#the sun is OUT the sky is blue the clouds are puffy and white the breeze is gentle and refreshing so you KNOW that means
actually you know what life is indescribably beautiful and we will all one day experience he happiness we so rightfully deserve and we will get to live the life we always had in mind for ourselves!!!
The theme of the month is "April Showers"! Week Four continues with more fics from past years of @hpdrizzle fest, which is claiming now for 2022!. This is part TWO: all Drarry! Find Part One (for... everyone else) here! Today’s list includes several guest recs from @the-starryknight, identified by the 💧 emoji AND from @sugareey-makes-stuff, identified by the 💦 emoji!! Big thank you to both of them for their contributions this month!
This series has been so fun that I've decided to continue it! April Showers... bring May Flowers!! Have a rec you think belongs in this series? Send me a DM!
🌧 Eye of the Storm by @mxmaneater // E // 25K // forced proximity ✅ banter/bickering ✅ only one bed ✅ enemies to lovers ✅ resolved sexual tension ✅✅✅
Even if he managed to finagle a way out of this airtight cabin with no doors to the outside, he wouldn’t be able to get past the hurricane that surrounded them. He had no doubt that the storm had been created magically as a barrier, and he was willing to bet that the wards preventing his wand usage extended to the far reaches of this weather anomaly.
💧 And One to Play by @tackytigerfic // E // 21K // "I remember rushing off to read Tacky's catalogue all at once, just immersing myself in their stunning way with words. The world and magic-building in this fic is outstanding and makes for such a fun read, like diving into our known Hogwarts with so much more added to it. Plus this Draco is hot as hell and razor-sharp smart. Treat yourself with a read or reread of this one!" -starry
"Look, Potter. We know what triggered this mad wind magic of yours. For the moment, let's put aside all the...physical—shall we call it, attraction?—between us."
🌧 The Oceans They Did Rise by @thisisdisapparater // M // 18K // well, if I didn't already desperately want to visit NZ, this fic would've won me over. sweet fic about finding yourself in faraway places.
Around him are flowers blooming in the bright spring sun, and he can't help but compare them to the wet and dreary brown leaves that covered the autumn ground in England when he left. Everything here is coming alive and Harry can feel it invigorating him.
🌧 Three Stripes, a Muffin Top, and Those Pink Shoes by @maesterchill // E // 15K // I loooove this fic. it’s complex and complicated, our beloved boys are older and established and working through some stuff but it’s so lovely - the glimpse of this life is gorgeous. something about them continuing to choose one another just always feels so special.
According to the Muggle newspapers, it was the hottest June day in 40 years. The heat bounced off the flagstones sending up wavy illusions. The wind had long since vacated the country, leaving the grass and trees standing silent as if too hot to move.
More recs (including some art, podfics, & guest recs!) below the cut!
💧 what the body wants is coolness by @lastontheboat // T // 13K // "if you've ever wanted beach quidditch, delightful gryffindor/slytherin dynamics, and an endearingly snarky Drarry, this fic is for you. J's got a wonderful way with writing these characters -- of writing reluctant affection and fantastic group dynamics -- and this fic shines with his skill." -starry
They had left behind a cloudy day in central London, but Brighton was living up to its name – a brilliant blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds had Draco immediately reaching for his jumper’s sleeves to roll them up. He looked over at Harry, who had already pulled off his windbreaker and was in the process of slipping off his shoes. As soon as he had freed his feet from their confines, Harry dug his feet into the sand and wiggled his toes just below the surface.
🌧 Impervius by @ravenclawsquill // E // 10K // THERE WAS ONLY ONE UMBRELLA!!!!! 🥺 bickering, sheep, and a quaint b&b. what more do you need?!
"After a long day out in the rain with no lunch? Yeah, I am. We can't all be like you and exist on a diet of oxygen and negativity."
🌧 Let Rainwater Wash Away by @carpemermaidtales // E // 6K // ooooh the banter and the chase and the resolved sexual tension - this fic has it all, folks.
The storm had hit so fast that Harry didn’t even have time to cast an Impervius Charm before he was completely soaked through, his shirt clinging to his skin uncomfortably and his tie slapping wetly against his chest as he ran. There were too many Muggles around him to risk a drying charm, and he didn’t have an umbrella with him — he’d left it in his office at the Auror Department.
🌧 One Dark and Stormy Night by @doubleapple // E // 5K // quick culmination, fury turning to lust outside in the middle of a thunderstorm. 🙌
Oh," Malfoy mimicked, mocking him, quiet now but still furious. He got right in Harry’s face, as they stood nearly nose to nose, staring at each other, rain cascading down in the darkness like it would never stop.
💧 Sunkissed by @shealwaysreads // E // 5K // "My little history-loving heart isn't sure if I ought to rec the setting (magically preserved ruins) or the smut (beautiful Bella-brand loving fire) first. Perhaps both -- the setting and premise here shines with the warmth of the sun Bella describes, and the smut... my god, this fic will make you eager to read more and more of Bella's fiery, slow-build, scorchingly drawn-out explicit fic." -starry
Draco claimed grey skies did more for his complexion than sunshine, though Harry knew that was a lie through and through. Sunlight on Draco’s hair made it shine like a halo, ironic as that was. And while moody skies highlighted the depths of his grey eyes, a cloudless blue sky made them glow.
🌧 After the Storm by @motherbookerao3 // T // 4K // this fic has me feeling just like Harry at the end, snug as a bug, all wrapped up in love and sweetness.
“Harry?” The figure asked, raising their voice over the rolling thunder and never-ending rainfall. “What are you doing out here? Was there a wasp drowning that you had to risk hypothermia for?” They crouched down, holding the umbrella over Harry’s and sliding the hood off their head.
💧 Fuck You/Thank You by @lqtraintracks // E // 2K // "Sweet, scorching, undeniably sexy Draco and Harry in their 40s, with an unusual take on Quidditch (Harry as a referee!) and an unforgettable shower scene. I love Draco & Harry's banter in this fic; the way the established relationship still feels fresh and fun makes for a fantastic read." -starry
The rain dwindles to a drizzle. Of course it does now that the match is over, Harry thinks, his feet sloshing in his boots as he trudges to the locker room himself. Thunder rumbles soothingly in the distance, the lightning hiding behind vast easterly clouds, making brief halos around them and nothing more.
💦 Don't Look Away by @maraudersaffair // E // 1770 // "Ummm, what is one supposed to expect when two Aurors are on stakeout in a car during the summer? The banter is hilarious, perfectly depicts all the unresolved sexual tension that been going between them, and thankfully they do something about that." -sugareey
The sun was playing games. It had a grudge. There were no clouds, no humidity (thank Merlin), but everything was baking. The streets glittered like snake scales.
Art and Podfics!
🌧 A Full On Rainstorm by @whileatwitshire // G // comic
🌧 A Ghastly Night by @ano-ka-ba // T // art
🌧 Birds Against Draco by @latibaris // G // art
🌧 Rainfall by @saras-girl, podfic by @semperfiona // T // podfic, 30 minutes
There’s something about a rainstorm that makes everything look more beautiful, more dramatic. The lake looks dangerous in a storm, the grass lush and water-darkened and the stones of the castle rain-slicked and lashed, dripping, like something from a landscape painting.
🌧 Stormy Sunday by @llap115 // G // 445 + art
🌧 Then Comes a Mist and a Sweeping Rain by @faithwood, podfic by @semperfiona // E // 2 hours, 10 minutes
Draco noticed it only then: the sound of rushing water was loud in his ears. The raindrops were thick and heavy, falling in rivulets. Draco glanced up quickly to see the cloud had doubled in size and darkened; it was almost black, except for the occasional flash of light within.
Strange Side Quests
Geralt of Rivia x (f)reader
- reader is part of my Of Monsters and Men series
Summary: After some fortune teller had given you two a tarot paired with directions to a town. You find yourselves on a new adventure, but is the coin worth it?
Warning: blood and gore, fluff, slight smut mention, reader being a smartass, Geralt loving reader unconditionally up in here; also reader is half human half vampire. Enjoy!
Kicking a rock across the beaten down path until the tiny grey object flies into a nearby bush. You let out a dramatic huff in boredom, how you almost wish Jaskier was traveling with you now to fend off the silence. Then maybe this trek to Vizima wouldn't be so tedious and lengthy, oh if you only knew where that bard had traveled off to. On second thought, maybe you don't.
The surrounding area is forest on both sides, tall trees with leaves turning colors of reds, oranges, and yellows as autumn calls them home to the earth. A brisk wind causes your long dark coat to flap against your legs while you walk side by side with Roach.
The day is bright and beautiful, evening it is with puffy white clouds that scatter across the large blue sky. You absolutely love this time of year on the Continent, and how else would you rather spend your traveling time then with a smelly mare and a Witcher all to yourself.
"We should look for a place to set up camp." Says Geralt, "Looks like it's going to be a cold night."
"For you." You can't feel the cold, however, he does.
Geralt hums, "Then perhaps we could find a way to keep warm."
"A fire usually does the trick. Also no worries, you can use my blanket and coat to keep warm, I'll just sleep naked under the starlight." You add with a telling smirk, eyes glancing over at Geralt who shares a knowing look with you.
"Y/N, you speak dangerously."
You smile, "These are just simple words coming out of my mouth. Solutions to your chilly night problems so my dear Witcher does not feel like an ice sickle. Nothing more."
He snorts, "Yes and the sky is red."
"It could be." You laugh, "I knew a mage once who could turn the clouds green. It was quite something to witness and it was definitely real."
"Well green clouds will not prevent me from shivering if we don't find a place to set up soon."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm on it." You mutter before giving him a wink and shifting into a pack of bats, flying off down the trail in search of a suitable place to set up camp. Somewhere far off enough from the trail where a fire cannot be seen by any unwanted prying eyes, and somewhere that's flat enough.
In no time at all have you located a spot under a thick pine tree not too far away from where Geralt is still riding. Leaving the place at once, you find Geralt again before changing back into your original form to better lead Roach to the area. Thankfully making camp doesn't take too long, because before you even knew it darkness had begun to creep into the valley and away goes your light and the last bits of the suns warmth.
Blanketing the woodland in pitch blackness with lack of even a tiny sliver of moon, nothing but dark sky and earth. Luckily with being half vampire and all, you're able to see in the dark just fine as you would in daylight, the world just appears as cool blues and greys with lack of firelight. So here you are now, on stick duty to keep that fire glowing so Geralt doesn't get cold and start whining about it.
With arms full of dry sticks, you start heading back to camp without incident until you take a step into the firelight that's illuminating a small glow around the tiny camp. A silver sword is sent mere inches from your face, you stiffen before sending a raised brow at the golden eyed man behind it.
"I presume you thought I was a monster and haven't all of a sudden decided it's time to cut down your dearly beloved...Correct?"
Geralt immediately brings the sword to his side, face flashing with annoyance for himself, "Correct. Maybe I'm still a little jumpy after last night's debacle."
You set the pile of sticks next to the fire, "Oh right, that one drunken dipshit who walked right into camp looking for somewhere to piss. Fucking idiot couldn't tell his left hand from his right."
"Next time we don't camp next to merchants no matter how nice they are, I honestly thought you were about to cause a murder." Teases Geralt as you sit down across from him, "You were very close."
"And let's not forget about you huh." You add, tone light and playful, "As soon as that fool stepped out from the trees you had your fists at the ready. I was very impressed. Quite the fast reflexes you have...like a rabbit.....a big one."
He simple rolls his eyes, "I wasn't expecting it.....clearly."
"No, and clearly you're still a bit tense."
Geralt tosses a stick in the fire, "Apologies my love, I didn't intend to point a sword at you."
"The silver one at that." You point, "My arch enemy of human weaponry. The cause of my kinds pain and demise, besides the sun of course...and werewolves."
"Silver." Says Geralt, "For monsters, which you are not."
You tilt your head, raising a brow at him, "My red eyes say otherwise. Maybe subconsciously your inner Witcher is always ready to take me out. Hence why you snatched up your silver blade and not the steel one."
Geralt shakes his head at your teasing, "It's what I was cleaning when I heard you walking back..."
"Ah! So you knew I was walking back, and yet you still drew your sword on me." You point a finger at him, before setting it down while your brows furrow, "Was that a test?"
"Yes. Did you do that deliberately to see if I would do something about it, the sudden sword in my face?" You ask, knowing he did it accidentally though you're having too much fun egging him on about this.
"Well we weren't training, so no."
"Are you certain?"
Geralt blinks slowly before muttering a blunt, "Yes."
You lean back onto your hands, "Yeah alright......so, cold yet?"
"Not at the moment, but I'm sure I'll be soon enough."
You smirk, "If only you were half vampire like me, oh the worries of men are lost to the wind with my life. I have not a care in the world with who I meet or where I go, it's the world who is cautious about me passing through it."
"I am writhing with envy." Replies Geralt bluntly, voice obviously sarcastic.
You nod, "Understandable. You're not as fast, strong, or cunning as I, thankfully you have your fighting skills and bodily muscle to keep you alive. Also you are an incredibly attractive man, but that only gets you so far." You send him a wink.
He forces himself not to crack a grin, "What's that cunning to say about you? Your half vampire, in love with a Witcher. That's quite the predicament wouldn't you say?"
"It is. But who was the one who fell first for the other here? A Witcher is supposed to slay all monsters. Aren't I part monster?"
Geralt's expression turns oddly serious and sentimental as he looks into your gaze, "You are still no monster to me."
"Well, I think I like that answer." You add, "I must have just found the right Witcher when I needed him most."
"Maybe you're right."
You let out a laugh, "You're allowed to say destiny. The word is not going to slap you in the face like an angry whore for speaking it this once. Destiny Geralt. Destiny."
He doesn't say a thing for a long moment until he finally shrugs before saying, "Fated circumstance."
You cackle with laughter, falling onto your back as you hold your stomach from laughing so hard. Geralt just shakes his head at you, smile apparent while you try and regain yourself.
"Fated circumstance?" You repeat, "My gods you're something else.....and all mine."
He smiles at that before glancing from the bunched up blanket next to him then back to you, "Were you serious about sleeping naked?"
"Only if you'll indulge me for some physical pleasure. Just a little."
He raises a brow, "A lot?"
"A lot works too." You nod, standing up on your bent knees as you take off your shirt, "Just keep that sword over there, I don't fancy getting burnt by that silver shit before I climax. Kind of ruins the mood."
He sets his shirt on the grass, "We wouldn't want that. Not at all."
Crouched down by a burnt tree off to the side of the path, you poke at the crispy squared chunks of bark that break and crack when your dagger touches it. From behind, you can hear the thump of Geralt's boots against the grass as he dismounts from Roach.
His footsteps approach, as do the mares. Geralt's dark boots stop at your side. "Feels like magic."
You purse your lips together and hum, "A mage practicing fire magic perhaps? That's supposed to be banned..who's to say anymore, some mages do as they please with little regard for others. Hmm, all I smell here is burnt wood and squirrel."
"I was hoping you'd say it was just a storm."
You stand to face him, "It was just a storm."
He gives you a deadpanned stare, blinking slowly, "Lets just find wherever this tarot leads us."
"Oh that thing! Right." You mutter before walking around to Roach's side pack and pulling out the tarot. "This here." The tarot shows a shimmery red background with four rocks floating in a circle around a wooden staff and two purplish white lighting strikes printed on opposite corners of the card. Whatever the hell any of that means.
Geralt's golden eyes trail over the mysterious markings, "The name that woman gave us what was it again? Vizla...Vezlo...Vizeth...something like that I think?"
You shake your head at him, "Well it's certainly a good thing I'm here. None of those were even remotely close."
"Alright then what's the name?"
"I was close."
"Knowing the actual name would get you far, knowing a variation of the name would get you five leagues in the wrong direction."
Geralt shakes his head at you, "Alright then, do you remember what that old fortune teller told us?"
Flicking the tarot, you nod, "The old fortune teller said we must head to Vizima in search of the towns only mage where we will get all our questions answered." You add with a dramatic flair of your hands, “Then she made her windchimes move on their own, however I cannot do that nor do we have windchimes.”
"She didn't say where this mage is, now did she?"
"First off, if I was to say a random name would you have believed me?"
Geralt opens his mouth but pauses for a moment as his brows furrow in thought, "Depends on how convincing it would sound."
"Well it doesn't matter because the cranky old bird didn't say shit about where this so called mage of Vizima is. So, all we gotta do is ask around which shouldn't be too hard if the place only has one mage."
"Right. This town can't be that big if its in the middle of a forest."
"Right. Easy hunting."
"And don't be comin' round here you fuckin' red eyed pointy toothed bastard!" Shouts a bearded round faced tavern owner as he spits onto the mud, "We ain't tellin' you not a single thing ‘bout that mage or his whereabouts in the north end!"
You lend the potbellied man a humored grin as you nod, hands folded behind your back, "Ah wonderful, so it's a he and he roams the north district somewhere around that area huh, very good." You send the angered man a wink, "You have been so inadvertently helpful so thank you and your kind heart for that very very much."
He scowls before glancing at the two biggest men standing in the small market crowd off to the side, they nod in silent mutual understanding before walking towards you. Unsheathing a sword each, faces dirt smudged and less then friendly.
You raise a brow at them, "Oh well come on now I'm just a defenseless woman trying to get some answers." They keep walking, you take a step back, "Okay guys must we do this? I mean I didn't even bring my dagger, can I at least have a stick?" You ask before the curly haired one swings his sword at you.
In a blurred flash have you practically disappeared from his grasp while he swings at nothing but air. Both him and his blonde friend whip around to face your smirking face. You give them a wave, "I really don't see how killing me will do any good. I’m fantastic if you haven’t just noticed and Geralt would miss my lovely face and even lovelier lady par..”
Blondie circles the blade in his hand threateningly, "No one bothers our mage. That's the rules."
You throw your hands to the air in bewilderment for how this whole interaction is going, "Made by who? The mage?" The blonde begins running towards you, he swings but you're gone in a flash. Standing casually off to his right, "That's not very social of him. How's he going to meet anyone new?"
"He don't like meeting anyone new." Grumbles the curly haired man as he takes a bold step forward, "And we don't like outsiders. 'Specially a half demon like yourself." He spits onto the muddy ground in disgust yet again.
You grimace, "Unnecessarily rude. You kiss your mother with that jabbering pie hole you call a mouth?"
He chuckles darkly, "Don't have no mum." They both start taking cautious steps closer, intent to kill apparent.
"oh that's nice, guess no one's going to cry if you're bleeding in the dirt then." They don't have a second to speak as you've already thrown them to the mud covered marketplace. Swords flung across the matted sludge as they both groan and moan in pain.
You turn to face the man who summoned them, his eyes are wide as he locks gazes with you, you take a step towards him while he takes a step back. You stop and tilt your head at him, "Where is the mage? Exact location in this shitstick of a town and you'll keep your cock for another day because don't worry." You hold your hands up, "I don't like to kill people, however I will maim and cut choice body parts off."
The man points left, "N-north district, tallest house there, you can't miss it."
You smile, fangs prominent as you show off your pearly whites to the nervous man, "Now that wasn't so hard." You then give a little nod, "Good day." You add before walking off to find your wandering Witcher, and by the scent of him he's a little ways past all the popular taverns.
When you finally spot him by a stall selling all sorts of shiny nick nacks and beautiful jewelry, he's standing there trying to understand a dwarven man speaking in the thickest accent from wherever he is you've ever heard. By the looks of it all, Geralt's nod getting anywhere.
Approaching his side, you set a gentle hand upon his right armored shoulder when he gives you a warning look until he realizes it's just you. You hand him a grin, "Making friends are we?"
"No." He grumbles out.
"Buying me something pretty then?" You tease, "Something big and sparkly for a royal lady of the court, a stand out admirable gem. Fit for a princess.." You lean in to whisper, "..which is what I am. I believe I deserve it, by law and by my blood." You are the daughter of the vampire queen after all, however that doesn't get you far with this type of crowd.
Geralt raises a brow, "And what would you do with a.." His golden eyes wander over the table of jewelry then to the hanging necklaces as he reaches a hand out to hold one dangling from a hook, "...one of these?"
"Wear it. What else would I do with it?"
He lets it go, "Alright. Oh I had forgotten, we don't have the coin."
You press a finger into his leather armored chest, "You don't have the coin."
He smiles a pursed lipped grin at your theatrics, you're just stalling to find that mage since you have a deep rooted love/hate for them in general. Geralt removes your hand from his chest, "Another time." He says before looking at the dwarven man, "Not today, we have somewhere to be."
"Oi yuh relvy? Wecha beva couym ack." He rambles with a nod. Both you and Geralt wander elsewhere, leaving the jewelry stand to round a corner and talk to one another somewhere quieter.
The two of you face each other, "You found where the mage lives didn't you?" Implores Geralt as your brows furrow.
"Did you understand a single word that guy said?"
He takes your hands with his in an attempt at getting you to focus, "Y/N, I know you found where the mage lives."
"How would you kn.."
"That vendor was exclusively selling silver jewelry."
You open your mouth to speak but stop and look off to the side, "oh." Your eyes wander around the vendor lot until you face him again, "Hadn't noticed."
He holds back a grin, "Now where is the mage?"
Your face falls as you then show off a scowl, "He is located in the north district, yunno only big pointy tower in the whole section? Oddly resembles an erect penis, that one?"
Geralt snorts, "Yes I remember seeing it."
"I like to think every mage held up in their prick tower is a reflection of their own personal attitude...which is they're all pricks and we cannot trust them." You point, "Most of them at least."
Geralt nods, "Yes. Now let's go find this prick. Shall we?"
You cross your arms and look from him to the path ahead and then back to him again, "Fine. But you're knocking."
Thud. Thud. Thud.
You stand off to the side, arms crossed defensively while your snowy haired Witcher knocks on the giant mahogany door covered in vines, using the doors metallic gargoyle head to create such ruckus. Staring back at him with its two dark beady stone eyes and ugly little face, you wish to punt this doorknocker into a pond.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Geralt releases the gargoyle head and takes a step back, soon the twisted vines guarding the massive door move like snakes before receding from their post up into the doorways overhang. You can hear footsteps on the other side when they halt abruptly at the entrance way, whoever it is remains unseen. The door shimmers a sapphire hue before rippling colors of lapis lazuli as a blurred body forms from within.
Out pops a tan skinned elven boy, glancing curiously between the two of you with his big opal eyes that flicker with every color of the rainbow. "I am Fyrn of the Nimnar Valley. Welcome Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher....and Y/N of Alcatraz, daughter of the Vampire Queen. He has been expecting your arrival."
Both you and Geralt share a mutual look as you then take a threatening step forward, "Does this he of great mysterious title have a name?" The eleven boy simply smiles, he nods, fingers folding together as his eyes trail from Geralt to you.
"He does. But only he can tell you. Now please, come with me." Directs the elven boy Fyrn as he then disappears into the enchanted door. Fucking mages and their magic entranceways.
"Ladies first." Teases Geralt as he points a hand like a polite butler. Setting a hand upon your hip, you tilt your head at him while he simply shrugs, "I knocked first."
Shaking your head at him, you push him back when he makes an attempt to go forward so that you disappear first into the shimmering door of sapphire. Geralt just holds back a laugh while he follows you through the magic door.
After a brief trek to the mages chambers on the second floor, Fyrn knocks on a door of pure oak with strands of gold woven in clusters here and there. Nothing is heard on the other end until he speaks a word in elvish, only then does the door open. He ushers you both inside and just like that does he vacate the area.
Leaving you and Geralt in a giant study filled high with books to either side and a ginormous stained glass window on the center back wall depicting a beautiful woman with wings of black webbing spread behind her. She stands on a bed of skeletons, one arm filled with roses as the other holds delicately a dagger resembling yours.
All around her are colors of purples, blues, reds, and blacks; footsteps are heard on your right, you turn to see the owner. A man as tall as Geralt stands in long robes of dark reds and blacks though his body is noticeably leaner. Hair black, beautiful and long, eyes the color of fire embers he smiles at the two of you warmly. You take notice of an obsidian staff in his right hand, you immediately tense.
The mage rests a hand on his heart before directing it towards you two as a form of greeting, "This is a good day indeed. I have awaited your arrival for many moons and countless suns, I am glad you are here at last." Speaks a soft velvety voice, this mage looks more like a pretty elf then anything human.
"Why has our tarot brought us here?" You ask, "What do you want?"
He smiles, "I will tell you shortly. In the meantime I believe I owe you my name...I am Saraphim of Vizima, mage to this lovely residence and all her people within." Lovely people may be a stretch.
"Very nice." You interrupt, "Now, the reason for us being here? Why the fuck did some fortune teller say Vizima and this here tarot shows us these sticks and shit? Also why us?" You ramble when he brings his hand up to shush you.
"A Witcher knows how to handle a magical situation out of my grasp. However a creature such as yourself can kill it like a deadly adder....especially someone with your kind of gift." Says the mage Saraphim knowingly, "You have what is needed to kill a certain kind of being where it stands, and save countless life in the process."
Geralt grumbles, "Enough with the riddles and mysteries tell us what you want and why our tarot led us to you?"
"There is a rival mage hiding like a coward in the ruins of Vaska three miles east of here, she has stolen a prized artifact of mine and to protect herself has created a golum. If you kill this stone monster I will reward you greatly, and if you are able to kill the mage I will reward you tenfold." Presents Saraphim as he wanders to the center of the room to open up a book laying on a large table holding other various magical type trinkets and other things.
"We'll do it."
He raises a brow at your quick words, "As I expected so."
"Now answer us this." Says Geralt, "How are we to properly kill this creature? They can't be killed by simple swords and arrows."
"No. No they cannot." His ember eyes trail over to you, "You know who this winged woman is?" He looks up at the stained glass.
Your eyes study the colorful piece, "I assume you're going to tell me."
He chuckles lightly, "She is the Vampire Queen, your mother."
"Her hair is longer." Why are you not surprised?
"So it is. I have heard stories of her, fantasized about walking in her court and claiming a title of mage of Alcatraz, being by her side." He says breathless, eyes turning back to you as he snaps back to reality, "Those were just childish fantasies of course. A court of vampires would be no good company for me, so here her beauty remains...and here you stand. Most certainly a close image of her greatness."
"Well I'm certainly not going to fuck you if that's what you're thinking."
Saraphim's eyes widen in embarrassment, "Oh no, no, you misread me my dear princess. I simply admire your mother's great influence and power...you see, I admire the beings of your kind. They are exquisite creatures who walk this Continent, the rulers of the night, beings of beauty and power." He takes a step forward, "And you, you are the most powerful of them all. Half human, half vampire, you walk like a wolf amongst sheep. Never to be broken by the sun.."
"Yes yes I'm very flattered, and a tad weirded out. Now what do you actually want of me?"
Saraphim takes a step back, "May I see your tarot?" You nod before quickly fishing it out of your leather gauntlet and handing it to him. "You see here? The lightening bolts, yes?"
"Hard to miss." Mutters Geralt, feeling a bit more protective over you even though this mage means no ill intent for you. Nor does he appear to be attracted to you.
"Yes good. Well, as it turns out. In order to destroy a stone golum crafted by a witch, wizard, or mage...only lightening magic can do what is necessary."
Geralt's brows furrow, "We don't posses such power."
Saraphim points to the lightening before handing the tarot back to you, "The gift I was speaking of earlier, Y/N's dark gift.." He gives Geralt a quizzical look like this white haired man knows a thing, the Witcher simply hums while the mage nods at this, "..every vampire or dhampir is born with a dark gift. For some it is taking the form of a beast, perhaps manipulation of a humans will, or to read the minds of others. For Y/N here, she needs no magical training..."
"Lightening." Geralt's eyes are on you in a second, "How could I have forgotten?"
You shrug, "I never need to use it.....well apparently until now."
Saraphim smiles, "Precisely. Now can you two do this for me is the final question I ask? After all that I have said?"
Throwing a pine cone in the air as you walk beside your Witcher and Roach, you catch the thing once again, completing your rhythm as you go. An almost annoyed scowl marked onto your features while you take a second to breath from your ramblings about the unfriendly tavern goers and the mage. Who has summoned you two for this quest.
You throw the pine cone into the bark of a tree, "Can you do this for me? He says, can you do this because I'm too much of a lazy little fuck to do it myself. Oh, my pretty robes, oh no ahh dirt get it away from me." You add dramatically, flailing your arms like a fearful maiden as you regain your composure, "What do we look like? A courier service for monster hunters?"
Geralt laughs from atop of Roach, "He wants this done for the safety of Vizima, these old ruins are sacred ground to them. And anyways, we need to kill the mage and bring back the artifact."
"He can kiss my ass."
Geralt hums, "He was kind, and seemed to have good intentions."
"He's a loner obsessed with vampires."
"Everyone has a quirk."
You throw him a look, "Yeah alright and what's yours oh great and mighty Witcher who doth know it all?"
"You tell me." Counters Geralt with a friendly smile, enjoying when there's a given moment to challenge you.
"Hmm. Let me see here, oh I know, for one you talk to that horse whenever I'm elsewhere. Oh and you always pat down your bed before laying down..ha like a cat.....and you always stand a bit in front of me when you think I need protection."
"Yes. Clearly I can handle myself, however I find it adorable so I don't mind." You admit as he shys away with a small grin, golden eyes trained to Roach's leather reins in his gloved hands.
"Hey I think we're at the ruins." He looks up to find an opening in the woodland, a large overgrown field with massive broken chunks of grey stone placed methodically about. Like they are a far off memory of castles long ago.
He clicks his tongue for the mare to halt, "I believe you're right." He then slips from the saddle to stand next to you, "I'll tie her up and then we'll find this damn golum."
You nod before slipping into the woodland in search of some viable sign that a golum is indeed here and not just a dramatic fabrication of a paranoid mage. You walk over some roots jutting out of the earth before kneeling behind a square hunk of stone covered in patches of moss.
In no time does Geralt find himself crouched down next to you, sword out and ready while his golden eyes scan the area ahead. It's not anything too out of the ordinary by any means, the ground is large and open with knee high grass. Stone placed around like they could have been either religiously settled there or are the aftermath of hundreds of years of abandonment.
There is not a place around where a suitable house for a hidden mage could be found. Geralt nudges your side, "Can you see anything I can't?"
"Smell anything odd?"
"Besides Roach all I can smell is grass and bird shit." You mutter, "Let's get a closer look. Maybe Saraphim was fucking with us just so he could meet me."
"Maybe." Says Geralt as he looks to you, "Have you ever seen a golum?"
"No, just gargoyles. The two are very different though even if they're both creatures of stone." You add, "However I don't think golums can be reasoned with." You stand and jump over the stone edge as Geralt follows suite.
You stand in the knee high grass with him a few feet away by your side, sword at the ready while his eyes trail over the ruins. You look over at him, "I'm going to take a look around, give me a minute and I'll tell you what I see." The Witcher gives a mutual nod as you shift into a pack of bats.
The dark winged creatures flap and squeak as you navigate your way through the old ancient ruins. You fly quickly past downed trees, more field, and a plethora of other ruins with a single one imprinted with a strange marking on it. Revealing a pyramid with two sticks coming out of the top making a v towards the sky. Whatever the hell that means.
Geralt waits patiently where you left him, eyes and ears cautious for trouble as he spots your pack of bats flapping through the ruins headed for him. Soon does the pack lower for the ground as a black mist engulfs them resulting in your beautiful face greeting him yet again.
"Nothing of any significant but a weird rune I've never seen before. Other then that I really am starting to believe that mage was fucking with us." You mutter before picking up a rock, "I mean, we should have seen a golum by now right? They're made of stone, sticks, and magic..not to mention are fucking huge. How the fuck have we not seen one yet!" You shout in frustration before launching the rock into a large boulder.
The grey object explodes, leaving a small dent in the stones side from the force of your supernatural strength. Geralt drops his hand to his side, "Maybe shout that louder next time."
You scowl at his sarcastic tone, "Alright Witcher what do you got?"
He leans the sword against his shoulder, "Saraphim told us a bit more if you remember.."
"I do.." You pause as your gaze diverts from his, "..maybe I don't because I was too interested in his collection of troll skulls."
Geralt hums, "Well he said in order to wake a golum who's asleep, which I'm assuming is in our best interest here, it must be shot with lightening. A lightening rod and a storm is in order for this to occur, however we are lucky enough to have you."
"Right. Right I knew that, I remember now..it's all coming back to me." You nod as he gives you an unconvincing look, "Now where is this golum huh? So many boulders and ruins here, a stone beast can't be that difficult to find. It's literally a tall humanoid made of stone! Fuck this!" You shout, deep irritation flowing through your body as your fists clench.
Geralt sheathes his blade before walking over to rest a hand on your shoulder, "Maybe the one stone with the rune is our golum. Lead us there and that's where we'll start."
You take a breath, "Alright. It's this way." He follows your lead until you stop at the huge boulder appearing rather unassuming in the grass.
He stands off to the side while you ready your stance a couple yards away, "This better be the fucking golum." You grumble before closing your fists and opening them again to purple flashes of lightening crackling in your palms.
Geralt hides halfway behind an old tree as he watches you bring your hands together before yelling and throwing your arms towards the boulder. Lighting kisses the air as it crackles across the short distance to the stone before crashing into it.
Stone breaks and flies away from the point of impact as you call more lighting to the area for a couple seconds more until you close your fists again, dissipating away the lightening. Breathing a bit heavier now, you tilt your head curiously at the unmoving boulder of rock.
You turn to face Geralt across the small grassy field, "What do I have to do to wake up this damn golum! Tickle it?" You open your mouth to speak more when a crumbling sounds from behind you.
Geralt's golden eyes widen as he steps into the opening, you twist around to watch as a ginormous stone golum creaks and crumbles to life. Standing at around three elk high; the monster appears humanoid with its big stone body. However it's facial features must have been half-assed in the crafting process, as it's face is a pebbly mess.
Whatever it has for sufficient eye sockets trains itself onto your puny form, the stone snorts a dusty mist of dirt as it takes a single step with its huge boulder of a leg. The ground practically shakes as you take a cautious step back, the golum stops and stares down at you.
"Uh Geralt." You mutter nervously, "What do I do now?"
"It can only be killed by a lighting strike."
"Just one?" You swallow as the golum studies if you're friend or foe.
Your face falls as you turn your head to then glare at your Witcher, "THREE? THREE FUCKING STRIKES?" You can't help but shout. He's about to answer you when a groaning roar pierces the air, you turn to face the golum. Anger clear on its big ugly face.
The stone beast takes another thundering step forward, man sized arm swinging down towards you right after to wipe your tiny life from this plane of existence. Anticipating this, supernatural reflexes have you standing next to Geralt as the golums huge paw swats nothing but tall grass where you once stood.
The Witcher gives you a double take when he realizes you're right next to him, "Y/N?"
You give him a glance, "What?"
He nods towards the grumbling golum of confused angry stone, "Kill it." You send him a bewildered look as the stone humanoid starts walking closer.
"And what are you going to be doing? Sitting back on a bed of flowers as a forest nymph feeds you grapes naked?"
You shake your head at him as the blundering golum raises its arm to kill you two, in a blurred flash is Geralt and yourself safely atop a tall overturned boulder. "Fine then you handsome cunt I'll do it myself, stay here and don't get killed." He feels the ghost of a kiss as your body materializes into a pack of bats.
In seconds are you swarming around the annoyed golum while he raises his heavy rocky arms to do some damage. Not making any apparent contact with a single bat, the golum becomes even more enraged and roars. Put off by the sudden belching scream of lion-like fury, you vacate the air before materializing on the ground a few feet away.
"Look here you fucking piece of birdshit! Hello there! That's right pay attention to me, just me." The golum takes a step towards you, "That's right, let's go. You and me!" He throws a hand up just as you launch a crackling burst of lightening straight into his center chest. He yells mightily, staggering back like a drunken fool.
Geralt watches from a safe distance as you jump with excitement, he's subconsciously smiling at your theatrics when you land another blow to the pissed off golum. Then just like that do you throw a bolt of electricity straight through the stone monsters stomach. It groans miserably, holding its hollowed out tummy as it then breaks apart where it stands.
Smiling victoriously down at the crumbling stone, Geralt finds himself by your side, "Nicely done." He praises with a genuine grin at your impressive feat.
"Yes I know." You teasingly boast, "Now lets find that fucking mage."
A stick snaps. Out from the woodland does a woman with tangled grey hair step into view, a staff of ebony in her left hand. Eyes of light blue almost glow as they trail from Geralt to you and back again. She smiles grimly, "That was my guardian. Why have you strangers come into my territory?"
"A mage has sent us in search of something you have stolen." Answers Geralt truthfully.
A flicker of hatred flashes through her pale eyes, "Saraphim." She hisses with malice, "And he has sent me two hunters to do his bidding. Clever, last time he sent a party of mercenaries that didn't last longer then a wolf's cry. Nonetheless you will not leave this place with the Neh'tza sephira."
An enchanted stone? That's what the mage in Vizima wants, whatever gets you coin then.
"Hand us over the magic rock and you keep your life."
She scowls at you, staff pointing in your direction, "I think not you undead halfbreed."
Your crimson eyes darken, in a blurred flash do you disappear before halting all movements a few feet to her left. Your hair and clothing sways when you stop to look at the mage. She stands there, eyes wide in shock as a waterfall of blood flows out of her slit throat. Her staff falls to the earth.
She sputters and gags, gasping for breath that never comes while her hands try desperately to stop the bleeding. It seeps through her fingers as you clean your dagger in the grass. Geralt races to her side, "Where is the sephira!" He shouts as she falls to her knees.
He kneels down as she smiles a sick grin, blood still trailing down her neck and hands as it stains her clothing and the grass below. She gargles on broken words of hatred while you walk over to his side. She eyes you fiercely. You point the tip of your blade at her temple.
"I'll make it a quick passing if you tell us where it is. Point to it if you must." She simply slumps to the ground, hands still around her bloody throat as she chokes on laughter.
You unsheathe your dagger before kneeling down to rip off a piece of her clothing's fabric, standing once more, you drink in the scent. Blinking, your eyes gaze up at the woods to find an aurora of her scent leading the way. Perfect.
You glance down at the dying mage, "Sorry about that.....and uh, don't haunt this place or I'll have to kill you again." She smiles a bloody grin up at you before releasing her hands from the slice in her skin. Blood oozes out, the sweet scent causing you to almost drool. She knows what she's doing.
Geralt, eyes flickering between the two of you quickly stands to grab your forearm, "Y/N. Let's go." Your eyes snap up to meet his, "Lead the way." He says, doing all he can to prevent you from ripping the mage to shreds from a sudden spell of bloodlust.
You swallow, "Right. The magic rock." Leading him away towards the forest as your vampiric instincts fight internally within you to stay and feast. Gods the things you do for coin.
Bursting through the doors of Saraphim's study, he jumps, dropping a book onto his desk before whipping around to see what all the commotions about. Once his ember irises fall upon your self assured face and that of Geralt's, he relaxes once more.
"You two have survived." He says almost surprised, "This is most fortunate news. Do you have what I asked?"
"Do you have our coin?"
He nods, "Of course." Eyes set to the elven boy by the door, "Fyrn retrieve our friends gold they have rightly earned." The opal eyed boy bows respectfully before disappearing down a hallway.
Saraphim looks expectantly at the two of you, "May I see this object for myself, I must know it is safe and true."
"You mean this magical rock?" You hold up a black sack, undoing the tie as you pull out a rock with a peculiar rune engraved into it. "It's not much but stone."
His eyes light up with excitement, "So you have." He takes a couple steps forward before hesitating, "May I?" He asks.
You hold out the rock, "Please. We've dealt with enough rocks for awhile, I don't care why you needed this and I certainly don't care for an explanation into whatever the fuck this artifact does for you." He takes the rock as you cross your arms, "We'll be satisfied with our coin and gladly to never cross paths with you ever again."
"Very well, I will not bore the lady dhampir and her Witcher of Kaer Morhen any longer then necessary." Agrees the dark haired mage as his elven apprentice walks into the room, "Oh good, Fyrn would you give them their dues."
The elven boy hands each of you a sack of coin, big enough to fit nicely in the whole extent of your hand. You throw the sack up, catching it soon after as you then shake the sack to hear the distinctive jingle of coins. "Very nice indeed."
"Yes." Says Geralt, "It was a pleasure to meet you Saraphim, but we must be going now. Good day."
"Yes, good day and goodbye." You add with a wave of your hand, feet already leading you towards the door.
"Safe travels." He calls after, though you've already made it down the hallway.
What a trip that was.
Tagged: @seninjakitey @notahappytree @ashleyforeverareject @sokkasdarling @[email protected]
@diegos-butt @a-girl-who-loves-disney @beck07990
thoma ▪︎ rubeum scutum
pairing: thoma x f!traveller/Lumine
summary: finding her on the ground of Chinju Forest in the midst of a dark, dreary thunderstorm — he didn't quite expect they would meet again in this way not long after the Vision Hunt Decree blew over. Never did he realize how much more she meant to him until he saw her cold, motionless body that very night — | m.list
theme/genre(s): inspired by thoma's hangout event, friends to lovers, slow-but-not-that-slow burn romance, injured traveller/reader/Lumine (whichever you prefer), Thoma takes care of you/her/Lumine, a series made up of drabbles.
a/n: mentioned on my previous post(s), this is inspired by the hangout event with Thoma, crafted with more narrative and a fabricated plot as its base. this is not exactly a series but a compilation of drabbles? you'd see what i mean as more comes after this one.
i find his constellation name pretty fitting for what I'm about to write; it's the perfect representation of his whole character, a protector (I mean, duh that's why mihoyo gave him that name. And omg, I play in CN but I'm very aware that his Japanese VA also voices Ichigo from Bleach and his name meant "to protect".)
forgive me, this one may be a little long (1k+?) and may contain some errors but i hope you'll enjoy this anyway!
Please reblog :3
01 ▪︎ a moment in bloom
The mellow sweetness of Sakura Bloom in the breeze blowing over the Kamisato Estate swept across the room, tickling her nose and rousing her to stir under the duvet of the futon.
Her brows furrowed on her warm forehead as her hands fell away from her torso in her movement to lie on her side, dropping to the cool tatami floor with a dull thud.
Another sweep of rushing breeze blew over her through the gaping doors.
Her eyes opened, but snapped shut immediately with a sharp intake of breath. A weak groan accompanied her as she opened them once more, squinting against the bright scenery outside.
Her fingers dug into the tatami floor in her effort to push herself off the futon as she tried to understand everything.
From the futon she sat on to the simple, yet elegant room, the courtyard unhindered by the sliding doors stroked a vague spark of recognition in her as she stared out, relishing in the fresh, ocean breeze gushing into the room every now and then as her eyes roamed.
Among the trimmed grass and intricately manicured Bonsai trees, the beds of artistic sand were so clean and white sunlight seemed to be reflecting off them. And behind all these, a vast scene of the bright blue sky and puffy, white clouds beamed back at her in the warmth of the sun.
She'd been here before, her eyes widened as her realization fed her answers. Ayaka...and Thoma.
A frown pinched between her brows; confusion was written all over her face.
The last she remembered was her struggle trying to travel under a thunderstorm. In Monstadt or Liyue, people would look at her as if she had grown two heads when she was out and about in such weather. In Inazuma where thunderstorms could last from a day to two, it wasn't unheard of to hit the road even in such weather conditions.
...Though, she wasn't exactly in her best condition when she decided to venture in the rain, a sheepish thought reminded her.
The brush of another breeze against her cheeks drew her eyes to the garden outside where a rain of Sakura Bloom flower petals danced, glorifying the vibrant greenery it adorned even more.
The same scene that struck her amazed with its beauty the first day she stepped into the Kamisato Estate.
Fingers sank into the soft duvet and peeled it off her as she lifted herself up from the futon with effort, staggering to stand with wobbly knees. The floor felt cold to her feet which had been kept warm too long under the cover as she stepped or rather stumbled her way to the vendetta.
Her footsteps were heavy and shaky, breathing was audibly fast and her hair was plastered to her forehead by a thin coat of sweat.
How long had she been sleeping? a question crossed her mind as she stopped at the door to catch her breath, fingers clutching tightly on the wood to support herself. Clearly, her legs had yet to wake up; slumbering muscles protesting against every movement she made.
Determined to leave the room, a stubborn frown ridged beneath her fringe as she heaved herself away from the door, her legs plopping forward. Eyes focused down on her feet, the sound of footsteps from round the corner pulled her gaze up but was too late.
Colliding headfirst, a sharp gasp huffed from her lungs as she tumbled. The momentum in the unsteady gait she was moving in sent her knocking down whoever was in front along with her—
Brows furrowed and eyes closed to the pain bloomed across her forehead, she sat up, cradling her head with a hand in her attempt to soothe the dull ache.
A deep, masculine groan from beneath made her look down, letting go of her head. ...Only to find Thoma returning her gaze with a grimacing smile and a hand grasping onto his chin.
Surprise flitted across her face. "Thoma!"
"Is your skull...perhaps made of stone?" His body underneath her palms rumbled as he chuckled, eyes dancing in amusement. "I'm kind of worried. You think I should get a doctor to check my chin for fractures?" His smile turned mischievous as the man shifted to prop his elbows under him, chin resting atop his chest.
She narrowed her eyes pointedly at the smile he cracked at her.
"Haha, very funny." Her tone deepened with sarcasm, eyes rolling. "Your chin is pretty hard too, y'know? Maybe the doctor should check me for a concussion while you're at it."
"Sure," His laughing eyes flickered down, "I...oh—" and immediately averted with a flustered gaze, falling into silence.
She eyed him, puzzled by his sudden display of bashfulness. Gone was the amusement in his eyes. Gone was the teasing smile. Only a curious reddening of his cheeks and the nervous bob moving in his throat.
Confusion followed her as she dropped her gaze onto herself and right away, a gasp fled her—
Scandalous came screaming in her head as soon as she laid her eyes on the swells of her breasts peeking out of the white yukata she didn't even realize she was wearing; its obi had somehow loosen when she collided into Thoma.
And to make things worse, the split between the sleepwear revealing her thighs as she found herself sitting, no, straddling the man created a vulgar picture altogether.
As if she was burnt, she scrambled off him with a panicked squeal, tugging the yukata tightly around her figure as her knees scraped against the polished wooden floor in her haste to scoot away.
"—ohmygod, I'm sorry. ohmygod, I'm sorry. ohmygod, I'm sorry..." her mouth fumbled with flustered apologies as her eyes stared bewildered at the floor below, cheeks burning as her hands looped the obi around her waist shakily.
Sensing more than seeing his movement as he climbed back onto his feet, she heard him shifting beside or behind her; she wasn't sure and she was too embarrassed to care!
Her lips parted with a silent heavy sigh as she leaned her weight back onto her ankles, sinking further onto the floor and hands dropping away from the newly tied knob at her waist. ...if only the floor could swallow her up right now.
The touch of a hand on her forehead tugged her eyes up and she was met by a frowning Thoma kneeling before her. She blinked at the look of focus on his face.
As though she did not just accidentally flashed herself at him, the serious glint reflecting in his green eyes silenced the flustered voice in her head — she felt herself calm down almost immediately.
"You're still feverish..." She heard him murmur under his breath.
Catching onto his words sparked an onslaught of questions which previously occupied her thoughts. "—how did I end up here?" a confused frown marred her forehead. "Wasn't I in the forest?...the Chinju Forest?"
Thoma drew his hand away, eyes flitting down while her bemused ones raised to look at him, not aware of the way his jaw clenched and his lips held in a stern line...only until she met his face, did she find herself being glared at.
Her next breath was caught in her throat as she jolted with a startle to see the usually smiling Thoma looking...upset with her?
"Exactly," Thoma reprimanded, his voice dipping low. "I'd like to know why I found you lying unconscious in that forest, with a burning forehead in that thunderstorm." There was a momentary pause as concern grew evident in his green eyes. "also, that wound on your back..."
Her eyes sprang wide in her surprise; she knew exactly which wound he was talking about.
It was the very one she received from the Raiden Shogun in her attempt to save Thoma from the Vision Hunt Decree.
Whenever it ached in her movements, it was a reminder of how she had simply brushed it off as a mere scratch when he asked and gave it a quick, prompt treatment of her own before heading back into the wilderness once again for urgent errands.
—perhaps that was not the wisest thing to do then.
Sheepishness made its way on her face as her eyes snapped over shoulder for a quick glance.
"Oh, that." she shook her head at him, smiling the most reassuring smile she could. "Not to worry, it hurts now and then but it's just a small cut and mostly healed—"
"A small cut? Mostly healed?" There was exasperation on his face as he interjected. "It's infected." The tight knot of frustration and worry in his chest intensified, showing on his face and in the stiff way he kneeled before her.
...remembering the gripping fear the very moment he found her cold and unresponsive on the forest ground. the panic that brought him down to his knees beside her fallen figure. the desperation rendering him unable to think clearly for the few shortlived but tormenting minutes, thinking that the worst had happened to her.
— emotions he never realized he was capable of harboring for someone he only met weeks ago.
Falling into silence, a twinge of guilt turned her stomach at the sight of the agonized look on Thoma's face, her eyes flitting down in time to catch his hands curl into trembling fists on his thighs.
Somewhat stunned to see this side of the usually relaxed, happy man, her guilt grew stronger.
"I'm sorry, Thoma..." Remorse followed her gaze as she raised her eyes to meet his quiet, brooding ones.
Thoma raised a hand to rake through his messy hair. "No, no...don't apologize." His face fell with a heavy sigh, eyes closing for a second. "It's my fault you have that wound on your back in the first place."
The tension on his face had relaxed when his eyes opened again to meet hers."You're going around taking care of everyone and everything, but what about yourself?"
As if they were reminded to make known of their presence upon hearing Thoma's point, the weight of her bone-deep fatigue suddenly felt almost tangible in her every limb.
—Thoma watched an inevitable, weary sigh escape her silently, immediately feeling a twinge in his chest; an tugging ache that made him want to do something... anything to lift off what seemed like the weight of the world on her shoulders, even if it meant just a little.
The Kamisato siblings were about to leave the estate for some governmental affairs in the main city yesterday when he brought her in. Worried about her friend, Ayaka was reluctant to leave but duties called.
She left no instructions in her haste to leave for the city, but it was clear what he needed to do as the one who helped run things for the Kamisato Clan — to assign her to the care of Furuta the Housekeeper. In fact, handing her over to the older woman was the most logical thing to do, given how much things he still had to oversee.
Thoma cracked a wry smile at her, "From abolishing the Vision Hunt Decree to the little errands you do everyday, it's no wonder you're in this state now." A decisive glint entered his eyes."But not to worry, you're in good hands; I'll take very good care of you."
—a sound caught between a growl and a grumble drew his eyes to her stomach, just as he finished his sentence.
Quirking an amused smile at her, he added, chuckling.
—published on 23.10.2021
| NEXT (coming soon)
summary: as stressed college juniors, your friends decide to have a beach day. the giant crush you have on reiner is strong as ever, and it only worsens when you see him have some fun. maybe it’s the heat, or the way he looks at you, because confessing doesn’t seem so scary anymore.
pairing: reiner x reader
warnings: suggestive themes at one point, mostly fluff and crack (with a side of connie texting shenanigans LMAOO)
note: i just wanted our faves to have a super cool beach day with each other and let loose. i hope you all enjoy! maybe ill write a part 2 one day 😳
↳ to be added to my taglist, please fill out this ♡form♡
The sky is a vivid blue when you pull into the Trost beach parking lot, clear and full of white puffy clouds. It's scorching hot today, signaling the end of spring and the beginning of summer - but anything is better than studying for finals, so it was decided it'd be a beach day anyway.
Slamming the car door shut and leaning against the hood, you glance at your phone's lock screen to check the time. Everyone is supposed to be here already.
Well, not everyone. Historia and Ymir declined because they had "plans," apparently. The rest of the group had begged them to come, besides Eren and Annie, who just told them to go be lesbians in peace. It's a fun friend group, for sure.
Which is exactly why you don't mind waiting.
Or that's what you thought.
When almost half an hour passes without a single car to be seen, you finally decide to shoot Connie a text. It doesn't get across just how bitter you are.
That's interesting. The traffic certainly wasn't that bad, but whatever. Jean still gets a pass; he's carpooling Sasha and Connie, the two most annoying people on planet Earth. You're about to type out a snarky text - something about him looking like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser guy - when Connie sends another response.
Oh, for fucks sake. Maybe you never should of told Connie and Sasha about your crush a few months ago, because they certainly love teasing the shit out of you. Just as you get ready to spam the chat with an onslaught of curses, there's the sound of a car pulling into the parking space next to you.
It's Jean's truck.
“Hey!” Connie’s in the passenger seat, waving from the rolled down window. Sasha scrambles from the back to do the same, smushing him against the car door like a bug.
"We stopped to get snacks for everyone!" Sasha adds, screaming louder than necessary. “I got us king-sized Rice Krispies treats!”
Jean twists his keys out of the ignition and tosses them toward the two hooligans; they hit the back of Connie's buzzcut head. Serves him right. "We’re five feet away, you idiots! Stop yelling!"
You roll your eyes, but a grin tweaks the corners of your lips as they all exit the truck. Sasha bounces out in a bikini, her brown hair swept up into a ponytail, the strap of a huge freezer box slung over her shoulder. Both Connie and Jean are in swimming trunks, towels in their hands.
Reiner emerges from the back seat, and damn, you scan the man up and down at an extraordinary pace. His eyes reflect hazel in the sun, jaw stubbled, and expression soft. Unlike the others, he's still wearing a shirt, but the thin white material shows off those pecs and muscular biceps flawlessly. The wind ruffles his golden hair, and then he sees you - he cracks a small smile, and ... and...
Sasha flings an arm around your chest, nuzzling into the crook of your neck. There's a half-eaten piece of beef jerky in her hand, and it nearly slaps you upside the head. "I haven't seen you in forever!"
"Sash, I saw you in Calculus yesterday."
"Still too long!"
Jean pinches her elbow, effectively freeing you from her grasp. "Would you get it together already? They're here."
You twist your head to see Eren, Armin, Mikasa, Annie, and Bertholdt pouring out from a vehicle. They must've been following pretty close to Jean.
"Gah dayum," Connie says, sighing dramatically as if he was the one waiting twenty minutes. He lugs a case of water bottles out of the truck, only to drop it on the pavement. "Finally!"
Armin gives a small wave as he approaches, genuine and sincere as always. "Sorry," he says, an apologetic smile on his face. "There was a car accident on the highway, so we hit some traffic."
God bless whoever was on the receiving end of Eren's road rage.
There's no time to even say anything, because Connie and Sasha are already sprinting up a sand dune toward the sound of the ocean. Jean launches a flipflop at their backs, shouting something about how they need to help carry the bags. He's certainly had enough.
Guess that's everyone's cue.
The warmth of the sun as you sit on the shoreline is pure bliss. Heaven, actually.
You watch as Eren ties his hair into a man-bun from where he's lounging on a beach towel, fingernails painted black and skin bronzed from the sun. Mikasa and Annie sit beside him, indulged in soft conversation while Armin hunts for seashells.
Sasha, Jean, and Connie - hell, they're up to their chests in the ocean. You bite back a laugh when Connie's wakeboard kicks up a bunch of water, splashing Jean in the face. It makes him splutter, and Sasha just cackles hysterically at the whole thing.
The light-hearted screaming and joyous laughter that dances in the air - along with the feeling of cool seawater lapping at your ankles - is nice. You’ve missed this.
You whip your head around toward the voice, only to be greeted with Reiner. Sunlight is amber on his skin, drawing beautiful shadows across the sharp features of his face. The image of him always sucks you right in.
"Hey," you say. The way you keep your composure is a miracle. "Sorry you got stuck with Sasha and Connie earlier. I could've drove you."
“’S fine,” Reiner says, settling down in the wet sand. His large frame always makes you look so tiny when he sits next to you like this. “Jean kept them under control most of the time. He couldn't stop Sasha from eating all the Slim Jims, though."
You hum in assent. That girl loves her meat. "Where's Bert?"
"Over there," Reiner says, pointing over his broad shoulder. Bertholdt has found a place among the others on the beach, straight up giving Annie goo goo eyes. She doesn't seem to notice or care, sunglasses perched upon her Grecian nose.
"He's still got it bad, huh?" you mutter, turning back to look Reiner in the face. The tide comes surging up the coast, sending pieces of crushed shells and pebbles against your toes.
"Yeah. I told him to tell her how he feels, but he's too nervous."
"How about you? Still like Historia?"
You ask the question in a friendly, teasing sort of way to hide the fact that you're actually asking for ... well, personal reasons. You do wanna know, and you've been close friends with Reiner since freshman year of college, so why not?
Reiner's eyes widen a bit as you say it, and it's actual kind of funny. He sits up a little straighter, and you see a tense flex of his jaw through the prickle of unshaved stubble. His lips hesitantly part to answer and —
“Hey, you guys!” someone suddenly whoops. Of course.
You glance over to see Sasha running through the water toward the both of you. She trips over a clump of seaweed, but tries to play it off by pretending she was waving. Very smooth. “Y’all gonna swim or what?”
Both you and Reiner must consider it, because you fall into a similar brief silence. Swimming does sound nice, although sitting here with your best friend - who also just so happens to be the love of your life - is very enjoyable too.
Sasha's brown eyes flicker with impatience. "You don't have to come in all the way," she mopes, crossing her arms. "Just a little bit. Seeing you guys sit so close to the water without getting in is giving me anxiety. We're supposed to be having fun!"
You roll your eyes at that. As if Sasha knows a single thing about anxiety. It's an excuse.
Still... why the hell not?
"Fine," you huff, standing up. Sasha beams at your answer, and then she's sprinting back toward Connie and Jean, who are now wrestling in the water. You dust the sand off your butt and motion toward the ocean with a hand. "Come on. I'm not going in alone."
Reiner blinks at you for a moment before he pulls himself upright, grabbing the hem of his shirt. He peels it off with a powerful roll of his shoulders, and you catch the alluring ripple of his abs.
Honestly, you've only seen Reiner shirtless twice over the past three years: once at Zeke's pool party, and another time when Porco pushed him into the campus' decorative fountain. You were the one who walked with him back to his dorm for clean clothes, and wow, the view was great for sure.
When Reiner tosses his shirt onto the sand and swivels back around, you pretend you weren't staring. Thank god for reflexes.
You lead Reiner into the sea, and he's so fucking tall that he matches your stride with ease. His sturdy weight causes salt spray to kick up around both knees and onto your side, which he apologizes for.
You're waist deep in the water when you finally come to a stop, Reiner slightly ahead of you. His wet shorts cling to his toned thighs, leaving very little to the imagination - not that you're complaining.
"How have classes been going?" Reiner asks.
Ugh. School. The thought of it makes you want to bang your head on a wall.
"Don't even get me started. Professor Levi has been on my ass since I failed that one test," you mumble, staring up at the sky as a seagull passes overhead. "I miss when we had Chem and Bio together. Now everything's boring and I'm just stressed."
When you peer over at Reiner again, he's frowning. Perhaps he feels the same way. "At least we're almost done. One more year," the man reassures, although he doesn't sound too keen about it himself. Gotta love that fake college student optimism.
"One more year of hell," you say dryly.
Standing with him like this is hard. You really wanna hold him, hug him, kiss him. But you just can't; your friendship is too precious, too important. So you do something else.
"Aren't you majoring in—"
You splash Reiner, cutting him off with a good amount of water to his face, a giant wicked grin on your mouth.
At first, Reiner's expression is a mixture of surprise and confusion. His cheeks and ashen-blonde hair drip with saltwater, and once he realizes it was you that did it instead of a pesky wave ... a smile blossoms on his face.
Butterflies tickle the pit of your stomach, and it’s a feeling that you've come to know very well. There’s a warmth in Reiner's honeyed-eyes as he looks down at you, studying the wicked satisfaction written on your features.
"Playing dirty, huh?" Reiner says, swiping his forehead dry with an arm. There’s a weight off his shoulders as he talks now; it's clear as day.
"It was an accident," you lie, despite the twinkle in your eye telling otherwise. The face you're making must be funny, because Reiner hides a breathy chuckle.
"It was a cheap shot," he corrects. "Gabi does the same thing."
“Did you just compare me to a child?”
“I guess I did.”
You have absolutely no idea whether the riptide or your feet is drawing you to Reiner. All you know is that you've gotten close enough where you could rest a palm on his stomach without taking another step. Personal space is definitely not a thing right now.
It's shameless, the way you let your gaze flit from Reiner's lips to his stare, emblazoned by whatever intense emotion he must be feeling right now. There's this strong urge to grab him by the wrist and intertwine your fingers, to dip them below the rise and fall of the tides.
This is dangerous ass territory, you think. Abort, abort. Remember your friendship.
A large current almost knocks you two into each other, and it takes all the strength in your body to not let the waves of longing drown your heart. “Reiner—”
The way Reiner says it so gently, so lowly - with that deep rumbling voice of his - almost has you confessing immediately.
And you probably would have, if you didn't notice something out of your peripheral. Or rather, someone.
From the deep end, Sasha watches. She's submerged up to her chin in the water, a mischievous smirk on her lips as she wiggles her eyebrows at you suggestively.
The woman has instincts unbeknownst to mankind itself. Of course she'd notice.
Just as you're about give Sasha a lethal I'm-gonna-kill-you-if-you-don't-stop stare, the blur of Jean's flying body lands right between you and Reiner, knocking you off your feet and plunging you underwater.
Everything happens so fast that you can't even process it completely.
When you resurface, squinting your eyes open and coughing, the first thing you see Reiner swiping a large hand down his face, brows furrowed. His bangs are wet and plastered to his forehead.
Needless to say, neither of you were expecting a sopping wet Jean to fall from the heavens. Definitely not.
"What the hell?" you wheeze, clambering to your feet. The burn of saltwater in your nose has you sniffling.
"Look at him!" Sasha cackles, pointing at Jean as he rises from the aggressive current. He's hacking so hard he might just bring up a lung.
Connie wades over proudly, both hands on his hips in victory. He’s grinning from ear-to-ear. "I won!"
"Motherfucker - you cheated!" Jean instantly growls, spitting into the water between every cough. "You threw sand in my mouth!"
"Was it bussin?"
Honestly, you've never seen Jean move so fast. He pounces on Connie like a fucking tiger, dunking his head underwater using the weight of his body. When Connie pops back up, he's spluttering and clutching at his face. "My eyes!"
Sasha is dying from laughter at this point, clutching at her sides and screaming about how Connie sounded like that one fish from Spongebob.
It could be the idiocy of the whole thing, or Sasha's ugly howling, because Reiner literally throws his head back and laughs, his shoulders shaking with the severity of it.
It's rare for him these days: usually he'll just chuckle, soft and airy and perfect.
This is completely different from that, though. And you know what? Whatever this is, it's goddamn infectious, because you feel a smile working its way onto your mouth. You engrave the sound in your mind, grappling protectively around it's melodic notes and timbre.
Even though it doesn't last long, you're glad. Being here to experience it means everything.
Reiner smiles to himself for a fleeting moment, iridescent beads of saltwater clinging to his lashes, and then he raises his head to look at you. Seeing those eyes sparkle – sage-green and charming in the dazzling sunlight – it's a different kind of paradise.
“Stop looking at me like that,” you scold, but the words have no bite as they jam their way through an enthusiastic grin. You can't help it.
As the others continue to get swept away by the riptide, still wrestling and giggling like fools, Reiner drifts toward you once more. If you wanted to, you could reach out and hook your pinkies together.
That's when you come to a conclusion. It's gonna be tonight.
When the beach grows dark and stars flower along the black sky, you're going to confess to Reiner.
Now or never, right?
The Lord in Blue | Chapter 14
Author’s note: And we made it to the end of this story! Thank you very much to everyone who has reblogged it, liked it, commented, and of course, read it. The whole thing or just a chapter. This is the first thing I’ve ever written and shared anywhere, and the support means a lot 💜
There is a spin-off of this story, this time with Declan, hopefully coming out in April. It just needs some work here and there. I‘ll be posting it here and on wattpad at the same time, so if anyone wants to follow me there to know when it’s live, here is my profile. In the meantime I’m posting this story there too.
Again, thank you very much for reading, and I hope you enjoy this last chapter! 😊
"Remember to give our cousin the sweets I bought for her" my little sister says.
"I will, don't worry". We are outside the house, saying our goodbyes before Mason and I go back to the palace. My mother is talking with him, laughing at something he's said. I still am in awe of how he managed to charm her. Her, the whole family, and as I expected, everyone else in town that we met yesterday when we went to church. Even the priest, who hates me because I've barely put a foot on it all these years, gave us his blessing.
"Daughter" my mother says. I walk towards her, Mason leaving her side and going to say goodbye to my sisters.
"He's one of the good ones, Lord Mount. He has a title and money, important things when thinking about a marriage. He also is a good man, and for some reason, he is completely infatuated with you". I roll my eyes at her last sentence. "But he also is going to be luckiest man in the kingdom, because he's going to have you by his side." I open my mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. Did my mother just flatter me? "I know I've not been kind to you all these years. But I love you and just want what is the best for you. I want you to be happy and loved, and I know you'll get that with him"
"Thank you, mother" I mumble. That's all I manage to say before going back to where everyone is standing.
"You haven't said much since we left" Mason says. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, don't worry. I was just thinking about everything that happened these last few days. It doesn't feel real". He moves to sit next to me on the carriage.
"It all was very real. As real as this" he says as he kisses me on the lips. "And as this". He says before kissing my neck.
"Mason... Not here" I say, my face already burning.
"I've got used to kissing you every day. To touch you. And for the past few days I haven't been able to. I can't help myself, I miss you" he says as one of his hands lifts my dress and starts going up my leg.
"You are incorrigible, my Lord" I say, trying to scold him.
"Indeed I am, my lady" he says to my neck. I can feel him smile, and I let out a little laugh. His hand has made it to my inner thigh, his fingers slowly going up and down. "Aren't you going to say that the rider may hear us if I don't stop?" he asks, teasing me.
"Not this time"
The day of the Queen's wedding is finally here. It's a cold winter morning, but the sun is shinning and there are no clouds in the sky. The other maids of honor and I have spent the night in her room to get ready all together, and right now, it is a complete chaos. Servants are doing everyone's hair, dresses are being taken care off, shoes are being polished. All while my cousin just sings from the top of her lungs. I think I've never seen her this happy.
Two hours later, we are finally ready. We are walking towards the big greenhouse behind the palace, where the ceremony will be taking place. All kind of purple flowers, the Queen's favorite color, have been set on the inside and on the path that leads to it. All of our gowns are white, hers a different shade, with low puffy sleeves that show our shoulders. She's wearing her hair up in a crown braid, a small tiara on top of it. No earrings, no necklace. Just a bracelet with diamonds that belonged to her mother. The rest of us also wear our hair up in braids, each one a different style.
When we walk into the greenhouse, it feels like we are stepping into a magical place. The flowers, the sun coming through the glass giving it a special light, the music... At the end of the path, Lord White is waiting. He's wearing a red suit, his family's color. His eyes are fixed on my cousin, his smile getting bigger and bigger as she approaches. Once they've met and we've helped her with her dress, I go stand with the other guests. My mother to one side, Mason on the other. I've felt his eyes on me since the moment we walked in. "You look gorgeous" he says to my ear.
"So do you, my lord". Again, he's wearing all blue.
"You could have warned me about the style of the dress you were going to wear" he keeps saying to my ear. "You know how much I love your neck and shoulders. Not being able to touch them is excruciating"
"I know, my lord. That's why I chose it" I say, giving him a cheeky smile that catches him off guard. I can also be a teaser.
The ceremony went by in the blink of an eye. After it was over, we moved inside the palace, where servants were waiting with drinks to celebrate in honor of the newlyweds. Then it was time for the banquet. Huge tables had been set, filled with the most exquisite meals you could imagine. The cake that came after, was the biggest one I've ever seen.
The sun was setting by the time we had finished eating. Now it was time to celebrate, to dance, to have fun, and we were moving back to the greenhouse. Most flowers were gone, replaced by candles and chandeliers. Some musicians were in a corner ready to play. More tables with drinks and food had been set, and also big cushions where people could sit or lay down.
Once everyone was inside, music started playing, and the Queen and her husband had their first dance. They couldn't keep their eyes from each other, smiling, sharing a small kiss from time to time. After a bit of time alone, more guests joined them. "Shall we join them too, my lady?" Mason asks, offering me his hand.
"It'll be my pleasure, my lord". We dance for hours, switching partners a couple of times. I dance with Lord White and Lord Rice, who to my surprise, happens to be a great dancer.
It was well into the night. Most people were too drunk, lying on the cushions, or had already retired to bed, my family among them. Knowing that, I let myself go a bit. Mason and I are dancing, slowly swinging from side to side. I have my arms around his neck, and he's holding me by my waist, keeping me close to him. "Have I told you yet how beautiful you look today?" he says.
"A few times, my lord" I giggle.
"It doesn't feel like I've said it enough"
"You yourself also look very handsome today" I say. He just smiles, resting his forehead on mine. We stay like that for a while, and then he speaks again.
"There is something I haven't said yet". He has pulled me even closer, lifting his head, making me look him in the eyes. "I love you"
"I love you too" I say back, barely processing what is happening what I just said, what it means. He just smiles, giving me that smile that I love so much. The one I haven't been able to take out of my head since the day we met, since our paths crossed thanks to a fallen tree. The one that makes a dimple show up on his left cheek. That damned dimple.
A Gift Unto the King
cw: blood, death
The prince looked down at his lover’s flustered face, his cheeks blushing red as he took a sharp inhale, held for a moment, and then slowly exhaled. Through heavy, panting, breaths, the royal admired the beauty of his lover; from his disheveled, sandy blonde hair, to the scars marking his body from past battles, each a testament to his resilience. His body glistened in the warm candle light that softly glazed the room. For a creature so torn apart by sword and spear, he looked nothing short of angelic.
Gently pulling away, the prince rocked to the side, and flopped down onto the bed next to him. A strong arm pulled him close as he rested his head against the man’s inner shoulder. He ran his fingers gently across his muscular lover’s bare chest, his long fingernails lightly tracing the contours of his pecs. He could feel the knight’s heart pounding vigorously, his chest rising and falling at a decent pace as he attempted to catch his breath. The two laid in silence for a while, embracing each other as they watched the candle light flicker and dance against the walls. Freshly laundered sheets caressed their bare figures in a comfortable warmth as they breathed in the faint aroma of sweet lavender and cedar wood. Each calming breath encapsulated them further in peaceful euphoria. Prince Vin felt Lucas’s breaths deepen, accompanied by a soft, nearly inaudible, snore. He glanced up at his lover’s sleeping face once more before drifting off to sleep himself.
Vin was awakened by the warm glow of morning sun streaming into the room from between the cracks in the drapes. Tiny specs of dust danced like glitter in the golden rays. Turning over, he expected to be met with the warmth of Lucas’s body, but instead, the bed was cold and empty. Propping himself up on one arm, he ran his hands across the sheets where his lover had been just a few hours before. Sighing, he grabbed Lucas’s pillow and held it close, inhaling the scent. He couldn’t say he was surprised to find himself alone, but just once, he’d like to wake up next to the person he’d fallen asleep with.
After a few moments, he tossed the pillow aside and got out of bed. He adorned a silk robe, and lifted the plum colored drapes slightly to peer out into the courtyard. Fresh morning mist coated the grassy hills in a thin blanket, delicately swirling in the breeze, while puffy clouds reflected fiery gold and orange into a pastel blue sky. In the center of the courtyard sat a small, crackling, fire, being tended by a middle aged woman filling a cauldron with vegetables and potatoes. She hung the pot on the iron hook above the flames, stirred the soup with a ladle briefly, and then disappeared into the servant’s entrance. A man clothed in worn, dirt covered trousers and a tan blouse tugged a cart of hay towards the stables, where horses waited, neighing with excitement. The blacksmith and his apprentice could be faintly heard hammering steel by the forge. Amongst the few people milling around the courtyard, Lucas wasn’t one of them.
Tugging on a pair of trousers and a shirt, the dark haired prince left his chambers and headed towards the dining hall. On his way, he glanced out the window facing the back fields. There, he spotted Lucas, sword in hand, vigorously slashing at a wooden pell. Vin stared down at the knight as he twisted and spun, sword hitting its mark with every swing. The deep, unlaced “v” of his loose, white, blouse exposed a thin wash of sandy blonde chest hair. His skin glistened with sweat, despite the chilled morning air. Vin felt himself getting lost in admiration for his lover, every move captivating him more. Finally, Lucas swung around forcefully, and his sword slashed through the wood, severing the top of the pell. Muscles tensed, Lucas stood still for a moment, sword hanging in his hands, panting heavily. Then, straightening himself out, he ran his hand through his hair to push it out of his face, exposing a scar running over his jaw and up midway to his left cheek. Suddenly, something captured Lucas’s attention, and he directed himself towards the castle, sprinting inside. Vin’s brows furrowed in confusion for a second before he heard what he could only assume was what Lucas had heard. Yelling and screaming was beginning to seep into the castle walls. Instinctively, the prince darted down the hall towards the stairs to the great hall. Rounding the corner and looking over the banister, his eyes were met with horror. His lover and the royal healer were hunched over the king, who was laid on the stone floor in a pool of his own blood. The queen stood rigid, trembling in shock, her slender fingers covering her mouth. Vin found himself frozen, merely staring at the sight unfolding before him, hands clenching the banister tightly. He could see the healer shouting orders, maids screaming to each other as they fulfilled his requests, but he couldn’t hear the words. Instead, it was replaced by a muffled, throbbing, cacophony. Lucas was covered in the king’s blood from applying pressure to the stab wound in his abdomen. The healer’s younger sister, Angelique, rushed to his side, holding a wooden bowl of herbs and tinctures. Alistair snatched the bowl from his sister, quickly uncorking the glass bottle of Shepherd’s Purse tincture, and dumping the contents onto the gushing wound. The king let out a guttural groan through his clenched jaw as the alcohol sent a stinging pain through his body. Alistair then took a handful of fresh yarrow leaves, rolled them quickly in his hands, and then applied them to the wound, repeating until the green leaves masked the cut fully.
Snapping out of his daze, Vin hurried down the stairs, nearly losing his footing once in his haste. Shoving one of the maids aside, he slid across the stone tile and kneeled down beside his father. The scent of blood was overwhelming. A smell he had rather enjoyed on the basis of his vampiric instincts was now nearly nauseating. It took every fiber of his being to hold back the urge to vomit. He had noticed that his father’s body had gone limp as he’d fallen into unconsciousness. The bleeding appeared to have lessened, but the prince wasn’t certain that it wasn’t just wishful thinking.
“Angelique!” Alistair spoke forcefully as he dumped the contents of the bowl onto the floor, sifted out a quartz crystal, some sprigs of thyme and lavender, and placed them back into the empty bowl. Angelique quickly shuffled to the other side of the king, across from her brother, forcing Vin aside. As Alistair emptied a bottle of sage tincture into the bowl, Angelique lifted her fingers up to her lips, and blew on them as she vigorously snapped her fingers until a small flame appeared. She then touched the flame to the liquid in the bowl, igniting the contents. Both healers firmly grasped the bowl, holding it above the wound, as they began reciting a healing spell. With each repetition of the spell, the fire further morphed from a brilliant orange into a frigid blue. Vin found himself unable to remove his gaze from the dancing flames.
The room had fallen silent with the exception of the healers’ chanting. Earthy sage and sweet lavender intertwined into a pleasant, albeit overpowering, aroma, that spread quickly throughout the room. Lucas grabbed Vin’s wrist tightly, but Vin didn’t notice. His mind was blank, focused only on the blue fire that had now grown so pale, it was nearly white. Time passed in a way that felt both too fast, and too slow. All bearing on reality had slipped away.
Lucas had seen this many times in his life—he was no stranger to battle. Many men and women had fallen to wounds less severe than the one which now plagued the king. Survival is as much a battle as the battle itself, and as he heard the vocal tone of the healers’ change—both becoming more frantic and shaken—he knew this was a battle the king was losing. Despite his worry for the king, his eyes fell to the young man beside him, who’s flawless, tan complexion was highlighted by the flickering, pale blue flame. The prince’s crimson red eyes stared blankly at the burning bowl, not even breaking to blink. His brows weren’t furrowed, his eyes held no tears, and his jaw wasn’t clenched. He simply wasn’t there, and that frightened Lucas the most.
With a few angry crackles and snaps, the flame exploded upwards, separating from the bowl, and swirling above them, causing the small crowd to cower. The spiraling inferno blazed intensely, before collapsing in on itself, unleashing a shower of golden sparks as the flames vanished. The wooden bowl now sat empty and charred in the healers’ hands, which were now red and aching from the heat.
The conclusion of the spell snapped Vin back into reality, and for the first time, he felt Lucas’s hand wrapped firmly around his wrist. He could feel the minute trembling of Lucas’s hand vibrating his arm. Vin wanted to grab his lover’s hand, to feel its comfort, but instead he found himself fixating on the smears of blood that had been left behind by the knight’s gesture. Just inches away from him lie his father’s lifeless body, all efforts to save his life had failed. The prince studied his father’s face, as if to commit his features to memory one last time. Silver streaks peppered his black hair, which was now matted to his face with sweat and blood. Fine lines surrounded his eyes and forehead, with a deep crease sitting between his brows from years of furrowing. Glistening blood coated his thin lips and stained his thick, graying mustache and beard. His slender, pointed features resembled Vin’s strongly.
A few feet behind them, the queen collapsed to the floor in a fit of sobs. An older, silver haired woman wrapped her arms around the grieving queen and held her close, as inconsolable, tormented, screams echoed through the castle. Women held on to each other as the men stood rigid. No one said a word.
Finally, Vin pulled his gaze to his lover's face where he was met with golden brown eyes laden with concern. The knight’s eyes darted back and forth, trying to read the prince’s blank expression. They stared at each other silently for a moment, before Vin’s eyes, once again, fell to the king. He had been numbly processing the sequence of events for only a few minutes, but it felt like hours. Vin looked vacantly at the wound, which was now just a mess of blood-soaked yarrow leaves. He was stuck between feeling nothing, and feeling everything. A dull ache was manifesting in his chest, threatening to erupt through his throat.
“Vin…” A soft muffled voice spoke that Vin hadn’t comprehended at first.
“Vin.” Lucas cupped Vin’s hand in his, and leaned closer to him. Vin snapped his attention back to his worried lover. The warmth of Lucas’s grasp radiated throughout his body, reaching the pained ball of emotion welling in his chest with force just enough to crack the shell. Burning tears poured down Vin’s cheeks, rolling over his jaw, and dripping onto his shirt. His chin quivered slightly as his body began to tremble. Vin’s stomach was in knots, waves of nausea passing over him. The only sounds escaping his throat were small squeaks and grunts that he was desperately trying to contain.
Lucas pulled the distraught prince close, wrapping his muscular arms around him, holding him firmly. As Vin buried his face in his chest, grief-stricken sobs escaped, mildly muffled by the knight’s chest. Agonized sobs surrounded the king from every angle, and together, the castle mourned.
borderline | gojo x fem!reader
summary. one summer ends with a fall from glory but another begins with mending a long lost thread of childhood love.
word count. 3k+
tags. a little bit of angst, fluff, mentions of the solstice, modern au, gojo is a basketball player, rich au?? (reader is rich too...at one point) childhood friends to enemies?? to lovers. a curse word or two.
note. I wrote this for @jjkmag 's summer event! I haven't written in like... weeks but I hope you like it!!! reblogs are highly appreciated (◠‿◕) I'll put the taglist in the replies!
Gojo first proposes to you at the fearless age of eight. He's cooler than any eight-year old you'd ever seen; white hair akin to yarn straight from a spindle, paired with blue eyes that upheld every pull of mischief.
Even his words were cool, crafted and meticulous. Seven-year old you had drawn a silly image of him digesting a dictionary—puffy cheeks and all—before the age of one could grasp him in it's hold.
His small hands aren't shaky and his spine is rigid with an odd amount of righteousness. The sun is high, out of reach, but it still beats down on your back. The swing you're seated on slows down with small, huffed-out creaks. Almost as if it understands the sincerity of this very moment.
He wants to marry you. Your eyes widen and your mouth gapes because he actually wants to marry you.
"Will you be my wife?" Icy eyes look up towards your own. His face is usually formally set, etched with every degree of seriousness. But now, there's a smile pulling at the edge of his lips.
You blink, you're not supposed to be the nervous one, he is. But you can't stop from worrying your lip between your teeth nor pulling at the ends of your yellow-dotted sundress.
The only thing you can do is nod and slip the silver band on your middle finger. With a low chuckle, he flicks your forehead and slides the ring in it's correct place. His hands brushed past your own and you swear (heart crossed and hope to die) that little electric bits fizzled up and away to the clear sky.
The electric buzz follows you home. When you waltz back into your house, an erasable smile plastered on your face, your mother fastens a hand to her hip and asks, "why'd you accept his proposal?" Her voice is witty, a familiar mirth shining in her eyes that matched yours.
You think for a second, eyes focused on a glass of lemonade. "You wouldn't understand." You reason, galloping to snatch the sugary drink and swallow it down.
All the same, your gaze never leaves the ring on your finger. It's plain; mainly the color of silver with a flower that sprouted long vines melted into the band.
But it's the prettiest thing you've ever seen.
Though you're not sure if it's because of your clouded vision of adoration or it really is the prettiest thing you've ever seen.
Your mother turns away with a small sigh. Something about kids and love slips past her lips and paints the huge walls of your house with renaissance; an unveiled you and a teary-eyed Gojo. Something only you could see.
Adult brains are different from young ones, you decide. Of course she wouldn't understand.
She wouldn't understand why you were so madly in love with Gojo Satoru, the boy who lived next door.
Gojo divorces you a month later. He doesn't take the ring away and you're not sure if it hurts more or less. He gives a new ring to who everyone proclaims as the prettiest girl in grade three.
For the three weeks, two days and one hour (yes, you counted) that they're together, your best friend Rukia conveys every channel of gossip towards you. You're the first person to know of their marriage and the last person to know of their divorce.
"Honey! Satoru's here.” At first, you shoot straight up from your bed, mind racing with happiness. It'd been weeks since you've seen or talked to satoru. Albeit, when realization hits you square in the chest, you let out a scoff.
"Tell him to go back home!" But before you can finish your last exhale, he's barging in.
Your heart seizes in your throat when you cast your eyes on his heaving figure.
"Did you run all the way here?" With a faltering smile he nods as he collapses on your blue fluffy carpet.
"Satoru, you have asthma."
"It was worth it." He confesses, intense blues gleaming with truth. (Looking back, a harbor of suspicion arises whenever you’re reminded how smooth the eight-year old was)
Self betrayal ensues; the words you’ve been dying to say to him slinks away to take refuge in the crevices of your room.
"Did you bring your inhaler?" You toss your covers away and grab his arm, leading him downstairs where dinner is laid.
“What are you thinking about?” Rukia questions. Without looking up, you can already see her signature pout. “We’re supposed to be talking. We haven’t done that in forever.”
It’d been three days total but one thing you’ve learned over the years was that Rukia’s words —no matter how implausible— were forever set in stone.
“Yeah, I know.” Distractingly, you agree, putting a fifth layer of lacquer on her nails.
“He came in second place at the nationals.” At her unexpected words, you suck in a confused breath. A few strewn puzzle pieces labeled with question marks wander through your mind. Your face must’ve shown it because she’s saying a name.
“I mean... Gojo.”
You chew at your lip. Not entirely sure how to react. But concretely, he was a subject of the past.
And his well-being didn’t matter to you.
“Good...for him?” You blink as a subtle frown settles on your lips.
Sensing your sour mood, Rukia tries to diffuse it. “Are you excited about the festival tomorrow?”
It’s been years since you’ve actually gone.
The memories were laugh-worthy and filled your heart with nostalgia but going back didn’t seem as appealing.
“Come on, where’s that bright smile?” You can only give her a small one.
“It’s the Solstice festival. You were so obsessed with it as a child!” Rukia pressed on, forehead creased in frustration until it rests with realization.
“Is it because we always went with him?”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about.” You quickly dismiss.
Rukia reaches over and grabs you by the shoulders and plants her face in front of yours. Words of indignation for her now ruined nails die down in your throat.
“Why are you letting him steal your happiness? It’s been four years [......], he’s probably forgotten all about you, you know.”
You wince at her words. Not because they were far-fetched but because it really was the cold, hard truth.
It starts there, the parasitic thoughts of one whom you've decided to forget. There's a possibility that it started before, but timelines are always meshed when you can't come to terms with events.
You don't eat dinner that night, the house is empty and mocking when Rukia leaves. Meals never tasted good alone. Your mother's working; a diner some hours away from home. The hours are grueling and not really fit for a woman of her age.
And if you could, you would take her place but whenever you propose the idea of shouldering some amount of her burden, she's shooing you away with a flick of her wrist.
She treats you like a child. Though it's not like you aren't but you're a breath away from the opposite of it.
And it hurts (an unbearable ache pinpointed somewhere in your chest) when you see her sprawled on the couch, too exhausted to move an inch.
Pathetically, the only thing you can do is curse your father (who ran off with some women when his own debt became too much for his poor soul) and the creators of fate.
"Honey?" Your mother's gruff but familiar voice cuts cleanly through your thoughts.
"Mom?" Your eyebrows furrow. "You're home early."
She shuffles towards you, her work shoes still on her feet. "I was let out early today." She plops down on your bed and throws you a small smile. Your gut clenches when you see her sunken eyes. "You're going to the festival tomorrow?"
"Aw man." She sighs, and you can hear the impending layer of a story to come. "I remember when I used to take you three every year. You'd never eat any of the food but you always complained that you were hungry on the way home.”
You both chuckle, the light atmosphere making you dizzy with happiness.
“And Satoru would give you all his food..." She trails off, wistfulness woven in her tone. You purse your lips at the mention of him.
"You never did tell me what happened with you and Satoru." Your knuckles ache with how tight you’re clutching your covers.
"He uh...stopped talking to me when we um–" When you and your mother fell into debt, lost the big, bright house of your childhood and couldn’t afford living in Aoyama any longer.
"Oh." She breathes in, understanding already flooding through her expression. “Well things aren’t always meant to be, my dear.” She turns to you fully and places a palm over your cheek. Her warmth spreads through your veins and coats you in love. “You understand that, right?”
“I love youuu.” She drawls, parting her hands from your cheek to display her jazz hands. “Bedtime story, anyone?”
“Mooomm.” You whine. “I’m almost eighteen, I don’t need bedtime stories anymore.”
"If you say so." She smiles wide. Her contagious air surrounds you and even though nowadays, seeing her so happy is unfamiliar, you smile too.
"Goodnight [......], have a great day at the festival." She reaches over to place a peck on your forehead. She smells of french fries and pie.
"I will, I love you mom."
She stands with a sigh, arms high to stretch. "I love you more." She leaves with a smile, cutting off your lights. You turn your head and snuggle further into your covers.
Unconsciously, your hand reaches for the object you've always kept beneath your pillow.
Skin touches cold metal. With still thoughts, you trace the engraved flower on the silver band till sleep takes you hostage.
You're not having a great time, is the only thing that repeats in your mind, strawberry kakigori in hand.
Rukia is late, your feet ache and it's too hot.
In the midst of your frustrations, your eyes catch a stand; 'balloon and dart' and you almost laugh at the nostalgia of it all.
"Brings back memories, right?"
"Yeah, it do–" Your words fall short, the voice strangely familiar.
"Satoru?" You question, voice high in disbelief. A few passerbys turn to give you an inquisitive stare.
You look up again, just for second measure. He looks almost exactly like he did when he was fourteen, just a few (way more than a few) inches taller.
He towers over you and even though he's got a simple shirt and jeans, you can see that he's no longer the scrawny boy he used to be. Corded muscle replaced just-there skin; basketball truly did him a favor.
A pair of dark sunglasses covered his eyes but you could still catch a faint hue of blue beneath them. They were too bright to miss.
"Satoru?" You repeat, an unfamiliar feeling washing over you.
He nods, a smile stretching over his face. "What? Can't believe it's me?" He's more bold now it seems. He's always been outspoken but now he has a different air. You want to know why but you stop yourself from staring at him for too long.
You both weren't friends anymore. Strangers. You both were strangers.
As if hearing your thoughts, he cocks his head to the side."You're so timid now. Way different from back then." You stop yourself from scoffing. He's way different from back then.
You can't tell if it's the heat or new-found anger but something wells up in your chest and it's nearly suffocating.
"It was nice seeing you Gojo but I have to go. Rukia's waiting for me." You point at a random location, the lie feels bitter on your tongue.
"Gojo...what happened to Satoru?" It's later than normal but you notice how deep and grounded his voice has gotten. In the past, his words always had a crack or two.
With an internal shake of your head, you dismiss your thoughts. He's not even alarmed by the mention of Rukia, his former arch enemy.
"Um…." You try to grasp at any plausible answers.
"[......]." He places a hand on your shoulder. You have the urge to shake it off. "I know we haven't talked in a long time but did I do something?" You blink, once, twice.
"Something to upset you?" The only thing you can do is stare. You hated confrontation, hated any situation that could lead to conflict but moments like these were unavoidable.
"Are you serious?" You shuffle closer to him but before you can jab your finger in his chest and let out years upon years of words you've been yearning to convey, a strike of thunder flits through the sky.
Then rain begins to pour.
"Oh." You tilt your head down in shame. "So you didn't stop talking to me because I..."
Satoru shakes his head with vigor. "No, of course not. I will admit that I lost your contact information but I would never stop talking to you just because you had money problems."
It's silent for a while. The sound of rain is low and distant in the empty food truck you both are in. The smell of yakitori is apparent.
"That's good." You nod, a shaky smile on your lips. You let out a shaky exhale and try to ignore the track of tears on your cheeks. "Sorry...for assuming."
Satoru turns to you, alarmed. "Woah. I didn't mean to make you cry." His glasses are long gone and you can see the concern in his artic eyes. "W-why are you crying?" His nose scrunches up in frustration. Something he does when he's not too sure how to solve a problem.
"I'm just happy." This time, your smile is wide. "Just happy." He places a palm on your cheek to wipe your tears away. His hand is big and warm; your heart lulls dangerously.
"[......]?" His gaze is still on you. In some way, it makes you nervous. "Remember what I asked you when we were kids?"
"You asked me a lot of things when we were kids…. I think the weirdest one was when you asked to compare nippl–"
"Okay." He deadpans. You can only let out a laugh. When he hears it, his eyes soften and he's back to asking.
"With the ring?" The puzzle pieces conjoin.
"When you asked to marry me?" Your eyes widen.
"We just reunited, we're not getting married."
A furious blush spreads across his cheeks. "You've always been a sarcastic little shit, huh?"
"I was going to ask —very smoothly may I add, if you wanted to start at the first stage?"
"First stage as in…."
He pinches at your cheeks and groans. "Be my girlfriend."
"I mean—take me on a date first…." He rolls his eyes. "But yeah, I'd like to be your girlfriend."
Satoru doesn't say anything for a second or so and you're convinced that you've said something wrong.
"Since you're like– my future girlfriend, can I kiss you?" This time it's your turn to be flustered. Sensing your state, he raises a pale eyebrow. Your ears feel like they've been lit aflame.
Not trusting yourself to be coherent, you shrug.
With that, he's cupping your jaw and pulling in. Your eyes flutter shut, skin buzzing with excitement. In due time, his nose brushes past your own.
He smells like rain and pine, a contrast of younger him always smelling like candy. Now, his lips are a hairsbreadth away from touching yours. A part of you wished to have put on a layer of chapstick earlier or maybe a stick of gum or—
"Out!" A voice rings, accompanied by a thud. Both of your heads whip to the side. A man, who you guessed to be the owner of the food truck stands in front of the open window.
"Out of my truck. Go smooch in front of the fireworks or something."
Gojo grabs your hand, an apology leaving his lips, lips you were supposed to kiss. "Sorry sir. Bye sir." The man's glare follows you two as you leap from the truck door. Thankfully, there's no more rain.
You snicker lowly at Gojo's speed. "What's funny? That was not funny."
"It was kind of funny." Your eyes trail down and lock on to your hands that were in his own. Your heart beats at a crazy pace and your veins are injected with the fever of giddiness.
It's still hot and stuffy, the humidity practically clogging your lungs but it's cleared with every laugh that escapes your lips.
You let out a dozen sorry's and excuse me's when your shoulder bumps into someone else's. The sound of crackling getting closer.
"Okay, here." You both skid to a stop. Gojo places his hands on his knees and breathes in and out at an alarming rate.
"Woah." Your eyes look up in wonder, not bothered by Gojo's heaving figure. You shuffle closer and drape your arms around the railing separating you from water.
There's a plethora of colors in the sky, all reflecting on the lake. A hiss echoes and another color explodes in the air. This time it's orange, nearly fiery with the way it contrasts with the neutral sky.
"Alright, attention away from the fireworks. Put your attention on me, please. I almost died from an asthma attack."
He doesn't wait for your snarky reply, his face already centimeters from your own. Orange clashes with blue and for a second, you feel caught in a standstill. Your breath too, it's caught in your throat and you ground yourself by holding on to his arms.
Satoru's beautiful and you can't believe that he's yours.
"I can kiss you?"
"Yes, I already said yo–" Eager lips slot against your own, impending words stolen away. His lips are as soft as they look. He tastes like melon syrup; the kind used for kakigori.
Gojo's a good kisser but honestly you didn't expect any less. When the kiss deepens and cold, sweet soaked tongues meet, he's pulling you impossibly closer. The loud buzz of fireworks is lost and the bubble Satoru shrouds you in can't be touched.
"Nice." Is the first thing you say when your lips part.
He raised an eyebrow. "Just nice?" His breath tickles your cheeks.
"More than nice." You redirect your gaze to the blazing sky. "That's all you're gonna get."
He hums. It's silent for a while but it's the comfortable kind. You're still close to his hard chest. Your body has no choice but to feel warm and serene.
"Shit." An uproar of realization hits you square in the chest.
"Rukia. I forgot all about Rukia."
"Oh, I didn't tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"She planned all of this..."
"What?" You look up bewildered.
He laughs at your stricken expression. "I figured it out when she told me to come to the festival and she didn't show up."
You purse your lips. "She's so sneaky." But you can't find it in you to actually be mad at your best friend. So, you send her a little prayer of thanks.
"The night is still young, let's kiss some more."
"And here I thought you were shy." He shakes his head but doesn't decline. Again, like you wanted, Gojo graces your lips with his own.
Tonight, the sun will reach its maximum declination. Entangled souls are to let go of the past and make changes from within.
And in the midst of it all, a long lost flame will be rekindled.
seven little memories | w.yh
in part of the ‘burn the stage’ collab hosted by @alicanta77
↠ pairing | lucas x reader (f) (ft. various nct members)
↠ genre | fluff, angst, high school!au, university!au, childhood sweethearts, established relationship, pining, slow burn, first person pov (lucas’s pov)
↠ warnings | swearing, diet culture, themes of bullying, suggestive content, violence, toxic friendships, character death, suspicious on cheating
↠ word count | 23.6k
↠ playlist | Time to Love - OCTOBER | Some - Soyou & JunggiGo (ft. Lil Boi of Geeks) | Let me love u - WayV | Perfect (Acoustic) - Boyce Avenue | Sexual - NEIKED | Only U - Yoo Seungwoo & Heize | Perhaps Love - Eric Nam & CheezeI | Rewrite the stars - Zac Efron and Zendaya | Reasons to stay - Kate Vogel | Goodbye - The Boyz | Faded in my last song - NCT U | A thousand years - Christina Perri
↠ chosen prompt | ‘I would burn this city down if you asked me’
↠ special thanks | @experimentalwrites for helping to proofread and making a cameo in this story!!
↠ taglist | @mora134340 @huangberryyy
↠ a/n | I really hope it doesn’t flop + let the tags work PLEASE (also this is as of now, unedited!) Feedback is greatly appreciated!
April, 2006. My first memory of us.
We were only 7 when I first laid eyes on you and my life changed. I didn’t know what it was back then, that funny feeling in my stomach and that aching in my heart. Was it love at first sight? It could have been, given how intense it felt.
The sky was a baby blue canvas, dotted with white, puffy clouds, the bushes were full of delicate flowers in full bloom and the early spring afternoon was alive with sounds of laughter and chattering coming from the Sunny Hearts elementary school.
The children giggled and squealed as they slid down playground slides, played numerous rounds of tag round the front yard, bounced atop trampolines and flailed in the sandboxes while their teachers kept a watchful eye out for them. The atmosphere was full of energy and vigour, characteristic of young children who at that age only knew how to have fun.
I remember standing there by the seesaw, with a cherry lollipop in my hand, mouth agape as I stare at you. Someone runs into me from behind and I drop my candy but my gaze never wavers.
I think that was the first I ever felt this little emotion called affection. Or maybe it was infatuation, or even love at first sight. I may have been young but I knew what I felt then and it definitely wasn’t a fleeting feeling. I felt my heart flutter and the funny feeling of having butterflies in my stomach for the very first time in my life that day.
There you were, laughing and just having fun on the swing, your smile glowing brighter than the sun and your eyes sparkling with excitement as you swing higher and higher. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as radiant as you, as enchanting as you. My sister watches ‘Winx Club’ every Saturday and I always get excited when the transformation sequences come even though my father says I’m supposed to like shows like Power Rangers or Yu-Gi-Oh but I can’t help it. I have always thought of them as interesting and fascinating but you… You captivate me more, with your laugh and your smile.
I turn around and Miss Lee is calling for me, waving me over. I look down and realise that I’ve dropped my lollipop without me even noticing. Weirdly enough, I don’t seem to care. I don’t care for anything except the soaring feeling I feel in my chest and my face feels warm to the touch. I turn to look at you again but you don’t notice me and I feel my heart drop a little.
Miss Lee yells out my name again and I have to go back to class with the rest. I really don’t want to but I walk away from you and towards the rest, my feet dragging against the gravel.
This feeling I’m feeling… Is it supposed to be normal? To feel such happiness and nervousness at the same time just being in that certain someone else’s presence? I’ve never felt this way before and I’m a little scared.
I tell Miss Lee about it and she laughs and her laugh booming and loud. She tells me that what I’m experiencing is called a ‘crush’. What exactly is a ‘crush’? Isn’t that supposed to be a word that means destroy, damage? This new, exciting feeling I am feeling - Is there no better word for it?
I ask her why it’s called a ‘crush’ and she shrugs. It’s not a real answer but I don’t question her any further.
From that day onwards, whenever I walk past the hallways, I sneak a peek into the other classrooms and try to find you. The windows are a little too high so I always have to tiptoe and try not to get caught but sometimes the teachers catch me anyways and I run away, feeling ashamed.
I tell my best friend, Mark, about my ‘crush’ on you and he wrinkles his nose in disgust. He declares that girls ‘have cooties’ and I was thoroughly confused but he seems so intent and vehement about it that I simply agree. I didn’t dare talk to him about you since that one time so I keep my feelings to myself.
Yet, the more I keep it to myself, the stronger they get. I really want to be friends but Mark firmly refuses to hang out with girls so I have no choice but to follow him. He’s my best friend and he seems so sure that girls have cooties that I think it must be true. I don’t know what cooties are exactly but Mark tells me that it’s disgusting and they are bugs that only girls have. I am terrified and horrified but I can’t seem to imagine you having cooties. You seem too good, too… perfect.
I tell Mark that and he frowns at me, huffing as he insists, “You are wrong! All girls have cooties, Lucas. Don’t talk to them. Girls are weird.” I can sense him getting angry at me so I stop asking but no matter what, I couldn’t seem to stop looking in your direction every time we meet at the playground during recess.
At home, I watch as my parents give each other kisses on the cheeks, how my father gently tucks my mother’s hair behind her ear and how my mother gives my father shoulder rubs. They say ‘I love you’ to each other and I ask my father how he and my mother got together.
He chuckles and ruffles my head.
“We got married, son. That’s what people do when they love each other.”
I think about what he says and I think I have a lot of people I want to marry. I want to marry Mark because he’s my best friend and I like hanging out with him. I want to marry Miss Lee because she’s my favourite teacher but most of all, I wanted to marry you. I tell my father this and he laughs out loud till there are tears in his eyes and I feel a little affronted.
He tells me that I’ll understand it better when I get older and that was that.
However, it all changed one day.
One evening during dinner, my parents dropped the bomb that we were moving.
“We are moving to Hong Kong because of daddy’s job,” my mother says and she smiles but I don’t smile back.
We are leaving? We’re leaving this town? Leaving you? I feel the anger and disappointment brewing inside me and I throw a tantrum, refusing to eat or sleep. My mother tries to placate me with candy while my father is much less forgiving. He scolds me for being a brat and I cry. No matter what I do, my family is still moving away from this town, taking me away from my best friend Mark, Miss Lee and... you.
On moving day, I want to see you again but my parents wouldn’t let me go to the school and my heart falls to the floor with a messy splat. I just wanted a last glimpse. As we roll out of the garage, I press my nose up against the glass window and I feel a sense of regret.
I should have talked to you. I realised I don’t really care, even if you do have cooties. I just wanted to be friends.
I had never felt so good about someone before. I had never had that funny feeling in my stomach that feels so odd yet so… exciting and intriguing. I had never felt such intense attraction to someone. I wanted so desperately to get to know you, to be friends. I found your smile so delightfully bright and your little laughs were like music to my ears.
You, y/n, you were my very first crush. I left this town, fully believing that we would never cross paths again but little did I know, we would meet again a decade later.
February, 2016. My second memory of us.
In all honesty, I thought a decade would have been enough for me to lose feelings for you. After all, it’s all puppy love at that age isn’t it? I haven’t seen you for such a long time that I had almost forgotten the life I had here, the friends I had and how you made me feel that very first day I saw you. But when I did, it felt like we’d continued off from that day, like I didn’t move away for ten whole years.
“Beats me, but I think he must be new. I don’t think I’ve seen him around before.”
I am aware of the many curious eyes on me as I stroll along the corridor, trying to locate classroom 302A. The hallway is full of students, either rushing off to class or loafing around. The chattering and bantering sounds like nails against a chalkboard to my ears and I feel myself getting more and more irritated by the second. Jesus, do the people here never shut up?
The time indicates that I’m about five minutes late for my first class, which was supposed to be advanced math but I’m not the least bit bothered. If anything, I don’t really want to be here at all.
The new faces I’m seeing are all unfamiliar and I feel like a fish out of water, like I’m in a foreign land even though this is supposed to be my ‘homecoming’ of sorts.
We have only been back here a week and already I miss my friends back in Hong Kong. I miss the life I had there when all we did after school and during the weekends were go to my favourite haunts to eat the most delicious dim sum in the world or go cycling along the Shum Chum river while there is nothing here except boring streets one after another and my closest friends are over a thousand miles away. Nothing about this town feels like home anymore compared to years ago. The house we had left behind has also since been occupied by another family so this isn’t even a proper ‘homecoming’.
I feel the resentment in me threatening to boil over but I keep it simmering. The urge to simply run away and go back to Hong Kong myself is strong but I couldn’t possibly find the money to do it in such a short period of time. Even if I were to work a part time job, it would probably take me about a year to be able to afford a flight along with all the logistics.
By now, my heart is beating rapidly in the worst kind of way, the kind of way whereby your heart rate picks up because of the amount of rage you have in your heart and you could do nothing to get rid of it. I run a hand through my hair, exasperated as I make another wrong turn and somehow end up staring at a door with the label ‘Classroom 305E’.
Where the fuck is classroom 302A?
“Wait… Is that you, Lucas?”
I turn around and I find myself looking down at a boy who is considerably shorter than me. His brown hair is a shaggy mess and his dark eyes are large, doe-like. There is a mole on his cheek and somehow, that strikes me as strangely familiar.
I frown, furrowing my brows as I stare down at him quizzically.
“Do I know you?”
“Don’t you remember me?” His eyes widen with surprise and irritation sets in almost instantly. Who the fuck is this?
“No, I don’t. Who the hell are you?” I ask and my voice is harsher, meaner that I intended it to be and it almost comes out as a scowl. He takes an instinctive step backwards and there is a look of shock and disbelief on his face. I see a hint of fear in those eyes for a split second before it disappears and he replies, “I’m Mark. Mark Lee. We were friends in elementary school? Kindergarten?”
I narrow my eyes at him and it takes a second for the recognition to sink in. Suddenly, the memories from back then come rushing back in, like water flowing out from a broken dam. I remember the sleepovers we had before I moved, the ice cream Sundays we enjoyed together at the park and the times whereby we would hang around the candy jar at day care and sneak a toffee or two when the teachers weren’t looking. Good memories, memories I had forgotten until now.
Mark sees the realisation dawn upon me and he smiles, slapping me on the arm good-naturedly.
“It’s so good to see you again, dude! Holy shit, you look so different. Been hitting the gym every day in Hong Kong?”
He chuckles and I become highly aware of the difference between our physical appearances. Where I am athletic and muscular, he was lean and slim. There is also a good difference between our heights when all those years ago, he had been the taller one between the two of us. His eyes are still the same though, full of mischief and good humour and his demeanour as relaxed and as easy-going as I remembered.
This is Mark, no doubt about it.
I don’t really know what to say so I just manage an awkward grin back. In a way, it’s nice to see him again but it has been so long that everything and everyone feels weird. I feel like a complete dick but it really has been a decade since we last met.
“Yeah. I guess.”
He notices the tension and immediately, the smile on his face slips ever so slightly. I have no intention of staying for any form of awkward small talk so I ask, “Do you know where classroom 302A is?”
Mark stares at me with an odd expression on his face, the way you would look at a puzzle piece that did not quite fit. Then, he points straight ahead.
“Just go straight, turn left and it’s the second classroom on the right,” he replies curtly.
“Alright, thanks,” I thank him and hastily add, “I’ll see you.” Without waiting to hear his reply, I bolt.
I try not to look back at him as I weave my way through the crowd of students, squeezing and inching my way forward but as I turn around the bend, I see him still standing there and his eyes are shining with confusion and hurt so plainly seen even from a distance away. There is a tugging feeling in my heart, my conscience but I shake it away and move on.
It’s not as if I’m unwilling to catch up, it’s just been way too long for us to do so. Ten years is a lot of time. We’re now both different people and he has to accept that.
I finally reach classroom 302A and I see that class has already commenced but I just push open the door anyways and the teacher stops mid-sentence, his eyes narrowing at me.
“Who are you?”
I give him my schedule and he takes it.
“You’re late.” He finally says but then sighs, “I’ll let it slide this time, seeing that you’re new. Do you mind introducing yourself to the class so we can continue this lesson?”
I roll my eyes and turn to face the class. The many faces stare back at me with curiosity and wonderment. A girl at the back nudges her friend who turns a little pink in the face and I feel my lips lift into a grin. A group of boys to the left regard me with suspicion and they try to fake an impression that they couldn’t care less but I see that they are listening intently.
“My name is Wong Yukhei but people just call me Lucas. I just moved here from Hong Kong and yeah, here I am.” I say simply and the teacher smiles.
“Nice to meet you, Lucas. I’m sure you will get acquainted with the class in due time but welcome to advanced math! I’m Mr Suh. We’ve got quite a few empty seats here, feel free to take your pick.”
My eyes briefly sweep the classroom and suddenly, I see someone who makes my heart pick up its pace, do somersaults and backflips beneath my chest. My breaths grow quicker and I feel a shiver up my spine. This feeling, I have felt it before. I felt it ten years ago and now it’s back, stronger than ever. I have missed this feeling, no one has ever had the ability to make me feel this way in the past decade. No one can make my heart pound so rapidly or take my breath away except… you.
There you were, seated by the window with the sunlight illuminating your every feature, bringing out the colour of your eyes and the softness of your skin. You are older, as am I but I still recognise you. There is no way I wouldn’t have. You have one of those faces, enchanting and everlasting. Where I might forget certain parts of my childhood in this town, the moment I see you I remember.
The plain white of the school uniform is unflattering and it fits you awkwardly but you look as beautiful as I remembered. Unlike all those years ago, your eyes rest on me and I can see you trying to figure me out, the curiosity shining plainly through just like the rest. But why is it that your gaze makes me feel tingly inside and almost shy? I don’t get shy, I’m never shy but you make me feel like I am.
I see an empty seat next to you and immediately, I point in your direction and I can see the surprise register on your face, like you weren’t expecting me to choose the seat right next to you. I grin.
“I’ll take that seat.”
Mr Suh waves his hand. “Be my guest. We’re using the textbook today so settle down and turn to page 35. We’ll continue with the lesson now.”
As I walk towards you, our eyes meet and I feel the butterflies in my stomach yet again. I’m not used to feeling this way but strangely enough, I find that I welcome it. I slide into my chair next to you and you flinch. I realise with a start that I still do not know your name so I put on my most charming smile and say, “Hi, what’s your name?”
You turn to me, clearly not expecting me to initiate a conversation. You are quiet for a moment before you reply softly, “I’m y/n.”
“Y/n, huh?” I repeat to myself and say, “That’s a pretty name for a pretty girl.”
I expected you to smile, laugh or even slap me on the arm in that joking way that girls do whenever I turn on the charm. Back in my previous school in Hong Kong, it always worked so I am startled when you frown at me instead. Your brows are knitted together and your lips are pressed into a thin line.
“Thanks,” you say politely but dismissively and my smile is frozen on my face. The bitter taste of rejection burns within me and I feel shame and embarrassment seeping in. I’m not used to feeling ashamed or bashful and I must say I don’t really like the feeling of it. Yet, deep inside, I feel this tiny, weird spark of excitement and my competitive spirit is slowly awakening. The smile on my face morphs into a smirk and I lift an eyebrow questioningly.
“I was just complimenting you,” I say and you smile tightly. I look into your eyes and I see a shimmer of genuine appreciation but you have built an invisible barrier around you, a strong and sturdy one. They quickly harden and the sparkle in those eyes are gone and you simply reply, “I know but I’d like to be able to focus in class.”
I shrug nonchalantly as I plop my textbook on the table and as my hand flies through the pages, I decide that I’m not the meek little boy I once was. I never had the balls to talk to you a decade ago but I’m different now. I’m no longer shy or scared, I’m someone who goes after what they want with drive and determination. I know what I want and I want you.
I love and accept a challenge, y/n. I will break down those walls and open your heart up to me.
You are worth it.
January, 2017. My third memory of us.
I still distinctly remember the very first time you finally agreed to go on a date with me and the thought still brings a silly, stupid smile on my face. You have no idea how much it meant to me and I never told you this but you also indirectly mended my friendship with Mark and for that, I’m grateful to you.
I had been trying to win you over for a year now but all my attempts have ended in failure. All those rejections ought to have dented my confidence but you have got another thing coming if you think I’m giving up. Sometimes, you smile at my attempts and say something biting that pierces right through my heart but maybe I’m a masochist like that because just seeing you smile makes me think maybe I should just keep trying. I’ve tried almost every trick in the book but somehow when it comes to you, I never run out of tricks up my sleeve.
I knew you adored poems and loved all things literature so I have written poems asking you out even though I’m no poet. Your friend, Nabi, mentions that you love roses so I worked extra shifts at the skating rink that pays me peanuts because the local florists sell bouquets of them for the price of an arm. I surprised you with a bunch of them on your table one morning but you merely swept them aside. I noticed you always drink raspberry juice at lunch so I offered to buy you one but you simply looked me up and down and answered the answer that I’ve heard so many times - no, thank you.
I should give up. A part of my brain is telling me I should but my heart wants you so badly.
“I don’t think she’s worth all that effort, Lucas,” Jungwoo tells me as he spoons some greek yoghurt into his mouth.
We are at lunch and I see you chatting with your friends from afar. You smile and I wish that smile was directed at me instead. My friends have been urging me to give up for the longest time but I just can’t, not when it comes to you. Over the past year, I have had people come up to me and profess their feelings for me but they never made me feel the way you made me feel. While I appreciate their boldness and affection, it is not enough for me because the only person I want to like me back is you.
Jungwoo has called me ‘loverboy’ so many times now that it’s basically my nickname in the group and I’m not fond of it but it’s true. The way I’m putty in your hands, the way I want your attention… It’s almost puzzling to me.
They mock me, make fun of me and they say I’m ‘pathetic’ but having feelings for you doesn’t make me feel pathetic at all. It makes me feel like I’m on top of the world, it makes me feel like I’m capable of so many things. I do things I would have never otherwise thought of doing, things that I never understood and learn things I never thought I’d learn like poetry for example.
I shake my head wistfully, “But she is. I really like her.”
Yuta rolls his eyes and points to the table where a group of girls sit. I look over and they are all part of the popular crowd, pretty and attractive, sexy even but just not… beautiful like you are to me.
“Why chase after one plain jane,” he gestures towards you with your friends who seem to be engrossed over a book you have on the table and then back at the other table of girls who are now looking over at our table with sultry expressions on their faces, “When you can have your pick over there where every single one of them are so much hotter, sexier and prettier?”
“Yuta’s right. Why waste your time? That’s just fucking pathetic. You don’t chase after girls, you let them come to you,” Jaemin quips, taking a bite out of his celery stick.
Their words sound wrong to me and I don’t like listening to them so I tune them out as I put around a piece of baby carrot on my plate absentmindedly.
What is a man supposed to do in situations like this? I don’t want to run out of tricks but I feel like I’m about to. As the rest of them chatter on and move on to the topic of next week’s big game, I look around the cafeteria, desperate for some kind of distraction.
By accident, I spot Mark as he sits with his own group of friends, laughing as he strums a guitar. They are tossing grapes into each other’s mouth for fun and the one with the guitar is playing a song, his fingers gliding over the chords. They are a musical bunch, no doubt. I can’t help but smile. The exuberant energy they give off is infectious and I can see that the surrounding tables around them don’t think of their bantering as annoying but rather amusing and fun. I can’t help but smile at their camaraderie and that is when I catch Mark’s eye.
The grin on his face falters and he looks away, avoiding my gaze. I feel a little embarrassed to be caught staring so I just stare back down at my miserable little salad. My stomach growls and I wish I had a little more to eat compared to just salad but I can’t. I want a sandwich, pizza or even just a small chocolate chip cookie but if I’m caught eating any of those, my coach will have my neck. I’m supposed to be on a diet since it’s basketball nationals season.
I hear the gentle melody of the guitar’s chords coming from Mark’s table and he is clearly a gifted guitarist. I never knew he was into music like that but people change and a decade is plenty of time to do that. Things haven’t progressed beyond that first day we met when I came back a year ago. After our less than celebratory reunion, we have not exchanged even a single word. To be fair, I did feel a little bad about it but back then, it was easier to just ignore and pretend nothing ever happened than try to strike up yet another awkward conversation again which he clearly doesn’t want at this point.
Sometimes when I see him in the hallways, I wonder if I should talk to him again but I think about my friends reacting to me reaching out to someone like Mark and I stop myself before I take action. I was prickly, angry about the move back home then and I never intended to blow him off like that. I let my anger and irritation get the better of me.
Maybe I should have tried to apologise, I think to myself as I take a bite out of a piece of lettuce and scrunch up my nose at how stale it tastes. I then look over at you again despite myself and I see that you and your friends have stopped talking and your attention is fixated on something else. I follow your gaze and realise that like a lot of other people, the group of you are listening intently to Mark’s music. A few have even started clapping along and there is clearly excellent harmony at that part of the cafeteria compared to mine.
“Show off.” Jaemin hisses.
“He’s not even that good,” Jungwoo adds, glaring at Mark.
“I actually think he’s not bad,” I say without thinking and immediately, I regret those words that came out of my mouth.
“Seriously, Lucas? Since when was acoustic music in? Get a grip.” Yuta snaps, irritated and the others shake their head at me, not even bothering to hide their annoyance. I shrink into my seat. I hate feeling like this around them, small and vulnerable when I’m anything but.
“Not bad but fucking terrible,” I fake a laugh to which they seem to accept without noticing. I am in no mood to continue this conversation so I stay quiet after that and shove a piece of tomato into my mouth and secretly imagine I’m chewing on roasted chicken instead. I crave the taste of crispy chicken skin and juicy meat so much that I actually almost believe it’s chicken I’m eating instead of tomato.
You are still transfixed by Mark’s skills with the guitar and I start to feel a little envious but then an idea pops into my mind. A brilliant idea.
I look at my friends and I know if I tell them, they are going to tell me what a bad idea this is and how I am completely delusional but I know what I want to do and I am going to do it.
But first, I turn to Mark’s table, I’m going to need some help.
I check my watch and it’s about five minutes before band practice ends. The hallways are empty and it’s a friday so almost everyone has left the school by the late afternoon which means the chances of seeing Jungwoo, Jaemin or Yuta are close to none. I’m in the clear, or so I hope.
Leaning against the wall, I tilt my head up to look at the grimy ceiling above and my hands are getting clammy with anxiety. My stomach is tying itself up into knots and I try to calm myself down by tapping my heel but when the sound of it echoes through the hallway, I resort to drumming my fingers instead. I can hear shuffling from inside the band room and I take a deep breath in to soothe my nerves.
The door swings open and out streams the members of the school band, carrying various musical instruments. I stand upright and a few of them give me weird looks, whispering to one another. Others do a double take and even as they walk away, they turn and stare like they can’t quite believe their eyes. I give an awkward wave here and there and it makes me feel a little better when some of them smile back so I don’t feel so out of place. I shuffle my feet and wait a little longer before I see Mark.
I brace myself and call out, “Hey, Mark!”
He turns and there is a look of surprise on his face which quickly hardens over and he stands stock still with his guitar slung over his torso while I jog over.
“Lucas,” he says simply, forcing a smile on his face, “Can I help you?”
“Can we talk?” I ask sheepishly, my hands stuffed into my jean pockets since I have no idea what to do with them. “We can go over to the nearby diner, if that’s okay with you.”
“You want me to do what?” Mark asks, disbelief written all over his face and he nearly chokes on his mango milkshake.
“Teach me how to play the guitar,” I repeat, my fingers interlocked into a huge, tight fist like I’m begging him.
The downtown diner is relatively empty at this time of the day, the period of time whereby it’s neither lunch time nor dinner time. There are only a few patrons and the only waitress on duty looks bored as she picks at her nails and checks her makeup from the reflection on the window. The smell of watered down black coffee hangs in the air and it’s the sort of place nobody from our high school would think of patronising, not when there’s a Starbucks down the street which makes this place perfect for me to make my proposition.
I shift on the lumpy cushion of the booth we’ve squeezed into and my legs are too long for me to sit comfortably. Mark frowns, more in confusion than irritation. His guitar sits snugly next to him and he eyes it then looks at it. I can almost see the internal conflict he’s having in his mind in his eyes and he is considering taking on my request.
“Why?” He asks finally, crossing his arms and I swallow. That’s not a good sign.
“Why should I help you?” Mark asks again and the look he gives me is questioning, suspicious and untrusting.
I take a deep breath and my chest heaves.
“I’m doing this for a girl,” I began slowly and before I can continue, he holds up a hand and his eyes are wide.
I feel the heat rising up in my cheeks and I mumble quietly, “Yeah. How did you know?”
His lips split into the first, actual genuine smile I have seen since a year ago and his eyes sparkle with the same old good humour. “Everyone knows how you have been chasing after her. It’s been pretty damn obvious,” he says matter-of-factly and takes another sip of his milkshake. When he says it out loud like that, I suddenly feel embarrassed. I knew I liked you but I never thought everyone knew it too. I must have been more upfront about it than I thought.
“Why do you want to learn to play the guitar though? Why music?” Mark questions. “Don’t you basketball guys already have it all? Just invite her to a game. I thought music was ‘meaningless’ to you guys.” His voice has lost its jovial tone and I detect a hint of aggression and I realise he’s quoting what he has heard my friends’ demeaning conversation in school.
Immediately, I feel guilty and I bow my head down slightly, unable to look him in the eyes. My fingers dig little indents into the cushion of my seat and I can feel my cheeks turning red with shame. There is a short pause before I find my voice. “I’m sorry,” I say and my voice is thick with repentance. “My friends, they… they’re judgemental about things they don’t understand. They don’t think before they speak and I’m so sorry about that. I’m not proud of the horrible things they’ve said and there’s no way I condone it but-”
“You let them go on anyways.” Mark interjects coldly and I feel my heart fall with a ugly, messy splat to the ground.
“I’m sorry. I really am.” I say, crestfallen and the look in his eyes soften ever so slightly. Neither of us speak for a minute and there’s something else on the back of my mind that I want to say and before I can chicken out, I let the words tumble out.
“I’m also sorry for ignoring you and acting like such a dickhead last year.”
I can sense him stiffening in his seat but I press on.
“You tried to reach out and instead of reciprocating like an old friend should, I shunned you. I never treated you with respect even though we went way back. I was angry, upset at having to move back here from Hong Kong. I missed my life back in Hong Kong and I took it out on everyone then. I wasn’t myself and I should never have dismissed you so coldly like that. I’m really sorry.”
I say everything in one breath and for a second, I’m greeted with silence. I keep my head down, not wanting to look up and see the look on his face. I don’t know how he’s taking this but he has every right to get mad and tell me to fuck off. The seconds that tick by without his reply feels like ages and I open my mouth to fill the silence.
“It’s fine. I forgive you.”
I snap my head up to look at him, surprised at his reply but he simply smiles back and it’s not an unnatural, forced one. It’s genuine, real and one of forgiveness. I rush to thank him, my mind in a mess since this wasn’t the reply I was expecting.
“I- I… Thank you, Mark. Thank you so much!” I stutter and the relief in me feels uplifting. A boulder feels like it’s been lifted from my chest, my shoulders and it feels… refreshing. I am no longer bogged down and I don’t have any more regrets except maybe I should have apologised earlier and I’m amazed how long this took, how long it has taken for this moment to come. I feel like I’ve gained an invisible sort of strength and that itself is partially because of you.
The waitress drops by at that moment and serves up a miserable looking plate of Caesar salad which I had ordered and a plate of hot, crispy, salty fries and sashays away. Mark regards me with a weird look on his face and wrinkles his nose in disgust, pointing at my salad.
“You’re going to just have that?”
“Yeah…” I scratch the back of my neck awkwardly and I really don’t want to dig in. It does not look the least bit appetising and I am starting to turn seriously green from all the lettuce I’m consuming. I look longingly at his milkshake and his fries. “I’m on a diet.”
“How long have you been eating like that? That’s gotta be tough,” he shakes his head.
“Um, for about two months now?” I reply and Mark just stares at me with an incredulous look on his face. It would have been almost comical and I would have had some sort of capacity in me to laugh if we weren’t referring to my sad diet of stale salads. Without another word, he pushes his basket of fries to the middle of the table and commands, “Eat up.”
“A couple of fries won’t hurt. Look at the size of you, are you kidding me?” He gestures vaguely towards me and I can’t help but laugh and as I bite into my fry, I feel more happy and content than I have been in ages.
“Welcome to the band, let me introduce you to everyone.”
I have to bend down as I enter Mark’s garage and I have to say… It looks like a lot. There are shelves after shelves of cardboard boxes containing the most random things from canned peas to a collection of old mixtapes. A couple of dusty, abandoned dumbbells lie unused at a corner while a few unfinished paintings remain stacked on the left. There are just too many things in too many places so I have no idea where to look first but a few things catch my attention pretty quickly.
In the middle of the garage, there sits a huge drum set, polished and well maintained. A boombox and corresponding speakers sit nearby it and just by the looks of it, I can tell they cost a pretty penny. A few music sheets are spread out over the floor but no one has yet bothered to pick them up and there are two microphone stands that look like they have been well used. There are also a couple of guitars too, both acoustic and electric. My gaze lingers on it for a moment and I wonder if Mark would trust me enough to let me practice on any of those.
Mark’s friends are gathered in the tiny garage and as I fit myself in here, I feel conscious of occupying the extra space. My height becomes a curse at that very moment and I feel a little claustrophobic but it’s nothing I can’t handle. His friends look at me, their expressions a mix of excitement, caution and awe.
“This is Yangyang, our drummer.” He pats the guy with bright, almost orange hair and Yangyang shoots me a grin as bright as his hair. “Hi there!” He greets enthusiastically and I smile in response.
“Shotaro, our pianist.”
The kid with thick glasses resting on his nose waves meekly at me.
“And Chenle, our bassist,” Mark finishes and Chenle simply smiles at me in greeting, a warm smile which I readily return.
“Everyone, meet Lucas!” He says with a flourish and I feel slightly disconcerted like he has shone some kind of spotlight on me. I’m not unfamiliar with being the center of attention especially during basketball games when you have the ball with you and everyone’s eyes are on you, wondering if you are going to shoot but this is a different kind of attention.
“We know,” Chenle responds, not unkindly and Yangyang adds, “You’re one of those popular basketballers. How could we not recognise you?”
“Why do you want to learn how to play the guitar though?” Shotaro asks and Mark and I exchange a look.
I tell them my plans and watch as their expressions morph from curiosity, wonderment, surprise, understanding, amazement and finally to excitement. They burst into animated chatter immediately and I have never met a more helpful, enthusiastic group of friends. Mark’s friends are so on board with the plan that I feel somewhat heartened and even touched by their willingness to teach me the ropes of music. We spend hours over the next month putting our plans into action, finalising details and arranging the music scores. Yangyang tells me he thought that my plan was brilliant and that if he were you, he would be ‘extremely smitten’. Shotaro sulks that he wishes he had thought of my plan earlier. Chenle beams and tries to teach me chords and he is probably one of the most patient people I’ve ever had the joy of interacting with.
Before long, I find myself enjoying their company more than I do when I am with the basketball team. My friends don’t seem to realise that I have been leaving much more hastily and quickly than I usually do and none of them ever thought to ask even if they did notice. It’s better that way anyways, the thought of having to explain gives me a headache and it’s a conversation I want to avoid at least until Valentine’s Day.
February rolls around and eventually, the day has come - Valentine’s Day.
The school is abuzz with activity and decorated with paper mache and origami hearts pasted on the walls, fake roses tacked onto notice boards and red, pink and white bundles of balloons were alternatively taped on doors. There is even a small booth set up by the gardening society selling roses (real ones) and the calligraphy club has started a love letter writing station. The student council has truly outdone itself this time.
The massive school basketball court is full of students, awaiting the celebratory morning assembly on Valentine’s Day before classes start and I find myself getting more and more nervous by the second. My nerves are threatening to get the better of me, my throat is closing up and suddenly my fingers feel like they are cramping up. I don’t think I even felt as nervous as I did before a big game.
A few of the backstage crew members look at me like I’m a unicorn, whispering discreetly amongst themselves and I try to ignore them. I can do this. I spent so long trying to learn how to play the guitar and planning this whole thing. I cannot fail now.
I take a deep breath and my phone pings with a notification. It’s from Mark.
good luck out there lucas! you can do this :)
His message makes me feel a little bit better and the tension in my shoulders eases just ever so slightly. I take a peek through the double doors. My eyes search the crowd and I find my friends deeply engrossed in conversation. I wonder briefly how they might react later and the thought of it twists my stomach into knots and I don’t want to dwell on it. I look around and my attention is captured when you finally walk into assembly with your friends.
Even from here, you catch my eye. I feel my heart clench and suddenly, I’m lovesick all over again. I think back to my many attempts at asking you out and there is a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t know if I can withstand another rejection. I like you so much it hurts and as much as I hide it, each rejection stings. This must work, it has to. If it doesn’t…
I look at the guitar slung across my waist. Maybe it’s the universe’s loud and clear sign that I should give up pursuing you.
The sound guy taps me on the shoulder and I’m so tense and anxious that I jump. He signals to me that it’s my cue to go out there and I swallow thickly. I draw in a deep breath and place my hand on my chest, where my heart pounds beneath my palm.
I can do this. I can.
Without hesitation, I step through those double doors. Instantly, I feel a shift in the mood as everyone’s eyes turn to me and I can see a few faces with their mouths wide open.
A few members of the audience’s eyes are as large as saucers and deep down, I feel somewhat triumphant. I hold on to my guitar (or rather, Mark’s since I borrowed it from him) like it’s a shield as I take my seat in the middle of the court on a wooden stool.
I scan the crowd and see Mark, Yangyang, Shotaro and Chenle flashing me numerous thumbs ups and their encouraging smiles makes me feel infinitely more relaxed. I try not to look in Yuta, Jungwoo and Jaemin’s direction and I see you in the crowd.
You are staring and you can’t quite believe what you are seeing. Your friends are nudging you and you don’t seem to realise, too stunned to react. Our eyes lock and at that instance, it feels like it’s just the two of us, you and me alone in this court. The others fade into the background and I care less and less about what other people are saying, thinking and I care the world about what you are feeling, thinking at that moment.
There is a microphone in front of me and I lean forward, all the while still holding your gaze. My fingers begin to strum at the guitar and all my nervousness dissipates and I lose myself to the music and in your eyes as I sing ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran.
My voice is husky and coarse and I’m not sure if I sound horrible or good but I barely care. My fingers just glide over the guitar chords and I’ve been practicing hard, so unbelievably hard until my fingers hurt but the pain doesn’t bother me. My emotions are way too strong for that and I pour all my feelings into the song.
I smile as I sing and recall the first day we had met 11 years ago and I realise I never want to do this for anyone else. I never want to learn how to play a guitar or any other instrument for that matter for anyone else except you. I never want to sing in front of the entire school for anyone else. I never want to feel this way around anyone else but you.
My heart is so wholly and utterly yours.
“Baby, I'm dancing in the dark, with you between my arms...” I sing and we are still locking eyes and I want nothing more than to lose myself in them.
My heart is so wholly and entirely yours and… I am ok with that.
When I finish the song, I’m met with silence but I don’t even notice it as I speak softly into the microphone.
“This song, this stage… All this was for that special someone who has my heart in their hands always, whose smile always makes me feel like I’m on top of the world even though they might not be directed at me and whose beauty strikes me so hard that I find it hard to breathe. She makes me feel emotions that I can never quite comprehend, never quite understand but I know for a fact that those feelings feel so extremely right. My heart feels so full that I’m never sure of what to do about it.
The thought of her calms me, soothes me and makes me so unbelievably happy. Even though she may be prickly at times, I know she’s the one for me. There is no doubt about it. I’ve been rejected time and time again but I never want to stop trying, my heart and soul doesn’t want to.
At some point, I find myself wondering if this is love and I panic but then I realise, what’s so scary about love when it’s for her? These feelings I’m feeling, I never want them to stop.”
I say everything in one breath and every single word comes straight from the heart, so much so that I don’t even realise I’ve said it all. Still, nobody says anything and I’m not sure if it’s the good or bad kind of silence. I can feel my heart sinking with every millisecond that you don’t reply and my heart is breaking, I can almost hear it. I don’t want to cry in front of everyone so I bite at my bottom lip.
“Y/n?” I ask and my voice sounds small even as it echoes in the court.
A few eyes turn to you and my heart skips. Nobody says a single word as I stand and my legs feel like jelly and I don’t know what to expect.
If this is another rejection, I’m not sure how I would be able to handle it. I can’t think about the possibility of you rejecting me yet again, the thought of it is like a knife piercing right through my heart. I walk towards your seat and my legs threaten to give way but I will myself to keep walking. They have a spotlight on me now and I feel exposed but I chose this. I want to do this. I need an answer. This must work, it has to.
Please, I beg internally.
I reach your seat and kneel down on one knee before you. Up close, you look more beautiful than ever under the spotlight the both of us share. My throat feels tight but I manage to ask the question.
“Y/n, will you accept my feelings and go on a date with me?”
Your eyes are intense and so bright with a mixture of emotions. You are shocked, surprised and emotional all at the same time and your lips are slightly parted like you want to say something. I brace myself for your response and I guard my heart, preparing for the worst.
Maybe it’s the universe’s loud and clear sign that I should give up pursuing you.
“Okay,” you whisper, barely audible and there’s that stunning smile I love so much on your lips. I can’t believe it. Am I dreaming this?
“W-What?” I stammer, unable to believe what just happened. Did you really just…? Am I hallucinating this? This isn’t a dream right?
“You’re not hallucinating and this isn’t a dream, idiot,” you laugh, your eyes sparkling with joy.
“I said okay,’ you continue and you roll your eyes in that way I find so deeply attractive. Your hands are on my shoulders and all this, all of this feels so right and I scream out, “YES!” My strong arms circle around your waist and I pull you into a hug that I have wanted for so long. This feels like a long time coming and my dreams are finally coming true. This isn’t another rejection and I have finally succeeded. I feel like I’m on top of the world and nothing in the world can make me happier at this very moment, not even if Lebron James comes down to our school and hands me a league signed basketball or if Elvis Presley suddenly comes to live and starts singing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ in front of all of us.
Around us, the school bursts into applause and some people are hooting, whistling. A few girls are nudging their sullen partners and shooting them knowing looks while Mr Suh stands at a corner, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief. Mark is beaming at me and he looks absolutely psyched and Chenle and Shotaro are busy high fiving each other while Yangyang is whistling like his life depends on it. I see Yuta, Jungwoo and Jaemin from the corner of my eye and we make eye contact.
For a moment, they are rigid and they don’t move at all, simply staring back. Then, Yuta gives me a small smile and just like that I know that our friendship is not broken. My heart is soaring, I feel like myself again. I feel at one, I feel whole. Jungwoo gives me a curt thumbs up while Jaemin is clapping along unenthusiastically but still clapping.
Just all of that is enough for me.
On Valentine’s day, February 14th 2017, I was the happiest man alive.
April, 2017. My fourth memory of us.
Our first date only really came about two months after Valentine’s day and how the date went… I don’t think I’d ever be able to forget. It was just that memorable - for all the wrong and right reasons.
We just had such conflicting schedules and it feels as if the date was never going to happen which scared me to no end. I had basketball training a few days a week and when I had time, you didn’t. You were involved in a writing competition and had a couple of writing sessions every week as well. No matter what, it seemed as if we never had time to go out together. The moment nationals seasons ended, I rushed to make plans and thankfully, we finally found a day whereby we were both free.
April 22nd, 2017. That was the date.
I won’t lie - the wait was agonising. I wanted the day to come so desperately that I lost sleep over it and you won’t believe how excited I was for it when it finally came. We were supposed to go on a picnic and I had so much planned. I had purchased a new cologne and a new dress shirt that I couldn’t wait to wear to impress you. I had thought of the perfect spot at the nearby park and I’d finally bought my own guitar and began practicing at my own time though sometimes, I would still swing by Mark’s and hang out with the rest.
But it seemed like the universe had other plans. I almost wanted to scream out of frustration when dark clouds began to gather in the skies that morning. I had already gotten dressed and was already on my way to your place on my motorbike. The family car was taken by my sister that day so I had no choice but to use the motorbike instead. When the door to your home opened and you stepped out in the most stunning lilac blue sundress I had ever seen, it felt like I had just struck the lottery and all this still feels unreal. As I help you put on your helmet, I can’t help but notice the glossiness of your lips and other thoughts threaten to dominate but I push them away. You sit behind me and I can smell your perfume, the intoxicating scent of citrus fruits. When you wrap your arms around my midsection, I hitch my breath.
Lord, help me.
“Doesn’t seem like a great day out for a picnic,” you comment and I look up at the sky, refusing to curse in front of you.
“Yeah… Hopefully it’s a false alarm? Sometimes, clouds like that come and go,” I say, hopeful and crossing my fingers.
I was wrong.
It started absolutely pouring while we were on the way to the park and I felt like yelling but I held myself back. I wanted to bring us to a shelter at the park but when it started raining, we were still a considerable distance away and I didn't want to speed because of the slippery roads. I feel you tightening your arms around my midsection and you are shivering and I feel terrible. I could kick myself silly.
We finally decide on dropping at my place which is nearer to our current location and by the time we push through the front doors, we are both soaked to the bone with our teeths chattering. This was not how I envisioned this to go and even though I’m cold and shivering, I feel my face heat up with shame and anger. I turn to you and your hair clings to your face and neck in wet tendrils and your sundress is soaked and the fabric is plastered against your body, accentuating your figure. You don’t have any makeup on and a little raindrop hangs on your eyelash, delicate and pure. A blush creeps up my neck and now my face feels hot for a different reason altogether and I look away quickly, trying not to stare.
The doormat is wet with rainwater and nobody is at home so it’s just the two of us. The emptiness of the house and the knowledge that it’s just the two of us occupying the space makes me feel extremely self-conscious. I peel off my jacket and hang it on a nearby chair, shuffling my feet. Suddenly, I’m not sure what to do with myself, my hands. What am I supposed to do? Offer you a cup of hot tea? Play some board games to pass the time?
“Um,” I clear my throat and you look up at me as you pull up your dress and I get a glimpse of more skin than I expected to see with the fabric riding up your thighs. I suddenly forget what to say and I just gape at you, open mouthed.
You notice me staring and I see the realisation dawn upon you and you quickly let go of your dress. I can see the embarrassment and mortification in your expression and you clarify, “I… I didn’t w-want the water from the fabric to keep dripping on your floor.”
I simply nod and struggle to get the next words out, “If you, um, want to wash up, the bathroom is upstairs. It’s the second door on the left.” I keep my head down, not daring to look up at you again and when you don’t reply, I lift my gaze from the floor to you and manage an awkward smile to ease the tension. You are staring, staring at me and when we make eye contact, the colour in your cheeks turn a shade darker and you smile tightly and head upstairs after muttering a hasty thanks.
“Fuck me.” I mutter under my breath, frustrated at how everything is going so far. Thunder claps and now there is a full blown storm outside. The rain patters violently against the roof and windows and the wind outside is so strong that the branches of the trees in our yards swing in all directions and I worry if the branches will snap. This was supposed to be the day we finally go on our date, the date I tried so hard to set up with you. I lean against the kitchen sink, bury my face into my palms and sigh deeply. It should have been sunny outside and we would be talking, eating cake and drinking fruit punch as we enjoy the ambience of the park.
“Well, if this isn’t the worst first date ever,” I mumble and trudge upstairs. I hear the water running in the bathroom and I don’t dare take clothes out of my sister’s closet without her position so I take a shirt I had outgrown and a pair of old basketball shorts I have in my wardrobe and leave them in a neat folded pile outside the door. I write a note telling you about it and slip it underneath the door and into the bathroom. It is some time before I notice the white dress shirt I’m wearing is clinging onto my body and with each step I take, there is a weird, uncomfortable squelching sound from my soaked clothes.
I decided to take a quick shower to wash the swampy smell of the rainstorm from myself and since the bathroom upstairs is occupied, I had to use the much smaller one downstairs by the kitchen. After I finish, I wrap a spare towel around my waist and without thinking, I step out… and almost scream my heart out when I see you seated on the couch in the living room with your phone. You scream as well, eyes wide and fall off the couch.
“Oh my fucking god! I’m so sorry!” I cry as I grip tighter to my towel and race upstairs, trying but failing to cover up.
Once I’m back in the safety of my room, I flop onto my bed and scream into my pillow. You must think I’m a pervert now, there’s no question about it. I fucking hate myself.
It takes me quite some time before I can muster up the courage to go downstairs and once I’m down, I am surprised to see you talking to my mother.
“Mom? You’re home?” I ask and she narrows her eyes at me.
“How could you let the girl stay here all by herself? She’s a guest!” She chided and I stood awkwardly, not sure what to say. The embarrassment is real and I just wish the floor could open up and swallow me into the earth right there and then. Not only is the picnic date ruined but the girl I like probably thinks I’m a pervert and now to top it off, I am getting scolded in front of my mother in front of her too? Maybe this is some cruel trick played by fate or something or maybe I just have really such shitty luck.
“Mrs Wong, it’s completely fine! Lucas had something to attend to so he told me to make myself comfortable. It’s not his fault,” you smile kindly and my mother relaxes but her annoyance is still evident. I see the bags of groceries on the kitchen countertop and my mother must have just came back from shopping. There is already a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a warm mug of camomile tea on the table so she must have already been home for a couple of minutes.
“Hm. No matter what he still shouldn’t have left you here alone! That child,” my mother tuts and points an accusing finger at me. “Have I not taught you basic manners?”
I wince under her sharp tone and she opens her mouth to continue but I’m quicker.
“Mom, let me help you with the groceries.”
“I’ll help too,” you add and we exchange a look. You shoot me one of your kind smiles and I can’t help but smile back. When we are close enough, I whisper, “Thanks.”
You whisper back, “It’s fine. I get that moms are like that.”
“You are such a dear. Thank you so much,” my mother says and I’ve never heard her speak in such a honey sweet tone of voice. “Lucas, take notes.”
I roll my eyes and reply, “Sure, mom.” She only laughed in response as we began to unload the groceries. You catch my eye and we try not to laugh along but it’s impossible not to laugh along with my mother because her laugh is infectious. Soon, we are all laughing and the tension in the house is all but gone. We finish putting aside the groceries and my mom asks, “I’m making dinner. Y/n, are you staying for dinner?”
You look at her like a deer caught in headlights and before you can even reply, my mother interjects, “I’m great at making egg fried rice and vegetable pork dumplings, you should stay!”
You merely beam at her and nod your head.
“Why don’t you kids help me prepare dinner?” She asks and I look at her like she’s suddenly grown an extra head. “I can teach y/n how to make dumplings. It’s almost a Wong family tradition to be able to make dumplings.”
“Mom, y/n is-”
“I don’t mind.” You say suddenly and when I turn to you wide-eyed, you just shrug. “It’d be fun.”
“Nice!” My mother declares and tosses you an apron before throwing one in my face and not caring whether I’m on board or not. “Come here, Lucas and I will teach you.”
I never imagined my first date with you to go like this - sitting at the dining table with my mother of all people, making dumpling fillings and pleating said dumplings with a raging thunderstorm outside. I had imagined us just getting to know each other at the park, talking and having time to ourselves as we gorge on sweets and snacks. The basket I had prepared sits abandoned by the sink and the cakes inside are soaked and inedible and I’m so far from that idealised image in my mind. I watch as my mother teaches you how to pleat dumplings and I’m puzzled to find that you actually look like you are enjoying yourself. I stare at the numerous dumplings I have already pleated and I wonder what’s so fun about it.
“Lucas, I’m going to go ahead and prepare the egg fried rice. Teach y/n the ropes.” My mother instructs and she walks away and it’s just the two of us under the dim lighting at the dining table with a huge bowl of meat filling and a tray of raw dumpling dough.
“Um, do you need any help?” I ask and you are trying to pleat a dumpling but it looks nothing like one.
“I… This is a lot harder than I expected.” You reply with a chuckle and look up at me shyly. My heart skips a beat.
“Well, which part of it is hard?”
“The pleating?” You say it like it’s a question and I peer over.
“You are getting the hang of it,” I nod approvingly. You’re a fast learner. “Don’t give up!”
“Alright, awesome,” you chuckle.
For a moment, there’s silence between the two of us as we continue pleating. I want so desperately to break it but I’m racking my brains over what to say so I don’t sound like a loser on top of being a pervert in your eyes. Do I talk about school? No, that’s boring. Who talks about school during a date? Do I ask you about your family? That’s not right either, who am I? Your employer?
I’m still thinking when you suddenly ask.
“So, what was life like in Hong Kong?”
Your question catches me off guard and I splutter, “W-What?”
“What was life like for you in Hong Kong? You know, before you moved back here.”
“Oh.” I take a moment to let your question sink in and a smile finds its way to my lips as I reminisce my time in Hong Kong. I still fondly remember my friends who I now keep in touch with via social media though because of the distance, it’s difficult to communicate as much as we would have liked and it suddenly strikes me how much I miss them.
“I loved my life there,” I began, smiling as I let my fingers work the dumplings. “I think they may be some of the best years of my life.”
I lose myself as I tell you about my life in Hong Kong. I start by introducing you to my best friends back in Hong Kong, Hendery and Xiaojun. Hendery was my neighbour and we had gotten to know each other simply because of proximity and he had been the first friend I’d made in the foreign city, or at least that was how it felt like back then when my family first moved there. I got to know Xiaojun through Hendery and to be honest, we didn’t start off on the right foot. For a while, there was a sort of rivalry going on and I laugh as I tell you about it.
“He was convinced that I was going to take his best friend from him and you know what? I don’t blame him for thinking that way. I think I was pretty clingy then, since I didn’t have any other friends and Hendery was all I had. Though at the time, I was pretty confused as to why he was being so mean. I think I was too clueless to connect the dots,” I chortle, spooning a generous amount of meat filling into my dumpling pocket.
“It took ages for me to finally earn his trust and realise that all I really wanted was to be friends. It reminded us of those stupid love triangle clichés you see on soap operas years later and it’s still a running joke till this day between the three of us. We attended the same middle school and high school, joined the same clubs and always hung out together. We were like three peas in a pod.” I regale and a pang of sadness stabs at my heart all of a sudden. Realistically, when will I ever see them again?
You seem to notice the shift in the mood and you say gently, “I get that it must be hard to leave behind your friends and come back to a place that used to be home but then is now so foreign and weird to you.”
I nod gratefully, happy that you understood where I was coming from.
“Saturday afternoons, we would go for physics tuition together which we hated to the core so sometimes, we would skip it and instead go hang around the street markets. We would buy a box of the most delicious and buttery egg tarts to share from this little bakery we all loved or simply gorge on osmanthus3 jellies or if we were in the mood for something savoury then we would order curry fish balls or tea eggs. Those were fun times and the only time there’s no fun in it is when we go home and we burn all those calories we consume by running away from our parents when they try to cane us for skipping tuition.”
You burst out laughing at that, almost dropping the dumpling you were currently pleating and I say, “It’s true! Man, those times were the wildest. We’d go cycling almost every other night and in school, we were known as the three musketeers by everyone in our grade. The pranks we played on each other… They never got old. We would employ the oldest pranks in the book like drawing on each other’s’ faces if any of us were asleep, put fake insects in between textbooks and just a lot of stupid shit.”
“That sounds amazing,” you say, chuckling before your voice grew softer as you ask, “Do you miss them terribly?”
My fingers stop pleating and the longing in my heart grows almost overwhelming.
You look at me and there’s an indescribable look in your eyes, something I can’t quite put my finger on but I sense a hint of sympathy. I don’t really want you to pity me or feel sorry for me so I decide to change the subject.
“What about you? How have you been? You know, growing up here.”
You seem like you want to say something but then decide against it and you answer, “It’s not bad. It’s not a bad place to grow up in but it does get a little boring. Sometimes, I wish I could just go out there and explore the world.”
“Then why don’t you do just that?”
You shake your head wistfully.
“If only it was that easy. My folks aren’t extremely well off, even a simple road trip is a luxury.”
“Oh,” I say, unsure of what to say. I can feel the shame creeping in yet again and I am suddenly extremely aware of how privileged I am. I don’t nearly think as much as I should about how lucky I really am and how grateful I should be to be able to explore the world as such as young age. Having been to many countries for family vacations, I never once thought twice about how others may not have the same opportunities.
“Yeah,” you smile without looking up at me, “But you know what? That’s alright, one day if I work hard enough, who knows? I might be able to afford a trip overseas for the family.”
“You will!” I quickly say, nodding my head vigorously.
“Thanks, Lucas. I hope so,” and there’s so much hope in your eyes when you say that, I find myself hoping for you too.
We go back to pleating and for a while, none of us say anything and surprisingly, it felt right. The silence felt just right and neither of us felt called to fill it and we are comfortable with just being in each other’s presence. I watch as your nimble, graceful fingers press and pinch at the dumpling dough and…
“Wait,” I say and I shift over next to you. “Not like that, you have to pinch the dough here and press it to stick.” Without thinking, I hold your flour covered hands in mine and help you to pleat. Our fingers press against the soft, chewy texture of the dough and I dip my fingers into a bit of duck fat and help you with the pinching.
“So what you do is, you dab a little of the duck fat in here and you,” I directed your fingers over, “pinch gently. Then, you bring the pinched part of the dough over.” I say softly. In our hands, there is a perfectly pleated dumpling and it is at this moment that I realise how close we are. Your eyes are studying me, introspective and there is something in them that I can’t quite pinpoint but they captivate me and I find myself unable to look away. My lips are so close to yours and if we shift even a few inches forward, our noses would touch and our lips would meet. Your breath is growing shallow and it comes out in little pants. My gaze shifts downwards to your mouth and they part a little. I am so close that I can feel your heart beating and it’s in tandem with mine.
I lean in closer and maybe I’m imagining it but you lean in as well and my heart feels like it’s jumping for joy and I am this close to losing my mind. My eyelids flutter shut and we are so close…
“Are you guys done with the dumplings?”
We spring away from each other like our skin is on fire and my mother appears before us in an apron with a wooden spoon in her hand. I straighten and you push your hair away from your eyes and we are too frazzled to look at each other again.
“Um, yeah. We are,” I say and my mother observes our work before smiling to herself and taking the tray with her. We sit in silence for a moment longer and with each second that passes, the tension between us gets thicker and thicker and it’s only a matter of time before either of us crack.
We both start at the same time and falter. I’m blushing so furiously and I’m quite sure it’s obvious and plain as day and I quickly say, “Well, that was… interesting.”
I want to kick myself. Interesting? Nice choice of words, idiot. Interesting is the word you use when you have nothing good to say and that is definitely not the case.
You force a smile. “Yeah, it was.”
The door suddenly bursts open and both my father and my sister are home.
“We’re home!” My father calls out like he always does, making a grand entrance as usual. Even from where we are, we can distinctly hear the shuffling coming from the front door and they are loud. My sister cries out about her beloved soaked sneakers and my father drops his briefcase on the kitchen counter with a loud clatter.
It takes both of them a moment before they see us.
“Oh, we have a guest!” My father exclaims and he shoots you one of his jolly smiles, “What’s your name? You a friend of our Yukhei?”
“I’m y/n,” you reply politely and my father frowns slightly. I hear him mutter under his breath, “Y/n… I’ve definitely heard that name somewhere before.”
Yet before I can read more into it, he says, “Ah, alright. You kids better get ready for dinner soon, mom says dinner will be ready in about 10 minutes.”
The spread before us is simple fare – vegetable pork dumplings, egg fried rice and lotus root soup – but you stare with mouth agape at the food.
“This looks amazing, Mrs Wong!” you exclaim and my mother beams with pride.
“Please just call me auntie. At least someone finally appreciates my cooking,” she says as she hands you a bowl of soup, “Nobody in this house ever does.”
“We do!” my sister quips, her mouth full of fried rice and we all laugh.
“Eat with your mouth close, your rice is flying all over the place.”
“When we compliment you, you tell us to keep our mouths shut but when we don’t, you say we don’t appreciate you,” my father guffaws and my mother slaps him on the arm which elicits a giggle from you.
“Fine, fine. Just eat, will you?” My mother rolls her eyes but her lips are still tilted up to a smile.
We dig into the food and I watch from across the table as you take a bite out of the vegetable pork dumplings we pleated. Your eyes widen and you look like you’re in bliss as the flavour explodes in your mouth. I feel a little sense of pride that you like my family’s food as I take a spoonful of soup. We have never had a meal together and it’s funny how our very first date isn’t shared between just the two of us but with my family as well. It’s unconventional but somehow, it feels like it actually works.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had such delicious dumplings, auntie. They’re so good,” you say as you reach for another and my mother’s smile grows wider.
“I’m glad you like it, take more!”
“Y/n, did you grow up in this town?” My father suddenly asks in between mouthfuls of fried rice.
You nod, bobbing your head.
“Yeah, I was born here.”
My father seems to be deep in thought but then all of a sudden, he continues, “Did you attend Sunny Hearts Kindergarten?”
“Um, yeah. I did, why?” you answer, clearly confused. I observe the exchange between the two of you, wondering if the two of you knew each other.
My father bursts out laughing and the tone he adopts is triumphant, like he had just solved some sort of impossible puzzle.
“So you’re the girl my son wanted to marry?”
At that, I choke on my food and had to swallow several mouthfuls of water before I am able to breathe normally. My sister watches me with a meaningful expression on her face while my mother looks as if she’s watching an episode of her favourite drama. You, however, wear an expression of shock and bewilderment.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” my father waves absentmindedly but there’s a mischievous glint in his eyes. “It happened a long time ago.”
“Dad…” I warn, willing him not to say anything. So that is why he thought your name was familiar. I can’t believe he still remember. For god’s sake, it was like a decade ago!
“What’s this thing about getting married I’m hearing?” my mother probes and I want to disappear from the table.
“Oh, inside joke.” My father shrugs and my mother tuts at us, annoyed but the smile sticks.
I can sense you looking over at me, clearly wondering what this is all about but I try my hardest to avoid eye contact.
For the rest of dinner, we laugh, joke and talk about our day as we feast on my mother’s cooking. My sister asks you about your writing competition being the avid writer she is and the two of you chatter on for a good half an hour about the intricacies and nuances of literature and bond over your mutual love for books. My mother wouldn’t stop ladling food onto your plate even though you’ve already kindly rejected any more while my father has finally stopped his teasing and the two of you chat about your family. You ask him about his job in Hong Kong and he grows so enthusiastic and engrossed in it that I almost find him boring but not you. You listen to him intently, hanging onto every word he’s saying and I can see that he genuinely appreciates it.
You seem so comfortable around my family that I feel heartened and just when I thought it wasn’t possible, I find myself falling for you a little deeper.
By the time we are done with dinner and cleaning up, it was already 8pm and you’d already gotten a call from your mother to go home. My mother genuinely looks as if she doesn’t want you to leave as you slip on your shoes. My father insists that you take home some homemade cookies we have at home and you exchange numbers with my sister.
I’m in the garage, getting my motorbike to send you home when I see my sister standing by the doorway.
“She’s a nice girl, that y/n,” she says kindly and I beam at her.
“She really is, I’m so glad mom and dad liked her.”
My sister nods but still lingers by the doorway like she has something she wants to say.
“Promise me one thing,” she says suddenly and I stop what I’m doing, suddenly taken aback by the seriousness in her tone of voice.
“What is it?”
“Don’t let this one go. I can tell you have strong feelings for her and so does she. I don’t know if you know it but I can tell you’re holding back.”
I swallow thickly.
“How?” I finally ask, my voice small.
“Call it a sister’s intuition,” she smiles kindly and walks over to me. “You are afraid of messing things up and it’s stopping you from doing anything.”
I am quiet for a moment and before I know it, I say, “I like her so much. I really do. I don’t want to mess it up.” The worry and jittering feeling in my heart I now recognise as fear sends a shiver up my spine. It is an intense, uncomfortable feeling that fills me with dark dread and bow my head, staring at the ground.
I look up when I feel her pat me gently on the shoulder and when I do, my sister’s eyes are warm and comforting.
Later when I send you back to your doorstep, I stand fidgeting as we walk towards your front door.
Under the porchlight of your home, I find myself almost speechless with nervousness. My clammy hands are stuffed into my pockets and my heart is going into haywire mode as you turn to me.
My sister’s words linger in my mind but right now, they don’t seem to register.
Don’t let this one go.
Is this date just going to be a one time thing? Did you see it as a one time thing? Is there nothing that will come out of this?
I wanted to know your thoughts, I wanted to know so desperately but I’m tongue tied when the moment actually comes. I briefly wonder if all your dates have felt this way around you and try not to think of how many dates you’ve actually had.
“So.” Your eyes are looking down at our shoes.
“So.” I smile tightly.
By now, the questions are going out of control in my mind, popping up every millisecond, loud and annoying.
What do you feel about us? How do you feel? Do I take you out on a second date? Am I allowed to? Do you want me to?
The silence between us must have stretched on because suddenly, before I can react, you curse, “Oh for fuck’s sake.”
You stand on your tiptoe and lean in, pressing your lips to mine.
October 31st, 2017. My fifth memory of us.
My most memorable memory with you was on the very first Halloween we spent together. We never really celebrated Halloween in Hong Kong and even in the first year I moved back here, my family didn’t go trick or treating or do whatever it is people do when they celebrate Halloween. The first Halloween we spent together is a memory that I will keep in my heart forever.
“You sure you have to go back now?” I ask as we pull up my motorbike outside your home. Your hug around my torso lingers for a bit like you are reluctant to leave and you bury your face into my back. We are dressed as Jo March and Laurie from Little Women, one of your all-time favourite novels and the sight of the both of us riding a motorbike in 1860s get up was interesting to say the least and a few curious eyes linger on us.
“I don’t want to either but curfews.” You say with a sigh and we both wish you didn’t have a curfew set in place by your mother. Although we could easily meet again tomorrow or call each other, we could have spent so much more time together tonight.
I walk you to your front door and I wrap my arms around you, bringing you close to me and for a moment, we simply stare into each other’s eyes. I lean in closer and you close your eyes but then someone from the streets yell at us to ‘get a room’ and we realise that the streets are teeming with people and it’s not just us.
The streets are decorated with many jack-o-lanterns carved out in some of the most whimsical designs, with some neighbours going above and beyond with their Halloween decorations. There are few houses that look exactly like what a haunted house would look like with black paint and streamers while others are themed ranging from ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ themed to the downright terrifying ‘Chucky’. Toy skeletons are propped up on a few fences here and there and strings of fairy lights with the bulbs in the shape of skulls connect the lampposts in between intervals.
There are also people going around trick or treating, clad in their costumes and as someone who has never really celebrated Halloween, it is all extremely interesting to me. The culture of collecting candies on Halloween never fail to amaze me and that was exactly what we did tonight even though we should be old enough to be the ones giving the treats.
It was quite an experience and I like that my first trick and treating experience was with you. Sure, we got weird looks but neither of us really cared. We just had fun and enjoyed each other’s company. We also went to the corn maze at the Halloween fair nearby and treated ourselves to utterly sinful candy apples, pumpkin juice and dried tomato and ham ‘spider’ buns which is a local favourite in town. From visiting haunted houses to booth games, we had the chance to channel our inner child again.
We must have been so enthralled by each other that we seem to have forgotten we are out in public and the streets are filled with more people than other nights and we laugh softly to each other.
You peer up at me shyly.
“Maybe next time,” you tap the tip of my nose and I pout. We really are that couple.
“Alright, we’ll talk tomorrow okay?” I ask and you nod.
“Okay, goodnight Lucas,” you smile longingly.
I go home and get ready for bed but as I try to ease myself into slumber, part of me still doesn’t want this night to end. I want to see you and no matter how much I toss around under my sheets, I can’t get rid of the nagging urge to go to you even at this hour. Outside, there are still people celebrating and we could be out there celebrating too.
It takes only a minute for me to decide to get dressed and sneak out.
I must have been throwing pebbles at your window for a least half a minute before you finally appear, looking completely confused and dumbfounded. It takes you a moment before you see me and I watch as the surprise blooms on your face at my appearance.
You disappear into your room and I receive a call.
“Lucas, what are you doing here?” You whisper into the receiver.
“I was wondering if I could come see you. I didn’t want to wait till tomorrow,” I reply and there’s a slight pause before you say, “You couldn’t even wait a few hours to sunrise?”
There is a tilt to your voice and I look up. You are smiling down at me and I’m dumbstruck by how beautiful you look. The moonlight brings out the soulfulness of your eyes, and under the silvery light, you look ethereal and almost angelic. Your skin shines and your hair has that look whereby it’s not too messy yet not deliberately styled but it looks so natural and so… you.
There is an otherworldly beauty to you and from below, you look just like a goddess beaming down at me.
I am rendered speechless and I choke, “I… I…”
“You what?” you prompt, unaware of your effect on me and your voice is soft and gentle. Like an actual goddess.
“You look… breathtaking. Like a goddess,” I breathe, wide-eyed and just letting the words from my mind escape my lips. The heat pools in your cheeks and even from down here, I see that you are embarrassed but the smile on your face is happy, overjoyed.
“Did you come here just to butter me up?” you ask softly, “Because if so, it’s working.”
“No!” I cry out but quickly lower my volume. “I meant every word. You are beautiful, y/n.”
You simply chuckle and I love hearing your little laugh and the way it makes my heart swell.
“I believe you. So, why are you here at this weird hour?”
I gesture towards my motorbike parked by the pavement and lift a huge takeout bag I had been hiding behind me.
“Midnight snack? What do you say?” I proposition, grinning sheepishly.
You stare down at me for a moment with a weird look on your face before you reply, “You are full of surprises, Wong Yukhei.”
The top of the hill overlooking the town was quiet and peaceful, in a way that felt like it was disconnected from the life and activity going on below.
The skies above is a deep, dark blue speckled with a smattering of glittering stars and a full moon hangs atop, illuminating the earth below. The town below is full of people, either partying the night away or sound asleep in their homes but the glow of the night lights over the horizon makes the entire town look almost majestic and from our spot at the top of the hill, it feels like we are looking down on earth from above where we are untouchable and unreachable.
“This may be one of the best ideas you have ever had,” you say as we lay on our backs on the picnic blanket I’d brought and stare up at the starry night above us. Your head is resting on my shoulder and our hands are interlocked, the energy between us tranquil and affectionate.
“Really? Even better than me serenading you ‘Perfect’ in front of the entire school on Valentine’s Day?” I ask cheekily and you laugh softly.
“I never thought you’d be capable of something as bold as that. Sure, you were pretty conspicuous throughout the year but I’d never have thought you’d actually go ahead and serenade me of all things and in front of the entire school at that.”
I nod thoughtfully and there’s a question at the back of my mind that I’d thought of asking a long time ago but never had the chance to bring it up.
“Can I ask you something, y/n?”
“What made you finally decide to go on a date with me? After all those attempts I’d made to try to get you to accept my feelings?”
You grow quiet and subconsciously, you snuggle closer into me and your hand tightens around mine. I don’t prompt you for an answer – I know you will respond when you want to.
For a while, we lie together in silence as we gaze at the stars above. My fingers toy with yours and your hair brushes against my cheeks and it feels so right. It feels so right to be like this with you at this very moment. Suddenly, you speak in a soft voice and your tone is tentative, cautious.
“I was afraid of getting hurt.”
I turn to you and you are looking up at the skies, your eyes reflecting the stars above.
“Why’s that?” I ask quietly.
“Remember when I said life here in this town was boring and that I never really got much out of it?”
“Before you moved back here, there was a guy,” you began and there’s a sad smile on your lips.
“His name was Sicheng. We met at my fifth grade summer camp a couple of years ago, it’s just this annual camp that the town council organises just outside the town and every year, he’d come even though he wasn’t from here. I’d heard that his aunt lives here and they visit every summer but that’s beside the point.
Sicheng was… interesting. He was quiet when the other guys were loud and brash. He preferred his own company to others and whenever anyone tried to strike up a conversation with him, he would simply reply with the bare minimum. To say he was difficult to get to know was an understatement, it was like he was perfectly content with his own company and he had no known friends.
We were paired as buddies during the camp and although I was intimidated by his icy demeanour, part of me really wanted to get to know him. There was just something so mysterious about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on and I was dying to figure out what it was. So I tried my hardest to talk to him, to get him to open up to me.
For a while, he didn’t budge or reciprocate any of my attempts to try to get to know him. Whenever I talked to him, he would just give me one worded replies or simply not reply at all. Whenever I offered to help him with something, he’d firmly refuse any form of assistance. There was just no way of breaking down that barrier of his and I ought to have just given up but I didn’t want to. As stupid as it sounds, I craved his attention and I wanted him to notice me and to be the only one he opened up to. It’s like that feeling of yearning for something that is so unattainable that you just want it more and more and it practically becomes an infatuation.
I would adore the way his hair swept over his eyes and how his eyes always seemed so intense, the kind you could get lost in. His aloofness felt endearing to me and god, this sounds so dumb but back then, he just seemed so effortlessly cool to me. He was so unlike other guys and I was intrigued and attracted, like a bee to honey.
By the last day of the camp, I’d felt so disheartened that I had practically given up. Yet, just as we were about to board the bus back to town, he pulled me aside. He proceeded to give me this huge, impassioned speech on how much he appreciated my efforts and how he had felt the same despite not showing any reaction whatsoever. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was, I was over the moon. And when he asked if I wanted to go on a date, I readily agreed.
The second I did, his expression morphed into one of cold indifference and I’m not kidding when I say I felt a chill go down my spine at that very moment. That smile he had on his face that I thought was just for me was gone in a split second and there were a group of boys nearby who began to clap and whistle, clearly having seen the whole humiliating exchange. They patted Sicheng on the back and offered him a wad of notes. They had made a bet with him that if he got me to agree to a date with him, they would pay him 50 bucks. They wanted to see him break out of that cold persona he had and they succeeded. For a measly 50 bucks and at the expense of my feelings.”
When you’re finally done, your breaths come out as unstable pants and your grip on my hand is now tighter than ever like you are holding onto me for dear life. I can tell you are trying hard not to cry or even let your mind completely drift back into that horrible memory of yours. My heart aches for you and inside me, anger and indignation for the situation burns within me.
I turn to face you and we’re now both lying on our sides facing each other. You bury your face into my chest and wrap my arms around you. I want to be able to protect you, shield you from any sort of pain.
“I’ll never make you feel like you’re less than perfect,” I whisper as you cling onto me. “You don’t deserve to be hurt like that ever and I can’t tell you how angered I am that someone treated you like you’re not worth it because you are. You are beautiful, smart, kind and so many good things. I love you with all my heart and the day I stop will be the day whereby I’m no longer on this earth.”
Your grip on me has somewhat loosened and I know you are listening intently to my words.
“Your heart and soul is pure, kindred. You should never have been made to feel like a fool. I’m so happy you chose to give me this chance to love you and treat you well like the queen you are. I’ll never let go of this chance, ever.”
“Lucas…” you whisper but I don’t stop.
“You are everything I ever wanted, y/n. Forever and always.”
You rustle against me and you look up at me with those large eyes of yours and I feel my heart pick up its pace. Only you can have this sort of effect on me. Just looking into your eyes like this reduces me to a nervous wreck in a split second. I start to worry if whatever I said was too much or too cheesy.
You cut me off by placing your soft lips on mine and I stiffen for a second before I meld into the kiss, my arms wrapping tighter around your face, your body pressed up against mine. Your body, soft and luscious against mine, hard and all muscle. The contrast sends a shiver down my spine and I kiss you deeper, our kiss growing hungrier by the second.
It feels like ages before we part and we are both breathing heavily by then. My heart feels like it’s about to burst and I feel euphoric. We look into each other’s eyes and yours are full of emotions, emotions that I do very much reciprocate and I wonder if you can feel my heart racing and see the overflowing desire in my eyes. The tension between us is thick and heavy but oh so enjoyable. I see the lust so plainly in your eyes and I quiver under your touch.
My hands are caressing your back and you have one hand cupping my face and another inching closer to my jeans belt. When you fingers glide ever so slightly over my hard on, I gasp sharply and my eyelids threaten to flutter shut and just let myself go to the sensation but I want to see you.
My hands slide the straps of your top down your shoulder, the roughness of my palm against the smoothness of your skin. The contact feels searing hot on my skin and I never want to stop. Your hand slips underneath my shirt and your fingers slide over the hard ridges of my abs and my breath hitches.
“Y/n…” I barely recognise my own voice, so thick with desire and lust for you.
“Lucas,” you breathe and your voice is low and so fucking sexy that I almost lose my mind.
You lift your gaze to meet mine and your next words makes my instincts simply take over.
September, 2020. My sixth memory of us.
In every way, we were perfect for each other. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We were meant to be, destined to be in love and I never once liked to consider the possibility that we might fall out with each other. But like every couple out there, we had our first argument, our first conflict. I dreaded the moment it would happened but what I didn’t expect is what it eventually led to.
I wait for the screen to buffer as I sit, shifting in my chair. My roommate, Haechan is out for tonight so that gives me plenty of time to video call you and I’m excited to see you after what feels like ages but in actuality has only been a week.
We have been dating for about three years now and so much has changed since then.
After graduating high school, we were both accepted into different universities. I had a sports scholarship under my belt to a university in another city while you accepted an offer from local university within driving distance to our town. My university is miles away from yours but we have our own means of communication which for now, only includes video and phone calls. During the holidays, we’d visit each other and either one of us would purchase a ticket to come see the other person.
I don’t think I realise how much I missed you until I see your face appear on my screen.
You have always been so effortlessly beautiful, even when you are not trying to be. You are in your dorm room when you answer my call and your hair is swept up into a messy bun and you have on an old shirt which I recognise as mine.
I smile so brightly that my cheeks hurt as I say, “Hey, beautiful.”
You are still getting settled in and you manage a hasty greeting,
“What’s wrong? Are you busy with something?” I ask, concerned.
“No, I just… Wait,” you respond and you are annoyed at something but then you quickly settle down in front of your laptop and in front of me. “I probably have to go in like fifteen minutes.”
I ignore the sinking feeling in my heart and try to hide the disappointment in my voice. This isn’t the first time we’ve called and you have said you needed to go. Sometimes, we don’t even call at all because of how busy you are.
“It’s the charity auction again,” you sigh, “The student union just called earlier and we have an impromptu meeting later. I swear, things just never go right these days.”
I’m not too sure what to do to comfort you since I am a thousand miles away but I quickly say, “I’m sure things will be fine, y/n.”
“It’s easy for you to say because you’re not in my situation, Lucas,” you rub at your temple, irritated and I deflate a little.
There’s a knock on your door and you hold up one finger, telling me to wait. I sink into my seat, a sense of dread setting in and I pick at my nails as I listen to the voices from your end and watch your empty chair. Your voice is frantic and the other voice is masculine, smooth and I frown when I realise who it must be.
I have seen him once or twice when you video call me during your breaks. I don’t really feel comfortable with how close you two are but I’m trying my best not to overthink it. Yet, I can’t help getting jealous knowing that he gets to spend practically every single waking moment with you while I sit here, unable to do anything except await your call if you’re even available for them.
You mentioned that he’s just an upperclassman of yours who is part of the student union along with you and that he’s just a really good friend of yours. I want to believe you but something has always felt off to me.
You come back to me after a while and I plaster a smile on my face immediately.
“Sorry, Lucas. I have to go right now. They’ve brought forward the meeting and we’re already late. We’ll call again, okay? See you!” You say hurriedly and before I can even say anything, you have ended the call.
I’m left staring at a blank screen and it suddenly strikes me how quiet my dorm room is and how lonely I am in this tiny room all by myself.
I’m just entering the arrival hall at the airport when I hear Mark call my name. He has this huge smile on his face and a large banner with my name on it, written in such outrageous neon colours that I can’t help but laugh.
A few people look at him, clearly annoyed while others simply stare as I race over with my bags. I haven’t been back since the last semester break and I missed everyone – my family, friends, Mark and…
“Where’s y/n?” I ask.
Mark scratches the back of his neck awkwardly which I find he always does when he’s uncomfortable. I can feel my happiness dimming by the second and I realise I don’t actually want to hear the answer.
“She uh… She had some stuff to attend to so she said she will text you and arrange to meet some other day. Didn’t you get a message?”
“No, I didn’t.” My phone was filled with notifications but none of them were from you. They were mostly by my friends back in college, family members anticipating my return, friends here in this town arranging for long awaited meet ups. I can’t help but feel a little hurt at this lack of contact. Surely you could have spared a text? How hard could it possibly to take a couple of seconds out of your time?
Mark is chattering on about something but I could barely pay attention as I stared at my phone, willing your text to come anytime now.
“Hey Mark, did she mention what she was attending to?” Mark deflates and suddenly, I realise how rude I must seem. This was a close friend who had looked forward to meeting after such a long time of not seeing each other and here I was, not even giving him the time of the day. “I’m sorry, Mark.”
He smiles, shaking his head.
“Nah man, I understand. She said it’s some student union thing at her university.”
“Moon Taeil, I bet.” I grumbled under my breath.
The two of you seem to be spending so much time together, you guys might as well be dating. Just as the thought occurs to me, I try to shake it off.
You wouldn’t do this to me, definitely not.
For the rest of the day, I hung out with Mark and we caught up but at the back of mind, my thoughts were still centred on you.
I’ve been back for about two weeks now and we’ve only met once. I won’t lie, it’s making me increasingly frustrated and as much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, I’m getting more and more irritated with each day that passes.
Almost every invitation I’ve extended to you for a date, you’ve turned them down. My texts have been mostly unanswered and the last time I’d texted you was five days ago. I’m trying not feel hurt and I’m trying to understand your situation, your busy schedule but five days?
I’m quite sure I must look weird to everyone staring at a six foot guy sulking his way through the streets but I really can’t help it. My phone is still silent, with no incoming notifications or calls which only meant that you haven’t yet replied to my texts. The very few notifications I do get are all alerts of the dwindling battery. Now that I think about it, it sound more pathetic than it did before.
I try to ignore the biting insecurity in me that is threatening to freak out at all those pictures you posted with Taeil while I was away. I’m not opposed to you friends, god, I’d never be the sort of boyfriend who stopped their partners from interacting with members of the opposite sex but it felt a little too close for comfort for me.
I grit my teeth as I remember a picture you posted with him not long ago. He had his hands on your waist and though the two of you were taking a selfie together, I’m not sure I like how handsy he was being. The only hands that should be on that waist is mine. Those are just of the few pictures I’d seen and jealousy is a bitch.
As I approach the movie theatre, what I saw drained the blood from my face.
There you were. With him.
The two of you stood unaware of my presence from afar, laughing at something he was saying. There were two ticket stubs in his hand, no doubt for the both of you and there was such a bright smile on his face that I can’t resist the urge to punch off any longer. His hand reached out to you and brushed a lock of your hair from your face and to my horror, you didn’t reach out to stop him.
I could feel my heart ripping into two and I don’t even know what had transpired, didn’t even realise my legs were moving of their accord before your eyes widened as you saw me coming.
My arm swung out and it felt like everything was going in slow motion. Taeil collapsing to the ground, holding onto his jaw. You, screaming. Everyone watching. I never thought it would come to this and I will the tears to come but they don’t. All I feel is hollow and blind, hot rage.
“Are you fucking crazy?” You yelled, immediately falling to your knees and helping Taeil up. It takes me a moment before I register what had happened, the searing pain in my knuckles and I stammer, “I- I-“
“What is going on?”
We turned to see Nabi staring at us, shocked.
“Nabi? You…” I trailed off as I watched Taeil stagger to his feet, still clutching onto his bloody jaw.
“Nabi!” He called out, making a beeline for her as you turned to me and I’ve never seen you this angry. Your eyes are burning with rage and I had the inkling that I’d done something terribly wrong.
“What is wrong with you?” You hissed, voice dripping with venom.
“I… I thought you and Taeil… Wait, what?” I spluttered, confused.
You scoffed, rolling your eyes as you pinched the bridge of your nose.
“Me and Taeil? You’re joking right?”
“I… I thought…”
“What part of ‘we are friends’ do you not understand?” You spit and I cower.
“You never replied to my messages so I… I…” I trailed off, at a loss for words. My heart is sinking and dread is seeping in and deep down, I know that something between us had snapped.
“I was helping him get together with Nabi. We were just friends.”
November 17th, 2020. My seventh memory of us.
My body feels weak and frail as I slip on my hoodie that is now clearly a size too large. I stare at myself in the mirror.
My god, I’ve lost weight. My face looks smaller, hollow and almost unhealthy. I am starting to grow a prickly stubble and my eyes are bloodshot. My shoulders aren’t as broad as they were and my bones are starting to show, it’s clear I’ve lost the athleticism I once had. I don’t like this version of myself and seeing it scares me but then I remember that we are still not talking and I decide that I don’t care all that much after all.
I deserve this. This is my karma for not trusting you when I should have and I regret ever doing what I did.
My parents ask me if I have eaten breakfast as I slip on my sneakers to go out and I nod even though I haven’t but the truth is I’m just not hungry. I walk along the streets with my headphones on and stuff my hands into the pockets of my hoodie.
I miss you. Terribly.
I try not to brood on how you haven’t replied to any of my texts in the last two months but the mere thought of me still hurts me like it was just yesterday you said those words that felt like knives to my heart.
“We should take a break, Lucas.”
I deserve this. I definitely did. I hurt you by not trusting you in the first place. I was irrational and unreasonable. I don’t know why I even acted the way I did. I was jealous, suspicious and instead of trying to hear you out or believing your version of the story, I let the one I had fashioned inside my mind take over and influence my actions, pushing you away and breaking our relationship. I let my jealousy get the better of me.
If only I could turn back time and I would have acted differently, reasoned things out, trusted you.
“What’s the point of saying all this?”, a voice at the back of my head sneers and its tone is dripping with venom. “You blew it, end of story.”
I shake my head and try to get rid of the voice that threatens to tear down my defences. I am not going to break, not in public.
I continue down the street and the chilly November wind blows against the face and the cold wind is biting, harsh. It is the kind of cold that is unforgiving and makes your bones feel like they are freezing up from the inside and I grit my teeth in pain. I’m not as fit as I was before and the cold is getting to me. The old me who could run miles even in weather like this is gone and I feel almost furious at myself. I hate to think that it is my actions that have led to this but there’s no other way about it because the facts are right there.
The trees are barren of any leaves and huge piles of dried, brown leaves lay at different intervals. The air feels thick yet dry from the cold and a few puddles of dirty rainwater fill the little holes in the pavement and I step into them, not exactly caring how it soaks up my sneakers and my feet is practically frozen at this point but I keep walking.
I see the movie theatre from a distance away and there is a bitter taste in my mouth all of a sudden. I will myself to keep walking and as I approach, I notice that there is a couple there, chattering amongst themselves and the girl playfully pinches her boyfriend’s cheek out of affection. I find myself longing for that and I had that. I just let it slip out of my hands because of my own brashness.
I’m only a few feet away when I realise that the couple seems familiar.
It’s Taeil and Nabi.
I pivot and try to walk away, unnoticed but it’s too late because Nabi calls out to me before I can make it out of there.
I stop dead in my tracks and I curse under my breath.
Fuck my life.
“Lucas? Is that you?” She asks, her voice concerned and I hear footsteps pattering over towards me from behind. I keep my head down as they circle around and there is genuine elation and relief on their faces as they realise it’s me.
“We haven’t heard from you in ages, how have you been?” Taeil asks, his eyebrows knitted together with worry. I can see that he asks the question without any hint of contempt in his voice even though just two months ago I had been so mean towards him.
Amazing judgement on people, Lucas. Way to fucking go.
“Um, I’ve been alright. Just living.”
I almost wish he was the asshole I’d imagined him to be in my mind but I’m glad he isn’t. Now that I am clear-headed and not utterly consumed by delusion and jealousy, he actually seems like a really decent, great guy.
“Yeah, you told us you needed some time to yourself and you haven’t contacted us since. We have been worried,” Nabi chips in and she holds my face in her hands and I am forced lift my head to look at them.
Her eyes widens as she cries out in surprise and Taeil’s frown deepens.
“You look…” She trails off, unsure of what to say.
“Terrible? Horrible?” I finish for her, my face devoid of any expression. I feel humiliated but I don’t want them to know that. Yet, it is as if nothing is going right for me when my stomach growls loudly and I am suddenly aware of how hungry I am despite having no appetite for anything at all.
“Let’s get you some food.” Taeil says simply and I can’t find a way to inch myself out of this situation.
We are seated in a little café just a few blocks away from the movie theatre and the place is quiet and almost empty of any patrons. The lunchtime crowd won’t be streaming in any time soon so for now, I am stuck in an awkward face off with Nabi and Taeil.
There is a thick, juicy hamburger with all the fixings in front of me and a tall glass of iced chocolate that Taeil has generously ordered for me despite my protests and I feel my stomach calling out to it but my mouth and hands refuse to budge.
“Lucas,” Nabi says gently and I look up at her. Her tone is understanding, like she’s trying to coax a wilful child to do something they really do not want to do. “Please eat something. How long have you been starving yourself like this?”
I don’t answer her because how do you answer a question like that?
“Lucas,” Taeil says and his voice is firm but not forceful.
“I wouldn’t call it starving. I just haven’t had much of an appetite,” I respond and I’m surprised by how steady and deadened my voice is. I’m not breaking, I don’t want to. Not today, not in front of Nabi and Taeil.
“Y/n wouldn’t want to see you like this.” Nabi says and immediately, I perk up.
“What did she say about me?” I ask frantically. I have to know, I need to know.
“She didn’t say anything but if I could guess, she’d hate to see you like this.” Nabi frowns and I sink back into my seat. “She would want you to eat.”
I am quiet for a while before I relent and give into the roaring in my belly, reaching out for a fry. Nabi and Taeil exchange a look and I pretend I don’t see them smiling to each other.
For a moment, there is no conversation between us as I dig in. I must have been really depriving myself more than I thought because I absolutely devour my food. I must look like a savage to them but I was so preoccupied with shoving the food down my throat that I don’t care.
When I’m done, I realise I feel so much better. It’s the first time I’ve actually been full in two months. Taeil sips coolly at his black coffee while Nabi is looking at me with wide eyes, her strawberry cheesecake still half eaten and I know I must have been a shocking sight to behold.
“Sorry,” I say apologetically to which Nabi replies, “No, no! It’s okay. We’re glad you’re actually eating now.”
“Have you ever thought of how you are going to salvage this problem between you and y/n rather than sit here and run yourself down to the ground?”
Nabi and I turn to Taeil, shocked at the straightforwardness and sharpness of his question. I feel called out and my cheeks are growing hot with shame and indignation but I keep my mouth shut. Nabi is reaching out to Taeil now but he waves her hand away and his eyes are like daggers aimed at me.
“I’m sorry but he needs to hear this,” he tells Nabi and then leans forward towards me, “Instead of treating yourself like shit and berating yourself, don’t you think you should try to change the situation you’re in rather than just sit here and mope?”
His expression is so clearly one of annoyance and irritation that I flinch.
“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way but I find it hard to truly sympathise with someone who clearly has the ability to turn around his own situation but chooses not to. Where was that vigour you had when you confronted us in front of that movie theatre? Where is that Lucas?”
Taeil’s words are like bullets firing off and I was on the receiving end of it. His words are biting and difficult to hear but I find myself brooding on it. I don’t want to admit that he’s right but the truth of the matter is that he is.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I should be out there, trying to win you back and make amends. I shouldn’t be damaging my own body, my own spirit but rather invigorate myself and do whatever I can to fix this.
“But how…?” I ask and he softens.
“Aren’t you full of ideas, Lucas?” Nabi smiles and shoots me a knowing wink.
I look at her meaningfully and she’s right, or at least I used to be. I’m drawing a blank at this very moment and it’s a little disconcerting to me. Where is my ability to think when I need it?
Even after the very impromptu meetup and much needed wakeup call I didn’t know I needed, I continue to wrack my brain for a possible solution. This time, the stakes are higher and if it goes wrong, this could be over between us. I needed to plan something grand and fool proof, something I knew you would like. Whatever I have in mind has to be perfect.
I’m going to win you back, y/n.
I spend the next week thinking of possible surprises that I knew you would like but none of them seem ground-breaking enough. I want something that you would remember. Yet as I pore over ideas after ideas, nothing striking is coming to me and it’s driving me nuts.
Frustrated, I head out onto the streets. My headphones are playing music and I have the volume cranked up high to block out any other noises or the voices in my head that yell at me to just give up.
As I round the block, I walk past a café and a couple is sitting out in the patio. I can’t help but watch as the guy with a cap whips out a bunch of luscious, red roses and presents them to his boyfriend who is bespectacled who looks absolutely thrilled. They are a new couple, in love and I reckon this must be one of their first few dates. I smile sadly.
In a way, they remind me of us when we were still talking, together. The early stages of our relationships is a period of time that I want to go back to. As I walk closer, I see the affection and love in their eyes for each other and they look at the other like they are the only person in the world. Their hands are interlocked and the guy with the cap rubs at his partner’s palm lovingly. Their coffee is getting cold but neither of them seem to care and that is when it occurs to me.
The surprise doesn’t have to be ground-breaking or out of the ordinary in any way. It just has to come from the heart. You’re not looking for some grand gesture, you’re looking for honesty, love. I almost want to smack myself for being so silly but it’s like I can feel my motivation and drive coming back to me. That vigour I’ve always had is slowly seeping in and I’m ready, I’m excited.
As much as I didn’t want to admit it, the talk with Taeil and Nabi had put things into perspective.
The sky was growing overcast as I was on my way home. Not wanting to get caught in the rain, I hastened my pace.
The thing I have to do now is first and foremost try to make amends with you and not focus on executing some grand elaborate gesture.
But… How? There are so many ways to go about it but which way would be best considering we’re not even speaking terms? My messages have all gone unanswered so texting you wasn’t an option. Do I go to your place? No, I don’t want to seem pushy. I was too pushy, too distrusting the last time and I don’t want you to feel suffocated.
The longing in my heart for you is almost unbearable at this point. I miss your touch, your kisses and your voice. I miss everything we had. I don’t want this, us to end.
I sighed deeply as I kicked a pebble that was in the way.
What would life be like for us in a few years’ time? Would we finally be able to get back together and be happy together then? Or would this whole thing prove futile? Would we be dating other people then?
I shudder at the thought. I can’t see myself being with anyone else but you.
You are… you. Amazing, beautiful, enchanting… Perfect. Ever since that day I saw you at the playground when we were still kids, it was as if something had clicked into place. Maybe I’m being dramatic but it sure felt like it. Perhaps it was indeed love at first sight and I was too young to know it then.
This isn’t just affection or puppy love or just a passing relationship between us. I know it now. What we have or what I have for you is love. I’m sure of it.
“I can’t let this slip out of my grasp,” I whispered to myself and it’s amazing how this realisation only comes to me now, after two months. I could kick myself but better late than never right? I only fear that two months might have been too long of a wait.
I can feel the same vigour coming back to me, that old go-getter Lucas re-entering and I begin to run. I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins as my legs pound against the concrete ground. I can feel the ideas popping up in my mind, a thousand ways to win you back. I can feel the positivity, the confidence in me coming back in waves and it feels glorious.
As I dash across the road, I barely register the blinding light coming in from my left and before I know it, everything has turned black.
“They are taking him off life support today,” Mark says quietly, his expression blank and his eyes sunken, soulless. He stands before you, placing a hand on your quivering shoulder in a way that is meant to be comforting but there is no warmth or good energy left in either of you for that.
You can hear your heart breaking into a million pieces deep within you and your eyes are bloodshot with unshed tears and yet, the tears don’t come. Your throat feels tight and you want so badly to scream, cry but it’s like there’s a huge permanent lump in your throat that won’t move. Your soul aches and mourns and this is all just so much pain and… longing.
You long to feel Lucas’s kiss against your skin, his voice calling out your name with that radiant vigour he always seems to have and his hands in yours. You long to hear him speak animatedly about basketball or just about anything even though you roll your eyes at most of the funny and downright silly things he says most of the time. You long for him to just sit down with you once more and teach you how to pleat dumplings the right way, to ride on his motorbike with him and feel his heart beating underneath that chest and know that he’s alive and well and with you even if it’s arguments that you guys may have. You just want him to be here, active and alive.
But now, all of that is slipping out of your hands, your life. Perhaps it did a few months ago but you have tried so fervently to avoid entertaining the possibility that he could be gone forever from this world, from his friends, his family and you.
You don’t say anything and Mark lingers for a little longer before he pats you soundlessly on the shoulder.
“If you need me, I’ll be in the ward.”
As he walks away, the first teardrops roll down your cheeks and you don’t even realise you are crying until your hands are wet with tears. You bury your face into your hands and simply cry. You don’t know how long you have been crying but it feels like hours. It feels like a nightmare, this reality you’re living right now. You want nothing more than to wake up but no matter how many times you beg to awake and find this all to be a horrible dream.
You miss him. You miss so deeply that it hurts.
You look up and you see Mrs Wong and her eyes are wet with tears, her nose red.
“They are going to do it in about two hours’ time. You should go say your final goodbyes to L-Lucas.” Her voice wobbles at the name when she says Lucas’s name and a single tear escapes from the corner of her eye. You can tell she is trying to keep it together and you rush to pull her into a hug. When you do, she breaks and her tears flow endlessly. You try to keep it together for her sake. You have to be strong for Mrs Wong and if not for her, for yourself and for Lucas. He would hate to see you crying like this.
You steel yourself and rub Mrs Wong’s back, trying to comfort her even as your heart feels like it’s currently being ripped into two and you are not sure if it’d ever become whole again. It feels as if your heart and soul has broken, died along with Lucas’s spirit and zest for life the day you got that phone call from Mark.
That day will live in infamy in your memories. That one frantic call from Mark had changed your life as you knew it and you still recall the exact moment you had received it. You were on your way to his place, sick with longing and fully expecting to make amends with him. The past two months without him had been painful and as much as you wanted him back, your pride always got in the way. The way he’d embarrassed you in front of so many people made you mad every time you thought about it yet as the days went by, your anger only dissipated bit by bit until all that was left was a dying need to see him again.
Only now, you would never have the chance ever again.
Even now, every time you close your eyes, all you see is the chaotic hallways of the hospital on that very night. The memory of you pushing past the people in your way as you run as fast as your legs can take you to the emergency room while tears of fear streamed down your face is still clear.
You recall almost going crazy with worry in the waiting room but having no choice but to wait as the doctors fought for Lucas’s life. You wouldn’t eat or sleep, until your parents begged you to do so and even then you ate extremely little but you just couldn’t find it in you to do anything except pray for his well-being and good health.
Those few hours were the worst you ever had to endure in your life.
You are like a zombie when you finally bring yourself to his ward where his family and friends are gathered around his bed. Still, seeing him like this breaks your heart as if it couldn’t be broken any further. Their expressions are all one of intense grief and that’s how you know Lucas was deeply loved and appreciated by the people around him, the people whose lives he had touched one way or another with his kindly spirit and bright soul.
Hendery and Xiaojun were present as well and you are eternally grateful for their presence during Lucas’s last moments. You knew how much they meant to him and coming all the way down here for their friend, you know Lucas would have loved to see them again even if it meant that he was bedridden and unable to talk or do anything.
You see Lucas’s father nudge the rest and Mark whispers to Nabi, Taeil and the rest of Lucas’s friends. One by one, they file out of the room, leaving you alone with Lucas.
You collapse into the seat next to his bed and for a moment, you don’t say anything. The silence between the two of you used to be comforting, peaceful but now it’s just empty. The beeping sound of his heart monitor is the only indicator that the man you love is still alive but other than that, he lies on the bed, unmoving.
You hold his hand in yours and press it against your cheek, letting his hand hold your face limply. A tear rolls down your cheek and you miss his warmth, the feeling of his thumb caressing your face. You love him so much it hurts so badly to see him like this and there are so many words you want to say to him, so many things you want to tell him but he’d never be able to hear, react to.
“Did you know,” you whisper, “The first time I saw you, we were both still in kindergarten?”
You smile sadly despite your tears, despite the grief in you.
“I think I've liked you ever since then. When you moved, I was heartbroken and then you came back. I almost couldn't believe it. I didn’t know it was possible but it was like my feelings never left. They came rushing back and being the coward I was, I didn’t want to acknowledge them.”
There are so many things you regret that it kills you inside. You regret ever ignoring your feeling, never accepting his feelings earlier, never making time for him and making the decision to take a break from the relationship. If you had never done any of those, he might still have been alive and well, not bedridden.
Lucas’s face looks sunken and you want to avoid thinking about how the past few months after the break you had initiated had impacted him but you couldn’t help it. He must have been starving himself, blaming himself. He always was harsh to himself, placing others’ feelings and emotions above his own.
“I’m so sorry,” you cry softly, “I’m so sorry for doing this to you, to all the moments we could have shared but didn’t because of my own selfishness. I love you, Yukhei. I love you so much I could die. I miss you already, I don’t know how I could possibly live without you. I don’t want you to leave me. I want you here, with me, with your family and your friends.”
You cradle his hand against your cheek longingly and his hand is now wet with your tears.
You continue, “You said you wanted to marry me. You said you would love me till the day you die and I want you to keep loving me, loving us. I need you, Yukhei. I need you in my life.”
He may be immobile but you knew he heard you as a tear escaped from his closed eyes. The sight of it breaks your heart into a billion little pieces and it feels as if you would never love someone as much as you loved him in this lifetime again.
You could run out and stop them from ever ending his life, beg for a miracle somehow but you knew it was futile. They’d tried everything they could with the money raised by his family and friends but to no avail. His family loved him too much to let him continue living like this and so did you.
When the doctors come in afterwards, you are nothing but an empty shell with a broken soul. The wails of his family and friends strike you to the core and their grief is intense and so is yours but you are hollow and when his heart finally slows to a stop, you feel a part of yourself die along with him.
It is said that moments before impending death, one’s life flashes across their eyes, in a way reliving memorable moments from their lifetime. These flashes are also said to be centred on experiences that have been particularly emotional to the person.
My seven little memories are ones that I hold dear to me because not only are they shared with you, they are some of my most memorable experiences with love. I’m aware that not many are given the opportunity to love or be loved like I did and for that, I am grateful.
I was loved by my family – by my mother who expresses love through her cooking and motherly wiles, by my father who remembers even the most minor interactions between the two of us and by my sister who so fervently urged me to pursue love with you.
I was loved by my friends – by Mark who was so willing to rekindle our friendship even when I tried to ruin it in the first place. By Yangyang, Shotaro and Chenle who so readily accepted me into their group even if we may be different people, by Nabi and Taeil who cared so deeply for me. By Hendery and Xiaojun who befriended me when I had no one and even by Yuta, Jungwoo and Jaemin who tried their best to understand me even if they didn’t see the reason behind my actions.
But most of all, I was loved by you. You who so prominently touched my life and was the catalyst of so much good in my life. You who allowed me to experience such passionate, intense, torrid love. You who brought me to love before I even fully understood it.
Please don’t cry or mourn me because you have done so much for me in this lifetime than I could ever have done for myself.
You were the one constant in my life ever since that very first day I saw you in that playground. Even when I moved, you were always at the back of my mind whether I knew it or not. I felt such a karmic attraction towards you and you made me feel feelings that I never thought was possible for a person to feel. Right now, even as we are parting, I still feel the connection we have. It’s the kind of connection that warms me up from the inside and makes me feel like I can take on the world alone. It’s a treasured connection that I will take with me as I leave this place, my family, my friends and you.
So thank you, y/n. For coming into my life. For letting me fall in love. For allowing me to experience love. For loving me.
Thank you, y/n.
I love you.
Two Plus One Is Three
Title: Home Sweet Home
Pairing: Jensen x Reader
Word Count: 613
Warnings: Fluff, swearing, mentions of smut, announcement of pregnancy
Summary: Jensen finds out he’s going to be dad
A/N: i just wrote this tonight, my favourite coworker only has 2 days left at work, i’m so gutted she’s leaving so i’ve just been writing comfort fics lol. also tagging people gives me anxiety, not sorted it all out yet, so sorry for not tagging, anyway it’s midnight and i need to go to bed
Fresh air drifted through the open window, a symphony of chirping birds and scratching leaves filled the bedroom, the temperature was nippy, but the sun was blazing, a stark reminder that it was a crisp autumn morning.
“Oh.” Hysteria seized [Y/N]s body, captured her mind and in prisoned her soul. Not realising she was holding her breath until she almost choked, she inhaled air like it was going out of fashion. Anticipation prickled her skin creating goosebumps, her mouth was dry like the Nevada desert, yet her pores expelled excessive amounts of sweat like mini waterfalls.
As if an angel from heaven itself swooped her off her feet, propelling her into the sky, smashing through puffy clouds. The once bright blue sky turned dark as she neared the boundaries of space. “Jensen,” she uttered through a sharp breath.
Uncurling her toes from the spongey grey carpet she dashed through the house like a dog who’d caught the scent of their suspect. Her first stop was Jensen, her second, may be the bathroom, the jury was still out on that.
“JENSEN!” She squealed mimicking a little piggy. Her palms were smashed together, fingertips under her chin and eyes glistening with tears. No words were needed between them, he knew what was going on just by her eyes alone.
“Really?” He asked, his pupils blown and mouth gaping.
“Mmmhmm, I just did a third test, y’know to make sure.” [Y/N] glowed like the moon itself while her burnt orange hair set the room alight like the fires from hell. His eyes swelled with tears, his bottom lip quivering softly as his eyes glazed over. [Y/N] crossed the room and cradled his prominent jaw in her hands. “Hey, are you okay?”
“I- I’m gonna be a dad?” A quick flash of fear captured his face before his shoulders relaxed, his brows softened and his lips curled into a wide smile parading his white teeth.
“Isn’t that what we’ve been trying to achieve?”
“Yeah, but, this is real right?”
“I’d never joke about this Jensen. I’m pregnant and you’re gonna be a dad.”
“I’m gonna be a dad, ME, a fucking dad. Oh god. I love you, I love you to the moon and back, I love you more than anything! Okay except maybe our baby, but you’re a really close second I promise.” [Y/N] could do nothing but smile as his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. A wave of reality hit her square in the face, this Christmas she’d be pregnant. “So what do we do now?” He asked green globes shimmering with jet black pupils the size of the London Eye.
She failed to stifle a chuckle. “Wait nine months.” His eyes silently berated her. “I think it might only be eight, maybe even seven months now though.”
“What do I say to my mom,” Jensen mumbled to himself.
“Jensen you’re thirty-three,” she reminded him playfully with her lashes fluttering like a butterflies wings and tongue swiping across her plump lip.
"Bedroom now,” he ordered with a stern glare, the one she knew not to disobey.
With her utmost compliance Jensen fucked her to the point of tears, he left parts of her red-raw and swollen from his rough attack, she begged for more until she prayed for him to stop. Afterwards he devoted his soul to taking care of her by soothing her welts and cleaning her up. The unwavering smile that could not be wiped off his face, even by the most horrendous hurricane, caused his jaw to subtly ache, but it was an ache from pride and achievement. He had created something with the love of his life that was purely theirs. All that mattered to him was her and now, their little one.
Hey is it okay for me to request a wanda maximoff x Female! Avenger! reader (who has similar powers to wonder woman) where Agnes and Monica give subtle hints and warnings for her of what Wanda is up to and doing and reader tries to question it more 👀 and ya know wanda is like mhm gotta change this now but Agnes still tries to reach out to the reader? If that makes sense!
Thank you for requesting! I’m switching it up a bit so it’s not Wanda changing it, since we don’t know 100% if it’s her doing this. Also . . .
—————— WANDAVISION SPOILERS! ——————
Wake Up, Wanda
Summary: Agnes and Monica are trying to give Y/N hints that something is off with Westview. After Y/N tries to talk to Wanda and time is rewinded, Agnes tries again, and Y/N gets the feeling that something is very wrong . . .
Y/N’s powers include magic, a power that Diana formerly had
Y/N smiled as she left her and Wanda’s house, out to go to the groceries and pick up some of Wanda’s latest cravings since she was pregnant. It was a lovely day outside in Westview, and Y/N couldn’t help but enjoy the sun shining down on her, providing her with a warm blanket, and the observing the puffy white clouds sitting the vibrant blue sky.
Y/N looked up to see Monica and Agnes stroll towards her, arms linked with smiles on their face.
“Hullo, Geraldine! Hullo, Agnes!” Y/N said, waving to them.
“Where are you off to this fine morning?” Monica asked as they approached.
“To the grocery store, picking up a few things,” Y/N answered.
“Oh! Mind if we join you? If I don’t get groceries, we’ll starve due to Rolf’s laziness!” Agnes said, and they shared a laugh.
Y/N nodded with a smile, joining the two women, and linking her arm with Agnes’.
“How’s Wanda doing? Is her pregnancy going well?” Monica asked.
Y/N’s eyes widened for just a moment. How did Monica know that Wanda was pregnant? Did Wanda tell her? How would she explain this?
“Um, it’s going well,” Y/N answered.
“It strange how this happened, isn’t it?” Agnes asked.
“How do you mean?” Y/N fired back.
“Well, I would think you would have told us before, you know? It’s almost as if it just sprang out of nowhere!” Agnes said, causing her and Monica laugh, leaving Y/N confused.
“Did you two use a donor? It’s quite impossible for two women to biologically have a child,” Monica added, Agnes nodding in agreement.
Y/N paled, feeling overwhelmed with the sudden realizations she was having. They didn’t use a donor . . . perhaps Wanda’s magic? She knew her wife was powerful, but she didn’t know if she was that powerful. Besides, Wanda had seemed as shocked as she did when they found out she was pregnant. Wouldn’t Wanda have told her if she wanted to have a baby or even made herself magically pregnant?
How the hell was Wanda pregnant?
Realizing that silence was lingering in-between them, Y/N answered Monica’s question in a shaky voice which she tried and failed to steady. “Erm, yes. We used a donor.”
“Well that solves it! I was thinking this was like the other weird occurrences,” Agnes said.
Y/N furrowed her eyebrows. Had they accidentally revealed their powers? “What other weird occurrences?” She asked, forgetting about the grocery.
“Dottie told me something strange happened the day of the talent show. She and Wanda were talking and they heard a man’s voice come out of the radio! Dottie couldn’t quite make out the words but they seemed to be talking to Wanda and them - Dottie’s glass shattered in her hand!” Agnes answered.
Y/N stopped in her tracks, trying to make sense of it all. Hadn’t Wanda tried to talk to her after the talent show, saying something strange happened with Dottie? Yes! Y/N remembered, but they had gotten interrupted because they were receiving an award for their performance.
This indeed was too many weird occurrences. With Dottie . . . Wanda being pregnant . . . Y/N needed to go home.
“Y/N, is everything alright?” Monica asked, bringing her out of thoughts.
“I’m sorry, ladies, but I need to go speak to my wife,” she apologized, before turning around and going to leave until she felt a tight grip on her arm, pulling her back.
“Wait!” Agnes yelled, jarring Y/N and causing her to turn around, seeing the tight grip belonged to Agnes.
“Write down what you’re going to say,” Monica instead, pulling out a pen and paper from her purse.
“What?” Y/N said, looking her friends as if they had just grown three heads.
“Just do it!” Agnes said, and Monica shoved the pen and paper at her.
Not knowing what to do, Y/N just relented and complied. If writing what she was going to say (for whatever reasons her friends were so hellbent on her doing so) would get her some faster, she’d do it.
She took the pen and quickly scribbled down ‘Talk to Wanda about pregnancy and strange recording with dottie - Y/N Y/L/N’, shoved it back to Monica, and walked home as quick as she could, needing answers.
Y/N practically burst into their house, not bothering to lock the door behind her.
Wanda came out of the kitchen, rubbing her belly (did her belly get bigger???) and eating an apple. Seeing her wife’s alarmed look, she almost dropped the apple.
“What’s wrong?” The redhead asked, walking over to her.
Y/N couldn’t help but let her overwhelmed tears spill. She didn’t know what was happening, she didn’t know what to do, and the mere fact that she didn’t know was making her feel as if the world was crashing down on her, because she didn’t know why her mind felt all jumbled and she was crying. All she did know was that something here was very, very wrong.
“Did you use magic to become pregnant?” She managed to get out.
Wanda furrowed her eyebrows. “No,” she answered, confused. “You know-”
“Then how are you pregnant?” Y/N exploded, stumbling back into the door.
Wanda looked at a loss for words.
“And what happened with Dottie? Who was walking to you on that radio?” Y/N continued.
Then, once again, the rewinding happened.
This time, Y/N entered the house, a smile on her face.
“Hello, love,” Wanda said as she left the kitchen, biting into a juicy red apple.
“Hi. I was going to go to the grocery to get the chocolate you were craving but Agnes said she had baked some! In fact . . . ” Y/N said, and turned to look at the clock on the wall. “I should go meet her right now!”
As quickly as she entered, she left, and walked outside to see Agnes and Monica waiting for her.
“Hello, gals!” Y/N greeted, smiling brightly until she saw the troubled looks on their faces. “What is it?”
Quietly, Monica pressed the note Y/N had previously written into her hand. After reading it, Y/N looked up at her friends in confusion. “What is this?” She asked, knowing that this was definitely her own handwriting.
Agnes and Monica explained again. About Wanda’s pregnancy, about the radio with Dottie, and soon Y/N was intent on going in there and interrogating Wanda again.
“Wait!” Monica called. “Make sure you don’t forget this time.”
Y/N furrowed her eyebrows as she walked back into her house, and quietly cast a spell so that nothing would interfere - whether supernatural or non-supernatural - while she was inside.
“Wanda, what’s going on with the pregnancy? How the hell are you pregnant? And what happened with the radio with Dottie? Who was talking to you?” Y/N immediately said.
Wanda stared at her, taken aback. Soon, though, time started to rewind again.
Or it tried to.
Y/N suddenly herself being pulled back. Whatever force was interfering was trying to physically drag her back and was trying to wipe her memories of what had just happened, to rewind and restart again. However, Y/N’s spell was stopping that from completely happening.
“Y/N!” Wanda yelled in concern, trying to use her magic to help, but nothing worked.
“WANDA!” Y/N yelled, and then let out a cry of pain. “YOU GOTTA WAKE UP, WANDA! WAKE UP AND REALIZE WHATEVER IS HAPPENING! WHATEVER IS DOING THIS!” She yelled out again, the interference hurting her and making her see flashes of something - of her old life.
“WAKE UP AND GET US OUT OF HERE! THIS ISN’T—” Y/N yelled, until she finally collapsed into a faint.
Wanda’s eyes widened and she ran forward, catching her wife before she fell. “Please be okay, Y/N,” she whispered.
Third time’s the charm
Characters: Henry Cavill x 3rd person female reader (the reader in this story has been described as someone with long brown hair, hazel eyes and not very tall)
Word count: 1.705
Warnings: Fluff. Insecurity. Doubt. Chasing. Jumping.
Author’s note: Thank you @radaofrivia for your guidance and your help <3
Go read her stories right here: Rada’s masterlist
Sentences in square brackets are Kal’s thoughts. Sentences in italics are Henry’s thoughts.
I do not own any characters in this short story, except the reader who is a figment of my imagination.
Feedback is appreciated.
It was a lovely day. The sun was shining brightly in the clear blue sky. Not a cloud present. The birds were chirping in the trees, and people were chatting away around him.
His hulking size of a fluffball dog was trotting happily beside him. Kal’s long tongue was sticking out between his sharp fangs, panting and drooling all over the uneven pathway.
He watched as a couple walked past him. They were smiling, and the woman was laughing at a joke her boyfriend had just cracked. It made him long for a special someone in his life he could crack jokes to, a someone who would laugh at his sense of humour, someone with a genuine laugh.
Henry filled his nostrils with the fresh air. He felt the vibrations of children's laughter through the ground. His heart was yearning to hear the giggles of his own flesh and blood, and it clouded his already saddened mind.
He hadn’t noticed that Kal had been sniffing the ground. His ears perked with interest as his nose found a scent that made his mouth water. Kal galloped across the park without warning, making Henry lose his grasp on the leash.
[Something smells yummy!]
“Kal!” Henry yelled at the black and white dog, but it was too late. Kal was already out of sight, following his nose to whatever had caught his attention. Henry wandered around the park. His heart was beating so fast it felt as if it would jump out of his chest. A million scenarios ran through his mind: What if something happened to Kal? What if someone dog-napped Kal? What if Kal hurt someone?
Henry searched all over the park but to no avail until he heard a loud scream coming from behind a group of trees. Shit!
The run towards where the scream came from felt as if it took forever. Time was standing still as he neared the trees. He first noticed the bushy tail, then the rest of Kal’s body, standing atop a woman who was loving up all the licks Kal was giving her. She managed to push the large dog off her body, while her delicate hands were giving him scritches all over his fluffy fur coat.
“You’re such a good boy,” he heard her sweet silvery voice say, then a bark came from his wayward dog.
[Yes, Kal is a good booooy… oh yeah, right there. More scritches!]
Henry let out a breath he hadn’t known he had been holding in since Kal went missing. Thank god!
“Kal!” Henry yelled over the sound of giggles coming from the woman. He started walking towards them but stopped in his tracks like a deer in headlights when the woman looked up. Her hazel eyes shone with excitement, and the grin on her perfectly succulent lips made his heart skip a beat. Henry felt like he had been struck by lightning, suddenly unable to move as he watched the dark-haired angel stand. She dusted off the dirt from her jeans and walked towards him. She seemed unharmed even after having been hammered by Kal, who probably weighed more than she did.
“You must be this dog’s owner. He really scared me, when he suddenly jumped on my back,” she giggled a melodious sound.
Henry’s brain finally started working again, the gears turning behind his eyes as he was processing what she had just told him. Kal; his sweet mild-tempered fluffball, who wouldn’t hurt a fly; had jumped on this woman’s back, and yet she was still smiling and loving up the bear without being afraid. It didn’t seem she knew who he was, as he didn’t see the recognition sparkle in her eyes.
“I am so sorry that he jumped on your back, he normally doesn’t do that, I don’t know what came over him,” Henry knew he was babbling, he knew he needed to shut his mouth, but the words kept vomiting out between his lips.
“It’s okay. I wasn’t that scared. Besides, he is such a sweet dog, I don’t mind being jumbled,” she looked into his eyes, and his heart did a somersault as she smiled again.
“Be a good boy for your owner, Kal,” she told the bear, and then she was gone.
Henry was standing cemented to the place. He didn’t know what had just happened. Kal barked at him, his tongue dangling from between his lips; he was smiling.
“Well Kal, you sure do have great taste in women, but you should stick to the four-legged kind,” Henry reprimanded him softly. Kal wasn’t happy. There was a reason why he had gone rogue and run away from Henry. So, before Henry could pick up the leash, Kal darted through the bushes to find the mystery woman. Not again!
[But I didn’t get to know what smelled so good!]
Henry, having gotten out of his trance, followed his dog once again. Why was his dog so keen on pursuing that woman? It was starting to annoy him. Panic was beginning to make itself comfortable in his brain, what if the woman had something that would make Kal follow her on purpose? What if she was pretending not to know him, so she could steal his dog and ask for an insane ransom?
He rounded a corner just in time to see Kal jump on the brown-haired beauty, again.
“Oh, it’s you again, Kal,” she said with amusement hinting in her voice. Kal barked and went to sniff her jacket, burying his snout deep in her right pocket. He came back out with a bag of peanut butter cookies between his teeth.
“Kal! Stop! You pig, what are you doing?” Henry raised his voice sternly at his furry friend. He grabbed Kal’s collar and pulled him away from the lady, making Kal drop the bag of biscuits to the ground. Kal lunged forward, which made Henry think he was going to jump the woman again, so he moved between Kal and the lady, and gave his companion a hard stare, as to say not happening, pal.
“So that is what you were after all along,” she said and picked up the bag.
“I am so sorry, miss, are you alright?” Henry asked while jogging towards the two. She gave him an amused smile.
“I’m fine. He didn’t scare me as much this time. Apparently, he just wants some doggie biscuits. May I give him some? They’re homemade and don't contain anything that could harm a dog.”
“Oh, yes, of course, but he shouldn’t be rewarded for leaping on other people. I swear, he has been trained not to do that,” Henry was rambling again. He was spewing out nonsense while the gorgeous woman was telling Kal to sit before she rewarded him for listening. She even asked him to give her paw, which Kal did immediately, a rare thing as he only wants to listen when he’s in the mood, kind of like a cat. She is way too nice to want to abduct Kal.
“Good boy, Kal.”
[Miss with the treats is super nice. Hey human, can we take her home with us?]
“You said those were homemade, did you make them?” Henry asked.
“Oh, yes. I have a dog myself who is a picky eater. I’ve tried all kinds of doggie treats, but she would spit them out. I had no choice but to experiment on how to make dog biscuits,” the woman told him while she gestured for Kal to lie down, which he obeyed instantly.
“And does she like the homemade treats?”
“She gobbles them down like I didn’t feed her for a week. She’s becoming quite the diva.”
They talked a bit more about her dog, who was a rescue labradoodle, and about how it had changed her look on store-bought dog treats. It was healthier to make them yourselves, and people in her neighbourhood, who had dogs, had been asking if she would sell the biscuits to them. She had then started her own one-man company, making dog treats, and her most popular item was the peanut butter cookies. They were shaped like the femur bone, which was the most popular form for dog treats.
“I’m Henry by the way, may I ask what your name is?” Henry asked her carefully. She smiled brightly at him, and it chased all the dark thoughts he had earlier away from his mind. She told him her name, which was elegant and so fitting a person like her. He had been expecting the penny to drop when he mentioned his name, but she was oblivious as to who he was, which in turn made his heart leap with joy inside behind his chest.
She looked at her wristwatch and gasped.
“Crap, I have to pick up my dog soon. It was nice talking to you, and please don’t let this beautiful boy out of your sight,” a chuckled left her lips as she walked away once again.
Kal licked his mouth for the crumbs that might have gotten stuck on the fur around his snout. He then looked up at Henry with an annoyed look.
“What?” Henry asked with a sigh. Kal tilted his head to the right. “I can’t just jump on her like you do and then ask for her phone number, that would just scare her away.”
Kal looked towards the woman, who was getting further and further away from them. He then let out a bark, and with a waggle of his puffy tail, he demanded that Henry make a choice before it was too late.
[You’re blowing it, human!]
Henry sighed and crouched down.
“What should I do?” he asked the bear-like dog. Kal tilted his head to the side, looking at Henry as if he was crazy.
[Marry her! I want more treats!]
“You like her as well, don’t you, bear?”
Kal stood and bumped his head to Henry’s back, as to tell him to start moving, which made the human mountain chuckle, getting the hint from his dog. He released Kal from the leash and whispered: “Go get her.”
Kal licked his master’s face and darted towards the woman with the gorgeous brown curls.
If you are taking drabble prompts I would love to see the proposal! 💍😍
Lol so this has been sitting in my askbox for a good long while. I accidentally reread the second half of WTWTA the other day and got really inspired to finish off some of the prompts I made insta posts for but never wrote anything, so here you go anon! Sorry it's like a year late 😂 Also up on AO3, with the insta post! (There's also a part two to this that hopefully I'll have up tomorrow, since I wrote most of it at work yesterday.)
The day is absolutely perfect by any standards, the blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds, golden sunlight making the late spring foliage appear oversaturated and lush, like the trees are dripping with emeralds. Jon glances over at Dany as they drive down the road, her eyes closed contently as the warm breeze from the open window ruffles her braid, a smile creeping across her lips at the sunlight spilling across her bare arms.
“Don’t go fallin’ asleep before we even get there,” Jon teases, his girlfriend’s eyes immediately blinking open. She grins at him, eyes darting to the back, where Ghost is sprawled out across his seat.
“I don’t think your dog heeded that advice either,” Dany says, shrugging. As if to prove her point, Ghost yawns hugely, shaking his head back and forth after.
“He’ll wake up once we’re on the trail,” Jon says, making the last turn before they hit the Kingwood National Forest parking lot. “Hopefully, anyways.”
“Gods, this weather is fabulous,” Dany says, resting her arm on the open window. “I wish it would stay like this forever.” Jon nods in agreement. It’s been raining like crazy for the past few days— but today, the sun came out, chasing away all the storm clouds, the sky truly spectacularly clear. Ghost had been so stir crazy from short walks in between bouts of rain that he and Dany had decided a hike in the Kingswood was a good idea if the weather was even remotely passable, but nature had outdone itself today, the picture perfect image of late spring in the Crownlands. It’s like it was fated, given what Jon had tentatively planned for today.
“Aye, me as well,” Jon says. “This is perfect. Before it starts gettin’ too hot.”
“Too hot,” Dany scoffs, shaking her head. “You’re ridiculous, you know that? One day I’ll drag you to Meereen, and you’ll see what too hot actually means.”
Jon laughs, flipping his turn signal as they draw up on the parking lot. “I look forward to you tellin’ me you told me so.”
“Mm. So do I,” she says smugly.
Jon pulls into a spot right by the park entrance, Dany grinning fondly as he throws the car in park. “I love this place,” she says, the two of them climbing out of the car. Jon opens the back door for Ghost, keeping a hand on his leash. With the sudden change in weather, they’re far from the only people with this idea, the parking lot packed with people and children and pets. Ghost will have to stay on leash, if the trails are this busy too.
“I do too,” Jon says, handing Dany her pack from the back before he grabs his own. “Always reminds me of that first hike we ever did together.” She smiles at him fondly, Jon’s heart pounding in his chest from saying that out loud, because that’s exactly why they’re here today, even if Dany is blissfully unaware.
He checks that his water bottle and Ghost’s are in the pack, before patting the front pocket, just to make sure he can feel the blunt corners of the ring box through the nylon still.
“You ready, Ghost?” Dany is saying, ruffling his ears playfully as his dog barks gleefully, tail wagging a mile a minute. “Yeah, you are?” She looks up at Jon then as he slings his pack over his shoulder, and her smile melts him, makes his heart kick into overdrive yet again.
Gods, he may be a nervous wreck, but he still can’t wait to ask her to marry him.
“You ready?” she asks Jon, pushing her braid over her shoulder, and he nods, closing the trunk and walking over to her and his dog.
“Aye, I am,” he tells her, grinning as she takes his hand, and lets her pull them forward towards the start of the hike.
I would die to see you live
| Mal x Alina | Rated M | Temporary Character Death | 6.7k |
Mal's death plays Alina's mind over and over, like a terrible dream stuck on repeat. The only thing she sees when she closes her eyes is his face in those final seconds before he was lost forever. And so, Alina drinks her pain away and, through it, she searches. Searches for a mythical place called The Wishing Island, where your deepest desire can be granted. Everyone believes The Wishing Island is just a myth, but Alina knows its real. It has to be. She isn't sure where to go next when she meets the famed pirate, The Wraith, who might just be able to show her the way.
Written for @troped-fanfic-challenge Throwback event, following a prompt from Troped: Visual!
Rain and salt spray mixed with blood dripped from her brow and down over the bridge of her nose, her sword twisting as she pushed it up through the bottom of his jaw.
There was no sound except her own screams echoing in her ears, the pounding of the rain, and the echo of Mal’s last manic, gasping laugh.
The sun peeked through the window of her captain’s quarters, shining directly over her face and waking her from her dream. The sea was calm, the boat rocking evenly, and the skies were clear of anything more than a few puffy white clouds scattered over the blue expanse. Quite cruel to be awoken from such a horrible dream by something so peaceful.
But it wasn’t just a dream, she reminded herself, just as she had done every single morning in the last year when she would awaken after reliving the memory. The agony she felt in every moment since was real too.
Alina slid out of her bed and pulled on her trousers and button down shirt, shoving her feet into her knee high leather boots before heading down to the galley to track down some food and coffee before heading back into her quarters and settling behind her desk, shuffling the papers together to clear off the map at the bottom of the pile. She grabbed the flask of whiskey stashed in a drawer and added a healthy pour to her coffee before taking a sip.
It had been three months now, out at sea, thanks to Captain Stormhund. He had been there, in the moments after Mal’s death, blood staining the deck. And he had been there in all of the months since, pulling her out of bars and saving her from the gallow at least once. She took another sip of her coffee, glancing up and letting her gaze fall on the compass that rested on her shelf. The brass was dull now, the glass scuffed, but the compass face was still remarkable, clean with sharp contrast between the gleaming black and the stark white. It was Mal’s.
Had been Mal’s.
‘The north on this compass, it’s all about the magnetic fields of the earth.’ He would say, his voice low under the crashing of the waves on the hull as he pointed in the direction the arrow was pointing.
“You don’t even know what that means.” She would answer, every time and he would look offended even though it was true. He had heard it once, from an old scholar who had decided to follow his dreams to the sea. Mal had been three sheets to the wind and had barely remembered the highlights. She still liked to let him tell her about it anyway.
“Well, do you know which way east is?” He would ask, and she would roll her eyes.
“Of course I-”
“East is the direction the sun rises.” He would interrupt, looking very serious.
“And west is the opposite? Oh and I’m sure you’re going to let me know that south is the opposite of north?”
“Actually, south is to the right of east.”
“Oh, yes of course.”
But then he would take her hand and use it to point to the lowest point in the sky, just above the horizon line, where a bright, gleaming star had just emerged. She was sure that he had no idea what the star actually was, or if it even was a star and not a planet, but this part always made her heart race in her chest. He would make up a different story every time, a star in some constellation he had heard about, a planet named after an old god she had read stories about, but it didn’t matter. He would stand with his chest pressed against her back, his arm flushed against hers the whole way to her fingertips, and his soft voice in her ear, whispering long forgotten tales.
The ship rocked hard, jostling her out of her memories and back into the bright cabin. She took another heavy swig of her coffee before tipping in more whiskey. She had to meet with Stormhund today, but nothing said she had to do it sober.
When his ship appeared on the horizon, sails wide and taut even in the less than ideal wind conditions, she felt ease and agony engage in a dance in her chest. To see Stormhund and The Dragon Queen, her dear friends, would be a relief, but she had demanded they meet aboard her ship for a reason. Even seeing its vibrant green hull she felt the bile rising up in her throat. Those last images of Mal had never truly left her mind, but seeing that ship again brought them back in brilliant color.
Zoya stepped across the planks between their ships first, her glossy black hair shining in the midday sun, followed by Nikolai’s blond hair, a shining crown amongst his men. Alina was there to greet them and lead them into her quarters, offering them a coffee or a whiskey, to their preference, which they kindly accepted. The meeting was nothing more than formalities, Alina asking about cost and Nikolai refusing to tell her anything, insisting that it was no trouble, Zoya asking about the crew and Alina trying not to get any of her loyal men on Zoya’s bad side, but, after a time, the room fell quiet, and Nikolai brought up the subject they had all been avoiding.
“Have you had any luck at all?” He asked, leaning across the table with a sincere look of pity on his face that made Alina want to throw her cup at the wall. “We’ve had all our best scholars on it, but none of them can seem to find anything about this…”
“Wishing Island.” Alina supplied through a tight jaw.
“Wishing Island.” He nodded, trying to look supportive. “They’ve either never heard of it, or if they have, they say it’s all myth.” Zoya stayed silent, her crystal blue eyes darting back and forth as she watched the exchange.
“I know what everyone says but I just-” Just what? Couldn’t give up? Couldn’t move on? Couldn’t face the world every morning knowing Mal was lost forever? “I just have to keep trying.”
They kept talking about meaningless things for a while longer, but they all knew it didn’t matter. Alina would die on this ship, even if she was the last person willing to search for the answers, she would never stop. The light had gone out of her world when Mal had died and there was nothing she could do but spend every moment trying to get it back.
The Dragon Queen and her pirate lover stayed for dinner, their crews mingling and drinking across the decks of the two ships until the sun had fallen behind the horizon and the last rope between their ships was being hauled back home. Zoya stood tall on the edge, clinging to the ropes to hold steady as she waved Alina off with a breath of wind that caught the stark white of Alina’s sails and sent her off in search of a hopeless, lovesick cause.
Link in the Notes!
hi it’s dr3 !! I thought I’d submit this so people could see it on tumblr too, seeing as I still haven’t gotten around to making my own blog yet lol
anyway, this is a continuation of the prompt sent in earlier with Dream confronting Sam abt the pickaxe
tw: emotional distress, physical/emotional abuse, pickaxe injuries, prison abuse, trauma, mental illness, suicide, suicidal thoughts, violence, death, mental illness, c!sam/warden!sam critical, panic attacks, blood, illness, vomiting (this one’s quite dark)
Dream stumbles to the ground with all the grace of someone that’s been unable to run for months, whose legs had been shackled by magic that sunk deep into skin-muscle-bone-marrow, who has been running on nothing but fumes and spite and a rapidly fading conglomerate of potion effects from what scattered bottles he could find in the desperation of his escape – which is to say that he collapses with little grace at all, but oh well. It’s not like there’s anyone around to notice.
The sky is blue, and the color is so foreign it physically hurts, the grass too green and the sky too blue and clouds too white and everything far, far too much; the sun beats down on him with a golden warmth that is nowhere near the stifling intensity of the lava but feels more like it’s melting him to his core anyway. He wants to close his eyes, look away, because the brilliance of the color above him creates needles of white-hot pain that drive into the inside of his skull, but he can’t, he can’t wrench his gaze from a sky he’d been so sure he would never see again, that the Warden had told him-
The thought of the man has a roiling, shifting pressure growing in his throat, and he thinks it’s just from the rage that hasn’t left him since he caught sight of the creeper hybrid standing tall on the other side of the field, mingling with the constant ache in his gut from the too-few potatoes he’d been left to eat, the ache in his muscles from using them far beyond pacing the same obsidian walls (6 blocks across, 11 blocks back to front), the ache in his chest from listening to the same discordant melody of broken xylophone ribs smashed in by netherite, so it’s not until he’s pitching forward into the earth with a distantly familiar haze settling over his mind and angry pressure at the back of his mouth that he realizes - oh, he’s got potion sickness.
He should’ve been expecting it, chugging so many potions with nothing in his stomach, when his body (cracked fractured ruined) seemed hardly enough to hold itself up, never mind a set of hastily-crafted diamond armor and then being forced to fight, but the nausea catches him off guard anyway. He chokes on the burning, multi-colored sludge that forces itself out of him, heaving on hands and knees in the middle of a rolling plain. His eyes are shut but the stabbing brightness of the sunlight leaves no mercy, anyway; he whines pathetically, limbs trembling, weaker than a newborn kitten.
His left arm spasms and it’s the final straw, and between one blink and another he’s collapsed onto his left side, vision blurring and swirling in on itself, arm still shaking beyond his control (the sharp-dull edge of a pick rending through muscle, shattering too-brittle bone, a deep voice, familiar, unchanged, unflinching, this is your punishment-) and the sky swims blue and beautiful and he doesn’t know if the shifting shapes are from the cloudiness the potions have left in his brain or the tears gathering in his eyes. He needs to leave, needs to run, needs to get out out out until he is too far to chase, too far to find, until he can build walls of netherite and magic and totems and pearls and potions that will not crumble under the single-toothed bite of a pickaxe swing, until he is too deadly to fight and too strong to hurt, someone that no one would dare try and break (someone so thoroughly broken that they wouldn’t bother trying anymore-)
His arm convulses, seizes as he draws it into his chest; his legs are twisted into each other and feel like lead; he begins to shake all over from the adrenaline crash or developing fever or some twisted combination of the two. It doesn’t matter, really, because the end result is the same; he watches the clouds crawl across the sky through desperate, resigned tears and burns the blue to memory. He’s too weak to run, too weak to fight, and he’ll sooner let the Warden drive Will Breaker through his heart before he lets them drag him back into that hell. Either way, the potion sickness has sounded his death knell, and all he has left is to watch the sky and wait for this field to become his grave.
Laughter bubbles forth, desperate, bitter; he wonders how much the world must hate him, to dangle freedom so close yet so far away. When he escaped, he’d been prepared to die, ready to meet the inevitable army raised to bring the monster back into its cage with no goal in mind but to show them how they could never tame him, but to break their bones like they had shattered his. He’d had no goal but to go out on his own terms, to die with his feet in the grass and eyes on the sky and under the warmth of the sun’s stare that he hadn’t felt in so, so long, to die as he lived, an axe in one hand and shield in the other, the fight they could never leach out of him still red-hot in his blood.
But then Sam had stuttered, stopped in the middle of the fight, the people around him turning away, weapons no longer trained on him in favor of turning curious, horrified gazes to the hybrid’s face, and Dream - hyped up on strength, pushed forward by the air in his lungs that didn’t taste of smoke and iron and dead hope, had screamed through bared teeth with the humming euphoria of having nothing left to lose. For once, it wasn’t himself under the Warden’s heel, not his eyes blown wide in desperation, not his voice breathing someone’s name, begging, ignored; for a moment, it was his voice forged with iron and dipping low in threat; for a second, he spoke and everyone listened.
For a fleeting second, brilliant with (naïve, reckless) hope, he thought that he could be free.
A breeze brushes past his face, soft, gentle. A breath rattles in his lungs and leaves his lips; his eyes droop to half-mast as he watches a cloud drift across the sky. The world is not kind, not to him, not to a monster, but the sunlight is warm and the world is quiet and it’s almost enough to shush the lava bubbling in his ears; the world is not kind, but he thinks that maybe this is the closest to kindness he has left.
Footsteps, to his right. His eyes squeeze shut; he’d known better than to think that they would heed his warning, but maybe a stupid, naïve part of himself had still hoped that they would at least respect this last wish. The sound is indistinct, muffled by the grass, heavy with the netherite that all of them had been wearing. He steadies his breathing and wonders if they’ll bother giving him a quick death.
He can’t really help the choked whine that rises in his throat, hating himself for how pathetic he sounds as he does - out of everyone, why did it have to be her? Even the Warden would be more bearable - he, at least, is predictable, punishments methodical and executed with the same sort of ruthless efficiency that characterized everything he did in Pandora’s Vault. He hadn’t seen her since the day it had all crumbled down, since she ducked her head away from his eyes as he choked on his own blood from the sword driven through his chest, hadn’t seen her since she abandoned him into an endless hell of obsidian and lava and screaming for people that would never come-
“Oh duckling,” he hears more than sees her move from the corner of his eye, rustling grass, a whirl of red against the yellow-green grass, brilliant blue sky; she edges closer and his right hand tightens on the handle of his sword, a frantic, seething wheeze building from the space beneath his ribs. Her voice is soft, mournful. “Oh duckling, what happened to you?”
You did, he wants to scream, you left me in there you let him hurt me you let him break me piece by piece by piece until I was a broken bottle smashed against the corner of a brick wall unable to do anything but draw blood on my jagged edges you let him do this to me you knew what he did to me and now I am shattered I am wrecked I am ruined beyond repair and you did this to me you did this you-
She stops moving forward, sinking to the ground; he watches her through half-lidded eyes, the world dissolving into impressionist swirls of color and light, Puffy a brilliant red bloodstain smeared against blue blue blue- he’s all too conscious of the way his left leg trembles, shakes, feels it move on tangled puppet string nerves that have been frayed and snapped too many times for even respawn magic to knit them back together. His heart flutters, hums in his throat, battling his lead-heavy limbs as it pushes him to move run fight- he tries to claw himself back up to his feet through the fog in his head and can’t manage any more than the twitching of the fingers on his right hand, still wrapped around the sword he clutches like a lifeline.
“I won’t go back,” he murmurs, voice scratchy, “I won’t- you won’t take me back, I’ll kill you,” he hears her breath hitch, and he barrels forward, breathing ragged, “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill Tommy, I’ll kill- all of you, I don’t care I won’t go back I won’t I’ll kill myself before I go back there I’ll do it I’ll-”
“I-” he raises his sword, waving it wildly, drawing it towards himself - he’ll be damned if they drag him back, he’ll be damned if he dies by anything but his own terms, he’ll be damned if they think he’ll die under anything but a blue sky- “I’ll-”
A hand grabs his wrist and he freezes, sword clattering out of his grip, hates himself for freezing, hates the way he draws in on himself to protect his head, hates the way his ears ring with the sound of cracking bone and bubbling lava and the fragmented screams of a person that died-respawned-died too many times to count, whose torment feels so visceral and vivid that he can hardly recognize it as himself. It takes all too long for him to push the memories away, the darkness so foreign in this new world of brilliant color and light and something softly brushing his skin, the screams in his head washing away at the babbling croon of someone murmuring in his ear, “-sorry, duckling, I’m so sorry I didn’t know, none of us knew, please I’m sorry I’m so, so sorry-”
It’s too late, he thinks as he sinks down back to the ground, shoulders shaking with something too dark to be a laugh but too delirious to be a sob, black crawling up the corners of his vision as he looks up at his mother’s face. He smiles in a dizzy sort of realization as the world swirls away, melts to the sound of her softening voice and tumbling apologies, the sound of his own wheezing breaths rattling in his chest-
Puffy’s eyes, wide and wet and crinkled in the corners from sadness, are blue.
DR3,,, DR3 OH MY GOD ??? i have read this literally dozens of times and every single time i fall in love with it ten times more ,, this is such a masterpiece and i am going to marry it plspls this is so angsty ???? and beautifully written ?? your style is literally my favourite thing and i’m going to reread this 1000 times over tysm for this :’))
Going to Hell in a Handcart
Suptober21 Day 12: Hellbound
“Well hello young man.”
“Hello!” Jack raised his hand in greeting to the older woman settling herself on the bench next to him.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is. Though I think we need rain.”
“True, true. Makes my bones ache though, so I’ll enjoy the sunshine.”
“That makes sense.” Jack pulled a milky way out of his backpack hoping the chocolate hadn’t gotten too melty in the warm air. It was a nice day though. Warm breeze, puffy white clouds to break up the endless blue of the sky. He savored the sweet of chocolate and caramel and nougat on his tongue. Cas said it was important to really taste things when you had a chance.
They sat in companionable silence, Jack enjoying the nougat and the woman enjoying the sunshine. Not seeing a trash can when he was finished, Jack carefully tucked the wrapper into the pocket of his jeans.
“So young man. Do you work around here? I see lots of people take their lunch breaks in the park.”
“Oh, no. I don’t have a job.”
“No job? Hm. Are you looking for one?” Her eyes narrowed.
“No. I’m meeting someone here.”
“A girlfriend,” the woman’s sour expression had turned sweet once again.
“She’s a girl. And she is my friend.”
“But not a sweetheart?”
“Oh Dean says I’m too young for that sort of friend.”
“He’s one of my dads.” Jack smiled at the woman, his hair flopping over his brow.
She shifted a bit farther away from him on the bench, eying him with much more suspicion than she’d had before. “Just how many dads do you have?”
“Three or four? It’s depends on how you count.”
“Depends on how you count? Young man, I don’t think you understand what sort of danger you are putting yourself in.”
“This park is very safe. At least three of my dads agree on that.”
“No, no, no. You must be careful.”
“I am careful! The park really is well protected. And Sam, he’s sometimes one of my dads, he made me an emergency kit.”
“It’s not the park you should be concerned with.”
“It’s not? What should I be concerned with?”
“Why, your immortal soul! You don’t want to go to hell do you?”
“Actually that’s why I’m here.”
“On this bench. I’m going to hell any minute now.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Of course. Cas says we should forgive when we can.”
“No, I mean, did you, did you just say you are on this bench to go to hell?”
“Yes. The bench is comfortable while I wait. I’m a little early.”
“Yes. I find it better to not keep the queen of hell waiting, so I’m early.”
“You’re expecting the queen of hell to come meet you at this bench?”
“No, she doesn’t come out here very often. Something about the sun not being good for her skin. I think she just doesn’t want to deal with my dads. Even though they’re all friends.”
“Your ‘dads’ being friends with the queen of hell makes sense. Wait, isn’t it the king of hell?”
“Nope, definitely the queen. Some of the demons wanted to petition for her to be a king of hell since they’ve had kings in the past and they thought gendered language might confuse some of them, but she didn’t take it well and she’s still queen.”
“Satan is the king of hell!”
“Nope. A lot of people get that wrong.”
“I did not get that wrong! I don’t know what kind of weird filthy lies you’ve been taught but you shouldn’t have so many dads and there most certainly is a king of hell and that is Satan.”
“You seem very upset about this.”
“You are mocking me!”
“I don’t think so.”
“You tell me you’re going to die on this bench and go to hell and…”
“I’m not going to die. I’m just going to hell for the day.”
“For the day?”
“Are you alright? You seem very pale all of a sudden.”
The woman put a hand to her chest, her mouth opening and closing without any sound coming out beyond a few squeaks.
“Well, it looks like it’s time. I hope you feel better soon.” Jack gathered up his backpack, slinging it over his shoulder as he walked towards a sleek black car parked at the edge of the park’s lot.
“You’re going to hell in that?!” she sputtered incredulously.
Jack turned and tilted his head. “Yes. Dean keeps hoping that it will be a handcart one of these days, but so far it hasn’t been. I don’t get that joke, but he is very fond of it. Goodbye.” Jack turned back towards the car and continued walking. The door opened and he got inside and the car pulled away.
“Enjoy that little conversation?” Rowena leaned forward in the seat.
“Is it wrong to feel happy about making someone upset?”
“Sometimes. But people who insist on judging strangers that are just existing in the world get what’s coming to them.”
“Would Cas agree with you?”
“Tweety pie would tell you to be better than that. Rise above and all that tosh. But he would also have kissed Dean on that bench if he had been there instead of you.” Rowena sat back against the plush leather interior, smiling. “Come on Jack. Let’s go to hell.”
Jack smiled. “Rowena?”
“What’s a handcart?”
Peachy: After much "I'll start it one day" it's h e r e. This took me a while yes but it was worth it. Taglist is open for this btw! Also which vision should y/n get?
Series Title: Icy Illusions
Paring: Villain!Kaeya x Reader
Chapter Summary: You’re a new resident of Mondstadt and overall you have a happy life. Many friendships and adventures have been made ever since your arrival. Recently, you’ve been falling for the cavalry captain, Kaeya Alberich. But what happens when you learn an important secret of his that changes everything you knew about him?
Word Count: 5.1K words
Inspiration(s): I made a Spotify playlist of the songs I got inspo from if ya wanna see (Some songs might make more sense later)
Genre(s): Canon Divergence, “Friends” to Enemies, love at first sight-ish? and angst
Warning(s): Nightmares, spoilers for Kaeya’s backstory? they do have slight alterations, and attempted murder
Frostbite / Ablaze / Tranquil
*Years Before Your Arrival*
“You’re lying! Tell me it’s untrue Kaeya! Tell me!”
In amidst the rain, Diluc shouts towards Kaeya. His voice is strained from all the sobbing of his father's recent death, but even with that, Diluc must know the truth of Kaeya. All this time has he been using everyone around him as a pawn for his own good? For the good of the Fatui? Diluc doesn’t want to believe his statements, but the way Kaeya is acting right now makes it all seem true.
"I've already explained myself to you. I don't have to do so again."
Diluc's hand tightened around his weapon, he didn't want to fight him. All these years Diluc has thought of Kaeya as a brother. Someone he can trust and confide in, but after the truth of Kaeya that he has told, Diluc realizes he can’t trust him. Not anymore, and with that conclusion to himself, he strikes.
Kaeya sensed the aggression and dashed out of his way. High on adrenaline, Kaeya quickly draws out his sword to defend himself from Diluc’s attack. After many years of training together, Kaeya knows his opponent's strengths but most importantly his weaknesses. With that in mind, Kaeya trips Diluc, making him fall flat onto the wet terrain.
“Just end this already Diluc. I want nothing to do with you nor your family name,” Kaeya raises his voice, making sure he gets his point across, “I’m destined for something better! I won’t let you stand in my way of taking my revenge on the archons!”
A strained voice comes from Diluc, “So that’s it then? You’re just going to throw all those years away of friendship? You make me sick,” Diluc gets up, with some hindrance, “Just burn already!”
Crimson flames arise into the fight, making Kaeya back away from the sudden heat and receiving a burn on his right arm. Kaeya stands a few feet away from Diluc, for not wanting to be burnt alive from him.
“I’ve stayed out of your way for my entire life, and now you get to see me at my true potential!” Bitter cold spikes of ice burst from Kaeya’s sword. Diluc is quick to counter his attack with his flames and the two elements crash into each other, stunning each brother from attacking any further. Diluc drops his weapon, now realizing that this is pointless. He just lost his father and his brother, or at least who he viewed as one, who has betrayed him.
“Get out of my sight. I never want to cross paths with you ever again! You’re a disgrace to the archons.”
“Disgrace to the archons,” A sinister laugh comes from Kaeya, “I’ve already been one when they destroyed my home.”
After that grim day, the once close brothers became enemies.
Puffy white clouds surround you. They feel ticklish as they graze your face, and as you laugh at the feeling, you look up towards the blue sky. The vast blue makes you feel free as if you could accomplish anything you desire. You don’t think about your next steps, all you know is you want to be with the sky, so you take flight. Up in the clouds, you’re free from any worries that plague you.
In an instant, the fantasy you’ve achieved is falling apart. The once white clouds turn grey and stormy, just like the ones in your old hometown of Inazuma. You’re falling into the storm of thunder and lightning at an alarming rate and there’s no hope for it. You’ll be trapped for eternity in the abyss of the storm. You start breathing harshly in an attempt to get oxygen in your lungs, and then you awaken.
There in the darkness of your room, you sit on your bed, waking up from your nightmare. Your breathing slowly evens out and you try to wipe away any sweat you feel from yourself. Having a nightmare is something you didn’t want in your new life. All you wanted was a life of freedom here in Monstadt, and not having fears about the constricting lifestyle you used to have. You push that thought away and focus on the future.
When arriving in Mondstadt the first day, you actually became friends with the librarian named Lisa. She even offered to give you a tour around the town, which is what you’ll be doing today with her.
It doesn’t take you a while to get ready. You couldn’t carry much while trying to figure out where to live. Even as much as you were fine in Liyue, the formalities of everyone reminded you too much of Inazuma. So when you heard of Mondstadt being the city of freedom, you decided that’s where you should be.
The cool wind hits your face as you leave where you were staying, giving you a wake-up call for the day. You make your way to the library where Lisa told you to meet her, the thing is actually, you never asked where exactly is the library. You were too excited that you finally found a proper place that you forgot to ask her before she left. You do remember her mentioning being at the Knights of Favonius Headquarters so that’s where you start heading.
The knights stand at the entrance paying no attention to you as you walk inside. Inside you see three doors, three doors that you don’t know what they lead to. There’s no time like the present so you enter in the first one you see. That door leading to a room that definitely doesn’t look like a library.
What you do see is a man looking at you. He seemed to be hard at work so you quickly form an explanation for your unexpected visit.
“I’m looking for the library, do you know what door it is?”
“It’s the door across from here,” He points towards your way, but before you leave he keeps talking to you, “You’re the new resident of Mondstadt, no?”
Seems like rumors spread faster than the wind here, “I am, yes. I heard this was a fairly calm city so I decided to live here.”
“Well Inazuma is quite the polar opposite of Monstadt, so it makes sense why you would prefer living here. I do hope you enjoy your life here. It’s always lovely meeting new people.”
This man seems to be very friendly, he almost reminds you of Lisa. Upon thinking about Lisa, you remember that Lisa is waiting for you. You wave your goodbye to him and make your way to the room across from him.
The library is fairly lit which provides a nice atmosphere to the place. Down below you see Lisa on the main floor so you quickly make your way to her. She notices you and gives you a warm welcome.
“Hi darling! I hope your way of coming over here was alright for you?”
“I did get lost on the way,” You explain, “But I managed.”
She gives you a smile, “That’s lovely to hear. Now, shall we get going? I do have so much to show you about our city.”
You nod at her statement and the both of you walk out of the library. While leaving the library, you spot the same man with whom you talked to this morning. He gives you a smile as you look at him, making you repeat his action and wave at him.
Lisa speaks up, “Y/n, let me introduce you to our Calvary Captain. This is Kaeya,” Lisa leans closer to you until her voice whispers, “Quite the charmer he says might I add.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. If I may ask, where are you from?”
You recall your old home. There were some good moments you’ve had but the negatives outweigh those positives, “I’m from Inazuma. Well, I stayed in Liyue for a little, but after I heard that Mondstadt was so calm, I decided this is where I should be.”
“Oh so that’s where you’re from! I was trying to figure out if you are from Liyue or Inazuma,” Lisa points out, “Seems as if you’ve traveled a lot then."
“You know, a new knight would be nice to have. You might have some useful fighting skills to share with us,” Kaeya hesitates before going on, “I’m mostly interested in knowing but maybe other people might as well. Don’t you agree?”
You did know some fighting skills, and you thank yourself for knowing it since on your way out of Liyue you encountered many treasure hoarders. Although being a knight might help you learn how to use a weapon better. Taking this opportunity that Kaeya has given you might be a good start at a new life, “I would like to share what I know. We should talk more about the details if possible.”
He displays a smirk, or at least that’s what it seemed to you, and he beckons towards Lisa, “Make sure you tell them about Angel’s Share. That will be where we can discuss details later in the week. I must be on my way though.”
“A meeting I assume,” Lisa questions him.
Kaeya only gives a simple answer. Not really answering her but it’s enough, “Something like that you could say.”
And with that, he’s gone from your sight, but his presence can still be felt. He was like a never-ending flame, always burning and providing light to people. You were warned of his charm by Lisa, but warning or not, you were awestruck at him. Something about him was something you’ve never seen before. Unlike in Liyue where the people were more composed, it seems here in the city of wind everyone is more vibrant.
“Shall we keep going with the tour y/n?”
“Yeah,” The sun shines through as you open the door towards the outside, “I can really see myself loving it here!”
As the months drift by, you’ve made many memories of your new life. Ones you cherish and like to look back on as well. You remember the meeting you had with Captain Kaeya about being a knight, or rather sharing some of your fighting skills to the knights to help them.
It was at this tavern named “Angle's Share”. You first saw a peek at it with Lisa showing you around, but once night arose, you could see a clear difference in atmosphere. The tavern was bustling with life and people drinking the night away. One of those people being Kaeya and you. Well, mostly Kaeya that is.
“So, tell me a little about Inazuma? I presume the weather is mostly cloudy with a definite chance of thunder, hmm?”
Inazuma is known for the raging thunderstorms so you expected this joke, “Well it isn’t always cloudy. At times the shine shines through to give us warmth!”
Kaeya lets out a sigh, “It must’ve been quite difficult dealing with the strictness of Inazuma. I have some acquaintances who live there and they send me letters about how stressful it is living there. How was it for you?”
“It was quite strict, yes, but I did make some good friends and even memories when I lived there. I still send them letters in hopes to know that the situation in Inazuma will get better.”
Saying that you were a stowaway doesn’t seem like the most pleasant conversation starters, so you merely decide to tell a lie. There’s no harm in hiding a little bit about your background from your new friend.
“Let’s make a toast,” Kaeya raises his drink, “Here’s to your new life and me being your friend. I sense a great friendship shall bloom between us.”
You smile at his words. Kaeya made you feel safe and secure and you liked that he gave that to you, “A toast then!”
From that day forward you and Kaeya became close. Chatting when you had time, sparring with each other, and even going out for drinks at the tavern.
On one particular day though you met Diluc, who was tending to the patrons and creating drinks. He seemed like the complete opposite of Kaeya, both in appearance and personality-wise. Yet to your surprise they were actually brothers.
“So you’re related!?”
Kaeya chimes in, “Well I was the adopted one, but either way we grew up as if we were brothers. We had a loving father, isn’t that right Diluc?”
The redhead only scoffs at his remark and you worry if you’ll offend him by asking about their family. You just nervously smile and nod as the brothers give very obvious glares at each other.
“I’ll be right back y/n. I picked some berries that’ll pair quite nicely with our drinks together. Let me excuse myself for a while.” Kaeya excuses himself and you watch as he leaves the tavern. Leaving you and Diluc alone. The tavern was already loud to begin with, but it now seemed it was pure silence with Diluc. You try to think of anything to say to him to cut the silence but he beats you to it.
“You should really be careful who you’re with. He isn’t all that he seems.”
His words confuse you. Kaeya has shown nothing but kindness to you so for Diluc to say that makes no sense, “What do you mean by that?”
Diluc sets down the cup he was cleaning, “What I mean is to be wary of Kaeya.”
Some questions pop into your mind but before you could ask them, Kaeya has returned. Carrying different types of berries that seem very sweet.
“I’ve brought the side dishes. Let’s proceed with our plans, shall we?”
He beckons to the table where you both always sit. As you walk towards your seat, you can’t help but take a glance at Diluc, but he pays no attention to you nor Kaeya. His words were surprising to you but you didn’t see why you needed a warning. Kaeya treated you nicely and you also wondered if he liked you more than a friend. You figured it might not be long until he confesses, and you’ll be waiting for that lovely day to come.
Sooner or later.
“I’m finally going to do it Lisa! I’m going to express my feelings to Kaeya!”
Lisa looks up from her book, “Oh? The last time you tried to do so, you got scared and came back to me drunk. You then went on to explain why you like Kaeya so much. Are you sure this is a good idea?”
The librarian had made a good point, even as embarrassed you are to admit it. Today you’ll make sure nothing goes wrong. Lisa has been giving you a pep talk beforehand and you thank her for the advice as well. With a bouquet of Calla Lilies in your hand and enough confidence, you head to Jean’s office. Kaeya would most likely be there.
The door opens with a creak and clicks when you close it, but it isn’t long until you find that it’s empty. With nothing to do, boredom gets the best of you and you decide to look around. You’ve already seen most of the office, Kaeya would often invite you to give him company, but there’s no harm in poking around to wait for the time to pass. Although, something catches your interest on the main desk.
It’s a letter with a specific symbol on the wax seal. You let a finger run over the grooves of it as you try to figure out where exactly you’ve seen this symbol. The thought comes to you as you remember an adventurer showing how they defeated some members of the Fatui and claimed an Insignia as a prize. As you inspect the seal, you start to wonder why it would be here.
The handle of the door begins to make some noise and you suspect that someone is about to enter the room. You didn’t want them to see you snooping around and being nosey, so without much thought to it, you scramble under the desk to hide. Leaving the bouquet on the desk next to the letter you were looking at.
“How many times have I told you? Everything is under control here in Mondstadt. We don’t need backup nor another harbinger to come. I wouldn’t want Scara to come and scold me.”
The voice you hear talking is Kaeya and you wonder what he is talking about.
“I understand that yes but we need to take down that archon sooner or later."
"And everything is perfectly set up for it. Am I sensing that you doubt my abilities for The Tsaritsa?”
“N-no not at all. I just think that you might need some help.”
“Well I don’t and this letter you delivered to me, completely useless,” The sound of paper being torn up echoes in the room and you try to remain silent through the whole thing.
“I just feared if someone had figured you out. Figured out what your motives are.”
A low chuckle comes from Kaeya, “Please, do you really think these people have any clue what is going on? Yes, only one person knows my true intentions, but never in the years that they’ve known have they told anyone. They were too busy mourning over someone’s death.”
“Not even that one person? The person who seems to always be with you?”
“Not even them. They’re too busy obsessing over me to even realize that I’m using them. Surprisingly, they provided useful fighting skills from Inazuma and some intel of the situation over there. Other than that they never meant anything to me. The only thing that matters is the Tsaritsa's plans being fulfilled.”
And with that statement, you feel your whole world collapse. You were only viewed as lower than dirt from the one you thought so highly of. The one you had thought they loved you back as you do, but the truth has been revealed and the palm of your hand covers your mouth. Hoping you won’t make any noise that will give away your hiding spot after hearing the news about Kaeya. No noise is made until you hear the door click close again, indicating that Kaeya and his campion left.
Kaeya being a part of the Fatui was something you never expected. Turns out his whole personality that you fell in love with was all fake, and only one-sided at that. Not only that but taking down an archon? It had seemed you didn’t even know Kaeya, you only knew some fake persona of his.
The calla lilies you picked for Kaeya seem pointless now. The flowers look wilted as if the atmosphere made them turn sad. It doesn’t matter what they look like now, you’ll just toss them on your way home. The only thing that matters now is you. What will you do with this information? The idea hits you straightway.
Ask Diluc what he knows about Kaeya
Dawn Winery Manor is the only place you knew Diluc could possibly be. Possibly an understatement since Diluc tends to almost never be seen anywhere in Mondstadt. The only time he would be seen would be at Angel’s Share but you feared seeing Kaeya at the moment after finding out about him. The only option left was to check the manor.
Your only light for being out in the night was the moon. It shines on your clothing of choice for it was cold at night. You let your thoughts race your mind while walking. Diluc must know what Kaeya's true intentions are. It only makes sense from what Kaeya said that day. Your intuition might be wrong but up to this point, you're desperate for anything. You sigh as you let the breeze hit your face, not minding the coldness creeping into you.
A simple knock is all you give at the door, hoping one of the maids will open up at this hour. It just so happens Adelinde, the head maid, was the one to open the door for you.
You clear your throat, “I must speak to Diluc. It is very urgent and important.”
“I’m sorry but Master Diluc is most likely asleep. You’ll just have to come by in the morning.”
“Please! He must know,” Your desperate to discuss what you know so if you must resort to begging so be it.
“Let them come inside Adelinde. I’m sure it’s important as they say.” A voice calls out from inside, the voice of Diluc that is. Adelinde steps to a side letting you inside the manor.
“Thank you. I’m sure this will be worth your time.”
Diluc gestures to Adelinde so she can leave you two be at peace and once you see she’s out of sight you start with what you came here for.
“I know Kaeya’s plans,” You speak in a low voice, still scared that someone might be listening, “All of it. Him being part of the Fatui. Him getting ready to take down Mondstadt’s Archon. I know everything about him.”
Diluc stands there thinking about his next words. He knew the truth would come out but he didn’t think you would be the one to know. A sigh can be heard from him, “It was bound to happen y/n. There’s not much we can do besides let him go on. Believe me, I’ve already tried to do so.”
“So that’s it,” You let your voice become louder, slightly angry that Diluc is just letting it go, “We just let him do what he wants!? What about the people that care about him? Do you think they’ll take it easy that Kaeya’s some villain!”
“I’ve already been in your place y/n,” Diluc’s voice is stern, “There’s no point in doing anything if it’ll only turn into failure.”
“A failure you say,” You start making your way to the door, “We’ll see about that.” You slam the door hoping you get your point across to Diluc. You can’t just let Kaeya ruin everything. Mondstadt was finally a place you felt at home and you weren’t ready to let that go. The only option you could think of was being a distraction to throw off their plans.
And that's what you'll do.
The snow falls in large clumps as you make your back from Dragonspine. You were sent to gather some ore for the blacksmith and you thought it would be a nice distraction from the chaos going on. The ore does weigh you down along with the snow but you almost reach the camp. That isn’t until you hear a snap of twigs, twisting your head so you can hear what happened.
“Thought you could escape me? How cold that you’re trying to avoid me I must say.”
Your eyes widen as you see who is talking to you. Kaeya Alberich. You just wanted to live a normal life, one without being scared of it. You want to move, escape him even, but your legs stay planted on the icy ground.
“Don’t get frostbite y/n!” As Kaeya says that, he shoots out spikes of ice towards your way. Ones that seem like they can impale you. You want to move yet you are frozen. The only thing you do is let the spikes come your way.
Except they never do. You don’t feel the impact of the spikes, rather nothing is done to your body. You blink your eyes to adjust to the feeling you have now, and it seems it was just a nightmare. Never was there the cold environment but just the warmth of your covers. Everything is fine and so are you.
Well at least at the moment everything is fine. That nightmare reminds you that you haven’t done anything about Kaeya. No matter how many times you’ve “accidentally” bumped into when he’s clearly working, nor acting up stupid for when he asks you to do something for. Your distractions have not slowed him down you suspected and you’re tired because of it.
With hesitation, you get up from bed to start your day. A few people in Mondstadt had asked you to deliver some fruits that you picked the other day while adventuring. Hopefully, you won’t bump into Kaeya this time today.
Your door swings open from the wind but you wish it would close it right back. The person you wanted to avoid at all costs today is at your door, looking all cheerful for you. It takes all of your will to not back away or act scared.
“Y/n! Just the person I wanted to see this morning,” Kaeya claps his hands together, showing excitement towards you, “I feel like we haven’t had time to spend time together. Truly, it makes me sad. Feels as if you’re almost avoiding me?”
You laugh his words off, “What? That’s far from the truth Kaeya and you know it as well. It’s always nice to see you,” It’s clearly a lie but you hope he is convinced by it, “I actually have some errands to run today, so unfortunately I must be going.”
As you’re about to step outside, Kaeya stops you from going anywhere. His actions scare you, so you don’t do anything besides stand in front of him. Putting on an innocent look to you.
“Don’t worry about them. I already have got that delivered to them. Rather, I need your help near Wolvendom so you’ll be accompanying me there.”
Never once did you tell him what you had to do and the fact that he knew sends a chill down your spine. You can’t escape this and moments of your nightmare run through your mind. The feeling of being frozen in place and defenseless come back to you once again, and you just want to feel some kind of warmth from this coldness you feel.
“Sure. I’ll get my things for adventuring then. Give me a minute.” After you close the door, you scramble to get everything together. You did have a bag for going out in the forest so it would be best to take it with you, but before leaving you see one thing catch your eye. It's a simple knife that you use to get through thick bushes. You don’t know how today will go, but if something were to happen, it would be good to defend yourself. The knife goes in your bag and you leave your house to go with Kaeya.
You act as if nothing is wrong with Kaeya for the entire day, letting him do most of the talking with you. Never once did he mention anything about the Fatui nor anything that could be concerning. For the most part the day you’ve been on edge but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Hey look, you can see Mondstadt from here y/n.” Kaeya walks near a cliff and you admire the view from there. The wind is blowing and you almost fear if you’ll fall, but you make sure to back away a little from the edge. Even with that, you can clearly take in Mondstadt’s beauty from where you stand.
“Not bad of a view right y/n?”
“It truly is,” A smile can be seen on you, “This might be one of the best things I’ve seen in my life.”
“Y/n, we’ve known each other for a while now and I feel like there’s something I should know from you,” A few moments of silence pass before Kaeya speaks again, “You know who I am, don’t you?”
“What do you mean by that?” You know he knows the truth, but you don’t want to admit it yourself. What will happen to you is something you question and don’t want to find out.
Kaeya laughs, “Don’t act stupid now. We both know what we know and you know that I’m part of the Fatui, don’t you?”
You get close to him, “Alright. I’ll confess. I do know about your affiliations with them. I know your plans to take down Mondstadt’s Archon and I can’t let you do that.”
“So that’s it? I’m the bad guy here you assume. You’re foolish for only believing one side of the story you’ve been told. Picture this y/n, you’re a young kid peacefully living in your own nation, but the Archons decide to wipe that all away,” Kaeya raises his voice, “Killing my people! Taking away the life I once knew!”
Hesitance comes from before speaking, “I’m sure the Archons had their reason to do so. They always know what to do.”
“Taking down the Archons is all I’ve waited for all along, and I won’t let your stupid ideas stop me.” Kaeya walks past you and you’re starting to get angry at him. Calling the ideas you have foolish and stupid, you won’t stand for that from him. You rummage through your bag and find the knife you took with you, and then you strike with all your force towards Kaeya.
Kaeya never expected you to fight back but he’s always ready for combat. You’ve both sparred with each other on occasion so he definitely knows some of your moves. Even with that, you give it your all, but it’s not enough.
“You should’ve stayed obsessed with me. What happened with that huh?” Kaeya kicks you hard on the side of your stomach. Pain shoots all over your body and your hands reach toward your stomach on instinct. What you fail to notice is Kaeya delivering a punch to you, making you fall to the ground in defeat.
Kaeya grabs your face, forcing you to look at him, “Remember this day. The Tsaritsa's plans shall be fulfilled.” You feel a coldness creep up on your face and you suspect Kaeya is using his vision on you. Everything is slowly blacking out but you still fight for your life. Even though Kaeya is practically laughing at your state.
“I think it’s time to let you go now. It's truly a shame you chose this life,” It takes seconds to realize what Kaeya is doing to you, but it’s too late. With one shove, Kaeya pushes you off the edge of the cliff and you’re falling into the water.
A memory flashes into your mind and it’s the time you first met Kaeya. You always thought highly of him even when you first saw him but that has now disappeared after finding the truth. And as you fall into the water, you wonder when did everything go wrong? Was it a mistake to fall for Kaeya? Was it a mistake even meeting him? Most importantly, should’ve you left Inazuma all this time?
You never get to answer those questions since the world around you turns dark as your body hits the water.