#that's it that the summary of the book
me and my other friend got my other irl friend into the dream smp and i sent her a bunch of links to catch up on lore.....and....how am i gonna explain what just happened to her. like she just finished watching wilbur die how am i how am i gonna just tell her that he’s back now
What are you writing?
It’s an OPH AU that stems from that single conversation Ethan and MC had in book 2 chapter 14 (??) where they talk about having different professions and how they would somehow still meet in that alternate universe.
Basically, my MC (Sloane) is a CNN correspondent / journalist and Ethan is an FBI agent and they meet when a high-profile person is killed at the Edenbrook, a fancy-schmancy hotel in Boston, and it uncovers a string of murders and scandals.
Insert Law and Order SVU chime here.
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okay I’ve started a very disorganized read-through of the Star Wars novels, including the old Legends content, so y’all should start preparing yourself for some 10-20 year old #hot takes, because I am nothing if not extremely relevant in this fandom ( /s ) but anyway
I’m a little ways into Shatterpoint and literally all I can think is
you’re in a cult call your dad
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any chance you can describe the scene in bridgerton that has sparked all the debate? i see people argue about it but i just need like.. the most basic description to decide if i can/will watch it and you seem to know bridgerton things
OK. Deep breath. Because you asked, I will try?
Without wading into debate... with some spoilers... and with the caveat that I’m always Team Extremely Enthusiastic Consent; this is one series I (clearly) both read & watched so the answer to can/will was yes for me but mileage will vary:
The two main characters have a very traditional romance-novel dynamic in one respect: the plenty-of-sexual-experience hero, and the so-innocent-she-doesn’t-even-know-how-sex-works virgin heroine.
However consciously the book was playing off that trope, which is in so many romance novels, I’ve always read it as ‘when your entire sexual education relies on 1 guy & only what he shows you’... that can go wrong. And it goes wrong.
You may have seen some of the series’ sexcapades going by on Tumblr in gif form by now... That Scene is episode 6, of 8.
Short version of the major driving plotline at this point: Daphne thinks her husband can’t have children when actually it’s a matter of won’t. Episode 6 is mostly filled with giddy honeymooning sexcapades... but with Simon using the pullout method, which goes right over Daphne’s head. And then she catches on.
Basic show-version scene breakdown, from there: Daphne leads Simon into their bedroom, with things proceeding as laughing-honeymoon-ly as usual... until the point where he’d usually pull out, when he says “wait”, meaning to do so. And realizes, when she physically hangs on (on top), instead, something’s different this time. It’s intentionally filmed as a power shift. Immediate aftermath, Daphne gets up to leave, starting to head to her own bedroom for the first time in their marriage. The duke, still in bed, realizes what just happened.
From his reaction, her suspicions re: his lie of omission are confirmed. From her reaction, he knows she did this intentionally. His dawning hurt is the hardest part of the scene to watch, for me.
It plays out as a ‘how could you’/’how could you’ situation, with fallout & reconciliation over the following two episodes ~
~and whether the narrative sides too much with Daphne, whether there’s the right kind of fallout and reconciliation, whether this scene was integral to the plot or should have been changed more, how much casting changes how the scene feels... that’s then part of the debate.
Which... oh no am I wading into debate? I do not have the energy to pull wellies on right now and that river runs deep... I do think the writers still could have done better especially in subsequent episodes, but sometimes characters’ actions are meant to be morally questionable and raise debate and sometimes it’s just a writing whoops (looking at Wonder Woman 1984, which I also watched on Christmas Day & which also managed to spark a consent debate, omg why, writers, when Steve could have just appeared). Bridgerton’s was an intentional writing choice - ‘murkiness’ is I think an apt word here - & I think the last paragraph of this article, and the articles it links to, speak well to overall context:
“as the number of romance novel adaptations continues to rise in upcoming years, there will be ongoing debates about how many of these now-dated books — in which nonconsensual sex, sexual assault, and rape are not infrequent — will be best adapted for the screen. The good news is that the genre has largely moved away from depicting these types of sex scenes as romantic. The bad news, however, is that it's a lot harder to erase them from the industry's messy past.”
I’m glad romance novels are being adapted; I’m glad I discovered how smart & fun many of them are (it took me too long!). Many romance novels are also Not for Me, for the above-stated reasons. Bridgerton, books & show, I do enjoy... but there’s many things I don’t enjoy that other people do because something in it’s problematic in a way that gets to me, so completely get it if it’s Not For You.
Whether you see the show as a success or failure on that front, I do think it’s trying to tell a story that reflects that sex is messy & complicated & has a learning curve & can be full of laughter & can make you feel deceived & helpless even when it is consensual especially when no one’s communicating clearly. Whether That Scene is/isn’t is the whole debate, but in writing I do think intent matters -especially as perception varies - and I do find it interesting the showrunner’s stated intent was to still evoke deception & helplessness without crossing the consent threshold. It becomes a a debate as part of the audience does see it that way! It’s also... fiction, as opposed to a how-to manual on consent. Since Bridgerton’s the first adaptation of its specific kind, there’s also a lot of extra attention/pressure on it. Can stories, romances especially, model consent? Yes; some do it brilliantly, and happily, more & more of them do! Do they have to...? Well... no. And when we start policing fiction we get a little Victorian & that’s not a good thing! That’s part of why AO3 exists, after all.
My personal take is, if Bridgerton was a fic on AO3, the writer would tag it as ‘dubcon’ not ‘noncon’. Some reviewers might disagree, but writers tag based on intent and to warn, I think that’s the warning they’d give.
...And also, my take is that Netflix would be better with AO3-style tags. & so would romance novels. AO3-style tags on everything please, the better to choose wisely!
I hope this helps you decide whether you can/will watch!
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Recently I received a very nice bonus at work, and as a result I treated myself to a couple things. One of the things I treated myself to was the book Creating a Champion (known as The Master Works in Japan), which is essentially a concept bible for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It has all of the illustrations, all of the concept art, an entire history section which has finally made it clear to me exactly where on the timeline Breath of the Wild takes place, and so on. This book has been out for a couple years now, so I’m sure nothing I could share would be of news to anyone, since the book has undoubtedly had its contents uploaded on the internet for some time. But pretty much all of it was news to me, because I didn’t want to spoil myself before I was finally able to get my hands on the book. (Side note, this book is over 400 pages, and it is heavy. Like, this is university textbook heavy. I could bludgeon someone with this thing. It’s so good.)
With that said, I think the biggest shock for me so far is how sympathetic this book makes the Yiga Clan.
For those who might not remember, the Yiga Clan are a faction of Sheikah within Breath of the Wild who have turned against the royal family and have decided to align themselves with Calamity Ganon. They seek to kill Calamity Ganon’s enemies (namely Princess Zelda and the Hero) in order to assist in its revival. This has never made sense to me, because if Calamity Ganon is revived, it’s going to kill the Yiga as well. The entire reason why the pronoun “it” is used to refer to Calamity Ganon is because Ganon is no longer a person; there is no sapience there, no soul, no personality. At this point, Ganon has been sealed and revived so many times that any semblance of personhood has been stripped away, and all that’s left is the hatred that Demise cursed to live on forever as a result. So if Calamity Ganon comes back, it’s not going to be like, “Hey, thanks for helping me out, you guys can stick around.” It’s going to kill them, too. All they’re really doing is sealing their own fate. Additionally, we’re never given any information in-game for why the Yiga turned against the royal family to begin with (or at least I didn’t manage to uncover it if it was there), so that was another huge gap that made the entire situation confusing to me.
But Creating a Champion solved that mystery.
So, quick rundown: the Sheikah are a race of basically ninja who have devoted themselves to serving the royal family since the very beginning of this whole mess (otherwise known as Skyward Sword) because the royal family is descended from the demi-goddess Hylia. (I refer to her as a demi-goddess because she is clearly not, in my opinion, on the same level as Din, Nayru, and Farore. She’s still divine and immensely powerful, but not that powerful. Though that said, Hyrule seems to be monotheistic in the time of Breath of the Wild and barely seems to remember the Golden Goddesses names, but that’s off topic.) They consider it their sacred duty to protect those who have the blood of the goddess and do all they can to assist the inheritor of that divine power in protecting the realm. This has been the case since what people in Breath of the Wild’s present day refer to as the “Age of Myth.”
10,000 years before Breath of the Wild, the Sheikah were, of course, still serving the royal family of Hyrule. They were also developing incredibly advanced technology. The Hylians were not on the same level, technology-wise, because of various setbacks they experienced with Calamity Ganon returns and monster attacks and whatnot. But the Sheikah had scientists and researchers and as such were really advancing society, at least on their end. Around this time they were made aware that Calamity Ganon was going to revive again (this was the original purpose of the Sheikah Towers—they were meant to watch for signs of Calamity Ganon’s revival), so they created the Divine Beasts and the Guardians in order to help the princess and Hero of that time drive Calamity Ganon back. This plan succeeded; Calamity Ganon was sealed away and Hyrule Castle was saved once again.
So you would think that the king of the time would be grateful to the Sheikah for creating these machines that helped save everyone’s lives. You would think that he would be especially grateful since they were sworn in service to his family and thus did this on his behalf, at least partially.
You would think that, but you would be wrong.
Instead, the King of Hyrule at the time grew insecure and paranoid about the Sheikah. He recognized that their technology far outstretched what the Hylians had and decided that the threat of betrayal loomed on the horizon (despite there being zero signs of this) and that he had to do something about it. So he:
Banned all technology; technology that was already created (such as the Divine Beasts and the Guardians) was buried, and further technological advancements were banned
Destroyed all of the research facilities and research data the Sheikah possessed
Made it illegal to do science or research of any kind, which was punishable by imprisonment
Banished the Sheikah from Castle Town and Central Hyrule altogether, using the guards and military to drive them out of their homes and away from the Hylian people
Essentially, the King at the time decided to explicitly and openly oppress the Sheikah, pretty much out of the blue. Everything they had was destroyed, they were banished from Hyrule, they were imprisoned if they were suspected of trying to recoup what they lost, et cetera. They were also, it should note, stripped of what they considered their divine duty, but this incident caused that part to get a little sticky.
You see, some Sheikah accepted this as their fate. They didn’t like it, but they were still loyal to what they felt was their goddess-given sacred duty and accepted what the King decreed without argument. These Sheikah formed Kakariko Village (the book says in secret, suggesting they weren’t supposed to live even that “close” to Castle Town), and have remained loyal ever since. These are the ones who King Rhoam approached 100 years prior to the start of Breath of the Wild to assist in excavations of the technology that the king from 10,000 years ago had buried.
But other Sheikah were not so forgiving. They had everything that belonged to them destroyed, were driven from their ancestral homes, were imprisoned (and potentially worse) for trying to recoup what was taken from them, and were basically declared enemies of the state for no reason, immediately following how they helped save literally everyone with the very technology that was now deemed illegal. These Sheikah knew that they were supposed to follow their goddess-given duty, but upon being persecuted and openly oppressed (and upon the king being supported by the Hylian people during this, rather than anyone arguing against him), they decided, “FUCK this guy, AND his entire family.”
And honestly? I can’t blame them.
Don’t get me wrong, what the Yiga do in the present day is definite bastardry. When one of their members decides to leave peacefully to start a family in Kakariko, they murder his wife and threaten to murder his small children if he doesn’t comply with their orders. (This is in the game, but I don’t remember the names of the characters involved.) They stole a sacred Gerudo artifact, the Thunder Helm, for seemingly no reason other than it was a treasure and they wanted it. They also want to revive Calamity Ganon, which would end the entire world and also their lives, though they don’t seem to care about that. The book makes it clear that the Yiga devoted themselves to becoming militant assassins, and that they are ruthless and do not care who they have to cut down at this point.
But with that said, I completely understand now why the Yiga exist, and I can’t really blame them, and I even kind of understand why they’d choose to side with Ganon even though it means their own demise.
10,000 years ago, they were openly betrayed by the King of Hyrule in the worst way possible. Again, everything they had was destroyed. They were banished from their homes. They were imprisoned and possibly worse. The people of Hyrule supported the king in his bigotry, and through it all, no goddesses intervened to help the Sheikah. What happened to them was allowed to happen despite them faithfully following their sacred duty for millennia, and so if you think about it, the Sheikah who defected to form the Yiga probably felt betrayed by the goddesses, too. The goddesses didn’t help the Sheikah, their most devoted servants. So why, then, should the Sheikah serve? Why should they lie down and accept their oppression? Why shouldn’t they fight back with what little they have left?
Again, it doesn’t excuse the bastardry to come (though keep in mind that the Yiga formed 10,000 years ago, so obviously things changed over time and I would bet that the Yiga changed over time as well), but I completely understand now why they formed and I can’t blame them for doing it. The true villain here is the King of Hyrule from 10,000 years prior. He decided to oppress the Sheikah and destroy their culture for imagined potential betrayal, thus betraying them, and when their whole world was shattered and they were left with nothing left to lose . . . well, what did you expect them to do?
So it makes sense to me now why the Yiga symbol is the Sheikah Eye of Truth upside down (because the Eye of Truth represents divine sight, in a way, but they were betrayed and abandoned by the goddesses in their eyes, so now they’ve flipped that on its head), and why they even exist at all. Despite everything, the Yiga come out sympathetic in this, and while it doesn’t make total sense why they would choose to serve something that will absolutely kill them too, in a way it kind of does. Because while Calamity Ganon will indiscriminately kill any and everyone alive in Hyrule when it rises, Ganon is known to be the greatest enemy the royal family has ever had. In fact, Ganon is not just a great threat to the royal family, but arguably even to the goddesses themselves. So the Yiga perhaps see this as a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation. They don’t care as much what happens to them so long as they get vengeance for what was done to them. And no, they don’t care what happens to the Hylians, because the Hylians supported the king and encouraged the oppression of the Sheikah. So they can get fucked too, for all the Yiga care. It might not make total sense for them to do something that will cause their own destruction too, but I think in their eyes it’s a “if we’re going down we’re taking all of you with us, we’ll make the world burn and make sure you know it was because of what you did.” Even though the inciting incident was 10,000 years ago, from the tapestry Impa has it’s very clear that they have passed down what happened (and the book makes a note that the Sheikah pass down their history, albeit usually orally; it’s a cultural thing), so it makes sense the Yiga would as well. Even if the Yiga have changed over time in various ways, it makes sense to me that they would still know why they exist as they do, just as the Sheikah who are still loyal know their own history, too.
And on top of all of this, as I said, the true villain is the King of Hyrule from 10,000 years ago. Because if you think about it, what happens on the Day of Calamity is kind of his fault. He’s the one who decided to bury the Divine Beasts and the Guardians underground (where Calamity Ganon kind of was; it rose from beneath Hyrule Castle, and the Guardians were in stone pillars surrounding the castle, so it got to them immediately and then spread from there to the Divine Beasts). He’s the one who decided to halt the advancement of technology that created those Divine Beasts and Guardians, meaning that the people of Hyrule were not only scrambling to uncover technology from 10,000 years ago, but also had nothing to combat said ancient technology. The Day of Calamity potentially could have been avoided had Hyrule’s King not been an ungrateful, hateful bigot 10,000 years ago.
But, well, if he hadn’t been horrible, we wouldn’t have what is now going to be a stunning trilogy, so. You win some, you lose some. But between this and the genocide they faced in the adult timeline of Ocarina of Time, man . . . the Sheikah really can just never catch a break.
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tagged by @iwantlotsoftacos (thank you love!! this was fun!!) and then i put explanations/thoughts on each in order in the tags because i have so many thoughts on books lmao
hardcover or paperback
rent or buy
reads in silence or reads with music
standalone or series
annotations or pristine pages
ebook or physical copies
dog ears or bookmarks
mismatched series or complete sets
cover matters or you don’t judge
lend books or keep them to yourself
enjoys classic lit or despises them
browses shops or orders online
reads reviews or goes in blind
unreturned books or clean library record
rereads or once was enough
fanfic enthusiast or stickler for canon
deep reader or easily distracted
must read the book before seeing the movie or order doesn’t matter
has neat bookshelves or messy bookshelves
skips ahead or resists temptation
reads aloud or in your head
guesses plot twists or never sees them coming
i’m tagging @shardsoflesbianism, @wlw-omgcp, @miserybiscuits, and @onemusecalliope (if you’d like to!) and anyone else who wants to. thanks mabel!! this was fun and you know i never need an excuse to just like talk about books.
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chickenswithsocks replied to your post “I know nobody cares about any of the writing that I’m doing that’s not...”
I am very interested in writing that's not ifmlam but also quite INTIMIDATED by how much it seems to be
yeah gay murder elf bachelorette at least did really grow into.....three different novellas and book 5 is at least a fourth might be even more ridiculously long than its predecessors, the good thing about it at least is that the proper two parts that are actually written in-universe, Book 2 and Book 4, are both stand-alone enough that one doesn’t reaaally need much more context than their introductions to have fun with the story and all the correspondence continuations are mostly posted for sake of completeness, not any actual Story Impact
(otherwise oops I’m actually waiting to finish the full series before I start posting.... at least trash novel, Numanok Files might get posted as they are finished, and I helped beta-read?? and co-write an episode of?? a really cool sci fi story podcast, which I will definitely be screaming about when it comes out, and I-swear-I-will-actually-finish-soon my lesbians in space hadestown fic which requires no knowledge of hadestown to read as it’s all just direct greek mythology anyways and has a bunch of very cool real science viewed through a quasi-mythological lens I’m so happy with how it’s coming out, so there will soon be a lot more Options of My Writing That Isn’t Ifmlam available)
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fire escape (Dave Lizewski x reader)
summary: dave comes through y/n’s window
genre: fluff and a lil angst
HE’S SO UNDERRATED I HATE YALL FOR SLEEPING ON HIM. ANYWAYS.
written by @1-800-amortentia
edited by @juniebugg (total hottie)
Y/n sat at her desk silently, tapping away at her laptop finishing an essay due that night. Her lit candle casted a flickering orange glow across the keyboard as she sighed, pulling stray strands of hair out of her face. Thunder rumbled softly in the distance, lightning flashing across the New York City skyline, vehicles honking softly below her bay window. She glanced at her phone; no messages from Dave yet. She’d called him once, leaving a few texts asking if he was okay. Alas she had yet to receive a response. Usually she wouldn’t be worried, but there had been a lot of crime recently; she’d just recently found out about his secret identity, Kick Ass, after an encounter with him and her sister in an apartment full of drug dealers.
A soft knock from her window interrupted her typing. She turned to see Dave, pulling off his mask. She smiled, gesturing towards herself, signalling to come in.
“You know, we do have a lobby.” she mutters, eyes fixed on her screen. Dave chuckles breathlessly, wincing softly as he crawled into her room, knocking over a few books off the table beside the window. Y/n turns, her smile turning into a worried expression as she walks quickly towards the young man clad in green and yellow.
“Dave? what...what happened?” she questioned.
“You....you should see the other guy.'' Dave grumbles, smiling. Y/n shakes her head, gently pulling the costume down off his shoulder, to gain better access to the wound. Dave glanced down at her as she examined the wound. A few scrapes and bruises, and one large cut, obviously done with a knife. Y/n quickly stood, walking towards her bathroom grabbing any first aid related products she could find: gauze, cleaning solution, bandages and a washcloth. She quickly walked back to see his suit completely discarded on the floor of her room, a few more wounds presented themselves in his legs. she sat him upright against the window’s glass, so she could better access the large wound with the cleaning solution.
“Okay, this is gonna hurt like a bitch.” she muttered, Dave nodded, grabbing her free hand for support as she dabbed the damp washcloth on the wound. Dave groaned quietly as she continued, trying to steady her shaking hands.
“I’m okay, Y/n, really.” he mumbled. She didn’t answer, only focused harder on repairing the wound. Once she finished cleaning it, she bandaged it carefully, trying not to hurt him. Dave stopped her hand slowly, placing his hand on top of hers, making her look up at him. Dave used his other hand to hold the side of her face. He smiled at her as he brought his face closer to hers.
“Thank you” he whispered. She nodded softly.
She looked up at him, as he gently brushed his lips against hers. She shook her head no in protest. Dave held her face gently.
“What?” he whispered.
“Can’t.” she mumbled.
“Why not?” he questioned.
She looked at her hands.
“I can't worry about you the way I do my sister and my dad.” she whispered.
“You don’t have to-“
“Yes I do. I worried about you for hours when you didn’t call back. I can't.” she mumbled. Dave licked his lips.
“You know you could’ve called. Mindy lives for this shit.” Y/n said. Dave grinned.
“Please can i kiss you?” Dave asked. Y/n said nothing to protest, giving his question a yes. Dave pressed his lips against hers softly.
She placed the washcloth down beside her, using her now free hands to pull her body closer to his, placing another hand on his shoulder. Their connection was quickly interrupted by a loud knocking. Y/n groaned, walking away to open the door, as Dave heaved, pulling himself up and hiding beside her bed, out of view of anyone at the door. She opened it to reveal her little sister.
“What?” she asked. Mindy pulled out a few dvd cases, showcasing the films to her older sister.
“Want to have a movie marathon,I can make-“
“Not right. I’m busy.” she said with a short temper. Her tone was mean, she had to admit, but it got the point across to her now frowning sister.
“Oh....okay...” she muttered. Y/n frowned as she began walking away.
“Hold on wait. I’m sorry. I would but I have homework. Maybe tomorrow?” she suggested. Mindy's smile was instantly replenished across her face as she nodded in agreement, slipping down the hallway. y/n closed the door softly, turning back to Dave, who crawled onto her bed, smirking.
“Can I join?” he asked. she rolled her eyes.
“Sure, Mindy would love that.” she said, sitting beside him. He smiled, throwing an arm around her shoulder with a sigh.
“What happened?” she asked once again.
“Just some muggers. nothing too bad.” he said. Y/n nodded.
“Want me to drive you back to your house?” she whispered, setting her head in his neck.
“Not really....” he replied. She smiled.
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
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they think he’s lost on some horizon
Characters: Alexander MacRionnag, Vissenta Senadz
Warnings: discussion of child abuse, suicidal thoughts, swearing, and alcohol consumption
Summary: Set directly after ‘I Want To Look Away, I Must Not Look Away‘, Alexander resolves to tell Vissenta things he hasn’t spoken of in some time
(title is from The Man With The Child in His Eyes by Kate Bush)
Alexander watched as Vissenta poured the dark red liquid from the fresh bottle evenly into their two glasses, and when she pushed the drink into his hands he spent a minute or two swirling the wine, watching the purple-red residue splash and coat the sides of the glass, and trying desperately to find the right words that wouldn’t stick in his throat the moment he tried to say them. It had been a long time since he’d even talked about his childhood, even to his parents, and even though he trusted her, he knew he was still afraid of Vissenta’s reaction.
A small, deeply unpleasant voice in the back of his mind told him that he should ask for his shirt back after all, otherwise he’d have to walk home half naked when she inevitably kicked him out and told him never to come back. He quashed it as best he could; “You at least deserve to know where I come from,” she had said, not half an hour ago. Vissenta had been deeply honest with him, the very least he could do was be honest with her as well.
Logically he knew that voice in his head was stupid, preying on his fears. That didn’t make fighting it any easier.
The sun had sunk down below the horizon now, and moonlight had begun to filter through the slats in the window shutter, casting a silvery glow in the room.
“So… this wine would shut Valerius up, hey,” he attempted weakly, “I’d have loved to have seen his face. He was always an insufferable snob.”
Inwardly, he cursed. He hadn’t even started yet and he was already deflecting.
Vissenta raised an eyebrow as she took a sip,
“How’d you know him? You’ve never mentioned him before.”
“We...uh…had a thing.”
“About ten years ago, nothing recent. I had to stay at the palace for a few weeks and...well. Um. Things happened, the summer ended, and we both decided to pretend it didn’t happen” he felt his cheeks get a bit hot, “he was a surprisingly good kisser, actually.”
To her credit, Vissenta chuckled,
“Now there’s something I’d never have guessed.”
“Aye, who’d have thought…” he trailed off, swirling the wine again before lifting the glass to his lips and taking a slow drink.
He let himself focus on the flavour, rich and fruity, in the hope it would drown out the bitter taste of the words he was going to say next,
“I was...I was at the palace that summer for a reason. I...um…” he bit his lip hard and steeled himself, forcing himself to breathe deeply to soothe his rocketing pulse, “you, uh, you might have noticed that I have a slightly different accent to Mam and Da.”
Vissenta nodded. Her free hand had come to rest on Alexander’s arm, a comforting and encouraging touch.
“And,” he went on, “you know that Mam is my stepmother. She… she wasn’t always Mam, to me. Until I was about fourteen, she was Aunt Morgaine. A-anyway… Da and Mam, well, they’re both Nalban. I was born in Cumbric, a kingdom-”
“-to the west,” Vissenta finished, her eyes going a little wider, “I remember learning about it I think, as a kid. The…” she pressed her lips together, brow furrowing in thought, “the Pendragon family has ruled for something like fifty generations.”
“Aye,” Alexander replied quietly, “that they have. A family as old as Cumbric itself, and each queen has been a master of the magical arts, beloved by her people. It’s said that the red dragon on the Cumbri flag comes from the family’s name, though it’s more likely it’s the other way around...”
His voice had flattened out to a monotone, speaking the facts like a stranger who’d never set foot in the country reading from a book. It was something he’d noted he did whenever Cumbric had come up in conversation; it was easier that way to pretend that he had nothing to do with the place.
“So your mother is a Cumbri?” Vissenta prompted lightly, “That’s why you were born there?”
“Aye. She is…” Alexander trailed off slightly, though his pulse began to rise again.
He could lie. Say that his mother was a Cumbri peasant and leave it at that. Would it make much difference? He’d still be a bastard.
Yes. It would make a lot of difference. Not only did Vissenta deserve to know the truth, he wanted to tell her.
Her voice pulled him out of his reverie, and he glanced at her, seeing the concern written on her face,
“You’ve gone pale,” she murmured, taking the glass out of his slightly shaking hands and placing it on the bedside table before reaching to take his hands in her own and squeezing,
“I-I’m sorry I just… I was...The seat of House Pendragon is Neuadd y Frenhines,” Alexander went on, “a castle that’s stood as long as the family’s been in power. It’s the primary centre of learning, art, and magic in the whole kingdom, and scholars and magicians from all over are frequent guests. And…” he let out a long breath, “it’s where I was born.”
Alexander released Vissenta’s hands, and carded one of his own through his loose hair. Again, he was tempted to leave it at that and let Vissenta draw her own conclusions, but reluctantly resolved against it. Maybe it wasn’t just that he was wary of what her reaction would be, maybe it was the fact that he himself scarcely actually spent time to think on his childhood, let alone talk about it. Remembering it hurt in ways that Alexander couldn’t really put his finger on, like a dull ache at the back of his heart. That dull ache was there now, making his climbing pulse twinge. Still, he pressed on.
“Queen Nimue III came to the throne thirty six years ago, when she was fourteen. She was a young queen, true, but it’s said that from the day of her coronation onwards that the entire kingdom knew she would be a strong leader. And, it has to be said, she was. Within a few years people were already calling her Good Queen Nim. She was clever, level headed, and an incredibly capable sorceress and scholar.”
Vissenta was listening intently, though Alexander could tell from the slight quirk of her brow that she thought he was rambling around the point again. It made sense, he supposed. Why would he, a commoner, be talking about the queen so much? What did that have to do with him? She didn’t say anything in protest though, giving him the room to continue as he wanted, and Alexander was glad for it.
“Six years into her reign, she welcomed a young Nalban cartographer and explorer to court. He was around her age but had already travelled as far as Firent and Nopal, making maps of land, sky and sea.”
Vissenta’s eyebrows raised at that.
“I’m not sure why he was there in particular,” Alexander said, willing his voice to stay level even as he felt it catch in his throat, “maybe to help plan trade routes or something like that. I’d never asked. But he was there. And… the queen took a… liking to him, and he to her. And that’s how Good Queen Nim’s Mistake came into being.”
The words still tasted foul in his mouth and he spat them out bitterly, his hands clenched into fists so tight his knuckles were stark white. Vissenta’s shoulders had stiffened and her eyes had widened in… what looked like recognition. Alexander flinched, clearly she’d heard that phrase before.
That phrase was the first name he’d ever had, really. From the moment Nimue’s stomach had begun to swell, the child inside was named the Mistake in the whispers of gossip that spread through the ranks of courtiers, nobles, and smallfolk alike.
Alexander opened his mouth to continue, then closed it again, his throat painfully dry. The silence hung heavy in the air until Vissenta said,
“Sacha, you don’t have to say anything more, if you don’t want to.”
She uncurled one of his fisted hands and threaded their fingers together.
Alexander shook his head, swallowing hard,
“No...no...I will, it’s just... forgive me. As...as you can probably tell I’m not very adept at talking about this.”
Vissenta gave him a knowing look, squeezing his hand again. Alexander felt some of the constriction in his throat dissipate a bit. His and her childhoods were different, true, but they were also… actually somewhat similar, from what Vissenta had told him. There were things that she’d be able to understand, perhaps.
“So yes. The ‘mistake’ was a child, and the child was… well. Me.”
He trained his eyes firmly on a crack in the wall opposite, and grimaced,
“Considering some of the other things I was called in my childhood, ‘Mistake’ was one of the nicer names.”
“Whoever came up with that is a dick,” Vissenta said flatly, and much to his surprise Alexander barked a laugh,
“Oh aye, I’d be inclined to agree.”
He reached for the wineglass again and took a large sip from it, savouring the taste as he swallowed.
“Needless to say, my birth was hardly welcomed. Cumbric… by the gods, Cumbric is so forthcoming in some respects and absolutely backward in others... the nobles in the queen’s court did not take kindly to a commoner’s bastard taking the space of a trueborn heir. Apparently my mo… the queen’s siblings urged her to leave me as a foundling, or hand me over to my father and be done with it. I was never going to be a prince or anything, I was just a nuisance. Out of sight, out of mind. But...but she...she didn’t.”
A sudden stab of emotion pierced Alexander’s chest and his breath hitched as he spoke,
“Maybe she... maybe she should have done,” Alexander muttered thickly, “things would have been better for both of us if she had. But no. There I stayed. Even when I grew and spent months at a time with my father, she would insist, nay, demand that I return to her again. ”
He fell silent again, trying to suppress the way his stomach had lurched. If he’d have been a foundling, and not a walking scandal, so much would have changed for him. He still could have studied, still gone to Vesuvia, still met Asra, and Caspian, and Vissenta, but all of the hurt, all of his anxieties as he knew them, that dull ache that throbbed even now right in his core, would be gone. The same man, but a different story. A different name. A different life. A life that, even for all the hardships he may have faced, seemed preferable if it meant not growing up in Neuadd y Frenhines. Not being a ‘bastard princeling’.
He resumed staring at that crack in the wall (there was a chip in the paint and a thin black line that ran up to the curtain rail), licked his lips and went on,
“When I was four years old, she married. His name is Uthyr. Unlike my father, he was everything that was expected. The queen’s match in intelligence, skill, and most importantly, status. He was noble, from a family as old and respected as the Pendragons. Naive boy that I was, I thought I’d have a father in Cumbric because my own was far away. Naive, stupid fool of a child.”
He took a drink again, a longer swig of the wine this time, nearly draining the glass,
“I was barred from the wedding itself. No place for children, let alone ones of my type, but I was permitted to kiss my mother when she and the man that was meant to be my step father presented themselves as a married couple before the court and kingdom for the first time. And when I turned to Uthyr, he looked down at me and said,
“I will not be responsible for another man’s stain,” looked away, and never laid eyes on me again. My mother saw it, heard what he said. She said nothing. She never said anything.”
His voice had gotten very thick, and the dull ache had magnified itself to a pang that tore through him. He set his jaw firmly, biting the inside of his cheek so hard he was surprised he didn’t draw blood. More words formed in his brain but caught sharply in his throat when he tried to give them sound, so he forced them down with the last of the wine.
It was only when he felt Vissenta shift forward and press her hand, so warm against his cold skin, to his cheek to brush away a stray tear that he’d realised any tears were even falling.
“I-I’m sorry,” he stuttered, “I… this was years ago, I haven’t even spoken to the queen in years… I’m overreacting, aren’t I. Gods strike me, how I must sound. Here I am, complaining about my mother when you-”
“You don’t need to apologise,” she replied, running her thumb over his cheekbone, “really.”
She leant up, and pressed her lips to his forehead in a lingering kiss, her other hand coming up to cup his face. Alexander melted into the contact, wrapping his arms around Vissenta’s waist and breathing in deeply. She pressed light kisses to his cheeks, and a brief one to his lips before leaning their foreheads together,
“Fuck him. Fuck them both.”
Her voice was soft, but with an edge to it. Alexander let his eyes fall shut and he sighed,
“Neither of them are bad people, Vis.”
“They aren’t. They were both good rulers, and wonderful parents to their daughters. And-and I hardly had it rough. I was fed, clothed, taught to fence, to read and write… some of my memories are happy ones… from when...when the queen deigned to spend time with me. She’d read to me, tell me stories of wyverns and dragons, of the ceffyl dŵr, of knights and sorcerers. And she taught me to bake. The...these moments were...were few but...they were there and they were precious. When my mother was with me then, I felt like the most important child in all of Cumbric, hell, in all the world.”
His lips weakly curved into a half-smile then crumpled into a frown, tears stinging at his eyes anew, even worse than before.
“But...they were few. I was either the most important child for those handful of shining hours, or I was an invisible one.”
He didn’t matter. He wasn’t wanted. Memories of sleepless nights waking up in his empty room far away in the guest’s wing calling for his mother were drudged to the forefront of his mind. Those calls never got answered. Maybe she would have come if he were ill, or dying, but then… maybe she wouldn’t. Morbidly, he wondered what it would have been like to find out.
Vissenta sat back down beside him,
“You aren’t making a very convincing case for your mother being a decent person. You said she kept calling you back, why would she do that if she’d just ignore you most of the time you were there?”
Alexander huffed through his nostrils,
“That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for twenty years, Vis. Why does anyone do anything? I tried asking her once, and got mere tuppence in return. Something about ...knowing I was there. At the time that was enough for me. At least… well, I didn’t have to live in Cumbric all year round, and I still had Da. He was with me for around six months each year at least. And then there was Mam, and Pavel and Ilona Devorak, and Ilya. I had… I had people. People that I knew cared for me. So… well, it wasn’t all bad.”
Just bad enough for it still to be difficult to talk about. What was worse was when the two worlds, and they were two very separate worlds, would begin to bleed into each other. He remembered one night when he was nine or so, a night before he was due to be returned to his mother, and he had begged Morgaine to take him with her back to Nalba instead of returning to Cumbric. Then later, when he was meant to be in bed, he had crept downstairs only to hear his father and Morgaine fighting about it, the only time he had ever heard them fight. Morgaine had been adamant that it would have been better for him to stay with them, and his father… had agreed. But then he had said,
“Nimue will not give us a choice. If we do not return him, she will use force.”
Twenty years later, the words were still seared into his mind.
His hands were shaking again. Vissenta quickly took them in hers, running her thumbs over his. As her fingers stroked over the swirling blue of the tattoo on his wrist, he thought of something that would hopefully lighten the sombre mood,
“Would you like me to tell the story of how I figured out I could do magic?” he asked.
Vissenta cracked a smile, and nodded,
“Of course! But...I thought Morgaine taught you magic?.
"She did, once we moved to Vesuvia. But I found out I had magic when I was five. My sister Gwenhwyfar had just been born and everything was focused solely on her and my m- the queen," he cleared his throat awkwardly, “so I was being paid less attention than usual. Lots of time to myself, you see. In my room at Neuadd y Frenhines, there was a large tapestry of a ship at sea. One day I was alone in there, daydreaming I was having an adventure, far from Cumbric, on that ship. If I focused enough, I could smell the salt, feel the warmth of the sun and the rocking waves, hear the gulls cry... I wanted it so badly. Until when I reached out to touch the waves, they began to move. And whatever I’d done, I kept doing it. Funnelling this juvenile, raw energy into the tapestry until there was water spilling out onto the floor and the seagulls could be heard up and down the whole southern wing. And I was hooting and yelling, having the time of my life. My governess came running and she was," he broke off to chuckle, "she was absolutely horrified. She thought something was wrong and instead she found me absolutely drenched with a seagull making circles around the room."
Vissenta snickered, then burst out laughing,
“A real life seagull!” he replied, beaming, “And a bloody big one at that! Looking back on it, I must have turned it into a portal to the actual sea or something. Needless to say it made one hell of a mess, gods strike me! They had to call the court magicians to fix it and it took hours, but by the gods, I was so proud of myself.”
“Bringing the sea to your bedroom, I’d be proud of myself too!” Vissenta grinned, kissing Alexander’s cheek and laying her head on his shoulder, “surely they all must have been proud too? Knowing you were going to be such a strong magician at what, five?”
Alexander’s smile slid off his face, his shoulders immediately rounding. Vissenta’s own face fell,
More silence. Alexander had gone very still and very pale, his eyes staring blankly at the wall. He opened his mouth, closed it, his lip trembled, then he crumbled. A dry sob heaved its way out of him, his shoulders shaking. Vissenta, alarmed, dived forward to catch him before he completely pitched off the side of the bed.
“Alexander, hey, hey, Sacha, look at me-“ she said quickly, lightly turning his head to face her.
Tears coursed down his cheeks, breath coming in short gasps,
“I’m s-sorry,” he mumbled, the words garbled together, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t...you should have to… I just… I…”
She hushed him, pulling him in close and stroking her hand through his hair,
“Don’t apologise, Sacha. Don’t. Hey? You’ve nothing to be sorry for.”
It took a few minutes for him to calm down, but eventually his breathing evened out,
“I’m sorry,” he said again, his voice cracking, “I’m overreacting, I-I know I am…”
“I don’t think you’re overreacting at all.”
“I am, I am… I just… it’s just magic... I… there’s… there’s a reason it was Morgaine who taught me. Not- Not my mother. It’s…” he swallowed hard,
“Sacha,” Vissenta said gently but firmly, “if this hurts too much you don’t have to tell me.”
“I told you, I’m just… I’m just overreacting,” he breathed deeply, angrily swiping the remnants of tears off his cheeks, “I’m a fool. Stupid selfish fool, spending so much time ruminating on my own misery.”
He sat up straight, and grit his teeth,
“It is not favourable in Cumbric for children of my position to learn magic. My magic was inherited from my mother, from the ancient Pendragon line. I wasn’t meant to have it. I was a bastard, not a true born son. That fact alone was bad enough, but a bastard with the powerful magic of the royal family? That made me a threat. To my baby half sister, to the queen, to the whole country. Who knows what a bastard would do with such power. It wasn’t worth the risk.”
He stared firmly forward,
“I was forbidden from it. All of it. From learning magic, from practising it. I was told I didn’t deserve it, that I was somehow stealing from my sisters. The flame had to be snuffed out, or I would be dangerous. If I was caught, which was often because I was a kid and couldn’t control it, I was punished.”
He laughed mirthlessly,
“Ironic, isn’t it. Cumbric is famed for its scholarship and magic, and yet… I felt like a freak. Even when Morgaine started teaching me, it took me a while to even let myself feel anything… hm. Maybe I was a freak after all. Can’t control it one minute, can’t command it the next,”
“Alexander, I want you to look at me,” Vissenta said, and her voice was clipped and tinged with anger.
Flinching slightly, Alexander did so. Was this it? Would she cast him out? Maybe he shouldn’t have told her anything…
“Everyone in that godsforsaken castle sounds incredibly fucking cruel,” she said firmly, “and you know what? I’m glad I’ll never meet them because I’d make them eat my steel.”
“I mean it,” some of the anger had ebbed from her voice now, but she was still firm, “they made a decision to try and force you to hide what you could do, who you were. That not only makes them stupid, it makes them cruel, and I’m glad - so glad - that you got out of there to be with people who deserve you.”
She brought his hands to her lips, and brushed them across his knuckles,
“Your magic is… it’s wonderful, Sacha. It’s beautiful. And I’m so happy you did get to learn from someone who knows that too.”
Alexander felt his lip begin to tremble anew,
“I’d never really… thought about my childhood. Like that, I mean. Like they were ever cruel. I knew things weren’t ideal, but…”
He let out a long breath,
“I’m sorry, Vis. I was just supposed to tell you the truth not…” a vague gesture with his hands, “all this.”
Vissenta cocked her head,
“Come here, mon chevalier,”
He scooted over, and Vissenta coaxed his head into her lap and started stroking his hair again, before freezing,
“Sacha, are you… alright with me calling you that? Because of what it means… if it makes you feel…”
As much as he could, he shook his head,
“No, no… quite the opposite. I remember what you said to me, when you told me what it means. How I… earned it. That makes all the difference. In… it sounds ridiculous,”
“It won’t,” she replied gently,
“In the books I read… like Castell Gwynn, for example… the knights in that. And the knights and dames from the old stories from Cumbric and Nalba… the way they were. That was something to be admired. That’s something I’d be proud to be.”
“And that’s something you are,” she said, “believe me Sacha, I wouldn’t call you that if you weren’t.”
“You think so?” he looked up at her, his eyes gone wide,
She leant down and kissed him lightly, which he leant up into, weaving his hands into her hair.
They flopped over into the bed proper, Vissenta rolling on top of Alexander and kissing him breathless. Each press and slide of their lips made Alexander’s heart feel lighter and lighter, each tangle of hands in hair set his mind at ease. Eventually Vissenta broke the kiss, their breathing both heavy,
“I love you,” Alexander whispered against her lips,
“I love you too,” she replied, leaning up and pressing another kiss to his forehead that filled Alexander with that blissful, familiar sparkling warmth from top to toe.
More kisses were exchanged, and eventually they opened a third bottle of wine. With glasses filled to the brim, Vissenta raised hers in a toast,
“To us, and how far we’ve come.”
“To us,” Alexander nodded, “and, as you rightly put it, fuck them.”
Vissenta grinned, “Fuck them.”
They clinked the glasses together and drank deeply, and the moon was high and bright in the sky.
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Hi Jenna! OG viewer here. I've been watching for videos for yearss, and they've been so helpful! I had a question about self-publishing, and you seem to be one of the best to ask since you self-published all your books and did a lot of research before going down that path. I don't think this topic gets talked about, but how DO you get your books into brick and mortar stores if you self-publish via amazon?
First and foremost, self-publishing exclusively to Amazon will not get you into brick and mortar stores. Self-publishing exclusively to Amazon will only get you published to Amazon.
In order to get into brick and mortar stores, you need to self-publish to a platform that has a wide distribution, which basically means they send your book off to a zillion places. Maybe Amazon offers that, I genuinely don’t know, but everyone I know who has gotten into bookstores has relied on IngramSpark for that particular feature.
This is not to say you shouldn’t publish to Amazon - I just wouldn’t publish there exclusively if your goal is to get into bookstores. Personally, I publish my kindle books to Amazon, my physical books to IngramSpark, and all other ebook formats to Draft2Digital.
You also need to take into consideration the discount % you choose. This is a percentage you choose that will dictate how much of the sale goes into your pocket and how much goes into the seller’s pocket. Brick and mortar establishments typically require 55%, which isn’t doable for a lot of writers because sometimes that means you’re making pennies per copy, or even worse, you’re paying to have your book on shelves. And even if you set the percentage to 55%, it won’t guarantee brick and mortar establishments will stock your book. They are only going to stock books if there’s a demand for them.
This is why a lot of indie authors opt out of having a brick and mortar presence and still make buckets of money. Keeping it real, having a bookstore presence is definitely flattering, but it’s not where writers are making their money these days. It’s an ego boost and little more.
There’s also the consignment option, which I’m not going to get into because personally I think it’s a waste of time. If you google consignment for bookstores, you will get the scoop.
Anywho, that’s the summary. I will eventually make a video about this in future. I do want to add one caveat, though I do so hesitantly: my story has been drastically different from the norm. I *didn’t* give my books a 55% discount, because if I went with 55%, I’d be paying for people to buy my books.
HOWEVER... brick and mortar establishments stocked my books anyway, because there was a demand for them.
THIS IS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE. I’m still surprised it happened. My point is that shit ain’t always black and white. But please please please don’t use my experience as an example of “how it works” because that’s not realistic. I’m very fortunate that my books are selling higher than the industry average, and that is why B&N and other bookstores made an exception.
I hope this helps <3
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Title: the only bee in your bonnet
Fandom: Won’t Back Down (2012)
Pairing: Michael Perry/GN!Reader
Rating: General Audiences
Word Count: 2.7k
Summary: You start a new job at a café. Shortly after, you discover that one of your regulars runs the record store next door.
A/N: This premise has been sitting with me for about two months, but @zoriis sent me a request from the prompt list I reblogged recently, and it finally helped me find the direction I wanted this fic to go. Hope you enjoy, Tegan. 💜 (And thank you for the hot off the presses Michael gif.)
Cross-posted to AO3 here!
He’s your first regular.
At least, he’s the first one that really registers, the first one whose order becomes so deeply embedded in your memory that you think it might burrow in and settle there forever. Large hot coffee with just a smidge of cream.
Just a smidge. You perfect that smidge about two weeks after you first prep his drink, and you relish in the way Michael’s eyes crinkle when he takes the first sip.
Michael—that’s his name, the regular. He gives it to you three times before it, too, solidifies in your mind, and the first time you don’t need to ask for it, that also earns you an eye-crinkling smile.
Your co-worker leans over as soon as Michael has left, his voice low as he tells you, “He owns Vintage Vinyl.” The record store next door.
“I didn’t ask,” you retort, firing back an eye roll. What should it matter to you, where Michael the Regular is off to after buying his cup of coffee every morning? Michael the Very Handsome and Friendly Regular, who always drops at least a single into the tip jar and hums along with the music on the speakers each time he comes through. No, it certainly doesn’t matter to you that he works right next door.
But if you find yourself meandering into the store after your shift a month or so after you first encounter him, well.
It’s because it’s been a few years since you last entered a record store. (Since you last even thought of buying a physical copy of an album.) So you’re curious. About the records. That’s what it is.
You were under some vague illusions that maybe you’d wander through discreetly, perhaps running into Michael the Regular once you can get the lay of the land. Instead, you’re not even five steps inside when you hear, “Oh, hey, stranger.”
The counter, it turns out, is directly inside the door, and Michael the Regular is staked out there, sitting on a stool and leaning against the wall with a book in his hand. He’s let his hand fall to his lap, and the book with it, at the sight of you, an earnest look of surprise on his face.
And you had… not gone in planning to play dumb, but apparently that’s what you’re going with. You look at Michael the Regular as though it is a complete surprise to encounter him there, and from the way he smiles, you think he might believe it.
“Looking for some music?”
Distantly, it registers to you that this is a bit of an obvious question when you’ve just entered a record store, but mostly, you’re thinking about how you have no damn idea what music you’d even want to buy. God, you hope he doesn’t ask. “I guess I was mostly thinking I’d browse. I realized I’ve been working next door for a whole month and I haven’t even bothered to come in.”
Michael the Regular nods. He’s still smiling, a really soft, nice smile. “Sounds good. I know it’s a bit hectic in here, but if you need any help finding something, I should be able to help you out.”
You glance around the store and smirk; there are some patrons around – it’s not like the place is deserted – but yeah, hectic is a clear exaggeration. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Presumably, there’s a sort of logic to the layout of the store, but you’re in no way systematic as you wander through. You peruse nearly every section pretty thoroughly, feeling a rush of comfort and nostalgia each time you encounter an album that you associate with some key moment of your past or another.
And if you glance toward the front to get the occasional look at Michael, well. You’re just appreciating the way he sings along with the music he’s got playing through the speakers across the shop, be it with his nose in his book or while helping customers…
Or, once, you think you catch him looking at you. From the way the corners of his mouth turn up before his gaze flickers away, yes. You think he was looking at you.
But save for that one look, you don’t feel particularly scrutinized. In fact, it seems like you might even startle him when you arrive at the counter with a few CDs – they’re artists you like, and you want to support them, that’s definitely the only reason you’re buying them – because he jolts at the sound of the boxes hitting the glass surface.
“Hey!” he says again. Smiling again. Who knew your heart could pound so hard over just a hey and a smile? “Find everything alright?”
“Somehow, yes, even though I wasn’t actually looking for anything.”
Michael’s eyes positively shine with amusement while he starts to scan the albums for check-out. “I’ve heard that’s the best time to find what you want.”
You work hard to suppress a grin, endeared by the line in spite of yourself. Endeared, too, by how straightforward his delivery is. “Now that you mention it, I think I’ve also heard that somewhere before.”
Another customer comes to stand in line behind you, effectively cutting both of you off from any further flirting. Which… you’re kind of okay with. Michael’s still got that beautiful smile on his face while he rings you up and you feel an exquisite sense of anticipation bubbling in your gut over everything that you’re not saying. Yes, you’re kind of okay with what’s hanging between you.
Then, while he’s bagging the CDs, his expression grows a little more serious. You watch him grab a flyer from a nearby stack, showing it to you briefly before tucking it into the bag. “I’m going to give this to you, too. We’re having a little concert and signing here on Friday afternoon. You should come, if you get off in time.”
Have you ever been quite so happy that you open the café in the mornings?
(Well, aside from the smaller, more persistent joy that you’re able to hand Michael his coffee each day.)
You nearly waffle over it—or at least you nearly pretend to waffle. It’d be nice, you think, to be able to tease him just a bit. But when it comes down to it, you nod and tell him, “Okay, I’ll be there.” Because if he’s going to be so sincere, the least you can do is return the favor.
Michael’s smile widens, and you are glad to have been sincere.
As far as the teasing… The two of you share one last glance before you leave the store, and in the back of your mind you feel quite certain that you’ll have plenty of time to tease him.
When he stops by the café the next few mornings, though, you don’t tease him, either. You lean into that simmering anticipation instead, his crinkling eyes when he looks at you and the five-dollar bills that he drops into the tip jar just because. You let your fingers brush against his when you hand off his large hot coffee with just a smidge of cream, your stomach flipping pleasantly at the way he smiles in response.
It makes you feel special, makes you feel young and new to this. Maybe that’s what comes of his straightforwardness.
It makes you long for Friday. For every thing that might come after Friday.
“Will I still see you later?” Michael asks that morning when you hand his coffee over.
Certainly a simple question, but for just a moment, it takes you aback. Neither of you have come quite so close to articulating that when you come to the store that afternoon, it will be because he asked. (Admittedly, you’re not even sure you could name the band that’s doing the concert and signing. It’s not like you’re trying hard to pretend otherwise.)
You smile and nod. It’s the middle of the morning rush, so you’re not going to belabor it, but Michael knows. He raises his cup to you and murmurs, “I’m glad,” and for now, it’s enough. That I’m glad buoys you through the morning and into the afternoon.
Right toward the end of your shift, you realize that perhaps he was downplaying the event—a large crowd begins to accumulate outside, triggering a manageable but unanticipated rush in the café. It’s a relief to be able to clear out, but the mass of people means that you’re not at all surprised when you finally open the door to the shop and realize immediately that there’s noconceivable way you’d be able to navigate toward the back of the store, where the band has already started to play.
But it’s only a few seconds later that you realize you won’t have to; you look to the counter, and Michael is staked out there. He’s leaning his elbows on the glass, his body facing toward the band, but he must have heard the door open, because when you see him, he’s turned to look your way with a wide grin on his face. At once, he beckons you to join him behind the counter.
“I was starting to worry,” he tells you, once you’ve squeezed back there and settled into the open stool at his side. He has to lean in fairly close to speak to you without shouting, and your breath catches over the silly thrill of it.
“My manager kept me a bit late,” you reply. “We had an unexpected 2PM concert rush.”
Michael looks a little bashful, glancing toward the audience. “This is my first time doing something like this on a weekday, so I expected less of a crowd.”
The counter is raised slightly above the rest of the store, giving you a reasonable view of the band, and frankly, you’re fascinated that they’ve drawn much of a crowd at all, let alone on a weekday. There are three middle-aged men up there, one of them playing the guitar, but that’s the most standard part of the ensemble. Instead of an actual kit, their drummer has a strange array of smaller percussion instruments that he’s hitting. And the third man is playing the accordion.
Very strange indeed.
You tell Michael so, as gently as you can manage, by asking, “What kind of band is this? I didn’t get around to looking them up.”
“Alternative rock, I guess?” You must look as bewildered as you feel – sure, you suppose no better descriptor comes to mind, but it feels odd to call what’s happening in front of you rock – because Michael laughs. “Among a million other things. They’re kind of all over the map. That’s what people like about them.”
They don’t play a very long set before settling in to do the signing portion of the event. Even so, you get a sense of what he means; they play a range of up-tempo and slower songs, and some of them sound quite pop-y while others… don’t, but the audience seems incredibly into it the whole time. Their energy is contagious, making you move to the music despite your lack of familiarity with the songs.
Well, the way Michael is grinning and nodding along to the music – even singing one or two songs – might also have something to do with the joy coursing through you.
Eventually, the music stops, and you expect Michael to have responsibilities of some sort—maybe a need to go and help the band with the signing, but he brushes this off when you ask about it. “One of the best parts about owning this place: I can assign the employees to take care of everything over there while I do more important things.”
More important things, it turns out (as though you don’t know at once), means chatting with you. He settles in on his stool and he leans his elbow on the counter, his head in his hand, and he looks at you like no one else is there. Oh, he certainly changes gears in an instant, each time a customer comes over, but there’s not a doubt that you are the first thing on his mind.
And Michael – who, you learn, went to school for music, and grew up listening to everything under the sun, and loves sharing new sounds with everyone he encounters – is sweet, and funny, and so damn proud of his store.
He’s endearingly fond of this band, too, whose name you still don’t know and you think that amuses him. (You think he likes knowing that your lack of knowledge about the band is proof that you showed up for him alone.) Not that he really bothers to discuss them, but then he’s checking out a customer who eagerly tells him, “It was so great to hear a duo version of ‘Birdhouse.’”
Michael agrees, sincere enough but also trying to wrap up the sale. But nearly as soon as the customer is gone, you ask, “That was the last one they played, right?”
There has been no indication, up to this point, that Michael has been passing any judgement on your lack of familiarity with the band. But at this question, he gives you a baffled sort of look. Still no judgement, but absolutely surprise. “Did you not know ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’?”
You shake your head.
From his expression, you think you can guess what’s coming. “I promise that I don’t do this often. But can I fix that?”
It’s not really curiosity about the song that gets to you. It’s Michael’s eager eyes and the fact that you get the distinct sense that, if you said no, he wouldn’t take it personally.
He turns to the nearby computer and overrides whatever was playing before.
By this point, a fair number of the fans have cleared out, but the track garners an immediate reaction—scattered shouts of approval and one or two people immediately start singing along. You think you spot one of the band members at the signing table rolling his eyes.
Not that you notice these reactions for very long. The song starts quietly enough, but then things kick into gear, and Michael responds at once. At first, he keeps his composure alright, pointing out, “I love that guitar riff,” during the first chorus and a line he enjoys in the following verse. But he’s right—it’s a fun, upbeat song, and he feeds off of you enjoying yourself until he starts singing and gesticulating along.
Your heart bursts over his joy. He’s jumped to his feet by the final chorus and distantly you hear that he’s not the only one singing, but it’s like everyone else is far away—several rooms or several miles away.
It’s strangely a disappointment when the song is over, although Michael’s immediate change in demeanor is its own sort of endearing. He sits back down almost at once, glancing around to make sure that he hasn’t left any customers waiting.
Did I do too much too fast is all over his face as he says, “So, uh, yeah. It’s pretty famous.”
You purse your lips in amusement. Here it is. Here’s the moment to tease. “Right. And how much are you wishing you didn’t just do that in front of me.”
“Kind of a lot, to be honest.” There’s that bashful smile again.
There’s Michael being sincere again, too. So you lean your chin in your hand and ask, “So should I kiss the embarrassed expression off your face now or wait ‘til later?”
“Jesus Christ, please wait ‘til later.”
Both of you jump at the sound of another voice, and you turn around to see that one of the other employees has come behind the counter—a twenty-something who’s looking between you two with all the exasperation that you probably deserve.
Michael laughs and apologizes, immediately more at ease.
At ease while the band finishes up, at ease while he temporarily leaves you behind the counter to have a final chat with them…
So very at ease when he comes back and leans on the counter toward you from the customer’s side to say, “I can clear out of here if you want to get a bite.”
“That sounds perfect.”
“Cool.” A slight pause. “Can I give you a tour of the stock room before we go?”
You grin, and you nod, and you leave the store with Michael some twenty minutes later, thoroughly kissed.
interested in my other fics or my taglist form? you can find them on my masterlist here
taglist: @aellynera @be-the-spark-flyboy @brandyllyn @fantasmicbelle6y6 @foxilayde @hayley-the-comet @hyperfixatingmenever @jitterbugs927 @knivesareout @lachicapequena @louderrthanthunderr @marvelousmermaid @poedameronloverx @reenadreams @santiagogarcia @sergeantkane @soyelfuegoquearde
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Dobrynya and Marinka - a slavic circean tale
This is a bit of a random post, but as a huge enthusiast of everything even vaguely circean in nature I thought I’d bring to your attention this amazing slavic tale (a bylina to be precise) called Dobrynya and Marinka. Greek mythology lovers will find quite a few interesting similarities. And it features a zagovor in action! Enjoy!
Dobrynya and Marinka
„The song "Dobrynya and Marinka" is a story about a supernatural witch, enticing courtesan, alluring sorceress, or enchanting shaman who uses her magical powers to turn an epic hero into an animal. In many cases his mother or sister, who possesses even stronger magic, forces the sorceress to turn the hero back into a human being. There are many variations on this theme in magic tales and in epics, perhaps the most notable one appearing in the tenth book of The Odyssey, where the goddess Circe transforms some of Odysseus's men into pigs. What may be involved is an ancient story about a temptress or a seductive woman who acts in a sexually provocative manner. The variants of the Russian song about Dobrynya and Marinka, of which some seventy have been recorded, differ greatly. For this reason, a summary of the basic motifs that occur is presented with the understanding that no single recording contains all of them. It should be mentioned that the very form of the name "Marinka" instead of the usual "Marina" is derogatory in Russian folklore and is often associated with a witch.
In the beginning, Dobrynya may be described as having served at Vladimir's court in the positions of steward, cupbearer, and gatekeeper for three years each. When his service is finished after nine years, he is free to roam the city of Kiev, but before he starts, his mother, who has the customary ability of an epic mother to foresee trouble for her son, warns him not to go to Marinka's street because she is a sorceress and has turned nine young men into aurochs (the extinct European wild ox). Dobrynya, as is typical for an epic hero, accepts the dare and goes anyway. He may take along his bow and arrows, just as though he were setting out on a journey to hunt, even though he actually stays within the city. At Marinka's palace he sees a pair of doves, usually a symbol of lovers, and he shoots an arrow that misses the doves but that „lands in Marinka's palace and may kill her lover Zmei Gorynych or Tugarin. They are dragon-like figures that Dobrynya or Alyosha fight in other epics. Dobrynya insists on retrieving his arrow, insults Marinka, who may offer herself in marriage, and leaves. Then Marinka cuts out pieces of the wooden floor where he stood and burns them in a stove while reciting an incantation to make Dobrynya fall in love with her. In many variants, the incantation resembles actual love charms, one brief example of which may be quoted from the collection of L.N. Maikov (Great Russian Incantations [St. Petersburg, 1868], no. 5).
In the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost, amen. In the stove a fire burns, the wood burns, and blazes, and smolders. So should God's man, slave (name), smolder and burn for God's woman, slave (name), every day, every hour, always, now and eternally. For ever and ever, amen.
Although Marinka's actual magic words are not included in the translated song, the desired response is achieved. Dobrynya returns to her as a compliant lover whom she transforms into a wild animal such as an aurochs with golden horns, a mysterious creature that occasionally appears in Russian folklore. Singers offer various explanations about how Dobrynya's mother or sister finds out what has happened to him, one being that Marinka boasts about her prowess during a feast at Prince Vladimir's. A female relative, who has superior magical powers, comes to Marinka, demands that she restore Dobrynya to his human form, and threatens to turn Marinka herself into an animal. Marinka gives in to the more compelling sorceress, turns herself into a magpie, flies to the open field, lights on Dobrynya, and promises to return him to his normal state if he will marry her. Dobrynya agrees, but once he is married to Marinka he claims his authority over her and kills her.”
Quote from: Russian Folk Epics by James Bailey and Tatyana Ivanova
Art 1: by Mikhail Petrov
Art 2: Молитва (Prayer) by Yuri Sergeev
Pairing: Loki x reader
Summary: You have a nightmare and run to a sleepy Loki for comfort
A/N: I know the nightmare prompt is basic af, but I was sleepy and wanted a bit of Loki love. Also, wrote this at like 3am so don't judge me! Message me to be added to my taglist and stay gold! Please don't copy my work.
You woke up with a gasp. Your dream flooded your mind as you let out a shaky sob. Everytime you blinked another image flashed before you. You didn't want to be alone right now,so you grabbed your fluffy, white blanket and padded off to the elevator, tears trailing down silently. Thor and Loki were the only ones not currently saving the world, so you hit the button for their floor.
You felt childish, here you were almost 19 and clinging to your blankie,crying, in search of an adult. The doors opened and you squinted. Somebody was up because the lights were on. You walked out to find Loki reading a titleless book. He was already aware of your presence and found no need to greet you. A slight sense of peace fell over you just from seeing him.
You took the seat beside him and he was taken aback. He noted your almost silent sniffles and puffy red eyes.
You gotten close with him and you'd be lying if you said you didn't have a small crush on him.
" Y/n?" He asked.
"Y-y-yes?" Your voice wobbled as tears continued to fall. You were shocked as the introverted, yet intimidating god pulled you into his chest. You soaked his shirt with the terrible simulation your mind had conjured up.
Loki had never cared for Misguardians. They were like ants to him. He didn't mind them, and sometimes they got stepped on. You were different. He never could quite articulate how or why.
Once you'd calmed he'd asked, " What plagues you, pet?"
"J-just a b-b-bad dr-ream" you whisper.
He thinks for a moment before responding," Would you like to tell me about it." You shake your head no. "Then, what would you like?" He inquires.
"Just you" you mumble into him.
He turns off the lights and you curl up into him. He wraps his arms around your delicate figure and soon hears soft, sleepy sighs leave your parted lips. He unintentionally drifts off, too.
Thor wakes up and leaves his illuminated room to fill his begging stomach with an entire box of Poptarts. He finds his brother, who never wants to be touched and is starved for power, sleep-snuggling the sweetest person he's ever met. He grabs the box as silently as he can, happy his brother has found a love.
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Review: Clause Typing in the Old Irish Verbal Complex
SUMMARY This book, a continuation of García-Castillero’s very active research agenda, is a descriptively rich outline of the morphological realizations of clause types in Old Irish. It comprises eleven chapters divided over three parts. Part I offers the linguistic background necessary for full understanding of clause typing in Old Irish. It consists of three chapters, the first of which begins by summarizing the place of Old Irish in the Celtic family tree and the early glosses (750-850 http://dlvr.it/Rzws6y
Tender (Zemo x GN!Reader)
SUMMARY: You were a mewling, pathetic mess by the end, pleading that you were going to behave for him.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he had scoffed and that had left you with a cold pit in your stomach.
18+ only (Mature Content)
TAGS & WARNINGS: HEAVY PRAISE KINK, light voice kink, kitten play, mentions of spanking, reader wearing a collar, light D/s, light daddy kink, use of pet names, crying, cuddling and soft times,
ADDITIONAL NOTES: TBH I just want Daniel to tell me what a good girl I am and aftercare is important, kids!!! This is also my first gender neutral reader, hell we all deserve a little Zemo in our lives
You pressed your face against Zemo’s right thigh. The collar around your neck was snug, making your belly feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Zemo held his book in one hand as he reached down with his other to lightly card his fingers through your hair. It was an almost indescribable feeling being completely naked between his spread legs. On the floor where you belonged.
The past couple of days you had been a bit insufferable, even you had to admit it, which had ended up with you balanced over Zemo’s thighs as he turned your ass different shades of red. You were a mewling, pathetic mess by the end, pleading that you were going to behave for him.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he had scoffed and that had left you with a cold pit in your stomach.
Now you just wanted to prove how good you could be for him. Make him proud of you, instead of being some constant and needy disappointment, always craving to have his cock, fingers or tongue buried in you or spanking you into submission. Not that he ever seemed to mind, but you were sure it wore him out at times even if he would never admit it.
So now you were just silently at his feet, being still, behaving, not even thinking about letting your mouth nudge just a little higher. No no no, you had promised to be good and you were going to be, goddammit. You had to bite back a little purr as his fingers gently curved into that sweet spot at the base of your scalp, lightly massaging the tension you always carried there.
“Kittens are allowed to make noise,” Zemo reminded you as he continued to rub the spot.
You lifted your gaze, blushing as you met his eyes. “Go on,” he encouraged. You let your cheek rest against his thigh and let out a very soft, contented purr.
“Very good, draga, very good,” he praised and you felt the shiver travel up your spine.
He finished the chapter in his book, marking it before placing it aside before he reached down and pulled your naked body into his lap. You couldn’t resist the instinct to curl up against his chest, letting your eyes shut for a moment.
“You are being such a good little thing for me today, aren’t you? Hmmm? Usually you enjoy being my naughty kitten, making Daddy put you over his knee or stuff his cock inside of you,” he mused as his fingers massaged your scalp, his other hand resting on your lower back.
You shook your head no and pressed your face into the crook of his neck, making him chuckle.
“Now, now, no need to deny it or pretend. It’s quite fun to remind you of your place especially since you enjoy it so much. You know that I love you, yes? Even when you’re being the naughtiest little kitten.”
You let out a soft mewl and snuggled even closer against him, a few warm tears spilling agains this neck.
“Shh draga, no tears. Not from my good kitten, such a good, good little love you’re being for me. Do you know how much I adore you? Perhaps I don’t remind you as I often as I should.”
He shifted you a bit in his arms then pressed a warm kiss against one shoulder. “My life would be very empty without you in it, draga. You are my pride and joy, I love you so much.”
The built up dam inside of you broke and you sobbed against him, choking out how much you loved him back and could never be without him. He held you tightly, whispering sweet words of praise in your ear until you calmed down. You were left as shivering, happy, little raw mess in his lap by the time you were done, his warm hands anchoring your body.
“Are you feeling better then, little one?” he asked softly and you meekly nodded your head. “You are very good, the absolute best, please never forget that.” He reached for the plush cashmere blanket, draping it across you both and you finally allowed yourself to give in and fall asleep in his arms, feeling like you weren’t such a disappointing mess after all.
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╰ ☆ ╮𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐛𝐮𝐫 - gb eating gb whilst listening to gb ✰⋆
1.2k 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜 | 𝚜𝚕𝚒𝚌𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚕𝚒𝚏𝚎, 𝚏𝚕𝚞𝚏𝚏, 𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚜𝚝 (?)
cw: slight derealization (?), alcohol, obsessive nature (?)
summary: for some reason wilbur can't shake the thought of that girl he met in his office building...
𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐫/𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞: 𝘪 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘧 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘬𝘢𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘧𝘪𝘤 𝘩𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘪 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘴𝘮𝘶𝘵, 𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘬𝘢𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘵. 𝘵𝘩𝘶𝘴 𝘪 𝘢𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘦𝘥. 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘊𝘳𝘺𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘬. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧-𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘥𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥 ‘𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳/𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧’.
She was enthusiastic beyond belief, her smile and laughter filling the room. He had always admired how even in a busy room; she was the center of attention. His admiration for her, it blurred the lines between what he wants, and what he needs. His sense of reality, and fiction. The smell of alcohol and sweat in the cramped house, that was real. But the subtle eye contact from across the room between them…was it real? Or was he just another false sense of reality?
He took a small sip of his drink, the taste of alcohol remaining upon his lips. Though, he could not help to half listen to David, whilst still making subtle glances across the room. She was there…you were there dancing, enjoying yourself with your pals. To say he was jealous was an understatement.
He squinted his eyes tightly, snapping out of it. He did not know you and you did not know him. Those thoughts and urges should not even be a factor. He did not own you, hell he didn’t even have the confidence to smile at you.
His heart, it was pounding out of his chest.
He glanced up one more time to you.
“Don’t let her see.”
His thoughts intruded his brain. He felt his face become red, not knowing if it was because he was angry at himself for his own intrusive thoughts, or if it was just pure butterflies. He chugged the down the rest of his drink, slowly feeling the pit in his stomach disappear.
“Will, you alright?” David questioned, placing a hand upon Wilbur’s shoulder.
“Yeah, yeah just forgot to control my breathing.” Wilbur trailed off, half joking.
The interesting thing about this was that you guys have spoken before. Though it was a small interaction, it was something. Normally he was quite an extroverted guy, but for some reason he couldn’t get a grip around you.
A couple of weeks back, he was packing up his office for the final time. Of course, he would get himself kicked out for roleplaying Minecraft on the internet. Just a typical day, am I right? With one final sweep across the room, he turned off the light and left the office building leaving the key in the door lock.
The elevator ride down was silent till he hit the fourth floor. The door opened and there you were. Coffee in one hand and a book bag slugged over your shoulder. You looked up at the tall man, intimidated by someone of his height, but you gave him a friendly smile and walked into the elevator.
Pulling out your phone, you scrolled aimlessly. Same stupid pictures of the same stupid people you could give less of a shit about. However, you couldn’t shake the presence of the man in the small area with you. He was insanely attractive from what you could see, and his height…how could someone be that tall? You choose to ignore the thoughts running around your head, knowing the chances of seeing this man again would be close to none.
Wilbur on the other hand, well of course his curiosity got the best of him. He examined your bag, seeing a multitude of pins on it. He could recognize some of the bands on the pins, but the one the stuck out to him in particular was one that had a name of the college around town.
“God, I really am a freak” he thought.
The elevator chimed; the doors opened. You stepped out, but then remembered the man in the elevator. Turning your head over your shoulder you saw him also stepping out.
“Looks like we’re going to the same place.” You smiled to him. You could notice you caught him off guard, especially by the way his eyes widened and the hint of red flushing his cheeks.
“Yeah seems to be it.”
There wasn’t much to the conversation as you two walked out of the building, though Wilbur did mention that this would be his last time in this office building. It saddened you that you’d probably never see this beautiful man again, but that’s life. You two said your goodbyes. As you walked the opposite direction down the street, you felt a pair of eyes burning into your back. Knowing full heartly who it was, you didn’t turn around but instead continued onto your path.
If you ever thought you’d seen an overthinker before, you have yet to meet Will. His whole walk home all he could think about was that girl in the elevator. The pins. Some of those bands were the ones he enjoyed, like Crywank. She also had a shit ton of political pins also, something he’d be willing to have a conversation about. But it wasn’t just that. It was the way she dressed, the way she carried herself-
“I’ve built her up too much.” He mumbled to himself.
Walking up the steps of his flat, he unlocked the door and shut it quickly behind him. He made his way along the home, putting things away in their respective places.
He really considered for a moment going back to the offices. Maybe he would see you, and he could tell you what’s really on his mind. No, in that case he would go and scare you away.
His heart was beating, it was him getting in his own head. He highly doubted you even thought about your short interaction that much.
David shoved Will’s shoulder once again.
“Hey, Will what is up with you? I’ve been talking you seem distracted.”
David looked over to what grabbed Will’s attention, seeing the girl chatting away.
“Oh, is that the girl from the office?”
David chuckled, walking away he gave Will a slap on the back.
“Just go talk to her.”
And in a moment, Will was alone with nothing but an empty solo cup.
These people you “meet” seemed optimistic and sweet, but god did they fucking reek of alcohol. To an outsider, it seems as if the world was at your feet. You were talking, that is for sure. Now did you have any idea what these random people were saying to you? Hell no. You did not even know these people or knew what you were doing here. You were just good at faking it till you made it.
But you couldn’t shake the feeling of someone watching you.
A gentle touch on your shoulder woke you up out of your mini hell. Turning around you were faced with a chest, oh. You trailed your eyes up, and to your surprise it was the man from the offices. His face was flushed red, probably from the alcohol. He stood there awkwardly, but for some reason it didn’t make you uncomfortable, it was cute actually.
“Hi?” You said questionably, hoping for a response for the very obviously tipsy man.
“Hi. Um-I’d like to take you on a date please.”
Your heart melted, you wanted to laugh. Not in a mocking way, but it was just sweet and kind of funny.
“Yeah? I’d think I’d enjoy that.”
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Via Imperii - Part 5
My Via Imperii is a comical prediction of how the final TRR book will end up if my Riley was the one the approached. She is quite a fun lady. This isn’t the Via Imperii story you might expect. I promise. 😂😂
Summary: After some time at home, Riley and Alexios talk family on the way to meet the Great One. Catch up via the Masterlist
Pairing: Riley x Hana
Content notes: Same Riley. Jokes you might not get. Realization I lied when I said this chapter would have us meeting the leader.
Characters belong to Pixelberry except for Chloe and Alexios. They are my spuds.
Part 5: My Babyboos and New Besties Too
“Heh heh, that tickles!” Riley said as she slapped her hands over her stomach. Chloe giggled as she started drawing flowers all over her mom’s hands as they relaxed on a blanket on the front lawn.
“Snack time!” Hana said as she walked over with a tray of lemonade and cut fruit. She smiled as she took in her wife and their daughter on the lawn, wearing matching gold sequin tube tops and jean shorts and decorating each other with tattoo markers.
Riley pulled Chloe into her arms and sat upon the blanket. “And Mama makes three!”
“Yeah, three!” Chloe cheered before turning towards Riley. “But Mommy, I thought you were having another baby? Isn’t that four?” Chloe tipped her head to the side before frowning.
“Riley!” Hana said as she joined them on the blanket. “We agreed we would tell her together. You must be excited if you gave up our secret so easy.”
“But I didn’t.” Riley frowned and stuffed a fistful of berries into her mouth. Chloe beamed as she crawled across the blanket to settle on Hana’s lap. “She didn’t tell me. I heard you and Mommy talking about having a baby this morning!”
Hana laughed and kissed Chloe’s hair. “How did you manage that? We were talking in bed.”
Chloe picked up a glass of lemonade and slurped some down, spilling half the glass down her front in the process. “I was hiding under your bed.”
Hana and Riley exchanged a look. Not only was their child a blabbermouth, but she picked up Riley’s reconnaissance ninja spy skills. Riley smiled; she knew those skills would come in handy for the young heir.
After having a light snack, Riley rested her head on Hana’s lap while their daughter crawled around, feeding them fruit and giving them kisses. She then showed Hana all the cool tattoos Mommy and she drew on each other. She loved the flowers and kittens Riley drew on her tummy and arms. She was pretty pleased with the flowers she drew on her mom; in addition, she loved the “My Mommy” text she scrawled anywhere skin was exposed, including her forehead and upper chest.
“Ri,” Hana said, “We should call Liam and let him know the news.” She looked down to her lap, where Riley smiled up at her as she worked on fishing her phone from her pocket.
She hit McReece on her contacts and sat up when the phone started ringing.
“Good afternoon, Riley. How are you and yours today?” Liam greeted.
“‘Sup, Ricie Reecies. Do you want to come up to our place this weekend to go bowling?”
“Let me check, but I think I have Saturday afternoon and evening free.”
Riley gave Hana a thumbs up and smirked. “Heck yeah! We want you to come up because Hana and I want to make a spare!”
The line was quiet for a moment before Riley heard Liam muttering to someone in the room. “Hey, Riley. Just checking here because we never know -- are we talking about heir and spare or bowling spare?”
Riley rolled her eyes. “The only one Hana and I can make together!”
“Oh my goodness! Really? That is wonderful news!” Liam gushed. “I bet Chloe is excited to have a little brother or sister.”
“I guess. I didn’t ask her,” Riley said before pulling Chloe onto her lap. “You want to talk to Uncle Liam?”
“Liam, Babyboo wants to talk to you.”
“Uncle LeeeeeeeRice!” Chloe squealed. “Mommy and Mama are gonna have a baby!”
Liam chuckled. “I know! Are you excited?”
Chloe’s face scrunched up at the question before she glanced at her mothers. “Why would I be excited?”
“Well, a baby means you will be a big sister!” Liam said. “Doesn’t that sound fun?”
“No!” Chloe yelled. “I’m the baby!”
“Oh, no,” Hana said as she reached for Chloe as Riley pried the phone from her chubby claws. “It’s okay, Babyboo, you are always going to be our special Chloe.”
The child didn’t look convinced.
“Hey, Liam. I was mad at Drake and deleted him from my phone. Can you tell him we can’t naked day drink anymore?”
“What the heck, Riley!” Drake yelled. Riley frowned when she realized she was on speaker.
“Okay, okay. It’s fine. I’ll put you back if you make me mocktails. I want a Ride’em Cowboy.”
Drake sighed. “I have no idea what that is.”
“Hard same, but it’s your problem now. I’m gonna be too busy carrying around Liam’s bundle of baby squish.”
“No baby!” Chloe yelled.
“It sounds like you have your hands full. And, of course, you have my full support. Anything you need, let me know.
Riley snorted. “Oh, Rhysie, you know what I need.”
Liam laughed. “Of course.”
“A tiny purple cowboy hat to go with my mocktail and a matching one for Drake. We gotta wear something when we day mock drink. Can’t be neekid when I’m preggers and all.
“I’ll see what I can do. I’ll call later to plan our visit. I hope Chloe opens up to the idea of a baby. I don’t like seeing her upset,” Liam said.
“I mean, I’m not surprised. I did the same thing when Hana wanted to keep Lady. Chloe and I are … you know …” Riley’s voice trailed off as she recognized the familiar SUV coming down the driveway to the estate. She cursed herself; she thought her meeting was tomorrow.
“Oh crap,” she muttered.
“Everything okay?” Liam asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Gotta go! Later tater,” she said before tossing the phone on the blanket.
Hana’s eyes moved between the SUV and Riley as Chloe wiggled on her lap. “Ohh, Mommy! Your secret car is here.”
Hana frowned. “I didn’t know you were going out today.”
Riley stood and brushed bits of fruit from her lap. “I guess I forgot -- time sure flies when you’re having fun! Right, Babyboo?”
The women watched as Alexios parked the vehicle and walked across the lawn towards them. He was smiling and carrying a small bag.
“Greetings, Your Graces and Princess Chloe,” he said, giving a proper bow. “I hope my being slightly early isn’t a problem.”
“Na, na. It’s cool. I just gotta go in and get ready. Is this a ball gown kinda thing or …?”
Alexios shook his head. “No, casual is fine.”
“Thank goodness. Give me a few to get presentable,” Riley said before heading to the house.
He watched her leave before turning towards Hana. “I hope you and your family will enjoy these candies. They are a Lythikan specialty. My daughter loves them, and I thought you might enjoy them too.”
Hana smiled as she took the bag. “You’re so thoughtful. Thank you.” She looked to Chloe, who was doing her best pleading eyes/begging dance. Hana chuckled; Riley always said she believe she learned it from the corgis. “Would you like to try them, Chloe?”
She nodded her head quickly as her hands jutted up. Hana opened the bag and peeked inside. “So these are chocolates?”
Alexios nodded. “Yes. A very dark chocolate high in antioxidants. It is said they helped our ancestors brave the winter cold. Today, they are often filled with fruit jams and creams. I packed an assortment, based on the flavors my son and daughter enjoy the most.”
Hana pulled a small chocolate out and placed it on Chloe’s waiting palm. “Now, what do you say?”
Alexios and Hana both looked to the child, who had chocolate smeared across her face, and she smacked her lips. “Thank you, Candyman! That is tasty.”
Hana smiled as she gathered her daughter in front of her and wrapped her arms around her shoulders. “So, where are you taking my wife today?”
“I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.”
“I understand. But I wonder … you keep taking her on what she calls ‘secret missions.’ It isn’t some sort of cult, is it?”
Alexios chuckled. “No, Your Grace.”
“Thank goodness. I’ve already had to get her out of one and a couple of pyramid schemes.” Hana sighed. “She speaks so highly of you. Thank you for taking care of her, wherever it is you are driving her.”
“She’s in safe hands and has her reasons for not divulging information for now.”
Hana gives him a knowing smile. “I see. I wonder if it has to do with someone’s birthday …” She winked before nodding to Chloe.
“It’s my birthday, Candyman. You can come to my party. We are going to have cake and pop balloons.” Chloe grinned before darting her tongue from her mouth and trying to lick chocolate from her nose.
“I’m ready!” Riley yelled as she stumbled across the lawn. “Ugh, I forgot heels are a pain on grass.”
Alexios and Hana looked at Riley before exchanging a look. He raised his brow to Hana in a request that she address the issue at hand. Hana smiled. “Oh, Riley, are you sure you want to go out dressed in your home clothes?”
Riley looked down; she was wearing the same tube top and shorts outfit she had worn on the lawn. She had added glittery gold heels and the black fascinator she received from King Eirik. Her body was still adorned with flowers and “My Mommy.” “What’s wrong with my outfit? Sure, home clothes, but I’m looking fly.”
Hana nodded. “Of course. You do look cute, and I know how proud you are of being a mother.”
“Darn tootin’,” Riley said before tugging up her tube top. “Because the person I’m going to see will love knowing we will have a new one on the way soon.”
“A new what?” Chloe asked.
“Another candy!” Hana said as she pulled one from the bag and handed it to her daughter. She would save the tears over becoming a sister for when Riley was home.
“I’m ready to bounce,” Riley said before kissing her family goodbye. She adjusted her large mom purse on her shoulder. “Let’s roll, Alex-i-oo.”
Alexios glanced in the rearview mirror periodically as the SUV wove its way through the valley towards Portavira. Riley hadn’t been chatting his ear off, and he was concerned she had passed out or died. Instead, he found her watching out the window with a thoughtful look on her face.
“Are you feeling okay, Ri Ri?”
Riley sighed as she sat back in her seat. “Honestly, my man, I’m a little nervous.”
Alexios smiled. “No need to worry; King Eirik will meet us at our destination and take you to meet The Great One. Just be your charming self.”
She shook her head. “It isn’t that. Chloe seemed upset about us having another baby. I just hate to see my family unhappy. I’d do anything for them, you know?”
Alexios nodded. “I understand. I’m a father myself. My son was six when my daughter was born, and, I swear, you would think we told him we were going to toss him in a snowbank and leave him for the wolves by the way he cried. But once his sister showed up, one look at her, and it was like he understood she was part of our family.”
“That sounds promising. Chloe does like to feel important,” Riley mused, “but I’m not sure how I feel about hearing about this for nine months plus however long it takes me to conceive.”
“Awe, the Great One will enjoy knowing that the child will have your blood. I assume you are also Chloe’s birth mother?”
Riley let out a sigh. “We had hoped Hana could carry the children -- she always wanted to experience pregnancy and birth -- but some assholes decided she couldn’t have children to make our marriage fit into the bigger storyline the way they wanted.”
“God does work in mysterious ways.”
Riley snorted. “Yeah, they think they are God, making so many stupid choices. When I came to Cordonia, my story was written -- I had to find love. And I said to myself, Riley, you are gay as fuck, and Hana was the only lady out of the four people I was pushed to couple up with. But she is perfection, and I love her so, so much.”
“You do have a beautiful family,” Alexios said as he exited the expressway. “We should be arriving soon.”
“Can we hit the next rest stop? I gotta drop some Ds.”
His face twisted at Riley’s overshare. “Of course, but I don’t need to know the details.”
“I was going to offer to get you a snack too. I gotta lotta Ds in my bag. I have to gather all them moneys up, but snacks on me. I got all the money, and I know how to spend it: pop-top chips, sports drink, an energy drink. What you want?”
Alexios laughed as he realized he misunderstood her. “Surprise me, as you always do.”
Riley watched him in the mirror for a second as she tapped her chin. “You’re a pretzel man. Cool ranch pretzels.”
“Cool ranch pretzels? I’ve never had those.”
Riley laughed. “They are great and easy to eat when you are driving. Besides, only the finest treats for my best friend, category Via Imperii members. Just don’t tell the big K. E.”
After parking and exhausting Riley’s supply of wet wipes to remove cheese and cool ranch powders from their hands, Alexios escorted Riley to a building she had never been to before on the outskirts of Portavira. She looked around and wiggled her nose. Something fishy was going on; why would The Great One live out here, on the ocean, in what looks like an old mud hut?
As they approached, Eirik stepped through the door and greeted them. “Your Grace --”
“Of course, Ri Ri,” Eirik said. His eyes shifted up and down her body as he took in her interesting ensemble and “My Mommy” declarations. He raised a brow as he forced himself to meet her eye. “The Leader has been waiting for this day for a long time. He has great faith that you will be able to help us accomplish our mission.”
“Sure, that sounds great,” Riley said as she tugged a little too hard on her tube top; it came up on one side, and the lower half of her breast popped out. “I hope he has some snacks. Alexios will tell you, dude, we had all the snacks on the drive up, and I dropped all my Ds at the rest stop, but I’m still hungry.” She frowned when she noticed that Eirik had averted his eyes. “Dude, manners. You are looking at the Chosen One,” she whined before pausing. “I mean, you are NOT looking at the Chosen One.”
“My apologies, but your top needs to be adjusted,” Eirik said.
Riley looked down. “Oh, ha ha. Leftie likes to pop out of this top. I think it’s cause she’s bigger.” She paused long enough to adjust her top to contain her assets. “But dude, when I have my baby, you are gonna get used to it. I breastfeed, and I don’t give a hoot what you think about it.”
Eirik turned eight shades of red. “Very good. Now, let me take you to our Leader.”
Perma tags: @ao719 @bbrandy2002 @burnsoslow @choiceslife @dcbbw @gkittylove99 @iaminlovewithtrr @jovialyouthmusic @katedrakeohd @kingliam2019 @queenrileyrose @rainbowsinthestorm @shewillreadyou @sweatyrysconnoisseur @twinkleallnight
Via Imperii: @masterofbluff @kat-tia801 @gnatbrain
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Forbidden Love Sweet Pea x Fem! Reader
Warning: Cursing, abuse
Summary: You live on the Northside and you are the smartest one in the school. People call you the nerd and you just don’t mind. But what happens when the south siders come to Northside? Will fall in love with Sweet Pea or Will he have to earn your Trust? Read to Find out.
Sorry it’s long
No one pov:
It was like any other day y/n got up and got dressed in black skinny jeans, white shirt, black leather jacket with roses on the back of it with white convers and a red choker. Yes, I know what you are thinking “Isn’t she the nerd of the school?” and yes she is but she has a great sense of style. As she heads to school she walks alone because she has no friends because no one wants to be her friend. As she walks she notices that there is a commotion in front of the school as she enters it. What she sees is very shocking... She sees Southside Serpents at Northside High. (a/n not sure if that is the name of the school but oh well back to the story.) Y/n sees Cheryl and Reggie trying to get the serpents out of the school.
As I walk down to see what is going on I see a very tall Serpent and can I just say he is fucking hot. As I was trying to figure out how tall he was Reggie puts his arm around me and calls me babe. “REGGIE I AM NOT YOU “BABE” WE ARE NOT DATING SO QUIT TRYING” I forgot that the serpents were standing there and everyone was looking at me. Eventually the bell rang and we had to head to class. Thank god bell I thought I would die I thought. As I enter class I see 4 of the serpents there. “Okay Class we have new students joining us today... Their names are Sweet Pea, Fangs Fogarty, Jughead Jones, and Toni Topaz.” “Mrs. Morgan” “Yes miss y/n” “I was wondering when the paper is due” “Well first was that appropriate when I am introducing the new students?” “No” “and second it is due in 3 weeks but since you Miss y/n wanted to interrupt me it will be due in 3 days. Lets hope you have 5 pages.” “Mrs. Morgan?” “YES... Miss y/n” “I already finished the paper and I have 10 pages.” The teacher tells me to turn it in and as I walked to the front of the class everybody was staring at me. As the lesson continues I just wonder why the Serpents are here like what happened at Southside high? Then a kid named Josh starts to make noises and was interrupting the class and sked the question on my mind. “Mrs. Morgan?” “Yes Josh?” “Why are the serpents at our school?” “Well their was a fire at our old school and is still going and the firemen can’t get it to burn out.” The girl with pink hair answered. “Well have you tried to close the windows?” “what?” “Did you close the windows?” “No?” “Well the there is your problem” “What are you talking about” “If you don’t close the windows the fire will keep going and when the windows are closed and put a wet blanket or towel and then start to spray it with water then the fire will start to go out.” “Sorry about her she is the dork of the school or maybe a firefighter” Josh told them I just took the book off of Sweet Pea’s desk and threw it at Josh’s head. “She is also a loner” “You better keep your mouth shut if I were you Josh because did you know my mom is a police officer and I wouldn’t her to know what you did to me July 4th now would we?” “no... Well I really don’t mind I mean it’s not my fault you don’t have a boyfriend and will never get one also you know the consequences if you tell.”
Sweet Pea pov:
“No... Well I really don’t mind I mean it’s not my fault you don’t have a boyfriend and will never get one also you know the consequences if you tell” Is what the boy said to the girl with the black leather jacket with roses on it. “Oh you better shut up Josh you were the one who was trying to get me to be your girlfriend and you were also the one who raped me for not being yours” Woah is all I could think because she was raped and no one knew? “… it must have slipped oops” “You better shut your mouth we made a deal and you know what happens when you spill the secret?” “well...I didn’t mean to let it slip Josh you are the most horrifying person yet” Where in the world is the teacher? SMACK What the hell. “huh... did you just hit me Josh?” “what do you think?” As I was watching this the girl just kick him where it hurts like hard and he went to the ground she started to kick him and punch him then I saw a women police show up. “Y/N!!” “MOM!” “What do you think you are doing?” “Mom I don’t know anymore...” “y/n you are turning into your father” “what do you mean?... Oh I know what you mean now” “We will discuss this at home in the mean time Joshua you are going to Jail for sexual abuse.” I watched as y/n went to the back of the class but before she did she handed me back my book. “Sorry for taking it” “It... It’s fine” why did I stutter am I afraid of her?
I watched as she got into a really expensive car and the same women police officer was in the front of the wheel an she got into the passenger seat.
As me and my mom enter our house she tells me I need to take a breather. You see when I was younger my dad was abusing my mom I tried to stop him but that didn’t work because then he started to abuse me, then hell broke loose you want to know why well it was because my dad was a ghoulie and everyone at the school didn’t know well except for Mike but he left for New York and I used to be good friends with Jason Blossom and Cheryl Blossom but then Cheryl became popular and know I am alone again also because Jason had died. I also don’t have a boyfriend was because h used to abuse me as well so what Josh said was and wasn’t true. “Honey!!” “Yeah mom?” “I invited some people over” “Oh okay... Do I have to come down?” “yes I want you to meet them okay” “kay” as I walk down stairs I see the Serpents. And DAD!?!?!? “Mom what is dad doing here??” “well sweetie he came back to apologize” “NO!!!” “What do you mean NO” “WELL HE WAS THE ONE WHO ABUSED ME AND YOU MOM AND WHEN HE LEFT I WAS AT PEACE I HAVE FUCKING SCARES BECAUSE OF HIME THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU LET HIM BACK IN OUR LIVES.” “LOOK Y/N” “DON’T... DON’T LOOK ME DAD OR MAYBE I SHOULD CALL YOU RICHARD” “What is going on m/n” “look F.P my daughter has ghoulie blood in her which means she is turning into her dad.” “oh sweetie we can be a family again” “NO.... I don’t want to be like you don’t you understand I hate you and I hate that you think that I will let you back into my life like you did nothing” “You were supposed to be there for me but you weren’t you let me down and now I have trust issues because of you” “Oh honey I was there for you” “NO YOU WEREN’T IF YOUU WERE THEN WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS BEING ABUSED OR RAPED BY JOSH” “I TOLD HIM TO RAPE YOU Y/N HE WAS FOWOLLING ORDERS BECAUSE I NEW IF YOU HAD GHOULIE SIDE IN YOU THEN YOU WOULD BREAK” “maybe I don’t want you as my dad anymore then” “y/n don’t...” “no F.P I know what I want in my life and Who and the person I don’t want back in y life is you dad so get the hell you and go back to where ever you were, and don’t bother coming back”
3 Months later:
I started to like one boy and his name is Sweet Pea. yes I know I shouldn’t but he is so tough and he is fucking hot. I am also good friends with Toni, Juggie and Fangs. As I was walking to school I saw Betty all over Sweet Pea and he seemed comfortable then I realized one thing I’m jealous. I go over to betty and yell at her and say I saw him first and he was mine. As I figured out what I just said I ran to the girls bathroom. Betty came in and said “I don’t like him y/n I was trying to make you jealous because he also likes you to he was trying to find a way to get close o you to gain your trust.” “Betty he already had my trust” “How?” “after the fight with my dad I ran out of the house... I was running and running then I stopped because I couldn’t run any faster. I then realized I was in the southside these men came up and tried to attack me because they were drunk just in time Sweet Pea saved my life and from then on I started to crush on him. but before that we talked for a while and I trusted him to keep my secrets and my life story and he never told anyone and he also took me home” “Well then y/n you need to tell him how you fell.” “yeah you’re right” As the day goes by I find the courage to tell sweet pea how I feel. “Hey Sweets?” “hey y/n What's up?” “Oh I wanted to tell you that I think I love you” “That’s good news” “Why?” “because I think I love you to” then he did some thing he kissed me I did not respond immediately but when I figures what he was doing I kissed back.