#their kid gets old enough to realize his parents are UNBEARABLE
Feel like Nyx would be the nephew that sneaks away to his aunt's house in the middle of the night and stay there for like a week straight because they are his favourites, and neither Eris or Nesta questions it when he shows up out of nowhere because they do love him but Feysand are so terrified of what they might say to their precious child but really, Nesta is the only one who treats Nyx like he didn't fall out of the sky and is entitled to have anything he wants.
Oh god yes
Baby Night Night has never had a god damned chance- that kid is equal, damaging parts unbelievably sheltered/spoiled and just like....trapped in a long shadow of expectation.
And his Autumn relatives don't cosset him!
Like, the first time he runs away he's like...hmmm...sixteen? Angry. And Neris are fine with anger. But that teen angst bullshit? No. They put the kid to work.
And while work is just helping Auntie Elain bake her wife a birthday cake, she makes him do the dishes. Without using his powers. Eris takes him along to meetings and makes him sit through all the boring bullshit that entails.
But- afterward, Eris explains what happened. Like they're equals. He asks what baby Night Night thinks. Auntie Em likes her cake so much she hugs him, like he's a little kid. It's nice.
It's actually...making him feel better.
And sure, Auntie Nesta is grouchy and terrifying. But she's no where near as bad as Night Night's parents make her out to be. Sure, she's using blood magic, but it's alchemy. Yes, she's really, really busy, just like Uncle Eris, probably too busy for kids like his mom says, so much so Night Night has to assume they're making time for him- which makes him feel...warm? kind of ashamed?- but she doesn't leave him alone.
She's there, and it's pretty funny to see how happy it makes Uncle Eris to listen to her complain about boring government policy.
When Night Court lackeys eventually show up thinking Nyx has been kidnapped- well, lil baby boy comes to understand a little bit why Eris and all the Aunts like how mean Auntie Nesta can be. She sends home the royal guard in tears- and then tells Nyx he can stay as long as he wants, but he has to tell his parents he's safe.
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Cutie Pie (Christen x Reader)
Request: christen x reader one? Maybe where the reader has a child (1-2 years old) and the Team doesn't know. Reader and her child are at a game right behind the bench and the kid accidentally drops his paci down to the bench and the teammates there interact with them without knowing that it's christens girl? Reader also is really tall and fit and a tomboy!
“Alright half-pint, you ready for this?” You asked the little girl in your arms, bouncing her just a touch as you stepped through the stadium gates.
“Yeah, Mama!!!” She cheered around her pacifier, staring around the stadium in awe and wiggling excitedly.
You were happy that she loved coming to games so much, as they were kinda a big part of your life. You weren’t quite sure what you would do if she didn’t. She was your soul and a certain soccer player had your heart, and you were glad that you didn’t have to choose between the two.
You smiled indulgently down at her and kissed her slightly chubby cheeks. “I’m glad baby,”
She wiggled again, her little bounces getting more and more wild with every step you took in the stadium. You hadn’t really planned on having Riley, but now you couldn’t imagine your life without her and her wonder at everything around the two of you.
“Chris?” She asked as you passed a giant poster of the national team, pointing towards where your favorite forward’s blinding smile was blown up 100 times its normal size.
You would be forever grateful for how amazing your girlfriend was with your daughter.
She came into your life nearly a year and a half ago, and you had been extremely reluctant to introduce her to your 6 month old (You didn’t want either of them to get attached before you knew it would work out), but Christen took the role of parent very seriously. She treated your little girl like she was her own, and the two had an unbearable bond. You knew that even if things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, Riley would always have a friend in the forward.
“You bet. I’m sure she’s super excited to see you!” You said, glancing down at your ticket to and looking for the right section, navigating through the crowd without issue (something you were used to considering how private you and Chris were about your relationship, the only person on the team who knew about you was Tobin).
“She score?” Riley questioned, her pacifier bobbing adorably in her mouth and her little eyebrows furrowing.
“I’m sure she will, just for you kiddo,” You smiled, blowing a raspberry into the little girl's neck, and earning a giggle. “Now, do you think you can help me count the rows so we can get to our seats?” You asked as you passed under the sign with your section number and the pitch came into view.
Riley nodded, puffing her little chest up. She may only be 2, but you and Christen had been working hard on her colors and numbers. She still needed help, but she was super smart for her age.
“Alrighty then baby, let’s go,”
The team wasn’t usually this distracted. They were a group of highly competitive women who were at the top of their game, which meant that they could usually block out all of the noise from the stadium, even if it was just warmup. However, the cutest kid they had ever seen was sitting just behind the bench, being held by a very attractive lady.
“Oh my gosh, have you seen the little girl?” Kelley asked, slinging an arm around Christen and Tobin’s shoulders, nodding towards the toddler in the stands.
A gooey smile (something that didn’t go unnoticed by Tobin) broke across Christen’s face the second she saw her two favorite people. She noted how you had dressed the little one in the jersey she had gotten her for Christmas, a bold 23 visible every time she flashed her back towards the field. There was just something about having a part of herself visible (something tangible) on the girl she thought of as a daughter. “Yes, she’s absolutely adorable in that jersey,”
She wiggled her fingers at the little girl who squealed excitedly and waved back. Her mom wrapped a protective arm around her belly to prevent her from accidentally wiggling under the guardrail.
“Too bad it’s got Press’ number on it” Megan laughed, wrapping her arm around Christen’s other side, nudging the woman’s ribs. Christen rolled her eyes and shot the little girl another little wave, giggling when she bounced wildly in her mother’s arms (Christen might have also greatly appreciated the way the girl's reaction forced you to flex to prevent her from falling).
“And her mom doesn’t look too bad either,” Ashlyn added, wiggling her eyebrows.
The woman behind the little girl was tall, and the black ink that swirled up her arms only served to make her muscles more visible (Christen would call her drool-worthy after she finally told the team she was dating her).
“You’re married, remember?” Ali grumbled, slapping her wife in the stomach.
“Yeah, but If I wasn’t…” Ashlyn shrugged, cackling when Ali hit her harder. Christen frowned, suppressing a sneer. You were hers, even if the team didn’t know yet.
Tobin smirked, gently grabbing her training outfit to prevent her from moving forward. “Come on, you can go flirt later. We have to get changed for the game,” She laughed towards Ashlyn, subtly pulling Christen towards the tunnel.
The rest of the group laughed and followed after them. There would be plenty of time to say hi to the small child later after they had won.
The forwards still sent another small wave towards the toddler clearly frowning now that her favorite person was walking away (she also may have winked your way just for kicks).
You could tell that Riley was having a blast. Her little hands wrapped around the bars of the railing so she could be as close to the action as possible. She waved to every player as they passed her (no matter how many times they did) and giggled exuberantly every time they waved back.
It seemed that the team on the bench was far more interested in making your little girl laugh than watching the game (and you could only imagine how it would be when they finally realized that one of their teammates was basically her second mom).
“Babe, you gotta stay a little away from the edge alright?” You said softly, tapping her shoulder when her little head went just a little too far through the bars.
She definitely had your tendency to get in over her head. She ignored you, too enamored by Christen darting down the field, and shooting the ball. It sailed right past the goalie’s hands and before you could grab your little one she was leaping up and down, head still through the bars screaming “Goal!!” as loud as she could around the pacifier. But her enthusiasm caused the small object to fall out of her mouth.
“Uh oh,” Riley said, turning to you, her bottom lip trembling.
You scooped her up, and she immediately nuzzled into your neck. “It’s ok babydoll,” you murmured into her hair, bouncing her and looking over the railing.
You leaned over the side, only to see one Kelley O’Hara holding your daughter's pacifier and rubbing her head. “Lose something?” She asked, quirking an eyebrow up at you.
“Sorry, she got a little excited,” You said blushing a little bit. A little smirk graced Kelley’s lips you looked absolutely adorable with some red in your cheeks and paired with the backward cap it made you practically irresistible.
“Don’t we all when Pressy scores a goal?” Megan winked up at you, wiggling her fingers at your little girl when she peeked up from your shoulder.
“That’s fair, but she’s a very big fan,” You smiled, bouncing the little girl in your arms and blowing a raspberry just under her chin.
“Well in that case, why don’t you two come down on the field? You know, so we can return this?” Ashlyn asked, grabbing the pacifier out of Kelley’s hand and jingling it a little.
“What do you think babydoll?” You whispered into your daughter’s ear, as she was suddenly too shy to look at the soccer players who she had been interacting with not even minutes ago.
“Wanna go,” she mumbled into your neck, just loud enough for the girls on the ground to hear. Kelley smiled wildly. “Well, little miss speaks after all!”
“Come to the stairs and we’ll get security to let you down. The games about to be over anyway,” Megan said, pointing towards where a little stairway was located.
You nodded and headed in that direction, unaware of Christen’s furrowed eyebrows on the field.
“Oh my gosh, that kid is freaking adorable,” Alex said, trotting up beside Christen just as the final whistle blew. Christen turned towards where Alex was looking, awing at the sight before her.
Riley was shyly standing behind you, clutching the back of your tank top so tightly that it was pulling down the collar (simultaneously showing off some of the swirling lines she knew spread across the skin of your shoulders).
She would peek out to get a glance at one of the soccer players vying for her attention, and then tuck back into you the second she realized they were looking at her.
“Isn’t she?” Christen smiled so wide her cheeks hurt. She might not be biologically related to your daughter, but she was 100% her other mom. She loved that little girl so much it hurt (even when her pigtails were crooked- you were great at a lot of things but hair certainly wasn’t one).
“Your gooey is showing,” Tobin said, nudging the forward. Christen opened her mouth to respond but was cut of by a very excited squeal.
“Chris!!!” It yelled, just before a little body collided with the forward’s legs. She quickly bent down to lift the little girl up, throwing her in the air before allowing her to settle on her hip. “Missed you,”
“I missed you too babydoll,” Christen said into your daughter’s hair, holding her tight. She absolutely loved her job, but one major downside was that she couldn’t take you and Riley with her all of the time. At least she had Tobin to keep her up to date most of the time since you lived in Portland, but there was absolutely nothing like holding her two favorite people in person.
“You better at hair and clothes,” Riley mumbled into her neck, pulling back just a bit to wave her hand around her head. You tried. You really did, but there was a reason you always kept your hair short. You weren’t into bows and frilly things, but your little girl absolutely loved them. So you did your best and were very grateful that Christen was so good with that kind of stuff.
Christen threw her head back and laughed “I know baby,”. She rubbed Riley’s belly “Did you enjoy the game?”
“Yeah, you score goal for me and mama,” Riley cheered and kicked her leg as if recreating the goal. Christen laughed again and began walking in your direction. “That’s right. I scored just for my favorite girls,”
“Hey I scored too you know, and I want some baby bear hugs,” Tobin said, appearing over Christen’s shoulder.
Riley wiggled wildly in Christen’s arms, practically throwing herself at her favorite aunt. “Aunt Toby!!” She yelled as Tobin dramatically spun her in circles.
Christen watched the two with a wide smile, only looking away when she felt a presence beside her.
“Hey superstar, you looked amazing out there,” your smile was evident in your voice as you wrapped your arms around Christen’s waist from behind, kissing her ear and resting your head on her shoulder.
She signed happily and leaned back into you for a second, before spinning in your arms. “Hey darling,” she said, leaning up and placing a kiss on your lips.
“Wait, you know Christen?” A voice appeared very close to you, and you reluctantly pulled away from your girlfriend to look at one Kelley o’hara’s wide eyes.
“Well she’s my girlfriend, so yeah,” Christen shrugged, leaning up to kiss you again.
You hear Kelley and several other team members sputter, but you were far too preoccupied to actually care. That was until a little voice joined the mix.
You pulled away when you heard little feet approaching you, squatting down to catch your very excited little girl. You stood with her in your arms, unable to stop you smile when Christen wrapped her arms around the two of you.
“Yes baby?” Christen asked, running a hand down your daughters back to try and settle her excited wiggiling just a little.
“Mama, mommy, we go eat with aunt Toby?” Riley asked. And Christen’s sent her an indulgent smile blinking back tears (you were happy that Tobin was so accepting and great with your babygirl). Sure Christen might not have been biologically related to her, but Riley was 100% hers.
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yay! okay so I was thinking, what I'd the reader and Tom had a fight, could be over anything, but the reader was pregnant and a few years after, they bump into each other and they get back together. Sorry if it doesn't make sense.
this has been sitting in my inbox for a fat couple of months… sorry 😭
wc: 1.7k ! <3
“No, because you’re selfish and you can’t handle the fact that my life doesn’t revolve around you and your needs.” Tom spits out the words angrily, viciously, voice harsh and crisp.
You’re both frustrated beyond belief, and the bubble that had been overblown had finally popped, splattering your relationship and all the joyful aspects of it. Right now, you felt as if all that was left was the toxicity of two unbearable people who happened to love each other. You knew, deep down, that you loved each other enough to get through this, but with every passing moment, with every exchanged word, you realized at least one of you wouldn’t survive the damage.
“No, Tom. You’re selfish. You’re conceited and you only care about being a goddamn movie star. What happened to the family man, huh? What happened to staying tied down with me and your brothers?”
“Nothing happened to him! I’m still that person. I am a family guy.”
“Not to me, you aren't.”
“Well you’re not family!” He seethes through his teeth, anger radiating off of his short-tempered demeanor. You don’t even know how to react, so you spend the time soaking in the situation and how you should respond instead of actually doing it.
“You’re a fucking jackass. I asked when I could spend time with you and now you don’t even consider me as part of the family.”
“No,” He’s clear and concise even through the anger. “You asked when I’m going to stop living my life.”
“I said no such thing.”
“You didn’t have to! We both know that’s what you meant.”
“You’re not even on the same page as me anymore,” You scoff, arms crossing. “Seems like all this time in Hollywood made you forget that you’re not always the main character.”
“Fuck that, Y/N! Fuck! That!”
“No, Tom. Fuck. You.” You over-express your emotions, and after two more minutes of unbearable silence and screaming, he’s leaving your apartment just as fast as he arrived. You’re in shock, fingers shaking while you clear your throat, which is frayed and sore from all the yelling.
You sit back, elbows on your knees while your hands smoothen out your forehead. Tear after tear escapes your sobbing body, and eventually, you fall asleep on the couch.
In the weeks to come, you’ve realized the blow-out of a breakup could’ve been handled so much differently, but Tom hasn’t seemed to cool down at all — he’s petty enough to unfollow you on all social media, and you figure it’s time to let the hatred be mutual. You don’t touch your imessages, however, letting the love in those texts linger for a little longer.
Before you know it, you’re throwing up into the toilet boil, coughing violently at the action and spitting the bitter taste as best you can. You clean up, and when you check your phone, a small notification from your period tracker app alerts you that this is the second period in a row that has gone by without a hello.
Worried, you call Aisha, your closest friend and confidant. She’s over in no time, bringing along her girlfriend while you rant on the phone about your worries. They stop at the drugstore on the way.
The cause of your problems is discovered that day, and you collapse on the bathroom floor in agony, hands wiping at your face — through all the anger and fear and worry, you still love Tom. So much that Aisha even attempts to call Tom. But, alas, it’s sent straight to voicemail, and you realize he might’ve gone to extreme extents in blocking everyone.
You’re stuck going to the ultrasound with two lesbians and a frail old cat. Aisha is as supportive as ever, but as the doctor explains the process of each option, you feel sicker and sicker about the idea of getting rid of the fetus. In the end, you choose to keep the child you’re bearing, even if your ex-lover isn’t even in the picture.
Inevitably, the months pass, and as baby Charlie is brought into the wonderful world, you realize life as a single mother isn’t as scary as you thought it would be. In the first few months of your pregnancy, you’d kept tabs on what film Tom was doing and which was coming out next, but after the hormones and cravings, you’d decided to let the past sizzle and fade out in the way it was meant to all along.
It’s been almost three years since that fateful breakup, and Charlie is just reaching two and a half years old. You’re still single, and you’re okay with that. Charlie is all you need, all you’ve ever wanted, and the most important thing in your life. He’s young, and school is still a couple years away, but you enjoy having the toddler by your side, walking hand in hand with you because you’re his guardian, his provider, his only parent. You make him your only priority, because you don’t want him to grow up without anyone to love, or anyone to love him.
It’s hard, though. It’s hard because he’s a constant reminder of what didn’t happen, a constant reminder of what went wrong and of what you no longer have. You miss Tom more than words can express, and Charlie’s mop of brown curls reminds you of all the moments you’d run your fingers through Tom’s hair. You reminisce more than you’d like to, about Tom and your past, and though Charlie is technically half of the Brit, he’s one hundred percent yours. Because you’re the only one here, and that’s alright.
“Mummy,” Charlie tugs on your shirt’s hem while you move the shopping cart forward through the aisle. “Can we get the goldfish with superheroes?”
You jutt your lip out in a smile, nodding happily. “Of course we can, bub.”
As you step forward, you pit stop in the aisle, nearly tripping on the cart. You make direct eye contact with the man you used to love with your entire heart. The man who walked out with your heart and never gave it back. He’s staring right back at you, curls looking as fluffy as ever, face still a soft glow. Your breath hitches, and it’s then that you realize Charlie is still talking.
“Mummy?” He asks, and it’s just loud enough for Tom to hear. Harry, who’s beside Tom with an arm full of crackers and chips. Tom moves forward a few steps, hastily in an attempt to get more information.
“Uh, hi,” His smile is tight lipped as he stands at the other end of your shopping cart. Charlie shies away from strangers, standing behind your leg and holding your shirt with his grubby hands.
“Hi,” you return his awkward, reserved demeanor.
“Mummy who’s this?”
“‘Mummy?’” Tom has a follow up question for everything, and you internally panic, unsure on how to approach this.
You’d spent so long deciding how you should tell Tom that he was a dad. You spent hours debating on if you should pick up the phone or drive over just to tell him a truth you’ve kept inside for so long. You’ve abandoned social media, only sharing aspects of your life you can afford to post. Charlie is only occasionally on your page, but it’s not like Tom would see that, not after all that’s happened.
Your mouth opens and closes while you debate on how to reply. You’re physically incapable of saying your response, and it makes you even more nervous. You’re nervous on how he might react, what he’ll say, but most importantly, if he’ll stay.
“My kid…” You fill in. “I- I mean our… our kid.” You pull your bottom lip between your rows of teeth, and you watch as Tom’s face undergoes thousands of expressions all at once. He’s surprised, shocked, happy, afraid, uncertain. You want the world to swallow you whole, suck you up so you don’t have to go through any of this again. But you don’t. Instead, you hold Charlie’s hand a little tighter.
“Our kid?” He drops a can of soup and you flinch at the loud noise.
“Mummy, who’s that?”
“That’s…” You don’t know how to answer his question. Instead, you lean down to his level, comfortingly and gently. “He’s a man.”
“Who’s that man?”
“He’s… your daddy.”
“I thought… no daddy?”
You purse your lips and furrow your brows. Tom’s watching the entire encounter from his place, but after a few beats, he steps forward, entering your bubble. Charlie doesn’t cower away this time, but looks up in curiosity.
“Hi, Charlie,” Tom extends his hand, adjusting his jeans so he can lean down just as you are, kneeling beside the young boy.
You look down, avoiding your worries and Tom’s gaze. He’s tearing up, and you want to cry too. You’re in a fucking supermarket, for god’s sake. This wasn’t how you envisioned any of this planning out, and though you’re mentally kicking yourself for letting it happen this way, you can’t help but feel like maybe this was meant to be. Written in the stars or whatever the folks say — you’re just grateful Charlie has at least a sliver of hope for two parents. Not that you can’t handle it, because you can, but you know someone like Tom wouldn’t want to miss something as important as this.
“I’m To- I’m…” He swallows thickly, making brief eye contact with you before looking back at Charlie. “I’m your dad.”
“Do you love my mummy?” He’s not shameless, but he’s still that shy little boy. “My friend says daddy’s love mommy’s so you must love mine, right?”
Tom lets a tear fall while he exhales a chuckle. He swipes the drop with the tips of his fingers, and the hand gripping Charlie’s squeezes it a little tighter. A glance in your direction is all it takes for him to answer Charlie’s question. “Yeah, buddy. I do.”
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Jennifer Jareau x Daughter!reader
Word Count: 2,046
Requested By: Anonymous
if you’re okay with writing angst i was thinking that maybe jareau!reader gets into an argument with her parents and later her, henry and michael all get kidnapped and the reader takes all of the torture to protect her brothers. they find them but the reader is dying and they don’t know if she is gonna make it. you can end it however you want! love your writing! :)
A/N: Takes place around season 14/15 so reader is about 16/17
Warnings: Kidnappings, mentions of torture/injuries (nothing graphic), and hospitals
It wasn’t often that you disagreed with your parents. Your whole family got along and fights were rare in the Jareau-LaMontange household, but tonight was different. Luckily, Henry and Michael were already asleep when you decided to piss your mom off. It was no one’s fault really. What started as a small argument changed directions drastically. All it took was a particular word for you to mumble under your breath for your mom to snap.
JJ had been having a rough week at work and all she wanted was to go into the weekend without worrying about work and just spend time with her husband and kids. Even if you said the rudest thing, she would never raise her voice, only using the voice she used on unsubs. It was scarier than her yelling but tonight, she couldn’t handle it.
“Y/n I don’t understand why you’re being like this! What happened to the girl I raised.”
“I’m still here mom!,” you yelled back, “You just haven’t realized because you always have your face shoved in a work file or spending time with the boys!”
“I do make time for you,” JJ said, a little calmer than before, “We went out to dinner last weekend. Just you and me. Was that not enough?”
“Really? You think three hours of your time makes up for all the days I spent worrying about you getting home? All the holidays you missed? All the milestones? I thought you were smarter than that. Profilers are supposed to be smart,” the insult was childish, but it did the trick.
JJ stood up from the bed and looked you dead in the eyes, “Y/n. I have done so much more than you think I have. Whether you know it or not I have had to sacrifice things for this family. My job saves people and sometimes I have to leave. But you have no right to say something like this.”
You stared back at her, not giving up, “I have every right to be mad at you and your stupid job. You don’t get to control my feelings like that.”
“I’m your mom. I know what’s best for you and this anger isn’t it,” JJ argued back.
“How dare you pull that on me,” you didn’t want to hear anymore so you turned and walked towards the door.
“You know, I wish you weren’t acting this way. I enjoyed the old Y/n better,” she said, just loud enough for you to hear.
“Well,” you turned back to face her, “I’ll just go back to being the helpless little seven year old who couldn’t speak for herself,” you spun back around and pushed past Will, who had come upstairs at hearing things escalate. JJ and Will heard your door slam shut before either of them spoke.
“I was too harsh on her wasn’t I? God I feel awful now,” JJ ran her hand through her hair and sat on the edge of the bed, “I should apologize.”
“Give her time first. She needs to cool down as well,” Will said, “You two can apologize to each other in the morning.”
Morning came earlier than anyone in the house wanted. At five, both Will and JJ had gotten called into work on the same case, which meant it was bad.
“I can’t go and tell her and we can’t just leave a note,” JJ said, “If I wake her up this early, she’ll either ignore me or punch me,” she took a sip of her coffee before grabbing her jacket.
“I’ll go do it,” Will went back upstairs and into your room, “Y/n?” he waited for your response.
You rolled over and faced the door, “What?” you said harshly.
“I’m letting you know me and your mom have to go in.”
“Of course. Duty calls I guess,” you rolled back over and closed your eyes.
“You know JJ is sorry right?”
“I really don’t care. You can go now, I know your jobs are important. Go,” you said angrily.
“Y/n,” he realized he wouldn’t get anywhere with you at this moment, “Goodbye. We’ll keep you updated,” he closed the door and went back downstairs, getting his things and heading out the door.
Even though it was a Saturday, you still woke up early. The boys always slept in on the weekends so you had the house to yourself for a few more hours. Once Henry and Michael woke up, you made sure they ate and were distracted for a while. Eventually, Michael was getting tired of being inside and wanted to go to the park. One of JJ and Will’s rules was that if they were both gone, you weren’t allowed to leave the house with both boys. You always thought this rule was stupid but you still never broke it, until today. You were mad at both of them and figured you were in enough trouble already.
You couldn’t leave Henry at home by himself so he went along. At the park, you watched both your brothers make friends with the other kids and chase each other around. You noticed a man watching them closer than the other kids and he kept glancing at you. You kept a closer eye on them until the man disappeared from your vision, You hoped he left but you felt his presence behind you.
“You’re a bit young to be their mom. Don’t you think?” he asked. He was standing directly behind you where you were sitting on a bench. You ignored him and kept your focus on Henry and Michael. The man laughed quietly to himself, “I know you Y/n. I know your mom, your dad and your brothers,” the man pulled out a knife and held the blade to your back, “Call them over and no one gets hurt.”
You knew you shouldn’t have complied but you were scared. Not scared for you, but for the boys. You called them over and the man forced all of you into the back of his car. He blindfolded all three of you before driving off.
You tried to remember how long the drive was and what turns he took but it was more difficult than it seemed. You were never good at remembering things, especially in times of stress. The man led all of you into a building and took his time tying you and your brothers into chairs. He removed the blindfolds and tossed them aside, pulling out another knife, much larger and sharper than the one before.
JJ had kept checking her phone, hoping to see a text or call from you. Spencer could tell something was going on with her.
“Is everything okay?” he asked, sitting in the chair next to her.
“Yeah it’s just, me and Y/n got in a huge fight last night and I haven’t heard from her since. I know she’s mad but I just want to hear from her.”
“Have you called her? Maybe she’ll answer,” he suggested.
“Will called her an hour ago and she didn’t pick up,” she responded, “I’m sure she’ll call when she’s ready.”
“Please don’t hurt them. They’re too young, just hurt me,” you were trying to plead with this creep. His knife was placed too close to Henry for your liking,”I know people like you. You don’t care who you torture, just the why. Take me and leave them alone. Please.
The man seemed to think about your offer before untying you and pulling you to your feet, “I’ll spare them, only because you asked nicely.”
Hours later, you looked like a different person. You were covered in dark bruises and fresh cuts, deep and shallow, littered your body. The pain was unbearable but you couldn’t imagine the damage that would’ve been done to your brothers. Your main goal was to protect them at all costs, since you broke a rule and now you were all here. Maybe if you stayed at home, nothing bad would’ve happened.
“I have to say, you lasted longer than I thought,” he pushed you to the floor and you gathered all your remaining strength to pull yourself to the chair you sat in earlier.
“Are you okay?” Henry asked. You looked over and nodded, wincing quietly at the pain. You glanced over at Michael, who hadn’t said a word, but who had been crying silently since the man dragged you from the room.
The man cleared his throat and you looked his way. He slid a cell phone on the floor to your feet, “Call your parents. Maybe they’ll get here in time to save you,” the man turned and left the building, seemingly leaving the crime scene.
You picked up the phone and dialed JJ’s number.
Finally, the sound of JJ’s phone ringing echoed through the room. She quickly pulled it out but saw it was a random number. She declined the call, wanting to keep the line clear in case you called. The number called again, so she answered, “Hello?”
“Mom? P-please hurry,” your voice was almost a whisper.
“Y/n? What’s wrong? Are you okay? Tell me what’s happening,” no one on the team had heard JJ’s voice this worried before.
“Please hurry. I-I don’t know how much time I have left.”
“Stay on the phone for me, Bug. Please,” JJ didn’t even have to tell anyone before they were working on a trace, “I need you to stay on the line so we can find you. Can you do that?”
“No,” you said, terror was laced in your voice. You could feel the life slowly slipping as it was getting harder to breath, “It hurts Mommy. I’m tired.”
“I know it hurts and I know you’re tired but you have to stay awake. I’m coming to get you. You’ll be okay,” JJ’s voice was cracking with every word. She couldn't bear the thought that she had to listen to her child dying slowly over the phone, “Are the boys with you?” she didn’t hear an answer and the line was too quiet, “Y/n? Y/n answer me? Y/n!”
Once the team traced your call, they wasted no time in getting there. Agents rushed in, followed by medics and JJ then Will. Both Henry and Michael were physically unharmed. JJ was more worried about you, your chest still rising and falling but just barely. She sat on the floor next to you, holding your hand and trying to talk to you.
“Come on please. Please, please, please just wake up. Just open your eyes for me,” JJ squeezed your hand tightly, hoping to get you awake. You always hated it when someone squeezed your hand too tightly. It always elicited a response, but not this time.
The medics were able to get you on a stretcher and into an ambulance. JJ went with you while Will took the boys in another car.
You were rushed into surgery as soon as you arrived at the hospital. Your cuts made you lose blood and the medics confirmed you had a serious head injury. All JJ could do was pace back and forth in the waiting room. She kept her space from everyone, needing time to process that the last time she saw her daughter, they were fighting. JJ couldn’t live with herself if that was the last thing that happened between you two. After hours that felt like days, you were out of the O.R. and in the ICU. The doctors didn’t know when, or if, you would wake up.
Weeks had gone by since the last time you were awake. Weeks of days and nights spent cramped in the small hospital room and weeks of gifts given by various members of the team, until you finally opened your eyes. JJ had never left your side so when she felt a slight squeeze to her hand, and met with your open eyes, she nearly fainted in relief.
Even after you woke up, you had to spend almost another full month in the hospital. Most of that time was spent with your mom and you squeezed together in the twin sized hospital bed. Since she almost lost you once, she didn’t want to risk losing you again.
@ssebstann @peachyprincessss @emmy-writes-sometimes @dudele @prentisswrites @laura-naruto-fan1998 @multifamdomfan12 @aquariuslavenderhoney @rafehogwarts @vxidsti1es
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pairing: draco malfoy x fem!reader
summary: Ever since the beginning of the year, Draco just needed someone to hold him.
word count: 1.0k
warnings: I’m pretty sure this qualifies as angst but there is a fluffy-ish ending, talks of bad mental health, talks of irregular eating patterns, use of the word ‘hell’ once, and I think that’s about it... please contact me if theres more!
authors note: I don’t really like this because I usually write pure fluff things but I decided to do something different so enjoy :) Also, the reader is in ravenclaw but it’s only mentioned to get to her dorm.
masterlist. // taglist form. // request works.
The experience of sixth year varied for each student attending Hogwarts. For some it was stressful, the year of making choices of what you wanted to do when you graduated in two years. For others it was the time for teen romances, throwing parties and, first I love you’s.
Now if you happened to be from a family full of Slytherins, your experience was probably the complete opposite of those. It was the year those kids had a first hand experience of what their parents had been preaching for their whole lives.
The year that the realization hit that they’d never have that same luxury of being a normal sixteen year old or really- have a normal life at all. But that they were the spouses of people who were striving to kill any sort of happiness and that one day they were going to have to bear an identical mark to them.
For the Malfoy family heir, the year was in the simplest way, a personal living hell. Having to get branded by the dark lord at the ripe age of sixteen would take a toll on anyone's mental health.
Combined with the stress of having to fix a vanishing cabinet by the end of the year or your family would be hurt was not the most ideal life someone would want to be living.
He knew he deserved it to some extent. It was karma for the behavior he showed towards his peers in previous years. That fact still hadn’t made the ink on his left forearm burn any less, many times he’d be found in the second floor bathroom breaking down to Myrtle on the matter; not wanting to dump any of that on you, his girlfriend.
You were a kind person who came from a good family who tried their best to stay away from the dark arts.
It hurt him every time you would squeeze his hand at the dinner table after noticing him staring off into the distance, not even contributing to the conversation going on right in front of him. He’d give you his best fake smile and offer a kiss on the cheek as reassurance that he was okay.
But you weren’t a fool. It wasn’t that hard to notice how off he had been. The only time he’d eat is when you’d harass him, out of worry that he wasn’t getting food into his system at all.
The color had been draining from his face day by day and so was that boyish smile you had missed so much. And oddest of all, he’d never pick on Harry Potter and his group anymore, you could even say he avoided them, like he was scared.
You weren’t a pushy person, opting on having the person tell you when they felt comfortable enough to. But oh did it kill you to watch the gleam leave his eyes without a sliver of knowledge as to why.
Today had been one of the hardest for Draco. He was on a week-long streak of getting nowhere with the cabinet. And now here he was roaming the halls of the castle trying his best to not let it all out right then and there.
The last time he slept in your dorm he gave you the excuse of just being clingy. It really wasn’t a lie, he was being the slightest bit clingy but the whole truth was that every time he’d sleep alone- or attempt to- he would be riddled with nightmares that were a challenge to get out of. And when he did get out of them, he didn’t want to take the risk of slipping back into them so he’d stay up the rest of the night.
Looking at the watch on his wrists he mumbled, “I’d probably get an hour or so in if I head to the dungeons now.” An exasperated sigh followed when his legs decided to take him on a different route.
The riddle was easy enough to answer but getting to your dorm was a different story. The heel of his pointed shoes constantly making noise against the hardwood floors of the Ravenclaw tower. But he was persistent on not taking them off as if walking around in socks was some barbaric thing.
He arrived at your prefect’s dorm, shoes in hand and a small pout. A small smile came onto his face when he saw a pair of his sweatpants accompanied with a t-shirt, all folded nice and tidy on the corner of your dresser.
You must've been waiting for him to come again.
He got dressed, making sure to not wake you up in the process and proceeded to slip under the warm blankets, Tenderly wrapping his arms around your body.
The minute he breathed in your familiar scent, the walls he had built up started crashing down. An involuntary cry tumbled past his lips, wetness falling onto his face. Was he seriously crying on his sleeping girlfriend?
“Draco... Is that you?” You questioned in an almost confused manor; the feeling of someone burying their head into the crook of your neck slowly pulling you out of your dream. Of course it was him. Who else would take the liberty to sneak into your bed at three in the morning? The sound of sniffles made your eyes widen.
“Oh Draco,” you cooed, turning your body to wipe his tears away; his face automatically burying itself into your chest. Your hand ran through his already disheveled hair, courtesy of his constant hair tugging from stress. That went on for a few minutes before you asked softly,“Do you think you’re ready to tell me what’s wrong darling?”
“Can you just hold me for now?” The request came out muffled, almost unbearable. Almost.
“Of course love,” you said kissing the top of his head and pulling away the slightest bit to give him space to turn from you. Moments after his back was facing you, your arms found their way underneath the ones that were wrapped around his torso.
You offered soft words of endearment, trying to make sure he knew you’d be up as long as he needed, ready to talk. That was the first night in a long time he got a good rest and the night he realized that it wasn’t so healthy to keep everything bottled up.
He’d tell you everything tomorrow.
+taglist form here
general taglist- @90smalfoy @ch0kemedracomalfoy @dracosaccount @ambi-doo12
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| days, months, years… it didn’t matter. you were willing to wait a lifetime.|
rating: T ( yeah i know, surprised myself)
a/n: not going to talk about me accepting this without understanding what a siren was. thank you to new friends for helping me not look like an idiot. took the friends to lovers approach because simp vibes. amen. i might do a sequel just to up the rating a bit because this already got so long. we’ll see.
thanks to @kinbari14 for the hc. it was a fun challenge.
your parents tried to highlight the positives- how could they not after dragging their fifteen year old away from home. you were in the middle of your teenage years, just starting to hone confidence in your social skills. they told you it would be exciting.
r_ight next to the ocean_, they coaxed as if you’d ever cared to swim.
sitting on the shores now with your toes curled in the sand, you wondered if your friends were missing you as much as you missed them.
the moon full and bright, high enough to signal that it was well past your curfew. but your parents were more lenient this summer, trying anyway they could to smooth your transition. it was a brief allowance that you would take advantage of while you could.
collecting the shoes at your feet, you sighed heavily, deciding that it was time to head back for the night. the more effort you made the easier it would pass through.
your back had just turned to the shores when you heard the sound- soft, melodic as it seemed to warm your ears.
it sounded like a song, but you’d never heard anyone on the radio sound this good. the voice tickled your consciousness and you shook your head to fight away the haze. yet the cloud lingered, drifting down to your feet this time.
it felt like you were walking on cotton candy, a jovial step, knocking your knees together as you put more distance between yourself and the house. a tinge of fear cooled your spine but the sensation wasn’t strong enough to sway the superior force.
the closer you got the more you came to recognize the sound. not able to tie it to a specific person but certain that it was a person. it reminded you of the choir melodies from your old school but not even the star could compare.
you were able to register the shift from sand to rocky gravel but not the sharp pinch as rocks dug into your feet. the song still carried you closer, around the bend and towards the mouth of a cave.
despite every strand of common sense warning you not to, you crossed the threshold. the cavern played a devil’s advocate- enticing you with mystery while amplifying the the lyrics you still couldn’t place.
the effort to figure it out didn’t seem worth it, nothing superseded the call.
all too quick you reached the wide pool that spread out at the end and suddenly the song stopped. the splash of water at your feet was enough to startle your system, sending you reeling back as you tripped against the damp ground.
something too intense to call an emotion trampled your ability to move as you were left frozen to watch as a figure pulled itself to the edge.
the first thing you took in was the shock of white hair but that was nothing compared to the two turquoise pearls blinking up at you.
“huh… you’re what i caught?”
it almost sounded bored.
the shrill of your scream drowned out the slow drawl of condescension. the- boy? hissed and shrank back, hand coming up to cover his ears.
“no, no! stop. goddess that hurts.”
you instinctively go to kick back, but he is faster, something wet and slimly curling around your ankle. the grip draws you closer, uncaring of the way the unforgiving ground bit into your back.
your lips part to scream again but the sound gets stuck at the sharp glare you receive. water continued to drip from the strands of his hair, the drops that met your skin were ice cold. he was close enough now that you could smell the salt from the sea against his skin. near enough that you almost lost yourself in the bright pools taking you in equally.
his eyes track the motion as you lick your lips. “who are you?”
the hand that still ensnared you loosened to a soft caress as his fingertips traced your skin. as he did, you came to note that his wasn’t quite as smooth- something akin to glossy ridges.
you didn’t like when he hummed. not because the sound was unbearing, but because of the opposite. the pull wasn’t as powerful as before but there was no denying the source.
“who are you?” he echoed back.
when your eyes narrow, he shoots you a wicked grin full of sharp teeth.
unable to do much else, you offer you name and find yourself surprised when he returns the gesture.
you try the name for yourself. neither of you can deny that it doesn’t fall quite the same from your lips. your gaze cuts down as he shifts again, revealing the bareness that stopped just short of his waistline. cheeks warming, you decided that his eyes were the lesser evil.
“aren’t you cold?”
satoru’s head tilts at the question. “no … are you?” as if he could check, his thumb brushes against the sensitive side of your ankle. you can’t resist another kick, but he’s more than prepared.
this time however, he doesn’t just hold it down, instead lifting it closer as he inspected your heel.
“these were always peculiar to me. so many little appendages, yet too small to do much.”
as if you enunciate your curiosity, your toes wiggle in response. the action prompts melodious laughter.
“what, and yours are better?”
the old battle of boys vs girls somehow melds into the bizarre situation. as if catching on to the challenge something akin to glee lights up in his eyes as he draws closer. but before he could accept the provocation, another voice breaks into the conversation.
the voice is urgent, worried and carrying your name.
astonished, satoru’s grip loosens enough for you to wiggle out as you scramble to your feet. his eyes narrow as he realizes this and he his arm shoots out to reclaim his prize. this time you’re faster though and step back.
you don’t like the way he rises to this new dare as if he as prepared to intervene if necessary.
“that’s my dad,” you explain, not sure if you should even be telling him this. “ i need to go.”
your mind halts at the intensity behind command.
‘’what do you mean no? i’ll get in trouble. i’m already in trouble.”
the waters shift violently behind the boy as he raises onto his elbows as if to present a greater turbulence should you not heed.
troubled, you bit your lips as your father’s voice carries near. it was only a hunch, but something told you that their meeting wouldn’t be a good thing. quickly you scramble for an alternative.
“if you let me go now, i’ll come back and bring you something. its summertime so i have more freedom.”
though you felt your privileges dwindling the longer you lingered.
satoru took too long to consider your offer and you began to question your chances of just running for it.
“fine, but you better be back.”
relief filled your chest as you already turned towards the mouth of the cave.
“yes! i promise. sooner than today though, i wont be able to be out this late again.”
you tried to give him a reassuring smile, but it wasn’t returned. there was distrust in his eyes but he didnt pursue.
“when the sun sets then.” he adjured. and you were but a humble servant on the prince’s shores.
“sunset,” you agreed as you broke into a run.
the moment you broke free of the grotto you crashed into your father’s arms. the relief on his face was evident.
“there you are! why didn’t you answer, we were worried.”
his arms come around you and you realize you’re shaking.
“jesus, you must be freezing. let’s get back before your mother sends out a search party.”
your arms encircle his waist as you let him drag you away. in one ear, you hear him start up a conversation about the neighborhood you had yet to explore to its fullest, tacking on a few names of children who belonged to some of his new coworkers.
in the other, you heard the beginnings of a new song, one that didn’t seem to reach your father. and you didnt know what to do with that information.
sunset came all too soon the next day, the sun lowering just as dinner came to a close. you lingered close to your mother as you finished the last of the dishes. the tasks were dragging longer than needed, but no one would ever complain about them being extra clean.
as you ran a rag over the porcelain you wondered what would happen if you didn’t show up. you couldn’t get the image of those teeth at of your head, the sharp glint gnawing into your dreams last night. they came off as an obvious threat but surely he couldn’t hurt you.
then your mind drifted to that song. the same nameless lyrics that put you in the predicament in the first place. there was no denying that there was something going on there as well. just avoiding the cave wouldn’t be enough.
all that was left was your curiosity, left to simmer under the plague of ‘what if’. the mysterious surrounding satoru wouldn’t leave you until you made good on your promise. the vow becoming something of a vice.
with your mind made up, you turned to your mother.
“do we have any mochi left?”
your parents hesitantly let you out with a curfew. you’d mentioned that you were held up late by a friend last time- to which your father questioned why you hadn’t mentioned it until now. they were obviously worried about your lack of agreeableness to reach out to the other kids so this initiative helped to ease their weariness.
clutching the small container of sweet mango filled dough to your chest, you made your way back to the little cave. the distance traveled was kinder to you this time with shoes as you made haste down the gravel banks.
uncertainty slowed your steps as you approached the widening curve of the stillness pool. depending on how you gauged the sun, you weren’t terribly late. it was technically still sunset.
a mix of disappointment and relief swam in your gut as you came to the conclusion that your new acquaintance hadn’t met their own end of the deal. maybe his parents had also got onto him about being so late.
it was probably for the best anyway.
the volume of your scream made even you wince as the tupperware toppled to the ground. turning on your heel, you came face to face with satoru. you never heard the water part at his entrance.
he wore a bored expression but there was a hint of a smile to his lips. this time he didnt scold you for shrieking, too interested in the container that had toppled near the shore.
bringing your hand to your chest, you reasoned that scolding him would be useless. “its mochi.”
for once, it was his tongue that made the words sound off. apparently the rounded desserts werent part of his vocabulary.
carefully easing onto the ground, you brought the container into your lap.
“it’s my surprise. i hope you’re hungry.”
as you cracked the top, satoru move closer, nose twitching as the smell of mango drifted out. your mother had been all too happy to pack all the extras for you to share.
you offered one.
satoru took it carefully, bringing it to his nose for another cautious sniff. you took in the point of his nails as he split the soft dough. he collected the orange the oozed out and brought it to his mouth.
in the span of seconds, he devoured the entire bun in one bite and snatched the remaining from your hands.
“this is good! i’ll excuse your lateness, this time.”
without the weight in your lap, you drew your knees to your chest as you watched on as he greedily ate one after the other. you considered warning him of the stomachache he would endure if he held the pace, but you decided that it would only fall on deaf ears.
instead you ask,” so about those toes?”
it seemed like such a weird question to ask. equally as strange to satoru as he brow pinched. he brought his fingers to his mouth to clear away the stickiness.
“what are those?”
an age old meme resonated within you and you waited with baited breath for him to carry the joke, but only silence drenched the space between you.
pursing your lips, you shake your foot in reminder. “remember? apparently yours were better?”
“oh.” satoru’s lips smacked audibly as he polished off another bun. and as if it was the most natural thing in the world he shifted back, a bright blue tail that matched his eyes broke the surface.
if you were sure before, you were certain he was going to eat you this time.
because you screamed again.
satoru demanded that you bring him mochi everyday from then on for hurting his ears again.
there would be multiple days to instil the notion that you had met a mythical creature. you were still trying to assure yourself that you have been awake the whole time.
your parents no longer needed to worry about you making friends, because apparently you’d managed to befriend a merman.
siren, satoru had hissed after bitting into a blueberry mochi. asking your mother to make mochi only worked for the first few visits. eventually her curiosity to win and lead you down a path you weren’t ready to accept yet.
the trail leading to the acceptance that you were conversing with a fishman- boy.
lounging on your blanket, you had come to store little things for comfort around the cave. sunset rolled back a few hours to afternoon and before you knew it you were spending the majority of your days with satoru.
“don’t your parents ever worry about you being gone so long?”
as usual, satoru was eating. he’d already finished the dango you had brought and moved on to the squid you’d turned down with barely restrained disgust. undeterred, he’d only shrugged and proceeded to gnaw off one of the tentacles.
and that was that.
so instead you quizzed him on the mythical world you had and most humans were blind to. he talked about submerged cities, described aquatic creatures you could have never dreamed of if you tried and dissuaded your worst fears.
“so you don’t eat humans?”
“no we do. but i don’t want to eat you.”
you waited for the yet but it never came. satoru seemed content consuming whatever sugary treat you brought and sated the rest with whatever he caught swimming by.
Eventually you let go of the imagery of ariel and her seaside romance and began to soak your free time in legends of beautiful sirens of the sea who took pleasure in drowning their victims. every story warned land dwellers from entering the waters, something you had never shown interest in doing nor had satoru pressured you.
“how old are you satoru?”
“how old are you?”
he always did this, answering questions with his own. it came to you that he might just be remaining within your boundaries to keep you from screaming at him again. a fair assumptions, but you were genuinely curious.
“fifteen,” you offered, prepared to have the same response thrown back at you.
satoru raised a brow at your suspicion of disbelief. “i think i know how old i am.”
and you couldn’t fault him for that. you just weren’t expecting him to be so young. sure he looked like he could have been a boy at your school aside from the freckled scales and obvious tail.
“i beat you again, by the way.”
his words draw you from your thoughts. “huh?”
he swallows the remainder of a melon bun.
“i’m older. so i win again.”
you roll your eyes.
tail or not, apparently some things are the same.
two weeks have passed before you realize he hasn’t sung for you since that day. the two of you often meet in the morning now, break for lunch and resume in the late evening. as far as your parents are concerned, you’re on the way to making a new best friend which will only be promising for when you start school.
“you act all funny when i sing. its not meant for your pleasure anyway,” he adds.
for once he’s not eating. he’s lying closer to you, tail still dipped under the water but more of his top half is lain out on the shore. when you try to give him a blanket to lie on to put something between himself and the rocks he gives you a funny look but concedes. now watching as he nuzzles into the the fabric of your cotton blanket, you hide a knowing grin.
“but it sounds pretty, toru.”
when you had first tried out the nickname, you had hesitantly rushed it into a sentence. you were growing comfortable with the siren but the dangers were still present. like most things, it didn’t get past him and he grinned smugly but didn’t tease you further than that.
you were grateful for that as it allowed you to become more comfortable with its usage, likely his intention.
he hums in agreement, eyes sliding close as he readjusts. his tail follows the movement lowly, making small ripples.
“can’t you sing in a way that wont affect me?”
satoru’s eyes flash up to you suddenly and your breath catches in your throat at the sudden shift in the mood.
“no, because then it would be bad for me. if i cant control you then i cant drown you.”
you dont bring up how that would also be bad for you.
you dont bring up his singing again.
summer is edging near completion and your parents start to curb your outings.
“you’ll see them more when school starts. if you dont start to getting to bed earlier now you’ll just make it worse for you.”
there is no way for you to explain how it will be harder to approach your situation to satoru. you were knowingly wedging yourself deeper with him. the first day you met him had marked a streak of possessiveness that kept drawing you back in.
you weren’t just his friend.
you were his.
the thing he looked forward to each morning and regretted parting with each afternoon. you knew this for a fact, because you felt it too.
“okay, i’m going to go a little earlier today. then”
your mother lets you go with a short kiss to your temple and a promise that you’ll return for lunch.
satoru took the news about as well as you would expect.
“you can’t go.”
letting your head fall back on your shoulders, you stared up at the small break in the grotto above. “i have to go to school, toru. if i dont go then ill get in trouble and if that happens then i definitely cant come back.”
you know he knows this too. satoru was smart. a species like his didnt survive this long unknown without intelligence.
but then again, he let you in on the secret and it was too early to gauge the genius in that.
you were more comfortable around each other now, legs bare as your feet dipped into the water. satoru still resumed his post on the shore, arms crossed by your hip as the white of his hair brushed against your thighs.
he seemed to still be digesting the news which gave you the opportunity to probe again.
“i mean, surely you have stuff to do as well. what did you do before you met me?”
satoru deflected the question, head lolling to the side to rest against your skin. the slippery surface of the scales littering his cheek always felt like ice chips.
“ate more stupid people.”
you’d asked about this of course. probably worrying your parents when you brought up with questions of drowning in the area. they seemed unsure before your father assured you that they wouldn’t have let you venture so close to the shore if that was a problem.
so if satoru was indeed eating people like he said, it wasn’t from around here.
part of you still felt like there was a bit of myth still lodged in his truth.
“so you can only meet me at sunset again?”
you make a noise of affirmation, hand raising as it hovers over his head. you had never actually touched it before but as it tickled the inside of your thigh the curiosity grew. before you talked yourself out of it, your hand dropped.
his hair was silky, still damp but drying at a reasonable pace. his head moved under the weight of your hand, but it wasn’t to shake it off. you accepted the invitation and weaved your fingers further.
“on most days. with homework i wont be able to everyday like this either.”
his loud groan rumbles against your leg and he slowly slinks back into the water. your hand clenches around the absence.
“for every extra day you’re not here, you better bring me something great.”
its probably time for you to be going anyway.
you go about collecting your things and tucking away what you could. when you finally stand, you trying to shake way the numbness that had settled.
“we should probably figure out days, so you’re not always just here-”
satoru swam on his back for about half a meter, showing off his full length before his slipped under and reemerged at your feet.
“when you come back i’ll be here.”
the two of you managed to meet a few more times before the first day of classes started. satoru was noticeably nicer to you, or atleast as pleasant as he could be. after finally realizing that you had no interest in dead aquatic animals, he began corralling live ones for you to view.
you realized that the two worlds had different names for a lot of things as he listed off various species and colors. you took a few of them with your phone before the idea hit you.
“hey, toru can i take a picture of you?”
he made a face like he might disagree. there was no need to explain the device as you’d already done plenty of show and tell. one of the earlier showings leaving you to soak your phone in rice for two whole days.
eventually he shrugs and you snap a photo immediately after.
the night sky begets a short flash, one that he winces at and moans in protest. but the picture is worth the complaint.
he looks almost like a human boy wading in a pool- aside of the assortment of blueish scales to his cheeks. your only regret in that he’d closed one eye in reaction to the sudden light. there was a light frown to his face too but that was as genuine as it got.
“let me take one of you.”
you were too surprised to deny him, wordlessly handing off your phone with less worry than you probably should have had. he handles it carefully though, biding by your instructions before you too were wincing away from the flash.
the smile you get from him was better than anything you could have captured.
“can i keep it?”
you laugh, “no, toru. but i can make you something you can.”
highschool was hard enough transitioning up with your junior classmates, the challenges of tackling your first year without out them met your expectations but not the worst of them. you learned quickly who to avoid and who you could be amicable with.
being the new girl was an easier pill to swallow when you came equipped with a few stories from your past home. it gained the interest of a few which made a way from conversation to acquaintanceship.
nothing was quite as exciting as your meeting with satoru but that was to be anticipated.
satoru … unfortunately was seen less and less as the weeks went by. your parents were keen on you making a good first impression which meant a heavy emphasis on your school work.
you mother had offered for you to invite your ‘friend’ over more than once, and invitation that had spanned since your early meeting. but the only thing harder than trying to explain that your satoru was a fish was to add that he was also a boy.
your father might actually overlook the former in favor of the latter.
so you were left to visit him on the weekends and thus compiled your allowance to purchase bigger treats and delicacies alike.
his introduction to cake had a been a messy occurrence. naturally he would forgo the fork you brought to dig in with his fingers.
satoru surprised you by asking about your schooling.
“what? it’s not like ive ever been around that many human before. sounds smelly.”
you laugh, because he’s not wrong. you go into detail about your different teachers and classmates, offering vivid retellings that you hadn't even shared with your parents.
satoru hung onto every words, though not without crass comments and frequent jokes, his attention sent something new aflutter within you.
“i can’t believe the year is almost over, toru.”
your hair is getting wet but you can’t be bothered to care. the two of you are resting from opposite directions with your heads on the bank. your eyes are trained on the pink hues above but your cognitive of satoru’s warmth and the feeling of his breath fanning against your cheek.
it was nearing a year. a full eight months at your new school and a solid nine of knowing satoru. you were already planning something for your year anniversary.
friends did that, right? it wasn’t weird just because he was a boy.
speaking of boy, it didnt escape your knowledge that he was changing as time passed as well. he still held onto his boyish features but there was something different.
“did i miss your birthday?”
“huh?” the question surprises even him as he tilts his head to look at you.
time has made you better about not getting lost in his eyes, but it doesnt stop you from looking. not even the night sky can dim the ethereal shine.
your shoulder shrugs against him, “you know, when you get a year older? you told me you were sixteen so obviously those add up.”
he blinks,”oh, yeah i’m already seventeen.”
you dont expect the shock to be painful. when you sudden sit up, satoru makes a sound of protest but you ignore it in favor of leaning over him.
“you had a birthday and you didnt tell me?”
“i was here, you werent.”
he said it so matter of factly, as if it didnt pierce your heart with another blade.
you dont notice the tears until the first drop meets his cheek. satoru recoils immediately face pulled in confusion.
“why are you crying? you were at school.”
you knew you were a blubbering mess, snot slinging as you rub the back of your hand against your face uselessly. why was he so indifferent about it? did he not want you to celebrate with him?
“that doesn’t mean that i wouldn’t want to celebrate with you? am i not your friend, toru?”
satoru sits up at your question, rising to a height taller even as you sat side by side. you feel the gravel crumbling away from his palm before the skin of his hand. he doesnt seem to care about the wetness as his hand combs back to tuck away your hair.
“youre my everything.”
it feels like it should be taken more seriously but the moment is cut short when he pulls away, huffing as he rinses his hand off in the water.
“if you want to make it up to me, bring me something you’ve never brought me before.”
and then he smiles and your heart grows three times bigger.
you beg your parents to take you back home to sendai that weekend under the precipice of seeing your old friends.
the next day you bring back kikufuku.
satoru says he’ll forgives you for the next five birthdays.
you can only hope for more.
as summer approaches again, so does your birthday. your parents had conveniently waited until two weeks after before laying out the news of your move. last year you celebrated with old friends, and this year some new.
you still received some gifts from sendai. a plethora of little plushies and memories from the past. your new friendships here offered to throw you a small party, all gathered on your porch as you mother cut the cake.
you leaned into the kiss she life at the crown of your head, thanking her again for all the arrangements.
“i wish your summer friend could have come.”
“i plan to meet them later so it’s okay!”
after seeing your distress about birthdays, satoru had made a note to take them more seriously this time. he didn’t care if you had school, demanding that you come to the grotto before the day ended.
with a laugh you assured him that you were free and would meet at your usual time. it felt selfish to accept all your gifts and still crave whatever satoru had in store for you. much like you offered him, he promised to give you something new as well.
he gave you plenty of things over the past few months, aside from knowledge, an exchange of different shells and things lost at sea. you were growing a nice little collection in your room.
before leaving that evening after seeing off your friends, you took the time to make room on your shelf, prepared to add your new edition when you got home.
a late additional gift from your parents was a reprieve on your curfew, as long as you didn’t push the limits too far.
equipped with the best day ever that was only going to get better, you dashed towards the cave.
satoru had already drug out one of your blankets and spread it out for you.
“had a good day?”
with a giddy grin, you plopped down next to him. “the best!”
he smiles back, hand reaching out to caresses your cheek. you lean into the touch without prompting. there was no doubt that he could feel the light buzz of anticipation under your skin. the sound of his laughter confirmed it.
you bit your lips to try to contain it better as he took his time easing out of the water. you watched as the scales of his tail shimmered as he brought himself to sit next to you. for awhile the two of you just sat there as the sun dipped lower into the horizon.
and then satoru parted his lips.
you dont know anything about siren songs or have any hymn books to follow but there was something different about this song. satoru was always hesitant to speak about the songs, not at all interested in delving into the history.
you were starting to wonder if this was why.
there was no longer a sensation of compulsion. the strings that had tugged you to his doorstep all those months ago. this song dipped into your veins and soaked you in everything that was satoru but also a bit of yourself. this wordless song felt like a mixture of you both.
it was both of you.
the song didnt stop as his face neared. his nosed brushed along the curve of your jaw and your head tilts up on instinct. its an invitation that he accepts full heartily as he continues to mouth the sound against the column of your throat.
the warmth under your skin felt as though it was burning when it came in contact with his constrasting temperature.
for the first time, his song was audible. the a single word as his lips brushed against yours.
the sensation of his chilled lips against yours prompted goosebumps- but the good kind you decided as you leaned in.
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New Girl on the Block (5)
(The next update is here! Feel free to check out the mini series connected to this fic called Journal Entries. I will warn anyone who checks it out that I’m probably not going to continue the entries, though.)
Ch.1 / Ch.4 / Ch.6
Chapter 5: Late Night Visits
Felix idly watched the elevator light flicker from circle to circle as he reached the top floor. He tugged lightly at the green color of the shirt that Marinette had given him, preparing for his mother’s overbearing questions. She’d been trying to get him to wear something other than his suits for at least a year. When she saw him in this attire, she was going to have a fit.
Felix blew out a sigh. Normally, he would have changed back to his other clothes by now- Mme Sabine did an excellent job of cleaning them and tucking them into his bag, neatly folded -but Marinette told everyone that they could keep their outfits. After an offer like that, it seemed rude to change.
The elevator emitted a soft *ding* to inform him that he’d arrived on his selected floor, and Felix drew in a deep breath, watching the golden-colored doors slide open. Here it comes.
The family penthouse was shrouded in darkness, save for the flames that flickered in the fireplace of the open living. It cast a soft, orange glow on the furniture and floors, and in the midst of the distorted dimness, Felix could make out his mother lounging leisurely on one of the light blue couches. It wasn’t unlike her to keep the house lights off while he or Father was away. She claimed that it helped think and relax.
When the elevator doors rattled closed, his mother sat up from the couch and turned to him, her eyes bright and curious. A part of him hoped that she couldn’t spot his new outfit in the darkness, but that hope was quickly dashed as she hopped up with a gasp.
“Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed, sounding like a child on Christmas morning. Felix barely had time to set his bag down before she got to him, pawing up and down to study the fabric. He briefly wondered how a woman who wore six inch heels could move with such speed and agility.
“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! Is it my birthday? Are you really my son? What happened to your old clothes? I thought you were going to visit Marinette’s house!” She flicked the lights on to get a better look, and Felix squinted as his eyes adjusted.
“Yes, I’m really your son,” He replied firstly, taking a step away from her incessant touches, “And I did go to Marinette’s house. That’s why I needed new clothes.”
Bridgette frowned, both at his step away from her and his comment. “What happened to your old clothes? Did Claude spill something on them again?”
“You could say that Claude was the Catalyst, yes.” He grumbled, the memory of Claude’s mocking laughter flicking through his mind.
“Well, where are your other clothes then? Should I call M. Bernarde over to clean them?”
Felix shook his head and gestured to his bag on the floor. “No need. Mme Sabine has already taken care of it.”
“Mme Sabine?” Bridgette parroted curiously. She knelt down and flipped over the brown, leather flap to pull out the clothes.
“Ah. Marinette’s mother.” Felix explained. “She insisted that I refer to her as ‘Mme Sabine’.”
A smile graced Bridgette’s lips as she stood, tucking Felix’s clothes in her arms. “That’s very sweet of her.”
Felix nodded and knelt down to grab his bag as well. “M. Tom and Mme Sabine both have an uncanny resemblance towards you when it comes to their behavior.”
“Oh?” Bridgette’s eyes narrowed with amusement. “So what I’m hearing is: Marinette’s parents are wonderful people.”
Felix chuckled, flashing her an indulgent smile. “Of course, Mother.”
Bridgette grinned and ruffled a hand through his hair. “I definitely raised you right. Do you want some tea? I can make some while you go change. I know that’s not your usual preference of clothing.”
Felix hummed at the offer, reaching up to touch his collar again. “Tea sounds nice, but I think I’ll keep the outfit.”
It was already ten o’clock at night. If he were to change into anything, it would be a pair of pajamas, and he wasn’t in the mood for that yet. There were still things that he needed to jot down in his notebook before settling down for the evening.
Bridgette’s eyes bulged out of her head. “You mean you actually like the outfit?”
Felix shrugged. “The clothes are comfortable. It might not be my usual attire, but it’s also not unbearable. Besides, going up to change now would only be a waste of energy.”
Bridgette placed a hand on her hip and breathed out an incredulous laugh. “If I had known that going to Marinette’s house was all it would take for you to break your ‘suits’ streak, I would have you sent you there ages ago.”
Felix playfully rolled his eyes. “Shouldn’t you be happy that I dress well? Father’s quite pleased with it.”
Bridgette clicked her tongue, setting his clothes on the dining room table next to them to cross her arms. “Yes, that’s because your father is just as uptight as you are. You both need to loosen up a little.”
Felix chuckled. “Where is Father? I thought he was supposed to be home tonight.”
“He’s up in his study.” Bridgette answered, tilting her head towards the stairs. “There’s an important meeting at the bank tomorrow, and he wanted to prepare.”
Felix nodded. That was understandable. “What kind of tea are you going to make?”
Bridgette perked up at the reminder and spun on her heel to head towards the kitchen, her cream-colored dress flowing around her legs with the action. “I was thinking of Iron Goddess, but is there something different you might want?”
Felix shook his head as he followed behind her. “Iron Goddess sounds marvelous. I haven’t had that in a while.”
Bridgette moved to the stove and turned it on. Then she pulled out her flower-decorated kettle and set it on the burner. Felix stood next to her, quietly watching her pour the needed amount of water into the kettle.
“So tell me how Claude managed to ruin your clothes for the twentieth time.” She said after a moment while handing Felix the dried, tea leaves.
Felix took the tea leaves and fished out a measuring spoon to scoop the accurate amount. “Twenty-second, actually, and I’m not entirely sure what happened.”
One moment, they were trying to put flour on the dough. The next moment, the flour was on them. Not the dough. He remembered everyone coughing up flour, and the white clouding his vision as the substance floated around the room. He remembered Claude laughing and Allan sighing in defeat when he finally got hit. Allegra had pinched the bridge of her nose at one point, undoubtedly asking herself what she would do with all of them.
Then he remembered Marinette’s face, flushed from embarrassment, as she scrambled to take the flour bag off of him, and her giddy smile, moments later, as she threw the bag onto Allan.
“M. Tom was teaching us how to make croissants.” Felix said, starting at the first thing he could clearly recall. “When he left to deal with an unruly customer, Marinette attempted to take over the lesson. Unfortunately, she didn’t anticipate Claude’s tumultuous mannerisms.”
A laugh escaped Bridgette. “Can anyone truly prepare for Claude?”
Felix shook his head. “Not that I’ve seen.”
He tipped his measuring spoon into the infuser, letting the leaves fall into it. Then he reached across the stove and dropped the infuser into the kettle.
“Claude inevitably spilled a fourth of their flour bag onto himself and Allegra, and when Marinette went to fetch more for the rest of us, she tripped. I tried to catch her, but the flour bag was too heavy to handle. So we both ended up falling and getting covered as well.”
Bridgette snorted. “How chivalrous of you. It’s nice to know you’re fond enough of Marinette to try to help her when she needs it.”
“I didn’t do anything special.” Felix said, a twinge of irritation stirring in the back of his mind. She acted as though he let people fall in front of him on a regular basis.
..of course, he did watch Claude land face first into the cement one day without so much as twitching. But in his defense, the brunette had been pushing Felix to the limit that day. He thought it only fair to let the boy suffer a little.
“Anyone decent would have done the same thing.” Felix added, referring back to Marinette’s trip.
Bridgette nodded thoughtfully. “That’s true.. So you’re saying you’re not fond of her, then?”
“No, I-” Felix cut himself short, realizing what he was about to say.
It’s not that he disliked Marinette. She was a kind-hearted person and, as of right now, hasn’t done anything to displease him. But for some reason, the word ‘fond’ sounded.. too strong. Too incriminating.
His mother’s bubbly laughter broke him from his thoughts.
“Relax, sweetheart. I’m only teasing. I know you enjoy Marinette’s company.” She said, lightly tapping her fingers under his chin. The assurance didn’t appease Felix in the slightest. In fact, it only birthed a new form of discomfort. Why did the thought of enjoying Marinette’s company make him squirm? Wasn’t it normal to enjoy someone’s company once you were around them for a while?
“So how did you get the new outfit?” Bridgette inquired next. “Did you have to stop baking and go on a last minute shopping spree?”
“No, Marinette had plenty of outfits.” Felix answered, gladly accepting the subject change. “It was quite impressive. She’d told us that she was a fashion major, but I didn’t realize that she was actually making clothes at this moment and time.”
“Wait, what?!” Bridgette blanched, her eyes blowing wide as she straightened. “You’re telling me that she made those clothes? The ones you’re wearing right now.”
Felix barely managed a nod before Bridgette swooped down to inspect his clothes all over again.
“You’re kidding!” She gasped, feeling over the seams and fabrics. “You didn’t tell me that she was a fashion designer! And a talented one, no less!”
“Didn’t I?” Felix replied, subtly leaning away from his mother.
Bridgette shook her head. “No, you didn’t! You’ve told me that she’s a new student who got in on a scholarship, that she lives in a bakery, that she’s clumsy, and that she’s somehow anxious and level-headed at the same time, but I’ve never heard about her aspirations towards being a fashion designer.”
“Huh..” Felix mumbled. The fact must have slipped his mind earlier. “Well, that’s how she attained the scholarship. She’s majoring in fashion. Claude, Allegra, and Allan all got outfits from her as well.”
“That’s incredible..” Bridgette muttered. “She must really be something.”
Felix nodded, being inclined to agree. No one got an early scholarship to Rosemary Highschool without having an immense amount of drive and talent. The clothes he wore now proved that.
A sharp whistle cut into their conversation, and Bridgette swiftly moved back to the stove to turn it off. She then grabbed two mugs from the counter- one deep green and one deep blue -and poured some of the scalding liquid from the kettle into both cups.
“So what happened after everyone changed?” She asked, getting back to the original topic.
“Nothing much.” Felix admitted. He took the dark green mug that Bridgette offered him with a ‘thanks’ before adding, “Marinette took our clothes to Mme Sabine for her to wash them, and the rest of the visit was spent playing video games or talking.”
“Did you play games as well?”
An involuntary snort left Felix’s lips, and he shook his head. “Certainly not. I looked around Marinette’s room instead.”
“Oh?” His mother scooted closer to him with a sly smile, the same way she always did when she expected to hear something ‘juicy’. “Did you find anything interesting?”
The treasure chest of birthday gifts resurfaced in Felix’s mind, along with the card that he’d found.
“Nothing out of the ordinary.” He lied. It wasn’t his place to disclose such things, especially when he hadn’t been told directly about them. Felix wanted to learn more about Marinette, not share her private life with the world. “She seems to have quite an obsession with the color pink, though.”
Bridgette laughed. “Really? How bad?”
“Well, it’s not as bad as your infatuation with sky blue,” Felix said light heartedly, “but it still covered almost everything in her room. I was shocked that her hand-made outfits weren’t all pink as well.”
Bridgette hummed. “You do need to have some variety in the fashion world. Otherwise your clothes will become bland and predictable.”
She took a small sip of her tea and sank against the counter, reveling in the warmth it provided.
“So how do you think Marinette’s fairing in the group so far?” she asked after a moment.
Felix took a sip of his own tea as he mulled over his answer. “She certainly knows how to hold her own. Allegra and Claude have already pledged their loyalty to her, claiming that she’s family even though we’ve only known her a week.”
“You think they’re rushing things?”
“I think they’re impulsive and rash as always.” Felix shrugged. “Marinette can be a great asset to our group, but that’s hardly a reason to devote themselves to her.”
Intrigue flashed in Bridgette’s deep blue eyes. “So you think she can make the group better?”
“Currently, yes.” Felix responded. “The way she interacts with each of us brings a strange sense of balance to the group. She adds this splash of color that we’ve apparently been lacking.”
It’s something he’s noticed often in the past week. Marinette will listen intently to Claude’s stories and ideas, therefore sedating his chaotic atmosphere. She’ll compliment Allegra’s styles and discuss compelling topics with the blonde, easily satisfying the girl’s need to dig up controversy and drag it to light for the sake of a good argument. She’ll even share looks and teasing comments with Allan, praising him for his photography skills and giving him the constant validation that causes the boy to smile just a little bit more. Her routine of asking Felix’s opinion and actually taking it into consideration admittedly soothes his ever-rising temper as well.
In a way, she kept them grounded, and that was something that their group desperately needed if you asked him.
“Wow~” Bridgette sang, taking a long sip of her tea. “That’s a lot of praise coming from you, Felix.”
Something turned inside Felix’s chest at the comment, and his grip on his mug tightened. Why did he feel as though he had been caught for something? Nothing he said had been untrue.
“I’m merely stating observations.”
“Of course.” Bridgette muttered into her cup, an air of amusement in her voice. “Observations.”
Felix narrowed his eyes at his mother. Her sly smile told him that she wasn’t quite agreeing with him in the way that she said. Almost like she was insinuating something or knew something that he didn’t. Bridgette was known for drawing irrational conclusions, though, so he didn’t dare ask what that something was. Felix simply took another sip of his tea and continued telling her the smaller details of his visit.
Evening in Paris, a time where the streets are empty and the lights are full. The city of love always had a way of illuminating the night sky with its abundance of lanterns and street lamps. Couples could often be found strolling along, enjoying the romantic atmosphere, but tonight, company was scarce. Only the occasional car divulged the fact that the drowsy town was not quite asleep.
Chat Noir didn’t blame the civilians for staying inside. The frigid month of January was tolerable in the morning, but at night, the frosted winds had no mercy. He tugged up his scarf to compensate for the chill that nipped at his cheeks and nose, and although it did little to help, he continued skipping across the rooftops. Nathalie would be checking on him in roughly an hour to make sure he was asleep. That gave him roughly thirty to forty-five minutes to get to Marinette’s house, convince her to transfer back to Dupont, and get home.
Well, he didn’t expect to convince her fully- Marinette can be extremely stubborn -but he could lay the groundwork. For example, if Chat Noir could figure out why she left, maybe Adrien would be able to fix it.
The balcony came into view a few minutes later, and Chat Noir picked up the pace. Using his alter ego to snuff out information wasn’t something that he put to practice often, but all attempts to talk to Marinette as Adrien so far have failed, and he couldn’t wait for his schedule as a civilian to open again.
His feet landed on the Dupain-Cheng rooftop, but the ice on top of it caused him to slip. He let out a yelp and threw his hands forward to claw for support. The high pitched whine that came from his gloves when they caught on the ice made him wince, but it was better than falling off the edge of the roof. He scrambled upwards to safety, blowing out a sigh of relief as he found Marinette’s window. That was close.
Now that he had steady footing, Chat Noir stole a peek into Marinette’s bedroom. The last time he came to her house uninvited, it was while she was sleeping, and that did not end well for him. Therefore, he’s started checking whether she’s ‘ready’ for him or not.
Marinette buzzed around her room, a bright smile on her lips as she gathered empty soda can, cups, and plates. Why were there so many drinks and plates? Did Marinette eat that much or did she have someone over earlier? If she did have someone over, then who would it be? Everyone at Dupont was still grumbling about her supposed misdeeds. Did someone finally come to their senses and apologize?
Chat Noir perked up. This was great! If she’s reconciled with one of her old classmates, it would be that much easier to sway her in his direction.
Fueled by a fresh spark of hope, he climbed up to Marinette’s balcony. The coolness of the metal railing seeped through his gloved hands as he grabbed it, but he hardly cared as he swung himself over. His padded feet hit the wooden floorboards without a sound, and he knelt down to knock on the trapdoor.
“I can’t believe how much fun today was!”
His knuckles faltered in the air at the sound of Marinette’s voice. She sounded positively giddy, which was nice, but who was she talking to? He didn’t remember seeing anyone in the bedroom with her. Were they sitting outside his viewpoint? Should he come back later?
“When everyone got covered in flour, I thought the rest of the night was going to be horrible, but they looked like they had a good time.” Marinette continued, oblivious of her eavesdropper.
Chat Noir frowned slightly. ‘Everyone’.. Did more than one person come over? How did they get covered in flour?
He shook his head and checked his baton for the time. 10:20pm. If he was going to talk to her, it needed to do it now.
Tentatively, he knocked on the trapdoor, hoping beyond all hope that she was making a simple phone call. Marinette would be ticked if he came over, uninvited, while she had someone else visiting.
Her idle chatter immediately ceased, and Chat Noir shifted nervously on the floor. Please be alone. Please be alone.
His ears twitched to the sound of movements. Footsteps were making their way across the room. Then up the first ladder to the loft. Then up the second ladder to the balcony. Then-
Marinette pushed her way through the trapdoor, offering him a warm smile. “Hey, Chat! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you around here. How have you been?”
Chat’s shoulders sagged in relief. It’s been forever since he’s seen that wonderful smile. “I’ve been okay. Mind if I come in?”
“Not at all.” Marinette held the trapdoor open long enough for Chat to grab it and started climbing back down the ladder. “I was just cleaning up from having my friends over.”
So she did have people over!
“Which friends?” He asked, trying not to sound too eager as he climbed down the ladder behind her. Could it be Alya? They were best friends, after all. Or Nino? He was always skeptical of Lila’s tales. Oh! What if it was Nathaniel? Chat remembered the red-head having a soft spot for Marinette a while back. Or what about-
“My new friends from school!” Her enthusiastic reply shattered his hopes, and Chat Noir froze, the trapdoor rocking shut above him. She had.. new friends? Already? She’d only been gone a week or two..
“Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. I transferred from Dupont to Rosemary!” She added, completely oblivious to the bomb that she’d just dropped on him. It shouldn’t surprise Chat that she had new friends, since Marinette was amazing, but..
“What about your old friends?”
Marinette shrugged, dumping a few soda cans into the trash bag that lay in the corner of her room. “Oh, you know. Lila’s been rallying them against me for a few months now. I figured that wasn’t good for my mental health or my education, so I decided to leave.”
Guilt festered in the pit of his stomach, and Chat Noir cast his gaze to the side. He understood where she was coming from. Lila hadn’t been making life easy for her as of late.
“Do you miss them?”
“Nope!” The answer was immediate and cheerful, and it shot a knife right through Chat’s heart.
“There’s not a single part of you that wants to go back?” He persisted. School had been difficult for her with Lila’s lies. He got that. But it still hurt to know that she was willing to throw them away like they hadn’t been friends for the better half of two years.
Marinette shook her head, shoving the imagined knife deeper into his chest. “If they wanted me to stay, they should have treated me better.”
“What if they’re sorry?” He asked, probably faster than he should have. “What if they missed you and wanted you to come back? Wouldn’t you forgive them?”
Weren’t friends supposed to work things out?
A sigh fell from her lips. “I don’t know, Chat. No one’s even apologized yet. Even if they did, I’m not sure that I’d want to go back?”
“Why not?” Chat all but yelled in exasperation. If everyone apologized, that would mean no one was upset with her anymore. The problem would be gone! So why would she want to stay away from them?
Marinette frowned at him. “If I go back to Dupont, it’ll only show them that their actions don’t have any real consequences. They need to learn that they can’t just treat people however they want.”
Chat Noir didn’t respond, because what could he really say? She was right. He knew she was right. You can’t rage against someone day after day and expect them to take it. Even so, he couldn’t help wanting her back. They needed her. He needed her.
“Why are you so concerned about this anyway?” Marinette inquired, breaking him from his thoughts.
Chat Noir managed a sheepish smile. “N-No reason. I just don’t want you making any rash decisions is all.”
Marinette eyed him for a moment, then shrugged. “Well, I don’t think it’s rash to get out of a toxic situation, but why don’t we change the subject? Do you want to play games? I can bring up snacks if you plan on staying long.”
Chat Noir pulled out his baton to check the time. 10:40pm. Drat.
“Actually, I should get going.” He replied, slipping on an apologetic smile. “Patrol and all that.”
Marinette gave an understanding nod. “No problem. Thanks for stopping by.”
“Thanks for having me.” Chat Noir said with a small wave. He then clambered back up the ladder and pushed open the trapdoor. The freezing air hit him full force, but he didn’t have time to be skittish. Nathalie would be coming to check on him in twenty minutes, and that didn’t include the possibility of her coming to check on him early.
He shut the trapdoor behind him, making sure it was tightly closed. (Just because he had to get frostbite didn’t mean that Marinette had to) Then, Chat Noir swung himself over the railing, slid down the Dupain-Cheng’s rooftop, and started homeward.
He’d wanted to change Marinette’s mind about Dupont, but in the end, he was the one who had his mind changed. With Lila running about and spreading lies, it wouldn’t be fair to ask her to return. However, if his classmates were too.. say.. change their ways and learn to appreciate Marinette, she might be inclined to come back. All he had to do was convince them that Lila was a liar and that Marinette was an actual angel, and he would start with apologizing. What the school Marinette said she transferred to? Rosemary? Yeah, that’s it. Rosemary.. Wasn’t that the prestigious school for rich kids that Father almost sent him to? How did she manage to enroll there? He thought the tuition was supposed to be extremely expensive.
Chat Noir shook his head slightly. How she enrolled at that school didn’t matter. What mattered was that that’s where she’ll be most of the day from now on, and as soon as he got even a second of free time as Adrien, she will be the first person he sees.
Tag List: @artbyknigit @athena452 @nickristus-dreamer @throneoffirebreathingbitchqueen @arsaem @abrx2002 @neakco @pawsitivelymiraculous @too0bsessedformyowngood @nathleigh @lusicing @officiallydarkgeek @all-mights-asscheeks @tbehartoo @woe-is-me0 @raeuberprinzessin @lazuli-11 @miss-chaos27 @trippingovermyfeet @sadpotatoondrugs @ladybug-182 @jaggedheart11 @marinahrasauce @i-need-blog-ideas
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quite the spectacle (fred weasley x reader)
Request: @susceptible-but-siriusexual Hi! Can I make a request like; readerxFred. Reader is using glasses (she don’t like it) but one day-when she decided to visit the Burrow- she just don’t wanna wear her glasses and then she start to mix everyone ‘cause she can’t see their faces clearly. Fun and fluffy. Thanks!
a/n: high key felt this bc i have worn glasses for most of my life. Gif from google
Warnings: small mentions of blood.
Taglist: @pit-and-the-pen @iprobablyshipit91 @thoseofgreatambition @levylovegood @besitos-41 @theweasleysredhair @emcchi @brainlesspasta @cauliflowercounty @msmimimerton @susceptible-but-siriusexual @imholeyfred-geddit @harrysweasleys @vivianweasley @immobulusmalfoy @Weasleysmuch @alpineweasley @lumielikesbooks @strawberriesonsummer @shadowsinger11 @mytreec @extra-trash77 (first time tagging on my ipad sonif i tagged wrong plz lmk)
“There you are four eyes!” Setting your book down you look up to see Fred Weasley walking towards you with a grin on his face.
“Again with the nicknames?”
For some reason, Fred had only ever met one kid with glasses in his life and it was Harry Potter. Apparently, wizard kids have good eyesight, something you apparently missed out on. You hated wearing glasses, they were bulky and covered your face and you just felt so out of place. Fred on the other hand loved your glasses. He thought you looked absolutely adorable in them. Though he would show it by teasing the hell out of you.
It would piss you off more if you didn’t have a massive crush on him. You couldn’t help the butterflies that erupted when he was around you. His teasing wasn’t unbearable either. Besides the nicknames, he liked to steal your glasses because he thinks its funny to watch you feel around for them like a blind mouse. He always gives them back to you though.
He’s not that mean.
You told him growing up that you needed them to see and that you tried to convicr your parents to let you get contacts but they wanted to wait until you became of age which you personally think is ridiculous but here you are still with your glasses.
“Got something to tell you,” He plops down next to you and takes a look at your book.
“Why are the words so tiny?” He squints his eyes to try to read the small print of your book. “Its an old book.”
“No wonder you have glasses, reading this is bound to make anyone blind.” You slap him lightly on the shoulder making him laugh. “Did you come here just to make fun of me?” You whine grabbing your book and shutting it.
“Nope. Mum invited you over for the holidays. Since you said you were staying at Hogwarts this year.” Your annoyance at Fred fades as you’re overcome with happiness at getting to spend the holiday break with the Weasleys.
“Really!” Fred nods and you jump to hug him. “This is amazing! I’ll be sure to write my parents and let them know. Thank you Freddie!” Without thinking you kiss his cheek in excitment. Your eyes widen as you let go of Fred. He has a smirk on his face but the blush creeping up his face was evident. “Anything for my little mouse.” “
Mouse?” Tilting your head you rack your brain for where on earth he got that nickname. “Yeah, you know that muggle story? Three Blind Mice.” He snickers.
“You’re a prat.”
You were beyond excited to spend time at the burrow but you couldn’t help the nervous feeling that was growing inside of you. You would be spending 2 weeks with them and you only really knew Fred and George. If you messed up your first impression then you’d be stuck with them with no way out and the last thing you wanted was for the Weasleys to know you as that weird girl with glasses for the rest of your life. Fred assured you his family was very nice and would never hold anything you did agaisnt you but you couldn’t shake that feeling. The hogwarts express was arriving soon and you were gathering the rest of your things. Biting your lip you adjust your glasses and frown. You really didn’t want to wear this bloody things anymore. Almost everyones first impression of you is a nerd because of your dumb glasses. Your vision wasn’t wasn’t that bad and you really wanted to make a good impression today. Taking off your glasses and slipping them into your pocket you take a look at yourself in the mirror. Your view wasn’t clear but it wasn’t horrible.
“Oi! Mouse we got to go!” Fred yells from the common room. Grabbing your bags you hurry down the stairs to meet the rest of the Weasleys. “Where are your glasses?” Fred frowns, he hopes you didn’t lose them or break them.
“Oh um, my mom got me contacts!” You smile as convincingly as possible.
The rest of the Weasleys shrug and start heading out to the train but Fred isn’t convinced. On the way to the train you keep your hand around Fred’s arm. Mostly as an anchor to make sure you don’t trip. “Thought your mum said you couldn’t get contacts yet?” Fred whispers in your ear. Ugh why did he have to remember that.
“Well since im spending the holidays alone, she thought I was old enough to get contacts.” It made sense but it wasn’t true. Fred nods but he could see right through you. “So you wouldn’t mind giving me your glasses then?” You couldn’t see the smirk on his face but you could hear it was there. That cheeky git. He thinks you’re just going to give in? Hell no.
“Sure, not a problem.” You take your glasses out of your pocket and hand them to him. “Your back up pair too love.”
“You’re a git Fred.”
One thing about the burrow you werent prepared for. All the bloody things around the house. It was cozy and felt like a home but there were things lying all around the house which made getting around a little bit more difficult then you thought. Mrs. Weasley had welcomed you with open arms. Though she did question why you didn’t have glasses because apparently one red headed twin wrote about you to his mum and talked about your glasses. Instead of answering her you turned on Fred and teases him for writing about you in his letters to his mum. You had lasted the past 4 days without glasses but not without trouble. The headache was getting hard to ignore and you embarrassingly mixed up a few Weasleys.
Fred knew you couldn’t see well and had been messing with you any chance he got. Switching sweaters with George to get you to mix them up, moving furniture for you to bump into, and asking you to read to him. The last one being the most annoying. Though having Fred’s head in your lap as you do your best to read the Tales of Beetle the Bard was something you never wanted to forget. Fred was getting worried about you. Of course he noticed the way you squinted while you read him a story, he noticed the growing headaches, and the fact that you mixed him and George up much more was a clear sign that you were lying and didn’t have contacts. He had been trying to see how long you’d last with this lie but your safety was important to him. Everyone was sitting in the living room thinking of something to do that day. Fred was itiching to get you alone so he could give you back your glasses and just end the whole charade.
“Lets have a quidditch 3v3!” George shouts leaping out of the chair.
“What are the teams?” You ask, silently hoping that people would say no. You werent really ready to get on a broom without being able to see. “You, Fred, and Harry versus Me, Ron, and Ginny.” Murmurs of agreement spread throught the room. You nod along with everyone but you felt the nerves in your stomach.
While everyone was gearing up Fred pulls you to the side. Well you think its Fred. “Are you sure you’re up for this?”
“Of course Freddie.” You say playfully trying to mask the nerves in your voice. He frowns and lets go of your arm. The game went about as smoothly as Fred expected. You did your best but it was very hard to see. Since you couldn’t react fast enough, George had sent a ball straight into your face. You managed to get to the ground without falling but your nose was now bleeding quite badly.
“Bloody hell!” Fred shouts flying down to the ground. Rushing over to you he carefully pulls your hand away to check the damage. “Merlin I’m so sorry.” George says as he runs up next to Fred.
“Its alright. I should have seen it sooner.” You grab George’s hand and squeeze it to let him know you were alright. Fred was fed up with your stunt and just wanted it all to be over at this point. Picking you up bridal style you grab his neck as he takes you back to the burrow. He had Mrs. Weasley patch you up and was currently cleaning the dried blood off your face.
“You’re the most stubborn woman i’ve ever met you know that?” He scolds as he wipes the blood off.
“Pardon?” Rolling his eyes he sets down the cloth and pulls out your glasses. “Your mum never sent you contacts.” The lack of humor in his voice was chilling.
“I just want to know why you would keep this little joke for so long? Its clear you’re struggling so why wouldn’t you just ask for them back?” His voice laced with annoyance but also care.
“I hate my glasses Fred. I just want to go without them for once in my life.” You groan out. “They’re just big and bulky and make me look awful.” At this point you do realize that what you have done is a bit silly but you really hated your glasses. You just wanted to make a good impression with the Weasleys but after bumping into furniture and now breaking your nose, its safe to say that your plan didn’t really work.
“You don’t look awful darling. I love you and I love your glasses.” Fred takes your glasses and puts them on his face. It was blurry but quite funny.
“Bloody hell your eyesight is terrible.” He mumbles taking them off. “But, no one can pull them off like you, Your glasses are apart of you and part of the reason why I fancy you so much.” You wish his face wasn’t blurry because you wanted to look into his eyes to make sure he wasn’t joking.
“You fancy me?”
“Of course I do, I don’t tease just anyone.” Fred answers without a trace of nerves or uncertainty. He was confident of his feelings about you and nothing would change it. “I guess you’re alright.” You tease taking his hand. “Excuse me? I’ll have you know im an absolute treasure to be around” He says playfully.
Rolling your eyes at his dramatics you tell him the truth. “I like you too Fred, have for a while now.” Playing with his hand you bite your lip nervously. You really didn’t know what to say next.
“Here, You’re going to need these.” He hands you your glasses which you put on. It took you a few seconds to adjust to being able to see again. Looking at Fred he had that same goofy smile on his face that warms your heart.
“Look up.” He gestures towards the celing with a smirk. Glancing up you see mistletoe growing above the two of you.
“Come on my little mouse, give me a kiss.”
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Sand Lovers (Bill Denbrough x fem!Reader)
“Oh god, Beverly!!!” You squealed, cringing as the grainy sand flowed over your skin.
She towered over you, “enjoy it y/n,” and cackled evilly as she dumped another bucketful of sand on top of you.
Vacation to the freezing coast of Maine was going, well...interesting so far. It was the losers' first road trip together with no adults, no parents. It was a bit chaotic, but fun nonetheless. The wind was freezing and mostly unbearable, but Eddie, Ben and Stan were 100% focused and dead-set on gathering as many seashells, driftwood and even beach trash as possible. Nerds.
And on the other hand, Mike, Richie and Bev didn’t really give a shit about how cold it was. They were determined to build sand castles and play in the ocean no matter the temperature of the water or the air.
That left you and Bill, alone and shivering, on the cold and wet beach. Well, not alone. You were actively being buried into the sand, of course.
Part of Mike, Richie and Beverly’s ocean playtime shenanigans included burying you and Bill into the beachfront. And simultaneously trash talking you as well.
“Y/n, your ass is so flat that it’s the flat earther’s logo!” Richie hollered while dumping a bucket of grainy and cold sand over your body.
You couldn’t help but laugh. “H-hey, Richie! D-don’t say t-that about m-my g-g-girl-girlfriend,” Bill complained, cringing as Mike dropped another load of sand onto him.
At this point the two of you were almost completely covered. To anyone walking by, you would just look like two speed bumps in the sand. Well, two speed bumps with heads sticking out.
“Bill, if you’re going to talk about y/n, you should at least address her as a saint. Anyone who would date your boring ass deserves to be recognized as a miracle worker, in the very least,” Bev smirked as she poured more sand over you.
“Ooooh,” Mike laughed as he tossed another load over Bill. “Look, guys, Bev burned him so bad he’s not even cold anymore!”
You laughed, and Bill glared at you out of the corner of his eye, but you knew he was taking all this trash talk with a grain of salt, as were you.
The losers were just having fun. It wasn’t personal.
“Okay, people!” Beverly rubbed her hands together after she deposited her last bucket onto you. “I think we’re done here.”
You were completely covered from your shoulders down. And if you had tried it would’ve been hard to move, too. They had packed that sand down seriously tight.
“Aww,” Richie whined. “But I still have so many one-liners left that I was going to use!” He shot a devilish smirk in you and Bill’s direction.
“Yeah yeah yeah,” Bev grabbed him by the shoulder, “Pack it up Trashmouth.”
“Time to go back to the campsite and make dinner!” Mike pumped his fist.
“Food?” Richie adjusted his glasses.
“Yeah, fucker. Food,” Beverly flicked his head affectionately.
Richie got a thoughtful expression on his face, as if he was pondering the prospect of food. All of a sudden he ran off, yelling “Edddiiiieee, time for dinner!”
He grabbed the collar of the smaller boys’ shirt and dragged him off, everyone else trailing behind.
“Well,” Mike said, turning around to walk backwards, “Looks like that’s our cue. See you losers later,” he gave you and Bill a salute before jogging off to catch up with everyone.
You stared at all of them running away.
“What do we do now?” You turned your head as much as you could to look at Bill.
“I guess it’s time to go,” he said.
“Yeah. Food is starting to sound pretty good,” you admitted, and started to get up.
And that was when you realized that you were stuck. You grunted, trying to move your arms and pull yourself up, but you were frozen. It was almost like you had been encased in wet cement that was now dry.
You struggled, but your efforts to free yourself from the sand’s grip were fruitless.
You turned to look at Bill with a panicked face. His expression mirrored your own. You were both stuck.
“I just don’t understand how this is possible!” you exclaimed, still wiggling around, attempting to get loose.
“M-me either,” said Bill. “I didn’t know t-that sand c-could d-d-do this.”
“It can’t...” you started to say slowly. “No sand I’ve ever seen before can trap you like this. It’s impossible.”
“B-but, we’re stuck,” Bill reminded you. “So it is p-possible.”
“Not necessarily,” you said, the wheels in your head turning rapidly. “Not if this isn’t sand.”
Bill huffed, “What else w-would it b-be?”
“I dunno,” you tried to shrug, but your shoulders wouldn’t budge from where they were trapped. You wracked your brain, trying to think of what other substance could dry like this, and that's when you remembered something from biology class.
Your teacher had been discussing ecosystems along the Maine coastline, and somewhere she had offhandedly mentioned that oftentimes clay would form near the ocean.
She hadn’t said anything else about it because newsflash, clay isn’t alive. And god forbid you would discuss anything that wasn’t living in her military level strict classroom.
But it got you thinking. Whatever Bev and the boys had been dumping on you looked a lot like sand, but maybe there were clay particles mixed in.
“Bill?” you said, and he responded “Yeah?”
“We’re stuck in clay.”
He made a face, scrunching his lips together. “Uh, y/n...I d-don’t see how that could b-be.”
“I know, I know,” you closed your eyes, wishing desperately that your hands were free so you could fiddle with them.
“It looked like sand,” you explained. “But it wasn’t. It had to be clay. Cause last year, in bio, Ms. Starleign told us that clay forms near beaches, right?”
“I don’t r-remember.”
“Well she did. And what else could dry so damn fast?” You scoffed.
Bill nodded, “F-figures this w-w-would happen t-to us.”
“Got that right, bub,” you opened your eyes. “Goddamn Richie,” you muttered.
“And B-Bev and M-Mike,” Bill reminded you.
“Right.” If you could’ve reached up you would be pinching the bridge if your nose out of exasperation.
“So how the hell do we get out of here?” You tried your best to keep your voice calm.
Bill didn’t respond, only looked away.
You groaned, and looked up at that sky. It was around sunset, and some of the clouds from earlier had actually cleared up.
For a coastline that was usually miserable and foggy, the brilliant blue sky with reflections of pink splaying on the receding cloudline was hella unusual, but beautiful no doubt.
You probably would’ve been able to appreciate it a bit more if the temperature wasn’t rapidly dropping, and you weren’t still stuck in motherfucking clay.
“Bill…” you said to your boyfriend. He looked over at you, “W-what? D-do you have any i-ideas to g-get us out?”
“No,” you sighed. “I wish. All I was going to say was I love you.”
He raised an eyebrow. “God, y-y/n, you say that like we’re going to d-die.”
You gasped, pretending to be offended. “Can’t a chick just tell her boo she loves him these days?” You shook your head, “Ay dios, kids these days.”
“H-hey now,” Bill smirked, “I just m-meant that you shouldn’t wo-worry about us.”
“Oh, I shouldn’t?”
“N-no,” he laughed.
You joined him, and along with your breathless laugh, the only thing that could be heard were the seagulls squawking.
“Shit,” you said, crossing your eyes. “How the fuck are we gonna get out of here?!”
“Hey language, young lady,” you heard someone say behind you.
It sounded like an old man. You glowered. It definitely frustrated you to have an old dude for one, calling you ‘young lady.’ And secondly, chiding you over your language. Excuse him, but was he stuck in clay? No siree. You could cuss your damn head off if you like, considering you were the one stuck.
But on the other hand, here was an actual person that could possibly help you and Bill get out.
You stuck your tongue into the corner of your cheek, and decided to put on a nice face.
“Sorry,” you said sweetly, “I’m just a bit…er, compromised right now.”
He chuckled, “I can see that,” and stepped into your line of sight.
Your guess has been right, he was an old dude. He looked nice enough, though. If you could get past the fact that he called you young lady, he’d probably help you.
“What in god’s name were you kids playing in?” He smiled. His teeth were rather ugly.
You sucked in a breath, and tried your hardest to keep your nice face on. “Clay,” you said shortly.
“Well I’ll be damned,” he slapped his palm against his jeans.
“C-can you h-help us?” Bill asked hopefully.
“Sure can,” the man said. “I’m Ronny,” he held out a hand, and then the realization that the two of you couldn’t shake it seemed to dawn on him, and that set him off laughing again.
You looked at Bill, and Bill looked at you. You managed to roll your eyes as subtlety as you could, and the corner of Bill’s lips perked up in a slight smile.
“Can you just help us get out?” You said as politely as you could.
“Sure missy. Just give me a short while. I gotta go grab my shovel,” he pointed in the direction away from the ocean. “I live right o’er there. Be back in a jiff.”
And he walked away, whistling.
“Do you think he’ll come back?” You pursed your lips together.
“I hope,” Bill said softly.
And thank the lord that Ronny had happened to come by and not some creeper because he actually came back, shovel and wife in tow.
Ronny’s wife was really nice, she kept saying things about ‘these poor children’ and ‘good heavens are you frozen?’
Ronny was hard at work with his shovel, trying to break up the dried clay without accidentally smacking into you or Bill.
“Damn clay really likes ya, don’t it? It’s sticking real good,” he laughed while wiping some sweat off his brow.
You smiled and nodded, too miserable to be annoyed at Ronny anymore. At this point you were honestly just glad to be getting free.
It took about a half an hour for him to get the two of you completely out of the clay’s grasp.
You giggled a little noticing how Bill’s skin was tinted slightly gray.
You looked down at your shoulders and noticed the same. Any other time, you probably would’ve been slightly annoyed with that, but getting stuck in the beach was quite an ordeal, and your priorities in issues had changed.
Bill offered to pay Ronny and his wife for their help, but they insisted otherwise.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” His wife gave you both a warm smile.
After they left, you turned to Bill, exhaling a breath of relief now that everything was over.
“Wanna get a burger?” You grinned.
“A-absolutely,” he grabbed hold of your hand.
You definitely got some strange looks as you entered a small diner nearest to the beach.
You were both covered in gray dust, head to toe, and it was long after dinner time.
But neither of you really gave a shit. You each ordered a cherry coke, and slurped them in relative silence.
“I’m glad it’s you I got stuck with today. If it’d been with anyone else...” you shuddered, imagining what being stuck in clay with Richie or someone for hours would be like.
“Me t-too,” Bill touched your hand across the table. “W-we can tell that story at our w-wedding,” he said, blushing a bit.
“Yeah,” you smiled, taking a sip of coke. Then what he said fully hit you.
“Wait...wedding?” You grinned. “You want to marry me?”
“Of c-course,” Bill said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Who w-wouldn’t?”
You laughed. “A lot of people. I mean, I’m annoying, and loud, and weird, and hey, you heard old Ronny say it, I probably do need to watch my language sometimes…” you trailed off.
Bill shook his head, smiling. “J-just shut up already. Anyone would b-be an idiot for not m-marrying you…”
You grinned somewhat sheepishly, “Well thanks. But I don’t think that’s true.”
“Just stop,” Bill put up a hand.
You raised an eyebrow.
“Stop,” he repeated, and moved his hand from where it rested on the table intertwined with yours to cup your face.
You felt your face go pink, anticipating what he was going to do next.
“Stop it y/n. You’re amazing. I’d be a f-fool not to l-love you,” and he leaned in, kissing you gently.
Word Count: 2,149
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Cry Little Sister
Pairing: Peter Parker x Reader
Warnings: yandere, obsession, verbal threats, gaslighting, both reader and Peter are high school students, kinda slight incestuous undertones (the characters aren't related, though).
Summary: Your adopted older brother is not as nice as he seems, but no one is willing to believe you.
P.S. And yep, I used one of my favourite citations from Grishaverse in the end of this story. Hope you enjoy!
"Peter, sweetheart, I knew you'd make it!" Your mother had clasped her hands together while your father patted Peter's shoulder. "The best test results in the whole class! My goodness, we need to celebrate it!"
You smiled at them tiredly, seeing the faces of your parents practically glowing. True, Peter was a damn smart guy. You had never achieved such high results despite all those nights you spent studying, while he didn't care much about it at all, it seemed. You hadn't seen him with a book yet.
"I'm gonna bake an apple pie for you." A smile of your mother made you feel bitter, and you averted your eyes, missing an odd look your older adopted brother sent you.
Half a year ago he finally came to live with your family once your parents finished gathering all the papers and waited for almost a year to receive "the call". You remembered how you had jumped happily in the living room along with your mom, believing it was finally over. Well, maybe it was over for Peter, but for you it was only a beginning. You could hardly imagine the sweet skinny guy who you considered very shy and bashful would change so drastically.
It started very subtle. First, Peter was trying to be helpful, assisting you when you did the housework - he was actually way better at cooking and cleaning than you and easily got praised by your mom. You were truly thankful to him for his help, especially since it was easier to get to know him while working together. It was then when you first spotted the odd looks he was sending you when he thought you didn't see. There was something... uneasy lingering in his gaze. You couldn't quite put your finger on it, but sometimes Peter made you shiver with the way he spoke or touched you discreetly. It was strange. Of course, the boy didn't do or tell you something that would make you worried, but you just couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right. You blamed it on the fact you couldn't get accustomed to a new life with an adopted brother yet. Surely, it wasn't supposed to be easy?
But the more you spent time together, the stronger that feeling got. Despite Peter becoming a part of your family as easily as if he had always been your parents' son, you were wary of his sudden urges to touch you and always keep you in his sight. At first you thought he was just touch starved and needed human warmth. Maybe for Peter it was just easier to come to you rather than your parents since you were almost the same age as him. But then... one day you saw him going through your things and taking one of your lipsticks from your makeup bag. You suddenly remembered losing a lip gloss two weeks ago.
Trying to voice your concerns, you talked to your mom who was so insensitive she went to speak with Peter right away. Of course, he said it wasn't true and you had probably misunderstood him since he only wanted to borrow a pen. He even showed his table and wardrobe to demonstrate he didn't hide anything.
From that time Peter had changed. He didn't hide his unhealthy behavior from you anymore, and he was scaring you with the things he had done, keeping an eye on you when you were around and stalking you if you were not, never staying far away aside from the time he had to be in class.
Of course, he sensed that you were becoming resteless, less and less eager to spend time with him, blaming it on lots of homework or sudden meetings with friends. You weren't blind to his frightening affection - if you could call his feelings like that. Why was he doing it? Despite spending only several months living with you, your parents loved him dearly, paying him twice more attention than you. You had never protested against it, knowing a poor soul like him who didn't have his own family needed all the help he could get now. But this... this wasn't alright. This wasn't a feeling siblings should have for each other. Did Peter consider you one? Did you truly consider him your older brother? You weren't sure. Nevertheless, it still didn't feel right.
Carefully, you attempted to talk to your father about it, vagualy wording your concerns and giving him little details - sure, you didn't like how Peter was behaving, but he didn't deserve to be banished from your family and sent back. You still believed something could be done to set everything right. Maybe the boy just didn't realize things were not supposed to work this way in a family. However, your father laughed it all off. He said little girls like you were thinking too much of themselves lately, claiming the whole world was obsessed with them. Peter simply tried to be a good brother and look out for you.
You had never felt more humiliated in your entire life.
Dropping all attempts to bring Peter's unhealthy behaviour to your parents' attention, you decided there was just one thing to do - separate yourself from him completely.
No more doing the housework together, no more chats in the kitchen in the morning, no more having lunch together at school, no more cuddles in the evening. You kept yourself as busy as you could - in the morning you did jogging, at school you spent time with your friends, in the evening you were taking your books and doing your homework in the park, at your friend's place or anywhere convenient. Even though Peter tried following you, you had started to change places all of a sudden to keep him away from you.
This was when he had enough of you distancing yourself.
Suddenly, Peter fighted for affection of your parents with such ferocity as if you tried to strip him of their love. His gradea were suddenly way better than yours - he claimed he had finally felt safe in his new home and could spent his energy elsewhere. The way he behaved was even more sweet than before. On the other hand, strange things started happening to you: once your mother found your expensive satin blouse torn and blamed it on you and your carelessness; the other time the chicken you cooked was so salty it ended in a trash bin; your friend received threats coming from your phone number, though you had never ever sent anything like that to her.
It was easy to guess who was doing this to you, but Peter never admitted it out loud. Talking to your parents was worthless, too, as in their eyes the boy was a pure blessing. How could you blame him for things you did to catch their attention?
Shit. You knew something was wrong with Peter, but you could hardly imagine to what extent he could go to have his way. It was unbelievable a boy like him could manipulate people so easily, wrapping them around his finger. Why was he doing it? Everyone already loved him. Everyone but you.
"Y/N!" Your mother's sharp voice broke the silence, and you hurried downstares, finding your mom near the washing machine with a wet black sock in her hands. "Are you out of your mind?! Did you put your black socks in there when I said to bring your WHITE clothes?!"
"But I didn't!" You gawked at her, knowing perfectly you only brought her what she asked you to. "I swear I didn't!"
"Oh yes, of course, it's Peter who went through your dirty clothes to incriminate you, dear." She sneered at you. "You have to come up with a new excuse, this is getting old. Look what you've done, my white jeans are ruined!"
"Please, mom, I-"
"Go to your room. I don't want to see or hear you." She snapped, tossing the sock to the floor as you stared at her in horror. She had never been so irritated like in the past month when your "slip-ups" were happening more and more often.
Racing upstairs, you pressed your hand to your mouth, trying not to cry. Why was he still doing it to you? Why did Peter want everything to be like he wished? Why did your parents never believe you? It was you who was their true daugther, for God's sake!
Locking the door, you fell down on your bed, burying your head in your soft pillow. It started to become unbearable. Why was this all happening? Despite your growing hate towards Peter, you couldn't say that he was ugly and unpleasant. He was easy on the eyes and could be really nice to people around him, and it made Peter quite popular among the girls at school. Why on Earth didn't he set his eyes on anyone other than you? There were plenty of girls who'd be willing to date him and give him as much attention as he wanted.
You wiped away your angry tears with your pillow, biting on your lower lip. It was unfair, and you weren't going to give in to him just because Peter wanted to play with you like a spoiled child. You'd find a way to prove you weren't guilty of all those things he wanted to pin on you, you just needed to gather yourself and think properly.
Suddenly, you heard someone knocking on your window and rushed to it immediately: your room was on the third floor. Seeing Peter sitting on the bench of a tree, you gasped in shock. You opened the window right away, praying for him to stay still.
"Are you out of your mind?" You whispered in horror, holding out your hand to him. "What are you doing there?!"
He smiled at you like nothing was happening, taking your arm and crawling towards your window. In the next moment he was already inside your room, grinning like a kid and shutting the window behind himself. You furrowed your brows, your heart racing. Peter was insane!
"What if you slipped?" You asked him furiously. "Are you mad? Do you want to die?!"
"No, but you wouldn't let me in your room unless I came in the window." He admitted carelessly and smiled, reaching out to you and enveloping you in a hug. "I'm glad you don't want me to fall."
"You're out of your mind, brother." You grunted, trying to push him away, but his grip was only becoming stronger. "What are you doing? Let me go, please."
"But I want a hug from you. Is it so bad?"
You clenched your teeth, watching him angrily. "You just made my mom scream at me for that stupid sock. You think you deserve a hug?"
"I only did it because you're stubborn. It's your fault I had come to this, Y/N." His sickly sweet smile made you nauseated as you put your hands on his chest in attempt to keep him away. "Come on, why have you been acting so cold? I just want to be a part of your family."
"Are you serious?"
Your eyes could burn a hole in his face as you stared at him, getting more and more angry with his behaviour and trying to blame you for his own actions.
"This isn't like it should be in a family, Peter. We're siblings now. Siblings don't do it... l-like that." You felt your face growing hot as you became deeply embarrassed, knowing how your words could be interpreted.
"But we're not siblings, are we?" He tilted his head to the side, narrowing his dark eyes at you and smiling widely.
You growled in irritation, still unable to get rid of him holding you like a doll in his hands.
"If you don't want me to be your sister, what family are you talking about, then?"
"We'll, it's not the only family I can have with you, right?"
You stilled, unsure you understood what Peter meant as he chuckled with content, watching you getting more and more confused while he gently caressed your back. What other family he could possibly mean?
It took you a few seconds to realize he was talking about marriage between you two.
Your eyes popped out of its sockets. Was he fucking serious? That kind of family? No, he should have been out of his mind completely. He definitely had to see a psychiatrist or something!
"You're joking, aren't you?" You muttered, shocked. "You can't be serious!"
"But I am, sister." Peter's sweet smile was slowly turning sinister as he leaned closer to you, dropping a kiss to your temple as you shivered against him, wanting nothing but get away. "And you better stop with that silly attitude of yours if you don't want me to get real angry."
"And what are you going to do if I don't? What if I will tell everyone about this?"
He smirked, touching your forehead with his and closing his eyes for a second.
"I see you still don't understand." Peter whispered to you, watching you getting more and more nervous. “I will strip away all that you know, all that you love, until you have no one but me.”
Tags: @finleyjayne @alexakeyloveloki @helenaeisenhower @villanellevi @hurricanerin @void-hoechlin @abyssaint @heeeyitskay @chris-evans-indian-fanfic @rosalynshields @brattycherubwrites @sllooney @angrythingstarlight
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A Maze Runner fanfiction
Summary: When the reader, the second-in-command of the village goes out into the maze looking for a way out, the last thing she hopes to find is a whole new community on the other side of the walls. Much less, when it seems to be inhabited only by boys her age.
A/N: Hey! This is my very first fanfic here and i decided to start with some tmr stuff ;) English not my mother language so please let me know if something is wrong. Anyways, enjoy!
Chapter one: Leaving home
YOU WAKE UP THAT DAY WITH AN INCREDIBLE MOOD, although things in the village were not encouraging at all.
The dew hadn't fallen yet when you were already in front of the maze, impatiently waiting for the doors to open. You were carrying a backpack with the breakfast on your back, the belt resting on your hips, and an awl strategically hidden in your back pocket.
You didn't understand why your heart was beating so fast even if the night before had been the worst of all. The disease was progressing, it was devastating the village and the parents were leaving their children alone. You trembled in your place. You've never seen anything like that before. The illness, the confusion, the tiredness, the agony. The desease was ending with all of you. If you and the trackers didn’t find a way out as you had promised, then the village would be devastated.
You couldn't allow it. You weren't going to give up. Maybe the answer was out there, waiting for you and you weren't going to keep it waiting.
Maybe the feeling of your restless heart was a good sign. Maybe your heart was sensing things that you could not know and, with a little bit of luck, get it right as he almost always did.
The village had exits from its four points, so, as the sun was in the west that day, you decided to start with the east gate, considering it a good sign. You pulled your hair up in a high ponytail, ate an apple as fast as you could, and waited for the doors to move.
A curtain of dust and pebbles rose in front of your face as you listened the doors opening. That day the main corridor to the maze had a strange smell, but you thought that your nose was already damaged by the medicines and infusions that you had been smelling in the nursery, so you ignored it. You adjusted your boots waiting for the stench to disperse when a strong pull carried you backwards, scaring you.
“What the hell...? Asenat! "You muttered releasing the grip on your shirt. The girl smiled haughtily, crossing her arms over her chest “How many times do I have to tell you to not pull me like that? I hate being pulled!
“You can do it as many times as you want, I honestly don't care, I'll keep doing it anyways”
“You're an idiot”
“Where do you think you are going?” Cassidy asked, standing next to Asenat, both of them staring at you with their arms crossed over their chests and frowning. You rolled your eyes
“To do my job, the same as you should be doing right now”
"You are no longer a tracker”
“I am the leader, I can give myself that position”
"Second leader," Asenat corrected you, "After Richard, and he was the one who gave you the order to stay in the village, remember?"
You clicked your tongue as the trackers were already leaving to the maze. Asenat caught your shirt between her fingers again preventing you from running. Cassidy sighed, shaking her head. If something was clear to them about you, it was how stubborn you could be.
“Yes, I remember”
"Do you still have those headaches?"
"No," you lied. You'd been feeling terrible headaches for a couple of weeks now, before Richard fell sick from what the villagers called the glow. The man, who was also a tracker, had found you in the middle of your section with a terrible bruise on the back of your head and a pool of blood surrounding you. He carried you to the village, and when you were sufficiently recovered, you mentioned having a terrible pain and falling unconscious hitting the stone. Richard didn't need to know more to remove you from your job, forbidding you to return to the maze until your headaches were better. Until the night before you hadn't felt any pain, so you assumed you were fine “I'm great, don't worry about me. It was an accident”
"Yeah, are you sure?"
"Even if it were so, you are not allowed to go out," Cassidy said, determined. "We need you here, my friend."
"I'll be back before dark”
"Things don't work that way anymore," Cassidy replied, looking at you with a frown. "Richard hasn't died yet." His rules are still ours and since when we can do whatever we want?
“Don’t say it like that”
"You know Richard is not going to survive" Asenat lowered her voice preventing any other villagers from hearing her "he will die like the rest of the infected and when that happens all this will be over. We can continue with the rules that he made, but that will not be enough. There are families dying every day, our duty is to take care of them. We have a pact, okay? Treat the disease first, look for a way out later”
"How long are we going to keep waiting?" You asked, taking a step forward. Asenat sighed, "Three? Four? Another five years? This place is falling apart. If we really want to help the remaining villagers we need to find a way out, take them home, give them a better life, heal them "
"Nobody assures us that we will be better out there than here"
"Let's take the risk, we won't lose anything just by trying"
"We have kids in here, even babies. Their parents have died and they depend on us.
"This time it will be different" you said looking at them pleadingly "It's crazy, but something tells me that today we will find the answers we have been looking for. I could assure you that. Do you believe me? Do you trust me enough to believe in what my heart feels?”
Cassidy and Asenat looked at each other. Richard was still sick, confined to his cabin with the doctors trying to keep him alive. The night before he had lost part of the skin on his arms and his uncontrollable anger had made them tie him to the bed, however, that didn’t mean that in his small lapses of serenity he did not realize what was happening in the village.
Asenat shrugged her arms, leaving the decision to Cassidy. In her role as a teacher, she had no say in that situation and she didn't really care too much. You were reckless and almost always clumsy, but you had good ideas and that had helped you become te mainstay of the village. However Cassidy as the third in charge represented the third head of the monster. She would be the leader at Richard's death and if you didn't get back from the maze in time and that terrified her. She was not afraid of responsibility, nor making important decisions, but that represented visualizing a future where the three of you were not together and she preferred not to think about it.
"You know we do," she replied. "There hasn't been a single day when we doubted in your good judgment, but ..."
"It's different," Asenat said rubbing her chin. "The village doesn't feel like it used to. We are used to death, we can handle it, but the feeling of having it lurking over our heads is unbearable. The maze is not better. It is changing. I listen to it every night. The steel lobsters clattering through the halls. The giant woke up and will not go back to sleep”
"Cassidy," you called her, squeezing her hands. The girl sighed, thinking of the possibilities you guys had. Staying with your arms crossed was not an option, but neither was breaking the trust Richard had placed in all of you. Asenat watched you. The three of you shared the same fear, the same confusion and the same dread of losing the entire village. There were children who required the presence of someone capable to guide them, men and women waiting in fear to be infected with the glow and babies crying to feel the arms of their dead parents. You clenched her hands tighter. You needed to be covered for a few hours only and, in return, you would find the way out. You could do it, you trusted your instincts “Please...”
"We'll cover you until lunchtime, that's all."
"I only need that”
"Come back in one piece, will you?" She begged, looking at a small boy approaching. You leaned down, taking him in your arms letting out a groan as you picked him up. George was eight years old, he didn't weigh the same as five years ago. You kissed his cheek, returning him to the ground “The boy would go nuts if something happened to you”
"Are you going back to the maze?" George asked looking at you with his huge brown eyes. You nodded. Then you were hit by the little boy's suffocating embrace “the lobsters will hurt you!
"They are asleep now”
"They can wake up!"
"I doubt it little one. Don’t worry, I'll be fine. I'll be back at noon and we'll have a snack together, what ya think?”
"Okay, you can go," he said. You laughed, ruffling his hair
"Thanks, puppy. Stay with Asenat, okay? She can scold you while I'm gone”
"Ya’ heard it, boy," Asenat said, rubbing her knuckles at the top of his head. George complained, "You will stay with me the rest of the day and help me teach the little ones how to count to ten.
“That's not fair!”
"Life isn't fair, brat." Come on, maybe we can grab some chocolate from the kitchen later, huh?”
Asenat held out her hand and George took it enthusiastically as they walked together towards the largest cabin that you used as a classroom. George spun on his feet saying goodbye with a bright smile on his face. You blew him a kiss and Asenat turned to show you her middle finger. You smiled
"Take care of him, will you?" I highly doubt that Asenat will do it properly”
"I'm going to watch her. Now go before I regret it. And (Y/N)” She said, stopping you as you walked towards the main corridor of the maze. You turned around, waiting for his words “Don't die out there. The maze stinks enough to add the stench of a corpse” You nodded. It was a fair deal
You finished your run in your section faster than you expected. The meal would not be until three hours later so you decided to make a stop to rest. You sat on the floor against a wall. Hot sweat was running down your neck and the fucking headache was back. You closed your eyes, tired. It was terribly hot, and the stench of rotting meat numbed your nose.
You drank water, the little sip you had left, and put it back in your backpack. You were going to eat some of the apple slices you took with you, but the pain in the back of your head kept you from even chewing. You stood up wanting to continue your hike when the headache went down your neck and then numbed your spine. You leaned against the wall. It was covered in vines, moss, and fungus. You wiped your palms on your pants and started walking again.
The migraine erased your sight. For a second the world around you seemed to move in luminous spirals forcing you to close your eyes. The sound lightened and you swore you heard a static signal on your eardrums.
The floor spined over and over again. You dug your nails into the palms of your hands feeling the blood pour out from the sides, staining the stone. You heard the drops hiting the floor and suddenly everything stopped.
You were sweating. Your soaked shirt stuck to your body, your hair matted on your forehead and you opened your eyes. Pushing back the hair you noticed that this was not your section, that in some inexplicable way the maze had changed drastically and there was no way to return home.
Your heart beat madly. You fell to the ground on your knees, your head aching every second screaming in agony. You crawled down the corridor without understanding its course, but recognizing small fragments of leaves pointing a path to the north.
was that the way out? You, without being aware of the pain, could you have operated some kind of lever, changing the composition of the maze, leaving it unrecognizable? You weren't sure.
You kept crawling. The leaves spreading across the path, turning into a corridor covered in dust and dirt. You complained in pain and in the confusion, you managed to hear voices from the other side.
You buried your nails in the stone rising up. You pulled forward slowly approaching until you reached the exit (or the entrance?) of the maze. The wind ruffled your hair. Then your hands touched the green grass and the pain stopped.
You stayed alert. Your senses fading little by little from fatigue. Your head ached, your hands ached, your back ached. You heard the clear voice of a boy and, unaware of it, you got up as best as you could.
You got up with the help of the leaves on the wall. You narrowed your eyes focusing on the meadow stretching out in front of you. It was not the village, it was not the exit. The walls of the maze were surrounding the meadow and you could only think that the pain had caused you allusions.
Then the torture returned. You clenched your teeth. Your vision became blurry, however you could distinguish completely unknown figures in the mist. Your ears recognized voices, men's voices, and, unable to bear another second, you fainted.
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Heaven, We’re Already Here - t. 05 - JJ Maybank
Summary: Things are progressing between y/n and JJ.
A/N: We’re halfway to the end...can you even believe it?
You Are Ok Masterlist | Outer Banks Masterlist
✞ My soul isn’t yours to save anymore ✞
The bet had become a thing of contention between JJ and John B since the night of the kegger. It was fairly obvious that JJ wanted out and the only reason he was still hanging on was because he had convinced himself that he desperately needed the cash.
But the more he spent time with you the harder it was becoming to justify to himself that cash was worth the level of humiliation he would be subjecting you to if you knew that this was all just one massive joke on you. From the moment he saw you in the church JJ knew that this was no game or bet, no matter what he tried to tell himself when you weren’t around. And after spending the day in Chapel Hill with you he was more convinced than ever that he needed to end things before they got out of hand.
“Here.” JJ practically slammed the money on the table, pushing it across to Sarah.
“I forfeit.” He replied. “Take your 200 back.”
“I thought you needed the money,” John B said, tone mocking the way JJ had grumbled about needing cash three weeks ago.
“Yeah and now I don’t.” He snapped.
Kiara looked away, grabbing the empty glasses off the table and taking them back to the counter. The only nice thing about him doing this in the Wreck was that she could walk away from the table when it got uncomfortable. Kiara hadn’t been shy in telling JJ that he should call off the bet, “if you really need 200, I’ll front you.” But she was less inclined to put herself in the middle of the altercation with him, John B, and Sarah.
She knew that he regretted making the bet in the first place and she had felt guilty hanging out with you, knowing that it was all just a joke behind your back that JJ and his friends could laugh at. But he was making good on his promise to cut off the head of the beast, giving Sarah her money back and ending the bet before anyone really got hurt. It could fade into obscurity, just be something no one even remembered anymore.
“You were almost to the finish line,” John B teased, feeling shockingly okay with a bet he’d first made when he was drunk and barely coherent enough to walk. “I mean, unless you don’t think she’ll let you get that far-”
“Shut up.” JJ snapped. “I said I was done, so I’m done.”
“Why?” Sarah pried.
“I thought it would be funny but it’s not. She’s a real person, I’m not gonna fuck with her just so you guys can laugh.” JJ replied. He’d been feeling guilty about the bet since that first day he saw you in the church. The way you looked at him, a mirrored image of his own restlessness, depression, and emptiness. He didn’t deserve you on a good day, when he was completely devoted to you with no ulterior motive at the back of his head.
He couldn’t do this to you, make you the butt of the joke to every pogue who heard about the bet and was enough of an asshole to find it funny. On his second time around the thought, he knew he really couldn’t do that to anyone. But John B thought it was funny and he and Sarah had used JJ’s lack of funds and general ‘go-with-the-flow’ attitude as a means to an end.
“You’d do it if she was some kook.” Sarah commented, counting the 20’s he’d handed over.
“Well she’s not.” JJ snapped, “look, I’m giving you the fucking money back, bet’s off.”
“He said it was over John B, just quit being a dick.” Kiara piped up. She hadn’t been there when the bet was made but she had heard about it after the fact and been pissed. She was only relieved now that JJ seemed ready to put the bet to rest.
“She might like you now but it won’t last.” Sarah said when JJ started to walk away, “I mean, you guys have nothing in common JJ, do you really think she fits in at keggers or sitting around getting high all day?”
JJ stood there, jaw tense, clenching his fists so hard that his nails dug into his palms, face turning red. The anger was just insecurity because, yeah, he agreed with Sarah. He knew he didn’t have a lot to offer you but hearing her say it knocked him down a peg and had him seeing red.
“Just go,” Kiara urged, grabbing JJ’s arm and pushing at him, trying to get him to turn around and leave, “go.” She would yell at them for him, a much better defender of his character than he was.
The door slammed behind him, the spring on the old wooden screen creaking in protest when JJ threw it shut as he left, already brushing tears out of his eyes as he walked, cutting through the woods back to the cut. It was stupid to get so upset about something Sarah said but he couldn’t help it. He’d been worked up as it was over calling off the bet and Sarah had only made him feel worse.
Despite that, or maybe because of it, JJ took the path through the woods that led to the church. Taking a walk to cool down worked for everyone in the world but him, the further through the woods he walked the angrier he got. At himself, at Sarah and John B, at everything that made him take that stupid bet in the first place. The only thing keeping his anger in check was the thought of you. Sitting in the church practicing the piano or hanging laundry outside. Anywhere he could stay just out of sight of your parents, relishing in your attention.
JJ came up on the church, not thinking to look inside before he entered. All he was thinking about was seeing you, forgetting entirely that you were not the only one who lived on the property. He stopped at the end of the aisle, still a little worked up, and caught off guard by the sight of your dad at the altar, rehearsing his sermon for Sunday. He tried to back up but failed, his clumsiness catching your dad’s attention.
“Can I help you?” He called out when JJ bumped into one of the pews, the sound of his boot colliding with the wood reverberating in the nave.
“Sorry,” JJ spoke up, “sorry I-“
“You came to church a few Sundays ago?” Your dad said, recognizing JJ’s face when he stepped off the altar and walked down the aisle. The blond, he realized, was the boy he’d noticed watching you. Though his wife told him he was being crazy, he was certain that he’d seen the boy in the yard once after that.
“Ah, yeah...” JJ nodded, sniffling a little to clear the congestion from crying, “wrong turn on the way to the smoke shop I guess.” He was sure his face was still red, eyes still bloodshot, and the last thing he wanted to do was get cornered into some weird testimonial moment with your dad. He just wanted to see you, to remind himself that what Sarah said was bullshit, that you liked him, that this was more than a bet.
“Is there something I can help you with now?” Everyone always said how welcoming and charismatic your dad was. The church wouldn’t have half the congregation it did now if it wasn’t for your dad’s ability to reel people in with smiles and an easy-going personality.
That ease was not present as he stood there sizing up JJ. The kid gave him a bad feeling and he was absolutely certain he’d seen flashes of him around the yard before. The teenage population on the island was not a group your father was a fan of and JJ seemed the perfect embodiment of all the things wrong with that group. He looked unkempt, a little worse for the wear, and he smelled like pot.
Before JJ could say anymore, the doors to the church opened and you walked in, eyes wide at finding your boyfriend there, “uh, mom said to call you for lunch?” You said.
For his part, the second the door opened, JJ’s attention had snapped that way, and there you were. Exactly who he had been looking for and he felt like he could breath, like things would be alright because you were right there and he shouldn’t be so conspicuous but he couldn’t take his eyes off you. Like a magnet.
“Of course,” he seemed to recover his bad mood relatively quick though he glared at the back of JJ’s head when he realized the boy was staring at you. “Go ahead back to the house and tell your mom I’ll be in.”
You kept your eyes on your dad, not daring to look at JJ, “should I ask her to set an extra space?” Your dad had always been a fan of inviting church members in for dinner or lunch when they stopped by with something, you weren’t sure if it was compensation for a dwindling household or if he just liked to seem approachable but you used it against him now. If you had looked at him, you’d have noticed the slow smirk on JJ’s face as he stood there.
If your dad said no it reflected badly on him. He always guilted you about not being helpful enough or considerate enough. “If...” he trailed off, clearing his throat to get JJ’s attention as he waited for a name.
The frown increased in size; he’d heard the last name before. He’d hired a Maybank to do work on the roofing a few years back and remembered the man being nothing but a mean drunk. “If JJ wants to stay, we would love to have him.”
“I’ve got no where to be,” JJ replied, grinning at your dad.
Lunch had already been finished when you went to call your dad, needing only to be plated, something you were thankful for because the awkward and uncomfortable silence that settled between JJ and your dad was unbearable. There was no way you could’ve survived waiting through lunch prep with the two of them.
You weren’t even entirely sure what JJ was doing there. He hadn’t mentioned seeing you, he was supposed to be spending the day with his friends, as he’d already told you the night before when he snuck over because “couldn’t stay away”. He’d invited you on the boat but both your parents were home all day so there was little chance that you could go anywhere without drawing attention to yourself. Weekends were easier, your brothers and sisters who had stayed close came over with their kids and if you left no one missed you. But during the week it was just the three of you, an odd adjustment after so many years with so many kids.
You sat at the table across from JJ, doing your absolute best not to look at him, knowing he was staring at you just to piss off your dad, who had already mentioned your upcoming engagement twice. Your mom let your dad lead the conversation like she always did and didn’t object to his over excessive mention of Timothy.
“Do you go to the high school then?” She was doing her best to be polite, not completely certain your dad’s paranoia was based on fact. (“Just because you say you saw him in the yard doesn’t mean you saw him in the yard.”)
“Ah, yeah...” JJ nodded, “sometimes.” He took another bite of the sandwich, “hey, this is really good, you’re a really good cook.”
While The Wreck technically counted as homemade because it was Kiara’s dad who made it, JJ hadn’t eaten a real, home cooked meal, in a long time. His mom, when she had been around in his childhood, was not making lunches or any meals for him that she couldn’t microwave.
“Oh, Ace made it.” Your mom said, beaming at you, “she’s a natural in the kitchen.”
“You’ve been-“ JJ stopped himself short of saying you’d been holding out on him, coughing and then continuing on, “it’s good.”
“Thank you,” you chanced a glance up and then quickly back down at your plate.
Lunch was excruciating and when it was finally over, JJ leaving and your dad watching him walk back into the woods, you told your parents you weren’t feeling well and went to lay down. You were flushed all over from lunch, sitting there across from JJ with your parents in the room. It was like knowing a secret you knew you weren’t supposed to.
Tapping sounded on your window and you opened it, JJ standing there outside, “you’re gonna get me trouble,” you whispered. “My dad is convinced he’s seen you around our yard.”
“That’s cause he has.” JJ replied, kissing you once he was inside the room.
“I know that.” You whispered, “what are you doing?”
“I’m reading your love letter from Timmy,” he shrugged, sitting down at your desk and pulling the letter out of the envelope.
“It’s not a love letter,” you huffed. When you got close enough to try and take the letter away JJ spun in the chair, grabbing you around the waist and pulling you into his lap.
“Let’s see, oh, coming to visit?” JJ said, poking your sides as he read the letter, leaving kisses along your shoulder. “So you get to go on a date?”
“Well, chaperoned.” You replied. “My dad wants to go somewhere ‘outer banks’ style, whatever he thinks that is, to show off to Timothy and his parents.”
“Go to the Wreck.” JJ said.
“I’m not going to Kie’s, I’m not gonna embarrass myself.”
“Trust me,” JJ insisted, kissing you, “go to the Wreck.”
You ran your fingers through his hair, brushing it back out of his face and kissing him. Your hands moved down so you could hold his face, leaning your forehead against his.
“Are you okay?” JJ asked, his hands sliding up under your shirt, his warm skin against yours.
“I don’t want to do this.” You admitted, “I don’t wanna have dinner with Timmy.”
“Hey,” JJ pulled his face away, tilting so he could look you in the eye, “That shit doesn’t mean anything.”
“It does in the long run,” you replied. When you had gotten Timothy’s letter that morning you’d been more than upset, knowing he was coming to North Carolina felt like the last nail in the coffin before your dad was sending you off to Tennessee.
“Do you like him?” He asked, matter of fact.
“No, no.” You shook your head. There was no way you had any feelings toward Timothy other than mild annoyance. He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t for you. And maybe he would’ve been if this was all there was but you had JJ and there was an entire other space out there. “I wish we could just…stay like this.”
“Me too.” JJ replied.
You pulled away from him suddenly, remembering the way he’d looked when you had walked into the church and found him there with your father. “I forgot, you were upset earlier-”
“It’s fine, it was just a dumb fight with John B.” He insisted, “I’m over it.”
“Are you sure? You can tell me anything.” You promised. You had been secret keeper and confidant for your siblings plenty of times over the years and while their conflicts had never really been worthy the secrecy, you had still been good at the task.
“I’m fine, I promise,” he repeated, “I was just upset and I wanted to see you.”
“Well you’re seeing me now,” you teased, holding his face again so you could kiss him, “though I think you should consider leaving before anyone comes to check on me.”
The Wreck was totally not where you wanted to be going on a chaperoned first date with a guy who looked almost more sheltered than you felt on a regular basis. He had khakis and a polo tucked in, spikey blond hair and you were trying so hard not to be mean in your head. This was the guy your parents thought would make a great addition to their family. This was your future husband?
Any concerns or reservations you had about Timothy went out the window as you walked into the Wreck ahead of him and realized that JJ and Pope were sitting at the counter. JJ turned in his stool as you came in, propping his chin on his hand and smiling at you.
“Hey,” Kiara had donned jeans and a t-shirt for the occasion, “six?”
“Actually, these two will have their own table.” Your mom piped up and you looked at Kiara, attempting to convey the absolute horror of the early evening dinner.
“Of course,” she said, grabbing menus. You could hear your father behind you, mentioning JJ’s presence in the restaurant. Whether Kiara heard it or JJ had just requested that this be the most difficult first date to get through, the table she sat you at was facing the counter. Your parents sat two tables over with Timothy’s parents while you sat down in perfect view of JJ and Pope.
“So, what’s good here?” Timothy asked, his voice an octave higher than he looked like it would be.
You scanned the menu as if you ate there all the time and then looked at Kiara, hoping she could offer more of an answer then you could.
“The grits are good, we do them with sausage and shrimp.” Kiara replied.
“That’s fine.” You handed off your menu, not bothering to consider another option. Even though Kiara knew that this was all something you had to do, you felt a sense of guilt, sitting there with Timothy while JJ was sitting at the counter.
It was palpable, you felt like you could taste it in your mouth as you spoke, felt the guilt dripping off you. Timothy wasn’t the worst, probably, and, probably, in someone else’s life he would make them happy but you weren’t sure there was any reality that would allow you to walk away from what you had with JJ and resign yourself to this life. To your mom’s life, or your sisters’ lives.
“I’ve been looking into getting my pilot’s license, I’ll be done seminary soon-” Timothy started to say after Kiara walked off.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you were interested in becoming a pilot.” You replied, glancing over his shoulder at JJ who was turned around in his stool, his back against the counter, watching you. If your dad wasn’t facing the opposite direction you were certain he’d be having a fit right now.
“...the plane license would take another year at least but it’s something I can easily pursue after the marriage and it would allow us the opportunity to be missionaries-”
“Missionaries?” You paled, focusing your attention back on Timothy and away from JJ.
“Timmy’s older brother is ministering in Zambia and they’ve always talked about Timmy joining him,” his mom cut in.
“Missionaries in Zambia...all the time?” You asked. Your father had already launched into a separate conversation about the importance of ministry work and you felt close to absolute collapse. When Kiara came back to the table to make sure the food was okay you practically clung to her, “bathroom?”
“Through the kitchen,” Kiara lied, noting the look of distress. “Our regular bathroom is being fixed.”
“Thanks.” You bolted. Through the restaurant and the kitchen, right out the back door and you might’ve run all the way home but somehow JJ was right there, grabbing you as you collided with him. “I can’t do this...I can’t, I can’t....I can’t be a missionary! I can’t live in Zambia and have like thirteen kids and name them all something stupid and have poufy fucking hair!”
“Whoa, hey, babe,” JJ urged, pulling you into a hug, rubbing your back soothingly, “it’s gonna be okay.”
“What if it’s not?” You could keep pretending like you didn’t have to think about it but the truth was, you couldn’t run from your parents’ expectations and plans forever. “I can’t do this.”
“You don’t have to do anything,” JJ promised, kissing the side of your head as he stood there holding you, “I love you. And I don’t give a shit about Timmy, or your parents, or whatever...we’ll figure this out.”
“This was a bad idea, having lunch here.”
“Hey, I don’t think so. I got to hear you curse for the first time.” He joked. “We’ll be okay, just head back inside alright?”
“Okay,” you pulled away, fixing your hair and taking a deep breath, trying to right yourself. It was just dinner. It wasn’t Zambia yet. It wasn’t even the wedding. Just dinner and JJ was right there. “Oh, JJ?”
“I love you too.” You said before hurrying back inside, leaving him standing behind the Wreck with a sad smile on his face.
“Scarlett does it every year with some of the kooks, like a raffle.” Sarah explained, recounting Scarlett’s ’Touron Game’ for JJ and John B, “500 to whoever gets the most tourons...they have like a scoring system. Kind of awful, I guess, but...I mean it’s not like they don’t know it’s just sex.”
“500?” JJ asked, “I could use that.”
“What are you gonna do, pimp yourself out?” John B joked.
“I’ll give you 200,” Sarah replied immediately, cutting her boyfriend off. She was looking across the parking lot of the convenience store.
“What’s the catch?” JJ asked, following Sarah’s line of sight to the old minivan, a girl their age standing with her mom at the trunk.
“That’s the weird pastor’s daughter, right?” Sarah asked, already knowing the answer, “get her to sleep with you. I’ll even give you the 200 dollars up front.”
“Yeah okay. It’s a deal.”
Taglist: @heavenlymama @vindictive-hearts @alexa-playafricabytoto @dontjinx-it @randomficsandshit @niamhobrien @strangerthanfanfiction713 @tovvaa @freckled-and-daydreaming @harleylynn @bibliophilewednesday @dpaccione @bolaurel @poguestyleskye @beautyandthebleh @under-a-canyon-moon @stevie-buck @bijleegiregi @vitaminekabc @minigranger @teamnick @just-smile-darling @obxsummer @damonsalvawhore27 @isqbella @tomzfrog @fangirlvoice @phantompogues @98starkeys @ilovejjmaybank @lemur46 @khiaraaa-in-spacee @babygal-babygal @niya-savage @divvrx @princess-of-the-fandoms @thecaptainsgingersnap @jenjie @yourprincess-maybe @outrbanks @mendesmaybank @thehomeiknow @minnie-bby @katiaw2 @2kayla64
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Thank God, I’m not Alone
Pairing: Five Hargreeves x Reader
Request: Hi. I just read 'Partnership' and I can't stop thinking about it, it's so good. Could I request a fic about Five and Y/N's first meeting? Like what were their initial thoughts about each other, how and where they met? If you don't want to write it, I completely understand, but if yes then thank you. ❤️
Warnings: description of a panic attack, swearing
Note: This is another part of my Commission AU, you can check out my other fics on that here!
Okay first of all, I initially imagined their first meeting to have a completely different vibe but after reading @disco-tea‘s post about baby Five I changed my mind and decided to add more weakness to Five’s character here. Because it would make so much more sense, as in yes he has superpowers but he’s still a kid and it's very human to seek support and be scared in a situation like that so that’s why I didn’t make him as strong and cocky as I initially planned.
Second of all, there’s gonna be a remark about the accent coz i headcanon Y/N to be not from the US. If you are for the US you can headcanon being from a different state or ignore this part entirely. idk i’m just obsessed with weird accents sorry
Taglist: @stitched-mouth @startrekkingaroundasgard
It was a very unremarkable Monday, and you were currently on a plane with your parents, the three of you on your merry way to see the rest of the family you happened to live so far away from. In fact, this particular Monday was so painfully ordinary that it made your guts twist and turn as your intuition was agonizing to smash the alarm button telling you something was off.
It sort of felt like you were dreaming. You know, that dream about waking up, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast and going to school? And as you wake up you realize you haven’t moved an inch all this time, so blissfully unaware that your entire day was merely a product of your own imagination. That’s the kind of day you were having. And you became even more convinced you were dreaming when you pulled out your headphones to see why everyone on the plane was suddenly looking so frightened.
As you glanced out of the illuminator window, you felt your heart sink. What you saw simply had to be some kind of cruel nightmare because what you were witnessing was quite literally the end of the world.
Somehow, part of you managed to remain unreasonably calm, still confident that you were bound to wake up as soon as the fire would have reached the plane you were on.
Except you didn’t wake up in your soft comfy bed like you thought you would; it was cold and unfriendly concrete that welcomed you back into the world of the conscious. Your brain couldn’t fully process what was happening yet and registered physical sensations that were overwhelming you first. Your left foot felt way hotter than the right one, and as you glanced at it swiftly you saw tongues of fire playfully clinging to your shoe, so you sat up and quickly got rid of the item, tossing it away and hissing at the contact as you burnt your fingers slightly.
Once the safety-threatening concern was dealt with, you finally thought to look around. There was nothing but debris, smoke and destruction, and your immediate urge was to find your parents. If you were alive, they might be too, right? They had to be. At least, that’s what you kept telling yourself because the human mind is truly incredible at deluding itself.
The remnants of your plane were nowhere to be seen, and it was reasonable to believe your survival was more of a miracle than anything else. You weren’t willing to give up so easily though, still climbing over huge chunks of metal, concrete and shattered glass, frantically running around in a state of paralyzing panic. School sure didn’t prepare you for getting lost in a post-apocalyptic world all alone.
It’s been about two hours, or possibly even longer - you couldn’t really tell since there wasn't a single watch and you were, to put it gently, not thinking straight. You had absolutely exhausted yourself with all the legwork and now you were sitting on the ground, your mind deafeningly empty as you were still in denial of the fact that this madness was actually happening.
Your breaths were beginning to feel thicker and thicker each time you inhaled, and your eyes were starting to burn. You weren't too sure if it was the smoke contaminating your system or you were having a full-on panic attack. It was probably both.
However many minutes later, your pitiful whimpers began to fade away, and tears were no longer welling up in your eyes because you simply didn’t have enough energy left in you to continue crying, and it meant you had to go and do something instead. The only viable option was to keep walking and hope there were other survivors, and you decided to do just that.
As the sun was setting, you were still aimlessly wandering around what used to be streets of a busy crowded city, and so far - not much luck at bumping into another human being. To your surprise, it was getting rather cold in spite of the fire that was still burning all around you, its flames shamelessly devouring what was left of the human race with hunger and greed.
“My fucking God, I can’t die like this,” you said out loud, suddenly taken aback by how raspy and low your voice came out. The sound of your own self felt almost extraterrestrial in the lifeless silence that surrounded you, and it gave you chills. You cleared your throat and took a deep breath.
“IS THERE ANYBODY ALIVE?” you shouted, the last part of the sentence getting stuck in your throat and never escaping your mouth as you began to cough violently. This air was not doing you any favors, and you probably needed some water too.
“IS THERE ANYBODY STILL ALIVE?! HELLO? PRETTY FUCKING PLEASE?” you made yet another futile attempt to find yourself some company but no response followed.
As despair and frustration completely took over your fragile teenage mind, you started to scream at the top of your lungs just for the sake of it. If there was nobody around, you figured, why not. You needed to let it out.
“Hello?” you thought you heard from a distance.
Your entire body froze in both fear and hope, each emotion so raw and unfiltered it made a wave of cold sweat wash over your body from head to toe. Was your imagination playing tricks on you? You looked around, your movements a bit jittery and awkward.
“Hey?!” you yelled as your eyes were frantically searching for any sign of another person, “Anyone?”
It was the longest few seconds in your entire life before you noticed a figure standing about twenty feet away from you. To your disappointment, it wasn’t an adult, which you were really hoping it would be. But it was better than nothing and you raced towards the boy, excited but careful not to stumble over anything and injure yourself.
Without a second thought, you hugged the boy tightly, almost knocking the wind out of his lungs, and whispered:
“Thank God, I’m not alone.”
He wasn’t as enthusiastic about the hug but returned it nonetheless, visibly relieved he wasn’t the only one too.
As you pulled away, you noticed he was dressed rather strangely. It almost looked like he randomly collected the items and put them on all at once, because some of them were a really bad fit and some looked older than others. Besides, the whole outfit didn’t look like something a kid would normally wear.
“You have any idea what happened?” he asked, his tone strangely casual. You shook your head in response.
“I sort of… woke up to this. A few hours ago or maybe longer, I don’t know. The last thing I remember is being on a plane, and then this.”
The boy narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips, looking puzzled.
“It’s been two days.” he finally uttered, waiting for you to process it. Was he saying you were unconscious for two days? What about your parents?
You stayed silent for a while, feeling unbearably nauseous and light-headed all of a sudden. He noticed your face getting even more pale than it was and quickly grabbed your shoulder to help you steady yourself.
“That probably explains why I’m starving,” you replied, half-joking, half-serious, “What’s your name? And how old are you?”
“Five. Thirteen.” the boy replied nonchalantly, and you frowned, unsure of whether you heard him correctly.
“Sorry?” you asked, obviously confused.
“My name is Five, and I’m thirteen years old,” he explained and you could almost hear the slight irritation in his voice. He was clearly a bit too impatient to wait for you to catch up.
“Shit, that makes me the one in charge,” you sighed with palpable disappointment as you rolled your eyes and looked up at the sky.
“And why is that?”
“I’m older, so I am now responsible for you,” you waved your hands as you explained your pretty straightforward logic, and Five chuckled in response, clearly amused.
“Let’s make it a flat team structure,” he suggested as he turned around and started walking in a direction where he came from, “Come on. I have some food and I gathered some clothes too, they might fit you. It gets really cold at night,” he added as a matter of fact, and you followed him without question yet still quite amazed at how confident he appeared.
“I’m Y/N, by the way.”
“You have a funny accent. Not from around here?”
“Ah, no. Not really.”
“Right. Pleased to meet you, Y/N.”
As the night took over the city completely, the two of you were sitting by the fire, trying to boil some water to make it somewhat safer to drink. There was a comfortable silence between you as you were both staring at the exploding bubbles on the surface, each of you lost in your own thoughts.
You gazed at the sky and swallowed a salty lump in your throat, still unable to fathom how fast one’s life could change for the worse.
“Isn’t it bizarre that the sky is exactly the same?” you asked Five, not really looking at him but still aware of his presence right beside you, “It’s like the universe doesn’t even care. The stars are shining, the Earth keeps orbiting the Sun. It’s like nothing ever happened.”
Five exhaled loudly and leaned closer to you, then wrapping his arms around you and resting his head on your shoulder, clearly tired of putting up a front and staying tough and indifferent.
At the end of the day, you were both mere teenagers; thirteen and fifteen years old could barely be considered as the age of independence and maturity. You looked at him and silently placed your hand on his head, brushing your fingers through his dark silky hair in a caring and comforting way. You didn’t have to be a genius to figure he was just as stressed and terrified as you were, so you had to be there for each other. Frankly, it was hard to say which one of you needed the other more.
“We’ll keep looking for others. There might be someone else out there,” you said, trying to sound reassuring.
Five closed his eyes and relaxed into your embrace, almost instantly starting to fall asleep from exhaustion and distress of the past few days. Drifting away into unconsciousness in the arms of another human being felt way better than curling up in a ball on the cold hard ground, and he simply couldn’t resist the warmth and the softness you provided. You didn’t mind. You couldn’t sleep anyway, not with this chaos in your head, not tonight. So you kept playing with the boy’s hair, lulling him further into sleep as you were watching the fire and trying to figure out what the hell you were supposed to do next.
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In which you confess to your summer crush on a hot july night that you’ve never seen the snow.
pairing: mingyu x reader
Genre: fluffy + friends to lovers
Warnings: none I think. English is not my first language so apologies!! I needed to cuddle and this was the result get me a boyfriend so I can stop writing about my fantasies, please
A/N: Uploading this bc I can’t stand this blog being inactive and I’m planning more things so I need to let this fic go already haha
Whenever people fought over "what is better? Summer vs. Winter edition" you always said summer. Summer to you was special because it meant much more than hot weather for 3 months, beaches, and pools. To you, it meant a getaway. Summer was when you left the polluted air from the gray town you usually live in to go to your grandmother's town, lost somewhere in South Korea but also next to the coast. It meant three months of partying with friends you only see in summer, with those cousins that live far away that visit your grandmother too, and also Mingyu.
Kim Mingyu was always there. Despite looking like he could buy the entire town and spend his holidays at a luxury hotel in New York at the same time. Mingyu is just as poor as the rest of us, mortals, but the way he carefully chooses his clothes, the way he keeps his hair swept back, and, of course, his breathtaking smile makes him look like a young millionaire. He laughs every time you tell him that. Mingyu has been your summer friend ever since you were kids. When summer finally arrives you know it's time to spend all three months with the person you cherish the most and do all sorts of things together, and of course your favorite plan:
"Shall we go stargazing?" He usually asks, two blankets under his right arm and one basket in his left hand.
"Oh, yes, please." You always say.
Stargazing is supposed to be a soft, entertaining activity to do with your friends, right? But how can you do anything soft and cute with Mingyu without risking selling your heart to the most perfect person you've ever met? You don't know the answer to that because your heart has belonged to Mingyu for a while now. It began as a small crush, something you were sure would fade when you go back to your hometown. When you were about to get rid of your feelings, summer came again, and his presence woke up the butterflies within you. At some point, you stopped pretending you had no feeling for the silly boy just because you weren't seeing him during the year.
However, last year’s third day of September made a difference between you two.
It happened while stargazing.
"Don't you think stargazing is not as fun as when we were kids?" He asked.
"It is a bit different now, I guess. Two twenty-two years old do different things. I still enjoy spending time like this with you though." You answered truthfully, and almost fainted at the last part.
Just why did you say that?
"I enjoy it too. You are the only reason why I spend summers here."
"Are you saying that you like me more than Seoul?" You joked.
"Could be, or maybe is because Seoul is beautiful in winter but unbearable in summer, so I just settle for you." You made a face and he laughed. "It's because of the snow, Seoul looks like a romance film in winter."
"It snows there?" You felt your eyes sparkling. "Woah I've never seen the snow in real life."
"Really? Well it's fun at first, but don't get so excited you get used to it after a while and it's not as amazing."
"I just want to make a snowball and throw it to your face, I'll be satisfied just with that." He pretended to be offended and tried to tickle you in revenge, but somehow he ended on top of you and his face approached yours dangerously. You thought you were going to faint.
"Then let's make a deal."
"You give me something I really want this summer and next summer I'll bring a jar with some snow on the inside, okay?"
"What type of deal is that?" You would have laughed at his face if he had stopped approaching, but your faces were just a few centimeters apart. "Mingyu, it will melt."
"We can try."
"I'm getting nothing out of this deal, I won't have snow next year."
"How many excuses should I make up just to kiss you?"
"None Mingyu, just go for it" And just like that, his lips covered yours and you melted in a soft kiss.
That was the best night you'd had for a very long time, but you barely enjoyed it because the next day Mingyu was gone and the last thing you knew about him was a message he left to your grandmother: to tell you he suddenly had to leave to Seoul because of some family issues.
22 years of knowing the boy and still you never got his phone number.
The only thing you know is that September is not September without Mingyu.
"Are you still thinking of the summer guy?" Your mother asked you in December. You simply nodded. She didn't know Mingyu but she did know what your grandmother tells her about him, and the last thing your grandmother knew about Mingyu is that deep inside he didn't want to leave so suddenly and without warning you himself. He looked regretful and heartbroken.
This time, it was harder to forget about Mingyu, but you are not sure if you tried enough. You actually thought about him more. You aren't sure if he regrets the kiss or if he wants you or even if he just did it for the thrill of the moment (even if Mingyu is not like this, he wouldn't cross that line, risking to lose a friend). You just want to talk and end your suffering. But when June came once again, you are not sure if you are ready.
You see each other again on the first night of July, later than expected. At this point, you thought that Mingyu wasn't going to spend his summer in town and you kept a sad face for an entire month. He took you by surprise, you were stargazing on your own at your usual spot on top of your grandmother's house.
"Hi y/n." You almost choke on your spit.
"Before you say anything, I've brought you a little something, and you have to see it right now."
"Uhm, okay?" He wastes no time and opens his basket. He pulls a small jar filled to the top with something white.
He gives it to you, and the first thing you notice is that it is icy.
"Open it." He encourages you.
It feels weird, and it melts right when you touch it.
"You've brought me snow?" You can barely find your voice.
"Well, I tried. Do you know how hard it was to keep it as snow and not water or ice? My parents were so worried that his son had lost his mind. Now, make that snowball and throw it to my face." He sounds more amused than he should.
You try, but every second that passes it becomes more watery and you are not sure if you can even grab it. You throw what you manage to keep in your hand to him, and he laughs and hisses at the sudden cold contact.
"It's very nice for the summer to be honest." He laughs.
"Our deal is done now, is it?" You don't even know why you bring it back, memories from that night come to your mind and you wonder even if it was real.
"I'm sorry I left so suddenly."
"Oh no, that's fine, is everyone okay?" You ask, concerned.
"Yes, everyone is fine now. Our house wasn't, we almost got robbed that day, but everything is fine now" You sigh in relief and he smiles softly.
Kim Mingyu if you don't stop right now... You think to yourself.
"I actually was wondering something."
"Okay then, surprise me once again." You want to stop making references to that night but you just can't.
He seems to catch the reference and smiles widely. He grabs a little piece of paper from his front right pocket and gives it to you, still with his signature puppy smile on his face.
It says 'Mingyu's mobile phone, for future inconveniences’
"I realized this winter that I don't want to spend another nine months without hearing from you. It was thrilling at first but it's not anymore. Call me anytime you want, actually just call me, please." His cheeks are tinted with a light shade of red and you feel yours burning.
"And I was also wondering if you'd like to visit me for Christmas in Seoul? You can stay at my house if you want to and we could spend more time together. Summer is not enough for me." Your heartbeat accelerates and you feel yourself nodding without thinking. "Great! I have so many things I'd like to show you. I want to take a walk with you in Seoul if it snows, and we can make snowmen and you can properly throw me snowballs if you feel like it. We can skate on thin ice and get hot chocolate and eat sweets and..."
He stops suddenly and you can tell he feels embarrassed.
"I guess I just want to do all the romantic things couples do at Christmas movies... I guess I just want to properly date you."
This time you are the one to initiate the kiss and all your worries of not being on the same page with Mingyu that you've had for almost ten months dissipate as he deepens the kiss and holds you tighter.
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Intro Casey 101 (Mirror’s Edge)
Hello everyone, E hoping you are all doing good! Here it is! The next chapter of the side project that's now my second major one. Because I have a problem and cannot be stopped! Haha stay safe, wash your hands, wear your masks, keep yourself, your loved ones and each other safe, get the vaccine if you can and remember to take care of yourselves.
Feel free to share this with your friends, leave me comments, feedback, reblogs. every bit makes me happy and helps! Have a great week and stay safe! E is out!
If you want an easier time to read it or to read it from the beginning you can follow the link below. Tumblr hates links and will probably shadow block my tags but you know what? Tumblr hates me in general so oh well
Summary: Casey is the head of the local Neighborhood Watch (and by head, he means only employee) Whenever not helping his best friend take down corrupted, evil jerkbutts, he spends his time running, maintaining and helping the magical/supernatural residents of Willow's Brook. Life is never static but Casey sometimes wishes it was a little less hectic. Just because he can handle it doesn't mean he wants to.
Willow Rook was a peaceful neighborhood suburb located on the outskirts of Newton Haven, just within the city’s boundaries. Rows of mismatched houses and apartments spread out across the maddening maze that was suburbia. Fernspeaker Drift park was nestled in the heart of the neighborhood, its magical and mundane flora bringing a peaceful harmonic nature to the urban sprawl of man. The towering skyscrapers of downtown could be seen far into the distance, a reminder to the residents the city was never too far away.
The sounds of children screaming and shouting is what awoke Casey. He let out an unhappy groan as he rose from the hard wooden desk he accidentally fell asleep on. He rubbed his aching jaw, trying to loosen it from the rough night he had.
“Fuck” He yawned groggily “I really need to have a pillow here or something.”
He ran his hand through his normally wavy dark brown hair as his sea green eyes glanced about his “office”.
Office was much too generous a word for what he worked out of: It was tiny bungalow with barely enough room for a desk and chair, a case file drawer and the tv that sat ontop of it. Casey mentally prepared himself as he pulled open the curtains and allowed natural light to hit his face.
“Ugggggggh” Casey shielded his eyes from the harsh gleam of the morning “Why must the sun punish me?”
Casey stretched the crick in his neck while keeping an eye on the outside world: The neighborhood was particularly lively today with people out and about. The elderly elf Mr. Thistlebush was complaining about something or another to his dwarfish neighbor Mrs. Boulderfist who politely nodded and humored the old elf. Evan Starsunder, a muscular orc with dark green skin, tipped his mail cap tiredly to everyone he passed as he made his way into his cozy abode for a well earned rest. The newly married halfing (similiar but legally distinct from hobbits) couple Mr. and Mrs. Tealeaf took a stroll across the grassy field where Casey’s office stood, hand in hand and very much the picturesque ideal of young love.
Casey opened the window to let everyone know he was open for business.
“Good morning Mister Remington!” Mr. Tealeaf waved with a smile.
“How are you doing this morning?” Mrs. Tealeaf asked, half curious and half cheerfully.
“Great!” Casey lied, trying to stifle a yawn “Just great. Keeping on eye on the neighborhood, same as usual.”
“Keep up the good work!”
“We appreciate everything you do for all of us!”
“You’re welcome!” he gave a halfhearted wave after the retreating couple.
He sighed, mindlessly fiddling with the engagement ring on his finger.
“I should take it off” Casey spoke to no one in particular “She probably isn’t wearing hers anymore. I shouldn’t give people the wrong idea. I should just take it off and that’ll be it. That’ll be it. Yep. One slip and….yeah.”
His voice trailed off as he was unable to finish the thought.
“CASE!” A voice shouted.
Casey leaned out and squinted, trying to see through the glare of the sunlight to find the person who demanded his attention.
“CASE!” The voice called out again, the blurry far off figure slowly shifting into a more recognizable shape.
Casey rolled his eyes “What is it Kay? I’m working!”
Kasey Remington or, as most people called her, Kay was Casey’s twin sister. Nearly identical face with the same wavy dark brown hair and sea green eyes except Kay had gotten their mother’s button nose out of the deal. Growing up, the twins often questioned why their parents had named them Casey with a C and Kasey with the K but the only response they ever gave was it was funny.
Well not to the twins but they were used to it by now.
Kasey, in her mommy cardigan and white blouse, flagged down her brother to come outside.
“Yeah I’m good up here.” Casey smiled from his slightly elevated position.
“You’re tall for like 5 minutes and you’re already being unbearable about it.” Kasey huffed, shooting her twin a stink eye.
Casey chuckled “Mad with power. Classic story troupes.”
“Cliche you mean.” Kasey laughed “Sorry to bother you but….did you sleep in your office again?”
Casey rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly as he realized he was still wearing his purple tank top and black basketball shorts from the other day.
“Umm well you see….”
“Is your office still a mess?”
Casey glanced at the half crumpled burger wrappers and scattered papers that littered every inch of desk.
“That’s a yes” Kasey replied with a knowing smirk “Case….”
Casey fiercely pointed at his twin “Don’t.”
“Case, you can’t keep…”
“Yes I can. Watch me.”
Kasey rolled her eyes “I have better things to do.”
Casey scrunched up his face with false hurt “Better than hanging out with your brother? Alright I see how it is. See if I get you anything for Christmas.”
“No! Not my possible Christmas presents!” Kasey fell to her knees dramatically “You monster! How could you do to this to me?”
“Like this.” Casey spoke with a grin, closing the window without another word.
And made his way out of the building a moment later. He offered a hand to his sister and the twins burst out with laughter as Casey helped Kasey to her feet.
“So what’s up Kay?” Casey asked with genuine interest “Where’s Chester?”
Kasey scratched her chin thoughtfully “He’s...got...a….little league game today.”
“Wooooow took you a full five seconds to remember what your kid’s up today.” Casey snickered “Finally stop signing him up for everything?”
“Ha flipping ha.” Kasey shook her head mockingly “It’s not my fault he wants to do any and everything. Besides it’s not the worst thing in the world to enable my son’s interests. I just wish he slowed down a bit.”
“True. Did you thank him for the house he made for me?”
“Yes and he said you’re welcome. Still got it?”
Casey scoffed as he pulled out his necklace: The simple shape of home clasped carefully onto his chain.
“As a cleric of the hearth nothing is more important than a family’s love.”
“Except” Kasey murmured softly “Maybe your fiancée?”
“Nope!” Casey threw his hands in the air and turned away from his sister “Not having this conversation. Byeeeee.”
“Case! Casey you’re acting like a child!”
“Would a child do this? Hey Seth!”
A gawky human teenager with dark black clothing and every skull accessory imaginable flinched uncomfortably at the sudden attention.
Casey nodded his head in confirmation “Yeah you! Curfew’s 2:30 A.M. The Hallow spell won’t work during the witching hour so I want you back here before 3. Got it?”
Seth gave a low mumble and wandered off as quickly as his legs could take him.
“Casey.” Kasey laced her voice with a firmness only a mother could muster.
“Whaaaaaat?” Casey whirled around irritated “Look I made my choice and she made hers and that’s it.”
Kasey raised an eyebrow “You two have been in love with each other since we were kids.”
“Case, why don’t you ask her again?”
Casey said nothing, opting to gesture to his office to answer his question. Written in bright white letters across the walls of the building were the words “Neighborhood Watch.”
Kasey rubbed her arm guiltily “Case…”
“You gonna take over?” Casey questioned, his voice soft but controlled “You gonna take over for mom? Cuz she retired and unless there’s someone running the watch, all of this...”
He motions to the families walking, playing, living their lives together in harmony. A magical community at peace.
“All this goes away. We’re going to have to move everyone into other magical neighborhoods and under their Neighborhood Watches. And that’s not fair to them.”
Kasey let out a sad sigh “It’s not fair to you.”
“I’m fine” Casey lied “I’m okay I promise. It’s for the best.”
Kasey shook her head “You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to me. See you for dinner?”
Casey hugged his twin tightly, pouring as much love as he could into the gesture.
“Of course. I’ll bring fries.”
Kasey made a face, playfully pushing him away “Would you bring something else, please?”
“Fine, mashed potatoes.”
“Ugh. Bye Case.”
Kasey eyed the engagement ring for a moment before taking her leave.
Casey ran his hands through his hair, wondering how much worse today could get.
He turned to make his way back to his office when he spotted a familiar face nearby.
His heart began to thunder loudly in his ears, the phantom sensation of lips pressed against his own ran chills down his spine while his cheeks flushed a bright red. His legs felt weak and butterflies filled his stomach as he took in the sight of Jaime casually walking down the street.
Jaime looked as beautiful as ever: Her long dark red hair was tied into a single braid that hung over her shoulder and shimmered in the soft glow of the morning. Her light brown eyes gleamed with a thoughtfully gaze as she looked at her phone. She was wearing his dark purple hoodie with dark blue jeans and sneakers. Her glasses were cutely askew and Casey felt the overwhelming urge to run over and fix them for her.
The engagement ring on his finger felt impossibly heavy yet light all at once.
He should talk to her. That was okay, right? To talk to someone he’s in love with and desperately wanted to be with. Did she want to talk to him? They left on decent terms. Well maybe. Hopefully. God what if she was mad at him? Or worse, hated him? She could never hate him that was silly. But perhaps she wasn’t ready to speak to him.
He knew he wasn’t ready.
Casey turned to Jaime’s direction then pulled away. He pivoted on his feet to face her again before glancing downwards towards the grass. His hands fidgeted uneasily as a shout threatened to spill out of his mouth.
Casey returned quickly to his office and shut close the window. Resisting the urge to stare at Jaime, he opted instead to reach for a crumpled piece of paper. He smoothed it out and began mindlessly scrawling upon its surface, drawing nothing in particular.
It was comical how automatic Casey’s responses became while he worked in this building: Upon hearing the knock at his door, he rose to his feet and opened it without a second thought.
Casey’s heart leapt to his throat at the sight of Jaime standing at the base of the steps from the bungalow. She smiled shyly, pushing up her glasses further up on the bridge of nose before giving a friendly wave. Her other hand was tucked deeply in the hoodie’s pocket.
“Hey sweetie” Jaime paused, pursing her lips for a moment “Case. How are you Case? Doing good Case? Can I stop now?”
Casey let out a genuine laugh “Hey swe….Jaime. You can stop. I’m good. I’m good. Good.”
He caught sight of his engagement ring gleaming in the sunlight. He quickly shoved it inside his pocket.
“That’s good. That’s good.” Jaime nodded “I’m glad to hear that.”
Casey caught her wandering glance across the office and quickly shifted his weight to block the view.
“So how’s the new job?” He crossed his arms in an clumsy fashion “Everything okay at the Grimoire?”
Jaime dug at the grass with her shoe “It’s good. Chaotic as usual but hey what do you expect for a magical library, right?”
The two chuckled together and locked eyes for a moment. As one they broke off their gaze, their cheeks slowly turning a pinkish hue.
Casey recovered first “How’s your brother? We talk but ever since last month he hasn’t recruited me to topple any corrupt bosses lately. I’m getting bored.”
“You sure you bored?” Jaime rolled her eyes “There’s no way the Neighborhood Watch is getting that soft.”
“Haha I wish.”
An awkward silence fell over the couple as the realization of what subject they landed on washed over them.
“Finn’s good. Busy but good.” Jaime spoke with a fragile softness in her voice “You know my bro, always trying to save the world.”
Casey couldn’t help but noticed Jaime’s body language: She tucked both of her hands into the pockets, her frame shrunk like she was mentally kicking herself as she gawkily fidgeted back and forth.
Jaime glanced upwards towards Casey, her light brown eyes shining brightly in the sun’s glow.
Casey could feel his heart ache with love and longing as he spoke simply “Don’t worry about it beautiful.”
Jaime said nothing. Instead, she closed the distance between them, gently cupping his cheek in her hand.
“Take care of yourself sweetie. Please. For me?”
Casey could feel his ache worsen but he just nodded, murmuring softly “For you.”
Jaime’s smile was sad but lovely. She pulled away slowly, allowing her fingers to linger for a moment.
“Bye for now Casey.”
She left without another word and Casey felt exhaustion rush into every fiber of his body. He closed the door reluctantly and took a seat. He stared unhappily at the drawing of Jaime he hadn’t realized he’d be sketching.
He slumped deeper into his chair, feeling much too drained to face the rest of the day.
“Shit, shit, shit” Seth muttered to himself as he raced through the night. The normally inviting, homely suburb was cold and distant: The shadows moved in eerie unnatural ways and once or twice Seth could soft pattering of paws follow closely behind. The modest homes and apartments were silent, basked in the darkness as they towered over him in silence.
“Just a cat” He mumbled to himself, glancing at his phone and wincing at the 3:30 AM it showed in a white font.
Seth entered Willow Rook proper and paled at the lack of comfort he normally felt in the air. Casey had warned him the Hallow spell, a powerful ward of holy magic that protected the neighborhood and hid it away from the world, would not work between 3 and 4 AM. Seth assumed he was merely attempting to scare him to return early. It never occurred to him that Casey was telling the truth.
Seth fumed silently “It’s fine. I’m late, it’s fine nothing followed me here and it’s fine.”
A chill ran down his spine as something rustled nearby. He whirled around in time to see something lunge straight for his chest.
He was ashamed how quickly he flinched, closing his eyes shut while raise his hands in a poor attempt to defend himself. He made quick prayer to whatever deity who happened to be on duty at the moment.
Something thudded against his chest. It didn’t stay long, instead quickly making its way up his shirt and tucked itself comfortably on his shoulder. It wasn’t too heavy but it was big whatever it was. Seth was surprised how warm and fluffy it was and swore it was purring in his ear.
He cracked open his eyes and found himself staring at an orange tabby cat: it was a fat cat with stripes of white and orange running down its body. Its dark green eyes stared curiously at him. If he didn’t know better, he would’ve thought it was asking him a question.
“Hey buddy” Seth breathed a sigh of relief, scratching the cat’s chin “What are you doing out here? Scaring the shit out of me?”
The cat pawed at his face rather roughly and with enough force to actually make him turn his head.
Seth felt the blood drain as he saw something approach in the shifting shadows: A monstrous thing, thin and skeletal. Its skin was a dark shade, almost as black as the darkness it blended in with. It crawled forward slowly on all fours, thick talons digging up and cutting through the pavement with ease. A bloody wrap covered its eyes and two thick, elongated fangs protruded from its lower jaw. The rest of its face was smooth and featureless.
The words died in Seth’s throat. The best he could do was a pathetic croaking noise he was grateful no one could hear in the dead night.
The creature tilted its head as if listening for any sign of its prey.
Seth couldn’t move, the fear gripping him tightly in its thrall. His breathing hitched and he could feel his body shake beyond his control as the creature inched closer and closer.
The cat leapt off his shoulder, silently landing onto the grass and bolting into the night.
Seth’s stomach churned and twisted anxiously as the creature stared in his direction, a growling rumble escaping its mouth. It let loose a maddening shriek, one that shook Seth’s very bones. It stood on its hind legs and grew to an inhuman height. Its mouth lowered, stretching impossibly wide as it leapt forward.
Seth felt cold and empty as the sight of the monster filled his sight. The fight ebbed out of him and left only an overwhelming sense of dread and finality.
This is how it ended.
It was an odd sensation to feel at the end: the warmth and glow of the sun at his back. Perhaps some higher being was taking mercy on him in his last moments on this plane of existence.
Wait, no the warmth was getting brighter and hotter. An unbearably stuffy and blazing with an intensity of a summer day that grew each passing moment.
Seth groaned, wincing in pain as a sudden flash of light zoomed past with incredible speed. It burned brightly, dispelling the silhouetted shadows with a burning flame despite it being no bigger than a baseball.
The creature reared back and thrashed about, too caught off guard by the sudden glow to realize it was coming straight for it. The orb collided with the creature’s chest and sunk deeply into its chest. The creature howled and buckled in pain, bending and twisting at unnatural angles.
The light faded and the orb with it but Seth could see the fist sized hole it had burned through the chest of the creature.
The creature weakly swayed, seemingly weakened by whatever hit it.
“Not in my neighborhood you punkass bitch.”
Seth weakly turned to find Casey standing there, the fat orange tabby at his feet. The head of the Neighborhood Watch finally changed his clothes: He wore a purple jacket with a black shirt that read “Neighborhood Watch” in faded white lettering. His gray sweats were wrinkled and his feet were adorned with two different sneakers. Outstretched in his hand like he had taken a swing at something was a glowing metal baseball bat that pulsed with radiant power.
“Casey, I…” Seth mumbled out but Casey motioned with his head.
“Go home kid. This ain’t the minor leagues.”
Seth was ashamed to say he ran, frantically and as fast as his sore legs could take him. Whatever just attacked him was out of his weight class.
Luckily Casey was in a league of his own.
The creature clicked its tongue unhappily as it moved uneasily on its hind legs. It bent and twisted its neck in a way that would’ve broken it if the creature had been human.
Casey rolled his eyes as he gripped the bat tightly in his hand “Drama queen much, aren’t you?
The creature said nothing. Instead it threw itself forward full force towards the cleric.
“Here we go.” Casey murmured tiredly as he drew his bat back.
The creature took a swipe at him but Casey already moved out of the way, dodging to the side and allowing the creature sail past him. It twisted its head around only to get a face full of metal: Casey’s swing caught the creature in the cheek and sent it reeling backwards.
The creature shrieked in pain as smoke curled off its face, the cheek swollen and charred an ashy black. It didn’t hesitate to attack once more: It stood up and tried to crush Casey under its full weight.
Casey just shoved the bat directly into the hole he made earlier.
The creature hissed and retreated away from the holy infused weapon. More smoke bellowed from the now enlarged hole.
Casey raised his bat threateningly “Go back to wherever the hell you came from or I will beat you out of existence you flipping abomination.”
If the creature understood the threat, it made no indication. Instead it doubled down on its poor choices.
It sat back on the balls of its feet, tensing its legs in preparation for a mighty leap.
Between helping the inhabitants of the neighborhood with their requests, talking to Jaime and frankly being awoken to a fucking demon attack at 3 am, Casey was just done with all yesterday and evidently today.
Casey’s hand glowed with a dazzling radiant light as he spokes the words of faith. Magic formed and condensed into a single ball of pure sun in his palm.
The creature sprinted forward, tearing up the grass underneath its feet while it desperately made one final dash towards the cleric.
Casey lobbed the ball high in the air and fell into a batter’s stance.
The orb hung in the air for a moment like a blazing sun then fell back to earth.
The creature leapt, talons aimed for Casey’s neck.
Casey let out a mighty swing. There was a loud crack as the bat made contact with the orb. The ball of light sped off and shoved itself down the creature’s throat. The bat follow through connected with the head of the creature and knocked it cleaned off.
The ball gleamed bright in the beast’s stomach before exploding outward like a supernova. The creature flaked away into blacken ash, head and all.
The gleam of light vanished and Casey found himself under the cover of night once more.
He wiped at his eyes tiredly as his phone beeped. He glanced at it to see it was now 4 in the morning.
There was a soft hum as the Hallow reactivated: the air shimmered with an unseen power and grew warm with comfort.
The ashes vanished without warning, the unholy remains cleansed by the sanctity of the neighborhood.
The cat drew closer to Casey, its eyes peering at him thoughtfully.
“Hey Julius” Casey greeted the cat politely “Long night?”
Orange Julius meowed in response.
“Thanks for keeping an eye on him. I knew he’d stay out late but hopefully he understands why we have a rather generous curfew.”
Orange Julius nodded.
“That’s been like what? The third demonic hell beast/ abomination this month. That’s a lot for a month.”
Orange Julius meowed in agreement.
Casey pursed his lips thoughtfully “Hey, did you see Finn?”
The cat tilted his head quizzically.
“I mean all this time you. He. Well you aren’t around whenever he comes by” Casey scratched his neck sheepish “You are his dad’s cat. You sure Fernspeaker wouldn’t want you to be with him?”
The cat paused for a moment before shaking his head.
“It’s not because Jaime’s folks adopted him after…..well that happened, is it?”
The cat pawed the grass below him.
“Right.” Casey nodded in understanding “Neighborhood’s your responsibility. I get that.”
Orange Julius meowed then vanished into the darkness.
Casey glanced at the statue of Fernspeaker that stood tall in the center of park. It had been erected the same time the park was named after him, both shortly after his and his wife’s death 22 years ago.
Fernspeaker Drift, Finnrick’s biological father, was once a powerful druid, deeply in tune with nature and a firm believer in helping others. This neighborhood was his passion project. The Neighborhood Watch was formed after his passing.
The Neighborhood Watch was created because of his passing. Nobody wanted a repeat of what happened all those years ago.
Finnrick told him it was okay for Casey to not to take the job but it felt like such a disrespect to let this whole place dissolve and scatter its residents.
Casey sighed and wandered back to his office. Office hours were closed but the Neighborhood Watch’s job was never done.
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The Prince's Pet Ch. 1
Word Count: 1547
Tws: food, implied/referenced torture, fear of death, unsymp roman.
Read on AO3
Janus, once known as a renowned royal advisor of his kingdom, is now rotting away in the dungeon. The prince decides to take him under his wing, training Janus to be the perfect companion.
Or: Prince Roman gets a new pet. It's Janus.
Everyone knew of the horrors of the dungeons. Parents would tell their kids to behave, lest they one day end up in the dark cells. Criminals were threatened with admittance into the cursed place, should they commit one more misdeed. It was a heavy sentence, only truly considered for the worst of offenses, the most heinous of crimes. The dungeons were a maze of halls, all stone bricks and half-lit torches, where the only sound was of dripping water and cries of agony. The cruelest of the guard were put on duty here, and, as there was no one to keep them in line, they got away with just about anything. No one cared for those who were thrown in the dungeon; no one would care what they endured. And thus the prisoners who called these cells their final resting place were beaten and bloodied, starved and mistreated, all right beneath the castle grounds.
It was here that Janus found himself, hardly able to stay awake as his body desperately tried to heal his injuries with what little energy it had left. Most days he would come in and out of a daze, only truly regaining consciousness as he was slammed into the walls, thrown to the floors, or otherwise in unbearable pain.
He couldn't say he hadn't expected to end up here. After all, treason was a one-way ticket to this hellhole. But he had at least hoped for a death sentence, seeing as the prince had a certain fondness for him. He supposed counting on such a miracle was a foolish move. Hindsight would do him no good here, however.
Shortly into his damnation he began to lose parts of himself. A stubbornness that went unmatched gave way to meekness, an urgency to please. Powerful and proud stances gave way to cowering in the corners, hiding in shadows and trembling when people passed. His once clean-shaven face was now bloodied and raw, bruised in too many places to count and covered in grime.
Truly, the mighty had fallen.
As his latest visitor exited his cell, Janus allowed himself to slip into a half-conscious state, floating in his hazy thoughts. While the torch outside of his cell flickered, slowly but surely giving way to darkness, he let himself rest.
A painful ache spread through Janus' head as he slowly came to, increasing in severity with every noise that occasionally greeted his ears. He gradually became aware of a warm numbness that had spread through his limbs. Tethered to the ground by exhaustion, he faded in and out of consciousness. At some point, the smell of a fire reached him, and he squinted his eyes open to find a lit fireplace before him. He was on the floor, he realized, atop a woven rug that scratched at his skin.
Where was he, he wondered. This certainly wasn't the dungeons. Shutting his eyes against the fire, he quickly gave up on finding an answer to his question and gave in to sleep.
A creaking sound woke Janus this time, his head throbbing in protest of the noise. He let out a pained whimper, too out of it to bother stifling such an embarrassing noise, as he grabbed his head in a futile attempt to block out any sound. Something warm rested on his hands, gently pulling them away from his head.
Another whimper escaped his lips as the warmth he vaguely recognized to be hands held on to his face, lifting it from the ground. He let himself sink into the warmth, his mind too far gone to sense the clear danger in being touched. A thumb gently brushed over his face as a voice, unclear and muddled yet painfully familiar, spoke quietly to him. Though Janus couldn't make out any words, he found himself drifting off once again, soothed back into a restful sleep.
With a shuddering gasp, Janus bolted upright, waking suddenly. His hand reached for his chest, only to be stopped by a much larger, more calloused grip. Struck by fear, he pushed himself away from the touch, backing up with aching legs until he hit a wall. Blinking his blurry eyes, he stared at the other person in the room, desperately willing his mind to catch up as they took a step back.
He froze, blood running cold. No, no no no no! This couldn't be happening! After all the pain he'd endured, all of the torture he'd survived, the prince himself had come to finish him off before he could even hope to escape.
Lost in his fear, entire body shaking, Janus failed to notice the prince approaching until he stood right before him, hands held out in a placating gesture that went completely unnoticed.
"Deceit," that same voice spoke, and Janus swore he'd never heard his old name sound so menacing. "Hey, look at me."
His eyes darted up to meet the prince's, and Janus silently thanked whatever god would listen that he'd been so conditioned from the dungeons to obey. Anything he could do to lessen whatever punishment the prince had in mind, he would have to do. His thoughts halted, however, when he took in the prince's worried expression.
"There you go," he said softly. "It's just me, just Roman."
Roman's frown deepened as he moved to kneel in front of Janus, holding the man's face and staring uncomfortably into his eyes. Janus held his breath, his entire body stiff, steeling his mind for whatever horrible pain awaited him. After a long moment of silence, Roman sighed, and Janus felt sick with fear.
Without another word, Roman stood, walked to the door, and left. Janus barely registered the sound of the lock turning, sealing away his only means of escape. He sat there, frozen in fear, cowering like a dog about to be struck for what felt like hours. The only thing on his mind was the many ways the prince could hurt him. Had he left to gather torture instruments? Would be return with guards to help torment him? Whatever the case, Janus knew his death would be slow and painful, worse than anything the dungeon guards had done to him.
When he finally managed to draw himself away from his thoughts, Janus attempted to stand, only for his legs to give out beneath him. He fell with an undignified yelp, collapsing onto the hard wood floor. His old wounds ached with the movement, and he quickly realized he wouldn't be able to walk on his own for quite some time. If he even survived the night, that was.
Swallowing down what little pride he had left, he crawled his way over to the rug he'd been sleeping on before and lied down, careful to keep as many cuts and bruises off of the floor as he could. He took a moment to loathe just how horribly he had fallen. The once bright and deadly royal advisor of the crowned prince, now starved and beaten, reduced to a shaking heap on the floor of a prison room - it was nearly enough to make one pity him. But he knew he'd find no pity within the kingdom walls. No, he had lost every ally he'd had, every advantage he once used, every ounce of power he'd abused. All gone in an instant. It almost made him regret his actions.
After quite some time, which Janus used to solemnly accept his fate, the lock turned again. Janus watched with fear as Roman entered and, balancing a tray in one hand, locked the door with his other.
The prince moved closer, and Janus was struck with the smell of food. Not the horrible, musky smell of the moldy bread he'd been given for weeks, but actual, real, warm food. He nearly got excited before remembering his situation.
Ah. So he'd be given poison, then.
A bit of an odd choice, though he couldn't say he wasn't grateful. Even the worst poison had to be better than whatever torture the duke would have chosen.
But then Roman sat down, setting the tray of food in front of him, and started mixing sugar into the bowl of porridge. He watched hungrily as Roman added a few berries to the bowl of porridge before dipping a spoon in and... raising it to Janus' mouth?
"Eat," Roman commanded, and Janus did. He was desperate to get this over with, knowing only pain would follow. The moment the porridge touched his tongue he practically melted, and soon the threat of death was all but forgotten as he lost himself in what had to be the best meal he'd ever had. Distantly, he heard the prince mutter something, but it was quickly disregarded as more food was raised to his lips.
At some point, Janus' eyes had closed, his entire being savoring what was sure to be his last meal. He ate without complaint, drinking water when it was offered, though he was quickly growing tired. The ache of his injuries and the warmth of his meal were lulling him to sleep once again. Through his quickly clouding thoughts, he faintly registered a hand settling in his hair, soft whispering filling the air as his meal ended. 'This is it,' he thought, as he slowly drifted away.
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cold december night
in which while staying at your parent’s house for the holidays, you find that some feelings never change.
word count: 4.4k
warnings: drinking ig, reader is A Grump but in a hallmark movie way, i tried to make this is vague as possible holiday-wise but there are some mentions of the holidays, so be wary of that if you don’t celebrate, my unbearable ability to drone on for ten pages about absolutely nothing
a/n: hehehe i love winter fics bye
title song: cold december night // michael buble
Many years ago, you had enjoyed this kind of torture. The matching sweaters and entertaining the gaggle of your siblings’ children and so much hot chocolate that it made your stomach ache. Now, however, you huff impatiently.
The neighborhood had always been picturesque, and since you had moved out, it only seemed to be getting better. Each of the snow-frosted houses was decorated to perfection, not too gaudy but not too simple. It’s pleasant, really. There are worse ways to spend your holiday, you tell yourself, so you would hunker down at your parents’ house for a few days and enjoy the serenity that your noisy flat didn’t have the luxury of.
The kids run around the yard, giggling as they try to hide from one another. Luke ducks behind your legs, clasping tightly to you as he squeals, trying to hide from his cousins. “I’m done!” He cries, reaching up for you. “I’m done! Help me!”
This, you decide, you could not help but lighten up at. You could never pick a favorite amongst your nieces and nephews, but if you really had to, Luke had long stood as your best friend at every family function, and as you lift the little boy on your hip, you rub his back. “Already done, Lukey?” You ask softly, heart softening when he rests his head on your shoulder.
You feel rather than see his frown at the nickname. “Yes,” he huffs, “Wanna go back inside.”
With a raised brow and a pointed glance, you look at your mother across the yard. “You and me both, kid,” you murmur, adjusting your hold on him. He doesn’t have the extended vocabulary to say so, but every look he shares with you, every sidelong glance at his cousins, or your brother, or even your mother, all in their matching sweaters, indicates that he’s just as unimpressed with them as you are.
You like the tradition even less when that threateningly sleek car parks in the driveway beside yours. It’s embarrassing to be seen like this at any age, you think, but especially yours. Especially by him.
Gwilym doesn’t judge. He never had, not as long as you had known him, not that you had known him well in the last ten years. When you did know him, though, before he was some Hollywood big shot with a fancy car and expensive taste, he had just been Gwil. Gwil with a big heart and a soothing laugh and a bright countenance. You liked that Gwil. In some way, that version of him still held your heart.
It had been a long time, though. You don’t really know him anymore, but as you watch him stand from his car, straightening a nice winter coat over what you assume is an even nicer outfit underneath, you’re reminded that there’s no two ways about it. Gwilym Lee was handsome when he was young, but that has multiplied tenfold in the last few years.
He turns toward your family, flashing one of those devastating smiles and waving at the lot of you, dressed up with nowhere to go but the snow-covered yard, and he can’t help his chuckle. “Well, look at all you! That’s quite a coincidence.”
It isn’t funny, but your mother makes a show of laughing at it, at him, like he’s just done a full stand-up routine, and even your sister can’t help but giggle shamelessly at him, both of them fawning over him near the fence. You, on the other hand, are not so impressed, quirking a brow at the cheesy, forced joke, and you wonder if that’s the kind of stuff he has to say to make himself seem more approachable, or if he’s truly just unfunny now. Either way, you adjust Luke on your hip and turn to your father, jerking your head back to indicate you were going inside. He doesn’t allow it for a moment, putting a hand up to stop you and motioning to Gwilym. “Say, Gwil, you wouldn’t mind snapping a picture, would you?”
His blue eyes brighten with a grin and he shakes his head. “Of course not,” he insists, hurrying around his car to find his way into your parent‘s yard. You grumble and Luke’s arms tighten around your neck.
“C’mon, bud. We’re taking a picture,” you say softly, trying to nudge the boy up.
He huffs. “If I take a picture, can we go inside?”
You can’t help the smile that quirks on your lips. “Yeah, I’m sure we could work that. Now, up.”
Luke sits up with a grumpy little pout as the rest of your family lines up in front of the house, your mother’s phone already in Gwilym’s hands. You’re jostled in the shuffle of the line, your sister forcing everyone into a perfect position before she finally decides everyone is where they belong. Shivering and irritated, you stare back at Gwil, who takes one last look at everyone to ensure they’re picture-perfect. Just before he clicks the button, his eyes become visible over the phone, already locked on yours.
“Liven up, Y/N,” he insists, winking in your direction, and your nose wrinkles in annoyance for half a second before you finally plaster on a fake grin. You realize only a moment too late that, after over a decade without communication, Gwil still knows exactly who you are. Can even pick you out of the lineup. It’s a silly thing to get yourself excited over; there was no way he could have forgotten you, not after the years of friendship and all the trouble the two of you had gotten into together. Even so, when he snaps the picture, your heart is fluttering.
But then he’s crossing the yard to hand your mother’s phone back and Luke is leaning into your ear. “Can we go in now?”
And, before you can genuinely embarrass yourself in front of Gwilym, who suddenly has you flustered, you decide that’s an excellent idea, turning on your heel to take your nephew inside as the rest of your family swarms your neighbor.
Luke tugs at his sweater when you take him inside with a heavy sigh, pleased to get out of the cold. With a dent between your brows, you peeked out the front window through the curtains, looking at the crowd of red and black gingham and seeing Gwil above them all, laughing good-naturedly and playing with the kids and a little piece of you, one that hasn’t woken up since you last spoke to him, twists in your gut. You clear your throat, turning around to look at Luke.
“Alright, kid. What are we doing?”
You and Luke curl up under a heavy blanket your dad left across the couch and turn on a movie, something to pass the time until your nephew went to bed and you left the house. After a while, your family finds their way back inside. Though you don’t look at him, you’re sure that your nephew is frowning at the television, and the idea is enough to make you smile.
Dinner had, against all odds, passed without incidence, and though it had been nice, you had been waiting all night for this—to leave. “I’ll be back soon,” you tell your sister, waving quickly, and she nods easily, but Luke frowns and tugs at your coat.
“Where are you going? Can I come?”
You frown to match his, crouching beside him. “No can do, Lukey,” you say softly, smoothing his pajamas over. “But how about tomorrow, I sneak us away for a little bit to go get some lunch?”
It’s enough to brighten his mood a little, and you find that even you have a bounce in your step with an excuse to get out of the over-crowded house tomorrow. With a quick kiss to the top of his head, you make your way out of the house into the cold. You pray that your poor attitude about your family will lighten up after a few drinks with your friends. It felt as though you had been looking forward to this break all year, but now that you were stuffed into the tiny house with your entire family, it was quickly losing its charm.
The bar is crowded, likely full of everyone else who could hardly handle being back with their families, but you spot your friends immediately, a bright grin spreading across your face at the sight. It has all the makings of the perfect night, down to the guy you can’t stop making eyes at across the room, and it finally feels like you can breathe in your old stomping grounds. After a few drinks, after you’ve loosened up for the first time in days, your friend leans close to you.
Dani giggles in your ear, already half-drunk and wrapping her arms around your neck. “Y/N, some hottie has been staring you down all night,” she whispers loudly, her breath hot on your ear. You squirm away from her with a laugh, cheeks warming under the attention of your friends. Part of you wonders if it’s the same guy you’ve been looking at since you walked in, but Bree points discreetly in the opposite direction, toward the bar, and nervously, you glanced over.
“Oh, no,” you breathe, smiling awkwardly at Gwil’s tiny wave and sweet smile before you were turning back to your friends. “Him?”
“Who is that?” Bree asks, shamelessly staring at your neighbor, and you scoff at your friend, raising a brow at her ogling.
“My mom’s dorky, stupid handsome, successful neighbor,” you grumble, staring down at your glass.
“He is handsome,” Dani sings in your ear, and you’ve never wanted to die more, because now both of your friends are staring across the bar at Gwil and you don’t doubt that he’s looking back, enjoying the attention he’s receiving from them.
You grunt. “Hey, isn’t it me that you haven’t seen in months? Shouldn’t I be getting all the attention?”
They pay you no mind, still giggling at the sight of Gwilym, who still seems to be looking at you if their reactions are any indication. You keep your eyes down, fiddling with the napkin set in front of you. The last thing you really want is to be close to Gwilym; long ago, when he was nothing but your cute friend next door, he had a knack for making you nervous. You hadn’t seen him much at all since you were still capable of those juvenile butterflies he had always inspired in you, and you’d like to minimize the sickening flutter of your heart by avoiding him altogether.
No matter how low you hang your head, though, you suppose you never would have gotten away with not speaking to him while your friends were still fawning over him, so when you hear his voice already teasing you in your ear, you force a reluctant smile. “Hey, stranger,” he greets, a smile already in his voice.
You look over your shoulder, chest already warm at the sight of him grinning. “Gwilym.” It’s not a greeting, not really, but he seems to accept it. “Um...these are my friends, Dani and Bree.”
“So lovely to meet you,” Dani cuts in, batting her eyelashes, and you roll your eyes with a quiet laugh.
Ever the good sport, as long as you had known him, Gwil laughs her off. “Come sit, Gwilym,” Bree insists, waving you off. “We want to hear all about Y/N when she was younger.”
“No, you don’t,” you insist, shooting a pointed look at Gwilym, who smiles slyly at you.
He sits across from you, tilting his head, and you feel that familiar twinge in your gut, the same one you felt when you had watched him talking to your family through the window earlier in the day, and you look away quickly. “Oh, I do,” Dani agrees, leaning on her palm to get a little closer to the man. “All the juicy details. I mean, I really want her to be embarrassed, you know?”
Gwilym beams at you, shaking his head smally. “No, no. Y/N was always a dream; no embarrassing stories,” he says, winking at you, and you roll your eyes to hide the fact that you’re already flustered under his gaze.
He has a special way of captivating your friends. Every joke he tells, every look he shares with them, every single word that falls out of his mouth has them absolutely entranced. After years of friendship—and practice—you had learned that it wasn’t exactly easy to leave them speechless, but one look at Dani shows you that the only words she has waiting on the tip of her tongue are ‘I love you,’ and you can’t help but admire him a little more than before. It seems like he guides the conversation all night long, though none of you seem to mind.
It almost irks you how delightful Gwil really is and you’re sure that you spend all night with adoration written all over your face. After so many years, he still has you wrapped around his finger the same way he did when you ran around together as children. It instills a sort of nostalgia in you; you had felt that same adoration every moment you had spent with him when you were young and luckily or not, it had stuck with you.
Gwil barely drinks the whole night. Instead, he nurses the same drink and watches you laugh, enjoys how loose you become with the touches on his hand and how blatant you become when staring at him. This is not so unlike the Y/N he remembers, no longer shy and avoiding his gaze but laughing along with him, playing along with his jokes and leaning close to catch all his words.
Eventually, Dani has to return home to her partner and Bree reluctantly agrees, and after the smallest bit of goading, they agree to let Gwilym take you home. It only makes sense; they were traveling the opposite way and Gwilym was going back to his parents’ house anyway. It warms you, deep in your chest, the thought of driving home with him in the warmth of his car, enjoying the sweet musk of his cologne for a few minutes more, and you’re in high spirits when the two of you leave the bar, your jacket pulled tight around you to keep you warm.
“Your friends are lovely,” Gwilym says, guiding you toward his car.
You grin, glancing at him over your shoulder. “Yeah, yeah, they’re great.”
Even in the frigid night, you feel content, either because you’re tipsy or because you feel like a teenager again, hopelessly in love with the man who walks beside you. It brings back a sweet, comforting nostalgia that you haven’t been able to appreciate for years; you stick your hands in your pockets, your smile fading but not disappearing, still small when Gwil opens the car door for you.
He has a way of making you feel comfortable even after years apart; you still feel like you know him, like he’s the same boy who snuck into your room after curfew to help you with your homework, and as you listen to him speak on your way home, you can’t help your quiet, pleased sigh. He seems to have an endless wealth of stories, anecdotes designed just to make you laugh, and you’re sure you have stars in your eyes when he glances over at you.
“What?” He asks, voice tilted in amusement.
Your smile grows, glancing out your window. “Nothing. I just forgot that I like you,” you tease quietly.
Your entire chest burns when he laughs at your words, that gorgeous smile aimed at you when you look back at him. “You forgot, huh?” He chuckles, and your chest swells with a giggle you’re unsure you’re prepared to let him hear. “Well, I’m glad to remind you.”
“Very charming,” you say tightly, a smile on your face. Gwilym thumbs at the corner of his mouth, still upturned, when he pulls into his parents’ driveway.
You turn to tell him goodnight only to find him already looking at you, leaning against the center console. “Can I walk you home?”
With a gentle laugh, you raise a brow, glancing over the fence at your parents’ house before you look back at him. “I wouldn’t want you to wear yourself out.”
He rolls his eyes and taps the console. “Get out.”
You smirk and both of you step out of the car, a shiver running down your spine. Pulling your jacket tighter around your body, you begin the short walk to your front door, practically floating as Gwilym’s arm brushes yours. Most of the alcohol in your system has worked itself out, leaving you pleasantly serene rather than dizzy, and part of you considers that you’ll remember this feeling for a long time.
One of Gwilym’s hands presses gently between your shoulders as you walk up the drive, something that would normally irritate you but now only serves to make you swoon, and you breathe out a quiet hum, happy to soak up the moments with him before you fell into bed. He stops at the front door, hand lingering on your back before he turns to you, glancing up at the light above the two of you. “Thanks for walking me home,” you say softly, unable to bring yourself to truly shatter the peace between the two of you yet.
Gwilym chuckled, head tilting. “It was my distinct pleasure.” He sticks his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels awkwardly. “It was really good to see you, Y/N. It’s been too long.”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s just hard to come around, y’know, with my family and everything,” you murmur, grinding the toe of your shoe into the welcome mat. “It’s just a little crazy around here.”
“Well, if you ever need an escape,” he says, shifting forward minutely. “You know where to find me.”
With a little extra courage from your lowered inhibition and a lot of extra affection that you thought you outgrew, you stand on your toes to press a soft, tentative kiss to his lips. The kiss is over in only a second and it feels like a wash of sobriety hits you like a tidal wave, because you aren’t even flat on your feet when you feel your ears begin to burn with embarrassment and your eyes widen. Gwilym doesn’t have a moment to react, still recovering from the kiss itself before you’re swinging the front door open. “Goodnight,” you squeak.
You close the door a little too loudly for the time of night, your heart pounding in anxiety when you groan. Idiot. You were a complete, insane, unbearable idiot.
You pull your duvet closer around your shoulders, trying to block out the excitement happening outside your bedroom. After lunch with Luke, you had excused yourself with a pounding headache and though your nap helped a little bit, you knew that it wouldn’t be long before it was even worse with your family yelling from the living room. Despite your mounting irritation and the loud laughing outside, you’re about to drift back off to sleep when a knock sounds at your door.
With a discontented hum, you bid whoever it is to open the door if only to ensure they leave sooner, but your sister pokes her head in with a sly smile you know all too well. Under your blanket, your face sets in a hazy confusion. “Gwilym is here to see you.”
Your whole body jolts awake in an ice-cold panic and you have to fight between burrowing under your blankets and jumping right out of bed. Instead, you sit up straight to keep yourself from heaving. “Tell him I’m dead.”
She throws her head back in a loud laugh. “He’s staying for dinner, Y/N. I fear it won’t be as easy to fake your death when you’re sitting across from him.”
The loud groan that leaves your body is nearly involuntary. It wasn’t as if you could skip dinner—your mother wouldn’t hear of it. If Gwilym were going to pick an opportunity to tell you off for being such an intolerable creep, you wish he would pick somewhere a little less embarrassing than your family dinner table. Dread eats up at your insides so fast that it nearly makes you sick.
“Fuck,” you breath, covering your eyes and falling back onto your pillows.
Your sister, unphased by your upset, only scoffs at your dramatics. “Get dressed, dinner is almost ready.”
She leaves you alone with your thoughts and you give an unhappy huff, rolling out of bed. Perhaps if you had gone out just minutes sooner, you would have gotten him out the door before your parents had strong-armed him into dinner. It doesn’t matter now, you suppose, because he is here and ready to drag you to hell and back in front of your entire family. You deserve it, that much you know, so you take in a long breath and straighten out your sweater before leaving your bedroom.
His mirthful laugh fills the home like it’s meant to be there and despite yourself, you feel your chest warm at the sound. Tip-toeing down the hallway and into the kitchen, you find him already surrounded at the table, your mother on one side and one of your nieces on his other, leaning into his side in childlike affection that you seem to have in common. The one seat left, yours, is directly across from his, saved with a napkin by Luke, and you ruffle your nephew’s hair when you sit beside him.
It’s hot under Gwilym’s gaze and though you try to avoid his eye, it seems you can’t control yourself when you decide you must sneak a peek. Instead of the disgust you’re expecting, or maybe the discomfort you had imagined, his lips are already pulled into the sweetest smile you had ever seen him wear, one that made him look fifteen again, and you’re so shocked for a second that you barely register the way Luke nudges your side and asks for you to pass him the corn.
Your heart slams against your chest, leg bouncing under the table, and you feel giddy under his unrelenting gaze. Unable to add anything to the conversation, especially not when your voice would be so unreliable anyway, you listen to your family talk to Gwilym, entranced by him in the same way your friends are, in the same way you are.
“You’ve been up to big things, Gwil,” your father begins. “Amazing that you still find the time to get back here.”
And if it were any other situation, the comment might set you off. It might feel like a well-deserved dig on your father’s part. But you’re too wrapped up in the way Gwilym smiles humbly, glancing down at his plate. For a second, you’re unsure that he’s even going to respond, but then he glances up. “Well, I love it here. The place and the people.” He glances over at you with a gentle smile. “There are just some things here that are too hard to leave behind.”
Finally, you look down at your plate with a smitten smile on your face. Yes, he was right. Some pieces of your past could not be forgotten.
“So…” he trails off, leaning against the counter beside you.
For the first time all night, your family is distracted by something other than Gwilym. While you wipe down the counters, he’s content to just be back with you for a moment.
“So…” you mimic, shifting on your feet to look back at him. The two of you had barely exchanged any words all night; you had been communicating exclusively through subtle looks, a gentle brush of his foot against your ankle under the table. It’s all so juvenile, but you can’t help yourself from getting excited over it all. A tiny piece of you knows that it’s nostalgia; yes, you know that you can attribute your feelings to the familiarity of him and that innocent puppy love you had bottled up years ago, but a little piece of knowledge tugs deep in your consciousness. You know that this is just Gwilym and the way he makes you feel.
He tilts his head with a warm smile. “I was going to get you a gift, but I realized that I don’t know you anymore,” he murmurs, leaning on his elbow, just close enough for you to breathe in his cologne.
“Oh?” You chuckle, willing yourself not to lean into him.
He clicks his tongue and glances out the window, “Well, when we were at the bar, I thought I had you pegged. You seemed like you hadn’t changed a bit,” he begins, and your ears begin to burn because you know exactly where this is going, so when he looks back at you, you break eye contact again, chuckling nervously. “And then I dropped you off and it became abundantly clear to me that you’re a completely different person, because my Y/N might never have worked up the courage to kiss me.”
You scoff. “I’d hardly call it courage. Are we not forgetting my quick exit?” Gwilym laughs, just loud enough for you to hear, and you smile, just the smallest bit. “Besides, it’s been ten years. I hope I would have changed a little.”
“I don’t know,” he says quietly. “I liked the old Y/N. I seem to remember harboring a pretty intense crush on her.”
And that alone is enough to set your teenage heart on fire, but you just laugh, rubbing the back of your neck. “Well, I think the new Y/N is pretty crush-worthy, too.”
Gwil breaks into a big grin, so wide you fear his cheeks hurt, before he says, “I think that’s a judgement I’m going to have to make myself.”
“Yeah?” You whisper. He finally stands up straight, two long fingers slipping through your belt loops to pull you close to him, and you lean back just enough to get the perfect view of his face.
“Yeah. But from what I’ve seen so far, I think you’re right.”
One of his hands slips from your hip to the back of your neck, hardly a moment wasted before he’s pressing his lips against yours in a proper kiss, one that puts your hasty peck on the porch to shame. As he pulls you in close to his body, his warmth surrounding you, you listen to your family chatter in the other room. For the first time in days, it doesn’t bother you.
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I wrote a thing for @anxiousworm‘s Spirit Kai au which has been living rent free in my brain for the last however long so ENJOY
In all his years of living, his first memories were both the worst and best of his life.
Granted, he was pretty sure they weren’t actually his first. He always had a vague sense he was missing something, something that came before, but alas.
He remembered standing before a rundown home, something inside pulling him like a tether.
He remembered passing through the door and the overwhelming smell of alcohol and empty bottles that littered the entire room.
He remembered following the tether to a small closet in the back of the house.
He remembered the soft sniffles.
He remembered the burning rage that filled his soul.
But it was nothing compared to when he opened the door.
Curled up in a tight ball was a young child, if he had to guess she was maybe three or four years old.
She looked at him with tear streaked cheeks and water eyes and mumbled a simple question.
“Who are you?”
“I….I don’t know.”
Her name was Nya, and she was the first of many children.
He remembered pulling her into a hug, only for her to disappear.
But he didn’t panic. Something about it felt….right.
He remembered the heat of the fires as they consumed the house.
He remembered the look of pure happiness when he visited Nya in Home, a place where no one but him and those he brought could go. A place where he could raise his Children in peace and happiness.
He remembered the first time she called him Brother, saying that he reminded her a lot of her real older brother, someone by the name of Kai
He was never able to find Kai, much to both of their disappointment.
So yes. They were his worst memories, but also his best.
And after Nya, there were hundreds more children, and he remembered every single one.
Most, he brought back Home, so he could raise them along with the others, but some he gave to new families.
A particular case that stood out to him was an infant. The father was always busy and didn’t care for him, oftentimes going weeks without even being in the same room.
He didn’t know how he knew these things, he just did.
Luckily, he’d found the infant a new home, in a scrapyard belonging to a lovely couple who’d sadly been unsuccessful in having a child of their own. Every once in a while he would check in on them, and they were doing a fantastic job.
Another case was a boy he’d found wandering the snow, lost and confused. He couldn’t explain what it was, but despite the child’s older exterior, he was still young. Very young with much of the world left to experience.
He’d brought him Home, but the boy only stayed a short while, claiming he wished to find his place in the world, and who was he to deny his request.
Then, a few months later, another child, this one running away from a special school. He always hated those places. What was the point of having a child if you were going to send them away to be raised by someone else?
But, alas, there wasn’t much he could do for him. He also brought him to Home, but he too wanted to go out.
Then…..there was Lloyd. Poor, sweet, not-too innocent Lloyd.
He had found him wandering the island, causing mischief as he went. But deep down, he knew Lloyd was never bad, simply misguided. Built up to be this great son of the dark lord, when really he was just a young boy who needed guidance.
He had at first hated Home, wanting to go back to Ninjago, but after a few days and some coaxing from the other children, he loved it. He realized there was no expectations for him there or a need to compete for attention. All of it was freely given.
He would never admit it allowed, but Lloyd became one of his favorites, right alongside Nya.
But beyond the troubles, life was good. His Children were happy, safe and learning from the security of Home.
But then there was the Great Serpent. The first of many tragedies.
So many children were lost, so many more lost their families, and even more were traumatized. Like the young Harumi, who had yet to speak a word since he retrieved her.
Then, there was the Stone Army, impenetrable soldiers who wouldn’t hesitate to kill the children they found.
He saved even less that time. He remembered being so terrified, thinking he’d failed, but actually they had been saved by The Protectors, but more on them later.
Then….there was the Golden Spirit.
The Golden Spirit was a creature of destruction and death and suffering. It’s aura was wicked and dark and threatened to consume him completely. It probably would have…..if it weren’t for the White Protector.
And oh the agony he felt when he was killed. He was tethered to every one of his Children, and losing one was already an unbearable pain. But, the force of his tether snapping was more painful than any time before it. Like he was truly being erased from existence.
Luckily he was returned soon, though the scars remained.
Which led him to now, standing before his Children.
“Who are you?” Cole demanded. “And why are you stealing kids?”
But he just smiled. “It is good to see you again, my Children. I hope life has been kind.”
Jay sputtered. “What are you saying?!? And why are you calling us your kids?”
But he just smiled. But of course, his Children were just confused. They’d been fighting for so long, never having a rest. He wanted to give that to them.
“You have been fighting for so long, it is time for you to rest.”
They went in guard. The leader stepped forward.
“We don’t want a fight. Just tell us why you’re taking children and we’ll go.”
“I do not take the Children. I am rescuing them.” He started. “I help them escape from families who do not love them, I give them places to stay when they don’t have any families at all, I show them the love they deserve.” He paused, looking them all over. “Just like I did for all of you.”
They all froze. “What are you talking about?” Zane asked.
It always hurt when he had to alter their memories of Home, but it was for the safety of all. However, he always kept the fun.
“Jay.” He said. “You were too young to remember, but when you were an infant and I delivered you to your parents, I did not leave you alone.” Jay looked perplexed, so he continued. “You recall the blue stuffed creature that you’ve had since you were young? What did you name it….Mr…..Mr….”
“Mr.Cuddlywhump!” Jay exclaimed. “I still have him!”
“Jay!” Cole hissed, but he was already beaming.
His Child loved his gift. He loved it enough to keep it well into his older years, something many didn’t do. I warmed his heart.
“And Cole.” he turned to him. “When you ran away, I was the one to get you somewhere safe.”
Cole glared. “No you didn’t, it was…...was…..” he trailed off, clearly struggling to remember.
“I had to erase your memories, in order to keep the others safe. You didn’t want to remain at Home, so I took you somewhere safe.”
He turned to the last of his Children.
“And Zane. I found you wandering the icy woods, lost and afraid. I brought you Home, then let you back into the word. Surely you recall a handful of years you cannot properly remember, yes?”
The silence coming from him was telling.
“Why did you let us go?” He finally asked. He felt his smile fall slightly.
“I do not mean to keep my Children captive. They all stay there by their own will. Once they are old enough, or if I find them a family, I let them back into the world. But, every child I have taken in, every single one, I watch over. And the second they need me again, I’m right back there.”
His smile fell away completely. “But I….I failed you. All of you. You were placed in danger time and time again because of my decisions. And in the end….” he looked to Zane. “it cost you your life. But not longer.” His cloak has started flaring up and a few of his fire lights started glowing brighter, but he quickly calmed himself. He didn’t want to scare his Children anymore than he already had.
“But that is why I’m here now. To take you back Home, where you’ll be safe once again.”
“Wait a minute, hold on, we can’t just leave!” Jay exclaimed. “Ninjago needs us to protect them!”
Oh boy, he thought this might happen. His Children were quite stubborn, it seemed.
He waved his hand. “The police can handle it. It is, after all, what they are supposed to do. You are children. Your job is to grow and learn, not protect an entire world.”
They started protesting, but he wasn’t having it.
“Hush now, you will be safe.”
He spread his cloak and carefully let it descend upon the and then….
They were gone. Disappeared and sent to the safety of Home, with all the others.
Hopefully they would get along with the other Children. They were definitely on the older end, but not completely out of possibility.
Nya, now quite far into her older years, would probably show them around. She was the only adult currently allowed in Home, but that may change someday. He never could bring himself to let her go, and it’s not like she wanted to leave either.
He looked to the moon, cursing at how late it had gotten. He still needed to check on a few of his Children living nearby, as well as check on the twins that lived nearby. He had a sneaking suspicion something was going on there.
Life for the Flaming Spirit, as the locals called him, was never over and never dull, and he couldn’t be happier.
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Guess what, it’s time for more married!Awu/XQ headcanons, part 2 of who knows how many. Beware of the sappiness!
Once it becomes clear that Xiao Qi and Awu have wildly different ideas about educating children, the denizens of Ningshuo Fortress draw a collective breath. Amusingly enough, it never comes to an all out fight like the one people have been expecting… but still a rather interesting time is had by all.
See, there is no doubt that raising a legion of soldiers is as much out of question as raising a glasshouse of tropical flowers… or root vegetables. That much everybody – from Ah Li Ma to Tang Jing who were both asked to consult on the matter – can agree on. The devil lies in the details. Reading and writing is paramount, but is calligraphy really necessary? Sewing is obviously a must for all, but is fanciful embroidery? Every child should be competent with at least one weapon, but ought they also learn to play instruments, even those with no particular talent for it? At least rudimentary drawing is useful all across the board, no argument to be had there.
The problem is not that Awu and Xiao Qi cannot find a compromise in each of those cases – they absolutely can. Or rather they could... if they were not so careful of offending each other. There comes a time when Xiao Qi blurts out that a princely education is no guarantee of a clear mind or an honourable heart… and then spends the next day or two being strangely apologetic. Which Awu certainly notices, for all that she has no idea what might have caused this sudden development. Yeah, that comment didn’t really register, at least not in the way Xiao Qi fears it did. And yes, Zitan is that much of a non-entity in Awu’s mind.
At the same time Awu might have been dancing around certain subjects, loathe to admit that her husband’s writing is sufficient for the purpose, but would absolutely prevent him from pursuing any kind of serious career in civil service. And since they want their kids to have options, maybe they should think about employing a calligraphy master after all.
Don’t worry, they come clear on both issues! What else are their nightly hug-discussions for, if not resolving potentially painful matters in a relaxed, constructive and mutually satisfying manner?
Why would Awu be dancing around certain subjects related to Xiao Qi’s level of education? It’s not like he was ever particularly sensitive to such matters as class difference, right? No sign of inferiority complex there, that’s for sure. Well…
When Awu and Xiao Qi were preparing to leave the capital, Asu made an entire production out of his sister’s upcoming departure. Ningshuo, for all that it may be paradise itself – if one listens to the locals – is rather… provincial, right? No decent wine to be had, no silks, golden bathtubs, first-class inks, high-quality perfume or incense and if there is one decent guan to be had out there, then Turnip will eat his own most decorative one!
Not that Turnip ever comes out and says that Ningshuo is his idea of hell, but still. There is a reason why Xiao Qi prefers not to take part in this whole packing rigmarole; he wouldn’t want to distress his brother-in-law too much… or rather more than he already does at court. Awu takes this brotherly care with good humour; Asu is Asu and it’s true that he would never be able to make it in Ningshuo, but they’re very different Wang breeds and she has no doubts that she will absolutely thrive once there.
The thing is that once they settle in Ningshuo, Xiao Qi starts making those little comments. Nothing really overt and really, they’re made in jest more often than not… But it’s concerning all the same. Self-deprecation is not a good look on Awu’s husband! Well, it totally is, but there are much better ones, so it’s time to stage an intervention.
The next time Awu hears that a Princess like her could have never imagined she would be forced to toil in the field, she snaps. Not like they were toiling anyway – marking out the best pastures is hardly a back-breaking work! So what does she do? Well, first she waits until the evening… and then she immobilizes her husband. True, he may still try to get up while she’s in his lap, but this way he would be forced to take her with him! It’s truly diabolical.
As her second step she asks – very seriously – who is always right in their household and is it true that it’s Princess Yuzhang. Prince Yuzhang, unaware that he’s entering a trap and also rather distracted with what’s in his lap, admits that readily enough.
If Princess Yuzhang is always right, declares Awu, and I am Princess Yuzhang, then what I say must be the absolute truth. And what I say is that you are a silly, silly man. There is nobody else that I would ever wish to call my husband and nowhere that I would rather live but here, by your side, building a future for us and our children. Why, I wouldn’t exchange our current life for any crown and I am something on an expert on those.
It works rather well, that’s as much as I will say on the matter.
They do end up employing a calligraphy master for the children. And a painting master. And a slew of other masters as some of the kids get older and develop specific talents. Besides, there is nothing that says they need to limit their educational efforts to their own legion. Ningshuo’s population is booming and there is no better time to found a school or twenty for local children.
Of course most established scholars are very used to comfort and not really used to long trips. In short order, Ningshuo becomes the number one destination for young adventurous men of letters, most rather lacking when it comes to illustrious family background. But they are not the only ones interested in moving to Ningshuo: a good number of respectable old masters also decide to do so.
Turnip Wang tries to warn his sister that she’s playing host to a whole host of dangerous free-thinkers, some of them openly critical of this whole idea of monarchy. Oh, the horror! Awu simply looks at her harried sibling with a perfectly straight face and says that she hasn’t noticed any danger other than the danger of having exceedingly eloquent dinner-companions, which sometimes means that food grows cold before anybody even starts on it. Xiao Qi is very pointedly suppressing a smile in the background.
Xiao Qi and Awu are that unbearably cheesy married couple who remains staunchingly and embarrassingly in love even after twenty, thirty years of marriage. And they have absolutely no qualms about public displays of affection. Which leads to some rather amusing moments while at court, but that is an entirely different story.
Now, their kids – both bio and adopted – think it’s the bee’s knees that their parental units love each other so much… but could they tone it down? Just a little? Would a tiny smidge of dignity be totally out of question? There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Father picking Mother up… but must he do it in the middle of the courtyard? And let us not even speak of farewell hugs. And the teasing. Oh, the teasing!
It gets much, much worse once the kids grow up and start pairing off. See, only now do they start to realize what some of their parents’ little quirks actually mean. And most of them mean that Awu and Xiao Qi – grey hair and all – are not that far removed from a pair of newly-weds. More that one son-in-law gets absolutely flustered – some into speechlessness – by the ever-powerful hearteyes. For some reason daughters-in-law deal with this situation much better, although approximately every second one develops… certain expectations.
Awu and Xiao Qi do not get it on nearly as often as those poor horrified kids might think. That is they do get it on quite a lot! But it’s far from the only way of marital closeness they enjoy.
The first time Awu and Xiao Qi take a bath together establishes a routine that lasts for the rest of their lives. Dressing and undressing is Awu’s time to be petted and made much of, but bathing? Ooooh, that’s a wholly different matter.
That first time they get into a tub together it’s actually Awu who sits behind Xiao Qi and starts washing him. At first he is more than a bit bashful about it and tries to turn the tables on her, but she is relentless. Finally he starts to relax and once Awu gets to washing his hair, his state can only be described as utter contentedness. There might be some neck kisses and soothing scratches to be had as well, both of which only draw him deeper into a dreamlike trance.
After the water grows cold, Awu dresses them both in soft nightime robes and leads Xiao Qi, still pretty out of it, to bed. Not to have sex, mind you. Just to lie down and breathe together, as close to each other – bodily and mentally – as it is even possible. I am not saying that Xiao Qi cries at any point… Well, of course he cries! It is the first time he’s been treated with this kind of overwhelming tenderness; experiencing such absolute depth of care and love for the first time is an earth-shattering experience for a man who had known so little of both in his life.
They take care to repeat this experience at least once a month; after the first several times Awu no longer has to propose taking a bath together. The first time he actually asks? Her heart grows two whole sizes from sheer pride.
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When I Close My Eyes, Pt. 1
Summary: She can't always remember what her dreams are about, but she doesn't have to. Not when every morning Eren is covered in blood with a new life threatening injury. Mikasa doesn't know why she has to see these visions or how to make them stop, but she does worry what will happen if she has to watch their baby she's carrying die next.
Pt. 2 Pt. 3 Pt. 4
Read on AO3 or FFN
I want to share the burden of your sins with you.
Mikasa’s eyes fluttered open with a gasp, darting around the darkness of the room, unsure of just where she was; but as her heartbeat settled, pain falling away, so did her mind, coherence bringing her to the present which was in bed next to Eren. With clarity of the mind came the clarity of her body and just how disagreeable the position she found herself as she laid awkwardly on a plethora of pillows she didn’t remember going to sleep with.
With more effort than she cared to admit, Mikasa rolled from her back to her side, quickly realizing that the change in position was doing nothing for her already abysmal comfort levels. The room was unbearably stuffy and incredibly warm for early spring, but that could have easily been chalked up to the literal furnace that Eren’s body was when he was asleep or her hormones being stupid. Honestly, it really didn’t matter because there wasn’t a solution to either that would make the mattress feel less lumpy, the room less hot, her back less achy, her breasts less tender, and all around improve how she felt. The weird thing was that it wasn’t that she felt bad, just all kinds of uncomfortable.
Shifting her bedmate’s arm back onto his side, Mikasa sat up and heaved herself from the bed. Making her way over to the window on oddly heavy feet, she silently unlatched the handle and pushed the doors open, delighting in the cool breeze that immediately swept over her. The relief of her sweaty strands being gently blown away from her face was indescribable. Just that one comfort seemed to make all her other irritations fade into the background as she sat in the window seal, her back resting against the frame.
Though the rebuilt Shiganshina was a cozy district, it was rarely ever completely asleep. Mikasa stared off into the night taking note of the specks of light here and there becoming denser and brighter as they got closer to the center of town, the elevation of their home providing an excellent view. Lost in watching small figures move about the night and trying to grasp the remnants of her dream, she didn’t notice Eren had awoken until a tanned arm came to rest around her midsection as warm lips pressed against the side of her forehead.
She turned her head to him, nose nuzzling against his, letting warm breath caress her face. Her grays met his sleepy greens through her lashes and she pushed her lips gently to his, a hand coming to rest over his heart.
“Why are you awake,” he questioned once she pulled away and laid her head against his chest to listen to his so very alive heartbeat.
“I just couldn’t sleep, too uncomfortable.” Eren immediately dropped down to a knee, placing a hand on either side of her swollen belly.
“Is my sweetling keeping you up?” Mikasa wasn’t sure she’d ever get used to him wearing such affection.
“Not necessarily,” she murmured combing her fingers through his strands, unable to give voice to what the real problem was. “By the way, we should discuss boy names at some point.”
“Because, despite your father being a doctor, you are not. Therefore, there is no way you can know with absolute certainty that we are having a girl.”
“No matter what old wives tales your older admires tell you in the market,” she smirked.
“I’m not just listening to my elders who have way more experience with childbirth than we do, thank you very much, but also my gut too.”
“Your gut,” Mikasa deadpanned, an eyebrow quirked down at her kneeling husband.
“Yes, my gut. Trust me on this. This baby is a girl. Now,” Eren stood up sliding his hands to her hips, “if our little Carla has a sibling or four –
“Then we can talk about boy names.”
“You want four more kids before we’ve even had one,” she pressed, her tone incredulous.
“I want our family to be as big as we can make it,” he pouted glancing into the darkened room as if it would hide the flush on his cheeks. Mikasa’s heart squeezed pleasantly in her chest at the sight. It was another thing she might never get used to, having him like this, that is. Him wanting her and everything she’s ever desired the same way she’s imagined for so long. After so many years of tragedy and hardship, this felt like a dream, like it could vanish at any moment, slipping from her grasp and leaving nothing but memories behind. Still, times like these reminded her that against all odds they had made it here. Pushing herself up on her toes, she turned her head just so to kiss him again, to feel the skin of his lips on her own and poured in all the love she could muster. She and him were real. This was real.
“I want our family to be large too,” she whispered, a gentle smile playing on her lips, “but let’s just focus on this one baby for now and learn how to be good parents.” He nodded determinedly in that way only he could.
“Well in that case, good parents make sure their kid gets enough sleep, right?” She rolled her eyes at the insinuation.
“You know, just because I’m asleep doesn’t mean the baby will go to sleep, right?”
“Doesn’t hurt to try, though. Back to bed with you,” he entreated pulling the window closed behind them and guiding her back over to the bed where she amusedly allowed him to tuck her into the covers and pull her pregnant figure against him. Eren was out like a light, falling asleep before she even had a chance to fully relax her body. Rubbing gentle circles into the hand he had on her waist, she hoped to soothe him back to sleep. Mikasa felt bad that he woke up to see about her given how tired he was at the end of each day since he started working with the newest class of recruits. Her eyes wandered around the room capturing the swirls and grains of the wood. She wouldn’t get up again, but definitely had no plans of drifting to unconsciousness.
What she couldn’t tell Eren was that it wasn’t all the baby’s fault she couldn’t sleep but the dreams. The dreams where he left her and didn’t come back no matter how hard she fought. Dreams where all their friends died or fell to worse fates. Dreams where she ended up having to do the unthinkable. They plagued her sleep every night now and Mikasa was afraid that she would eventually wake up in a bleak reality where one or all of those scenarios were true. Every time she opened her eyes from sleep, it took excruciatingly long seconds to realize it wasn’t real, that she was here and not there.
So no, Mikasa decided she would not be sleeping that night. She would suffer through the heat and awkwardness of her pregnant body if only to give her wits and heart a break. It was her years of practiced discipline in the military that allowed her to stay awake and ignore any discomfort until the colors of sunrise began filtering through the window. It was that discipline that allowed her to push through the preparation of breakfast until she no longer felt the fatigue weighing her down.
Before long, she was setting out plates, and Eren was coming out dressed for the day. She turned to greet him, but quickly looked away. Today, blood ran down his neck from where it had been cleanly sliced, as if by the blades they used with ODM gear.
“Everything alright?” She could hear the slight uncertainty in his tone and closed her eyes briefly to will away the unease. No matter how many different wounds she’d seen on him, Mikasa would always be unnerved by them whether they were in her head or really on his body.
“Yeah, everything is good.” Turning back around she fixed him with a small smile, relieved that the bloody imagery was gone. Sometimes it lasted seconds. Sometimes it lasted what felt like hours. “Sit down and eat before you head to the base.”
“Were you able to get back to sleep,” he asked digging in.
“Mhm.” She hated lying to him, and judging by the prolonged looked he gave, she didn’t think he fully believed her anyway; but he didn’t say anything else about it, so neither did she. There wasn’t any point in worrying him over something so obviously her imagination and old worries going into overdrive. They finished their meal just quietly enjoying each other’s company until it was time for him to go.
Kissing Eren goodbye when he left the house was always hard, not just because she would miss him, which she knew was silly since he was only an hour’s ride away. No, when he kissed her before he left for the day, he kissed her like he was about to take her to bed. What started as a sweet peck would deepen into a molten lava that made her burn from the inside out. His hands would do a bit of wandering and touching through the thin material of her clothes, and Mikasa would be tugging him back into the door as if he had no place to be.
Ever since she really started showing, he always took extra care with her. His fire was just as intense, but in a very different way. Sometimes, she missed when he was fast and rough and bruising; but when she was feeling particularly tender and very pregnant, his concentration and meticulosity in making her body sing with fulfillment was everything she could ever need and then some.
But Eren rarely ever had plans of being late, so he’d pull away leaving her dazed and flushed and needy while he bent down to say goodbye to the baby as if he wasn’t leaving her to think about having him while she washed the breakfast dishes. Like the memory wouldn’t replay in her head as she went about cleaning and sweeping and taking out the trash. It certainly wasn’t the noon sun making her feel all hot and bothered as she picked a few vegetables and herbs for dinner from their garden; but she tried her best to focus, not wanting to harm one of her precious plants.
Mikasa was always proud that everything in her stews, barring the meat of course, came from the rooftop garden Eren had surprised her with when they first moved into their home. She remembers the apprehension and nervousness they both felt as he led her up the stairs, his hands covering her face. When her eyes adjusted to the sudden light, she was able to take in the many differently sized planting pots and troughs as well as bags upon bags of soil.
“Do you think this will be enough for you to get started,” he asked, that adorable blush painting his cheeks.
“All of this is for me?” She couldn’t keep the awe from her voice.
“Who else would it be for? I told you I had a surprise for you, didn’t I?” He’d done this for her. Just for her.
It was always a surprise when Eren gave her gifts. Not because it was rare but because she never expected anything more. Mikasa was more than happy with just him, but gestures like these left her overwhelmed with the knowledge that she was special to him, that they were really making this house a home for both of them. She nearly took him off his feet with the force of her embrace.
“Thank you. It’s more than enough,” she whispered into his shoulder trying to hide the tears that threatened to spill over.
“You’re welcome,” he replied equally as soft, wrapping his arms around her.
They’d found themselves up there often, whether it was for gardening. He certainly didn’t have a green thumb despite her best attempts to teach him; or doing the laundry. He always made a point to help her get everything folded and put away; or looking at the beautiful scenery. She could always find him up there staring off into the distance, taking in the wall-less expanse; or taking in the star filled night sky. Her face reddened at the thought of some of the other things they’d done up there under the twinkling blanket of night. Her thighs squeezed together on their own. Maybe it was her own fault her mind was still in the gutter. It seemed to be there so often lately.
She jumped, a bunch of carrots falling from her hands and back into the trough she picked them from.
“What, Armin,” she gasped.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” The man in question apologized, his fingers twitching nervously under the stack of books he held, likely wanting to rub at his neck.
“It’s fine,” she sighed returning to her task as her heart calmed. “Maybe next time avoid yelling my name as if we’re on different roofs.” At her words he frowned, looking at her in apprehension.
“Mikasa, I called you like five times before that.”
“No, you didn’t. I would’ve heard you. How could I have missed it when you’re right there?”
“I really did.” Worry morphed his features. “Are…are you feeling alright,” he asked glancing down at her extra passenger.
“I’m fine,” she replied quickly, hoping to allay any discussion on her wellbeing, which was fine. It wasn’t that she minded his worry, but it was all her boys seemed to do these days. She was pregnant not ill! “I just had something on my mind. Why don’t we go inside.” Standing with her basket, she led him down the steps denying his offers of help despite his already full arms.
“Everything going alright today,” Armin asked as she began slicing vegetables on the counter.
“Yes, why wouldn’t they be.” Her tone was measured, trying to tamp down her annoyance. Of course her hopes were in vain.
“I wasn’t saying they wouldn’t be, just…making sure you and the baby are good.”
“So it wasn’t because Eren asked you to come by and check on me since you came back from Stohess last night?” She smiled at his prolonged silence. Even with her back to him, she just knew his face was all red at being called out.
“I came because I wanted to, even if he did ask. He was a bit worried because you didn’t sleep well.” So he hadn’t believed her. Not surprising.
“I’ve been having some trouble sleeping. It’s no big deal.”
“Not saying it is. We just…we worry about you and little Carla.” Her smile widened as she glanced over her shoulder.
“So, he’s got you on the ‘it’s a girl train’ as well?” Her guest had the decency to look abashed.
“Eren’s so excited. It’s all he ever talks about. I guess it’s rubbed off on me,” he chuckled.
“Mmhm and that’s why he has you here babysitting me, right?”
“No! I’m not here babysitting! He just doesn’t want anything to happen if you get too tired or something.”
“Or something,” she sighed turning to look at him, the counter digging awkwardly into her back. “I’m fine. I feel fine. The baby is fine. It’s just some discomfort that makes it hard to get to sleep. That’s all.” The discomfort of a pounding headache for no reason, the discomfort of being unable to calm her racing heart, the discomfort of her lungs constricting as she tries to get air into her body because her mind had taken her to a different body of hers. Could she tell him the truth when she couldn’t even bring herself to tell Eren? Would he have an idea why this was happening?
“Is it the baby moving around too much at night? I read that a lot of times their sleep schedules can run opposite to a normal one.” The question made Mikasa pause, one hand coming to rest on her round stomach. That might actually be the case if she wasn’t already awake most nights.
“While this baby is definitely their father’s child,” she said fondly, “they don’t move around often enough at night to disrupt me. I’m actually…it’s not just the baby.” Turning back around, her hands swept over the cut vegetables, gathering them up and dropping the mixture into the boiling pot on the stove. “Are you staying until Eren comes back?
“Uh, yeah,” he nodded distractedly. “Mikasa, what do you mean it’s not just the baby?”
“Again, nothing to worry about,” she started, letting the motion of stirring the broth and veggies calm her. “I just – I have these dreams. They feel so real and I…they’re getting worse and it’s just hard going to sleep when I know what’s waiting for me.”
“We all have those, Mika -
“No! Not like nightmares. I’ve had those, still have those. These are different. They – they…” They’re bleeding over into when I’m awake now, she wanted to say; but would that make any sense because even she felt a little crazy about it.
“They what,” he questioned coming to stand beside her. He always had the most calming, gentle eyes. The reassuring smile on his lips was helpful.
“Have you ever thought about how things could have gone if the war turned out differently,” she asked hesitantly.
“Yeah.” His look was thoughtful. “More often than I care to admit. There were so many times where it seemed like we wouldn’t make it, where things seemed dire and hopeless. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be able to fully move forward from it.”
“Armin…” He shrugged.
“I’m sure it will get better with more time. I don’t have those kinds of thoughts as often as I did when I…when I first got the colossal titan. It was hard, but I eventually learned that we can’t let ‘what if’s’ keep us down. I’m doing good things now, trying my best for Paradis and the world and for us…But that’s me. Why are you asking?” Mikasa shook her head, chickening out in the end. He was obviously struggling with his own problems but didn’t waste time complaining to others or letting them get in the way of life. Why burden him with her own. She was a big girl. She could handle herself.
“They’re just dreams like that – about how things could have been different, but you’re right. We all have them. I’ll get over mine too.” She cut him off as he was about to say something, gripping his arm through the crisp blue shirt he wore. “But look, Armin. Don’t hesitate to talk to me whenever you’re feeling…stuck in one spot. I’m always here for you, whenever you need. And Eren too.
“I know.” His hand came to rest over hers, giving it a squeeze. “I wasn’t trying to put you off telling me what’s bothering you with all that stuff I said.” He looked somewhere between guilty and skeptical. It was a strange combination. One that she wouldn’t let linger on his face lest the can of worms she opened exploded.
“I’m sure, Ar. I just realized that you’re right, is all. You usually are, so let’s not keep dwelling on it. C’mon. I need a fresh cut of meat for this stew. I know you’ll be staying for dinner.” He laughed sheepishly.
“Your cooking is so good, Mik. If you tell me what you want, I can go grab it for you.”
“No way. Walking around is about the only physical activity I’ve been allowed to do lately, so let me do it,” she said taking off her apron. “Besides, what kind of babysitter leaves their charge unattended.”
“I’m not babysitting you!” Mikasa just hummed as they left the house. Her thoughts were free of her dilemma as she and Armin walked down the roads of their town. Listening to him excitedly talk about his trip and their plans for the next group of recruits made her heart feel a little lighter.
When Eren came in the door that evening hanging up his military jacket on the coat rack, she reveled in the sound of his heavy steps moving across their wooden floors. She smiled at the hug he gave Armin. She melted at the kiss he placed on the side of her head. She felt incredibly full at his hand on her stomach, greeting their baby. It was another warm night, but not because of the weather. Her heart brimming over, Mikasa was comforted enough to go to sleep that night. She regretted it.
Why are you crying?
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