( pairing ) : ben hargreeves x reader
( about ) : inspired by s3ep8 — ben wants to know what was so special about the old ben. the reader lets him know that they’re not so different.
( warnings ) : some angst, profanity
( words ) : 1800
( note ) : i wanted to write a multichapter fic but i literally can’t commit to anything so here’s one if my fav ben scenes this season! hope you enjoy! (and i’m really sorry if it’s a little specific for an x reader. i haven’t written anything in about a year and i used to strictly write x oc fics. but appearance-wise, there aren’t any descriptions, so feel free to imagine whomever you’d like)
It’s weird to see Klaus all chummy with Reginald. They’d always had so little in common, so you wonder how messed up the timeline has to be for the two of them to suddenly form this weird bond. It seems like a lot of things are different here, but that’s not your main concern right now.
Klaus is on a mission. You’ve watched him strike up a conversation with nearly everyone in the room and, not only is it killing the mood, it’s also alarming. If there was anything you learned about him growing up, it was that he couldn’t be stopped once he’d made up his mind about something. And, so far, he seems dead set on convincing everyone to accept Old Reggie into the family.
It’s a lot easier said than done.
Your eyes follow him as he walks over to Ben, alone at a table now that Allison has abandoned him. He’s sulking, more so than usual, with a plate full of shrimp and a half-empty bottle of wine. Even from across the room, you can see his brows furrow and his bottom lip jutted out. It was a classic Ben expression, very predictable considering he was at a party. He never did like big events. It’s small similarities like that you find endearing.
You watch him and Klaus bicker back and forth for a few minutes, a sense of nostalgia setting in. They used to do this all the time. You could almost pretend that this was normal, that Ben had lived until this moment, to attend Luther’s properly-timed wedding as if you aren’t waiting for the world to end. Again. It isn’t until Ben throws a shrimp at Klaus that you decide to intervene.
“Play nice, children,” you tease.
“Y/N!” Klaus claps, like some kid exited to meet a favorite celebrity or hero. “I’m so glad you could join us!” He nudges Ben’s foot under the table, a gesture he most certainly does not appreciate.
“What are you up to?” You narrow your eyes suspiciously.
“Oh, we’re just taking a stroll down memory lane. My memories, of course. Our new buddy-roo seems pretty interested in our lovely, lovely brother. You know, his more pleasant look-alike?” Ben looks like he’s about to explode.
“Klaus, play nice,” you remind him. “We’re at a wedding.”
“Oh, you’re no fun! You’re not even drunk, Y/N!”
“Well, someone has to keep you kids in line. Can’t have you setting the Hotel on fire just as we’re sucked into some weird black hole, can I?” Klaus whines.
“Okay, okay! But if I can’t have any fun, you can deal with Bitchy-Benny over there. I don’t think I’m drunk enough to deal with him for the rest of the night.”
“Well, you can’t just leave.” You try your best not to sound panicked because you do not need to be left alone with an overly-intoxicated Ben right now.
“Eh, I’ll see what Vik is up to, maybe congratulate the newly-weds some more. Oh! Maybe Five will let me sing another duet with him!”
“No, no. Klaus, please—“
“Have fun! Don’t do anything I would do!”
“You son of a—“ Your voice trails out as Klaus continues his… well, whatever he’s doing. You force your eyes away from him, ending up face-to-face with very irritable company.
Ben glares at you through half-lidded eyes, his face held in his hands.
“What?” you snap. “Is it past your bedtime?” You look around the room, hoping for an opportunity to escape. Maybe you could clean up that table over there, or help with the music selection. Five already downed half of the champagne, maybe you should get more—
“Why do you hate me?” You turn your head back so fast you think you might have pulled something in your neck.
“Why do I… what?”
“All you idiots talk about is the other Ben and how he’s sooo much nicer. You all act like he’s the best. What about me? Why don’t you like me?”
Oh, God. This isn’t happening. He couldn’t honestly be asking you to compare them, not now. Not when you’ve managed to bottle up every nasty thing you have to say about him. This was supposed to be a fun night.
“Are you serious?”
His jaw shifts and his lips press into a frown.
Oh, it’s happening.
“Well, you’re an insufferable bastard.”
“Okay, but you like the other Ben.”
“Yeah, we love him.” He whines, unsatisfied with the answer. It’s like arguing with a child who asks too many questions.
“Why? What was so special about him?”
“He wasn’t an insufferable bastard.”
“But Klaus said he was a know-it-all.” You hum in agreement.
“Worse than anyone I know.”
“Like— like a dark cloud on a perfectly sunny day.” You figure he’s quoting Klaus. The description sounds weird when he says it, like imagery shouldn’t be his preferred method of expressing things. That’s unexpected, considering the old Ben loved to draw. He could see the world differently, through the eyes of an artist, something you never really understood.
“Yeah, he was always a bit emo. I don’t think he would have ever outgrown it, honestly. I mean, look at you.”
“So what’s so good about him? All of those sound like bad things.”
“Yeah, but they looked great on him.”
“He sounds like a jackass.”
“Well, you have that in common, don’t you?”
“So how come I don’t deserve what he gets? Why is it so easy to like him but not me? If he was so insufferable, what makes him any different from me?”
He’s upset. Well, he always is. But this is different. Ben sounds vulnerable and panicked. His voice sounds hurt and it feels wrong. Asshole or not, in this universe or the next, seeing Ben fall apart is just wrong.
“That was just how he was.”
“So he’s just naturally an asshole but everyone loves him anyway! How is that fair? Dad thought I was good enough to be Number One. I’m so much better than him! Why do you still like him better than me?”
Underneath the part of him that isn’t so desperate to claw his way to the top, you find something familiar. You hear the old Ben who, as a kid, was so eager to find his place — the one who hated missions with so much passion but obeyed every order Reginald had to give. It’s heartbreaking to watch him fall apart all over again when you couldn’t even do anything to help him the first time.
That’s when you feel every bad thing you’ve ever thought about him dissipate. Reginald Hargreeves is tearing Ben apart again, and you’ll be damned if you make the same mistake twice.
“It’s because you’re not Ben.”
“I know that! Everyone’s always telling me that.”
“No, I mean you’re not… you.”
“But I am! You just don’t think I’m good enough!”
“Ben Hargreeves, get that bullshit out of your head,” you say, fuming. “Nobody decides whether you’re good enough or not. Nobody but you. I meant, you’re not yourself because you’re too busy trying to be Number One. You’ve spent your entire life doing every single thing Reginald tells you to do, and you think you have to keep it up all the time. News flash: you don’t.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You have a family.” His voice gets quieter. “The academy is all a have.” Your head leans to the side, subconsciously challenging the statement. You don’t mean to, but it’s almost an instinct to prove him wrong.
“Yeah, or it was. Because now they’re dead. All that’s left is Sloane and Dad, but you stole them. You… it’s just me, now.”
“They haven’t been stolen from you. They’d just rather find people who care about them than be alone. You know, you’re welcome to do the same.”
“No, I’m not. They hate me.” He mumbles. “They didn’t even invite me to that stupid bachelor party.”
“They don’t hate you. They love you. It’s just… this isn’t you. You’ve been so busy proving yourself worthy of being Number One, you stopped being Ben. And we want the real Ben, not the one who’s constantly forcing himself to be someone he isn’t.”
“But I’m not your Ben. It wouldn’t matter if Dad was here or not because I’m never gonna be your Ben.”
“You are,” you assure him, and you believe it. “You’re always going to be my Ben.”
“We’re not the same.”
“You don’t have to be!” you say, louder than you meant. “I don’t need you to be a shitty dancer or to sing in the shower like you want to shatter the bathroom mirror.”
“Good! Because I don’t!” he shrieks, outraged. Undoubtedly offended. You laugh because you know he’s lying.
“I don’t need you wipe my tears away after a bad day or let me clean the blood off your face after a bad mission. I don’t need you to buy me souvenirs every time you sneak out with Klaus or try to play every song I like on the piano by ear.”
“He did all that?”
“Yeah. He did. But I would have loved him anyway, if he didn’t.”
“Why?” His voice is desperate, pleading.
“Because there isn’t a single thing that wouldn’t make me fall in love with Ben Hargreeves.”
The silence hangs in the air, thick with tension. Ben frowns. You think the moment will end there. Maybe he’ll be offended, or worse, maybe he wouldn’t care at all.
“I would have done the same.”
He looks into your eyes, dark irises swimming with something you’ve never seen before. Not it this Ben, at least. It melts your heart just enough to flood your body with warmth. It’s like the sun peering through dawn.
“If I was your Ben, I would have wanted to do those things, too. For you.”
You let your heart bask in the moment, afraid to let go. This was, and is, Ben Hargreeves. He was the soft patter of rain above an empty house, the whistle of the wind across an open field — the reminder that life holds more than you and the isolated path you tread.
Ben Hargreeves is everything lovely about the world, and it’s a shame he’ll only grace it for the next few hours.
It is, perhaps, the greatest loss the universe will ever know.
You choose to make up for lost time right then and there, coaxing the corners of your lips into a smile. You unravel the knots in your heart and watch his face relax, a new day on the horizon.
Ben Hargreeves will spend the day getting to know love, the world be damned if you didn’t make sure if it.
“I think I would have liked that.”
𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐀𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 - 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟒
▹𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏 ▹𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐 ▹𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟑
𝐏𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 | Eddie Munson x female reader
𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 | THEN. You’re the only survivor among the Mind Flayer’s victims, thanks to your friends - but after the Battle of Starcourt, you find yourself adrift in a sea of nightmares. Until an encounter in the woods with Eddie The Freak Munson offers an unexpected life line and turns your world upside down.
NOW. Four months have passed since the winter night you walked out of Eddie’s trailer and his life for good. But when the mysterious headaches and nightmares return full-force and something wicked stirs in sleepy Hawkins, starting a witch hunt against Eddie, you realize that there are two things in this world that might be more persistent than you’d thought: Evil…and love.
The story will be told in two timelines: the past (after the Battle of Starcourt) and the present (during the events of season 4).
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 | angst with a happy ending, fluff, smut
𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 | SMUT (in the later chapters, so you need to be 18+ to read this story!), angst with a happy ending, attempted assault, bullying, canon-typical violence
𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭 | 8 k
𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 | bullying, mentions of attempted assault (Those are the chapter warnings. There will be lots of smut in the later chapters so please only read this if you’re 18+ years old!)
𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐄𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭.
𝐀𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬, 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝! ♡
[Friday, March 22nd, 1986. NOW.]
With the police lights flashing in the blushing light of sunrise, like fireworks illuminating the hoard of cops buzzing about the Munsons’ tailer, the surreal sight of poor Chrissy Cunningham’s broken body carried away in a black body bag like trash, you made a decision. “We need to go. Now. We need to find Eddie before the cops do.”
There was a beat of shocked silence, broken only by the buzzing static sound of RT units and the clamour of voices while the cops started carrying around cardboard boxes of – of what, exactly? Evidence?.
Max and Robin stared at you as if you’d gone completely batshit crazy, before Max echoed, “Find him? Where would we even start? He’s on the run.”
“I mean, if he didn’t hijack or steal a car on the way, he’s on foot,” Robin assessed, “That means he can’t be very far yet but he could be hiding in the woods or –“
You cut her off. “I know where he is.”
“Okay,” Robin retorted, her voice rising a few octaves as she threw a glance at Max to seek help. “Let me sum that up: the guy I never even saw you talk to, like, ever, despite that one time when he stood up for you against Jason in the cafeteria – which, I admit, was very cool and sweet and all – flees the scene of a brutal murder he might or might not have committed – and I can’t stress the fact enough that there has been a very dead cheerleader found in Eddie Munson’s trailer after she went inside with him alone, and you seem, like, super chill about the fact that Eddie might have killed her which really creeps me out a little by the way, trusting-in-your-instincts-wise because up to now I thought you had a very good intuition – and you want us to find him?”
“Yes,” you replied sharply. “And I’m pretty sure I know where he is. Are you coming or not?”
“I’m gonna get my backpack,” Max announced drily.
“Wait, so now we’re taking the fifteen-years-old on a murder hunt? That’ll be my second case of child endangerment after dragging Erica Sinclair into that secret Russian lab,” Robin quipped as the two of you watched Max vanish inside the Mayfield’s trailer.
“He’s innocent, Robin.” You’d wanted for your voice to sound firm, but the words came out in a desperate, broken whisper as you pressed your face into your hands in an attempt to stifle the tears which had been threatening to spill.
“Hey,” Robin’s soft coo floated through the air as her hands wrapped around you in an awkward embrace, and she helplessly patted your shoulder. “I’m sorry. Please, please, please don’t cry because I can’t stand to see the people I love cry –“
“Okay, I’m ready,” Max chimed up, the screen door to the trailer falling shut behind her, and your head snapped up. She’d swapped the pyjamas for loose-fitting sweatpants and an oversize jacket, the headphones around her neck like armor and her backpack flung over her shoulder. She cocked an eyebrow. “Are we having a therapy session or are we going?”
You didn’t wait for Max and Robin to reply before you pulled out of Robin’s embrace and hurried up the gravel towards your car parked at the side of the road, the bright yellow crime scene tape blocking the road down to the Forest Hills trailer park fluttering in the spring breeze like streamers left over after a party as the first onlookers arrived at the scene – and the first reporters.
And if the media started broadcasting about what had happened, even if the cops refused to give out Eddie’s name yet���it would only be a question of time until people connected the dots on their own.
Every second ticking by was precious time running out for Eddie.
You couldn’t waste a single one of these seconds.
“Um, does that mean we’ll cut classes?”, Robin called out after you. “Because I got band practice later today –“
“It’s the day before spring break, Robin,” you heard Max mutter, “You’ll survive it.”
“That remains to be seen,” Robin retorted gloomily.
The car doors slammed shut one by one as the three of you climbed into the car.
“Okay,” you breathed, turning the ignition. The engine sputtered to life. “If anyone wants to go to school, I’ll make a stopover at Hawkins High. If you don’t want to join me, it’s totally fine.”
“Yeah, no. I’m not going to school now,” Max muttered as Robin announced, “Are you kidding? I won’t let you go looking for a maybe-killer alone. So, where are we going?”
“Reefer Rick’s,” you replied curtly, pressing the gas pedal. At least, that was the only potential hideout you knew of.
[Monday, September 16th, 1985. THEN.]
Things, of course, went down on Monday.
You’d held on to the hope that the gossip mill would find something new to feed on over the weekend, but that was obviously not the case judging by the newest decoration someone had left on your locker.
The red lipstick spelling out the word SLUT was back in place – only this time, the U was adorned with little devil’s horns, and the insult was scrawled across a flyer someone had taped to your locker, an ad for a screening of Rosemary’s Baby at the Hawkins movie theatre.
Giggles were rising in the crowded hallway around you, and you could feel gazes on you – the gleeful, malicious ones of people you’d never even talked to before, and the worried ones Robin and Nancy were throwing your way as Nancy reached out and ripped the flyer away, crumpling it in her hands with a ferocity that made it pretty clear she was imagining someone’s throat instead of the paper.
“Ugh, don’t remind me of that movie,” Robin commented, obviously trying hard for her voice to sound light-hearted, to somehow create the illusion of normalcy for you, that this wasn’t as bad as it seemed even though you all knew it was, “That was the creepiest shit I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t sleep for, like, a month without –“
Her words were cut off when you opened your locker, and a wave of something colorful flooded out like confetti, pelting down on the ground at your feet.
There was a second of crestfallen silence as Nancy, Robin and you stared at the flood of colorful little squares the three of you were standing in, before Robin breathed, “For a happy little second I actually thought it was candy.”
“Condoms,” Nancy growled, her eyes already screaming murder as she whirled around, and you followed her gaze to the jeering throng of Jason’s basketball friends passing by, “Really. That’s so grown-up.”
“We could keep them for Steve –“ Robin began to joke, her own rising despair stripping her of the few remaining filters, but she quickly cut herself off with a glance at Nancy.
“Yeah. Well, see you in a few minutes, I guess,” you breathed, but Nancy’s hand shot out to wrap around your wrist and stop you before you could sink to the ground to start cleaning the mess.
“No. You go get some fresh air. Leave that to me and Robin, okay?”
The tears of fury and frustration were already burning in your eyes and choking your voice, so you gave the two of them a tiny, grateful nod before, head held high despite the laughter in the crowded hallway trailing in your wake like ripples in a lake, you marched out of the building and onto the sunlight of the parking lot, towards the space between the main building and the gym, away from prying eyes.
The tears brimming in your eyes, though, didn’t start falling.
It wasn’t that the bullying didn’t hurt – of course, it did – but the weekend of nightmares and headaches with skull-splitting intensity that sent stars dancing in your vision was numbing your mind with pain and exhaustion, taking off the edge of the taunts for now. You’d also started avoiding glances into mirrors and other reflective surfaces, just in case. Maybe you were losing your mind, maybe it was a sign of the severe lack of sleep you’d been dealing with ever since your friends had burned the Mind Flayer out of you at Starcourt – or maybe it was the aftermath of the Mind Flayer itself.
Or maybe, it never really left, the dark voice in your mind echoed the words your reflection had drawled with that sickening smile – but you were quick to push the thought away, lock it in some neat little box somewhere deep in the drawer of your mind. At this point, you’d collected a whole Pandora’s Box in there. And you were terrified of what would happen should it ever be opened.
But today was not the day to contemplate these things. Today was just another day you had to survive in the shark tank Hawkins High had become for you.
The soft sound of footsteps made your head snap up, and there was a soft, happy flutter in your chest at the sight of Eddie, standing awkwardly in the space between buildings as he flashed you a hesitant smile.
“Hey there, monster slayer.”
“I’m starting to think you’re following me around,” you teased softly, and Eddie’s smile widened before he quipped, “You’re in my designated hiding spot, though.”
“Your – I didn’t think you’d ever hide from anything.”
He gave a mirthless chuckle as he stepped closer to join you in the shadow between buildings. “Yeah, well. I’m sorry to disappoint, but…I’m a master at hiding and running away. Outside of D&D, I am no hero.”
“Hm,” you mused, “The way you stood up to Jason last week in the cafeteria begs to differ.”
“Yeah, well, that was an outlier. I hate Jason Carver and the way he was – is – spreading lies about you just…made me see red.”
“Maybe you’re just more of a savior than you’re giving yourself credit for.” As an afterthought, you added, “Wait, why are you hiding right now?”
“Actually, I’m not hiding right now. Just checking on you. I just figured it wouldn’t be exactly helpful to approach you when everyone was already watching. Feeding the gossip, and stuff.”
So Eddie had witnessed the flood wave of condoms spilling from your locker. You could feel your cheeks burning as you avoided his gaze, but Eddie slowly added, “You know, Mondays are my least favourite thing. Right after Jason Carver, of course. And I don’t intend to spend the remainder of this one in a stuffy classroom when it’s possibly the last warm summer’s day. I think I’m gonna take the rest of the day off.” With a slow smile tugging at his lips, he added, “Care to join me on an adventure, monster slayer?”
Coming from any other guy, it would have sounded creepy or lewd or shady, but with Eddie, it was as innocent and endearing as the pet name he’d given you. Just his quirky, weird way to talk.
He watched you as he patiently waited for your reply, head tilted to the side.
If it had been any other guy, you wouldn’t even have hesitated to say no.
But Eddie Munson already had had plenty of opportunities to hurt you – and in every single one of them, he’d proven that you were perfectly safe with him. As it was, there currently didn’t seem to be any safer place for you than wherever Eddie was.
It was the kindness in his dark eyes that made you nod without hesitation.
“Swell,” he grinned. “We can take my van. If that’s okay for you, of course. I mean, we could just walk –“
“No, it’s fine,” you said with a smile of your own, already heading back to the parking lot.
The flutter of nerves when you climbed onto the passenger seat of Eddie’s van, squeezing in between empty cans of soda and sandwich wrappers, didn’t stem from an underlying sense of alarm at skipping class with the school’s drug dealer, but the exhilaration of actually spending time with him apart from Hawkins High, apart from drug deals or panic attacks.
“I’d like to let you know you’re corrupting me as we speak,” you assessed light-heartedly as you buckled your seatbelt.
“Wait – you never skipped classes?!” Eddie threw you an incredulous look. “Like, you got that whole break-and-enter-car-theft-vandalism-arson-monster-hunter-thing going on but you draw the line at skipping a day of school?”
You laughed. “You actually remembered my list of crimes against the law?”
“At this point it would have been easier to just sum up what you didn’t do,” he chuckled, and the roar of the old van filled the air as Eddie started the engine.
You watched in silence how the rust-colored brick building of Hawkins High got smaller and smaller until it vanished from sight when Eddie made a turn towards Maple Street, taking the bend with enough velocity for the centrifugal force to press you against the passenger door, the various empty cans and fast-food wrappers flying around you like a flurry of confetti.
“Sorry!”, Eddie called out with a little wince, slowing the car, and a little laugh spluttered from you as you thought about the November night two years ago when El and Hopper had gone to the lab to close the gate and shut out the Mind Flayer while you’d helped the then thirteen-year-olds drag a beaten-up Steve to the Camaro you were about to steal. And Eddie’s driving style was nothing against the near-death experience that was Max Mayfield behind a wheel.
“No worries,” you grinned, “If the cops stop you for speeding, I’ll just tell them you kidnapped me.”
“That’s good. Maybe it’ll deter them from the two hundred pounds of coke in the back.”
And just like that, despite all the shit currently going down in your life once again, Eddie Munson made you laugh. Really laugh. It felt good. It felt even better when he joined in, his own soft laugh making a tender shoot of warmth take root amidst the slowly subsiding darkness in your chest, like sunlight cutting through thunderclouds.
“For real, though. What’s in the back?”
Eddie shot you a sideways glance. “Nothing, most of the time. We use it for equipment when we got a gig –“
“You’re in a band?”
“Yeah. With some of the guys from Hellfire. We play at The Hideout every Thursday. I’d invite you to come see us, but I’d rather shroud it in mystery because it’s not half as rad there as it sounds.”
You smiled at Eddie’s sudden timidness. “Well, if you ever change your mind, I’ll be in the front row cheering for you.” Only as you’d spoken the words, you realized you’d actually meant them. You’d love to see him play.
He chuckled. “It’s very endearing of you to think there even are rows to begin with.”
Another turn left, and you’d reached the outskirts of town, the woods surrounding Hawkins like a coat growing denser with the houses fewer and farther in between.
Before you could ask where exactly you were going, Eddie steered the car around another bend, stopping in front of a small, inconspicuous house surrounded by a cluster of birch trees. You squinted at the glitter of sunlight on water behind the trees.
“Here we are,” Eddie said, jumping out of his seat and walking around the car to open the door for you with a smooth little bow. You smiled as you climbed out of the passenger seat to follow Eddie, who was sauntering towards the small path leading from the road into the woods beside the house, past what looked like a shed or a little boathouse, walking backwards so he could smile at you.
“Is that Lover’s Lake?”
“Yeah. I like to come out here whenever I need a bit of peace and quiet.”
“I haven’t been here in years,” you mused as you followed Eddie into the woods, the carpet of leaves rusting softly under your feet.
“If you want to, we could take a boat ride on the lake,” Eddie pondered with a nod at the little boathouse, and you cocked an eyebrow. “You want to steal a boat?”
“With your own criminal record, I’m a little bit surprised you didn’t already propose doing exactly that. But, no – actually, we’d just borrow it. I know the guy who lives here.” He nodded at the house flashing through the thicket of trees. “His name’s Reefer Rick.”
“That’s an interesting name.”
“I don’t actually know his real name.”
You chuckled. “Is that one of those stories where you befriend a guy and forget his name and then suddenly, you’re friends and there’s no way you could ask now? That happened to me in middle school. I still don’t have a clue what that girl’s name was, and I spent the weirdest five hours of my life on her circus-themed birthday party.”
Eddie laughed. “That sounds rad.”
“It gave me severe, life-long, paralyzing fear of clowns and ponies.”
“I’m scared to ask.”
“As you should be.”
Eddie laughed. “Well, nobody knows his real name. He’s a dealer.”
“You’re friends with a drug dealer?”
“I mean, you’re currently on a hike with your own drug dealer, in case it slipped your notice.”
“Almost drug dealer,” you corrected playfully, “By the way, when you said we were going on an adventure, I thought you meant drugs and drinking, not hiking,” you joked. You didn’t exactly know what you’d expected.
“I can’t decide whether you sound disappointed or not”, Eddie chuckled, throwing you a sideways glance. “Though please tell me you wouldn’t have followed a random dude to his van for drinks and drugs,” he added, the tease in his tone not quite matching the seriousness in his eyes as they scanned your face.
“Of course not, I’m not dumb. And you’re not some random dude anymore. You’re…” You trailed off. What, exactly, was Eddie Munson? A friend? You’d known the guy for a week now. Calling him a friend would be weird. So you finished lamely, “You’re a dude.”
Eddie burst into laughter. “That’s got to be the best compliment I ever received. I feel honored and flattered.”
“As you should,” you quipped.
It was a true talent, how Eddie was capable to take the awkwardness off every situation.
“Oh!”, you exclaimed as another thought came to your mind, and you reached into the back pocket of your jeans to pull out the black bandana Eddie had so gently wrapped around your injured hand on Friday.
“I managed to get rid of the blood stains,” you declared, holding it out for Eddie who took it with a soft little smile, starting to walk backwards again as he asked, “How’s your hand, by the way?”
“Better.” You raised your hand in the air. The cuts had nearly healed over, and the stinging pain in your knuckles was gone.
Still walking backwards, Eddie smiled, dark eyes glittering as they held your gaze when he opened his mouth to say something – but his words were cut short when he tripped over a root sticking out from the ground of the small hiking trail. A soft little curse spilling from him, he barely managed to catch himself from falling, right as you jumped forward to grab his wrist to steady him.
For a stunned heartbeat, the two of you just stared at each other, your hand circling Eddie’s wrist, fingertips brushing the metal of his bracelet, before you quickly let go of him with heat creeping up your cheeks.
Was there the slightest dusting of a blush on Eddie’s own cheeks, or was it just the pattern of light and shadow the beams of sunlight spilling through the foliage above painted on his face?
“That was a test to see if you got my back, by the way,” Eddie teased, and you giggled.
“Did I pass it?”
There was laughter in his voice as Eddie retorted, “You could have jumped a little faster to my rescue, but you made up for it with enthusiasm.”
“You should probably stop walking backwards on this trail,” you concluded.
“Yeah, you got me falling head over heels it seems,” he snickered softly, and the heat in your cheeks deepened at his playful words as Eddie turned around, before adding sardonically, “Watch out for the trippy tree roots. Those little fuckers are death traps.”
Silence fell over the two of you as you walked beside him. Not an awkward silence, but a companionable one. For a while, the two of you just kept walking, Eddie a few feet ahead of you, following the small path that cut through the undergrowth of the woods, the surface of Lover’s Lake glittering in the sun between the leaves to your right.
In the shade of the trees, the air was a little cooler, the remnants of the scorching summer heat mingling with the cooler breeze of early autumn that made the foliage rustle gently. And for the first time in weeks, you felt like you could…breathe.
For a while, you just took in your surroundings, the way the sunlight filtered through the canopy of leaves above to paint patterns of light on the trail, the way the first leaves were starting to lose their vibrant green for shades of orange and yellow. In a few weeks, October would paint them a deep, dark crimson until it looked like the woods around Hawkins were on fire.
You couldn’t remember the last time you’d been in the woods just to be there, without hunting or running away from faceless creatures from the Upside Down that wanted to eat you for dinner.
It felt almost normal now. Just a girl skipping a day of school in her senior year to walk in the woods with her handsome almost-drug dealer. No monsters, no Mind Flayer. No memories of screams and pain and fire.
With Eddie walking right beside you, you took the chance to catch another secret glimpse at him; at the way the weak beams of sunlight falling through the crown of the trees painted streaks into his mess of dark brown curls, like milk chocolate. He had really pretty curls. Unkempt, but the whole roughed-up look suited him exceedingly well. For a split second, you wondered if those curls would feel as soft beneath your fingertips as you imagined.
Eddie was still wearing his usual getup of leather jacket and denim vest over his Hellfire Club shirt, but you knew he had a few tattoos. You’d just never been close enough to see them. What kind of tattoo would fit him? A guitar? The obligatory skull and crossbones? No, Eddie’s tattoos would probably more artsy than classic. Despite you both being seniors, you didn’t have any classes with him, but the notes he sometimes carried around with him in the hallways were always filled with little doodles.
Not that you’d explicitly been looking out for him or stuff. He just…attracted attention. That was all.
For a few heartbeats, you allowed yourself to steal another glimpse at him, like you’d done Friday when he’d been busy wrapping up your bleeding hand. You’d replayed the memory an ungodly number of times over the weekend.
Eddie Munson was just so…different. Something about him seemed to draw your gaze, a strange gravity you couldn’t quite pinpoint.
You bit your lip as you took in the straight line of his nose, the soft little furrow of his brow as he glanced down at the trail ahead, the soft curve of his lips – and quickly averted your gaze before he could catch you staring again.
And with a weird sensation of warmth blooming in your chest, you realized that this, a walk through the woods, had been exactly what you’d needed – because even though the headache persisted, there was a sense of peacefulness settling in your mind, one you hadn’t felt since Starcourt.
“Where are we even going, by the way?”, you asked, slightly breathless from the way the path led up a small hill, the calm surface of Lover’s Lake still glittering in the sunlight between the trees.
“Don’t know,” Eddie mused.
“Are you saying we just got lost in the woods? Because my orientation is nonexistent. If you were planning to rely on me to find the way back, we’ll probably end up getting eaten by wolves.”
“Not all those who wander are lost, little Hobbit.”
When you didn’t reply, Eddie stopped, turning around to squint at you. “Lord Of The Rings?”
“Don’t tell me you haven’t even heard of Lord Of The Rings. The book? With, you know. The rings? Never? Not once?!”
“I’m sorry,” you exclaimed with a little laugh at the shock on his face.
“It’s okay, we’re all flawed,” he teased, drawing out the last word, “Some more than others, obviously.”
You’d already noticed that Eddie had that little habit, of drawing out random words or sentences when he spoke, giving them an almost musical lilt the way his voice painted them. You really liked it, you realized. It made you wonder how it sounded when he was singing. You’d have bet good money that Eddie Munson was an amazing singer. Maybe one day, you’d actually go and see him at The Hideout, if he invited you.
And all of a sudden, that desire to protect Eddie was back, fierce and overpowering, stopping your train of thought when the vile whispers in the hallways flitted back into your mind like a nasty swarm of mosquitos, too many of them now to simply swat them away.
It was obvious that someone as different as Eddie had had to deal with his very own share of bullying. And now you’d dragged him right under again alongside you.
“I’m sorry,” you said quietly.
“I mean, not having read Lord Of The Rings is a flaw you can definitely –“ Eddie drifted off as he threw you a glance over your shoulder, understanding taking over the bemused glint in his dark eyes. The tease was gone from his voice when he said softly, “Don’t be.”
“You just wanted to help, and now you have the whole of Hawkins High out on a fox-hunt for you. You didn’t ask for this.”
“You didn’t ask for this, either. You didn’t ask for Jason to…look, I’m not saying it’s fine. It’s not fine for either of us. But if Jason decides to tell fairy tales and the whole fucking school believes him like a herd of sheep running after the goddamn wolf, that’s on him, not you.”
“I just…” You rubbed your temples, the familiar throb of a new headache already vibrating through your skull. “It makes me so fucking angry. How guys like Jason are always the ones in control. How they will always get away with twisting the truth.”
“That’s sadly how things work,” Eddie said, coming to a halt. It sounded forlorn.
The next words left your lips on impulse, but you needed to get them off your chest. “You’re not a freak, Eddie.” And I’m sorry I blindly went with the nickname people like Jason gave you.
Eddie’s head snapped up, and there was a hint of caution in his eyes as they met yours. Caution and something else, something that made you feel like sunlight flooding your chest.
“And I think it’s pretty cool, the D&D stuff people are currently panicking about. Creating a whole world just with your mind, that’s not freaky at all. That’s pretty…bitchin’.”
“Well, when the gossips have moved on to the next scandal…you’re welcome to join Hellfire, you know?”, Eddie replied. There was timidness in his eyes as he carefully watched you, as if he were still waiting for you to start laughing, to poke fun of him. It broke your heart a little.
“I’d love to,” you smiled – but the smile faltered as you realized Eddie was right. There was no way anyone could know you actually talked to each other. The bullying was bad as it was. And there was the unspoken, mutual understanding between you and Eddie that this tender, budding friendship between the two of you needed to stay a secret for now to avoid things getting worse.
The thought of not knowing when you could talk to Eddie again brought a strange, overwhelming rush of sadness with it.
“A few more months and we’re out of there,” you said.
Eddie smirked. “You will be. Me…probably. Possibly. I’m stuck on my midterm project in Mrs. O’Donnell’s and the fucking essay in English Lit, but yeah, hanging in there, I guess.”
“I could help you!”, you blurted, the words leaving your lips faster than your mind could catch up with them, before you could contemplate whether it would be offensive to offer, or weird, or –
“You mean that?” Eddie gave you a suspicious look. “Because I really suck at English Lit. And don’t let me get started on O’Donnell’s biology class.”
“I mean, we’re not in the same courses but I need to do my midterm projects as well. So instead of doing this stuff alone, we could. You know.”
“Team up,” Eddie finished, his smile a little shy all of a sudden, before it widened and he added with a cynical grin, “Well, if I meet up to do that stuff, I’d finally start with it, I guess.”
You chuckled. “Great. I’m free on Saturday.”
Eddie smiled. “We could meet up at my place, if you like. It’s relatively quiet and…nobody from school will see us together to spread more lies. I mean, the Mayfield girl might see us, but since she’s your friend –“
“That’s fine. That’s…that’s perfect.”
For a heartbeat, the two of you just smiled at each other, both of you not quite knowing what to say, before you blurted, “Well, looks we’re in the same boat now anyway. The slut…”
“…and the freak,” Eddie finished your sentence with a cynical little half-smile of his own. “Or is it the slut and the perv now? Am I even still the freak or did they upgrade me?”
You laughed. “I guess we’re a team now.”
And in this fleeting moment, away from the vile whispers of Hawkins High, your own struggles chased into the background by Eddie’s soothing presence…being here with him was all that mattered.
It would be okay.
Everything would be okay again.
[Friday, March 22nd, 1986. NOW.]
“Reefer Rick’s,” you repeated curtly, “Buckle up.”
Robin let out a little shriek as the car accelerated with screeching tires and the three of you were pressed into your seats.
“You know, we could just drive at a normal pace and get there alive,” Robin remarked. “Why are you always speeding?”
“This is an emergency.”
“She’s right, you’re always driving like a maniac,” Max chimed up from the backseat.
Robin added, “I’m getting car sick very easily as you know. If I puke into your glove compartment, that’s on you. You’ve been warned. And I’m just saying, it’ll take longer if we have to stop because we’ve run someone over on the way. I think it’s still a miracle you haven’t already run someone over at this point.”
There was a crackling sound in the back of the car that nearly made you jump out of your skin, and the car swayed a little as a voice chimed up, “Code Red, Max! Here’s Dustin. Do you copy? We got a Code Red!”
“Holy shit,” Robin muttered. “I think my soul just left my body for a second.”
“Sorry,” Max replied, and you heard her rummage through her backpack to pull out one of the RT units the party always carried around.
“What is it, Dustin?”, the redhead sighed, “We’re a bit busy.”
“Well, stop being busy and come over to Family Video. Now.”
“STOP touching that, will you?!”, Steve’s annoyed voice rose in the background, and Dustin shot back, “I’m trying to focus here!”
“Yeah, well, so am I!”, Steve muttered.
Even through the RT unit, you could practically feel Dustin roll his eyes. “On what? Looking for a girlfriend?”
“We’re busy,” Max interrupted the bickering, her tone growing more annoyed by the second, “We got a Code Red as well.”
“Well, our code red is more important! Eddie –“
“We’re already looking for Eddie.”
There was a beat of silence on the other side, before Dustin blurted, “So are we! I’m cutting classes today and we’re turning Family Video into a base for the search because there are so many telephones so if you come over right now and help us phoning around for Eddie’s friends –“
“I know where he is!”, you called out loud enough for Dustin to hear you through the RT.
“Y/N? How –“
Your grip around the wheel tightening impatiently, you instructed, “Dustin, you need to grab Steve and meet us at 2121 Holland Road, okay? And hurry.”
“Holland – isn’t that by Lover’s Lake? How do you –“
“I can’t just leave work!”, Steve’s voice echoed somewhere in the background, disgruntled.
“He means he can’t just leave the babes,” Robin drawled.
“Robin? Wait, who else is in that car?”, Dustin’s confused voice rang through the speakers, the radio signal distorted.
“Just the three of us,” Max said, “We saw the police and –“
“I don’t even know that guy!”, Steve protested. “Maybe they call him Eddie The Freak for a reason is all I’m saying.”
“Steve, get your ass in gear. We need you!”, you hollered. “If you leave right now, you’ll even arrive before we do!”
“To do what?”, Steve quipped, “Play Monopoly? Watch a movie?!” Steve’s voice was clearer now that he must’ve moved closer to the RT unit, “Look, I’m not saying he did kill the cheerleader –“
“It’s on the news already?!”
“Did you see any cameras?”, Robin asked. “Because I didn’t see any cameras.”
“How else would we know?”, Steve retorted with so much annoyance that it seemed to seep out of the RT unit’s speaker. “The police gave a statement. Which you could be watching with us right now.”
“What, exactly, did they say?”, you pressed, despair and panic warring in your chest as you pressed the gas pedal, soaring along the country road that cut through the patch of woods separating the trailer park at the outskirts of Hawkins from the rest of the town.
“They said that a Hawkins High student has been murdered and Eddie Munson’s the prime suspect but he’s on the run.”
“Fuck,” you breathed, numbing panic spreading through your body as if you’d jumped head-first into a freezing lake. This couldn’t be happening.
“Then it’s only a matter of time until people start hunting for him,” Max stated.
“We’re coming to the address,” Dustin said, followed by Steve’s annoyed, “Are we? We?”
With a click, the RT unit was turned off.
You took a turn to the left, slowing down a little as Robin blurted, “So, um, who exactly is this ‘Reefer Rick’ hiding Eddie?”
“He’s a drug dealer.”
“A drug dealer?!” Robin’s voice rose a few pitches, “The guy who probably murdered a cheerleader in cold blood is friends with a drug dealer as well?”
“Eddie didn’t murder Chrissy,” you replied through gritted teeth.
“This isn’t about your little sex scandal, is it? Because if you feel like you owe him –“
“Excuse me, the what?!”, Max chimed up from the backseat, and you threw Robin a dirty look as she blurted, “The sex scandal with her and Eddie? Like, it was fake, it was a lie Jason Carver made up but to his credit, Eddie didn’t cop out but went down with her. People are still calling her a slut. Four months later. Seriously, kiddo, how did you never hear about that?”
“I don’t really talk to people,” Max shrugged, her exhilaration already dampening again as she put the headphones back in place over her ears.
“And by the way,” you added, “He’s not friends with Rick. Rick’s just his supplier.”
“Supplier?! Eddie Munson is a drug dealer?!”
“Wait, doesn’t everybody, like, know he’s a dealer?”, Max interjected.
“Calm down,” you said to Robin, “It’s just weed and the occasional prescription pill.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s very calming.” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm, “You’re dragging us to see a drug dealer and a potential killer. No, yes, I’m calm. Maybe we’ll all have a little tea party and sing a few Bee-Gee songs together then.”
“Guys, Steve and I are there,” Dustin’s voice sounded from the RT unit again with a resounding crackle of static, “We’ll have a look now. Over and out.”
You sighed. “Rick’s not even there, Robin. He’s in jail.”
With a sideways glance at Robin, you could see your friend was at the end of her tether. “Because that’s making it better? You could have told us!”
“Um, guys?”, Max’s voice chimed from the back seat, but you ignored her as you turned to Robin, and exclaimed, “You faced evil Russians and a monster made of molten people, Robin! What do you think a drug dealer’s house is gonna do to you? Eat you?”
“Guys, there’s –“
“Okay but what if there’s…needles!”, Robin exclaimed, ignoring Max, “I’m clumsy, you know how clumsy I am! What if I fall and I end up accidentally touching a needle? I don’t want to die of hepatitis –“
“It’s a small-town drug dealer’s house, for heaven’s sake, not an opium den.”
“How do you know that, huh?” Robin inquired, narrowing her eyes as she inched closer towards you, “Have you ever been at this Reefer Rick’s house?! How do you even know all that shit about Eddie Munson?”
“I know he didn’t do it. Does it matter right now how I know it?”
“STOP!”, Max’s scream rang out from the backseat, just as your gaze snapped away from Robin and back at the way ahead – and the lone figure darting out of the woods to the left, right in front of your car.
For the fragment of a second as you slammed your foot down on the brakes with so much force that you feared you’d be catapulted right through the windshield, a pair of startled dark eyes stared back at you from a pale face framed by a mess of wild curls, before, with the unholy screech of tires and a dull thud of something bumping against the hood, the figure was gone and the car stopped.
“Oh my god,” you whispered into the breathless, horrified beat of silence which followed.
“Congrats,” Robin breathed, “You found Eddie.”
The blood was rushing in your ears as you bolted out of the car.
“Oh my god,” you could hear Robin’s panicked rambling while she rushed to your side, “Ohmygodohmygodohmy –“
You’d expected a horrible sight, blood – but the road in front of your car was empty. No blood. No Eddie.
“Where is he?”, Max breathed as she came to stand beside you, all three of you now staring at the spot on the road in front of your car that was…empty. You didn’t know if you should laugh or cry with rising hysteria.
“You saw him too, right?”, you breathed. If the hallucinations were starting again –
Robin gaped at you. “Saw him?! I felt him. I literally felt it rattling my teeth when you ran him over with your car.”
The moment had been the fragment of a second, a blur – but you’d have recognized these wide dark eyes everywhere, the mess of curls, the denim vest over the worn-out leather jacket.
“I – I don’t get it,” you breathed. “We ran him over –“
“You ran him over,” Robin pointed out helpfully. “I told you it would happen. Like, five minutes ago. But it’s lucky he seemed to have survived your driving skills, that’ll be helpful when we join him in jail.”
The crackle of the RT unit in Max’s hand ripped through the silence as the three of you kept staring at the empty road in front of your car’s hood, and Dustin’s voice rang out, “Are you there? We’re on the property but the house looks empty and –“
“We found him,” Robin interjected as your gaze flitted to the other car parked at the side of the road in front of Reefer Rick’s house. You hadn’t noticed it before. It was Steve’s burgundy BMW.
“Yeah,” Max said, raising the RT to her face, still staring at the asphalt with cornflower-blue eyes wide as saucers, “We hit him with our car.”
“It was an accident,” you breathed.
“He’s gone now,” Robin said darkly.
“YOU KILLED HIM?!”
“NO!”, all three of you blurted in unison, and you added on a shaky voice, “He’s just not there anymore.”
“You lost him?! How can you lose someone you’ve run over?!” Your head snapped up as Steve’s voice echoed through the air when he and Dustin sprinted out of the cluster of trees surrounding Reefer Rick’s backyard. “Why is it that none of you can drive a car?!”
“I didn’t exactly run him over,” you claimed with a tremor in your voice, leaning against the hood of your car as the surge of adrenaline and shock was slowly leaving your system. Your legs had turned into jelly.
“Yeah, it was more like…a bump,” Max agreed.
“A soft little bump,” Robin added, “A very gentle nudge that threw him a little bit off balance.”
Steve and Dustin stared as if the three of you had lost your minds, before Steve finally pointed at you and said, “You’re added to the list of people who will never again be allowed to drive my car.”
“What did you find?”, Max wanted to know, but Dustin shrugged.
“Nothing yet. We didn’t even get to ring the doorbell before we heard shrieking tires from the road. If you actually hit him with your car, he can’t be far.” He threw you reprimanding sideways glance.
“He either ran back into the woods where he came from, or to the house,” Robin assessed, “I mean, neither of us saw him but we were actually frozen with shock.”
“Then we’ll split up,” Steve announced, already turning back to Reefer Rick’s property, “Max, you go to the boathouse with me. The rest of you, try to see if he’s inside the house.”
You wanted to protest, but shock had numbed you, your heart was still racing wildly in your chest and the floor was spinning a little underneath your feet as you pushed away from your car’s hood to follow Robin and Dustin to the front door.
“Am I the only one who’s pretty sure if Eddie’s hiding in there, he won’t just open the door like that?”, Robin considered, “I mean, he’s probably heard the news by now, about the police hunting him and all. Or maybe he’s lying in a corner, bleeding out because, I don’t know, someone ran him over with a car because she was speeding like the hordes of Hell were on her heels.”
“They’re on Eddie’s heels,” you remarked.
A few moments of silence passed as Robin rang the doorbell, and you watched the sad little wreath of now withered leaves adorning Rick’s front door, before Dustin’s sudden shout startled you out of your racing thoughts.
“EDDIE! OPEN UP, IT’S DUS-“
“Will you shut up?!”, Robin hissed as you clamped a hand over Dustin’s mouth to stop him from alerting the whole neighborhood.
“The whole town will be looking for Eddie in a matter of hours,” you snapped, “You can’t just –“
A startled shout rang through the cool spring air to cut you off.
“Steve,” Robin breathed.
“Boathouse!”, you exclaimed, already darting towards the building in the distance, nearly completely obscured by the trees, your heart hammering so painfully against your chest that you felt it might burst out of your ribcage any second now.
You didn’t look over your shoulder if Robin and Dustin were following you, didn’t hesitate a single moment before you ripped open the boathouse’s front door, rusty old hinges protesting as you burst into the dimly lit space – and freezing in your tracks at the sight in front of you.
There was Steve, an oar clasped in his hands and eyes squeezed shut as he was being pressed against the boathouse’s wall, the edge of a broken bottle pushed tightly against his throat.
And the familiar sight of Steve’s attacker stole the air from your lungs as his head snapped up at the sudden sound of your arrival.
The look in those wide dark eyes was frantic, crazed with raw, primal terror, the broken bottle pressing closer against Steve’s throat to elicit a little whimper from your friend.
For a heartbeat, as Eddie’s gaze found yours, time seemed to freeze.
And your mind raced back to that freezing November night four months ago. To the look in those beautiful umber eyes as you’d spat those horrible words at him. The moment something had shattered inside of them, breaking into a million little pieces just like your own heart.
He’d never met your gaze again ever since. Not in the hallways, not the cafeteria, no matter how hard you’d wished for him to lift his gaze and meet your own. To read in your eyes how sorry you were. How it had broken you to say those things, even if it had been the right thing. How much you missed him.
All you’d ever wanted was to keep him safe. Out of harm’s way, since harm was all which seemed to follow you, like flies over a rotting corpse.
And now here he was.
Hiding from the police, hunted for a gruesome crime you knew with all your heart he hadn’t committed.
Harm had found Eddie Munson; despite all the precautions you’d so carefully met.
But this kind of harm, you could handle. This kind of harm, you could set right again, because Eddie was alive.
Another quiet whimper from Steve ripped you out of your trance.
“Steve,” you breathed, hands slowly raised into a gesture of surrender as you stepped closer, one careful deliberate step at a time, “Let go of the oar.”
“No,” he hissed, wincing as the sharp edge of the broken bottle bit into his skin.
“Now,” you commanded calmly, quietly, your eyes never straying from Eddie’s as you crossed the last few steps of distance.
Right now, there was only wild, crazed panic clouding those dark eyes, like fog on a country road in fall; clouding his mind with shock and terror. His breathing was ragged, shallow, mingling with the soft sounds of Lover’s Lake lapping at the posts holding the boathouse above water. Sweat was beading on his face, his mane of curls even wilder than usual, the strands spilling to his shoulders nearly black in the half-light of the boathouse that cast shadows across his features.
Eddie looked like someone who’d made it through Hell and back. There were leaves stuck in his curls, and shadows underneath his eyes telling you that he had actually spent the night in the woods, probably blindly stumbling along through the night haunted by the memories of whatever had happened to turn Chrissy Cunningham into the broken ragdoll on his trailer’s floor.
It hurt to see him like this, and it hurt to see him at all, a pain so physical that it felt as if the shards of your own heart, which you’d never been able to mend again, were tearing at your insides.
And yet, despite everything which had happened that November night, everything you’d done to make Eddie stay away and keep him safe, despite the horrid circumstances of the moment – there was this desperate little flutter in your chest as the stupid, hopeful thing inside of you stirred to life at the sight of Eddie, these familiar dark eyes you’d lost yourself in so many times, the memories which kept rushing back to you like a swarm of colorful birds.
The way he’d been there. The way he’d put you back together, had mended the cracks the Mind Flayer had left on your soul, piece by tiny piece without you even realizing it completely – with every laugh, every shared glance. Every gentle word.
You’d missed him. You’d missed him so damn much, every day. Every fucking day.
“Eddie,” you whispered, you voice a soft susurration filling the cool, stale air of the boathouse, lacing with the scents of the lake, of rotting wood and gasoline – and something sparked in his eyes at the sound of his name on your lips. “Eddie, we’re here to help you,” you breathed, before throwing a glance at Steve, frozen and pinned to the wall by Eddie’s forearm while his other hand was still pressing the makeshift-weapon against your friend’s throat.
There was panic in Steve’s eyes.
“Steve, let go of the oar,” you repeated calmly, “Please.”
With a look that was as dirty as it was frightened, Steve finally obliged, and Eddie flinched at the sound of the oar clattering to the floor. But Eddie’s eyes never left yours, as if he were contemplating whether this, right now, was real. Whatever he’d witnessed, you understood the sentiment.
“Eddie, whatever happened to Chrissy, I know you didn’t do it, okay? I’m on your side,” you half-soothed, half-pleaded, the way you’d approach a frightened animal. “We’re on your side.”
There were tears brimming in Eddie’s eyes now.
“We’re here to help you, Eddie,” you whispered once more. “I’m – I’m here to help you.”
“This is real, right?” Eddie’s voice was hoarse and broken, less than a whisper.
It dawned on you now that, whatever had happened to Chrissy, it was enough to make Eddie distrust his own eyes.
“It is. It’s real.” You raised your hand, reaching out for Eddie’s own, still clasped firmly around the neck of the broken bottle he kept pressing against Steve’s throat; your movements slow and deliberate and ready to pull back again should Eddie shy away. He didn’t.
In the corner of your vision, you could see Steve’s terrified gaze flitting between Eddie and you, chest rising and falling rapidly as he was battling his fight-or-fight reflex.
And when your fingertips brushed Eddie’s hand, the touch as light as a feather –the change in his eyes was instant; like a light switch being flipped.
With a trembling inhale, Eddie’s grip around the bottle loosened before it clattered to the floor, shattering on the rotting wooden floorboards as his fingers laced with yours.
It took every ounce of willpower left in you to fight back the tears already choking you as Eddie whispered, “Monster slayer.”
𝐀𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫'𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐞 | I’m trying to have Chapter 5 ready for tuesday to do a bit of catching up before Vol. 2 airs so stay tuned ♡
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐧𝐣𝐨𝐲𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠/𝐫𝐞𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐦𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭!
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮'𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭, 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 ♡
black butterflies and déjà vu | b. bradshaw
description: in which bradley bradshaw finds himself at a loss for words
warnings: 18+, unprotected sex, marriage proposal
pairing: bradley "rooster" bradshaw x nondescript fem!reader (she/her pronouns used)
notes: yet another idea i stole from myself. also, this is 100% inspired by the maine's song, which bears the same name. if you follow me for long enough, you'll learn that the maine is my favorite band and many of their songs inspire what i write. anyway, carry on. enjoy some head-over-heels-in-love rooster trying to propose to the love of his life
He'd always thought he was good with words.
He enjoyed making conversation, and he had a knack for capturing everyone's attention, whether he was telling a humorous anecdote, or simply recalling a story from his childhood. It just came natural to him.
But then she came along, burning bright as a setting sun, crashing into him like a rolling wave, and suddenly, Bradley found himself at a loss for words.
He realized this when he came to the conclusion that he was in love with her. Painfully, irrevocably in love. But how could he ever say it? Mere words were never enough to show her how much she really meant to him.
He'd never had such a deep connection with anyone before. It was entirely new for him, and he felt a bit out of his element. Maybe even intimidated was a good description for it. He was afraid of losing her, afraid of saying the wrong thing when trying to tell her how he felt. He was always hoping, waiting for the right words.
Some might call it pathetic, and maybe they'd be right. But he didn't care. He'd found his soulmate, something he never thought he'd find. He didn't deserve her, really. But there she was, the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, bright eyes gazing at him as if he'd put the very stars in the sky, and he was at a loss for words.
But she taught him that words weren't always needed to express feelings. She made him see things in a different light, made him feel things he'd never felt before, things that were indescribable. She truly had him wrapped around her little finger, and he didn't mind one bit.
As the months passed, and eventually years, he found that she knew him better than anyone else. She knew the most intimate parts of him, the vulnerable parts, the gentle parts, the intense parts, and everything in between. Sometimes it was almost like she knew him better than he knew himself.
And because of this, he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The decision wasn't something he struggled with, or debated. When he came to the conclusion that he wanted to marry her, he had complete peace about it. It was the one thing he was sure of more than anything else in his life.
He didn't tell anyone he was going to ask her. None of his friends. Not even Maverick, who he'd grown especially close to. He kept it all to himself. He wanted this sweet, intimate moment to be shared with her and no one else.
The only problem was, he had no idea when he should do it. He'd already bought the ring, and it was tucked away somewhere safe, far from where she might accidentally stumble upon it.
Then came the time when he wracked his brain, thinking of what he could do to make it special. A dinner date, where he put the ring into a glass of champagne? Too cliché. A walk on the beach, where he waited until sunset to get on one knee before her and finally popped the question? Too...romantic.
While Bradley was a romantic guy, he didn't want to do anything too cheesy or predictable. The scene had to be just right. But he was entirely stumped on what to do. The entire time, he thought she was oblivious to it all, but in reality, she knew him all too well, and it wasn't long before she picked up on his distantness.
She caught him one night when he was deep in thought, a million miles away from the bed they were currently laying upon.
"Hello? Earth to Bradley?"
Her soft voice jarred him from his deep thoughts, and he blinked. eyes flickering to her own. He hadn't realized how zoned out he was. He attempted a smile. "Sorry. Just thinkin'."
"Uh, yeah, I noticed."
He sighed, fingers running circles over her arm as he held her, bodies entwined beneath the covers. "Hey," she said, propping herself against his chest so she could fully see his face. "What's going on with you? You've been really distracted lately."
He paused, suddenly feeling his heart quicken. He was a terrible fibber when she was involved. Surely she'd know if he brushed her off and made up some excuse to appease her. "Nothing," he answered, a little too quickly.
She quirked an eyebrow, running her hand over his warm, bare chest. "You sure?" She could feel the quick thud of his heart beneath her chest.
He fell silent, meeting her curious gaze. She looked so beautiful right then, her bottom lip pulled between her teeth, and her chin perched on her forearm. Then, his heart seemed to pick up speed again as the realization dawned on him. Somehow, some way, he knew this was the right moment.
If only he could get the words out, but couldn't find the sound under his tongue. What followed was a string of half-sentences as he searched for the right words. Finally, a frustrated Bradley very gently pushed her off of him as he decided he should probably grab the ring first.
But she pulled him back, gentle fingers smoothing through his sandy hair.
"Babe," she hummed, "it's okay. You can tell me anything. You know that."
"Yeah," he replied, letting out a breath as he glanced down at his hands. "I just don't know...how to say it."
You took his jittery hands in your own, stilling him. "Humor me."
Where could he start? Should he profess his love for her, go on a spiel about how much she meant to him and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her? Or should he just present her with the ring and let everything else fall into place?
"Baby, I..." Hoping for the right words, waiting for the right words.
She took his face into her hands, leaning close to kiss him on the lips, hoping to calm him. She'd never seen him this way before, and it was odd and unfamiliar. "Roos, it's okay."
He brought his hands up to rest against hers, and he closed his honeyed eyes for a moment before gathering his thoughts. "There are only twenty six letters in the alphabet."
"What?" She giggled, only for him to shake his head, sighing softly
"Twenty six letters. Not enough to tell you all I need to say."
"Twenty six letters, and an endless amount of words to choose from."
"Yeah, but suddenly I can't think of any. I lose my voice when I look at you."
Mulling over what he'd just said, she gave a short not. "Okay then," she conceded, "how about you show me?"
She carefully slipped her arms around his strong shoulders, settling comfortably against him. "Yeah. Show me. I don't care how you do it. If you can't find the right words, then show me them. Make me feel what you're feeling. Make me see it."
In order to do that, he'd have to pull her into the throes of intense passion and overwhelming love, which was what he was feeling right then. At first, he hesitated. In his head, things had gone differently. He'd asked her to marry him, she'd said yes, yes, a thousand times yes!, and then they made love. But here they were, and nothing was going according to plan.
Maybe that was how it was supposed to be. He had to show her how much he loved her first, and then he could seal the deal with a ring. So that's exactly what he decided to do.
Bradley let his eyes flutter shut for a moment, breathing in slowly and deeply, arms encircling her waist as he did so. She was patient, waiting for him to make a move, wondering what he would do. And then, those kind, warm eyes were opening to meet her own, and his soft breath was fanning across her lips, and she knew.
He didn't have to say anything. He simply pulled her into his lap, hands clutching her hips as he moved to kiss her. She let herself relax, muscles loosening and shoulders falling. Bradley had that affect on her. He knew how to calm her like no other.
His lips were slow and soft, conveying everything he felt in that moment. Kissing him was comforting in ways she could never begin to explain, but could only experience by the feel of them against her own.
The kiss was gradually broken, and Bradley pulled back to look at her, hand coming up to rest gently against the side of her face as her rushed breaths intermingled. The look he held in his eyes was so tender, and her heart ached at the sight. Oh, how she loved him.
Her hands wandered beneath his shirt, fingers brushing over every plane of his torso. Her touch made him feel whole, and he found himself leaning into her, needing more. So much more.
He pulled her back, joining their lips again. She let her hands roam, sliding over his skin. She could feel his pulse, and it was racing. But hers was too, so it was okay.
Bradley copied her actions, his own hands slipping beneath her thin sleep shirt. His were much larger than hers, and they covered more ground. When he cupped her breasts, she arched into his touch, wanting to feel more, to feel everything.
Their kiss ended with him catching her bottom lip between his teeth, tugging gently before pulling away.
It was then she knew that she needed him. All of him. "Bradley, I-"
She didn't have to finish the sentence, for he already had her on her back, placed right against the mattress. Her eyes flickered down to the hem of his shirt, fingers fiddling with it before she tugged at it. Bradley was quick to remove it, carelessly tossing it aside. She then spread her hands across his sun-kissed skin, admiring his beauty.
Bradley lowered himself, pushing her top halfway up her body in order for him to access her abdomen. He pressed a sweet kiss just below her belly button, ever so slowly making his way up with an endless amount of tender kisses.
Halfway through, she stopped him in order to remove her shirt, wanting to be skin to skin. Once it was gone, he was against her again, leaving kiss after kiss.
Then his hot, wet mouth was against her breasts, kissing and sucking and biting. She could feel the rush of arousal between her thighs, body responding to his administrations. His hands replaced his mouth, squeezing the soft flesh while he moved up, nuzzling her neck with kisses, teeth grazing the heated skin.
She reached down then, hand coming down to palm him lightly through his sweatpants. He faltered for a moment, deciding that he wanted to move things along. So, he hurriedly tugged her own pants down her legs, underwear and all, before he rid himself of his own.
He snaked a hand down between her legs, which she willingly parted for him. Those nimble fingers of his trailed through her slick, right before he dipped his middle finger into her. He had to get her soaked for him, of course.
It most certainly didn't take long, her wetness soon enough heard above even the sounds of her breath. "I-I'm wet enough," she breathed, "need you inside me."
He stroked his fingers through her hair for a moment, gazing down at her as if she were the most beautiful creature on earth. Then he joined their lips, kissing her deeply to muffle her moan as he finally pushed inside, filling her whole.
She moaned into his mouth when their hips met, hands tightening around his shoulders. Bradley let out the softest of groans before he began rolling his hips into her, slowly at first, savoring the buildup.
This was it, just what he needed to to communicate what he was trying to get across. As they say, actions speak louder than words. And if this action could speak, it would be a deafening scream
That night, Bradley held her in his arms, and he made love to her. He treated it like this was their first time, like they were only just discovering each other's bodies, despite the fact that they had long since been acquainted.
Beneath him, she was quaking, clutching onto him for dear life as he thrust into her, brushing up against all those wonderful spots within her. He could feel her muscles shift and tighten around him, and he swore it was the best thing he'd ever felt.
He buried his face against the side of her neck, letting out the quietest of moans, hardly able to contain them. She slid your hands down his back, one hand coming up to tangle in his hair.
His entire body engulfed hers, creating a feeling of safety. Right here, wrapped in his arms, nothing could ever harm her. The cold, sharp fingers of the world couldn't touch her. She was entirely shielded in his love and protection.
She could feel tears spring forth, and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to steady her breathing, though that was nearly impossible.
"What's wrong, baby?" His husky voice filled her head, and her eyes fluttered open to find him looking at her. She hadn't realized her tears had begun to spill down her cheeks. "Do you want me to stop?"
She shook her head, pulling Bradley closer, kissing him delicately. "N-no, no. I'm just...just...d-don't stop."
He let his forehead rest against hers, hot breath rushing across her face as he continued. His fingers brushed away any tears, and his lips hushed any whimpers. He was being so gentle, so sweet. But she wanted more, she craved more.
"Faster," she managed. "Please..."
Sucking in a breath, Bradley picked up his pace, pushing her legs towards her chest to give him a new range of motion. He watched her beneath him, her face contorted in beautiful agony.
There wasn't a sight in the world that was as breathtaking as her, he decided.
He wanted to capture this moment, save it in a photograph to be able to look at forever. The way she looked at him was something he'd never been able to comprehend. How could a soul as wonderful as hers care for him so deeply?
Yet he knew that she loved him something powerful, just as much as he loved her.
"Oh, god," he moaned, driving his hips deeper, faster. He could already feel that familiar, pleasurable ache deep within him, but he was trying desperately to stave it off. But with the way she was tightening around him, he wasn't sure he could last much longer.
She wrapped her arms around him, holding him to her, wanting to feel every single inch of him. His moans filled her ears, surely the loveliest song she'd ever heard. Words weren't necessary. Physical contact, the joining of your bodies in fiery harmony, was all they needed to express what they felt.
Bradley poured everything he had to offer into you, fucking into her until she was trembling, gasping, incapable of coherent sentences. Her skin was sticky with sweat, her head was spinning, and tears were endlessly spilling down her cheeks. The angle he was hitting spread such an intensity through her, she could hardly handle it.
"Oh, oh, Bradley," she squeaked.
He gritted his teeth, one hand clutching her thigh, the other clawing at the sheets. He was desperate to hold out, to quell that overwhelming need to release. But then he was gazing down at her, writhing on his cock, and he wasn't sure that he could control it any longer.
"Good girl," he gasped, hips moving just a little faster, "such a good girl, you take me so well."
She was burning up, skin hot to the touch, every thrust of Bradley's hips only intensifying it. He tried to bring his hand down, intending to stimulate her button of nerves with his fingers to get her off faster, but he was shaking too badly.
His breath grew rushed, desperate. His abdomen tightened, and currents of delicious pleasure began to spark through him. He placed his mouth against hers, an involuntary whimper slipping out into the air between you.
"B-baby, baby, I can't...I'm not gonna last. Oh, fuck. I don't think I can-"
"It's okay," she breathed against his mouth, "come for me."
And with one more deep thrust, he let go, surely coating her spasming walls in his pearlescent release. She shuddered, having always loved the feeling of him filling her in such a way. It was oddly comforting.
After a moment, Bradley fell still against her, desperately trying to catch his breath. Then he slowly withdrew from her, though he wasn't finished with her just yet. He kissed her lips deeply, bringing his hand back down to pleasure her. Two fingers slipped into her soaked cunt, sticky with their shared arousal. With his forehead resting against hers, eyes never leaving her own, her finger fucked her until she was violently shaking, clutching onto him as if her life depended on it.
He didn't stop until she was crying out, gripping his arm hard enough to leave bruises as she came for him, releasing all over his hand as he praised her for being so good for him.
And then she collapsed in a heap, still trying to catch her breath. Bradley kissed her feverish skin, soothing her as she came down from the intensity of it all.
As she relaxed into his body, they basked in the afterglow, both of them so incredibly satisfied, and so in love. Her brunette lover was caught up in the moment, and as his arms tucked around her waist, he whispered two words in her ear that caught her off guard.
It came out of nowhere. He hadn't even intended to say it in such a moment, and he hadn't even grabbed the ring, but the words were out there now, hanging in the air, unexpected, but welcome. And then her face broke into the most beautiful smile he'd ever seen in his life, musical laughter leaving your lips as she realized what he'd been trying to tell you all along.
"Yes," she whispered, eyes sparkling with immeasurable joy, and unshed tears. "Yes, I will."
His face mirrored her own as a brilliant smile spread across it. She'd said yes. She was going to be his wife, his forever best friend, and in that very moment, his loss for words was no longer an issue. He'd finally found those letters lost under his tongue.
Pairing: Neighbor!Steve Harrington x Plus Size!Reader
Summary: The Harrington pool used to be your favorite place growing up. It's been years since you've been there, but when you catch Steve sitting outside all alone late at night, something tells you that he needs you there by his side.
Warnings: Body imagine, reader is self-conscious about weight. Suuper angsty. Brief mentions of blood and injury. Steve talks about not having a great relationship with his dad.
Note: Here's the next part of the Neighbor!Steve Harrington x Plus Size!Reader AU (still trying to come up with an easier name for this that's way less complicated to type lol). This story takes place at the end of season 1, the night after Steve goes to the Byers house and helps Nancy and Jonathan fight the demogorgan. I hope you enjoy! Feedback is always appreciated :)
The Harringtons moved into the house next to yours when you were six.
You watched from the giant window from your living room that one summer day as the giant moving truck pulled in. It was followed by a red convertible, where a boy around your age with unruly brown hair jumped out and zipped into the house, his eyes wide and smile even wider.
The next day, your mother had you put on a sky blue summer dress and walked over with you to introduce yourself, a plate of weird fruit jello in hand.
A man answered the door, dressed in a full suit, hair slicked back with way too much gel, and he smelled so much of something that it made your nose tingle in a not good way.
“Steve! Get down here and say hello!” he yelled out over his shoulder, so loudly that you flinched, hand clinging to the skirt of your mother’s dress.
The boy with wide eyes - you could now see they were a deep brown, almost black - barreled down the stairs in jeans and a red t-shirt. You were jealous of the fact that his clothes seemed much more comfortable.
“Steve, this is Mrs. Y/l/n and her daughter, Y/n. They’re our new neighbors.”
Steve beamed, shooting out a hand to you.
“Hi Y/n! I’m Steve!”
You giggled, immediately more comfortable around the boy than you were his dad, taking his hand and waving it up and down dramatically. “I know you’re Steve. Your dad just said that!”
His face scrunched, but then started giggling with you. “Do you want to play ball with me?”
Before you could accept, your mom rested a hand on your shoulder. “That’s very kind, Steve, but Y/n isn’t dressed to play right now. Maybe another time?”
Steve’s smile fell and he looked from your mom back to you. “Okay.”
Once the pleasantries were done, your mom guided you down the walkway back to your home, and you peered over your shoulder to find Steve waving goodbye.
A few days later, you were at home with a babysitter. It was a Wednesday, so your dad was at work and your mom was out getting her hair and nails done.
You were in your room coloring, but heard splashing outside. You looked out your window to see Steve climbing out of the pool, running along the edge to the diving board, and leaping into the air as he cannonballed into the water.
With a grin, you ran to your dresser and pulled out your bathing suit.
Though you were only six, you had learned from an even younger age how to sneak past your babysitters. The current one - Stacie - was well distracted by her walkman and magazine to even be bothered to notice you creeping through the kitchen and out the back door.
As soon as you were in the clear, you ran up to the Harrington yard, not even saying hello to Steve before doing your own small cannonball into the pool.
Steve’s wide eyes stared at you in shock, then his lips pulled back into the smile as he realized who had just barged into his day unexpectedly.
“Not bad,” he said, swimming to the stairs. “But wait till you see this.”
The rest of the day was spent doing cool moves off the diving board, Steve’s own babysitter resting on one of the lounge chairs soaking up the sun, not even bothering to say something about this random kid showing up out of nowhere.
Once you had exhausted yourselves, the two of you floated in your own rainbow tubes, popsicles in hand.
“I’ve never had a pool before,” Steve said mindlessly, staring at his feet underneath the water in awe.
“What was your old house like?” you asked.
“Small. My old room was basically the size of our bathroom here.”
You grimaced, trying to imagine your bathroom being your bedroom. Your family had always had money, and this way of life was all you knew.
“You must really like it here then.”
Steve shrugged. “I guess. My dad works a lot more than he used to, and now he acts kind of mean and stuff. Like he’s totally different after getting this new fancy job. Doesn’t seem to want anything to do with me.”
You grimaced. “No offense, but your dad is dumb, then. You’re really fun to hang out with.”
He smiled, pushing your tube. “Thanks, Y/n.”
You gave him a big, toothy grin, showing off the gap where one of them was missing.
The two of you were inseparable after that.
It was late. So late that you ignored the clock on your night stand because you knew that it was a time that you should not be awake.
But you just needed to get through these last few chapters of Little Women, to reach the satisfying end after crying your eyes out again during Beth’s death.
You wiped away a falling tear, lids heavy as you read the final line, closing the book with a content sigh.
Then, you looked at the clock.
It was 2:30AM.
“Shit,” you mumbled. Tomorrow was Saturday, so at least you could hopefully sleep in, unless your mom decided to force you to attend one of her jazzercise classes. Every little bit helps, honey. Gotta keep moving if you want those pounds to drop!
Perhaps if she found you in a comatose state at 8am, she’d give up on trying to wake you and just go to the class on her own.
You stood up, walking to your bookshelf to return the beloved book where the rest of the ‘A’ authors resided.
As you walked back to your bed, you noticed something in the corner of your eye out the window. You walked closer to examine further, and saw a familiar figure sitting at the pool, legs dangling in the water.
Usually, when you saw Steve outside, he was with friends, drinking beers and listening to loud music, a pretty girl on his arm (the newest one being a girl in your grade, Nancy Wheeler). Seeing him alone at this hour was a bit strange, somewhat off putting.
Had you been 6, it would have been an easy decision to run down and join him.
Now? Things were different. Sure, you shared a locker, and he drove you to school, but you weren’t the best friends you had been.
Now, you would be more inclined to just walk back to bed, let him be on his own as he probably preferred.
Still, something nagged at you in your chest, screaming for you to go down and see him.
With a deep breath, you threw on a sweatshirt and slippers, then crept down the stairs, through the kitchen and out the door.
“Steve?” you called out softly once you were close enough and he jumped, hands clenched into fists as he turned around.
You stepped back, hands in the air and eyes wide. “I’m sorry,” you murmured. “It’s just me. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
His breathing was heavy, eyes somehow wider than yours, fear painted across them as he tried to register who was in front of him. You noticed the bruising and blood on his face, remembering the rumors from this morning about him getting into a fight with Jonathan Byers.
After a few seconds, realization set in, and he let out a breath of relief as his body relaxed.
“Y/n,” he said. “Hey.”
“Hi,” you breathed, fingers knotting together in front of you from discomfort. “Are…are you okay?”
Steve let out a small, breathy laugh at that. “Now that’s a question.”
“Are your parents home?” you asked, taking a few steps toward his house.
He shook his head. “Are they ever?”
With a sad smile, you gave him a single nod and headed inside to the laundry room. You and Steve always managed to get into enough mischief growing up to know exactly where the first-aid kit was, and the ice packs, and the painkillers.
When you returned, you rolled up the bottoms of your sweatpants, and moved to sit by his side, legs dipping into the warm water.
You forced yourself to ignore the growing discomfort of the situation. Your proximity to him, which felt much different than standing next to each other at the lockers or sitting in a car. You were much more wary of how close your legs were to touching in the pool, the way your body bulged out in different directions in this position, the fact that you had no makeup on and your hair was a mess.
You forced yourself to ignore those things, focusing instead on Steve’s body language. The way his hands were shaking, how his eyes were glued to the water in front of you, something in his eyes that brought you fear.
Twisting your body around to grab the glass of water, you handed it to him along with two painkillers.
“Let me guess,” you said, trying to add some humor to your tone, “I should see the other guy?”
Steve didn’t respond, just continued staring into the water.
You wanted to rest a hand on his shoulder, but his obvious jumpiness made you remain in your own bubble.
“Steve?” you said, trying to get his attention back.
“Do you remember when we used to play shark attack in here?” he asked, still not looking at you.
You nodded. “I still get a little jumpy swimming in the deep end of any pool.”
The corner of his lip curved up slightly. “I was the best at getting your ankles when you played the human.”
“That’s because you always had your eyes open when I was the shark!” you exclaimed, unable to fight back a smile.
He let out a small chuckle, turning to meet your eye at the fond memory. The smile dropped quickly, though.
“I think there was…a shark in here…and something really bad happened.” You saw tears well in his eyes.
“What do you mean?” you asked, dread turning your stomach to knots.
Steve just shook his head, looking back at the water.
It was silent for a few seconds before he spoke up again.
“I feel like everything I knew about life went up in flames today. Like, what the fuck even matters, you know? You could run a whole school and still fuck everything up. Nothing I’ve achieved or whatever means anything. I’m just some asshole high school jock.”
“Hey,” you put down the water and painkillers and rested a hand on his shoulder, noticing the way his body was trembling. “Steve, look at me.”
He turned, and for a second you saw your childhood best friend, a boy with wide, nearly black eyes that you always managed to get lost in.
“Listen,” you started, “I don’t know what’s going on, but you have to stop talking about my friend like they don’t matter.”
He rolled his eyes and you shook your head. “Nope, don’t do that. Steve, you are an amazing person. You’re kind, funny, hard-working, brave. And you stick up to assholes when others are too afraid to. You made it so that I don’t end up crying every time I’m at my locker. Ever since we were kids you’ve made sure I felt safe. You’re good, Steve, and I’m sorry for whatever happened to make you doubt that.”
His bottom lip began trembling, more tears welling in his eyes. “I’m really scared, Y/n. The shit I saw…I-”
Your other hand moved to grab his. “You’re here now, and whatever it is is gone. It’s just you and me, Steve. And if whatever it is comes back, then I’ll be there to keep you safe. Okay? If you need me, I’m there. For anything.”
At that, his small smile returned, tears streaming down his face as he rested his head on your shoulder. You wrapped your arm around him and held on tightly as he relaxed into your touch.
You woke up a few hours later as the light started to bleed into the sky, turning it into a vibrant purple.
It was a beautiful view to wake up to, and also a bit alarming, since there was no way you could see so much sky from the confines of your bedroom.
That was when you remembered where you were, turning your head to the figure next to you.
A small gasp escaped your lips when you turned, not realizing how close you actually were.
Those deep brown eyes - only inches away - stared into yours with heavy lids.
Once Steve had settled a bit last night, you finally managed to convince him to take the painkillers and let you clean the cuts on his face. When that was all set, you suggested it might be time for you to go.
Before you could get your legs out of the water, his hand was grabbing yours. “Please don’t go,” he begged. “I- I don’t want to be alone right now.”
You nodded. How could you ever say no to Steve?
It was how you ended up laying in two of the lounge chairs by the pool, pulling them together until they were touching, a blanket covering you to keep you warm from the cool fall air. Not that you really needed it. It could have been below freezing and you still would have felt warm from being in such close proximity to Steve.
The two of you stared up at the stars, sharing some of your favorite stories from growing up, talking about anything and everything to try and would help distract Steve from whatever had happened today.
Eventually, his body became less jittery, and his smile lingered on his face instead of dropping to his fearful gaze, and his demeanor seemed to completely relax as the night went on.
Based on the dark circles under his eyes now, you could tell he still hadn’t managed to get any sleep.
But, he was smiling, and that was what truly mattered.
“Morning,” he said, his breath tickling your skin.
“Morning,” you murmured.
Steve cleared his throat, and for a moment you could have sworn his eyes flickered down to your lips before looking up again. “Thanks…for last night.”
You nodded. “Anytime. I mean that.”
His hand rested on your forearm, sending an electric current through your spine.
“Listen,” he said, voice low and serious, “if you ever feel like you’re in danger. Like there’s something out there that doesn’t feel real or possible, you call me, okay? Call me and I’ll be there, no matter what.”
Your brows furrowed in concern. “Steve, what the hell-”
“Just promise me, Y/n. Promise you’ll call. I know things are..different between us, and it’s mainly my fault.” He bit his lip. “But I need you to know how important you are to me. And that I don’t want it to be the way it has this past year. I want this,” he looked between the two of you and you felt butterflies in your stomach. “I want us to be…to be best friends again.”
The butterflies died. Friends.
Steve quickly glanced at your lips again.
“I can’t ever have anything happen to you, Y/n. So will you call me if you’re ever in trouble? Even if it’s something you think I wouldn’t believe. If there are actually sharks in the deep end of the pool.”
You breathed out a small laugh, both from the joke and just to have some sort of release for the whirlwind of emotion flowing through you.
Your hand moved to rest on his.
“Yeah, I’ll call you Steve. I promise.”
His lips curved into a relieved smile.
“Good. I’ll be there to answer. Always.”
𝐂𝐑𝐔𝐈𝐒𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐃𝐎𝐖𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐓 𝐒𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐄𝐃 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐖𝐀𝐘
sub!mechanic!sirius black x dom!fem!reader | mini fic | NAV |also neighbor!sirius, muggle and modern au, talk about family issues, unprotected sex, p in v, car sex, mention of getting drunk, handjob, nipple sucking, creampie
closing your eyes in slight annoyance as you heard rock music start playing, knowing instantly that sirius black was outside and about to work on a car or motorcycle or anything with a fucking motor.
this was a normal thing durning spring and summer and the sweet old couple seemed to enjoy it, the nice lady attending to her garden if she was feeling well or sitting on the porch with their cat and hands full of yarn while listening to sirius’ music and watching him work on vehicles, always saying it reminded her of her son that moved away years ago.
her husband would come out and enjoy sirius’ music as well and talk about how he was in a band back in his day and would tell him how he had a good taste in music then they’d talk about parts and the different models of things before the old man would get ready to pick up lunch for him and his wife then come back and they’d eat and go inside to watch tv.
your kitchen window gave you a premium view of sirius, which meant when sirius decided to take off his shirt it was the only thing you saw when looking out the window, and you knew he knew that it was basically your only view and sometimes you thought he just took it off to tease you, you knew it wasn’t just a coincidence when youd look out the window and were met with his chest and vline, he’d have this smirk on his face that made you just shake your head and go back to what you were doing.
scrubbing the last of your dishes then putting them out to dry, glancing out the window and watching sirius work on a car that you assume was one of his buddies since it didnt look like something sirius would drive.
drying your hands before grabbing your bag and the present you had wrapped for your niece’s birthday party that started in about an hour.
grabbing your keys and walking out of your house then locking your door.
your car had been acting up and you honestly hadn’t had the time to worry too much about it, hoping to make some time in your schedule to ask sirius to take a look or take it to the shop but it kept slipping from your mind when you did have the time.
“where you going?”
you could barely hear it over his music, turning towards sirius while he wiped grease off his hands with an old rag and leaned against the car he was working on. squinting your eyes a bit from the harsh sunlight, noticing how hot it actually was without the cool ac being blasted.
“a little girls birthday party” you yelled over the music and lifted the present a bit to show it off.
“princess themed?” he asked as he looked over the wrapping paper.
“yeah, but she fucking hates princesses, more into my little pony” you sighed, sitting the present on top of your car so your arm could stop straining.
“why not get her something my little pony?” sirius asked tilting his head a bit and furrowing his brows.
“then be screamed at that i ‘ruined her birthday party’ by her mom? i dont think so, plus-“ you held up your finger then dug through your bag.
pulling out a gift bag and then showing him the my little pony’s that were inside. “-the wrapped gift is just a little set thing with accessories” you laughed and put it back into your bag. sirius laughed too.
you knew sirius would understand since you both bonded on family troubles and issues, the first time he spoke to you, you were on a call with your mother and held up your finger to tell him to wait one minute then the screaming started, taking your phone away from your ear and you could hear her loud and clear and so could sirius.
she was going on and on about how much of a “disappointment” you were, how not going to college ruined your life and how you needed to get your shit together and find someone to settle down with and that your sister finished college and gave her a grand baby while you did jack shit but work at a stupid library and get drunk and barely call anymore.
hanging up on her mid sentence and throwing your phone onto the chair next to you. you remembered sirius laughing and telling you how his mother was the same and he had almost the same phone call when he was packing up his things to move out here.
“but probably gonna get bitched at anyways but i mean the kid tells me im her favorite aunt so” you laughed with a shrug, sighing and looking at the time on your phone. “i gotta go, see you later maybe or maybe not with my head attached” you quipped and walked the rest of the little way to your car and put the present in the backseat before getting in the drivers seat.
your car started up just fine which surprised you since yesterday you had to try like three times before it finally started up. putting it into reverse and checking your mirrors and backing out of the little driveway you had, waving at sirius before going down the road.
not even ten minutes down the road your phone was ringing, your sisters number going across your phone instantly making you roll your eyes and groan before hitting answer.
her house was 45 minutes away and she was already asking where you were at and how close you were, even though before you finished up your dishes, you told her that you had somethings to do before you left and it would be 30 minutes before you even left your house.
hanging up on her mid sentence, hoping she’ll buy that you pasted a dead zone and your phone dropped the call. letting your phone fall into the passenger seat before you started messing with the radio, searching for something that wasn’t static.
the roads were weirdly empty but you didnt mind, not having someone driving super slow in front of you or someone being on your ass was great and you were enjoying it that was until your car started making a weird noise and starting to slow down and sputter.
“oh no-no-no-no” you muttered, slowing down and trying to pull to the side of the road before your car gave out all the way. luckily you made it off the road and into a little turnaround spot safely before your car officially gave out.
resting your forehead on your steering wheel, sighing as you were already going to be bitched at by your sister for getting her kid something she actually wants and now being late. you knew you should’ve just said you were sick and not go to the party but you couldn’t say no to your niece asking if you were coming to her party.
grabbing your phone and searching for sirius’ number, almost panicking when you skipped over it a few times but finally seeing it. holding the phone to your ear and listening to it ring hoping he would pick up.
you were startled when sirius picked up, cutting him off almost immediately “hey! sirius i um, i didn’t know who else to call…my car is like fucked up and i’m on the side of the road. i was just wondering if you could come look at it or at least give me a ride back to my house?” you asked with a breathy laugh.
sirius’ laugh made you smile and relax in your seat, him reassuring you that he’d come and fix your car and if worse comes to worse drive you home and leave your car there for the night. you told him where you were and he thankfully knew where that was at.
telling you he would be on his way directly and you thanked him until you hung up your phone. tossing your phone back into the passenger seat, taking your keys out of the ignition.
as you waited for sirius, you started cleaning your car up. napkins, empty water bottles, your name tag, a press on nail that popped off and almost caused you to hit a book donation bin that was beside your car at the time.
soon enough you heard a vehicle, turning to see if it was sirius or not and thankfully it was him. sirius pulled in front of your car. watching him get out, his hair half up and half down and shirtless with jeans on.
shirtless. now becoming well aware of how your jean shorts were putting sweet pressure on your clit, only getting worse when you moved your hips while he was walking up to your car. pressing your lips together as the seam rubbed against you, knowing you needed to stop this now, you opened your door and go out of your car, your cunt aching from the loss.
“so, whats going on?” sirius asked, you sighed and tried to think of everything your car has been doing.
telling him everything and absolutely everything that your car has done for the past 4 months, not leaving anything out even though you were a little embarrassed to have him come and help but what else are friends for.
sirius listened carefully and nodded along as you rambled about all the sounds and sputtering it was doing.
“pop your hood and ill take a look” sirius instructed, wetting his lips as he walked to the front of your car as you got in and unlocked the hood for him.
you watched sirius take a quick glance, then getting a closer look before going to his truck to get his things.
the harsh seam was back at your clit, pressing in just the right spot as you watched sirius work on your car. you couldn’t help but wonder when sirius got so hot, its been three years since he moved in and you were just seeing it now? he’s always been attractive but now felt different.
you watched sirius smirk which caused you to look away from him, fuck, you were staring and his smirk gave away that he had caught you.
an hour passed and you two made small talk about your car and how long you’ve had it, relaxing in your seat as he worked his magic with your car and made some flirty jokes creating a thick tension.
“here let me try to start it” sirius said, wiping his hands off on a rag he had as he walked to the drivers side. you moved everything that was in the passenger seat to the floor except for your phone then moved over your console and into the seat. sirius got in with a laugh after watching you.
you handed him the keys and he took them from you, making sure to brush your hands together as he took them. putting them into the ignition and starting your car up perfectly.
tossing your head back with a smile mumbling a thank you as you felt the cars ac hit you. turning your head and making eye contact with sirius who was watching you. not needing to communicate as his eyes went from yours to your lips then your cleavage then back to your eyes.
before you knew it his mouth was on yours, rough and needy, your hand going to his hair and his went to your waist. “backseat?” sirius mumbled into the kiss, you pulled away and nodded with a breathless “yeah”
basically racing to the backseat, you both detangled from each other and you opened your door got out while sirius managed to squeeze through the middle, getting to the backseat before you.
sirius was already undoing his jeans, you looked around to make sure no one was coming before you started to take off your shorts outside the car to save you two the awkward and hard clothing removal if you both were in the car.
getting in and tossing your shorts into the passenger seat, sirius was already pulling you to get on top of him, your hand reached down to his cock, pumping him as you got situated on his lap. sirius let out a low moan as his fingers dug into your thighs.
your mouth went his neck, licking and sucking on his soft skin, teasing at times with your teeth. leaving some hickeys on him as his hands moved from your thighs to your ass, gripping and massaging the fat in his hands while your hand pleasured him.
“i was— i was so excited when you called, i almost didnt answer because i thought it was an accident” sirius said, moaning in the middle of his sentence as he leaned his head back so you had more of his neck to suck on.
laughing against him, “you got a crush on me sirius?” you teased and focused your movements on his tip making him whimper.
“i guess so” he teased back, grinding a bit into your hand.
taking your mouth off him and sitting back a bit, moving your underwear to the side and leaning up as much as you could while you lined him up with your cunt. knowing it would probably be a bit uncomfortable since you weren’t stretched first but you wanted him in you now, plus you were wet from the earlier stimulation from your jeans so it wouldn’t be too bad.
moving down onto his cock, looking up then closing your eyes as you were taking him. sirius watched intensely, drowning in the pleasure your cunt was giving him but still noticing that you were tense and the slight discomfort on your face.
sirius’ hand came to rub circles on your clit, “relax, no need to rush” he whispered. relaxing and taking him deeper and deeper til you had all of him in you.
starting to grind and clench around him as he continued to play with your clit. his mouth now going to your neck, leaving sloppy kisses on your skin.
moans and whines slipping past your lips as your arms wrapped around sirius and you fingers threaded through his hair. sirius’ other hand pulled your tank top down and moved your boob out of the cup of your bra so he could suck on your nipple.
“fuck, you feel so good” sirius moaned with your nipple in his mouth. grinding faster and harder as every swirl of his fingers made the coil in your stomach tighten more every passing second.
“i should’ve known you were always taking your shirt off in front of my window to be a tease, i considered it for a while but didnt want to call you out” you teased, glancing down at him as he looked up at you and left your nipple and leaned up to kiss you.
tongues gliding over each other and moaning into each other’s mouths before he pulled away.
“cant blame me for just wanting your attention. should’ve came outside and put me in my place, i dont mind a bit of humiliation” sirius said, his fingers moving faster on your clit.
your phone started ringing, you debated on letting it go to voicemail but knowing if it was someone in your family they’d at least call five more times before even thinking about leaving a voicemail.
you removed your hands from him and slowed your moved so you could reach your phone, sirius furrowed his brows when you grabbed your phone and started going back to the pace you set before.
“she’ll just keep calling, keep quiet okay?” you said, and sirius nodded and went to move his hand from your clit only to be stopped by your hand and moving it back to your clit, getting the message that you didnt want to slow down even if you had to take a phone call. moving his fingers fast on you as you got back into the rhythm.
sirius’ mouth went back to your nipple as you answered the call.
“where the fuck are you?” you sister spat harshly over the phone, “are you even still coming?” she asked as you pulled the phone away from your ear to catch your breath.
bringing it back, “im on my way, my car broke down on the side of the road and i just got it working again” you sighed, and you heard her scoff over the phone, making you roll your eyes.
“try to hurry up, i knew you would be late-“ she started rambling but you couldn’t concentrate as sirius started bucking up into you and leaned up to your ear whining and whimpering.
“m’gonna cum- m’gonna cum” he whimpered in your ear as he tried to get you as close as he was.
muting yourself and tossing your phone beside him, “cum for me” you ordered, clenching around him and feeling as he was literally throbbing inside you.
squeezing his eyes shut as breathy moans left him, focusing on chasing his orgasm and trying to get you to as well.
sirius’ stilled but you kept moving, feeling him give one last thrust up into you before a warm feeling flooded within you, sirius gripped the edge of the seat as he came inside you, his head spinning as you kept moving.
you were close and you were so glad his fingers never left your clit even when he was cumming, his finger tips still doing fast, rough, circles on you drawing you closer and closer.
“im almost there sirius” you told him, knowing it was probably over stimulating for him for you to keep going. feeling his cock twitch and his whimpers flow from his mouth freely as he rested his head on your shoulder.
your cunt clenching around him as the coil snapped, and you basically fell into him as you came. contracting around him as your eyes rolled back and his name rolled off your tongue.
whining as you quickly reached down and moved his fingers away from your clit, breathing heavily as you reached over for your phone and unmuting yourself.
“ill be there when i get there” you said and hung up, tossing your phone back down.
sirius breathed into your neck as he calmed down, you could feel his eye lashes flutter against your neck.
you lifted up, and sirius got the message and pulled out the best he could, once his softening cock was out of you he watched as you moved your underwear back, almost giddy that you were keeping his cum in you. moving himself back into his boxers and jeans, knowing he would probably be messy until he got into his truck.
getting off his lap and sitting next to him, reaching up and into the passenger seat for your shorts. pulling them up and onto you without struggling too much then fixing yourself back into your bra and tank top.
“i have napkins if you wanna use them” sirius offered, you smiled but declined.
“i’ll clean up when i get to my sisters, her house isnt too far from here” you said, taking your phone and putting it in the passenger seat.
“dinner tonight? ill only stay at my sisters for like an hour and a half so like does 8:30 sound good?” you asked, looking over at him. red tinted his cheeks as he nodded.
“okay, i’ll pick up take out on my way home” you said and stretched a bit before you both get out of your car.
walking to the drivers side as sirius opened your door for you, you smiled and asked if he still likes the one restaurant that was by the Walgreen’s near your guys houses and listed his order, only knowing it from how many times the delivery person had dropped it off at your house instead of his.
sirius seem shocked that you knew it from memory by now, not thinking it had happened that many times to remember.
soon you both said your goodbyes and went your own ways, both excited to meet up later.
Game Masters of Exandria: Round Table
Good evening, good evening, good evening! Welcome to a special CR episode with our fabulous DMs of the CR Expanded Universe: Matt Mercer, Brennan Lee Mulligan, and Aabria Iyengar. Matt opens us up! Don’t forget that the Tal’Dorei campaign guide is out now. He’s so excited for more people to play in this world and expand it at their own tables.
Session Zero: very important, even with people you gel with and know well. It’s important to make lines and veils explicit. Aabria likes to have a tone check-in so everyone has a chance to give input. “It’s an amuse-bouche before you start the story.” Brennan sidebars all of us by just being so excited Matt opened up this sandbox for all of us to play with. Matt, cheerfully: “It was all an accident. It just kept growing like The Blob.” Brennan likens this to James Lipton meeting God at the pearly gates and discovering God has no idea what’s going on. Back on topic, Brennan quotes Voltaire: “I apologize for not having time to write you a short letter so I wrote you a long one.” Prepping for a confined campaign is very different than prepping for an open-world game.
Brennan tangents into a discussion of railroading vs. player agency; when you have a short campaign like this where a story has to hit certain beats, the railroading shouldn’t ever come from the DM. Instead, it should come from the players knowing their characters really, really well, which is all established in session zero. If you can establish really strong player backgrounds and motivations before the campaign begins, the plot can be wholly driven by them/their choices and still achieve the beats needed without ever taking away from player agency. “The rails are gonna be who you tell me you are.” The rails for short campaigns should be designed by the player, not the DM.
Aabria praises Brennan’s character creation style; she went into creation with him with half a thought and came out knowing everything about Llaerryn, and also knowing Brennan completely understood her too.
Brennan has a 13-year-old home game that had no session zero; he talks about how that had no creation session because he knew that game had time to expand and grow with the characters & the players would be okay.
Matt likes having everyone create characters together, or at least a session zero shortly after: this is how relationships started with Vex and Vax, Caleb and Nott, etc. Brennan thinks it’s critical to allow unfilmed sessions as well so the players can find their voices. Matt also likes to make sure people will be comfortable with their characters in the long run, not just the short run. He hates the idea that anyone is ever “locked in” to something they don’t want to play.
Sometimes, like for oneshots/charity games, you can’t have the session zero; in this case Matt likes to email the players just some brief back-and-forths to nail down one or two elements. “Who else in the party owes you a favor and why? What’s one regret from your childhood?”
Brennan tells us the GM is like a one-person Greek chorus. “When you are baking, you find out what you forgot to put in in the oven.” Backstory is meant to give you a trajectory; it’s not where you come from, it’s where you’re going. Backstory has to be a connection to the world; if you just show up with gear and no desires, no goals, “that’s just enlightenment, buddy, I don’t know what to tell you!”
Matt likes one-two page backstories; the more complicated it gets, the harder it is to incorporate things, but he’s also had a player whose whole character was a monk wandering in search of power, and he made that work too.
Backstory should be an invitation, NOT an expectation. Players should anticipate that not all backstory elements may come into play, but the GM should also communicate if they realize they may not be able to use the backstory at all. Players don’t want to wait for three years only to never get into their backstory, but also do have a responsibility to make sure it can be integrated into the world. Communication is key in both directions!
Brennan loves backstory in order to incorporate plot hooks he knows they’ll say “yes” to. If he has a party with no clerics, he knows he doesn’t have to work so much on the pantheon. I identify with this laziness.
Matt made his own settings at first because he was too scared to ruin or incorrectly run an established setting. Brennan enjoys making up canon in established settings, which makes Matt hilariously nervous. Matt: “For most of you, this won’t be livestreamed, so you can fuck it up as much as you want!” Brennan: “Dani Carr, in the corner, with a blowgun.” Aabria advocates taking a break and looking something up for something super critical that you can’t improv. Players always go off the rails; give yourself leeway when DMing for that. Matt also suggests telling players familiar with a setting ahead of time that “this is YOUR version of the world; some things might be the same, different, or conflict with canon, and that’s intended.”
Niirdal-Poc was super fun for Aabria to create. Creating something new in an established world, especially for someone not in love with high fantasy, gave her an amazing chance to pick out the themes she valued. This city was her love letter to the potential of power, whether it’s nature, divine, or wizardly. She ugly-cried when she saw the first map including it.
Brennan was incredibly relieved to get the Age of Arcanum over Aabria’s Kymal, because he was able to use the full weight of the established canon to build the world in retrospect. He especially loved the Aeor arc from C2, so this tied in beautifully with that.
“Fantasy is bad with time!” In Middle Earth, the best sword ever made was made 10,000 years ago; so are blacksmiths today emotionally distraught that they can’t get better? He much prefers Matt’s insistence on a calendar and growth and holidays and such to make it more grounded.
Brennan, on Aeor: “Yes, we have this lapsarian, Edenic thing necessary for the fantasy of populating a world with tons of dungeons and magical items because you need an ancient history for them to have come from,” but Calamity allows a grounding of that history’s existence without undermining the deeply tragic fall of the Age of Arcanum. He loved leaning into the differences between the ancient & modern worlds: Avalir had more technological advancements, Byzantine bureaucracies, etc., and he loved exploring the evolutionary paths of how to feed that into the modern world & Aeor's ruins. It let him fuck shit up without ruining the canon.
(Lapsarian: one who believes mankind has fallen from a higher state)
(Edenic: in the manner of Eden)
(Brennan also talks SO FAST y’all, criminy, and so many of his sentences are abandoned half-thoughts)
Aabria loves that he explained the Shattered Teeth. Matt jumps in here talking about how much he absolutely loves worldbuilding and collaborating on these pieces because it’s so much more freeing than coming up all of it in his brain by himself in his room.
He and Brennan spent an hour once discussing the cosmology and pantheon of Exandria while Marisha was at the vet with Omar (their corgi), including how gods relate to mortality. “I don’t get to have that conversation with just anyone!”
Brennan panicked when Sam & Luis went after Purvan in the show. He meant it to just be a cameo, but they expanded it past his plans. “Don’t make me explain this! This is a part I can really fuck up!”
Both Aabria & Brennan were so worried about breaking canon, but Matt loves that their choices instead clarified and enhanced canon, giving him things to build off of in future: “That’s much cooler than I was anticipating!” They expanded his world rather than breaking it.
“If you’re doing this at home, you can do whatever the fuck you want. Stop the Calamity!” Aabria: “If you see a tree and you don’t know what it’s doing, maybe just leave it alone.”
Aabria: “Every wizard is a yuppie. They wear their shoes to bed.”
What are Aabria & Brennan most proud of contributing to the world? Aabria: being light and irreverent about tragedies like the Chroma Conclave (Chroma spa cave), showing that nature heals and the past is not sacred. Matt loves having Taste of Tal’Dorei as Exandria’s own Casa Bonita. Matt loves finding humor in the darkness of humanity. Brennan: Humorlessness does not occur in nature. “Death is not a punchline, but it is a perfect setup.” He and his wife Izzy loved Everything Everywhere All at Once for the same reason (amazing movie!).
Brennan is most proud of how easily the Calamity crew handled the massive lore dumps he threw at them. Aabria had to learn 40 spell engines as part of her background. Brennan laughs about having texted Matt, “My job today is I’ve come up with 30 fake wizards.” Aabria felt really bad about how Llaerynn treated Madara, ha!
Brennan liked establishing that Vespin wasn’t a nihilist, he was hubristic. Vespin didn’t set out to release the Betrayers, he set out to achieve ambitions, which tied into the pattern of hubris evident in the Ring of Brass. Brennan loved painting the entire Age with this brush, showing that it wasn’t a coincidence, it was a trend over the entire age.
Matt loved how vibrantly Aabria brought Byroden to life--it’s better than he would have done himself. It completely changed his perspective on the city. Aabria shouts out Aimee regarding their conversations about Laredo, TX, and talks about how they wanted to find common threads that would reflect Vex & Vax as well as contrasting against Syngorn, which we saw more clearly in C1.
Brennan asks Matt about the misty history of Exandria. “It’s a little bit of the Matryoshka doll of the genesis” since C1 started in medias res. Aabria: “Who were you when you built this?” Matt: “Younger.”
It started as a city, Stilben only, for a home game for his VA friends. It was a oneshot without a country/continent name intended to be played for six hours on a weekend. Session two he built Westruun; when they got to session 3, he began building Tal’Dorei in Photoshop. He still has the old files of the early country.
He developed the name of the continent Exandria as the players expanded into neighboring countries. It was laying down the tracks right in front of the train, just developing things as needed. He notes that a lot of modern high fantasy is beautifully developed in aesthetic, but breaks down as soon as you try to dive into it. Brennan points out long-lived races with 150-year generations could theoretically date descendants without realizing.
The Calamity came out of Matt’s realization that there needed to be a recent historical event to reset the world. The Divergence was his attempt to rationalize the existence of all-powerful, all-knowing gods walking the planes and guiding the threads of fate, but then leaving great world-shaking danger to a handful of PCs. He wanted to come up with a reason the gods were removed from the world so that the players had to solve the problems themselves.
Brennan loves the idea of visiting the oldest part of a homebrewed world. If he were in Exandria, he’d want to go to Stilben. Oh my gosh, me too.
The Kryn dynasty was partly born out of a book Matt read about the idea of past lives.
There has never been a moment where Matt felt Exandria to be whole/finished. The pressure of having wikis listing out every contradiction he’s ever said does mean there’s a running list of things he needs to correct/address in future, which is its own kind of stress.
Brennan HILARIOUSLY calls out Matt for saying Tal’Dorei isn’t finished while the campaign guide is sitting right on the table in front of them. “This is not done? I’m just gonna go home. Not DONE? I got three months between seasons, okay. Welcome to Biggityburg, here we go. New city, new season. You wackity-schmackity doo, 10 episodes. Help me!”
Brennan points out that a ton of worldbuilding comes from improv in the moment passed off as fact. The players love it when they get the sense that you would pass out before running out of things to tell them about the world.
Brennan made his villains hot because Aabria made a hot spider queen. Matt laughingly says that he doesn’t make hot villains, he makes villains and the internet decides they’re hot.
Matt loves playing with new players and very experienced players; there’s a cycle. “When you first begin, you don’t know a lot of the boundaries. When you’re new to it, you make wider swings, bigger choices, you’re a kid learning how to walk for the first time and bumping into the furniture. Then you start coloring inside the lines because you’ve learned the rules, and then as you get more experienced you cycle back again” to breaking the rules with youthful abandon.
Brennan loves that the game MASTER is actually in a position of service. You’re making dinner for everybody. He praises Aabria for reading her players extremely well and giving them what they want.
Aabria asks about encounter map development. Matt prefers theater of the mind for smaller groups unless they prefer minis. However, with more players, the minis/maps help out a lot. He has been collecting minis for many years.
Brennan extols the virtues of Rick Perry, the production designer for Dimension 20, his D&D show. D20 has a lot of culture mashups (Candy Land Game of Thrones, high school for heroes, etc.), but those beautiful set pieces are often only used once. In his home games he uses lots of dry erase boards, Blu-Tack, and Othello pieces, which can be flipped over and written on the bottom of to track HP directly on the piece. He does prefer maps because he likes tactical play. For theater of the mind, he recommends checking in with the players a lot, because certain classes gets short shrift without clear/tangible tactical advantage (rogues, etc.). Maps with created elements also can lead to grist for player creativity--Reyka in the Bloodkeep series on Dropout was inspired by decorative chains that she used to tactically balloon her way out of a tight spot.
Matt also likes grids and hex maps for simple alignment without requiring a ton of prep. He recommends considering the terrain, enemy advantages and disadvantages, and a few interesting elements (like the chains) just to see what the players can do. He cites Orym’s messing with the augur machine which he’d intended to just be part of the scenery and using it to trap the Shape Mother.
Brennan: if you’re doing theater of the mind, don’t just breeze past environment or mood because that can open doors for the players. In the reverse, Matt points out that going hard into maps/minis can artificially limit what the players may think is useful unless they are experienced enough to ask questions about things in the room that might not be represented by the minis/maps.
Aabria’s prep time is roughly equivalent to the run time of the game she’s planning, just so she feels comfortable improvising. Brennan laughs that one time Izzy found him in the kitchen in the dark holding a container of half-and-half because he was so deep in thought about D&D. Matt will often start thinking about an NPC and embodying the physicality/voice in practice, and Marisha will call him out for talking to himself.
Brennan: “If you’re a dungeon master and you need some voices time, just don’t do it in the bathroom because other people in the apartment need sometimes to get in there, and if you’re in there doing voices time, they might remind you that that’s not the best place for that, and they might be brusque even though it’s kinda quiet and meditative in there.”
Matt has dozens of voice memos on his phone with various NPC voices he’s experimenting with.
Matt obsessively closes every tab in his office every time Marisha comes in in order to hoard his secrets.
Brennan: a home game should never have rails. D&D shows, however, have tentpoles; Rick Perry has to have guidelines for sets to create, so that’s different. He has to have character designs eight weeks before the first episode airs.
Brennan on rails, again: A player is looking for full immersion. Players aren’t generally trying to be storytellers themselves; they’re trying to inhabit a character who doesn’t know they’re in a story and is just trying to achieve a goal. However, the PLAYER wants the arc, so the player and character are at artistic odds. Characters are like water: they are running downhill seeking the path of least resistance. The players, however, don’t want the straight line. The DM’s job is to be the irrigator shaping the river running downhill; at the end of the story, the character ran in the straightest line possible to it, but the DM shaped the channel into something aesthetically pleasing in the process. The DM’s job is to recognize that the player’s & character’s goals may be disparate, and shaping the story to please both.
Matt adds that character story beat prep should be modular so that you can implement pieces that are important when it’s the best time for the story. Don’t lock critical information behind die rolls; don’t tie one piece of critical information behind one single NPC that they might never encounter. There should be many ways to achieve goals. Aabria likes the three-act structure because most people are familiar with that for movies, and good players who are also storytellers are great about lining up their shot in order to serve the plot. Having players recognizing the structure of the form is like having flowers turning towards the sun.
Brennan doesn’t remember a PC doing something that made a weight lift off his back in 24 years of DMing more than Llaerryn blighting the tree. It was such a perfect moment of a player serving the greater story. Aabria also using the bow as the last piece of her machine was a perfect way for Brennan to implement endgame steps, and he credits her for knowing how to help resolve the notes of the story. She was generously giving him the tools she knew he needed in service of the story.
Brennan talks about the first time Aabria DMed for him and mentioned, “And here’s what you don’t see,” and describes his own head popping off in the realization that you can do that?? He stole that immediately and has used it in his games ever since.
Matt talks about being very limited in his own style because prior to CR, so much of DMing was learned in a vacuum or in a limited friend group. He loves watching other live plays and seeing what other people are doing in completely different worlds. That excites him more than anything.
Favorite GM snacks? Brennan immediately addresses the camera in a classic Brennan rant. I’m so happy. “Let me be clear. This was put into this fucking questionnaire to come for me. If you’re at home and you’re afraid to tel your gaming group that you’re a snacker, I’ve got your back, okay? Because it’s okay to fucking snack. Some of us sweat from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Some of our bodies are betraying us constantly. Would I have chosen this paper-white, fur-covered, constantly sweating body? No! I wouldn’t have! Does it require constant almonds? Yes! Almonds all the time, okay? And I’m not going to apologize to these two elevated beings, these two hovering pre-Skeksis pre-mystic light beings from The Dark Crystal--some of us are pod people, okay? I’m a little podling, and I need to snack. If I could have another mouth in my back--the biggest obstacle in my GMing, okay, is that the same place I talk from is where food needs to go! And I’m not sorry! I like to snack! And to answer your question, almonds.”
Aabria says Calamity was the least she’d seen him snack, which is how she knew he was nervous.
Brennan laughs that he hit the five-hour mark and his body immediately demanded a caffeine shot. As scary as the villains were, nothing scared her more than Brennan saying, “We’re off keto.”
Aabria lusted after Brennan’s Funyuns, but couldn’t stand the idea of trying to have a romantic moment with Quay with onion breath.
Matt saw an internet comment about his eating early in the stream and stopped eating on stream after. :( However, he does find himself strongly in the moment DMing and loses his appetite anyway.
Brennan tells a hilarious story of getting in a car accident with some friends and eating a pizza and a half himself out of anxiety afterwards. I have never identified with him more than in this moment.
And that’s it! What an awesome, meaty episode. Is it Thursday yet?
more terrible no good headcanons for eddie disaster dreamboat munson
I said that if anybody made him too cool I'd have to add more and that's exactly what I'm gonna do babes because I had to scroll for way to long to find him making spagetti-os
(posting again bc it wasn't showing in the tag)
-genuinely doesn't know what those stains are. Didn't even know it was stained bc he's had the same fitted sheet on it with one corner tugged off for 8 months and forgot about them since last time
-throws away Tupperware if the stuff in it is too gross
-he's pretty sure that green sour candy counts as a vegetable so he does eat at least 3 a day.
-just. Doesn't ever throw things away. Stupid shit like the backs of band aids and paper straw wrappers and napkins and hooooo boy this has turned into a callout post about myself
-sometimes horseflies fly into his hair and get stuck and he can hear them buzzing around and doesn't necessarily so anything about it right away until it stops
-no room for legs in the front seat of his car that space is reserved for old fast food bags
-buys new underwear instead of doing laundry
-hey why do I keep writing genuinely embarrassing things that I literally do irl. Is this really worth putting myself and the 4 huge bags of laundry I have in my tiny car and all my band aid wrappers on blast. Next I'm gonna write that every surface in eddies house is covered in stacks of hobbies and papers that feel like a goddamn archeological dig every time I clean
-psych he does that too
- ok things that I don't also do so that I don't start having a crisis that makes me a tidier person:
-feeds a family of raccoons that live in an abandoned hunting cabin in the woods
-one time he let one live in his closet for a bit and hoped Wayne wouldn't notice (this may explain some of the stains)
-this boy spills. Everything. He's a hand talker and it doesn't matter if he's holding something.
-the hand talking is also terrifying when in a car he is driving
-never drinks water ever and it stresses ppl out
-every single time he sees somebody he knows in public he will try and sneak up on them to scare them
-wears shoes inside bc he broke glass on the carpet months ago and he doesn't want to vacuum.
-the only place he has to actually sit and do anything I his room is his bed because everything else is covered in stuff
-everything is covered in stuff but every drawer he has is empty
-theres one category of things he owns that is organized absolutely meticulously and idk what it is but he's very proud of it and when he says he's "cleaning his room" it means organizing like band tees alphabetically or sorting minifig painting supplies and everything else stays trashed
-it's a perm and he did it himself in his bathroom 100%
-hair dye stains all over the bathroom from an ill advised look a while back. and maybe a few more times
-doesnt have a compulsive habit to bite his nails he does it bc he can never find the damn fingernail clippers
-notes and doodles. All over his arms
- yknow how when u were in school by the last day you'd have like one pencil and nothing else and u kept a hold of it bc you couldn't find any others?
- eddies been at that point since about half way thru his first senior year. He has one pencil and it is a stub (it is a d.a.r.e. pencil and he does find it funny) with no eraser and it's not sharp and it had a million bite marks on it
-has little stoner burn holes in all his clothes all his sheets his matress his sheets and the seats on his car bc he needs to be more careful and is gonna end up starting a fire someday
-wait that last one was a me thing
-maybe this is how I can embrace my flaws. make eddie do em too. it's cute when he's disgusting
-I no longer have improve myself at all
-puts random food in his pockets for later even though it will get linty. Gonna go ahead and say that I don't do this.
-isn't actually that good at guitar it turns out
-I gotta stop myself now because I know they'll just keep comin but add any you can think of or dm me because every time he gets worse he gets more of my love so like 2 give him a hug reblog 2 spray him with a hose
𝐔𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐝𝐲 || 𝐀𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐁𝐮𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐫
“𝘖𝘩, 𝘮𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦, 𝘮𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨
𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘤𝘩
𝘈 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨, 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘺
𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘥𝘰 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩
𝘈𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦?“
Inspo: Elvis Presley - Unchained Melody
Pairing: Austin Butler x Black!Fem!reader
Summary: Austin only wanted to show you his love for you on your birthday.
Warnings: Fluffy as hell and Austin being fine as fuck.
You were already tired of the day. Grateful is one word you would describe the day, but you were seriously ready for another normal day to greet you tomorrow. All you wanted was to lay in your husband's arms and stay there until one of you would eventually leave with the other complaining and whining like a child. That was what you wanted right now.
So, when you stepped through the front door of the mansion, you were not exactly excited to see candles and rose petals forging a path toward the living room. The only thing that made it even thrilling was the fact that this idea clearly came from Austin and (if you were lucky) it would be his own little surprise for you.
“Austin?” You called, feet reluctantly and hesitantly moving down the path. “Unless you are giving me the best head tonight, I am seriously not in the mood, Sweetheart.”
Entering the living room, you were greeted by a tray of dark chocolate bits. Rose petals were arranged to form a heart around the tray, a true way to your heart. A small smile formed on your lips as you took one and placed it in your mouth. The tiny details were something Austin was an expert at remembering. But it wasn’t hard when you’ve always told him that if anyone offered you some dark chocolate, they were your friend. After all, it was exactly that got you in bed with Austin.
“Oh, my love, my darling.” The sound of Austin’s voice had you spinning around, finding the man above you near the railing sitting at the piano. “I’ve hungered for your touch.”
You caught your bottom lip between your teeth, placing your purse down, kicking off your heels and jogging up the stairs to where the blonde sat patiently. A soft smile on his lips as you scooted into the place beside him. “There’s my girl.” His hushed almost Texan accent sent shivers down your spine.
For the past two years, you had been enduring the fact that your husband was becoming Elvis. Not once had you been able to enter a room without hearing the sound of the Memphis singer blasting through the speakers. Neither could you escape the sound of your husband impersonating the legendary singer. But these moments, where he used his new skills if that be singing, dancing, or sweet-talking his way out of problems with you, you loved it.
But even when you two met, you believe you had him wrapped around his finger. From his horrible attempts at trying to flirt and ask you out, it was your teasing comments that brought him incredibly closer until there was no more room between you two. So, now, it just seemed fair that he get to do the same this one time for his favourite girl.
Pressing a kiss to his jaw, you leaned your head on his shoulder. “Keep going,” you murmured softly, arms wrapped around his left. Austin smiled, kissing the crown of your head and turned his head back to the keys where he began to play.
“A long lonely time,” he sang. “Time goes by slowly. And time can do so much. Are you still mine?”
You sat back, propping your arm onto your knee as you stared up at your husband. His eyes closed and his fingers skillfully moved across the piano with ease. “I need your love, I need your love,” he repeated softly. “God speed your love to me. Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea. To the open arms of the sea.”
He then turned his gaze to you, lips forming a smile to see you staring intently at him. Seemingly lost in his little mini performance he was putting on for you tonight. “Lonely rivers cry, wait for me, wait for me.” He leaned over slowly, pressing his lips to your forehead as you placed a hand on his side. “I’ll be coming home, wait for me.”
A soft silence filled the room as finally, Austin pressed a kiss to your forehead and leaned back. The key once play still emitting a low hum until there was nothing but the sound of your breathing to be heard. Your eyes stung with tears as you shook your head, wiping your eyes with a soft laugh. “You know I love you, right?”
Austin’s hands held your waist, carefully lowering you onto his lap as your arm fell around his neck. “Of course, but do you know that I love you?” He teased, the usual corny response you would’ve expected from him. But you were just happy that learning to be Elvis helped with his once shy personality.
“Thank you, baby.” You pressed a short kiss to his lips. “This is the best birthday gift I could’ve ever asked for.”
“No problem, sweetheart.” He smiled before glancing around, cupping his mouth and adding in a hushed tone, “I do still think I’ll take you up on having a bit of a taste.”
You came back to me (Part 2)
Anymore let me know
Word count: 2024
Summary: After Natasha notices a strange scar on your head, she starts digging up her own past
A/N: Here it's the highly requested part 2. Thank you so much for all the feedback i recived on the first part from all of you. I hope you all like this part.
Personal A/N: @unofficiallym I added a short scene with that shovel like you asked me to. I hope i didn't disappointed you
Mencion: If you would like to read more scenarios related to the story, please let me know and i'll write them
"Why do you want us to go back there Nat?" Clint asked annoyed
"I want you to go there and find everything you possibly can about Y/N."
"But why?!" Clint whined rolling his eyes " An abandoned HYDRA base isn't the nicest place in this world."
"Not your business, Barton!" Natasha shouted angry
Clint imediately shut his mouth and just nodded.
"Don't worry, Nat. We'll try our best." Steve reassured Natasha, placing his hand on her shoulder
"Thank you, Steve. It means a lot." She smiled at him, placing her hand over Steve's, squeezing it a little
And with one last nod between Steve and Natasha, the 2 men took off.
Natasha turned towards Bruce and gaved him a look that said 'i'll need your help later'.
A few hours later Steve and Clint returned with their hands empty much to Natasha's disappointment.
"We're sorry Nat. But we found no records of her." Steve explained
Natasha only stormed out of the room confused and frustrated.
She was almost running towards Bruce's lab when she bumped into someone on the way there.
"Hey Tasha! Where's the rush?" You questioned the woman, rubbing your shoulder that camed into contact with Nat's
"Hey Y/N? Can i ask you a few things?" She nervously asked
You have never seen Natasha this nervous.
"Sure, Tasha. You know you can ask me anything." You smiled
"Do you remember how much time you spent locked in there?" The spy intently watched you
"In the cell?" You raised your eyebrows
"I think that, i don't know, maybe 8 or 9 years. I can't remember exactly."
"And they did experiments on you?" Nat kept her gaze on you
"Not really. No." You shook your head" But they used to run tests on me all the time though."
"What kind of tests?" Natasha rushed to ask
"They were testing my agility, reflexes, intelligence, endurance... Things like this."
You only blinked once and when you opened your eyes again, Natasha was already sprinting down the corridor.
"Tasha, where are you running?" You shouted after her
But you recived no answer from her.
Shrugging, you kept walking to your initial destination. The kitchen. To get some snacks and drink some milk.
Natasha banged open the lab's door and speed walked towards Bruce that was sitting at his desk.
"I don't know how but you will find out who are Y/N's biological parents and her medical history." Natasha pointed her finger towards the doctor" You have 48 hours."
And with that Natasha rushed out of the room as fast as she camed, not leaving any space for Bruce to protest.
Leaving him no other choice than to run multiple DNA tests.
Later that night, Natasha was sitting on the edge of her bed, deeply lost in thoughts, when Clint entered the room without even knocking first.
"What are you doing here, Clint?" Natasha sighed tired
"What do you think you're doing Natasha?" Clint snapped back at her" Bruce told me what you asked him to do. Is there something i should know?"
"No..." The woman quietly answered
"I don't think you'll ever go this crazy for nothing. I know it's about Y/N, that by the way, keeps asking for you. But i don't understand what... You've noticed something strange?" Clint crossed his arms, waiting for an answer
After a few moments of considering whether she should tell Clint or not she nodded her head.
"Y/N..." Natasha let out a shakey breath" She has a scar on the back of her head, hidded by her hair."
"And?" Clint encouraged her to go on
"It's in the exact same spot where Dreykov shot my Y/N when he killed her..." She tryed her hardest not to cry
Something clicked in Clint's head and he sat down next to his best friend with a long sigh.
"Do you remember the day we found the grave?" Clint asked, looking at Nat" I know for a fact that i will never be able to forget it. Not even if i tried."
"How could i forget?" The woman finally allowed herself to cry
It's been 2 years since the day Natasha lost everything. Since the day her world camed crushing down and only left a big hole inside her.
For the past 8 months eversince Clint becamed her best friend, he had done nothing but search for the grave of the child he hadn't even met but started to love because of Natasha's stories about her.
And he did. He actually found it with a lot of help from some people that owed a debt to him.
It was a cloudy day when Clint told Nat that he found the grave and she, practically, begged him to take her there in that instance.
Much to Clint surprise, the grave was placed in a really quiet forest not so far from the place they currently lived.
He was there every second of that paintfull encounter and the scene in front of him will haunt his dreams forever, becoming one of his multiple nightmares related to Nat.
Clint felt the cold summer rain starting to pour down the moment Natasha layed eyes on the little gravestone in front of her.
But Natasha didn't.
She didn't felt the cold raindrops soacking her up.
The pain inside her was so strong that she couldn't feel the physical pain anymore.
With small and shy steps the 24 year old woman approched the grave that had becomed the new home of her beloved baby.
She falled to her knees and hugged the gravestone so tight that someone from afar would belive she was actually hugging her child again, planting kisses all over the dirty and cold stone.
"Y/N?" Natasha sobbed out with all her heart" Oh, Y/N. What are you doing here baby? You were supposed to be home playing with your puppy while laughting and running around the house, not lying here in the rain. It's cold out here my love. You might get sick. You have to come with me inside. We can do anything you want. We can play or cuddle or bake cookies or anything you want us to do... Just get up and come with me baby girl. Get up! I love you!"
Natasha kept bragging and bragging over and over again, while uncontrollably sobbing and screaming.
Clint was no longer trying to be strong.
No one in this or any world would had been able to control their tears at the heartbreaking sight of a mother hugging her daughter's gravestone. It was too much pain.
When the man couldn't take more of his friend's pain he slowly lifted her up and took her back to her house, despite Natasha's screams of protest.
Over time, everytime Nat would dissapear, Clint knew exactly where she was.
And he wasn't disappointed when, every single time, he found her asleep next to the grave.
Most of the times, he would just cover her with a blanket and let her sleep, watching over her from a nearby tree.
"I will never be able to forget your painfull screams Nat. And i never want to see you pass through this again. It will be too much for you." Clint sighed" And for me..."
"But what if... What if somehow what i'm thinking it's true Clint?" Natasha asked hopefully
"Look Nat. I don't want you to get too excited only to have your dreams and hopes crushed. Okay?" The archer patted her back
Natasha saddly nodded.
"I want to do something crazy that will be extremly painfull no matter of the result." Nat looked at Clint for confirmation that he's in
"What?" He sighed, letting his head fall in his hands
The next day, Natasha was back at her daughter's grave together with Clint, Steve and two shovels.
"Give me a second guys." Natasha pleaded
She crouched down next to the stone and, kissing it, she whispered" Forgive me baby girl. But i need to know. Always remember that Mama loves you."
She pointed to the grave with her head and the boys nodded. Taking the shovels, they started digging.
Half an hour later, Natasha was holding her breath as Steve and Clint placed down next to her the small white casket her daughter was in.
She lovingly dusted the dirt from it with tears in her eyes and shakey hands.
"Hi..." She whispered as she kept moving her hand from side to side on the casket" Long time no see..."
"Are you sure you want to do this Nat?" Steve asked concerned
"Yeah. I need to." She said not taking her eyes from the casket
Both men got closer to their friend, getting ready for whatever they were about to witness.
Natasha slowly opened the casket and she gasped shocked when she saw what was inside.
"Nothing..." Nat breathed out shocked as she took in the emptiness of the casket, her grip on the side of the casket tightening with each second that passed
Steve and Clint looked at eachother shocked for a moment and then both rushed to talk to Natasha.
"You were right Nat..." Clint exclaimed surprised
"What is this supposed to mean?" Steve asked equally as surprised as Clint
"Either she's burried someplace else, either..." Natasha looked with shimmering and full of hope eyes at her friends" Either she's alive."
Natasha couldn't wrap her mind around the information she just found out and Clint for sure wasn't helping too much.
"It's empty!" Clint cheered for the one hundred time in the last five minutes
"Clint, shut up!" Natasha threatened him
But Clint only kept on celebrating "It's empty. It's empty..." He chanted and started to dance
From one quick move, Natasha picked up one shovel that was beside her and smacked Clint over his upper back with it, the archer falling to the ground with a loud groan.
"I. Said. Shut up!" The woman spitted out
Steve looked shocked at her for a few seconds but dared to say nothing.
"Why?!" Clint started to cry like a little baby and brought his knees to his chest "Just why?!"
Back at the compound, you were chilling on the couch almost falling asleep when you heard voices and recognized Natasha's.
The three heros entered the room and you shot up on your feet with a questioning look on your face as you saw the state they were in.
As soon as Natasha layed her eyes on you, she engulfed you in a really tight hug, the red head starting to cry.
"What have you done to her this time guys?!" You gleared at the men annoyed while holding Natasha in your arms" Robin Hood? America's Ass? Do you have something to say for yourself?"
"Bye!" Clint shouted and runned out of the room, dragging Steve out with him in the process
"Hey Tasha... Are you okay? Why are you crying?" You slightly pulled apart to look at the woman who took care of you this past months
"I-I... I just discovered something really important for me." Nat sniffed
"Is it a good news?" You questioned carefully
"The best!" She smiled
"Yey! I'm happy for you, Tasha!" You cheered
Natasha didn't fully revealed to you what that important news was and you didn't pushed her to tell you.
You just cuddled up with her on the couch, watching movies untill you falled asleep.
Natasha admired you sleeping for a moment and then, gently peeling you off of her, she went streight to Bruce's lab to collect her answers.
"I need answers Banner! And i need them now. I can't wait anymore..." Natasha demanded as she entered the room" Have you found any information about Y/N?"
"I actually did." Bruce announced, making Natasha's confident facade fade away" I found her mother. It wasn't that hard to find her since her mom was already in our database. Y/N's DNA matched almost instantly with her mother's."
Feeling like her feet couldn't support her anymore, Natasha let herself fall in a chair and holding her breath she asked:
"Who's her mother?"
Permanent taglist: @youre-a-total--poser , @ali-lie , @froufrousnowman , @gimaximoff , @sandyche3ks , @gay-trash-in-a-paperbag , @lizlil , @mmmmokdok , @circe143
Story taglist: @xinied , @katethewriter
shadows in the night
battinson!bruce wayne x f!reader
summary: more than a year after the events of middle of the night, y/n and Bruce are happily engaged and working to lower the amount of crime in Gotham. However, a new killer calling himself the Riddler has other plans for their happiness…set during the events of the movie, mostly canonical, some changes made to fit the story
a/n: Yay time for another chapter! Going to try my hardest to stick to posting twice per week--I have about 8 more chapters written so far (still only 1/3 of the way through the movie, oops) so we should be good for a while! Once I finish writing the whole thing, I’ll probably post more frequently! That being said, I’m on vacation next week and I’m not sure of the internet situation! Ch 3 will be posted before I leave though!
If you feel like supporting me further, donate to my ko-fi! You can get either a teaser for the next chapter (for lower donation amounts) or the entire next chapter (higher donation amounts). Find more info and the link to my ko-fi here!
word count: 2645
“Thank you, Gordon. I mean it.”
He muttered something sarcastic about being grateful under his breath, but she was already gone.
It was still raining when Halloween dawned.
“This reminds me of when we first met,” y/n mused as they ate a late dinner on Halloween night. “You need to be extra careful tonight. There’ll be so many teenagers who could push you off of a roof.”
Bruce rolled his eyes.
She was doing her best to try to distract him. He had something on his mind, and she knew it, but she wasn’t really sure how to help. They’d already argued briefly about her going out with him–it was too dangerous, according to him, but according to her there was too much potential for him to get hurt. She wanted to help. She needed to help. He couldn’t be everywhere.
She wasn’t sure she had won the argument, but he had at least let it drop.
She’d let it drop too, because the guilt of lying to him was still eating her alive. He didn’t know that she was already helping him. And she wanted to keep it that way. To keep him safe. To keep him from being distracted. To keep him from being pulled in too many directions at once.
“Just think,” she continued lightly, “You might not have a cute girl to save you this time. Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, etcetera.”
“Are you ever going to let me live that down?” Bruce asked dryly as he rinsed off his plate.
“Nope,” she said cheerfully. She stepped up behind him and rested her forehead against the warm spot between his shoulder blades. He huffed a laugh. They stayed like that for a few minutes. She wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed herself closer. “Please be careful. I mean it. Call me the second you need help.”
“I will,” he said. He rested his hands over hers. “Please–don’t sneak out. Just–let me know. Alright?”
She laughed, face still pressed into his muscular back. “Okay. But I can’t promise that I won’t leave. You can’t be everywhere. And don’t even think of hiding the Batmobile keys again. I had copies made.”
He stiffened but didn’t argue the point.
He finally turned around in her arms. She nestled closer and kissed him.
“Please be careful,” she whispered.
“I will. I love you.” He kissed her again, and then he was gone.
She finished cleaning up dinner to distract herself. She had a bad feeling she couldn’t exactly place. The growing crime despite all they’d done, despite all Gordon and cops like him had done, was worrisome. Gotham was turning on itself, and she didn’t like it. She didn’t like what that meant for Bruce. For Batman.
Maybe she could wait it out at the restaurant, pack her gear up just in case Bruce needed her.
She was downstairs before she had fully decided. She picked up the extra earpiece he always left for her.
“Bruce?” she asked softly as she put it in, grabbed her gear, and went back up the elevator. She couldn’t take the Batmobile to the restaurant, as much as she wanted to. Regular cars only, unfortunately. She had conceded a few months into their relationship and let him buy her a car. To compromise, it had been a used car, because she didn’t need him blowing money on her. Plus, he had six other cars already that for some reason he wasn’t happy with her picking from. He wanted to buy her one.
His response was instantaneous. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah, I’m just–I was going to go to the GP for a bit. Let me know if you need me.”
He didn’t respond–probably busy already, she mused.
He’d changed the earpieces a bit in the past year. He had something in his suit now that acted kind of like a bluetooth connection. He could connect to it with the push of a button and disconnect just as easily. That way they could both be wearing the earpieces without getting too distracted by constant noise. It made it a little easier to watch him go out each night.
As y/n drove through the rain into the city, her body thrummed. She was almost itching for a fight. She understood exactly why Bruce did what he did. Not only to keep the city safer, but because it was…exhilarating.
She made herself drive straight to the Gotham Project no matter how badly she wanted to stop and put her suit on. Just this once, she would listen to Bruce. She’d rather wait on him to need her than be out somewhere, too far to help, when the call came.
At least she had done some good already–she’d gotten the name of Derrick Smalls to Gordon, and it was only a matter of time before the man was arrested. She wished, briefly, that she’d done more than break his hand and punch him in the face, though.
At the restaurant, y/n shoved her bulky backpack into her office and locked it behind her. The Gotham Project was small, but it was hers. It was actually two buildings next to each other. One was the restaurant and kitchen itself, the other was a sort of homeless shelter and supply store her manager Bryn ran for her. It didn’t hurt that Bryn had also been formerly employed by the Iceberg Lounge while she paid her way through school.
“It’s me,” y/n called to the chef who ran things when she wasn’t around. His name was Ollie and he’d served ten years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He was sweet, overly flirtatious, and honestly a better cook than she was. “I’m just here to check on things.”
Things had been running incredibly smoothly for six months or so. Hiring Bryn and Ollie had been the final puzzle pieces, and things had started simply…falling into place. And with the attention that Bruce’s name got her, well, they did pretty well. They helped a lot of people.
“Hey, boss lady,” Ollie called from where he flitted around the kitchen. Support staff and waiters danced around the space. Ollie currently had cat ears and a tail. Some of the other waiters had costumes, too, all simple and practical. “Busy tonight.”
“That’s great.” She meant it–the busier they were, the more people they could help. People could come and eat like it was a regular restaurant, with the option to pay it forward for someone in need. And then the less fortunate or homeless could come in and have a normal, free meal before getting any supplies they might need from next door. People sometimes took advantage of it and tried to get a free meal, but her staff had gotten pretty good at keeping the assholes at bay.
“Your cop friend is out there,” Ollie said with a flash of a smile.
Gordon came to visit on nights he worked, usually because he was in the area. She constantly tried to get him to eat for free, but he always paid for himself and the next person to come in.
Y/n thanked Ollie and pushed her way out into the dining area. It was busy. At the late hour, a lot of people were filling up before a night on the town. There were costumes everywhere.
Gordon was at his usual seat at the bar, eating a huge plate of the night’s special, carbonara.
“Hey,” y/n said as she slid into the empty seat next to him. “Can’t get enough of me?”
“I’m here for the food, not you.” But there was a hint of a smile underneath Gordon’s mustache.
She grinned. “That’s fair. Ollie’s going to have me out of a job sooner rather than later.”
“Good thing you own the place, then.” Gordon winked. His phone started ringing in his pocket.
“Good thing. I’m going to check on Bryn.” She patted Gordon’s arm. “Enjoy your meal.”
He nodded as he fumbled for his phone. He frowned at the caller ID.
She hovered for a second, overly curious. He shot her a look that said he knew she was eavesdropping, but he didn’t say anything.
“Gordon,” he answered curtly. He set his fork down. Y/n watched as Gordon’s face blanched. His mouth parted, just slightly, before he seemed to realize he was in public. “Shit, I–Shit. Okay. I’m on my way. I gotta make a quick stop first, alright? Lock it down. No, I mean it. Lock it down.”
He hung up quickly and slapped a twenty dollar bill on the countertop.
“What happened?” she asked, because from the look on Gordon’s face, it was bad.
“I–It’s not good. I can’t say anything yet. I gotta run. Thanks, kid.”
Gordon was out in a flash. Y/n quietly took the money and put it in the till, frowning. She hadn’t seen that kind of look on Gordon’s face in a long time. It must be bad, whatever it was. The bad feeling she’d been harboring all night grew worse.
She got her confirmation not fifteen minutes later when the Bat signal flared to life overhead.
It had been an utter coincidence that she’d chosen a spot with an almost perfect view of Batman’s signal. It had felt a little bit like fate, the first time she’d been in the restaurant and seen it lit.
Something churned in her gut.
Not good at all, if Gordon was calling Bruce in on it. Usually that meant something big, bad, or both.
She picked up her phone and pretended to make a call while, over the earpiece, she said, “Gordon was here and got a call. He seems freaked out.”
Bruce’s voice in her ear calmed her. “I’m on my way to him now. Are you still at the restaurant?”
“Stay there until I know what’s going on.”
She sighed. “Okay.”
She hated being kept out of everything. At least she could look over whatever Bruce had recorded for the night, both with the lens and within his current journal.
Bryn was packing up a care bag for an elderly lady when y/n entered the other half of the Gotham Project with her master key. This side was a little bigger. There were a couple of rows of cots, a few small stalls with showers, and a huge, heavily secured pantry. Bruce had made sure all of the security was top notch, with alerts going straight to his phone, along with hers and Alfred’s too. He even paid for around the clock security guards, which grated on her nerves sometimes. But at least no one would try to take advantage of her generosity.
Bryn was a tall Black girl that ran the place better than y/n had ever hoped. She’d only seen her around the Iceberg Lounge a few times, and hiring her had been a huge stroke of luck brought about by Lena, who had officially introduced them. Y/n had actually tried to hire Lena first, to get her out of the club, but Lena had politely declined and sent Bryn her way instead.
“How’s it looking?” y/n asked after the older lady shuffled away, back into the rain. The woman had declined one of the cots for the night.
Bryn finished writing out the details of the supplies she’d given before answering. “Pretty good. Running low on umbrellas, ponchos, and trashbags, of course. But I already placed an order and it should be here by Saturday. Which means it’ll be sunny.”
Y/n laughed. “Yeah, I’m sure it does. You know, between you and Ollie, I kind of feel useless around here these days.”
“Hey, whenever you’re bored, just let me know. I’d love extra time off.” Bryn winked to show she was joking.
“I’ll put in a word with the boss.”
At that moment, her phone buzzed. She tried not to seem too eager as she yanked it from her pocket.
“Don’t tell me–it’s your sugar daddy.” Bryn had been around in the days when y/n had first started working for Bruce, and she never let her forget it. She constantly teased her about it, about the GP’s funding, all of it. But unlike most people, Bryn didn’t mean a word of it. She adored Bruce and always gave him shit for not talking much, which y/n enjoyed to no end.
“It is,” she said, but it was from Bruce’s “work” phone, not the man himself. His name in it was simply a dark circle emoji. “Because you always have dark circles under your eyes, makeup or otherwise,” she’d joked when he’d asked about it.
Mitchell was murdered.
Y/n’s heart stopped.
The interim Mayor, Don Mitchell, Jr. The man who had replaced Mayor Williams after everything that had happened, and was currently running to be the actual mayor. The man who’d helped bring down Maroni.
Y/n cursed colorfully. If Bruce was texting, it was because he was around too many others to speak out loud comfortably. “You know, Bryn, why don’t you take off early? I’ll finish doing the inventory and help anyone else who comes in.”
“I was just about to quit due to being overworked. Damn. Maybe next week.” Bryn winked at her again. They shared a laugh.
Thankfully, she was joking. Y/n made sure her employees were happy, because she knew better than anyone what it was like to have the world’s shittiest boss. Bryn and Ollie were both training people, too, who seemed just as capable as they were. Y/n really did feel useless most of the time. She didn’t even really get to fill in for either of them much anymore.
Which probably explained the uptick in her…other nighttime activities.
After Bryn left, y/n busied herself doing what she’d promised while simultaneously checking her phone every thirty seconds. Next door, the noise of the crowd slowly died down. A couple of people came in to sleep for the night, so y/n left them and went back to her office, telling Ollie goodnight as he left. She checked in with the security team before locking herself in her office.
The hours slowly ticked by. The bad feeling in her gut grew worse.
It was almost four in the morning when Bruce finally texted again. She’d dozed off on the small couch in the office and woke with a jolt at the chirp of her phone.
The dark circle emoji greeted her. About to head out.
She was back at the Batcave within fifteen minutes.
She flipped on the news first, then the feed for Bruce’s lens.
“This isn’t good,” Bruce said in her ear a couple of minutes later.
“What is it with this city and fucking mayors?” she cursed. First Williams, now Mitchell. She hoped this Bella Real lady proved tougher than she looked, because Gotham apparently had it out for anyone in the position. So if she won the election–however that worked with her competition now dead–y/n hoped the woman spent extra on security.
“Serial killer, maybe. Sadistic at the very least, if he doesn’t kill again,” Bruce said. She could hear a clamor around him. On the screen, she watched him watch a growing crowd from a distance.
Behind her, GC1 announced breaking news.
“He left me a card,” Bruce continued as the anchors announced the death of the mayor. There would be a press conference shortly. The press conference setup was what he was watching. “To the Batman.”
Y/n’s heart stopped again. “He–for you?”
“It was a riddle. I’ll show you when I get back.”
She cursed quietly as she watched two different perspectives of the press conference as dawn rose around Gotham.
Not good. This was not good at all.
She really had a bad feeling about this. Something was brewing in Gotham, and Batman was at the center of it all.
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GUILTY lee haechan
warnings mark’s gf!reader x boyfriends best friend!haechan, haechan and reader are just terrible, degradation (he says slut like once), unprotected sex, unedited
it’s been a week since you first had sex with your boyfriend’s best friend, and to say you’re paranoid is an understatement. to say you didn’t enjoy it would be an outright lie. the feeling of regret has been weighing on your conscience since the day it happened and it feels like the world is attempting to signal to you how much of an asshole you are.
it’s embarrassing how hard your brain is working to convince itself that everything that happened was a huge accident that you would never do again in a million— scratch that, trillion years. the reality is though, you want to do it again. since it happened, you’ve found yourself hovering over haechan’s contact, almost pressing the call button, or typing out messages to him, all with the purpose of meeting up and doing it all over again. what’s even worse is that you’re pretty sure you still like mark, and you feel something beyond guilt for betraying his trust in such a brutal way.
when the urge to call and text haechan fades, all you’re left with is dark cloud looming quietly over your head and a long list of questions. why has haechan not called? does he regret it as much as you do? you find it hard to believe that you’re the only one who’s feeling sick with guilt. it’s almost infuriating how little he seems to care about any of this; about you, mark or the fact that he fucked his best friends girlfriend. maybe it’s out of pure rage or whatever respect you have left for your and mark’s relationship, but you find yourself tapping the call icon on haechan’s contact without much hesitation, impatiently listening to the buzz of the dial tone.
the buzzing stops once he picks up, groaning out a tired ‘hello’ before awaiting your response.
“we need to talk.”
1 WEEK AGO
tuesday’s were your designated “study at mark’s apartment” days. the two of you had met after one of your professors approached you, asking if you’d be willing to help tutor a student who had been struggling with the class. after a bit of convincing, you had agreed and began meeting with mark regularly to help him with his work. you’d seen him around campus a few times, hanging out with a decent sized group of what you assumed were his friends. you and mark had quickly grown close, sharing a giddy mutual excitement for your tutoring sessions that would eventually bleed into sushi dates and movie nights. despite all of this, the two of you never really discussed putting a label on your relationship, however you knew mark wasn’t seeing anyone else, and it was assumed by most that the two of you were exclusive.
so there you stood, at the door of mark’s apartment waiting for him to let you in. as you prepare your fist to give the door another set of knocks, it swings open to reveal someone, who is definitely not your boyfriend, in grey sweatpants and a white t-shirt.
“mark isn’t here right now, said something about running out to pick up some food he ordered for you guys. you can come in if you want though, i don’t mind,” haechan, his roommate, was someone you’d only interacted with a handful of times. he was polite enough, usually only sticking around to get a bite of whatever the two of you had decided to eat before retreating back to his room. realizing that you had yet to respond to him, you quickly nodded your head and waited for him to crack the door open more and let you into the apartment.
stepping inside, you eyes skidded around the living space. their place was fairly empty, the walls mostly barren of any decoration, as expected of a couple of guys in university. assuming haechan probably didn’t want you to lurk around him too much, you hurriedly took off your shoes and began making your way towards mark’s bedroom. haechan’s voice breaks the silence in the room.
“i’m watching that new doctor strange movie if you wanna join, you know, while you wait for mark to come back,” he says. watching a movie sounds much more entertaining than any of the physics work you could be doing right now, so you accept haechan’s invite and sit on the opposite end of the couch from him.
when the movie starts back up, you aren’t really paying much attention, more concerned with thinking about haechan. though the two of you have only interacted a few times, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t find him cute. he was always dyeing his hair different colors and had such pretty lips that you found it difficult to not stare at him anytime he was around. you’re almost certain you’ve seen him staring at you a few times too, watching you intently every time you come over in shorts or a skirt. it makes you wonder if he feels the same about you at all. the thought bites at you, it feels as though there’s something in your head screaming at you to bite the bullet and test your theory.
as they say, curiosity killed the cat.
if you didn’t know any better, you’d say mark had to have left the country to get whatever food he ordered. it feels like it’s been hours, although a quick glance at the clock on your phone informs you that it’s only been about one. in that time, you’ve given into that nagging voice in your head, initiating your ‘experiment’ by sliding closer to haechan on the couch. you don’t look at him, but it’s impossible to not feel his stare on you. your movement is subtle enough to not completely blow your cover, but just enough to put him on edge. you remain like this for a few minutes, before moving ever so much closer. at this point, he’s within arms reach and the burn of his glare is so evident, it makes you feel hot. you aren’t sure exactly what is it, but something tells you that this is a now or never moment. whatever it is possesses you to slide your hand across the space between your thigh and his and rest it high atop haechan’s thigh.
you hear a deep sigh come from beside you before haechan opens his mouth again; he’s catching on.
“you know we can’t do this, right? jesus, y/n, you’re his fucking girlfriend, and i’m his closest friend,” the tone he speaks in makes you cringe. of course you know it’s bad, and who knows, maybe you from even just a few minutes ago would have allowed this to knock some sense into you, but at this moment, your thoughts are running on nothing but pure lust. suddenly, everything about him is so tempting. much like the fruit to adam and eve, something about haechan calls to you.
“have you never thought about it before? do you think i’m oblivious to the way you stare at me when i’m around? watching the way my chest moves, staring at my ass when you think i’m not paying attention. we both want this don’t we?” he doesn’t respond, and the silence send a chill down your spine. panic, your brain fills with it. that nagging voice in your brain was not accounting for all the possibilities of this interaction. he could turn you down and tell mark, effectively ruining your relationship. the ball is in his court and it terrifies you.
it’s unexpected when his hands cup your face and his lips press against yours. the kiss isn’t gentle— it’s nasty and desperate. he’s waited for this, and it’s evident in the way he slides he tongue into your mouth before pulling away with your bottom lip between his teeth.
“we can’t do this here, he could be back any minute,” he breathes, pulling you from your spot on the couch and tugging you towards his bedroom. haechan wastes no time shutting and locking the door before turning to face you. “hurry up and get undressed,” he’s impatient, almost anxious sounding. he wants you so bad, but he has absolutely no interest in being found by your boyfriend—his best friend—with his cock inside you. you comply with his demands, understanding his sense of urgency. “turn around and bend over the edge of the bed. you’re gonna take what i give you, understand? you act like a slut and i’ll fuck you like one.”
you hear him tug down his sweats and kick them aside before he comes behind you, resting his cock against your lower back momentarily before sliding it downwards and rubbing the tip right against your slit. he slowly pushes inside you, groaning at the feeling of you squeezing around him.
“god, does he ever fuck you? this pussy is so fucking tight, i’m barely gonna last,” he huffs, wrapping a hand around your neck and pull you back just enough to align your ear with his mouth. “you love this, don’t you? you love fucking your boyfriends friends, hm?” you almost wish he would stop saying that, but the feeling of his cock pounding into you is too much. it leaves you wordless, especially as his grip on your neck tightens. whines spill loudly from your lips, you aren’t even trying to be quiet and it makes him nervous. haechan reaches over you to grab a pillow from the head of his bed, placing it right where your head would fall on the bed before pushing your face into it. “since you can’t shut up, you’ll have to keep your face right there. now be quiet, baby.” you choose to tune out the pet name.
“fuck, fuck, fuck. it’s too deep, haechan please,” you whine, muffled against the pillow. you hear him chuckle from behind you as he speeds up his thrusts, the room filled with nothing but your whines, the obscene noises of your wetness and the repetitive plap plap plap of haechan’s skin colliding with yours.
“you can take it, you’re already taking it so good. just a little bit longer.” haechan’s voice is breathless and it’s clear that he’s getting close. this thrusts grow sloppy and uneven and you can feel yourself getting close too. knowing just the thing to put him over the edge, you lay your head on its side against the pillow to uncover your mouth.
“please fill me up, haechan,” you whimper. he lets out a few weak moans before burying himself deep inside you and stilling his hips. the way his cum shoots inside you is enough to push you over the edge as well, your legs shaking underneath him. it’s only when he pulls out that you realize how dirty you feel. his cum dripping out from inside you, the apparent smell of sex lingering in the room, it all serves as a reminder for how much you’re hurting mark without him even knowing. you even let him cum inside, something that mark himself hasn’t even done. wordlessly, you lift yourself off of the bed and come to a stand, feeling haechan’s cum drip down the inside of your thigh.
“sorry, i know you’re tired but do you have anything i could use to clean myself up,” you ask. haechan lazily points a finger to the box of tissues on his desk before dramatically dropping his arm to the bed. you pluck out a few tissues—not even wanting to ask why they’re in such close proximity to his computer— and quickly wipe off the inside of your thighs and between your legs. you toss the dirtied tissues into the small garbage can by the door of the room and gather your underwear and pants to put back on. “mark, wherever he is, is probably gonna be back soon so i’m gonna head back to the living room now. thanks for- uh, that,” you don’t stay to hear his response and unlock the door to his room, quickly padding back over to the main living space and pressing play on the long paused movie.
you hope that your ignorance will make the guilt go away.
“we both did something terrible, i’ve acknowledged that. what i can’t understand is why you don’t seem to give a fuck. i’ve spent the past week pondering on how much of a shit girlfriend i am, hoping that you’ll call and tell me that what we did can never happen again and i’ve gotten nothing. i can’t be the only one of us who cares. do you not feel terrible about this? i couldn’t even look mark in the face while studying today and as far as i could see, you looked fine.” being yelled at by the girl he had sex with a week ago was not how haechan expected to be woken up.
“you think i don’t feel bad? mark and i have been friends since fucking middle school, of course i feel like shit. unlike you, i’m actually trying to keep him unaware of what happened instead of acting like a coward every time i’m around him. quit trying to make me the bad guy here, we both agreed to it and now we’re facing the consequences.” haechan’s words are venomous, and you know you’ve fucked up majorly. you’re both hurting and struggling to navigate relationships where mark’s trust was so disgustingly broken.
“i’m sorry. i know i shouldn’t be blaming all of this on you. i just really don’t want to lose mark, and i don’t want you to lose him either. i don’t know what to do, haechan,” your throat tightens as you speak, on the verge of tears.
“maybe i can come over. so we can talk about everything in person.”
“yeah, yeah. i’ll send you my address and you can just text me when you’re here.”
“i will.” without another word, he hangs up and you’re once again left with nothing but your own thoughts. especially the fact that you’re considering doing it all again.
this is how you fall in love
(s.h. x gender neutral!reader)
i. ii. iii.
i wrote a fic like this for george weasley and i got bored a wrote one for steve
it’s sucks for beware
TW: nightmare and talk of death
Steve's knuckles gripped the nailed baseball bat with fear. He didn't know where Dustin or anyone else had gone; he could only hear the faint sound of screams. Fog climbed up his leg like an animal climbing a tree.
His voice echoed off the imagery walls of his mind, and a piercing howl followed closely behind. He was going to die, he was confident in that, but he really didn't want to die alone. He didn't want Dustin to find his mangled body with blood seeping through his new polo. He didn't want Robin to beg him to walk up because they had a shift on Tuesday he couldn't miss. He didn't want Max to lose another brother; she didn't deserve that.
Steve always knew he would die alone; he just hoped he was wrong.
Steve always knew he would die alone; he just hoped he was wrong.
Steve always knew he would die alone; he just hoped he was wrong.
"Steve," the gentle voice made Steve panic more; since when could a Demogorgon talk?
His body bolted forward, the sweat sticking the butter-yellow sheets to his calves. Cold hands ghosted over his clammy figure, bringing him back to reality. The vintage dresser and vase of sunflowers reminded Steve of the life he had built. No Demogorgon in sight, and he was far from alone.
"Are you okay, sweets?" (Y/N) sat up fully, holding the sheets close to their chest as it rose and fell rapidly. With the wild hair and panic breathing, Steve wondered whether he was the one who actually had the nightmare or was it his sweet lover.
"Did I wake you up?" Steve swallowed the last scream, hoping to forget the panic moments ago.
"Do you need some tea? I can get the satin sheets. I know those always help when you sweat in your sleep," before Steve could answer, (Y/N) was falling out of bed. Their pantless form scurried across the carpeted floor, muttering under their breath.
Steve wished they'd stay in bed a few minutes longer because now he was alone again. His fingers rubbed the worry from his hair, which he sloppy cut all those years ago after reading an article at the doctor that hair could hold memories. He thought giving himself a horrible haircut would stop the nightmares, but they didn't, and he no longer had his perfect hair. He cried, rightfully sobbed, until (Y/N) came home and braided the choppy strains. He came home the next day with every hair product that promised fast growth.
The memory calmed Steve's nerves long enough to remove himself from the soft bedding and make his way through the apartment. The sound of dishes crashing to the floor made a smirking ghost over his strong jawline.
"Shit," (Y/N) stood in the center of a chaotic mess holding a steaming cup of coffee that was almost white from milk and sugar.
Just how he liked it.
"We really need to move those pans," Steve pointed to the pots and pans that hung over the island, which was a cute idea but with the way (Y/N) moved, it was a funeral waiting to happen, and he could lose them to a pot. He couldn't lose them, period.
"Go back to bed," (Y/N) ignored the comment, moving to grab a muffin that Nancy had dropped off a few days ago after Robin and her started watching a new cooking show.
"You first," Steve picked up the pans and other things that ended on the floor and took a seat on the mismatched barstools.
"You're the one having nightmares," they sighed, sitting beside him on the other barstool. He said nothing, looping his finger on the leg and dragging in so close Steve could hear their heartbeat through the thick band tee.
Steve felt tingles climb up his spine with a rush to his head. They knew he wasn't okay. It wasn't just the screaming and thrashing in his sleep; no, it was much more than that. It was Nancy and Robin conveniently finding the recipe for his favorite muffin. It was the guest room for when he needed someone who survived those attacks to be here in case he needed to talk. It was the fact there wasn't a baseball bat in the house, even if (Y/N) played in their free time.
This was pure, honest love, and Steve couldn't contain the emotions running around his cerebral cortex.
"I love you, you know?"
"I know; I love you."
Steve couldn't name the day or even the month it happened, but he watched (Y/N) 's eye bags watching him like the stars during a meteor shower, he knew.
This was falling in love, Steve Harrington was in love, and he was far from alone. It was his greatest fear since his junior year, hell, maybe even before then. He thought the upside down would take everything from him because he would let it. He wasn't strong enough to save everyone.
He let the upside-down win; even if he wasn't there, he shouldn't have done something. He was supposed to save everyone, and he couldn't, but sitting in the messy kitchen with the love of his life watching him so closely, he knew.
This was how he fell in love.
His knuckles, the same ones white from fear only moments earlier, now traced his lover's jaw. He saved himself for them without even knowing it.
"Thank you," he muttered softly as if the cabinets could hear the inanimate conversation.
"Don't thank me for loving you; just love me back," (Y/N) leaned closer to his touch, softly closing their eyes.
"I can do that," and he would forever.
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Since you are reading the older arcs, I feel like you have a better vantage point to talk about this: how do you feel Oda's pacing has changed over the years? I keep getting the sense that he's going through stuff faster than before but when I check the number of chapters for each arc, the later arcs are so much longer. I don't know if it's nostalgia but I feel like the older arcs might have been shorter but they felt really detailed and well paced.
I've actually thought about this quite a bit, and I'm convinced that the answer is in the edit.
There's a lot of factors to consider when considering this question. Firstly, the cast is much bigger now. A bigger crew requires more enemies for fights, and grander world-spanning stakes requires an equally grand second- and tertiary characters. This is an inherent problem with creating a world and story that's as big as One Piece's and Oda's hardly the only person who's ever struggled with it--Just ask fans of GRR Martin how they're holding up waiting for The Winds of Winter.
However, while some of the growth is necessary and expected, Oda's done himself no favors. The recent Road to Laugh Tale sketches show that the Red Scabbards started out with only four samurai. Personally I think five or seven would have been a better number, but just imagine how much shorter Wano would be with the samurai plot threads essentially cut in half. And, really, as cool as it was that Oda was able to sit down and come up with the Eleven Supernovas in an afternoon, once they're introduced into the story Oda has to do something with them. In one fell swoop Oda introduced nine plot lines that simply did not exist before the Sabaody Archipelago. He did the exact same thing when introducing the Seven Warlords, and while that's a cool group that definitely has a place within the world of One Piece, I understand Oda's grief when he says he wished he'd made it a smaller group.
But, what's done is done and having introduced all these characters Oda doesn't really have much choice but to use them. I think for the most part his handling of the Supernovas has been really good, weaving them within existing arcs, but not every group has been that successful. The absolutely best thing Oda could have done for his pacing is cut out a lot of the fluff and streamline the story as much as possible. That's not to say that there's not a place for character interaction and jokes, but its like finding steak with the right amount of fat. You want enough for some flavor, but not enough to ruin the cut.
And that just hasn't happened. I brought it up at the beginning of Water 7 about how tight the plotting is. Even a lot of the jokes and character interaction end up tying back into the themes and plot of the story itself. I distinctly remember a chapter early in Wano where a ton of pages were spent on a joke about Franky going from
place to place looking for blueprints to Orochi's mansion, and while it's a good joke in and of itself, it didn't do anything for the overarching story of Wano. Had Oda cut it, the story would have lost nothing and he could have used those pages on something more important. The same can be said about the cute fox story the tied into the weapon stores. It was cute and heartwarming, but the benefit to the overall story of Wano did not justify the page count Oda spent on it. And it's not just Wano, because there's no reason why everyone and their dog deserved flashbacks during Dressrosa, and Doflamingo definitely didn't need three.
That's the power of the edit. Working on a serialized schedule means editing works differently than someone making a second pass on a novel. You have to be ruthless when deciding what to cut and what to keep before anything's been drawn. Because as I've said before, making a comic is one of the least efficient ways to tell a story out there, and stupidly labor intensive even when working in black and white and using assistants.
Oda's also made several comments, more lately, about being ready for One Piece to be finished. He has a different mindset now 25 years later than a young man just starting out on his journey. I don't think the fandom appreciates just how much of his life he's given up to see this story through, the years he wasn't able to spend with his wife and children, days of little sleep cooped up in a room drawing on a grueling schedule known to kill people. That has an effect on the story itself. A person only has so much endurance, and while I'm sure Oda still loves One Piece you can definitely tell how the simple passing of time has affected how he's gone about writing it.
Hello, beautiful people! I wrote this one, like, two years ago? I migrated to a new blog so I'm transferring all my works here. Also, I'd love to be friends with y'all! Like, seriously, I need new internet friends :(
Anyway, here's the fic... Enjoy :)
MASTERLINK | TIP JAR
— in which Sakusa hated Valentine's Day until you came along.
part I ↣ part II
word count: 2.9k
A Sweet Way to Say I Love You
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.
As per your tradition, you were making chocolates to give to your friends.
You stood in the kitchen, an assortment of silicone molds perched on the counter. With precision, you measured different kinds of chocolate; milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate before melting them in the double boiler. You tweak the taste according to your own recipe, adding carefully-measured spices and essences.
Then, you carefully ladled the melted mixture into the silicone molds. Once they have completely set, you then wrapped them in wax paper before putting them in red and pink bags.
These bags were for your friends. Last year, during your first year of high school, you made it clear to them especially to the boys that you weren’t giving them chocolates because you liked them. You reiterated that it was only a symbol of platonic love.
You haven’t really given someone chocolates for a romantic reason.
However, someone caught your eye during your first year– Sakusa Kiyoomi. You were classmates with him last year but due to his quiet and distant personality, you found it hard to befriend him. If it weren’t for Komori, who was also your classmate, you wouldn’t even be able to talk to him.
You didn’t give Sakusa chocolates last year because the two of you weren’t exactly friends. Even though you had a crush on him, you still didn’t want to overstep your boundaries and give him gifts unprompted.
However, as you and Komori got closer in your second year (you were in the same class as him), you also got to hang around Sakusa sometimes when Komori invites the two of you to the cafeteria during lunch break, or when the three of you go snacking by the vending machines.
You and Sakusa still didn’t talk as much. He was naturally antisocial and you were the shy and awkward type. Komori just seemed to be the bridge between you two.
You planned to change that today. You were gonna give Sakusa chocolates to let him know you think of him as a friend.
You took out the red chocolate box you bought from the baking store and put the chocolates in the individual compartments inside. The difference between your friend’s bags and Sakusa’s fancy red box was prominent. You wondered if Sakusa would think you liked him because you put extra effort in his.
The next day came and you gave the bags of chocolates to your friends. You didn’t see Sakusa throughout the day. Somehow, you were starting to feel nervous. But why would you be? It’s not like you were gonna confess to him or anything of the sort. You were just gonna give him chocolates. It was no big deal.
When classes had ended and still no sign of Sakusa, you started to panic. You were hoping today would be the day you would finally make the first step to getting closer to him. After scanning the hallways and still not finding Sakusa, you finally gave up. You were about to go down the stairs when you saw a familiar mop of curly hair leaving the boy’s bathroom. You had practically ran to him with the box behind your back and upon hearing your footsteps, he turned around to look at you, confusion written in his face.
“Sakusa-kun, happy Valentine’s Day!” You greeted before handing him the box. “Here, I made this for you.”
Sakusa looked at the box, his eyebrow raised in curiosity. You didn’t wait for his response; you felt like he was gonna say something mean and blunt as he always did with his admirers.
And so, without letting him speak, you spun on your heels and walked away but not without a “See you later, Sakusa-kun!”
Yes, you kind of chickened out the last second. You wanted to say more to him, maybe pop in the question “Would you like to be friends?”. But as much as you wanted to get close to Sakusa, you were also afraid of rejection. You were aware, of course, of how cold he could get. You had witnessed multiple times how he talked to others using abrasive words designed to scare people away.
But you hoped the chocolates were enough to make him see that you wanted him as your friend.
After attending to your club duties, you decided to call it a day and go home. You were humming to yourself, thinking about whether or not Sakusa had tried your chocolates yet. Did he even like chocolates to begin with? What if he was allergic to them? This train of thought made you panic internally.
You had also heard by word of mouth that Sakusa hated receiving gifts. It was something his admirers made sure not to do. You were in no way an admirer of his– sure, you might have liked him a tiny bit but not enough for him to be branded as your crush – but you did give him a present on Valentine’s Day. What difference does that make?
You had considered this before and you just figured that maybe he just turned down the gifts from the girls he didn’t know? Maybe if it was from you, an acquaintance, he would accept it? As your thoughts started spiraling, you became more and more nervous.
Did you make a mistake by giving him a present?
Your question was answered when you had neared the gates. Something caught your eye perched on top of a trash can. You felt your stomach turning in sick realization when you took a further look at the object.
The red box still had the small pink bow on top. You felt your blood run cold as you reached for the box’s cover, lifting it slowly. You had an inkling that you would find the chocolates untouched. It was as if your negative thinking manifested this.
Sure enough, all twelve pieces were still in there. You blinked back the tears that were forming in your eyes. This pain residing in your heart was nothing like you had ever felt before.
You just got rejected and you didn’t even confess.
“Y/N-chan!” Komori walked over to your desk the next day when lunch break had started.
“Thanks for the chocolates. They were really good! I hope you give me some next year too.”
You smiled. “You’re welcome, Motoya. And don’t worry, I’ll give you more next year, I promise.”
You had pushed away the thought of Sakusa up to this point. You convinced yourself that it wasn’t worth getting sad for– that kind of rejection was expected of Sakusa Kiyoomi. Maybe the two of you weren’t cut out to be friends after all– and this small crush you were harboring for him should die down soon enough.
You were doing a very good job of not thinking about Sakusa but Komori continued talking.
“So, Omi told me you also gave him chocolates yesterday.” Your heart pounded against your chest. You honestly didn’t want to talk about Sakusa now.
“I did. I-I’m sorry if I overstepped my boundaries.” Knowing the fact that Sakusa didn’t accept your present, you were apologetic by default.
Komori’s eyes widened, shaking his head. “Oh, no, don’t worry! He liked them very much.”
You narrowed your eyes at him. Why was he lying? Why did Komori feel the need to make you feel better?
You pushed the thought away and smiled instead. “I’m glad to hear that.”
Your second year of high school came to an end. What happened during Valentine’s Day was now forgotten. Throughout the remaining days of your second year, you still had lunch with Sakusa and Komori, still studied with them in the library during exam season. You still wanted Sakusa to be your friend but you knew he didn’t share the same sentiments so you abandoned all efforts to get close to him.
Now, everything has changed. You only spoke to him when necessary. You didn’t greet him in the hallway anymore if he wasn’t with his cousin. You treated him as a mere acquaintance because that was all he was ever gonna be.
However, despite your efforts at keeping your distance from him, your feelings for Sakusa somehow deepened. Maybe it was because you were placed in the same class as him during your third year, or maybe it was because he seemed to be talking to you more than he did last year. Ironically enough, the two of you had gotten closer. You weren’t sure how– it just happened.
Before you knew it, you were going to all their games on the pretense that you were supporting your friend Komori when in reality, you were fascinated with their ace spiker.
You couldn’t deny your infatuation on him grew into admiration. It was with fear and slight annoyance with yourself did you accept this fact.
The months rolled by quite quickly and in a blink of an eye, February was already here. The third years were excited for this year’s Valentine’s Day because it would be the last they spent in this campus. For days, your classroom buzzed with anticipation, almost all of them planning out parties and hang outs. You got invited to some of them but you declined. You weren’t really a party person to begin with.
When the day before Valentine’s arrived, you shopped in your favorite baking store to buy ingredients for your chocolates. Once you were done, you decided to buy decorative bags in the souvenir shop which was right next to where you were.
Upon entering the establishment, the first thing you noticed was the faint scent of sandalwood – something that you associate with none other than a certain someone. Then, when you walked to the stationary aisle, you saw that certain someone standing by the cashier.
Sakusa had his back on you but you were able to see the panda plushie he was holding.
Your heart dropped. Tomorrow would be Valentine’s Day. You didn’t have to be a genius to know that Sakusa was buying that plushie as a present for someone. There was an unpleasant churning in your stomach. You would never admit it but you were jealous of the nameless girl he was gonna give the plushie to.
What a lucky girl.
Sakusa paid the cashier, sanitized his hands, and left the store. He didn’t see you hiding in the corner which you were thankful for.
That night, you filled the bags you bought from the souvenir shop with your chocolates. There was one bag that lay forgotten on the counter; it was supposed to be where you would put Sakusa’s chocolates. Despite him throwing away your chocolates last year, you still wanted to give him some for this year. However, you changed your mind when you saw him buying a present for someone earlier. Perhaps it would be better if you just stopped whatever this was you were feeling. He wasn’t even your friend, why would you even bother? Plus, he was already pursuing someone else.
You came to school that day with your tote bag filled with bags of chocolates, every single one of them with a written note from you.
When lunch time commenced, you started giving away your chocolates. You started with your friends who weren’t in your classroom. You even gave some to your favorite teachers. When only a few bags were left, you returned to your homeroom where the rest of the chocolates would be given away.
“Y/N-chan, I thought you’ve forgotten about me!” Komori almost whined when you gave him his chocolates. You giggled and told him that you had put extra just for him. Komori surprised you by giving you a bear hug.
Unbeknownst to you, Sakusa was watching the whole scene in front of him, his mask-covered face not hiding the way his eyebrows knitted.
Once the last bag of chocolates has been given away, you felt eyes on you. You looked at Sakusa and found that he had his head down, eyes trained on the book he was reading. You suddenly felt guilty. You wanted to give him chocolates, you really did, but you knew how much he hated presents. To be frank, last year’s Valentine’s Day just served as a bitter lesson for you.
Komori, who was now munching on his chocolates, noticed how you clutched the now empty tote bag. He nudged you on the shoulder.
“Did you give Omi chocolates?” His voice barely above a whisper, not wanting anyone to overhear.
You shook your head, a silent “No.” leaving your lips. Komori looked like he was about to question you but he kept his mouth shut.
Lunch time ended and the afternoon period started. Concentrating on class was really hard especially since you could see Sakusa looking at you in your peripherals. You could never really guess what he was thinking. So, when you met his gaze, you had no idea what those solemn eyes of his were trying to convey. He was unreadable as always.
When the last class ended, you were putting your stuff in your bag when someone walked to your desk. You looked up to see one of your classmates with his friends behind him. His face was red and he was holding a rose in one hand and a boxed pastry in the other.
“L/N, these are for you.” He said sheepishly and you stood up from your seat to accept his gifts. You smiled brightly, saying your thanks which made him burn even redder. His friends were snickering teasingly behind him.
The boy then said that he liked you for quite some time now and asked if you would be willing to go out with him. You rejected him as gently as you could, though not without saying that you were flattered he thought of you that way. When the boy and his friends left the classroom in defeat, you let out a sigh you didn’t know you were holding.
It was then when you saw Sakusa staring at you. He was still sitting by his desk even if your classmates were now dispersing out of the room.
Your eyes found Komori who was now by the door, school bag slung over his shoulder. He was smirking at his cousin, mouthing something at him. Komori finally left, leaving you alone with Sakusa.
You felt it; the awkwardness. So, you finished packing your stuff up and headed for the door.
You whip your head around.
“You didn’t give me chocolates.” You heard Sakusa stand up from his seat, hands shoved in his jacket pocket.
You blinked stupidly at him. “I didn’t know you liked chocolates.”
There was bitterness in your tone. The memory of the red box in the trash flashing in your mind.
“I don’t.” He was now looming in front of you, his bag slung over his shoulder. “But I don’t mind if it’s from you.”
He didn’t have his mask on as of the moment and you stared at his face, something that you found yourself doing more frequently.
“Sorry, I didn’t give you any.” You mumbled and suddenly, the grudge you briefly held for him came rushing back. “I didn’t want them to go to waste.”
He looked confused, his handsome face twisted in thought.
“You threw them away last year, so I thought you didn’t want them.” You continued, eyes cast down.
“Sorry about that.” You heard Sakusa say after a moment of silence. “I’m not really comfortable with the concept of presents.”
You couldn’t stop yourself from asking you next question. “Did you give someone a present today, Sakusa-kun?”
You knew the answer– he probably had already given that panda plushie to whoever he liked. Something clenched at your heart at the thought.
“Oh?” You tilted your head, intrigued.
“I don’t know if she likes me back.” His voice was barely above a whisper and you wouldn’t have heard if you weren’t paying attention.
“That doesn’t really matter, does it?” You said, smiling.
Sakusa furrowed his brows. “What makes you say that?”
“I believe what makes presents special is the fact that you’re willing to give without getting anything in return.” You look up at him, butterflies erupting in your stomach when you saw him meeting your gaze. "If you think this girl is worth it, I think you should go for it."
You hadn’t really seen Sakusa smile fully. Aside from always wearing a mask, he was notoriously hard to please. This is why your heart fluttered wildly as you saw Sakusa smile at this very moment, his eyes crinkling at the sides, his cheeks dimpling slightly. You took a mental image of this, wanting to imprint this moment in your mind forever.
“I see.” His smile relaxed a bit but you were aware of the glint in his eyes.
Sakusa then reached for his bag, opening the zipper in one fluid motion. You stare, curiously as he rummaged inside. When you saw the object he took from his bag, you almost fainted on the spot.
“Here you go, then.” The panda plushie in his hand was smiling as Sakusa held it out for you.
With shaking hands, you took the plushie. Your insides were doing a weird somersault. Your ears were ringing and you could have sworn time stopped then and there.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, L/N.”
Sakusa gave your head a gentle pat before heading for the door. Dumbfounded, you stared at the panda in your hands. You didn’t notice it before but as you looked closer, you saw something embroidered on its chest in pink thread – a simple sentence that almost stole your breath away:
“I love you.”
A completely Original Story (1)
Steve harrington x Tozier!reader
Summary: You've all read it 100 times before. Boy meets girl- they fall in love- fight inter-dimensional monsters together- Oh wait... (An IT/Stranger things cross-over in 2022? More likely than you'd think)
Word count: 1k
She was trying to stop it.
That was the whole reason they were down here in the first place right?
To end the horror, the bloodbath that would happen every thirty years or so?
They had gotten separated at some point, Bill, Bev and Stan were with her and she had no idea where the others are.
“We have to find them!” Stan said, all but crying.
“I know Stanley. But first, we need to figure out where we are,” She replied, pulling them down another tunnel as the sound of a little girl giggling. “Just trust me okay?” she whispered that last part.
The four waited in the side tunnel until IT was gone.
“What the fuck is that?” Bev gasped, moving forward eyes trained on something she couldn’t quite see.
“Beverly, we don’t walk towards mysterious things,” Y/n said, trailing after the younger girl.
The group stopped, standing horrified at the sight before them.
Whatever this ‘thing’ was, it looked like it was alive. A dull red light was emitting from it.
“Wh-what do you think i-it is?” Bill questioned, eyes staring at it unblinkingly.
Y/n pushed the kids behind her, bringing up the metal rod from her side and pushing it through. She almost vomited at the wet squelching sound that came from it. When she pulled it back they all audibly gagged at the slimy mucus that clung to the rod.
“Oh my god!” Y/n gagged.
“What the fuck is it?” Stan asked.
“I don’t know but I think-” against her better judgment Y/n stuck her arm into it. She shivered at the sensation. “I think it’s a door or something.”
They stayed silent as y/n pulled her arm out.
“How do we know it’s not another one of IT’s tricks?” Bev questioned.
“I mean, I still have my arm so like.”
They watched the older girl, obviously unconvinced. She knew there was no reason for her to want to go through this ‘thing’, but there was something in the back of her mind that was yelling at her to go through, just to see what would happen.
Maybe she should get some better impulse control.
She was jerked from her thoughts by the sound of the clown calling for them.
“I can smell you,” Its voice rang through the tunnels, now closer than it had been. “You can’t run forever.”
“Shit!” Stan called, Y/n huddled the three kids behind her.
“Okay,” Y/n whispered, “Follow after me.” She made her way towards the thing and shimmied her body through, suppressing her gags as the slime covered her body, pulling the kids through as well, just in time to see IT founding the corner, Sharp teeth bore claws out.
She braced herself onslaught that she knew was inevitable, yet it never came. She watched in horror as the thing closed up.
“Great, now we’re trapped in here.” Stan announced, turning to y/n “This is why we don’t listen to anyone with the last name Tozier.”
“Shut up Uris,” Y/n snapped at the younger boy, turning away from the wall in search of literally anything to help. “I’ll figure something out okay.”
As she scanned the surroundings she quickly realised that they were not in the sewers of Derry anymore.
“Oh shit,” She said, walking to the edge of the forest line and towards a junkyard. “Where the fuck are we?”
“Not in Kansas anymore, that’s for sure,” Beverly spoke, stopping beside her.
This place looked oddly familiar to her, but there was something off. It was like someone had put a filter on the world, but the world had also been sitting in grandma's attic for six decades.
“Y/n, look,” Bill pointed towards the pile of metal where a dull red light was being emitted.
They all knelt around the fleshy mound, the sound of muffled birds could be heard from the other side.
“Do you think this will get us out?” Stan asked.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Y/n said, stabbing the membrane with her metal rod to create a hole. “Ladies first.” She said, turning to Beverly.
She scrunched her face up at the older girl's words.
“Age before beauty.” Bev shot back.
Y/n shrugged, pushing her arms through. She couldn’t help the horrifying thought that she was being birthed once more. She was covered in slime and dirt, but she was on the other side and the other side was bright and less dusty.
“Come on guys,” She called, pushing her hand through to help the others out. It was more of a struggle this time as gravity was not on their side this time around.
By the time all four of them were safely out the other side, everyone was slimy and dirty.
“Wh-what now?” Bill questioned.
y/n paused. That was a good question.
She looked around the junkyard, there was something so familiar about this place that she just couldn’t place her finger on. Until it clicked.
“Holy shit!” She called, realising where they were.
She ran over to the bus, crouching down and moving some overgrown grass to the side to expose some messy writing.
Richie waz here ‘80
“What’s going on?” Stan called.
y/n stood up, a grin plastered on her face.
“I know where we are!” She called, gesturing for the kids to follow her as she began running back into the forest. “There’s a payphone around here somewhere. Does anyone have a quarter?” She asked, ducking and weaving through the overgrown brush. They were spat out right near a highway.
“Y/n what’s happening?” Beverly asked, evidently distraught.
“Okay, I don’t know how we got here or what the fuck that thing was. But we’re in Hawkins, and i know that because I’ve spent more summers at that junkyard than at my own house. Which means my cousins should be here, which means we can get some help.” she announced, stopping infront of the payphone.
“Cough up.” She said, presenting the children her palm. They each handed her a quarter.
She put the quarters into the phone and dialed the familiar phone number.
It rang once…
“Hello?” came the familiar voice of her cousin.
She could have cried tears of joy at the sound.
“Nancy? Holy shit you have no idea how happy I am to hear your voice.”
“Y/n? What’s wrong?”
“You’re never going to believe me-” She began.
ten years (e.m)
pairing: eddie munson x fem!reader
summary: y/n breaks things off with eddie
I've been obsessed with this song and decided to write a loosely based one-shot. I hope you enjoy it, as this is my first time posting anything I've written.
word count: 1.3k
"It's funny 'cause I've always dreamed of me & you, now here we are, staring at the stars." Y/n breathed out after what seemed like an eternity of silence for Eddie.
"You just broke my heart even though you promised you'd never do that from the start… but I guess we can only make it so far."
"No, please, y/n it wasn't what it looked like I-"
"Look, time wasn't in our favor. This isn't goodbye, this is simply see you later." Y/n chokes out, sitting up from her spot on Eddie's van floor.
"Y/n. princess. Please don't do this. She meant nothing." Eddie pleaded, clutching onto her shirt.
"Let me know when it's time to come back. Maybe when your life is on track and you don't have to hesitate."
"Hopefully, it isn't too late," Eddie mutters tearfully.
"Luckily for you, I'm patient. I'm okay with your making me wait, and as long as you're near, I'll be here." Y/n says standing at the back of Eddie's van, wiping away the stray tears.
"Even if it takes ten years?"
*1 year later*
"Hey Dustin, Mike!" Y/n called, jogging to catch up to the pair.
"Hey y/n!" Dustin called excitedly, nudging mike who just nodded in response.
"Did you guys want to hang out tonight? I could order a pizza!" Y/n asked hopefully.
" We actually have the finale to our campaign with Eddie," Mike finally spoke, trailing off at the mention of Eddie.
"But we need a sub for Lucas! He has his championship game tonight!" Dustin cut in.
" I don't think so dustbin. It doesn't sound like the best-"
"It's been a year y/n. Just think about it. Please?" Mike said, cutting y/n's sentence short.
"I'll think about it. No promises Wheeler."
"I can't believe you're actually going to go to the campaign! Eddie freaking Munson's campaign!" Robin exclaimed in disbelief, Steve nodding in agreement.
"It is one night and I'm only going for the kids!" Y/n said pointedly, pulling her old hellfire shirt out of its box.
"Just be safe and please promise me that you'll call if anything is wrong," Steve said, looking at y/n sternly.
"I promise, dad," Y/n said, holding her pinky up.
"Thank you y/n! thank you, thank you!" Dustin yelled, getting onto his knees dramatically.
"We really owe you one y/n. Eddie was going to kill us if we didn't find a sub." Mike added with a smile.
"That you do, Wheeler, but I have a feeling he's going to want to kill you more once he finds out who the sub is," Y/n said as the three of them made their way to the clubroom.
As the door opened, there was silence except for the soft sound of Eddie's music playing over the speakers.
"Absolutely not," Eddie stated with an icy demeanor as his eyes met hers.
" You asked for a sub and we delivered!" Mike said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"A damn good one at that!" Dustin added with a nod, making Eddie furrow his brow in annoyance.
Because let's face it - Dustin was right and everyone knew it. Especially Eddie. He was the one who taught her, for christ's sake.
"Are we going to sit here and chit-chat all night or are we gonna play Eds?" Y/n spoke up, making Eddie look back to her, expression still hard.
"Let's see if you still have what it takes, sweetheart." Eddie bit, holding his hands out towards the empty chairs, making y/n's heart flutter slightly.
"Bada bada boom!" Dustin giggled when y/n rolled a 20 draining Vecna completely.
"I didn't think you still had it in you y/n," Gareth spoke as he made his way out of the room with the rest of the club members, leaving y/n and Eddie behind.
"How are you and Steve "the hair" Harrington?" Eddie says, jealousy dripping in every word.
"I'm not with Steve for the one-hundredth time, because I can't fall in love when I already found the one. how am I supposed to move on?" Y/n said, her eyes finally making their way into Eddie's shocked ones.
"The memories won't go away. I feel pain every time I hear your name. But I always think of you the same." y/n added, wiping away a stray tear.
"It's time to come back. I promise my life is on track," Eddie speaks up softly, making his way towards y/n.
"I never meant to hurt you. What Chrissy and I did meant nothing to me and I'm sorry I didn't realize that what I wanted was right in front of me the entire time." Eddie said, pulling her into his chest.
"You broke me Eds. You crushed me when I saw you two in the woods." Y/n said with a soft sob.
"I know, princess. I'm so sorry, I've cursed myself every single day since. If there is anything I can do. Please, please tell me." Eddie said, cupping y/n's face in both of his hands.
"I sure will Eds. it's going to take a lot for me to trust you." Y/n said, leaning her face more into Eddie's grasp.
"I completely understand. How about we go back to mine?" He suggests quietly, moving from his spot.
"I would love that,"
"You still haven't changed this place one bit." Y/n laughed quietly, plopping herself onto Eddie's bed.
"Not at all. Didn't want you to forget where anything was." He mumbled with a smile, pulling her to his side when he sat.
"Did you know that I was made for loving you, baby?" Eddie spoke, hugging y/n tighter.
"You are not quoting KISS to me right now," Y/n said in a fit of giggles.
"And if I was?" Eddie challenged with a raised brow, looking down at her.
"Well, I might just have to marry you," Y/n said, making Eddie's eyes glimmer.
"Then do it. Marry me."
"You're joking Eds. We can't." Y/n spoke up, sitting up from her spot on the bed.
"As serious as a heart attack. Marry me y/f/n y/l/n." Eddie pleaded quietly, sitting up with her.
"Baby steps Ed. I'm not saying no, just not now." Y/n mumbled, running her fingers through his hair earning an appreciative hum.
" Give me a timeline, sweetheart,"
"I don't know! I-" Y/n started to answer before being cut short by the phone ringing.
"I got it. you stay your pretty self right here." Eddie said, walking towards the phone.
"… Hey Harrington!" Eddie spoke into the phone, making y/n perk up.
Y/n starts to move off the bed, earning a look of disapproval from Eddie.
"Yeah man, she's right here." He mumbled, holding the phone out to her.
"Y/n. you scared the shit out of me kid!" Steve said frantically into the phone.
"I'm sorry Steve, truly. I lost track of time when Eddie and I got to talking, then we came back to his." Y/n spoke quickly, not tearing her eyes away from her feet.
"As long as you're okay, that's all that matters. Do you need me to come to get you?" He sighed into the phone, making y/n look up to Eddie's concerned gaze.
Y/n shook her head before responding quickly. "No dad, I'm okay. I promise that I will give you a call if anything changes, though."
As y/n and Steve bid their goodbyes, Eddie starts to make his way closer to y/n.
"You're staying?" Eddie asks softly, barely reaching out for her.
"As long as you'll have me, Mr. Munson," Y/n said, closing the gap between the two of them.
" I want you forever."
"I'm glad it didn't take you ten years."
Happy Very Late Birthday @maydayaisha!!!
⚠️Content Warning ⚠️: brat taming, ass slapping, back shots, oral, food play, spit play, hair pulling, make up sex, mating press, riding (tf idk), breeding, choking, nipple play, threesome, foursome, humiliation, size kink, cnc kink
Why? Was the only thing going through your head at the moment as your whole body was trembling from fear? Why did such things have to go the way they did, today? Out of all days really? You don’t really do anything on your birthday instead of staying in the comfort of your lovers, but it seemed they wanted to try something different. Wanting you to step out of your comfort zone a bit which went all the way downhill. One of the many reasons you don’t leave the house unless necessary is because one you have social anxiety, two you're a very awkward person and if you were to ever play back a conversation that more than likely happened just 2 minutes ago you would have a panic attack from secondhand embarrassment. Three, you just don’t like people, like at all.
Even when your lovers were first crushing on you, you avoided them for a whole 2 years before finally giving in. You basically grew up around them but never talked to them face to face verbally, you were friends with all the same people but never communicated. You most definitely noticed one another tho.
And tonight, was most definitely no different. One of your friends decided to bring their stepsister along and she basically flirted with your lovers in front of you. Trust me if it were any other girl in your position, they would act the same way so needless to say you don’t know why you were the one in trouble just because she’s now mysteriously in the hospital. You have every right to be jealous and just because you don’t fuck with nobody doesn’t mean you won’t hesitate to put your hands on anyone who disrespect you in front of your face. Hell, your friend wasn’t even mad when you put your hands on their ‘sister’.
So, if nobody was bothered with the situation that took place, why were they? Your body switched from trembling in fear to frustration. Once Draken pulled up into the driveway you opened the car door and slammed it close. And when I say slam, I mean slam bitch. And made a straight line into the house slamming that door close as well. Draken just tapped the pads of his fingers on the steering wheel, y’know just to calm down just a bit. But it seems the other two men in the back seat weren’t as calm as him. As they quickly got out the car slammed the car door also but a lot harder since they were obviously stronger and made a bee line inside the house. Draken sat there in silence before sniffling was heard, “My precious car…..”.
Meanwhile inside the house you grabbed your laptop and headed straight to your room locking the door behind you. Already knowing what you were in for, but you weren't with the bullshit right now. To you this situation wasn’t something that could be easily fixed with just sex. No this is a situation that needs to be fixed with anything but sex. And it seemed you knew that for sure but the other three they didn’t. To them you were acting like a brat the whole time. They’re not saying what you did was bad but sending someone to the hospital just for that was kind of, over the top.
Twisting the knob just to find out the door was locked causing South to drag a hand over his face before taking a deep breath. “Y/N open the door” he asked calmly as the two waited in silence before hearing a stern and annoyed ‘no’. South, completely ignoring your response, continued to eagerly jiggle the doorknob, desperately trying to open the door. It was a matter of time before he stepped aside letting Taiju pound on the door demanding you to unlock the door which just fell upon death ears. As the overpowering sound of c/a playing. (comfort/ anime or sum shit)
You only perked up to listen when a soft knock was heard from the other side of the door and a low voice spoke, “Y/N baby would you please open the door so we could talk? Cuz your body might depend on it”. He muttered the last bits to himself noticing both South and Taiju beginning to become sexually frustrated. You continued to ignore them. It seems as if they can only think with their dicks at this point. “Fuck off even if I do unlock the door all your gonna do is think with your dick and not your heads”. With that Draken pulled away from the door with an offended look on his face. South and Taiju he can obviously see that but him?!? Scoffing he led both out the house, maybe if you cool down a bit then you all can talk about the situation that took place.
After hearing their footsteps, you nodded your head as soon as you heard the door close. “Dickheads”.
After peacefully going to sleep knowing they wouldn’t try anything you were startled out of your sleep once you felt someone push your head into the pillow. “What the fu- ahhh!” you shoved your face into the pillow as a loud moan ripped from your throat. You then felt huge hands grip your waist tightly as you felt them lift your lower body up.
“W-wait wha-”“You really think we were gonna let you off the hook just like that pretty?”. You can almost hear the smirk in Souths gruff voice, and you couldn’t even be surprised as you felt him repeatedly punch your cervix. “South what are you- ugh! Slow down, you're going too fast!” you didn’t get a chance to clear your throat since you were awakened out of your sleep from South’s deadly thrust. Your body betraying your mind as your brain was still waking, you can easily tell from the wet sounds coming from in between your legs. You felt too weak to try to object from South’s gestures leading you to soon give up and to just give in. Reaching his hand forward he grabbed you by your throat just to pull you back, forcing your mouth open, and letting his spit fall inside.
“Good fucking girl, you enjoying this shit aren’t you” seeing that you happily accepted the gift, moaning as you did so. You felt a sting to your ass as you saw his gaze harden, “I asked you a question and I expect for it to be answered!” You nodded as much as you could with a whimper falling from your two-toned lips as you did so. Feeling satisfied he let go of your throat. Your upper body falling forward into the pillow as you felt specks of tears line up against your lash line. “Aww look she’s finna cry” hearing Taiju cackle out loud caused you to jump a bit not noticing his presence in the room. But it seems when you jump it leads South’s tip directly to your cervix opening.
A broken cry echoed in the room as both Draken’s and Taiju’s cocked twitched in their pants. You even felt South’s cock twitch inside you also, but at least you knew all the sleep officially had left your body.
South had a harsh grip on your hips once he felt you try to meet his impossible thrusts, but you were able to manage. You felt your lip beginning to bleed the sex was so painful, l yet it felt so good, fuck! Feeling your arousal escape your pussy and drooling in between your thighs you shivered. And it seemed South did also when feeling you tighten around him making him shiver also before having no choice but to release deep inside you. With once more thrust he exploded inside you. You gasped because you felt his tip go way past your cervix and into your womb. Your legs shook as he pulled out all three of the men in the room letting out a deep grown watching as some of the cum began pulling out.
You felt someone pull you up as they sat you on their lap instantly placing your hand on their chest noticing the familiar chest tattoo’d words, you internally prayed that maybe Taiju would take it easy on you. Maybe. He took his cock into his hand before slapping it against your pussy. You let out a frustrated whine causing him to snicker. He placed the tip into your hole before slamming you down forcing you to take every inch to which you arched your back letting out a silent scream. Your gummy walls kept clenching around Taiju trying to get used to his size from his rough intrusion.
With his hands on your hips, he moved you back and forth over his crotch as you tried to move yourself up and down on his cock. Too impatient to take things slow only wanting an orgasm. “Oh, looks like someone’s needy” he smirks as he examines the way you helplessly bounce yourself up and down on his cock. Every few bounces your juices would go flying as little wet sounds follow up behind.
You through your head back looking at the ceiling as it had some light to it from the lightly lit sky that's peeking through the curtains. You feel your vision begin to get blurry as you start to enter a daze.
Some would say you look like a whore right now and you probably do, but from the look of adoration from the other people in the room told you otherwise. You let a groan erupt from your lips as your clit kept making contact with Taiju’s trimmed pelvis. That was now beginning to get soaked. Him taking notice of that started to meet your thrust while rubbing tight circles on it. Draken saw how you started to slow down and how your legs began to tremble. To which caused a loud smack echo throughout the room followed by a yelp. The guys always seem to misunderstand their strength when it comes to you, to them it feels as if they use barely any energy. But to you it feels as if you just spanked or slapped, and you end up being thrown through 5 houses.
Your ass ripples from the impact of the hard slap that had an immediate mark showing. “Pick up the pace princess, we don’t have time for your slacking” your face showed a clear look of frustration as you tried to move but you just couldn’t. More tears rimmed your lash line as you tried to find the strength before pathetically shaking your head. Letting out a sigh Taiju hands grabbed your ass before slamming down on his cock the action of course catching you by surprise led you to falling forward onto his chest.
You let little mewls escape from you as you hid your face in Taiju’s tattooed chest as he had a very flustered yet very concentrated look on his face. His pants loud from feeling as if the temperature in the room rose. Letting out a hiss from the way your nails were scratching his bicep from the intense pleasure as well as a burning sensation from his peck. But that was before you clenched causing a choked moan to escape him as a loud muffled cry came from you before feeling yourself squirt, leaving a white ring around the base of his cock. Throwing his head back as he spilled himself inside you while you let out strained moans at the feeling of being stuffed.
Pulling away from his chest a string of drools connects from your mouth to Taiju’s chest where it showed a bite mark there. You let out a loud whine knowing that Draken is still left. It’s probably midnight, you just wanted to sleep! You rolled onto the edge of the bed with your heavily exhausted body but unfortunately when you stopped it was in front of Draken.
A pride filled grin took his face already knowing that he was going to ruin you for sure. You can tell from the way he ordered South to leave the room for something before turning back to you.
Seeing his eyes swirl with nothing but lust and obsession. He grabbed your ankle planting kisses here and there on your calf. As he placed it over his shoulders, you whimpered as the wind from outside had swished the curtain open. Not just from feeling the cold breeze hit your pussy but from the way it peeked through Draken’s figure. It made him look powerful and scary.
He could also tell from the way your body began trembling, “wow gorgeous trembling already? All I did was give you a few kisses. The real thing hasn’t even started yet”. If you weren’t so drained, you swore you would have kicked them in the face. You felt something begin to slam inside you before you let a war cry. “Mhm shit! Fuck!” You claw at the sheets desperately trying to find something to grip onto. A shiver went up your spine as you felt the outline of his dick from the way it was squashed in your walls.
You had a good grip on him so good it had him shake a bit but maybe that was just the adrenaline pumping. The bed creaked with both of your movements. Draken’s hand slowly moved up your body until your plush boob was in his hand. Groping it until your nipples were hard enough. Leaning down as he licked one nipple before pulling the other. Your head falling into the comforter as the tears finally broke free and were now streaming down your face.
While you were too busy trying to control you didn’t notice the fact South had finally arrived back at the room with something in his hand. Handing it to Draken, he opened it before displaying it over your titties. A large amount of air entered your lungs as you let out a large gasp, looking down you saw there was whipped cream on your chest. You shivered cuz you remember the guys sometimes like to keep their whip cream in the freezer. (don’t do that idk what happens if it freezes or not but don't try it) Draken leans down once again to make out with your left nipples licking the whip cream off. It seems South had the same idea as he attacked your other nipple. You let out a cry out when South flicked your now sensitive, freezing cold nipple.
Getting annoyed with your whining even more, Taiju wrapped his hand around your throat before smashing his lips to yours. But it didn’t stop there when Draken snapped his hips to yours as he peppered kisses onto your neck. South was able to snake his hand between you and Draken. And all it took was a hard slap to your clit that had your back arching as all blissful feelings possible washed through your body. “Breed me please!!” was what you struggled to yell with Taiju swallowing you while you had one hand tangled in Draken’s hair and the other in Taiju’s. Urging him further into the sloppy kiss your both were sharing. Hearing a painful hiss and groans as you felt teeth clamp down on your neck before Draken spilling a big fat load into you. And he didn't move until every last drop was out of him.
“Shit baby you're milking me here” letting out a breathy moan as he carefully tried pulling out as you were still clenched tightly onto him. You let out a tired sigh once Taiju finally moved from your face to planting kisses onto your jaw. South trailed kisses until he stopped next to your ear. “If you can’t see that we’re yours then you’ll see in a couple of weeks that we are”.
And in a couple of weeks you did, you were pregnant with triplets.
Tag List 🏷️: @maydayaisha @happygoluckyalexis @whatdidhesayyyy @nalyana @mastermindenoshimaalicia
3 red flags in men? 🚩
He’s had way too many different jobs or careers.
One of the first red flags I was told to look out for is if a man has had too many jobs or he has a history of not being able to stay in the same job for too long. It’s not normal for men to have had 18 different jobs within one calendar year, it’s the first sign that he either is an issue or he has issues. Each and every single one of the men who I’ve been out with who’ve had issues getting a position and then keeping it have had anger issues, they’ve had to move around or have been promoted/demoted, shuffled into different departments, or outright fired because they have a history of exploding at their colleagues and treating their subordinates terribly and the fact that they’ve had so many different jobs has been a sign that they’re unstable, a liability in their workplace, and can’t get along with anyone at all.
I will say that there’s a huge difference between having multiple different jobs within the same company and being promoted, if his company can’t or won’t fire him but has settled on constantly moving him around because he’s impossible to get along with then that’s a red flag but if he’s had multiple promotions to higher paying positions within the same company, that’s not as much of a waving red flag but some companies will promote men who have had complaints about them no matter what, it’s to appease them and make the workplace keep moving forward, no matter what’s happened. Speaking from personal experience, the majority of workplaces will protect their male employees and throw everyone else straight to the wolves, it’s not normal for a man to have had so many jobs in one career field that he’s forced to switch jobs again or completely revamp and change his career.
Men who just can’t pull it together or who just won’t.
There is nothing more annoying to me than a man who can’t pull it together and who weaponises his incompetence. It’s peeving, it’s useless behaviour, and it puts me in a place that I do not want to be in. Any relationship where a man chooses to be incompetent and sit back and forces his girlfriend to take the reins and deal with the dark stuff is not a relationship that I want to be in, if a man waits to act until the last minute then he’s not the man for me and this is his way of showing me that he’s not a responsible adult, he’s a man child who’s trying to string letters together until he somehow manages to make a word out of the mess. There’s nothing worse than entering a relationship and thinking that you’ll have peace only to find that the man you’re with misled you and expects to be babysat.
One of my favourite memories regarding a man like this happened a few years ago when a friend of mine was getting married, she was 20, he was 24, I was 16 and a junior bridesmaid. We all knew that the wedding shouldn’t go forward but no one wanted to be the person to say it to her face and so we just kept quiet and kept supporting her hoping that she’d see that he needed his mommy, not a wife. He waited until less than 2 hours before the ceremony to come to us with the booklets for the wedding that the bridesmaids were supposed to be passing out and he told us that he didn’t know how to fit them out and so all of the bridesmaids and the mother of the bride all sat on the ground with the bride whilst she cried and we tried to cut out booklets, fold them, and get them right for the wedding. She had her marriage annulled after less than a month and we don’t talk about that relationship now.
Men who take a ‘holier than thou’ stance to harm their partner or to insult women.
I detest men with a holier than thou attitude and I’ll never spend my time with one again. I have no interest in being put down and degraded by someone who’s supposed to love me and treat me as I should be treated and who overlooks my kindness and love for them or takes me for granted. I don’t have the time for that, I’m not interested in men who think that the religion card is an okay card to pull when things aren’t going their way, and I’m not interested in being degraded in the name of God or whatever. I spent so many bits and pieces of my teenage years with men like this and being able to open my eyes to their manipulation has made my twenties so much better.
I’ve done a lot of shit in my life that does not align with the bible and I’m not afraid to admit that, I’m not Christian but I’ve done what I wanted and I’ve done what I had to do and I’m happy to say that I wouldn’t change a thing and it’s not feasible for me to go back in time and tell myself that I have to get on a different path. The one thing I’ll never tolerate is a man who has looked for me and sought me out for these purposes and then who turns on me with a holier than thou attitude the second me start to disagree. There’s nothing more disgusting than a man who turns on a woman and becomes made in the image of godliness after he’s gotten what he wants just to shame her and I think it’s pathetic when men pull the religious card when things aren’t going their way and they feel like super low blows are the easiest way to punish their significant other and win the argument they’re losing.
(gif taken from actualstancytrash)
I just wanted to take a moment to talk about this scene.
When Barb goes missing in season 1, Nancy goes to Steve for help. Steve's reaction to this is poor. He dismisses her concerns and is more worried about getting in trouble with his parents than about her friend. Steve later apologises for this, but he doesn't offer to help her investigate, instead suggesting they go to a movie to take her mind off it.
One year later, in season 2, when her guilt over Barb becomes too much for her, Nancy asks Steve for help again. His reaction this time is more compassionate, but once again, his solution is to have fun and ignore the problem rather than take action. He still doesn't offer to help.
Then we jump ahead to season 4, where the parallels between Barb and Fred are obvious.
Barb and Fred are both nerdy, wear glasses, and offer Nancy unsolicited advice on her relationships.
Nancy drags both Barb and Fred along with her to somewhere they'd otherwise have no reason to be.
Barb and Fred both want to leave with Nancy, but Nancy insists on staying, and ends up leaving them alone while she goes off and does her own thing.
And Barb and Fred both end up in a pit, crying out for Nancy to help them before being killed by a monster from the Upside Down.
At this point, not only is Nancy is still traumatised by what happened to Barb, but she finds herself reliving the worst thing that's ever happened to her. Her friend is dead, and she feels like it's her fault. Again. She's trying to talk to the cops, but they're not listening to her. Again. She feels completely alone. Again.
But then Steve's car rolls up. He's there to help, and this time Nancy doesn't even need to ask.
When we see the look on her face, it's like she's been waiting for him to show up for her all along, and now he finally has.
I started making a new thing on Friday- an apron dress from an independent company called "The Assembly Line"
It was a printable pattern that I bought because WAITING is hard when I have the energy to do something RIGHT NOW. Waiting results in energy atrophy I've found.
It looks like this:
and it's made up of like 6 parts. I was able to cut the pattern and half finish the dress in about 4 hours, which is probably a long time for more experienced / faster sewers, but for me that was like....super quick. It only requires 2 snaps or buttons, fabric and iron on interfacing, so it's 100% a good starter pattern.
I'm making it out of this check fabric:
and it only takes 2 yards cutting on the LARGE size.
Now, I do have 2 yards of my Mood fabric, but I wanted to do a test first because I might not loooove this dress, but so far I'm super impressed. Also! I often find offcuts of fabric in my local fabric shop that are like, 1.5 yards and there WAS room to spare, so if you were to do the facings in another fabric, or contrasting pockets, you could easily put this together for super, super cheap. This fabric was in that bin, and it's 2 yards, and it was £6. It's not super super thick, but it has a stiffer, heavy feel with a crisp drape.
I'm most impressed with the directions. I'm used to the big 4 patterns where the directions are assuming you know things. They'll have things like "insert the zipper" as step 7 and if you've never added a zipper, thats... not an easy thing.
These instructions are so clear, with line drawings explaining. Hell, it ever showed different options for top stitching and under-stitching which I've never seen explained, showed how to correctly iron on your interfacing, explained HOW to finish your inside seams with images and giving 2 options (overlocking or zigzagging). The pattern itself has the cutting AND sewing marks, shows how to transfer them over to your fabric... it even showed how to do tailor tacks (which I've been doing wrong!) and explained WHY each step was being carried out.
I swear, I may never buy another big 4 pattern again. If you want to start sewing, and you are nervous, I'd HIGHLY suggest this pattern. AND this isn't even the VERY EASY pattern. This is classed as 'EASY' and they also have two free patterns (for a pj set and a leather/ette bag)
It's pretty size inclusive - with most patterns hitting a sweet spot between XS and 2XL. It's not perfect, of course, but better than the big 4 most times.
BUT! I really do think this is a killer pattern and if you have a BASIC machine - you only need a straight and zigzag stitch, and if you use snaps you don't need buttonholes - and want to try something you can wear.... I think this might be for you!
But.... yeah, this is just a long post about how I think people should try sewing and how this might be the best way to start.
For me, the total cost of this apron dress, once finished, was:
2 buttons - stashed. I cut buttons off of all my clothes I throw away, and also pull off the zippers. Over the years it results in quite a collection, but charity shops also sell buttons. Just ask!
Iron On Interfacing - stashed. However, I know it's about £2 a yard. I didn't need 2 yards, but it's handy to have, so if you are buying it, get a yard! it's so useful, and most patterns require it at some point.
Fabric: 1.8 yards for Large. 1.5 for XS. I'd suggest going for a thicker fabric for this, which is more expensive. HOWEVER, I'm also a HUGE proponent of using what you can get, and I actually think the fabric I'm using is for curtains! If you see a nice pair of curtains in a thrift of charity shop, you can use them and end up with TWO dresses if you are careful with placement when cutting out! I spent £6 on this fabric, about 4 years ago. The only reason I remember the cost is that its written on the selvage in pen.
Pattern: I paid £17.00 for a PDF download, which included home printer A4 and US letter paper, store print, and instructions. I reuse my patterns a LOT, but of course, once you have it bought, you could just re-print it if you wanted to. I just like to feel thrifty.
Thread: I'm using cheap white thread on the spool and bobbin, I got in a multipack with other colours. I think it works out at like 50p a spool. Good quality Gutermann threads about about £2.50 for 250 yards, which is waaaay more than you'll need, so you can reuse it.
total: £23.50 for an apron dress.
I honestly think this pattern has a look of something you'd see with a much higher price tag BECAUSE it looks so simple. Like I can see GAP selling this for like £50 easy, just because it has a very... basic, staple, eco-friendly look about it. Like in a plain canvas, or denim? so basic but an easy staple you'd spend more on cause you know it'll get worn a lot.
As for time? I think it took me about 8 hours to make in total.