm in love with you," you said shyly, head still foggy from the alcohol, but you were sure of your answer.
"Oh, good, glad we're on the same page," he chuckled, before giving you a reassuring smile and backing away. This time, it was a little easier to let him go. You both glanced back once more at each other before going your separate ways.
Epilogue
You stood outside Happy Trails, nervously waiting. It was almost 6:30 in the evening. As the sun set on this late year day, you saw him. The classic black suit provided by the correction facility for recent releases looked pretty good on him. Walking beside him was Mr. MurderSlaughter, and he walked him all the way to the gate, and you could hear him talking.
"I'll be the first to say, we just might miss you around here Yancy. I'm also not afraid to say I was surprised to see I'd be letting you go today, or any day to be honest. I'm proud of you," said the man, and Yancy smiled.
"Well, I had something worth fightin' for on the outside waitin' for me," he said simply, looking to see you waiting, obviously excited. The gate was opened. Yancy stepped out.
For the first time as a free man in a very long time.
He set down the single suitcase he had, and tugged his suit jacket in place. You rushed up, which caught him by surprise, and you hugged him closely. After greetings and heartfelt words, you pulled away and smiled up at him. "Where to, doll?" He asks, his hands still at your waist. Your eyes speckled with tears of joy as you replied, "Home."
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clumsycopy · a year ago
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Love, Eternal Ch. 2 - Fresh Start
Clyde Logan had already ‘been there, done that’, life in Boone County turning into a predictable waltz. Until you arrived and showed what he was missing. If you only noticed him, he’d make you see it too.
A Stalker!Clyde fic where the nicest barman of Boone County obsesses over the newest arrival, giving her the best of the southern hospitality. 
Warnings: Stalker!Clyde, Stalking, Kidnapping, Rape/Non Con, Vibrators, Forced Orgasm, Forced Bonding, Oral Sex, Rough Oral Sex, Vaginal Fisting
Masterlist
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Clyde had lost count of how many times he’d looked at that damn door. When he arrived in the Duck Tape, it was still dark, not even the birds were awake to croak at him.
 He locked himself in his office, anxious like a schoolboy before a test. At first, he had a rythym; look at the ID, stare at the wall clock, look at his phone. Repeat.
‘M goin’ to explode in a million pieces if I don’t do somethin’.
 Your forever stare in the photo followed him everywhere. He wondered what it would be like to have you never leavin’ his side. Maybe attendin’ a barbecue over at Jimmy’s. Payin’ Mellie a visit. 
 Beggin’ on your knees for him to fuck y’. At that thought, Clyde’s opened the fly in his pants, his cock springin’ free, flopping against his stomach.
 The tip shone with precum already.
 He slicked his right hand with spit, gripping his cock, tight like he imagined you to be, while the other held the ID, makin’ sure your photo was right in the line of fire.
 Clyde clenched his hand, slidin’ it up and down, pressin’ harder just as his fingers glazed the head of his penis. He closed his eyes for a moment, throwin’ his head back, picturin’ you, moanin’, cryin’ for him, for his cum, wherever he wanted it.
 Just like that he was ready to cum, spurt all over himself. He opened his eyes, seeking the photo, hand slidin’ faster ‘n’ faster, until he exploded all over the document, coatin’ it in thick spurts of his semen.
 Can’t wait to do this with y’, bunny.
 His phone buzzed, ringin’ against the desk. The screen lit up.
 [304-218-4570]: 
Hiya, Clyde! I’m going to be a bit earlier, see you in 10 minutes.
 Shit. Shiit. Fuck!
 He stood up, tugging his jeans upwards, scramblin’ to find somethin’ to fix up his mess. As much as he’d love to scoop it up with his fingers and feed it to you, now wasn’t the time.
 Wet wipes managed to clean most of it off, he finished by dabbin’ with a towel damp with cold water. When he was satisfied with the cleaningness, he put the ID over the counter, before he did any more damage t’ it.
 Just in time, you knocked on the door. He beamed at how attentive you were bein'. Knocking, wasn’t that the sweetest thing to do?
 "It's open, come right in," he shouted.
 You walked inside, fresh as the mornin' mist. 
 He welcomed you, holdin’ up your ID. “Look at what the cat brought up,” he joked.
 “I can’t believe you found it! Thank you so much, Clyde. You just got rid of so much headache and paperwork for me. How can I repay you? Seriously, I mean it.” You picked up your document, straight from Clyde’s hand. He made it look so tiny, you thought.
 “Y’ can come in more often. I can see you have a soft spot for this ol’ bar, I’d love to have y’ hangin’ ‘round these parts.”
 You chuckled, hookin' your thumbs in your belt loops. A flush spread through your face, still, causin' you to look down.
 “Now, now, don’t be ashamed, darlin’. I was just pickin’ ya.” He suppressed the urge to cup your face with his hand, to brush a thumb over your lips. 
 A car horn blared, one two three times, breakin' the silence.
 “Oh, that should be my ride. Thank you, for everything.”
 “Well, are y' sure you got all your stuff? Or will I find your driver’s license this time? Identity theft is not a joke, y' know.” Clyde laughed, his baritone voice resoundin’ on the empty room.
 “Guess I know now where to look for my stuff,” you replied.
 Clyde herded you to the door, pullin' it open and signalin' for you to go through. He followed, leanin' against the porch, arms crossed.
 You turned back one last time, wavin' at him.
 He smirked and returned the gesture, eyes followin' your every move as you walked to your friend’s car. His gaze lingered, even after you got inside. He cocked his head, tryin' to get a better look at the driver. Hope it’s not ‘nother shitbag.
 A breath fanned out of his mouth when he spotted the woman who drove vehicle. Much better.
 Clyde made note of the license plate. Any person that was friendly enough to give you a ride should looked at. 
 The wooden rails creaked as he pushed himself off. He nudged a loose plank with his foot, watchin' as it split beneath his boot.
 He made his way over to behind the bar, finally free to start settin' up for the day. His foot tripped on somethin', causin' him to grasp on the counter. Clyde's gaze roamed down to the culprit- a latch on the ground. Dust caked on the slits around the square door, framed by a chain spotted with silver, black and brown, rusted flakes fallin' off. The cellar had been abandoned since he started livin' with Jimmy.
 In the beginnin’, after he came back home, he couldn’t sleep anywhere open. He got tired of wakin’ up Jimmy every night, so he moved to the underground space, livin’ and workin’ in the Duck Tape. He liked it, bein’ alone, not havin’ to put up a front, smile while sum’ strangers thanked him for his service.
 Fuckin’ service that had him feel like a hero in the field. Fuckin’ country that welcomed him back like he was a broken G.I. Joe. V.A. had him fillin’ out 48 forms so they could send a plastic paw.
 He had snapped out of it, growin’ a thicker skin, feelin’ good enough to step out in the world again and take over the bar. ‘One hand could make any drink as good as two’, that’s what Jimmy used to say and Jimmy was always right. Except for three times, but he was right in sayin’ that.
 He nudged the door with his shoe, wipin’ off a layer of rust.
 It’s ‘bout time do some fixin’ up down there. Prepare a nice room for me ‘n’ her. A new home, to help her settle.
 ▬▬ι══════════════ι▬▬
 He watched over y’ the next few weeks. Wakin’ up with the birds, weavin’ his car ‘round the back of your workplace, seein’ y’ almost every day.
 With time, he’d be the one givin’ y’ those rides in the mornin’. After y’ accepted him. Then he’d pick y’ up in the evenin’, listen to y’ sayin’ how your day went ‘bout. Get home ‘n’ show y’ how much he missed y’.
 A simple life. If y’ behaved.
 Clyde just returned to the Duck Tape, after seein’ you off. He slammed the door on his way in. Third day in a row where that Ben shitbag picked y’ up. How could y’ not see that guy was trouble? Not a real man enough for y’?
 It was more than due time for a lil’ intervention.
 He swiped his phone on, scrollin’ the contacts screen, his big fingers tappin’ everywhere except for the placed he wanted. He hit the right number, holdin’ the cellphone to his hear, listenin’ to the annoying ringin’.
 The call came through with a crackle, the voice on the other side loud ‘n’ full of static. Clyde spoke first.
 “Hey, Joe. How goes it? Can y’ spare me a minute? It’s a quick thing. Listen, I need a favor… but you’re gonna like it. Ever blew up one of those tech buildings downtown?”
 ▬▬ι══════════════ι▬▬
 You were in tears the next time you showed up. Ben broke up with you, saying he’d never step foot in the shithole that was Boone County, said he’d move back home in New York and forget about it all. He didn’t want any more ties with West Virginia- you included.
 Over the next month you’d came in a couple times a week. Sometimes alone, others with a friend. Clyde became a welcomed presence in your life. You wouldn’t call him a close friend, but an acquaintance that you held a great fondness for.
 In one of the nights you came alone, you made sure to get your usual spot by the corner of the bar, callin’ Clyde over. You had some excitin’ news to share.
 “I’m moving out. While I love, love, Boone County, it’s too small to have the job I want… I want to try my chances in a bigger city, you know. My parents told me it was a mistake to move to West Virginia, the last time we spoke. I’m going to prove them wrong.”
 No, no, no. This was not part of the plan. You weren’t supposed to leave. He reckoned he’d have to rush the plan. Guess the ‘shit happens’ part hit a bit earlier than he expected.
 He smiled, neck tensed as his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down.
 “I’m sorry things didn’t work out for y’. When are y’ movin’ out?” He leaned his forearms on the bartop.
 “Tomorrow morning. Sold all of my stuff, so I just have to take the bus. A true fresh start,” you beamed.
 Makin’ things easier for me. I’ll give you the fresh start you want so much.
 “Hope y’ don’t abandon your favorite bar. My earnings are gonna suffer you know-” He turned around, a beer cap bouncin' off the back of his head. “Did you just throw that at me, huh, Rusty?! Get outta my bar!” he roared, features twisted in a scowl.
 Clyde faced you again. “I’m sorry for that, darlin’. Those drunk bums are gonna be the death of me someday. Tell me, where are you goin’ next?”
 “Don’t apologise, that guy deserved to get kicked out, he did have good aim, I have to say,” you laughed. “I’m moving to Charleston. Already got an AirBnB and will get a real apartment and a job once I settle down.” You help up your hands. “Now you’re going to say I’m being stupid, trust me, I’ve heard that one before.”
 “I’d never call y‘ stupid, darlin’.” He raked his fingers through his hair. “What ‘bout this, all rounds on me tonight. As your goin’ away gift.”
 “Oh, you don’t have to. I don’t want to hurt your business,” you said.
 He tapped the counter. “Stop with that nonsense, it’s goin’ to be a pleasure.”
 “Alright, then… only if you drink with me.”
 “If y’ say so.”
 He got started with the first round, slammin' two glasses of Old Fashioned with a pop in front of you.
 “The first drink y’ ever had here. Off to a good start.” He raised the drink in a toast.
 You mimicked him. “Cheers!”
 The liquid had the same freshness and sweet tones as the first one you had, all the way back. You drank it all in one go.
 Clyde couldn’t help but stare at the moisture on your lips, still glistenin’ with the leftovers of the liquid. If he could, he’d lick it all up.
Hour after hour, the night went on, in a blur of laughs and drinks, the perfect way to say goodbye. The lateness of the hour hit, and you figured it was time to get home.
 “Oh my God, I’m the only customer left here. You probably want to close the bar and here I am, overstaying my welcome. I- I don’t want to impose, you’ve already done so much. I need to go back home.”
 “No, no, stay a while longer. Stay for the last call. One more drink?” he pouted. “I’ll make it extra special.”
 “Ok. But this time is the last one, all right?”
 “Don’t worry. It will be,” he smiled, eyes glintin' in the warm lighting.
 You never saw mixology work as beautiful as the one he performed that evening. There were so many elements that you lost count.
 Clyde offered you the glasss. “Let’s toast to fresh starts.”
 “To fresh starts.” Nodding, you drank at the same time as him.
 You set the cup down, fingers trembling. Tomorrow didn’t look so bright to you as you imagined you’d have a terrible hangover to deal with.
 “I’m not feeling- ” You faltered, forearms slammin' in the counter, wood scratchin' your skin as you pressed down for support.
 “Easy… easy… take it slow.” Clyde jumped over the bar. He kicked out a chair, sittin' on it, pullin' you to his lap. One hand wrapped around your arm, his thumb and fingerstips touching. He pet your hair with the other hand, cradlin' your face to the expanse of his chest, nuzzlin' his chin over your head.
 “Shh… You’re gonna be just fine. I got ya, allright? I’m not goin’ to hurt y’,” he cooed.
 “Ughmm… need to-” You pushed against him with all the energy you had left. On a good day it would be useless. In your incapacitated state, might as well not even try. He was too big, too strong for you to make a difference. Your arms dropped to your sides, hangin' over his thighs, hands brushin' against the chair.
 “That’s it, close your eyes. Atta girl, lean into me,” he spoke, and each rumble of his deep voice vibrated right inside your chest.
 You fought against the lull of unconsciousness, but darkness swept over your eyes.
 He whispered sum’ more nonsense until he felt the limp weight of your unconscious body against him. Clyde threw you over his shoulder, left arm coilin’ ‘round your knees, right hand brushin’ the back of your thighs.
 The door to the cellar whirred open after he pushed the button with his feet. He tiptoed down the steel steps as not to stir you.
 Fresh sheets hugged the bed—a king sized bed—not a wrinkle in sight. He lowered you to the mattress, mindin' your head, makin’ sure there was a sturdy pillow to support your neck.
 He then took each of your limbs and secured them to the latches on the wall and the floor; strappin' your wrists, ankles and waist. He grasped the last piece, his favourite, and circled it ‘round your neck, snappin’ it close. Turnin’ his atention to your face, he first threaded his hand over your hair, smoothin’ it out. After he was satisfied, he gathered the smooth fabric on his hands, tyin’ it over your eyes, ensurin’ there were no gaps. Couldn’t have y’ peekin’ anythin' yet.
 To finish of his artwork, he grasped your jaw, his thumb pressin’ down on one side while his fingers pressed down the other. Slowly, he pulled it open, insertin’ the little ball gag between your teeth.
 There, now… all ready for me.
 He couldn’t wait for you to wake up.
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the-real-tc · a year ago
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Fic UPDATE! Wide River to Cross:  Chapter 22
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(This was posted a while ago on Fanfiction dot net, but I totally forgot to share it here.) Chapter 22: Homecoming
In the darkness of night, the tree-lined drive seemed eerily foreign to Lisa as the town car bore both her and Rachel to their familial estate. Though it was a view she had seen thousands of times in her life, this particular return to Fairfield granted her no trace of comfort or sense of homecoming. It was bordering on close to ten months that she had been absent—one of the longest spells she had been away since her past marriage to Dan and subsequent move to the USA.
Lisa could not help but recall other lengthy absences from Fairfield, particularly in her adolescence when she had attended boarding school in France with Rachel. While she had enjoyed those times away—thanks to her love of French culture and many outings with her doting Aunt Evelyn—the inevitable homesickness was alleviated only upon return. Now, she felt like a stranger returning to a strange place, creeping in like some interloper.
Like a thief in the night, she thought to herself wryly, fighting the encroaching discomposure without much success.
“We’re here, Rach,” Lisa whispered, giving her younger sibling a gentle nudge.
“Huh? Oh, thanks,” Rachel mumbled sleepily. “I didn’t realise I nodded off.”
She smiled slightly, watching as Rachel rubbed bleary eyes before finishing off with a long yawn. Rachel had endured only one flight; Lisa had needed three to return to Alberta. Exhaustion was indeed beginning to overwhelm her, but there was a nervous tension buzzing through her veins, keeping her on an unusual level of alertness. Now that she was back in Hudson, the mere thought of being in the same town as Jack—and potentially encountering him anywhere—set her mind spinning. How would such a meeting play out? What words could pass her lips to express to him all that was in her heart? What words, if any, would he have to say to her?
Security lights illuminated the exteriors of the stables, dispelling the shadows. Night checks would have already been completed by this hour. All was quiet now, though Lisa knew Harry Wilkes would probably still be up in his office, burning the midnight oil while waiting for their arrival.
Good ol’ Harry, Lisa thought with affection. He had been such a constant presence in her life since she was a little girl, working his way up from the very bottom as a stable hand to head groomsman. Matthew Stillman had come to trust the man with just about everything, and Lisa had done the same. Harry was dedicated to the care of the horses in a way that went beyond what was expected of a mere hired hand. Anyone else would have retired from the position by now, but Harry was still logging the same hours as he had during the past forty-five years as a Fairfield employee. He had been there through the lean years and through the successful ones.
Without her realising it, a long pout pulled at Lisa’s face as the car pulled to a stop in front of the sprawling ranch house. She knew Harry was not thrilled with the idea of her selling Fairfield, even though he was guaranteed a handsome severance package. The rest of the staff might be keen on staying on with new owners; Harry would not—Lisa was certain of that.
“Why the long face?” Rachel asked, looking over at her. “Something wrong?”
“Hmm?” Lisa shook herself. “Oh, no. It’s just that... I-I don’t think Harry is pleased with my decision to sell, that’s all.”
“So Harry’s still working here, eh?” Rachel said, lips quirking into a lop-sided smile. “Dad really lucked out when he hired him. He’s been here since before I was even born. Good ol’ Harry.”
“I honestly don’t think I could have managed without him when Dad got sick,” Lisa mused out loud.
Sure enough, the door to the Fairfield business offices opened to reveal the man in question, silhouetted against the interior lights. He waved jauntily at them, and Lisa intuited he was intent on helping them unload their luggage.
“C’mon,” she said to Rachel as she opened her door. “Let’s get out before he gets the idea we’re going to let him carry everything into the house. He’s been up all night waiting; he’s got to be tired after working all day.”
“Right,” Rachel said in agreement, though she was staving off another yawn of exhaustion.
“Ah, the two prettiest girls in Hudson have made their triumphant return,” Harry greeted them affectionately; paternally.
“Oh, Harry,” Lisa said with a chagrined laugh, “I don’t know about ‘triumphant’, and after travelling all day, we look like something the cat dragged in.”
“Ha! Speak for yourself, sis,” Rachel interjected merrily. “Harry, flattery gets you everywhere. It’s good to see you.”
“Likewise, Rachel.”
The three gathered for a warm group hug. As Lisa guessed moments earlier, the next words out of Harry’s mouth were an offer to bring their luggage inside.
“No, no, you take it easy Harry,” Lisa quickly stated. “You’ve had a long day, too. Rachel and I can manage just fine.”
“Nonsense,” Harry said, reaching for the largest of the pieces the chauffeur had just deposited from the trunk. “Your father would be horrified if he saw me standing by idly while you two dragged all this stuff by yourselves.”
“Chivalry isn’t dead in Hudson, I see,” Rachel quipped, following the older man with her carry-on and a smaller suitcase.
“Thanks, Harry,” Lisa said after everything was sitting in the spacious foyer.
“Happy to do it, Lisa,” Harry said. “Welcome home.”
“Yeah... for however long that’s going to be,” Lisa sighed.
“It’s going to be hard seeing this place go,” Harry uttered with a wistful air. “Fairfield has been a big part of Hudson ever since you made it the success it’s become, Lisa. This town won’t be the same without it—or you.”
Not unkindly, Lisa asked: “Is this your way of trying to talk me out of selling?”
Harry shrugged. “Maybe. I know an old fella like me who’s on his way to retirement can’t interfere with the business decisions of his boss, but you know this place has always been more than just a ’job’ for me.”
“I know,” Lisa said warmly, reaching out to touch his arm in a show of understanding. “And I thank you for everything you’ve done from the day my father hired you to this present time.”
“You’re welcome,” he said, placing a hand over hers for a few moments. “I should be on my way. See you in the morning.”
“Of course.”
Harry turned to make his exit, but hesitated on the threshold. “There is something...”
Lisa waited expectantly. “What is it?” she asked when he did not continue.
“Hmph. Nah, it can wait ‘til tomorrow,” he muttered. “Goodnight, ladies.”
“’Bye,” Rachel said, trying to suppress another yawn.
“Goodnight, Harry,” Lisa said, closing the door behind him, slightly perturbed by the man’s cryptic parting words. Whatever it was, she would learn of it the next day.
--
As cranky as Jack was at the notion of having the woolly creatures on his land, Georgie’s 4H Club project meant sheep at Heartland was good for something. At least the kid could learn about the rearing of an animal she could handle. Lambs weren’t liable to trample you, gore you, buck you off, or kick you in the head. It was decidedly not fun chasing down the specific lamb Georgie and Olivia wanted, especially since they could not agree on which one was the best one for their needs. Jack half-suspected they were changing their fickle minds on purpose, just for the spectacle of his sprawling about in the grass and weeds, grabbing at this lamb or that lamb.  
It should have been Tim’s job seeing after the sheep, but he picked that very week to head to Moose Jaw to visit with his son, Shane, so they could spend Thanksgiving together. Why was it his ex-son-in-law continued to be such an irritant and an imposition in his life? If not for Lou and Amy, the man would never again have darkened the door at Heartland.
After Georgie and Olivia finally settled on a lamb and Jack successfully secured it, he decided a little break was necessary. It was no use getting worked up over the flock again; also, the girls did not need his grumpy mood to ruin things for them. It was trial enough for Georgie to be partnered with Olivia, he knew, so he did his best to keep his cool while in their company.
Once inside the kitchen, he brewed a cup of tea and eased into a chair in the living room—the kitchen having been taken over by Peter and his laptop. The man really needed office space of some kind while he was here, Jack mused.
Why Tim felt the need to saddle his son-in-law with the nickname “The General” was beyond Jack, but then again, Tim knew exactly how to push other people’s buttons. The recent fiasco involving Tricia and her near-delinquent daughter, Jade, at the fishing cabin was a fine example of that.  
Jack sipped at his tea, trying to resolve in his mind yet again why Tim possessed such an unbridled sense of entitlement. He lacked what Jack’s grandmother would have called social graces. His unsolicited comments could be tactless. The frustrating thing was that such comments were often uncomfortable truths no one else wanted to face or accept.
When Tim had first asked how the Arizona trip had been, Jack recalled initially telling him to mind his own business. Tim, ignoring Jack’s desire for privacy had asked, point-blank:
“You missed Lisa, didn’t you?”
”Didn’t I tell you to mind your own business?!” Jack had retorted. “I had a swell time.”
”You’re not fooling me, old man. What did you do with yourself down there the whole time? You couldn’t have been having that much of a ‘swell time’ because you cut it short and came home a week early!”
“I did happen to have some good times, thank you very much!”
“Yeah? Doing what?” Tim had challenged.
“Saddleback trip. Lookin’ at real estate. Meeting nice people. Camping and fishing.”
“Meeting nice people and fishing, eh? Catch anything good down there in Arizona?” Tim asked suggestively.
“As a matter of fact, yes. I hooked a very nice catfish.”
“Oooh! A catfish!” Tim had crooned, pretending to be impressed. “How big was it?”
Knowing he would not be able to lie any further, Jack had groaned in annoyance and decided it was time to cease this line of questioning. “Dunno,” he had sullenly replied. “It pulled free from the hook before I could reel it in. The sun was going down by then. I quit trying after that.”
“Ha!” Tim had laughed triumphantly. “Dinner out of a can that night, right?”
Jack grit his teeth. “No, I forgot to bring a can opener. Are you done, now?”
“You ‘forgot’ to bring a can opener?” Tim crowed in derision. “So why didn’t you just use your knife to open the can, or did you forget to bring a knife, too?”
“Oh, would you just shut up already!”
Jack stalked off and was thus out of earshot when a gleeful, self-righteous Tim muttered, “Ohhh, he totally missed Lisa.”
--
It was already after 10:00 a.m. when Lisa awoke on Saturday morning. The inevitable jet-lag felt especially pronounced this time around, and she groaned when she realised the lateness of the hour. She so wanted to soak up a few more hours of sleep, but knew work was waiting. There was the matter Harry mentioned the night before which she wanted to get to the bottom of, but the first order of business absolutely had to be contacting the real estate agent.
After a quick shower, she shared a hurried breakfast with Rachel. Her sister was still drowsy and not much in the mood to talk while they ate. When Rachel drifted back to bed for a nap, Lisa finally got on the phone to the realtor, glad they were indeed open that day despite it being a holiday long weekend. After all those months in France of dithering on this, it felt almost anti-climactic the sale would finally be happening. The deed is done, Lisa thought after hanging up. She was not sure what emotions she was experiencing now that Fairfield would officially be on the market.
Ruefully, she thought, I really should call Dan and tell him the ‘good’ news. In all truth, her ex-husband was the last person she wanted to speak to after all their less-than-pleasant email correspondences over the past several months. I wonder what Jack would think if I called him and told him I was back in Hudson? Lisa stopped herself cold. Where did that thought come from?! I would have to explain to him that I’m finally selling the old place and moving to France for good, wouldn’t I? I’d have to come up with some excuse as to why I didn’t even tell him I was coming back.
She stood from behind her desk and decided it was time to check in on Harry, brushing aside any further thoughts of both of her exes.
“Ah, Lisa! Good morning,” Harry greeted Lisa brightly when she knocked on the business office door.
“Good morning, Harry. I just got off the phone with the real estate people. Someone’s going to be by later this week to properly assess the property and get some signs posted and such.”
“Of course,” he said with a nod of understanding.
“Harry, about that thing you mentioned last night...”
“Oh, yes. That,” Harry said, lowering his voice.
Lisa caught his tone, and interpreted he was about to tell her something she would not particularly enjoy hearing. “Well, what is it?”
“It’s Dan,” Harry said in a manner that spoke volumes of disapproval.
“Dan? What’s he done now?” Lisa asked guardedly.
“You’d better follow me,” Harry said, rising from his seat.
He led Lisa out to the stables where they stopped in front of Fairfield Flyer’s stall. The champion racer seemed strong and healthy, and Lisa looked at her head groomsman, awaiting an explanation.
“Dan and some of his people and vets have been here to see Flyer and Rhapsody quite a few times while you were gone,” Harry started. “Since you have joint ownership, of course I couldn’t stop him.”
“Stop him from doing what?” Lisa asked, instantly on edge. Rhapsody was one of her broodmares.
“From getting all kinds of lab work done—and cell samples taken from Flyer.”
“Cell samples...” Lisa mused out loud.
Harry continued. “Rhapsody is already nine months pregnant. You had no idea, did you?” he asked warily as he studied her reaction. “Don’t answer that. Your expression tells me all I need to know.”
Lisa felt her cheeks flush. “I always did have a lousy poker face,” she grumbled.
“Ah, I should have known he didn’t tell you, but you know I’m not the type to interfere,” a contrite Harry said. “And given the nature of what he was doing, I wasn’t sure if you were both keeping it a secret, or what. Sorry, Lisa.”
“Don’t apologize; this isn’t remotely your fault. It seems I have a call to make to my ‘business partner’. Thanks, Harry.”
She strode out of the stables, absolutely steaming, trying to decide how best to have this conversation with Dan. Cell samples? That could only mean one thing, Lisa concluded, coupled with Dan’s recent talk about getting into horse cloning. He was trying to warm me up to the idea, she now realised.
“Where do you get off cloning Fairfield Flyer without even consulting with me first?!” Lisa exploded when she had Dan on the line.
“Now hold on just a minute, Lisa—” Dan tried to interrupt.
“No, you hold on; I’m not finished,” Lisa hissed through clenched teeth. “Harry told me you’ve been out to Fairfield to see Flyer and Rhapsody. This is the real reason you’ve been so demanding about the finances, isn’t it? You weren’t concerned about the Avignon facility—you were paying to have Flyer cloned. How many other horses did you have lined up for the procedure?”
From Dan’s silence, Lisa knew she had hit the nail on the head.
“When were you going to tell me?” Lisa fumed. “When were you going to tell me the Avignon deal was all a sham and that you were really using my investment funds to clone Flyer and God knows how many others?”
“Okay, simmer down,” Dan said, trying to placate her. “Avignon is still a go. But the focus has shifted slightly. It could be the best equine cloning facility in Europe, Lisa. If the clone of Flyer is a success, we’re going to take it to Avignon as the poster boy for the procedure in race horses. We’d be one of the first out of the gate doing this. We could make history, Lisa, because the Racing Association is bound to come around once more people get on board.”
“Have you lost your mind?” Lisa had to keep herself from shouting. “You go behind my back, and-and then try to tell me you’re shifting the focus of the breeding facility we planned in France?”
“All that stuff you learned in that Lexington conference about performance markers is great, Lisa,” Dan said, “but that’s yesterday’s science. Cloning is the future. Do you really want to be left behind?”
Lisa realised she was still too angry to have a rational talk with Dan. “Let’s table that question,” she finally said. “I just got into Hudson late last night, and I’m too tired to deal with this right now. But make no mistake, Dan, I’m not impressed you went behind my back.”
“Fair enough, fair enough,” Dan said, sounding almost relieved. “Hang on, did you just say you’re back in Hudson?”
Lisa clenched her teeth in irritation. “How else do you think I found out about Flyer?”
“Uhhh—Harry told you, didn’t he?”
“Of course Harry told me,” snapped Lisa, relishing the discomfort she heard in Dan’s voice. He sounded as if he were a guilty schoolboy.
“I see,” Dan said in resignation. “Wait, if you’re in Hudson, does that mean you’ve finally put Fairfield on the market?”
“Yes, Dan, you’ll be happy to know I took care of that chore before calling you,” Lisa replied testily.
“Good! That’s great!” Dan exclaimed. “Finally. Look, Lisa, I get you’re upset about the cloning thing. You’re right; I should have included you in that decision. But Flyer is mine, too. I think in time, you’ll see—”
“Ah, but Rhapsody is mine,” Lisa cut in. “You’re still on shaky ground, Dan. As I said just now, we’ll discuss this later. You’ll be lucky if I don’t decide to involve my lawyer with this one.”
She heard his exhalation of discontent, but she frankly did not care. Misappropriation of funds, she thought. Yeah, that has a nice ring to it.
“Come on, Lisa. Are you really going to split hairs like that?” he whined. “Aren’t we business partners in this whole breeding venture?”
It took all the control she could muster not to slam down the phone. Instead, she took a steadying breath before responding. “That didn’t give you the right to use Rhapsody for your cloning experiment without consulting with me first. But what’s done is done. Like I said, I’m not in the mood to discuss this right now. Goodbye.”
Lisa did not wait to hear Dan respond before she hung up the call.
Rachel, having awakened from her nap, was sitting at the breakfast nook in the kitchen, flipping through an old edition of the Hudson Times. When Lisa wandered in, Rachel glanced up and said, “Uh-oh. I know that look. Something’s got you mad.”
Lisa groaned. “Ugh. What tipped you off?”
Rachel smirked. “Yeah, see, there’s this vein that always pops out on your forehead whenever you blow a gasket,” she answered, motioning to her own head.
Grumbling, Lisa swiped a self-conscious hand over her face.
“Hey, it’s not like you get mad often, sis,” Rachel said, trying to lighten the mood. “It must be something big.”
Lisa plopped down wearily across from Rachel. “It’s Dan,” she began. “He’s gone and tried to clone one of my best racers—Fairfield Flyer—without even asking me, first.”
“Oh, wow. Is that even legal?” Rachel asked, folding the paper and putting it aside. “I’m not up on my horse cloning ethics.”
“It is legal,” Lisa said, “but it’s damned expensive, comes with a pile of risk factors, and the Racing Association has yet to accept clones in sanctioned races.”
“Didn’t I read something a couple years ago about clones being accepted for show jumping in the Olympics?” asked Rachel.
Lisa nodded. “Yes. The Fédération Equestre Internationale did announce clones could be entered for equestrian events. I still don’t know what Dan was thinking, though. Flyer is a racer, not a jumper, or dressage. It’s infuriating. And it’s not even about the ethics when it comes to cloning; it’s that Dan was hounding me for months to get Fairfield sold so we could get going on an operation out of Avignon.”
“Avignon?” repeated Rachel.
“Yes. You know I always wanted to retire to France, eventually.”
“Right...”
“Anyway,” Lisa continued, “I sold my share of the Dude Ranch back to Lou, and assumed those funds were going towards funding that Avignon operation. Obviously, Dan was funnelling all of it to help make the payments for the cloning procedure.” She let out another huff of frustration; Rachel eyed her with pity.
“C’mon, Lisa,” Rachel said after several moments of silence. “In the end, a horse is a horse, and we both know you love horses. When Rhapsody foals, you’re going to love that clone. So forget Dan, and focus on making sure Rhapsody stays healthy through the rest of the pregnancy.”
The words were like a thunderbolt, bringing a much-needed dose of reality. Lisa stared at Rachel for a few moments, speechless. “Are you sure you’re the younger sister, here?” she eventually asked with an affectionate smile and shake of her head. “When did you get to be so wise?”
“Oh, I have my moments,” Rachel answered airily.
“Well, I hope there’s more wisdom where that came from,” Lisa said, “because even though you’re right about loving it when it arrives, I get the feeling that clone is going to become more like a monkey on my back.”
--
Thanksgiving at Heartland was slightly less crowded than usual owing to the absences of Tim and Lou. Everyone was thankful for Jack’s surviving the heart attack and for Amy’s health and recovery after her recent scare with Zeus; Georgie was thankful in particular for her new family and for Phoenix.
At Fairfield, the celebration was slightly more subdued. Figuring this to be their final Thanksgiving together before the family farm passed into new hands, the Stillman sisters spent much of that holiday Monday* reminiscing about older, happier times, and some not-so-happy times, too.
“I used to love it when Aunt Evelyn would come to visit from wherever she had last been,” Lisa remarked as they sat together in the cozy living room, a roaring fire burning in the hearth.
“Remember her second husband?” Rachel snickered.
“Ah, yes. Uncle Merrill,” Lisa said. “With those massive sideburns we always wished he would shave off.”
“Where did she meet him, again?”
“Wales, I think,” Lisa replied. “But he was from Scotland.”
“He claimed he was some Scottish lord, right?” asked Rachel. “I seem to remember that.”
Lisa nodded seriously. “He apparently had the bank account to prove it, or so Aunt Evelyn told me.”
“Well, she was married to him the longest,” Rachel said.
“That’s true,” Lisa said, taking a sip of cider.
“Until he left her for a newer, younger model,” Rachel said.
“And she took him to the cleaners,” chortled Lisa. “Then promptly found herself another millionaire boyfriend.”
“That one didn’t last very long, did it?”
“Oh, a couple years, maybe? Then she had a few other gentlemen friends whose names I forget. Then she married Charles, the wealthy stockbroker from New York. They met on a cruise ship. Divorced him after five years.”
“Aunt Evelyn is addicted to men and to money,” Rachel said. “And I mean that in the nicest possible way.”
“Rachel, there is no nice way to call someone a gold digger,” Lisa said, a peal of laughter breaking forth.
“Ha! You said it; not me!”
“All right, Aunt Evelyn may have her... flaws... but she’s always been good to us,” Lisa said sincerely.
“Yeah... you’re right,” Rachel said. “Though you’re her favourite, you know.”
Lisa cocked her head and frowned at her sister, puzzled by this comment. “Naw. She totally spoiled us both. What d’you mean by that?”
“Oh, nothing.” Rachel waved a hand dismissively. “I just got the feeling like she doted on you a little more. That’s all.”
“What? Why?”
Rachel stared at her older sister, considering for a few moments how to proceed. She blew out a breath and said, “Okay, remember that horse you had when we were kids? Silver?”
“Yes,” Lisa said, thinking of the dapple grey mare she got as a rescue. She put aside her mug, sensing Rachel was about to say something she had been wanting to say for a long time, but never had the chance to get it off her chest.
“I remember when Silver got sick a few years later,” Rachel said. “Dad didn’t think he could afford to pay for the surgery.”
“That’s right,” Lisa confirmed. “It was colic. Silver was getting old by that point, so Dad didn’t think the risk was worth it.”
“You know, I didn’t even have my own horse at the time, and Aunt Evelyn swooped in and said she’d pay for the surgery,” Rachel said, voice tainted with the slightest stain of bitterness. “You were seven when you got Silver. I remember, because I thought somehow that’s what I would get when I turned seven, too. Funny, isn’t it? We lived on a horse-breeding farm, and I didn’t get my own horse until I was ten.”
“Rachel, it’s a stupid question... did you even really want your own horse?” Lisa asked carefully.
Rachel rolled her eyes. “Of course I wanted my own horse,” she said. “What little girl living in Hudson didn’t ‘want’ her own horse?”
“I know, but ‘wanting’ a horse isn’t the same as loving that horse when you finally get it, is it?”
Lisa thought back to when Rachel did receive her own horse the Christmas after she turned ten, a gift from Evelyn. In the beginning, the girl had been ecstatic, but the excitement had waned, and the horse was sometimes neglected.
“No, it isn’t the same thing,” admitted Rachel. “Look, I don’t mean to sound petty. At the time, I was jealous; I admit it. When I was younger, I thought Aunt Evelyn paying for Silver’s surgery when I didn’t even have my own horse meant she loved you more and was ignoring me.”
“I’m sorry, Rach,” Lisa said sincerely. “I had no idea you felt that way.”
“Like I said, I felt that way when I was younger. I thought having a horse would make me happy the way it seemed to make you happy; like it made other girls around town happy,” Rachel said. “It wasn’t until later I realised I wasn’t actually a horse-crazy girl like everyone else.”
“No, you were more boy-crazy,” Lisa said, a small smile twitching her lips.
“Ohhh, was I ever,” Rachel said, throwing back her head and casting her eyes to the ceiling.
“Do you ever regret leaving home when you did?” Lisa queried. “I mean, do you ever wish you had waited until you were a little more settled? Aunt Evelyn was willing to pay for your post-secondary education anywhere in the world like she did for me, you know.”
“Yeah, I know. And I keep saying that the timing was probably wrong,” Rachel said. “But I always come back to Ben. He’s the reason I don’t have regrets about that. I love my son more than my own life, Lisa. If I do regret anything is that his childhood probably wasn’t as happy as it could have been because of my stupid relationship mistakes.”
“Well, from what I can see, he’s grown into a fine young man, Rachel,” Lisa said, thinking of the rough patch Ben went through during Rachel’s train wreck of a divorce. “He’s learned some valuable life lessons and he’s working hard now to achieve his goals.”
“I admit I’m proud of him,” Rachel said with a smile. “I’m sorry again for dumping him on you—”
“Oh, stop!” Lisa put up a hand. “We’ve been over this a hundred times. Even though I could have done a better job when he was here, it made me realise raising a child isn’t a cakewalk.”
“No, but it is worth it,” Rachel said. “I look at Ben, and I think at least I did something right in the world.”
“Yeah...” Lisa said softly.
“He did appreciate his time here, Lisa,” Rachel said, getting an inkling of where Lisa’s thoughts might have carried her at that moment.
“I hope so,” Lisa uttered. “Though somehow, I think I acted a little more like Aunt Evelyn: dropping expensive gifts instead of making any meaningful impact on his life that would actually matter.”
“I don’t see it that way at all,” Rachel countered. “You give from the heart, Lisa. You’ve always been the generous type. And with Fairfield’s success came bigger ways to show that generosity. To be honest, I was a bit jealous of your giving nature, too.”
“And if I’m going to be honest, I was a bit jealous of you,” Lisa said seriously.
“Of me?” Rachel said, clearly shocked. “Whatever for?”
“You left home. Had a child. You... didn’t have the weight of responsibility for Fairfield that I had,” Lisa admitted. “I have loved building up the business into the success it is today, but I also thought kids would naturally come along when I was married to Dan. When that didn’t happen, I thought about you and how easy it seemed for you.”
“It wasn’t easy at all, especially when Gary walked out on us,” stated Rachel emphatically. “And I thought I’d have more kids too, when the ex-who-shall-not-be-named came into the picture and seemed like he’d be a great step-father to Ben. We all know how that turned out.”
Lisa bobbed her head slowly, knowing no further words were needed on the subject of the breakup of Rachel’s marriage.
At length, Rachel murmured: “I’m glad I came out here one last time. There was a time I couldn’t wait to leave; relieved you were the older daughter that Dad would look to for running the business. I don’t think I’ve ever truly appreciated how much of a burden you’ve shouldered.”
“We’ve both had our burdens and hardships,” Lisa said, looking at the glowing embers in the fireplace.
“I mean it, Lisa,” Rachel insisted. “Thank you for being there for Dad, and for running Fairfield all these years. It’s just a shame he didn’t live long enough to see the success it’s become.”
“A success that’s now coming to a close,” Lisa said quietly. “When I pick up stakes and move to Avignon, it’s going to be a whole new business.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” Rachel commented. “You haven’t heard from Jack. You said it yourself that it’s time to make a fresh start.”
“I know,” Lisa said. “And you’re right. But being here in Hudson, well, it’s brought back a lot of memories with him. Good memories. It hurts to finally realise that there won’t be any more of those.”
“Well, who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a fine French gentleman in Avignon,” Rachel said with a mirthful chuckle.
“Oh, no! The last thing I need is to turn into Aunt Evelyn,” Lisa scoffed, chagrined at her sister’s comment. Her thoughts suddenly took her to Toulon and the foul experience she had with Alphonse. It struck her his marriage to the young Audrey had come and gone that spring, and their baby was probably due any time. I sure dodged a bullet with that one, she decided, even if my “friends” thought we would make a good match.
“You could never be like Aunt Evelyn,” Rachel said. “You’re not a gold-digger, and the money you’ve made came through hard work. And the money doesn’t really matter to you, either, does it?”
“I won’t lie,” Lisa replied. “The money matters, because I got to do things and go places I always dreamed of doing and seeing when I was a kid. But what’s money if you don’t have people you love to share it with?”
Rachel looked at her sister with sympathy. “You really did love him, didn’t you?”
Lisa returned Rachel’s glance. “With every fiber of my being. My whole world stopped when Lou told me about his heart attack. Nothing mattered after nearly losing him like that. I just wish I had the chance to tell him so.”
“Look, it’s not my place to tell you what to do or what not to do, Lis,” Rachel said. “But you’re here in Hudson now, and he’s here. This could be your last chance to tell him.”
A slight shiver ran down Lisa’s spine at the notion of facing Jack and baring her heart as she had tried so many months ago, when she made the horrible mistake of renting the hospital bed for him. “I already squandered that ‘last chance’, Rach,” Lisa said sadly. “It’ll take a miracle to convince Jack to see me again. I blew it, and now I’m paying the price.”
--
Thanksgiving dishes were washed and put away; night checks on the horses were finished; everyone was tucked away in bed. Jack, however, lingered by himself in the living room before the fire, sipping on a hot toddy. There was indeed much to be thankful for, he knew, particularly when it came to his own life. There’s much to regret, too, he thought, watching as the flames licked at the seasoned logs. While life moved on, his heart still pined for her. He was still stuck in a place of uncertainty and inaction; of wanting to reach out and of pulling back again. It’s been ten months. Lisa has moved on, surely. It would be wrong of me to call her now, after all that’s gone on between us, and mess up whatever it is she has going. I should be thankful we had whatever it is we had and let her go. With that, Jack pulled himself up from the couch, doused the fire, and crept into his bedroom. As he closed his eyes, his last thought before falling asleep was that given his angry parting words with Lisa, spoken in the heat of the moment, he was undeserving of a second chance with her. Nothing will ever bring us back together; that’s a bridge too far.
*To my non-Canadian readers: Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October.
--
Chapter 23: Chance Encounter
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nalufever · a year ago
Text
As You Wish Ch. 1 Life is a Highway
I’m massively late (a chronic state of being for myself) for Day 7: free theme ~ which I’ve chosen to write as a Road Trip fic for this year’s Snowells week 2020. 
Eobard picks Frost's car to jack and joins her road trip which is all fun and giggles until a line gets crossed. Eobard learns Frost still has ties with her previous life and if he wants to claim a spot in her current life, he will have a far-reaching decision to make.
Read on AO3 <<here>> more chapters to soon follow! Comments welcomed ;)
Swinging the last minute bag of important provisions (okay, it was all junk food - but very necessary), Frost approached the passenger side of the black boxy vehicle she had decided to use and yanked the handle. The door and her mouth were wide open and then she lunged inside, slamming the door shut after herself.
Despite the need to keep a low profile, icy mist formed, swirling inside the car. “What in frozen hell do you think you're doing?” Frost yeeted her supplies into the backseat. She smacked the man in the middle of stealing her car - landing a solid blow to the back of Eobard’s head. “Seriously? It’s not enough you pull all the big jobs in Central City, you’ve lowered yourself to petty crimes too?”
“Hey!” Eobard pulled his head out from under the steering wheel and let go of the ignition wires in his hands. “Petty? Grand theft auto more like.” He grimaced and rubbed the rising bump on his skull. “What did I ever do to you that you felt the need to try to smash my brain into spaghetti?”
“How much time do you have?” Killer Frost sat back and crossed her arms, starting her tirade off with an ominous glare. “At the beginning of fall, you ruined my favourite leather jacket. Last November, you emptied the bank vault at Central City Bank of the Union before I could! You tore my next best jacket at Christmas time! And -”
No longer willing to be harangued, Eobard sighed and interrupted Frost. “That was rhetorical, as if I pay any attention to what I may have done to others.” Many of the shoppers loading their cars were craning their necks watching himself and Frost, no doubt hoping for talk-show level action. “Do me a solid and lower your volume from fishwife to fish.”
Frost gasped. “Oh. No. You. Didn’t.” She grabbed hold of his arm and wondered why Eobard hadn’t tried to yank her spine out with his speed. Actually, why wasn’t he using any of his power for evil purposes? Why was he trying to jack her car? Or any car for that matter? Oh. A shrewd grin on her face, Frost snorted. “Oh no, you can’t.”
“What?”
“As in, you somehow lost your speed.” Frost could feel maniacal laughter bubbling up, waiting to be released. She needed to get rid of this jackass and get going. “Beat it.” For fun, she raised her voice. “Get out of my car!”
“Darling, but what about the kids?” Eobard moved a bit closer and playfully tugged on a tendril of Frost’s hair. Whispering, he said, “Do you want all these people making a police report if we start a fight?”
“Shut up and drive, dear.” Frost wished she’d gotten more chocolate. Dealing with Mr. Reverse Flash was very much a fudge situation.
“Got keys? I don’t want another braining.” Eobard gave Frost a sideways glance. “I’m sure me fussing with the ignition wires is too much temptation.”
“Pfft.” Frost threw the keyfob at her new chauffeur. “I need to get out of town, now. Head east.”
“Yes’m, Miz Daisy.” Eobard tugged at a non-existent hat and gave the woman a truculent smirk.
Much more relaxed as the distance between herself and certain others increased, Frost found herself starting to enjoy being driven; up until Eobard blew a very stale yellow. “Hey! Did you get your license out of a gumball machine?”
“Don’t you mean cracker jack box?” This time the cheese doodle thrown at his head didn’t startle Eobard. “What are the kids saying these days, anyway?”
“Don’t kid yourself.” Frost made sure to drawl her words to get her sarcasm across to the big bad speedster. “You’re a dinosaur and out of touch with the pulse of current society.”
“You wound me, now I’ll have to take you off my Christmas card list.”
“Exactly! Nobody sends Christmas cards!” Frost ate another handful of cheese doodles and then rummaged at the bottom of the bag for her second chocolate bar. Good thing being evil burned calories - but right now it was self-medication. Eobard was an unknown quantity. Being this close to him was worrisome - who knew when he’d revert to his vibrating hands trick? The one that crushed a person’s heart before they could regret not eating more chocolate? So many things that man could vibrate in a good way but all he wanted to do was cause harm? Rude.
“Then why don’t you educate me on current society?” Eobard hoped he’d said that cooly. Not as a joke about hanging out with Killer Frost - but because he actually meant what he’d asked. It would be nice to have a somewhat proper colleague to exchange thoughts with while he needed to keep a low profile. Once his plan was in motion he’d have to return to centre stage in Central City.
“As fun as that sounds, I’d rather accidentally chop my head off while shaving.”
“Or perhaps stab yourself in the stomach while giving yourself a haircut?” Eobard laughed and took a fast left onto the road leading out of town. “Don’t be too surprised, we have classic TV in the future too.”
“I’m not surprised, Black Adder should be immortalized endlessly as far as I’m concerned.” Frost held onto the inside door handle as the car’s wheels squealed, her voice rising in irritation. “Can you not kill us?”
“And why would I kill us both?” Eobard gave the vehicle more gas, passed a minivan full of presumably screaming children and a set of stoic parents, blowing past them.
“You’re missing your speed, huh?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Frost didn’t even attempt to hide her smirk. “So, what happened to your speed? Why oh why does Mr. Reverse Flash need a car all the sudden?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“What is it? You don’t know what I’m talking about or you don’t want to talk about it? Because -”
Eobard shot Frost a side-glance that was only too easy for her to imagine limned in electric glowing red. “I. Don’t. Want. To. Talk. About. It.”
Frost considered pushing the point and decided she’d prefer to live another day. She took solace in the fact she could call her little chauffeur all kinds of names in her head - starting with bitch and not ending until she got to the phrase show-pony. “Just so you know, it might be a good idea to keep under the speed limit. It’s only sixty here.”
“Hmmph.”
“I love icing a cop as much as the next criminal, but you’re in no condition to do evil as per usual, are you?”
“Do I have to repeat myself?”
“Fine, fine!” Frost waved her hand dismissively and shook her head. “I read you loud and clear. You don’t wanna talk about it.” She adjusted her car seat to recline and placed her booted heels onto the dash. “Wake me when we reach a decent coffee shop in the next town over, ‘kay?”
“As you wish.”
Frost had to hand it to ole Eobard, he did know his classic TV and movie quotes.
><><><>< 
Frost sniffed once, twice and let out an outrageously satisfied sigh. The coffee aromas were fricking amazing. She shuddered and her eyes snapped open. Eobard was still driving but now in pride of place in the car’s cup holders were two coffees.
“Um, nice job paying for a drink for me, but there was totally another reason why I wanted to stop.” She sucked air over her teeth and gave Eobard her best disgusted look. The one that would make a normal man grovel for a good ten minutes. It didn’t work on him but it felt good to try. “I’m nowhere near common but I do have the need to stretch my legs and use certain facilities.”
“Who says this second coffee is yours?” Eobard had the audacity to snort. “I have my own personal caffeine needs to meet.”
“Oh, you sweet summer child.” Frost shook her head and smiled brilliantly. She snagged the unopened drink and raised it to her lips, inhaling the delectable scent and then delicately sipping. Savouring it, she said, “You’d better find another coffee shop or hole-in-the-wall diner. Or else, there’s gonna be a little less happiness inside this vehicle.”
“What do I care how happy you are?”
“You’re gonna care.” Frost took another sip and looked at her handsome chauffeur through slitted eyes. “Unless you somehow enjoy the smell of pee? Is that your kink? I would never have guessed. Huh, weird.”
“Ugh. Fine, I’ll stop at the very next place.” Eobard stifled the urge to laugh. Frost wouldn’t appreciate the other rambling thoughts in his head at all. It was oddly satisfying to be here on this road trip with her - even if his powers were out of commission and he had no intention of letting her know exactly why. This situation, it was almost charming. How long had it been since he’d felt challenged? Eons.
“Excellent. I’ll downgrade you to the next slightly less creepy level of weirdo.”
“I don’t care what you do.” Eobard spotted a sign and took the next exit, his high speed making the van squeal its tires. “As long as you hold it for another five minutes, yeah?”
><><><>< 
Frost ambled out of the restroom, only mildly surprised Eobard was still sitting at the booth of the restaurant. Mmm, could it be his superspeed was making a comeback and he needed to fuel his powers with food? Why did she care? If he was anywhere near recovered, he’d be gone - in a flash. She snorted.
“This place has decent poutine, so let’s fuel our bodies.”
Dropping into the seat opposite her travelling companion, Frost picked up the plastic coated menu and gave it a cursory reading. “Just because it says ‘world famous poutine’ doesn’t make it the truth.”
“Well, good to know your sarcasm is at full power.” He rolled his eyes. “But I know for a personal fact this place makes good poutine.”
“Oh, well, then let’s indulge.” Frost dropped the menu like it had third grade cooties. “Far be it from me to disagree with such a smart and well-travelled man.”
“Are you seriously making me tell you to chill?” Eobard rolled his eyes and managed to project a lot of self-assured chutzpah. “And thanks for such heart-felt assurances. I do know my way around this burg.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night, old man.”
“As if. You’re technically older than I.” Eobard flicks his electric blue eyes up and down Frost’s body. “But when you’re right, you’re right.” He smiled at the waitress and ordered food for them both; one large poutine, an order of coleslaw and two burgers.
Frost only gave minimal thought to arguing. It was one measly meal, not worth fighting over. But later, if Eobard was going to continue playing lord and master...well, he’d have one hell of a fight coming. As an alpha female, she knew exactly when to pick her battles.
><><><>< 
Eobard clutched his stomach, partly in fear of the heavy load of poutine escaping. The other reason was Frost was a much more of a rules-schmules type of driver. She’d deftly pick-pocketed the keys from his coat after they finished their meal and gleefully took over driving duties. He’d had to relinquish or lose face. That woman had called him a coward - not in so many words, but she was casting much too much shade on his manhood.
“Aw, is the big bad man scared of my driving?” Frost pressed down on the accelerator and grinned maniacally. “I, at least, learned how to in my own time.”
“You tell me that, but I haven’t seen any evidence.” Eobard considered lowering the window. If push came to shove with his stomach contents, it would be less smelly if he barfed into the wind. Ew but no - he should spew and let the wind carry the barf away. Frost had addled his brains entirely too much.
His general interest in the woman had become too strong. What else would he find himself doing just to curry this bewitching female’s favour? Eobard chuckled. He knew what he wanted even if he couldn’t bring himself to put it into words. It was part and parcel of the reason why he’d used her personal trip to escape Central City after his failed experiment. He laughed and clutched his stomach harder. “Don’t give yourself too much credit.”
“How flattering.” Frost mashed her foot down and passed the twin of the vehicle she was driving, although the other one contained a harried mom, a shouting dad and four children. “I happened to actually take lessons unlike yourself.”
“You take that back!”
Frost didn’t know if Eobard was trying to flirt poorly or was just deluded into defending his piss-poor driving - but in either case, she decided to give the superbad man enough rope to hang himself. “Okay, you don’t drive like you’re clueless.” She put extra oomph into her fake laugh - and even if she had to say it herself, it was perfection. This was the laugh that screamed, ‘oh no you didn’t’ - in the highest of registers.
“Maybe I was a little hasty.” Eobard grabbed the holy hell bar and held tight, his otherwise handsome face squinched up into a massive rictus of fear. “Can you maybe just keep it to fifteen over the limit?”
“Wow. The speedster with the mostest is begging me to take it easy?” Frost scoffed, “I’ve got a schedule to keep ya know. Actually, do you know? Pfft. I don’t think such a criminal mastermind would have any idea about us little common-folk.”
Eobard only knew he felt exposed...and horribly mortal without his full powers. He’d be playing into Frost’s hands if he let any of that slip and so he kept playing the one card that had never let him down. “Go nuts if you want nightmares over what I do to whatever unlucky cop tries to pull us over.”
Almost instantly the van lost speed and Frost started to follow each and every proscribed rule of the road. The next twenty miles passed without conversation until the light started failing and it was obvious a motel room was going to be necessary.
><><>< 
“Wow, you actually planned to stay in a shithole like this?” Eobard had the grace to wait to ask this after they got the key from the old and massively overweight motel owner; he’d pretended to be as much of a normie as he could - only unleashing his snark once they stood in the middle of the stuck in the seventies decorated room. The room was an unholy mixture of harvest orange, fruit heavy wallpaper and gold fringed bedspread; safe to say it was a decorator’s nightmare.
“Let me give you my official apology.” Frost bowed, letting her head hang low and then stood upright with a snap. “If only I’d’a known you were gonna tag along and be my personal burden, I could’ve planned a nicer getaway for you.”
“Let that be a lesson to you.” Deciding an imperious tone was his best armour, Eobard charged forward with his ridiculous words. “You’re very lucky I’ve chosen you, d’you know?”
“I’m starting to realize.” Frost hoped her ironic tone wasn’t lost on Eobard. “I’m ever so blessed.”
“Excellent that we’re in agreement.” Eobard sat on the edge of the bed and smiled. “You should go and check and see if the tub is clean enough for you.”
“Clean? Tub? What the hell are you thinking?”
“I’m too much of a gentleman to sleep with you of course - you’ll feel better sleeping in the tub, I’m sure.”
“Mmmmmm.” Frost considered freezing Eobard into one solid mass and then slapping the shit out of his damn rude mouth. Just in case he was only pretending to be at a handicap, she decided to hold off on that - but it was rapidly rising on her list of things to do. “It’s early yet, yeah? Let’s grab some grub and we can decide who’s sleeping in ceramic glory after.”
“As if it’s not a forgone conclusion, but yeah, let’s go find something good to eat.”
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pinesconessecrets · 2 years ago
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Secret Santa for Trustintoast
((Happy Holidays @trustintoast ! I’m your secret santa! You wanted “Awkward Nerd Love”, mixed with “Casual Everyday”, and “Pinescone vs. Disney World”, So I tried to combine them a little. I’m sorry that it’s Disneyland, instead of World–I’ve only been to DisneyWorld once, but I’ve been to DL multiple times, so I thought it would be easier to explain. I’m also sorry that I cut it much shorter. I wanted to make sure you got your gift, but I initially had more planned with them at the park. I hope you still like it. And if not, I could come back and fix it up for you. Thank you for the wait. I hope you had a happy holidays. Enjoy your gift!))
“Sunscreen?”
  “Check!”
“Change of Clothes?”
  “Double Check!”
  “Money for Souvenirs?”
  “Triple Check!”
  “Backpacks for everyone to carry their supplies?”
  “Check Check Check! We’re good babe.”
  “Well, I would expect nothing less from my favorite organizer.”
  The man in the passenger seat blushed at the compliment, hiding behind his phone. 
  From the backseat came, “I want to get some Mickey Mouse Ears!” followed by a thump thump thump!
  The driver scowled in the rearview mirror at his brother, “Greg, we’ll get you your Mickey Mouse ears, but please stop kicking the back of my seat. It’s not going to make me drive any faster.”
  Another voice from the backseat exclaimed, “I WANT BABY YODA!!!” followed by an even louder THUMP THUMP THUMP!
  “Ahhh! Mabel, what are you, five? Don’t kick the back of my seat!”
  “Why do you get shot gun, Dip n Dots!” The female voice, now identified as Mabel Pines, pouted.
  “Because I’m the one with the map!” The passenger, her twin brother Dipper Pines, explained.
  “Your map is literally your phone, open to google maps! Anyone of us could have done it.”
  “But no one would look as cute as Dipper,” The driver, Wirt, said with a light dusting of pink on his cheeks.
  “Ewwwww, gag me with a spoon!” Mabel groaned, sinking into her seat.
  “No being gross and mushy on this trip,” The last rider, Greg, huffed. He gave his brother’s seat another thorough kick.
  “Hey! Greg! Knock it off! I can still turn this car around!” Wirt warned.
  Greg rolled his eyes, leaning over to whisper in Mabel’s ear, “Yeah right. We’re stuck in traffic. We’re not going anywhere.” Mabel snickered.
  “I heard that!”
  The two backseat passengers snapped to attention, biting their bottom lip to keep from further chortling.
  “Also, we’re going to Disneyland, the “happiest place on earth!” I think a little mushiness is to be expected,” Dipper said, turning to look back at his sister.
  “Yeah, but we’re in a car for the next 2 hours, and if I have to listen to you two flirt, I think I’d rather walk the rest of the way.”
  “You’re just bitter cause you have no one to flirt with.” Mabel gasped, a hand to her chest, “You wound me dear brother! How dare you say such slanderous and true words!”
  Dipper rolled his eyes, turning back in his seat.
  “Hey! Why aren’t we playing Disney music? This is a road trip to Disneyland! Shouldn’t we be jamming out to some classic hits?” Mabel leaned forward, trying to grab the aux cord.
  Dipper smacked her hands away, “Ugh, no Mabel! How tacky can you get!”
  “You’re tacky!” Mabel snapped back.
  “YEAH, I AGREE, THIS CAR IS TOO QUIET! WE NEED SOME DISNEY MUSIC!” Greg shouted, siding with Mabel.
  “We’re going to be there for hours! We’ll get plenty of Disney cheer at the park,” Wirt tried to protest. He just knew that if they played that music, he’d wind up with a headache.
  But both his and Dipper’s words were quickly drowned out by the two excitable chantings of “Disney Music! Disney Music! Disney Music!”
  “They’re not going to stop…” Dipper muttered.
  Wirt groaned, wanting to slam his head on the steering wheel, “I know…”
  Dipper whipped back around, glaring, “Fine, you heathens! You win!”
  “YAY!!!!”
“YAY!!!!” The two simultaneously cheered.
  Mabel leaned back over, triumphantly taking the aux cord as her prize, and plugged it in to her bedazzled phone. She turned the volume up to the max.
  “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from Lilo and Stitch filled the car.
  Dipper slammed his head back into the headrest, “Hooray~” He droned.
  Mabel sneered evilly, “Oh don’t pretend like you hate it Dipstick! In fact, If I remember, I believe it was you who wanted to play the Frozen 2 soundtrack in the car, on the way back from the theatre.”
  Dipper lit up like a Christmas Tree. He began stuttering weakly in Wirt’s direction, as if trying to save face, “T-that’s only because the soundtrack was really good this time, and had an air of folk that the first movie severely lacked. It made Frozen 2 feel more genuine to the original story. I was just really impressed this time–” 
  “Right…Right…Oh but wait…which song was your favorite again?” Mabel asked, putting a finger to her cheek, pretending to think. Then that wicked smile returned, full force, “Oh yeah! It was “Lost in the Woods”!”
  “Mabel, NO! STOP! Have mercy!”
  But there was no mercy for those who cursed Disney music.
  “Wait…which one was Lost in the Woods again?” Wirt asked. He thought back to the movie, trying to remember which of those songs would be Dipper’s favorite. Was it the lullaby song? Or the one Elsa sang?
  Mabel and Greg’s eyes sparkled with ill intent; Dipper ducked low into his seat, but there was no escaping, no hiding.
  Not when Mabel had control of the radio. And with that innocent question, the song that followed was an 80’s-esque rock ballad.
  “Oh…Oh. Y-yeah…this makes sense,” Even Wirt couldn’t hide the slight curl of his lips. He cast his boyfriend a sidelong glance.
  Dipper looked out his window, longingly. He wondered if it wasn’t too late to throw himself out of the passenger side door, into oncoming vehicles.
  …But they were stuck in the deadlock of traffic, so that plan was quickly, and regretfully, forgotten.
  —
  “Hi, can I get 8 breakfast Jack meals–”
“Wirt, I want pancakes!” Greg whined.
  “Greg, they don’t serve pancakes–” “Actually they do. You can do the mini pancakes, or the Jumbo Breakfast platter,” Mabel pointed out.
  Wirt looked at the menu, eyebrows rising, “Wow, when did they add that?” It had been a very long time since he’d eaten here. This fast food chain was more recognizable in the west coast then the east.
  “I want the Jumbo Breakfast!” Greg shook the driver’s seat.
  “Greg, are you going to finish that? I don’t want to buy something unless you’re sure you’ll eat it.”
  “Silly ol brother o’ mine, I’m a growing boy! I can totally eat all that,” Greg patted his stomach like it was a djembe drum. His stomach growled back, as if to second it’s owner’s proclamation. 
  Wirt muttered dejectedly to himself, “And the syrup in the car…that’s just an accident waiting to happen…” 
  “Sir…you’re holding up the line…” the timid voice on the speaker mumbled.
  “Yes, I’m sorry. I’m very sorry! Just give me one more minute,” Wirt apologized; he didn’t expect breakfast to be this stressful. He was almost certain that when he was little, ordering breakfast on a road trip was a simple endeavor.
  Then again, Wirt easily accepted what his parent’s ordered for him.
  “Can I order a milkshake?”
  “Mabel, It’s 7:30 in the morning,” Wirt looked at her in abject horror.
  “…And?” Mabel so eloquently put it.
  “Guys, come on, can’t we just make it simple?…Dipper you’re fine with what I ordered, right?”
  Dipper flashed his lover a guilty smile, “Well, um, actually, I was going to ask if I could order from the lunch menu instead…I prefer their lunch over their breakfast…”
  Wirt was utterly betrayed, “E tu?”
  Dipper put his hands together, mumbling a soft, but pleading, “Sorry, and thank you!”
  Wirt sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, “Everyone hurry up and tell me what you want–exactly what you want! Because I really don’t want to waste this poor lady’s time any further, and the cars behind me are starting to angrily honk their horns.”
  And suddenly the car was filled with a cacophony of different requests.
  “One at a time! One at a time!” Wirt cried, trying to figure out whose request was who’s. 
  Was this what it was going to be like from now one, being the driver of a road trip? Endless chatter, constant bickering, and indecision when ordering food–topped off by off key singing to the same playlist for the next couple hours. Oh this was not looking good for his sanity.
“…Sir…” the voice on the headset whimpered, sounding even smaller.
  “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Just one more second. I promise!”
  The car behind him rammed their horn. When Wirt peeked in the rearview window, he could see an elderly woman flipping him the bird.
  —
  When he pulled up to the window, the lady who handed him the food was shaking, her eyes big and fearful. She shrunk back when Wirt took the bags from her hands, as if she was expecting him to yell at her.
  Wirt understood that anxiety so well, he once more apologized for the commotion, and slipped a 20 dollar tip into her hand.
  When he pulled away, the lady seemed a little less on edge.
  —
  An hour later, and Wirt’s resistance was starting to crumple.
  After 20 songs, food sitting comfortably in his belly, and more than a couple loving looks from his boyfriend, Wirt was beginning to enjoy the ride. 
He even did the unthinkable, and turned up the dial on the radio when “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” started up. The look of shock– quickly followed by glee– from his family’s faces was priceless.
  And when he joined in singing “When Will my Life Begin” with the rest of them, he knew he was doomed.
  Goodbye Sanity. T’was nice knowing you. Come back soon.
  —
  As soon as they arrived, Wirt had to keep a tight hold on the back of Greg’s shirt, because the teen was desperately trying to run off.
  “Greg, I don’t care if you’re 13 now, you stay by my side until we get inside the park. I don’t want to lose you on the bus, or have some weirdo try to kidnap you.”
  “Ugh, Wirt, stop treating me like a child–” Greg huffed.
  “Well, you have a habit of getting us into trouble,” Wirt said, though he quickly realized the person usually getting them into trouble was himself.
  “No you!” Greg snapped, though his smirk was playful.
  “No You!” Wirt snapped back, also smiling.
  They stuck their tongues out at one another.
  Meanwhile, Mabel was dragging her brother violently towards the buses, her excitement having reached critical, “Come on Dipper, quit dragging your feet! We’re here!!! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”
  “Mabel, stop pulling, I need to tie my shoe. I’m gonna trip. M-Mabel! Wirt, help me! She’s gone mad!”
  “Mabel Madness! I’M COMING FOR YOU BABY YODA, YOU WILL BE MINE!” Mabel cackled, sounding like a disney villain.
  “Wirt!!!!”
  —
  “Okay, so we should start at heading for Adventure Island and work our way around,” Wirt traced the map with his finger, showing their destined path.
  “I think we should go counterclockwise, cause the more popular rides will get populated in the evening, as more guests arrive,” Dipper argued, tracing the map opposite Wirt. 
  “BABY YODA! We gotta start with Galaxy’s Edge, because that’s going to be the most crowded of all! We want to get in a few rides early,” Mabel chimed in, vigorously pointing at the newest area.
  The three bickered about what to do, until they realized there was one more person with them, and turned to Greg to be the tie breaker.
  Greg looked at the three expectant faces, trying to decide who would be the right choice.
  He should side with his brother…but then again, Dipper was well organized…on the other hand, Mabel was his best friend…but Wirt usually knew best…but Dipper and Mabel had been to Disney before…but– “Um…Um…Maybe, we could…flip a coin?” Greg finally suggested.
  The three young adults groaned.
  “Greg, there’s three of us, and there’s no such thing as a three sided coin,” Wirt reprimanded.
  Greg squinted at his brother, then turned to address the twins, “Well then we’ll flip for Mabel and Dipper’s plan, since Wirt has been eliminated from making a choice.”
  “Hey! Wait! What? Greg!”
  —
  Galaxy’s Edge was packed when the four walked through the gates. Like a can of sardines, the group shuffled slowly through the crowds, trying not to get separated. Wirt kept one hand tightly on his brother’s, while the other hand clung to the back of Dipper’s jacket. The waving bodies made him feel nauseous and claustrophobic, but he swallowed it back, determined not to get sick so early in the day. 
  Everything would be fine as long as they stuck together.
  At least, until Mabel saw her baby yoda plush hanging from one of the open stall shops–at which point, she made a mad dash for the store, barreling a way through. Many people ducked out of her way as she ravenously charged for her prize. 
  Within seconds, the path she had carved was swallowed up by the park goers.
  “Mabel, get back here!” Dipper yelled, but she was already gone. “Wirt, can you–?”
  He didn’t need to be asked twice. Wirt craned his head to keep his eyes on her. It wasn’t hard when she was wearing a glittery red sweater, and matching sparkly headband.
  However, just as he spotted her long brown hair fluttering, he felt his brother’s hand slip out of his hold. 
  He whipped his head back around, catching a glimpse of green as his brother slipped under people’s legs, heading towards the giant Millennium Falcon building
  “Greg! W-wait! Get back here!” His voice croaked– but just like his brother, and Dipper’s sister–it was swallowed up by the crowd. 
  Panic began to bubble up in his stomach. Wild thoughts flitted through his head–one after the other, each one worse than the last. Getting lost in a big place like this– this was not good! And Dipper was dragging him in one direction, while his brother was running in the other. He stuttered over his tongue, trying to find the words to stop them, but bit his tongue in the process. The bodies swayed to and fro, pushing him and pulling him; his hands were clammy, and he could feel his own grip loosening. The feeling of anxiety mounted, as his vision grew spotty.
Not good, not good, not good, not– Dipper intertwined their fingers, squeezing, and all the previous anxieties melted away. They were stopped in the middle of the walkway, with a few annoyed people passing them by, but Dipper was looking at him with a composed smile. Dipper wasn’t often composed–they were both nervous, stuttering messes in the worst of situations. But right now, seeing Dipper’s relaxed composition, and having the man’s hands tightly holding his, he could see those few glimpses of bravery, of excitement and calculated analytics–one of the many reasons he fell for the man in front of him.
  “Don’t worry, everyone’s got cell phones. Nothing’s going to happen. We’ll grab Mabel, and then find Greg. He’s right, you know? He’s not a baby anymore–you don’t have to worry so much about him. It’s going to be okay Wirt, just breathe. I’m here. We’re going to have fun today, I promise. So relax, and just breathe.”
  Those simple words were a great start, though Wirt knew it was still going to take some convincing.
  He took a deep inhale through his nose, releasing a shaky exhale from his mouth.
  “Right…fun. We’re here to have fun.” He inhaled once more; his second exhale was steadier, “…Okay. Let’s go save the poor sales clerk from your sister.”
  Dipper’s smile turned to something more bubbly; it was clear he was just as excited to be here as the other two. After all, this was Dipper’s whole childhood, of course he would be geeking out–especially when his favorite franchise finally had its own area. But he was still trying to stay cool for his lover, and Wirt truly appreciated that level headedness right now. Dipper squeezed Wirt’s hand one more time for boosted confidence.
  The bodies swayed, but Dipper and Wirt swayed with them, keeping afloat in the massive ocean of Star Wars fans.
  — 
  From there, the group went from each area to the next, riding the different attractions, and exploring the many stores offered. Lines were long, sometimes 40 minutes long, but the group kept distracted with playful banner, and dumb word games. 
  Mabel lugged her new Yoda doll in her arms, cradling it like a newborn baby. Dipper swore he could even hear her cooing to it from time to time.
  Greg ate a churro that was sprinkled with blue candy powder–the “light side” churro saber. 
  Wirt was spooning the last of his frozen lemonade into his mouth, reluctantly wearing a pair of Sorcerer’s apprentice, Mickey Mouse ears that Greg had put on him.
  Dipper stared at his family, feeling a calming bliss that he often didn’t get to experience by himself. As he watched his family, trying to decide where to go next, what to do next, Dipper blessed his lucky stars–When you wish upon a star playing in the back of his mind–that he had such a perfectly crazy, but loving family.
  Wirt looked over, noticing Dipper’s stare, and he smiled bashfully, cheeks pink. “What are you looking at?”
  “Nothing, just…I’m having a good time,” Dipper replied.
  “Even with this heat, and this crowd?” Wirth inquired.
  Dipper leaned his head briefly on Wirt’s shoulder, and for a second–just a second– he braced his hands around Wirt’s arm, holding him like they were a lovesick, brand new couple, “Yeah…Is it preemptive to say that I don’t want this day to end?”
  Wirt laughed, the blush rising to the tips of his ears, “Well, it’s barely noon, there’s still plenty of time left in the day–so, yes. But I think I know what you mean.” Wirt ducked down, kissing Dipper’s sweat soaked, bang covered, forehead, “For my first time here…I thought it was going to be a lot worse. But I got to say, with you and Mabel here–it’s still pretty hectic…but much more enjoyable.”
  Dipper’s eyes widened, “This is your first time here at Disney?” “Dipper, I lived in Massachusetts for most of my childhood! Of course it is!”
  Dipper eyes started to sparkle, “Well then, I got a lot of lasting memories to leave you with.” He liked the challenge already.
  Seeing the adorable, childlike expression on the 19 year old, made Wirt laugh even harder, “Well I look forward to seeing what you pull off!”
  Dipper started babbling excitedly, “Oh man, we have to go on the Matterhorn next! It’s pretty fast, and a little wild, but really fun. And it’s two to a seat…so maybe you and I could share a—AH! Ohhh, I just remembered. The matterhorn macaroons are the best–you have to try them, although that’s located at the Jolly Holiday Bakery! But we’ll make sure to get some. I’ve got the perfect plan for hitting all the rides and best locations in the most amount of time, even with the long lines. Hmm, I guess I have to show you “It’s a Small World”–it’s not super fun–kinda annoying, but it’s a Disneyland staple. But if we’re going by Disney staples, then we gotta do Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain. Ohhh I gotta figure out what to do for lunch. There’s so many good choices–but also really crappy ones, so be careful. Don’t worry, me and Mabel know the best…Mabel–Hey, hey, Mabel! Where should we go to lunch!? It’s Greg and Wirt’s first time at Disney! We gotta make it special! Mabel, did you hear me?”
  Hearing that it was their first time, Mabel squealed excitedly, and began babbling alongside her brother, the two practically speaking codes. Greg and Wirt watched the two in amazement, both intrigued, and horrified–well, mostly Wirt is horrified– at the shift in fanatics.
  “I wanna go on Indiana Jones! And Oh, Pirates of the Carribean, we have to ride that too! I wanna see Jack Sparrow! Hey, hey Wirt, should we get autographs since we never got them before?” Greg chimed in, the enthusiasm contagious. This gets Dipper and Mabel squawking even more eagerly.
  “Is it true that they have giant Turkey legs here? And something called “Hidden Mickeys?” Wirt asked, trying to keep up with the rest of his family. He didn’t want to feel so out of the loop, but maybe playing along was a little much, considering the effect it was having.
  The twins looked like they’re going to explode at this point, ready to burst with all their Disney trivia and knowledge.
  Wirt sighed, mumbling softly to himself, “I’m just thankful I didn’t plan a trip to Disneyworld. I’m scared to see you guys planning out your day there.”
  The conversation stopped dead. Dipper and Mabel turned, eyes wide, pupils dilating. Wirt realized too late, that they had heard him.
  And suddenly, the conversation turned to plans for next year, and tickets to Florida, and overnight stays at cheap hotels. Epicot, and Animal Kingdom, and the water parks in summer–all the special foods and treats that Magic Kingdom had over Disneyland. His mumblings had gotten Greg excited, thinking they were really planning to go there next summer.
  The idea was ludicrous, but watching Dipper’s face, red with nervous joy, the gleam in his eyes, and his dimples deepening as he laughed, the idea didn’t seem so irrational.
  Although, Wirt would prefer a trip with just the two of them, if they were to do something that huge. Much as he loved his brother and Mabel, a place that big would be too much stress, and Wirt would really just like to focus on one thing at a time: that one thing being Dipper, in this instance.
  In order to stop the delusions from continuing and hope from blossoming, Wirt clapped his hands, and declared, “Before we start making plans for next year, let’s worry about today. We’re only burning daylight if we stand here talking about what ifs. Dipper, you promised you’d make today memorable, so let’s make some memories. I…I want to know more about this…Matterhorn macaroon.”
  It sounded strangely mature, but also incredibly dorky. He flushed as the words left his mouth.
  But Mabel had run and taken Greg’s hand, dragging him off, and Dipper had wrapped his arm around Wirt’s, pulling him along, which must have meant that his little speech had worked.
  He didn’t know what was going to happen next, or if today would be anymore hectic–of course it is, Wirt, you’re at a theme park, and you don’t even like rides–but, if nothing else, today would be an adventure.
  And Wirt quickly learned through dating Dipper Pines, that any adventure, big or small, was always going to be worthwhile, so long as they were tackling it together. And unlike Gravity Falls, there was likely to be less crazy, paranormal anomalies happening around them; they were less likely to get hurt, or fall into danger here at Disneyland–hopefully.
  They would cross that castle bridge when they got to it.
45 notes · View notes
bapyess1r · a year ago
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I Like You A Lot
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WARNINGS: dream smut, cursing
Pairings: OC x OC x OC, Victor Sullivan x OC
Tags: @desertvvitch , @courtenbae
Author’s Note: if you’d like to be tagged in the story just let me know 💕
Chapter 6
The next day...
Sunny’s POV
“I can’t believe you’re really going to India, Sun. It’s probably so gorgeous!” My friend, Catalina, raved as I sat at a table closest to the front counter of her bakery. I feigned a smile and stirred the coffee she made me, watching her pack a fat bag full of pasta and a tub of chocolate chip cookies.
“Yeah! All the dead bodies are really gonna add a nice touch to the postcard I’ll send you.” I said with a touch of sarcasm as I rested my chin in my palm, looking at her with a smile. But the joke went right over her head.
“Dead bodies?!” She exclaimed.
“Cat, darling, she’s goin’ into a bloody war zone.” Erik told her slowly.
“A war zone?!” Her brown almond shaped eyes widened as her jaw dropped and she leaned over the counter. “A WAR ZONE?!”
“I think we broke her.” Erik joked, looking at me. I allowed myself to giggle and I sipped my coffee carefully so as to not burn my lips.
“Suck it, Erik.” Catalina grumbled, blowing her flouncy dark bangs off of her round freckled face and throwing a cookie at him. I grinned as he made a face and sipped his iced Mochaccino with extra whip sourly through his straw.
“I could leave you, y’know?” He said. I rolled my eyes. These were the two people that kept me remotely sane in my 7 years of being in San Francisco.
It was a very early morning for us. Erik and Catalina were driving me to Sully’s plane which he parked on a runway in a hangar outside the city. It was a pretty long drive but an even longer flight. 17 hours of just me and the old man. I was sure he’d let me fly until I got tired. And there would be so much to talk about. I hadn’t seen him since Libertalia. I missed him a lot too. When my friend finished packing everything into a travel bag, she locked up the bakery and the three of us hopped into Erik’s black 2015 Ford Mustang. I took backseat while Catalina rode shotgun, Erik blasting whatever rap music he liked listening to as he drove along a road that seemed to wind for the longest. I listened to my friends sing their songs and make jokes and I leaned into the door as I watched the smiles on their faces. I couldn’t die while I was gone. I wouldn’t allow myself. ‘Who would take care of these idiots?’ I thought with a slight chuckle.
As we arrived at the hangar, I could see that familiar tall silver haired fox, sitting on the steps of his seaplane as he smoked a cigar just waiting for me. The wind pushing at his clothes and hair lightly. Erik just pulled up right to the plane and stopped the car. I gave a big sigh and mentally prepared myself for the adventure ahead before hopping out. As soon as I did, I went running into Sully’s arms to deliver the biggest hug.
“How ya doin’, kid? You look tired.” He asked me. I gave him a small smile and shuffled my feet.
“A lot has happened this week. Sam came, he got me fired, now we live together-”
“He got you fired?” Sully forced a laugh and shook his head. “But it’s good. You didn’t need to be there anyway.”
“Yeah…. he punched my boss in the face!” I said, raising a brow as I looked at him. He cackled.
“That’s Sam for ya.”
“Mmmhmm.” I agreed, picking at my nails. “I guess I should be grateful though. Won’t have to work at that shithole again.”
“That’s a bright side…” he nodded.
“And I get to travel more with you guys! Do work that I actually give a fuck about.” I grinned. He pinched my cheek with a proud smile as Erik and Cat got out of the car. Erik grabbed one of my bags from the trunk and brought it over to me.
“Erik goddamn Tales. How long has it been?” Sully asked, shaking his hand strongly. I’d forgotten that the last time they saw each other we were all in London.
“I wanna say 6 years, mate.” Erik smiled as he handed me my bag and I went to put it on board.
“Jesus, time really does fly, huh? You look good! Put on a little bit of muscle since I saw you last.” He said with a smile.
“Ah, cheers, Mr. Sullivan!” Erik smiles in embarrassment as he continued.
“I remember when you were just a skinny little thing.” Sully tapped him in the chest with the back of his hand casually as he spoke. Erik just laughed and nodded.
“Yeah I’m workin’ on it.” He chuckled. As I hopped out of the plane, I noticed Catalina trying to grab the biggest bag; the one full of my weapons. She struggled to pick it up and damn near dropped it on her foot when she managed to get it out of the trunk. I giggled and ran over to help her.
“You good, Kitty Cat?” I asked her and she huffed as the weight of the bag pulled her down a bit.
“What in the hell do you have in here?” She asked, straining herself to pick it up.
“Guns.” I told her simply, picking up the bag with ease and linking an arm around hers as she held onto the bag of food she packed. I walked her over to the plane and introduced her to Sully. “Victor Sullivan, Catalina Cabrera.” I said quickly, pushing between everyone to put my guns on the plane. Sully’s posture straightened a little at the sight of my precious friend. In a heartbeat he swooped up her hand and placed a kiss on the back of her knuckles.
“Nice to meet you, sweetheart.” He said rather smoothly. As I came off the plane, Cat shot me a look and wiggled her thick brows at me. I shook my head and fought off a smile. Then she handed him the travel bag.
“I made you guys a little something for the road…. well… the sky…” She said and he chuckled.
“Sunny, you never told me you had cute friends.” Sully puffed on his cigar and smirked at me.
“Settle down, ya dirty ol’ dog.” I laughed, patting his back.
“I made pasta and cookies. I hope you guys like it.” She said to him as he looked in the bag.
“I’m sure we’ll love it. Cat here can cook like a fuckin’ Master Chef. She’s got her own bakery and everything.” I said to him, hugging her and kissing her cheeks.
“I’m okay-”
“Bullshite. It’ll be the best damn cappuccino you ever have in your life.” Erik said, interrupting her humble moment to push her about with a smile.
“Well when we get back, I might just have to take you up on that.” Sully said as I took the bag from him. I looked at Erik who had been rather quiet. During the ride over he kept looking at me through the rear view, like he wanted to say something but couldn’t. His eyes just kept bouncing between me and the road. ‘I hope he’s okay…’ I thought for a moment.
“Welp! We got a lotta air to cover. Let’s hit the skies, shall we? Lovely meeting you, Miss Cabrera. Erik, practice your aim, bud.” With that, Sully turned to get into his plane. I hugged Cat tightly and she ran her fingers through my curls.
“You better come back. Scratches and bruises only. I’m still traumatized from your gunshot wounds.” She told me, burying her face in my chest. I chuckled and poked her nose.
“I’ll be fine. Be good while I’m gone. Sell the fuck outta those pumpkin cupcakes. People are gonna love them. Look out for each other. And keep Erik outta trouble. Please?” I said.
“Of course.” She smiled. The look in her eyes told me she’d be just fine. Then I turned to Erik. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he slowly slipped his arms around my waist. He hugged me as tight as he would before I left anywhere. But he lingered a bit this time. The way he looked down at me, there was so many emotions swirling in his green eyes; too many to unpack at the moment. He parted his lips to speak and stuttered a bit.
“Sunny, I…. I uh…” he pondered a moment.
“Yeah?” I urged him to keep talking. He seemed to shake his head a bit before a calm smile stretched across his face.
“I’ll hold down the fort while you’re gone…” he told me as he looked me in my eyes. I knew it wasn’t what he wanted to say so I made a mental note to talk to him when I got back. I just smiled and kissed his cheek before stepping onto the plane. His hands lingered in mine like he didn’t want to let me go yet he reluctantly did so.
“Alright. I love you guys! Call me!” I shouted, closing the plane door behind me. I sat in the passenger seat of the seaplane and looked down at my friends, waving as we flew off. I watched as they grew tinier and tinier the higher we got. Soon they were but little specks on the ground and we were above the clouds.
“That’s my family, Sully… those two… They’re all that matters…” I looked at the ground where they were even though we were high in the clouds now, my hand against the glass as we flew through the air.
“I’m glad to know you’ve got people out here that care about you. I worry, y’know?” He said gently. I was surprised at him.
“Victor Sullivan, I do believe you’re goin’ soft on me.” I told him with a smirk. He shook his head and chuckled. “I can fly later, right?”
“Absolutely not.” He shut me down immediately and my nose turned up as my brows tensed.
“Why in the sam hell did you teach me how to fly a goddamn plane if you won’t let me fly said goddamn plane?” I asked in annoyance. He just chuckled.
“I didn’t think you’d actually want to-”
“WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT?!” I snapped. I was a bit disappointed. I was looking forward to flying a bit.
The flight was rather long and I fell asleep twice. I chatted with Sully about him and Sam’s recent adventures (the whole two sides to a story deal). It seemed as if Sam had been living his best life for the past six months. Sully busted a knee during one trip and he’d been a little light on it lately. He would tell me that getting old means more recovery time. Something I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. Suddenly, he began acting a little shifty. I picked it up and narrowed my eyes at him for a moment before turning my eyes back to the blue sky and fluffy clouds before us.
“What is it, old man?” I asked, slouching in my seat and biting my nails. He gave a nervous chuckle, knowing nothing could really get by me.
“How’s Sam been?” He asked me. I raised my brows and snorted. There was once a time where the two men couldn’t even stand each other and now he was checking up on him…
“Fine…. We got a shared apartment. He wanted to make up for getting me fired.” I mumbled.
“You live together?!” He shouted. I stared at him with widened eyes before smirking a little.
“Geez, Sully. Don’t be such a dad about it.” I said. “Look, it’s a win-win situation. I get a new place, half the rent, I practically live in my workspace now, and he’d be gone a lot so I’d have the place to myself mostly… among other explicit things.” I smirked. Sully’s expression seemed a bit uneasy as he shifted in the pilot’s seat. He cleared his throat and tried to suppress his grim facade. Something felt off. Like he wanted to tell me something. Kind of like everyone else who was afraid to tell me things nowadays. “Okay, Sullivan. Spill it.”
“Heh…. I don’t wanna drive a wedge between you two by any means… and you know I just wanna look out for ya—”
“Victor… you’re stalling.” I said, calling him out.
“Sam’s had a bit of company… during his time away. Before he came to see you. It wasn’t just one… it had been a couple.” He told me nervously. I took a deep breath as my heart pounded against my chest suddenly. Sam mentioned before that he’d been with other girls during his travels. He never elaborated on it but it stayed in the back of my mind. Bringing it up again only made me think about it more. I looked at Sully with an unbothered look.
“I know. He told me.” I responded, acting as if it didn’t hurt when in fact it did (more than it was supposed to). “He can sleep with whoever he wants. It’s not like he’s my boyfriend or anything…”
“Isn’t he though?” Sully retorted rather pigheadedly. I sighed.
“No he’s not. I don’t want a boyfriend. Never needed one and I won’t start now…” The words didn’t seem true anymore. The closer I got to Samuel Drake, the more I wanted to know everything; feel everything. Be everything. But a relationship wasn’t in the cards for me. It seemed like it never was…
“Well then. I guess it doesn’t matter then.” Sully said simply.
“Nope.” I replied in a stale tone. Sully gave me a side eye but continued to keep quiet on the subject.
We finally touched down at a port in Karnataka. When we arrived, I was knocked out cold in the back of the plane. 17 hours was no joke. The gentle vibrations and the hum of the engine as I brushed up on more Hoysala culture lulled me to sleep rather easily. Not to mention Sully and I ate our weight in pasta and cookies. My friend really put her foot in it. I was suddenly startled by a hand on my shoulder, shaking me awake. My eyes fluttered open to be met with a pleasant pair of blues.
“Are we there yet?” I mumbled. He nodded.
“Yup. We made it, kid.” He told me, stretching his long limbs.
“I still can’t believe you didn’t let me fly. All goddamn 17 hours and you didn’t let me go one. That’s just mean.” I grumbled sitting up, scratching my head as he chortled.
“How about we go out n’ get some sun, huh?” He said, patting my back.
“What time is it even?” I blinked the sleepy burn from my eyes and yawned.
“11:30. AM.” He answered curtly. I made a face of pure disgust.
“It was morning when we left…” I whined.
“And it’s morning here now.” He said, putting on his sunglasses.
“This is such trash. I hate this so much.” I scoffed with my head in my hands as I stood. I reached into my bag nearby and grabbed my sunglasses from the side pocket, sliding my jacket off my arms. Sully opened the door to the plane and the heat came pouring into the air conditioned plane, invading all my personal space. I shook my head tiredly. “Holy fuck…” I sighed, hopping off the plane.
“Let’s get to the motel and get settled. Then I’ll take ya out for the 4x4 and I know a guy you can get a boat from. It’s on the bad side of town though so… maybe you should go in the daylight. But we can do that tomorrow.” He told, throwing his backpack over his shoulder. He was only staying for a day or two. I grabbed my bag of weapons and Sully suddenly stopped me. “You think it’s a good idea to openly carry a bag full of guns around the city right now?” He asked me. I chewed on my lip just as an Indian officer walked by.
“You’re right. I’m an idiot. And I’m tired.” I said, deciding to leave my bag on board. He threw an arm over my shoulder as I adjusted my bag of clothes over my shoulder.
“I’ll get you some more.” He said like a coddling parent.
“Lemme guess. You got a guy for that?” I smirked. He smiled and patted my head as we walked about the city.
It was quite wonderful really. The women wore beautiful sarees, cows and chickens walking about with their owners, street vendors lined up everywhere selling just about anything and everything. Children played in the streets with soccer balls as the South Indian wind carried the most mouthwatering scents of food. The buildings were painted colorfully as well as the fishing boats in the harbor. I didn’t know where to look. It was just an explosive rainbow all over the place. We asked around a lot to figure out where a motel was and eventually the cutest little boy stopped playing with his friends to help us. Granted he swindled Sully out of ten bucks for some ice cream.
He led us to a peach colored building with a bright pink door beneath a white archway. We thanked the kid and headed in to get rooms. We dragged our tired bodies up a couple steps and down a hall, decorated with lovely carpeting. When I got to my door, I leaned my head on it, tiredly.
“I’m gonna get some shut-eye for a while and then we can go out.” He grumbled, swinging his room keys around his fingers.
“Sounds like a plan.” I said, saluting as I watched him go into his room. “ See you at 16:00 hours, Captain?”
“At ease, sailor.” He joked, closing his door.
I’d taken a very long hot shower. I let the scalding water crash over my skin in hopes that it would calm me but it seemed that I’d just be restless for the day. For some reason, I just couldn’t get myself together. I was jet lagged like a mother and worried about Sam- about the whole job really. He warned me that he wouldn’t be able to contact me until he saw me but it didn’t make it any easier. And more importantly: when?! I still had not a clue how it was going to pan out. In the midst of all my stressors, I managed to dress myself in a black tee shirt and camo printed fitted skinny jeans before falling asleep in my bed. Then suddenly, I found myself dreaming…
Bright lights shined in my eyes, practically blinding me. I could hear the fat bass of music in the speakers above me and the roar of many men in front of me. It smelled like cigarettes and booze. A scent that was all too familiar to me. I blinked a couple times when I heard a voice yell at me. “Aye! Move your ass!” I looked off to the side to see Jet scowling at me. I realized I was in Headlights and that I was on stage. So I began to move. The last I checked I wasn’t working here anymore. But I still did as I was told. When my set finished, I walked about the club. Men complimenting me on my ass and the girls I worked with complimenting me on my set. Each time a girl talked to me, I managed to find myself asking them, “Have you seen Sam? He was supposed to wait here for me.” and every answer was a solid “who?” or that they hadn’t seen him. Jet approached me at the bar and handed me a wad of cash and ordered a shot for himself, slapping me on my ass harshly as my eyes scanned the crowd.
“What are you lookin’ for?” He asked me, taking a shot and ordering from the bartender behind me again.
“Sam. He said he’d wait here…” I said. Jet just snickered.
“Oh, that guy. He’s in one of the private rooms around back. He said to come find him when you were finished.” He told me, rolling his eyes. A smile crept onto my face as I started off to the room. I didn’t know how I knew which one he was in but I did. I walked down a ridiculously long red hallway and stopped at the very last door. My heart beat seemed to grow louder in my ears as I put my hand on the golden door knob; just a steady pace. I wasn’t at all prepared for what I saw when I swung the door open.
Moans hit my ears the moment the door cracked open. I could feel my face turn into a hard frown and my eyes strained, trying to make sure what I was seeing wasn’t real. Sam was sat in a plush red chair with a girl’s head between his legs, his head thrown back as he groaned and called her “princess”. His fingers delved into her long dark hair as her head bobbed up and down in his lap, her hand curled around his cock as she worked. I couldn’t control my feet. I walked further into the room, knocking something over and stopping in my tracks as my face heated up and tears welled in my eyes, my lips trembling. They stung as they gathered up, threatening to fall hot and heavy from my lids. He looked up at me a moment and uttered my name with a shiver. My heart shattered as this girl stood and pulled her panties down and sat on his cock with a loud sigh. I tried to get a look at her face but her dark tresses hung over her face. My breathing became ragged when she began rocking her hips into his. The two of them started panting as they fucked each other, but Sam’s eyes never left mine.
“Sunny…” he whispered repeatedly, gripping onto her hips to fuck her deeper. Suddenly he began yelling my name. Something overwhelmed me and the tears fell over my cheeks without permission. I backed away as he screamed at me ferociously and I turned to run away. But no matter how hard I tried to bolt down this obscenely long hallway, I just couldn’t seem to run fast enough. And when I finally could, I found myself back in the front of the club, sobbing uncontrollably. I could feel my heart speeding up, my chest heaving as I hyperventilated, running into tables, knocking things over and waitresses, making a mess of things. I looked at the hall I ran from, backing up and hoping that I’d see Sam running after me, but he was nowhere to be found. I screamed as hard as I could but no sound could be heard, only the loud music in the speakers. I turned to run out of the club but something tripped me. I suddenly found my feet swept from under me and my head slammed hard on the corner of the stage, knocking me out—
Suddenly, I was awake. I shot up from the bed, sweating, trying to catch my breath as a single tear fell from my eye. I looked around and ran my hands over my body, pushing my hair back to make sure I was okay. I was fine. I was in my hotel room. I let out one solid sob and I sat at the foot of my bed, my fingers gripping onto the mattress. “Fuck!” I exclaimed. I wanted to throw something. Anything. But there was nothing around that would give me that satisfaction so I punched a pillow a couple times. I put my face in my hands and grunted, shaking myself of the icky feeling that had come about. That’s when I heard a knock on my door. I stopped myself a moment and sniffled, trying to pull myself together even though my heart was still racing like I’d just run a marathon. I went to open the door and Sully stood there all bright eyed and awake. Then he got a good look at my face.
“You alright, Sunny? You don’t look so good.” He asked in a concerned tone. I gave a big sigh and shook the nerves off, putting on a big smile.
“I’m fine! I just had a weird dream, that’s all….!” I laughed as authentically as possible. I didn’t need anyone worrying about whether I could do the job or not.
“You sure?” He winced, giving my face a once over.
“Yeah! I’m great! Let’s do this.” I said, backing into my room. I grabbed my sunglasses and shoved my feet into my black boots, closing the door behind me. “Lead the way!”
“So I was thinkin’! 4x4 then dinner?” Sully proposed, raising a thick brow.
“YES. I’m starving.” I said linking my arm with his and we strolled along the dusty streets of the city.
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sinriddled · a year ago
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mirrcrspeaks asked: OLIVER + WE ALL FALL DOWN....
endings
no one is safe. every important to his story has perished.
    The last moving box, finally placed in the corner of some office space he’s designated; Emmett lets out a lifted sigh, half of a smile appearing on pale features. That’s where the desk will go, and over there is the cabinet, maybe a nice house plant…
    His thoughts are interrupted by barking, a set of paws patting their way into the room. I guess Buddy’s had enough time playing outside then. Emmett drums on his legs for the dog to jump on him, petting and scratching anywhere and everywhere on the excited pup.
--
    It’s as much as he’ll get done tonight, but at least the living room was finished. Nothing wrong with sleeping on the couch for one night, right? Plus, it was time for a well-deserved drink anyway. After flicking on the television and pouring himself a cold one in the kitchen, Emmett sinks himself into the couch cushion. The pup bounds himself over and jumps next to Emmett to rest his head on his lap. He’s exactly where he wants to be it seems, and so was Emmett. No matter what it took.
    No matter what it took.
    Centuries ago is where it all started. At least, that’s what it feels like for the man. Maybe if he tried harder to keep Doug from going to his grandparents house, or… held him down so he couldn’t go, or something. That’d be quite a sight to see: a scrawny little Emmett Ray trying to hold down Doug Howard, bear of a man. He snorts a bit.
    He likes to think Doug didn’t go down without a fight. Always the heroic type, he was, even with defending his friends. Perhaps that was why the casket was closed. And he did care so much about his grandparents. It was his idea for his parents to buy them a new house, anyway. Not that it should have been that hard: they were family-- good family, at that.
    Although, his funeral always struck a nerve within Emmett. His ‘friends’ could have at least made an effort to show up, surely, rather than the familiar faces of coaches and the baseball team. All those people who Doug thought he could count on; all those people constantly asking for some bucks for a few grams; never even batting an eye for him any other time…
    He takes a sip of his drink, tuning back in to whatever cooking show was on the screen. Buddy had fallen asleep on him, so it looked like he wasn’t going to get up any time soon. Emmett drapes his arm over the back of the couch, splaying his legs out a bit as he watched the chefs work their apparent magic. Hm, looks like their dish was some sort of pasta…
    Was it silly for a cooking show, of all things, to remind Emmett of his old boss? Maybe. But, shit, everytime they would go out for a few drinks, it seemed like Joey would only ever order some variation of pasta-- mainly spaghetti, Emmett would note. Surely it was just the Italian in that man, Emmett huffs a laugh through his nose and takes another swig of his drink.
    Despite his ego being bigger than the large man himself, Joey wasn’t so much of a bad guy. He was fair and rather kind, even treating Emmett as his own son he’s never had. Albeit, slip up and you might never hear the end of it from the boisterously loud man. Hell, he could practically hear Joey spewing on and on about one of his employees forgetting to take the fucking trash out or something. Never Emmett it seemed; always a slap on the wrist whenever he would trip up, majorly or not.
    He never really did find out how Joey kicked the bucket. “You’ll never catch ol’ Joey sleepin’ wif the fishes, I tell yas.” Emmett could hear the echo of irony in his mind. Maybe a cap in his ass rather than sleepin’ wif the fishes, as Joey put it. Emmett always figured he opened his mouth one too many times and someone who actually had the guts to put a bullet in his head took the opportunity. He wasn’t surprised; he even thought it would be better this way, being self-employed in a sense. Was that how it would work?
    Unfortunately not. Once Goldberry came along, Emmett longed for the days where Joey was making jokes about his hair or his sweaters or how Emmett needed to learn to “let loose” or something. Ugh. He turns the channel to some sappy romance movie. The worst one were always on so late, weren’t they? He didn’t know what the plot to this one was, but the two characters were in tears as they kissed each other, exchanging some sort of promise that they wouldn’t leave each other ever again. It’s like he’s already seen this movie.
    It’s like he’s lived this movie.
    As a man who once got on every single nerve of Emmett’s body about twenty times over, Riley Chase was someone to be commended. Hell, he went from being the most irritating thing to Emmett, to being one of the things he could never live without.
    Well, he was, at one point.
    The two found themselves in some sticky situations, didn’t they? Emmett didn’t even know how the hell they were able to escape from a car dangling off a cliff, or a hit gone wrong, or investigating some of Riley’s adventures gone awry. Lord knows that had it been Emmett alone, he probably wouldn’t have made it out of those alive.
    Luckily, the bad came with the good. Emmett found himself growing close to Riley, even opening up to him-- something he never thought would happen anytime soon. An understanding fellow, he was; about Doug, about his profession. And neither of them had been particularly perfect, to no surprise. It didn't matter, Emmett enjoyed it that way. Two imperfect people. He was even fortunate enough to call Riley his boyfriend. And for once in a long time, Emmett had been happy. Content. Life couldn’t be better.
    He heaves a sigh, feeling the years weighing on him all at once. Nothing could prepare him for Molly.
    Of course he would take a dossier named Rat Control. Of course he would follow through with how many zeros had been on that price. That was his job, and how else was he going to pay for the apartment or food or ammunition? This was a big payment, and Emmett almost felt bad for whatever sorry sap was going to be looking down his barrel.
    And he did. And he looked down that barrel at those big green eyes. And he tried not to think about it. And he saw the terror on Riley’s face. And he tried not to think about it. And he tried not to think of those countless days and nights spent with the man. And he tried not to think about the countless days and nights after he pulled the trigger. And he tried not to think about the regret. And he tried and he tried and he tried…
    Fuck. His drink is already gone.
    Buddy’s passed out enough that Emmett can slip from under him to get another drink. Might as well just take the whole fucking bottle with him, huh? Pouring a more generous-than-usual glass, he downs half of it on the spot and pours some more.
    Molly Deans had what was coming for her soon after, Emmett made sure of it. It took a bit of searching, some scheduling of a get-together-- he needed to get his money and information anyway, might as well do the one thing Riley wanted. Posthumous vengeance. Emmett didn’t care about the answers at this point-- not that Molly had them to begin with-- this was for Riley. He got his money, and Molly got a bullet.
    Goldberry hadn’t been too fond of Emmett taking any hits that weren’t filtered through the man’s smartass himself. It’s not like he should have cared about it anyway, Goldie practically slept on a pile of cash, why would he possibly need any cut? Emmett will never forget that meeting with him, the last one-- that smug smile on Goldberry’s face, how proud he spoke about everything…
    How dull Goldberry was to let slip some stories of his past hits: a few drug dealers, some abusive spouses, a high-ranking CEO…
    Emmett grips the glass harder.
… an innocent woman, a party of movie-goers, an up-and-coming family…
    He finishes his drink; a sip straight from the bottle now.
… an elderly couple, and a kid who just got caught in the crossfire.
    Had Emmett finished the bottle? He couldn’t remember. Some glass shattered in the sink and now he was on the ground, face in his hands. Maybe he knew all along, deep down somehow. Maybe he just-- didn’t want to believe it. It was his boss after all, no matter how scummy and slimy and shitty he was. Those answers, searching for years, right in front of him. What happened to Doug, now he knew.
    Much like Joey, no one knew what happened to Goldberry. No one, except for Emmett.
    Was it worth it? Years and years of searching to find out who murdered Doug, answers coming to light? Had those nights of research and bloodied hands and dirty deeds at high prices all been worth it? Had it been worth trading whatever humanity he had left for a few quick bucks, moving city to city, ripping away some innocent person’s family just for the answers of a dead man?
    Well, he was here… wasn’t he?
    Outside of the kitchen window, the sun peeked over the horizon, colors dancing and mingling together to paint the clouds a mix of crimson and gold, the rays shining over the vast forest of the countryside; peering through the kitchen window, the sun could see the sorry sight of Emmett on his kitchen floor, using his arm as a pillow as the tears and booze soothes him to sleep.
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semicolonthefifth · a year ago
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CROSS Ch7 - La Artilleria
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Jason and Charlie drove up north along the Black Road, passing by the vast stretches of open red dirt plains and the rolling horizon of endless mountains. For the past 40 minutes they have driven, speedily going down the Road as Jason kept his focus on the road, whereas Charlie looked to the scrolling environment. Thoughts ran through the young man’s head as he watched the red mountains against vibrant blue skies.
His excitement of Aurora was explicit for all to see, especially as he took in the sights beyond the Black Road. Charlie watched, with an eager grin and an ever-attentive watch. Far off he could see several villages that dotted the landscape, with small cars moving out in between them or toward the Road. The setting was largely vacant, without any other landmarks to stand out within the wasteland.
However his attention soon turns towards Jason Cross, as Charlie relaxes into his seat some more before thinking of something to say to better fill the time. Topics run through his mind, and he feels unsure of where exactly to start - until eventually settled on one and asked politely,
“Excuse me, Jason. If I may ask: how much of this world did you travel when you were part of the Crimson Crosses?”
Jason gives a quick glance over, lazily leaning back as he keeps a hand rested on the wheel. He then answers, a little interested, “Not much, to be honest. We stayed mainly in what the Deltans call Krossim - which is the stretch of open crossing through the mountains here. Up further North, past the Calberi landing station is a giant desert called Conq-Wey-Lay; then South is Taar, where the city of Moreatta is. Of course we’ve only gotten into the tips of either region, never gotten any deeper. Ain’t had no reason to.”
“So you’ve never been to Moresatta?”
“Nope. Again, no reason. I heard it’s nice, safer than life here on the Road apparently. I just don’t have the money or need to ever live in a place like that.”
“I see. You mentioned the Deltans just before; you think we’ll ever see one? Have you seen one?” Charlie seemed particularly excited about that topic, as heard in his brighter tone of voice.
Jason paused for a moment, stuck in thought before finally giving an answer. “Not really. My dad met some in his time, even befriended a couple. Still, the natives don’t much like coming close to the Road, so don’t expect to see one anytime soon.”
“Why’s that? They still have problems with the road?”
“It ain’t comfortable for them. Whole lotta craziness and badness happened for them here, especially on the Road. Been a long time since the wars, longer for us - but for them it still hurts fresh. Many have gotten over it, but the Road is not a place they want to be living near - it’s too different than what they want. In all my time in the Crosses, I’ve barely seen a Deltan walk anywhere close to the Road.”
“Speaking of the Crosses.” Charlie starts, really getting into the talk with Jason. “You mentioned your father a moment ago. Was he in the Crimson Crosses too?”
That got Jason smiling, as he was even more comfortable now while memories of his father came up. He said happily to the young passenger, “Of course! The Crimson Crosses have been a thing since about the War here. My dad served in it, his too, and so on and so forth - right down to Jeremiah Cross and his trusted cavalry. They started out as a pretty good unit working under your government, but when they saw how bad things were turning after the war, they split off and vowed to keep the people safe. They’d ride across the Road, helping villages out and overall giving everybody a gun to feel safe under. Before us my dad, Magnus Cross, probably worked his whole life doing the same thing - even teaching us to take his place when his aim weren’t any good. He kept working, even after our mom died - and he kept raising us good especially after that.”
Charlie, said with some uncertainty after that reveal, “Sorry to hear about that.”
Jason tsk’d, “It’s fine. We uh… didn’t know much about her anyways, other than she had family elsewhere in the wastes. It was when Fred and I were small, but my dad still did a fine job when she went away. He raised us to survive on our own, and in how to aim and shoot like a proper Cross should. We studied the Code that ol’ Jeremia wrote, and we’d go on missions right when Fred and I just turned about 14 years old. Did a lot of things, but most importantly we did our best to capture raiders and brought them before the law. Lotta memories.”
Charlie smiled some, casually looking back at the scrolling landscapes as he said softly, “No kidding. You know, your reports got a lot of attention back home at Tyrell. Radio stations got hold of some of the news that came from here, and they’d relay them as stories for us.”
“You uh…” Jason whispered a bit, amused and curious as he put off a toothy grin, “You saying I’m something of a celebrity back home?”
“Only to a small audience.” Charlie state matter-a-factly, causing Jason to huff out a curse. The young man then continued, “They got popular enough to prompt some collections and archives, but there’s no beating the old stuff. Still, it got me grabbing so much in order to get an idea of what it was like here. There were some favorites: the Black Road Chase; the 8-Man shootout; The Butcher of Red Peaks.”
“Ha!” Jason hollered, his grin fully restored. “The Butcher. Son-of-a-bitch ol’ Hetfield.”
“A favorite of yours too?”
“Oh, Kirk Hetfield? Yeah, a favorite between me and Fred as well. We fought on several occasions, and each time the crazed bastard came back wanting to get back at us. Every time he came around, coming in all red and blood covered and each time we came and slogged a good couple punches his way. Almost became fucking routine, the maniac. Some days we’d just wait by the property, and we’d know that somewhere he was up to his usual business, and then we’d get the call. We became so good we managed to catch him right at the act of his first kill of that very day.”
“Didn’t he carve people up for their fat and meat? We heard he was a cannibal.”
Jason frowned and was taken aback - looking absolutely insulted, “God’s sakes no! Damn assholes in Tyrell making up stories… the man wasn’t a cannibal, not in the slightest. He was just some crazed farmer who just got angry at the government one day, and thought the best way to get under their skin was to start killing farm animals. He only hurt one guy, and that was mostly in self-defence when someone caught him drawin’ and quartering a cow! Absolute fucking head-case! But, you know… he was just troubled, is all. Always under stress; had a lot of hate in his body, and he didn’t know what to do with it most days. My father tried setting him straight once - didn’t work. It wasn't until after several attempts from my brother and I did we finally get to him. I think he’s still out there, and probably way too old to do much harm.”
Charlie was completely silent afterwards, and kept staring on towards the horizon. His face was just blank - still and only ever blinking as his eyes trailed left and right for a moment or two. A long minute passes before he eventually asks,
“How do you draw and quarter a cow?”
“I’d tell ya, but I don’t want to remember. Let’s just say the farmer who owned that cow sold his entire life away for a one-way trip off the planet after that ordeal.”
“Never heard stories like that…”
“You live here long enough and you’ll see all sorts of insanity. Speaking of… we’re about close to where we’re heading.”
Jason begins to swerve onto the dirt, with the sudden shift from smooth sailing to rough riding hitting Charlie the hardest. His gaze to the then scrolling horizon gets shaken up every which way, and all the man could do was hold on for dear life. It takes a moment for him to gather his wits before he asks the million cred question, “Where are we going, exactly?”
“A place to get some answers… and some guns.” Jason replies, pointing straight ahead. Charlie squinted his eyes, getting a good look of what appeared to be… a box.
A lone vertically rectangular box, sitting calmly in the middle of nothing but dirt and the stray rock. The box, from Charlie’s best guess, stood at approximately 6 feet wide around and 12 feet tall, and was entirely constructed from concrete. It was painted in a pure white color, but that didn’t stop the layers of red dirt to add some warmth to its blocky canvas. It also looked like the occasional would-be artist also took their turn at the desert box - even from afar (and closing) - Charlie could make out the blurry, faded traces of graffiti. Aside from the pictures of middle-fingers proudly erect and smiling bullets, there was a tremendous lexicon of slurs and curses painted over each other. Layers upon layers of expletives, especially towards mothers, fathers, and their children born out of wedlock. Much of it had been scrubbed away, either naturally through time or out of the efforts of the box’s owner. Rapidly soon, Charlie could almost make out the most faded out words - and realized that Jason’s car was speeding right towards it.
Charlie nearly screamed and recoiled before Jason made a sharp swerve and came to a sudden stop right before he could hit the box. He was holding onto his seat like a cat, his fingers deep into the leather alike claws. Meanwhile, Jason casually reached into the glovebox and pulled out from it: a gaudy-looking handgun… and a claw hammer. He shoves the gun to his pocket, while keeping the hammer ready in hand.
The two men came then out from the car, though Charlie mostly crawled onto the ground - silently praying that it was there to greet him.
After a couple short breaths, Charlie slowly began to get up and weakly asked, “What was that for?”
“Oh, that?” Jason calmly asked, inspecting the hammer closely, “It’s just how we greet each other here.”
“Who’s ‘we’?” He breathlessly inquired.
“Me and Buddy. We’re good friends.” With that Jason comes over to Charlie, helping him up a bit before slowly making his way around the box.
As the pair came around, Charlie could almost make out some muffled music coming from inside the box - it sounded to be a mix of rap and a language he was unfamiliar with.
Right when Jason and Charlie came to a corner, Jason stops and points at the ground. Confused but too unsure to question what’s going on, Charlie stays where he’s at - all the while peeking out the corner to see what was at the other side.
At the ‘front’ face of the box was another wall, but with a cutout for a window. In the window were several metal bars running vertically, with the hole itself being too small to crawl inside even if there were no bars present.
Meanwhile Jason slowly rounds the corner, sticking to the walls beside the window but never sticking himself out in front of it. Holding the hammer in hand, Jason takes a couple breaths before signaling to Charlie again - this time with a finger wedged into his ear. Charlie does the same for both ears, all the while watching intensely before Jason proceeds to calmly say towards the window,
“Hey Buddy.”
For a split second a gasp is heard, then a record scratch, followed by--
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
A flurry of gunshots sound out from the window! Bullets fly as a skeletal, pale hand sticks out from the barred window and unleashes more bullets.
Charlie jumps back away, hard enough that he manages to throw his full weight against the ground. Jason flinchest, yet is otherwise appearing to be lacking in shock.
Eventually the gunshots give way to the sound of clicking, and almost immediately Jason grabs at the hand and pulls. With it comes an equally pale, skinny arm - attached to a grotesquely bony, pale man whose body is slammed against the bars. He pants wildly, his body writhing like a cockroach trying to free itself from its trapped limb. The man lets out a loud series of groans and whines, all with hissing and spitting. The creature keeps pulling, as if at any point the arm would give away completely - all the while Jason, with his hammer in hand, holds it at the ready as he struggles and yells with a mixture of happiness and fury, “Hey Buddy! Been a while hasn’t it?!”
‘Buddy’ starts to laugh (and cry) hysterically, still writhing in panic as he keeps pulling for his arm to be free. Eventually the man stops laughing and instead lets out some dry, wheezy breaths before speaking in a moist, high-pitched voice, “J-Jason?! Oh God, I didn’t think it be you, ol’ friend! J-just got a bit scared is all! Not’in bad about that, right?!”
“Scared?” Jason asks with mocking concern, “Of what?” Now why would you be scared of me when you’ve been so good up to this point. I mean, you haven’t been messing with me in any way, right? Haven’t tried a little something that would send me to a rager?”
“Honest no! Pos’tively, abs’lutely no! I didn- AAAARGH! AAAAAAAH!” Buddy then screams, as Jason starts pelting the man’s arm with the blunt end of the hammer.
“Better learn to stop fucking lying, Buddy!” Jason angrily replies, “One of these days it’s going to get you killed. Now… try again!”
“Nnnnnngh! Fuckin’!” Buddy growls and hisses, shaking fiercely from the pain. “F-F-Fine! I sorta, maybe, kinda tweaked somethin’ in that rifle a’yours back last week! I knew you were gunnin’ for a bounty up West, but I didn’t want ya killin’ one of my best buyers this month! I swears, I thought you’ve give up an’ go! Not chase ‘em over! No harm meant, honest!”
By this point Charlie had risen back up off the floor, and asks nervously, “So this is a ‘good friend’ of yours?”
Jason explains while gripping tighter at Buddy’s exposed arm, “Oh, it’s just how it is with this guy. Buddy’s just been a very bad guy and he needs to understand that setting your customer’s rifles to explode isn’t what makes for a healthy business. Now that that has been brought up…”
He turns the hammer and presses the pointed claw end against Buddy’s forearm - digging but not piercing the skin. This finally causes Buddy to drop the gun onto the floor, as his own grip weakens against Jason’s. Once it’s been dropped, Jason finally lets go of Buddy’s limb, letting the pathetic creature quickly slink back into the box. All Charlie could hear was whimpering from within the box, as Jason picks the gun from the floor and casually wipes the dirt off from it. As he cleans it, he takes a gander and comments, “Recent trade Buddy? I thought they stopped making this model about a year ago. Can’t remember how far back it’s been since I last saw one.”
Charlie slowly comes from the corner to peer into the window more, and some where he can get the full picture of what exactly was inside the box.
Inside he could see an emaciated, pale-skinned man - and behind him, walls filled to the brim with guns. A ton of guns. A whole arsenal with enough firepower to riddle a village to nothing three times over, and with enough ammo to spare afterwards once the dust was cleared. It was a mad mechanic’s wonderland dedicated to the gun, as all sorts hund and lay every possible inch. On strings and on hooks, wall to wall were firearms of varying levels of deconstruction. Rifle butts stuck out from a crate, and disassembled handguns lay across an entire surface of a table wedged and cut to fit in such tight quarters. There were several boxes of gun cleaning kits, alongside a portable welder and engraving machine. All around he could see at least 49 handguns, 20 semi-automatic rifles, 18 shotguns, 4 small machine guns, 6 heavy machine guns, and a library of ammunition ranging from those that can tear flesh like a blender, and those that’ll explode and rittle you with more holes than a grater.
The man named Buddy was another sight, but for different reasons. Looking to be in his twenties, he was a bony, hunched over man with a sickly pale complexion with very little pink in areas. His fat was practically nonexistent, and from head to two he was covered in grease and oil - making Charlie wonder how the hell Jason could’ve kept a tight hold on such a slipper vermin. His face was crooked in all sorts of ways. His nose slanted downward; his teeth were long and pointy, with deepening shades of yellow with no white in sight; his hair was greyed and as about as sickly looking as his body, with it clumping up due to the oil - made worse by the prominent bald-spot encompassing much of his cranium. Tightly strapped around his head were a set of circular goggles, which dug around his eye-sockets and had an orange-ish tint, either by design or dirty circumstance. The only attire he had on him was a set of underwear and socks, neither one Charlie could safely call clean.
Buddy panted and eventually recovered from his brush with Jason’s hammer, before replying with a scowl and a forcibly casual tone, “Y-yeah. Some b-bastard raider came ‘round and traded it in. Said he got it off some former lawman or something.”
He then casted a glare at Charlie, who promptly stepped back with a slight shock and joined closely with Jason.
Jason, meanwhile, brought the gun back to Buddy. All the while he proceeded his conversation as if the beatings he just delivered never happened, “Right, right. Look, Buddy, we’re just here for two things. Try doing us a favor and at least do one of them right, ok?”
“Hrmph!” Buddy groaned, scratching his belly with his left hand while his right was moving to grab a part far off up the shelves. It was then that Charlie could see the other visible detail of Buddy: his long and disfigured arm. It was jointed wrongly, and two areas before the wrist. It twisted and bent in ways no normal arm should, with the shoulder itself having something of a growth or hump. It acted almost independently from Buddy, with it casually grabbing things off the shelves and walls with its three digits. Aside from a thumb, the hand possessed only two fingers, with them being just as thick as the thumb. The way it squirmed and jittered almost brought Charlie to vomit.
Jason notices, proceeding then on with a late introduction. “Oh right. Charlie, this is Buddy. Buddy, this fine lad here is Charlie: he needs a gun.”
Charlie almost reflexively turns at Jason with a face of pure shock, wordlessly shouting ‘what?!’ while Buddy brings his malformed hand back down and takes a glance at the boy. Jason continues to be casual, explaining to Charlie, “Buddy here is a gunsmith, about the best one here for miles. You won’t find any other gun seller willing to sell you a good gun for a cheap price - especially when he’s playing for no side. He’s also a raging jackass who’ll just as sell you a gun as he would have it fall apart before use.”
“Not my fault it’s the winning strategy.” Buddy gleefully points out as he gives a wheezy chuckle. “Can’t let cheap buyers kill my best customers.”
“Won’t work if whoever survives your pranks decides to come back and burn you and the whole damn shop to the ground!” Jason snaps, before resuming his calmer conversation with Charlie. “Anyways, he’s your best guy for a gun out here if you don’t have a lot to spend. They’re quicker and easier to get around here than anywhere else on the Road.”
Charlie, however, brings up a point of much concern before Jason. “Jason… I have no clue where you got the impression, but I’ve never wielded a firearm. I don’t even have a license; shouldn’t I first get one before we…”
He trailed off a bit upon seeing Jason’s face, and the budding laughter he was trying his damndest to restrain. Eventually it breaks through and erupts, as Jason breathes harshly with every sharp laugh that escapes from him. Charlie gets blushed from the embarrassment before Jason calms down and explains,
“Come on man, there ain’t no license to get on Aurora! You come here, you’re just as free as any man or woman to grab a gun. Hell, there ain’t even a license for a car!”
Charlie ponders aloud, looking a bit worried, “That explains many of the things I’ve seen so far since coming here.”
“Look Charlie, just trust me. You’ll need a gun while you’re out here. I’ll give you a quick lesson once we get the chance, but for now just know I won’t be sitting you with anything too strong for ya.” Jason states, turning from Charlie to Buddy as he then starts on the trade, “So how about it? Can we get some guns?”
Buddy cracks his own neck with a twitch before leaning back and keeping away from the window. He snarls and replies, “Alright… what ya want?”
Jason lists off, “Two UR-5 Wakeman handguns, along with 3 full clips each. An extra box of rounds. One UR-7 Rangers rifle, a--”
Suddenly Buddy starts cackling, taking a sharp breath before exclaiming, “You got some balls if ya thinkin’ of making a buy like that! I know you don’t got the creds for it Jason, so don’t be asking for a rifle you can’t be affordin’!”
“I can afford a Ranger just fine, Buddy!” Jason shouts. “Every farmer and their mother’s got one!”
“Aye, but the price just went up! Sale’s been booming, and supply’s short! Unless you wanting to be as armed as every ‘Farma and his mom’, then you better come back with 850 creds!”
Jason quiets up a bit, eyes widening at the price before he tries to be a little more polite. “Listen, Buddy. I can get the money. The job I’m going on will pay me big-time, and there will be a lot of guns to bring back once I’m done. Just think of it as paying forward on an investment.”
“Fat. Fucking. Chance!” Buddy spits, “I let you off, then everyone will be coming for my neck. If you ain’t got the money for it, you ain’t getting the rifle. Simple.”
Groaning, Jason grabs the pistol he nabbed off Sid and held it over to Buddy. “What about this? This has to be good enough for a trade, right?”
Buddy leans close, eyeing it. Jason holds the pistol in such a way that the grip stays still against the rest of the gun, but a slight twitch lets off a subtle crackle that Buddy is just able to pick up. He rapidly moves back, grimacing with disgust.
“I ain’t taking that hunk of junk! You thinkin’ you can hide trash like that from me? Put that gun here, and I might blast my own nuts off! No deal!”
Jason is just about to start yelling again, even holding Sid’s gun up in the air - ready to throw it down onto the floor. Right then though Charlie interrupts, grabbing Jason’s arm before chiming in with a calm and cool, “I’ll pay for it.”
Things go quiet and calm as Jason looks down at Charlie. His ears perk, and he wonders if he heard Charlie right. The young man looks back at Jason, and as if reading his mind nods and confirms what he heard was true. He then looks at Buddy, as best he could considering the sight, and repeats,
“I’ll pay for it.”
Jason almost suggests Charlie not to do it, but Charlie remains firm and repeats his statement a third time, then adding, “If we need it, then I’m willing to pay for it.”
Charlie is quick to pull out his wallet, and sighing a bit Jason does the same. Buddy grins at them both, giving a full price for both Charlie and Jason to pay off: with the considerable amount paid off by Charlie’s creds, and the last remaining bit by Jason’s. After which Buddy pocketed every bit of it with his normal hand, while the disfigured one automatically slithered up and down the box interior to grab what was ordered. Buddy didn’t even need to look, as the arm felt every gun briefly before finding the right ones to lay at the table - this while he finishes putting the creds away and grabbing the ammunition with his normal hand. After all was collected, Buddy slid out what they bought:
2 sleek handguns with only a bit of grime on them. The guns were fully metallic, with an angular build and box-like slide and muzzle. They both looked a bit heavy.
A semi-automatic rifle, with a scope on top. It was a mix of a wooden body and metal workings, and it had an almost Old Earth Western feel with its curvature and sling. Out of all the weapons, this one was the cleanest.
Then finally the additional ammunition - enough for the job, as Jason hopes.
Jason spent several minutes inspecting each one, checking for any flaws or tamperings. Buddy watched, occasionally twitching in fright whenever Jason sharply turned the guns in any way. After some time, to both Jason and Buddy’s relief, the inspection found all guns to be in good shape - minus some dirt and oil. Jason handed a handgun to Charlie - who looked at it one moment with amazement in finally holding on is his hands for the very first time. It made his heart beat more strongly when he inspected it, and over the initial surprise came in a great weight of responsibility. He dares not to hold it in a way that would seem aggressive - keeping it pointed downward as waits on Jason to finish any remaining business.
“Last thing before we leave, Buddy.” Jason began. “We’re hunting down some gang causing trouble down the Road, and I’m sure you’ve probably sold guns to them at some point. I’m gonna need some directions to where they could be hiding, and so I hope that maybe you’ve seen something of theirs.” He reaches into his pockets, producing the patch he had gotten earlier. Holding it by the window, Buddy is able to get a good look.
After a brief examination, Buddy leans back and says with a grin. “Stone Groove Aces, eh? Bit too small a problem now, don’t ya think?”
“They’re gunning for me, Buddy. Better I deal with them while they’re making it personal.”
“Bah! Who isn’t gunnin’ for you these days Jason.” Buddy coughs, chuckling a bit to himself as he picks a disassembled pistol off a rack and starts to give it a check over. He talks as he works, saying, “Don’t like ‘em though. Bastards, all of them. Get drunk near my shop and start scaring off the good payin’ customers. Their money was alright, but they wanted me to be their sole supplier. Big balls if they thinkin’ of pulling that shit! They ain’t Tarantulas or Jackals, those bastards all new and thinkin’ they big. Heard they got plans or something, making them think they so high and big-time. Only ever met a couple at a time, but I got a good idea where they’re hidin’.”
With his deformed hand casually going under the table, he later brings up a folded piece of paper and hands it over to Jason. He adds, “They’re hiding West, near the Syore Mountains. Go South down the Road till you spot a fort, turn Westward soon as you see it over a hill. If ya’ near the archway, you’re closing in on the right spot. Keep heading towards the mountains till you find a place to walk in through - after that you can use this map here to get a better idea on where they hidin’. It’s all on you though to put in the legwork.”
Jason takes it, inspecting that as well before storing it into his pocket. He begins making his leave, with Charlie following after. On the way out Jason says aloud, “Thank you for your service Buddy. There'll be a lot of guns coming your way once this is over.”
Buddy merely waves them off, all the while grinning to himself. His deformed arm moves up and starts to slide some guns to the side - making room for some future stock.
As Jason and Charlie make their way to the car, Charlie asks worriedly of Jason. “How’re you sure you can trust that guy? He looks and sounds as shifty as you can get.”
“I don’t.” Jason answers.
Charlie gets into the car, confused. Before long Jason too gets in, explaining further,
“Either he’s lying and I come back to kick his ass again - or, he’s honest and he makes a profit off my work. Out of those two options, at the end of the day, he’d rather have the second.”
Partially satisfied, Charlie gives no response to Jason.
After Jason stores the guns safely into his car, and with everything all settled and done, Jason stars the car and turns southward - back onto the Road once more.
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snowflake-apocalypse · 2 years ago
Text
🍎 The Big Apple Caper
Musical inspiration: But it’s Better if You Do; Panic! at the Disco
Team Red arrives in New York, they start scoping the area and discreetly gather intel on the stock exchange. Carmen, decked out in jeans, a t-shirt with a ball cap, is walking through the Grand Central Station when someone places a hand on her shoulder from behind. Carmen whips around,
“Jules!-Julia. What are you doing here?”
“Here to arrest you, of course...
And if there was ever an ultimate look of dread, Carmen was wearing it.
“I’m joking. Player called me. Said you were capering the stock exchange. I thought you may need some help. And I was worried about you. I’m sorry I stormed off like that,...I just couldn’t bare what you were doing to yourself.”
Carmen, now wearing a small, sad grin. She missed Jules.
|7 Days & Counting|
|Monday|
A week before the planned caper, Julia goes to the NYPD and sets them on a false lead, gets them as far away from the Manhattan Bridge as possible. In disguise, the ground Team went around and looked suspicious as Julia took some pictures.
||Tuesday||
Team Red, disguised as punks and ruffians with their sunshades on, hit the streets of the White Plains district. Objective: Stir up suspicions in the area. (Note: Zach and Ivy are wearing their outfits from “Where on Earth?” respectfully.)
Zach: “Okay, gang.. how we gonna do this? I could run up and down the streets, knock some trash cans over... jump on some cars-“
Cut to Ivy, who’s listening to this like “WTF?”
Carmen: “Zach, we want to look suspicious, not get arrested.” Carmen states from her spot on a bench, scoping out the area.
Zach: “Right, yeah. Got it. Calm down, Zach.”
Team Red gets to work, Julia is snapping pictures from various rooftops.
Carmen: “How are we looking, Jules?”
Julia: “Oh, very photogenic.” Causing Carmen to blush, while attempting to control a smile.
Ivy: “Oh, you flirters...” Ivy mumbles under her breath, amusement in her voice. Ivy is walking up and down streets, alley ways, looking into cars, hands in her jacket pockets.
The team continues being “shady” frequently over the next three days.
||Friday||
And one flash of the ACME ID, and Commiss is all hears.
Julia: “Hello, Commissioner Lock, I’m Agent Sliver. My office has intel to believe that banks in the White Plains district are being targeted for robbery. My suggestion is to increase security and patrols in that area should anything arise.”
Julia shows the “evidence” to the Commissioner.
Lock: “I see. Well, New York is such a big place, it’s hard to catch everything. And I’ve heard of trouble stirring up in that area from my officers... I’ll have my departments look further into the matter. Thank you for the tip, Agent.”
Julia: “And thank you for your time, Commissioner.”
Then from her ear piece,
Player: “Brr-haha!”
Julia: “Ehh.. what do you think? Too on the nose?”
Player: “No, not at all, Julia. That was great. Besides, V.I.L.E doesn’t keep any of their moo-la in the White Plains area. We won’t be going anywhere near there.”
Then further in the week, Player just starts setting off random bank alarms in the area. He’s having way too much fun with this caper.
||Monday||
Now the day of capering is upon the team. Carmen goes to the Manhattan Bridge, and she’s announcing that she’s about to make a heist, by dancing. 2-25 different dances.
News Anchor: “Breaking news: Carmen Sandiego has just been spotted, the first time in months actually, on the Manhattan Bridge and she’s.... dancing..? What in the world is she up to...?” And she and Player are naming off different dances..
Carmen: “And slide, jazz hands...”
Player: “Waltz.”
Carmen: “Tango.”
Player: “The Mash Potato.”
Carmen: “Hey... Macarena.” And their just having a grand ole time, this goes on..
And then moments later... the entire stock exchange crashes. Just stops.
Player: “And... freeze.”
Letting the world, and V.I.L.E. know that she’s alive and about to wreck them. All the stiffs on Wall Street begin to freak out, trying to unfreeze the system. But, the deed is done.
Player: “And... done! Get out of there, Red.”
Carmen: “Awesome job, buddy. Goodbye New York, thank you for the warm welcome back!” She winks and bows at the helicopter camera coming her way, and disappears without a trace.
|Part 2|
Player: “Hey, Red. Looks like V.I.L.E. also keeps safes in New York as well.”
Carmen: “Well, seeing as we’re already here...” She says with a smug smile.
This is the night after they robbed the stock exchange, took more than 10 billion from V.I.L.E.. They anticipate there only being about 5 million in total revenue in this safe. But once in..
Carmen and Shadowsan, who just opened the safe: “😦 uh, guys... this is more than 5 million... We’re gonna have to make two trips. Fast.” There are gold and silver bars lining the walls, certificates worth 10,000 each.. just loaded. So this is where Team Red acquires their large sum of liquid. Between the 5 people in the field, they split up the bars and cash and such and go their separate ways for a bit. Player puts the certificates in many separate fake accounts.
|The next day at VILE:
The faculty are watching the news of the big screen, and it’s December 1st, so Cookie is there.
News Anchor: “Yesterday after the abrupt freeze, more than a dozen corporations at the New York Stock Exchange mysteriously went bankrupt. (Cookie just smirks and barely holds back a laugh.)
Dr. Bellum: “Something funny, Ms. Booker?” Dr. Bellum is furiously looking up all the financial records for all the fake corporations they made to spread their wealth out.
Cookie: “Oh, no. Not at all, Sara.” And she mumbles to herself: “Huh, the kid listened to me after all..” Proud mother moment.)
News continues...” Many are saying Carmen Sandiego was responsible. The scarlet thief made her reappearance after nearly 2 months of no activity. Authorities have yet to locate Ms. Sandiego for questioning. She remains at large.”
Maelstrom: “Coach Brunt, increase security at our banks in New York. I have a feeling she isn’t done yet.”
Brunt: “Too late.” She has a 😐 look on her face. Brunt is on the phone with their bank manager in New York. Maelstrom just buries his head in his hand out of frustration.
|Later with Team Red...|
Everyone is in the current hideout, they’re all watching the same news as V.I.L.E., Zach and Ivy cheer,
Player: “Okay, numbers crunched.”
Player just crunched the numbers and everyone is like 😮.
Ivy: “That’s a lot of zeroes, you guys.”
Carmen: “We gotta get rid of this.”
They donate a lot to charity, art & culture museums.. etc. Everyone takes a handful of turns on what they want the money to go to.
Founder of a Children’s Home: “On behalf of our gracious private donor, I would like to announce that we will be developing over 50 new homes worldwide. We will work tirelessly on construction, and to hold to our mission statement, that no child is left out in the cold.”
They take turns in deciding where the money gets donated to. They been around the group at least 5 times already.
Player: “Julia, you’re up.” As the group is circled around a table in a hideout, eating ice cream out of the bucket.
Julia: “Hm.. The Children’s Music Society.”
Player: “You got it. Shadowsan?”
Shadowson: “The Koi Fish Protection Foundation.”
Player: “Koi fish, very nice.”
So tonight everyone mostly donated to the kids,
Zach: “To the kids!”
The group: “To the kids!” They all hold their spoons up in a toast.
Ivy: “And the koi fish!” And then everyone shares a laugh.
Then still have some left over. They start expanding. And I want to be clear, Player is using pocket change in what they stole.
Carmen: “Merry Christmas, Player. Can you make the last of the stash disappear?”
Player: “Oh, I’m sure I can work something out.” As he looks to the rough draft drawings he’s made of Mission Control.
| Continues in OP: Mission Control|
|Epilogue|
So the Team is in Rome, a week since they robbed V.I.L.E blind. Most of the stash has been donated, with a little bit going to of the Team. Carmen is out browsing the city.
Player: ”Whatchu up to now, Red?”
Carmen: “Oh, just spending my cut.” As she stops in the front window of a very posh jewelry store, eyes set on a pair of 1 1/2 karet diamond studs.
Carmen: “Hey, do you think you could make another set of communication earrings?”
Player: “Sure. No problem.”
| Then story picks up in Rome, where Carmen asks Julia to officially be apart of Team Red.|
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amazingmsme · 2 years ago
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Mission Gone Right
AN: I got a lot of feels over Spies Are Forever, so I wrote what I think would’ve happened if the mission hadn’t gone wrong. So, yeah here it is.
Owen couldn't fool Curt. How stupid did he think he was? Seriously, was a hat and a fake mustache the best he could do? And Russian really wasn't his best accent. But as soon as he saw his friend walk in with his very own dumb henchman, he knew he had to play along. It was like a game to them; they would always play the part of a villain while the other was caught only to reveal their true identity and bust out.
So he cracked jokes and one liners and flashed a smile here and there, even when Olog nearly crushed his balls. He wasn't going to lie, he did get a little nervous when he saw the metal bat so close to his crotch. He was relieved when it knocked against his chair and hit Olag between the legs instead of him, and he shook his head in mock sympathy.
Curt had never seen Owen so into a character ever since he had been strapped to a spinning wheel and the Englishman had been posing as an "evil magician" who was "practicing his aim" by throwing knives at him when he refused to answer his questions. Owen was seriously lucky that he was a good shot or else Curt would've killed him. Evil magician, Russian interrogator, Owen sure had a thing for cliché disguises. He bent down close to his face, and he could feel his hot breath on his shoulder. It smelled minty. Of course it did. He always had mints or gum on him, and he was thankful that he had chosen the former because he really didn't want to hear him smacking in his ear. Instead he heard him ask, "Where do you get off?" Oh he should know better than to use such wording...
He rattled off various places where the two of them had hooked up and felt him back up in shock. Curt liked this. He liked that he still had a sense of power even when tied to a chair. His smug smile was quickly replaced by a look of fear when he saw Owen pull out a long white feather and ran it over his neck. Damnit he was pulling out the big guns and if Curt kept up with his tough guy act who knows how long his friend will torture him for, so he easily gave in. But he still swiped the feather from his ears to his jaw, but finally backed off.
Finally Owen said the line that always indicates it's him before he tears off his disguise: "Personal history does have its benefits, Mega."
Curt rolled his eyes to the ceiling and watched as he shot both of Olag's kneecaps, sending him crumbling to the floor. In a swift motion, he rips off his mustache and hat, shaking out his hair. "Owen Carvour you limey bastard, I knew it was you all along. That accent sure could use some work though."
"Oh sod off, it fooled 20 Russian security officers and our dear friend Olag over here," he said with a smirk. After knocking him out and running and gunning their way through the building, Curt answered the call from his boss. Only to have Owen grab his wrist so that he could talk to her instead. He swore she liked him better, and he wasn't even part of their agency, but he couldn't blame her. He was very charming, even after letting a poor excuse of a bad guy "rough him up a bit."
And since the rocket shoes were a no go and the watch was boring, it was time to blow up the building. They were heading down the stairs and Curt just finished his healthy on the job snack and tossed the banana peel on the ground. At Owen's incredulous look, he explained, "What? The whole place is gonna be garbage in a few minutes anyway, who gives a shit?"
"Uh, I do because you just knocked off that safety rail, and that is a very bad place for a banana peel. They are slippery you know, it's not just in cartoons."
"Well do you see a trash can anywhere?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do." Curt didn't like that look in his eye, and punched him in the arm when he grabbed the peel and tossed it on his head. Owen laughed and turned around, and no sooner than he did he started mocking him behind his back, pretending to hold a teacup with his pinky up and silently repeating what he said, shifting his jaw to the right to match his crooked smile. Owen sensed something was up but when he looked back at Curt he seemed to be doing nothing.
"Y'know, I think you were exaggerating when you said that accent fooled 20 security guards. You sure you didn't mean two?" he teased with a smirk, jabbing him with his elbow. He shot him a glare, "No you twit, I know how to bloody count." Curt held his hands up defensively, "Hey all I'm saying is it needs a little work." They then reached the bottom of the stairs, setting the timer.
"Atta boy, three it is." He knew they were pushing their luck by setting the timer so low, leaving no room for error. Lucky for them they don't often have those, and he has to admit it's an exhilarating game they share. They both live for the thrill of the rush, the adrenaline coursing through their veins. They were about to leave when suddenly they were surrounded.
They froze like deer in the headlights, standing back to back, their hands in the air. Well, they've been in worse situations... The ground beneath their feet began to shake and their captors fell to the ground, but they were able to keep their footing. They needed to get out of there immediately or else they were gonna blow.
"That's our cue, love," Owen shouted and grabbed him by the wrist. They ran up the stairs and rounded the sharp turn, where Owen almost lost his footing. Curt grabbed his arm and pulled him close before continuing their daring escape. "Told you that would've been a bad place for a banana peel!"
Curt huffed out an irritated breath, "Yeah yeah, can we just get out of here and do the I told you so's outside when we're not about to die?"
"Sure thing love, I'll get right on that. Say, how much time do you suppose we have left to get out with our bodies intact?"
"I'd say about a minute and 15 seconds."
"Christ! Cutting it a bit close, aren't we Mega?"
"Which is why it'll feel even better when we make it out!"
"You better be right about this!"
"Relax, I'm always right."
"Oh get off your high horse, clearly that interrogation did nothing to humble you."
Curt found the exit and kicked down the door. They ran as fast as they could through the parking lot and turned around just in time to see the building explode. They let out triumphant cries, jumping into the air and high five-ing each other. They hugged one another in a tight embrace, relishing in the flames and shrapnel. Curt let out a sigh of relief, "That was close."
"I'll say." Owen turned to look at him and locked their gaze, reaching out to grip his shoulders tightly. "But there will be no beating this record. We barely made it out with time to spare, and I for one am quite pleased with this time. I mean three minutes, that's quick."
"Under three minutes," Curt corrected him.
"That's barely the length of a song," Owen mused.
"Cynthia's going to be very pleased I'll say and- oh no."
"What do you mean oh no?"
"The blueprints, I must've dropped them!"
"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" Owen yelled in shock and anger. "We just nearly died and you're telling me that they're now destroyed because of your butterfingers?"
Curt tried his best to keep a straight face, but the upturned corners of his mouth gave him away and he couldn't help but to start laughing. He was doubled over as Owen placed his hands on his hips, chewing the inside of his cheek to keep his own smile under wraps. He wagged a finger at him, "You're luck I didn't punch you in the face."
"Oh no, you'll leave that to our dear friend Olag, won't you?"
"Don't be so sore about it, it was all in good fun. And you held your own very well I would say, it's always best to have practice. Besides, I made sure to grab the least competent person I could find."
Curt narrowed his eyes, studying his friend. "How did you know he was the least competent?"
"Because I saw him follow seven men through a push door and when he reached it he still tried to pull," Owen said with a laugh, and his partner couldn't help but join.
"No wonder you were the better interrogator. Even if your accent was bad."
"You're still hung up about that fucking accent?Next time I'll be sure to use my Cockney one instead since you're so critical."
"Hey, I'm sure anything else would be better than "real-rerearelreareally nice"," he said doing his best impression of his terrible accent, and even Owen had to chuckle.  "In this business you need to be on your A game." He flashed him a grin and winked.
Owen scoffed, "Says the secret agent who caved to a little tickling." He smirked as Curt's face fell, "I only did because you were wasting time and Cynthia wants these blueprints ASAP." He started walking to where his car was but Owen just walked with him, even stepping in front of him and walking backwards so he could face him. He hoped the smug bastard would trip.
"You sure that's the only reason Mega?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows. Curt looked away, trying to hide his blush. Only when he looked down, he saw what Owen had in his hand and a nervous smile found its way onto his face and he held a hand up defensively. "Because personal history does have it's benefits." He reached out and Curt tried to duck away, but was a second too slow. He immediately burst into high pitched giggles, trying to swat his hand away.
"Now what was it you said earlier? That you're "deathly ticklish behind your neck and ears"? Because that's what I seem to remember. I wonder what good ol' Cynthia would say when she finds out the great Curt Mega surrendered to a feather."
He finally managed to wiggle free of his grasp and panted, "She will never find out, because I'll kill you if you tell her. I'd never hear the end of it! She'd kick my ass and fire me before I could even defend myself against your lies. 'Cause for some reason she believes just about anything you say."
"Not a lie because that's how it happened. And good to know about Cynthia. Totally not going to use that to my advantage. Say, you wouldn't mind if I left this with her would you?" he questioned, twirling the feather between his fingers.
Curt rolled his eyes, "As long as it's not in your hands I'm fine. And I was serious when I said she wanted these ASAP, because the longer you keep me the longer I'll get chewed out for how long I took," he emphasized.
"Don't worry, I'll use my new found knowledge to protect you from her lecture. I'm sure as soon as I say that you had to wait on me she won't be mad."
It turns out Owen was right. As always. And the next day when he was called into her office, he wondered why she seemed so... he wouldn't necessarily say happy but, amused. It wasn't until he tried to leave and he felt something light and fluffy brush over his neck did it all make sense. He whipped around to see a smiling Cynthia holding the white feather. She tilted her head to the side, feigning innocence. "Was there something else?" He knew from the teasing look in her eyes that she was never going to let him live this down. He was going to kill Owen.
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evelyn-hugc · 2 years ago
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Can we have a fanfic in which Ben OD’s? I think that’s how he died (“when you’re dead there’s no where to go, no where to change”) and I think the monsters were giving him physical/mental pain. So klaus gave him something. Ben got depressed because they didn’t work, so he took more. Nobody knew, Reg gave him antidepressants, he OD’d, nobody knew about his addiction but Klaus, the siblings all moved out because they couldn’t stand to be in the same house as Regetable, the man who killed Ben.
holy shit, anon! Ben’s death makes me so sad, are you trying to make me cry? But anyway, I hope you like this one1
*
This is bad, Klaus thinks, watching Ben pop off the cap of the orange bottle and swallow three white pills dry.
When you start taking them dry, you know it’s bad.
“You were supposed to only take one, you know,” he says, frowning down at his hands because it’s better than seeing Ben reenact Klaus’ early teen years.
They’re seventeen now. Klaus is supposed to be the fucked up one, not Ben.
Ben is supposed to be better than Klaus, to be above this shit.
“And they were supposed to make me not feel like shit,” Ben snaps, closing the drawer with more force than necessary and flopping down on the bed. His face is starting to relax, slow and syrupy in a way that is painfully familiar to Klaus and sends his stomach into painful knots.
He’s got a bad feeling about this.
“Ben,” he begins. What’s he supposed to say? He doesn’t exactly have the moral high ground here. “Have you– is it that bad?”
A thundercloud storms over Ben’s face, alien and foreign, but settling uncomfortably easily. “I don’t know, Klaus,” he shoots back, icily and distantly, “there are literal monsters trying to break out of my skin every second of every day. I can feel them writhing inside, pushing and lashing out. So you tell me, is it that bad?”
This is bad, Klaus thinks again but says nothing for the rest of the night.
*
Luther is being an asshole again but what else is new?
Well, the fourth and fifth pill on Ben’s hand is probably an escalation, but hey, Klaus is floating nicely in a cloud of something colorful and sweet he had chase with Dad’s vodka, so it’s kinda hard to worry about anything right now.
He smiles, lazy and absent, and watches with a distant sort of gaze as Ben self-medicates for the second time this afternoon. Can he blame him though? Luther’s being an asshole, that calls for some pretty happy pills, right?
It’s all good, though, it’s all fine.
*
Klaus eyes the new orange bottle in Ben’s nightstand.
It’s the real deal, like, from a pharmacy and shit. There was a prescription and everything, and Klaus hopes they’ll make Ben look less like he’s a ghost haunting this house, wandering the halls with an empty look on his eyes.
It’s been a while since his eyes have looked anywhere near alive and Klaus doesn’t like looking too much into them. Sometimes, especially in the bad trips, he has nightmares that he peers into them and he can see the tentacles flopping around, trying to break out of Ben like a hatching egg, like that movie with the aliens and the spaceship.
He also wonders if he should have told their father about Ben’s less legitimate pills, the ones he gets from Klaus’ dealer. That’s– that’s the kind of thing doctors should know before prescribing shit, isn’t it?
But Ben had sworn him into secrecy and he’s right, Klaus is one to talk, it’s his dealer, after all.
The know of worry stays there, clawing at his stomach, even as he tells himself it’ll be fine.
Ben will be fine.
Hey, they’re the good guys, they’re superheroes, right?
And heroes never die, they’re always fine.
*
The rain is falling steadily and Mom’s shoes are splattered with mud, and so is Allison’s and Vanya’s. Allison isn’t complaining, though. How weird is that?
She’s supposed to be throwing a fit and demanding to go home, that’s her MO.
Can they? Go home already, that is.
Dreadfully depressing, this place. It’s bringing Klaus’ high down and that’s– that’s no good. Klaus’ gotta stay high, up, up, up very far from here, from all of this shit.
Funerals have never been his thing, don’t let the aesthetic fool you.
“Klaus,” Allison says, laying a hand on his arm. She eyes his cigarette with interest, sniffing, and she has to know it’s weed. Everyone here does, he’s sure. They just don’t care, not today. “It’s– it’s going to be–”
She can’t finish the sentence, so she trails off instead, shrugging awkwardly in the end. They all know it’s not gonna be okay. Ben’s dead. He overdosed like they all though Klaus was gonna a long time ago and how unfair is that? Fuck you, Ben, he scowls, taking a drag in spite, that was gonna be me.
He blows smoke in the air and it hangs heavy, dissipating quickly in the rain; he passes the joint to Allison, watches her smoke without flinching.
“Too fucked up for me,” he says, sticking his hands in his pockets and makes a point not to hear the priest talking incessantly in front of the gap in the dirt. It’s ridiculous, really, to preach about gods and angels to the bunch of kids with superpowers. Klaus can literally see ghosts, asshole, he knows hell is very much real. Heaven, though, jury’s still up on that one.
“I can’t do this,” Allison says between a drag and the other, and she sounds bitter enough that the grass under their feet curls into dead yellow shades even without her catchphrase. “I’m out. I’m leaving first thing tomorrow.”
“Good for you,” Klaus mutters, but it’s not bad. He means that, in fact. They should all leave this place before it kills them too. “Good riddance to this shit.”
“You should come with,” she offers, passing him back the cigarette, and Klaus sighs, inhaling the smoke and letting it grow stale on his lungs before letting it out. “We could find a place in LA.”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” he shakes his head. Allison doesn’t know what she’s saying, that’s a stupid idea. She’s meant for the spotlight, Hollywood and all that crap. There’s a reason she’s going for LA and not whatever the hell city out there. “I’ve got my own thing going.”
“Klaus– fine. Just. I don’t want to attend another funeral, okay?”
“Don’t worry, sister dearest,” he smiles, but it’s not a nice smile, he knows, “everything’s going to be alright.”
The frown on her face doesn’t let up, stays put as Diego and Luther lower the casket down six feet under the earth and their father throws the first handful of dirt. Klaus snorts. That was a good pony show, good ol’ Reggie truly has an eye for the showbiz.
Diego, though, looks angrier than usual. Klaus gives him another week before he packs his bags too.
That being said, he believes this is his cue.
He feels Allison’s eyes on him all the while he walks out of the cemetery, putting out his cigarette in a nearby grave. So long, fuckers, he shouts in his head as he crosses the iron gates.
Though, when he pauses to cross the street, between a car and the next, Klaus could swear he saw Ben watching him from the other side of the road.
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commonalex · 2 years ago
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Savory
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-Where to, bud?
-Fill it up.
-Ready for a trip, ain't it so, Nico?
One quick "shut your hole before I fuck it" finds its way before my teeth but fortunately I remind myself that whatever I do I can never escape the gas pumper's son urge to chat even if it takes me stealing the pump from the tank to shove it up his dirty ass mouth.
-Just for a dive, you know. The beach here got filled with tourists and the sun will set when I get to the next shore.
-You're living the life, Nico boy, no joke. Not like us, working and melting away from the sun like pigs in the midst of September. Fuck that shit, man.
-Aha, I see.
Just before I go inside to bake myself in my good ol' Fiat and get lost far far from his gossip hungry mouth, I remember that I have to rely on his ass. It's the third day that no one in the town can use the phone and no one cares enough to ask why. I give him my frequency where I'll listen on the radio just to notify Sofia if anything crazy happens to me. Not entirely sure if he heard or understood even half of what I just said but pretty confident that he purposely delays me to keep his creaking voice running, soloing to the point of laying a curse at "these damn phones and their government plants to make them mo-bi-le" and asking extremely not subtly about what is already news all over town.
-You're shiting me! Congrats, Nico boy! Wish your wife good luck with all those diapers coming. Finally you're to start a family yourself!
I don't know if he forgot my Tito for real or it's just him being a clown and at this point I barely care. Everyone has him as a dumb fuck either way. In fact I'm only doing a favor to his father that I haven't talked to him the way I should or biting his hands with my closing door.
It's over five o' clock and the road to the shore is nicely empty. My Fiat has a hard time having the sun whipping its ass as its swinging above the sea to my right. I dug up a radio station I recently lost with some old songs drowned in noise that I can't blast in the car with Sofia and the kid because the give them the headaches and food for nagging. Notes traveling around my seat really give me space and loose my hands from straggling my steering wheel and I'm checking cool as hell the back seat from the mirror to make sure I didn't forget my swimsuit or my surely expired sunscreen. I can barely see it beneath this sea of junk and empty water bottles from our last trip as a family. I can't recall when that was exactly, but it can't be that long if the back seat is completely filled with sand from Tito's feet cause "slippers pinch his toes". I swear to God I'll be damned if I ever understand this kid.
It must've taken a minute or so to catch the song change on the radio. And what a song if the synths and the drum machine can kick my head back to my soggy seat to return to my old job at that furniture store I was back in the day, just in time for Sofia to call me and tell me the waters broke. The road's zig zags around the hills wave goodbye and I push the gas along the straight line in front of me. The tar got sprayed gold and it tinkles my eyes along with the turquoise waves racing me all the way; absolutely nothing like back then when I was locked by my stress and my blood was boiling from agony. The car couldn't fit me (brand new at the moment, not a scratch, such a beauty) until the house and then back into traffic, dragging myself closer to insanity by Sofia's moaning that keep on ringing to my ears to this day. Us two running in the heatwave till the emergency room, scared that Tito might join us in the back seat. There's still the scratch I caused by storming the hospital. There's still the memory of me cursing the religion out of me when I saw that later.
"Nico, take me back".
"What are you talking about? We are here".
"I'm scared, Nico, Let's go home. Please".
"No reason for it, we talked this out a thousand time. That's the finish line".
"I don't want to lose him. I won't bear this crap again".
"It's all good, Sofia. I promise".
Maybe I didn't use these exact words that day. I don't even remember if half of what I was saying were making any sense but I do remember me screaming my lungs out to innocent doctors and nurses while she was sitting comfortably in her pain with a look in her eyes designed to send nothing but shivers down my spine. I made it by stealing a kiss on her salty cheek as I was trying to keep up with her stretcher just so we go in together and get out us three together.
The radio host squeezes his hoarse and monotonous voice right in the end of the song to announce the song's title and singer but I'm all out of brain to pay attention. My fingers feel numb around the steering wheel and the rest of me stands sweat dripping in his place, staring at the dirt road boiling behind me. It always happens to me. I could have Sofia right beside me telling me the name of the song and my head would instantly erase it from existence because the picture of me and her holding Tito like a hot bread bun back in the house hangs above my eyelids. Her crying only from joy and me smiling nervously all the time. Holding Sofia on one hand and Tito on the other on our broke couch we still have in the living room. All of the uncertainty, all of the doubt if I could manage to balance all for a little man that fits in my palms driving me nuts in the cutest way then and in the most worrying right now.
The gas pumper's son doesn't respond to my test signals and I lose my turn for the next shore. No biggie, I say to myself, I'll do an 180 and everything will be fine. The road however had other plans, cause I can't find it anywhere anymore, the sand covered it pretty easily. No tar on sight, no nothing. I pull my baked skull outside and take a peek of all those fixed pink waves of sand stretching to everything the sun touches. I'm surprised that Ostia is somehow still on my mirror but I can't figure out where exactly I got my dumb self on the map and the good ol' Fiat has stepped in the sand for good. I set the thin line of sea on my right as compass and turn the key full of hope. I get a couple of meters deeper but the wheels are screeching, digging their graves. I officially can't go neither ahead nor back home; especially after all the shit I left back there because I decided to go swimming. Sofia's not going to stop at my insensitivity this time, especially right after she found out she is pregnant. I don't know what to say to her. I don't know what she seeks from me. I don't know if she gets my situation at the moment by asking me to be more "open" to her without her understanding that this is the way to get everybody hurt. Her, Tito, even the gas pumper's son with the audacity to sell pure ass water for petrol.
There's not a single thing on me not covered in sand as I melt my palms away by pushing the car. I get it out of the holes just to drop it to another ten meters ahead. I keep on pushing so desperately my knees get buried and I can hardly curse my luck for putting me right here, right now or letting my strength fade away from my body- in general. I lash out like a spoiled little fuck at the doors and get one of them opening wide open with empty water bottles falling defeated. Not a single drop of water in them at all and nothing of real value in all this junk of the back seat but a backpack with boxers, t-shirts and shorts of all kinds. All bad, all old fashioned and all mine. I never was this farsighted or this lucky all my life. Never.
I set my self free from my shirt and pants and throw them back to dry whilst I try one of those old ass tees that fits like a glove if I stop breathing for the rest of the day. I look down to see if I put it the wrong way but it was ok, just not the right t-shirt cause it's the one with the blue stripes.
I spent all morning eating my nails, watching the clock ticking. I couldn't wait and wished for something to happen to call this off. I called the shop to play it sick just so I could breathe in and breathe out my excitement without any distractions. I was looking at myself in the bathroom's mirror and practicing the "speech" I had written. I was getting mad, I was improvising and I was giving up all day without any hope. The sun dropped and Sofia came in late (and gorgeous) as always and kissed me besides the place where taxi drivers where fishing gullible tourists and judging the ugly blue stripped tee I chose to wear to play it like it was a date just like any other. Of course she got it figured out on her own and she tolerated me and this monstrosity until we hopped off the tram and sat on the worst set of pebbles we could possible sit, right before I interrupt her history of her fight with her mother to dig up the ring from the sand.
"Are you kidding? Because these stuff are quite laughing matter, you know".
"I know".
"Is it fake? The truth, Nico".
"Put it on and tell me".
"This better not be another unfunny crap from cause if it is, I'm telling you, I'm gone".
She did put it on, she did tell it was real and she did left with me to her place. I still remember her laugh every time the ring was slipping from her fingers. I still remember rivers of sweat washing me the next morning next to her as we were looking at the building outside glowing from the sunset. She was asking me if we could make it. I was cooling her down and telling her I would do my best for her, for us. That I would do what I had to do to not get stuck like our parents did. We would not spent all of our lives in an office but instead we would casually catch a ship or a plane and travel the world. She smirked all the way through and responded to me with "whenever it is, as long as a fan is hitting us" because the weather was just like now. Ten years ago, give or take.
Radio catches nothing but noise for a while now. I'm pressing the mic to call the gas pumper's son but still nothing on the other end. I should have known better than counting on a dumbass like him because I only hurt myself and I ultimately give up on trying to communicate to light a cig.
My head got so numb from all the thoughts running inside I can't enjoy the sun dropping behind me. All I needed right now was a dip, just to get away for a moment or two and figuring out the rest but I guess I had to have everything turn to shit. I'm searching the exact point where I actually fucked up everything but the sun touching the horizon made me realize I torture my mind in vain. Whatever got me where I am right now doesn't matter. I could try to find the words to express how I feel to  Sofia, Tito or the baby and fail miserably each time because all they really need to hear from me is that "all will be fine".  But that's not really the point. The point is that I sit in a fucking wreck of a car with half a packet of cigarettes and all of my stuff in the trunk, disconnected from everyone and everything, without any inconvenience whatsoever. Like things rolled out as I wanted them. Like I should follow this route from the start. Like I should never really reach the shore.
I was still a kid when father came with his "new" car, a stretched out Lada with the color of green vomit which in my eyes it always looked like a bin. My father had a really creepy love with that car to the point where he was telling me to not put the seatbelt on because I would "stretch" it. His obsession made me almost envy this awful bin, feeling joy when it was failing to start half the times. My father knew that and made me help him every single time, made me listen his cute words for this piece of junk that "tries to live, that poor thing" and the rest of his vocabulary which was limited to my ability to "hold the flashlight like a fag". However, his biggest hit should be the one where he was telling me again and again that "I'll only understand him when I get older but it will be too late".
The record continued to skip in my teens. It never became understandable as it became tedious and cliché. There was no meaning behind these words, they all came out like thick air from his mouth but still they made me feel like a piece of shit. Mom saw my relationship with him wearing off everytime we were fighting and she always would try to convince me to "take a step back", to "become a normal family again" and I'd always respond with something vague when I should lash out on her for taking the side of a grumpy old fuck instead of her son.
I reached a point where I was waiting for a cause to open my mouth against his ass but every time my mother prevented me right at the last second; except that noon of a September when her hand could never reach to pull my sleeve. She was in the kitchen preparing the fish for the ban and I was returning home filled to the top with happiness because after a summer buried in books and studying I finally passed my exams for the uni. I found my father, like every afternoon, bent over a bucket cleaning a rag he used for the car only in the yard. I was watching him from the porch with my palm hiding my sardonic laughter I had all morning. I was waiting him to screech with his almost girly voice to "pick up my legs and help, cause all I do is eat, shit, sleep", just to hit him with the news that I was going to be a radio operator.
"And? What do you want now? You want me to pay you just so you can play it sailor? Leave me the fuck alone".
I'd be lying if I said I know what he really said to me, but the truth is that I felt an accomplishment inside whatever he may screamed. What I was looking for was server exactly in front of me and I started shouting, he began to shake his hands up and down like he prepared to fly and my mother kept on throwing fish in the sizzling pan.
"Is it that difficult for you? It's not like you don't want to get rid of me at all times and shit, right?".
"Get the fuck inside and stay there. You came with a smirk like you won the lottery and now you dare to talk shit. But how can you understand about money and all that? You can't. Never could, never will, but don't you worry, you'll only understand me wh-".
"Ok, ok, when I get older and all that nonsense. You keep busting nuts all these year saying that, you never got bored of that?".
The last one must have hit him hard enough to bring him back, like really back. As if he was younger again and strong enough to hit a nineteen year old in the face easily. A nineteen year old that waited half his life to return the favor.
But I did not. The sick joy I was feeling before dissolved when I grasped his left arm from the elbow. I stared at the wrinkled skin in his palm with the spots and veins that looked like mountains on it. I had his pulse on my fingertips echoing quick but pathetic. I turned to look at him and I no longer saw an antisocial and absurd grumpy fuck that was struggling in every way to show his little value. I saw a fallen, perhaps emotionally wounded man without enough consciousness to prevent him from situations like this one where he stands helpless and pitiful in front of his own child.
I had no more anger in me. I only felt bad for the years of my life I lost taking this person seriously simply because it happened to be my father. That's why I left his hand and let him sink in his confusion, trying to find words that would provoke me. From what he said, I only kept the " I swear to God I'll be damned if I ever understand this kid" as I was packing up my stuff in two bags to catch a train that was already gone. Last time, I saw him in the car dragging clothes and shavers from the semi-open trunk of his car, while my mom was on the porch trying not to drown in her own tears. The house was reeking burnt fish when I lying my mom in bed, giving her a hug and a promise that I would never be like him.
It's been a long time since then, but not enough to stop thinking about it, it seems. I do not know whether or not I eventually kept my promise and at this point I really don't care. What's really important now is the way the wave is tinkling my legs and how the breeze makes my lungs bloom. That's why I let the water drift me deeper as I close my eyes and nose. I dive.
"Come on, Nico boy, do you copy? Where are you all day? Do you have this shit open or not? Your wife's here with the little one, come get them ".
"Nico, please, if you hear this come back, we're worried. We will do whatever we can. Whatever you need. Together".
"Dad; Dad are you there? Please respond, I miss you. "
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chooseywoozy · 3 years ago
Text
Big Sky Country, Chapter One - Country Roads
(NOW PLAYING AS MOSSY)
You’re driving an old sedan down a two-lane highway through the vast expanse of rural Montana. On the horizon, snow-peaked mountains… Behind you, everything you’ve left behind. You glance at the rear-view mirror, catching sight of yourself.
Mossy: I gotta say, for a week on the road, I’m looking pretty good.
You peek over at the passenger seat, where your precious potted cactus is held securely in place by the seatbelt.
Mossy: You’ve been so quiet on this trip, Spike. Everything okay over there?
Spike gives his usual answer… total silence.
Mossy: Okay good. I wouldn’t want you to get car sick.
Suddenly, the gas pedal goes soft under your foot! You press down harder, but the car continues to slow.
Mossy: What the…?
Your car jerks back and forth as steam billows out of the engine!
Mossy: No no no!
You pull over to the side of the road. The car shudders one last time before the engine quits altogether.
Mossy: Oh, crap.
You get out of the car, and everything is quiet. There are no cars on the road in either direction.
Mossy: Okay, this is officially the middle of freakin’ nowhere. AKA, the worst place in the world to break down.
You check your phone hopefully.
Mossy: No service. Now what?
You sit down on the rear bumper and look out over the horizon… Off in the distance, a small figure catches your eye… You eagerly lean forward to get a better glimpse.
Mossy: Is that a man… on a horse? Maybe there’s hope for a rescue, yet.
The figure draws closer and closer, until…
Cowboy: Howdy, there.
You get a good look at the cowboy as he stops his horse in front of you. He’s got a grin as wide as the horizon and dusky brown eyes.
Mossy: Uh… Hi! My name’s Mossy! You wouldn’t happen to know anything about cars, would you?
Cowboy: Just that I prefer Dolly here to them.
He pats his horse affectionately, and she nickers in response.
Dolly: Nnnghh!
Mossy: Dolly, as in… Dolly Parton?
Cowboy: The one and only. The name’s Sawyer, by the way.
Sawyer rides up to the front of your car and bumps it with his boot. The hood pops open with a hiss of steam.
Sawyer: Looks like you’ve got a blown head gasket. You’ll have to call Larry’s repair shop in town for a replacement.
Mossy: I was worried it might be something like that. Do you have a cell phone I could borrow?
Sawyer: Naw, I don’t bother with cell phones. Signal’s terrible out here. But I’m happy to give you a ride to the nearest landline.
Mossy: You can take me anywhere, cowboy.
You eye him appreciatively, and he chuckles.
Sawyer: Why do I feel like I just rode into some sort of cheesy romance novel?
Mossy: Would that be so bad? I’m pretty sure that would make you the handsome hero.
Sawyer: I was always more of a spies and shootouts kinda guy, but I suppose i could get used to a romance novel.
Sawyer offers you his hand. You take it, and he easily pulls you up onto his horse behind him. He spurs Dolly on, and you pitch forward as the horse starts to walk.
Dolly: Neeeiigh.
Mossy: (Whoa…)
You lean forward and wrap your arms around his toned stomach, appreciating the way his muscles ripple beneath his shirt…
Sawyer: You settled back there?
Mossy: Yup! I’m all good.
The two of you ride in silence for a minute, swaying together with the motion of the horse…
Mossy: So, uh, where exactly are you taking me?
Sawyer: To the ole homestead. Luckily, you broke down right on the edge of our ranch.
Mossy: So all this land is yours?
Sawyer: My family’s, yeah.
You look around the landscape as Dolly rides across a vast meadow.
Sawyer: It’s beautiful out here, isn’t it?
Mossy: Yeah… it really is.
Sawyer shifts in his saddle before looking at you over his shoulder.
Sawyer: So tell me, Mossy, what do you do? Besides, you know, breaking down on the side of the road.
Mossy: Recently, I’ve mostly just been trying to figure my life out.
Sawyer: Any luck?
Mossy: Not even close. So far, all I’ve got is moving from Boston to California. Montana is just one of many stops along the scenic route.
Sawyer: What prompted the big move?
Mossy: The last six months in Boston… weren’t the greatest. This relationship I’d been in for two years ended badly. My apartment got infested with rats, and my landlord jacked up the rent. And this job I really wanted, my dream job, totally fell apart at the last minute.
Sawyer: Sorry to hear it. What was the job, if you don’t mind me asking?
Mossy: I was going to be a programmer.
Sawyer: Oh yeah?
Mossy: Yeah. I ha a gig lined up at this really big tech company. A place I’d wanted to work at ever since I was a kid. And then the week before I was supposed to start, their shareholders made them fire half the staff. Including me.
Sawyer: Ouch.
Mossy: Yeah. Ouch is putting it mildly. More like three weeks lying around in my apartment, drinking wine and feeling sorry for myself.
Sawyer: Lying around your apartment… that was infested with rats.
Mossy: Yup.
Sawyer: Well… I see why you’re going to California then. Probably a lot of coding gigs there. You could live that Silicon Valley life. Make a startup, drive a Tesla, launch a rocket to Mars.
Mossy: I really don’t think that’s the typical Silicon Valley life.
Sawyer: So that’s what this is about? Getting a new job?
Mossy: Sort of. I guess I wanted to start a new life. California seems like as good a place as anywhere for a new start, but…
Sawyer: But what?
Mossy: I don’t know. Maybe I could just as easily start somewhere else. Sorry, I’m sure that sounds silly.
Sawyer: No, it doesn’t. Not to me.
You lean forward, and notice a long scar on the back of his right arm, and a small tattoo on the back of his neck that says ‘Lindy’.
Mossy: Sawyer, can I ask you something personal?
Sawyer: Hmmm… awful forward, aren’t you?
Mossy: I just told you, like, three super personal details!
Sawyer: Fine, fine. What do you wanna know?
Mossy: Where’s that scar from?
Sawyer: This? Oh, it’s just a birthday present from a bull named Thunder Road.
Mossy: Something tells me that scar wasn’t on your wishlist.
Sawyer: Definitely not. But I deserved it for being such a little brat. I was a Youth Rodeo champion as a kid, convinced I had the magic touch despite having only ridden baby calves and the like. The day I turned fifteen, I signed up for a full-on rodeo event. I didn’t even bother to practice!
Mossy: Oh, no…
Sawyer: Oh, yes. Thunder Road slammed me into the gate before we even got into the ring. Taught me a lesson right quick. But it was the best thing that could’ve happened, you know? I had no business riding that bull. And he let me know it.
Mossy: Do you still ride in rodeos?
Sawyer: … Naw. Not so much.
Smiling, you lean back, and that’s when you notice a young woman on a horse in the distance, watching you curiously.
Mossy: Who’s that?
Sawyer: Juliette Mendoza. Her family owns our neighbouring ranch. There’s a whole complicated… thing.
Mossy: Complicated like… she’s your ex?
Sawyer: Ha, no! Juliette’s great, but we’re just friends. Naw, it’s our families that’re the issues.
Mossy: Oh?
Sawyer: Would you believe me if I told you it was a feud going back 150 years?
Mossy: … Wow.
Sawyer: That’s Montana for you.
You glance back the the girl. She waves and smiles.
Mossy: She seems okay…
Sawyer: Yeah. She’s the nice one. Now hang on tight. It gets a little bumpy here.
The two of you ride on, and a little while later, you reach a wooden gate framing a long driveway. There’s a hanging sign that reads…
Mossy: ‘Oakley Ranch.’
Dolly perks up her ears and walks a little quicker as you turn up the road.
Sawyer: Here it is. Home, sweet home.
Dolly leads you up a grand entrance lined with tall trees and a wooden three-rail fence… On either side is green pastureland dotted with cows. To the left, a big red barn. Aead on the right, the ranch house. It’s a beautiful spread, although clearly past its prime. The fence needs mending, and the red paint on the barn is peeling… But Sawyer surveys the place like it’s heaven on earth.
Sawyer: What do you think?
Mossy: It’s charming. You never see anything like this back home.
Sawyer: Maybe you need to get out to the country more often.
Mossy: Yeah, maybe I do….
You cast a sidelong glance at Sawyer…
Mossy: I can tell this place is really special to you.
Sawyer: It is… Although sometimes it seems like my dad and I are the only ones who appreciate it.
Mossy: What about the rest of your family?
Sawyer: It’s just my older brother, but he’s not around much anymore. He sorta… comes and goes.
Mossy: Oh, I’m sorry…
Sawyer: It’s a good thing, trust me. There’s some bad blood and… well, it doesn’t matter. He’s out of town now, thankfully, and will be for a while.
The two of you fall quiet as Sawyer guides Dolly up to the front of the ranch house. He hops down and reaches up to help you off the horse.
Sawyer: Sorry, I didn’t mean to be such a downer back there. It’s just…
Mossy: It’s fine. I get it. There’s nothing to explain.
Sawyer smiles, grateful for the out.
Sawyer: I gotta put Dolly away. You can go on in and use the phone to call Larry, the town mechanic.
Mossy: Thanks.
As Sawyer leads the horse into the barn, you hear a rustling sound from around the side of the yard…
Mossy: Hello? Is someone there?
Calf: mmmoooo?
Mossy: Oh, you’re adorable…
You reach out to scratch behind the calf’s shaggy ears, and it looks up at you with huge, molten brown eyes.
Calf: Mmmmmoooo…
The calf hums with appreciation as you keep scratching its head.
Mossy: I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship…
Suddenly, you hear a loud, low moooooo behind you… You turn around to see a large mama cow coming right for you!
Mossy: Aaah!
You back away from the calf, but the mama cow doesn’t stop!
Mossy: Sorry! I’m not trying to take your baby, I swear!
The cow barrels toward you until…
Cowboy: Whoa there, mama!
A rugged cowboy dives forward, tackling you out of the way just as the cow rushes past!
Mossy: Th-thank you…
Without a word, the guy pulls himself up and dusts himself off.
Cowboy: You okay, girl?
Mossy: I think so…
Cowboy: Wasn’t talking to you.
He leans down to gently pet the calf. The mama cow nudges her baby with her nose.
Cowboy: Go on now, mama, go home…
The man calmly herd the cows back through the gate, then closes it behind them. The calf snorts as if to say goodbye. Finally, the cowboy turns to look at you.
Mossy: So, are you a cow whisperer or something? That was seriously impressive. I swear, I saw my life flash before my eyes!
The cowboy shrugs.
Cowboy: You just gotta know how to handle them.
Mossy: Still. I’m very impressed. I’m Mossy, by the way.
You hold out your hand. He looks at it, but makes no move to shake it.
Dallas: I’m Dallas. You visiting?
Mossy: Not exactly. I just came to use the phone. My car broke down not far from here.
Dallas: The house is that way. Stay clear of the livestock, you hear?
With that, Dallas disappears into the barn.
Mossy: I guess I’d better head inside to call the mechanic.
You make your way toward the main house… You’re almost to the porch when the door flies open and an old man bursts out, brandishing a shotgun!
Old Man: Who the hell are you, and what the hell are you doing on my property?!
Mossy: Aaah!
Old Man: You’re not from the bank, are you?
Mossy: The… bank?
Old Man: Well, are you? Or ain’t you?
Mossy: No!
Old Man: I don’t believe you!
Mossy: Please! Hear me out! My name’s Mossy. I’m not from the bank! Sawyer just said I could use the phone?
The old man narrows his eyes at you.
Old Man: How do I know this isn’t some newfangled banker trick?!
Mossy: Because that’s not a thing!
Just then, Sawyer returns from the barn. He jumps in between the two of you, forcing the old man to lower his gun.
Sawyer: Dad, we’ve talked about this! You can’t go around pointing your shotgun at people.
Old Man: She’s on my property!
Sawyer: Mossy’s car broke down on the highway, and I said it was okay to use our phone to call Larry. Remember that good old-fashioned hospitality you instilled in me at a young age?
Sawyer’s dad grumbles, but finally looks at you.
Old Man: I’m sorry. I s’pose I overreacted a touch.
Mossy: I’ll say!
Sawyer: Mossy, this is my dad, Cliff. He’s got a mean bark, but he’s mostly harmless.
Sawyer drops his voice to a whisper…
Sawyer: He won’t admit it, but those shells are full of rock salt. Stings like the devil, but won’t do you real harm. My old man just wants to seem tough.
Cliff: Eh? What was that? You talkin’ about me, boy?
Sawyer: No, sir!
Cliff heads inside, and you and Sawyer take a seat on the front steps of the porch.
Sawyer: Sorry, I should’ve warned you ‘bout my dad.
Mossy: Between shotguns and angry cows, this place is more dangerous than it looks!
Sawyer: Then we’d better make sure you get outta here in one piece. I’ll call up larry and see when he can get here with his tow truck.
Mossy: I’d better wait outside, give your dad some time to cool off.
Sawyer: Good thinkin’.
Ten minutes later… Sawyer comes back outside and offers you a glass of iced tea.
Sawyer: So, the good news is, Larry said he’ll come get your car and take a look at it.
Mossy: That’s great!
Sawyer: yeah… ‘cept it’ll be at least a couple hours before he can get out to the ranch. But you’re welcome to wait here as long as you need. In fact… I was planning to go to the orchard to do some apple pickin’ this afternoon. Seeing as you’ve gotta wait to hear about the car anyway, do you wanna come with?
Mossy: Apple-picking, huh? Is that what you do with all the girls who stop by your ranch?
Sawyer: Just the ones I like.
Mossy: I can’t so ‘no’ to some good old-fashioned apple pickin’! Let’s go.
Sawyer drives you out in a tractor to an orchard full of top-heavy apple trees.
Mossy: What happened to all the other apples?
Sawyer: We let some kids pick ‘em the other day, and they pretty much took everything below six feet.
Mossy: So how do we reach the top apples? Slingshots? Stilts? Magic?
Sawyer: If only. We can either climb the trees…
Mossy: Or…?
Sawyer: Or you can sit on my shoulders.
You eye his strong muscles flexing beneath his shirt… then look back at the tall apple trees.
Mossy: I’ll sit on your shoulders.
Sawyer: The hands-on approach. I like it.
He crouches next to a tree stump and holds a hand out to you.
Sawyer: Hop on up.
You take his hand and carefully climb onto his shoulders.
Sawyer: Hang on now!
Sawyer slowly stands up…
Mossy: Whoa! Why didn’t I notice how tall you are before?
Sawyer: Mmm, you must’ve been distracted by my handsome face.
Mossy: No, I don’t think that’s it…
Sawyer: Oh yeah? Bold words for someone whose life is in my hands.
Sawyer dips and sways precariously…
Mossy: Stop, stop, you’re going to drop me!
Sawyer steadies you with his strong hands.
Sawyer: I’d never drop such precious cargo. Now, let’s pick some apples.
He maneuvers you under a tree, but as you reach for the fruit, he steps back and you grab a handful of air!
Mossy: Hey!
Sawyer: Oh, sorry. Were you trying to get that?
You poke him, and he laughs.
Mossy: Ha ha. Now, be a good ladder and don’t move.
With Sawyer stable beneath you, you pick up all the apples from the tree before moving on to the next… Five trees and ten baskets later… you and Sawyer step back to admire your handiwork.
Mossy: Do you think we got enough?
Sawyer: Definitely. We’ll be able to make enough cider for the whole town with this haul.
You take a deep breath, reveling in the feeling of accomplishment.
Sawyer: What’s that look for?
Mossy: Nothing. It’s just… this is the most fun I’ve had in ages.
Sawyer: You’re welcome to pick our apples any time. We never turn down free labor.
Mossy: Ha ha.
Sawyer: I’m serious. It gets boring doing this all alone!
Mossy: Don’t you have someone special in your life?
Sawyer: Nope. I’m currently very single.
Mossy: Very?
Sawyer: Let’s just say the dating pool out here is pretty shallow.
You look around at the empty orchard.
Mossy: Yeah. I can see that.
Sawyer: I love the solitude and peace that comes with living out on the ranch… but I can’t deny that it’d be nice to share it with someone.
Mossy: Oh?
Sawyer: not that I have much time to date. With my dad getting older, I’ve pretty much taken over most of the duties around the property.
Mossy: So you’re all about the hashtag-ranch life?
Sawyer laughs.
Sawyer: Yeah, something like that. But I don’t mind. I love it here.
Mossy: Would you ever want to do anything else?
Sawyer: Naw. It’s all ranching and riding for me. Oh! And cooking.
Mossy: Cooking? Really?
Sawyer: Yeah. I’m all about those cooking shows.
Mossy: Do you just watch, or do you cook too?
Sawyer: Hell yeah, I cook! But I can’t get too fancy, or my dad gets cranky.
Mossy: I’ve only known him for a few minutes, but I can already tell that’s extremely on brand.
After a moment, Sawyer bends down to pick up a basket.
Sawyer: We’d better load up these apples and get back to the ranch. But first…
He plucks an apple out of the basket and holds it up to you.
Sawyer: Trust me. Everything tastes better in the country.
Grinning, you lean forward and take a bite. It’s juicy and sweet, the best damn apple you’ve ever had.
Mossy: Mmm. You’re not kidding.
Sawyer: And you’ve got some apple on your chin.
Sawyer leans forward, his hand gently grazing your chin. He smiles, his eyes crinkling ever so slightly in the corners… You feel yourself drawn to him… Sawyer leans in, until his lips are just a breath away from yours… And then you pull away, suddenly shy.
Mossy: We… should probably head back.
Sawyer: Yeah. Of course. Hang on now, and don’t let those apples spill!
Mossy: I won’t!
He revs the engine, and soon the two of you are flying over the grassy meadows and rolling hills toward the ranch. Back at the house, the two of you are unloading baskets… when your stomach rumbles loudly.
Sawyer: Hungry?
You blush slightly…
Mossy: Sorry. I guess picking apples worked up more of an appetite than I expected.
Sawyer: You know, you are welcome to stay for dinner. I’m making Hunter’s Stew and fresh apple cider. Maybe a pie too, if I have enough time.
Mossy: That sounds delicious, but I don’t want to impose…
Suddenly, a sleek blue Mustang comes roaring up the long driveway! The two of you spring apart as Cliff hurries out of the house.
Cliff: Hot damn! They’re here early!
Sawyer: Oh, you have got to be kidding me…
The car door swings open, and a husky man gets out, glowering.
Sawyer: Dammit.
Mossy: Sawyer? What’s going on? Who is that?
Sawyer: The one person guaranteed to ruin my day… My brother.
Thoughts on the episode:
So far I’m not that impressed. It’s the first episode, I know, so it’s more about setting the scene. But uh… nothing’s really happening and Sawyer is neither extraordinarily hot or extraordinarily interesting. I know it’s supposed to be a cheesy romance book, but it’s hard to pull me in with a book in this format without some sort of plot.
I was seriously hoping that Sawyer’s brother would be a love interest and that would be a part of the plot - pick between two brothers, ooooooh. But one look at the brother tells me that is definitely not the case. He did not win the genetic lottery, that one was purely for Sawyer.
Juliette is hot - I hope we get to see more of her very soon. Not that fussed about Dallas. I assume Pixelberry were going for the strong, brooding, mysterious type with him but he just came across like a dick. Maybe he’ll win me over in future chapters, but for now, not a winner.
Fave Character of the Chapter: Spike
Least Fave Character of the Chapter: Dallas
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candletrails · 3 years ago
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Trip summary:
Ok so, flying to Wales was fine. I love takeoff but hate the stomach drops when landing.
Almost all of the (admittedly few) French persons I interacted with on the plane to France and at the Paris airport had a bit of an attitude. Like an ‘I know I’m at work and supposed to be helping you, but I can’t be assed to put much effort into seeming like I’m ok with any of this’ sort of attitude.
I was detained at Cardiff airport. For idk how long (I wanna say at least an hour but it may have been two). They were iffy on whether or not they were going to let me in.
The issue, according to them, was that they were worried I didn’t have enough money and I would wind up spending it all and getting myself stranded here (no way of knowing if that was true or not or if they had some other concerns).
Had to convince them that not only did I have enough money, but I had family who could wire me more if need be.
In the end, not only did I have enough money but I didn’t even come close to needing to break into my “cushion” money. So what the hell.
The trip from the airport to Tenby was supposed to take about 4 hours. The border folks (while they were getting me sorted/inspected/interrogated(w/e is the right word for it), were actually really nice and called my hotel to let them know I might be a little late. The hotel said fine, the door would be unlocked until midnight and if I would be any later than that, to just call and let them know and something would be worked out. I thought that was great, but I should have been there by about 8 or 9, so it shouldn’t have been an issue.
I got there at 11pm.
Because the first train or two didn’t seem to show up and the others were late and then I couldn’t find my hotel and the first person I asked for directions sent me off the wrong way and I was literally so exhausted by the time I finally got there that I collapsed in my room and could not walk.
Tenby was lovely. You walk along and for the most part people sort of mind their own business but you’ll randomly get these strangers that will say ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’ or what have you, and everyone’s relaxed and easy-going and very kind and helpful.
Caldey island is beautiful and I would have liked to have stayed longer, but my legs were cramping up (I had some serious issues with my legs the whole time, but mostly the first 3-4 days. They consistently cramped to the point of barely being able to move, with sharp, shooting pains all through the muscles of my calves)
Got sunburned because the forecast claimed it would be overcast, but it was sunny.
Caught a cold.
Bath was lovely. Smart pedestrians and good drivers. Pretty friendly people. The main downside was that the shower in my hotel room did not get hot water. At all. (apparently this has been a common issue with that hotel, so I know it’s not just me or my room). Had to make do with the sink (a bit miserable). And super snooty and cold receptionist at check-in (another common issue I read in reviews after I was already there).
I have to take back something I said (again) a few days ago. About drivers and pedestrians. Apparently that was just in Bath, because in London everything was awful and I almost got run over a bunch of times (and I wasn’t the only one). I guess pedestrians don’t have right of way in London. And so many cars using their horns, good grief you guys just chill
Went to the Tower of London. A little crazy, but kind of to be expected. Did not see the current crown jewels because I would have been waiting in line for an hour or more and I just was not that invested in seeing them in-person. I got to see the previous crown jewels, and that was good enough for me.
Got to see the changing of the guard at the tower. Back at my room that night, looked up both “who are the tower guards” and “can I marry them”. Because that’s just how I am.
Good stompy boys.
St. Paul’s was probably my favorite part of the whole trip, both the building and the garden/park around it. Absolutely gorgeous. Went all the way to the top (at least, as far as visitors are allowed to go. There were more stairs to go higher, but they were blocked off). It’s a whole goddamned lot of steps, but the view is absolutely worth it (but then, I like heights).
Saw “As You Like It” at Shakespeare’s Globe, and it was WONDERFUL. So absolutely worth going to, even if I did have to walk back to my hotel for an hour in the dark afterwards. Had wine gummies there and absolutely fell in love.
Saw Buckingham Palace. The Mall is friggin impressive as hell, and an oddly relaxed walk all the way down. Didn’t take as much to go right up to the gates as I thought. I figured I’d have to fight through the crowds, but they mostly held back and there weren’t as many people right up on the gate. The queen’s guards were also not anywhere near the gate, and not on the visitor side of it, so I’m curious if that’s a recent change or what, cuz I could have sworn I’ve seen pictures of people right up next to them.
A little uncomfortable with the fact that all the windows are covered. I’d hate to live in a place like that. I want lots of windows and for them to all be uncovered and open.
Westminster Abbey was also beautiful, and not as creepy as I thought it might be, being surrounded by dead people. Saw the grave of one of my absolute favorite poets, Robert Browning. Spent so long staring at it that it took me awhile to realise I had my back to Chaucer. oops.
Lord Byron was also there, that tart.
Also took me awhile realise I was looking at Big Ben when I got over there, because they were doing some sort of work on it, so it was totally covered and all I saw at first was this big black tower. The next day I happened to be on the other side, noticed the clock face, and finally made the connection.
I saved my last day to go shopping. Wanted to go to Harrods and possibly Piccadilly Circus. Could not for the life of me find Harrods. The maps that are up every other block or so were, for once, absolutely no help. Kept going in circles. In the middle of a thunder storm. In the pouring rain. Got so soaked that my jeans were a lot heavier and kept trying to slip down and I felt water squelching up between my toes with every step. My rain coat was apparently not as waterproof as advertised, and had no real insulation so I was soaked and cold.
On my way back to my hotel to get dry, accidentally wandered into Piccadilly Circus, which was actually a bit of circus, so colorful and with so many people. I’m more than a little upset that at that point I was too tired, wet, and miserably to appreciate it properly and to shop a little. All I managed was to stop at an Itsu for noodles (pretty good, but a little different flavor than I was expecting. Something really sour and sorta mustardy in there), and a Tesco for my wine gummies (which turned out to not be nearly as good as the ones I got at the Globe, and they have a funny sort of taste to them, but I could never seem to get my hands on better after that. Searched high and low at the Heathrow airport, but all they had was perfume, purses, and chocolate).
on the subject of chains that exist over There but not Here: Caffe Nero was really good and I regret not stopping there more than once. Pret A Manger always smelled good and I’d love to try it whenever I may be on that side of the pond again. There are so many Itsu joints. They’re everywhere.
Old Faithful (Starbucks) was also pretty common. Spotted one McDonald’s and a KFC that was hidden away with a very faded sign. Guessing ya’ll don’t care much for our good ol’ Kentucky Fried.
I really hope you guys appreciate your public transportation, because it’s a thing of beauty and I want one just like it over here.
I’m so used to not having to use coins too much that I kept ignoring my 1pound coins and they built up in my pockets. Woops.
There’s some sort of yogurt you guys have over there that I fell in love with because my hotel offered it every morning and now I’m going to be on a hunt for it over here and I’m not even sure what to look for (it’s like twice as thick as Greek yogurt, with a very light flavor).
Kept feeling oddly tickled by the subtle differences in fashion between the British and the Americans. Like, guys over there were generally much more fashionable than over here, and everyone wore skinny jeans. Lots of black and white shirts on everyone, regardless of gender. Lots of patterns. Lot more baring of the tummy.
Also, your sugar isn’t as sugary, and this still confuses the hell out of me. For an average-sized cup of tea, I’ll usually put in 3-4 packets of sugar (about equal to three teaspoons, maybe a little more). I had to put in seven, instead, and it still didn’t always taste right.
As I said a few days ago, I still find the addition of milk or cream to tea really odd. It just covers up the taste of the tea. Not my kind of thing.
Found that, especially in Wales and Bath, people didn’t engage as much with their conversations as people in California. A good example is one morning when I overheard two women talking near me, and one asked the other where she was going on vacation. The other woman answered something to the effect of “oh, around”. I kept thinking about the fact that a Californian will talk your ear off about anything and everything. That conversation between two Californian’s would have gone very differently. The woman who replied would have gone into great detail about where she’s going, when, why, and what she’s going to do while she’s there, and the woman who had asked would have asked more questions about everything, given her two cents about different things, tips, comments, things she had heard about those things/places... For any conversation I heard around me that lasted a couple of minutes, you can expect the Californian equivalent to have taken more like a half to full hour.
I’d venture to say it’s not just Californian’s either. I landed in Minneapolis before flying to Sac and the fellow that checked through my passport talked with me more than any person I’d met on my trip (”How are you?” “I’m alright, how bout you?” “[proceeds to comment on how horribly warm it’s been lately]” “That sounds awful.” “Yeah. How does Sacramento sound to you?” “Sounds wonderful.” “Have a good day, Kaitlyn.” -sends me on my way-)
I got really used to all the green and the fogginess. Landed in California and as my dad’s driving us back home, I was startled by just how dry everything was. I had gone from Totally Green to Yellow With Some Bits of Green in There. But that’s the Sacramento Valley at this time of year for you.
A lot went wrong (border patrol, late trains, getting lost, leg cramps, sunburn, illness, storm), but overall I really enjoyed being over there a lot. It was a really good experience, even with all of the bad, and all things considered, for my first trip outside the country, it could have gone a lot worse.
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