Birds of a Feather ~ 1
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Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw x F!Reader
WARNINGS: Enemies to Lovers, Angst, Cursing, Mentions of Alcohol
Summary: Four years after graduating, you’ve been called back to Top Gun on a classified matter, causing you to reunite with your close friend, Phoenix, an annoyance, Hangman, and the man who used to be your best friend before a single event caused your friendship to be cleaved in two... Rooster. Your reunion goes rockier than planned and you make a rash decision
A/N: Hello everyone! This is my go at a fic for Top Gun, and for Rooster as well - I tried my best with all the aviation terms, but if you notice something that I got wrong, please feel free to let me know! I’m always open for and encouraging friendly and constructive criticism. Also, I intend for this to be a multi-chapter fic, so be on the lookout for more chapters! I don’t know how many I plan on having, but I’m thinking at least four as of right now... it is subject to change, though, so I’ll keep those interested updated. Speaking of -- if you wish to be on a taglist in order to be reminded of updates, please let me know in the comments! Alright that’s all, I’m sorry this was so A/N long, please Enjoy!! :)
Word Count: 3.7K
You took measured steps as your feet hit the tarmac, taking everything in through the lens of your sunglasses. As it usually always is, it’s another sunny day in Miramar, California. You shake your head a bit and grin, shrugging your duffel bag further up on your shoulder and taking a deep breath. It had been quite a bit of time since you were last in Fightertown USA, almost four years. Your graduating class had all been but scattered to the winds of the world, stationed in six continents with limited ability to stay in touch. You understood that losing contact was a part of life and for the most part, you accepted it. You were able to send a few letters to one of your best friends, Phoenix, and even received a couple back. The only other person that you tried contacting wanted nothing to do with you. Rooster. Your best friend since the moment your eyes locked at that naval gala at the age of seven. The man who blamed you for ruining his life.
Your visit to your dorm room was quick – simply dropping the duffel bag onto the springy cot and getting a change of clothes. An old pair of high-waisted denim shorts, a cropped white tank, a worn unbuttoned long-sleeve shirt, and a pair of beat up sneakers was what you managed to dig out and throw on. After slipping your keys and wallet into your back pocket, you were out of the door and heading to the one place you knew by the back of your hand; The Hard Deck.
It was a miracle that, after all these years, the building looked exactly the same. The wooden slats experienced no weathering and, miraculously, the white window frames looked impossibly clean – like Penny scrubbed the whole building down from head to toe each morning, noon, and night. You kept your sunglasses on as you entered the building, immediately settling into the familiar rhythm of the establishment. Dotted all along the place were men and women in uniform, getting a drink, some food, or shooting pool. You found yourself in need of the first option. You managed to weave your way through the crowd of people to finally get to the bar, only to be interrupted.
“Hey little lady, how are you this evening?” You pressed your lips together and turned around, giving whoever just spoke a somewhat cynical smile. He was tall and blonde, but you knew that annoying face instantly.
“Hey there, Hangman.” You say in response, standing straight up. He was 6’0, but you were only about a couple inches shorter than him. “I was doing just fine.” You cock your head and fix him with a hard stare. He shakes his head a bit and chuckles.
“Oh, Swan Song, it is good to see you too.” He says, moseying back to the crowd gathered around the pool table. Your previously teasing expression drops as soon as he mentions your Call Sign.
“It’s just Swan.” You spit out, turning around quickly. To your luck, a familiar brunette was there smiling at you from behind the bar. “Penny,” You breathe out, a toothy grin spreading across your cheeks.
“Hey there hon,” she says, giving you a hug over the bar. “Long time.”
“Yeah,” you nod. “Can I get something?” Penny gives you a knowing smile and nods.
“You’re worried that he’s going to be here?” She asks, her hands moving to get you a glass and filling it up with who knows what.
“Of course he’s gonna be here,” you say quickly. “He’s too good to not be here.” Penny wordlessly passes you your drink and rubs your shoulder, giving you a ‘keep your head up’ glance before returning to her other patrons. You took a deep breath, a sip of whatever cocktail she had stirred up, and followed the path Hangman took to the group of pilots gathered there.
“Swan!” In front of the group is Phoenix, her expression one of elation and her arms outstretched.
“Phoenix!” You match her tone, giving her a big hug. “God, I haven’t heard from you in about 8 months! How’ve you been?” She smiles and shrugs.
“Eh, you know. Same as you, just in Europe.” You grin.
“Yo, Phoenix, you're gonna introduce us to your buddies or what?” A guy from behind Natasha says, his eyebrows raised.
“Well, if you don’t already know Swan over here, you better – she’s gonna give every one of us a run for our money – especially our instructor. And, fellas, this here’s Bagman.”
“Hangman,” the pilot in question corrects.
“Whatever. And behind him is Coyote.” Phoenix shoots back. The other two men give you both a nod.
“I’m Payback.” The taller man says, shaking your hand.
“Fanboy.” The other guy says. All five of you settle into easy conversation – well, the four of you, plus Hangman dropping comments whenever he deems it necessary. However, everything stopped when Jake halted his pool game and looked into the crowd of people.
“Bradshaw. As I live and breathe.” The second his last name is uttered, your entire body freezes. It’s like you’ve stopped breathing, and the only thing you can hear is your heart pounding in your ears.
“Hangman, you look… good.” His voice has such a polarizing effect over you, like jumping into the freezing ocean without dipping your toes in first.
“Oh, I am good.” Hangman says, spinning the cue stick a little. “I am very good.” By some grace of god, you were covered by the little crowd and managed to sneak away without Rooster catching a glance. Over your shoulder, you hear Phoenix introducing him to the rest of the guys. You stay towards the back of the bar, taking little sips of your drink as your gaze stays strictly on the man with the mustache. All you really wanted to do was run up and give him a bone crushing hug and catch up on everything that’s happened since your graduation. But, you knew he wouldn’t want that, so you stood to the side. That all came to an end, though, when the second you took your eyes off of the group, the jukebox was unplugged from the wall and the beginning notes of Great Balls of Fire were being played from the piano.
“C’mon,” a tug to your arm from Phoenix jarred you.
“Oh, I dunno…” you murmur, eyeing Natasha and then Rooster, sitting on the piano bench and fiddling around with the keys.
“Y/N, it’s been years. Can he really still be upset about what happened? I mean, it wasn’t even your fault.” You give Phoenix a sad smile.
“You know how he is.” You say plainly, keeping your feet planted. Phoenix sighs and shakes her head.
“Yeah, well, what he is… is stupid. Swan, please, for me?” You eye the crowd around the piano, and finally, relent. With a giddy smile, Natasha loops her arm through yours and pulls you towards everyone, the first lyrics of the song being sung.
“You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain! Too much love drives a man insane. You broke my will, but what a thrill, goodness gracious great balls of fire!” Rooster sang, a wide smile on his face. And, of course, the crowd joined in. “I laughed at love cause I thought it was funny, but you came along and you moved me, honey! I’ve changed my mind, this love is fine, goodness gracious great balls of fire!” Despite yourself and the situation, you found yourself singing along as well. It was crazy, how just this song brought you back to your first few days at Top Gun.
You were nervous to walk into the fated Hard Deck bar, feeling more like a turtle in its beige uniform shell than the confident pilot you were so used to being. You came from a family of pilots, your dad and your grandfather both possessing that need for speed. It was only natural that you would become one as well. Shoving your sunglasses onto your shirt you took a deep breath and crossed the threshold, bracing yourself for the crowd inside.
It was both exactly and nothing like you expected. Where there were dozens of naval officers, members, and officials all dotting around the bar, there were plenty of people dressed casually as well. The atmosphere was… kind of lovely. Like a little family that were all milling about, saying friendly hellos and clapping each other on the shoulder.
“You lost, little duck?” Someone murmured, their breath touching your ear. You jump back and spin around, revealing a tall blonde, the last name Seresin engraved on his name tag.
“Uh, no, I’m a pilot just like you.” You try to explain calmly, frowning.
“Oh, don’t tell me you’re part of the new Top Gun class.” He said, shaking his head and chuckling. Now, you’re pissed.
“Yeah, I am. What about it?” You bite back, folding your arms in front of you.
“Nothing, nothing,” Seresin says, waving his hand dismissively. “Just be prepared to not dally in my jet wash when I leave you in the dust, ‘kay?” With a smug smile, he reaches past you to grab the drink waiting for him.
“Ah, ah, ah!” An airy pitched voice says from behind you. You glance over your shoulder to find a woman with a smirk on her face. Wordlessly, she points at a sign hanging above the counter, two of the ‘No-no’ rules being never disrespect a lady or the navy. “Buddy, you just did both.” With a roll of his eyes, Seresin watched as the woman rang the bell, a sea of shouts and whoops circling the crowd. The tall man reluctantly forked over his credit card and made a point of walking away to the farthest corner.
“I like the rules,” you say, earning a laugh from the woman.
“Name’s Penny, hun. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around.” Penny extends a hand and you meet her’s, shaking it.
“I’m Y/N.” You introduce yourself. The woman raises an eyebrow.
“No Call Sign yet?” You shake your head, grinning.
“Not yet,” you affirm, “hopefully I don’t do anything stupid enough to earn an unfortunate one.” Penny nods her head and laughs.
“Best of luck to you… oh, L/N! I knew your dad when I was younger.” Clearly, she could see the confusion written across your face as she mentions your father. “Admiral’s daughter. I knew many pilots, including your father,” she says, and then moves to point near an old piano, “and his! Hey, Bradshaw!” You suck in a breath as you hear that last name, your gaze immediately finding the man’s at the piano. Just how you remember him, but older. Where his boyish features had melted away, new ones filled in. Your breathing stuttered as you took him in. You had always harbored a little crush on him when the two of you were younger, but now? He wasn’t just cute or kind of attractive – he was hot with a capital “h.”
“L/N? Y/N, is that you?” He says, surprise leaking through his words. You’re beaming now and wave goodbye to Penny before walking as fast as you could over to the man on the piano bench. He was standing now, making his way over to you.
“C’mon Bradshaw, of course it’s me! You thought I wouldn’t be here?” You say, chiding him with amusement in your voice.
“No, no it’s not… you just look different!” You tilt your head to the side slightly at his statement. “A good different, you look great. I mean, the last time I saw you, we were, what, sixteen?” You nod and smile.
“You look great too Bradley.” He gives you a big hug, his arms circling your shoulders and holding you close to him. You try to reciprocate as best as you can, but damn, it’s hard when you feel the tickle of his mustache on your cheek.
“Now I can’t have you calling me Bradley, or the rest of the class will never let me live it down.” He says, making you laugh.
“How about Rooster instead?” Gasping, you punch him in the shoulder lightly.
“You got your Call Sign! And what a great one too, damn.” You exclaim, your hands moving to rest on your hips.
“I’m sure you’ll get yours soon - kind of crazy that you don’t already have one.” Rooster remarks. You scoff slightly and roll your eyes.
“Gee, thanks, way to make me feel better.” Bradley spots your slightly sullen expression and wraps an arm around your waist.
“Come on, now. I’ve got something that’ll bring that smile back.” He walks you back over to the piano and sits you down next to him.
“Oh no,” you begin to say, but your last word is cut off by the first chords Bradley struck on the instrument.
“You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain! Too much love drives a man insane. You broke my will, but what a thrill, goodness gracious great balls of fire!” Your laughter rings out as Rooster nudges your shoulder.
“I laughed at love cause I thought it was funny, but you came along and you moved me, honey! I’ve changed my mind, this love is fine, goodness gracious great balls of fire!” You sang, Bradley letting you have the little solo.
“You kiss me baby! Oooh, that feels good baby.” Rooster begins.
“Hold me baby!” You follow. “I wanna love you like a lover should.”
“You’re so kind!”
“Ima tell the world that you’re mine, mine, mine, mine!” You chant together with him, leaning into his side as he plays the keys.
“I chew my nails and I twiddle my thumbs! I’m getting nervous but it sure is fun. Come on baby, you’re driving me crazy goodness gracious great balls of fire!” And as Bradley sang the last notes, you whooped and cheered, earning a kiss on the cheek from him – thank god it was too low lit in the bar to really tell how much your face heated up.
“Well howdy there Rooster, good to see you son.” An older man walked forward and shot Bradley a smile, one which he returned.
“Hello sir, glad you enjoyed the music.” The older man chuckled and then turned towards you.
“You’re L/N, right?” You nod your head and give him a grin.
“Yes sir, that’s me.” You affirm.
“I understand that you’re still in need of a Call Sign. Ain’t that right?” You sit up straighter in your seat and nod, catching the excited gleam from Bradley out of the corner of your eye. “Well it just so happens I’m in the naming committee.
“Might I suggest ‘Duckling’?” You hear Seresin’s voice from out of the crowd, effectively plummeting your mood.
“Might I suggest you keep your nose out of this, Seresin?” You shoot back. Oohs were heard around you, including the older man.
“Gonna have to shoot you down there Hangman,” the older man says, “this gal here’s got more grace here in her pinky finger than you have all over. I got it – Swan Song.” Your excitement peaks, but only before you remember what a swan song historically is.
“Um, sir, isn’t a swan song something that a swan sings before it… dies?” The older man nods his head.
“It can mean that – or it can mean someone leaving in style. Swan Song, you’re gonna be leaving us all in the dust – and in style, if what I heard about your flying is true.” With that, the older man turns away and Rooster immediately gloms onto your side, squeezing you into an excited hug.
“Birds of a feather, hey Swan Song?” He says into your ear, setting your nerves on fire.
“I chew my nails and I twiddle my thumbs! I’m getting nervous but it sure is fun. Come on baby, you’re driving me crazy goodness gracious great balls of fire!” Rooster plinks out the final chords and, from around the bar, hears his call sign being chanted. He stands up and does a little dance, making you bite your lip to keep from laughing. Once he’s done, though, he catches your eye… and everything stops. A hush falls upon the crowd as his once joyous, and cocky expression, fades into deep resentment. You clear your throat a bit.
“Hey, Rooster.” You manage, wearing a small smile.
“Swan Song.” He says back, plainly. You look at your shoes and then back to him.
“Um, it’s just Swan… now.” You say quietly, earning a shake of his head and the narrowing of his features.
“Nah, I think it’s Swan Song.” Rooster says. His voice is cold, holding such malice. It makes you rethink this entire evening. Should’ve just stayed in my dorm, you think. “Everyone here know why her Call Sign is Swan Song?” He shouts to the crowd of naval aviators.
“No, please–” you begin to say, shaking your head. But he cuts you off anyway.
“L/N’s Call Sign is Swan Song, cause she provides a pretty little distraction before she makes you end up ejecting and crashing your plane into the fucking ground.” He says. You feel yourself become smaller as you slowly back up into the sea of people, willing for them to just part ways to let you escape.
“Rooster,” Phoenix says, holding a chastising tone and urging him to stop, but he doesn’t.
“That’s exactly what happened to me when we were determining top spots.” He says, walking towards and then looking down at you. “Just had to make me abandon my jet, make me eject in order to save my own fucking life so you could get the top spot, huh?” He spits, the anger dripping from every word.
“No, Rooster, please – it was an accident, I swear.” You urge. He just shakes his head.
“So much for a wingman. Go to hell.” And with that, he shoves past you, his shoulder colliding with yours, as he makes his way to the bar. The silence settled yet again, but all eyes were on you. Assessing you, watching you – like your next move would end up with them somewhere in a ditch. With that, you took off. It didn’t matter if someone was in your way, you managed to squeeze past them and then out of the door.
“Swan, c’mon he’s just pissed – he’ll get over it!” You hear Phoenix shout from behind you. Her statements make you fume, causing you to spin around.
“No, he won’t!” You exclaim, your breathing heavy. You see your friend looking at you with an unsure expression. “He will never get over it because he blames me for what happened.”
“You and I both know it wasn’t your fault-”
“That doesn’t matter! I will always be the bad guy, the reason he didn’t get first pick. The reason he couldn’t get the Bradshaw name on that damn plaque. So, I’m done.” You let your hands fall to your sides before fishing out your motorcycle keys.
“You’re done, what do you mean you’re done? You’re not leaving are you?” Phoenix worries, striding faster so that she’s next to you as you’re buckling your helmet and situating yourself over the seat of your Kawasaki.
“I’m done with him. Of trying to make amends, I’m done. No holding back.” Phoenix huffs, clear disappointment written all over her face.
“Swan, don’t say that. I know he still cares for you, he’s just hurting.”
“Like you’ve said, it’s been years. And if he’s hurting, he could’ve just slapped a Bandaid on and called it a day, but here he is acting like a complete asshole.” You were glad that your motorcycle helmet covered your eyes with a dark lens, effectively covering your tear-ridden eyes. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” Understanding there was nothing more she could say, Phoenix stepped back as you revved up the engine. You gripped the handlebars and squeezed your eyes shut, willing the tears to stay back. Once you were sure none would fall, you stepped on the pedal and sped off, heading back to the dorms.
Bradley sighed, peeling himself away from the window the second Phoenix turned around and made eye contact. It was unfortunate that she spotted him, but inevitable. He knew that Phoenix had suspicions of his feelings for you and those theories were confirmed one drunken night four years ago when the two of them were subject to a whole class karaoke session. You had decided on It’s All Coming Back To Me Now by Celine Dion, belting your heart out as the rest of the class hooted and hollered praise. It was only when you had extended your hand to him while singing, “Baby, baby, baby when you touch me like this! And when you hold me like that!” did he feel his heart beat ten times faster than it ever had. There was a sparkle in your eye as you sang and all Rooster could do was watch you, and dammit, all he could do was fall in love with you.
But then what happened… happened. All signs pointed to you being the culprit and Bradley had nowhere to place blame except for you. Maybe if he had taken a second to breathe and sort out his feelings, he would’ve just vented to you instead of pushing you, both physically and figuratively, out of his life. Maybe the two of you would still be best friends, or maybe something more, but he couldn’t reverse time. You had done nothing to prove him wrong and that what you did didn’t cause his failure.
What you did caused his family name, the one he and his father held, a denial of entry onto that plaque – the one that should’ve held Nick “Goose” Bradshaw’s name and was then supposed to have held Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw. Instead, the name engraved was Y/N “Swan Song” L/N, and he was left with a broken and bitter heart. Now, all he could do was throw back another drink that he’d probably regret in the morning, pay his tab, and start up his powder blue Bronco, sending up high-tailing it back to the dorms, dreading his first day back at Top Gun.
Koi No Yokan || Darth Vader x GN! Reader (Chapter Three)
summary: you find yourself missing him.
word count: 4190
warnings: swearing, mentions of canon-typical violence, mentions of death, fluff, usage of pet names, palpatine being palpatine, mentions of war-zones and military, reader is referred to things such as "pretty" and "beautiful"
chapters tune // youtube version
a/n: its about time i put this out! I'm sorry for the long wait everyone I was really busy this last week! I'll try and update more frequently from now on i promise. taglist open! enjoy!
There was a plethora of things that Lord Vader never expected to have again. It was a long list that included things such as security, stability, and comfort. But, at the top of that list? A friend.
The sith had thought that he was just no longer one to have that sort of thing anymore. All the ones that he had in his previous life had either abandoned or betrayed him in some regard or another. He was now shut off from that sort of thing. He accepted long ago that he would never be one to trust again; let alone find someone that he was willing to give one last chance to.
You couldn't imagine his shock when he had found those things in his relationship with you.
To him, you quite easy to talk to. And over the last few weeks, he had been doing more and more of that very thing. He had even gone so far as to seek out your company himself. If he had a fleeting moment in between meetings, he would spend them with you. The dark lord would find you no matter where you were on the Empirical spacecraft without fail. He had noticed that the fact he could find you like that did creep you out a bit, but he found it hard to care all the much. You were smart. You'd be able to figure out how he did it in time, if you didn't know or assume already.
Much to his pleasant surprise, he had noticed that you had also begun to make an effort to find him as well. While he didn't know exactly how you knew where he would be, he didn't seem to mind that you did. The sith had to admit: after a long meeting of listening to the Moffs and officers bicker back and forth like school-children, it was refreshing to have you waiting outside for him. Sometimes you were talking to a trooper to pass the time, and others you were just idly waiting with a holopad or some sort of other device to distract yourself. But, without fail, as soon as he exited the room, you always greeted him with a smile. Along with this, you always asked him how the meeting went. He wasn't used to someone asking him such things, no going to use cordial measures for him.
He quite liked that.
The times he spent with you he was quick to consider his relaxation. He found that around you, he didn't have to be as menacing as the others expected him to be. Gradually, he was able to let his guard down around you. Not as much as one would deem a significant amount, but to him, it was everything. He couldn't even remember the last time he trusted someone enough to do that with. And to have that someone not totally blow it back in his face? To respect him like you did, and treat him with such kindness?
You were right in what you said that night he found you at his master's meditation quarters. He did care about you. You were his friend. And since you were his only friend, it also meant you were his best friend.
That just so happened to also be his fiancé.
And, deep down, he wouldn't ever admit it out loud, but he was quite warming up to that notion. In his mind, he could call you his fiancé without cringing anymore. He was now accepting that you would be a part of his life from now on.
And because you were you, he enjoyed that notion. He enjoyed your company, and didn't want to let you go so easily. And if a marriage was the way to do that?
So be it.
That afternoon was one of the ones that you had sought him out. Upon exiting the board room after what felt like hours of listening to the low, dull humdrum of the high-ranking officers, the meeting was finally adjourned. Before some idiot could walk up to him to occupy his attention, the sith quickly exited the room, the wind of his fast departure making his cape flutter behind him. Making a b-line for the doors, Vader had full intent to go and find you as soon as possible to talk to you again, giving him some reprieve from all the foolery he had to deal with. However, much to his pleasant surprise, he quickly learned that he did not need to go far to do so. As the doors to the room disappeared into the walls of the doorframe, Lord Vader was met with quite an amusing sight.
Right in front of the door, on the wall opposite to it, you were seated on the ground. Your legs were hugged close to your chest, and your back was against the cool, grey wall. You hadn't seemed to bring a holopad with you this time, since your attention was briefly taken away by your fingers, which were tracing the outlines in the stitching of the cloak that hung over your shoulders. Seemingly very occupied by your actions, you didn't even notice the sith until he took a step closer to you, his mask pointed down at your small frame with his hands on his belt. The dark lord watched your lips part as the realization of who was looking down at you passed through your mind, and watched further as you looked up at him. Of course, as you always did as your customary greeted, you flashed your warm, pretty smile up at him, your eyes soft and kind as usual.
Scanning over you a second further, Lord Vader realized that you had to have been there at least a decent while. The backside of your hair was slightly frayed; a sign that your head and been resting against the wall for some time. Along with this, your cloak had gone rather wrinkled, and he could even sense your discomfort that was the headache that was spreading across your scalp. Yet, despite all this, there you still were. Waiting, and waiting for him nonetheless.
Lord Vader was... delighted.
"How long have you been waiting here?" He asked you, his mask still pointed right down at your face. He knew it had to be a while, but he hoped that it wasn't that long of a while. The dark lord knew that you had to be bored without even a trooper or two nearby to talk to. Hell, even he'd be bored if he were in your shoes.
Vader watched as you shrugged, "Honestly? I lost track after about thirty minutes."
Thirty minutes? Of waiting for him? Lord Vader could feel how his back stiffened at your answer. He was flattered by your dedication to seeing him. Yet, he also felt bad that he had made you wait so long. Shit, if you knocked, he would've allowed you to sit in there with him.
But that probably would've just been even more boring.
"I apologize for making you go to such lengths." Vader said to you, noticing how your smile had widened with a shake of your head and a wave of your hand.
"Don't be sorry," you responded, "it's no big deal. It's not like I have anything else to do around here. And I wanted to see you, so..."
You didn't have to finish your sentiment for Lord Vader to understand what you meant. You were willing to go to such lengths for him. Because that was just who you were.
Vader very much liked that about you. Hell, Vader very much liked you. He wasn't ashamed to admit that now.
Taking another small step closer to your seated form, Lord Vader unfurled one of his hands off of his belt. Dipping down his large, strong shoulder down slightly, he opened up his leather-bound hand, pointing his palm up to the ceiling. He held it a few feet away from your face, offering for you to take it. After a brief glance between his hand and his mask, Lord Vader watched as your smile grew yet again, your full lips curving upwards along with it. Gently, you placed your hand into his, accepting his offer. Your hand was warm against his, soft even, just as it had been the last time he had felt it when you proposed your deal to him. Even he could tell just how well his and your hands melded together, fitting together like perfect pieces of the puzzle.
It made him like you even more.
After feeling your grip tighten around his fingers, Vader kept his strong, muscular arm firmly in place as he helped bring you to your feet. His sturdy grip aided you in keeping your balance; your legs partially asleep after having not been in use for so long. The action had brought you close to your fiancé, to the point where he could feel your body heat against his. When you were sure that you were standing and steady, you gently let go of his hand, flashing up another smile at him to say thank you. The dark lord allowed his gaze to linger on your face a moment longer than needed before he begun his stride; walking at a pace that he knew you were able to keep up with. He had no set destination of where he wished to go as he did so, but didn't mind in the slightest. He just wanted you to be near him while you and him talked. He didn't care where that would be, and he knew that you would share a similar sentiment.
"How did the meeting go?" You asked him, rolling your shoulders to get your blood circulating better again.
"It appears I will have to leave for a short while again." He said in response, seeing your exasperated gaze up at him from the corner of his lenses.
"What? Again?" You questioned, "Didn't you just come back from someplace?"
"I am a busy man, (Y/N). My master expects no less."
You let out a groan, "Yeah, I get it but... I don't know, you're just gone so much! And I miss you while you're gone. Please tell me at least Spade is staying behind to keep me company."
"I'm afraid he will be accompanying me, along with the rest of the legion."
"Great, now I'll really have no one to talk to."
Vader stole a glance down at the disappointed look on your face, a twinge of guilt raking over him. He didn't want to be gone so much, nor did he want to leave you here so bored. If it were up to him, he'd just spend every day either training or talking to you or both. He knew it must be terribly boring and lonely here for you. You had no other friends than himself and Spade, and he understood why you wouldn't want to talk to your family.
He knew that feeling. Of being so utterly and terribly alone.
Vader never wished the same for you. That's why it pained him to leave you so often, and take your only friend with him.
Vader returned his gaze to in front of him as he spoke again, "I promise you that I will return in due time, (Y/N). I shall not leave you for terribly long."
He could tell you still weren't satisfied with that answer. He could see it in his peripheral vision; in the look in your eyes. He could also sense your displeasure coming off of your person. The dark lord could also sense how the gears were turning in your head, rendering you silent for the time being. Vader took note of the way your eyes lit up when your thoughts were finished, of the faint hope in your voice as you spoke again to him.
"Hey, I have an idea." you said, making him steal another look down at you.
"And your idea is?" He said.
"Okay, so just listen for a second. So you're going out with your troops, right? Which are, like, the best of the best in the Empire, right? Which means, the surrounding area would be super secure under-lock-and-key for both you and them. So I was thinking, what if I came with yo-"
The dark lord stopped dead in his tracks and quickly looked down at you again, watching as your lips parted in confusion at his sudden change in demeanor.
He could tell that you were taken aback by his actions in the way you looked at him; your eyes full of both concern and worry.
"What?" You asked, "What do you mean no? Come on, Vader! It'll be totally safe for me to go, it's not like..."
The dark lord didn't even bother listening to you as you continued on giving him reason after reason on why it would be a good idea for you to accompany him. And honestly? He didn't want to. His mind was already set. Even without having previously conversed about this topic, he knew his stance. And looking at your face as you continued to done on about pretty much any and every reason as to why you should go, it was solidified. He knew it was rude to not listen to you, but his thoughts couldn't help but to stray away from that little corner of the Empirical craft with you. They drifted far, far off. To a vastly different time and place, long before he had even met you.
The sith thought of his former life. In his mind, he saw his mother. He could still picture her in the state that he found her. Broken. Beaten. Abused. And he had not been able to save her. He had been absent while she was tormented. And there was nothing he could do about it. He thought back even to her. She had died too, by his own hand nonetheless. He was a fool then. In the moment she needed him most, it was he that betrayed her. And just killed her like it was nothing. He had lost control of himself. His mother's death was out of his control as well. Those two souls, whom he once thought was held tight in his hands, slipped away from him. As much control he thought he had, he didn't when they needed him the most.
And the thought of you? You as well, slipping away from him like that? Him having full control of whether you lived or died, and then squandering that for the third time in a row?
He would not make that same mistake again. As long as you were his fiancé, his friend, he would refuse to let you go. He refused to let you get away from him so easily.
When Lord Vader finally escaped his thoughts, he realized you were still talking. He admired how determined you were to fulfil your desires of spending time with him, but he wouldn't allow it. Not like this.
Gently, the sith lord lifted up his huge, leather hands. He watched your face as your words slowly drew to a halt, forming into an expression of curiosity as you looked into the lenses of his mask. As if you were made of glass, the dark lord wrapped his large, mechanical fingers around the base of your triceps, getting your attention off of your babbling. He could see the way your cheeks lightly dusted with heat at his touch, your soft, gentle lips parted.
Maker above, you were pretty.
Very, very pretty. Beautiful, even.
He quite liked that about you too.
"(Y/N)," he rumbled to you, his head slightly tilted to the side as he spoke, "Your enthusiasm is most amusing, but I am afraid accompanying me would be far too dangerous. Neither myself nor my troops would be able to give you undivided attention. You could be injured, or... far worse."
His gaze dropped away from your face for a moment, his fingers tightening around his arms before he spoke again.
"And I will not allow that to happen."
The dark lord could feel the way his shoulders stiffen. He despised even thinking of the notion of you suffering the same fate as the others before you. That image of you in his head; cold, lifeless. He couldn't bear it. You were his only semblance of mundane life anymore. And if you were to leave him as well?
He didn't want to imagine just what he would become.
"Hey," he heard you call out softly to him, making his gaze pick back up and be placed once again on your face. You were smiling up at him again, full of warmth and care. Quietly, you slipped your hand over to one of his that were still placed on your arm. You took it off of your person and held it gently in your small palms, rubbing warm, soft circles into the back of his knuckles.
Lord Vader was... soothed. He felt calmed. He could feel it in how his shoulders began to relax again.
"I understand, alright?" You continued, "You're right, it is probably too dangerous for me to go. I just thought it might be a good idea to spend more time together, but I was wrong. I'll stay here and wait for you, okay? Just promise me you'll come back as soon as you can. It does get boring without you, yknow."
The sith could feel all of his worry and fears slip away at your words. You knew what he was thinking, didn't you? You saw past the mask he wore. You understood why he was so firm on having you stay here, even if you were gonna be abysmally bored. And you had respected that. You didn't push further, not one ounce. You saw through him, and respected his wishes. You were willing to sacrifice your cause in order to quell his fears.
Lord Vader felt something stir deep, deep inside him. Something he didn't even think existed anymore. It was something he didn't know he was even capable of feeling anymore.
You were a strange individual. You made him feel these... things he had no idea was even still inside him.
That was the part about you he liked the most.
Flipping over his hand inside of yours, the dark lord wrapped his hand around your fingers, giving your flesh a gentle squeeze.
Your fiancé left the day after. And, just as you expected, you were bored. Painfully bored.
With Vader and Commander Spade gone, you had no one to talk to. And because you didn't exactly have a job to do on this Super Star Destroyer (which you had learned was called the Executor), you had almost nothing to do. Taking walks could only take you so far, and your holopad could only entertain you for so long before it either bored you or gave you a headache or both. It wasn't like you could ask for something to do either; who in their right might would give nobility a task to do? No one. That's who.
For what felt like the millionth time that day, you were on a walk again. It was a little later in the afternoon, so there weren't as many troops as other times of the day. You appreciated not having as much hustle-and-bustle around you, but it did make you feel a bit lonely. Even if you knew the troops wouldn't be keen on talking to you. Just having the feeling of other people around you was comforting. And old relic from your time at home, you figured. You weren't used to being so alone all the time.
Whatever. You would get used to it eventually, you figured.
Heeding the advice your fiancé gave you the other day, you stayed away from the path that led you to the Emperor's meditation chamber. Instead, you found yourself walking around the long, winding corridors of the main access-channel of the Executor. You kept your head in place, but allowed your eyes to wander as you made your way around the dull, grey halls. When an officer or pack of troops would pass by you, you tired your best to give them a friendly smile or not as some sort of human interaction. Most ignored you, but there was the odd one that met your gaze, and an even odder one that would offer you a gesture in return.
After trying to do this for what felt like the umpteenth time, only yet again to be met with failure, you sighed. A small frown enveloped your features as well, your eyes shifting down to the floor.
You missed him. You missed Vader. You missed Spade too, but damn you missed Vader so much more. Over the last few days, you found yourself growing rather close to him. And you could tell he was warming up to you as well. He didn't take everything so seriously around you anymore. He was allowing himself to relax, and to be honest? You liked how he was when he was relaxed. Despite being who he was, you found him easy to talk to. He was strong, sturdy, level-headed and honest. Vader was seemingly a perfect compliment to our optimistic (yet realistic), outgoing nature.
And you missed that. You missed that balance. You missed talking to him, and giggling at the benign things he said. You missed getting to know him.
Closing your eyes briefly, you shook your head to yourself. You were thinking about him wayyy too much. Vader was your friend. Probably your best friend as of late; who just so happened to be your fiancé as well.
Why were you thinking about him so much anyway? And why did you wonder if he was thinking about you too?
Before you could round the corner to the hallway that would lead to the main bridge, you slowed your stride as you walked. You figured that you had gone far enough for the day, and it was time to head back to your quarters to wind down. Turning on your heel, you pivoted yourself to face the other way, creating a map of the ship in your mind so you could find your way back. Before you could take a few steps in the direction back to your room, you were stopped in your tracks, your eyes growing slightly wider as your lips gently parted. Behind you was two tall, regal looking troops, dressed head-to-toe in deep, rich red, the both of them carrying long, sharp spears in their arms. In front of them was a short, grizzly old man, smiling up at you with a hint of a sneer behind those black robes. His eyes were gleaming yellow up at you, the color of his irises sending a shudder down your spine and up your arms.
"Y-Your Excellency!" You exclaimed, suddenly finding yourself flustered in the surprise presence of him, "Please forgive me, I had no idea that-"
"Come now, your highness." He rasped out to you, waving a hand to dismiss your worries, "There's no need to apologize. Perhaps I should not have snuck up on you in such a way."
Although the old man had tried to calm your worries, you still felt that pounding in your chest. You felt uneased in the presence of the Emperor. Granted he was the Emperor, but you didn't like him. You didn't like the way he looked at you, or smiled at you even. In those gleaming yellow eyes, you could almost swear you saw something in them. Something that told you he knew something that you didn't. That notion was probably true to begin with, but it just felt... wrong.
You wondered why that could be.
Nervously, you tried to smooth out your cloak in attempt to busy your hands with something or another, "I-Is there something I can help you with, your excellency?"
"Oh, nothing of the troubling sort, young one." He wheezed to you, "Just give an old man some company, won't you? Come. Walk with me."
Slowly, the Emperor turned himself so that he was headed in the same direction you had attempted to go earlier. The guards that followed behind him stood still, allowing you to fall in next to the sith as you pleased. You eyed them all for a moment, peering at them through your lashes. Seeing no feasible way out of the situation, you took a step closer to the old man, allowing yourself to walk along next to him through the winding corridors. The Redrobes followed behind the pair of you in silence, the feeling of their presence heavy on your back. Thankfully, Palpatine was following the path you made in your head back to your quarters, saving you from having to worry about excusing yourself away from him to get back on track. Palpatine's person was cold next to you; you wondered if he had any body heat to him as he hobbled along with his long, spindly cane. You kept your thoughts and questions to yourself as you treaded next to him, finding that it would just cause more trouble if you hadn't.
"Tell me, your highness," the old man begun, making you steal a glance at him, "How do you seem to be getting along with Lord Vader?"
"Erm, well..." you responded, feeling your cheeks lightly heat up as you averted your gaze back to the floor in front of you, "I believe we're getting along well, your excellency. Talking to him has gotten much easier, and I do seem to miss him while he's away..."
The Emperor let out a low, raspy chuckle at your sentiments, making a chill creep across your skin. You hated his laugh. It was nasty.
"I figured you would say as such." Palpatine said, "My apprentice speaks highly of you, (Y/N). And seemingly to no end."
You felt your cheeks heat up further at the sith's statement, your shoulders stiffening as your eyes widened. You stole another glance at the old man, looking for any form of deception in his scarred, ugly face. He was either incredibly hard for you to read, or incredibly skilled at masking his true intentions, because you saw nothing of the sort. It only made your cheeks heat further.
"Really?" you asked, trying your best to hide the excitement and bashfulness in your voice, but to no avail. Your voice only made the sith next to you chuckle again, this time all the more raspy and dark than the last.
"Do not act so shocked, your highness." Palpatine said, "From all the time the two of you seem to be spending with one another, it was bound to occur eventually. If I'm not somehow mistaken."
"N-No, it's just... I was worried Lord Vader didn't feel the same way. It's hard for me to judge his intentions at times. He is... confusing, at times, your excellency."
Palpatine took a breif pause to collect his thoughts, "Trust me, I am well aware of that, your highness. Lord Vader has always been a troubled individual. He is often clouded by his own judgements and feelings. They all clash and conflict with one another. I doubt that he has ever been sure of anything. Just have patience with him, your highness. He seems to trust you a great deal, and he will recognize that himself in due time. Offer your support when correct to do so, but also know when to leave him be. He'll sort himself out eventually and return to you."
As intimidating and eerie as the Emperor was, you had to give him credit where it was due. He was good at getting you to talk. And he gave you some good insight and advice as well. You didn't even want to talk to him at first, yet there you were. Chatting away like the two of you had known each other for years. He was way too good at what he did. It made you feel odd. Why did he even care this much to begin with? Was he just curious? Bored?
You didn't know. And you quickly accepted that you would probably never know. At the very least, you got to learn more about him.
So why should you complain?
Lord Vader was having trouble keeping in focus. It was very, very difficult to keep his mind on the task at hand.
He was on that planet for a reason. To find any trace of the rebellion, and squander it immediately. That's what should have been on his mind. Nothing other than find, capture, and destroy. And it was frustrating that he couldn't keep his thoughts on those very subjects. No matter how hard he tried to direct himself back to the correct path, he would always lose his way. He would lose his thoughts back to you.
The dark lord hadn't even been away from you for 24 hours, and he already missed you. He missed talking to you, and having you near him. Here, he was surrounded by incompetence and lack-luster. While this was also true on the Executor, here there were no breaks from it all. When he found himself frustrated or annoyed, he couldn't just go and find you. He didn't have you nearby to offer him some reprieve from it all. It was silly. He shouldn't be so bitter about these facts, but he couldn't help it. He was. And he was going to allow himself to be as such. The sith had gotten a taste of what mundane life used to be like with you, and he was hooked. It was something he never thought he would be able to experience again. Not after all the mistakes he had made in the past.
So excuse him, if he's a little bitter that he doesn't get his fix.
Well, perhaps a little bit more than bitter. The troopers under his command made note of how much more on edge Lord Vader was. He was quicker to show his displeasure, and even quicker to let it be known. Hell hath no fury like a sith lord scorned, and the troopers knew this. They kept their head down that mission, did as they were told. Do your job, don't get in the way. That was the mantra they would follow on that assignment, hoping for their life not be cut short by the point of his saber.
But some troops weren't as lucky as the others.
"My Lord?" Vader heard a voice calling to him. He was able to recognize it almost immediately as Commander Spade's, but made no effort to turn to the man to acknowledge him as the troop stood in the doorway, blaster held firmly to his chest.
"What is it, Commander?" the dark lord asked in response, continuing to stare out of the window of the Empirical base to the horizon out yonder. His tone was sharp, short even, without him even trying to sound such a way.
"The search parties were just sent out." Spade explained, "I'll notify you when they return."
The dark lord said nothing in return. He continued to stare straight ahead without another word.
Spade was a good man. He had been under Lord Vader's command for some time now, and the dark lord was impressed by his abilities. So much so, that he trusted the young trooper to guard your life. And he had done so without a hitch. Hell, you seemed to like the trooper as well. You always requested that he stayed behind from assignments to keep you company where the sith would not. The commander had grown close to you, it seemed.
Lord Vader wondered how close.
"Commander Spade." The dark lord rumbled out as he turned now to the trooper, watching as he stood at attention whilst under the gaze of the sith, "What can you tell me of (Y/N)?"
A staring contest was held between the two men for a good, long while, the only sound emanating from the room the metronome that was Lord Vader's respirator, coupled with the dull hum of the air conditioning units. Eventually, the trooper was the one to break the tension in the air. Spade had relaxed his shoulders, tilting his helmet ever so slightly to the side before letting out a soft chuckle, muffled through the speaker in his helmet. Ordinarily, Lord Vader wouldn't tolerate such discrepancies. But, because the Commander held information he wished to know, and more importantly, because you had grown fond of him, Lord Vader let it slide.
"You miss (Y/N), don't you m'Lord?" Spade asked, placing his blaster into its holster as he crossed his arms across his armored chest.
Another pause from the sith, "...Yes. I do."
The trooper shook his armored head with a light shrug, "All I can say, m'Lord, is that you certainly got lucky with that one. It could've been much worse. (Y/N) asks about you a lot. To no end. So if you're keen on taking any advice from a guy like me, m'Lord? Cherish that. Because (Y/N) is really making an effort for you. And that's something you don't see much of anymore."
With that, the Commander uncrossed his arms and walked off, vanishing again into the Empirical base. Lord Vader stared ahead at the now empty doorway for a good, long while, not moving one single inch. Had it been true? What his commander had told him? How could it not be, Lord Vader figured. Spade was never one to lie to him. And Lord Vader had never seen Spade so... open. Perhaps that was his own special way of telling the dark lord what was what.
You had... asked about him. Out of the kindness of your own heart, out of the sheer dedication to honor the promise you made to the sith about making things work; you asked. You didn't have to be friendly with Spade. But you did. For Vader's sake. For the sake of your relationship to him, and to help you understand him. And, most importantly, for the sake of being the best possible version of yourself you could be to your fiancé.
Turning back to the windows that allowed him to see the view of the outside world, Lord Vader pictured your face. In his mind's eye, he saw your smile. He felt the weight on his hands of where yours had previously been.
Lord Vader missed you. He missed you so so much. He shouldn't feel so strongly in his longing for you, his friend, but he did. It was something that was puzzling to him. He hadn't felt this deep of a longing since...
You were strange to him. So, so very strange. You made him feel such things he hasn't felt in a long, long time.
And he quite liked that about you.
tags: @the-official-memester , @astra-1780 , @natsuki-iid , @instantnoooodles , @tuskens-mando , @guinea-pig16 , @weixuldo , @amidalis , @vanyali07 , @sourskywalker , @khapikat777 , @ruhro7 , @missmannequin , @yvette-ace , @burn-bunny , @darkcastle167
apologies to any blogs tumblr wont let me tag!
Sun Killer | S.Strange x Villian! Reader
Part 2: The Bittersweet Reunion
Summary: Stephen found you standing in your son’s room for the first time in 3 years. Many buried feelings revealed. A bittersweet reunion ensured, but things were way too good to be true for the Sorcerer Supreme himself.
Word Count: 5.5K (oops!! sorry)
Warnings: Canon divergent/Alternate reality. Angst then smut (very brief inappropriate used of magic 🥲). Manipulation. some violence and death (not descriptive). 18+ ONLY | MINORS DNI
A/N: It’s a lot to unpacked. Sorry. I hope you enjoyed it!! Reblog and comment are greatly appreciated. No beta, so I apologize in advance. Please follow @wint3r-library for new fic update.
*** Do not copy, repost, rewrite and translate any of my works anywhere else!
“How is she doing?” Stephen asked Wong as they watched over the courtyard. It had been months since America Chavez became the apprentice of mystic art.
“She’s great at hand-to-hand combat….she still struggling with the magic part though,” Wong added while he looked at Strange. He noticed the other man’s expression. He was more tense than usual.
It had been months since Wanda’s incident. While Wong had no idea the kind of things he faced while Stephen was with America across the multiverse, he noticed his friend grew more somber than before.
“Is it that dream again?” Wong finally asked as he gazed into the distance. In the corner of his eyes, he could see Stephen’s eyes fluttered as if he snapped out of his reverie.
“I kept seeing her with a baby in that God-awful world.” His voice was shaking and quiet as if he couldn’t shake the thought of it off.
The thought of you living in that broken world shook him to the core. He wondered if that you is the same as the you that he married…Your smile–the tenderness in your eyes, God he really missed it.
Stephen rubbed his temples. The throbbing headache was only getting harder.
“It has been three years, Stephen. Perhaps, it’s time to let her go.”
“I know she’s not dead of anything….I just wish she’d stop by and just talk about it instead of disappearing like that.” His hand shakily balled into a tight fist as he stood there, reminiscing about the past—the part where he was happy with you. It felt so long ago.
“What would you do if she decided to show up? What exactly will you tell her?”
His question stumped him. The truth was he doesn’t know it either. All this pent-up pain and hurt have been locked up for all these years was all he knew. What the hell was he going to say to her? Could he even say anything to her?
Stephen sighed. “I honestly don’t know.”
Wong didn’t miss his tone. He was so used to Stephen having the answers to everything that the idea of Strange not having any solution to his problem was kind of sad.
“Perhaps, it’s better off this way. You’ll get your answer when she decides it’s time to come back.”
Wong offered him a smile as he patted his shoulder. If it was under normal circumstances, Strange would have rolled his eyes at his friend. But at the moment, he appreciated Wong for his wise words.
“Would you have done it differently?” Wong asked Stephen.
He knew exactly what the other man was asking. “Someone has to make a difficult decision,” he exhaled sharply. “Even if I was able to save him…I don’t think he would ever be the same.”
Wong nodded knowingly. The boy was an exact copy of Strange: a clever boy with a sharp tongue. Despite his brightness and talent in magic, there was also darkness residing inside him as well—the same kind of darkness that resided inside you.
Wong didn’t want to think about you this way, after all, you were like a little sister to him.
Hiding by the foot of Mount Wundagore, trying to escape the little cult village of yours, he remembered the expression you bore that day. Your body was covered with runes, your face disheveled and you were so scared and so willing to end it then and there, begging frantically to not return to your village.
With the help of the Ancient One, she managed to conceal the markings, but still, she never disclosed what those runes meant exactly. Knowing it’s from a Chthon worshiping village though, he knew it wasn’t good, but the Ancient One had faith in you, and she entrusted you with Wong. He found out eventually though once the seal was broken.
Stephen’s head suddenly snapped up as he gazed around. A deep frown etched up his sharp features.
“Someone is in the New York sanctum…”
“Right now? Should we be worried?”
“Seems like whoever this is known about the little spell I use to guard it. Stay here,” he said firmly before he conjured up the portal that leads directly to the New York sanctum.
“If you hear nothing from me for more than two hours, take America with you and ask her to take you to Earth-838. Someone will be there to help you.”
Before Wong could ask any more questions, Stephen stepped inside the portal and quickly closed it behind.
His eyes searched for movement, ears for noises.
He cautiously floated up the staircase, trying his best to listen to any abnormality that he could. He was on edge the closer he could hear the faint sniffle coming from the room that used to be his son’s room. With careful steps, Strange slowly opened the door.
It felt like all the air he breathed was being sucked out of his lungs as he stood there looking at you for the first time in three years. Words failed him at the exact moment when his cerulean eyes met yours. His hands began to shake, and his lips trembled. His eyes were brimming to shed tears as he stared at you.
“Stephen…” you said first, wiping the tears with the back of your hand. It took him a couple of seconds to realize that his feet took a few steps forward.
A mixture of emotions came rushing to him. The hurt and the pain you left him that night hit him like a sledgehammer.
“What are you doing here?” His tone was harsh, but it was to simply conceal the pain he tried to hide from you. Somehow, the thought of being abrasive toward you would somehow make this less difficult.
Despite his tone, you could feel yourself trembling at his presence. You thought that you’d be strong enough to resist him, but the moment you see his face and hear his voice, all of your rationality melted into yearning.
Years of running away and depriving yourself of his touch did nothing but make your heart ache for him, and right now, being so close to him, you couldn’t help but want to fall into his arms and be loved by him once again.
“Stephen,” you said softly, voice cracked as another tear rolled down your cheeks. He was only a few feet from you, yet you couldn’t bring yourself to reach out to him. “It’s been a long time,” you said softly. “You look well.”
Stephen wasn’t amused though as he watched you carefully. When you finally had enough courage though, you reached out to him.
Stephen took a step back, and it felt like a knife drove into his chest.
“What are you doing here?” he asked you again. “Disappeared for three years, then decided to come back all of a sudden. What’s your plan, Y/N?”
You didn’t miss his icy cold tone at all.
“I-I have no plan,” you said softly, reaching to him again. This time he didn't move. Instead, he allowed you to touch him. The warmness of his skin felt familiar and warm. It took you everything to not let your body surrender to him. “I just miss you.”
“You can’t just disappear for three years and come back here like nothing happened, Y/N. It doesn't work that way.”
“I know, but…if you just let me,” you said softly, hand cupping his face, turning him to look at you.
“It’s so easy for you, isn’t it? To just come back like nothing ever happened.” Stephen waited for you to say something, but you couldn’t, so he continued.
“Do you know what the most painful thing I’ve ever felt?” His voice was shaking, almost close to cracking but he continued anyway. “It’s to feel like I’m hated by someone I truly love. I opened myself up to you, and I truly felt liberated–I felt like I didn't have to run away from this feeling anymore….but then,” he stopped and looked away. You could see a single drop of tear fluttered from his eyes.
Stephen took another deep breath, trying to calm his simmering anger down before he say something even more hurtful than what he truly wanted to say to you.
“But then you ran away from me the moment everything became too much. And Instead of facing it with me, you ran away.”
Stephen stopped as he inhaled deeply again. It took everything out of him to utter those words out loud. The resentment, the pain he felt the night you left came rushing back to him like an open wound. He wanted to openly weep in front of you, but it didn’t feel right.
“You told me you feel like I was smothering you, but in reality, I wanted you to comfort me as well…You weren’t the only person that was hurting that night…I was too. But,” he paused again before taking another deep breath, trying to keep his voice from cracking.
“But I have to pretend that I’m strong. Y’know, to truly love someone, you always have to put their feelings first before your own no matter what—Even if you’re hurting…”
His glacial eyes glanced up to meet yours, and the ice fortress that you’ve spent building around your heart, melted. A floodgate of emotions poured out of you as your tears fell on their own. All the hate in your heart melted into hurts once more as you watched him unravel his emotions before you.
“Stephen,” you sobbed. “I’m really sorry. I was hurt…and scared. We lost so much…I just couldn’t.”
You reached out to him. Your heart felt like it was about to burst the moment your finger grazed his tear-stained cheek. It was selfish to run away from him, but at the time, you really felt like he didn’t care. You’ve spent all these times loathing him, when he was still holding onto you, hoping that you’ll come back to him.
“He was my son too, you know. You’re not the only one that lost him that night.”
The admission shouldn’t surprise you, but it did. Somehow hearing him out loud cut deeper than any knife that ever touched your skin. All of your rationality went out of the window when his voice cracked. All you wanted to do was to soothe his hurt–whatever anguish you have caused him.
Stephen’s breath caught in his throat when he noticed that familiar look on your face–the one he noticed the day you saw Mordo let him into Kamar-Taj, the same look you gave him when he asked you to go on a little date with him, and the same look you gave him when Wong was walking you down the aisle during your wedding day. So full of compassion and sympathy. It would feel much easier if you looked at him with hatred and disgust because those were the ones he prepared himself for all these years. But this–this kind of look weakened him. It touched a part of him that he wanted to bury deep within him.
Whatever plan he had to push you away crumbled into nothingness as he leaned in to kiss you.
Your hand instinctively cupped his face. You could feel the way the muscles of his jaw worked as his tongue glided with yours. The familiar taste of his lips awakened the familiar ache that you haven’t known of for a long time. He was so warm and so comforting just like you remembered, yet there was an edge to him that set your nerve ablaze.
He felt more powerful, and commanding, yet tender and loving just like he was always with you.
Strange growled lowly in his chest when he felt that you were returning his kiss. The vibration sent chills down your spine as his arms wrapped around your waist and pulled you into him so suddenly. This new sense of possessiveness excites you as you kiss him harder and hungrier than before.
All he wanted was to feel your naked body against him. To have your fingers wrapped around him and stroking him–to have your legs wrapped around his waist as he lost himself deep inside you–to make you make up for all the lost time, and to fill this void in his heart.
Instead of giving in to his urge though, Stephen pulled away. You looked confused–hurt even for your husband to deny you this way.
Lifting his hand, you kissed his scarred hand. You could feel Stephen tremble at the tenderness you showed him. How was he supposed to be angry when all you did was show him, love?
“Don’t do this to me right now,” he said softly when you pulled him down. He could have easily pushed you away, but he didn’t, and that was the problem.
As much as he tried to, Stephen couldn’t deny you a single thing if you asked him. All of his heart and soul were at your mercy. He loved you so damn much. Even when he shouldn’t.
“I love you,” you said softly, your lips barely brushing against the corner of his lips. You could feel him inhale sharply at the way you uttered the words out loud. All of his resolves were weakened by a simple touch.
“I love you so much, Stephen,” you said softly as your hand grazed at this noticeable bulge. You tried to be as subtle as possible, but you didn’t miss his soft hiss that left his parted lips. “Will you ever forgive me?”
The question hit harder than a boulder. Could he ever forgive you? The logical answer was no, but he knew it wasn’t that simple.
“Forgiveness needs to be earned,” he said softly. His liquid sapphire eyes surveyed your reaction as if this was a test or something. “You can’t just walk in here and demand it.”
You searched his eyes for a long moment. “Do you want me to beg you then?” Your palm rested on his chest. You could feel the way his heart was hammering against his ribcage. “I know how much you enjoy me begging you.”
Stephen could see the simmering flames that were burning behind his eyes. Your words brought back many memories that made his cock twitch slightly at the image of you moaning and pleading beneath him.
“You feel it too, don’t you?” you asked as your hand trailed down to cup him. Stephen hissed sharply as he tried his hardest to not surrender himself to you. But damn it all. He really fucking missed you.
A low growl left his lips as Stephen pulled you roughly till your frame crashed against his chest. The sweetness that lingered on his breath spurred something inside you. His mouth covered yours not a moment too long, and he was devouring you like a beast in heat–so desperate and so needy, seeking anything he could find. The possessiveness of his kiss made your toe curl as his arms snaked around your waist demandingly.
Your body felt like it was set ablaze by his touch, from your head to your toes–every inch of your skin was buzzing with his presence. All of your buried feelings came rushing back like a tidal wave, drawing you with all of these emotions that you thought you had forgotten.
Tears slipped past your lids when his lips were on your neck. You could feel him breathing hard against your skin. You whispered his name breathlessly, while your hands were on his biceps, holding on to him with every ounce of what was left of your strength.
All of his restraints shattered.
Stephen walked you backward while gesturing to open the portal that led you to his bedroom. You landed on the soft mattress with a soft bounce before his body covered yours. His lips were on you once more.
With a wave of your hand, both of your clothes vanished. This only spurred Stephen more as his lips trailed down to your neck, kissing, and suckling greedily. His fingers reached down to your wetness, slowly rubbing and circling at your clit. He needed you, he wanted you. The closer he was to you, the stronger than undeniable magnetic pull grew stronger.
You gasped and moaned beneath him, legs widened, granting him access to your most intimate part. His breath trembled against your skin when he delved his fingers inside.
“I miss you,” he mumbled as he began to stroke you at a slow, desirous pace. A fire ignited from your core as you slowly rocked your hips to meet his slow thrust. His forehead pressed against yours.
Getting impatient, he entered you swiftly, earning a moan out of you He held you there, pinning you down against the mattress as he withdrew his hips all the way out till it was just the tip, before he plunged himself all the way in, relishing the way your heat consuming him, burning him with your desire.
Your fingers raked his muscular back, nails dug into his skin as he thrust into you with vigor. A sense of desperation and need practically seeped out of his skin every time he moaned out your name.
All the pain, the ache, and the yearning all balled up into this moment where both of you wanted nothing more than to be spent in each other’s arms. Torture by your own past and present.
You expected him to be harsh with you–perhaps a rougher fuck from him, but this–this was more like a need to breathe you, a need to hold you close till both of you reach your own release. This was more like he was making love to you.
And a part of you hated the idea because you didn’t expect him to hold you so tenderly and love when all you brought him was hurt.
Stephen cradled your body close to him, his heat melted into yours as he continued to thrust in and out of you. Your hand clutched his head as you felt your body begin to tingle, slowly unravel beneath him. Throwing your head back, your orgasm came like a lightning bolt, burning with white-hot pleasure.
He could feel you strained and spasms beneath him as he continued to chase his own until he joined you. Stephen quickly pulled himself out, panting. His lips parted, hands hastily pumped his shaft till the sticky white cum painted your body.
And then there was silence as the two of you lay there, staring up at the ceiling. You didn't know how long it was, but you could feel his hand covering yours. No words were exchanged. It simply felt like the old time when you and he were just dating.
You turned and looked at him for a moment before you reached out to stroke his face.
“I’m sorry, Stephen.” Your husband was clearly confused when he looked at you. No words came out of his mouth as the Warmth of your power slowly seeped into his body. Your eyes began to glow softly. His body relaxed as his eyelids felt heavier than usual. Every part of him felt lighter and lighter till he slowly drifted off.
Your eyes stopped glowing once Stephen was completely unconscious. Taking a deep breath, you pressed two fingers against his forehead, and with your growing power, you searched his memories. Your eyeballs rolled to the back of your skull till the white part of your eyes began to shine with light. Your veins protrude up the surface of your skin, glowing.
You gasped when you pulled your hand away. Your chest rose up and down as you tried to pull more air into your lungs. It took you a couple of minutes to regain your composure. “I’m sorry,” you said softly before placing another kiss on his lips. “You won’t forgive me this time, but you give me no choice.”
You slowly get up and with a wave of your hand, your clothes materialize before you. You gave Stephen one last glance. Regret filled your heart as this would be the last time he ever looked at you so tenderly and loved.
With the sling ring in hand, you gestured and opened the portal to the front of the gate of Kamar-Taj. Taking a deep breath, you slowly opened the door into the temple, leading you straight to the courtyard where Wong and a girl were standing, looking surprised and anxious.
“W-what Y/N, as in Y/N Strange? Stephen’s wife?” America looked at Wrong with worried eyes as if she could sense something was off. “I thought she died…”
“Not in this universe, kid.”
“This universe? What are you even saying?” you asked before you rushed in to give Wong a warm hug. You closed your eyes, relishing the way his warmness enveloped you. “I’ve missed you,” you said softly.
America looked at Wong worriedly as he patted his back. There was something about you that made her feel uneasy. “I miss you too…Does Stephen know that you are here?”
You pulled back and shook your head. “No.” A lie that you have to make. “I came here first…Just taking my chances, I supposed. Is he not available right now?”
“Ah, of course. The Sorcerer Supreme duty,” you offered him a dry smile before your gaze drifted to America. “Seems like we have a new recruit. What is your name?”
“America. America Chavez.”
“Beautiful name,” you said, offering her your hand to shake. America reluctantly shook it.
“You know, my son would have been close to your age by now if he’s still alive,” you said softly. Wong didn’t miss the sadness that linger in your eyes. “Just a couple of years younger, but I’m sure you and he would have been friends.”
“Y/N. Why don’t we talk somewhere more private?” Wong cut in to lift the mood up a bit.
“Of course,” as the three of you walk. You couldn’t help but ask her more questions. “So what brought you here?”
“Well, I sort of fell through this universe with my portal.”
“Portal? Portal of what exactly?”
You pretended to act surprised when you knew it already. After all, it was why you were here in the first place.
“Portal to the multiverse—It was by accident because I didn’t know how my power works, and I sort fell through here unknowingly. Stephen and Wong helped me escape from the Scarlet Witch though.”
“Must be so terrifying. I can’t even imagine.”
America nodded. “Yeah. Well, I couldn’t control my power before, but Stephen really helped me out a lot. I was funny because we sort of ran into another him in another universe, and boy was he more different than this one,” she chuckled softly.
“I see. Why is that?” You were careful with the question. You could sense Wong getting uneasy by your sudden interest in the multiverse.
“Well, he has both the Darkhold and the Book of Vishanti–Kinda really OP of him to do that. Our Stephen didn’t like that at all.”
You chuckled softly. “I can’t say I’m surprised. But…I always thought these two books were nothing but some old tales…” you glanced at Wong. “Was I taught a lie?” you asked.
Wong didn’t react though. “Some stuff isn’t meant for anyone other than the Sorcerer Supreme to know about. This is one of them.”
You nodded, looked down, and apologized to Wong. “Of course. How can I forget? To travel to a different universe though…what a great power to have.”
America looked at Wong nervously. Yup, this felt more and more like the Wanda thing, but her nerves felt worst–it told her to run from you.
“Careful Y/N. You are starting to sound like Wanda,” Wong said cautiously as America slowly took a few steps toward him.
“Step away from them, Y/N!” Came Stephen’s voice as he struggled to step through the portal, he was panting, hair disheveled, eyes full of anger.
Both Wong and America quickly retreated and ran toward him.
You exhaled. Hand rubbing at your temple as you stare at him. “You should have slept, darling. You get cranky when you don’t get enough sleep.” Your tone changed then. There was no need to hide anymore. It seemed like your little spell didn’t work as well as you had hoped for.
“What’s happening? Are you alright, Stephen?” Wong asked as he helped Stephen stand up.
“She tricked me. She was at the Sanctum earlier.”
Wong looked at you. “You lied now?”
“It’s for the better, Wong.” you corrected him.
“Cut this crap out, sweetie,” Stephen muttered. “Why are you really here?”
“I just need to know where the Darkhold is,” you explained as you shifted to your true form. Your Master of the Mystic Art robe changed to your black, leather armor. Stephen and Wong looked astonished at how both of your hands are now inky black. “I just need America to open up a portal and take me to the universe where I can obtain it. I won’t hurt her, I promise.”
“Promises, promises. Was this what you tell yourself too before you pry into my head?”
“Stephen, don’t make me hurt you. I just need her help. I don’t want any bloodshed here.”
“You’ve done more than just that, Y/N.”
You wince at his venomous tone. How you hate the way he was calling your name. “I am hurt, darling. Here I thought I was being reasonable…”
“If you travel across the multiverse, there are high chances that you might cause an incursion, Y/N. Do you know how dangerous it is?”
You looked at Wong. “You don’t get it, and I don’t expect you to. Just help me.”
“Why do you need it? Seems like you’ve already found one.” Stephen pointed out, gesturing at the way the book of the Damn had taken its toll on your physical body.
“I just want my baby back,” you said softly. “I know he wasn’t lost…he just needed me to find him.”
You could feel your husband’s gaze burning into you. “Don’t tell me you are planning to rip the fabric of reality just to get to him…he’s not where you think he is, Y/N.”
“Liar!” Your voice boomed loudly, making the growing below shake. Stephen and Wong looked worriedly at each other. Your voice no longer sounded like you. It sounded more like a chorus of voices—deep, guttural voices that seemed to emit from deep within.
“I saw it in your head, Stephen. I saw what happened. You did nothing to stop them from taking him.” Tears rolled down your cheeks at the blurred images of watch scenes from Stephen’s eyes—the way he just stood there as your son slipped into another dimension.
“He wasn’t our son anymore,” he said softly. “And you knew that, didn’t you?”
You shook your head, denying the thought. “He was still our baby—and you lied to me all these years,“ you sobbed.
“Stop denying the truth, Y/N. That day you decided to break the seal—Chthon had already marked him. The wheel was set in motion the moment that child started breathing…just stop whatever you are trying to do, already. It’s not too late. We can still save you.”
“What is he saying?” America asked Wong.
“There’s an old tale about an Elder God, whose affinity for dark magic was so strong that he degenerated into a demon. Long ago, a group of powerful magic users managed to defeat him and banished him–trapping him in between dimensions where he’s suspended and prevented from entering Earth. But of course, he managed to trick them. He separated part of his powers to create the Darkhold and carefully placed many copies across the different universes, in hope that his followers will resurrect him.”
“And the other part of his power ?” America asked, though deep in her mind she could already tell.
“The other part was placed into a vessel–a baby girl born the night of the blood moon. She must be sacrificed before she turns 16, or she will become too powerful to control. Just think about it, every 16 years, another girl is being killed off, while another baby is being ripped away from their mother…such a terrible tradition,” you said softly, tilting your head to the side.
“Do you know what happens when the vessel manages to live past 16? ” She asked America, looking at the girl straight into the eyes. She shook her head. You could see Stephen from the corner of your eye. He was aware of the answer. “She becomes the anchor–the key to his return. Quite poetic if you ask me, going from being an expandable vessel to the key to an Elder God’s salvation.”
“Stop this right now!” Stephen growled deeply.
You turned and looked at Stephen. “You have no right to demand that sort of thing from me, darling. You failed to protect him, so it’s up to me to bring him back.”
“By what? Summoning an Elder God and destroying the world? You know damn well that if you bring our son into this plane, he will not be our son anymore. He will be Chthon himself. Is that what you want?”
“It’s not like you haven’t made such a sacrifice before, my dear husband. You did give Thanos the time stone, which he used to wipe out half of the universe, so don’t lecture me about sacrifice.”
“Not if we can stop you!” Stephen and Wong conjured up a magical chain and had it wrapped around you. More of the sorcerer apprentices and masters alike poured out of the temples and began to reinforce the magic.
You gasped and strained as the chain tightened around your body.
“Fortify your mind and focus all of your power to aid the Sorcerer Supreme!” Wong yelled out. “Do not lose focus!”
You struggled against it as your body floated up. Purple flames ignited in your palms, your eyes glowed white before you focused all of the energy on yourself. Your body burst into flame, burning the magical chain that was holding you.
In a fit of rage, you threw a big purple fireball straight to the temple, burning it while people were rushing out of it. Some of the debris fell on them, while some burned in an instance when the flame touched them.
“I’m done asking,” you said, your voice no longer yours as you extended your tendril-like magic and wrapped it around both Wong and Stephen, choking them in the process.
“Hey, leave them alone!” America shouted. “If you want me to send you to where the Darkhold is, let them go!”
You stopped for a moment, looking at the girl below you, then at Stephen and Wong, who were struggling against your hold. Slowly, you descend till your feet touch the ground. America was startled by the tremor you caused.
America’s eyes glowed before she leaped and punched the air, opening up a star-shaped portal. Through it, you could see the sanctum in another universe. “There. Now, let them go,” she said firmly. Her teeth dug into her lower lips as she looked fiercely at you.
You unclenched your fist, releasing Wong and Stephen. Both men gasped and coughed for air as their bodies landed on the ground with a soft thud. You didn’t wait for any words as you slowly made your way into the portal, but before you knew it, you felt your body being thrown to one side while you heard America scream.
You didn’t have time to react as you were pushed through the portal, but not to the world she promised you.
It felt endless as you fell into different worlds. Your body felt like it was out of control before you landed and rolled onto a payment. You winced and gasped at the pain. Then your eyes flutter as you feel snow slowly fall on your face.
Cold seeped into your bones as you slowly got up. Rubbles and debris crunched beneath your feet as your eyes scanned the desolate wasteland. Anger bubbled up inside.
They have tricked you.
Pushing your way through this broken world, your feet took you to the one place you knew well, hoping there was something you could find to escape here. Then a voice made you freeze in your tracks.
A soft, familiar, feminine voice called out to you. You didn’t want to believe it, but when you turn, you see yourself holding a small bundle in your arms. It felt like looking at your own reflection, but at the same time, it wasn’t. She was real–more real than anything you’ve ever seen.
She took another step forward, and you heard soft babbling coming from the small bundle she was holding.
“How did you get here?”
A/N: Surprise?? LOL if you haven’t already, the next part will be an extension to Once Upon A Dream & Once Upon A(nother) Dream, my Sinister Strange fics. I managed to work out a timeline with as less plot hole as possible. OUAD happened before Spider Man: NWH, while this series is after MoM. Obviously, it’s at alternate timeline and reality. Our Stephen didn’t really get trap with Sinister Strange, which explains why he keeps seeing Y/N and that baby. Hope that clear up, if not, let me know. I can always expand on it.!
I'm so confused why there are so many artists who get mad for Dream stating his (already before then existing) boundary to not just reupload stuff. Like the first sentence in the artists' bio isn't "please don't repost my art anywhere"??
Like, shouldn't them of all people understand how it feels for others to just reupload their content??? A lot of artists I follow start crying the second they see their fanart in an edit but then they tell Dream that it's not okay for him to tell others to not upload his or George's or Sapnap's unedited content.
And here it even is: You are allowed to use their content as long as you edit them.
Also it's not a new rule. I'm pretty sure the first time the Dream Team stated that was in 2020 and since then it had been stated on numerous of streams, is in Dream's list of boundaries, in some bios of their Youtube videos and Sapnap had said once too, that people should just upload his VODs because he has his own channel for that and people should wait with edits until he edited it himself and uploaded the video on YouTube.
'But some people don't have access to TikTok' yeah that's bad but that's not Dream Teams fault. I'm sorry for those people, but I promise an edit of the tiktok will appear on YouTube within a few hours or days. Some people also don't have access to other stuff like art on certain pages or merch in certain countries. Doesn't mean those people will look on redbubble for fake ones. (RedBubble because there are a lot of people who use official designs from Dream Team merch, which is illegal but well, its redbubble)
Also it's their content. They can do with it whatever they freaking want, whether you like it or not. Even when they said to not even edit it or anything like that, then that's their right. Stop getting butthurt about this.
'He should have sent a dm to the update accounts' do you know how many updates account there are? Not only on Twitter but also other social media. Sending them all a message would take forever. Also there are sometimes normal fan pages who just post the full videos. Reacting to this was the fastest and easiest way for almost all people to see this. Setting a boundary shouldn't be in some private chats, they're supposed to be known so stating them openly is a necessity.
Not to forget the last time Dream tried to take care of something like that in a private chat it got leaked and Dream got even more hate for 'being sneaky' about it.
Again. I just don't understand how ARTISTS attack Dream Team for that. You of all people should understand when people don't want their stuff to he reuploaded. Especially because I have seen some big accounts getting pissed because of this.
[Link in the comments]
Real Enough to Get Me Through (14/16)
Summary: A month after Iroh passes, Zuko reaches his breaking point. As he navigates the path through grief he meets a kindred soul, and begins to heal in more ways than one.
[Image ID: A photo of a man labelled "Zuko" mowing a lawn. In the far distance, a tornado labelled "grief" is heading in his direction. /End ID].
[Rated M, 193k words so far]
★ READ CHAPTER 14 HERE ★
★ START FROM THE BEGINNING ★
Daniela: [drunkenly giving a speech at her and Carla’s own wedding] and I have to say, you know, getting married is the bravest, most wonderful thing you can do. Because everyday you come home and you’re just, like, “What? It’s you! I love you! You’re my sexy roommate. We love each other.”
Carla: [also drunk] Wooo! She’s talking about me!
You do you’re job and I’ll do mine, I’ve got to meet a six foot deep bottomline
Chapter 11: La Morte
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
An NCT mafia AU with OT23. Summary: Working for the mafia comes with many layers. There’s excitement, violence, loss, and betrayals. Yet there’s also friendship, family, loyalty, and code. The last thing it needs? Love and all the complexities it brings.
TW: violence, death, mentions of sex, drugs, and other illegal activities. If you’re uncomfortable with any of these, feel free to skip. Author’s note: This is purely a work of fiction. In no way am I supporting all the illegal activities and behaviors that might be mentioned in the story nor am I implying that any member of NCT acts whichever way I may write them here.
Chapter 9: In Memoriam
Jaehyun wasn't at all surprised when his phone lit up to show an unregistered number. The glow of the screen spilled some light into the pitch black of his room, causing bold shadows to play across his features as he continued to stare at the wall. He waited a few seconds before finally answering the call.
Her voice alone was enough to make his chest constrict. It was the same feeling he felt back when he was twelve, on that night he found himself caged like an animal, ready to be sold off to the black market. She slipped into the basement where he was being kept and held his hand for hours to keep him from losing it. She said he reminded her of her younger brother, and she didn't leave his side until daybreak.
It was the same emotion that he felt when she went back to get him a day before he was supposed to be shipped off to god knows where, putting her one chance to escape the brothel she was chained to. It was a success, though the tragedy of it was that they managed to leave one hell only to end up in another. She was picked up as the new mistress of Seoul's underground top dog by force, which left him no other choice but to follow by joining the family after.
That was how he found his home in 127.
That was also how Jung Yoonoh turned into Jung Jaehyun.
"Why did you call?"
She was silent for a bit. Jaehyun, of course, knows the exact reason why, but he is willing to do anything, even act stupid, just to buy one more minute with her.
"I know you know why. I heard about Wonho. Your group, I'm sure you will be taking care of him. Don't do anything rash—"
"You know my deal with the rat. Were you spying on me?"
Her voice died on the other end of the line. Jaehyun sat up on his bed and leaned against the wall, fingers carding through his hair.
"You were watching me. You've always watched me," he whispered through the line.
"I only do it because I know you're going to do something stupid."
"And if I do? What is it to you? I thought you didn't care about me?"
"I never said that."
In that slip of a moment, Jaehyun sensed her barriers breaking down for a second. For a heartbeat, he was once again the gentle girl who saved him back then. The woman he fell in love with and would burn the world for.
"I love you."
He said that so plainly, with no trace of hesitation or fear. He didn't even say it for the sake of getting an answer, he simply did it because it was his truth.
The silence that echoed back to him was resounding.
"If you love me… you wouldn't put yourself in danger."
Not once did she say that she loves him back, but she has also never said that she doesn't feel the same way. For him, that weighs a lot.
"If I don't do something, this will go on forever. You'll be stuck with that monster of a man for the rest of your life."
"And when did I ever tell you that I need—want to be saved? Did you ever ask me once that maybe I am okay with all—"
"I'm doing it for me," he said all of a sudden, his words pushing through gritted teeth. Jaehyun usually has this mask on when dealing with everyone, but she is the one exception. "If you want to continue acting like you are okay with this, fine. I'll say I'm doing it because I want you for myself. I will never understand how you can be okay with this, but I can't do the same, not when I have a chance."
He didn't wait for her to speak before ending the call. The tightness in his chest has intensified, this time mixed with another overwhelming emotion.
"The plan is simple. We track him down, trap him, then kill him. I already have people following him so locations have been shortlisted, we just need a date and time to make the final move," Jungwoo said plainly as he threw a few printed photos on the table. It showed shots of a man in different places, the pictures obviously taken in secret.
"Do we need a bait?" Taeyong asked from the head seat, his gaze briefly scanning the images in front of him. There were faint shadows under his eyes, a result of the stress and work he had to deal with the past few weeks. The same look was reflected on the faces of the rest of the 127 members occupying the room, Kun included.
"I got someone to act as a drug dealer from our Beijing network. He'll be getting in touch with Wonho within the week. Cocaine shipment," WayV's leader offered. Taeyong nodded and gave him an appreciative glance.
"Okay, how about assignments?" Doyoung asked from the end of the room where he was leaning next to the window. "Do we need all the members there?"
Jungwoo shook his head. As the group's strategist, he's the one who mostly takes care of the battle plans for ambushes like this. "Just a few. We'll have Kun's mole, maybe Johnny and Jaehyun as trackers, and then one sniper—so that'll be Yuta. Keep it clean and simple."
Yuta gave a nod before turning to Doyoung, "You'll have some of the moles in the force come to the scene after? Do I need to plant any evidence?"
"Yes. But nothing grand. Just drop our logo there somewhere on the body. It's dramatic, but we need to send the message that we are the ones who cleaned up the mess."
Everyone murmured their approval, obviously satisfied with the plan. It's been a long time since 127 has to take out someone by themselves, with the dirty jobs being mostly done by the lower-ranked soldiers of the family under their bidding. With Wonho being a special case, however, it makes sense for the group to roll up their sleeves themselves to make sure everything is really taken care of.
Taeyong gave a sigh and pushed back from the table. It was obvious that he was about to close the meeting, but another voice cut in to call for his attention.
"I'm sorry, I can't do the mission. I already have something to take care of and I need to finish it up."
Everyone turned to look at Jaehyun. Johnny and Taeyong exchanged glances briefly, obviously a little surprised. This is the first time he had to beg off from something.
"What is it? Is everything alright?"
Jaehyun silently thanked whatever god was out there for blessing him with an unreadable expression. It sure comes handy for situations like this.
"Yeah. It's one of the night clubs downtown. There was a rogue dealer that I've been trying to track and I'm probably going to pin him there this week. I think it's him who has been giving away the pill everyone is overdosing on. I can't risk it."
"Do you need help with it?" Taeil asked.
"No, I have it under control."
Taeyong slowly nodded. Despite working as a group, he doesn't really ask for the specifics when it comes to each member's operations. He trusts them enough to do that.
"Mark, can you fill in then?"
The boy in question looked up and shrugged.
At that, everyone slowly trickled out of the room one by one to take care of their own businesses again. Jaehyun did the same, but instead of mingling with others, went straight to his room to pull out something from a loose plank on the ceiling. He stood next to the window, his voice low as he dialed on his burner phone. The heavy feeling on his chest was still there, but at this point, he didn't care anymore.
He chose this route. He'll have to live with it.
His call was picked up after less than three rings. He didn't wait for Wonho to speak and chose to be succinct with his words.
"I'm sending the team's plan over. Find a place where you can exit that's not in the photos I will send you."
I looked at the mansion in front of me with foreboding. It's been years since I last stepped foot here but it seems like nothing has changed from its view on the outside. As if frozen in time, the four-story house loomed like a ghost over the expansive driveway, its sections spread out on its sides like the wings of a nightbird. It looked empty, but I knew there were guards watching every square meter of the area from their high security cameras.
I sighed and quickly glanced at my car mirror for the last time. I can't believe I am doing this after swearing off this place, but here I am, ready to face the devil himself.
I drove the short remaining distance to the high-fenced gate beyond me. When I finally reached it, I pulled my window down and gave a pointed look at the small camera nestled on top of it. It beeped red once, twice, before turning completely still. Not five seconds later, the gates were opening silently for me.
I left the car smack in the middle of the inner driveway, just in front of the main door. My legs felt like lead, but I pushed them to carry me into the entrance before I could even change my mind and turn back. The double doors opened as I climbed the stairs, just in time for me to step foot into an expansive hallway.
I turned to the left to see a uniformed man waiting by the side. He gave me a bow before he pushed a button on a console hidden by the wall.
"Sir, you have a visitor."
"I am not entertaining anyone today. Send them away," a voice spoke from a speaker on the wall.
"It's the young mistress, Sir."
There was silence before the static on the line finally cut off. The butler took that as a sign to turn on his heels to escort me but I promptly raised my hand to stop him.
"It's fine. I can find my way there."
He gave me a torn look before politely bowing again. He knew it though. I don't need anyone to guide me in the very house I grew up in.
I found the room I was looking for in no time. I took a few seconds to stare at the door before finally pushing it open. My eyes were met by the open window occupying almost half of the length of the wall, opening into an expansive stretch of land beyond. Standing beside it with his back on me was the man I came for.
He only slightly turned his head to regard me before returning his gaze at the scenery again. A strong sense of deja vu washed over me for a brief second. The last time I was here, he also had his back on me as I told him my decision to leave.
He never asked me to stay nor did he try to bring me back. But then again, if he did what he did to my mother, what is a daughter like me to him?
"I assume you are not here for a family reunion. You have five minutes to do what you have to do."
My jaw tightened at his words.
"Stop this. All of this."
That made him finally turn to look at me. It's been so long since I've seen him up close that I was almost thrown back by the lines on his face. Still, it was the same set of eyes that I remember—the one my mother used to say I also have.
"What makes you think you have the power to give that order?"
"I am your heir," I pushed, my hands balling into fists on my sides. "I can deci—"
"You stopped being my heir the moment you walked out of this home. Don't be foolish, girl. You are nothing but a normal, low-ranked soldier in this family now," he said in a tone that would have made anyone shake in their shoes. I could feel ice slowly crawl up my veins, burning and chilling anger in danger of overcoming me.
"This low-ranked soldier is here to tell you what damage you have been doing to this so-called family of yours. Everything is a mess. Everyone is trying to hurt each other. How is this called a brotherhood? Where is the code you've always boasted about?"
My father took a long look at me, gauging me silently. I didn't waver from his gaze, my jaw set.
"These are things you should have considered before stepping down from your responsibility. You know this is how the game goes."
That was the last thing I needed to hear to push me off the edge.
"This game of yours is exactly the reason why I left!" I said all of a sudden, my voice rising. I couldn't help it anymore. Everything I had held back for the past ten years is bubbling into the surface now like vomit. "You never treated anyone like a human being. Not even your own family. You only cared about power. If that’s what taking the position gets me, I don’t want it."
"Power is what makes you survive. Without it you are nothing."
I looked at him with disbelief.
"You killed your wife for it. My mother..."
For the first time since I came, I saw something briefly crack his facade. It was gone too fast, but I clearly caught it before his mask was back.
It was pain.
"I'm never going to be like you," I said in a whisper to keep my voice from cracking. "I wasn't able to protect my mom back then, but I'm not going to let you do anything again. Not with my family now."
I turned and headed back towards the door. I was halfway out of it when I heard him speak again.
"Foolish girl. You're exactly the one ruining it."
I was blindly making my way out of the house that I failed to notice what—or who—was waiting for me at the head of the stairs. When I felt someone grab me by the arm, my first instinct was to pull the small handgun tucked on the back of my pants and fire it at the stranger's head. I was a hair away from pulling the trigger when I saw who it was.
"Do you know where Jaehyun is?"
My expression morphed into that of confusion after the initial shock. It was my father's mistress.
"Where's Jaehyun?" She pressed, her hold on me tightening a bit. She moved closer to me and my eyes flicked towards the small black lens nestled just above her head in the high ceiling above. She knows it is there and was trying her best to hide the movement of her lips from the camera.
"No. Why?" I answered, still confused. I didn't do anything to push her away though, not with the amount of desperation in her eyes.
"Are you taking care of Wonho today?"
I frowned. "How did you—"
That was all it took for her to start dragging me down the stairs.
"Take me with you. Jaehyun is in danger."
"Wait—are you allowed to leave this place without—"
She didn't spare me a look as she pushed me out the door.
"Good thing you have a gun then."
Jungwoo looked up from the screen he is currently bent over, his expression quickly turning into that of perplexity when he saw me charging towards him with another woman in tow—not just any other woman, too, but the same one who is considered the right hand of the Don. I knew he wanted to ask questions, but I didn’t give him a chance as I took a seat on the same table, my eyes scanning the member’s cameras. Our visitor hovered over me, doing the same.
“Where’s Jaehyun’s camera?” she asked intensely. Jungwoo looked at her in confusion, then at me.
“Jaehyun? He’s not there.”
"Have you started? Where's Wonho?" I asked, fingers quickly flipping the screens to take a look at the buildings where we have installed other cameras. I landed on Yuta’s body cam and squinted at his view.
“Wonho is on his way. Our mole is waiting for him at the location. What is going on?” Jungwoo answered, ducking again on the table to take a look at the screens.
“Do you have someone tailing him?”
“Johnny and Mark are following his car. They’re five, three minutes away from the building,” he trailed off as he clicked away at the keyboard to show the camera on Johnny and Mark’s end.
“Ask them if they’re sure it’s him,” my father’s mistress told me tensely. I grabbed a headset on the side and connected to them.
“Johnny, it’s me.”
There was a slight crackling sound before the line clicked. He answered quickly.
“Hey, what’s up.”
“Are you sure it’s Wonho you are tailing?”
“Did you see his face when he got in the car? Are you sure it’s him?”
“Well, no. But we followed him from a diner and it was the same person, same clothes and car that drove off. Why are you asking?”
At that moment, the sedan the duo were tailing stopped in front of what looks like an abandoned building. Johnny and Mark parked a little ways from it, partly covered by low wall. I switched my call to connect to Yuta instead.
“Yuta. Target has reached the building by the front. Can you scope and check if it’s Wonho?”
“Huh? Sure.” I watched as his body cam changed view as he picked himself up from his initial position to go to the other side of the building. It took him a few seconds to catch the form that had just gotten out of the car, clad in a black hooded jacket. He sent the feedback of his scope back to us and Jungwoo, me, and our visitor leaned over it for a better look.
The man took a quick look at the building. His face was covered by the hoodie he was wearing but a gust of wind blew it over, revealing him momentarily.
Yuta jerked a bit at the reveal and we mirrored his reaction.
“That’s not him,” Jungwoo said.
“That’s not him,” I repeated.
We watched in shock as the stranger pulled a small black box from his car. I gasped when I realized what it was.
“Yuta! Shoot him!” I screamed at the line the same time that he gave another curse after seeing the same thing. I watched as his scope focused on the assassin, only to hear him give a shout before he could pull the trigger. His in-ear piece picked up the crack of a bullet.
“Fuck, someone’s shooting at me!” he yelled. We watched in horror as the view from his body cam turned into a blur. His voice died, his in-ear piece probably getting dropped at his scramble to find his own shooter.
Beside me, Jungwoo shouted at his own mic. It was too late for me to realize what was happening when my eyes snapped back into Johnny and Mark’s camera.
The other assassin was walking towards the car, his arm raised. He threw the black box towards it, the shell bursting into flames when it hit the windshield. Everything was bathed in red before the screen turned black.
A/N: Ugh, this took me so long to write. My head was aching so much because I can’t write action and suspense to save my life. Had to put this out even if I’m not 100 percent confident in it because I had to move the plot along though. I hope everyone is still following along. T.T
Tag-list: @hen-marks99, @negincho, @nctisthecity, @melodikathings, @springdaybreaks
We finally got to see Cherry attack with “Flower Blizzard” in this week’s Wedding Apple chapter and, as with previous arcs, I quite liked the targeted couple (they’re all waaaaaaaaaaay more interesting and likeable than any from the Wedding Peach anime imho). The hankie!! ;o;
The devil stuff continues to intrigue me more than the angelic stuff. We “get” what the angels are doing, but we know a lot less about the devils (aside from their usual targeting crap). I’m really interested to see what they do with Babirin though and how close they keep that plot to Jama-Pii’s redemption in Wedding Peach (though that relates more to last week’s chapter than this week’s).
ya bitch finally got prescribed sleep medication everybody clap but also send me "hope it works!" vibes/energy
Madelaine and Vanessa behind the scenes of the 100th episode of Riverdale via Madelaine’s Instagram stories (Oct 19th)
I cannot remember if I told you how obsessed i am with your Floofy Hair Túrin but just in case I didn't, I love him so much <3
I think you did, but I’m delighted to hear it again. Here’s the fluffiest-haired Túrin I have ever drawn because bedhead with curly hair is no joke.
the way i’ve been literally one gif from finishing a set for like two weeks .... 😬
Life Update （╹◡╹）♡
tw: s*lf-h*rm / psych facility / st*tches
[started by Essence and finished/edited by me, Dillion. I wasn’t sure when she would be back to post. Hope your day is going well]
So, this past month or so has been one of the most challenging for me. A situation with my dad had a ripple effect that ended up with [redacted alter, I’ll call them Z for privacy] trying to k*ll us. This was the scariest thing I’ve had to experience as a person with DID. Just knowing that one minute I can be at work (i work from home) and the next minute I’m standing over myself with blood running down my arm. To know that someone I trusted and was working together to be a better person with can turn around and fully intend on ending our life… it’s terrifying.
I had to go to the ER and was completely shaken up about it. This was the first time I went to seek help, and it was terrifying having to tell someone that I don’t remember picking up the knife, I couldn’t describe what it looked like, and that I don’t actually want to die. It was hard. And Z knew there was a slim to no chance I would ever get professionals involved out of fear of what they might do to me as punishment. But to be met with nurses and staff who were so supportive after hearing what happened, calling me brave and saying I did the right thing by coming—i really feel like i could get through it.
After they gave me st*tches they sent me to a psych facility for a couple days. I feel like this alone really saved my life. Being isolated and surrounded by people who care to help me, going to sessions where we talk about what we’re going through, talking with other patients, and bonding with my roommate. Everything about it was surreal and I feel so grateful I found the strength to seek help. I’m finally on medication for depression and anxiety, and i have therapy appointments coming up. Just looking back at how far i’ve come—living life unknowingly as a system my whole life, the fear of finally finding out, and figuring out how to cope with it.
I’m so happy we switched when we did because even as Z is being repressed, we can just see them st*bbing themselves over and over. Hearing their screams and cries every once in a while.. They’ve always struggled with manic episodes but it’s so hard seeing them like that in the inner world.
This healing journey is a shakey one, but I’m so hopeful on how everything will turn out.
Me: haha it is so silly that Castys will kill himself if he stubs his toe so he doesn’t have to feel the pain he’s so dramatic
Also me: *stubs toe* oH GOD OH FUCK IT HURTS I WANT TO DIE AAAAAAAAA-
Carrie and Nalani planned a date for the time while Cooper is at school.
Me: I don't share my WIPs. I want everything to be a surprise
Also me: *throws this and runs*
Hi! So I have a question. How did you start writing?
oh, nonnie 🥲 you’re making so nostalgic.. i actually used to be really terrible in my writing and English classes. like so bad that i was getting C’s, D’s, and F’s and my 6th grade teacher had to call my parents about how bad it was.
like i genuinely couldn’t write and stuff like past-tenses and clauses and all that other grammar shit got me so frustrated and confused. THEN i started watching Naruto and i thought sasuke was cute so i started reading a bunch of fanfiction. lots of browsing through fanfic.net, quizilla (my favorite. like i needed to know if my personality would match my man sasuke or itachi or else i’d die) and a lot of sasunaru tentacle and pregnancy smut i should NOT have had access to LMAO. i genuinely didn’t like oc fics so that’s when i got into x reader. it was really hard to find good reader fics on quizilla that weren’t all describing the reader as white, but y’all i found the goldmine when i found Lunaescence. niggas were writing novels, multi-chapter, immersive fics, just BOOTIFUL 🥲🤌🏽✨
i kept reading so much until i decided i wanted to be apart of it too. i wanted to send it on there so i wrote my first one-shot and lmaoo i thought i did so well. it was just one big ass brick of text, run ons, terrible spelling, dialogue not separated at ALL, a NIGHTMARE and one big ass mess all in one. and it’s a moderated site so they sent that shit back so quickly and rejected it. i was so embarrassed lmaoo. idk if they still do this, but for every mistake i made they put an example of why it was wrong and would give examples about grammar using your own text. i didn’t know wtf a comma splice or dialogue tag was, but i learned. sent that shit like 3 times before they accepted it and wrote better stories cause of it. i truly am grateful for them! after that, i did such a 360 in all my classes and did my written assignments so well that i’ll never forget when my teacher literally pulled me out of class to scarily interrogate and ask me if i was cheating bc my writing was so different and the paper i handed in was so good. i was so shy back then lmao i thought i was gonna shit my pants. after that, i was finally able to coherently write out the ideas i had and it felt really good to get reviews and encouragement which helped me get better. next thing u know, a bitch was popping out stories left and right, lol. i ended up getting the class reward for most improved at the end of the year 🥲 i also ended up meeting my first “fan” turned into internet bestie, but we eventually met down the line. i was too nervous to write lemons at the time so i didn’t until maybe 3 or 4 years down the line.
but i think that just goes to show that when you’re genuinely interested in something, you can really, really excel at it! i just wish the same thing happened to me in math lmao