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#the road goes ever ever on
guardians-of-exo · 2 years ago
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Epilogue: Lightning And Ice
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Map of Elyxion | About the knights
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~ Months later ~
”Can I take off the blindfold now?” Jongdae whined again, ignoring how Minseok huffed in annoyance.
  “No, I’ve already told you that you can’t know the way,” the Nymph explained patiently like he was talking to a small child. “Keep it on until I say otherwise.”
  “But where are we even going?” Jongdae asked, smirking because he knew he was pissing the leader off.
  “It’s a surprise,” Minseok sighed. “Though I’m beginning to regret it now. Be quiet.”
Pouting exaggeratedly, Jongdae did as told. He nearly stumbled and fell over something and he just knew that Minseok had done it on purpose. Scowling, he struck out his tongue at the leader.
From what he could feel he was walking on soft ground like grass or moss, but he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that they were in Aupherisea.
Minseok had come to him a couple of days earlier and asked if Jongdae wanted to go somewhere with him – just the two of them. They had been on a job near the Aupherisean borders, so Minseok suggested that they visited his kingdom. Jongdae had been a little suspicious as Minseok had seemed fidgety and almost shy. Like he was embarrassed over something.
And now Jongdae was blindfolded somewhere in the Nymph kingdom, having no idea where he was or where they were going. Minseok had told him that the path was a secret to any outsiders, so the last many hours of the journey had been with a blindfold. He knew that the Nymphs were very secretive, but this… oh well. He just hoped they were there soon.
  “We’re here,” Minseok said, Jongdae frowning as the Nymph’s voice shook. Why was he so nervous? Just where were they?
Jongdae felt Minseok untie the blindfold and he blinked against the sudden light, having seen nothing but darkness for hours. His eyes watered up so it took a couple of seconds for him to be able to see his surroundings.
When he finally did get a look around, his jaw dropped. He was surrounded by hundreds of flowering trees – some bursting with colourful flowers, others having a crown of lush green leaves. The forest floor was covered in a soft carpet of moss which lay bed to even more flowers in all shapes, sizes and colours imaginable. Glittering streams cut through the forest like silver ribbons, bubbling merrily, and a sort of mist hung over the forest like a thin veil, making everything shimmer in the sunlight. Pure magic thrummed around them like a constant heartbeat – steady and calming.
He had never seen anything like it.
He turned to Minseok with wide eyes. “What is this place?”  
  “The Sacred Forest,” Minseok said, fidgeting with his hands, avoiding Jongdae’s eyes. “Where we Nymphs live. Where my Soul Flower is.”
Jongdae looked around in awe. Every tree and flower were connected to a Nymph somewhere. He remembered hearing about the Sacred Forest but never had he thought he would get to see it. No outsiders were supposed to take even a single step into the place, so why was he here? “It’s amazing,” he said to Minseok. “But… why?”
Minseok blushed, cheeks and ears flushing a red Jongdae had never seen on him before, and grabbed Jongdae’s hand, dragging him a couple of steps forward.
  “This is my flower,” he mumbled shyly and Jongdae looked down to where he was pointing.
The flower was about as tall as Jongdae’s hip and had multiple flowers lining the green stems. The flowers themselves were small and bulb-shaped, their edges sort of frilly and the colour faded from a deep purple to a lavender towards the middle of the petals.
Jongdae didn’t know anything about flowers, but if he was to choose one for the Nymph in front of him, it would be this one – it just fit him somehow.
  “It’s gorgeous,” he said softly, reaching out but not quite daring to touch the delicate-looking petals.
Only humming in response, Minseok fumbled with something in his pocket and eventually managed to pull out a hollow glass ball on a chain. One look and Jongdae suddenly realized why they were there. His heart skipped a beat then sped up, hammering against his ribcage.
  “Minseok,” he breathed, eyes wide and not knowing what to say.
  “I know it’s cheesy.” Minseok let out an embarrassed laugh that ended up sounding a little hysterical. “But I want you to have this.”
He handed Jongdae the glass ball before reaching out and carefully plucking off a single flower from the stem, Jongdae winching slightly at the quiet snap, and he wondered if the Nymph could feel it.
Jongdae held out the glass ball and Minseok gently placed the flower in it, sealing the two halves with a small click. He curled Jongdae’s fingers around it, holding the Human’s hands in his own.
  “It’s something Nymphs give to someone they… care very much about,” Minseok mumbled, cheeks flaming. “I’ve never met someone like you. I’ve never… felt this way about someone before. So, I want you to have it.”
  “I’ll keep it with me always,” Jongdae promised, voice slightly wobbly. Never good with expressing his feelings, he leaned in and kissed the Nymph softly, hoping he would understand that Jongdae felt very much the same.
Minseok was essentially giving away a part of his heart and soul to Jongdae, trusting him to keep it safe, and Jongdae would do anything to prove that he could trust him. That he was worthy of his feelings.
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storminmywake · 2 years ago
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I'm officially on vacation, and will be travelling to the great North soon.
That being said, I am going to try to take advantage of things to get those things - and replies in general - done in the evening
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astriiformes · 10 months ago
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Frodo may be Bilbo’s actual adopted nephew, but Merry and Pippin are his younger cousins, and Sam is his old gardener’s son whose family he clearly has a soft spot for and who he taught to read and write, and Gimli is the son of one of his old adventuring friends, and Legolas is, similarly, the son of the Elvenking who named him an elf-friend, and we know Aragorn is canonically his friend as well, who he very possibly could have met as a small child in Rivendell when he passed through, so really, like 7/9 members of the Fellowship are people he can employ weird elderly relative (or the honorary equivalent thereof) energy on if he wants to and I think that’s very powerful.
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rocketrhap3000 · 29 days ago
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Roads go ever ever on, Under cloud and under star. Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar.
- J.R.R. Tolkien
series summary: Life as a single mother of a three year old certainly has its struggles. But when a sweet stranger makes his way into you and your little boy’s life, a one of a kind connection sparks. 
each part has its own warnings:
♡ indicates fluff ☾ indicates smut ☆ indicates angst
a/n: my first Bucky series! i suppose this is technically an AU... Bucky was never the Winter Soldier but he does have his Wakanda arm. Natasha’s your bestie and just a normal babe, Sam and Bucky are besties, and the Avengers simply don’t exist.
my main masterlist
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♡ part i - 4.2k
♡☆ part ii - 7.1k
♡☆ part iii - 6.5k
part iv - coming soon
part v - coming soon
part vi - coming soon
more to be added...
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telemna-hyelle · a month ago
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anyway Imagine the way Twilight mustve felt when Bill Ferny was badmouthing him at Bree and Sky spins around and hits Ferny square on the nose with an apple. I'd imagine it's been a while since someone stood up for Twilight like that who wasn't one of the Dunedain.
Also holy cow half the words in this look wrong without accent marks (I don't know how to add them with my keyboard D:)
oooooooohhhhh
Oh I hadn't thought of that
I'll have to write that!
The apple is such a Sky thing to do, I love it!
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qafiranaa · 2 months ago
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lying down on the bed staring at the ceiling with earphones on, volume full, pretending to be the main character
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hoziersgf · 5 months ago
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like. i know we all have mixed feelings about rikki’s appearance on mako mermaids, but hear me out: rikki becoming a deep sea diver who retrieves lost artefacts is one of the worst possible outcomes for her character
initially rikki is a social outcast, a repressed loner, a person who never feels like she truly fits in anywhere. that all changes when she meets emma and cleo. for the first time in her life rikki belongs somewhere. she doesn’t have to be alone anymore. sure it’s not always easy, it takes some time before she can truly learn how to be a friend and accept their friendship in return. still, the secret forces her to let them in and grow to love her newfound mermaid family
fast forward to mako mermaids canon: somehow the girls have grown apart. their tightly knit group has gone their separate ways, time and distance and other interests severing their connection. is it realistic that this would happen to a group who were besties in their teens but are now trying to establish themselves in the adult word? yes, it is, but i’m not expecting gritty realism from my dumb mermaid show, okay?
when the mermaids confront rikki about the dragon bracelet, she tells them she was thousands of metres down in the dark and the cold. alone. presumably no one on rikki’s team, should she have one, knows about her mermaid secret. she also tells them that, as you try to keep the secret, you don’t know who to trust, so you learn to not trust anyone
compared to cleo with her fish obsession, emma who was always rather academically inclined, even musically gifted bella, it’s hard to imagine a career path for rikki that doesn’t somehow involve water. being a mermaid meant everything to her. it was her entire life. not only that, but her friendships were more important to her than anything. the two were inextricably linked. to see rikki end up in a career path which is so solitary, so lonely, and so deeply isolating is a disservice to her character, to the growth she showed in each and every one of her relationships
it’s true that the writers probably chose such a career for rikki on purpose: the loneliness and isolation of her career is mirrored in that of her personal life since her friends moved on. this in turn helps her to empathise with the mako pod, who may all be lost to one another if they don’t protect their home. there is some hope for rikki as she shares that she intends to reach out to her friends by the end of the episode. still, as a h2o stan it’s frustrating to watch the disservice done to her in mako mermaids. the writers chose character regression and severing the connection between rikki and her closest friends over a myriad of other possibilities.
#for me anything after the season two finale isn't canon#but as IF emma wouldn't send her hourly updates on what she's up to in college. cleo also would want to call her every day and would be#pissed if she ever missed a call#this isn't even touching on her relationship with zane. or lewis or even bella#ms chatham and even ash and emma's family and cleo's too#h2o just add water#h2o: just add water#h2o#.txt#rikki chadwick#queue#also it'd be so cool to see a twentysomething rikki who doesn't know what to do with her life doing a brief stint at each of the girls's#respective workplaces. so she helps cleo and lewis out at the lab as they nerd out over marine biology and learns a few things but is mostly#pretty bored. then she shadows emma at the hospital or works reception at her surgery and that lasts even less time. she goes on the road#with bella and the band for a bit and helps to lug equipment around. she likes the band and the travel but is otherwise bored. so she goes#back to co-manage whatever entreurprienial endeavour zane is currently cooking up and has some epiphany about what she really wants to do#i don't know what that is though. maybe something to do with helping underprivileged kids?#since i think even an adult rikki would still be a sullen teenager at heart. or maybe she'd join some environmental activist group since she#is pretty passionate about the environment? she'd be the hardass writing strongly worded letters to the government and pulling stunts to#draw attention to the climate crisis. but idk i see that more as a side gig than her main job#maybe something in like forensics or criminal psych since rikki probably has an interest in morbid shit? but then i can never see her as a#cop or anything slightly adjacent to a cop. idk maybe rikki would never really be a Career person with a capital c and would just dabble in#different careers but mostly be a full time mermaid and tell her friends to chill oir#* chill out
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lanternsandtulips · 2 months ago
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‘the Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. now far ahead the Road has gone, and i must follow, if i can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. and whither then? i cannot say.’
      - j.r.r. tolkien, the lord of the rings
happy birthday to the most famousest of hobbits - bilbo and frodo baggins! and happy hobbit day + first day of autumn to everyone else :)
ps i love this gold ink
//originally posted to @reformedletters on instagram
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candy-cryptid · a month ago
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background credit to: TheGeminiSage and StarlitSkvader
for @hahanoiwont
It is done! Will I notify you? Or let you figure it out as punishment?
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guardians-of-exo · 2 years ago
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Chapter XXIV: The War
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Map of Elyxion | About the knights
WARNING: This will contain some violence and some none-important character death. Ask me if you’re worried about anything Xx
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They could hear the battle before they could see it. People yelling, screaming, loud booms and flashes of magic shooting up in the distance.
Jongdae’s heart hammered in his chest as they crept up to the top of the hill, their horses left what would hopefully be a safe distance away. Once they reached the top they had a clear view of the battlefield laid out before them. The Human army had pressed the Sprites into a narrow passage between two steep hills. The Sprites were fighting to gain back some ground but were overwhelmed by the numbers and were being pressed further back into the kingdom.
If felt like he was free falling as Jongdae stared at the utter chaos below. It was impossible to find their friends in the mess of fighting people – you could spot an Onyx Lei uniform here and there but it was otherwise almost impossible to tell person from Troll.
The air felt thick with magic, so dense you could almost taste it – a constant buzz that flared up like a heartbeat whenever powerful magic was used. A thin veil of mist and smoke shimmered in the sunlight making everything look slightly blurred. Different types of magic crashed together with explosive forces, exploding and crackling like fireworks.
The urge to run away fought with the urge to dive in and help but Minseok grabbed onto his hand and squeezed, bringing Jongdae out of his thoughts.
  “We have to keep moving.”
Jongdae nodded, forcing himself to look away. They needed to get closer to the borders of Doreth where most of the Humans were still fighting to get into the Elven Kingdom. The knights there were getting overwhelmed by their numbers.
A sudden gust of howling wind nearly knocked them all off their feet and seconds after Chanyeol yelled out “Sehun” from behind Jongdae. As Jongdae turned around, the Elf was already barreling down the steep hillside towards the battle, Baekhyun following right on his heels. Junmyeon looked at Minseok and Jongdae for a second before following as well, but as Jongdae moved to do the same Minseok grabbed onto his hand to stop him.
  “Be careful,” the Nymph said, eyes pleading.
  “You too,” Jongdae said, squeezing his hand comfortingly.
Then it was total and utter chaos. There were people everywhere, Trolls everywhere. Flashes of magic constantly threatening to take him out. He couldn’t take a step without running into someone or having to dodge an attack. Anyone who got too close got zapped by his lightning and he prayed he was holding back enough to not actually kill anyone but it was so hard when the blood was pumping around his veins and his body feeling jittery with the need to keep moving. He tried using his lighting as a body shield again but it tired him out too fast to keep it up for long.
He lost all his friends in the chaos, unable to see where they disappeared off to and he felt slightly panicked as he realized he was on his own in all of this. His focus on not dying was the only thing keeping him from a complete breakdown.
Trolls were ugly creatures in all different kinds of shapes and sizes. They had grey warty skin, grimaced, disfigured faces, pointy teeth and smelled like garbage. Their skin was so thick it took a lot of lightning to do any damage at all and it was draining to put one down. They were slow though and not that bright, so Jongdae could easily dodge most of their blows.
Whenever magic met with violent forces, bursting outwards with destructive energies, the ground beneath Jongdae shook. With the mist and smoke covering everything, it felt disorientating having the ground knocked out from under your feet.
A person suddenly appeared by his side, a boy wearing an Onyx Lei uniform but with grey skin, and for a second Jongdae was confused until he realized he knew him.
  “Hyunwoo!” he greeted loudly, turning to help the other boy take down the Troll he was facing. It took a lot of heavy blows from Hyunwoo and a serious lightning bolt from Jongdae before they finally knocked it out.
Hyunwoo looked at him and smiled, recognizing Jongdae. “You guys made it!” he said relieved. “Good, we could use the help. And, thank you.”
A boulder thrown at his head forced Jongdae to spin around and dodge it, coming face to face with another Troll. Hyunwoo already had his hands full with some magi, him and Jongdae ending up standing back to back. They fought the best they could but were being pressed closer to the borders of Doreth, closer to the centre of the battlefield.
Around them, it was clear that the Onyx Lei was more skilled but the enemy had greater numbers. They were holding their grounds but only just. They needed something to tip the battle in their favour.
Ice cold air shot right past Jongdae’s ear and he turned to see a magi he hadn’t noticed sneaking up on him now frozen solid. He spun around again, heart skipping a beat of relief when coming face to face with Minseok. The Nymph was sweating and panting but looked otherwise unharmed.
  “Jongdae, look!” he urged before Jongdae could say anything and Jongdae looked to where he was pointing.
He could faintly see three figures standing on the hill, looking down on the battlefield. Though it was quite far away, Jongdae had no doubts. It was the President. The man had a very distinct overweight shape of a pear and was wearing his signature pinstriped suit.
But why was he so close to the battlefield? It didn’t seem safe, a very reckless decision but he must have been so sure that they were going to win the battle that he had come to witness his victory. A woman and a young man stood by his side – perhaps the mind controller?
A Troll swiped for Jongdae, forcing him to look away and dodge. “Cover me!” he said to Minseok and Hyunwoo who quickly got the Troll’s attention to get Jongdae a couple of moments.
He stood up, staring straight at the three figures and then he raised his hand, lighting striking right over their heads. But, much to Jongdae’s shock, instead of hitting them, the lighting just bounced off of what looked like a shimmering bubble. Of course it wouldn’t have been that easy, he had a magic shield with him. The President didn’t even move despite having nearly been struck directly and Jongdae almost laughed at his stupidity. His arrogance would be his downfall. He would not get away.
  “We have to get closer!” he shouted over the noise around them, Hyunwoo and Minseok both nodding. To help them move faster, Jongdae built up his lightning armour around him and they started fighting their way through the battlefield. It was a slow process, getting stopped by Trolls and Human magi every couple of steps they made.
One Troll nearly brained Jongdae with a wooden club but was stopped by a pillar of stone shooting up from the ground, audibly breaking some bones in the Troll’s head. Seconds later Kyungsoo was at their side, eyes wide and wild, a cut on his cheek and clothes torn. Hoseok was right behind him, looking just as roughed up, blood running down his right arm.
  “Nice to see a friendly face,” Hoseok said, voice breaking as he panted. “Has anybody else noticed that we’re kind of losing?”
  “We won’t be for much longer if we get closer to that man!” Minseok said, voice loud to be heard over a nearby Troll roaring loudly in pain. Neither Hoseok nor Kyungsoo needed any more explanation than that.
With now two extra added strengths they were able to move faster through the chaos and destruction around them. If the President had noticed they were coming for him, he wasn’t showing it and kept standing on the hilltop until they were almost directly below him.
  “We have to get rid of his shield somehow.” Jongdae pointed at the boy standing beside the President. “It has to be him.”
Hyunwoo and Hoseok covered their backs as the rest of them tried to come up with a way to get the President away from his shield. How could they do anything when they couldn’t touch either of them? They needed both the President and the mind controller alive as they were the only ones who could stop this war.
  “Step back,” Kyungsoo suddenly ordered, Minseok and Jongdae quickly doing as he asked. The Faery took a deep breath then stomped hard on the ground. A single crack appeared by his feet that then started growing, travelling up the hillside. The second the President noticed it, it was too late and the ground had swallowed up the boy beside him, closing the gaping hole like a predator that had just caught its prey.
In the next second Minseok had frozen the President and the woman to the ground. He and Jongdae made their way up the hill, stopping in front of the two trapped Humans. Kyungsoo stayed back to help cover their backs. They couldn’t afford any distractions.
  “Oh, it’s you,” The President sighed when they approached and the two boys glanced at each other confused. He knew them?
  “You’re too late, I’ve already won,” the President continued, a sleazy smile on his lips. “I suppose I should thank you boys though. Thanks to the two of you, we knew to move forward our plans and attack now the kingdoms were the most vulnerable. My army should be invading Inaenamelle as we speak.”
Jongdae’s blood ran cold, a ball of ice dropping in his stomach. He was so confused – what was he talking about? How had they helped him?
  “What you did in Caelcar was a setback, I admit, but it turned out in my favour. I have spies everywhere you see, and that poor old woman didn’t even realize that by helping you she was sealing the fate of Elyxion.”
Meira? But… how? It couldn’t be. She betrayed them?! But then again, he said she didn’t even know…
  “We took her husband away but decided to keep her for information, magi tend to flock together, you see. But she never did give us anything useful and we were thinking of eliminating her, but then the two of you stumbled right into her. I couldn’t believe my luck. We had actually postponed our attack after your little stunt in Dorwall to wait and see how the other kingdoms would react, but then you tell us they actually have no ways of stopping us yet. And with all their leaders gathered in one city, leaving their kingdoms vulnerable – it was too good to be true. Such a pity though, I decided to let you live to show mercy for your great help but here you are, causing trouble. I should have killed you when I had had the chance.”
The President looked over Jongdae’s shoulder and Jongdae realized he had been talking to stall them. He turned around just in time to dodge a sudden club swung at his head, a huge Troll towering over him. Another one was taking on Minseok. They must have made it past their friends somehow. Jongdae could hear ice being shattered behind him but he was too busy trying not to get clobbered to deal with it.
His first lightning bolt bounced right off the Troll’s thick skin and he had to drop to the ground and roll to dodge another swing of the club. He aimed another lightning bolt at its feet but the power was only enough to make it stumble.
In one last attempt to take it down, Jongdae dived in and grabbed onto the Troll’s leg, channelling all his magic down into his hands. Lightning crackled, the Troll spasmed and then went rigid, falling to the ground with a ground-shaking thump.
Beside him, Minseok was still struggling with his own enormous Troll, so Jongdae stumbled over to help, feeling a little woozy after using so much magic. Frozen half to death then shocked, and the second Troll went down as well.
When they looked up, the President and mind controller were making their escape, already having made it quite far, Minseok and Jongdae quickly moving to run after them. Without thinking too much about it, Jongdae reached out, the President dropping to the ground seconds later with the force of a lightning bolt. He shouldn’t be dead, but Jongdae honestly didn’t care at that moment. They had what they needed for now anyway. Meanwhile, Minseok got close enough to manage to freeze the lady from the neck and down so she wouldn’t be able to touch them.
The woman was pretty average looking up close; with long greying hair and a slim face. Despite not having run for that long, she looked completely exhausted. Dark bags under her eyes, face ashen and hair matted with sweat. Using powerful magic all the time was tiring her out.
  “Release them!” Minseok demanded. “Let go of their minds!”
She cackled loudly, sounding almost manic, and sneered at them. “It’s too late! They’re mine!” she hissed triumphantly.
Jongdae’s heart sank. Should they believe her? She could be trying to trick them, but there was a very real possibility that their minds were lost forever.
  “You’re still using your magic,” Minseok said, voice low and threatening. “Let them go!”
Another manic cackle sounding like a crow screeching and she spat at them. She bared her teeth like a rabid animal – she looked insane. Could magic drive someone mad?
  “It may be too late for most, but we can still save some, I’m sure of it,” Minseok said to Jongdae, looking suddenly torn. He hesitated before speaking up again. “If she won’t release their minds… there’s only one way.”
He didn’t have to say anything, but Jongdae understood. She needed to die. That way she would stop using her magic and hopefully release whatever hold she had on the minds of the Human magi. At least some of them, Jongdae hoped.
Careful not to touch her, Jongdae held out his hand but hesitated. It was the only way, but…
Minseok grabbed onto his other hand for support but looked away, eyes screwed shut. The Nymph squeezed his hand and Jongdae let the lightning bolt leave his body. She spasmed, eyes rolling to the back of her head and then she stilled completely, head lolling forward.
They held their breaths and it was like everything around them stopped to do the same. The deafening roar of war was exchanged for eerie silence. The two boys looked at each other then walked over to the hillside to look over the battlefield.
Total confusion – some Humans were stumbling about, disoriented and panicked at waking up in a war zone. Confused crying and yelling replaced the screams of battle. Other Humans stood completely still, gaze vacant as they stared at the horizon like they were still in a trance. Jongdae’s heart hurt for them – their minds were probably lost forever.
The last of the Trolls, now outnumbered, were being taken care of by the Onyx Lei knights who had quickly recovered from the confusion of the Humans waking up.
Jongdae almost felt nauseous looking at the scene in front of them. So many innocent lives lost, so many lived wasted because one man wanted more power. There was no point to it all.
Minseok tightened the grip he had on Jongdae’s hand, eyes dark as they looked out over the devastation.
  “Hyung!” a familiar voice called and their heads snapped up. Sehun came bolting at them, barreling right into their arms. He was shaking violently, hiding his face in Minseok’s chest as he clung to the two boys. Kyungsoo wasn’t far behind, looking calm but pale. He wordlessly sidled up close to them all, wrapping an arm around Sehun’s middle comfortingly.
  “Where are the others?” Minseok asked, voice shaking a little.
  “I don’t know, I lost them all before I met you,” Kyungsoo answered grimly, eyes scanning the battlefield for their friends. Seconds felt like hours, Jongdae’s heart feeling heavy with worry as they looked for any familiar faces in the chaos.
A loud pop right beside Jongdae startled them all and suddenly Jongdae had his arms full of a trembling Jongin. “Hyung,” the Nymph cried out, hugging Jongdae tightly. Then he noticed Kyungsoo and immediately latched onto the Faery instead.
Sehun had almost stopped shaking but refused to let go of Minseok, still also having a tight grip on Jongdae’s sleeve as if wanting to prevent them from leaving.
  “There!” Chanyeol’s red hair was all Jongdae managed to see before the giant Elf had pulled them all into a tight hug. Beside him Baekhyun’s pale face came into view, hair sticking up in every direction and a small cut bleeding on his cheek. The Nymph grinned widely at Jongdae but was unable to get to him at the moment as the Human was still being hugged by Chanyeol, who had now started sniffling, large tears rolling down his cheeks.
  “Don’t cry, Chanyeol-ah,” Yixing said softly, suddenly appearing behind Jongdae, only making the red-haired elf burst into ugly sobs, pulling the healer into a hug and finally letting Jongdae go.
Jongdae was so relieved to see them all, but they were still missing Junmyeon. He let the squad reunite in peace, smiling softly at seeing even Minseok trying to hold back tears. His heart was beating anxiously as he searched for any signs of Junmyeon.
He had to be okay. He was the brother Jongdae had always wished his actual older brother would be. They started this journey together, it couldn’t end now.
A figure emerged from the smoke of a burning Troll, hope welling up in Jongdae. Relief washed over him like a tidal wave and had he not been held back by Sehun still grabbing onto his arm, he would have run over. He was limping, clothes slightly torn in some places but he was okay. Junmyeon was okay. They had all made it out alive.
Yixing was the second to notice him and he beamed in relief. “Junmyeon.”
Hearing the Human’s name, Sehun looked up for the first time, face red and blotchy from crying. He sniffled as Junmyeon reached them, then latched on tightly to the older boy instead, Junmyeon laughing softly as he hugged the Faery.
Though he had just stopped crying, Chanyeol took one look at them all and promptly burst into tears again, Baekhyun laughing at his boyfriend though his own eyes were suspiciously shiny as well. The Elf demanded another group hug, pulling them all closer.
Jongdae was pressed closer to Minseok, who smiled softly at him and Jongdae felt warmth spread through his chest.
It wasn’t completely over yet. The affected kingdoms needed rebuilding, the wounded needed treatment, the dead deserved a proper burial – both Human and Sprite. The lost Human magi needed help. There was a lot of work to be done.
But for now, they could all take a moment to breathe.
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Map of Elyxion | About the knights
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chryssadirewolf · 7 days ago
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Edit by @chryssadirewolf
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
—The Road Goes Ever On, A Walking song by JR.R. Tolkien.
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astriiformes · a year ago
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Also if you ever feel down, please, I beg of you, go read the extended hobbit family trees in the back of Return of the King, you will not be disappointed by what you find there. There will never be another human being as good at naming hobbits as Tolkien was. If you thought “Bilbo Baggins” was an endearingly silly name, know that he has nothing on “Gorbulas [who is the son of Orbulas] Brandybuck.” Merry and Pippin both share an ancestor named, I swear to god, “Mimosa Bunce”
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rocketrhap3000 · 23 days ago
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‘The Road Goes Ever On and On’ - part 2.
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summary: Bucky takes you out to coffee and the two of you share your stories with each other. You find yourself growing strangely comfortable around him, and you notice Jasper takes a liking to him, too.
warnings: a few swears, alludes to an age gape between bucky and reader(still platonic here, folks), mentions of a past toxic relationship, mentions of bad relationship with family, mentions of substance abuse and addiction, mentions of a car crash, mentions of a friend’s death (i really just subtly killed off steve rogers, didn’t i), mentions of other characters (sam wilson, sarah wilson, natasha romanoff, yelena belova)
a/n: thank you all for the love on the first part of this series!! i’m still so nervous to post this but i hope it doesnt flop lol. also ok guys this chapter gets kinda heavy, reader’s past is pretty rough but it’s all for a reason so i promise it’s not all angst! bucky is extremely soft with lil jasper!!
‘The Road...’ series masterlist
my main masterlist
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You wake up the next morning to the sound of your alarm, letting you know you have to get Jasper up and ready for school. Considering it’s a Monday, the morning moves quickly; it helps that Jasper’s always excited to get to school. Before you know it, he’s dressed and ready and you’re driving him to the school with some oldies station playing from the radio. You look in your rearview mirror to see Jasper wiggling in his seat along to the beat of a Frankie Valli song. Your heart soars. 
“What are you gonna do today, Mama?” Jasper speaks up from the backseat. 
“Well, I’m meeting Bucky for coffee,” you say.
“That’s no fair! I wanna see Bucky, too,” he pouts. “I wanna high-five his robot hand.”
“Hey, we talked about this, remember?” you ask, turning around to look at him when you’re stopped at a red light. “We don’t talk about his arm, Jasper.”
“You just said we don’t wanna talk about it in front of him,” Jasper innocently states the exact words you’d said yesterday. And you know he doesn’t say it to be defiant; he just recalls the words you’d explicitly told him.
“Yeah, you’re right,” you sigh, knowing how literal your son takes things. “But let’s still not talk about that unless he talks to us about it first, okay?”
“Okay,” he agrees. 
And surprisingly, Jasper doesn’t dwell on it any longer. Instead he switches the conversation to his day at school, revealing that they’re going to be painting leaves outside today. You listen intently as you pull into the school parking lot and walk him to the front doors where his teachers are waiting. Goodbye hugs and kisses are exchanged and then you watch as all the tots file into the building behind their teachers. 
Then, you’re off to meet Bucky at the same park you’d met at yesterday. You try to listen to the radio to take the edge off the nerves you’re experiencing, but it only seems to overstimulate you. Why are you nervous in the first place?
Adrenaline flushes through your system when you park in the lot, then get out of your car and right away, you spot him. You start walking over to where he’s sat on the bench, just as he had been yesterday. Creature of habit, you suppose. He’s staring out at the lake, watching as a paddling of ducks splashes into the water, one after another. 
“Oh, hi!” he says happily once you come into his line of vision.
“Hey!” you greet, reciprocating his excitement.
“Figured we could meet here and walk over?” he asks while standing up. “Coffee shop’s just a few blocks down,” he explains. 
“That sounds great,” you nod, trying to subtly take in his appearance. 
He’s wearing a tight maroon shirt, dark blue jeans, and a leather jacket. And god, he looks suave. With those piercing blue eyes, that scruff that’s just a few days away from being a full beard, and the shy smile he’s giving you, he seems so warm and inviting. 
You follow him in the direction he leads before making it to walk side by side with him, and the pair of you start walking at a brisk yet comfortable pace to keep warm. Conversation flows smoothly between you two, and before long, you’re already at the coffee shop. And you don’t know why it hadn’t clicked earlier - maybe because there are a couple of coffee shops in the area, or maybe because Bucky is the only thing that you’ve been able to think about for the past ten minutes - but the shop he’s taking you to is the one that Nat owns. 
“Bucky,” you laugh as he opens the door for you, finding this to be such a weird coincidence. “My friend Nat owns this place,” you admit.
“Really?” he laughs, eyes going wide. 
“Really,” you nod.
“That’s... bizarre. I come here at least twice a week. I love reading and writing and… thinking here. The atmosphere is just so nice and cozy. And it’s cheesy, but this place is what made me want to work at a coffee shop,” he chuckles again, opening the door for you to walk into the building. Almost immediately, the warm air of the building replaces the freezing feeling you’d just experienced from walking outside.
“Nat’s worked so hard to build up this place to the way that it is now so I’m sure she would be so glad to hear you say that,” you emphasize. 
“God, I love this place. Please tell her I say thank you.”
“Will do,” you promise, then step further into the shop, up to the counter. Bucky follows closely behind you, clearly already feeling comfortable in this place.
“Hi there, welcome!” the man behind the counter asks. You know him to be Ben, one of the first employees that Nat hired. He’s always so sweet to you and Jasper whenever you’re in.
“Hey Ben! Is Nat in today?” you greet.
“She actually just left,” Ben frowns. 
“Aw man. That’s okay! I do see her quite a lot,” you grin, and Ben reciprocates before asking for your order.
“What can we get started for you?” 
You give him your order, your usual, and you wonder if it’ll taste the same since Nat’s normally the one who makes it for you. 
“Anything else for you today?” Ben wonders. 
“This one’s on me,” Bucky says, stepping up to stand beside you instead of behind you, and quickly slides his card down on the countertop.
“Bucky, you don’t have to do that!” you shake your head. 
“I want to,” he smiles, not allowing your rebuttal, then turns to give his order. 
“What’ll it be today, sir?” Ben asks with a smile. 
“Could I please get a black coffee, no sweetener,” Bucky answers.
“Sure thing. Room for cream?”
“No, sir.”
“You’re boring,” you chuckle, nudging Bucky’s side gently.
“Eh. Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” he states with a grin. 
Ben gives the total and swipes Bucky’s card on the machine, thanking you both and inviting you to have a seat in the dining area where one of the servers will bring you your drinks in no time. 
After slipping out of his leather jacket and draping it over the back of his seat, he sits down opposite of you. The dark, sleek alloy limb attached to his body is more visible to you now because of the absence of his jacket and the short sleeved maroon tee shirt he’s sporting. Your eyes trail up from the golden-accented tips of the metallic fingers all the way up to his neck, watching as the tee shirt material tightens over the prosthetic shoulder until it becomes flesh at the area near his collarbone once again.
“Where’s Jasper today?” Bucky asks, unknowingly snapping you from your daze.
“Half-day preschool from ten to two. He loves it,” you smile, thinking of your son.
“Smart kid?”
“So smart. And I’m not even speaking with a bias. He knows all his letters, shapes, and colors, he’s already writing out his own name and reading things off street signs and cereal boxes.”
“Jeez. And he’s only just turned three? That’s insane,” Bucky says, clearly impressed. 
“I know. I don’t even know how it happened, either. Like, I wasn’t force-feeding him the alphabet or anything. I read to him when he was a baby because I like reading, and he has letter and number books like any other kid. But I wasn’t actively trying to make sure he was gonna be the next Einstein. He’s always just been a bright kid,” you explain.
“You might just have to sign him up for Mensa,” Bucky laughs. 
“I’m glad I decided to at least put him in preschool for half a day. They don’t do a ton but it’s still some form of educational stimulation for him. I want him to grow, but I still want him to be a kid, y’know? And I don’t wanna burn him out. I want him to enjoy school.”
“Every time you speak, I’m blown away because I don’t think I ever realized how much parents have to weigh options like that.”
“I feel like I’m talking way too much,” you giggle bashfully.
“You’re not,” he promises.
“I’m not convinced,” you roll your eyes, then think of a way to ask him about his arm without offending him or bringing up any bad memories. 
And as if perfectly planned to give you more time to think, Ben comes up to your table with your drinks. You and Bucky both thank him and he smiles before returning to his place behind the counter. Bucky takes a sip of his steaming drink after lightly blowing over the top, and you start to envision the mental picture of him cozied up in here on a cold winter’s day with a hot cup of coffee, a fancy fountain tip pen, and a leather-bound journal. 
“I-- I like your arm,” you speak up after a moment of quiet. “I hope that’s not weird to say. And I think Jasper liked it, too.” 
Bucky smiles at your statement, then looks down into his coffee as a rosy blush creeps across his cheeks.
“It’s not weird,” he reassures you. “And most kids either think it’s really cool or really scary. So I’m glad Jasper liked it.”
“Oh, he was raving about it. I literally found him trying to wrap up his arm in tin foil before his bath yesterday,” you chuckle, and that brings a hearty chuckle - and an adorable smile - from Bucky.
“That may have just made my day,” he admits, taking a sip of his coffee, meeting your gaze over his cup, then speaking up again once he sets the cup back down. “You’re wondering how it happened, aren’t you?” he asks. 
You swallow thickly; how did he know? You thought you’d only glanced at the prosthetic briefly, but it was definitely enough to catch his attention. 
“I only ask because most people see a guy with a prosthetic arm and wonder about it, then very bluntly ask how it happened. Don’t worry. It’s not uncommon,” he clarifies.
“I mean, I am a curious person,” you start softly. “But that is definitely not something you have to share with me. That’s gotta be hard to talk about,” you finish, hoping he doesn’t feel obligated to tell you anything.
“Nah,” he clicks his tongue, then chuckles nervously. “It’s weird. Because anything that I’ve told you already has felt like a great weight off my shoulders. I don’t know why. I never open up to people like this.”
“I’d be glad to listen. Only if you’re comfortable sharing,” you reassure him.
“I am,” he nods. 
“Then I’m here,” you smile.
He takes in a deep breath, then lets it out, then clears his throat before speaking up, just at a volume only you can hear from a foot and a half apart from him.
“Well… I was overseas. And a friend of mine… that childhood friend… well we were in the same unit for a mission. We were en route to our next destination on this suspended train. It got hijacked and somehow, we both fell out. We both fell some hundreds, I dunno… thousands of feet down, into this river, I guess. I lost an arm. He lost his life. 
“James, I am so sorry,” you whisper, trying not to let your voice break.
“Thank you,” he shrugs, then takes a deep inhale before continuing. “I remember waking up and hearing what happened. And y’know, I don’t know if it was the trauma, or because I was unconscious for however long... But, I never really fully regained those memories. And after it happened, for a while, actually, I always wished it was me. I wished I was the one who didn’t survive and that he would’ve made it. That’s what being a soldier does to you. You start to value others’ lives over your own. And losing that one person… yeah that’s hard.”
“James, I--” you stammer, unable to even start to find the words you want to say. “James, I’m so sorry.” 
“No,” he shakes his head and smiles sadly. “You don’t have to be sorry. And I’m done feeling sorry, too. It was so long ago… Anyway, they found me. They found… us. I was sent home and for a while I was just an amputee. Which was almost worse than before I got the metal arm. Because then people would give me their pity and crap… they’d get all emotional and existential on me. Telling me not to take things for granted. Like, they think I don’t know that? I hated it,” he admits with a sarcastic, breathy laugh. “But then just a few years ago, my general physician introduced me to this program for amputee vets or whatever... and I got this puppy,” he says, wiggling his metal hand. “And I guess I’ve been doing okay since,” he finishes with a sad smile. 
“God,” you shake your head and nibble on your bottom lip in thought. “I can’t even imagine what that must’ve been like.”
“Please don’t try to,” he shrugs it off. “It was awful. And it’s in the past. And now you know the origin story of my cool arm. So...”
“Thank you for telling me,” you murmur and smile sympathetically. 
“Thank you for listening,” he echoes, voice gravelly as he gazes down into his coffee again, almost feeling too vulnerable to hold your eye contact. “Means a lot to me.”
“Of course. You’ve been through a lot and you seem like a wonderful person. I’m very glad to have met you,” you speak softly. 
“Likewise,” he nods, then finally looks back up at you to smile.
There’s a pause in conversation, one that both of you fill by taking sips of your drinks. 
“How’s your straight black coffee?” you slightly tease after he sets his down on the table again.
“It’s fantastic,” he grins. “How’s your drink?”
“Also really good. Natasha normally makes it, but Ben does a great job, too,” you nod.
“Are there a lot of employees here?” he wonders. 
“Not a ton. They’re definitely not understaffed, though. It’s a good crew. There’s Ben, Tobi, Eva, Joe, Lex, David, and Mikaela. And Nat is usually here. Oh, and she gets her little sister Yelena in here sometimes, too,” you smile thinking about the two sisters you love oh so much. 
“I think I see Joe and Eva making my coffees the most. And I think Yelena gave me a free scone one time,” he chuckles. 
“Everyone is really great here!” you nod. 
“That’s for sure,” he agrees. 
Another bout of silence passes, but both of you are content to simply listen to the coffee house music station that’s playing while glancing out the bright windows at the late fall colors. You’re only brought back to Bucky when he speaks up.
“So, if this isn’t overstepping, can I ask why you don’t drink?” he asks politely. 
“Yeah, no worries. Not overstepping, by the way. I mean, it’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief for your sake,” you laugh lightly. 
“I’ve got all day,” he chuckles.
“You sure?”
“Lay it on me.”
“So,” you sigh before diving into your past. ”I guess I should preface this by saying… Um, Jasper’s birth father, Colin, is an alcoholic and an addict. And, um, I did not know that, obviously, because it was, for the most part, all behind my back.”
“Oh, shit. I’m sorry,” Bucky breathes.
“It’s nothing to be sorry about,” you reassure him, mirroring the words he’d used previously. Then, you continue. 
“I mean, I was 17 when we met. He’s the friend of my friend’s older brother. And we didn’t start dating until about a year and a half after we met. So I was young, naive… I thought it was true love. He’s five years older than me and I thought, y’know, ‘Wow, this older guy. He must have his whole life planned out and we’ll be great together’. But that was not the case.”
“Oh...” Bucky sighs. 
“Yeah. So, um, surprise surprise… Jasper was completely unplanned. I was only 19 when I found out I was pregnant, but I was totally ready to change my lifestyle to be the mother that any child deserves. Colin wasn't. I told him I was pregnant and that I wanted him to go to rehab and to be clean and sober to be there for his kid,” you sigh again, trying to leave out the nasty details. 
Bucky nods, listening intently to every word you’re saying.
“But he didn’t care enough. That same night, he went out and got drunk. And high. And he caused a car crash which killed the other driver. So now he’s got a life sentence behind bars,” you breathe out shakily.
“God, that’s awful,” Bucky frowns, clearly very invested in your history. “I’m so sorry, (Y/n),” he repeats.
“Please, don’t feel sorry. I mean, long story short; I simply decided I won’t drink because I want to be present for Jasper. I don’t want to run the risk of getting addicted to substances and not be able to give him the life he deserves.”
“Oh, man,” James sighs, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. “You didn’t have to tell me all of that just to kill my curiosity.”
“It’s really alright,” you chuckle, looking down at the foam in your drink. “Honestly, kinda like you said, it felt kind of nice to unload a little bit without feeling judged. Normally when people find out I don’t drink they don’t ask why and so they don’t understand the weight it holds for me and just try to pressure me into it,” you explain.
“People can be so stupid. I promise I would never judge you for all that. It sounds like you’ve been through some tough shit. But I never would have guessed. You’re so wonderful and Jasper’s a great kid.  And that’s an incredible story you’ve got there. You’re… I mean, you’re incredible for going through all that,”
“Thank you, Bucky,” you say, still avoiding eye contact. For some reason, you feel shy, vulnerable under his gaze, but in such a comforting, open way. You feel safe even after opening up to him.
“I’m not a parent, myself, but I can tell you’re doing a fantastic job.”
“I appreciate that. It is hard sometimes, though, you know? I love Jasper more than I can say but the past four years have put an incredible strain on my relationship with my family.”
“What do you mean?” Bucky inquires.
“Well, I don’t live close to them but even if I did, they wouldn’t help out. When they found out I was pregnant it was like they didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. I saved up just enough to move here. Luckily I found a nice apartment for cheap to get ready for when Jasper was born. And it was tough and scary for a while, but I think we’re in a good spot now.”
“That’s so much to deal with. I’m glad you’re in a better place now, though. Do you have any close friends here that can help?”
“Just Nat. She’s been my rock through the whole thing. She was actually the person who interviewed and hired me before she left that job and started up this place. She helped with bills, she helped with groceries, she’s always helping me out with Jasper… I mean, she’s fucking incredible. Actually, now I’m bummed you couldn’t meet her today.”
“Well we’ll just have to get coffee here again, then, won’t we?” he smiles.
“We absolutely will,” you agree, and while you’re looking at him, a little chalkboard sign in your peripheral vision catches your eye. ‘Now Hiring’ it says, and you hadn’t noticed it before, even though it’s right near the front entrance. 
“Hey, Bucky,” you speak up again, pointing over to the door.
“I know,” he nods. “I’ve seen some fat squirrels around here.”
“Not outside, silly,” you laugh. “The sign at the door. They’re hiring.”
“Oh, I see,” he says, looking back to you. “That’s almost too perfect,” he chuckles.
“You should totally apply. I could even put in a good word for you to Nat,” you exclaim in a hushed tone, leaning in towards him.
“You don’t need to do that,” he shakes his head. “I’m definitely gonna apply, though.”
“I talk to Nat on the daily. And I may or may not accidentally talk about you to her. If you end up applying, that is,” you chuckle. 
“Please don’t,” he humbly requests. “I wanna earn it!”
“And you most certainly will. I won’t say a word,” you promise. 
The rest of your time flies with Bucky. You don’t know how much longer you’re sitting there in front of him talking about nearly anything that comes to mind. By the time your phone buzzes from a work email notification, you just briefly glance at the screen and your attention is brought to the time displaying at the top.
“Oh, jeez, the time,” you gasp, seeing that it’s close to two. “I gotta pick up Jasper soon.”
“We can head out, then,” he offers. 
“Thank you for coffee,” you say with a smile as the two of you stand up and make your way to the exit.
“Thank you for the conversation,” he says genuinely, holding the door open for you.
The walk back is no different than the walk there; lighthearted, comfortable conversation is shared, and you swear there’s just something about this man that’s different, in the best way possible. You finish each other’s sentences, there’s not a worry in your mind while you’re with him, and by the time you make it back to your car, your cheeks are sore from how much you’ve been smiling and laughing.
Goodbyes are exchanged, but prematurely, it seems; when you get into your car to drive away, the engine sputters, then fails to start. So you turn the key again, trying to get a different result. You notice Bucky stopped on the sidewalk and looking at you with concern. You shake your head at him, opening the door in frustration.
“Not starting?” he asks, then walks over to meet you. 
“No. I don’t know why. It’s never done this before,” you stammer nervously. 
“Hey, it’s alright,” he reassures. “Pop your hood?” he then asks, and you do as he says.
He walks around and props the hood open, placing two hands on the outside and peering into the puzzle of the car engine. You couldn’t spot an issue if you were paid a million dollars to, but it doesn’t take more than ten seconds for Bucky to see what’s wrong. 
Making himself more visible to you, he gestures for you to come join him in looking at the parts.
“See there?” he asks, pointing to a crusty, mint green substance covering the battery once you make it beside him. “There’s corrosion on the battery terminals.”
“That’s why it’s not starting?” you ask, turning to look at him.
“Most likely.”
“Can we jump it? I have jumper cables in the back.”
“Normally that would be the first thing I’d try. But typically it’s not the safest to jump a battery with corrosion.”
“So what I’m hearing is that I’m not going anywhere,” you paraphrase as he gently pushes your fingers out from under the hood.
“Not in this car, you’re not,” he smiles sadly, dropping the cover back into place with a loud slam.
“Shit. I have to pick up Jasper in like 15 minutes,” you say, sitting back in the driver’s seat and rubbing your forehead anxiously. You don’t know what you’re going to do and you have to stop your train of thoughts from spiraling into a major panic. 
“Hey, it’s alright. I can give you a ride,” Bucky’s voice breaks you from your mental anguish.
“Oh, god, Bucky. Would you?”
“Absolutely.” 
“Are you sure? I don’t want to hold you up or anything.”
“Getting coffee with you was quite literally my only plan today, (Y/n),” he reassures you with a chuckle. 
“Thank you so much,” you sigh in relief, stepping out of your car. “Let me just grab his carseat and some things…” you say, gathering what you need before turning back to Bucky and locking your car.
“Let me,” he offers, taking the bulky car seat from you and setting it in the backseat of his car, which you just now realized is parked right beside yours… and is considerably nicer than yours, too. 
It’s sleek, suave: like everything else about him. It’s black and looks freshly washed and waxed - so clean you can see your reflection in the side. You don’t know much about cars, but from what tv adverts you’ve seen, you’re guessing the logo on the front means it’s an Audi. But when you see him settling into the driver’s seat, you realize the logo isn’t what makes it look good; it’s Bucky.
Then, you realize, he’s set the car seat in but he probably doesn’t know how to secure it. You open the backseat door again to check the job he’s done, but to your surprise, it’s installed perfectly.
“Everything okay?” Bucky asks from the front seat.
“Yeah… just... if you don’t have kids, how’d you know how to strap a carseat into your car?” you ask, shutting the door and standing in front of the open driver’s side door to look at him.
“Well, my best friend’s got two nephews that I cart around sometimes. But they’re both older now, so, no more car seats anymore,” he smiles. 
All you can do is smile and nod, thanking him softly before walking over to sit in the passenger seat. The mental imagine you’re seeing of Bucky driving around two little boys makes you smile to yourself.
“Can you lead me out of here?” he asks once you’re buckled.  
“Sure thing. And if my calculations and mental maps are correct, we’ll be at the school five minutes before he gets out.”
“Look at that,” he turns to you, giving you a high five with his flesh hand.
“Thank you so much,” you say genuinely, hoping he knows just how grateful you are for this.
“It’s nothing,” he shrugs, keeping his eyes on the road. 
It’s a quick drive to the school and, as you’d planned, you make it there with a few minutes to spare. When you hear the bell ring, you prepare yourself for all the kids to flood out of the building. You give Bucky the rundown on the school; it's preschool through grade four, and the staff always let the older kids out first so they can individually usher out all the little tots to their guardians. 
Bucky lets out a chuckle as he watches the dozens of kids run to their parents. A minute later, there’s a slow in kids coming out, signaling the preschoolers will be led out any moment now.
“I’m going to get out and wait for him so he’s not confused when he doesn’t see our car,” you inform Bucky, earning a nod in response before you hop out of the car and make your way a little closer to where Jasper will soon walk out of the building.
It’s only a few minutes longer before you recognize Jasper’s head teacher coming out of the school with a trail of toddlers behind her. Jasper smiles and waves at you excitedly once he sees you, but he knows he has to wait until you come to him. 
“Hi, bubba,” you say, crouching down once you get within an okay distance so he can meet you part way. 
“Mama!” he exclaims, throwing his arms over your head and immediately clinging to you.
“How was school, buddy?” you ask, kissing his cheek. You set him down and wave at his teacher to let her know you’ve got your son.
“Good! Fun!” Jasper responds, grabbing ahold of your hand.
“That’s good,” you reply, squeezing his hand, and he giggles happily.
You walk a little bit more, Jasper humming some song from his head, before he realizes you’re not walking to your car.
“Where's the car, Mama?” Jasper asks, looking up at you quizzically when he doesn’t not see your car in your usual parking spot. 
“Our car’s having some issues, bub. So, Mr. Bucky’s giving us a ride,” you answer, guiding him to the right car.
“Bucky!” Jasper calls out once he sees the man standing by his car, waving furiously at him.
Bucky waves back, with his metal arm, and that only spurs on Jasper’s excitement. When the two of you get within a few feet of Bucky, Jasper releases your hand from his grasp and runs to hug Bucky around the legs. 
“Oh, hi, sport,” Bucky chuckles, cheeks flushing an adorable, rosy pink when the toddler looks up at him. “How was your day?”
“Good! I missed you!” Jasper admits. 
“Uh... missed you, too, pal,” Bucky smiles, ruffling the boy’s hair with his flesh hand. You smile at Bucky which only makes him blush more. 
“Let’s get buckled up and head back to the park so we can figure something out for our car,” you say, lifting up Jasper and turning around to get him into the car. 
Bucky opens the door for you and watches how you buckle him in. 
“It’s been a while since Sarah’s boys have been that little,” he shrugs when you turn to look at him funny. “They’re a little different now, those car seats.”
“Don’t I know it. Apparently car seats expire, too. I bought it used so I’m lucky this one’s got a few years left.”
“I don’t even know what I don’t know about parenting,” he shakes his head and laughs, opening the driver’s door and getting situated behind the wheel again. You click the last buckle secure over Jasper’s chest, close his door, then make your way to the passenger side.
Bucky tells you of a quick way to get rid of the corrosion on your battery: a baking soda and water mixture. Being the hero he is, he quickly runs into a store on the way to the park before coming back out and heading back to your car.
You let Jasper run and play on the playground, still in your line of vision, while Bucky works his magic on your car. He explains everything to you while doing so, too, which makes you feel better if this were to ever happen in the future. 
From the back of his own vehicle, he grabs a small toolbox, then returns to under the hood of your car. Using a small wrench, he removes the negative terminal of the battery first, then the positive one. Carefully, he pours a little bit of water into a compartment in the toolbox, taps some baking soda in, too, and mixes the two substances together with an old toothbrush.
“You just keep a toolbox in the back of your car?” you ask with a slight chuckle.
“You don’t?” he teases back.
“Well, now I feel like I should,” you say, cheeks flushing warm in embarrassment. 
“When we’re finished, you can take this one. I’ve got plenty,” he suggests. 
“You can’t just give me a toolbox, Bucky,” you laugh.
“Why not?” he shrugs, laughing in return as he covers the bristles of the toothbrush in the mixture, then lathers the corroded areas of the battery with it, scrubbing around a little, then leaving it for a few moments to look up at you. “Give it to Jasper for when he grows up a little more. Every kid needs a toolbox. It’s essential.”
You look over at your son just a few feet away, sitting on the steps of the mini playground and gazing down at what you think is probably a woolly bear caterpillar; he loves those things. 
“So, we wait a few minutes, let the mixture lift the corrosion, then wipe it off,” Bucky instructs, bringing your focus back to the battery. He wipes the remainder of the mixture off with some paper towel, making your battery look good as new. 
“Then, put the terminals back on, making sure you do positive first this time,” he instructs.
“So, the negative comes off first. And the positive goes back on first?” you ask to clarify.
“Correct,” he smiles, making sure everything is clean and finished. “And you’re all set.”
“Oh, god, Bucky, thank you,” you sigh in relief. 
“Well, now we just have to jump it. Shouldn’t be much longer now.”
And he’s right. He connects the jumper cables from his car to yours, leaving them to charge for a little bit while you and Bucky go over to sit on the nearest park bench. 
“Look’it, Mama! Fuzzy cat’pillar!” he exclaims, running over to you and Bucky with the furry little thing crawling on his finger.
“So cool, bubba,” you laugh, running your finger over his cheek. 
“M’gonna put him back home,” Jasper informs you and Bucky, to which the two of you laugh lightly as you watch the toddler run back over to let the caterpillar crawl onto a leaf on the ground. 
“He’s gonna be featured on Nat Geo or Animal Planet or something when he grows up,” Bucky chuckles. 
“Oh, one hundred percent,” you agree as Jasper comes running back, sitting on your lap and sighing comfortably. 
“Car should be alright now,” Bucky speaks up after a minute of comfortable silence. 
The three of you head back to the cars, but not before Jasper grabs your left hand and Bucky’s right, swinging them as you walk together. You look over at Bucky and he’s blushing profusely at the sign of affection from your little boy. 
You grab Jasper’s car seat from Bucky’s car and place it back where it belongs in your car. Jasper is quick to jump in, knowing the routine. 
“Can I request just one more favor from you?” you ask while his head’s back under the hood of your car. 
“Of course,” he says, peeking out for a second to look at you.
“Can you like… follow us home just in case it starts to act up again?” you ask after finishing getting Jasper situated in his carseat. 
“Yeah, absolutely,” he nods again, dropping the hood of your car shut.
“I don’t wanna keep you too long. I mean, it’s just a fifteen minute drive,” you assure him. 
“No worries at all. I told you, I don’t have any plans today,” he chuckles, closing his hood, wrapping up the jumper cables and walking around to toss them into the back of his car. 
“But I didn’t think you’d want to spend your entire day with us,” you shake your head and laugh. 
“Why not?” he says, flashing you with a smile as he shuts the trunk. Your heart flutters at his genuine kindness. “I’ll follow you out,” he then says with a nod of his head as he hops into his car. 
Once again, as he did yesterday, Jasper is just gushing about Bucky. He’s asking a million questions a minute, giving you barely any time to understand him, let alone answer the questions he’s firing at you. 
And the second you pull into the lot of your apartment, Jasper’s rushing to undo the buckles on his seatbelt. Thankfully, he can’t on his own and waits until you offer your help. Once he’s free though, he runs straight over to Bucky. 
“Hey! Jasper!” you shout your warning, giving Bucky a heads-up that your son is racing to him.
You see your elderly neighbour pulling out of her parking spot and she’s carefully watching out her window, fully aware of Jasper. But seeing her wheels’ initial movement nearly gives you a heart attack. 
Bucky knows better, so when Jasper starts to run to him, he meets him part way, jogging over to scoop him up quickly and hold him close. You’re surprised at how instinctive it was for Bucky to rescue your son out of the road and the sight before you fills your heart with relief and joy. Jasper wraps his legs around Bucky’s waist, his arms around Bucky’s neck, and rests his head on Bucky’s shoulder, letting the man keep him secure.
“Gosh. We’re in a parking lot, sport,” Bucky breathes a sigh of relief that he has the toddler safe in his arms. He rubs Jasper’s back as he tells him, “y’gotta watch for cars, okay?”
“Okay,” Jasper echoes, pulling away to look into Bucky’s eyes. 
“Jasper Wells, we have talked about this,” you sigh once you get to Bucky with Jasper’s little school backpack. “You have to wait for me. And you have to watch for cars.”
“Sorry, Mama,” Jasper frowns. 
“It’s okay, bub,” you coo, rubbing the backside of your finger against his soft cheek. “Just gotta be safe, alright?”
“Right,” he nods, then Bucky sets him down on his feet. 
“Now hold my hand til we get inside, okay?” you say, grabbing your son’s hand. 
He complies, and in addition to holding your hand, he also grabs Bucky’s right hand. But Bucky doesn’t accept it as quickly as he had at the park earlier. 
“Hey, uh… Y’know, sport, I was just gonna head out,” he says, slipping his hand out of the little boy’s grasp then looking up at you as he nervously shoves his hands in the pockets of his jacket. “Just wanted to make sure you got home safe, is all,” he admits quietly as he looks back up at you.
“Bucky not comin’?” Jasper asks, looking up at you, then Bucky, and with the saddest little face.
“Well,” he starts, then sighs, not quite knowing what to say, so you take over explaining for him. 
“I’m sure Bucky’s got other plans today, Jas,” you tell your son.
“No, I-- No, I don’t,” he chuckles, looking down at his feet. “Just didn’t want to overstep.”
“Well then, stay for a little,” you shrug. “I’m sure Jasper would like the company.”
“Are you sure?” Bucky asks hesitantly. 
“Yes yes yes!” Jasper exclaims, pulling Bucky’s right hand from his pocket. This time, Bucky can’t help but chuckle and the three of you walk up to your apartment together. 
“It seems like you’re always getting him out of trouble for me,” you smile at the man.
“Glad to do so,” he smiles back.
--
“Can I get you something to drink? How about a snack? Are you hungry?” you offer once you walk into your apartment. You take Jasper’s coat off and hang it up alongside his backpack and your jacket. 
“You’re already in mom-mode, asking if I need a snack,” he jokes, pulling a smile onto your lips and your cheeks flush warm. “But, uh, actually, a glass of water would be great, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“No trouble at all,” you reassure him, making your way into the kitchen. “Uh… Make yourself at home!” 
You can hear Jasper talking to Bucky from a distance while you grab a cup of water for your guest, but soon they stop talking, so you take the silence as an opportunity to ask Bucky something.
“Hey, Bucky, do you want ice in…” you start, but when you turn around to ask him, both Bucky and your son have vanished. “Jasper?” you call out, leaving the glass on the kitchen counter in search of the two guys, but mainly your son.
You make your way down the hall and soon you hear giggling from both your son and the man that’s visiting. Your son sounds like he’s having a great time and you pop your head into his room just enough to see what they’re up to.
Jasper’s standing on his bed and reaching up to grab the shark stuffie from the shelf. He seems a little wobbly, and reactively, Bucky places his flesh hand on the boy’s back to keep him stable. 
“He got big teeth,” Jasper says, showing him the shark.
“I see that. What does he eat with those big teeth?” Bucky asks.
“Dunno. Maybe big pizza,” Jasper says with a shrug, then gasps when he remembers something. “Oh, Bucky, look’it my fish!” he exclaims, jumping off his bed, much to Bucky’s amusement, and running over to the little table near the door that the bowl is on. 
“Cool,” Bucky says with enthusiasm, crouching down to look into the glass container at the shimmery, red Betta fish that’s swimming around happily. “What’s his name?”
“Archie,” Jasper smiles.
“That’s a good name,” Bucky chuckles lightly. 
“Yeah. He hungry, too. Gotta feed ‘im,” Jasper states, grabbing the little bottle of food and opening it, then reaching in with his little stubby fingers to drop a pellet of food into the water. “Watch ‘im!”
The little red fish swims from the bottom of the bowl all the way up to the top, snatching the pellet from the surface of the water. 
“Woah. He was hungry,” Bucky smiles, looking over at the boy beside him.
“Nat got it for him for his birthday last week. It’s his prized possession now,” you speak up, making your presence known to the two guys. 
“Well, it’s a pretty cool fish,” Bucky smiles, standing up to look at you.
“Your water’s in the kitchen,” you let him know. “And, Jasper, are you hungry yet?”
“A little,” he shrugs, still looking at his fish.
“Okay. Well, I was going to get dinner started. How does mac and cheese sound?”
“Yeah!” your son exclaims, then turns to look at you and Bucky. “Bucky eat dinner with us?” 
Bucky lifts his gaze from the little boy and looks up at you hesitantly, not sure how to respond. 
“Uh… I dunno, sport,” he says, checking with you by the look in his eyes. 
“You can if you’d like,” you offer with a shrug.
“I don’t want to overstep,” Bucky repeats what he said plenty of times before while he shakes his head.
“You’re not,” you assure him, sending him into his thoughts for a second, before he speaks up again.
“Well… I mean, as long as it’s not going to make more work for you…”
“I normally make more than enough for just Jasper and I. Leftovers always happen,” you chuckle. 
After another moment of silence passes, and you can almost see the gears turning in his head trying to decide. He looks from Jasper, back up at you, and his mind is made up.
“Well, then, I’d love to stay,” he says with a smile. 
Jasper cheers, grabbing Bucky’s metal hand without a second thought and dragging him further into his room. You smile as you watch Jasper pull Bucky down to sit cross-legged with him, and the tot immediately starts showing Bucky his little animal figurines. 
You don’t know it yet, but this is only the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
-----
tagging series masterlist! message me to be removed/added!
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telemna-hyelle · a month ago
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Twilight first met Ezlo in Rivenmere during the events of the hobbit by falling out of a nearby tree while hiding from Elladan and Elrohir.
Incidentally in any universe I'd imagine Twilight was not the sort of child who would cry even if he seriously hurt himself (autistic Twilight? Perhaps!)
HAHAHA YES
OOOOH YES I LOVE THAT
I love fun meetings like that! Forget meet-cute let's have meet-hilarious.
I can see Twilight as a kid might be the kind to do his best not to cry when he gets hurt because he wants to be tough and likes to think he's a big strong warrior like his brothers. I know I was like that when I grew up--I idolized the idea of my viking ancestors and they didn't cry when they got hurt and I wanted to be just as cool, so I tried not to cry either (didn't always succeed but eh). So I can see tiny Twilight breaking a leg and trying to make the best out of the situation by imagining he's a super-cool elven warrior who got wounded in battle, and it's a mere flesh wound.
(to be clear, crying is not a weakness or a fault and is, in fact, often healthy to do. Crying does not make you less tough! As LOTR itself showcases. It's a great book it is)
Autistic Twilight is an interesting concept, but it's not one I think I could write, as I try to avoid writing things I have no good point of reference for. There are a variety of levels of autism after all, and I personally don't feel like I understand autism well enough to do it justice and not flub it. So, in my AU's canon Twilight is not autistic, but if you'd like to add that to something you write, please, be my guest! I'd love to see that <3 I just don't feel I can do it myself.
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bluestempigeons · 2 days ago
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I'm slowly coming to accept that every pigeon show roadtrip in the western US will also turn into visiting at least a few national parks
#i can't help it. they're all so close to so many national parks#plus every time i drive out through utah moab is RIGHT THERE! i can't not go to canyonlands!!!#i may have a problem but consider: hiking fun#btw if you're ever heading through utah on i70 take the detour to moab. it's worth it. that whole area is gorgeous#also you can't just drive through arches. if you want a nice drive go to canyonlands. arches is more for hiking#though if you are willing and able to hike those trails they're great. don't go in the summer and you're golden#if you're taking i70 through colorado visit the grand mesa and escalante canyon. they're underappreciated#visit land's end and get a great view (don't come during august! it'll be hazy!!) and then go east on 133 :) enjoy#(head south off the mesa and then east on 133 you'll hit the road that goes to aspen as well. it's not a shortcut but it's a nice drive)#ok this became recommendations on less-appreciated parts of colorado. while we're here: go to gunnison. also to the black canyon#the black canyon is free access and also GORGEOUS i think it's so unappreciated#and also go to ouray. it's a diamond in the rough and also they have hot springs and a lot of super nice trails#oh and!! if you want to take a detour through a nice and historic route#go on 141 toward gateway. you'll get to see what once was uravan (uranium mining town that was fully buried) and a lot of mining history#anyways :) i like going places and looking at things a normal amount#my dad is the type who stops at all those historical marker signs and reads every word so you can probably see where i got it from#pigeon coos
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lightdancer1 · a month ago
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Finally have a name for the Continuation verse and for its first story of what will be one long story, a one shot collection, and if I see the wish to expand it I might well. The series will be called “The Road Goes On” and the story “A Far Green Country.”
For a story about a postwar world and moving on or not doing so, the Tolkien reference seemed appropriate. Instead of updating the Dragon verse tonight I think I’ll start this one. The engagement here on Tumblr with some amazing people telescoped a process that would have otherwise been much longer and probably much less satisfactory. My thanks.
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