Bite off more than you can chew and you’ll choke.
Summary - "But Lila cared more about the middle finger that Adrien shot at her when no one else was looking." To summarise, if you hurt the Ladybug, you can count on the Black Cat to absolutely annihilate you without mercy. A.K.A. A wonderful crackfic where Lila gets karma shoved up her ass by Adrien every time she tries to hurt Marinette.
A/N: I'm having an affair with dumb bitch juice.
Don't tell angst.
"Heh, looking good~"
The Italian teen winked to herself one last time at the mirror and then striked a pose that radiated pure confidence and clearly, a drop dead gorgeous Goddess that has ever descended this miserable planet. Luck was on her side today, lil ol' Rossi could feel it in her bones.
'Today is a wonderful day to knock down Dupain-Cheng a peg or two...' Lila hummed perversely, olive irises twinkling with mischief and sadism. She applied another coating of her favourite orange lip gloss and spritzed her body with some more pumpkin spice flavoured perfume (that was apparently a one of a kind DKNY product that the company themselves have gifted her, that's right Juleka).
Digging out one of the hundreds of pictures she has of Adrien Agreste in her drawer, she planted a sloppy kiss on the face (lil hoe thinks she's being seductive smh smh), whispered something absolutely filthy and then made her way out of the house with a green apple in hand.
As she walked, numerous plans and ideas were concocted up in her head whilst she happily chewed through the sour, bitter fruit that could compete with her own acidic heart. Certainly, her plans weren't going as smoothly as she'd like, given that not only has Marinette stood strong, Alya and Nino still stuck to the raven haired girl like glue and the model boy actually dared to threaten her to withdraw Mari's expulsion.
Of all people, he threatened her!
Who the hell did he think he is?
He should be nothing but a spineless pretty face, a decoration to her growing fame.
Shaking her head and refocusing her thoughts, Lila took one last, harsh bite from the fruit and then tossed it away without a second glance, hitting an unsuspecting rat with wings- pigeon, an unsuspecting poor pigeon.
Looks like M. Ramier will be akumatised later on if he ever sees the splat of feathers on the pavement.
She didn't give a damn.
Instead, a sinister, almost feral like smile stretched on the brunette's lips as she spotted her prey up ahead, sitting on the front steps that led to the collège. Quite a few passerbyers and students gave Marinette either a disappointed look or a disgusted grimace. Most pretty much ignored her, leaving the Asian bowing her head down in embarrassment, making herself look as small as possible.
'Like the useless mouse she is.' Lila barely held off the urge to giggle. After making Cheng look like such an evil cretin and even managing to get her expelled, her reputation has almost been tarnished! Marinette went from one of the most popular, prettiest, kindest girl in school to the most conniving, horrible, wench in a matter of a day. She would have been gone forever had it not been for Adrien's stupid-
No. Fucking. Way.
Lila gaped like a dead fish, unable to comprehend what had just happened as her once dry, stylish clothes dripped with dirty puddle water and the stench of dirt clung to her hair and skin. The now filthy looking teen snapped out of her stupor and glowered at the offending car that DARED to zoom through the ginormous puddle only to gawk again when she registered the vehicle's familiarity.
Lila wasn't able to do more than budge an inch as a certain model stepped out of the car in front of the collège and lifted Marinette to her feet with his hand. He gave the petite girl a warm smile that only sickened the Italian girl to the core even further and when he interlaced his hand with Marinette's, leading her inside the building, Lila couldn't stop the ferocious growl from escaping her throat.
This was meant to be HER day today.
A fresh splatter on her head from up above proved otherwise.
Her hand shot to her head, face twisted in a witch like grimace as slick, gooey slime coated her fingers and hair. Lila mustered up as much venom as she possibly could in her eyes, tilting her head up, only to see the very same pigeon that got hit by the apple, glare back.
Neither of the two noticed the wry smile that Adrien let out as he shielded a flustered Marinette inside the building...
Mme. Bustier temporarily out of the room?
Dupain-Cheng opening her backpack whilst oblivious?
Lila wiggled in her seat like a cat waiting to pounce on the mouse (not like those in cute youtube videos), eyes narrowing at the back of Marinette's head, awaiting for the right moment to act.
You see, earlier on, Lila planted one of Chloe's prized earrings (dumb barbie never learnt her lesson when it came to bringing family heirlooms to school) in Marinette's bag, planning on calling her out of stealing it to further crush her reputation into smithereens. Knowing Chloe and her illogical grudge against the girl, the consequences would be so much more worse for Marinette considering she's the mayor's daughter and all-
Lila blinked twice, thrice, then rubbed her eyes and blinked again.
'What in the world???'
"O-ooooh! Who put this pretty flower in my bag?" Marinette twirled the lavender rose between her fingers in awe, admiring the beautiful plant with a cute blush on her cheeks. She gave the rose a sniff, cheeks glowing further as she hummed pleasantly. "It smells so nice!" Her smile was so disgustingly sweet, Lila could have sworn that the girl was radiating diabetes.
Maybe she should pretend to faint and blame it on Marinette somehow?
"Looks like you have a secret admirer, girl~ Did you know that lavender roses mean love at first sight?" Alya playfully poked Marinette's cheek, waggling her eyebrows whilst the rest of the girls in the class- sans Chloe, Sabrina and of course Lila herself, gathered around their class president's table. Their coos and questions were deaf on the seething Italian's ears as she was hyper focused on Adrien's face.
The way his eyes lowered knowingly and his lips upturned into a secret but smug smile. The way his head tilted towards the side ever so slightly as he watched the French-Asian with so much...love.
Lila was close to throwing up in her mouth.
'So that little Prince was the one who replaced Chloe's earrings with that stupid flower...huh...has he caught on...?' Just as that thought passed through Lila's head, the sound of Chloe bragging about her new earrings filled up the room with the addition of Sabrina's praises. The brunette cocked an eyebrow, dissatisfied of her plan failing in ruining Marinette's life further and getting Adrien wrapped around her pinky, where he belongs. With a string of Italian curses muttered, Lila opened her bag and-
"CHE CAZZO È!?"
Lila launched the provocative bag away with another scream and when it landed on Kim's desk, dozens of spiders pooled out like a tidal wave, causing the athletic Vietnamese to jump up ten feet in the air with a high pitched yowl and that in turn created a mass panic in the classroom.
"Ah- đéođéođéo- KEEP THEM AWAY FROM ME!" Kim let out another screech, forcing himself into a baffled Alix's arms as the spiders scattered whilst everyone else stood on their desks to avoid the wonderfully adorable critters. "LILA! WHY THE FUCK DO YOU HAVE THOSE MONSTERS IN YOUR BAG!?" Kim cried out as soon as a shocked Mme. Bustier returned to the classroom.
The red headed woman gawked at the floor and then grimaced before sending a stern look towards Lila, hands on her hips. Everyone in the class froze at her stance.
"Lila, we know that you've just returned from a campaign to save a species of highly venomous spiders from going extinct but that does not permit you in bringing them to school. You'll be on rubbish duty for the rest of this week and M. Damocles shall discuss with you later on for a more suitable punishment after that. Everyone else, please remain calm and carefully step out of the room."
The olive eyed brunette didn't get a chance to defend herself as everyone comically sped outside at a speed that would make even Sonic The Hedgehog jealous. Nino and Ivan were held piggy back style by their respective girlfriends whilst it took Alix, Max, Nathanael and Juleka to tear a petrified Kim off the wall (In turn, Rose held him bridal style as if he didn't weigh more than a feather). When she saw Marinette shyly grasp Adrien's hand to lead him out, Lila saw red and looked away before she did something she would regret.
In amidst her internal monologue, she missed Adrien's dangerous smirk as his eyes glinted devilishly. The boy tightened his grip on Marinette's hand, much to the girl's surprise and delight whilst his kwami snickered in his blazer's inner pocket.
"Whoa!" Marinette let out a yelp, numerous files slipping out of her hands as she flailed her arms to regain balance. Unfortunately, she ended up tipping backwards towards the edge of the stairs much to Lila's entertainment. If she couldn't break Marinette's godforsaken will and reputation completely, a few bones or so should satisfy her ruthless heart-
"Marinette! Be careful!" With amazing speed, Adrien caught the girl from behind, interlocking his arms around her body in an iron grip without even wincing at the weight of her mass colliding with his chest. A few passerbyers, including Rossi herself observed the scene with incredulous expressions.
The latter pissed at the stupid prince charming's bloody timing!
She didn't know what annoyed her more. The fact that her plan failed for the umpteenth time or the useless anime like tropes that seemed to play when it came to blonde boy and noir girl.
"Ack! Thanks Adrien..." Marinette expected a simple 'No problem Mari,' from the boy but was taken aback by his malicious glare that was directed at the tanned girl before them. She couldn't help the squeak that escaped her when his grip tightened as he lead them up the stairs, standing a mere feet away from Lila.
His hold on Cheng wavered between protective and possessive.
Marinette found it kinda hot.
"You know, we have bins for a reason Rossi. Be sure to chuck your litter away or else someone could get hurt." His voice was gravelly and alarmingly low, indicating who would really get harmed in the situation.
Lila hated the way her blood chilled to ice and the unpleasant shivers that shook her spine before mustering the energy to plaster an innocent smile instead of running away.
"Oops. Silly me," She bent down to pick up the can she conveniently dropped earlier on, causing Marinette to trip in the first place. "My arthritis has been acting up all day-"
"And I painted the Mona Lisa, yeah, whatever." Marinette and Lila, both only close enough to hear, widened their eyes at Adrien's passive aggressive tone. Without wasting another second, the boy tugged Marinette along, heading away from the scowling Italian. The sickening duo seemed to get closer and closer every second, causing Lila's blood to burn with rage.
"He's definitely caught on...that boy is more slippery and sneaky than I thought...as expected of the son of Gabriel Agreste." Lila growled severely, crushing the can in her grip-
The can was never empty from the start.
Steam figuratively shot out of her ears as the fizzy drink dripped down her hair, face and clothes, smearing her layers upon layers of caked makeup that took her hours to do this morning- after she went back home to shower and changed into fresh clothes when she was soaked by that dirty puddle, courtesy of Adrien's fucking car!
'GAME ON AGRESTE.'
Lila planted that wretched goose- pigeon, that wretched pigeon in Marinette's locker, anticipating a commotion or SOMETHING. However, when the unsuspecting girl, accompanied by her trio of friends, opened said locker, there was no pigeon.
Instead, out popped out a ridiculously cute, handmade Chat Noir doll. According to Marinette's and Alya's babbles, it's a doll that the former has made ever since the pathetic heroes of Paris made their debut.
"But how did it get here? I don't recall bringing it in with me today," Yes, Lila also wanted to know how the FUCK that cursed plush appeared out of thin air. It certainly wasn't there when she shoved the feathered pterodactyl in.
"Maybe you brought it with you by accident?" Nino quipped. "Didn't you have that phase back in école where you'd always bring a teddy that you slept with for company?"
"WEDONOTTALKABOUTTHAT." Marinette retorted back with gritted teeth, slamming her locker door for emphasis but the way she hugged the Chat Noir doll protectively afterwards did little to intimidate the bespeckled boy. In fact, much to Lila's disgust, the trio melted at Marinette's obviously fake cuteness.
Where did that pigeon go anyways!?
Never peeling her eyes away from the nauseating quad, Lila snatched the door of her locker open, grinding her teeth-
...only to be attacked by a flurry of feathers and a sharp beak.
This time, whilst she, along with a 'helpful' Alya and Nino managed to rip the bedeviled thing off her face, Lila caught a shit-eating grin on Adrien's lips as he watched her suffer without a word.
'That little BASTARD! He did this to me!'
Rolling his eyes as if Lila was nothing but a three year old throwing a tantrum, he threw an arm around Marinette's shoulder who looked more confused than anything.
"What is Jacques doing here?" Lila almost scoffed at the Asian's question. That failure of a bird has a name? And familiarised with Marinette no less? No wonder he was currently a bitch and half in her ass! No one answered Mari's question regardless. Though surely, that sinister cat of a model held the answer.
"I'm more curious of whether you sleep with that little Chat doll or not, Marinette~" He teased, much to Lila's dismay and Marinette's embarrassment. Alya and Nino momentarily forgot about the clearly traumatised Lila, simply to join in with the jesting.
"N-N-NO! HAHA- what a silly question Adrien!" Marinette slapped the teen's shoulder with a bit more oomph than the usual friendly slaps, cheeks reddening and eyes flickering to the side.
"She can't go to sleep without it~" Alya confessed on her best friend's behalf, glasses twinkling impishly at Mari's cry of "Traitor!". "One time when she was at mine for a sleepover, she forgot to bring Petit Noir along and stayed awake all night without his presence. She's so pure, isn't she?" Marinette was left as a blushy, squealing mess as the rest of her friends chuckled fondly.
If it wasn't frowned upon in this country, Rossi would have gladly kicked them all out the window one by one till their sorry necks snapped but even she had some sort of control.
"Adorable, absolutely adorable." This time, Lila did throw up in her mouth as Adrien swept Marinette up into a bone crushing hug with the most disgusting look of 'love' tattooed on his face. The hazel eyed brunette stormed out of the locker room with a growl, deaf to Alya's questioning shouts of her name.
She was going to TEAR that boy apart from limb to limb!
Adrien's grin only grew at her departure, daring the idiotic girl to try and pull another stunt again.
During a photoshoot that Lila was assigned to model at, every time she attempted to inappropriately run her hands down Adrien's torso or shoulders, she ended up getting bitten by god knows what.
The more she tried, the harder the bites were and towards the end, the shoot was cancelled as her skin was covered in tiny little bite marks that resembled wasp stings or even a terrible allergic reaction.
The horrid girl never noticed the tiny God of Destruction that lingered nearby his chosen who in turn delivered a little fistbump to his precious friend with a smile far too saccharine to be innocent.
Just before their French lesson began, Lila staged a scene by crying out in pain when shoving her hand in her bag and 'finding' multitudes of sewing needles in them. Surely the class would turn their heads towards Dupain-Cheng with animosity as she claimed that Marinette must have sabotaged her bag that day.
Instead, much to her surprise, the majority of the class defended her with an alibi.
"But M. Dupain and Mme. Cheng hid away all her sewing stuff for the rest of the month so that Marinette could concentrate for the upcoming exams!" Gee thanks Rose.
"Marinette was at mine's yesterday night to study and sleepover so there's no way that she did that," Godammit Alya.
"I'm pretty sure 'Nette's needles are silver in colour, not bronze." Shut up Lahiffe.
"She would panic if she steps on an ant, how could she hurt a person?" Really Alix? Really?
"Marinette and I were stuck in the closet all break so there's no way she's managed to sabotage your bag, Lila." Agreste- do you even know what you're implying here?
To summarise, the case was neutralised with a theory that one of the textile upperclassmen students must have accidently put a container of needles in her bag, thinking it belonged to the department.
But Lila cared more about the middle finger that Adrien shot at her when no one else was looking.
Lila tried tripping Marinette again but this time, she was caught by the Japanese fencer girl who 'politely' thwacked Lila's knees with her foil and told her to get out of her class.
That ice queen never left Marinette's side for the rest of the day.
When Marinette arrived to the morning classes with a disturbingly gorgeous, sheer white sundress in hand, babbling about how she was going to alter it after the exams to her friends, of course Lila gave into temptation by altering it herself. By altering, she meant smothering the skirt of the dress with non washable red paint.
Marinette returned to the afternoon classes wearing the dress but with the red stains magically transformed into a flawless gradient and decorated with faux red rose petals on the edge of the skirt and the tip of the bust. The poor Italian was rewarded with the grand scene of Adrien claiming out loud how 'beautiful' his 'Princess' looked without shame and twirling her around in the air.
Next, Lila somehow snuck a snake out from the zoo (getting bitten a million times and even throttled at one point by said creature) and secretly let it loose at the Dupain-Cheng bakery when she was only 'looking around'. The snake ended up getting its own tank and promoted the bakery, increasing the numbers of customers because surprise surprise, it's the year of the snake according to the Lunar calendar and everyone saw that slimy creature as a symbol of good luck! M. Césaire let the family keep the snake.
Marinette named him Aspik much to Adrien's ambiguous delight but then changed it to Viperion when the boy accidentally tore apart her favourite ball of yarn. ("Little bug how could you do this to me!?")
Lila even tried to start a rumour going where she apparently witnessed Marinette kissing a strange, delinquent after hours in creepy alleyways and got a little frisky with him.
Adrien turned that around on her by asking why she was spying on him and Marinette, both wearing scarves that poorly concealed their ravaged necks. The rest of the day was spent with students gossiping about the new developments of 'Project Adrienette' and suddenly the despicable duo were dating. The rest of the students and teachers decided to switch to Lila as a target to send their scrutinising eyes at.
It took Lila twenty-four hours of staring at a blank wall to digest the fact that she unintentionally nudged those two together in her pursuit of destroying them both. Twenty four hours of gaping with dead eyes and not moving a muscle whilst her phone buzzed with the latest gossip on Adrien and Marinette.
An immediate news report on Ladybug grabbing Chat Noir into a heated kiss after an akuma battle that almost sent them running for their money, confirming their relationship broke Lila out of her daze and left her screaming inside her house.
The classroom door slammed open, revealing a dishevelled, crude looking Lila Rossi, heaving for air like she's just ran around the world in twelve days. Her hair was dirty, greasy and stuck in ways that defied physics. Her clothes were torn, stained and slick with unnamed substances. Her face was covered in stings, scratches and red marks that ruined her usually flawless make up.
Clearly, a drop dead gorgeous Goddess that has ever descended this miserable planet.
The students paused whatever they were doing, curious and slightly concerned at the state of the Italian's exterior. Lila let out an animalistic growl, pointing a finger at Adrien Agreste who paid no mind to her and carried on reading his book whilst Marinette Dupain-Cheng slumbered away peacefully in his lap.
"I don't know how you did it or what dark magic you played on me or what voodoo dolls you have been using, but you'll never get away with humiliating me! Both of you!" Everyone's eyes widened at Lila's desperate and frustrated tone, now facing the boy bearing the brunt of her bite.
Much to Rossi's screaming irritation, Adrien only flipped a page of his book with a hum like someone has just asked him whether he'd like some sugar with his tea.
"STOP ACTING DUMB AGRESTE! I KNOW IT'S YOU WHO TRIED TO RUIN MY LIFE!" This time, she received eye contact from the boy. Instead of retaliating back, he put a finger on his lips and-
She was going to fucking KILL HIM.
"My Marinette has pulled two all nighters in a row for the exam we just had this morning- which you missed by the way. So, she's sleeping right now. If you have some respect, keep it down." His tone was polite, sophisticated and angelic and his face was softened into the most sweetest smile.
A front for the devilish cackle and demonic smirk that was threatening to burst out the seams of his fake exterior and Lila was able to sense it with ease. She didn't get a chance to yell back as Chloe suddenly interrupted.
"And what has my Adrikins done to you? Other than get brainwashed by that ridiculous rat and start dating her of course," The blonde pursed her pastel lips, ignoring Adrien's comments on 'I'm not your Adrikins,' and 'Stop being mean to my sweet girlfriend,' and whatever nonsense he was spouting.
"Oh wow...hahah...where do I start?" The hysteric girl began, blind to everyone else's distressed gaze at her behaviour. "The spiders? The pins? The ghost bites? That damn ugly bird that can't seem to find another place other than my head to SHIT ON!?" The object of her hate only raised a brow in confusion. "YOU'RE BEHIND IT ALL! I KNOW IT'S YOU!"
"...Lila, were you bitten by those spiders that you were protecting during your campaign like a week ago? I think you need to see a doctor." Was the reply she got from Adrien before he went back to his book. "Also, this book mentions that being pooped on by a bird is a sign of good luck! Maybe you'll have a good fortune coming your way after you get better, Lila~"
The baffled girl stared back grotesquely, jaw dropped and eye twitching, unable to comprehend the Adrien Agreste before her right now.
She didn't even protest as Rose and Juleka hauled her flat ass out of the class, to the nurse's room, debating whether or not to call the ambulance for the mad girl.
After the classroom door was closed, leaving behind a questioning class, a cat hero fighting the urge to burst out laughing and a bug heroine stirring awake.
"Hmm...what happened Chaton?" Marinette hummed out, still half asleep and she nuzzled against the hand that cupped her cheek. Adrien replied with a genuine, soft smile full of love and a bit of his feline mischievousness.
"I'll tell you later, Bug. Get some sleep, okay?" He pressed a chaste kiss on her lips, gaining a brilliant smile in return as Marinette settled back to sleep, relishing the way his fingers combed through her bobbleless hair.
'Mission accomplished, Plagg,' Adrien mused to himself, winking at his kwami who peered out of his bag whilst Tikki shook her head at her counterpart; albeit with more love than anger.
The boy dived back into his book, tuning out the discussions that the rest of his friends were sharing regarding the impertinent wench that was just gotten rid of. Hopefully, they won't be seeing her for a very long time. Jacques the pigeon would be delighted in making sure of that. After all:
If you hurt the Ladybug, you can count on the Black Cat to absolutely annihilate you without mercy...
'đéo' - Vietnamese for 'fuck no!'
'che cazzo è' - Italian for 'What the fuck is this?'
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Dean doesn’t have to drive far before he finds Cas. He’d had a hunch Cas might be waiting for him no matter the direction he went, but still he can’t help the sigh of relief he lets out when he sees the slump of Cas’ shoulders among the trees.
He doesn’t have to walk far, either, once he’s pulled the Impala into the grass beside the road and let the metal door shut behind him with a creak. He’s in the forest after a few paces—it’s a pretty forest, all green and overgrown, the tan of Cas’ coat standing out purely for its dullness. Cas’ back is to him and he’s looking down at something, hands in his pockets, but the rigidity with which he holds himself gives away his awareness of Dean’s presence. Cas won’t turn toward him but will angle his head so Dean can see the sharp line of his cheekbone, like he’s any sort of thing that would need ears to gauge how close Dean is.
Dean has half a mind to hesitate, to stop and take a deep breath and collect his thoughts or something, but he’s so fucking tired of not being near Cas and of schooling how much he gives away to Cas in every conversation that he walks up so their shoulders are inches apart and he doesn’t think twice about it. He looks down to take in what Cas is looking at and finds a small pond with a few muddy-gray fish scooting their bellies across the silt. Dean thinks Cas might be gearing up for a speech about the fish and creation and humanity, something nice and cinematic to bookend their journey, but instead Cas says, “Hello, Dean.”
That works, too. At least Dean knows how to respond to that one. “Heya, Cas.”
They’re silent for a second.
“Sam?” says Cas.
“Went off to the Roadhouse. Wanted to see Bobby and Ellen and Jo,” says Dean. “But you knew that already.”
“Mm. I did.”
They both watch the fish drift. One comes close enough to the surface to form gentle ripples in the water.
Then Dean is smiling, because he can see Cas out of the corner of his eye, see the way he shifts and fidgets and is so clearly also looking at Dean out of the corner of his own eye. It occurs to Dean that Cas is nervous—that after everything they’ve been through, after the end of the world, after Cas’ big sacrifice, this angel of the Lord is nervous to speak to his best friend of twelve years. Dean can’t help but take the opportunity to tease him.
“What, did you think we’d never talk about it?”
A pause. Cas half-grumbles, “I thought I’d have a few decades to prepare something to say.”
And then Dean is laughing and laughing and bent over double with it because this whole thing is so fucking absurd and he’s so happy to be standing here next to Cas, weird and awkward Cas who pulled him out of Hell and told Dean he was in love with him just months ago. Cas who he thought he had lost forever. Dean laughs so hard he cries and then he—he cries, and cries, and he’s not laughing anymore. It happens fast and hard. Cas finally turns to him, eyes wide and hands suspended in front of him like he’s not sure if he’s allowed to touch. Dean’s sniveling and holding his jacket sleeve under his nose so his face doesn’t get all snotty but he probably looks fucking gross anyway, the way the tears won’t stop coming. Cas says, “Dean?” all worried and concerned. Dean practically falls forward into him, wraps his arms around Cas’ waist to clutch at the back of his coat and shakes when Cas immediately holds him in return.
“I missed you so bad,” Dean sobs into Cas’ shoulder. “I missed you so bad. I thought I would never see you again. I missed you so bad.”
“Oh,” Cas breathes. “I’m here. It’s okay. I’m right here.” Cas hugs him tighter, leaving no spaces between their bodies. His voice breaks a little when he says, “I missed you, too.”
They stand like that for a moment. The forest buzzes around them, twiddling with birds and squirrels and insects. Dean breathes Cas in, feels him warm and safe and real in his arms. It’s a small piece of Earth here in Heaven. Unlike any other time before, Dean lets himself lean into it, touch Cas without Death looming over their shoulders. It feels good.
Dean does calm down after a few minutes, and as much as he would love to freeze time and stay suspended in that moment, he knows he can have even more if he gives it one last push. He pulls away, Cas’ hands sliding off his coat, lingering. “Sorry,” he says, a little embarrassed despite himself.
“Don’t be,” says Cas, in a way a that shows he really means it. Dean clears his throat and looks at him. Cas looks back. The whole thing is so achingly familiar, so akin to how they were when they first met. Even when Cas was alien and unknowable and potentially a threat, Dean always had to stifle the breathless thrill of having Cas’ attention. He doesn’t stifle it now.
He hasn’t quite internalized all the things Cas said to him, but he can see Cas was telling the truth about one thing—he is clearly so happy to be standing at the edge of this pond with Dean. Nothing in his gaze is asking for something more.
And as much as Cas would argue differently, Dean isn’t as good as him. He was never content just wanting. He had long ago accepted that he could never have Cas, sure, had recognized that he would spend the rest of his life with a horrible ache in his chest, that he would white-knuckle the wheel of the Impala to keep himself from touching. But he couldn’t find peace with it. Love rotted in him like a body at the bottom of a well. He spent a long time thinking it would kill him and kill Cas too, that it was a weapon to be used against them both, that the heat of his gaze would actually burn Cas if he looked long enough. He still has to choke down those half-formed thoughts when he looks at Cas now and can see in his eyes that he loves Dean without reservation, that despite everything he doesn’t think of Dean’s love as a death sentence. That he wants him.
Dean’s mind was made up the second Bobby had mentioned Cas’ name on the porch. It took him too long to untangle that part of himself that couldn’t separate loving men from danger, but he did untangle it, in the end.
“I know I can do it,” Dean says, both to Cas and to himself, “but I think it might be hard.”
Cas’ brow flickers in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“This,” he answers, gesturing lamely at the two of them, at the space between them. He swallows, steels himself, thinks of all the words he spent the nights since Cas died murmuring into his pillow, deliriously drunk. “I don’t know— I don’t know how to be this to someone— to you. I’ve never— and you’re—”
He’s getting frustrated, is upset that after thinking so long and hard about this moment for so many years he somehow still doesn’t know how to explain to Cas how much he means to him, how much he wants him, how hard it is to beat down his self-hatred and accept that he might just deserve Cas, too. But Christ, he wants to try.
“Dean?” Cas says. Dean can see in his expression the flowering bud of hope. He is so beautiful.
“I love you too,” Dean says, because it’s the best explanation he can give. His heart is beating so hard he can feel it in his throat. Cas blinks; his mouth drops open. “God, Cas, you have to know that. Of course I love you too.”
“You mean...?” Cas can’t finish the question. He’s looking at Dean like a man finding faith, finding Heaven. Dean feels so overwhelmed and so happy for the two of them and surely he’s still red from crying before, but again he feels himself burning.
“I’ve been yours,” he chokes out. “You can have me. Please.”
Cas kisses Dean. It happens so fast that Dean feels it coming rather than sees it, feels Cas’ hands on his face, feels himself be tugged forward. Cas’ hands are shaking and Dean’s are too when he grips the front of Cas’ shirt and the back of his neck, eyes closed tight, learning the shape of his mouth. It’s hard and a little desperate and not at all artful, and Dean’s whole self feels a bit like an open wound but Cas is healing him, like he always has, like he has since the beginning.
Dean pulls away for air but doesn’t pull far, keeping his forehead pressed to Cas’ and his eyes shut. Cas’ thumb strokes his cheekbone. “Dean,” Cas says, and Dean takes a deep, shuddering breath. The way Cas says his name doesn’t scare him anymore.
Dean opens his eyes. He smiles. “Hi,” he says.
Cas smiles back.
They’re sitting in the Impala, Dean’s hand on Cas’ thigh, when Cas asks, “What do you want to do now?”
Dean pauses, thinks. The answer to what do you want has been Cas for so long, but he never let himself think far enough to decide what he would do if he ever got him. He’s safe, Cas is safe, Sam is safe. Realistically, he shouldn’t want for anything.
He looks out the Impala’s windshield, smooths the hand not holding Cas over the steering wheel. He knows that he loves this car with everything he is—that for a long time it was the only home he had. He also knows that he’s tired of the road. Desire has always come too easily to Dean.
“I think I’ll build us a house,” he answers, and immediately he knows it’s the right thing to do. They can pick a spot wherever Cas wants—Dean’s not picky. It’ll be something solid, something with walls that he built with trees he cut himself. Something that reflects the home he already built for Cas, the one that lives between his ribs.
Cas’ eyes light up. “I like that plan,” he says. “I want that, too.”
Years ago, Cas had sat in Dean’s passenger seat and asked him if he would rather have peace or freedom. Dean never got the chance to answer him.
Dean leans across the seat and kisses Cas again, open-mouthed, slow. He does it for him now and for the version of himself who mourned the distance between them. It’s answer enough.
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Me, replacing Micah with Shepard in all my WIPs:
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Dick’d just gotten back from a rather exhausting patrol and was looking forward to sleeping for the rest of his life. Flopping down onto the bed with a long sigh, he shifted a little to get comfortable, and promptly started dozing, not even bothering to peel the Nightwing uniform off.
He groaned when his phone buzzed traitorously, rolling over onto his other side to try and ignore the sound. And, for a second, it worked. The silence returned and Dick was on the cusp of sleep when it buzzed again. And again. And again. And again.
With a drawn-out whine that was almost as pitiful as a kicked puppy’s, Dick lifted his hundred-pound head and reached for the phone on his nightstand, missing once or twice before actually grabbing it.
The brightness was mercifully low when he turned it on and Dick squinted at the screen to read the messages he’d gotten.
All eight messages--Lord God--were from Tim.
Frowning, Dick unlocked his phone and opened the thread.
Timmy: d i need to ask you somthing
Timmy: dick pleeease
Timmy: i’d text Jason but he blocked meee
Timmy: wait reading these out of context would be a bad thing
Amused, Dick snorted, typing out his reply.
Dick: What’d you need, Tim?
He’d just put his head back on the pillow when the phone buzzed again and Dick had to suppress the sigh that was his knee-jerk response as he turned his phone back on.
Timmy: it’s important i swear
Raising a brow and straightening, Dick frowned a little. If it were capes related, Tim would have called. If it had to do with WE, Tim would have capitalized the first letters of his sentences.
Dick: What’s up little bro?
Timmy: why when people ask what three things you would bring on a desert island nobody says a boat and a map?
Dick blinked in surprise, a little confused now.
Maybe it was his sleep-slow brain, but that... Didn’t seem all that important.
Timmy: what shape is the sky?!
Dick: w h a t
Timmy: dO PENGUINS HAVE KNEES?
He’d woken up. For this.
Expression void of emotion and probably resembling an exhausted zombie’s, Dick typed another message.
Dick: tim go to sleep what the fuck
Timmy: IS A HOTDOG A SANDWICH????
Timmy: DOES A STRAW HAVE TWO HOLES OR ONE????
Timmy: IS CEREAL CONSIDERED SOUP
Timmy: IS WATER WET
Dick: tim i swear to god
The shit Dick had to put up with.
He was completely void of emotion when he turned his phone off, placed it on the nightstand again, and flopped back down onto the bed to sleep.
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She has been awake for:
She, along with the ever so loyal Chat Noir have taken down sixteen akumas in a span of three days. Just after battling the first five, the duo were knackered beyond words, grumpier than edgy brutes in Hollywood films and definitely stuck with panda eyes, covered by their masks. Chat Noir dropped the puns in exchange for a more...colourful set of vocabulary, which Ladybug would have scolded him for on a normal day; they're meant to be role models for children after all.
Moreover, her infamous clumsiness from her civilian side has gradually seeped into her vigilant half, making the fights harder to battle and probably causing her partner more distress than help. Scratch that- she definitely caused him a lot of distress. She collapsed from a roof into La Seine from exhaustion after releasing her cleansing light. The dirty, freezing water and the sound of Chat's desperate screams gained her another twelve hours of consciousness. (The ten minute lecture and yelling from him afterwards may have helped too but no way in hell was she going to admit that).
"I can't go to sleep just like that Chat...I have school in a few hours..."
"Then skip it! Tell your parents that you're sick or something- just PLEASE get some sleep, Bug."
"I have an important test-"
"Important my ass- your health is top priority here!"
"So is yours!"
"I'm used to staying awake for so long,"
"LISTEN UP NOIR! IF I'M GONNA SLEEP, SO WILL YOU. IF YOU STAY AWAKE, SO WILL I. SO STOP YELLING AT ME-"
Of course, the pair were interrupted by another god forsaken akuma and they violently swore at Le Papillon and his never ending madness. Ladybug muttered out very morbid things such as how she was going to skin the old man alive once she gets his miraculous or something like that.
This was all two hours ago.
Marinette was on her last legs now as she struggled to get up the stairs to her form room. Quickly chugging on her tenth energy drink, Marinette disposed the can somewhere secretly (they're banned in school after all) and flopped down onto the nearest desk. She inhaled sharply, reaching for the travel mug she secured in her bag, filled with the most sweetest, sugary, coffee one could ever have. Tikki mustered up the energy to pat Marinette's collarbones with her frazzled paw, hiding in her dark turtleneck collar rather than the purse for once in order to warm up.
A few more minutes passed but they felt like seconds to the heroine in disguise, nuzzling her mug. She internally prayed that taking three showers in a row managed to get rid of the disgusting river smell out of her hair before dashing out of the house. That thought process was interrupted when she clipped the mug's lid off. She smiled for the first time in twenty-four hours and pursed her lips for a sip.
"Girl? You're early again? Wow!" Alya's energetic voice was like a slap against her face, almost causing the poor girl to drop her life saving beverage. She sent her best friend a pitiful pout, ignorant to the rush of her classmates heading to their seats. The mass majority of them gave their class president a surprised look, wondering if pigs will start flying next at the sight of her early presence. Though, there was some tension by the others, no thanks to the recent incident between Lila and Marinette's 'supposed' stealing and bullying.
"Mmhm..." Marinette warmed her cheek with the mug, hoping that the brunette could take a hint and let her indulge in the diabetes level of sugar. She almost didn't feel Alya's fingers smoothing against her pale forehead, brushing away the dark fringe with a frown on her face. She then placed a hand on her flushed cheek, shaking her head.
"Marinette, you don't look very well. You haven't been well for days. I think you should go home..." Alya was prepared for Marinette's spiteful snort, countering the blue eyed glare with her fond hazel pair.
"I studied my butt off for this physics test and won't rest till I get it over and done with. Maman and Papa said that if I get full marks, they'll lift the energy drinks ban off me." The Asian pursed her lips childishly and ignored Alya's gaping face before going in for the coffee which has been torturing her poor nose with its sinful scent.
With a speed that could rival a blue hedgehog, Alya swiped the mug out of Marinette's hands. The latter reacted quite late, blinking a few times with confusion before realising what happened.
"Alya-aaaaaa..." Marinette flopped tiredly on the desk, chibi tears running down her eyes whilst she pathetically reached out for her saving grace. "Ple-eeeeeease..."
"If your parents have banned you from energy drinks then I bet that they won't appreciate you drinking coffee either." Alya's frown deepened at Mari's cries.
"Let DC have her caffeine, Cesaire." Kim whooped from the back, joined by a few agreements by Nathaniel, Mylene and Rose. "She looks like shit, no offense 'nette." The boy only received a thumbs up from Marinette and a scowl from Alya. Alix simply observed with her lips sealed. Confusion wracked through her head as she evaluated the events so far. Marinette was too tired to give a damn.
"I don't know Le Chien, I've been tailing our heroes for the past few days with little sleep so I think maybe I should drink this instead and send my girl home." Alya chuckled and ate up the sight of Marinette's torn face.
"No-ooooooooo! You can't drink up the only thing I'm living for! Don't you understand? Without that cup, that specific cup of coffee, I will no longer go on. All my happiness and dreams will be crushed! My will to breathe this wretched polluted air will be dissipated and then you all will have to pay for my funeral and live on without me because ALYA DRANK MY SOUL!"
Marinette was so tired, she was delusional. The filter was gone and her limp form pretty much melted on the desk with sadness. Alya almost gave in.
"Well!" Nino's voice piped up from the doorway, walking in with a dead looking model following him like a chick. "Guess our lil' Dudette robbed my seat, again. What next? You gonna rob my locker too?" Lahiffe snickered when Marinette flipped out her middle finger at him, refusing to lift her head up from the table. A few others giggled as well whilst Nino dramatically fell to his knees, yelling how he was so 'wounded' and couldn't believe the sweetest girl in the world had the balls to do that to him!
Adrien on the other hand, let his lips upturn for the first time in a day, fondly and shook his head. He definitely knew how the girl was feeling- oh boy. If anyone could relate to her now, it was him.
He made way to her, encasing his hand over hers, beckoning her to lower her finger with a playful tut. Marinette shivered at the feel of his silver ring against her skin.
"Now, now, it's rude to pull a gesture like that. No matter how much Nino deserved it," Adrien ignored his best friend's betrayed 'Hey!' and laughed warmly. Seeing Marinette woke him up more than the pathetic cup of coffee in his hand. He felt his heart skip a beat when she slowly lifted her head up to meet his gaze.
"Can I toss him out of the windows instead?" Her tone was so innocent, it was like she was asking if she could borrow a pencil. Adrien giggled out a 'No', his smile never leaving and squeezed her hand. Marinette dropped her head back down with a groan that sounded like 'Coffeeeeee'.
"She looks like she really needs it,"
"What she needs is a warm, toasty bed with fluffy pillows and her giant cat monster teddy, Mr. Cat."
"Nino-oooo, please help me persuade your girlfriend. I'm too tired for this."
Adrien collapsed on the seat, right next to Marinette, playfully flopping against her. He sipped his cup, eyes still closed. On any other day, Marinette would have freaked out five minutes ago. Now? She's too tired to think let alone move or speak. Nino and Alya bickered whilst the rest of the class (save for Chloe who scoffed) cooed internally at Marinette and Adrien.
"I'd let you have my coffee but this is as bitter and black as Mm. Mendelieve's soul," He earned a cute snigger from his twin tailed friend. She unconsciously moved closer to the blonde, clutching his cardigan's sleeve, half asleep. Adrien relished every touch, beaming. Though he could have sworn that Rose piped out a 'So cute!' at the back. The thought left as soon as it came. He focused on Marinette's scent and her warmth, tempted to sleep against her again. That's what friends do, right?
"I wouldn't be...able to take a sip of that without...gagging," Marinette shook her head quickly to stop nodding off. "Mine has fifteen teaspoons of sugar, lots and lots of cream, caramel, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and sprinkles..." She admitted quietly, blind to Adrien's choked face. Maybe it's a good thing Alya took that away from her!
"Are you trying to give yourself a heart attack? Diabetes? A food coma?" His shock was quickly replaced by her pitiful eyes. "D-Don't cry please-"
"I just wanted to stay awake..." She peered at her coffee in Alya's hand so longingly, bottom lip jutted out (Adrien had the urge to kiss it but he quickly knocked that thought back). "I also really like...sweet things..."
"You're sweet enough already, Princess," Quickly, Adrien slapped his hand against his mouth, eyes widening at how the words slipped out. He blinked rapidly a few times before sighing in relief. Marinette didn't seem to have caught it and the others were too busy watching Nino and Alya argue. Curse his sleep deprivation...
"Princess...?" The model gulped as Mari continued. "Heh...I really like that nickname...reminds me of Chat Noir," Her lips curled into a peaceful smile and her eyes glazed even further. Adrien's demeanour softened, the subtle 'o' of his mouth curbed into the sweet smile his lips love turning into when Marinette's around.
"He has good taste. It is very fitting for the most awesome, amazing, kind girl to have the title of a princess," The boy mused. He gave a cheeky wink which prompted Marinette to roll her eyes playfully.
'Yes! Look how comfortable she is around me now! This is what I've been waiting for ever since I came here! A proper one on one Marinette time~!' Adrien celebrated internally.
"Then, since Alya and Nino act like a married couple all the time," His eyes flickered to the still squabbling pair, fussing over Marinette, before back at the petite girl. "They could be your parents, the King and Queen,"
Marinette hummed with amusement, her lips turning into a familiar smirk. For some reason, he knew she was going to banter back. He couldn't explain why.
"Then Chat Noir could be my Knight, considering how he's always used the 'I'm your Knight in shining leather' comment," Adrien felt his cheeks involuntarily redden. "And you could be..."
The older teen leaned closer to her face.
"I could be...?"
Blonde boy and Noir girl snapped out of their bubble, along with the rest of the class. They all simultaneously gasped as the Italian transfer student leaned against the door timidly.
Her left cheek had a huge, purple bruise and her arms were covered in bandages. Everyone looked at her with concern whilst Adrien cocked an eyebrow in suspicion. Marinette merely blinked.
"You...you're de-akumatised now...right?" Lila clutched her arms, hugging herself to make her smaller. Almost the whole class flinched and gawked at the designer. Alya narrowed her eyes in confusion, Nino cocked his head but Adrien...
He was fucking livid. A solid ten minutes before class, six days after her last stunt, this brat dares to antagonise Marinette again!?
Marinette let out a dumb "eh?", blinking repeatedly.
"I-I know you were mad about how I caught you cheating a while ago...but I didn't expect you to be akumatised and attack me yesterday night!" Lila burst out crying. "Why didn't Ladybug's healing powers work...why am I still hurt!" She clutched her cheek, enacting how much pain she's in.
Perhaps a week or two ago, the class would have leapt for Lila's side. However, everyone had a feeling that something's not right, something's not adding up. This feeling has been building up ever since Lila's arrival but they all seem to have brushed it away.
"I got akumatised?" Marinette rubbed her eyes and blinked at Lila again. Any other day, the girl would have leapt for her own defense. Right now, she was way out of it.
Sweet, innocent Rose furrowed her eyebrows too.
"Hold on- hold up! I've tailed every single akuma that's happened so far. There's only been sixteen these past three or four days and none of them involved you or Mari." Alya slammed the coffee down on the desk, oblivious to the Asian girl's twinkling eyes and soft "coffeeeee~". Adrien kept a protective grip on Marinette's upper arms, venturing closer, trying to keep her behind him, as if shielding her. His eyes turned acidic and rage boiled over.
"That's because she lured me out in the outskirts! She had giant needles and she looked so scary-" Lila let out a loud whimper. "It took hours for Ladybug and Chat Noir to defeat her!"
"Oho? I want giant needles...then I can stab Le Papillon with it and then I can finally sleep at night~" Marinette was painfully oblivious to her class' incredulous stares as she made googly eyes with the coffee. Nino sighed and took away the mug, placing it on Mm. Bustier's desk and then glared at Lila. No one paid mind to Marinette's suffering.
"Certainly I can't catch every single akuma, however, we've only seen the cleansing lights sixteen times. Thus, either you were hallucinating-"
"I wasn't! Where'd you think I got these injuries from!?"
"-Or! It was a non-akuma that attacked you. Some freaky criminal from the sounds of it. Ladybug's powers can't heal you if you were injured from anything other than an akuma." Alya then marched towards Marinette, sheltering her slightly too. "This girl has a terrible sense of direction so it's impossible for her to have dragged you to the outskirts and make it in time for school." Marinette simply sighed, paying zero attention to them.
She tried using her mind to get the coffee closer to her but turns out, she's not telekinetic.
If Lila was smart, she would have agreed with Alya and made up a story of the supposed criminal that attacked her. It would have bought her the coddling she wanted at the very least. However, it seems that Le Papillon's akumas kept her up at night too, making words slip out of her tongue before her brain could fully comprehend them.
"I swear on my sweet, dead grandmother's life, Alya! It was Marinette! I know it was! Would I ever lie to you?" She clutched her chest. "Even Rena Rouge and Carapace fought her too. Marinette was so strong...so evil...I think she's working with Le Papillon..."
Not a single sound was heard.
Everyone held their breaths.
Internally, Lila panicked. Why wasn't everyone jumping to her side? Why was everyone so quiet? Dammit- why isn't everyone berating that damn blue eyed bitch and catering towards her!?
"Now that I think about it," Max broke the silence. Adrien, Alya and Nino immediately whipped their heads towards him, eyes wide with multiple emotions. Each of them were coming up with ways to make his death look like an accident along with Lila's if he bought the lie.
"I think I saw that horse boy running around too...what was his name again? Peggy...Pugo..." Max could have fooled strangers with his confused, calculating expression but his close friends knew way better.
"Yes! Peggy! He was there too!" Lila exclaimed and then whimpered loudly, bringing her arms together, as if she was in agony. "He saved me! Otherwise...I'd have...lost my head...Marinette was so close to..."
"Is that so?" Adrien's voice was like thunder. It wasn't that he was loud, no; he was very startling instead. A tone which no one but Lila has heard before when he threatened her not too long ago. An icy chill was sent down everyone's spine and his emerald eyes gleamed with bloodlust. "Please do tell us more, what did our everyday Ladybug do in her akumatised state?" He wrapped an arm around her possessively. Alya and Nino stood closer to them.
Lila's face almost darkened with indignation but she quickly fixed it with the kicked puppy expression. She took a step back, clutching a fist to her chest.
"W-Why are you guys acting like this...Max? Alix? Are you seeing this? I think those four are against me now too-"
"But at least that weird monkey one was around to help you, right? If Marinette was THAT strong then I bet Ladybug and Chat Noir called the entire cavalry." Alix rested her chin on her clasped hands, glaring at the four people down. Only Lila missed the playful bump Kim and Max gave on her back.
"Y-Yes! Also the lizard, the hare and the erm...pigeon? Marinette almost won...she could have devastated Paris- no...the world! I think that's why Ladybug wasn't able to use her cleansing light- she was beaten black and blue..." Everyone else started to mutter, causing Lila to almost smirk victoriously.
'Yes...that's right, keep this up,' She cackled in her mind.
"Excuse me!" Marinette finally shouted, standing up with hands on hips. Lila's heart almost burst in excitement. Finally some fuel for her fodder! More ways to isolate Dupain Cheng! "The only devastation here is how no one's letting me drink my coffee! Nino just give me it!"
She didn't expect the smack upside behind her head from Alya, making her yelp in surprise. The bespeckled girl grabbed Marinette by the shoulders and yelled.
"YOU IDIOT GIRL! YOU'RE BEING ACCUSED OF TRYING TO MURDER ROSSI AS AN AKUMA WHILST PULVERISING TEAM MIRACULOUS IN PROCESS YET ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT IS A PUDDLE OF CAFFEINE FOR A DUMB MOCK TEST THAT WON'T AFFECT OUR GRADES!?"
She shook her shoulders harder, muddling Marinette's mind up even further. Adrien stammered, trying to break them up whilst Nino and the class watched with delight. They didn't miss the appalled expression Lila threw.
The way everyone brushed her off...the poor, injured...pitiful girl!
"A-A-A-AL-Y-A-A-A!" Alya finally stopped her torture and let Marinette flop into her arms. Marinette let out a groan, swirls in her eyes and the class burst out laughing.
"You did it Alya! You beat the akuma! You're a true hero!" Rose squealed out as Juleka chimed with a "Way past cool". Playing along, Alya straightened out the collar of her polar shirt, mock pride on her face with a smug smile plastered on. She handed Marinette to Adrien's waiting arms and stalked towards the back of the room.
"W-What-" Lila didn't get a chance to finish her sentence.
"Miraculous Alya Charm!" The brunette hollered, tossing a pen in the air with a cheesy grin. Kim and Alix made whooshing noises, as if to mimic the sounds of rushing magic ladybirds and everyone else cheered. "Your injuries should all be healed up now Lila! Good on ya~ now, Nino, it's time to bring that Theo artist and get him to make a statue of me for the park-"
"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?"
Lila was now huffing and puffing. Raw animosity shone in her eyes, hands clenched into fists by her sides, knuckles whitening and teeth gritted. Adrien didn't try to hide his devilish smirk and the oddly quiet Chloe folded her arms, awaiting for the girl to show her true colours. Alas, lack of sleep made a slower, more frustrated Lila.
"I'm here, injured, traumatised! Ladybug was almost killed! This...THIS WITCH-" She pointed venomously at the knocked out Marinette in Adrien's arms. "Tried to kill ME! And you all don't care!? You're all worse than Chloe!" More crocodile tears ran down her cheeks...
Though they ran down as purple drips, somehow cleaning away the bruise? My, what magical tears indeed. Mylene and Ivan quickly opened a group chat (sans Lila and Marinette) to arrange years worth of apologies for their class president. They could be old and grey at one point but they'll still find a way to apologise to the sweet angel.
"You see Lila, everyone knows that's not true," Adrien purred out, sitting down against the chair like a spoilt royalty with a beautiful girl in his arms- who would kick everyone's asses in one go. He summoned a bit more of his inner Chat Noir.
"How would you know!? You weren't there, Adrien!" Lila hissed, banging a fist against the door. Weren't her arms in agony again?
"I suppose, but," He tucked a hair behind Marinette's ear with a grin.
"I was with her, all night,"
Everyone let out a dramatic, yet fake gasp, clutching their cheeks whilst Chloe let out a little cry "Adrikins how could you~!", one arm over her head whilst Sabrina fanned her with a book. Lila paled and sweat dripped down her face. She shook her head slightly, taking a step back.
"W-W-What do you mean? What were you doing?"
"Well, what else would two, unsupervised teenagers be doing all night? Why do you think we're so tired?" He played with Marinette's hair, smile widening. His peripheral vision caught Alya with her phone whipped out, probably not too long ago.
"T-That's a lie...you're just saying that to protect Marinette...your father would never let you out of the house at night, let alone with a no named wench like her!"
"Do I need to show my hickies as proof?" Adrien had a big bruise on his collarbone from falling onto his roof when coming home, lack of sleep messing with his coordination. It was dark enough to be mistaken as a love bite and the boy was never more grateful for it than he was now.
"Whoa du-uuuude- keep it child friendly here!" Nino winked.
"Enough of my love life now," Adrien's smile was wiped off and the dangerous frown was back on.
Lila gulped as everyone else followed suit. Some were close to exploding on the spot whilst others wore a look of pure disappointment and sadness.
"Can't you see? The gig's up Lila. You've lost. We all know you've been bullshitting from the start- well some of us anyways," His gaze swept over the class who looked terribly sheepish for a moment before reverting back to their intimidating stances. "Take a seat over there," He beckoned to the lone chair that Chloe kicked out at the front, quickly adjusting Marinette to rest her head on his lap so that she remained hidden.
"What if I don't want to." The Italian sneered, itching to run down the head teacher's office and come up with a way to save her sorry ass. If there's one thing she refuses to do, it's to accept defeat. No matter how high the odds are against her.
"I believe you don't have a choice, Rossi." He admonished, hands clasped against his mouth similarly to Alix not too long ago. "Don't make me pull a Chloe Bourgeois here and make your fucking life miserable by getting my father involved. I'm tired as hell and no one has got the time to humour you anymore. Take. A. Seat."
Keeping her steely gaze on his frame, Lila made way to the chair, plopping down and crossing her legs, trying her best to look powerful and threatening.
"Now, you're going to sit there, keep your mouth shut till I've finished talking, you got that-"
"You think that crap's going to work on me, Adrien? Hah! My mother is an embassy. You can google that for all I care, not like the rest of you googled whatever else I've said," Her smile was like a snake slithering, making everyone else feel uncomfortable.
"Did I say you could talk? Did my earlier threats fall on deaf ears? Do you love the sound of your voice so much that you're unable to comprehend simple french words from anyone else?"
"I said keep your mouth shut."
His tone felt like a cataclysm to her heart. Immediately she snapped her mouth shut and dug her fingers into her knees. The looming presence of everyone else didn't help either. The weight of the situation finally crept up on her and the girl realised...
She's not going to get out of this one.
"Alright, so where was I...? Oh that's it!" Adrien leaned back. "I'm going to cut the chase. We're not mad because you lied, we're mad because you hurt Marinette and tried to do so again. I want you to fess up every single thing you've done in order to hurt someone so that we can record it and send it to the teachers. We have no trust in you and we know for definite that you'll chicken out if we don't do this now." His eyes were like ice now. For the first time, you would recognise Adrien as Gabriel's son for his chilly aspects, not because of his brand.
"From the moment I arrived, I kept touching you and clinging onto you,"
"I had to take ten showers that day-"
"I stole your book! And threw it away!"
"I threatened Marinette in the bathrooms to take away all her friends, especially you. That I'd make them all turn their backs on her and she'll be alone forever. That almost worked, didn't it?"
Alix was seething on the spot, desperate to break Lila's nose. The grip that Alya had on her phone almost snapped the device in half, distraught with the suffering Marinette has been through.
"That was the day I gave her that stupid advice of taking the high road huh? Should have realised how much of a psycho you were back then instead of being scared for Marinette of you turning into an akuma and trying to kill her." His instincts screamed to cataclysm Lila right this second. "Regardless, your threat didn't really work, hm? She kept fighting,"
"And that's why I faked my injury, hid the cheat sheet in her bag and put my necklace in her locker. That's all you need to know." Lila was about to stand back up but a hand clasped her shoulder from behind. She didn't need to look up to know that the perfect manicured nails belonged to the mayor's daughter.
"I didn't dismiss you yet, and also," Adrien leaned forward. "You're hiding some things, you know why I know? Because I have connections. You're better off spilling it yourself than me getting my hands dirty, Rossi."
"That day when your fencer friend got akumatised..."
"The day you lied and forced yourself into my house? Yes, carry on,"
"I teamed up with her akumatised form..."
"How and Why."
Everyone took a bated breath, cold sweat dripping down their heads, anger grinding in the pit of their stomachs whilst Marinette remained blissfully asleep on Adrien's lap.
"I worked with her akumatised form to take down Ladybug and give her Adrien because I hate, HATE Ladybug! I don't regret anything I've done! Never have, never do and never will! I will rise to the top and take you all down one by one!"
The whole class erupted in an uproar.
Obscenities were roared out.
Threats were exclaimed.
Students were restrained.
Agreste watched Rossi with hate that could rival Le Papillon's for Ladybug and Chat Noir.
Chloe struck her hand out, poised to give the brat a good smack.
A hand grasped Chloe's wrist while another tipped the cool cup of coffee down her throat.
Marinette slammed the travel mug down, gently putting Chloe's wrists back to the girl and then turned towards the class. Her eyes flickered to Lila's bewildered form for a split second and then back at everyone else.
"First off, thank you Adrien, for bringing the truth to light. I suppose waiting and planning for the right moment was a better idea than going out yelling and screaming." Marinette gave him a smile full of saccharine, making his heart skip a beat or two.
"You shouldn't be thanking me. I'm the one who let it get this bad in the first place...besides, you'd have concocted up something similar had it been anyone else getting harassed by her."
"You're not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Besides," She glanced back at the fuming girl behind her. "You've acknowledged it and sought a solution to fix it, rather than covering it up and lying," Lila's teeth were basically scraping each other.
"Second! As much as I'd love to beat her up for real like you guys, we are much, much better than this. Control your emotions or else Le Papillon will control you," Murmurs filled the room and everyone began to try calming down. "If I really was akumatised, Lila," Marinette began "I would have finished the job. So I think it's wise to not try and get me under Le Papillon's influences again," Her eyes were like ice, piercing Lila's weak frame.
"What do you mean again?" Adrien felt a rock hit the bottom of his stomach. The way Marinette flinched caused his paranoia to stir. "Marinette...?"
"Erm...when I got expelled? And also during the bathroom threat? But it's okay! I managed to outrun the bathroom butterfly- wait. I outran the butterfly but Lila got akumatised the next minute..." Marinette's eyes widened in threatening way, turning back to said girl. "You walked away all smug...so how did you get akumatised?"
Lila didn't answer.
"You're working with Le Papillon...?" Alya gasped out.
The force of Adrien's hands slamming the table as he shot up shocked the class once more. Alya moved in quickly to grab Marinette and keep her out of the way.
"Get out and never come back. If I ever see your face anywhere nearby, you're dead."
Lila immediately tripped out of the chair, feeling like she's been shot a thousand times by everyone's blood lusting looks. She scurried towards the door, only to crash into M. Damocles. No words needed to be exchanged by the looks of his infuriated eyes. A few other teachers, including Md. Bustier and Mendelieve crowded her. They all wore the same blistering look, beckoning Lila to follow them to the headmaster's office. They heard everything.
"I'll be back in a bit class," Md. Bustier spoke. Her voice lacked the usual cheerfulness and motherly tone.
With that said and done, the classroom door was closed.
Lila was gone.
Marinette has received justice.
A dizzy spell suddenly hit Marinette and Adrien, causing them both to stagger on the spot, quickly supported by their best friends as the event of what just happened came crashing down on them. Adrien was quick to recover, having managed to catch catnaps in between battles whilst Marinette took a few minutes to regain her bearings.
"Yo what the fuck just happened now..." Kim broke the silence. "The day started off good with DC getting all loopy and Agreste Jr. getting chummy with her and boom! Jr. turns into a kickass interrogator and DC pretty much admitted that she can easily kill someone!? I THOUGHT YOU TWO WERE ALL SWEET AND INNOCENT!"
"Kim, you know Maman has been teaching me various forms of martial arts since I could walk. It will only take me five seconds to snap your spine in half from where I am...well, when I'm lucid anyways," Marinette squinted slightly, almost swearing that she could see stars. The others turned to Adrien for his explanation.
"...I guess watching Naruto does have its perks..." He itched his nose shyly, his cheeks flushed slightly at everyone else's groans. "YES I'M A FILTHY WEEB. DEAL WITH IT." He folded his arms defiantly. "And Father has rubbed off on me too," This, everyone accepted. Adrien turned around again to face his friends, eyebrows furrowed and sleep clouding his vision. He really was dead on his feet.
However, one thing didn't leave his mind.
"Marinette, why didn't you tell me?"
"Hm? What?" She yawned quietly.
"That you were almost akumatised when she threatened you?" Marinette picked up some cool anger in his words, recoiling back and then put her hands on her hips. Her eyes narrowed.
"I don't know and I don't care. I don't need to tell you everything, hmmph!" Truth be told, Marinette didn't want to be seen as a scaredy-cat or a coward, so, she kept mum. She was also pretty hurt from everyone's actions and behaviour beforehand too and she felt really bad at the idea of making them even more guilty.
"What. Kind. Of. An. Answer. Is. That?"
"I don't appreciate your tone Monsieur,"
"And I don't appreciate yours either Mademoiselle,"
Adrien sauntered towards her, hands in pockets and one eyebrow cocked. The stance and swagger was so identical to Chat Noir that Marinette swore for sure that she's hallucinating.
"It's okay to not be okay you know," He then gestured out to the rest of the class who observed. Everyone wore a weak smile. "In order to progress, we need to communicate. You're always looking after us, catering to our feelings. Let us do the same. We really want to make it up to you," He let a hand rest on her shoulder, giving it a squeeze.
With a sudden determination, he leaned forward and quickly brushed his lips against her cheek. Her face softened and her mouth opened in a cute gape.
Tears flooded Marinette's eyes, causing everyone to rush forward, hoping to calm her down. The tears never stopped streaming, no matter how much the girls dabbed her eyes with napkins.
"I...I..." Marinette began. Everyone leaned in eagerly.
"I just realised how I never got to savour my coffee..." Marinette sniffed.
Everyone literally dropped on the floor with a groan. Of course, she wasn't lucid. She probably was never lucid from the start! Before anyone else could say anything, Alya pushed Marinette on Adrien's back, commanding him to take her home.
"Yeah sure...I think I need a day off too..." He held the snoring girl on his back, piggy style before letting out a yawn.
"Don't try anything funny with my girl~" Alya teased and ignored Chloe's bristled comments. On a normal day, Adrien would have denied this and claimed that Mari was just his friend.
This isn't a normal day.
And Adrien is tired and grumpy and sarcastic.
"Then perhaps I shouldn't mention about how yesterday was such a wild ride~"
"I'm being serious!"
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Hey, Little Songbird
Ao3 - Chapter 1
His cousin’s class naturally hated Felix. No doubt Adrien and those he got akumatized had warned the other’s, preemptively isolating him. He could see the hatred in their eyes as Mme. Bustier introduced him, as she instructed him to sit in the back next to the black-haired girl who was in love with Adrien.
Felix nimbly dodged a kick from Lady Wifi, glowering back in response to her glare and smirking when she flinched in return. Amateur. As if she could intimidate him. He’d stared down the most intimidating members of the fashion and movie industry: famous photographers, directors who thought they could tell him how act, Audrey Bourgeois, his uncle. No mere school girl would get under his skin.
He sat next to the black-haired girl, overtly aware of her presence next to him as the rest of the class turned back to an Italian girl in the front. His position in the room was dangerous. Next to someone who’d feel righteous in getting back at him for Adrien, alone in the back where the teacher couldn’t see. If he was a lesser man, sweat would dot his brow. Instead, he glanced at her. She was facing him. So it was the direct approach then? She didn’t seem like the type--
“My name is Marinette Dupain-Cheng. I’m the class president, so feel free to ask if you need something,” she said with a small smile and a head tilt.
Felix blinked in surprise. She was... she was just a better actress than he initially assessed, he told himself. It was merely a faced to catch him off guard.
Felix sneered. “I’m sure, Mlle. Dupain-Cheng. Please spare me the facade. I’m already more than aware of you and your classmates hatred towards me.”
She looked hurt. “I don’t hate you.”
“And Adrien’s not my cousin,” he scoffed.
“I’m not lying,” she said lowly, her frame trembling and fists clenched. Felix watched warily as she calmed herself down, breathing deeply. “Sorry; I shouldn’t have gotten mad. I don’t hate you, M. Graham de Vanily. I’m angry at you, yes, but... I want to give you a chance. I don’t know the circumstances that led to your... behavior two weeks ago, but regardless... I’m willing to be your friend.” She looked away, her cheeks ruddy. “If you want.”
His eyes narrowed. He didn’t believe her. “Do you always forgive so easily?”
“I try to.”
“That’s a good way to get stabbed in the back.”
She smiled, close-lipped and bitter. “I’m used to the feeling. What’s one more stab wound?”
He hadn’t expected that. How does one respond to that? Fortunately, he didn’t have to as Mme. Bustier called the class to attention to start the day.
This was more of a fragment than an actual chapter, but I think it’s a good starting place.
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If at first you don’t succeed
Aziraphale hung up the phone and looked at the piles of cake on his table. He really hadn’t expected Crowley to give up so easily. He decided to bake a dark chocolate torte and call Crowley back when it was done.
When the torte was finally cooling and the dishes miracled clean, he picked up the receiver of the Bakelite phone once more.
“Yes?” Crowley snapped down the line. “What now?”
“I was just calling to ask if you ... ah... have watched any good shows on the television lately.”
“Well I was thinking if you were so transcendentally bored you could tell me about one of them.”
And so they spent a relaxing two hours talking about Tiger King, which Aziraphale could barely follow at all, but at least it kept Crowley chatting.
“Why don’t I come over and we can catch it together?” Crowley finally said.
“Oh no, my dear boy, that would be most against the rules,” Aziraphale said, setting out a second plate with a cake fork.
“Fine,” Crowley grumbled. “See you in August then, angel.”
And he hung up once more.
Aziraphale pinched his nose. Crowley was being excessively dense. Perhaps isolation was eroding his mental facilities?
He decided to wait a whole 24 hours to call him again, during which time he baked an entire croquembouche and re-shelved his collection of magical realism from Borges to Carpentier to Murakami. (He wasn’t entirely sure if the Murakami belonged, but he talked himself into it.)
Finally, he took up the phone once again, and Crowley answered with a sleepy rumble on the second ring.
“Good morning my dear!”
“Angel it’s... 7pm...”
“Good evening then. Were you asleep?”
“Told you I was going to nap until this was all over.”
“Oh yes, that’s right.”
There was a pause. “Is there something you wanted, angel, or...”
“I do have a rather tragic problem, I’ve completely run out of wine,” Aziraphale lied, not letting his eyes linger on the several cases he could see from where he stood.
“There’s an off license literally across the road from you, Aziraphale,” Crowley said.
“But isn’t that against the rules?”
“Nah the supply of booze is an essential service, apparently.”
“Of course, yes, silly me. I suppose I’ll just pop over there then.”
“I do have that case here,” Crowley said. “I can head over.”
“We mustn’t break the rules whenever we feel like!” Aziraphale said, hoping this time Crowley would get the bloody hint already.
“Yes, yes, you’re right. I’m going back to sleep.”
“Wait!” Aziraphale almost shouted in his frustration. “You’re a demon Crowley, you’re supposed to break the rules.”
There was another silence, and Aziraphale could hear the sound of rustling, as if Crowley was moving around on his black sheets. (Not that Aziraphale knew his sheets were black, he’d just assumed they were across the course of many elaborate fantasies.)
“You’re telling me I shouldn’t come over, because it’s against the rules, but I’m a demon and I break rules,” Crowley said, slowly.
“Quite. I can’t say what you’re going to do next, because you’re so wily and anti-authoritarian,” Aziraphale agreed, a little breathlessly. “You’re a fiendishly cunning rule-breaker. Why would a little isolation stop you from doing whatever you wanted?”
The quiet between them took on a considering air. “I’ll be... right over then,” Crowley finally said.
“Perfect,” Aziraphale said. “I mean, how dare you.”
And then he hung up and waited for the door of the shop to open for the first time in weeks.
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Are all your fic on Ao3? If no where can I found em?
You can find them on AO3 (linked in my description and the tabs on my blog) as well as in the My Fics tab on my blog (they’re tagged #my writing as well).
Though honestly, I don’t have THAT many yet. Let me just link them here for easy access:
A Promise Kept
Such Great Heights
A Touch Like Sunlight (pt. 1)
A Love Like Moonlight (pt. 2)
Drabbles and other shorts:
Untitled Drabble #1
Untitled Drabble #2
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Fic: Breaking Point
Relationships: Caline Bustier & Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir & Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug
Characters: Caline Bustier, Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir, Alya Césaire, Max Kanté, Nathaniel Kurtzberg, Juleka Couffaine, Lila Rossi, Tikki
Tags: caline bustier salt, Reveal, Badass Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Adrien Agreste Knows, Protective Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir, Caline Bustier Knows, ml salt, Harassment, Lila Rossi Lies, Bad Classroom Environments, Gaslighting, enablers, Bullying ,Salt, Identity Reveal, Spitefic, Swearing, Adrien Sugar
Summary: '“For instance, being a superhero is not a viable career path,” was what made her tune in, her attention fully pulled to Mme. Bustier, who seemed to be looking right at her.'
Note: This was written based on a prompt by @norakwami.
Marinette wasn’t really paying attention to Mme. Bustier’s lecture. To be fair, it was about career options and how to achieve them, something she had researched so completely she already had a list of universities she intended to apply to, along with possible companies to intern, all carefully tabbed in a binder at home that was also slowly filling with application and portfolio ideas.
Given that she was only fourteen and still had four more years before she reached the point of applying, she was ahead of the game. Perhaps she could be considering going to another lycée instead of the feeder for Collège Françoise Dupont, perhaps somewhere private that had a focus on fashion. But she didn’t want to put pressure on her parents, who would have to pay the tuition for such an institution, when she was already winning awards and making a name for herself through designing for Jagged Stone and the up-and-coming Kitty Section, among others.
“For instance, being a superhero is not a viable career path,” was what made her tune in, her attention fully pulled to Mme. Bustier, who seemed to be looking right at her.
Marinette felt frozen by that stare, pinned like a ladybug by an entomologist. How could she know? Did other people notice her stare?
“Ladybug is almost certainly harming her civilian future through these superhero antics, which prevent her from fulfilling all her obligations.”
Alya snorted. “That’s not Ladybug’s fault—it’s Hawkmoth’s. Ladybug protects the city. And maybe Paris should pay her for her services!”
“Ladybug is a teenager who should be concentrating on school,” Mme. Bustier declared, still staring holes into Marinette.
“Ladybug has never released her age,” Adrien murmured, his voice sounding strained. “So that’s conjecture, Mme. Bustier. How does this have to do with our future careers?”
To her horror, he turned and followed her gaze to Marinette.
She felt as though she might hyperventilate, panic rising in her gut. If she was compromised, that put her family and friends at risk, put the Miracle Box at risk, played right into Hawkmoth’s hands. She’d never been good at a poker face, and she wasn’t sure whether she was managing now.
Adrien’s eyes widened, and she knew she’d failed, at least with him. Kwami, she hoped she could trust him.
“I’m glad you asked, Adrien. For instance, Marinette, would you please share your current preparation for your future career.”
All eyes were on her, and she could feel the thoughts swirling around them as she was called out. She swallowed, trying to push it all down.
“I-I… I have a binder. At home. F-fifteen different universities with fashion p-programs. In order of where I want to go most. Also c-companies that offer internships.” She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves—it helped a bit. “I’ve started my portfolio, including the b-bowler hat that won M. Agreste’s contest, and my work for Jagged Stone and Kitty Section, and p-pictures of clothing I’ve designed and made.”
She could hear murmurs around her, and Alya gave a low whistle beside her.
“Girl, no wonder you don’t sleep. You’re on top of this!”
Mme. Bustier’s mouth became a thin line, her lips pressed together as though she was irritated.
Marinette wished keenly that Master Fu was still around, could handle this situation. She’d come to realize Mme. Bustier was a terrible teacher, enabling bullying and shaming victims as though they were at fault for their treatment. But this was a whole new level of awful.
“Still, the way you run off during Akuma attacks interrupts your daily life and prevents you from—”
“We all run away during Akuma attacks! They disrupt all our daily lives.”
Adrien stood, his back rigid from tension.
“Marinette has been personally targeted multiple times during Akuma attacks. So have I! A lot of this has been documented on the LadyBlog. It’s traumatizing—and we keep our memories of that because we’re not the Akuma. I run and hide, personally. Why would you shame Marinette for that?”
The class fell silent, and glancing around Marinette could see the tension in their faces, their own memories of being chased by Akuma.
Adrien had moved this away from the idea of Marinette being Ladybug to her being shamed for her reaction to Akumas. He was protecting her. And she loved him all the more for it.
“There was Evillustrator,” Marinette murmured, jumping on the red herring.
She glanced at Nathanaël apologetically. He offered a sad smile.
“I had to help Chat Noir with that. It was scary. André Glacier became Glaciator and came looking for me, and Chat Noir saved me from getting frozen. And Gamer was looking for me. Chat Noir saved me again.”
She could see Max wince across the aisle.
“Reflekta turned me into her clone because she was mad at me. And it was my fault.”
Marinette turned and mouthed ‘sorry’ to Juleka.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Juleka whispered, then cringed as she realized her voice had carried far enough for everyone to hear.
She smiled, then turned back to the front.
“My own grandmother tried to turn me into coal when she was Akumatized because she was upset I wasn’t like eight years old anymore—Chat Noir saved me again there, too. And then my dad was Akumatized and Chat Noir and Ladybug had to save me again.”
Marinette hadn’t been able to transform, needing to be saved as a civilian before she could get back as Ladybug. Too many of them had been so public she’d had to trust Chat Noir would be able to hold his own until she got there—and she did, but she was afraid sometime that would be fatal.
“And I saw footage when Adrien was dropped from a building and then when Volpina pretended to drop him from the Eiffel Tower. That’s terrifying!”
She didn’t turn around to look at Lila. Instead she looked at Adrien, who was still standing, alternating between glaring at Mme. Bustier and glancing back at her with concern in his eyes.
“And then there’s mind control Akumas, like with Miracle Queen. I’m scared of Akumas, Mme. Bustier. Even when they’re across the city, they won’t always stay there, and I want to hide. And I refuse to be ashamed of that!”
It wasn’t a lie, either. Civilian her absolutely wanted to hide—and did, just behind a mask.
She turned her attention to the teacher, keeping her back straight, remembering she had Adrien on her side, even if she wished he didn’t know—damn Bustier for that. Marinette steeled herself.
“I don’t understand why you’ve singled me out to try to imply I alone am somehow failing to perform because of Akumas, but you always seem to do this. I’m at fault for being bullied. I need to be an example and not react when my belongings are destroyed and my locker is broken into. Or when someone gets me expelled by somehow putting test answers in my bag and a new Gabriel-brand necklace—supposedly an heirloom—in my locker that’s been broken into before. I’ve spent the last year feeling I’m not allowed to have emotions. But this is the last straw.”
Marinette stood, picking up her bag. When she glanced down Tikki was giving her the Kwami version of a thumbs up.
“Frankly, Mme. Bustier, you have been toxic for my mental health for quite some time. Time I’ve spent researching to discover what you’re doing isn’t appropriate for the classroom; it’s abusive and reportable. If you’ll excuse me, I need to speak to the M. Damocles, as well as my parents. And perhaps the Board of Governors, as I am no longer willing to tolerate this treatment and its continued harm to my education.”
With that, she marched down the stairs, past an open-mouthed Bustier, and out of the classroom, holding her head high.
Once in the open hallway, clear of the windows, she deflated.
“Well, fuck,” she whispered. “I guess I get to do research on a new collège, too.”
She supposed, at least, she’d been successful at diverting Bustier from the Ladybug accusations; the last thing she needed was for Ladybug-hater Lila to know and come after her.
“You and me both.”
Adrien’s voice behind her nearly made her jump out of her skin. She was relieved to see no one else had followed him. She could hear the hullaballoo of the classroom behind her, all control having been lost.
He quirked a grin. “We’re in it together, Bugaboo. As always.”
She stared, feeling like there was a hamster lolling on the wheel of her thoughts instead of running to turn it.
Adrien took her arm. “Come on. I’ll support you. Let’s go talk to M. Damocles.”
“Ch-Chat?” Marinette managed in a hiss as her brain finally caught up.
He gently guided her forward. “My Lady.”
She wasn’t sure whether she wanted to laugh, cry, scream, or some combination of the three. But as they approached M. Damocles’ office, Marinette pushed the issue aside.
After all, she had work to do, and Ladybug didn’t leave work unfinished.
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So... I've been thinking. I saw a few posts describing Jaskier how he learns to fight and that Geralt buys him daggers so he can protect himself. Other posts pictured Jaskier using a bow. And I like all of those ideas!
Jaskier using a rapier.
This thin, elegant, and glamorous sword made for thrusting but also for cutting and blocking the opponent's strikes. In skilled hands is no match for the common man’s sword. Imagine Jaskier in his full Viscount of Lettenhove mode unsheathing his rapier slowly, as a warning. Imagine him engaged in a duel and winning hands down because, yes, he is a bard, and he doesn't fight and hunt monsters, but he knows how to fight humans perfectly.
Just imagine Geralt watching him using his sword, and being turned on because when Jaskier holds his rapier he is suddenly much more confident, cocky and aggressive, in a graceful way.
And-just-imagine them training, Geralt with his long, heavy sword, Jaskier with his thin and light rapier. Imagine Geralt trying to not hurt him, but Jaskier is fast, faster than Geralt would think, and Geralt, even with his witcher senses, doesn't want to hurt him. So Jaskier goes feral, fierce, harsh, because the rapier is his weapon, a sword made for him and his hands of bard. And he doesn't win, because it's hard to win against a witcher, but he makes Geralt kneel, kneel before him, with the rapier sharp point at his neck.
And Geralt has his heartbeat running faster than ever, and he knows it's not because of the combat. So he knocks off the rapier with his own sword and hits Jaskier behind the knees, making him fall.
The rapier clinks.
And Jaskier breaths in, breaths out, and smiles, licking his lips, tasting his own sweat. Then Geralt helps him to get up, and they lock eyes, still break-breathing, still with a fast heartbeat pumping in their chest. And Jaskier, still feral, still fierce, clicks his tongue, pulls Geralt down by the shirt and kisses him, hungrily, lustful.
And Geralt kisses him back, dropping his sword and unbuttoning his doublet. Fast, faster.
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Long Term Borrowing
Summary: Okay, so maybe Peter has a collection of Tony's shirts. And maybe he was probably supposed to return them at some point. But he'd get around to it eventually. It totally isn't theft.
Except that it probably totally is.
Or, 5 times Peter wears Tony's shirts and the 1 time Tony wears his.
Prompt: Peter Wearing Tony’s Sweatshirt
I also from the bottom of my heart in the most dramatic, unnecessary way dedicate this to @josywbu. This is about as fluffy as I could go without going full cavity.
1. The Hoodie
Peter really hadn’t meant to rip the suit. It had just- happened. Out of nowhere. Except fine, maybe it wasn’t that out of nowhere. But still. And if the rip happened partly because of a stab wound then that was neither here nor there really. It was just a slash anyway. Nothing a few stitches wouldn’t fix. Maybe some rest. Possibly a bandage.
Except, he has none of that at home. And May would just…oh god the yelling. And the panicking. And the berating. So the tower then…except. Peter groans. Just as much yelling, and panicking, and oh the berating.
Ok so he dies then.
Peter considers that for a split second before groaning. Alright, fine. Tower it is. Tony would just call May anyway and snipe about him on the group chat so he could see it later and feel bad. So the whole situation is utterly unavoidable and with great chagrin, he swings his way to the tower.
By the time he reaches his destination, he’s panting from exertion, tears pricking his eyes, his pain threshold now hitting unsustainable proportions. All he really wants are some pain meds and a hug. Maybe two. He sits on the Medbay examination table waiting for the tell-tale door slam and an urgent Tony and isn’t disappointed. “Peter! What happened!” Tony rushes at him, hands patting down his arms and side to see where it hurt.
Pale faced and dizzy, Peter stills finds it in him to say, “I’ve been impaled?”
Tony’s face turns murderous, but his concern ultimately wins out. He peels the suit off as Bruce walks in through the door, snapping medical gloves on. “Hey Peter, fancy seeing you here again.”
“Hey Dr. Banner. Long time no see.”
“Not long enough.” Tony mutters, fretting around him as Bruce wipes his wound down.
“Are you okay? How’s the pain?” Tony asks, already moving to grab the pills Bruce had made special for times like these.
“Maybe just one.” Peter calls out and Tony returns with a cup of water and red gel pill.
Peter swallows it down and then winces as he feels the needle thread through him. Unable to control it, he whimpers, squeezing his fingers around the paper of the examination table. Tony’s expression falls, looking like he wished he could take the pain instead. “You’re gonna be okay Pete. Just a little more. You can do it.”
Peter’s fingers tremble and Tony takes them in his own. His grip around Peter’s hand is firm and Peter savors the strength of it. Seeps himself into it. Strong. Strong. He was strong. He could be strong.
Finally, Bruce ties off the last stitch, taping a bandage to his side and giving him the all clear. “Knowing you, this will heal right up tomorrow night at the latest. Just don’t strain yourself till then okay?”
“Should I give him more meds? Disinfectant?” Tony presses, still holding onto Peter’s hand.
Bruce gives him a little smile, shaking his head. “He’s fine Tony. You can calm down now. His biggest problem is his suit now.”
As though he’s finally noticed it, Tony lets go of Peter’s hand to push his fingers through the sizeable tear in the fabric. Giving him a flat stare, Peter can only chuckle awkwardly. “I can fix it?”
“No. What you’re going to do is rest. What I’m going to do is fix this and get you something to wear so you’re not just chilling in half a spidersuit.”
Tony comes back a bit later with some sweats and a well worn hoodie. Peter pulls it up, unable to help his smile as the faded MIT logo comes into view. “Doesn’t this belong in an antique store? It has to be at least a hundred years old.” he teases and Tony glares.
“Oh hahah, look at you, feeling all better now.”
“What can I say? It’s the good company.” Peter beams and pats himself on the back in his head when Tony cracks a smile, turning away.
“Do you need help with the hoodie, or can you lift your arms okay?”
Peter tests the waters, raising his arms slowly. He winces, but shoulders through the pain, slipping the sweater on, though not without a bit of hassle. “No, it’s okay.”
Tony looks away to let him put on his pants and when he turns around, he has the oddest look on his face. Peter’s hair is mussed, sticking up in places it shouldn’t, the hoodie baggy over his smaller frame, hands stuffed deeply into the centre pocket. Tony almost looks…emotional. Verging on pride and nostalgia. “What is it?” Peter asks, suddenly self-conscious.
Tony shakes his head. Smiles. “Nothing. I just saw you grown up all of a sudden.”
Peter’s face scrunches in that way it always did when he got embarrassed or put on the spot. “I’m not that young you know.” he mumbles.
“You’re a baby. Every fifteen year old thinks they’re old beyond their years. I am old, and I’m telling you you’re nowhere close.” Tony laughs, moving to help Peter get off the table.
“Ok maybe I’m not old but I’m not a baby.”
“Well you sure are swimming in that hoodie.” Tony teases and Peter half-heartedly elbows him in the rib.
“I’m kidding. It suits you kid. Really.” And Tony sounds so genuine Peter believes him.
Peter lets Tony help him down the hall to set him gently down onto the couch. He tells Peter to pick a movie while he calls May to fill her in. His aunt is, understandably, on a warpath when she hears. She promises to lecture Peter till his ears bleed when he comes home and then proceeds to tell Tony off for being too soft.
“You’re putting a movie for him as we speak aren’t you.” she accuses.
Tony whirls around, peering into every corner, “Do you have this place bugged??”
“No. I just know you’re giant softie. Oh sure, just leave the lecturing to May.” she drawls and Tony winces, but he’s trying really hard not to laugh.
“Hey! I think I did ok. Peter, tell your lovely aunt that you feel properly chastised.”
“I feel properly chastised.” Peter says dutifully and he can practically see May’s unimpressed frown.
“Uh huh. Alright. I’ll come pick you up with Happy after we’re done okay?”
Peter wrinkles his nose. “Gross.”
“Yeah Peter.” Tony says, enjoying Peter’s petulant glower.
“Don’t get into any more trouble you two. I’ll be there by the time your movie wraps up.”
“Yes May.” they reply together, both used to just being told what to do by Peter’s fearsome aunt.
Tony sits next to him on the couch, double checking he was feeling okay and that he didn’t need another pill. After the millionth assurance that he was okay, Tony finally clicks play and the movie starts. Peter burrows deeper into the couch cushions, reveling in the feeling of the soft lining of the hoodie, finger absently tracing the textured text. He feels small inside it, held maybe. He feels cocooned from the world, warm and protected and safe.
Maybe it’s the tower, maybe it’s the quiet. Maybe it’s Tony. Invincible and undefeatable. There in a heartbeat, solution always at hand, never far behind. With Tony as his net, Peter could fly with no bounds. He’s limitless.
Nothing bad can happen to him here.
Peter snuggles deeper into the hoodie.
2. The T-Shirt
Tony calls Peter as Decathalon practice is coming to a close. Apparently, he’s made a breakthrough in developing a new material for the Iron Spider’s piercers that Peter absolutely must come and check out immediately. “Already cleared it with May, just check the group chat for when she said you had to be home by, I totally jumped the gun.”
Peter snorts, “Wow, how unlike you.”
“Hush you. And bring something salty. I’m having pregnancy style cravings right now.”
Slightly disturbed, but mostly entertained, Peter swings by a convenience store and picks up a bag of pretzels and some dried fruit because Tony might say he wanted salty but Peter knew how to trick him into eating something marginally healthy.
Tony’s hard at work in the lab when Peter arrives, hunched over a holographic display of the suit. He doesn’t look up when he waves Peter over but stuffs his hand in the bag to fish out the snacks as soon as they’re in reach. “Bless you Parker.” Tony mumbles through crushed pretzels.
“Oh you know, I live to please. So, what we got?”
“I’m trying to harden up the alloy without sacrificing flexibility, but the combination isn’t looking stable…” Tony glances at their 6 Days Since Last Disaster sign and sighs, “There’s only six more hours till the day is done, come on team.”
Peter sits next to him, working out the various equations and safety checks and they’re working in a steady rhythm when Peter sets down his pen. “Honestly, I think we got it.”
Tony twists his lip, looking at him and then the model. “Not too sure about that kiddo…”
“Oh come on, what else can we add? This has to be the right one.” Peter insists and he’s flashing his most persuasive, oh so endearing face and Tony looks torn but then throws his hands up in defeat.
“Oh screw it. DUM-E’s on fire safety anyway. FRI, hit it.”
The machine whirrs and a tip of gold appears, “Yes!! I knew it-”
The explosion cuts him off.
Tony throws himself over Peter, shoving him to the floor as smoke shoots up from the sizzling box. DUM-E screeches and Tony just drops his head in defeat as the fire extinguisher bursts around them, dousing them in white froth.
Silently, FRIDAY changes the mechanical sign to 0 Days.
Peter coughs, sitting up and looking around. “I mean…it could’ve been worse?”
Tony glares. “Six more hours.” he repeats, “SIX.”
Eventually, Tony picks himself up from the floor from his self-pity party and goes to grab Peter some extra clothes to wear considering his are 100% definitely out of commission. He throws Peter a black AC/DC t-shirt and some grey sweats, gesturing for him to run along and get changed.
The hot water from the shower feels particularly good after all the stress of designing an actual explosion and by the time Peter gets out, the mess in the lab is all cleaned up and Tony’s back at work. Tony beckons him over to the work bench and hands him a sketchbook. “Let’s try this again shall we?”
Peter’s totally in the groove of working, the low rock music in the back a steady background noise that keeps beat with the equations in his head. He’s bobbing his head slightly, scribbling away frantically when the door slides open. “Am I hallucinating or are there literally two Tony’s right now.” Rhodey jokes, leaning against the door frame.
Peter blushes, not knowing where to look as Rhodey chuckles to himself. “No seriously. It’s like I’m looking at a carbon copy. Obsessed with the project in front of them to the point of being unhealthy? Check, bad rock band shirt, check. Messy hair and chip crumbs everywhere?” he smirks, “Check.”
“You’re just jealous you weren’t invited to the party earlier sour patch.” Tony retorts, throwing a dried apricot at him.
Rhodey catches it effortlessly, popping it into his mouth and settling next to Tony. “Yeah, yeah, I’m just really jealous of all this quality time. Now show me what you got.”
Together, they manage to figure out a better alternative and as Tony readies everything for the final production, Rhodey just looks at Peter and hides a smile.
Peter taps at his face, self-conscious. “What?” he asks, brows furrowed.
Rhodey shakes his head, but he still looks fond. “Nothing. You just remind me a lot of him. And it’s not just the wardrobe.”
Peter feels the compliment warm him up right down to his toes. Unconsciously, his fingers fiddle with the hem of his shirt and he imagines Tony wearing the same one working on the Iron Man suit or his new arc reactor or any other cool thing he’s ever made. It makes him feel unconventional, inventive and disruptive. It makes him want to try new things and not give a damn about what anyone else thought.
Peter always cared too much. About what he said and how he said it and what every ripple his impact would be. Only when he was Spiderman would Peter feel like he had the confidence to just do what he wanted with no fear. Peter wanted to change the world. He wanted to fix it and save it and protect it and he couldn’t do any of that if he was shy and still trapped in his own skin. But Tony invented a new element in this shirt. He fought off a terrorist crime ring in this shirt. He became the best superhero in the world in this shirt.
So when Peter heads out to go home he hopes Tony doesn’t notice he takes his shirt with him. Peter’s always been inspired by Tony. Since he was little. So he hoped Tony wouldn’t mind that Petr tried to take a little bit of that inspiration home with him.
3. The Cardigan
It’s snowing outside. The awkward period between the leaves falling and slipping on slush have given way to full on blizzards clogging up the streets and delayed traffic. Peter shivers pre-emptively, curling in on himself a little tighter on the couch, his shoulder just brushing Tony’s arm. They’re watching the season finale of Stranger Things and Tony’s uncharacteristically engrossed, hands clenched unconsciously into fists as Eleven faces off the Mind Flayer.
Peter smiles to himself, ducking his head so Tony wouldn’t catch him being stupidly fond but Tony pushes into him, knocking their shoulders together. “If you ask me a million questions later because you weren’t paying attention, I’m not helping you.”
“Rude.” Peter takes on a false airy cheer, “Guess I’m just unloved. Unwanted. Totally abandoned.”
Tony rolls his eyes. “Eleven took down evil incarnate just now and wasn’t nearly as dramatic as you.”
Peter makes a face, gesturing adamantly to the screen, “She’s literally sobbing- right now- into Hopper’s arms. How isn’t that drama??”
“It’s trauma. There’s a difference.”
Peter grabs a pillow and swats Tony’s arm, grinning when Tony’s mouth drops, scandalized. “Oh you’ve done it now Parker.”
Tony grabs the pillow closest to him, an overstuffed rectangle perfect for flailing around and just rough enough it would actually hurt.
Peter’s made a mistake.
But Tony’s smiling wickedly and suddenly Peter’s rolling over the side of the couch, cheeks hurting from how hard he’s laughing as Tony chucks pillow after pillow at him. Peter gets one good swing in before he gets a pillow right in the face. Tony’s doubled over from laughing at Peter’s indignant pout. “What happened to your spidey sense??” Tony can barely get the words out from how hard he’s laughing.
“I was distracted!!” Peter yells, trying to look sullen, but unable to hide the mirth in his eyes.
“By my dashing good looks of course.” Tony strikes a pose and Peter snorts, throwing a pillow at him half-heartedly.
“Oh yeah. For sure. That’s what it was.” Peter drawls.
They stare at each other for a moment and Peter’s suddenly hyper aware of how hard he’s smiling. He looks away, feeling his heart boom with love. He loves it here. He really, truly, genuinely does. He loves the view from all the way up in the tower, loves how he can sprawl on the couch and still not reach the end, loves that Tony keeps his favourite snacks in the cupboard, loves seeing Tony throw his head back and laugh so hard his shoulders shake.
Everything seemed to stress Tony out. And Peter made it his mission to try and brighten Tony’s day when he saw him. Just a little. And it’s when Tony’s shoulders drop as the giggles fade that Peter gets an idea. “Hey Mr. Stark, do you want some hot chocolate?”
Tony looks confused, but in a good way. “I had no clue we even had hot chocolate.”
“Oh you don’t. But I brought some last time because May bought like, five tons of it, at the Costco sale.”
Tony shakes his head, amused, “Your aunt and her sales.”
“Seriously.” Peter agrees, “And then I thought, there’s no way we can drink all of this. I mean, I totally could-”
Tony winces, “Please don’t.”
“I’m not! That’s why I brought them here! I thought you and Miss. Potts could make some for your Christmas Party!”
And Tony’s smiling again. That same soft smile that made Peter want to bask in it. It felt like walking into a sunbeam, a stroke of warmth across your face. “That’s sweet of you kid. Pep’ll love it.”
Peter grins, rushing to the kitchen to boil the milk. Tony gets up to follow him, rummaging through the cupboards. “I’m pretty sure we have marshmallows in here somewhere. Maybe some whipped cream.”
“Wow. Gourmet.” Peter teases.
“It’s blasphemy to drink hot chocolate without marshmallows.” Tony retorts, sounding like he was reading straight from the bible.
“I mean, I agree.” Peter starts, “But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.”
“Well what you gotta do is let me pack in some marshmallows into your cup. And also buy some marshmallows?? I’m paying you a salary for a reason kid.”
Peter sighs, sagging against the island counter top. “Ughhh Mr. Starkkkk.”
“Don’t Mr. Stark me. How much can a pack really cost? Five dollars??”
“I’m saving for college.”
The groan Tony makes rivals the rumbling of mountains. Volcanoes probably. “We’re not doing this again.” he announces.
“It’s too much if you pay for it!” Peter protests, head popping out from beneath his arms.
“I can’t hear you.” Tony presses his hands against his ears, “Blah, blah, FRI you hear anyone talking?”
“Nothing at all boss. Maybe it’s just the wind?”
Tony smirks as Peter sputters indignantly. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Tony mocks, turning off the stove and moving the pot of milk aside.
He pours the contents into two mugs and Peter smiles into his elbow as he sees it’s the pair he had bought Tony last Christmas. They’re super dorky. Like incredibly so. But they made Tony laugh so hard when he saw them that Peter knew they were worth every penny. The first one was a galaxy mug with a cat panicking throughout the cosmos. It had reminded Peter of all the tacky shirts Tony owned. The second was this super lame one he found at a tacky tourist gift shop which was weird considering it had nothing to do with New York at all. Instead, in the world’s ugliest font, WORLD’S NOT WORST BOSS. “I mean every word,” Peter had said, when Tony read it.
“This is how you make the perfect hot chocolate.” Tony declares, swirling in the powder with panache before dropping in four marshmallows and topping it off with a swirl of whipped cream.
He holds up a finger as Peter leaps up to take his cup before pulling out a grater and a bar of chocolate. Deliberately slow, Tony gives Peter a comically haughty grin as he spreads the grated chocolate over the cream. “Wow. Look at that. That’d be ten bucks at Starbucks.”
Peter whistles. “No you’re right. Hot chocolate and three hour omelets? You really are a chef.” he teases and Tony frowns, blocking him from reaching his cup.
“No cocoa for ungrateful brats.”
Peter snickers, trying again as Tony swats his hand away. “Aw come on Mr. Stark, I’m kidding. You’re great. Super great. You know I think you’re like, the coolest person ever.”
Peter looks up expectantly and Tony looks one breath away from bursting into laughter. “No, no, please continue. You were saying how I inspired you every day?”
Peter rolls his eyes, grabbing his cup. “In your dreams maybe.”
“Oh no. My dreams? No they typically involve a spiderkid you might know, except he takes care of himself and doesn’t get chronically injured and doesn’t give his poor old mentor a heart attack every five minutes.”
“Wow, he sounds great.”
Tony shrugs. “Eh. He’s alright.” But when he takes a sip of his drink, he grins, and Peter sees a love greater than the universe inside.
The snow blows down harder, the sky is streaked with white. When the last of the hot chocolate is gone and Peter feels warm right down to his toes, he glances at the time and quirks his lips. “I better head out now. Thanks for upgrading my hot chocolate Mr. Stark.” he jokes.
“It’s what I do.” Tony replies with fake modesty.
Peter packs up his things, swinging his backpack around when Tony makes a face. “Excuse me. Is that how you’re going out?”
Peter glances down at his outfit and then back outside. It wasn’t supposed to snow according to the weather. So he’d just worn his light jacket. “Mr. Stark it’s fine. The subway’s only like, a five minute walk from here anyway. Don’t worry about it.”
“Don’t worry about it? It’s minus a million out there and you’re wearing a rain jacket.”
“It’s still a jacket!”
“It’s nonsense is what it is.” And Tony’s getting up, tugging off his thick cardigan as he comes.
It’s a giant sweater, the kind that had a super thick lining that was so soft it was heavenly. The kind that was expensive and actually warm. Peter already knows what he’s going to do before he does it and he’s protesting, but to no avail. “Mr. Stark no, it’s fine, it’s totally-”
But Tony’s dunked the cardigan over his head. Peter’s head pops out from the top, his hair getting frizzy from the static. “Arms.” Tony commands and sheepishly, Peter pokes out his hands from the sleeves, smoothing everything down.
“Ok. That’s better.” Tony says, examining him up and down.
“Mr. Stark.” Peter whines. “You didn’t have to.”
“Sorry for wanting you to not die of hypothermia.”
“I wouldn’t die.” Peter says under his breath and Tony shoots him a look.
“Don’t make me call May.”
Peter’s eyes widen and his hands fly around, “No don’t! She told me to wear my winter jacket and I didn’t listen and she’ll gloat about it all day Mr. Stark, don’t!!”
Tony snorts, ruffling Peter’s hair. “Listen to your aunt next time kid.”
Peter pretends to push Tony’s hands away before waving. “See you later Mr. Stark. Maybe. If I don’t die or anything.”
“Hey. Don’t joke.”
But Peter just grins. When he walks out into the snow, he’s still pleasantly warm. He pulls his hands up the sleeves, curling the fabric around his fists and pressing his face against his covered palms. He’s warm. Like walking in a sunbeam.
4. The Dress Shirt
Peter calls Tony in the middle of the night on the brink of an unnecessary panic fueled by teenage dramatics and nerves. “Mr. Stark!!” Peter wails.
“Tell me you’re not trapped in a ditch.” Tony says immediately.
“I’m not- no I’m not trapped in a ditch! This is serious!!”
A sigh, the sound of a chair scraping against the floor, and then an exasperated, “Ok shoot kid.” And Peter’s off.
“Remember how I told you I joined DECA? Well I finished my proposal, the one you helped me with and the presentation went really well so they’re sending me to regionals-”
“That’s great Peter, congra-”
“There’s no time for that Mr. Stark, the regionals are super fancy and I’m!!- the opposite of fancy. I’m grungy. I’m pun-y. I’m plebeian.”
And Peter doesn’t need super hearing to catch Tony trying to muffle his snickering, “You’re this worked up over an outfit? Jesus kid, just come by tomorrow. I’ll help you out.”
Peter sags into his bed. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
“Wow. User alert.”
“Hey! I offer hot chocolate and puns. What more do you really want from me?”
Tony just laughs and they chatter a bit more before Peter hangs up, finally letting his body rest now that his worries have been put at ease.
First thing after school the next day, Peter rushes to the tower, announcing his presence to FRIDAY and waiting impatiently in the living room for Tony to meet him. “Hey FRIDAY? Can you tell Mr. Stark if he doesn’t come and help me soon I’m going to spill all his coffee beans down the disposal?”
“TRAITOR!” Tony yells from behind him and Peter stifles a chuckle, turning around with an innocent smile.
“I thought you forgot about me.” He tries to look as unthreatening as possible but Tony rolls his eyes, pushing past him.
“Your bambi eyes won’t work on me. I know what you’re capable of.”
“I threw out your tea leaves one time.” Peter groans as Tony sticks his nose up in the air.
“I’m ignoring you because I refuse to have this conversation again.”
Peter pokes him in the arm repeatedly, “Come on Mr. Stark, I’m sorry. Please don’t ignore me, I need to look really good tomorrow.”
Tony softens as he opens his bedroom door. “I’m sure you would look just fine in anything you have Pete.”
Peter frowns. “They’re super elitist Mr. Stark. And I heard they judge the way you look almost as much as the presentation part. Apparently, it’s real business training.” he says in air quotes, glum and put-out.
Tony’s lips press in a flat line. “Well that seems unfair. But unfortunately for them, you have a billionaire’s closet to shop through. You’re gonna blow their socks off kid.”
He presents his closet with a flourish and Peter’s just a little intimidated by how many options there are. He’s always known Tony was a fashionista. But this is…this is just wild. His shirts are organized by colour and fabric, his suits lined up in a beautiful ombre, his accessories tucked neatly into little organizers. “Woah.” he breathes.
Tony just smirks.
“Ok so the truth is, you’re probably not going to fit into any of my recent stuff, but because I refuse to quit, I kept some of my stuff from when I was actually built like a superhero. Those should fit you fine.”
“Aww come on Mr. Stark, you’re a handsome fella.” Peter teases with a very badly implemented accent.
Tony makes a face. “Yeah, yeah. Now go on, pick something you like.”
Tony plops down on a poof helpfully situated in the middle of the giant closet while Peter stares more or less idiotically at the rows of clothes. He skips past the silk shirts and goes for the more familiar broadcloth ones, pulling off a bright blue shirt and pressing it against himself experimentally. He turns to Tony, expression just begging for help and Tony, to his credit, just leans forward and walks him through the process without a sigh in sight. “Ok first of all, do you have your own suit or should we pick one up?”
“No. I have a suit. It used to be Ben’s but we got it retailored to fit me since it was cheaper. Hold on, I brought it with me…” he runs back to the living room to pick up his suit bag and pulls it out to show it off when Tony’s expression drops into one of scandalized horror as he stares at the turquoise shirt in his hand.
“And you thought that would be a good combination??”
Tony shoots up, shoving Peter onto the seat, tutting under his breath. “Honestly. What do they teach in you schools?”
“I mean, I learned C++ yesterday-”
“-which means nothing,” Tony interrupts, “if you don’t know how to colour code for your big break meeting.”
“It’s not my fault! No one ever taught me.” Peter sulks before an odd weight settles over the room.
It’s like the lights all dim under the shadow of Ben’s death. Peter looks at the floor, embarrassed. He doesn’t want to see Tony soften, his shoulders slacken from their righteous indignation. But like always, Tony breaks the silence between them and says just the right thing. “Well it’s a good thing you got me then huh. No one knows formal attire better than moi.”
Peter’s lip turns up helplessly but Tony’s already spun around, plucking a few shirts off the rack. “Okay. So with navy suits, you can either go plain white, a very, and I mean very, light blue, or a swanky pattern. But since this is a formal event, I’m thinking either this, this, or this.” He holds up a plain white shirt, a pale blue shirt with thin white stripes, and a white shirt with colour blots in various light cool colours.
Peter looks at him helplessly and Tony sighs, tossing the shirts in his general direction. “Not to be too controversial, but you could always try them on, perhaps?”
“No need to be mean about it.” But Peter flashes him a small smile as he tries everything on.
They settle for the stripes.
“It suits you kid. Definitely a look.” Tony nods, then claps his hands, “Ok now for the fun stuff, ties and belt.”
“The key to a good suit is picking a tie colour that’s darker than your shirt for that signature pop. And then getting the tie dimple just right.”
Peter’s head is spinning. “Tie dimple??”
Tony gestures to his own tie, where a perfect, effortless little indent peeks out underneath his knot. “This makes the entire look. It says I’m classy, but I’m not trying.”
“Yeah uhh, I can barely do a normal tie actually.”
Tony gives him a look. “You’re a genius. Learn.”
“Ok so we’ll throw in a burgundy tie, come here, let me show you how.”
Tony grabs a tie for himself and slowly, he walks Peter through the process, his voice low and gentle, hands slow. It takes Peter three tries, but by the fourth, he has a perfect knot, with an effortless indent and he pops the collar down, grinning. He turns to Tony, looking ridiculously pleased with himself and Tony ruffles his hair, proud. “Good job kid. Just make sure you remember it this weekend.”
“Oh God what if I forget. I’m probably gonna forget.”
Tony pokes him in the forehead to get him to calm down, something utterly amused twinkling in his eye. “You’re not going to forget. And if you do just video call me. I’ll lecture you and remind you in three minutes tops.” Peter’s smiles, small and relieved.
“Anyway, for the final touches, we have your belt, which has to match your shoes, which have to be brown.” Tony purses his lips as he stares at his belt collection before pulling down a Prada one.
He examines it a bit more before handing it to Peter and gesturing for him to put it on. “Now tuck in your shirt- flash the belt- there you go.” And Peter stands awkwardly as Tony assesses him like a jeweller.
“Okay, now finishing touch.”
Tony walks to the end of the closet where a little array of what looks like ring boxes are laid out. There’s one box though, it’s worn, its colour faded where it’s been opened and closed. Tony brushes the top, turning his face just a little to glance at Peter, the subtlest of smiles across his lips.
As though he’s made a decision, he grasps the box firmly, opening it up for Peter to show him the simple silver cuff-links inside. On the face, a delicate tree is etched into the surface and Peter can tell these have been worn with love from how many times Tony’s fingers have brushed across their surfaces.
“When I graduated from MIT, I had gotten into a huge fight with my dad over something I can’t even remember anymore. I didn’t want anything to do with him and I was going to blow off the whole ceremony to piss him off when Rhodey came back to our dorm and gave me these.” His fingers trace the metal.
“We had watched a movie the other day and it was this super deep stuff we didn’t really get but there was this part about this tree and love and how sometimes the people that nourish you so you can bloom are the family you find, not the family you have.” Tony smiles and it’s rife with nostalgia and an intense loyalty and adoration that blows Peter away.
“So Rhodey saw these and he was basically a broke ass student but he bought them for me anyway and he asked his mom to bring back some of his old clothes so I could wear something Howard hadn’t bought and he told me under no uncertain terms was I to miss our graduation because he was gonna graduate with me dammit because he deserved it.” Tony’s eyes sparkle and Peter understands why these cufflinks were his favourite despite the rest being embellished with diamonds and gold.
“I think they’d look great on you.” Tony announces, setting the box down to pin the first link through Peter’s sleeve.
“Besides, every man needs a good pair of cufflinks.”
“Wait- I can’t, I can’t keep these.” Peter sputters.
“Too bad. Already gave them to you.” Tony replies, in that annoying way of his.
“But your story- they’re obviously important.” he protests, still unable to pull his wrists away despite his words.
“Stories are only important because we get to pass them down. And I can’t think of a better person to pass this one down to than you.”
Peter stares, caught in a feeling that overwhelms him. He ducks his head, looking instead at the brightness of the silver against his sleeve. “Thanks Mr. Stark.” he whispers. He doesn’t know what more he can possibly say to express how thankful he was the universe set their courses together.
Tony just smiles.
Five seconds later and Tony’s snapping dozens of photos, making Peter move from pose to pose. “Oh my god is this how parents feel when their kids go to prom?” Tony muses as he holds his phone up.
“Well I wouldn’t know considering I might DIE from EMBARSSMENT before I get to go.” Peter mutters, a blush tattooed on his face.
“Hush you, May’s gonna die when I send her these, you’re too much right now.”
But despite all the teasing and the jabs, Peter looks in the mirror and feels good. Really, really good. And when he’s standing in front of the panel, judges staring coldly at him, the anxiety he thought he’d feel melts away as his fingers brush Tony’s- his- cufflinks. He’s wearing Tony’s clothes and his tie has the perfect dimple and his shoes match his belt and somehow, it’s like he has Tony’s confidence too.
Peter is cool and collected and smart. He speaks and the words flow and he unbuttons his suit deftly with one hand when he goes to sit down when the winners are announced. His fingers brush against the engraving of a tree. Love is found, not given. Love nourishes you. It watches you grow.
Love makes him confident.
Peter whips out his phone. Tony’s cell pings.
Two notifications from: Spider-Squad
Spiderkid: I GOT INTO NATIONALS!!!!
Spiderkid: AND A GIRL SAID I LOOKED REALLY GOOD AND ASKED FOR MY INSTA!!
5. All Together Now
Happy decides to take May out for a few days at a lovely little cottage in the French Riviera. When May found the tickets and bookings in the little envelope Happy slid over to her at dinner one day, she burst right into tears. “You do so much for everyone.” Happy had said, “I just wanted to do something nice for you too. This isn’t even a fraction of what you deserve, but we have our whole lives right?”
And even Peter had to admit that was ridiculously sweet. Sickeningly so.
So May packed her bags and kissed him on his cheek and hugged him tight. She had never left him before and while she was excited to go, she’d miss him just as much. But he did his best to assure her that everything would be alright, and that Tony would be good guardian until she came back.
This was technically a good opportunity. As of now, he still had the MIT sweater, the dress shirt, the AC/DC t-shirt and the cardigan. And it wasn’t really stealing because Tony had given them to him, but he was probably supposed to have given them back at some point. So, Peter sighed, packing the shirts up in his overnight bag and taking the subway up to the tower.
Tony isn’t there when he arrives, but it’s only four and while he isn’t CEO anymore, that wasn’t to say he was done with SI business. Peter throws his bag on the couch, flicks on the tv and just switches between channels more or less mindlessly. Half an hour later, he flops on his stomach, pulling out his phone.
Hey Mr. Stark! I was gonna make pasta or something but my legs refuse to move so I’m just gonna order take out instead. I’m feeling Chinese you?
Peter frowns as his phone remains silent. Tony usually always texted back right away. Especially at work. But five minutes turn into ten turn into fifteen and Peter grabs his phone again.
I’ll just grab you chow mein and extra sweet and sour
A beat, and then,
Maybe some spring rolls
Peter pats his hand around his bag, trying to find his laptop, but when he opens his browser, he finds his appetite is completely gone.
Still, he doesn’t want Tony to come back hungry with nothing to eat. So he orders the food anyway and closes his laptop shut, something hardening like a coil inside him. The food comes forty minutes later and Peter lays it all out on the table in neat symmetrical arrays. He adjusts the spot of the fried rice three times before just leaving it, unable to stop from looking back at the door.
He calls Tony at seven. Which meant he really wanted to call at five but didn’t want to look clingy. The call doesn’t go through, just says the caller is unavailable and to try again later.
The food has gotten cold an hour ago and Peter still has no desire to eat any of it. He calls again just to double check but when it fails to connect again, he takes his phone off vibrate and increases the volume to the highest setting.
He has no idea who to call. He has no idea what to do. His first thought is to ask Happy but he’s on a plane to France. He thinks about Rhodey. Maybe even Pepper. But he worries that if he calls he might make a problem from nothing and make an even bigger mess but he has to know what happened, he has to know.
He was just supposed to be at work.
He should’ve been home by now.
Afraid but desperately not wanting to be, Peter reaches inside his bag, pulls out the MIT hoodie he took so long ago and brings it up to his nose. It smells like laundry now. But it’s soft against his face. He tugs it on, curling on the couch, pulling the hood over his head, sleeves over his hands. The hoodie feels gigantic, heavy and solid around him. He closes his eyes, tries to even his breaths.
Wrapped in Tony’s hoodie, he feels faith.
Tony will come home. He always comes home. He fought aliens and terrorists and supervillain wannabees and even his own inner demons and he always pulled through. Peter just had to wait.
He could do that.
But his anxiety is tiring. Worry is exhausting. It nibbles at his bones, wears down his heart. His eyes flutter and he struggles to stay awake to see Tony walk through the doors. But helplessly, he drifts off. He can’t help it. It’s just so warm. Like being in the sun. And it’s soft. Like someone was hugging him hello.
Hours later, in the dead of the night, Tony stumbles into the tower, worry lines creasing his face and looking worse for wear. There’s an ache that strikes deep to his core and he just wants to sleep or yell or somethingsomething but the first thought in his mind is Peter and he rushes to tell FRIDAY to turn on the lights and tell him where Peter is when Tony catches sight of him curled up tightly on the couch.
He has his phone clutched in his hand, close to his ear as though to ensure he wouldn’t miss a sound. There’s a frown on Peter’s face, like he’s caught in a bad dream and Tony can’t help but sit next to his head, letting his fingers brush over his cheek, feather light. It’s then he notices the hoodie. His smile blooms like spring, slowly, then all at once and he feels his heart expand so big it feels fit to burst.
He’s a good kid. The greatest kid. And Tony doesn’t know what he did to deserve this kind of love. Different from every other kind. His friends loved him despite his mistakes but Peter loved him as though he had never made any. As though he could never make any. It was a blind faith born of admiration. The kind children felt about their parents when they were young and thought the word adulthood meant something tangible. It was a love born from looking up to him, idolizing him, wanting to be like him. It was a forgiving love. One that felt like absolution. That he was bigger than his demons and greater than his mistakes and that he was a good man. Something he wanted to be more desperately than anything. Even more than being a hero.
Gently, he pulls the phone out of Peter’s hand and sets it on the coffee table. He reaches for the recliner, pulling the throw off and tucking Peter in. He brushes his fingers through his hair one last time, moving to get up before Peter’s hand stops him. He grabs Tony’s wrist, eyes blinking groggily. “Misser. St’rk?”
“Hey Pete.” he whispers, smoothing out Peter’s hair with his free hand. “Go back to sleep. I’m sorry I came so late.”
“No it’s okay I-” he yawns, his whole face squishing into something ridiculously adorable, “I got you noodles. Cuz you’re hungry.” he says, like it’s a fact.
And shit Tony loves him.
To pieces, to death, to all eternity.
“You hungry?” he murmurs.
“Not really.” Peter answers, pushing himself up and rubbing at his eyes.
He blinks, like he’s suddenly realizing he’s awake and he stares at Tony bug-eyed. “You’re back!”
Tony snorts, hiding his laugh behind his hand. “Yup. In the flesh.”
“Where were you?? I tried calling but they wouldn’t go through and I was worried something had happened but I didn’t know what to do and-”
Tony smushes a hand against Peter’s mouth. “I know. I’m sorry, that’s Fury’s bad.”
“Nick Fury??” Peter mumbles behind Tony’s hand and Tony finally pulls away.
He sighs, throwing himself against the couch. “He more or less kidnapped me because of some ‘credible threat’ against me or whatever. I told him it was fine but he’s one stubborn son of a bitch.”
“There was a threat against you??” Peter’s heart races and he can’t help himself, he opens his senses up as far as they can go as though he can smoke out an intruder in the shadows.
“Peter, there are always threats against me. I’m Iron Man.” Tony says with the confidence of a man without a single fear, “And yet here I am.”
Peter looks unconvinced and Tony just lets out a little breath, poking him in the forehead, letting his hand fall to his cheek. “I’m fine Peter. You don’t have to worry about me. That’s not your job.”
“Can’t help it.” he mumbles and Tony just smiles.
“You know I love you, right?”
Peter blinks, staring at him, dazed. “And I’m sorry I freaked you out. I kept telling him to let me at least tell you I was okay since I knew you’d be walking a hole through my floor with your pacing, but Fury’s just the worst. Never work with him Peter. I mean it.”
“I don’t wanna anyway. SHIELD’s so-” he waves his hand around with a tired expression.
“That is highly factual and extremely accurate.”
Peter sways, looking just about ready to sleep again and Tony gently leads him back down so hid head falls against the pillow. “The noodles.” Peter says, pointing vaguely in the direction he hopes the table’s at.
“I’ll eat, I’ll eat. Relax kid.”
“And your shirts.” he says sleepily, eyes already closed. “I brought them back for you…but I took out your hoodie…sorry.”
“Keep it kiddo. It’s yours. Now go to sleep. It’s late and we have a full day of activities May and Pepper won’t let us do when they’re around ahead of us.”
Peter smiles dreamily and Tony takes one last look at him before he grabs a container of something or other to head down to his room. Before he goes though, Peter shifts in his sleep and says the greatest thing Tony’s ever heard, “Love you Tony.”
+1 It’s All Pun and Games
It’s Game Night at the Parker household which means Tony, Pepper, Happy, Ned, May, and Peter are all crammed in the living room arguing over Balderdash answers when May and Tony move at the exact same time and her red wine spills all across his shirt. She’s aghast, shooting off apologies as she pats at his chest with nearby napkins.
“It’s fine May, don’t worry. It’s an old shirt, close to its final days anyway.” Tony assures her, staring at the growing stain across his chest.
May just winces. “Oh God it looks I shot you.”
Tony snorts, staring down with a comical appraisement. “I mean, yeah, a little hole in my shirt and maybe some more drama, I could totally be a CSI extra.”
“Peter, why don’t you give Tony something to wear for now.”
Peter catches Tony eye and he looks positively giddy. “No. I object. I refused to wear a chemistry pun t-shirt. No.”
Pepper wrinkles her nose. “And I don’t want to sit next to a sticky fiancée either. Go change.”
“You won’t be nearly as attracted to me.” Tony warns and Pepper just rolls her eyes, amused.
“I think I’ll manage somehow.”
“Come on Mr. Stark, with my wardrobe? You’ll look sweeter than 3.14.”
Tony just groans.
He follows Peter into his bedroom where he’s practically bouncing off the walls to get him into something mortifying he can post on Instagram later. “You know, you could technically just give me my hoodie to wear.” Tony points out, flopping on the bed, resigned to his fate.
“Uhh you mean my hoodie? I’m pretty sure you gave it to me. Like, ages ago.” Peter retorts, rummaging around in his closet.
“I’m filled with regret.” Tony announces. With extra drama.
Finally, Peter pulls out a grey t-shirt with type-writer font. “Oh Jesus.” Tony sighs before holding out a hand to begrudgingly take it.
“This one’s hilarious, I don’t know why you’re complaining.” Peter retorts, the widest grin Tony’s ever seen spreading across his face.
“You’re a horrible child. You’re killing me. You’re killing your mentor.”
“Love you!” Peter laughs and it rolls of his tongue so easy, so light, that it makes Tony’s heart clench a little.
Peter shuts the door behind him and Tony can hear him shush the others in preparation for his grand entrance. With a tired sigh, Tony pulls the offending shirt over his head, not needing to smooth it out from how tight it fits before throwing on his sunglasses and swooping out into the living room like he was wearing Gucci and not the clearance rack from Wal-Mart.
A phone camera goes off, then two, then three and everyone’s bursting into hysterics. And really, Tony can’t blame them. The shirt is at least two sizes to small, showing just a hint of his stomach and every contour of his chest. The shirt itself has ALL THE GOOD PUNS ARGON with the element being in its periodic table form. All in all, it’s a ridiculous unnecessary shirt in every sense of the word but Peter’s laughing so hard Tony can’t even hate it all that much.
“Take your photos now because after I go home I’m burning it.” he announces, grabbing May’s glass of wine from her hand to take a long, dramatic sip.
“Mr. Stark! I love that shirt!!”
“Says you shirt thief.”
Peter sputters. “It’s not theft it’s…long term borrowing.”
“Ok then I’m long term borrowing your bad pun shirt. Thanks Pete!”
Peter snatches the candy bowl from out of Tony’s reach, munching aggressively on a gummy bear. “I’m stealing your Black Sabbath shirt.” Peter retorts.
Tony gasps. “You wouldn’t.”
“Boys, boys, boys, there’s an obvious way to settle this, first one to win the game wins any shirt of their choice.” Pepper says, handing Tony the die. “Your turn Tony.”
Across the coffee table, Peter catches Tony’s eye, and laughs.
Tag list: @thedaydreamingwriter
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Cassiel: Hey Johnny! remember when Daddy and Pappa told us the story of PeterPan?
Johnny: yeah, I think so why?
Cassiel: Well?? don't you wanna know what it's like to fly? We have wings ya know!
Johnny: But wait! Pappa hasn't taught us how to fly yet!
Cassiel: Who cares?!
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Mr and Mr Tozier
Beautiful art by the wonderful and talented @meowsteryyy ~
***(Posted with Permission - Commissioned Artwork - Please Do Not Use or Repost)***
“Wow, you look nervous,” Richie chuckled.
“I am nervous. Are you not nervous? How are you this calm?” Eddie said rapidly, with a jerky gesture in his direction.
“Well, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s walking out in front of a bunch of people when someone calls my name loudly through a microphone.”
Eddie turned a wide-eyed glance to the double doors in front of them, listening to the low hum of voices and scraping back of chairs on the wooden floor that indicated that their guests were taking their seats.
Richie shook his head and took the couple of steps separating them. “I can’t believe this is the part you’re the most nervous of, Eds. We literally stood in front of these same people and got married in front of them, like, twenty minutes ago.”
Eddie turned his attention back up to Richie - eyebrows scrunched low over his eyes and mouth turned down into a worried line. Richie leaned forward and kissed the wrinkle between his eyebrows. He remembered how badly he'd wanted to do that when they met again at the Jade. And virtually every time he'd seen him after that. Richie reached out and gently cupped a hand over Eddie’s scarred cheek, feeling an odd sense of deja vu for a time when his worried brown eyes peered up at him just like that, in a dark, dank cavern right before they fought fear itself. This time though, he’d just married the wonderful man who had proposed to him, and there was nothing that was ever going to come between them again.
Richie smiled softly, feeling a familiar burn at the corners of his eyes. He’d smiled so much that the muscles around his eyes were aching where they’d been pushed and crinkled all day by his uncontrollable grin. The only time he’d stopped was when he’d burst into tears at the altar mid-vows. Eddie had smiled, said, “c’mere you big baby”, and wiped his tears away. (He'd even wiped his nose with the decorative handkerchief out of his own pocket, and if that wasn’t true love Richie didn’t know what was.)
“You’re braver than you think,” Richie said eventually, his voice thick with the same kind of certainty he’d had back then too.
Eddie let out a breath of air and his pinched lips relaxed as his whole expression softened.
God, he loved him so much.
“I just want to stay here with you really,” Eddie admitted with a soft smile.
“Don’t tempt me! We can miss the meal, I don’t care, fuck the rest of the wedding! We did the important bit! Just say the word, Eds, we can run away and get married in Vegas!”
“Rich, I am not having a Vegas wedding. We literally just got married. We’re still at our current wedding.” Eddie’s dark eyes twinkled with amusement.
Richie looked towards the ceiling and willed himself not to cry just before they had to walk into the dining hall full of their friends and family.
Eddie smiled and Richie could feel it under the hands still cradling his cheeks. His scar shone out of the hollow beneath one of his thumbs, so he stroked it gently over the raised scratch of silver. “We really did it,” he croaked in a cracked and watery voice.
“We did it... We’re still doing it,” Eddie said with a huff of amusement. Then his attention suddenly returned to the door. "Oh, shit, we’re about to get announced in. Fuck. I need a drink... my mouth is so dry.”
“Well my hands are so sweaty - you can lick ‘em.”
Eddie let out a burst of honking laughter, and it was the most ridiculous, beautiful sound Richie had ever heard. Warmth shot through his whole body as he watched his new husband barely hold himself together. God, he’d lived to see Eddie laugh like that when they were kids, but even now, there was nothing better in the whole world.
“You’re so gross,” Eddie managed eventually.
“Is that a no?” Richie asked with feigned innocence, pushing his palms towards Eddie’s face. He swatted them away with noises of protest between his laughter, which only prompted Richie to laugh too - all nasal snorts - and he wiggled his fingers playfully before he tried to smoosh his large hands over Eddie’s mouth.
They were so lost in their own world of laughter and love that they almost missed the announcement of, “Everybody cheer for Mr and Mr Tozier!”, as the doors in front of them swung open.
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have you heard the news????
chapter 8 AND chapter 9 of diners, drive-ins, and dumbasses (zukka food network AU) are now live!
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Relationships: Alya Césaire & Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir & Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Alya Césaire & Lila Rossi, Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug & Lila Rossi, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir & Lila Rossi
Characters: Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Alya Césaire, Lila Rossi, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir
Additional Tags: Bullying, Friendship, Boundaries, Lila Rossi salt, Alya Césaire Redemption, Peer Pressure, Alya sugar, Friendship might be magic but so’s necromancy, Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir Needs a Hug, Hugs, Harassment, Lila Rossi Lies, No means no: friendship edition
Summary: Alya insists Marinette needs to give Lila a chance. Marinette is tired of that argument.
Note: I can see Alya being drawn into this, as Lila is a manipulator who preys on people’s virtues and turns them into liabilities—that’s the most insidious thing about Lila. Since Alya’s big on justice, perceiving Marinette as unjust/unfair based on Lila playing the victim could be a big trigger for her. But I also think she it’d be easy to snap her out of it.
Marinette ignored the shadow that fell across her sketchbook, hoping to stave off the inevitable, counting silently.
At 17, Alya cleared her throat. Marinette finished the line she was on before looking up.
Lila was behind Alya. Behind them were several other members of the class.
Marinette regretted her decision to stay at school for lunch.
“Girl, you really need to give Lila a chance,” Alya started.
This had been going on for too long. She closed her sketchbook, balancing it on her knees, and adopted a look of professional interest. “Why?”
Alya looked taken aback by the question, and Lila started a few theatrical sniffles. In the background, she noticed that Adrien had arrived back at school, and was headed over, attracted by the group.
Marinette let silence fill the air for a moment. “Alya, if a boy insisted I have a relationship with him even though I wasn’t interested, would you insist I ‘give him a chance’?” she finally asked.
“That’s different!” Alya exploded. She looked furious, but there was a hint of unease there as well.
She tilted her head. “How?”
Alya made a couple starts and stops at trying to answer before managing, “It’s not romantic!”
“So you’re saying I am required to enter any relationship someone wants so long as it’s not romantic? Like if Chloé decided I had to be her new bestie?”
They all knew what that meant, from Chloé’s treatment of Sabrina.
Alya stared at her, nonplussed.
Marinette slid her sketchbook under her arm and stood, bringing herself to Alya’s eye level.
“Alya, I don’t have to agree to any relationship I don’t want to, regardless of what the relationship would entail. No means no. I don’t have to like anyone I don’t want to, and expecting me to pretend is expecting me to lie. And as I’ve said before, I don’t like liars.”
Alya looked shocked and uncertain. A look of rage crossed Lila’s face before being hidden behind fake tears. Behind her, their classmates looked torn—they clearly wanted to comfort Lila, but maybe they realized Marinette had a point, that it was wrong to force her to befriend her.
Behind them, Adrien had stopped, an amazed and almost flummoxed look on his face.
Marinette walked around the group to him. “A-Adrien? Are you okay?”
She found herself shoved out of the way as Lila rushed to cling to him. “She’s so mean!”
Adrien came out of his daze at her touch, frowning at her. Then, surprisingly, he pulled his arm out of her grasp.
“I keep asking you to stop touching me,” he told her. “And Marinette doesn’t have to be friends with anyone, especially someone who nearly got her expelled.”
Absolute silence greeted that pronouncement, no one offering any defense of Lila. Lila herself looked like she’d been sucker-punched. It was a good look on her.
Marinette stared at him open-mouthed. He’d said they were in this together, but he’d stayed silent until now and she’d started to doubt it. When he turned to her, she felt like a deer in headlights.
“I really needed to hear that, Mari. You’re right: no one has to be friends with anyone they don’t want to. Your boundaries should be respected.”
“S-so should yours,” she squeaked.
The smile she received was like witnessing a supernova, it was so bright. She felt like a planet in its blast wave, about to explode.
But instead when he stepped forward and folded her into a hug, it felt like the world had turned right side up for the first time in months.
When the hug ended, a hand on her shoulder startled her.
Alya’s expression was almost hangdog. “I’m sorry, girl. You’re right. It’s not any of my business, and I shouldn’t be pressuring you.”
Marinette offered her a little smile. “Thanks, Alya.”
She knew Lila would try to get back at her somehow, that she’d have to be on her toes. But with Adrien by her side and her classmates no longer pressuring her and maybe Alya free of Lila’s claws at least a little bit, Marinette felt like maybe she could handle it.
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Dick sat in front of his little brother’s grave, legs pulled up to his chest and arms wrapped around them. Resting his chin on one of his arms, Dick closed his eyes and felt a tear fall down his face.
He hadn’t even said anything yet.
“We miss you,” he said, voice wobbling. “We miss you a lot. And I know I shouldn’t have the right to say that, because I wasn’t--wasn’t around.” Dick sniffled a little, rubbing his face against his hand to wipe away the tears.
He didn’t open his eyes, but he knew Jason had shown up.
Or his hallucination had, anyways.
“For what?” not-Jason asked.
Dick opened his eyes and stared at the angel on Jason’s headstone, not-Jason sitting to his right.
“All of it,” Dick answered. “I’m sorry for all of it.”
Not-Jason snorted. “S’vague bullshit, Grayson, and I don’t wanna hear it.”
“What do you want to hear?”
“Lots of things, Dick. But ya can’t help me. Jus’ give me a reason you’re sorry.”
Dick sat and stared and thought. Vaguely he was aware this was becoming an issue--him seeing his dead little brother so often and just about everywhere--but he didn’t care. He’d rather hallucinate and see Jason than forget how he looked, how he sounded, how he spoke. Anything was better than forgetting.
So he talked.
“I’m sorry for not being there for you. I’m sorry you had to try and ‘live up’ to me. I’m sorry I let you wander the manor halls alone, with all their ghosts lingering everywhere in every picture frame and floorboard creak. I’m sorry I let you go to sleep in your big room and your big bed without someone to help you adjust. I’m sorry you had to adapt to it without me.”
Dick shut his mouth for a second before opening it.
Jason cut him off.
“Dick, I swear on my grave, f’you apologize for ‘failing me’, m’gonna scream.”
Huffing out a short laugh, Dick looked directly at his hallucination and Jason turned his head to return the look.
It was so much like the real Jason, wearing cargo shorts, a red t-shirt, sneakers, skin still that light tan, eyes their glimmering teal, and hair all messed up, that it almost ached to see him. Almost.
“I won’t apologize for failing you, then,” Dick said, a pang and a weight attaching themselves to his heart.
“Good. Bruce apologizes ‘nuff for all a’ya.”
Dick hummed and his tears blurred his vision.
Because he knew this would end. He knew that, once all was said and done, he was still talking to a figment of his torturous imagination. He knew that Jason was still gone, and that he was never going to see him again. He knew that he was never getting a second chance to fix all that he’d wronged.
In the end, he was still talking to the memory of a dead boy.
“I miss you,” Dick repeated, voice cracking terribly. “I miss you. I want you to come back. I want to say sorry to your face and hug you and be the big brother I’ve always wanted to be, I--”
He didn’t wipe at his eyes, but let the tears fall as he closed his eyes again.
“I want my little brother.”
When Dick opened his eyes, Jason was gone.
And he was alone, because his little brother was dead, and Jason wasn’t ever going to come back.
He’d died all over again.
The tears raced down his face faster as Dick cried, burying his face in his arms and curling up as much as he could, the sobs tearing throughout his body and making him shake with the force they carried. His heart felt like an elephant had decided to take a nap in it, and it ached and throbbed, but Dick was powerless to do anything but cry.
Each tear Dick cried was an apology. Every pang and throb in his heart was a scream to the heavens. Every gasp was a regret. Every shudder was a plea.
Every heartbeat was a life sentence.
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Let’s Hear It For Captain America!
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Summary: For Halloween, you thought it would be hilarious to dress up as a salacious version of his best friend. Bucky was not amused.
You dress up as Sexy Captain America and Bucky ruins your costume.
(For @sherrybaby14 Fall Into You Challenge! Thank you, this was so fun!)
Prompt: “The only scary thing here is you.”
Chapter Warnings: Rough sex with a rough Bucky
Word Count: 6.2k
You trekked carefully down the metal staircase, mindful of your shaky ankles. The knee-high red boots were probably not the best idea, but you didn’t have far to go.
Plus, there was no way in hell you were getting rid of the boots. The look didn’t work without the boots.
Reaching the next landing, you checked over one shoulder to make sure your companion hadn’t fallen behind. One grumpy super soldier, a James Buchanan Barnes, followed you in sullen silence, his blue eyes narrowed into thin slivers of ice.
“Come on,” you needled him plaintively. “It’s one night. One party. It won’t kill you to make nice with the neighbors.”
He made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a sigh. You rolled your eyes and turned away, knowing the lecture you would receive later.
I’m being actively hunted by the U.S. Government, which puts you in direct danger.
The point of hiding is to stay hidden.
HYDRA could still be out there.
Blah, blah, blah.
“We’re spending Halloween in Romania,” you pointed out for probably the tenth time. “I’m not missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Bucky remained silent, probably grateful that you’d given up trying to get him to wear a costume. He hadn’t thought dressing up in a store-bought version of the Winter Soldier had been very funny. You understood his reluctance, but you also wondered if he had left his sense of humor in 1945. Your costume shouldn’t have brought up any negative emotions for him—quite the opposite—but he seemed to hate it even more than the commercialized Winter Soldier getup.
It didn’t matter. Bucky could protest all he wanted; he couldn’t stop you from wearing it.
You only had a couple floors to go and soon you arrived at the actual party. You found it to be a nice little break from the monotonous space of your tiny apartment you shared, but you knew Bucky wouldn’t feel the same.
It was part of the reason you were trying to pull him out of that granite, impregnable shell. You had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to show him that there were perks to living under a false identity. You got to make up who you were. No one knew about your past and you could start fresh.
Bucky didn’t seem to see it that way, and he remained as sullen as the first time you met him.
The entire building seemed to be alive around you now, everyone’s doors opens as little kids and teenagers ran from apartment to apartment.
Already anticipating that the quick movements would set him on edge, you reached back and took Bucky’s right hand in your left. It was warm and solid underneath the gloves he always wore. As you predicted, his fingers were tense and rigid, but as you kept walking they gradually relaxed and slowly hooked around yours.
It wasn’t unusual for you to give him a light touch; for you to maintain your cover as a married couple, some physical closeness was necessary in public. He never initiated contact, however, leaving the awkwardness of that to you. Just another way the guy didn’t make your life easier.
When you arrived at the party, it was already in full swing. Most of the adults were in costume, though many weren’t, only there to keep track of the younger kids. Tiny Hulks and miniscule Iron Men and even a few small Captain Americas were spotted running around the party. You were simultaneously disappointed and relieved there were no little Winter Soldiers terrorizing the place, but you knew the costumes were definitely out there. Ever since S.H.I.E.L.D.’s files had been released to the public, everyone knew about the tragic story of Captain America’s best friend-slash-turned unwilling enemy. It had captured the public’s imagination, and Bucky insisted he couldn’t understand why people were so enthralled by it.
It made you wonder if he had a romantic bone in his body. Being with him on the run for a year-and-a-half, you had little evidence to the contrary. The only time he showed you any kind of affection was to convince the neighbors you were married, and even then, his affections were stilted and clearly made him uncomfortable.
You sighed and leaned against the wall as you overlooked the party, which by now was spilling over onto the balcony and the stairwell. You had lost track of Bucky a minute ago and half-believed he had run off back to the sanctuary of your apartment.
Left alone, it didn’t take long for the other building tenants to wander over and start chatting, or rather start flirting, with you. You weren’t sure why this was something that happened to you ever since you’d lived in Bucharest. When you’d been single and available, no one would look at you twice.
And now that you were supposedly a married woman, men seemed to flock around you. At first it had been flattering; now you wanted to punch out all their teeth.
You managed to disentangle yourself from not one, but two of them, until Kyle managed to corner you. You sighed, trying to appear not completely put-off as he leaned against the wall and began talking despite your body language telling him very clearly you weren’t interested.
This wasn’t the first time Kyle had started flirting with you, and you doubted it would be the last. Even with the fictitious wedding ring on your finger, and the fact Bucky glared murderously at him whenever he was in sight, Kyle didn’t seem to take the hint.
You tried to do your best to brush him off and scanned the room for signs of Bucky. It shouldn’t have been difficulty with his height and broad shoulders, but he had the uncanny ability to blend into any crowd, even a colorful one at a Halloween party—
A hand was on your bare thigh, sudden and invasive. Without thinking, you punched Kyle in the side of his ribs so fast it almost looked like a playful gesture. He bent over and held his side as he gave a wheezing cough.
“I think he’s had too much to drink,” you said to Evangeline when she looked over at the two of you. She made a sympathetic face and walked over, grabbing one of his arms.
“Come on,” she told him wearily. No doubt she’d had to deal with a drunk-Kyle before. Kyle looked up at you with a shocked expression, but the smile you returned was as sweet as the pumpkin cupcakes next to him on the table.
“Fucker,” you muttered under your breath once he was out of sight. Your smile began to fade only to return, genuine this time, at the sight of Bucky returning with two cups of what looked like fruit punch. His jaw was tense and his eyes were a little too watchful under the brim of his black baseball cap. Even now, in the midst of a family Halloween party, he refused to drop his guard.
In a way, his constant vigilance made you feel safe. Not that you would ever dream of telling him that.
“I thought a tiny Black Widow had chased you off,” you joked as you took the cup he handed you. You surveyed the room and tilted your chin towards a corner where a group of baby Avengers had assembled. “They are scary little things, aren’t they?”
You tipped the cup towards your mouth. Bucky’s lips were suddenly against your ear as he said in a low voice, “The only scary thing here is you.”
You choked and sputtered on the sweet drink. Bucky put a concerned hand on your shoulder as you coughed up the liquid that had gone down the wrong pipe.
“I am not! Scary!” you protested between coughs, your cheeks heating as you glared up at him. You hoped he took your blushing as a reaction to nearly choking, not by the strange thrill that had filled your gut at the sensation of Bucky’s voice right in your ear. “This costume was a stroke of genius and you almost made me spill punch on it.”
“Mmm, shame,” he replied evenly. But you noticed the crinkles at the corner of his eyes and knew he was in the vicinity of a smile. “But that wasn’t what I was referring to. Your form is getting better.”
You wiped at your mouth and tried not to blush at his praise. It was getting to the point in your pining where he could read combat techniques from a drill manual and you would still find it sexy. Sad, really sad, but this was your life. All you had was the fantasy, never the real thing, and it didn’t help that lately he had been doing things like stripping off his shirt before going into the bathroom to shower. Or you’d wake up and he’d be making breakfast while shirtless.
In fact, a lot of your fantasies had started to revolve around him starting off shirtless, exposing his sculpted muscles shamelessly. If you hadn’t known him better, and considering how long you’d been living together you thought you knew him as well as any one person could, you would have thought he was doing it on purpose. Bucky Barnes the strip-tease. God only knew the talking down you would have gotten if he had any idea the gremlin thoughts running through your little head.
Ah, well. At least he wasn’t reprimanding you for punching one of your neighbors.
You reluctantly pulled your eyes away from the object of your longing and looked down at yourself to make sure none of the pink liquid had gotten on your uniform.
The uniform in question had not only been brilliant, it had also been a move of desperation. Nearly all of the costumes at the store had been sold out, expect for one Sexy Captain America that was just your size.
It wasn’t so much a Cap “uniform” as it was a red, white, and blue showgirl dress with a white star emblazoned on the chest. Your favorite part was the ridiculous felt helmet, complete with a pair of little wings on the side of your head.
You thought it would be hilarious to dress up as a salacious version of his best friend.
Bucky had not been amused.
You downed the rest of your punch, disappointed it wasn’t spiked, and sighed through your nostrils. “I think I’ve had enough fun. You?”
He made a noise of affirmation, and you expected him to make a fast bee-line toward the door. Instead, he placed a hand at the small of your back and guided you out in a gesture that was perfectly normal for couples but felt especially intimate tonight. Knowing the fingers were metal underneath the glove did nothing to quell the sudden heat curling in your lower belly.
You were really glad to be leaving now. At least back in the apartment you could distract yourself with a cold shower.
The sound of the party receded behind you, and sighed in audible relief once you were back in the safe quietness of your living space. It was a small studio, barely big enough for one person let alone two, but you made it work. At first, because you had to, but now you genuinely liked living with the quiet, albeit sometimes surly, super soldier.
It was too bad with all of his sharp-eyed observation he continually failed to notice you as more than just a co-habitant.
You pulled off the cheap cloth helmet and shook out your hair. Bucky was watching you out of the corner of his eye, no doubt silently judging you yet again for your choice in clothing. You looked down at your uniform one last time, reluctant to put it away. Who knew if you would be here next Halloween, and the realization filled you with surprising sadness.
And then you noticed it. The glaring pink stain on one arm of the white star.
“Oh, come on.” Not worried about Bucky’s judgement now, you rushed into the kitchenette and pulled off one of the washcloths hanging on the oven door, wetting it under the faucet. “If it doesn’t come out, you’re buying me a new one,” you muttered as you rubbed at the stubborn stain. It wasn’t coming out. You scrubbed harder, grumbling under your breath.
Bucky didn’t answer, but you were too busy fussing over the fabric to care. You made an annoyed noise when the water dripped down the front of your uniform and onto the floor. You leaned over the edge of the sink so you wouldn’t make such a mess.
Something warm and solid bumped against you.
It pinned you against the counter. Your surprise was quickly replaced with shock when Bucky’s hands reached around you to grip the edge of the sink.
He was bodily pressed against your entire back. Your heart raced in your chest as your mind shuddered to a halt.
“You wanted to wear the damned thing,” he rumbled into your ear. “Not my fault you can’t keep it clean.”
You couldn’t form any words. Not with the way his hips were pressed against you and his hard chest on your back. You couldn’t react when he took the cloth from you and began to slowly and deliberately clean the star right between your breasts.
“Um…” you repeated, completely gobsmacked.
“Yes?” he asked, so casually, as if what he was doing was completely normal. As if his breath wasn’t hot on your neck. As if his hands weren’t practically on your breasts. As if the erection you definitely felt straining against his jeans wasn’t pressed into your ass.
What the hell had gotten into him? You felt like a deer trapped in the headlights. Or one frozen in fear as a predator prepared to lunge and sink his teeth into her neck.
“This is…” Your voice trailed off, sounding semi-breathless to your own ears.
“…what you get when you strut around, teasing me with your bare thighs and glimpses of those black panties?”
Heat flushed through you like an electric jolt down a wire.
“I wasn’t strutting,” you snapped in a voice too high for your normal vocal range. “And I wasn’t… teasing you, either.”
“No?” he murmured against your ear. You felt the bare fingertips of his right hand trace up the outside of your thigh, making you jump. “Then I guess you’re not wearing black panties, either.”
Before you could stop him, he slid his hand up your poofy skirt, hooked a finger in the side of your underwear, and pulled on them far enough so he could see that they were, indeed, black.
Then he released them and the elastic snapped against your hip, making you give an indignant, “Hey!”
Bucky spun you around and pressed your back against the counter as he stared down at you, eyes dark and heated.
“What?” he prodded in a tone edged like a blade. “If I noticed, you can bet those men you were talking to did too. And to think.” He lowered his face closer to yours, his bright blue eyes drifting down to your lips. “You’re supposed to be a married woman.”
His hands were on your arms now, one warm and calloused while the other cool and unyielding. You tried to ignore the contradictory sensation and regain your wits to try and figure out what the fuck was going on with him. Was Bucky actually pissed or was he just messing with you? You didn’t know, but either one was very unlike him.
Besides, you were the one who would tease and flirt with him, all harmless in an attempt to get him to crack. His stoic façade had never shattered once, so his abrupt turnaround was a complete mystery to you.
“Well, I’m not a married woman,” you responded with a defiant lift of your chin. If he thought you were falling for his bluff, he was going to be disappointed. “So mind your business what I do with other men.”
Without warning, he thrust his thigh between your legs, forcing them apart. You gave a startled noise as he pressed his entire body against yours so the top of his thigh met your clit through your panties.
You gave a startled moan and immediately bit your lip, but it was too late. He’d heard it too. He raised his eyebrows in a mock question, a very faint smirk on his lips.
You sputtered and tried to recover your dignity.
“Bucky, what the fuck. What are you—“
“Shhh,” he hushed you as he rubbed his thigh against you. You gave a small whimper, and pressed your legs together harder. It made the pressure even more intense, which was precisely what you didn’t want.
He pulled his leg away from your pelvis and you sighed in relief. The sigh turned into a small cry when he reached forward and shoved his right hand down your panties, his fingers sliding between your folds.
“Hmm, yeah. Just as I thought,” he practically purred. His metal hand was at the back of your neck, curling his fingers into your hair.
Before you could protest, he spun you around again back to your original position, this time with his hand down your panties. He lightly gripped you around the neck with his metal hand, an unspoken warning to hold still. You were too overwhelmed to move, his warm fingers against your clit rendering you basically helpless.
You dug your fingertips into his arm but didn’t shove him away. If anything you were using him as an anchor as your knees began to wobble.
“Bucky,” you tried one more time. Pleading for something you couldn’t identify.
He hushed you again, sounding more like himself for a moment. Your grumpy, quiet, gentle Bucky.
“I’ve got you.”
His lips were on the side of your neck, and you were too far gone to care what he did to you.
You moaned and tilted your head to the side, lulling your head against his shoulder as he began to fuck you with his fingers. All the tension and unrequited attraction came to a head, and it wasn’t long before the pressure between your thighs began to build.
“Bucky,” you whined again, more urgently this time.
“You wanna play at being Captain America? Super soldiers have more control than that.” He lightly nipped at your earlobe and dropped his voice. “We also have an inhuman amount of stamina.”
You couldn’t even begin to process that statement before he was speaking in your ear again, low and rough.
“You’re so close, I can feel it.”
You never thought you would hear that voice talk dirty to you, and it was going to ruin you for every other man in existence, without a doubt.
“Do you want to come on my fingers?”
You could hear the teasing smirk in his voice, but you didn’t care. Whatever front you had tried to put up had vanished into thin air, probably around the time he had put his hand down your underwear.
“Yes,” you croaked, needy to your own ears. “God, yes.”
“Ask me nicely,” he drawled. It was cruel, the way he weaponized his voice against you, and he must have known exactly what he was doing. You felt him prod the shell of your ear with his tongue and you whined pathetically.
“Please, Bucky. God, please, I need you.”
His fingers paused for a moment. You thought you were in trouble. You hadn’t meant to expose yourself like that.
But then Bucky slid his hand down and prodded at your entrance before pushing inside with two fingers, his thumb on your clit as he curled his fingers against the sensitive flesh inside.
You cried out a curse, bending your head back. Bucky released your neck and pushed down the top of the dress, exposing your breasts. He took one nipple in his metal fingers and delicately rubbed it between them. It sent a jolt down your spine and through your gut, causing you to clench around his fingers as the dam finally broke and you voiced a wordless cry.
He held you through your release, his arm around your waist practically the only thing holding you up.
You didn’t have the wits or the time to contemplate that ominous statement. Bucky released you, grabbed the back of your neck in his metal fingers, and bent you forward over the edge of the sink.
Your protest turned into an indignant squawk when he tore off what was left of your ruined panties, and he didn’t stop there, rucking up the skirt around your hips as he caressed his calloused hand over your skin. He explored down the curve of your ass, and without warning, slipped two fingers into your soaking folds.
You squirmed and bit off a moan, but his metal hand on your nape kept you in place.
“Now,” he said, far too casually for someone holding you down and slowly finger-fucking you against the sink, “do you want it like this, bent over because you can’t wait another second for someone to fuck you? Or…”
He added a third finger and you hit your knee against the counter as your body jolted. You clenched your jaw to keep from crying out; the walls were thin, and you really didn’t want your neighbors to hear what they should have heard long before now if you’d actually been spouses.
You felt a warm weight across your back as he leaned over you.
“…do you want me to put you on the counter and fuck you right there? Make it so you can never make another meal again without thinking of me between your legs?”
“Oh, God,” you stuttered out, unable to pull forth a full sentence.
“Choose.” He slid his fingers out of you, tortuously slow, his breath hot on your cheek. “Or I’ll choose for you.”
“Bucky,” you whined breathlessly. It wasn’t fair, you could barely function, barely think, and he was demanding the impossible.
“Counter? Or sink?”
You moaned pitifully, shivering as your thighs tightened and your walls lightly pulsed around his fingers. If he kept this up, you were going to come again, and he must have sensed that because he pulled out almost immediately. You gave a pathetic noise at the sudden emptiness.
“Looks like it’s dealer’s choice.”
He released the back of your neck and grabbed your hip, metal fingers gripping your flesh as you felt the head of his cock slip between your folds and push against your entrance. You were shivering by this point, perfectly still otherwise, and you didn’t realize you were holding your breath until he said, “Breathe.”
You exhaled shakily, your hands gripping the edge of the sink in a desperate grip.
As you breathed out, Bucky began to push. You shut your eyes tight and he said, “Relax,” and loosened his hold on your hip. He rubbed the flesh he had been gripping a moment ago, and you relaxed automatically.
“That’s my girl,” he said soothingly, the edge of humor back on his voice. “You just need a gentle touch to get all soft and pliable. A few seconds with me and you’ve got no more hard edges. That’s what those boys out there don’t understand. They’re all fumbling hands and no skill.”
If his sinful tone hadn’t made you melt, the feel of him pushing his cock inside you sure as hell would have. He was slow and careful, but with how slick you were it wasn’t too difficult for him to fill you the rest of the way. Still, the stretch was a lot to get used to, and you bent your head forward and groaned at the sweet burn of it.
When his hips were flush against you and his cock was firmly embedded inside, you shuddered hard and gave a muffled whimper.
He cursed under his breath, his grip on your hips tightening again. “You really don’t know how to relax, do you? You say I’m a tight-ass, but it’s nothing compared to your actual tight-ass.”
You tried to laugh, because honestly what else could you do in this insane situation, but it came out as a choking groan. He wasn’t kidding; either you were really tight or he was just too much. You could feel every inch of him straining at your walls, and you were almost afraid to move.
“Come on, sweetheart,” he said, the touch of his hands on your hips a light stroke as if you were his pet. “Use your words. Tell me what you want.”
As if he didn’t already fucking well know. Bastard knew exactly how to get under your skin even as he was balls deep in you.
“Asshole,” you hissed between clench teeth.
“I was planning on working up to that,” he said with a laugh just on the edge of his words. “But I mean, if you want to I’m more than willing—“
This time he did laugh, and the jostle of his hips was enough to send a tremor through your walls.
It was little wonder you finally snapped, spouting your words like fire.
“Goddammit, Bucky, just fucking fuck me already before I die here impaled on your dick like some kind of human shish kebab—“
He pulled his hips back until his cock was halfway out of you, and slammed forward.
The cry that left your mouth was both nonsensical and far too loud. You bit down on your hand just as he did it again, pulling even further out this time before thrusting back into you. The sound of flesh impacting flesh was obscene in the small space of the apartment, but you wouldn’t have made him stop no matter if the entire building heard.
Bucky took your hand from your mouth, tsked at the teeth marks imprinted in your flesh, and pulled your arm behind your back. Bucky did the same with the other hand, effectively pinning both of your wrists with his flesh hand as he continued to grip your hip with the metal one.
“None of that,” he said in a low, almost soothing tone. “Let them hear how much you’re enjoying it. In fact, I prefer it.”
You groaned in protest, or maybe in overwhelming need, it was really hard to tell with the friction building inside you.
He continued to roll his hips but picked up the pace, and the uncomfortable tension of your arms behind your back forced your spine to arch and your hips to angle upward, allowing him to reach deeper. The ache in your shoulders was completely muted by the growing electric pressure in your core.
You choked out his name, a plea to keep going, to never stop, and he rammed into you harder but with shorter strokes. The constant motion against the sensitive spot inside you kept building and building until tears leaked from under your lids and you thought you might combust.
He murmured encouragement; he had to have known you were close from the way you were squeezing around his cock. Without warning, you crested over the ridge, sparks exploding before your eyes as your body went taut. You cried out his name, breathy but unmistakable. Bucky released your wrists and you gripped the sink, hanging your head forward as you tried to catch your breath.
He pulled out suddenly and you would have fallen if he hadn’t grabbed you around the waist and turned you around, lifting you up onto the counter. You stared at him, nearly eyelevel now, dazed and shivering from the aftershocks.
You had never seen an expression like this on his face before, the ring of blue bright and intense as the black of his pupils expanded. There was color high on his cheeks and a thin sheet of sweat on his forehead, and his lips were pink and recently bitten.
You wanted nothing more than to taste those lips, but before you could even try, he leaned forward and pressed against you, using his hand at the base of his cock to aim, dragging the head against your entrance. The shaft was glistening with your slick, and you could see now why you had been so stretched before.
“Come on, Cap. You gonna stare all day or are you gonna give me my orders?” His lips curling into a wicked grin. “You’re the commanding officer here.”
You forced yourself to meet his eyes, seeing the silent laughter there.
“Huh?” You sounded exactly as dazed as you felt.
“Captains are officers, sergeants are enlistment. So, what are my orders, sir?” As he spoke, he continued to tease and prod at you. It was unfair how much control he had over himself when you had shaken apart twice now.
Super soldier stamina, indeed.
“I… I want you to…” You didn’t know why you felt so shy all of a sudden; Bucky was literally dragging his cock across your pussy while baiting you to order him to fuck you. Maybe it was the way his blue eyes shot straight through you, but you felt overheated and frozen simultaneously.
“Don’t be shy now, sweetheart,” he teased, slipping back into that heated New York accent had had heard hints of before. In this situation, it should have been illegal. “Everyone heard you squealin’ just a moment ago.”
“Bucky!” you scolded him even though you were in literally the last position to have any dignity intact. “That’s not… we shouldn’t have… we shouldn’t be…”
His face was already close, but he moved in even closer, his mouth tantalizingly near as he breathed against your lips.
“Little too late for that, but we can stop if you really—,” he ran the head of his cock right across your clit, slow and firm, “—want to. Just give the order.”
You shut your eyes, both to cut yourself off from his piercing gaze and to give yourself time to think, and also to fully enjoy the tingling heat that fluttered throughout your core. You wanted to hurl at him every curse you knew, both in English and Romanian, but that’s not at all what you ended up doing, because honestly, whose fault was it that you were in this predicament? All because you insisted on teasing him with that stupid sexy Captain America costume.
Well, you know what they say. If you can’t beat ‘em…
You opened your eyes and fixed him with a hard stare. He raised his eyebrows in curiosity, but when you tilted your chin back and parted your thighs further, his eyes widened.
“Then stop teasing and take care of your superior officer, soldier.”
With a quick but obscene movement of his tongue swiping across his bottom lip, he grabbed your leg in his metal hand and hoisted it around his waist while at the same time pressing himself against your entrance. You moaned sharply and would have grabbed onto his shoulders for support as he pushed inside you but he immediately pushed you back flat against the countertop.
The only warning you got was Bucky positioning your other leg around his hip. He shoved his hips against you before you were entirely ready, and a shudder ran through you as heat and electricity shot up your spine. Bucky pulled out halfway and did it again, not as forcefully but still enough to arch your spine and force you to fight to breathe properly.
Bucky kept a merciless pace, your walls tightening against the ruthless friction, and your fingers curled around the edge of the counter to keep from behind fucked right off the countertop. The sound his cock plunging in and out of you was lewd and filled the small apartment, and the fact you were both almost completely clothed made it even more indecent.
Both of his hands were on your hips now, though not with the same pressure. His metal hand held you firmly but with reservation, while the fingertips of his right dug into your skin, trembling in a way that betrayed his veneer of control. It felt as if he was holding back, and with her super soldier strength he most likely was, taking care not to hurt you. God, he could break you like a dry twig if he lost control, and that fact made you want him that much more.
You tried to be quiet, pressing your lips together so hard they stung, but your efforts crumbled as you felt a pulsing in your core. You gasped Bucky’s name over and over, not sure what you were asking, nonsensical and soon squirming as you felt the steep peak approaching.
He must have been close because he didn’t speak, only made the occasional breathy moan or muffled grunt, but he reached down and press his thumb to your clit without warning. You whimpered sharply and arched your back, an electrical current tightening every muscle of your body as you hung on the edge of the proverbial knife.
When you tipped to the other side, your orgasm slammed into you so hard you couldn’t breathe, a harsh whine in the back of your throat as your walls throbbed around him and brightly-colored sparks exploded behind your closed eyelids.
He cursed and his rhythm went off, but he fucked you through your climax and continued to rub you until you were so sensitive you started squirming and would have batted his hand away if you hadn’t been clinging onto the counter for dear life.
Bucky pulled out suddenly and removed his hand from your clit but held on tightly to your hip with his metal digits. You could even feel them tighten as he cursed again, his voice hoarse and out of breath, and a moment later you felt something warm hit your chest.
It took you a few seconds to be cognizant enough to open your eyes let alone lift your head, but you did, and looked down to find… ribbons of cum covering the white star on your chest.
Your costume might have survived the punch stain, but Bucky had made sure it was beyond saving now.
You weren’t sure whether to laugh or yell at him, and you ended up doing neither, your body trembling and covered in sweat as it recovered from the third orgasm wrenched from it. You hadn’t been so thoroughly fucked in your life, and lying on the kitchen counter, covered in Bucky’s cum, was the last way you would have expected Halloween to end.
Bucky seemed very pleased with himself as he smirked down at you, but you felt very pleased with yourself from the way he couldn’t seem to catch his breath and the ruffled state of his hair, the flush on his cheeks, and the overall look of his flustered appearance.
He leaned forward and for a moment you thought he was going to kiss you. His mouth hovered over yours, lips slightly parted with a wicked look in those blue depths. You held your breath as he traced his metal fingers down the curve of your bare though.
“That’s for torturing me for the past eighteen months,” he mumbled against your lips. He pulled away, tucked himself back into his jeans, and left you there, blinking and breathing hard on the counter top, struck dumb.
You’d been doing what for how long?
“I… did not!” you squeaked in protested as you pulled yourself down onto unsteady feet. Your body felt like it was made out of jelly and cooked noodles, and your skin was oversensitive and raw. It was no wonder, you couldn’t remember the last time you’d had multiple orgasms forced out of you so… vigorously.
Still, that didn’t absolve him of his wrong statement, and you were going to correct him on it.
“You’re the one who’s been tormenting me for the entirety of our—“
You turned toward the living room and shut your mouth with a small pop. Bucky had pulled his shirt up over his head and was in the process of stripping off his boots. He pulled his jeans over his incredible ass and muscular thighs, and continued along this fashion until he was completely naked.
All you could do was stare, and holy shit there was so much to stare at. He turned his head to look at you and quirked up his lips into something far too devious for the grumpy potato you had always believed him to be. After tonight, you had some serious reassessing to do.
“Gonna take a shower.” He raised an eyebrow. “You coming or not?”
Even now without a stitch of clothing, his heated gaze made you feel as if you were the one exposed.
He blinked owlishly as you unzipped the back of your costume and let the red, white, and blue dress fall to the floor. “I’m still your captain, Sergeant, and you will refer to me as such.”
He managed to pull his face into a serious line even with the laughter in his eyes, and he snapped you a crisp salute.
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One Of The Few Things | rating: T | 11,209 words
Jaime and Sansa spend a lot of time pining over Brienne and Jon together. Sometimes, they actually even do their jobs.
"It turned out 22 was just plain weird, though, because somehow Sansa's new best friend ended up being a 36-year-old man who was in love with one of her other best friends. That she had definitely not seen coming."
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one good movie kiss
here for @sunforgrace 's thesis statement: give dean one good movie kiss and he WILL be alright
“Are you avoiding me?”
Dean’s hand stills in the air above his cup of coffee as the voice cuts through the kitchen.
Cas is standing in the middle of the room in an ill-fitting sweater and his hair is dishevelled as though he’s been tossing and turning. He looks so unremarkable, so human, it makes Dean’s breath catch in his throat at the reminder.
It’s been three days since Cas got back and it occurs to Dean when he speaks that it’s the first time they’ve been alone together. Awake, that is: Dean realised early on that difficult conversations couldn’t happen if you’re asleep. Thank god for Cas’ Empty-rescue hangover.
“No. I’m not avoiding you.”
“OK. Good. I was worried that after what happened things might be weird between us, but I suppose that’s unavoidable.” Cas pulls a face that’s a little self-deprecating.
I’m fighting the urge to run the hell away from you, Dean thinks. To stay the hell away from you before I do anything else to hurt you. Before you make a reckless decision to save me, again, or say something so brutal and true that my legs give out from under me and I’m left sitting alone on the floor wondering how the hell I’m supposed to do this on my own.
I’m fighting the urge to wrap you in my arms and never let go.
“I’m not avoiding you, Cas. I just.. I’m trying to figure out the stuff I have to say to you.”
“I understand. I know everything that’s happened recently is a lot to contend with.”
“Yeah, that’s an understatement.” Dean coughs and stands up, tapping his hands against his legs for something to do. Cas is looking at him expectantly and Dean knows he deserves answers but how is he supposed to do that? How do you even begin to explain to someone that their mere presence in the room has your breath hitching? “But it’s not.. you. It’s not you I’m avoiding. It’s just. Y’know. The stuff you said before you..” He doesn’t say it. He can’t. Cas blinks.
“Don’t apologise. That’s – god, that’s the last thing I want. I’m just.. trying to get my head around it.”
“I meant it.”
“I know you did. I know that. I just.. I believe you, and nobody’s ever really said that stuff to me and meant it before. So I don’t really know how to talk to you about it. But I.. so long as you know I appreciate it.” The words are too fast and Dean doesn’t know if that’s more or less embarrassing than the way he’s stumbling, pathetic half-words forcing their way out of his mouth.
And it’s that simple to him, apparently. He doesn’t ask Dean for anything else. It pisses Dean off, actually – he wants Cas to ask him. Maybe if he’s forced to confront it the words might come out a little easier.
“I mean, you know that I.” Dean stops again abruptly and jesus christ why is there a lump in his throat? “It means something. To me. It means a whole lot, actually. Maybe if it didn’t it’d be easier to talk about. There’s stuff that I wanna.. stuff I need for you to hear. That you deserve to hear, when I get my head out of my ass. Because I don’t feel like I deserve any of that crap you said to me, but you deserve to hear things back.”
It feels like a monumental admission but it’s clearly not the thing on Cas’ mind as he frowns.
“You think you don’t deserve that? You really believe that?”
“Honestly? I’ve never believed it. I don’t know why you give me the time of day half the time, man. And you don’t have to.. argue about it, or anything. I know you want to. It’s just how I see it.”
Cas thinks about that for a couple of seconds, eyes boring into Dean so deeply he half-wonders if he can’t still see his soul. He walks further into the room but doesn’t approach Dean – not really. Just takes a couple of steps between the distance.
“I won’t argue. Not now. But I hope I can make you understand that you deserve it. Happiness, peace.. love-” The word has Dean’s mind reeling, flashbacks and heat rushing “– I spent a long time believing I couldn’t accept them for myself. I thought too much had happened, or that I wasn’t built to be capable. You allowed me to think differently. I want you to do the same.” Cas looks down and taps his hand on the edge of the table as though he hasn’t got Dean’s heart in the palm of it. He looks up again and his expression is breath-takingly earnest. “Dean, the things I said barely touch the sides. I don’t know if I could ever put into words the impact you’ve had on me since we met. I just wanted you to understand. I needed you to understand how other people see you, even if you can’t see it for yourself.”
“Message received.” Dean responds like a fucking asshole but Cas smiles all the same, warm and knowing and in a way that fills Dean with the relief of being understood.
“I can give you space to think about things if that’s what you want. I know I’ve put you in a difficult position.”
“It’s not difficult. Probably not for anyone else except me.”
Dean smiles in derision and Cas returns it but it’s pity and sadness and love and Dean’s mouth closes. “It was difficult. I threw things at you that’d been on my mind for a long time and didn’t give you any time to process it.”
“I’ve had weeks. Weeks and weeks, and I still can’t.. I think until I saw you again I had no idea how to understand it. Looking you in the eye and thinking about it-” Dean closes his eyes and pushes away black ooze and secrets and everything else that threatens to flow over the things he wants to remember. Tears in Cas’ eyes and his smile so bright, brighter than Dean even thought him capable.
He’s looking at him now like he might break.
“I’m sorry, Cas. I know I’m not-”
“I know exactly what you are, Dean.” The words are clear and sincere and Dean wonders if there’s anyone else in the universe capable of arresting him so simply. “I’ll leave you to it.” Cas eventually nods at Dean’s breakfast and smiles, dipping his head as he starts to leave.
“We’ll talk. We will.”
“I know we will.” He smiles a little as he turns to walk away and suddenly Dean’s heart is in his mouth at the sight of the back of his head.
Say something. Say something.
“Cas.” Dean calls too quickly, too desperately, and when he turns to look at him with naked expectation all of the wind is knocked right back out of his sails. “I… fuck, Cas. I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
He smiles with complete and utter sincerity, and god he has to stop doing that. Stop accepting Dean’s bullshit as though it’s nothing. Shout, argue, anything.
He’s leaving. He’s still leaving, he’s turning away and suddenly Dean’s legs are propelling him through the kitchen of their own accord.
Dean grabs his arm and yanks him around, the force of it making Cas briefly stumble a little before he straightens his feet and looks at Dean with a wide-eyed confusion that makes Dean’s heart hammer in his chest.
Dean brings his hands up to cup Cas’ face around his ears on his neck and jaw, in a way he has before and convinced himself wasn’t ever possible when they weren’t battling life or death. Cas’ stubble is a little longer than usual and he strokes the line of it with his thumb, watching as Cas’ mouth falls open just a touch in the echoing silence.
Dean takes his time, registering every mini-movement of expression in Cas’ face as he understands what’s happening. His hand comes up to Dean’s wrist but doesn’t push it away, rather grips it for dear life as though he’s afraid it’s going to disappear. When Cas’ eyes travel down his face Dean takes it as invitation and closes the gap between them, pressing his lips lightly but surely against Cas’.
At first Cas’ are stunned frozen against his and Dean starts to panic that he’s made some kind of earth-shattering error in judgement before the hand on his wrist relaxes and he feels a pressure against his mouth. Cas’ lips are a little chapped, like always, and Dean feels his eyelashes flutter.
He opens his eyes reluctantly as he pulls away, not sure what he’s expecting to see (rejection? Lucifer? nothing at all?) and almost slams them shut again when he finds Cas peering at him with such utter arresting devotion he thinks his knees might buckle.
Dean’s hands drop to his sides of their own accord, suddenly absolutely terrified, but Cas doesn’t move away in return. In fact, he brings his hand to Dean’s cheek and Dean’s sure he must look like a fish opening and closing his mouth in stunned silence before suddenly Cas moves in to kiss him again, other hand coming up to grab his face and hold him in place as his lips are ferocious and impassioned against his own.
And this, this is more like it, Dean’s barely able to think as Cas’ mouth opens and his tongue plays along the line of Dean’s own lips, his heart hammering in his chest as he hears a noise in Cas’ throat as he allows him entrance.
Cas kisses like he’s never going to get another chance: like Dean has granted him a once-in-a-lifetime wish that’s going to get taken away at any moment. He’s hungry and sharp and warm and Dean feels breathless as he lowers his hands from his face to his neck and then to his hip, pulling Dean sharply against him as Dean’s own hands cup his jaw and try desperately to gain a semblance of control.
There’s stubble scratching his face and he tries fleetingly to explain away the flushing burn on his skin as a by-product of it, but then there’s a hand riding up his shirt onto on the bare skin at the small of his back and it’s on fire.
Where the hell did Cas learn to kiss like this? His head is spinning before he can ponder the question and fingers on his back are steady and grounding even as Cas’ tongue and lips and breath have him practically able to feel the earth spinning beneath him.
The kiss slows steadily and then all at once as Cas’ lips lighten against his, and he feels him exhale against his skin in a release that Dean himself is desperate for. He knows it’ll come, eventually: in every moment he allows himself to open like this, touch on his skin making him feel alive.
Cas pulls away and Dean feels a longing form deeply and harshly in his throat that barely stops him from yanking him straight back in again. He forces himself to open his eyes, wondering if Cas can see water pricking in the corners of them.
“Don’t give me space, Cas. I don’t want it.” He manages to say though his voice sounds foreign and weird to his own ears, like it’s formed by someone else. There’s that smile on Cas’ lips again and he feels a desperation to say something, anything, that’ll keep it frozen in time. “Just stay.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“I know.” Cas’ own voice is quiet now and Dean’s fingers somehow find themselves reaching out towards Cas’ hand, pulling it a little.
“You wanna do something today?” He says, just for something to say. Anything to prolong the moment.
“Sweet.” Dean nods and tips his head away, running a hand through his hair to try to gain some composure as Cas smiles at him as though nothing’s happened.
Dean has to pinch himself to check that it has.
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Pairing: Demon!Bucky Barnes x Reader
“You’ve had a lot of nasty stuff following you over the years. You have no idea what I’ve protected you from.”
He didn’t look at you when he said it, but ice shot up your spine. Not from the fact you may have released some demonic critters into the world, or the fact he somehow knew your name, but the knowledge he had been following you for most of your life.
(For @moonstruckbucky ‘s Halloween Challenge, this is a fanfic AU of Falling’s Just Another Way to Fly by @araniaart . Please check out this series for all of your demon Bucky needs.)
Prompt: “When there is no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”
Chapter Warnings: Horror, monsters, mentions of suicide, incubus!Bucky, pheromones, sex pollen, demon!Bucky accidentally seducing you, demon anatomy, dub con
Word Count: 8.8k
You pushed the apartment door open and shut it with a definitive thud behind you, wobbling on your feet. Within seconds you heard a banging on the wall; the neighbors making their displeasure known.
As if your night couldn’t possibly get worse. Your head was pounding, your feet hurt, and you were sure your Uber driver had thought you were wasted with your red-rimmed eyes and runny nose.
You tossed your purse on the counter and kicked off your shoes just as a wailing noise announced its presence from the doorway to the kitchen.
“Hi, stinker.” You sighed, bending down to pet the large grey cat as he bumped his forehead against your legs. “Miss me?”
Monster gave another loud meow, his head tilting and green eyes wide as he screamed up at you. You laughed and felt your mood already improving despite the disastrous events of the evening.
“Yeah, yeah, one second—no, stop, get out of the way—“
You had to untangle your legs from your cat’s massive body as he tried to commit light manslaughter on the way to the kitchen. You made it in one piece and opened a can of cat food for him in his bowl. He voraciously chowed down, practically inhaling his food and ignoring you now that he had been appeased.
You walked, or rather stumbled to the bathroom and flipped on the light, nearly startling yourself in the mirror. You’d already forgotten what you were wearing and a blush crept up your neck from scaring yourself in the mirror. It was somewhat intimidating, the sight of grey skin, various fetid wounds, and copious amounts of fake blood and exposed bones.
You didn’t normally go for company parties, even Halloween ones, but you’d taken the chance because a certain attractive—and more importantly, available—coworker had been planning to attend.
At least, you’d thought he was available. When you’d seen Davin leave the party with his arms around Theresa, the woman whose cubicle was right next to yours and you knew for a fact wasn’t interested in your crush because she had said so many times, you knew his availability was no longer a question.
You went home, alone, as you did every night, but this time with the benefit of getting plastered to drown in your self-pity. The garish face staring back at you did nothing to make you feel less like an idiot, and you sighed and pulled off your long, bright red wig. The Avengers were a popular choice every year and people at the party had complimented your creative “Zombie Black Widow’ outfit you’d spent hours putting together.
Well, almost everyone had noticed it. Davin had completely ignored you. And to think, at one point you believed he’d liked you. You should have known better. You were never anyone’s first choice.
Swallowing down the lump in your throat, you took off your costume a piece at a time, washed the makeup from your face, and tried to pick out the black glitter and fake blood in your hair. You were too exhausted for a shower, not to mention by the state of your pounding headache you were transitioning from inebriated to hangover.
After putting on your pajamas, you immediately went to bed, sighing in relief as you crawled under the covers. You were still disappointed; Halloween was your favorite night of the year, and you had hoped this one would be different. You’d always been obsessed with the occult and the macabre; even when you were a kid you’d tried to use Ouija boards and séances to contact the dead. It had never worked, but sometimes strange things would happen to you, and you took it as a sign that there was something out there, magical and unknowable.
And yet, here you were, a pathetic adult trying your hardest not to think about what your coworkers were doing right now. It made your stomach twist and the self-loathing dig that much deeper.
There was a soft thump as your cat jumped up on the bed, followed by a loud meow to announce his arrival. You clicked your tongue at him and held out your hand; he bumped his head against your palm so hard it knocked your hand back. You giggled and stroked his grey fur as he curled up against your side.
At least you had Monster on your side. Who needed men?
You fell asleep to the sound of your massive cat purring. You woke to the feeling of suffocation and a low, menacing growling.
You couldn’t remember opening your eyes but you were staring upward, barely able to breathe. You tried to lift your arms and head but they didn’t respond. You attempted to curl your toes and fingers but they remained inert.
The growling rose into a warning hiss, an aggressive yowl, and you realized the weight on your chest was Monster. You could see his grey fur, puffed up and agitated. He wasn’t growling at you, he wasn’t even facing you, instead turned toward your bedroom door.
Your heart hammered in your head, blood pumping through your ears, but your body was a foreign entity and wouldn’t respond to your commands. That didn’t stop the adrenaline from hitting your system, and you felt like you were suffocating as you couldn’t get enough oxygen to sustain your racing heart.
A shadow loomed over you. Your body was paralyzed, but your eyes could move perfectly well. You focused on the dark shape and realized it was staring back at you. You tried to scream but made only a faint rasping noise in your throat.
Monster made another low growl and the creature glared at him. You couldn’t tell what it was, only that it was vaguely shaped like a person and it had venomous green eyes. It seemed to be featureless, or it was until folds of skin peeled away from where its mouth and nose would be.
Its face opened like a poisonous flower, its gaping mouth lined with rows and rows of triangular teeth. Everything glowed green, even the cavern of its throat, which you could see terrifyingly clear from this angle.
It leaned forward and you realized too late it was going to cover your face with its petal-like maw. You were helpless to stop it, frozen and trapped under the covers. Its breath washed over you, foul and rancid, and you felt your throat close as you struggled not to vomit, knowing you would choke on it.
The edges of its mouth covered your vision and you could no longer see your room. You were going to die, alone and in your bed, and no one would ever know the truth of what had happened to you. That, somehow, was the worst aspect of this nightmare.
Your cat yowled sharply and the creature flinched back, claw marks now across its face, dripping red into its mouth. You had never seen Monster so much as bully a spider and he had just raked his claws across its eyes, barely missing the teeth in the process. The creature gave a low moan that sounded like a dying whale. You were beyond the point of wanting to scream, you were in the realm of pure animal terror now.
It raised a hand, no, a claw, curved and wicked and gut-tearing, and you tried to move, tried to cry out. If the creature got you, then so be it, but you couldn’t sit by and let it kill Monster.
Before it could complete the killing blow, the window of your room flew open and a gust of cold wind howled furiously into your room. The creature hesitated, its claw hanging in midair, and it gave another rumbling moan that made you think of deep places in the earth where humans could never reach.
There was a sound like a pair of massive wings flapping, and once the noise went silent, the wind in your room died. Something new, another shape looming and dark, but you couldn’t turn your head to see. All you knew was Monster was no longer hissing or yowling, the growl from him faint and low.
The creature retreated from the edge of your vision and a voice spoke. It was deep, masculine, and surprisingly human. The words it spoke weren’t from any language you knew, and you suspected it wasn’t a language meant for people. The words were twisted and slithered, spitted and curled, and made the hairs of your body stand up straight.
The dying-whale creature responded with a moan that would haunt your nightmares forever. The second intruder responded with hostile aggression easily recognizable across any language.
Another moan, this one sounding argumentative, and then there was a blinding flash of light and a furious crack that split the air. A rotten smell filled your nostrils and you gagged, the effect causing you to gasp for air as your unwilling throat refused to open.
You shut your eyes tightly and focused on trying to breathe, but the panic combined with the stench—rotten eggs?—activated your gag reflex. You wheezed and choked, unable to properly cough let alone breathe.
There was a cool sensation the base of your throat. Like a valve opening a floodgate, your airways expanded in an instant. You drew in a shuddered breath and began to cough, hacking and sputtering, your lungs burning greedily for air.
The first thing you noticed with the influx of air was that it no longer stunk of sulfur. Rich and earthy but with a hint of pine or cedar, something that reminded you of a forest. There was also something about it that was strangely familiar.
Monster was still on your chest protectively guarding you, and you didn’t mind the extra weight, so grateful be able to breathe that your eyes filled with tears. Whatever had touched your throat had been removed. You tried to turn your head to see what it was, but your neck muscles were still frozen. You moaned in pure frustration and then went quiet, surprised you’d been able to make the noise in the first place.
Was the sleep paralysis finally wearing off? You knew that’s what it was, and the creature you had seen had been part of a half-conscious hallucination.
But then, why had Monster been acting so agitated? Had that been a hallucination, too?
Something touched your temple, so light you thought you were imagining it. You felt it again, tracing across your skin, and it was unmistakably real. It felt wonderful, like a breeze on a scorching day, and the fear leeched from your taut muscles. Your heart slowed its frantic pace and you no longer had the need to gulp for air.
The touch traveled very slowly down the curve of your jawline, and as it did, control returned to the muscles of your mouth. You parted your lips and tried to speak but the words were still trapped in your chest.
Down, down, the touch continued, following the pulse point on your throat to your collarbone. It stopped there, it had to, Monster was sitting firmly on your chest. He was no longer growling.
“Pax,” the voice murmured. A moment later, to your complete astonishment, your massive cat who didn’t like anyone including your own family, began to purr.
Sluggishly, as if your muscles were heavy from disuse, you slightly tilted your head and looked down.
He was… a man. Or seemed to be at first glance. He had dark brown hair, long around his shoulders, and sharp blue eyes that seemed to stare straight through you.
That’s where the human part of his features stopped. Twin horns curved back from above his ears, his ears were tapered into points, and his left arm… It was a dark brown color, but hardened like some kind of armor. It wasn’t scaly exactly, though there was a pattern, as if the armor was plated. There was a red pentagram on the hard crust of his shoulder. You couldn’t tell if it was painted or carved.
You hadn’t noticed them at first, probably because they were folded behind his back, but he also had an enormous pair of bat-like webbed wings.
Horns. Wings. Whatever the hell that arm thing was.
If it looks like a demon and sounds like a demon and walks like a demon…
A tiny part of your brain, the part that had most likely cracked, wondered if he had a forked tail.
You pressed your lips together but it was too late. You giggled, and then in your rush to stop giggling, you snorted, horrified.
The… well, for lack of a better term, demon, tilted his head and stared down at you. He was stroking Monster’s back with the hand that looked human, or at least moreso than his armored one, and Monster seemed like he was in paradise. His eyes were narrowed into slits as he continued to purr like the traitor he was.
“Relinquam,” the demon said. Not to you. To your cat. “Tutum est.”
Monster stood on all fours and stretched out luxuriously; you wheezed as his considerable weight was still pressing down on your sternum. He moseyed down to the end of the bed and leapt down, and beyond that you couldn’t see him any longer.
He had left you alone with the demon.
The demon in question turned his gaze back to you, and when you reluctantly made eye contact you noticed just how blue his eyes were. They were pretty, much too pretty to belong to an evil being, right? And it wasn’t just the brightness of his eyes that was disarming; he was wearing a white tank and grey sweatpants. Not really what you would have expected from a demonic wardrobe, he seemed very dressed down for a minion of Hell.
Your internal musings shattered when he reached toward your face. You flinched back. The movement was tiny and barely registered but the demon still paused, his hand inches from your cheek. To your shock, when he next spoke, you could understand him.
“I won’t hurt you.”
His voice was low but surprisingly soft. You swallowed, mouth abruptly dry.
“As I told your hobgoblin,” he continued, slightly tilting his head, “you’re safe with me.”
You slipped your tongue across your lips to wet them, and managed to rasp out in a croaky voice:
Instead of answering, he pulled back his clawed appendage and moved his human hand forward, brushing against the side of your jaw. The soothing sensation returned to your skin, and the dryness in your throat vanished. He slid his fingers downward across your throat, and when his clawed hand joined in, the sensation of two sets of hands across your collarbone sent a wave of something through your body. Before there had been a cooling sensation like a refreshing breeze, but this felt more like tingles of electricity thrumming across your skin.
“What’s… happening?” You were breathless as you tried to resist the prickling throughout your body. It wasn’t unpleasant, almost like the pins-and-needles feeling of blood returning to your foot after it falls asleep but without any of the pain.
“Shhh,” he hushed gently. “You’re still paralyzed by the Alp’s venom. It’ll take a minute but I can purge it from your system.”
You probably shouldn’t have taken such a strange explanation at face value, but you’d just seen a glowing monster with a fucked-up face try to eat you.
“That… that thing… with the teeth?” You were still having difficulty speaking, though for a different reason as he was running a hand down both of your arms, that itchy, prickling sensation making your muscles jump.
“Yeah, it’s called an Alp and it’s a real bastard,” he said in a very non-demonic kind of way. “Usually they’re not bold like this, feeding in the middle of a city.”
Objectively, you knew you should have been terrified, but mostly you were confused. This was going on way too long for a dream, plus the amount of detail was staggering. You’d had lucid dreams before, but nothing so vivid and present.
“Are you a demon?” you asked point blank. What else were you going to do? Dance around the topic while he worked his demon medicine magic or whatever on you?
His face, before rigid and lined with stoicism, seemed to soften at your question.
“Something like that.”
“I’m gonna need a little more detail.” You sounded much more calm than you had any reason to be.
He snorted through his nose and you stared up at him. You hadn’t known demons could have a sense of humor.
You must have said it aloud, or at least you hoped that was the case, because he responded. “I used to be just a normal guy, once. A long, long time ago.” His hands moved down your stomach now, tickling as the sharp tips of his claws lightly dragged across your sensitive skin. You would have squirmed if you could have.
You caught the scent again, the one that had to be coming from him. Piney and earthy, like a deep, dark wood. It comforted you but prodded at your mind again.
“Some people got ahold of me. Did experiments, rituals, crazy demonic stuff. They pumped me full of so many drugs I thought I was imagining the stuff I saw, and maybe I was, but considering everything that came after…” He trailed off and his eyes seemed to lose their focus. His hands were stilled along the curves of your hips, and you were practically vibrating in your skin but he seemed not to notice.
“I got away from them, or more accurately, I was rescued,” he continued, finally moving his hands away from your hips. The tingling grew more intense the longer his touch lingered, to the point you were sure lightning was going to start shooting from your fingers.
“Thought that was the end of it, but it wasn’t. They… caught me again. Finished their work and made me into this thing. Their weapon.” His voice cracked at the last word and your heart hurt for him. It seemed you were taking the phrase sympathy for the devil quite literally.
“What happened then?” you quietly asked. The small, bitter smile that crossed his face did not comfort you.
“I escaped the only way I could.” The sudden tension of his jaw should have told you to drop it but your curiosity got the better of your sensibilities.
He didn’t look at you, instead focused where his hands were tracing along your knees. The heavy paralysis was almost entirely gone now, but you were just enthralled by his touch and his voice.
“I killed myself.”
Your shock rendered you silent, the blood draining from your face. His eyes were still fastened on your legs and he continued to talk, his voice low and strained.
“Well, I mean, I put myself in a situation that I couldn’t survive. Same thing, right? They didn’t realize, didn’t anticipate how I would react after they… they made me hurt someone. Someone I knew. Back when I was still a man. I had orders to kill him, and I couldn’t disobey, I couldn’t.”
His voice trembled and he went quiet for a moment, his hands still on your shins. At first you thought he was staring at your legs, but you realized he was glaring at his own hands, a look of pure loathing in his blue eyes.
You wished you could reach out and touch him, comfort him somehow, but you remained where you were. Touching a strange demon was probably some kind of taboo in demon society.
“It did something to me, snapped me out of it or woke me up. For a moment, I was in control again. And I did what I had to.” His voice was soft as he began to work his fingers across your skin, freeing your muscles as he went. “Unfortunately, I was more demon than man at that point, so I didn’t see any pearly gates. I went to the other place, and as bad as that was, it was still preferable to… before.”
You listened quietly and your heart hurt more with every word. This was the strangest and most terrifying night of your life, but listening to his nightmarish experiences coupled with his soft, soothing voice, made you forget all about your own problems. You didn’t know how, but you could sense it was all true, all very real and horrifying. You wished you could help him, or at least pay him back for saving you, but you had no idea how to help a demon.
It was strange. You weren’t relaxed, not at all with his fingers and palms still massaging your skin, but you weren’t afraid. Actually, you didn’t think you’d been afraid since the nightmare creature had vanished.
You wondered if the demon had killed it. You decided it was better not knowing, and besides, there were other much more interesting questions you wanted to ask.
“So… how does one escape Hell?” You tried to keep your tone chipper, but your nerves shone through like a beacon.
“Well…” That faint hint of a smile again. “There are ways to return to the physical plane, as it turns out. There are weak pockets in the world, vortexes and veils and stuff like that, but that’s not I did it. A group of silly little girls one day decided to open a portal using a Ouija board, and I was able to come through.”
He looked at you meaningfully. You could suddenly hear the sound of your own heartbeat in your ears.
“One in particular, she wasn’t very smart, or maybe she was just really brave. She didn’t run when the others did. She just stood there and looked right at me as if she’d been waiting for me. Weird kid. Her luck hasn’t seemed to have improved in twenty years.”
It was impossible. There was no way, no possible way—
“I would have remembered you,” you blurted out. “I don’t. I remember the Ouija board, I remember us screaming and running out of the house for no apparent reason. I don’t remember any demons. I would have remembered you.”
At the sound of your stubborn insistence, he gave a genuine smile, one with pearly white teeth. You thought you saw sharp edges before he hid them again.
“You don’t remember because I didn’t want you to remember. That sort of thing changes you forever, scars you for life, and you were just an innocent. Plus, I wasn’t the only thing that came through.” His hands curled over your feet, rubbing the last of the paralysis from the soles. “You’ve had a lot of nasty stuff following you over the years, Y/N. You have no idea what I’ve protected you from.”
He didn’t look at you when he said it, but ice shot up your spine despite the pleasant heat that basked across your skin. Not from the fact you may have released some demonic critters into the world, or the fact he somehow knew your name, but the knowledge he had been following you for most of your life.
“Why would you protect me?” Your voice sounded small, but in that moment you felt small too.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because you’re a—“ You stopped short and bit the inside of your cheek.
“I told you, I wasn’t always a demon.” To your relief, he didn’t sound angry. A little annoyed, maybe, but not offended or mad. “You were a little kid that had attracted the attention of some dangerous beings. What was I supposed to do, leave you to fend for yourself?”
“I donno,” you snapped in your distress. Someone had been watching you for years and you’d had no idea. You didn’t know how to feel about it.
“Sorry,” you mumbled. It was best to play it safe and not piss off the demon in the room. “Really. This is really strange and I need some time to just… process.”
You heard the soft snort-laugh again. At least he found you amusing.
“Understandable. All done.” His touch lift from your skin and he moved away from the bed.
You nearly sighed with relief but managed to stay quiet as you stretched your fingers and moved your legs. Everything seemed to be in working order; no, you actually felt much better. The headache from your hangover was gone, and you could have sworn everything seemed sharper and clearer, even your sense of smell.
You concentrated on that familiar scent, the one that pleasantly filled the room with his presence, and you realized now exactly where you had smelled it before. He was right. That silly little ritual you had done with your friends, the Ouija board and the black candles. You remembered something had spooked you, but you didn’t know what it was.
Now, you did.
“Huh.” You looked up at him from where you were perched on the edge of your bed. “So, are you like, my guardian demon now?”
He raised his eyebrows at your cavalier tone, his arms crossed across his large chest.
“You woke up in the middle of an Alp feeding, found out that demons are real, and that’s your most pressing question?”
“No,” you answered stubbornly. You tilted your head to the side, peering at him carefully now that you could see him better in the dark. His feet weren’t even remotely human; he was standing on the balls of his feet, his toes clawed and his feet sloped upward like a canine’s or possibly a feline’s. You couldn’t see past the bottom of his sweatpants, but you would have guessed from the shape that his knees tilted forward while his ankle was exaggerated toward the back. There was definitely a tail present, long and dark as it swayed behind his legs. When your eyes drew upward towards his face, his wings shifted restlessly and the muscles of his jaw were thrown in sharp relief.
“I do have a pressing question, in fact.” You paused for dramatic effect, doing your best to keep a straight face. “What’s your name?”
He took a slow, deep breath, and expelled it just as methodically.
“You’re kidding. Right?”
“What, you can’t tell me?” Against your better judgement, you smirked at him. Now that the danger had passed and you weren’t going to be a meal for a glowing monster, you had rediscovered your curiosity and excitement for this strange being. “Is it against the demon code of ethics to give me your name? Will that give me some kind of power over you?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said with a roll of his eyes.
You patiently waited for his answer, willing to wait all night if you had to. He released a breath and shifted from one foot to the other.
You narrowed your eyes, suspecting he was tricking you.
“What’s a Bucky? Is that some kind of demonic spell?”
You were rewarded with an amused half-smile. It changed the entire structure of his face, brightening his eyes and making them crinkle at the corners.
“It’s my name. James Buchanan Barnes. Bucky for short.”
You screwed up your face. “Not a very hellish name. I thought it would be something like Beelzebub or Azazel or Crowley.”
His lips formed into a frown that was more than a little disapproving. You didn’t let that stop you now that you had the ball rolling.
“If I released you from Hell twenty years ago, where have you been until now? Just… like, sitting outside my window?”
Bucky narrowed his own gaze and said, very slowly, “No. I do have a life outside of trying to keep you alive and intact.”
Now it was your turn to look skeptical, making a point of looking him up and down from horned head to clawed toe.
“Looking like that?”
He sighed through his nose. Only you could annoy a demon.
“Obviously not. Watch.”
Making sure your gaze was on him, he tightened his jaw and closed his eyes. A few seconds later, something in the air seemed to shift and the demonic features began to fade away, leaving him without horns, wings, a tail, and with perfectly normal ears and legs.
The thing you were gaping at was none of those things, it was his left arm, or rather, the air that occupied where it had once been. The limb was entirely gone, leaving a hard cusp of a shoulder with the red pentagram still visible.
You stood up from the bed and slowly walked toward him, but the illusion or magic or whatever it was held steady. You reached out to touch him, but when he actually flinched back, you let your arm fall back at your side.
“Sorry. I’m sorry.” You weren’t sure what you were apologizing for, that you had startled him or that all of this had happened to him in the first place.
“It’s… okay.” He shifted on his feet again. It must have been a nervous tick by how often he did it, but when you raised your eyes upward he was staring very intently into your face. You hadn’t realized how close you were until that moment, barely a foot between you.
Whatever he had done began to reverse, slowly enough for you to watch. His intense gaze never wavered as he did so, perhaps he was waiting to see if you would back away or flinch. You did neither, fascinated as you watched his ridged horns grow above his ears, his wings unfurling and stretching before curling against his back.
Suddenly, you wondered what kind of life he had apart from watching over you. Did he have a demon job? A demon house? A demon girlfriend?
You frowned. The questions had been funny until… they weren’t.
“So, uh… why was that Alp thingie here?” you asked in an attempt to change the subject. “You said they’re not usually in the city, right? Why would it be here?”
He gave a half-shrug, a perfectly ordinary gesture that looked strange on him. It made his wings rustle, and they sounded like pieces of old leather rubbing together.
“When there is no room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth,” he said in perfect calmness. You had no idea what that meant but it sounded wildly alarming.
“Uh-huh. Is that why you were able to come through? Are you… still dead?” You winced at your rude question but it was too late to take back now.
He exhaled sharply through his nose again, but this time also offered a smile that was gentle but heartbreakingly sad.
“I think I died a long time ago, to be honest. Long before I went to Hell.”
“Oh.” Your heart sank. How was it you were so socially awkward even when speaking to a supernatural being?
“Look, this has been… interesting. But we shouldn’t be speaking. It’s not safe for you.” He ran a hand, the human one, through his hair in a nervous gesture. You didn’t know demons could feel discomfort.
“Because of those people who did this to you?” A stone formed in your stomach when he nodded.
“I’m not safe for you, either,” he added in a softer tone. From the way his wings drooped, his eyes wouldn’t meet yours, and the tail hanging listless by his leg, you knew he genuinely believed it.
Suddenly, ridding that haunted look from his face seemed very, very important.
“I don’t want you to leave.”
His eyes darted upward to yours, tilting his head at your impromptu confession. Your cheeks heated as you rushed to explain.
“I mean, I have more questions! Are there more monsters like the Alp? What about other demons? Will something else come after me? Like, you can’t just leave, I need to, to understand this. What else is out there? Are angels real? What about Heaven? Is this permanent or can you be like, exorcised? How does it work—“
He held up a palm, the demonic one, and you fell silent. From the twitch at the corner of his lips he seemed almost amused by your questions, but there was also a deep sadness in his eyes.
“I can’t stay. I’ve stayed way too long already. But before I go…” He took a step towards you. “I have to do something. Something I did before.”
You blinked, not expecting that.
He frowned at your tense expression or maybe the hostility in your tone. “I’m going to erase your memories. I don’t have a choice—“
Panic swept through you when you fully realized what he was saying. You didn’t understand any of this, whether it was magic or strange science or what, but you didn’t doubt he could do what he said, especially if he had done it before.
You stepped backwards and he followed after you, his expression resigned as he stalked forward. The back of your legs hit the bed and you were trapped.
“You can’t make me forget, not again!”
His hands stretched out for you but you scrambled onto the bed, standing on top of it just out of reach. A tired sigh escaped his mouth.
“Come down from there.”
“I won’t!” Your lip was trembling but you fought down the tightness in your throat. “You can’t make me forget. You can’t. I have to remember this. You don’t understand!”
The crease of his brow deepened but his mouth was sloped into a puzzled frown.
“You’ve already seen more than you should have, more than what’s healthy for anyone to see. Trust me, I know what it’s like to be exposed to this stuff when you’re not prepared for it—“
“But I am!” You swept your arms across the expanse of the room, your gestures nearly wild with desperation. “I am prepared for it! I’ve been waiting for something like this my entire life!”
Your unexpected confession caught you off-kilter, and from his wide eyes, you’d done the same to him.
“Please,” you pleaded. You hated the quiver in your voice, the desperate force of your emotions as you saw too clearly all of this slipping away into nothingness. “Please don’t take this away from me. I can handle it, really, it’s not a big deal. I won’t tell anyone and I won’t freak out. I’m—I’m used to weird stuff happening to me.”
Bucky sounded defeated as he said, “I know.”
He expanded his wings and flapped once, half-leaping half-flying up onto the bed. You gave an indignant squawk and flailed backwards; you would have fallen if he hadn’t caught you in time. His hands kept your arms at your sides and his bat-like wings curled around you, boxing you in and leaving no room for escape.
His pale blue eyes captured you on the spot and you were helpless to do anything more than shiver and breathe way too fast. You knew he wasn’t human but you weren’t prepared for how fast he was and the sheer strength in his hands. It was stupid to think you were ever in control of the situation. That you had any choice in what happened next.
Before you could even think to struggle, he pressed the pad of his left thumb between your eyes. A jolt shot through your skull, and you thought, this is it, he was going to take your memories and you’d never know there was anything more to life than a boring office job and lonely, empty nights.
It was tantamount to robbing you of your hope, and there was nothing you could do to stop him.
Your vision swam, strange and blurry, but you were still awake, perfectly aware, and that jolt of electricity morphed into a warm, soothing sensation. It was an echo of the feeling you’d had before when he’d slowly unfrozen your limbs. It didn’t just thrum across your skin this time; it flowed down your muscles and up your spine in a river of undulating sensation.
You’d once been put on laughing gas for dental surgery before, and it felt a bit like that, except dialed up to eleven. You also didn’t particularly remember being aroused while on laughing gas, either, but now the desire slammed into you like a truck.
It felt as if you’d never been touched in your life, never kissed or held or satisfied, and you felt like you were going to go insane if you didn’t… But no, Bucky was touching you, his hands on both of your arms, his expression intense in a way that made you feel like trapped prey before a hungry shark.
“That wasn’t…” His breath sounded strained, his blue eyes wide. “That wasn’t supposed to…”
You stopped listening to his voice (when had it become so velvety?) and put your hands outward, blatantly running your fingers across the firm muscles of his pectorals. He sucked in a breath at your touch but you continued to explore, your head light and filled with cotton. The term skin hungry popped into your head, and it would have been funny if it hadn’t described exactly what you were experiencing. You wanted him to devour you whole.
You expected him to lash out, after all he had been trying to wipe your mind a moment ago and now you were acting like an animal. You didn’t understand it, a part of you knew this was wrong, but all you could think about was how much you craved his touch.
When you looked up into his face, his eyes were black pools, the blue irises completely gone, and his lips were pulled into a silent snarl. He had never looked less like a man than in that moment, a fatal reminder that whatever he had been before, he wasn’t human now.
A normal person would have screamed and ran from the room, but why would you even dream of doing such a thing? He was fascinating, breathtaking, and he was practically right here in your bed.
Your hands delved lower, fingertips dancing over sculpted ridges of his abs. You’d never been so bold before, but you didn’t hesitate now, even when you reached the waistband of his sweats. Biting your tongue, you lowered your hand under the elastic band.
His shaft was wide and unnaturally long. Soft indents trailed along the underside of his cock where the vein should be. You continued downward and felt two bulbous-like protrusions at the base. You had no idea what the hell they were, but you didn’t care, not at all—all you wanted was for him to be inside of you, stretching you out until you couldn’t fucking breathe.
Bucky gripped your wrists tightly and yanked them away. His expression was thunderous. Your heart beat frantically in your chest as you squirmed, not away from him but toward him, desperate for his touch as if you’d never wanted anything else in your entire life. You pressed yourself against the hard planes of his body, a needful whine in your throat as the sensation of him between your layers of clothing was enough to increase the pressure in your core. Heat pooled low in your belly as your skin seemed to heat by several degrees.
With a sharp growl, he swept your legs out from under you with an easy flick of his tail. You expected to fall back and hit your head on the headboard or the wall, but he caught you within the scoop of his wings and followed you down onto the bed. He bared his sharp teeth at you, pulling his leathery wings out from under you and expanding them wide, towering over you in a display that was as intimidating as it was possessive.
Yes, that’s what it felt like; it was a warning but you didn’t feel like you were in danger. Even if you had been, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. In that moment, there was only one thing you wanted, and you hungered it with every fiber of your being.
You wanted to run your hands over the expanse of his wings, curl your fingers over the ridges of his horns and slide your hand along his tail. You couldn’t do any of those things, your hands trapped against his chest. You licked your dry lips and could have sworn you tasted his piney scent on the heaviness of the air.
“You’re beautiful,” you whispered in complete and genuine awe.
Bucky blinked and stopped baring his teeth at you, and his wings slowly moved into a half-folded position. A heartbeat of time passed and his mouth was hard and rough on yours, devouring, swallowing up everything that you were and had ever been.
You breathed in sharply through your nose, lights switching inside your head and throughout your body. Everything felt too much and not enough as he roamed his hands over your body, breaking the kiss only once to yank your nightshirt over your head. He divested you of your pajama pants in an instant, the panties along with them, and you were naked so fast it barely registered.
His tongue forced its way into your mouth with dominant force and you willfully surrendered all control. You arched beneath him and wrapped your arms around his back, an open invitation for him to do whatever he desired.
You weren’t sure how, you certainly didn’t remember him undressing, but he was naked, every inch of his flesh against yours as his heavy bulk pressed you into the mattress. His skin was impossibly warm and you clung to him like a lost explorer in a snowstorm. You didn’t know such deep need could exist inside one person, but you felt if he didn’t fuck you right now you would burst into flames.
As if knowing what you needed, he broke off from your lips and kissed down your jaw to your neck, nipping and sinfully licking the flesh. He lifted your leg with his gnarled hand, the tips of his claws digging into the tender flesh of your thigh. Something warm and hot prodded at your entrance and you pushed your hips up, whimpering as you wordlessly begged for what only he could give you.
Bucky pushed his hips forward, and despite his intimidating girth and ridges on his shaft, he slid into you as easily as if you were made for him. You were so slick that even the stretch didn’t hurt, only pulled you apart and filled you in a way that was too euphoric to be real. Tingling filled your body and a deep heat settled in your core, more satisfying than any orgasm you’d ever felt. It was so much more than sex, though what it was you couldn’t begin to describe.
Now that he was seated deep inside you, the ridges along the underside of his cock were very present, rubbing against your sensitive walls even at rest. The bulbous protrusions at the base stretched your entrance to a degree that should have been agony but all you felt was a deep, slowly throbbing pressure.
He moaned something against your neck, not your native language and definitely not Latin, it didn’t sound like words a human tongue could make. A tremble raced down your spine and you gripped him tighter, one hand planted between the joints of where his wings joined his shoulder blades. The other you curled into his hair, scratching your nails against his scalp. He groaned sharply and snapped his hips forward, trying to push deeper even though it was impossible.
“Meum est,” he growled, teeth grazing against the column of your throat.
“Yes,” you breathed out. You didn’t what he had said but understood the gist of it from his tone. “Please, yes.”
He released another deep growl and pulled himself up into a half-crouch, half-sitting position, looming over you. His dark hair hung in his eyes but not enough to block out the pinpricks of glowing red in his pupils.
You swallowed reflexively but tipped your head back, offering your throat to him. His eyes glowed brighter and his lips curled back to expose sharp teeth. You didn’t know if he was going to eat you, fuck you, or both.
He planted his hands on either side of your head, pulled back his hips, and thrust forward hard. Sparks exploded all over your body as your nerves fired, sparking in aftershocks even after Bucky had stopped moving. He thrust into you again and you broke, unable to remain silent as you cried out in need.
At that noise he seemed to lose what little control he had left and he began to drive his hips into yours, hard and merciless. The friction of his ridged cock dragging against your walls immediately sent you racing toward the edge, and you arched your back and death-gripped the bedsheets in your trembling fingers.
His fingers snatched into your hair and wrenched your head back even further as his lips fastened onto your throat, his tongue and teeth stealing what little breath you had left. You couldn’t get enough air, you were drowning, but oxygen seemed so unimportant at the moment.
His breath was harsh and growing more uneven by the second, but he continued his brutal pace, claiming every inch of you with each thrust. You felt something slither and tighten around your calf, his tail holding your leg around his waist. Bucky was pinning and trapping you in every possible way, and there was no question who you belonged to.
Your orgasm slammed into you like a wave, sweeping you over and under and leaving you lost and disoriented. Startling images flashed in your mind, faraway places you’d never seen before, and others that seemed impossible to exist. Kaleidoscopes of ineffable colors, oceans of glittering stars, and a world on fire where the physicality of it hurt your head as it passed before your eyes.
The strange visions were gone just as quickly and you were thrown back into your body, muscles writhing and a voice that didn’t sound like your own crying out as if she was being tormented.
The orgasm seemed to stretch on forever, lowering in intensity but still present as he fucked you through it. Bucky’s rhythm was barely recognizable at this point, the rolling of his hips desperate and uncontrolled, and he snarled against your throat as his muscles coiled. At the same moment there was deep throbbing in your core followed by an intense but not unpleasant heat. It felt like literal liquid fire, and you wondered if he would burn you from the inside-out. The burning faded to a low, simmering heat, and you felt it seep around his cock and drip down your skin and onto the bedsheets.
Bucky went completely still. He remained like that for a moment while you caught your breath, and you could tell from the rigidity of his muscles that he was distressed. You felt strange, wrung out and exhausted far beyond what should have been normal. Small alarm bells went off in your head but you were too tired to pay them much attention.
He pulled out of you very carefully in stark contrast to his earlier roughness, and he rolled onto his side beside you. His eyes (blue now, the black pools and red glow completely gone) searched your face frantically.
He took your chin in his hand and tipped it toward him, but he didn’t kiss you. The look on his face was borderline terrified.
“Did I hurt you?”
Hurt you? Why would he ask you that?
“No,” you mumbled. Your tongue was thick in your mouth, uncoordinated. “No, not hurt. At all. ‘M good.”
There was something fragile in his eyes and his lips trembled as he pressed them together. You’d seen a similar look when he had talked about before, with the man he’d been forced to feed on and kill.
“I’m so… so sorry.” His eyes were glassy now, as if he was on the verge of tears. “I shouldn’t have done that. I should have stopped myself. You weren’t supposed to…”
“Told you. I’m fine.”
He looked entirely unconvinced. You couldn’t bear the brittleness in his face any longer. You moved forward under his chin, tucking yourself against his chest as you pulled his arm around your waist. You pressed your nose against his neck, inhaling deeply to take in his piney scent. It was comforting and chased always all the anxious thoughts creeping in at the back of your mind.
Bucky stiffened but didn’t push you away or say anything, so you shut your eyes and hummed deep in your throat. He felt nice, really nice, and you could forget… forget about…
One minute, you were curled on your side, surrounded by a feeling of safety and warmth, and the next, you were opening your eyes to find the sunlight glaring through your open blinds.
You blinked and winced at the pain in your eyes. The blinds were definitely open. You remembered shutting them last night, or had you been too inebriated to…
The sleep paralysis creature. Your cat fighting him off. The horrible smell, the feeling of helpless heaviness, and then…
You shot upward and looked around the room, frantic, but nothing was out of place. You stared down at yourself; your pajamas were wrinkled but definitely clothing you. Springing up from the bed, you ran into the bathroom and immediately pulled off your pajamas.
Your skin was pristine. There were no scratches or bruises or anything to indicate the night before had been… had been…
No. No, no, no, it had been real, it had been real! It hadn’t been a dream, it couldn’t be.
You heard a soft pitter-pat behind you and whirled around, but it was only Monster, staring up at you expectantly, waiting for his breakfast as if this was any other first of November.
“Hobgoblin,” you said suddenly, remembering the word Bucky had used before. “That’s what you are.”
Monster tilted his head and released a loud and very obnoxious mrrarrph!
“I’m on to you,” you muttered and turned back to the mirror. “Can’t fool me.”
The longer you examined yourself and found lack of proof that a demon named Bucky existed, the more your heart sank. The creature with the teeth and the messed up face, you could definitely do without. But denying that part would be to deny what came after.
And what had come after? Were you just imagining the feel of him touching you? Had it been some crazy fever dream after all, or had you actually had sex with a demon?
Just when you were going to give up, you turned your shoulder and caught something odd in the mirror. You looked closer to try and make out what it was.
A faint red pentagram star was etched into your skin. Just like Bucky’s, only faded and on your right shoulder instead of your left. You traced your fingers over the skin and felt nothing but smoothness. It didn’t hurt and didn’t feel like the skin had been damaged, but it was definitely discolored, as if tattooed or the injury went down into the muscle.
You didn’t know where the thought came from, and it hadn’t been the first strange idea to pop into your head since last night, but you also knew it was true. You were Marked, whatever that meant.
No, you did know what it meant. It meant you were his and no one else’s, a fact you understood without having to be told.
Perhaps you should have been terrified, but you were only confused as to what would happen now. There was no point in crying or panicking, not when what happened last night was real and too late to take back. What was exposed on your skin was what you had felt for your entire life: you had been waiting for someone. Maybe it had been Bucky all along, and you’d been marked for his as soon as you’d opened the gateway.
A shiver shot up your spine. One thing was for certain. James Buchanan Barnes was real, and it was only a matter of time before he returned for what was his.
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