Summary: Post Mi6, Alternate Canon. August escapes Hunt with his face intact and is currently the most dangerous man on earth. Unwilling to back down from his murderous agenda, he plots to continue where he stopped while a trained assassin is sent to bring him down.
Pairing: August Walker x OFC (Ingvild) 🖤
Word count: 5k (including epilogue)
Warnings: 18+, smut, boomer Walker, some fluff, sexual intercourse, cock-warming, mentions of torture, implied insanity, slight mentions of gore, violence, murder, mass-shooting and death. Please proceed with caution
A/N: The ending is here and I hope I did it justice, I hope I did right by you. I will reblog my kudos, but first I must thank @agniavateira for being my beta and a source of inspiration and @raspberrydreamclouds for the cover art.
*No permission is given for reposting my work, copying it, ideas or parts it and claiming it as your own*
Now allow me to die out of stress and anxiety.
Title: See You in Hell
Down by the valley, there is a serenity that exists only in fairy tales. Damp grass caresses her naked back, the pointy little tips ticking the base of her spine, leaving a fresh trail of dew. Pure mountain mist breathes life through blue hills caked with ice; white fog vales over the forest’s lush greenery and looms above the lake’s water like a lost-love phantom.
Lying with her eyes shut, she listens to the harmony of life surrounding her: the little fish bouncing in the river, the butterflies procreating mid-air and the hummingbird chirping with bliss. Yet the most beautiful sound is the low, melodic baritone humming and reverberating against her inner thighs.
With those angel eyes
Come and take this earth boy
Up to paradise.”
”Boomer Walker…” she teases, “Is that a song from your time?”
Ascending a trail of kisses up her pelvis, he scoffs and shakes his head. “I’m starting to suspect that you have a kink for older men,” he answers with a throaty growl, shifting his weight further over her abdomen. The soft fur of his torso grazes between her thighs, and she sighs with pleasure.
”Do you want daddy to fuck you?”
”That’s gross!” she curls her nose and tries to hit his head playfully, but August snaps at her wrists with perfect instinct, pinning her hands against the wet meadow. His tongue flicks over the slant of her neck while he aligns his cock at the little piece of heaven between her legs.
Sensual yet rough, his massive girth splits her walls while his lips shower her with honeyed kisses. Ingvild throws her head back, lacing her fingers with his and coils herself beneath his large body.
“August...” she pants, feeling the air gradually diminishing from her lungs with every thrust, “I think I’m dying...”
Never halting or slowing his rhythm, August lowers his head to peer into her eyes. Fingers drenched with blood snap at her jaw.
“Stay with me, Ingvild.” He demands, letting out a husky groan, though his voice is but an echo.
A grey, thick mist wafts around the darkening forest, covering her with a bone-chilling breeze; his calling carries on the distance.
“Stay. We’ve only just begun.”
Ice bites its sharp fangs into the little creases between her cracked bones as another bucket filled with frosty water showers her trembling body. The stabbing pain lasts for a lingering moment, reminding her that she’s still very much alive.
It must be the 10th bucket, or maybe 12th? She lost count at some point. Day and night melt into one another in this place, and the hours don’t make much sense.
Muffled complaints vibrate in her ears. Vaguely her sight picks on two silhouettes arguing when the world abruptly flashes white, and her jaw soaks a terrible blow. Fully crashing onto the hard marble, she tries to recover, but a sudden kick rips through her abdomen.
“Your methods are too slow, Issac!” A grey-haired agent chides, standing over the girl with his foot still drawn, “Walker could be setting his bomb somewhere across the globe any minute now, and you’re taking your sweet time with her as if she’s an art project.”
The scrawny torturer frowns and turns his back at him. Walking toward the metal desk, he browses through different equipment. “My methods always work, the pretty little girl was taught to endure pain,” he grunts in exasperation and gestures at the bloodstained bandage around her hand, “she did this to herself.”
Sighing with a mixture of frustration and disgust, the CIA agent takes another swing at Ingvild’s torso, the pointy edge of his shoe colliding with the scar at her gut.
Bloodshot eyes rise with wrath, violent tides of aftershock course at her viscera. She peers at the men through the haze of pain when a third figure appears in the room, standing calmly whilst Issac and the agent argue among them.
Tall, broad, and charismatic, the handsome man strides toward her. His tailored steel-coloured suit envelops his statuesque body as if he is made of iron.
“You’re taking it so well, princess,” he praises in his deep, melodic baritone while crouching down to take a closer look. Ingvild lifts her head, slowly breaking into a weak grin. Onyx orbs replace the storm-touched eyes, but that chiselled face still belongs to her beautiful monster.
“Did you tell them anything about where I am headed?” he asks and gives her a pout, reaching his index finger and thumb to squeeze her bruised cheek affectionately.
Swallowing the aching dryness in her throat, she manages to shake her head meekly. “No… I said nothing,” her voice cracking as she whispers. Her chapped lips stretch into a pale, awkward grin.
Tiny lines form at the corner of his void-like eyes as he smiles back, radiating with dangerous delight.
“That’s my good girl.”
The grey-haired agent throws a glance over his shoulder, scrutinising Ingvild while he stands next to Issac, who is twirling a scalpel back and forth between his boney fingers.
“Who is she talking to?”
“Not very sane this one,” Issac explains as he examines the silver blade against the light, “multiple mental disorders, dissociative personality, psychotic.”
Pushing the agent aside with his free hand, Issac steps forward. He leers at Ingvild, who stares at nothing for a long second before averting her eyes back at them.
“We just need to dig a little deeper and the little bird will sing,” he exclaims and moves closer before dropping to his knees. One of his icy hands lands on her shoulder, forcing her flat on her back. Shuddering at his frozen touch, she closes her eyes; in the bleak nothingness, she recalls the night in the lake where August let her die.
“Pretty little Ingvild, have you heard of vivisection?” Her torturer asks as he lines his twig-like finger over the spine of the scalpel. Sensing his digits sneaking beneath the hem of her shirt, she shoots her eyes open yet remains still and intrepid.
The tiny black marbles beneath Issac’s brows glint with twisted joy, appeased at the sight of the scar as he exposes her torso. Ingvild expects the pain of the blade when something tepid and unpleasantly wet slithers across her gut like a little pink slug.
“Umm… Issac…?” The agent interrupts, furrowing his brow with confusion and disgust as he stares at his colleague licking the girl’s torso.
“What?!” Issac snaps at him, his eyes narrowing with spite, “you wanted me to go harder on her!”
“But shut up and let me do my job!” He yells and returns his glare to Ingvild who blinks at the ceiling silently. Disrupted by his touch, she bites her tongue, fighting to hold back the acrid substance that threatens to emerge from her gut.
“You fight very hard to protect a man who doesn’t give a fuck about you, little bird,” his snake-like voice hisses as he leans down to half-whisper in her ear, “just tell me where he is and I won’t cut you open.”
Ingvild sucks the air in through gritted teeth and turns her head to look away from the obnoxious little man. She seeks for her beautiful monster, finding him leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. August’s empty glance wears a calm grin.
“He is in this room,” Ingvild jests faintly, her sardonic laughter stretching thin, her chest heaving, exhausting whatever strength is left in her muscles. August’s smirk widens with hers, large dimples are slicing into his cheeks.
Ticking his tongue, Issac allows the sharp edge of the scalpel cut a skin-deep line into her flesh. Ingvild stares at him stoically, not moving a muscle as shy drops of blood begin trickling down her navel.
“Are you sure about your response?” he asks, ghosting the scalpel over her abdomen while crooking an eyebrow.
Ingvild bites her lip, pretending to think about her answer for a few seconds. Lifting her head up, she inches her lips toward Issac’s ear. The scrawny man listens intently.
“August Walker is the devil, and the devil is everywhere.”
A peal of sinister chuckles spills from her lips as she throws her head back onto the ground, staring at Issac’s disapproving glare.
But her laughter soon dies.
Taut pressure pierces into her flesh, the blade penetrating deep, cutting through tissue and muscle as if it was soft cheese. Ingvild clenches her jaw, her mind flooded by charring white light that dismantles every thought while the blade continues to swerve.
For a brief moment, she finds herself in Bergen, hands covered with thick blood, holding the gushing wound in her stomach with shock. August stands above her, toying with his favourite knife and staring at the red taint.
“Time to fall, angel.”
Scattered musings run behind her eyes: Liam, the nuns at the orphanage, August, and even Erica. She’s reminded of every hit she was forced to take, every country she visited, all blending into a bizarre parade of death.
“C’mon girl, just tell us where he is!” She hears the other man shout as he steps closer with an urgent expression. “Just give us something, a country, a region, anything to make this stop, you can still do the right thing.”
The heavy stench of iron fills her nose; the warm, thick liquid trickles down her bare skin, spilling in a cross on the map of her torso. The pain now is undeniable, making her lips heavier as she makes an attempt to answer.
“I don’t…. know… any August.”
The CIA agent scoffs violently and balls his fists. “Deeper!” He orders Issac, who like a composer, trails the blade further through her gut, cutting into sinew and brittle tendons. Ingvild trembles, feeling her body grow weaker.
In her mind, she can hear caged screams.
“You will die for a man who doesn’t even care if you bleed!” The agent rasps, spit coming out of his mouth as he rages above her.
“He won’t even remember you once you die!”
‘Resist, don’t show pain. You’ve been through this before, you already died.’
“No one will.”
Swallowing every ounce of pain, she fights to remember her training, her past. Her mind scrambles for Fjellstrekninger forest, for the green pines and their stringy needles, for the scent of beech and the damp ground. She tries to imagine the silver-blue mountains of Bergen, that last time she hiked there before going to meet Liam at the gas station.
How strange that at the very same day she encountered the most wanted man on earth, not knowing she was destined to be his.
But none of these images appear before her.
‘You can’t escape this.’
Her screams shudder through the entire floor.
“Are you out of your goddamn mind?”
August flicks his tongue over his bottom lip, glowering at the driver who gawks at him with disbelief and shakes his head. Pushing the phone against his chin, he stares forward at the rainy road, reciting in his mind the words of the MI6 and CIA apostles.
‘Erica captured a woman in her late 20s, having her tortured for information for a couple of days now. Can’t promise you she’s alive. No one goes in there.’
“I wasn’t asking,” August answers, throwing him an icy glare, “we’re taking the chopper to the Mi6 fortress in London. I don’t need to tell you what happens if you question my decisions.”
The driver tenses his fingers around the steering wheel and shakes his head once again. He means to say something, but the scowl on August’s face shuts him up right away.
“Who is she? What is she to you?”
August huffs and lowers his gaze, eyes dropping to the plutonium case and then forward through the windshield, watching the heavy rain clouds that stretch before the sky. As he blinks his eyes shut, his mind plays a vision of an inferno; cracked ground and scorched skies. He sits on a throne made of bones and drinks wine from a chalice made of human skull.
His angel sits on his knee, naked and pure, her iridescent wings tucked against her back. She stares at him with a smile full of admiration, her fingers brushing over his moustache.
‘Your angel of destruction.’
“She’s just an asset.”
‘Hell lives inside you August, it always has. Rotting you from the inside as it begs to be let out. And you will unleash it, won’t you? Your suffering must be shared.’
Vast shadows gather outside the double-pane windows of the main hall. The thick storm clouds paint the sky pitch black, swallowing the stars alive one by one. Light wanes just in time for the harbinger of chaos to march into the well-secured lobby of the sizable Mi6 fortress.
If fairytales were to be true, the devil would arrive riding a monstrous mare with hooves made of flames. But if anything, he is but a man in a tailored suit and a long trench-coat. The leather soles of his midnight-black shoes squeak as he marches on, leaving a trail of mud on the cream-coloured marble.
“Evening sir,” the security guard greets and gestures August to pass through the large weapon detector with nothing but a quick exchange of knowing looks.
The corners of August’s lips curl into a small smile beneath his moustache while he scrutinises the surroundings. Gold and pearly pillars spread across the vast hall, a false facade hiding a decaying world and the self-indulgent ghosts that harbour it. So lost in their own little lie, it takes them more than a few minutes to notice the hellhound who stepped into their haven.
It begins as a small rumble, like a seismic wave. The first tremor vibrates through the ground and the walls follow with a convulsing shudder. Gasps, chatter, and widened eyes stab at him with shock, yet they all seem to suffer from the same affliction.
Standing paralysed, they ogle at the most wanted man on earth as he combs his fingers through his hair and walks toward the elevators located at the end of a narrow, red corridor. Unapologetically confident and ever so relaxed and condescending, he ignores them.
A true king among peasants.
“What the fuck?!”
“How the fuck did he pass security???”
His confidence is nothing but theatrics, as his blue eyes carry toward the large elevators with a glossy sparkle breaking on his corneas. He tries so hard to envision her beautiful face yet all he sees is a pile of dry bones.
“Stop! Hands in the fucking air, Walker!”
‘Ah, took them long enough.’
Standing between the carpeted walls of the narrow corridor, only mere inches from the silver doors, August slowly spreads his long fingers and lifts his hands in the air. His keen ear catches at least three firearms as the guards cock their guns at his direction, panting with fright.
“Turn around so we can see you, piece of shit!!!” A presumingly young hero barks behind him.
“Someone call Director Sloane down here right now, she’s not going to believe it!!!”
The soft rumbling in the lobby grows into impending thunder. A flash of pale purple lightning floods the lit vicinity for a split second, echoing the small grin that spreads across August’s beaming face.
“Oh, I don’t think so, son,” he speaks serenely, almost like a tender fatherly coo. Not bothering to turn, he tilts his head up and inhales sharply.
Sharp gasps of shock and terror reverberate between the walls of the fortress as sudden darkness veils the main hall. The smell of their fear is almost as delightful as the strong smoky scent of gunpowder. Like shooting stars, the rapid gunfire pierces through the night. Cries, incoherent screams, and panicked gasps make for a beautiful concert, so much that he wishes he could stay, but he has a girl to rescue.
‘If she’s still alive…’
Swallowing the bitter bile, he enters an elevator and presses the button for the basement level. He watches the flickering beams of light as his men continue to execute the remaining agents before the doors shut in.
Drawing out his handgun and relieving the safety, he leans against the shuddering metal and stares at the neon red number while reminiscing on the day he met a pretty girl with an unpleasant smile.
“Too bad, I would have loved to see you again.”
“Well then, if our destinies were meant to be entwined, you will.”
The basement level seems completely abandoned and eerily silent. No wails nor cries carry on the chilly air.
His Ingvild is forbearing, she would never show her suffering. Would she?
Inching toward the interrogation cell, his hand runs across the naked concrete walls, sensing the coarse texture against the pads of his fingers. Opaline droplets of sweat bead his forehead and his lungs sink with the effort.
Muffled voices perk his ears the closer he gets: two men, no woman. No sounds of violence, no signs of her in there whatsoever.
‘Angel, are you being brave for me?’
Arriving at the door, he takes a deep breath and gingerly pushes the handle. The pungent scent of salt and iron pervades his nostrils as he steps a foot into the shower of blinding white light. The brightness hurts and for a moment it feels as everything before him fades.
Until his sight sharpens and he notices the two shadowy figures standing with their backs facing him. They look like vultures preying upon a corpse.
‘No! Change this! Make this right!’
Wings of cherry-dark blood spread from her snow-pale body. Motionless, his girl lies with her top huddled around her chest to expose her bleeding gut.
‘You are too late…’
Pure, undistilled rage burns within August’s throat, so ferocious it stings in his eyes, making his entire body tremble. He lifts his hand and fires the gun hastily, shooting both men in the back of their heads before they even get the chance to turn and look at the man who executed them.
“Ingvild!” August pants, rushing and falling to his knees before her.
“Angel?” He presses one hand to her gut, trying to pressure her gushing wounds while his fingers etch around her nape to pull her closer to his face. Blood, still sticky and warm, tarnishes his clean outfit while he cradles her in his arms.
“Please don’t do this to me…” He whispers, shifting his hand to caress her bruised face, recalling the last time she was dead in his arms.
The world kept spinning on its axis when she died back at the lake. So why does it feel like right now it stopped in its place?
Pressing her to his chest, August shuts his eyes and shudders with fury. All emotions come to life, and every one of them hurt.
“You are not here…”
A deep quivering sigh of relief soars from his throat, mouth cracking into a smile at the sounds of her hoarse whisper and delicate moans. Blinking faintly, Ingvild half-opens her eyes and stares at him through heavy lids.
“I am here,” he whispers, brushing away the sticky strands of hair from her face and squeezes her cheek beneath his thumb, “I came to take you, we have to go.”
Shifting his arms, he tries to lift her up, but his petite woman is suddenly made of the heaviest rocks; her stiff muscles protest in his grip, making it impossible for him to manoeuvre her out of fear she will bleed to death.
“We were both at the garden,” she mumbles drowsily, licking her bloodied teeth before breaking into a maddened smile that quickly dies as she depletes her remaining strength. “I’m tired, I want to stay here and dream.”
“Ingvild, we don’t have time for this,” August warns with concern, noticing how her eyes roll back and her lashes flutter shut, “there’s a helicopter waiting for us on the roof. You have to get up, you have to survive this, you have to come with me! Please!”
Fat, oily tears roll down her temples, mingling with the blood and tangy sweat on her face. Opening her eyes again, she peers at her beautiful monster, recognising the familiar ocean and its eternal unrest.
Did he come here for her, or is it just a dream?
Brow lifting and face softening, his hands clutch her tightly. He rocks her from side to side, holding her protectively. Ingvild senses the wrath that pours from his heart, the thundering beat throwing its fists against his ribcage as their bodies collide.
“You know why,” August suggests huskily, nearly begging, bargaining not to admit, not to say the words he was always so afraid of. But naively, her gaze pleas in return, the child-like innocence piercing a hole through his chest.
“Tell me,” she begs him.
‘She needs you to say it.’
“Because I need you.”
The words nearly crack on his tongue, his throat suddenly so dry it sears. He glances down at the fallen angel, sensing the most excruciating thirst, where the only way to stop it is by stealing several deep kisses from her lips.
“I need you by my side,” he murmurs above her lips between desperate, helpless kisses, hoping to breathe life into his weakened valkyrie, “stay with me, angel.”
An awkward stretch tugs at her cheeks, hurting as if someone slices them with a blade from side to side. For the first time in her life, true laughter crisps her face, followed by crystal-like tears that run down her sullen eyes.
“I love you, August.”
Every nerve in his body tingles with tendrils of light, reaching out deep within his gut and spreading throughout his tendons. For a moment, he feels divine, sanctified by the words of his angel, his woman, his by free will.
Offering her a brief smile, he captured her lips for one last stolen kiss. His thick moustache scratches at her tender flesh while a little hum plays on his tongue.
She tastes like blood and honey - the tarty flavour of victory.
“We have to go now, princess, I have to finish this.”
Gingerly rising to his feet, he hooks a hand below her knees and places the other against her bruised spine. Bloody footprints trail behind him as he carries her outside the white room, trying to make for their freedom.
Locked down in her office, Director Erica Sloane inhales and exhales by practice, brushing a hand through her sweat-slick hair while trying to call every backup unit. Bullets still rip through the air in every story; the sirens howl while red lights flicker from outside. She puts her hands around her ears, trying to shut the noises out, uncertain if the screams she is hearing are her people still being slaughtered, or her mind playing tricks.
Walker is many things: an idealist, a manipulative snake, a monster. But this is a side of him she never anticipated. There is no need to question his motives this time. She is smart enough to figure it out.
To risk so much, a man must feel deeply for a woman.
Her anxiety spikes as guilt seeps in when her phone suddenly rings.
“Director Sloane,” she pants against the receiver. Somehow, as she hears the deep, measured breath, she knows.
“Hello, Erica, did you miss me?”
Erica clenches her jaw and stares spitefully into nothing, “Hardly.”
She hears him scoff from the other line, her mind piecing together that horrible, pretentious grin of his. The bile climbs up her throat just from the vision.
“We don’t have much time, but I just wanted to thank you.” August pauses, sighing with the bliss of a madman at her ear, “You see, if not for Lacey, if not for you kicking me to the curb the way you did - I would have never become what I was meant to be. And you sent me an angel to light my way…”
“You’ve manipulated her.”
“No, you did,” August interrupts calmly, “I set her free. I will set them all free and unite them.”
The anger simmers in her gut to the point of nausea. She holds her breath, counts to ten and tries to gather her thoughts. ‘August wants a bargain,’ she thinks, but for a reason, it feels like he already won.
“Can you come and look out of the window for me, please?” He asks politely.
Turning her head at the window, she narrows her eyes and bites her plump lips with hesitation.
“If I had a sniper on you, you’d be dead 5 minutes ago,” he assures her.
She gets up from her office chair slowly, her fingers reaching to uncover the blinds. The storm weakened, yet heavy clouds still loom from above like a noxious mist. She seeks for August on the horizon, listening carefully to the sounds on the line. She realises they are coming from above. Her sharp eyes detect the helicopter: far, yet close enough to see his shit-eating grin and that hand that waves at her.
He has the girl with him. Who knew a monster could care.
“You know, you are the only woman in the CIA I haven’t fucked.” He provokes and then hangs up suddenly.
Erica watches as the helicopter takes off, her eyes widening with fear as the notion of her own demise resonates like a stinging slap.
The blast takes her along with the entire building within a split second.
Standing on the cliff by the edge of the valley, August stares down at the tranquil scar that swerves amidst lush, fertile mountains. The crystalline Indus river lies before his eyes, its sweet water so clear that the sky mirrors upon the brim.
It’s not every day when a simple man becomes a god.
The melancholic beauty of nature makes his fingers tighten around the detonator, thumb ghosting over the button as he allows himself a couple of last seconds to inhale the air of the old world.
Oh, how many will die for this god to receive his halo.
‘I wish you were here, my Ingvild…’ August muses with anguish, feeling an awkward jab at the spot where his heart should have been.
A sudden rumbling noise of a helicopter makes his gut weave.
‘That better not be Ethan fucking Hunt! I should have thrown him off the cliff in Norway!’
Alarmed yet stoic as ever, he draws his gun, aiming it at the aircraft inching its way to land on the other side of the flat terrain. The last thing he needs right now is someone meddling with his affairs, but it quickly becomes clear to him that if someone wanted a monster like him dead, they would have sniped him from the air before he could even see them coming.
‘Did you forget the woman is nothing but a valkyrie?’
“What are you doing here?” He calls out at Ingvild and frowns at the pilot, abruptly struck with anger. “I specifically asked to make sure she stays rested!”
The pilot shrugs while Ingvild makes her way toward August with mild effort. Dark circles rest beneath her eyes, yet she is still so very beautiful to him, especially when she frowns.
“She was very persuasive and horrendously stubborn,” the pilot retorts.
“Yeah, tell me about it,” August mutters to himself and watches the little battered woman making every attempt to remain stoic as she steps closer. A shadow of a malicious grin creeps on her frosty eyes.
Once upon a time, she promised him she will always find him. She has no intention of breaking that promise.
“Did you think I’ll let you do this without me, August Walker?” She sulks at him as she finally moves to stand in front of him. Every nerve in her body is inflamed with pain, yet the thought of not being here at the birth of the new world brings greater agony than imagined.
Something she compares to missing out on the birth of a child.
“We are in this together now, this is our cause, our better world. You don’t get to leave me behind.”
Her hand reaches for his wrist, thumb pressing to feel his quickening pulse. Wonder paints his eyes and his lips gape softly. He promised himself Lacey will never cross his thoughts again; yet he can’t help but think about that night in his study and the pain of betrayal.
‘How is she even real?’
Gently peeling her fingers off his wrist, he looks at the detonator. He then takes her hand in his, placing the device in her slender grasp.
“Forgive me, my darling. You’re right,” he apologises and turns her over to view the horizon. A shiver surges through her as she senses the weight in her palm when August moves to stand behind her, resting his chin on the top of her head.
“We do this together.”
Pesky little honeysuckles flutter within her chest as his arms wrap around her carefully. One of his hands holds hers, raising it up slightly to position the device in front of her chest.
“Do it angel, set them free.”
Taking a deep breath, Ingvild slides her fingertip over the red button. Scattered images of her life briefly flash through her mind, ending with the single moment where their gazes first met that day in Bergen.
Bright heavenly light cleanses the sky and loud thunder rips through the earth. Standing on the trembling ground, August and Ingvild stare into the distance while slowly turning to face each other. They hold their hands together, both gaping with awe as rich golden hues pour into the sky.
Enamoured, and lost within one another’s beauty, they share a long, lingering kiss.
Sharp and heavy, the blade split the wood in half as if it was made out of soft butter. Resting the blunt side of the leaden axe over his shoulder, he pauses and observes the pile of firewood on the ground. His lips move in silence as he counts before crouching down to pick up another log and place it on the stump.
Strong shades of pink and orange spread between the clouds, kissed by the drowsy sun as it makes its way to slumber beneath the earth. It’s been 8 months since the coming of their new world. Even though there is still work to be done, August decided a hideout was necessary to let her mend her wings.
Ingvild rushes into the green field with a wide, toothy smile. Feral rivers of chestnut-brown reach the small of her back, floating behind her as she runs around giggling.
‘That smile, like honey. So pure, so real.’
Playful barks answer her call, and a German Shepherd puppy appears from across the green hill, jumping over one of the logs ecstatically and wags its tail.
“Careful or I’ll cook him for dinner,” August mutters and points the axe at Loki’s direction. The pup tilts its head at him and barks with playful rage, growling and baring its needle-like teeth.
Ingvild pauses and gives August an icy stare before grabbing the large puppy and holding him to her chest, “You’re a shitty liar August Walker, you love him. Always sneaking him bacon when you think I'm not looking and snuggling him in your sleep.”
August shrugs, brushing away her comment before sticking the axe into the tree stump. “Get inside, time for dinner.” A small grin stretches on his lips as he sees her walking away, kissing the puppy on his wet little nose.
The scent of cedarwood burning at the mantle and brewed coffee welcomes her home as she enters the cabin, immediately filling her chest with mellowness. She allows Loki down on the ground before walking into their cosy bedroom where she removes her trousers and remains in an oversized sweater and black thigh-high stockings that August gifted her after they left Kashmir.
When she returns to the living room, August is sitting at the study with his laptop open. A small wrinkle lines his forehead while he runs two fingers over his moustache. A map and coordinates are visible on the screen, along with a messaging platform which she only assumes is a conversation with one of the apostles.
Loki lies guarding at his feet.
“Come here, princess,” August calls, reaching out his arm toward her. “I have something to show you.”
Sneaking toward him like a large feline, Ingvild takes his hand and lets him guide her to his lap. Her legs fall to each side of his thighs, and August rests his chin at the small crook of her neck where it always belonged.
“What are you looking for?” She asks, casually pulling the sleeve over her wrist to scratch at a peeling hammer tattoo gracing her skin.
“Don’t touch it, let it heal.” August answers and takes her hand in his, entwining their fingers together tightly. An illustration of an angel wing decorates the same spot on his arm. As she glances at the way the black ink is embedded into his flesh, she can’t help but smile and ever so slightly grind herself on the semi-rigid bulge beneath her ass.
August growls against her neck, grazing his stubbles over her supple skin before reaching a hand to unzip his tracking trousers and pull out his swelling manhood. After a soft scuffle of her panties, he lifts her hips and slides himself fully within her wet, angelic cove.
“August…” She sighs, fluttering her eyes shut for a split second, embracing both pain and pleasure. When August fills her, she is ethereal, as if a piece that was missing all her life has finally made it back home.
“You always look so beautiful with me inside you,” he murmurs against her neck, planting bristly kisses down her jawline before returning his glare forward. Ingvild only moves slightly above him, swaying slow and smooth on his thick, throbbing girth and squeezing him tight between her walls to relish in their bond.
“I have a present for you.” He opens a tab on his browser while his fingers toy with her clit with surprising tenderness.
“What is it?” She moans as he presses down on her sensitive pearl.
“I found Liam,” he explains, a twinge of pride and a spit of revenge hanging on his baritone. He growls slightly as her cunt clenches around him by his words. “He’s hiding out in Sao Paulo. I plan to bring you his head.”
Sucking on her bottom lip, she grinds a little harder, feeling August deep in her gut. The temptation to ride him hard and rough is too great, but this sweet slow torture always brings her to a higher ground of ecstasy when they finally fuck.
“Can it wait, my beautiful monster?” She asks sweetly, reaching her talons to clutch his thigh as he pushes further in and bottoms out inside her with a grunt. “I’d like to stay here for a while and be your angel for a little bit longer.”
August lifts his cerulean gaze back to Ingvild, the clear sky in his deep irises slightly darken as he observes the serene look on her face. His hand rises to cup her chin and turn her head to the side to meet his possessive lips. He cages her mouth with his, devouring her with the lust of a hungry man.
“You will always be mine and mine alone Ingvild,” he promises as he ends the kiss with a nibble on her chin. Ingvild licks his saliva off her mouth and stares back at him with the oxymoronic union of innocence and sinister urge before she leans back and continues to look at his plans.
‘Who is she to you?’
‘She is my queen, and I am the king of hell.’
Additional Notes: Song lyrics by Elvis Presely - Angel. Additional Inspiration by Nine Inchs Nails - We’re in this together.
Disclaimer: I own no rights to Mission Impossible’s franchise or August Walker.
we could be married (and then we’d be happy) - Epilogue
Part one || Part Two || Part Three || Part Four || Part Five || Part Six || Epilogue || AO3
I mean, it’s in the title, isn’t it? 5.4k words of pure, undiluted fluff. T for swears, and a couple of very brief sex references.
Thank you so, so much to everyone who’s read, reblogged, and commented on this fic. I read all your tags. All of them. Knowing that people like this nonsense AU is wonderful, and I cannot express how grateful I am to you all. As ever, this fic is for @inber - mine frog wife whom I love. And thank you to @greyduckgreygoose for beta-ing 💖
Jaskier slid across the expensive hardwood floor in his white socks, moving only vaguely in time with the song playing from the speaker. He’d hoped that the music would ease his nerves a little, maybe distract him, but the reality was that it was doing very little to help. His movements were less of a dance and more of a nervous jiggling.
It was some old playlist he’d made back when he’d spent most of his time moping and feeling sorry for himself, steadfastly trudging alongside the one thing he thought he could never have.
A lot had changed since then.
One song ended and another began with a tuneful, simple little melody. The Beach Boys, he thought - although it had been over a year since he’d updated the playlist, and had forgotten most of what was on it.
He grabbed the freshly pressed white shirt from the hanger dangling from the wardrobe door and slid it on. It had been outrageously expensive, and the fabric was soft against his skin. He’d never wear something this nice again, he suspected. He fiddled nervously with the tiny, pearlescent buttons, trying to get the bloody thing fastened properly, willing his heart to stop thundering in his ears.
He left the top button undone - he had a tie, but he was refusing to put it on until it was absolutely necessary - then reached down to the wide vanity table and grabbed the old, gold ring on its sparkling silver chain and looped it over his neck.
He’d found a chain for the ring buried at the bottom of one of his drawers the morning he’d dragged himself from Geralt’s bed just over a year ago, and while the chain had been replaced a few times - most recently as a birthday present from Geralt himself - the ring had stayed steadfastly the same. He’d worn it every day since that morning, and today would be no different, although It looked a little out of place against the expensive white suit.
Finally, he turned to look at himself in the enormous gilt-framed mirror. He didn’t quite look the picture of a perfect groom yet, with his mussed hair and the white shirt haphazardly untucked from his pale blue trousers. One of his socks, he noticed, had a hole in it.
But it was fine. He was fine. He had a little more time yet to make sure he was suitable. He usually wasn’t so hesitant with this sort of thing, especially considering that the outfit had been picked out weeks ago, but something was holding him back.
He was nervous, and he couldn’t place why. He didn’t need to be nervous, he knew, but there was still a churning in his stomach and a fluttering in his chest.
He reached up and began to fiddle with the ring, a habit he’d fallen into whenever he was worried - or when he was thinking, or when he was bored, or when he was excited. He never left it alone, in fact. It was thoroughly burnished now - as any piece of jewellery purchased from the market for ten pounds (haggled down from fifteen) would be - turned dull by wear and the oils from his fingers.
Reluctantly, he tucked the ring down the front of his shirt. It nestled against his chest, the light weight of it comforting and familiar.
The ring that Jaskier was now wearing on his finger was significantly nicer, he was forced to admit. It, too, was gold - but it didn’t turn his skin green. He kept thinking of it as the new ring, although that strictly speaking wasn’t true: it was older than he was by a hundred years, give or take. The single, starbursting stone glimmered in the centre of the band, and he rubbed against the metal with his thumb - another little habit he’d picked up since they’d gotten engaged.
It felt like it had been no time at all. Truthfully, it wasn’t: last Tuesday had marked six months since the opening of the Creatures of the Deep exhibition at the museum, since Jaskier had turned away from Roach (Roach the Leptocleidus, whose real name Jaskier had painstakingly memorised) in her new glass case in the centre of her very own room to find Geralt down on one knee behind him, the sparkling antique ring in one hand.
Only six months since he, too overwhelmed to say anything, had reached into his own coat pocket and pulled out the ring that he’d hidden in there that afternoon - a far more practical band made of real dinosaur bone and shimmering mother of pearl - nearly dropping it from his shaking hands. Then they’d both been unable to speak - only crashing together in a rough, emotional embrace, much to both Lambert and Eskel’s amusement.
Geralt’s brothers had known, of course, what was about to happen: Geralt had arranged with Eskel weeks ago to keep people out of the room, and Jaskier had been planning with Lambert for a few days to make sure they were the first ones let into the exhibition.
And now it was happening - it was actually happening. Waiting around for an arbitrary couple of years had seemed unnecessary: ever since that first night it had been, like Jaskier had suggested so long ago, exactly how it always was. Nothing had changed - not really.
Well. Not nothing. Jaskier could still feel the tingling touch of Geralt’s hands around his waist from the previous night, the intense press of Geralt’s body against his own, even though they’d only be spending less than twelve hours apart, if that.
But the rest had stayed the same. The shopping, the bickering in the kitchen, falling asleep against each other on the sofa, now all peppered with soft touches and lingering kisses and linked hands. There was no reason for them not to just go ahead and make it officially official.
They'd considered, at first, doing the whole thing in the museum itself. But time and money and - more importantly - the fact that there was a waiting list over two years long had rather put them off the idea.
A cool breeze blew in through the open window, fanning the light curtains, bringing with it the distinct smell of salt. Distantly, Jaskier could hear the waves crashing on the beach below. It was a good spot, and while the museum had been a sweet idea, he could never resist the call of the coast. Geralt, he suspected, would have gone along with whatever he suggested, so long as they were married by the end of it.
He began to fiddle with the cuffs of his shirt, attempting to one-handedly fasten the tiny buttons, when the door opened.
“I’ve just had a look downstairs,” said Priscilla, her blonde hair frizzing around her head, “And it all seems— What are you doing?”
He paused, turning to look at her. “Getting dressed?”
“You’re a mess.” She bustled over, her blue gown rustling, shaking her head. “Hand.”
Jaskier wordlessly held out his hands, and she started to button his cuffs with a little roll of her eyes.
“Your buttons are crooked, too,” she said, nodding with her head.
Jaskier glanced down - she was right, he realised. His shirt was uneven at the top, the buttons and the buttonholes not quite lining up. She finally moved away, and he got to the job of re-doing the shirt, his stomach doing little flips.
“Are you okay, Jask?”
“Ahh…” he carefully watched his reflection as he redid the buttons. “Just… nervous.”
“...because? I doubt he’s going to jilt you, somehow.”
He frowned at himself in the glass. “What if I fuck it up?”
She snorted at him. “How?”
“Have you met me, Priss? There’s an infinite number of ways I could mess this up before I even get downstairs.”
“Oh you’ll be fine. I’ve not seen you this nervous since…” she paused, thoughtfully. “Since ever, actually. Gods, you’re a soppy thing aren’t you?”
Jaskier scowled at her, although there was no malice behind it. “Oh, shut up.”
His shirt finally presentable, he pulled on the rest of the ensemble - a light blue waistcoat and jacket - then slung the tie around his neck. He and Geralt had, probably foolishly, decided that they’d both be attempting one of those stylishly fancy knots that had been so popular in all their bloody wedding magazines. Thus far, neither of them had managed to get it right even once.
They’d tried, a few nights ago. They really had. But they’d gotten distracted, and…
The thought made him flush.
He fiddled with the silk fabric, tying and re-tying it, feeling himself growing increasingly frustrated. It wasn’t happening - whether it was the slippery fabric or the complexity of the knot or his own shaking fingers, the apparently easy task felt suddenly impossible.
With a huff, he tied it in a standard, boring knot then turned to look at himself in the mirror. He did look good - even without that final flourish. Finally pulling the outfit together went some way to making him feel more prepared for what was to come.
He was tugging on his shoes - brand new boots, which he’d insisted on - when the door opened again. Yen swept in looking beautiful - as ever - in a floor length, deep purple dress. He stood and walked towards her, catching Priscilla’s expression from the corner of his eye. She was blushing, quickly turning away - pretending to organise something on the vanity table.
“Fuck’s sake, Yen,” he grinned. “Here to outshine me on my own wedding day? Cruel.”
She smiled. “At least I didn’t wear black.”
“You could have done, you know,” he said, “neither of us would have cared.”
“It’s not you I’m worried about. People would talk. Turning up to your ex’s wedding wearing black is never a good look.”
“On you? I suspect it would have been a rather marvellous look. You could have worn one of those enormous hats with a lace veil and everything…”
“I’ll keep that in mind for next time, shall I?”
“Only if we can match.”
“We can sit at the back and bitch.” Yen smiled again, then pulled him into a tight hug. “Are you okay?”
“Because you look like you’re about to be sick.”
“I can be wonderful and extremely fucking nervous, you know.”
“You’ll be fine,” Yen said, waving a dismissive hand at him.
Jaskier straightened his lapels, fidgeting with the already perfect fabric. “I bloody well hope so.”
She gave him another one of those expressions - that said, succinctly: oh do shut up - and squeezed his arm.
“Just remember, Jaskier…” She began, sincerely.
This was… unusual. “Yes?”
“If you are going to be sick, please do it to the side. If you get it on my dress, I’ll kill you.”
Jaskier burst out laughing. Yen gave him a smug smirk.
“There,” she said, “All better. Now, I’ve got to go and see where my daughter and her awful mutt have gotten to, and see if I can find Geralt, too...”
“Last attempt to win him back?”
“Hah,” Yen laughed, “Please, keep him.” She smoothed out her dress, despite the fact it was perfectly uncreased. “See you later, Jaskier." She turned to leave, then paused in the doorway. “See you downstairs, Priss.”
Priss turned scarlet, but Yen was gone before she could even respond, leaving the door ajar behind her. When Jaskier turned around, Priss had her back to him, fiddling with her hair in the mirror.
She ignored him.
“You are aware that seducing the ex of one of the grooms at a wedding might be a little distasteful, yes?” She started to mumble something - probably an apology - but Jaskier spoke over her. “Which means you have my full and enthusiastic permission to do it. Just save it till after the first dance, alright?”
“Oh, shush,” said Priss, self-consciously combing through her hair. “It is definitely not going to happen.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Jaskier, have you seen her? There’s no way I’ve got a chance with someone that unreasonably attractive…”
“Talking about me again?”
They both turned at the sudden, gruff voice, Priss finally moving away from the mirror. Lambert was leaning through the doorway, grinning. He was wearing a dark blue suit, his hair combed neatly, for once, eyebrows raised.
“I’ve been sent to tell you you’ve got ten minutes,” he said, striding into the room. “More like seven, actually, considering how far this fucking room is from the reception.”
“You ready to go? Or do you want me to go down and tell ‘em you’re still, I dunno, doing your hair?”
Jaskier started to worry at the engagement ring again, unconsciously. Technically… he was ready.
“Nope,” he said, his voice a fraction too high. “All ready to go.”
Priss stepped forwards, grabbing his hand, forcing him to stop his fiddling. “You’re sure you wanna go down alone?”
And then - he was sure. “I won’t be alone,” he said, feeling more confident than he had done all morning. “Go make sure the music’s set up, okay?”
She squeezed his hand. “Okay.”
“Come on, Priss,” said Lambert, impatiently. “We gotta get going, make sure everyone’s behaving before it all kicks off. And I’ve left Aiden down there on his own. I don’t want to have to save him from some dowager aunty.”
Jaskier grinned. “That’s what you get for bringing such a nice young man to a wedding. They’re all waiting to snatch him up.”
“They’ll have to get through me first.”
“Lambert, I love you, but I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t throw someone’s aunt through a table, okay?”
“I can make zero promises.” Lambert extended his arm to Priscilla. “M’lady?”
“Oh, shut up,” she said, taking his arm anyway. “See you down there, Jask.”
“See you in a bit.”
They left, closing the door behind them. The clock on the wall was ticking too-loud, counting down the minutes - the seconds. Jaskier took another look at himself in the mirror, straightening the tie, rearranging his fringe for the umpeenth time. Suit, shoes, ring - two of them. Priscilla had the third - that was her job, after all: one of the only ones she had considering how unusual their entry was going to be.
“Right,” he said to the air. “Right.”
The suit, Geralt was forced to admit, wasn’t bad. Practically, he knew that this was probably the result of spending what he thought was an exorbitant amount of money on an item of clothing. But that didn’t feel quite right.
It was because he wanted to wear it, for once. Jaskier had asked - several times, in fact - if he was happy with the get-up, clearly nervous that he was forcing Geralt into something he wasn’t comfortable with. Geralt had told him again and again that he wanted to wear the suit, waistcoat and tie and all, but he suspected Jaskier didn’t believe him.
Jaskier was so bright and beautiful that standing beside him in anything else would have been borderline obscene. And - somehow - the tailored suit did look good. It framed his silhouette nicely, and the dark navy fabric made his eyes, already an unusually light colour, pop even more. It felt odd to be wearing something that wasn’t black or grey, but he couldn’t deny that it suited him.
The man that was staring back at him in the large mirror looked - well, he looked like a man on the brink of his wedding, which was true.
“You’re still going in together?” Eskel asked, pulling on his own jacket behind him. “Not very traditional.”
“Since when have I been traditional? I’m too old to be given away. And anyway, with his family…” Geralt shook his head. “It wouldn’t feel right. Or fair.” He turned away from the mirror, and Eskel was, for once, smiling at him. “We’re doing this like we’ve done everything for the past ten years. Together.”
“You’ve gone soft,” Eskel teased.
Geralt shrugged. “I went soft years ago.”
“Tell me about it,” said Eskel, tugging at the jacket sleeves in an attempt to make them even, “It’s a fucking nightmare." He stopped fussing, then turned a critical gaze on Geralt. "You're crooked."
"Your tie," he said. "It's wrong."
With a sigh, Geralt tugged off the tie and began again. The frustrating bit of fabric had been the cause of some annoyance for a while now: it was only after deciding to wear them that both he and Jaskier had realised neither of them had a clue how to tie the damn things in the unnecessary, fancy knots that were apparently so popular at weddings. It had been a challenge, at first: bringing out both of their competitiveness to see who could achieve the best knot. They'd spent an evening last week practicing over a bottle of wine, streaming YouTube tutorials to the TV, but the impromptu lessons hadn't appeared to do any good.
He rather suspected that their failure to learn the technique was because there'd been significantly more drinking wine than there had been practising, and then halfway through the second bottle they'd realised what else the strong, silky fabric could be used for.
This was also why they were now both on their second tie. Jaskier had insisted they could be sent through in the washing machine, Geralt had disagreed. Geralt had been rather unfortunately correct - and Jaskier had been forced to cough up the fifty pounds to replace them both.
And now he couldn't even get the bloody thing tied properly. He’d given up on the idea of doing anything beyond a standard kelvin knot hours ago, and even then he’d still managed to fuck it up. His fingers were shaking, a little. Even when he was half-pissed he'd made a better job of this.
Eskel stepped forwards, reaching out. Geralt wanted to tell him to piss off - that he could dress his fucking self. But he didn't.
"Thanks," he muttered, as Eskel made easy work of the knot.
Eskel just laughed at him. "Who doesn't know how to tie a tie?"
He was about to respond, possibly with something biting, if not exactly clever, when there was a knock at the door - and without waiting for a response, Yen walked in. She was dressed immaculately, her dark hair in loose curls around her shoulders.
"There," his brother stepped away from him as Yen watched them looking vaguely amused. "Now you don't look like an idiot, at least."
"Isn't this sweet," she said. "Did they not make you wear a tie in school?"
“It’s been a while,” Geralt huffed.
“Is that so?” She paused, her head to one side, giving him that knowing look that he recognised so well. “Are you okay?”
He swallowed. "No."
She raised her eyebrows at him, pursing her lips. Before she could probe him further, there was a sudden scrabbling from outside - the noise of claws against wood coupled with the clacking of heels - and the door burst open, Ciri careening into the room with Roach fast behind her. The dog bounded towards Geralt, tail wagging, scattering petals in her wake. He bent to scratch the spot behind her ear, dislodging yet more petals.
“What happened?” He asked, looking up at Ciri, who was watching him with flushed cheeks, her blonde hair bursting around the crown of flowers she had around her head.
“I tried to get her to wear a flower,” she said, utterly nonplussed. “She ate it.”
Roach - an enormous brown mutt of indeterminable breed - woofed at him, as if in agreement. There were little yellow petals caught in her mouth.
“Right,” Geralt said. "Of course she did.” Roach rolled onto her back, and he absent-mindedly rubbed her belly while her tail thumped against the floor. “Everything ready downstairs?”
“Yep,” Ciri nodded, clasping her hands together. “You’ve got ten minutes, by the way. That was why I came up, but she” —she pointed at Roach, who was busy getting hair all over Geralt’s trousers— “decided she needed to come too."
Yen rolled her eyes. Geralt was fairly certain that she disapproved of the idea of having a dog attend a wedding, but she was being good natured about it regardless: likely waiting for the moment Roach took a piss over someone’s long-lost family member so she could say I told you so. It was probably for the best that only a few of Jaskier’s family had shown up - a few chosen and well-liked cousins, an aunt, a step-grandma. Had the rest of them been there, he would have happily directed Roach towards them himself.
He stood, brushing hair from his knees. Ciri was peering at him, her expression unreadable.
“...What?” He said, as Roach scrambled to her feet, leaning against him in a clear attempt to guilt him into more ear scratches.
She shrugged. “Nothing.”
Geralt turned away, intending to check in the mirror just how much Roach had ruined his suit, when she spoke again. “It’s just…”
Geralt sighed, and turned back.
“Do you remember...” she said, arms folded, “...when you told me there was nothing going on between you and Jask?”
Oh, gods. “Yes,” he said, preparing to rehash a conversation he’d had perhaps two dozen times before.
“And I didn’t believe you?”
“As you’ve told me several times.”
“Do you want to know why?”
He suppressed a groan, resisting the urge to tell her - again - that there really had been nothing going on. “No?”
She ignored him. “It’s because he told me that kissing you was awful.”
That caught him. “You… he what?”
She grinned; a smug expression that reminded him of Yen. “I said that I couldn’t believe you two had kissed, and that it was gross.” She tilted her head to one side. “Which I stand by, by the way—”
“—And he said that it was awful.” She paused. “And then he told me not to tell you that he’d said it.”
This was clearly a conversation that had happened while Geralt had still been on the drive, trying to reason with Yen - trying to convince her, too, that he and Jaskier weren’t even dating, let alone engaged. Looking back on it, even looking back to the afternoon when he’d rung her to let her know what was going on, it had been clear that she hadn’t believed him, just like Ciri: or had been expecting it for some time.
“...Okay.” He frowned. “So that’s evidence, because..?”
“Because he was making too much fuss. If there’d been nothing going on, he would have just said it was whatever. Or even that it was good, because he wouldn’t have cared about saving face.”
It was - Geralt had to admit - quite a solidly constructed argument. She was wrong about them secretly seeing each other, of course, but he didn’t doubt that Jaskier’s protests had been brought about by a desperate attempt not to appear overly keen.
“If it helps,” she grinned, kneeling down and gesturing to Roach, who trotted towards her, “He’s probably changed his mind since then.” She looked up at him. “Probably.”
Geralt wasn't sure what else to say. “...Good?”
Yen took this chance to step in, putting a swift end to the conversation.
“Stop teasing him, Ciri,” she said - although she was smiling as she said it. “He’s already rattled. You’re going to give him a complex.”
"I am not—"
She stepped forwards, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. “You may have everyone else fooled,” she muttered, “but I can tell when you’re nervous.”
Geralt gave her a quick, tight smile. “Is it that obvious?”
“You’re doing better than him, I’ll tell you that much.”
“You spoke to him?”
“How… how was he?”
“When I left him he was halfway through a window, so I’d say he’s in fine form.”
“He’s fine. Nervous, but fine.”
“Gods, you’re both impossible. If I’d known you were going to be so dramatic about the whole thing I’d have paid for you to just go to the registry office myself and skip all of this fuss.”
“I’m not being dramatic.”
She raised a single, perfect eyebrow at him. “No? My mistake.”
They stared at each other for a moment. Geralt knew that Yen could read him like an open book - although he suspected that Eskel had picked up on his jangling nerves, too. She was teasing him, but there was no malice to it: just easy support.
“Anyway,” Ciri grinned, snapping Geralt out of his thoughts. “You’ve got ten minutes. Five, now. Come on, Roach.” She patted her knees and Roach jumped up, leaping around her legs in a tight circle. “Don’t be late! Or Vesemir will shout at you.”
She led Roach from the room, and Geralt could hear them clattering down the corridor, Roach barking and Ciri giggling at her. Yen gave him a quick, appraising look.
“You’re covered in hair.”
He glanced down at himself. “So I am.”
“Good job you’re marrying a man who’s also always covered in dog hair, hmm?”
It was a joke, he knew, but it still made his stomach squeeze. He’d not really gotten used to the idea that he could possibly be marrying his friend - his best fucking friend - and every so often it would become suddenly, hotly real. It managed to take him by surprise every time. He couldn’t help but smile, and Yen snorted at him.
“Your brothers are right, you know,” she said, stepping forwards and giving him a firm hug. “You have gone soft.” She leaned back, smiling at him. “Terrible, really.”
"You're welcome. Someone around here needs to be sensible, after all." She squeezed his shoulders, then moved back. "I should head back down with Ciri. Good luck." She paused. "Not that you'll need it."
When she'd gone, he turned back to Eskel.
“You’ve got the ring, right?”
Eskel patted his pocket. “For the last time: yes.”
“I’m just checking.”
“Stop checking,” said Eskel, giving him a gruff pat on the shoulder. “It’s fine.” He tugged at his jacket. "You're sure you're happy going it alone?"
"I'm not going it alone."
Eskel grinned at him - clearly unconvinced - then followed Yen out of the room. Geralt waited till he couldn't hear his footsteps anymore before giving himself one last, appraising look in the mirror. Truly: the suit wasn't that bad.
Right. He turned to the enormous clock on the mantel behind him. It was time.
Jaskier was sure he was going to wear a hole in the expensive rug with all his pacing. He was early - it was perhaps the first time he’d been early for anything in years - but he couldn’t bear hovering about in his room for a moment longer.
The stairs behind him creaked and he spun around, heart thundering. If it was another guest, or just someone who worked in the hotel, he wasn’t sure his fragile nerves could take it.
He breathed a long-held sigh of relief as Geralt smiled down at him.
“Oh,” Geralt said, his lip quirked. “Look at you.”
Jaskier rushed forwards, pulling Geralt into a hug as soon as he’d reached the bottom of the staircase.
“Gods, I’m pleased to see you.”
Geralt buried his face into the crook of Jaskier’s neck. He was sturdy and strong beneath Jaskier’s arms - making his rapid heartbeat calm, a little.
“Nervous?” He said, after Jaskier failed to let him go.
“I’m so fucking nervous.”
“Because everyone’s going to be looking at us!”
Geralt laughed. “You’re a singer. You’re always the centre of attention; you love it.”
Jaskier sniffed. “This is different. This matters. I don’t want to fuck it up.”
“You won’t fuck it up.”
“You have no evidence for that. Look at the countless things I’ve fucked up over the years…” He sighed against Geralt’s chest, then leaned back to get a better look at him, attempting to pull himself together.
Gods, but it was hard to focus on how worried he felt when Geralt was looking like that.
“Bloody hell, Geralt.”
“You are exceptionally gorgeous, did you know that? Has anyone told you that today?”
“Then let me be the first. The suit, ah… suits you. Very handsome.”
Geralt smiled at him, his head to one side: that soft, oh-so easy expression Jaskier had seen more times than he could count. It still made his heart race, his stomach flip.
“Although I maintain,” he continued, “that you really could have worn your jeans and a Primark T-shirt and I wouldn’t have cared.”
“It was an M&S T-shirt.”
“And I didn’t want to wear jeans and a T-shirt.”
“So you keep saying. In any case: really. Very startlingly attractive. I’m not sure how I managed to get so lucky…”
“Psh,” Jaskier rolled his eyes. “Nah. You? Never.”
He leaned in closer, and for a brief moment Geralt’s eyes darted down, towards Jaskier’s lips. “Does that mean I don’t get a kiss for good luck?”
Gods, yes please. But something stuttered in his chest - a hot, illogical fear.
He stopped Geralt before their lips could meet, placing a soft finger to his already pursed mouth. “Oh no you don’t.”
Geralt frowned at him. “Why not?” He mumbled against Jaskier’s skin.
Jaskier’s chest squeezed, and he was very aware how foolish he was about to sound.
“It’s bad luck, I’m sure,” he said, moving his finger away.
“Bad luck to kiss you?”
“Before the wedding, yes.”
“I assume this doesn't take into account the thousands of times we’ve kissed before now?”
“It most certainly does not.”
“So why can’t I—”
“I don’t—” Jaskier started, quickly. “I don’t want anything to go wrong.”
“So you’re worried about… jinxing it?”
Jaskier leaned forwards, placing his head gently against Geralt’s, peering into his golden eyes. “Something like that.”
Geralt hummed, the sound gently grounding. “You won’t.” He reached out for Jaskier’s hips, and Jaskier could feel the strength of his hands, if not their warmth. “But if you’re so worried about it, I can wait.”
They stood like that for a moment - just existing - just with each other. Jaskier was very aware that this was the last moment they’d get alone together for the rest of the night, until they tumbled into bed at some godsdamned hour the next morning. He wanted to cling to the stillness for as long as he could. It seemed like Geralt was sharing that thought, in the way he leaned against him, his hands still wrapped around his middle.
Jaskier could feel their breaths mingling warmly, could feel Geralt’s chest rising and falling where they were pressed together.
“I love you,” he muttered.
Geralt smiled - his lips only a few tempting inches away. “I love you too,” he said, eyes darting around Jaskier’s face. “But we’re going to be late to our own wedding.”
“Urgh,” Jaskier huffed. “Fine. Come on…”
They finally let one another go, heading down the corridor towards the reception room in the middle of the hotel. There was a large foyer, decked out in white and yellow flowers, with a pair of wooden double doors at one end. Someone had erected a little sign next to the door - a simple canvas thing, decorated with even more flowers, with the date, time, and their names written on it in swirling calligraphy.
Welcome to the wedding of Geralt & Jaskier.
It felt suddenly very real - like Jaskier had been drifting through a dream for the past few days and had only just woken up. This was it. Barely much more than a year ago, he would never have dared to consider this was even possible.
They hovered, for a moment, in the quiet space. Then from beyond the double doors music struck up. Jaskier took another deep breath, steadying his shoulders.
“Oh,” Geralt said, turning with his eyebrows raised as if suddenly remembering something. “One thing, before we go through with this.”
Jaskier’s breath caught. “What?”
“This isn’t just a scheme to get free food and champagne, is it? Only I know you’ve got a tendency for that…”
Jaskier laughed, and the tension slipped from his shoulders, the nerves in his stomach giving way to butterflies. He reached out, taking Geralt's hand.
“Not this time.”
They stood for a moment, hand in hand, beside the doors. Jaskier wasn’t sure if he’d ever wanted to kiss Geralt more than in this moment. The music reached a crescendo, and the doors clicked - someone was swinging them open from the other side.
“Right,” said Geralt, squeezing Jaskier’s hand. “Ready?”
Jaskier squeezed back.
“Yeah,” he smiled. “I’m ready.”
After much deliberation, I now have a tip jar (no obligation, ofc, I do this because I physically cannot stop writing fic.)
So, Heroes recently highlighted another aspect of Edelgard that I feel needs to be talked about in order to understand her character. Add this to your post-game reading list if you want. Ready? Let’s do this.
This clip for the Simpsons is going to be very important with this.
The game recently did an event that shed some light onto the world Edelgard is trying to make. She’s not trying to make a world where people are free, she’s trying to make a world where they are “free.” Her ideal is a world where the strong rule over those deemed weak, and the weak are supposed to believe whatever they are told. To Edelgard, the truth isn’t important. What is important is what Edelgard says is “the truth.”
Especially damning when you learn that the Church is restored post-CF rather than destroyed like the epilogue states, remember Ferdinand suggesting schooling in order to maintain a social elite because the nobility are superior individuals according to him due to their upbringing, and know that according to the Japanese script she’s heavily implied to use propaganda. Hell, the full text of Edge of Dawn reveals she lies to Byleth during White Clouds, and she flat out lies post-Arianrhod.
The “truth” is whatever those in power says is the truth, and Edelgard makes it a point to be the one who gets to decide who gets power. The devs have even stated that the theme of Crimson Flower was believing something different and getting rid of everyone who stands in the way of your goals. Rhea, Flayn and Seteth? Gone. The Alliance? Invaded despite it’s neutrality in the conflict, with Claude possibly dead and relics collected by TWSITD. The Kingdom? Edelgard’s allies destabilized it years ago by assassinating Lambert (they tried this in the Alliance with Claude’s uncle), and the war ends with Dimitri slain. This also fits with the Buddhist symbolism I’ve mentioned before, with Silver Snow being the route the developers said the world is built to support while Japanese Crimson Flower says it’s the path of ignorance.
Edelgard’s goal, according to the Japanese, is to put the world back to what it once was which, if you’ve payed attention to the lore, suggests she wants to reunite the continent under an Emperor with absolute power. She effectively wants to dominate the continent, the typical definition of hegemony (she’s referred to as a hegemon by Byleth’s CF title “Wings of the Hegemon,” her Hegemon Husk form in AM, and Japanese Claude saying to Hubert “your hegemony stops here.” Edelgard is called a hegemon in every route with the exception of Silver Snow). The people don’t hold power, she does and they have to listen to what she tells them and we see traces of this in the script as well. She admits she’ll make people fight for her causes, she wants to make others believe what she tells them to believe, and Dimitri calls her out saying it’s wrong to press her beliefs onto others. People in-universe accuse Edelgard of wanting to replace the Goddess as well while Edelgard, again, takes over the Church and the point of CF is believing something else.
You’re believing Edelgard’s lies, and she doesn’t care because to her those lies are “the truth” because she said so.
She also blames everyone else for the war. Dimitri is to blame for the deaths of his people because he didn’t roll over and let her have her way, and him fighting her is because Arundel turned him against her. She’ll say that Claude wanted to her to invade in order to not incur the Empire’s wraith and spare the people. It’s on Rhea to surrender to Edelgard’s power, especially after Edelgard just said in private that Rhea must be obliterated, and if she doesn’t Rhea doesn’t care about people unlike Edelgard. She wasn’t involved with Remire despite aiding TWSITD, so it can’t be used against her. She orders her soldiers to kill her classmates if they don’t let her take the Creststones, she says she wishes Byleth could have been swayed by her words and actions while never considering what those actions actually were, and says the only reason her classmates fight her is because of the decisions THEY’VE made. Even her theme song talks about time, fucking time, betraying her when she wanted to stay at Garreg Mach. She does not take responsibility at all and she really doesn’t think she has to, after all what she says is “the truth.”
We can always argue that Edelgard is emotionally stunted due to her trauma, even tying her cutesy moments into it as a means to stress how childish she actually is. But at the end of the day, when you read between the lines of Crimson Flower, know what was changed in the translation and are familiar with what the creators have said, the route isn’t about showing why Edelgard is the good guy. Because she’s not, she just says she is. It subtly reveals just how tyrannical, hypocritical and just plain wrong she is as to why her route is the one (as Flayn put it in SS, remember the devs comments on the worldbuilding) that Edelgard will lead Fodlan to darkness. Edelgard can only say that she will be Fodlan’s light while the thematic lighting says otherwise.
pairing: m. issei + gn! reader (yes, the title is a misnomer,, it's a song title!)
warnings: reader is dead but no injuries specified, cursing, angel's shitty writing (let me know if i should tag w/ anything else!!)
word count: 2.1k (wasn't expecting that lol)
In high school, Issei Matsukawa did not see himself becoming a coroner. In truth, the thought the profession was weird, “why would anyone wanna spend their day cutting open dead people?” he would ask, viewing death as a matter to be avoided. This changed following the murder of a close friend, the boy quickly becoming fascinated with death and the mystery of what happens after someone closes their eyes for good. And if he could do anything to make the transition easier for someone, he would.
So here he found himself, spending his days cutting open dead people. He found it to be, well, less depressing than he thought it would be. It could be partially due to the fact that most people he did autopsies on died of natural causes or sustained very few injuries. That was until you came into his lab, no different than others he’d seen before, lying unmoving on a metal stretcher and covered by a white sheet.
Issei began his process as he always did, opening a new report on his laptop then removing the thin fabric that covered you. “Holy shit.” His comment was quiet, almost a whisper as he assessed your body, more gruesome than he had seen before. “What happened to you?” Issei asked no one in particular, something he did often, though this time he received an answer; “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” The man spun so quickly he thought he would snap his neck. Behind him, you stood, looking as you did on the lab table but reanimated and missing your injuries. Issei froze, unsure of what was happening and he watched as you stepped forward to view your own body. “Wow, I look really bad. At least you haven’t cut me open yet, I dunno if I’d be able to handle the sight of my own insides.” Issei stared in disbelief, eyes darting from the dead body on the table to the seemingly alive one standing next to it. “But you’re- how are you- what the fuck?” His voice shook with fear and confusion. “Relax.” You hoisted yourself atop one of the file cabinets before continuing. “You act like you’ve never seen a ghost before.” Your voice carried almost a mocking lilt as if to criticize the man in front of you. “I haven’t!” Issei’s voice raised an octave or two, his comment ending in what almost sounded like a squeak. “Oh, my bad. You can keep working, don’t let me hold you up.” You turned to face the opposite direction on the file cabinet, not wanting to see him perform your autopsy. “I don’t think I can do that while you’re um- here.” He swallowed thickly, stuffing his hands in his pockets. You sighed and turned back around.
“Fine. Then I need to talk to you. Well, actually, I have a favor to ask of you.” A curse of disbelief escaped under his breath before he responded. “Okay. But I have to ask you something first.” You nodded and he continued. “What is this? Why are you- how are you here?” You puffed your cheeks and blew the air out. “I have no family, and I didn’t have any ID on me, so the police don’t know who I am. So, you get to help me solve my murder. Congrats?” There was a pregnant pause before Issei spoke. “I still don’t get it.” “It’s called the coroner’s curse, don’t ask about the name, I didn’t come up with it. Basically, If someone is murdered but the case likely won’t get solved, like mine, then the coroner has to help them. That’s you.” Issei stared at you quizically. “So, I have to solve your murder? But how? I don’t know you.”
You slipped down from the file cabinet and made your way over to the half-empty report open on Issei’s computer. “You don’t have to have known the victim in order to help them. It’s just how the curse goes. But if it’s of any importance, you did know me. Kind of.” You began to fill in empty spaces of information like your name, age, and address. “No, I didn’t.” “That’s why I said kind of. The bar you go to all the time, I worked there. Used to see you come in all the time, I understand now why you do, this job must be depressing. Anyway,” you turned to the man behind you, “I’ll let you finish what you have to do. Meet me at the bar tomorrow night, 9:00, okay?” Issei hesitated before agreeing, feeling foolish and slightly off his rocker for agreeing to help some rando solve their murder, but nonetheless, he nodded. Offering him a smile, you left the lab, just as any living person would do.
Issei stood in the alley behind the local bar he frequented, looking around for any sign of you. “Boo.” The man jumped, his reaction mirroring the one he had when he first met you. “You can’t do that to me!” You simply laughed at how skittish he was and he sent you a death glare as you tried to catch your breath. “Okay, let’s keep the talking to a minimum. Remember, no one else can see me. Let’s go, follow me.” You began walking to the other end of the alley, Issei following close behind. “This is where I was killed by the way, if you were curious.” You pointed to a spot next to one of the dumpsters. When he looked, Issei saw dark stains decorating the brick wall and the metal of the dumpster. “Pretty cool, huh?” He grimaced, “Not really, no.”
Soon, the two of you arrived at your apartment, or technically, what used to be your apartment. Before Issei could ask how you were supposed to get in without keys, the door opened from the inside, revealing you in the doorway. “How did you-?” “I’m a ghost, duh. Catch up.”
You motioned him inside and led him to your bedroom. You handed him a photo of a man then turned to rustle through your desk drawers. “What do I do with this?” “That’s the guy you have to go after. He’s the one who did it.” Dropping his hand to his side, Issei looked to you again as you handed him something else, this time it was a stack of what looked like pages from a diary. “These are his journal entries. I found them one night when I stayed over at his house. I took them just in case I ever- well in case this happened. It’s basically a written confession. I have other stuff too, but these pages should be enough. He was dumb enough to sign them, so his name’s there.”
As you turned again to grab more pieces of potential evidence, Issei began to zone out. He wished that he could have done the same for his friend years back before he became a coroner. He was unaware of how much their death had affected him and how little he had processed it. “Hey, what’s your deal?” Issei blinked a few times before speaking. “Uh, nothing, I just- nothing.” He cleared his throat and looked down. “You were crying. Sure you’re okay?” He nodded. “I guess it doesn’t matter if I tell you this, since you’re dead and all, but. My friend, they- they were murdered, too. The police didn’t do anything about it, said it was probably just gang violence and they’d probably never find the person who did it so…” His voice trailed off and the end of his sentence, eyes burning with tears. “So I guess, by helping you, I’m helping them, too. It sounds stupid but-” “It’s not stupid, it’s sweet. I’m sorry about your friend, though, I’m sure they were great.” Issei nodded and cleared his throat again. “I’m just glad I get to help you.”
“Right. So, what you’ll do is put all of this in an envelope, bring it to the precinct and tell them you have information that could help with my case number, and give them the envelope. Oh! Here’s a photo of me, for identification. And tell them you wanna remain anonymous, you look different from him anyway, so they shouldn’t suspect you.” You handed Issei a large orange envelope and the photo of you. He stuffed the papers and photos into it before sealing it. “Do you need me to walk you home or do you think you can find your way?” “I think I’ve got it from here. But, what about you? What happens to you now?” You chuckled sadly before answering with what you thought was an obvious answer. “Well, I finish dying. Go into the light or whatever. Your job is done, you have what you need to solve this for me, so I’m done here.” Issei swallowed thickly. “So, that’s it. I won’t see you again?” You smirked at him playfully, “What, you got a crush on me or something?” He flushed at your accusation before stammering out an answer “N-no! This just seems anti-climactic, I guess.” “Anti-climactic? You helped a dead person solve their own murder, how is that anti-climactic?” Issei laughed at how seemingly offended you were by his comment. “I guess you’re right. I should go, I’ll let you uh, finish dying, then.”
The two of you made your way out of your bedroom and back to the front door. “Thanks for helping me, Issei. I appreciate it. You helped me get my name back.” Your tone was sing-songy as you said your last sentence. “No problem, it’s not like I had much choice anyway.” You gasped dramatically, causing the two of you to share genuine laughs. “But seriously, you’re welcome. I’m glad I could help you.” You nodded and ushered him out of the door, offering him a wave and watching him walk down the hall of your apartment floor and into the stairwell.
Issei shivered as he stepped into the air-conditioned precinct, sealed envelope in hand. He approached the woman at the front desk, clearing his throat to grab her attention. “How may I help you?” Issei placed the envelope on the desk and slid it gently toward her. “Uh, I have some info in here that could help with a recent murder. Case uh, case number 3386?” The woman nodded, taking the envelope and setting it next to her. “May I ask your name?” Issei rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “Could I remain anonymous?” The receptionist hummed in agreement and thanked him for his help. He nodded and stuffed his hands in his jacket pocket, walking out of the precinct.
[# an epilogue, of sorts]
A month had passed since your murder. Issei kept the photo you had given him instead of turning it in to the authorities. He felt some strange connection to you. Despite only knowing you for two days, he couldn’t get over the fact that you saw him nearly every night. How much of his life did you see? He kept it in a frame on his nightstand right next to a photo of his friend, and soon it became a habit of his to say goodnight to you both. Issei hadn’t noticed how lonely he truly was. Of course, he was still in touch with a few friends from high school. But since his friend’s passing the topic of conversation always seemed to shift to them and it soon became too much for Issei to handle. Being a coroner was oddly peaceful to him, but being surrounded by death all day was melancholic still. It wasn’t until he ‘met’ you that he realized how much he missed being around other people. He existed in a world of isolation and loss, so much so that though you were dead, your soul brought light to his life.
Issei saw to it that you had a proper burial, using his connection with the local funeral home to give you the sendoff he felt you deserved. He would visit your grave often, though sometimes he felt strange about it, visiting the resting site of someone he barely knew, but he always knew there was a reason behind it. Something that kept bringing him back to that cemetery, something that told him there was something in there for him. He was glad he did, though, because being in that cemetery during a rainstorm led him to his future significant other, the person he needed to end the dull and lonesome cycle of his life. He prospered in the end, eventually marrying them and beginning a life of his own. You watched from above all the while, cheering on your unlikely friend from the afterlife.
hmm... i dont know if i like this,, but its been years since ive written anything so im probably very rusty (=_=)
Hey @o-i-have-too! I’m your (late) gifter for the @fmasecretsanta2020 event. You asked for Elric fun and I come bearing soul alchemy goofs. Real life got a bit weird and as such this isn’t the full fic I was hoping to write for you, but I think it’s a decent one-shot on it’s own. The premise is a bit of a CoS-pull but it’s not a crossover and you don’t need to have seen the movie. All you need to know is that Alphonse “let’s fuck around and find out” Elric is here to have a good epilogue and that is a threat. :)
Title comes from the Modest Mouse song of the same name.
They're not back in Resembool two days before The Accident happens. That's not what they call it at the time, of course, but the exasperated capitalization creeps into their voices more and more after the fact and retroactively gives The Accident a kind of resigned importance. Frankly Alphonse only made a big deal out of it at the time because it had startled him, is all. After that, well, it was just interesting. Edward and Winry had no reason at all to run around like chickens with their heads cut off when it happened. It was fine. He was fine, and remains fine after the fact for that matter.
It really had been an accident, is the thing.
The Accident happens just after lunch. Granny goes to let Den out and enjoy a smoke on the porch and Edward and Winry go get ready to head into town, bickering cheerfully on their way out of the kitchen. Alphonse declines to go with them, already tired from a busy morning and not wanting to slow them down. He smiles into his teacup—coffee is still too shockingly bitter for all that he can't get enough of the smell of it—while listening to their voices fade down the hall. It's when he sets his cup down that he happens to catch sight of a pan on the wall with a crack in the handle.
Well, that's odd, isn't it? It must have happened recently and neither Winry nor Granny have gotten around to fixing it, or it's not a pan they're interested in keeping much longer. Curious despite his tiredness, Alphonse eases to his feet and crutch to get a better look. It does look pretty old, once he's face-to-face with it. It wouldn't be hard to fix though, and it'd go even faster with alchemy. He's only done a few transmutations since the Promised Day and they've all somehow been both harder and easier than he's used to them being, courtesy a combination of Scar's nationwide transmutation circle and the whole inhabiting a human body again thing. It's a bit awkward with the crutch, but the circle is so simple that it's practically a background thought as he claps his hands and touches them to the pan—
—and without warning there's a bizarre sort of lurch, and he's face-to-face with himself.
"Uh," he says from two disparate vantage points, and once more for good measure, "Uh."
He blinks with one pair of eyes. The other pair don't exist, technically, and don't have eyelids to blink with. It makes his vision jitter in a way he doesn't think should be described as awful, but it's certainly not pleasant. He closes the pair of eyes capable of doing so and watches himself close his eyes with the other. Then he watches his face twist; first with confusion, then dismay, then earnest alarm. "Oh," he says, and has a front row seat to the weird show of watching his own skinny face in motion, "Oh, no. No, absolutely n—fine. This is—fine. I'm fine. I can fix this. I—oh, hell—"
The oh, hell isn't directed at the situation he's found himself in, disorienting as it may be, but at the voices coming back toward the kitchen. Edward's going to take one look at him and know something's wrong, and Alphonse won't even be able to mock him for overreacting because no really, how did he bungle a simple transmutation this badly—
"We're headin' out," Edward shouts, and on reflex Alphonse looks at the doorway and gets to experience the uniquely indescribable misstep of looking left with one pair of eyes while the other pair remains stubbornly fixed in place.
Winry hears him, because of course that's his luck, and he sort of sees her poke her head into the kitchen. "Al? Y'okay?"
He really does try to brush it off, to get them out of the house so he can figure out whatever the fuck is happening on his own, but when he tries to wave them off the disconnect between simultaneously inhabiting a human body and not hits him like a blow to the head. He staggers hard. The next thing he's peripherally aware of is Winry and Edward helping him back to the dining table, alternating between babbling sweet nothings and panicked everythings in his ears, all while watching himself get strong-armed into a chair from across the room. They're both loudly asking him variations of what the fuck, so he swallows until he can trust his voice and tells them with as much urgency as he can muster, "Frying pan."
They boggle at him. "What?"
"I'm in the frying pan."
He looks at the frying pan. The frying pan looks at him. It sucks. His body's eyes can't help but scrunch, which just makes Edward and Winry hover more worriedly over him. "I'm," he repeats with varying amounts of grimace until they shut up and listen, "I was trying to repair that frying pan with the broken handle, over there."
They both look, which means they both turn to look at him but—obviously—they don't realize that. "Okay?" Edward offers, wary.
"I told Granny to throw that old thing out," Winry mutters mostly to herself, which answers that question for all that it doesn't matter.
"It didn't work—" Yes it did, he can see from here that it did, "—I mean, it did, but it also—I somehow, accidentally, transmuted myself at the same time—"
Edward's "What?!" is closely followed by Winry's far more bemused, "How'd you accidentally manage that?"
Neither reaction is unexpected, but neither are they particularly helpful. What's more important is that it sounds like they don't believe him. He presses his lips together and thinks about saying something, and lo and behold it's the frying pan that says, "I'm still trying to figure that out."
Naturally, they both freak out. Alphonse resigns himself to sitting there while they all but run around in circles, but then Edward has to go and get grabby with the frying pan and at least some amount of Alphonse's soul along with it. He hastily drops his crutch to grab the table with both hands, squeezing his eyes shut as the kitchen goes cartwheeling. The bang and clatter of his crutch hitting the tile is unwanted confirmation that he really is hearing things from two perspectives as well. "Put that down," comes out more snarly than he means it to, but it gets the job done. Edward thumps the pan down like it's burned him, and Alphonse finds himself tripping between relief and dread that he can only feel the vibration through one half of himself.
Edward hovers, stressed to the point of literal hand wringing, while Winry gently rubs Alphonse's back. It's not really as comforting as he remembers it being, before. His skin still prickles too easily at unexpected stimulation. He shies away from her touch, pretends not to see her hurt expression, and forces words out past the lump in his throat. It grounds him a little, to focus on all the complicated bits of speaking with a human mouth. "I transmuted my soul—"
"What? How?" They demand in unison, which does nothing for the headache creeping behind his eyes. He glares at them despite it.
"I don't know, now do I? I wasn't trying to do that! But I'm attached to the frying pan, and I—don't," he breaks off to kind of snarl when Edward twitches like he's thinking about getting grabby again.
"But—" Winry falters, biting her lip. "How are you still talking with your body?"
"I'm still in here too." He forces his real eyes open, though the left one immediately shuts again despite his best efforts. Looking at himself looking up at the ceiling is disorienting as hell. He tries to focus solely on Edward's wide-eyed alarm; after a moment of wibbling, he manages to get both perspectives to line up. It's still horribly bizarre, but it's at least a little more tolerable. "I don't know how, but I'm in both right now."
"That shouldn't be possible," Edward protests. "Splitting your soul? The fuck were you even trying to do?"
"I told you! Fix the stupid pan, that's all!"
The pan in question rattles on the table with no prompting on Alphonse's part. They all flinch back, swearing. Winry's hand settles on his shoulder, light but grounding all the same. "Can you—undo this?"
"H-hold on a second," Edward yelps. "Don't go off transmuting your soul all willy-nilly! Let's think about this for a second, huh? You must've done something else besides try and fix a fuckin' frying pan, so—"
"Please stop yelling," Alphonse complains, clapping his hands. Edward ignores his polite request in favor of more yelling, but thankfully most of it's drowned out by the transmutation. There's that lurch again, and then he's wholly back in his body like nothing had happened. Well, aside from Edward and Winry coming over all handsy in a way that's bruising and overwhelming and entirely unnecessary. "Oh my god, stop, I'm fine—"
"What's with all the shouting?" Granny calls from the front door. "Ed? Winry? Do us all a favor and save the fight for the walk into town, would you?"
"Al's not okay!" Edward hollers back, and Alphonse could just strangle him sometimes, he really could.
"I just said I'm fine, would you listen to me? And what would she do if I wasn't, huh? She can't exactly slap a plaster on my soul—" Which is the entirely wrong thing to say, of course, because Edward immediately falls over himself trying to—what, discern if Alphonse's soul needs stitches via aggressively close eye contact and a lot of shoulder patting? Alphonse flicks him in the nose to get some breathing space just as Granny appears in the kitchen doorway. "I'm fine," he assures her before the other two can get a word in. "Ignore literally anything they say, it was just a bit of accidental alchemy—"
"Accidental," Edward echoes with half-hysterical disgust. "How do you accidentally transmute—"
"By accident," Alphonse interrupts serenely, flicking him again.
Granny gives them all a look over her glasses, like she's strongly tempted to bust out the Stray Dog a few hours early if they're going to keep this level of buffoonery up. The look travels around the kitchen, clearly looking for anything amiss, and lands squarely on the frying pan laid incongruously on the dining table. "Hmm," she says, unimpressed. "Let me know if you're up for helping me with the inventory later, Al."
"Of course," he says, though she's already done the smart thing and left well enough alone. She's his favorite.
"Al—" Winry starts, but nope, he's done being coddled for the day.
"I'm fine," he stresses. "Really." And that's enough to get Winry to back off some but Edward's still gearing up to pitch a fit. He forces calm into his voice and asks, "Could you get my crutch, Brother?"
"What? Oh, sure, here. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Completely." And he's not even fibbing, because he really does feel fine. "It was an accident, and no harm came from it—"
"Soul transmutation isn't something alchemists typically do by accident, least of all you." His tone is scathing, but Alphonse knows him too well not to take that as anything other than high praise. Edward's coming over all thoughtful in the face now, gears grinding. On the one hand Alphonse is right there with him because seriously, what, but on the other hand they really do need to go into town if they want Winry to carry through on her threat of baking an apple pie so good they'll both finally have a good cry.
He stands up brusquely, tamping down the vague irritation over the fact that he can't shepherd Edward around through sheer size alone anymore. His heart rate and breathing are both fine, and the only suggestion he can physically sense that something unusual happened is an uneasy prickle in his throat. He vaguely remembers this feeling from before, associating it with the same shock one gets at missing a step on a flight of stairs or almost dropping something fragile but catching it in the nick of time. Startling, but ultimately harmless.
"Al," Edward persists.
Alphonse reaches past him to pick up the frying pan. It's as heavy as it looks, which is to say his reedy stick of an arm does not appreciate hefting it around, but it's only for as long as it takes to cross the kitchen and hang it back up where it belongs. Then he turns and smiles widely at them both, because sheer force of personality comes in more than one flavor. "Have fun in town! I think I'm gonna go get started on that list now."
Winry cuffs Edward when he opens his mouth again. "Stop mother henning him. He's fine."
Edward, the undisputed king of mother hens everywhere, is clearly unconvinced. He glowers over his shoulder at the frying pan like it spat on Mom's grave as Winry shoves him out of the kitchen. Honestly. It's only once they're finally out of the house that Alphonse allows himself a thoughtful hum.
That was certainly... interesting.
There's a lot of spitballing about the accident—not yet definitive enough to warrant capitalization—over the next couple of days. Edward really can't get over how Alphonse managed soul transmutation without any enormous cost, and considering the only examples they know of are Philosopher's Stones, a couple of dead serial killers, and him, this is honestly a fair hangup to have. And Alphonse has the same hangup too, really! But his primary focus is less the fact that it happened consequence-free and more the fact that he split his soul consequence-free.
"But are you sure that's what happened?" Edward asks for the umpteenth time.
Alphonse finds himself fighting the urge to smirk. "I can always transmute my soul again—"
"No! I mean, jeez, give the damn thing a rest, huh? You've done enough body hopping, don't you think?"
"A frying pan is hardly a body—"
"There's a joke here," Winry chimes in, "You know, about frying pans and fires?"
They both sneer at her for that one, but the intended effect doesn't really pay off since she goes all soppy about how Alphonse can make stupid faces at her again.
Granny and Winry are doing their best to browbeat Edward under the knife again so they can do something about that ground beef masquerading as a functional right shoulder. Alphonse is helping apply the pressure at every opportunity as well; Edward can barely lift his arm over his head months after the fact and that's even after the surgery he got in Central. Edward, naturally, is under the impression that if he pretends hard enough he won't have to deal with it, and goes so far as to flee into town to "get a break from all this goddamn nagging."
"He can sleep in the yard for all I care," Winry grumbles, locking the front door and retreating to her workroom. Alphonse couldn't agree more. There's stubborn and then there's stupid.
Still, with Ed out of the house and Winry filling the house with the sound of shrieking metal, this would be as good a time as any to do some experimentation without anyone breathing down his neck. Well. Not without a spotter. He's curious, sure, but he's not an idiot. Look what messing around with souls cost them the first time around.
He hobbles back into the kitchen after Granny, who's in the middle of making a fresh pot of coffee. "Granny?"
"I'd like your help with something if you don't mind."
"Of course. What is it?"
"Mm, something pretty stupid, more than likely."
That gets her to look at him, eyes twinkling over her glasses. "Oh, I get a warning this time, do I?"
He shrugs, smiling weakly. "I'd like to try to recreate the accident with the frying pan."
"The same 'accident' that's had your brother up in arms the last few days?" Her mouth thins when he nods, but she only tuts rather than says no outright. "You'll do it either way, naturally. Well, go on, then."
He waits until she's settled at the table with her coffee, then fetches the same pan and joins her. It's still a relief to sit for all that he's hardly been on his feet that much this morning; he takes a moment to relish the burn in his legs and back, rubbing his elbow where there's an indent from the crutch.
"Should we be doing this in the operating room instead?" Her tone is dry, but it's not really a joke.
"I'm not anticipating anything as extreme as that," he clarifies hastily, "especially not with how—easy, I suppose, this was the other day."
She hums and settles back in her chair, trusting his experience if not put entirely at ease. He eyes the pan. It's just a pan, no different than the rest hung up or stored in a cupboard. He still has no conscious knowledge, Gate-given or otherwise, as to how one would go about binding a soul to anything, yet he'd managed it entirely by accident.
Well. This experiment really is just to see if the results are reproducible. He thinks of that same repairing array and claps his hands. The moment he touches the handle there's that lurch again, and he has two pairs of eyes again, one still looking at the pan and the other looking at the ceiling, with Granny and himself barely in his peripheral vision. "Nngh."
"I assume that means it worked then?" Granny asks, wary.
"Mm-hm," he says, then frowns and thinks about saying, "Exactly the same as the first time," which comes out of the pan instead of him.
Granny twitches, half a curse slipping from her. She leans forward, peering at his face. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," he says, trying not to close his eyes. "It's only—disorienting, seeing from two perspectives at the same time."
"So you really are—attached, I suppose, to this?" She reaches for the pan, but hesitates.
"Partly, yes. I don't know if it's a fifty-fifty split, or if that's even something that can be readily quantified. It's okay, pick it up."
She does so, gingerly, and even still Alphonse has to close his real eyes against the jolt in perspective. "You can't feel that, can you?"
"No, no. It's like the armor; no physical sensations, just sight and hearing. Is there anything unusual-looking about the pan now?"
"Besides looking better than the day I bought it?" She inspects it carefully, and Alphonse does his best not to squint throughout the process. "Ah."
"Ah," he agrees, because dead center on the bottom of the pan is the same seal Edward drew to bind his soul to the armor. Or, nearly. "No circle," he murmurs. A transmutation array instead, and so inherently less stable. Without a circle to control the transmutation it likely won't last long.
He touches it out of curiosity, pulls away when he feels his vision—visions?—wobble. It’s easier to interrupt the flow of energy without a circle too. What would happen if the array was broken? Would the piece of him in the pan automatically rejoin the whole, or—something worse?
"Hm," he says, and claps his hands. Lurch, and he's all where he should be, blinking rapidly at the twist and diminishing of his sight.
"Al?" Granny asks, a note of warning in her voice.
"I'm fine, thank you. You can put it down now."
She does so, and takes a moment to drink her coffee before asking, "Well?"
"Well, I've verified that this is a reproducible event rather than a fluke. Fixing this pan wasn't the first time I've transmuted something since I got my body back—" He plucks at his shirt, which he'd altered to better fit his underweight frame, "—but it was the first time I've transmuted metal, which might be relevant?”
They both hum, frowning at the pan a while.
"This is going to be a problem, isn't it," Granny says.
"I don't know if I'd go so far as to say ‘problem—’"
She quells him with a look, then keeps quelling him until he manages a satisfactory degree of shrinking and contrite, then sighs. "If you lose an arm playing around with this, don't come crying to me."
This requires further experimentation—something Ed agrees with in theory but is hard pressed to just up and leave Alphonse to it. He gets the fuss—"Yes, Ed, I said fuss—" but he'd prefer to determine the parameters of what transmutations may or may not trigger an extra helping of accidental possession of inanimate objects in a controlled setting. What if it happened in a fight or something?
"Who the hell are you gonna be fighting in your shape?" Edward asks, poking him in the ribs.
Alphonse swats him. "You if you keep that up. And I didn't mean now, obviously, but we've kind of made it a habit to get in over our heads at this point, haven't we? It's sensible to stress test this now."
"I know that," Edward snaps in that particular tone he uses when he knows he's run out of logical points to argue but doesn't feel like he's had a proper chance to shout his problems away.
"Then it's decided," Alphonse says, not exactly pleased per se, but there's not much to do in Resembool beyond adhere to his strict PT regimen, reread books from the collection they've shipped out here over the years for safekeeping, and help out around the house. They stay busy, sure, but life in the countryside can hardly be called mentally stimulating.
They start with compiling and then running through an exhaustive list of materials that could potentially set off the secondary transmutation, figure out fairly quickly that it's pretty much only metals that manage it, and only those that have a decent amount of iron in their makeup. Considering they're freeloading in an automail clinic, determining that specification is a lot easier than it might have been elsewhere even with Winry grousing every time he clapped his hands around her stuff.
Point of interest: he transmutes his soul to a half-configured hand made of a near-identical alloy composition as his armor when Winry's not looking and experiences almost no lurch at all. So that’s something to keep in mind.
Narrowing down what triggers the partial soul transfer is also a helpful exercise in getting over the disorientation of two pairs of eyes and ears—technically only the perception of a second pair of each but that’s just nitpicking—not to mention testing whether or not there's a limit to how many times in one sitting he can flip flop out of himself before hitting any kind of limit. The answer to that last one is a few, and maybe one more beyond that before the headache/nausea gets to be too much, but those both diminish the more he gets a handle on the perspective thing. So a few becomes several becomes a lot becomes Edward grabbing him by the wrists, giving him a faceful of Crazy Eyes #9 ("I had little patience to start with and you are actively digging me an early grave right now,") and saying, "Let's take a break, huh?"
It's around this time that the shipment from Central they'd been expecting finally turns up. Inside it, of course, is his armor.
It’s strange, to see him again—and Alphonse can’t help but consider the armor as an individual rather than an object, after they’d spent so long as the same person. It’s more than a little surreal to see how badly wrecked he’d gotten on the Promised Day from the outside. Winry’s halfway outraged on his behalf, running careful fingers over his ragged pieces, cradling his head as if it’d hurt him if she accidentally dropped it. She and Edward have been that careful with him from the start—or very nearly; once they’d gotten over the shock of the armor’s size and severity, well, it was Alphonse inside it. Of course they treated him like glass.
Den runs off with the helmet while they’re all talking. Not his head, not anymore, though he doubts he’ll ever be comfortable referring to any part of the armor as simple parts. That’s alright. Den will bring the helmet back eventually or one of them will happen across it sooner or later. Alphonse’s real, human head is set squarely where it should be and can’t be knocked off quite so easily these days, and they’ve got all the rest of the armor right here to turn over to Winry.
He’d known from the moment Master Sergeant Fuery asked him what he wanted to do with the armor, when he’d still be attached to what had surely been a hundred beeping machines and three hundred tubes in Central Hospital. For all that Edward had laughed at his nervousness, Alphonse is relieved to find Winry is 100% on board with it. (“Of course I’m on board! That’s good quality steel for all that you went and destroyed it more times than I want to think about!”) There’s no way he would have been okay stashing him in some dusty corner while he goes on with his—their—life. Better to be repurposed. Better to be reforged. Better to be scattered into so many automail parts, helping people move forward after grueling loss and rehabilitation while he does the same.
Which, well, is a nice sentiment in theory, but actually watching his former body get beaten and melted down is another thing entirely. It’s just too easy to imagine still being bound to him! Edward’s just as unsettled as he is and Winry won’t stop laughing at them. It’s gratifying, to find that for all they’ve been through some things haven’t changed.
Even so, he decides he won’t follow through on asking Winry if she’d mind letting him watch her put any of those new automail parts to use.
It’s practically the next day that Edward finally agrees to let Winry and Granny at his shoulder, and since he’ll be out of commission for a while he heckles Alphonse into tabling any and all soul alchemy experiments until he’s up and about again.
Alphonse sighs and rolls his eyes and calls him several different synonyms for mother hen, but agrees in the end. He wishes them all good luck, curls up with a pile of books near the radio, which he turns up a hair past comfortably loud, and then the three of them all vanish down the hall to prep for a surgery Granny anticipates will take several hours.
Then he laughs.
He cannot believe Edward believed him so easily.
He stays put for an agonizing half hour—just in case—then eases down the hall with the pretense of a bathroom break on the tip of his tongue—just in case. It is nothing short of delightful to be able to tiptoe properly again, crutch and all. He hovers by the operating room door long enough to hear beeping machinery before quickly moving on; it might not be an outfitting and Edward will be out cold for the whole duration, but Alphonse doesn’t want to spare any more brain power imagining what’s going on in there than he absolutely has to.
Edward’s leg is laid out on Winry’s worktable, waiting for her to tinker with it while Edward recuperates. Alphonse hums at the sight of it. If he were more in the habit of making faces he thinks he’d be making a pretty unhappy one right now. It still doesn’t sit right with him, to be whole and on the mend while Ed’s still missing most of an entire limb and hard at work adding more scar tissue to his already upsetting collection. It doesn’t sit right with him either, what it cost Edward to bring Alphonse home, but both of those are two enormous conversations that neither of them are real set on hashing out yet. They probably won’t be for a while, especially with the unexpected development of this soul alchemy business.
Which! Look at him getting waylaid by anxiety and guilt again. He’s here to pilfer supplies for secret experiments, not stand here and woolgather. He grabs three smallish pieces of metal that don’t look relegated to any particular project, shoves them into his pockets, and tiptoe-crutches at top speed for the back door.
There’s a small stone bench in the herb garden, age-worn and wonderfully warmed by the late morning sunlight. He leans his crutch against it, fishing out the scrap metal as he sits. He closes his eyes, pleased that he can and pleased by the temporary peace. He can’t hear anything that might go on in the operating room out here.
He takes a deep breath—reveling too, in the heady smell of growing things—and claps his hands. He weathers the lurch with hardly a wince and settles in for one experiment he’s not assaulted Edward’s fraying patience with yet: time.
He’d thought about grabbing Edward’s pocket watch—never thrown in Brigadier General Mustang’s face despite heated promises of a broken nose and gleeful paparazzi to memorialize the occasion—from his room, but he knows Edward’s never bothered keeping it wound. Anyway, too many long nights alone have given him an excellent sense of time and he’s not interested in tracking this down to the exact second, at least not for this first test.
“Mm, I should’ve grabbed a book,” he mutters to himself. Then, fighting a grin at his own silliness, replies to himself through the bit of metal in his hands, “Sounds like a good excuse to test distance while we’re at it.”
Edward’s not liked the idea of this test either, too afraid Alphonse will fall and hurt himself even when he’s there to watch like a hawk. Well if he falls now the worst that could happen is a tumble down a couple stairs, and he's gotten enough of his coordination back that he would be surprised if he earned more than an easily hidden bruise.
He sets the bit of metal with a bit of soul in it on the bench, but an unshielded view of all that clean blue sky makes his real eyes water. He leans it against the bench leg instead, blinking through green grass. It’s not much of an improvement, not really, but it’s something.
"Well, here goes nothing," he says in tandem with himself, and grabs his crutch.
Distance Test #1 goes… fine. He doesn't fall trying to walk around, though it's a near thing beginning to end and he does totter like a drunk the whole way. He grabs a book at random and then has no way to grope around with his eyes mostly squeezed shut which slows him down even further. He does have a bad scare once he's back in the yard when his crutch bangs against Den's automail, so focused on getting back to the bench he didn't even see the dog trot up to him. Den figures out quickly that Alphonse would do better without him underfoot and backs off, tail wagging nervously until he finally eases back down to the bench.
He spends something like five minutes with his hands over his face, breathing deeply, watching Den shuffle anxious circles around the bench from ankle-height. All in all, no more than ten minutes into Time Test #1 and no sign of the array failing yet. He drops his hands and spends another five or so minutes petting Den and murmuring quietly to her. Dog fur is so much coarser than he remembered it to be, and leaves his hands tingling every time he pets her.
"Good girl," he tells her. She gives him a lolling doggy grin and collapses in the grass at his feet, obscuring the view from his soul bit completely. He finds he's not inclined to move her, so long as she doesn't roll up against the array and risk ruining the experiment.
Nothing else for it now but to sit here and wait; either for Winry to come find him or for the array to peter out. He takes up the book—a slim treatise on the applications of geothermal energy in Cretan alchemy—and does his level best to sink his teeth into it.
...As if a book he’s already read three times could be enough to distract him from worrying, honestly.
Winry finds him several hours later, having moved back inside before he could earn too bad a sunburn and already dreading Edward's drugged outrage when he sees it. He'd made the trek upstairs to Winry's room, knowing she'd know it was far enough away from the operating room not to hear anything and knowing too that she wouldn't mind the trespass.
"I thought I'd find you up here," she says, a little sympathetic but mostly exhausted. Den jumps up at once to circle around her, whining.
"Oh, sorry. I didn't hear you come up." He shuts the book, gone mostly skimmed with next to nothing absorbed, and tries to surreptitiously cover up his experiments with it. He underestimates the weight of the book, or the distance, or something; the scrape of steel against wood gives him away immediately. Winry comes over all suspicious, and there's never been any luck hiding secrets successfully from her, so he resigns himself to a good telling off and moves the book.
"Oh, Al," she sighs.
Alphonse sinks into his collar guiltily. He hates when she uses that voice. She only does when he or Edward have properly disappointed her.
“Ed’s sleeping,” she says instead of tearing him a new one. She really must be tired. “Everything went fine. He’ll probably be out for a few more hours, so try and finish... whatever you’re doing before you go see him, okay?”
She holds up her hand, not looking at him. “I need to take a shower.”
Well that’s a get the fuck out, please if he’s ever heard one. He nods meekly, leveraging himself to his feet and crutch before gathering up the book and scrap metal. He can’t help the grimace as he jostles his second and third pair of not-really-there eyes, and of course Winry sees it. Her mouth thins, but she doesn’t say anything until he’s at her bedroom door.
“It’s scary, y’know? We’re just… we’re worried. We don’t want you to get hurt.”
“...I know,” he replies. “It scares me too.” That isn’t the right word for how he feels about all of this, but that’d be getting into semantics. Winry’s never had their patience for splitting hairs and is dead on her feet besides. “But I want to understand it more. It happened purely by accident the first time. I don’t want something like that to catch me off guard.”
“Who are you so dead set on fighting that you’re planning for worst case scenarios like—like that already? You only just got your body back, Al!”
“Nobody! Nobody,” he repeats when she gives him a doubtful look. Jeez, it’s a lot scarier now that she’s taller than him. Hopefully that won’t last. “But—god, I don’t know. Ed and I—it seemed sometimes we could hardly go a week without running into purse thieves, never mind everything else that’s happened. I want to travel again, once I’m strong enough. There’s so much of Amestris I haven’t seen yet, and I want to study alkahestry in Xing one day too. I’m not naïve enough to think I’ll never have to protect myself, or somebody else, and I don’t want to be surprised by this.” He does a one-shoulder shrug to indicate the metal pressed between the book and his chest, wincing again when his vision jostles weirdly.
Her mouth thins again, but instead of yelling she only nods tiredly. “No surprises. That includes for us too, okay? Don’t go skulking around just to avoid Ed’s yelling. You know he’ll only go off twice as loud when he does eventually find out.”
He huffs, feeling his cheeks tighten with a stifled grin for all that the conversation is so serious. He’ll never get over how good it feels to smile. “Right.”
Up go her eyebrows in an obvious, are you serious with this? expression. She flaps her hand at him impatiently. “Well? What have you been doing up here?”
“O-oh. Well, uh—” He tells her about the initial tests out in the garden, small increases in distance and how long it would take for the array to fail on its own. It took about 90 minutes the first time, when he’d only wandered once, and about ten minutes less than that when he went and read on the front porch. Then when he went inside he figured he’d see if he could do more than one soul bind at the same time (this makes Winry look like she wants to beat him upside the head then crawl into bed to leave Edward to deal with this crazy alchemy shit, but she just nods and gestures for him to keep going when he hesitates) so he did that in the living room, and those arrays failed within five minutes of each other after little more than an hour, so then he decided to put one soul bind down in the basement then come all the way up here to bind two more, and well. Here they are now.
“How long’s it been?” She asks, not looking at him again. He can’t figure out her expression but he’s mostly sure she’s not going to yell at him, if for no other reason than to avoid waking Edward up.
“Mm, half an hour or so?”
“And you don’t feel like puking after spreading yourself around so much?”
“The one in the basement is facedown and so was one of these,” he says, shrug-gesturing again. “It helps. Honestly, Winry, I’d have canceled these two binds at the first sign of anything weird, but there’s been nothing. I mean, beyond being able to do this in the first place. I don’t feel sick, or strained, and nothing hurts. There hasn’t been anything like how it felt when my bind to the armor was failing either. I’m a little bit dizzy, but I’ve technically got four pairs of eyes right now. That’s just to be expected.”
She takes time for a slow inhale, sighing out more explosively as she scrubs her eyes. “Yeah. Okay, sure. Just—nix it on any more experiments until Ed’s out of bed, okay? And tell him what you’ve done once he’s not drugged to the gills.”
“I will, I promise.” He beams at her. It makes her go all happy-crinkly around the eyes when he does that, and this time’s no different.
Some time ago (and by “some time” I mean a long ass time, oops) Kate (@pumpkinpaperweight) posted an analysis of gold rush by Taylor Swift tracing parallels to Agatha, which this post is clearly inspired by.
(Go check that one out after you finish reading this post, it’s really good.)
Ever since, I’ve had an entire tagatha x taylor playlist/unfinished post that I don’t think will ever see the light because I’m too lazy to actually finish it. But now I have some spare time and I noticed that,,,, invisible string wasn’t on it.
And that's cause, well, despite the obvious gold fingerglow motif which is very tagatha … you already read the title of the post. It’s more like my own version of of what I would have had happen post-otk (will my epilogue version ever see the light, I wonder) than anything else, but this is my account, in which I am correct all the time and accept no criticism so,,,,
Green was the color of the grass where I used to read at Centennial Park
I used to think I would meet somebody there
Basically, these first two lines are about how Sophie’s egocentrism isolated her and kept her from making genuine connections with people from very early on, until she becomes friends with Agatha and even after that.
Okay, so have you guys ever seen those tiktoks that are like ‘13-year-old me, in black jeans and sneakers, at the beach, reading a book mYstERioUsLy so that when Harry Styles showed up he’d know I’m dIfFeRenT'?
This is the energy I get here.
Like, Sophie in the start of book one doing all those ‘good deeds’ so set herself apart in the eyes of the school master hoping that he’d bring her to the school where she would meet *drumroll* The One.
Most of us have, at some point (I hope, otherwise it was just me and that would be so embarassing), tried and failed to channel that main-character-energy to manifest ourselves into a story much more interesting than whatever is going on in your life at the moment. I feel like at the very core, that’s sort of what Sophie was trying to do? It’s a very juvenile feeling and shows just how little Sophie knew about love overall. Love as it is in fairytale books, as opposed to as it actually is.
She thought herself as above everyone else and thought she was entitled to true, unconditional love, which ended up holding her back and isolating her from everyone in the town, save for Agatha, give or take.
This mindset is what really keeps her from seeing Tedros (and Agatha, and everyone else) as people, rather than characters in her story, and actually connecting with them on a non-superficial level.
Teal was the color of your shirt when you were 16 at the yogurt shop
You used to work at to make a little money
I don’t think this part needs much explaining?
On surface level, Nicola canonically started working at her father’s pub at a very young age to help with family expenses.
If you think about it a little more and contrast it with the previous line, though, it highlights the differences between Sophie and Nicola:
Nic works to help her family, learning responsibility and duty, while Sophie barely ever did anything for her father, both out of vanity (and a superiority complex) and out of spite (which is honestly undeserved all the way up to book 3, when Stefan let Callis die and fucking tried to blame Agatha for returning without Sophie and then guilt-tripped her into going to save her, after which he was dead to me lol). Sophie grew with a princess-like mindset, despite being just slightly better off than Nic, given all the villagers save from Callis and Agatha (due to them being outcasts) seem to have a similar income (with the exception of the beggar which I don’t understand and am probably overthinking about, but honestly, it’s a impossible to leave town and people die on the mill all the time, there's no college or whatever, did none of these assholes offer the beggar a job- I’m getting carried away), while Nicola has to shoulder most of the responsibilities due to her dad being sick.
Also, given the *misogyny* I’d be surprised if Nic didn’t have to do all the housework, as the only girl in her house.
I doubt that the uniform of the pub was teal and given the book timeline she wouldn’t have been 16 in any instances in which Sophie and her met in Gavaldon, but I digress.
Gave me no compasses
Gave me no signs
Were there clues I didn't see?
Also kinda self-explanatory in a way?
On one interpretation, it takes Sophie an awful long time to mature and grow into an okay person. She lashed out after Tedros’ rejection because her desire was, when you get down to it, to be loved, even though she didn't understand what love was or how to go about it. She was already loved both by Agatha and by her father but she couldn't see it because the idea of love (romantic, loud, grand-gesture) was so embedded into her, but the clues to it were there all along.
On another, you could argue that Nicola also did not see this coming at all, specially if you consider canon!Nicola rather than fanon!Nicola (why would you, but okay, ignore my Hunter post, go on, stomp on my feelings). Nicola, whose purpose in TCY was to be the new hort-love-interest no one asked for, ending up with her *gag* love-rival? Unexpected, iconic, never done before (never actually done in canon), amazing, mind-blowin-
Bad was the blood of the song in the cab on your first trip to LA
You ate at my favorite spot for dinner
Bad Blood was a smash hit on Taylor’s career, playing on the radio non-stop during the 1989 era, arguably her peak in terms of mainstream pop and radio plays.
The Tale of Sophie and Agatha was the equivalent in this context, as it was all the rage in Gavaldon after book 3; Sophie’s persona as the Dean Of Evil is solidified and everyone in The Woods knows who she is and read her tale, including Nicola (who already knew who she was, but now had a another version of her to compare to the version she already knew, which hm, did not favour Sophie either way).
I think it’s kind of fascinating how parasocial relationships work in the context of SGE because like, the storian is there as an omniscient narrator, but it doesn’t write everything. Like, does it just expose what the people in the tale feel and think only if it suits the plot or do the tales look just like the SGE books, in some sort of fourth wall break or is it like an actual children’s fairytale, where you just get told actions and have to sort of assume motivations? How does that affect public opinion? I don’t think most people would be too keen on stanning Sophie after reading The Tale Of Sophie and Agatha (cause damn, Sophie does a lot of questionable shit there) but canonically, they do, despite her being the villain, which is something I have opinions on (do I ever not have opinions on things?).
Like, sure there would be Nevers stanning her, but honestly, if they read the tale, wouldn't they be more likely to stan Hester or even Agatha? Cause Sophie almost got both Evers and Nevers killed, doomed everyone in The Woods for a guy, and was overall a horrible person with no regard for actual Good or Evil as balanced things? Isn’t this why The Coven sided with Agatha, like, I don’t get it- Is it stanning out of fear? Cause that’s the only sort of explanation I have, specially for people in Gavaldon, but that’s something I’ll go deeper into in another time.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nic’s first class at SGE was about The Tale Of Sophie and Agatha, given she was originally placed in Evil, due to Dovey and Sophie’s bet, and Evil’s school curriculum was under Sophie’s control, so if you think those classes were anything other than the Sophie-Show, you are wrong.
Now, on to headcanon territory, wouldn’t it be poetic if during her first lunch Nic sat at that tree in the middle of the clearing where Agatha and Sophie used to sit? Not only for ship reasons, but the tree is right in the center, which could relate to how Nic was supposed to be half/half?
Bold was the waitress on our three-year trip getting lunch down by the Lakes
She said I looked like an American singer
It’s a real shame that I don’t remember most of TCY. (But is it really?)
This is kinda of my own personal interpretation of what the OTK epilogue should have been like (and so, it's kind of a spoiler for my ever unfinished rewrite sksnsksn).
Imagine if, instead of that horrid school wedding (kill me now, please), they actually held the respective funerals for all the people lost in the Camelot power-struggle (I’ll take a school funeral, but don’t come at me with school weddings or I’ll lose my shit).
Tedros and Agatha, poor traumatized children, are on their way back to Camelot to try and get stuff back under control and do royal things. Sophie is pretty much on her own, with the remaining faculty of the school, as well as the new kids (yeah, Hort’s staying dead, boo hoo, I’m not sorry sbfhbsdb). Nicola will be returning home to Gavaldon soon, since the school schedule is already messed up beyond repair and everyone is taking some time off anyway. She was only staying there until christmas originally, so might as well.
Public opinion on the main trio is kinda weird at the moment:
Tagatha suffered a coup, then a while laterTedros killed the brother of his usurper, whom had been more popular than him, and well, they do tell people that Japeth killed Rhian, but it’s not like they have receipts? Like, there’s no way to fact check that. They could very well have killed Rhian, we, as bystanders, wouldn’t know? You can bet rumors like these don’t just go away.
Well, I think public opinion on Sophie was already fear-based rather than coming from a place of admiration for her acts. People aren’t sure of her alliances anymore, and don’t really know how to behave around her so they mainly avoid her. Now that Dovey and Hort are dead and everyone else is resuming their quests, she’ll be pretty much on her own to deal with the aftermatch, which is not only sad, but also probably not healthy. She considers staying with Agatha, but she doesn’t want to add more scandal to the Camelot situation.
So she decides to go back to Gavaldon. Not permanently tho. Just to visit her father and take some time off to decide who could balance her well enough to be appointed as Dean Of Good.
She'd choose Agatha, but you know, Agatha is kinda busy. Plus, it'd be good to see her father. Watching most of your parental figures drop like flies really puts things into perspective and maybe (just maybe) there's still something to salvage there.
Not many people know she's at Gavaldon, and that's on purpose. For once, Sophie just wants to be left the fuck alone, so she just tries to lay low and not bring unnecessary attention to heself. It's so unlike her to do so that when she walks in to have lunch at Nicola's pub, no one but Nicola even recognizes her.
And if Nicola keeps her company and accompany her on walks, well, it’s no one’s business. Bonding time? Bonding time.
Cutting me open, then healing me fine
Were there clues I didn't see?
You know what these kids need after this Camelot shitstorm? Therapy, that’s what.
There’s no therapy in The Woods, so friendship will simply have to do. Please sir, let these kids heal.
Nicola was dragged to SGE while her father was sick and knew no one there personally, then got dragged again, now into a power struggle where she almost died multiple times, dated a guy, broke up with a guy and I can’t even remember what else but that sounds like a stressful time considering how close together the events from TCY are compared to TSY. What does she want to do now? Will she become a knight? Will she remain in Gavaldon? Does she have to finish school? How have Hunter and her dad been? Whatever went down with her brothers? Why was she important in the first place? Lots to reflect and self-search.
And Sophie. Oh Sophie.
Sophie fell once again for a ‘get-love-’quick’ scheme, not once, but twice! That is not something easy to look in the face and forgive yourself for.
With Rhian, it backfired by hurting everyone she loved, and after the shit Rafal pulled on her, she should have known better. But can you blame her? It’s not like the Rafal thing left her unscratched: you try being in an abusive relationship with a predator, see if you don’t get some trauma. And instead of doing the hard thing and keeping up the work she had been doing on herself she threw her progress out the window the moment Rhian said what she wanted to hear!
After that went belly-up, she at least managed to help her friends, but then later that backfired and she got brain-washed (are we gonna talk about this? disturbing much?). Then, she got fragile enough for her to attempt to find purpose in her life within Hort’s feelings for her, even if she didn’t actually reciprocate those feelings, simply because she was sure of them and they were familiar.
And later, even Hort was taken away from her.
(Probably for the best, given their attachment had been… precarious, to say the least.)
Therapy, I’m telling you.
A string that pulled me
Out of all the wrong arms right into that dive bar
Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire
Chains around my demons
Wool to brave the seasons
One single thread of gold tied me to you
These two would be so good for one another.
I think that being alone when you’re going through something is literally the worst you can do, but when you have someone who just…. gets it, you know? They were there too. They understand. It forms a connection.
After OTK, both of them (Sophie mostly) have enough on their plates for them to go down a dark path to a horrible place. But they don’t. Cause they are here for each other and have their support system to help them.
Does that translate into late nights drinking together after the pub shuts down? Maybe. Keeping tabs on each other to make sure they’re sleeping and eating right? Yes. Keeping secrets and confessions? You got it.
And then my friends, begins the pining.
Cause, you know, they’re just gals being pals, gals being gay- wait what.
Nicola probably comes to terms with it first, but thinks Sophie is not interested in her like that (she also suspects that Sophie only sees her as Agatha’s stand-in and will drop her eventually once Agatha is no longer in such high demand.) Sophie is, in classic Sophie-fashion, neck-deep in denial, she’s not a lesbian right? she’s boy crazy, she’s not a lesbian-
Except she never felt like this with any of those boys. The only comparison she has is what she feels for Agatha, this feeling of being heard and seen and understood, but-
But Sophie doesn’t want to kiss Agatha.
And in retrospect, she never wanted to kiss anyone like this either. Tedros who, Rafal who, Rhian who, Hort who, these bitches could never.
Eventually they attend the official tagatha wedding, HELD AT THE CASTLE, as each other’s plus-ones, and well, maybe consider checking my eventual OTK-epilogue for more on this, once it eventually comes out.
Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart
Now I send their babies presents
Very self-explanatory, Tedros may be Sophie’s favorite ex, but he’s still an ex and they will be killing each other if left unchecked for two long unsupervised.
Nicphie as the tagatha baby godparents. Please, YES.
I’m not gonna go into detail because children make me uncomfortable, I wish this was a joke, haha, but yes, Sophie and Nic pic the presents together and they attend the baby shower together. Are they dating, are they just married but don’t know it yet? I wonder. They're just together and no one really knows what's going on.
Gold was the color of the leaves when I showed you around Centennial Park
Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven
You know what’s funny? I didn’t tell you anything between the wedding and the baby shower. Remember how there was an opening for Dean of Good?
Yeah, too late to send in your resumes, position is already filled.
Sophie shows Nic the ropes of being Dean, or at least that’s how she’ll present it, but they’re still sort of figuring it out together. And that's okay.
They spend summers traveling around, christmas in Gavaldon, new years in Camelot and all is well. Their fingerglow colors now match. But it’s, unfortunately not gold.
Gave me the blues and then purple pink skies
And it's cool
Baby, with me
Yeah, it’s fucking purple.
I can’t remember if Nic has a canon fingerglow color, but I don’t really care much for canon, do I? I just really like the imagery of it, so it’s blue and pink mixed together. Because, you know I’m a symbolic bitch.
Thank you, sweet muffin, for all these awesome questions!!! <3 <3 <3
6. What character do you have the most fun writing?
You know what? With IYS, it’s basically ALL OF THEM! It’s ridiculous. They’re all so soft and fluffy and loving, it’s just very very nice!
10. How would you describe your writing process?
Um ... okay, so stories either begin with words or with scenes/ideas and that pretty much sets the tone for them.
IYS is very much a “recording” story where I basically just see all these scenes in my head and hear the conversations and write that down (and afterwards try to cut down on the inflation of smiles and grins and nods). Those stories are often hard to start because it’s that initial resistance of trying to funnel everything happening more or less at once in my brain into linear words.
Then there are stories that start with words and are much more tied to the words. Those are usually the angstier ones as opposed to the fluffier “recording” stories and a lot more focused on introspection and descriptions.
The first sort are hard to start but easier to continue, while the others are easy to start but very hard to keep up.
Both, however, generally get several passes. I'm a layer writer, just putting down the bones and everything I have in the first draft and then adding descriptions, beats, dialogue, whatever. The “wordy” stories get more of that treatment but I always do several read-throughs of everything. I may even do an actual reading of the chapter out loud, to see how it flows, and I just generally edit a lot. I actually love editing and polishing a story till it shines (I do not love editing when it’s plot related and I suddenly realise my whole timeline is fucked up; very much not talking about that sort of editing!!)
18. Do any of your stories have alternative versions? (plotlines that you abandoned, AUs of your own work, different characterisations?) Tell us about them.
I already talked extensively in the notes to IYS how that initial idea of the first Willex kiss was undermined by Willie and Alex themselves. Other than that ... hm ...there’s a whole abandoned sidequel to a Metal Gear Solid AU story of mine; there’s a few things I ultimately forgot to put into another Metal Gear Solid story of mine but other than that, not really alternate versions as such?
20. Tell us the meta about your writing that you really want to ramble to people about (symbolism you’ve included, character or relationship development that you love, hidden references, callbacks or clues for future scenes?)
Uuugh ... okay, this question is kinda awesome and kinda daunting because ...I don’t know?
I love it when my stories turn out to have a structure or symmetry that maybe wasn’t even intentional?
Silent Souls [Fantastic Beasts] has those two mirror chapters from different POV and then the combining epilogue.
Battlefield [MGS] ended up having an unintended structure of two descriptive chapters, followed by two epistolary chapters, and then another descriptive and another letter chapter, doing a sort of zooming in timewise, first dealing with longer time spans and then zeroing in on just a moment, and I thought that was rather cool :D
Breathe [MGS] is about the struggle of keeping to breathe (drowning, panic attack, hypothermia) and is divided into subsections alternately titled IN and OUT, with two of those from one character’s POV and then one from the other’s, then repeat, in a sort of spiral movement. And I’m super proud of and happy with how that turned out because I think it just ties the whole story together even more neatly.
I’m also super happy with the chapter titles in The Last Standing and how they’re all variations on song or band titles in the show
Uhm ... I think that’s enough rambling for now? XD
I don’t usually dwell on American cape comic shenanigans too much, because it’s a fast and loose kind of writing that doesn’t really play well with being scrutinized or really thought about at all, at least any longer than it takes to get through a page, but man... this whole Tynion IV Batman thing is still rubbing me the wrong way... and what bugs me is how it’s definitely not all “bad,” and in fact a lot of the build up is great, but then the resolutions (or lack there of) are massive let downs, but then also he keeps skirting by with these loose ends that feel like they weren’t forgotten but that they might get picked up later. It would almost suggest he has a real big picture planned as a through line across multiple stories...
So, when Tynion took over with issue 86 and Their Dark Designs, he actually provided a great premise: In the aftermath of City of Bane and Alfred Pennyworth’s death, Bruce muses over his apparent old habit of sketching himself little snapshots of an idealized Gotham he holds in his head. We have a clear establishment of the theme of Design, and also the idea that Bruce has an end game in mind. He’s not just reacting to crime as it happens, he has a long term plan. This is a genuinely good angle to have for a Batman story.
To build on this, we learn that Lucius is working on some new tech for Bruce and he specifically marvels at how far Bruce’s war on crime has escalated. The bat-gear hasn’t just been getting more sophisticated over the years, its development is beginning to outpace its practical applications.
Additionally, we get a weird kind of distraction of a B-plot with various master assassins convening in Gotham under a singular organized job, but among them the spotlight falls on Deathstroke. Does Tynion talk about Deathstroke being one of the classic anti-batmen? Does he talk about Deathstroke’s healing factor? No. He talks about Deathstroke’s augmented brain processing faster than Bruce can keep up with (a trait most authors tend to overlook with Slade); this means his only means of competing with Slade is to have a plan that puts him down before his super fast brain can think of a way out, because implicitly he will out think Batman given time, and if they’re both whittled down to adapting to one another in the moment, Slade wins.
Again, our theme is Master plans/Designs/end games.
Enter the heretofore unmentioned legendary, nigh mythical, Gotham villain named The Designer has reemerged after an indistinct time missing from the criminal underworld. His claim to fame is planning 20 steps ahead, outpacing his adversary’s planning to snub any and all resistance utterly and completely.
He’s brought up because he once mentored Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and Joker in their early days(and in their 90s era outfits as a clever reference) and apparently the master plans he devised with each of them that were never enacted have been queued up by “someone.” Designer is back, but he’s supposed to be dead; In a painfully uninteresting, cliche “twist” Joker was too KuHrAaZzY to handle and Designer turned on him rather than finish his tutelage, and in the ensuing firefight the 4 Gotham rogues killed the legendary Designer.
So, there are a lot of fun questions this raises, like who the apparent new Designer is, what his plan is, and what he wants...
Bruce has another run in with Slade and launches into an awkward, kinda whiny rant where he tells Slade that if only super villains hadn’t wasted so much of his time escalating the arms race of powers and gadgets and gimmicks, that he could have fixed Gotham years ago. So, here we are again, this idea of plans, of reactionary escalation, and of the absolute need for a master plan that snubs the opposition before they can react and learn. Batman beats Slade, of course, which just goes to show what we’re always meant to assume from Batman anyway, that he already had Slade beat from the get go. He had a plan; Batman always has a plan.
So this is super cool! It took us kind of a plodding 6 out of 9 issues of this story to get here, but this is a good place! We know Batman has a master plan for Gotham, we know from what we’ve heard about plans/Designs as a theme that means he’s already got all his villains accounted for, and that he’s just going through the motions: turning the wheels to make the machine work. It’s only a matter of time, now.
I’ll be honest, my thought at first when I was reading these? I thought The Designer was Batman, or some part of Batman’s plan. That he’d resurrected this mythical villain as part of his own master plan, to perhaps trick all his biggest adversaries to go all in on a singular massive criminal enterprise that Bruce had already designed from the get go to fail, and to take them all down with it once and for all. It fit the profiles, and it felt like the natural direction this all was headed...
But then it was just The Joker. Designer really was dead, Joker brought him back, stole his master plan and pulled it off himself. He stole Batman’s money and gadgets, and took over Gotham (again). That’s it. It was a 9 issue/4 month long fucking prologue to Joker War. And more importantly... NONE of these themes paid off, even a little... And to be fair, if these had turned into something to be addressed and resolved in Joker War, I might have been okay with it... But they weren’t...
Also there’s a (would be)great little moment towards the end here where we learn that The Designer’s original nemesis, a master detective whom he crushed and humiliated, once taught Bruce “how to lose.” And this went nowhere. But it could have been super interesting, because what exactly does that even mean? Does it mean learning to accept loss and move on? Does it mean letting the opponent’s plan succeed because if they put everything into the one plan, then it means they never actually had a follow through, so now the board is wiped clean and everyone’s back to square 1? What exactly was the point of bringing back the Designer’s legacy if we just learned that the real Designer wasn’t even the master mind of this whole story?
So then we meander into Joker War, curiosity still piqued, but expectations drastically lowered...
Joker has all Batman’s gadgets: that’s actually kind of cool. I like the idea of Joker having infinite resources and Batman being the one working underground. It’s kind of been done before in pieces, but never quite as explicit as this. It’s not genius, but its a solid premise. Joker goes on a meta-rant about people watching “the classics” over and over, and audiences being content to see the same old story, provided it’s done right. (A bold called shot, Tynion.)
And we glimpse the mysterious future Batsuit that apparently Bruce doesn’t remember designing. It’s kind of a throwback to the gray and blue look of the silver age Batman, when comics were a little more cheery and goofy and child friendly. It’s a nice commentary on the idea that Bruce wants to make Gotham into a better place, not where he doesn’t need to be Batman, but where he can be a less grim Batman. It speaks to Bruce’s character, his vision for Gotham, and Tynion’s nostalgia that is now being strongly established as a driving force of these stories...
Joker’s plan involves paying Gothamites, in the middle of this citywide takeover by clown gangs, to attend screenings of Zorro, at which point he’ll kill them walking out of the theaters. Batman shows up at one theater, fights some Joker zombie things, get gassed, gets rescued by Harley and given an antidote that induces a hallucination chat with Alfred.
Laughably, in this talk Bruce admits “I failed...” when talking about letting Alfred die and letting Joker take over the city but then hallucination Alfred talks Bruce OUT of it. So whatever it was Bruce learned about losing from the old detective, this apparently wasn’t it; this was the wrong kind of losing.
Joker mentions part of his plan was to make a new generation of heroes and villains with the massive shared trauma of the theater killings. We’d been seeing bits of Clown Killer, but that’s it. He actually seems pretty cool, but he wasn’t really doing much more than cameo in this. No new villains* actually, not until the epilogue gives us the anti-hero GhostMaker.
*correction: there are a few retroactively established villains who are new to publication, but no new villains born out of the actual Joker War scenario.
The whole Batfam shows up to wrestle clowns. For some reason Tynion or DC editorial in general went to GREAT lengths to contrive Dick being back in the old Nightwing outfit, Tim being Robin again, Cass and Steph being Batgirls, Babs being Oracle, and Damian having renounced the Robin title for this... They don’t do jack shit; They wrestle clown goons in the background.
Yet, again one of Joker’s stupid genius plans ends with a fist fight between a highly trained martial artist and a guy in a purple suit and we’re expected to be excited about this. Harley shows up to trick Bruce into leaving Joker to die, but of course he survives anyway...
So there are a few themes here that got heinously underutilized... Joker’s super into this self-aware thing about this being just another Batman-v-Joker affair, and about recreating Batman’s origin, and we see this play out on the other side with the weird walk back on the Batfam’s costumes. But we know Joker will lose, so ostensibly the bottom line here should be that, no, actually... doing the same old thing isn’t enough, and people aren’t as predictable as Joker thinks.
But if we’re acknowledging this idea that Batman-v-Joker is a thing that happens in cycles and it’s always kind of the same thing, and people are sick of it, then you know what one undeniable fact of continuity flies in the face of that? That no matter how many times we reboot the universe and repeat this whole song and dance, Batman keeps accumulating more sidekicks. I’d have loved if this whole thing had just climaxed with Joker “winning” in his over elaborate 1v1 grudge match only to have half a dozen extra bats bust in and kick his ass.
But more over, Batman NEVER had any sort of plan in this... The whole lead up in Their Dark Designs, which took LONGER to set up Joker War than Joker War actually lasted, was about Bruce having this Design for Gotham... And Joker War goes out of its way to remind us of this lingering concept, and doesn’t actually do anything with it, but tries to still dangle it over us, like... “oh no, we didn’t forget it, it’s just for later!” And like, I’m still kind of on board for it, but less and less so the more this shit drags out without any satisfying benchmarks along the way. And it’s just super frustrating to want to give Tynion credit for the genuinely good set up he seems to have here... Except is it still a “good setup” of it ends up not actually setting anything up? or if what it sets up turns out to be disappointing and bad??
It’s just really bizarre to me that I honestly kind of desperately want to like Tynion’s Batman (Clearly I’m having a fucking field day digging my teeth into it) but in spite of the good that’s there, and the clear forethought that appears to have gone into it, he keeps tripping himself up somehow.
I Have Always Loved The Door is the Wen Qing/Mianmian fic that all the wlw wanted but canon could not in any way make happen
This is part one of three, i’m sorry, but it is a 30k fic and i’ve never written anything this long. it’s like. six months of my life. annotations are gonna be longer, too.
What is this fic About? Uh. Lots. Mostly your relationship with your past and your future. making choices about what you carry with you into your life.
title is from Charly Bliss’ “Percolator” but like. the rest of the fic is in no way related to the song. Just the lyrics “I have always loved the door/but I will always love you more/I love metaphors” fit well for the wen qing mood
it is a fucking CRIME that wen qing died, and while i’m happy that luo qingyang got a happy ending with a soft man who just wants to make her happy, i think she deserves more. so i gave her a fancy job
i struggled with the outline for this so much until i realized that mianmian’s canon arc is partially about saying goodbye to your home/family because you no longer fit there + it’s not a great place anymore. and that’s so close 2 wen qing’s
so that drove a great part of the plot, and helped shape the youya/tuzai bit
the first chapter is so funny and then nothing ever approaches it, i’m so sorry i got ur hopes up with the shennans TTnTT
i hate most of my writing after it’s up but i still like this chapter. wen qing being a doctor, nmj knowing his place, mianmian cursing loudly
“If you’ve been knuckles-deep in me, you can consider yourself a friend” i spend a lot of time in this fic trying to kill wen qing with Lesbianism, but honestly that’s just to make up for mianmian killing herself with lesbianism.
this was b4 i decided to care how i ended chapters haha
i’m proud honestly of this fic alternating perspective, bc it forced me to learn to write more distinct voices.
“are you eating enough red meat?” “in the unclean realm?”
if i had 2 be in a Great Sect i would 100% want to be in the big sexy sword jock sect but unfortunately i’m a vegetarian
please think of me, an average-sized gay, with noodle arms, pushing away all the giant cooks and self-appointed nie aunties, who are trying to shove meat into my mouth
like you know how cats avoid the bath??? and their people are like “jesus fuck how is this 10 lb animal defeating me, i’m huge and strong and also have thumbs”??? that, except it’s an average sized sword gay fighting ten RIPPED aunties holding out beef
i do love the mianqing dynamic i created here and i’m not sure i kept it up but WHATEVER this is about annotations not about editing
mianmian: god FUCK the jin clan, the jin clan sux. wen qing: hmmmmmmmmmm
i think mianmian’s three older sisters might show up in a future work in the series
yeah, i fell in love with this au, there will be at least one epilogue.
oh ho ho!!! it’s the beginning of Sword Content!!!
i watched so many videos of dao work vs jian work and then i ignored all of it!!!
by that i mean “there were only like two decent-quality videos on dao work that i found on youtube and i couldn’t study them hard enough to get what i wanted”
someone trying to correct your practice with boring, irrelevant suggestions??? it’s extremely likely, it’s happened to me multiple times, i straight up stopped practicing outside bc of it
please, men, i’m begging you. if you see me doing martial arts, rather than correcting me, ask “oh cool, what are you doing? ah, i do [this art]” and like. talk with me like i’m a human
not to be A Bitch but there is a 70% chance that i’ve actually studied more marital arts than you, on account of most ppl abandoning within a few years, and me practicing aikido for more than a fucking decade
god swinging a weapon full-speed at someone and stopping inches from their head??? a Fun Time
mianmian’s doing it as a big dick energy move
but in my school we just trusted each other to not fuck up.
im too gay to want any “”””homophobia””” or “””discovering you’re gay”””” or “””coming out”””” plots, i just wanna fast forward to the “”””i wanna kiss a girl””” bit
OH MAN i forgot wwx’s voice in wen qing’s head.
“even after his death the yiling patriarch managed to annoy her” i love wen qing
IT’S THE MEMORIAL DINNER CHAPTER
memorial dinners are an important part of my household’s mourning process sorry
“she waved her hand to indicate the entirety of his use of demonic cultivation, fall from grace, and mass murder” mood wen qing. fucking mood.
oh my god im rereading this and seeing where i misspelled shit ugh. sorry lwj
so sometimes i’m vague about food and that’s because the only food i can think of when i’m writing is pork. i just. can’t remember what other foods u can eat. pork and also buns (but meat buns) soup? never heard of her. chicken? what is that??? piles of vegetables??? no one eats that obviously
please remember that im vegetarian and not only do i not eat pork, what i do eat is piles of vegetables
ah yes!!! time for mianmian to say prisons are for burning!!!!
our girls are both radical leftists sorry not sorry
acab, reproductive rights, prisons are for burning, capitalism is an inherently exploitative system, unionize your workplace
“tip your servers well” -- wen qing
wwx, shouting from beyond the grave: GET SOME, GIRLS!!!
wwx’s ghost: do y’all need anything? snacks? water? a condom? ah, love you kids, you keep me young
oh i forgot “for my local radical,” i should make sure to keep using ‘my radical’ as a cute endearment for the wives
awwwww yeahhhhhhh trauma dreamsssss
writing jin guangyao is so fun!! and stressful!!!
fun because he never says anything straight, only through six layers of plausible deniability, and that’s just a fun exercise
fun also because i Love a Bitch.
stressful because he never says anything straight, only through six layers of plausible deniability.
the bit where he threatens to expose wen qing and mentions specifically that nmj does not like being lied to??? took me several times to perfect and im still not happy!!!
but i’m deeply proud of him sending the flame hairpiece, that’s some a+ innocent-looking menace right there, that’s the only thing on this planet i believe in anymore
i loved making up sect politics that weren’t specifically “let’s put up watchtowers” because i don’t think that happened while jgs was still alive
uh @ self why did i capitalize da-ge that’s so uncomfortable.
oh my god i just realized that jin guangyao has to watch his ex boyfriend/nie mingjue treat mianmian the way he used to be treated oh fuck
sorry i was not at all writing 3zun cinderella when i wrote this so i wasn’t in the habit of thinking about jgy being in pain and now???
get fukt jin guangyao
he 100% cries to lxc about this later
what’s that??? you say i keep writing overthinkers who are anxious and terrified of everything??? huh i’m not sure i agree and if even if you were right i’m not sure it means anything
“grumpy frog” mianmian mvp
god the flame hairpiece is one of like two whole good endings i did for this fic haha
I found three songs this might be, and I picked the one I liked best and ended up listening to this entire album. (Well, the first three tracks and the aesthetic, anyway.) Because this is *excellent* Lunamione stuff…
(Also, I find I may have stretched the definition of “summarize” a bit, so I’m going to link to the game at the top. Send me a ship and a title (or a song!) and I’ll summarize a fic I’ll never wrtite to go with it.)
So, muggle AU. (And American because ours is the academic culture I know, and also because I need some cultural touchstones to play with to establish Luna that I don’t have for the UK.) Hermione Granger has just packed up her bags and moved halfway across the country to do a post-doc in theoretical physics. She took the occasion of the move to break up with her childhood sweetheart and their best friend. Not that they aren’t still friends, it isn’t that. Just… well, for one thing, since she left, they’ve acquired a farm and at least six goats. They seem very happy. Hermione considers herself well clear.
At 26, Hermione is single for the first time since she was a kid, living alone for the first time ever, and it’s great. She can get an apartment that doesn’t have room for three, she can eat whatever she wants for dinner, stay in her office until 3am and not have to call anyone, she loves it. She expected to be a lot more lonely, honestly. She’s always been pants at making friends–and that hasn’t much changed–and she’ll probably be sad about that eventually, but right now she’s really digging thinking of herself in the singular.
So Hermione is working on this post-doc, and she’s discovered that living in California has certain disadvantages. Her office-mate, for example. Who is this blonde disaster with hair everywhere (Hermione is one to talk but she makes an effort). And crystals. There are so many crystals, along with flying saucers and little alien bobble heads.
Her name is Luna. She is an astrophysicist. “Xenogist,” she corrects. “I study aliens.”
Except that there aren’t any aliens, and what Luna actually does… Hermione isn’t sure what she actually does, because Luna seems to be all over the map. Big Data analysis of radio signals, organic chemistry on carbon everywhere from Titan to a couple of the newest Hot Jupiters, stuff that seems to demand expertise in at least four different fields–and indeed Luna is working on her third PhD. But none of it actually connects in any meaningful way. Hermione is baffled.
“Aliens,” Luna insists. “I just haven’t found them yet.”
All right, but what does she, in fact, publish? Hermione did her PhD work on strange matter. She has published several papers, and now she’s shifting her focus to cosmology–hence the post-doc somewhere with a big telescope, rather than somewhere with a supercollider. Hermione wants to grapple with the big questions. Those first few instants of matter.
Luna finds it funny that someone who studies the big bang is down on her for believing in things without seeing them.
They get on each other’s tits massively.
But gradually, Hermione realizes that getting on each other’s tits in a really fun way? She starts hanging around with Luna on purpose? It starts with Luna showing her the places to get a good, cheap lunch near campus. (And Hermione thought she didn’t like vegan food, but it turns out she was just eating it in the Midwest.) And then she meets Luna’s friends. Neville is a botanist, of course, but also can talk for hours about the historical significance of the language of flowers and argues heatedly with Luna about herbology and how in fact the “western medical establishment” is super eager to research traditional medicinal properties of plants. Cho is a med student who, it turns out, is also Luna’s ex–it was really mostly a fling, but Luna helped Cho get through a really dark time and they’re still close (and also Cho is just a little too comfortable for Hermione’s taste with laying all her trauma out in front of a relative stranger–this is California). And just this ongoing litany of kinda weird people that Luna knows who gradually become Hermione’s circle of California friends. (I’ve got to work Ernie McMillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley in here somehow–I think Ernie’s from the east coast, but Justin has to be British, he is 100% a British archetype. Justin name-drops Eaton and Cambridge, Ernie name-drops Harvard. And Hermione’s like, okay, but I went to public school and a community college in the Midwest and now I’m here, so who’s really impressive and Ernie’s like …touche.) (Pretty sure there are no straight people in Luna’s social circle.)
Hermione also finds herself… not well pleased when other people make fun of Luna’s work. Yes, okay, it’s ridiculous, and Hermione argues with her about it, but mocking her is not okay. The dudes in the next office who snicker at her all the time find their time on the big telescope mysteriously rescheduled for last week–the next opening is in a year, sorry, you should have turned up. (Hermione gets vicious in these circumstances, and she’s shown herself to be Very Responsible, so she has lots of passwords.)
“So what you’re saying is, you have a crush on her,” Harry says, over Skype on a Friday night. “You enjoy bickering with her, and you destroy people’s careers when they’re rude to her.” “Oh yes you do. Remember Cormac? I’m surprised you didn’t cut that guy’s break lines. Trust me, Hermione–I of all people know what you look like with a crush.”
“But, but–” Hermione eventually sputters, “boys! I like boys!”
And Harry’s like, “Wow, Hermione, it’s not like you even know any bisexuals.” ::eyeroll::
And then they change the subject and he tells her about the goats having babies and shows her pictures of cute baby goats. The boys are thinking about getting some llamas next. She is very glad to be in California.
But gradually she realizes that, yes, okay, this is a bona fide crush, all right. Which is actually… fun. Because Luna does seem to like hanging around with her, too… but Hermione really likes being single!
Extended sequence of Hermione having these moments when she really wants to say something about having a crush and suggest they might, maybe, hold hands or something–but she really likes being single, she doesn’t want to be a couple right now, she likes being single and having this group of friends she can just kind of hang around with without entangling literally every element of their lives. She likes having her own apartment. She considered getting a cat and decided that was too much commitment.
(There is also a scene of Hermione researching “so it turns out I like girls” things, because Read A Book is a big part of the way Hermione processes her feelings. And also googling things like like “how to use dental dam” because Hermione is absolutely Sex Ed Friend.)
Finally she slips up and asks Luna out–there’s a new sci-fi movie out, they should go heckle it together. And then maybe they can get dinner? She freaks out right before the date–big freak-outs (oh no I really don’t want to do this or maybe do I) and small freak-outs (how am I supposed to dress to go on a date with a girl anyway?)
But it turns out to be a really good date, and they agree they should do this again and then there’s this kind of awkward pause and then Luna comes out with, “You’re not going to turn out to be the kind of lesbian who turns up to the second date with a moving truck, are you?” (Is this still the cliche? It was when I was a baby queer. About lesbians diving into committed relationships?) “Because I like you a lot, but also I’ve got work to do and I don’t want to rush into anything.”
And Hermione’s like, “Oh thank fuck.” (Because Ron and Harry definitely turned up to the second date with a moving truck, which Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.)
Cut ahead to an epilogue, 10 years later. Luna and Hermione have found tenure-track jobs in the same city, they’ve tried sharing an apartment, they eventually got a cat together. And now they’re getting married.
Luna has a rainbow wedding dress. This is an absolutely vital canon character trait of Luna’s.
Last shot is a panorama of everyone who came to the wedding. Ernie and Justin are overdressed. Cho is here with her wife, the psychologist. Neville is enthusiastically explaining the significance of the floral arrangements to the great interest of two of Ron and Harry’s nine adopted kids. And there are three very odd people trying to extract themselves from a conversation with Luna’s dad–it’s unclear whether that’s just what Xeno’s friends are like, or whether those are the aliens.
Free Falling, Chapter 11: Deeper Love (branjie) - writworm42
A/N: Last chapter, Brooke and the others get ready for the fundraiser and smack Gary tf down. This chapter: the fundraiser is finally here!
Title from THAT song from THAT lipsync. Sue me. Thank you holtzmanns for being the best beta and all-around pal a binch could have <3
Also, next chapter will be a smutty epilogue!
The first thing Vanessa noticed when she walked into the venue space on the day of the fundraiser is that the stations had been changed.
“Concessions? Nina, what do you mean, concessions, I was supposed to be on lost child duty.” Vanessa frowned when she looked up at the list and map that Nina had drawn for the day and put up towards the front of the hall they’ve rented out.
But Nina just shrugged. “The volunteers can handle it.” As she said it, Vanessa took a second look at the list, and the sudden switch made perfect sense.
“We already together, Nina, you ain’t need to put me with Brooke for everything.” Vanessa rolled her eyes, but Nina was already walking away towards the next concern, a shit-eating grin on her face.
God, Vanessa loved that sneaky bitch.
She looked up where the concession was set up on the map and headed over. Vanessa was pleased to find that it was towards the middle and side of the room, supplying a fantastic view of the goings-on around the venue. The fundraiser wasn’t opening for another hour, but the room was buzzing with people, volunteers, staff members and the youth advisory council members already setting up equipment, walking through their duties for the day, and completing any other of the millions of small tasks that popped up as opening time ticked closer and closer. The room was bursting with colour, streamers and balloons lighting up every wall and corner until all Vanessa could see was rainbows, bright blues and purples and yellows that eagerly welcomed guests inside. There was a giant stage towards the back of the room set up with raffle prizes and a microphone, and the floor was crawling with game tables and booths, each decorated with big, bright signs clearly indicating what they were offering. More active games like life-sized tic-tac-toe and adaptive bocce took up the centre of the room, and Vanessa was all too excited at the thought of kids gathering there to play and move around.
The most beautiful sight, though, was Brooke in a Charles-Visage Hospital t-shirt scooping popcorn seeds into their rented kettle, a giant popcorn-shaped hat on her head.
“Laugh it up all you want,” Brooke narrowed her eyes as Vanessa practically screamed with laughter, drawing the attention of pretty much everyone in the hall. “Wait until see the hat they’ve left for you.”
In retrospect, having to wear a giant wiener on her head was definitely, objectively worse.
The minutes kept ticking by closer and closer to opening as everyone scrambled to finish their set-ups, fussing over little details and cursing themselves for forgetting big but integral tasks. For the most part, Vanessa managed to tune out the noise, clinging to the rhythm of concession prep to keep herself calm. Brooke, for her part, was cheerful and enthusiastic, chattering about how she used to work at Kernels and how they never used to get to wear gloves when they were working, how her manicure had been saved—Vanessa listened to it all gladly, grateful for the distraction in the form of the woman next to her.
Only Brooke wasn’t trying to be distracting, not really—this was just Brooke when she was happy, and somehow, seeing her girlfriend get so excited only made Vanessa that much more calm, that much more happy herself.
All too soon, the rush died down, and there was silence in the hall, everyone holding their breath as they counted down the two minutes remaining until opening.
“This is amazing, Ness.” Brooke grabbed Vanessa’s hand and squeezed gently. “You’ve done a great job.”
It was only then that Vanessa noticed that she had been shaking.
“I just… I really want this to work, you know?” Vanessa sighed, chewing her lip. Brooke nodded.
“I just don’t think I could handle it if we did all this and still went under. I mean, all these families an’ kids… they got hope, Brooke. We gave it to ‘em. An’ I don’t want that all crushed thanks to a dumb idea you humoured for me.”
“It’s not a dumb idea, and I didn’t humour you–I think it’ll save us.” Brooke’s voice was adamant and matter-of-fact, her eyes serious, but the conviction did nothing to reassure Vanessa, not really.
It didn’t matter if Brooke had faith in her; when it came down to it, whether or not this was enough was still out of their control. And if it wasn’t, what would happen? The unit would get major cuts, if not dissolve completely, and sure, she’d probably land on her feet, but what was the point? There was no laughter in the adult units. No water-toys or impromptu in-session tricycle parades when your clients were thirty and stressed and just looking to get home, not to have the joy of home brought to them and make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation. Even outpatient didn’t have the same vibe; in outpatient, the kids didn’t all know each other and band together, and neither did the staff - you knew who you worked with, and everyone else was peripheral. And if she didn’t get kept by the hospital, what was Vanessa supposed to do then? Move to another hospital, another district, another city? Spend the rest of her career in the community? She cringed just thinking about driving from house, navigating client caps and never seeing another adult unless it was a client or the parent of one.
And what would happen to her and Brooke? Brooke would blame herself, for sure. Say that she underestimated some costs, overestimated returns, whatever kind of business mumbo-jumbo could come to her mind. Heck, knowing Brooke, she’d go as far as to blame the way she scooped out popcorn or some shit, anything she could to explain why they failed, anything she could to take the burden of falling short off the team. And then she’d be gone, whether or not the unit stayed open, because that’s what Brooke did. Blamed herself, told herself she was a burden, and then ran.
Vanessa couldn’t let that happen. She wouldn’t let that happen. This had to work. It had to.
“Hey,” Brooke broke Vanessa’s daze, cupping her cheek with a soft, gentle hand. “Hey. It’s okay, Ness. It’s okay. We’re gonna do great today. I believe in you. And…” She bit her lip, shifting on her feet. Somewhere in the room, Silky called out a one-minute warning. Brooke wrapped Vanessa into a hug.
“I love you.”
Vanessa couldn’t think any more.
Before she could say anything else, the doors open, and a flood of people rushed through.
“Can I have everyone’s attention? CAN I HAVE EVERYONE’S ATTENTION PLEASE?” Nina shouted into the mic, raising her voice above the roar of the crowd. The fundraiser was drawing close but the energy of the attendees had barely diminished, kids and adults alike still coming through the doors to ask for whatever last-minute, $15-at-the-door tickets they had left. The concession stand had long been stripped empty, everyone who could eat rushing by to trade loonies for every type of snack they had on offer, and so Brooke and Vanessa had shed their hats and begun to run around to help out at the other booths. Still, they were only just getting to the main event, the grand finale everyone was waiting for.
“Thank you so much for coming out today, everyone.” Nina was practically beaming as the noise died down, all eyes on her. “I just wanted to say that I am truly touched by how many of you came to support the kids at Charles-Visage, and how much all of your generosity and enthusiasm has helped. Thanks to your tickets, raffle ticket, and donation-box offerings, we have raised a whopping $10,000. And that’s before we add everything up from concession!” Nina smiled and waved over at Brooke and Vanessa, who had rushed quickly back to their booth solely for this announcement and their moment of cameo-glory in it.
“I also want to say that we have amassed over one hundred new monthly donors, which is fantastic!” Nina continued, her cheeks going pink with excitement as she did. “And also, I want to thank the members of the media who came out today, getting our message of fun, inclusion, and hope out to folks everywhere! So everyone at home, be sure to check out the hospital’s website and click that donate button!”
It was just then that Vanessa noticed a host of newspeople in the back, journalists with paper pads and cameras around their neck and broadcasters holding mics out to hear all of Nina’s announcement.
Jesus Christ–the PR would be fucking fantastic , and Vanessa hadn’t even known that people would be interested in hearing about them. And she certainly hadn’t called the news outlets.
Brooke grinned at Vanessa, and her surprise turned into outright affection, lunging forward for a hug to thank her girlfriend for the amazing surprise.
“Thanks to everyone’s contributions,” Nina kept going, her voice now shaking with glee, “We not only have raised enough to help out kids with disabilities all over the area make strides towards achieving all their potential, we have also raised enough to welcome even more kids into the Charles-Visage community. That’s right, everyone–thanks to your generosity, our unit will be able to expand!”
The cheers were absolutely deafening, and Vanessa felt like she was absolutely floating on air.
She had done it. They had done it.
Vanessa still wasn’t really sure what happened next. Nina went on to announce the raffle winners, but Vanessa could barely hear her, could barely register anything at all. Everything was joy, excitement, pride, and Brooke. Brooke, extending a hug towards Vanessa and pulling her in for a long, giddy kiss. Brooke, whispering another I’m proud of you as they pulled apart. Brooke, chewing her lip as she bit back what Vanessa could guess was another I love you, something she was afraid that Vanessa didn’t want to hear a second time.
So Vanessa said it first, loud enough for everyone to hear.
“I love you too, baby. And I can’t thank you enough.”
Boots reads Homestuck Epilogue(s) Part 7 - Meat Page 26
Back on to Jade swimming into the singularity or something. (And trying to stop thinking that maybe Candy ends with a giant polyamorous relationship and/or orgy, because I don’t imagine Rose would have acted so tamely if that’s what she saw.)
Yes, Time is the complement of Space, that was already confirmed in comic if it wasn’t super incredibly obvious all along anyway.
Gah, I’m getting stomach cramps again.
Yeah, too much Space makes Time invisible and vice versa? Or...
Maybe Dave broke her heart a little, and he keeps doing it too, no matter how many different timelines they try out.
God damnit these CRAMPS. Reading further.
Like a garden, where Jade used to spend so much of her time with her hands in the earth and her head in the clouds, dreaming about flowers that bloomed in six colors and grew when she played them a song. Was that real? It’s hard to tell. But it made her happy, didn’t it?
FUCK are you going to start making me doubt the reality of the liFe we saw her living early in-comic????? Cut it out, it’s unsettling!
Alright, alt!Callie is taking the reins from Dirk on this narrative he so smugly thought he could completely consume. That’s good/bad.
slutty adult Jade
FUCKING YIKES!! FUCK YOU DIRK!
FUCK I DIDN’T NEED HER DEATH DESCRIBED IN SUCH DETAIL EITHER. Also alt!Callie’s really embodying Death here.
Pff. Calliope’s writing the story now, in a sense, like she always kind of wanted.
Also pff, this version of her doesn’t know how to describe human stuff colorfully. :)
An adversarial dichotomy between your opposing goals, huh? This might end up as a “none of us can really write the ending” ending that DOES leave it up in the air for everyone else to decide instead.
Fuck, now you’re having THIS Jade suffer by proxy by experiencing the other Jade’s memories. This metatextual ascension’s happening to everyone isn’t it.
Yeah, she’s done it before and stuff--
when jade turns to look at roxy, her eyes are completely black.
my presence shall mitigate, if not altogether subdue, the corrosive effect on reality and the will of its occupants by those who would manipulate the way events are telegraphed for their own megalomaniacal objectives.
Well, fuck. Jade’s been temporarily hijacked for the rest of the story AGAIN, like back in Condesce days, this time as a plot device to keep Dirk from overreaching with his god powers and stepping over everyone’s wills like an Ultimate Riddle style villain. Dirk, I mean. Being the villain. And alt!Callie just doing what she has to to put this back on track. Man I HATE it when Jade’s will doesn’t get to be on full display. Her will is awesome. (Also, alt!Callie just tacitly confirmed that the will of reality’s occupants matters, if that wasn’t obvious already, so ha.)
despite his pretensions to a greater design, the prince of heart cannot be allowed to continue to exert unchecked control over the authoritative recitation of events on this side of my horizon. it cannot be overstated the extent to which he represents a threat to the continued existence of both this world and corporeal life itself.
Yeah, it was indeed looking that way earlier.
Ooh, alt!Callie is really spot-on with her pronoun use.
Alright, Dirk’s voice is shrinking away, and my stomach still feels half-clenched.
Wow, alt!Callie’s really mad at what Dirk’s been doing with this epilogue.
Did I miss the titles for one, three, and four??? Yeah there were probably there and I just missed them or something.
Pfffff, John looks/smells like shit. :D
Fuck you John for thinking Monty Python and the Holy Grail isn’t a masterpiece. :P
terezi tips her head to one side, with what john personally regards as a cute expression, one he believes is unique to her. whether he’s correct or not, it’s his belief that there is no one else who emotes in this manner. it’s both quizzical and mocking, two descriptors that he considers to be an apt summation of her personality as well.
Niiiiice. Nice linguistic description of her “>:?” expression.
have no desire to interject thoughts into others’ minds, or to sway intent. nor do i see value in masking the reality of the emotions that i transcribe. this is how he feels. his mind, however, has made a habit of being less clear about his thoughts than i am willing to be.
Oh thank fucking god, I don’t have to question everyone’s thoughts anymore. Until Dirk comes back or something, I dunno.
Oh my fucking god, alt!Callie, you total voyeuristic nerd.
he fears he is in danger of seeming like the type of creepy human male who is likely to collect large pillows bearing the illustrated images of japanese earth females. to me, this idea means nothing. but it is causing him to sweat.
This is one very relatable snippet of text.
Feed Terezi Feed Terezi Feed Terezi
WHY is the gold tooth poisonous??????? ...Wait, Caliborn affixed it to his mouth intentionally. He had every right and motive to make it poisonous for no good reason. Ugh.
Beep beep, let’s find Vriska.
WHAT THE FLYING FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN DOING
Using Trickster Mode as a drug to further one’s political performance. That’s fucking horrifying. No wonder it was on the triggers list.
additionally, it prevents one from dwelling on any given personal problems, or the greater implications of any political statements one might make.
Problematic, huh? Jane seems like the slightly-old-fashioned sort of person who thinks it’s getting kind of ridiculously silly how much people are caring about stuff being “problematic”. And yet that stuff DOES matter, and ignoring it DOES hurt people, and she not only isn’t seeing that but is drugging herself to see it LESS with that goddamned lollipop. Holy shit.
she turns around promptly, her body jolted by the surprise of her sudden reversal. she bends over, cradles the lollipop reverentially, and situates it carefully in a place signifying respect: atop the mantle, after clearing space for it by shoving several brittle, worthless objects to the floor.
PFFF. Okay, so alt!Callie ISN’T above altering characters slightly from their narrative course when it comes to one of the few things she deems important. Heh.
Having “his control of a shared vehicle fully suppressed”, huh? Does alt!Callie only mean the narrative, or maybe Rose too with whatever weird bullshit he did to her?
Uh, “while the seer both diminishes and ascends”??? D:
--Oh, oh shit. He was planning to NARRATIVE CONTROL Jake into going along with things. D: D:
Yeah, Jake would want to bang all the aliens, really.
Sendificator rifle, or something like that. Got it.
How fucking long is this epilogue, anyway????? I mean, the length is appropriate from an objective point of view, I’m just frustrated because I’m going to have to spend every waking hour liveblog-reading it until I’ve reached the end or I’m likely to fucking explode, and I didn’t want this to be my entire day/weekend/existence again AAGH HOMESTUCK YOU BLACK HOLE
anyway yaay karkat in a suit.
Alluding to assassination attempts? What, is that red rifle going to try and fulfill that old “through the silver screen and straight into my heart” unused foreshadowing-herring from act six, or five, or whenever it was? Five, I believe.
Pff, super pacs, yeah. Dave’s nearly as political as me now or something. Except he actually acts on it here instead of just sitting around talking about it and thinking he’s right all the time, like me.
Wait, JANE ACTUALLY WENT THROUGH with smearing Jake??!??? Holy shit she’s lost touch.
KARKAT: SWEET BRO AND HELLA JEFF IS ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS SUBJECT MATTER FOR PRODUCING CAMPAIGN ADS!
KARKAT: NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, OR WHAT POINTS YOU’RE TRYING TO MAKE!
DAVE: yeah its awesome
...yeah, Jake isn’t thinking of ANYTHING except Dirk right now, really.
Oh huh, Dirk HAS been as controlling of Jake as he used to be, now that alt!Callie’s pointing it out. Just with an even more insidious mechanism.
Oh cool, Karkat’s version of the policy pitch! :D :D :D Can’t wait can’t wait reading
(dont lie karkat you totally know shes hot)
Pff, stop making it seem obvious that Dirk wanted to assassinate Jake for political purposes. Heck, even if that WAS his plan it’d just be a temporary death that he’d resurrect from and then they’d try to turn it into... what, some media spin on how Karkat might have been responsible? Or a troll?? That latter part would make things MUCH more xenophobic. I’m starting to get seriously into the politics of this.
Pff, now ‘rezi’s eating tobacco.
...okay, is Terezi REALLY going to go for a real conversation with just an honest ask for one? I don’t think so--
--aaand there she goes laughing, as expected. At least at first.
Yep, Terezi’s wearing the shoes. Nice date gift.
--And yep, Terezi remembers all that. She managed to do the nigh-metatextual mind merge with her other selves WITHOUT even needing God-Tier.
Yeah, Vriska always seemed fit to abandon the kismesis you deserved when it suited her, ‘rezi. :(
JOHN: even worse, i might have tried to fix things MYSELF!
TEREZI: OH D34R GOD
Yeah I cackled out loud at that.
TEREZI: 34RTH C 1S P3RF3CT 1SNT 1T?
TEREZI: BUT NOT FOR YOU
TEREZI: YOU DONT *F33L* 1T
john swallows a thick breath. he reminds himself that he never wanted perfection, never asked for it. and yet he feels guilty every day for failing to enjoy it as much as he believes he was supposed to.
Holy shit. John’s survivor’s guilt from all the doomed timelines he witnessed and escaped is keeping him from feeling their victory has been real, and making his “squandering” of it gut his self-esteem too. God damnit.
Roxy and John wouldn’t have worked out????? Hey Terezi, quit it! >:[ That’s not fair, just very plausibly and authoritatively dismissing a ship we’d hoped for offscreen like-- Oh, shit, she’s alluding to something that happened in the Candy side I haven’t read isn’t she. She would DEFINITELY have an idea of what happened on the other side of that Choice Split with her hero role. Fuck what am I in for
....pfff, that Callie vs Dirk bit. It’s like revenge against Doc Scratch, which it kind of IS, really.
I didn’t expect this much time to be spent dwelling on really intimate John/Terezi scenes. It’s really refreshing! Making this kind of meaningful no matter whether it’s black or inexplicably red they end up with or whatever, and equally meaningful if they don’t end up in any sort of relationship at all, really.
even without the aid of a juju, he is fortunate enough to be blessed with the only true form of divinity. to be released from the prison of nonsensical inhibitions which so often psychologically hobble the more primitive forms of life.
Alt!Callie, are you causing this? I thought you wanted to be impartial.
Okay, THAT finally brought things suitably closer to the black side of romance like I would have expected.
their finger hovers over dirks number for a moment, but... no. that would not be a good idea. they don’t know why they suddenly think it’s a bad idea. it just is.
Okay, THAT shred of influence is fair. You DID say you were going to countermand his influence, so yeah.
Good excuse to get narration of her thoughts, if flimsy. :)
Lord save me from this fake woke nightmare.
Pfffff. Fuck you, Dirk. ;)
ROXY: guess ill just open the damn curtains and let some light in here
FUCK you’re going to kill JADE aren’t you???? You’re giving Jade a TEMPORARY DEATH just to deny alt!Callie’s proxy?!?? That’s fucking insidious! Fuck you, Dirk!!! That one wasn’t a loveable joke this time, that was an ACTUAL fuck you. This epilogue is really good at making him out to be the villain now that his powers have expanded to the narrative.
Reading reading reading...
...Huh. Is Roxy talking about coming out as non-binary and getting advice on it? Hm!
Alright, and she’s defs a little gay for Callie from what she’s saying if it wasn’t clear before. If “gay” even has any relevance when you’re talking about a pair of non-binary... yeah whatever. :)
Alright, time to hear Dave talk about it all some more I guess.
--Yep, he’s only mostly gay. Called it. There’s a whole spectrum.
...and yeah, I mean... why NOT let it go beyond quadrants with Karkat and never slap an official label on it? You’re just two people who love each other and want to spend time together in any capacity, be it positive or negative. It doesn’t have to result in anything formal unless you want it to, much less boning down or something. Dirk, stop getting creepy with how hard you’re shipping them, that’s the fanbase’s job.
Jade and Roxy are visible from this location, right? Wasn’t it mentioned that they live in a tower in Carapaceville or whatever? Has Dirk successfully conned alt!Callie into having her vessel shot through? Probably.
the ongoing corruption of his cerebrally impaired daughter.
Anyway yeah here comes the plot twist or whatever...
Yeah, Callie gets it wrong, and--
......ah, a tranq? That makes more sense and is more than slightly less evil, if still ultimately evil given his eventual presumed goals or whatever.
DIRK: Like the bitch she is.
Oh, Jade’s going to be asleep for the rest of the story? AGAIN?!???? FUCK YOU SO MUCH, DIRK.
Jesus christ. How long is this epilogue anyway.
Taken your leave? From this planet??? What the fuck, are you--
Oh. Oh shit.
When Dirk ascended into absorbing the memories of all his various split selves, did he get a heaping helping of DOC SCRATCH in there too??? Was Doc Scratch’s ambition actually for POST-victory ascension in this very manner? FUCK. Either way, him sharing some of those memories puts a pretty unique spin on his descent into goddamn evil, here.
Reading on... oh shit, did Callie write the candy half??
Huh, postcoital; we actually went there. Cool.
Ah, she gives up on Vriska? Better find Vriska really fast, then.
Oh, you’re really going? Or, trying, anyway.
Really committed to this whole ascending to literal godhood schtick, aren’t you, Dirk?
(Hm. Makes me almost think that this situation with Rose is going to end up with someone splitting her essence entirely in two to save her; her raw Seer-ness getting forced into a convenient vessel (cueball, wonk wonk) and herself returning to consciousness a slight bit more mortal than she was before, ie not going completely insane. Hmm.)
Oh, “Vast Fuck” sorta-maybe-confirmed..??
Stop tacitly insulting Jake as you puppet him, Dirk. He’s a dumbass but not THAT much of a dumbass.
FUCK YOU, DIRK.
She loves you, Jake, more than anything, and you toyed with her heart.
could subsume your entire personality
Shit, he IS trying to pretty much consume them all. Swallow their individuality and take total control of all their actions. All Prince of Heart on the whole world. Dirk you need to fucking DIE.
And to love Dirk is to obey him.
There isn’t a Fuck You large or loud enough to what I feel about the mental violation Dirk is inflicting on Jake right now, and everyone else around him, and I sincerely and selfishly hope this epilogue is almost over because I don’t want too many pages to stand between this one and seeing Dirk fucking PAY.
Jake opens his big, dumb mouth to make the only important contribution to the plot he ever has or ever will make in his whole sad, pointless joke of a life.
Let’s hope that in your hubris your looking away managed to let him say something different or some such.
You try to remember if you’ve ever been revived by Jane before. You honestly can’t recall. So much shit has happened. Maybe?
Yeah, I don’t recall either really.
The poison needling through you is antithetical to narrative relevance. You’re not dying, John. You’re being erased. Cherubs don’t fuck around. We’ve both been learning that the hard way.
Okay, fuck? How the hell? Is this just because Dirk says it is, or???
I guess it’s tragic, though maybe not in the conventional sense. My view is, the real tragedy with you, John, is that you never mattered all that much.
Yeah, Dirk’s first fucking rant when he took over the narrative officially was about John being a you-insert nobody average guy, and the DISDAIN he shows to everything about who John is is pretty goddamn insulting. He has NO concept of how John managed to bring everyone together or... UGH!
even though you knew both then and now that it was the only choice you possibly could have made.
Dammit, so it probably WASN’T a full timeline-bisecting Mind split. Just a side branch that wasn’t as likely, because just like with his Denizen, John’s will was tilted toward this part of the choice. D:
I see how some of this seems to be going, or at least think I do... Dirk thinks that John needs to die heroically “for the good of the story”, and something’s potentially going to come in and say “no”? That the whole reason they WON was to essentially be free of that cruel logic once and for all, and that Dirk is gonna get one hell of a smackdown for trying futilely to enforce it in their new post-victory domain??
She listens to him bleed while she smells him die.
--That, and fulfilling bits of foreshadowing for shits and giggles. >:(
Huh, “friable”, didn’t even know that was a word. Just looked it up; you learn something new every day.
Okay what is Dirk planning with the fucking body.
Jane swept the election, of course. I told you I was going to win. After Jake’s incoherent and scandalous heel-turn at Karkat’s ill-fated rally, no amount of esoteric, three-dimensional jpeg artefacts could have salvaged the Vantas campaign.
Ah, but is that what REALLY happened, or what you’re saying happened, about to be overwritten?
Mainly that their BFF Jade has been in a coma for an entire month. They’ve been in and out of the hospital handling her affairs. Her next of kin is listed as John Egbert, and no one’s seen him in ages. It’s like he just disappeared suddenly. Like some great hand came out of the sky and crossed his name off the big list of guys we ever need to give a shit about anymore.
F U C K Y O U
Roxy, after all, and since her big heart-to-heart about the personal politics of queer onion metaphors, and ten stages of galaxy-braining through the many vicissitudes of the phrase “no homo,” Roxy has decided to really step up her gender experimentation. I guess at this point she’s gone beyond Stage Ten. Which I imagine is somewhat like reaching Super Saiyan 2 of gender, and then going even further beyond.
Holy crap, she’s going full Dave Lalonde. That’s pretty sweet.
...Isn’t Terezi like obviously covered in blood and stuff?
ROXY: they stay home all day with the blinds drawn paintin some weird ass shit on the walls
Oh my fucking GOD real!Callie please save the plot. Nuke this self-indulgent Dirkshit.
ROXY: like lotsa nasty purple blood and um
ROXY: yeah yikes
ROXY: but MOST of it is cute stuff like... various combos of all of us being happy and gettin married and shit
ROXY: anyway thats kept callie kinda busy
...This is an allusion to the Candy side I haven’t read, isn’t it? Maybe THAT’s part of what she supplants this bullshit with. Or since it mentions “various combinations”, she’s restoring the possibility to everything that the ending was supposed to have?
This is potentially a real fucking indictment of the idea of a narrative-driven ending when what actually mattered was the characters’ escape from said narrative. :)
ROXY: its like theyre traumatized
ROXY: and they think ill drag whatever possessed jade back into our home with me
Okay fuck maybe Callie ISN’T helping. Maybe she’s just so worried about the alternate history she could have lead that she’s retreating into every Candy-like fanfic she can think of. :(
What’s with the phone buzz? The intervention we’ve been hoping for, since Dirk’s making her ignore it?
Oh cool, figures Terezi’s been hearing the narrative all along and just politely not acknowledging the fact that she hears it! Maybe SHE’LL help unfuck this mess. (And according to her, Roxy’s gone full “him” too!)
Fuck fuck fuck Terezi don’t listen to him go against his bullshit instead
Where, canon? Is that where you’re planning to escape back to or some such, with yourself as the author? Is that orange Andrew actually you or some BS?
FUCK, “new body”????
The new body I’ve made for her won’t have much use for her usual ensembles. That’s all I was saying.
FUCK FUCK FUCK it IS the cueball isn’t it. Holy shit. That’s even worse than a robot. FZUCZK
Okay calm down. The Rose part of Rose can be cut away and rescued from this fate somehow, if she isn’t just whole-hog rescued entirely which would also be good. FUCK DIRK
...look purple? What?
DIRK: What’s happening here is the best thing for everybody.
Yeah, go fuck yourself. This shit had better be undone soon.
To finally face the truth. If Rose has been spending more time with me than you, if she’s realizing she resonates more with me due to our natural similarities and finds my presence more rewarding than yours, then what does that say about YOU, Kanaya?
PFFFF. YOU’RE GONNA BREAK UP THE PAIRING JUST SO YOU CAN STEAL HER? HAHAHAHAHAHA NO.
Okay, after THAT page’s last bit of horrid manipulation, this can’t end in any way that doesn’t involve ages of existential and literal torment for Dirk, forever.
Epilogue Seven, huh. One last thing he wants to take care of before getting out of dodge, huh. I see Karkat and Dave’s text colors on screen. Is he going to try to force them to finally bone down or confess? This would be the perfect place for his plan to get fucking stopped.
Homestuck, stop making my fucking stomach clench so hard.
That’s a hell of a disaster Dirk thought up for these guys on that stage.
Part of this whole shitshow might be to tell us that this ending, this “fanfic” of dubious authenticity of an epilogue that Dirk is giving us is how DIRK believes it would end best for everyone involved, but not how everyone else would, ignoring their wills... while also discarding the idea of the epilogue that any individual reader of Homestuck would want in favor of the possibilities he meant to leave open with the ending.
Alright, here comes Dirk NOT forcing them to bone down but rather trying to persuade-brainwash them into a relationship talk.
DAVE: so what youre saying is you believe in me who believes in you
Hey, the Gurren Lagaan reference went WAY too long unsaid. Even if Andrew literally didn’t know a thing about said anime when he made the character designs.
I look Dave right in his mind’s eye and tell him to cut it the fuck out. He wants it, you want it, so just go for it, my man. It’s now or never.
I feel every brain cell in my immortal body begin to perish in real time.
BAAHAHAHAAHHhahahha FUCK YOU Dirk.
I mean, I want Dave and Karkat together as much as the next guy but FUUUUUUUCK YOU DIRK!!! I want everything you ever wanted to go wrong and shit on you. Their equivocating soft-nearly-mance is strong enough to go even against you, who thinks yourself the narrative fucking Sun.
Oh this is fantastic
I’ve literally been decapitated and that was less unbearable than this.
YES KEEP FALLING APART
You see that twinkle? That’s devotion, you unbelievably dense neutron star of a dumbshit.
Nice callback to... what was it, Dave’s first rant at Tavros to troll him back or whatever?
radially effervescing kaleidoscope of more hot boy peckers than you could ever imagine.
Yep, DEFINITELY a callback to that. I’ll never forget the sick flow of that metaphor.
DAVE: i just keep having thoughts i know id never think
SAVE US DAVE
Dammit, near miss.
The privilege of a Strider Eye Moment is about the most earth-shattering experience a young man will ever have in his life.
DAVE: GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HEAD AND JUST LET ME DO THIS MYSELF!!!
I mean we didn’t save the whole story yet but at least Dirk got fucked over and we still get Davekat intimacy.
That’s pretty classy actually, not getting into detail and just sounding blown the fuck away by it even though he’s Dirk. That’s pretty good.
Something about the height of Rose, roughly Rose-shaped, and wrapped in a cloth. I know she’s gonna love it the first time she sees it.
Oh so it IS a robot body. Well, fuck you a little less than it potentially being the magic cueball, but STILL fuck you.
I may have already mentioned, but I’m a bit too deft at this for my own good. Doing the thing where I tug at the part of someone’s latent thought process that already knows they adore me. That if someone would just pull the stops from their sense of inhibition, they’d realize they would do anything for me.
It’s called killing their soul with your role abilities you ASSHOLE
I hope this crush you filled him with bites you in the fucking ass now that he’s here.
DIRK: I won’t be coming back, Jake.
Oh, so you’re just going to drop the truth on him like that? Let’s see how that works out for you, asshole.
DIRK: Jane needs you now more than ever.
Oh fuck you. This is “best for everyone”, huh?????
DIRK: You’ll just be, you know.
DIRK: Her candy boy?
JAKE: CANDY BOY???
DIRK: Yeah. Being on call.
DIRK: Serving a multimillion-year term of giving her the right kind of “presidential action” she needs to keep going. To keep her morale up and such.
DIRK: To provide her with many heirs.
DIRK: Doesn’t that sound cool?
Um. What the fuck? Is this even Dirk anymore? It’s not Condesce intervention, I’m not going to try and suspect that just from the callback or anythiiiii-----
Fuck, we DID just get an alive Meenah dropped into a universe somewhere.
Maybe this IS Condesce intervention. Just a different Condesce. o_O
Two ticks longer than he ever deserved.
DIRK: But I’ll never let you break my heart again.
So this was all just revenge for dumping him??????????????
Guh, back to Kanaya-- wait, why does Dirk want Terezi around, anyway?
Jade wakes up and then-- Okay. Okay my eyes flitted down to the green halfway down the page and I saw this phrase before I actually got to it.
JADE: DIRK STRIDER HAS TO BE STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!
Anyway reading the in-between...
The scope of her awareness, she now understands, is truly staggering. Memories are suddenly accessible that are almost impossible to believe. Some of them are unspeakably marvelous to her. Others, deeply disturbing.
FUCKING COOL she got Ultimate-Selved! Now she knows too much about what’s going on to stop her! Get fucked, Dirk!!!!
No, more than just disturbing. She lingers in the dark recesses of her consciousness. There were things she saw, things she was told... Her mouth twists into a silent snarl. She’s been angry plenty of times before. But never so angry that she stopped being cute. She’s not cute this time.
YEAAAAAHHH JADE GET ANGRY
This had better not be Dirk intentionally riling her up since he still has control of the narrative though.
M, A for Stuck on the Outside Failing to Look In (Just Like in Real Life), K, E for that one fic your wrote on LJ where Toki and Skwis both wind up in the hospital after hooking up too much because *I* want it, C, H, A again for All is Calm, All is Dark, R, L, E for Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner, S, N, N again, A again for A Murder of Two, T, H, A again DEALER'S CHOICE, N a third time, K, I, and two S's.
“Make Charles n Nathan kiss.”
Have done, can do, will do! And kudos for making me go back to LiveJournal for a fic I hadn’t even planed on moving over to Ao3 because I was worried it was too dramatic.
(Fanfic Ask Meme)
M: Got any premises on the back burner that you’d care to share?
Hm, what have I not already blabbed about… Oh, you’ll like this. I’ve semi started working on a preklok fic where Nathan and Skwisgaar share an apartment and it’s an absolute sty, so Nathan gets some homeless kid to clean it in exchange for food and use of their shower. Enter Toki. Cue eventual threesome.
Eventually once Magnus is kicked out of the band they’re going to conspire to “hold auditions” for the rhythm guitar part but have Toki show up late and blow everyone else out of the water while they pretend to be surprised.
A: How did you come up with the title to Stuck on the Outside Failing to Look In (Just Like in Real Life)?
A lot of the Skwistok I write tends to feature both of them being idiots who aren’t good at communication. Like in that fixed you wanted me to pull a slide your house where they both end up in the hospital for stupidity related. Stuck on the Outside is the most reflective of that, title-wise.
K: What’s the angstiest idea you’ve ever come up with?
In terms of drawn out angst? Take Me To Church. Nine chapters plus a prologue and epilogue of Charles scrambling to figure out what is even happening, and the learning curve is not kind to him.
E: If you wrote a sequel to that one fic your wrote on LJ where Toki and Skwis both wind up in the hospital after hooking up too much because I want it, what would it be about?
After they’re both released from the hospital, they continue to Not Talk About It until cornered by the rest of the band. When asked why they were gone for so long Skwisgaar has an aneurism-like idea and just blurts out “Guitars!!” So they haphazardly cobble together an excuse about how they’ve been doing a lot of “extra practice sessions” to get Toki up to speed on some of his trickier parts.
Basically, they hash out an agreement for their “extra practice session” relationship with Nathan, Pickles, and Murderface not only listening, but chiming in with helpful shit like “Yeah Skwisgaar you make sure he gets all the extra practice he needs!!”
C: What character do you identify with the most?
Nathan. I guess because he’s kind of the most “omfg can we just get shit done” of the group while also being such a perfectionist to the point of “nope, not good enough, start all over again from scratch and get it right motherfucker.” I can relate to both of those things. And he strikes me as such a Taurus (stubborn as hell, bull in a china shop, etc), which I also am, so there’s that too.
H: How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t, because it’s hard.
A: How did you come up with the title to All is Calm, All is Dark?
Don’t quote me on this, I’m only the author or whatever, but I think I wrote it or titled it or something over the holidays one year as a fluff present for a friend. The title is based on a line from Silent Night, but I changed “bright” to “dark” because Charles needs a dim, quiet space to relax and recharge.
R: Are there any writers (fanfic or otherwise) you consider an influence?
Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin McKinley, and… a lot more. I’m basically a sponge. In high school, while we were reading Grapes of Wrath in lit class, I wrote a story in my creative writing class that was kind of fantasy, kind of magical realism, but depressingly paced like that one chapter where the fucking turtle crosses the fucking road, thank you John fucking Steinbeck.
Also a million billion fanfic writers across five or six different fandoms.
L: What’s the weirdest AU you’ve ever come up with?
Personally, I consider coming up with a headcanon for a Metalocalypse Fraiser AU pretty weird on the grounds that it’s obscure, and I’m still amazed that enough people both knew what I was talking about and felt moved to make “oh my god you did it” comments.
E: If you wrote a sequel to Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner, what would it be about?
Hm. Well, because I originally intended for it to be a Nathan/Charles story and it just sort of, uh, veered off on a different course there… So the sequel would probably be something like Nathan, Skwisgaar, and Toki still casually hooking up occasionally, but outside of those threesomes it’s basically just Skwistok. After a while of this, Skwisgaar starts teasing Nathan that Charles has a crush on him, and then Toki joins in, and then they start asking Charles “subtle” questions to try and suss out if it’s true, and it is. Meanwhile, Nathan’s still going through his “huh, I guess I’m bi then, okay… huh” thing and convinced that this crush rumor is bullshit.
Eventually the conspiring Scandinavians get those two crazy kids together, and make Charles a badly spelled Welcome To Our Threesome banner that absolutely does not leave the room intact.
S: Any fandom tropes you can’t resist?
I love doing missing scene/behind the scenes stuff. Like, you know, basically all of Take Me To Church. It’s such a challenge to on one hand know in my heart that Charles and Nathan are meant to be, but on the other not actually deviate from any established canon.
N: Is there a fic you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?
Yeah, somebody write that sequel I described for Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner. You have my blessing. Title it, I Carried A Watermelon Named Nathan.
N: Is there a fic you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?
Someone write B.A.N.D.M.A.T.E.S for me. I mean, I’m gonna, but I have stuff going on at the moment and I want to read it now.
A: How did you come up with the title to A Murder of Two?
A murder is a group of crows. There’s a Counting Crows song called A Murder of One, which is also where I got the idea for my murderofonerose screen name. (Rose is my middle name and it was back when I was still being dramatic about being single.)
So considering the rest of the band was killed by black birds, crows seemed fitting. And the whole “he’ll always have Charles” thing. They’ll stick together, their own little murder of two.
T: Any fandom tropes you can’t stand?
Rapefic. I’ll just casually refrain from reading that, nbd.
H: How would you describe your style?
Okay, whatever, I’ll do it, fine.
Very character driven. Always has been, even before I discovered fanfiction, because creating and/or developing characters is my favorite part. Buuuut it means I’m sometimes lacking in setting and plot… It’s a constant struggle. I’ve also always had kind of a thing for unreliable narrators — or not unreliable exactly, it’s not like they’re intentionally lying to do, but just you get most things filtered through their personal biases. That’s why I want Take Me To Church to have a companion story from Nathan’s point of view, so I can beat y’all with the dead horse that is everything that has flown over Charles’ head due to low emotional intelligence.
A: How did you come up with the title to DEALER’S CHOICE?
I know this is payback, but is anyone else starting to think that Dealer’s Choice would make a great fic title? And then the answer to this question would be, “Well this one time I was being an absolute madwoman/maniac and spammed a couple people’s inbox with lettered ask memes that doubled as a secret message because I’m a smartass. Blame my family for being awful at actual conversations and emotional support but superb at puns and one-liners. Anyway, one thing lead to another and they got me back, but I continued to be a smartass and used this as a title so I could continue to tell this story about singlehandedly revolutionizing the ask meme industry.“
N: Is there a fic you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?
Yeah, there is, a sequel to Stay Alive. *mic drop*
K: What’s the angstiest idea you’ve ever come up with?
In terms of “oh, that’s… not good…” feels? I think it’s He Came Back (Wrong). Nathan definitely has feelings for Charles, confused and complicated as they are, but if he’s not quite the same person anymore then how is anything ever going to get resolved?
I: Do you have a guilty pleasure in fic (reading or writing)?
Mainlining ridiculously long fics from start to finish, but they have to be complete and they have to really grab me. I have done this a few times since college and it’s simultaneously always worth it and always a Bad Idea.
S: Any fandom tropes you can’t resist?
Confessions of Feelings while drunk and/or high.
S: Any fandom tropes you can’t resist?
Fuck or Die. I mean, constructing the situation alone is impressive, because how often does that sort of thing even crop up.
10k of how to ruin a good prompt. I think could have done a good job. It’s vague again.
* * *
Non-AU, In which Yoongi and Jimin develop feelings for each other through ARMYs help.
Yoongi never thought more of Jimin because he knew they are friends, and Jimin considers him as his hyung, someone he looks up to. Yoongi came out, as a bisexual, to his group after the I NEED U era.
Everything they have worked for, the sleepless night that came and passed by, the empty stomachs they slept on, it paid off finally. They suddenly started to win first place in music shows. It was an unexpected win for them and they couldn’t be thankful for the ARMYs who made it possible. When they won the second and the third time, Band PD-nim said that this is just the starting for them.
Yoongi had hoped that they would really go ahead and achieve their dreams, whether it is producing their own music or be the group that teaches people. Everybody had different dreams to look forward to now. He understood that this is the true starting and the group should start with no lies.
He had told Namjoon and Hoseok first because he had been with them longer than the maknae line and Jin. They were very accepting of Yoongi’s choices, though Yoongi was ready to be thrown out of the group. He asked them to explain it to the kids and Jin hyung as well because they might not be used to the idea of it.
When he told the others, they were silent and Jungkook had those big round eyes staring at him as if contemplating. Yoongi remembers that Namjoon and Hoseok didn’t have to explain anything to make them understand, he remembers Jimin standing and walking to Yoongi, giving him a tight hug and saying that it’s okay.
“Whatever may be your preferences, you’re still Yoongi hyung,” Jimin declares to them, getting a solid nod from everyone and a huge group hug. He remembers feeling some amount of limbs around him, a whole lot of warmth and then Jimin pressing against his side, laughing at their group antics.
Yoongi stayed awake that night and thought of Jimin just because. He was proud that his dongsaeng took it well and was mature with his answer. He’s proud of others as well but he didn’t realise that the once childish Jimin was not so childish anymore.
Next step was to talk to Bang PD-nim which went surprisingly well. Namjoon was by his side all throughout the meeting. The director only told him that he has to be careful, to not let it slip even once because they are at a very critical stage and one wrong move, they’ll all end up their own careers.
From there on, Yoongi’s heart has always felt ease that he didn’t need to hide things anymore and everyone was accepting of him. Only the boys and Bang PD knew of his bisexuality as they didn’t feel sure of telling the staff. And nothing changed between them, they didn’t treat Yoongi differently. Like Jimin has said, he’s still Yoongi to them.
When WINGS era started, the real tension began within him. They were now a lot popular and had millions of fans anticipating their songs and dances. They changed a lot in the years that passed by but still held the same fear; one wrong move and they’ll end their own careers.
Yoongi had been working on his mixtape as well and he put everything to it. He hopes it will be received well by people because he has opened a door that no artists dare to open to the public.
Things didn’t look good from Yoongi’s side because not only there was a full-length album to be released, but also his mixtape and for some fucked up reason, the little soft spot he has developed for now currently silver-haired boy, Jimin.
He doesn’t know how it happened or when it happened but he believes it happened when they started having small late-night talks with each other, reminiscing about the days and what was going on fancafe. It started with them opening a little bit more to each other to the point that Yoongi knows every single detail about Jimin’s life and vice versa.
It’s wrong in so many ways, not only does he has a crush on a man but it had to be his own group member, a person with the biggest heart and straight. Yoongi wonders if Jimin thinks about him a little more different but then he thinks it’s not true because Jimin is straight and he doesn’t like men how Yoongi does.
So Yoongi never tells him fearing that their friendship would come to an end as well as their group. He doesn’t tell anyone and keep it to himself.
Jimin has made a sanctuary in Yoongi’s heart in the last few years they have been together as a group. He always finds time to talk to Yoongi, he always volunteers to drag Yoongi back to the dorms, he’s a real brat with Yoongi, he always tells his secrets and asks for advice to Yoongi. They have been taking care of each other for so long that it feels natural between them, whether it be hand holdings or sleeping on the same bed.
It’s normal for them to declare they love each other, or at least like each other. Fans like the interactions between them, so it’s fine, they are not jeopardizing anyone’s career. All the times Jimin has said that he loves or likes Yoongi, the latter knows it’s out of friendship and respect, nothing more. And all the times he has said that he likes Jimin, it left him with a guilt.
On the day of the WINGS jacket shooting, Yoongi waits for his turn tiredly. He gives a small interview, saying he feels tired and that he hasn’t slept the night before because he spent it talking to Jimin.
He poses for a unit photo shoot with Jimin leisurely without trying to let his feeling surface at the younger’s touch. They had another unit photoshoot with Jin in a bathtub. If you ask Yoongi, he’d say it was a lot intimate. First, it was Jimin’s body on top him in a small bathtub, he feels guilty for even thinking that he liked how it felt. Then they had to stare intensely at each other. It felt a lot personal and Yoongi worried that Jimin would see everything he’s been hiding. At the end of the photoshoot, Jimin throws a wink at Yoongi cheekily and skips to see the photos that came out.
It’s not like Yoongi is always thinking about the latter. It’s when he has nothing to think about, his mind automatically reverts back to Jimin or if the said boy is around and somehow getting Yoongi’s attention.
The album was released successfully and they had to attend various fan signs. It’s safe to say that their title song was received well. Around February, they released a repackage album called WINGS: YOU NEVER WALK ALONE.
That too was received well and through that, they gained more popularity. Around February, their DVD EPILOGUE II was released, that had several behind the scenes and other kinds of stuff. Yoongi has always stalked himself on Twitter to see what fans have been talking about him if there are any new memes of him if there are certain things that he hasn’t noticed but the fans did. So that’s exactly what happened.
He saw a video of himself talking about being awake due to Jimin as they had talked all night. It was from their jacket shooting, Yoongi remembers. Helpfully the caption was in Korean that said, “Look at Yoongi wasting his sleep over Jimin, look how happy he seems and that sparkle in his eyes, yoonmin is so real.”
Yoongi knows what ‘Yoonmin’ is, it’s Jimin and his name joined together. He replays the video for more than 10 times to see what the fan has meant. And he realises that he did look happier than he should. Yoongi treasures his sleep and everybody knew. It may have come out as a surprise to fans that he seemed rather happy than irritated. Yoongi reprimands himself for smiling so much just because he talked to Jimin whole night.
But he couldn’t stop smiling now because of the chat they had last year. He still remembers how Jimin had called in the middle of the night, while Yoongi was in the studio working on his mixtape. They had talked about everything and anything. It was normal for them to be like this, calling in the dead of the night and just talking, it seemed like the topics never ended between them.
He remembers Jimin saying that he wanted to let Yoongi know something because he guessed the older will understand better than anyone else. It has confused Yoongi at that time. But he still listened to Jimin calmly when the latter came out to him on the phone call. It created an atmosphere of silence between them and Yoongi didn’t know how to take the news. Jimin had worriedly called out his name and asked Yoongi if he hates him. Yoongi could never hate Jimin.
He apologized for being quiet and explained Jimin that it’s all right if he’s gay, he’s still his Jiminie. Yoongi felt proud that he was the first one that Jimin has informed, even though he knew it had something to do with Yoongi’s bisexuality. He felt truly happy for Jimin and that happiness continued for the next day during their schedule.
Yoongi scrolls through the hashtag of his name and sees pictures of his photoshoot or the fan site took pictures. Out of nowhere, he decides to type ‘Yoonmin’ in the search bar and anticipate what kind of content would come.
There were a lot of tweets written in English and he couldn’t really understand. So he scrolled through pictures and videos of them being together and somehow people making the theory that they are together. Yoongi wishes.
He sees a short video of him intensely staring at Jimin while he talks. It doesn’t have a sound but somebody must have edited it so that it focuses on Yoongi and Jimin only. He sees himself looking at Jimin so intensely, and wonders that if he really does look at Jimin like this. He wonders if Jimin knows this. Does he feel uncomfortable?
Feeling his brain being mushed up again, Yoongi decides to shut off his phone and work on his mixtape that needed a sooner date as well.
It became a regular habit to check his name joined together with Jimin. Every time a YouTube video is posted, or a run episode, Yoongi always see if there’s any content about so-called ‘Yoonmin’. He wants to see what ARMYs see between Jimin and Yoongi. If they can find a single interaction between them. Even though Yoongi clears away from Jimin during their shoot, the fans always find a way to make up theories.
It fears Yoongi in the way that he shouldn’t take things lightly. ARMYs are very sharp and observative, if they can find a single interaction between Jimin and Yoongi, then one wrong move from latter’s side and he’ll risk everything. It fears him that the fans know something that Jimin and Yoongi aren’t even aware of.
When Yoongi really thinks about it, he remembers many moments he had with Jimin throughout their career. He remembers Jimin always beside him, leaning into him, holding his hands, holding his waist, consoling him. In every aspect of Yoongi’s life as an idol, Jimin was always a part of it. He doesn’t know how he missed it, the constant presence of Jimin.
Even when they visit their families, Jimin is still there with Yoongi in the form of late night calls because Jimin says that he likes to talk to Yoongi and wants to sleep after hearing his voice. If only Jimin knew what it does to Yoongi.
Sometimes Jimin can be reality flirtatious, which confuses and scares Yoongi at the same time. He disregards those moments as Jimin being a brat. Yoongi knows for sure that Jimin somehow knows what Yoongi feels for him and he’s using that power he holds, to make Yoongi fluster just by his presence.
At some point in their career, with several interviews, they were asked about their ideal type and if they would date any member if they were girls. At some point during those interviews, Yoongi said that he would date Jimin and he said anyone would fall in love with Jimin if they looked into his eyes.
He wasn’t lying, Yoongi isn’t in love with Jimin, that’s scarier than anything. He just has this teeny tiny crush on his group member. Which is so much better than being in love, right? And he guesses that it happened because he also lost himself in the eyes of Jimin. Yoongi hates him for it. He hates how absolutely breathtaking Jimin is every moment and how he put Yoongi in this awkward position because of few genuine smiles.
But Yoongi doesn’t heed to his feelings. They’ll go away, he genuinely wishes because not only it’s heartbreaking to know that he probably likes Jimin, but the one he likes doesn’t like him back. But nonetheless, Yoongi always search about ‘Yoonmin’ to see what fans have found about them.
There are times in Yoongi’s life that he has probably slept with every member, like sleeping next to each other. When they were in the starting of their career, they all shared one room and somehow managed to sleep in the same room. When they got their own dorm with four rooms, they all had a roommate except Jungkook. When they used to go to a foreign country, they decided the roommate based on rock, paper, scissors game. So Yoongi always ended with someone and he doesn’t mind, really.
There’s always two single beds in a hotel room. So he feels comfortable maintaining the distance in the silence of the night. He probably has shared hotel rooms with Jimin a lot, because that’s just his luck, god was probably bored and decided that Yoongi and Jimin need to be in a room.
It was still fine when they had single beds. Jimin would let Yoongi chose first and take the other bed. Yoongi feels most comfortable with Jimin, not because he’s biased. It’s just so easy to talk to Jimin because he listens intently and wants to talk to Yoongi as well. They usually talk until they couldn’t form words and fall asleep. It’s safe like that because Jimin is on other bed.
But during Hawaii, for Bon Voyage 2, the god has been really playful with Yoongi because somehow Jimin and he needed up in the same room with single bed. Yoongi really wanted to change the room despite Jimin’s utter happiness. But then he realises that if he does, the members will be suspicious and somehow it will reach Jimin which will sadden him. Yoongi hates sad Jimin.
So he calmed his nerves and pretended to be okay with the arrangement. Jimin even brought wine to their room because of course, they’ll talk till late night. But Yoongi was really tired and he wanted to sleep. While Jimin got ready for bed, Yoongi was already in bed, scrolling through his feeds. He especially arranged a wall of pillows between them for safety measure.
When Jimin switches off lights, Yoongi eyes were already giving up on him. He thinks it’s better sleeping early than staying awake talking to Jimin and knowing that he is in the same bed, just a few centimetres away from him.
“Hyung, are you asleep?” Jimin asks and Yoongi pretends to be quiet so Jimin gets the hint.
But he couldn’t do that for long when Jimin’s sigh sounded sad and disappointed. The younger was obviously having a difficult time right now.
“I’m awake, Jiminie,” Yoongi tried his best to sound awake, “Wanna talk?”
And they talked for long, Jimin telling about the concert, his fear and how he genuinely feels about their success and Yoongi listened to him the whole night without falling asleep. In the middle of the night, Jimin had shifted closer and Yoongi slyly shuffled back. It’s just too dangerous territory.
But in the morning, somehow they ended up tangled with Jimin face tucked in his chest and Yoongi holding tightly onto his waist. He doesn’t know how it happened but when he moves to look at the wall of pillows, it’s all broken. He stays still while Jimin wills himself to wake up too. It’s so awkward that Yoongi doesn’t know what to do. For Jimin, it seems normal as he gives Yoongi a very sleepy, closed eyes smile.
Jimin is a natural cuddler, so this position doesn’t bother him and he’s so not in love with Yoongi to care about the position. But Yoongi? He’s not a cuddler and he has this huge crush on Jimin and this position doesn’t help him. He thought Jimin would move away, but he just moves closer and snuggles some more.
Thankfully, the door is locked so nobody is going to barge in and see them like this. It feels too domestic to be waking up to Jimin, tangled together and just enjoying the few minutes before they have to rush back to shooting. They don’t speak and just cuddle as long as nobody knocks on the door. Both are awake but none of them speaks about the position they woke up in.
For Yoongi, filming Bon Voyage was fun and relaxing but at the same time traumatizing. When the episodes were posted, Yoongi saw it again. He smiled, remembering their time there and searched for every moment where he and Jimin were found to be together. He couldn’t see what ARMYs could.
He read on Twitter about the whole Bon Voyage show and what ARMYs feel about it. He saw many memes of Hoseok and Jungkook and laughed secretly to it. When he typed in Yoonmin, he immediately saw so many pictures of the said pair that he failed to notice while he was watching the show.
Many ARMYs pointed out the moments that Yoongi and Jimin found to be together and described the picture so well. Some were talking about how Yoongi cooked for Jimin as a task and Jimin cutely looking at Yoongi and that’s just so boyfriend-ish!
Many talked about how they slept in the same bed. Yoongi wishes that he could also be joyous about it but nothing was so fun about it except that his feelings only grew. They pointed at how Yoongi was worried that Jimin would get lost and whine about it.
He didn’t realise how it sounded that time but now he’s playing on repeat and reading the captions, he does feel like he knows more about Jimin and worries for him. Turns out, Jimin did whine and get lost.
Yoongi almost didn’t want to watch Bon Voyage 1 because he was scared of revelations.
The members must have realised before Yoongi did it or for that matter Jimin. It came to Yoongi with a blow when Namjoon casually brought it up in a conversation while they were working on the album.
“So, Jimin, huh?” He asks and Yoongi briefly glances at him with confusion.
“What about him?” Yoongi distractedly mumbles.
“It’s fine if you don’t want to tell me,” Namjoon says, turning back to his own work.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about, Namjoon-ah, honestly,” Yoongi irritatedly say. Yoongi hates when someone beats around the bush, he can’t and doesn’t want to start solving some stupid riddle.
“It’s okay if you like Jimin, you can tell me, you know?” Namjoon mumbles, not looking at Yoongi and working up on some lyrics.
Yoongi turns to look at him, still for a moment, trying to contemplate what gave it away for Namjoon to think he likes Jimin. Or does he even mean in that way? Maybe he means that Yoongi is paying more attention to Jimin than the other kids?
“Yeah, I do. Of course, I do, he’s my dongsaeng! Why would I dislike him?” Yoongi tests the water. He really hopes that Namjoon is really talking about this hyung and dongsaeng relationship only. He will fucking die if Namjoon or anyone for that matter comes to know that Yoongi like Jimin as a man.
“Not like that,” Namjoon sighs and looks up from where he was writing and cutting off the lyrics, “Don’t fool me, Yoongi hyung,” He narrows his eyes at him and a cold sweat breaks at Yoongi’s neck.
Namjoon knows, he fucking knows! Anybody could have known, except Namjoon. But then also, it would have been a surprise if Namjoon didn’t realise sooner. He’s very observant, so of course, he knows. Yoongi just wonders how he knows because he’s been really careful to not show any sign that he has this hugest crush on Jimin. Yes, he sidetracks during shoots and all, but it’s just that. It’s for the camera, the teasing, the bantering, it’s for the fans that want them to interact.
Otherwise, at the dorm, he maintains his distance. It’s easier to maintain a distance during shoots because he knows the number of people and camera around and anything could be captured. But at the dorm, there’s no one to really see when Yoongi fondly stares at Jimin, so it gets a tad bit difficult to control himself. He should’ve though because now Namjoon knows.
He probably hates him not because Namjoon doesn’t support same-gender love, he’s fucking president of it, but because the grave mistake Yoongi has done by falling for his group mate. It’ll ruin everything if it comes out and Namjoon hates him for that. He should hate him.
“Namjoon…,” Yoongi trails off, there’s nothing to hide if Namjoon knows. He’ll only dig for more until Yoongi tells him. “I’m sorry,” He whispers, hands clammy from nervousness. Yoongi wonders if everybody else knows, if Namjoon has told them if Jimin has found out on his own too, or somehow it has reached him too.
“Why are you sorry, hyung?” Namjoon furrows his eyebrows and keeps his notebook aside.
“Loving the same gender is not wrong, you know better, hyung,” Namjoon softly reprimands. He knows Yoongi supports gay rights and LGBTQ+ community, what he doesn’t know is why Yoongi thinks it’s wrong when it has come upon him.
“It’s wrong because it’s Jimin,” He looks up to make an eye contact, “He’s a group member,” Yoongi reminds him.
Namjoon could only look at him in sympathy. He knows it wouldn’t work out ever. The fact it’s the same gender love, it’s a risk more than it’s worth. Then, of course, falling for a member. It wouldn’t work but Namjoon doesn’t want Yoongi to hold back and be unhappy about it.
“I’m sorry, it will be okay,” Namjoon says and hugs him briefly.
“How did you know?” Yoongi had asked him after they have gone back to working on music.
“I saw the way you look at him, someone fucking stupid wouldn’t realise it,” Namjoon scoffs and smiles.
“So Jimin?” Yoongi softly jokes.
“Hey now, don’t blame Jiminie,” Namjoon scolds, “By the time he looks at you, you’re back to being stoic and dead, he really can’t see then,” Namjoon shrugs and Yoongi nods. It’s true. He would look away whenever Jimin would catch him.
“Then I hope our members are actually fucking stupid,” Yoongi grumbles, Namjoon only smiles in pity.
On the other side of the story, things weren’t looking pretty good for Jimin. He was in a dilemma and had no one to talk about. Well, he did have his members but he didn’t know how to tell them. Coming out as a gay is one thing but falling for a member, non platonically is a whole different thing.
He always had Yoongi to talk about things, whether it be his nightmares, his dreams, his worries, his insecurities or even his sexuality. Yoongi was the first person Jimin revealed his sexuality. He knew the older wouldn’t judge him for being not straight. He knew others wouldn’t judge him as well, after being together for so long, but he didn’t know how to deliver the news without being scared of feedback.
But he just knew with Yoongi, he knew the older would accept him, gay or straight, it wouldn’t matter to him. Jimin was right at the end. It was Yoongi who encouraged him to tell other members as well as he has done long before. Just as the relationship cannot work on lies and secrets, a group won’t work on lies and secrets. It had been difficult, but Yoongi was there the whole time, ready to argue with anyone who would be against Jimin’s sexuality.
And it would have been to easy to confess if it wasn’t for the fact that the man he was pinning behind was none other than Yoongi. How fucking cruel.
He knows he could still go and confess but what’s the outcome of it? Being rejected? Being degraded? Yoongi might be all into gay rights and love wins trend and probably will tattoo a rainbow flag on his forehead, but that doesn’t mean he accepts same gender love in the same group.
It doesn’t work that way and he would rather have Yoongi as a friend instead of having him as nothing and ruining the dynamics of the group. It had been more difficult with the amount of attention Yoongi lays to him.
Jiminie, did you eat well? Are you eating enough? You should rest a bit. Don’t exert yourself. You looked good today. You did well on stage. You’re such a hard worker, Jiminie.
With the daily appreciation and concerns, comes a lot of touching in platonically way. Yoongi always touched Jimin and other members. It’s fine, they all do. He really doesn’t mind but when it comes to Yoongi, he gets flustered easily, having his hands on Jimin’s body. It makes Jimin wants to press himself against Yoongi at times to feel him completely. He thought that now that he has come out as gay, people would be wary of being near him but it’s totally opposite, Taehyung still cuddles with him and if it was possible, he loves his group a lot more.
Jimin doesn’t do anything about his feelings. He let them be there for as long as he can hold them to himself. Maybe, Jimin thinks, maybe when everything ends, when they go in separate ways, maybe then Jimin will confess and be happy with whatever response he will get. He doesn’t want to live in regret of not conveying his feelings at all. Yoongi is not an easy person to read, so he doesn’t know what Yoongi feels about him.
It will be whimsical if Yoongi does have feelings for him, because it happens in stories and not in real life, right? How could it be possible that two people are pinning after each other but afraid of confessing to each other for the fear of losing each other? That’s what whimsical means. Yoongi doesn’t like Jimin as a man, just as a friend, as a dongsaeng.
Jimin likes being on twitter and connecting with his fans, really. He supposes he’s the one who’s most on twitter and reading all the tweets about them. When he searches Bangtan, he gets a lot of content and nowadays, it has all been about their RUN episodes and memes of it.
It the middle of searching some really ugly photos of members that could be posted on twitter for occasions, Jimin gets a text from Namjoon.
He opens it and sees a picture of him and Yoongi. It was from their recent episode of RUN which has been uploaded today. Jimin has already seen it and he wonders why Namjoon has sent it.
To Namjoonie hyung,
What is this, hyung?
From Namjoonie hyung,
You and Yoongi hyung.
I thought it looked cute. I saw it on twitter.
It was a picture of them in a, well sort of a team hug, but the camera focused or rather the picture was focused on Jimin smiling widely and hugging Yoongi while tucking his head under Yoongi’s chin and the latter looking proud and patting. It looked almost intimate, a small moment between just them caught by the camera. Jimin remembers that shooting of RUN episode for arcade games.
They do look cute, Jimin would totally agree. He immediately saves the photo to his camera roll.
From Namjoonie hyung,
I see a lot of you and Yoongi hyung on twitter, you know?
To Namjoonie hyung,
Is that a bad thing?
From Namjoonie hyung,
No, it’s not, Jiminie. Not until you think it that way. I think it’s cute how close you both are. Don’t worry about it, when it comes to you and Yoongi, everything is okay, remember that.
Namjoon was being cryptic about his message. Jimin wanted to ask what he meant but he rather thought not to. It shouldn’t be that difficult if Jimin doesn’t think of it like that.
To Namjoonie hyung,
You didn’t use the formal speech, I’m gonna screenshot this and send it to Yoongi hyung.
From Namjoonie hyung,
Like hell, you will, brat!
Jimin giggles and keeps the phone aside while he watches the TV again. He so engrossed in the movie, that he doesn’t realise his phone buzzing next to him, a series of a message from Namjoon.
From Namjoonie hyung,
From Namjoonie hyung,
From Namjoonie hyung,
Check out on twitter.
He giggles at Namjoon’s struggles and wonders what does the word in English mean. Nonetheless, he copies the word and pastes it on his twitter search. After few seconds, loads and loads of tweets are being updated.
Jimin scrolls through it and realises it’s mostly him and Yoongi. So it must be something about them. He sees many tweets in English and he doesn’t understand half of it, but he is happy to see the pictures of Yoongi and him.
He sees a sequence of a picture of him looking at Yoongi smiling while the older boy is smiling with the gummy smile and looking somewhere else. He remembers from a fan sign and honestly wonders what those captions mean. So the screenshot that tweet and message Namjoon.
From Namjoonie hyung,
You sure you want me to translate?
Jimin furrows his eyebrows.
To Namjoonie hyung,
Is it something bad?
From Namjoonie hyung,
It’s actually not…
It says and you look like you’re so much in love with Yoongi and there’s no pure form of love other than yours both.
Jimin almost drops the phone when he reads his message. He immediately switches back to the photo and carefully sees it. Did ARMYs recognize something? Did they realise Jimin’s crush on Yoongi? Does he really look at Yoongi like he is complete, utterly in love with him? Does Yoongi know? Jimin is almost shaken up. He wonders if ARMYs have found out and wants to screenshot several tweets just to understand the meaning of it. But that will be bothersome for Namjoon hyung.
From Namjoonie hyung,
Don’t let it bother you, Jimin.
To Namjoonie hyung,
It’s not bothering me…
He feels almost reluctant to send that message. What would Namjoon think of it? It should disgust Jimin, from Namjoon’s perspective, that fans think like that about their two band members, who are solely brother from the bond. But it doesn’t disgust Jimin.
From Namjoonie hyung,
Good. Don’t let people’s words get to you. Whatever you’re thinking now is what you’re feeling. So don’t suppress it for the sake of others.
This time also, Jimin doesn’t ask Namjoon what he means.
And just like this, Namjoon sends him different photos of Yoongi and him together, captures by fans either in their concert or from a different source. He would save them all in a different album. He would ask Namjoon about why he’s sending all these photos and Namjoon will only reply that no reason, I thought you guys looked cute together.
It would sadden Jimin because they do look good together but they are not together-together. They would have made an amazing couple, Jimin knows. With Yoongi’s quiet behaviour and Jimin’s open personality, they would have balanced out each other so well. And they already know so much about each other, nothing would have been awkward. It could have happened if either one of them was a girl and they were not in the same group.
With new days, comes new schedules and responsibility and new shoots to produce. They still upload their RUN episodes even when they are away.
Jimin has taken upon himself to check the updates of each episode without the help of Namjoon. He has learnt the spelling of ‘Yoonmin’ and typed it in the search bar. With every episode being uploaded, there’s always a small part of their interactions that ARMYs have caught in the midst of everything. It makes him happy how attentive they are even to small things.
He sees a lot of them, he feels a lot of them. He doesn’t want to believe Yoongi likes him as well. He may pretend to be nice and funny in front of the cameras, but behind those, Yoongi is still same but yet so different. He carries himself quietly around the dorm and reprimands his younger for their wrongdoings. Then also, Yoongi fucking adores the maknae line and just generally his group as well. Jimin thinks, if given a situation, Yoongi might even die for his members. It’s no doubt Yoongi let the maknae line get away with their tricks, knowing that he will not really mind. But when they go out of line, Yoongi is in charge of scolding them.
So also, it’s no doubt, Yoongi has a favourite in the maknae line. Now it was very difficult to choose because he will actually, literally fucking die for Taehyung and he thinks of Jungkook as his own blood related younger brother and Jimin, well he’s in fucking love with him, get the hint. So Jimin is his favourite because he’s salty and biased.
Jimin particular doesn’t have a favourite. He just likes Yoongi a little too much than others and feels comfortable to let come out to his first. Probably because of Yoongi open mind and calmness, Jimin could trust him.
He thinks he should stop obsessing over him, clearly, nothing will come out of it. He and Yoongi can never end up together, maybe not in this life. But he believes that if there’s another life to him and Yoongi, then he prays that they do end up together happily, that they find each other and love each other for all the times they couldn’t.
It makes Jimin cries because how much he loves Yoongi but can’t really tell anyone. They’ll feel disgusted, cheated. For Jimin, it’s truly a selfish act, to fall in love with a group member and risk everyone’s career, the group’s career and the company’s career and it’s staff. It scares him how much damage it will do if he and Yoongi end up together. But that’s not possible.
This thing is, it started with the subtle push from members and constant stalking of the posts from ARMYs. He used to see a lot of videos made by ARMYs on YouTube, a compilation of Yoongi and Jimin together. It gave him hope and a surge of happiness, in an alternative universe, they are together.
The constant message from Namjoon, regarding any Yoonmin update, was the first step. At some point, Jimin wanted to feel angry and shout at Namjoon hyung for sending these photos because it wasn’t helping.
In the night, Hoseok would talk a lot about Yoongi, seeing as they are really close, Jimin felt jealous. He’s close to Yoongi as well, but not enough for certain secrets.
In the other room, Jin will talk about Jimin, he’ll praise him. He’ll tell about what went down in the practice room while Yoongi was in his studio, for some reason, he’ll mostly put emphasis on Jimin. Like Jimin pranked them, Jimin taught him some difficult steps, Jimin is a little shit but he’s adorable at times. Jimin wasn’t feeling well. Everything started with Jimin and ended with the thought of him, it didn’t help Yoongi sleep at night.
Jimin calls Taehyung his soulmate and he’s ought to share everything with his best friend. But he is scared to share about the fact that he’s in love with Yoongi because he fears that Taehyung will not accept him, hate him, be disgusted by him. But then Jimin feels that Taehyung is onto something like he knows something that Jimin is unaware of. He has been talking a lot about Yoongi, praising him and whatnot. He also has been very cryptic with his sentence and Jimin has come to accept that something is wrong with his members, now that he thinks about it, everybody has been talking a lot about Yoongi.
Jungkook has made his mission to always include Jimin and Yoongi together. He’ll make them sit together when they are out for dinner, he’ll make them stand together when they are, well…standing. Somehow he has a lot of stories regarding them both and Jimin doesn’t like it a bit when Jungkook exposes him like that in front of Yoongi.
On the other hand, Hoseok has not been very sly with his mission. He’d give that very cheeky smile and like he’s onto something as well, but not for long, Yoongi thinks, Hoseok really can’t keep secrets.
“Just tell me what’s going on,” One-day Yoongi has dragged him to his studio to talk about members weird behavior.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Hoseok stutters and shrugs.
Yoongi brings out his intent stare to look at Hoseok. When the latter is under suspicion, he’ll open his mouth. The glare has always worked for Hoseok and someday Yoongi will feel bad using it like this, making Hoseok feel caught and vulnerable, but it’s not today.
Hoseok throws his hands up in surrender, “We know you like Jimin,” Then he immediately shuts his mouth when he sees Yoongi’s expression change from confusion to shock to solemn.
There’s no denying to it, everybody knows and he fears that Park Jimin knows as well, thus why he’s been very distant. He’s probably disgusted with Yoongi, he feels tainted, of course, he feels tainted.
“Jimin…he doesn’t know, we didn’t tell him,” Hoseok helpfully provides and Yoongi nods gratefully. He will take his confession to the grave and Park Jimin shouldn’t ever find out about this.
“You can go,” Yoongi says and turns back to his work. There’s nothing to say or do about the situation. So Yoongi likes Jimin but that doesn’t mean the latter likes him back. He can’t confess and damage the dynamic of the group and risk anything right now they are at the peak of success. He shouldn’t be selfish about his own fucking thoughts. “And tell the boys to stop whatever they are doing,” He finalises.
“Yoongi hyung, maybe you should talk to Jimin,” Hoseok says carefully and gets up. He pats Yoongi’s shoulder and sees himself out. Talk to Jimin? Hoseok must not understand the depth of the situation. He’s not worried about rejection, he has gotten many rejections in his life to be used to the word but rather he’s worried that something will change between them and it will be bad.
Jimin doesn’t deserve the burden of Yoongi’s feelings. The guy should be allowed to love anyone he wants without feeling the heavy weight of Yoongi’s confession. And Jimin has a lot to see, feel and experience. He shouldn’t be stopped by Yoongi’s feelings.
The thing about ignorance is that it is never ignored. The quote ‘ignorance is bliss’? Yeah, no. Yoongi doesn’t think ignorance is bliss, rather he thinks it’s a burden. He has been trying to ignore his feelings for the younger, but it always remains like an imprint highlighted point, mocking him, laughing at him for his cowardliness. He can’t do anything about it, he can’t even ignore it, it’s just there like an unwanted plague.
He asks the universe one chance to make it all right or all wrong. He wishes to go back to the day he even thought of Park Jimin more than a dongsaeng. He would have reprimanded his old self and told how there’s no luck and it’s only heartache. If it’s an all right option, then he wishes Jimin reciprocate his feeling and they have their own kind of happily ever after. Which is a wishful thinking. The latter option seems impossible.
Like Yoongi said, feelings cannot be ignored for long. They’ll fucking poke you until you do something about it. They are so vulnerable to attention and love, that they’ll make you vulnerable and do something out of way.
And that’s why things went downhill when Jimin collapsed while practising. Yoongi was in his studio completing, composing and doing what he knows best. While Jimin and Jin, tagging along Taehyung, practised at the studio on the lower floor. Jimin had come earlier to remind Yoongi that they are still in the building and if he’s leaving, he should not forget about them.
So Yoongi knew the trio are still practising while he works on some tunes. The heart attack comes in the form of a call. He sees Jin hyung’s ID and picks up nonchalantly, thinking they are leaving and so wanted to inform Yoongi.
But he hears pants and his series of his name only from the other line.
“Hyung, what happened?” Yoongi worriedly ask, thinking something went wrong downstairs.
“Jimin…,” He pants and Yoongi is already standing, “He collapsed,” It was enough information for Yoongi to sprint downstairs through darkness and reach the practice room.
He can hear his heartbeat in his ears when he sees Jimin lying completely still on the white floor, Jin and Taehyung surrounding him and fanning him. Yoongi makes his way towards them and slowly fall to his knees while the only thing he could hear was his heartbeat over Jin’s panicked explanation. Yoongi shakes Jimin violently and slaps his face a few times but nothing works.
In the end, they decided to call their Manager Sejin. The lesser people know, the better. They don’t need every staff right now and certainly not Band PD to find out Jimin collapsed again. Also, the rest of the boys shouldn’t worry right now, everybody is carrying an equal amount of worry over comeback, they don’t need to add more.
By the time Manager Sejin comes brusquely, Yoongi had moved Jimin to his studio with the help of Jin and Taehyung. Thankfully, Manager Sejin has brought the company doctor with him and he checks upon Jimin’s condition. All the while, Yoongi has let his guard down and held onto Jimin’s hand tightly and looked for any discomfort on his face.
The doctor blamed Jimin’s condition for his malnutrition and overwork. Jin said he’s been dieting to lose weight and that they were practising earlier. The doctor says he shouldn’t practice beyond his capabilities if he’s not going to eat anything. Manager Sejin asks Jin about Jimin’s eating habits.
Jin provides that he eats only in the morning before leaving and rest of the day, he is drinking water. It makes Yoongi’s heart clench with worry for the younger as he holds his hand tightly. The doctor sets him on portable IV for glucose and he asks them to feed him something before his vitamins supplements.
Manager Sejin walks outside with Doctor. Jin blames himself for Jimin’s condition because he’s older hyung, he should have said more, forced fed Jimin to eat and reprimanded him for not eating. It’s his fault because he asked Jimin to stay back for some extra practice, he should have known Jimin was tired and less in energy. But the younger has happily agreed to help Jin since Hoseok mostly took the responsibility of teaching everyone.
But somewhere, Yoongi thinks it’s his fault, he knew Jimin was dieting and he also knew the extent of it. He should have said something, stopped him. He should have taken care of him and should have been by him because it’s a critical time for everyone. He should’ve known how Jimin gets during comeback time.
Jin gets scolded by Manager Sejin not because he’s lacking and had to ask Jimin but that they failed taking care of each other. He reminded them that health is the first thing they should worry about rather than what they learn. If they are not healthy, they won’t be able to perform.
Yoongi requests them to leave Jimin and him in the office while Manager Sejin drops Jin and Taehyung. Even though Jin wanted to stay and reflect back, Yoongi assured him that Jimin is fine and he can go back home. Trusting Yoongi to take care of Jimin, they left with the promise of not telling anyone about this tonight.
Yoongi doesn’t stay by Jimin’s side but he checks upon him every 10 minutes, while he works to distract himself. He just has been feeling a lot of emotions right now and hearing that Jimin has collapsed only worsen it.
Jimin wakes up an hour later with a groan and Yoongi immediately swivel in his chair to face the younger. Jimin takes his time to adjust to the lightning and blinks hard for few minutes, he moves his head around and notices that he’s in Yoongi’s studio, very familiar now and that Yoongi is sitting and looking intently at him.
“H-hyung…,” His voice feels scratched due to not talking. Yoongi is immediately by his side with a water and helping him drink it. Jimin tries to sit up with the help of Yoongi while the IV is still attached.
They both sit in silence as Jimin breathes heavily and lays his head on Yoongi’s shoulder. It tenses him up but other than that, he feels okay, or so he thinks.
“What happened?” Jimin asks with a heavy voice.
“You tell me,” Yoongi ask back with no bite. He wants to be angry at younger for not taking care of himself but the concern is more overpowering right now.
“Are you mad at me?” Jimin hesitantly ask, sitting straight now and looking at Yoongi with big, apologetic eyes.
“This is not the first time, Jimin-ah. I’ve lost the count of it, you know?” Yoongi reminds him tiredly, “You apologise and promise each time but it keeps happening,” He shakes his head at the thought of how many times Jimin have collapsed in their career. It was scary each time.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin mumbles sadly and rest his hands on his lap. “I wanted to help Jin hyung,” He clarifies.
“It’s not about practice, it’s about you not eating,” Yoongi informs, scoffing with anger. “Whom are you trying to lose your weight for? Fans? They’ll love you even if you’re fat and if they can’t, then they are not fans,” He reminds him again. He forgets how many times they had this conversation.
Jimin just silently listens to Yoongi blow up gently on him. He doesn’t like that fact he has kept Yoongi from going home and he has worried everyone. Jimin felt fine before but he doesn’t know how he collapsed. He knows he’s not eating well and that’s not good for his health, but he can’t help himself. He wants to lose weight and be accepted by people. He has seen a lot of people suggesting that he could lose some weight for the next comeback. And even though their company denies and doesn’t want their artist to read such comments, Jimin can’t help himself.
“I wanted to be accepted,” Jimin mumbles, fidgeting with his fingers. He hears Yoongi sigh and shifts on the couch so they are facing each other. Yoongi brings his hands to cup Jimin’s face and lifts it. It feels a lot intimate now.
“You are,” Yoongi whispers. “Not everyone should accept you and you shouldn’t work hard for it. You should be glad that there are people who accept you the way you are,” Jimin has tears in his eyes while Yoongi speaks. He shifts closer to Yoongi to maybe hug him earnestly to let this feeling wash away, but Yoongi doesn’t allow. He wanted Yoongi to like him and notice him differently.
“Do you accept me?” Jimin asks, rubbing his eyes with tears to clearly see if Yoongi is nodding.
“Do you, hyung?” He persists.
“I almost had a heart attack when I heard you collapsed again. It felt like the ground swept off of my feet, Jimin,” Yoongi will probably regret this later, but he needs Jimin to know how much he matters to him and that if everyone hates Jimin, he’ll be here, still loving him. He cups his face harder.
“I was scared…of losing you,” He confesses, “You mean a lot to me Jimin, more than you could think of. And I care about you a lot in the worst way possible, it’s unfair that way I always worry about you but I can’t help myself. I want to tell you a lot of things but I can’t, I just…I can’t,” Yoongi stops himself and drops his hands altogether, looking down at his lap. He feels dizzy with emotions. He’s so close to confessing but he feels scared. He thinks that if he confesses then this ignorance and regret won’t irritate him.
“Hyung…hyung please look at me,” Jimin desperately ask and Yoongi raises his head.
“I need to know what I mean to you,” He holds Yoongi’s hand tightly.
“You’ll hate me,” Yoongi refuses.
“I’ll hate you if you don’t tell me,” Jimin warns him lightly. It hurts Yoongi because either way, Jimin is going to hate him. It’s not fair, wanting to have someone but you can’t, being so close to someone yet so far.
Yoongi shakes his head no. He refuses, he believes that if he doesn’t tell then he’ll convince Jimin later to talk to him again. But if he does confess, then he will never be able to talk to Jimin.
“Want me to tell you what you mean to me?” Jimin says and Yoongi wants to hear but he doesn’t at the same time. Jimin doesn’t even give him an option, so he hears.
“I hate you,” Jimin sharply says and Yoongi closes his eyes, take his hands away from Jimin because this is it, Jimin knows. He knows and he hates Yoongi for putting him in this situation.
“Stop it,” He chokes out. He doesn’t want to hear the reasons, he has heard enough.
“No, you’ll hear me,” Jimin being the incessant brat he is, he takes his IV off and cups Yoongi’s cheek. “Listen to me, Yoongi,” He jaw is clenched with the tear in his eyes.
“I fucking hate you for making me miserable all these months. If you say you care about me, then why did you make me miserable?” Yoongi casts his eyes down and stops himself from crying. “I cried sleeping, knowing that I don’t mean anything to you-,”
“-that’s not true-,” Yoongi cuts him off.
“-and it fucking hurts, you jerk! All I wanted was for you to look at me and think differently for once, what do I have to do? I tried getting close to you but you pushed me away, do you know how that feels?” Instead of saying, Jimin hardly hits him on the shoulder. “Like that, it hurt that much.”
Yoongi bites his lips because he knew all the times Jimin tired to be together and he only pushed him away for his sanity.
With disregard to formality, Jimin continues, “I thought I was not enough, I tried to dress nicely, I tried to lose weight-I did-,” Jimin hiccups and cries, hands slipping down to Yoongi’s t-shirt. “You tell me that everyone accepts me then why can’t you accept me, hyung?” His voice sounded so vulnerable that Yoongi wanted nothing more to bring him closer and hug him.
“Do you…do you not like m-men now, is that it?” He hesitantly asks, “Do you hate me?”
“I could never,” Yoongi immediately say.
“Do you like me?”
“Do you love me?”
Yoongi is hesitant as he clutches his hands harder. He doesn’t believe that it’s going to be this easy, it feels like a dream, no, a nightmare. It feels like God is playing pranks on him.
“Do you love me, Yoongi?” Jimin insists.
Yoongi stays quiet. Even if he confesses now, what then? They can’t be together. It’ll hurt them more.
“I love you,” Jimin confesses in the silence of the studio. It’s loud and clear and purposefully. Yoongi looks at Jimin’s face, red with anger and tears flowing through his eyes. Yoongi isn’t crying but the hint of tears remain in his lower lash line, making his eyes red and puffy. “Tell me,” Jimin hits his chest. “Tell me you love me back, I know you do, please tell me,” He hits his chest repeatedly until Yoongi holds both of his hands.
“I love you, Jiminie,” Yoongi says and presses a small kiss to his knuckles.
“Not like a dongsaeng?”
“No,” Yoongi confirms and Jimin scrambles to get closer to him and they hug. Jimin is almost on Yoongi’s lap, crying on his shoulder. “You don’t hate me?”
“I just told you I love you,” He retorts.
“You’re not disgusted?”
“Why would I be disgusted if I love you?” Jimin scrunches his nose up and moves back to look at Yoongi. “I’ve been in love with you for months, hyung, why would I be disgusted now?” He cups Yoongi’s face and rests his forehead against Yoongi’s. “I’ve only dreamt of this moment and I thought it will remain like that,” Jimin weakly chuckles. They are close enough for their lips to brush slightly and Yoongi knows that it’s all Jimin taking steps, moving his head closer by seconds.
“Jimin,” Yoongi tries to move back but Jimin holds him there, “We can’t-,”
“Don’t tell me no when you’ve already confessed, Yoongi! Don’t take me to heaven and drop me to the pits of hell. I love you and you love me, isn’t that enough now?” He asks angrily and moves back to look at the uncertainty in his eyes.
“You know why we can’t,” And Jimin does know and yeah, he might be ignorant, he can’t help but be selfish for once, for once putting himself above every responsibility, every thought that’s not his.
“I want to be with you, hyung,” Jimin cries and Yoongi pulls him closer and kisses his forehead and whispers I know, I know, “Please, for once let’s forget what others say. Let’s focus on each other, you make me happy. I will do whatever you want, just love me this once, please,” Yoongi knows it’s not that Jimin is desperate to seek attention, to be loved but it’s not because he’s like that. He knows it’s different this time.
“Okay…okay,” Yoongi agrees. They have a lot to think about, there’s a lot more risk than it’s worth. But Yoongi knows it’s all worth, it’s all worth even when they’ll get shoutings, be degraded and probably get thrown out, be hated on but it’s all worth if he has Jimin now.
They just revel in each other, just hugging and finding comfort in it. They always hug but it’s never this intimitate. Once Jimin has calm down, he moves away from Yoongi to look at his face and the older smile in reassurance. They’ll be okay because they have each other.
“Now, if you’re done being dramatic and taking off your IV, can you please eat something? I need to give you some vitamins supplements,” Yoongi gets up to take the tablets from his table but Jimin stops him.
“No, focus on me only,” He petulantly say.
“I am, Jiminie,” Yoongi brushes his hair away, “You should eat and rest up, we’ll see what to do tomorrow,” He smiles and gets up to leave to bring some food.
He thinks a lot while he brings food for Jimin. They have a lot to do and Jimin is right, they can’t just ignore their feelings after confessing.
Jimin eats in silence while Yoongi looks at him throughout. He likes the attention so he doesn’t mind Yoongi’s gaze. Once he’s done, Yoongi hands him his vitamins and water. He drinks it and makes himself comfortable on the couch. By that, he lays down on the small couch while Yoongi sits on the coffee table and brushes Jimin’s hair.
“You said you’ll do anything,” Yoongi reminds him when Jimin is on the verge of sleeping. The younger boy nods.
“Don’t collapse anymore,” He opens his eyes to look at Yoongi and take in his request. “You have to eat well. I don’t care if you grow in size, I will still love you, I accept you however you are,” Jimin smiles at him.
“I won’t,” He promises and takes out his pinky. Yoongi chuckles and links their pinky.
“Sleep now,” He orders softly. He leans down to kiss his forehead softly, staying there for a few seconds before moving back to stand up and work. But Jimin holds his hand before Yoongi could so much as move away.
“Can we-,” Jimin doesn’t finish and looks at a Yoongi’s lips. He smiles and kneels down so he can kiss Jimin without any problem. It should be awkward seeing as they are group mates and they always had hyung-dongsaeng relation but it’s fine now. Their heart thumps loudly but they are fine now.
Yoongi softly takes Jimin’s bottom lips between his lips and kiss him. Jimin doesn’t do anything on his own and let Yoongi take the lead. It’s a small kiss, no tongue involved whatsoever. They move back when both have to breathe and smile giddily at each other. To be honest, it doesn’t feel awkward.
“You’ve spoiled me with one kiss, what to do now?” Jimin sings songs and traces Yoongi’s bottom lip.
“Brat,” Yoongi smiles and flicks his ear before stealing one more kiss and threatening that he won’t kiss him if Jimin doesn’t fall asleep.
It’s going to be a chaotic ride from now on with secrecy and love, but they’ll manage. After all, they are good at hiding, whether it be their feeling for each other or their love from others. They are fine and in love.
Once it gets morning, Yoongi will confess to Jimin again and hear it back, just because he knows it’s real now.
Once it gets morning, Yoongi will thank his band members for pushing them not so subtly and for accepting them as they are, that is, in love.
Once it gets morning, Yoongi will have to thank the ARMYs secretively for their hard work. If it’s wasn’t for them, Yoongi wouldn’t have recognized his feelings for Jimin. He hopes that they understand what he means, after all, it was mostly ARMYs playing the Cupid in their relationship.
* * *
To the anon who sent me this plot, I got inspiration from that. And I know your prompt doesn’t match with this, but I promise I’ll write once again and bring something from it. Thank you for the prompt.
To others…it was an emotional ride, wasn’t it?
ALL HAIL FOR OUR YOONMIN FANCLUB PRESIDENT, MR KIM NAMJOON! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
Summary: You return to school after winter break to find Billy Hargrove looking for you and your friends constantly pestering you about just what kind of relationship you have with Steve Harrington, anyway.
Pairing: Steve Harrington x Reader
Word Count: 3,151
Author’s Note: I thought that it would only take three parts to tell this story, but this part was getting so long that I ended it. I'm thinking that it'll be four parts and the fourth part will have the ultimate conclusion + a small epilogue-y scene.
Warnings: Language. Some small incidents of sexual harassment, but nothing explicit.
"Y/N!" You closed your locker door to look at Tiffany. "You'll never guess who was asking about you in the parking lot."
Your stomach did a small flip. You hated it when it did that. Ever since The Party (as you now called it in your head), every time someone even mentioned Steve–hell, if there was even a possibility that they could be mentioning Steve, your body reacted in weird ways. Sometimes it was a stomach flip. Sometimes your heart beat faster. Sometimes your breath caught in your throat. Sometimes you felt the overwhelming urge to giggle or squeal.
Geeze, you hated yourself.
"Who?" Becky asked, closing her locker, and eagerly joining your conversation. The three of you turned from your lockers, heading towards your first class of the day.
"Billy. Hargrove," Tiffany announced, grinning at you, and nudging your shoulder with hers. Your stomach dropped. Partially out of disappointment and partially out of dread. You would have thought the week and a half would be enough time for him to get over the fact that you'd kicked him in the balls and run out of the party with Steve Harrington. Billy seemed like the type who cast a wide net and if a fish happened to wriggle free than so be it, there were plenty left.
"Why?" you asked, furrowing your brow in confusion for good measure.
"Oh come on, Y/N, I saw you two at the party," Tiffany poked.
"What are you talking about?" And now you really were confused.
"He had his arms around you, and you were standing real close, and he was kissing down your neck," Tiffany described, putting on her most sultry voice. You couldn't keep the disgust from showing on your face, and she laughed at you, misinterpreting the look. "Hey, I'm just describing what I saw. You were the one getting down and dirty with Billy Hargrove."
"Funny, I didn't think Billy was your type," Becky said, thoughtfully.
"He's not!" You blurted out. "Whatever you saw at the party was not what it looked like."
"Suuuure," Tiffany shared a look with Becky, and you could feel yourself growing frustrated and flustered.
"It wasn't! And how would you know what happened, you were too busy sucking face with Jeff," you snapped.
Tiffany didn't even have the decency to turn red. Instead she just laughed it off. "Then were'd you go? Both of you disappeared right afterwards?"
And that explained why Tiffany hadn't even bothered to call to make sure she'd gotten home ok.
"Steve Harrington took me home," you shrugged, defensively.
Becky raised her eyebrows at this. While she was on considerably better terms with Steve than Amy, she still had her opinions on him. "Steve Harrington took you home?"
"He dropped me off on his way home." It was an exaggeration, but the last thing you needed was them thinking there was some sort of love triangle between you, Steve, and Billy. Or to just assume you had any sort of relationship to Steve. Because you didn't. He didn't like you like that. He was just a good friend. And you were just his good friend. And even that was a stretch.
Becky opened her mouth to say something, but both of you caught Tiffany's look and her smug smile as you approached the door to your English class.
Outside of it stood Billy Hargrove.
"Tiffany, Becky, " he greeted, giving each of your friends a nod from where he leaned up against the wall. "Y/N." His eyes stopped on you, and it was hard to breathe. Your whole body seemed to tense up under his gaze, it was as if needles were pricking at your hands from the anxiety. All you wanted to do was run into the classroom and away from him.
"Hi, Billy," Tiffany greeted in a sing-song voice before entering the classroom with Becky. She paused for a second in the doorway. "Don't make her too late for class." She smiled and then waved goodbye.
Billy pushed himself off of the wall, walking closer to you, right into your personal space. Your books lightly rested against his chest. He was too close, but you weren't about to step back. "You ran off so quick the other night," he started, a small smirk growing on his lips. "I didn't get the chance to say goodnight."
"Yeah, sorry about that." Your voice was anything but sorry.
"What do you say we give it another try," Billy asked, moving even closer so you could feel his breath on your face. Your stomach squirmed, and you looked over his shoulder into the classroom wanting desperately to be in the safety of your assigned seat. "Tonight? I can give you a ride home from school?"
"I–" you opened your mouth to reject him when another voice cut across you.
"Billy, where are you supposed to be?"
Billy turned around to face your English teacher who stood in the doorway with his arms crossed.
"Sorry, Mr. Bailey," Billy apologized, throwing on a charming smile for your teacher. "I was just asking Y/N for directions to Ms. Wood's class. I keep getting lost, you know," Billy's smile slipped into a smirk. "Since I'm new."
"Go on," Mr. Bailey nodded in the direction of Ms. Wood's class.
"Yes, sir," Billy said, stepping away from you and walking down the hall to class. He turned over his shoulder and threw you a wink.
"Y/N," Mr. Bailey motioned into his class, and you flushed, quickly scurrying into class and to your seat.
It was a miracle that you managed to avoid Billy for the rest of the day.
You were not so lucky in dodging your friends' comments about his pursuit of you or on the fact that Steve Harrington had driven you home from the party. Speculation on love triangles were growing fast. Even after you'd spent your lunch period telling Becky and Tiffany what had really happened at the party, they still didn't believe you that nothing was going on between you and two of Hawkins' hottest bachelors. Neither of them felt as if you had told them the complete truth, and they were sort of right. You glossed over Billy's aggression maybe more than you should have, decided it wasn't important for them to know that you had punched Steve, and you would die before you let them know that you'd been alone with Steve Harrington in your house. You loved your friends, but you did not trust them with this sort of sensitive information.
It was the end of the day, and you were in the middle of explaining once again why you'd asked Steve an not Tiffany to drive you home when Darlene joined your group at your lockers.
"Oh, we're talking about Y/N and Steve?" Darlene asked, leaning on the locker next to Tiffany's.
"So there is something going on between you two," Becky jumped at this.
"No," you said, exasperatedly.
Darlene gave you a skeptical look, and you looked back with pleading eyes. Tiffany, as she did, caught wind of this immediately.
"Whatdoyouknow?" she demanded, the sentence coming out as one word.
"Nothing," Darlene said, innocently and your shoulders dropped in relief as you internally thanked her. "We just ran into him over Christmas break, and he obviously has a thing for her."
And just like that, you hated Darlene.
"You ran into Steve over break?" Tiffany turned to you, accusingly. "Convenient detail to leave out."
"It was nothing. He was at the New Benny's at the same time as us," you shook your head. But even as you did that, your heart beat quickened, and not in the same way it did whenever you saw Billy. Your mind drifted back to moment you'd run into each other, making good on his prediction that you'd see each other around over break.
You and Darlene had just finished spending the last of your Christmas money and had decided to go out for lunch before heading home. At the end of your meal, you'd gone for one last bathroom trip, and Darlene had headed out to wait in the car for you. It was on your way out the door that you'd run into him.
"Y/N!" A voice called out, and you whipped your head around, looking over to Steve who was sitting across from a middle school aged boy with wildly curly hair. Steve had raised himself off of the booth's seat to wave at you, and the boy across the table from him was looking between the two of you with his eyebrows raised. You felt a smile tug at your lips as you took a step closer to his table.
"Hey," you greeted, and you couldn't help it. Your eyes were drawn straight to the yellow-ish brown mark on Steve's face. An odd mixture of guilt and butterflies crept up on you at the sight of his face.
"How are you?" Steve asked. He was smiling, and fuck he was good looking. Even with the ugly bruise, he just seemed to exude this effortless charm and handsomeness.
"Good," you nodded, taking a breath and hoping it would help you settle down into some semblance of your usual calm, pulled together self. "Having a good break?"
"Yeah, it's alright," Steve shrugged. You turned slightly to the kid, shooting Steve a questioning look. And then it caught up with you. Babysitting. You had caught Steve in the act of babysitting. He wasn't just bullshitting you. "This is Dustin," he introduced, and you extended your hand to the younger boy.
"Y/N," you introduced yourself, shaking his hand.
"Y/N?" Dustin repeated, shooting a glance at Steve with a sly grin, as he let your hand go. There was a tense pause between the three of you as you looked at the grinning Dustin and Steve whose had the same "So help me God" look that your mother got sometimes when she was frustrated with you. Dustin knew something. And you weren't supposed to know that. Which meant it could only be one thing…
"He knows I punched you in the face?" you guessed, looking over at Steve. His face fell from warning to slight horror.
"YOU WHAT?" Dustin shouted, jumping up and earning looks from all of the nearby customers. "Sorry!" he called out, holding up pacifying hands before lowering his voice slightly. "You were the one who punched Steve in the face?"
"I, uh," you muttered, trying to backpedal your way out of having Steve be made fun of by a middle schooler.
"I can't believe it was you!" Dustin looked like he'd been given a second Christmas.
"Shut up, you little shithead," Steve hissed, throwing a sugar packet at him. Dustin didn't even flinch when it hit him in the arm.
"Oh my GOD, that's great!" Dustin laughed, leaning his head down on the table and pounding the table with a hand as he laughed.
"I'm so sorry," you apologized to Steve, and he shook his head. "I'll head out before I make things worse."
"Don't worry about him, I have loads of stuff on him that'll make him shut right up." Dustin was laughing too hard to hear the threat.
You shook your head. "It's fine. I have to go anyway, Darlene's my ride and she's waiting outside," you pointed out the door.
"I can give you a ride home if you want to stay for a bit," Steve offered. You blinked. Dustin stopped laughing and picked his head up off of the table.
"Y/N?" Darlene approached, and that was the end of that. You couldn't make up an excuse to stay anymore. "Steve." Darlene identified, coming up to the table. "Hey."
"Darlene," Steve nodded in greeting. You couldn't help but notice Dustin look at Darlene appreciatively. Hopefully, you hid your smile.
"Sorry, I'm ready to go," you said, and she nodded, still looking between the two of you before turning to leave and shooting you a look.
"I'll see you at school," you said to Steve before turning to the other boy. "It was nice to meet you Dustin."
They both waved you goodbye as you exited.
Darlene was waiting for you at the door. "So," she started, and you knew were this was going even as you groaned and climbed into her car. "You have a thing for Steve Harrington."
"You should have seen the way he looked at her," Darlene remarked.
"He looked at me in the way good friends look at each other."
"Oh, so you're good friends with Steve now?" Becky asked, raising her eyebrows.
You let out a frustrated sigh as you pushed the doors to the school open, heading up to the parking lot. "Can we talk about Tiffany and Jeff yet?" you asked.
"Yeah, how come Becky and I had to find our own rides home from the party?" Darlene asked, tilting your head, and you breathed a sigh of relief.
"Sorry, girls, I don't kiss and tell," Tiffany flipped her hair, and the rest of you groaned at this blatant lie. "But speaking of rides, I'm going over Jeff's after school, so I can't take you home. Sorry!" Tiffany said, stopping at her car.
Becky had a few choice words to say over this, to which Tiffany flipped her off and climbed in her car. You all backed away from it to let her pull out.
"I'm tutoring at the middle school anyway," Darlene shrugged as she waved Tiffany goodbye "I'll see you tomorrow." She took off across the parking lot, heading to Hawkins Middle.
"I can see if Ally can take us home if you want," Becky offered.
"I think I'll just walk," you answered, and Becky nodded before heading off towards Ally's car.
"I guess that means you're free," a voice spoke from the side, and your head whipped around to face the person talking. Somehow you'd missed seeing Billy Hargrove leaning up against his car, right behind Tiffany's. Of. Course. He tossed his cigarette on the ground before walking over closer to you.
"So, you coming over?" he asked, his smoldering smirk back. You shook your head.
"I'm just going to walk home," you protested.
"Come on," Billy took a step closer, leaning down to whisper in your ear. "My parents aren't home, and I like a girl who's got…fire in her."
"No. Thank you," you moved to push past him, and he grabbed your wrist.
"Hey, let her go," a voice called out, and your heart stopped before picking up at full speed. You turned your head to see Steve Harrington striding across the parking lot–almost running–towards the two of you. A smile crept up on Billy's lips as his hand released your wrist and instead he moved towards Steve.
This could not be happening.
"Shoulda known you'd come running Harrington. Here to steal her away again?" Billy asked, getting as close to Steve as he had been to you.
This could not be happening.
"Look, why don't you just leave her alone. She's not into you. Find someone else," Steve shook his head.
"And what are you going to do if I don't?" Billy asked, poking Steve in the chest as he said it. Steve brushed off his hand and glared up at Billy. The question sent a shiver down your spine.
A crowd began to gather around the two boys, just waiting for what would happen next.
"I swear to God, you lay a hand on her again, and you're dead." The threat came out as a dangerous whisper that made your heart speed up. You weren't sure if it was in the good way or the bad way.
This could not be happening.
Billy came even closer to Steve. "Is this that King Steve again? Or are you just putting on a little show so she doesn't know you've gone bitch?" Steve clenched his fists, and Billy let out a dark chuckle. "But look, if she really means that much to you, you can have the bitch. Once I'm done."
And that was when Steve punched him.
You gasped, as you watched Billy take a step back before letting out a snort of laughter and then lunging at Steve. Steve was too quick and ducked, skirting around Billy before swinging another punch at him. This one missed and allowed Billy the room to sink one into Steve's side. You winced. The crowd began to cheer, taking sides between Billy and Steve. This caught the attention of more students who quickly made their way over to witness the fight that everyone had been waiting for. Hell, you had even been waiting for this fight. Everyone knew it was just a matter of time. But what you hadn't expected was for Billy to be quite this vicious. He kicked Steve, sending him stumbling back towards you, and in a moment of thoughtfulness, you reached forward to help steady him. In the next second, he flung himself back up and towards Billy, his shoulder pushing you out of the way and sending you flying onto the ground.
It was as if the earth stopped rotating.
Everyone in the parking lot seemed to turn and watch you as you fell. You could see them, almost as if it were in slow motion. Steve and Billy both seemed to stop their wrestling with each other and turned to look at you. Billy looked surprised. Steve looked horrified. And then you hit the ground hard.
Steve pushed away from Billy and was next to you in a second. "Shit, Y/N. Are you ok? I'm so sorry," he sputtered. You slowly sat up, Steve moving back to give you some more room. You watched as Billy exited the circle of people, pushing past them with his shoulder to get to his car.
"I just…want to go home," you mumbled, trying to push down all feelings of annoyance and embarrassment. You heard the roar of the Camaro as Billy tore out of the parking lot. Asshole.
"Can I drive you?" Steve asked, and you turned to look at him. His hair was a bit disheveled from the fight and his brow was furrowed in concern. He looked like he wanted to do something but didn't know what to do. As upset as you were…it was kind of cute.
"Yeah, ok," you agreed. Steve stood up, offering you a hand, and you took it, allowing him to pull you up, one handed.
The crowd parted to allow the two of you two Steve's car, and you could feel their eyes boring into your backs. You looked at Steve from the corner of your eye. He still had the same look on his face, and even though you had been the one who was thrown down to the ground, you felt bad for the boy.
"Well," you said, as you reached his car. "At least we're even now."