Seeing as how it’s still July 4th in much of the western hemisphere, Happy Independence Day to those of my followers who live in the States! And happy...uh...bald eagle drawing to everybody else...?
More Reading Thoughts: The Passage of the Marshes
Gollum has a very distinct gait in my mind. Sort of like a bent-over run (Naruto Run LOL) that occasionally transitions into an all-fours gallop and then back up again on two speedy little legs. If I were any better at animating, I’d be able to show you all.
Lots of descriptions of Gollum’s eyes: the eerie gleam in them when he mentions fish, and the way they bug out and give a greenish light when Frodo asks if he’s hungry. I wish I could think of a way to draw these things.
Sam whispers to Frodo. Frodo answers out loud. Both of them know what Gollum can hear them and deal with it in exactly opposite ways. Tag yourself, I’m Frodo.
Gollum: Promises not to throttle you in your sleep but totally would. Sam: Promises he will throttle you in your sleep but actually wouldn’t.
“He restrained the thoughts of his sword and the rope that sprang to his mind, and went and sat down by his master.” Next paragraph: “When he woke up…” Me: *SPITS DRINK*
It really do be like that sometimes LOL
“Don’t think of any of your Gaffer’s hard names.” So question: when Sam told the whole story to Frodo, did he mutter under his breath “my old Gaffer would have a thing or two to say about…”, or did Frodo just know that Sam was internally calling himself ninnyhammer? Because both are fantastic.
“But Samwise Gamgee, my dear hobbit—indeed, Sam my dearest hobbit, friend of friends—” *lies on my face* *lies on my face* *LIES ON MY FACE* *LIES ON MY—*
“He took his master’s hand and bent over it. He did not kiss it, though his tears fell on it.” *lies on my face and SCREEEEEAAAMS*
(I got so worked up over this that I accidentally published this post instead of saving it in drafts and I had to delete it and write the whole thing over again LOL)
LEAVE ME ALONE I’M EMOTIONAL
THEY LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH I FREAKING D I E
Also this just solidifies for me that Frodo’s love language is “words of affirmation” and Sam’s are “acts of service” and “physical touch”. And like. Wow. Could you choose a more potent combination to absolutely kill me on the spot.
I’m gonna have to scream about this more in another post otherwise this one will get too long
Gotta say, based on the description in the book, I think the movies captured the Dead Marshes really well. Maybe a bit too well.
*Gollum voice* No, no nice crunchable birdses.
Frodo. Frodo why is there slime and water on your hands. Frodo we’re in the Dead Marshes. Frodo what did you do.
“Three precious little Gollums in a row we shall be, if this goes on much longer.” Sam’s sass is the only thing keeping me going right now.
Not me looking up Tolkien Gateway and comparing dates to see whether it was an Eagle that scattered the clouds above the Dead Marshes. (Spoiler: No, no it probably wasn’t.)
But that does raise the question: Can the Ringwraiths control the weather? Already we had one appear along with a storm while Frodo and Sam were on the Emyn Muil, and now we have one that comes with a change of the wind. Coincidence?? Who knows??
Boy, this is a bleak chapter. I’m running out of funny or clever things to say. I think I’m beginning to feel as sapped as Frodo does….
“Lord Sméagol? Gollum the Great? The Gollum! Eat fish every day, three times a day, fresh from the sea. Most Precious Gollum!” It’s simultaneously adorable and horrifying that eating fish all day is Gollum’s highest dream and aspiration, and yet he’s still the most pressing and immediate danger to the hobbits and the fate of Middle Earth. I’m taking mental notes that the most dangerous antagonist doesn’t have to be the one with the biggest ambitions.
Man, I almost wish they’d included the “diseased, poisoned” field between the Marshes and Mordor in the films. I’d want to see how they’d capture it. I’m seeing something like the Spike Field of the Long-Time Nuclear Waste Warning Messages, pocketed with steaming pits of gasoline.
“Gollum welcomed him with dog-like delight. He chuckled and chattered, cracking his long fingers, and pawing at Frodo’s knees. Frodo smiled at him.” This after he was arguing with himself whether or not to kiLL FRODO. NOPE, NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
All my knowledge is of hermitcraft and the stuff people have written for the Hermit!Tommy Au but I kept having this idea and needed to write it. I also think i got a bit out of character halfway through because it was supposed to be short, but i vibed with it too much so now it’s long and maybe not 100% accurate but it’s still angst followed by fluff.
also @petrichormeraki wanted me to tag them when i posted this.
Tommy had been with the Hermits for a while now. He hadn’t really kept track of when he first arrived, but it had at least been a few months. Otherwise, time was a mess. The Hermits has all but legally adopted him and all the joy that came from them caring for him made time seem to fly by.
Doc was fun to be around because while Tommy was perfectly fine never going back to the SMP, the way the man acted gave Tommy a small bit of familiarity in a good way to his past life.
He likes hanging out with False, mainly for sparring. Never anything deadly, but even if there wasn’t a need for Tommy to constantly look over his shoulder, it was good to keep from getting too rusty.
He doesn’t really hang out with Zedaph as much as Zedaph hangs out with him. Normally the Hermit would come out of the blue with something new for Tommy to try. Flicking levers over and over for something that would normally be as simple as using a furnace just became fun for Tommy, especially if he had energy pent up.
Xisuma is someone Tommy doesn’t run into much, but the fact that he doesn’t is something Tommy finds comfort in. Even as the server admin, the man is very down to Earth. Nothing like Dream ever was.
And then there’s Grian. Tommy got along with all the Hermits fine and of course there were some he preferred over others, but Grian took the cake for him. When he first showed up, Grian was the one to give him a place to stay at his old hobbit hole. Professor Beaks had been left there and still used to the SMP and scared for his life, Tommy hid the pet bird as leverage for his own safety. When Grian found out, he mostly shrugged it off, but the tens of chickens in the hobbit hole the next day was proof of retaliation.
Tommy didn’t understand the underwhelming response at first, but responded in kind, using the eggs from the chickens Grian had left to egg the Hermit’s base. When the builder nearly broke the door to the hobbit hole, Tommy grabbed his axe, ready to fight for his life, but was taken aback by the cheerful look on Grian’s face.
After that, Grian had practically taken Tommy under his wing. He showed Tommy how to build more effectively with cobble, eventually managing to get the teen to have some variety. Grian also brought Tommy along on his various chaotic endeavors, leaving behind chickens, mycelium, and possibly some missing doors.
The two chaotic red wearing Brits got along so well that they sometimes spent entire weeks together. Because of that, Tommy was all too aware that the Hermits participated in MCC as well.
It made sense. A few of the Hermits vaguely recognised him when he showed up in Hermitcraft and a few of them looked familiar to Tommy. That had made him feel a little safer since now these people weren’t complete strangers, but it did complicate things. Every so often, the portal to MCC would open and the Hermits participating would go through. The closest Tommy would get to the portal was just before the Hermits left, occasionally giving a ‘Good luck Grine!’ or something similar to Grian as he went through. But after that Tommy stayed as far away as he could manage.
The portal there led to MCC. And from there, there was a portal that led to the SMP. If Tommy could get to Hermitcraft, others could too. And that idea was terrifying, no matter who it was. Dream was a worst case scenario, but even if it was Tubbo. Tubbo had exiled him, and even if they were still on good terms after that, Tommy could have visited at some other MCC, but he didn’t, and that idea likely wouldn’t go over well, especially since otherwise, people probably thought he was dead and Tommy didn’t care to correct them.
But compared to all those other times, today was very different. Today Tommy wasn’t at the sidelines to help send off the other Hermits, he was one of the ones being sent off. They had taken every precaution. Mumbo had rebuilt his Spookification chamber for Tommy with some alterations, specifically removing the firework method of alteration. The teen was also dressed for being on a team with Grian as the Cyan Creepers, so his familiar red and white shirt was missing. But under Tommy’s costume, he still kept the chain necklace holding his compass. He refused to part with it, though made sure he would be hard to access to keep from glancing, knowing at the championships, it wouldn’t be spinning wildly anymore.
With a comforting pat on the back from Grian, he and the other Hermits walked through the portal. The crowd of people that were on the side almost immediately overwhelmed Tommy, making him think that it was a bad idea all over again, but the sight of the two other team members for the Cyan Creepers reassured them, especially as they lined up for the cameras for some fun and silly times. Then once the games began, he was too focused on winning to think of much else.
Before long, the championships were over. They had come in fifth, which was a bit disappointing at first, but on the other hand, it was still pretty good and kept the spotlight off of him. When dodgebolt began, Tommy stood next to Grian, but with a crowd of people, a good game, and no perfect place to sit, the both of them wandered for a better vantage point.
At one point, Tommy managed to push his way right up to the edge of the viewing ledge. It was the perfect place for a while until the action moved, causing everyone to decide it was the perfect place. Enough people moved nearby that Tommy was worried about falling into the pit below, and he almost did before someone pulled him back.
Tommy was ready to thank whichever Hermit or even other player helped him but the words died in his throat when he faced the person who grabbed him. He knew that mask and neon green color. And there was no reason for him to help Tommy unless-
“I finally found you!” Dream spoke. He raised his voice to be heard over the crowd, but not too much to draw the attention of others. Tommy froze as he definitely heard the words. But there was no way for Dream to know, he didn’t look at all like normal.
“I-I’m sorry.” Tommy tried not to stutter, hoping just the situation of being grabbed would excuse it. “But I don’t think I’m who you’re looking for. I’m new here. Unless you’re greeting me for being new.” It was something he prepared before in his mind after Grian brought up the possibility, but it felt sloppy putting it to use.
“Oh don’t lie Tommy. I know it’s you. I guess you got lost, but it’s okay, you can come back now. I got rid of the exile for you. Aren’t you glad?”
Tommy was glad for the mask that covered Dream’s face. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see Dream’s actual expression. “How did you-” He started to speak, but Dream cut him off, poking Tommy’s chest, right where the compass was.
“Weren’t you paying attention to the teams? Tubbo got put with me. And between games he just happened to glance at his own compass. And wouldn’t you know it, it led me right here.” Dream held up the compass that belonged to Tubbo. It looked damaged, and it was recent. Tubbo likely didn’t want to give the tyrant admin the compass, but lost it to Dream anyway.
“Give that back to Tubbo!” Tommy shouted at Dream, trying to snatch it from him.
“Feisty now, aren’t you? We can take care of that when you come back. I’ll also give it back to him if you come with me.”
Tommy froze. There was no way he was going back, but what could he do? Everyone was focused on dodgebolt, and he didn’t want his appearance to have caused more trouble for Tubbo.
Tommy glanced at the crowd one last time before reluctantly nodding. Dream grabbed his hand in a painful clench and dragged him out of the crowd towards the SMP’s portal to leave. However, just before reaching it, Dream stopped. Tommy, who had been looking back at the crowd, hoping someone would see what was going on, turned towards the portal to see Grian standing in front of it.
“Heya, where do you think you’re going. MCC isn’t over yet. Dodgebolt it still going on.”
Tommy expected Dream to just push past Grian or even give some sort of retort, but the actual reply was shocking. “Uh, n-no, just… have to head back early. Th-the game delays made things run over. A-and we’ve got to get b-back for… something else. Don’t w-want to be late for that.”
Dream’s words made Tommy so shocked he forgot to breathe. Dream was scared, no he was terrified. And he was terrified… of Grian. Tommy looked back at the Hermit who stood unflinching in front of them.
“Really? I could have sworn that you were here when I arrived, and that kid wasn’t. And he definitely came from a different portal. I know since I was keeping my eye out for my teammates. So why’s he going with you?”
“I uh…” Dream struggled, struggled, to give an answer, letting Grian continue. “That’s what I thought. C’mon kid, let’s go back to the crowd. You can stay with me until it’s over then I’ll help you find your portal back.”
And Grian took Tommy away without any retaliation from Dream. Tommy was left in awe. Grian wasn’t even an admin in Hermitcraft but Dream was terrified of him. It was amazing! But at the same time, it made Tommy spiral a bit.
When everyone returned, Grian had made sure Dream left before the Hermits and Tommy did so Dream couldn’t watch Tommy leave. Tommy stuck to False’s side as they walked through the portal, Grian being the last to come through as he continued to act as a guard. When he tried to comfort Tommy after his run-in with Dream, he understood when the teen responded he just wanted to go home. The championships were exhausting enough without a scare like that.
The next day, Tommy hung out with False. And then Zedaph, and then Doc. Grian noticed immediately, but didn’t pay much mind to it. He noticed since Tommy had spent a full week only hanging out with him, so the sudden absence of the boy was noticeable, but it made sense that he would want to hang out with the others.
After that, Grian didn’t pay too much attention to the lack of Tommy until he ran into him while stocking the barge. Tommy had been buying something at the store when Grian flew in. He nearly dropped his diamonds in trying to leave in such a hurry that it finally concerned Grian. The builder started visiting other Hermits Tommy tended to visit and ask about him. No one really noticed much other than Tommy dodging any questions about him possibly going to hang out with Grian.
Grian decided to leave it alone, and he was definitely going to, but after another run in with Tommy, he threw that decision out the window. Grian normally wouldn’t have done this, but after trying multiple times to just talk to Tommy and being unsuccessful, the builder had to essentially corner the teen.
Immediately, Grian regretted it. Tommy was trembling, obviously scared, holding a sword in his hand. He carefully tried to point out that Tommy didn’t need to have his sword out, but instead of just putting it away, Tommy just threw it on the ground, also throwing down his other gear. Grian had heard of Tommy doing this before with the other Hermits, so he immediately recognised what was going on and dived to grab the gear. It scared Tommy more, but Grian wanted to make sure nothing ended up destroyed.
“Tommy, calm down, I just want to talk. Did I do something wrong? I mean, obviously I must have, you look scared out of your mind every time I’m around you. But I can’t think or anything I did and I don’t want this to keep happening. So can I know what’s going on?”
Tommy didn’t speak for a while. He just looked defeated and terrified. Grian called in some of the other Hermits to come help Tommy calm down, though at first it didn’t help. But over time, Tommy finally did stop looking so terrified and they moved to somewhere he would feel less cornered. It took more coaxing after that, but finally, Tommy explained himself.
“He’s scared of you. Dream is… actually scared of you.”
“Yeah, I’ve killed him once or twice. Plus my full name is Lord Grian Dreamslayer, so it’s kind of in the name.” The builder tried to say it as a joke, but it didn’t seem to lighten the mood.”
“He’s the admin and he’s scared of you. And you… I’ve been hanging out with you.”
Grian nodded. “Well yeah, we do fit together well. ...Did he say something at MCC to make you think I didn’t like you?”
Tommy shook his head. “N-No. You’re right, you’re fun to be around. But dream likes… liked messing with me. And tried to train me. And I hang out with you more than I had with him, and I’m more like you. I-If you’re somehow more powerful than him-!” The rest of the words stopped in Tommy’s throat, choking him up. Stress was nearby and gave Tommy a careful hug for comfort, which helped him a little.
Grian waited a little bit for the tension to calm slightly before he spoke. “I don’t know exactly what Dream has done to you. You’ve told us a lot, but you obviously haven’t told us everything, and telling us isn’t the same as experiencing it. But let me tell you that I’m not going to do what he’s done to you. I remember how you were the first day we found you. And I see how you are now- well, how you were a few weeks ago- and I’m happy. Happy because you’ve been happy. You’ve been safe and cared for here and it shows. I don’t want to force you to be anything, I want you to be you. Sure, I’m powerful enough to kill Dream, but I’m not going to use that power on you. I’m only going to use it around you if it’s to keep him away from you.
“And! And! It’s just because of how your server is. Here we can go to the end. We don’t have a set amount of lives. We build massive structures and sell totems for a single diamond each. We fight Withers for fun and make farms with them. We farm just about anything you can think of. And Tommy.” Grian paused, making sure Tommy was paying attention. “You may be from somewhere far off that none of us old Hermits have seen, but now you’re here. And new home or not, that makes you a Hermit too. Sure you can be like me. Or you can be like False or Doc or Scar or Mumbo. But so far, you’ve been pretty you. And that you is a Hermit.”
Tommy took a few moments to process it, but the message seemed to get through to him. With that, Grian stood up with a smile. “Now I get that you probably don’t want to hang around me much right now. It makes sense. Maybe hang out with some other Hermits and learn some new stuff to get your mind off of things. Plus, I also did some talking around looking for you, and got you this.”
Tommy’s eyes practically sparkled as Grian placed down some music discs. He greedily grabbed the treasures and stuffed them in his inventory, looking up just to see Grian flying off. Taking on Grian’s idea, Tommy decided to go with Cleo and try to wrap his head around those armor stands again. While he wasn’t a pro, he did manage to make one scene of the hermits all holding weapons and surrounding an armor stand in lime leather armor. Grian was right. He was a Hermit. And he wasn’t going back. At least, not permanently, he thought, clutching his compass. Maybe, there would even be another Hermit like him.
Alright alright alright. Bad Buddy, Ep 3, Part 4/4, in which Pat learns and grows as a person and makes it Engineering’s problem (lit. and fig.).
First, due diligence: This almost definitely contains spoilers for later eps, so if you haven’t finished watching the series and want to see it unspoiled, drive through and come back when you’re finished watching.
OPEN ON: The Engineering secondary backup hobbits gaming on their phones out at the picnic tables. Korn does NOT appear to be very good at it, especially when Pat shows up and knocks him in the head with his messenger bag, which I don’t know if we’ve seen before this. Maybe he only carries it around when he needs to hit Korn in the head. Korn dies in the game, and he’s irritated now, and Pat was already irritated, and Korn wants to know wth that was about, and Pat basically tells him that he’s lucky he’s not getting worse. So, all the hobbits are baffled at this point, and Chang asks why Pat is bullying them, and I roll my eyes at this fk’n guy so hard that I catch a glimpse of grey matter, because y’all ought to know from bullying, right? Very sad that the sword you live by has come back to smack you upside the head. Now, tbf, I’m actually kind of torn about this scene, because Pat then goes on to look and sound incredulous, asking them “Do you need to ask?” like these guys should somehow know that suddenly all the rules have changed. Pat, not everyone has been on an inner journey of self-discovery while watching Pran being adorable eating his wontons, OK? This scene is set at the same place where these guys first came up with their plot to film themselves kicking the shit out of Wai and getting video of it while Pat also vowed to break Architecture’s fingers – which now that I think about it is a particularly douchebro threat to make about people who need to do drafting work with their hands, whether drawing on paper or using computer graphics – and a little bit, I have to wonder if the setting is deliberate, a sign that they’re all still back there in that mindset. But now, Pat asks why they posted the video, which come on, man, is a little bit unfair, since you were the one who insisted you would need your manly pride salved by posting the video. You’ve changed the rules on them, so I can kind of get their confusion, but on the other hand, they do still continue to be terrible: Korn’s response is “So?” and his response to learning that Architecture is footing the bill for repairs is “So?” and they all want to know why Pat cares anyway, I mean, he’s Engineering, right, so why is he acting weird? At this point, you can see on Ohm’s face that Pat is having a little “oh” moment, realizing that he is what’s changed, not the world around him. (Hold that thought for a lot of episodes.)
Quick cut to Pat in his dorm room, probably that evening, coming in the door, wandering around, unable to settle. He finally goes to the closet, where he pulls out …. Pran’s guitar. We flashback to the scene in the music store from earlier in the ep, just in case we’ve forgotten, to emphasize that when Pat asked Pran about his guitar, that was a fishing expedition, because Pat knew better than Pran what happened to the guitar. Back in present day, Pat’s smiling at the guitar, possibly contemplating what he’s gonna do with Pran’s baby, which he’s sort of kidnapped at this point.
Cut to the cafeteria, probably the next day, where Pran and the Architecture secondary backup hobbits are sitting around, talking about how much money they still need. It’s 10K, according to Pran – presumably baht, which converts to right around $300 USD, and guys. Guys, seriously. I have $300. Hit me up and I’ll get it to you. Anyway, this is apparently money that’s needed for labor, so I guess they have materials covered. Wai wants to know if they can borrow the money from the Student Union, and this is another place that I don’t know if this is deliberate or sloppy writing, because you should know that, Wai. Pran sent you to talk to the Student Union people at the beginning of the ep – what, did you get sidetracked by … well, Korn is the most likely thing for you to get sidetracked by, because we’ve already established a pattern of you two being weird about each other. At any rate, Wai says he – he, not they - could pay the SU back in installments. Pran says that no, SU needs their funds for the senior’s prom. Louis wants to know if they can ask their friends for help, and my dude, do you have any friends who aren’t sitting at this table? Wai apparently feels the same way, because he remarks somewhat bitterly that nobody cares, and anyway, they need money to pay the engineers on the project – unspoken is the follow-through that none of their friends are engineers, because none of Engineering are their friends, although Pran’s face is doing some interesting things, here. I’m beginning to have some déjà vu – this is a little reminiscent of the “Where are we going to get $500” conversation in Dirty Dancing, and for a hot minute I imagine Baby Pran trying the same thing, going to Dissaya to say he needs $300 to help a friend, but he can’t say for what, but it’s nothing bad, he promises, and then I realize that if this situation was reversed and Engineering was on the hook, Pat would probably be able to go to Ming and walk away with this money, because Ming would be so proud that Pat and his friends were involved in some ass-kicking, based on the dinner conversation they had about the first fight, in Ep 1. UGH. ANYWAY, all the hobbits are despondent, and Pran suggests they go back out to the thrashed bus stop and see if there’s anything else left in the heap of old materials that they could sell.
Cut to the bus stop, where there is nothing left to sell – certainly nothing that’s going to get them 10K baht. We do get the chance to see a pair of red/yellow trashcans make a brief appearance, though, which may be a little Easter egg or may be a sign of a limited production budget. Wai asks how long it’s going to take the four of them to build the new bus stop, and Pran nixes the idea, saying they need to hire people. From off-camera we hear the sound of footsteps and a voice: “Are you talking about us?’ We get a slo-mo shot of Pat, Korn, Chang, Mo, and a couple of tertiary backup hobbits they picked up somewhere, coming in like some cavalry to save the day. This is a hero shot, and I think it’s supposed to be ironic? Flashback to a continuation of the previous scene at the picnic tables, when everyone else wanted to know why Pat cared and why they should care, because they are legitimately The Worst: Korn is completely baffled by Pat’s suggestion that they help Architecture rebuild. Chang asks if Pat’s really an Engineering student and wants to know why they should have any sympathy for Architecture (because it proves you’re not a complete sociopathic asshole, you jerk. I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people.). And Pat does something that’s kind of interesting, here – he goes into teaching mode. He lays out the situation and then leads them to the answer that he wants them to have, but he lets them come up with it for themselves so that they’ll have more buy-in: He reminds them that the previous bus stop was (supposedly, according to the lie Pran pulled out of his ass) built by both faculties, so it was common territory, but if ONLY Architecture rebuilds, then … Korn still looks baffled at this point. Oh, honey. I guess stupid babies DO need the most love. Mo, however, sits up and exclaims that this will make it completely Arch territory. Cue dramatic music. Chang breaks in that their rights and freedumb to use the bus stop may suffer. Yes, that’s right, you’re going to be oppressed by Architecture and not allowed to catch the bus. Sure, Jan. At any rate, Pat applauds them for coming to the correct conclusion and says he has an idea of how to prevent losing stake in this territory. Cut back to present day, and Pat plants a sign in the ground, naming the area the Pavilion of “Peace” built by Engineering-Architecture students, and lol. I see your scare quotes there. I’m not sure if this is deliberately incorrect, whether this is a Doylist meta-level screw-up or something that’s supposed to be incorrect within the world of the show. At any rate, it’s probably a sign that we’re not going to be seeing actual peace quite yet. Pran’s WTF face on being presented by this group and their sign is delightful. This asshole will not stop interfering with his life or joking around about this. Pat, however, explains that if Engineering helps build the bus stop, they’ll have enough workers AND someone to supervise the project without having to hire engineers – and he’s talked to their instructors about it. Pat throws a little look Korn’s way at this point and Korn nods in support (I also want to make a little note here that Korn is NOT in an engineering jacket, but in one of his windbreakers, which interestingly enough is engineering blue on top and architecture red on the bottom).
Pat is grinning, at this point – he’s proud of himself for this, and frankly he ought to be, but he’s also, I think, happy to have found a way to help Pran out. OK, FINE. You can stay, Pat. You’re still on probation, though. He holds out his hand for Pran to shake, Pran takes a step toward him … and Wai, in contrast to Korn, is NOT down with this. Let’s be fair, here: Not only has Korn had some time to process and come to terms with this new arrangement, rather than just having it sprung on him (and remember his response when Pat DID spring it on him), he’s also not the one who’s been consistently attacked, assaulted, and harassed. If I was Wai, I wouldn’t want them involved, either, and I definitely wouldn’t trust them. Given their track record, I’d have absolutely no guarantee that they wouldn’t end up stealing the materials, selling them off for beer money, and leaving me and my friends completely and totally fucked. They’ve consistently demonstrated that they’re The Worst, and this worst-case scenario would be consistent with their standard M.O. I know I keep coming back to this, but it’s a huge topic in the fandom, that Wai needs to apologize for What He Does. I want to point out that despite his treatment up until now, nobody has apologized to him. Nobody will ever apologize to him for that treatment. Even now, this ceasefire is being presented as a favor to him, which he has to accept because he’s up against the wall – Safe points out that they don’t have any other choice. Later in this ep, Pat will ask Pran if this makes everything even. He sure as shit won’t ask Wai, despite the fact that Wai is the one who’s suffered far and away the most physical and emotional violence from Pat, Korn, and the rest of Engineering. What Pat is really worried about is if this makes things between him and Pran OK, and Pran says yes like that’s all that’s necessary. It’s maybe Pran’s first betrayal of Wai, who get zero closure here, with anyone. I think it’s a big part of the reason why Wai spends the next five and a half episodes walking around like an open wound, and a ton of reaction to the character is inexplicably going to be that he’s just awful and unpleasant and needs to die in a fire. :hands: ANYWAY. We’ll get back to the issue of apologies again, I’m sure, but for now, Pat and Pran shake hands. Pat’s still smiling. Pran is almost smiling back.
Cut to that night, back at the dorm. We see Pran come out of his room and dither around in the hallway in front of Pat’s door, turning every now and then to go back into his room, a positioning of him in relation to the camera that makes it Super Obvious that he’s still wearing The Watch. He finally goes to knock on Pat’s door, but before he can, Pat pulls it open and is right up in his face, grinning and remarking that Pran’s been lurking outside his door, which leads me to the question: How long have you been standing there looking out your peephole like a creepster in order to know that, Pat? Also, UGH, your posture is awful, Pran, I constantly want to poke you between the shoulder blades and make you stand up straighter, I can’t believe Dissaya allows you to get away with that. Anyway, Pran’s super obviously trying to be casual and is absolutely failing at it. Pat is grinning in a way that might be obnoxiously smug if not for Ohm’s ridiculous charisma. These two are absolutely ridiculous, and I love them, your honor. Pran says thanks for the bus stop agreement; Pat admits that it’s Engineering’s fault, too, and asks if they can call it even now. So, having already said some things about my reaction to that, I do also want to point out that this framing means that Pat continues to use the language of competition. He wants to know if they’ve evened the score. At any rate, Pran nods. Pat nods. Pat’s like, OK then, and turns to go back in his room. Pran’s all, hey, um, have you eaten? And Pat inexplicably says yes. WHAT? Why are you passing up the chance to spend time with Pran when HE made the offer, Pat? Even if you have eaten, how hard would it be to lie? And I’ve seen you eat, I know you can manage more food if you have to sell the lie. Why are you trying to so hard to disabuse me of the notion that Korn’s the dumbass? Pran is all, well OK. Bye, then. Pat stops him and goes back in his room, to re-emerge with Pran’s guitar, FINALLY. (I have to wonder if he kept it until now, when Pran isn’t mad at him, because he didn’t want to use the guitar as a way to get back into Pran’s good graces, he wanted it to be meaningful on its own.) Pran is all, “MY BABY!” Pat explains that the high-school music-club room got cleaned out and he tried to sell the guitar on E-Bay, but nobody wanted it, so he kept it sitting around cluttering up his closet. He does not at all mention what we’ll find out later actually happened - which is that he ran after Pran to try to give the guitar to him, but that he wasn’t fast enough - because he’s not yet ready to be exposed as the gigantic sap that he actually is. Pran says thanks again, and they both sit down in the No Man’s Land of the hallway, and Pran noodles on the guitar a little bit. They’re still grinning at each other, because when they share music like this, it means they’re In Harmony, a metaphor that the show repeatedly draws out, from the discordant musical face-off they have in the music room in Ep 1, when they’re waiting to get entry forms for the music competition and are trying desperately to telepathically project how much they hate each other; through all of the confrontation involved in Pran using “Just Friend” when they’re competing against each other before Pat finally gets there and kisses Pran on the roof; to Ep 12, when we’re supposed to believe they’re estranged but the fact that they play music together at the school reunion is a clue that all is not as it seems, and they’re actually still together. Pran mentions that it’s a shame they can’t compete in the music competition since the bus stop got trashed in the fight, and Pat is all, you haven’t heard? We’re back in the competition.
Flashback to Pat in the instructor’s office, pleading for him to reconsider. He mentions that Architecture and Engineering are re-building the bus stop together and says that participating in the same activity might help better relations, which NO, PAT. I mean, yes, a collaborative activity like re-building the bus stop might indeed do that, but a competitive activity is only going to lead to more conflict. You have got to learn to speak an intimate language other than competition. On a micro-level, you’re going to discover that you and Pran function better as a team than competing, and you need to learn this on a macro-level, in the way you and your friends deal with everyone else. We get to see exactly why you are this way, though, because the next thing you say to the instructor is to talk about how much your dad is pressuring you to “bring him the trophy” (emphasis mine). Instructor is all, fine, fine, but if anything happens again, everything is off, no, really, I mean it this time, no, really. Cut back to Pat and Pran, with Pat continuing to act as if he has no clue how this has all happened. He tells Pran to practice hard, so there’s no excuse if he loses to Engineering. Pran leans forward, playfully confrontational, and remarks that Pat seems so happy to compete with him. Pat leans forward and remarks that Pran does too, and also has he mentioned, he just like to see Pran’s face … And speaking of Pran’s FACE, when he hears this, Nanon pulls out all the microexpression stops, and there’s this entire face journey going on, including this hope that’s just painful to look at, and I swear he’s looking at Pat’s mouth, he looks like this is the moment he’s lived for his entire life ... and then Pat finishes his sentence, “when you LOSE,” and cackles as he chucks Pran under the chin and ruffles his hair, and istg, it’s like the light momentarily goes out of Pran’s eyes. Pat, you need to get there faster before I put a shiv in you. He gets up and goes back in his room, but Pran keeps sitting there for a minute, coming to terms with this ridiculous repressed asshole he’s in love with. He looks at The Watch, and then up at Pat’s door, and he’s kind of rueful, because apparently this is his life now, but when he does get up and goes into his own room – with his newly returned guitar – we see the door re-open a moment later, and he sticks out his hand to flip his frowny face door sign upside down to make it a smiley face. And scene.
NEXT TIME: Tension between Architecture and Engineering, Pran sends everyone to their separate corners, and Pat’s very into Gay Chicken.
Could I beg something about your “Aragorn’s Upsetting Haircut” headcanon? No pressure of course!!
(this is going to be presented in more than one installment, but I couldn’t resist sharing! a few things: this fic is consistent with the rest of my personal canon, and it draws upon the headcanon that Aragorn and Arwen married by elvish standards upon Cerin Amroth but still consider themselves betrothed by Mannish standards.)
When Arwen came down into the Valley again, the Sun was low in the sky, hovering just above the tops of the Chithaeglir and casting long shadows across the trees and the river below. She could tell, immediately, when she crossed their borders, passing through the wards easily. There was Song here, bound into the rock and the roots of the mountains, curling about her and pulling the weariness from her body. Celeg seemed easier too, slowing from a trot to a walk; she knew he could feel the change just as surely as she did. Come home, the Song whispered, threads of melody pulling her along the path toward the gleaming lights of her home. Come home, and be healed of your pains.
It would be easy - too easy - to slip the bounds of her body and bone, to cast herself upon the shadows and ride the winds down to her own bedroom window. The thought was tempting, and even more tempting when she considered the ache in her hip that hadn’t ceased since the skirmishes three weeks past had left her with a deep and ugly wound.
Her lord father had sent her out in search of four hobbits and - perhaps - her betrothed, her secret husband, all wandering in the wilds while ulaer pursued them. She was not alone, though she had departed first, weeks before the others. It was foresight that had driven her father to speak with her, and foresight that pushed her to saddle Celeg and leave Imladris under cover of darkness. Glorfindel had been the next to leave, far later, keeping close to the Road, traveling westward and anticipating that the servants of Sauron would not have left it far behind. Last were her brothers, abandoning their errantry, making for what Men called the Angle where Mitheithel and Bruinen met and merged. It had been her lot to travel north, and north she had gone, albeit in a disjointed, somewhat defiant fashion, moving from the Ettenmoors to the North Downs and then at last down to Sarn Ford and the Dúnedain she knew would be there.
Her guess had been that her betrothed, if he was with the hobbits, had met them at that border of the Shire, and had accompanied them up the Greenway to Bree before striking out into the wilderness. None of her travels had given any sign of him, and so it was in frustration and defeat that she had come to the encampment, seeking some tidings that might guide her, and found it in disarray.
Aragorn had been there - days past, departing after a disastrous attack by the ulaer that had left three men dead and four wounded, with Halbarad trying valiantly to maintain order and hold the border. He had left in a great haste, as if fleeing from their enemies, saying only that he was making for Bree. He was followed shortly after by Mithrandir, who had come and gone from the Shire like a grey cloud blown back and forth by a storm. It had been her aim to seek them out, and offer her strength in song and sword against the darkness.
Fate had not been so kind.
Sarn Ford had been attacked a second time while she was there, the enemies assailing it now flesh and blood. There were still evil Men who dwelt in the North and recalled the name of Angmar, and their blades were as formidable now as they had been in centuries past. Her voice had been needed, the night and the river turning upon the would-be intruders and her ancestress’s blood sparking in her veins to claim the borders, but she was no true soldier for all her skill with a blade, and her body was ruled by the limits of the Incarnates. The fighting had reached her, while she stood thigh-deep in rushing water and twined her words through its echoes of long-ago music, and someone now-dead had plunged a dagger into her hip. The wound would have been fatal if not for Halbarad, who had pulled her back from the thick of the battle and seared it closed with the flat of a pan from the smoldering cooking-fire before she could bleed out. She had not ceased her singing, and her assailant found himself dragged beneath the surface of the Baranduin and drowned.
Two days were all she could spare, one to recover what strength she might and another to force her legs to obey her will. Halbarad had begged her to stay - what wrath their Chieftain might bring down upon them, he’d said, if his Lady died in the wilds when they might have saved her! But she was Lúthien’s heir, and would not be kept from his side, and no words would hold her in obligation. Celeg, for his part, was uninjured, having been kept from the fighting by his own good sense, and he gladly bore her northward a second time.
That had been twenty-one days ago, and each day had been fruitless and empty. She searched through the North Downs again, and the Weather Hills, and the Coldfells, growing more and more desperate with each setting Sun. She could feel the ulaer on the move, dreaming of their horses’ hooves thundering over the hard-packed ground of the Road even as she slept, and she could not ignore the fear rising in her like a spike that sought to pierce her heart. Her betrothed was a valiant man, and canny, and careful, but there were terrors that sought him out unlike any he had faced before, and the hobbits were almost certainly inexperienced travelers.
At last, she had been forced to admit defeat. The year was truly turning cold, and her food had been exhausted, and it had been nigh on two mortal months since her departure. She had hoped that whatever tenuous thread bound her to Aragorn would have led her to him, but the world was dark now, shielded by evil mists that clouded her thought and her heart, and the closed wound on her hip had begun to fester beneath its scar. So it was to home she had turned, leaving the fells behind her, coming back down into Imladris from the north. She had not slept in three days, blind almost to all beyond her body.
A fine daughter I am, she thought as Celeg made his way down the ridge, careful and steady. A fine wife, for that matter. But daughters of Lúthien did not pout, and they certainly did not cry from exhaustion.
The Valley was unusually quiet this afternoon. As always, the Bruinen sang, and the birds welcomed her, but her own folk were strangely absent on the pathways and in the trees. The wards still stood, so she knew there had not been some calamity, and there was no whisper of a siege on the air - it felt almost as if Tarnin Austa had arrived a second time in the same year, and all who dwelt within their borders had come into the house proper to celebrate.
Or to mourn, she thought, and made a face and refused to dwell on that fear.
The stables were just as quiet as the rest of Imladris, and she was able to dismount and lead Celeg back to his stall in peace. The great black gelding had borne her without complaint through the long weeks, and yet she could see in his ears and the swish of his tail that he was glad to be home.
“I know,” she murmured, opening the door and stepping inside, watching him look at her expectantly. “You’ll get a full grooming, I promise.” And then it’s a long bath for me, and a visit to my father regarding my hip.
“Allow me, my lady,” a second voice said, cutting through the silence. She flinched, shrinking back against her horse for half a heartbeat - it had been days on end since she’d heard another’s voice, and she was suddenly acutely aware of how detached from herself she had become. But she knew that voice, and shock and surprise were quick to take the place of fear.
“Glorfindel?” she asked, peering over the door to see her father’s captain leaning against a post. He was standing in another stall directly across from her, alongside Asfaloth, who was contentedly making short work of some hay. “You - !” Dismay stopped her, silencing her joy. There was only one reason he would have returned after so short a time away - he, too, had failed.
“I?” the ellon asked, raising an eyebrow. “What about me?”
“You didn’t find them,” she said. “You’ve the same tale to tell as I.”
His face grew serious and yet lost none of its joy, and he opened the door to Asfaloth’s stall and stepped out of it, closing the latch behind him.
“No, my lady,” he told her, eyes shining as he spoke. “I’ve a different tale.”
“What?” she asked, motionless, unable to look away from him. She could see now that he was dressed for merrymaking and revelry, clad in bright scarlet and deep blue, his tunic gleaming with passing thread and his hair braided through with well-placed gems. “But - I found nothing, and surely I would have known if - !” If he were slain, if he lay dead, if the ulaer claimed him for their number…
“My lady,” Glorfindel said, one hand reaching out and taking her gloved one carefully. “I found him in the hills, and I have brought him home.”
Tears filled her eyes, and she sat down hard, sinking to the floor of the stable as her hip protested and relief flooded every inch of her body.
I'd love to see more sick Atem please!
Wow, this was a lucky ask, I was just about to post some sick Aten content, so here it is in full! About 2000 words, short and sweet.
Swipe, undo, undo again, sniffle. It was a constant cycle, a hobbit-like Aten, slumped halfway, scribbling on a digital tablet in front of the blue glow of a double monitor. Pale, even by albino standards—dark circles under the eyes—ears and nose a deep and exhausted pink. Bluetooth headset over the head, hair an absolute mess. One stroke of the digital pen meant three undos from the upper key; it was driving him nuts. Usually, he would have commendable patience with this stuff, but today wasn’t his day—every undo was a slap in the face again and again, despite his taught sighs and drawn yawns.
Spring, while it meant allergies for some people, was the height of Aten’s susceptibility to red-nose: a viral illness and infection as common as the flu, amongst smaller races—gnomes, halflings, dwarves, what have you around the bustling city of Tont? Kobolds, even. It wouldn’t be an awful thing, that is, if the Equinox Showcase wasn’t coming up in a week, at most.
“Mgh—“ Aten had to set the digital pen aside, bringing up a very used, crumpled tissue with both of his small hands, and blowing his nose faintly into it. His sinuses buzzed and stung to the blow, and it sent goosebumps all over his body. Gods, he was so fatigued, red-nose was nothing to simply push aside! He was watched wearily as the screen in front of him doubled and blurred, behind a filter of tearful eyes and sharp, feverish hitches.
“Hpp’shtt!!” gods, here it goes, “hht—ksshht! Hpp’txxt!! Hih- ht’iiishew—iisSHHhew!! Hhitt—shiiew! Hutt-appschuu!!” Seven? “Esschheu!” Eight, quite standard, for Aten; he always sneezed in little handfuls, illness or not. What made these sneezes much different was the intensity—each one caused his head to dip below his shoulders, which alone was enough to make his eyes feel like they were boggling in their sockets. Every sneeze sent him further to rock bottom of fatigue, and at this point, he was just getting dragged along for the ride. They were wet, too; usually, a fit of sneezes wouldn’t do much to a single tissue, but when he was ill? Gods, he was so stuffed, it was hard to focus.
What was he drawing again? Geez, right, the spring logo for Anabel and Awokani, peach blossom themed, this year. A few wet coughs erupted from Aten, holding the soaked tissue to his dripping nostrils as he did.
“Aaaalright,” came a low hum behind the closed door to Aten’s room, followed by two knocks. “I’m coming in, are you good?”
“Mm,” Aten confirmed after a gurgling blow of his nose, watching Bridger lead a small cart that came up to his knee into the room. With how they were situated, Aten and Bridger came up to eye level with one another—Aten’s bed sat across the room, but his desk was a restyled bunk bed, crafted by the goliath himself. The ‘bottom bunk’ was where he had a laptop and very quick access to most of his necessities, while the ‘top bunk’ was a secondary desk with a double monitor desktop computer and a few throw pillows, where his drawing tablet rested, and where Aten sat, legs folded, tucking himself into his oversized robe.
“And what are you doing up here?” Squinted Bridger, whose brown eyes glanced over the monitor screens with a few worried flickers in his irises. “Good gods, you did all of that? I left you in here like...three hours!”
The man had been up and down, in and out, taking tailoring projects home for Poetry’s showcase, and sending them out and down a twenty-minute walk to the warehouse to be loaded to headed to Alkberg, Kensō; that’s where the showcase would be, and such a friendly competition down in the heart of the province would be sure to make the fashion news if they won. There was a general air of time-crunch-tension about, but Bridger was willing to put it all aside, given Aten needed to recover.
“St’durdiness,” Aten coughed harshly, the sound resonating deep in his chest, in the way only a bad cold could bring about.
“Aten, your eyes are so heavy,” whispered Bridger, who lifted a few crumpled tissues and threw them inside a little trash bag; oh geez, the poor guy was all out of tissues, how long had he been there like that? “I’m watching you try and keep them open...when I said ‘I’ll let you relax for a few hours,’ this isn’t….exactly what I meant…”
Bridger’s huge knuckle pushed under Aten’s bangs, holding against his forehead, “—and your fever’s swung in…”
Aten reached forward and saved his work—he already knew the inevitable was on its way, what with Bridger here to reassure he was resting. Besides, all things considered, if he gave in now, he would at least have someone to care for him until he had time to be alone again.
After setting his computer in sleep mode, Aten’s long ears pinned back at the sight of two huge, open palms; the warmth radiating off of them was inviting enough. He crawled over dejectedly, but a sharp prick in the back of his nose halted him and made his eyes water.
“H-hhhih..! Htt’issshhewh!” The tickle crawled from the back of his nose and teased his puffy nostrils, earning a small start from his big friend.
“Oh, big sneeze…” and a quiet hum, carefully scooping up Aten into an arm as his hitches fell apart.
“Mnih! Not d-done—heh—m’kkttih!! Hit—kkissh! Iiit—schhoo! Hih...hhiiiht’eschoo! Hp’ixxx!!” Aten’s tiny fingers balled up the fabrics of Bridger’s shirt, stuffing them to his nose as he pitched forward wetly. He was lowered onto his little bed beside the window, bundled into the salmon-toned comforters before the goliath draped shut the huge ceiling-length windows to his left.
“Bless you, little guy…” sighed Bridger, who pulled the cart of items close to the bed, within the halfling's reach. From it, he extracted a box of soft tissues, opening them and placing them in front of the halfling on the bed. The cart also had a kettle, sitting on its mat, and a tiny coffee mug with an assortment of tea boxes and a bowl of sugar beside it. “I wasn’t sure what tea you’d want, so I just bought all the boxes….I didn’t know what you’d like to eat, either, whether you want me to make something special, or order something nice from your favorite take-out….how are you feeling?”
“Fide…” Aten’s voice was thick with congestion, and the tips of his ears had drooped to his shoulders. He placed down the used, crumpled tissue on the bed to join many others—a clear sign he had been down and up from the bed by a definite trail of used papers—and replaced it with a fresh one to press under his small, round nares. His fingertips had gone pink, down at the knuckles and wrists, too. “I’mb...snf! Just a liddle sdiffily...id isn’d bad…”
“It isn’t bad yet, Aten, but red-nose is something you get almost every year…” sighed Bridger, worry in his big, brown eyes, “Today isn’t the day to school you on your partying habits, I know, but at the very least, when you come down with something icky, you’ve gotta stay put, little guy….”
Aten squeezed his watery eyes shut, curling his small nose as his irises lost focus. “Wid—wid...snffk! Wid’ thad logic, I was pu’d...p...pih…! Hih! Hiisschhoo—isshhoo!”
“hIH’sszzchie! hh—ttzzchhue! I was—oh-hhhuh! Hiiieet’schhhue!! Ntt’ksshhh—iiiesttschhh—hppiiishh!!” Aten shoved the tissue to his face and crumpled it in his tight grasp. He ducked over with the first double, and the following six sent him inching forward with each one, tossing his hair until it was tousled and leaving him more wild and exhausted than before. “Snf..! I was pu’d ub there...snnnkk!” He gave a watery sniffle and a sigh.
“You were hunched over and working away...that couldn’t have been good for your back or chest…”
“It’s good for the business,” protested Aten softly, earning a frown from the large man.
“I know, Aten...everybody’s stressed...what with the event next week….all the more reason to rest and regain yourself while you can….”
The goliath paused as he filled Aten’s mug with blueberry tea, upon him pointing the box out with downcast eyes. His brows slanted as he passed the cup forward, only for Aten to hold it away as he turned over his shoulder. Aten’s brows tightened with desperation—his little nose wiggled, no different than that of a rabbit, glowing a deep and furious red.
“uhh..? Heh! Heeiishhoo! Iiiszzchewh!! Hdd’zzzschhewh!” Three small, but lengthy and drawn-out sneezes jutted up the halfling’s legs, all forced into the crinkling tissue. A fourth sent him doubling over, which translated promptly into a humming nose blow. “Mmmugh...snf! Am I just...supposed to sit here and sniff and drink tea?” he grumbled, lifting his brow when Bridger shook his head.
“You could play your switch!” Offered Bridger, plucking the small device from the dock on the side of the shelf and setting it down on the bed for Aten to hold onto. “How’s this: unwind with your game, I’ll go pick something up down the street and walk back. From there, I can move your laptop over here, and drawing tablet and everything, on that little bed-table we have? And you can keep working from bed.”
“I fail to see how that’s any better than the bunk…”
“So I won’t be scooping you up when you collapse from a fever!! Everything will be within reach, no scaling up and down things…”
Who was Aten to put up an argument to that? If it meant he could finish work with an extra pair of eyes, sure. After clicking on his switch, the halfling set it aside with a watery sniffle and a long draw of his blueberry tea. It caused him to slip back into the huge pillows behind him, letting his brows release their tension. The steam helped clear his nose, too.
“See…? This is taking a break…”
“Don’t school me while I’m just settling in,” sneered Aten with another long sip, “lest I’ll get feisty again.”
“Alright, alright,” laughed Bridger, who pulled on his hefty overcoat and stood at his full height, “I’ll fill up this second mug too, there’s water here, tissues down there, and your chills pills...anything else before I head out?”
“What are you getting?” Sniffled Aten densely.
“Teriyaki. You want the sweet and sour with steamed veggies, right?”
“Can you get a mochi box?”
“If it means you’ll stay put in bed? Sure,” grinned Bridger when he was met by an eye-roll and a small nod. “Strawberry?”
Gods, it was the longest hour of Aten’s life; not that it was agony, what with the tea and some animal crossing—but now that Bridger had been gone to grab food, he grew hungry and cranky. Another emotion to the list simply meant another flight of stairs was fallen towards fatigue. His eyes grew dull and heavy, and it got to the point that the cheery 6 pm music dulled out in his ears, embracing the herculean weight of sleep as it balanced on his shoulders.
Bridger returned only fifteen minutes after, slanting his eyebrows gently at the sight of Aten’s droopy head, snoring away with his switch limp in his hands. Smiling, he set the styrofoam box with the plastic fort on a small space on the cart, before setting the box of mochi in the mini-fridge beside the bedside table. He pulled his sharpie from behind his ear, writing a note on the teriyaki box to let him know where his little treats were hiding for the moment. Slowly, he pulled the switch from Aten’s hair and set it aside, still letting the calming music from the game lull him as Bridger leaned his halfling friend back against the pillows, tucking his blanket over him, and parting his hair to the side.
“Sturdiness, huh…” he chuckled.
Diary found in K---D--- : Part 2
So, here's the next little part of this :D
Imagine by @lathalea is indented!
Taglist: @shrimpsthings, @mulasawala (so you see where I'm going with this lol)
(Yes, there will be MORE artwork coming, stay posted...)
Characters: Ori x OC
Rating & Warning: Fluff and silliness
His name was Ori and he was a scribe in Erebor. It turned out he visited the forest often to sketch the animals and plants. You spent the rest of the day together. In the evening, you exchanged campfire stories, sharing a meal. At one point, he shyly asked about where you came from. Blushing, he admitted, almost whispering, he never saw a person with such beautiful hair before.
You told him that you came from another world, from a region called East Asia, where many people looked similarly to you. He was very curious about your homeland, your culture and your world. You spent hours telling him everything about it and he listened to you in awe.
“Ori.” He replied, his lips quirking a tiny bit as if he was not used to speaking his own name. “I’m a scribe. In Erebor. The Mountain.” He pointed to a tree beyond the clearing.
Thankfully, I was familiar with the Lonely Mountain and did not think that he didn’t know the difference between a living organism and a pile of minerals.
“I have never seen you, neither here nor in that Mountain.” I replied, for I went into the halls sometimes to translate for travellers, but for the most part, I let the king be his grumpy, glorious self.
“I come here often, to sketch, but I seem to have lost my way.” He admitted with a tiny frown. Ah, a real dwarf. They only knew up and down seemingly and if there was no way into a hill, they’d stubbornly trek up until they tumbled off the other side again.
As if to prove to me that he was not lying – dear reader, he had a face that was utterly devoid of malice or dissimulation – he showed me rather good sketches of the fauna and flora of the dense forest surrounding us. “That is really good, Ori, the scribe, from under the Mountain.” I commented which made him blush with a fierce and, apparently, unexpected pleasure.
In an expression of indescribable cuteness, he literally wiped his face with his sleeve as if he could clean away the rosy hue like a stubborn ink stain from under his skin.
“What are you here for?” He then asked, pushing out his chest heroically. As a reminder, he was the one who had lost his way, but apparently, he wanted to defend either the forest from me or the other way around.
“I am here to think…in silence.” I replied; he retreated a few steps. “Oh? I’ll leave you to it then, I guess. It was great to make your acquaintance…”
I gave him my name, after all, he had given me his, and he chewed on it for a few moments before his face split into a smile that was like the sunlight breaking through the cloudy afternoon sky: tentative, warm, and strikingly beautiful.
“Stay. I like your face.” I heard myself saying. Maybe, it was my teasing, mischievous streak acting up, but I had liked his embarrassment so much that I couldn’t help wanting to coax more of these blushes out of him.
“My…face?” In that weird dance he had been engaged in for the last few minutes, Ori stepped closer again, shuffling his feet in the heavy boots dwarrows insisted on wearing.
No, your ass, I thought, but bit my tongue; Ori the dwarf looked like someone who would die on the spot if I said anything even remotely inappropriate…as I was wont to do when nervous.
My sarcastic thought spurred my own interest though and I examined him a little closer: he was indeed swaddled like a babe, beads of sweat pearling down his temples on account of the steep climb and the stubborn blush powdering his nose and cheeks with pink blotches.
“Sit down, you’ll get a heat stroke.” I invited him and pointed to a patch of moss beside me while rummaging in my pack for the flask of ale I had brought.
“Thank you ever so much.” He plopped down in a cascade of earthen-coloured wool and awkward limbs. He did smell warm, I noticed, a blend of cinnamon and comfort.
Also, he had one of those faces that only became better when seen up-close, I admit freely; there were golden stars dancing in the depth of his dark eyes and he had the most adorable freckles as if some outlandish fairy had sprinkled gold dust over that heart-wrenchingly handsome face.
“Are you thirsty, Mistress?” He asked, nodding at the flask in my hand.
Handing it to him rather abruptly, I realised that I had spent the last moments intently staring at his face as if I had never seen a male dwarf before in my life.
“I have work to do.” I snapped, feeling immediately guilty for taking my own embarrassment out on him, but he merely nodded and pulled his sketching supplies into his lap.
Strangely enough, Ori did not disturb me. If anything, the silence felt fuller, richer, deeper with him by my side. As I translated a letter, as a spinster I had to support my family and my insufferable sisters as best as I could, I felt like the chirping of the birds and the vibrancy of the colours around me were even more enjoyable now that I shared them with someone else.
The sun crept along its never-changing arc slowly and yet, much too fast.
As I looked up, I wished I was a better painter myself, for this dwarrow was made for sunsets.
The way the last golden hurrah of a perfect day exploded in a halo of warmth around his figure, the way all the greys and the blues seemed to bleed out of the world to leave nothing but warm tones behind, and the way his smile was the perfect expression of this mellow, unhurried mood…it struck me deeper and more violently than a thunderstorm in all its booming rage would have.
“Will you join me for dinner, Ori?” I asked gently, “I shall escort you back down.”
“It would be my honour.” He nodded, tearing out a page of his notebook and handing it over.
“It was an invitation; I do not demand payment.” I said seriously, for the sketch of the doe was so good, it might have been worth actual money. “Oh…” His nose crinkled at little at that.
“I wanted you to…have something beautiful. I have seen you work very hard.”
Of course, he was a scribe as well, he would consider the scribbling work, I thought and gave him a thankful smile. “You’re beauty enough for one day.” I shrugged.
He gasped, bringing his notebook up to his face as if to shield himself from my words.
“You’re having me on, aren’t you? Dori has warned me that girls do that sometimes.” He sounded utterly dejected. “I am not having you on. Has nobody ever told you that you’re handsome?” It was my turn to be wide-eyed with shock.
“And who is Dori?” I followed-up when he didn’t really reply to my question even though I thought I had seen his braids move like strings of pearls in a draft. The minutest of shakes of the head, a quiet admission of inadequacy that sunk ugly, ragged claws into my soft heart.
“He’s my brother. I have two of them. Dori…and Nori. They’re…” – “Older than you.” I completed. “Protective.” He supplied.
He was still holding his drawing out to me, and, after a moment, I took it gingerly and put it between the pages of my own writing supplies. I would hang it in my room and look at it daily.
Nowadays, there were but very few gifts for me; all the money went to my two younger sisters who were still nubile and would, if Mahal willed it so, be able to make a good match.
Busying my hands with making a fire, I asked him to tell me about his brothers.
“Oh, Nori is…agile. He’s…funny and brave and resourceful.” Ori started, his voice warm with affection and admiration. He sounded like a proper rogue to me, and as it turned out, he was, but he also deserved every single ounce of the deep-felt care Ori held for him.
“Dori is…fussy. He’s polite, he’s very caring, and he’s exceedingly proper.” Ori went on as I waved a hand for him not to stop. I enjoyed hearing about the life of other families than my own.
“So, is he the one who raised you to be this…warmly clad and gentle?” I asked, turning to place the foodstuffs I had brought up and stored in the cool lake water on spits to roast over the fire.
“Warm? Oh yes…I was a sickly pebble and he’s been worried ever since. I hope I have behaved in a way that would not make him disappointed in me.” Again, he worried his lip.
“Let’s see, you’ve startled a bird and an unsuspecting dwarrowdam.” I listed with a wicked gleam in my eyes; his face fell, and he looked properly guilty.
“Then, you’ve kept me company, and the best company I’ve ever had, it has been, on my grandmother’s grave, I swear.” I went on and that treacherous blush was back with a vengeance.
“I didn’t mean to startle you.” He then said in a low voice. “Great beauty is always startling.”
“I am hardly Thorin Oakenshield.” He laughed. Readers, you cannot imagine that sound just by reading my words. If flowers blossoming had melody, if the sun setting on the eternal sea had a song, if autumn leaves dancing on a gale had a tune, they would have sounded like nails on scree, like cats having their tails trampled, and like kettles going unheeded compared to Ori’s laughter.
“There’s beauty in the doe as much as in the wolf.” I replied gently.
“May I…can I ask where you’re from? I don’t seek to be rude, but I’ve never seen anyone quite like you; your hair looks like those fabrics the Elves weave. It…seems so soft, so liquid, so smooth.” He blushed a darker shade yet.
This might well have been the first time that someone had asked me about my origins without making it sound like an accusation; there was honest fascination in his demeanour.
“My family and I have come from the Far East. I have travelled a lot, Ori, I have seen landscapes entirely made up of rock and sand, I have walked forests so stiflingly hot and moist it felt like being underwater, and now, I am here in the land of tall trees and taller mountains.”
I said, surprised by my own frankness.
“That sounds amazing.” He took the food I offered readily enough, and I told him about the people I’ve left behind to be stranded at the other end of the world.
“This is good, is that a recipe of your homeland?” He asked, looking down on the piece of meat I had seasoned with herbs I had grown myself in our small backyard.
“It actually is. I’m glad you like it. I had not planned to have company, otherwise I’d have brought something more palatable to the local tongue.” I apologised quickly.
“No, I like it. You should definitely trade some recipes with Dori…and Bombur…oh, and if any of your delicious herbs are medicinal, Óin.” He laughed again when he saw my dumbfounded expression.
“I make a good honeycake, if I can interest you in that? Maybe…” He fell back into silence.
A look at the sky told me that it was too late to go down in the inky darkness.
“We’ll have to stay here for the night.” I mumbled, slightly uncomfortable at the idea of spending the night with a dwarrow who had not lost a single word about a wife.
“Are you married, Mistress? Will that endanger your wedlock?” He asked shyly.
“No, I am not and I have no name to lose…It’s a long story.” I didn’t feel like blurting out my disgrace, lest it give him strange ideas after all, especially as he would easily have been able to overpower me if he so chose.
“Neither am I. I don’t know about my name…Doesn’t look like I’m going to be married either. There’s not enough dwarrowdams as it is, and I think the royal line has a prerogative there.” There was no resentment in his tone; he seemed to accept this as a fact.
How could someone that sweet not be married, I wondered. He was courteous, he was cute, and he would have made the fortune and happiness of someone.
“Well, in that case, I think we can risk our reputation rather than our necks.” I grinned, rolling out a blanket I kept tied to my pack for emergencies and stretched out next to the fire on the moss.
“Erm, yes…Good night…” He mumbled, fidgeting around with his different layers of clothing. Apparently, he was deciding which one he needed least on his body to use it as a bedroll or blanket.
I eyed the proceedings with interest and a good deal of amusement.
“I can offer you my cloak to lie upon…the ground will grow very cold and wet soon.” He said in a low voice, not sure if I had already fallen asleep or not.
“Alright, I can offer you a spot under the blanket then?” I extended my own graciousness.
“With you?” No, with the red bird, I thought, rolling my eyes internally.
“Yes, Ori the scribe, with me. I will not eat you, as you have witnessed, I have had dinner.” Not that he did not look good enough to devour, standing there with his cloak in his hands and his face all crunched up in embarrassment.
“Hmmm…I guess.” He muttered doubtfully, spreading out the cloak and sitting down on it carefully. Impatiently, I scooted over and spread my lousy blanket over the both of us with a flourish.
“Sleep!” I commanded as I turned around only to find him staring wide-eyed at the spot where the back of my head had been only a second ago. Now that he was presented with my face, only inches away from his, his eyes grew even rounder and bigger in wordless distress.
“Friend…Have you never lain with a woman? And I literally mean, lying next to one?” I laughed for there had been friends and cousins aplenty in my own life and the feeling of having another body so close to mine was not a new experience for me.
“Well, I fell down on the battlefield once, next to a foe…I’m pretty sure that was a Lady-Orc. She was dead. There was a…” He gestured, indicating a spear or a lance sticking out of his chest and brushing against my own with the back of his hand. Dear reader, he flinched back as if I was a tiny Durin’s bane wreathed in flames.
“A Lady-Orc, indeed…” I mused; no doubt, he could hear the smile I hid in my voice for his face crunched up in embarrassment.
“I am sorry.” He sighed, rolling his eyes, and thinking – there was not a shadow of a doubt about that much – of his brothers who would have mocked him mercilessly for his stammering.
“There’s no need to be sorry” I tried to reassure him, but I admit now that there were things that I did not tell him right away then. We had only just met, and he was blessedly unaware of my shameful past.
How could I have made him understand – without hurting his feelings – how much I enjoyed that air of purity about him that I had squandered myself on an undeserving fiend? As a daughter amongst others, I had been used to dwarrows coming to court or to seduce, their eyes ablaze with greed and their hands wandering.
He would not have comprehended how much the absence of that voracious hunger that had plagued my youth and had ended up destroying my promising future meant to me.
“Sleep.” I repeated, unable to put into words how miraculous and precious the things he seemed to be most ashamed of were to me.
“Good night, Mistress.” He breathed with a soft smile that was nowhere near the wolfish baring of fangs I was used to and so, it was easy to return it.
You who may or may not have stumbled upon this ludicrous account of the most important story in an otherwise unimportant life, you shall hear another confession I did not make at the time.
I was fiercely aware that – had I but leant forward a little – I might have pressed my lips upon his; I was young still at that time and, despite what had happened, parts of me, that should have withered and died in the aftermath of my botched engagement, were much alive.
He smelled like our dinner and warmth, and the gentle reticence of the curve of his smile was more inviting than any flashing grin I had ever seen before.
Yes, in that very moment, on this very first evening, I had already been conscious of the shrewd attraction this self-effacing dwarrow held for me…and it scared me half to death.
Blog Progress Update (Travel Blog Style #18)
I’m working on filling up the queue, which is why right now it posts once a day at noon my time until I can get a lot more in there then I’m thinking maybe 5 a day? (lemme know what you think is a good number. I’m gonna get at least 50 posts in the queue before starting the bigger number I’m at 15 now.)
I am up to date with the audio clips, so now I’m adding as they’re added now until they’re all up.
Working my way through the story so I can soon free roam without worry (though honestly I’ve spent days in Lemoyne where I’m wanted and have had no Pinkertons or law show up…)
My main focus will be completing mission posts and Lemoyne. (Starting Scarlett Meadows, Bayou Nwa, then Bluewater Marsh.) If there’s a place you want me to focus on after that just let me know.
Doing one of my favorite missions Goodbye, Dear Friend. I love that lil wave Arthur gives from the roof.
“Arthur, here’s a ladder.”
Yeah thanks buddy I’ll take the stairs…
I know it’s just a fictional villain… but the satisfaction of seeing Colm realize he’s not getting out of this one… This is for Kieran you fuck… (I mean and Jake Adler, and Annabelle of coure.)
FUCK I FORGOT ABOUT MARY’S LETTER FUCK
Okay going to the reservation and I’m getting all those photos out of the way
“Won’t even sit next to me no more?” (wasn’t said in a questioning way but the captions had a “?” … like BRUH I just walked over, gimme a chance. “You just worry about that cough” Javi pls…
“Some mess this is”
*4 seconds later Javier gets up*
Ya know.. I never really cared for Trelawny when I first played this, but the guy’s grown on me and it hurts to see his goodbye with Arthur because he knows he won’t see him again (Trelawny knows he won’t see Arthur I mean).
“I’ll be back.”
“No you won’t. Let’s not pretend no more.” Arthur pls…
Music as you escape with Charles and Monroe is very good fleeing music. (There’s a lot of soundtrack music I need to add to playlists)
“I’m afraid.” *inhuman noises* T_T
Okay only chapter 6 missions I have left are the bridge and everything after the EF one where we knock down trees.
So APPARENTLY at some point they added a 6 gold bar treasure hunt. I’m going through the maps, got to the turtle… looked at it… and shouted “CHELONIA” while pointing at my screen but no… it’s the mysterious hill home (Hobbit home) because that drawing is on the top of it... does that mean that’s a Chelonia thing? Anyway John’s gonna have 7 gold bars.
I also never mentioned I like the addition of seeing NPCs out in the world like napping or reading by a tree with their horse nearby and the ones at camps that let you sit with them and tell you about stuff..
So I barely touched the exotics quest and I need to because I need the cutscene screenshots with ARTHUR first. Anyway Arthur been wandering the swamps of Lemoyne wary of nite folk, he met the Soothsayer that he totally forgot existed.
These birds are a pain in the ass.. And not just because it’s terrifying whenever the screen starts shaking cause there’s a fucking gator nearby even when it’s a little one that won’t kill me. If you shoot a bird and it lands out in the water be prepared for terrifying gator munching sounds that make you think you’re about to die. (though now I’m using the save and load method. So I’m getting there…)
I had a bunch of photos for multiple places and I KNOW I didn’t delete them and I remember putting them in the folders with their labels… but now they’re all gone… *inhale* FU-
I’ll probably be able to finish chapter 6 once I finish the exotics quest… cause I’m pretty sure that’s the only non-story thing I have left to do that Arthur CAN do (though i do need to find 3 more william encounters...). So far I got a fuck ton of Heron plumes which is good cause I’ll need 20 but not enough spoonbill which is bad cause I’ll need 30 and I need 2 more of each of the other plumes… ugh
I’m also trying to get any places I KNOW will look different in the epilogue cause I want two posts for those.
Hostage - part 1
Kíli x reader
Requested: Not really, but it’s based on this post
Warnings: return of mimûna (I just think it’s such a cute nickname), lots of sass, little angsty because hostage situation (but that is for part 2)
Summary: You’re a fierce little thing, too proud to ask for help and a bit too eager to prove your worth. So when you convince Thorin to let you go scouting instead of Fíli and Kíli while on the quest, it’s not a surprise things don’t go the way you planned...
A/N: I went a little overboard again... So I’m splitting this into two parts! Hopefully I can get the next one out somewhere next week.
Big shoutout to @katethewriter, my wonderful beta reader!
The constant rain had transformed the path into one giant mudslide, making you slip every few minutes. Your clothes clung to your body, drenched in dirt, leaves and mud, and so was half of your face and part of your hair from that one unfortunate fall you had earlier.
The Company didn’t struggle as hard as you, their heavy boots had a better grip and they held onto each other if needed. But you struggled and growled, muttering all kinds of profanities every time one of your feet slipped.
“Y/N, just let us help mimûna,” Kili sighed when you fell on your knees again, your hands buried deep in the mud. The path started to go uphill and you were barely keeping up.
He placed his hand on your shoulder when you didn’t get up, but you shrugged it off.
“I’m fine, I don’t need any help!”
The two brothers shared a look. Fíli and Kíli had known you for as long as they could remember, and they knew you were stubborn. Headstrong. Fixated on proving yourself, even though they all knew you weren’t someone to mess with. A fierce little thing you were.
You would never ask for help, even if you really needed it. And that was exactly what was happening right now.
“Nonsense,” Fíli said, and both he and Kíli grabbed you under your arms and pulled you back to your feet. “We’re happy to help you.”
They supported you all the way to the top of the hill, carrying most of your weight between them. The others were already busy setting up camp for the night when you finally arrived. You pulled yourself out of their hold on you, muttering something that sounded like a thanks, before you marched to the opposite side of camp.
Some of the Company members frowned at the state you were in, but decided not to say anything about it when they saw the murderous look you threw them.
You slumped down against a conveniently placed log and stretched your legs, watching the others finishing up the campsite. You had first watch today, so you were free for the rest of the night. Fíli and Kíli were sent for more firewood, leaving you to yourself; Bombur and Bilbo were busy with dinner and Bofur and Bifur tried to get the fire as hot and big as possible with the small amount of wood they had managed to pile up in such a short amount of time. And Mahal knew what the others were up to.
By the time the two princes came back, arms filled with more firewood and their ever-present smile glued to their faces, you had dragged the log closer to the fire in an attempt to dry your clothes.
You were still annoyed with them, they had dragged you up that hill despite your protests. Everyone treated you like a helpless little thing, and you hated it. Mahal, they even called you ‘little one’. Well, only Kíli did and he didn’t mean it in a bad way, but still... It stung sometimes.
Kíli let himself drop next to you, and you instinctively moved a couple inches away from him.
“Come on, don’t be like that mimûna,” he whined, swinging an arm around you and pulling you closer until your thighs touched.
You tried to wriggle out of his hold on you, but he kept a firm grip.
“Hey, quit it,” he said. “I know why you’re upset. Don’t look at me like that, Y/N, you’re easier to read than you think.”
You glared at him, but kept your mouth shut.
He sighed. “It’s okay to ask for help once in a while, you know. It doesn’t mean you cannot handle things.”
“I was doing just fine back there.”
“Sure you were,” he snickered, pointing at your mud covered face and clothes.
You shoved him off the tree trunk with a single push, earning some laughs from the others. You completely missed the knowing glances though.
Before Kíli could retaliate, a piercing howl sounded in the distance, startling some of you.
Kíli grabbed your hand and pulled you from the log. Everyone grabbed their weapons and hurried to form their battle kill circle.
You stood between Fíli and Kíli, ready to fight but were quickly shoved in the inner circle with Bilbo.
You listened for any signs of imminent danger, but the night remained eerily silent.
You rolled your eyes and pushed yourself out of the center, ignoring the cries from the dwarves to stay put.
“Guys, come on,” you laughed, while you put your knives away. “It was only one warg and it’s miles away! The echo from the valley makes it seem like things are closer than they are.”
None of them made a move to break the circle.
“Seriously,” you sighed, arms dropping at your side. “Trust me on this one, okay?”
But the dwarves were stubborn, almost as stubborn as you were, and they took a lot longer than you wanted before they finally returned to their chores.
By that time your mood had completely changed. When would they finally start to trust your judgment?
You could definitely use some time to yourself now. A bath might be the best idea, no one would come along and you could try to get your clothes and yourself clean. If they would let you go, that was...
“I’m going to look for a river or something, I really need to wash the mud out of my hair,” you said, drawing Kíli’s attention.
You rummaged through your pack for your bar of soap and towel.
“No, Y/N, it’s not safe,” Kíli protested, grabbing your arm to stop you.
You rolled your eyes. “Kíli, you know damn well that I-”
“I know you can take care of yourself,” he interrupted you. “Trust me, I know. But it’s too dangerous, mimûna. You cannot go alone.”
You smirked. “Then you should come with me.”
Kíli started stuttering and was that a blush you saw creeping up? You couldn’t help but laugh. He liked to act tough and mature, but he was still so young. In dwarven terms that is, in reality he was more than twice your age.
“You know I can’t do that, Y/N. It’s not proper,” he muttered.
“What’s not proper?” Fíli asked, when he joined the two of you. He handed Kíli a bowl with stew, and held the second bowl in front of you. You waved your hand to say you didn’t want it.
“I’m going to the river to bathe, and Kíli doesn’t want to join me,” you teased.
Fíli laughed. “Good luck with that, Uncle will never let you go. Neither do we by the way, it’s too dangerous.”
Kíli gave you a look as if to say ‘See? Told you so!’
“It was just a warg Fee, and it wasn’t even close. I’ll be fine, I’ll take my long knives with me.”
Despite the brothers’ protest, you continued with your plan. There was no way you were keeping the mud in your hair. You felt dirty - and not the good kind - and couldn’t wait to get it all off of you.
You kept an eye on Thorin, and as soon as he was distracted with his bowl of hot stew, you crept towards the treeline. Just a few steps left and you would be out of his sight...
“And where do you think you’re going?” Thorin’s voice boomed over the campsite.
You froze and slowly turned around, only to find every pair of eyes on you. Here we go…
“I was going to give those trees a wash, they seem extremely dirty. Can’t have them ruining our view, can we,” you joked, raising your towel and bar of soap.
Kíli snorted at your reply. It made him choke on his stew, sending him straight into a coughing fit. Fíli patted his back to help him through it.
“No one’s leaving the campsite. And certainly not you, it’s too dangerous.”
Thorin’s eyes bored into yours, challenging you to disagree. It was tempting, but you thought better of it.
A frustrated groan escaped your mouth and you made your way back to Fíli and Kíli. They were smart enough to leave you alone, and silently watched you put your things back into your pack.
The rest of the evening was rather uneventful.
You ate your dinner quietly, after every spoonful of stew you kept the ‘meat’ in your mouth until it completely fell apart before you swallowed it.
Knowing you were in a bad mood, they all left you to your own thoughts. It was not like you tried to hide it. If looks could kill, every Dwarf and even the Hobbit had died a certain painful death at least twice.
When everyone started to get ready to go to sleep, you took your seat at the fire. It was your job to keep it going, and to make sure everyone was safe until Thorin took over for the second watch.
So you were good enough to keep watch over them, but not to go wander alone in the woods? Doesn’t seem fair, right?
Unfortunately, that was the curse of being the only female of the company, you guessed. You loved those Dwarves with your entire heart, and wouldn’t hesitate to go through fire for them but goddammit they could be a little overprotective at times.
After a few hours of absentmindedly staring into the fire and letting your eyes wander over the sleeping figures of your traveling companions, it was time for Thorin to take over.
It was highly unusual for him to volunteer to keep watch, and you were a little hesitant to wake him up.
If it were Kíli or Fíli, you wouldn’t hesitate for a second. A kick up their bottoms, or maybe an insect or two in their sleeping bag would do the trick. But it was not like you could do that with Thorin… not if you wanted to live another day.
But luck was on your side for once. Thorin slowly woke up the moment you got to your feet, trying to rub the sleep out of his eyes.
“Everything is calm,” you said to him when he met your eyes.
He nodded in acknowledgment. “I’ll do a small tour around the campsite just in case, you’re okay to keep watch for a little while longer?”
“Of course,” you agreed.
Thorin had been gone less than fifteen minutes when you heard the warg howl again, multiple ones this time. A pack, you realized. And closer than before.
Thorin! A stream of curses escaped your mouth while you rushed towards a sleeping Kíli.
“Kíli, wake up!” you hissed, shaking his shoulders roughly.
“Y/N? W-what are you-”, he murmured, trying to swap you away, but then he seemed to remember you had been on watch duty and he was instantly wide awake, reaching for his bow and quiver. “What’s wrong?”
“Wargs,” you said, “And Thorin is out there.”
“That’s not good,” he said, eyes wide.
You rolled your eyes. Typical Kíli reaction. Maybe you should’ve woken Fíli up. Remember that next time, you thought.
The sound of a branch snapping in half made you both turn around.
Thorin came rushing from between the bushes, and was met with two arrows pointed at him.
“Remind me to pair the two of you up for watch next time,” he said, eyeing the both of you, the corner of his lips twitching slightly.
“We have a problem,” you began, lowering your bow. Thorin nodded.
“I know, I’ve heard them too.”
“Should we wake up the others?” Kíli asked him.
Thorin shook his head.
“They’re not close. But we still need to know how many there are,” Thorin said to Kíli.
“And their exact location,” he added.
“I can scout!” you suggested, trying to keep your voice down but too excited to do so, “I can go ahead and see how large the pack is, if there are Orcs too and how close they are!”
“No!” Kíli and Thorin bellowed at the same time.
“I’ll go,” Kíli quickly countered. “Fíli and I are the scouts of this group, Y/N. We’re used to this kind of thing.”
You stomped your foot and your hands balled into fists, your entire being consumed with anger.
“I’ve had it with you! All of you!” you whisper-shouted. “I’m going! I’m lighter on my feet than any of you are. They won’t even notice I’m there!”
Your anger slowly disappeared when you noticed Thorin’s expression changing.
“And I’m already camouflaged as well,” you tried to lighten the mood, pointing at your mud covered face.
“I know I’m going to regret this...”
You barely contained a squeal. “Thank you, Thorin. I won’t let you down!”
“Be back by sunrise,” he grumbled and went to sit by the fire, but not before he gave Kíli a subtle little nod towards you.
“You know, Y/N, I-” Kíli started, but you interrupted him while you hauled your bow on your back.
“I don’t want to hear it, Kee. Not from you. You know I can do this,” you hissed. Everyone could doubt you, but not Kíli. Not him.
He handed you your quiver. “I was going to tell you to be careful, that’s all.”
“Yeah… don’t try anything, okay? Only observe, and as soon as you think it’s not safe…”
You rolled your eyes. “I’ll come back to camp, don’t worry.”
“Good. Because if you do get captured, I’ll be the first to tell you ‘I told you so’,” he joked, laughing his lopsided smirk, but you noticed it didn’t reach his eyes.
He was worried.
He pulled at the strap of your quiver to make sure it was tied securely. You hated it when he got all serious like this. Cheeky, carefree troublemaker Kíli was the one you needed now.
His hands went from the leather strap over your collarbones to your shoulders, his eyes locked in yours. After a few seconds he let them glide over your upper arms. The tension between the both of you hung thick in the air until Thorin cleared his throat.
“If you want to be back at sunrise, you might want to leave now,” he said, raising an eyebrow at you.
You nodded in response.
Kíli surprised you when he leaned in and kissed your forehead.
“Be safe,” he whispered.
“Don’t worry,” you tried to reassure him, before you disappeared between the trees. “I won’t get caught!”
A/N: A buildup for what will happen in part 2! Let me know what you think!
Read part 2
Permanent taglist: @roosliefje @kata1803 @entishramblings @marvelschriss @artsywaterlily @sleepy-daydream-in-a-rose @kumqu4t
Kíli taglist: @elles-writing
I had composed this, lost it when my computer was having issues and ate 3500 words, re-wrote it and then it posted too late for the Happy Hobbit Holiday exchange so here it is. It may be slightly rough since I wasn't able to edit it much.
Everyone lives, no one dies in the Battle of Five armies and it's time to celebrate the wedding of Kili and Tauriel.
Kili strode down the halls of Erebor on a mission, of sorts. He turned this way and that, nodding to those who bowed their heads in respect of their crown prince and Heir presumptive. It was nearly Yule and a year since they reclaimed their ancestral home and began the process of making it home again.
As he rounded the next turn, he was pulled up short by his brother, Fili. He pulled the younger Durin aside and gave him a knowing look. As blue eyes locked with deep brown eyes, Kili stopped his struggling and sighed. How was it Fili always knew when he might get into trouble.
“But Fi, I haven’t seen her in days,” he whined a bit as Fili kept a firm grip on his arm. Fili just shook his head. “Really? I still have to wait?”
“Ki, you know the tradition and when you add all the Elvish stuff on top of our overdone rules, you know you can’t see her until the wedding.” Fili kept his eyes locked on his brother’s.
Kili blew out a breath and slumped against his brother’s grip. “I know and Uncle Bilbo will be petrified if I set one foot in those chambers.” Fili nodded at him. “I was just hoping….” Kili’s voice trailed off.
“It’s only 3 more days and until then, the soon to be Princess of Erebor, your future wife, is off limits.” Fili bent to look his brother in the eyes. He poked him in the ribs and Kili started to shake and burst into laughter. Fili always had a way of making him feel better. “Come on little brother, let’s go to the kitchens. Just because the bride is off limits doesn’t mean all the sweets Bombur is making are too.”
Kili looked up at him and straightened up again. He grinned at Fili and nodded. As they started to walk down the hallway, Kili cast one more wistful look down the hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of the tall redheaded firebrand he would soon be calling his wife.
While the brotherly drama was going on outside, there was a bit of drama going on in the chambers of the King Under the Mountain and his consort. In the dining room, the table had been pushed off to one side to make room for the bride to be in her wedding gown. The tall redhead stood perfectly still as Bilbo was on his knees at the hemline of the dress, drawing pins from the small cushion tied to his wrist, pinning it up to ready it for hemming. It was of luxurious silks and velvets, a blend of woodland greens, Durin blue and candlelight ivory. The blue velvet bodice was covered in small sapphires and diamonds held in place with silver threads. The green silk skirt had gold embroidery of leaves and Elvish script in blessings scattered all over the skirt. The ivory silk train at the back of the dress spread out over the rest of the floor. It had the crests of all the houses of the Dwarves and the Elves embroidered down its length and width in silk threads and accented with appropriate gems.
In the corner of the dining room not occupied by the bridal gown and small Hobbit was Dis. She was coaching Tauriel on the pronunciations of the different Dwarven dignitaries that would be attending the wedding. Tauriel’s fingers fussed and fidgeted over the fabrics of the dress. She touched and traced the lines of embroidery up and down the belled sleeves as she repeated after Dis.
“You know Dis, dear, I think Tauriel needs a break from all that guttural stuff. How about you go check on Fili on guard in the hall. He tipped his head towards the door.
“I know when I’m being dismissed, dearest little brother,” Dis said as she patted the top of Bilbo’s head. “I’ll go and fetch us something sweet to keep up our energy,” she said as she winked. She disappeared behind the closing door.
Bilbo blew out a pent-up breath. “Well, I think I’m done for now so we can get you out of that thing.”
Tauriel laughed and smiled down at Bilbo. Bilbo always thought her laughter sounded like tiny silver bells jingling. “Thank you, Master Bilbo. I was getting ever so weary of all those Dwarven names. I’m going to trust Kili will be glued to me during the reception so I won’t have to worry about which Longbeard and from which part of the kingdom.”
“I know what you mean.” Bilbo stood up and walked around her to start unlacing the back of the dress. “When Thorin and I wed, there were too many details that I couldn’t sleep for 2 weeks before hand. I knew I would be a total mess the day of the wedding so I let Thorin do all the talking.” He laughed. “That was such a reversal for us but he was glad to help out.”
Tauriel shrugged a bit and stepped out of the dress as it slid to the floor. She was clad in her very modest under garments and full crinoline. She reached back to untie the drawcord on the crinoline and stepped out of it carefully as not to step on the dress. Bilbo gently pulled the dress up and laid it over his arms and carried the precious bundle into the other room. Tauriel followed him into the room and laid the crinoline on the bed as Bilbo carefully hung the dress over a large padded hanger and then repeated it with the train hanging the dress on two hangers in the otherwise mostly empty closet.
As Tauriel was pulling on other clothes, Bilbo excused himself to reset the dining room back to its normal state. He pulled the heavy oak table back into the center of the room and he huffed and puffed a bit as he placed the chairs back in place.
Just then Tauriel came into the room and helped Bilbo place the last two chairs. “You should have waited for me to help. I feel as I’m not doing enough to help out, especially with all the fuss you’re going through for this wedding.” She smiled a lopsided grin at him.
He waved her off. “I’m a stout and healthy Hobbit and I can rearrange furniture with the best of them!” He huffed at her in mock annoyance as the door creaked open.
Thorin peered around the large door looking around gingerly. “All safe?” He inquired.
“For now, but your sister is returning shortly so you make your own judgment.” Bilbo crossed his arms over his chest.
“Well, in that case, I’d better make haste.” Thorin stepped quickly over to Bilbo, swept him up in his arms and placed a very passionate kiss on his lips. Tauriel covered her mouth with her fingers as she giggled at the two of them.
“Nice to embarrass our new niece.” Bilbo said as he was trying to catch his breath. Thorin released him and laughed along with Tauriel.
“I think we could probably teach the youngsters a few things about having a passionate marriage,” Thorin said as he winked at Tauriel. She laughed harder as Bilbo slapped Thorin’s arm.
“Remember, we are her guardians until they are wed. We should try and lead by example.”
“I’ll lead you somewhere, my fuzzy little Hobbit.” Thorin said with a lusty grin on his face as he reached down and tweaked one of Bilbo’s ear tips. Bilbo swatted his hand away as the door opened wide.
Dis carried one tray with some plates of assorted sweets as a young Dwarrow carried a tray laden with tea service. Dis carried her tray to the table and indicated where the lad should leave the other tray. She turned and hugged Thorin as the Dwarrow bowed and left the room. She turned back and started to serve all of them from the trays of goodies piled high. As they all took seats around the table, all was contented murmurs as they enjoyed the food and tea.
Later that evening, when all was quiet in the royal apartment and Tauriel was asleep in her temporary quarters, Thorin took Bilbo into his study. He laid a velvet bag on the desk and motioned for Bilbo to open it. There inside lay two coronets. They shone with a brilliance that made Bilbo catch his breath.
“The shorter one is Tauriel’s and Kili’s is the other.” Thorin beamed at Bilbo as Bilbo gingerly touched the shining gold and silver coronets. “I took elements of her life and instilled it into the design.”
Bilbo ran his fingers over the ornate emerald leaves set in gold around the bottom of the band. On top was silver and sapphires set in Dwarvish runes of her title and name. Instead of points on top, there was gold twisted and braided wire much like the Elven coronets. The two metals were stunning together the way Thorin had designed it.
Kili’s coronet blended a bit of both designs with the runes inlaid with sapphires in gold settings. The top points on his was emeralds shaped in leaves set in more gold. The two coronets complimented each other so beautifully, Bilbo was at loss for words.
“I figured Tauriel is the first princess of their generation and deserves to be welcomed and honored properly.” Thorin continued to smile as Bilbo slid the two bejeweled coronets back in the velvet bag. “Of course, when Fili finally marries, I will have to really have to go all out on the designs. He is heir apparent and deserves to look the part.”
Bilbo chuckled quietly. “I thought you did such a wonderful job crafting our crowns but this is stunning!” He looked up at his husband and hugged him.
After they were snuggling up in bed a bit later, Thorin rolled over to look at Bilbo and ran his fingers through his hair. Bilbo shivered a bit and Thorin sighed. “Were you at all disappointed with your crown after you saw what Kili and Tauriel’s look like?”
“No Thorin, I could never be displeased with anything you make for me. I know your heart went into crafting our crowns after you decided to start anew and create something meant for just us two.” Bilbo snuggled into Thorin’s chest and hummed. “The jewels and designs for each of the crowns you have made since we’ve been living here in the mountain have been perfectly suited for it’s recipient. I could not imagine wearing anything other than the consort crown you made for me.”
Thorin squeezed Bilbo against his bare chest and kissed the top of his head. He loved his consort with all his heart and it was easy to see how much Kili and Tauriel loved each other despite his misgivings towards the Elves. They were all one big happy family and there was more than enough love for all of them.
The next morning after breakfast, Bilbo promised to take Tauriel to see her Elven friends and family. She really didn’t have much family to speak of, just a cousin, so the honor of escorting her into court for the wedding fell to Thranduil. He had sent a special courier a few days ago with his acceptance and a gift for the couple; a matched set of daggers with runes and Elvish script on their lengths. She couldn’t wait to show them to Kili, but that would have to wait for now.
As Bilbo and Tauriel entered the special suite of rooms set aside for the Elven party, they were met by Tauriel’s cousin. While they chatted, Bilbo excused himself out to the balcony that looked down onto the main gate of Erebor. He could never get enough of this view and was watching as a work party was bringing in pine trees for Yule and pine boughs to adorn the halls. He knew he should go down to the entry and help supervise setting them up. He had visions of their placements so that the halls would all be festive for the celebration and the wedding.
He excused himself from Tauriel and told he would return in a while and they would do lunch then.
As he conducted which trees should go where, he was accosted by Fili and Kili. He set them to work placing pine boughs in the main dining hall. After the very large tree was settled in its place in the main hall, Bilbo went off to see Thorin. He had a little while until he would be needed by Tauriel and thought he’d spend a little time with his beloved.
On entering Thorin’s office, Bilbo went over and started rubbing his shoulders. “Mmmm, better careful or you’ll find yourself sprawled on my desk,” Thorin’s voice was a growl.
“Must be a good day if you want to just take me on your desk!”
“If only you knew!” Thorin reached up and patted Bilbo’s hands. “I was trying to work out a labor exchange with the Woodland Elves so Thranduil could just sign it when he came up for the wedding but there seems to be a missing group from the negotiations so it will be delayed.” He sighed and leaned his cheek against Bilbo’s arm. “Damn Elves! Maybe I could speak to Tauriel about it and see if she knows anything about the missing group of artisans.”
“Why don’t you come have lunch with us. I’ll have it brought in to the apartment and you can get some input from her.” Bilbo leaned in and kissed the top of Thorin’s head.
“Sounds divine. I’ll be there as quickly as I can.”
“No huge rush. I still have to go collect her from the Elven guest quarters and tell Bombur to deliver lunch. Give us a bit.”
“No problem my love.” Thorin turned in his chair and faced Bilbo who stood over him. He gently cupped the Hobbit’s face and kissed him. Bilbo drew back with his eyes still closed and a little breathless. He quickly regained his senses and left the office.
Lunch was a resounding success since Tauriel knew the head of the guild that Thorin was having issues with. She promised to send a message to them as soon as possible and hopefully end Thorin’s anguish.
After Thorin had returned to work, Bilbo took out the wedding dress to work on the hem he had pinned up the previous day. Tauriel watched fascinated by Bilbo’s stitching and Bilbo gave her a needle and thread to try a bit herself. She tried but after the 3rd time of knotting the thread up while trying to stitch, Bilbo excused her from the activity. “There’s plenty of time to learn this skill, another time.” He said as he looked at her sympathetically.
Tauriel instead decided she needed to send that message to the Guild head so she wrote it out and Bilbo called for a courier. They both smiled and Bilbo held up his crossed fingers and they both laughed.
After supper that evening, Fili came to visit and give an update on Kili’s progress in getting ready for the wedding. He presented Tauriel with a gold leaf shaped broch inlaid with emeralds and topaz. Kili had made it while working on their wedding rings.
“He’s just got some polishing up to do now and they will be entrusted in my safe keeping.” Fili smiled and nodded hoping to gain approval.
“Much better your keeping than Kili’s.” Thorin mused. “I remember when he lost that stuffed bear toy as a pebble and how upset he was.” He turned to Tauriel. “It wasn’t lost, it was exactly where he had placed it, in his bed for safe keeping.”
“I’m very good at keeping track of things so I guess that will fall on me to help with.” Tauriel smiled at Thorin.
The next day was the final day of preparations before the big day! Thranduil had brought the head of the artisan’s guild with him so the final negotiations could be finished. He brought several other Elves too including a protocol officer to make sure everything was being handled the right way. He was pleased to hear the couple had been kept out of sight of each other for the designated time. He approved the dress and the other preparations. Bilbo was greatly relieved all was going well. The throne room was appropriately decked out in Yule decorations with plenty of pine boughs, pine trees lit with candles and festooned with jewels and lots of other candles.
The rehearsal was the bride first walking through all the steps of the ceremony and then the groom got to repeat all the same steps. Tauriel was a bit annoyed when Thranduil wanted to rehearse his entire speech. Thorin cleared his throat and sternly looked at him at which point, Thranduil shortened it and said he could rehearse that part in private. He had escorted Tauriel into the throne room and stood to offer her to Bilbo, who was standing in for Kili.
When they practiced the crowning of the new princess, Bilbo had fashioned a floral crown of winter white blossoms for the occasion. Tauriel shown with such a glow that Bilbo was moved to tears.
After the bride’s rehearsal, Dis took Tauriel to the royal apartment while Kili could rehearse. Bilbo stood in for Tauriel this time and hilarity ensued. Kili had to keep biting his lip to keep from laughing out loud. All went well with the rehearsal and Kili was wisked away by Fili to keep vigil for the night.
After the double rehearsal, Bilbo went back to the royal apartment while Thorin worked with the Elves on the trade agreement. He was whistling as he entered the apartment. He was met with a distraught Dis. She was pacing the sitting room, her face tense, when Bilbo entered.
“What’s going on?” Bilbo inquired as he tipped his head and watched Dis.
“She was right here then when I went in to check on her, she was gone!”
“Tauriel couldn’t have gone far, Dis. We’ll find her.” Bilbo reached out and touched Dis’ arm and stopped her pacing. “Go find Dwalin. He is most likely in the practice arena and he’s better than anyone I know at tracking.”
Dis looked at Bilbo and snorted. “This is just what we need right now with everything in such a delicate balance.” She shook her head and nodded. “I’ll go tell him and beg him to be discreet.” She turned and left as Bilbo sat heavily down in the arm chair.
Dis entered the practice arena and could hear the sounds of arrows hitting a straw target. She knew the sound well with Kili having taken up the bow at very young age. She listened further and heard two voices: Kili and Tauriel’s!! She rushed into the arena and towards the pair.
Suddenly, she was spun around soundlessly by a strong grip on her forearm. She turned and looked wide eyed at Dwalin who was holding his finger to his lips to keep her quiet. He gently led her off the floor of the arena and into a secluded bay off to one said.
“She came in here first and I could tell she just wanted to blow off some steam so I pulled out her bow and she was doing well until Kili came in.” Dwalin said in hushed tones.
“But they aren’t supposed to see each other until tomorrow!” Dis protested.
“Aye, but they are doing what is best for them during this stressful time. We’ll keep an eye on them and when they’ve had enough sparring, we’ll take them off again.
Just then the doors opened again and Fili came storming in. Dwalin stepped out of the shadows and stopped him and pulled him aside with his mother.
“Little beggar got away from me when we stopped in the kitchens looking for some ale and food.” Fili said, fuming a bit.
“We figured they both came here independently with the same thing in mind so we’ll just let them blow off some steam then separate them later.” Dis smiled at Fili and he nodded back. In the meantime, they got comfortable and watched Tauriel and Kili doing an impromptu shooting contest. They kidded and laughed and had a great time. It really was just what they needed.
When they had finished, they walked towards the armory but turned abruptly before that and turned into the bay where they other 3 were.
“How did you know….??” Fili inquired, shocked.
“Elves have superior hearing and we thought we’d just surprise you.” Kili grinned at his brother.
“Remind me never to try and sneak up on you two!” They all laughed. Afterwards, Tauriel went peacefully with Dis and Kili with Fili and they separated for the night with a brief kiss.
“Until tomorrow love.” Kili said to her.
“I can’t wait!” Tauriel replied with a huge smile.
As they walked back to the apartment Tauriel stopped Dis. “You do know we didn’t plan that.”
Dis smiled and hugged Tauriel sideways. “I know but it also proves how much you two were meant to be together.”
They managed to return before Thorin returned and Bilbo was very glad to see them both. “We just won’t tell the protocol officer what happened and it will all be good.”
The next morning dawned without any more incidents and Thorin woke Bilbo with an especially wide grin.
“Do you know what today is?” he tickled Bilbo until he was a fit of giggles.
“Yes, my love, I know very well what today is,” He gave Thorin a mock serious look. Thorin threatened to tickle him more. “Happy Yule and happy wedding day too!”
Thorin leaned in and gave his consort a passionate kiss. “I wish we had time for a more leisurely wake up this morning but we need to get everything rolling.”
“Tonight, you owe me!” Bilbo replied enthusiastically and bounced out of bed. “Your royal robes have been pressed and steamed but please just wear you simple tunic until it’s closer to the wedding. Don’t need to be a rumpled King.” Bilbo smiled over his shoulder as he pulled out his own wedding clothes and laid them on the bed. “Ceremony begins at noon so we should meet back here at 11 to get ready.”
“Check and check,” Thorin replied as he held up a finger to gesture the checks. They both quickly got dressed and went out to see what needed to be done.
Bombur had sent down a magnificent breakfast for them and they found Dis, Dwalin and Tauriel eating and talking. Tauriel was all smiles and looking quite cheerful.
“Are you ready?” Bilbo asked as he and Thorin took their places at the table.
Tauriel nodded and smiled. “It looks to be a perfect day outside and nothing can stop this from being an absolutely beautiful day!”
“Love her attitude,” Dwalin smiled at her. He and Tauriel had gotten quite close since she came to live in the mountain. She, Dwalin and Kili made the best security the mountain could ever ask for.
“As per tradition, you’ll stay here and take your last leisurely morning as a single woman while the rest of us finish the details.” Bilbo said and they all nodded. “I’ve added some special bath salts in your bathroom for a good long soak before you get ready. I have arranged with the hair stylist to come in to help with your hair. Dis and I will be back in plenty of time to help you dress.”
“Please send my cousin over too, if you could.” Tauriel asked Bilbo.
He nodded. “I consider it a privilege to help in any way possible.”
“We’d better get moving then. I have a few stops to make before we hit the throne room for it’s last touches.” Thorin said as he was assembling a messing egg and bacon sandwich.
“Oh dear! Please wrap that in a napkin before you leave.” Bilbo fussed.
Thorin grinned at him. “As always, my fussy and proper Hobbit.” He grabbed the proffered napkin and leaned in and gave him a quick kiss on the top of the head. “See you back here by 11, if not before.” With that, he and Dwalin left.
“I need to get over to Fili’s and make sure the boys are behaving.” Dis reached over and patted Tauriel’s hand. “Not to worry dear, I’ll give him a hug from you.” Then Dis was off.
“I’ll send word to your cousin right away. Is there anything else you need?” Bilbo asked Tauriel.
“Not right now. I’ll go have that soak while I wait.” Tauriel beamed up at Bilbo as he stood to leave. “I’ll be good, I promise!”
He nodded. “I’ll be back as soon as I get some things done. Enjoy a little solitude in the meantime.”
Preparations in the main dining hall were coming along and Bilbo made sure there were enough candles and lanterns to make the whole room glow in a warm light. The kitchen was bustling with activity an Bombur was in rare form. Bilbo reminded him that The Company would be participating in the wedding and he needed to be in the throne room by 11:30 to prepare. Bombur nodded and grinned from ear to ear. “I wouldn’t miss that for anything!”
Bilbo went into the throne room to check on Thorin’s progress. The thrones, all 4 of them, were polished and standing on the dais. A 5th throne stood off to one side, to be added when the new princess was crowned. It was appropriated proportioned for an Elf but still not as large as the rest of the thrones. Dwalin was given them all one last rub with a rag as he walked around them.
“Where’s Thorin?” Bilbo called out to Dwalin.
“He said he had something to do in the forge. He’ll be back shortly.”
“Ah, I hope he minds the time.”
Dwalin nodded. “I’ll make sure he’s back to you by 11.” Dwalin turned back to his work.
All the rows of benches set up in the hall made the large throne room seem a bit merrier and cozier. He watched as some of Dwalin’s men hung flower garlands on the pillars. Bilbo was glad he insisted on those added touches. No wedding should ever happen without flowers!
Soon it was time for them all to get dressed for the wedding. Thorin fumbled and fussed getting dressed so Bilbo assisted. Dis was already dressed and ready so she helped Tauriel. She brought along her own wedding veil to loan to Tauriel. It was a long white sheer silk veil that covered her from her shoulders in front down the hem of the dress in back. They draped it carefully over her head and Bilbo gave her a new floral wreath of white flowers and trailing ivy down the back. Tauriel was moved to tears when she saw her reflection in the mirror.
Dis stayed with Tauriel until Thranduil would come to escort her in. Dwalin would escort Dis in just before the bride and the Elven procession.
Everyone was seated in the throne room. Bofur was conducting the company in a few solemn dwarven songs are the benches filled. Thorin was heralded in and he strode forward with Bilbo on his arm and the boys right behind him. He and Bilbo stepped up to their thrones as Fili and Kili held back at the foot of the dais.
Next came Dis on the arm of Dwalin. Her elegant Durin blue gown trailed behind her as they walked down the aisle with her princess coronet of silver and inlaid with blue sapphires. Dwalin had a small smile on his lips as he escorted her in. They sat in the front row in front of the Company.
Thorin stood and the whole room hushed. “I invite into my court King Thranduil of the Greenwood.”
Thranduil walked in very proudly dressed all in white with silver embroidery all over his coat and long tunic and pants. He was followed by Legolas who was all in silver with green embroidery. They were followed by 6 elves bearing silver trees bearing lanterns. They marched to flank the side of the dais and placed them in holders making it look as if the thrones were surrounded by a silver forest.
“Accept my gift of light to welcome the lengthening of days ahead for both our kingdoms.” Thorin smiled and nodded to Thranduil. Thranduil then turned to address those assembled. He made a speech about the two kingdoms fighting for the freedom of the “evils that exist in the world” and how they were working to maintain the peace. He then strode back down the aisle and returned with Tauriel on his arm. All stood in reverence to the incoming bride.
Kili and Fili stepped forward and Kili took Tauriel’s hand when Thranduil offered it to him. He tried to peek at her from under the veil but knew she was probably as scared as he was in that moment.
They turned towards the thrones and an Elven lady and a Dwarven cleric stepped up from the sides of the dais and stood on one step above the couple. They did a joint blessing and then started the ceremony. Both Kili and Tauriel had their vows \memorized and neither could take their eyes off each other.
After the two officiants declared the couple was married, the Elf helped Tauriel removed her veil and bridal wreath and she and Kili could finally see each other. They kissed and laughed with pure delight.
Thorin stepped down from his throne as the whole of the throne room erupted with applause. He held his hands up to get their attention.
“I’m afraid I have some official business now that these two are officially wed. In creating new coronets for these two, I realized I owed Fili one also.” Bilbo brought down the velvet bags. Each had a runic sigil on them to designate who they were for. “Fili, if you would present yourself, please.”
Fili came around Kili and Tauriel and kneeled. Thorin removed his simple Prince circlet and replaced it with one that was a mostly gold smaller version of Thorin’s own crown. “As Heir apparent, I thought you needed one that resembled mine.” He looked down at Fili and he looked up, mouth open and pure appreciate on his face. Thorin nodded to him and he stood and went over to Kili’s other side.
“And now for my Heir Presumptive and his new bride, Princess Tauriel.” He removed Kili’s simple circlet and replaced it with his very own coronet. Next he smiled at Tauriel who bowed her head and Thorin gently placed the beautiful coronet on her head.
“There is yet one more gift today. Bilbo?” Thorin turned and looked at Bilbo. Bilbo’s mouth gaped as he looked at Thorin. Thorin withdrew from a chest pocket a small gold ring. It was a miniature of his own coronet. “Happy Yule my beloved.”
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the answer is time
my piece for @officialtolkiensecretsanta 2020 event.
word count: 2k
tags: angst, love, mortality, immortality, love, grief, post quest, death mention, war mention, scars, star gazing, shooting stars, hope, sisu, drama, monologue, the hobbit, the lord of the rings, gap filler, time, philosophy, rule breakers
summary: Legolas asks Gimli to cross the sea with him.
Gimli finds himself laughing, and the laugh is like an echo of his mother’s laugh when he told her he would fight a dragon with his bare hands if he had to. He’s old enough to know that such things are foolish things to say, but still are true. Anyone might fight a dragon with their bare hands if they had to. There’s just not much chance at making it out alive.
the answer is time
This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountain down.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Legolas’s knees are painted green from the grass when he comes back from the moss-grown groves of silver trees. The sky is lit with stars, and there is no other light, for the moon will not rise, and they have made no fire. Still Gimli can see the green on his skin, when Legolas sits beside him and rests his arms around his legs, draws his knees up to his chin.
‘What did you find?’ Gimli asks. He did not go this time because Legolas runs too far into the forest, and it becomes dark and terrible, like the stories that Glóin told Gimli of his near death in Mirkwood when he returned from his adventure with many riches, and many deep wounds, but finally a real home for them. He spoke very quietly of the quest every time that he did. And some part of Gimli was glad that he had not been allowed to go, but most of him wished he had gone, so he could spare his father at least some of the pain.
‘Many things,’ Legolas answers, because elves answer questions vaguely far more often than they answer anything plainly. He sits up straight to undo the braids tying back his hair. He brushes his hair out with his fingers and slides off his moccasins and then hugs his knees again. The night air is still warm.
Gimli sits with his back to a large tree that grows thirty feet into the air before the first branches appear. It stands apart from the rest of the trees, in this small clearing, beside a swift running stream, that they have made a camp at for two days. They will leave soon.
Fireflies blink on and off in the grass and air. Some land on Legolas’s hair and light the strands gold. Gimli stares at the stars. The wood feels soft against his back. Dry moss grows up the side of the tree.
They do not light a fire. It is summer, and they will not burn wood in this forest, away from everyone else, in the realm of the trees. It will not grow cold enough to bother them, and the world will remain dark shadows and deep blue.
Legolas’s fingers dance over his bruised legs. He wipes at the grass stains for a moment and then forgets about them.
‘I want,’ he says, vaguely, softly, his hazel eyes narrowed as he searches for the words he means. He runs his hand through his hair, now loose, and a mess. He bites his lip. His breath comes out in a little frustrated sigh. ‘Mmm.’
Gimli looks away from him because Legolas often finds it easier to talk when he isn’t being looked at. Gimli learned that about him years ago. He’s known him for years. It seems strange, for it feels long to him, but it must be a flash of a second in an elf’s life. A beautiful moment that will be gone the next time Legolas looks up to find nothing but an empty shadow where Gimli once was. And nothing left of him but memories and some bones hidden somewhere that will be forgotten once enough years have passed, and still, won’t that be just a moment, just a year, to an elf?
The stars are spilled across the velvet sky. One comes from nowhere, slips across the sky, and disappears in a flash. And isn’t that a mortal to an elf? The flash of a shooting star gone in a brilliant second next to the vast spread of the eternal stars that rise faithfully year after year, unchanged, as the world spins and changes beneath him.
Still won’t he have loved him? Won’t he miss him? Or will he be a moment gone that is just a soft sadness in Legolas’s voice when he says his name (his names) until they fade away, forgotten as life goes on beyond the sea in a place that Legolas will run to and Gimli will never see?
He guesses what he is asking is: does Legolas love him? Love him as more than a curiosity, something that was interesting and may remain interesting to death, but what beyond that? Is this why mortals and elves don’t meddle with one another? Because it is certain to end in a way that leaves one of them living with a memory that the best they can do is try to forget? Because there is no other answer to this? Because they can’t bear the ending of it all?
Is this what grief is before the pain has happened?
Gimli’s throat is tight. He touches the moss beside him. It is dry and deep. He does not press his finger into it, deep enough to hurt it. He sits and watches the stars, afraid to blink for the tears that will fall down his face, or the shooting stars he will miss. If he cries now, Legolas will ask him what is wrong, and he does not want to answer. Because there is no possible answer that would make him feel all right, let alone better.
Either he is a passing interest that Legolas will love momentarily and then move on from when his death comes, as death always comes for those that are mortal. Or he will be a love that stains Legolas’s heart forever when he dies, as he must die, and Legolas’s grief is an ache inside of him with nothing to comfort him. For there will be no one else to speak of Gimli to, no one else who will remember him, except, maybe if Gandalf or Elrond or Galadriel have cared enough of Gimli to remember him. And still then, the world will go on, and Legolas will live, and the stars will slowly shift and change, and the world will become something entirely different, and the grief may fade at times, but it will always come back, a terrible pain as bad as the first moment, as grief does.
‘Time,’ Legolas says, suddenly. His voice is sharper than it usually is, but the sharpness breaks as he continues. ‘I want more time.’
‘Mmm,’ Gimli says. He does too, but he can’t say it out loud, not now. Not in the dark, watching the stars, waiting for Legolas to whisper the answers to questions that he dares not ask.
‘I’ll write your name on my wrist,’ Legolas says. ‘I’ll write your name.’
But that will just be his name, not forgotten then, at least until the ink fades.
‘Gimli, Gimli,’ Legolas says. ‘I don’t want to leave you. But my heart is aching for the sea, and to leave this land. When Aragorn dies, I don’t want to stay. For all of it will be touched by grief, and I won’t be able to… I can’t get rid of it, Gimli. None of it. It isn’t fair. I miss everyone, all the time. But no one is ever together. Not everyone. Everyone… Why is it unfair? Why does it hurt? Gimli, is love supposed to hurt like this? Is it supposed to follow you, asking for your every drop of life? Stretching you out, pinning you to points on a map that you can’t reach, not at once, not at once, not at all?’ Legolas’s voice shakes, and the words all come out together, fast, so desperate, without an answer that Gimli knows.
‘It’s so long ago that I was young,’ Legolas says. His eyes are wide and tremble with starlight. ‘But it was only yesterday. I didn’t know anything before the quest, Gimli. What did I know but how to run in the shadows and find the sky where the branches wouldn’t cover, to watch the starlight, to dance and to sing, to hunt, to fear the creeping evil of the forest, but I didn’t know anything. I thought I did. I did. I thought I understood pain, Gimli. I thought I understood what it is to be faced with death and questions that I haven’t any answers for. But all of it was nothing. It was nothing.
Because this is where it aches. This is where I grieve. It’s in my heart. I understand now how Elrond wept at the end. It’s all so much, Gimli. I could die. I could really die. Because it hurts, it hurts. It hurts, and I don’t know any words of comfort. Have any ever been written? Do you know? Do you know of any words that I haven’t heard? Something that will give us something that isn’t pain?’
Legolas cries. He cries so openly, not hiding his feelings, the deepness of his grief. He hands Gimli his trembling heart, coming apart, and asks him to fix it.
Gimli rests his hand on Legolas’s hand. It is true then, that he was younger in many ways than Gimli was when they set out on the quest. Legolas who laughed and called them children, though he had barely been outside of his home. Five hundred years means nothing. Or was it all a jest?
Legolas wraps his arms around Gimli’s shoulders. His tears wet his shirt. Gimli strokes his loose hair. It’s true. They’re running out of time. The grains of sand slip faster through the hourglass. Soon there will be none left on the top, and the bottom of the hourglass will be too full, too heavy, to ever flip again.
Still, there is some comfort in this pain. That at least, at least, he knows for sure that he isn’t just a passing whim that Legolas found fascinating like he might a tree, a leaf, he does not recognise.
‘I hate it,’ Legolas says. ‘I hate it. I hate it. You will come with me, promise? You will come?’
‘Come where?’ Gimli says. He tilts Legolas’s chin up. His face is wet with his tears. His hair is starting to tangle. A firefly nests in a wave of his hair. It blinks on and off, faintly green.
‘Across the sea.’
Gimli brushes Legolas’s tears away.
‘What ship would take me?’ he asks, and the memory of Galadriel’s words is faint in his ears. She was also an exile, though she chose the exile willingly, both times. He still doesn’t know why, if she longed so for her home that she created it again, as best she could. But maybe she was younger then, and hadn’t known how much the pain would grow. Maybe elves take forever to grow. They don’t have to push themselves when they have all the time in the world.
‘A ship I make,’ Legolas says, like he’s talking of whittling a toy, just as easy as all that. ‘A ship for us. I will take you with me, or I will not go. And if we drown in the deep salt sea, then we will drown together. I will take death with you, or life with you, but I won’t take either without you.’
Gimli finds himself laughing, and the laugh is like an echo of his mother’s laugh when he told her he would fight a dragon with his bare hands if he had to. He’s old enough to know that such things are foolish things to say, but still are true. Anyone might fight a dragon with their bare hands if they had to. There’s just not much chance at making it out alive.
‘Oh, don’t laugh at me,’ Legolas says, and his voice is so suddenly clear that Gimli knows without a doubt that he’s serious.
Gimli traces a white scar that runs across Legolas’s cheek. He saw Legolas get it, and he cut down the orc who gave it to him. And that was long ago, and only yesterday.
‘I mean it,’ Legolas says. ‘I will build a ship, and together we will reach the Undying Lands, or together we will drown. But there is no world in which I part from you without at least trying. You saved the world. Who are they to turn you aside? There is no truth in what they say: that mortals are unholy, unhallowed, unbeautiful, undeserving. If they want to cry that you aren’t allowed, I’ll fight them all, every one. There is still hope, as long as we draw breath, dear Gimli.’
Gimli smiles softly. He rests Legolas’s head against his shoulder, his arm around him. The stars glitter in the heavens, beautiful, enduring.
‘We don’t listen to the rules, do we, Legolas?’ he says.
Where do you get ideas for your Bagginshield doodles? Do you actively think of something cute you want to draw or do you notice things happeningd around you and go "oh let's try drawing something featuring this!"?
Very rarely I just sit and actively think about cute things to draw. Usually it's the other way around, I sit down to draw and don't think much, sometimes an idea pops up, sometimes not. I'll just keep drawing and without an idea I usually end up doing a hug or some sort of cuddly thing. So yea, next time I post a hug picture you can assume I had no better idea for a drawing lol
Many ideas and concepts come from real life, conversations and things I see, and also I like to reflect my own interests and thoughts into my drawings. Sometimes a friend sends a picture of their cat and I get inspired to draw a hobbit in the same pose as the cat or when I'm feeling down and tired I draw my grumpy expression on a cute little hobbit and can't help but feel a tiny bit better immediately. Around Christmas I drew a lot of really desperate hobbits because I was so tired of my relatives and all the fussing about the holidays. Drawing hobbits enthusing about mushrooms and plants is also me projecting my own interests big time. And it's conveniently even canon!
Also a lot of inspiration for my drawings comes from the massive amounts of media I've consumed and that includes shows, movies, social media, pop culture, etc, anything really. I often use images I see as a vague reference for a pose or for the vibe or dynamic between characters. And that can even get problematic because you know, where goes the line between influence, inspiration, reference and copying and stealing. I think about these things a lot! To be honest I have been dreading the day that someone asks me where do you get your ideas from or how did you come up with that because I look at other people's artwork so much that at this point I doubt if I can trust my brain to remember if I generated all my ideas with my own imagination or did I see it somewhere before and just process it in my mind. I love clichés and overused tropes so much that nothing I draw is probably super original but I would never intentionally steal anyone's ideas or copy anyone's art. That's just something I've been thinking about. Did I get too carried away I hope not..
To sum this all up, yes I blame a lot of this on my imagination but also plenty of inspiration and ideas I get from real life.
Thank you for the very good question!
cake for dessert
Grayson wants a slice of MJ for dessert on a rainy day
warnings: badly written smut
A/N: one of the MJ things I promised to upload. It’s storming like crazy here and this is all I want in life rn so I figured this was the one to post.
A chilly spring rain has descended over LA out of nowhere, as MJ discovers with surprise when she and her best friend Lainey step out of their final store at The Grove. That Saturday had started off warm and sunny, a perfect weekend day to spend out and about, but the storm rolling in is suddenly derailing her and Lainey’s plans for a chill afternoon at the beach.
“Well, shit,” Lainey remarks, glancing up at the dark clouds looming in the not-so-distant skyline.
“Right?” MJ concurs. She scrunches her nose and watches Lainey pout as they consider what else they might do with their Saturday. With MJ still busy working hard at her new job and, admittedly, being wrapped up in the fading newness of Grayson, she and Lainey haven't had much time to spend together. Especially considering her friend’s own relationship and hectic schedule.
A fat raindrop surprises her by landing on her nose, and both of them giggle as the sudden light sprinkle becomes more steady. They hurry down the walkway to the parking garage until they find MJ’s car, hurrying inside and slamming the doors just in time for the rain to start really coming down.
“Looks like we’re going home, unless you want to fight the LA drivers who have no idea what they're doing in the rain to go to a movie or something,” MJ jokes, selecting her favorite rainy day playlist full of Tame Impala, Bon Iver, Rex Orange County, and the like to serenade them on the way back to her apartment.
Lainey laughs. She’s also from out of state and shares MJ’s anecdotal opinion of the LA natives. “Yeah, as much as I want to stay and cuddle and feed each other takeout, I think for that reason I’m gonna have to head out when we get to your place. It’ll take me an extra hour to get home because of this.”
Now it’s MJ’s turn to playfully but also somewhat seriously jut out her lower lip in an impression of Lainey’s earlier pout. “Who’s gonna dangle pad Thai noodles into my mouth, then?”
“I don’t know, babe. Don’t you have a boyfriend or something now?” Lainey smirks, snatching MJ’s phone from her lap and waving it in her face so her lock screen illuminates, an accidental candid she had captured of said boyfriend with that beautiful smile shining right at her.
“It’s not the same,” whines MJ, entering the rapidly congesting highway. “First of all, he’s busy most of the day. Second, he makes it sexy, whereas you’re just plain cute. I don’t think I’m in the mood to be sexy today.”
That was true, for sure. Her outfit consisted of a pair of black leggings, one of Gray’s t-shirts that hung off her body shapelessly, and a baseball cap to hide the fact that she wore no makeup. Between her stuffy nose from the cold she’s fighting and the lack of sleep from the night before, she couldn’t be bothered that morning to try any harder.
Lainey, who had been listening while checking the visor mirror to see if her mascara had survived the rain, feigns offense. “Wow, bitch, are you saying I’m not sexy?”
“Boo, you’re sooo sexy. Grayson should probably thank you for half of my skills based on your tips over the years, now that I think about it,” MJ grins, causing Lainey to cackle.
Their girl talk continues the rest of the surprisingly short car ride back to MJ’s apartment building. MJ pulls up behind Lainey’s car and hugs her bestie over the console.
“Love you. Text me when you’re home so I know you survived the drive.”
“Will do. Love you, babe.”
MJ makes sure Lainey is in her car before driving into her covered spot. The tiredness had been real before, but the pure exhaustion hit her out of nowhere as her mind processes that she’s now home. She’s suddenly looking forward to nothing more than ordering said takeout, soaking in a too-hot bath, and watching The Hobbit series all afternoon.
She shuts the door to her apartment behind her with a sigh and trudges into her room, tossing her bags on her bed. Desperate to start the second half of her day of relaxation, it takes her all of 30 seconds to strip down and make her way into the bathroom. As the soaking tub fills, she selects a Lush bath bomb and bubble bar from the basket on the counter.
With a last-minute face mask applied, hair piled on top of her head to keep it dry, and New Girl ready to play on her phone, she’s just settling into the water with a light moan when the phone begins buzzing on the ledge of her soaking tub. She dries her hands and smiles when she sees Grayson’s name on the FaceTime call.
“Hi, baby,” she answers once his handsome face fills the screen, scooping some of the foamy bubbles closer to her chest so they fluff out cloud-like from her skin.
Grayson grins and takes a second to admire at her. “Hi, sweetheart. You look so fucking cute.”
MJ rolls her eyes but flushes and smiles appreciatively. “If you say so. How’s filming going?”
He puffs his cheeks and blows out the air slowly, running a hand through his hair. “Good, but it’s been a long day. E and I both decided to call it quits early; we’re both way too strung out on no sleep and anxiety to get much else done, especially now that the weather’s gone to shit.”
“I’m sorry, Bear, I know you both wanted to get everything wrapped tonight,” she laments with him, wishing she could comfort him with a kiss to his plump pink lips. “I’m kind of in the same boat. Lainey and I couldn't go to the beach, and between this cold I have and the fact it’s getting harder and harder to sleep without you, I’m so tired.”
Grayson smiles at her in that way he reserves only for her — soft, crooked, his hazel eyes sparkling in the center and crinkling just the tiniest bit at the corners — especially at the sound of her little pet name for him.
“Can I come over? I’ve been thinking about you all day, but I didn't want to cut into your time with Lainey. I just need to be with you.”
“Yes please,” MJ agrees with a sniffle. “As long as you’re the big spoon while we have a couch day. That’s about all I’m gonna be good for today, I think.”
“Of course,” he grins, getting into his car. “Are you gonna be my little cuddle bug all afternoon, Peach?”
She hears an exasperated ‘oh my God’ in the background and can practically see Ethan’s eye-roll out of frame.
“Yeah,” she coos back to her boyfriend, then, “hi, E.”
“Hi, MJ,” he grunts. As she’s naked underneath the clouds of bubbles, Grayson doesn’t angle the phone towards his brother, but she can still hear his voice. “You know, he’s already a cornball most of the time, but you really bring it out of him in droves, dude.”
Grayson doesn’t even react to Ethan, his gaze fixated instead on MJ through the phone. “Good. I sleep better with you in my arms, too.”
“Ugh,” Ethan complains. “Where are my fucking AirPods?”
She does, indeed, hear rustling, presumably from the older twin, but she chooses to ignore him as well. “Can you pick up Thai or Veggie Grill or something on your way over?”
“Oooh, yeah, either of those sound awesome. I’m starving,” Grayson agrees. “I’ll have to drop E off at home first and hopefully traffic wont be too bad both ways. Be there in an hour?”
“Sounds good. Thank you, baby,” she says quietly with a sweet, content smile.
He winks at her, and his voice drops a couple of notches. “No problem, Peach. As long as you’re my dessert.”
Her body rushes with heat, and not from the temperature of the water she’s soaking in. Before she can answer, Ethan groans louder than ever.
“Oh my God, dude, I fucking heard that! Can you keep your cheesy sex talk at zero while we’re literally right next to each other?” His voice suddenly picks up even louder so she can hear him. “MJ, I can’t believe you still let him fuck you when he says shit like that.”
“He makes up for it with the other things his mouth can do,” she retorts, winking at Grayson. Her giggles join Grayson’s howls of laughter and taunts at his brother, who apparently is very much done with the conversation. “Alright, I love you both. Drive safe, please.”
True to his word, Grayson shows up a little over an hour later with a bag of Veggie Grill in one hand and a Starbucks medicine ball in the other. MJ absolutely despises hot tea, and he knows it, but he also knows she won’t be able to resist the soothing warmth of it — especially considering he took the time and effort to get it for her.
He smiles at the sight of her cocooned in the plush, cozy fabric of her favorite blanket and leans down to give her a quick kiss. He hands her the drink, which she does indeed accept with warm eyes and a soft heart. She takes a sip and lets the hot liquid coat her scratchy throat as he plops down next to her with a sigh and sets the food on her coffee table. Grayson cups her cheeks to draw her in for another kiss — lingering, closed-mouthed pecks this time.
“Hi,” he says, smiling and dropping one to her red-tipped nose for good measure.
“Hi,” she whispers, her voice hoarse from mouth-breathing more and more throughout the afternoon. “Sorry I look so gross. This cold is kicking my ass the later it gets. You’re probably going to catch it.”
“First of all: worth it. Second: are you kidding? This is my favorite MJ,” he assures, peppering little kisses all across her forehead as he draws her in to his chest. Her hair is in the same messy bun from her bath, her glasses are on, and she’s dressed in her old college crewneck sweatshirt, boy-short Calvins, and fuzzy socks… “No one gets to see you like this except me. All fresh-faced and beautiful and undone. All mine.”
“Mmm,” MJ hums, snuggling into him and sniffling. “We’ll see how you feel when I’m snoring like a 300 pound grandpa in a little bit because I can’t breathe out of my nose.”
“Okay, but I don’t see how that’ll be different from any other night.” She draws back and smacks him on the arm playfully, scoffing incredulously. He just barks out a laugh and kisses the frown off her lips before distributing their late lunch between them.
They make comfortable small talk while The Office plays quietly in the background, mixing with the patter of rain on the large windows. A fuzzy warm ball settles in the pit of her stomach that has her feeling almost heady at the simple intimacy of the moment.
MJ finishes first. She takes off her glasses and places them on the coffee table next to her tea so she can curl into a ball and nuzzle into Gray’s shoulder. He kisses the top of her head affectionately and finishes his meal in silence while they watch the antics of Michael Scott and gang for the millionth time. Eventually his empty plate joins hers and he opens his burly arms to gather her in his embrace, lying down and bringing her with him.
Grayson chuckles when she fully climbs on top of him so she’s straddling his hips and hugging him with all of her limbs like a koala would a tree, her nose buried into the five o’clock shadow on his neck. He makes sweeping passes up and down her back. “Needy today, sweetheart?”
“A little,” MJ mumbles, eyelids already feeling heavy, even more so when he fixes the oversized blanket around the both of them. He smells so good, feels so solid and warm, his breath tickling her ear soothingly. They FaceTime every day, but their crazy lives have made it where this is the first time in days that they’ve seen each other in person. “Missed you. We both work too much.”
He lets out a little hum of agreement, sighing when he feels her lips pucker to dot baby kisses on his bronze skin. His hands stroke up and down her back comfortingly. “I missed you, too. E and I should have just one more day of shooting before we’ll be home more to work on editing and stuff with the team.”
“I’ll be in Seattle most of next week for a new client recruit,” she reminds, recognizing the inexplicit invitation. “Otherwise I’d come over and work remote with you.”
“Ugh, that’s right,” Gray laments, sighing. “Kiss me. Please?”
MJ gives him a lazy smile when she feels his fingers tilt her chin up. Their makeout is slow and simple and just what the both need, reconnecting after days and lives apart.
A few minutes go by until MJ groans a little and sits up in his lap with a sigh, a string of saliva connecting their lips before breaking with a snap.
“I can’t breathe laying down like that. Or just out of my nose,” she pouts. One of her hands plays with his hair while the other smooths down his t-shirt over his chest where she had rumpled it by laying on him.
Grayson grips her hips and follows her up, hugging her tightly around the middle with those huge, burly arms. “Since you can’t sleep anyways…” he looks at her, and she cocks an eyebrow, her lips quirking questioningly. “Can I have my dessert now? You can sit up on the couch. And no mouth-to-mouth required.”
MJ chuckles and wraps her arms around his broad shoulders, biting her lip as she considers his request. As much as she wants Grayson in any capacity most of the time, today is one of those days where sex just isn't on the table for her.
That being said, can she really resist that tongue? Those lips?
Before she can answer, he continues. “I know you don’t feel good, so I’ll understand if you just aren't up for anything today. But I’m not expecting you to reciprocate at all. I’ve just been wanting… like, basically needing to eat your pussy all week. It’s all I’ve been able to think about for so days.” He traces her jawline with his nose until his lips reach that little spot right behind the hinge and just below her ear, where he licks and nibbles until her hips start shifting in his lap of their own accord. “Please?”
Well, how the fuck is she going to say no to that?
She can’t, and knows he can sense her giving in when he starts to turn them around so she’s reclined against the back of the couch. Grayson grins while he arranges the blankets and pillows around her to get her as comfy as possible.
She watches him fuss over her with loving eyes, but wants to make sure he really is okay with the arrangement, too. “Are you sure? I don’t want to blue ball you. And I can speak from experience that that rug isn't a fun place to be on your knees for an extended period of time.”
Gray smirks at her and plants one more kiss to her lips before sinking down her body, snatching a couple of stray pillows to cushion his knees. “One problem solved. And don't worry about any chance of blue balls; it’s been way too fucking long since I’ve done this, and I’ll be lucky if I don't cum in my pants before I even get you to your first one.”
“Oh, so I’m in for more than one orgasm today?” MJ smiles back down at him and lifts her hips so he can drag her panties down her toned legs, placing her feet on the edge of the couch so she’s nice and open for him once he had the fabric tossed behind him somewhere. “I’d say that was big talk if I didn't know you could back it up.”
She knows he likes a challenge, and combined with his love for being praised and her bare pussy exposed to him at long last, she feels like she’s got a little bit of an upper hand here.
“Always,” he murmurs.
His lips start at the inside of her knee, working their way up to her inner thigh, across her mound to nuzzle in the little patch of hair she hadn't bothered to trim down between waxes, before trekking down the opposite leg. MJ knows his goal is to build up the anticipation for them both, and he’s succeeding; she can hear his breathing intensify as he tries to take in her scent, and she can feel the wetness beginning to leak out of her without so much as a lick from him.
Finally, he brings his hand up to trace her smooth lower lips, glancing up at her with warm yet lustful eyes as he takes in how his teasing is affecting her. MJ gives it right back, sneaking a hand under her oversized sweatshirt to play with her breast. It drives him absolutely crazy seeing her touch herself, but also not being able to see. If she didn't know any better, she would say sometimes he was more obsessed with her boobs than her actual vagina when they get down.
When his eyes turn dark, she grins and uses her free hand to rake through his hair and pull him towards her pussy while simultaneously pinching her nipple just the way she likes. Grayson growls and turns his attention back where she’s directing him, finally parting her with his middle and index fingers to expose her clit. He places a quick kiss directly to it, causing MJ to gasp and grip his dark locks tighter.
He gives it a more sensual smooch and pulls back to watch more of her juices trickle out of her until he can’t resist really getting to work anymore. His moan vibrates against her when his tongue swipes through the sweet wetness, trailing it to her clit with his mouth and giving the nub a gentle suckle before slipping his tongue back to her entrance. MJ lets out little whimpers of bliss as he makes out with her pussy, his tongue reaching as far inside her as it can, wiggling around and slurping down everything that comes out of her.
She lets him eat her out with no real purpose, thoroughly enjoying the constant stimulus of his lips and teeth and tongue without a driving need to make her cum behind it. Her hands flit between stroking his hair comfortingly, to playing with her breasts, to digging her nails across his clothed shoulders.
“Feels so good,” MJ whispers while she watches him work. Her fingers are combing gently through his hair once again to push the dark strands off of his forehead just in time to see his eyes flit open to meet her own.
“Tastes so good,” Grayson growls back, taking a moment to sit on his haunches and get a thorough look at her spread out for him. Her pussy is swollen and wet, the insides of her thighs bare the faint markings of his teeth, and her face is pure bliss even as she sniffs and coughs a bit. “You okay?”
MJ nods. It’s sweet of him to check, but all she wants now is his face back in her pussy. She bites her lip and one of her heels, still clad in a fuzzy sock, digs into the middle of his broad back to push him in. Grayson smirks darkly and follows her lead, his lips immediately suctioning around her plump little clit.
“Fuck…” MJ moans. Her voice is raspier than usual and, like everything else about her today, goes straight to his dick, which throbs untouched in his grey sweats.
He starts working her over with purpose now, determined to get her to cum in the next 30 seconds. He knows he can do it even if she hadn't started chanting, “like that, like that, don’t fucking stop…”
Her moans reach peak levels, as loud as she can be with her sore throat, and her clit throbs on his tongue. Her back arches off the couch and her hands dive fully in his thick hair now to hold him to her, her heel still pressing against his spine doing the same.
Grayson groans and has to remove one of his hands from her hips to reach into his boxers and squeeze his dick hard enough to stave off his own orgasm. He slips two fingers of his other hand in her dripping pussy to give her something to clench around, which doesn’t help his attempt at not cumming literally in his pants when he feels her walls gripping his digits like a vice.
“Baby…” she whines as he brings her down with little kitten licks on her pulsing clit, her thighs quivering around his head. Grayson hums and nuzzles into that delicate skin until the muscles beneath stop trembling, and the flutters around his middle and ring fingers have ceased. He never takes his eyes off her face — eyes closed, mouth agape, cheeks flushed. Beautiful and dismantled because of him.
Once he feels she (and, frankly, he himself) have calmed just enough to be able to take more, he starts to press and curl the fingers inside her. MJ whines softly as the build picks up again, which turns into shrieking when he wraps his swollen lips around her clit again and sucks the nub sharply into his mouth. Between the sloppy wetness of his mouth and the way he applies pressure just right on her g-spot, it takes all of a minute for her to fall apart again. She marvels, not for the first time, at how fucking good he is at this, how well he knows her body.
‘Always’ is right.
Grayson sits back, removes his hand and mouth from her and growls at the sight before him while he pushes against the backs of her thighs. So much for sitting up, as she’s now practically on her back, but neither of them are complaining or stopping to readjust. She’s perfectly exposed for him, her juices and his saliva coating her skin and dripping down her ass, she’s that wet.
Her name escaping his lips in that husky voice finally gets her to lazily blink her eyes open until her gaze focuses on him as clearly as she can. He looks sexy as fuck on his knees for her, pupils dilated and the stubbled skin of his chin and jaw covered in shiny wetness.
Grayson’s big hands knead the insides of her thighs until he’s confident he has her full attention. He smoothes his palms to the crooks of her knees, moving her gently until she’s practically folded in half, and without breaking eye contact shifts his head that much further down so he can go to town on her even lower.
MJ gasps and shoots one of her hands to his hair, her first instinct being to push him away, until half a second passes and she’s doing the exact opposite. No one has ever done this for her before, and now she’s wondering how she had gone so long without the sensation of his tongue swiping up her cum from that virtually untouched hole.
If she was in any right state, she would have seen Grayson’s smug, quite literally ass eating smirk at her reaction to his ministrations. He isn’t sure why in their nearly eight months together he had never eaten her ass before; it isn’t the first time he’s done it to a girl. Maybe because he treasures sex with MJ more than anyone in his life before, maybe knowing in his heart that they have a long future of making love ahead of them had caused him to wait. What he does know, is that he’ll never be able to resist doing it again when the desire to rises, especially given her voracious response to it.
“Fuck!” MJ wails when he spreads her even more open with his hand so he can have better access, his tongue rimming and prodding her asshole to perfection while the thumb of his free hand presses upward on the hood of her clit. He knows her so well, can sense she’s too sensitive for direct stimulation there, but the pressure right above the bundle of nerves is exactly what she’s craving without her even realizing it.
But he does, and it feels so good — too good; Grayson’s eyes drop closed as he lets her taste and sounds overcome his senses, and it’s like her pleasure is his as his hand finally begins to jerk himself off. He builds up the speed of his strokes with her increased pace of breath, until she cums for a third time, and his tongue is quickly swiping all the way up her crease, from asshole to clit as he stands to his feet. He leans over her with one hand on the back of the couch and licks the last of her off his lips as he takes in her body to fuel him even more, even as clothed as she still is.
MJ starts to come-to enough to realize what he needs, and lifts her shirt to expose more skin to him. She drinks in the sight of her gorgeous boyfriend towering over her with his sweats and boxer briefs pushed down just enough for his equally beautiful dick to be out while he strokes the head aggressively. He’s about to explode and she knows it, just as attuned to his body’s tells as he is with hers.
His face is hovering just above hers, and she watches his mouth drop and his eyes train on her exposed skin. MJ bites her lip and whines, pulling roughly on her nipples while her eyes flit between his face and his cock. “Cum on my pussy, baby, I want it — want your cum all over me, make it your pussy…”
She’s rambling, but it’s all he needed as a deep, relieved groan escapes him, followed by soft grunts as he shoots all over her, exactly where she told him to and then some. MJ moans quietly and knocks his hand out of the way to finish him off herself, squeezing the last drops of the pearly white from him. The fingers of her other hand collect what she can from her skin to keep it from dripping on the couch, spreading it instead over her swollen lower lips.
His chest still heaves when she looks up at him with a tired smile, which he matches with a laugh when her final stroke makes him flinch. He pushes her hand off his cock and tells her, “Don’t move.”
She obeys, and watches him lean over to grab his phone off the side table, unlocking it and swiping up. “Is this okay?” he asks, motioning with his head. “This is too fucking sexy. Need a memento while you’re out of town.”
MJ giggles and nods, spreading her legs a little more as he goes to town. She does her best to coat her pussy in his cum, her long, glittering manicured nails adding a certain aesthetic to the shots. She even scoops some up and let him capture her sucking it off her middle finger.
Grayson smiles tiredly and kisses her sweetly, the gentleness and simplicity of it a little stark after the pure filth of the last twenty minutes. He tucks himself back in his pants and goes into her bathroom to get a wet rag to clean her up with, chucking it in the washer when he’s done. On his way back over to her, he picks up her long-forgotten panties off the middle of the living room floor with a smirk and hands them to her, plopping next to her and dragging her into his lap once they’re back on her body.
“I’m gonna have to insist on you having dessert every day,” she yawns into his chest with a sniffle. “I didn't know you liked cake so much.”
Grayson laughs and squeezes her tight to him, placing a lingering kiss on her forehead as he confirms to Netflix that, yes, they are indeed still watching. “And Ethan says I’m the cornball.”
“If he only knew.”
The Hobbit: AUJ: The Appendices, Part 7
The tumblr group The Hobbit (aka the Dwarf Lovers aka The Cult of Saint Bofur) had another watch party tonight and we’ve been silly again!
You're reading this post at your own discretion.
DWARF BOOT CAMP!
This dwarf is so hot.. and that one too...
It's more like... bootycamp.
I CAN'T SEE FILI HERE. WHY.
Richard Armitage appears on the screen.
Excuse me while I faint at RA with Thorin voice
WHERE IS FILI?!
The actors take riding lessons. It's cute.
LOL they're all horse girls XD
RA himself is already Majestic (tm) even without his make up!
Isn't he always?
There is no Dean O'Gorman Fili in the first shots. We're searching for him in every single scene, but there's only the previous Fili there.
Look! The counterfeit Fili is standing next to Nesbitt.
This is what Fili looks like when you buy him on Wish
He's dollar store Fili
GREAT VALUE FILI!
Thorin/Richard Armitage looks majestic in Bag End without any particular reason:
PJ's pronounces "Smeagol" as "Schmeagol", as if he was German.
Smeagol in lederhosen!
Did he just say that Gollum was hot?
Middle Earth next top model is ... Gollum!
mordors next top model
HAVE YOU SEEN FILI YET?!
Fake!Gandalf arrives at Bag End. Fake!Bilbo welcomes him, but there's Fake!Fili walking out of a room.
Bilbo, blushing: This is Fili, he's staying here just for a few days *wink* *wink*
Everybody: DID PJ JUST MAKE A BILBO X FILI SHIP? :o What a rarepair!
(It's still not the genuine Fili tho!)
Ok, first things first, check out the Helicopter Dori concept HERE.
It's hot in Bag End, so Dori walks on the set without his pants.
Helicopter Dori w/o trousers! :o
I hope he does not fly without his trousers. I do not want to see that :o
EXCUSE ME, MR GANDALF, HAVE YOU SEEN FILI IN THIS SCENE?
... I DIDN'T THINK SO :(
Do you know why they put a yellow tape here saying "HOT SET"?
Because the dwarves are hot
Hot set... 13 dwarves in a hobbit house... Ok stop here
EVEN DORIS IS THERE, BUT NO, NO FILI IN SIGHT!
We had Protein Bar Dwalin before, but then... Bombur eats 13 eggs in a row.
NOW IT'S PROTEIN BOMBUR!
A romantic moment between Bombur and Dwalin (another rarepair!)
10/10 people want to learn dwaltz
dwaltz for high school prom
The saint patron of our group and Discord server is Saint Bofur. Now we found his new incarnation!
Saint Bofur is a saint worm! 😱😱😱
OK BUT WHERE IS FILI?!
The actor who plays Dori takes on the role of one of the trolls.
I have an idea! Helicopter Troll Dori!
(Who's going to draw it?)
The Trollshaws. The Dwarves are being attached to a spit with pneumatic screwdrivers. ZZZzzzz!
Dwarf Formula 1!
Time for a pit stop xD
The Dwarf Kebab happens. Thorin appears and chuckles at the misery of his companions. Bofur groans.
Why Thorin wants to watch Bofur's kebab? :blush:
WELL BECAUSE THORIN X BOFUR!
Dean O'Gorman checks out his new stylish outfit.
^^^ Gucci Fili looks like this ^^^
Radagast says in a low voice: DOL GULDUR
Thank you all for coming tonight! Had tons of fun!
@theresonlyzuul @cassiabaggins @deathlikessodaandpizza @imhereforthefluff @ahshithherewegoagain @estethell @anunexpectedtmblr @fizzyxcustard @shrimpsthings @oreo-cookies-fan
Want to see how silly we were when watching The Hobbit? Here it is.
Chapter One: Lonely Together
Jack Kline x OC
~I might hate myself tomorrow
But I'm on my way tonight
Let's be lonely together
A little less lonely together~
Sent: 10:52 PM
Merry Christmas, stranger. I hope yours is as bright as new fallen snow. Stay warm.
I smiled down at my phone before clicking it off and slipping it into my pocket. I didn't know who I had sent the message to. It was just a number I had punched in at random. I didn't expect anyone to reply.
Wrapping my dark green cardigan tighter around my body, I pulled my knees in closer to my chest and pressed myself closer against the wall of the bakery. The wall was only slightly warmer than the frigid air around me. It was December 2nd and icy gales were blowing in from Lake Superior and stinging the skin of the city's occupants.
The sky hung dark, low, and flat over Copper Harbor, Michigan. Copper Harbor was an itty-bitty town at the northern most tip of the northernmost part of Michigan. You know that piece of land that's only connected to the mainland by a highway, that in-between place that really should be Canada, but isn't? That's where Copper Harbor is and that's where I was.
Copper Harbor was the sort of town where newcomers and visitors are as common as flying pigs and are treated with about as much scrutiny. It's not one of those small, friendly towns just off the highway; the ones that are pleasant to find yourself in if you've taken a wrong turn. It's quite the feat to get lost and turn up in Copper Harbor, considering its miles away from anything and everything remotely interesting, unless you're searching for Bigfoot or a drunk Canadian that took a wrong turn. Though those two things might just end up being one and the same. No, nobody came to Copper Harbor unless they had a reason. That's just the sort of place it was. And aside from the mind-numbing cold, it was exactly the sort of place I wanted to be.
The clouds were so heavy with the snow that now drifted down, dusting everything in a layer of fine white powder, it seemed that someone standing on even the lowest rooftop could reach up and touch them. The snowflakes raining down from those clouds gave the appearance of tiny shooting stars. Many would have found the sight beautiful. I didn't. I just found it cold and somewhat depressing. Some people say that shooting stars are angels, falling to the earth to bless the lives of people in need. I've never liked those sorts of stories. The stars belong in the heavens. The dust belongs on the earth. Collecting in puddles, the sparkling, sugar-like ice crystals did nothing to ease the bitter cold. I shivered and coughed, my breath fogging in front of me.
I should have frozen to death hours ago.
But I can't die. At least, not that way.
Suffering, on the other hand, I can do that to no end.
I put my head between my knees, hoping to retain what little heat my walking corpse had to offer. I struggled to remain conscious. The story of the little-match-girl was playing in my head. I'd never liked that story's ending. Hallucinations really weren't my thing, especially hallucinations about things I tried not to think about, the things I tried to burry in the farthest corners of my mind. I had to distract myself, to think about anything that would keep me awake. The problem was, there was nothing to distract me.
My phone buzzed in my pocket with a text. I grasped it quickly, greedy for a distraction, but I paused upon seeing the number displayed upon the screen. It was that number I had texted the Merry Christmas message to. Whoever it was had texted me back. I unlocked my phone and peered at the mystery person's message.
Received: 11:18 PM
Merry Christmas to you as well!
The message read. I smiled a little, surprised that anyone would care to return my quiet Christmas wish. The screen of my phone lit up with another message.
Received: 11:19 PM
Who are you?
The question was a simple one. Though tone can often be difficult to infer over written text, the question seemed to bear no hostility, only innocent curiosity. I thought for a bit about what to say, the answer was not as simple as the question had implied.
Located quite literally one thousand miles away from Copper Harbor, was the small, out-of-the-way town of Lebanon, Kansas. Now, in the outskirts Lebanon there was a hill. The hill was modestly sized and carpeted with thick grass painted with a layer of frost. Although it was a rather pleasant sight for some stray hiker to find, the hill was really quite unremarkable. That is, if you ignored the hulking steel door built into the side of it that looked like the entrance to a post-apocalyptic hobbit hole. See, built under that hill there was a bunker. It looked like any ordinary bunker if one can ever describe a bunker as ordinary. But inside this ordinary looking bunker, sat something rather extraordinary and his name was Jack.
Jack Kline was quite happy where he was. Sitting with his legs crossed on a chair beside the bunker's fireplace, Jack held Sam's beloved lap-top between his knees. Sam let him borrow it on the nights he couldn't sleep. Those nights were many. Sleepless nights were one of the many side effects of being half-angel, but he didn't really mind. Jack wasn't overly fond of sleep, not like Sam or Dean who adored the few hours they got. Jack would much rather be awake because if he was asleep then he couldn't observe. He liked to observe. He loved learning. He loved taking in anything and everything going on around him, soaking it all up like a sponge with legs. He especially loved to soak up a story. Epic ones with heroes that defeat powerful villains. Jack loved stories.
So, no; Jack Kline was not overly fond of sleep. No, Jack preferred to just sit quietly and watch those epic stories as they played out in front of him on the screen of Sam's lap-top.
Currently, he was watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The computer had said he would like it, and the computer had been right. He had just finished season 2 and had begun on season 3. Some small voice in the back of his mind told him he should slow down and draw the series out a little longer, but Jack just couldn't find the will to do so. This story was just too good to stop. Jack shoved a hand full of popcorn in his mouth as he pressed the play button on the next episode. He had managed to sneak several bags of popcorn from the kitchen and into the secret stash in his room a few nights earlier. It was perfect, except popcorn needed to be popped and popping the kernels without attracting notice was a bit of a challenge. But he found that if he popped them during the day, when everyone was clamoring about and busy with whatever, the noise from the popping kernels wouldn't peak any suspicion. The only downside to his strategy was that it left him with cold popcorn. Though this too could be remedied via his angel powers, if he was careful about it, he could warm up the popcorn undetected.
Now, don't get the impression that Jack was being starved, or held in this bunker against his will, or something awful like that. As was mentioned before, Jack was very happy there. The Winchesters, Sam and Dean, and the angel Castiel, lived there with him and took care of him. They were his family and Jack loved them. The only reason he had a secret stash at all was because Sam was the only one in the bunker who cared about the importance of having a somewhat healthy diet. Whereas Dean let the boy eat pretty much anything he wanted and Cas- well in Cas's mind food was food and that's all there was to it. But Sam didn't like it when he caught Jack eating what he referred to as 'junk food'.
Somehow, Sam always caught him.
"That stuff’ll rot your teeth, Jack!" He'd sigh, as he'd flip on the kitchen light and catch Jack eating cereal sometime around midnight. Then he'd look at Jack with a disappointed look on his face until Jack threw the cereal away and went back to bed. Jack hated it when Sam looked at him like that, he just couldn't bear to let the Winchesters down.
But Jack loved to eat. Eating was enjoyable as it brought with it something new every time. Yet more things to absorb and to experience. Although the younger Winchester disapproved of the more sugary foods; Jack liked those a whole lot more than the salads Sam tried to get him to eat. Jack didn't like the salads or 'Rabbit Food' as Dean called it. No, Jack liked popcorn a quite a bit more.
He smiled as he brought another handful into his mouth. Yes, Jack Kline quite enjoyed eating.
Jack's head swiveled away from the screen to stare at the phone laying face-up on the arm rest of the chair in which he sat. The screen was alight with a text message. He picked up the phone and unlocked it. The message read:
Received: 10:52 PM
Merry Christmas, stranger. I hope yours is as bright as new fallen snow. Stay warm.
That was all. Jack was quite confused; he didn't know that number. Who had sent the text? What should he do? Should he say something back?
Curiosity and caution struggled in a match tug-of-war in his head. He wanted to know who the message had come from. He wanted to know why that person had sent it. He also wanted to know why he had a strange feeling that whoever had sent the message was horribly sad. But would the Winchesters be mad at him if he answered? Sam and Dean had given him the phone just a few days earlier.
"For emergencies," Sam had said as he laid the device in Jack's hand before resuming his packing. Jack had stared at it, rather confused as to its purpose. Castiel had been off somewhere doing something and Sam and Dean had been leaving for a hunt, leaving him alone which Dean was completely and utterly against.
"Only for emergencies," Dean had stressed, jabbing his finger in Jack's general direction as he inspected various articles of clothing before tossing them into a duffle bag. "That means don't text or call unless someone is breaking in or you're dying!"
Sam shot his older brother a warning look. Dean ignored it and pulled a pair of socks out of his dresser, sniffing them briefly before making a face and chucking them to the other side of the room. Jack looked back down at the small black rectangle in his palm.
"Okay so, only text or call in case there's an emergency. Got it." Jack clinched the thin black box between his thumb and forefinger, carefully lifting it up as if it might explode in his face. "But, one question, if something happens like-like you said, like somebody breaking in or me dying, how-how would I do that?" He asked, looking back at the two brothers. They both froze their hasty packing and pivoted to stare at him, their eyebrows raised with disbelieving question.
"What?" Dean asked the young Nephilim. Jack shrank away a little, not wanting to upset the older Winchester.
"How do I text or call you? I don't know how to do that," Jack had timidly replied. Dean just shook his head and returned to over-stuffing the duffle. Sam, however, was much more understanding.
"That's right, you-you don't, do you?" Sam asked, realizing his mistake. Jack turned his attention to the younger of the brothers, shaking his head in an answer to Sam's question.
"Unbelievable," Dean muttered, rolling his eyes. Sam shot him another glare which Dean merely shrugged off.
"Well, come on then, I'll teach you," Sam had said. Jack watched as Sam set the contacts and explained how everything worked. He showed Jack how to send a text, how to dial and answer a call, and all the other things Jack would need to know. Jack just watched him and took note of every little thing. Watching and replicating was how Jack learned best.
"Now, if I don't answer my phone, you call Dean. But if he doesn't pick up, I want you to call me again, if I still don't answer a second time, I want you to call this number right here. That's Jody Mills, she's a friend of ours and she'll help you, alright? You get all that?" Sam finished explaining and looked for Jack to confirm his understanding. Jack nodded.
"I got it!" He said, enthusiastically. Sam gave the young boy a nervous smile.
"You do? Can you repeat it back to me?" Sam asked Jack the question the same way Sam and Dean's father had always asked them.
"If something happens, call you, and if you don't answer, call Dean. If Dean doesn't answer then I call you again, but if you still don't pick up, then call Jody Mills." Jack repeated all of Sam's instructions perfectly, grinning proudly at the younger Winchester when he finished. Sam laughed a little, but nerves twinged his voice.
"Good, yeah. Okay," Sam paused, thinking things over, "You know what, Jack? If neither of us answer your call and it's really that urgent, don't bother calling me a second time. Just call Jody right away if you can't get through to either of us. Alright?"
"Alright!" Jack nodded, grinning. Sam nodded back, stiffly.
"Alright." He seemed like he wanted to say something else but didn't know how to say it.
"You two done in there, Sammy?! We gotta go!" Dean called, walking in from another room. Sam stood and looked at his brother.
"Uh, yeah. I think we're good," He took a few steps towards the stairs that lead up to the door before pausing and turning back to Jack, "We're good, right? You're gonna be okay here by yourself?" Sam asked again. Jack grinned and gave him a thumbs up.
"I'll be fine. You don't have to worry."
Sam nodded and smiled with so much nervousness it almost hurt to watch.
"Okay, good. It's good. We're good," He said, nodding and trying to reassure himself more than anyone else. Dean raised an eyebrow at his overly anxious little brother, tugging his old leather jacket on over his shoulders, but he didn't say anything. Instead, he directed his remarks at Jack.
"Hey, kid. Whatever you do, don't do anything stupid," He'd said, half glaring, "We'll be back in a few days." Then they'd left.
Now, Jack glanced back down at the phone in his hands, remembering Dean's warning about not doing anything stupid. But his curiosity regarding the sender of the message was overwhelming. It couldn't hurt to text this person back, right? Was that what Dean had meant by his warning? Did this count as something stupid? What was the worst that could happen? Deciding that the benefits outweighed the risks, he texted back.
Sent: 10:18 PM
Merry Christmas to you as well!
Sent: 10:19 PM
Who are you?
No sooner had asked his question, he began to worry that he might have sounded rude. He waited with anticipation for the mystery person to reply. He didn't have to wait long.
Received: 10:20 PM
It doesn't matter, you don't know me.
I'm just someone wanting to give you a warm holiday wish.
Jack frowned. Again, he got the distinct feeling that the person on the other side of this conversation was deeply saddened by something. He desperately wanted to know what. So, he did the thing he did best. He asked and waited to see what would happen.
Received: 11:21 PM
If you don't know me, why do you care?
I don't mean to be rude. I'm just curious.
Why do this?
I read the person's question once, then twice, then three times and I realized that I didn't have an answer. Why did I care? Why was I texting some random person a Christmas wish? For all I knew, this person may not even observe the holiday. I had so many of my own things to worry about I was nearly drowning in them. I didn't know this person. I had nothing to do with them. So, why did I care about their holiday season? Why was I doing this?
I told myself it was just a random act of kindness. But deep down I knew what the reason was, and even if I didn't want to think about it, I felt it in my heart. I was doing this for the same reason I did everything. So, I took a few moments and came up with a reply.
Sent: 11:25 PM
I'm doing this because I believe that no one should ever have to be alone,
especially during the holidays.
I sent my reply and remembered to keep on shivering. I could hardly feel the cold anymore, I had gone almost completely numb. But I knew if I didn't keep moving, I would surely freeze in place and be unable to move until spring came. I vaguely wondered how cold it was. I remembered having heard on someone's car radio that this was supposed to be the coldest winter Michigan had experienced in the last decade. Though winter had only just begun, it was already cold enough for the district council to be suggesting face coverings to prevent citizens from getting frostbite and losing their nose.
I sneezed. I had no such face covering. Hell! I didn't even have a jacket! Let alone a coat or anything mildly warm. All I had was my oversized green cardigan, my black Star Wars t-shirt and my black jeans. That was it. Yet here I sat, outside a bakery in well below freezing temperatures, shivering myself into next decade.
I could go to a shelter. At least there I wouldn't have to endure the bitter biting of the wind as it gushed with double its normal force through these tight, abandoned alleyways. But if I went to a shelter then there was no chance of leaving undetected, I reminded myself. No, it was better to stay here, cold and alone, than to risk human contact.
I was pulled from my thoughts by another pling from my phone. Another message from that unknown contact.
Received: 11: 27
Are you alone?
Again, the question was simple. And although the mere thought hurt like a knife twisting in a fresh wound, I looked around at the dark, trash littered alleyway I sat in, watching the scattered rags of paper flutter and tumble in the winter gales, and I looked at the brutally beautiful puddles of speckled ice gathering along my body and melting on my skin, and I examined the bleak night sky, choked starless by the drifting dreary clouds; and the utterly silent stillness of the sleeping city revealed the harsh reality of my answer.
No one was here.
Not even the stars would keep me company. Because the stars never cared who I was.
So, with no reason to keep the truth hidden. I answered the question honestly.
Sent: 11: 29 PM
Sent: 11: 30 PM
I am alone.
I was completely and utterly alone.
Received: 10: 30 PM
I am alone.
Once again Jack got the distinct impression that these words carried a heavy burden. It made him frown. What could he do to help a person he didn't even know? He wanted to ask this person if they had any friends, but something about those words told him the answer. When this person had said they were alone, Jack got the feeling they weren't just talking about the current moment. But maybe that's what this person needed. Maybe they needed a friend.
Sent: 10: 32 PM
Well, I'll be your friend and talk to you. There, now you're not alone anymore!
Jack smiled as he sent the text. The reply didn't take long.
Received: 10: 33 PM
You don't have waste your time on me but thank you.
It didn't take any special powers to read in between the lines this time, anyone could see the sadness in those words. Though Jack wasn't sure if it was his powers causing that strange feeling or if he was just imagining things.
Sent: 10:34 PM
I don't mind. Really!
Besides, I don't have anyone to talk to either.
Received: 10: 35 PM
Well, in that case, we can be lonely together!
Jack grinned. He'd made himself a friend. He couldn't wait to get to know them.
Received: 11: 36 PM
Since we're friends now, what's your name?
I smiled down at my new mystery friend's message. There was something about the words that made them seem innocent and earnest. It couldn't hurt to give my name, right? It’s not like he could find me. After all, I'm supposed to be dead.
Sent: 11: 37 PM
My name is Martina.
I sent my name and waited for the response. It came quickly.
Received: 11: 38 PM
I like your name Martina!
It's very pretty.
I flinched as I read the text. Something about seeing my name written in the text brought me back to a conversation with a different person a long time ago. It was a painful memory, and I didn't want to see it anymore. I didn't want another reminder of the still bleeding wounds in my heart. I remembered why I didn't let anyone call me that name anymore.
Sent: 11: 39 PM
But I would prefer you call me Marty.
I didn't want to be so sensitive to things like this, but I just couldn't help it.
Received: 11: 40 PM
Alright! I like Marty too.
It's a fun name.
I smiled; grateful they didn't ask why it was so important that they called me by a nickname.
Sent: 11: 41 PM
Thanks for understanding.
So, what's your name?
Received: 11: 42 PM
My name is Jack!
I grinned to myself. I'd made me a friend. I just couldn't wait to get to know him.
Sent: 11: 43 PM
It’s nice to meet you!
I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
Received: 11: 44 PM
I agree, Marty. We are going to be great friends!
Sent: 11: 45 PM
So, what's your favorite movie?
And just like that, we talked until the sun came up. And suddenly, for the first time in quite a while, I wasn't completely alone.
"Hey, uh, Jack? We're back!"
Sam's voice drifted in from just outside Jack's bedroom door. Jack was surprised. He hadn't heard the brothers come in which, for him, was quite peculiar.
The door creaked open and Jack hastily attempted to pretend like he hadn't been using the phone.
The device slipped from his hand and he fumbled to catch it before it smashed against the grey, polished concrete floor. He let out a sigh of relief as he snatched it just in time.
Sam peered around the door, checking in on Jack, who was now hanging halfway off his bed and clutching the phone. Scrambling to sit upright, Jack gave Sam a half-panicked smile.
"Hi Sam!" He waved a greeting, shoving his phone behind his back. Sam raised his eyebrows in a questioning expression and stepped into the room, shutting the door behind him. He folded his arms and leaned back on his heels.
"Hey Jack," Sam seemed a little distracted, "Have you seen Cas?" He asked. Jack shook his head vigorously.
"He's not back yet," He answered. Sam nodded and started to leave before stopping and turning back. Only now seeming to notice Jack's odd behavior. Sam gestured at the phone hidden behind the boys back,
"So, what were you doing in here just now?" Jack's eyes flew wide as quarters and his gaze shifted rapidly around the room, focusing on anywhere but Sam. His mind was working overtime trying to find a viable excuse.
"Uhhhh...Nothing!" Jack tried; his brain had gone blank. Sam raised an eyebrow.
"You sure about that?" Sam leaned forward a little, narrowing his eyes. Jack leaned back to match; his face scrunched up with the guilt he was trying very hard to hide. Everyone in the bunker knew how terrible Jack was at lying. He might be able to pass a few simple fibs by a stranger, but his family saw through him like he was made of glass. He couldn't deceive them. But that didn't stop him from trying, however.
"Yes..." Jack said slowly, his eyebrows pulling together in a rather sad attempt at looking sincere.
"Jack, what were you doing?" Sam asked more sternly. Jack looked at his feet and didn't answer. His shoulders moved up and down in a shrug.
"Do I have to go get Dean?" Sam pressed. Now Jack's head shot up. He stretched his hands out in a pleading gesture.
"No, no! Don't tell Dean!" Jack begged. Sam's expression shifted into one of concern.
"If you tell me, I won't tell Dean." Sam agreed, moving to sit on the bed beside Jack who shifted to give him some space. Sam waited patiently for the young Nephilim to speak. Jack kept his head down and rubbed his hands together nervously as he tried to think of how he should explain himself.
"Well, last night I was watching Netflix when I got this text from somebody wishing me a merry Christmas-" He started.
"Someone we know?" Sam asked, interrupting. Jack shook his head and continued.
"I asked them why they would do that, and they said it was because they thought that nobody should be alone this time of year. So, I asked if they were alone and they said, yes ─" Jack looked the younger Winchester in the eyes ─
"I don't know why but I just got this- this feeling, and they sounded just so sad, and now we're friends! But Dean said not to do anything stupid, and now I'm worried that I did! Are you mad?" Jack finished, worry coloring his features. Sam blinked. Once again astounded by the size of the half-angel's heart, he shook his head.
"No, Jack. I'm not mad," He said, softly.
"Really. I think you did a good thing. Everyone needs a friend." Sam patted Jack's shoulder and smiled. Jack looked down, grinning to himself as pride filled his chest.
Sam waited a moment before getting up from the bed. Stretching his back out and groaning a bit as he stood. It had been almost 48 hours since he last slept, and he was more than ready for a long nap. His hand rested on the doorknob and he paused a moment before turning back around.
"Hey, uh, Jack. Just one more thing. Do you by chance know this person's name?" Sam asked. Jack looked up briefly before looking back at the floor again, trying to hide the embarrassment creeping up to stain his cheeks.
"It's, uh, it's Marty," He replied. Sam nodded and moved to leave again but he stopped. His eyebrows pulled down with confusion before he turned back.
"And uh, is that a boy's name or a girl's name? Do you know?" Jack turned his head a bit to the side and picked at a thread in his jeans.
"Does it matter?" He questioned back. Truthfully, it didn't. Sam wouldn't make Jack stop if he didn't want to. But to say that the boy's current evasive behavior didn't pique his interest, would be a lie. Though, the kid’s flushed cheeks told him quite a bit about the answer.
"It doesn't matter," Sam said, shrugging, "I'm just curious is all." The tall man watched the boy's reaction. Jack nodded and shifted as if uncomfortable.
"Marty's a girl." He answered, trying to force his voice into sounding nonchalant. And failing.
"Okay, cool." Sam nodded, turning around again, and reaching for the handle. Jack's head whipped around.
Sam looked over his shoulder.
"Don't. Tell. Dean!" Jack stressed. Urgency was evident in his voice. Sam huffed a laugh.
"Okay, Jack." With that, Sam pulled open the door and walked out letting the heavy steel swing shut behind him. Behind the door, Jack sighed with relief. He'd dodged a bullet with that one.
Walking a ways down the hall, Sam got to Dean's room where his older brother was now unpacking. The younger brother leaned on the door frame and expelled the laughter he'd been holding on to since Jack’s room. Dean turned around, holding a pistol and a pair of weeks old and hopelessly blood caked socks in his hands, he faced Sam with a questioning look.
"What's got you so giggly all of a sudden?" The older of the brother's asked.
Dean glanced at the pair of socks in his hand. He grimaced at the stench and held them further away from his face, trying not to breathe. It didn't work. The socks odor was so pungent, Dean could smell them through his mouth. There was no hope of washing them. Nope, those things would have to be burned. Though, taking another whiff of them, Dean wasn't sure that even incinerating the socks would do him much good now. The stomach-turning stink would be branded into his memory forever. Sam straightened up, shaking his head of shoulder length hair.
"It's just something Jack said." Sam smiled and laughed again before taking notice of the unholy stench wafting off the socks. He coughed. "Dude, those stink. Bad!"
"Yeah, it's a sad day, Sammy." Dean nodded solemnly. Sam covered his nose.
"These were my second luckiest pair of socks."
"Well, they're not anymore," Sam pointed out. Now, they were just rancid.
"I think we should give em' a Viking funeral, something to honor their service. I mean, I remember one time when I wore these things for two weeks straight!" Dean reminisced, grinning. Sam looked mildly disturbed.
"That's, uh... nice... But, uh, is there somewhere we could put them before the funeral? Because they, uh, they reek." Sam was trying hard not to gag and couldn't understand how Dean could be holding them and remain unaffected. Dean smirked.
"You wanna go put em' somewhere?" He asked, waving the socks into Sam's face. Sam leaned away.
"Ah! God! No! Put those things somewhere! Please!" He choked out. Dean just grinned and moved to the other side of the room. Grabbing a cardboard box from off the shelf, he shoved the socks in there and sealed the lid. The stench quickly began to dissipate.
"We're gonna have to burn that box too."
"Yup." Sam still felt a little sick but at least the socks were gone.
"So, what was it Jack said that you thought was so funny?" The older brother asked.
"Oh, uh, nothing. It was nothing," Sam said. But laughter began to creep up on him again. Dean rolled his eyes and went back to pulling more dirty clothing from the duffle bag.
"Are ya gonna stand there or are ya gonna spill?" Dean pushed. Sam sobered up again.
"Well, I'm not supposed to tell you," He said.
Dean shook his head, mildly annoyed. He knew Sam was going to tell him whatever juicy information he had gotten, just like he always did when he got that sly look on his face. Sam could be a bit of a schoolgirl that way. Except, of course, when it came to the important things, the things Dean was supposed to know. Those things Sam always kept to himself.
"Well, Sammy, if you ain’t gonna spill─" he used the gun in his hand to gesture from Sam to the duffle bag─ "get workin'."
The younger Winchester moved to the bag and started unpacking, grinning his face off all the while. Dean knew his little brother was waiting for him to ask about the thing with Jack again, so he said nothing. He just waited for Sam to look over to him eagerly, which is exactly what Sam did.
"So get this!" Sam started.
'Here it comes.' Dean predicted internally. Sam kept starring.
'Yatzee.' Dean thought. He knew Sam like the back of his hand. Actually, he probably knew his brother better than that.
"Apparently, Jack got a text from some random person last night wishing him merry Christmas. And, well, you know Jack! So he─" Dean stopped his brother mid-sentence.
"What's her name?" He interrupted. Sam looked confused.
"I didn't say anything about a girl," Sam trailed off. Dean sighed and shook his head.
"Geez, Sammy! If you love drama so much, you should go be an actor. You ain't foolin' anybody. We both know where this is goin' so just cut to the chase!" Dean sighed, opening a trunk and tossing in the gun he'd been holding along with several knives. His small outburst had startled his younger brother, but Dean didn't really care. Sam wasn't the only one who hadn't slept in 48 hours. Sleep was calling and Dean wanted nothing more than to answer. Sam frowned.
"Marty. The girl's name is Marty," Sam stated, sounding rather put out that Dean had guessed at his not-so-cleaver ploy. The older if the pair turned to the younger with a perplexed expression.
"Wait, wait. Marty?" He clarified. Amused disbelief written all over his features.
"Marty," Sam confirmed.
"Like the zebra in Madagascar, Marty?" Dean asked, grinning. Sam nodded.
"Yeah, like that. But remember, you didn't hear anything from me!" He answered, smiling as well. Dean laughed as he turned his attention back to the mess of clothing and weapons surrounding him on the floor.
"Yeah, whatever, drama queen." Dean rolled his eyes and kept working. The room was silent for a moment before the older Winchester burst out laughing again. He couldn't help himself; he found the subject hilarious.
"Ah, man. Marty! Now there's a name!" He exclaimed as he started folding the few clean clothing items laying in the pile. "What? Did her parents just take one look at her and say: 'Look at our beautiful baby! Let's name her Marty!'" Dean scoffed.
Sam snorted and shook his head at his older brother's bad joke. Then he leaned his head back and yawned.
"Man, I think we need some sleep," Sam sighed. Dean smirked.
"Is it your bedtime already?" He taunted, expecting a playful retort. But this time, Sam didn't argue. He just nodded.
"Yeah, I think it is." Though worried about his little brother, Dean held his playful smirk in place perfectly, just like he had been doing for so many years.
"Well, you go ahead and hit the sack. I'll finish up here." He said, easily. Even though he was just as tired and Sam was, he would finish out like always. Sam raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, o'course. There's not much left anyway." That was a lie and they both knew it, but Sam took the offer of sleep while it was on the table.
"You're welcome, Sammy."
Sam patted his older brother on the arm as he stood and left the room. Traveling down the corridor he got to his bedroom and was out as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Meanwhile, Dean mouthed the strange name of Jack's mystery girl and chuckled about it to himself. Sitting on the floor in his room as he continued folding the rest of the clean clothes, cleaning out all the weapons and putting everything back in its place. The chore took him two more hours to complete but when it was done, he stretched himself out and laid back on his bed.
"Marty. Now, that's hilarious." Dean snickered to himself as he drifted off to sleep.
~I might hate myself tomorrow.
But I'm on my way tonight.
Let's be lonely together.
A little less lonely together~
Lyrics from: Lonely Together by Jasmine Thompson
It’s a Mother Flocking Puffin Pt 15
‘And of course our top topic of the evening an interview with the instructor for Her Royal Majesty’s hand to hand course, which like on many Dwarf campuses is a required credit. Note that this interview was done prior to the announcement explaining the improper title used throughout.’
“Grand Duchess Pear has been improving greatly. Bit timid at first when it comes to the wrestling end of sparring. Though she seemed to have a great deal of training on Elven style fighting so the combat, kicks and flips are rather cake to her along with the evasion courses we have had seemed to be quite a thrilling addition to her repertoire.
There are the occasional blunders as all have, I remember her first fall and she fell hard right to her face in a try to loop her thighs properly for a trunk flip evasion and her legs just slipped. We all thought we might have to call it for the day but she paused a few moments on her knees had a giggle about it and got back up as always ready for notes to improve on her second try. We’re all impossibly proud to be those instructing the Grand Duchess on this craft and more so for her positive attitude and determination to do the craft proud.” After a chuckle he said, “And we do have to say it has been easier since her Khuzdul has improved greatly. Studies with the Princes and our Rugby Team members have done wonders, improving her confidence as well to mesh more into our culture and with the other students and faculty members here who are always excited to see just how much of each project or assignment might be in the mother tongue this time.”
Turned around in his seat Frerin was watching a long scoped footage of your combat practice with a larger Dwarf and two instructors who were guiding you through the wrestling hold you got pinned in post kicking skirmish through which you broke the extended blocks with ease. Slowly and detailed they worked you to the upper handed position to which the opponent found his feet and on his back leapt securing a hold of his trunk to flip him over when you would try to take the next wrestling pin move. You were so timid in the first lessons and even with just what Fili and Kili has shared you had grown leaps and bounds in confidence with their help in this course you had to take to get any degree at all.
‘However this was yesterday and we were lucky enough on her trip to the market just last evening to snag a few questions with Her Royal Majesty!’
Turning in their seats Dwalin and Thorin eyed the tv ignoring the table setting chart they needed a break from anyways in the Bride’s need to conference with apparently every female in her clan before deciding their theme.
“Hey,” you giggled out smiling to the cameraman that just addressed you formally who hurried up to you while others snapped pictures of your whole on foot trek.
‘Heading to the markets?’ He asked in Khuzdul.
“Yes, I seem to have misplaced a helping of celery somehow.” You giggled out pausing on a couple of the longer words to get them right, lowering your eyes to the steps you warned the cameramen of so they wouldn’t fall off them.
‘We were wondering at the studio if you have any opinion on the new Eastern Goods Transit Bill that just got passed through the council?’
“Bill? Oh, um,” you said licking your lower lip hastily then replying, “I really don’t think I should answer that.” The answer had the mouths of the Durins watching opening as to your assumed implication the public didn’t require an answer on official matters. Only to close them at your addition of, post pause on the first word you took a moment to search for, “Honestly, I’m not well informed on the official matters just yet, especially where bills are concerned.”
Thorin let out a sigh of relief to the clear grins on the cameramen behind you to the addition. “Though I find it hard to believe with what I do know of those in charge they would neglect the needs or protection of their people. Though if they do need an example of what not to do they could look into the Hoffstadntol Bill that was passed out in Numenor, that Ar-Pharazôn managed to slip through somehow, which was, to put it mildly,” you paused for a smiling giggle, “A travesty at best. And was greatly improved in the repeal process afterwards once strike terms were met and he was stripped of office.”
‘So you don’t have any lessons on policy just yet?’
“The Princes do answer my questions when I hear something in passing on the news or in the papers and such current events yes but as far as the official behind the curtain peek of how the government is run not quite yet. Baby stepping my way into this really, I am getting on with Khuzdul and social etiquette with things like holidays and other relevant topics of that sort to get me more casual with this kingdom and people especially.”
‘No faults there.’ Clearly in your reach up to brush some hair from your face the wedding band was barely caught in the shot and he asked, ‘Might we ask if courtship lessons are underhand as well?’
Again you let out a soft giggle, “Obviously, though my end is a bit more complicated to maneuver into for the clan so we had to go through all the requirements before anything else to ensure all the boxes were ticked so to speak.”
‘If you don’t mind my asking would you feel comfortable to share what cultures those might be on your part? Clearly part Hobbit by your size.’
“Yes, no that’s no problem. My mother was half Hobbit half Vanyar. While my father was full Vanyar. They died when I was a child,” evidently reactions of the men behind you were captured surely matching the cameraman, “And I was adopted by Emperor Warbucks of Numenor after that.”
‘We haven’t heard of a meeting between your clans yet is that something that has been handled under wraps?’
“No, not yet, my adopted father has made certain to remind me I am here to study and no matter the allure of a royal wedding sooner rather than later I should keep my focus on my original goal of my degree and the rest would be the stronger for it.”
Frerin muttered smirking with pride at his baby sister, “Another brilliant answer.”
And you added, “But who knows we might be able to work out a school break where everyone’s schedules line up for a trip or two.”
‘And that was yesterday before the news had broken on the new wedded couple, clearly the big ceremony is yet to be planned and with the secrecy of the Vanyar marriage rites I do not doubt it is a matter of appeasing that culture that an elopement was required. Though even in her novice status as a Senior Royal to the Durin clan we are all more than assured our young Royal Majesty is in a firm footing to one day be a fine future Queen to our Crown Prince Thorin.’
Thorin stated, “That was a masterful save on that plea of ignorance to the topic. Refusing to give an opinion without information to draw from while granting an example she is privy to the failure of other bills and their reformations to other cultures.”
Dwalin, “Not to mention those bones she threw towards the courtship granting them something to chew on a while. Plus naming her clan and culture for them.”
Frerin, “Gramps will be pleased. And that bill she mentioned was part of the grounds for the points he shifted to make this one. Fine thing she named that bill in particular without knowing. Clearly she’s versed in public relations and was kind to not let the men stumble.”
Dwalin patted Thorin’s back, “And your lovely wife has a mighty trunk toss evasion.” Making his cousin chuckle and turn with the others while the show delved to the secret union and some of Thorin’s answers to questions that morning on his way in to check a venue for work.
That was hours back and it seemed on his next two stops the universe was determined to keep him from accepting your Love Spoons. No matter where he turned he kept running into someone else who just had to ask him a question leading to desperate measures. Beard and braid powdered with a spare shirt from the coat closet he snuck around the building to the garage while Frerin hurried out in his former shirt and jacket exclaiming he needed something urgent causing the cameramen to focus on him granting his older brother a subtler escape.
With a huff he eyed his beard and hair in the reflection through the dark windows outside the tinted windows on the car the driver trying not to chuckle until the Dwarf had his back turned. Up the stoop he hurried and after two knocks his brows furrowed and he muttered in a rummage into his pocket for his keys for the spare the boys had given him with your approval, “Please don’t be mad. Be in the shower, or, flossing..”
He found the key and at once the scent of the roast hit his nose stirring a painful loud growl from his stomach in the closing and relocking of the door. Following the sound of the tv playing there he found you. And smiled out the dopiest of his smiles yet in your awkward slump into the couch with hair looped around your head and arms lopsided across your chest with legs haphazardly angled in their stretch to the coffee table that had your skirt askew to the point of a peep show. Moving in gently he lifted your legs with his paw of a hand under them and behind your back turning you to rest against the pillow propped at the arm of the couch. Adjusting your skirt to keep you covered then pulling the blanket draped across the back of the couch to cover you, touching your face ever so lightly in the thievery of a kiss on your forehead. The kitchen timer however went off and up into his chin your head came at your body’s jerk to wake up drawing a groan from him in his pull back.
Wide eyed you covered your forehead with a hand looking at Thorin with a wide eyed stare at you. “Thorin, what’s in your beard?” Down your hand came with powder on your fingers you tapped to your tongue and shuddered, “Lemon powder? Someone ambush you at work?”
Unable to help it he chuckled sitting down to help you wipe the rest off your reddened forehead saying, “You could say that,”
Again the timer beeped and up you hopped turning to hurry to the kitchen, “Roast!”
Luring Thorin over to help through a longing glance at the velvet wrapped spoons you made for him. “I am certain it will be perfect.”
“Well,” you said opening the oven with pot holders on your hands like a tiny dress wearing crab at their bright red shade, “Vili said if I don’t get it out in time the onions explode.”
Still you settled the pans on the stove saying in a look over the crackling and steaming dishes, “I think we should give that a minute.” Turning your head back over the sink he had been shaking his braid and beard getting most of the powder off a few swats of his hand managed nearly all the rest in his smile at you.
“You look impossible as ever.”
“I thought blue might be appropriate,” and to your smile splitting wider his did the same in your hands dipping into the formerly unnoticed pockets on the skirt of your dress, “Plus it’s got pockets.” Lowly he chuckled and you asked, “The notes didn’t say when to give you the spoons, before or after supper?”
“Up to you really.”
Again you glanced at the no doubt scalding meal and then back to him, “Maybe best before to let that cool down enough.”
“Okay, perfect,” he said turning and ready to go inspect your skilled gifts already making you giggle and start to walk with him back to the couch. There you sat down at his side saying, “I didn’t have time for a box so I can’t actually plop them on your lap,” unfolding the velvet cloth however his jaw dropped eyeballing the spoons he scooted the table closer so he wouldn’t have to move your legs he had draped over his leg to keep you close.
The first spoon rested in his palm and every last millimeter was taken a lingering gaze at of the nice pale tan wood you had outlined a pair of spoons joined into one. Half in a woven set of vines topped with hearts with a leaf scoop at the end matching the leaf scoop on the other with a simpler stem, a few bent leaves hung off the stem that curved to mingle with the hearts topped with flowers. Silently he settled that one down and lifted the next design with a double heart scoop for the spoon under knotted vines around a tree and a few scattered leaves.
Next, Hummingbirds in a flower and vine design for the next one for what you imagined to be the hardest of the single ones he spent the longest on so far. Face still stoic in his detailing mindset.
The next in a honey colored wood hummingbird design with just that, the bird holding onto the woven strands meeting in a flower shaped endless knot opposite the simple same leaf scoop. This one he awkwardly chuckled at then set aside after a testing bounce of his palm testing the weight.
A gasp came in lifting the next, in a second light wood with a design like a folded blade topped with a dragon’s head accented with gaps in the endless woven knots accented by a few hidden hearts. This was the new winner on time held as the first Dwarfly design.
The next in a chocolate brown with an anchor top feeding down in a v shaped knot to the leaf scoop in what would be the closest to Dwarf style of the set. A second Dwarfly one he turned and shifted to get a peak at every single overlapping section of knot without a single flaw to be found.
Next was another in the same wood as the folded blade design the odd one out with a mermaid holding a few strands topped by heart shaped leaves with large leaves folding up around her tail, the end of which formed the leaf like scoop. Lowly to himself he murmured something to the smirk from said amusing comment on the spoon.
The final single one in the same chocolate wood shaped like a crumbling leaf with gaps still showing veins from the leaf formed by crossing lines and swirls feeding down to two more leaf scoops. Almost scared to break it he shifted the stunningly sturdy spoon in awe for the skill it took to craft this. You had shown layers, overlaps and different styles on each single spoon with the best for last proving a mastery of illusion as well almost never touched on in this gift giving task.
Just leaving the joined spoons, one with a dragon and maple leaves under a heart where the wooden link chain fed to the heart on the other spoon with a flowering plant sprouting stars with matching shovel shaped scoops.
About in tears he shifted each section of chain identically flawless to the last leading to the spoons which brought on the tears to block his inspection of what he assumed to be a flaw in the smooth finish to only be a matching pair of etchings of your shared mark on the back of the stems.
His eyes shifted to you seeing your hand raised with fingers curled in front of your lips that lowered to his frail cracking response of, “I can’t thank you-,” shaking his head he sniffled in a tear streaming down his cheek. Locking his eyes on yours to continue, a bit stronger but no less choppy, “Skill like this, I can’t put it into words. The layering and seamless overlapping of vines and just the smooth surface without a flaw to be seen. For your worries on how wood would be accepted compared to stone of metal, I have never seen love spoons like these before. I shall do my best to earn a Smith of your caliber’s comfort. This is stunning,” shifting the joined spoons he brought them closer to you detailing each trait he adored followed by each one leaving the woven knot ones and the crumbling leaf for last.
“These knots, I have known Dwarves who have spoiled them by filing too finely or growing too nit picky and leaving it frail. I wager I could eat with these if it was acceptable to do so.” Hastily he wet his lips bringing up the leaf, all but beaming like an idiot causing your eyes to mist up at how relieved you were you didn’t spoil this task he was so cherishing to see one day growing up. “This one alone were we not wed I would take as a sign to elope. It seems so frail, the fine lines how you kept control of it and managed to smooth it and coat it all so seamlessly. I am eternally grateful Bunnanunê.”
That was where you snapped and leaned in planting your lips on his for a kiss he melted into tangling himself around you for the few minutes the kiss and silent hold of foreheads in soaking in the peace washing over the pair of you at the end of the wait and trouble to get here. His stomach loudly growled again all but making you melt into his chest giggling drawing a bashful chuckle from him. Onto your feet you stood and with the others he set the spoons and accepted hold of the hand you offered to guide him to the food you both served out to go with the wine he uncorked and poured for the pair of you.
Lowly at the brush of his fingertips down his left pant leg to his knee fixing a wrinkle on his napkin laid across his lap he rumbled, “Saw an interview with you today.”
“Oh, that,” you said with a bashful grin. “I do hope your family isn’t upset.”
“No, on the contrary, we were all impressed. Even Gramps called said he was proud. You did so well, admitting ignorance over the inference of the public not being deserving of an answer,”
“Deserving? What do you mean?” You asked making his lips purse a moment realizing you didn’t know this already.
“To outright refuse a question on Public Policy in our culture is taken as a statement that the one asking or intended audience does not deserve to know.”
“Oh I know that, which is why you stating ignorance was brilliant, even if you didn’t realize it.”
“I’ll try to remember that.”
“Most likely they won’t ask you much on policy, though I am more than certain you would master your way through those questions. Surely the Emperor did a great deal of a job training you for press and interviews.”
“Well you need to make a good impression with that status, especially near to King Elros and his children. I was almost his almost daughter in law.” Lowly he chuckled to your soft giggle then you asked looking him over, “I don’t think I’ve asked, were you ever almost linked to anyone?”
“Um,” he said wetting his lips, “There was a Dam down in Orcarni, when I was a toddler, though deeper research into her Amad linked her to our clan already negating the possibility of our betrothal. Up North there were some talks of another but the neighboring clan to theirs had a daughter with a matching mark. Three more stumbled out that way over the past century as well, but nothing substantial merely my Grandparents hoping for possibly opportune matches for me.”
“Well I can’t offer you any alliances,”
Chortling softly he said, “You can and have. Greenwood has been extremely generous entertaining our kin of late, and we have been invited to their Feast of Starlight, we never do. All because of you.”
“Feast of Starlight?”
“Yes, in a couple weeks Gramps got the official invitation and asked for me to share the news with you. Your clans will be there, possibly the Emperor as well, I know rulers from the Elven Kingdoms are invited annually.”
“I could call, he said he was traveling in his last email.”
“Possibly he’s trying to surprise you. You do have a six day weekend coming up around the Feast.” He hummed with a hopeful grin, “I’m not with you for alliances anyways. You are my One, I would have chosen you no matter what.”
“Even if I was penniless and ran a button stand?”
That had him chuckling at your teasing question, “Even if you’d stolen that stand and faced jail time for said crime.” Widening your awkward smile, “I would face some heat for wedding a criminal, yet I would and eventually the public would warm up to their crowned convict. My kin do have a weakness for buttons.”
Again you giggled shaking your head and in a moment your expression shifted from your smile, “Queen Taule’s related High King Ingwë, and she said we’re related-,”
That had his hand extending to cradle yours making you release your fork, “His clan will be so proud of you, even if it’s some obscure cousin linked to you. So very proud, they won’t have a choice.”
“Maybe they might help with some of my steps, possibly.”
“Should you ask I imagine they would be honored to be granted any role in our courtship.”
“What am I even going to wear?”
“Ah, for that at least, Gran has handled with Dis’ help. Measurements have been taken of you as you well know and the gown is underway while your crown jewels have been polished up for some time now since our bond was marked.”
“I, I have jewels?”
“Yes,” he replied with a wide smile, “Crown Princess does have crown jewels. A tiara is ready while the necklace paired with it must be worn only after our official wedding, as a token from Gran to you, so you can wear your Amad’s necklace if you wished.”
Safe and warm he left you tucked in your bed after you had changed again. Still beaming from that tight hug and tender kiss goodnight while he rode in the car off to the Palace holding the velvet cloth in his hands. Eager beyond words to share the skills displayed in these spoons while he looked forward to granting you a show of skill of his own to repay you.
Not required in his cultures but yours, out of nothing but socks, a gift not only for you but one to be passed down to a child in their youth not just singular but a matching pair. And he knew just what he would make you, rather on the nose but a set of bunnies and he had bought twelve pairs of the sock patterns perfect to start crafting them from. A pale blue and grey with white spots with white shirts already planned up with just the embroidered ribbon left to tuck inside with a message from him to you and your pebbles. Designs and patterns were not prohibited and for the past two months his Gran had been helping him to brush up on his needlework aiding Dis’ army of awkward looking sock doll animals for the triplets she absolutely loved to have for her girls to enjoy growing up as gifts from their uncle. A hobby even Frerin had picked up helping to boost Thorin’s confidence in succeeding this task so far from their kin’s required displays of skill. Even Dwalin’s tries at a pattern had sparked a grin on his face building up a new hobby for the stubborn Dwarf.
All the same skill displays always came before the step to begin drafting wedding rings. That step was crucial for solidifying publicly for his clan that you were moving forward in affection, the drafted designs had to bear effort and care to display dedication to your partner in more ways than just marriage. Color mainly for Durins were emeralds or sapphires yet like your other heirlooms should you choose another stone that would be admired as well marking a blending of clans and taste.
Inter-culture unions always bore mystery and with how hard you were working to adhere to his ways he would do all he could to honor yours whatever they may be, for all you had lost he wanted to give you everything peaceful and cherish-able after so much pain having had been endured. Instead on top of learning his world he was adding the weight of one day ruling a people you wished to hide in the midst of and rebuild yourself. Hopes of a quiet life with your One now had you settled on a cottage and with what could have been a spontaneous courtship documented and planned in your calendars to remind you of each required step. Out of all this each hug and sweet kiss allowed him hope that you might be growing strong enough in affection for him to one day make all this worth it. He was steadily gaining your trust and one day he hoped to have earned your heart as you’d more than earned his.
Shrieks and gasps flooded through the hall with each relative taking their own turn with each spoon sharing comments and awe before helping to settle them into a shadow box for their display he would settle on his mantle next to your acorn wedding totems. One day to be moved to the mantle of your cottage upon moving in once you’d finished furnishing it of course. Another task yet to be started beyond a comment you wanted at least one white fluffy fake fur footrest like they had in their lounge Thorin instantly agreed to and got to printing up the sales page for all possible designs to customize them how you wanted to go perfectly with what he pictured to be your private sitting room, as a couple not to be used for any guests. Where he might convince you to let him pick his favored armchairs to go with them. Tiny steps were being taken left and right and with a month to perfect his bunnies for you his clan could entrust that it wouldn’t be another dissolved courtship, something even with the elopement they hadn’t quite felt solidified yet. Though none truly knew what might make them feel it was on solid ground, hoping perhaps meeting your clan might do that.
Halfway through with a sock frog’s finishing knot Dwalin made his way down to the office while you were well on your way to the Erebor Orchestra to start on the piano and harps for what you hoped to be three hours or four at the most. Dopily he smiled and handed the frog over to the little boy in the playpen that accepted the frog to hug and bounce around spreading the grin on Bilbo’s face watching his usual helper.
Once he had hung up the phone Bilbo asked, “I thought you had a wedding.”
“We do, on our way out. Just wanted to drop this off.”
Bilbo smiled eyeing the frog again, asking, “You make sock animals in your free time?”
Dwalin moved closer saying while easing his hands into his back pockets unconsciously flexing and luring Bilbo’s eyes over him, “Jaqi’s clan have a tradition for spouses to gift sock animals to show skill to pass onto bairns when they are gifted from Eru. Thorin has been practicing since hearing about it we’ve been trying to support him and me and Frerin picked it up it seems. Fairly calming hobby, and Thorin’s given an army of them to our new Princesses who will love them when they are older.”
Bilbo chuckled and said, “Well thank you for sharing the hoard. Very considerate of you, tried giving him a stuffed animal before and he tried to roll away from it each time.”
Slow and steady the pendulum your courting braid became kept time swinging as you contorted to give the pedals of the piano a few minor adjustments. The strings didn’t need much tuning yet these pedals were determined to fight you every step of the way. No matter however as you knelt in the back of the room where the rest of the orchestra were seated discussing the next few pieces they would be rehearsing. More bows and head bobs came with each approach to your corner of irritation designated as the work station for these monster instruments unable to be shipped. This piano and the two harps the Conductor was glad to have completed first as there were plenty of other string section members to fill in the rehearsals while you worked through all the others. In a break for coffee over to the bench you went with the back of the piano secured in its former place. Subtle glances were taken as other always had done by the orchestra to the sound of the lullaby working through all the keys to test the tuning. Once done there the first harp standing at six feet tall had you huffing at having to climb onto your moved step ladder to reach the hidden tuning mounts up top.
@himoverflowers, @theincaprincess, @aspiringtranslator, @thegreyberet, @patanghill17, @jesgisborne, @curvestrology, @alishlieb, @jogregor, @armitageadoration, @fizzyxcustard, @lilith15000, @marvels-ghost, @catthefearless, @imjusthereforthereads, @c-s-stars, @otakumultimuse-hiddlewhore, @mariannetora, @shes-a-killer-kween, @ggbbhehe4455, @xxbyimm
Hobbit/LotR – @abiwim, @jotink78, @pastelhexmaniac
x Thorin – @evyiione, @deepestfirefun, @queenoferebor
X all Rich. A - @abiwim, @deepestfirefun, @thestorybookmistress
fic tag game
aaahhh @vishcount thank you for tagging me!!! These are so fun and I adored reading about your fic journey~! ೖ(⑅σ̑ᴗσ̑)ೖ ❤
OH as a note!! For the ppl I tag at the end I don’t expect you to read all of this bc it’s A Lot!!! but I figured you might want to do this game yourself? haha :)
shortened version of my first ever username. unfortunately stuck with it now haha but i’m fond of it :p wish it was cuter tho!!
Posting the rest of this under the cut so it doesn’t eat up people’s dashes!!
oKAY YIKES there are....honestly too many too name. I’ve got a short and obsessive attention span so it’s either all or nothing with me usually. When I can stay in a fandom for a long period of time it’s a miracle. I’ll name the bigger ones that I’ve all written fic for! Even if I’ve never posted them haha
Right now I’m very firmly into Daomu Biji (dmbj). It feels like it’s both got a crap ton of content and yet barely anything at all haha. Maybe because the English fandom is so small. But at least there are a bunch of dramas and books!!! I really, really, really adore dmbj so much!! And a large part of that is the fandom!!! It's been a really cool and unique experience! Everyone in it is truly so kind and wonderful, and I’ve made some really incredible friends because of it (looking at you vish!! ❤). I’ve got a bunch of wips, but I’ve only posted two fics for dmbj!
Before this I was very into Guardian and mdzs. MDZS was my first foray into cdramas and Guardian’s Zhu Yilong really suckered me into watching more haha I also have fics for both these fandoms!
My very first fandoms were Fullmetal Alchemist, D. Gray-Man and Naruto. My very old ffnet account has fics for these and I’ve got a bunch of newer wips on my tablet. Then Star Trek, Twilight, BBC Merlin, Sherlock, Death Note, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, Battlestar Galactica, Avatar the Last Airbender and Marvel were a few of my main ones in high school. Plus a bunch of anime (like Fruits Basket! and Kuroshitsuji and Natsume Yuujinchou).
Then college hit and I renewed my childhood love of Tolkien (mainly lotr and the Hobbit), and Star Wars. I also found Teen Wolf! Then after college it was Stranger Things.
I find myself in a cycle of mild fondness and complete obsession with these fandoms haha I go back to Star Wars at least once a year!! Then I’m in the gffa hole for a few months. Marvel also reoccurs, depending on how interested I am in new content! Star Trek I always always always go back to. TOS is my comfort show and it will never fade from my heart ❤
But for now I’m stuck in cdrama hell and I love it
Time travel, found family, whump+hurt/comfort, fairytale-like elements, resurrective immortality (thanks to a “Nine Lives” Hobbit fic), CROSSOVERS
I’m a slut for all these things so they often worm their way into my plots haha
I also just- love weird premises. I think that’s the anime influencing me haha
Fic I spent most time on:
My series he leaves sand and stardust in my wake (main fic is hurricane on the edge of oblivion), I have...spent five years on now. I have done so much research for this fic it’s insane.
The premise is force ghost!Obi-Wan getting shunted back into his tiny 10 year old self. I incorporate a shit ton of legends and I try to stay as canon as possible. I basically want this au to feel like it’s 1000% plausible while still getting all my gay shit. It’s chock full of whump, redemption, found family, minor characters turning into major characters, and I’ve got slavery uprising on the mind, too. It’s just- everything I could ever want to explore in the Star Wars universe basically.
It’s my first big project. I started doodling and scribbling ideas in the margins of my notebook in my Scottish History class. I adore it so so so much. But, because of my hyperfixation and fleeting intense obsession with things it makes it- really difficult to consistently update. I leave it for months at a time and I am constantly guilt-ridden about it. Because it’s my baby and I have a lot of wonderful readers. I fear I’ll never be able to finish it. Especially since I’ve written so much and I’m still only in the beginning of it. ( ; A ; )
Also, I’ve spent so much time with Xanatos, Feemor and Bruck that they just feel like mine now. I can’t read any fics that involve them, it’s too strange. Which is a damn shame because I love them so much haha OH ALSO!! I think it’s the first really big fic to include those three?? So I’m very proud about that haha (I’ve had so many ppl comment about how they actually Give A Shit about these three and are Invested bc of me haha)
Favorite fic(s) you’ve written:
hurricane on the edge of oblivion (with nowhere to go) (Star Wars)
My long-term passion project. My love-letter to Star Wars, I suppose. Reading it now I feel like a lot of it is clunky or long-winded, but I think it really shows the foundation of my writing today :) Main characters are Obi-Wan, Xanatos Du Crion, Qui-Gon Jinn, Bruck Chun and Feemor. Eventually we’ll get to Maul, Savage, Feral, Shmi Skywalker, (more!) Ahsoka, Anakin and a shit ton of clones ❤
things we hunger for (Guardian)
My Ye Zun self-indulgent fic. It’s a time travel amnesia Weilanzun! Honestly has some of my fav writing I’ve ever done. It’s so soft and really indulges in the hurt/comfort. It gives Ye Zun the friends and family I think he deserves. Also, he gets to grow into a (mostly!) functional person and I adore him.
the beast that slumbers within your soul (mdzs)
Jiang Cheng centric fic!! I feel like all my favourite fics I’ve written are love letters haha. This is one def my love letter to Jiang Cheng. This fic possessed me for two whole days. I wrote 16k in almost one sitting. I went to sleep at 6 in the morning bc I couldn’t stop writing. And when I drifted off I kept thinking of new ideas so I’d whip out my phone and write down lines and notes. I- have never ever ever felt that way about anything. It was- insane. It felt insane. It was so amazing. I’m still riding the memory of that high.
Basically Jiang Cheng actually finds Baoshan Sanren and it turns out she’s a fox demon and Jiang Cheng is descended from wolves. It’s- okay I said the fic above this had my favourite writing?? That was a lie. This has my favourite writing I’ve ever done. It’s unfinished bc I am in dmbj hell but I am still excited about the next chapter which features Wei Wuxian’s pov!!
the whispers of spirits (dmbj)
My current passion project. In a way it kinda feels similar to hurricane? Bc multiple povs, incorporating different aspects of canon (we’ll get there!! I promise!), shit ton of research, etc. etc. I really really really love it for so many reasons. I’m basically taking all the things I was unsatisfied with in Reboot and Sha Hai and running with it. Found family and whump galore! It’s also a love letter to the women of dmbj who really deserve so so so much better.
Honourable mention to:
One Day (you’ll have given more of yourself than is meant to be taken) (Marvel)
This fic also kinda possessed me. I just- couldn’t get rid of the idea of a trans!Thor. And I mean a mtf Thor! It’s just? So many people look at Thor and go “that’s a Real Man.” Full stop. They never think there could be anything more, and it really really really bothered me. So I wrote out my feelings. I’m not trans. I don’t have that experience at all. I’ve had issues and confusion about my gender but nothing like this. I just wanted to do justice to this idea of Thor in my head. And I still feel a bit nervous having posted it. But I've gotten so many comments from people who really connected with what I’ve written? So I’m very very thankful I wrote it and it has a very special place in my heart. It’s a very cathartic fic.
Fic I spent least time on:
Probably we rise (Star Wars) and I think it shows haha. I wrote it in response to Dave Filoni posting a drawing of Ahsoka and Gandalf telling her “People thought I was dead, too, and look how that turned out...” So I incorporated Ahsoka (and Din and Grogu and Ezra!!!) into the ending of Rise of Skywalker, kinda explaining how I think they could all still be alive. :)
hurricane is my longest fic (159k) but I’m kinda worried whispers will eclipse that.....
Of my posted ones it’s The Five Moments it Took Tony and Scott to Admit They Were Best Friends (and the first time they ever did), currently clocks at 1.6k. It’s unfinished tho so maybe that doesn’t count.... otherwise it’s we rise which is completed and 2k.
hurricane overall has the most of all these. Though I don’t think hits counts as much bc it’s multi-chapter. If you discount multi-chapter stuff, most hits goes to my obikin smutfic Homecoming, bc people are horny af haha
Fic you want to rewrite/expand on:
If I had energy I’d like to rewrite the beginning of hurricane bc it feels so so wordy. I’d want to expand on One Day bc I really would like to write a whole series with trans!Thor. And like- I’d really like the focus to finish any of my WIPs.
Share a bit of a WIP:
I really wanna share my Guardian/dmbj crossover that I started back in August. Bc I adore the idea of wu xie&shen wei&ye zun triplets! Plus time travel!!! I dunno if I’ll ever finish it tho ( ; A ; ) It just feels like a lot to deal with right now.
This scene takes place during the Mountain Awl arc. Guardian crew and desperado fam run across each other at the village! Wu Xie has recently found out that he’s adopted and he’s searching for answers in the area Sanshu originally found amnesiac!toddler!Wu Xie in :) Gonna pull two snippets bc I’m v excited and this might be the only time anyone else sees this fic haha:
“Oh?” Pangzi focuses on Yunlan now, lips twisting. “You think I’ve ‘got the wrong guy,’ huh?” He laughs, but it’s not a nice sound. “That’s rich! Are you that cocky or are you just stupid?”
Bristling, Yunlan drops his hands and scowls. “Excuse me?”
“Sir,” Shen Wei tries. “I think—”
Pangzi’s eyes snap back to Shen Wei, sharp and blazing. “How dare you fucking steal his face!”
Automatically, Zhao Yunlan turns to Shen Wei, but the professor looks just as shell-shocked as Zhao Yunlan feels which- is seriously something. Since everything about Shen Wei is so carefully controlled, kept to the minimum. Except for those delightful little smiles that bloom across his lovely face, or the startled little bursts of laughter that fall from his lips. Or even when anger and frustration spark across his features, cracking his calm veneer open enough that he can see a glimmer of what lies beneath, the fire in those eyes. Zhao Yunlan delights in those moments, makes a game of making Shen Wei’s control slip.
He tells himself it’s nothing more than a game. Nothing more than trying to find out what makes Shen Wei tick.
Zhao Yunlan’s always been very bad at lying to himself. Or very good. Depending on who you’re asking.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Yunlan splutters.
But before anyone can say anything else, a very familiar voice calls:
“Pangzi? What’s wrong?”
Yunlan can feel Shen Wei stiffen, and Yunlan himself is pulled to that voice like a planet in orbit, like the inevitable plummet to the ground.
Another shadow wavers in the doorway before it steps out onto the dirt. Light illuminates shaggy hair, limning it gold, sharply casting everything else in shadow. But as the figure nears, the contrast softens until Yunlan can see the newcomer’s face properly and- and—
“Wu Xie!” Pangzi growls. “We’ve got ourselves an impostor!”
The man wearing Shen Wei’s face steps up to them, brows furrowed and mouth pulled down into a sharp frown. He glances between them, eyes landing on Shen Wei. His scowl deepens. He opens his mouth, but then—
“Wu Xie?” Shen Wei breathes, all trembly and lost and hopeless.
Heart in his throat, Yunlan turns to Shen Wei again. Turns and flinches at that stricken look upon Shen Wei’s pale pinched face.
“A-Xie?” Shen Wei chokes. “Didi?”
Pangzi snorts. “Professor?”
Startled Yunlan swings his attention over to Jiajia who clenches her backpack to her chest, face screwed up in admirable determination. “P-professor Shen took me and Xiao Quan on a field trip to investigate an archeological site around here!”
“Oh?” Wu Xie drawls all slow and amused. “Well, what a coincidence. We’re archeologists, too.”
“With guns?” Yunlan bites out.
Wu Xie raises a brow, grin full of teeth. “Well, you can never be too prepared.”
“Right,” Yunlan drawls right back. “Are you a professor, too, then? You come here with your students?”
Wu Xie outright grins. “You could say that, I suppose.”
Out of the corner of his eye, one of the men rolls his eyes. He’s the one with sharp features, glasses and looped earbuds. Does he think it’s appropriate to listen to music at a time like this? Yunlan admires the man’s gall.
aahhhh vish thanks so much again for tagging me!! This was so fun to relive my fic memories!! I’m gonna tag @alwaysaslutforshakespeare @jockvillagersonly @tehfanglyfish @lichelleme @undyingsunshine @humanlighthouse @thewindsofsong I’m curious about your guys’ writing and fandom journey!! As always, no pressure to actually complete this!! I just thought it was fun ❤
Wow if you read all of this I am very humbled and impressed, thank you!!