the songs you listen to at ages 15-17 will rip holes into your heart when you listen to them again later in life.
Matty Healy put his entire dick into I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes).
Now I’m curious, apart from that album what would you say your top 5 favourite albums are?
omg this is too much for me to think about at 1:30 lol but off the top of my head:
1. Harry Styles by Harry Styles
2. An Awesome Wave by alt-J
3. Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend
4. AM by arctic monkeys
5. Currents by Tame Impala
I JUST SAW THE 1975 LIVE OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!
Lol I just got home and my feet are dying. But the concert was amazing!! I might share some more pictures tomorrow because when I say I’m incapable of doing anything but falling asleep rn I fucking mean it so gn everyone!
IT’S NOT LIVING — ANDREW!PETER PARKER
summary | Peter was having difficulty balancing being in a committed relationship with you and being Spiderman.
pairing: peter parker x reader
genre: very angsty, lovers to strangers
length: 1.5k words
cw: no nwh spoilers, gender-neutral reader, Andrew’s Peter suffering once more, someone give that man a hug, you’re his MJ, one-sided pinning, mentions of cheating
song(s) to listen to: It’s not living (if it’s not with you) by The 1975
a/n | I hope all of Andrew's fans are in TEARS as a result of this. Now I'm basing my recent fanfics on songs.
m.list / nav. / kofi. / discord.!
He falls asleep during conversations.
The white man flinched, his eyes widening as a sudden smile creaked on his face.
Peter sat with his head on top of his folded arms, slouching to lean against the library desk. Across from him sat you, the light of his life despite the irritated scowl on your lips.
“Were you even listening Parker?” Uh oh, you were using his last name, which suggested he made a mistake.
He wouldn't have taken the warning seriously if he hadn't loved hearing his name slip from your lips or seeing you roll your eyes. as well as watching you bring the pen you were holding to your lips, the gesture caused him to reposition himself in his chair.
“Of course, I was listening, I would pay just to hear you talk all day if it might I could hear you say my name like that again.”
He's gotta search the street when he's on vacation.
He couldn't get rid of the nervousness that made his ears ring or the way he fidgeted in place while holding your hand.
You assumed his nervous state was due to the new environment, the vacation being a gift that you both worked for, and given how recently anxious Peter had been working at the newspaper.
You wanted to do something to take his mind off his overly cluttered schedule. Something that brought you two back together again, missing the times when you two would just mess around in each other's company.
You planned the trip without telling him, assuming it wouldn't be too difficult to travel from New York to Florida for weeks.
He had worked hard enough to be able to take some time off, so you called ahead of time to ensure that he could use some of his vacation time without his knowledge.
You thought spending time together in the hot weather would be a good idea, but Peter couldn't seem to get his mind off whatever was bothering him the entire time. You sighed as you noticed him lost in thought again, clutching the ring box in your pocket.
maybe now wasn’t the best time…
And all I do is sit and think about you
Peter couldn't pull it off. That man was struggling to balance his two lives, being Spiderman and your boyfriend, and he noticed how distant you two were from each other.
You were also the one to come to him for something or reach out when it came to your relationship, which he appreciated because he didn't have to give his full attention knowing that you'd always be there when he was done doing what he needed as Spiderman.
But he could tell you were giving up on him recently; he knew you were tired of putting in your all just to spend time with him before he would stumble into his apartment sore and tired.
Or simply stopped him when he made excuses for standing you up on dates you reminded him of weeks in advance.
You were slipping away, unaware that even when he was away fighting bad guys in his secret life, he was still too distracted to do his job with you and as Spiderman properly.
and I know you think you’re sly but you need some imagination
He felt the way you tensed as your phone chimed by your lap, refusing to flip your phone upward to even take notice of the notification.
A pit formed in the bottom of his stomach as the device ding again, watching as you picked it up and placed it against your nightstand.
Still lying face down He reasoned that if he forgot about it, the numbing sensation that had settled in his brain would go away.
He'd just forget about how you shifted away from him moments later to answer the unexpected phone call that you left to answer in another room.
He tried to stop himself from trailing after you overheard the conversation that irritated him.
You were talking to someone else, someone he didn't know the name of or how you and he met without his knowledge. You used to tell him about everyone you met, but now he felt like a stranger in your life.
“who was that?”
You avoided his stare by crawling against the mattress with your phone in hand, returning to cuddling against his side.
Peter stopped you before you could reach out to touch him, crossing his arms and sitting against your headboard, his gaze redirected to the movie that was now playing for deaf ears.
“A friend, just asking if we could hang out tomorrow”
“I thought we had something planned for tomorrow?”
The question caught you off guard, and you looked up at Peter, perplexed.
You could tell something was wrong with him by the way he sat just to avoid making eye contact with you, or by the way, he bit the dead skin from his lips. He was envious, as evidenced by his posture.
Knowing that Peter would usually stand you up whenever you made plans to spend time together, you weren't bothered with the task any longer.
Finding it mentally taxing to constantly remind him that he needed to keep the time in his schedule to hang out with you.
So, naturally, you stopped making plans, reasoning that it would be better for you both to find time to hang out naturally within your schedules.
Of course, the plan failed; if anything, it gave Peter the idea that he could spend more time as Spiderman, leaving you alone.
“Yeah, let’s do something tomorrow I’ve missed hanging out with you”
all I do is sit and drink without you.
Peter messed up.
He got carried away again, taking care of other people's problems while swinging through the streets, fixing whatever he could get his hands on.
He noticed the time had passed midnight just moments before assisting a woman in returning her stolen bike, allowing time to get the best of him.
His heart skipped a beat when he realized he was supposed to spend the night at your house, as he promised last night.
Swinging to your house with a speed he never imagined he could achieve, only to realize it was too late. He was about to walk up to your apartment when he noticed you walking out the building's doors.
He felt his heart drop, dipping behind the corner and peeking around the corner to see you walking in the opposite direction with another guy by your side.
“He always does this it’s fine, it’s just how Peter is” You were talking about him to the guy, and the guy knew Peter's name but didn't know his something that was entirely his fault, but he couldn't swallow the fact that you were busy making excuses for him.
if I choose then I lose.
The confession was a stark contrast to the tense atmosphere that had settled within your bedroom; only moments before, you and your partner had been yelling at each other.
Just moments ago, you and Peter were arguing about the guy he couldn't get his mind off of; he had been trying all day to shake his mind off of the nameless virus that he was blaming for your absence, and he accused you of things he would never have expected you to do.
While speaking from a place of rage and heartbreak, he was doing the same to yours.
“Well, when you see Peter Parker tell him that I can’t do this anymore.”
distract my brain from the terrible news.
Peter knew stalking you on social media was a toxic thing to do.
It had been two years since he told you he was Spiderman and two years since you broke off your relationship, leaving him in his own head.
It took him months to discover that you had begun dating the nameless man who seemed to sweep you off your feet at just the right time.
He also discovered his name was Harry, and you two worked for the same company, apparently meeting through work, and he had been smitten with you ever since.
The only difference between Harry and Peter was that Harry actually treated you like he was.
It took Peter a few more years to realize Harry's true identity, the rage he felt when he discovered the man you were in love with was the cause of your untimely death, he was a monster who fed off of other people's suffering.
He wanted to smack that smug look off his face when he proudly boasted about taking you away from him, saying that lying to you was the easiest thing he'd ever done.
“thanks to you [y/n] never knew what a real relationship was, you just made it so easy for me to kill them”
it’s not living if it’s not with you
“I became bitter and stopped pulling my punches. I became full of rage.”
notes: Hopefully the users below don’t mind that I’m tagging them in literally all my Andrew!Peter fanfics for now on.
— taglist: @tsukishimawhore @meowkinq @denkisdurag @lolalora @thatbaepizzalover @louderfortheback @cxnismajcr
For the bestfriend'sbrother!Bucky AU
Give us more! Give us their whole love story! Pretty PLEEEAAASE
How would these cuties try to hide from Becca to steal some alone time without getting caught?
I can imagine some hilarious moments while one is hidding under the bed when Becca comes into the room or something
Or Becca constantly asking reader about her secret lover because she just looks so happy and glowing all the time
It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)
Part Two of BFB!Bucky AU
part one - Not Givin' It Up Again (18+ Only)
part three - It's You and I, Tonight
Pairing: bestfriend'sbrother!Bucky x f!reader (any race)
Summary: Your best friend’s brother is finally yours, now what?
Warnings: age gap, swearing, oral (f and m receiving), smut (p in v, shower), praise, pet names [good girl, baby], low-key angst
A/N: I'm so surprised at the response I got from the first part of this! Thank you to everyone who commented, liked, and reblogged it <3 I hope part two lives up to your standards!!! Feel free to send me a request if you'd like something more tailored to your wants/needs :) Special thanks to @cwbucky for reading this and hyping me up lol
series masterlist |main masterlist | one shot masterlist
part 1 | part 3
title is the 1975's song "It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)"
IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 DO NOT INTERACT WITH THIS
Life with Bucky is wild, to put it simply. Nearly every night, you’re either sneaking into his room or sneaking him into yours. It’s a rush every time, adrenaline coursing through you as you hush Bucky, worried you’ll wake Becca.
Even though you can’t hang out together in public, any time you and your friends are out at a party or club, you and Bucky find time to sneak away. You haven’t quite taken it so far as to fuck in the bathroom, but you’ve come pretty close a few times. Bucky always stops it before it can get too far, claiming, ‘Your beautiful sounds are for my ears only, baby. All mine.’ You never tried to fight him on that.
A few nights ago, Becca nearly walked in while Bucky was going down on you. You’d shoved him into your closet and had to tell Becca you were having some ‘self-care time’. She pretended to vomit and told you to be quieter next time. Bucky thought that was pretty funny, but you couldn’t look her in the eye for the next day.
Finals are coming up, so you haven’t been able to spend much time with Bucky recently, opting for long nights in the library with his sister. He texts you the entire time, telling you how much he misses you, how much he wishes you were with him—all the things he’d do to you. Becca gives your phone a weird look as you ignore the repeated buzzing; you can’t hold back your smile.
“You’re being so weird lately,” she says, copying a passage from her textbook into her notebook. You roll your eyes; it isn’t the first time she’s commented on your seemingly odd behavior. The morning after her birthday, she’d been too busy being hungover to notice you making your way back into the apartment after spending the night with Bucky, but once she’d recovered, she wouldn’t stop begging you for details on the mystery man you’d spent the night with. You didn’t give her any; you hadn’t been sure what to say.
“You keep saying that but never explain,” you counter, scrolling through your study guide. You dodge all her questions every time she brings it up. ‘Is he our age? Where’d you meet him? A frat boy? Elaine’s dad? You know I won’t judge you; we all have our fantasies…’ You’d nearly thrown up at that last one.
Becca groans exaggeratedly and drops her head back on her chair. “You suck.” She tosses a pen at you, and it smacks you on the forehead before you can duck out of the way. “I just don’t get why you’re hiding him. I’ve never judged you before, and I never will. I just want to be happy for you.” You sigh and rub at the small bump that’s forming on your head. Becca says that she won’t judge you, that she won’t care who it is, but you know the second she finds out it’s her brother, that’ll all change. Bucky always has and always will be off-limits. The entire time you’ve known the Barnes siblings, you’ve known that Becca hates living in his shadow.
Growing up, Bucky was popular. He was always surrounded by friends, going to parties, classic high school stuff. People that wanted ‘in’ on Bucky’s group often went to Becca, asking for her to introduce them to her hot older brother. It didn’t help that Bucky was smart as a whip, straight A’s, honors society. All of Becca’s teachers expected her to be the same, but school wasn’t as easy for her as it was for him.
Becca never made you promise you wouldn’t go out with Bucky, but it was an unspoken agreement. You are there for Becca. She always has and always will be your first choice. But you couldn’t help but develop feelings for Bucky. His kind eyes, that fucking smile, it all makes you melt. Becca would never understand; she’s been burned too many times.
“I just don’t want to make too big of a deal out of it just yet,” you say, a twinge of guilt pulling in your chest. Bucky is a big deal. After years and years of just sitting on the sidelines, letting your feelings grow, you can’t just not fall for him. And you want, more than anything, to be able to have a normal relationship with him. But you can’t, not with Becca being his sister.
“Seems like a big deal already,” she says grumpily. “You’re always smiling at your phone or going to his place. You think I don’t hear you coming back in?” You shake your head guiltily. Fuck.
“Come on, Becs, I’ll tell you when I’m ready.” Becca shifts in her seat, and you let her examine your face. She’s looking for the lie, but you know she won’t find one. You’re telling the truth. You will tell her eventually, just not quite yet.
She sticks out her pinky finger and furrows her brow. “Promise?”
You nod and hook your finger with hers. “Promise.” Your phone buzzes a few more times, so you finally check it. Bucky, in classic fashion, has told you that there’s an emergency at his place that desperately needs your attention. You don’t allow yourself to smile. Instead, you shoot him a text that you’ll be there soon and tuck your phone in your pocket.
“That him?” She asks, feigning disinterest in the whole thing. You pack up your stuff and nod. You’ve been in the library for hours; you’re fine calling it a night.
“Yeah, I’m gonna stay there tonight,” you say, zipping your bag. “I’ll see you in the morning, ’kay? Call me if you need anything.” You ruffle her hair in the way she hates, and she swats at your hand.
“Use a condom,” she calls after you as you close the door to the study room. You roll your eyes and flip her off through a laugh.
You catch a bus to Bucky’s place, and before long, you’re buzzed into the building. When you reach his door, you don’t even have to knock. He swings it open and pulls you against his chest. He’s shirtless, so the warmth of his skin immediately reaches you, and you nuzzle your face into it.
“So, Steve’s not home?” You ask, pushing away a bit to kiss his cheek. Bucky hauls you up against him, your legs hook behind his back, and you hold on to his neck.
“We’ve got the place to ourselves,” he replies before capturing your lips in a heated kiss. You let your fingers grip the ends of his hair, it’s started to grow out a bit, and you absolutely love it. His hands grip you tightly, and you groan at the feeling of his metal fingers digging into your skin. At first, he’d been wary of touching you with it, but you quickly showed him that you adored every inch of him, including his metal arm.
“Well, that works out, doesn’t it?” You murmur against his lips. “You were talking up a big game when you were texting me; you gonna be able to follow through, Buck?” He moans as you bite his lip, and you know you’re in for it.
Without breaking away from the kiss, Bucky walks the two of you to his bedroom, kicking the door shut behind him. He supports you with one arm as he locks the door, then he tosses you onto his bed. You bounce a few times and laugh as he stalks back toward you.
You drink him in; you’ll never get enough. His sweatpants hang low on his hips, showing off the band of his boxers. Though the room is only illuminated by a small lamp, the shadows Bucky’s muscles cast over his skin make your mouth water. He’s built like a fucking god. It’s all for you, baby. Gotta make sure I can please my girl. His words alone had nearly made you orgasm.
“You look like you’re about to jump me,” Bucky says, pulling your ankles until you’re seated on the edge of the bed. He stands in front of you between your legs and lets his hands roam your face. The chill of metal sends goosebumps through your body while his flesh fingers warm the skin. He kisses your forehead, your nose, and then your lips. Your hands reach around him, feeling him all over. You memorize every inch of him with your fingertips; you want to know him blind.
Your fingers reach his waistband, and you untie his sweats before gently tugging them down his legs. He mutters a curse against you but doesn’t stop you as you do the same to his boxers, freeing what looks like a painful erection. You wrap your fingers around his base and slowly work his cock.
“Shit, baby,” he whispers. You know his body well, just like he knows yours. You know what he likes, what makes him tick. His fingers lace in your hair as you guide your lips away from his and down to his tip, slowly working your tongue along him. He grips your hair tighter but doesn’t push you; he lets you take your time. When you take him in your mouth, he groans loudly, and you feel yourself get even more turned on.
You love how vocal he is, and he loves telling you how good you’re doing. “You’re doing so fucking good,” he grunts as you pick up the pace. You can’t fit him entirely in your mouth, so whatever you can’t reach, your hands take care of. You take him as far as you can and feel yourself gag around his length. Bucky’s hips twitch at the feeling, pushing him a little deeper. He’s holding back, but you don’t want that. You want him to lose control. You graze your teeth ever so slightly along his shaft, and it’s enough for Bucky to snap his hips again. He only lets you continue for a moment before he gently pushes you off him.
“Couldn’t handle it, Buck?” You tease, smiling up at him. Without speaking, Bucky tugs your clothes off of you and tosses them on the other side of the bed. His pupils are blown with lust, and you feel yourself melt under his gaze.
“You’re gonna regret saying that,” he mumbles. He drops to his knees and attaches his mouth to your clit. You don’t hold back your noises; it feels good to be loud after not being able to for so long. Bucky expertly works you, licking and sucking all the right places. You feel an orgasm building, and you tug Bucky’s hair, urging him to keep going, but the second you show signs of getting close, he pulls away.
“Bucky,” you whine, rolling your hips in search of friction. He clamps his hands down on your waist to keep you from moving.
“That’s not how this works, Baby,” he says, nipping at the sensitive skin of your inner thigh. One of his thumbs reaches over and slowly works your clit, not letting the feeling of your ruined orgasm fade. “You’re the one that wants to play games,” he whispers against your skin. “Now, it’s my turn.” He dives back in, and you moan when he slides two metal fingers inside you. The second he touches you, you’re writhing against the bed. You’re so close again; you can practically taste the orgasm building.
“Pl-please, Buck,” you beg shamelessly. You feel him smile against you, and he works your clit faster and faster, bringing you right up to the edge.
“What was that, Baby? I didn’t quite hear you.” His metal fingers continue to curl inside of you while his flesh thumb rubs circles along your clit.
“Please, Bucky, please,” you whine, gripping the sheets. You’re so close, so fucking close.
“Please what? I’m not a mind reader. You gotta tell me what you need.” He sucks a mark into your inner thigh, and you feel tears prick in the corners of your eyes. “Big girl words, baby,” he whispers.
“I need to cum, Bucky, please, please!” Bucky groans and doubles his efforts. Your vision whites out as your orgasm washes over you. You shake under his touch, and Bucky holds you the entire time. He doesn’t pull away until you’re too sensitive and pushing him off of you. Bucky stands and crawls over you, pressing his weight onto you.
“You’re such a good girl for me,” he whispers as he presses a sweet kiss to your lips. You can taste yourself on him, and you moan into his mouth. Your fingers rake over the skin on his back, you’re sure you’re leaving marks, but Bucky doesn’t mind one bit. As you scratch his back, you feel Bucky’s cock lay heavily on your abdomen. You need him inside you; you need to feel him stretching you. Bucky keeps kissing you; he bites your lips and swipes his tongue to soothe you. You slide one of your hands between your bodies and find his cock. He throbs in your grip.
“I need you to fuck me, Bucky,” you say between kisses. Bucky leans his forehead against yours and stares down into your eyes.
“You sure you can take it, Baby?” You nod eagerly. You know you can. “Well, what kind of man would I be to deny my girl what she wants?” He sucks a mark on your collarbone, littering kisses along your neck and chest.
He sits up and pulls a condom from his nightstand drawer, expertly rolling it over his length. Bucky leans back over you and spreads your legs. The heat of his gaze makes you squirm, so he presses your hips down into the mattress. He lines his cock up with your entrance, bumping your clit a few times first. “You’re so fucking wet for me, Baby,” he grunts through gritted teeth.
“Bucky,” you groan, gripping his arms with your fingers. “Bucky, I need you so bad.” You sound pathetic, and it just spurs Bucky on. He pushes into you, inch by agonizing inch. The stretch is incredible, and you can’t hold back the moan that forces its way out of your throat.
“I never fucking get over how tight you are,” he says against your neck, kissing the spot just below your jaw. “Fucking made for me.” You love it when he says that, when he calls you ‘his’. You want to be his in every sense of the term.
“You gotta move, Buck, please,” you say, digging your nails into his shoulders. He sets a brutal pace, pounding you into the mattress. Despite the force he’s fucking you with, all you feel is how much he cares about you. He just wants you to feel good. You show him just how good you feel, exposing yourself to him and moaning loudly.
Bucky tells you how filthy you are, how good you are for him, how much he loves fucking you.
You’re so lost in the feeling that you nearly miss the sound of the front door slamming shut. Bucky must hear it too because he slows down just slightly.
“Steve’s not supposed to come back until tomorrow,” he whispers against your neck. You nod and try to sit up, but Bucky keeps you pressed to the mattress. Roommates being home has never stopped the two of you before. Why now?
“I know you’re home, Buck. Your keys are by the door!” Becca’s voice rings through the apartment, and you feel your heart stop. Fuck. Bucky freezes, and you can see the panic in his eyes.
“She can’t know,” you whisper, barely audible. Bucky looks hurt, but he knows what it would do to his sister if she found out like this. He pulls away from you, and you don’t have time to mourn the loss of the feeling of him on top of you.
“One sec, Becs,” he calls, hastily tugging his sweats back on. His erection hasn’t gone down at all, and he grimaces as it presses against his waistband. You pull on your panties and a t-shirt as quickly as possible, gather your clothes, then try to look for a hiding spot. Becca’s footsteps get closer and closer to the bedroom, and you realize the only option is under the bed or in his closet.
You give Bucky a panicked look, and he points under his bed. Becca rattles the doorknob and groans, “Come on, Buck.” You slip under the bed and curl up as tight as possible before he opens the door.
“What’s going on, Becca?” Bucky asks. He’s standing against the wall, blocking her from coming in, but Becca pushes past him and sits down on the bed. The mattress sags a bit with the weight.
“You need to wash the sheets. It smells weird in here.” You can tell from the tone of her voice that she’s upset. You wonder what’s happened since you saw her an hour ago. Bucky sucks in a breath before turning to face his sister. From under the bed, you can only see his feet, but you can tell he’s nervous.
“Sorry.” Becca shifts on the bed, and silence falls in the room. You calm your breaths as much as possible, but no matter how slowly you breathe, you’re convinced it’s too loud.
“Have you talked to Y/N recently?” She says after a few moments—the air in the room changes. You wonder if Becca senses it.
“No, why?” Bucky shifts to lean against the wall across from Becca. He’s trying to seem relaxed, but his voice is tense. Becca groans, and you can hear her fidget with the zipper of her jacket.
“She’s seeing some guy. I think they started hooking up around my birthday. I don’t care that she’s fucking someone, but she won’t tell me who he is.” She sounds just as tense as Bucky.
“What does this have to do with me?” You can tell he’s silently asking a different question, ‘Do you know it’s me?’
“I don’t know; you’ve always been so protective of her. I figured maybe you’d’ve heard something or whatever. You’d never let her be with a shitty person. I know you guys are close even though you pretend not to be for my sake, which I don’t feel like getting into right now. Maybe she trusts you more with boy stuff than me.” She sounds so upset, and you hate being the one to make her feel that way. Becca has been your best friend for so long, and sure, you guys fight, but you always make up in the end. You don’t know how you’re going to make up for this.
“She hasn’t told me anything,” Bucky says quietly. He sounds just as guilty as you feel. You feel Becca lay back on the sheets. Her head is just above yours now.
“I’m worried about her. She’s always smiling at her phone, fuck. She glows, Buck. She fucking glows. I’ve never seen her like this, and the fact that she’s hiding him from me means she knows I won’t like him. But how could she know that if she won’t give me a chance to get to know him?” Bucky moves to sit beside his sister. They’ve never been the most affectionate of siblings, but they’re close. As much as Becca hates to admit it, Bucky is her built-in best friend; she can tell him pretty much anything. And now, as she seeks comfort on an issue you’ve created, you can practically hear the tension melt away from the air as Bucky’s presence comforts her.
“Maybe she’s just not sure what’s going on yet,” Bucky suggests. “She might not wanna bring a new guy around if it’s just gonna end in a week.” His words make you feel uneasy, you know he’s not really talking about you, but you wonder if that’s how he feels. Does he think you’re just going to drop him in a week?
“She’s gonna get hurt,” Becca says in a serious tone. “I can feel it. Whoever this guy is, he can’t be good for her. That’s why she won’t tell me.” Bucky tries to interrupt, but Becca doesn’t let him. “She tells me everything, Buck. Everything. She told me about her first period, the day she lost her virginity to Max Ellington; she even told me about the time she accidentally walked in on you in the shower.” You cringe at her examples. Did she have to be so detailed? Bucky looses a small laugh but quickly cuts himself off.
“I get it. You two are freaky close. Why do you think this guy is going to hurt her, though?” You wish you could crawl out from under the bed and hold both their hands.
“She’s never been like this with a guy before, even when she’s dated people long term. I’ve never seen her light up the way she does when he texts her. She tries to sneak back in in the morning, but I can just tell she’s so fucking happy. She doesn’t know how to not get attached. What kind of guy would hide Y/N away like that? She deserves to be flaunted, shown off. She’s perfect, and she shouldn’t be hidden away like someone’s mistress.” Your heart squeezes in your chest.
“You know I’d never let anyone hurt her, Becca,” Bucky says sternly. You hear the slight whir of his metal arm adjusting; it’s a nervous tick. “I’ll talk to her, but I promise I won’t let her get hurt.” Becca sighs loudly.
“You can’t promise that, Buck, but thanks.” Becca sits up, and you watch her feet as she walks toward the door. “Sorry for just barging in, though. Thanks for talking with me.” Bucky stands, and though you can’t see, you know he pulls her into a hug.
“Of course, Becs. I’ve got you.” They stand in silence for a moment before Becca steps outside.
“You’re home alone, and you don’t have a girl over?” Becca teases as she walks down the hall. “Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?”
“Fuck off, Becca!” He shouts back. Becca shuts the door behind her, and once you’re sure she’s gone, you crawl out from under the bed. Bucky turns back around as you lean your back against his mattress. There’s a lot you want to say, but you can’t quite find the words. Bucky crouches down in front of you and runs his fingers through his hair.
“We have to tell her,” you whisper. You feel like if you say it too loudly, Becca will hear somehow. Bucky sits down and pulls you into his lap. You curl into him and rest your head on his chest; his heart thumps loudly next to your ear.
“I know,” he whispers back. “I don’t wanna hurt her, but I don’t want to stop being with you.” You run your fingers along his metal arm, watching the plates react to your touch.
“You think she’d make us stop seeing each other?” You ask after a beat. You don’t want to think about the possibility of Becca forcing you to stop being with Bucky. You don’t know how you’d go back to not having him in your life.
“I’m not gonna let that happen, Baby,” he says, pressing his lips to the top of your head. “You’re mine now, and I’m not letting you go.” His words fill you with warmth. Though you haven’t put a label on the relationship yet, you want to be more than just a hookup to Bucky. The fact that he’s called you ‘his’ so many times confirms that he wants that too.
Silence falls over the two of you. Bucky runs his fingers along your back while you hold him close. The weight of the guilt you both feel settles in, but neither of you are ready to broach the subject of how to tell Becca.
After a few moments, Bucky lifts you off the floor and sets you down on the bed while he walks to his closet to grab a towel. He silently walks to the bathroom, but you follow close behind him. Still, without speaking, Bucky turns on the water, and steam fills the bathroom. You two drop your clothes and step under the stream.
You grab Bucky’s shampoo, lather it in your hands, and rub it into his hair. He lets you hold the weight of his head as you massage his scalp. Once he’s rinsed, he returns the favor. His fingers press away any tension as he cleans your hair. Then, you lather body wash and rub it all over him. You can’t help but laugh a little when you watch him squirm under your touch; you’re being very thorough. Bucky can’t hide the way you’re affecting him.
Bucky does the same, rubbing his hands all over you, slick with soap. He grips your breasts, your hips, your ass. He worships your body, and you feel your knees go weak. Bucky holds you up under the stream, rinsing you off. You lean into his touch as he presses you back against the cool tile of the shower.
“I need you,” you say quietly, moving a lock of hair from Bucky’s face. You mean it. You need him. You can’t go on just having pieces of him; you need all of him.
“You have me,” he replies, leaning down to kiss you. “You have all of me, Baby,” he adds as if he can read your thoughts. “Becca would kill me if she thought you were just a hookup to me. That’s never what you’ve been; it’s always been more.” You gaze up into Bucky’s bright blue eyes, and you know it’s true.
“I’m yours.” He doesn’t need you to elaborate; he knows what you mean. Bucky kisses you passionately, and this time it feels different. You grip his shoulders, afraid that if you let go, you’ll float away.
“All mine.” Bucky runs his hands down your body, and his fingers find the wet entrance of your pussy. Yes, you’re in the shower, but he can tell you’re turned on despite that. He eases two fingers inside of you, and you let your head fall onto his shoulder. Once he feels you’re ready, he lifts your legs to hook around his hips and settles you over his cock.
This time, he moves slowly, hitting deep inside you. He whispers sweet words into your ears. You’re so beautiful, baby. I can’t believe you’re mine. You’re made for me; you’re so perfect.
You feel warmth bloom in your chest and your abdomen, but you’re too blissed out to speak. Bucky doesn’t need you to; he knows what you want. He slides a hand down to rub circles into your clit, and it sends you over the edge. He continues to thrust deep inside you, holding you tightly to himself. You’ve never felt more connected to someone in your life.
When he comes, it’s with your name on his lips and a promise to never let you go.
You bite the bullet two weeks later. Becca has come far too close to catching you and Bucky together. While it’s fun to sneak around, you don’t want Becca to find out about your relationship by walking in on you with her brother. You want to do things the right way.
Becca comes back from her shift at work around 5 pm, so you plant yourself on the couch 30 minutes before she’s due home. Your stomach turns with nerves as you wait, but you know you have to do it now. Bucky wanted to be there with you, but you know that’ll just make it worse. You need to do this alone. He can give her his side of it later.
The door swings open, and Becca makes her way into the apartment, dropping her coat and keys on a chair before plopping down on the couch beside you.
“You look freaked out. What’s wrong?” She asks, examining your face. You take a deep breath and try not to vomit the words at her.
“The guy I’m seeing,” you say, struggling to speak. Becca’s body language changes instantly; she goes rigid. “It’s Bucky. I’m sorry, Becca, I know he’s off-limits, but I couldn’t help but develop feelings for him and at your birthday –”
“I know,” she says, interrupting your words before they can keep spilling out. You stare at her, mouth hanging open.
“You know?” Becca nods, she doesn’t look angry, but she certainly doesn’t seem happy. She sighs loudly and places a hand on your knee.
“I figured it out last week. I saw one of his gingerbread socks on the floor of your room. I got him those for Christmas last year.” You can’t think of anything to say; you just feel so guilty that she’d known but not said anything.
“Becca, I –”
“I can’t really be mad at you,” she says, seemingly having already come to terms with your relationship with her older brother. “You can’t control who you fall for. I just wish you’d’ve told me earlier. I get why you didn’t, but you didn’t need to keep it a secret for so long. I can see how happy he makes you and how happy you make him. He’s like a whole new person.” You smile, Bucky has always been kind, but he certainly shows it more.
“He wanted to be here to tell you, but I thought it’d just upset you,” you say, putting a hand over Becca’s. She flips her hand, so she’s holding yours, and squeezes it.
“Smart, I’m gonna beat his ass when I see him.” You lean into her side and hug her. It feels good not to hide anything from her anymore. “I’ll kill him if he hurts you, you know,” she says, resting her head on yours.
“That’s what friends are for.”
General Tags: @peaches1958 @scxrletrecsmarvel @prettylittlepluviophile @writerwrites
Series Tags: @/peaches1958 @/scxrletrecsmarvel @/prettylittlepluviophile @/writerwrites @just-a-littlebit-of-everything @enchantedbarnes @incorgnito7
people who seemed to like the first one lol: @strwbrrybucky @buckycuddlebuddy @/jamesbarnesjr
Please let me know if you'd like to be tagged in any of my future works <3
The History of Kink and Pride
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Explicit reference to kink and sexual activities, homomisia/homophobia, anti-kink + anti-sex + anti-drag sentiments, (censored) images of nudity.
1. What is kink? What does it mean to kinksters?
Kink is formally defined as "the use of non-conventional sexual practices, concepts or fantasies."
Sunny Hitching, a 19-year-old and second generation queer, defined their experience with kink as this: “There’s a very big difference between people who want to spice things up and people who are literally part of a culture that has been here for decades. It's traditions that are passed down and relationships that are built on trust and love and care. And if someone tries to tell me otherwise, I'm literally an example of that.” (them.)
June Rose, an interviewee for 'them' magazine, had this to say about the interconnection of kink and her identity: “In many ways, it’s my life. Kink intersects with and informs my transsexuality and my womanhood and my lesbianism. It’s sacrilegious to admit now, but the first time I saw myself reflected before mainstream trans exposure was in BDSM porn.”
There's no one way to experience kink. For some, kink is purely sexual. For others, it's an artistic or emotional release. In the words of leatherman Kyle Kingsbury, "Some people orgasm from being punched in the balls. Ace lesbians can platonically tie up gay men." (Aphyr)
2. What is the history of sexuality in the queer queer community?
The Black Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1960s inspired LGBT+ activists to take a more radical approach to their movement. The previous Homophile Movement of the postwar era was centered on respectability politics, with activists like Frank Kameny imposing rules on picketing demonstrations: women must wear modest dresses, men must wear suits, no matter how hot the weather.
The Gay Liberation Movement had different views than its predecessor: "gay" was more than a medical condition or a deviant sexual practice, but a distinct, cultural, marginalized identity. Activists such as Martha Shelley and Tommi Avicolli Mecca believed the best way to obtain queer liberation was to make cishet* people uncomfortable, to force them to think about their own binary roles in society. (*There was very little to no acknowledgement to the struggles of intersex and a-attraction/a-spec people in the GLM, leaving them often grouped together with queer oppressors.)
Part of this movement to make (mostly) heterosexuals uncomfortable was by presenting visibly gay and visibly sexual. At New York City's 1970 Pride March, participants took to Central Park for a "gay-in."
Queer lovers, dressed in Halloween costumes, drag, tie-dye t-shirts, and sometimes nude, shared intimacy in front of TV cameras capturing the event. There was kissing and cuddling, and one couple attempted to break the world record for longest make-out.
San Francisco Pride featured public nudity and topless women on motorcycles by 1975. In 1977, this was threatened with Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign. Bryant's campaign released footage of the pride events in San Francisco, claiming that it had become "a cesspool of sexual perversion gone rampant." This led to parade organizers banning nudity and any other form of "negative imagery" that same year.
Despite threats of police, in 1978 attendees pushed the limits. Women were entirely topless, men in extremely short and revealing bottoms, and even "a semi-naked man roller-skating past the camera with considerable aplomb, wearing only knee pads, a thong and butterfly wings." Sexuality persisted, with staple groups like Dykes on Bikes appearing in San Francisco celebrating topless or even entirely naked on their motorcycles.
3. What's the history of kink and the queer community?
One specific kink subculture prominent in queer history is the leather community– and it is a subculture. Leather has its own distinct ethics, language, symbols, and practices. The infamous hanky code – a subtle messaging system through the colors, patterns, and position of a bandana – was founded within the leather community. Leather vests are also often decorated with patches and pins that communicate to others one's identity, interests, and sometimes group membership.
The leather gay community formed their own bars and bathhouses, both being the target of frequent police harassment. These raids were more often violent than not. In one case in 1967, The Black Cat was raided by the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD beat patrons, and ended up rupturing one man's spleen.
San Francisco's vice squad performed an extensive harassment campaign against South of Market leather bars in 1978. To the police, these private kink communities were just as deviant and harmful as vanilla gay communities.
The kink community was largely unorganized until the 1970s, where people like Pat Bond and Terry Kolb founded The Eulenspiegal Society. TES promoted education, social gatherings, and political advocacy for both straight and queer BDSM enthusiasts. They also claimed kinksters as being part of a sexual minority identity. San Francisco's Society of Janus formed in 1974, and over time the number of queer people being open about being kinky increased.
This period of time in the 1970s is known as the Sex-Positive Movement, where multiple groups (kink, gay, women, ect.) were working to change the narrative around non-heteronormative sex.
Leather people were very closely involved in many revolutions and first Pride parades. Examples include leatherman Peter Friske who was at the 1966 Compton's Cafeteria riot, and leatherwoman/"Mother of Pride" Brenda Howard. Friske attended the first San Francisco Gay Freedom Day in 1970 wearing his leather vest and chaps, where Howard marched with the Eulenspiegal society in one New York Pride Parade collared and leashed to another woman's pants.
There are dozens more examples of kinky activists: Reverend Troy Perry, who helped organize the first Los Angeles Pride, and officiated a wedding for a lesbian couple; "The Leatherman's Handbook" author Larry Townsend, who founded the Homophile Effort Legal Protection in 1969, and was arrested in 1972 at its monthly fundraiser; Morris Kight, another organizers of the first LA Pride, who volunteered to be auctioned off as a leather "slave" for a day in 1976 to raise money for a fundraiser.
Before the dawn of corporate Pride, New York experienced a budget crisis in 1983. Thanks to the city's leather community, they were able to raise enough money to have the celebration the next year. The money was raised through shoe shining, auctions, raffles, and flea markets selling leather gear and erotica.
By 1985, Leather Pride Night contributed a sixth of New York's Pride budget. LPN raised more than $350,000 over the next three decades for New York Pride, GLAAD, community centers, AIDS assistance, queer youth, and so much more. Co-founder of the Lesbian Sex Mafia and frequent auctioneer at Leather Pride Night, Jo Arnone, helped raised over one million dollars for leather, LGBT+, and other charitable organizations.
San Francisco also saw financial support from the leather community. Leatherman George D. Burgess founded the AIDS Emergency Fund, an organization that provided direct financial assistance to people with AIDS. International Mr. Leather 1985, Patrick Toner, and other title holders regularly hosted AIDS benefits and fundraisers, usually at leather bars. Just one weekend could raise as much as $7,000 through spanking, paddling, and raffling gear. One bar, Eagle's, was known for raising millions of dollars through their multiple fundraisers.
The 1990s saw bare-bottomed leatherpeople marching to raise money for charities like AIDS Emergency Fund. In 1992, the city hosted a LeatherWalk, a march of geared-up and nearly-naked kinksters to raise money for AEF. This event became an annual celebration.
Kink communities were also some of the very few communities in the beginning to accept those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.
In a 2019 "The Body" article – a website dedicated to sharing personal accounts of HIV/AIDS, as well as care resources – Matty Lalime describes his experience as being diagnosed with HIV. "The guys in the BDSM community were not fazed by my status at all. It was automatic acceptance."
The community jumped through hoops to show love and kindness to Lamine. An employer of a sex shop he worked at in San Francisco worked endlessly to make sure his insurance cooperated with his new job. When he experienced adverse effects to the antiviral medication he was on, it was a friend in the community who helped him through the problems, as well as how to cope with them. Kinksters played an important role in teaching sexual education to young and uneducated queers.
Daniel Herrick, another interviewee for the article, talked about how terrified he was when he was diagnosed with HIV. He barely knew anything about how the disease would affect his life. All he was sure of was that his "world was ending," that he would die soon. On top of these anxieties, Herrick was scared how his friends and family would react. Not only would he be dealing with the heteronormative societal stigma from being positive, he would also have to face stigma within the gay community itself.
Herrick found the BDSM community. Although they didn't seem to be any more accepting to those with HIV in the beginning, over a short period he began to see more acceptance and positivity. It was online sex and BDSM sites that initially helped him embrace his status. One website that's still around today, Bareback Real Time, that allowed someone to put their HIV status on their profile. The statuses included "Poz; Poz OK;Undetectable;Don't Know;Don't Care;Negative". Later, Bareback Real Time added the option of "Negative on PreEP," or negative on pre-exposure prophylaxis.
The following is Herrick's interpretation of the HIV/AIDS acceptance in the BDSM community: “I think the leather, sex party, and BDSM communities are used to being a subset of a subset -- a 'weird community's within a 'weird community.' The 'sex freaks' in LGBT-land who were looked down upon by everyone for being slutty or looking ridiculous or whatever. So when some new 'sex freak' found this particular 'weird community,' then the people in the community already were more likely to reach out to this new person and say, 'You are welcome here.'”
4. The kink-at-pride debate
Even in the '70s, there were debates on the ethics of allowing kink in the Gay Liberation Movement. Many queer people wanted leathermen and even drag queens to wait before becoming a public part of the movement, arguing that there were more important issues to deal with.
Lesbian and feminist groups, such as Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media (WAVPM) at the time also opposed the visibility and existence of kink, seeing the practice as being violent and a reflection of patriarchal domination. These groups were anti-porn and anti-S/M (sadism/masochism). Other groups such as Samois blended The Eulenspiegal Society's political ideas with lesbian feminism. Samois and WAVPM were at the front of the Lesbian Sex Wars.
The "Save The Children" campaign was still going strong, and began using these examples of kink as further means to vilify LGBTQ+ people. CBS's 1980 documentary "Gay Power, Gay Politics" equated homosexuality with sadomasochism, the latter being presented as violent, nonconsensual, and morally corrupt. In response to this, instead of fighting for further sexual liberation, gay and lesbian leaders wanted to narrow the interest group in who would be sexually liberated.
Over time there was more acceptance towards the S/M community in Pride, but there were still demands to exclude leather and fetish imagery, as well as drag queens.
Laura L. Warren wrote a letter to the Bay Area Reporter in 1988, claiming the sexual imagery would make acceptance harder. Dennis McMillan responded in defense of sex visibility (see images below).
One Bay Area Reporter writer, Richard McPherson, had this to say about his experience with kink at Pride (see image below):
Here is an exchange between a straight "gay sympathizer" criticizing how the queer community presents themselves:
Pictured below is the editor's response.
To this day, debate about the subject of kink at pride continues. Some of these concerns are out of misunderstanding on what kink at pride means.
The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all definition of kink at pride. For some events, this may mean allowing entire scenes to be played out, including whipping, domination, and erotic humiliation. For others, it may mean having a Trojan condoms float and some participants wearing harnesses or collars. And yes, there are pride parades, festivals, and parties that don't allow certain kink or fetish-wear. It all depends on where you choose to go.
1. Wikipedia definition of kink
2. them. article on kink at pride
3. Aphyr literature on leather at pride
4. 1978 San Francisco Gay Day Parade photograph, taken by Ueda, Marie
5. 1978 San Francisco Gay Day Parade photograph, taken by Ueda, Marie
6. 1978 San Francisco Gay Day Parade photograph, taken by Ueda, Marie
7. 1978 San Francisco Gay Day Parade photograph taken by Ueda, Marie
8. Gay Liberation Day in Central Park, 1970, by Leonard Freed
9. Brenda Howard/Eulenspiegel Pride photo
10. Bay Area Reporter article, Vol. 18, No. 27, page 45
11. Bay Area Reporter article, Vol. 13, No. 32, page 8.
12. S-x kink history article
( this chapter’s gif by @august-walker from this beautiful set ! )
✪ — VACANT MIRRORS ; B.B. | 4/?
summary: you formulate a plan, meet steve rogers, and bucky goes on a date.
pairing: bucky barnes / f!reader
tags: set before & during tfatws, friends to lovers, therapy positive, trauma healing techniques, ptsd mentions, the normalization of anxiety disorders, and a good ol’ slow burn
word count: 6.8k, mother of pearl
a/n: this ended up being mostly a filler with a lot of romantic growth - i had to break this chapter up from the unce unce unce clubbing that coming up, so please enjoy!
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In all the years that James Buchanan Barnes has had a heartbeat, he’d come to know the sounds of grief well.
War taught him a lot of things — that they were all just little boys playing with guns, and that no matter how many times you thought you’d be ready for the vomit-inducing pungency of violence, you never were. In the end, you’d do anything to save yourself; you’d crawl through the thick of death and debris a million times over if only to cling to the shredded tatters of your own humanity.
You would kill someone else’s son for the sake of your own mother.
War was disease that devoured every part of you — it was gunpowder snuff and carved flesh. That sickness — inky and desperate — had sunk deep into this heart during the war, and it crescendoed to the sounds of mothers clutching dead sons. The sounds that followed death were like a hollow opera. Waning and wailing.
In the raucous wake left by warborn grief, Bucky drowned everytime.
To the Winter Soldier, the operatic quality to the sounds of grief were as insignificant as a child’s rhyme.
He did not drown. No, he waded through the waves, comfortable in the cold and unphased by the stinging cut of loss. That was not something he could comprehend. After all, there were orders and there were targets, and everything in between was absolute.
He was the disease that devoured all.
He’s holding a gun to Andrei Kuznetzov’s head in a dining room with ornate trim — with silverware as delicate as scalpels that tinker against fine china. The carpets are red, the curtains are red, there’s blood on the table cloth. The guests continue to eat. Kuznetzov’s wife is screaming, red nails dug so deep into the dining chair’s arms it’s carving out the fabric. War dogs, like him, keep her rooted in her seat, and her tears find polished boots. She’s begging and bartering but the man with Kuznetzov’s life in his hands is not listening. He is eating his veal, bloodied meat dancing between his lips. He takes a sip of wine as his medal emblazoned chest glimmers in the light of crystalline chandaliers.
The spoils of war.
His smile is stained red.
There is no deal to be made.
The Winter Soldier pulls the trigger.
His eyes are open.
Panic is the first emotion he feels, and it seizes him up quickly in its grasp. He doesn’t know this view, he doesn’t know where he is, not again, not again, not again —
“Good morning, sleeping beauty. Did you know you snore?”
The relief that the sound of your voice brings is immediate, and just like that he remembers. He’s laying on the bed. You’re sat up across from him at that small desk in the corner. He reaches as he rubs his face to thumb the edge of the pillowcase. He exhales tightly.
He’s fine. His name is James Buchanan Barnes. He is not longer the Winter Soldier. He’s in his Brooklyn apartment. He is fine.
When’s the last fucking time he’s slept in a bed?
He sits up, scratching his neck as he does. You lean back, half rotated in the desk. Before you is a mess of papers and his laptop — and on top of the keyboard sits his notebook. It’s open to the page where all he’d been able to figure out about Innessa was scrawled in his chicken scratch.
Bucky swings his legs over the edge of the bed and immediately his back complains.
“How long was I out?” he asks, voice hoarse with sleep. He moves to part the curtains. The room blooms with warm morning light.
You offer an apologetic smile into the vanilla sunshine. “Three hours. I wanted you to get some shut eye. You were starting to look a little overwhelmed last night—”
“You click too fast,” he waves, standing and immediately rolling his neck to the side. You watch as the man, before as peaceful as a sleeping pup, now regains his usual thinning veiled level of threat. Bucky is dangerous — it shows in the way he holds himself. He cracks his neck, rolls his shoulders, and groans. He exhales again, posture sagging a bit, “I couldn’t keep up.”
You’re standing now, socks padding against the hardwood as you eye his cowlick with a budding bloom of affection. With his notebook between your index and middle finger, you offer it out. You cling to your empty coffee cup in the other.
“I didn’t peek,” you say warmly, “Pinky promise.”
His laugh is more like a hot puff of air. Bucky manages a look that feels like an emotional dethaw.
You lead the way to the kitchen, stretching your own back as you go. You’d been up all night — this is your third trip out here for yet another cup of coffee. The pot has been on for too long, though, and you know the coffee sitting there is beyond bitter. You’re moving to dump it down the sink when Bucky grumbles.
“You want it?”
“No,” he mutters, reaching for a mug, “But I don’t want to waste it.”
“Wow,” you chirp, “The Great Depression just jumped out.”
“Yeah,” he snorts, yanking open the fridge to search for something to eat, “It does that.”
“Well, grandpa,” you hand him the steaming cup and set out to make another pot, “You’re also living on Depression Era rations — might I suggest some Dolly’s? Because I’m starving and I’ve been up all night and I think that means I get to decide where we get breakfast.”
Bucky’s look is soft — but you don’t see it. You’re too busy scooping sugar into your cup, too busy nudging him aside to grab the milk. He’s rooted there in the kitchen, watching you move about. You’re comfortable. There isn’t a trace of anxiousness in you, not in this moment, and he tries to remember what it looks like.
Your eyes find his and he clears his throat.
“Earth to Sergeant Barnes?”
“Don’t start,” he groans, albeit playfully, “It’s too early.”
“Oh, what? Too early for me to grill you on why you didn’t tell me that little laptop in there was on loan from the FBI? To one Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes of the 107th?”
His face falls.
“Don’t worry,” you raise a hand quickly, leaning against the counter as you sip your coffee, “I figured that out before I did anything massively illegal.”
Bucky rubs his face as he takes a sip of his coffee — the bitterness is enough to slap him awake. He winces, swallows it back, and remembers the taste of instant coffee made in helmets on the line in Bastogne. He can smell snow, and the acrid sting of mortar smoke. Suddenly, he’s craving a cigarette.
That hasn’t happened in a while.
Bucky clears his throat. “Did you find anything?”
You frown slightly, lips pulled as you hide your inward disappointment — you push off from the counter and shake your head as you brush past him. Like a loyal dog, Bucky follows. Into the bedroom you go, and Bucky’s again surprised he managed to get any sleep at all in that bed. Maybe it was the comfort of having someone else there, or the genuine exhaustion that had finally choked him out after hours of trying to understand what the hell you were even doing on there.
You plop into the desk chair and snatch up a piece of paper littered with notes.
“I couldn’t do much of my usual snooping,” you explain gently as you gesture to the chromebook, “This thing might have been given to you in good faith, but they’re watching you pretty closely. So, I worked a little magic and ended up running a virtual machine. Gave me enough wiggle room to avoid the malware and keystroke trackers. Even still, I wanted to be careful, so I just did a little looking.”
“I can’t dig deeper on Innessa, I know where to dig, but I can’t,” you frown, “Not on this laptop, and definitely not on my personal machines. I’ve got the GRC breathing down my neck, and the files I need to poke are very much off-limits.”
“So, what? We’re shit out of luck?”
“No, not entirely,” you stand up and motion to the paper in your hands; your tone is tight, “I know a few people who can help, but getting to them is going to be the hardest part.”
Bucky takes the paper, squinting at the writing as you settle on the edge of the bed next to him. You take a sip of your coffee and watch as his blue eyes dart across the notes; you point to the name scrawled across the top.
“There’s a club in lower Manhattan, but you’ve gotta know the right people to get in,” you mumble, scratching your cheek as a creeping sense of embarrassment bubbles up behind your words, “It’s in the basement of an old computer repair shop. It’s like a blackhat networking event, but with strippers.”
Bucky squints at the paper and reads the name. “The Glass Cannon?”
“Yeah,” you huff, crossing your arms tightly as you stand, “That’s the one.”
Bucky looks up from the paper, attention now rooted on the pacing you’ve begun to do across the room. Back and forth. You’re holding your coffee like a lifeline, gaze far away. That anxiousless way you’d been holding yourself before is gone. Now, he can see the tensing in your shoulders, in your fingers. You’re suddenly nervous.
Bucky stands. His voice is gentle.
“Yeah,” you snap almost immediately, “Just, y’know. Worried. I spent a lot of time there when I was younger. Did stupid shit. And now I’m about to waltz in after six years like I haven’t put that part of my life behind me.”
“We don’t have to do this,” he says immediately, moving to stand closer and halt your pacing. The invasion of your space forces you to look at him. His fingers glimmering in the morning light. You follow the line of his figure up to his eyes. The emotion there makes your heart clench. You can’t pin it down, and it’s gone in an instant.
“It’s the only way we’re going to find Innessa.”
“You don’t need to put yourself in situations like this for me,” he says, stressing the for me part in both expression and tone. The depreciation makes you wince and you’re fast to shake your head.
“That’s what friends do, Bucky,” you stand your ground, but you know there’s more to your reasoning than that, “Plus, she’s a bad guy. And I know you said I technically wasn’t the sidekick, but—”
“You’re not the sidekick—”
“I know,” you huff, nudging him gently with your arm, “But, I wanna help. Do some good.”
“You do enough good,” he mutters, “You’re a good person.”
Your words fail you at that — and your mouth parts but nothing comes out. Bucky watches with an expression as solid as rock as you blink and look away. His hand, the one of flesh and bone, finds your wrist as you tighten your grip on your mug.
The touch, though far too tender for you to handle, feels like fire.
Like a slap in the face, you’re reminded of how handsome Bucky is.
You slap that thought back, trading volleys, and remain quiet.
His tone is stern. “I mean it.”
“Well,” you finally muster, tone dipping sardonically into a cruel peel of humor, “Just wait until you see me in my natural habitat. Maybe the tequila shots will make you second guess that.”
“I didn’t know we were going out drinking,” he chirps as he raises an eyebrow, “Am I going to need to get you a leash?”
“We’re gonna have to try and blend in as best we can. People are going to know me — if they try to pin me with the GRC or the feds, we aren’t going to get anything on Innessa. They probably won’t even let me in the building if they suspect something’s up, after all not everything that goes down in Glass Cannon is kosher.”
“This is already sounding like a bad idea,” Bucky mumbles as he crosses his arms, “I’m stating that for the record, by the way.”
“Well, I think standing around and working ourselves up about this is even worse of an idea,” you chirp back, moving towards the door to muscle on your shoes, “So I say we feed ourselves and don’t worry about this until Thursday night.”
All of a sudden, Bucky’s eyes go wide.
“Today is Sunday.”
You freeze, hand on the doorframe. You shoot him a wide-eyed look at the sudden flare of panic that’s shot up through him. “Yea, Bucky, today is Sunday.”
“What?” you nearly cry as he disappears into the bedroom once more. You hear his closet open, then a clatter as he grabs something like keys — you nearly run directly into his chest when he strides back into the kitchen. He’s shouldered on his usual leather jacket, and in his hands is another.
He’s got keys in his hand.
He shoves the jacket into your arms and you frown.
“What the hell?” you cry, doubling back to snag your phone and bag as Bucky moves to the door, “What is this?”
“Put it on,” he says, holding open the door for you as you follow him into the apartment hallway.
You raise a brow and stand there as he locks the door.
“Because,” Bucky mumbles, rubbing his face as he widens his strides to the stairwell across the hall; before you know it, you’re desperately trying to keep up as he bounces down the steps — light on his feet like the boxer he is — towards the lower level of the apartment complex, “We’re late.”
You groan, trying to shrug on the jacket that smells like Bucky as you follow — a smell you’d come to know as clean laundry and sandalwood. Must be something for his hair. He never wore cologne, that much was apparent. The jacket is big on you, especially on the shoulders. You were swimming in it, trying not to trip as he held the door open to the garage.
Suddenly, the air is cooler. Immediately you wonder how much his rent is if he had access to a ground level garage. Call it NYC instinct.
“Bucky,” you nearly whine, throwing your head back, “Where are we going?”
Before you get a reply, you run straight into his back. Bucky grunts, moving to grab both of your hands and push you to the front of him.
Sitting in the spot is a motorcycle.
It’s a jet black Harley.
Bucky is handing you the helmet on the back seat as your mouth moves in disbelief. “No way— no, I’m not getting on that thing. I’d rather sell my kidneys. Stop, stop — ow, Bucky — you haven’t even said where we’re going!”
He’s muscling the helmet onto your head and through the flash of the visor you can see a real smile, the sort born out of his never-ending amusement towards your fickle sense of humor. His fingers are nimble against your chin. He takes the time to strap it on, adjust it, and give it a gentle tug. Bucky taps the matte black helmet twice, then flicks the visor down.
“We’re going upstate.”
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
It takes two hours to get to Elmwood Senior Living.
You spent the first forty-five minutes clinging to Bucky’s waist with your eyes closed — no fault of Bucky’s, really. It was different from riding in a car by miles, and you had your own qualms with driving. You couldn’t be in the passenger’s seat anymore. Not after the accident with Jaimie, when Mom disappeared. Being out of control made you itch; and it’s not until the fifty-minute mark that you ease up on the panic and remember who the man is that’s driving the bike.
You trust Bucky. You trust him with your life.
Once it’s open road, winding up towards the Northern part of the state, it gets easier.
Bucky can feel your grip around his waist loosen just a bit — and it’s enough reassurance that he stops looking back in the mirror every fifteen seconds. It’s enough permission to open up on the throttle, and the bike roars alive. Your immediate reaction is a gobsmacked yelp, the sort that’s pulled from a jolt of shock, but then comes the laugh.
Bucky’s own quiet chuckle rumbles against your chest. You hold on tighter, but this time with open palms against the thrum of his ribs.
Halfway through the trip, he pulls into a McDonald’s.
You drop your ass onto the parking lot’s curb as he leans against the bike and houses a burger. You laugh, eyeing him candidly as you take a large bite from your own lunch. Bucky is a mess with it — cursing quietly when he ends up getting ketchup on his jacket.
“Jesus, Bucky,” you mutter, “Did you even taste that thing?”
“Barely,” he clears his throat and starts picking at his fries, “These things taste different now. First time I ever had McDonald’s was right before bootcamp.”
“How much was it? Five cents?” you snort, leaning back and dropping a fry into your mouth.
Bucky watches with a half-smirk. “Fifteen, but nice try.”
He spends the next five minutes on his hand with a wet nap, trying hard to get the grease out of the delicate plates along his palm. You watch, as you knock back the rest of your soda, as his eyes crinkle tightly in frustration. His mouth is pulled tightly into a fine line. For the second time today, you’re reminded of how handsome Bucky Barnes is — and how fucking stubborn he is, too.
“No,” he mutters, trying to get a spot between his thumb and index finger, “I got it.”
“I have smaller fingers,” you sing-song, gathering up his trash and your trash and crossing the parking lot to the bin; upon returning, you waggle them in his face, “Good for hard to reach places.”
Bucky absolutely hates that can feel his blush hit the tips of his ears at the comment.
He’s glad you’re too preoccupied with his hand to notice. You’re watching, like you always do, with respectful awe. To you, this part of him is a bit like a treasure — you find it beautiful and intriguing and incredible. It’s clear in the way you watch the mechanisms turn and tighten that you aren’t frightened by it.
It unsettles Bucky every time.
Finally, once he’s finished under your watchful eyes, he leans to muscle that helmet back over your head. You groan, squinting tightly.
“C’mon,” he knocks your helmet with his knuckles, “We’re almost there.”
The rest of the ride is wide open space, farm land and mountainous peaks looming far ahead. It’s warm, and the sun is hot on your back. The wind is howling around you and it sends your jacket collar flapping against your neck. Your chin rests neatly on Bucky’s shoulder, trying to get a view of the road ahead.
Elmwood Senior Living is tucked into the back of a suburb.
The two of you weave through a neighborhood or two, dancing under the shade of age old maple trees. They cast long, scattered shadows across the pavement as kids play on their lawns. A dog barks somewhere in the distance. Over the hill, church bells ring. Sunday service has ended.
Bucky rolls into the parking lot, past the large sign with swirling lettering. Suddenly, things make more sense. Suddenly, you’re struck with a sinking feeling of grief. Nostalgia. Mourning. But, happiness.
There are folks sitting outside, basking in the sun, tethered to walkers.
Bucky’s wrists crank back weathered knuckles, and slowly the bike rumbles into an open spot. Extending his legs, Bucky balances the bike with ease. You take that as your cue to swing yourself off the back clumsily, hopping a bit. Bucky leans, kicks the stand down, and with significantly more grace than you, swings his leg over.
You’re shrugging his jacket off when he speaks.
“He’s going to be different than how you imagine him.”
You exhale slowly, draping the jacket over the bike’s seat. You peel the helmet off.
“I’ve sort of pieced that together.”
You can see the slight discomfort hanging in his posture. You reach and touch Bucky’s arm.
“Come on,” you nod to the entrance, covered by a shady overhang where someone is helping a family member out of their car, “We don’t wanna be late, huh?”
His eyes soften. Bucky nods.
You walk side-by-side into the lobby of Elmwood Senior Living and it’s like time slows down. It halts in a warm, sunshine colored still — full of chatter, full of humanity, full of wisdom. The room is framed by big windows, by plants, by a man in a U.S. Navy ball cap. He’s stationed by the door, watching the comings and goings. The main desk, where a young woman watches, sits in the corner. You follow Bucky with a content little look. He notices.
He stands a little closer at the main desk. The girl, who looks like she’s incredibly out of place with her blue hair and piercings, is younger than you thought. Highschool, maybe. She offers Bucky an excited smile.
“Took you long enough,” she chirps, moving to sort through a bin to her side with key fobs.
Your brows raise. You spy calculus homework on the desk.
Bucky snorts. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
He notices the same problem set you so, and purposely leans over the desk. Suddenly, you’re seeing flashes of a more boyish version of Bucky — one that reminds you of a man with siblings. Bucky taps the paper, jutting a chin to the girl as she tries to swat his attention away.
“How’d you do on that test?”
“I got a 96,” she chirps pridefully, laughing, “Thanks for the help, nerd.”
You’re watching the entire exchange with a smile, backing up a bit to toss a curious glance over your shoulder. There’s a dining room through open doors — and looks like lunch is just wrapping up. Folks are moving around, back to their rooms or upstairs where you can hear the beginnings of a seated aerobics class begin.
Bucky nudges you with his hand.
“Thanks, Sarah,” he says and waves the key she’d handed over.
The girl with the blue hair scoffs. “Say hi to grandpa for me, Bucket.”
You laugh out loud as Bucky quickly flips her off. She’s quick to do the same.
You follow him around the corner, grinning ear to ear. He spares you a sheepish look, then rolls his eyes.
“What was that?”
“She’s a good kid,” he offers, eyeing the key with the grey little fob attached, “Reminds me of my sister.”
Your face softens. “Sister?”
“Her name was Sarah, too,” he says quietly, boots landing softly on the blue carpet. He’s navigating the residential wing like he’s done it a million times. There are rooms with flowers outside, with holiday garb, with little photos and keepsakes. Each room holds a lifetime of personality — the sound of Jeopardy lulls along in the background.
You hum. Bucky sighs.
He meanders down a long hallway where a different door is — this one heavy and locked by the little keypad. Bucky raises the key fob to the device and the door buzzes.
This side of Elmwood is quieter.
Down the hall, Timmy Dorsey and Sinatra play quietly over someone’s record player.
There aren’t as many folks in the hall in this wing, but doors are open and nurses flit about. Around the corner, there’s a loud conversation going on about lunch — and you watch as Bucky weaves towards the nursing station. It’s a room overlooking the common area with windows. Inside are three women.
One of them immediately jumps when she sees Bucky.
“Oh, good! I was meaning to talk to you—”
“About the same,” she breathes as she stands, moving to grab at a Bucky’s arm with a sense of motherliness that makes you smile, “But, meals have been a bit difficult lately.”
“No kidding,” he mutters, rubbing his chin, “He just doesn’t wanna eat?”
“He thinks Peggy is coming home,” the woman whispers with a pained smile as she begins to lead you both down the hall, “He thinks your grandmother made dinner for him.”
“Right,” Bucky nods, “Doesn’t wanna ruin his appetite.”
You take note of the conversation, muddling through your own confusion. You’re quiet, though. This isn’t really your conversation to have. Bucky seems to be relaxed more — even humming slightly to a song that plays across the hall from the room the nurse is knocking on.
“Mr. Carter?” she calls gently, “Your grandson is here to see you, and his…”
She looks expectantly at you. You bawk.
“Right,” she smiles and pushes open the door.
It’s like a little slice of home.
Sofas, chairs, photos on the walls. There’s a record player in the corner, a television, a coffee table stacked with books on the second world war. There’s a dresser covered in baubles and warm light coming in from the window overlooking the street. It reminds you of your grandparents’ sitting room — everything looks so lived in, so comfortable, so alive.
And then, below the light of the window, is a hospital bed.
In it is Steve Rogers.
Not the one you know — no, this one has lived a full life. This Steve Rogers has fallen in love, owned a home, settled down. This Steve Rogers has years of wisdom settled into his face, years of well-fought fights in his joints. His blonde hair has gone shock white, but his smile is all the same.
The way Steve says his name is like the man beside you holds the world.
To Bucky, he can hear a new weakness. A new exhaustion.
The nurse offers a little wave to you as Bucky ventures into the room, stripping his jacket off and moving to scope out the minifridge in the small kitchenette beside the bathroom. She leaves the door open, and you smile to her softly. Bucky rummages, poking his head up.
“You want a drink, Steve?” he asks, tone almost like he’s feeling out the lucidity of the man across the room, “There’s some of that lemonade I brought last week in here.”
“Sounds good,” he says slowly, “Please.”
You feel out of place — not unwelcome, but… it’s clear that Bucky has come and gone from here a thousand times now. He knows to get the glasses out, to get a straw, to turn down the record player on his way over. Doris Day’s voice lowers to a soft croon. You watch with heavy eyes.
“I brought someone, Steve,” Bucky says, “She’s a big fan.”
“Oh?” Steve asks with a slow look to the corner where you’re standing, “That musta broke your heart.”
Bucky snorts as he moves to swing the hospital bed’s tray over Steve’s lap. He places the lemonade down, then the other glass on the nightstand. He’s quick to move the armchair closer to the nightstand, and gestures for you to come over. Bucky’s hands guide you by the shoulders as he plops you into the chair.
“She’s one of the good ones,” Bucky says, “Reminds me of you.”
“No kidding,” Steve says slowly, offering a hand that shakes, “Steve Rogers. It’s a pleasure.”
You exchange your name with a shy look, shaking that hand with reverence and gentility. “It’s an honor, Mr. Rogers.”
“Please,” he mumbles, moving to slowly take a sip of his lemonade, “Steve is fine.”
Bucky moves to take up a post on the opposite side of Steve, in the sun. “You’re losin’ weight, y’know.”
That earns him a wave of the hand.
Bucky leans back and sips his lemonade. He waggles a finger and you watch the two begin to go back and forth.
“No, no,” he swallows, “No, you don’t get t’ shrug me off—”
“M’fine, Buck,” a sigh, “Really.”
“Mhm,” he narrows his eyes, “You’re startin’ to look like the Steve I knew before the serum.”
You lean back, hiding a quiet smirk behind your hand.
“I was wondering when you were gonna show up an’ pester me,” he says with a tired look, “The only peace I get around here is when Peggy comes home.”
Your eyes jump to Bucky. He’s watching you.
“Peggy?” you ask gently, “Is that your wife?”
A proud smile washes over his face. “Still knocks me for a loop, too.”
“Steve,” Bucky’s voice is gentle, “Peggy won’t be coming around for a while. Remember?”
There’s a look that flashes across Steve’s face, then. A mixture of sadness, of confusion, of panic. It’s clouded with a furrow of his brow, hidden by a tilt of the head. He looks at Bucky, mouth pulled in a fine line.
When he finally speaks, his voice is sad.
“That’s right. I forgot.”
“S’alright,” Bucky taps his head, maintaining an air of nonchalance, “That’s why you got me.”
“And why you’ve got her, no doubt,” he turns to you with a winning smile and offers his hand again, “Steve Rogers. Nice to meet you.”
You take it, you shake it, and you introduce yourself once more. Your smile is patient and understanding. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Steve.”
Bucky breathes a sigh of relief. Steve smiles, tossing Bucky a look that borders on mischievous.
He sips his lemonade and clears his throat. “How is Sam?”
“You ask every time,” Bucky mutters, “And every time I have the same answer.”
“Sam?” you ask slowly.
“Wilson,” Bucky finishes, “Bird man.”
“You mean Falcon,” you correct, shooting him a stern look, “The Falcon. Are you ghosting The Falcon?”
“I don’t know what that even means, so maybe,” Bucky leans back and crosses his legs, “I’ve been busy.”
You roll your eyes. Steve saw. He smiles.
“I’m gettin’ why he keeps you around.”
Your face is smacked with a look of pure joy.
“C’mon on now,” Bucky cries, nearly indignantly, “No flirting—”
“M’ not flirting—”
“I know that look, Steve—”
Steve is laughing.
Bucky has a stern look in his eye. “You always do this—”
“I’m not doin’ a damn thing—”
“And you better keep it that way, old man,” Bucky shirks, voice splintering into a laugh in a way that you’ve never heard before, “I swear, this is how it always goes.”
“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, huh, Buck?” you ask gently, leaning your cheek into your hand.
Steve laughs loudly at that.
Bucky spares you a smile — the sort that’s drenched in good humor and sunlight. It makes your lungs flutter, and you ignore the buzz in your fingers at the sight. You hide your laugh into your cup of lemonade, resigning to be a quiet counterpart in the conversation.
The two of them go on to chat about small things, then chat about old things. From the Commandos, to HYDRA, to amends, to therapy, to Peggy, to the itch the starch of their old dress uniforms used to bring. It takes a bit, a few redirections on the way, but it’s clear by the end why Steve Rogers is in Elmwood’s memory unit.
It makes your heart ache.
And if a super soldier is bed-ridden…
The two of you say goodbye around three in the afternoon after Bucky helps Steve shave.
The walk back to the bike is quiet.
Bucky speaks first.
You chew your lip, eyes on the pavement. You match his slow stride, bumping your elbow with his as you walk. It’s still warm, and the clouds hang high in the sky. When you look up, Bucky’s watching you. You sigh.
“I’m sorry,” you finally muster, “I am.”
“Don’t be,” he says, grabbing the jacket from the seat and holding it up, “He’s lived a long life.”
You let Bucky hold out the arm for you, and you press your hand through the sleeve. He helps the other side on, and you zip it up to your chin. When you turn around to face him, there are tears in your eyes.
They snuck up on you. You hadn’t realized it until Bucky’s face fell, until the first one fell along the weathered leather of the jacket. You blink, raising your brows as you swipe them away, and offer an apologetic look.
“I’m happy,” you say, “Y’know. He has you. But, he’s a man out of time. Even now. That makes me sad.”
Bucky’s quiet for a while. He’s leaned up against the bike as you turn and watch Elmwood from the back of the parking lot. There’s a big part of you that feels heavy with guilt — and though Steve was in good spirits when you left, you can’t help but ache to provide him with more company. It’s clear that seeing Bucky means a lot to him, and that in turn it means a lot to the man beside you.
“Come on,” Bucky says then, “Let’s go home.”
You nod, let him muscle that helmet onto your head one more time, and hold on a little tighter back to the city.
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
You don’t see Bucky until Tuesday.
In all honesty, it feels weird to not hear from him for two days. At the very least, you expected some sort of phone call — but you remind yourself that you’ve been okay alone for a long time. There’s no need to throw all your work on being comfortable by yourself out the window for Bucky Barnes.
It’s tempting, though. God, it’s really tempting.
You hate the ache in your chest when you finally see him lumbering towards the cafe counter before your appointments. You hate this new feeling — so you shove it down and ignore the way his fingers brush yours when he hands you your latte.
He is ignoring it, too. He’s been ignoring it.
No use in thinking about it though.
“You got plans later?” you ask him in the elevator after your appointment, tilting your head, “Apparently there’s a Lord of the Rings marathon tonight on FX.”
Bucky stiffens — and immediately he can feel the hot sting of anxious regret flood his cheeks. He clears his throat, tucks his hands in his pockets, and toes the ground. You watch with a confused look. Then he speaks tightly.
“...I’ve got a date.”
You could have caught flies the way your jaw fell open.
You blink, readjust your expression, and swallow down a sharp stab of rejection.
Bucky clears his throat. “It’s… I wasn’t going to but, Dr. Raynor—”
“No, no,” you wave your hands and shake your head and try to seem genuine, “No, I’m happy for you. Is this one of those Christian Minglers?”
Bucky groans. “Shut up.”
“Okay,” you say, “Okay! Just, uh, be careful. Y’know? And call if you need anything.”
The elevator doors open, and Bucky walks side by side with you through the well-lit lobby. He holds the door open for you, and you pass through with a pained look at the ground. He lingers, though, rubbing the back of his neck as you wait for him to say what’s on his mind.
“Thursday,” he says, “I’ll stop by.”
“Yea,” you say, waving your hand, “Whenever.”
But, that doesn’t end up happening.
No, Bucky Barnes shows up at your apartment doorstep at 10pm.
He’s clutching takeout and a six pack of beer and wearing a horrified expression that screams of guilt and exhaustion. No, Bucky buzzes the door to your apartment and basically croaks that he’s here — he’s asking if the marathon is still on while you buzz him up.
“Third floor,” you say into the buzzer with a smile, “Come on in, old man.”
When you open the door, you have to laugh — because his hair is a mess and there’s still a trace of lipstick on the corner of his mouth. Whereas jealousy threatens to flare, his incredibly regretful expression tamps it down. You cock a hip, eye him up and down, and jut your chin out.
Bucky rolls his eyes so hard you’re surprised he didn’t break something.
He pushes past you, moving to drop the beer on the counter and place the takeout gently down by the basket of fruit.
“I’m here for the cat,” he grumbles, “Not your witty commentary, sweetheart.”
You’re moving quietly to the sink and gathering a paper towel with a smirk as Bucky looks around, admiring the decor and aliveness of your apartment. When you turn around, he’s already pried a beer from the pack and popped the top off with his vibranium palm.
He winces when you reach up to swipe the coral lipstick from the corner of his mouth.
Then Bucky settles, letting you clean off the mess.
“Mhm,” you hum, “Right. Was it at least fun?”
“She had fun,” he mutters into his first sip, “It was a lotta tongue for my first night out in nearly a century, though.”
You wince. He nods with a sardonic smile that tells you everything about how the date went down — and you’re relieved. “So, I take it you're not calling her in the morning?”
“No,” he shakes his head, “Nope. No, and I’ve decided no more dates. That was enough for me.”
You wince and pluck a beer from the pack. Wordlessly, Bucky gestures for you to hand it over. In one smooth motion, he twists the cap off with his hand.
“That bad?” you ask, eyeing him critically.
“I decided halfway through,” he says as he moves to take the takeout from its bag, “I’d rather be watching Lord of the Rings with you.”
That stops you into silence. It’s like someone’s taken your own words and gagged you with them — and you’re left floundering for breath you never even realize you lost. You know he means it. You know it because he won’t look at you, because that sort of confession isn’t easy for people like you two. So you take those words and you glue them in a lonely locket and keep them close to your heart.
Poke’s entrance saves you a mouthful of broken words — he comes in, trots up to Bucky, and hollers.
“Nice to meet you, too,” he mutters, eyeing the cat that’s eagerly rubbing himself along Bucky’s leg.
You wipe your face, sip your beer, and move to the pantry across from the kitchen island. You come back out with a bag of salmon treats — the good ones — and offer Bucky the bag. He takes it, eyes still on the calico, and crinkles it a little.
You lean against the counter and watch Bucky kneel.
“If you keep it up long enough he might even let you hold him.”
He lights up at that.
You move to grab plates and forks and knives and groan when you open up the first box to see Pad Thai — you make a mental note to properly thank Bucky for this. You meager dinner of reheated pasta really hadn’t hit the spot. This will, though. You can tell from the smell alone.
By your knees, Poke chirps.
“I never took you for a cat guy.”
You make a plate and flick his head as you walk by. “You’re missing the start of The Two Towers.”
“I’m going to be confused, aren’t I?” he asks as he stands and begins making himself a plate. He watches as you settle onto the couch and sip your beer, “I was too busy being turned into a cyborg to read the books.”
You laugh out loud. It shocks you.
“Was that a joke? Did Bucky Barnes just make a joke?”
He’s smirking. He rounds the counter with his food and settles next to you. Poke is following him, eager to curl up next to his new friend.
“I can be funny.”
He elbows you on purpose. You snort into your beer.
There’s a comfortable moment of quiet between you, and you clear your throat.
“Yeah,” he says slowly, “No problem.”
More quiet, and he’s still watching you. Then, he asks what’s been on his mind for the last three days.
“You got a plan for Thursday?”
“I’ve got anxiety, Buck,” you exhale, swigging your beer and turning the television up, “I always have a plan.”
In celebration of Gay Pride Month, I am featuring some of my favorite Gay Icons profiled on this tumblr.
At the age of 8, Pedro Almodóvar’s family sent him to study at a catholic boarding school hoping he would become a priest. There was a movie theater there which he frequented. He later said, “Cinema became my real education, much more than the one I received from the priest.”
Almodóvar has been openly gay his entire adult life. At the age of 18, Pedro moved to Madrid and he flourished in Madrid’s alternative cultural scene that blossomed after the death of Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
Initially he made silent cult films but by the 1980s his films became popular in international Art Houses. Today, his award winning films helped to make Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem to become major international stars.
Eren Jaeger’s Final Words
So there are many people unimpressed with the final statement given by Eren’s character, either finding it inconsistent with the build up to this point, or too ambiguous a motivation for trampling all over the world. I’m not really here to talk about the quality of the story, whether it was good or bad, because I don’t really care. However, I think it’s fascinating what the text is trying to say about Eren’s character and his motivation.
This is why, “I don’t know, shrug” is both an answer and not an answer to why Eren did what he did in the end. For making my point in this analysis, I’ll be talking about Eren’s character from Marley on showing both the Eren that appeared before Reiner, the one that talked to Zeke, and finally the one Armin saw are all the same person.
1. And Now for Something Completely Different
Before I even begin though, let’s talk about something entirely different. My favorite episode of Doctor Who is from the 4th Doctor Era, entitled “Genesis of the Daleks” first broadcast around 1975. What makes this episode my favorite episode is both the premise, and the question it asks. If you haven’t watched Doctor Who the basic premise is the main character is a time traveler who can go everywhere and everywhen in the universe. One of his common enemies is the Daleks, a race whose goal is to kill everything else in the universe. The Time Lords order the Doctor to go back in time to the era the daleks were created, and prevent their creation in order to prevent every person they would eventually kill.
He goes do the Dalek homeworld, and meets the scientist who created them Davros. Eventually, the doctor fails enough that he’s not able to prevent their creation, but he could, wipe them out when they were just newly born children and completely innocent. The doctor decides not to kill them right then because that would be a pre-emptive genocide, and the Doctor is a pacifist. When Davros witnesses him making this choice it prompts this conversation one of my favorite in all of television. The link to the clip is here if you’re interested. [Source.]
Davros: "Now, future errors will be come victories. You have changed the future of the universe, Doctor."
Doctor: "I have betrayed the future. Davros, for the last time, consider what you're doing. Stop the development of the Daleks."
Davros: "Impossible. It is beyond my control. The workshops are already fully automated to produce the Dalek machines."
Doctor: "It's not the machines, it's the minds of the creatures inside them. Minds that you created. They are totally evil."
Davros: "Evil? No. No, I will not accept that. They are conditioned simply to survive. They can survive by becoming the dominant species. When all other life forms are suppressed, when the Daleks are the supreme rules of the universe, then you will have peace. Wars will end. They are the power not of evil, but of good."
Doctor:"Davros, if you had created a virus in your laboratory, something contagious and infectious that killed on contact, a virus that would destroy all other forms of life, would you allow its use?"
Davros: "It is an interesting conjecture."
Doctor: "Would you do it?"
Davros: "The only living thing, a microscopic organism reigning supreme... A fascinating idea.
Doctor: "But, would you do it?"
Davros: "Yes... yes..."
[ Davros raises a hand as if holding the metaphorical capsule.]
Davros: "To hold in my hand a capsule that contains such power, to know that life and death on such a scale was my choice. To know that the tiny pressure of my thumb, enough to break the glass, would end everything... Yes, I would do it! That power would set me above the gods!
Davros’ motivations seem at first brush look one-note and evil, just another mad scientist playing god. However, what makes the conversation great is the context it takes place in. Here is the choice offered to the doctor, kill a race that he knows will go on to make war and kill innocents in the future in their infancy before they have done anything wrong, or don’t kill them and ensure the future you know will happen.
The Doctor isn’t saying that his choice is the right one. He’s not saying he’s doing good by choosing not to slaughter an innocent race. He’s saying, he can’t bring himself to make that choice. In that situation he chooses not to choose, because it would be against his pacifist believes to choose either way. Which Davros at first, takes to mean the Doctor siding with him. However, when they begin to debate it, notice how they’re not talking about what is the philosophically correct choice to do. The doctor hammers in this point, would you do it? Would you do it? After getting Davros to admit that yes, he would do it, his motivation becomes much clearer, he doesn’t actually care whether his actions result in a good thing or a bad thing, he simply wanted to be the one who got to choose.
What does Davros want? The power that surpasses a normal human being’s ability to choose. Davros himself is basically written to be pure evil, but his desire itself is a little more complex. Davros is a person lacking in agency, if you tear him away from his support system he’ll die within thirty seconds. He designs what he believes is the perfect race capable of conqueringthe universe which are reflections of him. They’re soft little squid creatures in mechanical shells which are inpenetrable. Davros himself cannot seize that power, he is inferior because he’s attached to the life support system (in his own mind), so the power he wants instead is the power to make the choice to unleash them upon the world.
If the Doctor by failing to make that impossible choice in the situation, by not wanting to even hold the capsule in his hands and have that ability to choose remains a man, then Davros chooses to throw away his humanity (which he ties to his inferiority and weakness) and becomes a god instead. To tie my long tangent which just shows how much of a geek I am back to Eren, Eren’s choice wasn’t actually about bringing a good result or a bad one at all. He simply wanted to choose. People who are lacking for agency, who feel powerless and inferior to tend to grasp for it. They try to fix external circumstances instead of internally facing what is within them, because they can’t bear to face it (hence the complex about being inferior in the first place).
People often compare Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul to Eren because their stated motivation bears some resemblance “we were doing this all to protect our friends”, however, it’s important to grasp that Kaneki and Eren are liars and unreliable narrators both. Their stated motivation isn’t necessarily true. I don’t think the final chapter is as clear as it could have been in nailing down the finer points of this, but Eren does in fact change his stated motivation from “I was doing it all to set up you as heroes of the world” to “I would have done it anyway even if you didn’t come to stop me” to “I don’t know. I just wanted to.” So, the fact that Eren will directly lie about his motivation and try to rationalize his actions and even switch stories in the space of one conversation is at least established.
So to bring the comparison back to Kaneki, both Eren and Kaneki lie about their external motivations that they are doing this for their friends when really they act because of unacknowledged internal motivators. They are secretly selfish, while presenting their actions as some kind of great sacrifice they’re making for the sake of others. The deepest we ever dig into Kaneki’s head he makes this statement.
I’m going to do something that will make everyone love me. Good, bad, it could be anything. After that, I wanna die heroically!
Eren and Kaneki aren’t the same because they’re brave people who fight for their friends, it’s because internally they’re pathetic and unlovable. They’re so starved for agency and attention that they’ll do anything for it, and they just don’t care about the consequences for their actions. Kaneki also, later on in the manga engages in mass slaughter for once again what is a pretty bad reason. It’s not to protect someone or for the sake of someone else. It’s because he’s lonely and wants comfort.
Kaneki doesn’t care about what he’s doing or the consequences of his actions, he’s desperate and wants to do what will immediately gratify him in the moment. He doesn’t even realize what he’s doing will unleash mass slaughter and have greater consequences because he’s not thinking about that.
Compare this to the doctor’s choice. The doctor knows the direct result of his actions, if he does not abort the daleks he will fail to prevent the deaths of innocent people. Knowing those consequences he says he still won’t make the choice because he believes his pacifist principles are something he won’t bend on. Kaneki, and Eren both have on principles, or no reasons. They just do whatever in the moment, and make up a reason after the fact. For Touka, For his friends, because he wanted to, because of freedom, because why not?
Kaneki and Eren can construct no good reason for their actions, and no principles behind their actions, because unlike the doctor, they don’t have a developed enough and they’re not capable of making measured choices. They steal away agency because they’ve been deprived of it, they want the feeling of power and control that comes with making the choice, but they don’t want the responsibility for it. The doctor knows if he doesn’t choose to wipe out the Daleks he’s responsible for that choice, but can’t bring himself to kill. His actions are pacifistic. However, Eren and Kaneki choose to kill in the same situation, and their actions inevitably cause the conflict to accelerate. The Doctor remains a man, Kaneki and Eren do not.
What kind of person would want to become a god anyway?
A person pathetically, incapable of feeling alright as a human being.
That’s why Kaneki and Eren make the choice to become monsters, because they’re incapable of living with themselves, or their actions as people. Either way they can’t live with it, hence why, Kaneki’s stated motivation is I’ll make everyone love me and then I’ll just die. Hence why the person who is making this statment is a childish version of him.
There is no good reason for what Eren does. That sounds like a cop-out answer after making you read all this long, but what is a good reason for killing people? This is a lot of rambling but I hope I’ve at least established that Eren’s internal reasonings make no sense, his internal mechanisms at least do. The reason he doesn’t come up with a reason is because he didn’t actually care about the result of his actions, he just wanted to be in the position to choose. He wanted absolute agency because he was denied agency like a child, and as a forever stunted child, he never grew up to realize that most people in the whole world eventually make compromises and live on with sadness instead of getting to do whatever they want.
Words that Eren was told again and again but failed to listen to. He’s not the only person that suffers in the world. He’s not the only person that’s lost people. He’s not the all-suffering protagonist of reality, he’s just one personin the greater scheme of things. However, the ability to compromise like that. To realize that other people exist besides you, that they have feelings separate from yours, that you are not the protagonist of reality is what an adult does, and what Eren can’t do. It’s easier to become god apparently, throw his whole life away as a child soldier making the ultimate sacrifice then just try growing up.
What’s the point of writing a character with such a pathetic motivvation? It’s because it’s human.
To badly misquote Jung, most people assume they are nice people when really they are in fact jerks. The reasons can be very complex, but sometimes it’s just as simple as not being able to look past your own ego and understand people feel differently than you do. Eren cannot accept other people, whether they be his friends, the comrades he’s fought with this entire time, the adults trying to guide him, he is just so incapable of accepting them that he regresses into a child making selfish demands of the world. It seems inhuman but imagine Eren in a completely different setting. What if Eren were just a shut-in? Just a teenager who didn’t leave his room. A fundamental ability to accept other people would sabotage all his other attempts to grow up and leave his room, and he’d choose to remain a child forever. The stakes are different, the situation is different, but the internal mechanisms are unmistakably human.
2. All Erens is the Same
Okay, here’s where I actually try to prove that Eren’s character arc is consistent with the story. What was revealed in 139 at all wasn’t a 180, and wasn’t a reveal that secretly Eren had good intentions all along. He never had good motivations, or selfless one. From beginning to end he was a selfish child, and his reasoning was always that of a stunted individual unable to understand the feelings of others but placing his own feelings as far more important.
What Eren does in 139 is rationalizing and changing his answer, which he has done several times before that point anyway, and is therefore consistent with his behavior up until that point. It’s important to acknowledge that Eren models himself, not after Grisha, but rather Eren Kruger. The foil to Grisha and the reaction to Grisha’s bad parenting is Zeke. The person who Eren makes similiar choices to is Kruger says the reason he picked Grisha is the eyes he possessed in childhood.
The thing about Kruger is, textually, Kruger fucking sucks. He says it himself. He claims he was doing it for the sake of helping others, and yet, all he ever felt like he was doing, was torturing people, and throwing them to the dogs. He kept saying he had good motivations, but his actions were repeated brutal violence, over and over again. He contributed more to the conflict than he helped to resolve it.
At the end of his life, Kruger says once again he doesn’t believe what he’s done has changed anything, and doesn’t believe he himself hs changed. He’s still the child with hatred in his eyes. His reason for passing it onto Grisha is because he knew Grisha wouldn’t grow up either, and would keep that inside of him. Kruger failed to grow, Grisha failed to grow, in a way that mattered, in time to make an actual change. They only ever made things worse, and that is, the model we are supposed to parallel Eren to.
Now this is at the same time that the Attack Titan’s future vision powers are shown to us. The question a lot of people are asking is if Eren had free will in his choice, or he was fated to make that choce all along. The answer is. No. Nope. Nope. Nope. Not at all. The fact that Eren was destined to do it, is yet another excuse, the like seventh change of motivation that Eren gives us. “I saw it happen in the future so I did everything I could to make it happen, but I didn’t think I had a choice this was the only way to make you guys hero,” Eren says, and then five seconds later. “I didn’t know what would happen , I probably would have done it anyway even if I knew you guys were all going to die and fail to stop me.”
Eren is once again making excuses, and avoiding all kinds of responsibility. If he is the chosen one, if his actions are controlled by fate, if he’s a god, if he’s a devil, he is not human and therefore he is not responsible. Eren wants the power to decide the fate for the world, but will do anything but accept responsibility for that choice. Eren wants to be Eren the bloody conqueror, but he’s not even self-aware enough to see himself as a bad person he can’t even own that so when confronted on his actions he reduces himself back to a child, and evades responsibility. Eren’s own motivation, his stated motivation is for no reason, however, the reasons he avoids the guilt like this are complex in their mechanisms as I wrote about above. The simple question is if Eren saw this future why did he not try to stop it? The simple answer is because he did not want to.
There are a million and one excuses Eren has for why he thought the future could be avoided, but his actions tell a different story. He didn’t lift a finger to try. He spent the next four years making rationalizations for what he eventually would do. I will now establish, Eren was actually given several oppurtunities to stop, and then he just did not stop.
In the Reiner and Eren scene while Tybur is speaking in the background, Eren is offered a choice. Quite literally, Tybur is narrating the same story that Eren wants to set up. Become the devil that tried to destroy the world, so the heroes (his friends) will defeat him. He’s given the chance to be genuine and talk things out with Reiner and what does he choose.
He chooses to accelerate. He could have stopped. Remember how Reiner was practically begging him to talk things out? Not only that but Eren sees that Reiner’s stated motivations for doing what he did were, completely fake, just rationalizations made up in the moment.
Eren is presented with the reality of who he really is, a child who hates himself, who wants to kill himself rather than take responsibility for his actions, and he chooses the narrative Tybur offers him. Rather than be hismelf, stop the story here, he chooses to move the story forward.And the conflict accelerates when they could have reconciled. Not because there was no other choice, Reiner was begging, crying, and holding Eren’s hand at the same time asking for peace and forgiveness but because Eren chose to accelerate the conflict.
Eren’s choices are always that of an accelerationist. When given the oppurtunity to stop, he chooses instead, to always make the conflict worse. That is, the result of Eren’s myriad of choices made throughout the arc. Everything is worse now, and more people are dead. Nothing good is achieved through these means because Eren wasn’t trying for good. Eren didn’t care about good results, he just wanted to be doing something. Easier to be an all powerful demon, than a powerless child which is what he sees Reiner as in the moment.
The only time I believe that Eren was putting on an act was when speaking with Mikasa and Armin. The rest of it wasn’t acts, it was just who Eren is, who he sees himself to be. The thing is most people don’t read Eren’s kind of behavior, constant masculine posturing, war mongering, accelerating the conflict, throwing himself into fighting, as childish and toxic when it is. The point of Eren’s masculinity is it’s a performance. Reiner crying and begging in front of Eren is embarrassing and pathetic yes, but it’s also how he felt in that moment, it’s a human vulnerability. Whereas, Eren’s outer persona is entirely empty of love and vulernability, of every emotion besides anger, and violence. However, because it’s empty, he just acts, empty... Great wording there I know. Eren when posturing in front of others basically has no personality. He is just guy who fights.
Eren performs the role of a ruthless soldier in front of others, because it prevents him from being vulnerable. Remember who Eren is posturing in front of, Reiner, and then later Zeke. What were they doing? They were both at the moment trying to appeal to his human side, Reiner by crying and begging for forgiveness a show of vulnerability, and Zeke by tryig to show Eren what their father did to them was wrong.
Calls for violence, posturing, warmongering and rhetoric, Eren’s every response when Zeke tries to examine his humanity. Eren insists over and over again, you see I’m not actually a human being. It was impossible for father to reach me because I was simply born that way. However, the kind of person Eren pretends to be is empty, someone incapable of feeling anything. The only way he knows how to be strong, is to simply not have feelings, to deny all human emotion and become something else and that’s just lame. We also know, that Eren himself is not like that because he contradicts his stated motivation that the only reason he killed those slavers was for the concept of freedom itself when he takes too long trying to look at Mikasa.
Eren denies himself empathy, he denies himself udnerstanding, and therefore no one will ever see his emotional wounds. That way, he can be invulenerable forever, but at the same time he denies MIkasa and Armin.
We return again to the motif of the story. It’s the same repeated image, someone tells Eren to stop, Eren says that it must not stop, the story must continue.
Both of Eren’s foils and family members,Zeke and Grisha tell Eren to stop this. That they do not want this. The whole world yells at Eren to stop, and he does not stop. Stopping would mean, accepting some measure of helplessness so Eren does not stop.
To be honest, what Eren says in 131 is far more telling than literally any of the excuses he came up with in 139 which is why I think it should be interpreted not as the final word on Eren’s character but rather, showing what his waffling actually looks like to an outside observer - not heroic at all but rather pathetic.
Eren’s childish desire to be this powerful, to stand up above everyone like a god while ignoring the suffering of the world around him - is pretty telling enough of Eren’s true motivations that he needs no further elaboration. Eren does not become god for the sake of his friends, he does not do it because he thinks it will make the world a better place, he does it because of childish delusions of grandeur and his inability to let go of his childish feelings of entitlement. The world isn’t the way he wants it to be and he can’t comrpomise with that in any way. Eren is more like a caricature of the most petty person on earth when you put it that way, but this is... a fictional story. Thematically Eren is a good example why ideals are ideals, and people are in fact, people, ulitmately very disappointing and falling short of those idealse. So once again moving past this.
Eren, you can literally just stop. Eren is basically given every choice in the world to stop, everyone else in the story tells him to, and he just doesn’t. The author does go to a painstaking extent to show that Eren in fact could have stopped. Every single time he is given the oppurtunity to stop he instead chooses to accelerate the conflict.
It is interesting to show the one time Eren actually did stop though. It wasn’t for Mikasa, it was Mikasa’s decision.
When Eren puts the decision on someone else, he can stop. Eren has feelings for Mikasa, but rather than confessing to her he makes her speak up about what her feelings are, even when everyone around him just, straight up tells him.
Why is he capable of stopping when it’s someone else’s choice?
In those cases, Eren succesfully avoids responsibility. When he makes the decision to run away in the possible alternate reality he’s doing what Mikasa wanted.
The other time is when he decides to accept the result of whatever Mikasa decides. In both cases, Eren rather than accept responsibility for his actions and the results of his actions, just, puts it all on Mikasa.
Is he doing this for Mikasa’s sake? To set Mikasa up as the hero of the world? No, he can’t even face Mikasa and explain himself or his feelings. Eren makes the choices to... put the ultimate decision on Mikasa, and run away without explaining himself because, that’s easier than taking repsonsibility for his choices. Every choice Eren makes, is to either make the conflict worse, because stirring the pot makes him feel powerful and in control, or throw control away to someonee else or some other reason (predestination whatnot) because he can’t bear the responsibility of what he’s doing. He wants to kill a bunch of people, but like... he doesn’t want to feel like a bad person about it (hence the excuse, he was doing it for his friends and yet later in the same conversation him saying that if he had killed his friends and they failed he still would have done it anyway).
Therein lies the rub. Eren is not doing this for his friends, because he takes the one path that is guaranteed to take him out of their lives. He doesn’t do it for Mikasa because he does the one thing guaranteed to destroy her.
I love this girl so much, that I created this elaborate scenario where the only way she could save the world was to horribly behead me, the one family member left from her childhood after she spent her entire life trying to protect me from fear of losing her family - yeah that sounds completely insane.
It is meant to be. Eren is thinking jack all about what his friends are feeling. His feelings for Mikasa, his desire to keep her safe and away from everything else trump everything even the idea that his love might be returned. He loves at Mikasa. He’s not in love with her, he’s projecting his love upon her. “Why didn’t he just tell her about his feelings if he secretly loved her all this time?” the point was, he couldn’t. Eren’s ego isn’t developed enough to love another person, that requires actually caring about their feelings which Eren doesn’t do to well.
There’s a reason Eren and Mikasa’s connection keeps lingering back to the small kindness they showed each other as childhood,it’s because literally despite spending their entire lives growing up together, their connection hasn’t grown at all since then, because they can’t grown.
At the end of the series however, Mikasa makes the opposite coice of Eren. If Eren’s choice has been to remain a selfish child all this time, to make other people suffer rather than face his own hurt feelings. Mikasa makes the choice of selflessness, to grow up, beyond the child who loved Eren into the adult who knows that even if you love people, one day you might lose them.
Eren’s choices only ever make the conflict worse. Mikasa’s choice finally stopped the conflict that Eren kept accelerating. It didn’t save the world, it saved the world from Eren.
I think it’s important to remember that Eren didn’t see what MIkasa was going to do, that her actions were going to end up breaking the curse. He literally had no idea what was going to happena fter the massacre, all he saw was the massacre and decided to do what he could to bring it about.
“I did all of this for you guy.”
Backtracking, five seconds later, and making excuses it all would have happened anyway.
It’s the same behavior consistently shown throughout. Eren could have stopped. Eren did not stop. Afterwards, Eren wants to reconcile the guilt and believe that his motives were good, when his actions were the actions of a bad person. It’s the same as Reiner’s crying and begging after years of guilt and failure to reconcile his acitons with who he is. Eren can’t understand why he did what he did, he just knows he did it, and he can’t accept responsibility for any of it. So that’s why Eren throws the choice away.
Eren can’t understand his father’s words, because in the end, being born, living his life, growing up, falling in love, making friends, losing some of those friends, growing older, getting weaker, all of those things are things Eren doesn’t want to do. Eren begins his life with “You were born into this world, you’re free to live hwoever you want” and ends his life wishing he was never born, and that’s the utlimate tragedy of his character arc. Not that it was inevitable he would eventually do these things, but beause it wasn’t and Eren chose to do them anyway instead of choosing literally anything else. Therefore, despite claiming Mikasa and Armin as the reason behind all of his actions, they weren’t, because he was inacapable of making the simple choice to be with them and grow up with them which is all they ever wanted from him.
The Rocky Horror MEGA Theory
This is it The Rocky Horror MEGA Theory a compilation of all theories including a few new longer theories and a few notes I’ve picked up about certain songs.
(please note some songs aren't here or have very little analysis as I had little/ nothing to say about that. I’m sorry if I excluded any of your favourite songs.)
Science Fiction Double Feature is the opening song to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Yet the foreshadowing went over my head until my classmate passed this theory onto me. Today we will see Richard O'Brien foreshadowing the entire plot of rocky horror through clever references and
a nod to the classics.
“Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still” Is a nod to the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still where extraterrestrial visitors break havoc on earth as the government scrambles to stop it. This parallels the Transylvanians. Instead of causing catastrophic harm they evoke a social change in society through Brad and Jannet (who are microcosms for 1970s society) and change their perspective of the world by exposing them to the strange and unusual. Alternatively, perhaps this is symbolic of Brad and Jannet's failing relationship and Brad doing little to fix it standing by while his fiance runs into the arms of another man.
“Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear” Is a reference to the superhero Flash Gordon, a Yale graduate who embarks on a mission to planet Mongo, which imposes danger on earth. Is symbolic of Rocky Horror and also gives the musical a cynical structure as it links back to the closing song “superheroes” allowing me to infer when Jannet was talking about “superheroes come to feast” She implied that the sexual experience she had with Rocky is going to be at the four front of her mind for a while.
“At a deadly pace it came from outer space” exposes the plot twist at the end of the movie of the Transylvanians being extra terrestrial. There are countless movies which I could pick on and show the connections to the plot of Rocky Horror but this song shows us we should take nothing we are being shown in Rocky Horror at face value, always analyzing and always inferring. Therefore, Richard O'Brien is one of my favorite composers as he was way ahead of his time and he put quality thought into the world he was creating.
The final quote I want to highlight is “when worlds collide”. Rocky Horror brought out a new side of society, being able to express ourselves freely, not caring about the opinion of most of society focusing on themselves and social change for the future generations where we can be who we are with no scrutiny.
Dammit, Jannet is the first peak we have into Brad and Jannet and shows young romance (statistically going to fail) but here's a few notes.
-Brad is talking about how difficult it was to get to this point. I think this is an early sign of him holding back his sexuality.
-User @pant-lit has full credit to this theory. The Transylvanians are at the funeral home to collect parts for Rocky
-First sign of Jannet not being interested in the relationship being more concerned about the ring and up leveling her friends.
(note one paragraph has been copy and pasted from a prior essay)
Over at the Frankenstein is symbolic of societies progression in the 1970s towards more alternative and sexually liberated life styles and the growing possibility of communities rising out of obscurity and benefiting society as they come to a more liberated views and values.
Late 1960s and the early 1970s undeniably sparked a chain of change for those in the LGBTQ+ community spanning from 1967 where homosexuality was decriminalized in England and Wales.1969 stonewall riots protesting the treatment of members in the USA and Cuba. A year later 1970 the American Psychiatric Association ruled 13-0 that homosexuality should be taken off the list of mental disorders. 15th of August 1975 was the premier of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. First rated 2.5 stars out of 4 from critics. It didn’t become a cult classic straight away, however; it found a place in the hearts of LGBTQ+ members and allies that loved the sexual liberation and the androgyny that the movie brought to the screen. We can credit actors such as Tim Curry and the rock legend Meatloaf and the rest of the cast for the movie's timelessness.
In Janet's verse, Richard O Brian highlights the accepting nature of the LGBTQ+ community and how it creates a change in societal norms by teaching those who are curious. In the first two lines “in the velvet darkness of the blackest night” is a metaphor of pre-1970s society and the republican views it held and the prejudice which it spread causing a community being marginalized from society despite protesting for equality and acceptance. Later in the verse the lines “burning bright, there's a guiding star, no matter what or who you are.” Is valuing the role of the LGBTQ+ community in bringing a new light to society and guiding it into a one of acceptance and love. Alternatively, this is Richard O Brian expressing that Brad and Janet are microcosms for the 1970s society which would allow more analysis of Richard's interpretation of society through character arcs.
In the original, Brad hasn’t got his own verse; however, in many stage plays Brad has the lines “I can see the flag fly, I can see the rain, just the same, there has got to be something better here for you and me.” I won’t go into great detail considering it's not canonical to the original movie adaptation. For the line “I can see the flag fly” I consider this as Frank N Furter's mansions almost being a white flag for Brad and Janet as they surrender their republican views in the benefit of more liberated ones. “Something better for you and me” Is Brad understanding the new society they are going into isn’t going to negatively impact them rather expand their mindset on the world.
Riff Raff verse highlights the breath of fresh air and the metaphorical weight of expectation being lifted off their shoulders. His most notable line is “flow morphia flow”. Morphia was the original name for the common drug morphine now used for pain relief. This is symbolic of Frank N Furter house being a safe place and promoting identity no matter how weird or outlandish.
This song is fundamental for analysis on Richard O Brian's meaning and interpretation on the society around him otherwise the message of the movie wouldn’t be as clear.
Time Warp is one of the most well-known songs to come out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show even a first time Rocky Horror watchers can do a jump to the left and a step to the right. But putting dance moves aside the song shows how the Transylvanians arrived on Earth and the foreshadowing to the backstabbing of Riff Raff and Magenta.
Riff Raff line “I’ve got to keep control” initially read to me as Riff Raff trying to grab Brad and Jannet’s attention however, through my countless re-watches of the movie I’m believing Riff Raff saw Brad and Jannet as a stop to his and Magentas plans. For example, in the film's entirety we can see Riff Raff and Magenta plot with each other through a hand signal they do repeatedly (editor Rez here this may be far fetched but their hand gesture looks like the signal tower at the end of the movie maybe foreshadowing Rocky’s and Franks final moments). We also see them sabotage Frank N Furter's plans letting Rocky go while indirectly stopping Frank from “entertaining” Brad. Another theory I have for Frank N Furter's original mission is to enslave humanity and the reason he made Rocky was to be desirable for all, making it easier for him to manipulate others for the benefit of the Transylvanians. Here, Brad and Jannet would be the test subjects and I believe if Frank wasn’t interrupted his mission would have been successful as he would have blackmail to hold over Brad and Jannet’s making them his new human slaves which could allow him to use them as bate for the rest of humanity.
“The blankness would hit me and the void would be calling” is a reference to the time warp/ Blackhole they traveled through to get to Earth. For example, for around 100 years physicists have known of time warp in fact the space between the Earth and the sun is a sort of time warp. Einstein argued that gravity is the property of curving space and time. Blackholes can dilate time however once you get to the point called the event horizon whatever you brought with you can’t come back. The following line “let’s do the time warp again” shows the Transylvanians wanting to go back but waiting on Franks “audio vibratory physio-molecular transport device” to get them back waiting for him to finish (ha) so they can regain control and go back to Transylvania shooting their matter through space and time.
Another bit of evidence into enslaving humanity is the quote “in another dimension with voyeuristic intention”. Voyeuristic is a word which wasn't priorly in my vocabulary but the definition goes: relating to or denoting sexual pleasure gained from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
Now Columbia's verse is a can of worms. In summary, it explains how Columbia became a groupie for Frank N Furter. “A snake of a guy gave me an evil wink” Could link to the biblical story in the Garden of Eden. God warns Adam and Eve not to take from the tree of knowledge lying to them both saying they would “surely die”. However, the serpent tempts Eve stating “your eyes will be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” Eve eats from the tree and gives some to Adam. God bans them from the garden of Eden. This mirrors what happened to Brad and Jannet, seeing only the good in the world but being exposed to the restricted, increasing their curiosity and changing their life forever. Which makes me think Columbia was a relatively normal person before she got abducted. “time meant nothing never would again” allows us to infer that Columbia can’t remember how long she’s been there falling into a depression as everything gets ripped away from her or time moving differently in the mansion.
Richard O'Brien is a master of foreshadowing. What else could we be missing in his writing?
Frank N Furter has been labelled a gay icon through his disregard for gender norms and the sexual liberty that he spreads to everyone in his presence allowing members of the LGBTQ+ community to take to the streets and be out and proud.
Here’s a few notes I have about Sweet Transvestite:
The candy man that Frank was referencing was a drug dealer. In the 1970s harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin became more popular. The average age of users being 15-35 which we can infer is the age of the characters in the Mansion.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an amazing message to apply to anyone but carries more meaning to Frank N Furter as Brad and Jannet judged him on his sexuality and behavior not sensing stranger danger and made themselves vulnerable.
“You both look pretty groovy,” the sarcasm
“You got caught with a flat” the fact that Frank knows this makes me believe he orchestrated the entire night (except for Eddie as he seemed surprised when he popped out of the freezer) to lure Brad and Jannet in. They evidence this in the quote “maybe the rain isn’t really to blame” hinting to the fact he caused the flat tire somehow.
(This analysis is less lyric by lyric rather than two theories spurred on by this song. And a little head cannon at the end. This theory is rather sloppy and I apologies)
Richard O'Brien's structuring of the Rocky Horror Picture Show allows for the songs to be filled with meaning and comments on the society it is based on. This allows for generations of fans to analyze songs and start discussions. However, Richard may have never intended on takes that fans created and I believe this is going to be one of them. Today I will discuss the concept of imperfection in perfection supported by a centuries old parable on idolisation and seeing things at face value.
The sword of Damocles takes its name from a 45. BC parable. To thoroughly get my future points across I’ll summarize the story and evidence it later.
The story follows the tyrant king Dionysius who had become weary of the evidence he had created for himself. He lived in constant fear only trusting those closest to him. The court flatterer Damocles showered the king with compliments explaining how sublime his life must be. This angered the king and offered him to take his place. The court flatterer agreed and sat on the tyrant's golden throne. All the servants waited for him with gifts of oil and fine cuts of food. He soon looked up and his eyes were met with a razor-sharp sword being hung from the ceiling with a single strand of horsehair. Damocles soon became anxious, understanding the weight of the situation. How can this apply to Rocky? Instead of impeccable wealth Frank has specifically made Rocky to be the “perfect man” being modeled by Charles Atlas the most well-known bodybuilder of the 70s. However, behind the scenes we see Rocky struggle with a form of mental health and being sexualised from birth being seen as nothing more than sexual relief to Frank N Furter. Rocky is the first example of Frank N Furter 2 sidedness.
Based on a few headcanons I believe Rocky was completely aware of why he was created. “I am at the start of a pretty big downer” understanding the rest of his life on being nothing more than a sex slave for Frank.
It is also apparent that Rocky's song is foreshadowing of the rest of the events of the November night. “Someones gonna be cutting the thread” is symbolic of the end of his life. He got the production wrong though but I guess the fling of the RKO radio tower doesn’t roll off the tongue just the same (see I did a comedy).
-I think parts of Eddie's brain was used to make Rocky (hence the scar on his head)
-I don’t think Frank Frankensteined it actually developed a functioning “human'' from baby to now.
-Rocky was Frank's original mission.
(sorry for how short this theory is planning something bigger will make an update later today)
I can make you a man and hot patootie some of my favorite songs however lore wise it is lacking but here are some fun theories.
I can make you a man:
Rocky was modelled from the bodybuilder Charles Atlas working through his dynamic tension course.
“In just seven days I can make you a man” echoes Charles Atlas’ motto however, can also link back to the story of creation. The universe being built in seven days and seven nights.
Also “I can make you a man” is Frank's very subtle way of explaining that he’s going to make him extremely good at sex.
“When you dressed up sharp, and you felt alright” differs from the sword of Damocles lyric “I’m dressed up with no place to go”. It would make sense as they both share a half of the same brain.
“Doesn’t seem the same since cosmic light” may be a reference to when he first met the Transylvanian
This is all a love song to Columbia which visibly angers Frank as the attention isn’t on him anymore.
Rocky Horror Picture Show normalised a more sexually active lifestyle and breaking out of traditional values that society expects us to follow. Let’s have a look at the song that allowed the peak of Janet Weiss' character arc.
“I’ve only ever kissed before'' confirmed what everyone in the castle was already thinking. Jannet was a virgin before Frank. “There was no use getting into heavy petting, it only leads to trouble” can be read two main ways. One is that Jannet didn’t have a reason to have sex as through her religious upbringing telling her it only leads to trouble. This “trouble” in this context could indulge in the sin of lust or catching an STD. Or you could interpret it as Jannet not wanting to become pregnant especially with Frank N Furter's baby out of wedlock.
“I've tasted blood and I want more” is a reference to her going head first into her primal instincts to allow her sexual side to seep through. The line “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure” has come to the forefront of Jannet’s mind almost like a devil on her shoulder yet she doesn’t have the willpower to say no.
“I’ll put up no resistance” is Jannet trying to grab a part of her innocence back playing the part of a petite undefended woman. We see Brad do this in Rose Tint My World asking help from his mommy. This reluctance would come full circle in superheroes as they both have to face society with their newfound identity.
The repeating line “creature of the night” at the end of the song is Jannet’s sexual awakening as she wonders what it would be like to have sex with all these different people and enjoying the thought of lust taking over her life.
The repetition of mother in the movie shows there is a sense of innocence in these characters allowing them to be seen as redeemable in the eyes of the 1970s audience.
“Stay sane inside” is Columbia trying to warn Eddie of what’s about to happen to him and trying to get him out as soon as possible
“They mustn’t carry out their evil scheme” tells me everyone in the house knew of Frank’s mission, however if they were to speak out they would use their body for Rocky
Planet Shament Janet is one of the most overlooked songs in the Rocky Horror Picture Show film adaptation but what does it reveal about the plot. It may seem that this song is Frank N Furter insulting Janet’s sexual ability but what if it told you it reveals the Transylvanian's true intentions on Earth or the fragility of Janet’s mental state.
On one hand Planet Shament highlights the desperate situation that Brad, Doctor Scott and Janet are in. Repetition of the line “wise up Janet Weiss” is Frank N Furter truthfully expressing to Janet that the situation she is in is no longer one of sexual liberation rather a circumstance crafted by his own manipulation to aid his true intentions for coming to Earth. In verse 2 Richard uses the lyric “wound up like an e or first string” comparing Janet to the most fragile and on the verge to breaking string on a guitar. In Janet’s character at this point we know she is extremely fragile to the circumstance as she battles away the negative thoughts of being loyal to someone other than Brad along with being on the verge of breaking as her whole sheltered existence has been shattered right in front of her. Alternatively, perhaps this is a criticism of Janet’s naivety and self-centeredness which has been shown in abundance throughout the musical through materialistic and self-indulgent actions.
Yet it also shows the Transylvanians true intentions with the humans. In verse 2 the line “I’ve laid the seed it should be all you need” exposes the Transylvanians goal to replicate human DNA on the planet of Transexual Transylvania and threw assumptions we can infer that they would use them for sexual needs (gruesome i know). We know that Frank was trying to find the secret of life however, his “accident” leads me to believe prior he understood little about human sex cells such as sperm and eggs and their importance on human life. Noticing how he seems to be targeting Janet in this scene allows me to deduce that he’s using Janet's body to carry on his research. Furthermore, in verse 3 the placement of the dialogue is extremely important. I've noticed in many stage places they either do it before the song or not at all. Janet’s dialogue “we’re trapped” followed by Frank's response of “it's something you’ll get used to” emphasizes his intentions with Janet of caging her up like an animal to carry on his lustful experiments.
A small deviation yet the quote “when we made it did you hear a bell ring” Foreshadows the events of the floorshow as Frank's time is limited to do his original mission on Earth.
(sorry this is rather short this song has got quite a few repetitive lyrics, but I tried my best (: )
Tw: abuse (sexual,emotional,physical)
Rose tint my world is definitely one of the most catchy songs but the hidden meaning behind it all shouldn’t go over your head. Through in-depth character revelations to what comes next for Brad and Jannet and we will reveal Columbias descent into utter despisement for Frank.
In rose tint my world Richard O Brian exposes the manipulative nature of Frank N Furter and the pattern of codependent relationships by forcing his victims to be isolated from the rest of society. Columbia steals the first verse in her lines “it was great when it all began”. Through prior character notes Frank is charming and attentive. Many abusive relationships start off with this (note every relationship that follows this will not become abusive this is just how manipulators hook you into their game before it starts). Sociologists argue there are 4 stages of abuse: first tension. With Columbia the tension starts with Eddie joining the Transylvanian group. We know this in the line “First you spurned me for Eddie''. Stage 2 is an incident. Frank definitely disapproved of Eddie and Columbias relationship and understood that injuring Eddie would cause severe emotional trauma to Columbia. This allowed him to keep Columbia under his control through fear while also becoming a sexual manipulator as it implies they have a sexual relationship with eachother while this goes on. Stage 3 is reconciliation; They show this through the house wide rule not to talk about Eddie. The 4th stage is calm which we can infer is from Eddie’s initial “death” and the Transylvanian convention. This repeats itself on the events of the November night.
The second half of her verse starts off with the line “Now the only thing that gives me hope… love of a certain dope.” They imply that the “dope” is a reference to Eddie as we see throughout the film Columbia taking refuge in the memory of Eddie. The norm that Eddie brought to Columbia gave her an accurate view of reality. This is clear in how a mention of Eddie causes Columbia to break away from her normally preppy self. The repetitive line “Rose tint my world keeps me safe from my trouble and pain.” Has similar but different meanings for each character. For Columbia she is choosing to be naïve about the world around her as she no longer has reality to be comforted by.
The next verse is Rocky's where we see the adverse effects of Frank’s hyper sexuality personified. For example, in the lyric “my libido hasn’t been controlled” exposes the instability of pure mindless lust. A lack of personal control causes others to be hurt furthering the point of Frank being a sexual manipulator even going to the whim of building a person to relieve himself. Another notable line is “The only thing I’ve come to trust is an orgasmic rush of lust” highlights how the only constant in Rocky’s life is sexual pleasure caused by Frank sexualising him from the moment he was born. “Rose tint my world keeps me safe from my trouble and pain” in reference to rocky is his childhood naivety rather than shutting out reality like Columbia.
Unlike Columbia and Rocky’s, Brad's verse is not a criticism of Frank rather exploring his sexuality and the problem of accepting himself and his new lifestyle.Brad sings the third verse with the lyrics “It's beyond me”. This could be a subtle nod towards Brad’s sexuality finally understanding its something he can't hide from himself and others somewhat ruling over his life. Contrasting his prior beliefs at the beginning of the film as we can infer that he follows the words of a christian god. In the 1970s religion had a greater effect on society compared to modern times. Furthermore, the lyric “help me mommy” is a plea for his innocence depicting the internal crisis he is now facing. Caught between two mindsets praising his new found freedom while simultaneously shunning himself. We see a sort of resolve to this issue in the quotation “what’s this lets see, I feel sexy!” showing that he doesn’t restrict himself from feeling sexual desire and in the format of the Frank N Furter house he feels safe and excepted. For me the lines “rose tint my world keep me safe from my trouble and pain” (despite him not saying it directly in the song) with Brad is him not wanting to re-enter society as he fears the social repercussions as being a sexually liberated gay/bi man.
Unlike like the other characters (excluding Brad as he had no clear opinion on Frank) Jannet has a positive view of Frank N Furter talking about the sexual freedom she know has access to. In the line “I feel a release” there is no question this is symbolic of the pressure around purity culture falling off her soldiers after having 1 and a half positive sexual experiences (i say this because her relationship with Frank is iffy). In the quotation “Reality is here” rather than mirroring 1975 society is showing how she wants to live her life from now on. Yet for me the closing lines “It's a gas that Franky landed, his lust is so sincere” is the most interesting part of her verse. This contrasts the events of planet shamanett as Frank N Furter openly criticised her and the sexual interaction they had with each other. Jannet’s rose tint my world is her allowing herself to continue to see no worries to avoid going back to old beliefs.
Based on my analysis of this song i have a convincing argument to show this song definitively show Columbia as being the most tortured character in the play's entirety. Being led down a cycle of abuse only being considered as Frank’s plaything.
Frank was an extremely manipulative character sacrificing other people's bodies and mental sanity to aid his own sexual desires and goals. But I’m going home gives us Frank's origin story and allows us to sympathize with him.
“I want to come again and stay, smile and that will mean I may” Is Frank stating he wants to stay on earth for eternity but he wants acceptance and for him to be seen as normal in the eyes of society. This could be Richard O’Brien stating that society will never be completely accepting, always marginalizing the bizarre and unknown.
“Cause I’ve seen blue skies through the tears in my eyes” Despite the events of tonight Frank still sees hope for humanity seeing both the good and evil but relying on the good memories to keep him going.
“Everywhere it's been the same, like I'm outside in the rain” is showing Frank never really fitted in anywhere looking for a place to call his permanent home and dying doing so.
Frank is performing to an audience I think this is symbolic of the community he wanted to create but his sexual desires derailed that causing havoc through society
“Superheroes” Rocky Horror Picture Show analysis
Late 1960s and the early 1970s undeniably sparked a chain of change for those in the LGBTQ+ community spanning from 1967 where homosexuality was decriminalized in England and Wales.1969 stonewall riots protesting the treatment of members in the USA and Cuba. A year later 1970 the American Psychiatric Association ruled 13-0 that homosexuality should be taken off the list of mental disorders. 15th of August 1975 was the premier of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. First rated 2.5 stars out of 4 from critics. It didn’t become a cult classic straight away, however; it found a place in the hearts of LGBTQ+ members and allies that loved the sexual liberation and the androgyny that the movie brought to the screen. We can credit actors such as Tim Curry and the rock legend Meatloaf and the rest of the cast for the movie's timelessness.
“Superheroes” composed by Richard O Brian successfully shows societies two perspectives of the exposure of LGBTQ+ media and lifestyle. On one hand, the fear of it confusing the younger generations and the other understanding that acceptance is the next stage for society. Rocky Horror creates a bridge to both opinions while still having a moral message bringing us all together. “Don’t dream it, be it.”
First let's talk about Brad Majors. Through the film we see him propose to Janet Weiss, enter the castle and being exposed to an alternative lifestyle even being able to be involved after having sexual relations with Frank N Furter. In the floorshow, it’s revealed that Brad is having an internal conflict between his taught purity shown by him calling for his “mommy” (a symbol of innocence) yet still enjoying the sinful feeling of lust. However, superheroes highlight his vulnerability after the curtains are drawn, and he now has to face the music of society and the social repercussions that come with being outside the norm. In the lines “to find the truth I even lied” could be a nod to his sexuality and hiding it away from others and partially himself. Furthermore, him collapsing at the end of his verse could be symbolic of the weakness he feels after the safe space of the Frank N Furter house has been ripped away from him. Adversely perhaps his verse is an overarching metaphor on the search for the meaning of life and reliant on a higher power. Both Brad and Janet’s worlds were shattered that night in November but for Brad, he fears repercussions from an angry god. Brad's arc supports the theory of it destroying young adults however in Janet we see the other side of the coin.
In Janet Weiss’ character arc we see her grow from materialistic (shown by her being inflicted by the ring comparing it to her newly wed friends), to being sexually liberated twice, once with Frank N Furter and another by Rocky. The song “Touch-a touch me” is the peak of her character arc as she understands she can give into primitive desires. Her lines “taste the flesh not yet deceased” and “The beast in feeding” all have connotations of sexual desire it takes over her passions and old beliefs. Linking back to the floorshow, “My mind has been expanded” shows the contrasting argument to what Brad represents showing the positives of sexual discovery allowing an individual to see the world in a new light. “superheroes” may link back to the Transylvanians effectively communicating that Janet doesn’t see tonight as a negative experience rather something that has positively changed the course of her life going onwards. At the end of the scene we see Brad and Janet crawling away from each other highlighting the opposite perspectives as they no longer have the connection of purity in the same degree as their first introduction. Alternatively Janet’s verse could be a metaphor of societies changing towards a more excepting one. “Still the beast is feeding” conveys how this rapid change will only get better.
The criminologist/ narrator has the most sociological view. “Lost in time, lost in space, and meaning” links back to the fragility of human morality and looking for a higher power on who you can mirror in hopes of the most sanctified life. Society will instantly follow the one with the higher power but when said person may or may not exist society becomes torn between conflicting opinions. “Some insects called the human race” reveals that no matter if tonight happened Brad and Janet would have a similar experience as their primal instinct would kick in and they would be led down the same path.
In my opinion, Superheroes is the most revealing and sentimental song in the entire movie and the fact it was cut from a lot of the movie renditions is quite upsetting.
Illustration by João Fazenda
What Do Shakespeare and Mamet Have in Common?
Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell, and Darren Criss, who star in the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” at Circle in the Square, and Neil Pepe, who directs it, met up the other day at a West Side thrift shop called No Particular Hours (“Vintage Goods / Industrial Artifacts / Dead People’s Things”). The play, from 1975, is about three desperate characters in a junk shop; the group had planned to visit one in March, 2020, shortly before the show’s opening; two years later, there they were. The proprietor, Jerry Lerner—tall, grizzled, fisherman’s cap—let them wander, offering occasional commentary. (Of a carved statue: “I used to call that Bali Parton.”) The shop, a chockablock riot of curiosities—wagon-wheel chandelier here, helmeted mannequin head there—was a bit more festive than the “Buffalo” set, and the actors were a bit snazzier than their onstage counterparts. Fishburne (Donny, the junk-shop owner) wore an African-print-inspired combo from Moshood, of Brooklyn (“I modelled for them in the eighties”), with a drawstring waist. Criss (Bobby, Donny’s slow-witted gofer) gestured at his own plaid pants, and said, “I’m also rocking the drawstring.” Rockwell (Teach, their ne’er-do-well friend) looked mischievous—rascally mustache, sweater with “high end” in colorful letters. “It’s just a sweater I got because I’m a Hollywood phony,” he said, smirking. Criss and Fishburne laughed. “I’m a dickhead, and I wore a dickish sweater,” he said. They laughed more.
“American Buffalo,” a blunt, staccato symphony of F-bombs, haplessness, and simmering rage, centers on a scheme to steal a valuable nickel and culminates in mayhem. Pepe, a prolific director of Mamet with the presence of a director of much gentler fare, leafed through a bin of old wrenches. “We’ve been talking about what makes a lot of noise,” he said. “There’s stuff that happens physically—it will all be choreographed, hopefully, so that all is safe.” Fishburne got intrigued by an old brass fire extinguisher; earthenware jugs (“Jugs, baby! Now, that’s country”), one of which he blew into, jug-band style; and an early-twentieth-century toaster, which he picked up and carried around.
“Our shop is not as nice as this,” Rockwell said. “We don’t have a ‘Clash of the Titans’ poster. Boy, I would buy that.” He crossed to a wall of old posters. “Or ‘Carmen Jones,’ ” Fishburne said. “I have the one from ‘Black Orpheus.’ ”
“Dude, that Harry Belafonte–Danny Kaye video you sent me was awesome,” Rockwell said. They fist-bumped. Which video? Criss asked.
“It’s called ‘Mama Look a Boo-Boo,’ ” Fishburne said.
“Belafonte was a real sex symbol,” Rockwell said. A feed bag caught his eye. “ ‘Purina Goat Chow,’ ” he read. “I had that for breakfast.”
In 2020, they had rehearsed for three weeks before everything shut down, then continued for several more weeks via FaceTime. “This is the longest I’ve prepared for any show in my entire life,” Criss said. Pepe said that he hoped it would feel “lived in.” Fishburne said, “I’ve wanted to do this play since I was a kid.” When “Buffalo” first made waves, he added, “I was in the Philippines, doing ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ”—but “the talk of it . . . this play changed shit for the American theatre. Nobody had used language like this before.” Pepe said, “All of a sudden, Mamet’s doing iambic with the stuff of the streets.”
Mamet wrote “American Buffalo” while living in Chicago and hanging around with poker players in a junk shop. “Some of the guys were ex-cons, and in the business of thievery,” Pepe said. “He would hear their stories. The play has this idea of wanting a bigger piece of the pie.”
“ ‘Gatsby’s Tennis Nets,’ ” Fishburne said, reading a tag aloud.
On a counter in front, a wooden box displayed a mysterious object: ivory-like, rounded, and carved with dancing skeletons. The visitors leaned in. “I was cleaning out an apartment, and I said, ‘Oh, nice bowl,’ right?” Lerner said. “Then I turned it over and said, ‘Holy crap.’ ”
“It’s a turtle shell,” Fishburne said.
“It’s the top of somebody’s skull,” Lerner said.
“Holy shit!” Criss said. “That is intense! ”
“It’s a real kapala, from Tibet,” Lerner said. “They drank blood out of that thing.” Fishburne picked up the kapala and put it on his head. Actors, skull: Had anybody done “Hamlet”?
“I did the famous speech at my high-school graduation,” Fishburne said.
“To be or not to be, that is the question,” Criss said.
“I like ‘O, what a rogue,’ I like ‘O, that this too, too solid flesh,’ ” Rockwell said. “I think those are funner.”
“Shakespeare and Mamet, to me, are extremely similar,” Criss said. He compared the musicality to a Coltrane riff.
“Even though it’s a bunch of dudes saying dirty words, they’re actually extremely vulnerable,” Rockwell said.
“The junk shop is a fence, it’s a front, it’s a clubhouse,” Pepe said.
“It’s their home,” Fishburne said. “When you start digging, you realize, Oh, yeah—this is very sweet.” ♦
A Cruel Favor
Regulus Black x Fem!Slytherin!Reader
Request: Could I get and angsty and sad blurb with Regulus? Nothing specific in mind, Regulus’ entire life is pretty tragic already- just throwing some strained and kind of heartbreaking romance into that mix sorry i like pain this is how i cope
Summary: Your relationship with the youngest Black brother in the form of memories seen in a pensieve by Sirius Black.
Warnings: Death, sadness, crying, the dark mark, ghosts
Word Count: 3265
Author's Note: babe you asked for a blurb and i just did not listen i am so sorry, if you'd still like a blurb let me know and i'll whip up a little short piece but regardless i hope you enjoy this 😌
“You didn’t know him! You didn’t want to know him!” Your voice bellowed, trembling with the burning anger you held in your heart for the eldest Black brother.
It was true, back when the war was just ‘politics’ and the ‘Dark Lord’ a name whispered behind closed doors, Sirius Black had already made up his mind about his family- Regulus included.
“He was my brother.” Sirius spoke the statement as if just the mere fact of relation was supposed to trump that he hadn't even spoken to his brother in the months prior to his death.
You let out a bitter laugh, “Don’t lie for the sake of saving face, you never saw him as a brother; not then and certainly not now.”
Sirius seemed taken aback by your accusation, his words getting lost on his tongue for a moment before he quickly regained his fiery passion for argument.
“He betrayed me.”
“You were the one who betrayed him!” Your accusatory finger pointed at Sirius.
The eldest Black brother’s features went stoney, “The moment he decided to get that mark, was the moment he lost his name as my brother.”
Everything in the mangey old house seemed to still, a silence falling so powerful you could hear a pin drop. Your slow footsteps were exaggerated in the quiet, each creak ringing in both yours and Sirius’ ears. With a tired hand, you pushed a small pouch onto the surface of the dining room table, the vials inside clinking together softly.
“They’re numbered.” You breathed out. “There is so much you don’t know, Sirius.”
You walked through the door and onto the street hastily, not wasting any time to apparate back home.
Sirius sat down in the nearest chair with a huff, his knees spread as his shoulders slid down the back of the chair. He hadn’t remembered just how far up his brother’s ass you were.
Roughly, he rubbed his face with his palms before lazily reaching for the dark velvet pouch on the table. The emerald green reminded him not only of his brother, but of his entire family, the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Sirius couldn’t help the groan that left his mouth at the memories of his family that seemed to plague his mind.
Fittingly, Sirius opened the pouch to reveal just that. The silvery, viscous tendrils that floated through each vial were immediately recognized by the pureblood. You had given him your memories...and a letter.
You deserve to know him.
Sirius’ curiosity regarding what secrets of his brother’s seemed to be swimming in the vials bubbled over, he was sure 12 Grimmauld Place was harbouring a pensieve somewhere within its walls, he’d just have to get up and find it.
17 October 1974
Barty Crouch Jr. was an insolent child, the type to collect bones and listen to them rattle. He had a nervous tick, his tongue slithering past his lips every so often in a manner that was so serpentine it made your skin prick.
“Come on then, L/N, be a good little girl and do as I say.”
You threw down your quill in frustration, “Bugger off, Crouch. I’ve said no.”
“Don't be like that,” Barty smirked, coming closer to where you were sitting. “It’s only some homework. You were going to do yours anyway, why not get some extra practice in by doing mine too?”
“I’d rather have unforgivables practiced on me than do anything you ask.”
His sickly sweet smile wasn’t one you were expecting, his voice low and threatening, “That can be arranged.”
Your blood ran cold as you watched his nimble fingers move toward his wand pocket in his robes. Truthfully, you should’ve known better. Being in the same house as Barty allowed you the luxury of hearing all the gossip surrounding him and his hobbies, dark magic and curses being at the top of that list.
The cold baritone made the sandy-haired menace stop in his tracks, his face contorting into an expression of mild annoyance and frustration.
“There’s no need for you to be acting like a child. Quite humiliating asking someone else to do your work, isn’t it, Crouch? Are you too thick to get it done yourself?”
Barty turned to look at his friend, words jumbling as he tried to figure out how to get himself out of the hole he had dug.
“Reg-” The stone-like stare had Barty cowering and mouth snapping shut, the boy seemingly trying to fold in on himself.
With a simple nod of his head, Regulus directed the him to make himself useful elsewhere, but you were far too taken by the handsome boy in front of you to notice the stomping footsteps of Barty’s as he left. Of course you had known of Regulus Black, seen him from afar and even once had Transfiguration with him, but seeing him up close was an experience in and of itself. His skin was ghostly pale, hair dark and wavy as it fell just below his ears, and his cheekbones were high accentuating the slant of his nose. Regulus Black was beautiful, everything about him seemed to be placed just right and sculpted with the utmost care and attention.
He turned to you, your eyes meeting before he gave you an appraising look.
“Regulus.” His hand struck out, a rather rugged introduction.
Slowly, you took his hand in yours and proceeded to shake it. You couldn’t seem to rid yourself of the feeling that your hand was far too dirty, far too boring to be touching his, to even be near his.
“Y/n L/n, thank you- for that.” You were proud of yourself for not allowing your voice to shake.
“I’m sorry he was a bother.”
Regulus seemed to lack the ability of holding a conversation, he nodded- you assumed a goodbye- and got ready to make his way to the dorms.
“Wait,” Your voice came out before you could stop it. “You could stay, I’m almost done anyway. We could...talk.”
The suggestion had the boy's ears turning pink, his words coming out stuttered and jumbled, a stark contrast from the boy who had told off Barty so eloquently.
“If you- alright.”
You thought for a moment before speaking again, “You’re not very good at talking to people are you?”
“Excuse my blatant honesty, but you make me quite nervous.”
It was your turn to have your ears turn a soft hue of red, “I could say the same about you.”
5 April 1975
“Haven’t you got your own side of the blanket? Must you be so close to me?” You giggled, trying to roll away from Regulus while still avoiding the grass.
Regulus smiled, his eyes closing and nose scrunching in thought before he spoke, “I prefer to be close to you; making sure you won’t run out on me.”
Both of you began giggling, his head falling to nudge your shoulder. Ultimately, Regulus shuffled away from your side, allowing just about a foot of space in between your bodies. The wind rustled your hair as you turned your neck to look at the youngest Black as he sat up, his legs stretched and crossed at the ankles, arms propping himself up as his palms pressed flat against the floor.
It was no secret that Regulus was beautiful. His dark hair- now gently flowing in the cool breeze- stood out against his pale skin, freckles were dusted delicately over his aristocratic nose and sharp cheekbones. You could tell he’d never worked a day in his life with how handsome and soft his hands were. His fingers were long and slender, never dry or rough, and his nails perfectly trimmed and always clean.
Regulus Black was absolutely perfect and you were regretting ever complaining about his proximity.
You were quick to right your wrong, bashfully you raised yourself onto all fours and crawled over to your boyfriend. Regulus tried to hold in his smirk, avoiding turning to look at you directly but you could tell his resolve was breaking.
“Regulus…” You spoke his name with an innocent lilt, sitting back on your shins once you were close enough to have your knees touching his thigh.
He hummed, not giving you the satisfaction of having his full attention.
A huff of frustration fell past your lips at his stubbornness as you threw your leg over his thighs, straddling his legs just above his knees. His composure was thinning, a wide smile threatening to spread across his thin lips.
“You’re far too close,” he teased, his hand coming up as if trying to stop you from getting any closer. “I believe you are on my side of the blanket, L/n.”
“Don’t be so fickle, Black.”
Regulus’ pale blue eyes found yours, his delicate hand coming up to run across the delicate collar of your dress.
“It’s in my nature isn’t it?” His eyes held a certain sadness that you could not place, one you wouldn’t see again until a few years later.
Your lips parted to respond to him, only to be interrupted by a Hogwarts ghost floating nearby. It was a ghost neither you nor Regulus were familiar with and as she passed she mumbled something- rather spitefully- about young love. The event had your train of thought derailed, a quiet giggle erupting from your throat as the transparent, deceased woman floated on.
Regulus seemed to find the woman just as amusing as you did, his eyes crinkling with laughter as you two now looked at each other in fits of hysterics.
“Oh her poor soul!” You exclaimed, eyes looking off in the direction she had gone. “If you were a ghost, Reg, where would you haunt with your undead presence.”
His expression contorted into one of reminiscence, “Uncle Alphard’s cherry orchard just a few kilometers from Monts de Venasque. When we were little, Sirius and I would play in the trees. I could sit in those cherry trees for hours, everything just seemed to disappear. Alphard’s been burned off the tapestry since, but he’s left the property in my possession along with the small house on the land. I think if I were to choose one place to spend eternity, it would be there.”
You smiled softly at his answer.
“And you?” He asked, bringing you out of your lovesick haze.
“Me?” You chuckled. “I’d suppose my eternity would be well spent as long as I was somewhere with you.”
28 June 1976
It seemed the entirety of 12 Grimmauld Place shook with how hard Sirius had slammed the front door.
He was gone.
Completely and entirely gone.
And Regulus was completely and entirely alone now.
Regulus swiftly made his way up the stairs and to his room, just barely avoiding a collision with the poor house elf.
“Y/n’s room.” The words were spoken clearly and concisely as the floo powder fell from his shaky hands.
The time of night- 2:27 am- was of little importance to Regulus, he needed to see you.
You woke up with a jolt, the sound of someone stumbling into your room and panicked mumbling doing nothing to ease your nerves though the mop of dark curls had your heart calming down.
He turned to look at you with heartbroken eyes, watery and bloodshot.
“He’s gone.” He choked out.
You kicked the blankets off yourself and stood up from your bed, bare feet hitting the cold floor.
Keeping a calm tone you slowly got closer to him, “Who’s gone, love?”
His pain was so evident, rolling off him in waves, “Sirius- he’s not coming back.”
“Oh,” You sighed, treading lightly. “I’m sur-”
“No!” He cried, “Burned off the tapestry, probably with the Potters- he’s gone an-and he left me with them.”
Regulus’ anguish, tear stained cheeks, had your own eyes welling with unshed tears. It was clear words would do nothing to calm him, instead you opted for pushing yourself into him and taking his crying form into your arms. His body seemed to give out as you held him, his tears soaking your shirt as he wailed into your neck.
Neither of you could tell how long you stood in the middle of your room seemingly holding him together, but his cries subsided into gentle whimpers and the occasional sniffle as his nose nudged the side of your neck.
His voice came out rough and strained, just barely above a whisper, “Please don’t- don’t leave me like Si- like he did.”
You could feel your heart shatter, “Wouldn’t dream of it, darling.”
“I don’t know how I would’ve survived in this mess if I had never known you.”
Your breath came out ragged as you spoke the truest words you've ever dared to speak, “My heart beats for you, Regulus.”
30 December 1979
His forearm itched.
It seemed to always have an odd itch ever since he was sixteen.
Regulus watched your form get closer, bundled in a thick overcoat and a dark blue scarf- Christmas present from himself- wrapped neatly around your neck. You were the picture of beauty, like a living doll with your soft smile and adoring eyes.
“My love.” You greeted him, leaning in to place a soft kiss against his cold cheek.
His eyes seemed distant, your only greeting a tight lipped smile.
Your eyebrows knit together, “Everything alright?”
Regulus nodded, his eyes swimming with a sadness so familiar, “Just taking you in.”
He pulled off his leather gloves, stuffing them deep in his coat pocket before reaching his hand out to hold your jaw, his thumb running across your skin. The action was comforting and you couldn’t help but close your eyes to savour the feeling of his thumb caressing your cheekbone.
You let out a small gasp when you felt him take your lips in a slow kiss. It was passionate, loving, yet there was a certain finality to it that had a shiver run up your spine in the most unpleasant way.
“I have the cruelest favor to ask of you, and I can only hope you’ll forgive me once I do.”
Your stomach dropped, “What do you mean, Regulus? What- what favor?”
“Please, try to understand-”
“Tell me what the favor is, Regulus.”
Your voice had an edge to it that made him compose himself almost instantly.
He took a breath before speaking, his eyes looking off somewhere behind you as he spoke, “He’s getting stronger.”
You didn’t need to ask who this ‘he’ was, the tone made it very clear.
“He has these… horcruxes. Incredibly dark magic, I don't know how many but I know of one. It’s hidden and I’ve found out the location, I can destroy it I know I can but-”
His tone was hushed and your heart rate had started to pick up speed.
“But you don’t know if you’ll live to tell the tale?” You asked with a humorless laugh.
The look in Regulus’ eyes had told you, you were right.
“I can’t let him continue. If this could stop him, weaken him even, it’s worth whatever the consequence to myself may be.” He argued.
You pushed yourself further from him, “I can’t- I won’t lose you. No, there’s no way.”
His expression shifted into one of sorrow and pleading, “I have to.”
And you knew there was no changing his mind.
You bit the side of your lip anxiously, looking at the ground before asking, “And this favor?”
The heartbreak was almost palpable, his voice going raw.
“I cannot be fully prepared to do anything that is necessary to destroy this horcrux if-”
He cut himself off with an intake of breath.
“If I know you’ll be waiting for my return, if I know what I have to leave behind I may be tempted to not go through with my plan.”
You couldn’t help but feel and look horrified, “What are you asking of me, Regulus?”
He seemed to flinch at the tone of your voice, a tone you’d never used before and one he couldn’t name.
“I need you to obliviate yourself from my memory.”
It felt as though your chest had collapsed in on itself, “I-I couldn-”
“You have to!” Regulus cried, his arms gripping the sides of your face as you couldn’t help but let a choked sob escape from your lips. “It’s the only way I’ll be able to go through with it, I can't know that there’s a possibility of leaving you.”
“Please, Regulus, you can’t ask this of me.” You choked out, searching his eyes for some sort of humor, something that told you it was all a cruel joke.
He pressed his lips against your forehead, both of your eyes closing as you two took in short, ragged breaths.
Everything seemed darker. The flowers in the Black garden were cold and dead, the snow wasn’t snow at all, instead dangerous sheets of ice. It was then you realized the war, the death eaters, everything had become so real.
“There is a letter on your bed at home, I’ve settled everything for you. I’m going to stand against the pillar, my back to you, and you are going to do it from behind the hedges so we won’t see each other after. You need to leave once it’s done alright?”
You nodded solemnly, knowing there was no use in fighting it. The cause was bigger than you, bigger than Regulus. Everyone made sacrifices, this just had to be yours.
“My heart beats for you, Y/n, whether I know it or not.”
“And mine for you, Regulus.” You smiled sadly, pulling his wrist up to your face and pulling back his sleeve to reveal his dark mark, pressing a kiss to the skin you spoke, “You aren’t them, you never were and you never will be.”
Regulus smiled but said nothing as he lowered his arms and put his gloves back on. With slow steps he walked to the pillar and looked back at you one last time.
“I’m just taking you in.” He whispered, before slowly turning.
You took your wand from your coat as you took even slower steps to stand just far enough for him not to notice you after it had been done. Regulus felt his resolve crumble with each crunch of your boots against the frozen ground, his eyes screwed shut- tears rolling down his face freely- as he prepared for what was coming.
With a shaky hand you raised your wand.
Sirius seemed to be thrown back from the pensieve, as if the memory had rejected him from viewing any longer, still sensitive. He felt an odd tickling sensation run down his cheek, his hand raising to brush away a stray tear as he fell into a nearby chair.
He never knew…
You pushed open the backdoor of your small home, the warm scent of cherry trees welcoming you. The sun was just barely starting to set as you looked off into the horizon of the vast field of trees, if you looked long enough you could make out the handsome silhouette of a boy you once knew sitting up in a cherry tree.
Only a few short months later, the lone figure would be joined by another… a brother.
may i have a megumi playlist with romance vibes & cool fight vibes?? thank you so much!! love youuu
bring forth the deepest shadows - a megumi fushiguro inspired playlist
winning by dying and winning even if you die are two completely different things, Megumi.
Afraid - The Neighbourhood
Keep on dreaming, don't stop breathing, fight those demons
Sell your soul, not your whole self
Death In My Pocket - Machine Gun Kelly
I think I'm ready to die tonight
It's fucked up 'cause I ain't lived half my life
I saw the devil and passed him like
"You tryna fuck up my afterlife"
But I don't even care, you can keep me there, yeah
Holding up a flare, I needed a prayer, yeah
I got Death In My Pocket
But I feel so alive
Running With The Wolves - AURORA
A gift, curse
They track and hurt
Say can you dream
In nightmares seems
A million voices, silent screams
Where hope is left so incomplete
I'm running with the wolves tonight
DNA. - Kendrick Lamar
got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
Daddy Issues - The Neighbourhood
This time I gotta know
Where did my daddy go?
I'm not entirely here
Half of me has disappeared
Go ahead and cry, little boy
You know that your daddy did too
You know what your mama went through
You gotta let it out soon, just let it out
Time is Running Out - Muse
I think I'm drowning
I wanna break this spell
That you've created
idfc - blackbear
'Cause I have hella feelings for you
I act like I don't fucking care
'Cause I'm so fucking scared
I'm only a fool for you
And maybe you're too good for me
I'm only a fool for you
But I don't fucking care, at all
Nervous - The Neighbourhood
You've got me nervous to speak
So I just won't say anything at all
I've got an urge to release
And you keep tellin' me to hold on
You've got me nervous to move
So I just won't give anything to you
You got me turnin' all around to be who you need me to
Should I be quiet? Uh
Come on, be silent, uh
You know I'm tryin', so don't say nothin', uh
Tell me you trust me, and
Kiss me and hug me, yeah
Well, I would do anything for ya
You just gotta love me
Fallingforyou - The 1975
I don't want to be your friend, I want to kiss your neck
Don't you see me I
I think I'm falling, I'm falling for you
And don't you need me I
I think I'm falling, I'm falling for you
On this night, and in this light
I think I'm falling (I think I'm falling), I'm falling for you
And maybe you, change your mind
I Wanna Be Yours - Arctic Monkeys
Secrets I have held in my heart
Are harder to hide than I thought
Maybe I just wanna be yours
I wanna be yours
Love - Lana Del Rey
Signals crossing can get confusing
It's enough just to make you feel
Crazy, crazy, crazy
Sometimes, it's enough just to make you feel crazy
Slow Down - Chase Atlantic
Tell me what you heard
Tell me what you know
I've been rolling for days, yeah, this is so foreign
Oh, vanity, no, listen, baby
I don't know if you already know how
But girl, I gotta feeling that you know now
You're buried in the pillow, yeah you're so loud
But I'm about to show you, baby, slow down
Follow You - Bring Me The Horizon
Come sink into me and let me breathe you in
I'll be your gravity, you be my oxygen
So dig two graves 'cause when you die
I swear I'll be leaving by your side
So you can drag me through hell
If it meant I could hold your hand
I will follow you 'cause I'm under you spell
And you can throw me to the flames
I will follow you
Monsoon - Tokio Hotel
I'm fighting all its power
Coming in my way
Let it take me straight to you
I'll be running night and day
I'll be with you soon
Just me and you
We'll be there soon
Running through the monsoon
Beyond the world
To the end of time
Where the rain won't hurt
Fighting the storm
Into the blue
And when I lose myself I think of you
Together we'll be running somewhere new
And nothing can hold me back from you
Through the monsoon
a/n: I mentally divided this playlist into three different parts: the first one is about megumi only, the second one about him falling for y/n and the third one about y/n fighting beside him! I'm in love with his character <3 <3 <3 I can't stop talking about him to my bff, fr :c I'm hopeless. Also, I'm sorry about The Neighbourhood being in EVERY SINGLE PLAYLIST but those lyrics are so good kjdhdfgkfg okay bye-
@foreverthesickestkidz thank you for requesting this and for being patient, you're lovely <3
check this if you wanna request a playlist too🌻
⇝ 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐞 | 𝐥.𝐚.
pairing: levi ackerman x fem! reader
genre: angsty uwu
summary: you’ve been together for more than he can remember, but for some reason, he just can’t say “I do.”
Levi’s never been afraid enough so as to stay back, inert. Whether it's monsters in human or titan forms, he throws himself into battle like it’s his last moment on mother Earth, and while he miraculously manages to fly out safely sometimes, there are always casualties that torment his mind afterwards.
Levi’s never been afraid, until this very moment. It’s not hard to tell his words have stuck with you for good; your smiles are faint now, having lost their usual warmth, and you’re way too quiet, especially when he walks into the room. The strongest hit for him, however, is when you eventually stop facing him while sleeping in your shared bedroom. His eyes rest on your back until the early hours of the morning, and even though you’ve never denied his touch, he knows that something has changed- all his doing.
You told him one fateful afternoon while helping with paperwork. Levi didn’t seem to be in a bad mood, so you felt confident enough to bring the matter onto the surface, hoping for anything but a negative response. You didn’t know why you allowed yourself to believe this way, really.
“I mean, it doesn’t have to be now, but I’d really love us to get married, Levi. You know how much this means to me, us-”
“Do you want to see a damn ring on your finger, y/n? I’ll buy you a fucking ring, then. But I can’t marry you, I thought it was quite obvious.”
Your eyes widened in surprise at his irritated tone. He rarely speaks to you like that because you’ve learned his limits and know when to step out, so, back then, you realized that you hit a nerve.
“I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, but the answer is no. We’re just fine the way we are, how does a stupid paper, or a ceremony, change the way we feel about each other? I’ve let my guard down for you and you know it better than anyone. Isn’t this enough?”
The conversation ended because none of you picked it up. There were many things you wanted to say, yet you chose silence to avoid crying in front of him. You were taken aback by Levi’s words, that was no lie, but relationships are hard, and compromises are unavoidable.
Levi can be difficult at times, the same goes for you, but no matter what, you always end up making up. You can’t really understand him now, but it’s okay. Maybe you went overboard without noticing, maybe he needs time to reconsider. Besides, it was something none of you ever discussed in the past, so at least it served as an opportunity for you to see how he feels about the concept of a potential marriage.
After his last statement, it felt strange and embarrassing staying in the same room with him all of a sudden, and in desperate need of air, you placed a few finished papers on his desk, giving him a small smile.
“I’ll go make some tea, okay?”
He regrets sounding so harsh that day, but above all, he regrets being a hypocrite. He wanted it, he still does; he wants to slip a ring through your finger, he wants you to hear the vows he catches himself thinking late at night, for it’s you to stand before him and no one else. Levi wants you to be his wife, just as much as you want him to be your husband.
But you’re both characters in a world that’s crumbling more and more every day, a world full of death and deception, a world in which the survival of the fittest is a basic principle. He sees little future for this world, though, in the pit of his heart, he hopes for better days.
Levi knows that once he’s completely yours, there’s no going back. If he dies, you’ll never be the same again. If you die, he’ll never be the same again. In his mind, it’s easier to say that he lost his lover rather than his wife, it’s a wall he built for himself in order to offer himself some kind of illusory comfort during times of possible grief. And there’s not a single day that passes without him thinking that he can lose you at any moment.
But he won’t admit any of that, no. It’s better for you to be mad at him for as long as it takes, he can bear it. However, as days go by, he realizes that you’re not angry at him like he suspected in the beginning. You look like all energy has been sucked out of you, you look distant, melancholic. Levi wishes you would scream at him, be more persistent, even, literally any kind of reaction but this.
The tension between you two doesn’t go unnoticed by the others, some of which (*coughs* Eren *coughs*) have started whispering unanswered questions. You can’t help but smile at their interest, knowing that they want nothing but the best for you. Bringing things down in your head, you decide that there’s no point dwelling on it. Maybe Levi was right. It was not easy at all, making him open up to you, squeezing yourself through to see his true colors. You’re not wasting your time. As long as there’s true love, nothing else matters.
If this is the case, then why can’t you get rid of this suffocating feeling of insufficiency?
You bury it all inside with an enormous shovel and a heavy heart, in an attempt to cover your pain with as much soil as possible. The last thing you want is to let him slip away from your hand, or the opposite. Levi seems to have beat you to these thoughts, however, because he’s the first one to finally approach you to try and discuss things again. He’s not entirely sure what he wants to say, but he can’t keep swallowing down his guilt from a week ago.
“Jean, I’ve told you over and over again, there’s absolutely nothing on your face that reminds me of a horse-” You stop mid-sentence when you feel a slight tug on the sleeve of your shirt.
“L/N, do you have a minute?”
“Kirstein and I are in the middle of a conversation here, Captain.”
“I think Kirstein can take a hint and kindly piss off, right, Kirstein?”
Jean’s mouth hangs open for a few seconds, his eyes moving from yours to Levi’s. He eventually shakes his head, nodding quickly.
“Of course! Of course...If you excuse me...” He almost runs his way out the kitchen, his cheeks in the faintest shade of red. When the door closes behind him, you let out a deep sigh.
“And there, I almost convinced him that-”
“I’m sorry.” The sound of his fist hitting the table is louder than intended, and you immediately stop talking, blinking a few times in surprise.
“I’m sorry I got so defensive the other day. I think I’ll go completely insane if you keep giving me the cold shoulder.”
When your eyes meet his, your heart sinks. He looks like guilt’s been tormenting his insides, and yes, he shouldn’t be feeling so guilty about it, but he does, and there’s nothing he can do.
“Levi, I should be the one to apologize. I had no idea you felt this way about marriage, but now that I do, I promise that I’ll never mention it again. I don’t want us to fight over something insignificant-”
“It is significant, for you.”
Your hands slowly remove his tense hand from the table, caressing it softly.
“It really doesn’t matter. I won’t ever force you into doing something you don’t want to, nor will I ever try to convince you to change your mind. If there’s no mutual understanding, we honestly have nothing. And I’d be a fool to lose the love of my life over a silly argument.”
He sees hope in your glistening gaze, the kind of hope like the one he’s hidden away, hope that someone like him maybe deserves to be happy every once in a while. Levi secretly hopes because you’ve taught him to, you’ve loved him more than enough to do so.
“I’m not afraid of commitment, I’ve already committed my miserable life to you. I just...Dammit, I’m just scared that one day one of us won’t come back. I... I reap what I sow, every single person I care about is either dead or-”
You silence his worries with a kiss, wrapping your arms around his neck. A kiss of reassurance, a silent promise that you can’t really control, yet you make, anyway. Levi finds himself getting lost in the way you moved, allowing you to take him down roads unknown. Hell, he’s missed you, and he hates that he’s vulnerable, malleable.
“I’ve been by your side for God knows how long, during thick and thin, and I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere, Levi. As long as we have each other, we’ll be safe, I know it. I don’t care about marriage anymore, and I’m sorry I acted like a kid.”
Levi experiences an emotion unfamiliar to him. He’s unable to describe it, and other than his quick breathing and blurred vision, all the weight from his shoulders has been momentarily lifted. Is this what relief feels like? Is this the closest he’ll get to joy? He can’t be sure, that’s why he decides not to let go from its grasp. He wants to know. Levi wants to know what relief and joy feel like more than anything.
“Marry me, y/n l/n. I can’t promise you the world, but I promise you myself, forever.”
“You are my world, dummy. A thousand times yes.”
And he gets carried away for a while, intoxicated by the smell of your hair, the taste of your mouth, the redness of your heart...All until the boat sinks like all the others;
Until he realizes that some people are just never meant to be happy.
𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘬𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵, 2021. 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵.
Hate To Think About You With Somebody Else - F.W.
Fred Weasley x Reader
Summary: Fred and Y/N used to be friends with benefits, but that arrangement ended in heartbreak. Can Fred handle seeing her out with somebody else?
Word Count: 4.7k
Warnings: 18+ NSFW. MINORS DNI. Mentions of alcohol, mentions of blood, small bit of violence/fight scene (the reader and Fred are not injured), possessive talk, fingering, degradation, bondage, orgasm denial, unprotected sex, a bit angsty with a happy ending. Please let me know if I’ve forgotten anything!
A/N: For @theweasleytwinsgirl who asked for the reader teasing Fred, leading to her being tied up! I added a bit of plot to it, because I cannot help it. Obviously, this fic is lightly inspired by “Somebody Else” by The 1975. I am not very confident in my smut writing abilities, so any feedback would be appreciated! I also feel I should thank @lumosandnoxwriting for giving me advice and reassurance throughout writing this. Pictures are from Pinterest.
I have not included all of my general taglist, because I do not know who is 18+ or who wants to be tagged in smut.
Fred, George, Angelina, and Alicia sat leisurely around the twins’ shared living room, laughing and giggling over drinks. The past few weeks had been hell at the shop, so the boys felt they needed a much deserved night to just relax. Previously, Fred would have liked nothing more than to relieve his tension with Y/N, but unfortunately, that was no longer an option.
“Have you heard about Y/N and Pucey?” Angelina prodded with a giggle, her eyes alit with mischief.
Fred’s jaw immediately clenched at the sound of her name, his grip on his glass tightening. He most certainly hadn’t heard about her in a few weeks, and he hadn’t expected to have such a visceral reaction at the mere mention of her name. Regaining his composure, he forced himself to relax a bit and quirk a brow, feigning both confusion and interest.
“No? They shagging?” George questioned, sitting forward in his seat.
“Apparently, but I guess it’s becoming a bit more serious than just that.” Angelina shrugged, turning her gaze to Alicia beside her for confirmation. When the second girl nodded, Fred downed another gulp of his drink.
That can’t be right, he thought. It hadn’t even been a month since the last time they had been together, Y/N pinned beneath him as breathy moans escaped her lips. In the dim light of his bedroom, she had whispered to him that her pussy was his, that she was his, and now, apparently, she was with someone else. Some part of him knew that he had no right to be upset, because truthfully, it was his choice to end their little arrangement. But she had left him no choice after breaking their number one rule.
Y/N and Fred had ventured past friendly acquaintanceship about a year before, after a few too many firewhiskys at an infamous Weasley twins’ party. The morning after, they had tiptoed around each other, clearly uncomfortable by the change in dynamic. But it didn’t take long for it to happen again, and again, and again. Before either of them had really realized it, they had become much more than friends but much less than really together, and Fred wanted to keep it that way. He wanted them to remain in that middle ground.
As far as he knew, Y/N was more than fine with where they stood with each other. Until one day, she wasn’t. He remembered clearly how she had bit her lip and gazed at him, only moments after finishing him off with her mouth. He had looked at her curiously, wondering where her usual, joking, post-coital self had gone.
“Have you ever thought of me as more than, you know, just an easy fuck?”
Her words had shocked him, because they certainly weren’t the turn of phrase he would have used. He didn’t think of her as ‘an easy fuck,’ he thought of her as a friend. Someone he cared deeply for. But as he gazed into her desperate eyes, he was struck with the realization that he didn’t care for her the way she hoped. He had swallowed deeply, preparing his words in his mind, before shattering her heart.
Now, he wasn’t sure why he cared. Sure, he had thought about her a lot in the weeks they’d been apart, but he was always so sure that he had made the right choice. Relationships were messy, and he was young, so he had no intention to be tied down so soon. Still, the thought of her with Adrian Pucey made his blood boil, and he wished desperately that he could put an explanation to the feeling.
The sound of his name tore him from his thoughts of Y/N, and he quickly plastered on his signature goofy grin before sitting forward and re-immersing himself in the conversation. Still, in the back of his mind, images of Y/N and Adrian played on repeat, fueling a fire that he hadn’t realized was a lit within him.
A week later, Fred found himself at a party at Oliver Wood’s flat, celebrating a win for Puddlemere United. There was an array of different people there, ranging from his old Hogwarts team, to groupies, to people who had just showed up at the mention of a party. Fred had planned on getting drunk that night, but after seeing George and Lee sloppily grinding on a few witches in an intoxicated bliss, he decided maybe—for once—he would be the responsible one.
Fred had gone nearly an hour, just barely nursing a glass of firewhisky and chatting with old friends jovially, before his eyes landed on a familiar face entering the party.
Fred was frozen at the eye contact they held, his first time seeing her in weeks. Y/N held the gaze for a moment, before turning to grip Adrian’s wrist behind her and drag him further into the party. If Fred thought he had a strong reaction to hearing about their relationship, it was nothing compared to actually seeing it. Fred slammed his drink down and walked away from the poor girl he had been chatting with without so much as an explanation.
“Let’s get out of here.” Fred clapped a hand down on George’s shoulder the moment he reached him, pulling his attention away from the girl dancing against him.
“Now?” George questioned incredulously, his brows raising. He gestured to the girl in his arms before returning a pleading look to his brother. “Come on, mate. This isn’t a great time.”
Fred knew he could convince his brother to leave if he explained, but his mouth felt entirely too dry. He couldn’t seem to formulate the words as to why he needed to get out of there. So, instead, he sighed and offered his brother a nod before retreating back to the outskirts of the people dancing.
Normally, Fred was the life of the party. By this point in the night, he’d usually be plastered and singing or dancing with no remorse. But seeing Y/N with a bloke like Pucey caused him to have an entire demeanor change, leaving him scowling leaned against the wall.
It didn’t take long for his eyes to find Y/N amongst those dancing, pressed closely to Pucey behind her. She was dancing provocatively, even turning in the man’s grasp every little bit to kiss him sloppily. At first, Fred had been almost certain that she was doing it on purpose. The way she was right in his line of vision, acting completely out of character in her open demeanor, it all felt like too much for him to handle.
Then, she made eye contact with him, and held it, and he just knew. She was doing it on purpose. All of her actions had been a way to get him worked up, to see if he would get jealous, and dammit it was working. Fred chewed on the inside of his cheek, holding her gaze as she grinded her bum against Pucey. She held his gaze as she slowly craned her neck and pulled Adrian into a searing kiss, her eyes back on Fred the moment the two pulled apart.
That was the final straw for Fred. He wasn’t going to stand idly by while she taunted him so openly, showing him everything he was missing. So, he pushed through the crowd of people and found his way to the two of them, ignoring the small smirk that had risen on her face.
“Y/N,” He breathed out, just loud enough for her to hear over the music. Suddenly, he was entirely unsure of his next move, but he desperately wanted to regain control over the situation. So, he said the first thing that came to mind. “Do you want to get out of here?”
“Oi, what the hell, Weasley?” Adrian paused his dancing, although his hands remained gripped on Y/N’s waist. “Can’t you see we’re a little busy here?”
Fred completely ignored the man at first, his eyes never leaving Y/N. He could see by the look on her face that he had played exactly into what she wanted, but with the jealousy coursing through him, he couldn’t find it in himself to care. She smirked slightly at Fred before craning her neck to look back at Adrian, almost as if she were challenging him to fight for her further.
“I can see,” Fred seethed, finally looking up at Adrian. “I can see a poor girl not having a very good time. So, I’m offering her a better option. Why don’t you let her decide?”
Adrian scoffed, taking a small step back from Y/N but keeping one hand on her hip. He looked down at her, waiting expectantly for her to deny any desire to go off with Fred. When she simply glanced between the two of them, Adrian’s brows furrowed and a look of offense overtook his features.
“Come on, Y/N.” He pleaded. “Tell him.”
Y/N bit down on her lip, the action only infuriating Adrian further. He looked at her incredulously before scoffing and turning his head away.
“Should’ve known a desperate little slut like you couldn’t be loyal.”
In an instant, Fred pushed Y/N out of the way and landed a hard blow to Adrian’s jaw. Y/N was dazed, everything seeming to move in slow motion as all eyes turned on them. Adrian had faltered only for a moment, cupping his jaw in his hand before straightening up and lunging towards Fred.
Luckily, George and Lee were there after a moment, tearing Adrian away and threatening to pummel him as they marched him towards the door. Y/N knew Fred wouldn’t need their help in a fight, but she was still grateful that a full out brawl hadn’t occurred because of her. Y/N rushed to Fred, cradling his fist in her hand and glancing up at his eyes.
“Are you okay?” Her voice was soft, but the music had stopped, so he could hear her.
“‘m fine.” He answered curtly, glancing between the way she held his hand and her eyes. “So, can we get out of here?”
Y/N’s lips formed into a tight line, so as to conceal the smirk that desperately wanted to break through. She offered him a quick nod, and in an instant he was dragging her out the door and apparating her back to his flat.
The moment that they were in Fred’s room and the door shut, his lips were on hers. Her back was pressed up against his door, desperate little moans leaving her mouth as she reveled in the feeling of having him against her once more. Fred took the opportunity to push his tongue into her mouth when her lips parted, taking full control of the situation.
Y/N was more than content to let him take over, having missed him in their time apart more than she would ever like to admit. Of course, the feelings she still held for him lingered strongly, but she tried not to think about that as Fred pressed himself further against her. Adrian had been nothing more than a distraction, a feeble hope that she had held onto as a way to get over the tall red head, but it clearly hadn’t worked. She felt a bit bad, because she knew Adrian cared about her far more deeply than she did him, but she also knew she had made it clear she didn’t want a relationship. The irony was sickening.
“That was quite a show you were putting on tonight.” Fred pulled away from her breathlessly, his eyes tracking up and down her body.
“Yeah?” Y/N cocked her head to the side, feigning innocence. “I don’t know what you mean, I was just having a bit of fun.”
A low growl crawled out of his throat as he pressed his lips to hers once more, using more force than previously. Y/N squeaked at the intensity, but quickly melted into him. His hands trailed up and down her sides as she rested her own around his neck, pulling him impossibly closer.
Fred’s hands finally made their way to the hem of her shirt, his fingers ghosting over the skin of her stomach and sending a shockwave throughout her. Slowly, he trailed his fingers up, raising her shirt up in his wake. Y/N was quick to oblige, breaking away from him to allow him to tear the garment off completely.
For a moment, Fred’s eyes trailed over her slightly revealed form, drinking in the way she looked half-naked. He hadn’t realized how much he missed seeing her like this, and he found that his breath hitched at even the littlest bit of exposure.
As his eyes met her pleading ones, he quickly recovered. Their passion resumed in an instant as he pressed his lips to hers once more, spinning her away from the door and walking her backwards towards his bed. Y/N allowed him to lightly push her back onto it, her heart fluttering at the sudden gentleness of his actions. She’d always loved the dominance he held over her, but something about what was happening between them now felt different. But, as he draped his body over her own, all of her hopes of actual romance melted away and her mind was entirely clouded with just the appeal of him.
Y/N arched herself against Fred, giving him the space to unclasp her bra. He slid the straps down her arms slowly, trailing open-mouthed kisses down her jaw and neck, until he finally met the tops of her breasts. He cast her bra aside, shooting her one last look before taking a pebbled nipple into his mouth. Y/N moaned at the contact, her fingers immediately threading themselves through his flaming hair. As his teeth gently grazed her nipple she gave his hair a tug, causing him to moan against her.
Fred continued his trail downward, planting kisses down her torso until he made it to the band of her leggings. Y/N lifted her hips and Fred held eye contact with her as he slowly pulled them down her legs. Y/N realized that he seemed to be drawing all of this out, pushing her to the point of pure desperation to make her pay for teasing him all night. Still, she bit her tongue and held back any thoughts of pleading with him, she couldn’t give in that easy.
When she was left in nothing but her panties, Fred sat back on his knees and leisurely unbuttoned his shirt. Y/N watched him intently, her frustration increasing significantly, until she could no longer contain it. She let out a desperate whine, pleading with the man with her eyes alone.
“Something wrong, love?” Fred cocked his head to the side and smirked.
“Freddie,” Y/N whined, the nickname feeling foreign yet fitting on her tongue.
Fred discarded his shirt before circling his hand around on of her ankles and hitching it up on his shoulder. He placed a soft kiss to the inside of her ankle before slowly trailing kisses back up her leg towards her thigh. Y/N shuttered as his lips ghosted over her clothed pussy, her eyes squeezing shut.
Fred looped one finger under the hem of her lace panties, but made no effort to pull them down. When a low chuckle escaped his lips, Y/N knew she was in trouble. Her eyes flew open once more, immediately meeting his darkened, lust-filled ones.
“Did you really think I’d give in that easy?” Fred mocked, punctuating his question by snapping the band of her underwear. “You tease me all night, putting on a show for me, acting like a desperate little slut.” He paused to wet his lips, drinking in the soft moan that escaped from her lips. “That is what you are, isn’t it?”
“Only for you, Freddie.”
“Really?” Fred scoffed, sitting back up to begin fiddling with his belt. Y/N raised herself up on her forearms, desperation and arousal pooling in her core. “Because it didn’t seem that way tonight.” Fred’s tongue darted out of his mouth, swiping over his bottom lip as he gazed at her hungrily. “Think maybe I might need to remind you whose slut you are. What do you think?”
She whimpered, but managed a feeble nod. In their previous times together, her and Fred were nothing if not adventurous in the bedroom. Still, as he waved his wand and bound her wrists to his headboard, she couldn’t help but gasp and lightly fight against the restraints. Fred held a devilish smirk at her plight as he stood from the bed and sat his wand back down.
Fred crawled back over her, his intense dominance faltering for just a moment as he leaned down to whisper in her ear.
“Still remember the safe word, yeah?”
“Yes, Freddie.” She managed to speak, although it was difficult. Fred leaned back and searched her eyes for a moment before leaning in and placing a soft kiss to her lips. After that, any sense of gentleness faded.
Fred’s lips sucked and bit at her neck hungrily, one of his large hands trailing down to rub her through her panties while the other massaged her breast. Y/N’s thighs clamped around his hand, which quickly earned her a light swat to her hip.
“Stay still, or I’ll have no problem tying your legs up too.” Fred growled against her neck.
Y/N quickly obliged, spreading her legs further open. While previously she may have been more inclined to push Fred a bit, her mind was too clouded with lust to do anything but obey him. After weeks of mediocre sex with Adrian, she was ready to completely give herself over to Fred, and let him have her in anyway he wanted.
Fred’s hand pushed the fabric of her panties aside, allowing one finger to drag through her wet folds. She was already soaking wet for him, despite the fact he’d hardly touched her. Without a warning, he plunged one finger into her, lightly moaning at the way she constricted around him. Y/N’s back arched ever so slightly against him, tugging futilely against her bound wrists. He set a steady pace, thrusting his finger in and out of her before adding another and scissoring the two. He changed pace after a moment, beginning to curl his fingers up into her as his thumb rubbed circles against her waiting clit. The pressure in her core grew quickly from that, and she couldn’t help the way she loudly moaned out.
“Right there, yes, oh god…”
Fred was now smirking as he pulled away from her neck, significantly satisfied with the many markings he’d left as well as how quickly he could bring her to this point. He knew her body like the back of his hand, he knew her signs for when she was close, and it made it so much easier to enact his plan.
Just as Y/N was teetering on the edge, desperate whines and random babbles leaving her lips, Fred pulled his hand away. She let out a frustrated and confused groan, her eyes flying open as she felt the build up slowly slip away. Fred just grinned at her, before getting off the bed and ridding himself of his trousers and boxers. He lazily stroked himself as he took her in, chest heaving and covered in a light sheen of sweat, completely at his mercy. She had stopped her attempts at fighting her restraints, looking at him like she were almost defeated. In her mind, she’d begun to fear the very real possibility that Fred wouldn’t let her cum at all.
“You seem frustrated.” Fred cooed mockingly, coming to lean back over her and gently brush her cheek. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Fred.” Y/N spoke firmly, though her eyes portrayed her fears. “You’ve got to let me finish.”
“Hm.” Fred seemed to ponder that, leaning back to slowly pull her panties down her legs. “I don’t think I have to do anything. In fact, I could just leave you here all tied up and needy.”
“Please,” Y/N whined, her eyes beginning to fill with tears. “I’m sorry, okay? Is that what you want to hear?”
“It’s a start.” Fred tutted, finally discarding her panties aside. He leaned down near her ear once more, his warm breath sending a chill down her spine. “What I’d really like, though, is to hear how much you need me. Wanna hear you say it.”
“Please, Freddie, I need your cock so bad. Need you to ruin me.” Y/N cried out, losing all sense of dignity as her sex-addled brain took over. Fred had intended to tease her much longer, but her desperate pleas were going straight to his cock, and he couldn’t hold out any longer.
“That’s all you had to say, love.”
Fred hitched her leg around his hip, gripping his cock in his free hand. He teased the head through her wet folds, shivering at the moan she let out from just the smallest contact. Then, he pushed his hips forward, not stopping until he was completely buried in her. Their low moans mixed together in the quiet of the room, Fred being careful not to move until he was sure she had adjusted to his size.
“Fuck, I forgot how fucking good you feel.” He groaned, burying his face in her neck.
He needed no further encouragement. Fred pulled out about halfway before snapping his hips back forward, setting a brutal but steady pace. Y/N’s loud moans and Fred’s grunts mixed together, accompanied only by the sound of their skin on skin contact. Y/N could feel her orgasm building again as his dick hit her g-spot with every thrust, and she was almost embarrassed by how quickly he could bring her to this point.
“‘m so close, Freddie.” Y/N breathed out, knowing it would only infuriate him further if she came without his permission.
“Already?” Fred scoffed, although he knew he wasn’t far behind.
Still, he wasn’t ready for things to end so soon, so he pulled out completely, ignoring the desperate whine that left her throat. He pulled both of her legs together and pushed her knees up against her chest, holding her ankles together with one hand before thrusting back into her desperate cunt. The new position allowed him to hit deeper within her as he thrust downward, causing Y/N to scream out. The pain was delicious, it was everything she had longed for in their time apart.
“You really think you deserve to cum?” Fred grunted, landing a particularly hard thrust into her. “After everything you pulled tonight?”
“Please.” Y/N whined. She was so close, she knew she wouldn’t be able to handle it if he stole another orgasm from her.
“Answer the question, slut.” Fred demanded, his pace quickening ever so slightly. “That’s what you are, isn’t it? A desperate little cum slut.”
“Yes.” Y/N cried out. “But only for you, Freddie. Just a slut for you.”
“That’s right.” Fred’s rhythm had begun to falter, approaching his own orgasm quickly. Still, he was unsure if he’d let her finish or not. “You’re my little slut. Only I get to call you that, right?”
“Yes, Freddie.” Y/N whined, beginning to tug again on her restraints. She wanted nothing more than to scrape her nails down his back, but being completely at his mercy turned her on endlessly.
“Good.” Fred was close, so fucking close, but he had made his decision. So he had to hold off. “Cum for me, then. You’ve earned it.”
That was all the encouragement she needed, and as Fred hit one more thrust into her g-spot she was tumbling over the edge. Electricity seemed to shoot all throughout her body as she loudly moaned out his name. Her legs were shaking and she was certain she’d be sore tomorrow, but she had little time to care about that as he continued to pound into her.
Y/N knew Fred well, just as well as he knew her, so she knew he was close. Her mind felt almost entirely blank and she wasn’t sure she had much energy for anything, but she wanted to bring him to his release badly. So, she clenched around him, a moan leaving her lips when he stuttered and groaned. His thrusts were faltering significantly, and after a few moments he was crying out her name as he finished in her.
Fred pulled out and dropped her legs before crashing down next to her. He knew that he needed to untie her, but they also both just needed a moment to breathe. All that could be heard was the sounds of their mixed pants as they both came down from their highs. Once he was significantly more relaxed, he gripped his wand and swished it lazily, effectively removing the restraints she was held in.
Y/N hands dropped down and she quickly went to rub at her wrists, but Fred was quick to bat her hands away and do it himself. He examined both wrist closely, seeming to want to ensure that they were okay.
“They weren’t too tight, were they?” Fred implored after a moment. His genuine concern made her heart flutter, and she couldn’t help herself as she leaned in and placed a soft kiss to his lips.
“No, they were perfect—all of it was perfect.” She sighed as she pulled away from him. Her general cognition was beginning to return, and with it her fears of all of the pain she had gone through in the past etched their way through.
Sure, Fred had clearly gotten jealous at the party. Then, he had gotten possessive and claimed her in the bedroom. But that didn’t necessarily mean that he harbored the same feelings for her that she had for him. The fear nearly paralyzed her, and she wasn’t sure if she should quickly redress and flee the room or implore what this all meant. Luckily, he answered her internal questioning before she even had to ask.
“I don’t want to see you out with Pucey.” Fred sighed, his eyes not meeting hers. “Which is a total prat thing to say, but it’s true. I don’t want to see you out with any bloke, really.”
“Fred…” Y/N spoke tentatively, her eyes begging him to speak further.
“I want you, Y/N. Like, really.” Fred finally met her gaze. “Not just in my bed.”
“What, do you want me on the couch too?” Y/N tried to joke, hoping it would cover up her nervous tone. But it didn’t. So, her voice became soft. “Don’t get my hopes up, Freddie.”
“I’m being serious.” He shook his head. “I want to take you out on fancy dates, or watch movies with you on my couch. Bloody hell, I want to bring you to my parent’s house for Sunday dinners. I don’t know, I’m not good at this. Whatever it is that couples do.”
“Fred Weasley,” A small smile had begun to grow on Y/N’s face. “Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?”
“Yes.” Fred answered earnestly. “That is, only if you’re going to say yes. Otherwise, this was all just a joke—”
Y/N shut him up by pressing her lips to his, her mouth still curled upwards in a smile. It was impossible to hide the genuine happiness that his words brought her.
“Yes.” She answered softly as she pulled away.
A similar smile began to grow on Fred’s face as he completely registered her words, and he couldn’t help but dive back in for another kiss. Y/N was his, completely. Something he’d probably wanted for so long, but had simply been too daft to realize it. Now, as he held her in his arms, he promised himself he’d never make such a mistake again.
Tagging a few 18+ mutuals from my usual taglist: @wand3ringr0s3 @gcdric @theweasleysredhair
( this chapter’s gif by @ransomflanagan from this beautiful set ! )
✪ — VACANT MIRRORS ; B.B. | 5/?
summary: your plan goes to asbolute shit.
pairing: bucky barnes / f!reader
tags: set before & during tfatws, friends to lovers, therapy positive, trauma healing techniques, ptsd mentions, the normalization of anxiety disorders, and a good ol’ slow burn
word count: 9k, please pray for my fingers
a/n: there’s action, there’s gunshot wounds, there’s canon appropriate violence! this one has a lot of plot, a lot of action, and i truly want to sleep for seven days after writing this. you should listen to the glass cannon’s club playlist while you read, though, for vibez.
( PREVIOUSLY | AO3 | MASTERLIST | NEXT )
You do have a plan.
Maybe it’s a little vague, a little messy, and a little up-in-the-air, but it’s a plan.
Get in, find Kiwi, avoid a handful of unsavory characters, and access the Alexandria Library.
Getting the hell out The Glass Cannon once you and Bucky were in was going to be a whole different plan entirely — one that was more improv than anything else. Hopefully, running a quick facial recognition program wouldn’t take long. With any luck, it would get a hit on any more recent aliases Innessa Sidrova was using after parsing the motherload of information Kiwi held onto with her life.
Kiwi wasn’t always known as Kiwi. She worked at SHIELD, like you, and back then she was known as Suji Awal. She stuck around longer — and she’d stayed on board during the active collapse to do heaven-sent work. It was an absolute Hail Mary, but while HYDRA had tried to purge all of SHIELD’s cloud data to protect their active agents and decades of progress, Suji had beat the hare in the race. Two steps ahead, she’d managed to pull nearly 97% of all confidential data including mission reports, agent profiles, and even electronic correspondence. While the metaphorical fire burned the documents behind her, she’d managed to salvage one of the only surviving, comprehensive looks at SHIELD before the curtain was pulled back to reveal HYDRA’s infection.
It had been used to try multiple HYDRA agents in the wake of it all in the federal courts. It was significant evidence, but after nearly all was reaped from the crop, Suji had taken the aptly named Alexandria Library and gone underground. Now, Kiwi was just another hacker in the thick of it and the Alexandria files were all but whispers.
It’s all about knowing the right people in the end.
Kiwi was a regular at The Glass Cannon. There was a nine out of ten chance you’d find her there. And if you didn’t find Kiwi, you’d probably find Climber and… Well, going to him wasn’t the most ideal situation, but out of the menagerie of acquaintances you’d gathered up throughout the years, you could trust Climber. He’d send you Kiwi’s way if you finally called in that favor he owed you. Either way, you’d find her and you’d get the files.
You just needed to avoid Alexei Gardzov.
In truth, you barely get anything done Thursday — you’re too preoccupied in your head, running over the so-called plan even now as you fold laundry in the basement of your apartment complex.
You’d dug around in your closet, trying to find some semblance of an outfit. It was difficult. It wasn’t like the barely-there dresses and platform shoes were your thing anymore. Back then, your diet was mostly energy drinks and alcohol — in a way, it’s a relief to find that a good number of your staple outfits no longer fit. It made you feel like you really had put all this behind you.
Sure, it was the Rabbit you were going to have to be for tonight, but you’re not the Rabbit you were eight years ago. Good thing, too. You’re not too sure you and Bucky would have gotten along otherwise. Right now, your relationship with him was the biggest thing keeping you afloat — for the first time in a long time, you feel like you have some sort of purpose, even if it was a vague one at best.
You knew Innessa Sidrova was a threat — and you knew Bucky had to remedy that threat. You knew he felt responsible for creating her, for planting her in a position of power where she could manipulate and control. In truth, there was still a lot of vagueness surrounding his past. He’d made it clear he hasn’t been himself for a long time, but you couldn’t bring yourself to wade through the muck of his trauma to pluck out your answers. It just felt wrong.
If you were to say you hadn’t been tempted to go out on your own and dig, that’d be a lie.
Even now, as you pull out the ink-black top from the dryer and fold it neatly on top of the other pieces of laundry needed for tonight, you can feel it sparking like a lighter in the back of your head.
He was keeping something from you.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
You nearly jump six feet in the air.
It’s Miss Bonnie — and she’s laughing when her feet touch the cold concrete of the unfinished floor. Her basket of laundry is balanced neatly on her hip, and she walks with a smirk on her face. Her hair is piled neatly on top of her head, and as she bends to plop the basket down, she offers a wink.
“I could hear you thinking from upstairs,” she ruminates, paisley and dyed skirts kissing the ground, “Like a little steam engine.”
You laugh quietly into your task. You duck your head and heft a black bra and jeans from the dryer. “I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
She looks up, eyes moving carefully from the laundry pile to your face. Her eyes glimmer with quiet curiosity. “And a big night planned, huh?”
You snort. “What was the giveaway?”
“It’s always the lacey bras,” she chirps and slides a smirk your way as she waggles a finger at your pile, “And the strappy little bodysuit was a good hint, too.”
You exhale with a laugh, bracing a hand against the dryer. She’s not wrong — you’d really forgone comfort with this outfit lineup. It was temporary, though, and well worth the efforts if it meant helping Bucky tick off a name from his list of amends. You knew how much those meant to him.
“So,” she continues, voice muddled as she continues to load the washer, “I take it this friend of yours is really helping you out of your shell?”
“I guess so. Yeah. It’s — It’s sort of a mutual shell-cracking, I guess.”
“Mm,” a hum, “You sound troubled, though.”
Your mouth opens as your fingers trace the line of the bodysuit. You pause, and you rock back on your heels. Miss Bonnie notices.
She waits patiently, bent at the knees.
“You ever just…” you wave your hand, “Feel like — I don’t know. He’s my friend. My best friend, honestly, and that’s… Really saying a lot. But, there’s stuff under the surface and I know it’s not my business but…”
Out comes a strangled groan.
“What? Like a crazy ex-girlfriend?”
“No, no — I don’t think so,” you mutter, “Wouldn’t surprise me, though.”
“Handsome?” she asks, smiling.
You close your eyes and ignore the smile on your face as you reply. “Yea, handsome.”
“Well, have you tried asking?” she shrugs as she stands, “Not about the crazy ex, but about the stuff you’re worried about? It never hurts.”
“Problem is, I don’t really think it’s too much of my business.”
Miss Bonnie hums at that and presses the start on her washer. She’s quiet for a bit, swaying slightly as she weighs the conversation and you watch — enamored with the older woman’s calm wisdom. She gestures openly with ringed hands.
“I think it’s normal for us to want to know everything about those we care about,” she says, “We want to know how we can protect them, how we can comfort them. But… it comes in due time. All of it does. You’ll find a time when he does open up about the ex, or whatever it is on his mind. You’re friends, after all.”
You’re nodding, chest tight with thanks.
Miss Bonnie’s face is soft.
“You got a picture?” she chirps like a bird looking for a worm, “I wanna see who this little friend is. And if he really is as handsome as you’re suggesting...”
You scoff and lean to dig out your phone.
“Cut it out,” you mumble as she moves closer, “No playing matchmaker.”
“Sure, sure,” she waves, leaning to watch as you scroll through your camera roll.
The only photo you have of Bucky is there from Tuesday night — after he’d housed nearly an entire container of noodles and promptly passed out during the third Lord of the Rings movie. You’d woken up around one in the morning to find that Poke had unceremoniously curled up on top of the supersoldier’s chest. Bucky’s hand was still in the calico’s fur as he dozed, the colors of the TV painting his face all sorts of peaceful. You’d taken the photo, shoving it in his face after gently nudging him awake.
You gesture to show Miss Bonnie.
Like ice, she freezes.
You notice a microexpression dart across her face, but it’s gone in an instant. You can’t pin it, but the way she bends to pull the phone closer and zoom in on her face comes off as interest. You blink, label it as shock, and move on.
Her voice sounds different.
“Handsome,” she mumbles plainly, preoccupied with the sight, “I get it now. What’s his name?”
“Bucky,” you say as she hands the phone back, “He’s… He’s a good person.”
Miss Bonnie just nods.
You tuck your phone away and plop your laundry into your basket. Ignoring the sudden quiet that had crept between you both, you haul up the stack and offer her a gentle smile. She’s fiddling with the washer’s timer.
“Thank you, Miss Bonnie.”
“Of course,” she rushes out, smiling gently, “And be safe tonight.”
With your promise, you ascend the stairs.
In that basement, Bonnie McLayne is no more, and instead, Innessa Sidrova remembers that night in Moscow, back in 1975.
She remembers the Winter Soldier.
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
Bucky calls you three times with no answer.
Normally, he’d just give up — but it was Thursday, and you weren’t answering the buzzer to your apartment either. He tries his best to ignore the strike of panic that sparks in his chest. It could stoke a wildfire, really, but he pushes it down and remembers to breathe. He doesn’t let himself think about what he’d do if something happened to you.
After all, you’re probably fine. Sleeping, maybe. The both of you had a long night ahead.
(Longer than either of you realize, really.)
It’s nearly seven o’clock, and after trying your cell one more time from his perch on your apartment’s stoop, Bucky decides to say fuck it.
A well-adjusted person might frown upon what he was about to do, but Bucky wasn’t exactly well-adjusted, now was he?
He rounds the back alley with long strides and easily finds that, with a little maneuvering, he can hoist himself upwards on top of the nearest dumpster. With a well-timed hop, he can also snag the bottom of the fire escape’s ladder and haul it downwards. The rest is easy, and he’s scaling the fire escape to the third floor with ease before he even knows it.
There’s even a smug little smirk on his face the whole time he does.
Finding your window is a little harder, but Bucky eventually spots Poke’s round little body smushed against the glass — it’s a dead giveaway, and after some prowling, he finds the window to your living room and unceremoniously throws it open.
It’s unlocked, for whatever reason, and he makes a mental note to have a conversation with you about safety and security in the city. After all, you never knew when an ex-assassin supersoldier was going to break in and pet your cat.
Upon opening the window, he pieces together pretty quickly why you’re not answering. Could be the music coming from your bedroom, or even the singing that’s coupled alongside it. From the bathroom across the hall from your room, steam has settled above on the ceiling. The whole apartment smells like fruit and soap and perfume and Bucky’s not really sure how to parse through all the sensory experiences that greet him with he shimmies in through the window, legs first.
All in all, they make him smile.
Bucky shuts the window behind him as he’s quickly greeted by Poke — the calico offers a gratuitous little chirp when Bucky bends to scoop up the cat. Easily, he melts. Poke is purring loudly in his ear as Bucky takes a moment to survey your apartment a little bit closer. Mr. Poke Bowl rubs his face against Bucky’s stubble as the man weaves through the kitchen.
It’s very you.
He isn’t really sure what that means at the end of the day, but all he knows is that he feels at home here. He feels safe. He feels comfortable. He feels like he can be himself. Not James, not Sergeant Barnes, not The Winter Soldier. Not even Steve’s Bucky, but just… his Bucky. Himself. Sarcastic and exhausted and a little cynical.
Bucky lets Poke down on the counter and moves to the fridge.
There’s still beer from the other night in there, tucked in the back, so he makes easy work on popping open a bottle and busying himself with petting a very adamant Poke.
As he sips the Leinenkugel, it’s no small coincidence that his phone buzzes again — for what feels like the hundredth time today — with a message from Janelle.
She was nice — pretty, too. Once upon a time, she would have been his type.
That was before he met you, though.
There’s a little pinprick of mortification at that quiet confession that’s been slipping into his heart more and more in the last few days. You are, after all, his best friend. He’s your best friend. Guilt swims with the feelings that have begun to pluck his heartstrings and he has to admit he’s not too comfortable with the song they play.
His biggest fear is fucking this up.
Fucking you up.
Honestly, his track record isn’t great. The whole defrosted-international-threat bit made it a little difficult to date. Janelle seemed to think the date had gone well enough, though, hence the handful of texts he’d been getting every few hours asking if he’s free.
Like usual, he ignores them.
Exercising his own free will is hard sometimes. Especially when it comes to saying no.
Taking another swig of the beer, Bucky shoves his phone back into his pocket and tucks his fingers back into Poke’s fur. The calico’s tail swings patiently as he sits and watches — and it’s a little weird how human his eyes are for a second there. He mmrrps and lunges for Bucky’s hand when he comes close, bonking his head eagerly against the cool vibranium.
It’s a different sensation.
That’s another big adjustment — learning how things really feel with this new arm. It’s not just handling recoil or gripping knives or throwing punches. It’s the soft tickle of fur, the gentle pressure of a warm rag to clean the joints. Meticulous upkeep wasn’t something HYDRA did often. He doesn’t miss the twinge of pain and molasses-like stickiness that came with a dirty arm. Blood was the worst. Always sat deep in the cracks.
He flexes his fingers. Poke meows again.
He moves to plop down on the couch. Poke follows.
You’re singing, still, to some song that Bucky’s never heard, when you push open your bedroom door and move towards the living room.
You jump six feet in the air and scream when you see him just sitting there, clutching a beer and petting Poke like he fucking lives here rent-free.
Bucky’s reaction is muted, mostly because he’s a little too preoccupied with your outfit and your jewelry and the pink eye shadow that creeps up your brow-bone. There’s glitter on your eyelids and lip gloss on your mouth and he can smell some sort of candy-sweet perfume coming off you. The plunging neckline of the jet-black top is enough to leave him shifting his gaze back up to your startled expression with a tight jaw.
His face is blank.
Then he offers that stupid fucking smile he does. Y’know, the tight-lipped one where he somehow maintains a dead-eyed look the whole time. If you weren’t trying to calm your racing heartbeat, you might have laughed. You hate the white-hot flare it sparks in your chest.
“How the fuck did you get in here?” you hiss, waving your hands.
“We need to have a serious conversation about locking our windows,” he says as he kicks his feet up on the coffee table and wags a finger at you, “Also, what are you wearing?”
“You — You fucking broke in through my window?”
“Yea, well, you were too busy pretending to be Britney Spears to hear me try and buzz up, and my phone calls.”
Sheepishly, you cross your arms. “Nice reference—”
A shrug from Bucky. “Thank you.”
“—Also, what are you wearing?”
He looks down at his usual t-shirt, leather jacket combo. He squints back up at you.
“I’m sorry,” he chirps, “You’re talking to me? Did the department store run out of fabric, Rabbit?”
You self-consciously adjust the plunging neckline of the bodysuit as you frown deeply. “I think I’m gonna skip on the fashion advice from the man who lived in a time where ankles were seen as scandalous.”
“I was born in 1917,” he mumbles as he stands, actively avoiding another pass over your outfit because as much as he hates to admit it, it’s not a bad look on you, “Not 1817.”
“Point being, we’re going to a club. And you look like you’re going to the local Home Depot,” you move to snag a set of dangly earrings that are sitting on the coffee table, “We’ve gotta look like we’re there to party, nothing more.”
Bucky sighs. He finishes the beer, places the bottle down and sheds his jacket. “So, what?”
You pry your eyes away from the flash of skin — his arm, flesh and blood, speaks to how strong he is. And, undoubtedly how easy it was for him to fucking scale three stories of the fire escape to bust in.
“So,” you mumble as you thread the earring in, “I have some of Jaimie’s old shirts. There’s probably something you can use… If they fit.”
Bucky exhales softly. “You kept them?”
“Didn’t have the heart to throw them out,” you reply as you gesture for him to follow you into your bedroom.
The back of your top is arguably more crisis-inducing than the front — it’s an open back, and Bucky settles on admiring the decor rather than the curve of your spine. He has to. For his own fucking self-composure.
Your bedroom is nice — and like the rest of your space, it makes him feel comfortable. It’s all warm colors and posters and plants in the corners. Across from your queen-sized bed, there’s a large desk with a triple monitor setup. That’s where the music is coming from. The little knick-knacks on your shelves and desk make him chuckle.
Then, he stops, halfway to the closet, and stares.
You blink over your shoulder as you bend, digging to the back of your closet to pull out the clear bin you’d piled most of Jaimie’s stuff into after the funeral. After you’d cleaned out his apartment on your own.
He’s looking at the poster — the one from Cap’s USO tour. It’s framed nicely, set up on the wall beside your desk. It’s got a gold frame, and Bucky can’t help but wander closer to look at the signature.
It’s Steve’s alright.
“How much did you pay for this?”
You scoff. Your necklaces tinker together. “Don’t even go there.”
“The jerk signed thousands of these,” he mumbles, crossing his arms as he leans closer, “And still, the fame didn’t go to his head.”
You smile softly, leaning back.
“Jealous?” you chirp, raising your brows as you pretend to swoon, “Oh, Sergeant Barnes, I’d just love to meet your dear friend—”
Bucky’s laughing as you swat at his knee, leaning back on the carpet like a damsel in distress.
“Shut up,” he snorts, “It’s a sore subject for me.”
“Oh my god.”
“I’m serious — do you know how many dates I had to set up for the chump? And then, boom. I’m invisible.”
“Yeah, well,” you mutter with a smile, unclicking the lid, “Some people just like blondes, Buck. I’m sure there were plenty of eyes on you. Stop being so dramatic.”
“Yea, the best friend, sure,” he mumbles at the poster, “Hell, he was taller than me. You know you don’t need to lie to me—”
“Listen, if I was some Lauren Bacall-looking nurse back then,” you wave your hands, “I’d have gone for you. Alright? Stop lamenting and get over here.”
He goes quiet and ignores the warmth in his cheeks. He squats by your side. “Shut up.”
“We seriously need to work on taking compliments,” you groan, throwing your head back, “I’m being serious, y’know, for once. And I’m not just saying it as your friend. You’re handsome and everyone knows it except you, apparently. My neighbor agrees that’s for sure.”
You wave it off and gesture to your outfit. “She saw me doing laundry.”
“That explains nothing,” Bucky deadpans, “Literally nothing.”
“I showed her a picture,” you cry indignantly, moving to shuffle through some of the old t-shirts sitting on top of the bin, “Relax.”
He moves to plop down, crossing his legs beneath him. He decides to let the topic die — again, for his own self-composure more than anything. The compliment, though vehemently denied by the worst part of him, is tucked neatly in the homes of his heart. The idea of meeting you, before now, is a little intoxicating. What would it have been like?
Would you have even spared him a dance?
Bucky rubs his cheek. Poke meows and buts the door open with his head.
You’re wrist-deep in the bin when you speak. “He’s obsessed with you, y’know.”
Poke has already taken up a post in Bucky’s lap. Bucky smiles, petting Poke gently with his vibranium hand. The cat seems to like the cool metal. Bucky mumbles softly down to the calico, scritching his cheeks. “I like him, too.”
You pause long enough to try and remember the sight.
Bucky’s eyes find yours, and you’re quick to turn back to the bin.
“Here we go,” you exhale as you pull out the shirt you’d been looking for.
It’s a long-sleeve button-down, one that you can distinctly remember Jaimie wearing to his engagement party’s after-party — a real typical night of Jaimie being Jaimie. It’s black with a barely-there red floral pattern. It’s flashy enough that Bucky won’t look horribly out of place.
The only problem is Jaimie was a little smaller than Bucky.
“Try this on,” you mumble as you dig around trying to find something else in case it doesn’t do the trick.
Bucky catches the silk shirt and gives it a once over. He raises an eyebrow, and deciding against debating this, he simply nudges Poke off his lap and stands.
He moves to your bed, laying the shirt out. On your closet door is a full-length mirror. You want to snap it in half when you accidentally catch a glimpse of Bucky hauling off his black, cotton t-shirt and anxiously fumbling with the buttons on Jaimie’s old shirt. You have to breathe — and remind yourself that that’s Bucky.
Your Bucky. Your best friend Bucky.
When he calls your name, it sounds far away. You’re busy angrily sorting through old clothes.
“I look ridiculous.”
When you turn around, the first thing you notice is that it’s a little tight. Not in a bad way, but the buttons are gapping along his chest, and it’s tight around his arms.
Your eyes widen a little and you swallow. You tilt your head.
“Let me see,” you offer gently, standing and moving close, “It’s not that bad.”
“You don’t sound too sure right now,” he mumbles as you enter his personal space.
You’re nimble with undoing the top three buttons — it gives him enough room to move his shoulders, though, and the dip of the shirt along his sternum brings dog tags into view. You reach, momentarily entranced, and read them to yourself.
You smell like vanilla and sugar.
Bucky shifts in his boots.
“Y’know,” you say, moving to the sleeves, “I think this works.”
You roll the sleeves, stopping at his forearm.
When you step aside, Bucky can see himself in the full-length mirror. He looks less than enthused.
It’s not an entirely bad look — he’ll admit that much — but he doesn’t look like himself. No, there’s too much chest and skin and… Christ, this shirt is tight. He does, though, look like some of those trendy folks he sees at Izzy’s bar every now and again. Hipsters.
“I look like a douchebag.”
“That’s the point,” you chirp as you close the box and shove it back into your closet, “Now the outfit matches the personality.”
He swats at your head on the way by. You laugh.
You’ve got boots in your hand, and you land on the bed with a bounce. Bucky is busy fixing his hair in the mirror while you zip up the thigh-high boots. When he turns around, you’re about three inches taller. He blinks, yet again entranced by the outfit.
Then, you’re muscling on the jacket.
It’s neon pink — and shaggy and cropped. It falls just above your waist and swallows you whole. But, Bucky’s attention is mostly on the back.
There’s a large, white embroidered Playboy bunny there, with RABBIT written across the shoulders in a chunky, blackletter typeface.
His brows are high on his face when you turn around.
“...What?” you ask, “Something on my face?”
“Playboy bunny, huh?”
You could smack him. “Weren’t you busy being a frozen dinner when Playboy came out?”
“I’ll have you know,” he says tightly as he follows you out of your bedroom and to the living room, “The Russians enjoyed their fair share of editions.”
“The Russians? Sure, what’s that saying? There’s no sex in the USSR?” you chide, “You can just say Bucky Barnesenjoyed his fair share—”
The tips of his ears are red. You notice. It makes you split into a grin that worsens the pink shade that’s crawling up his neck.
He coughs. “Have you ever considered never opening your mouth again, Rabbit?”
You nudge his arm. “Nah. Bothering you is more fun.”
He shrugs on his jacket, sighs, and decides that keeping quiet is just easier.
However, that’s not entirely your plan — and you speak quickly as you pull your purse over your shoulder. You’re rummaging quietly, stacking your wallet and phone inside. You glance up at him.
“As I’ll ever be,” he mumbles, bending to pat Poke one last time as you move to the door of your bedroom. He watches you flick all the lights off, and before you leave, you double check the calico’s food and water. He’s got enough for a few days. Bucky leans against the door frame, “Care to run me through the plan?”
Nodding, you move to open your front door.
“It’ll be easy,” you explain as you make room for him, “If we play our cards right—”
Bucky’s stopped, though, and is digging in his back pocket as his cell phone rings. You watch him exhale tightly, eyes on the screen the entire time he squeezes by you and starts down the hall. You make careful note of the delicate scowl on his face, only before you catch Miss Bonnie out of the corner of her eye.
Her door is half-cracked across the hall, and she’s watching.
She offers you a smile.
Bucky keeps walking.
You wave, lock your door, and jog to catch up to Bucky.
“Hey,” you call, “Earth to Mr. Claw Machine?”
His head snaps up. “Sorry.”
“Who was that?” you ask carefully, nudging his arm with yours, “Falcon?”
“I wish,” he mutters as he muscles the cellphone back into his pocket, “I wouldn’t feel so bad sending him to voicemail.”
“Yeesh,” you wince, “Lemme guess, was it the owner of the coral lipstick that was all over your face on Tuesday night?”
Again, that temptation to feel jealousy flares up in your heart. But, he’s here, isn’t he? With you. Ignoring her calls. And probably texts judging by the guilty look that’s on his face. You feel a little bad — but at the same time, Bucky’s a grown man. Maybe a grown man who needs to create some more transparent lines of communication with the poor woman, but still.
“Bingo. I mean — it’s not that she wasn’t great an’ all but…”
You raise both hands. “I’m not judging.”
He sighs raggedly as he bounces down the apartment’s stairs. “I don’t think I’m ready for that.”
“What?” you ask with a laugh, “Dating? Yea, it’s pretty fucking terrifying, Buck.”
“You sound like you’re speaking from experience.”
You hold the door open for him and slide him a pitying look.
“Because I am.”
The walk to The Glass Cannon is spent walking Bucky through the plan — and for the most part, he makes a point of nodding along and listening. His only real anxiety pops up at the mention of Alexei, which is relatable to say the least.
It’s dark, the streets are relatively quiet, and the spring chill has pricked your skin. Your heels click against the pavement, and you stalk along. Shoving your hands in your pockets of the pink, shag jacket, you huff.
You’re starting to feel the anxiety.
Fifteen minutes later, you’re both approaching the blue glow of the storefront.
Computers & Stuff was a family-owned and operated computer shop from the 90s that was taken over by a lesser-known hand of the Russian crime family in New York, the Gardzovs. Alexei’s father is the formal owner of the shop, and his son runs the lucrative activities of the underground club that lay beneath the graphics cards and motherboards.
Bucky, as you both near the entrance, speaks quickly. “Anything else I need to know?”
“Just follow my lead, okay?” you whisper.
The bell above the door dings when you pull open the glass door.
The lighting is sterile and if you’re real quiet, you can hear the dull hum of the fluorescents. The store is empty, save for one man behind the register.
You almost duck out the entrance at the sight of him.
Igor has been a bouncer at The Glass Cannon for as long as you’ve been a patron — and he’s also one of Alexei’s dogs. This part of the plan was something you’d considered only briefly, and for a second, you’re thankful you worried over the million and ten ways this would play out for days.
“Well, if it isn’t the little bunny.”
It’s said with malice. Igor’s tattooed hands land on the counter as he leans.
You, however, hold your head high. Bucky watches as something changes in your posture.
“Good to see you, Igor.”
“Is it?” he growls, stalking around the counter and quickly encroaching on your personal space, “Because I’m pretty sure you’re not welcome here, bunny.”
Bucky gets a good look at the man now — clearly an enforcer. He’s got prison tattoos, a shaved head. The long beard is a weak spot. Doesn’t seem to be armed. Blue eyes flick to you and the way you don’t even flinch when the man leans to breathe right in your face.
You just smile.
“I thought you’d say that,” you mumble, moving to swing your bag to the front and dig your wallet out, “But, I’m not here to cause any trouble.”
Suddenly, there’s a hundred-dollar bill slipping from your well-manicured nails into the vest pocket of the bouncer. There’s a tense pause, then, while the two of you size one another up.
“Fucking your way through college paid off, huh?” he hisses.
You stay quiet.
Bucky, though, moves between you both with a quick shove. Immediately, Igor’s attention goes to Bucky as he sizes him up — he laughs. His nose is nearly touching Bucky’s.
“What’s wrong, pretty boy?”
“You should watch your mouth,” Bucky says evenly, “Or I’ll cut your fucking tongue out.”
You’re careful to hide your expression; the feeling the words stir isn’t one that you’re happy about. This sudden protectiveness, though, makes you feel some sort of invincible.
Igor settles back on his heels.
He steps back.
He gestures to the back room with his head.
You keep walking when he calls out: “Careful, bunny, the dogs are going to be looking for you.”
You grit your teeth tightly and push through the fabric curtain.
He barks, taunting you.
Bucky is by your side in an instant, gaze still rooted over his shoulder at the hulking bouncer. He waits until you’ve settled down until you’ve said his name. His eyes fall to you, then to the stairwell before them.
Above it, in curled neon tubing, reads The Glass Cannon.
The windows are blacked out, but from his spot at the top of the stairs, Bucky can feel the rattle of a deep bass vibrate his ribs.
“Come on. We’re on a time crunch now.”
You nod as you lead the way down the stairs. “Word travels fast. We need to be quicker. Stick to the crowds. Remember, we just need to find Kiwi — then we bail.”
Bucky nods tensely.
Then, you open the doors.
Immediately, his eyes adjust to the darkness — neon and strobes and the pulse of purple and pink LEDs make his vision swim. It’s warmer down here, and the stairs leading down into the sub-basement is lined with people sipping drinks and chattering over the loud music. It smells like piss and beer and tobacco.
Again, Bucky watches as the person he knows melts away.
The Rabbit in front of him is different.
You reach, as if on reflex, for his hand.
When you turn around and flash him a smile, he has to swallow down a sudden rise of sheepishness.
The sea of people part around you, and Bucky realizes quickly that people recognize you. He can see their painted lips moving, muttering things into curious ears about the pink-clad woman in front of him; there are smiles there and frowns, and shock. You’re slow in your descent, making a show of the arrival — all while Bucky begins to piece together that The Glass Cannon is larger than he originally suspected.
As they near the bottom of the landing, he can see out across the floor.
There’s a square-shaped catwalk around the dance floor, laden with dancers on their designated poles. Tables line the outside of the cavernous room, and the bars along each wall are crowded — even still, these glimpses of his surroundings come in temporary flashes of light. The music coming from the center of the dancefloor is loud. The entirety of the scene is raucous.
He can’t imagine you finding solace here.
He tightens his grip on your hand. You squeeze back.
When both of you reach the bottom of the stairwell, the sea of people swallow you in a current of dancing and drinking and laughing, and you crawl into Bucky’s personal space to shout in his ear.
You’re still holding his hand tightly, pressed to his chest, as you lean upwards to brush your cheek with his.
“Follow me, okay?”
You begin the methodical crawl through the dancefloor, working your way to the bar — there, you pause long enough to be served a drink that’s as pink as the glitter on your eyelids. The flecks dance in the lights, and Bucky graciously accepts a shot from the bartender who smiles sweetly like honey at you.
You bat your lashes, thank her, and stand gracefully from the barstool.
You take a pointed swig and scan the floor.
Kiwi would be in one of the private booths, you suspect — she was enough of a high roller here. But, with the crowded club bursting at the seams, it was nearly impossible to get to the other side. You sway a bit on your feet, still tightly gripping Bucky’s hand in your own. You refuse to let go.
For your sake and his.
Bucky is a silent shadow, eyes roaming the club — he watches a dancer dip down low and snag a green bill from a patron. Someone beside him laughs loud, another bumping into his backside as you continue to weave to the outer rim of the room. The music is so loud his heartbeat could be mistaken for an 808, and he feels the thrum in his bones.
If he wasn’t so overwhelmed, if he was drunk, maybe it could be fun.
Finally, out of the haze of bodies, Bucky can breathe.
You’re leaning over again, speaking quickly.
“I don’t see her.”
“I can’t see shit in here,” he calls back, eyes moving along the ridge of the room. He scans the booths set into the walls, set up on platforms, and roped off with velveteen, “Where would she be?”
“Hard to tell,” you mumble, “But I think I might need to go to Plan B.”
Bucky follows your solid stare.
In the booth directly across the floor from you, there’s a man in black — black everything, save from his hair. That’s the brightest blue Bucky has ever seen. He’s swallowed by a harem of men and women who are laughing and drinking and dancing, and he’s entertaining. Ringed fingers wave in the air, face split into a laugh so wide he swears it’s a mile long. He’s got glasses on and they’re tinted blue.
Bucky watches carefully as you move to his booth.
It’s like a prey surveying a trap — you’re careful.
Finally, when you stand before it, you let go of his hand.
“Hi there, Climber.”
The whole booth falls silent. The man stiffens, back turned to you totally. Bucky watches as his hands fall and slowly, the man you’d called Climber turns around.
His expression is stone cold.
His voice, however, is as warm as a hot poker.
“Oh my goodness, is that Rabbit?”
He ascends from the booth, platform boots leaving him to tower over you — he’s no small man, either. Bucky watches as he bends to kiss both of your cheeks and hug you tightly. He, however, doesn’t pull away entirely.
“What the fuck are you doing here,” he hisses, “You want to be roadkill?”
“I need to find Kiwi,” you whisper quickly, expression almost begging, “Please.”
He pauses, dimpled chin wavering a bit. Bucky watches him sniff, push his glasses back, and readjust his posture. Climber licks his lips and his eyes dart to Bucky. He’s thinking, Bucky realizes, and after a quick moment of deliberation, he seems to cave.
“Only because I owe you.”
“I know,” you say, raising your hands, “I know.”
In a dash, his demeanor changes once more. He’s flying over to his harem, waving his hands and blowing kisses and promising he’ll be back in a flash. They whine, they moan, but Climber appeases them with another round of jello shots from strobing syringes that a waitress is carrying by.
“Come on then,” he says, “And stop looking like such a prude.”
He begins to weave.
You follow hand returning to its spot in Bucky’s like a lifeline.
You’re sipping your drink, moving through the crowd easily. There’s a slight sway in your step now, and at one point you and Climber even get noticed by a pod of people who recognize your faces. It’s met with laughing and squealing and in the fray, the both of you slip back into the crowd. Bucky is taking it all in, desperately ignoring the tingle of a panic flaring in the back of his head.
Too many people.
Soon, though, Climber is moving towards a side entrance.
It’s a back room.
Suddenly, the dim lights and neon dissolve, and instead, Bucky is flashed in the face with the abrasive sting of fluorescent lights. It no longer reeks of spilled beer, and his boots don’t stick to the ground. No, there’s quiet chatter back here — Climber continues to lead the two of you through a maze of supply crates full of booze and soda.
Then, a right turn. And a left turn.
Someone is taking inventory.
“Kiwi, I know you’re going to hate me for this—”
The woman who turns around is beautiful. She’s in the midst of eyeing an open crate that looks just like the others but fitted with a hollowed center, marking off what looks like an inventory of burner cell phones. Her brown skin is decorated with glitter, her eyes streaked with the same green shade of her tightly shaved head. The green is bright and it reminds Bucky of summer.
Suddenly, her expression sours.
“What the fuck.”
“No,” she snaps, raising her hand and waving to the assistant beside her to take her tablet and make themselves scarce, “You need to get out of here.”
“I need your help,” you say finally, tone heavy.
It’s enough to make Climber sigh. Kiwi watches you, scratches her neck, and swallows.
She meets Climber’s eyes.
Then she breaks.
“Where the fuck have you been, Rabbit?” she asks, worries seeping into her eyes as she pulls you into a rough hug, “We thought you were dead.”
“No,” you shake your head, “But you know I couldn’t be around here anymore.”
“Yea,” Climber snorts, “Not good for your health, huh, love?”
“Alexei still wants your head,” Kiwi chimes in, crossing her arms, “Does he know you’re here?”
“Igor was on the door, so I’m sure he’s heard by now.”
Both of them curse.
Guilt flashes across your face as you screw your eyes shut and nod. “I know. I know, I just… I seriously need your help, Kiwi. It was worth the risk. It’s — HYDRA. I need to tap into the Alexandria Library.”
Immediately, the woman stiffens.
Her eyes flash to Bucky in the corner. He stares back.
“He waits outside.”
“You can trust him—”
“No,” she snaps, “I can’t. And I don’t. And I won’t.”
You give Bucky a pleading look. Between the two of you, a negotiation happens between your eyes. It’s a compromise, and finally, Bucky relents.
“Fine,” Bucky barks, tilting his head and giving you a tight-lipped smile, “Fine. I’ll wait out here.”
“He’s cute,” mumbles Climber as Bucky rounds the corner, long legs carrying him out of the supply room, “Boyfriend?”
“Shut up, Climber,” you mumble, waving your hand, “Just listen—”
“Who is he?” Kiwi asks, eyes still watching the doorway, “And why did you bring him along?”
You sigh, rubbing your brow. “He’s the one who’s trying to find this HYDRA agent. He knew her before.”
“So he’s HYDRA.”
“No,” you snap cooly, “He’s not.”
“So, just handsome, then?” Climber asks, hands waving, “Right. Great. Really making a case for yourself, Rabbit.”
“He’s trying to find a woman named Innessa Sidrova. She was one of the original agents who helped form the American HYDRA cell,” you explain quickly, “I’ve got the GRC breathing down my neck, and… And he’s a good person. He’s my friend. I’m trying to help him, but I can’t do it without you. Both of you.”
Kiwi hums. She sighs. “That explains why you went MIA.”
“Aside from putting Alexei behind bars?” you scoff, “Yea, the GRC played a part in it.”
The three of you are quiet for a moment.
You look up at Kiwi. Her hands are on her waist.
There’s an immense wash of relief that floods over you at that moment — and from the looks of it, Kiwi can tell. You move to grab her hand, and she grabs back. Both of you smile, and the hug that follows is warm. You’ve missed her. A lot.
“Thank you, Suji.”
That relief is traded in for an anxious backfire of fear in an instant.
It’s slow. Dress shoes on polished cement.
“Oh, bunny, bunny, bunny. Tsk, tsk.”
Climber and Kiwi’s faces upturn to the doorway and they tell you everything you need to know.
So, you decide at that moment that you won’t be the prey tonight.
You turn around and come face-to-face with a man playing devil.
Alexei Gardzov is a handsome man — a beard and piercing grey eyes. His hair is tightly cropped, and intricate tattoos decorate every inch of his skin. Some of them are new, you realize, and there’s temporary pride that bubbles up at them. They’re from prison.
You almost smile.
Behind him, three goons loom.
“I’ve been wondering when you’d come hopping back,” he croons as he enters the room with the swagger of a man who trapped his dinner, “Well worth the wait, I think.”
His cologne hangs like smog in the air. He strolls up to you, and in a flash, he’s got your hair in a vice grip.
He yanks it back, you grit your teeth.
The barrel of a gun digs into your cheek.
“Climber, Kiwi, and Rabbit,” he sing-songs, “All in one room again like it’s NYU’s 2014 hack-a-thon. Isn’t that cute?”
Kiwi speaks. “Alexei—”
“Shut up,” he snaps, gun moving to flash towards Kiwi, “And stay out of my business, Sujina.”
The gun’s muzzle is cold. He’s rough, and you try to ignore the twinge of pain that comes with his unceremonious yank of your hair. Once more, he tsks. His breath is hot on your face. He smells like cigarettes and whiskey.
“I spent seven years behind bars,” he bites, “All because a’ you.”
“Me? I wasn’t the one trafficking girls—”
The pistol cracks across your cheek and the cement floor hurtles towards you. The gasp that falls from your lips is from shock; your fingers dig into the cold ground as you try to blink away the blurriness. Your ears ring. Blood drips from your cheek between your fingers.
Again, there’s a hand in your hair.
Now, the fight begins.
Climber and Kiwi are stuck, frozen in fear.
You don’t blame them, because Igor and the others have guns already drawn. One of them, one that’s young and you don’t recognize immediately, has a baseball bat in his hands.
Alexei drags you by your hair as you grimace, refusing to scream. Your heels scrape against the ground as you try to get purchase, but he’s quick to throw you back against the far wall.
“Don’t worry, Bunny,” he smiles, “I won’t kill you. Not right now.”
Then, a kick.
Right to the ribs.
You can’t breathe — you gasp earnestly at the white, hot shot of pain.
You’re not listening, you’re too busy trying to catch your breath.
“I said,” comes a growl as he reaches, hand in your hair again as he drags you up the wall. Your legs buckle, and you try to hold your chin high as you stumble upwards, “Get up.”
Then, there’s a hand around your throat.
Tight. Too tight. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. Can’t get his hand off your neck, can’t breathe, can’t breathe, can’t fucking think, can’t stand, can’t see, can’t breathe —
A new voice.
The pressure is relieved for a second.
A new face has run into the room — he looks frazzled, hair askew and gun out. He’s eyeing the scene before him in a moment’s pause.
“Can’t you see I’m a little bit busy?” Alexei snags as you gasp, clawing at his hand. He swings his head to the figure in the doorway with an annoyed bark, “What is it?”
“The cops, boss,” he stammers, “They’re here.”
“They’re here for her, boss.”
A slow turn to where his finger is pointing. His gaze lands on you. Alexei laughs.
“Well,” he says as the goon disappears, “Isn’t that just peachy, bunny?”
The choking starts again.
Then, a metal hand.
You watch it swing, you watch it grab Alexei’s throat.
Suddenly, you can breathe.
Suddenly, Bucky Barnes enters the fight.
You make friends with the ground again as you duck, just as Alexei is rammed into the wall above your head by his throat. As you cough while Kiwi calls your name — you can hear a fight. But everything’s moving slow, and it’s not until the first gunshot that you’re kicked into action. It’s loud. Your skin pricks alive.
You stumble to your feet, eyes finding Bucky’s form moving quickly between the three goons — the gunshot had come from the pistol that had somehow found its way into Bucky's flesh and blood hand. One of the men is on the floor, suit pants stained with a bullet wound through the thigh. He’s wailing. Bucky doesn’t notice. Or he doesn’t care. Maybe both.
His face is cold.
Another gunshot is fired off, this time richoting between you and Kiwi and Climber and embedding itself into the cement wall overhead. The three of you scream, ducking reflexively.
That’s when Bucky snaps.
“Now would be a good time to go!”
Kiwi’s hands are on your arm as you quickly break through the doorway through the storage room. Climber is following, checking over his shoulder at the carnage that Bucky begins to reap in the room.
He’s hysterical, trying to jog in his white platform boots. “What the fuck, Rabbit!”
Your voice is hoarse. You’re clutching your ribs. “Not now, Climber!”
“I’m parked in the back,” Kiwi says, ducking through plastic flaps as she helps you through the back of the club, “Come on, we’ll go through the trucking entrance.”
You hear Bucky call your name — he’s jogging to catch up, gun drawn in his hand. Seems like he made good work of the others, sporting nothing more than a split lip. You turn, pausing for a moment to take inventory of his well-being.
And that’s all it takes.
Alexei Gardzov, limping, steps in front of you and Kiwi and Climber at an intersection in the hallway.
There’s a gun in his hand.
The first thing you feel is the impact.
Like a truck slamming into you at full speed. For the fourth time tonight, you have the air robbed from your lungs. It’s instant confusion.
Then comes the pain. Hot. Hotter than the sun. Hot like white flames. It tears through your shoulder and all you can do is gasp; you’re sent into a stutter step — and while the world around you continues to move, you’re busy reconciling with the fact you’ve just been shot.
A bullet flies by your head.
Alexei Gardzov drops.
You’re grasping at your chest, staggering, when Bucky breaks into a sprint — but you’re okay. You’re okay, it’s just your shoulder, it’s just your arm, you’re okay, you can feel your fingers and you can breathe and the pain is nearly unbearable but you’re okay.
Then, a baseball bat.
It clocks Bucky directly in the skull. He’s clotheslined.
The gun from Bucky’s hands clatters across the ground to your feet, and you’re too busy trying to get to Bucky to realize — but, you’ve got tunnel vision and adrenaline and at that moment, you think a good sidekick doesn’t need anything else in this life.
Igor goes to swing at you, but you duck. Your stiletto crushes through the top of his shoe. He screams and in a flurry of pain and panic, you manage to snag the bat quick enough to turn and clock him under the chin with a roll of the wrist.
His teeth clack together and he falls backward, unconscious.
“God, I really wish you could have seen that, Buck.”
You spit. Blood paints the ground.
The bat clatters to the cement as you fight through the pain. Kiwi and Climber are by your side in an instant.
“No, no!” she screams, “We do not have time for this—”
“I am not leaving him,” you snap, nearly screaming at the woman, “Come on and help me with him. Now.”
After a sigh of resignation, Kiwi shoves the gun she’d snagged from the ground into the back of her jeans. You’ve got your hands around Bucky’s ankles as Kiwi and Climber take his torso — and the four of you make a break for the back entrance. You can hear the cops outside now, and there’s the chatter of Russian following you into the back parking lot.
“He’s not exactly light as a feather, you know!”
“Shut up, Climber!”
You’ve got Bucky halfway into the back seat of Kiwi’s white Cadillac when another bullet whizzes by your head.
Kiwi hops into the driver’s seat as Climber scatters to hop the hood and throws himself into the passenger's seat. You lean, clinging to the door of the backseat as Kiwi peels out of the parking lot. It swings wide open and you curse loudly. You can see Alexei’s men watching from the back entrance, shouting in Russian — so you muster all your strength to pull back and throw the door closed as Kiwi’s car bounces over a speed bump and rams through the parking meter’s gate.
In the rear window, the front of the club is surrounded.
Red and blue lights illuminate the street — but Kiwi is quick.
No one follows.
And when she finally makes it to the Manhattan Bridge, you exhale.
Bucky’s head is in your lap. He still hasn’t come to — there’s blood coming from his nose and you’re worrying. You lace your fingers into his thick, brown hair and chew your lip.
Kiwi’s voice pulls you from him.
“When were you going to mention the vibranium arm, huh?”
You laugh. It’s more of a breath of air than anything. Your head rests back against the seat. Your shoulder is still on fire. You’re hot, but cold. You’re bleeding still. Your ribs aren’t right. You know that.
“I can’t believe he shot you,” Climber mumbles, “He fucking shot you.”
“And your boy toy shot him,” Kiwi says, sparing you a look in the rearview, “So you better pray he’s dead.”
You ignore the commentary.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere safe,” she says, accelerating into Manhattan, “Where I can get you those files and you can keep your head down.”
Sounds like a plan.
Better than the one you had, anyways.
His Greatest Mistake
Pairing: Spencer Reid x gn! Reader
Category: Angst with a dash of fluff
Includes: Sad Spencer, brief mention of injury, implied emotional cheating
Word Count: 1.4k (oops)
A/N: This was requested by @ssa-m-187 based on the song Be My Mistake by The 1975! Thank you so much for the request, this one was a challenge in the best way and I loved every second of writing it ♡
Masterlist | Ash’s 500 Bash
It was never supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be him taking engagement photos with you, him sending save the dates with you, him sitting by your side and planning the wedding you had always imagined.
Instead, it was him clutching the picture he was so obviously absent from to his chest in the dim light of his apartment.
He knew something had happened the second he walked into the bullpen that morning. The room was quiet, any and all previous conversation halting the moment he locked eyes with Penelope across the way.
And he knew. When her eyes shifted towards the floor and her breath stuttered in her throat he knew in his soul that it had to do with you.
But he never imagined this.
She dropped the picture into his hands with murmured words of comfort, leaving him with the promise that she would be in her office alongside a cup of coffee with his name on it if he needed to talk.
And as she walked away, he turned the picture over and felt his heart break into a thousand fragments with no hopes of ever being repaired.
The phrase ‘save the date!’ glared at Spencer from the top of the cardstock, but nothing compared to the feeling of ice in his veins at the sight of your smile.
It was a smile he hadn’t seen in person in 3 years, 4 months, and 12 days, but it still danced through the forefront of his brain each night he went to sleep and each morning he awoke next to his greatest mistake.
And as he sat in his apartment after a day of comforting glances laced with pity thrown at him from each direction he couldn’t help but relish on the what ifs.
What if he had loved you better?
What if he had fought harder?
What if he called you instead of her that night?
Loving you was the easiest and yet the most courageous thing he’d ever done. With you, casual touches came quicker, tough conversations came easier, confessions of love flowed smoother.
Not like with her.
He had met you exactly 6 years, 5 months, and 18 days ago in the most cliche of ways- when he spilled his coffee on your shirt as you were reaching around him for your own drink.
Stuttered apologies somehow turned into telling stories over cups of freshly brewed coffee and before either of you knew it he was leaving the shop with your number in his phone and plans to see you again on Saturday at your favorite museum.
And then Saturday brought along the promise of more dates which turned into spending nights entangled under sheets and mornings filled with apartment hunting before finally signing the papers for a place of your own.
And for 3 years, 1 month, and 6 days it was bliss.
At least that’s what he liked to tell himself.
The bricks that had surrounded his heart were entirely non-existent when it came to you. You held the key to the inner workings of his heart, and you would safeguard it with your life if you were asked.
And he held the key to yours too, but it turns out that only meant so much.
The majority of your relationship was simplicity in the sweetest form. It was the feel of your favorite sweater, the smell of your favorite candle, the taste of your go to comfort beverage.
It was simple. And yet, it was everything.
He longed for the moments a case would end and he could fall into your arms with the promise of drifting to sleep with the feel of your fingers mindlessly spelling ‘I love you’ along his back. Time off of work was spent cuddled together on the couch, letting the sounds of whatever was playing on the television serve as the background noise for whatever silly debate the two of you had fallen into.
It was simple. But somewhere along the way the simplicity gave way to complications.
2 years, 9 months, and 18 days into your relationship he found himself enthralled by a guest speaker at your favorite library. You had to work late so you weren’t able to come, but at the moment he found himself grateful for that because it meant more time with her.
It meant more time to bounce theories off of her, more time to be absolutely captivated by her genius.
It also meant more time for them to trade phone numbers.
And later that night as he told you all about the speech and the amazing lecturer he had met you were ecstatic that the lecture turned out even better than he had hoped.
That ecstatic feeling probably would have dimmed if you knew about the phone number burning a hole in his pocket though.
As the weeks flew by he found himself calling her more and more. It was never of a romantic nature, always related to one theory or another, but it was enough to draw his attention away from you.
And as the distance between you and him grew, and grew, and grew, one of you was sitting at home desperately thinking of ways to fix it while the other was making up excuses about misplaced paperwork keeping him at work while the low battery tone of his phone chimed away in his pocket.
And on the 1,132nd day the greatest love Spencer ever knew crumbled to the ground.
The case was bad. So bad, in fact, that he found himself in a hospital bed for a few days after a close call with an unsub.
But as much as everyone told him to call you, you weren’t the one he longed to talk to.
As visiting hours ended and the team left his bedside to get some well-needed rest, he found himself glued to his phone talking to her.
And while her voice was what he so desperately wanted to hear, he couldn’t help the pang in his gut every time he ignored one of your calls as yours was the voice he so desperately needed to hear.
On the plane ride home, he thought of all the ways he could explain the delayed homecoming to you, all the ways he could hide the wounds gracing his chest from you for the next few weeks.
But, he should’ve known someone would have told you.
He came home to your suitcases packed while you sat in the sea of luggage against the sofa you had picked out together in the blissful beginning of your relationship.
Oh, how he longed to be back there now.
He wanted you to scream, to storm out, to do anything that would lessen the guilt that maliciously tore at his soul.
But instead, you were calm, albeit heartbroken. You explained you had a feeling something was going on, but the fact that he had gotten hurt and didn’t even tell you proved it. You told him it was okay, that you wished him all the best, and then you left. With a tear running down your face but your posture holding all the grace in the world.
And somehow, your calm nature in the midst of his internal storm made it even worse.
He needed to do something, anything, to get out of the apartment that was a living, breathing museum dedicated to your love.
He should’ve chased after you. But instead, he went to her.
And with that decision, his future was set in stone.
No matter how riveting his conversations were with her, they didn’t hold a candle to the debates he had with you. With you, cuddles before bed were an honored tradition; with her, it was custom to stare at the wall and keep his hands to himself until he fell asleep to the thought of your smile.
He saw you in everything. In the bouquet she placed on the table (they were your favorite flowers), in the body wash she used (it was your least favorite scent- and because of that it was his least favorite, too), in the book she kept next to her bed (it was the book he used to read to you on nights you couldn’t sleep).
You were everywhere and nowhere all at once.
And now, as she called him to bed and he stuffed your photo in between the pages of the first book he could reach he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he had made a terrible mistake.
A mistake that he was destined to fall asleep next to that night, wishing that instead of her, it was you.
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hello! do you have any recommendations for indian historical fiction? ;; also! i recently read miri jiyori(about a tribe) and chinatown days(indo china war of the 1960s), both are translations and i think that you might like them too!
hello! thank you, i will definitely check those out. here are a few i’ve read/are on my list (mind you, i don’t read as much historical fiction as i would like to, but we’re also in luck because what I read tends to be indian/south asian)
a flight of pigeons by ruskin bond: set during the revolt of 1857 in north india; about a family who is at the receiving end of rebel anger and who take hindu and muslim help to save themselves; it is ruskin bond so i don’t even need to spell out why it’s great
midnight’s children by salman rushdie: set in bombay right after independence, revolves around salim and a thousand other people who are all born at the stroke of midnight of august 15 and all of whom are extraordinarily talented; about the transition in the 1940s, early indepdence bombay and india
a fine balance by rohinton mistry: about four people in bombay in 1975 just after the emergency was declared who are brought together given the political and social upheavals; explores caste, privilege, friendship against the backdrop of turbulent politics
the lives of others by neel mukherjee: about a family in kolkata which is representative of changes in west bengal and india with the east pakistan crisis and the naxal movement; this is for you if you love stories spanning generations
fortune’s soldier by alex rutherford: a fictionalised take on robert clive and his arrival in india and subsequent career in the east india company as one of its highly gifted generals; really nice because it is complex in its portrait of clive and his times; explores both the indian social dynamics and, more importantly, the scottish presence in early mercantile operations in india
the black hill by mamang dai: set in 19th century arunachal pradesh, a little before the revolt of 1857; about a bunch of people in upper assam (around the brahmaputra), one of them is a missionary, others are villagers, and hill tribes; about local responses to foreign rule; shows the tensions in tribal villages against the backdrop of british annexations and assimilative policies really well;
the glass palace by amitav ghosh: set in burma in 1885, just around the british annexation of the land; abut a boy who ends up building a teak empire in burma’s forests, and his search for a young woman as a rich man years later across burma, india, and malaya
kanthapura by raja rao: i’m not sure this entirely fits the historical fiction bill, but it’s an important book either way; about how gandhian independence struggle arrived in a south indian village and how people received gandhian principles; it’s kind of heavy with the mythological references and everything, so mind that
aavarana by s. l. bhyrappa (translated by sandeep balakrishna): about a woman in aurangzeb’s india who converts from hinduism to islam but is later disillusioned when she sees religious ethic being used to justify a great deal of oppression; it’s very raw but it’s also brutally honest
if you read hindi, there’s tamas (तमस) by bhisham sahni, which is about partition riots; it explores people on both sides of the communal divide and it’s partly based on sahni’s life and experiences with the partition too. i’m not sure if there’s a translation and if there is one who’s it by so you’ll have to check that
tamrapat by rangnath pathare: it’s marathi, and i’m unsure if there’s a translation, but you can keep track if one comes along; it’s an absolute giant of a book and it kind of intimidates me; paints a picture of politics and society from 1942 to 1979 through stories of a series of people and associations
and now for two that aren’t technically indian but i think you should check out anyway
a case of exploding mangoes by mohammad hanif: based on the plane crash that killed general zia ul-haq; the novel dramatizes it, in that it’s about a pakistani air force pilot who is on a mission to kill the general and so he assembles a motley crew; the book was well-received and it’s supposed to darkly funny
in the time of the others by nadeem zaman: about a man who’s stuck in east pakistan during 1971 as the pakistani army attacks and as the mukti bahini gathers steam; about living in violent times and tensions in south asia during then
i hope you find something you like in these. happy reading :)
I’ve been looking for over a decade, now, for a cookie I kept calling a “Black & White”, that I made constantly in my childhood. And the only thing I could remember about it, was that it was a two part cake cookie made with one part chocolate cookie batter, and one part white cookie batter. But the fact that it was specifically a cake cookie made with sour cream was the bit that was the most important about it.
My mother swore she’d given the book to me when I moved out at 17, but I swear I never had it. Which means no recipe. And no matter how hard I’ve looked online over the years, I’ve never been able to find anything that was right, either; most results turned up some variation of a white cookie dipped in melted chocolate- which isn’t even remotely close to being like the cookies I remember. Adding “sour cream” to the searches never helps, either.
In fact, any time I’ve mentioned sour cream as a key ingredient in the cookies, I’ve gotten some kind of a grimace from whoever I’m talking to- as if the entire idea of sour cream in cookies was disgusting to them; needless to say the people in my life have not been as interested in trying to find this recipe as I’ve been over the last decade and a half.
Tonight, however, while I was trawling through Archive.org because I couldn’t sleep (hooray for messing up your meds also messing up your sleep schedule), I got a wild thought: What if... Even though I couldn’t remember the name of the book, or the actual name of the cookie, or anything else about it other than the fact that stupid cookie was two parts and contained sour cream... I looked to see if they had it anyways. Because really, what’s the worst that could happen other than another dead end?
So armed with the vague recollection of a cover design that, with my knowledge of fashion and design, I knew definitely sat somewhere between 1975 and 1990, I started searching every keyword variant for desserts that I could think of. And it took a bit of digging... But eventually... Finally... I was actually able to find one book that pinged my “hey, I vaguely recognize that cover” sensors: Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorite Cake and Cookie Recipes, from 1980.
Hitting borrow and perusing its pages was instantly like a blast straight back to my childhood in the kitchen of the Trailer I grew up in; I recognized every single page, and everything about the layout the second I looked inside the book... On my first pass through, however, no luck; there was no “Black & White” recipe for cookies that I remembered in the book. Something told me this was it, though, because it was just so familiar to me. So I fiddled around until I found the interior search and tapped out “Sour Cream” as a last effort before moving on.
And what do you know... It took another little bit of finagling; Archive.org’s interior searching isn’t all that great... But one shy of 15 fucking years, and there she finally is again- and definitely not what I remember her being named at all. No wonder I could never find the damned recipe anywhere every time I’ve gone looking for the thing!
I do not remember walnuts ever being involved, either. That bit really doesn’t surprise me, though; since I married him I’ve been a bit notorious among my Husband’s family for omitting nuts from recipes that call for them at every conceivable opportunity, because the damned things’ve always felt like chewing on Styrofoam to me... I guess that’s apparently been a habit of mine for far longer than I thought 🤣 Whoops.
Now that I’ve found it again, I’m very excited to be formally announcing these as my official Cookies with Krampus entry for @msgraveyarddirt / @graveyarddirt... Now let’s hope they’re as good as I remember them being after all these years.
ETA: I found a copy of the book in Hardcover, in “Very Good” condition, on Abe Books for like $5 with free shipping 👀 I may or may not have made a late night impulse purchase for the sake of childhood nostalgia. I may also have zero regrets about it.
*ˢᵃᶠᵉ ᵀᵒ ᴿᵉᵇˡᵒᵍ