#so I got four planets and one moon in frame
tytonidaedraco · 28 days ago
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How rare and beautiful it is
To even exist
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mayatheplanet · 9 months ago
skin to bone.
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pairing(s) : chris evans x black!female reader.
summary : in which you seek closure after your four year relationship with chris comes to an end.
warnings : 18+, angst, break-up sex, crying, unprotected sex (wrap it before you tap it!), mention of contraceptives, hurt/comfort, a small argument, choking, oral sex (female recieving), chris is kinda toxic?, relationships r complicated.
word count : 3.3k.
authors note : this is so bad someone take my phone away. i wrote this in like two hours pLEASE. i know it's a black reader but i feel like it's pretty inclusive, that was just the image i had in mind when writing. everyone can enjoy!! :) i might make a part two to this idk, i kinda like how it ended. not proofread <3
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It would’ve been easier to pack your things. Take every piece of yourself and every memory from the home you shared with Chris, tuck it away into a suitcase, and walk out the front door. To block him on social media, delete all the photos from your camera roll of his stupidly handsome face, and never speak to him again.
It’s been a week since the official ‘break-up’, though you and Chris agreed to keep things quiet. News outlets would be swarming the moment they found out Captain America was back on the market, and god knows you need your privacy right now more than anything. It was never easy dating Chris, you've dealt with crazy fangirls, his overbearing publicists, busy schedules that kept you two apart for months at a time. Yet, you're beginning to think that the hardest part of your relationship Chris is no longer having one.
He came up with some bullshit reason. The classic 'It's me, not you' before following up with something along the lines of we never see each other anymore. It's true, you'd recently gotten a new job that took up most of your day. When you weren't in your office you were huddled in front of the computer screen at home, typing away. You used to drop everything when Chris came home after those three month shoots, but eventually the novelty wore off. The event became exactly what it was— a routine. You stopped crying when Chris would board his flights, you stopped calling him everyday religiously when he was away from you, Chris wasn't the center of your world when he came back home.
You still loved Chris, you've never stopped, but you became used to him, and all the things that came with being his girlfriend. Took three years, but you finally did it.
The bottom line is that you know it's you. You're the reason why Chris wanted to break-up. He got bored with you. He thought you didn't love him anymore.
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His Boston home still looks the same as it did when you lived there. There's a few missing picture frames from the mantle above the fireplace, a throw pillow or two that's on a different side of the couch, but overall you feel at home when you walk through the door. Chris agreed to let you come over and grab the rest of your clothes and miscellaneous items, though you know it was nothing important. The clothes you left were ones you haven't worn in years, shoes that were buried in the bottom of your closet, packs of bobby pins and rubber bands for fucks sake.
"It's good to see you." is the first thing that comes out of Chris' mouth after opening the front door. He pulls you into a hug that has you cursing yourself for thinking that you could actually go through with this. Damn Chris, for still being so fucking nice even after breaking your heart into a million pieces.
"Good to see you too." You mumble into the cotton of his t-shirt, his cologne wafting through the air. He's addicting, in the worst way possible. You almost don't want to let go.
"Your stuff is in the bedroom... I'll leave you to it." Chris' voice tapers off towards the end, and for a moment you almost think you hear some semblance of guilt. Of regret.
You leave your shoes at the door and go for the stairs, right up to you and Chris' bedroom. Upon entering the room, you find your clothes neatly folded in two separate piles on the bed. One for the tops, one for the bottoms. On top of that is your bag with all your hair care products inside, your bottle of shampoo slightly poking out the top. Chris loves that shampoo, the first day you used it he didn't stop pressing his face into the back of your neck. I can't give you some kisses? He'd whispered, though you knew it was all a facade to get his nose closer to your hair. Resting at the foot of the bed was the few pairs of shoes.
This is really it.
You and Chris are no longer together, and you're removing the last piece of yourself from his life.
The realization stings at the corner of your eyes, drawing moisture. You sniffle, wiping underneath your eyes with the sleeve of your shirt. Every moment of the last four years flash through your mind like an old-fashioned film reel; The first time you met him, the first time you kissed him, the first time you met his family. Chris was your everything, he still is.
You don't even realize you're fully crying until a soft knock on the door draws your attention, head spinning around quicker than you can wipe your tears. Chris is leaning against the door frame, arms folded over his chest.
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to-" He begins, but you cut him off.
"No- No, I'm sorry, I'll just grab my stuff and go." You manage to blink the remaining tears from your eyes and get ahold of yourself, wiping your stained face and ignoring the smudge of mascara on the fabric.
"Sweetheart," Chris takes three steps forward and suddenly he's invading your personal space, arms coming around your shoulders to pull you into him. You're quick to push back, hitting your open palm against his chest twice.
"Fuck you, Chris. You don't get to call me that anymore." Your words spit out venomously, and even you're surprised at the amount of emotion you managed to muster up. It sounds like pure anger.
"I don't want it to be like this, I don't want us to end on bad terms." Chris tries to reach out again, for what you're not sure, but you step back until you're sitting on the edge of the bed.
The tears come back, burning at your eyelids until you can't help but let them fall. You look up at Chris through watery eyes, crossing your arms over your chest.
"Why? Why do we have to end at all?"
Chris sighs like he was expecting it, expecting the big Why question. As if he gave you a million and one reasons in the first place.
"I don't want the bullshit you gave me last week, Chris. I want a fucking answer. Just tell me what I did wrong." You blurt out, placing your hands over your face to shield your eyes.
"Hey, hey, look at me," Chris crouches down in front of you, grabbing your wrists and lightly tugging on them until you finally allow him to pull your hands from your face. You always hated crying in front of him. It made you feel small, weak. Chris places his palm over top of yours, his thumb tracing circles. "You didn't do anything wrong."
You swallow the lump in your throat, turning away from him for a moment to look out the big bedroom windows. Dodger runs across the yard with a tennis ball lodged between his teeth, looking like the happiest dog on the planet. He's lucky he doesn't have to deal with all this human shit.
"I just... I wasn't around enough." Chris ducks his head lower to look at you through his lashes, the beautiful blue of his eyes peaking through. "You were working a lot, you were stressed. You needed someone to be there for you all the time, and I couldn't be. I wanted you to find someone else, someone better."
"I don't want someone better, Chris, I want you." Your voice cracks in the middle of your sentence, a new wave of emotion over taking you. It's all too much. The words, the touches, his fucking face. You shouldn't have come here, not yet.
"Sweetheart, you don't mean that. You deserve so much more." Chris cups your jaw, thick fingers spread against the back of your neck as he pulls you towards him. He kisses you, and it's nothing more than a peck on the lips. A kiss goodbye. Afterwards, when he withdraws, the pad of his thumb swipes across your plump bottom lip. His head is slightly shaking. "I've wanted to do that since you walked through the door." He breaths out, and you want to kill him for how intoxicating he is.
Christopher Robert Evans is a conundrum of emotions. A dangerous mixture of sensitive and evil. Lisa doesn't know what she created.
You sway into his lips once more, and his hand tightens on the back of your neck. This time, you bite the bullet and try to stick your tongue into his mouth, and Chris obliges. He can give as good as he's receiving, that fact was never lost on you. Chris takes your jaws in both his hands as he stands up, making you stand along with him. You hold onto the collar of his shirt, the golden Saint Christopher medallion balled up in your fist.
"One more time. Please," You say, almost like a prayer to the man in front of you. Chris looks at you with pure love, like you hung the moon and stars.
He presses his body against yours as if he's trying to walk through you, forcing you down onto the bed before pushing the folded up clothes out of the way and onto the floor. There's a million thoughts swirling through your head as he attacks your neck with kisses, big hands cupping your breasts through your shirt. Chris wastes no time sliding down to the end of the bed and dragging your jeans with him.
It's been a week with no action, so both of you are a bit desperate for some kind of physical touch. Your panties are already growing damp with arousal, and there's an obvious tent in his sweatpants.
"Need you, Chris. Now." You say, watching as he parts your thighs and pulls the thin crotch of your underwear to the side. An unintentional hiss comes out the moment the cool air comes in contact with your lower regions, making Chris look up at you.
"I'll miss this." He licks a long strip from your slit all the way up to your clit, closing his lips around the sensitive nub before flicking his tongue back on forth. You nearly scream with the sensation. Chris has barely even bothered to undress you, or himself for that matter, and he's already diving headfirst into your cunt like he's starving.
"Oh my god, Chris!" You moan out, manicured hands reaching down to twist in his hair and tug at the roots. Your first instinct is to try and close your legs around his head, but he's quick to grab your thighs and push them apart, until your knees are almost touching the bed. Messing around with Chris has surely gotten you flexible.
His tongue flicks in rapid succession, altering between mouthing at your clit and slicking it inside your pussy. He's so good at this. The best. His beard causing your skin to burn in the best way possible.
"I'm gonna cum, Chris. Stop, stop, I want you inside of me." You're aware that your words are probably coming out jumbled and slurred, but the message is clear. You try to push his head away, but not before he gives your clit one last hard suck. When he climbs back on top of the bed, his lips are glistening with your juices. He even licks his lips, the little asshole, before leaning down to kiss you once more. Making sure to scrape his tongue against the roof of your mouth so you can taste yourself.
"You taste so fucking good babygirl, so fucking perfect." Chris palms at your top, rucking it up to expose your midriff before flipping you over onto your back.
"On your knees, baby, c'mon." He steps on the bed for a moment, presumably to rid himself of his pants and that theory is confirmed when you feel his thighs flushed against your own. His hands are on your waist in no time, squeezing the supple flesh. Chris leans over your back, bringing his lips down to kiss at the stretch marks over your hips.
"Chris, please," You push yourself against him, and his erection pokes at your ass cheek making you clench around nothing. Only he can have this effect on you, make you so wanton that you're grinding against him like a cheap whore.
"Yeah, babygirl wants my dick?" He sounds breathless already, holding himself to line up with your core. You nod your head in the pillows, arching even more as he pushes in, trying to keep your back from rounding out. Chris always felt huge from behind, unbearable even. He slides in inch by inch until his toned hips are pressed against your ass and you muse that if you were game enough, you could place your hand on your stomach and feel him inside you.
"Fuuuck, always so fuckin' tight for me." The Boston accent is heavy with that statement, and you swear you can feel yourself get even wetter. You're practically dripping by the time he starts actually moving inside you.
"Who's pussy is this?" You hear him say from above you, and while the first thought in your head is scream out 'yours!' that isn't true anymore, so you let the question linger in their air as you moan into the pillows. It was probably a heat of the moment thing, anyways, he always says shit like that when you two have sex. Chris' hips and balls are smacking against you so hard, you're sure that it probably sounds like you guys are barreling through the floor. The bed frame shakes with the weight. He asks the question again, and it makes you bite down on your lip.
So, not an accident.
This is the same guy who broke up with you. Who still wants to break up with you, because you deserve 'someone better'.
You defiantly keep your mouth closed, trying to ignore it until he gives you one last hard drive of his hips before collapsing on top of your back. Naturally, you come down off your knees, leaving you flat on the bed with all of Chris' weight on top of you and his dick still throbbing against your walls. You clench out of habit, making him groan in your ear.
"Look at me." He says, and it's no where near the same tone he used earlier. It's strict, like he's ordering you to look at him. You don't want to, you can't handle looking at him right now.
Why can't he just keep drilling you into the mattress so you can forget about this whole situation?
You just want to forget.
Chris's left hand comes up to grab you around your throat, forcing your head to the side leaving you no other option but to open your eyes up to him. He's got sweat building at his hairline, his t-shirt still on and sticking to his body, looking down at you. His fingers tighten around the sides of your throat, not hard enough to cut off your airways but just enough to let you know what kind of mood he's in.
"Who's pussy is this?" His voice has dropped a couple octaves, and before you can open your mouth to give some smart ass answer, he rocks forward making you gasp. His cock twitches inside you, lighting a fire inside that makes you want to give him everything and nothing at all. He confuses you, makes you angry and sad.
"Yours." You whimper, wrapping your hand around his wrist. It's overwhelming, you feel like he's battering your cervix every time he rocks into you, but the pleasure surmounts any amount of pain you're feeling right now. The pain isn't physical anyways. Chris kisses the tears on your cheeks away, hand still firmly around your throat.
"Cum for me, baby." You can't help but listen to him, not even realizing you'd been holding back an orgasm until the words are out in the open, cum for me, and you feel like you finally can. A searing electricity goes through your body as your pussy clamps down on him like a vice. Chris groans out a few more curses, giving five more thrusts until he spends, painting your walls with his seed. Warmth spreads through your lower belly, and you almost feel sick with it. You didn't take your birth control pill last week, figured you didn't need to.
Chris rolls off of you, but he doesn't let you leave him just yet. His arms are turning you around and pulling you onto his chest before you can register what's happening. The sex was always intense, but he took care of you afterward. Made you feel safe, and loved.
"I'm gonna miss you, so much sweetheart." He kisses the top of your head, fingers tracing along your shoulder. You both are still half dressed, and your panties are uncomfortably bunched on the side but you don't care. As long as you get to share this moment with him.
You glance up at him and smile. "I'm gonna miss you too."
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Chris rouses from his sleep with his bottom half completely naked underneath the comforter and his t-shirt sticking to his sweat covered body. The room is dark, and he can faintly hear Dodger barking in the distance. The alarm clock by the side of his bed reads: 11:34 PM. He slides out of bed and picks up his discarded sweatpants, tugging them on his body.
The room is empty, all your clothes are gone, and there's no evidence of you ever being here unless he counts his state of undress upon waking up. Chris pads his bare feet across the hardwood flooring, straight to the front door where he opens it up and calls for Dodger to come inside for the night. The furry creature emerges and runs over to Chris' feet, barking happily and clawing for his masters attention. Your car is gone from the driveway.
"You see momma leave? Huh, bubba?" Chris kneels down to the floor, petting Dodge's head. He walks into the kitchen with Dodger following him closely, expecting to be fed after all the time Chris left him outside being caught up with you. Chris grabs a bag of dry dog food from his cabinet, dumping it into Dodger's food bowl. He fills the water bowl up with the sink.
Just as he goes to open the fridge and get a bottle of water for himself, he sees a note attached to it by a single magnet.
Is written across the front in your beautiful handwriting. Chris snatches the note off the fridge and unfolds it.
I blocked you on every social media imaginable. I deleted all our pictures, left the ones of Dodger of course. All my things are gone from the house, even the silly things. (I know you tried to hide my bonnet behind the sink, I found it btw but left it because I'm nice.)
Chris can feel the tears welling in his eyes, but he laughs at that.
I do love you Chris, more than you can ever know. What happened today was what I needed to move on. We love each other, that will never go away, but I did some thinking about what you said. So I changed my number too. I booked a flight on your computer (sorry I left a million tabs open) and it leaves in the morning. I'm leaving, Chris. To try and find someone else.
Someone better.
Chris balls the note up with his fist, tossing it into the trash can. He grabs his laptop from the dining room table, opening it up and typing in his password. Your birthdate.
You did leave a million tabs open, and he starts clicking through all of them so get some sort of idea of where you're going. If you'll be okay. He'll travel to the ends of the earth to be with you if he has to.
Chris get's to the last tab, mouse hovering over the 'x' symbol until his eyes catch the search bar.
Best places to get lost and find yourself.
He smiles.
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toastmyrolls · 4 months ago
✨Tarot Pick a Card Mini Reading✨
What advice do you need in regards to your Love Situation?
This is my first pick a card reading, it may or may not resonate with everyone! I hope these messages reach the right people :)
Written with much love, Em.
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Pile One: Amethyst
💜Tarot cards I pulled for pile one ~ Eight of Cups & the Four of Pentacles. For the Oracle Card ~ Message In a Bottle.
For the Advice that spirit wants you to know in regards to your love life/situations, the overall energy taking place is the eight of cups and the four of pentacles which tells me that you may be choosing to walk away from something because it could be affecting your stability material wise. The situation you’re in may no longer resonate with you, causing stagnant energy to arise and it comes to a point where you must choose to focus on yourself and your wealth and security. Do you truly feel secure within this situation? Is it worth taking your own cup and walking away to see what is better out there for you? For the Wisdom of the Oracle, I got the Message in a Bottle Card. This tells me that someone may be coming back in to send or reply a message onto you whether it’s by spirit, a friend, a loved one. When you choose to drop the things that no longer serve you within this time frame currently, a message is waiting to come in so be prepared. Mercury Retrograde is also taking place at the end of this month too. Birds may be a sign or of significance to you specifically white feathers. Be on the lookout for the angel number 333 or 999 as well. The planets that could be affecting you currently are Mars or Pluto. The zodiac signs you could be dealing with are Aries, Scorpio, Aquarius or a Capricorn.
Pile Two: Selenite Rose Cluster
💙Tarot cards I pulled for Pile Two ~ Four of Cups Reversed & The Two of Pentacles Upright. For the Oracle Card ~ Regeneration.
The advice that spirit would like you to know during this time in regards to your current love situation is that the overall energy taking place is the Reversed Four of Cups and the Two of Pentacles. Someone may have missed an opportunity for growth in a situation and may be coming back for a ride of the merry go round. This could also mean that you have spent quite some time pondering on whether you want to be in a love situation/relationships due to past fears. With the two of pentacles, you could be dealing with your own things such as getting your ducks in a row, and you may be feeling the need to put yourself out there, but the person you may be with is more than likely not communicating or perhaps could be juggling love situations between others. For the Relationship Oracle message, This is a time where you’re rising from the ashes of where you had fallen. The Phoenix Rising so to speak. Regeneration tells us that we need to nurture ourselves first and for most always, and that you are shedding layers of yourself that you no longer need or simply do not resonate with anymore. Do not sit in sadness or pity for whatever has happened, balance will come when you choose to stop resisting change. Angel numbers to look out for are 222 and the planet that could be affecting you at this time is the Moon. A song also came to mind when I pulled these cards and it was Carousel by Melanie Martinez. The Zodiac signs you may be dealing with an Earth sign such as Taurus, Pisces, Cancer or Capricorn.
Pile Three: Tigers Eye
🧡Tarot Cards I pulled for Pile Three ~ Ace of Wands & the Seven of Pentacles. For the Oracle Card ~ Deep Knowing.
The Advice in regards to your love situation that spirit would like you to know at this time is to slow down and listen to what your intuition is trying to nudge at you. The overall energy is the Ace of Wands and the Seven of Pentacles which tells me that a new beginning is coming for you or perhaps has already arrived, but it’s not as satisfying or fulfilling as you’d hope it would be. You could be quite comfortable with where you’re at now, but you may want more in regards to this love situation. You have the power to turn things around, but the image I got in my mind was someone planting a seed and just sitting there watching it grow even though it does take several days for it to actually sprout, I just see someone waiting for something to happen. When in reality, you are the creator of your own reality. The Oracle card I got was Deep knowing, this is most definitely a time where if you are questioning something, that is your intuition giving you hints. You may feel guided towards another path but you may not want to disappoint others in the process. Go ahead and proceed with what you truly want to do, listen to your spirit, it is speaking to you through signs and numbers. You could be seeing 777 or 333. Planets that could be affecting you the most at this time is Jupiter and Neptune. You may be dealing with a Pisces, Sagittarius, Aries or a Taurus.
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vennilavee · 11 months ago
starry eyes
pairing: levi x reader (moon/stars universe) ft kaiya and rina!! summary: some moments through your pregnancy with baby Peach. warnings: pregnancy, cursing, details of a difficult pregnancy, c-section delivery, blood mention a/n: for this drabble prompt req “give me more picking out baby names, painting nurseries, and cradling their children. For moon and stars please”. but it ended up being 2.6k. i didn’t include the part about painting nurseries bc i want that to be it’s own drabble/part of another part of the story!
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“Do you think we should have Peach share a room with Kaiya when she’s old enough?” You muse, “We only have our bedroom and Kaiya’s…”
Levi hums and scratches his chin. He absently places a hand over your growing belly- you’ve only started showing in the last week or two.
“Kaiya will be five years older than Peach,” Levi says, “She will need her own space.”
“Then we need more space,” You say with a raise of your eyebrow, “We only have two bedrooms, baby.”
“What shitty timing,” Levi sighs, throwing his head back against the headboard of the bed, “Is this a good time to move into another house? We haven’t even started looking-”
“We can either do it now or when Peach is a few months old,” You say, leaning your head on his shoulder, “You and Erwin spent so much time decorating Kaiya’s room and painting the walls…”
“We can do that at the new house,” Levi says, “And Kai can do it with us.” He kisses your forehead and continues rubbing your belly absently.
“Are we making this decision too quickly? Shouldn’t we think about it more,” You wonder out loud.
“We need more space,” Levi says simply, “We got a baby coming. Or did you forget?”
“How could I forget?” You roll your eyes, “You knocked me up. Again.”
“Shut up,” Levi rolls his eyes and pulls you in for a kiss. And then flicks your forehead.
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House hunting was a much quicker affair than you had anticipated it to be- Levi had a sixth sense for this type of thing (and it had long begun to rub off on you, too). You had been looking at houses with Kaiya for about two months now, without any luck of a space that you could truly see yourself living in with your family.
Kaiya dutifully holds your hand as she explores the new kitchen, peering into the glossy, light green cabinets and giggling when she sees her reflection in a small mirror.
She gasps when she sees the size of the backyard, bouncing on the balls of her feet excitedly. “Mommy, look ousside,” She whispers, “Pwetty.”
“It is, isn’t it?” You reply, giving her a smile.
Levi has a mental checklist of questions to ask, and you do too, but he can see you falling in love with the house already. It’s cute and has charm- he can tell you’re already envisioning where Kaiya and the currently unnamed baby would play in the living room, where you’d set up your sewing materials…
Because he’s thinking about the same. He’s thinking about what Kaiya might want to paint her walls and how to set up the new baby’s room, about where his wine collection might go and his favorite leather chair.
Sometimes when you know, you just know. He has a good feeling about this place and the more the real estate agent tells you both, the more you subtly fall in love with the house. You feel like you’re a character in a small fairytale when you climb the staircase and get a view of the yard from the bedroom.
“Honey,” You say softly, tugging on his sleeve.
“Hmm,” He says and scoops Kaiya in his arms when she lifts her arms up.
“Daddy, mommy say she like it,” Kaiya whispers. Or attempts to.
“Oh, is that what mommy said?” Levi says, eyes lit up with amusement.
“Kiki, tell daddy that mommy loves the house very much.”
“Daddy, mommy say-”
“Daddy likes the house, too,” Levi says and you beam at him.
“Really!” Kaiya exclaims, her arms outstretched.
And that’s that.
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Moving and settling the paperwork had taken another month despite Levi’s attempts on speeding up the process. You had insisted on helping with the physical labor of moving, despite Erwin, Hange, Eren, Jean, Armin, Connie, Sasha and Mikasa volunteering to help you and Levi move.
Kaiya sat on one of the boxes that Jean and Eren carried out of the current apartment with a yellow hard hat on her head, directing them outside of the apartment to stack the boxes by the elevator.
“Baby,” You mumble, tugging Levi’s hand, “A house. We bought a house together.”
“Yeah,” Levi says, “Guess I’m stuck with you now, huh?”
You ignore him and peck his cheek. Your eyes have been watering on and off all day, memories of this apartment and of the initial stages of your relationship blossoming hidden in the spaces between the walls, between each shelf and cabinet.
“We fell in love here,” You say thickly, “We created love here.”
“We did,” Levi says softly, rolling his thumb over your hand, “Kaiya started walking right over there-” He points to the empty space of the living room, “You broke a wine glass over here-” He points to the space where the small dining table used to be, “And Kaiya’s birthdays were here…”
“Stop,” You complain, “I’m gonna cry again.”
Levi lets out a soft chuckle, “The new house is gonna have all of that and more. With this kid.” Levi palms your belly and kisses your temple.
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Your second trimester, as it was with Kaiya, is relatively easy in comparison to the first trimester. You and Levi take the ease that comes with the second trimester to plan out what the nursery in the new house will look like when the baby is old enough to sleep alone. 
The new house is a cozy four bedroom house (complete with a guest room) and plenty of room for play and relaxation. You had converted one of the rooms on the first floor into a small office for Levi, as he was able to work from home more often than you were.
Kaiya had demanded that her room be space themed. So you and Levi had painted her bedroom a pretty pale blue, decorated with glow in the dark stars and planets across her ceiling and the walls. A grey full moon hangs on one of the walls, along with frames of the planets, galaxies and Kaiya’s own drawings of the solar system (and really whatever else she wants). 
She had even painted some stars on the side of the wall where her bed is, with Erwin’s help. Her bedding is navy blue with gold stars printed on it and of course, she has her stuffed elephant, her stuffed sun and her stuffed moon on her bed. A galaxy projector sits on her nightstand, and she loves to turn it on when Levi reads her a bedtime story.
Seeing her reaction made you cry, too.
Now was the hard part. Determining what to paint the walls for the growing peach in your belly. You and Levi go back and forth on muted yellow, olive green, and pale green-
“Do you want Peach to think they’re in a forest?”
“But green is such a calming color!”
“So is yellow, yellow is happy-”
“You think a newborn baby will know that?”
“We should create an atmosphere of relaxation and happiness-”
In the end you and Levi decide on a yellow and green theme, with accents of grey. Compromise. You both decide to hold off on painting the walls, until Peach is a little older to decide on what they want to accent the walls. Kaiya’s old crib sits in your bedroom for when Peach arrives, which somehow feels like it’s creeping up on you but still so far away.
Your second trimester is when you can’t get enough of Levi- every small action he does, whether it’s cooking dinner, putting things away from unpacked boxes or giving you a foot rub- makes you want to jump his bones every chance you get.
You’re glad your man can keep up with you. And Levi makes it well known how much he loves you and loves your body. He always has a hand on your hips, your waist, your chest whenever he can.
You bask in the attention. Your skin glows, your hair is healthy and your nails full.
And then the third trimester comes, and it’s possibly the most difficult experience you’ve ever had to stomach. The third trimester is complete with backaches, frequent heartburn, varicose veins and mood swings that give Levi whiplash.
Your mood swings weren’t this intense with Kaiya. But he knows every pregnancy is different. You’re uncomfortable in your own skin and distressed and so tired in the last few months.
In the last few months, you and Levi settle on a name- you’d found out that Peach was in fact a baby girl, and Kaiya was upset that she wouldn’t be able to refer to her baby sister as Peach any longer-
“Let’s name my sissy ‘Berry’ then.”
“That’s not any better than Peach, honey.”
In the end, after a few weeks of deliberating, you decide on Rina Ackerman. You had tossed around the idea of naming her after Levi’s mother, Kuchel, but Levi shot it down. He didn’t want his kids to have the burden of living up to a legacy that they knew nothing about.
You could understand that.
Levi and Kaiya help where they can. Levi holds you when you cry and he rubs your belly and your back when it gets to be too much. You tell him that this baby feels different, that you’re scared. So when you start having contractions about four weeks too early, you’re not surprised. 
You scream and you cry, terrified that something’s gone wrong when you spot blood pooling on the bed. Levi looks at you with wide eyes before jumping into action quickly.
He holds your hand tightly, grateful that Kaiya is with his mom and Kenny for the day.
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Once you reach the hospital, you’re a mess, almost refusing to let the doctors look at you. You’re terrified that something awful and terrible has happened, and Levi looks you in the eye with your hands tight in his-
“You can do this. You have to do this. For Rina. She needs you.”
“She’s too early, Levi, I can’t-”
“She’s strong. Like her mother.”
In the end, Rina is delivered via an emergency C-section. Levi only sees and holds her impossibly tiny body for a moment before she starts to cry and she’s whisked away by the nurses and doctors. You’re still sedated in the hospital bed.
He sits in the blue plastic chair in your room and holds his head in his hands. 
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It’s hard for Levi to believe that that melancholy morning in the hospital was a little over two years ago. When he sees his youngest little girl, strong and quick on her feet, being chased by her older sister, he can’t believe that she came out into the world in such a difficult manner.
You like to joke and say that Rina is a troublemaker and she liked causing a scene right from the first breath of air she took.
Levi feels like his heart stops whenever he sees Rina fall or nearly injure herself. It’s different than it was with Kaiya- maybe because he was the only one who saw her struggle to breathe during her first moments. It’s hard for him to lose the overprotectiveness he has with Rina that didn’t necessarily exist with Kaiya. Of course, he was protective over his oldest, but it just feels different.
He doesn’t want Kaiya to feel like Levi has favoritism over his two best girls. But he can’t shake this feeling.
You recognize it in his eyes even if he says nothing. You see it in the shine of his grey irises, the way they’re panicked only for a millisecond when he hears Rina’s first cry whenever she falls.
The Ackerman family is currently in the backyard, on a nice summer evening. You’re sitting on a picnic blanket with your legs outstretched and a small smile on your face as you watch your babies run around and chase each other. Rina is still clumsy on her feet, almost waddling after Kaiya before she gets distracted by a patch of grass. She immediately plops down and pats the grass under her and pulls at the grass as hard as she can, throwing the pieces up in the air and squealing happily.
“Kaiya!” Rina exclaims, “Kaiya!”
Kaiya sits across from her with a beaming smile and her hands outstretched and Rina gently places the pieces of grass in her hands. 
“Hey, thanks, ‘Ina,” Kaiya smiles and Rina bashfully hides her face. She crawls to her big sister and sits in her lap, playing with the flowers and pointing to the small garden that Kaiya and you had been working on.
“Let’s go to the flowers,” Kaiya says and holds her hand as they both waddle to the garden patch.
“Mommy’s growin’ fruits and veggies here,” Kaiya says, pointing at cucumbers and okra, “I pretend like I don’t like them, but I do.”
Kaiya laughs and Rina giggles, too. Rina watches Kaiya with identical eyes, wide and grey and full of wonder. She catches sight of her daddy and lets go of Kaiya’s hand to waddle to Levi.
You nudge Levi’s foot and he stretches his arms out for her. Rina concentrates on Levi, smiling as he gets closer and closer as she walks towards him. But she’s small and she’s clumsy, so she lands on her fresh overalls, knees in the dirt.
Levi is about to jump to his feet but you stop him with a hand to his chest. Rina only stands up with wobbly legs before resuming her walk to Levi.
She nearly jumps into his lap and bounces in his arms when he holds her close. Levi adjusts her sparkly purple headband and Rina just beams at him, standing on her feet and tugging the strands of hair that fall into his eyes. 
“Daddy,” Rina whispers and reaches into her pocket. She pulls out a few pieces of grass and shoves it in his face. “For you, daddy.”
Her fingers are dirty, coated in soil and dirt and Levi winces. But how can he focus on that when his baby is offering him the gift of the earth?
“Thank you, Rina,” Levi says quietly and kisses her forehead. Rina smiles, satisfied, before settling in his lap and giggling when you pull funny faces at her.
Levi hugs his youngest close, gesturing for Kaiya to come join him. She immediately plops down next to him and Levi wraps an arm around her shoulder.
“You’re getting too tall,” Levi says to Kaiya, who takes it as a compliment.
“My teacher says I’m tallest,” Kaiya beams at him. He pats her head affectionately.
“Come here, mommy,” Kaiya calls. Not like you were too far, anyway. Rina is busy playing with Levi’s long fingers and clutching them in her chubby hands. She gasps when she sees you approaching, outstretching her arms for your attention. You come bearing freshly cut fruit and juice before sitting down next to Levi and pecking his cheek.
“Mommy has melons,” You chirp and Levi snorts. 
“Yeah, she does,” Levi says with an upturn of his lips. Only you catch the teasing bite of his tone.
“Mello!” Rina chirps happily, eyeing the watermelon in your plate.
“It’s for you Rina,” You say, and cut up the piece into smaller pieces.
Levi lives for quiet summer nights like this- nights with his girls with the setting sun and a light breeze. Nights with you in a cute sundress, Kaiya and Rina smiling and laughing. 
He doesn’t think he can ever get used to how his girls’ laugh makes his heart swell.
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tags: @simpingmaize​ @captainchrisstan​ @kentobean​ @alrightberries​ @puredivinity​ @regalillegal​ @castellandiangelo​
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gaiuswrites · 9 months ago
King of Cups || Chapter 5
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Chapter 5: The Moon
Archive: ao3 | masterlist | four
Pairing: Din Djarin x fem!Reader
Summary: All relationships are about give and take.
Word count: 7k~
Rating: Explicit (Mature until the last few paragraphs)
Warnings/tags: nightmares, trauma, drinking, fluff and pining, drugs/being drugged (medicinal), wound care, blood, shots/needles, mature themes/language, emo shit, masturbation (f)
Notes: Hi friends. This is broken up in two portions: the first, being in Nevarro, and the second taking place some time later (hopefully that becomes clear when you read it heh). I'm hoping I captured the varying, distinct tones in each of the sections. Please feel free to reach out to me. :) Enjoy x (gif credit: @skyshipper)
They come at night.
The visions.
Your legs are rock, crumbling - eroding - with each weighted step, trudging through the city you once knew, laid bare to waste all around you. The air is grey brown, chalked with dust—with ash. There are bodies lining the road like trimmed hedges, floating by their ankles—ugly, corporal zeppelins. They’re pale. Their eyes are burned to coal and their tongues hang dead and waxy from their mouths.
They begin the same, choreographed like this; you follow the paths your mind has carved out for you, time and time again.
You spot him, plated in silver at the end of the row. Your feet stop. You see him, and he sees you. You feel his eyes - hawkish, piercing - under the murk of his visor. A predator’s gaze. He’s got a man in his fist—you think you recognize him, you might not—held by the scruff of his neck.
Sometimes it’s X’elo, bending to break in his gloved grasp. Other times, a stranger—a half remembered photograph—a memory of a memory of another dream entirely.
And sometimes, it’s you.
You hear the howl of wind scream through your bones—through the bones of the ruins there—but you don’t feel it. There’s only heat—the kind that’s unavoidable and omnipresent, as heavy as guilt. The hunter brings his hands to frame the man’s temples—yours too, sometimes— pebbles and slate trembling off you as you move towards them. You’re running, you realize, immobile but running and you’re not sure how or why—you never get there in time to find out.
He snaps his neck. You hear the crunch in your own ear—inside your own head.
It becomes night—blood moons drip wet from the sky. They splash onto the dirt. It turns to mud, caking the underside of your boots, squelching as you walk. You round a corner and—
You don’t recognize this. This is new. This— no, this is wrong.
A door. Rutted, freestanding—a dark monolith.
You stutter in your sleep, a crease in your brow.
It’s just a door.
No, not here—
A door. Black wood, a brass handle. Just a door, and you’re sweating. Just a door, and you’re suffocating—you’re being smothered—like your outsides are clawing to get back in through your throat and it’s sucking you in—this door, it’s just a door, it’s just a—closer, nearer, looming taller overhead—
You gasp awake, clutching at the scratchy blanket drenched cold with your sweat. Your rasps echo against the hull, sharp pants scraping the hollow metal, and you bring a hand to your chest—steadying, steadying, the fear of your racing heart.
You sit up, throwing your legs over the edge of the cot, and rake a shaky hand through your hair—the damp of the strands sticking to the nape of your neck. Your breathing evens out, tampering, with your forearms braced on the plats of your thighs; the rise and fall of your breasts against your sleep shirt quiet until you’ve stilled.
You roll off the bed, the aluminum frame whining with the shift, and you knock a knee into one of the carbonite pods as you stumble out of the storage room—your bedroom, now.
You couldn’t handle much more of it. You bought a bedroll the first planet you stopped to refuel at after Bajic, hermitting yourself away into the bowels of his ship. It was the only smidgen of untapped real estate left in the Crest, and it was far be it from you to complain about location. You were just thankful to be out of that copilot’s chair—no amount of bacta could unwind the knots in your neck after sleeping there night after restless night.
So you bunked with the bounties Mando had brought in, like one big macabre slumber party—the chrome slabs slotted up - watchful - in their chambers.
You try not to spare it much thought.
Padding through the Crest, soft bare feet leaving crescents on the steel deck, you step into the fresher to splash water on your face, jolting you back into the present and out of the nightmare, out of—
Just a door.
You towel off, patting yourself dry. Inhaling, your lungs expand with the massive rush of air, and you hold it there until it hurts, until it prickles the corners of your eyes, and finally - deliberately - you release.
You look into the mirror.
You blink. She blinks back.
You make breakfast now.
It’s not something you both agreed to, it’s just something you do. Funny, how quickly you adapt to new normals, to new routines. You have rituals now—you two. You make breakfast, and you leave a bowl for him out on the counter before you slip into the shower. When you get out, the bowl is empty and the dishes are washed clean, drying face down on a rag. You smile. You never speak of it. Like ivy crawling up cobbled walls towards the sun, it happens— without prompt or feed, it simply is.
Nevarro reminds you of Dallenor—the craggy blandness of it, the endless black sands—and you fight the urge to hate it solely based on this principal alone.
You stay on the ship with the little one while Mando goes into town, meeting with some Greef Karga character to sew up Guild business. You have no idea how he ever managed to get any hunting done with the kid always acting up, pulling hijinks and inciting anarchy. He’s nearly torn the whole place to shreds. How such a tiny body can produce such a massive wake of damage is a mystery you will never solve.
You make yourself watch.
You force your jaw, set and held, as Karga’s men haul the quarries out of the ship, hovering eerily down the ramp.
X’elo, the smuggler from Vohai, some two-bit thief, and a woman Mando caught before you met, all parading single file out of the Crest like a funeral procession. They’re criminals, each and every one—they’re violent and they’ve done terrible, irredeemable things—but they’re people, too.
And isn’t that what makes it all so cruel. So sad.
The least you can do is give them an ounce of dignity before they’re subjected to their fate— however harsh, however fair.
So, you watch.
Maybe they don’t deserve it—they’re here by their own hand, after all, a bed of their own making— and maybe they haven’t earned it back any. But perhaps it’s less about what you can offer them and more about what you refuse to let the galaxy take. Because don’t you deserve to stay unfragmented? Complete? Would you rather be robbed of this humanity, your sense of decency—have it stolen from you?
Doesn’t it cost you nothing to be kind?
You pray neither sound nor fury will strip you of this—this open-eyed tenderness. You beg that you remain, undistilled, despite despite despite.
You’re so much more relaxed now then when you first came on board. You were as quiet as a church mouse then, tip toeing around the ship like you were afraid you’d ruin her.
Din will never admit it, but you even managed to get the jump on him once or twice—appearing exactly when and where he least expected. And he didn’t - couldn’t have - he didn’t expect you.
And he looks at you now: lit by lamplight—the kerosene filament flickering warm in the dark hull— slotted back and humming to yourself as you swipe a finger over a holopad, feet propped up on a crate by the table, and it all looks organic. Right.
The drink in your hand, sloshing against the amber jug, no doubt eases your mood. You’re drinking it right from the bottle. He thinks it’s fucking charming.
“Enjoying yourself?”
“Maker above,” you hiss, startling a foot out of your seat. You shoot him an accusatory glare, but there’s no malice in it—there’s laughter ringing around your eyes.
Honestly, that man needs a bell on him.
“Don’t let me interrupt you,” he comments dryly, stepping past.
You move your legs from their perch and sit a little straighter. “You- you could join me,” you chime, “if you want.”
His feet slow until he’s stopped completely and he pans over his shoulder to you. You can’t read his expression—it’s steel all the way through— but you think you feel the air around you both quiver - shudder - with something unspoken, something kinetic.
The scrape of the chair as he pulls it out from the table is deafening, the thunk of his metal body sinking into it even louder.
“What are you reading?” Mando asks.
You cast him a sheepish smile. “CoreWorld News.”
“Anything good?”
Your mouth twists, biting the inside of your cheek. “Never.”
He huffs a breathy chuckle.
There didn’t seem to be any good news anymore. You forage for it—scouring the net for just a whiff of it, of something pure. There is plenty of greatness left in the world, but you find that what it lacks most is goodness— humble and precious. More often than not, you come up empty and disappointed—but never so dissuaded that you do not search again the next day, and the day after that, and after that and after that again.
“How’d it go with Karga?” you ask, setting the holopad down and switching off the display.
“Fine. Good.”
“Good,” you smile. He’s terse—sparse. You think it’s endearing now—vexing too, without a doubt, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive anymore.
“Nothing close to Coruscant yet. More outer rim chaavla,” he grits out, swallowing. “I’m sorry.”
There’s a tickle of bemusement in your voice and a quirk to your chin. “What are you apologizing for?”
“I know you want to get back.”
You hope the glow from the lantern in the galley is dim enough to camouflage the tinge sprung on your cheeks. The truth is becoming more and more clear to you, whether you like it or not: with each passing day, you want to go back to Coruscant less and less. You have to—you know you have to. You have your career, your whole life, waiting for you. But—
“You told me it would take a while—longer than I’d like.”
“I know.”
“I’m happy to be here— I-I’m grateful,” you catch yourself.
He clenches his fist under the table, beyond your line of sight, gnarled tight into a ball. It tethers him down, anchoring him in place—because if he weren’t, fuck, he’d fly out of his seat so fast—
“Alright,” he chokes out.
“Alright,” you smile, glassy.
There’s a kind of mist encircling you two, an incense of a sort, intoxicating and sinewy and lulling you into a hushed calm. It’s thick around you - lush - and you can feel it settle like lead behind your eyes.
“Can I pour you a drink—for later?”
It’s late into the evening, well beyond the hour where the lines of decorum blur. You’ve crossed into the Other—that tarred, limber undertow. Dangerously weightless and free. The liminality between here and there— that twilight place.
Shadows bounce along the walls. Your outline—his too.
“I’d like that.”
You’re not as tipsy as you could be, but you’re less sober than you’d like.
Subconsciously, buried somewhere deep, you’re aware that Mando is humoring you and that you should let him get on with his night—but you don’t.
You’ll be annoyed at yourself later for this.
“Okay okay, what are your hobbies?”
A deadpan tilt of his helmet. “I—I don’t understand the question.”
You gape at him, your bottom lip glossed as it parts, plush and wet, and you laugh. “Hobbies,” you reiterate. “You know, stuff you like to do? For fun?”
You see the gears under that helm wheel and spin. It shouldn’t take anyone this long. The question is basic and the answer should be relatively immediate—but Mando has to mull it over. In all of his cycles, as hardened as they’ve been, he hasn’t been gifted the luxury of leisure - fun - and he hasn’t been afforded the time to dwell on the lack of it.
Selfless, without a moment of ownership to himself. This is the way.
“I-,” he pauses, mouth clamping shut. “Skip.”
“Fine, fine,” you tut. “What is... your favorite planet?”
Din stretches back, his beskar groaning against the chair.
All the planets he’d visited were out of necessity—out of demand and credit, never because he wanted to be there and certainly never out of favor. They were tainted—made insipid and unremarkable by the quarries he chased to them.
But there is one in particular that stands out; he remembers a planet the kid seemed to like—how he babbled the whole time, slung in the satchel at his hip, entranced and enthralled. He was on his best behavior, too—the little womp rat didn’t even try to stuff his tiny, wrinkled face with anything. Not once.
“Adega,” you repeat, testing the name. “I don’t think I’ve heard of it. What’s it like?”
He draws in a long breath, his ribs yawning against the corset of his armor.
He should’ve gotten up by now—fuck, he shouldn’t have ever sat down in the first place. It’s not like he didn’t have anything to do; he needs to downshift the Crest’s power converters, switch off the shield projectors, chart a course to his next job, get some damn sleep if he’s lucky…
But you’re here before him. You’re here and he can’t deny you—not when you’re looking at him like that, like the sun shines out from his fucking face—far softer, far kinder than he deserves. Not when you’re here now, and you won’t be for much longer.
He’s racing against the clock—the swinging inevitability of it. Each moment he shares with you, is a moment that brings him closer to taking you back.
Din is a fool. He knows he’ll lose. He races anyways.
“It’s a water planet—mostly ocean,” he begins.
You allow your eyes to dip close, savoring the description, and you tuck your legs up to fold over themselves.
“But there are islands. Some are small, private—with red trees that go all the way to the sand. Others have whole cities on them.”
You remain quiet - patient - like marble, chiseled and sanded as thin as chiffon, veiling over your face in fine, cascading sheets. Transparent - ethereal - you listen to him blind, letting his words guide your sight.
“The kid-"
Your tongue darts out over your lip and he stutters. Din has to shift his hips, relieving the growing heat that’s tightening below his waist.
“T-The uh, the kid loved it. I’d never seen him like that. The bogwing didn’t want to leave,” he chuckles. He conjures the details he thinks you want—the details he thinks you might like most. “The people are honest—generous. The days are long, and the nights are warm.”
He’s no poet, but it doesn’t bother you.
“I can see it,” you say, before blinking your eyes open. "I'll have to go some time." There’s pink on your cheeks, seeping past your jaw and below the neckline of your shirt to the swallow of your breasts.
You look at him— he looks at you.
A noise hums from somewhere inside the ship.
“Are you scared of anything?” you murmur.
Mando lets a beat pass.
“I don’t think so. Not yet.” You smile at that—small, wistful. You’re not even sure why. “You?” he asks.
Your chest rises with a deep inhale. “I used to be scared of dying. I thought I was gonna die young. I was convinced—I had dreams about it all the time as a kid.”
But maybe that’s not it entirely. Maybe it’s not the fear of dying itself, but the dread of living and dying alone. And isn’t that at the heart of it—at all of this?
I just don’t want to do this all on my own.
He’s never been privy to this version of you—this sloping tone, the liquor buzzing through your speech, churning your words to treacle. You sound nonchalant in way that’s jarring, as if you aren’t talking about death— the fear of your own tenuous mortality.
“But I bet everyone does,” you continue dismissively, “just one of those things.”
He’s almost cautious when he replies. “I’m not sure they do.”
Your expression contorts, knotting for an agonizing moment—until the tension all but disappears. “Huh,” you shrug flippantly, and take a swig. That heaviness, that fog, dissipates nearly as soon as it arrived. “Anyways, favorite color?”
He rolls his eyes; you can see it in the way he tilts his head to you. Really, he seems to say, how old are we?
“You’re right, you’re right— that’s low brow. I can do better…” You melodramatically tap your chin, eyeing him pensively.
“Okay. What’s that?”
“What’s what?”
“That,” you nod to his pauldron, “that symbol on your shoulder.”
Tawny fingertips trace absentmindedly over the emblem. “It’s a Mudhorn. It’s-” Mando hesitates, before his hand returns to his lap. “It’s the sigil of my clan.”
You arch your brow. “I didn’t realize you had a clan— is it- is it like, big?” Stars, you sound dumb—and there’s no excuse. You’re not even that drunk. “How- what is a clan, exactly?”
“In Mandalorian culture, your clan is your family. Aliit. Mine, it’s—it’s a clan of two.”
Something in the pit of you stirs, a sickly warmth, pulling at your gut like a rope. You glance over to where the child sleeps, snuggled away in his pram and your lips curl into a smile, hidden behind the bottle you bring to them.
“You’re lucky to have each other,” you say gently, taking another sip.
“We almost didn’t—shouldn’t have.”
His hands tense into his legs—the creak of leather against his thigh plates is audible even from where you sit.
You narrow your eyes curiously. He heaves.
“He was a bounty and I did my job. I turned him in. I went back for him, but—the kid, he saved my life, and I could’ve left him there—I would’ve, before.”
It all comes out like tires grinding through gravel, bruised and roughened. It’s regret, you realize—this is the sound of guilt, frigid and rued, pushing through his modulator. It makes you want to reach out to him, put your hand on his, comfort him, reassure him—something. But you can’t. He’s too far away. He’s on his own sea—untouchable.
You decide it right then and there: you can’t bare that sound, the wracked timbre of it. You hate it. You think you’d do anything to rid the way in constricts his throat—makes him hoarse and clipped, even through the guise of his helmet. It pains you, a visceral stabbing, right to your core. You could go a lifetime without hearing it, and it still wouldn’t be long enough.
“But you didn’t,” you offer.
“No,” he utters. “No, I didn’t.”
Mando gives you these tortuous, beautiful previews of himself. Like light passing through stained glass, you sneak brief glimpses of the paintings there, the stories and fables and the lessons they teach, until some great cloud drifts past, blotting out the sun, and all goes dark again.
You know this is rare. You know you’ll be home soon. You know to cherish it—to relish what he gives, when he gives it, if he gives it at all.
But—you want more. You’re a simple woman, at the end of all things: all you want is to hold him.
“I think you’re a better man than you let on, Mando.” There’s a knowing twinkle in your eye, a coy lilt to your loosened tongue. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were flirting.
“You don’t know that,” he huffs, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I have my suspicions." You're smirking something awful - deadly - as it sears into him.
He grunts, flames licking up his chest. Din has to bite back his grin, making careful it doesn’t shape the sound of his vowels; grateful for the helmet that buffers him, the mask that seals him away into anonymity, into apathy.
If he can convince you, maybe he can convince himself too. Maybe.
“Next question, dala.”
If he didn’t know any better, he’d think you were flirting.
Your eyes are blown wide, gawking at him.
“I’m not a medic, Mando—I’m not a fucking surgeon!”
Mando crashes through the Razor Crest, red dollops trailing in pools behind him. He grunts, hand pressed to his side, blood pushing out of the gash that’s torn into him— a canyon down his unplated body, spewing angry and insistent with each spasm of his heart.
With a broad stroke, he sweeps the clutter off the table and onto the floor, spraying across the deck.
“Medkit,” he barks, hoisting himself up to lie, hulking and pained, out on the slab. You scamper to it, ripping it off the wall, and return to his lumbering body. His breathing is labored—he’s forcing it, seething it out.
Mando’s legs bend off the table at an uncomfortable angle and he rasps when you crane them up by his booted ankles – fuck, he’s heavy – to situate a small crate under his feet. They drop with a dulled thud— without muscle, without resistance. The languid weight of a dying man.
You’re stationed beside him, medkit spilled open. “W-What now, what do you need?”
“I need you,” you heard him say, deep and bassy, as he ascended the ramp. With a colossal drum of your heart, you spun around - I need you - a blush stippling your jaw. The pregnant expectation built behind weeks and weeks of stalemates and stolen glances - I need you - all rearing to a head here and now and finally, finally something—until you saw him, doubled over, bracing himself on the wall, a line of blood smearing behind his palm.
“Bacta-“ Mando wheezes, “bacta shot.”
You rifle through the supplies, littering them as you dig through the box.
Sure, you had gotten your first aid certification with the Movement—it was required, and you retook the courses every few cycles. But that was gauze wrappings and mouth-to-mouth and anti-inflammatory tablets—that was not this, and this is fucking surgery. You’re out of your depth—and Mando must be out of his damn mind.
“I nee-“ He inhales sharply, and his body spasms, gripping the ledge of the table like a vice. “My chest plate—take it off.”
He’s told you bits and parcels of the Mandalorian way—of his Creed— and you aren’t under the impression that this would be strictly sanctioned.
“M-Mando, I thought— are you sure?”
“Yes I’m kriffing sure—do it. Just do it,” he snaps. He hates this—he fucking hates this. Soft. Weak—weak weak weak, he’s so fucking weak. Laandur.
You fumble over the armor, uncoordinated as you unclasp it from his cuirass and Mando strangles out a sigh as soon as it leaves him. At last, you fish the shot from the medkit and hold it up to the light, the medicine like venom as it whirls in the tube. It’s uncomfortably large—simply holding it makes you squirm.
“W-What is that?”
Your eyes flit over the needle and then back to the bounty hunter. “What do you mean ‘what is that’? It’s a shot.”
“That’s a lance,” he growls.
“It’s ebacta-”
“It’s green!” he hisses out incredulously.
“It’s all they had!” you bite back, panic skipping through your veins.
You’re practically yelling at each other, the tension winding and coiling tighter and higher as the seconds tick by. You feel each one, tapping along your vertebra like a metronome, keeping time, keeping time, wasting time—all this back and forth is a waste of time and—
You’re nervous—you’re fucking terrified—and Mando doesn’t frequent this position either—this vulnerability. He doesn’t know what to do with it, where he belongs in it. I need you, he said. He hadn’t needed anyone before and now look at him, bare breasted before you, wounded and mewling like roadkill.
You rap the needle with a knuckle, banishing the air pocket, and test the plunger. Droplets of liquid spurt from the tip, and he begins to rile.
“Dala,” he warns.
“Mando,” you mimic.
“Nu draar-”
“Do you want my help or not?” you spit out, and he shrinks, visor trained on the jab, that unnatural chartreuse swirling inside the glass vial. “Okay. Okay, on three.”
“Wait, wait-"
“One..." You try to sound firm - competent - but you’re a fucking mess. Your breathing is erratic, tunic soiled with sweat, and you’re trembling.
“You don’t-“
Mando huffs exasperatedly, “Ah, fuck it-”
You drive the syringe down, stabbing into him. His body seizes—flexing rigid—as soon as the viscous gel is injected, oozing oozing oozing until it’s pumped empty and spent.
And then— nothing.
All that whirlwinded frenzy, that raging tempest, and now silence— dead silence. He lays there motionless, fidgeting ceased, that ungodly needle pitched like a flag pole from his chest.
… Shit.
“Hey,” you touch a hand to his shoulder.
The smug bastard could be having a laugh under that helmet and you’d have no idea. That’s what you tell yourself—that’s what you’d prefer to believe anyways; it’s better than the alternative, better than—than than than fuck—
“Hey, this isn’t funny...” A little rougher now, you jostle him. He doesn’t react.
“… Mando?”
His head lolls to the side.
With a whistle, the room goes mute. Sound and oxygen alike, it all gets vacuumed out, and your senses invert. You can hear every tick of your body: the bone of your jaw as your teeth mash together, the pulse at your wrist, your stammering heart beating beating beating in your inner ear, the bob of your trachea as it grates against your neck.
Kriff. You killed him—you killed the Mandalorian.
Oh Maker, oh shit-
You press down around the puncture site with a wide palm before yanking the syringe out, flinging it away. You’re shaking him now, wrestling with his limp body, and you’re shouting—croaked with worry, with fear.
“Fuck, Mando—Mando!"
The sound is like glass shattering.
He gasps wildly, gulping down air as if he’d been drowned, writhing like the undead from your operating table. You buckle over him, fatigued and slumped, and cry out in blessed relief.
Your instincts, those poor frail nerves, tell you to smack him—but given that he’s bleeding out, you refrain.
“Don’t do that to me!” you exclaim, breathy and strained.
“Don’t do that to you?” Mando retorts, panting. You let out a weak crackle of laughter and he moans. It’s like he’s been hit by a speeder - twice - forward and then reversed over again.
“Maker, what did you give to me?”
“I got it on Vohai. They uhm- they said it was good quality-“
“And you believed them?”
Your mouth twists shyly. “I-I wanted to believe them,” you correct him.
It’s his turn to laugh now, tired and raw. Oh, you sweet little thing.
You swallow, saliva coating your ragged windpipe. “I’m sorry—Maker, I’m so sorry, a-are you alright?”
“Yeah,” he scoffs, gargled, “but remind me never to have you save my life again.”
That earns him a light slap to his arm. If he’s well enough to dole cheap shots, you figure he’s fit enough to take yours too. He’s spliced open, whole chunks of him missing, and he still has the wherewithal to be an ass.
“Well, you’re not out of the woods just yet.”
Regrettably, Mando might have been spot on about the bacta—in fact, you’re starting to question whether it’s really bacta at all.
A delirious grunt ripples through the bounty hunter’s modulator as you cut open his ripped flight suit, careful not to slice him with the vibroblade. His black undershirt is matted to his gaping wound, the blood bubbled over and through the rough material, and you have to peel the fibers out of his coagulating flesh to get to it. You toss the fabric into the bucket next to you with a sloppy, wet plop.
It didn’t even occur to you. You were so swept away by the state of him—by the dizzying carnival of it all as soon as Mando breached the Crest—you didn’t consider the fact that you’d be seeing him. Touching him.
You have to mask your expression when you meet his skin for the first time. He’s golden—he’s golden everywhere—like desert sand dunes sizzling under ripe, afternoon suns—dappled with memories of violence, branded into him.
You’ve never heard him like this. He keeps noising these feverish little nothings— gasping, moaning in a language you don’t recognize—and you do your best to distract him. It’s one of the tenets you recall from your aid training: keep them talking, keep them sharp—engaged.
“Do each of these have a story?” you ask, eyeing the marks that riddle and pucker him.
“Some of them.”
“What about this one here?” You touch a faded ribbon of scarring. It’s older than the others—paler. Your fingertips are cool and he blazes beneath them.
He tries not to twitch. You try not to notice.
“Fell out of a tree when I was a kid—haven’t thought about that in a while,” Mando pants. “B-Broke my wrist, got scraped to shit— my buir, m-my mother, she chewed my ear off.”
“Mm, I bet she did,” you smirk—you can relate to the feeling.
“I-I remember the lines around her eyes. H-Her eyes— they were green, bright green— jade.”
He lets out a wince as you swipe a disinfectant soaked rag over him. You cringe and flash him an apologetic look.
“Sounds beautiful,” you muse, a quiet smile pulling at you as your deft fingers work. “Did you get her pretty eyes too, Mando?”
Something is caught in his throat— a chuckle, or a cough more likely. “No, they’re brown. Just brown.”
Your whole body locks.
Just brown.
Two words - just brown - and suddenly you’re rich— full to the brim with him.
And fuck, if it doesn't feels like a gift. Like he gathered something precious and laid it in your arms and said here, you can have this now. We can share. Sometimes you forget that there’s a man under all those layers; a man— a warm blooded, tanned skin, brown eyed man. You hadn’t often wondered what the Mandalorian was hiding under his armor—he was so finite, so unmovable, the mask he wore became him. He was beskar - indistinguishably - through and through.
But that was before. And now you’re blinded with him— with all the details you cannot unsee.
“S-She was the last person to take care of me—like this.”
It comes over you so suddenly, you’re taken aback by it: that knee-jerking gut wrench. And not because there’s heartbreak in his voice, but because there isn’t. Because he’s had to be so invulnerable—so unyielding and invincible for so long—that he doesn’t even realize what he’s without.
And you, if only for a silly, naïve moment, wish you could give it back to him. Every little ounce of goodness that he’s been deprived of—to dip into his time stream, and rewrite.
To plant but a seed of it there, even if you don’t stay long enough to see it’s harvest.
“Tell me more about her,” you say.
And beyond expectation, beyond reason, he does.
This—this is wrong.
He feels pulpy - soggy - wrong. He’s more liquid than he should be—there’s nothing solid about him now. He’s swept away in the tide of it—this green current charging through him and he let’s go - what is there to hold onto anyways? - floating belly up on his back.
Din spills—like the aperture split into his side, he gushes. Whatever dam he’s forged around himself, the beskar and duracrete there, cracks.
The stream trickles until he floods and like any good story, he starts from the beginning.
He tells you of home—his first home. Aq Vetina.
You’re plucking spikes and nettle from his side, and he barely feels it—all he has is this sinking, unending wet—and they hit the tray with dull plunks, punctuated and staccatoed.
He tells you of the adobe dwellings and the domes and columns. Marketplace canopies and caravan bazaars.
The oak trees, the willow bark, the spires he’d climb until the sun set.
The tall mountains and the dry, rubbled earth. Of the nameless neighbor children he played with, kicking a ball through the dirt. Red robes trailing, fraying.
His mother. The shawl she wore. The copper of his father’s ring. The herbs she grew by the light from their kitchen window. How he held her hand while they sat by the fire.
His tongue doesn’t belong to him—it wags numb and supple. He’s lost his sense of direction, unbound by north or south, and these words are simply happening to him. They keep happening and happening and escaping and—
It’s not just the off-bacta speaking for him, making him pliant. He wants this. He wants to bend—he wants to bend for you.
And now there’s no stopping it—there’s no breaking this, no halting it's downhill momentum. Din describes the attack, the heat of the fire as his town - his world - burned down, of his parents concealing him—a child, abandoned and bunkered away in a cellar to live or die with or without them— being rescued by the Death Watch and raised as a Mandalorian himself.
Your bandaging has long since finished, but you remain, hovering over him as you listen—listen as the jigsawed shards of his life stitch themselves together. Like a moth to a flame, you are drawn in and in and in, until you’re butted against the wick of it. Inseparable.
When the well of his words runs dry, neither of you go to move. Pin-drop silence envelops you. Your hands still on his chest, palms like a weighted quilt—warming him, securing him. He feels-
He feels safe.
“Mando,” you murmur, and the epithet has never sounded so fucking sacred, whispered from you like a prayer. You cripple him; the web of concern along your brow, the sheen in your eyes, the breathy part of your lips.
His throat has gone dry and he shakes his head left right, beskar grating against the makeshift gurney. Mando. No. No, that’s not right—that’s not who he is, that’s not who he wants you to know.
He draws his hand up—it’s so fucking heavy, he can barely lift it—but he tries, he tries, he wants to. You’re right here, you’re touching his chest and you’re healing his body—his mind too, if he’d only let you—and if he could just get to you. If he could just lace his fingers with yours—would you let him? Should you?
“M-My name-"
A warbled wail from the kid’s alcove rips through the cradling hush, and you both react immediately, lurching up to tend to the child. Din forgets—he hears his foundling and his reason leaves him—and he flinches with a grimace. You urge him down, steadying him with a pointed look.
It’s a command, there’s no question to it, and it’s teeming with all of these unrecognizable concepts— care and assurance, worry and compassion. So impossible to disobey in the way that gentle things are—too soft and too right to say no to. He relents - gives - helmet thudding when it connects back with the table.
Din, he pleads, desperate for you to read his mind. Like a mantra, his subconscious rambles it on a drug addled figure-eight, coming around only to repeat itself again, infinite and wanting. Din Din Din-
Only when the child’s cries muffle into hiccups and his hiccups slur into coos does he let his exhaustion get the better of him. There was too much—it was an assault from all fronts. The blood loss, the drugs, his life like a monsoon as it crushed him open. And all it took was a wound, a brush with his mortality, for him to surrender it to you.
He turns his head, searching for you through the blur of his vision. You’re there in the doorway, rocking his boy in your arms, haloed with light.
I need you, he said. I need you I need you I need you I need-
Din’s eyes shut.
He doesn’t dream. He sleeps like the dead, blissful and undisturbed.
You spend hours scrubbing the deck on all fours, spine hunched and aching, cleaning scarlet off silver steel. It got everywhere, the splatter of it—even on the surfaces Mando didn’t come in contact with. The smell of blood, that nickel musk, it lingers long after its welcome—long after the stain of it, the stain of him, has vanished from the Crest. From your skin.
At some point during the night you nod off next to him, curled over a crate, and when you wake Mando is gone—presumably back to his quarters but gone all the same. All traces of him gone - expunged - and the ship feels hollow and gaping— a sterile Mando shaped hole in his absence. You follow his lead, retreating to your bed for a few more hours of sleep.
The next morning doesn’t go as you’d like.
You weren’t sure if he would remember any of it—of what he confided, of what he almost confessed— but by the way the tension ferments between you, you can only assume he does.
They go through their routines, stilted as they are.
He’s up early— unnecessarily early. Mando goes to the cockpit to rouse the ship, plugging in the coordinates from his tracking fob to chase after the escaped bounty. Thrusters set. Repulorlifts and auxiliary engines engaged. Deflector shield generator on. Weapons check. Atmospheric pressure regulator switched.
He’s slower, you note— his movements are crawled—with only half the feline agility he typically possesses and you want to tell him to sit, to take a break—to get off his damn feet and to let you help him—that it’s okay if he rests. That he can take time for himself. That it doesn’t make him any less of a Mandalorian—any less of a man.
But, you can’t.
And so the day is pulled taut like this—a bowed string ready to snap, chalked full of false starts and tinny stoicism. A sharp, intentional air of avoidance with every action. They were out of step, out of sync, and it reminds you of the first days you’d spent on the Razor Crest, orbiting each other—planets apart.
Because he’s shared too much. You knocked, Din answered. He opened the door and he let you past and now he has nowhere left to go but inwards. He’s cornered with no exit strategy - no option - but to close back up again and furl in on himself like a fern in the dark. Curling - evaporating - until he’s nothing but armor—nothing but mirrored edges and metal plates.
you still made his breakfast and he still washed your dishes—and maybe that is enough.
You pass each other in the corridor, as you have done before.
You smile gently—soft as sin— and it breaks him, like it always does.
You have a hand on the rung of the ladder when he calls your name, and you turn to him, bright eyed.
“Thank you,” he rasps, “I never thanked you.”
He’s so strikingly sincere— standing there, arms dangling stiff by his sides. He looks different now, somehow— different, but the same. Fuller, bigger—smaller, too.
Human, you realize.
Your heart flutters in your chest. “Of course, Mando-“
You forget to breath. Time forgets to move.
“My name is Din.”
Din. Din Djarin.
It takes you almost a week to say it—to even utter the syllable aloud—and you only ever risk it when he’s gone on a hunt and you know you’re alone.
“You like it when I touch you like this?” you hear him say, the fabricated echo of his voice in your skull. He’s got two fingers in you—you can envision them now, clear and potent, the golden hide of them—and he moves slow as he takes you right to the edge, dancing dastardly along that cliff side before retracting himself and backing off. You can’t see his face, but you know he’s smirking; you can feel it in his fingertips, how they mock you—how they scorch into you and leer.
Even in your fantasy, he’s a prick.
“You like it when I make you cum on this filthy fucking cot?”
You keen into your hand, whimpering into your bitten raw lips. The scene is playing on without you now, writing itself. All you can do is lay here and take it, succumb to it, starved and desperate and vile as you thrash on your bedroll.
You rove your palm over your chest—
He snakes up your shirt, twisting your nipple until it’s peaked and perked under him, until you yelp with that muddled jolt of pleasure and pain. He’s lazy and fitfully unhurried, each movement sauntered and proud. He’s coaxing it out of you, this orgasm, as he kneels over you, your vision flooded with the cold menace of his beskar. Finally, tortuously, he traces his thumb over your clit, toying with you in small circles until you’re shaking—vibrating, every molecule of you—like you’re going to burst, incinerate there in your bed. He’s urgent now, demanding, and thrusting into your swollen cunt and the pressure mounting in your heat swells until, until, oh my st-
You fuck your fingers until they prune, drenched with the thought of him teasing you, stuffing you full with anything he’ll give you; his hands, his cock—Maker, his tongue. You let it roll around your mouth when you touch yourself like this in the dark belly of the ship—heels digging into your thin mattress, knees steepled together—and you’re panting, wanton and velvet, before a fist shoots up to muffle the moaned name wafting from your lips like smoke.
@girlimjusttryingtoreadfanfics @pedros-mustache @miranhas-art @djarrex @djarinsbeskar @bookloverfilmoholic @keeper0fthestars @misguidedandbeguiled
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togglesbloggle · 11 months ago
How We Decided
The day after tomorrow- that is, February 18, 2021- the Perseverance rover will attempt to land on the surface of Mars.  It will enter the planetary atmosphere at an acute angle, giving it as much time as possible to experience drag and slow down from orbital velocities.  Because Mars’ air is so thin, and the rover is so heavy, this will fail- in the best case, Perseverance would still be going almost a thousand miles an hour when it impacts the surface.  To help save itself, the craft will deploy a parachute of advanced design, seventy feet across and able to withstand supersonic velocities.  This, too, will fail.  Even with a parachute, there is simply not enough air between Perseverance and the Martian surface to slow it down all the way.  So this is where the rockets kick in.  Once air resistance slows the rover to a bit less than two hundred miles per hour, the heavy heat shield will be jettisoned, and a system of secondary rockets will fire against the direction of motion until it slows to near-hovering.  In a final flourish, the rover will descend from the rocket-boosted frame on coiled springs, until it touches down in the western part of Jezero crater in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
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As it happens, Perseverance’s destination was one of the very last things we decided about it- not until the craft itself was fairly thoroughly engineered and designed.  Formally, the decision was made by the mission directorate.  In practice, they follow the consensus of the scientific community, which in turn hashes things out at a series of open-invitation workshops.  Things began with a call for white papers- an open suggestion box, basically.  In 2015, the first workshop narrowed things down from thirty serious proposals to eight candidates.  In 2017, the second workshop further winnowed the list down to three.  And in October of 2018, after three days of presentation, debate, and discussion, the final workshop selected Jezero Crater from these final three candidates using a simple vote of all attendees, and passed on the recommendation to the mission leads.
I haven’t been in the business for very long, so the final workshop was the only one of these where I actually participated.  It wasn’t a close vote as such, and I didn’t break any ties, and technically we were just making a strongly worded suggestion.  Nonetheless, my vote is one of the reasons why the Rover will be going to Jezero Crater instead of Syrtis Major or Gusev, and I think I’m entitled to feel ownership of this mission choice, just a little bit.
(This is, of course, terrifying.)
Having gone through the experience, there were a few surprises worth noting.  The first was how small some of the numbers are here.  The conference was not very large: only thirty proposals, debated by just a few hundred attendees.  I’ve seen book review contests with more entries, and that are read by a wider audience.  Which is to say, this is a situation that was, and is, extremely responsive to individual effort.  In that small a room, populated by people that are philosophically committed to changing their minds when they see good evidence or a good argument, one person can stand up and change the future in a very real way.
The second surprise was the attendance requirements.  Or rather, the lack thereof.  The project is public, paid for by American taxpayers, to whom I am profoundly grateful.  And one way the process reflected that public-spiritedness is that this is not a walled garden.  A small attendance fee (iirc, $40?), and you’re in.  You get a vote, if you want to use it.  A few non-scientists even took us up on this; there’s one retiree (a former schoolteacher, I think) that’s attended every major conference I’ve been to in the last few years, and sets up a small table in the back with his home mineral collection just for fun.  In practice this open-door policy is limited by the obscurity of the event itself; if you don’t move in research circles, you have to be something of a space exploration superfan to hear about it.  Still, as symbols go, you could do worse.
And now that we’re coming up on the day itself, the same kind of public-facing mindset is making me think about why I was persuaded to vote for Jezero Crater, what it means to explore there, and how I’d justify that choice to those of you that made the ongoing discovery of Mars possible in the first place.
If you want to know what Perseverance is like, and what you can reasonably do with it, start with Curiosity- the two are built, more or less, on the same chassis.  That means you have a mobile science lab about the size of a Volkswagon Beetle.  Add some mechanical improvements (no more wheel punctures!) and a few bells and whistles (microphone!  helicopter for some reason!).  Trade out some of the scientific instruments- raman spectroscopy instead of a mass spectrometer, for example.  And it’s got these:
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That, dear reader, is a sample return canister.  Not to be returned immediately, alas, but to be returned nonetheless.  One of Persevereance’s primary directives is to find interesting rocks, collect them, and leave them in place for a sample return mission in the early 30s.  There’s a ton of work we can do in situ, but there’s even more we can do in a clean lab back home; things like isotopic analysis really need a much more controlled environment than you’ll get in the field.  And so a major, major consideration is to optimize Perseverance’s landing site for cool rocks that we’d like to take back home.
The other thing that Perseverance is really good at is astrobiology.  There’s no such thing as a life sign detector as such, but this rover represents an attempt to approach that ideal: instruments like SHERLOC and SuperCam are adept at finding organic compounds and fine-scale mineralogy and chemistry that might be influenced by microbial metabolism.  This is a natural extension of what we’ve been learning so far: Spirit and Opportunity showed us that Mars formed under the influence of liquid water.  Curiosity showed us that this was not just wet, but actively habitable: lakes and rivers at a neutral pH under a rich and temperate atmosphere.  The next question along this line is the hardest, and the scariest: we know it was habitable, but was it inhabited?
If you’re like me, that question makes you feel weird.  Collecting rocks is one thing, but a fossil?  The mind rebels.  We’ve spent the last two generations of space exploration tempering our expectations, reminding ourselves that the other worlds in our solar system are largely barren and dead, learning again and again how precious life is in the cosmos.  It’s hard to get in the mindset of people back in the 40s and 50s who could, somewhat reasonably, imagine that Mars might not just host life but multicellular life, vegetation and robust macroscopic ecosystems.  We look back at the science fiction of the era, swarthy soldiers hopping from planet to planet in silver rockets, and laugh at the naivete.  A smile at the exuberance of youth, if we’re feeling generous.  When we were first beginning, we may have imagined ancient canals on Mars and crystal cities on Venus, but that was when space was a blank canvas for us to paint our fantasies.  We’ve learned so much since then, and if it was less fun, at least it was true.  We did the hard thing and accepted reality over fantasy.  We accept that extraterrestrial environments are hostile to life- cratered, silent, and still.  We’re grownups now.
Imagine that we were born just a bit earlier.  Say, three and a half billion years or so.  We raise our telescopes to the sky, and we see a sister-planet.  Not red, but white and blue, with an atmosphere full of clouds and multiple large bodies of water scattered across its surface, prominent ice caps and snow-capped highlands, rivers tracing their way down to the lowlands in the north.  (Maybe the water is all under the ice, not open to the air at the surface; maybe the liquid pools are small and limited to craters, not feeding a large ocean.)  Sober scientists might have suggested we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much- after all, the gravity is much lower, there’s no tectonic recycling, and there’s no protective magnetosphere.  But is sterility really the default assumption we should be making here?  Is ‘we are alone in the cosmos’ really the most sane conclusion to draw from this situation?  Is it not worth, perhaps, sending a rover to go see?
We’ve adapted our sensibilities to a dead solar system because in the moment we’re looking, it kind of is.  We’re hopeful for the icy moons- and the evidence keeps mounting there as well- but the terrestrial planets are a grim reminder of the fragility and contingency of our own world.  The thing is, the more we learn, the more we discover that we’re a bit late to a very, very interesting party.  Venus is a hellscape, but it probably didn’t start that way.  Mars is a desert, but once it was an oasis.  What makes Earth special among the terrestrial worlds isn’t that it developed a temperate climate, but that it kept a temperate climate for more than four billion years.  Stability, not habitability, is the party trick that makes us unique in the solar system.  And if we’re really committed to being grownups, to accepting what’s real instead of what’s easy, we have to learn that lesson too.
And life does not need four billion years to begin.  Not even close.
That brings us to Jezero Crater.  The most interesting feature here is a large river delta- based on some clever geology, we’re pretty sure that a large river emptied into the crater during Mars’ wet period.  When the rapidly-flowing water hit the still water of Lake Jezero, the loose sediments being carried along the current all fell out of suspension at this place, forming a large pile of detritus at the mouth of the river that accumulated over the lifetime of the system.  Even more interesting, check out this geologic map:
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See those tiny teal deposits to the right side of the image?  Those are also river delta deposits.  Which means the thing labeled ‘delta’ on this map isn’t the original extent- it used to be much, much larger, at least twice as wide.  Which also means that the outer edge of the ‘delta’ that we see here in this image is actually an erosional surface, and we get a natural cross-section of the thing with the oldest deposits at the bottom and the youngest at the top, just before Mars lost its hydrosphere.  By climbing the outer edge, we can move through time across a large fraction of the habitable period.
Here’s another image I’d like you to see:
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The crater I’ve been showing you is the small circle in the lower right- color is elevation, covering a span of about 5 km.  The black line is the watershed of that river, the region of Mars that channeled water to the delta.  In other words, the river delta collects sediments- and potentially, biosignatures- from a region hundreds of kilometers in diameter, and gathers them all in one place, neatly sorted by time.
For this reason, ancient deltas on Earth are a favorite of paleontologists.  In addition to being comfortably wet and active itself- plenty of access to biologically important nutrients, fresh supplies of liquid water, and a nice dynamic environment- deltas do the legwork for us.  Rather than exploring a huge fraction of the planet with a tiny rover, hoping that we stumble upon an ancient life sign, we can position ourselves at the mouth of the proverbial fire hose and let life come to us.
This does come with some tradeoffs.  Most importantly, whatever we find, we won’t know the original geologic setting.  If we find an unambiguous fossil of some kind- a microbial mat, perhaps- then we’ll know less than if we’d found it in its original home.  And if we don’t find life, then the samples we take will be similarly uncertain.  They’ll be defined in time, at least relative to one another, but not in space.  In the case of life signs, this is an important caveat, but the bare fact of proving that extraterrestrial life exists is sufficiently monumental that it’s still a secondary concern.  But if we’re just talking about geology, that’s a hard thing to lose; that terrifying multi-stage descent isn’t the only risk we’re taking.  We’re leaning into the astrobiology mission hard with this one.
And the search for life is, in itself, fraught.  That’s putting it mildly.  There’s every chance that any evidence that’s even slightly marginal is going to touch off decades of debate, rather than being some kind of slam-dunk.  As it should!  Life is such a fuzzy concept, and such an important concept, that it should absolutely be held to the highest degree of scrutiny we can muster.  This is why it matters that Perseverance includes sample return- in the highly likely case that the findings are disputed, we’ll hopefully have the chance to subject those samples to the highest degrees of scrutiny.  So it feels like the right time to go hunting.
On top of that, there’s the ‘evidence of absence’ problem.  Strong biosignatures update our priors very hard in the direction of life on Mars.  But what is the correct amount of evidence necessary to convince us that Mars never was alive?  I’m not sure, but failure to find microbial mats in Jezero probably isn’t enough.  So the search for life can succeed, but if it ‘fails’ that doesn’t necessarily teach us much; the best experiments teach you something no matter what, and ideally a commitment this large would meet that standard.  This is, more or less, baked into the search for extraterrestrial life, and there aren’t too many ways out from under that problem.
That said, Jezero in particular has some compensation.  As I mentioned, we’re collecting a lot of good data regardless; and even without the gologic context, there’s a ton of opportunity to sample different minerals and how they formed, and get a nice broad sample of the Martian surface over time.  And, even better, here’s the location of another interesting potential field site, in northeast Syrtis:
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Note the proximity to Jezero crater!  And Syrtis is also a fantastic candidate for a sample return mission.  It has exposed mesas with layered outcrops going all the way back to the earliest days of Mars, and extending (potentially) through many of the most interesting periods.  Now, these are not ideal for the search for life, although they’d give us a ton of technical data about surface chemistry and the behavior of the atmosphere during the early, wet periods; it would go a long way towards resolving arguments about the temperature of the early Martian climate, for example, or tracing the early destabilization and loss of the magnetosphere while teaching us loads about the planet’s core.
Those mesas are still pretty far away.  Too far, probably, for a sensible rover lifespan to make it all the way there.  But there’s a plan- called the ‘Midway’ route, as a nod to the compromise nature of it.  See, halfway between Jezero and these mesas, there are a lot of banded rocks that look suspiciously like they’re sourced from the table mesas in Syrtis.  And those, we can get to, maybe.  If we call a specific deadline on looking for life in Jezero, then we can pivot to Midway and hopefully take a really deep look.  So, in the end, we’re going hard for astrobiology research, but we’re not going all-in.
The importance of the search for life is… well, there are a lot of people out there, and we enter the world in a lot of different ways.  Most of us agree that the existence of extraterrestrial life would be a Big Deal, and we tend to have a lot of different reasons for that.  It’s not a bad subject for a future post or three, in fact.  But there’s one thing lurking in the back of my head that’s a non-obvious reason to go looking.  This wasn’t discussed at the workshop particularly, but it fed into my vote somewhat.  Check the logic of this for me, see if it makes sense:
Worrying about existential risks, we sometimes talk about the ‘great filter’.  That is, the mysterious phenomenon which explains the lack of extraterrestrial civilizations reaching out to us.  Now, maybe we’re in a zoo or a preserve or something, and intelligences are out there watching after all; maybe the Earth really is the center of the cosmos, because of the simulation hypothesis or the various religious explanations.  There’s no real way to know for sure at this point.  But consider the space of very real possibilities where the universe actually is material, and actually is mostly barren.  Why?
Stepping through the sequence, it might be that abiogenesis is really hard- going from a temperate world to a living one is almost (but not quite) impossible.  Maybe there’s some hurdle to clear between genesis and encephalization.  Maybe, given encephalization, civilization and tool-use are almost impossible.  Or maybe there are many civilizations like ours, and the great filter is ahead of us- it is almost impossible for technological civilizations not to self-destruct or turn in to lotus-eaters before they reach interstellar civilization.  There are a lot of possibilities for the filter, and for present purposes we’ll divide them into two categories: those which we would have already passed, and those which are in our future.
And here’s the thing: for each possibility we can exclude from the great filter, all the other possibilities increase commensurately, becoming more likely in our estimation.  (Assuming the exclusion is ‘clean’ and doesn’t favor some other possibility, that is.)  Given that the silence continues, if we could somehow prove that technological self-destruction isn’t a big risk, that would commensurately increase our guesses about how hard abiogenesis is.
Life on Mars, especially if we could be very sure that it evolved independently of Earth life, would be a strong argument against the difficulty of abiogenesis.  One biosphere in the solar system, and nowhere else, might be down to luck.  The one biosphere has to be somewhere, right?  Two in the solar system, and nowhere else, is a good bit less reasonable.  If we find a second genesis on Mars, then we’ve learned that life is not rare.  That the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way are likely host to many billions of different living (or at least once-living) worlds.
And as wonderful as that news is, as much as it makes me so happy that I literally had to take a second to cry on my bed for a bit, it also makes the great silence much, much scarier.  Today, we can reassure ourselves by saying that life may be rare in the universe.  But what if it isn’t?  If the cosmos is full of life, but not full of thought, then…
If this is the case, we need to know.  We need to know as soon as possible, and we need to know it while we’re engaged in the great project of technological development and moral progress.  It’s easy to imagine that this particular mission is one that can be framed in purely positive terms- the joy of discovery, the vastness of truth, the love of how things might be.  But I do also have this sense of civilizational fragility, you know?  And understanding the risks that we face and the chances we’re taking- that’s not idle curiosity.  That’s genuinely urgent.
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myloveforhenrycavill · 9 months ago
Devastated | Clark Kent x Reader
Pairing: Clark Kent x Reader
Word Count: 1.5k
Warnings: cancer, angst
A/N: Hey guys! Really hope you enjoy this fic. It’s super angsty. I revisited an old fic that I wrote many, many years ago for a different fandom, but it felt right to rewrite it with stuff that’s going on in my life right now with my dad. Please let me know what you guys think, but please be gentle (me fragile). This is my first fic about one of Henry ‘s characters, but I look forward to getting back into writing. Xxx much love -Stina
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Clark stared at the ceiling of his room listening to the clock hanging above his door. To anyone else, this would have been dull background noise, but to Clark it sounded like thunder roaring. It had been a painfully long day working at the Daily Planet and he was beyond glad it was over. Perry had been breathing down his neck all day about a story and his approaching deadline. Relief washed over Clark when he walked through the doors of his apartment building, but something was still missing. All he wanted to do was go see you.
Oh, how much he wanted to see you. You always brightened his day no matter what he had on his mind. The two of you had a complicated relationship. You were technically just friends. However, you tend to do things that only couples do. You've kissed once or twice after a night out and constantly cuddled each other whenever the chance arises, but it never progressed further than that. Neither of you brought up the subject, afraid of the others reaction and afraid to ruin whatever it was you had. Clark wanted to, god he wanted to, but you’ve never been in a real relationship and he hasn’t wanted to scare you away. He cares about you way too much to let that happen. Clark wants to protect you from ever being hurt no matter the cost.
It had been hours since Clark got home. He’s tried texting you around 10 times and has called you five times. This wasn't like you. You practically lived on your phone. You both always update each other throughout the day. Thank god for unlimited texting or else you would both be royally screwed. Clark was starting to get quite worried. What if something happened? Is she okay? were the only thoughts running through his head. He knew you were off from work today and you would have texted him if your job called you to come in. Maybe she's just asleep. She rarely has her volume up ever. Yeah, that has to be it. Clark was tempted to fly over to your apartment to check on you, but decided to text your sister before doing anything rash.
C: "hey, y/s/n. Is everything alright? I've been trying to reach Y/n for the last couple of hours and she isn't responding to me."
Y/s/n: "Clark, can you please go over to her apartment? She's an absolute wreck. I've heard her like this. I'm really worried."
C: "I’m on my way… what happened?"
Y/s/n: "our dad got his results back..."
The text was longer, but that was all Clark had to read before he flew over to your building. He didn’t care if anyone saw him. The whole world could have been burning and he wouldn’t have stopped. Your dad had cancer when you were younger, but he was doing well and had been in remission for quite some time. Recently, he had started to feel the same symptoms as the first time and went to get some tests done. Y/s/n's text only meant one thing. The cancer was back.
If this was true, then it made perfect sense why you wouldn't contact him. You would be devastated. Your dad was the most important person in your life. You loved him unconditionally and looked up to him like he could do no wrong.
Clark reached you within seconds. He knocked on the door and waited. He could hear nothing but silence which surprised him. When you did not come to the door, Clark retrieved the spare key from the top of your door frame. When he didn’t see you on the couch, he made his way to your bedroom and slowly opened the door, careful not to startle you. You laid there on the purple comforter sleeping. You looked utterly exhausted from crying. Your puffy eyes were singed pink. Your cheeks looked wet and sticky from what surely was hours of countless tears flowing. It truly pained Clark to see you in such a state.
Clark climbed into the other side of the bed just like he'd done numerous times before, but this time was different. You looked so broken. He carefully reached over and wiped a few stray tears off your cheeks and placed a gentle kiss underneath each of your eyes. They slowly fluttered open and acknowledged Clark’s presence. You sniffled a few times, but didn't cry.
"What are you doing here, Clark?" you whispered as if just that was taking all your energy.
"Your sister texted me...what happened, y/n? You know you can tell me anything," Clark inquired knowing that she needed to let it all out.
"You don't have to do this, Clark. Go somewhere and have fun. Don't waste your time on me. I know you'd rather be out with your other friends right now. You probably had a rough day and don’t need me to unload my baggage," you spoke immediately biting your lip and blinking your eyes in order to fight back the tears that were already pooling.
"Listen, love. You know that there is nowhere else I would rather be. I'm here for you and I always will be. No matter what happens, I'll be right here by your side. I care about you, Y/n. I care more than you could ever know, just tell me what happened." Clark cupped your cheek as he gently wiped the traitorous tears away with the pad of his thumb.
You broke and told Clark everything that had happened since he spoke to you last. You were a trembling mess laid on the bed next to him. Clark tightly wrapped both his arms around you, never wanting to let go whispering comforting words into your ear trying to make it even a little bit better.
You grabbed his white t-shirt with two fists and sobbed into it which would surely be ruined with your leftover mascara running from your eyes. It didn't matter to Clark though, not even a little. It was worth it. You were worth it.
Once you calmed down hours later, Clark pulled back slowly still holding you securely and stared at you. You looked up at him through your lashes and had the faintest smile across your face.
"Thank you, Clark, genuinely. For everything. You didn't have to lay here with me this entire time. I'm not worth it..."
Clark stopped you instantly. "Don't ever say that, my love. You deserve the moon, the stars, and the sun. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. I would go to the end of the earth for you and it still would never be enough. I care about you, Y/n. More than I can even put into words. The past few months that this has been going on have been the best of my life. You make me feel whole. Like something has been missing all this time and I'm starting to realize what it was. "
The dim smile that you once wore turned into a full-blown smirk. "I don't see what you're getting at Mr. Kent."
That's it. There's my girl. MY girl. God, I love the way that sounds. That sarcastic idiot is my world and I intended to spend the rest of my life proving that to her.
"Shut up," Clark muttered as he slowly leaned in, meeting you in the middle. Your lips collided and the feeling of his lips connected with your soft ones felt like nothing he could ever describe. He would never get sick of this feeling. The way you made him feel was like he was floating high through the sky (which he had plenty of experience with, but this was a million time better). The best high that no drug could every give him. If you were a drug, Clark was happily addicted to your sweet intoxication.
You both pulled back and Clark rested his forehead on yours cupping your face with both of his hands. "Let's get some sleep, love. We can discuss more of this tomorrow if we need to."
You sluggishly nodded with your head still spinning and placed your head on his broad chest curling into the position you had assumed many times before. Clark loved nothing more than cuddling with you. It felt like home. She is my home.
You placed one hand across his chest as he dropped both of his arms comfortably around your waist not letting you go anywhere. Tonight, she is all mine and I can live with that.
One day you would take the next step closer to each other, but not tonight. You were still vulnerable from the news of your dad’s health. Clark wanted your decision to be with him to be a clear one, not just because he was the only one there for you. Tonight, Clark was simply a shoulder to cry on and he was perfectly content with that. Someday, Y/n. Someday, I will have the guts to tell you how I really feel. How I'm quickly feeling that four-letter word that every guy is so afraid of. But the thing is, I'm not so afraid anymore.
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powers-of-hells · 8 months ago
To Aid A Demon
Enemies to Lovers/Dark Fantasy
Damian landed effortlessly on building after building as he grappled his way across the city of Gotham. The nineteen year old Robin had been busy patrolling Gotham for the majority of the night, not showing signs of stopping anytime soon.
Over the last few weeks there had been reported sightings of an unknown killer scouring the streets of Gotham and leaving a mess of dead bodies in desolate alleyways.
The reports had all included the same alleged description of the killer; red skinned, four eyed, and undoubtedly feminine, which was probably why Damian thought it would make her easier to find but instead, it had been the exact opposite. She never stayed in one place for too long and by the time the sightings were reported, she would have already been long gone, leading the superheroes of Gotham back to square one.
But Batman wasn't having it. After the unknown killer still hadn't been apprehended after a week, the Dark Knight had consulted the help of both Nightwing and Damian to join into the case. Which was exactly why Damian was now busy patrolling his designated area of the city in search of the villain.
As he landed on a building near the outskirts of the less fortunate part of Gotham the fifth Robin glanced down at his utility belt as his comm device cackled to life and then Batman's voice could be heard on the other end.
"Robin, have you found anything yet?" The Dark Knight asked as Damian retrieved the device.
"No, not yet." The exassassin replied back into the comm as he grappled further into a more desolate area of Gotham. This part of the city was more darker than the rest, especially beneath the small amount of moon provided light. Damian stopped atop the roof of a small, outlet grocery store, deciding to take a short break before continuing his search.
"Keep watch and contact me immediately if you spot anything."  Batman carried on into the Comm. "There haven't been any reported sightings yet so I suspect no one has has been killed so far. I'll check in with Nightwing and get back to you in an hour."
The comm device flashed a subtle red and released a small beep, indicating that the call had ended. Damian stuck the gadget back into his utility belt and sat atop the roof of the outlet store. He stared down from afar at the busy streets of Gotham, dwelling on how decisively low the crime rates had dropped over the past few weeks. Many of the persons who had been murdered by the mystery killer were alleged criminals, so maybe that could explain why crime had dwindled down so much.
After a few minutes of sitting, Damian decided his short break was over and made a move to get up. But just as he was about to leave, he saw a brief flash of purple to the side and turned just as a dark shadow made a run for it and disappeared into a nearby alleyway. Getting up quickly and immediately on high alert, Damian took off at a running start and darted after the runaway figure, trying to keep them in sight. He grappled his way across to make it easier and landed effortlessly into the alley, but unfortunately to his great displeasure, there was no sign of the figure he had been chasing. Instead, he spotted two limp bodies on the ground, and on further inspection he realized that they were lifeless and probably had been that way for just a couple minutes as he watched trickle of fresh blood erupt from their wounds, having resulted from what looked like a magic blast to the chest.
'More killings.' Damian thought wryly as he backed away from the scene keeping his radar up. He brandished his comm once again from his utility belt and snapped it open, ready to report the sighting back to Batman. But before he could, a black shape suddenly appeared on the building above him, and he just barely had time to make out the menacing glint of a dagger against the night sky before the sharpened weapon came hurling his way in the next second.
Any other person wouldn't have reacted fast enough, but he was Damian Al Ghul Wayne, and it would take a lot more than a dagger through his throat to kill him. He quickly darted out of the way of the incoming weapon and drew his sword at the same time, spotting another flash of purple and pointing it towards where the unknown attacker had been.
"Who's there?" He called out into the shadows. "I highly suggest you come out before I make you come out myself."
"Well that isn't exactly the best way to greet a lady now is it?" A seductive voice reprimanded from behind him, and he whirled around to come face to face with the killer he had been searching for all night.
"You." He seethed warily, eyeing the villain in front of him. Two pairs of red eyes stared back at him, framed by a head of dark, waist length hair and skin the colour of blood. She wore a suit of all black, consisting of a cloak, a skintight leotard, and combat boots. She held no weapon as far as he could see, but that didn't make her look any less menacing. She looked to be around his age, maybe nineteen or twenty, possibly older.
Her chest stood dangerously close to the tip of his sword, and she flashed him a look of nonchalant smugness as he stared back at her from just a few feet away, not in the least bothered by the threat of a weapon so close to to her body. "At ease, I mean you no harm." She said, still not moving. "My name is Raven and I've come to ask for your help." She held up her hands as a sign of peace, showing him that they were completely empty.
"I have no desire to help a demon like you." Damian bit back at her harshly, not withdrawing his sword. "And that's kind of a funny thing to say when you just tried to maim me with a dagger, don't you think?" He inquired suspiciously, still high on guard.
"That was only to get your guard down. I wouldn't have been able to confront you if you were on high alert now would I? Either way, you shouldn't even be bothered because it's not as if I harmed you in any way." She stated practically. Damian deftly used his head to gesture towards the dead bodies behind him.
"You killed those men."
"You say it as if they weren't trying to do the same as well." She replied tonelessly with a nonchalant shrug as she twirled her hand around another dagger, a new one that had magically appeared in her grasp "And to be fair," she continued, "They were the ones trying to kill me first, so in my defense they got what they deserve. Now, are you going to help me, or are you gonna keep pointing your katana at me all night?"
"And why exactly would I even think about helping you? Do you even know who I am?" Damian asked furiously.
"Oh, believe me, I know quite a lot." She quipped with a teasing smile towards him. "You're Damian Al Ghul Wayne, Ibn Al Xuffash. Grandson of Ra's Al Ghul and heir to the Demon's Head. Apprentice of Batman and son of Bruce Wayne. Does that sum it up, or do I have to say more?"
Damian's eyes narrowed. "How do you know that?"
She shrugged. "I have my sources.
"Well, you knowing who I am doesn't exactly make me want to help you anymore than I already do now does it?" He questioned tonelessly.
"You might want to reconsider after you hear what I have to say." The demoness told him and suddenly disappeared in a flash of purple, reappearing on the roof of a nearby building. She stared down at him as she continued her speech, aimlessly dangling her legs over the edge. "I have a proposition for you. I have reason to believe that a mercenary by the name of Deathstroke is plotting to summon a powerful demon to Earth, one which will surely wipe out all human existence. So far, he has already gathered a decent following to aid in, and I also suspect my demonic brothers are also a part of it as well. So let me put it as simple as possible; It's either you help me and I leave Gotham without causing anymore trouble, or you don't help me and end up having the world annihilatedsooner or later. Choose your pick." She ended with a shrug, standing back up from her spot fiddling around with the dagger in her hand.
"I still don't understand why you would even be wanting to stop the plan in the first place." Damian said as he withdrew his katana slowly, but didn't loosen his grip one bit, still wary of the girl. "I mean, aren't you a demon? I'd have thought you wanted to join in." He emphasised thoughtfully.
"Because, this does not only include me, but also the safety of Earth as well." Raven explained. "The demon that Deathstroke is trying to summon is my father, Trigon, and I've seen first hand what he could do." She replied back, her voice growing dark. "He wrecked the last planet I had been on, trying to find me before. But I escaped and now I'm running away from my brothers who he set out after me. I've been staying clear of them for years and I only came to Gotham because I got word of what Deathstroke was planning. If Trigon gets to Earth, believe me when I say he will take it down— or at the very least, turn it into a rip-off version of Hell itself. I can't stand by and watch that happen." She sighed softly as she set her dagger down and stared off into space. "Earth is the last place I have left of my mother, it's where she was born and planned to take me to someday. I can't allow him to destroy it, just like with my past home as well." Her voice faded softly into a whisper towards the end, taking on a more saddened tone. Damian watched as she retrieved a thin necklace from within the confines of her cloak and fiddled with the white, bird shaped pendant. He guessed it must've been a gift from her mother, possibly the last.
"What I'm trying to say is..." Raven continued, stuffing the necklace back into her cloak and facing him with a serious expression. "If we don't stop Deathstroke, it could mean the end of the world. If you don't want to join into the fight then just get me the location of his whereabouts. I'll take care of the rest. My father must have promised him something to make him this dedicated to the plan, and I've been trying to find him for the past two weeks but all I've gotten in return was to have his henchmen sent after me. And I guess you can see how that went...." She nodded deftly towards the two lifeless bodies in the alleyway, causing him to give a furtive glance as well." Not positively I might add..... So, are you going to help me, or not?" She said and stared him down, expecting an answer.
Damian thought about it carefully. Technically, he could just say no, and an intoxication shot could easily take her out and buy him enough time to take her back to Batman and have her safely escorted to Arkham. But as he stared at her determined face, he could see just how serious she was and that this situation was no joke. With or without Batman's knowledge, he would help if that was for the safety of the Earth.
"I'll gather up on leads and see what I can find." He told her at last, stuffing his sword back into it's sheath. She gave a small nod and stood up from the roof.
"And I'll meet you back here tommorow night." She said from atop the building. "Same time, same place. Don't bring anyone along and don't be late."
And then she went away, disappearing in a flash of purple.
That had been a week ago, seven days since he had begun to routinely meet up with the demoness at night. He used patrol as an excuse, and Batman seemed to buy it pretty easily so he could get by without suspicion from the Dark Knight.
The days eventually passed by and Damian found himself getting more and more frustrated. They hadn't been able to pick up many leads on Deathstroke's location, which was proving to be a problem because it was prolonging the process way longer than it needed to be. Over time, he'd gotten to know the demoness a bit better. She was fairly reserved and had a distinct sense of sarcastic humour, which he would sometimes find amusing. If the odds had been different he might have even considered her to be a potential ally, but that couldn't happen. At the end of the day, she was still a villain and he was still a hero. He was even technically going against the law by just agreeing to help her, even if it was for a greater cause than social clarity. If she should ever get caught by Batman or any of the other superheroes, she would most likely end up in Arkham Asylum along with all the other villains with special abilities, and it would most likely warrant him a suspension from his duty as Robin should Batman ever find out he worked alongside with her
'And what a joy that would be.' Damian thought sarcastically as he inspected another file of reports. He sat in the Batcave of Wayne Manor, watching the surveillance of many unsuspected cameras stationed around Gotham. He had had a few extra ones installed at the start of his agreement with Raven, hoping they could somehow help the process of finding Deathstroke easier but so far he had been without luck. Much to his disappointment.
It was nearing nightfall, and he knew he had to leave to patrol soon, as well as to meet up with Raven as he had been doing for the past week. As the night ticked closer and he had still yet to find anything, he decided that he may as well just go and do his job. It would definitely be a lot better than sitting around waiting for clues to appear out of nowhere.
But just as he made a move to get up, he spotted some new action arise on one of the surveillance cameras shown on the computer screens. This wasn't just random action, like seeing people buzzing on the streets of Gotham City like usual, but the kind of action you'd know wasn't supposed to be happening right away. The surveillance camera was situated at the docks, and it was one of those ones he had breezed passed more than once throughout the day.
But now, as he watched a couple of men loading a boat with cargo and wearing the familiar suits of Deathstroke's henchman that he had come to be familiar with over the years, he smirked as he realized that he had finally succeeded in finding Deathstroke's prospective hiding place.
Now all he had to do was to tell Raven.
Unbeknownst to Raven, Damian had placed a tracker in her cloak on the first night of meeting up after their agreement, and that tracker was exactly what was now assisting him to find the girl.
A rhythmic flashing light on his comm device showed him where he needed to go, and it took him all of twenty minutes to finally get there. The tracker led him to a small apartment, and he decided to try his luck by trying to locate which specific part of the apartment Raven could be. After all, he could exactly go in to the check-in clerk and say;
"Hey, you don't happen to know where a redskinned, four-eyed is staying in your aparty, do you?"
Now could he? So instead, he had climbed his way up the apartments and stared into every few rooms and he had been beyond relieved when he had found her in one at last, and had knocked on her window glass to get her attention. Her head amgad snapped towards him cautiously, and in an instant she waltzed over and peered at him through the glass.
"What, are you doing here?" She whispered yelled at him as she opened the window for him to climb through. Once he was in, she slammed it shut before turning to face him with a glare. "How do you even know where I live? Have you been stalking me or something? I thought we'd agree to stay away from each other's lives unless it was related to the mission."
Damian's eyes swept over the small room as he stood upright, noticing how clean and cozy everything looked.
"Really nice place you got here." He commented, causing her to roll her eyes.
"What were you expecting? A stash of bones on the floor and a pile of dead bodies as far as the eye can see?" She retaliated sarcastically. "No thank you! I may be a demon but that doesn't mean I have to act like one. Now why are you here?"
Damian couldn't resist. He gave an amused smile, a very small tilt of the lips, but it quickly returned to it's neutral position as he redirected his thoughts to the situation at hand. Her sarcasm was amusing, and there seemed to be quite a lot of it over the past few days, but he had better things to do than to think about how cute she looked whenever she rolled her eyes.
"Which is exactly why I'm here." Damian explained to her as he took a seat at her kitchen table and opened up his computer to show her the information. "Some surveillance cameras by the docks captured a footage of Deathstroke's men loading up a ship with cargo which then set off to another part of the harbour. They bank somewhere to the left side of the city where three warehouses were located and got off there, and on further investigation, I found out that the warehouses were abandoned. So Deathstroke and his crew must be hiding out in one of the."
Raven stood by his chair and watched him play the footage for her, and then stood up and grabbed her cloak, opening a portal in the middle of her living room.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go!"
They arrived in record time, courtesy of Raven's portal, and landed on the roof of their designated warehouse. They took And Raven had done a soul search to check approximately how many people are in the building.
"About fifty." She reported as her soul re-entered her body and her four eyes glowed white for a fraction of a second before returning to their usual flaming red color. Damian briefly wondered if this was what her eyes looked like all the time, considering she was a demon, before casting the thought aside as he listened to her report. "Twenty in the building, another twenty watching guard to the front and back entrance, and the last ten in a room not too far from here, which I suspect is where the ritual will be taking place so I'm guessing Deathstroke will be there." She explained.
Damian nodded. "Let's head to that room first. It'll take a while for the guards inside to notice the ruckus and it may buy us some time."
Raven agreed and they both set out in the direction of the room, meeting a few henchmen along the way which Raven hadn't hesitated to knock unconscious. When they finally arrived outside the door, the demoness had conjured a massive blast of demonic power, seemingly to bust the door down but Damian hurriedly stopped her.
"What are you doing?" He asked her. "It'll cause too much of a ruckus and draw the attention of the guards in the building as well outside."
"Okay then, I suppose we'll just knock. I bet they'll let us in happily and with a bunch of cheery smiles, won't they BlunderBoy." She bit back sarcastically.
Damian glared at her. "My name isn't-"
But he didn't have time to finish his statement as the door was blasted in, courtesy of Raven. The demoness gave a nonchalant shrug, not in the least bit bothered.
But Damian didn't have time to retaliate as they were both immediately flanked by guards from down the corridors and in the room, although it wouldn't take very long to finish them off.
Damian took care of most of the henchmen while Raven busied herself with closing the portal, much to the anger of Deathstroke. The mercenary had been absolutely livid, and would have almost taken care of the unsuspecting Raven with a stab in the back as she had been busy fighting off some guards had Damian hadn't intervened and parried with his own sword.
"Great to see you too, old man." He murmured sarcastically at the banished assassin as they sparred against one another. Deathstroke had always been his number one enemy, and he hated the man just as much as the man hated him, for taking out his left eye of course.
"You and that demon girl sabotaged my entire plan!" Deathstroke yelled out in fury with a slash towards Damian's face, which the younger boy narrowly evaded and parried back with a slash of his own, which satisfyingly caught the mercenary on the arm. "I was almost through! Lord Trigon would have been pleased with me!"
"My father cares for no one except himself, so you must be pretty dumb for believing him." Raven said as she approached him, having already closed the portal.
"YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE-" He was going to say, before Raven knocked him back into a wall. But Slade only got up and ran away, leaving the two birds behind. Raven sighed dismissively.
"Must have been because of your girly punch." Damian commented dryly.
She punched him in the chest, to which he winced lightly.
"You still think it's too girly?" She bit back with a subtle glare, but was smiling in amusement.
Tt- of course..." She glared at him harder. "But hard enough." He added quickly, to which Raven gave a small smile and then turned away.
"The portal is closed, my father will have to find another way to get here." She said. "Now let's go, our time here is done. And it's also time for me to leave Gotham."
Damian turned to her with a curious brow raised. "You're leaving?" And she nodded, creating a portal, stepping through with him alongside her.
The two superheroes teleported a block away from the warehouse and chose to walk from there, beneath the faint moonlight and bright twinkling stars of Gotham. Their walk was silent, but peaceful, to which Damian was grateful for. But he couldn't help recalling what she had said just a few moments ago.
'Its also time for me to leave Gotham.'
And then he recalled what she had said just a week before;
'It's either you help me and I leave Gotham without causing anymore trouble, or you don't help me and end up having the world annihilated sooner or later.'
It had been their deal. So why did he suddenly feel so.......conflicted at the thought that she was leaving Gotham. She was technically nothing to him, and she was also a criminal who had been killing people, who possibly deserved it but still, for weeks before Damian had finally been able to find her. She was dangerous, a walking hazard who could probably take down a group of thugs in less than a second with just a single blast of demonic power but.....she was also half-human, as he could see, and she was also being chased by her brothers to return to somewhere that she obviously didn't want to go back to. She was hard and cold on the outside but on the inside, she was reserved and friendly, and had just saved the world from what was possibly going to turn into a full frontal demonic plague on Earth, even if she didn't have to. And then gave him amiable thoughts to prove that she would a good person, who had done bad things mind you, but a still a good person either way, and he had kind of enjoyed the small normality he felt over the last week whenever she was in his presence. It's too bad she had to go...
"I never said it before but thank you for helping me on this." Raven spoke up suddenly to break the silence as they trudged alongt. "I doubt I'd have been able to find their location and stop their planning if you hadn't been there so...um....thanks, I guess."
Damian had nodded in acknowledgement, and briefly thought to tell her that her thanks were unnecessary, but decided against it.
"You should consider staying for awhile longer." He said instead, keeping his gaze before him and not looking at her. "Gotham could use a superhero like you."
Raven smiled and tugged up her hood to cover her face even more. "I'm no hero, and couldn't stay even if I wanted to. My position has been compromised and my brothers know I'm in Gotham. If I stay here any longer I know for a fact that they'll come looking for me and take down half of the city in the process. I can't let that happen. Not to mention that Batman is still on my radar and would surely have your hide if he found out you helped me." She sighed softly. "So unfortunately, yes, it has to come down to this."
"Well....." Damian began hesitantly, unsure of himself. "You can always come back to Gotham when you're done running, I'll still be here. And if you ever need help with anything else, you know where to find me." He added.
She managed a small smile. "I'll keep that in mind." She spoke truthfully as she flew up to the roof of a convenience store, creating a portal behind herself before looking back at Damian.
"Goodbye, BlunderBoy." She joked from atop the roof, flashing him one last parting smile before she disappeared through her portal and into the night, leaving him alone in the alleyway below.
Damian stared up at the spot she had been and released a small sigh. And then he brandished his comm device which was still connected to the tracking device on her body, giving a small smirk as he saw the little beacon flashing red to indicate where she was. She had teleported miles away from him, seemingly into another city. It would take him days to get there if he was lucky, but he was more than up to the task.
He'll find her.
He'll always find her.
The End
Hi again^^. For this theme, the oneshot hadn't turned out as well as I thought it would but I managed to give it a shot right? :)
This is so late and Day 2 is long gone but I hoped you guys liked it^^!
Word Count: 4613
Powers Of Hell
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avintagekiss24 · a year ago
Night Shift [3] > Andy Barber
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PAIRING; Dark!Andy Barber x black!reader
NOTE; Another Sunday, another story. Hope you like :)
Gif credit goes to captslock
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It’s dark. The moon bleeds into the room through the curtains covering the windows, splashing over the bed. Andy lays on his side, blinking slowly, breathing easy as he watches you sleep. His eyes wander over your frame, tucked in underneath the blankets. You’re a wild sleeper - flipping from your back to your stomach, then to your side facing away from him, and then facing him. Arms above your head and then crossed over your stomach before shoved underneath your body as you flip onto your stomach. He wonders if you’ve always had trouble sleeping; or if it’s something new. Something he brought on. 
He inhales deeply as his eyes drift down your body - those long, slender arms and delicate hands and fingers. You’ve moved so much the sheets don’t even cover most of your torso anymore. Your nipples are hard from the cool air kicking on minutes earlier. Your flesh jiggles with each little movement, each hard breath, each little murmur as your lips part and you turn your head. You’re supple, and soft - everything about you is just so soft. Your skin, your thighs, your hair, your cunt. So damn soft. 
He’s not used to soft anymore. He’s forgotten what it’s felt like, even the definition. But now, lying here, watching you, feeling you - he remembers. Laurie’s body folding into his at night was soft. Jacob’s hair when he brushed his hands over it in the morning was soft. That was so long ago. So long.
He blinks again, pushing all the thoughts of them away, returning them to you. This sad girl laying next to him in his bed. He feels bad he’s been so rough, he doesn’t mean to be, it’s just - it’s hard to be trusting. It’s easier to just sink inside of himself and lash out. It’s just easier.
Maybe you’re lashing out too? In your own way? Against that invisible force that brought you back to Boston. Maybe that’s why you’re with him right now, in his bed. Maybe you don’t sleep at all when you’re alone in your apartment. Maybe he’s helping you sleep? That could be why you’re tossing and turning - you’re not used to sleeping anymore. Same with him. 
Andy reaches out slowly, so slow that he’s not even sure his hand is moving. His fingers hover over your mouth, centimeters from your plump lips. He can feel your warm breath on his digits. His lips part when he rubs your bottom lip softly with his index finger. So fucking soft. He drags his fingers across your chin, down your throat and across your clavicles, his touch so gentle. It soothes him - brings him a little peace as he touches you. You’re so nice. 
He pulls his hand away from you and tucks it back underneath the pillow that he rests his head on. He inhales again, deep, and pushes it out through his nose as he blinks at you. He’s not sure when he falls asleep. 
It’s light. The sun creeps into the room through the curtains that cover the windows. You blink over at Andy as he sleeps. He’s on his back, his arm crossed over his torso, his hand resting right in the middle of his chest, rising and falling with each breath he takes. His pink lips are slightly parted, his long, dark eyelashes spread out over his cheeks as he snores very gently. He looks peaceful - something you aren’t really used to thinking about him. Sure, you’ve spent all of two nights with the man but he’s been erratic during both - unsettled. Seeing him calm for longer than a few minutes at a time is slightly scary. 
Your mom’s boyfriend was erratic. He could go from the nicest guy on the planet to a raging maniac within the blink of an eye. Maybe that’s why you’re still here - with Andy, in his bed. Maybe it’s comforting for you? Because you’re used to it. You actually slept last night. That’s… new. You try, of course, but after about an hour, you’re awake again, your eyes fixed on the ceiling. You usually try and catch a nap in the afternoons, finding it a little easier to sleep in the daytime, but even still, just a few hours is all you can manage. 
Last night was different. It was like the past ten years of being tired just finally caught up to you. Is that because of him - Andy? Is that… a good thing? You blink as your mind races. It can’t be a good thing, he’s.. He needs help. You’re not in the position to help anybody, shit, you need help. 
He feels so good though. So strong and masculine - it’s nice. His large hands sinking into your flesh, his hard kisses, his dick - spreading you open, spearing you deep. The connection, no matter how strange, is nice. It’s been a while since you’ve had something like this. 
You reach out and place your hand on top of his, the one centered on his chest. Yours looks so small in comparison to his. It makes you smile a little - but then you get a thought, a glimpse of whose bed this used to be. How maybe she used to do the same thing, watch him sleep. Then you think about the teenage boy who would be moving around in his, getting ready for another school day just down the hall. Then you think about your mom - where she’d be, what she’d be doing right now.
You pull your hand away. 
She would get up so early in the mornings. You could hear her in the kitchen, humming along with the radio as she started the coffee. You’d hear the laundry machine kick on, and then start to smell her pancakes and eggs as the radio got just a little louder so she could dance. 
You inhale sharply - your eyes darting around the opposite wall as the invisible, overwhelming sadness suddenly fills your body. It starts at your toes and spreads through you quickly, so fast in fact, you have to sit up to keep it from choking you.  
You close your eyes as your body gets shaky, and you try and push the thoughts away. Goddamn it. Today started off so nice. You whimper as the tears start to fill your eyes, your chin shaking, and you throw your legs over the side of the bed, standing quickly. You rush into the bathroom, covering your mouth with your hands to try and stifle the sobs that threaten to escape. The tears start to fall, hard and fast as you slam your eyes shut and squeeze your hand over your mouth. 
Embarrassment flushes through you next, adding to the sadness. Here you are, in a strangers bathroom having a complete meltdown that came out of thin air. Fuck, why can’t you just be fucking normal? Don’t let him hear you, fuckin’ freak. You run into the shower as your brain scolds you, turning the knob before you fall to the floor. You bring your knees into your chest, wrapping your arms around them as you drop your head and just cry.
Today started off so nice.
Andy stretches out his limbs as his eyes start to flutter. The sun is harsh, making him cover his face with his hand as he drags his brain out of it’s sleep state. He rolls over, wanting to block out the intrusion, but to also get another look at you as you sleep. He opens his eyes only to find you gone. His face falls. Maybe you- 
He hears the water running in the bathroom and then, sobs? Crying? He sits up, staring into the bathroom as he tries to really make out what he’s hearing. His eyes shift to the floor, still finding your clothing and shoes scattered around. He throws the sheets back and swings his legs over the side of the mattress, moving quickly into the bathroom. He stops at the threshold. 
He swallows as he spots you on the floor in the shower, the water cascading over you. You’re curled into yourself, your head cast down as your shoulders and back shake with the emotion flooding from you. His lips part as he looks away, half tempted to just ignore it. To put his pants on and just go downstairs and act like he didn’t see a thing. Something won’t let him leave though - something pulls at him to stay, to even comfort you. He’s been there. In that exact spot on the floor, with nothing but the warmth of the water keeping him alive. 
He moves deeper into the bathroom, his steps soft. He kneels down at the edge of the walk in shower, glancing down at his feet before he lifts his eyes to your small frame. You don't even know he’s there. He reaches out slowly and slides his hands along your shoulder - slowly - not wanting to scare you. You turn your face away from him, twisting your body so that he can’t see you, but you don't stop crying; you can’t, it seems. 
Andy stands and moves into the shower, right underneath the water. He reaches for you again, hooking his hands around your slumped shoulders and lifts you from the floor. Nobody was there for him, but he can be there for you, even if it’s just to be a body to lean into as you cry. That means something, right?
He pulls you into his chest and wraps his arms around you, running his hands up and down your back as you push your face into his chest. He rests his head on the top of yours and stares at the wall as he just lets you cry.
“There’s people that think I did it, you know.”
Your voice is small - scared. Andy glances down at you, “Did what?”
“Killed her. My mom.” She answers flatly, sniffling, “There's a website, a forum about me, about the case.”
“You shouldn’t look at that stuff.” Andy says, shutting his eyes as the memories of him finding the Bloody Barbers chatroom one grim afternoon, “They’re fucking sick, all of those people.”
“They think that I seduced him and talked him into killing her so that we could be together.” your voice breaks, and he hugs you tighter, “I was fourteen years old. How could I-”
“Listen to me,” Andy says, pulling your face into his hands. His eyes bounce back and forth between yours, “You didn’t do anything wrong, okay? You were just a kid.”
Your eyes fall from his but don’t really focus on anything. You just blink and stare, your head twitching a little every now and again as you zone out, sinking back into yourself. Andy rubs your cheeks with his thumbs, his eyes moving back and forth between yours. He wants you to come back.
“Come back.” He whispers, tilting his head as he runs his thumb over your bottom lip, “Come back.”
“Come back.”
You don’t really hear him, but at the same time, you do. It’s like you’re in a tunnel and someone is screaming at you from the other side - you hear it, but you can’t make it out until they start moving closer. You only hear him, really hear him, when his lips start to press against yours softly. Your eyes flutter when they press again, a little harder this time as his hand slips around your side, flattening on your lower back.
“Come back, I’m here.”
You blink furiously, focusing in on his eyes as your mouth falls open. Your breath starts to rush faster as the water from overhead falls on the two of you - down his cheeks and chin, down to his chest and through the thick, dark hair that’s splashed over his pecs and stomach. You spread your fingers out on his chest, pushing them into his flesh a little, watching as they cause indentations. I’m here. He’s here. Right here, in front of you, trying to pull you back. 
Come back. I’m here. Come back.
He kisses you again, this time deep. This time, you respond. You let him kiss you, let him drag you back into the present. You wrap your arms around his neck and kiss him back, moaning into his mouth as your tongue breaks through his lips. You’re lifted from your feet with ease. Your legs are wrapped around his waist as he holds you to him, one hand spread out on your back, the other cupping your thigh. 
You pull away and stare at him as he stares back at you. You watch as he swallows and then drops his eyes from yours, his head falling a little, “I miss them.” He says suddenly. 
You nod quickly, acknowledging his pain - and yours, “I miss her too. It doesn’t go away.”
“It doesn’t.” He answers. You run your hand down the side of his face as he shakes his head, “It won’t.”
I’m here. Come back.
You kiss him this time. This time, it’s needy. It’s a fast, messy kiss - all tongues and lips and loud smacks. You push your body into his, rocking your hips against his lower half, sliding your clit against his skin. You press the side of your face against his as his mouth travels to your neck. You hold onto him tightly as you let out a hum when his tongue slides across your clavicle. You keep pushing your hips against him, rubbing your clit against his slick, wet skin, getting a buzz. 
He’s hard. You can feel it pressing into you and you want it. You want him - inside of you, around you, suffocating you, blinding you, taking you away. You want it all. You want it all from him. You wrap your wet hand around his cock and stroke  him, your eyes wandering the side of his face as a purr rumbles against the back of his throat. You suddenly want to make him feel good too. Maybe he wants you around him, suffocating him, blinding him - taking him away. 
Maybe he wants it all from you. 
He presses your back up against the cold wall of the shower. You jump from the stark contrast of heat and cold but are soon distracted by his lips and tongue sucking your nipple and breast into his mouth. You rest your head against the wall and arch your back, pushing your chest into him as you whimper.
He pushes his cock through your folds, teasing your slit - poking at your entrance, “God,” you groan as you push your hips along his length, “Andy, please.”
He releases your breast and rests his forehead to yours, “Tell me what you want,” he pants, “Tell me.”
“I want you to fuck me,” you answer, your voice breaking again as a new onslaught of tears rush down your cheeks, “Please, I want.. I want you to take it away. I want it to go away.”
“I’m gonna take it away,” he groans, grabbing himself in his hand, “I’m gonna,” he slams into you and you both let out a noise - him hissing, you shrieking, “I’m gonna take it all away. I’ll make you feel good.”
You start to slide up the wall as his hips start to move. You dig your fingernails into his back as you bounce with each of his thrusts, “Ah- fuck! Take it all away.” You slur, “Please. Baby, please.”
You bite down into your lip, closing your eyes as he fucks into you against that cool wall. His head falls to your shoulder. Quick nips and kisses against your skin from his teeth and lips. His muscles flex beneath your fingers as he pushes into you, all the way to his hilt before he drags back out of you again. He grunts as your cunt envelopes him, your muscles clamping down on him as you clench your body tight. You want him to feel good too. 
His large hand snakes up your side to clasp over your mouth. You love how large his hands are - how just one can cover your entire face and then some. His fingers find their way into your mouth and you welcome them. Sucking, licking, nibbling on them as you grab handfuls of his wet hair to pull on. He sounds when you pull on it, grunting as pain ripples through his scalp. You love those too - love that you can draw them out of him. 
He pushes into you again, but instead of pulling out, he pushes deeper, wiggling his hips so that you can feel him in the innermost parts of your body. He kisses your neck. His tongue sweeps over the sensitive skin before he sucks. You hear a hungry moan, feel it rumble against your skin, and you shudder. God, it feels good to be full of him. 
You sink your fingers into his hair again and pull, craning his head back so that you can bask in those blue eyes again. You cup his face in your hands, tilting your head just a little as the hurt and the pain, the sorrow, the sadness in them register with your own hurt. You bounce your eyes between his as you sweep your thumb underneath his right eye before you let your fingers drop down his cheeks, to that little brown beauty mark just above the start of his beard. 
His lips part, his pupils dilate as you lean in and kiss the spot, the small brown one. It’s tender - understanding - the kiss. One that surprises him. You can see it in his eyes when you pull away. He looks at you like he doesn’t deserve it, the understanding, the tender. 
You pull him into your chest again, wrapping your hands around his neck, hugging him to you. You nuzzle your face against his and pull your hips back before you sink down on him, wanting him to move once more. He follows your lead, but it’s different now. Slower, sweeter. He pushes a hand into the wall, grounding himself as the other arm slinks around your waist, grabbing your flesh, digging into it with his fingernails. 
You hook your ankles together, your heels bouncing off of the small of his back as he fucks you against the wall of the shower. Your wet skin slides against one another, the heat from the water steams up the glass walls and the large mirror that hangs over the dual sinks. His lips are on yours again, pulling, sucking them into his mouth before his tongue skims along your bottom one.
He rests his forehead to yours again - your noses rubbing along one another - your mouths stealing each others breaths as you push them out. You feel that dull ache in the pit of your stomach as he starts to massage it, coaxing it out of hiding. Your toes start to curl with each shove of his hips. Your thighs start to shake. You feel him feel it too - his muscles tense suddenly, his hips hitch unexpectedly. 
Within minutes, you’re writhing against him. It’s so close, like a name that is right on the tip of your tongue. You almost have it. You are loud -  panting, mewling, damn near crying as your heart thumps in your ears and throat. All you can hear is your blood rushing through your veins. All you feel is his rippled muscles flexing, straining in your hands and that wonderful sting at your clit. 
You slip your hand between your wet body and just the slightest touch from your fingers against that little bundle of nerves sends you right over the edge. You throw your head back as you come, your body tensing and jerking with each ripple of your orgasm. You scream out, your voice muted by the water as you drag your nails down his broad back, doing all you can to push your hips into his for more, more, more.
Andy grows louder. His body, unable to take the heat of your cunt, your clenched, convulsing muscles around him any longer. Then you’re hot, your insides, as he ruts into you hard and fast, spilling his seed into you. You take every spurt, every pump of his hips, letting him fill you up. You love being full of him, all of him. You kiss him, eating every grunt, every hiss that leaks from his perfect, pretty mouth. 
Then, it’s over. You’re just heavy breaths, heaving chests, closed eyes, and pruned skin. He doesn’t pull out of you right away like you expect him to. He stays buried inside of you for a while, until his breathing has calmed and the rush and adrenaline of it all is gone. Only then, does he retreat from your tight warmth to stand you on your feet. The water starts to cool but it’s welcomed as the humidity starts to make you dizzy. Andy keeps a hand around your waist as he steps behind you and reaches for his loofah. He squeezes a dollop of body wash onto it and starts to clean you. 
You lean back into him, resting your head on his shoulder, closing your eyes as he washes you - taking his time. Every inch of your skin is cleansed - stripped of yesterday’s dirt and grime. Underneath your breasts, the bottoms of your feet, the back of your neck - nothing left untouched. 
You return the favor. You take the loofah from his hands and turn him around to start with his back and shoulders. You feel him physically relax, watch as his shoulders slump a little as you brush over them. Reaching around to his chest and stomach, you press your lips into his shoulder blades, kissing him sweetly as you wash yesterday away from him. You rest your free hand to his chest as your wash the thick hair at his navel and below, paying special attention to his now soft sex. You didn’t realize how long his legs were until now. How firm his thighs are. He’s beautiful. 
No words are exchanged between the two of you as you finally exit the shower. Andy wraps you up in a fluffy towel before he exits the bathroom, rubbing his own towel over his wet hair. When you move out into the bedroom a few minutes later, your jeans, t-shirt and hoodie are laid out on the bed, along with an old, faded college t-shirt. 
You glance over at him as he pulls a shirt over his head. He shrugs, “If you want to wear it. You don’t have to.” He clears his throat as he pulls his eyes from yours, “I have some boxers too, if you don’t want to-”
“Thank you,” you offer gently, holding out your hand. 
He plucks a clean pair from his nightstand and hands them to you before he moves back around the bed, brushing past you to move into the bathroom. You dress quickly, slipping into his underwear and shirt before you pull your jeans up, having to jump a little to get them over your butt. You feel his eyes on you from the bathroom, but you know why. He probably used to watch her dress in the morning too. 
You move into the bathroom with him. There is a brand new toothbrush, still in the packaging sitting on the counter. You don’t make eye contact as you rip the thin cardboard open and turn on the sink, wetting it quickly. You brush your teeth as he runs his fingers through his hair and trims his beard. Once you’re finished and he’s finished, you both move down the stairs and into the kitchen, where you lean against the counter as he moves around. 
You shake your head, “Not really, no. You?”
“Not a big breakfast guy.” He clears his throat again, “Do you um, do you have school today?”
You nod, smiling a little as you keep your eyes cast towards your feet, “Yeah.”
“Okay. Do you want me to uh, do want me to take you, or do you feel more comfortable getting an Uber or something.”
“You can take me. That’s fine.”
“Now? Or-”
“Yeah, I need to hit the library. Didn’t get to study last night.”
He chuckles at your dry joke. You smile at the fact that you made him chuckle. 
The drive is quiet, neither one of you being big talkers. It’s okay though, you don’t need to talk, not after what you shared. The emotion. The understanding. If you never see each other again, it’ll somehow all be okay. 
He stops right in front of the library, in the exact spot he plucked you from the day before. You don’t get out immediately. You sit together, twirling the strap of your bag in your fingers before you turn to face him, “Thank you, for the ride and for um, last night and this morning.”
“Don’t thank me. You had a lot to do with it too.”
You laugh a little, “Yeah. Maybe um, you know, maybe we can-”
“Sure. Sure, sure.” He nods quickly, “You want my number or?”
“Yeah, I don’t need you stalking me anymore.” You smile, making him laugh again. 
You program his number into your phone before slipping it back into your bag. You open the door and go to step out before he grabs your wrist, pulling you back into the car. Before you can speak, he crashes his lips to yours in one long, sweet, sweeping kiss - taking the air right out of your lungs. 
He pulls away, leaving you yearning for more, your lips swollen. You stagger out of the car, swallowing hard as you try and catch your breath. He pulls off without another word or even a second glance. You stand there, almost stupid from the culmination of the last twelve hours or so, watching as his tail lights get smaller and smaller and then disappear. A breeze whips around you as you turn your head to the side, blinking slowly. What is going on?
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stardustanddaffodils · 9 months ago
Smiling at the Stars
@analogicalweek day 2: song / stars
Notes: saw this post and my brain said “analogical soulmate AU,” this is the product! please disregard the title i couldnt think of anything
Pairings: platonic Analogical, background Royality, other familial pairings
Word count: 7714
Warnings: feelings of numbness, discussion of the future, fear of the future, fear of failure, growing up, existential thoughts and conversations, mentions of sickness, mentions of pet death, please let me know if i missed anything!
Summary: When Logan is eight, he learns about soulmates for the first time. Apparently when he turns eighteen, words will appear on his skin—the first words his soulmate will ever say to him. “Soulmates are just people that the universe thinks can change your life,” Mx. Picani explains. “And sometimes they do. But other times the universe makes a mistake, or they change your life in ways that the universe didn’t expect. And that’s okay, that’s just part of being human. The universe can push us in the right direction, but we’re the ones who have to pave our paths from there.” (Looking back on it, Logan thinks that’s when his fascination with space really began.)
The universe is vast and mystical, and it works in mysterious ways. Logan knows this. He loves the universe with all his heart, he loves gazing at the shimmering specks of light in the inky sky, he loves seeing pictures of stars and planets and galaxies and the absolute wonder that is his universe.
As Logan grows, he’s taught that the universe is more than just a place to live in. In a way, it’s alive as well—except it isn’t, but it works like a planet or an ecosystem, all parts affecting and influencing each other. Logan will admit that it is a bit terrifying, sometimes, but he loves the universe and all of its little quirks and mysteries. Some days, he looks up at the stars and imagines all of the secrets hidden in them and all of the different pathways woven into the stars. He wonders how many paths were walked and how many were left unexplored in the pursuit of a figurative road less traveled.
Some days, Logan marvels at how the universe gives them the tools they need to make their way out of the nest, but it lets them take flight all on their own. Some days, Logan looks up at the universe and wonders about how, in all its glory, the universe made a tiny space just for him.
He thinks it’s a little frightening, but Logan loves his universe.
When Logan is eight, he learns about soulmates for the first time. Apparently when he turns eighteen, words will appear on his skin—the first words his soulmate will ever say to him. In school one day, they take the day off and instead shepherd all the kids down to the auditorium, where Mx. Picani, the principal, gives them a presentation on soulmates. Logan learns that red writing indicates that your soulmate will be romantic and blue writing means that your soulmate will be platonic or queerplatonic, and when you find your soulmate the writing turns black.
The next few slides are an explanation of how some people don’t have soulmates, some people end up with someone who isn’t their soulmate, some people become romantic partners with their platonic soulmates or platonic partners with their romantic soulmates, some people’s words change after meeting their soulmates because even fate can’t predict everything, and some people defy norms in other ways, and all of that is more than okay.
“Soulmates are just people that the universe thinks can change your life,” Mx. Picani explains. “And sometimes they do. But other times the universe makes a mistake, or they change your life in ways that the universe didn’t expect. And that’s okay, that’s just part of being human. The universe can push us in the right direction, but we’re the ones who have to pave our paths from there.”
(Looking back on it, Logan thinks that’s when his fascination with space really began.)
When Logan gets home, he tells his parents that he learned about soulmates in school and wastes no time in telling them everything he learned. Then he asks Papa if he and Dad are romantic soulmates or platonic soulmates or something else.
Papa smiles at him and ruffles his hair a bit and says that he and Dad aren’t soulmates.
Logan considers, shrugs, and says, “Okay!”
And that’s the end of that.
When Logan is twelve he interviews his parents for a school project. He’s a rather serious child by now, preferring plain clothing to more outlandish things like the vividly patterned shirts Dad wears or Papa’s cat hoodie. Somewhere in the last four years he got glasses, wiry round frames reminiscent of Harry Potter. Logan prefers his books to watching TV, and he’d rather be out at night, alone with the stars, than have to be with his peers. He’s okay with it, but he knows his dads are a bit worried—he hears them whispering to each other at night when they think he’s asleep.
The school project is about soulmates, and Logan isn’t too enthusiastic about it. If he has to learn about soulmates, he’d rather learn about the science and mythology and space behind it—constellations and astrological signs and phases of the moon, galaxies and stars colliding, somehow all of it coming together to make space for them all there on earth. Sure, the science behind soulmates is sketchy, most of it speculation, but Logan thinks it’d be fascinating to learn about nonetheless.
He’s heard the older kids say that he’ll learn about that next year, though, so Logan has something to look forward to.
Regardless, this project should be interesting because it gives him an excuse to interview his parents (if only Papa would just stop gushing over how “cute” and “grown up” he is). Logan sits them down and asks the questions from the sheet they were assigned in class in his most formal tone, and his parents answer everything.
Logan learns that Papa has a soulmate, but after some time getting to know each other, his soulmate realized that he was aromantic and asexual and didn’t want a relationship of any sort. After some time, they drifted apart.
Meanwhile, Dad doesn’t have a soulmate. He and Papa met in college, though, and became friends and slowly fell for each other.
“And, well, the rest is history,” Dad says, pecking Papa on the lips.
Logan makes a face. “Ew, gross.”
Dad smirks and makes a big show of kissing Logan’s forehead. In return, Logan makes a big show of wiping it off. Dad just laughs.
When Logan is fourteen he goes on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Papa and Dad have been planning this for a while, and Logan is thrilled beyond belief—they all are. Dad is looking forward to going hiking. Papa is excited to spend time with his family and see all the wildlife and natural formations. Logan can’t wait—the geology, exposed rock layers portraying the passage of time, and the culture and the sheer science and discovery in the area… all of it is a dream come true.
The canyon itself is magnificent. Layers of rock—red and brown and yellow and orange draped in mystical purple shadows—lead down, where a glittering strip that must be the Colorado river is just barely visible. Rock formations jut out of the earth, and the view is breathtaking. Logan finds himself rattling off facts about the possible causes for each formation, reciting facts about erosion and everything he’s learned. His dads don’t seem to mind, thankfully, listening and occasionally humming in interest as they take in the view and snap pictures.
Here, the earth beneath his feet is fascinating in unimaginable ways. Layer upon layer of history lies around him. Logan has never been happier to be grounded on his planet than he is now.
That night, the sky is cloudy, but Logan and Dad found a book about constellations in the gift shop when they were going to dinner earlier, so he pores over that until his parents quietly tell him that it’s bed time. Unfortunately, they’re all in the same room, so Logan can’t read under the covers like he usually does.
The next day, Papa shakes him awake. “Logan, c’mon, I wanna see the sunrise,” he whispers, and Logan is filled with fondness for just how childlike and wonderstruck his father sounds. They tiptoe quietly out the door so as not to wake Dad, who is far from a morning person, and hurry down to the canyon. The sun’s first rays wash over the canyon, causing yellow and orange and purple ripples of light to shimmer along its walls, the sky is a backdrop of pink and orange filled with pale purple clouds, and Logan thinks that he’s never seen anything quite so magical before.
Later that day, after Dad wakes up and they’ve all had breakfast and Logan has been slathered in so much sunscreen it’s unbearable, they hike a little ways down the canyon. Dad does think that it might be fun to go all the way to the bottom—“An adventure!” he declares grandly, and Logan rolls his eyes—but Papa and Logan are hardly athletic, so they haven’t made any plans for that on this trip. Instead, they carefully hike a good ways down, stopping at an outlook to snack on sandwiches and trail mix before beginning the trek back to the canyon’s rim. Each bend in the path brings a new, spectacular view. As the sun and shadows shift, different parts of the canyon are plunged into darkness. It looks like something out of science fiction. Logan has never felt so small, humble, and awed before.
He has to amend that statement later that night, of course. The sky is clear today, and Logan has been outside since sunset, sitting on Dad’s lap in the grass even though he’s getting a little too old for that now. The Grand Canyon supposedly has zero light pollution, and Logan is positive that he has never been more excited about anything in his life. He sits quietly with Dad—Papa is already asleep, tuckered out after their hike, but he says he’ll go stargazing with Logan tomorrow—and closes his eyes to rest them for a minute. The next thing he knows, he is groggily blinking as Dad shakes his shoulder. The orange, red, and purple streaks of sky have been replaced with a deep ebony shade, and… oh.
Logan cranes his head up, hastily cleaning his glasses on his shirt. The sky is easily the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. It’s almost pitch black out, dark enough that Logan can barely make out his dad’s face, but that only makes the stars easier to see.
And they’re so beautiful. The night is an inky canvas, and the stars are like little glowing flecks splattered onto it, twinkling and spanning out indefinitely. “Speechless” has never been a word to describe Logan, but that’s exactly how he feels right now. Logan stands, beaming as he cranes his neck so far back he almost falls over. He stumbles, tripping over his feet as he spins around and giggles softly, gazing at the sky above.
Logan has always been a calm, rational person, and he’s not the best at expressing emotion. Right now, though, he is positively giddy as he twirls, logical thought entirely gone as he stares up at the vast expanse of sky, giggling and smiling so hard his face hurts. Logan has always been serious and grounded, not one for flowery language, but in this moment he floats; in this moment he is made of stars.
When Logan is fifteen he thinks that he has never felt so alone. School feels like it is suffocating him, he’s disconnected from his peers, and he doesn’t have the slightest clue about how to tell his parents something’s wrong. Perhaps worst of all, he can’t feel anything anymore. Science and English class no longer excite him the way that they used to—although Mr. Duke, his biology teacher, is a lifeline—and even learning about the stars and their universe isn’t enough to elicit a smile.
Logan is growing into himself a bit more, though he wishes the process would hurry up a bit. For now he’s a tall, lanky teen with a face marked with pimples and a voice that won’t stop cracking. Dad regales him with awkward stories about his teenage years while Papa cries about how much he’s grown. Logan goes along with it and wishes the emptiness pervading him would go away.
He’s said before that he doesn’t like emotions, but suddenly everything about his world feels dull, or monochromatic. He gets an A and feels nothing—it’s what’s expected. He’s assigned a fun project and goes through the motions—anything for that perfect grade. Nothing in life seems to have meaning anymore except for school, and school is slowly crushing him. At night he buries his face into his pillow and wishes he could cry, wishes the invisible aches in his chest would stop when there’s nothing physically wrong with him, so why does his body still hurt. Logan wants to ask for help, to make the emptiness go away, but every time he opens his mouth his voice seizes up and the words crawl back down his throat.
He’s not usually one for figurative language, but it seems to be the only accurate way to describe the new state of his life.
“Papa?” Logan asks one evening. Dad is working late, so the two of them are having dinner alone together. The room feels cold, or maybe that’s just Logan.
“What’s up, kiddo?” Papa replies, and usually Logan scoffs at the childish nickname but today it feels so accurate; today he feels just like a little kid again, small enough to crawl onto his Papa’s lap and somehow believe that’s enough to protect him from the world.
Logan looks down at his mashed potatoes and for the first time in months, a tear runs down his face.
“Papa, I’m—I’m not okay.”
When Logan is sixteen, he realizes that he has no clue what he’s doing with his life. College is growing nearer at an alarming rate and Logan doesn’t have the slightest idea what he wants. His longest lasting dream is to study soulmate sciences in relation to astrology, with astrophysics as another strong contender, but is that really what he wants from the rest of his life? Logan doesn’t know anymore.
School is only getting harder and more demanding, and although Logan has talked to his parents, his therapist, his guidance counselor, and even Mr. Duke at really low points, and he’s tried to find more effective ways of managing things, he still feels like he’s drowning some days.
People have always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Logan has never had a concrete answer. When he was little he first said a father, then an astronaut, then a poet, then a scientist. At one point he wanted to be a cartographer. The closest he’s come to knowing what he wants to do with his life is his interest in soulmate sciences, but when he tries to imagine dedicating the rest of his life to it, there’s nothing there. Most days he can barely see the future, but when he can, a career in studying soulmate sciences has no part in it—not anymore. Besides, those were all the fleeting wishes of a small child, looking at the people around him and deciding that he ought to follow in their footsteps if only because he didn’t have other footsteps to follow. Now, though, he is older. Now he has to pave his own path and, frankly, that terrifies him.
Logan is good at school. He knows how to solve equations and write paragraphs and get good grades. He knows how much coffee he’ll need to pull through after an all-nighter and which classes he can afford to fall asleep in or skip an assignment for. He knows how to push aside his emotions and make himself stay up late enough to finish and perfect everything. He doesn’t quite know how to handle the debilitating numbness that accompanies his manner of handling things, but it’s alright, because he’s learning. One could call his methods of dealing with school unhealthy and they would probably be right, but at least he knows what to do. College and everything beyond is scary. It means having to grow up and pick a passion to stick with for the rest of his life, and Logan doesn’t know if he’s ready for that.
So he does what he does best: he falls apart behind an impeccably indifferent facade, lets Papa make him breakfast and hug him extra tight in the mornings, and lets Dad read to him before bed. He maintains his grades and “perfect student” mask. He deflects and lies whenever anyone asks how he’s doing, he pretends the numbness doesn’t feel like the end of the world whenever it seeps in, and he works on opening up to his therapist. Life goes on and he goes with it, trying to pretend he’s not freaking out about where it’s leading him.
Of course, even the present can’t be effortless. Logan rubs his eyes and bangs his head on the desk with a small huff. He’s been staring at the same math problem for about fifteen minutes, as a glance at the clock reveals, and he just can’t bring himself to understand it. The equation blurs, and Logan dazedly stumbles to the window and shoves it open, hoping some air will help. It doesn’t.
“What do you want from me?” he yells to the sky in an angry, emotional tone that doesn’t match the hollowness spreading through his veins. Then again, dull and blank and defeated: “What do you want from me.”
Nothing, Logan realizes. The universe wants nothing from him. It couldn’t care less about Logan. It doesn’t matter to the universe if Logan goes to college or what he does with his life; the universe doesn’t even care if he graduates high school or not! To the universe, Logan means nothing. Maybe that’s a good thing. The universe is the only thing that doesn’t have any expectations for Logan—not like his teachers who expect him to be perfect, not like his peers who wish he was normal, not like his therapist who expects him to be open, not like his soulmate (if he has one) who will expect love, not even like his parents who want him to be okay. The universe doesn’t want Logan to do anything but exist, if even that, and Logan is almost grateful for it.
He stares out into the chilly night for a moment longer and the stars stare back at him, but they don’t provide the solace that they usually give. With a sigh, Logan closes the window and goes back to his homework. He stares at the assignment for a minute before he groans, slamming his head on the desk again. He blinks and looks at the problem again. His head throbs. He can’t make his brain process the equation.
With a trembling hand, Logan grabs his pencil and writes “Sorry.” in the blank space on his paper where the problems he hasn’t done are supposed to go. Then he puts it away. It feels hard and wrong and different, though this isn’t quite the first assignment he’s failed to complete—that’s right, he’s a failure because he should be able to handle this but he couldn’t because he can’t do anything right, can he, and now his teacher will be disappointed because he failed to be the perfect student that everyone needs him to be and his dads will worry more and if the kids at school find out they’ll think he’s a failure too—
The only thing that saves him from going into a complete spiral is exhaustion. A bone-deep tiredness settles upon him, as though the hollowness previously encompassing him is filling with lead. Logan tucks away his fear and turmoil to let it fester for later, and he barely manages to put on his pajamas before collapsing into bed and burrowing into the blankets, letting the thought that maybe tomorrow will be better lull him to sleep.
He doesn’t believe it, but it’s a beautiful lie nonetheless.
When Logan is eighteen, he doesn’t go to college. He’s not quitting or failing, no matter what his mind might whisper to him. He just needs to remind himself how to breathe before he can try climbing the next mountain in life.
(Dad’s affinity for figurative language has clearly had more of an effect on him than he thought.)
Logan stays with his parents. He discusses everything from politics to music with Dad, volunteers at the animal shelter with Papa, and spends clear nights staring out his window, sometimes with the telescope his dads gave him a few years ago. He works at an afterschool daycare, where he helps the fourth graders with their homework and reads aloud to the first graders and plays tag with the third graders and tells the fifth graders about the different types of galaxies. Logan loves seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter and watching their passion grow, and the fact that he’s helping them along their journeys makes his heart swell.
Oh, and he finds out that he does have a soulmate. At midnight on his eighteenth birthday, an itch spreads across his forearm. When he looks down, the words “The big dipper” are scrawled across his wrist in red letters that almost remind him of blood. Logan thinks that it’s fitting that the prophesied love of his life’s first words to him will be about the stars. Then he pockets the thought and saves it for another day. His soulmate will find him someday (or maybe they’ll never find each other, and that’s alright too), and Logan has a life to live, with or without a few scarlet words on his wrist.
It’s when he’s waiting with Maria Alvarez at the aftercare center that it hits him. Once again, Maria’s mom is working late and his coworkers have headed home already (except for Beth, who’s doing paperwork), so it’s just the two of them. Logan half expects Maria to just read until her mom gets there, or maybe to ask him to play cards with her or something along those lines, but instead she looks at him with an eager, bright expression that he knows all too well and asks, “What are elliptical galaxies?”
Logan smiles and puts on his best teacher voice as he begins to explain. He’s just pulled up some pictures on his phone when Maria’s mom comes to pick her up. Logan watches, heart full, as she walks away, already telling Mrs. Alvarez about what she’s learned. Logan loves working with these kids, sharing his interests with them and seeing all the little ways it ignites that beautiful spark of passion in them. He thinks about Maria and all of the other kids and he thinks about Mr. Duke, who he knows he’ll remember forever, and then it hits him like a train and he straightens with a little gasp, unable to stop a painfully large smile from overtaking his face.
After getting the all-clear from Beth, who comments that it’s nice to see him looking so “peppy,” Logan heads home. “How was work?” Dad asks when he walks in the door.
Logan beams. “I want to be a teacher.”
Later, he considers this new thought again. It’s quite different from any of his original plans for his life, but maybe that’s alright. For the first time in years, Logan can see a future.
When Logan is twenty-two, now back in school, he meets Virgil. He’s taking an astronomy class, just for fun, and they’re given some time to socialize, so he smiles professionally at the person next to him—slouched over with long bangs and a few piercings—and asks, “What’s your favorite constellation? Mine’s Orion, I love the mythology behind it.”
The man stiffens and replies slowly, “The big dipper.”
Logan’s wrist begins to itch as the words on it morph until they are inked in black, the letters stark against his skin. Logan blinks, then smiles cordially.
“I’m Logan, he/him pronouns,” he says pleasantly, as though his heart is not thudding in his chest and his entire being doesn’t feel like it’s shaking with excitement or perhaps terror because this is his soulmate and maybe it will lead to nothing, just another passing event in the story of Logan’s life, but it can also be everything. As a scientist, Logan has learned to love possibilities, and this encounter is brimming with them. “What’s your name?”
“Virgil. He/they.” Their words are stilted, and he appears to be trying to hide behind their bangs.
Logan tries to veer the conversation into what he hopes is safer territory. “So, how come the big dipper is your favorite?”
Virgil’s shoulders relax the tiniest amount. Logan counts that as a win.
They talk about constellations and stars until the class resumes, and afterwards they talk some more. Logan tells Virgil how he’s planning to teach highschool science—most likely biology, he admits, and Virgil quietly expresses support. In turn, Logan learns about how Virgil wants to be an aerospace engineer—specifically, working in astronautical engineering—and he can’t help the massive grin that spreads across his face. Aerospace engineering isn’t a career that Logan considered very strongly—while it is undeniably fascinating, Logan is far more interested in space itself than the machines that traverse it—but it still intrigues him a great deal. He’s delighted to find that his soulmate shares some of his passions. Prompted by Logan, Virgil tells him about what they’ve been learning, and Logan hangs onto every word. Finally, Logan realizes just how late it’s gotten when Virgil says they have to head home.
It’s when he’s in the car, his soulmate already long gone, that Logan realizes they forgot to exchange phone numbers. It’s alright, he reminds himself. If nothing else, they’ll see each other again at the next astronomy class.
As it turns out, they don’t even have to wait that long.
Logan is driving home from a visit to the bookstore when he sees a hooded figure hunched over and walking along the sidewalk. It’s raining pretty hard, dark clouds and downpour covering the sky that Logan loves so much, and the person doesn’t have an umbrella. Logan slows his car and rolls down the window.
“It’s rather wet out, would you like to borrow my um—Virgil?”
Logan’s soulmate looks at him through eyes far too red for the water on their face to only be rain. Logan tries to smile warmly. “Would you like a ride?” he says, and perhaps it’s unwise to offer a ride to someone he’s only really met once, but he can’t bring himself to care right now. (This is exactly the type of stupidly kind thing Papa would do, the sort of thing Logan always warned him against. Now look who’s going soft.)
Virgil only hesitates for a moment before climbing in the car. Logan passes them his coat.
“I don’t have a towel, but you can use my jacket if you’d like.”
Virgil dries himself off and looks up through red-rimmed eyes. “Thank you.” His voice is choked and wobbly and a little hoarse.
Logan smiles gently. There’s clearly something wrong, so Logan offers, “Would you like to talk about it?”
“Talk about what?” In an instant Virgil is on edge, sharp and bristling and defensive.
“Whatever’s bothering you,” Logan persists, looking straight ahead as the windshield wipers slide across the window.
Virgil opens his mouth, then closes it again, a certain reluctance in their expression.
“You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. But the offer stands if you would.”
Virgil considers. “Then I don’t. Want to, that is.” He wraps their arms around himself. “Not now.”
Logan nods. “Can you tell me how to get to your place? Or would you like to spend the night at mine?”
Virgil rattles off directions and the rest of the car ride is spent in silence. It’s not awkward or uncomfortable. It’s pleasant. They don’t need words, not right now. The rain drums against the windows and the tires whir against the wet asphalt and that’s more than enough to fill the quiet.
“Wait!” Logan calls as Virgil opens the door. He quickly grabs a pen and pad of paper from the glove compartment and scribbles down his phone number. “Contact me at some point if you wish, I’d love to talk more.”
Virgil accepts with a brief nod and a faint “Thank you.” Then they disappear.
When Logan is twenty-three, he has what you might call a crisis. He and Virgil have steadily grown closer—it started with simply seeing each other in the astronomy class, perhaps texting every now and then, until Logan asked if Virgil wanted to go out for coffee with him. (Virgil ended up having tea instead; they don’t drink coffee, as it turns out.) Soon enough that turned into weekly coffee meetups, which evolved into stargazing at the park, then Virgil spent the night with Logan, and before he could fully process it Virgil had become a critical part of his life.
Logan didn't quite realize things had changed so much until yesterday morning, when he went to do his laundry and found that one of Virgil’s hoodies had made its way into the mix. Now he’s sitting in the kitchen and trying to rationalize through his worries—specifically, the nagging fear that he’s somehow doing this whole “friendship” thing wrong.
Virgil would tell me if something’s upsetting them, he reminds himself.
Unless their anxiety prevents him from speaking up, his brain counters.
Logan groans and lays his head on his arms. Really, the only thing to do is to talk to Virgil about it.
The next time they see each other, Logan brings it up. “Virgil? Am I a bad friend?”
Virgil looks at him incredulously, speaking as though his next words are obvious. “No, not at all. Why?”
Logan studies his shoes, feeling irrationally embarrassed. “I don’t know, I’ve just… I’ve never really done this before.”
“Done what?” Virgil’s tone is steady and patient; his expression is calm as their eyes stare into Logan’s soul.
“Had a friend? I’ve never really needed any before now… I don’t know, I guess I’m just wondering if my… inexperience is… diminishing the quality of our friendship at all.”
Virgil snorts, his bangs flopping in front of his face. “I’m new to this ‘friendship thing’ too, Pocket Protector. Believe it or not, I’ve never been much of a social butterfly.”
Logan chuckles. “Oh, I believe it.”
Virgil elbows him lightly before their expression sobers again. “I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to be a friend, L. It’s just… whatever works for the people in the relationship. And this, what we have? This works perfectly for me.” Anxiety creeps into his tone, and the slow words speed up frantically. “That is, unless this doesn’t work for you, or if I’m, uh, messing something up or—”
“Virgil.” Their mouth snaps shut. “You aren’t messing anything up. I, too, find our relationship to be… satisfactory.”
Virgil pouts. “Only satisfactory?” he accuses, but they’re both grinning.
Virgil knows Logan too well, though, and after a minute of studying him they say, “That’s not it, is it? What’s on your mind, Lo?”
“Well, we’re romantic soulmates, aren’t we?” he says after a moment, as though confessing something.
“But we’re fully platonic. We’ve known each other for at least a year now. Wouldn’t most people like us be dating by now?”
Virgil outright wheezes at that.
“I fail to see what is so funny.”
“This is coming from you, Logan. You, the person who has lectured me more times than I can count—stop apologizing, I enjoyed it—on just how fickle the science and logic of soulmates is? You, the person whose life motto is pretty much… ah, what was it? ‘Soulmates are just people that the universe thinks can change your life.’ Logan, are you of all people worrying about this?”
He knew it was an unfounded fear, but it’s nice to hear it from his soulmate nonetheless. “Well, when you put it that way….”
Virgil’s tone softens. “Logan, look at me. Do you want to be in a romantic relationship?”
Logan considers, then wrinkles his nose.
Virgil laughs, a hearty, wild sound that Logan has come to love almost as much as the person it belongs to. “Yeah, see? Me neither.”
Logan studies the words on his wrist. Virgil places their hand next to his, palm facing up, so the sentences align. They're just little black words, an innocent conversation about constellations. Logan thinks about where it’s led them and smiles to himself.
It’s hard to believe he’s known Virgil for an entire year. It feels like hardly any time has passed since the red letters on his arm turned black and his soulmate entered his life. At the same time, it feels like he’s known Virgil forever. It’s hard to imagine his life without them.
Virgil stares at their wrists contemplatively. “You know,” he says, “Maybe the reason the words change to black after we meet is because the universe is trying to tell us that it’s played its part. We met like it thought we would, and now it’s up to us what we do with it.” They smile crookedly at Logan. “Or maybe I’m just full of bull.”
Logan blinks. “No, that is… astute.”
He thinks about their conversation for a long time afterwards.
When Logan is twenty-five, he gets a call from Virgil. They usually prefer to text, or at least ask if it’s a good time before calling, so Logan figures it’s important. He picks up and Virgil is speaking before Logan can even say hi.
“What do you think it’s all for?”
“I’m sorry, what?”
Virgil’s tone is urgent. It makes Logan’s stomach twist.
“What do you think it’s all for? You know, this…. Life. Us. School. Everything we’re doing. What’s it all for?”
Logan takes a minute to process, and then another to try to put his thoughts in order. “I think it depends on what you want it to be for.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, some people find purpose in the belief of a higher power, right? Others find purpose in their soulmates—finding them, building a relationship with them, that sort of thing.” He begins to pace until he ultimately finds himself by the window. The stars are visible, and Logan watches them as he talks. Briefly, he wonders if Virgil is looking at the sky too. “Some people find purpose in their work or in the people they love, or in pursuit of knowledge or self discovery.” Logan thinks of Papa and Dad and smiles, the next words graced with love. “Some people find purpose in helping others, or in adventure. For some people, the point of life is life itself—living every day to its fullest and seeing where it takes them.”
That’s one thing his dads have in common. They both love life because they love living itself. For Dad it’s in the journey, following his path and finding a sliver of adventure in every place it takes him. For Papa it’s in the little moments, the smiles and laughter and terrible jokes (Dad calls them witty, but he’s biased) and all the people he crosses paths with along the way.
“So it’s different for everyone?” Virgil sounds calmer. Logan hopes he’s saying the right thing.
“Well, yes. Everyone’s different, after all. And when it comes to the point of life itself, is there really a right answer? Does it really matter what someone’s purpose in life is as long as it’s enough to make life worthwhile for them?”
Logan isn’t expecting an answer, and Virgil doesn’t give him one. For a long while, the only sound is their breathing on the other end of the line. Then he asks, “What’s it for you? Your purpose in life, I mean?”
Logan considers this. “I don’t think I know yet.”
“Yeah.” There’s a pause. “I guess we can figure it out together.”
It feels like a promise.
When Logan is twenty-seven, he and Virgil move in together. Logan first pitched the idea, half expecting Virgil to laugh in his face, but instead he was on board almost immediately. “Yeah, sure,” Logan remembers them saying, “I think it’d be nice to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Sometimes, Logan wonders about who they are in the admittedly narrow scope of society’s norms. From the outside, they look more like partners than friends. Sometimes, Logan almost feels like that’s what they should be. He doesn’t want to date Virgil, but if that’s what people think they are, is that what they’re supposed to be?
Virgil never fails to reassure him. “We’re best friends, Lo,” they remind him. “So what if we don’t look like your typical pair of friends, the kind who’d forget each other in the name of romance? Who wants that anyway? I’d rather have this. I'd rather have you.”
He’s right. He usually is, and Logan is there to set them straight when they aren’t.
Logan also teaches highschool now, like he planned when he was younger. It has its ups and downs, like anything, but for the most part he is quite enamored with his job. He adores getting questions from the kids and watching them grow. He hears their whispers and he gossips with the other staff like any other teacher, so he knows he’s a hit-or-miss teacher. Some kids think he’s too harsh when grading while others just don’t enjoy the subject he teaches or dislike him for different reasons, but many seem to think he’s a good teacher. Julianna O’Brian, the English teacher, once asked him how he managed to become an instant favorite for so many of the students. Matching her joking tone, Logan told her that she’d have to ask them. Then, quietly and much more seriously, he mused, “My best guess is that I remember what it’s like to be in their position. You don’t find adults like that very often.”
And it’s true, Logan does know what it’s like to be in their shoes. He promised himself, back when he was just another teenager struggling to find time to breathe in the chaos of highschool, that he’d never be another adult who forgot just what it felt like to be a kid. He hasn’t broken his promise to himself yet, and he doesn’t plan on it anytime soon.
The best part of his job, without question, is his students. He watches as Priya goes from straight Cs to the B range and feels his heart swell with pride. He sees Aaliyah’s hand shoot up almost every day, her entire form screaming excitement as she silently begs for permission to share her thoughts. He loves when Jackson stays after class to ask him question upon question until he inevitably stumbles across one that Logan doesn’t know the answer to and they learn together. When Alex comes out as nonbinary, he gives xem a hug that Papa would be proud of and is careful to respect xyr pronouns. He watches his students graduate and learn and realizes that they really are teaching him just as much as he hopes they’re learning from him.
It’s true, he discovers, that what goes around comes around. On teacher appreciation day one year, Sheila makes him a card that Logan carefully keeps on his nightstand, where it still resides. Another year, Harper gets him a mug with the words “Space Ace” on it. Logan laughs until he can’t breathe. It’s still his favorite mug (and Virgil likes stealing it, even if they don’t like to admit it).
Speaking of Virgil, Logan’s soulmate works for NASA, and Logan couldn’t be more proud. He especially loves hearing him talk about what they’re working on, when they can. Logan gets permission from the principal for Virgil to come in once a year and give talks to the students about his work. It’s always a highlight of the year for both of them, and the kids seem to enjoy it as well.
Life keeps moving, and so far Logan has loved where it’s led him, for the most part. There have been some lows as well, like when Virgil’s childhood dog died, or when Dad sprained his ankle, or when Papa got pneumonia. As always, there are good days and bad days and even days when the numbness comes back, because adulthood isn’t a magical solution to all the problems in the world and society is eternally flawed, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it was during his teenage years or even in college. Besides, now he has Virgil on the bad days, and Virgil has him when they need him, and that makes everything so much more okay—better than okay, really.
When Logan is twenty-nine, his parents finally meet Virgil’s. The two are close enough that Dad says they’re starting to act like an old married couple—or perhaps two newlyweds still in the honeymoon phase, apparently it’s always one or the other with them. Logan retorts that he’s one to talk.
At any rate, this visit is long overdue, but between life and conflicting schedules and periods where he just didn’t talk to his family as much, further enforced by the fact that there’s less societal pressure for friends’ families to meet, their parents somehow haven’t been introduced yet. For winter break, Virgil takes some time off of work and they all make plans to stay at Logan’s parents’ house—they have the most space, so it makes sense. Logan and Virgil arrive first and start setting up in Logan’s childhood bedroom. They’ve just finished putting their suitcases away and are having a snack in the kitchen when the doorbell rings. Papa goes to get it. Logan and Virgil hurry over to see what’s wrong when the door swings open and the cheerful greeting on his lips morphs into a strangled, indecipherable noise.
It’s just Virgil’s dad, but Papa looks like he’s seen a ghost… so does Virgil’s father, for that matter.
“Janus?” Papa whispers.
“Patton,” Virgil’s dad answers, eyes wide and voice uncharacteristically unsteady.
Virgil looks between the two, confusion written on his face. “You know each other?”
Papa laughs in disbelief, blinking dazedly and patting the other man on the shoulder, almost as though making sure he’s real. “Yeah, uh, yeah! Janus is my soulmate.”
Logan blinks, dumbfounded. All he can think to say is, “We really should’ve introduced you guys sooner.”
Papa laughs at that before calling Dad. “Roman, come on! The guest bedroom is fine, you’ve double checked it at least five times, and I want you to meet someone.”
Virgil’s father looks nervous at first, but Dad just smiles, says that it’s nice to meet him, and pulls him into a one-armed hug.
The rest of the night is interspersed with “I can’t believe it’s you”s and “Do you remember when”s and “I didn’t think I’d see you again”s. Papa and Janus act like old friends—because they are, Logan reminds himself. It’s quite strange, but pleasantly so. This will take some adjustment, but Logan notices the way things automatically shifted to accommodate Janus and knows he’s already been accepted as a part of their family.
Later that night, a dramatic wail makes Virgil put down their book so everyone can tease Dad for losing checkers to Janus for the third time in a row. Papa is the only one offering an ounce of sympathy from the kitchen, where he’s drying the dishes, but even he sounds like he’s trying not to laugh. Dad challenges Janus to a rematch and Papa comes to sit in his armchair while Virgil reads aloud, curled on the couch next to Logan, who smiles.
It’s strange and it’s new, but this already feels like home.
When Logan is thirty, he feels so unbelievably alive. The previous weekend was quite the opposite—it was cloudy and cool, raining on and off, and Logan felt the chill seep into his veins until he couldn’t feel much of anything. Fortunately, Virgil was there as always, wrapping him in their arms and letting their warmth help him thaw a bit.
Virgil is here today as well, but it is very different, because today Logan is overflowing with life. The stars are shining, dimmed by the city lights but still so beautiful, and energy pulses through Logan. It’s late and there’s a slight chill in the air, and he and Virgil are both in their pajamas already, but that doesn’t stop Logan from forcibly asking his friend to come outside. Virgil watches, a tender smile on their face, as Logan beams, inhaling the evening air and sighing contentedly. He only protests slightly when Logan grabs his arm and exclaims, “Dance with me!”
Logan twists awkwardly and waves his hands as “Fireflies” by Owl City—the first song that came on when Virgil shuffled their playlist—plays in the background. Virgil seems to think he can get away with just standing and watching and tapping their foot slightly, but Logan isn’t having it. He grabs his soulmate’s hand and the two fall into some sort of clumsy dance, giggling like children and exchanging playful jabs.
Spinning aimlessly in the night, Logan feels like he’s fourteen again.
When Logan is thirty-two, he looks up at the stars. He’s dragged Virgil on a camping trip for the weekend, just the two of them. The light pollution here is so much better than it is in the city, and the sky is clear, so the two lie on the grass together and admire the starry expanse above. Logan watches as Virgil points out constellations and makes quiet comments, then Virgil does the same for him. Eventually, though, they fall silent.
The ground under their backs is cool, the air is still, and Logan can feel the warmth from where Virgil is lying nearby, their fingers loosely intertwined. Crickets chirp and the wind rustles through the trees as Logan and Virgil gaze up at the universe, spanning infinitely above. Pinpricks of light—stars—dot the dark expanse, and Logan smiles up at them. Out here, alone with Virgil and the stars, Logan feels more at peace than he has in a while.
He glances at his best friend, who glows under the silvery light of the half moon, and Logan’s smile widens. He’s glad to have come this far with him, from two strangers talking about constellations to two friends hand in hand beneath the stars.
Logan looks back up at the stars.
“Thank you,” he whispers to the universe, sinking into the comfort of the earth beneath him and the stars above him and his soulmate beside him.
Virgil doesn’t ask what he said or why he said it. They just squeeze his hand tighter. Logan squeezes back.
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revolution-starter · 10 months ago
series masterlist
Part 3
Pairing: Ezra x Forensic Anthropologist! Reader 
Rating: M 
Warning: violence, mild gore, and injuries, mention of weapons 
Word Count: 4.3k 
A/N: Thanks for sticking with me even though this came late. Things are picking up and I hope you enjoy it. 
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Living on a ship was an adjustment. It was one thing to take a shuttle for about a day or two to another planet. Your mind adjusted to that accordingly. That was short. That was temporary. But it was another when the period was somewhat indefinite and it was a temporary living space. There was a set time frame for the voyage of course but the Proxima Prime was about an entire month’s journey from the system you were coming from. It had been a mere week since you left the Ephrate.   
Titanium and chrome walls lost their luster after the third night. Once the excitement faded away and the reality set in, you were worried that you’d be a hollowed-out shell mentally by the time you arrived at the planet. No one told you to expect this or that it was a possibility. Maximilian couldn’t relate when you tried speaking to him about it so you gave up.  
You tried focusing on your notes and sticking to a routine as Cola suggested over your holochats but the relief that provided was fleeting at best. There was just a certain restlessness in you that couldn’t be explained. Something about sailing through the vast unknown. You wondered if there was a name for it. Space sickness perhaps. If it was then no one had informed you of it at all. You thought of going to ask Dr. Hoffman since he‘d traveled a lot more than you but chickened out each time. Sometimes it crossed your mind to even ask Ezra but the words refused you escape your mouth with every attempt. You hoped that with time you’d adjust to it. It was just a lot so far.  
What did help was the company.  
“Again? But you’ve won four times in a row!” Saya protested as Dr. Hoffman took his winnings with a wide grin. Everyone groaned in unison at his action.   
“Do they teach you bone scrappers math or is it just how to dip things in formaldehyde?” he gloated over his winnings. After dinner, a card game was suggested by Maximillian of all people. He knew that you were upset with him over his previous comments and thought that perhaps you’d appreciate it. As long as it meant he would expand his mind and restrain those prejudices. If you were going to live and work with these people then some semblance of a courteous relationship was advantageous. Going to a possibly dangerous planet with anyone you didn’t trust was a gamble.  
 It was a game similar to poker which you played on earth but that was where all the similarities ended because you were all absolutely trashed hard by the archeologist. It was yourself, Saya, Sami, Hoffman, Rory, Anar, and Ezra for the game tonight. Deyko declined in favor of manning the controls despite the very functional autopilot glide settings. Perhaps he wasn’t in the mood to socialize so freely quite yet. 
So far, Hoffman had thrashed you all severely. The only person who came close to beating him was Ezra. He regaled you all with humorous stories of his travels and time spent prospecting on many moons. You'd been hesitant when the invitation was sent but it was a good call. Leaving the sanctuary of your quarters tonight after the meal was not a bad idea. You felt relaxed and at ease with the people you planned to spend the better part of a month with. And it felt good to look away from your research notes for once.  
You rolled your eyes playfully and sipped your beer. “We all suffered through Organic Chemistry and Applied Physics in undergrad. No one does more math unless they’re sociopaths.” 
“Which is what the Mathematics department is full of,” Saya snickered earning laughs from the room.  
“Don’t take it to heart. This man has beaten me in every game so far. And I’ve been on five expeditions with him!” Rory exclaimed, scratching his ginger beard. He didn’t seem to take losing to heart at all so he was used to it.  
Hoffman belted out another set of winning cards. “You’re lucky we always strike something on those trips or else you’d lose your entire paycheck every time I pick up a set of cards.”  
“I’m so glad none of us decided to play for money,” You said shuffling your cards to look for at least one that would score you some points. “I’d be out by now.”  
“Where did you learn to be so great at cards Dr. Hoffman?” Anar asked earnestly.  
“You learn a thing or two from grey mercenaries on a few docking stations. They don’t play fair at all,” he said with all the nonchalance of a man going through his grocery list.  
“You played cards with grey mercenaries?” Sami stated in disbelief. “And survived?!” 
Hoffman gave a coy smile. “Kid, when you’ve scouted half the universe looking for artifacts, you tend to bump into all kinds of people. It’s a wild place outside the cushy hedges of the Ephrate. How do you think I found this one?” He gave Rory an enthusiastic pat on the shoulder.  
Maximilian had an odd look on his face which you recognized as his attempt to quell the discomfort. You guessed that he wasn’t feeling at ease by the thought that the pilot could be from the same place as dangerous grey mercenaries and you couldn’t blame him for that one. The reason they were called grey mercenaries was because they were neutral. No alliance to any planet or government in the entire Galaxy. They worked for whoever paid them the most. If you came across them, it was an incident that would never be forgotten. Some people called them a step above pirates. They had some code but it wasn’t advertised to everyone else.  
You’d never met one but growing up as a child from the remnants of a warring time you heard a few stories of the debris they left behind. You weren’t sure if Hoffman was bluffing or not but you knew the man was a little rough around the edges before. This just made you see him in a whole new light.  
“I know all about that lot. They won’t hesitate to put a blaster between your eyes if they get even a whiff of cheating. They take their games with surprising seriousness for hired guns,” Ezra piped up taking a sip of his beer. That got you curious. Life as a prospector was no picnic. Those guys dug into the most poisonous of Green Moons looking for aurelac. It powered everything from ships to indoor generators. Mining for precious stones would have gotten him his share of unsavory characters.  
“You’ve met them before?” you questioned.   
“Yes. Years ago on a dig when I was still a prospector. They weren’t the friendliest bunch but I left with my head still intact if that’s what your asking.” The twinkle in your eye made you realize there was more to that story. Did he want you to ask? 
Rory pushed the hand off his shoulder without malice. “I’d rather sell both my hands to a scavenger than hang out with mercenaries. You found me on Fillory and that’s hardly a den of crime. No offense Ezra.”  
“None taken.” He waved it off with his mechanical arm.  
“Fillory? The old resort planet?” Maximilian held a scoff. Fillory was a happening spot in its heyday. All the rich and famous people went there to enjoy some peace and quiet. But it got hit hard during the Second Illumination and it was a ghost town now. You’d never been but Max had in his childhood. Perks of being from a privileged background. The price of a round-trip those days was a single paycheck for your clerk father.  
“He was fixing this old motor IDP. That thing could barely run a mile from the desert to the front door but he tinkered with it until it purred like a lothcat. My ship had broken down near the Fourth Ward where I was looking for Jiden temple chalices from 86AY and I was in desperate need of repairs. The old pilot was a loudmouthed retiree who was too stubborn to admit he didn’t have much experience with new generation propulsions. He got the circuits fried to a crisp,” Hoffman narrated. “Rory claimed there was no hope left but got his hands on it after grumbling and charging me more credits than either of us were worth. Once he fixed it, I asked him to pilot me back the Ephrate.” 
“That thing was dead when I got to it,” Rory chuckled with all the gutso of one recalling a pleasant memory. “Took me two weeks to get all the goop that melted the wires. I had to build a whole new engine from scrap parts around my shop. Charles is a lucky bastard because if he’d landed anywhere else that would have been it.” It was strange to hear someone call Dr. Hoffman by his first name but you guessed Rory would the only one allowed to get away with it.  
“You remind me all the damn time.”  
The men traded more affectionate barbs and soft teases that left you looking away for fear of intruding on what felt like a private moment. Everyone else followed your example.  
“My biggest fear is being marooned on some distant planet with no way to contact anyone,” Maximilian shifted the attention from the two men.  
“Preach,” Anar solemnly agreed. “That’s one of my nightmares." 
“I thought Ooanians didn’t have organized religion, so how do you have any concept of preaching?” Saya asked curiously. Oona was one of the few planets on the Galactic Alliance without any majority or minority religion. No theism whatsoever. They weren’t insufferable about it or anything but it led to some curious interactions because those who’d never been off world had no concept of popular religious traditions.  
“That’s true but I've heard that phrase so many times for every variation of earthling I've met before,” he explained. “So, it has stuck to me now.” 
Max tossed his cards on the table. “Yeah, but not all earthlings believe in organized religion. In fact, those who don’t outnumber the rest.” 
Anar’s blue forehead wrinkled in confusion. “But wasn’t that why the majority of your previous wars were fought? I remember taking an Earth History course in my first year of undergraduate studies and although I will admit to forgetting plenty, that has always stuck with me.” 
“Religion, money, land. Name a reason and everyone’s fought for it.” Sami shuffled his cards looking for a winning one. “Then again that’s the way of the entire galaxy so it’ll be unfair to pin it solely on humans.” 
You patted the confused grad student on the shoulder. “One thing you’ll learn about Earth humans is that we do crazy things for no reason that makes sense.” 
“The rest of the universe, unfortunately, shares in that malady,” Ezra interjected.  
You raised your bottle of beer. “I’ll drink to that.”  
The night went on in a pleasant buzz of more talk and card games. Hoffman won two more times before everyone decided to call it a night. You didn’t drink much so those few bottles of beer had you staggering on the way to your quarters. An ill-timed step nearly sent you flying headfirst into the solid wall when you were grabbed from behind saving your skull from being cracked open like a breakfast egg.  
“Are you ok?” Ezra’s voice and the combined adrenaline racing through your veins shook you sober.  
You sighed in relief. Your heart was still pounding. “Yes, I am. Thank you for that, I didn’t realize I'd drunk so much.” 
“Happens to us all,” he assured.  
You snorted feeling heat envelope your neck to your cheeks. “Not to me, it doesn’t. I had like three bottles of light beer at the most and I'm falling like a heavy block. I just don’t drink much.” 
“No need to explain yourself,” he assured. “You are not uncultured for having not indulged in alcohol as much as is perceived as normal.”  
“Polite way of calling me a lightweight,” you teased.  
He breathed a laugh. “I am always polite, right until the moment I am not.”  
“Thank you for saving me,” you softened your voice.  
Ezra seemed to realize he’d still been holding your wrist and let go with a tinge of red on his cheek. “I couldn’t very well let you get hurt, Doc. Your work is the very foundation of this expedition.” As if you needed the reminder.  
“You don’t have to call me that all the time.”  
“It is your earned title isn’t it?”  
“Yes, but it makes you sound so…formal. No need for that. If we’re going to be on this ship and exploring an entire planet for who knows how long then you’re allowed to ease up around me. Makes things easier.” You kept your voice low and calm but hoped the message came across loud and clear.  
Ezra nodded avoiding your eyes. “Of course. Goodnight.”  
“Good night, Ezra.” With the minimum energy, you could find you mustered a smile before tapping the button into your quarters. Once inside you fell on top of your bed without even changing your clothes. The excitement of the night took a lot out of you but it seemed to be a success. Now the crew were more relaxed with one another and got to know themselves. Your anxiety about being in a small ship was abated to a point and your mind was filled with residual thoughts of a certain brown-eyed survivalist.  
 Maybe Deyko would come out next time but it was a work in progress. Within a few minutes, you were out like a light.  
An annoying beep woke you up. You groaned and tossed around in the warm bed for a few seconds before opening your eyes to look around for the source. It was coming from your door and the words ALERT blinked in red. That alarm was supposed to be sounded in just one instance: danger to the ship.  
You shot up from the bed and hurriedly wore your boots. With a hard slap on the door lock, you rushed out to see Max in the hallway looking equally as confused and alert in his pajamas. “What’s the matter?”  
“I’m not sure but I think something hit the ship.”  
Deyko then appeared from the corner of the hallway with a hard look and two large blasters in his hands. “Pirates. We’re at the Entori Max and that’s where they like to hit. I tried to direct our route away so we’d be long gone before any pirate ships arrived but they seem to have changed their tactics and attacked just near the shoulder. They found our signal earlier than normal.” 
“Pirates?!” you squeaked in fear.  
Maximilian moved to your side and shielded your body with his. “We need to get a safe place. Where’s everyone else?”  
Sami, Saya and Anar appeared then in various states of hurried undress you didn’t feel like questioning. “Somethings is going on. We heard the alarm. Did the ship hit something?” 
“Pirates,” you filled them in.  
“That is not good guys.” Anar couldn’t hide his panic.  
He loaded his blaster with a swipe to recharge. “I’ve seen this before. They try to break in through the garbage disposal or side entrance in the lower levels to make their way to the deck. If we’re lucky it’s just a small pod with five men at most. If not, a fleet.” That didn’t sound promising at all.  
“The side entrance opens from inside so how will they get in?” 
“With flame cutters most likely.” 
“They have flame cutters?” Anar’s eyes widened in fear. The poor guy was already hyperventilating.  
“And black market electrolasers.” Deyko didn’t mince words.  
“Does anyone know where Ezra, Rory and Hoffman are?” you looked around frantically. The three men were the only ones absent.  
“So, we are under attack by pirates wielding dangerous weapons, ones determined enough to use flame cutters to get to us. Do I have this clear?” Saya stated with hands on her hips.  
“That’s the summary.” your mind was moving at a million miles per hour. Why would pirates attack the ship? It was a research vessel and the most valuable thing they could get would be digging equipment.  
“The pilot is most likely starting up the defensive measures,” Deyko stated. “I’ll look for the other two. The rest of you get to the concealed safe room on level 2 and lock it. Staying in your quarters would make for an easy target if they manage to breach inside.” 
“I’m coming with you.” A sudden burst of energy came on you and you wanted to help despite the trembling fear you felt. “We need to find the others.” 
“You’re crazy. We need to get to that safe room,” Maximilian hissed.  
“The more manpower we have could stop these guys,” you tried to explain. “I know there are more guns in the armory.” Dr. Hill hadn’t understood your insistence on having a ship with an armory but nothing made you happier that you’d stood your ground back then. All sorts of things were lurking in outer space and you were about to get your first taste of one. Pirates.  
“There should be,” Deyko confirmed. “I don’t have time to round back there and help you get back to level 2 but if you can reach it, I suggest everyone get a gun before heading to the safe room. It might come in handy.”  
“Sami and I should go instead. We’re more equipped for situations like this but we don’t know the code to the armory,” Saya suggested. They could heal faster thanks to their physiology.  
“I’ll come with.” You weren’t relenting. “We’ll need all hands on deck and I’m the only one with access to the armory.” Hoffman and yourself had the access codes as co-captains of the operation.  
“You cannot be serious. You have never shot a gun in your life.” Maximilian pointed out.  
“I have. I took blaster lessons two years ago.” It was a five-day thing but muscle memory would kick in.  
“Did the lessons have a course on shooting experienced pirates?!” 
“No better time to learn like the present.”  
“I’m coming with you then,” He said.  
“You and Anar better head to the safe room,” you disagreed. “Between the two of us I'll have a better chance.” 
Max wanted to argue further but there was a loud bang coming from the East side that startle everyone and the lights flickered.  
“Go now!” Deyko shouted. “If they’ve breached the side entrance then they’ll be on the main levels in less than five minutes. Two of you,” he pointed at yourself and Saya. “Go to get the guns. The rest need to get to the safe room now. Have this.” He brought out a small blaster and handed it to Sami. “Shoot anything that isn’t the crew if they come knocking.” 
Without another word he ran to the side entrance. The five of you scattered into different directions. Maximillian shot you an unhappy look but obeyed by following the guys to the safe room. You and Saya went down the level 0 where the armory was located. The cold air made you shiver and your skin erupted in goosebumps as you passed by the two-seater escape pods. The thin sweater you had on was not conducive for this. You reached the armory and brought out your access card to type in the code.  
“Fuck,” Saya whispered behind you.  
“I can hear two separate footsteps on top of us. They're in we’ve got visitors in level one,” she said with worry evident.  
“Fuck,” you echoed. The pirates were now on the ship. That meant you had limited options to make it back to Level 2. The only other route was through the kitchen but there was the chance that you’d bump into one or two along the way if they were loitering about.  
“There’s a third one just behind us.” Saya gripped your arm. “They’re coming in here.” 
You whipped your head to the entrance. “Now?” 
“A few paces away. We need to hide.”  
“We still need to get the guns,” you whispered.  
There were about three blasters hoisted on the wall. You managed to carry one that was bigger than you’d remembered. Your fingers found the safety and clicked off to load the gun. A low mechanical thrum indicated it was filled up and ready to shoot. Saya took the other one. “They’re close,” she whispered. Your heart was pounding and you had to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. The both of you crouched by the wall, concealed by a column. Your clutch on the handle tightened.  
Now the footsteps were close enough for you to hear. They were loud and heavy. Low grunting. A growl. Not a humanoid then. Saya stayed impossibly still but you felt yourself trembling. The cold wasn’t helping. The conversation about religion earlier was ironic considering you muttered a few pleas to whomever was listening. You'd never felt this sort of fear before.  
The pirate stopped a few paces from where you were. Your forefinger ghosted on the trigger. This was it. You were about to shoot someone for the first time. Before you could pull it, there was a metallic clatter that bashed into something, then the pirate made an inhuman screeching and fell down face first with a powerful thud that made you both scream in fear. The back of their head was caved in and bloodied with green goop.  
“Is anyone here?” a familiar drawl almost had you crying in relief. it was Ezra holding a metal pipe.  
You rushed out of where you hid startling him and jumped into his arms. Both arms around his neck tight and your face buried in the crook of his neck. “I’m so happy to see you!” He dropped the pipe on the floor and steadied you so you both won’t go tumbling down. “Doc? Are you alright?” 
Saya reappeared. “We’re alright. You go to him before he got to us.” The pirate remained immobile on the floor. You weren’t sure he was still alive. In the moment you didn’t care. You'd have the luxury of ruminating over your first dead body when the situation was more stable and pirates weren’t threatening you.  
“They tore through the side entrance. Rory locked down the deck and I split from Hoffman somewhere around the kitchen. He said he was coming down here to grab some weapons. I took the long way after checking the extent of the damage and thought to meet him here.” Ezra didn’t release his hold on you.  
“We haven’t seen him,” Saya said. You hoped he’d just decided to hide somewhere instead of getting accosted.  
“Where’s everyone else?” 
“Deyko went to fend them off and the guys went to the safe room on level 2. We came down to get weapons,” you explained extracting your arms from his person.  
“That’s where the two of you should be,” he scolded. “It’s not safe here and we don’t know what they want.” 
“We needed weapons first and it wouldn’t be fair to let you handle up to five guys on your own,” you defended.  
“Six. Thankfully it’s down to five now that we know of.” 
Out of nowhere, another pirate appeared from behind cocking his blaster. He was human, wearing enough leather for an entire metal bar, and had a long scar on his cheek. “Don’t move.” his voice was hoarse and altogether unpleasant. “Drop your weapons.” 
“That would put us at a disadvantage, wouldn’t it?” Ezra remained calm while situating himself in front of the two of you.  
The pirate chuckled in his throat. A rough and scratchy sound borne from years of smoking spice. “Cute. Drop your weapons or I'll blow your brains out.” Hesitantly you and Saya dropped your weapons to the floor.  
“This is a research vessel; you won’t find anything here worth selling. You’re wasting your time,” you spoke remaining crouched down.  
The pirate shrugged. “Maybe we’ll just sell your ship for scrap metal. Or we can find some use for you pretties on the flesh markets.” A discolored smile sent your way made you shudder.  
“None of that,” Ezra took a step forward. “Take what you want but leave these ladies be. Let's not turn an already repugnant situation into something uglier.” 
“Too late.” He saw it before you. The pirate clicked his safety off and went for the trigger. Ezra pushed you to the and took the hit, falling to his knees in pain.  
Saya with her trimmed instincts reached for the blaster she was still crouched within reach of shot back and got him right in the chest. He fell dead before he even hit the ground.  
“Are you ok?” you patted around his upper body with care to find where he’d been hit.  
“I’m fine. He got me in my fake arm.” Despite his assurances, you saw blood staining his grey tunic above where the prosthetic was fixed.  
“That’s not fine,” you immediately reached for his arm to check the damage.  
“He nicked the skin. It's a flesh wound,” he protested.  
“You need to be patched up,” you countered tearing off the sleeve of your sweater to wrap around his arm. There were now two dead bodies in this place and it was starting to get to you. All the dead bodies you encountered were always stripped of their flesh but seeing them fresh was an experience you weren’t quite ready for.  
“We need to get out of here. I can hear another heavy footstep above us and it’s not Deyko,” Saya cocked her blaster. The ship shook again and the lights flickered. There were still at least four more of these guys and possibly a pilot left to contend with. All wounds would have to wait until all the danger had passed. The alarm sounded again and all three of you glanced at one another in worry. That was if the ship didn’t fall apart before then.    
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obaewankenobis · 10 months ago
All Things Die — Chapter Two
Masterlist, AO3, Previous chapter
Pairing: Sith!Obi-Wan Kenobi x fem!reader
Warnings: ship crashes? idk if that counts
Word count: 3.5k
Summary: The rescue mission does not go as planned — soon, you stumble upon a familiar face.
Notes: @endofthexline​
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“Are you still sure about this?” Padmé called, wrinkling her nose as she stepped out of the ship and descending the long ramp, white boots thumping against the pristine metal. The wind tugged at her outer cape in various directions, exposing the rest of her outfit of off white colored fabrics highlighted with silver accent pieces. Her hair had been twisted into loose braids and clipped to her head with another silver band, though it still rustled in the howling wind. It was odd not seeing her in more lavish clothes, but you knew that Achonia was no place to show off your wealth, especially walking down the filthy alleyways in the dead of night.
“No,” you shrugged from the bottom of the ramp. “But I’m still going to do it anyways.” This earned a laugh from the young senator as she beckoned for you to follow her onto the ship, seating herself in the copilot’s seat and waiting for you to join her.
“I just hope you’re a better pilot than I am,” she kicked back as the engine hummed to life, ascending into Coruscant’s atmosphere as you steered.
The reality of the entire situation became apparent the moment the ship glided into hyperspace, the familiar azure streaks of safety a reminder you were doing this, and there was no going back.
Achonia was a planet of mystery, to say the least, though most of the curiosity came from its largest moon, Mydoni. When greeted by Achonia upon coming out of hyperspace, you were greeted only an ugly mix of slush brown and grey as Achonia floated through space, a barren wasteland with cities scattered far and few inbetween. Hard hit by the war, it was as dead and polluted as a tucked away Outer Rim planet got, the cities crumbling and the citizens poor. While it would be mildly depressing to spend time searching for Obi-Wan on such a desolate planet, at least the Jedi would believe the senator of Naboo was sent there to aid the people.
Mydoni, one of Achonia’s four moons, was the polar opposite of the planet it orbited, teeming with life in every nook and cranny. Parts of the moon were covered in lush rainforests, the thick, bright green vegetation broken up only by vibrant flower fields that ranged in color from yellow to purple. Little dots of small, stormy oceans faded away into dry, pale green plains, which eventually lost their color and transformed into an isolating stretch of desert. The peaks of tall mountains were dusted with snow, slippery ice paths making it a dangerous journey should anyone dare climb. Mydoni was untouched by invasive species, the only sign of human life being an ancient stone ruin who’s tallest point was barely visible from a planetary view. There were rumors an alien race once roamed freely, but nothing was confirmed and no one bothered to check.
The natural beauty was hard to notice, though, because the moment you shot out of hyperspace, you were greeted with a small army of ships who’s design you did not recognize — it took a long moment as your ship was greeted with the all too familiar rage of blaster fire to realize the blockade in front of you was Mandalorian. Violent shades of red stormed towards you at an alarming rate, and Padmé’s ship, however expensive and well built, was not equipped to handle such a violent battlefield.
“Why are they firing at us?” Padmé’s frantic cries could barely be heard as alarms began blaring as the ship’s shields were destroyed, leaving them pitifully vulnerable to the onslaught. “Achonia is supposed to be a neutral system, this is highly illegal!”
“I don’t know why, but I doubt they care about the law!” Your shouts were tainted with outrage, there was no explanation for the torrent of enemy fire as it continued to rain down upon your ship. What were Mandalorians even doing here? This was neutral space, they had no reason to gun a defenseless ship down. To its credit, the craft had held its own for the first minute, but now … now it was falling apart, the engine compromised and now gushing fuel. The harsh stench of leaking exhaust and burning metal was beginning to overpower your other senses, your vision blurring and Padmé’s shouts beginning to fade into background noise.
“Do we have a plan? We need to have a plan, because I do not want to die this easily!” Padmé’s hands did not leave the controls, knuckles as white as her shirt, but her voice was sharp enough to ground you momentarily.
“I think our plan is to crash the ship!” You gritted your teeth as the ship hurtled towards Mydonia, very quickly becoming sucked into its atmosphere, an orange glaze of friction blinding the viewport.
“We can eject our seats so we at least have a chance,” Padmé yelled, her eyes glossy with fear, an emotion that did not suit her at all.
“Okay, okay, do we have a rendezvous point?” Your hand gripped the ejection button as Padmé squeezed her eyes shut.
You thought you heard her say “the ruins”, but she had already launched her seat from out of the ship, the chair transforming into a giant ball as it bounced towards the surface. The Force is with me, the words floating over your thoughts in an attempt to soothe your nerves as your entire life flashed before your eyes.
For a moment, you felt everything and nothing at once: hot yet cold, happy yet sad, angry yet calm. And then it was all over, and you felt nothing. A dark tide of emptiness crashed over your consciousness, lulling you into a state of sleepiness with nothing but silence to greet you.
The soft whisper of various critters buzzing about thick shrubs greeted your ears, followed by the soft melody of birds chirping and the gurgle of water flowing. Soft dirt was beneath your back, molded to fit your tangle of limbs sprawled out in all directions. A misty breeze tickled your skin as hot sunlight bore down on your body, the gentle scent of soaked plants after a rainstorm lingering by your nose. You could hear and touch and smell things, which was odd because you were supposed to be dead.
“Padmé!” It all came back to you in a fraction of a second as your eyes fluttered open, chest heaving in deep, irregular breaths as you gasped for air. Your mind needed you to move, but your body remained glued to the ground, dirt clinging to your skin and clothes. The sky above you was blocked by dull grey stone, making it difficult to tell where exactly you were until you realized you had to be on Mydoni, near the outskirts of a rainforest, given the humid air and smell of fresh rainfall. Where was Padmé? Bits and pieces of your memory were returning to you as your senses became less muddled, the fog in your mind dissolving as you took in the rest of your surroundings.
You were in a shadowy, damp cave, but aside from the patch you were laying on by the entrance, the ground was otherwise clear of pebbles and dirt and left with only cool, dull stone for the floor. A thick layer of vines inches from your face draped over the shallow tunnel’s entrance, with rays of sunlight streaming in and brightening your face. A small waterfall trickled down from a slit in the rock wall, clear water gathering at the base in a small, stone bowl like object. Tucked in the darkest corner was a jumble of worn blankets loosely strung together, the fabric looking scratchy and rough even in the shadows. Someone lived here. You were in someone’s home, but how the Maker did you get there?
“You’re awake,” a voice from outside the cave said, voice muffled and unrecognizable to you. Immediately a shiver wracked over your body, the Force feeling cold and shrouded. There was something familiar about the signature, but with the Dark Side clouding everything and your head still pounding from the crash, it was impossible to tell where exactly you recognized it from.
“Who are you?” Your voice was low as you scrambled to your feet, allowing the voice’s owner passage into the cave, nervousness growing. Instinctively, your fingers brushed against the part of your belt where your lightsaber normally hung from, but your fingers were only met with air. That’s not good… No, that’s really, really bad. I need to get out of here and find Padmé.
The figure brushed past you rather roughly, their robes — similar in design to a Jedi’s, but ratted and soiled — grazing yours as they settled down in a seating position deeper in the cave, setting down a basket with an array of colorful berries inside. The moment the shadow pulled back it’s hood, your entire world seemed to slow. You were frozen in place, dizzy and winded, not even having the willpower to open your mouth for a long moment.
“I must be dreaming,” you breathed, your voice stunned and your memory still fuzzy. “Obi-Wan?” The small flame of hope that once simmered in your soul was now a roaring fire, excitement clawing at your stomach and your breath catching in the back of your throat. This was too good to be real.
But something was wrong; you realized it a split second later when his eyes bore into yours. His tunic and tabards, though tattered, were a dark, elegant black, the neckline cut into a deep vee and hanging from his frame loosely, the bloody maroon of his undertunic breaking the sea of onyx. You could see the silver hilt of your lightsaber from under the obsidian layers, clinking softly against another hilt, the design unfamiliar to you. His body had thinned considerably since the last time you had seen him a month ago, cheekbones more defined and jawline razor sharp, hidden partially by the disheveled auburn beard that matched his hair. And his eyes. Once pools of wisdom with the depths of Kaminoan oceans, once as bright and clear as the sky on a sunny day on Naboo, were now a bright honey, cauldrons of melted gold, like a dying Coruscanti sunset. The eyes of a Sith.
A chill washed over your body despite the humidity, the air crackling with tension as all you could do was stare at him. Was this a cruel trick the universe was playing on you? Were you actually dead, or were you stuck in some hellish nightmare?
“You don’t have to keep staring, you know.” It certainly sounded like him, his voice smooth and lilted in the familiar Coruscanti accent you knew all too well.
“You’re not Obi-Wan, you’re a Sith,” the words caught in your throat, heart clenching in despair as you realized this was not your friend. He was merely a shell of who he used to be, a slave to the Dark Side, forever trapped in a cage of his own emotions. Though his body remained the same, the usual warmth you felt in his Force presence was now gone, replaced by a cold pit of not only anger and hatred but eternal suffering — all the feelings of the Sith. Without a second thought, you drew your lightsaber, previously clipped to his belt, into your hand, hearing the familiar whir as your blade came to life.
That was a mistake, you realized too late, as the injuries of your ship crash came rearing back to bite you. Your hands and legs were shaky, bones brittle and ready to snap the longer you stood in the defensive position. The unpleasant, metallic tang of blood met your taste buds as blood from your nose trickled down into your mouth. In other words, you were weak, and would lose this fight no matter how hard you tried — still, you readied your blade, too stubborn to give up so quickly.
“I don’t think you’re in much of a position to argue with me, darling.” His hands found his own blade handle, a violent crimson shadow illuminating half his face as he ignited his own blade as if to toy with you.
“Well I’m not just going to roll over and die!” You snapped, swinging your blade towards him in a messy, uncoordinated movement that was easily blocked.
He sounded exasperated, “I’m not going to kill you, not yet, I’m afraid.” You didn’t believe him and he seemed to sense this, adding, “If I was, I wouldn’t have bothered to drag you from the crash site.”
Of course this was his home, you realized, or at least somewhere he’d been staying with for quite a while. Maybe he was right, he wouldn’t have brought you here if he intended to kill you, but it did little to soothe your frayed nerves.
Instead of backing down,you swung your saber towards his neck in a quick motion, the blade singeing the edges of his tunic and dangerously close to ending his life. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now,” you hissed, voice hoarse and aching body strained from the short spat.
Shoving his hand forward in a swift movement, he used the Force to throw you away so harshly until you stumbled back, head hitting the jagged edges of the cave wall. White hot pain erupted from the collision spot, tears pricking at your eyes and threatening to spill down your cheeks as the full force of the impact settled in on you. No, you gritted your teeth as you slowly sank to the floor. You had endured much worse than this, and you wouldn’t reward him the tiny victory of letting him see you cry.
“Like I said,” he retracted his lightsaber and called your hilt to his hand with the Force. “You are not in any position to argue at the moment. You’re still injured from your… unfortunate landing.”
“How do you know about that?” You leaned back against the wall, allowing it to be burdened with your entire weight. He made his way over towards you, ignoring your feeble attempts to inch away from him as he kneeled down to be eye level.
“Mydonia is very quiet. News travels quickly, I found you in your seat.” He dragged me all the way here?
“What in Maker’s name happened to you, Obi-Wan?” You asked, hoping the biting vengeance to your tone hid the fear growing in your stomach as he drew closer. Now that you’d attacked him, would he change his mind about killing you?
“That’s not my name. Obi-Wan Kenobi is dead,” his voice was dangerously calm.
“What should I call you, then, if Obi-Wan is dead?” Stop saying that, he’s right in front of you! “Or are you going to try and kill me before it matters?”
“For the last time, I’m not going to kill you!” He actively avoided the name question.
“You’re just going to throw me against a wall and hope for the best, is that it?” You rolled your eyes.
“You’re the one who attacked me first!” He crossed his arms as if he had just been insulted.
“Because you’re a Sith Lord!” You hadn’t meant for your tone to sound so shrill. “You know, mortal enemy of the Jedi? Your entire code is based on killing people!”
“Well, I’m not going to kill you,” Not-Obi-Wan’s hands reached for the back of your head, a sigh of annoyance slipping past his lips as you backed away from him. “I’m trying to help you, hold still.”
This was all so… so odd, but you were in no state to resist him anymore, relaxing your muscles  and allowing his hands to find the fast forming lump hidden by your hair. Though you wouldn’t look at him directly, you watched from of the corner of your eye in curiosity as he closed his eyes in concentration.
The familiar warmth of the Force flooded through you as his hands remained steady against your head and the bump began to shrink rapidly. Instantly, your head ceased to ache, relief flowing through your body as the pain ebbed away.
“What are you doing?” You backed away from him as fast you could, your entire body trembling as the ache subsided.
“I was trying to help you!” He backed away as if you were a wild animal, ready to lash out at him at any given moment.
“Maybe you should kill me, it’d be easier for both of us,” you grumbled, beads of sweat dotting your hairline. Anything would be better than this.
“As tempting as that offer is,” he rolled his eyes, finally speaking, “I already told you I don’t plan on killing you yet. I need you. Desperately.” Now you were the one to laugh.
“Need me?” You echoed after a moment, voice still laced with laughter. “Well, I don’t associate with Sith, so you’ll have to find someone else to play your games.” How can I get out of here? Your eyes scanned the cramped space for an escape.
“Company.” His tone was flat, not bothering to take the bait of your jabs, clearly uninterested in fighting.
You resisted the urge to let out another laugh, out of both frustration and amusement. How did I get into this mess? “Don’t flatter me, Obi-Wan, and just tell me why you haven’t bothered to kill me yet.” You could see his jaw clench and his posture stiffen as his name rolled off your tongue again: you’ve struck a nerve this time. Something hidden flashes in his eyes, something you wish you could ask him about, but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
“I told you!” Now he looked indignant, as if he realized you’ve noticed his slight change in demeanor. “I am in need of your company — or, more specifically, the Republic’s.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint, but the Republic doesn’t even know I’m here,” you laughed at the absurdity of it all.
“Well I’m afraid until they come looking for us — or you, really — you will have no choice than to stick with me.” Not even bothering to ask what he meant by that, you stood up.
Kriffing hells, no way am I going to agree to spending another second with you. “You’re funny. Hilarious, even, but if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find Pa— my friend and get off this rock.” As wobbly and uneven as your legs and steps were, you brushed past the thick tangle of vines by the entrance and made your way outside, blinking rapidly at sun bore down on you and your face was hit with a blistering, muggy heat.
It was all too much. Obi-Wan was here, but he wasn’t actually here, and he was being awfully friendly for a Sith Lord, or… whatever he was. You were stranded on an uninhabited moon and no one knew where you were — no, actually, they thought you were on an extended relief mission to Achonia, which was somehow worse, because now no one would even come looking for you for a lengthy stretch of time.
With a heavy sigh, you collapsed onto your knees, tilting your head up to stare at the beginnings of the rainforest canopy above. What a mess, you found yourself repeating over and over again, so lost in thought you didn’t notice another presence creeping up on you until you saw a flash of black. You bit back a “what are you doing here”, opting for silence instead. I don’t want anything to do with you.
“My ship crashed here about two weeks ago,” he began tentatively, careful not to reveal too much of why he was in the Achonia system in the first place. “Mydoni is uninhabited, and my ship’s communication system was destroyed in the crash. I’ve been making do with what I have for the past few weeks, but I am afraid I cannot get off this moon alone.”
“What makes you think I’ll help you?” You wouldn’t look at him.
“You’ll die without me,” he said without a second thought. “We have a better chance of survival if we stick together, and I don’t know about you, but I would like to live.”
There was only silence between you two for a long moment, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind giving you a sense of calm. Say yes, your mind screamed, pleading against your better judgement. Say yes, and you can bring him back to the Light.
“No,” you said finally, rising to your feet and brushing the dirt off your clothes. “I’ve survived this long without you — ” That part was unnecessary. “I’ll take my chances on my own. I need to find my friend, anyways.” Without sparing him as much as a glance, you began walking towards the many plains, hoping Padmé remembered to meet you by the ruins.
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clydesducktape · a year ago
Kly’d x Reader Draluram AU
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Kyr'bes - skull, especially Mythosaur skull
Summary: Kly’d reveals the origins of his tattoos
Warnings: Illusions to violence and injuries, mentions of death
Wordcount: 1.3K
His skin is fair and sprinkled with moles and freckles. Ornaments and marks illustrated by genetics, people before him, and most importantly, The Maker. Scattered over his body, forming constellations that mirror the night sky used by travelers to guide them across land and sea, now guiding you across the peaks and valleys of his muscles and softer parts.
He’s adorned his skin himself, also a calling from The Maker. Images to honor his aliit. Images to honor his time with the akaan'ade. The largest one taking up most of his torso. These signets and a tableau etched into his skin in shades of dark blue ink over alabaster.
“A Lucksprite?” you run a finger over the outline of a wide flattened skull, with a wide jaw and close set eyes on his chest, over his heart. “Y’heard of ‘em?” Humming in response, you continue to trace the outline, behind it a curved shape, thick with a design of seven holes punched through. “It’s on your armor and this… a shoe?”
“An orbakshoe.” He pauses, waiting for a response from you. Continuing to trace his skin, you shift your weight on his chest. A smile gracing your lips, “this is all very lucky…” Your tone amused and his chuckles. 
“Yeah, well… When Erl took us in as his foundlings, he became our buir and we his ade. We became a clan of four, Clan L’gon.” He recalls a family tale of cursed happenings and coincidences. How he traced tragic occurrences through his family tree. Untimely deaths, collapsed roofs, their parents perishing and the farm being burning to the ground. His tone more somber when he recalls fleeing from Imps from his home planet with Erl. How they embraced his Mandalorian culture and life.
He describes Jym’s training accident. He was once a promising verd, rising the ranks of his company and a champion in sport combat until his knee suffered a devastating blow during training. His leg in a permanent brace, so he took on being a runner. Bringing supplies to the covert, keeping to himself and away from the taunts of the other verd.
Kly’d had also suffered during his time with the akaan'ade. Having lost his hand in an unfortunate landmine explosion in a skirmish with the Empire. Their scouts had missed the landmine as they were preparing to leave the area. It took another verd and Kly’d’s hand with it. He now had a mechanical hand in place, keeping it skinless as a reminder to himself.
Once the youngest L’gon swore the creed, the tribe’s alor had asked Erl about their clan signet. He recalled Kly’d’s tale of the family curse taking his aunts and uncles, then his parents. In turn Erl told him about the Lucksprite found on the Forest Moon of Endor. They were believed to bring either bad or good luck to all beings on the moon and really reveled in their abilities. Kly’d had settled on the idea that the L’gons were bound Lucksprites. Bringing them bad luck but balanced with good. In this case, Erl was the good the Lucksprite had brought them. The Alor and Erl decided the L’gon clan signet would be the skull of a Lucksprite.
“After my hand, I figured Lucksprites had something to do with that. Lost m’hand but kept m’life. That day I rode an orbak in t’battle against those Imps. She didn’t make it, but I did. She shielded me from most’a the blast. So I added an orbakshoe in her honor an’a bit of extra luck.”
His helmet hides the sadness and a bit of hope in his eyes. His jaw works back and forth in thought. Dipping your head, you press your lips to the markings. Whispering “for luck” against his skin.
Under the skull and orbakshoe are numbers, coordinates from what you can tell. You trace those as well, raising your eyebrows. Before you can ask, he tells you they are the coordinates of his family farm and home planet. You repeat the numbers to him and he nods in approval. A modulated hum filters through.
Your fingers walk across his chest, you touch the Mando’a writing on his forearm. “That’s the Ranger company I fought with. We all got the same markin’s.” You don’t press, his voice is full of pride but also sorrow. His mechanical hand moves up, gently resting on your hip. Lightly tapping.
Moving further up his arm begins what can best be described as a tableau. It pans from just above his forearm, up his bicep, over his shoulder and down his chest. A bit of it cascading down his side to his hip. The centerpiece is a Mythosaur. It’s long body spanning the length of the tattoo, it’s tail covering his bicep, the body and legs curling over his shoulder down to his chest, where the head curls back up, reared back in a roar. You trace the scales and ridges of the mighty beast. “This is a Mythosaur?”
“Cyar’ika, not just a Mythosaur. This is Te Sol'yc Mand'alor, he conquered Mandalore.” He points to a shadow atop the beast. He grips your hips as he rolls you both over, sitting back on his haunches. Roaring, his arms stretch out as his body animates in front of you, the same over exaggerations and theater you’ve seen him use while recalling stories to the tribe’s younglings. You let out a little yelp and a series of giggles as a low growl emanates from his vocoder and he slowly crawls up the length of your body, up your torso. He hunches his massive shoulders as he describes the mighty and magnificent Mythosaur.
A massive dragon-like creature with tusks framing it’s head, a long powerfully muscular tail, and tough skin. Their mouths were lined with long teeth and they walked on four powerful legs with clawed feet. Te Sol'yc Mand'alor arrived from the planet Roon. He and his people, the Taung, took to conquering the world and the beasts.
Sitting back up, his hands mimic the fins on the sides of Taung’s heads. Fingers hooking above the crown of his helmet, he wiggles them like antennae. Your eyes widen and you gasp at his fluid movements as he repositions his leg, swinging it over your waist as he half kneels. Growling and swinging an invisible axe. Making clashing noises. His invisible weapons making contact with an invisible beast. Finally bringing them down on himself he howls in pain causing you to shuffle out from under him, laughing as he falls forward into your lap. Rolling onto his back, your legs framing his sides as he shimmies his body up, resting his back against your front and his helmet on your shoulder. You hiss at the coldness of the beskar, your skin pebbling at the shock and your giggles subside.
He grabs your hand and guides your fingers over the markings of the shadowy warriors slaying the mighty beast. Taking the land as their own and claiming the Mythosaur as their signet. Calling themselves the Sons and Daughters of Mandalore.
“They’re extinct, the Mythosaur… but they conquered ‘em and rode ‘em. They were two powerful forces on that planet, and one of ‘em had to win. The story is bigger than Mandalore and we carry that spirit inside us. Mandalorians aren’t a specific race, they are a choice people make and take into their heart. It’s almost a fairytale…” His words fall away as he’s lost in thought.
He slips your fingers under his helmet, his lips pressing against your fingertips as you bring your forehead down to his helmet.
“Y’know when I tell that story to the foundlings, they scream less than you.”
Translations: verd - warrior/soilder akaan'ade - army aliit - family/clan Te Sol'yc Mand'alor - Mandalore the First buir - mother/father ade - son/daughter alor - leader Cyar’ika - darling
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thank you for reading! 🥰
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kiaradiariess · 8 months ago
Pairing: Ezra x F character
Warnings: None
Comments: This is my first Ezra story, so if it’s total trash I apologize lol. Also, kinda a cheesy one - depends on how you look at it.
My MasterList
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Study - collect - experiment. It’s all I’ve been known to do for the past four years of my career. When I got a job offer that required a group of scientific exploration workers to study an unknown region of a newly established planet I just knew I had to take it - you know, shake things up a bit - something new and exciting for once.
At the time it felt like a good idea but now, we stand corrected as we’re stuck with no radio communication - no transportation on this god forsaken planet.
“ Chlo, you picking it up any signatures?” I look down at my scanner, and believe it or not two little red dots that are moving fast are heading for our direction.
“ Uh, yeah - actually I am - closing in. Get into positions.” I tuck my equipment away and cock my gun while positioning behind a tree.
It’s quiet at first. Then the crunching of twigs and grass grow louder as the detected life moves closer in range to us.
I can feel my body go cold in fear - my men in the close distance look as calm as a sleeping child in return making me look like a pussy.
Two male voices - one is deep, and almost poetic? I would say? The other is unsure, and almost afraid.
“ My radar was going nuts Ez. They’re here somewhere - hiding.” My heart stops completely. We’re going to die.
I look over at the captain of this mission, and nods his head while moving out from behind the tree.
“ What’s your designation here.” He demands an answer by the tone of his voice.
“ Same as you...captain. Exploration.” The unsure man answers.
“Under what federal sanction” I focus in on the conversation and lower my gun.
“ Now I reckon you’ve got what - 10, 15 of you hidin somewhere out of our sight, unsure of how this planet goes round. How about we strike a deal friend.”
“What do you propose.” I widen my eyes at his actions. Is he fucking insane.
“ My partner here, and I we’ve seen all that this planet has to offer. Now I’ve got some areas that I believe your botanist, your astronomist, and archeologist would just love to get their hands on. Now in exchange, we need passage off this planet.”
“ We don’t have passage. But we can get some.” The captain then lowers his gun, and looks to me to come out. A look of panic rises on my face but he still urges me on.
Taking a deep breath, I step out forwards keeping my eyes on the ground and stand beside the captain. Tilting my head up I look at the two men in front of us.
“What’s your name friend.” The poetic one asks.
“Chloe.” He smiles.
“ It’s nice to meet you Chloe, I’m Ezra.”
The poetic man: Brown hair with a small streak blonde identical to mine, brown eyes and a tall muscular frame. He looks me up and down with a smirk making me feel almost degraded.
“ let’s go” I urge, and the rest of our team comes out behind the trees behind me.
“Astronomy” Ezra comes up beside me, and I jerk being caught off guard.
“What?” I ask.
“ You’re deeply fond of the stars.”
“ I am. What’s it to you?” He chuckles at my words like I’m a child with attitude.
“I’m quite infatuated by what’s within the ground we walk on.”
“You’re a botanist.”
“ Speaking in relevancy, that I am.” I grab and bring my binoculars to my eyes for a further vantage point ahead of us ignoring the man.“ Wherever you’re leading us, isn’t where you promised.” He says nothing - pushing a finger to the binocs and my head is tilted up above focusing in on a high cliff. “ That’s the first stop. Your stop. Patience is a virtue”
I scoff, and walk past him huffing to myself.
“ For this stop, we’ll have to set up camp. Stay here for the night to give me enough time to log, and snap evidence.” I tell the captain.
“ Sounds like a plan chlo. One issue though- it seems we didn’t pack enough blankets and tents for everyone. Meaning you’ll have to share with Ezra.” My jaw drops. “ Absolutely fucking not.”
“ You will do this Chloe. I don’t want to hear it. For the sake of everyone else just get it done.” His tone snaps at me like a bite, and I sigh in defeat of my fate.
After my logs are finished and photos are snapped I’m exhausted
“ Looks your bunking with me poet man come on.” I walk past the fire everyone sits around and Ezra follows me to the tent we’re going to share.
Unzipping the opening I groan. This has got to be the smallest fucking tent you could ever buy, and I have to be crunched up next to this man.
“ I can - I can sleep outside if it benefits your sleep.” I admit, I did think about it for a second. Kicking him out and having the tent to myself but my better judgement rules against me.
“ No, I couldn’t do that. We’ll both fit it’ll just be crunched.” He nods, and I slide into the tent followed by him almost tripping from the un even ground.
I snuggle into my pillow, and Ezra slides in beside me making my nerves shoot in fear. I’ve shared my bed with men before no doubt but never with men I’d just met.
Ezra lays on his back and smiles while humming.
“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.”
“What’s that?” I question the randomness of his words.
“ My mother used to enrich my nights with beautiful words.” I hum.
“tell me more” closing my eyes I listen to his voice.
“ Doubt thou the stars are fire; doubt the sun doth move; doubt truth to be a liar: but never doubt I love.”
I smile. “you know you may be insufferable but right now your voice could knock me out.”
“ I’ll take that as a sweet complement to my ego.” I giggle, and stick my nose under the blanket I snuggle into feeling a bit cold.
“Are you cold?” Ezra looks at me almost concerned, and I nod my head while shivering.
He shimmies out of the blanket and pushes the rest onto me. “you need it.”
He scoots back away but I grab his arm. “So do you” I open up a gap under the blanket and pull him down beside me, not feeling that fear I had before.
His body warmth already embraces me making my shivers dial down to zero, and I wrap my arms around his hoping to get more. I feel his head tilt to look at me and shake my head.
“Only because you’re warm Ezra.”
“ Only because I’m warm Chloe”
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current-mcr-news · a year ago
Behind the Scenes: The Umbrella Academy - Episode 1
BRANDON JENKINS: In 1953, a 25 year old director named Phil Tucker had $16,000 and just four days to make his first sci-fi film. The plot? A creature comes to Earth with a death ray and wipes out all of humanity, except for eight people who are immune to the creature’s weapons. He called the film Robot Monster.
Movie clip: With the swiftness of a deadly cosmic ray, the Earth is inundated by indestructible moon monsters. Their ghastly mission? Death for all humans.
B: The film was so low budget, Tucker couldn’t even afford to get alien costumes, so he had the monster in a gorilla suit with a TV for a head.
Movie clip: What astounding technical developments are being made to protect mankind?
B: The release was a disaster. It was widely panned. Its lasting legacy would’ve been that it was one of the worst movies of all time. But in the early 2000s, a kid from New Jersey with a knack for drawing comics saw a picture of the Robot Monster and it stuck with him.
Gerard Way: I’ve never even actually seen the film, but I saw pictures of this creature over the years, and they’ve got a TV set, kind of circular space looking head, and they have a gorilla body, and I was like, “I want a superhero that’s kind of inspired by this.”
B: The kid’s name was Gerard. He’d been writing comics since he was 15 and was on his way to making it as a professional comic book artist.
WAY: I went to art school and I was an illustration and cartooning major, so comics were kind of like my major, and I was like this perpetual intern. I interned at DC, I pitched a cartoon to Cartoon Network, and then I landed a job as a toy designer at this place called FunHaus in Hoboken. But that’s like right when the band took off.
B: That band, Gerard’s side hustle, would become massive alt-punk sensation, My Chemical Romance. Seemingly overnight, My Chemical Romance and Gerard were making some of the most popular music in the world, getting spins on terrestrial radio, dominating music video countdowns, they were even nominated for a Grammy. But while he traveled across the globe leading a rockstar life, Gerard kept up with his first love - drawing.
WAY: So I really missed comics and we were in Japan and we did a signing at a shop, and one of the fans gave me a little marker set and it was Copic markers. They were like the greatest markers that I’d ever used before, and so I started to create Luther.
B: Luther, a superhero with a gorilla body and space helmet who lives on the moon was the very first character Gerard drew in what would become his hit comic The Umbrella Academy. I’m Branden Jenkins and this is Behind the Scenes: The Umbrella Academy. This season, we’re going backstage and inside the making of season 2. The first season of the show, based on Gerard’s comic of the same name, launched in February of last year and quickly became one of the most beloved series on Netflix. Now it’s back for its second season with bigger effects, bigger characters, and bigger drama. We’re going to catch you up on everything that’s gone down in The Umbrella Academy universe so far, and we’ll spend the next five episodes breaking down how the team shot the multi-million dollar superhero production across two countries, and how in the midst of a global pandemic, they managed to finish it from inside their own homes. But first, we wanted to take a look back and dig into the roots of The Umbrella Academy. So today, I’m catching up with the creators of the comic and the guy tasked with making the TV series. We talk about how the graphic novel was adapted for your screens.
B: Alright, so if you haven’t watched season 1, go back and watch season 1 on Netflix. For those of you who just need a quick recap: At 12pm on October 1, 1989, a supernatural event occurred. Forty-three babies across the planet were born to mothers who were not pregnant just seconds before. The world was confused, intrigued, and one eccentric billionaire wanted to find the babies and adopt them. He ended up with seven. Each baby had a superpower, and what do you do when you’re a billionaire with a group of kids with superpowers? You train them to become a crime fighting family.
Reginald: I give you the inaugural class of The Umbrella Academy!
B: When Gerard Way started creating the members of the Academy, he started with the most fundamental material. 
WAY: I created a list of all the things that interested me. It could be anything from ouija board, fortune teller, spaceman, gorilla body, just a list of stuff.
B: Then he drew from that list and started creating these characters. All in all, he would draw seven. The first, Luther, the half-man half-gorilla, was the team’s defective leader. He was also the child closest with their father. 
Luther: Just at Dad’s favorite spot. Allison: Dad had a favorite spot? Luther: Yeah, you know, under the oak tree. We used to sit out there all the time, none of you ever did that?
B: Next, he created Klaus and Allison, the boy who talks to the dead and the girl who can make people bend to her will with just a few words.
WAY: Klaus, he has some pretty serious addiction and addiction is something that I dealt with in my life. He’s also a little bit spooky and supernatural, and my personality in My Chemical Romance was very similar to that.
Klaus: I can’t just call Dad in the afterlife and be like, “Dad, could you just stop playing tennis with Hitler for a moment and take a quick call?” Luther: Since when? That’s your thing. Klaus: I’m not in the right frame of mind! Allison: You’re high? Klaus: Yeah yeah! I mean, how are you not listening to this nonsense?
WAY: He was kind of my version of Doctor Strange. I find Allison to be the one that is easiest to write and I put the most of myself into Allison.
B: Her superpower is that she can make you do pretty much anything she tells you with a few magic words.
Allison: I heard a rumor you want to be my friend. I heard a rumor that you like Bradley. I heard a rumor that you left me alone. I heard a rumor that you stop crying.
WAY: There’s a bit of a tragic nature that comes with her power.
B: Allison, out of all of her super powered siblings, is the only one grasping for a normal life - career, husband, children. In a way, she’s the most human. The fourth character Gerard created is Diego, a guy with an uncanny ability to throw knives. He’s also stubborn as hell.
WAY: I knew early on he was gonna be the one that was gonna be really difficult with the leader. I figured that.
Diego: You know, you of all people should be on my side here, Number One. Luther: I am warning you. Diego: After everything he did to you, he had to ship you a million miles away. Luther: Diego, stop talking! Diego: That’s how much he couldn’t stand the sight of you!
B: The fifth character, a kid who can travel through time and space, who simply goes by Five. Despite the other character growing up into adults, he has remained a teenager, sort of.
WAY: He was a time traveler who then got stuck in his young body when he traveled back in time because time travel is complicated. 
Klaus: Where are you going? Five: To get a decent cup of coffee. Allison: Do you even know how to drive? Five: I know how to do everything.
WAY: So then came The Horror.
B: The Horror, aka Ben, aka the dead sibling who only Klaus can see.
WAY: I imagined this character that had all these monsters living under his skin that came from another dimension. And he was very tortured to me. It actually kind of hurts him and it’s scary to him.
Ben: Do I really have to do this? Klaus: Come on, Ben. There’s more guys in the vault. Ben: I didn’t sign up for this.
B: And then finally, Number Seven, Vanya, who seemingly has no powers besides playing the violin.
WAY: I was at this cafe in Manhattan when I was living in Brooklyn, and it was called The Sidewalk Cafe I believe, and on the wall they had a white violin just as decoration. And I remember looking at that and thinking to myself, “That would be a cool superhero.” And Vanya was always kind of designed to be a character who wasn’t special, that was going to transform into that.
Vanya: Look, if I was special I would’ve been in The Umbrella Academy. I’m so sorry you got stuck with the ordinary one.
B: These seven adopted siblings forced together by supernatural events formed The Umbrella Academy. Both the original comic and season 1 of the show start at the funeral for the Academy’s patriarch, the eccentric Sir Reginald Hargreeves. We learn that while the siblings ventured away from home as teenagers, after years of fighting and a toxic upbringing, they’ve returned home, back together for the first time in years, and all their dysfunctions and old conflicts come bubbling to the surface.
Diego: He was a bad person and a worse father. The world’s better off without him. Allison: Diego! Diego: My name is Number Two.
B: When he started writing the comic, Gerard was focused on his own strained relationships. He saw his band as his own dysfunctional family at the time.
WAY: When you’re a baby band, you’re in this van and it’s like a submarine but it’s smaller. It’s like a closet that you're all living in and sometimes you’re going on seventeen hour drives, and you have very strong personalities. This dynamic starts to develop between all of the members and you really do kind of become a dysfunctional family. Like, there’s times where I felt like I was the mom.
GABRIEL BA: They know each other’s weaknesses.
B: Turns out, family dynamics was a theme with everyone who joined the Umbrella team, including the illustrator and Umbrella’s co-creator, a Brazilian artist named Gabriel Ba.
BA: And sometimes they say it to hurt the other intentionally and they do that a lot in Umbrella because they’re all angry at each other all the time. And even though I have a great relationship with my brother, I have that. We have a younger sister as well, so she’s very opinionated and she’s strong. I wouldn’t say we fight a lot, but sometimes we- I just know how to hurt her if I want to say something.
B: Family is present in Gabriel’s life more than for most people. He works every day with his twin brother, fellow comic book artist, Fabio Moon. But his work made him an unconventional choice for Umbrella.
BA: In the mid 90s, we moved away from superheroes. We, my brother and I, we figured the type of story that we liked to tell and wanted to tell was more real life, day by day life relationship, this kind of stuff. 
B: Gabriel grew up in Brazil and now lives in Sao Paulo. His brother had been making experimental comics for well over a decade.
BA: But The Umbrella Academy was a superhero book with this day by day life relationship drama, and that was really interesting for me.
B: What excited Gerard about Gabriel was his style. His characters weren’t macho. They didn’t have big ripped muscles. They’re the kind of comics you could imagine being drawn in the margins of a notebook. There's nothing stereotypically super about them.
BA: It was not a straightforward American superhero artstyle. It was a mix of European and more fluid, but also could handle action and crazy stuff. And also, I can’t deny The Umbrella Academy was my first paid job in the U.S.
B: Wow.
BA: For the first ten years of our career, my brother and I were making comics for free. Just for ourselves, just getting [?], if there were any. So when I got the invitation to get involved with The Umbrella Academy it was this whole package of factors.
WAY: Gabriel climbing on board was a huge thing for us because he’s such a fantastic artist. He brought these characters to life. The interesting thing about Gabriel,  he didn’t have to make Umbrella Academy. He was doing really well on his own and making really experimental artistic comics, but he liked the idea so much that he said, “I’m gonna do superheroes.”
BA: The superhero aspect of The Umbrella Academy is really just a layer in the story. I like the development of these characters, their struggles, their relationships, there’s romance, there’s deception.
Vanya: You are unbelievable, you’re trying to dig up dirt on a guy I like? Who does that? Allison: Look, I’ve had my fair share of stalkers and creeps, I don’t trust him! Vanya: You mean you don’t trust me.
BA: And it had the fun explosions and action scenes. So that’s the good mix.
B: The first book of the comic is called Apocalypse Suite. After their father’s death, The Umbrella Academy gets a warning from their time traveling brother that the world is going to end in 10 days. They don’t know how, they just know that it will. And now, back together for the first time, they’ve got to figure out how to save the planet and learn how to look past their differences. Which sounds dope, right? But when it first published back in 2007, it wasn’t immediately clear that people would dig it.
WAY: So one of the things I was dealing with when Umbrella Academy came out was a lot of people in the press before the comic came out saying things like, “Here’s a musician and he’s writing a comic.” They didn’t really know my background, they didn’t know that I’d written at 15, they didn’t know I went to art school. All they knew was that I was the singer in this rock band that a lot of teenagers liked. So, all I really wanted was a fair shake. I didn’t write The Umbrella Academy to become a TV show or a film. I wrote it to be an amazing comic. But we knew that first issue, and we knew it was good, and we knew that if you didn't get it by the first seven pages you just weren’t gonna like it, and I was totally fine with that. But then it came out and then the response started to happen and then reviewers loved it and people loved it.
B: The comic went on to win an Eisner award, which is like the Oscar of comics, and pretty quickly, Gerard gets an offer to turn the comic into a full length movie.
WAY: I got swept up in the Hollywood thing.
B: But it doesn’t pan out.
WAY: That’s actually one of the reasons why there was such a big gap between comics, is because I was really, you know, I was trying- at the end of the day, I was trying to be helpful. If this was gonna be a movie version of what Gabriel and I had made, I wanted it to be great so I put in a lot of time and it kept me away from the comics.
B: But then Netflix hits you up and is interested in making this into a series.
WAY: Right.
B: I guess I'm curious, as someone who just initially wanted to make just a really good comic, what about turning that project into a television show was interesting?
WAY: Straight up, I want to make a great comic and that’s all I’m really interested in. If I can write great comics, you’ll have great material to make TV shows. So let me focus on that.
B: In other words, Gerard wanted to focus on the comics and let someone else adapt it.
WAY: And that’s when Steve came in and he changed things and he ran with it. 
STEVE BLACKMAN: I’m Steve Blackman, I’m the showrunner and I’m executive producer.
B: Steve is a master at adapting books, comics, and film into television. Before The Umbrella Academy, he’d worked on shows like Fargo, Legion, and Altered Carbon, all of which originated from other sources. So he knew coming in that adaptation can be tricky work.
BLACKMAN: At first, I think Gerard and Gabriel, who co-did this with him, were very protective of the work like parents of their baby. And I think I had to prove to them initially that I would love and protect this child that they had worked on for so many years, so here I am, an outsider coming in and they were very nice to me, but I could see there was like, “Is this guy gonna totally screw up our baby here?”
B: Is it something that you can come to the table with Gerard and be like, “Hey, here’s my arsenal of adaptations, this is why it will work.”
BLACKMAN: Yeah, I worked on the show Fargo for three years. Fargo was obviously based on the Joel and Ethan Coen movie from 1996. I don’t think Gerard had ever seen my shows, I don’t think he watches a lot of television, so for him, it didn’t matter what I’d done before. It’s just what I was gonna do in the here and now on this show. I wasn’t intimidated by the challenge but I really did sort of have a sense of I know which direction I’m going.
B: What was your first initial reaction? Were you sort of like, “Oh, maybe I’ve never done anything like this, or this does feel familiar to other work  that I’ve done.” Or, “I can do this, this is right up my alley.”
BLACKMAN: Well, what I liked about it from the beginning was what I saw in the subject matter and I saw a dysfunctional family. But right away, I was very inspired by Wes Anderson’s work. The Royal Tenenbaums is one of those movies that really was always something I truly loved. So, I saw that in this show.
Five: An entire square block, 42 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms, but not a single drop of coffee. Vanya: Dad hated caffeine.  Klaus: Well he hated children too and he had plenty of us.
BLACKMAN: It was a family show, it was a very relatable dysfunctional family show that I wanted to tell.
WAY: Steve’s a great collaborator. Steve Blackman, the showrunner, he had a vision. I respected him and his vision. I realized it was gonna be different from the comic, and I let him run with it because he cared deeply about it.
BLACKMAN: My first conversation with Gerard over the phone, I said to him, I told him one of the words was subversive, we wanted to subvert the expectation of what a superhero show could be because there were many other shows, either on the air or coming down the pipe to be next, and we wanted this to stand out. And that was sort of the first hurdle with me, was to say to Gerard that I could do that and I could definitely make this thing feel special. And right away he said, “Okay, yeah. You get it.”
B: You’ve adapted something like Fargo which is a unique adaptation, right? You’re adapting from a different medium, like a feature film. Does that change the way you understand adaptation?
BLACKMAN: At a story point of view, no, I don’t think they’re that different. I think adapting a story, whether it's a graphic novel or the source material comes from a movie, a book, there’s a lot of care into doing it that the tricky thing is, I need to put my creative spin on it. I had Gerard and Gabriel, who lived with this for ten years, and then I have to come in and say, “Look, I’m going to honor you. At the same time, what is the Steve Blackman part of the show? How can I add my spin to it?”
B: For fans of the comic who’ve seen season 1 of the show, you’ll recognize some of that Steve Blackman spin. For example, the group who governs the laws of time in the comics, the Temps Aeternalis, in the TV show they become the Commission, an entire bureaucratic system running and adjusting linear time. Steve made some other changes too. 
WAY: One of the things that I thought was an ingenious idea was making Ben a ghost that Klaus could communicate with. I was most impressed by that change.
Ben: You know what the worst part of being dead is? You’re stuck. Nowhere to go, nowhere to change, that’s the real torture if you gotta know. Watching your brother take for granted everything you lost, and pissing it all away.
B: Perhaps the biggest change from the comic to the show is the diversity of the characters. Diverse in race, diverse in region, diverse in sexual orientation, these characters on screen look a lot more like what the world actually looks like.
WAY: It’s built into it. They’re all from different places, they’re all from different countries, so I think that’s really the biggest improvement on the source material, is how diverse it is.
B: Steve felt the pressure of both fan expectations, and Gerard and Gabriel’s trust in him.
BLACKMAN: There’s nothing worse than having pre-existing source material and having the fans dislike it. You want to make the fans feel honored and respected, at the same time I felt it was incredibly important that Gerard and Gabriel walked out of this thinking, “He did a good job.” If they hated it, I would’ve been crushed. If the fans hated it, I think I’d also be crushed. I knew I couldn’t make everybody happy, but I wasn’t doing a page for page translation. My adaptation wasn’t gonna be that.
B: The adaption worked. Season 1 was a massive success. In the finale of the first season, the Academy thinks they’ve managed to stop the end of the world from happening, but unintentionally, they’ve actually just initiated it. The moon has been destroyed and its remnants are now heading directly for Earth.
Five: We might as well accept our fate because in less than a minute we’re gonna be vaporized.  Diego: What’s your idea then? Five: We use my ability to time travel, but this time I’ll take you with me. Luther: You can do that?
B: The family, latching onto their time traveling brother Five, manage to escape the chaos. But we’re left to wonder where and when they’ll turn up, and that’s where season 2 begins.
Five: We brought the end of the world back here with us. Klaus: Oh my god, again?
BLACKMAN: It’s a pretty crazy journey this year and I think people will be hooked. I hope they binge the hell out of it and love every second of it.
B: Coming up in this season of Behind the Scenes, we’ll be taking you on that crazy journey with the people who make it happen.
“We hired meteorologists, we knew that snow was gonna come, but we had planned it. We went away for a day, we came back, and there was four feet of snow on the ground.”
“It’s 60s Dallas. Okay, so that’s a very different story for Allison. We have to talk about this somehow. Her experience is just different from her siblings.”
EMMY LAMPMAN: And a lot of people would come up to me and apologize for doing their job and I was like, “Please stop apologizing.”
“That was a wishlist fight scene that Steve had always wanted to do.”
“So we actually had our guys throwing plates up in the air and taking photos of them to try to get these UFO imageries.”
“You know, we have a new point in our resume: Can produce and deliver a show during a pandemic.”
B: Behind the Scenes of The Umbrella Academy is a Netflix and Pineapple Street Studios Production. I’m your host, Brandon Jenkins. Make sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast. It really does help other people find it. Thank you all for listening. 
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kisstherainwriting · a year ago
A Not-So-Modest Proposal, Pt. 2
Pairing: Missy/Reader/Thirteenth Doctor
Part One, Part Two (you’re here), Part Three, Part Four,  Part Five, Part Six
Warnings: None, mild swearing
Summary: Phase One of your trope-ridden plan to make the Doctor jealous does not go smoothly. Of course, Missy thinks it’s a terrible success. 
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The low-frequency hum of the TARDIS console room, normally so soft that it blended into ambient noise, now spilled out into the hallway where you were hovering. You’d been hyping yourself up for the past ten minutes, since Missy had scooted you out of her parlor with a snide “Phase One isn’t going to start itself, sweet cheeks” and a pat on the head. You tidied your hair, again, suspecting she’d ruffled it.
With a deep breath, you gave your outfit a final glance—you’d gone through the self-conscious untucked or tucked (or French tucked??) shirt debate three times today, knowing that the Doctor probably wouldn’t notice, much less have a preference. You walked in. 
“Hey, Doctor?”
The Doctor slipped out from under the console, goggled-up on the floor; apparently her stress-tinkering from yesterday had spilled into today. “Hi,” she grinned when she saw you. She wiped her forehead with her sleeve, leaving both somehow dirtier than before. A fond chuckle overcame your nerves.  
“Hi yourself,” you replied, like you always did. Her grin became even bigger, and that all-too-familiar fluttery feeling gained momentum in your chest. “What’re you up to?”
“Me? Just a bit of TARDIS maintenance,” her head disappeared back under the console; she was up to her shoulders in some panel you hadn’t even known existed, rolling on a mechanic’s creeper. “Keepin’ the old girl in tip-top shape.”
“I thought you never do basic maintenance.”
“Hey! Not everything Missy says is true.” Under her breath, she added, “Never thought I’d have to say that.” Louder again, now that her head was out just enough for you to see her mouth and the tip of her nose: “Look at me, all greased up and be-goggled. No TARDIS maintenance? Hah.” Her laugh was punctuated with a tinny clang.
“Great timing as always, though. Can you hold this for me?” Sliding out again, she held up a knot of tangled wires toward you. “Tricky bit.”
You kneeled down, accepting the clump as she sat up. She was only wearing her undershirt, you noticed, her usual rainbow tee absent. It was stupid, you knew, to get flushed over a long-sleeved shirt, even if it was rolled up to her elbows. But there was something nearly taboo—god, you sounded like a prude—about seeing the Doctor without her usual layers. The orange light of the console glinted off the faint sheen of her sweat. You shook your head, told yourself to stop being a creep, oh my god.
She pulled some tool out of her pocket—something half soldering gun, half electric toothbrush. The tool sparked purple as she worked on the tangle. A strange humming vibrated the wires, making you jump. The Doctor flashed you a reassuring smile. Gently, she steadied your hand with her own, thumb grazing the back of your palm once, then twice. The vibrating stopped; she abruptly took the clump back, dropping your hand. “That’ll do it, thanks!”
“No problem.” You straightened up, cheeks hot. You played with the hem of your shorts and steeled yourself. “Anyway, I wanted to ask you something.”
She laid back down on the creeper, “Course, anything.”
“I wanted to know if you’re free for dinner tonight?”
The Doctor removed her goggles and peered up at you. Round creases framed her eyes where the goggles had dug in, leaving her looking a bit like a raccoon. She shouldn’t have been remotely intimidating, but your stomach flipped like you’d crossed some sort of line.
“Well, with me and Missy,” you added. “We, uh, wanted to have a group dinner. We need to talk.”
Her body relaxed, her legs stretching out as she propped one boot up on top of the other. “What, Missy trying to change up the chore wheel?” she joked.
You laughed, but it sounded so forced that you were left cringing halfway through. “Um… something like that.”
She cocked her head to the side, adorably. “Yeah, sure. I can do dinner.”
“Good—great. I’m gonna go. Cook? I guess,” you exhaled. “Right. Thanks, Doc.” 
The Doctor gave you a small wave as you all but jogged back to the hallway’s safety.
You leaned against the wall, nervousness and glee swirling in your gut. You looked down. Your hands were covered in grease and so, you realized, were your shorts. 
You’d whipped up some generic pasta, something that you could say “Oh, it’s nothing,” about with a relatively straight face and that your nerves definitely couldn’t set on fire. You’d even set the dining table for once, even though the TARDIS kitchen didn’t have any matching dishware. The centerpiece had been provided by Missy and performatively given to you at the start of the meal while the Doctor had looked on, her brow crinkled in quiet confusion. The flowers themselves were lovely, white lilies and pastel roses. It would’ve been a nice touch, if not for the plastic angel and the card that read ‘Condolences to the Roberts family in this hard time.’
“So this is,” the Doctor paused, looking at her plate and the unlit candle you’d put on the table (you couldn’t find a lighter anywhere), “odd.” Quickly, she added, “Not that it’s not nice, looks great. Love some noodles, especially surprise noodles. And you’ve got them perfectly al dente—oh! Fun fact, did you know that ‘al dente’ literally means ‘to the tooth’ in Italian? Weird, right? Guess you could say it’s got a bite to it, yeah? Anyway, this pasta’s got a great mouthfeel. Actually, wait, no, hate that word. Mouthfeel. Never using it again.” She registered Missy’s chagrined expression and her ramble lost speed. The Doctor cleared her throat and picked up her drink. “Uh, so what was it you wanted to talk about?”
“We wanted to sit down with you and let you know, officially,” you took a deep breath. You let a bright smile light up your face, and you stretched to take Missy’s hand. She didn’t notice. You awkwardly patted the table instead. “That Missy and I are in a relationship.”
The Doctor choked on her drink. “Wha?” she croaked out, still mid-swallow. A little liquid trickled out the corner of her mouth.
 Well, you thought. That was definitely a reaction.
"You two—the two of you—you and Missy,” the Doctor clarified, wiping at her face with one of the few napkins you’d found. “are… dating. Each other.”
"Um, yeah," you took a bite of pasta, hoping you looked nonchalant. Your mouth was so dry that swallowing hurt. You smiled through it, your face feeling too tight. “For a few weeks now. Isn’t that right, sweetheart?”
“Hmm?” Missy tuned into the conversation, as if finally noticing the expectant eyes on her. “Oh—oh, yes. We’ve just been over the moon and then some, er, peaches.”
When the Doctor turned to gawk at the funeral bouquet, you shook your head at Missy. ‘Peaches?’ you mouthed. She shrugged, hands up in faux repentance.
"Right," the Doctor said, slowly. She tapped her pile of noodles with the back end of her fork. It made a frantic little squelching noise. “Right. I’m sorry, what?”
 “It took us by surprise too?” you offered.
 “Why—“ the Doctor corrected herself, “When did this happen?”
"It just sort of crept up on us. We were spending more and more time together. We,” you glanced at Missy’s pressed white blouse and heavy broach, her ice blue eyes and wicked smile. You looked back to the Doctor. “We realized we really balance each other out, you know?”
The Doctor looked like she definitely didn’t know. She also looked like she was having trouble closing her mouth.  
You turned to Missy, ready to really sell it. “I'd, uh, I’d have to say it was your charm that got me, babe."
"Yes, I do have buckets and buckets of it," Missy confirmed, coquettishly bringing her hand to the side of her cheek. "For me, it was the whole bright-eyed do-gooder schtick."
The Doctor frowned a big deep frown. “Really?”
“Really really,” Missy straightened. Theatricality ignited, she flashed you both a dangerously saccharine smile. “Of course, there was a definite epiphany on my part.”
“Oh?” you and the Doctor asked, in unison.
“Absolutely. You must remember it, schmoopsie. It was ever-so-ever-so romantic. Back on Penthus?”
Your forehead wrinkled. “That planet that’s constantly raining?”
She mostly ignored you, now tapping her knife thoughtfully against the table as she set the scene. “If you recall, the three of us had been separated by that nasty flash flood, and Penthus’s toxic waste had spilt out all lovely and green across the floodplain. Y/N and I had fled to a damp little cave in the foothills of Mount Reynar. Doctor, you were dallying with the locals, big surprise. There we were: soaked to the bone, Y/N’s undergarments completely visible through her sheer blouse—”
You took a large sip of your drink, hating that it wasn’t alcoholic.
“—huddled together for warmth, since humans have the thermoregulatory abilities of a gadfly. Desperately, heroically some might say, I was trying to keep her from freezing to death.”
Missy’s gaze flickered to you, meeting your eyes. “And you said to me, all curled up in my jacket like a wee drowned kitten, ‘I think you’re going to need a bigger umbrella.’ Idiot thing to say. But we laughed, and the downpour outside was a bit less harsh, and I thought ‘This one’s different,’” her voice had gone soft, thoughtful. Maybe even heartfelt. “‘Don’t know why. Wasn’t even what you’d said. But something’s different.’”  
A fond, dancing feeling prickled in your chest. That had happened on Penthus. You had made a shitty Jaws joke, trapped up in that cave with fumes wafting up from the deluge below, wrapped up in Missy’s damp overcoat. And she’d spent the good part of an hour tsking at your body’s shitty homeostasis and fussing over you in her own way.
“Now of course, it would’ve made much better sense if we’d simply gotten naked right then and raised your core temperature with a passionate bout of canoodling,” Missy continued, gleefully. “but we decided to take things slow. For the first few days.”
You crumpled your napkin in your fist. The Doctor made pointed eye contact with the ceiling, like she was hoping she would rocket up through it, a flush creeping up her neck.
Missy’s red lips coiled into a delicious smirk. An exasperated huff escaped you.
The Doctor touched your elbow. Her warm eyes scanning your face, she asked, “You all right?”
“Yeah, sorry, I’m fine,” you said. Your skin prickled where she rubbed your arm, a soft sort of tingle. “I’m just a little hot.”
“Oh, but we knew that already, sweetness,” Missy interjected, eyes fixated on the Doctor’s hand.
You gave Missy a tight smile. "Thanks," you said through gritted teeth, “angel.”
You received a withering look in return.
“Don’t think anything of it, sugar-ti—"
Before she could punch out the 't' in tits, you dropped your fork, loudly. Apologizing, you ducked under the table. You avoided the Doctor’s boots and tapped Missy's foot, trying to get her to join you for a silent recalculation of your obviously flawed plan. Promptly, she kicked your hand. "Ouch—"
"Oopsies," Missy said blithely to the Doctor. "Got carried away,” She leaned toward her and continued in a stage whisper, “Playing footsie you know, right under this table, the whole time. Eager, isn’t she?”
You crawled back up with a scowl, your hair sticking up in every direction. You flashed the Doctor a grimace of a smile. She offered you a hand up, which you took gratefully. She didn’t let go, however, and motioned you toward the kitchen. “Mind if I steal you for a bit?”
“Never,” you breathed. Missy cleared her throat, and you blinked. “I mean, yeah, for a sec.”
The Doctor tugged you into the next room. “Hi, sorry, hate to interrupt, uh,” she waved at the table area, “this, but—what is actually going on here? ‘Cause I’m confused.”
You bit your lip, not quite ready for a one-on-one. “I know this is probably a surprise,” you started.  
Her mouth scrunched into a pained grin. “A bit.”
“But I really wanted to let you know. I didn’t want to lie to you or anything, Doctor.” You reached up to touch her shoulder. Her eyes followed your hand. “You’re really important to me. To us. To both of us.”
“Just,” she exhaled, and her voice dropped to a whisper. “Missy? The Mistress?”
“Yeah, I’ve just stuck to the nickname,” you mumbled, “Equitable power dynamics and all.”
She struggled to keep her voice level. “She once tripped you in front of a horde of Weaburrs.”
“It was one time, and she didn’t really know me yet, so—”
“And I thought you and—" the Doctor broke off, “Penthus, really? That was ages and ages ago. And you’d never said you were interested in Missy, not even once. Not that I don’t kind of,” she squinted, “Get it? Didn’t think you’d go for the whole chaotic trickster, er, vibe—” the Doctor cut off. Her eyes began to twinkle.
“Um… Doc?”
Nodding to herself, her mouth quirked out of its petulant grimace and up into a grin.  “Oh, oh. I get it now.” She chuckled. “Oh, you two. I see what you’ve done here.”
You swallowed. “Don’t know what you mean.”
“Uh-huh,” the Doctor straightened her yellow braces and cracked her neck. “Nah, we’re good to go back. Pasta’s getting cold.”
Missy was poking the pile of noodles on the Doctor’s plate with her fork, and she took her time settling back into her seat. The three of you sat in silence for a painful, lengthy minute, both Time Ladies watching you. The Doctor looked smug. Missy looked smug. You looked deeply, deeply exhausted.
“All right,” your chair scraped as you stood, not wanting to hang around if the Doctor felt like she was in on a joke. “I think I’m going to bed.”
Missy dabbed her mouth with a napkin, even though she hadn’t eaten anything. “Want me to come with?”
“No,” you forced yourself to pause, then attempted a gentler, more affectionate tone. “I mean, no thank you, Missy.”
She stood and offered you her elbow anyway. "At the very least, let me walk you to your door, pookie."
“Is this necessary?” You hissed after saying good night to a still-grinning Doctor, taking Missy’s arm, and letting her lead you down the hallway. Was any of that necessary? “She knows. She totally knows.”
“Guess who’s following us?” Missy sang under her breath.
You perked up. “Really?”
“Yes—no-no-no, don’t look back,” she pushed you forward by the small of your back. She scoffed, "Amateur."
“This was a disaster,” you whispered back. Her heels clicked against the floor as you wove through the TARDIS’s halls.
“Really? I thought it was terribly successful.” You honestly couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic. “Particularly liked the bit when I kicked you.”
“I’m telling you, she figured it out. She thinks it’s a prank.”
“Then why the spying?” Missy countered, unbothered. “Even for her it would be insufferably self-assured.”
Not totally willing to concede her point, you remained quiet until you’d reached your bedroom door. “Well? Now what?”
She grinned, all teeth. “We give her a show.”
“Nope,” you pulled back. “I’m not, um, comfortable with fake kissing.”
“Fine,” she said, only half-managing to not roll her eyes. Missy took your hand with a lavish flourish. “Then the pièce de résistance.” She took your hand, light as a feather, by your fingertips and lifted it to her mouth. Her lips were warm and soft as they brushed the top of your knuckles; you weren’t sure why that surprised you. As she lowered your hand, she leaned in, her lips grazing your cheek. In spite of yourself, a shiver spread through you. “Good night, kitten. Thanks ever-so for dinner.”
Missy traipsed down the hall, a hurricane of purple skirts and low chuckles.
Once your door was shut, you flopped onto your bed and buried your head under your pillow.
Notes: And so the shenanigans begin! I’m so excited that y’all seemed to like Pt. One, so I hope Pt. Two continues to deliver the goods. I’m having a lot of fun writing this, so I hope it’s at least fun to read. 
Up next: Missy writes a ballad, the two of you adjust your fake-romance strategy, and the Doctor begins to take things a little more seriously, judging by the semi-permanent crinkle in her forehead. Also, more Doctor/Missy interaction and almost the French Revolution. Also also some angst, that’s inevitable any way this pans out. Let me know what you think, I love love love hearing from y’all. As always, I hope that you’re really doing well out there. ❤️
Tag list: @thatsonezesty13​ , @captainlgordon​ , @witchesmortuary​ 
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kotikala · a year ago
More Cosmic Signs
[Here’s the first Cosmic Signs.]
Aaravos has been taking up a lot of my attention lately. 
Such a berk; it’s exactly what he wants.
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Someone said my name?
At least I got to read a lot of cool things about space that broke my brain a bit.
[Where are Carl Sagan and Brian Cox when I need them? I really should have read Cosmos by now. It’s sitting right next to me. Wait Dara Ó’Briain was a physicist? Wha-ahem, getting back to what I was doing...]
Right. I won’t go so far as to call the following headcanon(s). Aaravos is still too enigmatic for that. I want to see what the creators reveal, and what he reveals. 
Still, I can’t help but notice some fun details and wonder as my mind wanders. I’m just exploring, and collecting my exploration musings here.
Plus: cool space shit.
Is this a meta?
*This is gonna be a long one, so read at your leisure. But it’s got pictures!*
*Also, I’m pulling information from various sources, all of which are readily found on/via Google. I’m not going to cite things, because I’m trying to use simple explanations and paraphrasing. So, just so that’s said. I’m borrowing, not claiming.*
*Edited to fix some typos and add some follow-up thoughts.*
The main symbols on Aaravos that stand out to me:
The symbol on the front of his hood
The symbols that form the cloak clasps
His chest symbol
They all reminded me of violent, cataclysmic, and powerful cosmic phenomena. Yet they are incomprehensibly beautiful, evoking exuberant awe and unfathomable dread in the same breath.
And isn’t that such a fitting description for Aaravos, what we’ve seen of him so far and feel from his energy?
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No, please. Keep finding words for me. You have a thesaurus.
I was reminded in particular of supernovae, pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, and black holes. The cloak clasps specifically look like mirror images of the right half of the pulsar map on the Pioneer plaque. 
I don’t think that the imagery is accidental in the least. I didn’t initially attach any meaning or connections to it beyond ‘turbulent explodey space stuff’, but:
-The hood and cloak clasps:
Supernovae occur when a star is dying - it explodes. The explosion sends all sorts of material hurling through space. The materials ejected can cause the formations of new stars, as well as of planets. Elements are also ejected - like iron! The very same iron that is an essential nutrient for survival. Yup, we consume and are made of dead star parts. The remaining core of the star will become either a neutron star (and perhaps a pulsar) or a black hole. Those symbols do look like the beams of light emanating from the centre of an explosion.
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Pulsars are highly magnetised, rotating neutron stars that shoot out beams of light from their poles. Neutron stars are what happen when a supernova does not form into a black hole. They’re the collapsed cores of massive supergiant stars (if one got near enough to the Solar System, it would cause utter chaos, even causing tides that would rip apart the planet). They’re the smallest and densest observable forms of matter. But, in the right conditions, neutron stars and pulsars could still become [rotating] black holes. Sometimes pulsars come in pairs, called binary pulsars. The different points stemming from the central circles of the hood and clasp symbols could look like the beams going off in different directions as the star spins.
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Gamma-ray bursts are basically exploding light (electromagnetic radiation). They are the brightest and most energetic electromagnetic events known. GRBs are thought to originate from a few different possible sources: during a supernova; when neutron stars collide; when a black hole swallows a neutron star; or as a result of a hypernova. The beams of light shooting in different directions bear resemblance to the varied points shooting off from the centre circles of the hood and clasp symbols.
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The pulsar map is found on plaques with both Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, as well as on the Golden Records that went out with Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. This one’s fun, even though I don’t fully understand how to read it. But, basically, this is a map that shows the location of the Sun (and thus the Solar System) to 14 nearby pulsars. The central point is the sun, and each line spanning out from the centre leads to a pulsar. The tick mark at the end of each line represents a Z-coordinate perpendicular to the galactic plane. The subsequent tick lines are in binary code showing the periods of the pulsars - basically their blinking frequencies. The longest horizontal line (the 15th), without tick marks and heading to the right out of frame, represents the relative distance of the Sun from the centre of the Milky Way. I think it’s self-evident how this has similarities with the hood and clasp symbols.
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I couldn’t crop out his eyes and it keeps making me laugh.
Now I’m really kind of hoping that these symbols are star-based mini-maps to something. The designs being inspired by the Pulsar Map would be neat enough, but if they’re also in-world maps? I would enjoy that thoroughly.
All right, now:
-The chest symbol:
So, black holes. Specifically the one from Interstellar. At the time, it was the most accurate visualisation of a black hole. Then, on 10 April 2019, a photo taken by the Event-Horizon Telescope revealed the first ever actual image of a black hole - the supermassive black hole located in the centre of Messier 87. It wasn’t super detailed, but it’s still one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Black holes are just what their name implies - and it’s the name that stuck in the on-going process of trying to figure out what they are, how they work, and what happens inside of them. Black holes are regions in spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing, nothing, escapes them. If anything gets too close, even light, it’s gone. Depending on how someone is looking at a black hole, and/or how the black hole is moving (yes, they can travel), a phenomenon called gravitational lensing occurs, where light is literally bent around the moving object and thus distorting perception of it. Black holes are fascinating, esoteric, and terrifying. (Any of this sounding familiar?)
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I rotated this to be vertical to better match some of the main features of the chest symbol, but the original image is horizontal. But space is space, so...why couldn’t a black hole be viewed like this? Also this is the one from Interstellar.
Quasars are like roided-out black holes. A quasar is a very bright active galactic nucleus (AGN). In this AGN is a massive supermassive black hole surrounded by what’s called an accretion disk. This accretion disk is gaseous, and as gas is being swirled and sucked into the black hole, some of the most powerful energy in the universe is released in the form of light (electromagnetic radiation). They look like stars from far enough away, but they are anything but. Quasars are horrifyingly awesome.
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-More on the chest symbol:
It also looks like a stylised image of a star with light beams and a halo around it. The light beams go in four directions to points, forming a sort of diamond shape towards the centre, and the glow of the light forms a corona/halo around the star. We know that stars are spherical, and the points and glow are from light being bent by our eyes or by mirrors in telescopes. Here’s Polaris, the North Star, to demonstrate:
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But younger Aaravos has a white circle in the middle of his symbol:
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And the older one has a black diamond over it. The halo part is smaller on the younger Aaravos too.
My immediate thought was that the black diamond started forming with use of dark magic. Maybe Aaravos has the capability to centre the corrupting effects in one spot, and this ended up being in the middle of his arcanum symbol in the middle of his chest where the heart is basically located. Blackening centre, darkening heart? Oh, symbolism.
My other fun thought concerns the life cycle of a star. Stars look white from far away because, physics, but white and black stars are actually ‘in the throes of death’ (thanks, Dr Sagan). Stars can basically follow two broader pathways to death. 
On one, they will end up white dwarves that will eventually turn into black dwarves. Black dwarves are only theoretical at this point because the time needed for them to form is more than the current age of the universe. Neat. 
On the other pathway, a star will end up becoming either a neutron star or a black hole. Sometimes neutron stars gain more mass than they can handle, and collapse into black holes. Black holes can also ‘eat’ other neutron stars, as well as anything that gets too close. 
It makes me wonder if Startouch elves have life spans and cycles that might [loosely] mimic those of stars, just on a much smaller scale. Aaravos already had a white star, and now that star has become black (and looks like it only stopped because of the mirror dimension, where time is...whatever it is or isn’t there). Is Aaravos possibly dying, and one of his goals is to cheat death? Is he more chaotic and destructive and parasitic because of this?
That one seems a bit, uh, ‘out there’, but I enjoy toying with it.
Actually, every phenomenon listed here occurs either in or as a result of the death of star. It’s all death-related. Is Aaravos an astral harbinger of death?
But then, back to my immediate thoughts with dark magic, dark heart:
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Aaravos’ symbol is upside down.
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Also my primal is the moon; I had to force the quiz to give me stars.
Either a continuity checker missed this one, or the upside-down symbol means something. 
Was it somehow forced upside down when he became a fallen elf, a symbol of his status? Is the black diamond in the middle actually an added cover to block him from accessing his full power? 
 Maybe he did something bad once, had to wear his symbol flipped as in the image of him younger, then did something even worse that landed him with a power block and a mirror prison? 
If the black diamond is a power blocker, can it be overridden temporarily? Has he figured out how to override it for brief periods of time, like when he went power runing? Or does it stay active even when he’s in the glow state?
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Or maybe he was nefarious from the start (like, way before we saw him). Is his symbol a testament to connections to mayhem, havoc, and death? Even to the creation, the ’new world order’, and life that can arise from and after such things?
I am really fine if most of my space and other connections were just for fun and not anything that will be relevant at all. The death connections are really prominent though. And the series does like to explore death...
I just want to know so many things about Aaravos and Startouch elves now.
The Wiki says that the name Aaravos may derive from the Hebrew aravah, ערבה (plural: aravot, ערבות; don’t forget, Hebrew goes right to left!). Aravah refers to a leafy branch of a willow (Salix acmophylla, not a weeping willow) that has no taste or smell, thus symbolising someone who lacks both good deeds and the Torah. Googling ‘aravos’ yields results about how to grow your own aravos garden - once you get past the Aaravos results. 
There’s a whole bunch of religious symbolism and imagery that I’ve picked up on (parting the lava river like the Red Sea in Prince of Egypt, Viren as, like, an ‘anti-Moses’ figure, a four-point star linked to the Star of Bethlehem and resembling a cross - so if it’s upside down that’s probably really not good), but I am not religious and was not [really] raised to be, so I’m going to leave that alone. 
But! Fun fact: ἄρᾰβος (’arabos’ or ‘aravos’) in Ancient Greek means:
gnashing or chattering of teeth
or more generally, rattling or ringing
Last thought: Aaravos has horn adornments in his younger image. Do Startouch elves do the ‘horn cuffs mean in a partnership’ thing? Or maybe an ex-partnership? Did he murder someone, maybe another Startouch elf, to save or avenge someone he might have cared about?
Aaravos, you reticent bastard.
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To your health.
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yours-truly-r · a year ago
Wip tag oh boy
Thank you @pumpkin-goob you're gonna expose all my secret projects. I'm so sorry so many of these are fem, Ill try to go through and write gn versions after they're done. I just use she/her so it's my default.
Ever so Slowly, Ever so sweetly (Derek Morgan x Aaron Hotchner)- Derek's already made the mistake of letting a friend slip through his fingers, he refuses to watch Hotch crumble like spencer did. But after months of keeping an eye of Aaron, making him dinner, helping him piece himself back together after haley, slowly and surely, the lines of friendship blurr. They don't even know when they fell, but god was it sweet.
Working title Star Man (Din x fem! Reader)- din crash lands on a supposedly uninhabited planet. It was not uninhabited. One of the locals finds him, brings him to her village to keep him safe, but the customs are a little lost on him. Tl;dr din accidentally gets married and doesn't figure it out until he's about to leave.
River (Spencer Reid x Fem!reader)- working on this with @moon-light-jukebox . Were both writing from the same basic plot. Spencer yells at his long term girlfriend while high. He said some nasty stuff like big old yikes, so she leaves. Dissapears. He finds her (and someone extra) again under the worst circumstances.
Secret Garden or Flowers don't have tongues (Derek Morgan x gn!reader)- he supposed it should be obvious that he does landscaping as well as remodeling on the houses he fixes up. But apparently it's not. Either way, his garden is filled with flowers, same with his house, there's houseplants everwhere and the greenhouse of back is too. He loved being surrounded by beautiful things. The cute neighbor next door sees him in the beautiful garden out front all the time. He starts giving them flower clippings after they comment on how beautiful the pink roses are. No one expected derek to be the plant dad type, hes sure as hell no one knows his interest in victorian flower language either. Yo bad his neighbor is friends with Spencer who literally knows everything.
Left in a locket (Poe Dameron x Fem!Reader)- poe's got a secret. But apparently someone's got a big mouth. Leia gets a warning for a remote planet she's keeping her eye on. Poe races there without a word to anyone. The ashes where the little cottage stood are still hot when he makes it.
Not again Epilogue (aaron Hotchner x idk! Reader) - I promised this last year! Maybe a wedding. I dunno I just wanna wrap up my first series. Probs won't happen though, I don't have a clear idea of what i want.
Sock footed (Luke Alvez x gn!reader)- "why the fuck do you sleep with socks on?" Moving in means you learn things about the other.
Hideaway (Din x fem! reader)- I'm just gonna give y'all a simplified snippit for tbis: he turns to boba, fennec, cara, and karga. "If anyone learns about this, I'll kill all of you. It'll hurt. You understand?" They all nod from their place in the cargo hold. They hadn't been able to look outside since leaving hyper space. The ramp to the cargo hull opens with a hiss. The four only step off the ship when din does. They follow him through the door of the landing pad into the small cottage. The simple wood framing and comfortable air bringing confusion to the faces of the four. Grogu comes running towards din, who bends down to pick him up.
A voice from the door draws everyone's eyes toward the figure leaning against it. Din acts (almost) as if the four arent here, striding across the room to wrap his arms around her, his forehead resting against hers.
Karga looks to cara, then back to din "Mando, you gonna introduce us?"
Din ignores them. Whispering things that barely make it past the helmet, only for her ears.
Boba adjusts his stance, moving his weight to his other foot "by my best guess, that's his riddur."
"his what?"
Fennec translates "His wife"
Okay! That's what I've got going on. I dunno who's already been tagged so sorry if you have but I'm tagging @genevievedarcygranger @moon-light-jukebox and @spencersblog feel free to ignore this but yeah. Here it is
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kariachi · a year ago
Okay y’all, it’s the big day. The latest of the Ben 10 movies, after which I will be fully caught up on the franchise and can unblacklist it finally because two days is too damn much already.
I’m going in with, pretty much no info? I’ve watched one trailer, don’t even know if there’s more, and gotten hints of spoilers. Enough to worry for my son but not enough to actually know anything. Which, given Kevin is about all I care about, tells you some of how I feel going into this. Am crossing my fingers and hoping this ends with him in a really good space and having nothing to do with Phil because I have been worrying about that since I learned he would be in this.
Don’t trust that man as far as my piddly arms could throw him and anyway I don’t want Kevin anywhere near any part of the Forever Dipshit unless he’s actively dismantling the fucker. Asshole deserves to get turned into a toaster. Haven’t heard any ‘oh your reaction is going to be fun’ sort’ve stuff from anybody, so fingers crossed.
But, we can’t know anything until we get into it, so, Ben 10 Versus The Universe.
An hour 12 minutes, yeah it looks like my initial estimate might be accurate. I will be here the entire damn day.
Ooo, it’s own intro, very nice.
Okay, 1) like that intro, very much in the style of the other series and I like that about it. 2) Spent it wondering if they were going to include Kevin in the rogue’s gallery runthrough and instead it literally ends with the Tennysons and Kevin in the Rustbucket, Kevin being his normal little shit self.
Maybe watching this when I was on the rag was a bad idea because y’all I am already in tears he’s enjoying himself so much. My precious son. Gods I love him.
Can I just sit on this frame for an hour, would that count? Can fill the time with telling you how much I love my son.
Ben 10 Versus The Universe: The Movie (The Game: The Gameshow: The TV Series)
They brought in fucking everybody for this. Kelly is at the bottom of the list but I am putting my trust in her. Seriously y’all I am so happy with her work on this show, I knew the reboot was going to be good as soon as I learned she was going to be working on it, she is a delight.
Okay, actual show, apparently we’re starting at what looks like a small base. I don’t know for what. it looks like they want me to think it’s military but also yeah no. The pool is throwing me off the most, I think. I mean wtf?
Oh look, Smythe shit. A steam-powered airship-zeppelin. And Ben as Heatblast handling the situation, as one does.
Ben is so tired. He needs a vacation from this vacation so damn bad. Somebody else handle the villains so he can get like, two weeks to actually relax.
Ah, it’s an industrial server farm. I don’t know enough about those or if it’s even a thing to give an opinion. Smythe wants it gone though, to the shock of nobody.
He wasn’t to wipe out telecommunications so we’re left with telephones as our most advanced mode of conversation.
Ben, meanwhile, is asleep. Can’t blame him.
Ben is bored. This shit is like clockwork, he could probably save the day in his sleep at this point. Especially from Smythe.
“I’m not even breaking a sweat, and I’m on fire!”
Ben saves the day, hardly even has to try (pretty much doesn’t) and in the end even Smythe has to agree this is getting repetitive.
Huh, Max and Gwen were in the doom-ball.
Max and Gwen are not impressed with Ben having been bored while they were under the threat of danger. Ben has the very valid point that they really weren’t at any risk, even if they were in a mine.
Max, while talking about staying ready for the unexpected, gets a phonecall.
Ben: “Bet you anything it’s Phil. He’s got some big emergency and we’ve gotta go somewhere and look at something.” Gwen: “You don’t have to be so smug. Not everything is a dire situation.” Max: “It’s Phil, we gotta go to his lab and look at something. He says it’s pretty dire.” Ben: “Like clockwork.”
Honestly I’d be bored too. This is why they needed to add Argit, something to mix things up, change up the style.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any ‘your reaction is gonna be so fun’ messages so I don’t think we’re getting Argit. But hopefully, given space and Kevin are involved, we will receive an opening for later Argitness.
Hello Phil. I still don’t trust you. You have been nothing but vaguely suspicious shit on top of vaguely suspicious shit every since the season 1 finale and with your history in the other series? Where you were a dipshit from the word go? I wouldn’t leave you alone with a beanbag chair.
Ben, not taking shit seriously, Gwen unimpressed, Phil stating that actually it may be the end of the world. Honestly fuck it save the children let it die. The reboot sequels can be Ben, Gwen, and Kevin traveling the galaxy trying to, ya know, survive and shit. They gather an Argit on the way who honestly is amazed these three didn’t die within a day and half. Tell me you wouldn’t watch that!
Do you even have a bedroom or anything, Phil, or is that building just all lab? Do you pull a Kevin and sleep on your tech?
I don’t trust this giant-computer room. It’s giving me FD vibes.
Anyway yadda yadda object heading straight for Earth, we continue
Ben is so excited to have something new going on
Phil thinks this is a massive meteorite. I’m going to guess warship because I’m fairly certain I remember Incurseans being involved somewhere and honestly.
Oh Ben
I’m like 3.5 minutes in
Ben: If I turn into Cannonbolt you guys can launch be at the meteor and the impact would make it go kablooey Gwen: You and the meteor would ricochet off each other sending you into deep space with no way back Ben: I’d never have homework again Gwen: Ben please
“After months of analyzing your Omnitrix-” I swear this show’s relationship with time will drive me to drink
Phil, do you really think you have time to try to properly prep the child for space? I mean you’ve got over an hour of movie but in-universe
...Phil, why do you have a g-force simulator? And where the fuck are you fitting it?
Okay, seriously, I am concerned at this point by the shit he has on hand. Also why are they focusing on FourArms, mix it up, there’s nine other aliens available
You guys realize you don’t have much choice but to send him anyway? I mean unless you intend to hunt down Kevin and sacrifice him instead which, honestly would be in line with his adult interactions so far and honestly space was good for him in the sequels so maybe it’ll be good for him here.
Ben is so excited and Gwen is so done.
Upgrades to the armor shit have been unlocked.
Problem being, the new armor makes Jetray look, very humanoid. I am not impressed.
Gotta hand it though, Boy can get some speed now. Holy crap. Hate to see XLR8 upgraded.
“We’ve only got one shot at this” Ben’s moving fast enough I think you’ve got a solid three or four
Gwen, Gwen are you having an existential crisis? He’s passed the moon, he’s not coming back down anytime soon.
Ben please
And Ben lost that game of chicken with the meteor, having swerved away at the last moment, presumably because the Omnitrix has the whole ‘you are not dying you fucker’ thing going on
And Ben has been flown right into a fucking vortex of some variety or another. Welp.
Thirty seconds until the meteor hits, nobody knows where Ben vanished too, Phil is resigned, Max is blank, and Gwen looks fucking haunted. Poor kid does not deserve this. She needs a vacation from this vacation too
Oh Gwen, baby
Welp, everyone is fairly certain Ben is dead. Good news is, you won’t outlast him by long the meteor should take out earth in about four seconds
Motherfuck- If you are going to just vanish can you not wait until one second before you’re supposed to hit a planet?!?! Fucking rude!!
Motherfucking Vilgax! I should’ve known! Only you would be so rude! Also how much shit was your little ramshackle pod encased in that it was mistaken for the largest meteor seen?
So, Vilgax is here on Earth and our only defense is Max, Gwen, and presumably Kevin. Either Kevin is going to tap into some pre-reboot murder instincts or shit is about to get bad.
Ben has been carried through the wormhole to, Kinet? I think that’s Kinet, give me a second- No! No it’s Petropia! Listen it’s been a while let me live. Why drop Ben here? wtf is going on?
Swimming through space because your ultra jetboots stopped working
Somebody is watching this child. Who? We know not.
Ben: *times out* Omnitrix: Fuck no *builds spacesuit*
Ben, worried he failed and doomed Earth. It’s okay, it was just Vilgax. Once you find your way back home it’ll all be good.
Sudden spaceship. Also is space just, purple? Is that what’s going on here?
Oh look, Incurseans. Hi.
Omnitrix takes a while to register an alien language and start translating, which makes sense that it would take a little bit for a translator like that to kick in, the tech trying to figure out what language is being spoken. Don’t think I’ve seen that before in a work, very nice. Also the language is literally Incursean so, that’s nice to know. Handy for someone like me.
...Ben is being arrested by the Incurseans for multiple violent crimes perpetrated across the universe. Did not expect that from them.
Also Azmuth, please explain to me what precisely you did with this watch before you threw it at Earth?
...How you could mistake Ben for Vilgax I do not know, but it’s nice to know it wasn’t Azmuth causing wanton destruction and chaos? I guess? This certainly explains how the bastard knew how the Omnitrix worked.
Takes Ben ten seconds of being amazed at and in love with the Omnitrix to register that they think he’s Vilgax.
The Incurseans know about Earth. I’m not sure if that’s a good, bad, or neutral thin in the reboot. The whole ‘arresting a fucker for crimes against the universe’ thing has thrown me off.
Ben plays along for a chance to escape, meanwhile you know Kevin would’ve snapped and argued and fought until they had to admit he couldn’t be Vilgax because Vilgax wouldn’t lower himself to biting.
(I mean it, look at that child and tell me he doesn’t bite)
Well, Ben almost escaped. Too bad Incurseans have those long-ass tongues
Humongasaur fighting an endless swarm of frogs
Ben just is having a day. Honestly it’s lucky Earth’s not going to get wrecked by a meteorite because otherwise he’d be fucked.
Team Tennysons is trying to track Ben down on Earth. Apparently Phil has found the Omnitrix’s signal and they’re tracking that. Three guesses who they’re about to find and the first two don’t count.
Phil: He crashed from space so he might be- Tennysons: Finish that sentence and die
Yeah, the red flashing doesn’t clue them in or anything
And the energy signature looks different. Gwen, darling, you are experienced enough to know exactly who you’re about to find in a cave in the middle of nowhere in the desert (because of-fucking-course, my goddamn disaster)
How is the red flashing not cluing you in? Ben is green, Kevin is red, and together they make one whole Christmas.
Kevin hauling ass, presumably either because something is wrong with his watch (my poor son) or because the Tennysons calling him Ben is freaking him out (my poor son) or both (my poor song)
Okay, Gwen, the tone wasn’t awful but still, was not nessecary to put that emphasis on ‘Kevin’ after the ‘it was just’. Alongside the almost aggravated look when you finally put the pieces together and realized it was him? I know you’re worried for Ben but come on. You hunted him down, he is innocent in everything.
Also can we talk about, something is clearly wrong? I guessed something was wrong with the watch, I think I was right- Kevin was groaning after timing out, holding his head, it’s not normal.
The first thing my son says is telling the Tennysons to get lost (quote “You heard him, hit the road” after Phil tells them to call him when they go back to their search), which isn’t surprising given the look on his face after Gwen’s ‘it was just Kevin’. Something is wrong and now he’s upset on top of that because, well, we know him and how he feels about not being appreciated.
Also holy shit the framing, with Kevin on top of a tall rock in an empty cave, with his back to the Tennysons, making up just a small part of the shot. Really emphasizing just how alone he is.
(Dear reboot give him his rat and prison-dad for fuck’s sake)
(Nobody sent me any ‘your response is gonna be fun’ messages, so I’m assuming I don’t get Kwarrel either, damnit. I can only hope for openings for later Kwarrel in the franchise)
Oh. Oh my son. Oh something has gone very wrong and he is shifting uncontrollably. He has isolated himself so nobody sees him like this. My baby. My precious little perfect child
Notice that he is shifting uncontrollably and he has still not taken off the watch, which would be the obvious answer to the dilemma. So why? Was he too busy freaking out to think of it? Or does on or off not matter anymore?
Tennysons: Why don’t you come along and let us help you? Kevin: Fuck you and your talking car too
“I built this. I should be able to control it.” Oh Kevin...
“And that’s amazing!” And Kevin has no fucking response (except to be a crushing wreck but, I’m deducting the half point and moving on). Praise? For his work? Is that legal?
My son. My heart.
“I didn’t do it all on my own. There was kinda this weird dream.” Said while he’s making his way down to the Tennysons because in the end all he needs is for someone to call him amazing, give him praise, notice him, appreciate him, acknowledge his worth.
The Tennysons recommend letting Phil help because he helped Ben and Kevin’s response is, quote “I’m. Not. Ben! And this isn’t the Omnitrix, it’s the Antitrix*.”
*First time Kevin’s watch has been referred to by that name in the show. Prior to this it was always called a watch or an Omnitrix.
There is so much fucking going on in Kevin tell me we’re learning some of it here I’m begging, give me the inner workings of my son
...pause a second, I don’t wanna look it up because I’m worried about spoilers, but does Kevin’s watch look different? The strap system is different, I’d swear it. Or maybe I’m wrong, it’s been a few days since a Kev episode...
Kevin pointing out that he’s not a Tennyson, denying ever doing anything to help them, wondering what their deal is, claiming they should hate him (my fucking son! someone get this child a dad and a rat, a blanket, some cocoa, and some fucking love and affection!)
By the way, I’m almost 20 minutes in and it’s been over two hours. Kevin is here now, things are probably gonna start going slower.
The Tennysons letting Kevin know they don’t hate him. Max straight up saying he doesn’t seem like a bad kid, just a lost one. Which honestly is very true, he is a good child he just doesn’t really... he’s a mess and there is so much in him and so much of it sour and just- He needs love. Proper, healthy love and guidance by someone who’ll look out for him, put his needs first. It’s why I want Kwarrel back- he, Gar, and reboot!Max have treated Kevin the best, been the most healthy adult interactions he’s had, through the franchise. Kwarrel could be the adult figure he needs in his life, but he got the one episode and nothing and just- I just want the best for Kevin.
“If you trust us, we’ll trust you.” And then Kevin agreeing to come along as long as his watch gets fixed.
Oh gods the smile as he follows them! Like, a moment of happiness for the child!
Vilgax set a city on fire. I take it he’s in a mood.
Yep. Definitely in a mood. Also how the fuck did you get out of the Null Void?
Oh look, we’re back with Ben. Honestly the least interesting part of this movie right now, though I love him.
Although I gotta admit, I never would’ve guessed the Omnitrix being used for a mistaken identity plot like this.
...okay unless he was thrown in the Null Void before you can’t charge him with that he was thrown in unlawfully. Or at least one would hope so. This is space so, the laws have been pretty fucked up in earlier series.
Y’all so not know the joy when you see “How do you plead” and go ‘he pleads not fucking Vilgax’ and then you hit play and Ben’s plea is “not Vilgax”.
Ben is fucking tired of people treating him like he’s Vilgax and you can’t rightly blame him.
Oh, look, Walkatrout. Hi guys! Nice to see you!
Oooo, hello spider-like babies! One second guys I gotta get you a screenshot!
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I love them.
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Also check out these fuckers!
Seems everybody and their mother is here to see this shit go down
Hi Tetrax. Care to tell us why you are here as a witness for the prosecution?
Welp, can’t see this going well
Tetrax, you lying shit, what is your angle? You have got to have something to gain from this.
Tetrax, describing Ben: “It’s like- It’s like a squishy little sack of organs held together with hair. And it’s head is enormous.”
Ben’s making another break for it
“-these are not the actions of the hero you claim to be-” Hmmmmmmmmmmm
Don’t sentence him to the Null Void you already know Vilgax can get out!
I’m impressed by how much these people believe in Vilgax’s acting skills. Like the fact that he’s acting nothing like himself and in fact 100% like the small child he appears to be only proves that he’s a good actor and not that, ya know, maybe they should check and see if they actually did grab somebody’s kid by accident. I mean it’s not like shapechanging watches are a one-and-done deal, a fucking 11-yo made one
And Ben gets dropped through a portal to, somewhere. It certainly doesn’t look like the Null Void.
Poor crying baby
“You don’t deserve to wield the Omnitrix, it belongs with it’s creator- me.” Oh fuck off, Azmuth. You let a squid have it for fuck’s sake.
Phil studying the Antitrix. Apparently the energy signature is very sporadic, but seems familiar.
Solar, Polar, please, we’ve got shit going on. Important Antitrix information. Could you not take a vacation? Take your mother to Disney World or something?
They’re at the fucking house because Phil has the most powerful radio tower in the country. Of course.
The Tennysons sent Kevin outside to handle them and he’s just standing in the yard watching them and eating chips. Telling them to shove off so his shit can get fixed. How is he not the most popular character in this franchise? Has he not earned a fucking spin-off?
Fucking Dark Matter running through the twins like tissue paper
Gwen, a firm believer in the art of ‘Kevin needs to fucking chill’.
My son sees cops and bolts. Nobody is surprised, given his everything. Honestly it’s probably the safest bet he’s got in anything in life- avoid cops.
“Whoever you saw on those security cameras it wasn’t me!” Kevin what did you do?
Is shocked to find the cops aren’t there for him, my poor son.
Kevin: *is just barely compared to Ben* This cannot be allowed to stand
“Proud? Of me?” Y’all the look on his face! My son! 
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Like he’s not entirely sure if this is legal but he’s not about to look it in the face! My baby!
Vilgax! Hello! I knew you and my son were both going to be here so I saved you a spot in the pit! Reserved seating, as it were
Fuck off, squid-boy, the kid built the watch fair and square!
Oh gods, tell me the ‘Vilgax was involved in the dream situation’ theory isn’t being proven here
Also the look on Kevin’s face when he’s noting having seen Vilgax before, somewhere between ‘wait a minute’ and ‘you, you are the one I must kill’
He was in the dream and my boy is freaked.
“Used you as a vessel to finally complete my own design” Vilgax you gave the child a dream with a blueprint in it. There is only so much credit you can give yourself. How did you even do that? Is this some new Chimera Sui Generis  thing? Superstrength, tentacles, laser eyes, and fucking dreamwalking?
Is the Freddy Kruger of squid
As I said designing the piece means nothing if you go handing out the design to whoever. You can still patent the shit, maybe, but you can’t claim that whatever people made with said pretty-much-opensource design is your property.
Vilgax: It’s my design, give it to me Kevin: Fight me bitch
Kevin ‘Fight Me’ Levin
Ya know, I always though FD would be Kevin’s first kill but honestly it might be Vilgax.
I love him so much you guys. He is the most precious thing ever.
Kicks Vilgax’s arm as he’s going tor the watch, backflips away, perfect landing and out to kick ass
Vilgax if you wanted a kid who would just hand the watch over when you showed up maybe you shouldn’t have handed the design off to the most obstinate, anti-authoritarian, ‘you don’t tell me what to do’ child on the face of the planet Earth. You’d have probably had an easier time getting shit from Looma.
Poor gay couple who just got a car through the roof of their new house
Vilgax can talk shit all he likes, but Kevin is putting up a good fight. That’s another thing he maybe should’ve kept in mind, maybe don’t choose the kid who was doing perfect backflips presumably before he even got the stupid dream.
Okay, Ben is in the Null Void. They’ve tidied the place up since the OG series
Hello, species whose name I can’t remember off the top of my head. Good advice for the child thank you
Oh look, a Loboan, hello
There’s a whole mess of peeps. Including an Ectonurite, Vulpimancer, and Pisciss Volann
Dudes you already know Vilgax wants the watch why do you want to get his attention by getting it your own damn selves? It’s more trouble than it’s worth honestly.
These guys need to chill.
Yeeeep, deeefinitely need to chill
Ya know, Azmuth, if you wanted to show up and take your watch back? Now would be a good time? There’s a whole load of people here vying for it, earn the damn thing.
Azmuth. Darling. Why are you in the Null Void? Why are you so firmly in the Null Void that fuckers know you and bend to your commands? The fuck did you do?
Everybody is talking shit about Ben today. He’s ten, let the child live!
Ben, out to kick Azmuth’s ass because he thinks he works for Vilgax because let’s be real, he’s had a fucking day and is also literally ten
Azmuth, just a rampaging dick wherever you find him
Also he has the Omnitrix back now
Jesus fuck, I just really want somebody to come step on Azmuth. Like, Vilgax is a dick but that’s his job, Azmuth is just, a fucking dick.
Azmuth you cannot talk about Ben being an infant and then turn around and say he should’ve known to kill Vilgax. He is a child.
Le gasp. Vilgax was Azmuth’s student. I’m going to assume you got thrown in here for not killing him your own damn self?
Benjamin Kirby Tennyson, annoying Azmuth into telling him the story of wtf happened with him and Vilgax
Young-Azmuth here is just, an image I never needed in my life. Give me Blukic and Driba back
Young Vilgax with goggles
And, shocker, Vilgax went ‘science is great but I can do you one better- universal domination’
Wow, Azmuth. Ya know if you’d had any braincells sufficiently developed you’d have known to kill him.
Azmuth. If you could have maybe one manner. A single etiquette.
Also, really? Sending the Omnitrix to Earth was the only option? You couldn’t destroy it now that it’s true destructive potential was known? Recode the damn thing to stricter parameters in a new coding language? Nothing else? Greatest mind in the universe and you couldn’t think of something, anything, besides sending it to a planet that would’ve been completely helpless if Vilgax had managed to get his hands back on it?
Ben: Okay, fuck you and your watch then, I’ll just go beat Vilgax myself Azmuth: Wait what?
Azmuth has set Ben a trial. You know the one, the ‘reach me within this time frame’ shit. If he passes he gets to keep the Omnitrix.
Attempt 1: No shapeshifting Attempt 2: Rath into Humongasaur
Attempt 3 starts with him having managed to end up outside of the trail area entirely
Azmuth is just a fucking dick. Ben points out that his entire goal is to save his planet from Vilgax, Azmuth blows it off because the fact Ben has his life’s work is more important. Gods just, being reminded how big a dick Azmuth is...
Azmuth, please keep in mind that the child is in fact a child
Ben and Kevin need to make friends so Kev can teach him some moves, he’d have kicked this Ectonurite in the head by now
Ben Tennyson, professional Good Child, saves the fucker that’s been giving him shit.
Ben figuring out new ways to use the Omnitrix and unlocking Goop!
Gods, Azmuth, now you gotta shittalk Goop too? Now you’re just being a speciest dick.
Ben saves a fucker, a fucker who’s been nothign but a shit to him, just barely fails the trial, and breaks down over not managing to beat it and save Earth. He’s so good you guys.
“Color me surprised that altruism still exists in this reality” you don’t get to make comments like that when you’ve been nothing but a dick the entire time you’ve been on screen
Azmuth has given Ben more time and a way out of the Null Void. Because it’s Azmuth, of course he’d rather stay there and wallow in his own bullshit that actually go out into the universe and do something about the problems he started.
Don’t waste your breath on him, Ben, he doesn’t deserve it
Dude he saved is now a Ben fan.
And Ben takes a sidetrip to save the Incurseans from a giant Null Void portal
And back on Earth Kevin is still putting a fight. He’s not winning, but he’s still fighting because he is a precious disaster.
The Tennysons trying to get it through his obstinate, broken little brain that he can accept help (and also that just because Ben does it doesn’t mean he has to refuse just to keep himself distinct from him (I am wording this badly but, I can’t word it right just now...))
It doesn’t work. 
My son. Vilgax ain’t even tired and Kevin is but he’s still holding his own.
Holy shit Phil has a living room
And Gwen has become a hostage. Good job drawing attention to yourself kiddo.
Yes Gwen, bite the squid! It’s not doing anything but I appreciate the enthusiasm and the fighting back!
She hardly even counts as a hostage, Kevin went to straight punch Vilgax and the dude just threw her away. At least use her as a fucking shield!
“You must be under the impression that you are special, when in reality you were only good for one thing.” 1) Yeah, building what you couldn’t. 2) Kevin is a brilliant artist and engineer, good at athletics, with a natural talent for magic, all on top of a good sense of humor and a smile like the fucking sun, HE IS WORTH TEN OF YOU
Also, so far the movie has given me no reason to believe that he was given any parts or tools with which to build this watch so, on top of all that, all my earlier points still stand so far as far as Kevin being better than fucking Tony Stark with machinery. Is that why you threw the design at this foul-tempered, stubborn little thing, Vilgax? Not because you’re an idiot and he could build it, but because he’s the only one who could? I’ve seen no proof against it yet.
Okay giving us that, that fucking view of him after being tossed, fucking skipping over the asphalt, was not nessecary!!!
My son...
My son....
You did great sweetie! You were amazing!
My son.... My poor, battered, exhausted, son....
Also the fact that he straight up says he’ll try again later, which is just- I don’t doubt it. I don’t doubt he will wake up and immediately upon realizing his watch is gone head out to fight Vilgax again.
The fucking K on the antitrix turning into a V is aggravating for pit-related reason but also very thematically appropriate
Vilgax fucking chimerized himself. Fuck off, that’s Kevin’s thing. Just all about stealing from children
Vilgax steals his chimerism shtick and Kevin immediately starts regaining consciousness. My child
Extra toothy mouths too?! Fucking chill, squid-boy!
Kevin is up and moving and everyone is fleeing a pissed Vilgax in the Rustbucket. He is now on the hunt for Ben
Vilgax is, really putting them through the wringer and Kevin is not happy.
And Kevin, once they’re at Vilgax’s mercy, runs off to start shit once again with the fucker. Because my child is perfect.
He has hijacked fucking Glitch! Of course he has! My child! Harness the fucking Glitch!
He and Glitch, luring Vilgax away with ease because this man handles disrespect worse than Kev does.
The Rustbucket is scrap, but Phil might have an option.
And we’re back to Ben. When last we left him he’d worn himself out saving the Incurseans, straight passing out, and now, now we’re back to him.
The Incurseans saved him, and are apologizing for starting shit. Which is better than they were in past iterations so honestly I’m happy with them.
Incursean leader: You have legal permission to apprehend Vilgax Ben: I don’t know how to get home IL: We’ll take you Incursean Otherdude: We can’t enter warpdrive Ben: What about that wormhole I took before? IO: ...that would work IL: Great, let’s go!
They are going to scour the ship for Tetrax so they can bring him in for falsely accusing a 10-yo hero of being Vilgax
Back to the Best Boy and Glitch fucking psychoanalysing my child as someone who uses an abrasive attitude to ward of people who may hurt him but at heart is a good person
“Listen, if there’s anything I know, it’s how to adapt and survive. If anyone can deal with being alone with Captain Calamari out here, it’s me.” My son!!
And they’re caught. Somebody give Kevin a crowbar or something.
Holy shit Glitch sacrificed himself to give Kevin a shot! Fucking hell! That, I think that may earn back the half point lost for the Gwevin. Sacrificing yourself to save my son earns a lot.
Oh you did not just call my son sniveling and pathetic. You didn’t. You get the special pit with FD.
My boy is crying. My boy is crying. A squid is going to die. Thou shalt not suffer a Vilgax to live.
The first person to get me a picture of Vilgax being torn apart by Kevin 11k gets a drabble.
Glitch! Giving my boy the aid and encouragement he needs in this moment! You definitely get the half point!
Kevin, like Ben, is having A Day.
Did, did Glitch and Kevin just fucking biomerge? Taking my son up a notch? Oh yesss
Glitch has been working on becoming armor for Ben but, well, Kevin needs it right now and it did need a testrun. Kevin is so happy to get to use it first. Seriously I don’t know what happened in their backstory but, damn
My boy
Back to Ben and Tetrax really should’ve been ready to bail, taking so long is just unprofessional.
Azmuth paid Tetrax to lie in court. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Nobody. I’m shocked.
Ben is letting Tetrax go because he’s like 60% certain he helped in the long run
*snort* Okay, like that fourth wall break.
Kevin and Glitch, still fighting Vilgax, to the surprise of nobody given Kevin does not cannot will not stop fighting
They work well together, they really do. Glitch is more entertaining when he’s actually working off somebody rather than trying to just, be his own thing.
Ben cannot catch a break today
The Tennysons in an actual car plus Kevin and Glitch, all fighting Vilgax together because fuck it, better than going it alone right now
There’s still another twelve minutes.
My son. My Son. “A pity you didn’t stand down while you still had the chance.” “I’d rather go all-in and end up squashed than stand around and let some slab of squid jerky like you stand around and take over the planet.”
Ben is back on Earth and ready to join the fray. Sorry Squiddly but there is no chance in hell you can handle Kevin and Ben at the same time. Actually I’m fairly certain Kevin’s not gonna end up a Tennyson half because of this fucking obsession with Gwevin and half because Kevin and Ben as family would end the universe all on it’s own.
The fact Kevin then proceeded to call him Squidly just makes this day better.
A lot has happened since you left, Ben. Everyone has been having A Time.
And Vilgax smacks Kevin away, doing that final bit of damage to take Glitch out of the fight. Which means Kevin is out of the fight, or at least will be in a minute because honestly I’ll be surprised if nobody sits on him after that last stunt he pulled.
We’ve got nine minutes, let’s see if Vilgax can stand up against Ben, especially after all the fighting he’s already been doing. Neither of them is fresh, but Ben is fresher.
Vilgax is kicking ass so far. C’mon Ben, use Goop!
My son! Acting like he’s not worth saving because he can’t be useful. I am going to hunt down his father and the FD and destroy them both.
Glitch can drain the car and start repairs. The Tennysons are being helpful and Good.
My baby! He is just, confidence has plummeted. Kevin, baby, you are the best thing on this show! You are amazing!
Max, pointing out that Kevin managed to hold off Vilgax on his own, and that he and Ben together can kick his ass. Phil backing it up with a ‘the world needs you right now’.
Yesss, support for my son, this is all I want in this world
“Stand back, I’m going after my watch.” What did I tell you. He’s getting that fucking watch back if he has to eat Vilgax to do it. He worked hard on that thing!
Glitch is falling the fuck apart, Ben is down, Vilgax is about to win, and Kevin is not looking like he’s about to stop anytime soon.
He dove at Vilgax as he was about to use the Omnitrix’s key to unlock more power for the Antitrix and managed to snatch it back from the bastard! Because! He! Is! Perfect!
Vilgax has still gotten what so far seems to be a net positive effect, but at least he doesn’t have the watch
He thinks he’s Jafar
Vilgax standing there monologuing about his own greatness and Kevin just calls him a doofus and launches at him as Bashmouth
Then straight to CrystalFist when caught to make vilgax let him go, he’s amazing.
Ben catches him as he plummets, fully armored up, it’s time for these boys to wreck some squid shit.
Vilgax just keeps fucking growing. We’ve only got like five minutes left in the movie, just stop.
Kevin just, no hesitation. He is going to fight a giant squid so help him god
Welp. They managed to land some blows.
The boys have been taken out, Team Tennyson is at Ben’s side. “Glitch is- is gone.” “What about Kevin?” “I don’t know, Vilgax hit him pretty hard.“
Phil. Phil what the fuck are you hiding? You are hiding something and so help me if it could’ve helped my boy earlier I will-
Kevin and Azmuth need to meet because Kevin needs to punt him.
Oh look, the frog-bitch is out of the Null Void and bothering the Incurseans. They don’t deserve this, they’re good people.
Oh look, Ben has unlocked Waybig. Fitting, I suppose.
It’s gonna be a curbstomp fight, there’s only a few minutes left and we still need to wrap this movie up. Hopefully confirm my son is alive.
I was right. Good fight, still very quick. And now we gotta deal with fucking Azmuth again.
And, shocker, Ben gets to keep the watch.
Okay, we have confirmation Kevin at least limped away. He was alive as of the end of this film.
11/11 thanks to quality Kevin content and Glitch finally earning my respect. I’m still serious about the Vilgax thing though- first person, a reboot drabble of their choosing.
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prince-toffee · 9 months ago
She-Ra #0
- Karma -
[Two Years After The Defeat of Horde Prime]
The moonlight of the many Etherian moons rained down and coated the greenery of Plumeria. Plumeria was one of the smallest kingdoms on the planet, there wasn’t anything fancy or kingdom-ly about it. No enormous castles, not even real towns, just a bunce of tree-houses and empty fields. Which in a way was perfect for the refugee clones, the open fields were filled with makeshift tents, with tired, injured, and or defective clones with conditions that had to be looked after, taking up residence in them. Over the two years more and more shelters accumulated since the defeat of Prime and his main armada. It all worked out fairly well, with the clones populating the ground and the Plumerians residing in the trees. They much like most Etherians had mixed feelings about the clones, some were more welcoming than others. Fortunately brawls didn’t break out as often as in some other parts. It was clear that the Princess of the land, Perfuma, wasn’t too thrilled about their presence, but she put on a smile and played nice.
Modulok wasn’t quite sure what the title of ‘royalty’ or ‘Princess’ meant on this world, but it seemed as if the success criteria involved owning some land since there were apparently hundreds of Princesses, some with kingdoms the size of a town, or a nightclub, believe it or not. How the political landscape worked, he did not know. But he didn’t really care either. It was peaceful that was all that mattered to a surgeon and medic like Modulok. The settlement at Plumeria was one of the smaller ones, nowhere near as developed and packed as Doormat or the New Salineas. And again that’s why he liked it, quiet, far away from anything and everything, a grasshopper here, the rustle of leaves there. However something always seemed to go out of its way to find him. Case in point his quite drunk brother, Vultak, who barged into Mod’s tent in the middle of the night.
Vultak clumsily stumbled into the tent, two glasses of some sort of alcoholic drink in hand. He set the glasses on the operating table Mod was currently working on. Before Mod could protest, as he opened his mouth Vultak raised his pointing finger up to him to stop him. V then proceeded to drag a chair from the side to the operating table. V sat down and took a swig emptying one glass. The drunk clone just stared dazed at the patient Modulok was operating on, but caught a glance coming from Mod that was disapproving.
“Do you mind?”
“Not at all, carry on.”
That drew out a sigh from the medic, he was all too familiar with those snappy comebacks as well as his delusional pessimistic rants and ravings, which Mod was sure were about to follow. The two just looked at each other, a sedated individual between them, it was quite a comedic scene to be hold if there were a third party observing.
Modulok had lost his arms in one of the countless wars and had replaced them with cybernetics which could split in two giving him the total of four arms to work with. As a defect Modulok had blood red lenses, eyes and teeth. Not to mention his skinny frame, and lack of weight, and inability to gain weight. He wore a black and red tech suit, not bulky like Hordak’s, much thinner with tubes and cables hanging here or there. Under it you could see his bones and rip cage pressed tight around his skin, in some areas the white bone broke through the skin forming vein-like patterns across his body - common side effects for defects. A unique defect to Mod was that his skin was coloured red, it didn’t mean much, but others thought it looked neat.
Vultak was far more odd and different, some clones even called him the strangest clone alive. One of the oldest living too. V was a defect too, defects liked to stick together, at least most of them, not Modulok specifically. Vultak was thin too, like a walking toothpick. Vultak’s top half of his head was a red glass-looking dome resembling a radar display. No eyes. However a long witch-like nose. And shark-sharp teeth, though that was common with all clones. Possibly his most iconic aspect were his retractable wings being able to extend out of his under-arms, unveiling metallic feathers as sharp as knives. Various experimental technology was incorporated into his arms, giving his wings the ability to cause micro-hurricanes, and gusts of wind. And flight, obviously.
Also, he was thousands years old.
“V, you clearly want something so just say it and get it over with, the less time I spend with you the saner I’ll remain.” Modulok stated tiredly knowing fully well conversations with V could be exhausting. He leaned on his right arm which he placed on the table.
“What? Come on, can’t a brother just want to hang out with his other clone brother from another mothership?...” Mod was unamused and unphased, in the pause and silence his expression did not change. “And also my dearest, most awesome, talented brother, who is a doctor... I could... use some of that reeeeeally good tastin’ medicine that only a certified medic like you can hand out.” Vultak gave him a smile and tilted his head.
Mod gave him an eye roll, “I am not handing you the pills!”
“Oh come on, Mod! This stuff’s getting out on the street anyway! You’re not upholding some moral high-ground, you’re not holding society together! Come on, please, just one.”
Modulok waved him off, shaking his head. “Absolutely not. And I’m not trying to up hold anything, I don’t care what happens out there, but it just so happens that when some stupid non-sense takes place out there it means I’ve got more work here.” In a way he was right, Modulok was the most famous medic from the Galactic Horde, known across countless galaxies, being a defect medic and a medic for defects, that increased his infamous status. If anyone, any clone was in need of aid they turned to him for help, to say Mod was busy would’ve been an understatement. “Don’t even get me started on those pills that Hordak and Dryl made, I have no idea what they were thinking.”
The Isle Pills. Small capsules of biochemical engineering, synthesized from the ‘infected’ ‘tainted’ plants of Beast Island. That was the way people described the island, there were many theories about the landmass, a lot of scary campfire stories, disputes about whether it even existed. Its existence was apparently confirmed by the Princess of Dryl. Something about backstabbing and being imprisoned on the island, the clones weren’t sure, and they didn’t care much. But the nature of the island had been kept secretive, partially perhaps because the lab-partners studying the location don’t know many thing about it either.
It is also to be noted that they, the pills, weren’t meant for wide spread public use, apparently the Drylian Princess herself was against the production of it. But somehow they got out. Modulok was sure Hordak wasn’t thrilled that his experimental treatment for his defection was being distributed like hot buns at a bakery sale.
The pills have an altering affect on the consumer’s mood and how they perceive reality. Where the island would have enraptured an individual in their own fears and insecurities, somehow those mad-scientists altered the effect of the flora to envelop the individual in numbness and sleep-like paralysis. Hordak no doubt developed the pills as a way of coping with his defection and all the pain that came with it. So the product became quite popular with other defects. Including V, to no surprise. The pills were addictive and seemingly untested, and someone was making a profit off of it no doubt.
“They probably weren’t thinking, that’s what! If you ask me that Hordak guy is insane. All his bad decisions always seem to bit us in the rear.” The infamous Hordak, a general from a previous life, a defect that was sent to the frontlines by Prime personally, some even have speculated that he was meant to be Prime’s next bodily vessel. So in a sick twisted way, that defect saved him. Funny how life works.
Hordak somehow ended up on Etheria, he doesn’t even know how, somehow he amassed a large following and took over half a continent, destroyed a lot in the process. People hate him, his face, and that means of course many weren’t thrilled about hundreds of thousands of clones falling from the sky and finding a home and shelter on Etheria. Honestly, Modulok didn’t like him much either. Vultak unlike Mod actually quite liked Hordak as he served under him once, V trusted him.
“Mod, they would’ve hated us with or without him at the helm, at the end of the day he’s one of us, the whole universe hates us, we gotta stick together.”
“Where’s your ‘screw everything’ mentality gone to?”
V downed his second glass and wiped his mouth, “Washed away and washed down...” V just stared at the now empty glass inspecting it suspiciously as if he was looking if the glass was withholding additional liquid from him. It became obvious that V was thinking, contemplating something, he placed the glass down with a ‘clink’ on the table. “...I’ve been getting the nightmares again. And it’s getting worse, it always does. It’s not long ‘til the nightmares start coming out during the day, while you’re awake.”
Modulok understood, of course he did. He too had went through some harrowing experiences, war is never a good thing for the mind. Mod was an excellent surgeon and doctor, he can do some miracles with scalpels and bandages, he could take care of physical wounds. But there were wounds and scars that he couldn’t heal.
Vultak continued, “Do you believe in karma, Mod?” The question gave the medic pause, he didn’t quite know how to answer that, and he was sure this was one of those questions you don’t answer as V was going to no doubt continue and give his own answer. But the short reply would’ve been ‘no’, Mod didn’t believe in any higher power or any metaphysical concepts such as fate or destiny, it all rather felt far-fetched to him. “That our actions and deeds from our previous lives affect and decides our fate and fortune in the future?
That the future takes roof in the past? You do good, you have good fortune, a good life awaits you. You do bad, you have bad fortune, hell’s coming your way. Revenge and retribution on a cosmic level. It’s the universe’s way of punishing the evil and the wicked, that’s us by the way.
And we do deserve it, don’t we. I mean we’re literally walking, breathing, war machines, our sole purpose was to destroy, perpetuate war and cause all around carnage.
Everyone always wants to blame Hordak for Etheria hating us, but every single one of us has had a part in conquering half the damn universe! Countless worlds either chained or turned to dust, all thanks to us, all of us.
All the terrible things we’ve done, and now what? We just get to have a happy ending? No. No, no, no. Karma’s just getting ready, reeling back, ready to backhand all of us to oblivion. We gotta suffer first... Karma’s balance, karma’s proportional. Which isn’t good for us since we did a lot of wrong-doings. Remember the Siege of Denebria, the War for Primus, the Taking of Trolla, the centuries-long Massacres at Epsilon-19, everyone wants to forget that hellscape death-trap. But we just can’t, some things claw their way back to the surface from below all that brainwashing-sauce.
And that’s just the horrid stuff we remember!... Can you imagine how many lives we’ve forgotten? How many years we’ve lost? How many people we’ve forgotten? That four eyed freak robbed us of everything that made us, us!... All that stuff’s gonna bite us in the back.”
Modulok simply listened, he was used to V’s rants and ravings, but all that... seemed different. Usually V made out everything to be a joke, never taking anything serious, he was a jokester. The nihilistic joker seemed to be subdued, some sort of seriousness, some existential dread on his face. Vultak was genuinely opening up to Mod, and he appreciated that. But it was a shame they had to get drunk first before having conversations like that.
Mod became gradually more worried as V continued with the dialogue, after he paused and just began to stare blankly at his glass again Modulok responded, “I appreciate you opening up, kind of, V, I just wish it didn’t take the influence of alcohol... [sigh] Look, V, I know tomorrow is never certain, and that we all carry the weight of scars on our brittle shoulders... but please believe me when I tell you, that everything will be okay, everything will get better. Don’t drown yourself in poison. The world’s not falling apart, and neither should you.” Mod placed a hand on his brother’s shoulder, trying to comfort his friend.
Vultak simply looked up at his brother, his face blank, he knew Mod meant well, but it didn’t help much to comfort him. And so V hopelessly replied, uttering almost a warning, “Just you wait doc, the sky’s gonna come crashing down on our heads.”
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