#other than the major flood risk
In a Warming World, NASA’s Eyes Offer Crucial Views of Hurricanes
June 1 marks the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. Last year’s hurricane season saw a record-setting 30 named storms. Twelve made landfall in the United States, also a record. From space, NASA has unique views of hurricanes and works with other government agencies -- like the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) -- to better understand individual storms and entire hurricane seasons.
Here, five ways NASA is changing hurricane science:
1. We can see storms from space
From space, we can see so much more than what’s visible to the naked eye. Among our missions, NASA and NOAA have joint satellite missions monitoring storms in natural color -- basically, what our eyes see -- as well as in other wavelengths of light, which can help identify features our eyes can’t on their own. For instance, images taken in infrared can show the temperatures of clouds, as well as allow us to track the movement of storms at night.
2. We can see inside hurricanes in 3D
If you’ve ever had a CT scan or X-ray done, you know how important 3D imagery can be to understanding what’s happening on the inside. The same concept applies to hurricanes. Our Global Precipitation Measurement mission’s radar and microwave instruments can see through storm clouds to see the precipitation structure of the storm and measure how much total rain is falling as a result of the storm. This information helps scientists understand how the storm may change over time and understand the risk of severe flooding.
We can even virtually fly through hurricanes!
3. We’re looking at how climate change affects hurricane behavior
Climate change is likely causing storms to behave differently. One change is in how storms intensify: More storms are increasing in strength quickly, a process called rapid intensification, where hurricane wind speeds increase by 35 mph (or more) in just 24 hours.
In 2020, a record-tying nine storms rapidly intensified. These quick changes in storm strength can leave communities in their path without time to properly prepare.
Researchers developed a machine learning model that could more accurately detect rapidly intensifying storms.
It’s not just about how quickly hurricanes gain strength. We’re also looking at how climate change may be causing storms to move more slowly, which makes them more destructive. These “stalled” storms can slow to just a few miles an hour, dumping rain and damaging winds on one location at a time. Hurricane Dorian, for example, stalled over Grand Bahama and left catastrophic damage in its wake. Hurricanes Harvey and Florence experienced stalling as well, both causing major flooding.
4. We can monitor damage done by hurricanes
Hurricane Maria reshaped Puerto Rico’s forests. The storm destroyed so many large trees that the overall height of the island’s forests was shortened by one-third. Measurements from the ground, the air, and space gave researchers insights into which trees were more susceptible to wind damage.
Months after Hurricane Maria, parts of Puerto Rico still didn’t have power. Using satellite data, researchers mapped which neighborhoods were still dark and analyzed demographics and physical attributes of the areas with the longest wait for power.
5. We help communities prepare for storms and respond to their aftermath
The data we collect is available for free to the public. We also partner with other federal agencies, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and regional and local governments to help prepare for and understand the impacts of disasters like hurricanes.
In 2020, our Disasters Program provided data to groups in Alabama, Louisiana, and Central America to identify regions significantly affected by hurricanes. This helps identify vulnerable communities and make informed decisions about where to send resources.
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season starts today, June 1. Our colleagues at NOAA are predicting another active season, with an above average number of named storms. At NASA, we’re developing new technology to study how storms form and behave, including ways to understand Earth as a system. Working together with our partners at NOAA, FEMA and elsewhere, we’re ready to help communities weather another year of storms.
Bonus: We see storms on other planets, too!
Earth isn’t the only planet with storms. From dust storms on Mars to rains made of glass, we study storms and severe weather on planets in our solar system and beyond. Even the Sun has storms. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, for instance, is a hurricane-like storm larger than the entire Earth.
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.
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Your thoughts on the uptick on tourist/ wildlife conflict? Seems like it’s every week this season!!!
It has been bad this year. We’re on track to have the most injuries of any year in recent history.
So I’m of the belief that this comes down to a couple things, one of which is going to expose a major personal bias of mine (you’ll know it when you see it):
There aren’t enough Rangers this year to keep folks appraised of the rules: So this year we’re operating on a highly reduced staff. Most years Interpretive Rangers are out in force, and we’d be able to keep folks away from animals, respond to calls about wildlife jams (traffic jams caused by animals, either by their standing in the road, or by folks stopping to look). That gives us the ability to both educate the public about safe wildlife viewing rules, and prevent folks from getting into situations that might be dangerous.
People Don’t Read Signs: This is a maxim in the NPS, folks just... they don’t try to read the signs, or the park newspaper, or anything. They will make no effort to educate themselves for their own safety, and will deliberately misread signs they understand to try and get away with things they want to do, which brings me to...
People want a ‘unique’ experience: People right now, for better and worse, are inundated with social media. There’s an expectation that there are things you need to see, because that’s What You Do in the area. Add to that though that folks are always going to want something that other people don’t have. That means getting closer to the bear for that great picture. Getting closer to the bison because ‘he seems calm.’
The Government Encouraged Unprepared Folks to Come into Wilderness Spaces: When COVID was first getting serious, many state and local governments encouraged people to go outside, go camping and hiking. The CDC is still saying that camping is an extremely low risk activity. As a result a FLOOD of people with no outdoor experience rushed into outdoor places. Zero preparation, zero outdoor knowledge, all these people who would usually vacation in Hawaii are trying to visit the few National Parks that they know offhand. As a result they are used to a resort-type experience, and assume that the space they’re entering is as controlled of an experience as a big hotel complex in the Bahamas. They are, of course, wrong.
The Disney-fication of Wild Spaces
Movies: People get these images in their heads of movie characters, especially Disney movie characters, having these magical experiences with animals. They hold out their hands, and the animal comes to them. They think they have a special connection with wildlife, that they’re different than those fools who get hurt. They hold onto this mindset and do things that they really shouldn’t be doing because they want to think they’re special.
Theme Parks: So Disney has made a lot of money off making fake, sanitized versions of America’s outdoor spaces, packaging them and selling them to folks. People see the old 1903 Inn near where I worked last year, and their first response is always “Oh like the one in Disneyland!” This is the introduction a lot of first-time National Park travelers have to our park. Then they come out here, where there are no smoke machines on the hot springs, they are boiling; there are no safe animals; there are countless ways to die, even in the front country; and they have NO IDEA how to deal with that. Their image of a National Park is a sanitized theme park area, so they show up here asking “What are the Best Attractions to do here?” and assuming that they are as safe here as they would be in Disneyland. They assume we wouldn’t let them do anything dangerous, and wouldn’t allow dangerous things to come to them, because of course! There’s just this fundamental misunderstanding about what National Parks are for. Yeah, we want you to have a good time, but this isn’t a theme park and if someone can’t get their head around that they’re going to always be in a more dangerous spot that someone else.
This is America and I’ll Do What I Want: Self explanatory.
Anyway, here are the rules for seeing large wildlife:
Stay 25 yards (25m) away from all large animals, except...
When watching bear and wolves stay 100 yards (100m) away
If an animals moves toward you, it is on YOU to maintain that distance
In a car you are not obligated to maintain that distance
If you’re watching a bear from your car you probably want to keep your windows up
Do not feed animals, or by inaction cause an animal to eat human food
A fed animal is a dead animal
Wildlife management doesn’t want to remove animals, but by feeding the animal you killed it
Throwing a bite of food to a bear is as good for that bear as you getting out of your car with a shotgun and pumping a dozen rounds of buckshot into its face
A habituated bear is more likely to hurt humans in the future, so feeding that animal might also get a person hurt or killed
Even squirrels and birds (but we won’t have to remove them, they’ll just die by themselves)
If an animal changes its behavior because you’re around, you should move further away from it
Do not fly drones near animals (they are illegal in National Parks anyway, but it stresses them out A LOT)
Remember you are a house guest in this animal’s home, be a good guest by practicing leave no trace
If the next person to pass by where you were can tell you were there, you did not practice leave no trace
This means no making cairns, no painting rocks, no carving your name into a tree
Do not disturb anything you don’t have to
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28/90/95 from the smut prompts list? 👉👈 with alpha steve? pretty please? ❤️
omg i’m sorry this took so long! without further ado, Alpha!Professor Steve 🥴
Title: Office Hours
Pairing: Alpha!Steve x Omega!reader
Summary: You’ve been slacking off lately, and your strict professor takes note.
Warnings: Possessive behavior, Obsessive behavior, Stalking, Dubious Consent, Noncon elements, Forced Impregnation/Breeding, Teacher/Student relationship (no underage) and all of the power dynamics that come with that, Manipulation
A/N: I couldn’t get over the idea of possessive professor Steve getting obsessed with a student 🥴😈
This is a work of FICTION, and it is Dark, so I assume once you’ve clicked through the link that you are comfortable with that. I do not give consent for my work to be copied, translated, or posted elsewhere, even if I am credited. This work is entirely mine, and unbeta’d, so read at your own risk!
You stood outside your professor’s office, bouncing nervously on your toes as you waited for him to call you inside. It was bad enough that he’d called this meeting on a Friday—and not just any Friday; it was the beginning of rush weekend, when all of the various fraternities and sororities on campus would be hosting rager after rager. You were eager to forget the stress of midterms, but before you could, there was this one last hurdle you had to jump.
Probably why he did it, you thought sourly. Professor Rogers was big on life lessons—which went very well with his reputation as the toughest grader in the entire department. You’d been doing decently in his class, attending all of the lectures in addition to a few of the “suggested” supplementary lectures he gave on related topics. All in all, you weren't sure what to make of the strongly worded email you’d just two days ago when mid-term grades had finally been posted.
You pressed your lips into a thin, frustrated line as you recalled some of the more…brusque parts of his email. You pulled your phone out of your pocket and skimmed it again, scowling. Lack of sustained effort, read one. Questionable dedication to the major of your choice, read another. It wasn’t fair—it wasn’t as though you weren’t trying. This was the only class you were averaging below a “B” in, and it certainly wasn’t because you weren’t doing the work. In fact, you could trace your recent drop in grades to just before midterms.
You were even more surprised at the angry email—and the C glaring back at you when you checked your grades on the university website—because, well… you were his favorite. He called on you often in class, wrote encouraging advice in the margins of your papers. Even your advisor was surprised at how well you’d been doing in your first semester. But now, you were looking at a stupid C and you werent sure how you’d gotten there. Maybe you’d slacked off just a little, but it certainly couldn’t be enough to drop you three entire letter grades!
The office door opened, and you hurriedly shoved your phone into your bag. Another girl sped out of the office, and you glimpsed wetness on her cheeks. She sniffled as she shuffled hurriedly away, and you groaned inwardly. That certainly didn’t bode well for you. Professor Rogers turned his attention to you, and a small, cynical smile worked its way onto his handsome face. You hoped he couldn’t scent your nervousness, but by the way his nostrils flared as he looked at you, you knew he did.
“Ah. Come right in.” He stood aside, gesturing for you to follow. You ducked your head and shouldered your bag. You’d never been inside his office before, and you found yourself looking around interestedly. Each wall was lined with old bookshelves, which themselves were brimming with books of all shapes and sizes. His scent was so strong here it was almost dizzying—that deep, woodsy, intrinsically Alpha scent seeping out of every surface. You fought against the false sense of calm that tried to flood you, and swallowed the urges your Omega hind-brain kept sending to snuggle down into the chair and let his scent lull you to sleep.
You sat rigidly on the other side of his desk, watching as Professor Rogers pulled out the matching leather armchair on the other side, settling himself into it. “I’m glad you could make it,” He said, and you swallowed thickly, nodding. “I honestly have some quite...pressing concerns about your performance lately.” He licked his lips, and for a split second, you swore you saw a smirk cross his face. You blinked and it was gone, the same stern expression gracing his features. You shook your head a little and inhaled sharply to clear it.
“O-of course.” You put your bag down on the floor, bringing your hands together in your lap. You shouldn’t have been scenting him at all—maybe the dosage in your suppressants was off—it wouldn’t have been the first time you’d needed to adjust them. Or… had you taken them? Suddenly you couldn’t remember, your morning routine a blur now that it was practically evening. “I, um, also want to clear up any concerns.” He was a major figure in the Art department, and if you wanted your degree, you were going to have to go through him—which would be much harder if he hated you. You’d heard from older students in your same department how much of a hard ass he was—a stickler for the rules.
“Wonderful.” He purred, steepling his fingers as he leaned forward. “How have you been finding class?” He asked, cocking his head at you.
“I, um, I like the class. I’m an art history major, so… I knew I was going to need to...” You trailed off, unsure of what you were supposed to say.
“Would you have taken this class if it wasn’t a requirement for you?” His voice was smooth and sweet like honey wine—but just as potent and dangerous. You played nervously with a lock of your hair.
“Yes, of course, Professor.” You answered honestly. This was by far the hardest course you’d ever taken, but the knowledge was invaluable. “My advisor said it was one of the best ways to, um, prepare myself for working in the field—”
He cut you off with a deep chuckle. “Who’s your advisor?” He asked.
“Oh, um, Strange. Professor Strange.” You said hesitantly. His expression went strained for a moment before he smoothed it over. You wondered for a moment if they liked one another—Professor Strange had warned you about Professor Rogers’ temperament, and about the likelihood that you would fail his course. He began flipping through a manila folder, before producing a printout of your midterm exam—you even recognized the loopy signage of your name at the top.
“Hmm. And even after such sage advice, you still only managed a ‘C’ on your midterm.” Embarrassment heated your cheeks—it was by far the worst grade you’d received that term, that was for sure. He licked the tip of his index finger and flicked the page. “Here. You incorrectly identified the features of neoclassicism—” He pointed to your answer and leaned further over the table. “Can you see from there?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.
You cleared your throat, suddenly hot. You didn’t want to move closer—well, you did, but you were afraid to be even closer to the scent wafting off of him. It had never felt like this during small session labs, or the brief conversations you’d had running into him at the library… No, what you needed to do was end this meeting as quickly as possible, get back to your room and take another dose of suppressants—just in case. Reluctantly, you scooted your chair forward to see. Red pen was scribbled all over your answer, and you squinted, but he moved it quickly, pulling the paper just far away enough to stop you from reading it clearly.
“See?” He asked, in a tone of voice that both made you nervous and eager to please. You nodded, even though you really couldn’t. “It looks like you’re confusing some of the key principles,” He replied, pointing between several of your essay answers. You leaned in a little further, trying to see what he’d written—but all you did was gain yourself a lungful of his scent. Your eyelids drooped, and you had to stop yourself from smiling dopily. “It looks like you’re having trouble. I’ll come around.” He said, and that time, you saw the smirk again.
“N-no. I understand,” You protested weakly, but he shook his head.
“Do you?” Professor Rogers splayed his long fingers out on the desk as he stood up. Your breath hitched. “Let’s look at the next one.” He was behind you in two strides, and you could feel the heat of his body through his white sweater and your own t-shirt as he leaned over you.
“Uh, yes. Okay.” You muttered. All you could think about was how good he smelled, how much you wanted to rub your cheek against his chest. No. Focus. “What’s wrong with that one?” You asked, pinching your own thigh discreetly through your jeans. The pain brought a little much needed clarity, and you began breathing through your mouth instead.
“I didn’t think your answer showed that you really grasped the difference between modern American realism and more typical European realism.” Professor Rogers drawled. He was so close to you, his hip pressed against your shoulder as he pointed to the paper you were barely paying attention to. “What are your study habits like?” He asked, and you frowned.
“Do you study?” He asked again, his tone more than a little condescending. “Or are you too busy partying?” You gaped up at him, uncertain if you’d actually heard what you thought you did. He was looking down at you with a judgemental, cocky expression, his blue eyes fever-bright.
“W-what?” You asked, stunned into silence. This couldn’t be the same Professor Rogers whose lectures you’d attended. The firm, rigidly polite man you saw at campus events, who always greeted you with a charming smile and inquired about your other classes. “Of-of course I study! How can you—” He interrupted you sharply, scoffing.
“I see you, you know,” He continued in that low, casual tone, laying your midterm on the desk as he leaned against it. You wanted to shrink back against the chair, move away from him—but still more of you wanted to rest your head against his denim clad hip and feel his voice thrum through you, regardless of what he was saying. “I go to those ridiculous parties.” Your heart pounded in your chest. He’s… been watching me? Professor Rogers leaned down and you swallowed audibly. “You’re beautiful. Intelligent. Why you insist on dumbing yourself down for these immature boys, I’ll never understand.” He said jealously, narrowing his eyes at you.
Your face heated as you remembered the last party you’d been at, a week prior. You weren’t a party girl, at least, not by your own definition, but you did go out occasionally. Your eyes widened. He’d been there? You felt hot. He licked his lips, his hands tightening on your thighs. You couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, your fight or flight reflex stuck squarely in the center.
“Remember now, doll?” He asked gruffly, and you let out a little whimper—
Because you did. You’d been drunk, having a good time, dancing. Most of that night was a messy blur, but that voice, that pet name…you recognized them, and it sent shivers down your spine. “You were there.” You could remember flashes that heated your cheeks again—lips on yours, the scratch of his beard against your cheek, fingers curled deep inside you—
“Only to save you from yourself, sweetheart. You’re young—unmarked. If I’m not careful, someone else is going to take what’s mine. I see how you dress, how you act.” The venom in his voice made you gasp—a mistake, because his scent was flooding your senses again and making you feel lightheaded. He dropped down to a squat in front of you, his hands hot when he placed them on your thighs. “I thought you got it.” He muttered quietly, more to himself than to you.
“Professor I don’t understand,” You said, shifting uncomfortably. You couldn’t dislodge his hands from your legs, his grip was like iron. “I’m your student.” Sure, you knew Professor Rogers was handsome—you’d gossiped about him just like anyone else. But the revelation of his interest was unsettling—and heady.
“I was going to wait.” He said softly, rubbing deceptively gentle circles on your knees through your jeans. “I was going to wait—you graduate this year. I was going to go slow.” He stood, releasing you from his hypnotic gaze, only for his hands to wrap around your wrists, tugging you to your feet. Your head felt like it was both all too full of new information, and empty all at the same time. The realization that he’d been watching you, following you, wanting you was both terrifying and enticing—and that scared you. “And then all those interested little boys started sniffing around you and you were entertaining them.
“I was going to make this perfect, but you’re forcing my fucking hand.” You’d never heard Professor Rogers curse, and it made your stomach tie itself into a strange knot inside you. You could feel your Omega instincts kicking at your resolve, practically wailing in your mind.
Alpha is upset with you.
Alpha won’t want you.
But Professor Rogers wasn’t your Alpha, you thought vehemently, trying uselessly to tug yourself out of his hold. No wonder you hadn’t been able to go through with any of your dates—you could remember thinking they smelled wrong, weren’t right. You wondered how often he’d been around, what he’d done to ingrain his scent into your hindbrain so thoroughly that you’d rejected any other male’s advances. You wanted him so much it hurt—though it terrified you all the same.
“We can’t!” You said shrilly, looking up at him with panicked eyes. “You’re my teacher. It’s—it’s—”
“I don’t want to hear your excuses anymore.” His tongue was in your mouth faster than you could process, suckling your own as his lips moved against you. “I was going to do this the right way,” He growled against your mouth, his hands skimming the heated flesh under your shirt. “Wanted to take you out, make you love me first.” You weren’t fighting anymore, your hands fisted in his shirt as a low whine emitted from your throat. Your skin was on fire—you weren’t in heat, but it damn sure felt close enough as your insides clenched at his touch. “But we can rethink the timeline.”
You felt your thighs slide together slickly, an aching throb beginning at your core. “What’s happening to me?” You asked dazedly, and he smiled down at you affectionately.
“Your body knows, doll. Knows it’s mine. I made sure of it.” Anger laced through you, hot and sharp, even as fresh wetness seeped from your throbbing cunt at his bold claim. Your expression turned defiant, like you were going to argue, and his sharp canines found the fleshy lobe of your ear. You yelped, pressing yourself into his chest. He undid your bra with deft fingers, tossing it onto the ground at your feet. “Oh sweet, we’re gonna be so good together.” He pressed a kiss to your throat, just above your mating gland. “Don’t you want to belong to your Alpha, sweetheart?”
You trembled at the thought. You knew it would be good—you knew he was telling the truth like you knew your own damn name. And though you knew it was wrong, wrong to let your professor put his hands all over you, wrong to want it—you still did. He slid his thigh between yours, grinning down at you as you pressed yourself against him.
“Yes, Alpha.” You mewled, and he groaned, one hand working at the fly of your jeans while the other moved lazily between your breasts, kneading and cupping them.
“I know what you need.” He said authoritatively, sliding two fingers down the front of your panties. He groaned at the feel of your wetness. “Soaked for me already, doll? Knew you were gonna be perfect.” You panted as he began circling your swollen clit with his index finger, smiling against your throat as you shuddered and moaned. “I’m the only one who can make you feel like this. Just Alpha, you understand?” He growled, sucking on your skin hard enough to bruise. You nodded breathlessly. Anything he asked of you in that moment you were ready and willing to do.
“Yes Alpha—” A knock came at the door as you spoke, and you looked up at him, panicked. He glared irritatedly at the door, his fingers still sliding through your folds with wet, sticky noises.
“Yes?” He called, his grip on you tightening as you tried to move away from him. He turned stern eyes on you, shaking his head. “You stay.” He ordered quietly, rolling your clit between two fingers. You whimpered.
“Professor Rogers, it’s Stephen. Strange.”
You heard Professor Rogers curse under his breath. “Ah, Stephen,” He said, slowly pushing one thick finger inside you. You pressed your face into his shoulder to stifle the moan that ripped from your lips. “I’m a bit busy at the moment. Meeting with a student.” He added a second finger to the first, and you sank your teeth into his shoulder through the sweater, shuddering.
“Yes, well. I was hoping to speak to you quickly, about…” You gasped at the sound of your own name, and then again as Professor Rogers scissored his fingers inside of you. He growled as you clamped down, wet squelches bouncing off of the walls of the office. You couldn’t believe this—how close you were, that it was your professor’s fingers deep inside your cunt getting you there. You wanted to be embarrassed, and you certainly would be when rational thought returned, but now all you wanted was to be full of him.
“And I would love to speak to you about her.” He looked down at you, grinning. He leaned down to brush his lips against your ear as he spoke. “I wonder if he would be surprised to see you here like this, doll.” He said quickly, his voice hot. “Tight little pussy stuffed full of my fingers, about to be stretched open on my knot. Wonder what he would say…” His thumb passed over your clit and you jerked in his arms, a strangled whine escaping your throat as you came.
“I think we’ll have to discuss it another time, Strange.” You slumped in his arms, and he laid you over the desk, uncaring when papers scattered to the floor. You were already wriggling out of your jeans, and Professor Rogers was helping you, tugging them down your legs and spreading them wide, groaning. You weren’t sure if Professor Strange was still there or not—and you didn’t care—your Alpha was going to take care of you, and that was all that mattered.
“Such a pretty pussy, doll,” He praised you and you preened. Alpha is pleased with you. “Take your shirt off for me, sweetheart. I want to see.” He watched raptly as you tugged your shirt up over your head, and he palmed himself through his jeans before unzipping them. You licked your lips as he pulled his briefs down, his hard cock slapping against your soaking pussy. “Gonna make you feel so good, sweetheart.” He caught both of your wrists in one hand, pinning them above your head as he stared down at you hungrily.
He pushed the head of his cock against you and you whimpered, bucking your hips. “Tell me you’re mine. Tell me nobody else gets to have this,” He said desperately, trailing precum through the swollen petals of your sex as he thrust against you. Alarm bells were ringing somewhere far off in your mind, but you had no thoughts to spare for them as he slapped his cock against your clit. “Say it.”
“I’m yours, Alpha, only ever yours,” You gasped, and he thrust the hard length of himself as deep inside of you as he could go. You squeezed around him, gasping and moaning. Even the sting of his entry felt good, and as he hollowed you out, your lips fell open in bliss. Alpha was right—he knew what you needed, to be filled over and over until you couldn’t think anymore.
“Is that a promise, doll?” He asked, his thumb brushing across your lower lip. You nodded, meeting his dark eyes with your own.
“So good,” you mumbled, your eyes rolling as nonsense spilled from your lips. “So good, Alpha.”
“I know, sweet. I’m going to have you full of my cock all the time. Would you like that?” His hips snapped against yours sharply, and you cried out, writhing. “I know I’d like that.” He trailed hot, sloppy kisses down your jaw, pressing his teeth to the gland at the juncture of your throat and shoulder. Your pussy clamped down around him like a fist and he jerked, cursing. You’d never felt this greedy, this needy, like there was liquid fire in your veins, and only Professor Rogers had the strength to quell it. The fingers of his free hand found your clit again, and you moaned brokenly, throwing your head back against the desk.
Your head might protest it, but your body belonged to him, and you knew it. Mewling cries filled the air, and you realized belatedly that they were coming from you. Howled pleas, begging for something—anything. You felt yourself cresting, falling as your cunt spasmed around him, your juices soaking his cock and the table beneath you as you came hard. “Fu-ck, Alpha!” You sobbed, arching your hips into his heavy thrusts.
“You want Alpha to cum deep in that tight pussy, don’t you?” He panted, his grip tightening on your wrists as he laid into you. “Want me to ruin you on my knot.” You’d just cum, but you still felt hot and needy, clenching in anticipation of him being stuck fast inside you.
“Yes, Professor, please—”
“Then I’ll just have to cum inside,” He growled, his tongue working against the swelling gland under your skin. “I’m going to fuck so many babies into you, doll.” You could hear the desk shaking, scraping against the floor as he slammed his cock into you over and over again, hard and unforgiving thrusts that had you gasping and crying out as he filled you completely. “Can’t wait to see you all full of me, so everyone knows you’re fuckin’ mine, forever—” His teeth broke your flesh as the base of his cock swelled inside you, hot, sticky ropes of cum branding your insides. You came again as he did so, your body going rigid in his arms as he pressed his knot as deep inside you as he could, his teeth in your throat.
When he pulled away from you, you could see your own blood staining his lips. He licked them, savoring the taste of you. Your head was still fuzzy with him, your body buzzing with the aftermath of your coupling. Professor Rogers leaned down to kiss your forehead, before his lips curved into a smile against your sweaty flesh.
“Now I think we can do something about that grade, don’t you, doll?”
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𝕣𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕝 𝕡𝕣𝕖𝕗𝕖𝕣𝕖𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕤 ☆
summary: meeting you in their first outbreak. gender neutral reader.
warnings: mentions of canon-typical violence, blood, guns.
includes: chris redfield, jill valentine, albert wesker, rebecca chambers, leon s kennedy, claire redfield, and ada wong.
resident evil 1 — while on a summer trip in the arklay mountains, you and your friends were attacked by a group of rabid dogs. you were only able to escape because your friends were torn apart. you ran through the forest, barely able to keep ahead of the animals (the ones that weren’t busy eating), until you stumbled upon a mansion. you entered without a second thought, unaware of the nightmare awaiting you on the other side of those doors.
chris redfield: chris finds you hiding out in the bar. you hide behind the piano, nearly whacking him upside the head with your makeshift weapon, a sharp piece of metal that you had pulled off of one of the fences outside. thanks to his quick reflexes, he dodges your attack, and presents himself as a member of s.t.a.r.s. it’s been too long since you’ve seen another person; traveling room to room to avoid the monsters in this labyrinth shaped like a house, haunted by how they looked and ran like people. chris’ face is like a breath of fresh air, and with the way he smiles at you, you have a feeling he’s going to keep you safe. little did you know, chris feels the same way.
your feeling was proven right in the library. yawn, the giant snake, (because of course with your luck that would be what you found) knocks you over the balcony. landing against the hard tile made your vision go blurry, and you knew better than to stay laying down, but it was too hard to get up. in a moment, chris was at your side, helping you to your feet. “i didn’t mean to fall,” you said, half joking. chris smiles, squeezing your shoulder.
“don’t worry. next time, i’ll catch you.”
jill valentine: jill finds you in the kitchen. she walks into the room just as you stomp on the head of a crawling zombie. honestly, jill is just as lost and afraid as you are — even with all of her training. once you’re out of the dangers that remain in the kitchen, she takes you back out to the main hall. with jill’s training and your experience in the mansion combined, the two of you plan over the map that you made of the areas you’ve already explored, to clear the outer halls. jill doesn’t feel comfortable leaving you, a civilian, alone just yet, but she knows that desperate times call for desperate measures. the main hall becomes the sanctuary for the both of you.
it’s when you don’t return to your meeting point that jill grows worried. she waits for a while, thinking perhaps you’ve lost your way, but the unknowing is unbearable. jill sets off through the east wing to find you; you are her responsibility, but it was more than that. what were the odds of her finding someone like you again? the relief that floods her body when she finds you kneeling over richard is immense. you stay with him, holding his hand through the pain, while jill searches for the antidote to his poison. you staying behind with her hurt colleague, her friend, even at risk to yourself, makes jill feel something she can’t explain. that’s when she knows for sure that you’re different. and that you’re both going to be okay.
rebecca chambers: rebecca finds you in the medical storage room. you were tending to a wound when she stumbled in; not anything major, just a cut. you got it from your swiss army knife when you tripped, while running from one of those things. the first thing she does is sit and help you, out of nothing but the kindness of her heart. she’s seen so much the past few days, and it grounded her to remind herself she could still help someone. that there was still time. you and rebecca hit it off. she stays glued to your side and promises not to take her eyes off of you— especially when hunter betas make their way into the mansion. the risk of decapitation was too high.
in fact, it’s what almost happens when the two of you make your break from the storage room. rebecca’s hand is intertwined with yours as the two of you run up the stairs. just as you get to the top, a hunter leaps, it’s clawed hand raised— rebecca yanks your arm so hard that you tumble to the ground in front of you, narrowly avoiding losing your head. your heart is beating out of your chest, but rebecca helps you to your feet, and you make it back out to the safety of the main hall. “rebecca,” you say, trembling, your heart thudding in your ears and your shoulder burning. “you saved my life.”
“actually,” she says regrettably. “i dislocated your arm.”
the two of you burst into unexpected, weepy laughter.
albert wesker: wesker finds you in the graveyard. it piques his attention how you’ve gotten this far, especially without a real gun. he startles you as he comes up from behind, keeping up his s.t.a.r.s. captain facade, offering his protection. the last part is true, to an extent. wesker wants to see what you’re capable of. it’s not every day that someone is naturally talented enough to survive in a place like this. he’s careful to gauge your reactions to the b.o.w.s, to see how you might react to the tyrant— if you get that far. he is sure to ‘get separated’ just before you get to lisa’s cabin. if you, unarmed, could escape a crimson head, perhaps lisa would prove to be your match. besides, he has hunter betas to release.
he’s pleasantly surprised when you escape only minorly scathed. lisa managed to give you what he’s sure is a concussion, but he feigns ignorance. instead, wesker is done playing games. he leads you down to the lab, down to the tyrant production facility. his facility. the tyrant isn’t yet ready to be released in its full glory, an honor he’s saving for redfield and valentine’s gruesome fates, but he’s ready for you to see. worse comes to worse, albert will kill you. but he sees something in you. a spark, one that he used to have, one that william used to have. he wants to preserve it and keep it for his own. that’s why, when he presents his ultimate life form to you, a grin grows on his face at your words.
“now that is something to be afraid of.”
resident evil 2 — you were in raccoon city on vacation. that was the most fucked up, unfair part of it all. you wanted a break from life, work, family. the arklay mountains had beautiful weather in late summer, early fall. you just weren’t expecting the zombies. you did everything right! you followed the broadcasts, made your way to the police station, and it was a massacre. it took everything you had not to sit on the floor and just break down crying, but you had to keep moving. you were going to see another sunrise.
leon s kennedy: leon finds you in the main hall. he’s just gotten in from the courtyard after finally finding claire. for a moment, he thinks you’re one of the zombies, and nearly shoots you before you shriek at him. the sound attracts the real zombies nearby, and the two of you don’t exactly have the time for a proper introduction. it’s not until you make it to the dark room that you have a chance to talk. leon, to his credit, is apologizing the moment the door shuts. he talks a million miles a minute in a way that’s absolutely adorable. leon’s face flushed all the way to his ears above the collar of his uniform and for a minute, you realize, you might believe in love at first sight.
leon holds your hand while escaping from nest. the whole thing is a blur; annette, ada, what was left of william birkin, the super tyrant. you thought you’d finally escaped when you made it onto the train, but it wasn’t quite over. you told him to wait with claire and sherry while you checked out whatever had hit the train; the moment the doors locked behind you in the final car, you realized it was too late. birkin ripped through the car like wet paper, but with a pipe to the eye, you sent him careening. the train car detached, leon grabbed your hand, and just like that, the nightmare was over. it isn’t until you look up at leon, who was staring down at you in utter awe and admiration, that you really did believe in love at first sight.
claire redfield: claire finds you in the kennels. the moment she opens the door, still filled with fury from the chief stealing sherry from her arms, she sees you paralyzed against the far wall. a licker stood between the two of you, and she could hear the clicking of another behind the kennels on the right, and you catch her eyes with the most desperate look she’s ever seen. without breaking eye contact, claire loads an acid round into her grenade launcher. she makes a hand motion for you to stay put, and you nod. you have to admit, watching her take out two of those things at once, was the hottest thing you’ve ever seen.
claire, she says her name is. claire. strong, clear. she tells you about her brother, about leon, and sherry. how she wants to kill the chief when she finds him, and she beams when you agree. even during all of this, being around claire was different. you’d never met someone like her before. she makes you stronger, faster, better— she makes you feel something, maybe fear. fear of losing her. when the two of you are running under the orphanage, finally having found sherry, you push her out of the way of the tyrant, into the elevator first. you’re the one standing in front of her and sherry both, blood splattering across your face as william birkin eviscerates the tyrant, clutching their hands tightly in yours. yes, you think, before the elevator falls. this family we made; i won’t let them die tonight.
ada wong: ada finds you in the jail. she was on her way to find ben, her informant, when she sees you trying to reach through the bars of a cell for a first aid spray. it doesn’t work out. it’s cute, she thinks, watching you struggle. but she leans through the gap with her long, slim arms, and grabs it for you. you jump, but hesitantly accept it. ada, without thinking, tells you to get out of there; you nod, heading back the way she’d come in. she watches you walk away, a tad fondly.
it isn’t until after getting out of the station that ada sees you again. at some point between then and now, you teamed up with leon to escape. silently, ada is pleased. it’s the best shot for both of you to make it out of the city, regardless of her involvement. she knows it’s too dangerous to develop an emotional attachment, but the earnest look on your face as you and leon smile at one another, dreaming about saving the city, saving the day, tells ada that it’s already too late for what she knows.
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there’s too much risk in never loving at all - tyson jost
summary: you’ve always been an honorary Jost - the sister Kacey’s always wanted. she’s only got one rule - Tyson is off limits to date. too bad you’ve been in love with him your whole life.
pairing: tyson jost x reader
word count: 16k
warnings: cursing, alcohol, smut, unprotected sex (wrap it, people), oral sex, mentions of family issues
authors: @babytkachuks & @bricksatlandyswindow
Is there a more cliche love story than falling for your best friend's super hot, super famous, super rich NHL older brother? What if you had fallen in love with him before the money and the fame and the NHL contract? What if you had loved him from the moment you understood what the concept was, and probably even before then? And what if your best friend had unequivocally, no-nonsensically told you that he was absolutely, 100%, completely off limits for you?
Tyson Jost had been in your life since you were five years old. Kacey, his younger sister, had easily become your best friend after you punched Jack Holland in the nose for stealing her star hair clip. From play dates dressing up as princesses and tea parties where Tyson was the begrudging guest, to nights spent giggling over boys in the eighth grade and getting drunk together for the first time at eighteen, you and Kacey had an unbreakable bond.
This unbreakable bond partially stemmed from your promise at the mere age of fifteen: Tyson is off limits and always will be. Kacey didn’t want the weird, awkward possibility of you two getting together and then subsequently breaking up and ruining the friendship you had spent your entire life building.
It was all fine and dandy except for one tiny part: you had fucked up somewhere around sophomore year of high school and fell in love with Tyson Jost.
Looking back you think you probably loved him a lot longer than that, but that was the first time you really realized it.
It’s Christmas break and Tys is home from Colorado on a week long break from games. Like every other school break before, you spend a majority of your time at Kacey's house, preferring the quiet of her home to the chaos of yours. It’s Christmas Eve Eve, a made up holiday that you and Kacey had invented in the third grade that entailed a day of back to back Christmas movies and hot chocolate in the comfort of the Jost's basement. You’re laying across the couch while Kacey is curled up on the loveseat, the two of you fully engrossed in the cheesy hallmark movie when Tyson comes barrelling down the stairs. You barely lift your head, Tyson had been around all week and you were getting used to his presence again, before he lifts your legs and sits down at the end of the couch before placing your legs down on his lap. It is the most innocent of touches, his hand circling your ankle, thumb absentmindedly rubbing against the gap of skin between your leggings and socks, but it sets your whole body on fire.
You look over at him, your heart nearly beating out of your chest when you see he’s already looking at you.
“Don’t you two get sick of watching these cheesy things?” he teases. His thumb keeps moving slowly and surely, like it’s something he’s done his entire life.
“C’mon, Tys, you know it’s tradition,” you say softly, sending him a small grin. “The romance, the snow, the ‘it’s not Christmas without you’ drama. It’s fitting.”
Tyson snorts, rolling his eyes at you. “It’s definitely unrealistic and all the movies are the same.”
“Tys, either shut up and watch with us or leave! You’re ruining the romance,” Kacey shouts jokingly.
Tyson lobs a pillow in her direction, laughing loudly when she sends it hurtling back and it misses him completely. He holds his hands up defensively when Kacey lifts the remote and aims it at him.
“Okay, okay, i’ll shut up,” he says. His hands go back to your ankle, thumb returning to rub circles into your skin.
And even though you think it’s a little weird he’s willingly staying to watch the movies he hates so much, you don’t complain.
Christmas passes by and you realize Tyson’s a bit more touchy than usual, but you brush it off because, well, you have to.
New Year’s Eve rolls around, and you’re easily convinced to attend a massive party with Kacey and Tys. Kacey sees some of her friends from school and she slips away, promising to find you before the ball drops.
You don’t know which way to go but then a warm hand on your lower back has you turning. You lock eyes with Tyson, a wide smile on his face as he leans closer.
“Can I get you a drink?” he all but shouts, his lips grazing the shell of your ear.
You suppress the urge to shiver, nodding up at him with a sweet smile. He moves closer to you, his arm sliding around your waist as he guides you through the crowd towards the kitchen. You would definitely need a drink or ten to survive this night.
You hop up on the kitchen counter while Tyson makes the two of you a drink, eyes gazing over his entire body with special attention paid to the flex of his biceps under his shirt and the curve of his ass in his dark jeans.
He turns to you, a cheeky smile lighting up his face when he catches your stare. He hands you the cup, his eyes roaming over your flushed cheeks and exposed chest.
"Still like tequila?" he asks softly.
"Mhm." you nod, taking a big sip of your drink. "I can still drink anyone under the table."
Tyson snorts. He had spent nights going shot for shot with giants like Mikko and Nate, managing to keep up with them despite the fact that he was the smallest guy on the team.
"Wanna bet?" he asks slyly. He moves so his hands are on either side of you, his face hovering over yours. His lips feel like they ghost over yours as he says, "Winner gets whatever they want."
"Whatever they want?" you swallow thickly, picturing him hovering above you, his chain in your face as he rocks into you.
Tyson nods, a sinister smirk passing his lips. “What do you say, y/n/n? Think you can handle it?”
It’s the way he’s caging you in and the look in his eyes — like he wants to take you apart right here in the kitchen where everyone can see. You swallow once more, your eyes flickering to his lips briefly before sliding back up to lock with his eyes.
“You’re on, Josty,” you whisper. You lean in a little closer. “Fair warning, what I want is standing right in front of me.”
You slide from your position easily, pressing into him for a moment with a cheeky smile before ducking under his arms and sauntering into the living room. You take another gulp of your drink, the weight of your words catching up to you now.
What the hell did you just do?
There's some shitty club remix playing off someone's spotify playlist and as you enter the living room, you spot one of your friends from high school standing alone nursing a red solo cup. It’s the mixture of excitement and adrenaline flooding your veins that has you enthusiastically walking up to her, "Kara, hey! Dance with me!"
Her face lights up when she sees you. “Y/n/n!” she calls dramatically, throwing her arms around you unsteadily. It doesn’t take much for you to realize the cup she’s holding isn’t her first.
Despite her unsteadiness, the two of you make it to the dance floor in one piece. The song changes to a remix of Get Low and a sly grin tugs at the corner of your lips.
You move closer to Kara, your body slotting together with hers as the bass vibrates and shakes you to the core. You’re practically grinding against your friend now, her hands thrown over your shoulders as she dips and grinds with you, her soft giggle drowned out by the other partygoers screaming the lyrics.
You flip your hair to one side, eyes sliding over to where you know Tyson has been watching you. The girl he’s talking to doesn’t faze you as you dip lower, Kara’s hands finding your hips as the bass drops. You send a wink in Tyson’s direction, your hands sliding up your sides and lifting over your head. You swing your face the other way, closing your eyes getting lost in the beat.
You: 1, Tyson: 0
You’re stumbling back from the bathroom, the fourth shot you and Tyson took burning the back of your throat. You’re a little hazy, but you’re no lightweight. You think you’re making the right turn, hand scaling the wall, when two hands on your hips slamming you into the wall has you yelping.
“Shhh.” Shivers run down your spine when you look up, eyes locking with Tyson’s. The look in his eyes is animalistic, borderline feral as he presses into you. His leg slots between your thighs, face pressing into your neck as his lips trail kisses down to your collarbone.
“T-Tys,” you whisper, voice shaking and weak. He has you coming undone completely, your breathing labored and eyes blown out.
“You can’t dance like that all night and expect me to just stand by and watch,” he growls out, his breath fanning over your skin.
It’s a lethal combination of lowered inhibitions coupled with the prospect of finally having something you’d wanted for so long that has your confidence skyrocketing as you reply, “Then do something about it.”
You’re not sure who moves first, but suddenly your hands are tightly gripping his shoulders while his find your waist. Your mouths move in sync, finally, as your heart threatens to beat right out of your chest. It’s hot and passionate and more than anything you could possibly have dreamed. He guides you back down the hallway, and into the first open bedroom he finds, never once removing his lips from some part of your body.
You find yourself naked beneath him, hands wandering and sliding and caressing, every inch of revealed skin yours for the taking. You’re just as eager for him, back arching and soft whimpers pulling him in even deeper than he’d already been. It’s hot and heavy right up until the moment when he enters you for the first time. And then it’s like a switch has gone off as the two of you rock together. Your traitorous mind puts a label to the action even as you try to fight it, the way he’s moving inside of you, the way he’s looking at you, it can only be described as making love.
As the rest of the party counts down to a new year, Tyson is desperately pulling you towards your release. As Kacey and your friends take in the fireworks display out on the cold balcony, you see fireworks of your own behind your eyes. As everyone ushers in the new year with a scream of “Happy New Year”, it’s Tyson’s name on your lips.
Minutes later, you’re lying on your back boneless, completely wrecked as he finishes inside of you and collapses on top of you with a groan. The weight of your actions falls on you then, as you quietly pull your clothes back on without another sound and slip back downstairs, trying to pretend like your best friend's brother didn’t just cum inside of you while you cried his name out.
When Tyson ignores you for the rest of his time home, you’re not entirely shocked, but you’re completely devastated. His cool indifference stings like the cut of a dull knife, but it makes it easy to hide what you’ve done from Kacey. Packing your bags to return to UBC, you vow you won’t make the same mistake twice, that you won’t let him back into your bed or your heart.
Summer rolls around before you know it, and like every summer before you spend every second you can with Kacey, your suitcase neatly lined up beside her own overflowing one in her closet. Kacey’s house always felt more like home than your own.
At school, you’d thrown yourself into moving on, one giant round of speed dating where men came in and out of your life without much success. You try to get over Tyson by getting under other people, but you’ve been in love with him pretty much your whole life, and a hole like that isn’t easily filled. Not when you’d finally learned the feel of his body and the taste of his kiss.
Two weeks into summer, it actually hurts when you pull up to the Jost household after work to see unfamiliar vehicles, your stomach dropping as you remember Kacey telling you that Tyson would be home this week. You had reacted strangely because she had asked you what was wrong. Not wanting to admit to your best friend that she was right to call him off limits, that your friendship would be forever changed, you had lied and claimed a headache. The guilt was only marginally better than the aching in your chest.
You force yourself to be normal as you follow Kacey through the kitchen. You’re a few steps behind her, the loud shouts of Tyson and whoever he brought with him making you freeze for a second.
You try to control your breathing, pasting a smile on your face as you walk into the kitchen and are met with ridiculously large and handsome men all passing Kacey around.
“Oh!” Gabe Landeskog shouts, hands in the air. “This must be y/n!”
Tyson moves from behind him, causing you to inhale sharply and fight off the memories of him fucking you into the mattress. He grins widely, making you falter a bit as his arms wrap around your waist and lift you in the air.
“I missed you!” he says in your ear, his hands warm on your waist.
He lets go of you and spins you around, pointing to his teammates. “Y/n, meet Gabe, Mikko, Andre, and EJ. They’re here for a few weeks to visit,” he says.
He’s overwhelming your senses, making it difficult to focus as a chorus of hello’s rise from the boys all curiously watching you. You tug from Tyson’s grasp, sending him an icy look over your shoulder before turning back and grinning.
“Nice to meet you all!” you say as cheerfully as you can, eyes landing on Mikko who’s shamelessly drinking your form in. If Tyson’s a little confused (he is), he doesn’t say anything (how could he, with Kacey right there).
Half an hour after introductions have been made, you find yourself lounging by the pool in your cutest swimsuit. Sure, it had taken you an additional five minutes to find it, but you were petty by nature and maybe you wanted Tyson to see what he had missed out on, sue you. Mikko walks by and you can’t help but exaggeratedly pull down your sunglasses from your eyes and gaze at him over the top of them.
Mikko stops and says, “You’re telling me you’re single when you like that?” while he looks you up and down with a smirk.
You know Tyson is watching because it feels like someone’s burning holes in the side of your head and so you say, “I could say the same for you.”
The truth is you’re single because no guy out there can compare to Tyson, and you know because you’ve tried. Believe me, did you fucking try. No one lasted more than thirty minutes with you before you were sending them off, a bored look on your face as Kacey judged the shit out of you, never knowing the reason behind your man-eating ways.
Mikko sits down on the lounger chair beside you, his large thighs spread and his knee touching your leg as you lean up on your elbows. "Josty said you're in school?"
“Yeah,” you say. “Nursing school. It’s a bitch but... I love it.”
“Oh, so you can stitch us up after games, eh?” he teases, wiggling his eyebrows at you.
"Well I'm looking to be a pediatrics nurse, but from my limited hockey knowledge, you're a bunch of big babies anyway, so yeah I guess I could," you smirk.
Mikko tips his head back and laughs loudly, his hands resting on his thighs. “Ah, Josty said you were a firecracker,” he says once he’s done, his eyes twinkling. “He says a lot about you, though.”
Your eyebrows furrow in confusion, to the best of your knowledge Tyson didn’t think of you at all when he was in Colorado. He certainly hadn’t reached out to you since he’d fucked you on New Year’s, beyond liking every single one of your instagram photos. “What are you talking about?”
Mikko’s face twists in confusion for a moment, his eyes searching yours. When he realizes you’re genuinely confused he lets out a small, disbelieving laugh. “Damn. Josty’s a fucking idiot.”
"You don't have to tell me that," you scoff and roll your eyes before you can stop yourself. You sit up quickly with wide eyes, quickly glancing over at the pool where Kacey is doing laps to make sure she didn't hear you or see your reaction.
“So it’s true?” Mikko asks quietly, his eyes sliding to where yours are. “Kacey said stay away but Josty got you into bed anyways?”
Your cheeks go bright red at his words, your head whipping around so you can glare at him properly. “Well, when you put it like that,” you snap.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Mikko says gently, moving to rest his hand on your arm. “I think if the two of you could get over yourselves you’d see that what you’re feeling is reciprocated.” He gives your arm a gentle squeeze before getting up, eyes scanning the pool and lighting up when he finds Gabe, Andre, and EJ starting a game of chicken.
What did he mean your feelings were reciprocated? Was Tyson pissed about what happened, too? Does he regret it? That thought makes your blood run cold. Oh, God. Tyson probably regretted having sex with you. No wonder he didn’t call or text you.
Tyson’s watching you from the other side of the pool, mixing drinks for everyone with a scowl etched into his face. He has no right to be so angry at you and Mikko, has no right to want to tug you off and fuck you senselessly in the pool house so you know who you belong to.
He made the mistake of just leaving you after your hook up. He was an idiot — terrified that the girl he has been in love with this entire time didn’t want anything more than a casual fuck.
He handled it wrong, clearly, because there you are, looking gorgeous in a barely there bikini, and you won’t even spare him a glance.
He slams the bottle of tequila down, cursing softly when some of it spills over the sides of the shot glasses. His expression is tight, pinched in a frown as he cleans it up.
He doesn’t notice you watching him from the other side of the pool, your expression mirroring his.
Neither of you notice Kacey looking back and forth, a confused frown adorning her face.
Tyson catches you off guard when you’re leaving Kacey’s room later that night, hair damp and eyes heavy from sleep. You desperately need water, having shotgunned a few beers with Mikko and Kacey when you lost beer pong to EJ and Tyson.
Hands grab onto your waist, hand covering the yelp about to slip from your mouth. You’re spun around into the closet, eyes snapping up to meet Tyson’s.
You slap his hand away. “Jesus, Tys! You gave me a heart attack!” you snap, shoving him back a little bit.
“Well, you won’t give me the time of day so I had to improvise,” he whisper yells, running a hand through his hair in frustration.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” you say, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Did me ignoring you after you ignored me when we fucked hurt?”
He flinches back, his face falling. He sighs, running a hand down his face.
“I get it, Tys, you regret it. That’s fine, but ignoring me? That... that hurt,” you whisper, turning to look down at the pile of blankets on the floor.
“Regret it? Are you kidding me I can’t stop thinking about it,” he blurts out.
You look up at him in surprise. He didn’t regret it?
“So, wh- why did you never call?” you whisper, locking eyes with him finally. Your question makes your stomach churn, fear of losing Tyson making you want to puke.
“You know Kacey’s rule...” he trails off, a nervous look on his face.
Oh. Okay, fair, valid, whatever. Except-
“Kacey’s rule doesn’t preclude you from calling me or interacting with me in any way other than instagram after you came inside me at a fucking house party Tyson,” you hiss, face hot and thighs clenching as you remember that night, coupled with his close proximity.
He notices your shift in demeanor. In one quick move, he’s pressing you into the wall, his thigh forcing its way between your legs, his lips pressing feather light kisses under your ear.
“You’re right. I should’ve called. I should’ve told you....” he cuts himself off and presses a kiss to your throat, causing your eyes to fall shut and a breathy moan to pass your lips.
“Let me make it up to you?” he whispers.
The rational part of your brain screams at you to push him off, you’re not an expert but you’re pretty sure hooking up with the guy you’ve loved almost your whole life again is not going to end well. But the other part of your brain, the one turned into mush by the feel of his hands on you, his lips ghosting over the smooth skin of your throat, has you gripping his hair in your hands and tilting your neck to the side.
He grins against your neck, pressing his lips to your skin gently, nipping as he moves further down. His lips ghost over your collarbone, his hands sliding down your sides and gripping at the skin under your shirt. His skin is hot against yours, making you gasp as he bites harshly at your collarbone.
Your grip tightens on his curls, back arching against him with the added benefit of grinding against his thick thigh causing your eyes to flutter shut. “Tys,” you beg without really knowing what you’re begging for. Him to touch you? Him to fuck you? Him to love you the way you loved him?
He groans, pressing into you harder his lips pressing more feverishly up along your jaw. He pauses for a moment, hands sliding up your shirt, finding you’re not wearing a bra.
“Fuck,” he whispers harshly. You don’t have a chance to do anything next, his lips crashing onto yours as his fingers roll your nipples between them mercilessly. Your mind is hazy, any sense of logic or common sense out the window with how Tyson moves his thigh, encouraging you to keep going.
You whimper into his mouth, all the different sensations driving you crazy. Your hips shift and circle, trying to find relief for the ache between your legs. One hand slips from tugging on his hair to rest on his back, nails digging in slight in an attempt to ground yourself. All you see, all you feel revolves around him.
Tyson groans, stuck between letting you ride your high out on his thigh or tugging you into his room so he can fuck the life out of you.
“Y/n?” Kacey’s voice has Tyson stilling against you, hands digging into your hips.
You freeze, heart falling into your ass. It’s like a bucket of ice water has been emptied over your head as fear and shame flood your veins. What are you doing grinding against your best friend’s brother’s thigh in a fucking closet as she was only feet away from you? You panic, eyes wide as you contemplate whether you should remain quiet or attempt to rush out of the closet before she finds the two of you in such a compromising position.
Tyson puts a hand to your mouth, pressing one last kiss to your throat. He moves out from under you, leaving you shaking against the wall as he slides out and shouts, “She’s still downstairs, Kace. I think mom stopped her.”
“Can you ask her to grab the Doritos then, please?” Kace’s response comes.
You deflate, breathing heavily as you lean against the wall for support. How could you two be so stupid with Kacey so close?
After a moment of catching your breath, you exit the closet avoiding Tyson’s eyes as you slink downstairs for water and doritos. Your legs feel like jelly and your thighs are slick, but most importantly shame pools in your belly as you rifle through the pantry.
You feel sick as you make your way back into Kacey’s room, her eyes on the movie as you toss the doritos in her direction.
“How did you escape mom?” she asks nonchalantly, eyes moving over to you as you settle into the small couch in the corner of her room.
“What?” you ask, still dazed from your encounter with Tyson.
“That’s what took you so long right? Mom must have cornered you again,” she replies with an eyebrow raised.
You gulp, is there any way she knows what really took you so long? “Uh, no I just got distracted looking at the photos in the hallway,” you lie.
She sends you a weird look, laughing at your response. “You’ve been here how many times now, Y/n/n?” she teases. “Oh! Did I tell you Max texted me?”
Jumping at the out she had unknowingly given you, you sit up straighter and all but shout, “Shut up, no, details Kace!”
You and Kacey gossip for the next few hours, giggling as you drink more and finish the bag of Doritos. It’s 2 am when Kacey passes out, snoring softly as the credits to Legally Blonde roll.
Your heart threatens to beat out of its chest as you consider your next moves. You’ve been on edge since the closet, tightly wound and aching for release. There are really two options here, head for the bathroom to help yourself out, or sneak into Tyson’s room to ask for his help. Despite knowing it's a terrible idea, you can’t let go of the feeling of his lips on yours. Resolving to yourself that you’re just seeking sex from a willing party, you sneak out of Kacey’s room and head down the hall. You knock softly at his door and bite your lip as you anxiously wait for him to come to the door.
He opens the door and looks at you for a moment, eyes hooded and sweatpants hanging low on his hips. Before you can even regret your decision, Tyson grabs you by the waist and tugs you inside, shutting the door quietly and pressing you into the wall.
“I was hoping you’d come by. Couldn’t think about not finishing what we started,” he whispers, pressing fervent kisses to your neck.
You’re about five seconds from giving in and letting all thoughts leave your mind, but you know you have to speak up first. “Wait, Tys.”
He pauses with his lips against your skin, pulling back slightly to look into your eyes, “What’s wrong, do you not want to-“
“No!” you cut him off a little too loudly, eyes widening before you repeat yourself more softly, “No that’s not it, I really want to, but we need to lay down some ground rules here.”
“Ground rules?” he asks, heart falling.
You nod, confirming, “Ground rules. One, this is just sex, no feelings and two, Kacey can not find out.”
Tyson’s heart breaks a little, his hands faltering as he pulls back to look at you. He searches your expression for a moment, willing himself to find any trace that you’re lying, that you want feelings involved. He doesn’t, though, so he forces himself to nod. “No feelings, no Kacey finding out. Can I fuck you now? I’ve been trying to ever since you walked through the door.”
He doesn’t know it but your heart would break a little too, if it hadn’t already been broken by his complete radio silence after hooking up on New Year’s. That’s why he doesn’t see a trace of the lie on your lips or in your eyes, you had already convinced yourself that having him in your bed was better than not having him at all. Swallowing down your feelings, you press your hips into his and pull your bottom lip between your teeth, “Please.”
Tyson grabs you by the hips and pushes you back until your knees hit the back of his mattress. You fall down with him on top of you, his hands moving up and under your shirt, leaving trails of fire in their wake. His lips move against your throat, nipping and sucking, causing a heavy sigh to leave your mouth.
The movement of his lips and his weight on top of you feels so good, but you’ve been desperate with the ache of an almost orgasm for hours. Wrapping a leg around his hips, you press your center into him and whine his name in his ear.
Tyson groans, his hands moving to slide your shorts off of you, his teeth biting down hard at the base of your throat.
“Not wasting any time, huh?” he asks, voice husky and low.
You help him remove your shorts, kicking them off when they’re far enough down your legs. “You try almost getting off and then having to sit through Legally Blonde,” you snap rolling your hips into his.
He chuckles darkly, his hands moving to remove your shirt, lips connecting with yours immediately after. He moves his hip against yours, tongue dipping into your mouth when you gasp out a moan.
Tyson kisses down your neck, sucking and biting your skin as his hands move over your chest, rolling your nipples harshly between his fingers.
You whine and moan, fingertips digging into his shoulder blades. You’re aching, every touch lighting up your insides. He’s taking too long to touch you, forcing you to try and find friction on your own, hips bucking against his.
“Patience, baby,” he whispers, pulling back to look down at you. He moves down, pressing kisses into your stomach and moving your legs further apart. “Good things come to those who wait.”
The look in his eyes has your chest constricting as you take in his blown pupils, desire and... something else swimming within. You can’t help but reply that you’ve ‘been patient and waiting’ even as he settles down between your thighs.
Tyson laughs, his breath hitting your core and making you whine. He doesn’t make you wait any longer, his mouth pressing wet, warm kisses to your clit as his hands hold your hips down. You barely remember to quiet the moan that passes your lip, your hands flying to grip his hair as his tongue slides up and over your slit.
You forgot just how good it felt to be the center of his attention with his hands gripping your hips and his mouth on your most intimate area. It’s almost embarrassing how easily worked up you are, fluttering and clenching at nothing as his tongue circles your clit. Your breath comes out in quicker bursts, moans turn louder and higher pitched as you approach your high aided only by his mouth.
He keeps looking up at you, his pace only quickening when he sees you’re close to coming completely undone. His hands slide up your thighs, one arm going to hold your hips down as the other approaches your core. Without any warning, he slips a finger inside of you, curling upwards and easily finding your sweet spot. You almost wail in pleasure, your hand slapping over your mouth as you clench around him.
You’re barreling toward your release as he adds another finger, expertly working your body alongside his tongue. It’s too much and yet not enough as the dual sensations of his mouth and his fingers have you shattering around him. You bite down on your hand to keep from crying out his name, your eyes squeezing shut in pleasure.
He pulls back a little bit, his fingers working quickly still as he says, "You gonna come for me, baby?"
His tongue finds your clit again, moving in circles as he pumps his fingers in and out of you. You feel like you can't breathe as your orgasm crashes over you, a silent moan twisting your face as you shove your face into his sheets. Your legs go to close automatically, Tyson not seeming to care that you've practically got him in a headlock between your thighs. His tongue works you through your orgasm, lapping up your juices as you quake beneath him.
You tug on his curls when it gets to be too much. Your voice is wrecked and raspy as you whine his name.
He moves back up to you and slides his tongue into your mouth, teeth clashing with yours. You whine a little at the taste of yourself, bucking your hips in hopes of finding more friction. “What do you want, baby? Just say it,” he whispers, his hands gliding down your sides and digging into your hips. His thigh moves back between your legs, causing you to cry out a little at the overstimulation.
“I want-“ you sigh, “I want-“ It’s hard to speak, you can’t form a coherent thought. The only thing running through your mind is him.
“Yeah?” he prompts, applying more pressure with his thigh against you, your wetness soaking his sweatpants that he’s still wearing. He’s painfully hard but he won’t do anything more until you ask for it.
“Want you to fuck me,” you whine, grabbing onto his back and digging your fingertips into the muscles you find there.
“I thought you’d never ask,” he whispers. He pulls back and quickly sheds his sweatpants and boxers, sighing at the sight of you completely naked and writhing in his sheets.
It's a sight he could get used to seeing for the rest of his life he thinks before he can stop himself. It's sobering for a moment, a realization that this is as much of you as you are willing to give him. You sense the change in demeanor, mistake it for him sensing hesitancy on your part and press down harder, "Please."
The corner of his mouth turns up at your plea, and he leans over to open his bedside drawer for a condom.
"Wait," you grab his arm, "I'm on birth control and I... I want to feel you." For a second you're embarrassed, did you seriously just ask him to fuck you without a condom, but then he groans, resting his forehead against yours.
"Yeah?" He asks, the thought of burying himself inside of you without any barrier in the way is almost enough to make him come right there.
You grip the back of his neck, pulling him in for a sloppy kiss before nodding. He groans and you whimper as he slowly enters you inch by inch. He watches the way your face scrunches up as he fills you, stretches you. Tyson wants to commit the vision to his memory, unsure of how many more times you'll allow him to see you like this.
Tyson moves painstakingly slow, his hands gripping your hips as he pulls out almost all the way, his eyes never leaving yours.
"Tys, if you don't fuck me faster I'm going to lose it," you groan, completely throwing any embarrassment you had out the window. You were aching for him to fuck you senseless into the mattress, his fingers digging bruises into your skin.
Tyson huffs in annoyance, a dark look crossing his face at your words. He doesn't say anything, snapping his hips into yours harshly. You cry out in surprise and pleasure, Tyson's hand slams over your mouth. He stills for a moment, hovering over you. "Shut that pretty little mouth of yours up or I won't let you come again," he all but growls.
You moan around his hand, nodding feverishly. If you had known all he needed was a little push to be rough with you, you would've dealt it out earlier. Tyson slams into you once more, watching your face twist with pleasure before he picks up the pace.
There’s little you can do but grip his sheets, your body moving with every thrust. He groans lowly, mesmerized for a moment by the way your body moves beneath him. Dropping his forehead to rest against your neck, you whine against his hand as he bites down on the juncture of your neck and shoulder.
Your nails dig into his back as he thrusts into you harder, his lips trailing up to your ear.
“You want me to come inside you?” he groans out, voice thick with lust. You know you shouldn’t say yes, you shouldn’t make any more stupid decisions. But the way he snaps his hips into yours, fingers digging into your skin, lips sucking tenderly at the spot behind your ear; it’s all too much, all too overwhelming.
“Fuck yes, Tys, please,” you whine, voice far too loud for what you’re doing
“You gotta be quiet baby,” he grunts, never losing his fast pace, “don’t wanna get us caught.”
His words should have snapped you out of your lust fueled state, should have had you panicking and pushing him off of you. Instead, they only turn you on more. Tyson can feel it in the way you clenched around him, gripping him. “You like sneaking around huh? Like knowing we could get caught?”
You don’t respond verbally, but the way you throw your head back onto his pillows, back arching up says it all. One of your hands drags down his back, leaving scratches in its wake until reaching his thick ass that you squeeze.
He groans loudly, thrusting into you harder, his hips snapping into yours roughly. He moves his hand down between the two of you, his thumb circling your clit mercilessly. He moves down, his mouth attaching to your nipple and sucking harshly, teeth grazing your sensitive skin. It’s all too much for you, your high approaching rapidly as he keeps pace.
“Close,” you whimper, digging your nails into the smooth skin of his ass.
“C’mon baby,” his tone is desperate, his eyes staring up at you from where he’s mouthing at your breasts. He’s determined to make you come first, gripping your thigh and thrusting impossibly deeper into you. The new angle has you seeing stars and you bite your lip so hard you worry you’ll draw blood.
“Fuck, Tys, I’m coming,” you gasp out, back arching and nails digging deep into his skin. You’re seeing stars and patches of light, your eyes shut tight as your walls clench around him.
“That’s it, baby, come on my dick,” he growls out, fingers squeezing your hips.
You’re panting now, desperately scratching at his back to find something to anchor you, something to pull you back down to earth.
His pace quickens into sloppy thrusts that have you moaning again. He buries his face in your neck, hands on either side of your head.
“Tys, come inside of me,” you whine, nails slipping along his back from the sweat.
“What was that, sweetheart?” he whispers, nose brushing your throat. “You’ve gotta do better than that.”
Fuck, he was just playing with you now. He had you coming undone two separate times now, your mind hazy and your body spent. You should tell him to fuck off, should tell him to come inside of you or else you’d push him out. You don’t, though, because he keeps hitting your sweet spot and he’s got you completely wrapped around his finger.
“Tys, please,” you beg, hands curling into his hair. “Please come inside of me. I need you, I need your cum inside of me.”
It’s the combination of your soft, sweet begs and the way you keep clenching down on his dick that has Tyson rushing over the edge, spilling his seed inside of you as his thrusts slow. He slumps down on top of you, hands curling under your waist and head resting on your chest.
Your hands rest on his shoulders, holding him to you as you come down. You relish in the feeling of his body weight, his arms around you, wishing you could stay wrapped up in him all night. Knowing that’s not the smartest idea, you start to shift, pausing as his grip tightens.
“Don’t go yet,” he murmurs against your chest causing goosebumps to erupt on your skin. He’s still deep inside of you, and his touch is so intoxicating you can only nod.
Tyson holds you close, his fingers brushing along your skin gently as the time slowly changes on the clock. It’s nearly 4am when he gets up slowly, kissing parts of your body as he goes. He hands you your clothes and sits down, kissing you gently on the lips before saying, “As much as I want to fall asleep with you in my arms, Kacey will have a lot of questions.”
“Yeah,” you murmur, pulling him back for another soft kiss that has your toes curling and your heart racing. You want to lay back down and close your eyes, so utterly exhausted. Slipping your pajamas back on, you stand up and step between his thighs. “Night Tys,” you whisper, running a hand through his messy sex curls. You leave his room, pausing to use the bathroom and clean yourself up a bit before reentering Kacey’s room and slipping into her bed beside her. As you fall asleep your heart hurts as you think about how you’re laying beside the wrong Jost.
You and Kacey wake up before Tyson, surprisingly. You aren’t tired or exhausted like you expected to be. Your mind is buzzing with the night before, having found all of the bruises Tyson had left in the wake of your hook up after you showered.
Kacey is busy mixing the pancake batter while you cook the bacon when he stumbles in. “How late did you stay up, dude?” Kacey asks teasingly, sending her brother a small grin.
Tyson grumbles incoherently, moving past you to reach the fridge. His hand brushes along your lower back, causing you to flinch and look back at him in surprise. Weren’t you two supposed to be subtle? His hand stays there as he grabs the orange juice, completely oblivious to the way you reacted to his touch.
Kacey looks over at you both, a look of disbelief crossing her features when she sees Tyson’s hand on you. Neither of you notice, though, too caught up in your own minds.
He pours himself a glass and moves away, his hand sliding off of you as he moves to dip a finger in the pancake batter Kacey is mixing.
“Needs more water, K, that’s way too thick,” he says, looking over at his sister finally. Her expression makes him frown. “What?”
Kacey goes to ask what the hell that was about, her eyes sliding to you for a moment. You look away, your cheeks red as you try to not burn the bacon. “Wh-“ Kacey starts.
Mikko and Gabe stumbling into the kitchen stops her, her attention sliding to Mikko as he says, “I need some juice.”
“Ask Tyson, he just grabbed some from the fridge.” Kacey’s tone is almost icy, and it has your anxiety acting up. You stare at the bacon hoping for a change of subject, while still feeling the ghost of Tyson’s hand on your back.
Mikko’s eyebrows furrow, his eyes moving to you and then Tyson. He doesn’t say anything as Tyson pours him juice, eyes on his sister. “What’s got you all pissy, Kace?” he asks, resting his head in his hands. “Did y/n kick you all night?”
Kacey turns to you, her expression softening a bit when she sees how stiff your movements are. You’ve barely managed to stop yourself from letting the bacon burn, plating it and turning the stove off.
“No,” Kacey says finally, turning back to Tyson. “Can you get more juice from the garage?”
Tyson rolls his eyes at his sister, but nods. He casts a longing glance in your direction before leaving the kitchen, the door to the garage slamming open.
“Is there anything going on with you and Tyson?” Kacey’s by your side in a heartbeat, her question soft and rushed.
You try to not react too viscerally but her question shakes you. One day into whatever arrangement you've gotten yourself into with Tyson and you’re already getting caught? “How could there be, Kacey? He’s off limits,” you grumble, unable to keep the slight annoyance out of your tone. Maybe the annoyance is more towards yourself for playing with fire, maybe it’s more with Tyson for wanting you enough to fuck you but not enough to love you.
She visibly softens, her shoulders deflating as a guilty look crosses her face. “I’m sorry, Y/n/n,” she murmurs, resting a hand on your shoulder. “I know Tys is just touchy. I shouldn’t have doubted you.”
A sick feeling settles in your stomach like a ton of bricks. You were a horrible friend - letting Kacey take the fall when she wasn’t wrong to assume. You send her a half smile, shrugging as if to say it doesn’t matter. You didn’t trust your voice.
She grins at you just as Tyson shuffles in with two more jugs of juice. She turns on her heel, snatching them from his hands with a ‘thanks Tys.’
It’s an awkward breakfast where you spend more time pushing the food around on your plate than anything else. You’ve chosen to wedge yourself into the corner of the dining table, nestled between Kacey and Mikko to avoid another touching incident with Tyson. Unfortunately it puts you directly across from him, feeling his eyes on you the whole time. Every time you look up he tries to catch your eye but you focus on the wall behind him, or quickly stare back at your plate. It’s not until Kacey elbows you that you’re realize Gabe was talking to you. “Sorry what?”
Gabe’s expression is full of sympathy as he smiles at you. “I was asking if you planned on leaving Canada after you finished college. There are a lot of opportunities in America right now,” he says, voice gentle.
You look at him incredulously for a moment, eyes sliding from Gabe to Kacey. She’s looking at you, confusion making her nose wrinkle. You needed to find a way to be normal. Just because you were stupid enough to fall into bed with someone who would never love you didn’t mean you got to be a basket case. It was your choice - you needed to deal with it.
“I debated New York for a while,” you say softly, cutting into a pancake. “It’s so far away, though. A lot could happen between now and when I graduate.”
Gabe nods slow, a thoughtful look on his face. “Well, if you ever need help, let me know. I’ve got a few friends around the league.”
Tyson is simmering beside Gabe, his fork clenched tightly between his fingers. He knew you debated New York - he knows just about everything there is to know about you. You had also debated Florida and staying in Canada, your mind not entirely made up.
It’s not the fact that you wouldn’t be close to him anymore, no, it was the fact that Gabe’s connections in New York were the likes of Mat Barzal.
He can almost see it now - Mat greeting you and showing you around the city. He’d probably fall in love with you easily; anyone could. You’re beautiful inside and out, never failing to make Tyson’s heart skip a beat. He knows it wouldn’t be any different for Barzy. No, he’d probably charm you into getting dinner with him and you spend your entire night giggling away at his jokes. You’d become quick friends, watching movies and eating takeout most nights of the week. You’d house sit for Mat when he was gone and you’d FaceTime most nights because being alone terrified you.
You’d fall in love with him easily, the way he looks at you igniting a flame that Tyson never could. You’d call Kacey six months later and tell her that he’s your boyfriend now and how happy you were. You’d forget Tyson ever kissed down your body and made you shake with pleasure.
You’d forget Tyson was ever an option - and that makes him feel sick.
You’re having the opposite thoughts Tyson is, thinking about how lonely New York would be - no Kacey, no Tyson. If you’re being honest, you don’t know where you’ll end up but you suspect it’ll be somewhere near a Jost. Part of you hopes that maybe Tyson will come around, tell you he loves you and ask you to come with him, but that part of you is a daydreamer. Realistically, you’ll either end up wherever Kacey goes, or you’ll stick around home with their mom as your lifeline. “Thanks Gabe,” is all you say with a small smile.
Tyson stands quickly, rocking the table with his sudden movements. “Well. We’re going to go out on the boat and fish today, so we should get moving,” he says quickly, motioning to the kitchen door. This time, he’s avoiding your stare, his eyes moving from Gabe and Mikko who move a little bit slower than he did.
“Is grandpa taking you?” Kacey asks, unfazed by her brother’s weird actions. “Are EJ and Andre going, too?”
“Yup,” Tyson says, turning away from you both. “Guys day, you know?”
Your stomach drops when you realize he’s not going to look at you. Did you manage to fuck things up already, so soon into your arrangement? Were you an idiot for thinking that you and Tyson could make it out of this without hurting one another?
Were you an idiot for ever thinking you could get out of this without your heart breaking?
"Have fun," you tell the boys, more than a little confused. But, there's no point in dwelling on it, especially not in front of Kacey, so you turn to her. "How do you feel about heading into Edmonton and hitting up the West Ed?"
Kacey lights up, lessening the heavy weight in your chest as she nods enthusiastically, "Sure, we can have a girl's day," she responds, mocking her brother's earlier words. "Do some shopping, maybe get a pedicure, definitely have a nice lunch."
"I'm going to go get ready," you tell her, brushing past your feelings for Tyson and ignoring his presence at the door entirely as you move further into their home and up the stairs.
Tyson sees you walk past his room, a faraway look on your face. It isn’t your fault that he’s played out an entire scenario where you fall in love with someone else and forget him. It’s not your fault you don’t see Tyson as anyone other than your best friend’s brother and a good fuck.
He shakes his head, jamming his phone in his pocket and grabbing a baseball cap. He had to find a way to get over you.
Your day with Kacey flies by with multiple shopping bags, one too many drinks (she had driven and you had heartache on your mind as you sucked back vodka crans on Bourbon Street). Despite the lingering guilt you felt from your conversation that morning, it was good to spend time with your best friend and your best friend only.
“So,” Mikko says, grin wide and slick as he settles in beside Tyson. EJ sits on the other side of him, sending him a toothless smile that screams mischief.
“What?” Tyson asks warily, casting his line and doing his best not to think about you.
“When are you going to man up and make y/n your girlfriend?” Mikko asks innocently, leaning back in his seat. “We aren’t stupid, you know. We see how you look at her.”
“We see how she looks at you,” Burky adds, slapping Tyson’s back as he slides past to grab more bait.
“I don’t - wait what?” Tyson asks, mind spinning for a moment.
“Come on, Josty, would Kacey really be that mad if she knew you were in love with her?” Gabe asks. He’s sitting on the other side of EJ, hat covering most of his face.
“I - I’m not in love with her, first of all,” he finally says, finding his voice. “And Kacey would kill me and disown y/n. How could I make her lose her best friend for me?”
Mikko clucks his tongue at Tyson, a thoughtful look on his face.
“You do realize either way, you’re sort of fucked, right?” EJ says finally, the look on his face grim.
Yeah, Tyson had figured that much already.
If breakfast was awkward, supper is worse. You volunteer to help Kacey in the kitchen again, tasked with coating the boys' catches with flour and egg while she mans the two large frying pans. Tyson's teammates are in the living room, drinking a couple of beers before supper, except for EJ who had graciously offered to help with supper. Kacey had put him to work peeling and cutting potatoes, stating that she didn't have the patience to prep enough potatoes for the athletes with the bottomless stomachs in the living room.
Kacey is singing along to the random playlist playing through the speakers while you were uncharacteristically quiet. You keep glancing over at Tyson, never catching his gaze on you, not even once. It's such a huge turn around from last night and early this morning that it has your head spinning. You wonder what you could have done wrong, what you did to make him uninterested. You wonder if everything he said was just an act to get you into bed again, but you have to believe he's better than that.
You've flipped the same fish into the batter four times before EJ is gently taking the fork from you and putting the battered fish into the container with the others. "It'll all work out," he tells you softly when Kacey's back is turned. You look at him alarm, but he just shoots you a gap toothed smile and returns to his very important job of cutting potatoes.
You finish battering the fish, moving closer to Kacey. “Do you need any help with that?” you ask softly. “Or can I finally pour us some wine?”
Kacey laughs at that, shoving you playfully to the side. “Pour me some riesling, will you? And keep me company so I don’t somehow burn the house down,” she says, smiling over at you.
You busy yourself with pouring three glasses of wine, earning a kiss on the cheek from EJ when you place it down beside him.
Tyson notices that, despite his best attempts to keep from looking your way, he's been watching when you're not looking and catching glances of you in the reflection of the kitchen window. He doesn't like the ugly feeling that blooms in his chest watching his teammate kiss your cheek. Tyson watches as you bump Kacey with your hip before hopping up on the counter close enough to keep up whatever conversation you're having but not close enough to get splattered with grease. Guilt spreads through his body once again as he thinks about the implications of his feelings for you. Kacey can never find out about the hook up, and you and him can never move beyond that without upsetting Kacey. He knows that Kacey is your family, you don't talk a lot about it but your family isn't the greatest. As the guy who has loved you his whole life, he can't in good conscience tell you to pick him at the expense of losing her.
Tyson decides right there, in the middle of Gabe tugging him into a headlock, that he won’t make you choose. He decides it’s better to stop things now, to end it here so you’ll never have to choose between your family and him. It hurts, thinking about you kissing anyone else, but he knows damn well he can’t offer you anything else.
You're pretty sure you really fucked something up because beyond not meeting your eye, he's downright ignoring you. When you ask him to pass you a napkin it's like he doesn't hear you, when you head to bed, his voice isn't among the chorus of 'goodnight'. As you lay beside Kacey, you move from sad to annoyed to downright angry. Did Tyson really just reveal himself to be a huge asshole who only used you to get himself off?
Tyson can see the tension in your shoulders the entire night. He can see you’re sad, see the hurt on your face when he pretends you aren’t even there. It’s best this way, though. You would realize it and then he could find a way to get over you.
Tyson knows it’s not that simple, knows he can’t just get rid of how in love with you he is. He growls a bit, running his hands over his face in frustration. Why couldn’t things be simple? Why couldn’t Kacey get over her weird rule so Tyson could just ask you out?
You can't sleep, thoughts of Tyson and his confusing behavior keeping you up. Kacey doesn't have such a problem, falling asleep almost the second her head hits the pillow. It makes it easier to slip out of her bed and her room, slinking across the hall like you'd done only 24 hours earlier but with a much different endgame. You're going to get Tyson to pay you attention and you're going to get answers.
This time you don't knock, simply opening the door to see his room covered in darkness. You know the path to his bed, had walked it only yesterday, stealthily climbing up onto it, settling until you're straddling his hips over the comforter. You cover his mouth with your hand to keep him from making a noise when he wakes up probably alarmed.
Tyson startles at the sudden weight laying across his hips, eyes widening in surprise when a hand slams over his mouth. He panics immediately, a wail muffled behind your hand as he thrashes a bit. He thinks this is it, thinks he’s going to die right here until he realizes it’s you above him. He stops thrashing, body relaxing into his bed as you look down at him.
Your grip on his mouth is kind of a turn on if he's being honest, but it's the look in your eyes that has his heart stopping. There's anger, which he deserves, confusion which he understands, and a sadness that shocks and hurts him. Before he can linger on that feeling any further, you've removed your hand from his mouth and shoved your pointer finger into his chest.
"What is your problem, you asshole!" you whisper scream, unintentionally shifting your hips against him.
“My problem?” he asks in disbelief, eyes wide. “What the hell is your problem? There are better ways to get my attention, you know!”
You snort in annoyance, narrowing your eyes at him. “Oh, like at dinner when you ignored me? Or this morning at breakfast when you ignored me? Wait! I know — when I was going to bed and you pretended I didn’t exist?” you all but growl out. “I’m not going to ask again; what is your problem, asshole?”
"I don't have a problem," he tries to lie, but his poker face isn't very good. Not to mention, you've known him your whole life and you know his tell is the way he can't look you in the eyes as he lies.
Glaring down at him, you poke his chest again, "Try again, Tyson. And look me in the eyes this time."
He sighs heavily, his nervous expression crumbling and a pained look taking its place.
“Look, y/n, I don’t - I don’t want to be the reason you lose Kacey. She’s like your family and if she finds out what we’re doing...” he trails off, his eyes sad as he finally looks you in the eye.
"Oh," you visibly deflate, shoulders slumped as you rest your hands on his chest. Of course you've thought about it, about how every touch, every kiss was like a small betrayal of Kacey and her trust. But the feeling of him beneath you, solid and warm and everything you've ever wanted? How can you just give that up after barely having it? Sliding one hand up his chest to rest under his jaw, you tell him quietly, "We just have to be really careful."
He looks up at you, his features soft and gentle. For a moment, you let yourself see love swimming in his eyes, let your own eyes flutter shut when his hand reaches up and cups your cheek. His lips pull into a small smile, a hint of sadness in his eyes. “Are you sure?” he murmurs, his thumb moving over your bottom lip. “I want this. I want you. Are you sure?”
"I'm sure," you tell him, opening your mouth and pulling his thumb between your lips. You swirl your tongue around it, eyes never leaving his.
Tyson watches you, his heart just about ready to pound out of his chest. He moans softly, grinding his hips up against yours. “Is this what you’ve been thinking of all day?” he whispers darkly, his other hand sliding up your body and grabbing your throat.
You can't speak, his thumb in your mouth and his hand around your throat, only nodding as you shift your hips against him.
His thumb presses down on your tongue as your eyes flutter shut, before he's pulling it from your mouth with a pop.
He sits up, tugging your legs around his waist. He pulls you into him, hands on either side of your face as he presses a kiss to your lips. It’s slow and gentle, surprising you a bit. One hand moves to the back of your neck, holding you to him as the other toys with the hem of your shirt.
You lose yourself in the sensations of him, from his mouth to his hands to his hips. His touch is rough but gentle, kisses warm but hard, his hips set a brutal pace even as you fall apart around him. Piece by piece he takes you apart and then puts you back together again.
Your days bleed together like that — you and Tyson sneaking off and sharing secretive looks when no one’s looking. You almost get caught more than once, both of you terrified at the idea of Kacey rounding the corner one day to find you two fucking against the pool house. No one ever finds out, though, and it only fuels the fire burning between the two of you.
Good things can only last so long, especially when you’re playing with fire like you are with Tyson and Kacey. August rolls around, and with it comes the annual August long lake trip with the Jost siblings and a few of your friends from high school, alongside Mikko who had stayed when everyone else had gone home, and JT who had made the trip from Illinois the week before.
Friday and Saturday pass by without much incident, other than the typical shenanigans associated with a group of twenty somethings mixed with too many white claws. You go out on the boat, drink around the fire, stay up late and sleep in later, and sneak around with Tyson when the moment allows. There’s quick kisses throughout the day, stolen moments early in the morning when everyone else is sleeping, and you’re nearly caught making out in the water by Kara.
Your downfall comes after three drinks too many on Sunday night. You’re more reckless than usual, moving through the house in search of Tyson despite the fact that Kacey wasn’t outside with you. Your mind is hazy, limbs moving on their own accord as you seek out the curly haired boy you’re in love with.
You know it’s not smart, know you should march your happy, drunk ass right back out the sliding door and sit back down beside Kara.
You don’t, though, your heart aching for Tyson.
You find him in his room, changing his shirt and humming along to the song Kacey had put on moments before you left.
“Hey,” you call softly, leaning into the doorframe for support. Your smile grows a little when he turns, eyes softening at the sight of you.
“Hey, baby,” he murmurs, voice husky. He tugs his shirt on fully and walks up to you, his hands landing on your hips. “What’s got you in here?”
You hum a little, pressing into him and letting your head rest against his chest. “Missed you,” you mumble, fingers hooking into the belt loops on his shorts.
Tyson wraps you in his arms, tilting your chin up so he can look down at you. His eyes are warm and inviting, almost begging you to lean up and kiss him softly. You do it, the alcohol in your system stopping you from remembering that you’re not alone and that anyone could see you.
Tyson kisses you back eagerly, moving so your back is resting against the doorframe. He holds you close to him, lips moving lazily against yours in a way that you’ve never experienced.
Maybe that’s why you don’t hear Kacey call you from the kitchen - you’re far too wrapped up in Tyson and the way he’s kissing you like he’s in love with you. Maybe that’s why you don’t hear the approaching footsteps or the way the music stops somewhere in between her calling you and moving to find you.
“What the fuck?”
Maybe that’s why you pull away slowly, still in a daze until your eyes lock with Kacey’s, her expression furious and hands clenched at your sides. Tyson scrambles away from you, hands flying to his hair.
“Kace, hey, wait, I can explain,” he rushes out, moving in front of you.
Your heart drops into your ass and you're suddenly a little more sober than you'd entered the room as. Your very worst fear has come true - you'd slipped up and now Kacey knew you'd broken her rule, her only rule. You were messing around with her brother. The fear paralyzes you, you can't move, can't speak as Tyson tries to diffuse the situation.
It's like every word that leaves his lips only fuels the flames of her anger, as she goes from quietly simmering to full on rage, throwing hurtful words and accusations like grenades.
“Do you have nothing to say for yourself, y/n? Need my brother to protect you for breaking the only rule I ever made with you?” she snaps, her gaze cutting you like a knife.
“Kace, I’m so sorry I never -“ you cut yourself off, running your hands through your hair. You never what? Meant to hurt her? You knew that was what you were doing from the start. You hadn’t cared, though. You had been selfish.
“What, whoring around on campus wasn’t enough for you? You just had to go after my brother?” she shouts.
“Hey!” Tyson snaps. “Don’t talk to her like that.”
Kacey glares at him, her fists balling at her sides once more. “Get the fuck out of here. Both of you,” she snaps. “I don’t want to see either of you ever again.”
It’s a ridiculous request. Tyson’s her brother and you... well you’re everything to her.
You don’t realize Kacey’s stormed off until JT is in your face, eyes full of sorrow and lips moving. You can’t make out what he’s saying, can’t form a coherent sentence.
When Tyson reaches out for you, you flinch away. Reality hits you, then, that had managed to fuck everything up — and lose both Jost’s in one go.
Tears stream down your face as you stumble out of the room, ignoring the protests of the boy you'd risked it all for and lost terribly. You hurriedly shove your things into your backpack, the sweater hanging over the back of the chair, your wet bathing suit hanging in the bathroom. You sweep your cosmetics into the bag with your arm, not caring when you hear something hit the floor and shatter. You've never packed so fast in your life, usually you like to take your time, make a packing list or five, carefully checking things off and then rechecking before leaving. Not this time, you're trying to get out of there before you can hurt Kacey any further. It occurs to you that you drove up with Kacey and Tyson and now had no way back to St. Albert as you're hustling down the stairs. Your hand covers your mouth as the realization that you're stranded without a ride when suddenly there's a warm hand on your shoulder. Blinking stupidly up at Mikko, you barely hear him as he tells you he'll drive you home.
Mikko all but carries you to his car, fighting off Tyson and JT when they try desperately to stop you. JT sees you — actually sees you — and stops Tyson from all but punching Mikko in the face to get to you.
“Hey, let her go. This is more than you and her, okay? Just come sit down and we can work this out,” JT murmurs, his hands firm on Tyson’s shoulders.
You don’t miss the heartbroken look on his face as you disappear from the house. You don’t know where Kara or Kacey are, but you can only assume it’s somewhere far from you.
When you’re in the car for more than five minutes, you break down completely. Sobs wrack your body as you think of all you had just lost. You think of Tyson and how he wanted you to be sure — how you were sure because it was better to have some of him than none at all.
Now, though, you wish you had never slept with him. You wish you never knew what it was like to be touched by Tyson Jost because maybe if you didn’t know, maybe if you never crossed that line, you wouldn’t feel so hollow inside.
Kacey is pacing a hole in the floor of her room, one hand desperately tugging at the strands of her hair, the other in a fist so tight, Kara is worried she'll draw blood. Kara's trying her best to console her, but guilt is eating her up at the fact that she wasn't able to speak to you before you ran away with Mikko.
"Kace, you need to calm down-" Kara starts, but flinches as Kacey spins around to level a glare at her.
"Calm down? I need to calm down? Are you kidding me? My best friend and my brother have been sneaking around and lying to me!" Kacey's tone is venomous.
"You don't know the whole story Kacey-"
"I don't need to know the whole story to know I've been betrayed by the two most important people in my life, Kara." The way she speaks Kara's name can only be described as a mockery of the syllables. Kacey is so amped up she doesn't even feel any guilt at the way her friend's face falls.
Kacey knows she should be more appreciative of Kara, the girl who had been the third to your and her friendship for so many years. She knows it's a tough position to be in, stuck between two friends, but she's also self-righteous enough to believe that Kara made the right choice. After all, what did Kara do wrong other than trust her best friend? You were the one who had betrayed that trust, and lied, and snuck around.
Tyson storms into Kacey’s room, JT hot on his heels. Kara flinches at their movement, locking eyes with JT and scrambling out of the room when the ginger motioned for her. This wasn’t their battle anymore.
“Where the hell do you get off being such a bitch?” Tyson spits, pointing angrily at Kacey. “She’s been your best friend since you were a kid. How are you going to throw that away over your stupid fucking rule?”
“A stupid rule?” Kacey snarls, her pacing continuing. “You both promised me you’d never fuck around with one another. Was it worth it, Tys? Getting your dick wet all summer with my best friend? God, if you wanted to fuck someone without consequences, you should’ve called literally anyone else!”
“Shut the fuck up, Kacey! You have no idea what you’re talking about!” Tyson shouts, moving so he’s blocking her path.
“Oh, so you didn’t just use my best friend for sex all summer while I looked like a fucking fool? You know I-“ Kacey shoves at his chest, eyes blazing and mouth agape when Tyson cuts her off, his voice strained.
“I’m in love with her!”
"What?" she asks in a small voice. She's still angry, but the flames have simmered down, no longer ten feet tall and menacing, rather like a controlled burn.
"I'm in love with her!" he repeats, running a hand down his face, "I've been in love with her since I was sixteen. What, you thought that I would go behind your back just to get laid? You really think that’s all this was for me? Fuck I’ve tried to tell you so many times that y/n was it for me but you’ve never listened. And then we hooked up at New Year’s-“ It’s the wrong thing to say. Her previously softening demeanor was replaced with hot white fury.
“You hooked up with her at New Year’s?” she shouts, “The two of you have been lying for eight months?”
He tries to take a step closer to her but she pushes him back with all her might. It's shock alone that has him stumbling back as though she had the strength to move him. "Get the fuck away from me!" she screams again, anger and fury and sadness coursing through her veins.
JT and Kara look at each other and grimace. Kara remembers seeing you that night, which is surprising considering the amount of alcohol she had consumed before you'd even arrived. If she thinks hard enough she even remembers the heated looks thrown between you and Tyson. She had no idea, never thought you'd broken Kacey's rule. What she does know is that your bond with Kacey is strong, and she has to believe it’s strong enough to even withstand this.
JT remembers Tyson's attitude after returning to Colorado after New Year’s. Initially he was buzzing and happy until that tapered off leaving a dejected Tyson in its wake. JT knew how he felt about you, all the Avs knew, but they didn't know it had gone this far or on this long. He also knows just how important you are to the Jost family, and he has to think that this would all work out, too.
Meanwhile, you're sitting in Mikko's front seat, no longer shaking with sobs, but still crying nonetheless. You're trying to purchase a flight back to BC, struggling to see the WestJet website through your blurred vision. You know you won't be welcome at the Jost's for much longer and resolve to pack your things and get out of Laura's hair before Kacey and Tyson get home so you don't have to see the disappointed look in the eyes of the woman who treated you more like a daughter than your own mother ever did.
Another sob shakes through you as you realize you'll have to find another place to live in Vancouver. The apartment you share with Kacey will surely be off-limits to you now. You'll use the three weeks in Vancouver before the semester starts to pack your things and find a new apartment. Maybe you'll toss your things in storage -and try to find on campus residence.
“Do you need me to take you to the airport?” Mikko asks gently. His voice is calm and soothing, like water flowing over pebbles in a stream on a cool summer day. He pulls you from your downward spiral long enough to suck in a breath of air that fills your lungs for a moment. You look over at him, grateful he isn’t trying to get you to stay and that he isn’t talking about what happened. You need to get out of here, need to get away from everyone and everything so you can mourn your losses in peace.
“I —“ you break off, sniffling a bit. “Yeah, could you?”
Mikko nods and reaches over to grab your hand. He squeezes it tightly, setting it down on his thigh as he continues to look forward. It’s a small gesture but it has you coming undone again. You start crying again, holding onto him for dear life as you think about the look on Kacey’s face once more.
Kara finds Kacey sitting outside on the deck, head in her hands and shoulders shaking. After the blowout with Tyson, she had convinced JT to take him for a drive. Anywhere that wasn’t near Kacey would do right now.
She sits down beside her oldest friend and looks up at the stars. She thinks about you and Kacey, how the two of you had been through enough shit that would have torn anyone else apart. She thinks about all the fights and tears between you two and how she always served as the mediator. She thinks about you and the kindness you displayed, always including Kara and reminding her she was loved. You didn’t have an easy upbringing, didn’t have parents who cared about you, yet you still found a way to pour love into the world.
“I know you’re hurting, Kace,” she says finally, her voice soft and eyes on the stars. “You’re allowed to. She broke the one rule that mattered to you. But did really never notice the way Tyson looked at her?”
It’s a loaded question, Kacey realizes, because of course she did. She wasn’t an idiot — she knew her brother far better than he knew himself sometimes. She could see the way he looked at you, see that you lit up his world even if you were completely oblivious to it. She saw the way you felt, too, always just out of reach. Kacey loves you — even now despite it all. You had always respected her, always went with the flow. She knows she fucked up with how she reacted, knows you’re probably long gone by now.
“I was afraid of losing her to him,” Kacey says finally, her voice defeated. “She’s like my sister, you know? My mom practically raised her because her parents were too fucked to ever care about her. And she literally is the best part of my life. Everything bad could happen in my day but going back to our apartment and seeing her would make it worth it. You know how people say friends can be soulmates? She’s mine. And I — I made that stupid rule because I didn’t want Tyson taking that from me. Is it selfish? Yeah. But I just... I didn’t want anything to change.”
Kacey doesn’t know that Tyson is standing behind her with a devastated look on his face. “I didn’t know you felt that way,” he says quietly. He’s calmed down a little and she’s calmed down a lot. The guilt is eating away at him again, he knew a huge blowout with Kacey was the way this would end and he still pursued you.
Kacey snorts a little, tears sliding down her cheeks freely now. “She’s my best friend, Tys,” she whispers. “Losing her to anyone would be like losing you. How could you blame me?”
Tyson moves closer until he’s sitting beside her, enough distance between them just in case she gets angry again. “I don’t blame you,” he murmurs, running his hands through his hair. “I love her, too, you know. She’s always been a good person, always cared just about me. I should have... I should have told you. I didn’t mean to hook up with her.”
Kacey wants to keep screaming and yelling, wants to make her brother feel bad but one look at him and she knows he knows how badly he hurt her. Knows there’s no point in dragging the confrontation out, but still she has to call him out. “How do you accidentally hook up with someone?” She rolls her eyes, her tone heavier with annoyance than anger.
Tyson laughs because fuck, he’s been trying to figure that one out on his for a while now. “She was looking at me like maybe she felt the same way. And it’s stupid and not fair at all but in that moment, I realized one night with her in the middle of the winter would have been better than nothing at all. God, Kace, I don’t think you realize how much I love that girl. I wanted whatever I could get out of her. She doesn’t love me back and that’s fine but fuck, Kace, I just -“ he cuts himself off, a heavy sigh passing his lips. He doesn’t know anymore, doesn’t think it’ll matter to Kacey now.
“You’re really stupid,” Kacey tells him, “Like, as your sister, I knew you were dumb but you’re really stupid.”
Tyson blanches, eyes sliding over to her in surprise. “What?” he asks in disbelief. “I tell you I’m in love with your best friend and you tell me I’m stupid?”
“No I’m telling you that you’re stupid because you just told me there’s no way she feels the same. That makes you an idiot.”
“She doesn’t,” he says, eyebrows furrowed. He pauses for a moment, the last kiss you shared burning in his mind like a wildfire. The curve of your smile had been gentle, your touch soft and warm. You had melted into him easily, hands curling around him like you had been waiting your entire life to hold him so carefully. The look in your eyes had been the reason he kissed you so recklessly, so openly — you had looked at him like he was the only thing you saw. His eyes widen a fraction and he’s on his feet in a heartbeat. “Holy shit, she feels the same way.”
Dumbest bitch award goes to Tyson Jost.
Kacey’s looking up at her big brother, watching him fall apart with the realization that her best friend is in love with him too and she realizes she’s been selfish. These are the two most important and special people in her life and she’s kept them from happiness for so long and for what? The fear that she would stop being important to either of them? She’s not stupid enough to really think that either one of them would love her less if they loved each other. The fear that they would break up and she would have to choose? The look on Tyson's face now says that would never happen, and Kacey knows that even if it did you and him both love her too much to let the end of a romantic relationship sour their familial bonds. In a decidedly less graceful motion, Kacey hops up onto her feet too. “You need to go to her.”
“I hate to break it to you guys, but Mikko is taking y/n to the airport right now. She booked a flight to BC last second,” JT says.
Tyson and Kacey exchange a look of dismay. Kacey’s melts into guilt and remorse — how could she have driven you off so easily? Tyson’s melts into hurt and confusion — why were you running from them?
Kara jumps up and glares at the two of them. “What time is her flight?” she asks, voice snapping the siblings from their hazes.
“Uh, in three hours,” JT says, a smile forming on his face. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
The next few moments are full of pure chaos as the four friends scramble around the cabin trying to find Kacey’s keys. She’s a full on mess now, panicking and fluttering around Tyson as he struggles to put his shoes on. JT takes the keys from her and piles everyone in the car with the help of Kara who insists, “No, Tyson you don’t need your sunglasses it’s almost 11pm!” as she shoves him in the backseat. The car is full of chaotic energy and shouting as JT breaks just about every traffic law to get to the airport before your flight leaves.
You’re moving through the airport at a slow pace, much to your chagrin. Mikko is dragging his feet, practically sightseeing as if your flight wasn’t about to take off in half an hour.
“Mikko, I have to get to the other side of the airport in ten minutes. Can you hurry along?” you ask, voice clipped with emotion. You’re exhausted and hurt and all you want is to lay down in your bed and have a good cry.
Mikko sends you a nervous grin, one you practically ignore in favor of grabbing onto him and hauling him across the airport.
You manage to shake him off to get through security, head spinning with all that had happened in the last few hours as you settle down in an uncomfortable seat in the airport terminal.
Mikko is quick to text his friend and teammate ‘she’s gone through security bro you can’t get through unless you buy a ticket’.
It’s completely irrational and most definitely not fiscally responsible, but fuck what good is Tyson’s NHL salary if not for buying expensive last minute plane tickets so he can chase after the love of his life and tell you he loves you, he’s always loved you, and ask you to be with him?
It’s a mad rush through security, which isn’t too bad since the only thing he’s carrying through is his phone, and yeah maybe he plays the “I’m a professional athlete” card to get through quicker, but this is important, damnit. By the time he gets through, he spots you lined up at the gate just far enough that he doesn’t think he’s going to make it in time. His options are limited, and his time even more so, as he approaches the nearest customer service desk.
The customer service rep is looking at him like he’s a criminal or something, a look of pure disbelief when he tries to pull the athlete card, but she lets him use the phone all the same. Although, based on the way she backs away after he takes the receiver, she might just think he’s deranged or something.
He doesn’t really care either way, too focused on calling your name through the airport, heads turning but not one is yours. Truthfully, you barely register the change in tone, so far in your head and thinking about all the mistakes you've made in the past year. He’s not deterred though, he’s been in love with you for years and a little bit of public embarrassment is a small price to pay as he calls your name again.
Finally, your head snaps up to join the crowd, confused as to why your name is being called in the busy airport before it all clicks and you realize you know that voice. Spinning around, you lock eyes with him, the sounds of the busy airport fading into nothing until the only thing you hear is your heart beating in your ears. Holy shit, your best friend’s brother is holding up some poor Delta customer service agent, and you can’t breathe, and you just absolutely freeze.
Tyson sees you’re not moving, you’re not getting on that plane, so he runs to you. You just see him, the boy you love coming to you like this is the end of some cheesy early 2000’s romcom (the theme of your life really), so despite all proper airport etiquette, you drop your carryon and oversized purse, abandoning them in favor of running into his arms.
Neither you or Tyson care that half the airport is looking at you, security rounding the corner at the attendants request. You don’t see Kacey, Kara, JT, and Mikko practically fighting them off as you launch into Tyson’s arms, tears already streaming down your cheeks.
“Tyson? What the hell are you doing here?” you cry out, your voice wobbly and unsure.
“Do you think I was going to let you fly all the way back without telling you I was in love with you?” he asks in disbelief, pulling back so he can see you properly. His hands cup your cheeks, a gentle look settling on his face. His thumb brushes away your tears. “I’m in love with you and I’m an idiot for not telling you sooner. Please tell me you love me, too. I might be going to jail for what I just pulled.”
You laugh gleefully, your hands covering his. You lunge forward, connecting your lips in a kiss that tastes just as sweet as it feels to have him in your arms. “Is that a yes?” he asks with a cheeky grin on his face, and you can only laugh as you nod before kissing him fiercely once again.
The four years it took you to graduate were quite grueling and almost unbearable at times.
There had been nights you and Kacey cried together, sharing packs of oreos and cartons of ice cream. There had been days you called Tyson in the middle of it all just because you needed to
hear that you could do it and that someone believed in you.
Now, standing on stage as they officially announce the class of 2022 graduates, tears are fresh in your eyes. You can see Tyson, Kacey, and everyone else here to celebrate you. Laura and their grandparents, EJ, JT, Mikko, and Kara are all holding some sort of sign and balloons. You know you’re going to absolutely lose it when you reach them, but for now, you toss your cap in the air and let out a shout. You did it.
Tyson finds you first. He’s barreling through the crowds, elbows flying in all directions until he sees you standing there. You’re grinning like a mad woman, cap in hand and eyes full of more unshed tears.
He all but barrels into you, scooping you in his arms and shouting, “I’m so proud of you! Holy
You’re laughing loudly, head tipped back as Tyson spins you around for a few more moments. When he sets you down, he presses a dizzy, messy kiss to your lips that has you seeing stars.
Four years later and he still makes your heart race.
“Okay, okay, it’s our turn!” Kacey shoves Tyson aside, wrapping you in a hug so tight you gasp out a laugh. “I’m so proud of you! Can you believe it? You’re one step closer to being a registered nurse!”
You’re pulled into a warm chest before you can even say anything to her, laughing when she sends you a cheeky grin before JT and EJ are squashing you in a massive bear hug.
“Congratulations! I knew you could do it, even if I didn’t truly appreciate you practicing your IV’s on me,” JT teases, pulling back to ruffle your hair. The two of them crowd you away from the family, broad shoulders and lean chests stopping you from seeing where Laura and Tyson’s grandparents are.
“Oh, stop it,” you scold, no malice to your tone. “You’ll be thanking me when I save your life one day! How many more pucks to the face can you take before you’re looking like EJ?”
“Hey!” EJ shouts, wrapping you back up in his arms and pretending to choke you. “You’re lucky I love you or else you’d be screaming uncle.”
You laugh out, hitting him with your elbow until he releases you. You glare up at them, motioning behind you as you say, “Now can I see everyone else?”
They’re both wearing huge grins, their faces almost splitting. They nod eagerly, exchanging a look as they both seem to bounce on their heels. You send them a confused look, shaking your head at their behavior before turning around, eyes scanning the group for Laura.
Except, no one’s there except Tyson — and he’s on one knee in front of you with a nervous smile and red cheeks. A hand flies to your mouth as you gasp, tears already sliding down your cheeks.
“Y/n Y/l/n, you came into my life at the small age of two and decided you were going to change it forever. From play dates to hockey games to ice cream dates to college, you were always there, loving and supporting the entire family. Falling in love with you was easy when you had been the missing piece to my puzzle for all these years. You make my worst days better and my best days outstanding. These past four years have been a dream and I hope that you’ll stick around for the rest of them because god knows you’re everything I’ve ever needed and more. Will you do me the honor, and marry me?” Tyson’s voice is strong and sure, his eyes glistening with tears as he focuses on you.
You nod vigorously, a choked out, “Yes!” passing your lips. He places a shiny diamond ring on your hand, his fingers shaking as he does so. You don’t get a chance to admire it before he’s gathering you in his arms once more, pressing a kiss to your lips as your family and friends cheer around you.
The first one to reach for you post congratulations is, of course, your best friend of nearly two decades. “You’ve always been a Jost, now Tys is just making it official,” Kacey says with tears in her eyes as she wraps you up in a tight hug.
You can’t believe you’re here, a shiny ring on your left hand and a degree held in your right. Clinging tightly to Kacey you have to ask, “Did you know?”
She smiles widely at you, “Did I know? Who do you think he asked for their blessing?” A happy sob leaves your mouth and you hide your face in the shoulder of her gown.
Recovering slightly, you pull back from Kacey's arms and launch yourself at Laura, "Thank you for everything, mom."
She smiles and wipes away a stray tear with her thumb, "Thank you for being such a light in my children's lives. You've always been mine, too." And though the people who gave you life aren't here, the woman who gave you love is and that's all that matters.
You hug Grandma and Grandpa Jost tightly before turning to EJ who gives you a big hug and a kiss on the cheek before cheerfully gloating, "I told you it would all work out." Mikko and JT get their hands on you too, congratulations shared and kisses placed upon your cheeks, and then you’re back in the arms of your fiance. Your fiance.
Life may have dealt you a terrible hand, your own family nowhere to be seen in your brightest moments. But it sure had made up for it by giving you the Jost family and all that came along with them. You had found your forever home and you planned on sticking it out for the long haul.
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The Kiss of Life
Pietro Maximoff x Reader
Summary: You are an Avenger with the power to heal. However, you didn’t expect to catch feelings for the man you brought back from the dead.
Note: Let it be known that my very first ever Tumblr fanfiction, waaaaaay back in 2015, was a Pietro Maximoff fic about a healer! Reader bringing him back to life. I was obsessed with this man. Still am, lowkey. So, this fic is just kind of me revisiting that idea with about six more years of writing experience.
Warnings: Mentions of death, death (temporary), bulletwounds
On the day of the Battle of Sokovia, you were on board the Helicarrier. Tony Stark had contacted you, knowing the shit would hit the fan, and then Nick Fury had found you and picked you up. As the team’s resident healer, you didn’t actively go out in the field, but you were always on stand-by just in case. And this was one of the days you were glad you were.
You’d taken one of the “boats” to the quickly rising chunk of the city in order to heal civilians. You encountered a young woman who had her leg caught under a piece of rubble. But super-strength wasn’t one of your abilities. Luckily, a certain silver-haired speedster saw you and rushed over to help. You healed the woman and she quickly went over to the boats to be evacuated.
“Are you…” the man asked, looking you over. “You’re with…?”
“The Avengers, yeah.” You nodded. “Are you?”
“I’m new.” He grinned. “I’m Pietro. Nice to meet you.”
“(Y/N).” You offered your hand and instead of shaking your hand like you expected him to, he raised it to his lips and pressed a soft kiss there. You tried to ignore the heat rising to your cheeks. You couldn’t deny he was handsome, and his accent and gorgeous muscles only helped his case.
“Oh shit, your arm.” You pointed out the wound there.
“I was shot.” He nodded, his jaw clenching. “It is not bad, though.”
“Here, let me.” You reached up and held your hand over the bullet hole. Immediately, golden light radiated from your palm and Pietro watched in awe as the spot repaired, his skin closing up underneath the hole in his shirt. “There. Good as new.”
“Thanks. Remind me to find you the next time I get a paper cut.”
You chuckled. “I’m always around.”
The two of you split after that. You went off to help more civilians evacuate and he busied himself with fighting robots.
And then it happened. You were on your way to the boats to help people. You heard the loud noise of a machine gun, and when you looked up, Pietro was standing there, riddled with bullet holes, wobbling on his feet before inevitably collapsing.
You sprinted. You didn’t care about the risks or the danger, you ran as fast as you could to him, falling to your knees at his side and immediately pushing every ounce of power you could muster into his chest, arms, and legs. You felt like your veins were on fire and you couldn’t describe why, but you knew that this was why you were there. This was your purpose and you intended to fulfill it.
You watched as his wounds stitched together. You searched him for more. Anything you could do to make him better.
His eyes were open, unblinking, wide and haunting. His skin was cold to the touch. You knew what you had to do, but you didn’t know if you had the strength to do it after expending your powers all day.
“Can you do it?” Clint asked softly, watching.
“I think so.” You murmured. “I’m gonna try.”
The Kiss of Life, as Tony had dubbed it, was something you had only done once. It had absolutely drained you. You’d been asleep for a few days following it, but it was worth it. It was always worth it.
So, slowly, you leaned in and pressed your lips to Pietro’s pushing everything you had left into his body, from your chest to his. You reached up and felt for a pulse, waiting, waiting, waiting, until suddenly, you felt his vein twitch beneath your fingertips. You felt his chest heave with a breath and immediately released, exhaling a large breath of your own.
He looked up at you, confusion and warmth swirled in his eyes. He stared at you for a long moment, a hand rising to his lips, as if he was looking for confirmation of what you’d just done. He looked down at himself, searching for the dozens of wounds he’d just acquired, but not finding any.
Your head was spinning. You blinked a few times, watching him carefully. He sat up and as soon as he did, you slumped forward into his firm chest, your eyes fluttering shut. The last thing you felt before falling asleep were his strong arms wrapping around you and his soft lips pressing against your forehead.
You woke up with a pounding headache in an…unfamiliar place. You didn’t recognize the room you were in, but it appeared your things were there, from what you could tell. Oh, and there was a man sitting in a chair pulled up to your bedside, a nervous look on his face. His finger rested on his lip, deep in thought.
You moved, straining to sit up but your entire body was sore, your limbs each screaming for you to stop.
“Hey, hey, careful.” He moved at lightning speed, catching you off guard. He gently moved you into an upright position, resting against the mountain of pillows on your bed. “Easy.” He smoothed the hair off of your forehead and leaned forward to kiss it, long and soft. “You do not feel like you have a fever…”
“I think I’m okay.” You insisted, shaking your head. Your voice was hoarse. You coughed a few times, but half a second later, Pietro was holding a cold water bottle in your face, helping you drink it with careful hands and a doting expression on his face.
“Banner left these for you.” He handed you a bottle of painkillers and you took a few of them, swallowing them down with more water.
He didn’t say anything, but you knew he was thinking about it.
Instead, you asked, “How long was I out?”
“A few days.” He replied, his voice soft and low. “I…I was worried…worried that you…”
“Yeah,” you laughed darkly, shrugging. “I…well, some risks are just worth taking, I guess.”
“You barely know me and you saved my life without hesitation.” He said, a million words hiding behind his eyes. He sat on the edge of the bed cautiously, giving you plenty of time to tell him to back off, but you didn’t. “Clint…he said he’s never seen you run so fast.”
“I knew I wouldn’t have much time before…” You shook your head, trailing off. “And I knew I couldn’t let that happen. I got lucky. I was exactly where I needed to be.”
He was quiet for a beat, thinking. And then, all at once, he pulled you into his arms, against his firm chest. You listened to his heartbeat, his breaths, which became ragged as soon as he started sobbing.
“Hey, it’s okay. I’m okay. You’re okay. It’s all okay.” You said, your arms wrapping around him, one hand rubbing soothing circles on his back.
“Thank you. T-thank you so much. I…I don’t know how to repay you.”
“It’s just my job, Pietro. You don’t have to—”
“I want to, though.” He said, pulling away from you to look you in the eyes. His large hand rose to frame your cheek and you felt a chill run up your spine, heat flooding your cheeks due to his proximity and the look on his face. “Please let me thank you the way you deserve.”
You didn’t know what else to say, so you just nodded, staring up at him. “O-okay.”
“Do you think you can walk? The others want to see you.” He said.
“Um, I can try. I’ll probably be a bit weak.”
“I’ll help you.” He reassured you, helping you remove the blankets on top of you and scoot to the edge of the bed.
You put your feet on the floor, gently easing up until you were upright. You wobbled a little, but Pietro’s arm snaked around your waist for support, helping you forward slowly until you were out the door of your new bedroom.
“Where are we, exactly?”
“New facility.” Pietro explained. “Stark insists it will be safer than the Tower.”
“Gotcha.” You nodded.
He led you out to the main room, where the majority of the team were all sitting on the large sectional couch. As soon as you walked in, aided by Pietro, they all sat at attention. One of them, a young woman wearing a red sweater, stood up and walked up to you quickly, wrapping you in a tight hug.
“Thank you so much. Thank you for saving him.”
“Of course.” You hugged her back. “Us Avengers have to look out for each other. Welcome to the team. You’re Wanda, right?”
“Right. Nice to meet you, officially.” She smiled warmly.
“It’s nice to meet you, too.” You pulled away and as soon as you did, you wobbled a bit, but Pietro immediately held you upright, preventing you from falling.
“Got a new friend there, (L/N)?” Tony chuckled, raising an eyebrow.
“So it seems.” You smiled, letting Pietro help you over to the couch where the others were all situated. “The new place is nice.” You noted. “Very modern. Very sleek.”
“Thought you’d like it.” Tony nodded. “There are still quite a few empty rooms if you want to switch, but, uh…Speedy wanted your room next to his.”
Pietro laughed nervously, reaching up to scratch the back of his neck. When you looked over at him, his cheeks were steadily turning red. Cute, you decided.
“Well, I certainly don’t mind.” You grinned. “What are we watching?”
“Told you she’d like it.” Steve chuckled, his arms folded across his broad chest. “How are you feeling, kid?”
“I’m good. Little sore, but good. Should be back to normal in a few days.”
“Glad to hear it.” Steve nodded, smiling.
“Anyone have any papercuts that need healing in the meantime?” You joked.
“Maybe take it easy for now, (L/N).” Natasha chuckled, shaking her head. “Our bruises and papercuts can wait.”
“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.”
You watched a few movies with the rest of the team, and afterwards, Tony ordered pizza, a very bewildered delivery boy knocking on the door about an hour later. Pietro wouldn’t let you lift a finger, and so once the pizza arrived, he brought you a few slices on a plate with breadsticks and garlic cream cheese dip.
“Thank you, Pietro.”
“Of course.” He grinned, plopping back down in his spot between you and Wanda.
You had only been awake for a handful of hours, and yet you suspected that this constant attention from the silver-haired speedster wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.
You were right. It was about two weeks later. You’d made a full recovery and were back to your usual level of activity. You were in the training facility doing your daily workout when Pietro sped in. You were on the treadmill, just finishing up, when he strolled over, a grin on his face.
“I’ve been looking for you.”
“Oh yeah?” You asked, slowing the treadmill to a stop and leaning against the rails, taking a moment to catch your breath. “May I ask why?”
“One of the interns is making a coffee run.”
“Oh hell yeah.” You took a long sip from your water bottle. “Well, thank you for letting me know.”
“Of course.” He grinned, leaning against your treadmill. “How are you today?”
You smiled, heat flushing your cheeks. You blame it on the workout, but you knew there might be another reason for it… “I’m good, how are you?”
“Good.” He replied. “I’m good.” He paused, holding up his hand, his knuckles red and bloody. “I did hurt my hand, though…”
“Oh, here.” You took his hand in yours and held your other palm over it, letting your power glow for a few seconds until the wound healed up. “There. Good as new.”
He exhaled a breath, clenching and unclenching his hand. With it, he reached up and gently traced your jaw. He leaned forward and pressed his forehead against yours, causing a flurry of butterflies to erupt in your stomach. “You’re incredible. So incredible.”
You stared into his blue, blue eyes for what felt like eternities, his warm breaths ghosting across your cheeks. And then the moment was over. He pulled away from you, pressing a quick kiss to your forehead.
“Want a ride?”
“To where, the living room?” You laughed. “Sure, why—?” There was a rush of cold air and suddenly, you were in the living room, Pietro cradling you in his arms. “Not.” You looked up at him, tucking a piece of hair back behind your ear. “Wow, you’re fast.”
He grinned and you swore his cheeks got a shade redder than they were previously. “I am, aren’t I?”
You ordered your coffee from the intern and waited for Pietro to order his, but he didn’t.
“Aren’t you getting anything?”
“Oh, I don’t like coffee.” He shrugged, and then winked at you. “But you do, so…”
It was a few weeks later. You’d known Pietro for a little over a month at this point. You were in your room, reading. It was getting late and you knew that, but you also didn’t want to go to sleep until you finished the chapter you were on.
You heard a knock on your doorframe and looked up to find Pietro standing there, his hair a tousled mess and dark bags under his eyes.
“Come on in.” You scooted over and patted the side of the bed and immediately, he zipped over. “You okay?”
“Better now.” He said, his voice low and raspy.
You closed your book and set it on your nightstand to give him your full attention.
“Can we talk?” He asked.
“Of course, Pietro. What’s on your mind?”
“I…I don’t even know.” He let out a long breath. “I keep thinking about…that day. And I’m not sure why.”
“Well, it was traumatic. Dying, even briefly, is hard to recover from. Emotionally, that is.”
“Hmm.” He hummed, nodding. “Am I the only one…that you’ve…”
“No. There was one other. Some S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. I don’t even remember her name. It was a long time ago. But those were the only two successful times.”
“What do you mean?”
“Sometimes I’m just…too late. If I don’t get to the body in time…” You shuddered and shook your head. “I got really, really lucky with you, Pietro. If I was any further away, I don’t think…” Your stomach dropped at the thought and you couldn’t continue.
“Don’t think like that.” He said softly, one of his large hands rising to your face. His warmth was incredible, calming.
You leaned into his touch, resting your hand on top of his.
“I’m right here, printsessa.” He leaned in closer. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“There’s…something else.” He said, his voice wavering. “I don’t think it’s any secret, but, I’ve fallen for you, (Y/N). We are so close and I love it, but the only time we’ve ever kissed was when I was unconscious. I…would like to change that.” He paused, looking deep into your eyes. “But only if that’s okay with you.”
“Oh thank God.” You exhaled a relieved breath, your eyes sparkling and heart racing. “I was worried you were only hanging around me because I saved you. I didn’t think you were into me.”
“How could I not be?” His thumb rubbed your cheek affectionately. “You are kind and clever and selfless and brave, not to mention the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I’d have to be stupid to let you slip through my fingers.”
You were both quiet for a beat before he asked, his voice soft, “So…can I kiss you?”
You leaned in closer until your lips were less than an inch away from his before whispering, “Do you even have to ask?”
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Underground, Part 1
[Author’s Note: A year ago, when waiting for the DC Metro, I came up with an idea for a short story involving two realtors and the infamous Las Vegas Underground House, typed up an outline, and shoved it away in my documents where it sat neglected until this month. The house recently resurfaced on Twitter, and combined with almost a year of quarantine, the story quickly materialized. Though I rarely write fiction, I decided I’d give it a shot as a kind of novelty McMansion Hell post. I’ve peppered the story with photos from the house to break up the walls of text. Hopefully you find it entertaining. I look forward to returning next month with the second installment of this as well as our regularly scheduled McMansion content. Happy New Year!
Warning: there’s lots of swearing in this.]
Back in 1997, Mathieu Rino, the son of two Finnish mechanical engineers who may or may not have worked intimately with the US State Department, changed his name to Jay Renault in order to sell more houses. It worked wonders.
He gets out of the car, shuts the door harder than he should. Renault wrinkles his nose. It’s a miserable Las Vegas afternoon - a sizzling, dry heat pools in ripples above the asphalt. The desert is a place that is full of interesting and diverse forms of life, but Jay’s the kind of American who sees it all as empty square-footage. He frowns at the dirt dusting up his alligator-skin loafers but then remembers that every lot, after all, has potential. Renault wipes the sweat from his leathery face, slicks back his stringy blond hair and adjusts the aviators on the bridge of his nose. The Breitling diving watch crowding his wrist looks especially big in the afternoon glare. He glances at it.
“Shit,” he says. The door on the other side of the car closes, as though in response.
If Jay Renault is the consummate rich, out-of-touch Gen-Xer trying to sell houses to other rich, out-of-touch Gen-Xers, then Robert Little is his millennial counterpart. Both are very good at their jobs. Robert adjusts his tie in the reflection of the Porsche window, purses his lips. He’s Vegas-showman attractive, with dark hair, a decent tan, and a too-bright smile - the kind of attractive that ruins marriages but makes for an excellent divorcee. Mildly sleazy.
“Help me with these platters, will you?” Renault gestures, popping the trunk. Robert does not want to sweat too much before an open house, but he obliges anyway. They’re both wearing suits. The heat is unbearable. A spread of charcuterie in one hand, Jay double-checks his pockets for the house keys, presses the button that locks his car.
Both men sigh, and their eyes slowly trail up to the little stucco house sitting smack dab in the center of an enormous lot, a sea of gravel punctuated by a few sickly palms. The house has the distinct appearance of being made of cardboard, ticky-tacky, a show prop. Burnt orange awnings don its narrow windows, which somehow makes it look even more fake.
“Here we go again,” Jay mutters, fishing the keys out of his pocket. He jiggles them until the splintered plywood door opens with a croak, revealing a dark and drab interior – dusty, even though the cleaners were here yesterday. Robert kicks the door shut with his foot behind him.
“Christ,” he swears, eyes trailing over the terrible ecru sponge paint adorning the walls. “This shit is so bleak.”
The surface-level house is mostly empty. There’s nothing for them to see or attend to there, and so the men step through a narrow hallway at the end of which is an elevator. They could take the stairs, but don’t want to risk it with the platters. After all, they were quite expensive. Renault elbows the button and the doors part.
“Let’s just get this over with,” he says as they step inside. The fluorescent lights above them buzz something awful. A cheery metal sign welcomes them to “Tex’s Hideaway.” Beneath it is an eldritch image of a cave, foreboding. Robert’s stomach’s in knots. Ever since the company assigned him to this property, he’s been terrified of it. He tells himself that the house is, in fact, creepy, that it is completely normal for him to be ill at ease. The elevator’s ding is harsh and mechanical. They step out. Jay flips a switch and the basement is flooded with eerie light.
It’s famous, this house - The Las Vegas Underground House. The two realtors refer to it simply as “the bunker.” Built by an eccentric millionaire at the height of Cold War hysteria, it’s six-thousand square feet of paranoid, aspirational fantasy. The first thing anyone notices is the carpet – too-green, meant to resemble grass, sprawling out lawn-like, bookmarked by fake trees, each a front for a steel beam. Nothing can grow here. It imitates life, unable to sustain it. The leaves of the ficuses seem particularly plastic.
Bistro sets scatter the ‘yard’ (if one can call it that), and there’s plenty of outdoor activities – a parquet dance floor complete with pole and disco ball, a putt putt course, an outdoor grill made to look like it’s nestled in a rock, but in reality better resembles a baked potato. The pool and hot tub, both sculpted in concrete and fiberglass mimicking a natural rock formation, are less Playboy grotto and more Fred Flintstone. It’s a very seventies idea of fun.
Then, of course, there’s the house. That fucking house.
A house built underground in 1978 was always meant to be a mansard – the mansard roof was a historical inevitability. The only other option was International Style modernism, but the millionaire and his wife were red-blooded anti-Communists. Hence, the mansard. Robert thinks the house looks like a fast-food restaurant. Jay thinks it looks like a lawn and tennis club he once attended as a child where he took badminton lessons from a swarthy Czech man named Jan. It’s drab and squat, made more open by big floor-to-ceiling windows nestled under fresh-looking cedar shingles. There’s no weather down here to shrivel them up.
“Shall we?” Jay drawls. The two make their way into the kitchen and set the platters down on the white tile countertop. Robert leans up against the island, careful of the oversized hood looming over the electric stovetop. He eyes the white cabinets, accented with Barbie pink trim. The matching linoleum floor squeaks under his Italian loafers.
“I don’t understand why we bother doing this,” Robert complains. “Nobody’s seriously going to buy this shit, and the company’s out a hundred bucks for party platters.”
“It’s the same every time,” Renault agrees. “The only people who show up are Instagram kids and the crazies - you know, the same kind of freaks who’d pay money to see Chernobyl.”
“Dark tourism, they call it.”
Jay checks his watch again. Being in here makes him nervous.
“Still an hour until open house,” he mutters. “I wish we could get drunk.”
Robert exhales deeply. He also wishes he could get drunk, but still, a job’s a job.
“I guess we should check to see if everything’s good to go.”
The men head into the living room. The beamed, slanted ceiling gives it a mid-century vibe, but the staging muddles the aura. Jay remembers making the call to the staging company. “Give us your spares,” he told them, “Whatever it is you’re not gonna miss. Nobody’ll ever buy this house anyway.”
The result is eclectic – a mix of office furniture, neo-Tuscan McMansion garb, and stuffy waiting-room lamps, all scattered atop popcorn-butter shag carpeting. Hideous, Robert thinks. Then there’s the ‘entertaining’ room, which is a particular pain in the ass to them, because the carpet was so disgusting, they had to replace it with that fake wood floor just to be able to stand being in there for more than five minutes. There’s a heady stone fireplace on one wall, the kind they don’t make anymore, a hearth. Next to it, equally hedonistic, a full bar. Through some doors, a red-painted room with a pool table and paintings of girls in fedoras on the wall. It’s all so cheap, really. Jay pulls out a folded piece of paper out of his jacket pocket along with a pen. He ticks some boxes and moves on.
The dining room’s the worst to Robert. Somehow the ugly floral pattern on the curtains stretches up in bloomer-like into a frilly cornice, carried through to the wallpaper and the ceiling, inescapable, suffocating. It smells like mothballs and old fabric. The whole house smells like that.
The master bedroom’s the most normal – if anything in this house could be called normal. Mismatched art and staging furniture crowd blank walls. When someone comes into a house, Jay told Robert all those years ago, they should be able to picture themselves living in it. That’s the goal of staging.
There’s two more bedrooms. The men go through them quickly. The first isn’t so bad – claustrophobic, but acceptable – but the saccharine pink tuille wallpaper of the second gives Renault a sympathetic toothache. The pair return to the kitchen to wait.
Both men are itching to check their phones, but there’s no point – there’s no signal in here, none whatsoever. Renault, cynical to the core, thinks about marketing the house to the anti-5G people. It’s unsettlingly quiet. The two men have no choice but to entertain themselves the old-fashioned way, through small talk.
“It’s really fucked up, when you think about it,” Renault muses.
“The house, Bob.”
Robert hates being called Bob. He’s told Jay that hundreds of times, and yet…
“Yeah,” Robert mutters, annoyed.
“No, really. Like, imagine. You’re rich, you founded a major multinational company marketing hairbrushes to stay-at-home moms, and what do you decide to do with your money? Move to Vegas and build a fucking bunker. Like, imagine thinking the end of the world is just around the corner, forcing your poor wife to live there for ten, fifteen years, and then dying, a paranoid old man.” Renault finds the whole thing rather poetic.
“The Russkies really got to poor ol’ Henderson, didn’t they?” Robert snickers.
“The wife’s more tragic if you ask me,” Renault drawls. “The second that batshit old coot died, she called a guy to build a front house on top of this one, since she already owned the lot. Poor woman probably hadn’t seen sunlight in God knows how long.”
“Surely they had to get groceries.”
Jay frowns. Robert has no sense of drama, he thinks. Bad trait for a realtor.
“Still,” he murmurs. “It’s sad.”
“I would have gotten a divorce, if I were her,” the younger man says, as though it were obvious. It’s Jay’s turn to laugh.
“I’ve had three of those, and trust me, it’s not as easy as you think.”
“You’re seeing some new girl now, aren’t you?” Robert doesn’t really care, he just knows Jay likes to talk about himself, and talking fills the time.
“Yeah. Casino girl. Twenty-six.”
“And how old are you again?”
“None of your business.”
“Did you see the renderings I emailed to you?” Robert asks briskly, not wanting to discuss Jay’s sex life any further.
“Of this house, what it could look like.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Jay has not seen the renderings.
“If it were rezoned,” Robert continues, feeling very smart, “It could be a tourist attraction - put a nice visitor’s center on the lot, make it sleek and modern. Sell trinkets. It’s a nice parcel, close to the Strip - some clever investor could make it into a Museum of Ice Cream-type thing, you know?”
“Museum of Ice Cream?”
“In New York. It’s, not, like, educational or anything. Really, it’s just a bunch of colorful rooms where kids come to take pictures of themselves.”
“Instagram,” Jay mutters. “You know, I just sold a penthouse the other week to an Instagram influencer. Takes pictures of herself on the beach to sell face cream or some shit. Eight-point-two million dollars.”
“Jesus,” Robert whistles. “Fat commission.”
“You’re telling me. My oldest daughter turns sixteen this year. She’s getting a Mazda for Christmas.”
“You ever see that show, My Super Sweet Sixteen? On MTV? Where rich kids got, like, rappers to perform at their birthday parties? Every time at the end, some guy would pull up in, like, an Escalade with a big pink bow on it and all the kids would scream.”
“Sounds stupid,” Jay says.
“It was stupid.”
It’s Robert’s turn to check his watch, a dainty gold Rolex.
“Fuck, still thirty minutes.”
“Time really does stand still in here, doesn’t it?” Jay remarks.
“We should have left the office a little later,” Robert complains. “The charcuterie is going to get –“
A deafening sound roars through the house and a violent, explosive tremor throws both men on the ground, shakes the walls and everything between them. The power’s out for a few seconds before there’s a flicker, and light fills the room again. Two backup generators, reads Jay’s description in the listing - an appeal to the prepper demographic, which trends higher in income than non-preppers. For a moment, the only things either are conscious of are the harsh flourescent lighting and the ringing in their ears. Time slows, everything seems muted and too bright. Robert rubs the side of his face, pulls back his hand and sees blood.
“Christ,” he chokes out. “What the hell was that?”
“I don’t know,” Jay breathes, looking at his hands, trying to determine if he’s got a concussion. The results are inconclusive – everything’s slow and fuzzy, but after a moment, he thinks it might just be shock.
“It sounded like a fucking 747 just nosedived on top of us.”
“Yeah, Jesus.” Jay’s still staring at his fingers in a daze. “You okay?”
“I think so,” Robert grumbles. Jay gives him a cursory examination.
“Nothing that needs stitches,” he reports bluntly. Robert’s relieved. His face sells a lot of houses to a lot of lonely women and a few lonely men. There’s a muffled whine, which the two men soon recognize as a throng of sirens. Both of them try to calm the panic rising in their chests, to no avail.
“Whatever the fuck happened,” Jay says, trying to make light of the situation, “At least we’re in here. The bunker.”
Fear forms in the whites of Robert’s eyes.
“What if we’re stuck in here,” he whispers, afraid to speak such a thing into the world. The fear spreads to his companion.
“Try the elevator,” Jay urges, and Robert gets up, wobbles a little as his head sorts itself out, and leaves. A moment later, Jay hears him swear a blue streak, and from the kitchen window, sees him standing before the closed metal doors, staring at his feet. His pulse racing, Renault jogs out to see for himself.
“It’s dead,” Robert murmurs.
“Whatever happened,” Jay says cautiously, rubbing the back of his still-sore neck, “It must have been pretty bad. Like, I don’t think we should go up yet. Besides, surely the office knows we’re still down here.”
“Right, right,” the younger man breathes, trying to reassure himself.
“Let’s just wait it out. I’m sure everything’s fine.” The way Jay says it does not make Robert feel any better.
“Okay,” the younger man grumbles. “I’m getting a fucking drink, though.”
“Yeah, Jesus. That’s the best idea you’ve had all day.” Renault shoves his hands in his suit pocket to keep them from trembling.
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Apologize: The Morning After
Summary: Was it an accident waking up in Bakugo’s bed or was it grand design
Content Warning: Aged up, NSFW, 18+, Masc oral receiving, penetration, little tiny dacryphilia, AU, Adult Language, Enter at Your Own Risk
Hot. You were unbelievably hot. You kicked your leg out from under the comforter and let it hang over the edge of the bed. The bright sunrise flooded through the cracked blinds, beating down onto your skin. Refusing to open your eyes to let the reality of being awake sink in you remained completely still. That was until you heard soft snores from your bed.
Your eyes shot open, confused on who the snores belonged to until it clicked in your head. You slowly rolled your head over to make sure. This wasn’t your bed or your room. This was Bakugo’s.
You internally screamed. You had never shared a bed with him before. Spending the night was more intimate than what you did in the dark. It brought everything into a different light. A light that you weren’t ready to confront.
You took a minute to admire the sleeping being infront of you. There he laid, blonde hair splayed against the pillow and his forehead. His smooth face was illuminated by the sunny glow. Not a furrow or frown line in sight. Slightly parted rose colored lips blew small puffs of air. He looked peaceful, angelic almost.
Your chest felt tight, feeling guilty for gawking at him while he rested blissfully. Memories flooded into your brain from the night before. The dull ache between your legs was a reminder of your actives. You came to the realization that you loved this boy, you couldn’t deny it anymore. You had to escape before you languished in your thoughts any longer.
You quietly sat up and threw your legs over the side of the bed. You were ready to run as soon as your feet hit the ground. You felt Bakugo’s hand reach up and grab your wrist gently. “You’re not leaving are you?” His husky voice rang through you ears. You had been caught.
You turned your head slightly to meet his eyes. His once hard, crimson glare was different. Now they were soft, searching for something. It made you melt. You mentally cursed before saying, “No...just brushing my teeth.”
The corners of his mouth turned up slightly and released your wrist. “Proceed.” Bakugo stated. You reached inside your bag and pulled out your toothbrush.
Hastily, you retreated to the bathroom and shut the door. Leaning against the counter you took a ragged breath. Your head hurt. You were aggravated with yourself that you came to your deduction in his presence instead of the privacy of your own thoughts. A place where you could sift through it all and try to make sense of your feelings. As much as you wanted to run, you also wanted to go fall back into Bakugo’s waiting arms and snuggle into him.
You inspected yourself in the mirror, utterly grossed out with how you were presented infront of him. However, you didn’t mind falling asleep in his trademark black shirt and briefs. You threw some water on your face and scrubbed the smudged mascara from under your eyes. While brushing your teeth, you worked diligently to finger rake the tangles out of your hair.
“Oi, hurry up. You’re not the only one with shitty breath.” Bakugo’s muffled voice came from the other side of the door. You flung the door open, revealing the man in a pair of black sweats that hung off of his waist deliciously.
“Wow.” You sighed. He shot you a confused, sideways look. “Your breath really does stink. I can smell it from here.” You grinned and poked the flesh of his cheek.
Bakugo’s face lit up red before saying, “Shut up before I melt your eyebrows with it.” You crinkled your nose in response and moved out of the bathroom. You laid back into his bed and awaited his return.
When the door opened, you were aware that the Bakugo you were used to still wasn’t present. His stance wasn’t rigid like normal, it was light and airy. The tension he always carried was gone. It was different, a good different. He slid back into bed under the covers next to you, his arm slinking around your waist to pull you closer.
Delicate kisses were littered across your neck, tickling you. You bit your lip to suppress your giggles. It didn’t work. “Love that sound.” He smiled and continued to pepper them along your collarbones. Bakugo’s long fingers began to poke at your sides, earning more giggles.
“Stop it, we’re going to wake up Kiri!” You whinned, attempting to grab his arms to stop the assault. This only made him work faster. Your ribs were burning with the pain of laughter.
“Can’t wake someone up if they’re not here!” Bakugo hollered and laid ontop of you, making sure there was no easy getaway. Deciding that you couldn’t flee safely another idea came into mind.
You grabbed his jaw and pulled him towards you, landing a slow kiss on his lips. This halted his actions, instead his hands moved to prop himself up. You bit his lip lightly, earning a groan in response. You throughly enjoyed the noises he made. Maybe this sleeping over thing wasn’t half as bad as you made it out to be.
His hand slid down to the briefs you adorned, toying with the band that laid across your skin. You lifted your hips slightly, not breaking the kiss. Bakugo slid the underwear down your hips to your knees before taking a finger to play with your clit. Hushed noises escaped your throat to his lips.
His finger slowly made its way inside, collecting the slick to bring it back to your clit. Bakugo rubbed back and forth leisurely before continuing to pay attention to your core. He thrusted two fingers in, making your back arch from the bed.
“Your pussy is so perfect, Y/N.” He groaned, pulling down the briefs with his free hand and freed your legs. “What if I just cockwarmed myself for a little while...” Bakugo trailed off as he curled his fingers, drumming against the spongy spot inside of you.
You nodded quickly, before connecting your lips with his. You could feel his grin against your mouth as he slid off his sweats, freeing his dick. You instantly grabbed it and began to stroke his length. Bakugo replaced your hand with his before looking into your eyes. “Can I? I’ll put a condom on in a minute I swear.”
You had never had Bakugo raw before. You contemplated for a moment. You weren’t as worried because you both had been very open about your health and he revealed he wasn’t with anyone else in a long time. Plus, you were on the pill. You licked your lips slightly before answering, “Okay, you can Katsuki.”
That’s all it took. Bakugo began to tease your heat slowly with the tip. Sliding up and down to dampen himself with your slick. He finally aligned himself with you and pressed in slowly. It was a foreign feeling being skin to skin. “Shit, you feel so amazing.” He hissed, sinking himself into you. Pretty soon you were completely filled with his dick.
Bakugo pulled you into a tight embrace and rested his head against yours. Your walls fluttered around him as you adjusted to the new sensation. “Holy fuck, so good.” You moaned wrapping your arms around him, enjoying the new level of closeness. You had never felt more safe.
“Mhm, you don’t know how long I’ve wanted to feel you like this baby.” Bakugo whispered and planted a kiss against your cheek. Time seemed to slow down. You tried to blissfully enjoy being in the moment with him, but your arousal grew immensely. You wanted more. You needed more.
“Please, move Katsuki.” You begged, moving your hips to urge him.
“Only for a few.” He murmured, drunk on your velvety walls. His thrusts began short and swallow. Making sure to map out each crevice and rib inside of you. Your whimpers were music to his ears.
You ran your hands through his hair, gingerly pulling at the roots. The Bakugo that was nestled between your thighs was new. It was Katsuki.
You wanted to treat him for once, make him feel like he deserved to be treated like he walked on air. You placed your hand on his chest, lightly pushing him to lie on his back. “What are you doing baby?” He whinned at the loss of contact between you.
“Switching things up.” You responded, straddling his waist. He folded his arms behind his head and gave you a smirk indicating for you to start. You began to leave kisses on his neck, trailing down to his chest. You licked a strip of heat down his abdomen to the blonde tuff of hair, planting a kiss onto it. You grasped his cock and looked up at him through your lashes in an attempt to be seductive.
It definitely worked. Katsuki’s eyes bore a hole in you, awaiting your next move with anticipation. You began to kitten lick the tip gently before pressing your lips upon it. He hissed in approval as a hand reached to the back of your head. You slowly took him into your mouth, hollowing your cheeks out on the way down. There was no way your could fit his whole dick in your mouth comfortably so you used your hand to massage the rest.
“Damnit,” Katsuki moaned and pulled the hair in your eyes away from your face. “You look so pretty while your sucking me off.” You felt your cheeks turn red. It was either a result of the compliment or the interrupted air flow. You took a breather, but still toyed with him. The hand that rested on your head cupped your cheek, swiping his thumb across your bottom lip.
“So fucking perfect.” You braced yourself and pushed Katsuki’s cock to the back of your throat, swallowing the majority of his length. “Fuck.” He groaned and pressed your head down, urging you to go past your limit. You allowed him to fuck your mouth throughly for a few minutes. Tears welted in your eyes. Animalistic growls escaped his chest indicating that his release wasn’t far away.
You knew he was about to be pissed at you, but you didn’t care. You quickly removed him from your mouth and straddled his waist again. “What the fuck.” He whinned, throwing his head onto the pillow.
“Would you just be quiet for once.” You said, lining yourself up with his cock. You hardly ever rode Bakugo. He was always the dominant one, constantly pinning you in place and fucking you into the mattress at any given time. You always took it, enjoying letting someone else take control for a while.
You teased yourself with his dick. Sliding up and down his length. “Oh you’re one to ta-“ He attempted to say, but was quickly cut off by you sinking onto him slowly. You bit your lip as you adjusted to the pleasure of him being that deep. “Fuck.” He hissed and gripped onto your thighs. There were definitely going to hand marks later on.
Leisurely, you moved making sure to glide on every single inch. Your hands moved up to clutch your breasts through the thin material of his shirt. You were a moaning mess, it had never felt this good when you practiced riding alone. This was a whole new feeling, his dick dragging against your walls and hitting your spot perfectly each time.
Katsuki looked like he was enjoying the same amount of pleasure. His eye brows furrowed together, while his jaw hung slack. Instead of the grunts and groans that he normally made he moaned and whinned like a little bitch under you. You relished in the fact that you were the one who was making Katsuki Bakugo fall to his knees.
You increased your pace, feeling a knot growing in your stomach. You threw your head back as you gear shifted him. Katsuki could feel your walls clenching, indicating that your orgasm was in sight. He began to encourage you. “You’re so beautiful when you fuck yourself Y/N.” He thumb connected to your clit and began to rub circles. “You take my dick like a pro. Are you gonna cum all over me?” He prodded stroking your clit faster.
You were speechless, you were swirling down the drain. “I’m cumming!” You screamed, seeing stars. That was all it took for Katsuki to take control once again and flip you onto your back, still inside. Your walls fluttered, grasping onto his dick. It made his own release speed up. He rammed into you roughly, every word that left his mouth was dirty.
Your legs began to shake. “This is my fucking pussy.” He growled possesively, “Will always be mine.” Katsuki quickly pulled out and stroked himself a few times before finally unloading and painting your stomach with his seed.
He jumped up and returned a few moments later with a warm wash cloth. Inspecting each area carefully, he made sure to wipe all your crevices and his load from you. He laid beside your silently as he ran his hand through your hair.
You both stared at each other blissfully for a few minutes until he looked down at the mattress. “Don’t make this awkward okay?”
You scrunched your face together lightly. You were obviously confused. Could he tell you had more feelings than what you led on? Katsuki sighed before hiding his face.
“Will you go on a date with me?”
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just want to extend my sincerest well-wishes to folks living in new england right now. if henri remains a hurricane and makes landfall in new england, it will be the first hurricane to do so in thirty years. in the past few decades, tropical storms and super storms (even the ones where new england only got bands of the storm and never entered the eye) have been enough to devastate the area. speaking from experience, a hurricane is a very different beast, especially in the path of the eye, and henri is predicted to possibly generate tornadoes as well. it’s also happening near a full moon, meaning tides are already high and flooding risks are huge. this is far more serious than many folks are taking it to be.
if you live in the predicted path of henri, please treat this seriously. a hurricane, even a category one, is enough to cause massive amounts of destruction, especially in areas unprepared for such weather conditions like new england. i’m hoping for the best, but i advise all of you to prepare for the worst. have necessary supplies like food, clean water, medication and lanterns stocked and ready, charge all electronic devices now, get gas for cars, generators, stoves, etc. beforehand, and do whatever else you can think of. there’s not much time left to prepare, so here’s a checklist for how to be as safe during the storm as possible:
-make sure you, your family, your pets, and anyone else in your household stay in one area, preferably a single room, as a sort of base. this room should have as few non-reinforced doors, windows, or walls as possible. if you are living in a house, do not go in the basement unless necessary (while the walls are likely more reinforced, it will be more easily flooded) but try to also avoid upper floors unless necessary, as branches and trees falling on or into them is a huge risk, not to mention well tornadoes. if you are living in an apartment, try to stay in a room with as few windows as possible, towards the middle of the apartment or wherever would be most stable in an emergency. in both scenarios, i’d advise bathrooms as generally good bases.
-keep the majority of your supplies in this room with you, including food, water and sleeping materials. ideally, you should be able to stay in this room without leaving it for hours at a time.
-pack go-bags, and keep your stuff organized and ready to tranport. if things get really dire, you will want everything easily moveable, even if you aren’t leaving the house: moving upstairs if your home begins to flood is far easier and safer if you can grab everything in one go instead of having to pack it all up.
-keep valuables in plastic bags. if you’re especially worried, use more than one bag and air-tight containers. make sure they’re still easily transportable, though, and have them packed up at all times. if possible, do this with electronic devices early on: you will not want your phone to die if you lose power, so you should not be using it for any reason but an emergency until you have a guaranteed way to charge it again.
-have an evacuation/escape plan. if things get bad, know where you’re going and how to get there. make sure all paths to your home’s exits are completely clear of obstacles. monitor your state’s policies on the matter of evacuation. if you’re told to evacuate, even if it is beautiful and sunny outside and seems completely fine, do so immediately. if you have to take a car and your tires are worn or not good for driving on slick surfaces, see if you can change them or get another vehicle beforehand. new yorkers and other city dwellers, do not use the subway or other below-ground transport under any circumstances until you know for certain they are completely safe or unless you have absolutely no choice in the matter. however, you should be aiming to avoid moving from your home after the storm starts until it ends: travel is extremely dangerous during hurricanes, and you want to stay in one place for as long as it is possible.
-have money withdrawn from your bank in cash, and keep it on you. make sure your important documents (passports, id, social security card, licenses) are all accessible and safe as well.
-make sure you are able to eat and drink and are doing so. if you will not have safe access to a stove during the storms, make sure you have food with you that does not require such preparation. you should also always have water, medication, and other necessary survival items with you whenever possible.
-if you have a car, make sure it’s not under any branches or structures that could fall on it during the storm. also, try and ensure it is on stable ground and is steady in place even when not braked. if you have immediate, obvious evidence to support the belief that your car could be moved or damaged during the storm, it is not in a safe space. if it is in a garage, ensure it is fully closed up and that the path to it is clear and, if you must enter the garage, try to use side doors or the like.
-do not go out in the storm, even if you think it is abating or gone, until you have full confirmation that it is. if you end up in the path of the eye, remember that the eyewall is a circle: the relative calm in the eye is a prelude to a second round of terrible winds. in your place, i would genuinely not risk going outside until at least 1-3 hours of little to no rain and wind had occurred on Monday (as many predictions expect the storm to last until Monday morning). staying inside is almost always safest.
-tornadoes in hurricanes are dangerous and unpredictable. if you suspect one to be nearby or passing overhead, stay away from all windows and outer doors and walls, and try to hunker down.
-if any property of yours is damaged outside, even if it is your car or house, do not go outside to deal with it until the storm is over unless that damage actively threatens your safety. if your chimney is blown off but no water is entering your fireplace and your roof seems intact, stay inside: however, if a tree breaks through a window, wall or roof and allows wind and rain to enter, address it immediately, although try to do so from inside when possible.
-use ‘oxygen mask on an airplane’ logic. your own safety needs to be your first priority, and then that of your housemates, and then that of anyone else. you are in pure survival mode, and odds are that playing at heroism or martyrism will not only actively endanger you but those around you as well.
-bring a book, a sketchbook, cards, or other forms of entertainment into your base: you’re gonna be waiting out this storm for a while. i’d advise not trying to sleep through the worst parts of the storm unless you have someone on watch, though: you do not want to be caught unawares by flooding or damages. i would also not advise using electronic devices that you may need in an emergency for entertainment (which includes anything that could be used to contact emergency services, even ipads or the like) although things like cd players are viable options. if you have a radio, use it to monitor alerts, and only use it for entertainment if you can be absolutely positive that you can recharge it (via batteries, for example).
if anyone has anything else, please add it. to sum this all up, though:
don’t take risks, be smart, and be safe. you can do this. i believe in you.
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A Will Solace Character Analysis: the Underappreciated Soft Side
I've noticed many fanfictions have Will Solace OOC. So I’ve been thinking about aspects of Will’s personality fans seem to either gloss over or exaggerate. Here, this post is me doing an in-depth analysis explaining Will Solace’s canon personality in the books, and how it can sometimes differ from fanfictions. Sprinkled in this analysis are tips to fanfiction writers on how they write Will as more in-character.
There is one major aspect of Will that people seem to ignore or underemphasize. Nico best explains it when describing Will in this quote
Jason was a fighter. You could tell from the intensity of his stare, his constant alertness, the coiled-up energy in his frame. Will Solace was more like a lanky cat stretched out in sunshine. His movements were relaxed and nonthreatening, his gaze soft and far away. In his faded SURF BARBADOS T-shirt, his cutoff shorts and flip-flops, he looked about as aggressive as a demigod could get, but Nico knew he was brave under fire. During the Battle of Manhattan, Nico had seen him in action - the camp's best combat medic, risking his life to save wounded campers.
To sum it up, Will Solace is a very chill and calm character. A lot of writers make Will more irrational, impulsive, overbearing, and emotional than he actually is. Will is not the type of character to create drama unless he's, as Nico puts it, "under fire." In other words, the intense side of his personality doesn't come out unless the situation is urgent or dire.
Fans remember during the Second Giant War how he gets angry and argues with Nico over Nico's health and shadow-traveling, so many assume Will is going to be this fiery over a lot of other things regarding their relationship. For example, fanfic writers may make Will controlling or overly sensitive with Nico. However, keep in mind, Will gets heated with Nico during the Second Giant War because Nico's shadow-traveling is killing him. This is how Will describes Nico's dire state.
"Coach Hedge told me all about your shadow-travel. You can’t try that again."
"I just did try it again, Solace. I’m fine."
"No, you’re not. I’m a healer. I could feel the darkness in your hand as soon as I touched it. Even if you made it to that tent, you’d be in no shape to fight. But you wouldn’t make it. One more slip, and you won’t come back. You are not shadow-travelling. Doctor’s orders."
Will is a healer. When he touches Nico's hand, he can sense how little sleep and food Nico has been getting and how Nico's being taken over by darkness. Nico is on the verge of death and hasn't cared about his health for a long time. Nico is also stubborn about it, so Will has to be aggressive in order to save Nico's life. This aggressive behavior is not the norm for Will, but it can sometimes come out when he has to assert control in a life-or-death situation.
Will is a calming prescence. He's a diplomat. He stops violence on multiple occassions.
He's one of the few people who's able to calm Clarisse's violent rage, and he does so in a gentle manner.
Clarisse pointed her dagger at Rachel. "What about their allies, huh? Did you see that tribe of two-headed men that arrived yesterday? Or the glowing red dog-headed guys with the big poleaxes? They look pretty barbaric to me. It would’ve been nice if you’d foreseen any of that, if your Oracle power didn’t break down when we needed it most!"
Rachel’s face turned as red as her hair. "That’s hardly my fault. Something is wrong with Apollo’s gifts of prophecy. If I knew how to fix it –"
"She’s right." Will Solace, head counsellor for the Apollo cabin, put his hand gently on Clarisse’s wrist. Not many campers could’ve done that without getting stabbed, but Will had a way of defusing people’s anger. He got her to lower her dagger. "Everyone in our cabin has been affected. It’s not just Rachel."
One of the most underrated Will Solace moments is when he stops a bloody battle from happening between Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter.
But he knew it wouldn’t do any good. After weeks of waiting, agonizing and steaming, the Greeks and Romans wanted blood. Trying to stop the battle now would be like trying to push back a flood after the dam broke.
Will Solace saved the day.
He put his fingers in his mouth and did a taxicab whistle even more horrible than the last. Several Greeks dropped their swords. A ripple went through the Roman line like the entire First Cohort was shuddering.
"DON’T BE STUPID!" Will yelled. "LOOK!"
People are so used to seeing demigods, especially male demigods, being aggressive fighters that they can't wrap their heads around a brave and strong demigod who actively tries to avoid unnecessary conflict and destruction as much as he can.
And that's Will Solace's strength: he has the ability to prevent as much harm as possible.
Will is a difficult character to write. There's a lot of dueling factors with his personality. He's calm and pacifying while also being brave and assertive. He's fun and lighthearted while also being intelligent, logical, and grounded. He's laidback while also being responsible and hardworking. He's insecure but not melodramatic. He's very caring and protective but not pushy.
Will's personality confuses Nico sometimes too.
He’d always thought of Will as easygoing and laid back. Apparently he could also be stubborn and aggravating.
The trick to writing Will is to keep in mind his default personality is a soft and lighthearted character. Writers tend to overemphasize the hard side of his personality when his default personality is actually the soft side.
Think of the relaxing, lanky cat metaphor Nico uses for him. He and Nico bicker often, and it works for Will because he rolls with everything and doesn't take things too seriously. He's able to alleviate Nico's moodiness with humor, wittiness, groundedness, and patience. Nico affectionately calls Will a "dork" because Will usually keeps things light. Interestingly enough, he's able to be lighthearted without coming across as insensitive or an airheaded goofball, the latter of which is something Nico dislikes about Percy's personality. On a related sidenote, another way writers make Will OOC is they make him too dumb or too immature. I know I mentioned to focus on Will's soft side, but be careful to avoid that too. He's a SENSIBLE, lanky cat.
The way Will keeps his composure during a stressful situation by using laughter while still being mature is expressed well in this exchange with Apollo. (Yes, Will has a lot to manage.)
It was difficult to think of this young man as my son. He was so poised, so unassuming, so free of acne. He also didn’t appear to be awestruck in my presence. In fact, the corner of his mouth had started twitching.
“Are—are you amused?” I demanded.
Will shrugged. “Well, it’s either find this funny or freak out. My dad, the god Apollo, is a fifteen-year-old—”
“Sixteen,” I corrected. “Let’s go with sixteen.”
“A sixteen-year-old mortal, lying in a cot in my cabin, and with all my healing arts—which I got from you—I still can’t figure out how to fix you.”
“There is no fixing this,” I said miserably. “I am cast out of Olympus. My fate is tied to a girl named Meg. It could not be worse!”
Will laughed, which I thought took a great deal of gall. “Meg seems cool. She’s already poked Connor Stoll in the eyes and kicked Sherman Yang in the crotch.”
The fiercer side of Will's personality comes out only when the situation calls for it; this happens sometimes when he has to be a caring family member, a responsible healer, or a warrior in a dire situation. Even when he gets more forceful, he doesn't get more forceful than he has to.
Since Will has such a balanced and lighthearted personality, what are his flaws? What are the dark sides of his personality? There are four main things that stick out.
1. He's insecure about his self-perceived lack of abilities.
"I agree," Will said. "I wish I was a better archer … I wouldn’t mind shooting my Roman relative off his high horse. Actually, I wish I could use any of my father’s gifts to stop this war." He looked down at his own hands with distaste. "Unfortunately, I’m just a healer."
2. He sometimes struggles to endure the heavy responsibilities he has as a healer and as a protector to his family.
“I got it reattached,” Will told me, his voice shaky with exhaustion. His scrubs were speckled with blood. “I need somebody to keep him stable.”
I pointed to the woods. “But—”
“I know!” Will snapped. “Don’t you think I want to be out there searching too? We’re shorthanded for healers. There’s some salve and nectar in that pack. Go!”
I was stunned by his tone. I realized he was just as concerned about Kayla and Austin as I was. The only difference: Will knew his duty. He had to heal the injured first. And he needed my help.
3. He forces himself to bottle his emotions to keep his composure.
Will laughed under his breath. “I’m terrified. But one thing you learn as head counselor: you have to keep it together for everyone else. Let’s get you on your feet."
Here's a second example.
I rested my hand on Will’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back by dawn.”
His mouth trembled ever so slightly. “How can you be sure?”
4. He constantly worries about his loved ones.
Nico rested his hand on Will’s shoulder. “Apollo, we were worried. Will was especially.”
In conclusion, Will Solace's personality is difficult to get correct. But don't worry, if you write Will as a laidback, witty cat in your fanfics, I guarantee he'll be more in-character than many other fanfics with Will Solace.
(Note: I am only human. If you believe I'm misinterpreting some aspects of Will's personality, feel free to express it. What I say isn't 100 percent the right interpretation.)
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I wanna know what memory from when he was 16 was so vivid and important to Steve that it just popped right up at the mere mention of Bucky. Bucky was 17 then and one of the trigger words was 17. Was that just a coincidence, did the writers mean nothing by it? But if so, why 16? Why not any other number from his teenage years. My belief is that something major happened that he’s keeping in his heart and Marvel can’t destroy that.
Look at himmmmm... the pain, the hope just at mere mention of Bucky’s name has Steve wrecked. 🥺
And then there’s the scene you’re talking about where Steve is full of guilt for what happened in Lagos and how his slip has had huge repercussions for Wanda.
I actually love that this scene is ambiguous and left to interpretation. There are so many ways it can be read and you know I’m always going to read it so it’s unequivocally gay. 😁
I would imagine being as close as they are, having grown up together that Steve and Bucky shared many experiences throughout their childhood. They have such a strong bond that has carried them through good times and bad times but also through first times.
Now I’m going to keep things PG, but I definitely have suspicions that it was around the ages of 16 and 17 that perhaps Bucky and Steve’s relationship first started to change. And if you don’t mind, I’m going to indulge in a little 1930’s Stucky headcanon.
The brotherly bond they had shared as kids is different now. Even though they’re plenty old enough; Bucky having already turned 17, neither he nor Steve have any real interest in any of the very cute girls around town. Not that the girls haven’t tried to tempt Bucky with flips of their hair and sweet smile.
It’s innocent enough, and Bucky is happy to shoot them a passing grin, but nothing more. Because the truth of the matter is, he’s got a think for his best friend. Sixteen year old Steve Rogers, a spunky as hell string bean who weighs less than a sack of sugar even when soaking wet.
It’s Saturday night and Bucky had insisted that they get out of the house, offering to treat Steve to a movie, as he often does. He’s doing as much as he can to life Steve’s spirits these days. And if a paper bag of popcorn and some comedy will do the trick, then it’s money well spent.
The sun is setting as they make their way back home. Steve shivers from the cold, but doesn’t say a word. Bucky notices, he always does; ever in tune with his best friend. Truth is, he can’t imagine life without Steve Rogers, the scrawny kid who is a few screws loose when it comes to self-preservation. Bucky doesn’t mind, he likes taking care of Steve.
What he doesn’t like is how Steve doesn’t smile quite as often these days, preoccupied by worry with his mother as sick as she is. The mission had been successful because Steve’s entire little body had vibrated with laughter at the cinema. Bucky could barely tear his eyes away from Steve’s dorky grin long enough to watch the movie himself.
“Here,” Bucky says, draping his coat over Steve’s small frame.
“I’m fine, Buck.” Steve says, moving to shrug out of the fancy fabric. It’s much more expensive than anything he could ever dream to afford, but Bucky thinks it looks good on him nonetheless. “Y’know you don’t have to take care of me.”
Bucky stops dead in the quiet back lane, settling his palms over Steve’s shoulders to keep his coat firmly in place. “You’re a pain in the ass, you know that Stevie? You ever think that just maybe, I like taking care of you?”
Steve’s head slowly lifts up to meet Bucky’s gaze, “You do?”
The adorably bewildered expression on Steve’s face rouses a hearty chuckle out of Bucky. “‘Course I do, I happen to like a lot of things about you.”
Even with his cheeks already flush from the cold, Bucky catches the way Steve’s body reddens at his words. And if it weren’t obvious enough, his whole body tenses under his grip.
“Don’t tease me, Buck. It’s not nice.” Steve says, puffing out a warm exhale that fogs up the space between them.
“M’not teasing, Stevie. Promise.”
Bucky loosens his hold on Steve’s shoulders and hooks a finger under his best friend’s chin. His thumb lifts a little higher, itching to brush across the soft skin of Steve’s pretty pink lips.
He dares to venture a quick glance, waiting for Steve to jump backwards and run away from him. But he doesn’t. Instead his blue eyes, with that little speck of green, drift closed and the faintest little moan escapes as Bucky’s thumb traces over it.
“Can I kiss you Stevie?” Bucky asks, hearing the uncharacteristic trepidation in his own voice. He needs to hear Steve say it, he’s not willing to risk pushing his best friend away just to fulfill a purely selfish desire.
“Yes, please.” Steve breathes out.
A rush of relief floods through Bucky and he laughs, “Always so polite, aren’t you Rogers.”
With a slight tilt of his head, he takes a few breaths to just appreciate just how beautiful Steve looks before he lowers himself to Steve and captures his mouth in a kiss.
It’s short but sweet, Steve’s mouth parting in surprise despite Bucky having given him notice. What Bucky doesn’t expect is the way Steve responds, jolting forward with enough force that Bucky stumbles backward, only stopping when his back hits the solid brick of Mr. Swanson’s Candy Shoppe.
Steve’s mouth moves deftly over his, fingers clutching tight onto Bucky’s forearms. There’s nothing tentative or restrained about it and it lights Bucky on fire.
When they break apart moments later, Bucky is dizzy. Feeling higher than a kite at just how good and right Steve’s lips had felt pressed against his. Steve sags against him and Bucky can feel just how hard Steve’s pulse his pounding.
“You breathing okay there, Steve?” He asks, a little worried now, though he adds a joke to keep the mood light. “Seems ￼you stole some of my mine.”
Steve steps back, righting himself on two feet, as if to prove to Bucky just how fine he is. “You’re a real comedian, you know that?”
Bucky grins. “You love it, Punk.”
Time slows as they make it back to Steve’s stoop, bumping shoulders and brushing fingers along the way. It’s late and the stars are bright in the sky, though they can’t compare to the sparkle in Steve’s eyes. Bucky leans in for one more gentle kiss, keeping his voice low in a gentle whisper.
With only four words, Steve reassures Bucky that even though things may have changed between them tonight, their bond is as reliable as the morning sunrise.
“Love you too, Jerk.”
247 notes · View notes
Pairing: Miguel x OFC (WOC)
Word Count: 5010
Story Summary: Miguel fucks his realtor! aka Miguel is ready to buy a home and he’s very picky about what he wants.
Story Warnings: Soft!Miguel→Dom!Miguel, Slow burn, explicit smut, spanking, oral sex (female receiving), rough sex, light choking, mentions of voyeurism, sex on a non-refundable couch (do not shine a blacklight on this piece of furniture)
A/N: The house in this story is based on three houses I think Miguel would like. While I would like you to use your imagination, if you’re curious you can check out this moodboard I made, or check out the links to the actual listings of the homes used for inspiration -(1) (2) (3)- (Thanks to @thesandbeneathmytoes for helping me find that last one)
When I was hired at Santo Padre’s premier concierge real estate agency, the first client they dropped on my desk was Miguel Galindo. I was used to working with clients who came by their money both legitimately and illegally, but it made no difference to me as long as the commission check cleared. However, I heard rumors in the office about how difficult he could be. Galindo’s reputation as a major player in the criminal underworld wasn’t the worst part of having him as a client.
“It’s been 6 months since his divorce and he still hasn’t settled on a property,” my predecessor told me as he packed up his desk. “He’s extremely hard to please.”
“A word of advice? Get out while you can,” he said over his shoulder as he walked out the door.
I was sure it would be fine. I’m not easily intimidated. I reminded myself that as a professional I can focus on meeting my client’s needs and delivering the best service possible. Initially, upon meeting him I thought my task would be simple, and it would be a pleasant working relationship. He was hot, easy on the eyes, and I knew I was good at my job. But now I’ve been his agent for the better part of his post-divorce bachelorhood, and nothing I showed him met his standards. I began to understand why the last guy quit.
He may be gorgeous but he sure is difficult. He turned his nose up at cathedral ceilings, heated Italian marble floors, and houses featured in Architectural Digest. Nothing was good enough for him. We viewed all of the modern constructed homes in Ranch, Spanish, and Chateau styles.
Today we viewed the palatial estate of one home and he paced the grounds declaring it too open. How could having too much space be a bad thing?
“So many vantage points for snipers,” he sniffed, taking off his sunglasses and carefully wiping the lenses. He used them to point off into the distance.
‘Don’t you agree, Nestor?” He asked, but his bodyguard just shrugged.
“It’s not like they put ‘low sniper risk’ on the deal sheets,” I mumbled, looking over my files.
He brushed past me to head back to the car without even stepping foot in the house. “Find me something better.”
Now we are sitting in the back of his Maybach, and I’m trying not to let him test my patience after leaving yet another disappointing viewing.
“Everything in that house is custom built to perfection,” I cry. “Those floors were polished concrete and European white oak. If only you went inside...”
Miguel does not look up from his phone. “I suppose we have different definitions of perfection. As your client, shouldn’t you want to make me happy?”
His rebuke stings. I didn't mean to voice my frustration so openly.
“I don’t want to rush into a purchase,” he says simply. “Surely there’s something else you can show me.”
There is one more house but I didn’t think it would fit his criteria.
“Well… it’s actually under your budget because there are less bedrooms, and it’s a little further out on the edge of Santo Padre,” I am thinking aloud. “It’s also not newly constructed although I think it has wonderful bones.”
“We have time don’t we, Nestor? Let’s go see it.”
We make the drive to the house and this is the first time since becoming Miguel Galindo’s agent that I am actually nervous. Our agency reluctantly took on this listing as a personal favor for the owner, but no one wanted to work on it because it would be a difficult sell, as they were convinced none of the Santo Padre elite would want to live this far out from town.
But from the first moment I laid eyes on the house, I fell in love. Of course, I could never in a million years afford to live in a place like this, but I could at least pretend. Especially in my line of work. So this is the first listing that I staged a few rooms for viewing and hand selected the furnishings myself.
If he hates this one, I will take it personally.
“We just listed the property so it hasn’t been shown to potential buyers yet,” I say unlocking the front door. I wring my hands nervously as Nestor and Miguel walk in.
“What do you think, Nestor?” Miguel asks, surveying the surroundings.
Nestor shrugs. “It’s a big house, Mikey.”
“There’s a billiards room,” I add.
“Oh, well I like it better than the last place then,” Nestor says.
“Lead the way,” Miguel suggests, and I begin the tour in the billiard room.
A Woolsey pool table is featured as the focal point of the room while custom built-in shelving lines the walls.
“It can double as a library, or another room to entertain guests.”
An office is adjacent, connected by French doors and has a large oak desk with access to the veranda. I chose a stain on the desk that reflects the rugged, yet refined nature of the house. As I chatter excitedly about how much afternoon light floods this room, Nestor’s phone rings and he goes out to take the call. Miguel drags his finger across the back of a cognac leather chair, murmuring approvingly. We pass the hall, and I show Miguel the first of the four bathrooms.
“They all have custom Talavera puebla tiles imported from Mexico,” I sigh. “I can’t wait to show you the ensuite in the master bedroom.”
When Nestor returns, he reminds Miguel that they need to pick up Dita from her appointment.
“Nestor, can you do it? I’d like to stay and finish the viewing.” Miguel says, looking at his watch, and then looking at me. “If you are okay being alone with me, that is.”
“Of course, Mr. Galindo.” Why wouldn’t I be okay with being alone with him?
After Nestor leaves, I lead Miguel to the living room. It is an open space plan that connects to a dining area with a bar and kitchen with state of the art appliances. "It's perfect for when you're cooking but need to a keep an eye on your son," I inform him. The high ceilings have exposed beams and two lodge style chandeliers. The house manages to be both modern and masculine while retaining a bit of old world charm.
I think I see the corners of his mouth lifting. Is that a smile?
I knock on the double pane windows. I mention that these can be re-finished with bulletproof glass, and he merely nods. He looks out past the lawn and pool where large cherry laurel hedges offer privacy and protection.
“Looking for snipers?” I tease.
Miguel chuckles softly at that comment before leaning towards me. He was always so tense and weary looking on all of our appointments. I was under the impression that the man just had no sense of humor. How strange to hear him laugh.
“Why did you hide this gem from me, hmm?”
I am quiet, unsure of how to answer. Knowing we are alone, in this big beautiful house together makes the silence a little more deafening, and seeing me search for a response, he continues.
“Did you think I was just being difficult?”
I wonder if I’m allowed to speak freely.
“Honestly? Yes. I contemplated quitting since it seemed like there was no pleasing you. More than once I thought about cursing you out,” I admit.
“You hold your temper pretty well,” he remarks. “But some of those homes you showed me, however tempting, were pretty soulless.”
Miguel crosses his hands behind his back.
“I wanted to wait to find the right one. I let my ex-wife pick our last two homes, and this is the first time I’m making a decision that doesn’t involve... business.”
I understand from the way he emphasized that last word that in his line of work we ‘re not talking about paper pushing but something more ominous. It must take a toll on him too.
“Emily had a fondness for expensive things, but our house was always….” He trails off, twirling his hand in the air as if trying to summon the correct word.
“Tempting but soulless?” I offer.
He laughs again, a little wistfully. “Yes, and she would have loved the last dozen homes you showed me.”
“I suppose I just showed you what other men in your income bracket would have liked.”
“You’ll find I’m not like other men,” he replies pointedly, and I let that sink in.
Now that I understand him a little better, I fully recognize that line of reasoning. It feels safe to be in his confidence. I empathize with his need to wait until the right house becomes a home. We stand quietly looking out the window and see the water in the pool ripple as the first fat droplets of rain start coming down.
“It’s raining,” he quietly observes.
“It looks like I won’t be able to show you the grounds outside then. Should I continue the tour upstairs in the master bedroom?”
“After you,” he says graciously.
We double back to head up the main hall staircase, my heels clicking on the solid polished oak. I am wearing a tight pencil skirt suit and walking up stairs is a little difficult without holding on to the banister for balance. He falls back behind me, and lets me take my time moving up each step at slow pace. I feel goosebumps run up and down my body and have a funny feeling that Miguel is watching me. When we reach the top of the steps I smooth out my skirt and smile at him.
We head into the master bedroom with its large ceilings, and wrought iron balcony that overlooks the pool and yard. A California King takes up the middle of the room, draped with Egyptian cotton sateen sheets and linen in crisp white. A separate sitting area with similar design aesthetic takes up the other half of the space.
Miguel notices me favoring one leg over the other, the consequence of doing viewings in my high heels all day.
‘Take off your shoes,” he suggests in that clipped manner of his.
I hesitate. It seems unprofessional.
“This is my house now and I would like my guest to be comfortable, so by all means, make yourself comfortable and take off your shoes.” He unbuttons the first two buttons of his shirt collar as well as he says this.
“Your house?” I say, stepping out of my heels. That feels so much better. “So I take it you like it enough to buy?”
“I love it,” he replies, scanning the room. He inspects one of the brass lamps. “I especially love all the details and the furnishings. They belong to the current owner?”
I take a sharp inhale. “Actually….no. I staged the house and selected all the furniture you see. Everything’s handpicked for this house by me.”
He looks visibly impressed. “I love your taste.”
After this morning’s rebuke and the months of failing to meet his expectations, the heat rises in my face at this praise because I know it is a rarity. Miguel Galindo does not freely dole out praise. I catch myself staring at Miguel and the little bit of chest hair that peeks out from where he’s unbuttoned his collar.
I carefully clear my throat and nod towards the ensuite. “Check out that shower, Mr. Galindo.”
He struts into the bathroom with its white quartz floors and gleaming porcelain sinks. The Talavera tiles appear again here but in a black and white motif. An impressive black marble walk-in shower is in the center, and a claw foot gold hammered tub sits adjacent to it. It’s a complete luxury spa experience, and now that I know what Miguel is looking for I have a feeling he’ll fall in love with it.
“Isn’t it great? I can imagine you showering in there,” I catch myself saying.
He raises an eyebrow at me. “Oh?”
I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Although now that I think of it, what a beautiful sight that would be. My mouth waters thinking of him naked under that rain shower, the hot jets of water rolling off his body slowly and beading in that salt and pepper beard of his.
I gulp as he rakes his tongue over his teeth, amused by my comment.
“When you come to stage the house do you imagine yourself taking a bath in here?” He asks, tapping the tub.
I pause before nodding. “Mmm hmm,” I reply sheepishly.
He watches me closely and for a moment I wonder if he’s imagining me in that tub. It feels very hot in here all of a sudden. I want to undo the top few buttons of my blouse too.
“Your honesty is refreshing. You can call me Miguel and drop the realtor niceties with me. I’m interested in your honest opinions.”
Everything he says sounds like both a suggestion and an order.
“Okay,” I say quietly.
A rip of thunder breaks the tension, and I take this opportunity to change the subject. Miguel seems like the kind of man who is into wine so I take a stab.
“This house has a wine cellar and the current owner left an impressive collection. Would you like to see it?”
I lead Miguel back down to the main level and then to the cellar in the sub-level of the house. He whistles at the array of tinted bottles in this sanctum, and he picks up a bottle to inspect the label.
“Not a bad vintage,” he notes. He holds it up and motions for me to find some glasses. When he sees the look of worry cross my face he clarifies.
“For the amount of money I’m spending I’m sure they won’t mind if we help ourselves to a bottle or two,” he reassures me and we head back up the stairs to the living room.
I’m not sure if it is okay for me to fraternize with a client like this, but I also feel like you don’t say no to Miguel Galindo either. Would there be any harm in having a glass of wine with him? We sit on the couch listening to the torrent of rain as he uncorks the bottle and pours two glasses.
“A toast then?” He suggests, handing it to me by the stem.
“Sure… to new homes.”
“To new beginnings,” he adds, clinking.
He observes me over the rim of his wine glass as I take a few small sips, and we make chitchat. He tells me his favorite things about this house and I’m pleasantly surprised that we are on the same page. I feel like he will be really happy here and I’m glad that I finally found his match, if not a little rueful that I’ll no longer be able to stop by whenever I wish. He pours us a refill and I let it flow down my throat.
“This is really good wine,” I giggle. I’m such a lightweight.
He smacks his lips in agreement.
“This rain isn’t letting up, huh?” I remark. The skies outside are angry and dark now.
“Will Nestor have any trouble getting back here?”
“I’m not sure,” He glances at his wristwatch again. “We might be stuck here for a little while.”
I sigh and think it wouldn’t be so bad. The wine was helping with my inhibitions and I loosen up, curling my feet up on the couch. I swirl the goblet in my lap, and Miguel is watching me with deep introspection.
“You are prettier than my last agent,” he finally says, tilting his head toward me with a slow lick of his lips.
I sense we’ve moved beyond fraternizing to a conversation of a more suggestive nature, but I’m not mad at it. Perhaps it’s the house, the weather, or the wine that’s making me want to forget about professionalism.
“He would be heartbroken to hear you say that,” I flirt back.
He lets out a deep chuckle and inches closer to me on the sofa. Whatever he’s about to do, I am willing. Miguel sets his glass down on the coffee table and takes my glass from my hands to do the same. Our faces are inches from each other as he blinks at me slowly, pupils blown.
He focuses on my cheek and tenderly plucks a stray eyelash between his fingers to show me.
“Make a wish,” he orders.
I don’t bother. I know what I want and I lean in to kiss him.
Miguel’s body tenses at first, like he’s surprised I took the initiative but as I wrap my arms around his neck I feel him relax into the cushions. He cups my cheek, grazing the warming skin, and I can taste the tannins on his lips. There is a sweet satisfaction that he wants me as much as I want him.
He sucks my tongue into his mouth, his fingers dancing up my spine to grip me by the nape of the neck and pulling me away so he can get a good look at my face.
“Did you… kiss me ‘cause of the wine?” He asks after a beat, mouth wet.
I shake my head, wiping his pout with my thumb. “No, because of you, ‘cause I want you,” I whisper.
“Well... the wine helped,” I add after brief contemplation, and he laughs with me, pressing his forehead to mine.
“If you kiss like this after one bottle,” he smiles, “then we should drink the rest of this poor man’s collection.”
I touch my lips to his again and this time he runs his lascivious tongue into my mouth, exploring me deeply and slowly. He swallows as I nibble at his jaw, my hands coming up to scratch the closed cropped hair of his soft, beautiful beard. I could spend all afternoon kissing him like this and never get enough.
He breathes, and I nudge his nose gently, wanting to inhale his entire essence. His touch, his scent, I want all of it to envelop and possess me.
I smooth my hands up over his chest, fiddling with the buttons of his dress shirt. The patch of naked skin at his neck looks so inviting and I kiss him there softly, and he watches me do so with intensity. That look makes my pussy throb.
He groans and sits back into the couch, pulling me onto his lap, but I can’t straddle him like I want because of my pencil skirt. He tries to work it up over my hips but it’s not an easy task.
“It’s really tight,” I say.
“I know,” he cocks an eyebrow at me while his fingers find the side zipper and slides the skirt all the way down. “Your ass looks great in this, especially when you walk up the stairs,” he says as I kick it aside.
That strange sensation from earlier was confirmed. “Oh… I thought I could feel your eyes on me,” I reply, sitting astride his long legs.
Suddenly Miguel spanks my ass cheeks hard enough for them to clap.
“Yeah? Feel that?” His husky voice breathes into my ear. He licks the shell of it flicking over the pearl earring in my earlobe. The way he does it convinces me that he knows how to do a lot more with his tongue than he’s letting on.
I yelp. Shit, that feels really good. “Do it again,” I beg softly against his lips. “Please?”
He obliges as he rains blow after blow on my reddening cheeks, mouth at my ear telling me all the nasty things he’ll do to ruin me. The rat-a-tat of the downpour outside is not letting up, and neither are the sensations Miguel Galindo is snatching from my body. It has its own ideas about what it wants as I grind my hips against his cock. I need to get him out of these pants. I need to have his dick.
I reach between our bodies to pull him out, letting my fingers caress the head. I trap him between our bellies and let the friction run its course. He’s dribbling with precum and I feel it seeping into my blouse. “You like that, baby?”
“Fuck…” he moans through gritted teeth, as he kneads the heated flesh of my ass with big palms, fingers digging in and then merely ghosting as he conducts my body to keep up its pace. He pulls on my panties and uses them to create a bit of friction of his own, rubbing my clit with the fabric.
It feels really good but he’s tugging so roughly I’m afraid he’ll rip them. They’re my favorite pair.
“You’ll stretch them out,” I find myself complaining.
“I’ll stretch you out,” he replies with a touch of uncertainty and I laugh at how corny he is. It’s still sexy as fuck when he says it, cute almost, but as he is normally so dominant, so confident, the waver in his voice kind of makes me like him more.
“I’m a little out of practice,” he admits, and I wonder if I’m the first woman he’s been with since his wife. I stroke his hair gently and meet his gaze, letting my hips rock at a slower pace. I touch the lines in his forehead, the soft crinkles around his eyes, the adorable dimple in his cheek. He’s a man who’s already accomplished so much in the world.
“You're doing just fine,” I encourage him. “Better than fine,” I add, taking his hands in my own and kissing all his fingers. I pay special attention to his thumbs as I suck on them.
While Miguel is not the kind of man whose ego needs much stroking, I want to reassure him and feel like it's an honor that he can be vulnerable with me.
“Feel how wet you make me,” I say, bringing his fingers under the waistband of my panties. Alas, they are ruined. I’ll find a new favorite pair.
While he plays with my pussy, I unbutton my blouse and make a slow show of sliding the straps of my bra down before reaching back to unhook it. His eyes dip to my bare chest and that hungry look in them already makes me feel like I’m being devoured. He removes his wet fingers and tweaks my nipples and my body curves against him instinctively.
He pulls me tighter to him as he suckles both my tits and squeezes them before burying his head there. “Yeah, you’re doing just fine, Miguel,” I cry. His beard brushes against all the sensitive skin and I groan at the sensation.
I push his jacket off his shoulders and kiss him again as I tug his shirt out from his pants. He smiles at me trying desperately to get him as naked as me.
“Wanna be inside you,” He kisses my nose, voice hoarse as he furrows his brow. He picks me up to lay me back on the sofa, and I grab a couple of the Belgian silk throw pillows to prop myself up, casting away my ruined panties.
Rain rolls off the window panes behind him. It is dark now, save for the pathway lights in the patio. Miguel watches me as he unbuttons the rest of his shirt, and pushes his pants down his narrow hips, and I just admire the silhouette of his naked body. His cock juts forward proudly and my fingers crawl their way between my legs to play with myself.
He stalks toward me and kneels on the couch between my legs. My heart is racing as he pulls my hand away and pushes my knees far apart.
“Tell me what you want,” he asks, voice husky with need.
“I want you to touch me,” I implore.
Miguel knows what I’m asking for but he won’t let me have it yet. He runs his hand along my leg on the edge of the seat, his warm touch leaving goosebumps in its path. Without breaking from my gaze he kisses the inside of my ankle, and then my calf, the bend in my knee until he’s licking the flesh of my thigh.
“Oh, fuck,” I pant. Whatever hesitation he had before is gone.
He wets his thumb and grazes it over my sensitive clit, before he rubs and strokes my pussy. I’m completely blissed out. I’m melting as his name falls from my lips, his fingers dipping inside my cunt. I can hear how wet I am from his pistoning in and out of me. It’s so fucking nasty.
My eyes roll back. “Uhhh… yes…”
When he feels like I’ve had enough, he pulls out to suck my juices off his thumb, index and middle finger. “You taste incredible,” he declares. “Have to sample from the source though,” he winks as he settles on his belly, pulling my hips towards his face.
He can have me any way he wants. I reach up to touch the pearl earring remembering the delicious way he nibbled on my earlobe and my legs start to close around his head. He signals his annoyance by pushing my thighs apart again. “Keep ‘em spread or I won’t let you come,” he growls, and he anchors his arms around my waist, tongue dipping to my center.
He stares at me, over the curve of my belly and my body convulsing as he circles his tongue around my clit. I squeeze my tits as I watch him suck it into his bearded mouth, pressing firmly over and over, before he takes the flat of his tongue and runs it up again and again over the mound. I buck up to meet his lips and my legs shake as I come.
“My god,” I sigh. I can’t believe this man said he was out of practice. I couldn’t help it, there was no way I could keep my legs spread. I scissor them around his head as he bites the soft flesh of my inner thighs.
“Told you to keep them open, mi amor,” he chides. His eyes are dark and playful. “Guess a punishment is in order,” he says matter of factly. Even though I just came, the timbre of his voice sends jolts to my pussy again. I need to have him.
Miguel stands and spits into the palm of his hand and starts stroking his cock in my face. I sit up, open my mouth and look up with an expectant expression.
“Tsk tsk… only obedient girls get fed,” he glares as he pulls me up and bends me over the arm of the sofa, presenting my ass to him. He spreads my cheeks, and grazes the head of his cock suggestively over my asshole. I inhale sharply, but he just chuckles and buries himself into my pussy. He is so big, he really is stretching me out but in the most delicious way possible.
“Shit….” I wail, “Don’t stop, don’t stop.”
I see just a glimmer of our reflection in the wet stained panels of glass, as Miguel grips my flesh and pounds into me. I’m at his mercy, debasing myself for his pleasure. Definitely unprofessional. He catches me staring at us in the window and presses down the small of my back before smoothing his hands up my spine to grab me by the neck. He wraps his arm around my shoulders and I bow backward into his embrace.
“You like watching us fuck like this?” He asks between thrusts.
I nod my head enthusiastically.
“Voyeurism…huh? It makes you even wetter as if that’s even possible” he breathes. “Next time I’ll fuck you in front of an audience.”
Next time? There’s a next time? I don’t even have the mental capacity to wonder what he means by this. All I can do is focus on the tightening sensation in my belly, as the fine French linen of the couch rubs roughly against my clit. I feel his other hand make its way between my legs, rubbing me in circles just the right way as he pounds me from behind.
“Ahh, just like that! Don’t stop!” I exclaim.
I know I’m close. I feel the blood rush to my head and my pussy throb as Miguels’ thrusts are more erratic now. I hear him panting and groaning against my ear. I loosen his grip around my torso so I can fall forward again, and he grabs onto my hips driving my ass back to him.
“Fuck,” I hear him say, over the sound of the thunder.
“Come for me... please… please. I need it,” I beg. “Ugh... Miguel!”
He holds me close, rocking his hips and filling me up. We both stumble forward and collapse into the cushions, exhausted. Miguel’s body is draped over mine, fingers brushing aside my hair laying soft breathy kisses against my skin. His deep exhales sound so sexy. I love hearing him catch his breath.
“That was so good, I don’t even know how to thank you,” I murmur, coming down from my high.
“Say you’ll see me again,” he says in his sleepy, raspy voice. “I’ll buy this house as is in its current condition. You’ll select the rest of the furniture and I’ll fuck you on everything you pick, how’s that?”
The storm has turned into a gentle drizzle, and I’m starting to fall asleep too. He repeats his question, and I nod with my face pressed against a throw pillow. His cum is leaking from between my thighs, dripping all over this very expensive couch.
“Is that a yes?” He yawns.
“Mmm hmm, but the furniture is non-refundable.”
“Wouldn’t dream of returning a damn thing,” I hear him say. His lips are against my ear just as I drift off with a smile on my face.
298 notes · View notes
What I'm going to say will not be kind but at this point I am not interested in being polite. I'm angry because abortion ban in Poland is another issue outbreaking in central/south Europe and we almost get no sympathy and support from US citizens who are probably the majority on this site.
Under many posts explaining the situation, there are Americans telling us to "calm down because it's not as bad as it is in US" or on the contrary "this is what will happen to us if we won't vote Biden". There are many others messages from Americans, something about y'all not understanding what's going on in Europe because there are a lot of fake news because Trump bad and uwu could you explain please we are dummies?
Then let me say loud and clear: for a nation constantly telling others how they should act and what should they care about you are as dumb as a pair of shoes, although this may be offensive to shoes because they are at least pretty useful.
As in Greek tragedy you are deemed to repeat the mistakes of your ancestors. Why? Because you don't fucking listen.
You don't listen to the American Natives, you don't listen to American POC, LGBT folks, people with disabilities and many more. How can we expect you will listen to us? I can't count how many times people from Eastern Europe were scolded for something as small as liking cottagecore because "it's hurting the natives" while we are, literally, the natives. But you don't care because you never cared about historical context, never bothered about checking facts. Which leads us to this "uwu explain please because Mr Trump bad keeps flooding internet with fake news". You don't even realise how offending it is. Polish folks, Hungarians, Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian people risked their lives in the 40s to 80s to get news from the west because the regime didn't provided any. Nowadays Belarusian are having the internet totally cut off and have to use VPN which doesn't work almost at all, just like Northern Koreans (who are, like we once, risking their lives). And you cannot Google "Poland" "Ukraine" "Belarus"?
In your wild crusade against cultural appropriation and neo-colonialism you fail to notice that US, just like many other Western-European countries are indeed treating the rest of the Europe as their colonies. To this day many products sent to us are less nutritious than they are in the west, our countries are viewed as places to have fun for cheap price where vodka is strong and women are pretty and willing to go to bed with you for a dinner and a necklace, you look at us like some kind of wild people who only scream, fight and don't care about politics because we are not protesting in the form you want us to because we don't have the means for that.
All we want is some respect and now, with all the affairs and matters, support, keeping hashtags trending, writing letters and emails to politicians and organisations who could at least put some "peer pressure" on our countries and we cannot even ask for that.
It is a generalisation that I am not going to apologize for, no matter how many "not all Americans" comments I will see.
Also I didn't spoke for the Africans, Asians and South Americans because I am not qualified in any way to do so, but I am sure they can agree with me on that.
Americans can reblog but for fucks sake don't you dare add anything.
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Phantom Other ( din djarin x fem!reader)
Rated: 18+ (there’s NO smut but just to keep it safe)
word count: around 7k
warnings: mentions of violence, alcohol, swearing, fluff, din tells you his name
a/n: hey YALL so this is lame and im sorry but kerkjeh this is the first part of the second chapter which is named Bloodsport. idk I just wanted to get this out and so I hope you like!
Space is cold—
Mando doesn’t think much of it—never had. The beskar and the many layers adorning his body provides the insulation and quite frankly—he enjoys the cold. The bitter nip of cool air against skin is a reminder that he’s still alive. That he hasn’t yet molded to the beskar and thick swaths of fabric like some kinda weird turtle.
The little green bundle that sits in the copilot’s chair behind him sneezes.
Not everyone likes the cold. Especially the baby.
The child coos, his large green ears perking when Mando spins the pilot’s seat around. His tiny clawed hands reach for Mando as he pulls him into his lap. “Wanna go visit a friend?”
Allies are hard to come by—friends even more so. Rarer than kriffing beskar. It comes with the job, you don’t exactly come across the most desirable people working as a bounty hunter or as a Mandalorian. Though, through all odds and his cold demeanor, Mando has made a couple friends here and there.
Peli Motto is one of the select few people he considers as a true friend. Rough around the edges with a whip smart mouth—but a friend nonetheless. She means well with unsolicited parenting advice and whatnot--a great babysitter--the kid seems to like her.
Mando punches in the coordinates for Tatooine and arrives a couple hours later. Hanger number four. When he lands it’s well into the middle of the night--Peli’s pit droids the only thing to greet him when the landing dock is loaded. He does feel a bit bad for knocking on her door, but knowing the her she was probably up anyway fiddling with some obscure engine model or strange invention.
When he rasps his knuckles over the blast doors, the razor sharp edge of unfamiliarity bites at his throat as the door slides open—he’s expecting Peli to be here not…not whoever you are.
Din jumps to the worst—grasping onto every nightmarish possibility instead of y’know—considering he might’ve knocked on the wrong door.
“Who are you?” He’s bristles, tilting his hip back to better conceal the child.
Your face, already sporting a pinched frown, drops into an irritated glower. “And who the fuck are you, bucket head?”
“Peli—“ He bristles, his gloved hand hovering above the blaster strapped to his side. “Where is she?”
“Who’s asking?” You bite back, your own hand twitching towards the blaster strapped around your waist.
“Gee, thanks,” you quip. “Real helpful.”
You’re no better than two stubborn fools caught in a game of chicken—neither of willing to concede and sort out a logical explanation to this whole debacle. The only thing that risks moving is the grainy dust, swept up by the arid wind and the lamp above the doorway that flickers every few seconds.
Living behind a helmet for the majority of his life, the art of reading a face is as easy as breathing for Din—but yours is tricky. No obvious nervous tic or the sliver of fear when faced with a fully armored Mandalorian. However—despite the cool mask of bravery you wear, the eyes are always telling. But even then, it’s unexpected.
For the first time in months, Din’s heart lurches inside his chest. The hair on the back of his neck pricks into fine points—wispy tendrils of doubt lacing around his throat.
Your eyes are devouring, dark and filled with billowing layers of ardor that are more comparable to volcanic ash than human emotion. He’s stuck in place, the intensity equal parts fascinating and menacing—like gazing into the void of a dying star, too dark and bottomless yet much too bright for the human eye to stare at straight on.
He’s certain the beskar is close to melting off his body when;
“Enough with the pissing match!”
The exasperated bark of a certain Peli Motto floods his chest with relief. Your lip is still curled in a dangerous sneer, still holding your ground and showing no signs of budging. Peli’s hand drops over your shoulder, tamping out that little flame of resistance.
You step to the side with a huff and a venomous glare. Din is thankful for it—like a weight lifted off his ribcage. “You know this clown?”
“It’s Mando,” Peli snaps back, rolling her eyes in your direction as if that were common knowledge. “I told you about him remember? Y’know, the one who insisted I repair his ship by hand. Who even does that nowadays—people living in the stone age that’s who—“
Peli’s astute criticisms of his no droids policy—or lack thereof now—drifts into background noise. It’s difficult to shrug off the prickling tickle of eyes glaring holes into the back of your head. Perks of the job—always aware of who is watching.
Your punitive glowering is unwavering—arms crossed over your chest as you lean up against the wall like an uninvited shadow. Bristling and monitoring every slight move he makes in case things turn sour. It’s natural for the circumstances. The two of you were ready to tear out each other’s throats hardly ten minutes ago—he’d feel the same if he weren’t so trusting of Peli and the kid acting as the natural buffer.
“Oh—stop acting so prickly,” Peli chides, landing a playful backhanded slap to your shoulder as she pushes past you to the hangar. Your brows lower in a deeper glare as they slide onto Peli. “He’s not gonna bite. I trust him with my life!”
“Well I don’t,” you grumble, kicking off the wall to follow your aunt.
It’s a prickly first meeting—one that lasts the entire two days Mando stays on Tatooine. It lessens only a smidge after you lay eyes on the kid you so affectionately refer to as Creature. Goblin a close second. You’re endearing...in a way a wild Fyrnock is. He’d label you as mysterious too but that’s only due to you flat out ignoring him unless your aunt happened to be near by. Courteous until her back is turned.
Mando doesn't complain. You work on the Crest is the best it’s ever received (you somehow got the hyperdrive to bump up two an astounding 80%). When Mando leaves you watch him go--arms crossed with a glare. Even for the briefness of meeting you, the shape of your face haunts him for days.
Never, in the entirety of your life did you think you’d return to Tatooine. Tatooine for fuck’s sake. A literal sandbox that upholds no feasible joy unless you count the annual womp rat raid or the pod races in Mos Espa. Even then—yikes.
Didn’t think a kid nicknamed Wormie would be the one to blow up the Death Star either. Or yknow, dethrone Jaba the Hutt with some fancy laser sword. Or was it a chain? Ah, whatever—good riddance to that slimy pile of sentient boogers.
You should have followed Wormie’s example and steered clear of this place—taken up that permanent post as Red Leader for the Alliance and live out your days in a cushy position on Naboo or something. But, you never did enjoy taking the path of least resistance, you’re a pilot after all. Live and die for all that risky shit—the thrill of a fight and near brushes with death. You’d rather stake out your own journey in life—forge out a path so bright that other’s cant help but envy.
Growing up on Tatooine, there weren’t many kids your age—you were always the youngest by nearly four years (not that it ever stopped you from nipping at the older kids’s heels). To this day you can still recall every face, every dumb nickname and inside joke you all created—all the dares and stupid challenges like licking a womp rat’s tail or eating a handful of sand (you always won). Wild and free like a pack of yipping dogs—smiling, dirt stained faces and scuffed up boots worn down to the sole each month. Scrapes and bruises were flaunted as trophies, a chipped tooth like a shiny metal pinned upon the chest. Trouble wasn’t in the vocabulary of your mouth’s—back then it was just fun.
But time has a way of twisting and mangling the glimmer of childhood. Everyone grew up—more responsibility and less time to play on the dunes. School instead of riling up a nest of whatever doomed creature you could find. Petty arguments that turn into venomous resentment, culminating rifts in friendships and the battle of loyalties between friend groups.
You’re not sure when the bitterness of living on Tatooine settled in. Sometime between your first schoolyard fight over who would get the desk near the window and the gossip of your upbringing that followed you around like an ugly second head. Or maybe it the way everyone assumed you’d morph into the collective—a moisture farmer or maybe a mechanic like your aunt. One thing always stayed the same. You never outgrew the snarling beast that festered in your chest, it only grew with you over time.
Call it the age difference or the simple fact you were more feral creature than child, the two people who stuck around for the long haul were the neighbors’ kids. You chased off everyone else—decided that being alone was better than falling in step with mediocracy and someone else’s footsteps. If anyone would leave Tatooine first, it was going to be you.
Then Biggs left.
The Skywalker’s farm burnt down, the entire family too, shortly after Biggs’ departure. Everyone assumed Luke died along with them—you believed it as well. Scoured the farm and the corpses with blurry eyes and the hurt, worse than ripping off fingernails with tweezers, bloomed in the cavity of your heart. The worst part of it all was no one cared. No one gave a shit about the culprits or impeding war that was always glossed over on the local radio—they were all fine with sitting and becoming complacent.
A year passed—and the night of your sixteenth birthday you jumped ship the second the opportunity presented itself. Living in a space port had it’s perks—someone was always going somewhere. You snuck on board of a clunky freighter headed towards Takodana and that was it. Fueled by spite and the need to be part of something bigger.
The rest happened in a blur. You joined the Alliance—you found Biggs and Luke, alive and well, only to be ripped apart by different destinies another time over. You became a pilot—Red Leader in fact, and damn good at it. Helped blow up the Death Star (the second one that is) and that was that.
No one tells you that returning home is the scariest part of it all. But—it’s Tatooine for Kriff’s sake. Hardly anything had been touched, the people all the same and uninterested in the outside world. A relieved hug from Peli had been expected—no anger at your unapproved departure—just a resentful frown at the stitched up laceration over your brow and part of your cheek. She didn’t yell about how worried sick she’d been or the lame and infrequent, encrypted holovids you sent to assure that you were still alive and not blown to bits. You told her you didn’t expect to stay long…funny how it’s been five years since then.
Look at you know, you think with a bemused scoff. Washed out and living in your aunts hangar in the prime of your youth. Guess your glory days had come to a lazy, halting stop.
The life of a mechanic in Mos Eisley is never overwhelmingly busy—a day or two off every now and then if you so choose. Only thing you frequently find yourself doing is participating in a long standing rivalry between you, a broom, and and the congregation of overly curious Jawas. One night—one kriffing night you left a rusty speeder and a couple power converters out and now they think it’s easy pickings—
As long as they don’t start physically manifesting inside the spaceport it’s fine. Totally cool.
Besides swatting the little creatures away with your trusty broom each morning to clear a path, there’s not much to do on Tatooine—not unless you fancy throwing in on a Sabaac tourney or brushing elbows with none too desirable folk. You stick to the landing dock and work. Busy hands keep the mind occupied after all.
But it’s Tatooine—
Dust storms that’ll scrape up the insides of you nostrils and make your nose bleed or leave you blind, Imperial sympathizers, smugglers, you name it. You never make a habit of familiarizing yourself with whoever lands in your hangers—bad for business and honestly? You’d rather not get kidnapped and sold off to the Spice mines on Kessel for opening your big fat mouth.
So, naturally your only option for a cheap drink and the affirmation that, yes, you can in fact still leave Tatooine whenever you’d like, is to go off-world.
Bakura is a hop away—far enough you never run into anyone twice and close enough that the charter fare is dirt cheap. It’s always the same cantina, same back left corner that provides an excellent view of the exit and the neighboring lavatories that boasts amusing in-house drunken brawls. What’s better than this? Guys being dudes—petty squabbles over fragile masculinity and an urge to prove something dumb.
Tonight is slow—regulars night you suppose. Or is it a weekday? Maker you don’t even know what day it is.
Sighing, your eyes lazily crawl over the drab decor in the cantina, sipping on a neon blue drink that tastes like those little blue candies. Y’know—the ones that grandmas always have stashed away in delicate glass bowls and insist you take a handful even though the candies are the same age, if not older than grandma.
You pinch the little black straw between your fingertips and take another sip. Too sweet for your liking, but a damn good chaser for the Corellian fire whiskeys you’ve amassed. In fact, just as you’re putting the rim of the shot glass to your lips, the liquor already bright and hot against your bottom lip—you see him.
There, in the opposing corner of the dingy cantina, you spot the familiar sheen of tempered beskar. Neon lights from the nearby exit reflect off his cuirass, hyperspace blue that switches to fuchsia pink then back again like a dizzying light show. His helmet is tilted in the direction of the bar, analyzing the couple lingering near the last two stools. You know the little lime green Twi’lek—not by name—but because she’s always somehow wrist deep in her target’s pocket while they all but drool over the deep cut of her cleavage. None the wiser as they’re robbed blind. The poor bastard currently playing into her finely spun web is no different.
Good for her—
You flick your eyes back over to the Mandalorian and force down a surprised cough as the full weight of his attention settles on you. The likelihood of him being here on matters concerning you are high, but Stars, you weren’t expecting him. How’d he even get inside without you noticing anyway?
The guy is a walking armory donning beskar that sparkles brighter than kriffing diamonds and worth more than than the entirety of Tatooine you’d bet—he’s not an easy thing to miss. Mando is broad—even more so with the added bulk of armor, and in theory that much metal should make some sort of sound.
You scratch your brow with your thumb and sigh. Fuck—you must be loosing your edge or you’re drunker than you thought.
Well—no use just sitting here and having an awkward staring contest you certainly won’t win—might as well invite him over. You raise your hand in a begrudging wave and pull your face into a mask of an indifference. Mando places his hands on the table and pushes off to stand, tattered cloak scraping along the sticky floor as he covers the short distance between you.
Gesturing to the open seat on your right, Mando takes up the offer and sits with a muted grunt—guess that armor is heavy.
“Funny seeing you here,” you sigh, kicking back a shot of another fire whiskey. The glass clinks against the sticky table and joins the growing array of crystalline tumblers. One of those nights where the pain of the past stings worse than alcohol splashed into an open wound. “Did Peli send you? I left a note, y’know.”
“I’m not here for you,” he assures, a smooth rasp even with the static distortion of the vocoder. He turns his head and sweeps the room with poised nonchalance—your heart jumps as the darkened visor returns to you with a weight heavier than the catch and pull of a black hole. “You got a habit of running off?”
Your bottom lip tastes bitter as your tongue passes over it. “Depends on who you ask.”
“Hm.” Mando’s pensive hum tapers off into stagnant silence.
This is why, you think with a miserable frown, you always drink on your own. Too many awkward pauses like this and the embarrassment of being tipsy in front of a sober person—you’re off your guard. Plus—you’re not even sure why he’s here—
You clear your throat and beckon over the bartender with a wave of your hand—Ekah is working tonight. A Mirialan around your age—skin the color of fresh honey and pale green eyes to compliment. Ekah taps two fingers to his temple in acknowledgment and finishes scrubbing down a tumbler with a rag that’s seen better days. He steps around the bar and wanders to your table, his right brow quirking in curiosity at the sight of the Mandalorian.
“Finally making friends, Skitter?” The hexagonal tattoos inked into the sharp slopes of his cheeks crinkle as he smiles. “And here I was, thinking I was special.”
“Fuck off, Ekah.“ You scowl. “Neither of you are my friend.”
Ekah gasps and places a hand over his heart in mock offense. “So cruel for such a sweet face.”
Your eyes narrow. “Ekah—“
He sighs, roll his eyes and waves his hand in a shooing motion. “Alright, alright—what is it you want?”
“Closing tab—“ you spare a glance at Mando. He cocks his head to the side. “—uh, unless—do you want…anything?”
Stars that was awkward.
Mando lifts his palm off the table and shakes his head in a no. You figured, because of the helmet and all…Worth a shot.
“Great—“ You nod, shifting onto your weight to fish out the credits in your pocket as Ekah announces your total.
Yet before you even have the physical money in your hand, Mando reaches into his supply bag and pulls out the full amount, plus a hefty tip. “I’ve got it.”
Mando hands it over much too quickly for you to protest and Ekah, opportunistic as a bartender is, collects his credits and shoves them into his pocket, never to be seen again.
“Cheers, metal man,” he grins. He spares Mando a salacious wink and spins on his heel, a couple midnight black strands of his hair falling out of place as he hurries back to the bar. “See ya ‘round, Skitter.”
Your brows furrow as you puff out your lower lip, head swiveling to glare at Mando. “Why’d you do that? I can pay for myself.”
Mando has the audacity to shrug. “Wanted to. We’re friends aren’t we?”
He knows damn well where he stands. You clench your jaw and jerk your eyes back to the table. It never sits right with you when someone offers to pay—feels like a slimy rock in the pit of your stomach. On Tatooine you learn to fend for yourself at an early age—leaning on the help of others tended to land you in more trouble than you could shake off. Worst case you ended up at Jabba’s Palace as a nice little side dish for the local rancor, best case you payoff the favor working at a moisture farm for a couple days.
Simply put—no one does a favor simply for free.
Anyone who offers is cause for suspect.
But then again—Peli trusts him…
You exhale loudly, irritated by the sudden bout of silence, and shift to move from you chair, but he stops you with a question.
“Why do you call yourself Skitter?” He says it softly, not meant to offend or demand your compliance. Whatever he picks apart, he does it with precise and patient skill—simultaneously seeking insight on who you are while granting that thin veil of anonymity. Simply wedging his foot into an already cracked door.
Your eyes slip from the harsh lines of Mando’s helmet to the splotchy grease stains covering your knuckles. No matter how much you scrub or pick at them, the dirty smudges never seem to disappear—permanently ingrained into your skin like a gods awful tattoo. Doesn’t stop you from roughly rubbing the pad of your thumb over your index finger in hopes that it might just work this time. You sigh and curl your fingers into fists—no use.
Lying to him crosses your mind—spin some absolute bantha shit story about how you won the Boonta Eve Classic and how you earned the name. Or maybe you could tell him you’re a part of a highly covert crime ring and speaking your name aloud will assure you a one way ticket to the grave within the hour. You’re not sure how well that one will fly, but hey—you’ve convinced a couple of morons here and there.
However—Mando is no moron.
He wouldn’t pry the truth out of you like a crooked incisor with rusty pliers—no. This is a game of trust. By extension on Peli’s behalf you’re reliable—one of the good guys that offers safe heaven for himself and the little green terror each time he lands that literal pile of scrap metal in hangar four—always hangar number four.
It still doesn’t negate the fact that Mando knows jack shit about you. Just a grouchy mechanic with bloody knuckles and a mouth sharper than a bowl of tacks. This is him offering an olive branch of his personal trust. By choosing to lie you would be severing the rare reveal of a kind heart with a vibroblade dipped in venom. You don’t know what he thinks he’ll find or what’s to gain from you revealing a bare thread of yourself but—
Whether it’s the blend of spiced rum and fire whiskey that helps loosen your tongue into speaking, or just the simple fact that you actually kinda…enjoy Mando’s company—you tell him.
“Peli—“ You begin, your lips quirking at Mando’s unsurprised huff upon hearing your aunt’s name. “I was, like, a little kid when I went to live with her—four or five maybe?”
You spare a quick glance at Mando. His vambraces chink against the edge of his cuirass as he leans back in his seat. He laces his fingers together and rests his hands just above where his codpiece should be; and as you draw a breath he tilts his head ever so slightly to the right, exposing more of the metallic earpiece to better hear you.
He’s being polite—
You blink and drop your eyes back down to the empty glass you fiddle with. You never dwell or find it in your to care about what others think of you—too much energy wasted on perceptions that you’ll never be privy to. Say what you mean and repercussions be damned. So why is it that your heart begins to flutter like a distressed creature in the clumsy palms of a curious toddler?
A wildfire blush races up your neck and burns hotter than a miniature sun in your cheeks. You swallow and reach up to toy with the loose baby hairs that curl next to your ear. “Y-you ever, um, see a sand skitter before?”
Mando shakes his head.
“They kinda look like slugs,” you say, separating your forefinger and thumb to show Mando a guesstimate of their size. “Fast little fuckers though—they like to hang out around Jabba’s Palace. B-but anyway—“
You clear your throat and continue. “Peli always said I looked like them back then—squishy and small. It didn’t help that I ran around around like a wild waste creature either—got into more trouble than you can even imagine.”
Mando’s amused huff crackles out of the vocoder. “I think I can.”
Another blush heats your cheeks. It’s the damn alcohol—it must be. You should tell him to fuck off—take his metal, bucket-head looking ass straight back to Tatooine and leave you alone. What makes him any different from all the other people you’ve batted away? You don’t know—you don’t know—
Instead of all the things you should say, you wrench off another branch of yourself and gladly put it into his outstretched palm.
“I..uh—I don’t think I’ve used my name—my actual name in years,” you confess quietly. The admittance is a strange one—makes the back of your throat tighten while plucking at tender heartstrings you didn’t know existed. “Even in the Rebellion I was just…Skitter.”
In the Rebellion everyone has a number, a nickname, a call-sign—no one cared who you were because when they risked doing so they opened themselves up to pain. It’s easier to be nameless—keeps you focused on the task at hand.
But it’s over now—it’s done.
He lets the silence settle and you know what he’s going to ask. You see it in the way his armored shoulders raise to take a breath and the crackling curiosity that practically sparks off the metal. Nonetheless, it’s still like getting shot pointblank in the chest the second he asks.
“Will you tell me?”
Such a simple question shouldn’t scare you. Pure and simple fear that better belongs on a feral fyrnock backed into a corner with only it’s sharp teeth to protect itself. Joining the Rebellion should have scared you—hoisting yourself into that worn cockpit every day with the promise of death and gut wrenching adrenaline should have terrified you. The crash on Endor that left a scar over your left brow and broke seven ribs is far more daunting than someone asking you for your name.
“I’m willing to trade.”
You’re clever enough to realize that this is his way of assuring you that trust is a two way street. He knows the importance of a name better than anyone else—how these sorts of things aren’t meant to be traded—but both of you are making exceptions tonight, even if it’s dangerous.
You’re both playing with matchsticks around a barrel of coaxium, one slip of a finger and you’d both go up into volatile flames that will rattle the very seams of the galaxy. Mando is showing you how willing he is to offer a piece of himself at your feet—so long as you do the same.
You sigh and close your eyes. “O-ok…yeah—yeah.”
As you lean to the side he folds at the waist to meet you. You take another inhale—the last breath before plunging into an ice cold sea—and maybe…maybe it’s not as scary as you once thought.
The chapped swell of your lips brush along the frigid beskar as the syllables of your name bubble past your teeth. It tastes foreign and odd in your mouth, like cotton or the creaky hinges on a rotting window pane.
You like it better when he says it.
The slow drawl of your name repeated back to you is the first breath of spring in the unending winter within your chest. There’s always been a slowness, a stillness in the delicate redwood needles of your bones that glitter with a thick layer of frost. No clever fox or brightly plumed bird resides here—no whispering, pushing wind that dances with the slow creak of ancient tree trunks. Here there’s only overgrown, dark rooted trees and bone white snow—something mistaken for being alive.
Skitter is the name of a girl who drowns in the acrid smoke that bellows from her lungs and disastrous flames that spill from the gaps in her ribcage. It outmatches nebular implosions, leaving behind entrails of embers that burst and flake off from her skin like brittle wood thrown into a funeral pyre. Even the sharp curve of a rabid smile shows something of that all-consuming hunger—something never meant to survive for long. No life has ever made its way into her bones, but the flames that transform blood into ash and anger shine in her eyes.
Your name—the one that sun speckled light touches and spreads inside of your lungs, urging Mando to whisper in quiet tones meant only for your ears. It promises that this is only the beginning—that there is gentle starlight instead of war smoke and here there is something beautiful waiting for you. Someday the heavy snow that buries your body under its weight will melt and give way to the delicate bloom of ferns and creeping lichen. Hope crackles in your blistered palms, transforming into the wings of a sparrow and the very same warmth that you dream of holding.
Goosebumps rush down your spine and every inch of skin as Mando repeats your name a third time—speaking it as if it’s a prayer to some long lost deity wearing a circlet of stars and a mouth made of rose petals. But it’s only you. You who sits in the back corner of a shitty cantina, dressed in neon light while you and a Mandalorian whisper secrets that are long since forgotten to the world into each other’s ears.
But the slow grace of become gentle is a long one, and there’s much to learn. “You call me that in public and I’ll strap your tongue to a belt sander and set it on high.”
Mando chuckles at your empty threat and leans more of the broadness of his shoulders into your space. “My turn.”
The icy cold beskar touches parts of your ear and jaw, his even breathing amplified by the static crackle of vocoder. This close, you can feel the helmet buzz over your skin.
It suits him—sweet and simple.
And like he knows you’re itching to shy away from the chilling unfamiliarity of bearing your heart, Din leans closer. You’re not trapped, but he’s forcing your hand to either flee like you’ve always done or confront him.
He moves his hand glacially slow so as not to startle you, granting you an opportunity to slip free, but you hold steady. The padded leather covering his thumb touches the side of your chin, and out of habit you flinch. The weight of his thumb immediately retracts, but with a mumbled apology and a weak smile of encouragement, he returns.
Mando—Din—cradles your chin between his forefinger and thumb and traces a light back and forth pattern, the worn leather soft against your skin. Desire bubbles in your chest like heartburn, and all you know right in that second is you need more of him—hungry for any scrap he offers. You lift your hand and curl your fingers over the top of his knuckles and with a little tug, you coax Din’s open palm over your cheek.
Staring into that endless black visor, your eyes flutter shut as you lean into his hand. Vulnerability tastes strange on the tongue—still have to wrestle back the urge to snap and chase him away. You’d be content staying like this all night but…
Tonight is not the night for it apparently—
All those drinks hit you with a gut wrenching wave of dizziness worse than clipping a short corner in the Diablo Cut—same kinda feeling you get after pigging out on starcherry pies and then taking a high-stakes joyride on your dad’s spiffed out speeder.
You squeeze your eyes until you see little bursts of light and suck in a deep breath, beating back the nausea with sheer willpower and the very present dread of puking all over Mando’s chest plate. What a fucking spectacle that would be.
You cringe and slump from his palm and into the dark fabric of his cowl, the sharp smell of ozone and something woodsy a pleasant surprise to your senses. Maker—you could stay here all night, breathing him in. You’re lucky he’s wearing his helmet—you fucking stink.You’ve been marinating in the acrid stench of cheap spirits and cigarette smoke for hours and you know it’ll take days to scrub it off your skin and clothes like shitty perfume or spilled jet fuel.
“Are you taking a nap?” Mando accuses—the lip of his helmet knocking against your ear as he tries to confirm his suspicion.
“No,” you grumble, “‘m smelling you.”
“What?” Din’s shoulder jump with a unbelieving snort.
You huff and bury your nose deeper into the swath of fabric. “You smell good. Like—like one of those…those candles.”
You feel his chest rise and fall with a deep sigh. “I think it’s time to go home.”
“So you are here for me,” you scoff, raising your head to shoot him a weak glare. “How’d Peli convince you?”
“Offered to take it out of your pay.”
“Damn, that shit sucks.” You retort, lifting yourself from the stiff beskar to rub at your tired eyes. “Lemme—lemme guess—“ you hiccup and point an accusing finger. “That piece of junk ship got fuckin’ trashed and—and you expect me to fix it.”
Din cocks his head to the side, shrugs and moves out of his seat, offering you a hand. You shoo it away with a feeble glare and help yourself up, albeit a bit wobbly.
“You have talented hands.” He purrs next to your ear as you attempt to stomp past him. “I’m sure you can manage.”
“Yeah—“ You sniff, each step a blurry stumble towards the exit. “You bet I fucking do.”
His soft laugh whispers behind you—
You hate how much you like it.
Din ushers you onto the very ship you vowed never to take a ride in, solely due to the fact that this thing has been trashed more times than you can count. You cringe just thinking about the innards of the Crest you so begrudgingly fixed—probably all fried to hell and busted up again—
Surprisingly, the ship flies fine. Suspiciously smooth sailing, enough that you even manage to doze off in your chair. Until you’re so rudely awakened.
It’s a little tickle on the side of your temple—like a stray hair pushed out of place by a breeze. Half lucid, you grumble and furrow your brows at the sensation, hoping it’ll piss off and leave you be—
The bluntness of calloused fingertips caress over the ridge of your brow, then sweep to the shell of your ear, thumbing at a lock of hair in muted wonder. The same kind of fascination you’d see on someone who’s never felt the texture of another’s hair because of the heavy gloves they wear like a second skin. You crack an eye open, confirming the culprit just as his bare hand dances over your cheek and skins along your jaw.
Din’s hand freezes, hovering in midair the moment your sleepy eyes catch over his visor. You roll your lip between your teeth, attempting to solely focus on his helmet instead of the brown, sun-kissed hand inches from your face. You’re not sure what’s considered rude or blasphemous in Mando culture, but airing on the side of caution with things like this is best.
You blink. “What?”
“I said you snore in your sleep.”
Din spins on his heel faster than you can process and exits the cockpit. Huh.
Rubbing the sleep from your eyes, you stand and follow after him. You squint as the loading ramp is lowered, the change in lighting creating a dull ache behind your eyes. Mando hovers at the end of it, patiently waiting for your sleepy self to join him. He’s docked just on the outskirts of town you note—he’s not staying for long. You were just a detour.
You sigh, face souring as the first rays of sunlight whisper across the glittery yellow smudge of the horizon. Sand scrapes your cheeks and tickles the inside of your nostrils as a gust of torrid air sweeps down from the nearby bluffs, promising another scorching day that’ll make the skin on your nose peel and flake off. Absolutely putrid. “I fucking hate this town.”
Mando makes no comment on his end, just rests his palm over your lower back and guides you forward. This shouldn’t be miserable—
He isn’t marching you off to your death or anything—just an end of a chapter you didn’t intend on closing so soon.
Isn’t it funny when you’ve got an entire speech’s worth to say and yet all of it decides to stay stuck on the roof of your mouth? But that’s the problem—you’d have no idea what to say—just an endless turmoil of emotions you aren’t able to pin down and decipher. You’re not even sure if you want to anyway—
All too soon you’re reaching the blast doors that lead into the space port. Din stays outside when you offer to go get his kid from Peli’s care. He’s bundled up in a spare blanket, tucked against Peli’s side—both asleep. Without waking your aunt, you slide him into your arms and make your way back to Mando. The baby whines and cracks his large eyes open.
“Hello, Creature,” you greet, sweeping a thumb over his large ear. “Dad’s here to pick you up.”
His eyes slide back shut, nuzzling deeper into the swaths of blanket as you hand him back to Din. The Mandalorian happily accepts the little creature and tucks him against his side. Cute.
“How long are you staying?” You’re cracking open another door for him, letting the soft glow of an imaginary future spill past your fingertips even though you know it’s far fetched. He shuts it with a gentle sigh and a weak shake of the head.
“We’re leaving today. It’s not safe for us here.”
Your brows furrow. “You’re being followed?”
The way his shoulders stiffen tell you that it’s a long story. That it runs deeper than just a mere skirmish and bad blood. You don’t like his answer when he tells you the short version of things. Don’t like the way your whole body seizes and doused in a vat of ice water.
“That’s…no. That’s not—the Empire was destroyed.” Your breaths turn sharp like frayed lungs hacked at the stem and the cold dread of a returned horror. That part of you, the one that fought tooth and nail for the galaxy perished in the flames of war alongside every friend and ally you’ve lost. To say that something you played a part in ripping to shreds for good, is back—it’s digging up ghosts and dusty skeletons you’ve buried long ago. “Din—the Empire is gone."
“Not all of it. They’re after the kid.” The baby, now awake, squeaks and looks up at Din, his little fingers wrapping around his thumb. “If I stayed any longer I’ll be putting you both at risk.”
You wrap your arms around yourself and study the tips of your boots. “You’ll be gone for awhile then.”
You lift your head and study the sharp lines of his helmet and the dark strip of visor. His silence carves out the fragile hope cradled in your chest with a rusty knife—throws it at your feet with bloody uncertainty. He chooses silence over hollow promises—could be years or three weeks the next time you see him. Or never.
“Take care, Skitter.”
“Yeah…se ya around, Mando.”
You watch him leave, the beskar glittering in the early morning sun until he disappears from view.
You should’ve asked him to take you with.
@goldafterglow @djxrxn @velvetmel0n @steeeeeeeviebb @stargazingcarol @ohiobluetip @anxiety-riddled-mando@absurdthirst @thesoftdumbass @huliabitch @max--phillips @silverfish-kingdom @krissology @teaofpeaches@pettyprocrastination @nelba @beskars @jango-fettish @corrupt-fvcker @maybege @auty-ren @legally-a-bastard @bigdickdindjarin@thesparkleslugs @cryptid-candy @mandowhorian@pascaliprincess @mitchi-c @vesperstalksclones @cmakars@cptnbvcks @whewchiles @leias-left-hair-bun @astrochellie@angryares @rise-my-angel @stardust-galaxies @phoenixhalliwell @samhollandssweaters @blue-writes-a03 @hdlynnslibrary@darthadeline @calamity-queen @luxurybeskar@justanotherblonde23 @book-hoardingdragon @fahrenheit-not@princessxkenobi @skdubbs @ben-is-a-hoe @3strogen@chasingdreamer @weebblossom @bobaandthefetts @dindjarindiaries @batmans-boobies @nerd-without-a-cause @bookofbriar
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Efficiency is very inefficient
Doctors use the term “crisis” to refer to the crossroads where the patient improves or goes into terminal decline. In that sense, we are living through a major crisis, a juncture revealed by the pandemic that we have yet to traverse.
For 40 years, the gospels of market efficiency and shareholder value have demanded that we dismantle the state (because markets are efficient, while states are not) and hollow out companies (“trimming fat” to serve the almighty shareholder).
Thus state capacity has waned while companies themselves became more brittle: their employees turned into contractors, their cash-reserves liquidated as dividends and buybacks, their supply chains stretched over impossible distances with multiple critical points of failure.
Human civilization became increasingly fragile, while the threats it faces increased in suddenness and severity.
Today, “the world has run out of everything” from microchips to lumber to housing to running shoes to specialised resins used in car paint. As Peter S Goodman and Niraj Chokshi write for the New York Times, these shortages share a common underlying cause.
In the name of efficiency, companies have offshored their manufacturing or outsourced it altogether. Chasing cheap labor and lax regulation while shifting of risk to subcontractors half a world away works great, but fails very badly.
Now, companies whose entire production has ground to a halt because the distant factory that is the sole source of a key input are scrambling to introduce slack and buffers into their “lean,” “just in time” manufacturing systems.
But they’re hamstrung. First, because it costs a lot to build new onshore capacity, especially after four decades of dismantling the supply-chains that serve domestic manufacturing and sidelining the skilled workforce that operated them.
Intel, for example, is spending $20B to build new chip fabs in Arizona — sounds great until you learn that Intel spent $26B on socially useless stock-buybacks in the two years leading up to the pandemic.
But it’s not just a lack of funds that stands in the way of onshoring production (after all, the corporate-friendly Trump stimulus poured trillions in public money onto the largest companies’ balance-sheets).
The hard part spending on measures whose benefit is broadly shared, among workers, customers, and society, rather than providing immediate benefit to shareholders who don’t care if the company folds, so long as they get to liquidate their shares at a profit first.
And this shareholderism extends to the insurance industry and other risk-mitigating systems like default swaps, whose own shareholders and issuers and regulators have shown repeated willingness to sacrifice long-term health for short-term gains.
Whether that’s AIG writing policies on garbage CDOs to maximize quarterly revenues despite trillions in exposure, or Deutschebank underwriting the mass fraud of Greensill.
As the Harvard Business School’s Willy C Shih told the authors, “Consumers won’t pay for resilience when they are not in crisis.” What Shih means is, “Shareholders won’t accept lower returns for resiliency, which means the burden must be carried by consumers.”
Despite papering over that difference, Shih isn’t wrong. Companies — increasingly responsible to just a handful of private equity barons and reps from massive index funds — are in no position to put their long-term health ahead of those powerful, unaccountable shareholders.
And yet, the crisis is upon us, and even if we weather it, there are more crises on our horizon. Wildfire season is almost here, more floods will come this summer and fall, and the eviction mill is about to go into overdrive.
The last time we faced a crisis of this kind was after the 2008 crash. Boy did we fuck that one up. Take California: facing a budget crisis as state taxes collapsed, the legislature cut everything it could lay its hands on.
One of those cuts was to the Health Surge Capacity Initiative, created after the 2006 bird-flu scare: a $200m stockpile of 50m N95 masks, 2400 portable ventilators, 21000 on-demand patient beds, and the gear to establish three vast emergency hospitals on a moment’s notice.
The stockpile came with a $5.8m/year upkeep bill — charging the batteries in the ventilators, paying for the warehouses, etc — and in 2008, California decided it couldn’t afford that bill anymore so it sold off the stockpile for pennies on the dollar.
One thing we learned (again) during the pandemic is that deficit spending isn’t itself inflationary: when there is slack in the economy, the central bank can create trillions of dollars without inflation risk.
After 2008, we gave banks a blank check, but told the states they were on their own. California saved dollars (created by typing zeroes into a spreadsheet at the central bank) and lost ventilators (created in factories that ran out and then shut down during the pandemic).
Today, the GOP is stalling Biden’s infrastructure bill, and their anemic counteroffer is to claw back the money committed to the states — to force the states to jettison whatever stockpiles and buffers they have managed to cling to, to tee up the next crisis.
The doctrine that governments can’t do anything to prepare for the future and that businesses shouldn’t do anything to prepare for the future has produced fantastic wealth for a tiny handful of people and put the rest of us in mortal peril.
That’s the crisis and the crossroads — not a chip shortage or even a runaway virus; but rather what we do about these facts. Do we reform our markets and rebuild our states, or do we surrender to a future spiral of worsening emergencies with no end in sight?
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double agent part two.
my protector | bucky barnes
part one here | main masterlist | requests open :)
summary: after bucky finds out you infiltrated the avengers as a plan to take him back to hydra, he is heartbroken. he thinks back on the memories he made with you. after arguments and attempts to completely erase you he decides that seeing you one last time might be good for him.
pairing: bucky barnes x hydra victim!reader.
warnings: nothing major just sad. bucky being heartbroken. steve and bucky arguing. long and slow paced bc it’s very descriptive for maximum effect hehe i’m evil.
bucky would once associate you with many things. he could once see you in the hundreds of things that would surround him on a daily basis. old music that he would play on his record player, the lipstick stained coffee cups collected on your bedside table. he even saw parts of you showing up in himself, the way he spoke, the way he dressed, the way he acted.
things changed so suddenly after the betrayal, the discovery of it at least. how could you fake loving him for so long? so easily? thoughts like this had clouded his mind all week, which he had spent alone, locked away from everyone else. on top of the heartbreak, he felt ashamed and embarrassed.
it’s ironic that the person who caused him so much pain was the only one who could truly fix it. like the others, he shook this thought away pretty quickly, knowing that seeing you again would be too dangerous. he would be risking his life if he caved in, steve had told him.
“i know steve but i need to see her.”
“she’s with hydra, buck, she’s dangerous.” steve tried to convince him. bucky looks up with glossy eyes, a small smile pulling his lips up, delicately, to mask the pain behind his next three words.
“so was i.” bucky responds making steve exhale.
“that was different.” steve argues.
“how different are we, really?” bucky responds. “they threatened her.” he whispers, going over the situation in his head for what felt like the millionth time that hour. despite what had happened between the two of you, he was worried about the repercussions you would face under hydra’s control.
“you can’t worry about her, she made her choice.” steve starts but the look on bucky’s face makes him stop.
“she told us herself, she didn’t have a choice.” bucky starts. “i didn’t have a choice, why are we turning our backs on her?” he argues.
“because she’s a liar! she infiltrated our group, she gained our trust, your trust, and for what? she threw it all away in the name of their organisation.”
bucky goes over the argument in his head with his body buried under his sheets. he’s already washed them twice, but he’s starting to regret it as the attempt to rid his bed of your scent has left him wanting you even more. there’s so much of you left over but it doesn’t replace what he craves the most.
“she was good to me.”
that was the last thing he told steve before cap walked out of the room, wishing bucky a good nights sleep. he broke down after that, his whole body finally accepting that he’s not angry anymore, he’s heartbroken. she was good to me, what did i miss? why didn’t she tell me? she was so good to me. she was so good. she’s so so good.
as he reassures himself of what he thought he knew about you, his damp eyes grow more and more heavy as sleep overtakes his body. he angles his pillow and for another night, pretends it’s you he’s holding.
“how you holding up, buck?” nat asks him as he appears in the kitchen for the first time in a week. steve made sure to bring plates of food and water to his door, leaving the trays outside but for a while he struggled to actually see him. struggled to understand the extent of his situation.
“i’m fine.” he responds, lips turned down and shoulders slumped. his body language screaming something completely opposite, i’m not okay.
“you can be honest with me.” she says, not looking up at him in hopes that he would feel comfortable enough to talk aimlessly at her when she’s not staring holes into his head. “we don’t have to go into the details.” bucky doesn’t respond, just sends her a warning look. “we’re all here for you, if you want to talk to anyone.” she says, patting him on the shoulder before walking out of the room.
“i don’t want anything to happen to you.” bucky admits to you, his words cutting through the dark. you shift closer to him, taking his dog tags between your fingers.
“nothing is going to happen to me.” you reassure him. bucky’s fingers dance across your skin, every line traced down your back edging you closer to sleep. “i’m not going anywhere.” you whisper.
bucky smiles when you sleep with your fist around his tags with a cheek pressed to his chest.
his stomach turns at the memory and he’s made aware of the cold metal around his neck. using his index finger he pulls the chain, two tags trailing up his chest. he drops them, letting them land on his clothed front. his head drops to examine them, his name engraved in metal, reminding him of who he is. without thinking he takes them in his fist, the same way that you did and he closes his eyes, letting the feeling fill him up momentarily and allowing himself to forget for just a couple of seconds.
that evening he spends a lot of his time pacing back and forth, a turned off iphone sitting uselessly on the desk. once he left you, after the argument, he had turned it off, not able to bare the messages you were flooding him with. the last one he remembers is the one that made him turn the thing off for good.
i love you, i’m so sorry.
his finger presses into the side of the phone long enough to make a small digital apple appear. even once the phone is turned on he continues his pacing, causing sam to come into the room.
“is everything okay?” he asks, quietly entering the dimly lit room.
“yeah sam, i’m fine.” bucky snaps.
“you’re pacing.” he points out.
“i’m thinking.” bucky responds.
“and you can’t do that sitting down?” sam asks, arms folding across his chest. bucky looks at him and sam’s expression changes.
“don’t look at me like that.” bucky scoffs. “you’re the only one who hasn’t coddled me yet so please, don’t start now.” he asks, sitting down in front of the phone but not moving to do anything with it.
“you turned it on?” sam points to the phone, it’s screen lit up. “about time.” he says, under his breath.
“what?” bucky asks, growing tired of his friends sarcasm.
“look, steve is trying to protect you, i get it, i get where he is coming from, but only you know what is right, bucky.” sam says. “so if you need to see her again, you should see her but if you want to forget her, then do that too.”
bucky thinks for a second. everything sam is saying is what he has wanted to hear so why does he have to control the urge to yell at him, tell him that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. he wanted somebody to tell him that missing you is okay, that loving you is okay. he wants to know that after everything you put him through, what he feels and how he reacts is okay.
“i can’t tell you what to do, no one can.” sam says. “but she hurt a lot of people.” he points out. “she became a very good friend of mine.” sam admits, sadly.
bucky looks up to see sam properly. “i’m sorry.” he says, because sam is right and he genuinely is sorry for whatever pain sam and the rest of the team is dealing with. “i want to see her.” he says and sam nods his head.
“yeah i could of told you that days ago, but i’m glad you figured it out.” he says sarcastically, getting a genuine smile from bucky. “and i’m sorry too.” he says, placing a hand on bucky’s shoulder. “i don’t think anyone has had the chance to say that to you yet.” he says.
bucky looks down at the phone and opens up the message app. a lot of the messages are from you but some are from the rest of the team. a mixture of “are you okay?” and “you hungry?” all attempts of reaching out to him.
one of the messages stands out to him. an unknown number that text him that morning. he opens the message.
unknown: our place. 9pm.
bucky moves to pick up the phone. the time reads 8:47 PM so he gets up, shoving a jacket onto his shoulders.
“bucky, wait.” sam says after reading the message. “steve is right, she’s dangerous.” bucky tilts his head growing impatient. sam’s hands on his phone make him feel vulnerable.
“sam, i need to go.” bucky pleads.
“and i need to know that you’re going to come back.” he responds, his voice raising, making bucky shut up. “yeah.” sam says, exhaling.
“get nat.” bucky says.
“and steve?” sam asks him.
“he won’t exactly approve.” bucky responds somewhat sarcastically but the sadness reaches through just enough to make his voice crack.
“you don’t know that.” sam tells him.
“i don’t care, there’s no time to think about it.”
bucky leaves, getting into his car and driving to the diner the two of you would frequent. his metal hand grips the steering wheel as thoughts of you flash in his head. in the back of his mind he is assessing the situation, just in case it’s a set up and he needs to be betrayed by you again. as this thought crosses his mind he’s sure that it will hurt him more than the first time.
lights from passing cars reflect into his own car, painting colour across his paling face. his flesh palm grips the dog tags like you once did and like he had done just hours before in the kitchen. he contemplates responding to your message but decides that the element of suprise gives him some sort of control over the situation, something he apparently never even had half of.
when he pulls up outside, he eyes the building. it’s quiet, of course it is, it always was, which is why you two would go there so often. in all fairness, one of you would be dragging the other one there in the middle of the night. the opportunity to talk and laugh over a milkshake bringing you two some sort of comfort. but it is only 9pm, the earliest he has ever been here.
he steps out, keys clenched in his hand. inside you are sat down, waiting for him to show up. you’re alone and he’s getting his girl back. he knows this fantasy can’t trick him for too long so he starts moving toward the building. he walks in, a soft melody playing over the speakers as a waitress cleans the coffee machine. his eyes move across the room and land on the seat in the corner. you’re not here and his heart drops because part of him thinks he would rather you be here to betray him than to not be here at all. he just needs to see you.
he approaches the booth, sitting down just to be there for a moment before taking off again. he rips open a salt packet and lets it fall onto the table. with his finger he separates the pile, moving it around as a distraction from his growing heartache.
“i thought i always told you there were cleaner habits.”
he looks up, eyes wide because he is hearing your voice. your sentence is so casual that he wonders if he’s gone crazy and is starting to hallucinate. this thought is quite convincing because the image he has conjured up includes you wearing a waitressing uniform. he looks past you to the coffee machine and puts the puzzle pieces together.
“i’m glad you came.” you say, fingers picking at the skin around your thumb which he obviously notices immediately.
“looks like neither of us can break our bad habits.” he says, nodding to your shaky hands. you separate them, sliding your palms down your legs to dry them off.
“i needed to see you.” you say. “i know how you feel about me, but i thought maybe you would want to know everything.” you ramble, voice quiet. “if that’s not the case, then please let me just tell you that i truly am sorry.” you sit down across from him and he adjusts his position so he’s facing you.
“i do want to know everything.” he says. “but not here.” he says. you nod, understanding that he doesn’t trust you.
“where to?” you say, complying because it’s the least you can do.
“you’ll see.” he says, getting up and walking out of the diner. as he leaves the place he doesn’t look back, upset that another thing in his life, another reminder of you has been tarnished by something so ugly. you trail behind him, a bag slung over your shoulder.
“what’s in that?” he asks as you get into the car.
“everything i own.” you say. “i haven’t been back to them, i know it’s hard to believe but my loyalty lies with you.”
“but your family—”
“are safe.” you respond. “i made sure of that.”
“how could you do that without giving me up to them?” bucky asks you.
“i gave them something better.” you say. he doesn’t pry, he just tucks that topic away for later. as he pulls away from the diner he nods at a black SUV that’s parked opposite. the car trails after his own, something that doesn’t go unnoticed by you.
“please tell me they are with you.” you say.
“they are.” he responds.
“how is everyone?” you ask, trying to make conversation after a silence lays thick between the two of you.
“fine.” he responds, his cold responses the only weapon he has to hurt you. lying to you seems easy right now because he doesn’t know you anymore. when he thinks about you, he doesn’t know what’s real and what is fake anymore, so it’s safer to keep you at arms length.
“how are you?” you ask.
he scoffs. “what the hell do you think?” he asks. “what kind of question is that?” he asks, swerving the car. he turns to face you and you just look at him.
“i’m sorry.” you whisper.
“yeah you keep saying that.” he says. “problem is, i don’t know if i can believe you, you’re quite the actress.” he says, focusing his attention on getting the car straight on the desolate road.
bucky drives the car silently, eventually pulling into an abandoned warehouse. behind him, sam pulls in, parking the SUV behind the two of you.
“come on.” bucky whispers, breaking the silence. you nod, opening the passenger side door and following him into the warehouse. with one glance back, you see sam with his arms folded across his chest. nat climbs out of the car and looks at you. she nods her head, greeting you while simultaneously egging you to follow bucky. you nod back, the guilt of what you have caused eating you alive after seeing them again.
“you said you were going to tell me everything, what happened to not knowing everything.” bucky quotes you from the confrontation you had just days ago.
“i wasn’t lying before, i really don’t know everything, but i want to tell you what i do know.” you reply.
he nods, accepting your answer. “okay, so—”
“i’m not sure where to start.” you say, wishing this could of been easier.
“from the beginning.” he says. you contemplate what kind of beginning he is referencing.
“when i met you, i knew who you were.” you start, clearing your throat in an attempt to clear the shakiness. “they briefed me on who you were as well as your strong and weak points.”
“okay. what are they?” he challenges.
“your strong point is combat, knives specifically, consciously you won’t use the arm as often as you used to because it means more to you now.” you tell him. “your weak point is steve, more specifically, your old life, before you were drafted, your family—”
“okay, i get it.” he cuts you off, not allowing you to go there.
“i guess they wanted me to be prepared.” you say. “my task was to get close to you, so they could get you back.”
“why would they need you to do that, they could just grab me?” he quizzes.
“they didn’t know how much of the winter soldier was left.” you answer, making him furrow his brows. “they wanted me to scope you out first.” you tell him. “whatever treatment you had done, would be less appealing to them.” bucky looks up at you.
“whatever they put inside of me is gone.” bucky reassures himself.
“they know that, now.” you tell him.
“if they found out i was getting it removed, why were you still tasked to infiltrate the avengers, to infiltrate m-me? why didn’t they pull you out, or grab me before i could go through with it?” his questions remained unanswered for a moment.
“they only found out afterwards.” you inform him, in a whisper, unsure of how he would react.
“you didn’t tell them i was receiving treatment?” he asks you.
“they never even knew you went to wakanda until it was too late.” you tell him.
“why?” he whispers.
“it’s like i told you before, i tried to stop them.” you pause. “if they knew you were working towards removing the brainwashing then they would of— i don’t know, they would of probably sped up the mission.” bucky winces at the word mission.
“what did you give them, that was better than me?” he asks, recalling what you had told him earlier.
“you might hate me now, but you will never look at me the same way when i tell you.” you warn him. he looks toward you, his eyes glossy, lip pulled between his teeth.
“tell me.” he says.
“for a while they have been tracking down a supplier.” you start, moving to sit on a piece of rubble. “his name is conrad, conrad gibbs. he makes a lot of chemical weapons, poisons mostly.” you skip past some details, wanting the conversation to be over. “but he made a life for himself, moved on from criminality.”
“get to the point, y/n.” he spits.
“i sold him out.” you spit out. “a while ago, i found out where he was staying and you were no use to them anymore so he was the next best person on their radar.” tears fall from your eyes. “i sent him a warning, thought i’d give the guy a fighting chance but it’s impossible to tell whether he escaped their grasps or not.” you swallow the lump in your throat, nausea and panic rising in your throat.
“how do i know you’re telling the truth?” he asks you. you look at him, hating yourself for being the reason he looks like he hasn’t slept in days. hating how his eyes hold so much pain behind them.
“i guess you don’t.” you say. “but for whatever it’s worth to you, i do love you and i am sorry and i know that i can say that over and over again and it won’t change a thing but it is true, it’s the most true thing about me.”
bucky’s shoulders fall, his head resting sadly between his shoulders. he intertwines his flesh fingers with his metal ones and squeezes. tears falling from his eyes before he can even try and stop it. you notice the way he slumps over and think of sam and natasha. the way their eyes looked the exact same.
“i hurt all of you.” you say. “i’m sorry to all of you.” you apologise.
“y/n.” a voice echoes through the warehouse.
you turn around and see steve. bucky stands up behind you, moving around you to walk up to steve. sam and natasha appear behind him. the group speaks in hushed tones, an example of how shut out you are from the people who treated you so well.
“sam brought me.” steve says before they crowd around each other.
all you hear is natasha saying. “she’s telling the truth.” your heart rate picks up. “how are you so sure?” bucky asks. natasha passes him a device that looks like a phone.
“is this him, is this the supplier?” bucky asks, marching up to you and shoving the device in your face. you look at the screen. “says here he has a family.” he says, hitting you where it hurts.
“yeah- yes that’s him.” you say.
“well it’s your lucky day, he’s fine.” he tells you. you breathing deepens. “there were reports of an unofficial raid in his last known address.” bucky tells you, his tone changing.
“you weren’t lying.” steve says.
“no.” you respond, not looking him in the eyes. “i know i lied before, and i don’t expect you to trust me, but i’m glad that i got to see you all again. i really am sorry.” you look at everyone briefly before looking at bucky.
“why does this sound like a goodbye?” sam asks. natasha folds her arms over her chest.
“um— because it is.” you say, not taking your eyes off bucky. “now that they lost another valuable, i’m next on the list.” you say, letting a fake laugh pass by your lips. bucky’s expression changes, a different shade of heartbreak and worry flashing across his eyes.
“what?” he asks. “we can protect you.” he says and nobody protests which makes you smile a genuine grateful smile.
“i know you can, but i can’t ask you to do that for me.” you tell them, still looking at bucky.
“you’re not asking.” bucky says, his voice faltering. over the months that he got to know you, he found out lots of things. his knowledge of you is enough to let him know that you won’t accept his help. the thought that maybe he does know you after all warms his heart but he can’t stand the thought of loosing you again.
“i need to go.” you say.
“do you have anywhere to go?” natasha asks. your silence answering her question and she sighs.
“i’ll figure it out.” you say, optimism sounding fake in your mouth because now isn’t the time to fake hope. you nod towards steve who nods back, a wordless vow between two people who only have one thing in common, bucky. take care of him. can be translated from your gesture while he responds with i will.
you walk past them, picking up the bag from where you had dropped it by the entrance. you make it outside, with a glance to your surroundings to ensure that it’s safe, you start to take off.
“wait.” bucky speaks up behind you. you stop, turning around to face him. “you can’t leave.” he says making you sigh.
“i have to.” you respond. “goodbye, bucky.” you say, reaching up to place a kiss on his cheek as an arm wraps around his neck, steadying yourself. “i really do love you.” you whisper into his ear before pulling away, your arm snaking around his neck, fingers brushing past his hair.
you smile at him, but his expression never changes. “i love you too.” he says and you let the tears fall freely. “i’ll wait.” he says. “until it’s safe.” his promise makes you feel safe, something only he has ever had the power of doing.
“my protector.” you whisper and his breath hitches. you would call him that all the time, letting him know how he makes you feel safe. it dawns on him that that was your job all along, you were tasked to betray him, but in the end, you chose to protect him, you were his protector before he even knew it. you really were good to him, despite the circumstances.
“goodbye.” he says. “i’ll see you soon.”
“of course.” you respond, smiling one last time before walking away.
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Interview with a Queen “groupie”
Cross-posted to AO3. I encourage you to leave any comments you have there.
I compiled this interview following a long email exchange with J, a very sweet lady who went to Ealing Art School between 1972 and 1974. She knew all four members of Queen personally and was part of their larger circle of friends.
First off, you may find this hard to believe. I don’t blame you. But I assure you I’m not pulling your leg. As well as the pictures I share in this post, I have seen current pictures of J (which I will not share to protect her privacy). There is no indication as far as I am aware that she isn’t who she says she is.
Nastally, hold up. How exactly did you find this lady?
She found me. It turns out that she has been following my story Dawn of Aquarius for quite some time. The story is set in 1969. A lot of research about the era went into it, because I wanted to portray that time period - and Freddie’s and Roger’s surroundings - as accurately and realistically as I possibly could. That was what drew J in. She tells me it brought back a lot of memories for her. One of the reasons I love DoA so much is the nostalgia, she says, which genuinely means the world to me. Eventually, she talked to me in the comment section. Of course, I freaked out!
And then, I asked her for an interview, to which she replied: I will give it a go, but you must remember that I am 65 and there were great drugs in the 70s, and at 16, away from home, I had a lot!
Here’s what is IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND when you read this interview.
These are one woman’s 50-year-old memories and subjective impressions. J has been incredibly kind to let me pick her brain, trying to recall everything as best as she can. In her own words:
Just remember that when I answer the questions, it is from a 16-year-old who is 9 years younger than Freddie and a little girl with no family and friends in a strange country trying to fit in. The only reason I was there, was because some hippie thought I had a unique art style.
J as a teenager.
[I have edited the interview together from our long, and somewhat messy at times, email exchange. Typos have been fixed and some punctuation added for clarity, but I have not changed anything J has written to me. Again, bear in mind these are personal opinions and impressions.]
So, J, how did you end up at Ealing Art School in 1972 and what was it like?
This was the painting done for the Australian school-leaving certificate.
It placed first and gave me a scholarship. I could pick France, the USA or England. As a dual citizen of the UK, the choice was easy. The scholarship paid for board and fees, so had to be and sell whatever for spending money.
This picture is from the dorm. We all had a 10pm curfew and a very thick rule book that, I am proud to say, I broke every one of them, one by one. The rooms were on the 1st and 2nd floor. We were on the first floor, rooms one side and admin staff the other end. We had two bathrooms for 18 girls. One of them had two baths. The walls were your standard half wall, so it was a given that if you had a bath you run the risk of having a bucket of cold water dropped on you. Downstairs was the kitchen and lounge room.
I want to ask you a few things about life in London in the early 70s, to get a picture of what it was really like. For example, was there alcohol at the music gigs you went to?
If it was a school, church or community hall, no. If it was a pub, yes.
Did you and your friends drink as much then as young people tend to drink now when you all went out?
No, we didn't. I think it had a lot to do with money. We didn't have the disposable income, and it was unheard of to still be living at home with the parents after the age of 20.
Was weed and LSD as big and easily accessible as depictions of the 60s and 70s would have us believe?
The drugs! Got to have drugs. Pot (weed) was easy to grow, very cheap. Used to smoke it in bongs rather than joints, more bang for your buck. Trips [LSD] were cheap, I think. About 2 pounds and you were on the high for over 24 hours with no sleep. My drug of choice was hash. Either the oil or the block. It was a nice high, but you could not function well. But if you listen to the music of the time it really does reflect what it was like, to have a group of friends over for a session. Having said all that the most outlandish and shocking drug I ever saw anyone use was the birth control pill. Didn't you have to hide that stuff away?!
Can you tell us some 70s slang that isn’t really in use anymore? What in the world does “ultra-blagging” mean? (As written in a letter penned by Freddie to his friend Celine in 1969.)
Man, I thought I was the bees knees to be on a scholarship in London. But that didn't stop me from jigging or having a skive day. They were the days that I blagged my way into a pub, had too many lagers and ended up chundering in the gutter. That was how you knew your night was ace. I would get a right bollocking if anyone found out. It would be a bugger when all that you could find at a car boot sale was chavtastic, but sometimes you could be Jammy Dodger and tickety-boo you find something brilliant. Bob's your uncle. Anyways, I need to see a man about a dog.
[It seems to me that J uses a bit of Australian slang here, like chundering, which makes sense because she is, after all, Australian. She also provided the translation:]
It would be my honour.
I felt very privileged to be given a scholarship that let me study in England. But being so young and having no family to guide me, it was often tempting to not turn up or give a false excuse for being sick. (I had a lot of food poisoning). These would often happen if the night before I had been drinking beer and ended up vomiting outside the pub. But in my young mind that was a good night. If any of the teachers found me drinking I would be in a lot of trouble. Often I would have to say I was holding it for someone else. Not having much clothes with me, I would buy them second hand from church jumble sales or other students and, yes, Kensington market (the market). Some of the stuff would not be very tasteful or in good condition. But sometimes you would find something that was cheap and in good condition. I will stop this text now as I must go to the toilet.
PS: Ultrablagging sounds very Freddie. Blagging was used, but not ultra, meaning to persuade someone to do something or act better than you are. They were always rock stars.
[It was at this point that I realised I was talking to an absolute legend. She also told me then that the majority of her old photographs had sadly been lost when her house was flooded in 1988, including most of the photographs from her stay in London. Noooo! :(]
When you went out to dance, did you have only live music? Were there DJs yet?
You know, that is hard. We did not have a DJ. Sometimes there would be a band. Often we looked for places with a band or the jukebox. I think pubs closed at 10pm and some stayed open to 12 or 1, but public transport stopped at 9. So if you had not arranged a lift then you had to make the last bus. Most of the time we would be heading back to someone's place to get stoned and then crash there. In the morning you would have to work out where you were. When I got back to Australia, the discos were all the rage. They could have been in London too but it was not cool to like disco.
How many people would show up to Queen’s gigs when they played in pubs or at, for example, the Imperial College?
Depending on the location and the night: 10 to 1000!
So how did you first meet the Queen boys?
I was at the pub talking about a band we saw last week when Brian stuck his head into our booth telling us he knew a better one. Thinking about seeing them at the stall... Roger not often, Freddie quite a lot. Often on different stalls, I think that is why I can't remember the name. [The name of the stall. Other sources confirm that Freddie also worked at Alan Muir’s stall, for example, selling shoes.]
How well did you know them?
Just looking at your tumblr account. [she has had a look at my blog, where somebody asked if ‘groupie’ meant she had slept with the band] No, I never slept with the boys. I would not say I was a close friend, but I started at Ealing Art College in ‘72 and moved in the same circles. I loved the music and could be called one of the first groupies. I had to sneak into the pubs because I was 16. Roger always teased me for being so young. They all did seem to be one very large family, not just the band. It was a group of about twenty regulars, both male and female. Everyone knew that Fred was too gay to function. We were all at the gay rights march in London in 1972, had to run after the march. Lots of sharpies [Australian slang: youth gang, thugs] wanting to bash us. Back then I was in every protest that was going, student union rights, even the secretary protest. Just part of the times, stick it to Man or Woman. I left London in ‘74 for Australia, been here ever since and lost track of the boys but have never stopped being a fan.
What do you remember about them? How would you describe their personalities?
Don’t let the trolls hate me, but I did not like Brian. I found him to be rather full of himself. Space was a subject you never brought up around Brian or you would die of old age before he stopped talking. He was always the first to speak and start a conversation and then quickly passed you off to John, who was always tired and shy. Roger was also quite shy at times. He was very self-conscious of his looks, as he felt being pretty, nobody would take him seriously. Fred, well, he was not yet the big star, so I think he was working on his stage persona. When talking to groups at parties, he had the best stories of things that had happened to him or close friends. They were very funny and very descriptive. He was the life of the party. When he had a few to drink or was the centre of attention, he would take a cigarette out of the closest person’s hand and start smoking. Now remember this is the point of view of a 16-year-old girl that was a fish out of water, trying to fit in and not having much worldly experience.
It is said that Freddie and Roger were very stylish. How did they dress in everyday life?
Fred would do his hair and makeup to check the mail. Yes, he was always turned out, but so were a lot of people. Freddie did go over the top with hats, scarfs and jewellery. With Roger, it is a surprise he was able to have kids his jeans were that tight. And his shirts were always open unless he was in a jumper. I think it could have been so that you knew he was male, as it was the start of the unisex clothing. When I travelled out of London I realised it was a London thing. When I got back to Australia everyone thought I was a show-off.
There are some disagreements about how tall especially Freddie was. I know this is a difficult thing to try and remember accurately. But do you remember?
Freddie was taller than me but everyone was. Roger was shorter than Fred, but I never saw Roger in platform shoes. I did meet up with the band by chance at Sydney airport in 1984, said ‘hello’ but they did not remember me, or if they did then they did not say anything and I did not want to be a dork. At that time Fred was the same height as me (5ft 8in/1.72m), Roger was taller than me. It made me think at the time that he had a growth spurt! John was shorter than me and Brian has always been tall. [I have a feeling the platform shoes - or lack thereof - played a vital role here! Although 172cm for Freddie seems likely.]
You said everyone knew Freddie was “too gay to function”. Attitudes towards homosexuality have changed so much that it can be hard for us, now, to fathom what exactly people must have thought of him. Was it more of a joke that he was so camp? Was it something he would have been teased for? Also, he had a girlfriend. Did you ever meet Mary or the other girlfriends?
In 1972 a whole group of us - and I am pretty sure that Fred, Roger, Brian and Tim were there - were in a gay pride march. [Since then, J has found and showed me a picture of a boy she thought was Tim Staffel, and it wasn't, so Tim was most definitely not there. Whether Freddie, Roger and Brian really were there or if J is misremembering, who knows?] Us youth believed you could not choose who you fell in love with and if it was same sex, so what? However, if it was two girls then it was every guy’s duty to change her!
It was also a time that the gayer the guy was, the more the girls were interested. Also, if a guy was gay then you did not have to worry about him and he was a good person to take with you if you were going out drinking. However, the police, parents, teachers and anyone of authority were horrified and treated them badly. I did meet Mary a couple of times at pubs and once after a gig. This is just my opinion, but I found her a bitch. It could be that I was so young. It could be that I was very Australian. It could be that she felt threatened as my accent was a magnet to people around. And the boys (Queen) were no exception. Brian had a cousin in OZ and was always asking questions. I remember that my close group of friends thought that Mary made the perfect girlfriend for Fred as they were as fake as each other. Having said that about them, I often wonder if I would think the same now and if my perceptions were just because she would not give me the time of Day. Chrissy and Jo were a lot of fun.
This was before your time, but I read that Freddie's nickname at Ealing Art School was ‘Freddie Baby’. Any ideas how this came about? His showmanship or maybe personality traits?
I don't think so. There were an older crowd that would talk like that. I think the slang ‘baby’ was a 60’s thing, like groovy baby.
How long, roughly, did Roger and Freddie have their stall? I can't find anywhere when it closed down. What did it actually look like? Was it a sort of wooden stall type of thing? Or an actual room? What were some of the other things people sold at Kensington Market? Mostly clothes or all sorts?
The markets were little divided shops. The back was brick and the walls wood. I have been trying all day to remember the name. [Of the stall.] I think it was something hard to say. More often than not it would be Freddie's dad in the store. It was still open when I left. Roger and Freddie were both in the store on Saturdays and some Sundays. There was a girl, I think Jill, who was in the store more. And during the week it could be anyone. You name it and you could get it at the markets. Second hand or designer clothes, shoes, jewellery, pot and assortments. Hair cuts, food, bric-a-brac.
Wait, wait. What? Freddie’s dad? Really now?
Yeah, it was an older Indian man. so we just assumed it was his father. It was my understanding that he started the stall then the boys would work it as the whole markets were set up for younger people, but if needed he would work there. I don't think the boys would be able to pay the rent on their own. [I have since found out that the stall closed in late 1971, and Freddie continued to work at the Market until '74, for Alan Mair and possibly others. So the stall J witnessed wasn't their original stall - explaining all the different people she saw there - but she had no way of knowing that it wasn't.] They always had incense burning that was very big in the 70s. I still occasionally bring out the sticks, but it does not last like the candles and diffusers of today. If you could get in touch with Robert Daniels, he ran ChaChaDumDum it was the stall across from Freddie. He would know the dates.
[J says it’s this look, in a picture she happened across while looking at my tumblr] Yep, that is the one. It usually means that he does not believe or agree with something that was said and is working out how to respond, or he has lost the plot.
You mentioned Roger seemed shy to you at times. Was he also quite charming? We read a lot about what a chick magnet he was. Was this the impression you had?
My favorite subject! I had a thing for Roger. Everyone has a type and mine is the blue-eyed blond. Now, before you ask, was he brunet? No, he was a mouse/dirty blond. If it was summer he would have blond streaks mostly at the ends. He knew he was pretty and was always dressed in the latest fashion and had the current hairstyle. So, being my type I was constantly watching him. Everyone slept around during that time. I did not notice Roger doing it more or less. 80% of the time he was with Jo. Yes, he was a chick magnet, but he did not do the chasing. He was always very polite to everyone. If it ever looked like there would be any conflict he would be the first to leave it. It was not that he was a coward, just not into conflict. If he saw anyone that needed help he was right there, and often had to have Freddie's back. I never saw him in a fight. He could always talk his way out of things. He was also very patient and would listen for hours to other people talk. However, he would get this vacant look in his eyes at times.
And Freddie would either click his fingers, change the subject or just give up. I don’t think that Brian noticed, and it would be fair game for John, he would see how far he could push it. Roger liked to drink a fair bit and when drunk he would be hanging all over Jo. If she was not there then he missed Jo. If, however, he thought that he or his friends were not being respected, then look out! It was a verbal volcano heading your way. That is what happened to me one time. I was trying to talk with my friends close to where a drunken Roger was and I yelled at him to shut the hell up, you wannabe blond. We/I coped a mouthful back, all in the same sentence, that finished with: Sorry, I didn't realise you were on your rags (period)! I have to have the last word, so I told him the truth: I don’t get them yet! (I was a late starter.) He went so red in the face and called me JB [jail bait] from then.
You also mentioned Roger’s cat Ziggy having kittens. I read about this but never when exactly it was. Do you remember?
I think it was winter ‘73. I remember being cold when he was asking around the pub. [To find homes for the kittens, I gather.]
Is it quite strange reading fictional interpretations of real people you knew? When did you first find out there was Queen fanfic?
No, we used to make up stories about people all the time, a verbal fanfic. Was looking up Adam Lambert and came across the fanfics. Some had me in stitches! Others, like DoA, had me hooked.
Please, allow me to be a little self-indulgent at the end. What's one thing I got totally RIGHT in DoA?
All the Ibex stuff.
What's one thing I got totally WRONG in DoA?
Roger did not have a temper, and I don’t know what the go with his father was, but he would talk about him quite a bit and was always visiting his mum. [Absolutely fair, not only did I change the timeline of Roger’s parents divorce in DoA - for lack of information at the time - but also created a completely fictional narrative around it for the sake of storytelling.]
J, thank you so much for all this, sincerely. Can you tell me a little more about yourself? Are you still an artist?
I don't paint or draw any more. At the age of a 50 the doctors operated on an aneurysm or three, and now my eyesight is very bad, I have no fine motor skills and a tremor. I was married in January 1984 and have just celebrated our 37 year anniversary. I have one daughter who is 30 and two great, although tiring grandkids. A girl, 11, and one boy, 5. I have lived my life as the average middle class Australian with great memories. Talking with you has helped me a lot to remember a time when the world was mine for the taking. When I returned to OZ I started nursing, met my best friend, and we planned that once we graduated we would go back to London to study midwifery. But I fell in love instead.
J's wedding in 1984. As you can see, she found her own blue-eyed blond.
Upon request, J has shared some of her past and present artwork with me.
These are from her time at Ealing Art School:
These were done later, back in Australia:
J: Did this just before Christmas as you had inspired me. It did not require fine motor skills!
So there you have it! I hope you found this little glimpse through a 16-year-old girl’s eyes as much of a fascinating read as I did. I urge everybody one more time to remember that J did not have to share any of this, and I think we all owe her a big thank you for delving into her memories. She is likely to see the responses on AO3, so I have comment moderation enabled there as I will not let anybody harass this lovely lady. The tumblr she created is @since72, but she isn’t really an active user and also very new to it all. Again, I can only urge everybody to be respectful.
If you have other burning question for J, feel free to leave them in the comments on AO3. I will either pass them on, or she may want to reply to them herself directly.
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Prey for You | Part 5
Genre: Smut, angst.
Word Count: 5.8k
Summary: After finding out what Chan really thinks of you, you’re determined to never let him in again. But he finds a way to sneak back into your bed.
Warnings: super unhealthy relationship, dom!reader, sub!chan, milking but not the prostate way, use of a fleshlight, cumplay?, degradation, enemies to lovers, wolf!hybrid chan, fox!hybrid reader
A/N: this is a major risk cuz i don’t even know if I’m done editing this lol so if its a mess let me know and I might fix it lmao. the gif is for the bath scene btw uwu
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 Part 5, Part 6
You wish you could immediately move out and go someplace else, away from Chan and the constant reminder that you’re not good enough for him. But if it was that easy, you wouldn’t have had to move in with him in the first place. Now you were forced to live with the man who everyday reminded you of what you could’ve had if only you weren’t what you were.
For his part, Chan tries to apologize to you, but what use is his apology now that you have confirmation of what he really thinks of you? That doesn’t mean he has let up, though.
“Hey, baby.” The man in question greets you as soon as you come back from a lecture. “I wanna talk to you.”
You can’t keep going through this. Every time he tries to justify himself--to explain why it’s a good idea that people don’t know about you-- it just cements in your mind that he’ll never see you as someone worthy of him, of anyone. So you silently move past him, walking towards your room and hoping that the severe look you have on your face will discourage him this time. But it doesn’t, and he follows you into your room.
“I have something to tell you.” He announces and you turn to face him with an agitated sigh. “Then say it and go.”
You hope this will be quick, at least, but your hope is dashed when he crosses the distance between you and wraps his arms around you, pulling you towards his body. You open your mouth to curse him out, but the smell of him floods your nose with a spicier tinge to it than usual.
“Oh.” Your mouth gapes in realization. “You’re going into heat.”
He nods, leaning down to nuzzle your nose with his before going further, trying to catch your lips in a kiss, but his lips barely brush yours before you lean back, your hands pushing your body as far away from his as the embrace can allow. “So? That doesn’t change anything.”
“The hell it does.” He grimaces, not pleased with your reaction. “I need you.”
“No, you need to get laid. You could get that from any of your groupies.”
He scoffs in disbelief, “So you want me to go fuck other women?”
You realize how far you’ve let things go when just hearing him say it out loud makes you want to fold in on yourself to protect your heart from getting torn to pieces. You shouldn’t have let things get this far. There is a reason you were so cautious before and you’ve gone and fucked yourself over at the first sign of someone being nice to you, of someone showing you the slightest hint of trust and affection. And you thought you were strong.
“I don’t care what you do.” You lie through your teeth, wishing to at least keep the knowledge of your shameful demise from him. “We’re not together.”
That angers him the most. “Yes, we are!”
“Really? Because no one else seems to know.” You seethe, and he finally pulls away from you, infuriated at you as if you’re the one being ridiculous. “You’ve seen how my friends reacted. How do you think everyone else is gonna react?”
“That shouldn’t matter!”
“You’re just saying that because you don’t have anything to lose.”
“Oh my god, I can’t believe how full of yourself you are! You think I would be so damn honored if people knew I am with the pride of predators that you are?”
“Stop fucking saying that! Do I need to be a mindless brute to earn your respect as a predator?”
“No, but this--” You gesture vaguely towards him with distaste, “certainly isn’t earning my respect.”
He takes a deep breath, face red and aggression rolling off of him in waves. You wonder if he’ll attack you like last time. But he just grits through his teeth, looking away, “What am supposed to do with my heat?”
“I don’t care.” You mutter, and his eyes snap to you, a little wild with fury.
You hold your breath as he starts walking towards you, a muscle ticking in his jaw, and you imagine what it would be like if he were to snap it around your neck. Would it hurt more or less than you’re hurting right now? But instead of tearing your throat out, he walks past you and out of the room.
Chan has been gone for an hour now. And your mind was running wild with images of him fucking someone else. You feel stupid. You’re the one who sent him away, but what were you supposed to do? Give yourself completely to him until he has exhausted his need of you and throws you away? He’s made his stance pretty clear, and you’d be pathetic to let him use you like that.
You're busy beating yourself when you hear the front door open, and you almost jump out of your skin. You whip around towards it, your treacherous affection hoping to see that Chan has changed his mind and came back to you, but instead your all too familiar bitterness takes hold of you as you see him stumbling into the apartment with a girl, their lips locked and their hands all over each other.
You suppose there must be some truth to the phrase “if looks could kill” because the girl--a bunny hybrid--pulls away from Chan and her big eyes flit around the living room anxiously until they land on you. She squeaks when your eyes meek and she fearfully latches onto Chan’s arm. “You d-didn’t tell me you had a-a roommate.”
Chan on the other hand is straight up grinning as he sees the murderous look on your face. He bends down to whisper something in the girl's ear that you can’t hear, but judging by the motion of his head and the direction she looks, you know he’s telling her where his bedroom is and to go wait for him there. She gives you one last nervous look before she scurries down the hall and disappears. When she’s gone, he struts over to you like a peacock showing off his feathers.
“You look upset, baby girl.”
“You’re a fucking bastard.” You spit out. He smiles wider and leans over you, pushing his hands against the back of the couch and caging you between them. "Last chance, fox. You gonna be a good girl for me or would you rather I go in there and fuck that pretty thing? I know she’ll be more than happy to do anything to please me."
You push him away roughly. He staggers for a second but quickly holds himself upright, grabbing your hands in a painful grip. “That wasn’t so nice, fox.” He grunts, pulling one of your hands towards his crotch and making you feel how hard he is. “But I’ll give you one more chance.”
“You’re such a fucking slut.” You scowl, roughly palming his dick through his pants. He seems to love it though, biting his lip as a groan slips out of him. Vexed, you pull your hand back and get up, leaning up to hiss at him, "Get her the fuck out and come to my room."
His triumphant smile is met with a disgusted sneer from you. "You think you've won?"
“Kinda, yeah.” He laughs cockily.
“Yeah, we’ll see about that.”
He quickly loses his smile when he steps into your room and sees the items you have on the bed--a fleshlight and a bottle of lube. He gives you a disheartened look. “No, no, this isn’t what we agreed on.”
“We didn’t agree on anything.”
"I'm going into heat. I need to fuck you not some toy!"
“You can leave if you want. See if the little bunny isn’t too hurt to let you fuck her.” You challenge, confident that he will take anything you give him at this point.
Groaning in defeat, he slumps down on the bed, and you smile knowingly, ordering him to undress for you. He obliges, although not without a sour pout. When he's naked, you gesture for him to come sit with you on the bed, back pressed against your chest as he settles between your legs.
He is hard despite his protests, and you open the bottle of lube and squirt some of it on his cock, putting it down then wrapping your hand around him and pumping his cock slowly, just spreading the lube all over it.
Grabbing the fleshlight with your other hand, you bring it to his lips. "Use your mouth, puppy."
He groans, reluctantly peeking his tongue out to lap at the toy. You tsk in disapproval. “You’ll never get it wet this way. You’re really big, puppy.” You drawl, dragging your fist tightly up his long member and extracting a deep groan out of him. “Wouldn’t want your cock to get hurt when I fuck you with it dry now, would you?”
He gives you a dissatisfied grunt but he pushes his tongue out more, starting to lick the opening of the fleshlight more deliberately now. “Good boy. Get it all wet so I can use it to milk every last drop of cum from your balls. Maybe then you’ll behave.”
His hips buck up into your hands and he starts pushing his tongue in and out of the toy, the wet sounds of his tongue working the fleshlight filling up the room.
"You're so pathetic. Eating out this silicone pussy so I can fuck you with it instead of sticking your dick in some bitch's warm pussy. All because I want you to, right?" You whisper in his ear before pressing soft kisses down his neck. His breath hitches and he pushes his hips up into your hands again, needing more than the gentle touches you were giving him.
"You'll do anything if I ask you to." You state, pulling the toy away from his mouth, breaking off the tiny translucent strings of saliva that connect them. Letting go of his dick, you grab the lube again and order him to put two fingers out for you. You squeeze some of the lube onto them then bring the fleshlight to his hand. “Finger your pussy open, baby.”
“You’re driving me crazy.” He groans as pushes his fingers into the toy, and you laugh. “Aw, is this frustrating for you, puppy?”
“Yes.” He hisses, his fingers fucking in and out of the toy aggressively.
When you’re satisfied with how slick the toy has gotten, and how needy he’s become, you order him to stop and line it over his cock. “Ready, puppy?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be for a fucking toy.” He swears and you smile, plunging the fleshlight over his cock. You don’t need his enthusiasm to do what you want as with a few jerks of the toy, he’s already melting back onto you and moaning out his pleasure, his impending heat already working him to the edge of insanity.
“See? You’re nothing but a horny dog trying to get off.” You use your free hand to massage his lower belly just above the base of his member, stoking the fire building there. “I should lock your dirty cock in a cage during this heat so you won’t go around humping and fucking whoever you can get your hands on. Only let you out when I want to use you.”
“Then use me, please. Take what you need from me.” He moans even louder, his back arching and his hips fucking up into the toy. “Sit on my face and make me eat you out until I can't breathe or sit on my cock and ride me until you've had your fill.”
"And give you the satisfaction of giving me pleasure? No, you don't even deserve that. You'll just sit here and take everything like the selfish dog you are." You slide your hand up his body, brushing your fingers over his nipple. He instantly jerks and tries to close his legs but a harsh growl in his ear is all that's needed for him to swing his legs back open.
“See? You’re already gonna cum, aren’t you?” You mock, reaching your hand out to grab the small glass cup you left at the bedside table and placing it under his cock.
“What are you doing?” Chan sputters, confused and embarrassed.
“Wanna see how much cum you have for me, puppy. Show me how bad you need me.” You coax, taking the fleshlight off and using your hand instead, stroking his cock from bottom to top and pointing the leaking tip of it inside the cup.
“Ahh---that’s filthy.” Chan protests but his eyes are glued to the scene and his moans get higher in pitch as you both prepare for him to orgasm. Your hands continue their rhythmic pumping as spurts of white cum start shooting into the glass, almost as if you’re manually squeezing them out of his dick.
“That’s a lot of cum. Such a horny dog.” You murmur, taking in the amount of cum collecting in the glass, and he shudders, transfixed by the way your hand is milking every last drop from him. “And you’re wasting all of it. What a useless pup. Should’ve never been a wolf.”
He growls and lays his head back on your shoulder to look up at you.You think he’s going to argue with you about what you just said but instead he stares at you with his puppy eyes and breathlessly asks for a kiss.
You could refuse him, of course. He doesn’t deserve it. But you want it too, his plump, red lips too enticing to pass up, and so you close the distance between you and capture them in a lazy kiss. But you barely start before he’s squirming and whining against you.
“I suppose you still have more to give me.” You murmur against his lips and start moving your hand over his dick again--the wet sounds from your lips against his and your hands over his dick soon filling up the room.
“Such a big boy.” You marvel as you pull away from his slick lips to gaze at his dick, his breath stuttering when you swipe your palm over the leaking head. “But you won’t even get to use it because you’re a dumb, selfish pup.”
He blinks tiredly at you, apologetically, but you’ll have none of it.
“Ready to fuck your toy again?” You ask haughtily, and he sighs, nodding defeatedly.
“There you go.” You put the toy back on him.
You’re surprised by how vocal he’s being. He’s the loudest you’ve ever heard him. You guess the heat was getting to him as he doesn’t even try to hold back, his moans lusty and shameless. He’s so consumed by the pleasure taking over his body like he’d die without it, and honestly it’s affecting you more than you’d like to admit, your panties sticking to your heat uncomfortably.
"You sound like a whore getting fucked.” You scoff, pumping his dick faster with the fleshlight. "Are you that desperate?"
“Hmm--yes! Please...fuck me--” He cries, easily giving in as his hips jolt up. “Need your hot---ahh--wet pussy around my cock. You can milk me all you want then. I’ll be all yours. My cum is all yours.”
“But I don't need to do that when you’re already being such an easy slut for me.” You move your hand up to his chest again, rubbing and teasing his nipples.
"But you want me--" He gasps as you pinch his nipple in retaliation. "Fuck me, please. Need your pussy--oh god.”
“You don’t need it, dumb puppy. You’re cumming fine enough in this toy.” You put your lips to his neck, sucking on the sensitive spot under his ear then laving over it with your tongue.
“But I want more.. And I know you want---ahhh, fuck--fuck!" He cries out, looking down in time to watch himself empty into the cup again. And like last time, you make sure to catch every last drop.
“Hah--please.” He pants, leaning back to look up at you, his eyes focusing on your lips. “Kiss...”
You sigh, kissing him. He doesn’t have to be instructed in this, his lips opening automatically and his tongue pushing needily into your mouth. As his panting moans pick up again, you pull away.
“Please fuck me.” He draws the request out, pleading.
He whimpers at your definite tone and huffs. “Then let me see you at least.”
“See me?” You quirk an eyebrow at him and he nods earnestly. "Wanna see you."
You move out from behind him and settle between his open legs. “Here I am.”
But his gaze isn’t on your face, it’s glued to your hard nipples poking through your tank top in arousal.
“Ah, you wanna see my tits, puppy? Will that help you cum more for me?” You pull your tank top over your breasts, exposing them. He whines at once, struggling to stay in his spot, his tongue swiping over his lips hungrily.
"What is it? Wanna put suck on them, puppy?" You tease, sitting up and leaning your chest over his face, your breasts just out of reach of his mouth.
“Yes! Please, can I?” He begs, and just his breath brushing against your nipples is enough to have you rubbing your legs together. You don’t even want to imagine how fast you’d cum if he put his hands on you.
Tangling your fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck, you push his face into your chest. “Go ahead. You better make it worth my while.”
His mouth immediately latches onto one of your nipples, lathering it with saliva and sucking on it eagerly.
"Fuck, that's a good boy." You hiss, grabbing the fleshlight and pulling it over his cock, not wanting to get distracted. But the faster you work him, the more eagerly he kisses and sucks at your tits, his tongue hungrily licking all over your chest and his teeth insistently nibbling at the skin.
It's so good the friction you’re getting from rubbing your legs together is enough to make your orgasm build up. You're both impressed and mortified that you can feel yourself getting close just from jerking him off and having him suck on your tits. But you can't dwell on it too much, too busy trying to get him and yourself off.
You get what you want when he flicks your nipple with his tongue then wraps his lips around your entire areola and sucks harshly, ripping the orgasm from your body. Gasping loudly, your movement over his cock stops and your head drops down. But Chan quickly reaches out and grabs your jaw, pulling your head against his so he can see your face as you cum, the both of you wide-eyed and breathing heavily as the orgasm shakes your body.
"Fuck." Chan grunt, his hips bucking up into the stationary fleshlight as moans flow through his spit-slick lips. You can tell he’s almost there and you pull the fleshlight away and reach for the cup but it's too late, his seed shooting out and landing on your belly, marking you with it and trailing down slowly towards your pussy.
"Shit, sorry." He groans apologetically but he’s too weak to do anything about it. Exhausted from the three back to back orgasms, he falls back to the bed, boneless.
You sigh, setting the cup down and getting up to grab some tissues to clean yourself up. When you walk back to the bed, you find Chan struggling to keep his eyes open.
“No, no, get up. Come on, you need to wash off.” You tug on his arm, but his body is too heavy to budge.
“I’m too tired.” He whines like a puppy trying to get out of a bath.
“You won't have to do anything. You just sit in the tub and I’ll clean you up.” You try to pull at his arm again but he just buries his face in the pillows and ignores you. You sigh, running your hand over his skin patiently. “Come one, don’t you want a nice, warm bath? Wouldn’t it feel good after all this effort? It’ll loosen your muscles right up.”
He lifts his head up, regarding you, and you brush the hair out of his face softly. “Come on, puppy. I’m tired too.”
He finally complies, getting up and letting you tug him towards the bathroom. You don’t give him a real bath, you just make him sit in the tub while you scrub and clean his body, letting the warm water stream over him and wash the soap and tension away.
By the time you’re done, he was starting to doze off again. He looked really cute like that, his eyes almost all the way closed and his lips in a slight pout as he tries to keep his head up.
You pat his cheek gently, drawing his attention towards you. “Get up, pup. We’re done.”
He nods groggily and slowly stands up. You dry him off with a towel then lead him to your bed, telling him to wait a minute while you go grab something for him to wear. You know he likes sleeping in only his boxers so you just grab that and come back, handing it to him to put on while you go grab a towel for yourself.
“I’m gonna go take a shower. I want you back in your room when I’m back.”
Your words jolt him awake, his eyes wide and alert suddenly. “What? But I thought...” He trails off, looking at you as if asking for you to help finish his sentence. Which is just ridiculous, you don’t, of course. You stare at him with a blank face until he continues in a small voice, "I was hoping I could stay."
“What gave you that impression? You thought you could manipulate me into fucking you and then everything will be fine and dandy?”
“No. I just really miss you.” He states helplessly, and tears spring up into your eyes at that.
I miss you. You’re special. These are all meaningless words that just serve to put another stab in your heart and remind you of what you’ll never actually have from him.
“I don’t have the energy for this right now.” You say weakly, turning your back around and heading for the door quickly. “Just leave.”
As soon as you get into the shower, you start to sob. You feel like shit. You've gone through so much abuse and ridicule before but this has to be the worst you’ve ever felt about yourself, for yourself. You have so easily given into him. He’s got you where he wants you again, and he didn't even have to compromise anything to get it. You just walked right into it like an idiot, and now you fear that you feel too much for him to get out of this intact.
You stay a long time in the shower, waiting for your tears to dry up, but they never do. All you can manage is to get them to stop streaming down your face like the water does, holding them in your eyes and hoping the long shower allowed enough time for Chan’s scent to disperse from your room.
But when you walk back into your room, towel wrapped snugly around your body, you find Chan himself still in there, sitting on top of your newly made bed. And just like that, the tears fight to be shed again.
“I changed the sheets.” He pipes up, looking at you for approval.
“Oh, you changed the sheets? I guess I have to let you stay now.” Your retort is weak and hoarse.
“Baby…” He stands up and walks over to you, reaching a hand out to tug at your own gently, but you quickly snatch it back and take a step away from him,
”Don’t.” Your voice cracks and you turn away in a panic, not wanting him to see you shed any tears for him. But it's useless as he easily turns you back towards him and wraps you in his strong arms. “Hey, what’s wrong?” He asks like he genuinely cares.
"You're what's wrong!" You sob, trying and failing to to get out of his embrace.
“Don’t say that.” He pleads, wiping your tears and kissing each of your cheeks despite your struggles. “Please, don’t cry.”
“How can I not when I’ve fallen in love with you.” You scream the words at him, hoping that the sheer heartache your voice contains will cast him away from you. And for a moment it seems to work as he staggers at your confession, his face a look of pure shock. This is it. He'll finally take pity on you and stop messing with you. Or at the very least he'll realize that this game isn't fun anymore and he'll back off.
“Just leave me be, please.” You plead, trying once again to pull away from his now loose embrace, but as soon as you move, he snaps out of it, his grip tightening around you even more. Pushing his forehead against yours, he breathes out, “I love you too.”
Before you can think about it, you raise your hands to scratch at him, anything to defend yourself from the continuous torment he’s subjecting you to. You only manage a weak swipe at his cheek before he has both your wrists in his grip and pinned to your back.
“What the fuck are you doing?” He curses, the tiniest bit of blood seeping out of the fresh wound in the middle of his cheek.
“Stop playing with me!”
"I'm not playing! I love you." He shouts back at you, and his words hurt like a dozen pellets piercing your skin. Because either he’s sick enough to lie about this, to continue playing with you despite how precarious your position has become, or he really does love you but his disgust at you is so great that it doesn’t matter.
"How can you say that when you’re ashamed of being with me? How can that be love?"
"You're one to talk! I'm always the one trying not to lose you and you're always the one pushing me away. What does it matter whether people know about us or not when you’re fucking crying at the mere fact that you fell in love with me?"
“I'm crying because the man I fell in love with is so ashamed of loving me that he won't even defend me in front of his friends!"
"And if I do? If I tell everyone that I love you and take all the damage and then you inevitably leave me?" He accuses, so sure of his words like he knows it will happen. All the fight leaves your body at that. He’ll never trust you, will he?
"Why are you assuming the worst of me?" You snivel weakly.
"No, you can’t pull that shit!” He rages, “You don’t have the right to treat me like shit and then cry about the fact that I don’t trust you! I have every right to be scared that in a couple of months you'll look at me and remember how much of an impotent predator you think I am and drop me."
“Then why do you keep me around?” You ask in a small voice, scared of the answer.
“I… I don’t know.”
You laugh bitterly, but Chan stays silent, rooted to his spot and waiting for you to do or say something. You can’t handle this anymore, not now at least. Every time the two of you talk, you hate yourself more. You need to get away from him or you’re afraid you’ll collapse into a void of self-loathing you’ll never be able to pull yourself out from.
Sighing wearily, you slowly shuffle to your closet. You drop your towel and put on some underwear before you start pulling on a pair of pants and a shirt.
“What are you doing?” Chan fumes as he realises what you’re doing. “Are you going out?!”
You stay silent as you pick out some shoes and put them on.
“Are you fucking kidding me? You can’t go out right now. We’re talking!”
You ignore him once again, walking towards the door. He tries to intercept you, face red, “You’re not leaving!”
“Watch me.” You say coldly, going around him and walking out the door.
You didn’t have a place in mind when you went out. You just needed to breathe, to get some fresh air. But you soon find that too sobering, the fresh wounds hurting too much for you to feel them right now. So you decided you’ll do the opposite, stop feeling. And how do you do that? Everyone’s favorite poison. And so you head to the nearest bar you can find.
You’re barely finished with your first glass when you hear a deep voice digging its way through your fuzzy hearing. “Hey! You’re that fox from Chan’s place, right?”
Your heart stops at the sound of his name, and you stare at the empty glass in your hand, determined to ignore the intruder until he goes away. But he just plops down into the seat across from you, exclaiming ever louder. “It is you!”
You stay silent, and he carries on, thinking you don’t recognize him. “I’m Felix by the way if you don’t remember.”
You still don’t give him any response, but he doesn’t give up. "I'm sorry, I didn't really get your name last time..." He trails off, looking at you expectantly. Your gaze shifts to him and he falters when he sees the dead look in your eyes.
After some pause, he drops the cheery look from his face, and says somberly, "Look, I know you probably hate us all because of what happened, and you have every right to, but I just want to apologize for what my friends said. They're really good people but they can be a lot misguided."
You snort mockingly at that, but he seems encouraged that he managed to get any form of response from you, and he continues on. “But you probably don’t want to hear that right now. Anyway, I just really wanted to apologize. I know how it feels to be distrusted because of what you are.”
That gets your attention, and you look at him closely, realizing he is a cat hybrid. They get the same lot as fox hybrids, albeit less severe if the fact that he’s friends with Chan and his pack is anything to go by.
“But you’re friends with them.” You comment suspiciously.
“Well, it’s because Chan took me under his wing. When he trusted me, the others did too. I kind of owe him a lot.”
“Ah, yes, the Perfect Chan agenda.”
“He’s definitely not perfect." He clarifies quickly, and you quirk an eyebrow at that. "Don't get me wrong, I love him like a brother but he can be really stubborn sometimes. He can never let himself be wrong about anything ever or else he'll start spiraling."
“No offense--umm, Felix, was it?” You ask and he nods eagerly, happy that you're talking. “If I wanted to chat about Chan I would've talked to one of his groupies.”
His face blooms red and he sputters sheepishly, “You're right! I just wanted to apologize.”
“Apology accepted.” You say dismissively, waving him away, but he stays, and you give him an exasperated look.
He breaks eye contact, his gaze dropping to his hands.Fiddling with the cup in his hands, he mumbles quietly, “Can I hang out with you for a bit?”
“Now why would I say yes to that?”
He thinks for a while, a pout on his face as he concentrates on finding an answer that will satisfy you. You can see the exact moment an idea pops into his head as his face lights up with a mischievous smile. “Because it will piss off Chan?”
“A kitty after my own heart.” You reach out to pet his head, chuckling at the blush on his pretty face intensifies at that
Felix is something else, you’ll give him that. He’s sweet and cute and he radiates so much warmth and happiness. He’s different from the usual cat hybrids who are cold and aloof even if secretly affectionate. You had wondered at the beginning how a cat hybrid can be so close to Chan and his pack, but it took a whole five minutes of being in his company for you to see it. Simply, Felix exuded a pure, happy energy that was infectious to everyone around him. Even you, down in the dumps and heartbroken, were starting to feel a little better in his presence.
Or maybe that was the inordinate amount of alcohol you have managed to consume throughout the time you spent together. And you guess it was quite some time because as soon as you stumble through the door to Chan’s apartment, the wolf is on you like a dog with a bone.
“Where were you? I was worried sick!”
“Now that’s a funny joke.” You slur, laughing stupidly.
“Are you drunk?” He bellows, sniffing you out. Then he suddenly freezes, a low growl rumbling out of him as he grabs you roughly, glaring at you with wild eyes. "Why do you smell like Felix?"
"I met up with him." You shrug, maddeningly jubilant to the livid wolf.
“I. met. up. with. him” You repeat slowly.
"You went out drinking with Felix?" You grits carefully, and you swear you can almost see his eyes grow dark and menacing. But you’re too blissfully drunk to heed the warning storming inside their depths.
"Sure did." You reply nonchalantly.
"I told you…” He says slowly, lips curling around the words and infusing them with a cold fury. “to stay away from my friends."
"We were just talking." You insist stubbornly, needing him to see for once that you’re not the twisted monster he thinks you are. “He said he’d like to be friends.”
Chan’s grip tightens even more around your arms, so much so that it pierces through the foggy numbness of your intoxication. The pain brings about a sense of sobriety, and your breath stills as you become aware of much danger you were in right now.
But Chan wasn’t going to hurt you. Not physically at least.
You feel the blood return to your arms as he lets you go, a look of revulsion and contempt vilifying his face more than anger or violence ever could.
“Stay away from him.” He commands roughly, “I actually care about him.”
Any numbness you had gotten from the alcohol suddenly leaves your body and you crash, feeling all the pain all at once.
I actually care about him. Unlike you. And you’ll sully him if you get close.
“This--” You gesture between the both of you, face completely devoid of emotion. "is over."
A/N: you guys still want them together? because I think the next chapter will be the last. i mean it won’t matter anyway cuz I’m pretty settled on the ending lol but I’d still like to know
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that stock market post you recently reblogged made literally no sense to me, no matter how many times i reread it 😔 do you have any advice on how to start becoming financially literate and learn about the stock market? there’s so much to know and it’s so overwhelming
Hi there! Let me explain the GameStop (and AMC) situation first.
So essentially, every publicly traded company in the US has shares. Shares are essentially little pieces of ownership of a company. Technically anyone with even one share is a shareholder, and companies are beholden to shareholders. They need to have a return on those shares, or else no one will buy into them, and the company loses a major source of capital. So if you have shares in Apple, Apple is essentially working to have you get a return.
For example, if you bought one share of Apple in January of 2019, you would have purchased it for around 39-42 USD. If you sold that one share today, it would sell for roughly 140 USD. So over two years, you would have a 300% return on your initial investment.
Everything in the market is speculative. If you were watching Bloomberg and suddenly saw all of the other people who own shares in Apple were selling them off, you’d get concerned. So you would start selling them off yourself. No one wants to buy shares flooding the market and they become super undervalued. So if everyone was selling their 140 USD share of Apple, people aren’t going to pay 140 USD for it. So you’ll have to sell it for way less than you bought it for, losing you money.
Because you are just one person, not a massive conglomerate, you will do this on a smaller basis. But hedge funds are essentially big pools of money, whereby they can invest in different companies on a much larger scale. Hedge funds generally have assets of around 150 million to 25 billion+ dollars to manage. So they can make the market move in so many different ways.
Hedge funds are notoriously predatory.
So what happened specifically with the Gamesop situation is that the hedge funds borrowed a bunch of shares from these brokers, and started selling them at the same price, which in this case was 20 USD. So they got a profit 20 USD, but they were still liable for those shares they borrowed. The goal was to flood the market, then make a bunch of money by rebuying these shares and driving the share price back up. Because you still have to give back those shares you borrowed, you’re hoping the price drops you you can buy it back cheaply, then give it back to the broker you borrowed it from, making a profit.
For example, if you borrow a share from a broker, you have it, but you are legally required to give it back to them. So if you were to borrow an Apple share and sell it at its current market price, 140 USD. You have 140 USD and 1 share you still have to give back. Now in this time, the Apple share price falls from 140 USD to 10 USD. So now, you can buy back the share for 10 USD, and return that share to the broker you borrowed it from. You made 130 USD in profit. This is shorting the market.
So the hedge fund essentially thought they were doing a controlled short. But some people on Reddit started seeing the trend, and get a bunch of people together to buy the shares, which inflated the share price again. The hedge fund had driven the share price down from 20 USD to 3 USD. If this controlled short had worked, they would have made a profit of at least 17 USD+ on each share.
The risk when you short the market is that your potential for loss is limitless. Share prices rise and fall on a whim. So the prices can continue to rise and rise, and you’re still liable to give those shares back to the brokers you borrowed from.
So when the people from Reddit started buying up all of those shares, the share price rose and rose. The hedge fund was still legally liable for those borrowed shares, and they had to buy those shares they flooded the market with back. This raised the share price even more, because the shares kept being bought up. So the hedge fund ended up paying so much for those shares they were required to give back, they now need to declare bankruptcy.** And all those people who bought and sold those shares ended up making a bunch of money.
That’s what shorting is. It’s volatile, especially when it’s out of control. But there are big gains when the risk pans out in your favor.
I hope this made sense! Don’t stress, it took me years to understand shorting the market, and a lot of other things that specifically pertain to the stock market. There is a lot to learn.
In terms of learning, I really really suggest Bloomberg. I have a subscription, but there are a lot of free parts that teach you so much. Financial Times is also a great resource, so is Wall Street Journal. But Bloomberg is by far the best resource. I often have the channel on in the background when I’m working.
I’ll make a list of books as well, ones that helped me a lot with my learning as well.
**Just a short edit: The hedge fund recently stated they do not have to file for bankruptcy. They did have to pay a lot, but no bankruptcy. Also, everyone still holding these stocks today, tomorrow, and beyond are going to be shit out of luck, for lack of a better term, because GameStop is... a terrible company.
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let’s fall in love for the night (f.w.)
prompt: after a blowout with your boyfriend, you call on your best friend to help cheer you up. with an unexpected drive to the beach, secrets are spilled and promises are made.
pairing: muggle fred weasley x muggle fem reader
warnings: language, mentions of cheating relationships, spending a night with someone who isn’t your partner (nothing happens like kissing or anything), angsty as all hell
word count: 5.4k
taglist: @rosaliepostsstuff @harrysweasleys @animaegus @lumos-barnes @barneswidow @c-t-h @lol-idk-oops @another-lonely-heart @weasleylangs @shilohpug @peachypotter @spacexcowgirl @paintballkid711 @vogueweasley @kaseyrose @hufflepuff5972 @amourtentiaa @sweeterthansammy @loonylovegood13 @lostaurorax @freddie-weaselbee @freds-slut @missmulti @evermoreweasley @dracoswhore007 @theorangedrummer @emmaev @wholebigboxofyikes @the-romanian-is-bae @lostaurorax @inglourious-imagines @nuttytani @onlyfreds @fandomhideout @lilypad-55449 @v4l3nt1n44 @butterflybuchanan @valwritesx
author’s note: this is for @anchoeritic ‘s writing challenge!! congratulations, kells!! i love you so much, bestie!
You threw your phone as far away from you as possible as you flopped on your bed, letting your head fall back on your pillows. You closed your eyes, trying to bring yourself some peace as you just got off the phone with your boyfriend. Another screaming match. It seemed like everyday brought a new fight, a new reason to argue. It was exhausting, but you kept convincing yourself that it was just a rough patch and things would fizzle out eventually.
But the comfort of your bed didn’t help settle your nerves. In fact, it just made you more anxious the more you laid down and sat with your thoughts. Taking a deep breath in, you sit up, rubbing your hands over your face, yawning loudly. You needed to get out of the house. Even if it was just for a little while.
Your eyes dart over to where you threw your phone, lying face down on the rug, calling out to you. With a groan, you walk over and grab it. The phone lights up, your screensaver of you and your boyfriend making your stomach feel sick after all of the words exchanged tonight. But you push past the image and scroll through your contacts until you stumble upon the name you were looking for.
Pressing the telephone button, your phone starts dialing his number as you tap your phone in anticipation to hear the person you need most right now. “Come on, Freddie, pick up please,” you whisper to yourself as you pace around your bedroom. The phone rings once. Twice. Three times. Four times. Until…
“You rang?” his voice sounds over the phone as you exhale a sigh of relief that Fred hears. “Uh oh. What’s wrong? I know that sigh better than I know myself,” he teases you, making you let out a breathy chuckle. Your best friend didn’t have to ask if you were upset, he knew just by the sounds of your sighs that you were disgruntled. “You know what, don’t answer that. Do you need a pick me up?”
A smile instantly forms on your face that Fred can hear in your voice when you respond, “Yes, please.”
“I’ll be there in twenty-five. Stay put,” he speaks before hanging up the phone.
You smiled down at the phone before tucking it into your jeans’ back pocket. You knew that Fred saying twenty-five was an exaggeration. When you needed him, Fred was heavy on the gas pedal, cutting down the normally twenty-five minute ride down to a solid fifteen. It was moments like this that you appreciated Fred’s friendship the most. He would literally drop everything if you were upset just to come over and make you feel better. He’d normally come into your house, using the back entrance, saying hi to your parents before making his way up the stairs to your room where his arms would be full of snacks and sweets. He would throw them onto your bed before throwing himself onto it and asking what movie the two of you would be watching. It was a routine the both of you had. It was familiar. Comforting.
Fred grabbed his jacket and the keys to the Ford before calling out to his mom, “Mum! I’m going to (Y/N)’s! I’ll be back later!”
From upstairs, a voice echoed, “Don’t be late, Fred!”
“Yes, Mum!” he called back as he slipped his arms through his jacket. George, his twin, looked at him with a small smirk on his face as Fred gave him a look. “What? Why are you looking at me like that?” he questioned his brother.
George just shook his head and leaned further back into the couch. “Are you gonna tell her how you feel tonight?” George asks, eyebrows raised. It was quite obvious that Fred Weasley was in love with you. Ever since freshman year of high school when you came back from the summer. There was something different about you that made Fred’s heart race in his chest and made his palms sweat. You were undeniably the most beautiful person Fred had ever seen, but he didn’t dare let you know that. He couldn’t risk losing your friendship. “Come on, mate, it’s been what? Six years? And you still refuse to let her know?”
Fred spins the Ford car keys around his pointer finger and sighed, “She’s my friend, first and foremost, George. And she needs me now. I’m not going to turn this into some weird ulterior motive thing.” But before George could protest, claiming that Fred was wasting his time pining over you when he could just tell you how he felt, Fred exited the house and was in the Ford, starting the engine to make the trip to your house.
As expected, Fred was in front of your house within fifteen minutes of leaving his driveway. However, instead of your usual routine of him coming into the house, chatting to your parents, and then walking up to your room, Fred exited his car and leaned against it, sending you a text.
Your phone buzzed next to you as you laid on your bed. The screen read, I’m outside. You furrow your brows and sit up, opening up the window next to your bed. And there Fred was, leaning against his silver car, arms folded across his chest as he smiled up at you. “Well, Rapunzel, are you gonna come down?” he laughed, tucking his hands into his jean pockets, his olive green henley shirt clinging to his biceps as you rolled your eyes.
“What happened to you coming upstairs? I thought we were going to watch a movie, it’s my turn to pick tonight!” you call from your bedroom window, leaning over the edge, popping your head out.
Fred shakes his head, “Change of plans tonight, sunshine. Come down.”
You huff, “You know how I feel about surprises, Weasley.” Fred laughs as you pop back into your bedroom, shutting the window. You grab a denim jacket and dart down the stairs, calling out to your parents, “I’m going out with Fred, I’ll be back soon!”
As you walk out of your house and out to the driveway, Fred is smiling at you as he pushes himself off his car, walking over to you. He holds out his hand as you give him a look, hesitantly taking his hand. “Let’s take a drive,” he winks as he walks you over to his car, opening up the shotgun door as you slide in. Fred jogs around to the driver’s side before slipping in and starting the car up again. Fred looks over to you and hands you the aux cord as you smile shyly at him. “Play whatever you want, I know you don’t like my music,” he scoffs, making you giggle.
“You play the same three songs!” you speak in defense as Fred rolls his eyes as he checks his mirrors before pulling away from the curb, starting your driving adventure. “Billy Joel gets boring after a while!”
Fred gives you a warning look, “Hey, Billy Joel is a phenomenal musician. Root Beer Rag is one of the greatest songs of all time and don’t you forget it.” You laugh at his sincerity, shaking your head as you scroll through your Spotify playlists, trying to select a good song to start the drive. “So,” Fred huffs. “You wanna talk about what happened?”
Shaking your head, you speak, “Not yet. I just wanna listen to music for a little bit before talking about it.” Fred nods his head, understanding as he turns on his blinker to turn onto one of the major roads in your hometown. You finally select a song, smiling as the familiar sounds of Hoizer flood the car’s speakers. The melody is comforting as you relax in the familiarity of Fred’s car, taking a deep breath in and closing your eyes. As you do so, you hear Fred’s sing along to the verses of the song. You furrow your brows and look over to him. “I didn’t know you liked Hoizer,” you tell him as he smiles, continuing to know every line, word for word. “When were you going to tell me you got a better taste in music!” you tease him.
Fred shakes his head, “You know I actually listen to the playlists you made me, right?” As the words fall from his mouth, a cheeky grin appears on his face that sets your heart on fire. A small smile creeps its way onto your face as you shake your head, playing with the cuffs of your jacket. “Play me any song on that playlist that you like and you can bet I know every line,” he dares you.
“You’re full of surprises tonight, Weasley,” you tell him, jokingly pushing his arm as Fred chuckles. “Where are we driving to?”
“Nowhere,” Fred answers. “Just around. You need a change of scenery.” Which was true. You needed to get out of your house, out of your town, and away. A little getaway conducted by Fred. He looked your way to send you a quick wink before turning his attention back to the road as he drove down the mostly empty freeway, a trip to nowhere.
The car ride is silent for a moment, just the sounds of Hozier filling the car as you lean back in the seat and kick your feet up onto the dashboard. Fred has one hand on the steering wheel and the other resting on the window ledge of the car. The sounds of Fred’s soft singing dances through the car as you listen, content. He wasn’t lying; Fred knew every word to every song of the playlist, no matter who the artist was. Hozier, Rex Orange County, Joji, Ruel, Fleetwood Mac, the 1975. You name it. Turning to him, a small smile dances on your lips as you watch him drumming along to The Chain. He runs one hand through his ginger hair, his brown eyes glued to the road, his lips parted so he could mouth the words. Fred notices your eyes on him and he immediately becomes self-conscious of his body in the car. Anyone else could be looking at him and he wouldn’t care, but since it was you, he was putty in your hands.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Fred laughs, eyes darting back and forth between you and the road.
You giggle and straighten yourself up in the seat. “Nothing, no reason,” you shrug. “I didn’t think you actually memorized all the songs on that playlist.”
Fred chuckles to himself, “Why would I lie about something so serious?” he teases. You laugh and shake your head, turning your attention back to the road ahead of you. The lamp posts light up the freeway, other cars passing you and Fred by, the scent of the night hangs in the cool summer air. You roll down your window to let in the fresh air, sticking your hand out of the window, letting the cool breeze brush past your fingertips. “What are we, in an indie movie?” he teases you as you punch his arm, making Fred laugh. “So,” he speaks, turning down the volume of the music, “You wanna talk about what’s going on?”
With a huff, you run your fingers through your hair, nodding your head. “Yeah,” you sigh as Fred nods his head, ready to listen. “It’s, uh, it’s about Lucas.” Fred immediately groans and rolls his eyes, knowing that this answer should have been expected. You and Lucas have been going through a rough patch and Fred has heard all of it as it’s been unfolding. It’s only made him grow more and more disgusted with your boyfriend, knowing that you two weren’t right for each other. But yet, he stayed quiet. “I know, you’re tired of hearing about him, but-”
“Tired? (Y/N), I’m exhausted,” he looks at you. “He’s a whiny prep school kid who has a god complex! I can’t understand why you haven’t dumped him yet,” Fred tells you as you give him a look. He instantly feels bad about what he says, not because he didn’t mean it, but because it made you upset. “I’m sorry...what happened, sunshine?”
You run your hands over your face, trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that wouldn’t sound strange or weird or stupid. Your heart began thumping louder in your chest as you took a deep breath in and looked over at Fred in the driver’s seat who anticipated your answer. “Well,” you start, “we started talking about summer plans and what was going on and I told Lucas that I would be spending a month with you and your family because it’s something we’ve been planning for months now.” Fred nods his head, following the story along. “And Lucas got upset because he claimed that he was going abroad with his family for a month and when he came back I would be away, which meant we only got to spend a few weeks together for the summer. But then I told him I wasn’t going to change my plans because everything was set in stone months ago. So this made him angry,” you ramble as Fred rolls his eyes about how dumb this whole argument with Lucas was. “And then he went on saying that I spend too much time with you which I told him was ridiculous because you’re my best friend, of course I want to spend time with you,” you tell him, getting angry all over again. But Fred can’t help, but wear a cocky smile on his face, pride swelling in his chest. “And then Lucas said that he should be my best friend because he’s my boyfriend and I love him, which I do love him, but he’s not my best friend. He and I don’t have the same history like you and I do,” you tell Fred as he nods his head, trying to push out the thought that you loved someone else. This next part was the tricky part. “And then...Lucas started yelling about how, uh, how he thinks that you...that you’re...in love with me,” you speak slowly and carefully.
Fred freezes as the words fall from your lips. Was it that obvious? That your boyfriend was now picking up on things? His mouth runs try and his palms are sweating as he grips the steering wheel tighter, not daring to let it go. His eyes don’t leave the road, too afraid to look at your face that watches him intently.
As you reveal all of this to Fred, your heart is pounding in your chest. You're waiting for something, anything. But you want a confession. You want to hear Fred tell you that it was true. That he did love you and that he couldn’t bear seeing you in a relationship with another man that wasn’t him. You wanted him to pull the car over and kiss you with every fiber he could conjure in his being. But instead of giving him the chance to speak his mind, you start to panic and back pedal when he doesn’t speak up. “I told Lucas that he was stupid to think that because we’ve been friends for so long and both of us have been in relationships with other people and neither of us have been bothered by it,” you start to ramble. It was a lie. You remember getting sick in the girl’s bathroom when you had found out Fred asked Angelina Johnson to the Winter Wonderland dance junior year of high school. You remember crying in Alicia’s car after soccer practice when she told you that Fred and Katie Bell snogged at the Homecoming after party. You remember standing in the kitchen of the Weasley home, listening to Fred talk about girls with George and feeling sick when Fred mentioned girls other than you.
Fred, on the other hand, just let go of the breath he was holding, not quite ready to confess his feelings. He looked over at you and flashed you a weak smile, “Of course. We’re best friends and we always have been. That will never change.” Which Fred meant. Dating or not, you and Fred were in it until the end. “Lucas, on the other hand, I’m not surprised he’s intimidated by me,” he pretends to flex his bicep as you roll your eyes and slap his arm. “Seriously, I’m the type of boy that your boyfriend hoped that you would avoid, admit it!” Fred tells you as you shrug. “But regardless, that’s fucked up, (Y/N). I’m sorry that he’s using me against you. It’s manipulative and it’s not fair at all. I’m sorry. You shouldn’t be wasted your time on jealous guys, fuck that noise,” he shakes his head as you laugh.
The two of you continue to drive to nowhere, until the road signs start to point towards the beach, making Fred take the exit as he insists that the two of you go to the ocean. Of course you didn’t resist. How could you say no to the beach with your best friend at 11pm on a Thursday?
Soon enough, the two of you are out of the car, walking on the boardwalk, illuminated by street lamps as the sounds of the ocean fill your ears. The smell of the salt and sand fills your senses as you let out a breath that you didn’t realize you were holding. You and Fred walk side by side, occasionally bumping into each other, making the other laugh. “You got a summer job yet?” you look up at Fred.
He just shrugs, “I’ll probably end up working for my dad again at the auto shoppe. It’s easy money and people tip well. If that doesn’t work out, I don’t know, maybe I’ll see if I can scoop ice cream somewhere. I don’t want to do much this summer. I wanna relax before heading back to university, you know?”
“Scooping ice cream and fixing tires is lame. Don’t you wanna get an internship somewhere? What about doing something business related? You and George still have those plans for the joke shoppe after you graduate. Why not intern somewhere that could give you useful tools?” you nudge him. You wanted to see Fred succeed more than anything. Fred was many things, but one thing he was not was lazy. Fred worked hard and was always motivated when it came to his goals and ambitions. The joke shoppe was something he constantly talked about and you knew he wanted to make it a reality more than anything. Fred just laughed and shook his head. “What? What did I say?”
He just wrapped an arm around your shoulder, pulling you closer to him. “You’re such a nerd,” he laughs as you slap his chest, feigning being offended. “No, no, I love it when you talk nerdy to me,” he wiggles his brows. “You’re in your twenties talking like you’re in your thirties. It’s just funny to me. It’s funny how fast we’ve grown up.”
Fred was right about that. You had known each other for years and now you were almost done with undergraduate school. It seemed like time was slipping through your fingers and you couldn’t keep up. “It’s been quite the ride,” you laugh as Fred smiles, reminiscing about all of the times you’ve shared. “You’ll be with me until the end, won’t you, Freddie?”
“Of course, I will,” he tells you, placing a gentle kiss on the top of your head as you lean into him. “You on the other hand, I don’t know if you’ll stay with me.” You look up at him and give him a look, confused as to why he would think that you wouldn’t stay friends with him forever. “You can have your way with me until you go, (Y/N), I take no offense.”
“Why would you say something like that, Fred?” you speak, offended that he would think you wouldn’t be his ride or die. “Seriously, what would make you think that I would abandon you?” Fred just shrugs. “Fredrick Gideon Weasley, that’s not an answer. You can’t just drop something like that and expect me to be okay with it! You know I’m here with you until the very end, why would you think otherwise?” anger starts to rise in your voice.
Fred just tucks his hands into his pockets, “I don’t know because you always seem to be moving onto bigger and better things and I just figured that would continue until you had to leave me behind.”
You look at him in disbelief, “I’d never do that, Fred. You know that.”
“(Y/N), it’s not a bad thing. People grow apart. You think that our friends from high school still talk to each other and keep up? We’re the only ones left and soon enough it’s gonna get to us too,” Fred tells you, knowing that there was some truth to all of this which terrified him.
“It’s not gonna get to us!” you exclaim in protest.
“What makes you think that we’re so different from the rest?”
“Because I love you!”
When the words fall out of your lips, you smack your hand over your mouth in shock. You couldn’t believe it. You confessed. It just all tumbled out at once in the heat of the moment and now you were caught with nowhere to go. You couldn’t run off or drive off. You were stuck in this moment, looking at your best friend, who you just told you loved, in the face. Your mouth is wide open but nothing is coming out.
Instead, Fred’s lips turn into a dorky smile before speaking, “You love me?”
Gulping thickly, you inhale a shaky breath before speaking, “...Yeah. I do.”
Fred lets out a breathy laugh before speaking, “You know, I hate admitting when people are right about things...especially when it’s fucking Lucas.” You giggle. “But he was right because...I am in love with you. In fact, I’ve been in love with you since freshman year of high school when you came back from summer break and you sat next to me in English and you told me that you were ditching the second period to go to the beach,” he tells you as he slowly takes another step to you. “I love you, (Y/N).”
The words were music to your ears. You could listen to him say it over and over and over again, like a sick mantra that you could never get tired of. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. And you love him.
But you were with someone else.
Fred slowly laced his fingers with yours as you gulped, the gesture meaning so much now than it ever did before. “Freddie...I can’t do this now,” you tell him, heart heavy as you look up at his handsome face glowing in the moonlight. “I’m still with Lucas. He’s still my boyfriend and I...I still have feelings for him. There’s still a part of me that...loves him,” you confess. To Fred, it’s like pouring salt into an open wound, hearing you tell him that you loved him, but you were still with someone else who you still loved. It was some kind of torture. That he couldn’t kiss you right now with all his love that he had been saving for you. “I don’t love him nearly as much as I do you,” you tell him, feeling guilty that you were doing this to Lucas, but you knew Fred was the one you were destined to be with. “But I’m still with him. And that doesn’t make this right.”
Fred shakes his head, “I understand, sunshine.” His hand cups your cheek, running his thumb across the gentle flesh. He places a soft kiss to your hairline as he is struck with an idea. “Let’s fall in love for the night.”
“Let’s fall in love for the night and forget in the morning,” he repeats, an excited smile on his face as you remain confused. “We can spend the night together, just us, in love. And when the sun rises, we pretend like nothing happened. Nothing has to happen at all, but we can just be in love. For tonight. Because I don’t know when the next time will be.”
Fred’s words are heart aching. The way his eyes looked into yours tenderly with adoration and love and passion and kindness. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. He is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. “But what if I don’t want to forget in the morning?” you ask him. “What if I want to stay in love with you?”
He hushes you before speaking, “You and I both know we can’t do that. So for now, let’s enjoy what we have. And when the time comes, we fall in love again.” You sigh, as if you couldn’t fall more in love with the man in front of you. “What do you say, darling? You ready to fall in love?”
Giving his hand a squeeze, you smile, “I bet I’m better at falling in love than you.”
Fred presses his forehead against yours, “Is that a challenge I smell, (Y/L/N)?” You giggle. “First one to the ocean gets aux cord on the way home!” Fred screams before hopping the boardwalk and sprinting to the ocean as you scream out in protest. “Billy Joel all day, baby!”
The rest of the night is better than you could have ever expected. The two of you forget about everything and everyone else. Suddenly, it’s like the two of you are in high school again, running around, splashing water at each other like you are sixteen again. The only sounds you hear are Fred’s melodious laugh and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. After splashing in the water, Fred runs over to you, grabbing your figure, picking you up, and spinning you around as you squeal out in delight. The two of you run down the beach, laughing, and joking around. That was the thing about being in love with Fred Weasley, you didn’t need him to kiss you or touch you or tell you that he loved you to know how he felt. It was the look in his eyes. The glimmer in his eyes as he scrunched his nose before pulling you into his arms. It was like a dream.
But dreams don’t last forever. Dreams vanish with the morning sun. And you and Fred both knew that this dream would need to wash away with the sunrise.
The two of you walk back to the boardwalk, to Fred’s car, hand in hand, not a word spoken between the two of you. Nothing needed to be said; you both knew what the other was thinking. If only the night could be longer. If only the night could last forever.
In the car, you sit shotgun, Fred driving, one hand on the wheel, the other hand intertwined with yours, his thumb rubbing the back of your hand in circles. The soft sounds of Vienna by Billy Joel echo in the car along with the sounds of quiet breathing. In the distant horizon, orange and pinks shades peer over, teasing that the morning was upon us all. The sight, something you would normally love to see, made your stomach churn. Why couldn’t things be different?
Soon enough, your surroundings become more familiar, you recognize your neighborhood. You look over at Fred, who is squeezing your hand, not wanting to let go. “Freddie,” you start.
“I don’t want to hear you say it. I can’t.”
You sigh and squeeze his hand. “I don’t want to say it. But you know what has to be done.”
Fred pulls over, two blocks away from your house, turning off the engine. He turns to you and sighs, taking in how you looked as the morning sun streamed in through his car windows. Orange and pink and yellow mixing on your skin as you smiled at your Fred. You look over to the sunrise and gulp, “Does that mean we have to fall out of love?”
With a small nod, Fred sighs, “I’m afraid it does, my love.”
The words twist a knife into your stomach, but you knew this was the way it had to be. For now at least. “I’ll walk home from here,” you tell him. “I don’t think I can handle you walking me to my door.” Fred lets out a weak laugh as you smile weakly at him before sticking out your hand. “It was a pleasure being in love with you for the night.”
Fred accepts your hand and shakes it, “The pleasure was all mine.”
You unbuckle your seatbelt and open up the car door. “I’ll see you soon, yeah?”
“Absolutely. We’ve got the whole summer, remember?” he winks at you as you nod your head with a smirk before exiting the car, shutting the door, and starting home.
As you walk the two blocks home, you can’t help, but smile at the night’s events. Spending time with Fred was always your favorite thing to do, but last night was unlike anything else. It was intimate and private and personal. It was perfect. You could still feel the sand in your trainers as you walked home in your clothes from the previous day, hair smelling of the salt of the ocean.
“(Y/N)?” a voice pulls you from your thoughts as you walk up the driveway to your house.
Your eyes widen as you see Lucas on your doorstep, bouquet of your favorite flowers in his hands as you gasp. You were not expecting this at all. Lucas on your doorstep, flowers in hand, at the crack of dawn, waiting for you. “Lucas? Wha-What are you doing here? It’s six in the morning,” you walk over to him.
He sighs, “I had to come over as early as I could. I couldn’t sleep at all last night because of what happened yesterday. It was so wrong and dumb of me to even suggest that Fred was in love with you...I know that you two are best friends and I know how much he means to you. It wasn’t fair of me to say that. I’m sorry, (Y/N). I know we’ve been going through a rough patch and I really want to work things out. You deserve the best and I only want to give you that.”
Lucas’s words fill your mind with regret and guilt. You had just spent the night with your best friend who was in love with you and you him, running around the beach and laughing and running around. You and Fred didn’t kiss or do anything, but you can’t help but feel like you had a dirty little secret. A secret that you had to forget about. Like Fred told you to.
Right in front of you, you had a boy that loved you. Who wanted to make things work. Who wanted to put in the effort. And you couldn’t deny him of that. Not after what you did. With a small smile, you take the flowers from Lucas’s hands as he smiles at you. “How did you know peonies are my favorite?” you tease him as he rolls his eyes before leaning down to kiss you sweetly. This was the boy you were supposed to love.
But down the block, watching the scene unfold from his car as he drove away from your house, was the man who you were destined to love. Fred refused to watch you press your lips to another man’s. He felt sick. But this was the right thing to do. He couldn’t split you and Lucas up, knowing that he was the cause of it. Was the last night wrong? Should he have just brought you home after you told him that? But how could he not tell you how he was feeling? You had always belonged to Fred, right? Because he had certainly always belonged to you... Fred groaned as he drove away from your neighborhood and back to his house, knowing that he knew better than to call you his.
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