ok but this is just the constant expression of having younger siblings especially if one of them is named Gordon Cooper Tracy
May I plz request Kyojuro, Sanemi, and Genya with a s/o who loves to play fight with them?
i’ll do tanji and mui too boo boo
tanjirou, kyojuro, sanemi, mui and genya
with a s/o who likes to play fight
↳ headcanons ↰
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» tanjirou «
the way tanjirou play fights: gently, cautiously.
↳ play fighting is something tanjirou participated in with his younger brothers—it would not be a surprise if he does it with inosuke from time to time as well. even so, he is always careful to not hurt anyone.
↳ with inosuke, he can get a little more rough since he knows his rowdy best friend can take it. they end up with a few bruises and scratches, but all in all, they are both fine.
↳ when it comes to you, he will not refuse you if you want to play, but he will be very gentle. he is so careful to the point that you are not really play fighting. rather, you both are rolling around, trying to see who can tickle eachother the most.
“ haha!—wait, wait, haha!—tanji— ”
“ no! if i wait, you’ll get me! ”
↳ tanjirou secretly loves to be tickled, so sometimes he will purposefully let you have the upper hand. it reminds him of his siblings tickling him, so the feeling is very nostalgic.
↳ but if you do happen to want actual fighting rather than tickling, then he will ask you if you are sure about it. he will be hesitant, but if that is what you really want, then so be it—still, he will not be as rough as he is with inosuke.
“ oof!—wow.. i didn’t think you would be this rough.. ”
“ oh no, did i hurt you? im sorry, i didn’t mean to! ”
“ no, no, tanji, you’re fine—let’s keep playing! ”
↳ he likes to play in the bed, or on something soft—that way if either of you fall down, you will not hit your head on the ground. you two will be happily laughing the whole time, like little kids.
↳ when he is in danger of losing, his secret weapon is a pillow. he will clobber you with it, not too worried since it is soft. you will grab another pillow, and start a pillow fight with him. there will be so much feathers floating around, it would be a big mess to clean up. but neither of you care.
- - - - - - ♥ - - - - - -
» kyojuro «
the way kyojuro play fights: enthusiastically, can get a bit too excited.
↳ this man absolutely loves to play fight with you.
↳ most of the time, he will be the one initiating it. he will sneak up on you unexpectedly and wrap his arms around you. you think he is giving you a hug, but no—he lifts you up from behind, yelling “play fight!”
↳ he likes to fight with wooden swords—basically how he trains, but he is much gentler with you. he is so playful, he will be very sporadic and unpredictable.
↳ sometimes, he will run straight towards you and attack. other times he will trick you and run away, and as you chase him, he will turn around and sling you over his shoulder, spinning you around until you’re dizzy and and eventually surrender.
“ haha! my love, you lasted even shorter this time! we’ll just have to train you a bit harder! ”
“ kyo, we’re play fighting, not training! ”
“ same thing! ”
↳ if you are in the house, you two will wrestle all over—falling off the couch, rolling on the floor. he will not get tired easily; you could be playing for hours. he does not have a lot of chances to do this, so when he does, he cherishes it.
↳ often times, you two will take a break, just to catch your breaths. kyojuro will still be next to you, staring at you patiently and peppering kisses on your face until you are ready to go again.
↳ because you two could be going at it for hours, you will probably be sore and aching all over. kyojuro will probably be fine, but he knows he may have gotten a bit too excited.
↳ after your play-session, he will bring you water and a hot pack. he will also offer you a massage, something is actually very good at. if you decide to massage him, he will be grateful, but he is very ticklish. he will squirm, twitching a laughing at your touches. ultimately you just might end up in another play-fight.
- - - - - - ♥ - - - - - -
» sanemi «
the way sanemi play fights: unintentionally rough, can get carried away easily.
↳ sanemi loves to fight. and he loves to win. he is so used to beating people/fighting, that he can get a bit too carried away when you are playing—he does not mean to, it is just how he is.
↳ initiating a play fight is rather easy if he is in the mood. a couple nudges, pushes, or gentle punches and he will get the gist, turning around with that crazy smile of his. but be careful—he is a very strong, heavy-handed man. he will not do so, but it would take little effort for him to flip you over like a rag doll and break your back.
↳ he can handle himself well, at first. he will let you take the lead, laughing as he feels your cute punches on his rock-hard stomach. after awhile, he will put you into a head-lock and your fun will progress from there.
“ come on, those punches aren’t doing shit. ”
“ how.. am i supposed to punch you if you keep.. pinning me down!? ”
“ you know you enjoy this—ow! what the fuck— ”
↳ he likes seeing your attempts to dominate him and win. if you manage to actually do so, he will be very impressed, but that means that he will not be so easy on you anymore. and this is where he can get carried away.
↳ in the midst of playing, he might accidentally begin fighting as if he were battling a demon. it is due to the adrenaline rush, and his excitement. his speed will increase, his punches will become harder—he will get rough.
↳ if he does not realize his change in behavior, you have to tell him, because it will get worse —and you will end up folded like a omelette.
“ .. i didn’t hurt you too bad, did i? ”
“ i don’t know nemi, why don’t we ask my broken arm? ”
“ right.. sorry. ”
- - - - - - ♥ - - - - - -
» muichirou «
the way muichirou play fights: teasingly, will not allow you to land a hit.
↳ this boy.. is the most irritating out of all of them.
↳ muichirou will be fine with the idea of playing around from time to time—he is a kid, he has a lot of energy even if he does not show it. however, he is still a pillar, and he takes that to his advantage, and rubs it in your face.
↳ you will not be able to land a single hit on him. he is so fast, he will dodge your every attempt, watching as you get frustrated and wallow on the ground. part of him is actually teasing you, and the other part is just him being his brutally honest self.
“ you’re too slow. ”
“ why do you move like you have two left feet? ”
“ that tree over there is faster than you. ”
“ hm.. if this is how you run, you should stick to walking. ”
↳ he will not necessarily hit you, just mock your failed attempts to hit him and run away as you chase him. he is having fun, though—and he will be laughing from joy the whole time.
↳ if he does decide to start fighting, he will be quick with his movements—a little too quick, to the point you can barely see anything. basically, this:
↳ and you are so focused on his hand movements, you do not realize he tripped you, causing you to land right on your ass. and you will sit there, completely dazed as you watch him run away for the fifth time.
“ why are you still sitting? get up. ”
“ i’m not playing anymore with you, you don’t play fair. ”
“ you’re just a loser. ”
“ i am not! ”
“ you are too. ”
- - - - - - ♥ - - - - - -
» genya «
the way genya play fights: even more cautious than tanjirou at first, but will eventually loosen up.
↳ big boy genya has definitely play fought before with sanemi and his younger siblings when he was a little boy. but ever since then, he has gotten bigger—not to mention has no desire to play around anymore. before he met you, that is.
↳ you always try to initiate play fights with him. and honestly, it makes him very confused, as well as nervous. have you seen the size of him? why would you want to fight him?
“ genya. let’s fight. ”
“ h-huh? why? ”
“ so i can beat you up, of course! ”
↳ it does bring a chuckle to his lips whenever you threaten to beat him up. it’s nearly impossible, and he would actually love to see you try it. but he is too nervous that he might hurt you.
↳ there is a way to coax him though—call him a chicken.
“ [y/n], just give it up—we’re not fighting. ”
“ .. chicken. ”
“ oh yeah, real mature— ”
“ chicken! bawk, bawk! ”
“ ... ”
↳ out of all these men, genya probably play fights the best.. or rather in the most normal way. when he initiates it, he sneaks up on you, pinching you on your sides to get you wound up. it will start with subtle tickling and prodding, until one of you decides to kick things up a notch.
↳ he takes his height to his advantage. he will pick you up, holding you above his head as he runs to the bedroom, and throws you down. you have to hurry up and move though, because he will do an elbow drop.
↳ he likes to hear you laugh when you’re fighting, because that way he knows you are enjoying it. sometimes, he will just sit on your back, not moving until you say you give up. and god knows how heavy he is.
Lmao what if you did a mafia omori gang au
Idk it just... appeared in my head
Okay at first I was like this is so funny, but also now....I want it. I want it bad. Maybe it’s just because I’m in a mood...but also yeah okay so
Mari is the Don and Hero is her “mobwife”. She always tests people who are coming in for the first time to ask for something. If they immediately go to suck up to Hero because they think he’s the Don, then she usually doesn’t give them what they want. If when they disregard him when they find out he’s only her husband, then she definitely doesn’t give them what they are asking for (and sometimes they end up dead) She is outwardly very intimidating, and the only people who aren’t absolutely terrified of her are her immediate family. She’s usually found sitting at her piano with her husband and whoever of her family is home listening to her play as she runs her business. Mari runs her business in a semi-democratic way, but ultimately her word is law.
The bakery is their front. Daphne and Bowen are also high up in the organization, and they refuse to let Mikhael join in no matter how much he pouts about it. They see Mari’s organization as a necessary evil, and they tolerate it, but they won’t directly participate unless its a dire situation. Rather the twins are a set of semi-consigliere type characters. They advise Mari and help her to keep her temper and her clear head. If they disagree with a decision she makes Mari feels wrong, because the two of them and Hero are the people who have the best understanding of grey morals that she knows. The four of them will spend hours and hours debating morals and ethics together, and they’re incredibly close
Hero doubles as the consigliere alongside being her “mobwife” to the public. To the outer world he is just her sweet, almost vapid, husband who loves to cook and works at the bakery and takes care of the younger generation (Basil, Sunny, Aubrey, and Kel) in the organization. In reality he is the one that does the direct deals with the above world. Politicians, Business men, general people in power, they all fall to his whims. His charm and his gentle nature are some of Mari’s greatest weapons. When her force isn’t enough to get movement, his gentleness can grease the wheels. They’ve been in love their entire lives, and he has always known his role is as her other half. Where she is cool collected and nearly stony, he is emotional and loving. Both of them are smart as a whip and completely dedicated to one another. The only time Hero can be moved to violence is a direct threat against Mari. When that happens...there’s no where you could hide.
Sunny and Kel are her Capos. Neither of them is the direct underboss because she hasn’t fully decided which one of them will succeed her. They want to be dual rulers, but Mari thinks that’s a bad idea and could create factions. It’s one of the only things she and Hero disagree on, but Mari won’t let her personal affections for Kel cloud her judgement. The only reason Sunny isn’t fully her heir is he won’t accept it without Kel. Sunny tends to handle Mari’s side of things in the underworld while Kel handles the above ground things with Hero. Mari and Hero are subtly grooming Kel and Sunny to take their specific roles, but Sunny and Kel want to split the responsibilities even and rule as dual Dons. Kel has a bit of an inferiority complex because of this, but regardless he is loyal to Sunny. If Sunny becomes the Don, then Kel will accept his place as consigliere and protector with grace. He’s already accepted this as the inevitable conclusion.
Aubrey is an assassin that Mari has in her pocket. Aubrey started as a freelancer, but Mari and Hero coaxed her in by making her family. She carries their name, and she Kel and Sunny are siblings in all but blood. Even then they took an oath blood when Sunny and Kel officially became Capos. She is deathly dedicated to Mari and would do anything she asked without hesitation. She has skills in almost every type of weaponry, but when she is allowed to make a mess she prefers to use her nailed bat. Her wife Kim is a hacker that she brought into the organization, and with Kim came the hooligans who are good soldiers if not particularly skilled. Kim is a valuable addition as well though.
Basil is an actual mob wife. He is not involved directly in anything the organization does, and he’s fine with keeping it that way. He met Sunny when Sunny was on a job helping to kill his father when he was 16. Mari had ordered that the entire family was taken care of, but Sunny had decided to bring back Basil and his grandmother. Quickly from there they fell into a relationship, and Basil tolerates Sunny’s work and loves the rest of the group like family, but he isn’t involved and he doesn’t want to be. The only time he ever touched a gun was when someone tried to kill Sunny and uh...yeah he doesn’t like talking about it. He’s closest with Aubrey who also lingers on that line of outsider.
The hooligans are foot soldiers...I love this AU so much people I’ve sold my soul Mob Boss Mari is too powerful. Don Mari.....secretly smart and consigliere mob wife Hero.....dual Capos Sunny and Kel....actual mob wife Basil.....Assassin Aubrey. I wanna talk about this so much more omg omg omg. I literally wrote almost 1000 words in fifteen minutes what the heck
Soft headcannons to (hopefully) improve your mood! 1. Alois is like a big, goofy older brother to Byleth. And Leonie is like a baby sister. They bond over Jeralt, and Byleth takes great comfort in their presence as family during and after the war. 2. Lysithea really enjoys head pats when being praised, as long as they're genuine and not condescending. She'll fuss about it, but she secretly loves them. 3. Mercedes ends up adopting orphans that come to the church for help and is the BEST mom <3
thank you anon these are great!!
1. i absolutely love that! i could see them being the type of siblings that are competitive over absolutely everything and make everything into some sort of game, especially when one of them is having a rough day. they’re on the battlefield? they compete over who can kill the most demonic beasts. they’re learning a new skill? they compete over who can learn it faster. they’re drinking? oh my god their poor wallets, their debt is gonna be worse than jeralt’s
2. SAME lysithea headpats and praise is fantastic. i could see hilda or raphael being the most likely to do so for her, hilda because a) she praises everyone, it’s how she gets out of doing things, but more importantly b) she realizes that sometimes lysithea needs it. and raphael because he has a younger sister and maybe lysithea reminds him of her at times.
3. oh absolutely she would! that is a very mercie thing to do! i’d like to think she’s especially great with the queer kids, being queer herself. she just kind of knows what they need, either from experience or intuition. but with every kid, she’s the ultimate mom and just an all around great person.
Protection Mountain: The Finale⛰️
Yes. It is here.
Montagne/Bandit conquered my heart so quickly with what was meant to be a oneshot, then turned into a small series of oneshots, and ended up as my longest series in Siege. And now their main story is coming to an end. I would like to thank absolutely everyone who participated in this journey, be it through direct messages, magnificent art, shared ideas, comments, reblogs, likes, the simple act of reading and enjoying - you helped make this happen, you motivated and encouraged me. Thank you for falling into this bottomless hole with me 💖
A special thank you goes out to @ekhap, who commissioned this piece in the first place - without you, it’s likely I never would’ve written it. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, and I hope all of you who stuck around long enough to read this will too.
I have actually managed to post the entire series on AO3 as well, so you can comfortably read (or re-read) it here!! And without further ado, here is the final chapter of Protection Mountain. (Rating T/M, hurt/comfort + a ridiculous amount of fluff, ~8.5k words)
“I’m leaving tomorrow”, says Madeleine, voice soft and always a reprieve from the harsh reality of the hospital room around them. “I don’t think coming back will be necessary this time.”
Montagne squeezes her hand, making her smile.
She’s been juggling family and career for her entire life and right now is no different: on slower or off days, she hops on the train to visit, taking the opportunity to report on some local stories on the way, utilising her travel time to write up or edit her pieces. A busy bee, always worried about being overshadowed by her older brother. They haven’t seen each other this much for years and though the occasion could be merrier, Montagne is fiercely grateful for her presence. He’s unloaded some of his worries onto her and she onto him, and somehow they ended up lighter than before. Tourés tend to stick together, given the opportunity.
“Why do you say that?”
“You might not realise, but you’re looking much better, Gilles. You’ll be let loose on the world again soon.”
They exchange a quick grin over her choice of words. She’s certainly more of a menace to society than he is, and they both know it.
Next to her, Lion is sitting in a second chair, rigid. He’s confessed to Montagne in private that Madeleine reminds him of his mother – whatever that might entail – and so he’s unfailingly awkward around her, probably ruing the fact that they happened to drop by at the same time today. Dealing with strangers isn’t usually a problem for him; dealing with family of friends, however, is.
Apparently, Bandit won Madeleine over immediately, surprisingly enough. She says it’s his horrific German accent whenever he attempts to speak French and his deadpan humour, but Montagne is relatively sure she senses a bit of how much Bandit cares for him. Tourés are also protective of each other, siblings even more so. She wouldn’t have told him a thing about Montagne’s current condition if she hadn’t thought his worry genuine.
And then, out of the blue: “Cathérine called me.” She still sounds conversational, but her gaze becomes a tad more attentive.
Lion’s gaze is jumping back and forth between them, the man even more uncomfortable now.
It’s the last person he expected Madeleine to mention, so he needs a second to compose himself. “What about?” He tries to search for emotions, for any kind of reaction to encountering his wife’s – ex-wife’s name, but comes up empty. It’s like hearing about an old, lost friend of his: someone who once used to be important enough to be mentioned in his will, now someone who barely counts as a remnant in his thoughts.
“You, of course. Maman tattled and, eventually, it reached her. She wanted to know how you are and whether contacting you directly is a good idea.”
“And your reply?”
“I said I’d ask you.”
He nods, thankful. During their divorce, too many people presumed what would be best for either side instead of addressing them directly. It didn’t feel like their own private business anymore, somehow it affected everyone and so everyone was entitled to an opinion and a listening ear. He appreciates Madeleine allowing him this kind of control. “I don’t think she has my current number. Please give it to her and let her know I’d be happy to talk.”
And that’s that. They kiss cheeks and do a half-hug, exchange verbal pleasantries which are nonetheless heartfelt, and then she and her mild perfume are gone, leaving behind a slightly relieved-looking Lion.
“You do look a lot better, you know”, he confirms Madeleine’s earlier assessment, and though he seems intent on changing the topic – for him, family is still a sore topic most days –, Montagne’s mind lingers. Vague memories form a blurry whole, the image so distant it may well originate in a film he once saw or a book he once read.
Catou used to be his entire world and there were days he was convinced he couldn’t go on if she were to leave him. Yet time, the wound-healer, sometimes corrodes instead – and in their case, it must’ve mistaken their passion and devotion for sickness, for it cured them. They noticed before comfort turned into indifference, but only barely. By the time they decided on breaking up, another man was involved as well, though Montagne assigns him no blame whatsoever. Until their divorce was finalised, Catou kept her friend at arm’s length and he never even attempted to get any closer; but while she didn’t allow herself to fall in love again until Montagne openly gave his blessing, he could see the seeds growing already.
Neither of them cheated, he knows this for a fact. They’d never. He noticed how she became aware of the possibility of being with another man after a few of their long talks which denoted the beginning of the end, and while it hurt, he vowed not to stand in her way. If he couldn’t support her, he at least didn’t want to hinder her.
What hurt the most wasn’t any misguided feeling of betrayal or even jealousy, no. It was the realisation that he simply didn’t suffice. He gave her his everything and it turned out it wasn’t enough.
Maybe this is why he won’t accept Bandit’s proposal: the creeping fear of committing fully and finding it to have been in vain.
“You never spoke about her.” His friend has indubitably noticed his mood by now, or maybe the lack of response gave it away.
He supposes he hasn’t. Neither to Bandit nor to Lion, actually, not even when the topic had strayed to Claire and Alexis. “There isn’t much to say”, he summarises well over a decade of companionship, eroded and erased slowly by the very thing which tainted it in the first place: time apart. “We fell in and then out of love. She was a remarkable woman. She deserves someone who can keep up with her.”
Lion fidgets a little, avoids eye contact. Montagne’s words might’ve struck a chord but he’s too exhausted, too restless to talk it out. Madeleine’s statement has given him hope that he can leave soon, leave Bandit’s birthplace behind, hopefully to return and make happier memories in the future.
His friend’s next question catches him off guard. “Why did you marry her?”
It’s so much out of character for him to ask that Montagne needs a few seconds to come up with a reply. “I loved her, with all my heart. I expected to spend the rest of my life with her. Why do you -”
“Then why are you saying no to him?”
Montagne stares, shocked. The slight petulant undertone, the hint of defiance, the blunt accusation – Bandit himself could’ve posed the question, and it’s not for the first time Montagne realises how alike the two of them really are. But what leaves him utterly dumbstruck isn’t the implication of Lion approving of a marriage between them, no, it’s the fact that he can’t come up with a reasonable answer.
At least not one which doesn’t sound like an excuse.
He must’ve realised the impact his words have left behind, so Lion swiftly changes topics yet again, allowing for Montagne to recover and respond to a few simple inquiries, but nothing really manages to soften the blow.
There’s a reason he chose le Roc over more modern, flashier, possibly more efficient alternatives.
When he was younger, he used to hide his height by slouching, felt embarrassed by the fact that he’d stick out due to something he neither chose nor controlled – as a tall, muscular man, he’s perceived as intimidating or, worse, a challenge. He reacted to mentions of his physique with sheepish smiles and laughed it off when people referred to his ability to beat up whomever he liked, portraying it as enviable.
It took him a while until he began seeing his build as an advantage. It took friends confessing they felt safe with him around. Acquaintances appreciating his company during the dark. His soon-to-be wife admiring his drive to put his stature to good use. Ultimately, it influenced first impressions only, a quick glance upwards, but as soon as people heard him speak gently, noticed his aversion to unnecessary violence, be it verbal or otherwise, they forgot about his impressive physique immediately.
Like le Roc, it’s a shield. He utilises his own body to protect others and has subconsciously done so his entire life, be it to separate his little sister from her bullies, friends from aggressors, or even two agitated strangers: he absorbs the blows which to him are no more than light punches whereas they could cause more harm on their intended victims. He’s been likened to a mastiff and their instinctual drive to break up fights by simply standing in the way.
Like le Roc, it’s an asset. And like le Roc, it can get damaged.
What he hadn’t realised is just how much he relies on his body to function exactly the way he needs it to.
His life is his job, they’re irredeemably intertwined, and imagining one without the other is … nigh impossible. His mind struggles to come up with alternatives – helping others is in his essence, but picturing himself working in a nursing home maybe or a school, a community centre, is madness to him. Catou had been very involved in these kinds of projects, volunteered wherever there was a need, and while he saw the good she did, the joy she spread, she had a certain soft touch he simply lacks.
He’s a mountain. He can kill and besiege and protect and recover and rescue, but the thought of being responsible for children not his own, or the well-being of elderly people, terrifies him. A small mistake, a brief distraction could prove fatal. He’s trained for combat.
He needs to recover.
Sometimes, he wakes up and can’t feel his limbs. He hasn’t stood on his own two legs for who knows how long. Movement hurts, lying down hurts, existence hurts. But what hurts most is the prospect of never returning to the work he’s destined for.
No one is allowed to catch a glimpse of his frustration as he feels it’s ungrateful, possibly even malicious. Not only should he be elated over having survived at all, it would also imply he regrets having taken the actions he did, and nothing could be further from the truth. Saving Lion was inevitable; he just wishes he could’ve gotten away with less serious injuries. He wishes so fiercely. Bottling up his anger is destructive and being fully aware of how irrational his behaviour is merely continues the spiral of negativity, yet he’s powerless to change it. The people closest to him are still processing the shock of almost losing him and don’t need the added burden of his dread for his own future.
He wonders whether Bandit is repulsed by him. Aside from his atrophied muscles, he’s lost weight, there are the burns which will likely mark his body for the rest of his life, another ugly scar on one thigh where he’s been stitched up. His skin is discoloured in multiple places and he vividly remembers the way Madeleine winced when she visited him the first time. He already doesn’t consider himself overly attractive, so he must seem frightening. It doesn’t help that Bandit distanced himself the way he did at first – though it was likely the shock affecting him still.
Recently though, his lover has been doing much better. He’s been doing amazing, actually: when Bandit isn’t visiting him, he’s out and about, meeting with friends from the GSG9, eating at exotic restaurants, working out, keeping himself entertained. He keeps messaging Montagne, sending photos of dogs he meets or particularly tasty dishes they need to cook together (or rather attempt to), and every line of text lightens his heart. Bandit even keeps Six and Blitz up to date, informing Doc of Montagne’s condition unprompted, and converses with Madeleine as best he can. Of course, there are bad days sprinkled in now and then, days on which his gaze is endless and unfocused, days on which Bandit is either taciturn or won’t stop talking about unrelated things so Montagne can’t ask him how he’s doing. Recovery isn’t fast or linear, Montagne knows this.
He’s so goddamn proud nonetheless.
And even though seeing Bandit flourish, having watched him pick himself back up and carry on where he left off, witnessing the man he loves with all his heart succeed over this void in his chest once again causes Montagne’s chest to swell in pride and adoration, there’s a bitter note to it. An out-of-tune note, a scratchy, unpleasant one. Because Montagne believes he knows the reason for Bandit’s sudden motivation to improve his existence. And it’s not for its own sake, not for Bandit’s own benefit alone.
Montagne remembers stewing in his own thoughts, fighting the urge to call himself useless, agonising over what might become of him, and there’s no way Bandit didn’t catch him wiping his face when he burst into the room that one day a while back. He must’ve noticed how red Montagne’s eyes were, unusually red. He must’ve realised how fucking weak Montagne is. And probably decided it was his turn to take care of his love.
The next day, Bandit announced having joined a local gym for the time being, as well as his intention to watch a film by himself later. It can’t be a coincidence.
There’s nothing worse for Montagne than being a burden.
Bandit’s energy is enviable. It seems he’s attempted to prepare for every scenario imaginable: he’s washed all of Montagne’s clothes, bought a variety of snacks and pastries, piled magazines on the bedside table, purchased all kinds of toiletries and remedies including a remarkably well-stocked first aid kit, arranged lush-looking fruits on the small desk of their hotel room, and even produces ear plugs and a sleeping mask the moment Montagne mentions feeling vaguely tired.
It’s hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere his lover creates, especially when his own chest seems unusually light compared to the weeks prior – he’s elated to be discharged from the hospital, even if all kinds of other worries creep up on him during moments of quiet. Being able to return home is a wish he harboured without realising: he thought all he needed was distance from the very place that so consciously reminds him of his own frailty, but it turns out privacy and a new environment don’t suffice, not even close. Sharing a space with Bandit and Bandit only is an immense improvement, yet he longs to sleep in his own bed, feel like he belongs instead of being a perpetual guest. Still, he’s grateful for the spacious hotel room, some peace and quiet, and the assurance that no one is going to randomly check up on him anymore.
Except for Bandit, of course.
Maybe it was Madeleine’s comment which inspired him, or maybe he hadn’t realised how much he’d recuperated already, but once his sister had bidden farewell, his condition improved fast. It culminated two days ago, when Bandit entered his room to find him awkwardly holding on to the bed frame but standing, fully upright with no outside help, due to his own strength. He half expected to be scolded, though his weakness must’ve taken its toll on Bandit as well because all he did was burst into tears from happiness.
Montagne very nearly joined in.
Six arranged a flight directly once she received the message, paid for a wheelchair without batting an eye and ordered him to take it easy nonetheless. His leg will take a while to heal and the broken ribs forbid the use of crutches, so Montagne dutifully agreed and thought he could hear her smiling over the phone. He missed her curt, professional yet caring attitude, and it seemed she’d be glad to see him again as well.
All of which is why he’s allowed to spend his last night in Germany’s capital in the very same hotel room he occupied before it all fell apart. The life before tastes like honey, sweet and much too rich, thick in his throat and welding his mouth shut: how much he took his health for granted baffles him. How careless he was. How ungrateful. He longs to get back to lazy evenings with an oversized cat purring on his chest, to the chaos of messing up yet another recipe, their light-hearted bickering, not a care in the world. He’s desperate to return to it, without that creeping feeling of guilt over turning Bandit down for a mixture of sentimental, inadequate reasons he can’t even explain to himself. He lacks the words to express why the image of swapping rings or – heaven forbid – inviting his entire family to a big ceremony fills him with nothing but dread when instead he should be exuberant. Flattered, maybe.
“Do you want to shower?”
Bandit reminds him of a puppy, easily distractible and well-meaning, radiating pent-up energy. Montagne regrets having to refuse him anything. “No, I’d rather just read a bit and sleep. I can shower at home tomorrow.”
His lover very nearly pouts. “Are you saying I have to find another excuse to touch you all over?”
Montagne’s chuckle almost gets stuck in his throat. He’s not ready yet and has been racking his brain for reasons why they can’t sleep in the same bed, or why he won’t be able to undress at any point. He’ll have to deal with this eventually, but his foolish mind has convinced him he’ll be able to postpone it indefinitely if only he manages to use his injuries as a pretext.
If he wasn’t so fucking terrified, he’d call himself childish.
There’s no doubt Bandit has made an effort to tidy up the room, yet there are unmistakeable traces of his prolonged stay everywhere – the overflowing suitcase, tissues poking out from under furniture, too many cables for too many electronic devices carelessly strewn about. Housekeeping probably gave up after two weeks and resigned to only vacuum wherever possible and change the bedsheets, and the thought of exasperated staff dealing with the stubborn git he missed like hell makes him smile. He’s heard stories from various nurses and highly enjoyed Bandit’s redemption arc of starting out as a nightmare and turning into the highlight of their days. If he saw correctly, Bandit even bought them flowers. He must be very proud of his newly discovered move to weaken grudges.
“Wanna get on the bed?”, Bandit interrupts his thoughts a little too casually, so Montagne eyes him with suspicion.
“Do you want me to get on the bed?”
His better half purses his lips, probably considering whether it’s worth pretending like he has no idea what Montagne means (and oh, he hasn’t even considered this prospect, they’ll be finally alone and undisturbed, and despite his aversion to show any part of his skin, his body expresses some interest in the scenario) – but Bandit still manages to surprise him by muttering, almost embarrassed: “I just really want to cuddle right now.”
It’s disarmingly adorable, and Montagne’s heart melts. “Let’s do it, then”, he agrees. There’s some awkwardness in manoeuvring him out of the wheelchair and onto the much-too-soft mattress, but Bandit is stronger than he looks and able to provide enough support. As soon as Montagne sinks into the plushy pillows and Bandit presses himself against his side, all tension suddenly vanishes: his muscles relax, his thoughts calm down, his skin stops prickling. He hadn’t been aware how much he missed simple contact like this, the heat of another body against his own, the blissful feeling of being safe, being home, being loved.
This tiny bubble of everyday life suffices to soothe his cracked soul. He wishes he could wrap around Bandit fully, envelop him whole, drag him onto his chest, pull him into his arms – even offering his shoulder for Bandit’s head to rest on would help with his burning desire to be as close to him as possible, but for the moment he can’t. Not without considerable pain. Still, Bandit’s hand has slid into his, their fingers interlaced, and a gentle, regular breath caresses his cheek. Now and then, Bandit nuzzles him, presses a kiss to his cheek, sighs in contentment. They could stay like this for eternity.
And yet, Montagne’s guilt prohibits him from letting go completely. He has rejected this man. Refused to accept him into his life fully.
“If you wanna watch something, I pirated eleven films we haven’t seen”, Bandit murmurs against his jaw and makes him chuckle.
“I remember the hotel’s internet being unreliable. Don’t tell me you used public Wi-Fi? Mark would be horrified.”
“Yeah sure, I just sat down in the nearest McDonald’s and downloaded a hundred gigs of illegal stuff.” Bandit’s grin is boyish and attractive and so cute Montagne just wants to burn the image into his brain. “Better, actually – I asked one of the boys to do it. So we conspired together.”
“Are you going to miss them?”
Bandit thinks about it and eventually shrugs his shoulders. “Sure. It was nice seeing them again. But I think I miss everyone at Rainbow more. I haven’t been apart from everyone this long… ever, I think. Since I joined.” There’s more on his mind, Montagne can tell, so he waits and peeks down at the dirty blonde hair, the wild beard. Apparently Bandit decided shaving was too much of a hassle, so he gave up on it completely for the time being – and Montagne wholeheartedly understands. If he could grow one, he definitely wouldn’t be running around with naked cheeks.
After a while, Bandit adds, quietly: “I did visit Cedrick.”
Montagne wants to smack himself. How could he forget that Bandit’s twin still lives in Berlin? And while he’s proud of Bandit for taking the initiative and seeing him of his own accord, Montagne feels that he himself could’ve raised the possibility sooner. He knows they’re close, as close as any family member could ever hope to be with someone as fickle as Bandit, and he probably would’ve done wonders for Bandit’s psyche. “How is he? How is his family?”
“Good. They’re good. Gave me too much food, as usual. His wife got a promotion recently and the boys are doing great in school. They want to go to university later, imagine that. The first Brunsmeiers to go to uni.” Bandit glances up at him. “I also told them about you.”
There it is. He must’ve been dying to tell Montagne, judging by his pink cheeks and nervous fidgeting, and his demeanour as much as his words conjure up a bright smile on Montagne’s face. They had an unspoken agreement, an implied promise that they wouldn’t tell their families until they’re ready, which meant until Bandit was ready – coming out to friends was a big step, coming out to Rainbow a massive hurdle, and coming out to his family must’ve been a mountain to climb. His comfort zone has been steadily expanding, yet actions like these still turn Bandit into a skittish cat sometimes.
For someone with commitment issues like this, it’s incredible that Bandit decided for them to get married.
“Dom, mon amour, I am so proud of you.” He kisses Bandit’s temple and smiles even wider at his desperately dismissive mumbled reply of ‘’s nothing’. “That is wonderful news. How did they react?”
“Well, they wanted to meet you immediately.”
Yet they didn’t. Montagne’s smile fades a little. Did Bandit not want anyone to see him like this? Best case scenario, he figured that Montagne’s current state simply wouldn’t do him justice, and worst case… Would he be ashamed of him?
“But obviously, that didn’t work out, so I told them -”
“Why didn’t it?”
He must’ve noticed something, maybe an odd expression, because he reassures him instantly: “My love, I saw them yesterday evening. You’ll meet them soon enough, trust me. They were very supportive, in any case. I think Ced is just glad to know there’s at least one person out there who can tame me.” Bandit’s hand brushes over Montagne’s belly, toying with the hem of his shirt, and he puts his own over it.
Maybe he’s being dramatic. Thinking about it, his recent thought spirals followed a similar pattern to the dangerous ones Bandit entertains much too often, the ones Montagne has been trying to interrupt whenever he notices them. Except that Bandit can’t read minds as of yet and probably has no idea what’s going on with him, and how should he. Montagne hasn’t said a word. They haven’t mentioned their brief engagement, or whatever the fuck was going on for a bit, at all.
Maybe when Montagne said that he was worried about losing Bandit, he didn’t just mean Bandit’s own withdrawal from their relationship.
“I don’t like that you see me like this.”
Bandit reacts not, doesn’t glance upwards, but there’s a tightening of his half-embrace. He’s listening.
“I can’t stand it, in fact. I feel useless and powerless and I can tell it weighs you down as well.” Once he’s started speaking, the words nearly tumble out of his mouth by themselves, one by one does the truth finally spill over. “I’m sorry. You’re trying so hard, mon cœur, I know you’re trying so hard to be strong for me, and I love you for it, but… I don’t want this. I don’t want to be like this. I should be the one there for you.” His heart is heavy, his mind darkened and his eyes burning, threatening tears as evidence of his own fragility. Rarely do his emotions get the better of him yet his self-control is raw and worn out from too much use without a chance to replenish. “I know I should be grateful I survived, but I feel like an annoyance. I don’t even know if I can go back to Rainbow, I don’t know whether I’ll fully heal and I hate it.”
Before he can feel guilty for loading even more onto Bandit’s shoulders, his love cradles his head in surprisingly warm hands, whispers his name and puts their foreheads together. “It’s okay”, Bandit mutters, even though both of them know it isn’t, “Gilles, stop. It’s okay. Listen to me.”
Montagne expects platitudes and white lies, misplaced optimism, a few phrases people throw out and pat themselves on the back for consoling someone, but instead, Bandit says: “Look. All of this fucking sucks.”
Well. It sure does. Montagne frowns.
“I’ve been in the hospital before, I was injured pretty badly and felt less worthy than a sack of potatoes, believe me. I was hardly myself, I couldn’t sleep, the constant pain was horrendous and on top of that, all the pretty nurses were talking smack -”
This startles a small huff of amusement out of him and effectively interrupts his intrusive thoughts. “Aren’t you supposed to make me feel better?”
“- I’m getting to that part. But you probably know how degrading it is when you can’t even piss by yourself, right? That’s the fucking worst. You’re like a baby, and you definitely feel just as stupid. It was one of the worst months of my entire life. But you know what? I got better.”
Ah. There we go. Montagne’s mouth goes thin.
“No, I know what you’re thinking: empty promises. You don’t understand how true it is, though. I’ve been rock bottom a few times, but it gets better. You’ve been there for it, so you know what I mean. And don’t even think for a second that each rock bottom was the same level, no, there were times when everything seemed hopeless, but honestly? Each time, it got a little easier to get back out. To get out and get to a better level than before. My parents…” He catches himself and shakes his head a little. “I don’t wanna keep talking about me right now.”
Montagne nudges him. “Please do. Tell me what’s on your mind.”
A deep breath later, Bandit continues: “My parents valued independence highly, so Ced and I were encouraged to help ourselves, which I suppose is a good thing. But it also taught us to not rely on anybody else. To not expect any safety nets: you fall, that’s it. Convincing yourself it’s worthwhile to go on after you’ve fallen was hard. I felt like I failed at life, and for a bit, giving up was the better alternative. But I did have a safety net after all: Ced did his part, a few friends did, my boss, too. So it worked out.”
“But you got worse again”, Montagne mutters.
“Yes. I got worse. Still, by then I knew not only that it was possible to get back out, but also that others would help. Miles away from asking for help, mind you, but with more hope. I kept learning. And…” Despite his reluctance to go on, Montagne remains quiet and waits. Some part of him realises it’s something Bandit has to say. “And… as horrible as that sounds, as much as I don’t even want to imagine it… I think I’m at the point where I could go on without you. If you didn’t – didn’t make it, for example, I could… I think I could. The beginning would be the absolute fucking worst, no doubt, but I’d find something to – to make it worth it. To continue.”
Wordlessly, Montagne drags him into a bear hug. Presses their bodies even tighter together, ignoring the stabs of pain in his side, ignoring all his muscles protesting, ignoring the uncomfortable weight against his injured ribcage. He just needs this man like air all of a sudden, and it seems impossible to him how he could’ve ever rejected him in anything.
He knows exactly what Bandit means. It might be put in a morbid way, but he’s trying to express just how much Montagne has helped him. Comparing this version of him with the fragile creature he once warmed in his arms is unthinkable; this Bandit isn’t vulnerable anymore. And though he was hit hard by Montagne’s near-death, he ended up recovering, largely due to his own strength. A few years ago, he would’ve reacted very differently to nearly losing a loved one, that much is certain.
Bandit is clinging to him as well, taking measured breaths against his jaw and hiding his face. “You’re the strongest fucking person I know”, he whispers, voice cracking. “And even if you lost all your limbs or your eyesight or what the fuck ever, you’d still be you. You’d still be as great as you were before. That’s a fact, you dumbass. And if you can’t do Rainbow anymore, you’ll open a stupid dog café in Marseilles or sell Fairtrade products in a corner shop, I don’t bloody know. All I know is that you shouldn’t listen to that irritating voice in your head because it has absolutely no fucking idea what it’s talking about.”
By now, Montagne is chuckling and crying at the same time, overcome by too many emotions to be able to process any of them. It feels like he was allowed a deeper look in Bandit’s workings, like he’s able to understand him a little better. More importantly, he does feel significantly less stupid now that he knows Bandit is familiar with thoughts like these and already opened himself up about them.
“I’m also worried you’d be put off by all my injuries”, he admits after a while of comforting physical contact, feeling much more confident in himself and assured they can actually talk things out.
His better half lifts his head to squint at him in confusion. “Put off…? Like, grossed out? This is nothing, I once had someone in my arms whose guts were – wait, you don’t mean that I’d find you unattractive, do you?”
Montagne eyes his love for a moment, the man whose knees get weak whenever Montagne whispers a single filthy word in his ear, the man who has admitted to having more wet dreams about him than he’d like, the very man who so valiantly held himself back until Montagne allowed him to let loose, and who has never held back since. The man Montagne missed every lonely second he spent without him over the past weeks. “Well, I’d hope not”, he mutters.
Bandit looks at him like he grew two heads. “Are you serious?”
“The bruises still look quite bad, and all the -”
“Okay, listen. You stop talking. I’m going to kiss every one of your bruises until you’re not sure whether it hurts anymore, and then I’ll make you come so hard you’ll pass out. To hell with waiting, I won’t take this for another second.”
He’s not sure whether he should take it as a threat or a promise, but when Bandit starts pulling Montagne’s clothes off his body, he finds that he has no intention to argue whatsoever. And it’s good to know this part of him still works. “Be careful, mon cœur.”
Dark eyes flick up and are accompanied by a growl: “Can’t promise that.”
And though this one was definitely a threat, all Montagne does is smile. He didn’t even realise how much he missed this.
Bandit continues to do all the work for them the next morning: he orders room service and serves Montagne breakfast in bed while also shoving everything he finds into their suitcases. No need to separate their clothes or belongings; they’re going to the same destination anyway. They should travel more, take some time off and explore the world together – a notion Montagne hadn’t entertained until now as he was never really tempted to leave France or just Europe in general without good reason, and their missions abroad together with the other operators’ supplemental information used to be sufficient for him. But now, the thought of spending a week in a hotel with no one familiar around him but Bandit, the image of them going on walks while holding hands, pointing out quaint aspects of the place around them… it’s enticing. He vows to bring it up sometime.
Muscles still sore from the previous night, his mind is the opposite: he feels refreshed, optimistic, motivated. Part of the reason is undoubtedly the sex, he can’t deny it – falling asleep with Bandit in his arms, the faint feeling of satisfaction still coursing through his body, it’s as invigorating as the act itself, the knowing, challenging stare as Bandit swallowed -
Well. He shouldn’t dwell on it. They don’t have a lot of time planned between leaving the hotel and the departure of their flight.
But anyway, it’s not just that, it’s also the conversations before and after. The way Bandit made him realise what exactly is important, that he can rely on his lover without a guilty conscience. He kept repeating how beautiful Montagne was, even during, and though it caused him to blush in considerable embarrassment, he certainly feels less self-conscious now. There wasn’t a single second in which Bandit’s assurance wavered, no moment where he showed doubt. He meant what he said.
And, thinking about it, it would be the same for Montagne. He wouldn’t care about Bandit’s physical state. He’d still love him unconditionally.
Then why are you saying no to him?
It’s different, Montagne wants to argue in his head. But is it? He’s known Bandit for longer than he did Catou when he proposed to her. They were at a different point in life then, not entirely sure about their careers (well, she wasn’t), uncertain about their future (and children is still a sore spot he refuses to entertain), really too young to make such a momentous decision. He’s been living together with Bandit for long enough to assess how well they work together. How well they fit.
No. It’s not any different in his heart. Where it’s different is his head: he’s twice shy, irrationally worried about getting hurt. And consequently hurts Bandit instead. Bandit has openly declared his wish to make their undying love and loyalty official, whereas Montagne punishes him for a crime he didn’t commit. A crime which was nobody’s fault, in the end.
Watching Bandit tear through the room and toss most of what they own into the nearest suitcase, Montagne notices how there’s one object Bandit hasn’t touched. Montagne’s passport. And he probably never will again, without explicit approval. He made a mistake, apologised and learnt from it.
Now it’s Montagne’s time to do so.
“Dominic”, he says, and instantly all activity halts. Bandit is comically frozen mid-throw, like a deer in headlights. Montagne never calls him by his full first name. “Mon amour.”
“… yes?” He seems unaware of the severity of the situation as of now.
“I would like to change my mind. If it’s still possible.” Montagne extends his hand and, instinctively, Bandit glides over to take it and sit down on the edge of the bed. “I do want to marry you.”
Bandit blinks at him. “Oh”, he says. And then: “Really?”
“Yes. I’ve thought about it, and I realise I’ve been unfair. We don’t have to rehash how… questionable your proposal was, but it made me overlook the most obvious truth: that I do love you above all and want to spend the rest of my life with you. And I do want to make it official that way.”
Bandit still looks dumbstruck, probably overwhelmed from the suddenness of the announcement. “Uh -”
“If it’s alright with you, I’d like us to have rings, too, so I can carry something on me at all times that marks me as yours and the other way round. So yes, mon cœur. My love. I hope your proposal still stands, because I would like to accept it.”
By now, his lover has turned crimson. He’s fidgeting with Montagne’s hand, bending his fingers and generally not knowing what to do with his own, and his embarrassment is terribly endearing – up to the point where he mumbles something Montagne would swear he misheard. “… for the benefits”, Bandit ends, apparently addressing his own feet.
Now it’s Montagne’s turn to blink, uncomprehending. “What was that?”
“I wanted to marry for the benefits”, Bandit repeats, louder, and Montagne’s mind screeches to a halt.
He stares at Bandit, Bandit stares at the ground. “You… what now?”
“Not just – well I mean, also, but definitely not only… you know, financial, because I think there is…” Bandit’s tongue seems to be disobeying him. “But, mostly because…”
“What on earth are you saying, Dom?”
“I wasn’t allowed to visit you.”
The shoe drops.
Boy, does the shoe drop. This explains so much. Montagne blanks for a second before his brain retroactively feeds him bits and pieces of information which now neatly fall into place, now that he’s been handed the solution on a silver platter. In his delirium, he never questioned why Madeleine was the only one coming to visit him – hell, even his parents did – instead of Bandit as well; he did hear about a fight between Bandit and Lion and probably, in his feverish mind, figured that Bandit was banned because of this and couldn’t visit him as a result. But never, not for a moment, did he consider the option that they simply turned Bandit away because he was no more than a stranger to them, no official connection between them.
No wonder Bandit went stir-crazy, no wonder his mind snapped and convinced him faking official documents was a reasonable long-term solution, no wonder he announced their wedding so casually without ever officially proposing. It was never meant to be a step forward for them as a couple, was never meant as any kind of declaration – it was meant as a preventative method in case they ever find themselves in a similar situation.
No wonder Bandit is thoroughly embarrassed by Montagne’s acceptance speech.
If there even was any left, all of his residual anger vanishes upon this revelation. He’s not even dismayed about Bandit’s motives: had he, at any point really, explained himself, Montagne might’ve actually agreed with him – because while a marriage means something much more sentimental and symbolic to Montagne, he understands Bandit’s viewpoint as well, especially under the circumstances.
Bandit is still avoiding his gaze, so he lifts his lover’s hand and kisses its palm until he has his full attention. “We’ve become victims of a grave misunderstanding”, Montagne states, a smile playing on his lips. “I understand now. Still, my point stands: I would like to be married to you, for the reasons I stated, and also for the reasons you had in mind. But I’d like you to think about it, because we obviously have different approaches and I want to be sure our expectations match.”
And this is the moment burning eyes meet his, framed in an expression so open and vulnerable that Montagne has no doubt about the authenticity of Bandit’s next words: “I don’t need to think about it.”
Montagne’s heart doubles in size. His composure, his tension, all of it melts instantly, replaced by a heady rush of pure serotonin as he realises just how right this decision feels. Inevitable, almost, like this has been their destination all along without either of them being aware, but now they’re here; exactly where they belong. All their time together has led up to this, the difficult conversations they had, the obstacles they overcame, all the beautiful little moments which were wholly theirs. It’s incredible to him how far they’ve progressed, from near-strangers who barely exchanged a word to lovers so intimate they’ll spend the rest of their lives together.
It’s not about the proposal itself, not about the wedding or even the marriage after – Montagne himself knows best that a marriage is no guarantee for happiness; instead, it’s something deeper, significant only to them. A promise to each other, a promise to take care of each other, to stay loyal and supportive, to listen and talk to each other. Ultimately, it’s extremely private, yet they might decide to share it with the world regardless.
“Come here”, he pleads and kisses Bandit, half drags him onto himself and pushes his hands under Bandit’s shirt – no, his own shirt, he notices, the one Bandit slept in. A shirt he brought Montagne to wear in hospital and a shirt he took back to wash it, but it seems he didn’t get around to doing so. Instead he just wore it. “I love you so much”, Montagne whispers against scratchy beard hair, and of course that moment someone knocks on their door.
They look at each other and simultaneously roll their eyes. Lion has terrible timing.
“We don’t have much time left!”, the other Frenchman announces from the other side of the door. “So whatever it is you’re doing, you better -” He stops once Bandit yanks open the door with an annoyed scowl.
“We were actually getting ready”, Montagne lies smoothly and can’t help his beaming expression. The same glowing, fluttery feeling which has settled in his stomach is tugging on the corners of his lips, forcing him to grin.
Lion raises a sceptical brow. “Seems like you kissed and made up then.”
“And out”, Bandit provides helpfully. “Don’t stand around, get this luggage downstairs, I’ll take care of Gilles.”
“That better not be a euphemism”, Lion scoffs, but Montagne catches him fighting a smile himself.
Maybe the two of them are contagious. It would certainly make for a more pleasant flight.
By the time they’re back in England, Lion is thoroughly done with their shit.
The entire jouney, Bandit fawned over Montagne and tended to his every wish – uttered or not –, all of this done on top of all the accommodations he’d booked in advance. They spent a relaxed hour in the airport lounge, sipping on overpriced drinks and listening to the bustling around them, and even flew first class despite the shortness of the flight. Not even the screaming baby that performed the entire duration as if it was having its debut on the big stage was able to put a damper on Montagne’s or Bandit’s mood, and part of him understands Lion’s irritated response to their admittedly disgusting lovey-dovey aura.
His friend started out being cordial and visibly swallowing various remarks, progressed to thin-lipped, high-browed and disapproving, and ended with eye rolls and audible sighs. Every affectionate nickname worsened his mood, every public display like kisses or interlacing their fingers prompted a judging glance, and every soft-spoken sentence had him check his phone for the time.
Montagne has no space in his fully-occupied heart to feel any sort of guilt, especially because he suspects Lion is largely doing it for Bandit’s benefit as the German seems to relish the reactions he provokes. He is very smug.
His suspicions are apparently confirmed when he’s alone with Lion for a minute while Bandit bodychecks his way through an unmoving and uncaring crowd blocking the baggage claim. “Seems like you came to an agreement after all”, Lion states neutrally.
“We did. And if I’m honest, something you said helped with my decision.” Lion only nods, like he expected it. Curious. “Don’t tell me you’ve come to like him? If so, I won’t need a wedding present from you because that’s all I could wish for.”
“Let’s not go that far”, comes the hasty response and Montagne chuckles.
A one-sided shrug. “I think everyone deserves a second chance.”
They share no more than a significant look before Bandit returns, masking his annoyance with overdone cheeriness, and so his statement remains unexplained. Whether he finally noticed the mirrored qualities he and Bandit share, whether he’s referring to Montagne’s first marriage, or whether he’s implying that he might meet Bandit with a different attitude in the future, Montagne doesn’t know. Still, the assertion resonates with him.
Seeing the oh so familiar landscape rush past the window on the last leg back to Hereford evokes an odd kind of nostalgia in Montagne. The view is one he’s always enjoyed, it marked the end of a difficult mission, the return to normalcy in a way – because his life at Rainbow has become the new normal for him, his everyday life, the foundation for his daily routine. The company of his colleagues is dear to him, as is the work itself, and as gruelling their training schedule is, he sleeps better when his muscles are sore and his head heavy.
Knowing he won’t be able to go back to this life for the foreseeable future causes a bittersweet feeling in his stomach. He will still participate, no doubt, will be included in briefings and kept up to date, will confer with teammates, offer advice. So it’s not like he’ll be isolated or exiled. But the knowledge of being incapable of doing what he’s used to stings a little.
Even so, his mind is focused on another matter. There are many more obstacles to overcome in the future concerning their engagement, starting with their respective families (though he’s under the suspicion Madeleine has realised something is up, even if she might not be aware of the severity of the situation) and ending with important decisions on how to hold their wedding party – but the most valuable aspect is that they’ll be doing it together.
Although he’s not so sure whether Bandit is ready for some of it.
“Take it to your grave or I’ll haunt your son when I’m dead.”
Lion seems largely amused by the threat, patiently waiting in front of the main entrance to Rainbow’s headquarters for Bandit to open the door. “One of his friends is a flat-earther, so he’s faced worse.”
Montagne snorts and Bandit nearly slams into the doors from scowling back at the other Frenchman. “Seriously though. This is just between us for now, alright? Even I haven’t told anyone, and neither has Gilles. Right, my love?”
“I’d like to point out that you were the one who told Olivier about your ‘proposal’ in the first place, mon cœur. Drunkenly, if I remember correctly.”
“Does that mean I can’t even tell Gustave?” Lion seems intent on making Bandit faceplant after all – he’s got the easy job of pushing Montagne around whereas Bandit is tasked with the much more difficult assignment of holding doors open for them on the way to their canteen. “I would love to see his face.”
“No. Nobody. Especially not in Rainbow.”
“What about Père Bertrand?”
“Absolutely not. Who knows whether he’s a snitch.”
“Who would he snitch to? God?”
“Look. I don’t know why this is so hard for you.” Bandit’s voice is rising in agitation as he shoulders open the last door, back turned to the room behind him, eyes fixed on Lion. “Just don’t. Tell. Anyone. Okay? No one needs to know. No one! This is just between us.”
Montagne’s composure is crumbling. Wordlessly, he indicates the entirety of the canteen with a vague gesture, trying his best to hold back a hearty laugh.
In response, Bandit whirls around with a wild expression, only to be faced with an entire room decked out with the gaudiest decorations in pink and white, plus literally all of the other operators arranged along the wall, holding confetti cannons or glasses of champagne, wearing party hats and utterly aghast expressions, and above them, floating below the ceiling, are gold balloons spelling out E N G A G E D.
The awkward silence is palpable.
The champagne bottle in Blitz’ hand pops with a startlingly loud noise, making everyone jump and almost taking out Twitch’s eye in the process, and Lion just starts roaring with laughter, holding on to the wheelchair as to not lose his balance.
“Welcome back, Gilles”, Doc offers and lifts his glass for a toast, and that finally breaks the spell. Everyone rushes at them, congratulating them and greeting Montagne after his long absence, Rook with tears in his eyes and Jackal with an encouraging smile, there are too many faces and too many well-wishes to identify them all. Their gesture is heartwarming, and though Bandit stands in the middle of the crowd, hiding his bright red face with one hand (and repeating that no, he is not taking questions right now), he’s far from fighting the many hugs he receives. When Sledge takes him into his arms, there’s audible bone cracking and joint popping, and Montagne is suddenly glad to be confined to the wheelchair.
Maybe their reveal didn’t go quite as planned, but the support they’re receiving is invigorating. Montagne might’ve preferred a small wedding prior to this, yet being confronted with hard evidence of how much all these people care for them is beginning to change his mind.
He will talk about it with Bandit, later. For now he has a party to attend.
Cupcake!! Do you listen to music while writing? If yes what kind?
Yes! I absolutely do! I really love music, I’d say it’s secondary to literature as far as my choice of creative input so this is also just my personal recommendations regarding music as a whole with explanations and unwanted commentary because I’m dumb and this is one of my favorite things to talk about.
Firstly, my ongoing(ish) story Beastie and the Bard is musically driven so here are some songs I have on my playlist for that. I tend towards pieces that are melancholy but melodic. Entrancing, perhaps.
Lolita by Ennio Morricone - Contextually, I realize this is a bizarre (even tone deaf) pick given the source material, but... Whatever. This song, in general, just reminds me of Dimitri. Although a heavy, militaristic march might suit him better, the heart rending sound of this song just works for me when I think of him. The piano sets the tone immediately, lingering on some notes in a wistful, sad way. And it is sad, the cello and flute join in to make that clear. But, at a certain point, the instruments begin to dance around together, opening up and almost seeming like they want to resolve the song and create something happier, or at least something bittersweet, only to be drawn back into the uneasy tragedy of the main motif. I dunno, for me, it just absolutely aches like betrayal.
Shallan’s Lullaby by treefin / Black Piper - This music box rendition of Shallan’s Lullaby from Stormlight was the melodic inspiration for my bootleg lullaby that reader writes for Dimitri (perhaps not the first part as much as the way it shifts around 1:07). It’s haunting.
Isabella’s Lullaby from The Promised Neverland - Pretty self explanatory, I think. This one hits the sweet spot of beautiful and sad, from the harp to the vocals it just fits.
Howl’s Moving Castle Merry Go Round of Life original and the cover by the Grissini Project - Both versions are incredibly special pieces of music and I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard this theme before, very good for the more whimsical parts of the story (not that there’s gonna be any more of that).
Shadows of the Lowlands from Xenoblade 2 - While I’m about to recommend this entire soundtrack, this vocal piece is stunning. This guy’s vocals, no joke, sound like a Tolkien Elf. We Are the Chosen Ones is done by the same vocal group and soloist so it’s also making this list although the tone is def a bit different.
Okay now I’m just gonna point out my favorite soundtracks. For all of these, I have COMPLETELY LEGALLY downloaded most of these from other sites, I’m linking youtube just based on superficial searches to hopefully give you a taste and maybe encourage you to NOT BREAK THE LAW and acquire these soundtracks on your own
Fire Emblem Three Houses - This is obvious and I’m sure you’ve all heard it, but go have a listen if you haven’t. but first, is anyone else disappointed about the Three Houses official release soundtrack? Considering the delay I guess I kinda expected more. Granted, the soundtrack IS phenomenal. Not so much in its entirety, which is emblematic of the game as a whole in some ways, but the set pieces? Unforgettable. This soundtrack is a case study in how powerful a small pool of musical motifs and set-up/pay-offs can be. The little promise of God Shattering Star at the very beginning of the game, Those Who Sow Darkness giving a taste of Shambhala, and then the use of the main melodies of Season of Warfare (Main Theme) and Song of the Nabateans. For the most part, both melodies are used in dramatic songs, creating this unbreakable musical connection between Edelgard and Byleth. Or, if you think about it, Edelgard and the Rhea. For example: the thunder version of Funeral of Flowers doesn’t have the game’s theme, but the rain version does (those two songs were WRITTEN to be layered I stg). And then there’s that somewhat bastardized version of the main theme in At What Cost, highlighting the intended twisting of the usual heroic take on that melody. I do have a potentially unpopular opinion, however. The Apex of the World is boring and tonally dissonant with the final battle in Azure Moon. A lot of people really like Edelgard-Dimitri likes Edelgard! There’s very little heroism in that mission, at least to me, and a song like At What Cost would have fit SO MUCH BETTER. I mean, that is also Edelgard’s theme so hearing that being twisted up into this decidedly more dark song would be thematically appropriate to her ultimate choice. The title also just seems like it suits her and Dimitri. Edelgard claims that she has weighed the cost of war, she believes she is capable of taking on the cost of victory without really knowing what it would be. Dimitri's whole story was him trying to find revenge no mater what the cost and now that he has it, he’s fully understanding what it will cost him. I understand why they would use the traditional hero song to cap the route, but it seems weird that they’d be willing to subvert so many other aspects of tradition while holding to that for a song that, in my opinion, is the least interesting of all the final battle songs. As you can probably tell, At What Cost is a song that is very tonally inspiring to me. I also love Funeral of Flowers (Thunder and Rain separately and layered together), The Long Road, and Roar of Dominion for getting hyped to write.
Final Fantasy VII Remake - Ever since I got this soundtrack, I’ve been addicted. I really don’t have much to say on this one other than just to recommend you give it a listen if you’re even passingly interested in orchestral video game music. There’s some misses for me (specifically the Wall Market stuff and anything that gets into the weird electric guitar/techno stuff) but it’s overwhelmingly fantastic and can work for active listening music and for background music while you write. I’d follow up recommend you get ahold of the Acoustic Arrangements soundtrack. I can’t link you on this one but it’s worth the extra legwork to procure it COMPLETELY LEGALLY.
Final Fantasy Distant Worlds - I was actually able to see the Distant World’s tour when it swept through Houston and at that point I had no idea what the fuck a Final Fantasy was. At all. However, seeing One Winged Angel live is not something I will ever forget. Ever. This soundtrack is great for some background listening and although it is often too upbeat for my usual tastes, it’s good when I need something easier. Okay. Real talk. I was about to recommend to you a bunch of FFXIV music (the MMO), choice selections from FFXV, and try and dig up some songs that are only available in live recordings. If you like Final Fantasy music, I recommend all of these things. The games are a clusterfuck but the music is even moreso and it’s worth your time if you like this kind of thing.
Xenoblade 2 - See? Told you I was gonna recommend this. Actually, ranking wise, I would say that I like it more than Final Fantasy. This soundtrack is magical. I cannot stress that enough, there is a level of whimsy and beauty that went into this soundtrack that all at once draws upon the genre and being it’s own thing. Like, I get it, there’s a lot of misses. The electric guitar is jarring and annoying. Listen to Sea of Clouds, like, actually listen to it. Listen to Desolation. Pay attention to the motif used in connection with Elysium and then the other songs that its used in. The Power of Jin. This is a sometimes sad but mostly beautiful and whimsical soundtrack that is good for listening and for using as background music.
Xenoblade 1 - I don’t have as much to say about this one, I don’t feel as if it’s as emotionally resonant as my other recommendations. BUT it is gorgeous. The area themes are wonderful and perfect for setting tone.
Hollow Knight - Hollow Knight’s soundtrack takes one step back from the drama of the others and revels in its depressive simplicity. There are songs with a more cheerful tone, and the magical whimsy of Xenoblade 2 is very much brought to life in many of the pieces, but for the most part the soundtrack is as gorgeously melancholy as the game itself. One of my favorite things in music is when songs are given new life through new context and the White Palace --> Pale Court transition is haunting.
Diabolik Lovers - OKAY I KNOW I KNOW hear me out. This soundtrack has no right to be as gorgeous, emotional, or quality as it is. This song, Lovers, is the younger sibling of Lolita’s theme, okay? Thematically, that’s kinda hilarious, but I mean it. If you like that song, give a few of the songs from this OST a chance.
BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite - BioShock 1&2 are different from Infinite. A lot more grungy, a lot more angry and discordant, the strings buzz and there’s a lot more horror to it all. Infinite, on the other hand, is very pretty. Infinite’s soundtrack is about the characters and their journey and feelings. The first two game’s soundtracks are about the ruined city of Rapture. It depends on what you’re in the mood for. I write using Infinite’s music more often, but there’s pieces in the first two that capture this empty, yearning feeling that is good for setting mood.
Pathologic - “Half Life’s soundtrack directed by Genghis Khan.” It’s bizarre. It’s grungy.
Void (Typrop) - Basically the same deal. I dunno man, I like being inspired by horror.
Outlast - It’s an orchestral horror game soundtrack. Like the game itself, there’s a lot of horror movie inspiration.
Dishonored 1 and Dishonored 2 - This is mostly background music. It’s a stealth game so it’s kinda uneasy, but I think there’s something really unique. Maybe the instruments? There’s a lot of weird sounds used.
Higurashi - This is a compilation of horror themed songs from the anime soundtrack, but the VN soundtrack and the non-horror stuff is pretty good, too. Michishirube is my favorite.
Madoka Magica Rebellion - The main anime soundtrack is gorgeous. The bells, the strings, the drama... I’m recommending Rebellion specifically because it’s the more cohesive and story-driven soundtrack. This one is not as horror-ish and weird than the others, it is very beautiful and nice to listen to. Sad, in some parts, too.
Code Geass and Resurrection - Brass? Got it. Dramatic strings? Got it. Bombastic set piece songs? Triple got it. This soundtrack oozes style. In some ways, that makes it not good for writing, but in others it can. Depends on what you’re writing. I think the melodrama can be incredibly useful for getting my mind in that frenzy state.
Okay I’m done. Thank you for bearing with me.
If we’re talking what songs inspire specific things, the Ferdinand piece was accompanied by a lot of the Diabolik Lovers soundtrack and Final Fantasy. When I wrote my sad Felix piece, it was all about Hollow Knight with a spot of Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
Hello nobody but me gives a shit but I'm in a mood so here's my kinda ridiculously detailed headcanons for the Marble Hornets boys' families bc if the boys wont give em canon families I will
Undeniably a single child, one was all his parents needed no matter how much he begged for siblings. Had loads of cousins tho, first and second gen.
P good relationship with his parents! They supported his hobbies and passions well enough, they didn't divorce, honestly he's the luckiest one here in terms of family ngl.
Casually religious, a last supper painting here, a cross there. Service on Sunday and you could do whatever after that. Most of that free time was spent with an old recorder doing skits with whatever cousin visited that day.
His dad definitely wishes he was more sporty but like whatever makes you happy buddy. Mom was very excited when he moved out bc she wanted to run a b&b.
Doesn't know what happened and probably gave up after a year. He might've just moved. They still have a missing persons poster at the local gas station. It's the little hope ya know?
Oldest of three, had 2 younger sisters. Total bastard of an older brother but god he loved them. Nobody loved like Brian loved his sisters. Called em everyday in college.
Parents were emotionally neglectful bc I project. They provided a house and food and clothes but if Bri wanted praise for his lead role in the school play or the middle girl needed therapy kiddos were SOL.
Lived in a city and moved south just before the middle girl was born. If theres a trailer park in Alabama someone in there remembers the Thomas' without fail, usually bc a kid bullied one of the girls and got rocks in the window via Brian.
All the kids are a lil brain weird. Brian has empathy related issues and is extremely vengeful, the middle girl is obsessive and emotionally fragile, and the youngest is mute and detached from her own humanity.
Parents stopped trying to figure out where he went after like a month. He's an adult his choice. The middle became a journalist and specializes in old missing persons cases. The youngest ran away bc the entire environment was going to kill her.
Younger of two boys, had an older brother he was extremely close to as a child, but they kinda fell into passive contact when the older boy moved out. Kinda rekindled once Jay hit college
Parents split when he was p little, it was amicable and the boys mostly stuck with their mom and saw their dad every other weekend and visited on most holiday breaks.
Family's kinda halfway loaded via inheritance, they have the ability to live upper middle class but nobody wanted to move and eating out makes Jay anxious so they didn't change their lifestyle much. Zebra cakes for days in the cupboard tho
Absolute mama's boy, adored his mother. It wasn't that he didn't like his dad his dad was good he just vibes harder with his mom. Misses her alot in college.
After some time of radio silence they got a mystery call from a random number about his death, they got him a grave they mourned and learned to live again. Didn't get the body tho.
Only child and a complete accident. His mother supposedly a single woman in the middle of the bible belt you think this kid was planned? Absolutely not hes the ultimate unwanted mistake.
Had a single mother who was literally the exact same circumstance except everyone knew her father was a high ranking church member. Nobody knows who Tim's father was but mom says kiddo looks alot like him. Alabamians don't learn /j.
Honestly was barely raised by his mom, he was mostly taken care of by teachers at school and later nurses. She was so absent Tim can't even remember her face or voice, he'd be able to pick it out if asked but can't bring it up on his own.
His family doesn't have much history of the mental health issues he has. No documentation of dissociation, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, none of it. Its theorized to be from the dad's side.
The two haven't spoken since Tim was in like 5th grade, she doesn't know shit and probably doesn't want to. She loses her mind with grief when she looks him up out of curiosity one day and finds the channel. Her son killed a man. Her son probably killed himself. How do you cope with that?
Who is your favorite character in obey me? Are they also the character you’d like to romance the most? If not, then who are you most romantically interested in? Which MC of yours do you pair them with, and could you tell us a bit more about this MC?
fffAAAA i’m so sorrty i took so long only to keep rewriting so much stuff so it’s under a cut you don’t have to read this i promise
who is your favorite character in obey me?
honestly i don’t have an ultimate favorite, they really rotate around but i definitely notice that i’ve got a preference for being softer with the younger demon brothers (and luke!! he’s the best little brother) than the eldests. levi and i are too similar and i cast my self projection beam on to him so often it almost isn’t fair to him, mammon is my favorite but in a platonic chart they all are special and are favorites to me in different ways!! but at the end of the day my favorite character is probably asmodeus!! there’s just something about them that gets me into a really happy mood, the way their energy is always up and the confidence boosts and being called cute like? i will be second best if it means you’re number one absolutely sweetheart i’ll do anything for you asmo ♡ other than asmo it’s luke!!! he reminds me of my siblings a lot, in some of my family’s eyes i’m michael but to others i’m lucifer, but my younger siblings always see me as a friend and they resonate with me the way that luke does! the fact that he loves to bake also makes me really comforted because my family has a history of bakers and working in the dessert industry so it’s like a nice dash of home.
are they also the character you’d like to romance the most?
asmo isn’t the character is like to romance the most but she’s in my top 3!!!! my shipping circle tends to go between levi, beelzebub and asmo the most though i’ve crushed on the others (as well as simeon & diavolo) on good occasion!!! i tend to swing back and forth between depending on how im doing because i love them all in different ways for different reasons,
if not then who are you romantically interested in?
ok so i do have to say that beel is definitely like,,my type and this was my first otome game ever i never had the guts to play one of them because i get second hand embarrassment and flustered really easily especially when it comes to media i don’t know why but i had just decided to download it one day and i just? fell in love with the whole game it opened up an entire world for me and my first crush, the one who i decided that i’d try to ramp up my heart level with, saving photos of him and just ?? ugh beel means so much to me but all the other brothers do as well but beel!! i’ve got commissioned art for him before i’ve never gotten to do that before? but yeah im getting rlly off topic but also on topic at the same time but i’m pretty sure you could guess by now the answer of your question <3
which of your mcs do you pair them with? / could you tell us more about this mc?
tosa!! moreso a persona i also adopt + a self insert mc & he is absolutely gnarly, i’ve got a character sheet for them somewhere in my google drive but it isn’t fully completed since i’m very good at thinking about things but not writing them down, i work in theory. my mc doesn’t follow the lilith storyline because i personally am not interested in it so tosa (short for: tomas bassano) is part of a long line of animal shifters but from long ages ago due to the town that his family initially came from and still visit often/live nearby but roughly 3,000 years prior to the tosa mutation starting, the cause is due to a fissure in the well that lead to a water reservoir absolutely polluted with the magic runoff that occurs in hell. his family used to all be able to shift but as the generations passed it became less likely to occur until it only happened twice every 10 generations (the reason for this occurrence, lord diavolo’s command for a helldown day [ as observed in the lucifer, you s*ck!(3) chat group between satan/belphegor/mc ]) so!! something tosa doesn’t know, is that they’re part hellhound essentially. a part time college student living in his hometown city, they’re an incredibly hard worker spending more time with their grandmother in his family’s clinic than anything, always wanting to spend time with her and they were both very close even though tomas had quite the reputation, he was already was a pretty big troublemaker in the human world so in the devildom he settles in real nice amongst the abrasive common behaviors of lesser and upper demons; he’s very protective of the brothers and antagonizes fights for the fun of it that the the school had given him the nickname of lamentations guard dog, much to their dismay he wears it with pride. everyone slowly starts to notice that the longer tosa’s been staying in the devildom the more he changes physically and mentally. their canines get sharper and longer, they have a major growth spurt, eye and pupil change the whole buffet and table. their bark is as bad as their bite when lucifer starts to take notice of this and it comes to his attention that lord diavolo was unaware of their bloodline. making for a sticky citation when tosa doesn’t remember attacking people in the middle of the night on dorm grounds. thats all the story line that i can get into right now but he’s got issues and they’re ruff.haha i’m so sorry for all the canine references and puns here.
I am in a mood to talk about jinx / my jinx so here are some important things that I have developed on this blog and some interesting facts about Jinx from the comic books in case people are not familiar with her other variations.
she’s from India and has dark skin. unfortunately I am not great at editing icons so unless its my life action fc she unfortunately does not have her natural skin tone. yet. I am working on improving my editing to make my icons match properly
in the comics she has power over the elements. in the tv show they changed it to give her luck manipulation. I liked the idea of luck manipulation better so that is what my jinx is capable of.
my jinx is a metahuman and born as a metahuman. in any verse where she has her powers she has pink hair and pink catlike eyes. if she does not have her power, her hair is a deep red and her eyes a deep reddish brown.
she also has a ton of freckles along her nose and cheeks and all over her shoulders and back. they are hot pink in verses where she has her power making them extra noticeable. another birthmark she has is a heart on her inner right ankle. only the HIVE and Victor know about this birthmark.
my jinx is four foot eleven inches. however, with how she styles her hair and the lifts she wears she caps out at five foot one. she will always wear lifts and do a bunch of little things to make herself Bigger.
the comics never gave her a name. Ever. so I had to do what I had to do and gave her one myself. she however went by Jinx as her predominant name since she was eight years old and was taken in by Slade’s Wife, the headmistress of Hive Academy. since she went by Jinx for so long, she rarely gives out her actual name unless she ABSOLUTELY trusts the person. on top of that, her actual name is NOT in any file. her parents had her completely erased. her birthname is Asha Goswami, but after her parents abandoned her she picked up the last name Kaur ( which according to my research is a common last name that disowned women take up in India ). only two people in her life know her last name as having been Goswami; Victor Stone and Headmistress Wilson.
victor leaving her to Blood was Rough for her. but it also was the time they shared together that started her down the path to redemption. Wally HELPED her down the path and stay on the right path, but it was Victor’s influence as well as Rogue’s treatment of her that ultimately made her start doubting herself as a villain.
she is afraid of the Joker above anything else and anyone else. not even Blood who canonically abused her for a good majority of her life scares her as much as Joker scares her. she’s freaked by him. if joker is included odds are she will just. walk the other way and not look back. rip anyone joker tries killing in her vicinity because she just. does Not fuck with the Joker she gets the fuck out of there.
she thinks of her team as her family. they are all her younger brothers and its her job as leader / big sister to make sure they succeed and to protect them from Blood as best she can should she fail to ensure their success. she blames herself for poor leadership skills and blames her own powers for why her team fails. she also thinks she deserves the harsher punishments in their places because she is their leader and bad luck to everyone around her.
she absolutely was abused canonically in HIVE. Blood is her biggest abuser and manipulator. the headmistress also was abusive but not to the extent that Blood is. she is hyper aware of his presence and absolutely terrified of upsetting him in any way. she will stand up for her team to an extent but in doing so she is willingly sacrificing her own safety in their place.
she has multiple scars from Blood alone. the vast majority of her injuries came from her failures to please Blood. if someone asks about them she will either outright refuse to answer or just change the topic depending on how close she feels to the person. if she really trusts them, she might give little hints as to where she got them from, but ultimately she will never say the full truth of them.
Ash will also not discuss her time at HIVE openly with anyone. she may tell a few of the good things, she may tell a few stories of stuff she did while there, but she will never discuss what happened to her or her siblings while she was there. nor will she mention anything in depth. even the stories she tells will be very short and barely include any emotional connections. the only people she will discuss deeper with are her siblings from HIVE, Victor who has lived through SOME of what she went through. otherwise people she is close to like Wally would only know a little bit and would learn enough to know that she was heavily abused and traumatized from her time there but wouldn’t know exactly what happened. just that Blood is a monster and she is deeply affected by it.
Hello everyone. Wow it really has been a while since I’ve posted anything but I had my best reading month in pretty much ever this month so I feel duty bound to do a wrap-up. I also really do plan on posting more this year (which I say every year) but I really do mean it.
This month I read a total of 7 books, three of which were for my English Lit class but I am totally counting them because they were long and took me a bit to get through. The class is weird because some weeks I only have to read like 15 pages, but others I have to read like 250. Anyways, I’m pretty impressed with myself because on top of work and school, I was also busy moving into my new house this month. But that’s besides the point. Here are the seven books I read for the month of February.
1. The Epic of Gilgamesh by ???
I’m sure you can guess that this was for my English Lit class. It’s a classic, and I know I’ve read part of it before for a class in high school but this was my first time reading it all the way through. It was alright. Really repetitive and Gilgamesh was kind of a little whiny at times. I’m not going to give it a star rating, just because I don’t think it would be fair to grade this purely based on my enjoyment.
2. The Odyssey by Homer
Another one for my English lit class, and also one that I had to read part of for high school, but I did enjoy this one more than Gilgamesh. Maybe it’s because I’m familiar with the storyline due to Percy Jackson, or maybe because it’s Greek mythology and I have a thing for anything in that category. Either way, I didn’t entirely mind having to read 250 very, very thin pages of this book. Again, I’m not going to give it a star rating, but it definitely ranks the highest of the ones I’ve read so far for my class.
3. Resistance Reborn (Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) by Rebecca Roanhorse
I was in a Star Wars mood for a solid week this month, so I re-watched a lot of the movies and picked this up. This story takes place before movies 8 and 9 and follows the main characters as they try to rebuild after being decimated by the First Order. I love Poe Dameron, he’s one of my favorite characters in the entire Star Wars universe so I was excited that this would be more Poe-centric, but a lot of the times he felt out of character. It was like reading a watered down version of the character from the movies. The book was enjoyable, but rather surface level, and while Rebecca Roanhorse did a good job of crafting a whole new Star Wars story, it ultimately felt like it could be skipped. I was looking for a nice build up to the 9th movie, and this just felt like a weird fanfiction one shot.
4. Oedipus the King
Ever heard of an Oedipus complex? This is the origin. Poor Oedipus receives a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother, so he decides to leave home and never see his parents again to prevent that from happening. The catch? He was secretly adopted, runs into his real father on the road not knowing who he is, kills him, and then goes and marries his mother not knowing who she is. I didn’t expect to enjoy this but I found myself feeling really bad for Oedipus who was just trying to do the right thing. Even though it was for my English Lit class, I’m glad I read it. Will I ever read it again? Probably not, but at least now I know the origin story behind the psychology.
5. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
If you’re looking for a creepy story with a ton of queer relationships, this is the book for you. In the early 1900s at the Brookhants School for Girls, a string of mysterious deaths occurred. Fast forward to the present, and Merritt Emmons has written a book about the deaths and supposed curse that surrounds the school. The book is now being made into a movie and as the cast arrives to begin filming, weird, creepy things begin to happen to them as well, making them wonder if the place really was haunted. It’s a story within a story within a story, and a lot of it genuinely creeped me out in a good way. I enjoyed both the 1900s timeline and the present day timelines presented in the book, and I enjoyed almost everything about this book. It was a five star read for me up until the last 100 pages because it had a very dissatisfying ending that left a lot of questions and overall just didn’t feel wrapped up at all. It felt like the author realized how many pages she had written and thought that she needed to wrap it up in the next 10 pages. Not a bad book at all, but there’s just too much to be desired with the ending.
6. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I am so glad to report that I really really liked it. I’ll be honest, not much happened to continue the overarching plot of this series, but that didn’t stop it from being an enjoyable book. This is told entirely from Nesta and Cassian’s point of view as they train and fight and just learn to be around each other every hour of the day. I didn’t like Nesta in the original trilogy and found her to be very bitchy but this book explains it all and does an excellent job of it. It’s a book about hurting, depression, healing, PTSD, and love. And it is DIRTY. Easily the sauciest of any of Sarah J. Maas’ books. As I was reading it I kept thinking to myself “is this what it’s like to read adult romances?” I haven’t been able to answer that question for myself yet, but I didn’t hate it. I also love Cassian so much, so any book that he was a central character I already knew I was going to love. Is it a literary masterpiece? No. Does it become the Rhys and Feyre show occasionally?” Yes. But could I overlook the little problems and just enjoy the story? Absolutely. The more I read it the more I realized that this whole series just has such a special place in my heart.
7. American Royals by Katharine McGee
This is a contemporary story that answers the question, what if George Washington was made king during the American Revolution? American Royals follows three royal siblings, the heir, Beatrice, and her younger siblings Samantha and Jeff as they navigate what it means to be royal as young adults. Jeff and Sam are straight out of high school and trying to decide what they’re going to do with their lives, and Beatrice is under pressure to start dating and get married before she eventually inherits the throne. The story also follows Nina, Sam’s best childhood friend who has always had a crush on Jeff, and Jeff’s ex-girlfriend Daphne as the two fight over him. Although this book was predictable at times, I still enjoyed it. It was a light, fluffy read that got me through my book hangover after a Court of Silver Flames. If it was an eight book series I probably wouldn’t continue, but there’s only one sequel so I’ll probably pick it up over the next few months.
BIRTHDAY: March 3rd
SEXUALITY: Demisexual biromantic
INTROVERT, EXTROVERT, OR OMNIVERT?: Introvert
HEIGHT: 155cm, 5′1′’. Very smol. This runs in the family.
BODY TYPE: Absolutely tiny, and quite slim. Looks slightly more delicate than she actually is. A bit bruised/scarred from all the clambering, running, and falling she does in her life. Physically weak when it comes to brute strength, but great at climbing and anything relating to speed.
EYES: Heterochromic; one eye is blue, the other is lilac. They seem to have something quite profound and melancholic within them, yet swim with kindness and curiosity.
HEALTH: No physical issues. Mentally, she suffers from PTSD, and shows psychotic symptoms.
TEMPERAMENT: Extremely emotional and determined. She goes out of her way to ‘make the world a better place’, which for her means peacefully fighting against Shinra, helping the vulnerable (especially monsters) and negotiating with those who mean harm. Being a pacifist, she is extremely kind, yet is somewhat nervous around other humans because of bad past experiences. She sees good in everyone, never gives up on people, and is naive to a fault. Her sub-par social skills can sometimes hold her back, but she tries her best in spite of that. She is extremely curious.
FATHER: A short man with brown hair, and a pragmatic member of AVALANCHE. Highly intelligent, fascinated by planetology, and forever against Shinra, he ultimately ends up killed by his daughter, Athena.
MOTHER: A short woman with white hair. Also a member of AVALANCHE, but more idealistic and moralistic than her husband. A bit of an excitable oddball, very passionate about protecting the planet. Ultimately ends up killed by her daughter, Athena.
SIBLINGS: Athena. Completely and utterly devoted to Shinra in every way, she had brought into their propaganda from a very young age. Eventually she became a Turk and assassinated her and Ghost’s parents. In most verses, Ghost is unaware of the identity of her parent’s killer, and believes Athena to be dead.
PETS: Verse-dependent. In most, she has Orion, a microraptor-esque monster. In one, she has/had Blade (specifically Reunion!Blade).
DRUGS: No way.
DIET: Goes absolutely crazy for berries and/or candy. Not too picky, but she has an unexplained hatred for mushrooms. Vegan.
ALLERGIES/INTOLERANCE: None that she knows of.
MAKE-UP: No way.
JEWELLERY: She does actually have a necklace with a small, pink crystal attached to it. It’s the one thing she still owns that came from her old life, growing up in the Sector 7 slums.
MISC: Carries a silver staff called ‘The Stick’, which she had made alongside her deceased mentor Jonathan. Also has a large green backpack, and pouches carrying items that aid in calming monsters. There is a noticeable scar running across her nose. Oh. Also. Frozen cucumber.
DRIVES?: Jonathan taught her how to drive before his death, despite the fact that it was illegal for someone her age. She’s better than one would expect.
PARTIES?: No way. They would kill her. You’d have to be a really special person for her to want to tag along with you to a party.
WRITES LOVE POETRY?: If she’s fallen for someone, she would do this in her head.
CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY?: Yes. With a lot of berries. However, there have been some years when she lost track of time and remembered that it was her B-day too late.
FAVOURITE COLOUR?: White. She likes anything associated with ice.
SLEEPS?: At night, with difficulty due to how common her nightmares are. When she does sleep, she tends to curl up into a little ball, and likes to have her frozen cucumber next to her or under her hand. She moves around quite violently in her sleep, so if anything is in her vicinity there is a high likelihood of it getting kicked (much to her annoyance, as she almost always has to search for the Frozen Cucumber every morning after kicking it away somewhere).
HAS PLUSHIES?: she did when she was younger, but not anymore. She likes them though.
MUSIC TASTE?: None, really; but I can see her enjoying classical or rock.
READS?: YES. She goes crazy for books, especially those about biology and monsters. She carries a notebook around where she documents the world around her, her thoughts and doodles what she sees/likes. In fact, the scar on her nose was caused by a book (don’t ask).
FONDEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY: Seeing snow for the first time, and the ensuing snowball fight she had with Jonathan. She also finds the ‘book that led to scar’ memory quite hilarious.
SINGS IN SHOWER?: She doesn’t shower (she lives in the wild, so she cleans by bathing in lakes or ponds), however, there is a chance that she may randomly break into song if she is in the mood. This can happen anytime.
Tagged by: @origami-assassin (thank you!)
Tagging: @nibelheimraised @hiislegacy @crzynight @greatxgospel @threepartsfoolish
Stage one: Emotions.
How often do you take actions you regret?
In terms of emotions, mine get the best of me and are very much in control. I get very moody and irritable and when that happens, I tend to be short and snippy with my loved ones. I feel like I’m so draining, too, when I’m like that. I know I feel that way when other people are in a bad mood. I can just feel it. I feel so bad when I’m like that. I catch myself doing it and I’m like, damn you need to chill tf out. They don’t deserve it at all. :/
Do you often feel guilty?
Yes. For the reasons I listed above and others. I feel such a burden, I don’t contribute much of anything, I’m not doing anything with my life, I’ve neglected myself in so many ways, I’ve pushed so many people away....I’ve messed up a lot of things.
Do you have a short temper?
I don’t get angry easily, but I get irritable and frustrated very easily.
When was the last time you lashed out at someone?
Not that long ago. :/
And why was that?
It’s like I talked about with my moods and emotions and getting irritable and frustrated easily. No good reason for it.
Does it always seem like the entire world is out to get you?
Life has definitely thrown a lot at me, but I really feel like what Pink said in one of her older songs, “don’t let me get me, I’m my own worst enemy.”
Have you ever had a serious mental break down?
What led up to this? (sadness, depression, fury, confusion, etc)
My depression, anxiety, stressors, life???
Do you believe it is just natural for humans to feel lonely?
Yeah. It’s natural for us to want relationships--romantic and friendships. We want intimacy and love and connection. We don’t always have that, though. Right now especially I think most of us have experienced that in some way or another.
Do you ever feel lonely, even in the presence of those you know or love?
Yes. I’m not physically alone very much, so it’s not that kind of loneliness that I feel most often. Although, I do feel that in the sense that I don’t have friends or a significant other. Most of the loneliness I feel is in other ways.
Do you believe that these are the “best years of your life”?
Yikes, noooo. Absolutely not. These past 5 years have been my lowest.
Or do you follow the “the best is yet to come” philosophy?
It’s hard for me to see good in my future. :/ The future just terrifies me.
Does it sometimes feel like your life is being wasted or not going anywhere?
That’s exactly how I’ve felt these past few years.
Tell me about the last time you were truly, truly happy.
Childhood, the beginning of me and Joseph, and the time I had with Ty. Unlike my depression, I have bouts of happiness. But it’s fleeting. My depression, on the other hand, likes to stick around and doesn’t care that it’s not wanted.
Stage two: Relationships.
How long was your longest relationship?
Counting what Joseph and I had, 3 years.
How old were you when you had your first boyfriend or girlfriend?
I was 16.
Do you (or have you ever) had feelings for the SAME sex?
Do you consider yourself gay or bisexual? How strongly do you feel about it?
Have you ever had your heart broken?
Yes, many times in different ways.
Did you ever honestly believe you were going to marry your high school bf/gf?
Ha, no. I only had one, and it was not a serious relationship at all and it didn’t last long.
Is it harder to get dumped or do the dumping?
Both are hard, but being dumped really hurts.
Have you been able to stay good friends with any of your exes?
Yes, for awhile. It ultimately didn’t work out, though.
If so, is there any tension (sexual or not) between the two of you?
No longer friends with them.
Would you ever date someone that your friend liked or HAD dated?
When was the last time you were kissed?
It’s been almost 10 years...
Are you a virgin? Do you believe virginity is “sacred”?
Yes I am.
How many times have you been in love? Was it always real?
Stage three: Friendships.
Would you say that you have a lot of friends?
I have no friends.
Have you ever been considered to be a “loner”?
Yep. “I’m a loner, Dottie.”
How often do you hang out with your friends?
Do you have a specific hang out or house that you go to?
Have you ever done anything illegal to help a friend?
Other than giving them movie files I’ve pirated…no not really lol <<< lol same and with music.
Who is your best friend? VERY best. Choose.
I don’t have friends, but I have my family. They’re the closest people to me. My mom, especially. She is my best friend.
Have any of your friends ever stabbed you in the back?
Yeah, friends have in the past.
Did you forgive them? Are you still friends?
Some I did, some I didn’t.
Are your friends the only people that “get you”?
I don’t even get me.
Do you think your friends know you better than your own parents?
Have you ever lost a close friend because they died?
Have you ever lost a friend because they gained a bf/gf and dropped you?
Are your friends your support system? =]
My family is.
Stage four: Family Life
Are both your parents alive?
Were you raised by your biological parents?
Has your family ever been broken?
Not my immediate family, but extended family members.
Do you think your parents respect your space?
Are you close with you siblings, if you have any?
My younger brother and I are close.
How often does your family fight or have big arguments?
We all butt heads with each other at times.
Does your family hold very high religious beliefs?
No. I’m the only one in my immediate family who is actively reading/studying the Bible and “attending” church (I put that in quotations because I’ve been doing so online).
Are you the “black sheep” of your household?
I do feel that way. I’m just so different.
Have you ever in anger told your parent(s) that you hated them?
How often are you diciplined or punished or grounded?
I’m almost 31 years old...
Do you feel like you are allowed to express yourself inside your own home?
Are your parents very controlling of the person “they want you to be”?
No. I mean of course they want the best for me and they encourage me to do certain things (regarding my health), but they’ve never pressured or pushed me to do or be something I’m not. I have very supportive parents.
Your family really does love each other, doesn’t it?
Are you planning to move away when you turn 18?
I’m almost 31 and still living at home. That won’t change anytime soon, either.
Summary: They used to spend almost every moment of their lives together. Everything changes once high school hits, and Roman begins to realize that his actions have consequences.
Notes: This is my half of an art/writing trade with the wonderful Wren (@dailypattondoodle or @moonfang03), who wanted some twin Logince with angst and a fluffy resolution. Welp, hope you enjoy this :)
This is going to be posted in a couple different chapters, purely for the sake of my editor and formatting on Tumblr. Hope you enjoy, Wren!
Logan and Roman Everhart had always been non-normal children. They were an adopted set of identical twins, something very unheard of by most. Their adopted fathers were always quick to defend the legitimacy of their claim to parenthood, however, with Roman and Logan none the wiser. The twins also never quite seemed to act their age. Roman began to recite Shakespearean sonnets at 8 without being in an acting company. Logan was reading high-school level chemistry textbooks at age 10 and actually understanding them. Roman was fluent in at least 3 languages including English by the age of 11, and Logan could translate texts in at least 5 by the same age. Their fathers were extremely proud of their children (although baffled over how they learned these things that quickly) and encouraged their interests as individuals.
At the same time, however, both were still just average children. Roman enjoyed going to movies and playing outside and doing sports while also joining a Shakespeare youth company and a choir outside of school. Logan found a STEM group outside of school and joined that while also enjoying reading in his spot on the windowsill in the living room. Both boys had their differences, both from each other and from other children, of course, but first and foremost, they were brothers. They did everything together as children, from watching new shows and movies to starting new books and even trying to cook together. In other words, they were siblings. Yes, they fought, and had their differences, but at the end of the day, they were each other’s best friend. The two of them were always there for each other. Well… until high school, that is.
The first day of high school, Roman met the other theatre kids and was instantly enamoured by them. They understood him perfectly. They supported and participated in his dramatics. They didn’t laugh when he began to geek out over the latest Disney news or the latest Broadway musical or the newest episode of a cartoon show that he really should have stopped watching years ago when he got “too old for it”. They were there with him, just as passionate about the same things. Oh, sure, they all had their differences, and drama, but overall, Roman knew that he had found a new family in this small group of social outcasts in the theatre department at his new high school.
Logan, however? Logan struggled. Not only was he seen as a freak for his selective mutism (and yes, it was selective, he had a hard enough time talking normally so it wasn’t much of a stretch to only communicate in sign), his uncommon interests pushed him even further away from his peers. While he made a couple of friends, mostly fellow science fans, they had lives and responsibilities away from him and their group, and, as all of them were introverts, they tended to not meet up outside of school very often. As such, Logan was extremely lonely without Roman. But this was fine, he told himself. Roman was a social person by nature. He needed people to talk to that weren’t his brother. Logan had no reason to be upset, right?
“And then he just started bawling! I mean, it’s understandable, that spider was far too large for any five year old to handle, but I think that’s the most emotion he’s ever shown in his life!” Roman finished, head thrown back from the force of his laughter. The rest of his friends giggled a bit as well, all too used to hearing about the adventures of Young Logan and Roman.
“Roman, you’re so mean to your brother!” Mabel giggled, tossing her long brown hair over her shoulders. Her brown eyes twinkled with mirth as she almost dropped her fork into her pasta. Roman snorted and rolled his eyes, far too used to Mabel’s clumsiness.
“Mabel, you have no room to talk,” he shot back, grinning. “I seem to recall you telling us stories about being an absolute menace to your brother one summer when you were 12?” The other six people at the table laughed and oohed along with Mabel and Roman like the immature freshmen that they were. People at nearby tables shot them looks but did not speak up, ultimately succumbing to the apathy high school filled you with and returning to their regularly scheduled lunches. Nonetheless, their table did quiet down, not wanting to cause a fight to break out in the crowded lunchroom.
“Hey, speaking of brothers, I haven’t seen yours in a while, Roman,” Shiloh mentioned, instantly dampening the mood of the conversation. While Logan was liked by all at the table, more than one person had a complicated relationship with him, whether it be from classes or indirect experience through another person. Roman blinked in shock at Shiloh’s statement, mind whirling. He had just spoken to Logan an hour ago, hadn’t he? Outside of Logan’s Honors English classroom? And hadn’t his friends been with him? No, they had not, he concluded as the memories solidified. He had talked to Logan alone.
“He’s been busy with classes. He’s in all honors, remember, and he has a lot of activities to do outside of school,” Roman answered, voice even and unconcerned. Why should he be concerned, after all? This was normal behaviour for Logan, who did not like to talk to most people that were not in his immediate circle of Trusted Humans. Plus, these were not Logan’s friends. Acquaintances, yes, but not friends. Logan had his own friends, a couple of fellow sciencey introverts who did not mind Logan’s methods of communication. Why should Roman be concerned, then, that his friends had not seen Logan for a bit?
“Yeah, true. I dunno, though, he used to stop by at least once a lunch period. He hasn’t done that for at least two weeks,” Shiloh continued, chewing his bottom lip. Dani murmured in quiet agreement and shoved the rest of her sandwich in her mouth, and Mabel sighed, eyes flickering with melancholy. None of them would admit it, but they missed Logan’s visits, if only to see his adorable banter with his twin.
“He’s probably just busy, okay guys? Nothing’s wrong,” Roman huffed, stabbing violently into his pasta. “Why are you worried, anyway? He’d tell me if something is wrong.”
Dani and Shiloh looked at each other across the table, silently communicating with eyebrow raises and glances. Clearly, Roman wasn’t paying attention to his sibling. Should they tell him, or let him figure this out on his own?
The bell to signal the end of lunch interrupted their decision making, and the group all stood to scatter to their afternoon classes, groaning the entire time. Roman hiked up his backpack and stalked off to algebra, slipping into his seat just before the late bell rang. Logan was fine, he knew. His friends had no reason to make such a big deal over this. Right?
Logan choked back his tears as he checked his phone for the fifth time in the last minute or so. Roman wasn’t coming, it was clear. This was far from the first time Roman had skipped their meetings, and it was very unlikely to be the last. He had a life, and friends, and better things to do with his time than spend time with his stupid nerdy brother who was still far too clingy at age 14. Five more minutes, he thought, I’ll give him five more minutes. He was already five minutes late, Logan knew, but he was not quite willing to accept that fact yet. He was not ready to admit that his brother was abandoning him.
Five minutes passed and Roman was nowhere to be found, as was normal lately. Logan sighed and began to walk towards his next class half an hour early as usual, ignoring the pangs and tearing in his chest. He should be fine, he couldn’t possibly expect Roman to spend every moment with him, he should be happy for his brother and his new friends. Logan knew that change was natural in high school, yet he somehow still felt awful over it. He should have made more of an effort in his younger years to talk to people other than Roman. Maybe then he’d know how to deal with this.
“Logan? You’re here early again. Is something wrong?” his Trig Honours teacher asked, concern dripping from her voice. Logan swallowed down his feelings, shifted his binder to his right arm, and lifted his left hand to reply.
No, I just finished lunch early and my friends are busy. May I please stay in here? he asked, hand shaking slightly at the thought of rejection. His teacher must have noticed and smiled at him, waves of calm radiating off of her.
“Of course you can stay in here, Logan. In fact, could you help me grade the Algebra 1 tests? If that’s not too much trouble,” she replied, holding up a stack of paper. Logan nodded and set his materials at his desk before walking back over and settling down to help grade. Grading relaxed him and took his mind off of his issues.
“So, Logan. Do you need to talk?” she asked, looking over her glasses. Logan shook his head, focusing on correcting a poor freshman’s factoring. She sighed and went back to silence, allowing Logan to stew in his thoughts. Far too soon, the rest of his class began to filter in, and Logan had to go back into his daily schedule, still raw and uncertain about what was going on with his brother.
Luckily, school was over quickly, and Logan began his walk home, not willing to wait for Roman to finish play practice today. Plus, he had homework, and Dad would need help making dinner since Papa was working late tonight. It’s not like Roman would worry, anyway, Logan knew as he reached the front door, reaching into his pocket to grab his house keys. He walked in the door, the scent of burning sugar hitting his nose.
“Logan? Can you help me? I can’t… figure out how to cook!” Dad’s voice called, tinged with panic. Logan chuffed, threw his backpack onto the couch, and walked into the kitchen, eyes widening as he took in the destruction around him. Flour dusted every surface. Eggs were splattered across the table. Sloppily chopped cloves of garlic lay on the floor, and a bottle of olive oil lay on its side, thankfully sealed and not leaking. In the middle of this cooking disaster zone stood Virgil Everhart, a famous author who still didn’t know how to cook at age 30. Logan smiles slightly and walked over, picking up a discarded chopping knife.
What are you trying to make, Dad? Virgil sighed and turned back to the stove, shutting it off and taking the slightly-smoking pan off of the burner.
“This… this nice pasta recipe. And we had all the things to hand make pasta… and I wanted to surprise Patton with something special? But… I failed,” Virgil muttered, gesturing around the room. Logan nodded and gently took the pan from Virgil. He grabbed out all the ingredients he was going to need and set to work, smiling.
I can do this, Dad. Just focus on cleaning up, Logan signed before setting to work. Virgil shuffled around behind him, cleaning up everything that he had almost destroyed and handing Logan the olive oil for later. Logan snorted and took it, giving his Dad a large smile and a big thumbs-up. Virgil was trying to learn a new skill, it was clear.
“Okay, it’s all cleaned up. Can I help?” Logan shook his head and finished kneading the dough, beginning to set it up to roll it out and cut it. The kitchen descended into silence as the two worked, Virgil mostly handing Logan things and stepping back and watching his son make the meal. Logan was just finishing dishing the pasta into bowls when the front door slammed open and Roman’s voice came floating in.
“I’m home, everyone! Do I smell garlic?” Logan stiffened a bit but focused on finishing his task while Virgil went out to find and talk to Roman.
“Yep. Logan actually made dinner. Talk to him,” Virgil drawled. Logan finished topping everything with parmesan and hurried towards his room, snatching a bowl on the way. No, he wasn’t avoiding Roman, what were you talking about?
He walked into his room and softly closed the door before collapsing into his desk chair, pulling out his math textbook and flipping open his notebook. This was not the first time he did this, eating dinner and doing homework while avoiding his family, and it would be far from the last time he did this. He shoved down the bubbling heat, stabbed his fork into a mushroom, and threw himself into graphing conic sections for the second night in a row.
“So… Roman. We need to have a talk,” Virgil started, sitting down with his noodles across from his more extroverted son. Roman blinked and looked up, mouth full of pasta and carrots. Confusion painted his face, which Virgil would find adorable in any other scenario, but right now made anger bubble in his gut. It was clear Logan was hurting, and Roman should have noticed and known, but he clearly had no idea, and that made Virgil angrier than he thought.
“About what? My grades are fine, I’m not having issues… what’s up, Dad? Is someone dying?” Roman babbled, eyes wide and panicked. Virgil sighed and pinched his nose. Wow, how did he raise such a dramatic child? He blamed Patton.
“No one is dying. You’re not in trouble. It’s Logan.” Roman’s face paled and he almost dropped the bowl, catching it at the last second. “I… what? What’s wrong with Logan? Is he being bullied? Is he okay? Is he sick? Does he have depression? Who do I need to fight?” Roman rattled off, fists clenching and teeth gritting. Virgil actually… felt scared of his son at that moment. That… that should not happen.
“Whoa, hang on, Roman! Slow down! No, Logan is okay in most of those fields. Please let me talk!” Virgil babbled. Roman quieted down, brown eyes wide with expectation. Virgil sighed, steepled his fingers, and began. “I… I believe Logan may be exhibiting symptoms of depression or anxiety. And… I want to ask you if you have any idea why?”
Roman frowned and began to think. He seemed to finally stumble across a solution and his eyes widened, horror and despair filling their cocoa depths. “I… holy shit. I have no idea,” he whispered. Virgil sighed, took a bite of his pasta, and began to think about how to explain things to his son.
“I… you talk a lot about your friends, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but you also used to talk about Logan… and I’m wondering if you’ve just stopped talking to him?” Roman frowned before comprehension dawned.
“I haven’t been talking to him… oh crap, we were supposed to meet up at lunch today… oh crap!” Roman bolted upright, face pale. “I… where’s Logan! I need to talk to him! I- I need to fix this!” He sprinted out of the room, leaving Virgil alone to eat his pasta and contemplate all the horrible outcomes this situation could bring.
The front door opened again and closed again, and Virgil looked up to find Patton smiling softly at him. “Hey, honey, what’s going on?” Virgil sighed and pecked Patton on the cheek.
“Roman and Logan… are having some issues. They’re talking it out now.” Patton nodded and sat next to him, squeezing his hand.
“It’ll be fine, darling. They’re strong. They have a great bond. Everything will be okay,” Patton whispered. Virgil leaned against him, smiling softly.
“I hope so, Patt. I hope so.”
Knock knock. “Logan? Can we talk?” Logan’s head snapped upwards and he gulped at the sound of Roman’s nervous voice. His brother only sounded nervous when things were serious. Had Logan done something wrong? The mere thought sent nasty whispers through his brain, and he tried to block them out, focusing on the present. He stood and walked to his door, opening it to find Roman fidgeting with his sleeves in the hallway. “Can I come in?” Roman asked, eyes shining with something Logan couldn’t decipher. Logan nodded and let him in, closing the door behind his twin before sitting back in his desk chair while Roman perched on the bed. Silence reigned as the brothers faced each other, neither putting forth any words. Finally, after a solid three minutes of silence, Roman placed his hands on his knees, sighed, and began.
“Logan. I… you’ve been acting off lately. A bit more… depressed? And anxious? And I’d like to know what’s going on.” Logan bit his lip and wrung his hands together, trying to formulate a response. Should he be honest? Should he tell Roman the truth about his feelings? Or should he try and make Roman feel better? Looking into Roman’s earnest eyes, however, Logan felt all plans of lying leave his head. He had to tell his twin the truth.
I… have been feeling abandoned lately? You have been skipping our lunch meetings to hang out with your friends… and we don’t talk much anymore… which is fine! You have your own friends and your own life. I just feel a bit sad and hurt over it, Logan signed. His hands shook as they formed the damning signs, his hands lowering when he was done. Silence reigned, and Logan’s throat began to close up. He was so stupid, why couldn’t he just push his feelings down, why couldn’t he grow up and let Roman go-
Logan was suddenly yanked into a hug and he gasped, tears bubbling in his eyes. “You’re okay, Logan. You’re okay. I’m so, so sorry, bro, I didn’t know, I’m so sorry,” Roman sobbed, squeezing Logan. Logan slowly lifted his arms and hugged Roman back, finally allowing the tears to stream down his cheeks. There the two brothers sat, crying, for a length of time neither could tell, simply basking in the presence and love of the other, their best friend since birth. Eventually, Roman pulled back, sniffing, but kept his hands on Logan’s shoulders, giving him a watery grin.
“Okay. I promise, I will not forget our meetings, okay? In fact, I’m going to start spending all of lunch at least once a week with you. How does that sound?” Logan’s eyes widened and he frantically shook his head. No, he didn’t want that, Roman’s friends would start to hate him for taking Roman away-
“Hey, Logan? My friends will understand, okay? You come first, anyway. If they can’t handle me spending time with my brother, then they weren’t that great of friends in the first place,” Roman stated firmly, his voice cutting through Logan’s spiraling thoughts. Logan gulped and raised his hands.
I don’t want to cut into your time with people you enjoy, though. Roman growled and shook Logan gently.
“Logan. You matter more, okay? Plus, they all miss you. Just… trust me on this, okay?” Logan slowly, shakily nodded, and Roman smiled softly. “Good. That’s great, Logan. Now, yell at me if I do anything stupid, okay?”
Logan snorted. You’ll be smacked about ten times per day, then. Roman blinked before his cheeks puffed out.
“Hey! That’s rude!” Logan giggled, and Roman simply pouted more in an effort to be the largest drama queen on the planet. This caused Logan to giggle harder, and finally, Roman broke down laughing as well, happiness welling up in both sibling’s souls. They ended up cuddling on Logan’s bed and watching Netflix, somehow, but neither complained. This was the most time they’d spent with each other for a while, and neither was willing to have this end.
What neither knew was that, when they eventually fell asleep, Patton slipped into the room and tucked them in, plugged in Logan’s laptop, and dropped a soft kiss onto both of their foreheads. “Sweet dreams, kiddos,” he murmured before leaving, smiling to himself. His kiddos were finally beginning to make things better, and nothing could be better in his eyes.
“Logan, calm down. They all like you, remember?” Roman murmured, nudging his brother in the ribs gently. Logan gulped and adjusted his grip on his Caesar salad, staring across the lunchroom at Roman’s usual table filled with loud, laughing theatre kids. Mabel was draped across Dani, the two girls watching something on Dani’s phone. Shiloh and Tommy were shouting in Hebrew about math homework (Logan could only tell because he glimpsed their open math textbooks), and Clair was giggling along with Cory and Kate about cute humans. Overall, an alien environment to Logan. He didn’t fit in; he didn’t belong there. Roman huffed and grabbed Logan’s arm, yanking him after him as he marched over.
“Friends! Countrymen! Gentlewomen! Lend me your ears!” he called, causing the entire cafeteria to turn around and stare at them. Logan flinched, but Roman and his entire friend group took this in stride, grinning.
“Yes, Your Highness? What say you?” Shiloh yelled back, his voice lilting with sarcasm. The entire table chorused agreement, a cacophony of sarcasm erupting from the table. Logan flinched back, but Roman pushed onwards, gently shoving him in between Shiloh and Alfred. Logan simply fidgeted with his fork and waited to be kicked from the table.
“I say that my darling advisor, my dear brother, will be joining us today!” Roman chirped, lowering his volume. The rest of the cafeteria ignored them once again, and Logan swallowed as all the eyes at the table turned to him. He was acutely aware of how his argyle sweater vest and tie made him stand out among this group of fashionable teens. He fidgeted, not used to this much attention. Mika and Wirt were much more subdued and hated eye contact as much as Logan did. This… this was not in Logan’s comfort zone at all.
“Cool! So, Logan, do you listen to musicals? I just finished listening to the UK version of Heathers and do I have some opinions,” Mabel answered Roman, slamming her fist into the table.
“Oh, en guarde, bitch, you do not get to trash that recording!” Tommy yelped, slamming his fist into the table. Mabel yelled a challenge back, and Logan soon found himself embroiled in a conversation about which version of Heathers was better, a topic he knew nothing about. However, he found this conversation… pleasant, even fun. All of Roman’s friends were very welcoming and warm, and all of them took their time and let him sign, Roman translating for him. Never once did Logan feel excluded. This was… nice. He smiled his first genuine smile in months. Things were finally looking up.
Notes: And that’s Chapter One! I’m most likely posting Chapter 2 tomorrow (fingers crossed!). Hope you all enjoyed this!
Dora and the Lost City of Gold Review
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a very fun all-ages adventure! I’ve never seen more than a clip or two of Dora the Explorer, but that didn’t hurt the movie at all for me. The film starts with a summation of the cartoon’s style to get new audiences up to speed on the conventions of the show and it worked perfectly. I was in the mood for a fun jungle adventure flick, saw the good reviews this was getting, and I’m happy to report that it lives up to both those standards!
Isabela Moner more than capably leads the film as Dora, whose enthusiasm for learning, exploring, and life in general is absolutely infectious. Dora’s expertise in the jungle and her drive to find the lost city of Parapata were awesome! While her childlike enthusiasm is written as a side effect of being secluded from most of modern society to a large extent, it was refreshing to see a teenage lead who isn’t dour and down on life. Her dauntless willingness to go it alone when she had to was a relatable and realistic trait, and her acceptance of the fact that she was even stronger when she had a team backing her up was a cool message. I’m glad Dora didn’t lose her exuberance by the end of the movie or change to be more socially acceptable to her new high school friends, even if she does choose to stay and get to know them better rather than go off on another adventure. Her journey isn’t that she needs to remember to be herself regardless of whether she fits in or not, it’s that she needs to let people in to her world again, so Dora getting to remain true to herself while making new friends was very cool. Of course, it’s always great to see a female-led adventure film (particularly in this subgenre) with a nonwhite lead and cast (or at least the overwhelming majority of it) too! More of that please!
Dora’s cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg), her intellectual rival at school Sammy (Madeleine Madden), and everyman student (and impressive breath-holder) Randy (Nicholas Coombe) provided a share of challenges for Dora she wasn’t expecting at all: high school. Diego’s embarrassment over Dora’s personality felt like a realistic (though unfortunate) reaction to a younger sibling who doesn’t want to conform to high school society’s standards, while Dora’s scientific take on Diego’s feelings for Sammy was funny and built their sense of familial bonds nicely. Theirs is the strongest relationship in the movie and emotional core. I thought the breakdown of their bond felt realistic and painful (leading to Dora largely shutting everyone out as a kid and opening that wound all over again as a young adult) and that the repairs to their relationship were well-done and satisfying. I was glad Dora and Sammy’s rivalry wasn’t over some guy and that Sammy wasn’t written or performed as a mean girl, but one who was concerned about her standing in the class GPA. She also generally couldn’t understand Dora’s outlook, which is ironic given how Diego and apparently the other students at school don’t understand her, vilifying her for her outlook and “attitude” as well. The common ground she and Dora came to with Dora’s know-how and Sammy’s contributions to the quest for Parapata created a nice build to their budding friendship. I liked that Randy didn’t have toxic vibes to his crush on Dora, and he brought a nice balance of pure terror and truly wanting to help his new friends to the adventure. These kids have their issues, but none of them were ever unlikable and they all felt like real people, not caricatures or an adult’s attempt at writing “annoying youths” (or cartoons). I also liked that all four of them came together to keep each other alive and they all contributed to solving the traps protecting Parapata’s treasure. That was a cool way to unify Dora’s quest to save her parents (Michael Pena, Eva Longoria) and finish their search for the city with her arc toward sharing her life with people and depending on friends instead of just herself.
Dora’s parents don’t have much to do here, as they’re kidnapped for most of the film, but I liked how supportive they were of Dora (even if they were just as bewildered by some of her habits as her friends at school were). I really liked that they spelled out the distinction between exploring and learning vs. treasure hunting and plundering cultural artifacts. CBS’ Blood & Treasure made a similar point of noting who should get to display what artifacts (if they are to be displayed at all), and it’s good to see a more socially conscious approach to archaeology taking hold in the movies and on TV. Films like the Indiana Jones series are among my all-time favorites, but those artifacts don’t belong in an American museum, they belong to the cultures that originated them. I didn’t expect the movie to bring in an actual Inca royal/goddess (Q'orianka Kilcher) with an army to protect Parapata, but that was an excellent addition that felt totally natural with the world they’d established! I always want the supernatural stuff in films like these to be real, so seeing these people appear was very cool. It was also a neat twist on the formula (and execution of her parents’ guidelines on exploring) that Dora & co. didn’t get to keep the treasure, only increase their knowledge by confirming its existence.
Most of the villains are ultimately just muscle, but Eugenio Derbez’s Alejandro Gutierrez gets a lot of screen time thanks to initially disguising himself as a friend of Dora’s parents. He was affable enough that it was reasonable Dora and her friends would fall for his lies (particularly with the stress of their situation and his apparent rescue of them). I wonder if the more comedic persona he puts on was designed to fit with and manipulate Dora’s eternal optimism, which would be a solid take on the older generation manipulating the best intentions of the younger one to fuel their greed. He certainly uses their intelligence to further his own interests (and, depending on how deep his cover was, to keep him alive in the first place). He also personifies the old-school treasure hunter method of archaeology, contrasting him nicely with the younger, more socially and culturally conscious generation. I definitely wouldn’t have included him disrobing in front of teenagers though, even if it was caused by hallucinogenic pollen in an animated sequence.
That moment not being a great look aside, it was refreshing that like Dora herself, a modern adaptation of a kid’s property didn’t take the “dark and gritty is cool and mature” path in an effort to draw in older audiences by ignoring what made the show a success in the first place. Instead, this fully embraced what I assume is the upbeat vibe of the cartoon and absolutely ran with it. They do poke fun at some of the conventions of the animated series, like Dora breaking the fourth wall to teach the audience vocabulary and science, but those self-deprecating jokes absolutely worked and it didn’t feel like the filmmakers were embarrassed by the source material or like they were outright mocking it. It would’ve been easy to make those moments part of the video diary/podcast she has at the beginning of the movie (particularly with the popularity of Instagram and Snapchat stories nowadays), but playing them straight and just having everyone else think she’s weird was so much funnier! Her Map (Marc Weiner), Backpack (Sasha Toro), and possibly her pet monkey Boots’ (Danny Trejo) abilities to talk were played as her childhood imagination and/or hallucinations, which felt like the right balance for the very fun, heightened reality she lives in. I’m glad that they kept the talking, masked fox Swiper (Benicio del Toro) here as well: he feels like a major part of the series’ world and I’m sure fans would’ve been bummed if they left him out. I loved that the questions surrounding him from our heroes were not that he was a fox working with mercenaries, but just that he wore a mask!
While Dora works for all ages, kids are definitely the main target audience and some of the other humor reflects that. I’m not a fan of toilet humor—it’s not that I find it inherently juvenile, I’ve just never thought it was funny—but the two gags in that realm here (quicksand that sounds like farts and the difficulties of using the bathroom in the jungle) didn’t go on long enough to make it feel like this was only for kids; it felt like this was just one style of comedy at play among many. Like Alejandro’s pollen trip, I wouldn’t have included everyone running by Sammy while she was using the bathroom though. Unlike so many movies described as “all ages” but which are really just for kids, the rest of the movie’s comedy, the character development, and the action-adventure sequences totally work regardless of your age and they successfully made it feel like our heroes were on a real adventure with actual dangers. Even if “jungle puzzles” aren’t a thing in the real world, the ones showcased here felt classic and were a lot of fun to see our heroes solve. The pacing moved the story along briskly, but I didn’t feel like Dora’s problems fitting in (and letting others in) were rushed or underdeveloped. The score hits the exact right vibe for this and I liked the original song at the end of the movie too.
If you’re like me and in the mood for a fun, all-ages jungle adventure with a great cast, good action, and a solid emotional core, Dora and the Lost City of Gold will absolutely deliver! I’d definitely watch a sequel. If this one’s still in a theater near you, go see it!
Check out more of my reviews, opinions, and original short stories here!
So I’ve spent the entire day going back to an old story I started rewriting from my first premise at age 13 when I first read The Hunger Games. And I thought I’d give people a basic idea of what it’s about:
A future Britain (Now called Britannia once more) ravaged by a nuclear war, but the only functioning part of the world that is left, is ruled by a government of ex war criminals from the successful rebellion that ended and forced the previous rulers and their ancestors into different sectors. These new rulers control everything, from what you eat and where you work to what you call your children.
In the south and south west of the country of Albion, (the bottom part of what was England) there was a population problem, so that part of the country, has a rule of how many children you can have, with the minimum of two, unforced on the five sections in that part of the country, sectors, 1, 2, 4, 5, (sector 1= Salisbury, sector 2= Winchester, sector 2= Somerset 3= destroyed in the nuke fire and never rebuilt but was Cirencester, 4= Oxford, 5= Swindon). If you are found to have more than two children then, you have to choose to keep two and the other children are sent off to a facility in Londinium (London) to be trained to enter the Arena, a series of deadly trials that are specifically created to kill off these children, once they reach between the ages of 13-25 and is designed not to have any of the contestants come out alive.
The facility, is in lock down during the Trials as the building becomes the arena, and everyone who was not picked that year is transported underground to the bunker, the safety spot. Whilst day and night, the contestants are subjected to ‘trials’ or events that happen randomly designed to either kill you, or turn you against the other contestants, and hopefully enough so that they kill you! The final challenge usually is the toughest and where all the remaining contestants usually die.
The parents and families of the contestants aren’t usually told of their child’s means of death and are usually informed that they have died after the trials are over. The sectors absolutely hate the government for this but they can’t do anything about it out if fear of getting their children sent away.
Imogen Lockwood is the youngest of three and has spent most of her teenagehood in the facility. When she is picked to be part of that years trials at age nineteen, she has to survive horrors you could ever really dream of, despite knowing that the changes of her making it out are zero to none alone, for she promised her best friend Phoebe she would. The odds are stacking against her, as the days drag on, But when an alliance is formed between her and two other contestants. Maybe, just maybe, they have a chance of making it out and seeing the light of day once more?
Main characters (and character mood boards)
Imogen Pandora Lockwood:
Imogen is the youngest of three siblings
She is 19
She was raised by her older half brothers Tristian and Percival from the age of nine, when their mother passed away from malnutrition.
She never knew her father as she was the result of an affair whilst her mum was still married to her abusive husband and father of her two older brothers.
She is originally from Sector 5 but at age 14 her middle brother Tristian was caught stealing honey from a farm that was intended as a birthday present for Imogen by patrol guards and found out he was not only brothers to Percival but had a younger sister. Just as he was about to be forced onto the train that would take him to the facility as punishment for his crime, Imogen took his place, citing that he had a job and it was her fault in the first place that he got caught.
She is very proficient at throwing knives, a hobby she picked up in the facility.
Even though she was of age to be picked for the arena she wasn’t selected until she was nineteen
She is selfless, understanding and a brave but she is sometimes rude due to her bad social skills.
She views herself as a murderer who caused her mum’s death
She has left side Hemiplegia and is deaf in her left ear.
Hector ‘Hooper’ Posthumus Larker
Hector is the son of the trial master, Solvig Blaze and the freaking woman who runs the country, therefore making him technically royalty but he absolutely hates the way his parents treat the populace and doesn’t want to be ‘royalty’ at all if that’s what it takes to rule.
He’s actually genuinely really nice and struggles to abide to the rules of the facility desire being part of the armed guard until he punished for this pacificim and thrown into the arena for it.
He had an identity crisis with what he believes in
He is 21
He wanted to become a doctor and did the necessary medical course but was forced by his father and mother to drop out so that he could do the necessary training requirements to set him on the path of one day running the trials.
He is thrown into the arena last minute after interfering with a thirteen year old getting beaten by the other guards.
He knew of Imogen through her eldest brother Percival who also worked at the facility.
Whilst she is living there he starts to develop a crush on her.
Hooper is his soldier code name.
One of the only people outside of Imogen’s family not to treat her differently due to her disabilities.
Achillies is Imogen’s (and then Hector’s) trainer for the trials.
He’s in his forties early
He is only a trainer because he was forced to be as punishment after being beaten to a pulp for something undisclosed. He resents the system because of his.
But he genuinely cares about the contestants but he goes tough on them.
He lived in sector five and knew of Imogen’s mum as they lived opposite each other but they never interacted as he was a couple of years older than her.
He wants to run off into the country and keep bees but he knows he won’t get very far.
He’s genuinely regarded as a good trainer within the grand scheme of things.
However none of the contestants he had trained has made it past the first week of the trials.
Elyan Lockwood- 26, and the eldest brother of the Lockwood family. Works in the Facility so that he could provide a better income for his younger siblings. He’s horrified to find Imogen at the facility and is eventually caught trying to get her out.
Tristian Lockwood- Tristian is the middle child of the Lockwood trio, at twenty five, he has a drinking problem, after turning to alcohol after the death of their mother and their increasing poverty. He spends all the money Elyan sends over on booze and therefore resorts to stealing for food. It is ultimately this act that gets his sister sent off to the facility.
Phoebe Icarus- 19 years old, and Imogen’s best friend in the facility. She’s the only reason why Imogen hasn’t made another escape attempt by herself yet. She’s not selected into the arena but watches on the screens from the bunker.
Jonah Rhodes- Phoebe’s ex and the idiot who tries constantly to get into knickers as he is under some delusion that Imogen’s previous defending of Phoebe in the break up meant that she wants him, when she couldn’t be any more uninterested.
Megara- the thirteen year old who causes Hector to be thrown into the trials. She bonds with both Imogen and Hector in the arena, they become kind of like defacto parents to the girl.
Cordelia Fritz- she’s twenty, and is the love interest of Phoebe.
(The character photos were made using @sangled’s PicCrew)
Lana - 2, 6, 16, 25, 32, 48; Sarya - 3, 5, 9, 15, 21, 26, 35; Frederick - 7, 12, 18, 24, 30, 42, 49. Sorry, that's a lot but your babies are so fascinating!)
@liveinthehills asgjkhkjshg thank you so much for all the asks!
From the Super Detailed Questions About Your OCs list
For Lana Surana-
2. Do they have any titles? How did they get them?
Hero of Ferelden and Champion of Redcliffe are really the only two titles Lana has received (the obvious ones, from saving Redcliffe during the Blight and ending the Blight itself). Lana never becomes the Warden Commander of Ferelden, wishing instead to focus on assisting the wardens rebuild after the Blight with Alistair's help, rather than lead them. Alistair likes to refer to her as the Goddess of Ferelden, and does so often that at least a handful of people in Ferelden actually think that it must be the correct title.
6. What were they like at school? Did they enjoy it? Did they finish? What level of higher education did they reach? What subjects did they enjoy? Which did they hate?
Lana was very studious inside the Ferelden Circle. She enjoys quietly reading on her own, and spent a lot of time reading up on various magical theories as well as Andrastian history. She wasn't very fond of hands-on studies, not being too keen on casting spells even though she was very good at it. Irving would have had her take her Harrowing at a much younger age because of how quickly she grasped onto knowledge and magical skills, but her hesitancy to use them was what held her as an apprentice until she was 18.
16. Do they collect anything? What do they do with it? Where do they keep it?
Once she leaves the Circle, Lana collects a tiny rock from each place they visit. The first one she collects is from the shore of the Circle. She does this as a reminder of where she came from, where she's been, and as a reminder of everything that's happened. She keeps them in a small pouch at her side.
25. What do they find funny? Do they have a good sense of humour? Are they funny themselves?
Lana adores Alistair's sense of humor. She's been through a lot herself, so she can appreciate the self deprecation of his humor. Lana may not have the worldly experience to get some jokes, but she can feel the levity emotion of the situation and enjoys hearing people's laughter more than anything. She doesn't crack many jokes herself, although when she does they're usually rather sarcastic.
32. What do they dress like? What sorta shops do they buy clothes from? Do they wear the fashion that they like? What do they wear to sleep? Do they wear makeup? What’s their hair like?
In the Circle, Lana tended to gravitate towards mage robes that had purples or blues in them, same for her nightgowns. After leaving the Circle, Lana wears the blue grey warden mage armor. Because of her height, most armor tends to be much too long on her and she ends up having to modify it, so she doesn't stray much from that uniform. She has a long tunic she never took in that she wears to sleep, although once she and Alistair start sharing a tent all the time, she either steals one of his clean tunics or otherwise they go without. Lana's hair is red (think very bright copper), and straight. It's to the middle of her back, and she always wears it in a tight French braid that begins near her left temple and ends at the right at her neck. It's a habit she still clings to of when her mother would do her hair growing up.
48. Do they enjoy any parties? If so what kind? Do they organise the party or just turn up? How do they act? What if they didn’t want to go but were dragged along by a friend?
Lana's a bit nervous around large groups of people. She has a bit of trauma related to being attacked for being a mage, so she's always worried of how people will react to her if she doesn't know them. With her friends, however, tight knit celebrations are something she can enjoy. She's had to be dragged into a few she definitely didn't want to attend (a status such as Hero of Ferelden will do that), but her fear of disappointing someone overrides her fear of being judged.
For Sarya Lavellan-
3. Did they have a good childhood? What are fond memories they have of it? What’s a bad memory?
Sarya enjoyed her childhood very much. Growing up without her parents, Keeper Deshanna raised Sarya to be kind and groomed her for a role of leadership at an early age. Sarya took to it with stride, really enjoying everything she learned and the opportunity to be an asset to her clan at such a young age. Her fondest memories are of the harvests she would participate in, as well as all the times she would sneak out at night to explore the Free Marches (sometimes alone, sometimes with her close friend Shala). A more bad memory would be when her clan visited Wycome for trading. Sarya witness a young child burning himself on a forge, and so she quickly helped cool his hand by dunking a cloth in a bucket of water and freezing the cloth with a bit of ice magic. The kid was excited at the show of magic and grateful, but the adults around became concerned and alerted the Chantry about her. Even though the Chantry has an understanding with the Dalish’s ways of having a few mages in one clan, they sent a couple of templars to investigate anyway. They confronted her in the forest outside of Wycome, but ultimately left without incident. Sarya is convinced that, if she hadn't been with a group of their hunters at the time, she would have been carted off to a Circle. This experience grew a small fear of humans for her that nagged at her mind for a small while when she was brought to Haven.
5. Do they have any siblings? What’s their names? What is their relationship with them? Has their relationship changed since they were kids to adults?
Sarya was an only child, so no siblings for her. She is very close with a lot of people in her clan, though, and thinks of them as siblings. Renan is the most prominent one, since he's always been one to stay close to her and want to protect her. Her relationship with him became strained once his feelings for her grew into more than friendship, feelings which she never returned. I'll leave it at that, since it effects her in ways that would spoil later chapters of To Weather the Storm ;)
9. Do animals like them? Do they get on well with animals?
I like to joke that Sarya is my “Disney Princess” OC. She gets on incredibly well with animals, and they seem to be drawn to her calm demeanor. The halla that traveled with her clan always knew they could find a treat in her pocket, and it's not uncommon for her to be able to calmly talk herself out of a bad situation with a bear, something that catches Cassandra entirely off guard in the Hinterlands.
15. Are they good at cooking? Do they enjoy it? What do others think of their cooking?
Sarya enjoys cooking. She's good at taking what she has on hand and making something edible out of it. Because of this, she's usually the one who ends up preparing food at the campsite with her companions, and she does it gladly. After the time they let Varric make the stew, she now offers her services first thing.
21. Do they have a temper? Are they patient? What are they like when they do lose their temper?
Sarya has the patience of a saint, but she absolutely loses her temper when she's pushed too far. She never screams or throws things, but she's not above yelling and pointing her finger. Cullen knows better than anyone, having been at the end of her temper a few times just because of how stubborn he can be, always in cases of him not taking care of himself or not allowing her to help him (most commonly with his lyrium withdrawals).
26. How do they act when they’re happy? Do they sing? Dance? Hum? Or do they hide their emotions?
Sarya hums when she's happy, and smiles a lot. She wears her emotions on her sleeve when she's in a good mood. If they get a few drinks in her (or one or two particularly strong ones), she's a very happy drunk and will spend a lot of time singing and dancing with a bright smile on her face.
35. What’s their guilty pleasure? What is their totally unguilty pleasure?
Sarya loves sweets. This would probably be considered an unguilty pleasure, since she does nothing to hide the fact, so much so that it's not uncommon for nobles to send sweets along with their letters in hopes of gaining the Inquisitor’s favor (her favorite are the hard cookies with orange zest dipped in chocolate that Gaspard sends with his correspondence). As for a guilty pleasure, Sarya has secretly read one of two of Varric's books in her spare time when no one is looking. She never had access to romance books like them, and finds herself quite engrossed in the stories.
For Frederick Trevelyan-
7. Did they have lots of friends as a child? Did they keep any of their childhood friends into adulthood?
Frederick's parents had him spend a lot of his time studying, so he didn't have a lot of close friends growing up. He did have a friend, Caleb, whom he considered his closest friend growing up, though they grew apart once Caleb settled down.
12. What is their favourite food?
Frederick would never admit it to his parents, but he's a sucker for Orlesian cuisine. He loves the sweetness of their foods, preferring it to the more lightly seasoned vegetables and meat one gets in Ferelden. Frederick isn't vegetarian by any sense, but he does tend to gravitate towards vegetables and fruit over meat. He's especially fond of carrots that have been glazed with honey.
18. What’s their favourite genre of: books, music, tv shows, films, video games and anything else
Frederick loves poetry. He and Cassandra have been known to sneak off together to read aloud with one another, just two friends enjoying a romantic prose. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Ferelden history, but he had to study so much of it as a kid that his reading of it is more out of habit than anything.
24. What is their sleeping pattern like? Do they snore? What do they like to sleep on? A soft or hard mattress?
Frederick sleeps like the dead. Once he's out, he either needs to wake up on his own or else be shaken awake. He doesn't move much in his sleep, although Dorian will often shove him over onto his side to stop the snoring that ensues when he's on his back. He definitely prefers a softer mattress, and eagerly returns to his bed after a week with his bedroll on the hard ground.
30. Do they exercise? Regularly? Or only when forced? What do they act like pre-work out and post-work out?
Frederick does yoga every morning. It's a ritual to him, something his mother encouraged from a young age to calm his high energy. If he's unable to do it he's off for the day: he'll be a bit less level headed than usual, antsy, and turning a few heads as he runs back and forth across Skyhold trying to busy himself. Frederick still has quite a bit of energy even after his morning routine, but it grounds him and allows him to take the day a bit more slow.
42. What are their goals? What would they sacrifice anything for? What is their secret ambition?
Frederick only wants to do his family and the Maker proud. He feels a bit of guilt, knowing that he can never make them happy in the way they had imagined before he came out, and works his hardest to make them proud in other ways. After being with Dorian, this extends to him as well. He realizes that family isn't only blood, and he finds himself wanting to do everything he can to make Dorian proud of him. Frederick would sacrifice anything for the safety of others. It makes him reckless, but it's something he feels very passionate about. As far as secret ambitions, Frederick does want a family, although he isn't sure how that will play out with the path that was given to him.
49. What is their most valued object? Are they sentimental? Is there something they have to take everywhere with them?
Frederick was never sentimental before. After Trespasser, the message crystal Dorian gifts him becomes his most prized possession. With Solas’ threat and everything Dorian has to take care of in Tevinter, they have to be apart for some time, but Frederick always keeps the message crystal close to his heart and converses with Dorian multiple times a day.
My love and feels for Skz 🌹🖤
I was tagged by my dear @pikachulein (thank you for doing that btw) to do a post about my feels for Skz so here it is!
I’m just gonna say that this post is probably a bit cringy and makes zero sense because I have a hard time putting my feelings/thoughts into words :p Also... this ended up being.......1,2k+ words long, whoops 😌
I see Woojin as an older brother he’s 3 years older than me so there we go even tho it’s not that much, anyway so with him it’s definitely brotherly and sibling-like love. It would be awesome to have him as my older brother can i swap my annoying bro with him please and I feel like he would be someone who I can rant about stuff and ask advice. Since he’s also super loving towards his members and takes care of them, I can sort of relate to that since I’m lowkey the mom-friend in my friend group. He’s such a sweetheart and I’m so soft ;-;
Ah, it’s mister ”here to wreck your bias list once again”. Chan is probably the one who confuses me the most, I mean he’s my bias but at the same time he’s my bias wrecker and I really don’t know how I feel about him?? I just feel drawn and very attracted to him. But despite being attracted to him, I seriously admire and respect Chan a lot. To me, he’s such an inspirational person and I would love to spend time with him talking about lyrics meanings and deep things. I think we're both that sort of people who sometimes think about stuff too deeply and maybe stress over small things. He's still so young and has a lot on his shoulders and i just sjdhsh. I would probably say my love for Chan is intellectual/magnetical type of love.
Ohlord it’s the pisces+scorpio duo with minho it’s definitely the best friends/playful type of love, absolutely. I feel like if we two were best friends we would be that super salty duo who throws shade at everyone. Minho is someone who I would love to just hang out with and share some hot tea ☕ about stuff. Also, I feel like minho would appreciate my super bad jokes and puns no one ever likes my puns and i bet my friends are ashamed of me lmao and we could throw awful pickup lines at each other. I would love to just go on a random shopping spree with him or mess around in a park in the middle of the night. Where do I get a best friend like minho?
Another sweet child o’ mine, my fellow Pisces son. I relate to Hyunjin a lot on an emotional level since I feel like we’re both emotionally sensitive so I’ll say I have this similar people/affectionate type of love towards him. I want to watch those overly sappy and cheesy movies/dramas with and cry together when something bad happens. Also, you know that face he does when he thinks his face is bloated?? I swear to god I do that exact same face 24/7. he's an affectionate person imo so i think he would make a nice hug/cuddle buddy, heh. and we both have a thing for weird noises too Hyunjin is probably the member who I relate the most to and he’s sometimes such a mood.
oof, the ultimate bias wrecker. My love for Jisung is probably the affectionate kind of love and he is another member, who I admire. Jisung is quite deep and poetic person in my opinion and I’d love to discuss and write lyrics with him. I adore his positive and goofy personality and his shenanigans always make me giggle and lift up my mood. I sometimes just get distracted by him and then I find myself thinking “what an adorable bean you are”. He’s such a kind-hearted and sweet person, I just want to squish his cheeks and ruffle his hair. But sometimes I feel like he doesn’t really feel that confident about himself, so I would want to just comfort and support him. I want him to know he’s doing well, that he’s talented and he’s more than just the mood-maker of the group. I just want to cheer him up with my very shitty jokes and drag him to the nearest arcade. Yeah, I just want to be friends with Jisung and have a blast.
Felix, my sweet sunshine baby boi, a precious puppy with a deep ancient God voice, I love him so much i might cry. Felix was my first skz bias and is now my second bias, so I do have a sort of special soft spot for him. I would say my love for him is a mix of affectionate and pure love. Felix is such a soft sweetheart and pure, I just want to hold and cuddle him. Like?? i just can’t imagine anything bad or nasty about him??? that boy just radiates sunshine and happiness ;_; Like I would just love to play video games and make goddamn vine references with him, that would be life.
With Seungmin it’s friendship like love. I just see him as a good friend who I would have a blast hanging out with I lowkey wanna have a roast battle with him, don’t ask why i just do also, as a fellow myday, we two could just scream and fangirl about Day6 together lmao. me and seungmin singing more like screaming the lyrics to shoot me at 2am? sign me up. He’s such a cutie squish. Seungmin is kind of a mischievious person and he lowkey brings out the mischief in me too, so I kinda want to prank the other members with him lmao.
Okay, Jeongin is not that much younger than me but he feels like a younger brother to me, so with him, it’s probably sibling-like love I would say. He’s so cute and precious and I just want to look after him and I’ll fight anyone who dares to corrupt this smol bean. I also lowkey want to have that friendly, sibling rivalry -like relationship with him, idk why. I want to make sure he’s doing well and offer my help if he needs it. Jeongin is such a pure baby and his smile is worth fighting for.
baby boy culture uwu
this next part is gonna be the cheesiest thing ever and probably a bit cringy so you've been warned. bear with me and my feels
oh my god, where do I even start with seo changbin. I'm sure everyone and their ancestors know that my love for him is definitely romantic/true type of love. That boy makes my heart burst and I'm just so damn whipped. im so sorry but i must expose myself and admit that there is some sexual love here too sometimes cuz boi i've had some rather heated thoughts/dreams with bin, anYWAY BACK TO BEING SOFT I love that we share the same kind of aesthetic with all the "i love dark" stuff and wearing mostly black, but then actually being the softest. Since we both have had the thought of becoming a tattoo artist, it would be so cool to draw and design tattoos together! andthengetacoupletattoo I would want to spend time with him at the studio, bring him food and make sure he doesn’t overwork himself and even though I don’t know much about making music but I would love to help him with writing lyrics too. I would support and hype him all the way and make sure he’s healthy. I want to make sure he’s eating and resting properly. Also! Since I love the height difference between me and Bin, I just want to give him all my hoodies to see how smol and soft he would look in them!! I honestly just love everything he does, every little thing. His aegyo, his cute nose crunch, his adorable laugh, his smile, his fierce stage presence,…. I could go on forever. I want him to know he’s doing well and I want to be there for him. I want to have those random, sleepy 3am conversations with and hold each other close. I want ruffle and run my hands through his hair and boop is cute nose. I want to share soft kisses with him and kiss that jaw goddamit. I just can't properly put it into words how much I love Changbin and how much he means to me. I could honestly just spend hours talking about him and he just makes me go all ajdhshswg. This got rly long and it's very cheesy and cringy sorry. I just love Seo Changbin with all my heart ♡
so yeah, here it is then. this post is a goddamn mess tbh but so am i so 🤷
Thank you so much! I hope you like this ❤
I hope I didn’t lose my touch. I am breaking this into two parts because it was kinda long :)
Ao3, Part 2
Landing safely, in one piece, on Earth was the biggest relief to the Paladins and their companions. They have been travelling for about 2 months, if their devices were correct, and it was starting to show with how exhausted everyone was. Stress was catching up to them, some more than the others – namely Lance and Allura.
Lance felt for Allura, losing her home again as well the news of more Alteans, not only alive, but tortured and harvested for Lotor’s own personal gain. Romelle’s full story left Allura in tears and the others heartbroken with guilt for believing the Galran Prince’s lies.
The ex-Blue Paladin stood at the shore overlooking the ocean after literal hours of begging Allura for Cuba to be their safe haven for a few days as he missed his large family immensely. The sunset left a red-ish hue on the water, adding to the moment’s perfection. The true heat coming from the pure earthen sun and the air mixed with salt and Lance knew he was home.
After dark, he trekked back to his home where he left the others to be attended to by his parents as they set up the extra rooms and couches for sleep space. His mother shocked him with the news that most of his siblings moved out while he was gone. His older siblings, their spouses and their kids all got homes on the same street to grow their families, leaving his parents and the twins. The old bedrooms now occupied by the ex-ship residents.
He suggested anyone sleep with him in his room on the couch he had in the corner if they want but they all collectively agreed that Lance should enjoy his room at his house, alone. Everyone knew how intense his homesickness became the last year in space, not even close to being matched by Hunk’s as the Yellow Paladin made peace with being away from his mothers a long time ago.
His father and Hunk were having a conversation in the garage, something about their car and fixing something, Lance never really payed attention to this kind of stuff. Shiro and his mother were talking old recipes, apparently his mother always wanted to learn the Japanese cuisine and Shiro had mentioned that he had some memorized and was willing to share with his mother.
Only some though! My mother loved secrecy about her magic soups Shiro had joked at one point.
Lance learned that Shiro’s father died in a pilot error when he was 15, which ultimately killed his mother from heartbreak not long after, leaving Shiro in the foster system in his sophomore year of high school where he met Keith. He kept her recipes memorized to remember her in food in times of need.
He turned his gaze to Keith sitting on the couch with a cup of green tea in his hands. Tension wrinkles smoothed on his face with the domesticity shown to him, something he suspected the ex- Red Paladin hadn’t seen in a while. His hair was tied in a bun and his armour exchanged with a hoodie from Lance’s older siblings stash of clothes left here and some sweat pants. He looked absolutely serene. The Cuban didn’t want to blink as to not miss a single second of… this.
He thought of the last time they truly talked and what it had caused him. The pain of suppressed coughs and hidden bloody tissues that serve as a reminder stacked in his pant pocket.
They had estimated two more days to reach Earth and everyone was super excited and nervous at the same time. They sat around a make shift fire, something they are now becoming experts in making and destroying in a matter of seconds in case of other inhabitants on the planet.
Food was distributed all around proceeded with soft chatter of what they missed the most about Earth and what to expect. Romelle listened to everyone; her eyes sparkled with wonder at everything anyone mentioned, especially at Pidge’s description of Pizza.
Pidge sat next to Hunk with his arm around her shoulders, Shiro and Allura were basically spooning in front of everyone while Coran glared at them with the disappointed father look. It wasn’t as to what it meant more like no-PDA-no-matter-how-platonic-it-actually-was. Krolia and Romelle sat next to each other with Cosmo between them completely relaxed and sleeping with both women scratching behind his ears.
Lance was too aware of Keith sitting next to him, their shoulders slightly touching, heart beating too fast to be healthy at this point and Lance was shocked as to how Keith didn’t hear it yet. He tried to normalise his breathing while thinking of a specific turning point for Keith to have this kind of reaction on Lance. When no one memory popped up, he settled on the fact that Keith always did this, he just pushed it to the back of his mind to not think about it too much.
“I personally just miss my family.” Lance said with a fond smile not really looking at anything in particular. “My brothers and sisters. Dios! Mama’s food!!”
“How many siblings do you have?!” Keith blurted, slight feint redness covering his cheeks. Lance filed it under the aftereffects of the heat on the planet.
“What Keith meant was you always talk about a big family, you can’t possibly have that many siblings.” Allura laughed.
“I do!” Lance beamed at the chance to talk about his family. “I have three older brothers and two older sisters! That also means that I have nephews and nieces. Who knows how many more I have now after leaving for this long… I also have twins younger than me, we were so close…”
Lance saw Keith and Shiro share a pointed look; he was probably bringing the mood down with that last comment. He tried not to but it was this constant fear that he was missing too much of his family’s life. He was gone too long.
“I’m sure your family would enjoy the chance to talk to you about what you missed, people sometimes like to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.” Keith smiled at lance but the words played too much in his mind. Was this what Keith thought of when he spoke about his family? That he liked to talk about himself too much?
He felt a cough tickling his throat but he suppressed it and pushed it away.
“Yeah… Probably.” He didn’t speak much after that the whole night but that didn’t stop him from paying too much attention to every single word that Keith said, every breath he took and every sound he made.
Lance took a deep breath, feeling overwhelmingly breathless. There was this crushing pressure on his chest that won’t go away no matter how hard he tried. Tiny pricks on the inside of his throat that just begs for release.
He stood up too fast and ran to the nearest clearing away from the others. He doubled over in a coughing fit that he was sure was going to result with losing a lung. The Cuban felt an actual velvety feeling clawing its way up his throat making its presence known. After a few more tries he finally succeeded in extracting it to see a red… petal.
It was like he was drenched by ice bucket, the shock vibrating his every nerve. He didn’t need a doctor to tell him what he had, he already knew; Hanahaki’s Disease. He actually had Hanahaki’s Disease. Lance knew he felt too much but not to the extent where he might actually die.
He brought his hand to his mouth as his thoughts were cut off by another fit, this time when he removed his hand it was coloured crimson.
He didn’t remember much after seeing red. Only that he ended up in his Lion and just laid there for hours looking at the ceiling thinking of a way to tell Keith about his feelings for him, but the more he thought about it the more it seemed like a farfetched dream. He knew Keith didn’t take him into high regards from the way he talked to him, not that it stopped Lance from falling for him… hard.
He tried distracting his mind by sitting next to the twins on the floor while they played with his Bayard. Seeing them both as old as 17 was heart-breaking for him; solidifying how long he was gone. Five years… Five long years. Marco’s hair was long reaching his shoulders, highlighted with blue streaks, though tied in a bun at the moment. He was the one who gave Keith the hair tie because Veronica’s was a pixie cut.
He almost didn’t recognise his younger sister when he first arrived due to how drastic her change was. Her usual long brown curls exchanged with a pixie cut with a shaved side that had two carefully drawn parallel lines in the middle. It was beyond beautiful in his eyes and he was never as in awe with her as he was the minute he walked into the house. She also apparently came out while he was gone.
They were alike yet so different, the Sierro Twins.
“So what you are saying is that you saved our bother’s ass too many times?” Vero looked at Keith, a twinkle in her eyes. “Man, I am going to have blackmail material to last a lifetime.”
“How do you open this? Is it heat registered? Does it have to do with DNA?” Marco was moving his Bayard in all directions pushing every single button-looking edge. “But if it was DNA then it should open to me, right! I am his brother.”
Keith smiled at her reaction and looked at Marco. “No, you are supposed to be a Paladin to actually open it. Besides, you are not identical to Lance so even if it was with DNA, it wouldn’t open with you.”
Lance felt a pang at Vero’s comment. Keith doesn’t think of you as competent. His brain added. And you want to tell him of your feelings? You can’t stop the inevitable.
“Well we are a team and we all saved each other’s asses” Keith giggled. “But yes Lance wound up in the healing pods way more than anyone else.”
The twins laughed at that. “Dude you have to tell me about every single time.” “Yeah, all the stories! We want to know everything about Lance in space.”
“Well, it was quite an experience.”
“Yeah I bet it was.”
Lance smiled at the interaction trying to hide the hurt. He knew he was a pain in Keith’s ass, but not that much. Did Keith hate hanging out with him that much?
Of course he did. A voice supplied. Why else would he leave the only people he knew in space the moment you showed him how much of a burden you really are?
He didn’t quite catch what the twins said to Keith but the laugh it got from him was enough to knock the wind out of Lance… literally. The previous pricks came back with vengeance and it was harder to breath by the second.
He wasn’t aware of the fact that he was hyperventilating until he felt a soothing hand rubbing his back. It helped but not as much as he wanted. He looked up and found Keith’s face too close to his lung’s liking and he coughed even more. Concerned violet eyes searching his face for answers he couldn’t give, not ever.
“That’s it. Deep breaths”
He followed Keith’s orders until his breathing soothed, not back to normal, but still slightly better. He sat straight with his back leaning on the couch for a sense of stability. He slowly opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. Keith was kneeling infront of him with a worried expression.
“What was that?” Keith’s voice was uncharacteristically low and gentle. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you have a panic attack before.”
Panic attack? Is that what he thought this was? Good.
“Just thought of something…” Lance replied, playing to the idea. He had had his fair share of panic attacks in his life and knew what they felt like. “I couldn’t stop.”
“Yeah… I get it.”
“I have to go.” Lance made to stand up but hand held him firmly to the ground preventing him.
“You won’t be okay for a while after that attack. Stay here and I’ll get you some water.”
After making sure Lance wasn’t going anywhere, he made his way to the kitchen. In the meantime, Lance thought about how utterly dead he was. Every action Keith seemed to make made whatever this thing was worse. He loved the Texan too much that if the disease didn’t kill him, Keith not reciprocating his feelings will (aka. Rejection) which ultimately was what the disease made sure of.
Keith returned not too long after with a glass of water and Hunk trailing behind him.
“Heard you just had a panic attack, Man you didn’t have one of those in months.”
“Months?” Keith exclaimed.
“Yeah. Lance and I met on the couch waiting to go to the counsellor for our anxiety. Remember, Lance?” Hunk smiled at Lance.
“How could I forget?! You asked me to be your friend that day.”
“Yupp! Best decision ever!”
“Aww buddy! You are the best.”
Keith raised his arms up to bring the attention to himself.
“Not that this isn’t the cutest shit I’ve seen, but why did you think both of you living together at Garrison was a good idea considering you both had anxiety?!”
“Hunk thought that since we both have it, it would do us good to look after each other if not after ourselves. I took care of him and he took care of me.”
“I never knew you had anxiety.” Keith turned to Lance. The Cuban’s eyes focused on the floor. Talking about his anxiety wasn’t something he wanted to open up about to the one person he is trying to supress his feelings from.
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”
“I’m pretty sure I got the gist of it.” Keith rolled his eyes and smiled. Lance chest tightened at the sight. “I’m going to go see Shiro, you’ll be okay?”
“I’m not invisible, you know.” Hunk sighed. “I’ve been taking care of his ass for years.”
“You know what I mean.” Keith said, walking out of the room back to the kitchen. Hunk looked at Lance, raising a brown eyebrow.
“Don’t lie to me.”
Lance sighed. Hunk was the last person he was trying to hide anything from. Mainly because he knew it was fruitless. “I… I think I have…” He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms trying to conjure the right words for this situation.
“Take your time, buddy.” The Samoan boy sat next to Lance at the couch and rubbed his back. It was always a calming gesture he would use when he saw the other stressed while trying read something. It wasn’t that he could read, it was because after a long day his eyes became blurry and he stops comprehending any word written on the paper he was supposed to learn.
Instead of saying it, he dug up the red petal from his pocket and held it up to Hunk. He hoped he would understand what it meant without having to explain.
Hunk was quiet for a few minutes, the gears in his brains almost audible. A sharp intake of breath and a low “No…” and Lance figured out he understood.
“You are sure its Keith?”
“You know I am.” He didn’t know what more to say. He had had a crush on his back at Garrison, but that was all that it was. A stupid, silly crush. It wasn’t a fatal disease that put an expiry date on his life.
“Why? You could die, Lance. You understand that right?”
“Because… I just can’t okay.”
He got up and made to leave when a hand held his wrist.
“I can’t lose you. Keep that in mind.” And with that, he let go of Lance.
Walking up the stairs was much more of an effort that he would admit. He was completely breathless by the time he reached the top, his lungs feeling like sand paper and his head like it was going to explode. He bent down trying to calm his breathing before finishing his trip to his room.
“You sound like you are dying.” The hoarse sound of Pidge came of one of the twins’ rooms. “If anyone asks, I didn’t give you whatever bug you caught from me.”
“I don’t have a bug.”
“Well at least a bug is curable. What the hell is wrong with your lungs then?” she approached his and rubbed his back gently to ease his breathing. This seems to be the running theme with everyone who saw him.
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“And I am a forty-five year old French woman.”
“You could be with that sass you know.”
“Yeah yeah. Just tell me what’s wrong.” She creased her eyebrows in a way that said I am worried and you better tell me before I probe you myself and find out.
He stood up and walked to his room away from her… probing eyes. Leaving her with a quick “Don’t worry about lil ol’ me pidgey!” and locked his door.
When Keith walked into the kitchen for the second time that day, Shiro was sitting on the counter with a notebook and a pen and the concentration of a military man getting his debriefing.
“And then you add seven tablespoons of coco powder to the mixture. Now you remember what I told you before?”
“Yeah… you mix the dry ingredients first then add the liquid ones.”
He smiled but it quickly fell when he remembered why he was here.
“I really hate to disturb this wonderful episode of… I don’t know a Food Network show or something but Mrs. Sierro I was wondering if I could ask you a question.”
“Anything, my boy.” She smiled at him though he could tell a hint of concern was in her tone. She must’ve read his face well.
“I just found out Lance used to have anxiety… did he take medication for it?”
“Why did something happen?” The pot she was stirring was quickly placed on the counter. While she was taking off her apron, she muttered in quick Spanish and the words “Lance” and “Hunk” came in clear to Keith a few times.
“Nothing serious happened, Mrs. Sierro.” He tried to calm her down. “He just had a small panic attack and I called Hunk and he calmed down. They mentioned how they met at the counsellor’s office and that’s how I found out he had anxiety.”
“I never knew he had anxiety.” Shiro sound so tired and defeated. He imagined how bad he must feel not knowing that two if his crew… friends used to go to a councillor for actual mental illnesses.
“He used to.” Lance’s mother sighed. “After he was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, he was prescribed medications for them. He finished his anti-depressants dose before going off to Garrison but he still had the anxiety ones. The doctor said he might always need them.”
Shock and horror reflected on the Black Paladins. Their happy, lively Lance used to take anti-depressants and they never knew. They never even guessed he could be remotely that sad, not to the extent that he would be diagnosed with clinical depression. Keith knew how hard and bad he had to fight for recovery.
“His medication is in his room at the top shelf. If you think he needs them, that’s where they are.”
Keith thanked her and left. He could faintly hear Mrs. Sierro and Shiro talking about Lance and his past. He wanted to know more about Lance but he already felt bad for not asking the boy personally about all of this. He needed to be ready if something was to happen and to take precautions for the future. Maybe if they take his medications they could refill it later.
The thought of anything making the said boy feel anything remotely negative left a sour taste in Keith’s mouth. His happy image was etched in his memory, an image he would love to preserve and keep it as real as possible. He would go to the ends of the world for his team’s happiness. For Lance’s happiness. This whole thing made him see Lance in a different light.
Cassian Andor x Reader Ship Meme
How differently do they think of each other now compared to when they first met?:
You were terrified of Cassian, plain and simple. His reputation as one of the Rebellion’s most aloof and cutthroat captains preceded him, and you were horrified to learn that you would be transferred to Yavin IV where he was currently stationed. You tried to avoid ever having to meet him, fruitless as you knew it would be, but you still held out hope . . . which was promptly dashed considering that, as a medic, your chances of meeting a gung-ho captain was higher than, say, if you had worked in the mess hall.
You weren’t sure what made your first meeting with Captain Andor particularly scary: The fact that you had preexisting anxiety towards him; that his dark, piercing eyes appeared to be glaring; or that he had blood on him – some of which wasn’t even his, you discovered, as you wiped away at cuts and bruises, sheepishly asking how many injuries you could expect to patch up.
On his own end, Cassian wasn’t sure of what to make of you. Rather, he wasn’t aware that he needed to make anything of you at all. It probably didn’t help that as he left the infirmary, his one takeaway was that you were a nervous slip of girl who wasn’t cut out for being in contact with a war and probably wouldn’t last long. He had half a mind to say this, but knew it wouldn’t do any good. Besides, the Rebellion needed as many hands as possible. Especially in the medical field.
Given how he was typically quite careful on most assignments, the Rebellion captain had very little reason to frequent your domain. And for that, you were thankful. But it was during one particularly grueling mission that he had been ordered by Commander-in-Chief Mon Mothma to see you for psychiatric examination. The subsequent questions, as well as your basic training, assured that you managed to gather more insight about the man’s thought process and experiences that may have given way to recurring issues within his psyche.
However, it was your own natural goodhearted nature that drove you the extra mile: In spite of your nervousness around him, you tried actually talking to him – and not just the usual medical jargon about his health. But you tried opening up to him the same way one might attempt to make a pet more comfortable in a new environment by letting them know they were safe. Only all you had to go on were words, weak attempts at small talk and jokes. Given his near nonexistent reactions, you had every right to perceive your kindred attempts as failures.
It was when he stopped by three days later, coming in for an unnecessary checkup where he offered some scattered small talk back that you began to reconsider that conclusion.
He claimed that growing close to you had been a lapse of judgement on his part (and arguably yours), but that didn’t necessarily stop him from popping up more and more. And honestly? You didn’t mind it as much as you thought you might.
It allowed you to become less afraid of him, to know him as more than just a hard-ass (which, let’s be real, he still was) but also as a man who’s sacrificed so much of himself for the cause that he honestly might not know who he is without the Rebellion.
All he’s ever known was war and fighting; if you catch him in the extremely rare mood, you’d find out that he’s actually not too entirely sure of what part of him in the real him since so much of who he presents himself as has been formed by his efforts. But during this venture, the both of you can confirm that when he's hard-working, ambitiously dedicated, focused, and agile? That’s all Cassian.
But definitely the most shocking of all is that Cassian isn’t some emotionless, cut-blooded soldier as many had you believing with their recounting of him: Cassian actually very much experiences remorse for when things get out of hand even if by the smallest fraction. The frozen shield he puts up is definitely less of his actual personality and more of a defense/coping mechanism that he’s become reliant on. It’s not healthy by any means, but you both understand and even sympathize with it. You just hope that you can introduce a way for him to break away from it and be more open.
He sees you as far less of a liability, by the way. In fact, he’s begun to heavily appreciate how soft you’ve stayed in spite of everything. Because war instills this need for jugular-biting ambition and every-last-man mentality, he’d begun to forget how important it is to display kindness and gentleness. He now sees your helping hands as your strength and would rather not imagine where he everyone would be without somebody like you.
What do their friends/family think of their relationship?:
Cassian tries to keep the relationship under wraps when the two of you first agree to start seeing each other romantically. He says it’s for your own protection, but considering how you never go off-planet and how you’re not a name the Empire would focus on to begin with, you know this instantly to be bullshit. The reality is that he knows how uncharacteristic it was for him to not only get romantic with somebody, but to do so when all his life has ever been about was the Rebellion.
Oh, and the fact that his friends would have a field day might have something to do with it.
To both your and Cassian’s surprise (and embarrassment), K2 isn’t the first one to comment on the connection the two of you had. He certainly had his suspicions (all of which he bluntly stated, perhaps to crude degrees in certain cases), but the ultimately first person to actually make a statement about it was none other than Chirrut.
Claiming he could sense it, the monk fondly cooed over how the icy captain’s heart melted in the light of your spirit. He keeps calling the union beautiful and necessary as it is a symbol of how even during times of war, love can flourish and grow through the clouds of doubt. Baze scoffs at the comment but ultimately is okay with the situation. Aside from stating that at least Cassian isn’t as much of a hard-ass, the ex-monk is mostly neither here nor there regarding the circumstances. Bodhi himself thinks it’s nice that somebody gives Cassian a safe place to heal; he himself has only been directly involved with the Rebellion for a little while compared to Cassian’s whole life of investment, and his nerves are constantly fried. He can only imagine how Cassian must actually feel beneath it all.
Likewise, Mon is just glad that somebody gets along with Cassian who isn’t a subordinate of sorts. While she appreciates the hard work he puts into the Rebellion, his attitude sometimes makes her worry about the decisions he makes out of ambition. Hopefully your presence in his life will give him reason to think more with his emotions than with his own deadly determination. At the very least, she hopes he’s more open with you and venting some of the things weighing on his psyche that he won’t express to her.
But above all, K2 is obviously the most vocal about the relationship. He’s like a big younger sibling in a sense, complaining about the ways that the two of you show affection (even when it’s in privacy, even when it’s not anything blatantly resembling PDA). However, you can’t help but snicker when one day, early on in the union, he trudges up to you and states, “Cassian says I need to be nice to you, even though he’s not very nice himself; from what I’ve been told, hitting one’s on the behind isn’t appropriate – ”
You die on the ground in a fit of laughter while Cassian dies in a corner, cringing with embarrassment and anger.
How do their personalities/skills complement or contrast with each other?: While the both of you are reserved, you and Cassian are that way for very different reasons and by different means of expression. For you, it was something more akin to shyness and nerves. You hated the idea of getting in the way, and frankly being around people barking orders at one another didn’t do much for this anxiety. For Cassian, it was out of an assigned necessity that he be closed off. Best not to get too attached, because for all he knew, whomever or whatever he got too close to would disappear from his life just as everything else had. He’s getting better at it, but expecting years and years of a defense mechanism to go away is unrealistic.
Going off of these forms of quiet behavior, you’re still legions more open than he is. In spite of your shyness, you try to make those that visit you in the infirmary feel better by even 1% considering that unless it’s for a checkup, they’re probably not there under great circumstances. The result is that many Rebels like you to some degree and cannot fathom what you see in Cassian because he’s just so . . . not like you. You have to admit, it gives you a bit of amusement to see the looks of confusion on their faces when they see you strolling about, gooey smile intact whilst walking alongside the perpetually frowning captain. It’s a nice sugar and salt sort of unity: Nobody gets how it works, it just does.
What is their favorite aspect of each other?:
Most people would assume that Cassian would immediately say it’s your work ethic or overall determination to see a situation to the end. And, to be fair, that would be what he’d tell them if he cared to answer such a question. But in actuality, while it’s certainly something he likes about you, that’s not his absolute favorite thing. Cassian will never admit to it, but he finds your softness to be something he’s come to greatly appreciate. Yes, the very thing that made him question your ability to withstand the Rebellion is also the thing he loves the most. Go figure! This is because everything in his life has been ragged or uncomfortable, so your gentleness certainly stands out as a daisy on the rocky terrain that has been his life thus far.
When he came back from Scarif, you could immediately determine that he was shaken even though he never said otherwise and attempted to act as if nothing about nearly dying had affected him. You’d known him long enough to pick up on his cues, and your medical training required you to recognize certain traits present in those struggling with the aftermath of potentially traumatic events. You tried not to pick at him for details and for that he was thankful but ultimately, the most he was willing to do at that point was just . . . hold you.
He couldn’t decide if it was because he needed to show you how much he appreciated you after everything, or if it was because you were soft and warm and felt like an actual home for him, but what did it matter? You were currently one of the only good things he had in his life, and he owed it all to your much softer nature. It allowed him to not have to be so cold and calculating; it just meant he had a place to let his hair down – and be played with.
You yourself have come to better understand Cassian’s dedicated nature as something that apparently reaches beyond just his militant duties (something of which surprises even himself, given that he never had the opportunity to extend it beyond that). When Cassian sets his sights on something, he goes all in to acquire the best outcome: Missions, keeping people safe, something pertaining to his relationship, etc. You’ve seen what even a couple months of war can do to people: It exhaust them, robs them of sleep, of energy, of hope. You don’t blame them a bit. It therefore seems miraculous that Cassian has managed to maintain his over the years not only for work, but for play as well. If you’re upset or need something, he’ll do his best to try and find either the desired outcome or a suitable alternative. This man will take a laser bullet for you if need be, frankly!
Do either of them have pet peeves about each other?:
While his façade of coldness can sometimes press you, you consider yourself quite patient when dealing with that. At the very least, you knew that that wasn’t the actual Cassian, just something to cover up his vulnerability.
The reality is that your greatest admirations are also your biggest flaws when taken to the max. For example, that dedication you are astounded to see in Cassian? Too much of it becomes a death wish. This was to be expected when one knows of Cassian and how far he’ll go for the Rebellion, even if unnecessarily.
However, you just wish he’d be a bit more considerate about how things have changed. He has no reason to immediately hop onto arguable suicide missions, especially when they don’t actually need him to come along. Yet he does anyway. You know it’s more likely a case of an old habit struggling to die even a slow death (that, or years of putting his faith and trust into the Rebellion), but when he does things like this, it makes you wonder if he cares about the relationship enough to just not put himself in harm’s way unnecessarily. Worse is when you confront him about this, but that’s for another analysis.
Sometimes, Cassian’s old world view of sensitivity in times of war seeps in like venom and tints how he views your temperament. If you appear particularly fazed or too merciful in a situation, he can get very frustrated with you and potentially call you out as being weak or criticize that “you’re gonna get your ass killed if you keep that shit up.” This alone would cause you some irritation and even insult, but it’s the cold, spiteful way with which Cassian delivers it that makes it sting all the more to you.
How would each reconcile with each other after a fight?:
It turns out that in spite of your gentleness, you can bite back if you want to or if you’re pushed to your limit. When you and Cassian had your first big fight, it had been over his apparent lack of consideration over his life and how just jumping at opportunities without thinking about how they might impact you suggested an ultimate indifference to your relationship. At the very least, it suggested to you an unhealthy dedication to the Rebellion or how everything was immediately subservient to the cause when compared to it. Considering the time and devotion he’d put into it, of course he felt insulted. Which was why he felt he was the one that deserved an apology, and expected one rather soon given your demure nature.
But to his surprise, you didn’t surface for some time. It wasn’t until evening came that you finally approached him, but not necessarily with an apology. You showed him a holopad.
“This,” you said, nodding at the rotating holographic sphere, “is Cantonica. I’ve only heard about it, but from what I’ve gathered, it’s mostly desert. But there’s this one coastal city called Canto Bight that’s apparently quite lively. But in a different way from this place. I was hoping that one day, we could see it together. Maybe have what normal people would call fun.” You press a button and a new planet appears in Takodana’s place. “And this? This is Takodana. It’s lush and green and all around looks very peaceful.” You lick your lips.
“I was hoping that maybe we could make a home there.” You press the same button from before, showing not a planet, but a home: It was nothing spectacular, but even Cassian had to admit that it looked quite cozy. You stated that this was the sort of home you’d thought about the two of you having. And it went on like this, showing potential pets, dishes you wanted to try, events you thought he might like to go to, until your voice began to tremble. At the end of it, you set the holopad down with a shaky sigh.
“. . . But we can’t do any of this if it’s just me around. Okay?”
In the end, both of you apologized, sealing it with an uncharacteristic hug initiated by Cassian himself. But he does point out that none of this would be possible if something doesn’t happen that ends the war in the Rebellion’s favor. He just has trouble trusting others to assure that that future comes out the way he wants it to and the way you deserve for it to. You understand.
But since then, he’d made more of an effort to not jump into a fight at the first sign of one occurring. However, when he does or earns your ire in a similar manner, his go-to tends to be talking to you and listening to your venting. In fact, both of you tend to veer towards talking when you’ve upset one another. After all, Cassian’s banked on his feelings of anger: He struggles with approaching more delicate subjects that require him to be more emotionally vulnerable. But practice makes perfect. Similarly, you gain the ability to practice being more assertive during these discussions. The difference in the end is penalty: If Cassian fudges up, he is more likely to take a day or two’s break from shipping his ass out in order to make it up to you, when he can help it.
What would be their ideal vacation getaway together?:
Considering that you’re existing in a period of conflict (and he’s a busy body anyway), Cassian hasn’t really put any thought into the idea of a vacation. To be honest, if it hadn’t been annihilated and if he didn’t have such traumatic memories associated with the place, he thought Scarif would have made a wonderful place to visit once the war ended. But ever since you showed him Takodana, he can’t get it off his mind. Sure, he had to go by your word for it, but he’d put in some research on his own ever since you’d mentioned it. And yes, you’d mentioned Canto Bight as your vacation spot of choice but Cassian personally found himself enticed by the tranquility the holopad depicted.
He liked the foresty appearance; it looked quite serene, especially compared to the bustling base he’d been on for ages. Maybe the two of you could go hiking, scale the rocky terrain. . . . Or maybe you could just find a nice tree to sit under and just rest.
Yeah; resting sure sounded nice . . .
Think of a new way (AU, different situation, etc.) they could have met for the first time:
“You need a friend,” Mon stated. “Plain and simple.” She returned back to folding the chairs and placing them back on the rack.
Cassian scoffed, “I have friends . . .”
Mon pressed her lips together in a thin line. She didn’t even try to hide her disbelief.
“I mean friends whom you don’t constantly see in the counseling circle. It’s good you’ve made connections with others – downright miraculous, even, considering how . . . not as agreeable as you can be.” She was, of course, referring to Cassian’s often icy nature whenever the sessions were held. Part of her wanted to be delicate when referring to his mannerisms; not everyone who attended the veteran counselling sessions at New Hope Ministries had been introduced to violence as early as Cassian had. However, what Mon had learned about Cassian was that he preferred things to be blunt; spare him the pussyfooting. And yet, when she flat out told him he needed new forms of companionship, well . . .
“First you say I need to open up more, so I do,” the young man griped, crossing his arms. “Then you say I need more friends than what I already have. Where does it end, Mon?”
“It ends when you accept that limiting yourself doesn’t do you any good. Besides, part of the healing process is opening yourself to new experiences.” The red-haired woman continued as she began to dismantle the coffee machine.
“New points of view could really help a negative one.”
“Yes,” Cassian scoffed again with the roll of his eyes, “or it could just remind me why I prefer keeping to myself.”
“How about a dog?” Mon blurted.
Cassian blinked. “. . . A dog?” he questioned. She was half-tempted to wince, realizing that she hadn’t put much thought into the suggestion before providing it. But she’d grown exasperated by the man’s protesting. Plus, it was too late to go back now.
“Yyyesss . . .” she replied with some hesitation. “Dogs are a great way to get the best of both worlds, in many veterans’ own experiences. Dogs are pretty loving, pretty loyal; they can provide you the company you frankly need more of when on your own.”
Unfortunately for her, Cassian didn’t seem swayed. She could see it in the way his eyes, normally cold and calculating, now appeared to be partially hooded with bemusement. She sighed, deciding to attempt one last effort.
“Besides, you can get them trained. if you do that in a certain way, you can even register them as a therapy animal or service dog . . .” She decided to give the post-session cleanup a rest for a moment, slowly walking over to Cassian before placing her hand gently on his shoulder.
“There’s no shame in needing someone, Cassian. Even if it’s a dog; plenty of vets go through the same troubles with reaccepting things back into their lives. You’re no exception.”
Cassian regarded her hand for only a second before looking her straight in the eye.
“Nobody’s lived like me,” he declared. This, however, only earned the woman an exhausted sigh as she removed her hand from his person.
“Isn’t that all the more reason to seek comfort?” She didn’t wait for him to reply before turning to go back to her ministrations.
A beat passed. Two. Then three. Six. Until . . .
“You’re not gonna let this go, huh?” Cassian asked.
“Hi!” you chirped, hearing the door swing open and shut. You were currently beneath the front desk, picking up the M&M’s you’d spilled after your rather rash motion of ripping the bag open. You didn’t hear a usual response (a child blabbering, a simple salutation back, etc). Though you could’ve sworn you’d heard a soft grunt.
“Sorry,” you offered, hoping to prompt a more sufficient response. “I dropped some candies down here. I’ll be up in a sec.”
“Mm. I’m looking for a dog,” came the voice. It was definitely male, a tad husky. You noted the Mexican accent it carried.
“Sounds good,” you claimed, plucking up the last of the loose candies before elevating yourself to a standing position. “Just gimme a sec and I’ll lead you right – ”
The first thing you thought when you finally laid eyes on the visitor was “brown.” So much brown.
It was in his eyes, his hair, the leather jacket he wore, even his t-shirt and boots. And yet, you had to admit: He made it look good. A little too good, perhaps, given that you could’ve sworn that your cheeks were starting to heat up the more brown you tried to find on him.
“R-right this way,” you clumsily delivered, flinging the wasted chocolates into the wastepaper bin at your side. You attempted to try and recover by reverting to a semblance of the script: “So, you know what type of breed you might be specifically interested in, or what type of dog in general you might be looking at?”
You were a little surprised to find the previously stern eyes glint with confusion. However, you were definitely more intrigued by the smallest hint of pink developing on his defined cheeks.
“Uh, well,” the man coughed. He brought a hand up to scratch the back of his brown hair. “A-actually, to be honest, I um . . .” He bit his lip, averting his eyes towards the wall opposite to you. “I actually don’t . . . know much about dogs.” The sentence’s volume declined with every word.
“Pets weren’t really a concern growing up – they were a huge luxury, so I never really thought about having one ever, really. Until now.”
That piqued your interest. “Oh?” you questioned. “What made you change your mind?”
The man sighed as his hand flopped back to his side. His eyes rolled, holding on the ceiling for a moment.
“I’m a veteran,” he explained, “and the group therapist said that I ‘needed to make more friends’ or whatever. She said to maybe look into a . . .” He snapped his fingers in thought. “A type of helper animal?”
You pursed your lips; this guy really did need some type of help, didn’t he?
“Well . . . Maybe first off we should just see which of our guys suits you the best and then look into service-training,” you proposed.
Cassian, unsure of what to say (not that he could offer anything), nodded with agreement. “Right.”
You made your way around the desk, heading towards the door that led to the kennels.
“Right his way, Mr . . .”
“Cassian,” Cassian introduced. “Andor.” You nodded and pointed to your nametag.
“Well, as you can see, I’m (Y/N). Now let’s go introduce you to somebody!”
Cassian didn’t like being in the kennel. It wasn’t the smell that got him (he’d smelled far worse in his lifetime), but it definitely probably had to do with the noises and the visuals which accompanied them. Cassian had never put much thought into dogs, but that didn’t mean he disliked them. He just hadn’t formed an opinion of them; he had no need to, after all. But as he walked along the aisles, hearing the squeaks and barking of their inhabitants as they stood on hind legs to tear their paws at the metal wire walls or approach the doors with tennis balls and chew ropes with big, gooey eyes, he couldn’t help but feel bad.
They just wanted homes; to know softness and quiet. He could relate.
By the end of the first five minutes, part of him – a less focused, more Id-centered part of him – wanted to take as many of them home with him as he could.
Well, some of them.
There were a few of them that he couldn’t help but furrow his brows at. Like the tall, skinny, yellow dog with an antsy look about him, sharing a space with a far more yappy, small white dog who aggressively barked at Cassian when he so much as glanced in their direction. Or the big, brown, mess of fur that Cassian couldn’t help but question whether it was even a dog or not; it sure as hell didn’t sound like a dog, making peculiar roaring noises instead of actual barking.
They weren’t bad dogs, per se, they just weren’t the right fit for him. He felt bad upon admitting so when you’d first brought him to them, but you didn’t appear fazed.
He kind of liked that; at least you were being more patient with him than Mon had been.
“Oh!” you exclaimed with a clap of your hands. It was barely audible over the barking and howling of the dogs, so it barely registered to Cassian.
“I know just the one for you!” You gave him no time to ask before you began speed-walking. Cassian followed suit as you led him further and further down the line. All the while, he could pick up hints of whatever you were saying. Things like “can’t believe I never thought of him first!” and “so alike.”
You came to a stop, excitedly opening up the cage before he’d even quite caught up before patting your legs. Cassian arrived just in time to see that particular containment’s occupant lumber out before standing almost dutifully by your side.
He was a big dog, but not like the furry, brown one. This one was sleek, skinnier with longer legs. Or maybe that was just an illusion cast by his black fur.
Regardless, he was certainly tall in some way or another, as evidenced by where he stood in comparison to your hips. Cassian both dreaded and wondered with impressed curiosity how high this dog could possibly reach if it stood on its hind legs.
“This,” you said fondly, “is Kaytoo.” You gave the dog a gentle stroke along the back. His tail gave a small wag but otherwise, he stayed focused on Cassian. “He’s a rescue; we brought him in after reports came in about him being neglected. Not gonna lie, we were a little worried that he wouldn’t be able to love anybody; he was all snippy and closed off but . . .” You gave him an affectionate pat. “He’s actually pretty sweet. In his own way. Hella loyal, though, he’s got a bit of a personality on him.”
Cassian couldn’t help but arche a brow at that statement.
“How do you mean?” he inquired. “He’s just a dog.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Least of all about him,” you nodded down. Cassian followed your stare, landing on its target.
Before this moment, Cassian had no idea that a dog could look like it was glaring with the same exasperated expression as a human; up until this point, he’d honestly just assumed the doggish equivalent was growling in pure rage with the threat of going for the jugular. But now, as he looked at Kaytoo, there was no doubt about it: The dog didn’t want to kill him so much as smack him and state, “You are a prime example as to why humans are going to run themselves into the ground, you ignoramus.”
Cassian might not have been knowledgeable about dogs, but he certainly had never seen a dog create an expression that could translate as an entire, articulate sentence – and with such dry humor, no less!
“H…Hhehe…” It was quiet at first, barely audible over the noise of the kennel. It therefore startled you when the noise increased, louder and louder until there was no doubt about it: Cassian, this man whom you could tell from the very first moment you saw him was a stern, serious sort, was laughing.
And in spite of how much it startled himself the more he attempted to think about it, he couldn’t stop; God, when was the last time he’d genuinely smiled, let alone laughed? He knelt down to Kaytoo’s level and extended a hand, giving the dog an awkward but well-meaning pat. To your surprise (and delight), Kaytoo responded by pushing his head closer into the man’s palm. Had this been a regular dog, this would have been normal. But Kaytoo wasn’t regular in your opinion; he trusted very few and allowed even fewer to touch him.
“I think he senses that you two aren’t unalike after all,” you cooed.
“Yeah, even if he does think I’m a dunce,” Cassian joked lightly, giving the back of one of Kaytoo’s ears a ginger scratch. The beast’s tail wagged gently (though in your experience, this was probably the most excited you’d seen him in a long while).
“He really does have some character in him,” he muttered.
The expression on the dog’s face arguably agreed, “Of course I do.”
You clasped your hands together. You thought they made a perfect match already!
You were part-happy, part sad. You always were with the departure of a shelter animal. Of course, there was happiness that the furrow fellow was going to go home with somebody where they would receive love and care and nice, soft, warm things that the shelter couldn’t always provide. But then, you couldn’t help the subsequent attachments one easily develops when working around and caring for these little and big guys.
Kaytoo was no exception to this mixture of feelings. However, it wasn’t so much a half-and-half of melancholy as it was more three-quarters happy with the remaining quarter more melancholic. Kaytoo had been with you guys for a while now, always aloof and throwing people off with how “unfriendly” he seemed. The worry quickly became that perhaps his experiences hardwired him to become unable to live with another being, dog or human, ever again.
But as you observed him standing obediently beside Cassian (whom was signing the final paperwork), you confirmed that you had nothing to worry about: Those two were going to get along just fine.
“Oh, uh, by the way . . .” Cassian muttered as he gingerly handed you the clipboard and pen. “I may need some help.”
You blinked, humming with question.
“I . . . I mean, I’ve never had to train a dog before,” he clarified, the pink twinge returning to his face.
“Ah, I figured,” you said. You offered him a small smile.
“Yes, well . . . You said I should try just getting to know him? As a dog-friend-thing? Before trying to think about service training and stuff.”
You nodded. “Yeah, it can take a rescue some time before they get truly comfortable in their new home. But there’s some tips in the pamphlets and plenty of suggestions online that we may not have covered. Each companion’s experience is different but” – you regarded Kaytoo and nodded at him – “I get the feeling Kaytoo will feel right at home. Maybe a little too at home. I suggest teaching him boundaries; I get the gut-feeling that he’s gonna try and claim your couch within the first five minutes of entering the place.”
At this, Cassian offered you the second smile you’d seen of him the entire time. “Maybe…You could drop by some time? Or we can drop by here? For tips?”
You couldn’t help but blink. The idea of going to this handsome man’s house? The idea that he was actually . . . inviting you to come to his house? And it involved a dog, no less!! But alas . . .
“Well, I wouldn’t suggest bringing him back here. It might spook him; most times when people bring a dog to the shelter, they have the intention of giving them up,” you admitted. If you hadn’t known any better, you could’ve sworn you saw the slightest microcosm of deflation appear in Cassian’s shoulders. But just as soon as you’d finished your sentence, a new thought arrived.
“But I don’t have a problem, dropping in on you guys. Maybe the dog park?”
Cassian nodded, a closed-mouthed hint of a smirk inching back onto his features.
“Yeah, yeah. Or maybe a café?”
“Oh, I know a good one where they let you bring your dogs in.”
“Really? That sounds . . . interesting.”
Had the two of you glanced down at him, you could have noticed Kaytoo’s expression resemble that of exasperated disgust. He really just wanted to go to his new home and claim the couch at this point.
Meet the Character: Naivaria Sunspell
► Name ➔ “Naivaria Sunspell.”
► Are you single? ➔ "No!”
► Are you happy? ➔ "I suppose I am. There’s a lot to be worried about these days.”
► Are you angry? ➔ “Hardly ever.”
► Are your parents still married? ➔ “My parents are gone. If they were alive... well, maybe they would be, or maybe not. My father wasn’t the best of men.”
► Birth Place ➔ “Eversong Woods, just outside of Silvermoon.”
► Hair Color ➔ “Red! Although technically strawberry-blonde?”
► Eye Color ➔ “For some reason they’ve begun turning gold of late, but they were green, and before that, blue.”
► Birthday ➔ "Ah, I don’t give that out, really. I am not a fan of celebrating my life or getting gifts from other people.”
► Mood ➔ “Good, I suppose. Honestly, it’s just another day.”
► Gender ➔ “Female.”
► Summer or winter? ➔ "Does it have to be one or the other? I prefer fall, but winter comes close. Sweaters, warm tea, hot cocoa, and beautiful snowfalls.”
► Morning or afternoon? ➔ “I love the daytime, so afternoon. The bustle around the bazaar is particularly fun to watch.”
EIGHT THINGS ABOUT YOUR LOVE LIFE
► Are you in love? ➔ "Yes.”
► Do you believe in love at first sight? ➔ “Were I a little younger, I might say yes. I stopped believing in that decades ago. Love comes with time, trust, and opening up to one another.”
► Who ended your last relationship? ➔ “He did. Sort of.”
► Have you ever broken someone’s heart? ➔ “No, I don’t think so. That would require someone other than Aran and my sister to have an attachment strong enough for me to disappoint them.”
► Are you afraid of commitments? ➔ “I suppose it depends upon the commitment. Most of the time I am not.”
► Have you hugged someone within the last week? ➔ "Yes.”
► Have you ever had a secret admirer? ➔ "I’m not sure. I suppose that is the point of an admirer remaining secret, yes?”
► Have you ever broken your own heart? ➔ “Of course I have. the naivete of youth does not often go unpunished.”
► Love or lust? ➔ “Love, most definitely. Growing up with just my sibling and not much else puts caring for others in perspective.”
► Cats or dogs? ➔ "If I had to choose, cats, though we don’t have either.”
► A few best friends or many regular friends? ➔ “I have found that many of the friends I have made since the success of Sunspell Chic are fair-weather friends. While it is nice to have acquaintances and connections, I prefer to have real friends who are committed to a friendship no matter what the weather.”
► Wild night out or romantic night in? ➔ “Oh, this used to depend on my pain lavel on any given day. Now I tend to like both fairly equally.”
► Day or night? ➔ “Day. I adore sunlight.”
FOUR HAVE YOU EVERS
► Been caught sneaking out? ➔ “A few times, but never by my parents. Renna is a sneaky sister.”
► Fallen down/up the stairs? ➔ “Absolutely. Oddly, though, I’ve fallen up the stairs more often than down.”
► Wanted something/someone so badly it hurt? ➔ “Well, that’s a strange question. Given that until recently I was always in pain, I’m not sure I’ve ever caused myself more pain by wanting something.”
► Wanted to disappear? ➔ “Many times.”
► Smile or eyes? ➔ "Smiles. Not the ones that hide sinister intentions or cover lies, though... real, honest, happy smiles.”
► Shorter or taller? ➔ “Well, given that I am on the stupidly short spectrum, I would have to say taller. I don’t think a man exists that is shorter than me.”
► Intelligence or attraction? ➔ “Of the two, I would choose intelligence.”
► Hook-up or relationship? ➔ “I’ve never been a hook-up sort of gal. Too much of a romantic at heart.”
► Do you and your family get along? ➔ “I never fought with my father, though he never really impressed me because he was always gone. I got along with my mother quite well, butRenna has always been and always will be close to my heart. She and I have had our differences, but we love each other. Gods, I miss her.”
► Would you say you have a “messed up life”? ➔ “Regardless of the trials I faced in my youth and the condition I’ve had since the fall of the Sunwell, I would say that my life’s been less messed up than most.”
► Have you ever ran away from home? ➔ “Not really; then again, that would have required I had a home to run away from at many points in my life.”
► Have you ever gotten kicked out? ➔ “Kicked out of what?” Naivaria smirks. “I’ve been told to leave establishments before, when I did not have the coin to pay for goods.”
► Do you secretly hate one of your friends? ➔ “I don’t believe in keeping that sort of thing secret if it’s a friend.”
► Do you consider all of your friends good friends? ➔ “I do, and that is because I have good friends, and then I have acquaintances.”
► Who is your best friend? ➔ “Arandoros, but that is because your partner in life should be your best friend, and if they’re not... you’re probably doing it wrong. Other than Aran... probably Lysonde.” ( @lysonde )
► Who knows everything about you? ➔ “I’m the only one who knows everything about me. There are things I have not told even Arandoros... not for fear of opening up, but because it is ultimately inconsequential or does not make any sense to discuss. He and Renna know the most about me, though. If one combined their knowledge and put it into that one person...”
Tagged by @illapa-greybane ( sorry it’s been 84 years! )
Tagging @ourcollectivefantasy (all three!), @arandoros , @tziska , @reluctant-bard , @sunspell-wra , @miss-vale