#they can be a store or her closet or anywhere else that works
“ --- i really don’t think some people realize how hard it is to have to look good all the damn time . ” she begins , huffing from where she’s seated on the floor . lacing these boots up seems almost futile now -- it’s taking way too long to be worthwhile . “ sometimes i wish i could go out in sweatpants , but the paps would have a fuckin’ field day with that shit ... and that’s not the typa attention i’m lookin’ for . ” she shakes her head , tugging the boot over her knee again . “ you know what i mean ? ”
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♣ — summary: when you told armin to pick up eren’s call while he was fucking you, you weren’t expecting things to escalate this quickly. not that you were complaining.
♣ — pairings: armin x reader, eren x reader, armin x reader x eren
♣ — chapter tags/warnings: oral sex (receiving), spanking, humiliation, degradation, semi-public, degradation kink, rough sex, mirror sex, alcohol and drugs.
♣ — a/n: thank you so much for all the love you’ve been giving this story so far! it makes me so happy you are all enjoying it so far. when i finished this chapter i realized the influence of halsey’s ‘strange love’ had lmao so if you have a chance, check it out. also this is a eren centric chapter while the next one will be centered around armin c:
chapter four: the bathroom sink
“Are you sure you don’t want to go? Last chance.”
Armin nodded, a soft smile on his lips. You were sitting on his bed, wearing a tiny black dress and high heels. You crossed your arms and legs, a small frown on your face.
“I’m sure. You’ve been wanting to go to Pieck’s party for a long time so you should go,” he said. “I just have too much work. I- my planning skills failed me,” Armin laughed softly.
“Can’t you do them when we get back? It’s the first party we’re attending with Eren. You know since…” you made a funny face, making you both laugh. “It was supposed to be fun for the three of us.”
Your boyfriend walked from his desk to his bed and cupped your face tenderly, thumb brushing against your pouting lip.
“Have fun for me,” he said, your frown deepening. “You look really, really beautiful, though.”
“How beautiful?” you teased him, leaning your head against his palm.
“Enough that I’m having a hard time telling you to go instead of staying here with me,” Armin replied, leaning in and pressing a kiss on the tip of your nose.
“Fine,” you sighed, rolling your eyes.
“C’mon. Tomorrow morning I submit my last paper and we can have lunch and then watch some movies together,” he offered.
“Promise,” he smiled. You grinned and grabbed his face, placing a lot of small, chaste kisses on his lips, loving the way he giggled at your action. “Go have fun, I promise I’ll come with you to the next one.”
“Not the same without you though,” you reminded him, pulling away and lacing your pinky fingers together.
“Yeah, but Eren’s going, right? You can have fun with him.”
Your eyes immediately shot up at him. “Fun?”
“You know, uh- fun ,” he shrugged, a light blush covering his cheeks as he put his hands inside his pockets. It took you a couple of seconds to understand what he was implying.
“ Oh , okay,” you said, nodding your head softly. “Are you okay with that?”
“Yeah, I mean it’s him, so,” Armin shrugged. You nodded and took his hand to your mouth, placing a kiss on his knuckles. “Still gonna miss you, though.”
Armin smiled, pulling you closer for one last kiss before you left his dorm.
• • •
Pieck’s parties were always a huge success. She only used to throw them twice a year and maybe that’s why they were so special. Everyone sent some money to her and she would make sure to buy enough alcohol and weed to keep everyone satisfied the rest of the night. A part of you thought it was almost impossible everyone’s donations could cover everything but Pieck always seemed more than pleased to put some of her own money for the party.
You had been friends with Pieck for quite some time now, hence why she let you bring some of your friends to the party. Last year you had brought Jean and Armin with you, which led to Jean and Pieck to start dating. You liked how good they looked with each other and that Jean had finally closed the Mikasa chapter and was trying something new. Pieck always seemed calm and collected, loving to nuzzle on Jean’s chest whenever they sat together. Nevertheless, you had also seen her break up a fight with her bare hands between two guys bigger than her. Since then you had a newfound respect and admiration for the brunette.
“Hey, where’s Armin?” Jean asked as he opened the door to let you and Eren inside.
“Got caught up with some projects,” you answered and Jean clicked his tongue. Eren and you took off your jackets and gave it to Jean for him to leave them in Pieck’s room.
“Sucks to be him. Porco and Reiner brought really good weed tonight,” he said as he made his way to the corridor.
Eren and you went to the living room, finding Pieck and her friends already starting with the bong. She complimented your dress and you grinned at her, spinning so she could see the back of it as well. After earning a couple of whistles from Pieck’s friends, you sat beside Eren.
“New dress?” he asked.
“Mmhm, bought it when Pieck said she was throwing another party,” you said. Eren laughed.
“I don’t know how you do this. I put on the first thing I saw in my closet,” he confessed and took the bong from Pieck. You took a moment to eye his black shirt and dark jeans.
“You don’t look so bad,” you commented, shrugging as Eren took a hit. “Is it really good?” you asked.
He hummed. “Want some?”
“I’d rather drink tonight. And last time I mixed weed and rum-”
“Yeah, I remember you sitting by the window with lost eyes like you were in another dimension” Eren chuckled, taking another hit. You hit him with one of the pillows to which he laughed harder.
Ever since the first time you had kissed him, Eren had made sure you didn’t feel uncomfortable around him. He behaved the same way he always did whenever he wasn’t thrusting inside of you as Armin stroked himself. Somehow it was really comfortable to know your friendship wasn’t in danger, that even if it had shifted to something entirely different he still found it in him to playfully nudge you during class or let you copy his notes if you shared a class.
One hour later, Pieck’s place was packed with people. The music was loud, big speakers filling the apartment as people danced around. Pieck had set a table only for booze and you couldn’t count all the bottles even if you tried. Whiskey, vodka, rum and cans of beer were on display for anyone to take and even if everyone already looked more than a bit tipsy, there was still alcohol to spare.
You watched amused as Eren played beer pong with Reiner, the cups filled with one shot of vodka instead of beer. Reiner won by a very short difference, which made Eren call a rematch, which he finally won. You played your own match with Porco but with beer, winning the match on your first try and making sure to remind him every chance you got the rest of the night, laughing at his pouty face. After dancing with some of your friends, you spotted Eren sitting on one of the sofas and went to sit next to him, asking how he was doing. Even if he swore he was okay, you noticed his head slightly swaying. You suggested dancing it off.
Next thing you knew, one of Eren’s hands was set on your hip as the other was placed on the small of your back, while you had your arms around his neck. The way his hips moving filling your mind with ideas of you riding him, his cock deep inside you as he grabbed your hair in his fist. Your eyes locked on his green ones for one moment before quickly shifting your gaze anywhere else but him. Even if you knew that if you were to make an advance he would be more than willing, you kept repeating to yourself that you weren’t alone. Pieck’s entire apartment was filled with people that knew you were Armin’s girlfriend. Honestly, most of them would take a second look if they saw how close Eren and you were dancing
Eren’s thigh moved forward until they were between your legs, your hips moving on their own against him. You cursed under your breath and then let out a small chuckle, looking back at your friend.
“You’re such an asshole,” you said. Eren raised his eyebrows, amused.
Before you could reply, Eren had taken both of your hands and in a swift movement, made you spin until your back was against his chest. Not letting go of your hands, he placed them on top of your hips, pulling your ass against his crotch as he kept moving his hips to the beat of the song.
You felt as if every vodka shot you had taken with Pieck had gone straight to your head at once.
“Keep dancing,” Eren whispered against your ear, his voice sending bolts of pleasure directly between your legs.
Moving your hips to the music, you tried to focus on anything other than Eren’s semi-hard cock grinding against your ass. You looked around, afraid someone was going to notice but everyone seemed to be occupied on their own. You noticed Pieck straddling Jean on the couch as she danced on top of him, some other couples making out against the walls or dancing even more lavishly than you and Eren were. Still, you felt your knees getting weaker as you kept feeling his breath against your neck.
You arched your back and started throwing your hips back, your ass bouncing against Eren’s crotch along with the beat of the music. You felt his hands tensing over yours, grabbing your hips much harder as you danced.
Maybe nothing else would have happened if you hadn’t looked over your shoulder. Maybe someone would have whistled and you would have been brought to reality, remembering what everyone thought your status was and how inappropriate they were acting. But you did look over your shoulder, eyes locking for a couple of seconds with Eren, which was more than enough for him to drag you to one of the bathrooms and locking the door behind you.
Eren kissed you roughly as your back hit the bathroom sink, his hands roaming around your body.
“Wait, fuck- can we- is it okay if he?” he tried to ask in between the kiss, his body and mind colliding against each other.
“Yeah,” you said breathless, running up your hands across his back. “He said it was fine.”
That was all Eren needed for his hands to travel up your legs and underneath your small dress. He tugged on your panties and lowered them to the ground and you stepped away, letting him pick them up and storing them in his back pocket. He stood up again, his lips colliding with yours as he grabbed the back of your thighs, helping you get on the counter. His mouth travelled down your neck, leaving open-mouthed kisses until they reached the mount of your breasts, pressing his face against them and nipping on the skin gently, making sure not to leave marks.
He started lowering, kissing your stomach over your dress with his green eyes on yours as he sunk to his knees. His fingers trailed your skin from your ankles up to your thighs, spreading your legs apart gently until your pussy was in front of him. You looked at him, chest rising up and down from your ragged breathing as you watched him leave small kisses on the inside of your thighs.
“Only fair you get to come on my face this time,” he said. Not even the music outside the bathroom was loud enough for you not to hear him clearly, your legs twitching at his words. He smirked and pulled your legs apart wider as he trailed up a slow path of small kisses to your pussy.
As soon as he pressed his lips against your folds, both you and him noticed how wet you were. He hummed, the vibration of his voice making you breathe heavily, biting back a moan. Eren licked across your slit, collecting all your wetness with his tongue. It was the first time he was going down on you and damn if you weren’t already lightheaded. Plus, the fact you were doing it in your friend’s bathroom with everyone outside added a sultry element you seemed to enjoy.
Eren placed his mouth on you again, his tongue drawing teasing circles around your clit. You whimpered, your hand going to tangle on his hair, messy bun a bit dishevelled. He groaned against you, loving every time you pulled his locks and used the flat part of his tongue on your clit, earning new moans from you. He hooked one of your legs over his shoulder as he pushed the other one a little further apart, his mouth still moving on you.
He sucked gently on your clit and you threw your head back, hitting yourself with the mirror.
“Fuck-- Eren, please ,” you panted, your hips bucking against his face. Eren dug his fingers on the plush of your thighs as he kept moving his tongue, getting you closer and closer to your limit.
Eren began lapping exactly where you needed him, a hand shooting to your mouth to muffle your sounds as you whined. Your other hand tightened its hold on Eren’s hair. He let you keep his head in place as you rolled your hips against his face, setting your own rhythm as he saw you search for your high. As soon as he noticed your hips stuttering, its movements desperate, he grabbed your legs still again, his tongue directly playing with your clit.
You came on his mouth, a hand over your own as you tried your best not to make too much noise. Eren stayed a couple of moments after your orgasm, giving your pussy slow, delicate licks to help you ride your orgasm off.
“Told ya’ I owed you,” he huffed playfully, making you remember what he had told you after the first time you had given him head. You chuckled as he stood up, kissing you languidly. You could taste yourself in his mouth, your body reacting to him as if you couldn’t do anything else but press yourself against him.
Your hands started unbuttoning his shirt as he kissed your neck. Long ago you had come up with the rule of not leaving any marks on your skin. As much as you loved finding bruises and love bites whenever you were showering, you preferred that to be a thing just between Armin and you. Since you had made that request, Eren had been extremely gentle whenever he kissed your skin, letting his lips drag across your skin teasingly before placing a soft kiss.
“How do you like it?” he asked.
“Huh?” you asked, letting his shirt fall to the floor, your hands caressing his toned chest.
“Well, this is a fantasy,” he said, pulling away so he could look at your face, his lips brushing against yours. “So I want to make you feel good.”
Eren didn’t miss the way your legs clenched on either side of his waist. He went back to kissing the other side of your neck as you made up your mind, hands roaming around his back and hair as he did so.
He didn’t have to wait long for your answer.
“I want you to be rough with me,” you sighed. Eren pulled away once more and looked at you, one of his hands palming your breast.
“Until I tell you to stop,” you breathed out, your back arching at his ministrations. Eren nodded and kissed you again, his tongue entering your mouth as you once again started losing focus of everyone that was happening.
In that moment, your mind was filled with his hand playing with your tits while the other one went back to your folds, his index and middle finger rubbing soft circles, making you moan against your mouth. Eren pulled away from you and you watched him take out his wallet and then a condom from it. He put it between his teeth and then undid his jeans, letting them fall to his ankles along with his underwear.
You could never get used to seeing Eren’s cock. A part of your brain still was shocked as you tried to remember this was your new normal, getting railed by your friend with your boyfriend’s permission. Your hand closed around his length and you started pumping him, his tip already leaking precum. Eren ripped the condom package and rolled it over himself all the way to the base.
You leaned over to kiss him again, this time his lips moving rougher on you. You tried locking your legs around his waist, wanting to feel his cock against you. Instead, Eren grabbed both your legs and yanked you down the counter and onto the floor. You stumbled a bit on your high heels but he quickly turned you around and bent you over the bathroom sink.
Eren lifted your dress until it was resting on your waist, your ass exposed to him. He parted your legs with his foot and then lined up his cock with your entrance. Only a couple of inches inside you was enough for you to let out a high-pitched moan, your hands grabbing on the faucet desperately, the stretch making your head spin.
A hard slap fell against your ass.
“Keep it the fuck down. Do you want everyone to know your boyfriend’s friend has his cock inside you?” he hissed. The determination of his voice made you clench around him. Eren grabbed a fistful of your hair and yanked your hair up, forcing you to look at your own reflection in the mirror.
You watched your eyes and parted lips as Eren kept pushing inside of you, a whimper escaping your lips once he bottomed out. He took your hands and put them against the mirror. His own hands slid down your back until they settled on your hips. He started thrusting against you, your breath creating a fog on the mirror in front of you. You let your head fall, biting your lip as he kept moving his hips.
One of Eren’s hands went to your jaw, making you look at yourself in the mirror once more. You could not only see your face flushed with desire but also how his hair was almost completely loose and falling over his forehead as he kept thrusting against you.
“Look at yourself. You love being fucked as a slut, don’t you?”
Once again his words stirred something deep inside you. You desperately tried to hold on to something, your hands sliding down against the mirror until you positioned them correctly again. Eren smacked your ass hard again.
“I asked a fucking question,” he grunted, giving a particularly harsh thrust.
“Yes- fuck, yes, I do,” you panted. Eren picked up his face and you felt your legs falter. “Keep going, please.”
His hand went back to holding your head up by your hair, the other one gripping your ass firmly. Eren’s grunts were barely audible due to the music outside but made you melt every time you heard them. You started moving your hips back, meeting his thrusts as you did your best not to make too much noise.
Eren slapped your ass again, making you clench against him. He threw his head back, cursing under his breath and let his hand fall on your ass once more. Only a couple more thrusts were needed for you to come around him as well, one of your hands flying to your mouth to try and muffle your loud moans.
You heard Eren curse again and fasten his pace, letting go of your hair and settling both his hands on your hips. His orgasm followed a few moments later and you heard him groan, his cock twitching inside of you. You squeezed him as he came down from his high, earning a soft chuckle from the man behind you.
“Stop, I literally have nothing left,” he joked, removing himself from you and discarding the condom in the bathroom bin.
You laughed along as he helped you stand up again, lowering your dress in the process. Thanking him, you looked at your reflection again, cleaning the eyeliner smudge on the outside corner of your eyes and fixing your hair. Eren pulled up his underwear and pants and once his clothes were back in place, he handed you your panties that he had put inside his pockets.
“I can’t come out of this bathroom holding my panties,” you reminded him with a soft laugh. “Can you like- keep them for a moment? Once we leave this place you can hand them back.”
“Sure, sure,” Eren said, putting your panties back in his pocket. You looked at each other in the eyes and couldn’t help but burst into laughter once more.
“I’ll leave first, wait a bit before going outside,” you instructed him and Eren nodded, leaning against the counter and taking out his phone to keep himself distracted as he waited.
Nobody noticed you leaving the bathroom, nor the funny way you were walking. You grabbed one of the beers from the table and plopped on one of the sofas. You observed your surroundings and wondered if time had really passed as everything seemed to be the same. Jean and Pieck were now making out in the same sofa she had been dancing on and nobody spared a second glance at you.
You felt someone sitting down next to you, opening a can of beer as well. You turned to the side and saw Eren, his hair tied on a half-bun again and looking visibly refreshed. His eyes locked with yours and he smirked.
You clinked your beer cans. You sure knew how to keep a secret.
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yelena belova x fem!reader
summary ➞ yelena is on the most important mission of her career with a target that knows her better than she knows herself. word count : 1.8k
disclaimer ➞ strong language, angst, canon level violence, canon deviant (specifically, no mind control)
a/n ➞ this is the first thing i have written in a very long time. please be gentle :) this piece of work is not to be copied or translated anywhere. thank you for reading!!! comments and reblogs appreciated <3
The first time Yelena thought she saw you was at the train station, she swore that what she saw was your hair blowing behind you as you skidded around the corner on quick feet - ‘always in a rush and never anywhere to go’ she used to say about you.
But the closer she got, the less of you she saw until, finally, when she braced her hand against your shoulder and started sputtering the apologizes that had been bubbling at her chest for months, she came to find the face staring back at her not to be you at all.
The second time was in the grocery store; lugging around a basket of red wine and those vegetables that you were always trying to force her to eat.
She abandoned the task at hand and made quick work of pushing through the shoppers that littered the aisles. She searched and searched until she could only curse the vividity of her imagination for the torture she was putting herself through.
Then there was your apartment. Where she had stumbled to one night. Half drunk and completely out of her mind, she had fumbled for the key under the flickering hallway light.
Except this time there was nothing for her brain to even imagine; the entire place had been stripped clean and lacked any trace that life had ever resided between its walls.
There was no more dining table for silent morning coffees or couch to hold each other on as the tv hummed with the same old garbage shows that neither of you ever payed attention to. Even the pictures had been plucked from the walls, like memories washed from her tired and severely overwhelmed brain.
And now, in some sick twist of fate, she was looking directly at the delicate edges of your face through the optic lens of a sniper rifle; the sinister red-colored crosshair settled on the crease between your eyes.
“Yelena, I can’t get a visual. Do you have eyes on the target?” The sudden intrusive voice in her earpiece caused her finger to twitch ever-so-slightly against the trigger.
Of course she had eyes on the target. She huffed and moved her hand to press into the earpiece, “There’s too many possible casualties, I’ll have to execute Plan B. You stay high, I’m going in.”
She was scaling the side of the building and ducking into a nearby coat closet before Oksana’s grunt of an approval could echo between their communication devices.
Her tactical suit slipped off with ease, the straps and plastic fastens clattered against the marble floor. The blazer and dress-pants she pulled on were simple and would be plenty for her to blend into the high-end crowd with.
She pushed out into the hallway and flattened the fabric against her thighs. “In and out, Yelena. You can do this.” She huffed to herself, pushing hair from her face and straightening her back.
She would never admit that she could have shot you easy and clean through Plan A. She was certainly skilled enough. But she much preferred coming face to face with you over sending a bullet through your head from the rooftop.
You were still you. And when it came to you, she was damn near defenseless.
When she finally sauntered into the ballroom, she felt much more out of place than she had anticipated. Her eyes darted anxiously between the guests in the room and the stairs against the far wall. It was a straight shot.
She moved gracefully, sending polite smiles to the few stragglers who pulled their faces away from their expensive champagne long enough to acknowledge anyone else’s presence.
“How are you doing in there?” Oksana echoed in her earpiece again. “I’ve got it, just shut up and stay on alert.” It sounded harsher than she had intended it to but the nerves were already beginning to push up her throat.
She was searching for you and nearly scared to actually find you.
Her hand caressed the silver banister as she pushed further up the staircase, her ears taking their time to adjust to the much quieter atmosphere of the upper level. Her heart hammered in her chest, the same as it did when you forced her to watch those horror movies you loved so much.
She found the door and let her fingers graze the brass knob before she turned it slowly and pushed it open. The room was quiet, and seemingly empty but she knew better than that.
She entered, pressed the door closed with her foot, and let her hand travel inside the blazer where her gun was nestled in the pocket. Before she could extract it a hand clasped around her mouth and an arm around her throat.
“Don’t.” She knew that voice anywhere.
She hesitated for a moment before her hand pulled away, empty, and raised into the air. Yours snaked inside her jacket, clasped the gun, and pulled it away.
She caught a glimpse of the two of you in the mirror across the room, one of your arms still wrapped around her throat and your free hand clutching her gun.
Your hair was wet and she concluded that you must have just gotten out of the shower. She almost wanted to smile, knowing that your widow instincts would be enough to always keep you safe. If the circumstances would have allowed it, she probably would have praised you.
“I wondered how long it would take you to find me.” You mused, dropping the arm that was around her and moving away entirely as you separated the magazine from the gun and lay both on the nightstand next to the bed.
“I found you a long time ago.” She was lying; you knew by the way her voice faltered. But you figured it was best to let it slide and not address it as you turned to meet her gaze for the first time.
“Oh yeah?” Your tone was much lighter than before as you moved closer to her; she didn’t know why she was suddenly having trouble breathing as she watched you push towards her. Even knowing that you were toying with her, she couldn’t get enough.
Her eyes fell to your chest, throat tightening at the scar that stretched the length of your collar bone. She did that - the first time she had been sent after you.
You stopped in front of her, noses nearly touching and neither of you moved. You were dangerously close to her and your breath was pressing against her bottom lip. She wanted to close the gap, maybe she would have if you would have given her a few more seconds.
When your hand come up to caress her face she knew she should have pushed it away, she was trained for this. But, god, you made her brain so fuzzy she wouldn’t even have known what to do.
Instead of a lingering touch to the side of her face like she was expecting, your fingers circled around her earpiece and pulled it out before she had time to react. As soon as it hit the floor between you, you kicked it towards the far wall.
She swallowed a sigh of defeat.
“Now it’s just you and I.” You observed, her hands clenching defensively at your amused expression.
“It always has been.” It fell off her lips before she had time to catch her tongue. She noted the twitch at your eyebrow but neither of you further acknowledged the statement - no harm, no foul; right?
“Why haven’t you killed me yet?” You pushed a strand of soaked hair away from your face, bottom lip pulled between your teeth. She blinked at the question. Why hadn’t she killed you yet? “We both know you could have if you really wanted to.”
Maybe she just didn’t want to.
You were right, though, she could have done something - anything - to stop this here; lunged at you, or pinned you to the ground, maybe even locked you into a chokehold like you had done to her moments before.
But, secretly, she wanted to see where this was going.
She began to stutter through and answer but it died on her tongue as you started to chuckle. “Yelena.” She gulped at this.
“Why did you do it?” It was very vague wording of a very specific question; one she had forbidden herself to ask you long before this mission but now it was burning at the back of her mind.
She didn’t need to elaborate, you knew what she wanted. But she wasn’t going to like the answer.
“I’m going West.” Was all the information you gave, waiting in the beat of silence before pushing towards the dresser to retrieve your clothes.
She hissed your name, almost as if it stung her throat to say. You wanted to turn back around and face her but you could already imagine the tears beginning to pool in her eyes, “Please.” It was a choked cry for an answer, anything to satisfy the hole that had settled into her chest.
“Yelena, look at us.” You paused momentarily to drop your towel before making quick work of pulling your clothes on.
She didn’t interrupt you and you didn’t bother to speak until you were clothed. The silence between you wasn’t soft, it was thick and heavy and you were nearly choking on it.
You kept your eyes trained on the painting above the mantle; hoping maybe you’d be able to disappear into it if you tried hard enough. Which seemed like it would be easier to accomplish than getting through this conversation.
“It was fun, it was. Sneaking off to that apartment on the weekend, pretending that we didn’t - don’t - kill for a living. Pretending that if we got caught we’d get anything short of an execution on the spot.” She knew what she had been risking all those times. “But is that really what you want to do for the rest of our lives, Lena?” It was the first time you had called her that in a while and it stunned her.
You closed your eyes as you paused, squeezing them shut in hopes that it would calm your racing heart.
You scoffed as you thought of what to say to get her to understand, “If you think I wanted to be bred to kill, you’re wrong. I wanted-…want a family. I want a house. I want to buy my own fucking clothes and sleep in a king-sized bed. I want to learn to cook. I want to come home to someone; I wanted to come home to you. I want to never have to pick up another gun in my fucking life.”
At this point it was impossible to decipher between the wet streaks your hair had left down your face and the tear tracks quickly forming against your skin.
She didn’t answer, still. You were about to speak again before you heard a distinct click sound and found the courage to face her.
She stood with a shaky hand wrapped around her gun, the magazine fastened into place and leveled with your face.
Your lip trembled under her stare as she pushed her earpiece back into her ear. Like the excellent spy she always had been, she had tricked you; kept you talking to distract you. And now she was keeping you stiff as you stood on the receiving end of the weapon with your hands pressed against the outside of your thighs.
You could hear your heart clearly now, and the blood rushing against your ears. You were still unsure but it was possible you were hearing her heart too.
It suddenly felt like a stand-still. You were foolish to think you were going to escape this life - with or without her. There were no more hopes and dreams drumming around in your brain, no more willpower to push you forward. It was just you and Yelena and the end of all things.
Do it, you wanted to tell her, get it over with - please.
Just when you thought she was going to pull her finger tighter against the trigger, she repositioned the barrel to the floor and let a few bullets rip as her free hand kept the button in her earpiece pressed in.
“I’ve got the target, mission completed. I’ll do some clean-up and meet you back at base.”
She slotted the gun into her blazer once more and let her shaky hands pass through tangled hair.
The silence was even louder now as your chest vibrated with a mix of fear and adrenaline. “Yelena.” You finally said.
She didn’t acknowledge you for a moment until her eyes finally met yours. “West. Let’s go.”
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Fill Me Up (B.B.)
Summary: Bucky finds out about your little game and he is not pleased. Based on a plot twist for Stretch you out.
Pairing: Jealous Bucky x Reader, Natasha/Phil (the recruit
Warnings: 18+, Smut, edging, fingering,
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The cold mirror cools your heated flesh, ragged breaths stutter from your chest. Your legs splayed out before you, trying to move them, but you feel boneless, exhausted.
You feel great.
Small aftershocks of your orgasm rippling through you.
Opening one eye, you watch Bucky saunter out of the gym. His green Henley dark in the middle sticking to his sweaty back. He winks over his shoulder, taking in your quivering form, a smug grin on his plump lips as you try to sit up only to fall back to the floor.
You chuckle after the door closes, wiping off your forehead. After a few minutes, you hear it open. “Damn”
Opening your eyes, you burst out laughing when you see Phil limping to the treadmill, “What did she do to you?”
He collapses on the floor, his face flushed under a thin layer of sweat. “Everything”, he sighs, a dreamy smile on his face.
“Told you that would work”, you giggle, stretching your arms over your head.
“What should we do next?”, you wonder, rolling over. Crossing your arms under your head, yawning, you say, “You could ‘accidentally’ grab my ass”.
Phil snorts, “He would kill me”, raising a brow, “Or you or the both of us,”.
“Nope, he may destroy this pussy, but he won’t do anything to me,”, you mumble, your eyes drifting shut, “Big ol softie,”.
Phil looks at the ceiling, wondering if it’s worth the risk, then he remembers what Nat did to him for almost an hour, “Alright, if I can get her to do that again, I’m in”
Outside the gym doors
Bucky stands with his hands in his pockets, a sly smirk forms when he realizes what his sweetheart has been doing. He had been waiting for Phil, ready to tell Mr. Grabby hands how close he is to losing them when he heard you.
His sweet girl, his sweet, sweet devious girl.
“Dangerous game, Y/N” he mutters, “Such a dangerous thing, doll”. Cracking open the gym door, he huffs, seeing you asleep on the gym mat. He almost changes his mind, but Phil mumbles, turning over on his back and his sympathy slips away watching the recruit.
This is that idiot’s fault, but the thought of punishing you is too tempting to pass up. Strolling down the hallway, he pulls out his phone. “Hey, Nat we need to talk”.
The first time you discovered how easy it was to push his buttons, you had leaned over Phil to get a file, your arm barely touched his, but it was enough for Bucky to drag you out of the conference room, pushing into the first room he could find which happened to be the men’s restroom. Bending you over the bathroom sink, blissfully unaware that Clint had gotten stuck in the vents above you, forced to listen to you scream Bucky’s name.
When Phil needed a spot while weight lifting, you had volunteered to help, his eyes on the bar as he counted through his first set, Nat stormed over, hip checking you out of the way before straddling him as you ran out of the room.
After that, It had been an unspoken thing between the two of you, shared glances before one of you did something to make the other’s partner jealous.
The funny thing is that you and Phil wouldn’t even be friends, it was Bucky and Nat that brought you together, their actions making you work together, both greedy for more passionate, angry, rough sex.
A few hours later you were standing in your bedroom, you shiver thinking of what Bucky’s going to do to you when he sees you and Phil have cooked up.
You’re so caught up in your thoughts, you miss Bucky observing you from the hallway. His face obscured by shadows, taking in your every move. His own shiver weaving down his back as he contemplates what he has in store for you.
The next afternoon
You and Phil are waiting in the training facility for Bucky and Nat. Their meeting ends in a few minutes. You already sent a text to Bucky telling him where to find you. “Ready”
“Yep,” You say, watching as he lowers himself to the ground. You straddle him, hovering above so that you’re not actually touching. He grabs your wrist and places his other hand on your hip. “Remember, just a quick touch, don’t want him to cut off your hand”.
When the doors open, you fall forward, grunting as Phil slides his hand over your hip, briefly touching your ass before rolling you over. You buck your hips, wrapping your legs around his waist before twisting him back over. You hold his hands over his head, stopping when you hear a slow clap.
“Good job, Doll,”. Bucky smiles, “Real good,”.
You blink, glancing down at Phil, confusion etched across his face. Your heart starts to race when Bucky smiles, calmly watching you, too calm. You hear Nat’s heels clicking over to you. She crouches down beside you, blocking your view of Bucky.
Nat smiles cheerfully at you, leaning in close to your face, “How are you, Y/N?”. Her smile a borderline sneer as her eyes penetrate yours. “How is your day, training going well”. Her voice deadly, barely a whisper as she tucks a hair behind your ear.
“Uh, fine thanks” You reply, frozen in your stance, your nerves on edge as she strokes your ear.
“Good, good, hope that training includes learning to keep your hands to yourself,”.
She rises, sauntering away, her hips swaying, “I said that I hope that training includes more hand to hand combat,”.
You clear your throat, exchanging glances with a worried Phil, “Right, of course”.
Bucky gives you a two-finger salute, “I’ll see you later, Y/N, don’t forget more hand to hand, right Nat,”.
She crinkles her nose, “Of course, bye Phillip”.
You jump up, staring wide-eyed at the door closing behind them. “What just happened?”.
Phil grabs your arm, dragging you out of the back door. “I think they know”. He whispers, his eyes bouncing rapidly back and forth down the long empty hallway.
You push him away, scoffing “No way, we’ve been so careful”, you grab his chin forcing his head to stop moving, “Besides Bucky would have done something by” your voice trails off when you see Bucky and Nat walking towards you.
Your stomach sinking at the sight of their matching nefarious smiles
Bucky pushes his sleeves up before folding his arms across his chest, his black Henley tight across his muscular chest.
Nat stretches her arms above her head, smirking at Phil.
Not good at all.
“Uh, Phil maybe we should-”. You turn to see Phil halfway down the corridor. You look back to see Nat cracking her neck as she runs past, you watch as she gains on your partner in crime. You hear the slow, even thuds of Bucky’s footsteps behind you.
Thickly swallowing, you scrunch your eyes shut, “Bucky I am so sorry”. Startling when you hear loud squeals coming from down the hall. “Bucky, please don’t be mad”. Hoping he’ll take it easy on you, wincing as Phil gets louder.
“Aw, it’s okay, Doll”. You breathe a sigh of relief at his softly spoken words, only to freeze when he says, “Now come here, I want to show you how soft I really am”. His darkly spoken words hanging in the air.
You look over your shoulder, shivering at his lust-filled eyes, his brow arched, the damn grin on his face. He gestures for you to come closer, you shake your head. “I’m sorry, Bucky” you plead, tucking your arms behind your back.
“Now, Y/N, I’m just a Big. Ole. Softie, right?” He tilts his head, slowly licking his lips. Your heart racing in your chest, every cell in your body screaming for you to submit or run.
“How many times, did he touch you?” Bucky asks, putting his hands in his pockets, rocking back on his feet.
“Uh” you cough, scratching your arm.
“I thought about it, and I’m up to 12 times doll”
You take a step back, that sounds right, not that you’re going to admit it
“12 times” He purrs, still rocking on his heels.
“I thought about spanking”
You perk up, you like spankings this could be good. You could even take his metal arm, both of you know your limits, he would never actually hurt you.
“But no, I know you, baby”. Shit. The last time he called you that was when he… no, not that.
“I have something else in store for you”. He smiles at you, desire, and something darker in his eyes. You shudder, feeling your core throb in anticipation. This can only go one of two ways.
Submit or Run.
You debate what would be worse, or more fun when he takes a step towards you.
Spinning on your heel, you stumble before breaking in a run. Bucky whistles, watching you turn the corner. Rolling his shoulders, he calls out your name as he strolls down the hall.
This is going to be better than he planned.
You make it down another hallway, your legs burning as you flee. You skid to a stop, your arms failing in front of you when you spot Natasha across from you You meet her gleeful eyes, slowly backing away as she waves at you.
Whistling pierces the air behind you, forcing your aching legs to go faster as you turn yet another corner, the large building giving you plenty of room, but the brightly lit hallways offer no cover. You try to open several doors, each one locked. He’s getting closer, taunting you, calling out your name, it bounces off the walls, following you.
Your lungs heaving as you stop in front of a small closet. You pull open the door, almost shrieking when you see a half-naked Phil huddling in the dark corner with his hands over his head. “Phil, scoot over” you whisper.
He shakes his head, “No, this is my spot”. He leaps up, pushing you back, pulling the door shut. You pull on the knob, barely opening it before he shuts it again, “Go away” he hisses through the crack.
“Open the door” You exclaim, the whistling getting closer. “Damn you, Phil”. Kicking the door, you start to jog again your legs moving slower and slower.
Knowing that he’s just waiting for you to tire out.
Unless you make it to that elevator at the end of the corridor.
The whistling winds down, Bucky sings your name, teasing you as your heart beats in your ears. Fuck, should have just submitted. Your punishment could have been over by now. You duck behind a tall potted plant, resting against the wall, stifling your rapid breathing with your hand, forcing air through your nose.
Leaning out of your hiding spot, you look down and then back to your one chance of getting away. You take one step, your shoes squeak on the smooth floors.
A tiny sound.
No way he could have heard that. Your heart beats even faster, almost twisting out of your chest.
Just make it back to your apartment. That’s all you have to do. You can prepare once you’re there.
Another small step. You gently set your foot on the ground.
Your head swiveling around as you creep along the wall.
So close. You just need time to think of a proper apology.
Please just make it home. You’ll make him dinner, he’s always happy when he eats.
The elevator is just ahead.
10 more steps and you’ll make it.
The doors slide open, Sam steps out, his eyes on his phone. You run for it, shoving past him as you pull yourself inside, spinning around to press the close button. Your finger jabbing it as you pant, bent over, your hand on your knee.
Sam’s staring at you, his mouth open. He starts to speak, his eyes flicker over your shoulder. He goes back to his phone, muttering to himself about minding his own business.
When the doors close, your eyes do the same, resting your forehead on the cool metal surface above the buttons.
Mid-scream, you’re cut off as his metal hand grabs your throat, pulling you back against his chest. His other hand pushes the emergency stop button, the elevator screeching to a halt. You tilt your head up, his dazzling eyes boring into yours. When you open your mouth, he lightly squeezes a warning. “Be a good girl, doll”. When you smile, he relaxes his hand, letting it rest on your neck.
His hand untucking your white t-shirt, skimming across your stomach. His hand moving down your leggings, teasing the band of your panties, snapping it against your soft skin, “Spread your legs”. He gruffly whispers in your ear, his warm breath caressing your skin.
You quickly obey, whimpering as his warm rough fingers glide through your folds. “All this for me, Y/N” He knows exactly how to take you apart, his skillful fingers finding their target. “So fucking wet, doll”. Already on edge from the chase, his light touches set your sensitive skin ablaze. His earthy cologne surrounding you, the heat from his chest warming your back.
He moves your head back, bending down to capture your lips as his fingers circle your clit. Drawing tight little circles over your throbbing bud with his thumb, easing two large fingers into your core. Pumping in and out as he kisses you, his tongue sweeping across yours, swallowing your moans. The vulgar squelching echoing in the small elevator.
His fingers curling, searching for that spot, the one that he prides himself on finding each time he’s in you, determined to break you apart. Each muffled gasp drives him to sweep deeper in you until you jerk in his hold. High pitched whimpers in your throat, your hips rocking against his thick fingers.
So close, almost there, pleasure spiraling through your veins. Your hands move to his hair, pulling as he brings you to the brink. Bucky feels you clench down around his fingers, waiting to you’re right at the edge before pulling away as he breaks the kiss. He almost regrets what he has to do after seeing the dazed look on your face.
“No, why,” You ask, your eyes searching his, Bucky shrugs fixing your shirt.
You blink, closing your eyes. “You’re not serious” you groan, clenching your thighs, your core aching, desperate for release.
Bucky smirks, restarting the elevator. You’re thrown over his shoulder, thinly crying out when a sharp smack lands on your ass. “That’s for running”. You cling to the bottom of his shirt, bracing yourself for the second slap, the sting rolling up your back. “That’s for Phil”.
By the time you reach his office, he’s delivered five more smacks, each one stinging worse than the last, you squirm helplessly on his shoulder. Bucky kicks open his door, placing you on his desk. When he turns to close the door, you wince feeling the hardwood on your sensitive skin, you slide off the desk to your knees.
“Bucky, let me show you how sorry I am”, you say, biting your lip as you reach up for him.
Buck looks down, admiring how pretty you look right now. Any other time, he thinks, reluctantly crouching down. “Oh no Doll, this is all about you”. His sweet, condescending tone moving down your spine.
He pulls you up, placing you back on his desk, settling between your legs, his lips melding against yours as he rips your shirt open, your bra pulled off, and flung over his shoulder. His warm mouth on one taut nipple as he rolls the other between his fingers. Sparks shooting down to your core, you slide your hands around his neck.
You grab his silky locks as you arch into his mouth. Your body heating under his warm mouth, his tongue dragging across your skin to your other breast. He pushes you down, his hands pulling your hips to the edge of the desk. Your leggings ripped from your body, scraps of cloth underneath you.
Your hands unbuckling his belt as he takes his shirt off. He shoves his pants down around his ankles; you moan seeing his thick cock spring free from his boxers. Precum dripping from the tip, his hand stroking his shaft. He guides himself into your sopping core; you fall back, grabbing the edge of the desk for support as he stretches you. Bucky’s eyes flutter shutter as your walls envelopes him, feeling at home when he’s in you.
Grasping your hips, he snaps into you, drawing out beautiful noises from you as he ruts into you. Almost forgetting that this has to be a punishment, your body taking him so well. “Always so perfect, Y/N, so tight”. You barely hear him over the blood rushing in your ears, already closer to the edge than before.
He lifts your hips, your eyes fly open when he strikes your sweet spot, a sheen of sweat forming on your chest. His face flushed as his hips pound into you, the desk scraping against the floor, inching back under his thrust. Wanton cries fall from your lips as white heat spirals into a tight coil, nearly snapping when he pulls out. Your core empty, aching as you cry out, reaching for him.
“Fuck, baby, that’s two”. He pushes your arms away, turning you your toes barely touching the ground, hands scrambling on the smooth wood, sobbing when he lifts your leg up on the desk, moving deeper in you. Every vein rubbing against your walls, his hand keeping you in place. Quickly bringing you to the edge before stopping. “Three”.
He slaps your ass, “Getting closer, doll”. He pushes back into you, “Fuck, you’re taking my cock so well, almost there”. He slides his hand around your stomach, reaching down to find your pulsating clit.
“No please Bucky,” you dig your elbows in the desk, trying to pull away needing relief from the barrage of sensations overwhelming you. Every nerve on fire, each stroke pushing you closer to the edge.
He stops, you wail, uncaring how desperate you sound.
Mindlessly begging him for more, your release snatched from you repeatedly. Burning as you desperately try to get the friction you need.
You’ve lost track of time, only knowing that your punishment is close to ending. His strained voice grunting out 11 as he pulled out again, giving you grim satisfaction that he’s suffering as much as you are.
A fleeting thought that’s soon gone when he turns you over, picking you up from the desk. Your legs closing around his waist as he guides his cock back into your aching core, the sensation of his warm veiny erection too much. Mindlessly begging him to just let you cum. Way past caring how desperate you sound, your pride shattered around the fifth ruined orgasm, you wrap your arms around his neck as you grind down on him.
“Please, sorry sorry” you rasp into his sweaty neck, the salty taste of his skin on your lips. His hands guiding your hips over his, he walks over to the expensive leather chair behind his desk, keeping his slow torturous rhythm. Sinking into the plush seat, groaning in your ear, telling you how good you’re doing, almost there, almost done, one more time.
“No” you weep into his shoulder, nails digging into his back. “No, I can’t”. Scorching heat rushing up in your stomach, every nerve burnt, overstimulated as you crest once again. He stills your hips with hands and you wail. You don’t realize that the thin needy sound is coming from you until he hushes you, his hands massaging your back as you collapse. Bucky feels just as wrecked as you look, he can’t believe how well you’ve been taking him.
Bucky thrusts up, his hand finding your clit, rubbing furiously, his pace speeding up. Your hands grasping his shoulders as he pounds into you. Frantic thrusts tightening the pressure deep within you “Cum for me” He commands, “Now Doll”.
The spiraling coil snaps, white heat rushing over your body. Your back arching sharply as your head drops back, a silent scream as stars explode behind your eyes. “There you go, cum on my cock on doll”. Bucky frantically thrusts into your warmth as he chases his own release as you clench down around him, your spasming walls milking his cock. “Love you” he grunts as he comes undone, his seed filling you.
You relax in his arms, kissing his shoulder, whispering how much you love him. After a few minutes you feel the cool air on your skin, goosebumps prickling under the air conditioner. “Cold” you murmur, hugging him tighter. Bucky chuckles into your hair, his hands rubbing your back. You wince as he slides out of your body, his spent seeping down your thighs. He stands up, holding you in his arms, you giggle as he spins around putting you on the chair.
“Stay here, I’ll be back with some clothes”, he ruefully says, eyeing your torn clothing scattered across his office. Paperwork everywhere, that new laptop cracked on the ground. Yawning as you curl up on his chair, Bucky bends down to kiss you, a gentle brush of his soft lips on yours.
Finding his shirt, he places it around you, tucking you in before he leaves. He kisses you again, his lips lingering on yours, “Stay the fuck away from Phil”. You kiss him back, nodding as your head drops back.
You wait a few minutes, drowsily watching the clock on the wall before getting out of the chair, holding on to the furniture as you search the room on your unsteady legs until you find your phone. Yawning, you clumsily find Phils’ number.
Phase 3 :)
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a/n: here’s something soft to get ready for the filth i should *hopefully* have ready by valentine’s day.
anon requested: OKAY WELL HEAR ME OUT! requesting simple yelena x reader right? but add some FLUFF.. yelena being loved how she SHOULD! adding here some yelena sees reader wearing like her hoodie? acc? damn it even just a sock of hers and everything kinda clicks? this is home? this is her place? fuck it, will you marry me y/n?
warnings: fluff, but just a lil spicy at the very end
words: 1k | marvel masterlist. | navigation post.
you do not have permission to translate/repost my works anywhere! likes, comments, and reblogs are always welcome & appreciated <3
“Where the fuck is it?” Yelena was looking through her closet for her favorite hoodie. One that you had gifted to her last Christmas. She took a step back and scanned her surroundings, quickly realizing that many of her hoodies were gone. Only the ones she didn’t wear often were left.
“Someone’s stealing my hoodies!” Yelena exclaimed, stomping into the living room.
“Only your hoodies?” Natasha asked. They had been roommates since they’d entered college together, and it stayed that way even after they’d graduated. “Are you sure they aren’t just in the wash?”
“Well, I still have to do laundry for this week. So unless you took it upon yourself to do mine, no.”
“You’re my best friend, Yelena. But you and I both know I’d never do something that nice for you.” Natasha said, patting the blonde’s back. “You could have misplaced them. Why are you looking for them anyway? It’s pretty warm inside.”
“I have a date with y/n tonight. And you know she’s never dressed conveniently. Always forgetting to wear warm clothes when it’s cold.”
“So you’re only looking for one to let her borrow if she gets cold?”
“Whipped,” Natasha said, making her way around the kitchen to find any leftovers they had from last night.
“I’m not! I’m only trying to look out for her because she never looks out for herself.”
“Like I said, whipped.” Natasha opened the fridge and looked through its contents. “Did we finish all of the pizza last night?”
“Yes. You came out in the middle of the night, completely wasted, and began to finish the slices we had left.”
“Ugh.” Natasha groaned. “That means I have to go to the grocery store because we’re out of food. Do you know what this means?”
“That we’ll have a fully stocked fridge afterward?”
“That I have to leave this fucking apartment on a weekend! I don’t want to see people on a day that I’m supposed to relax.”
“You see me around here all the time. We live together.”
“You’re more tolerable than the rest of the world.”
“This is a good thing. You can get some air and maybe meet someone new.”
“That sounds fucking terrible. Can you cancel your date and go grocery shopping?”
“No! I’m not canceling on my girlfriend for something so stupid.”
“Fine.” Natasha huffed. “How about you go grocery shopping and I’ll go on the date for you? That way you won’t have to cancel.”
Yelena threw a half-eaten apple at Natasha. “I came to you asking for help to find my hoodies and now you’re trying to go on a date with my girlfriend?”
“I was kidding! Do you seriously not have any hoodies left over?”
“I do, but I don’t like them. They’re ugly.”
“Get over it and just wear one of those. I doubt y/n will mind. She’ll be too busy shoving her tongue down your throat to notice what you’re wearing.”
“That’s not true.” Yelena’s face heated up in embarrassment. “I should get going now. I don’t want to be late.”
“How could you be late? She lives on the floor above us!”
The door opened, revealing you standing inside of your
dimly lit apartment. “You’re a little early today. Still had eight seconds to spare.”
“I know. I would’ve been here earlier if Natasha hadn’t distracted me.”
“Sure, because it could never be your fault whenever you are late. Hm?”
“Nope. I’m always on time if people leave me alone.” You stepped aside, allowing Yelena inside. Unlike her and Nat’s place, yours was in top shape because you always cleaned up after yourself.
“We still have a few minutes before we have to leave, so make yourself comfortable.” Yelena dragged you over to the sofa and made you sit beside her.
“Look at you. Finally dressed appropriately for the weather.” Yelena tilted her head to the side and noticed that the hoodie you were wearing belonged to her. “So that’s where that went.”
You looked down and saw what she was referring to. “I may or may not have borrowed a few the last time I was over.”
“A few?” Yelena questioned, squeezing your hips playfully. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you took almost all of them.”
“But I didn’t take all of them, right? At least, I left a few behind for you.”
“How considerate of you. You still took all of the ones I enjoyed wearing.”
“That’s because those are the ones you wear a lot so they smell like you. They bring me comfort.” The blonde began playing with your hair as you nuzzled into her shoulder.
“Baby, you do realize that I live only a floor beneath you, right? You’re more than welcome to come see me whenever you’d like. Natasha enjoys your company too, so you wouldn’t be annoying either one of us.”
“I know, but that would mean I would have to go all that way to see you.”
“Am I not worth it?” Yelena teased. knowing that you would take her literally.
“That’s not what I meant! I’m just lazy.” You began to ramble as Yelena sat there and watched you in amusement.
“We should get married.” You giggled, shaking your head in disbelief. “I’m serious, y/n. We practically already are, but you happen to live in a different apartment. I don’t have a ring on me now, but I do have...hold on.” Yelena felt around in her pockets and pulled out a stick of wrapped gum. “This piece of gum and you can keep it until I find the perfect ring to give you.”
“I don’t need a ring, Yelena. As long as I have you, I’m happy.” You cupped her face in your hands and pulled her in for a slow kiss.
“Is that a yes?”
“Yes,” you mumbled against her lips.
“We’re going to be late for the movie,” Yelena said, resting her forehead against yours.
“Who cares about the movie? It’s not like we were going to watch it while we were at the theater anyway. We can watch something on Netflix if you actually planned on watching a movie tonight. But right now it’s time for cuddles.”
Yelena settled behind you, holding you in her arms. Her eyes trailed down your body and she realized that you’d taken more from her than she had thought. “You’ve been stealing my socks too?! And my sweatpants? What else are you wearing that belongs to me?”
“You can always check to find out.”
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Obey Me As Text Fails #1
Asmodeus: Hi, I’ve found this phone, you’re the first name on the contact list. Could you tell your friend it’s been found?
Mammon: Which friend?
Asmodeus: The one whose name is at the top of the screen.
Mammon: Haha oh yeah lol
Asmodeus: So can you tell them I’ve found it
Mammon: Yeah will do
Mammon: Hi it’s Mammon, someone found your phone
Asmodeus: How do I tell Simeon I like him though? These things are hard :(
Simeon: You just did Asmo ;)
Asmodeus: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, that was to Diavolo :|
Simeon: His name isn’t even close to mine though. Did you send this on purpose to me? Don’t worry if you did ;)
Asmodeus: Maybe ;) ...does that mean you like me too :D<3
Mammon: I bet 10 bucks that you’ll text me in one minute!
Satan: Fuck off you woke me up! It’s 3am and I gotta go work early!
Mammon: Hehe. I see you tomorrow, don’t forget the ten bucks you owe me.
Mammon: There’s a moth on the outside of the bathroom door can you get rid of it?
Mammon: Pls hurry because I’m going to cry
Lucifer: Lucifer is dead, you’re next. Love moth.
Luke: Finally you’ve entered the digital age and got a smart phone
Luke: How is it?
Luke: Why aren’t you answering?
Leviathan: Dude how drunk was I last night?
Solomon: Well, at one point I convinced you to try and bite your own nose...
Leviathan: Then what happened?
Solomon: You were rolling around on the floor for an hour screaming “IT’S GETTING AWAY ITS GETTING AWAY!!!!!”
Leviathan: I hate you more than words can express
Simeon: Dude come to the apartment right now, the hamster just died!
Solomon: HAHAHAHAHAHA LOL autocorrect is a bitch right XD
Solomon: Please tell me that was autocorrect!
Simeon: Sorry man
Solomon: NOOOOOO MR PUFFY!!!!
Asmodeus: Everything okay? I haven’t heard from you in a few days!
Leviathan: Yup. Sorry. Just came out of the closet.
Asmodeus: Oh Levi! That is great!
Asmodeus: I always had a hunch.
Asmodeus: I love you no matter what!
Leviathan: Holy shit I’m not gay, Asmo
Leviathan: I meant coming out of the clinic now. Autocorrect.
Asmodeus: Oh I see.
Leviathan: The real issue is, you think I’m gay?
Mammon: I wasn’t that drunk
Solomon: Dude, you put my hamster in his hamster ball and threw it at the wall saying “pikachu I choose you!” You’re lucky he’s still alive
Mammon: Oh thank Diavolo
Solomon: He’s dead
MC: How could you?? I trusted you and you cheated on me!!!
MC: Oh, sorry Mammon, that was meant for someone else.
Mammon: On a completely unrelated topic have you seen my shotgun anywhere?
Helene: Babe I think I’m pregnant
Asmodeus: The AT&T Subscriber Yu Are Trying To Reach Is No Longer In Service.
Helene: YOU KNOW YOU SPELLED “you” WRONG!
Asmodeus: The AT&T Subscriber You* Are Trying To Reach Is No Longer In Service.
Diavolo: Hi Belphie, do your ( . )( . ) still hurt from the optician? Xxx
Belphegor: Um... Check what you just sent me...
Diavolo: What? It means eyes right? I saw it on your brother’s phone texting MC, it said “I love looking at your beautiful ( . )( . )”
Belphegor: No...no it doesn’t
Solomon: Come on I wasn’t that drunk was I?
Satan: Dude, in Walmart when the intercom thing came in you dropped to your knees and screamed “THE LORD HAS SPOKEN!”
Mammon: So what u up to?
Satan: Wrapping dick pickles
Satan: I’m wrapping X-Mas Presents!
Satan: Wtf did my phone just say!?
Lucifer: Was I that drunk?
Diavolo: Well you dug up my moms garden
Diavolo: Because, and I quote “Fuck FarmVille.”
Leviathan: I wasn’t that drunk. I drove myself home.
Solomon: Dude. Don’t even try denying it.
Solomon: I drove you home while you drive with a paper plate...
Leviathan: Oh. I thought that was a dream.
Satan: Hey do you need anything from the store while I’m here!
Mammon: Yeah...Can you pick up some comdiks I have a date tonight
Mammon: Yeah bro?
Satan: You realize you can’t get your hand pregnant?
Asmodeus: What’s better to fail or to pass.
Lucifer: To pass of course.
Asmodeus: OH GOOD YOU’LL BE SO PROUD OF ME! MY GIRLFRIEND PASSED HER PREGNANCY TEST!
Lucifer: GET YOUR A.S.S. HOME NOW!
Mammon: Lucifer I think there’s a thief in the house! COME HOME!
Lucifer: Go hide in your closet now! I’ll be home in fifteen minutes.
Mammon: I can hear steps! I’m scared!
Lucifer: Just be quiet idiot!
Mammon: Okay I think he’s gone now! But I can’t get out of the closet OMG HE LOCKED ME IN!
Lucifer: No he didn’t, I did. And I came home early from the meeting. You are easy to scare!
Asmodeus: Hey ;)
Helene: What do you want? You broke up with me a month ago, its over. Unless you wanna do some things?
Asmodeus: Oooooooh, what type of things? ;)
Helene: Illegal things ;)
Asmodeus: What do you want to do exactly?
Helene: Kill you.
Belphegor: I can’t concentrate today. I don’t want to be here!!!
Leviathan: Totally. I know.
Belphegor: Is Mammom cumming in his cubicle? The sound is driving me nuts!
Leviathan: Omg. What are you hearing????
Belphegor: Bwhahahahahahaha **** humming. Not cumming!
Leviathan: Please pass the brain bleach!
230 notes · View notes
Aim For The Heart | Chapter 6: Bite The Bullet
Pairing: hitman!jungkook x female reader
Genre: E2L, romance, angst, drama
Warnings for this chapter: strong language, mentions of murder guns blood and knives,
Tag list: @hopekookies @moonchild1 @barbellastyles98 @teresaisla @ggukkieland @mwitsmejk @scuzmunkie @jaebeomsblackgf @sugaslittlekookies @moon-asia @armyhollander @yoonchrisgull @njkbangtan @higashikatasgf @jksbbyfacebunny @sharonbryan-blog @voidswan-recs
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You're walking down the candy aisle, scanning all the sweet options in front of you. Your eyes are wide with wonder at all the lovely treats surrounding you.
When you look up and see Jungkook walking around the store, a smile breaks out on your face instantly. What a funny coincidence!
You can tell he's seen you, so you raise your hand to wave him over. Then you notice that he's with someone.
Ohh, that must be his friend!
Your cheeks heat up at the handsome young man next to your friend, his slightly curly black hair falling over his eyes makes your heart rate pick up speed.
Gracious, he's very good-looking.
You have the sudden urge to duck out of sight but you fight that urge off and move to meet Jungkook and his friend halfway. But to your surprise, Jungkook looks away from you, grabs the shoulder of the man with him, and pushes him in another direction, right into a crowd of people trying to get their groceries.
The second Jungkook locks eyes with you, he knows you're going to come over and say hello. An image of Taehyung covered in blood from the other day has his stomach turning as he grabs Tae's shoulder and shoves him into a crowd of people.
"Yo, the fuck?!" Taehyung practically shouts, fighting Jungkook off until the younger finally gives up once they're in the ramen aisle.
"Oh, hell no," Taehyung shakes his head as he turns to Jungkook, "We are not getting more ramen."
Jungkook swallows thickly, "Uh, right...sorry."
Tae gives him a look and proceeds to walk down the aisle to get to the dairy section. Jungkook looks behind him every few seconds, trying to make sure you aren't anywhere near them.
When they eventually get to the meat section, Jungkook taps Tae on the shoulder.
"What?" Tae grumps, still annoyed at being shoved around.
"I'm gonna go look for something. I'll be right back." Jungkook says, inching away. Tae looks at him suspiciously, then he points at him threateningly.
"If you come back with more of that cheap ramen, I'm gonna be pissed."
"I won't," Jungkook assures him before turning and hurrying away. Tae just shakes his head and continues to browse the meats.
It only takes Jungkook a second to find you; you're in the vegetables, poking at some avocados to see if they're ripe or not.
Jungkook walks over and you look up to see who's approached you.
"Oh, J-Jungkook." You say in surprise, wondering why he avoided you before.
Jungkook rubs the back of his neck, "Sorry about earlier. You kind of surprised me. My friend, he uh, he gets really uncomfortable around new people."
"Ohh," You say sympathetically.
Jungkook nods, "Yeah well, it's funny to run into you here."
You nod with a smile, "I always sh-shop on Sundays," Then you lean in closer to whisper, "They have m-more deals on S-Sunday."
"Ah, is that so?" Jungkook chuckles a little awkwardly, deciding not to admit that he already knew that.
You nod, then you turn back to the avocados, finally grabbing one. Jungkook hears you whisper, "One, t-two, three." As you place each avocado into your basket.
You look back at him, "You sh-should get back to your friend, b-before he gets too an-anxious."
Jungkook looks around to make sure Tae hasn't crept up on the two of you, then he turns back to you. "Yeah, I should probably find him. I'll see you around." He waves, bringing a smile to your face as you wave back, watching him disappear into an aisle.
You finish up shopping and head to the check-out. As the cashier is bagging your items, you turn and see Jungkook with his friend as they head to the self-check-out. They're bickering about something, you can tell.
His friend suddenly smacks Jungkook on the side of the head and you bite back a laugh at the scene.
The lady behind the register coughs to get your attention and you turn back to her with an apologetic smile, "S-Sorry. How m-much did you s-say it was?"
She gives you a weird look before repeating the amount you owe. You pull the money out of your wallet and hand it to her before turning to try and see Jungkook and his friend again. You can't see them from here...
The cashier hands you your change and you grab your bags, making your way out of the store without looking back. You don't want to make Jungkook's friend uncomfortable by staring or anything.
"Hurry the fuck up and scan it," Tae growls, annoyed that Jungkook seems to be so out of it right now.
Jungkook looks away from where you just left through the front doors, realizing he's just holding a head of lettuce stupidly.
"Oh, yeah...sorry." He scans it really quickly, then moves to grab the carton of milk from the cart. But Tae stops him with a hand on his arm, "Just let me do it."
Jungkook looks at him in confusion, "Why?"
"Why are you so distracted?" Taehyung shoots back.
Jungkook swallows, "It's nothing."
"You look like you either saw a ghost or a really hot girl," Taehyung smirks, "So, which one was it?"
"A ghost," Jungkook says flatly.
"Sure, whatever. Move out of the way and let me do this." Tae pushes Jungkook to the side and snatches the carton of milk out of his hand. He makes quick work of scanning everything and bagging it, ordering Jungkook to put the bags in the cart.
Once they finish paying, Jungkook pushes the cart out to the car where they unload the groceries into the trunk.
Taehyung watches him closely, but he seems to have gone back to normal. He isn't sure what made Jungkook act like that in the store, but he knows Jungkook was trying to make sure he didn't see something.
He isn't an idiot, he knows Jungkook and he's great at reading people.
But what exactly, was Jungkook hiding from him?
Jungkook and Taehyung are huffing and puffing by the time they get up the stairs and to the apartment. They both have bags upon bags hooked on their arms as they lug them through the door.
Because, as Tae put it, 'one trip is for losers'.
Jungkook almost crushes the carton of eggs when he drops the bags on the floor, earning a screech of disapproval from Tae.
"Fool! You want to go back and buy more eggs?" Taehyung practically hollers as he gently sets his bags on the counter.
"Shut up." Jungkook snaps, moving to sit at the dining table.
"You shut up."
"No, you shut up."
They bicker like a couple of kids for a minute as Tae pulls the stuff out of bags and sets it on the counter.
"Shut the fuck up and help me put this shit away." Taehyung eventually growls, getting Jungkook to snap his trap and begrudgingly help put the groceries where they belong.
"Why do we even need this much food?" Jungkook asks in exasperation as he puts the cheese into a drawer in the fridge, "It's just the two of us."
"No shit," Tae mutters, "But we both eat a lot and this food will go quicker than you think it will."
Tae turns and glares at Jungkook, a bag of grapes hanging from his grasp, "You just can't stop fucking arguing with me, can you?"
"You're the one that's arguing," Jungkook counters.
Taehyung laughs in disbelief and tosses the grapes onto the counter before pointing at Jungkook, "You're just an annoying little shit, aren't you?"
Jungkook snatches the grapes and throws them into the fridge haphazardly, "If I'm such an annoying little shit, why are you staying here, huh??"
"Maybe I should just leave then!"
"Maybe you should!" Jungkook shouts as he slams the fridge door closed.
"Fuck you, too!"
Taehyung doesn't respond as he pushes past Jungkook and goes into the bathroom, slamming the door shut.
Jungkook is fuming for a few seconds before he takes a moment to calm himself down. With just a few deep breaths, his head clears and he moves to finish putting the food away as he hears Tae turn the shower on.
He always takes a shower when he's upset. Says it helps him calm down.
After Jungkook puts the last apple into the fruit basket that Hoseok gave to him as a welcoming gift, he moves to his closet to pull out his little safe.
He drops it onto his bed and swiftly unlocks and opens it. He pulls out a few things and lays them out.
Just then, Taehyung comes out of the bathroom. He has a towel wrapped around his waist and his black hair is dripping wet before he walks over and shakes his head like a dog, sprinkling Jungkook with water.
The latter shouts and shoves Taehyung away, sending him a few choice words before going back to his business.
Taehyung peers over Jungkook's shoulder, both of them acting like the previous fight never happened. "Whatcha got there?"
Tae squints, then he moves closer to examine the little vial in Jungkook's hand.
"Shit, is that what I think it is?"
"Um, I think the fuck it is. Are you gonna use this on your target?" Taehyung asks in disbelief.
Jungkook nods absentmindedly, to his friend's shock.
"Uhh, dude this shit is brutal," Taehyung speaks up again after a minute.
"I know." Jungkook mumbles.
"What did she do?" Tae suddenly asks.
Jungkook snaps out of it and looks at Tae, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, is she a rapist? A mass murderess?"
"I don't know," Jungkook says simply, setting the bottle back on his bed and putting everything else back in the safe.
Taehyung shakes his head, "Dude-"
"The fuck you trying to say, Taehyung? Just say it."
"Why don't you just shoot her?"
"I tried, it's too risky."
"Then do it with a knife-"
"That's too messy, dumbass." Jungkook snaps.
Taehyung walks over to get his sweatpants out of his bag, "I've never even used that shit and I'm worse than you."
"That's because you prefer to do it with your hands," Jungkook says, "You like to watch them die in front of you."
Tae holds up his hands in defense, "I like to see people get what they deserve. I'm just asking you if that shit is what she deserves."
"Why are you suddenly so interested in my target?" Jungkook asks suspiciously, a hint of anger in his tone.
"I'm not. I'm just saying-"
"Well stop then! I won't fucking use this unless I have to if I have no other choice! So SHUT UP!" Jungkook slams his safe shut and stalks over to the closet to put it back inside.
"Fucking hell, JK. Calm the fuck down."
Jungkook walks over to the door and pulls his shoes on.
"Where are you going?" Taehyung asks cautiously.
Jungkook finishes pulling his boots on and looks at Taehyung fiercely, "Are we fucking married?"
"NO! We aren't!" Jungkook shouts, "So stop acting like you need to know everything I'm doing!"
Then he stomps out of the apartment and slams the door shut, rattling the glass on the table.
Taehyung just huffs out a sigh and grumbles to himself as he moves to the kitchen to get some food.
"Good afternoon, Jungkook."
Jungkook turns to see his neighbor walking over to him, a bunch of mail in his hands.
"Oh, hi Hoseok."
"Everything okay?" Hoseok asks kindly, seeing the look on his young neighbor's face. Jungkook just laughs and nods, "Yeah, my friend is in town and we've just been arguing a lot. Sorry, if you've heard it."
"I have," Hoseok laughs, "You two sound like an old married couple."
"Sorry," Jungkook says again as he rubs the back of his neck.
"Don't be!" The kind young man says brightly, "Heaven knows Seokjin, Yoongi, and I all sound like that sometimes. It's just what friends do."
"Yeah. Well, I got to head out." Jungkook says, inching away, "We'll try to keep it down, sorry again."
Hoseok just smiles, "See you later, Jungkook. You should come over for dinner and games again sometime!"
"I will," Jungkook assures him before turning and hurrying down the stairs.
Once Jungkook steps into the sunlight, he sighs deeply.
"Fuck," He mutters, dragging his hands down his face in exhaustion.
The next week goes by fairly smoothly for everyone.
Jungkook and Taehyung have decided to keep the fights down a lot more, for Hoseok's sake, and you've just been working.
Before you know it, Friday is here and it's the last day of school.
"A-Alright, darlings." You look over your little students with a sense of sadness sweeping over you. But you keep a big smile plastered onto your face just the same.
"I w-will see y-you all again i-in August, ok?"
There's a bunch of tiny heads nodding and you swallow the lump in your throat. Then the last bell of the school year sounds and you clasp your hands, "W-Well, time t-to l-line up!"
They all scurry into line as fast as they can, eagerly waiting to leave the school for summer break. Suddenly, Minju comes over to you and holds out a pink piece of paper.
You take it gently and look up to see all of the kids watching you expectantly. You look back at Minju, a question in your eyes. She smiles and points at the paper, "We all made you a card together. We'll miss you, Miss ____."
Your heart breaks a little as you open the card and look at all the sweet pictures they drew for you. You hold back another wave of tears and smile at them all, "I l-love it, little d-ducklings. Thank y-you so m-much. I'll m-miss you t-too."
Then they all rush at you until you're surrounded by tiny humans as they all hug your legs tightly. You laugh and pat each of them on their little heads.
By the time you've all gotten out of the building after a few kids started to cry because they didn't want to leave you, the busses are almost ready to leave. So, you hurry the kids that go on the bus to quickly get on. Once they're on, they wave at you and the rest of the kids from the windows of the bus.
You keep a smile on your face as you wave at the last kid to leave as he gets into his mother's car. He waves back sweetly.
You stand outside in the sun a little longer after all the kids are gone. Your eyes are closed as you breathe deeply, the fresh air filling your lungs.
Eventually, you need to go back inside and start cleaning up your classroom.
You stand there for another minute before turning and walking up the front steps and back inside the school. Just as you reach your room, someone clears their throat.
You turn to see Mr. Baek standing there, just staring at you.
"How c-can I help y-you?" You ask kindly.
He says nothing.
You look around, then back at him. The school is awfully quiet. You hope all the other teachers didn't already leave while you were outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.
"What is it going to take for you to quit?" He snaps suddenly.
You're taken aback for a second, then you look closer and see that his eyes look a bit glassy.
"A-Are you okay, Mr. B-Baek?"
He steps forward, startling you for a moment. You stumble back, your back hitting the closed door of your classroom as he continues to inch closer.
"W-What are you-"
"Shut the hell up." He slurs, taking another step closer until he's inches from your face.
"Quit!" He shouts suddenly, causing you to flinch violently.
"I-I-I, w-why do y-you hate me s-so m-much?" You shrink back, feeling very small as he looms over you menacingly.
"Awww, you're t-too c-c-c-cute, darling." He mocks your stutter, sending a pang of hurt into your chest.
Then you feel a painfully strong grip on your arm and you hiss in pain.
"O-Ouch!" You cry, trying to pull back.
"If you won't quit as I told you too, I suppose you can give me something else as a payment." He muses darkly.
Your stomach drops to your feet at his words.
"Oh, don't be fooled. You aren't pretty enough for me." He pouts, "But you'll have to do, even if you are ugly."
"P-P-Please don't d-do this."
"Too late, dear-"
"Get your hands off of her."
Both of your heads swivel at the sound of a new voice. Your heart lifts when you see Jungkook standing there, staring at Mr. Baek, emotionless.
Once the initial shock wears off, Mr. Baek chuckles.
"Who the hell are you?" He slurs.
Jungkook steps closer until he's practically smooshed into Mr. Baek's side. He leans in even more, a smirk on his lips as he whispers something into the drunken man's ear.
You can't hear what he says, but Mr. Baek's face pales at the words Jungkook speaks and you feel the grip on your arm loosen. Then Mr. Baek stumbles away from you. He points at Jungkook, "You're fucking insane," Then he points at you, "And you...You're a demented bitch, if you don't quit, I'll get you fired."
Jungkook raises a hand, making Mr. Baek flinch.
You think for a moment that Jungkook might hit the drunk teacher.
But then Jungkook just waves slowly, a small smile on his face as he watches Mr. Baek gulp before turning and running away, wobbling unsteadily on his feet.
Once the front doors close behind Mr. Baek, Jungkook turns to you.
"Are you alright?" He asks.
You nod, still shaken up by the whole ordeal.
Jungkook punches you very lightly on the arm, "Don't worry. He won't try anything again."
"H-How do y-you know?" You finally ask, looking up at him with the biggest eyes he's ever seen.
"I- uh...he just won't," Jungkook mumbles, looking away.
You nod absentmindedly, then you give Jungkook a small smile.
"Th-thank you, for h-helping me."
He looks back at you and smiles uncertainly, "Of course."
"Why w-were you h-here?" You ask suddenly.
Jungkook rubs the back of his neck, "I thought you might want to hang out today since it's the last day of school. I ran into one of the teachers outside and they let me in, she told me you would be in your classroom."
You two sit in silence for a moment, then you punch him on the arm as he did to you, "If y-you want t-to hang out, d-do you wa-want to help m-me clean m-my classroom?"
Jungkook nods reluctantly, "Yeahhh, sure."
You laugh at his lack of enthusiasm and turn to open the door, letting him go in first.
Once he steps inside, Jungkook scans the room. It's something that his brain automatically does, it always has since he started in this line of work.
"Wow, it's so...colorful." He muses.
You giggle at that, "Well, y-yes. It is m-my k-kindergarten classroom a-after all."
"True," Jungkook turns to you and almost laughs, then he catches himself and clears his throat, "Well, what do we do first?"
"Mm, l-let's start b-by wiping down th-the tables." You walk over to a locked cabinet, unlock it, and hand him a bottle of sanitizer and a cloth.
Jungkook takes it, "Why is it locked up?" He asks curiously.
You try not to laugh again, biting your lip.
"What?" He looks at you in confusion.
"I can't j-just have cleaning c-chemicals out where l-little ducklings c-can get to them." You inform him sweetly.
"Ah," Jungkook nods, then he looks back at you, "Little ducklings?"
"Oh, th-that's what I c-call my s-students." You say shyly, your cheeks turning pink in embarrassment.
"That's sweet," Jungkook says simply, taking you by surprise. Then he turns and starts spraying the mini tables and wiping them down. You watch him for a minute, then you snap out of it and hurry over to your desk to do some organizing.
A few minutes later, you hear Jungkook clear his throat. You look up to see him watching you as he hovers above your desk.
Your cheeks turn pink and you look at him questioningly, "Uhm, y-yes?"
"I'm all finished wiping the tables," He says simply.
"Oh...oh!" You tap the papers you were holding on the desk, straightening them out. But you end up nicking your finger since you were rushing and you hiss in pain at the sharp sting.
Jungkook looks at you in surprise at your exclamation, "What happened?"
You hold your pointer finger up to your face as you inspect it, "I c-cut myself."
"Oh, that's rough. Paper cuts are the worst." Jungkook says sympathetically, watching as you reach into your desk drawer and pull out a few band-aids.
You carefully put one on your finger, then you look at Jungkook, thinking of something. He twitches at your intense gaze, "What?" He asks.
You grab the other band-aids and hold them out to him, "Here, y-you take th-these."
Jungkook looks at you in confusion, "No, that's fine. I don't want to take your stash of medical supplies."
You smile at that, reaching out to grab his hand and put the band-aids in it, "I i-insist. I have p-plenty, and you n-never know when y-you'll need a b-bandage."
Jungkook takes them reluctantly, putting them in his jacket pocket sheepishly, "Uh, thanks."
"Mmhm." You smile at him brightly and he finds himself tearing his eyes away.
"Well, what's next?" He asks, clearing his throat loudly.
You stand up and go over to the corner of the room where you have lots of toys in buckets and a mini toy kitchen, "We can s-sanitize all of the t-toys."
"All of 'em?" Jungkook asks, trying to hide the reluctance in his voice as he gazes at all the toys.
"Yup!" You say, snatching the sanitizer from him and plopping onto the ground.
You grab a random bucket and dump it out, watching all the dolls fall onto the floor. You look up at Jungkook and wave at him expectantly, wanting him to sit down with you.
Jungkook sighs and sits down, scooting away from you and grabbing a doll to start cleaning.
The two of you work silently for a while and just when Jungkook is sure that this torture will never end, you grab the last bucket. He sighs quietly in relief as you dump out all the blocks.
He expects you to start sanitizing them, so he's taken by surprise when he sees you start building with the colorful blocks.
Jungkook watches you quietly as you mumble to yourself, stacking block upon block as you count them. He's very confused. It's like a switch flipped in you and you're suddenly a child. Well, you always act like a child, but this is different. It's like you completely forgot what you were doing and that he was even there.
"Uhm, ____?" He taps you on the shoulder and you flinch, then you look at him.
"Oh, s-sorry Jungk-kook! You c-can have some t-too," Then you push a little pile of blocks towards him, "Let's have a c-competition to see who h-has the b-best tower!"
"No, uh, that's fine...I don't-"
The look on your face makes him stop. You look so excited to build blocks with him...
Jungkook swallows thickly, then nods, "Uhm, o-ok." He grabs some blocks and starts to pile them up near him, "It's on," He smirks at you, his competitive side coming out.
You grin and get back to work on your tower.
Jungkook finds himself looking over at you more than a few times, but he catches himself and brings his focus back to the task at hand each time.
You're going to kill this girl.
She'll be dead in the next week.
Jungkook jumps at your sudden cry, then he looks over at you, "What's wrong?"
"My t-tower isn't stable enough. It's g-going to f-fall for sure." You pout and cross your arms. Jungkook shakes his head, "Just add some more blocks down here, so it can hold itself up-"
Then to both of your horror, the block that Jungkook touched wobbles and your entire tower comes crashing down. You and Jungkook desperately reach for the collapsing structure, trying to salvage as much as you can before the whole thing is ruined.
But despite your attempts to save it, it all comes down, apart from a single block on the bottom. Jungkook purses his lips together, then he looks at you to see you biting your lip.
Please, don't cry.
He thinks desperately, knowing he can't handle you having a meltdown right now.
"I'm...sorry, ____." He says cautiously, watching your every move. Honestly, he couldn't care less, but if you have a fit, he'll be even more pissed about this whole thing. Then your wide eyes look back at him and you point at his chest, "Y-You did that on p-purpose!"
Jungkook lifts his hands, "No, I didn't!"
"You d-did! Ch-Cheater!"
Jungkook thinks for sure that you're gonna throw a tantrum, but then you burst into laughter. You fall onto your back, giggling like a little girl.
Jungkook heaves a breath of relief, then he shakes his head, "I am not a cheater. I'm a lot of things, but I am no cheat." Then he knocks his own tower over, causing your eyes to widen even more.
"W-Why did you d-do that?" You ask breathlessly.
"Now we're even." Jungkook shrugs.
You smile and hand him the bottle of sanitizer so you guys can finish the job you started.
After you finish organizing your classroom, you and Jungkook head out.
"W-Well, thank y-you for your h-help." You say kindly as you and Jungkook make your way down the front steps of the school.
Jungkook shrugs, "No problem."
"I'm h-hungry." You state out of the blue.
Jungkook looks at you as you two walk down the sidewalk, "What do you want to eat?"
"Mmm, let's e-eat- oh!"
You suddenly cut yourself off with a gasp. Jungkook watches you run over to the grass as you bend down and get to your knees.
"What is it?" He asks as he walks over.
Then he sees a baby squirrel lying on the grass next to your knees.
"Oh, the p-poor little th-thing." You say tearfully, reaching out to touch it gently on the head. Jungkook kneels next to you, "Is it hurt?" He asks. You nod, "L-Look at its l-leg."
He looks where you're pointing, noticing that there's a cut along the back leg of the tiny animal, "What do we do?" He asks cluelessly.
"C-Can you please g-go ask for a b-box or bag from one o-of the s-stores over th-there?" You point towards the shops.
Jungkook nods and gets up to hurry to the closest store.
Why the hell am I wasting my time like this?
He walks in and sees an old woman at the front. He walks over to her and she smiles, "Welcome in! Are you here to shop for a loved one?"
With a glance around, Jungkook realizes it's a dress shop, there are no men's clothes in here. He clears his throat and shakes his head, "Actually, I was just wondering if you had a small box or bag that I could have?"
The lady looks at him quizically, so he continues, "I just- there's an injured baby squirrel out there, and my uh, my friend wants to help it."
The worker smiles and nods, "Oh, of course! Well, we have some small boxes for purchases such as scarves," She reaches under the front desk and pulls out a small white box.
"Oh, that's perfect, thank you so much." Jungkook takes the box and the woman waves kindly as he makes his way out.
When he makes it back to you, your eyes light up at the sight of the box, "Thank y-you, J-Jungkook!" You take the box and open it up, then you very gently move the baby squirrel inside of it.
"Is th-there a vet around h-here somewhere?" You ask as you carefully stand up, cradling the box in your arms. Jungkook looks around, "Uhm, I think there might be one a few minutes from here. I'm sure we could walk there."
You nod and he leads the way.
You two walk for about ten minutes before you see the small building with a sign saying it's the animal hospital up ahead, "Oh! Th-There it is!"
You make your way there and Jungkook opens the door for you since you're holding the box. You walk in and the lady at the front desk smiles brightly.
"Hello!" She greets you kindly.
"H-Hello, I f-found this b-baby squirrel. It's hurt, I w-was hoping you c-could help it?" You set the box on the front counter so the girl can look inside. She frowns at the small animal and then nods, "Of course, we can definitely check this little one out. Thank you so much for bringing it in.”
You nod happily and turn to smile at Jungkook. He isn't paying much attention, but when he sees you looking at him he gives you a thumbs up.
By the time you give your information to the girl at the front desk just in case and you and Jungkook have left the vet, you're positively starving.
"Ok, n-now we can eat." You say with a laugh.
Jungkook nods, "Right. So, what do you want to eat?"
You put your finger to your chin in thought, "Mm, I k-kind of want a h-homecooked meal. What a-about you?" Jungkook looks thoughtful for a moment, "Sounds good to me."
"Ok, you c-can come to m-my place!" You say excitedly.
Jungkook nods again, "Ok. But I do have to do something at home first. Would you like me to get anything for the cooking before heading over?"
"Well, if you h-have pickled radish, could y-you bring it?" You ask, smiling when he nods.
"Yeah, I'll bring some. I'll meet you at your place in a little bit."
"O-Ok!" You wave to him but he's already turned and heading in the opposite direction with his head down as he hurries around a corner. You brush it off and start heading to your apartment.
You walk up the steps to your place and pull your keys out of your purse. You unlock the door and walk in, then you notice with horror that there are a few dishes and some tissues and clothes around the apartment.
You gasp and run over to grab the bra that you had taken off and thrown on the couch because you were too lazy to bring it to your room. Then you grab a few more articles of clothing and run back to the bedroom, tossing them into your laundry basket.
You rush back out and clean up the tissues and a chip bag that was on the coffee table from last night when you were binge-watching your drama. After that, you run to the kitchen, smacking your knee on the cabinet door that was open when you forgot to close it.
"O-Ouch!" You hiss in pain.
Then you suck it up and start washing the dishes in the sink as fast as you can.
Jungkook climbs the stairs to his place as he fishes the keys out of his jacket pocket. When he unlocks the door and comes in, he sees Tae on the couch, reading a book.
Taehyung looks up and smiles, "Yo, JK. Long time no see."
"You saw me this morning." Jungkook points out as he walks to the fridge and opens it to look for the pickled radish.
"Yeah but that was hours ago." Tae pouts.
"What are you reading?" Jungkook changes the subject, then he notices the pickled radish and makes a sound of approval as he grabs it.
Taehyung looks at the cover of the book, "I don't even know. But it's boring as hell, I found it on your bookshelf."
Jungkook rolls his eyes, "Well, make sure to put it back when you're done."
"Yeah, whatever mom."
Then Jungkook walks over to his closet and pulls out his safe.
"Oh, yeah." Tae speaks up again, "What is this? I found it in your jacket pocket..."
Jungkook turns to see the picture that Tae is holding up. His stomach drops when he realizes it's the image you drew of him on the bench.
"It's fucking terrible." Tae muses as he looks at it judgingly.
Jungkook snatches it out of his hands and folds it up, then he walks over and puts it in his nightstand drawer.
"The fuck, JK? Why are you so defensive of that picture?"
"Then why'd you snatch it out of my hands like I was holding your mom's ashes?"
Jungkook turns to look at Taehyung, a burning hatred in his gaze. Taehyung realizes his mistake and gulps, "Shit, sorry. I didn't mean it like that-"
Jungkook pushes past him and walks over to the safe. He pulls out the little vial he had the other day and slips it into his jacket pocket.
"Hey, wait. You're actually going to use that?" Tae asks in shock.
Jungkook whirls on him in an instant, getting up in his face with a snarl, "Yes, I'm going to fucking use it. I'm running out of time, and I don't give a fuck what this dumb bitch did. Leave me alone or get the fuck out."
Then he stalks over to the kitchen to grab the pickled radish. He leaves, slamming the door shut behind him.
A knock on your door makes you smile. You had just finished tidying everything up and he was just on time. You walk over and open the door to see Jungkook standing there.
He gives you a tightlipped smile and comes in when you gesture for him to.
"Sorry I took so long," Jungkook says.
"Oh, n-no you didn't t-take long at all!" You assure him, then you close the door and lock it. Unknowingly locking yourself into your apartment with the one person that would do anything to make sure you're dead by morning.
a/n: a long awaited chapter haha, sorry guys. hope you liked it tho! your thoughts are always welcome <3
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appearances pt. 1
pairing: 40s!bucky barnes x female!black!reader
warnings: language, angst, mentions of racism a bit?
word count: 2.2k
a/n: watched the first avenger and my brain almost immediately felt the need to write this down so enjoy, friends!
i do not consent to my work being copied in any way, shape or form or reposted on any other platform
not my gif
Being a Black nurse in the United States in the 1940s was far from easy. Your parents had always taught you to take care of and protect yourself. As you grew up, you learned that people weren’t as black and white, no pun intended, as they had made you believe. As a near 20-year-old now, you still used their advice, but you did so with a grain of salt.
You had always felt the need to help people, which was why you had decided to become a nurse. Sure, it was hard, but you were a strong, determined woman that believed that nothing could stand in the way of your dreams.
And it was by doing exactly that that you had met the love of your life.
James Bucky Barnes.
He was an extremely handsome man. One that came to the hospital far too often to get his friend Steve checked on.
Bucky was a huge flirt, which you didn’t mind, it’s not like you spent that much time together. But after a while, you noticed that Steve always seemed to stay at the hospital slightly longer than the previous time. He always said that he wanted to stay to make sure that everything was okay or that he had a headache and he preferred to stay where it could be monitored. But somehow, Bucky always stayed right next to him.
After about three months of coming to the hospital at least four times a week, Bucky had asked you out. At first, you had thought he was fucking with you. A handsome man like him asking out a regular woman like you? Even after you said no? It had to be a trap. Or so you thought until Bucky had left to use the bathroom one time and Steve had convinced you to say yes to him. He seemed so earnest while talking about how much his friend liked you and talked about you often that you couldn’t refuse. So, you had told him yes but only if you went somewhere private and at night.
It wasn’t because Steve and Bucky didn’t mind the color of your skin that everyone else in town shared that feeling. And you didn’t need this kind of thing coming back to your parents.
And so, you had started dating. Sure, it was in secret and only Steve knew but you didn’t mind. Bucky called you a hopeless romantic, but you liked to say that your romance was like that of Romeo and Juliet.
The sneaking around was fun. At least, at first it was. But now, a year after your relationship had started, it was getting increasingly energy-consuming.
Today was your anniversary with Bucky and it just so happened that you had the day off from work. You were supposed to meet him in the park where you had your first date at sunset but until then, you didn’t have any plans.
So, when your mother asked you to go grocery shopping for her, you hadn’t hesitated to say yes. Oh, how you regretted it now.
You were currently walking back from the grocery store, bags of food in hand when you had first heard it. Bucky’s laugh, coming from near you.
You frown as you focus on it to find him. Your breath hitches and you feel tears pooling in your eyes at the scene in front of you. Bucky is leaning against a wall in a hidden alley, flashing his smile at a girl in front of him, his hand on her cheek. Even with her back to you, you could recognize her.
Dolores. Or Dot as people usually called her. She was Bucky’s longtime pursuit. Everyone thought they would end up married with a whole litter of kids. Childhood sweeathearts and all that.
Bucky looks up, spotting you, and you see his smile falter for half a second before it’s back up like nothing happened.
You bite your lip, trying to keep your tears in, as you turn around and walk faster towards your house. Luckily for you, your family lived near a large park, full of thick, tall trees that were essentially soundproof. As soon as you step foot in the park, tears are flowing freely down your face and sobs are shaking your body.
You hated that you were crying because of this. But what you hated even more was your complete inability to do anything. If you had had any kind of reaction back in town, an uproar was sure to happen. You didn’t want or need that and neither did your parents.
You let out a breath when you arrive at your house and see that nobody’s home.
You put away the groceries hurriedly before taking a hot shower. As you exit the bathroom, you see that the sun has set, making your room pitch black. You also notice that your family has made it home, hearing your father, mother and sister talking downstairs. You close your curtains and turn on your bedside lamp, not wanting a light too bright illuminating your room. You put your pyjamas on as you hear a knock at your door.
Your mom opens that door and walks in, leaning against your desk before asking, “Already in your pyjamas? Did you already eat?”
You shake your head, replying, “No… I’m just not very hungry so I think I’m going to read a bit then go to sleep.”
Your mom nods slowly before answering, “Okay, good night then, honey.”
You mumble a “good night” to her as you get under your covers. You reach for the book sitting on your bed night table. You didn’t even remember the last time you had time to sit down and read.
You barely read a sentence before you hear a small noise at your window. You roll your eyes, knowing exactly who it was.
You set your book down and walk to the window, opening the curtains and sliding the window open just a smidge.
“What do you want, Bucky?”
Bucky cringes at your use of his full name. In the past year, you had only ever called him Buck or Baby, sometimes James when you were joking, but never Bucky.
Bucky smiles slightly at you, “Can I come in?”
You sigh, opening the window completely and turning around to sit on your bed. Bucky climbs into your bedroom and sits down on the edge of your window.
“So, how was your day?”
You look at him, mouth agape. Was he being serious right now?
You cross your arms across your chest and reply sarcastically, “Gee, Bucky, my day was great, thanks for asking.”
He bites his bottom lip before coming to sit down next to you. “Nothing happened with Dot. We were just talking.”
You sigh and shake your head, getting up to pace around your room. “I don’t care, Bucky. That’s not the problem. I just…” You stop in front of your closet, looking down at your feet, “I can’t do it anymore, Bucky. I can’t handle it.”
Bucky walks towards you rapidly, “No, no… Don’t say that, doll. I won’t see Dot again, I promise. I won’t talk to any other girl, only you. Just don’t say that please.”
You shake your head, looking up at Bucky.
“It doesn’t matter if you see her again or not. Or who you talk to. It just can’t work.”
Bucky stutters, trying to find the right words to say, before looking into your eyes, unshed tears in his.
“Why are you doing this to us?”
You glance at the floor before looking back into his eyes, biting your bottom lip, “Because, Bucky, it just has to be like this.”
Bucky shakes his head, “No but I won’t talk to Dot again, it’s fine.”
“God, Bucky, it’s not about-”, you start, practically screaming before Bucky puts a hand over your mouth, frowning.
“Keep your voice down!”
You rip his hand away from your face before walking back to your bed.
“It’s not about Dot, Bucky. Or anyone else. It’s about me.”
Bucky looks at you confusedly.
“We’re not going to go anywhere, Bucky. It’s not like we’re going to get married and have kids or something. It’s stupid to keep doing this when we have no future together.” You finish, throwing your hands in the air.
Bucky’s face contorts with an expression of hurt and slight anger, “You don’t see a future with me?”, he whispers.
You look up at him and despite every single cell in your body screaming at you to say yes, you shake your head at him.
You see a single tear fall from his eye before he nods his head dejectedly. He wipes it away angrily before walking back to your window. He makes his way on your roof but before jumping down to the ground, he fishes something out of his pocket. He slams a small, black box on your windowsill and says, “Happy anniversary, by the way.”
He looks at you one last time before jumping down from your roof. You feel some tears falling down your face before you walk slowly to your window. You take the box, exhaling deeply as you open it, feeling the air being sucked out of your lungs.
A modest but beautiful engagement ring sits in the center of the box, surrounded by velvet. Tears are now freely flowing down your face as you take the box and lay down in bed, staring at it for God knows how long. After feeling like no tears are left in your body, you close the box, tucking it in your bed night table drawer, before falling asleep.
The next morning, you wake up, stiff, dehydrated and with a headache. As much as you would have liked to stay in bed and cry some more, you had a shift at the hospital this morning that you absolutely could not miss.
You wearily get up from your bed, following through with your morning routine before walking to the hospital. As you look at your assignment for the day, you hear a small throat clear behind you. You whip around, seeing Steve right behind you, looking exhausted. He waves at you, muttering a “hey”.
You take him to his usual room and make him sit on the bed before getting the clipboard from the counter.
“So, what’s wrong with you today, Steve?”
“Nothing. I came to talk to you about Bucky.”
You swallow thickly before putting the clipboard back down slowly. You lean on the counter and cross your arms before nodding at Steve to continue.
“He came back home last night, sobbing. I could barely even understand anything from what he was saying except your name. What happened last night?”
You look away from Steve uncomfortably before biting your lip and answering quietly, “I broke up with him.”
Steve frowns in confusion before asking, “But why? I thought everything was going super well. Did he mess up the proposal or something?”
You feel tears rise in your eyes at the mention of Bucky’s proposal. You shake your head slowly before replying, “He didn’t make it to the proposal.”
Steve looks at you, even more confused than before.
You sigh, saying, “I broke up with him because it’s what’s best for him. He doesn’t need to be held back by me. Do you know what people would say if they saw us together, Steve?”
Steve looks at you, surprised, “Since when do you care about what people have to say about you?”
You shake your head, “Us.” Steve tilts his head in confusion.
“People wouldn’t be talking about me. They would be talking about Bucky and me. I’m protecting him. He doesn’t need to go through that kind of shit. If anything, I’m doing him a favor.”
“Why can’t you let him decide what he needs?”
“It doesn’t matter, Steve. It’s done. Bucky probably doesn’t want to see me ever again.”
“That’s not true.”
You feel the air being knocked out of you as you turn around to see Bucky in the doorframe. He looks drained, his face void of color and his eyes bloodshot.
“I love you more than anything else in the world. How could you ever say that I don’t want to see you?”
Steve gets up from the bed, walking towards the door, “I’ll leave you two alone.”
As Steve is leaving, Bucky enters the room and closes the door behind him.
He stands in front of you, slightly out of reach, with his hands in his pocket.
You exhale deeply before starting, “Look, Bucky, I can’t do it. It didn’t really hit me until yesterday that we’re not going anywhere together, it can’t work.”
Bucky clenches his jaw tightly, “Stop saying that.”
“But it’s true, Bucky. Do you really think that anyone is going to support us?”
You roll your eyes slightly, “Steve is literally the definition of good. He couldn’t be mean to me if he tried.” Bucky chuckles softly, knowing that you were right. His face becomes serious again before he replies, “Who cares about anyone else? There’s you and me in this relationship. No one else. So, no one else matters.”
You shake your head, “Bucky, we can’t just live with no friends and no family. What kind of life would that be?”
“It doesn’t matter because I would be with you.”
You feel your heart squeeze at Bucky’s words, “Bucky, we can’t. It has to be this way.” You look up at the clock behind him.
“I have to go, my shift started 10 minutes ago.” You walk towards Bucky, stroking his cheek. He leans into your hand before you kiss him softly. His eyes flutter shut as his hands grab your waist.
You pull away from him gently before saying, almost inaudibly,
hi @saiyanprincessswanie i would love it if you could read this! part 2 is coming in about a week though!🤗
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WAIT, WAIT, WAIT…..
Have I not told you guys this story?????
I must have mentioned it. I must have mentioned it at some point.
HAVE I SERIOUSLY NOT TOLD YOU GUYS ABOUT MY HORRIBLE 7TH GRADE PHANTOM FIC????
Okay, buckle up, buckaroos, here we go. This might get long because I can’t shut up, but I’ll put some nice pictures in here to break up the wall of text:
The year is 2004. The film has just come out. I, a 13-year-old closet goth for whom everything is worthy of an overdramatic Shakespearean reaction, watch the movie. It is my first exposure to Phantom besides the silent film; I have never seen the musical before now. So I watch it.
And that’s it. I am gone.
I know, with the single-minded conviction of a medieval Christian martyr, that this is what I have been waiting for. This is now what I would live for.
Me, stumbling into the Phantom fandom, aged 13:
And it did.
But, like any 13 year-old in 2004 whose sole ambition was to be Amy Lee and also Anna Valerious from Van Helsing at all times, I had to rewrite the Phantom’s ending.
I had to.
And it had to be dramatic.
I actually remember sitting down to write this thing in my brown, spiral-bound, Mead 5 Star notebook at, like, 10 pm on a Saturday night after aggressively photosynthesizing the entirety of Fanfiction.net’s Phantom section on my dial-up AOL connection.
Above: Me at 13 about to pen a cultural touchstone with my hot pink gel pen while the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack plays in the background.
I was ready, people, I was flexin’ my knuckles for a fix-it fic and I was full of whirling hormones and crying for no discernible reason other than the fact that I’m a crier, but also, I was 13 and “Erik is so lonely!”
The fic essentially went something like this:
The story plays out as usual, and at the end, Christine leaves with Raoul. Erik–-who looked like Gerard Butler in my brain because I had no other basis of comparison and also, I thought he was hot, thereby completely missing the “ugly” point, but whatever–-Erik breaks all the mirrors and cries and wanders down a corridor and cries some more.
Above: “He’s so SENSITIVE.”
The mob breaks into his lair, but they can’t find him. Even though, ostensibly, they should have been able to, because he really didn’t go far. I think I wrote that he “stumbled through a nearby corridor,” nearby being the operative word here, meaning the mob was either the worst mob in history or just really, really stupid.
Above: “The mob will never find me here.”
Okay, so the mob leaves after looting his lair (he’s got, like, millions of francs stuffed in the walls down there, can you blame them?), and at this point, Erik lets out the breath he’d been holding–-oh, also, I should emphasize again that this is Gerard Butler Erik, so he’s ripped and wearing that torn puffy shirt and those unreasonably tight leather pants and riding boots, even though he has not been anywhere near a horse. And I amended the film so that thick, dark Dracula hair was actually his hair and not a wig, because I wanted it to “fall wetly” into his--here we go, I definitely remember this--“piercing, ice-blue eyes.”
Above: Truly hideous. Look at it for at least eight more minutes to take in the full scope of abjection laid before you. You can even zoom in if you want.
Actually, I think I gave him two different colored eyes à la Crawford, but I don’t remember what the other color was; probably red, let’s be real, because I was toying with a “HE WAS A VAMPIRE THE WHOLE TIME” reveal that then 13-year-old me thought was a stroke of literary genius.
Ripped Erik is stumbling away and crying in his torn puffy shirt, his 8-pack heaving with his sobs, when he lets out the breath he’s been holding and collapses to his knees.
Then, faint with hunger--
(I don’t remember why he was faint with hunger?? I just remember writing that phrase, which is truly a baffling little tidbit because obviously, he’d been well-fueled enough to stage the whole Don Juan fiasco, and I hadn’t even established that hunger was an issue at play, here, so unless Erik was hypoglycemic and needed to keep his blood sugar levels up, I cannot explain his hunger fainting. My only explanation is that I was a fainter as a kid, so I just assumed most people passed out whenever things became vaguely inconvenient.)
Above: Fanfic Erik after not eating for about 2 minutes, which, honestly? Same.
--faint with hunger, he passes out on the banks of the underground lake and eventually rolls straight into the water.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the entire opera house is on fire from the chandelier crash. People are screaming. I wrote that “hundreds were dead” and that “mothers wept over their children,” which also concerns me in hindsight, because while I fully support introducing children to the arts at an early age, can you imagine trying to explain to your friends why you took your 5-year-old to see the horniest self-insert opera of all time, Don Juan Triumphant?
Above: “I’ll find her if I have to burn down all of Paris and also this bastion of cultural and artistic nourishment, the very things I have sworn to protect and honor, but whatever.”
So the opera is burning down and Paris is in an uproar. Cut back to the cellars. Erik, still passed out, is now borne by the “furious currents”--I kid you not, I remember that phrase--of the opera lake--
(the underground, stationary, man-made lake, mind you, with no currents at all in real life; like, none)
--and his unconscious body starts to float out into the lake, spurred on by those furious underground lake currents with which we’re all so intimately familiar, until he drifts out from underneath the opera straight into the Seine.
Above: Turn your face away from the garish light of day.
Side note: I have never been to Paris, but I am reasonably certain that the Seine does not connect to the underground lake in the opera house. Which makes the fact that Erik floated all the way out to the Seine even more impressive.
Oh, by the way, the whole Seine was on fire.
I wrote some inexplicable science into the fic about the opera’s “oil stores” exploding in the chandelier crash fire and then leaking into the Seine, which caused an oil spill that subsequently set the entire river on fire.
A few things:
I had no idea the Paris opera house was as oil-rich as a field in Texas, who knew?
Hey, 13-year-old me, that’s not really possible because the Seine didn’t even connect to the lake underneath the--
You know what? Forget it.
Above: The Paris Opera House is the world’s leading petroleum supplier, followed only by Saudi Arabia.
So the Seine is on fire, and all of Paris is panicking, and here comes unconscious Erik floatin’ on down the river like the world’s ugliest, most ripped baby Moses.
Also, he was face-down.
Which should have meant:
Immediate resuscitation, followed by violent choking and spluttering up water.
Death in some other, inescapable way because there’s water, water, everywhere, and also, it’s ON FIRE.
Above: Fanfic Erik, awash in a fiery river, just vibin’.
But Erik didn’t drown or catch on fire or die in any other inescapable way. Miraculously, as if guided by the hand of God, he kept on floating down the fiery Seine, FACE DOWN, without needing to breathe, apparently, because he was a vampire. Maybe.
But I hadn’t established that at all and wasn’t even sure that’s where I wanted to go with the story, so really, Erik was just some guy floating face-down in the river, miraculously not dying the entire time.
And this is where it gets so-bad-it’s good:
He just kept floating. He kept on going.
On through the Seine out of Paris, out of France, and into--
--you guys ready?--
--into the ATLANTIC OCEAN.
WITHOUT WAKING UP.
AND WITHOUT DYING.
Above: Renaissance trade route with the New World? NOPE. This is roughly the route fanfic Erik went.
Does the Seine even empty into the Atlantic? Does it? I don’t know; I’m an American. None of us know anything about any geography, ever; we’re all idiots, and apparently, we don’t know anything about how DROWNING or BEING MORTAL work, because in my fanfiction, Erik just kept right on floatin’ all the way across the ATLANTIC MOTHERFUCKING--sorry, Mom, but sometimes a well-placed f-word is just great--the ATLANTIC MOTHERFUCKING OCEAN.
This, I wrote, took “approximately six weeks.”
Which, sure, may have been a realistic travel time for, say, a steamboat, but for an unconscious Frenchman who is floating FACE DOWN in a LARGE BODY OF SALT WATER for SIX WEEKS without proper FOOD OR HYDRATION?
Now, I did very well in science class. I did. You probably read that sentence and went
but I promise you, I did. I theoretically understood that it was impossible to survive such a journey.
But I just artistically decided that Erik could do anything he set his mind to.
Plus, I obsessively binge-watched I Shouldn’t Be Alive, and documentaries about parents who lifted cars off of their children in a surge of adrenaline that gave them superhuman powers, so I assumed that sure, an average 40-something-year-old guy could absolutely survive a six-week journey floating across the Atlantic Ocean face-down in a coma.
Oh, yeah, here’s another fun little tidbit: on his way across the Atlantic, he passed the iceberg that would sink the Titanic, because sure, why not at this point?
So eventually, he floats across the ocean and right into where all that tea wound up in 1773: Boston Harbor.
I remember writing something to the tune of “he bobbed into the harbor” which makes me picture his head banging up against a dock or Erik floating stiffly into American waters like a buoy.
Above: Oh, lawd, he comin’.
Yes, he was still unconscious. And face-down.
It’s nighttime when he finally drifts into the harbor, his sexy, Byronic antihero clothes still miraculously intact, and lo and behold, a hot Mary Sue (American, unnamed in the fic because I couldn’t decide between “Lena” and something else that was incredibly awful like “Persephone” or “Artemis”) just happens to be walking along the shores of Boston Harbor when she spots an unconscious man, face-down, in the sand.
(The Boston beach in my mind looked like a California beach, because that was the only beach I’d ever been to, never mind that Massachusetts and California are absolutely nothing alike other than being unbelievably expensive to live in and full of very loud, very opinionated people, heyo, same.)
She “exclaimed, her voice as pure as a bell”--yeesh--and dropped her “basket of violets”--what the hell? Who is carrying violets on a deserted Boston Harbor beach at, like, 2 am? --to rush over to help the man, her skirts rustling, her black hair flying.
And just at the moment she falls to her knees beside him, he wakes.
Perfectly fine, mind you; just ill enough to be romance-novel sexy. You know. “Faint, delirious, heaving.” Whispering and/or moaning, “Christine.”
Naturally, the unnamed OC isn’t bothered by his hideous (it’s really not that bad, it’s more like mild acne, calm down like 85%) face, because her father was a former--
--here we go again, kids--
--a former Civil War general who was also a doctor who was also Abraham Lincoln’s best friend.
(You bet your ass I found a way to wriggle Abraham Lincoln into a Phantom fanfic. This is America. I can do whatever I want.)
Above: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
So she was like, “I don’t care about your perfectly fine and objectively extremely handsome face, you are beautiful exactly as you are and also, I, too, am a trained doctor and also a singer and a dancer and impossibly strong, because I am able to lift up this ripped stranger and haul him over my shoulders and drag him back to my spacious apartments overlooking Boston Harbor.”
Erik fell back asleep/into a coma at that point, just so you know.
And that’s where it ended. I didn’t know where it was going, other than “hot American Mary Sue nurses Erik back to health and teaches him to love again and they live happily, sexily ever after, but in America, and they open a school where Erik is the head music teacher and his hot wife is the hot Other Teacher and they love all the little children equally,” which still sounds more plausible than Love Never Dies.
Above: Live your dreams.
Thirteen-year-old me shelved the fic and then forgot about it, until I was cleaning out my room in 10th grade, found my handwritten magnum opus, and, so mortified I could feel my butthole shriveling up into my trachea, I shredded the whole thing.
Now, look, I’m not saying the loss of that piece of literature was equivalent to the fire at the Library of Alexandria, but, I mean....
...he floated across an ocean.
All for love.
(That was the tagline.)
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chase — renhyuck
“needy kitty. i can’t wait for purge night.”
tw bullying, violence, swearing, yandere themes, possessive themes, blood, weapons (a gun, a grenade), implied noncon, implied kidnapping, mentions of stalking
disc i dont condone this behavior
29 hours before the annual purge
“hold her down—i said hold her down, idiot!”
putting everything into account, they saw you more like a glorified chew toy than an actual person.
they ruined your life simultaneously and it's ironic, that despite being sworn rivals, it seems you were their neutral ground—after one has had their own fun, you’re passed on to the other person so they can deliver that final, shattering blow that weakens your resolve.
it was meant to be that way because it had always been that way. you’re the unlucky loser that ignited the worse sides of both lee haechan and huang renjun.
they’re like oil and water; they don’t mix but with you, they found a compromise. stealing your lunch money, trashing your homework, quickies in between lectures. all of these should’ve been enough to give them a good power trip. but they’ve developed a hunger so severe that these past instances are but mere crumbs that hardly satisfy their cravings.
it was beyond exhausting, being caught in between two headstrong people that were unwilling to back down at any cost. their aggression and anger towards each other directly being channeled onto you as they shove and swing you around like some ragdoll.
you weren’t a bunch of kids, you knew that. you don’t cry and sob and say that it’s unfair, you hold your chin high and walk up to the guidance counselor’s office to report them for bullying. but you never should’ve underestimated the power of money and their respective families’ broad network of connections.
without a doubt, the empty promises for justice is what broke your heart the most. it breaks with every bruise, every tight grip, and every nasty name the people willingly turned a blind eye to.
it’s sad but it was a reality you taught yourself to get used to—the meek mouse learning how to evade the cats hot on her trail.
but you weren’t as lucky today.
“i am holding her down.”
a pair of lips comes in contact with your neck. its feathery and light at first until its biting down to mark you with his teeth. not too strong to draw blood, but enough to dent the surface of the skin.
haechan has an oral fixation. biting his lips. his nails. whenever you see him, he always has a lollipop on his mouth and if he doesn’t, he’s painting hickeys across your skin. you hated his oral fixation, especially when makeup and clothes proved useless to hide the marks he gives you.
“why run?” renjun asks you, slipping his fingers underneath your skirt as he kneels. “you know you have nowhere to hide in the campus.”
haechan snorts. “or anywhere else.”
it’s always the same thing. you go to school. you sit in your first period for thirty minutes until one of them shows up. then the other boy probably felt a gut instinct that he’s missing out on the fun. last time, it was an empty classroom in the abandoned left wing.
they like taking you there all the time, it was always dark, the blinds pulled and shut tight. not to mention it was incredibly dusty. but both male knew you’re afraid of the dark, exactly why it’s their favorite spot. but empty classrooms and supply closets are close seconds, too.
“you’re so pathetic. useless—only know how to whine like a fucking pornstar,” he quickly comments, feeling you arch against him when renjun’s tongue comes in contact with the pearl between your legs. “my cumdump.”
you feel a sharp exhale against your lower lips. you shudder. renjun clicks his tongue in annoyance. “can you shut up? you’re making my dick soft with all that talking.”
but haechan had ignored him completely, blissfully ignorant of the petite boy’s frustrations as he angles your head up to crash his lips onto yours. when he slightly pulls away, still playfully nibbling your bottom lip, what he said next made your blood run cold.
“needy kitty. i can’t wait for purge night.”
6 hours before the annual purge
the price to pay for protection started rising again this year and you, much like your neighbors, are in a sense of turmoil. jamming the doors with cabinets and nailing your windows with wood is hardly enough to satisfy the gnawing feeling in your stomach. much less when you didn’t even have a weapon to wield other than a wooden bat and a cheap taser you bought on sale.
“its not like anyone will be coming for you, right?” the little girl says, touching the randomest stuff in your apartment. her name was naeun and she never really liked pink and sparkles like most girls her age, maybe that’s why she took a liking to you.
her mom works a 9 to 5 and her grandma stays with her on occasion. but the old lady loved to sleep, naeun said, so she gets the chance to slip out and come knocking on your door. you tried shooing her out of your apartment countless times but she’s stubborn.
she reminds you of yourself.
“well, i hope no one does.” you joked, putting on a turtleneck.
naeun’s mom doesn't like you as much as it is, but if you yourself let naeun see the bruises on your skin? you’d hate yourself forever. “now, come on little missy, go back to your grandma. i need to head over to the bank to settle my protection fees.”
“but you just said no one is going to come for you anyway,” she whines stomping towards the door. “mom already settled ours yesterday becase grammy forced her to. mommy said it was just a waste of money because who’d bother to rob us anyway?”
a memory flashes in your head. two boys who’ve sandwiched you between them in the dark of a fucking supply closet at uni. wandering hands, labored whispers, curt giggles, one pair of lips trailing up your neck while the other up your inner thigh.
“needy kitty. i can’t wait for purge night.”
you needed that protection. that was no slip up because haechan never makes mistakes. if he wanted to make you feel like some animal on the run after catching a whiff of trouble then he sure is doing a good job.
“hey! i think you just went someplace else there,” naeun says, nudging your side irritably to get your attention again.
you try forcing out a chuckle but it doesn't work, still deeply peeved by a memory from last week replaying vividly in your mind. if they ever mean what they meant (which you know they do) then this is now more than just trying to get through the night—you have to survive, prepare, and pray neither of them finds you.
“i think your grandma’s right in doing what she did, naeun. with humans, you’ll never know.”
and just like that naeun went silent, bid you goodbye, and disappeared behind the apartment door.
the bank was a quick walk from your apartment. you hardly broke much sweat and you even managed to stop by the grocery store to make some last-minute runs. the store’s nearly empty, deserted of any human being as the seconds slowly but surely ticked away. it was only when you walked past aisle seven did you pause, the hairs on your back standing as a slow chill crawled up your spine.
you look over your shoulder.
no one’s there.
you swallow, quickly looking down your watch to check the time as you made your way to counter. 3 hours before the annual purge. you needed to get your ass moving. you just need to grab one more thing and you’ll best be on your way.
you practically ran towards the dairy section and just as you spin around, strawberry ice cream pint in your hands, you jump as he appears before you in thin air and you drop whatever you’re holding.
“such a skittish little kitten,” renjun clicks his tongue, bending down to retrieve the ice cream on the floor. “here you go.”
you couldn’t even stare at him in the eye. your hands shook but it wasn’t because of the cold desert. now you get it. it’s his eyes you felt on you earlier, ever intrusive and piercing as he watched you from afar. was he stalking you?
“i didn’t quite catch a thank you, kitty.”
how foolish of you to think he’ll let you duck away without at least speaking to him, hm?
“thank… thank you?”
renjun grins, satisfied with your stuttering as he raises a hand to ruffle your hair—he ignores how you flinched away from him—before walking away with one hand in his coat pocket, whistling an eerie tune that can haunt your nightmares way after purge night.
“see you later, kitten.”
if it wasn’t the whistling that set you on edge or that clear promise of your doom—it’s the pack of zip ties and duct tape in his hands.
you were watching a rerun of your favorite morning reality tv when it cuts to the dreaded blue screen showing the flag of korea.
this is not a test.
this is your emergency broadcast system announcing the commencement of the annual purge sanctioned by the south korean government.
weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the purge. all other weapons are restricted.
commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours.
police, fire, and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning until 7 am when the purge concludes.
may god be with you all.
you’ll never get used to the blaring siren that echoes through the empty streets. you can feel the floor vibrating and it travels throughout your whole body as the dread starts sinking deep into your skin.
you’ve already double checked all your windows and the front door. activated the security system provided by the bank. and you’ve also already charged your taser and have hammered down nails into your wooden bat. fine. if they wanted to scare and bully you into a panicked frenzy, it did its job but fuck no will you go down without a fight.
you shut all the lights, the apartment basking in the moonlight glow brought by the translucent curtains as you make your way to your bedroom, nearest the emergency exit just in case they barge through your front door by force.
at first, nothing happened. it was peaceful. tranquil. you can hear a pin drop with how quiet it was. both inside and outside. you were almost tempted to cover your mouth in case you were breathing too loud.
it’s silent. until it wasn’t.
your phone rings. it’s there, vibrating on your desk and you make long strides until you’re face to face with a set of numbers on your screen. an unregistered contact. there’s a debate inside your head whether to answer it or not, fingers hovering between the red and green button… until it eventually lands on the green.
you put it up to your ear, hands sweating as you wait with bated breath for the person on the other end to speak.
it’s renjun. you don’t answer.
“i can hear you breathing, you know. i can’t wait to see you. we’ll have so much fun together. it’s sad that i have to share with that imbecile but better half of you than nothing of you, right?” he laughs and you feel a rush of anger surge through you. yet, you don’t bother to give him the satisfaction of a reply.
“i can see you’re angry, little kitty. while it’s cute and hot… don’t be. turn that frown upside down for me, wouldn’t you?”
but the blinds are drawn he couldn’t have seen you—
“you’re never going to get me, you fucking bastard. i’m not scared of you,” you sure do hope he can’t hear the tremble in your voice. “whatever you plan on doing to me, you’ll fail.”
you walk back slowly, eyes darting everywhere to look for a camera they could’ve installed in your room. they have connections and the money to do it so you won’t put it past them.
“oh, my stupid kitty. how can we fail when we already got a head start?”
the floorboard behind you creaks and before you could turn around, someone slams your head against the desk. you hear a crack, whether it’s the screen of your laptop or your nose, you couldn’t tell. the person is agile and silent as he maneuvers you to the ground and seals your lips with duct tape.
“after all,” haechan giggles. “you can’t lock out what’s already inside, kitten.”
your phone lands somewhere near your head. renjun has already dropped the call and the line goes silent.
squirming, you glared at the person on top of you. is this how you’re gonna go? you can’t deny, even you yourself find this pathetic. the security alarms you bought, the nail-studded bat, your taser, everything was all for naught? just because you didn’t check under your bed to make sure no one was there?
how long was haechan waiting? when naeun was still here? when you went out to buy groceries?
you thought it would be fear you’ll be feeling as you get caught but the emotion isn’t present at all. instead, it’s white hot anger that overrides your system and forces you to act without thinking—and it just fucking saved your life.
haechan always saw you as a vulnerable, sad little human being who couldn’t do shit on her own. it’s easy to underestimate you and that’s his first mistake.
the second is rather foolish—not tying your legs up first. it’s all too easy to slam your forehead against his before jerking your leg up to knee him in the balls.
you can see the anger in his eyes clear as day as you made a run for it to the kitchen, having come up with another escape plan—because surely if you went down the emergency exit, haechan would’ve caught up easily with those long legs after he’s recovered from your assault.
your nose was probably bleeding and your head is in the early stages of a full blown migraine, at least you were able to function enough to wobble your way towards the trash chute situated near the stove. you had cursed that chute the first day you moved in here (who would put a trash chute next to a fucking stove) but the day has come for you to thank the gods that you have that in your house.
going for a swim in all your neighbors’ trash is disgusting and unplanned (plus, falling down maybe six floors to your doom) but you’ll choose that over lee haechan and huang renjun any day.
“don’t you dare fucking think about it!”
you flashed him the middle finger to tick him off. a petty retaliation for all the bullshit he and renjun put you through but it felt good nonetheless.
“catch me if you fuckers can.”
and you were falling down the trash chute.
okay, yeah—maybe you should’ve thought it through before hurling yourself six floors down only for some half-filled dumpster to catch you but at least you’re still alive, right? alive and free, mind you. but you don’t have time to celebrate.
it smelled awful and you swear your knees and elbows are bruised but you scramble to climb out and run away as fast as you can.
it was only haechan inside your apartment. no sign of renjun but he did see you somehow and you have no doubt it was a camera inside that room. you didn’t have much time to ponder for how long they were installed in your room. it’s the least of your worries at the moment.
during purge night.
even if you did manage to escape it felt more like a win than a lose, forced out of your own apartment in nothing but shorts and a shirt—heck, you don’t even have shoes on!—it felt like they won. again.
if you’re not going to die in the hands of some other wacko, you’ll die of hypothermia. how nice.
you didn’t know where you were running to, the only thing you knew was you need to get the hell out of this neighborhood as fast as you can. you didn’t want to run in alleyways and risk getting stabbed for fun. maybe the sewer system… oh, right. you don’t have your phone on you and it’ll probably be pitch black down there.
you really, truly, genuinely didn’t want to run so out in the open but it was the best you can impulsively come up with.
when you feel like you’ve put a reasonable distance between you and the apartment, you stop, hands resting flat on your knees as you crouch to catch a breath. just as quick the adrenaline appeared as fast as it had disappeared. you feel the weight and tension crushing your legs, not to mention you’re really starting to feel that headache settle after headbutting haechan.
you almost collapse against the brick wall.
the last person you ever thought you’ll see jumps out from the corner of the alleyway and you almost broke their nose.
until you saw who it was.
their apartment got raided, some buffy sickos who they had the misfortune of breaking into their house to purge. luckily they got away, but after getting attacked on the streets, naeun got separated after she ran for her life just like you did. you can’t help but feel sorry for the little girl, who experienced the full effect of this godforsaken holiday.
this is bad. you can’t leave her but it’s tough enough to have to fend for yourself. you’re not so sure whether you can protect another human being but you’ll have to try.
“did your mom or grandma tell you anything? anything at all?” you ask, crouching to her eye level. “you said your mom knew the way… where? what do you mean?”
“mom said they’re providing refuge on the other side of town but it’s a 30-minute drive. walking would take longer.”
shit. you didn’t want to risk it. you don’t have a car and you’d rather die right here right now than walk another step out in the streets—
“i don’t… i don’t know. she didn’t say.”
you licked your chapped lips. you can’t trust what she’s saying, not when you didn’t even know these people. it’s too risky, not to mention you’re already running from not one, but two people.
naeun sits next to you against the bricked wall of the alley, looking down at her lap. “i’m scared,” she admits. you hear a tremble in her voice. “are mom and grammy de—”
“no,” you cut her off, pulling her tiny body against yours. when you feel her fists clutching your jacket, you swear to protect this girl with your life. “no, they’re not. i’m sure they’re heading there now to the refuge center just like we are.”
her head pokes out, looking up towards you. “we’re going? i thought you didn’t want to.”
you shake your head, wiping her tears. “well, it’s the one way for you to meet your mom and grammy, right?”
walking down the streets during purge night—man, this has got to be the most ballsy thing you’ve ever done after that one time you spat at renjun in the eye. you managed to find a litter of bodies way into thirty minutes of walking and you nearly sent naeun flying onto the asphalt with how hard you pushed her back. she couldn’t see this mess, you’d be damned to allow a nine-year-old walk right into psychological trauma.
you pocket a gun—you didn’t have enough courage to fight with a knife. you wiped the blood off using your shirt before shoving them down onto the garter of your shorts. you didn’t bother to take their shoes, none of them would’ve fit you anyway and it’ll just slow you down.
“hey, are you alright? is that blood—”
“it’s not mine, naeun. come on, let’s get moving.”
for two hours you walked towards this mysterious refuge center on the other side of town and both you and naeun managed to evade death three times.
the first attack: a group of high schoolers with their uniforms on. there were three of them, about your height, and while you weren’t responsible for the blood on your shirt, you’re not so sure about their lot. they looked crazy, excited even, but sloppy in the way they flung their knives and bats around. their first purge, you assumed, so it was fairly easy to take them down. a bullet to the head worked like a charm. naeun didn’t say anything when you urged her out of her hiding place to flee the scene. three bullets left.
the second attack: it was a surprise, one that got you stabbed in the shin of your right leg. it was a drunkard with a knife, you could smell him as you walked past by his slumped form in the sidewalk. he wasn’t moving, so you thought he was dead and it was poor judgement on your part. it’s pathetic getting injured this way, you thought, but at least it was you who faced the consequences and not naeun. two bullets left.
the third attack: two men but deadlier than the girls and the drunk. you didn’t get to reason out with either of them, not when they drove their cadillac at 140 miles per hour and nearly ran you over. a chill crept up your spine when you saw the bloody, naked women strapped down onto the hood. victims. you didn’t engage in any form of combat, it’s impossible, so you took naeun in your arms and ran straight to the back alleys. number of bullets remain the same.
three lucky strikes.
three times you’ve cheated death.
but time is up and your luck has run out.
“beating up a girl? what a coward, if you ask me,” you say, spitting out a tooth after someone kneed you in the face. you were in no position to say such things when they’ve got you busted up and bloody, left eye swollen after one hard punch.
naeun is nowhere to be seen.
who knows what these assholes could’ve done to her. you told her to run so she better fucking run and make sure she lives through this nightmare.
another kick flies to your ribs and you lie sprawled on the dirty pavement of an alleyway—what an uncool way to die but at least you’ll die with a clear conscience.
you passed by city hall a few minutes ago. surely, the refuge center is not too far from there. naeun will make it safe. she’ll make it.
“what’s that look on her face? is she dead?”
another one scoffs. “well… if they’re after her then she’s as good as dead.”
you blacked out.
you hate the scent of disinfectant. it crawls up your nose and you hate how the stench is so strong you can taste it on your tongue. this isn’t heaven, not when you know you’re better off burning in hellfire.
unless you weren’t dead—your eyes shoot open, sitting up in haste as you clutch the thin blanket.
rows upon rows of the same cot you were lying on greets you. people injured, some standing, some sitting. there were people treating them, too, but they were in normal clothes so this can’t be a hospital. in fact, it looked like you’re in some warehouse, stacks of metal crates sealing off all entrances.
“it’s the refuge,” you whisper.
“you’re awake!” before you could even turn around, a body launches itself onto you and nearly makes the cot collapse. judging by the small frame and the pitchy voice—
“naeun, be careful!” her mother hisses but the girl in between your arms couldn’t care less. if she’d been an adult, she’d be squeezing the life out of you. when she pulls you closer, your healing ribs made a strike of pain surge through you.
you groan, bowing in the pain. distantly, you can hear the mother and daughter fighting and it was a banter you’ve never experienced with your own mom. it nearly made you tear up from the overwhelming wave of emotions you were feeling but all else disappears when a person tenderly grips your shoulder.
“thank you for taking care of my granddaughter.” the old lady was smiling appreciatively as she stared at you.
that was it. it could’ve been the happy ending to a gruesome and bloody storyline—it should’ve been, family of three reunites again and that was all thanks to you, right?
but even heroes have their own bad endings.
you heard the ticking of the grenade only seconds before it detonates. the other refugees didn’t even have the time to take cover as some closest to the sealed doors were sent flying so far back they crashed into the row of crates behind you.
you were severely injured, limping, ribs broken, and you only had one good eye to rely on—yet the first thing you thought of was protecting naeun. maybe the midget had a way of worming herself into your heart. but before you even push yourself off the cot, a figure emerges from the smoke.
petite and harmless, pretty as the tips of his hair grazed porcelain cheekbones. renjun’s eyes are as cold and calculating as can be and it’s the only thing that terrifies you to no end. when he opens his mouth, anger is hidden well underneath that calm tone.
“i’ll give you one minute to come here willingly.”
there’s no room for bargain, he needn’t when he knows you have absolutely nothing to offer him but yourself. he doesn’t finish his sentence but he trusts you’re smart enough to figure out the silent threat—come, or he’ll turn this place into a fucking bloodbath.
cornered and weak, defenseless. weird how they have a fixation for calling you ‘kitty’ when they’re the cats in this chase.
“naeun,” you whisper, trying to crane your neck to look for her in the filth of rocks and debris. please don’t be hurt.
you freeze when you feel a barrel pointing at your head. it was only there for seconds, haechan probably doesn’t have the guts to hurt you in any way permanently (unless it’s inflicted with his own hands and not through some other medium).
“ah, look. now we have matching black eyes,” he giggles like a madman, craning your neck up and the leather in his globes brings discomfort to your skin.
you see the way the other refugees looked at you—scum, dirt on their feet that brought about trouble in their lives. they were already badly hurt as it is and now, this happened? you don’t blame them.
not one man tried to stand up for you as haechan hauls you up and throws you down on renjun’s feet. your ribs were screaming and you’re cold and so, so afraid. with shaky fingers, you gestured towards the crowd. “just... please, don’t hurt them. they don’t have anything to do with this.”
renjun coos. such a cruel smirk for a pretty face. “aw, such an angel my darling is. always thinking of others instead of her own safety. funny because i don’t think you’ve ever done such a thing for me and haechan, though. i wonder why...”
the latter digs his heel in your injured legs and you scream as black starts to surround the corners of your vision. you tried to crane your neck back, pleading eyes wanting to look at the assaulter but renjun’s calloused hand is gripping your chin too tight.
“should we make a bargain, kitten?”
you stare deep into renjun’s eyes. he knows you don’t have anything left, he can see it in your glassy eyes, too wide and vulnerable. he’s doing this all for show, trying to make you even more desperate and self-aware of your eventual demise.
and you thought haechan was the only cunning one.
“what… what bargain?"
renjun practically gleams in pride. “i’ll let everyone walk free—even your precious little naeun—that’s her name, right? the little girl you’ve been protecting the whole night?—we’ll let her and everyone in this building walk away unharmed. that’s my bargain. you know how those work, right? now, you need to give me something i want.”
forcing you to offer yourself up to them.
what a brutal way to crush your pride.
choice wasn’t an option. if you don’t oblige and choose to run away on your own, they’ll kill them and still hunt you down. you gotta say, it was a tempting bargain that appealed to the sense of heroics in your heart. naturally, you have to choose where there is less blood shed. and as renjun lets go of your chin and lets you look over your shoulder to meet little naeun’s eyes, how she sobbed against her mother’s arms and shook her head and screamed…
“hurry, kitten. i don’t like to be kept waiting.”
you know what needs to be done.
“me. i’ll give you… me.”
they stood playing a game of pool in the dead of night. it’s peaceful inside the estate while the city beyond rampaged and burned. they achieved their goal, had finally seen an end to a plan that had been set in motion for years. they’ve succeeded and the broken woman lying on the bed meters from the pool table is proof of their victory.
“don’t you just love it when an elaborate plan works like clockwork, injun?” he asks, voice like trickling honey as he hits number 9 with the cue ball.
the other, more petite male, rolls his eyes but doesn’t disagree. “oh, please, people like us always triumph, donghyuck. it’s nothing new. although i am surprised that little girl and her so-called “family” played along so well. almost had me fooled.”
“i agree. it's such a shame they had to go.”
@hoeartchoke @donghyukcore @stopknot @greenish-taro @zhongriot @lmaoskz @zephyr-abyss @anonymous-stuff @josuke8 @jaemotel @winwiniee @dundun-baby @nakamotocore @hcwurld @alaeddis @recs-for-later @jaehyunssslut
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198 notes · View notes
Pairing: Jongdae/Chen x reader (female)
Word Count: 26,971 😬 read it in a mobile web browser if it crashes!
Rating: (PG13) for swearing + sexy vibes (nothing more explicit than a kiss on the page though)
Summary: Chen’s Electronics is a mystery, both how the store came to be and the man running it. When you start working as a receptionist for the enigma that is Kim Jongdae, you’re determined to be the one who unravels the mystery. You’re prepared for anything, except for falling in love with Jongdae himself.
Part eight of the Exodus Mall series (Can be read independently, but you’ll get some extra backstory if you read the other parts first!)
A/N: I’m SO delighted that Jongdae is getting his IRL happily ever after and I’m so excited to wrap up his fictional counterpart’s story today, so he can have his ending as well 💕
March 15th, 1997
Capitol Hill is in full swing, the promise of spring drawing the sleeping city from its winter hibernation. The silver dress you wear is far shorter than you're used to, but the denim jacket is big enough to properly cover your ass, which is something at least. In your platform boots, borrowed from your roommate Liz, you're almost tall enough to see over the busy street to Cal Anderson Park up ahead.
'Come on,' Liz says with an excited glint in her eye. 'The club's just on the far side of Boylston.'
You nod distantly, eyes wide as you try to take in all the people around you. After spending the last two years buried in a book in the UW library or at internships or in class it feels startling to realize how much youthful, passionate energy beats at the heart of the city so close to where you've been existing. Not that you never go out, but now that you’re approaching the end of your master’s degree you feel like a diver finally reaching the surface to draw breath. You’re ready to celebrate.
A door opens to your right and music surrounds you. An impassioned man sings about an even flow, accompanied by an aggressive drummer and what you can tell is skilled guitar playing. The people on the sidewalk beside you press in, screaming and cheering and trying to shove their way into a club. A faded sign above announces it as Moe's Bar.
Your roommate's hand finds yours and she pulls you out through an opening in the crowd.
Once you’re free again you laugh and brush your hair behind your ears. Dozens of other clubs and bars and late-night restaurants you pass are the same. Men with mohawks in every color of the rainbow. Women in combat boots with plaid jackets tied at their waists. A group of teenagers skateboard down Broadway, hollering into the night as they fly by, the clack of their wheels muffled by the lingering rain dampening the streets.
Everyone seems taken by the revelry. It would be so easy - to disappear into the thriving mass of people celebrating music and community and being alive. Now, with graduation so close you can finally taste it, you surrender to the sensation. Tilting your head back you look at the round full moon above, peeking out through the clouds, and give a joyful, if tentative, howl.
This makes your roommate turn and squeeze your hand. Liz smiles with pride. 'Now that's the spirit!' she says with a fist pump and howl of her own.
The nightclub is unassuming, especially amongst the neon and metal venues you passed to get here. Two simple brass lamps spotlight the enormous carved wooden doors. Bass thumps from within, the slight rattling of the doors is the only indication that life exists within. Shari’s reads the hanging sign.
Liz practically glows under the lights, a North star leading you into a whole new world.
After so many years of keeping your nose to the grindstone - success gained through effort rather than extraordinary intelligence; advanced classes, extra college courses during the summer, every extracurricular you could pack in before you cracked, a high school diploma by sixteen, bachelors by twenty and MBA by twenty two - you would follow her anywhere as long as it didn't involve studying or a business suit.
She guides you through the heavy wood door into a small entry room. A large man with so many piercings he'd have a terrible time at the security scanners at the airport checks your IDs. It's stayed in your wallet, practically untouched, since the official one came last year on your twenty-first birthday.
Finally inside the club you bite your lip to hide a wide, giddy smile of excitement. Bodies fill the dance floor, joyously swaying to the beat. A DJ booth rises from a far corner like Sauron’s tower in the Lord of the Rings. A man with dark hair that falls in his intense eyes runs the booth; a king commanding his loyal subjects.
Liz finds her group of friends from the mall she works at spread over two successive tables with circular cushioned benches behind them. Their names and faces blur together in the low lighting, but everyone is welcoming, offering you a smile or a shake of a hand. A cheerful blonde-haired man, who you swear says his name is Bacon, takes you and Liz’s coats and purses and adds them to an overflowing pile beside him.
Before you can even think of sitting down Liz guides you onto the dance floor. Normally you’re the one in control. The one with the plan. The group leader or the one who organized the debate team fundraiser/supply closet at work/networking mixer. But it’s… nice, not having to be the center of everything, keeping it together with your effort alone.
She gives you a teasing smile as if she can read your thoughts and you roll your eyes with a laugh. ‘No overthinking this!’ she commands with a raised brow as you find a good spot.
As if I have any other way of thinking. ‘I promise nothing!’ you shrug and smile at her.
Your movements are slow at first, awkward, and you laugh to yourself with amusement. Self-deprecation has never been your poison. Along with an unshakeable drive to make something of yourself you've always had a healthy sense of self-esteem. Who cares if you aren't the best dancer?
You get into the swing after the second song and shake your ass with delight at the energy in the room and the incredible job the DJ is doing loosening you up. He’s remixing “Semi-Charmed Life” with an older techno hit you don’t recognize.
Before long Jongin, Liz’s crush and co-worker from the KOKO exercise studio, captures her attention and you end up dancing with Baekhyun (tragically not actually named Bacon) and a girl who calls herself Hitchcock. You recognize each other from a seminar last school year at UW and take a long break to catch each other up on your lives over shots at the table.
She tells you about her dual jobs at Microsoft and the movie theater at the Exodus Mall. You fill her in on your thesis project and she offers to look over your resume as you plan to apply to a similar track at the tech giant after you graduate.
When Liz said she was forcing you from your obsessive, ahem dedicated, studying for your research paper you didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t all of this. Reconnecting with a friend. A potential foot in the door at your dream job. Dancing so much that your back gets slick with sweat. Laughing with Liz so hard your stomach aches as Baekhyun attempts to breakdance, nearly falling backwards into no less than four people.
As if the night couldn’t get any better, something else catches your eye. Someone else - the DJ steps down from the booth on a break.
His black pants, white shirt, and tie would be overly formal and out of place in the nightclub, but his pushed-up sleeves reveal muscled forearms. The neon yellow sunglasses and loose piano pattern of the tie he wears make him look sexy, in an off-duty retro businessman kind of way. His face reveals none of his emotions as he slips off his shades, tucking them in his jacket pocket. But the corners of his lips tilt up with amusement as he scans the room.
Clearly he’s impressed with the atmosphere he’s created here tonight. As he should be, you think. You imagine for a moment what it would be like if he noticed you. If this was a meet-cute or the start of something. But his focus is on the bar now, not lingering on you or anyone else in the club.
Dating for you was a rocky road and absolutely nothing like the way it looked in the John Hughes movies that were your guilty pleasure growing up.
Between your parents' support and your own innate thirst for success, you always felt like an outsider in terms of relationships. Extroverted and empathetic enough to make and maintain friendships, but boys were tougher. You could never figure out dating to your satisfaction in high school and you left when most of your peers were just finishing up Sophomore year.
In college there was hope. Studious and hardworking men with glasses and a love of Emily Dickinson and black coffee. Law school-bound guys who rowed crew and whose confidence was just on the right side of attractive instead of insufferable. John Cusack types with easy smiles and crates of vinyl they carefully collected, who performed at the Comedy Underground in hopes of ‘being discovered.’
It was both thrilling and irritating. You went after dating with almost as much determination as you did your school and career, set on experiencing everything possible.
But the English major wanted someone in a pastel dress and tights, who volunteered at an animal shelter and didn’t eviscerate him at Scrabble. The future lawyer was looking for his future trophy wife, to stand beside him at fancy dinners and fraternity mixers. And the Lloyd Dobler wannabe needed a muse, a beautiful and ethereal woman to be his object of longing, to laugh at his jokes and pass through life without worry about the future.
Not that you were jealous, or even bitter. Just because you weren’t what they were looking for wasn’t anything personal and you never took it like it was. The women they wanted existed and were wonderful in all their own ways. But it grated at you, how you always felt like a square peg in a round hole. Never being the right fit.
All your life you’d gotten used to knowing, and getting, what you wanted. It was insanely frustrating to not have found anything that stuck. Failure in any form made you frown, but thankfully romantic mishaps always took a backseat to school, friends, and your future, so it was easy to ignore. Until now.
The DJ passes close enough to you and Liz that you can see the echoes of dark circles under his eyes and the rich brown of his hair in the passing neon lights. For some reason that same intuition, that same hunger and drive that had propelled you to awards and scholarships and countless other successes, tells you to follow him. Whatever it is about him, your body and your desire react before your mind and conscious rational thought.
'I'll be back,' you yell to your roommate over the music. She nods and gives you a thumbs up as she's drawn into Jongin’s embrace once more.
Like a missile you weave through the crowd, target in sight. You watch as the DJ leans against the end of the bar, carefully positioning himself so he's at the end with no one behind him. You wonder if it's out of a dislike of people sneaking up on him or if he's a predator, sizing up the crowd.
With a casual hand he orders a drink from the bartender and surveys the crowd coolly. Too high on life to care too much, you take the seat two over from him, carefully avoiding eye contact, feigning nonchalance. ‘Self-possessed,’ that’s how your fifth grade teacher described you. Independent and old beyond your years. It always thrilled you, the praise and respect of adults. You wanted to earn more of it, to be seen as capable and mature.
But something about the man beside you makes you feel younger. Raw and playful in a way you’re not sure you’ve ever been before.
Admiring the cut of his jaw, you imagine kissing it. His hands on the bar are graceful, strong, befitting his profession. You want him and you want him to want you. The thought makes you inhale a deep breath, not even sure what that would mean. Adrenaline and delight fill your mind and you briefly fantasize about him holding you close on the dance floor like Jongin does to Liz. His hands on your hips and his mouth teasing your neck.
The bartender reappears on your side of the bar, his bald head gleaming in the lights of the club, and you snap back into reality. The flames tattooed across his knuckles shine as he slides a drink down the length of the bar, towards the DJ. An impulsive, reckless daring you've only ever felt before at debate tournaments makes you reach out and catch the glass of dark liquid before it can reach its desired recipient.
In one smooth motion you lift it to your lips and turn to meet the DJ's deep brown eyes. With a smirk you raise the glass. In two gulps you down the drink, the bourbon burning its way down your throat, reminding you how good it feels to be free, to be alive.
To challenge someone who feels like a decent opponent.
He watches you, his eyes flaring with surprise before fading back to indifference. He looks like a tiger in a cage at the zoo, pacing in front of a glass divider. His fingers tap impatiently on the lacquered bartop and he tilts his head, watching as you lick the moisture from your lip, savoring the taste. You wonder if he'd be just as heady and strong on your tongue.
You have the feeling that with the slightest pressure in the right place and the glass would shatter, unleashing the beast within. The thought makes you clench your thighs together, a heat filling you that has nothing to do with the people pressing in on you trying to get the attention of the bartender.
The DJ seems just as self-contained as you are. A voice inside you whispers of unstoppable forces meeting immovable objects and you wonder which of you would cave first.
Before you can say anything, before you can even wipe the satisfied smile off your lips or ask his name or offer to pay for the drink, he drops a bill to the counter and slides off the stool. He pushes into the crowd, disappearing as if he'd never been there. As if he hardly noticed you.
But you didn't miss the interest, the arousal, the animal within him rising to your challenge. He slinks back up to the DJ booth and resumes his position of power, thirst unquenched.
You don't know his name, or anything about him. Aside from the fact that the way he looks at you feels so wrong it's right, and that his hands are the first ones you've ever wanted wrapped around your waist so badly you can feel it beating in your palms.
But you know one thing, as you rejoin your roommate on the dance floor, whatever has started between you and the enigmatic DJ isn't finished.
May 21st, 1997
You straighten your blazer, looking in the mirror to make sure your outfit is perfect. It’s not your first interview this week and it certainly won’t be the last, but it is the one you’re the most curious about.
The position as a receptionist and accountant for an electronics repair store isn’t exactly how you pictured your first job after getting your MBA, but the pay and the opportunity to work alongside the enigmatic tech genius Kim Jongdae is a chance you can’t pass up.
All that’s left is the graduation ceremony in June and then you’re free. Your final exams are done, your thesis is defended, and you’ve completed a thorough and perhaps slightly obsessive spreadsheet documenting all your connections who might have an in at your most desired companies. Now knee-deep in the process of interviewing for jobs it strikes you all of a sudden that this is what you’ve been working for… almost all your life.
The lighting in the bathroom of the mall is stark and a moment of uncertainty makes your knees weak.
Since your test results in elementary school came back top of the class it’s been the same refrain. Get good grades. Impress your teachers. Study and diversify your interests and push harder every year and eventually it will all pay off, right? You’re damn proud of what you’ve done, but now, here in the after, all you can think as you watch your own reflection is - now what?
Frowning, you wonder how many other applicants there are for this job. Anyone in the tech circle in Seattle knows about Jongdae. Rumors abound that he was set to be the next Bill Gates when an investment deal went south. Or that he was kicked out of Harvard for embarrassing his professors with his superior smarts. Someone in your Econ seminar once told you she’d heard that he was contracted by the NSA to spy on foreign hackers.
Whatever his history, he currently runs a computer and electronics repair store in a very unassuming mall in Capitol Hill. You want to stand out, and what better way to do so than the track down the mystery of Kim Jongdae, the prodigy turned hermit. You infuse your veins with confidence, knowing you can handle anything thrown at you. Or so you think.
The mall is quiet and peaceful in the mid-morning on a Wednesday. A couple of tables in the food court are filled with older men and women playing cards and board games. A group of moms walks past you talking about a storytime at the bookstore in the mall.
The slow and steady hum of activity in here is a far cry from where you thought you’d be working. Professors encouraged you to head to IBM or Oracle. With your skills, business sense, and intuitive ability to pick up each new trend in technology they told you that you would have your choice of opportunities.
But while you’re no stranger to hard work and a competitive work environment, the idea of clawing your way to the top of yet another group of high achievers just sounds… awful.
You long to travel, to finally see some of the exotic and culturally rich places you’ve stuck photos of to your fridge. You want to be able to actually go out on the weekends and see your friends. Whatever your future holds you want to finally enjoy your life outside of school and work, even if it’s only for a year.
You could always recognize the friends who were interning at Amazon because they looked like they’d come off a week of no sleep. Many of your fellow MBA graduates were flocking there, as the company finally went public earlier this month. But something just felt - off to you. Like a canary in a coal mine.
Purpose, fulfillment, financial security, and a challenging work environment? Yes.
Burnout, no free time, and living and breathing for ‘the company’? No, thank you.
At the salary Jongdae had advertised you could easily continue to afford the apartment you shared with your two roommates and work on paying off the remaining student loans your scholarships hadn’t covered. And you could hide away a small amount of your check every month for the trip to Amsterdam you’ve been planning for years.
The gentle music in the wide, bright lobby of the mall makes you sigh in relief. This job is a win-win and you’re more determined than ever to get it.
You finally see the shop. If you weren’t looking for it, you’d have missed it between the black and neon purple exterior of KMS Music and the narrow security office tucked behind the lively pizza restaurant. There’s a line winding its way in front of the music store and you assume it’s for an album release. Until you realize that the line is leading straight where you’re going and stop in your tracks.
Chen's Electronics. The mall is full of colors and bright shop fronts. But this is almost bleak in comparison, as though it's resisted the outright displays of joy and liveliness that seem to be at the heart of the mall. The sign is red neon against a black and steel facade. A simple poster hangs in one of the two wide windows that frame the door.
- Hard Drive Repair
- Internet Connectivity Issues
- Computer virus protection
- Turntables, record players, and other portable home audio systems
- POS/credit card system repair (For stores in the Exodus Mall only)
We do not:
- Sell computers or computer parts. Don't ask.
You raise a brow at the last note. The harsh exterior of the store and the brusque tone definitely match with what you've heard of Chen's Electronics - that the man who runs it is a computer genius, but that his bedside manner leaves much to be desired. Perhaps that's why the job posting emphasized 'superior customer service skills.'
The line you join grows, others coming in behind you, and you wonder if Jongdae told everyone the same 10am time frame or if he staggered interviews throughout the day. As you wait the line slowly dwindles. A woman leaves crying a few minutes later, and you watch her go with surprise and attempt to peek into the store. You’re still too far back to see in, so you’re left to wait and wonder.
Finally you’re next, waiting just outside the store. A printed piece of paper is taped to the door. CLOSED FOR INTERVIEWS it says in big, bolded letters.
The tall man who was ahead of you in line isn’t visible at either of the two work stations set up inside the shop. There must be a back room of some kind. You take the moment to check out the space. The store is organized chaos. Rows of shelves line each of the two walls, full of equipment - computers in various states of disassembly, old transistor radios, a VHS player, a few turntables, and endless coiled stacks of cords interspersed.
The walls above them and the two walls behind the work stations, on either side of the hallway leading to the back, are blank. No advertisements or personalized touches to make the business seem welcoming. Just bland, empty beige walls. One desk has only a computer, keyboard, and mouse. The other is full of parts and tools that extend over the desk to not one, but two shelving units behind it. Like Jongdae was in the middle of a project and the interviews are a rude interruption.
A muffled angry shout comes from the back, behind the gray curtain hung up over the entrance to the rear of the store. The tall man moves it aside with a sneer as he charges across the floor. With a voice practically a growl he shoves open the door and you jolt back to avoid being hit.
He looks you up and down and shakes his head. ‘Good luck. You’ll need it.’
After a last straightening of your jacket you swallow and push through the door. It's quiet inside, almost reverent, as the door closes behind you. The fluorescent lighting overhead isn't the most welcoming and the tan carpet is terribly dated. No one comes to meet you. The man on the other side must be waiting, like a dragon in his lair.
Your hand closes over the strap of your purse and you hesitate at the curtain, not wanting to move forward without being invited. 'Hello?'
Footsteps come down the short hallway and a hand appears, moving the curtain out of the way to reveal a man. Your jaw almost drops. Oh, shit. It's not at all who you were expecting the famed Jongdae to be - a studious man with glasses and a bad tie.
No, this man is handsome in an aggressive way. His black hair is styled back in a neat wave. His high cheekbones and strong brows hold no humor or friendliness. Only the catlike upturn of his lips stands in rebellious contrast to his unwelcoming face.
This isn't the first time you've seen this face either, you realize, and it's like being run over by a train. He seems to connect the dots at the same moment and his eyes widen, eyebrows raising. It’s the DJ from the bar. The drink. The - oh, god.
He presses his mouth together, smothering his surprise and sitting down harshly in the chair at the crowded desk in the main room. 'What are you doing here?' He keeps his voice tightly contained, not minding in the least that the other potential job candidates are surely watching you both right now.
You give yourself a small shake and remember you're not here to hit on him. You're here for a job. 'I have an interview.'
Best case is ignoring the whole thing. It didn’t happen. Not here in the light of day. His poker face might be good, but yours is better. You keep your breathing even and hope that the racing of your heart isn’t making your cheeks red.
He tilts his head to the side, pressing his lips together in amusement. ‘Alright then.’ Turning to the side he stands and holds the curtain open, allowing you to pass by him into the small office behind.
Holding his focus, you pull out the chair in front of the desk and sit down. You place the resume and references on the table between you and fold your hands on your lap, waiting.
Jongdae takes his place opposite you as he slides the papers across the desk. His eyes dart faster than you can imagine anyone reading. He doesn’t seem flustered, but the tips of his ears are just slightly pink, his nose flaring a bit too much, and you realize he’s just as caught off guard as you are.
Finally, he finishes. 'I… don't think this is going to work.' He looks up, his hand resting on your paperwork on the desk. His face gives away nothing, but his eyes are wild and full of emotion you can’t decipher.
'Why is that?' You keep your voice steady, determined. He’s not going to dismiss you so quickly. Realizing the DJ and the tech wunderkind are one in the same has only heightened your desire to show him you’re the best person for the job.
Jongdae stares at you. This time, there's heat in his expression. You feel his eyes move over you, not taking in the professional attire, but clearly remembering the dress you wore from the club instead. 'I think you know why,' he says under his breath.
Clearing your throat you lean forward, drawn to him by some force you can't define. Like something is shoving you towards this job. 'I don't know what you mean. The posting was for an office manager and bookkeeper. I'm qualified in both and I have plenty of experience. Are you really going to decide I’m not a good fit without even asking me a single question?'
He groans and runs a hand through his hair, his composure faltering for an instant. 'Why do you want this position? You know nothing about me.'
He states it like a fact, not an opening for discussion, but you jump on it anyway. 'I know plenty.'
Satisfaction blooms in your chest when he narrows his eyes, raising a brow. 'I do my research, Mr. Kim. I’m top of my class at UW and I didn’t get there by accident. With such a small team I could get a far broader experience than I could being just another cog in the machine at Microsoft. I might not know you personally, but your reputation precedes you. I plan to excel in the tech industry. And to do that, I need to work with the best. Simple as that.'
'And I'm the best?' He leans back in his chair. Resting his elbow on the armrest, he drags a finger across his lips in appraisal.
His quick responses remind you of the competitive tennis you played growing up. The way it felt to thrive when paired with an equal opponent, someone who could match your speed and precision. Someone who gave as good as they got. How it made you better, sharpened your skills and reflexes up against someone who you couldn’t easily defeat.
'Are you trying to tell me you're not?' You cross your arms and look around, feigning surprise and curiosity. 'If you tell me who is, I'll happily go apply to be their office manager.'
He almost laughs in amusement. You can feel it. But he covers it as a cough instead and tilts his head to the side, sizing you up. 'And you know what this job entails?'
You repeat it easily from memory. 'Being the face of the business. Greeting walk-in customers. Helping them figure out if what they need is something we do. Conferring with you about pricing. Scheduling service appointments over the phone. Processing payments. Ordering supplies. Occasional advertising assistance. Other assorted duties as needed.'
'That about sums it up.'
In the charged silence you hear the muffled noises of the mall - children squealing with delight, orders being called out at the pizza restaurant next door, people talking - but it's all separated. You wonder if the distance is intentional. Many stores have roll up gates or at least have their doors propped open to draw in customers. But not Jongdae. It’s almost as though he’s actively trying to keep visitors out.
You favor boldness and decide to push him, what have you got to lose? 'So, when do I start?' Leaning forward, you give him a relaxed smile. ‘Unless you’d like to terrorize a few more applicants before you choose me? I’m happy to wait, Mr. Kim. But you can’t scare me away. And you don’t intimidate me.’
With equal decisiveness he cracks a lopsided grin and shakes his head, with both amusement and resignation. 'How's now for you?'
You give a passing thought to the other jobs, the ones you’d already interviewed for and the ones on your schedule over the coming days. They all go up in a whiff of smoke as you extend your hand across the table to shake Jongdae’s hand.
‘Now is perfect.’ His palm is warm against yours and you do your best not to react to the contact, but you can’t help the soft sigh that escapes you.
Jongdae withdraws his hand quickly, and you note with pleasure that he seems a bit shaken as he stands. ‘I’ll be right back. You can leave your things here.’ He motions to the coat hooks on the wall by the door and the tall, thin bookshelf with a few cubby slots.
Aside from a black scarf and a few extra office supplies on two of the shelves the rest of the space is empty. You wonder what he isn't saying. 'What made you want help, all of a sudden?’ He pauses and turns back to you. ‘From what I can tell you've been in business for a few years. Why now?'
He sighs. 'I'm too busy to keep doing this by myself.'
'Ah. And you hate that, don't you?'
The ghost of a smile graces his lips. 'Yes.'
Jongdae disappears through the curtain. You follow him after putting your coat on a hook and your purse in one of the spotless cubbies. The rest of the space contains a few filing cabinets, stacks of boxes, and a small safe resting on a narrow table.
When you appear back into the hallway you see a door to the left that must lead out the back. And on the opposite side is an archway with a kitchen sink, a microwave, a small fridge, and a few cupboards inside, along with a small circular table. The table has only one chair. You smile to yourself. Clearly he's accustomed to doing everything by himself.
When you emerge the other applicants are dispersing as he peels the taped sign off the door, balling it up in his hands.
Jongdae gets you set up on the computer at the other desk. It’s a relatively simple customer management software and payment system, both of which you pick up in no time. He runs you through the pricing list, pulling a laminated form from the top drawer. His filing system for customer accounts is simple and alphabetized.
Neither of you speak about that night again, but oh, do you feel it - the electricity between you when he stands too close or you meet his eyes.
Until lunch he alternates between training you and assisting customers who come in every so often. It's all straightforward, nothing you haven't managed before, and by the afternoon you're already scheduling appointments in the large old-school appointment book he keeps open to the current week.
Despite the passion and intensity in the music he plays, he keeps an even keel throughout his day job. It's almost as if you went to sleep last night and somehow woke up as someone who's worked here for years. Before closing at 5:30 he remembers other things and hands you a packet on the way out. Tax forms, an employment agreement listing the salary and benefits, and a non-disclosure form. Most of it is standard, but you wonder what kind of secrets he needs to protect at an electronics store.
You gather your things and wait outside while he closes down the shop, turning off the lights as he goes. It’s still quite sunny outside and with a shock you realize that there’s nothing waiting for you, now that the work day is done. No papers to write or projects to finish or internship to head to. The idea makes you feel unexpectedly buoyant, and when Jongdae steps out to lock the doors you give him an easy smile.
He returns it, giving you a small one of his own in response. ‘So, I normally take Tuesdays off and keep the shop closed. Wednesdays are normally pretty slow. How does Thursday through Monday sound to you? I know today is Wednesday, so if you wanted to take tomorrow off instead that’s fine with me.’
‘I’m happy to come in tomorrow.’ You want to wince at the eagerness in your voice, but instead you stand firm, holding your purse in front of you with both hands.
Jongdae slides his hands into the pockets of his jacket and nods, looking at you for a long moment before speaking. ‘Sounds great, I’ll see you then.’
You nod at him too, turning back towards the department store to head out to your car. After a beat you look behind you and see he’s still watching. His gaze is unfocused on the floor before he shakes his head, seeming to come back to himself. He heads the opposite direction, towards the movie theater. In a few seconds he’s disappeared behind the pizza place, out of sight.
Jongdae takes the longer route home today. His apartment overlooking Lake Union is the one he grew up in, his grandfather’s place. When he passed away a year ago he left it to Jongdae and it never occurred to him to move. He walks along the water, breathing in the early summer air, wanting to laugh at himself. How long has it been since he let himself be impulsive? To act on instinct. To want something.
He’d settled into a routine these past few years, since everything changed after graduation. Working at the store. Reading. Playing Go and chess with his grandfather and the other older men that lived in the building. They’d go fishing out on the peninsula or to the local symphonies that his grandfather loved. Routine had saved him when his world fell apart once, but now, with his grandfather’s absence, he’s not sure how to pick up the pieces anymore.
The seagulls on the pier are loud today, hungrily gobbling up the bread and Ivar’s french fries tossed to them by the kids gathered around. They giggle and laugh, running to their parents for more offerings. Jongdae frowns for a moment, the sadness that he doesn’t often acknowledge creeping into his heart.
His parents were gone before he really even had a chance to know them. His father to lung cancer, from the awful smoking habit he picked up in the Navy. His mother moved back to Korea to be with her family, unable to cope being in the city without her husband. Jongdae didn’t blame her, but the distance grew and they drifted apart as he became an adult himself.
Jongdae’s father’s father settled here after World War Two, along with a few of his friends. From what he remembers there wasn’t a discussion about it after the funeral - if he’d stay or go back to Korea with his mother. One day when he was young he knew his father had passed. His mother left. And with two duffle bags slung over his shoulders and little Jongdae in his arms his grandfather had moved him into the apartment with the pretty view of the water.
And that’s the way it was, ever since.
In school his friends might have joked that Jongdae was an old man himself. Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle on Sundays, getting his hair cut at the same hole-in-the-wall barber shop in Chinatown as his grandfather, and hanging out with more octogenarians than people his own age. But he loved his grandfather and the two of them were so close that he never stopped to question whether he should change to fit in with the rest of his classmates.
The only aberration came when he started DJ-ing at eighteen. The crowd he fell in with and the partying he did was short lived; they crashed and burned, went up in flames. Everything else faded as quickly as it had come, but the club scene was his escape and it stayed with him.
These days it feels like the only time he recognizes himself, now that his grandfather is gone, too. Until you walked into his store today, that is. You looked him dead in the eyes, unafraid. Just like the night all those weeks ago in the club when you came up to him, flirted with him and challenged him.
He doesn’t know how to move on with his life.
He doesn’t know what’s next.
But wanting you, inviting you into his life, is going to change everything. He knows it in his bones and for once change excites him, instead of frightens him.
June 18th, 1997
For an achingly slow two hours on Thursday the only sounds in the shop are your typing and Jongdae’s tools hitting the metallic insides of the radio he’s fixing. You should be processing yesterday's supply orders. Or cleaning up the books to get everything ready for the days' billing before you make a run to the bank.
But instead you watch in your periphery the way the muscle in Jongdae’s jaw moves when he's focusing. How his brows pull together and his lower lip sticks out slightly, making him look as though he's perpetually pouting. You wonder if you would have gotten along with him in school. If he was always so... uptight. Or if he was freer, looser. Not that you’re the picture of ease yourself, but he seems to almost vibrate with tension.
You watch as he turns back to the computer, his fingers fly across the keyboard and you admire the absolute focus he shows toward the screen in front of him. The past few days he’s handled repairs and projects for businessmen and women, families, and two gentlemen in suits that screamed ‘government’ to you. He could be repairing a nuclear warhead in front of you and you imagine his expression would remain the same.
His standard white button-up shirt bunches around his biceps while he works. A mischievous part of you wonders what it would take to make his robotic exterior crack again. What it would take for him to show joy or anger or arousal. Emotion from him is a precious, rare thing and you want to grab them when they do show, holding them tightly as proof they exist.
You jolt, realizing the unintended destination your thoughts have arrived at. Arousal. Where did that come from? With a cough and a shake of your head you refocus on the financial statements in front of you.
If you hadn't seen him that night at the club you'd have wondered if he ever enjoyed himself. He wasn't smiling that night, but the music and the dancing and the palpable energy seemed to soften the hard lines of his face. You want to see more of that Jongdae, the one that feels so much closer to who he really is, underneath it all.
However he started in this business, in the tech scene, he works away at it as though it's his sole purpose in life. He's clearly talented enough to fix anything, code anything. You’d asked him last week how he knows what to do, as you looked into a complicated mess of wires sticking out of a broken CPU as though it were gibberish.
All he’d said, in a gruff voice, was that his grandfather liked to tinker and take things apart before putting them back together, to see how they worked, and that he’d picked up the habit.
'Why do you work by yourself?' The sound of your voice is much louder than intended, breaking the hush in the store. You want to swallow the words, unsure why you didn't stop them from escaping. Instead you bite the skin on the inside of your cheek and watch as he lifts his head to look at you.
Jongdae raises a brow. 'As opposed to?'
You stop typing and lean back in your chair. 'You could have worked for anyone, I bet. After you graduated college. I’ve heard a few of the rumors about you. It sounds like you could have done anything you wanted. What made you want to start your own business?'
He mirrors your pose. 'What makes you think I went to college?'
You blink. For so long your parents' idea of a prosperous life - good grades, extracurriculars, graduate from a top college, get a lucrative, secure job - had been so ingrained that it surprises you to imagine that someone like him didn't go to school. 'You didn't?'
He smiles, the dimple appearing briefly in his cheek. 'Alright, fine. Yes, I did. I went to M.I.T. and I, uhm, graduated at seventeen.'
'Seventeen?' The competitive drive that buried itself in your bones early on wants to prove itself to him, awed by the size of his intellect.
'With my PhD.' He winces. Just for a moment, but you catch it.
'Oh,' you say with a stunned laugh.
He goes back to work with a quick shake of his head and a sigh. 'Yeah, that right there is why I don't tell people.'
You’re surprised by his assumption that you’d view it as a bad or repulsive fact. 'It's amazing. You should be proud of it. Why would you want to keep that a secret?'
His lip pouts again and irrationally you think about what it would be like to kiss him. 'Because now you'll look at me differently. Like I'm some kind of freak of nature.'
'I don't think it makes you a freak.' Your answer is immediate and emphatic.
'Oh really?' He gives you a side-glance, keeping his tone neutral.
'No, it makes you a genius. And intelligence is never a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in fact.' It does nothing to help the attraction you feel for him. Rather than dousing the flames, it pours gasoline on them.
'Tell that to -' he stops himself, pressing his lips together. The bitterness in his voice makes you jerk back in your seat. ‘Nevermind. It was a long time ago. Forget I said anything.’
But you can fill in the gaps, no stranger to the judgement of others. 'Clearly you need better friends.'
He blinks, vulnerability filling his eyes. 'Like you?' His expression softens and he gives you a half-smile.
You blush, realizing what it must look like that you’re so passionate about defending him. 'Sorry, I didn't - all I mean is that it’s attractive.’ You curse yourself and cough delicately, trying to appear impartial. ‘An attractive quality. I just got my master’s and I thought I was advanced for my age. So I just meant to say… I get it. And you’re not a freak.’
The moment stretches out between you, the air in the space seeming to pause. The muted, reverent silence fills the distance once more. But this time it’s charged, tense. Waiting. He breathes in deeply, the shirt he wears stretching across his chest and yet again you long to touch him. For a beat his gaze drops to your lips and he swallows, opening his mouth to speak.
But he’s interrupted by the door opening. The ding of the motion sensor makes you both jolt, turning to see who it is. An older woman comes in carrying a heavy looking bag. She coughs and leans against the door to rest.
Jongdae bolts up from his desk, clearing his throat. 'Here, let me help with that.'
He bows to her with a warm smile, holding his hands out to take the bag. She nods and Jongdae slings the bag over his shoulder, wincing when it collides with his back. With a gentle arm around her back he helps her into the chair opposite his desk.
'Thank you, young man,' the woman says with a smile.
'Not at all,' Jongdae says, resuming his post on the stool. 'How can I help you today?'
You're certain your mouth has fallen open. To difficult customers he's brief, almost condescending, and for the nice ones he’s reserved and polite, but nothing like this. For over an hour he patiently connects the woman's computer to his power strip and walks her through how to use it.
Again and again he shows her the links and how to work the web browser. Installs a complimentary virus protection program. Makes sure she can find the Solitaire application she loves. And only charges her $20.
But after she leaves the next customer is a businessman dressed in what looks to be a very expensive suit. Jongdae spends the laughably short visit practically sneering at the man. And he charges him at least twice what it says on the pricing list he gave you.
As soon as the door closes you release the laugh you’ve been holding in. 'You know, for someone who runs a business, you seem hell bent on driving some of your customers away.'
He shakes his head, hair falling in his eyes. 'He was a moron. You don't buy the Rolls Royce of computers if you don't know how to drive it.'
'So the only exception here is kind old ladies?'
Jongdae barks out a laugh, meeting your gaze and looking younger than you’ve ever seen him. 'Exactly.'
June 28th, 1997
Moments after you walk out the door for lunch during a bustling Saturday it pings again, announcing yet another customer. This one is probably his scheduled twelve o’clock appointment, Jongade thinks as he looks distractedly at his watch.
He turns to greet them and his entire body recoils. 'What do you want?' Jongdae practically hisses, but he keeps his tone even with all his might.
Since you’ve taken over scheduling Jongdae hardly looks at his calendar anymore. If he’d known Julian Danforth was seeking his help he would have told him to fuck off. Unfortunately Jongdae’s hesitation in talking about his past means you could have no possible idea how much the man standing before him used to matter.
Julian strolls in with a computer in his arms and a smugness on his mouth that Jongdae wants to punch off. His sunglasses are perched on the top of his head and his khaki shorts have neatly pressed lines, clearly not done by the man himself, who drips with privilege.
He'd thought these feelings were long buried, but they roar in Jongdae’s chest. The friendships and the future he almost had are now scattered behind him like a trail of carnage, all the fault of this man. The burn of sadness and embarrassment that fills Jongdae’s stomach was supposed to be gone, relinquished to ashes. But seeing one of his former best friends again Jongdae feels like he's ten years old, stuck in a class with far older students. Young, inexperienced, an outcast.
‘Good afternoon to you as well, old friend.’ Ignoring the daggers Jongdae is staring at him, Julian steps forward, setting the computer down on the desk. 'Like I told the woman on the phone I'm having a problem with some computer virus.'
He says it like it’s a slimy, living thing that had crawled into his machine. Displeasure colors his expression; annoyed at the mere thought that his money and status don’t render him immune from such commonplace problems. ‘You know I don’t trust anyone else with my system.’
After what you did I should smash your computer open. Jongdae doesn't speak as plugs the machine into the power strip he rigged to his desk, not willing to risk what he’ll say.
It's a far more expensive model of computer than most of his clients bring in. Those who purchase such a high end version fall into two camps - enthusiasts like himself who know what they're getting, or the rich and famous who buy them as status symbols and have no clue how to work them. Julian, unfortunately, falls into the latter category.
The computer starts up and Jongdae’s mind goes into work mode, tuning out Julian. The virus has rendered it unusable, only a blur of symbols and lines of code flit across the screen. None of the normal exit keys brings up the desktop. Jongdae purses his lips and slides in the floppy disk he keeps beside his own monitor, an anti-virus he designed.
He leans into muscle memory as he runs through the start up and sets the program to do its job. With any luck the idiot just found some simple malware from some incredibly obvious email spam or downloaded a bug on a porn site. In all social and business sense Julian is a shark; he'd never have fallen for such an obvious scam in real life. But when it came to computers and technology he was hopeless, and thus Jongdae had come into his life years ago.
'How long have you been set up here?' Julian asks with a dismissive glance at the machines and equipment stacked on the shelves.
'Why do you care?' The question comes out harsher than he intends, but the emotion isn't entirely unearned.
Once upon a time he and Julian met in Seattle, after Jongdae was fresh out of M.I.T. and Julian had flunked out of yet another University. They were determined to build a business together. If he had more energy Jongdae would wear this store and his reputation proudly, built from no family connections or money, just his own intelligence and drive. After how thoroughly Julian severed Jongdae’s life he should rub his success in Julian’s face with pride.
Instead he ignores him, determined to move on.
The program finishes its run in rapid time, as though it knows how quickly Jongdae wants this moment to end. The virus dissipates and the desktop loads like normal. He's tempted for a second to indulge his curiosity to see what Julian has been up to. Last he knew Julian had gone to work at his father’s investment bank, dreams of standing on his own cowed by the reality of the world outside of his comfortable bubble. Without Jongdae there’s no way the business and the program held up to scrutiny.
For a second Jongdae stares at the screen, remembering how good it had felt to have found his people. Tech nerds, hungry to build something that would change the world. Julian, who wanted to cast off his father’s legacy and strike out on his own. Julian’s girlfriend Marissa and her soft heart, who wanted to help people. Their friend Albert, with the plan.
Once he knew them so well he hardly knew where he ended and they began. But now, all these years later, they’re strangers.
Jongdae looks up and watches Julian as he absently admires the collection of turntables on the wall behind the desk. He knows Julian well enough to know this might be an act of contrition, his way of bridging the gap he created to reach out the olive branch of friendship once more. But Jongdae’s curiosity already killed the cat once, spectacularly, and he has no desire to repeat the mistake.
He unplugs the machine and watches the screen go dark, shoving it with both hands across the polished wood surface towards Julian. 'There. It's fixed.'
For customers who are far more polite and far less acquainted with Jongdae he might have explained what caused the virus or recommended an anti-virus software or even shared best practices to avoid getting one in the future. But, for Julian, he'll do what he was hired for and nothing more.
Julian stands and clears his throat uncomfortably. 'How much do I owe you?' A hint of guilt as he pulls out his wallet.
The motion reminds Jongdae of vacations to Marissa's family home in the San Juans or partying with Julian, Albert, and the rest of them in Capitol Hill. When they turned on him it was like the sun went out. He managed to take his pride and his love of music and DJing and escape. Once Jongae rebuilt his life the doors to the past firmly closed.
Anger finally peeks through as he waves a dismissive arm at Julian. 'I don't want your money. Not spending a second longer in your company will be all the payment I need.' He stands as well. Their business today is done and he lets his memories of the past fall before him like ashes.
An awkward beat passes between them and finally Julian breaks eye contact. With a nod to the ground he pushes out the door and disappears, carrying his computer.
He breathes out a sigh of relief, folds his arms, annoyed at how his position and his continued presence here in Seattle occasionally brings him into contact with people like Julian. He should have moved, he thinks. Gone to Singapore or Berlin or London or New York. But for some reason, he stayed.
Through the front window he watches you laugh with your friends in the food court and smiles to himself, thinking of how you call him Scrooge. It should unnerve him, how quickly seeing you or speaking to you or simply thinking you makes his day better, more hopeful; chases away the shadows that linger in his mind when he's left alone for too long. No, left alone isn't the right word. When he isolates himself.
Jongdae doesn’t really know you, not yet. But already he wants to make all of your dreams come true, he wants to make them real.
The thought is so sentimental and kind and soft that it brings him up short. He bites the inside of his lip and tries to fight the warm feeling in his chest as he watches you laugh. But as he resumes his work he acknowledges that maybe there was a reason he stayed in Seattle, after all.
The mall is packed during lunch; it’s one of the only days you and your roommates and Hitchcock all work together so you’ve christened it Saturday girl’s lunch time. But Baekhyun and Chanyeol of course crash in, as they always seem to. Loud and raucous and happy. Others from their wide circle of friends drop by to grab slices or to make plans for tonight.
Baekhyun sticks two straws in his nose and makes what are probably very scientifically inaccurate walrus noises. As you laugh so hard you almost snort you can’t help but feel like something is missing. Someone is missing. You look back to the shop, drawn to Jongdae as always.
He works away, resuming his repairs after chasing another customer away with his attitude. You sigh, watching the blonde preppy man carry away his enormous computer, muttering to himself. You rest your foot on the edge of your chair and drop your chin to your knee. From this angle, surrounded by the stark design of the store and the fluorescent lights from above, Jongdae looks like he’s trapped inside of a screen himself.
You bite your lip, debating. He’s made it clear that whatever happened between you at the club isn’t something he will discuss, or repeat. But friendship? Community? You work together five days a week and it wouldn’t kill him to get out of his enclosure once in a while. It’s done you good this month, to be out and about with people. Like you can finally breathe for the first time in a long time. And you decide that it’s high time Jongdae do the same.
Liz and Jane, your roommates, call you ‘determined.’ But they say it in a way that clearly means ‘like a homing missile,’ when you want something. Your nature has served you well; you can cut through the bullshit and figure people out almost instantly. It’s helped you both professionally and personally. Allowed you to know immediately which friendships would last, which ones were worth the effort.
Maybe it’s how Jongdae looks like an island, all alone in the shop. Maybe it’s the large Coke that infused you with far too much caffeine. Maybe it’s your insatiable curiosity. But you can’t keep watching him from afar, not when there’s something you can do about it.
‘I’ll be right back.’ Pulling on your denim jacket, you march over to the store. You lean inside the glass door, holding it open with your shoulder. ‘Hey, you.’
Jongdae looks up at you, confusion tugging his brows together, making him befuddled in the cutest way. You tell yourself to stop thinking of him like that, even if you want to.
He blinks and refocuses on you. ‘Back already?’
‘No, but we’ve got more than enough pizza. Why don’t you join us?’ You grin, making a show of looking around the empty office. ‘It’s finally slowed down, and you deserve a break.’
‘I’m on a deadline with this.’ He gestures to the modem that is scattered around him.
You fold your arms and lean against the door. ‘You can fix that in twenty minutes. I know you.’ He opens his mouth to speak, but you beat him to it. ‘And before you throw another excuse you should know I’m very persuasive when I want to be. I don’t think you have another option.’
Jongdae barks out a laugh, dropping the tools in his hand to the desk with a thud. ‘Determined to drag me from my lair, huh?’ He holds your gaze, his expression filling with something akin to heat. Finally he gives you a rueful smile. ‘You’re not going to give up on this, are you?’
You meet his eyes and raise a brow, smiling with satisfaction. ‘Nope. Absolutely not.’
The certainty on his face turns into sadness, so fast you can’t be sure it was really there. Then he closes off and he’s quiet, more so than normal. ‘It doesn’t come easily to me.’
Wondering what could have changed so quickly you step forward, letting the door close behind you. ‘What, pizza?’
It shakes you how desperately you want to know. To peel back his skull and see inside his brain, just to understand what makes him tick. His history and where his future is headed. That small voice inside you whispers that once you figure it out, it still won’t make you care less about him.
‘Friends.’ He says it on a gasp. Looking at the floor fixedly, avoiding your eyes, he seems haunted.
The silence surrounds you both and he finally meets your focus again, chewing on the inside of his cheek. The pieces start to come together. He’s intelligent, preternaturally so, and so advanced in school you can’t imagine he’s had much experience with people his own age. And now that he’s in his mid-twenties he’s built himself a fortress. Close enough to the rest of the world, but distinctly separate.
Irrationally you want to reach across the space and wrap his hands in yours. Tug him into your growing group of friends and fix the ache in your chest his expression gives you. Not sympathy and certainly not pity, but some sensation that’s like butterflies in your stomach. But- he’s your boss. You’re not his keeper and you don’t think whatever dangerous emotion lives in you is what would help him.
He’s not yours and you don’t have the right to push, much that you want to.
‘Ah,’ you say. ‘I see. Well, more often than not we have Saturday pizza out there. The offer always stands. I’ll leave you be if you want to be alone, but just -’ you swallow and give him a tentative smile. ‘Just know that we’d be happy to have you join us. I’d be. Uhm. Happy if you joined us.’ It comes out in a rush and you groan.
With a shake of your head, an uncharacteristic gesture of uncertainty and embarrassment, you wave at him and push back out the door into the noise of the mall.
It’s a shame you don’t turn back. Or no, he thinks, it’s better this way. Jongdae feels far too much for you to keep it contained behind his normally stony expression.
You seem like the kind of person who would take that moment of openness and pull on it, until he unravels in front of you. Fear tells him you would take everything and when you're gone he'd be even more alone than before, now that he knows what it's like with you here.
Looking out through the glass he watches you rejoin the lively group. Always he’s felt like a science experiment, or some kind of circus exhibit when he was growing up. If he didn’t have his grandfather’s steady support and gentle guidance he surely would have become even more isolated.
With a shake of his head, he attempts to refocus on the project at hand. For some reason it doesn't fill him up like he wants it to, his usual joy and satisfaction is missing when he picks up the screwdriver once more. This is where he thrives. Computers and the internet and coding.
To other people it's a labyrinth, impossible to figure out. A world and a language they can speak and learn with effort and intention and study. But to him it's always been as easy as breathing.
His grandfather took his skills from the military and parlayed them into a business as a prolific handyman. It was the world they shared. A place where Jongdae’s creativity and his intelligence could soar. Anything he wanted to build or make, he could. Coding a rudimentary game to pass the time after school, when he could hear the neighborhood kids playing soccer outside.
It took him many wonderful places that he wouldn't have been able to reach if he was, for lack of a better word, normal. As a child and even in school it was so easy to hide behind his grades and his projects and the pride and hope of the adults around him. But now, at twenty five, there’s nothing to keep him hidden anymore.
When lunch is over you return and join him with a nod. He hopes you don't regret asking. He nearly hopes you'll try again. Maybe next Saturday.
For how confident he feels in some spaces - DJing at Shari's, here in his ‘lair’ - at the thought of joining a group of friends he feels again like a nervous thirteen year old sitting in his first college course. Like everyone around him knew how to do things he couldn’t comprehend.
He keeps his thoughts and his feelings to himself; he’s already shared more than he planned. But you draw him back into conversation easily enough, asking about the afternoons orders to be picked up. You don't shy away from him or give him an angry offended air. Inexplicably you still look at him warmly, openly, and he wants more than he's dared to let himself want in a very, very long time.
July 11th, 1997
He doesn't normally leave the office at lunch, preferring to eat his meals in his back office alone, but today Jongdae braves the food court.
It’s a Friday not a Saturday, but it’s a start. He makes brief, yet friendly, conversation with Chanyeol at the pizza place. The taller man smiles at Jongdae, easily, as though he doesn’t second guess the action. He asks if Jongdae had caught the Mariner's game over the weekend and they talk about how Griffey might finally lead Seattle to a World Series this year.
For once he doesn't feel like going back to the office and burying his head in his work. Jongdae awkwardly pulls out a chair in the cluster of tables between the bookstore and the record store. As he takes a bite of his pizza he hears a familiar laugh. Turning around he sees you through the glass of the bookstore.
You speak to the woman who owns Greyhame Books, standing beside someone he thinks is possibly called Jane. It all seems so… easy for you. Tucking your hair behind your ear you lean against the counter, discussing the stack of books in front of you with your friends.
Jongdae gives a rare laugh to no one but himself.
When he imagined hiring an accountant and administrator for his flourishing business he thought he'd get someone older. A person with experience and a similar level of wanting to be left alone. They could ignore him and he could ignore them, delegating filing and payments and customer questions and not have to think about them again.
An employee was supposed to reclaim the silence and peace that his work used to bring. Technology is so much simpler and predictable than humans and he’d really prefer to cut other people out of the equation entirely.
But you are the opposite of simple, and you absolutely aren’t someone he can ignore. From the moment he recognized you he knew he had to hire you. With your intensity and your impressive resume and the way your mouth pulls to the side when you’re trying not to smirk.
He doesn't regret it. But he feels raw in a way he hasn't allowed himself to in years. Jongdae doesn't let people get close. Not anymore.
With a pizza slice halfway to his mouth Jongdae spots Junmyeon approaching, waving, a large Starbucks drink in hand. He wants to turn away and hide in his pizza. He isn't good at this - making friends. For months Junmyeon has asked him to join in their monthly networking events here at the mall, or asked him to get a drink at Flanagan’s after work to chat. Jongdae’s all out of excuses.
He imagines his life as a circuit board. There’s his life now - pieces and wires scattered around him - and there’s the life he could have. If he’s brave and if he tries. He imagines the pieces fitting together and what they might build. He wonders if you might fit in, if you’d want him or let him.
His knee is jiggling and he’s nervous, but he takes a deep breath and waves back. ‘Hey Jun! Want to join me for a bit?’ Jun’s expression is surprised - the man doesn’t know how to keep back any of his emotions. ‘If you have time, I mean. No pressure.’ He stutters, pulse racing and cheeks reddening.
Jun grins and sits down opposite him. ‘Absolutely. About time! I thought you’d turn me down forever,’ he laughs. ‘Thanks again for helping me with that broken radio last month. You’re a pro. So, how’s business?’ He sips his coffee and waits patiently.
They can talk about business, something so easy? Jongdae wants to laugh with relief. Maybe he can do this after all.
Junmyeon is amused.
After ten minutes of talking shop with Jongdae he watches as you and Jane leave the bookstore next to their lunch spot. He’s owned a business two doors down from Jongdae for years, but he’s never seen him smile before. When you pass by it’s like someone flipped on a light switch. Jongdae has always been somewhat quiet, somewhat serious, except when he DJs. Now he sits straighter, his face softens, and his eyes fixate on yours like a magnet.
The two of you claim the other seats at the table, showing off the books you purchased. In between sips of his coffee Junmyeon balances his own flirtation with Jane and observing - okay, spying - on you and Jongdae.
He’s warmed by not just the caffeinated beverage. There’s a soft energy here- It’s a warm summer day and he’s discussing books, one of his all-time favorite topics. His mind whispers the words ‘double date’ and he smiles to himself for a moment before blinking.
“Are you alright?” Jane asks, gently resting her hand on Junmyeon’s wrist on the table.
He blushes and gives her a reassuring nod and asks if she’s read the Octavia Butler book on top of her stack yet. It’s an attempt at distraction and he knows it. But thankfully Jane’s eyes crinkle in the corners when she talks about the author, not pausing or seeming to notice the way he was fantasizing for a beat.
Across from him you and Jongdae are arguing about the merits of Isaac Asmiov. Jongdae is more articulate, more animated, more alive than he’s ever seen him. Gesturing emphatically and saying something about how robots are friends, not foes as you interrupt him by reminding him about Terminator. Neither of you seem to acknowledge the attraction between you. It’s been months since you started working at Chen’s, if Junmyeon remembers correctly.
In his periphery he sees Temptation, the chocolate store, and thinks of how Yixing and his girlfriend met on the job. One of his favorite poems mentions how love mirrors the lover; that everyone falls in love in a way akin to their personality. Yixing, passionate and insatiable and spontaneous, fell for Lavender in minutes and days. He saw what he wanted and after a slight pause to make sure it’s what Lav really wanted, he made the move.
Jongdae is nothing if not the complete opposite. Calculating and reserved and inscrutable.
His potential new friend is falling, if the lingering looks he gives you and the way he’s almost touched your shoulder not once but twice are any indication. But it’s a mystery to Junmyeon if, or when, Jongdae will ever make a move. You aren’t the same kind of romantic as Yixing’s girlfriend, someone playful and open with your emotions. You’re driven and witty and warm in your own way. Clearly you care for Jongdae, but in a quieter sense.
Junmyeon imagines this will be a marathon of love, not a sprint.
Eventually lunch hours end for all of you. There’s clients to see and paperwork to do and as he waves to you and Jane he wonders what will become of you and Jongdae. If you’ll stay as co-workers, always flirting and secretly wondering what might be. Or if either of you will push the other into action. The chess board is laid out, pieces waiting to be moved. It might just be his imagination, but Junmyeon hopes that one of you gets the game going.
He does also, perhaps, focus on you and Jongdae as a way to ignore how his own heart beats a bit faster around Jane. How he can’t stop staring at her dimple when she smiles or the head tilt she gives him when she’s really listening. Like he’s the only person in the world. No, he absolutely doesn’t think about Jane’s feet i n his lap as they both read on the couch in his living room. He doesn’t wonder what it would be like to kiss her or hold her hand. Absolutely not.
Instead he invites Jongdae to the monthly Settlers of Catan night he has with Minseok and some other folks from the mall. Much safer territory than wondering about his own love story and if still waters truly do run deep where he and Jane are concerned.
August 11th, 1997
On a surprisingly rainy yet unsurprisingly dead Monday morning Jongdae forces you away from your insistent attempts to organize his paperwork to the market a few streets over. The quiet bakery on the hill above Pike Place has a view of the misty Sound beyond. He sits close beside you, carefully keeping his knees away, lest he bump yours and you do the same, perhaps letting them linger a moment each time they collide.
It’s nice here, you notice suddenly, as you take the first sip of your coffee. The smell of dark roast and fresh almond scones. The breeze coming in through the open door. The soothing, distant sound of jazz from the overhead speaker. The pleasant warm lighting, far different than the aggressively bland fluorescent kind he chose for Chen's. Everything puts you at ease, wraps around you the way you wish Jongdae’s arms would.
'This place reminds me of Amsterdam.' You smile, looking down into your cappuccino to avoid Jongdae’s eyes.
‘Have you ever been?’ he asks, voice softer than it normally is.
With a shake of your head you trace the edge of the teal and white ceramic cup in front of you. ‘No, but I’ve seen pictures. I used to love photo books growing up. Atlases and travel guides. It’s always been my favorite section of the library.’
He hums for a moment, considering. 'If you could go anywhere in the world, is that where you'd choose?'
Tucking your hair behind your ears you bite your lip to avoid grinning at him. He’s making you remember long-forgotten parts of yourself. Before school and work became the end point, the be-all end-all that your life was funnelled towards. Back when you imagined exploring every country on the planet. Taking photos and making memories. A long time ago, in the days before you realized how expensive it is to actually be a wanderlust-filled adventurer.
Finally you look at him. Something in his irises makes you swallow; an endless, nameless emotion that lives in him you can never seem to place. Elusive and frustrating and tempting all at once.
‘Yes,’ you admit. Voice dry and heart racing you look back to your coffee in avoidance. ‘It’s my dream to travel there. I’m a bit obsessed with it, really.’
'You? Obsessed?' Jongdae smirks, a boyish grin you want to cover with your own mouth.
You roll your eyes, tracing the handle of your mug. 'Hush. It's such a beautiful city with all the canals and the architecture and history, and the food is to die for. Every quaint European city fantasy in one. What about you, have you done much traveling?'
He shakes his head. ‘Not personally. But - my grandfather went everywhere in Europe, after the war.’ His admission is so quiet you almost miss it. But it’s as if your soul is waiting for every crack in the door to Jongdae you can find, and you don’t pass up the opportunity. ‘What was he like?’
It happens sometimes, when you’re working together. The times there’s no customers around and the mall gets empty and you can’t help but be aware of him. Against your skin and with your hands, eyes feasting on him when the rest of you is forbidden from doing so. In the moments when he isn’t putting on airs of being the tech mogul or the reclusive jerk or the awkward, secretly friendly nerd around Jun or Minseok.
Those times when Jongdae meets your eyes and you see the real him, beneath it all. Wanting and alone and scared. Your breath catches in your throat just as it does now and you long to ask him plainly if he feels the way you do. Being honest with your words and not just your jokes or looks out the corner of your eyes when you catch him watching you too.
But those feel too fragile, too dangerous to utter. So instead you ask him about his family, someone close enough to Jo ngdae’s heart to glimpse the core of him; like a sun during an eclipse you can only look for a moment, lest you get burned.
'My grandfather?’ Brows furrow, the corners of his cat-like lips tilting down for a moment. You nod gently, cupping your drink for something to occupy your hands.
Jongdae looks out at the water for a moment, his mouth tugging to the side as he ponders. ‘You know when you finally solve a puzzle you’ve been working on for ages? Hours of struggling to find the right combination and finally it’s all laid out, perfectly in alignment.’
You nod, trying not to smile and ruin the moment, but softened by him nonetheless. ‘Yeah, I know what you mean.’
When his gaze lands on your hands he pauses, like he’s wondering if the two of you might fit in a similar way. But it’s gone before you can grasp onto the moment. Sadness colors his features then. Not the aching kind that gnaws away like a feral monster, leaving nothing in its wake, but the beautiful, bittersweet sadness of a love greater than grief.
His voice is thick when he next speaks. ‘My grandfather was that person for me. We just - fit. He understood me better than my parents did. More than any of my classmates or the few people I’ve ever gone out with. We didn’t even need to speak.’ Jongdae pauses and taps his fingers on the counter.
You give in and reach for his hand, not to hold it - not yet. But to cover it with your own for a moment of understanding, of comfort.
He smiles at you, the crease between his brows disappearing for a moment. ‘He was fifty one years older than me and he was my best friend.’
‘I’ll bet you miss him quite a lot?’ You realize how incredibly inadequate the sentiment is and shake your head, moving to withdraw your hand. ‘Sorry - that’s - of course you miss him.’
But Jongdae doesn’t let you retreat. With his free hand he holds yours in place. Warmth floods your body from the connection point and you’re unable to take your eyes off him. ‘It’s alright, I know what you mean.’ He traces your thumb with a barely there motion, seemingly without intending to. ‘Thank you.’
‘For what?’ You ask, a bit breathless and unable to mind.
‘For always asking. For always listening.’ He says it simply, as though it’s a novel concept. Perhaps, given what you know of his life, who he is, not many people dare to ask. Or bother to listen.
Soon paperwork and customers and regular life draw you back to Chen’s Electronics. He doesn’t mention the way you reached for him and you don’t either. But when you go to leave that afternoon Jongdae holds out your jean jacket for you to slip on. And when you thank him he gives you the soft, secret grin you’ve learned he saves only for you.
On the way home you think that Amsterdam might be the most beautiful city you can imagine, but that it pales in comparison to a hole-in-the-wall cafe in Seattle, as long as Jongdae is seated beside you.
September 9th, 1997
The summer turns into fall and one Monday evening, seemingly without his noticing, Jongdae realizes that his appointment book is full to bursting.
On Tuesday night he's playing Settlers of Catan with Minseok, Bookworm, Kyungsoo, and Junmyeon. They meet up in the food court after the mall closes at nine, second Tuesday of every month.
Wednesday he has lunch with Jun and some other business owners in the mall for their monthly networking/commiserating 'sesh' as Yixing calls it. That afternoon he's promised to help Minseok install the new upgrades to his store's database software that 'make him want to rip out his hair' in exchange for a few coveted LPs Jongdae's had his eyes on for a 70’s/grunge remix set at Shari's.
Thursday night there’s a L.A. Confidential screening at the theater that Baekhyun talked him into, after their argument about whether or not Russel Crowe could actually act or if he was just handsome.
Saturdays are pizza and raucous laughter to break up the busy weekends full of work and clients and deadlines, followed by long nights of DJ-ing and circling you as if you are a sun, drawing him in with the pull of your gravity. He’s merely a comet attracted by the force you give off and he’s not even upset at the realization.
Sehun, Jongin, and Yixing practically bribed him into joining their 'Sunday morning brunch and biceps' workout group, saying that they need a fourth and everyone else is normally sleeping off their hangovers or works the opening shift.
It’s other people’s names all over his schedule, but what he feels is you. Everywhere, all over him. He knows it’s you. Not intentionally, perhaps. But you opened a door for him with your ease and generosity. One Saturday pizza lunch and somehow he’s gotten to know more people in two months at the mall than he had in the years before combined.
You’d wave him off if he mentioned it or thanked you. With that adorable tilt of your head you would smirk and tell him that all he has to do is give people a chance. That they don’t bite.
Irrationally he wants to do things for you - not just as a friend but in the romantic sense - like buy you flowers or have you by his side at Thursday movie screenings or take you to Amsterdam, just to watch you bloom among the flowers. But that would be… crazy, right? He sits in his favorite armchair unable to focus on the book in front of him and runs agitated hands through his hair.
He’s not your boyfriend or your partner. He’s your boss or your co-worker and possibly your friend. Why does he think of holding your hand and walking along the canals of some foreign city every time you look in his direction?
Why does the once-comforting quiet of his apartment feel more and more empty when you’re not laying on the couch across from him, reading and teasing him? Why does he wake up and wish that someone besides himself filled his bed? Someone with your expressions and your joy and your stubborn insistence.
He briefly makes a mental note to ask Yixing how he ended up dating Lavender before suddenly tossing the book to the floor, standing with a groan.
‘What a ridiculous idea!’ he yells aloud to the empty apartment. Jongdae paces circles in the carpet of his living room and wonders if part of being in love is going slightly insane, if everyone who manages to do so finds the madness enjoyable or if love is simply folie à deux?
He looks at his calendar, spread open on his grandfather’s old, wooden desk and tries to comprehend how his life could be so different one year to the next. Like he’s grasping at straws or wisps of air. Aside from work and his grandfather and music, what did he have before? The occasional alumni event or guest lecture at his alma maters?
For a minute his chest feels too full to breathe, unable to let in anything more. Panic tugs at him for a second. It’s too much, all at once - too many people and too many events. Too many opportunities to mess up and these people? He can’t sever his life completely like he did from Julian and his friends. They're so connected to this space he's made his business in. What will happen when he inevitably falls out of favor with them?
He imagines himself shunned and the idea hurts worse than before. Back then he had chosen isolation; to have it thrust unwillingly upon him, unasked, is too much to comprehend.
Once he walked naively into friendship, believing it was easy and that it would last. That there was no rug that would be unceremoniously swept out from under him. But people change, faster than he can believe.
Jongdae sits on the floor, his pajama pants brushing his crossed legs, and forces himself to steady his breathing. These people are not his old friends at Microsoft, he reminds himself. Nor are they the kids in school who teased him, or his classmates in college who resented him or treated him like an annoyance.
Like he’s always practiced, he turns to facts to calm his mind. He’s safe - the apartment is his and he has plenty of money. Not just from his business but from his grandfather’s life insurance. If he wanted to leave - if he was forced to, he thinks he could do it. But something within him howls at the idea of leaving what he has now.
For the first time in ages he has ideas, plans, and dreams for what to do with his life. Now he has people he cares about, people who he trusts to be kind rather than fearing they’ll betray or leave him. You’re at the center of it, if you let him. Determination takes hold of him and doesn’t let go. After a few moments his panic subsides, washed away by the bright promise of a future he’s never dared to imagine before now. Before you.
September 13th, 1997
By the end of your second drink you contemplate being the one to risk it all and ask Jongdae out.
In the months you’ve worked together you stopped seeing him as a challenge and started viewing him instead as the push to your pull. The yang to your yin. The - you sip on your rum and coke and get lost in the tug of his brows and the set of his lips as he spins rather than finding another apt metaphor.
The first time you met him you knew there was something underneath his hard exterior, but you had no idea how correct you’d be proven. Somehow he walks the tightrope between being harsh and being softer than you thought possible. But rather than turn you off you find you’re drawn to his bewildering mix of wry humor, nerdy fixations, and raw emotion. It unlocks all the jagged parts of you that you try to keep so nicely pressed together.
For someone who has been deemed too much to handle finding a man who seems to do it with ease is staggering. He loves your bossy, charismatic nature and your ideas about new things to try at the store. He listens intently when you rattle off obscure facts about your favorite books and movies. He sees your dreams of traveling, of being part of community here, as a complement, not a detriment to your professional career.
A voice startles you. “So when are you going to jump his bones?” Baekhyun is the kind of puppy dog, glowing cheeks, wide-eyed endearing drunk you wish you could hate.
He waggles his brows at you and you snort, shoving him away with your shoulder. “I have zero idea what you’re talking about.”
You weave your way around the perimeter of the dance floor, trying and failing to not fixate on Jongdae with every step.
“Come on. Admit it. You’ve got a thing for the DJ.” His mouth tugs into a smug grin and you groan. “And word on the street is he wants you too.”
“He’s my boss.” The last of your drink burns your throat and you belly up to the bar to order another. “Get real.”
Always a hoe for gossip, Baekhyun leans one elbow against the bar and drops his chin into his hand to watch you. Rather than speak and risk your wrath again he merely looks between you and Jongdae, waiting.
You pride yourself on not giving into temptation for all of ten seconds and then blurt out - “What are you doing?”
Baekhyun presses his lips together to suppress a grin. He raises a finger and holds it up. “You’ll see.”
The bartender is tied up with a group at the far end so you sigh and turn, resting your back against the bar top. With folded arms you observe the club. “We’re about to be abducted by aliens? Jongin’s going to breakdance? Minseok and Bookworm are -”
He clicks his tongue. “So impatient. You two really are a match made in heaven.”
“Me and Jongdae?” If you weren’t already buzzed you’d deny it more. But the permission to speak openly about your feelings for the DJ is too tempting. “You think so?”
Before he can tease you again a motion up ahead catches your focus. Jongdae looks up without tilting his head. His eyes cut to the left, to the two overflowing booths that are filled with the usual crew from the Exodus Mall. With amusement you follow his eye line as he scans the dance floor, looking for something. He never breaks the movement of his hands, spinning the vinyl and working the controls.
Finally his focus lands on you and Baekhyun at the bar. Jongdae’s eyes widen and that unreadable expression settles on his features, no emotion escaping. Your heart picks up, cheeks heating with awareness. There’s nothing to do but hold his gaze for long seconds while the club pulses with life around you. Isolated and together, even across the room.
And then Baekhyun ruins it.
With a comically large wave he smiles at Jongdae. The motion breaks Jongdae’s focus and he rolls his eyes, shaking his head at his friend’s ridiculousness. A smile tugs at his lips and he gives you a look of commiseration and you laugh, reaching over to ruffle Baekhyun’s blonde hair.
The song changes and Jongdae finally looks away. A second later the bartender appears, asking you for your next order. Baekhyun waits patiently beside you, arms folded against the bar, his smugness a tangible thing in the air between you two.
You bite your lip and look at yourself in the mirror behind the bar, visible between the clear shelves of liqueurs and syrups. Could he feel the same way? Does Jongdae imagine holding you, kissing you, being with you the same way you do with him in your unguarded moments?
The two of you already do so much together - work five days a week. Meals alone or with friends. Nights here, separate but still united in the bubble of the dance club. It strikes you just how thin the line is between friends and coworkers and … something more. A four-letter sinful word that starts with L and implies dangerous things like hands touching hands followed by lips and skin and teeth. A different four-letter word full of softness and commitment that has no place being in your mind at the same time as Jongdae’s name.
A hand rests gently on your shoulder. “I told you,” Baek says sincerely. He disappears after waggling his damned eyebrows one more time and leaves you at the bar, wondering.
Half of you wants to confess to him out of genuine affection and desire for connection; you can’t escape the way he makes you long to be reckless and daring and bold and romantic in the kind of grand gesture sense that you’d have rolled your eyes at before you met him. The delicate balance makes your palms sweat and your glass shake slightly as you raise it to your lips. From nerves or excitement or a mix of the two.
You could make the first move, but the logical half of your mind wins out. Instead you swallow your drink in three gulps and head over to the DJ booth to talk to him and nothing more. Close enough to be comforted by his nearness but keeping your desire closeted behind your fear. Tonight that’s all you can manage.
Passing by Yixing and Lavender dancing is a reminder of all the good love can bring. Yixing’s hands holding her close, her arms folded around his neck and their foreheads together. Intimate words are shared that aren’t meant for your ears, even if you could hear them over the sound of the music.
But just beyond is Baekhyun and Hitch. She laughs and dances out of his way as he tries to tickle her. They’re obviously in love to anyone who watches, so why haven’t they admitted it and had a go at being together? Maybe it’s for the best, you wonder. If trying and failing and ruining what you have it worse than never trying at all.
Before you can wander too far down the road of doubt and consequences you remember how it felt to have Jongdae’s hand on top of yours. The thought of tomorrow and the days after disappear altogether when you feel Jongdae’s eyes on you once more, drawing you closer to him, whether he knows his effect on you or not. When you reach the booth you decide to stop thinking in general, and let yourself feel instead.
Saturday night and he's in his element. In the booth, far away from the rest of the crowd but still a part of it. Adrenaline in his veins. Music is Jongdae’s therapy. An alter ego much like the comic book characters he read about growing up. It's the skin he can put on when he's tired of being himself. A place where he can set down the baggage of his identity for a night and get lost in the beats.
He closes his eyes, savoring the pattern of the vinyl beneath his fingertips.
Suddenly, he feels you. Of course you're here. He's never free from you, he thinks with a rueful smile. First you invaded this place, his escape and his temple. Then you wormed your way into his business as though you always belonged there. Now you're occupying his senses the way you occupy his thoughts at all hours.
For a beat he admires you, standing at the bar rolling your eyes while Baekhyun waves dramatically. He drinks you in with a last look at your fabulous legs before reluctantly turning back to switching out one album for the next. Lately you’ve taken to joining him for a bit while he spins and he hopes that once again you’ll come up to the booth tonight.
He's not a patient man, or a subtle one. If he wanted to be rid of you, you'd be gone. Severed with the kind of brutal finality he showed to anyone from his time after M.I.T. There are no second chances as far as he's concerned. But still, you remain. Infuriating, exhilarating. Never far from his consciousness.
'You look like you're having a good time!'
Sooner than expected your voice breaks his trance and he lifts his eyes to look at you. His heart thumps painfully in his chest and he swallows harshly. He doesn't know how you do it - how you effortlessly change to match your surroundings.
One minute you're his office manager, polite and respectful and skilled. Already he sees the business taking shape, becoming more cohesive and smooth beneath your talented mind and heart. And your feisty insistence that he upgrade and finesse his marketing and finally finish putting together a website for Chen’s.
The next minute you're leaning over the edge of the booth, chest coming forward and revealing your neckline. The red is fitting on you. It brings out the natural flush in your cheeks and makes you look perpetually alive. He feels stagnant by comparison, a man of stone who remains unchanging while the world passes him by.
The tumble of hair across your shoulders and the delight in your eyes are so beautiful he wants to reach for you. To reach for more, be more than who he has been - afraid and alone. Bitterness lives in his heart, swatting away anyone who gets too close. But here you are, knocking once more on the door of his being.
He finds his voice, his hands thankfully moving on muscle memory as he drops in the next remix. 'It's good energy tonight,' he fumbles. 'I love this song.' You nod in agreement.
It’s easy, being with you. Together you talk about work and the music he plays and your group of friends. Chanyeol and Bijoux, who finally got together again after what seems like months of back and forth. Bets on how long Minseok will wait before he proposes to Bookworm, now that they’re an official item. Joking about Baekhyun and Hitch like always.
He shows off for you, just a little. Spins 'Scream' by Michael and Janet jackson with a bit more pizazz than usual. It strikes him as amusing how much he always hated being watched before this. Not that many people pay particular attention to him as a DJ, but he thinks he might like the way it feels to be watched by you.
He wants to watch you, too, for as long as you let him. He already can’t take his eyes off you. No matter how much that idea might terrify him. When he drops the next mix and the crowd cheers at ‘Tubthumping’ he gives you a rare broad smile and it's like being punched in the chest when you return it with an unexpectedly shy one of your own.
Jongdae almost invites you into the booth. He sees it as though it were one of the romantic comedies that are so popular right now. You would take your place in front of him. He'd get to rest his hand on top of yours, guiding your movements. Maybe as you got the hang of it he would slide them to hold your hips, keeping your back to his chest as his mouth finds your neck.
Liz invites you to dance and Jongdae wipes the probably awed look off his face with effort. He needs some cold water, immediately.
Friday September 19th
Jongdae is upset about something. It’s not so much that you now seem to be able to pick up his moods with ease, which is true, but the fact that he is nearly tearing his hair out. A piece of paper sits in front of him on the desk but it’s too far away for you to read.
By the time he groans for the fifth time you finally speak up. ‘Are you alright?’
His head jerks up and his eyes are tired when they meet yours. Not ‘it’s been a long week’ tired, but something sad in his expression that makes him look fragile and younger than his years.
For a moment he shakes his head. Then he picks up the paper and waves it in the air, opening and closing his mouth in rapid succession. The confusion on his normally self-assured face would be comical if it wasn’t such an obviously distressing situation. Finally he drops the paper and leans back in his chair, rubbing a hand along his jaw.
‘I just got word that they’re demolishing the apartment building I live in. I have to move by November 1st.’
Instantly you want to hug him or hold his hand. ‘Your grandfather’s apartment?’
Jongdae nods. ‘They’re tearing it down so they can put in some luxury condos. Yet another classic neighborhood about to be wiped out in the name of progress.’ He sighs, looking at the ceiling to compose himself. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so-’
‘No, it’s -’ you start, unsure of your destination. ‘It’s an important place. And it’s your home. Don’t apologize for being pissed off about it.’
He nods, taken aback. ‘Exactly. It’s where I grew up. I’ve also never had to look for an apartment or move, either. So this will be dreadful.’
You bite the inside of your cheek. The offer to help practically leaps from your mouth and you hold it close for a moment, making sure you don’t rush into something that’s out of your depth. But as always your logic overrules your fear.
‘I could help, if you like?’ He’s just your boss slash co-worker. It’s innocent. It’s harmless, right? ‘I’ve moved so often with school and everything. I know my way around the city.’
In the ensuing pause Jongdae’s solemnity returns, his mouth and the lines of his face don’t give away any emotion. But, as always, he holds you in place with his expression. And his eyes have that fire within that he seems to only show to you. ‘That would be wonderful, thank you.’
You nod, case closed. Turning back to your computer you lie to yourself further, pretending not to notice how his voice lowered. As though he knew you weren’t just offering for help with his living situation. But something more raw and painful that he isn’t prepared to hold on his own just yet.
For how picky you thought you were about apartments, Jongdae has you beat by a mile. Student housing accustomed you to wonky flooring and cramped kitchens and the charming yet ancient windows on many older Seattle homes. But his grandfather’s gorgeous pre-war unit had made Jongdae’s tastes quite particular.
On Tuesdays and on weekends you pulled up listings and showed Jongdae around the city by way of it’s apartments, condos, and houses. He enjoyed the nature surrounding Greenlake, the affordable houses north of UW in Ravenna, and the vibe of Ballard and Fremont. But he ruled anything north of 520 out quickly as ‘too far from the store.’ The luxury of walking to work on nicer days was something he wasn’t willing to part with.
The same unfortunately ruled out a townhouse in Alki that you had salivated over, a block from the beach. Pioneer Square had some great lofts that would have been perfect for a music-lover like Jongdae, but he vetoed those as well. Along with all the trendy industrial lofts near the stadiums, claiming he hated all the construction going on nearby.
It should have been frustrating, to spend endless hours watching him nix perfectly wonderful places. In Queen Anne he hated the hills. Westlake he disliked the mall. Madrona, Leschi, Montlake, Magnolia, and Lake Union all came close but still he shook his head and said ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to landlord after landlord.
It should have driven you mad, but all it did was make you like him more.
Falling in love with Jongdae isn’t what you had planned. But from the first night you saw him at the club some part of you knew it was inevitable, the way the rain in autumn starts off as a light drizzle and before you know it becomes a torrential downpour, blanketing the city and saturating every exposed corner.
He always brought you coffee and insisted on buying breakfast or lunch. He always picked you up, right on time. Held doors and made sure he didn’t walk too fast and did the thing where his arm hovered over your back when the two of you were in crowded spaces. Not touching, but close enough you could feel him protecting you. On anyone else you would have absolutely hated that, but of course from him, you craved it.
Day after day you listened to music in his car as the two of you drove around little neighborhoods hoping to find something, complaining about how tight and ridiculous the parking situation always is. Joking about your friends or the news or the latest books you’re reading. They hardly felt like dates. No, they felt like something even more insidious. Like being in a relationship with him. Easy and warm and friendly and the kind of thing you could get used to.
But eventually it had to end, before it seemed like either of you were ready.
On a surprisingly warm Tuesday in October the two of you walk into a place that no one could object to. The building is in south Capitol Hill, close to Cal Anderson and only a fifteen or twenty minute walk from the mall. It’s designed in the classic Victorian style of the neighborhood, but was completed just three years ago. Small pane windows and a fireplace with a carved mantle and dark spires on the roof, all with brand new insulation and appliances.
Sunlight floods the corner unit on the top floor and you gasped as soon as the door opened. Jongdae stands beside you as the landlord goes over the details of the square footage and the building amenities, but neither of you are listening anymore.
‘What do you think?’ he asks softly. The five-story building sits on a slight hill and overlooks the rest of downtown, with a partial water view around the tall downtown skyscrapers.
‘I think it’s as close to perfect as you’re going to get.’
He moves closer and rests his palms on the window sill, looking around for a moment before turning his head to watch you. ‘Good.’
After a long pause Jongdae pushes off the windows and politely interrupts the landlord, who is currently opening every single cabinet in the kitchen and giving a detailed run down of his wife’s favorite tupperware, asking about the deposit. The way he phrased it along with the attentive way he waited for your approval makes you wonder if he wasn’t just picking this apartment for himself.
Imagining yourself there scares you. If he was seeking your opinion… surely he would be hoping you’d come over? Neither of you have spoken a word about the bizarre yet undeniable attraction you have, but that hardly forms the basis of a relationship. A boyfriend who wanted to be sure you liked his new place would be one thing, but your friend and co-worker who has never admitted to even liking you is quite another.
You lean against the edge of the window and run a finger along the ledge. A small part of you whispers that you’re supposed to be doing something else, eventually. You won’t work at Chen’s forever, but it wasn’t meant to be this hard to leave. It’s just a stop on the way to your final destination. So why do you want to get off the train altogether and make a home here?
Would it be so terrible, to be with him? It’s been a fantasy for so long that imagining real life with him makes you suck in a breath as though you’ve been punched in the gut. It could be a fresh start for you both. The end of one adventure and the beginning of a new one. You remind yourself that being in love doesn’t mean you can’t travel or change the world. Being with Jongdae would hopefully only encourage your dreams, not stifle them.
As they discuss deposit and applications and timelines for moving into the apartment you wander into the other rooms.
The bathroom has a large tub and dual sinks. You can only imagine what your expression must be like right now, given your swirling emotions, and avoid the mirror altogether. The second bedroom is more like a cozy office, narrow enough for a desk and a couch and perhaps some bookshelves. In the bedroom you hesitate at the doorway, reaching up to play with the pendant of your necklace.
Windows run along both sides, meeting in a corner. You think of plants lining the wide ledges and going to sleep with the setting westward sun and how short of a walk it would be to get breakfast from your favorite bagel shop that’s just a block away. It’s close to the mall and the club. It’s truly perfect.
As you watch cars pass and people walk by down below you space out, the image blurring and becoming Jongdae on a bed in this room, leaning back against the pillows with a book in his lap. Smiling at you and pulling you close since he knows you refuse to get up earlier than you have to on your days off.
Inexplicably you want to cry and you huff out a laugh, squeezing your eyes tightly only to find that they’re damp. It’s not anger that the vision inspires in you or even sadness. It’s frustration and amusement that war inside you as you think about how you fell in love with him without your consent. Rational thinking should have stopped this long ago, but all you can think as you stand there is how nice it is to be with him. And how you wouldn’t mind being with him for a long while.
The only thing that helps ease the tension in your chest is how he looks at you on the drive back to your place. You fill the time with discussions of moving trucks and hiring a company to help with the heavy lifting, but you’re both clearly distracted by other thoughts. He pulls his car up to your apartment and you try to avoid looking at him as you say goodbye, but he briefly rests his hand on your knee to get your attention.
Your hand stops in its motion to grab your bag and ends up nearly on top of his, but you make no movement to break the contact. ‘Thank you,’ he says softly. ‘I mean it.’ Jongdae turns his hand and holds yours, giving it a quick squeeze and looking like he never wants to let go.
October 12th, 1997
You’re eating cheesy bread at Barada with Hitch, but today she’s different - evasive and nervous in a strange way. 'So I - uhh. I have news,' she finally says. She sips her drink and looks at the table rather than at you. 'I don't know if I should tell you though.'
Pausing in your chewing you raise a brow. 'You can tell me anything, you know that.'
She awkwardly runs a hand along her neck. 'No I know. I just -' she huffs out a breath and blows her hair off her forehead..
'You and Baekhyun finally had sex and you're pregnant?' You smirk at her as she chokes on her soda. 'Come on, just spit it out.'
She waves and hand and very quickly says - 'There's a project manager position open in the gaming division. Some new big thing and they're looking for an upstart to head up operations.'
You frown and tear off another slide of bread, not understanding her odd behavior at all. 'Okay… and you're thinking what, thinking of applying?'
'No, you dork. I'm thinking you should apply.' She tilts her head like she assumed your reaction would be more immediate. 'You wanted me to keep an eye out for you, right? I didn't want to say anything since - '
'Since?' you ask, both afraid of what she'll say and dying to know. Terrified it will have to do with Jongdae and the swirling mess of feelings you have for him.
It’s her turn to be wry. 'Since you and Jongdae have been attached at the hip.'
'Really?' You stall, taking an enormous bite.
Hitch tosses a balled-up napkin at you. 'Yes. When I met you in college I thought 'there goes the most intense person I've ever met.’ And then I met Jongdae after he opened Chen’s and he gave you a run for your money.' She dusts off her hands. 'You both could be making millions someday. Taking over countries or saving the world or something. We all know it. I don't know, I didn’t want to mention this because together you guys seem happier. Softer? Something like that..'
'And you think me getting a job there would ruin that?' Her words mirror your fears exactly and your stomach drops.
'It's taken me years to get Jongdae to even look at me after I told him where I worked. He hates Microsoft. With good reason, from what you've implied. I'm sure you could make it work, but trust me when I say if you get swept up into that upper management spiral, we probably won't see you again.'
'I won't completely abandon you guys just because I get a new job.' But doubt whispers in your mind. The long hours and the endless meetings and the extra work to always be the best, to always be ahead. 'Okay fine, I see your point. I still have to try, right? I should at least apply.'
She rests her hand over yours where you have your napkin in a death grip on the table. 'You don't have to do anything, babe. We'll always be here for you even if you become a tech mogul overnight. But will it make you happy? Whatever comes next... do it for yourself, okay? Not just cause you think you should.'
You smile and hold her hand for a moment, wrinkling your nose. 'Thank you, Hitch. I needed that. What about you? You said you were going to apply for that transfer to the NYC office, are you still considering it?'
She blows out a deep breath and pulls her hand back, dropping her forehead to it for a moment. 'God, I don't know. My whole life is here. And I'd have to leave the theater.' She rests her chin on her palm and looks up at you with a dramatic frown. 'My friends are all here. My family. I love where I'm at, but I know that something eventually has to change.'
'Baekhyun?' You grin at her, wondering if the move might finally force them to admit their feelings.
Hitch straightens and looks across the food court to the movie theater. 'Yeah, something like that.' She gives you a dramatic waggle of her brow. 'Jongdae?'
You groan and fold your arms, sinking lower into your seat. Even your roommates ask about him now. Everyone can surely see how you light up around him. The way you gravitate towards the DJ booth on club nights like a moth to a flame. The way you draw him into conversations and brag about him. It should be forbidden territory, as untouchable and unreadable as he is. Not to mention he's your boss.
But worst of all he still hasn't said anything about it, nothing more than the occasional flirtatious comment or lingering look. Even after all your time together and the way he looked at you in the new apartment. For all you know he sees you as a very stubborn employee who happens to force your way into things.
You cover your face with your hands and sigh. 'Something like that.'
Hitchcock stands and takes your shared tray of dishes to the bus station with a throaty laugh. 'That's what I thought.'
November 1st, 1997
Jongdae is frantically packing up more of his bookshelf when the doorbell rings. He smiles on instinct. It's not something he can help anymore, not when he knows it's you on the other side. Right at nine in the morning, just when you promised the movers would be here. With a last look around his living room at the organized chaos he wipes his hands on his sweatpants and stands.
It surprised him how quickly you agreed to help with - well, everything, really.
When he told you about his move he didn’t expect anything would come of it. It's his problem, not yours. He didn't imagine for a moment you'd give the announcement more attention than a sympathetic word or two. But you stepped to his side. Put up with his grouchy persistence in believing that there's no place in the world, let alone in Seattle, that would be as amazing as this apartment. As it always seems with you, he found himself proven wrong.
You didn't let him wallow and guided him with your decisiveness through the checklist of everything he'd need to do. A few months ago he would have waved you off. Decided you were being bossy or nosy and turned down the help with a cold shoulder.
But now he wants you around for everything and the thought makes him pause with his hand on the doorknob.
He made sure you like his new apartment too because - when he isn't expecting it he imagines you there. Not just as his co-worker or employee or even as his friend. As someone more permanent. Lasting. It's not that he needs you to run his life for him, he's perfectly capable of doing things on his own. It's just that he loves how you barge your way into his world and refuse to let him be alone.
Jongdae doesn't know how yet, but he wants to show you how he feels in return. It's like trying to run with a blindfold on, but he desperately hopes that he can figure out how to care about you in the way you deserve. Bringing you coffee and asking about your day and giving you all the freedom you want at work are a start, but they barely scratch the surface of how much he feels for you.
He's got one idea. A big one. An insane one, that you'll probably call him nuts for suggesting. If he ever gets up the nerve someday.
The buzzer sounds again and he shakes himself out of it. Finally he pulls it open and is greeted by your smiling face in the morning gray light. Hair pulled back in a ponytail and dressed in a long black shirt and faded overalls. He leans against the doorframe, wondering if he's ever seen anything more beautiful than you on his doorstep.
'So, I have a surprise,' you start. With a free hand you nervously brush your hair behind your ear. It's so unlike you that he immediately wonders if something is wrong.
'What is it?'
Before you can answer, noise in the parking lot draws his focus. His front door faces the open-air walkway that leads to the stairs down to the parking lot. He expected a moving truck and several buff men in logoed shirts. Instead it's a scrappy group of your friends - his friends now, he supposes - looking tired but ready to help.
Junmyeon and Jane drink coffee and pull furniture dollys and heavy blankets out of a Uhaul truck. Liz and Jongin are leaning against the cab of Sehun's car and laugh at him as he and Yixing sleep peacefully in the backseat. Chanyeol and his girlfriend are paused on the landing below making out, a tape gun in each of their hands. Another car catches a break in the flow of traffic and pulls into one of the guest spaces. Minseok and Bookworm step out and yawn, tying sweatshirts around their waists.
Jongdae repeats his question. Or at least he tries to, but emotion catches his throat and all he can do is stare at you with a mix of surprise and what he's sure is a very naked expression of affection.
'How did you do this?' he asks when he can finally breathe again.
You tilt your head and grin at him, pride making you radiant even in the dull mist of the morning. 'Is this okay?' For a moment you look worried, tucking your hands in the pockets of your overalls and taking a step back.
'I know I said I'd hire the movers, but I thought this might be better? I didn't think everyone would be here, especially after the Halloween party last night. Soo and Sunshine are working, but I think - wait,' you turn and yell down to the group in the lot. 'Has anyone heard from Baek and Hitch?'
Chanyeol reluctantly pulls away from his girlfriend and replies. 'Yeah, he messaged me at the ass-crack of dawn. He said he and Hitch are fine, but they won't be able to make it until later.'
With a curious look you thank Chanyeol and turn back to Jongdae. 'Okay, so almost everyone came.'
'It's because you're incredible,' he agrees, heart warm and in awe of you. Stepping back, he shoves the door stop in with his foot to prop it open and gestures for you to come in.
He doesn't get two steps before your hand finds his bicep, stopping him. 'No, I'm just absolutely amazing at organizing things,' you laugh. ‘But they didn't just come for me Jongdae, they came because they're your friends. They wanted to help.'
The intensity in your voice makes him pause. Like you're trying to say far more than your words. He gets lost for a moment in your beautiful eyes and swallows harshly. His past, the negative parts, haven't come up much - his failed first business, the trail of broken friendships he's left behind him, the ensuing guard he's had up since - but you've paid far more attention than he realized.
He doesn't miss the meaning behind your words, or the look in your eyes; what you're asking of him. To trust you, to trust them. To release his death grip on the walls he keeps up to protect himself. But no matter how determined you are he knows he has to be the one to dismantle them. His heart is nervous and he instead focuses on your hand on his arm.
For a beat he wants to kiss you, then and there with almost all of his and your friends just outside. Instead he lets his actions speak when his mouth isn't able to and pulls you into a hug. You freeze for a moment, stiff with surprise. But after a moment it melts away and you hold him back, wrapping your arms around his waist. His head spins when you rest your forehead against his shoulder, unable to process the fact that you’re in his arms in reality, not just his dreams.
'You're the most amazing person,' he murmurs against your hair.
The sound of loud voices and thumping of boots on stairs make him pull back. You give him another smile, warmer and softer this time. Something that's private for him only. 'I know.'
He barks out a laugh as Sehun and Jongin come in through the doorway. 'Let's do this!' Sehun calls, clapping his hands together.
'We promise we won't steal anything,' Jongin jokes, looking around Jongdae's place with obvious fascination.
Bijoux organizes the packing party while Chanyeol grabs Jongdae's keys so he and Sehun can take the first load of boxes over to the new place while Junmyeon, Jongin, and Jongdae load up the bigger furniture pieces into the Uhaul. Jongdae lets out a rusty laugh as Junmyeon dubs them ‘the J squad.’ You work around them, collecting all the random trinkets and knicknacks that have escaped other boxes.
He closed Chen’s today to hopefully knock this entire project out in one swoop. Ripping it off like a Bandaid. After the first big load everyone splits up into teams. Sehun and Yixing pack and load the rest of the boxes and smaller items into the cars. Jongin, who is absolutely not trusted around breakable items, goes with Junmyeon to return the Uhaul to the rental shop and pick up lunch and drinks for everyone with the cash Jongdae insisted they take.
And Minseok leads everyone else on a cleaning checklist he’s created with military precision. It's been so long Jongdae doesn't even know if he has a damage deposit. His grandfather took excellent care of the place and he kept it up in his absence, so he hopes it's not too much work to tidy.
Yixing’s boombox keeps up a steady flow of music throughout the morning and lunch time. With everyone’s help, and of course with the added fuel from the pizza and beverages, things are just wrapping up at the old place. You stay behind with Jongdae to take a last look around and turn in the keys, forcing him to take a few photos in the space to remember it.
‘This is it, I guess,’ he says, holding out the key and laying it on the kitchen counter with a small metallic sound.
‘How do you feel?’ You lean your hip against the fridge and drink from a water bottle.
Sunset over Lake Union is his favorite time of day and it’s hard to stand the thought of missing out on a last one. It’s barely two in the afternoon and it’s hours until golden hour. Rather than lie he simply says the truth. ‘I wish I could see the sun go down one last time.’
You come and stand next to him, close enough he can smell the light scent of your perfume and see the flush of your chest from the day’s exertion. ‘We can wait.’
He thinks of everyone at his new place, unloading boxes. ‘But everyone-’
‘Jongdae,’ you start. ‘They’ll be fine. You know Sehun has probably fallen asleep on your couch already. Baek and Hitch and the openers from Barada will be heading over soon. Some people have to head out for closing shifts but it’s already been decided that we’re doing movie night and Chinese take out tonight at your new place.’
‘Oh really?’ He presses his lips together to try not to laugh.
‘I don’t think you have much of a choice,’ you tease. ‘Trust me, they’ll be fine for another few hours.’
‘Alright then,’ he says after a pause.
The two of you sit on the bare hardwood floors and talk until the sun finally sets, just before five pm. He doesn’t yell his feelings for you at full volume like he wishes he could. He doesn’t dance with you or kiss you slowly in the empty apartment, there’s far too many emotions in his heart today to try and cope with more. But after he locks up and leaves the keys behind he does take your hand to help you into the car. And he does hold it for far longer than necessary before pulling back to shut the door.
It’s not much, but like his new apartment it’s the start of something.
November 3rd, 1997
You’ve got to tell Jongdae now, but nerves eat away at you and your resolve lessens minute by minute. Since the move he’s been warmer, more open, and you don’t want to ruin that. But you can’t keep this from him any longer.
Applying at Microsoft was supposed to be a long shot, a shot in the dark, or some other kind of shot that never meant to lead anywhere. But still it’s one you took and one that ended up paying off way faster and more successfully than you’d planned. After two interviews last week you sit with a job offer on your answering machine back home and a choice to make.
They need your decision by tomorrow and as Monday winds into early afternoon your deadline approaches. You bite your lip and vacillate wildly between thoughts. On the one hand this could be a good thing - if you’re no longer working at the same place, there’s nothing stopping the two of you from being together, right?
But what if Jongdae can’t see past his hurt and freaks out, assuming you’re leaving him like everyone else has? Or worse, what if he never cared about you that way at all?
Your stomach drops at the thought of walking out of here into your dream job, but feeling empty, leaving behind someone who has come to mean so much to you.
Your roommates Liz and Jane, Hitch, hell even Baekhyun weaseled the truth out of you at Shari’s on Saturday. Stone cold sober and still you let out everything to him sitting in your group’s favorite booth. About how you might in fact love Jongdae and how badly you want this opportunity, how utterly terrifying and exhilarating change can be simultaneously.
None of them told you to choose one way or the other. They didn’t say ‘take the job’ or ‘turn down the job,’ they all said that the decision is one only you can make and that they’d support you no matter what you picked. And maybe each time you cried a little and all of them were good enough friends to just hug you and not mention it.
But all of them told you one thing that now sits lodged in your throat. Whatever else happens, you both deserve to know. Jongdae deserves the truth about what you’re considering, and you deserve to finally know once and for all how he feels about you and what he wants.
After he locks the doors and starts cleaning up, you rise, holding your hands behind your back so tightly your knuckles are most assuredly white. ‘Hey, can we talk for a minute?’
Jongdae nods. ‘Of course. I’ve got something I wanted to discuss with you as well, actually. But you go first.’ He folds his arms and leans against his desk, giving you that affectionate close-lipped smile of his. You desperately hope what you’re about to say doesn’t wipe it off his face.
Not one to beat around the bush you dive in. ‘I applied for another job.’ The words sound blunt and harsh. You swallow and try again, hating how his brow furrows in confusion. ‘Not because I don’t like it here. But Hitch told me about an opening and it sounded - sounds perfect for what I want to do in the long run. It’s on the new gaming system division… at Microsoft.’
He doesn’t say anything for a long pause. Instead of meeting your eyes his have dropped to the ground and you wish you could reach out and touch him. Anything to make sure he hears you, understands you. But a whisper of fear makes you keep quiet, worrying the connection you had wasn’t meant to last, if something so trivial could break it.
‘I thought you were happy here,’ he says finally.
You hold your hands out in front of you, palms up in a gesture of entreaty. ‘I do, Jongdae. It’s not that at all. I thought this might - be good for us. If we’re not working together, then -’
When he finally looks up his gaze is distant, his mouth a thin line. The shutters have fallen over his face. ‘By going to work at the one place I despise?’
Anger makes your skin hot and you fold your arms as well, in defiance. ‘But you talk to Hitch and Baekhyun? They haven’t turned into the devil incarnate yet.’
He gives a quick, harsh shrug. ‘I like them both, sure. But being friends is one thing. This is quite another.’
It’s almost a declaration, yet so far from how you dreamed this moment might go. ‘What are you saying, Jongdae?’ You need to hear it. After so many weeks of trying you need him to at least do you the courtesy of speaking it out loud.
‘You know how I feel about you.’ There’s hope in his eyes. But it’s so buried amongst hurt and suspicion it’s not even close to reassuring. ‘I want you to stay. Here.’ With me, he doesn’t say, but you feel it.
Nothing drives you more up the wall than being told what to do. His words fall against your own shield and the plea within goes unnoticed. ‘Would you really shut me off if I took this job? Does hating them mean more than wanting what’s best for me?’ You finally step forward, reaching a hand for his arm.
‘I’ve supported you in everything,’ you start, unable to stop now that you’ve started. ‘In finding community here. In your move. Even in the business, who was the one who pushed you to keep growing? I don’t intend to stop being there for you, but I need you to support me in this. Please.’
He just watches you, not saying a word. The clock on the wall ticks loudly in the silence. People outside the glass doors go about their day, shopping or getting an early dinner, unaware of the standoff taking place merely feet from them. You wonder what it would take to make his guard truly ever come down.
With how quickly it snapped back into place you feel tired all the way down to your bones. Maybe it will never be enough, even if you did stay here forever.
‘I’ll pay out your PTO in these next two weeks,’ he says softly. ‘No need to come back into the office. If that works for you?’ His last statement is thrown on as a hasty addendum. Like he’d realized how harsh it sounded and he wanted to dull the sting. It’s a sliver of kindness, a glimpse at the man he almost allowed himself to be. But it’s not enough.
‘Fine with me.’ You move past him, into the supply room to grab your purse and jacket, proud of the way your voice doesn’t waver. Pausing in the hallway you turn to look back at him, still frozen against his desk. ‘I’m leaving this job, I’m not leaving you.’
He turns to look at you, running a hand through his hair and messing up the ends. ‘It will go the same way, I know it. In the end you’ll disappear too.’
‘Jongdae, I’m trying. I need you to at least meet me halfway.’
You don’t wait for his reply, if one was ever even going to come. Instead you continue down the small hallway and push out the back door into the mall. It’s only once you’re in your car that you remember he mentioned something he wanted to discuss. You wonder what it was, and if you’ll ever find out.
Jongdae stares after you for long seconds after you’re gone. He doesn’t hold out hope that you’ll come back, not after the way he treated you. Instead he feels stuck in place, like if he holds his breath and doesn’t exhale then the last five minutes didn’t happen.
But his lungs burn and his chest aches, and when he finally sighs it comes out ragged. He fumbles for the switch and the store descends into darkness. Shafts of light still come through, angled in from the glass ceiling of the mall’s concourse. Jongdae stands just outside of it, protected. With no one to see he sinks into his desk chair and drops his head into his hands.
The tears that clog his throat are at first unexpected, but as the minutes drag on he finally gives into them. He should have known they were coming all along. Not just from the moment you walked into his life, but from the day his grandfather died. From the day his father passed and his mother became a ghost rather than a permanent, tangible figure.
From the day Julian took Jongdae’s designs and credited them as his own to the investors, cutting Jongdae out of not only the business they were building, but out of their group of friends as well.
Misery and hopelessness whisper against his skin and for long minutes he lets himself wallow. He knows it’s no one’s fault but his own that he ruined things with you. His grandfather taught him long ago that other’s actions are theirs, and that it’s what Jongdae does in response that is his responsibility. But he can’t deny that he indulges in thoughts of blaming the cruelty of life for making him so goddamn stubborn.
He swallows and leans back in his chair, feeling as though his body is made of hard, unyielding stone. Maybe it's better this way, he wonders, drumming his fingers on the wood desk before him. Perhaps he should let his worst fears dominate his life, believing that the risk is far greater than any potential reward that love or friendship could offer him.
Is it better to be alone, knowing that he’ll always be safe, free of anyone who might hurt him?
Jongdae groans. The voice inside him that whispers No sounds first like his grandfather, both encouraging and feisty at the thought of Jongdae giving up. Next it sounds like you. He knows you’d roll your eyes and call him grouchy, always thinking better of him than he does of himself. You’d tell him his bark is far worse than his bite and to get over himself already. At this thought, at any thought of you, really, he smiles.
Familiar voices make him look out into the mall. Sehun and Jongin walk by carrying sodas, rubbing their stomachs. He can imagine how they’re complaining about eating too much Barada pizza, as always.
They pass by quickly but the image stays with him, of their friendship. Jongdae thinks of Chanyeol and Kyungsoo’s, how opposite and yet how similar they are. Baekhyun and Hitch, who are always teasing each other but who he knows would do anything at the drop of a hat.
He’s held himself back the past few months. First a reluctant observer. Then a tentative participant. The endless exhaustion of being careful, keeping his distance, catches up to Jongdae as he sits in that chair. If it weren’t for you maybe he’d never be brave enough to try again after how hard it was growing up. But if he is to be the kind of person, the kind of partner you deserve, now is the time to make the attempt.
It’s up to Jongdae to be the one to try, to reach out. He can’t let others find him anymore. For the first time in a long time Jongdae stands up and goes looking for a friend.
Junmyeon still has an hour before his store closes and he looks up at Jongdae as he walks in through the door of Guardians. ‘Hey, JD! How’s it going?’ If he notices that Jongdae’s been crying, he’s kind enough to not mention it.
‘Are you busy?’ Jongdae’s throat is raw but Jun has a young son, surely tears won’t bother him.
‘Not really, I’m just organizing some shipments going out tomorrow,’ Junmyeon answers. He sets down his pencil and rests his hands on the counter. A crease forms between his brows the longer he watches Jongdae. ‘Is everything alright?’
He wants to do this right, but all he can find are inelegant words. Junmyeon is as close as he has to a best friend at the moment, and he hopes he doesn’t inconvenience him. ‘Not really.’
Jun tilts his head and gestures to the door, picking up Jongdae’s unspoken request and running with it, just like he’d hoped he would. ‘I can close up shop a bit early. Want to talk in my office?’
Jongdae runs a hand over his face and nods. Grateful and relieved he manages a small laugh. ‘That would be great, thanks.’
After Jun locks the doors and flips the sign to closed he motions for Jongdae to follow him. The back room of Guardians is much warmer that at Chen’s Electronics, in style rather than temperature. Jongdae sits on a beige sofa that’s even more comfortable than it looks. The walls are filled with framed photos and art prints and various other pieces that give the space an art gallery vibe.
With a sigh Junmyeon tidies up the mess of papers and crayons and various cups with kid lids. ‘Sorry, Sungmin loves to draw but we haven’t quite nailed the clean up yet.’
‘Don’t worry about it on my behalf,’ Jongdae says sincerely. ‘I’m just grateful you’re willing to listen.’
The space has a narrow hallway leading to a back door and a closet that’s probably full of supplies, much like Jongdae’s store. Jun takes the cups to a small sink in the mini-kitchen in the corner. His brow lifts in confusion. ‘Why wouldn’t I? We’re friends, right?’
Could it be that simple? No need to prove himself or do everything possible to impress Junmyeon, like he did with Julian. ‘Yeah, we are I suppose.’ He laughs and shakes his head. ‘Sorry, I don’t mean to imply I don’t consider us friends, I just - well, have a few trust issues when it comes to that sort of thing.’
Junmyeon dries his hands on a dishtowel and blows his hair off his forehead with a huffed laugh. ‘We’ve all got a few issues, don’t we?’ He moves to the table and takes a seat, sliding a glass of water towards Jongdae and sipping from one of his own. ‘I’ve got the time. So quit stalling and tell me about yours.’
He sags into the couch and drinks from the glass. ‘Alright then.’
For once he doesn’t second guess himself or try to read the minutiae of Jun’s expressions to see if he’s annoying him or being too boring. Jongdae simply tells him the truth, trusting his friend to listen.
He mentions his family and how hard it hit him when his grandfather passed. How strange and yet unbothered he is by the lack of relationship with his mother. The way he was teased growing up and how he was probably the only person in his Master’s program going through puberty. The fact that the mall is the first place he’s ever had friends his own age since childhood.
It’s satisfying to see how pissed off Jun gets when he tells him about Julian and all the bullshit he put Jongdae through. For a while there Jongdae had convinced himself that he was the one in the wrong, that there’d been something he’d done to earn his exile. That it was a deserved punishment. But his friend’s muttered curses remind him that true friends don’t normally backstab each other for money and notoriety.
And finally, he talks of you.
How much he values you at work and how sassy and insistent you were about bringing him into ‘the fold’ of their friend group. The ways in which he wants to be with you and care for you and all his worries of whether or not he’ll be any good at it, given his lack of experience. Junmyeon is neither surprised by his feelings for you nor willing to let him wallow.
‘I even brought prom tickets,’ Jongdae finishes with a groan. He pulls them from the pocket of his jeans and lets his arm fall to the couch cushion. ‘Me. At a prom.’ He almost snorts.
But Junmyeon just purses his lips. ‘Is that really such a stretch?’
Jongdae hums a noise of contemplation. ‘No. I guess not. All our friends are doing it.’ But before Jun can continue he shakes his head. ‘But I’ve messed this all up, so it doesn’t matter either way.’
Loneliness aches in his bones, his hands tired of not holding yours. Wishing he was enough, somehow, to keep you here and keep you warm; enough to make you stay, to make you happy.
Junmyeon raises a brow. ‘I think you’re missing the point entirely my friend. She told you what she needs. All you have to do is listen. She’s asking you to trust her. This job is something she’s worked for and she’s not leaving you for it. She’s just leaving the job. If you want to know you have to ask.’
He sighs deeply. ‘You’re right. But what if it all goes wrong? What if I try and it’s all for nothing in the end?’
Jun dips his chin to his chest, looking at the ground lost in thought. ‘That’s fair. I know a little of that myself, Jongdae. But all you can do is try. There’s sadly no guarantees here. I think you want to make it work and from what I know of her, she wants you as well. It’s time to make the big gesture. Or any kind of gesture, really.’
He groans and smiles, knowing his friend’s fondness for ‘I think you’re right.’ He even has an idea, two in fact. One that’s lived in the back of his mind for weeks and one that’s brewing right now. ‘Will you help me?’
‘Absolutely my friend.’ Jun claps him on the shoulder, his eyes crinkling at the corners.
November 19th, 1997
It should have been wonderful news to you that it was a clean break at least. No mess, just walking out the door and leaving behind the man and the job in one fell swoop. But of course, it wasn’t.
Microsoft was delighted when you told them you could start ASAP, but honestly you did it to jump into work rather than spend your time missing Jongdae. Filling your schedule proves to be the easiest way to avoid thinking about what hurts. You still had your roommates and Hitch and everyone else to hang out with, even if you weren’t ready for any Saturday pizza lunches or Shari’s nights quite yet. Both brought you far too close to him to bear right now.
Liz and Jane and Hitch are wonderful and you’ve had not one but two sleepovers since ‘the Jongdae incident.’ If not for their friendship and constant presence you’re sure you would have walled up the hurt and hid it away, not one to normally speak about your pain openly. Not while it’s so fresh.
Distantly you hope that Jongdae is okay and that he has someone to talk to. If he’s even hurting.
For all you know he’s completely fine and unaffected by the entire thing. Maybe he’s already found a new office manager and has forgotten about you. But those are the kind of rude and painful thoughts that only come to you at three in the morning when you can’t sleep, when dreams of his hands and his voice and his smile keep you up.
Jongdae calls one Tuesday to ask you to swing by Chen’s to pick something up the next day and you’re suspicious. He wouldn’t say any more, just ‘please come by at six. I have something to give you and I’d like it to be in person.’
You put on your favorite black dress and blazer that make you feel both sexy and confident and head to the mall. If he’s just calling you to twist the knife in deeper, you’ve already decided to leave and not bother letting him hurt you more. But if he’s calling to reconcile… you shake your head, not willing to get your hopes up. Instead you park in your old space and fix your make up in the rearview mirror.
It delights you to see that your old desk is returned to its former state. Just the computer, keyboard, and mouse remain. No one’s personal possessions have taken over the space like yours used to. It shouldn’t make you so happy to see he hasn’t replaced you, but it does.
Jongdae sits at his desk. His hair is in its usual perfect wave but his white button down and slacks have been swapped today for a dark green sweater and tan chinos. He looks ridiculously handsome and you grit your teeth, wishing you could turn off your attraction to him with a switch inside your brain.
He looks up at your knock on the glass door. For a moment he simply stands, drinking you in. Then he moves, walking closer to unlock the door and let you in.
‘Hi. How are you?’
You blink and try not to laugh. ‘How am I? Jongdae, how do you think I am?’
‘Right, sorry.’ He shakes his head. Carefully he looks you up and down, not bothering to hide his own attraction to you in his hungry gaze. With a swallow he remembers himself and grabs a cardboard banker’s box from in front of his desk. ‘Here. I didn’t want to come by and drop it off. It felt wrong.’
The box holds all the random photos and personal belongings you’d left in your desk, in your haste to leave. Postcards from Amsterdam and family photos and lotions and your favorite scarf you’d been missing. He steps back, resting against the corner of his desk and folding his arms. When you take it he doesn’t say anything, which is not what you’d hoped by any means, but silence is definitely less painful than you’d feared.
‘Well, it’s been an adventure,’ you manage. You lean against your desk and move the box under one arm, holding out a hand to him to shake. Ready to be done with this officially.
He doesn’t move. You can feel words held on the tip of his tongue. Months and months later you know how to read his tells. The tightness in his jaw and the widening of his eyes and how his hand grips the fabric of his sweater. But seconds tick on and still he says nothing.
He should speak or you should leave. One of you should do something. Instead you’re frozen in time. Eventually your arm aches and you set the box down beside you. You could go first, but pride demands he be the one to confess, if there’s going to be any confessions tonight.
Neither of you caves; twin pillars of resolution, stubbornness, and desire. It’s a game the two of you could play for hours. The tension in the air pulls tighter than a violin. His gaze drops from your eyes to your lips, unabashedly. His lids grow heavy as he breathes deeply, close enough to smell your gardenia perfume, but just out of reach of being able to touch you.
So this is what it feels like to meet my match, you think, finally acknowledging just how deeply you want him. Enough nights had been spent imagining kissing him, being with him in far more intimate ways than just a holding of hands or a hug. You want more, but only if he wants you, too.
You'd always been told that you were too driven, too smart, too self-sufficient to attract a man. Even in your MBA program where ambition and intelligence were supposedly rewarded, it apparently made you too something to find a good man to date.
But now there’s one right in front of you, looking at you as if you’re the answer to Fermat’s Enigma; a rare and priceless gem he’d been hunting for all his life. But he doesn’t look at you as if you’re art to be admired, a prize to be won. The guard lifts steadily and when he looks at you now it’s as if you’re the kind of miracle he wants to sink his teeth, his tongue, and his fingers into.
Your cheeks grow warm and you’re sure you look just as amazed and turned on as he does. If you had to guess, you’d bet that the number of people who challenge him these days are few, and the number of people who attempt to see the man behind the curtain even fewer.
While everyone else in the world might just see a monolith of a man, a genius, a hardworking and brilliant anomaly, you see the passionate, warm heart that beats in his chest. You know that the tin man really does have feelings and needs, and your heart almost breaks when you realize he’s been searching for you just as fervently as you’ve been searching for someone like him.
The silence in the room is almost too fragile a thing to break. On one side of the moment is a spark of something, a chance to see if this connection is real and deep, or if this is just chemistry and biology combining into lust. If your mind has taken the small gestures of passion and kindness and friendship from him and built it up to be something more than the sum of its parts.
‘I’ve missed you,’ he breathes, voice catching in his throat. Releasing his folded arms he rests his palms on the edges of the desk.
‘I’ve missed you, too,’ you admit. Your hands curl in on themselves, trying to fight the way emotion and physical longing make it difficult to be in such a close proximity to him.
‘Okay, then.’ He breaks first, moving with purpose and striding to you in two steps, sliding his hands along your jaw with such softness that you gasp.
And then, finally, you feel his lips on yours. You grasp his hips, hands freed and aching to touch him, to feel his hard body press against yours with surprising heat.
You meet him with equal passion, working your lips against his steady assault on your composure. For a solid minute you’re in awe that you could feel this much, that his lips and his hands could undo you so rapidly. That they could rebuild you into someone who belongs to him in such a short space of time, after weeks of endless doubt.
He groans against your lips in what feels like similar shock and surrender. Who would have thought that he would cave to your touch just as you did to his? How could someone so grumpy and strong-willed also be so open and vulnerable to this tentative thing between you.
But as he drops a hand and brings it to rest securely on the small of your back you realize there’s a name for this feeling.
You could call it fate. You could call it destiny. You could call it that damned four-letter word or you could call it Darwinism for all you care as his teeth bite gently into your lower lip.
You just know that nothing has ever felt as good and right as his hands claiming you for his own and the smell and heat of him wrapping themselves around you and burrowing their way into your heart.
A whine works its way from your throat as he licks along the seam of your lips, seeking entrance. When you open your mouth to him, his tongue slides along your own and you almost lose your balance. With a giggle you could swear you’ve never made before in your life you let him guide you up onto the desk.
He steps between your legs instantly, gripping your hips and continuing his tasting of you. Heat and electricity race down your spine as you fist your hands in his hair, pulling him closer to you until there’s no separation.
Banging on the glass doors and whistles come from out in the mall and you freeze. Instead of jerking back in shock and alarm like you’d expect him to, Jongdae confounds you once again. He pulls back slowly, opening his eyes and lifting his hands to gently cup your face. It can’t have been more than fifteen minutes but in less than the time it takes to watch one episode of Friends he’s turned your world on its axis.
You and Jongdae smile at each other and both turn to wave at your group of friends, who are celebrating and clapping. Baekhyun eats from an enormous bag of popcorn, wearing his theater uniform. Jongin and Sehun take large handfuls and Hitch whoops with joy. Liz and Jane and Junmyeon are all smiling, and attempt to force some of the group away to give you privacy.
Jongdae’s hands flex on your waist. ‘I want to try. You’re everything I want, will you please give me the chance to be what you need?’ His voice is raspy and his lips are red and you can’t help but grin.
‘I just want you, okay?’ You fix his messed up hair with both hands and sigh with relief. ‘And for you to admit you like me.’
‘I far more than like you.’ Jongdae rolls his eyes and kisses you once more. ‘You just want me to say you’re right.’
With a laugh you ease yourself off your desk, standing close within his arms and bending to whisper in his ear. ‘I’m always right. I just love when you admit it.’
‘So,’ he starts with an amused quirk of an eyebrow. ‘Will you let me take you to dinner? Us, officially, on a date.’
Your chest feels as if it’s a balloon, expanding so rapidly it might burst. He looks so young and boyish and hopeful your heart feels like it turns to liquid gold. With a delighted grin you lean forward and press your lips to his again, unable to resist.
Joy swims in his irises as he holds you in his arms. He looks at you through his lashes, his lips tilting into lopsided smile. ‘Is that a yes, then?’
‘Yes,’ you answer. ‘Of course.’
‘How’s right now for you?’ He motions to the doors and your friends have finally been corralled to the side of the walkway, revealing an elaborately decorated table in the food court.
You gasp and grip his arm. Jun and Sehun hold the doors open and Jongdae escorts you out. A red tablecloth is spread out over the circular table. The chairs have added plush cushions and several candles have been lit. A bottle of wine and two glasses rest beside several plates of food. You recognize the pizza from Barada, the rest looks like a mix from the other restaurants in the food court.
With high fives and hugs from your friends they finally leave you and Jongdae alone. Well, almost alone. It’s not a busy time at the mall, but there’s no way to avoid some of the customers turning to watch with amusement and curiosity as they pass by. You pay them no mind as Jongdae holds out your chair and helps you sit.
The two of you fall back into conversation easy enough, aided by the enormous amount of food and how you no longer have to move your knees away when they bump under the table. Jongdae reaches for your hand and holds it, in full view. He stares at the joined digits with warmth before looking up at you.
Doubt passes across his face, marring the beauty that contentment lends his features. ‘I don’t -’ he struggles. ‘I don’t know how to keep this much good in my life. I worry that I’m going to mess it up.’
Neither of you are the type to openly acknowledge such things. Merely the fact that he’s voicing his fears to you shows you he’s doing what he said - he’s trying, he wants to change. And truthfully so do you.
‘I worried for the longest time that I’d be alone forever,’ you say softly. ‘I didn’t think I’d ever find someone who understood me or who could handle all my - well, you know how I am.’
Jongdae smiles then, lifting your joined hands to his lips to press a kiss to your skin. ‘I love who you are.’
Your eyes mist at that and you groan, trying to blink them back. ‘Good, because I love who you are too.’ With your free hand you reach for his, needing to hold both of them and all of him at once. Not wanting to give his overly-analytical mind a chance to override the fragile hope you’re both building tonight. ‘You know what to do when a computer overloads?’
He nods. ‘Of course. Often it’s just a simple matter of turning it off and on again.’
‘So,’ you say, lifting your shoulder in a shrug. ‘When we mess up or freak out or say the wrong thing, we’ll just start over again. As long as you want me and I want you, we’ll figure it out.’
Jongdae softens, his shoulders dropping and ease coming back into his eyes. ‘I didn’t know I was lagging until you jump started my life.’ He waggles his brows. It’s a gesture that’s all Baekhyun, and a pun so terrible that Junmyeon would be proud. You can’t help but laugh and squeeze his hands.
‘I’ve got one more surprise,’ Jongdae says, reluctantly releasing one of your hands to pull two narrow slips of paper from his pocket. ‘Do you have any plans for Christmas?’
The tickets are in both your names. First class round trip from Seattle to Amsterdam. ‘Oh my - Jongdae, what is this? You and me in Amsterdam?’
‘I figured it was about time,’ he says with pride.
You lean out of your chair and reach for him, tugging him closer to kiss him fully. Noise reaches you - clapping and cheering from the shops around the mall. When you look around you see Sehun and his girlfriend leaning out of Starlight Apparel. Chanyeol and Kyungsoo smiling and fist bumping as they work on closing up the shop.
Hitch nudges Baekhyun from the theater booth and he jumps in excitement. And from Guardians Junmyeon leans on the counter, resting his chin in his hand, giving a thumbs up.
You roll your eyes and wave. ‘We maybe should have gone somewhere outside the mall, huh?’
'No, I think this is perfect,’ Jongdae answers. He then covers your mouth with his and holds you so tight that it drowns out the chorus of cheering that echos around the space.
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Gundham x shy reader who asks for kisses
· Gundham always found himself enjoying his time with you, you were by far one of his greatest companions in this life. With how shy and meek you seemed to be when you first met, he never thought someone like you would become his partner, he always imagined that if he were to find one they’d be more outwardly bold, yet he fell for you.
· Time and time again he had seen you try to approach others only to back out, running away in the end. It seemed you might have had a social anxiety of sorts, there had been several times where he had happened upon you after running, leaning against a wall breathing heavily, telling yourself that everything was alright. It was a rather pitiful state to find a person in, Mikan for as… flighty as she was could at least stammer out a few words to people if they talked to her, you on the other hand ended up just blabbering nonsense.
· Well he thought what you spoke was gibberish till one day he found a little tablet on his desk. Curiously he turned on the device and was met with a box of text. “In a fairy tale kingdom far, far away peoples anxieties exist as monsters who follow them around. Tired of their monsters getting in the way of making friendships a shepherd and riddle solver devise a plan to meet without their anxieties. A river divides their lands and in that great river, a single, small island. There they would meet. First they would capture their anxieties and meet on the island in case they escaped to still be away from them. The shepherd successfully captured his monsters but the riddle solver failed, and more monsters were born of the failure, the riddle solver now having “hopelessness”. Can you get the shepherd and the riddle solver to the island? There are several conditions to this however. 1, no monsters can be with the shepherd and the riddle solver on the island, 2, with every trip the boat makes across the river another monster will find the riddle solver, the shepherd’s monsters will find him every other turn, 3, if the shepherd or the riddle solver are with 5 of their monsters they will be consumed and it’s game over, 4, if the shepherd or riddle solver are left with their monsters for three turns they will be consumed by anxiety and it’s game over, 5, the boat needs two people to row it they can be human, monster or both, but the river is too powerful for only one to move the boat”
· Tapping the screen he was greeted to a picture on a person on each side of a river, one of them with a black creatures beside them as well as a boat, and island in the middle of the river. There were also buttons at the top labeled “rules and “hints” and such. The style seemed to be like a picture book. After some tapping around he learned the controls and intrigued by whatever this exactly was he played along. Eventually he found a way for them to meet, but it took much trial and error, and was certainly not helped by the fact he refused to check the hints. In the end when he did beat it he was instructed to leave the tablet in between specific books in the library.
· The next day on his desk he found that tablet again, this time with a new game in it and once beaten, instructed him to hide it in the library once more. Over and over this went on.
· Once more he had solved the mystery of the new game, however he found the library was about to close. Not wanting to have to wait another day for another fun game he and his devas raced for the library. Though everyone was being ushered out Gundham charged through, bolting straight for the appointed section, the crossroads between mathematics and history. There he spotted you, pulling out a book then looking in between books, sliding them over, a tablet exactly like the one Gundham held in hand tucked under your arm. “… Excuse me-” A high pitched squeak sound escaped you as you flipped around, looking to the Dark Overlord, dropping your tablet in the process. “A-ah, oh, uh, h-hi- uh ummm, hamster squeaking, lost, find the-” Then you ran, leaving behind your tablet. Turning it on Gundham found the new mystery had to do with a woman dying and her sister getting her pet hamsters but the person who was to deliver the hamsters to her lost them in a pet store, and though the sister never saw the hamsters before, she could recognize them by their squeaks always hearing them in the background of her video calls with her sister, and the mystery was to figure out which hamsters made which squeaks in the giant group of them.
· “Hmm, so the hiding soul speaks riddles…”
· After the encounter Gundham did research on you, he didn’t know your name or talent, but since Hope’s Peak attendees were always a hot topic on the internet he was sure he could find something on you and that he did, Y/N the Super High School Level Enigmatologist.
· “Hint.” “AH! Oh, uh, huh?” Before you could panic you were consumed in confusion seeing the dark brooding man before you, holding your latest puzzle before you. It was on the hint page, strange since he had never used the hints before. “Your words fall on deaf ears. Extract the meaning of this!” “… uh… n-new hint? Okay.” And so you began mumbling to yourself about the puzzle, while trying to not give away the answer till you came up with a new hint. Then after Gundham had solve it and was given a new puzzle to solve, he insisted that you give him a new hint again, then again with the next puzzle. Every time there after he came to you, asking for a new hint.
· Gundham was rather intrigued by you, who found comfort in puzzle solving, getting lost in finding solutions to strange problems. He was willing to help meet you half way across the river, secluded on an island with you, away from the monsters that consumed you anywhere else, he wanted to get to know you without them in the way.
· He rather liked so much about you, how passionate you were about your craft, going on rants about it for hours, your willingness and even enthusiasm to learn about his passions, how despite your anxieties you always tried your damnest to become a better person and push through them, how you never were confused by his words, always understanding him, how that even extended to his body language and understanding his boundaries on touch.
· You were a rather logical sort even if your emotions of fears tended to get the best of you. It was only natural since you always were working on puzzles. Even emotions to an extent were logical to you. You saw everything, even yourself as a puzzle to be solved, and so often times the solution to aches and pains was affection. Usually you’d ask Gundham what he thought of you, knowing you’d only receive honesty which was mostly praise. Eventually after a long time you would get to hold hands or hug.
· It was a rather lazy, sleepy day, it was just so peaceful, before Gundham knew it the day had already passed and it was past dinner time. “Hmm? Y/N?” Usually you’d have come to see him by dinner, but it seemed you never showed up. Did something happen? Sitting up from his desk he found his devas before him. “Ah, so you know where my mate hides?” He slowly got up following him companions.
· “… the closet?” They simply sniffed at the door, and cautiously he opened it. “Ah!” You sat on the floor, curled up in a ball, cowering in the corner silently. It… had been a very long time since Gundham had last seen you in such a state, it had taken him aback for a moment and there he stood, his mind blank. “G-gundham… affection ple-please.” Your voice cracked and wavered, your breathing ragged. And hearing it almost brought tears to the Ice Lord’s eyes. Did… did you have a panic attack, and he never noticed? Why else would you sound so wreaked?
· He slinked into the closet, closing the door behind himself before sitting beside you. Taking a deep breath, he took one of your hands into both of his own, squeezing it tightly. “Of course my Emperor, one who unravels the world, who reveals the truth behind veils of deceit. How could I not? You who takes my heart each and every moment, you who I cherish so dearly, you who is so cunning, what possible words could I have other than praise and love?” He felt how tight you squeezed his hand, how you trembled. He was not sure this would be enough this time, he had failed to be by our side when you needed it most.
· “… My Emperor. Would you be so kind as to unravel my next words?” “… a riddle?” “Yes. Would you solve my riddle?” “o-okay.” “I… I, uh…” Preferably Gundham wanted to come up with a good riddle, one that you would have to think on for a long time, but he doubted he could come up with one. You had asked for affection so maybe… “I am… I am one action that can only ever be shared by two at a time. I am a way to show love. I am… uh… I am-” “A hug?” “…” Slowly Gundham wrapped his arms around you. “I am… something Gundham has never shared with you before.” “Huh? Something……… a kiss?”
· Damn it. Gundham thought the darkness would make this easier but it only made him more anxious. Placing his hands on your shoulders, he clutched them in a tight grip. Okay! He could do this! He could hug you, and this was less contact than a hug, so he could do this!
· “of course… someone as brilliant as you could solve my twisted words.” Leaning into you, he felt as if his heart were trembling. Even in darkness he closed his eyes. He tenderly pressed his lips to your forehead for a few moments before somehow managing to loosen the grip on our shoulders, though his fingers were still tense. Slowly he traced them up your neck as he pressed his lips on the bridge of your nose. Finally his hands stopped, cradling your head in them, allowing him to easily kiss your cheeks.
· “P-perhaps… we can… prepare a meal for ourselves and by the time we’re finished I’ll have come up with an even more confounding riddle for you.”
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El goes over to Steve’s to get out of the cabin for a little bit and they have pizza and board games and stuff.. so Steve’s house is a little messy so Steve’s dad comes home earlier then expected he freaks bc he can’t see el here so he goes upstairs and puts her in his room and his dad is pissed at the mess so basically el overhears how much of an ass his dad is :,)
tear my heart in half why don’t you?
ok but seriously, could I have just written a short and sweet ficlet on this gorgeous headcanon? yeah. do I have self control? no.
that is why instead I present to you a 6.3k deep dive
also on ao3
It’s just a little thing the two of them have going for them. El hated being left alone in the empty cabin when Hopper was on duty and would often sneak out to the Wheeler’s for some company. Usually it was fine. Mike would let her in through the basement door and she’d always made sure to be back before Hop. Usually hitching a ride on the back of Mike’s bike. It was a pretty perfect system. Hopper never found out and she got to get away from the lonely woods for at least a couple hours.
Until one time they weren’t home and Mike wasn’t answering on the walkie. it was cold out and dark and she wasn’t prepared to make the long walk back to the cabin. But she did anyway. Shivering as she tried to forget that her powers still weren’t working quite right. Trying to forget the fact that she was defenseless.
That’s when Steve had pulled up beside her in the beemer. Headlights bright in her eyes, only recognizing him once the lights went out and she could see him through the windshield.
Steve was safe. One of the few people she was told she could trust, despite Mike showing his own disdain for the guy. But she was told that was only because he dated Nancy, and he didn’t like Jonathan either for that very reason. So she trusted Steve. Felt a wave of relief wash over her when he pulled up beside her from where she was walking on Randolph Way.
He rolled down his window with the crank and stuck his head outside. The quick change from hot to cold biting his nose, making it run.
“It’s past nine, El. What are you doing out here? How did you get out here?”
El shrugged her shoulders. Rubbing her hands against her arms to generate some heat to combat the cold from the Indiana night air. “Walked. Came to see Mike.” She said. The words coming out with a breath that was visualized by a misty cloud as vapor froze.
“He wasn’t home?”
She shook her head. Arms still crossed over her chest, hands now tightly gripping the flannel she stole from Hopper’s closet. A calming mechanism she’d use when she felt like she was in trouble. A way of protecting her palms from her sharp and jagged fingernails because she had a habit of biting them when she was scared, which came more often now that her powers were only functioning at a ten percent capacity.
Steve didn’t have to think for very long before telling her to get in, and that he’d take her home.
He turned the heat up to the highest setting, and pulled out a blanket he had stored underneath his seat. Handed it over to her because he could see her lips had begun to turn to a bluish color. Steve spared her the talk about how she needed to be more careful. He wasn’t her Dad or her babysitter, even though he kind of was at times. But she was just a teenager who wanted to see her boyfriend, he did the same thing when he was her age, and still does it now. He figured he could leave that conversation up to her Dad, even if he suspected it wouldn’t do much to curb said behavior.
Instead they said nothing to each other the whole drive to the cabin, aside from words of direction since he had never navigated the path in the dark before. El never talked much in most situations, so it wasn’t weird.
When he pulled up, he noticed Hopper’s Blazer was unmistakably missing from the premises, and there was no light indicating anyone lived there other than the singular bulb hanging from their front porch that looked to be only days away from burning out. He waited for El to get out of his car and head inside, but she didn’t. She just sat there in his passenger seat with the blanket pulled up high enough so it covered her nose and mouth. Still and unmoving, staring at the front door that was illuminated by the dying light source with a pained expression evident in her light brown eyes.
“Everything okay?” Steve asks, with hesitation clear in the way his voice cracks with a whispered tone. The dead silence of the empty forest creating an unnerving tension that made them both feel like just the sound of a pin dropping to the floor could set something off.
She heaved a sigh, the shakiness clear. “Could you stay? Until Hop gets home?”
She didn’t have to explain it to Steve. Just looking at the Cabin gave him the same feeling that looking at his own house did. Empty and abandoned and lonely. That’s why he was out driving that night. He had no destination other than anywhere but his house. He hated the way the floorboards creaked so loud in the silence and echoed around the house. Didn’t like the way he could hear the sounds of water droplets dripping from the bathroom sink from all the way upstairs. Didn’t like the solitary feeling of it all. Not even a ghostly presence to keep him company. Just him and his thoughts. Never a good combination.
So he agreed. Turning the key and shutting off the car, flipping off the headlights and following her inside. He liked El, and it was much better than going back to his vacant home on the outskirts of Hawkins.
He’d never been inside before. The only times he’d ever come by was to drop off Dustin and the rest of the party when El was still on probation from leaving the Cabin. For those he’d never leave the comfort of his drivers seat.
El flipped on the lights and he was greeted by a sight juxtaposed from the outside’s appearance. The outside looked abandoned. Rusted and worn. Moss growing on the roof, breaks in the wooden steps leading up to the porch, unmanicured ground covered in rotting leaves from the previous Fall. The inside, however, was lively. Sure, it still looked a little run down and had the rustic feel to it, but it looked like a home. Warm and cozy, messy with different books strewn across the floor, clothes hung on the backs of chairs, vinyl records stacked haphazardly next to the turntable. The sink was full of dishes that needed to be done, a laundry basket full of clothes that needed to be folded. It was clear that someone lived here. Like really lived here. Not like his house which was always kept clean and proper. Fancy decorations cluttered the halls, carpets were vacuumed and floors were swept. Steve never got behind on doing his dishes or laundry because there was never much for him to do with it only being the product of one person. And what else was he supposed to do to occupy his time? He preferred the sound of the running water or the rattle of the laundry machine or the loud hum of the vacuum cleaner as it picked up debris over the echoes of his own thoughts. He had to keep it clean anyway because his parents always came home without warning, and always expected the house to look just as pristine as they left it. So the house always looked more like a museum filled with expensive art and less like a home with dirty dishes and crumbs on the floor that indicated proper use.
He felt a warm feeling inside the cabin. Feeling the coziness radiate through him as he sat down on the couch. Rips in the upholstery, beer stained cushions. Comfortable. Like sitting on a cloud.
El was in the kitchen, rummaging through the freezer, he assumed she was just hungry. Maybe she had been expecting to eat at Mike’s house. He always did save her some leftovers just in case. He’d done so for all three hundred fifty two days she was “missing” and continued even after she was found.
He looked through the books that were scattered all over the floor as she did her thing. Noticing books his parents used to read him when he was little. Many of them by Dr. Suess. The Lorax, Green eggs and Ham. Some “I Can Read” books that looked to be well below her level, and several books he didn’t recognize at all like “Alexander the Magical Mouse”. She must have liked that one a lot considering the spine had been creased and torn and the edges were folding in.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the sudden sound of the pop of the toaster oven. Hearing the slight sizzle of whatever had been cooking.
He turned around to see Eleven carrying two plates with Eggos on them. Already coated in butter and syrup, holding one out to him.
“I made you some.” It’s the first thing she’s said since they’d walked through the door. She wasn’t shy, she just didn’t talk a lot, having only ever been allowed to speak if she had something important to say, often going hours or even days without even having anyone to say those things to. It was no wonder she didn’t want to be alone in that cabin.
He took a seat with her at their little table. Big enough for just two people, perfect for just El and Hopper, and perfect for just the two of them now. He could tell the seat he was sitting in was typically the seat Hopper sat at. The table had cigarette burns on only that side, and he knew those didn’t come from El. Her side of the table had clear indication of someone who used a lot of syrup. Dried maple drops stuck to the wood. He dug into his waffles, which looked to have been cooked to perfection. Golden brown with a nice crunch as he cut off a piece with the side of his fork. She looked up at him and smiled before shoving a large bite into her mouth. Nearly half a waffle’s worth. Syrup escaped past her lips as she closed her mouth around the fork, sticking to the outside of her cheeks.
“You got a little.” He gestured to his own cheek, tapping it twice.
She stifled a laugh with her mouth full and wiped away at it with her sleeve.
It was nice seeing her laugh. El had a smile that brightened up a whole room. The one thing about her that not many people had, you know, aside from the whole ‘having powers’ thing, was that she said what she meant, and she meant what she said. You never had to worry about her faking a smile for your benefit, or worry about her lying to you. She was honest even if that sometimes got her into trouble. So when she smiled at him and laughed, he knew she was happy. Happy he was there, and so was he.
Before she stuffed a second bite into her mouth, still chewing the remnants of the first, they could hear the roar of a familiar engine. Headlights beginning to peek through the gaps in the curtains. El didn’t seem nearly as on edge as he was that Hopper was home. Steve was in his house. Uninvited. Okay he was invited by El, but not by Hopper and that’s what mattered more, right?
Steve wasn’t necessarily scared of Hopper per se. But he definitely tried to avoid being on his bad side at all costs.
But hey, it’s not like Steve had done anything wrong. On the contrary. He kind of rescued her, not that she really needed it. She survived months during Hawkins winter out on her own in the woods. But the point was, he should thank him.
At least Hopper should recognize Steve’s beemer out front so when he opens the door to his house Steve’s presence isn’t a total surprise. Like he won’t walk in guns blazing at the intruder who’s in his house with his daughter.
Okay should he be worried?
Luckily for Steve, Hopper walks through the door with his gun securely in his holster and sans a look of rage. More so a look of confusion.
“What are you doing here kid?”
El gives him a pointed look. Almost like she’s trying to use her mind powers on him. Get him to not tell Hopper that she was out by herself after nine at night in the cold… to see her boyfriend.
But here’s the thing. Steve likes El. He really does. But he’s far more terrified of what Hopper might do to him if he lies to his face about Eleven’s whereabouts.
He gives her a look back. An apologetic one.
“She was out wandering in the cold so I brought her back home. Decided to stay until you arrived.” Steve decided to leave out the part about her going to Mike’s house. Figured that’s better left unsaid.
Hopper pursed his lips. Nodding his head with his arms crossed, clearly trying to keep himself from yelling. He’s gotten better about that lately.
El is once again gripping the cloth of the flannel she is wearing tightly. Bowing her head and squeezing her eyes shut tight.
“Why did you go out El?” Hopper asks. His voice was a strained kind of calm. A calm that if you pushed slightly too far could easily go away.
“I don’t like being here alone. Not after everything.”
Oh yeah. Everything.
Everything being Starcourt. Those painful couple of days when she didn’t even know where he was while the rest of the world was falling apart in front of her. Those several hours before he finally emerged from under the Russian base below the mall. Hours without hearing from him, not even a confirmation that he was alive. And no way to confirm it for herself with her powers completely drained. All she could get was a black void. She couldn’t see anything at all.
Steve got a similar feeling. He’d experienced loneliness before. But nothing like when he was trapped in that room with those Russian guards. Beating the ever living shit out of him and no matter what he did or said, it wouldn’t stop until he was completely unconscious. The unconsciousness coming much later than he’d hoped it would. He could still sometimes feel his eye twitch with phantom pains from the damage done that night. He recognized it very distinctly from the memories of previous black eyes he’s received in the somehow two fights he’s lost. He also understands the feeling of dread that she felt when she didn’t know where Hopper was. He had that same feeling with Erica and Dustin. Not knowing whether they made it out alive. Had the same dread with Robin. Feeling her back pressed up against his as they were tied up in chairs and threatened with torture, knowing he was the one who brought her into all of this. Knowing that whatever happens to her is blood on his hands. That point where he had to make a quick decision and slam his car into the side of Billy.
Feeling the shockwaves pass through him. His head jerk forward upon impact. Watching as the Camaro burst into flames in a blinding blaze. That moment of not knowing whether or not he survived the crash, not knowing if that was a good or bad thing, and not even having the time to even think about it before he’s piling into the back of the Wheeler’s station wagon and driving away from the mall.
So yeah, Steve got it.
Hopper’s face fell into a frown and he decided not to press the issue further.
“We’ll talk about it later. Finish up your waffles and get ready for bed. I’ll walk Steve out.” Hopper said. Wiping at his nose and taking off his hat and hanging it on the hook by the door.
El finished her waffles rather quickly. She practically inhaled the contents of her plate. Not sparing a moment of time before shoving another piece into her mouth. Messy enough making it clear that the syrup stains on the table were most definitely her doing. Steve finished up his own and promptly followed Hopper out onto the porch after putting his dirtied plate into the sink of dirty dishes.
“Thanks for bringing her home, son. I really appreciate it.”
“It’s no problem, chief.”
“You wanna smoke?” Hopper asks, pulling a pack and lighter out from his shirt pocket and pulling one out, offering it up for Steve to take.
This was definitely weird. Smoking with adults. Hopper nonetheless. Sure he was of age, but that didn’t make it any less weird.
He accepted the cigarette anyway, because it was cold and god he could really use one right about now. He let Hopper light it up for him and he took a long drag, letting the smoke fill his lungs creating a burning sensation he grew to enjoy. It almost functioned as proof that he was a living human being. Feeling as the damage was done to his internal organs, reminder that he was alive. Not lost to the void he felt like he drifted into so often.
“So what are you doing right now? You graduated right?”
“Yup.” Steve replied. Popping the ‘p’. As if basically scraping by the G.P.A. decent enough to walk across that podium was something to celebrate. His father most certainly didn’t think so.
And that was the reason why. He couldn’t get an acceptance letter from anywhere. Not even the schools that supposedly accepted everyone and didn’t even send out rejection letters. Steve was living breathing proof that they did.
“No. Working mornings at Family Video.” He tried to say it with at least a little pride. Like, hey, at least he wasn’t a total bum living off his parents dime. At least he was doing something with his life. Even if that something was a dead end job in a dead end town.
“It’s honest work, kid. Good for you. College ain’t for everyone. I most certainly wasn’t cut out for it.” Hopper tightly gripped his shoulder and shook him a bit. In a way that seemed fatherly while also being a way his own father never interacted with him.
And god that statement felt good to hear. That acknowledgment and validation that Steve wasn’t just wasting his life away at that job. Validation for his hard work and attempt at bettering himself. Felt good, especially coming from someone so accomplished as him. Steve could only smile, unable to come up with any worthy response to that.
“So mornings. What’s your availability like in the evenings?”
“Typically free. Sometimes I get called out to cover for the night shift, but that doesn’t happen often. Why?”
Hopper put out his cigarette in the ashtray sitting on the porch ledge.
“Well, it would be nice having someone watch El when I’m patrolling at night. I don’t like leaving her here alone, and now I know she doesn’t like it either. And I’d rather her spend that time with you than Mike.” The way he says the name like it’s a slur almost has Steve laughing.
Okay look. Steve didn’t really tell the whole truth right there. His house isn’t always empty. He’s not always free. But it’s best he didn’t divulge that information to a man with a gun in the middle of the woods.
Instead he said yes. Because he wasn’t her babysitter, but he might as well be.
And he also had no idea how to say no to Hopper. Another thing you wouldn’t want to say to a man with a gun in the middle of the woods.
That was how it started. Hopper randomly calling up his house and calling him over to the cabin. Sometimes just choosing to drop her off at his house instead because he didn’t have the time to circle back. Luckily those times he didn’t have the company of a very recognizable blue Camaro parked in his driveway. And eventually everything became routine. Figuring out the patterns of Hopper’s work schedule so he was better prepared for those surprise visits. Eventually telling Hop to just keep bringing her over to his because it was on the way to the station and safer for the rest of the kids to travel to for the occasional hangouts he begrudgingly chaperoned.
Hopper did eventually catch them red handed. Or more accurately, with his pants down. He didn’t hear the phone ring and it was instead the honk of his horn that pulled the two from their current distraction. No point in trying to hide what they were doing with an elaborate lie as soon as Hopper yelled from outside “Harrington. Hargrove. Pull your damn pants up and get out here!”
They couldn’t be that loud. Could they?
Steve didn’t even want to entertain that thought.
When they did the walk of shame out the front door, heads bowed and arms crossed over themselves, Hopper was standing there with his hands on his hips. A stance that looked almost ridiculous on him, but also struck enough fear in the two of them that it silenced their laughs.
“Sorry.” Is all Steve could say. Unable to even look him in the eyes. Focusing his attention on El who sat in the passenger seat of the Blazer. Looking entirely confused. Good. She should be.
“No. No. My fault. I should have called. Uh, you still up for watching El tonight?” Hopper’s eyes darted between the two boys. They were all very uncomfortable in this current situation, and they were all equally desperate for the conversation to come to an end.
Billy looked over at Steve, both faces matching with the same kind of confusion. Distinctly different confusion than the look that washed over El’s face.
“Uh. Yeah I can go home, he can watch her.” Billy said, already moving his feet to leave.
“You don’t have to go. Hell, it’d be nice having someone who has actually won a fight around her.”
“Hey! I’ve won a fight.” Steve interjects, earning a small chuckle out of Billy.
“I didn’t see it. Doesn’t count.” Steve scoffs at the reply. “Anyway, point is, he can stay if he wants. Just no funny business if you don’t mind.”
Billy and Steve both blush simultaneously and nod their heads a little too aggressively. “Yes sir.” Says Billy.
Hopper tips his hat at the boys who are both just standing there stunned and trying to figure out if they just had a near death experience or not. Not before long El is getting out of the car and Hopper’s pulling out of the driveway and suddenly his house feels 300% fuller.
Billy stays sometimes for her visits now, but they don’t make too much of a habit of it. Still concerned about how the nature of their relationship looks to have a young girl in their presence. It’s wrong and stupid, but most people were nowadays. Despite Hopper’s insistence on being okay with it, they couldn’t put that much trust in people.
Except for maybe El. That girl he would trust with his life. No questions asked.
It took awhile for her to actually get what was going on. Not that they were together in the first place, that part she deduced pretty quickly. It was more so the reason that they were so private about it that she didn’t get. She didn’t get why she couldn’t tell Max or the party or anyone else for that matter. They’d constantly brush it off with an “it’s complicated” because they didn’t find joy in telling this sweet and innocent girl how terrible the world could be. But to El it was perfectly simple. Billy and Steve love each other like El and Mike love each other. Easy, straightforward. When they finally explained it to her, how “stupid people don’t think two men should be able to love each other” they could see the anger clear on her face. Veins popping out on her forehead and a red tint forming beneath the skin on her face. They explained how people might go as far as to hurt them if they found out. Her face only got redder and the clench of her fists only grew tighter.
“Bad people.” She called them.
They would just nod their heads in agreement.
“Does that mean Max and Mike and everyone else are bad people? Because I can’t tell them?”
That was a hard question to answer. A question that they tried to avoid thinking about yet always seemed to be at the back of their minds. Because they might be. And that was scary to think about. Steve liked to think that Dustin wouldn’t look at him any differently, the same with Billy about Max. They thought highly enough of them that they never liked to entertain the thought that they could potentially be “bad people.” But there was always the potential that they could.
Still they answered with a no. Because even if they did end up being “bad people” they weren’t bad people. “I don’t think they are,” Steve started. “But the more people that find out, the higher the chance some really bad people might find out. It’s safer to keep the bubble small. Is that okay?”
El nodded in agreement, and the three of them quickly went back to what they were doing like they didn’t just have a really deep conversation. It was scrabble. Thought it might be a more fun way of teaching El new words instead of just shoving a book into her face. She seemed to enjoy it, and was able to come up with some surprisingly long words. A huge grin popped onto her face when she was able to spell out the word “compromise.”
“Hop taught me that one.”
Nobody expected it to be Billy who was trying to pass off made up words.
But for the most time, it was just Steve and El. No party get together’s. No Billy. Just the two of them, pizza delivery, board games and movies. And it was honestly a blast.
Steve never thought it would be so much fun to make a mess like this. Paper plates scattered across the floor along with loose puzzle pieces and an array of VHS tapes strewn in front of the TV so they were easier to look through. Usually when something was out of place, Steve felt an overwhelming need to put it back. To keep things clean, neat, and tidy. That’s how he was raised. Vases dusted, dishes cleaned, laundry folded and put away. But he was behind on laundry and the only reason his sink wasn’t full was because he’d been eating off disposables since El wandered into his every day. Which reminded him. The trash needed to be taken out yesterday.
Usually the chaos would have him losing his mind. Like the way it did when he first snuck into Billy’s bedroom and was met with dozens of beer cans everywhere the eye could see. Hamper piled high with dirty laundry, and that was just what made it into the basket. And god it reeked of smoke and teenage boy. Like the combination of a wrestling mat and a casino. He had actual car parts sitting in his closet that he’d stolen from the junkyard. His room was a junkyard. But he’d never tell him that. Just kindly suggest that perhaps he wipe down some surfaces with disinfecting wipes because there are definitely some eradicated diseases living freely underneath his bed where he could see a large collection of socks. Yeah. He knew what those were.
But this was a mess he could handle. It wasn’t a hotel for rats like Billy’s room was. It was more like how he described Hopper’s cabin. Lived in. Proof that there were people having a good time and living there. Finally getting the living room to live up to its title. When he looked out across the mess of food and games and the fallen down fort they attempted to build, the word home started to feel like an apt word to describe the place. It felt like it was his and not like just some place he slept at night or the place he parked his car and had his paycheck sent to.
He’d be regretting letting it get so messy when he heard the familiar purr of a car outside. Distinctly not the roar of the Camaro or the rumble of the Blazer. No it was the purr of his father’s Buick.
He looked out once again over the mess in his living room.
He was going to be pissed.
El noticed the way his face fell when the sound had echoed outside. And then Steve noticed El.
He couldn’t see her here. She was allowed to be out in public but it was still slow going as far as who she was and how she was the chief's daughter. He didn’t want to take any risks.
“El. I’m going to need you to hide in my room. My Dad can’t see you. He won’t go in there.” Steve’s trying to stay calm so he doesn’t alarm her, but reading people’s emotions is something she’s really good at. Not sure if it’s a feature of her powers or just her, but she can always tell if you’re faking a smile and she can feel the emotions that lurk beneath the surface like an empath. So naturally she started to grow fearful as well.
“What’s going on?” She’s still sitting on the floor but appears to at least be shifting her legs to raise herself up. But it’s like everything is moving through molasses but his father’s footsteps don’t seem to be slowing at all.
“My Dad’s home. Take the back steps upstairs and lock yourself in my room. I promise I won’t be long, okay?”
She nods her head, she can see the urgency in his voice so she takes no time at all before sprinting up the stairs and finding Steve’s bedroom.
When she walks inside she realizes she’s never actually been in there before. Only knowing of its location after seeing Steve walk in and out of it from the base of the stairs. It’s not quite what she was expecting.
It was boring. Flannel wallpaper with a perfectly made bed. Shelves organized containing nothing of significance upon them. It looked like one of those bedrooms she saw in furniture catalogs. Steve wasn’t boring. He had a fun and bright personality. He screamed bright blues and bright reds, not the dull greens, grays, and browns that decorated his room.
Then there was an unexpected noise coming from down the steps. The walls were thin, she could hear everything so clearly.
“What the hell is all of this, Steven?” The voice was low and thunderous. Resonating through the entire house. It kind of reminded her of Hopper’s voice, but the underlying tone was distinctly different. There was a condescension to it that she rarely heard out of him. Almost like he was talking down to him. “You’re expected to keep this house clean, and you can’t even do that? How did I get stuck with such a stupid fuck up for a son?” The swears and insults rolled off his tongue like second nature and it made El’s blood boil.
She pressed her ear to the door to get a clearer picture, Steve talked in a very quiet voice in comparison to the fortissimo of Mr. Harrington’s.
“I was just getting ready to clean it up. I had a couple of friends over and they just left. I didn’t know you’d be home, I’m sorry.”
“I don’t let you live under my roof for you to be throwing parties Steven! You should be spending that time actually making something of yourself so I don’t have to explain to my friends what an embarrassment you’ve become.”
“I work full time Dad!”
“Don’t you raise your voice at me.” Steve had barely even gotten louder. “What? You think a career at Family Video is some kind of achievement?”
El could feel the tension in the room as it fell silent. She wanted to burst from that room and fling him through a wall. Break his arm.
“Your mother will be home in a few hours, she stopped to see a friend. You will have this mess cleaned up before she gets home and you will help her with her luggage. Understand?”
“Understand.” Steve’s voice sounded broken. Cracking with an inconsistent tone.
“I’ll be in my office. Don’t disturb me.”
The only sounds that follow that line are the sounds of shuffling feet and a slam of a door downstairs. She’s startled when she hears the gentle knock against Steve’s bedroom door.
“You can unlock the door now.” He says.
She does so quietly. Slowly turning the lock so not to make sound that Mr. Harrington could potentially hear.
When she gets the door open she’s met with a Steve that she’s never seen before. He’s squeezing the bridge of his nose and his eyes are red and glossy. His cheeks are pink from wiping abrasively against tears that fell upon them.
“I need to get you home, okay? I can um… I can call Hop or someone to stay with you if you need. I’m sorry.”
El just doesn’t know what to say to him. Doesn’t know how to make things better without her powers.
So she just hugs him. Wraps her arms around his waist tight and lets her head rest where it meets his chest. Squeezing gently just waiting for him to return the gesture.
Which he does, albeit, hesitantly and guarded. Barely letting his own hands come in contact with her shoulders. She’s so small, and if he didn’t already know the strength she was capable of he’d be worried he could break her.
“Bad man.” She whispers.
Steve fights off the tears and squeezes her tighter.
“I’m sorry you had to hear that.” Is all he can say.
The two of them quietly sneak out the front door. Steve knows his Dad wouldn’t care if he left so long as he did what he was asked. He’d picked up the mess and took the trash with him on the way out.
The two pile into the Beemer and Steve quickly turns on the music to distract himself from the words rattling around in his head. Letting the sounds of Metallica play over his speakers. Billy was always doing that. Shoving one of the tapes he made for Steve into the stereo when he wasn’t looking.
Look, a successful distraction!
But they barely made it a mile down the road before El was turning the knob to the left and the car quickly fell silent. She doesn’t look over at him when she says it. Just looks out the window at passing trees and street lights. Watching as power lines appear to move like ocean waves. Up and down, up and down. Fiddling with the cuffs of her shirt like she’s fearful of the words that were to come out of her mouth.
“Is your Dad like Papa?”
She wasn’t afraid of the question, but she was afraid of the answer. Steve knew who Papa was. They all did and were explicitly instructed to avoid that topic at all costs. But she was the one bringing him up.
“No he’s not like Papa.”
“But he’s a bad man.” She says matter of factly.
“Sometimes he is. Yes.”
“Is your Dad like Billy’s Dad?”
That one stung a little too sharply. Not at the premise of his father potentially being like that, but the reminder of Billy. That he was still there under that damn roof with that poor excuse of a man. And that he wouldn’t let Steve protect him no matter how hard he tried and how far he pushed.
That was another thing El knew that most people didn’t know. Another secret she was forced to keep. One she chose to keep on her own, recognizing it wouldn’t be fair to share the things she learned from entering into his mind without giving him a choice in the matter.
Steve was sometimes grateful for that. The fact that El respected Billy and showed him nothing but kindness. But so often he’d wish she’d just spill it all to Hopper. Do the thing Steve didn’t have the strength to do himself.
“No. He’s not like Billy’s Dad.”
“But that doesn’t make it okay.” She looks at him this time. Reaching over the center console to place a hand gently on top of one of his outstretched hands that tightly gripped the steering wheel.
He lets a tear fall. “You’re right. It doesn’t.”
The rest of the drive is silent. The only sounds are the purr of the engine and the tires rolling over rough asphalt.
Pulling up to the cabin with El in the passenger seat felt a lot like that first time he took her home. That same painful silence and that same hesitation as they sat in front of the cabin from the comfort of the cabin. Staring out at the porch. The lightbulb that looked almost dead last time now replaced with a brand new one that shined bright and illuminated the whole front of the house.
He was half hoping she would ask for him to stay. Not wanting to go back to that house alone with his Dad. He wanted to go to Billy. Crawl in through his window and curl up next to him in his bed. Make himself feel safe by making Billy feel safe. He’d accept crashing on Hopper’s couch if that was all he could get.
But he knew he couldn’t. Knew he had to get home despite having every reason not to.
“Steve?” She said, grabbing his attention.
She opened the car door and stepped out, looking at him intensely through the open door.
“You’re not stupid.”
That right there made him smile much more than her asking him to stay ever would.
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Stray Kids AU: 9th member
Tori x Stray Kids
Hyunjin wants Tori’s help with something and she is less than helpful.
A/N: Please check out my PATREON (patreon.com/kllamallama) for exclusive posts you can’t get anywhere else, as well as lots of other cool benefits!
Requests are OPEN and your feedback is still greatly appreciated!
Masterlist and other Follow Me links in bio!
“What you doing?” Tori dropped down onto Hyunjin’s bed.
He stared at her. He was laying on his back, with his laptop perched on his chest and her head propped up at an uncomfortable angle, so he didn’t feel the urge to move to make room for her.
Tori rested her chin in her hands, staring up at him. “Hello? Earth to Hyunjin?”
He rolled his eyes. “Oh, hi Tori. Come on in why don’t you.”
“I will.” She grinned. “So, what are you doing?”
“Lying on my bed.”
“You’ve been in here for hours and I’ve been out there, bored, for hours.” She tried to wiggle up the bed. “So you must be up to something. And I wanna know.”
When she reached his shoulder, he turned the screen towards her.
“Jewelry?” She leaned her head onto his shoulder. “I don’t think this is really your style.”
“Not for me, for Sara.” He looked down at her. “You’re friends with her, what do you think she’d like?”
Tori smiled. “You’ve been in here for so long because you’re trying to buy a present for your girlfriend?”
He blushed. “Possibly. And I could really use your-“
“How is that going, by the way?” Tori asked cheekily.
“You know. You and Sara. Sara and you. How is that whole situation right now?”
“Good, I guess?” He pointed at the screen. “But do you think she’d-“
“Because a little birdy told me that you guys kissed, and I would really like some details on that.”
Hyunjin’s face went beet red. “What? We didn’t…I don’t know…”
“Sara told me.” Tori sat up so she could look down at him. “But she was very stingy with the details. Which is where you come in. I knew being friends with both of you was going to work in my favor.”
“What? Why would it benefit you?”
“Because I’ve been trying to get you guys together since day one!” She exclaimed. “I mean, it’s like when you have two dolls, and you keep pushing their faces together to get them to kiss. Seungmin said that if I tried that with you he’d lock me in the closet, but I’ve just been metaphorically trying to smush your face together and it worked! But I need details.”
Hyunjin just stared at her. “Sometimes, you really scare me.”
“I know.” She shrugged. “So, details. Did you kiss her? Did she kiss you?”
“If Sara didn’t want to tell you, than I’m not telling you either.” He looked back at the computer screen.
“But Oppa….” She whined. “I’m your favourite.”
“You rejected me, remember. You haven’t been my favourite in a while.” He raised his eyebrow in a challenge.
“Low blow.” She crossed her arms, leaning back against the headboard. “Exactly when are you going to get over that?”
“Oh, I’m over it. It just comes in handy sometimes.” He smirked.
“Keep smiling.” Tori elbowed him. “I can share with Sara the entire history of your little crush and she-“
“What?” Tori exclaimed.
“She knows. It’s like you said, you’re friends with both of us, so we talk about you a lot. She knew that I used to like you way before me and her even made it official.”
Tori blinked. “I can’t believe you told her.”
“I’m not keeping secrets from my girlfriend, Tor.” He elbowed back. “I’ve known you for too long, and I’m not giving you any leverage.”
Tori pouted. “Well that’s not fair.”
“I, on the other hand, have more than enough leverage on you.” He said. “Have you let her know about the details about the entire Chan affair.”
Tori’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t.”
“Try me.” He grinned.
“Hyunjin!” She begged. “You can’t blackmail your best friend.”
“Sure, I can. And if she doesn’t start helping me look for a Christmas gift for my girlfriend, not only will I share all of her secrets, but I’m also going to return your Christmas gift to the store.”
“That’s life.” He held the laptop out towards her. “Do you think she’d like these earrings?”
“I honestly don’t know if she has her ears pierced.” Tori said. “And I know tiny diamond flowers are not her style.”
“She does have her ears pierced. But what about these ones?”
“I think she’d prefer like…a skateboard. Or maybe a sketchbook. She doesn’t really wear jewelry.”
“I know, but I’m her boyfriend. I’m supposed to get her something fancy and made of gold, right?”
“I don’t know.”
“And look how well that relationship turned out.” She snorted. “I’m going to die alone and I can’t wear my two favourite pieces of jewelry without making things awkward.”
“You won’t die alone.” He promised. “And I’ll make sure whoever you date next only buys you ugly jewelry, just in case it doesn’t work out.”
“By that logic, shouldn’t you get Sara something super ugly?”
“Nah, we’re going to last.” He smiled.
Tori gave him a soft smile. It was disgustingly obvious how in love with Sara he was, and she couldn’t help but feel happy for them.
“Alright.” She rested her head back onto his shoulder. “Let’s find something for your girlfriend.”
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The Three Of You | Andy Barber | You Deserve Better sequel
A/N: This has been a long wait! I’ve been writing this on and off for a week or two now! I’m super proud of it. If you have yet to read the mini series, it is on my masterlist, pinned to my page at the top, under Andy Barber.
Enjoy and then come back and read this. But if you’ve already read that then i hope this doesn’t disappoint you.
Honest feedback also.
Disclaimer: My work is not to be posted anywhere else other than MY Tumblr, Wattpad and Ao3 without my permission. However, reblogs are welcome.
Pairing: Andy Barber x Reader
Warnings: Smut. Rough sex, ass smacking, breeding kink, daddy kink, fingering, dirty talk, language, angst ish and lots of fluff too. This is a lot. But pls enjoy.
Word Count: 5,983
I never do summaries but since this is a sequel here goes: You and Andy have been dating now for a while. Although you’re nervous, it’s time to meet Jacob and of course along with Jacob, comes meeting her, Laurie, Andy’s ex-wife.
GIF NOT MINE!!! Credit to @luvinchris go check them out🥰
“Andy” you call out, seconds later he appears in the doorway of the bedroom.
“Yes honey?” he asks, you call him to the closet and as he steps in, he’s greeted by clothes covering the floor and you stood there with a worried look plastered across your face.
“I don’t know what to wear, please help” he can see that you’re anxious which is more than he expected you to be when he asked you to meet his son Jacob and ex-wife Laurie. He expected some nerves at most. Not a full blown meltdown.
“I don’t want to over dress and come across stuck up but i don’t want to under dress and look like i don’t care” he holds you still, instantly calming you “breathe okay. Breathe. It’s just one weekend. Jacob will love you” he reassures and it works until she pops up into your head.
“What about Laurie? Are you sure she’ll be okay?”
“I told you, she’s moved on. She’s meeting us there with Jacob so she can drop him off, it’ll be a 2 minute conversation at most and then he’s staying with us for the weekend. You’ll get along great. Trust me”
“I just don-” he cuts you off.
“Honey, you need to relax” the big meeting isn’t until tomorrow and yet you’re already working yourself up. You want to be prepared and plan your outfit accordingly but it’s clearly proving too difficult and too stressful of a task.
“Let’s just lie down for now” he suggests, leading you back to the bed. You rest your head to his chest. The stress leaves your body as you slowly slip into a light sleep. A sleep you very much need.
You’ve been working so hard lately, plus with Andy keeping you up most of the night, re arranging your guts and fucking you into the mattress, it’s no surprise that you’re taking a mid-day nap.
You wake up to the sound of Andy’s alarm clock going off “Andy, stop the noise” you groan, shoving the pillow over your head at an attempt to drown the sound out as you lie on your stomach.
“Honey, we have to get up, got a long day remember” he chirps, way too happy considering it’s morning.
9:30am to be exact. Too early for your liking.
“I just want five more minutes” you whine, like a petulant child not getting your way. He just chuckles.
That’s when you feel his hand trail down your back, dragging the covers along with it. Slowly but surely you feel a cold breeze on your ass “Andrew Barber are you trying to seduce me” your voice is very low and sensuous as you feel his soft lips pressing gentle kisses down your spin, sending shivers as he goes.
“Why yes, yes i am. Is there a problem Miss Y/L/N?” you shake your head no, letting a cute school girl like giggle slip from you as he smacks your ass before his position changes.
“Gotta do something to wake you up now, haven’t i?”
Seconds later, you feel him press an open mouthed kiss to the cheek that he smacked. He repeats the same action on the other before spreading your cheeks to reveal your puckered hole and dripping core.
“All this for me huh? Honey?” you hum in response before mumbling a simple “yes baby” he loves how you react to his touch, to his words but most of all, he loves you. Truly loves you. Every night he thanks god that he found you, that he was there to help you that day. To save you and show you that you didn’t deserve any of what Jake gave. That you were better than you thought. Worth more.
And for the first time since he made you his, he can really see the confidence, it’s radiating off of you as if you’re glowing. It’s his new favourite thing.
“I don’t think i can wait any longer honey. You look too good to tease right now” you lift your ass off the bed, arching your back and wiggling it at him, hoping that he’ll just get on with it. You need him inside of you right now.
A deep growl erupts from him “such a greedy little thing aren’t you? Not only did we fuck until the early hours of this morning but you came more times than i can remember and now you want more?” you always want more.
“Please, i need it” you whine.
“Well who am i to deprive my girl of what she needs huh? What she’s clearly craving” and just like that. He slides in. Slowly. You gasp and bite down on the pillow. His thrusts keep the same pace until he hears you mumbling and moaning.
Your hands are reaching back for him and he takes them into his much larger ones, using them to grip onto you as he picks his pace up gradually.
The grunts are turning you on even more at this point.
“Who does this body and pussy belong to baby? Care to enlighten me?” you start rubbing at your bundle of nerves as you respond “I-It belongs to y-you d-daddy” just what he wants to hear.
“That’s right, i own you. I own every inch of this perfect body and i’m the only one that gets to touch you like this, fuck you like this. Isn’t that right?”
“Y-yes. It’s all yours, i belong to you” you can practically hear the smile forming on his face with how he’s talking to you.
And you’d be right. If you turned around now, you’d see a huge smile on his face.
You’d see a smile of adoration and love and the look in his eyes, the look of lust and hunger. Of need and want.
He continues to slam into you. Not caring how loud the two of you are getting. If the neighbours hear then at least they’ll all know who fucks you so good every day. Who takes care of you.
You clamp down on his size, earning a hiss.
“Fuck honey, feel the way you’re squeezing me. Is that pretty little pussy gonna cum?”
“Yes. Please may i cum daddy?” he also loves how fast you learnt the rules.
One must always ask for permission to cum.
“Such a polite girl. Yes. You may. Make a mess baby”
With every push at your g spot, every slap of his skin to yours, every moan that falls from the two of you and every kiss to your shoulder. You feel the coil twisting and turning, on the verge of snapping.
“Just like that, come on, i feel it. Give it to me”
“GOD YES ANDY”
He doesn’t stop, he carries on, chasing his own peak.
“Keep squeezing me baby, make daddy cum” you follow his orders, clenching harder than before, your clit starts to throb.
“Fuck” his mouth hangs open as you turn your head to look at him,
His kisses move to your shoulder before pausing “kiss me” he then peppers his way up to your lips and as they connect, he spills inside of you, painting your walls and filling you up in the most incredible way possible.
You’re never going to grow tired of this feeling.
He slowly pulls out, flipping you over as he does so.
“You’re going to be the death of me, you know that right?” you giggle, nodding.
“I could say the same thing to you. Now, let’s shower because like you said, we have a long day today” you wink, copying his previous words and scooting off of the bed, making your way to the bathroom. You turn the shower on and waste no time in stepping in.
You make quick work with washing your hair, lathering the shampoo. That’s when you feel his arms around you, his cock pressed against your ass.
“I can’t wait for you to meet him” he kisses your cheek, reaching past you to get the shampoo for himself. You both continue with your shower regime and once you finish, you step out of the shower.
Andy wraps a towel around you before grabbing his own. Your eyes immediately eye up his body, contemplating how bad it would be if you were late. You quickly shake those thoughts away and continue to dry off and dress yourself.
You eventually decided on some dark blue skinny jeans with a white striped shirt and a light brown cardigan. It’s casual enough but still stylish. It’ll do for today’s plans.
“How’s this?” you twirl around as you walk into the kitchen and he laughs “you look great honey. You always look great” you walk over to him to peck his lips quickly.
“Shall we get going then?” you nod and he raises your hand to his lips, kissing it before making sure everything is locked. You both head out to his car, getting in and he reverses off the drive.
“I need to get some gas first. Then we need to go to the grocery store and then we’ll meet Jacob and Laurie”
“Sounds good to me”
“Alright, no backing out now” he lets out a deep breath and you can practically hear the nerves in his voice this time “i guess not” you giggle as he takes your hand in his shaky one, stroking his thumb over your knuckles.
“Andy your hands are shaking” your voice filled with worry “I-I just, i don’t know. I want this to go well and i-” he doesn’t need to say another word, you already know what he’s getting at.
“Andy, i love you and i fell in love with you for a million reasons. You having a son does not in any way shape or form, cancel that out. I got involved with you knowing about Jacob” he nods “no, i know. It’s just i want this to be stress free and with Laurie involved i’m hoping that can still be the case” you cup his face with your small hands, stroking his beard as you pull him in for a loving kiss.
“It will. Now if we’re done overthinking, i think that’s them over there” you point out, noticing a car pull up and a woman gets out. He agrees once again as he gets out too, jogging round to your side to open the door for you before you make your way over.
You make quick eye contact with Laurie, her eyes are on you like daggers. Jacob just smiles as you come closer, approaching his dad first before turning to you “hi Jacob. I’m Y/N, it’s so nice to meet you” he holds his hand out for you to shake it, you happily oblige.
“Nice to meet you too”
“You must be Laurie” you chirp, stepping closer, she shakes your hand too before giving you the once over. You can feel her silent judging. You look down at your outfit before looking back up to Andy who is grinning at you.
“So Y/N, Andy tells me you work with kids” you nod “I do, i work in a school, elementary. I understand you’ve had experience with that too” she agrees and suddenly the smile appears. Maybe she’s not got it in for you after all.
Andy glances over at the little diner that you’re eating at “Jacob, how about you go and get us a table for 3 and we’ll be in soon” he sets off, bidding his mother goodbye and dragging his feet as his focus is more on his phone than where he’s walking.
“I have, it’s so rewarding” you second that “I also remember Andy mentioning your previous situation” you feel a knot form in your stomach. The feeling of being sick works it’s way up to your throat but nothing comes out.
“What about it?” you ask, as politely as one can in these circumstances. Why would she even think of bringing that up?
“I’m sorry, i really don’t mean to pry but i’m just curious. How did you move on so quickly? I can’t imagine what you must have gone through” your eyes widen, you feel your hands shaking at her intrusion. How dare she even ask that and insinuate that you rushed into being with Andy. Which of course, you didn’t.
You were in love with Jake but the love obviously faded and Andy was more than understanding of giving you time to be alone and single. You only started dating earlier this year.
“I didn’t, i was single for a while. There was no moving on quickly” you bite back, straight faced and anger filled eyes.
“Laurie what the fuck?” Andy can’t help himself “I don’t see how any of that is your business to even ask” she shrugs “well, if my son is going to be spending time round your place with her there then i think it is my business. I just want to make sure that she’s stable for my son, the girl has clearly been through the ringer” he sighs, scratching his beard and looking around.
“What are you getting at huh? That she’s insane and not capable of being around Jacob” she just rolls her eyes “i guess all i’m saying is, she’s been through a lot, i don’t want it to effect Jacob” you can’t quite believe this. You didn’t think today would take this kind of turn and yet here you are.
“I’m fine thank you very much. I’m more than stable, now if you’ll excuse us, we have lunch plans with your son. So it was nice meeting you but i’m gonna have to cut this short” you spit, giving her the once over this time before rolling your eyes and walking away. Andy stays put, letting you leave.
“You’re unbelievable” she just ignores him, holding her hands up in surrender and opening her car door to get in and drive off.
“Honey” he calls after you, you stop and turn around “what the hell is wrong with her?” you find yourself yelling, you don’t want to give her the satisfaction but it’s very clear that she came here today with the intention of upsetting you.
“I don’t know, that’s the last thing i expected from her but don’t listen okay? Ignore it and let’s go have lunch” he pulls you close, pressing a kiss to your forehead before you both go in to meet Jacob. Who is sitting in a booth, drinks already there.
“You ordered drinks, thanks bud” Andy lets you slide in first then he does “yeah, i really appreciate that thank you Jacob” he smiles “you’re welcome.
The waitress approaches the three of you, notepad at the ready. Jacob orders first before gesturing for you to follow. Then Andy.
Andy can’t stop his lips from curling into a huge Cheshire cat like grin as he watches Jacob converse with you, it’s just how he imagined it to be despite the little row with Laurie. He feels like this is only the start to a great bond between all 3 of you.
The whole way back home, Jacob keeps leaning forward between the passenger and driver’s seats to show the two of you stuff on his phone. Lunch went down really well, you got into a conversation with Jacob about video games and he even asked to show you the game that he just got.
This is possibly only the start of a great bond with him.
Andy steps aside, letting the two of you walk into the house first before following closely behind and placing the groceries on the island. All the stuff you got for the weekend. Lots of chocolate and popcorn and obviously things for dinner. Tonight however, is a takeout night.
He rests his coat on the hook as does Jacob who then also rushes up to his room to undoubtedly play that new video game of his. Andy chuckles at his clearly impatient and very much unsubtle son.
“Looks like someone couldn’t get further away from his old man” he continues to laugh and so do you “oh weren’t you aware? New video game always trumps family time” he smiles, leaning on the kitchen counter and reaching out for you, making grabby hands. You step closer, allowing him to touch you, which of course he does. He tugs on your shirt, using it as his way of pulling you flush against him.
His hands automatically find their way to your ass, squeezing slightly.
Your mouth falls open, a soft whisper-like moan escapes “Andy, not now” he tuts “yes, now. He’s upstairs” you rest your hands on his shoulders as he continues to touch you, moving them to the hem so he can slip his fingers inside both your jeans and panties. They splay across your ass cheeks, spreading them and exposing your wetness to his touch,
You go to stop him but it’s no use as he slides two of his digits inside of you, causing you to gasp loudly at the invasion.
“You say not now but looks like your pussy is saying the opposite” he teases, picking his pace up, knowing full well that he can’t take his time with you.
You bite down on your bottom lip, trying to stop yourself from making noises as he continues to poke at your g spot with such ease. You need that release now, you crave it.
“God. Andy. Yes” you groan, letting your head fall back, your nails digging into his shoulder but he doesn’t stop. His pace only quickens.
“Feel you squeezing my fingers baby, let go, come on” it’s getting harder to keep quiet now, his dirty talk along with his touch and his occasional kisses to your neck and lips. You’re spent at this point and you know it’s not gonna be possible to make this a silent orgasm.
“Fuck” you squeak as he pushes you over the edge, gripping onto his jacket harder, his hand covers your mouth before you can get any louder.
He removes them and soon enough they are slipping into his mouth so he can lick up all of your juices up, no drop wasted.
“See, you try to deny it but i know how much you love it when i touch you honey”
You roll your eyes as you turn to leave “whatever, i’m gonna go check on Jacob. You can order food” he smirks, pulling you back to him, another gasp escapes “this isn’t over” you giggle before pushing him off. A hard smack to your ass from him sends you on your way.
The last time Andy was this smitten was when he first met Laurie. He had to have her and that’s exactly how he is with you. He adores you.
He worships the ground you walk on. Seeing you and Jacob get along as soon as you met has been the highlight of his year. It’s like all the previous heartache that he has experienced and all of the stress this morning has slipped away. Never to return again. This is all he’s wanted, for you to get along. His wish has come true.
Meanwhile you’re stood outside of Jacobs bedroom, knocking on it once. A loud “come in” gives you the go ahead to open the door to find him sat on the floor in the middle of the room, tapping the buttons on his PlayStation controller like crazy.
“Sorry to interrupt, your dad and-”
“Wanna join?” he asks, holding up his spare controller for you to take, his eyebrows raised and waiting to see if you’ll accept. Which of course you do.
“Okay, one game but go easy on me, I’m a little rusty” you giggle, parking your bum down on the floor next to the teen. He chuckles “there’s no going easy, it’s all or nothing. Let’s see if you can beat me” you shove him playfully “you’re on punk” before he sets it to two players. Game on.
He starts off strong, getting more kills than you and even tricking you so that you shoot one of your own team “dammit” you yell, laughter erupts from him “you snooze you lose” you push him over, gaining the upper hand.
“Such a sore loser”
“Such an unpleasant winner”
He tuts, shaking his head at your quick comeback. Being a little more on the younger side, it’s so much easier for you to connect with Jacob. That and the side of you that’s always had those natural motherly instincts.
Downstairs the food arrives. Andy takes it into the kitchen and starts plating it up and setting the table ready for the 3 of you. As he stands at the bottom of the stairs to shout you, you’re way too caught up in the game to hear him so he makes his way up.
“Nooo, that’s not fair” Jacob whines, he hears a loud sigh and as he stands in the doorway. He’s greeted by the best sight ever. It’s like heaven to him,
You’re sat on his sons bedroom floor, shoving him as you beat him at a video game.
“You challenged me so it’s not my fault i’m winning” you giggle, so does Jacob.
He has to capture this. He pulls his phone out, lifting it to snap a picture without the two of you knowing.
It might be petty but before he puts his phone away, he sends it to Laurie with the caption ‘As you were saying earlier...’
“Right. This isn’t over, one more game?” Jacob proposes but before you can agree, Andy breaks his silence with a cough “I think it’s time for dinner now” the one sentence that can have him running fast down the stairs. Leaving you and Andy trailing behind slowly.
“Remind me to never play any sort of game with you. You’re way too competitive for my liking” you hold your hand to your heart, feigning confusion “me? Competitive? Never” both Jacob and Andy disagree with you as you all take a seat and dig in.
Dinner goes down swimmingly, even better than lunch if that’s even possible. You all start making conversation about how Jacob tricked you on the game followed by plans for tomorrow as it’s the only full day you’ll have with him and you want to make it fun.
How about a horror movie marathon. Scream, Texas Chainsaw, Elm Street, Halloween. You know, all the old schools” he suggests, causing his dad to shake his head “please, we can maybe go swimming in the day too?” you never want to undermine him but you have to admit, Jacobs idea is pretty cool.
“I like the sound of that” as much as he wants to deny it and be the sensible parent, he can’t “i guess we got ourselves a plan” Jacob punches the air in victory, happy that his father agreed. He also shoots you a wink. Thanking you for fighting the case.
“Lucky for you i got loads of popcorn earlier”
Once dinner is over, you all clear up and watch some tv before turning in for the night.
“Goodnight dad, night Y/N” he smiles shyly as he shuts the door to his room.
Before now, Andy never felt the need nor the want for more than one kid. Because, Jacob was always enough. He and Laurie knew they were done having kids as soon as he came along. But being around you and Jacob today, seeing how you are with him. You have those natural motherly instincts to go and check on him, the way you’re able to bond so effortlessly and the way you talk to him. He just knows you’d make the most amazing mother. Seeing you pregnant would be a dream
“You know, i had the best time today. I can’t wait for tomorrow” you mumble, still stood brushing your teeth, luckily he manages to understand you. He nods his head in agreement.
The thought on both of your minds is the same. But you’re too scared to say it until you just blurt it out.
“Have you ever thought about having another baby?” Andy looks up from his book, closing it and placing it on his bedside table.
“Huh?” he’s shocked at your question, it caught him off guard.
“You ever thought about having another baby?” you finish off in the bathroom and move around the bed to get in beside him “i mean, when i had Jacob, i decided one was more than enough for me” you can’t help but feel sad. Being around his son has only brought out your broody side, causing you to want a child of your own, with Andy of course.
He’s doing this on purpose, he’s seen that look all day in your eyes. He knows exactly why you’re asking these questions.
“What’s with the question?”
“Well i’ve been feeling very broody lately. I don’t know what it is. Maybe being around Jacob brought it out more but it’s made me realise that i’d really love to be a mother but you-”
He cuts you off with a kiss “i’d love to have a baby with you”
“You said one was enough”
“Minds can change. That was how i felt years ago. Being with you has changed that. Seeing you around Jacob and other kids has changed that. You’d make the best mom” he states, brushing a strand of hair out of your face and tucking it behind your ear.
You go to respond but he cuts you off with a finger to your lips. Shushing you.
His lips claim yours in a loving and bruising kiss. The kind of kiss that leaves you gasping for air afterwards. The best kind in your opinion.
Once you pull away, Andy quickly manoeuvres the two of you so that you’re lying flat on your stomach and he’s on top of you.
“Andy” you squeal, kicking your legs but he pays no mind. He wants one thing and one thing only. And he’s gonna get it.
He moves down so his face is inches from your clothed pussy, that soon changes. His fingers hook into your shorts, lifting your ass up so he can pull them off and down your legs. You turn around to see him doing the same with your panties.
“Shirt off. Now” he demands, giving you room to remove it whilst he strips too. He takes it from you, tossing it to the floor before returning to his previous position.
Now that you’re naked he can see the arousal oozing from you and soaking your tight hole. His finger delves into it as he slides it in “god yes” you moan, letting him know you love it.
After a few pumps, you’re whining “more. Please Andy give me your cock” such a beg. You feel no shame at this point.
He leans down to pepper kisses up your back and your shoulder, you turn your head to meet his eyes “you want my cock huh? Want me to fuck that pussy and make it cum?”
“Please Andy, i need it” he tuts. This isn’t going to go your way so easily.
He slides another finger in, then another. You feel full from his thick digits alone.
“Look at my pretty girl, stuffed full with my fingers. How does it feel baby? You like this?” he asks, listening to your moans and pleas for more.
“Mhmmm, i love it”
“I bet you do, such a little whore for me aren’t you? Only for me”
“Only for you Andy, please” he ignores you as his pace picks up rapidly. His fingertips continue to hit at your g-spot, curling occasionally to get your peak closer.
“Feel that cunt squeezing me so good, cum all over my fingers baby. Come on” your entire body relaxes for him, letting the pleasure consume you. A shiver runs down your spine as the coil in your stomach snaps.
He reaches his hands down, covering your mouth once again just like he did earlier, muffling your screams. He can’t risk waking his son.
“Good girl. Shhh. That’s it baby” he works you through your high before pulling his soaked fingers out and tasting the sweet honey that you’ve provided, you watch and whimper at him.
“Someone’s being a little cock slut tonight, aren’t they?”
All you can muster is a quick “yes”
He then lowers his head as you bury your face back into the pillow beneath.
Open mouthed kisses from your ass up to the back of your neck “you want my cock honey? Want me to fill you up?” you hum in response “yes please baby”
That’s all he needs to slide in. His gentle streak doesn’t last long as soon enough he’s slamming into you with reckless abandon, not giving a fuck how rough he’s being. He needs your perfectly warm walls to flutter around him and make him feel good. He needs to make you feel good. Give you every inch of his cock, fill you up and make you cum hard all over him.
“God y-yes Andy. P-please just like that” you stutter, barely audible, thanks to the pillow muffling your sounds. He grabs a handful of your hair, pulling you up so he can listen to the sweet sounds.
“Let me hear you honey, wanna hear you sing for me real quick” you gulp, letting the sound of his skin slapping against yours to drive you to a soft whimper “mhmm, please. I love it. Please make me cum” you beg, reaching your hands back for him.
He lets go of your hair, grabbing onto your hands instead and using them for support just like he did this morning as his pace renders on animalistic.
He lowers his head, pressing a quick kiss to the back of your neck “god so fucking warm and tight. You gonna cum honey? Huh? Gonna make a mess all over my cock baby. Want daddy to make a mess inside of you too?”
His words are quite literally sending your world spinning. Something that he never fails to do whenever he fucks you. He knows everything there is to know about how your body works. What makes you tick, what sends you over the edge. What angles and positions send you over the edge the fastest. And this is one of them. You on your stomach as he fucks you into the mattress.
“Gonna make me cum too baby, keep squeezing me like that and you’ll make me cum” another kiss to your neck “you’d like that wouldn’t you honey? Like my cum painting those walls of yours” another kiss “want my fucking cum baby? Want me to fill that tight cunt up?”
You can’t hold it back any longer, you lift your head and moan softly “please daddy. I need it. Please cum inside my pussy”
“I knew it. How about we give you a baby, would you like that honey?” you nod, unable to stop yourself from looking eager. Of course you want that, it’s all you’ve wanted for weeks.
“Does my girl want a kid huh? Then i guess she’s getting a kid”
“Andy” you cry out his name, your toes curl as you feel his hot breath on your skin. Hearing the way he’s panting. You know he’s close.
“Gonna fill you up so good honey, gonna put a baby inside of you”
His tip pokes at your cervix a couple more times and seconds later. You feel your body cave in as you’re sent into a state of ecstasy. The orgasm is like a tidal wave. Your eyes close, your back arches and you feel his lips on your cheek.
Andy groans at the way you clench and milk him for all that he’s got “SHIT” he grunts, smacking your ass and squeezing it as he twitches. He soon slows his hips before stilling them and pulling out.
He flips you over, lifting your legs to see his hot cum spilling out.
“Can’t have it escaping now, can we? Not when you want to be a mommy” you feel shy all of a sudden, he has a habit of bringing this side out of you. But you don’t mind. You watch as he pushes every last drop back inside, leaving his fingers there for a couple minutes. Before giving you strict instructions to keep it from coming out.
As you lay there, he rushes to clean up in the bathroom. Taking his time before returning. You then move to rest your head on his chest. His arm drapes around your body. Pulling you closer, if that’s even possible.
“You serious about this baby thing? You really want one with me?” you ask “i’d love nothing more than to have a child with you” and that’s when the sudden exhaustion hits you like a ton of bricks smacking you in the face. Your yawns are constant, spurring his on.
“We got a long day tomorrow so we better sleep” you second that. The lights go off and he feels his way to giving you a goodnight kiss.
“Goodnight, i love you” his voice is soft again, no longer aggressive and downright filthy but soft and gentle.
“Night, I love you too Andy”
After the best weekend that you’ve had in a long time. It’s over. You sit in the living room with Andy and Jacob as he checks over all of his things to make sure he’s not forgotten anything. Even though he knows Andy can just drop it to Laurie’s for him.
“I’ve had the best time here” he says, looking at you and his father with a satisfied grin plastered across his teenage face.
“It’s been amazing having you over, when can we next see you?” he asks, Jacob shrugs “probably in like 2 weeks, once school is out again” he adds.
A horn beeping outside brings you out of your 3 way conversation. It’s her.
You all step outside to greet her, Jacob stands in front of you as she approaches.
“Have a nice time?” she asks, you can tell she’s secretly hoping for a no.
“It was the best. Y/N beat me at my new video game at least 4 times. We watched horror movies, went swimming and Y/N even got me a new video game to play and practice on ready for when i next visit. To see if i can beat her at it” you giggle at his excitement.
For a 14 year old he sure has the mind and personality of someone younger and older all at the same time.
Laurie rolls her eyes “yeah, your dad showed me a pictured of the two of you, you looked very close”
“What can i say? I’m good with kids. Make sure you practice though yeah? And we’ll have a re match”
“Oh you are so on. I bet i can beat you next time” he leans in to give you a hug goodbye, as well as his father.
“Was really nice seeing you Jacob. See you again soon” you both wave at him as he slowly leaves. “Bye Y/N, bye dad love you” he laughs as he gets into the car.
“Love you too bud”
Laurie looks miserable. Guess her prayers for you to fail at his didn’t work out.
You stand next to Andy, waiting for her car to disappear before he kisses you and leads you back into the house.
“Now, we’ve got some time before lunch. How about we go try for a baby”
“Yes. Now” he picks you up, bridal style, carrying you to the bedroom for a repeat of last night’s events. If trying for a baby meant constant sex then you’re in for a treat.
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Pairing: Min Yoongi x Reader
Summary: Apparently Min Yoongi hasn’t been doing enough to get your attention on a MV shoot.
Word Count: 6.8K
Warnings: Explicit sexual content, oral sex (f. receiving), light nipple play, penetrative sex, unprotected sex (don’t take sex advice from Tumblr smut), slight scratching kink, name calling kink, unnamed noona kink (noona is never used, but reader is a noona), Suga’s not quite himself because he’s trying to impress Reader, Suga also likes the word “fuck” a LOT
A/N: Sweet and protective Yoongi does it for me but so does “grab you and fuck you” Yoongi, so this is like a mild swirl of the two. I tried to be as unspecific about the reader as possible. Also, the smut is in P2 if that’s what you’re here for and it’s like…3K words of sweet smutty goodness.
Part One | Part Two
The heat of the day is subsiding as sunset nears and you’re just wondering if you’ll be able to sneak in a nap anytime soon when the director starts stressing out and the mood of the entire shoot tenses. Clouds are coming in and he’s losing the light faster than he’d anticipated. Everyone scrambles to press forward with the shoot, but before you can get to it everyone’s phones go off. An emergency alert has been issued, a storm is moving in and a flash flood warning has been issued for your area.
“Shit!” the director shouts, glaring at the sky. You bite your lip and wait for his direction, sighing internally as he has everyone pack up the sets as quick as they can to get any vulnerable equipment safely stored.
Talent is whisked away to their trailers and you work alongside the rest of the crew to get everything safe. By the time the first crack of the storm trickles in the crew has pretty much secured everything. You’re straggling behind in one of the tents, double checking the equipment to make sure everything is covered when you hear the distinctive sound of rain begin to ping off the tarp. Mere moments later, it’s a deluge. Your eyes widen as you stand inside the tent, out of reach of the rain but surprised at the force with which the wind is whipping up. You watch for a few minutes more, fascinated, but soon you’re retreating further into the tent to try and find shelter from the wind. You find a large metal case that’s been padded with a moving blanket and hop on top of it. A moment later you’re hopping off to see if you can find something to block the wind. You shift some cases around, trying to create some sort of cubby you can hunker down in until the rain lightens up enough to give you a chance to run to the main crew shelter where everyone else is.
As you’re standing there scratching your head, trying to play Tetris with large cases of equipment, you hear a muted voice through the downpour. Turning, your jaw drops as you see a drenched Suga enter the tent, a frown etched on his face.
“Aigoo, there you are. Everyone’s been looking for you. Come on.” He takes you by the elbow and pulls you out of the tent. You duck your head as the rain starts to pelt you, trusting that Suga can see where he’s leading you as you keep your eyes on your feet, trying to avoid the worst of the rain hitting your face.
Shortly he’s pulling you up to a trailer, yanking open the door as a series of muttered curses fall from his lips and he pushes you in front of him, getting you inside. Your first thought is that it’s blessedly warm and you wrap your arms around yourself, turning to watch him stomp his way up the steps, getting the mud off his boots before stepping inside.
You look down guiltily at your own muddy boots, and then look up at his grumpy face as he shakes water out of his bangs and brushes them out of his eyes.
“Sorry.” You say, standing stock still so you don’t get mud anywhere else.
He doesn’t say anything, distracted as he pulls his phone out of his inner coat pocket and dials someone while simultaneously reaching out to shift you further into the trailer, setting you down at a table just inside the door while he sits on the other side and bends over to remove his boots, phone to his ear.
“Yeah, I found her.” His tone is casual now, and you relax slightly at the absence of any noticeable grumpiness in his tone.
“No, she was in one of the perimeter tents so it was quicker to get to the trailers on our side.”
You blink and look around, noticing for the first time that you’re in one of the private trailers reserved for talent. Behind you is a small kitchen, in front of you is a bed and at the end of the trailer is a bathroom and a tiny closet, maybe? Your eyes return to Suga as you focus back on his call.
“Yeah, we’ll be fine. Is everyone else in?” Suga’s up now, tossing his dirty boots towards the door and sliding into a pair of slippers. Again, you look down at your feet, feeling guilty and sort of like you’re in trouble. You hadn’t realized anyone would come looking for you, but clearly this had been some sort of ordeal.
After a few more words, Suga rings off his call and turns to you, his face gentle now.
“Aish, here…” he kneels down and starts tugging at your boots.
“I’m sorry…” you repeat, “here, I can get that…” you trail off as his hands wave yours away. You watch, embarrassed as he works the knots of your shoelaces loose and tugs your boots open enough for you to slip your feet out. He takes them and tosses them next to his, rising to move to the back of the trailer and root through his luggage.
“Here.” He plops a spare pair of sandals down at your feet and places a fresh hoodie on the table next to you. “Stand up, your clothes are wet.”
“I’ll be fine…” you slip the sandals on and stand in spite of yourself. “Suga, you’re soaked. Get a towel or something first…”
He tuts at you and pulls at the sleeves of your hoodie, indicating you should slip it off. You unzip it and place it carefully over the back of the chair and then turn to accept the hoodie he’s holding out, slipping it over your head. You shiver a little as the extra warmth seeps into your skin and wrap your arms back around yourself before looking up at him.
“Ok, I’m warm. Now you.”
He hums…hums? You think to yourself. He hums, inexplicably, as if he’s cheerful now and then turns towards the back of the trailer again, slipping off his coat as he goes, hanging it in the small closet. Underneath he’s wearing a simple black t-shirt and you have to blink at the favors it’s doing for his arms and shoulders. Your eyes travel down to his tapered waist and you make yourself turn and sit before you look too closely at whether or not his jeans are working for him as well as his shirt seems to be.
Trying to be polite, you stare at your feet and wiggle your toes in his too-large slippers, only looking up when you can see him moving back towards you in your periphery. He’s still in the t-shirt, and you mentally curse because he’s rubbing a small towel through his hair and it’s excellently showing off his bicep. You make a face and look down again, trying to adjust to the fact that you’re stranded with…Suga…in a…trailer…
Your face flushes as your train of thought reminds you of your conversation earlier. How fucking eerie was that? You fight the urge to laugh as you think of the expression on your friends face when you tell her you actually ended up stranded and alone with Yoongi on the very day you said you’d fuck him if it ever happened. She’d think it was so funny.
“What’s funny?” Yoongi asks, tossing the towel on the table next to you and sitting down.
“Hm?” You stall, your eyebrows going up and the smile snapping off your face.
“It looked like you were thinking of something funny.” He says.
“Oh, no, just…funny circumstances, I guess.” You give him a quick closed lipped smile. “Thank you, by the way. How did you find me?”
“I looked.” He says simply.
You scrunch your nose at him, displeased with his glib answer. “Is everyone else ok? Was I the only one still out there?”
“Yep.” Is all he says.
This time you throw a frown in with your scrunched nose, but it doesn’t last because he gives you a brilliant gummy smile. He’s leaning with his elbows on the table, his damp bangs casually tossed to one side of his face and you’re suddenly self-conscious about the intimacy of this entire situation.
Before you know it, you’re standing up and moving past him, crossing your arms across your chest as you bend slightly to look out of the window at the rain. It’s still coming down fairly hard. You rub at the glass with a sweater paw to clear some of the fog and try and make out how muddy the ground is now. It wasn’t looking good for the planned night shoot.
It’s still and quiet in the trailer, the only sound the persistent rain. You glance over at Suga and he’s turned halfway in his seat, one elbow still on the table, the other draped over the chair. He’s looking at you with a level gaze, his deep cat eyes unmoving as a shiver runs down your spine that doesn’t come from the cold.
You straighten up. “What?”
He continues to look at you, observing you almost lazily. You raise your eyebrows, emphasizing the question still lingering in the air.
“You look cute in my hoodie.”
Your face flushes immediately and you look away, back out the foggy window towards the rain.
“Oh.” Is all you can manage, your mind blanking at the compliment. You continue to stare out of the window until you can’t take it anymore, and you look back over at Suga, who is still in the exact same position, his gaze still unnervingly direct.
“Stop it.” You say, trying to hide the shy smile that betrays your face as you look down at your crossed arms.
“Stop what?” Suga asks, and by his tone you can tell that little shit knows exactly what he’s doing.
“Stop looking at me like that.” You’re talking to the window, your breath slightly fogging it even further.
“What am I looking at you like?” he challenges softly.
You don’t want to admit what he’s looking at you like, so you remain silent. You remain silent when you hear him get up from his seat. You remain silent as he walks towards you. You remain silent when he puts his finger under your chin and guides your face towards him.
“Look at me.” He murmurs.
“No.” you answer, stubborn and bashful about what he’s going to be able to see in your face if you look him in the eye.
He murmurs your name and you glance up instinctively. He takes advantage and pulls your chin further up, towards his face, so you can’t look away again.
“I’m going to kiss you now.” He says, and you don’t think it’s possible but the heat on your face intensifies.
“Do you want me to?” he asks, still holding your chin but waiting for your consent.
You bite your lips together trying to suppress a grin but fail, flinching to look down again. His gentle grip persists, and he shakes your chin lightly. “Hmm?” he asks again.
“You’re making me feel shy.” You finally murmur, breaking out into a bashful grin and escaping his grasp as you tuck your chin into your shoulder.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asks, hands at his sides, tone still gentle and matching yours for softness.
You consider for a moment and then shake your head.
“Then what do you want me to do?”
You look up, eyes wide, and can hardly keep your gaze on his at the intensity you find there. His hand goes to the side of your face, his thumb rubbing gentle circles along your jawline.
“Fine.” You sigh, “Please kiss me.”
He moves towards your face slowly. Too slowly, almost as payback for making him wait so long. By the time his lips are within reach it’s you who leans up to meet him, brushing against his mouth softly, reveling in the feel of his plush lips against yours. His grip on your face slides down to your neck and he pulls you slightly towards him, mouth opening against yours to deepen the kiss.
By the time you break apart your breath is coming a little heavier and he’s got a smirk on his face.
“What is that look for?” you ask, voice closer to normal now that the initial tension is broken.
“That took way too fucking long for you to admit.” He grins.
You scrunch your nose again. “Shut up…” you mumble, even as you’re letting him pull your face back to his.
Your hands wrap around his torso as his tongue continues it’s exploration of your mouth. Your fingers tangle slightly in his t-shirt and he pulls you closer to him. His hands work their way down your shoulders, smoothing across you until they settle into the small of your back, gripping the material of his own sweatshirt as he holds you in place close to him.
He breaks the kiss and trails little nips along your jawline before whispering in your ear.
“I want you so fucking much.”
The admission sends a tiny tremor through you, he feels it through his lips as he presses them into the hollow under your ear.
Your hands move up his chest and snake around his neck, one hand burying itself in his hair as the other reaches for his jawline. You guide his face back towards your mouth, eager for more kisses.
“Yoongi…” there’s a slight moan in the way you say his name, and his instant reaction is to haul you even tighter against his body as he attacks your mouth with his.
“Fuck…” he growls. “Say it again.”
“Yoongi.” You full on moan this time, feeling the full length of his body pressed against you. You’re standing on your toes, pressing against him as much as he’s pulling you to him, arms tight around his shoulders. He’s bunching up the sweatshirt you’re wearing, his warm palms pressing flat against the bare skin of your back, and you feel your entire body begin to prickle with heat.
He’s gripping you tightly and you’re letting out tiny sighs and moans that are beginning to drive him crazy.
“C’mere…” he says, breaking the kiss to spin you around the tiny space and push you against the foot of the bed. You’re laying down before you know it, and he’s crawling on top of you, pulling your sweatshirt up as he goes. You raise your arms and he pulls it all the way over your head, pausing to push your shirt up and over as well before he tosses both items carelessly to the side.
You pull him towards you and wrap your arms around him, gripping through his shirt, feeling the planes of muscle along his back. He grinds against you and you groan, legs instinctively wrapping around his hips.
He buries his face in your neck, his breathing heavy as he kisses his way up to your ear. “Say my name again. I fucking love hearing you say my name.”
You hardly need any coaxing to comply. “Yoongi…” you breathe against his ear as he peppers your neck with kisses, sucking gently.
You both writhe against each other, setting a slow rhythm. In spite of all the heavy breathing his kisses are leisurely, deep and slow. His lips spend every second exploring you, ravishing your mouth and nibbling on you, his hands working their way into your hair as he holds your face to his. Soon you’re tugging at the hem of his shirt, pushing it up and over his wide shoulders before he pulls away and tugs it off entirely. He returns to you and your hands smooth over his back, nails lightly scratching along his spine. You can feel him shudder as you reach the dimples on his lower back, his thrust into you a little sharper. You smile into his kiss and dig your nails a little deeper, dragging them up his back. He lets out the tiniest moan into your mouth, hips jerking into yours again, before pulling himself off of you enough to tug your arms around and pin your wrists above your head.
“You’re gonna make me cum in my pants if you keep doing that.” He rasps into your neck, and you smile again, lifting your hips a little to swirl against his groin.
“Really?” you kiss along his neck, “You like it that much?”
He growls and tackles your neck again, this time moving his mouth lower, sucking lightly on your collarbone, working his way down the center of your chest to bury his face in your cleavage. He licks a line along your breast, tracing the edge of your bra, before gently biting it, tugging with his teeth a little.
“Off.” He raises his eyes to yours and you smirk a little. He releases your wrists as you rise up on your elbows to unclasp your bra, and his eyes go practically feral at the sight of your bare breasts. His large hands splay across your back as he pulls you up and you arch into him as his mouth closes around a hardened nipple. You anchor your hands on his shoulders as he sucks and bites, laving his tongue across your breasts, eyes flicking up to watch your expression through his lashes as he flicks across your sensitive buds.
You’re letting out little tremulous breaths, moaning softly at the stimulation that’s going straight to your core. He lowers you back to the bed and raises himself up just enough to take in the sight of you, your eyes clouded over with lust as they meet his, your lips swollen from his kisses. Licking his bottom lip, he moves one hand to softly pet at your nipple before he levels one last dark look at you and begins kissing further down your body. He nips small bites along your rib cage, down to your bellybutton. He reaches the band of your shorts and makes quick work of undoing them, tugging them impatiently down your hips.
Part of you knows you should stop him, but fuck, you know you’re not going to. Your pussy is throbbing, you feel like you’ve soaked through your shorts, so you wait as you hear his softly whispered “Oh, fuck…” as he pulls both your shorts and underwear down your thighs and off your legs, tossing them into the increasingly large pile of clothes in the corner.
There’s no hesitation as he grabs your thighs and spreads them, pressing them into the bed, his eyes focused on how wet you are. You’re so turned on your hips are already thrusting lightly, searching for relief. You bite back a moan, chewing on your lower lip when you feel his thumbs caress up your thighs and spread you apart, rubbing along the edges of your pussy, sending small pulses to your clit that aren’t nearly enough stimulation.
“Yoongi…” you whine, and you reach a hand down to play with your clit. His eyes widen and he licks his lips as he watches you toy with your little nub, juices gushing out of your hole as your hips writhe in front of him.
“Fuck, keep touching yourself. Put your finger inside.” His voice is low and demanding and it feels so good you have no problem obeying. You slip your middle finger inside your pussy, alternating between pumping it in and rubbing your slick around the sensitive rim. After a few moments, just as you’re starting to focus more on your clit as the pleasure in your core tightens, you feel Yoongi’s hand stop you.
“Let me.” He rasps, and the next moment his mouth is on you, his tongue tracing the same path you’d been tracing, only it was so much better.
“Oh my god…” you breathe, using one hand to grip the sheets and anchor you to the bed while burying the other in his hair. The slick, wet noises he’s coaxing out of your pussy have you arching your back and riding his face as he makes you gush more. He moves to wrap his arms around your thighs, holding you down, holding your legs wide open for him as he licks and sucks harder into your core.
“FUCK! FUCK! YOONGI!” You call out, “Don’t stop!!” His lips seal over you as his tongue moves rapidly over your clit and you feel that familiar pulse begin before your whole body is shaking, riding out the force of your orgasm with gasping breaths and arching your back so hard you feel like it might break.
Your breathing is heavy and your limbs are weak as your orgasm recedes. Your focus is hazy as Yoongi wipes his mouth with the back of his fingers and sits up between your legs, ruffling his hair, his chest heaving.
“You like that?” he asks, and you’re so fucked out you don’t even have it in you to resent how cocky his tone is.
“Mmm…” is all you can slur, eyes closing and trying to focus on your breathing.
You feel him climb his way up your body, gently kissing along your skin before he’s hovering back over you, running a hand through your hair and speaking to you in his low, sexy voice.
“You’re so sexy.” He whispers, kissing the side of your face.
“Hmm, you’re not too bad, yourself.” You smile, feeling your body return to normal bit by bit. You open your eyes and look over at him, looking at you so tenderly, still running his hand through your hair, trying to pretend his raging erection wasn’t still pressing into your thigh through his pants.
“You can kiss me if you want.” You say softly, and he lowers his mouth to yours without hesitation. You can taste yourself on him a little, but mostly you still taste him. His lips have felt amazing every time they connect with yours.
You twist your body a little, wrapping a leg around his thigh and gently pulling him on top of you. He lets you, continuing to kiss you deeply as your hand trails down his body and you tug at his belt. He lifts his hips and you undo the buckle, popping open the button of his pants and sliding your hand down to cup him through his boxers.
He lets out a slight moan as you continue to massage him, wrapping your thighs around his hips and gently scratching along his back again with your free hand.
“Don’t forget what I told you…” he murmurs as his hips buck against your hand.
“Hmm, I have not.” You assert, and then you’re hooking your fingers into his pants and tugging them down his hips. He sits up to help you and you watch him between your legs, biting your bottom lip as he slides his pants and his boxers down and his cock springs free.
You feel the wet between your legs heat up as he rises and pushes his pants all the way down. He climbs back between your legs and sees your bottom lip still caught in your teeth.
He crawls his way back up your body. “You want this, baby?”
The feel of him fully naked against you is exquisite, and you nod as you wrap your arms around him, legs still splayed open under him, hands carding through his hair, caressing their way down his neck. He closes his eyes, pressing his forehead against yours for a few breaths, very gently rutting against you. He covers your mouth with his as his hand moves down to grip his cock, rubbing it against your folds a few times before pushing into you.
You can’t help the moan that comes out of you, but he’s there to swallow it. Once he’s fully in he braces himself above you on both arms and his head goes down as he begins to pump in and out, slowly, the same pace he was going as you were making out earlier.
“Fuck…” you whisper, grabbing his face and pulling it up to look at how perfect he was as he lost himself in you. “Yoongi, you feel so good…” You close your eyes before you can see him open his, his expression hazy and lust filled as he takes in how gorgeous you look with your eyelashes fanned out across your cheeks, face contorted in bliss from how good he was making you feel. He moves his head down to kiss you again, both of your lips full and beginning to feel tender from the way you’ve been hungrily going at each other.
“Faster.” He hears you murmur as he feels your legs wrap around him tighter. “Faster, please, Yoongi.”
Your nails scrape down his back and that’s more than enough to send him bucking into you, almost losing himself from having held back for so long.
“Ah, ah, ah…you feel so fucking good.” He moans, head buried in your neck. And then you hear him quietly breathe, “Harder.”
You grip his shoulders tightly and place a small, quick bite on his shoulder before you’re raking your nails down his spine and he’s throwing his head back, crying out as his hips snap harder into yours, sounds smacking loudly around the trailer.
He’s fucking you hard into the bed, his pace relentless as you keep scratching up and down his back, digging your nails into his ass, crying out as he pistons his hips into you. Suddenly he slows down with a groan, changing the rhythm but he’s going deeper, pressing harder into you, and you’re both making obscene noises that would leave no doubt about what you were doing in the trailer if the pounding rain weren’t drowning out the noise.
He swirls his hips and you see stars for a second. He does it again and you can’t help but buck up into him, seeking more contact with his pelvis as you feel your own release approach again. Fuck, was he going to make you cum twice? Most guys had trouble making you cum even once.
“Ahhhh, fuck…” he’s gasping above you and you’re begging him not to stop, repeatedly calling his name, telling him how good it feels. He reaches down and rubs at your clit and it only takes a minute before you’re coming again, arching up against him and digging your nails into his back.
“Fuck, fuck…” he says, past the point where he’s able to speak coherently as he pulls out of you and gives himself the last few jerks he needs before he’s coming on your stomach, his beautiful face twisted in ecstasy before he collapses beside you, catching his breath.
It’s a few moments of nothing but the two of you breathing heavily, blissed out and in your own worlds as your bodies thrum with the activity you just put them through. With the rain drumming on the roof you honestly feel like you could go to sleep, although compared to the nap you were coveting earlier this was by far the superior option.
Yoongi rolls to his side and kisses you before getting up, walking bare-assed around the bed into the bathroom. You lazily appreciate the view, stretching a little. He emerges with a towel, tenderly leaning over the bed to clean you off.
“That,” he intones in an almost conversational manner, “was fucking amazing.”
You laugh. “It was. I was just thinking all I’d wanted from this afternoon was a nap.”
“This was better?” he grins, getting up to toss the towel back into the bathroom and returning to pull you over to him as he leaned against the pillows. You spooned him, tracing light circles on his chest as you nodded.
“Mmm-hmm.” You kiss his shoulder, “Much better than I’d had planned.”
Yoongi laughs and kisses your forehead, eyes beginning to feel heavy as he stares at the ceiling, listening to the softening pings of the rain begin to lull him to sleep. “Especially because I definitely still remember your name.”
You huff out a laugh too before the reality of what he’d just said hits you.
“Wait, what?” You say, head shooting off his chest.
Yoongi stiffens, and above you his face goes white.
“Ah…” he pauses.
“Min Yoongi!! You were listening to my conversation??” you scold, your soft caressing of his chest replaced by irate smacks.
“Aish, aggh…” he twists in defense, hands shooting out to restrain your arms before you can do any more damage.
Having properly subdued your physical attack, he pauses for a second as his laughing eyes meet your incredulous ones.
“In my defense…” he begins, raising an eyebrow cheekily, “my dick has been incredibly hard ever since I heard you admit you wanted to fuck me. Speaking of which…” he gives your arms a yank and and you gasp in indignation as you fall on top of him, “I believe I owe you a trip to a cabin?”
You swear if it weren’t for how cocky and pleased with himself his gummy smile broadcasted, you’d seriously consider murdering him.
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Astral Pt. 8 (Loki x Reader)
Ok guys they’re REUNITED! God i hope you all know that I wrote all 7 parts in one day because i was so obsessed with getting chapters out so i wouldn’t have to write them daily or lose my thoughts!! Ok well now i have some time to figure out where the story will go from here or if i end it here....
IM JUST JOKING it’s not over yet XDD it’s barely begun :p Feel free to send messages about what you think is gonna happen or who might make minor appearances, villain or hero, cuz i have some planned out! I’ve been doing research guys, i bought a marvel encyclopedia for the first time in years cuz i visited the store the other day and loaded up on comic books again it’s been awhile but my collection is growing again ^^
You’re standing next to Natasha when the brothers drop down from the sky in their rainbow elevator thing. Thor called it the bifrost? It wasn’t something Loki had talked about when you had been on speaking terms, he must have not found it important enough.
The brothers landed outside on Stark’s glorified patio, 91 floors up. You almost forget to breathe as you look at Loki. His hair is a little longer now, he’s definitely lost some weight, and the bags under his eyes tell you enough. His face is cold as he looks around and, angrily, lets Thor lead him inside where you all stand in various places waiting on them. You note that both the brothers are dressed casually but it’s still a bit much, Earth wise.
You swallow as Loki first sees Tony and smirks at him, “Seems I won’t be missing that drink you promised?”
Tony gave him a once over then shrugged. “I guess you deserve a small break. Thor filled me in on what’s been going on.” Tony said, you thought you could hear a hint of a threat lacing his words though. Loki huffed and rolled his eyes looking at the rest of the team before his eyes landed on you.
You looked into his eyes for what felt like hours but must have only been seconds. The angry look he had been parading in dropped and you saw a flurry of reactions so quick everyone else would miss it but you knew Loki. You try your best to keep your face disinterested, not quite sure if you succeed. Still a bit hurt he told you to never come back coming to the front of your mind you look away and whisper to Nat, “I gotta go, fill me in on what happens.” Then you rush out.
You hear Tony saying, “You already scared off y/n..” as you left the room.
You basically run to your room and slam the door shut. Your breathing had started becoming haggard on your way up and only intensified as you closed yourself in your room. Both your hands gripped at your hair and pull, your eyes squeezed shut, tight. You shouldn’t be reacting like this it was Loki, it was just Loki. He wouldn’t hurt you, physically. You had thought that you were over whatever heartbreak you had all those years before. How the fuck were you to function normally around him if just one look at him made you this panicky? Made your heart beat so hard you thought it might break out of your ribs. Made you want to cry deliriously happy and sad at the same time.
You let go of your hair, let your tears fall, and punched the wall a few times, hoping the pain in your hands would ground you. Luckily, it did, but you’d probably have to come up with an excuse because your knuckles were blooming dark purple. You took in deep breaths, copying what Loki had taught you to do when you got to worked up, subconsciously, the thought of him causing you to freak a bit more but then you just focused on breathing.
It’s a few hours later when Natasha comes to your room and tells you dinner is ready. You had settled and had a book open in your lap as you sat on your bed. You consider skipping dinner and you’re about to say it when you see the look Natasha is giving you. She had been the one to teach you to over come your fears, to face them head on. She probably thought you were scared of Loki because he had tried to take over the world. Oh, how wrong she was. You nodded and told her you were gonna wear something else. She left you in peace and you sighed, rubbing a hand over your face then putting on your brave face and getting dressed in something casual. A simple t-shirt and jeans would suffice.
When you entered the dinning room, a floor below yours, everyone was seated. Natasha had left you a seat. Right next to Loki. You swallowed and studiously kept your eyes anywhere but on Loki when you sat down. You realized Loki was very tense when you sat next to him but said nothing on the matter.
“Brother! This is dear Y/n I mentioned, she’s got a quick wit just like you, I’m sure you both will be the best of friends!”
You smiled at Thor but it probably came off as more of a grimace because Thor gave you a frown. Loki said nothing and focused on eating his food. The whole table got silent realizing something was up between you and Loki. You cleared your throat and tried to sooth things over by looking at Loki. His eyes caught yours and for a second you got lost in them, again. God, get ahold of yourself!
Mentally shaking your head you plastered a smile on and said, “Nice to meet you, Loki, I can’t wait to get to know you.” You finish lamely then quickly look at your food and begin stuffing your face so you wouldn’t have to speak anymore.
“Riiiiiight.” Tony said eyeing you and Loki suspiciously. Steve sat next to him frowning at your attitude. You missed the silent conversation Natasha and Clint had.
“You’re going to choke if you continue to eat like a bilge snipe that hasn’t seen food in weeks.” Loki said in a casual voice.
You choke. You swallow what is in your mouth, Natasha hitting your back a few times, and then you laugh.
God you missed Loki.
“Remember when you swallowed that moon berr-” Stopping yourself short you swallowed and closed your eyes, last seeing Loki’s happy look turn into a neutral face as he glances around at the team. Damn.
“Remember? You two know each other?” Natasha asked, nudging you with her elbow. Thankfully you see she reserves her judgement on the situation.
Sighing you look at the team and set your utensils down.
“Loki is...” You shot Loki a confused look as if to ask if you still were but shook your head and continued on looking at Nat primarily, “We’re soulmates. I first met Loki when I was 13 years old.”
“In person?” Steve asked.
“No, I can astral project my spirit but because I’m his soulmate it wasn’t hard it just kind of happened when I needed him most.”
You picked up your glass of water, noticing you are shaking a bit. You especially tried not to jump when you felt Loki set a comforting hand on your thigh under the table. Taking a drink you looked at the table, took a deep breath, then let your eyes come back up to the confused team.
“When you needed him most?” Tony asked after a few minutes of silence.
Looking at Tony you bit your lip. Should you....
“My grandfather killed my grandmother in front of me when I was 13, I hid in my closet and closed my eyes, when I opened them I was in a room in Asgard.”
“She was in one of my mental rooms that I use to astral project. A fabricated room I made when I was younger.” Loki said, his eyes only on you.
“He was always there when something bad happened and we became best friends. I was 17 when I realized I had magic, his magic.” You said looking at Nat who looked confused. “Because we’re connected through our mind and soul, I draw my power from him. The powers I have are Loki’s in a sense but at the same time my own, I can do some things he can’t and vice versa.”
“So if Loki just like, hypothetically, died,” Tony rolled his eyes when Loki glared at him, “Hypothetically! Would you lose your powers?”
You swallowed as a knot formed in your throat and looked at Loki with sad eyes, willing him to answer because you surely didn’t have an answer for that.
“Possibly.” Loki clipped out, sending a glare at Tony, as if damning him for making you think of that preposterous idea.
Tony hummed in thought.
“If you’re soulmates, why did she react the way she did when she first saw you?” Thor asked, mostly aiming the question to Loki. Loki looked at Thor, angry, then let out a breath and held his chin high.
“We had a falling out three years ago.”
“No doubt your fault?” Thor said causing Loki to nod once with a roll of his eyes.
“No!” You yelled looking at Loki with exasperation. “I’m the one that chose to leave!”
“I’m the one that gave you an ultimatum.” Loki ground out, frowning at you.
“You were trying to keep me safe.” You said causing Loki to scoff.
“Ok, wait, what happened so we can all choose our sides respectfully here?” Clint asked.
“Shield found out about my powers when I was 17, said once I turn 18 they can give me an offer I can’t refuse. I could work for them. Loki said not to do it because it sounded like they were gonna use me as a weapon, that we knew nothing about Shield and what it stood for,” You sighed and pinched the bridge of your nose with closed eyes, “I told him I was gonna take up their offer considering I had a bad home life, he argued Shield could be more dangerous and I told him I was still gonna take the offer anyways so he offered an ultimatum.” Letting your hand fall down to your lap and over Loki’s, still resting on your lap. You softly caressed his knuckles under the table. When you had closed your eyes, to pinch your bridge, you missed the concerned look Loki gave as he saw the violet bruises on your knuckles.
“He said if I leave to never come back because he wouldn’t be able to watch me get hurt.”
Tony breathed through his teeth, a hiss, but otherwise everyone stayed silent.
“I left.” You finished lamely.
The table stayed silent for awhile, everyone gathering their thoughts and questions, until Steve spoke up.
“After she left, what did you do Loki?”
“I had Heimdal watch over her-”
“He is all seeing.” Thor said quickly to help out.
“-and I told him that if she were to find any trouble she could not handle to send me to her.”
You looked up at Loki, shocked, who zealously kept his eyes on Steve. You offered what comfort you could by grasping his hand and squeezing. You smiled inwardly as Loki’s tense form softened slightly.
“I’m taking it she never ran into trouble she couldn’t handle.” Steve said, more as a statement than a question.
“From what Heimdal has told me, joining Shield is the best thing to happen to her and I almost stopped that.”
“You couldn’t have known.” You said quietly, frowning in thought, Loki finally looked down at you and your heart almost broke in half at the hurt in his eyes.
“All you wanted was the best for me and I’m sorry I left,” You looked down and squeezing his hand before looking back up at his eyes, “I’m sorry I left and never tried to reach you again but I’m not sorry about the decision I made.”
Loki looked at you for a bit then nodded, satisfied with something he found on your face or possibly in your eyes. “I’m sorry I never tried to reach out to you too.” Loki admitted.
You glanced at Thor who sat next to Loki, looking a little put out he never knew about the both of you.
“Sorry we didn’t tell you Thor I kind of wanted to keep it a secret because I was going through a lot and wasn’t very trusting of strangers at the time.” You said to placate Thor, making the blame fall on you instead of Loki since their relationship was already rocky to begin with. A minor way you could apologize to Loki about not contacting him.
Thor smiled, genuinely, then said “I’m just happy to make your acquaintance now, y/n.”
Everyone went back to eating their almost cold meal now. Natasha and Clint the only ones that noted that you and Loki ate with one hand the entire time.
Conversations flowed between the team smoothly like you all were meant to be there, together. No one made any comments on the fact that you and Loki couldn’t keep your eyes off each other the entire time either.
Pt. 7/Pt. 8/?
Tag list: @justfangirlthingies @emelieh99 @high-functioning-lokipath
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7. Arvin’s Investigation
Series Summary: Sheriff Bodecker made one hell of a deal with your dad and he’s hellbent on getting what he was promised.
Chapter Summary: Running into you leaves Arvin with more questions than answers, and his gut is sounding the alarm and setting him on high alert. He does a little snooping.
(I strongly advise reading the previous parts which can be found here.)
Relationship: Lee Bodecker x Reader
Word Count: ≈1,500
Series TW:Abuse of power, noncon/dubcon, corrupt police, domestic abuse, murder, alcoholism, coercion, past child abuse, blackmail, 60s ideology. (the general ideology of everything before the 90s needs its own tw)
!!!EXPLICIT CONTENT MINORS DNI (DO NOT INTERACT) 18+!!!
After proposing, you and Lee spent the rest of your "date" coming up with an easy-to-remember story you could tell people when they inevitably asked questions. You and he had been going steady for two years, you kept it secret so people wouldn't probe into your personal life together and so it wouldn't shift focus from him during his run for sheriff, you spent weekends together while you were in Columbus to focus on school and work. It was all incredibly basic things but who was going to poke a hole in it? Nobody knew about your life before coming back so there would be no reason to doubt it.
Word of the proposal spread like wildfire, especially since your dad put an engagement announcement ad in the paper. He got his mother's ring from his sister who'd been holding it for him. Almost the entire rest of the week was spent with people constantly approaching you asking to see the ring, asking how long you'd been together or how you'd kept it a secret. You couldn't go anywhere without a number of people coming up to talk, even people you'd never even met. Everybody had their own marriage advice to give you, most of which made you want to gag; never decline sex because he needs that release, make sure the house is tidy and dinner is ready when he gets home, listen to what he says before speaking, make him comfortable after work, get pregnant as soon as possible, keep the kids peaceful around him so he can relax, and everything in between. All the "advice" made your head spin.
Things dialed down about two weeks after the announcement and you took the test you'd been dreading. You went one county over where nobody would know you to buy them and wound up taking the stupid tests as soon as you got home; well, you went to Lee's house while he was at work so you wouldn't have to stress about your dad finding out. All five of the tests showed positive and you felt your soul die a little more. You knew for a fact Lee would be over the moon about it, but it also meant the wedding would have to be incredibly soon so you could pretend it happened after marriage.
Now here you were, dress shopping with Sandy while trying to suppress the urge to drink yourself to death. The ring felt like a cinder block and you couldn't bring yourself to actually look at it. Sandy had to run into some store to get something but you opted to wait outside. You hadn't even realized you'd zoned out until you felt a hand on your shoulder and jumped. "Whoa, I didn't mean to startle you, (y/n), are you okay?" Arvin asked, looking at you with worried brown eyes. "Yeah, I'm fine, Arvin. How have you been?" You asked, quickly straightening up and plastering a smile on your face. "Well, honestly, I've been a little worried about ya. I-I haven't seen you in a bit and suddenly you're engaged to sheriff Bodecker. What happened to that Frank guy you were seein'?" He asked with a frown. "It ended a while ago and I didn't want to risk anyone hearin' about me and Lee yet," you quickly explained. You'd completely forgotten about telling Arvin.
"Are you sure? You seemed real' happy talkin' about him and real' frustrated when you talked about the sheriff," he pushed. "I was just nervous about it, Arvin, honestly," you told him, forcing a small smile. You hoped to god he'd buy it and end this conversation. "You don't seem like yourself, though," he pushed more. "I'm fine, Arvin. I mean it, I'm happy with Lee and I can't wait for our wedding day," you said firmly; the worlds felt acidic as they left your lips. "If you say so, you just look a little down. You know you can tell me anything right?" He asked with genuine worry. Looking into those brown doe eyes of his, you felt your resolve quickly slipping away. "It's fine, Arvin! I'm fine! I'm marrying sheriff Bodecker- Lee, I'm marrying Lee and there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it, okay?" You nearly snapped, quickly wiping your eyes when you felt them water some.
At that moment, Sandy came out and quickly wrapped her arms around you, shooting Arvin a glare. "Do you know who you're talkin' to, kid? This is the Sheriff's fiance. If you know what's good for you, you'll back off," she hissed before she began leading you down the street, leaving Arvin stood there in surprise. An uneasy feeling settling in the pit of his stomach; something didn't sit right with him. He knew he shouldn't do what he was thinking of doing, but he was gonna do it anyway. He needed to get more information and there were only two places he needed to look; the sheriff's house and your dad's house. He chose to go to the latter first, after all, it was closer.
Arvin got to your house a little after lunch and after looking in the window, he was relieved to see your dad asleep in his recliner. He made sure nobody was around to see him just walk right in. He was cautious about his steps, being careful not to trip or bump into anything. The first room he went to was your dad's, that man had dirt on everyone, there was bound to be something incriminating. Searching the closet revealed nothing, same with the dresser and bathroom cabinet. Under the bed, he found a lockbox... with a key still in the lock; your dad really was as much of an idiot as you'd said. He got down, hiding on the other side of the bed to look through the box. It seemed to be full of pictures but upon closer inspection, he saw it was full of pictures catching people red-handed; different people with hookers, people making meth and moonshine, men and women cheating on their spouses. Each picture had notes scribbled on the back, indicating what was what and who was who. That little box was the motherlode of blackmail.
Once he was satisfied he'd found all he could in the room, he moved to search your room. The first thing he did was pick up the pictures on the floor by your bed. His brow furrowed as he looked at them, the guy in the car looked like your boyfriend Frank but it felt off. He didn't know the man, nor had he ever met him, but his gut was telling him that the person in the picture wasn't him. From everything you'd said about him, Arvin had no reason to believe Frank was the type of guy to frequent prostitutes but, what did he know? It just didn't sit right with him. He stuffed the pictures in his pocket and continued looking around, not finding anything else.
When his little investigation turned up nothing else, he let out a small sigh. None of this made him feel better. He quietly opened the bedroom window and climbed out, holding the box close. He crossed the backyard and hopped the fence as casually as he could before running back to the room he was renting. There he could relax a bit more and get a closer look at what everything was, sort it all out, and try to figure out a plan. He didn't have time to search the sheriff's house today, that would have to wait for another day.
He made a stop by the convenience store on the way to his place, going in to get a pack of cigarettes; he'd need them if he was going to continue his investigation. He frowned some when he saw old man Ben reading the paper and he could tell the man wasn't too happy about the news either. "Can I just get a pack of camels?" Arvin asked with a small, tired frown on his face. The man nodded and slid the pack across the counter, taken Arvin's money in exchange. "What do you make of the news?" Arvin asked curiously, shifting his weight some to lean against the counter. "Can't say I'm pleased, it don't sit right with me," he grumbled. "That makes two of us," Arvin said quietly, nodding his thanks before heading for the door. The old man grabbed his arm to stop him "son, a word of advice; watch yourself around the sheriff, he's as crooked as they come." He nodded at the warning. "And if you ever need an alibi or anything, let me know, I don't like this one bit," the man added before Arvin opened the door. Arvin nodded again "thank you, sir, I'll need all the help I can get." With that, Arvin left and continued towards his rented room. He was in for a long night. On his way back home, he made brief eye contact with the sheriff when the man drove by in his cruiser but Arvin kept walking, keeping the lockbox hidden in his jacket.
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Bottom of the Glass
Genre: Bodyguard!AU, Angst
Pairing: Jinyoung x Reader
Summary: It’d been almost ten years since you left the life of glitz and cameras behind, never looking back. But someone refused to let go. When danger comes knocking, your father insists on hiring the best to keep you safe. Reluctant, you agree. Park Jinyoung is constantly by your side, but as the stalker gets closer, will he be able to keep you safe without getting too close himself?
Part: 1 I 2
Dan pouted at your lack of enthusiasm to go along with his joke. Jinyoung seemed to find it somewhat amusing, given the smirk on his face. But he got over it fairly quickly.
“If you don’t mind, Daniel, I would like to talk to Miss (y/n) about the measures we’ll take to ensure her safety.”
“Absolutely,” Dan agreed. He looked at you and then back at Jinyoung. “I’ll leave you two to discuss… safety measures.”
You rolled your eyes as your friend’s retreating back. Not waiting for Jinyoung to start his no-doubt rehearsed speech on how he was going to upend your life, you went back to your desk and cleaned off the food and napkins that covered the surface. You finished your glass of wine and sat down in the chair. Jinyoung remained standing, the smirk gone, nothing left but a blank, distant expression. With no prompt from you, he got started.
“Your father has already provided me with a key to your apartment and I’ve met with the security staff there. I will have access to the cameras from my phone both for the apartment building and the hotel. I will drive you wherever you want to go, but for the time being you should limit your activities to work, home, and grocery stores. If you can work from home, that would be even better. There are agencies that will pick up your groceries and deliver them. That should be an avenue to utilize. I’m currently running background checks on employees, apartment staff and your close friends.”
“What?” A few drops of the water you had taken a sip from to counteract the wine you’d chugged found their way down the wrong pipe in your throat. “You’re looking into my friends?” You scoffed. “That’s how you knew about Dan’s line.”
“One can’t be too careful.”
“It’s Dan. He runs away from fireflies and organizes his clothes by color than by season. “Fake, pig, or otherwise, he wouldn’t have the stomach to go anywhere near blood.” If there was one person you could trust not to be behind all the phone calls and the bloody package, it would be Dan. And you refused to let this overreaching, overpaid babysitter make you paranoid and isolate everyone in your life.
Jinyoung shrugged, unmoved by your argument. “It’s the job. I can’t rule anyone out, no matter who they are to you.”
“Who’s next? My cousins?”
The silence was enough of an answer.
Leaning back in your chair, you closed your eyes and rubbed the space between your brows. “Listen. I am not working from my apartment. I have too many meetings and too much work to stay on my couch in my sweatpants. If there’s a function that requires my presence, then I’m going to go.” To let him know that you were completely serious, you opened your eyes and held his gaze. “You’re here at the insistence of my father. I’m tolerating this for his sake. But - and I will keep saying this - I’m not going to let that weirdo who is obsessed with a long forgotten past mess up my life now.”
Seconds of silence ticked by. Jinyoung kept your gaze, unmoving and unreadable. The more you stared back, the more you saw what Dan possibly saw.
This bodyguard was nothing like you had expected. He was on the shorter side, not intimidating at first glance. If you looked too long at his face, as long as he wasn’t smiling, then maybe he could insight… some sort of emotion. But you felt nothing. Nothing but annoyance, that is.
As both an actor and a director in this company, you’d learned to read people. You’d learned to search their faces for the emotions hidden underneath, to pick apart what they otherwise wanted to hide. But it was baffling to you how cutoff Jinyoung was. You saw nothing in his eyes that gave away the thoughts in his head.
Shifting minutely, he finally said, “But what is a life that’s a little out of order compared to no life at all?”
A bit of... an eccentric way to put it. “Poetic.”
He let out a fairly short laugh. “It’s been known to happen.”
You were still skeptical. You still didn’t want your life to be whirled around like you were caught in a tornado. But he had a point - the winds were already coming. And you couldn’t outrun a storm.
Crossing your arms and legs, you gave a smirk of your own. “You are certainly… not a cliché.”
He raised an eyebrow. “What were you expecting?”
“I don’t know. Something more of a Dwayne Johnson type?”
“You need speed, not strength.”
“Did you just insult The Rock?”
Over the direction of the conversation, Jinyoung sighed. “Are you done for the night? I need to inspect your apartment.”
Oh, gosh. You rarely had strangers over. Was your place even clean? Were there dishes in the sink? Fresh clothes that still needed to be put away? It didn’t matter if your apartment was pristine or in shambles like a hotel after Spring Break, you knew the bodyguard was going to force his way in. So you gave way, nodding and standing up from your desk. What was left could wait until tomorrow.
A short car ride followed up a brief yet heated conversation in the parking garage as to who was driving. Jinyoung all but implied that he was the better driver with faster reflexes while you insisted that no one knew your car as well as you did. A pitiful argument. Your car didn’t have special modifications or a tricky gear. It was a standard, newer model that drove basically like any other motorized vehicle. It was nothing more than your first powerplay – and Jinyoung had won.
If your stalker wanted you to feel like that teenage actress again, they were succeeding.
Back then, you weren’t allowed to drive either. Too risky since teenagers had a tendency to get into more accidents and – whether it was your fault or not – whatever fender-bender you got into would end up in the tabloids. Add in the fact that you were usually in cities that you weren’t entirely familiar with and it was just best to be chauffeured whenever possible. At least this time you were able to sit in the front seat.
You handed Jinyoung the keycard that granted access to the parking garage and guided him to your assigned spot. No more words were spoken as the two of you got out of the car and headed inside.
The lobby was the only entrance to and from the garage for “security” (a word that you were going to get really tired of here soon). Once your feet hit the transition from concrete to polished tile, you headed for the elevators. Jinyoung, however, steered you away with a hand on the shoulder. His destination was the front desk where the doorman sat behind a marble barrier.
“Ah, you must be Park Jinyoung,” Walt, the doorman, greeted with a smile. He stood from his chair and leaned over the barrier to shake Jinyoung’s hand.
Walt was the doorman that you liked. He always wore a smile and had a gentle, uncle-like feel to him. The kind of uncle you enjoyed being around, not the annoying, obnoxious kind that you steered clear from at family gatherings. That title belonged to Newman, who mostly worked the late-night shift. For good reason.
“Your firm head met with us yesterday and went over the broad stroke of things. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to sit in on the meeting with our security staff earlier today with you present.” Walt didn’t seem effected by the news of your new bodyguard in the slightest.
“That’s alright,” Jinyoung nodded. “I’m sure they went over the briefing with you?”
“Absolutely. All packages for Miss (y/n) are to be collected here and left for you to inspect before being passed on to her. I’m to notate any strange behavior I see, both from strangers and from other residents.”
“How’s your mom, Walt?” you asked, hating the feeling of being talked about like you weren’t standing right there. You just hoped that no one else living here was overhearing this conversation. You doubted that they would take too kindly to being watched and investigated like this.
Walt smiled. “She’s doing good. Has her bad days though where she forgets what year it is or that she’s not in the country anymore.”
“I’m sorry.” Your heart went out to Walt. His situation wasn’t the easiest to handle.
“Alzheimer’s?” Jinyoung guessed in a tone that still managed to be sympathetic.
Walt nodded. “It’s slow going, though, so that’s a small blessing.”
“Have a good night, Walt,” you said. You were currently fighting back a yawn. Wine always made you tired. You don’t know why you let Dan talk you into having a glass at the office. Maybe it was the stress of your predicament that made you give in so easily.
“Good night, Miss (y/n). Get some rest.”
The smile dropped from your face as soon as the elevator doors closed. Now more than ever, you just wanted to slide between your sheets and go to sleep. There was even a little bit of hope that you would wake up tomorrow and this would all be a dream and Jinyoung would just be a face that your brain chose after seeing him in some designer clothes commercial. If the bodyguard noticed your change in posture or expression, he made no mention of it.
Getting your key into the door was a struggle, but eventually the lock clicked, and you were able to go inside your home. A sense of relief flowed over you when you closed the door behind you.
“You should get some rest,” Jinyoung suggested. This, you would not argue over. He started making rounds through the apartment, looking out the windows and checking the shelves for things you preferred not to think about.
Grabbing a fresh towel from the hallway closet, you entered your bedroom and straight for the shower. It was twenty minutes of uninterrupted thought-processing. You talked yourself into temporarily thinking that maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
Yes, it was going to suck. Yes, you were going to get annoyed and probably fight with Jinyoung a few more times. But this was just another obstacle life was placing in your way. It was going to be a long hard climb, but you’d make it over sooner or later. As far as you were concerned, this “stalker” would eventually get bored and move on to some other has-been.
Much more relaxed, you got out of the shower and slipped into your sleepwear before going to check on Jinyoung. You found him out in the main living room fluffing up a pillow on the couch. His shoes and jacket were off but you didn’t see them in the immediate vicinity.
“What are you doing?”
He didn’t seem surprised by your sudden appearance, not even looking up at you as he answered, “Getting ready to sleep.”
You raised an eyebrow. “Out here?”
Maybe he thought that the couch was his only option. Obviously your bedroom was off the table and down the hall. “I have a guest bedroom.” Well, two really, but one was being used more as an extra office-slash-storage space.
“If someone breaks in, I’ll know sooner and can respond better out here.”
You weren’t even going to try and argue. You shrugged. “Okay, have it your way.”
Not being completely heartless, you went back to the hallway closet and got out an extra blanket.
He revealed a small grin when you handed it over. “Thank you.” He sat down on the couch, eyes roaming over the room. His gaze lingered on the entryways and windows. You always kept the curtains closed, except for when it was raining or snowing. Regular sunlight was too bright for your liking and created a glare on the TV. Also… you didn’t like the idea of someone in a building across the way possibly looking in.
Okay, so maybe a little part of your brain had always been paranoid, and you just never wanted to admit. You still refused to do so out loud.
“You can go to bed,” Jinyoung chuckled. “You don’t have to watch over me. That’s my job.”
“Right.” Could you be even more awkward about this situation? Turning to go, you almost took that first step to head to your room, but then another thought jumped into priority. “Are you seriously going to sleep in your suit?”
Jinyoung looked down at his shirt and then back up at you. “Yugyeom will drop my suitcases off tomorrow. This will do for tonight.”
You snorted. “Let me guess, your luggage will contain all white button downs and perfectly tailored slacks.”
“That’s the uniform.”
Shaking your head, you turned to go. And then whipped right back around.
“I can look after myself, you know.” It was your last-ditch effort to get him to ease back. Pointless? More than likely. But you wanted Jinyoung to understand that you were not a poor damsel in distress who couldn’t tie her own shoes. You were used to taking care of yourself, doing what was best for you. The decisions in your life had been yours, for the most part.
Jinyoung’s usually stoic expression softened, if only by a fraction. “No one is doubting that. But two sticks are harder to break than one.”
Unsure of how to respond, you nodded. Now you made it to your room. Leaning back against the door, you blew the air out of your lungs. You still weren’t completely on board with this. You flipped back and forth between accepting it and wanting to fight it.
You had control issues; you can admit to that much. That was what made working in your father’s company so much better for your personality than acting. Or maybe it was because of your famous youth years that you were now obsessed with maintaining control. Whatever the reason was, that didn’t change how you are.
Bright side, (y/n). Think of the bright side.
At least he didn’t seem brutish. He was going to be stubborn on doing things his way, but he wasn’t cruel about it. So far.
He’s just doing his job.
That you didn’t necessarily hire him for.
But your father did. And it eased his worry and therefore would be better for his overall health.
“Just think of it as another acting project,” you told yourself, cringing in the process. “Act like you’re okay with it. Maybe eventually you will be.”
Eventually. Yeah, okay.
Pushing off the door, you shuffled over to the bed and slipped between the covers. It took almost an hour of tossing back and forth, crumpling your sheets and tucking your comforter in the process, but you fell asleep. Eventually.
Noise from the television woke you up the next morning. With a groan you flipped over to check your phone that was charging on the nightstand. It was only five-forty in the morning. Who the hell in their right mind was up this early?
Unable to fall back asleep, you gave up and crawled out of bed. After a quick maintenance run in the bathroom, you ventured outside to the living room.
Jinyoung was sitting up on the couch, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees. His brow was furrowed from concentration. The news didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary to you, but Jinyoung was entranced. The anchor was giving an update on the military conflict in another country. It was sad and depressing. You tried not to think about it too much.
“Did you actually sleep?” you asked in an effort to distract yourself. Still waking up, you wrapped your arms around yourself and let free a yawn.
“Eight hours,” he replied. You had a hard time believing that. Next to him, the blanket was folded with precision, lying neatly on top of the throw pillow. Tonight you would have to remember to get him a real pillow from the guest room to sleep on.
“It doesn’t feel like it.”
Jinyoung glanced at you over his shoulder. “You can go back to sleep.”
You shook your head. “I can’t sleep with noise on.”
“Sorry. I’ll mute the TV.” He started to reach for the remote.
“It’s alright,” you stopped him. “I’m hungry now and won’t go back to sleep with a growling stomach. Have you eaten yet?”
“I’ll make breakfast.”
You shot his back a curious glance before continuing to the kitchen. Although there was no reason to, you’d expected him to decline. Oh, well. Making breakfast for two shouldn’t be much harder than breakfast for one.
It took about fifteen minutes to put the food together. By that time, your stomach was growling viciously, and you could feel your blood sugar dropping dangerously low. To help stabilize it, you shot down a glass of orange juice. That calmed the stormy waters long enough to finish up. You took a plate out to Jinyoung first, along with silverware. He thanked you for the meal.
“Do you want anything to drink?”
“Do you have coffee?”
You nodded. You were already brewing yourself a cup. “What kind do you like?”
“I’m usually an Americano guy, but I’ll take whatever you’ve got.”
“I can do an Americano,” you said. You, erm, splurged on a nice coffee machine that basically does it all. You like your coffee fancy, as embarrassing as it is. Plain black with just creamer or sugar wasn’t enough for you.
The Americano was easy enough to make. You even had a little teal to-go cup with a lid and straw for Jinyoung to use. He half-scoffed, half-laughed at the thing when you brought it out to him, but he thanked you nonetheless. Now it was your turn to sit and eat. Usually you ate at the table, but Jinyoung was still out in the living room and you felt too awkward to eat in there when he was out here, so you joined him, taking a spot on the recliner. Tucking your feet under you, you began to break your fast. The news had moved on to a lighter, humanitarian topic, so you gave it part of your attention.
Knock, knock, knock.
Jinyoung froze. Slowly and quietly, he put the plate down on the coffee table. His hand slid under the pillow and pulled out a firearm. Now it was your turn to stiffen.
He walked slowly over to the door and peeked through the small peephole. Then his shoulders relaxed. Sliding the gun between his waist band, he opened the door with a huff.
“You’re supposed to call that you’re on your way.”
In stepped a much taller, lankier man than even the one that came with Jaebeom the other day. Though still in a suit, this bodyguard was still very boyish, smiling and giggling as he came into view. His black hair wasn’t perfectly smooth like Jinyoung’s. “I forgot. Bambam was in a hurry to get to his favorite café.”
“Now isn’t really the time for him to be flirting with the baristas,” Jinyoung deadpanned. He reached out and took the suitcase that the other one had rolled in.
“You’re just jealous that he’s better at it than you.” Noticing you, the other bodyguard waived. “Hi! I’m Yugyeom!”
You waved back sheepishly. “Hi.”
“If you get tired of this one watching you,” he jabbed his thumb in Jinyoung’s direction, “I’ll gladly take over. I’m much more fun than hyung here.”
“Yugyeom….” Jinyoung warned.
Yugyeom was undeterred. “He’s already got you up early. He tried to do that with me and Bambam, but we like sleeping. You know, like normal people. Next time, though, you should try to get up before him. He may look scary now, but when he’s sleeping, he’s actually kind of cute—”
“Yugyeom!” Jinyoung snapped. “Don’t you have a briefing to get to?”
The latter checked his watch. “Not for another hour, but I should probably wrangle Bambam away from the café before he busy the place out.” Still giggling, Yugyeom waved to you. “Nice to meet you, (y/n).”
“You, too,” you said with a laugh of your own. Jinyoung all but shoved the poor guy out the door. Once it was shut, he sighed, leaning his forehead and forearm against the wooden barrier.
“One day, I will kill him,” he whispered.
You would be lying if you said that you weren’t enjoying this a little. Jinyoung huffed and turned back to you.
“Eat your breakfast.”
He rolled the suitcase down the hall to the spare bathroom and shut the door. In a much better mood than how you woke up, you picked your silverware back up and ate happily away. If Jinyoung ever got on your nerves, you knew exactly who to contact.
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Oooh can I get a one shot of Hanji and her s/o getting ready for an annual ball at the MPs (the whole SC is invited) and y/n does Hanji’s make up—they both are teasing each other getting ready. They meet up with the rest of the vets and their friends and have tons of fun at the ball. And then it ends with Hanji and yn slow dancing together?
“Do you trust me Hanji?”
“With my life.” she replies without any hesitation, adding more pressure on you.
“Okay...here it goes.” Taking a deep breath you calm yourself down. This had to be perfect, it all comes down to you. You wielded all the power in your hands. You-
“Fuck, I already messed up.” a groan leaves your lips as you pull away from Hanji.
Hanji just laughs, shaking her head. “(Y/N) you barely did one dot!”
“And I could already tell the eyeliner won’t be perfect anymore.” You frown, disappointed in yourself. Curse your shaky hands.
“Nothing is perfect (y/n). Sure one side may be off, but who cares! I know you’ll do a great job so come on, finish what you started.” Hanji tugs on your hand and brings you closer to her. “That’s what you always tell me when I hit a roadblock when researching.” she smiles and it gives you the confidence to try again. You don’t know what it is about Hanji but she has the power to boost people’s spirits and you were grateful for it.
“Alright, here I go again.”
Hanji closes her eyes, waiting for you. Holding her chin in one hand you grip the eyeliner in the other. Knitting your eyebrows in concentration you start to create a line on her eyelid. At the end you flick your eyeliner up to give a dramatic effect and you do the same for the other eyelid.
“Okay, I finished.”
Opening her eyes Hanj wears her glasses so she could see herself in the mirror. A dazzling grin spreads across her lips. “Oh it’s beautiful, thank you!” Jumping up from her seat she embraces you tightly, nearly making you stumble back. Chuckling to yourself you hug her back but gently. “Easy Hanji, we don’t want you to mess up your look that we worked so hard on.”
“Oh, right!” She moves back. Walking up to the large full body mirror against the wall she studies herself. “I can’t remember the last time I wore a dress. It all seems....weird.” The Survey Corps were invited to an annual ball held by the Military Police. Normally Hanji didn’t attend since she would much rather do her research when dress up and play pretend with nobles but this year Erwin insisted that all superiors attend and there was no going around the Commander.
Unfortunately, Hanji had no taste in fashion or makeup nor was she interested din them so it was up to you to make her look presentable. These were new things for her. You don’t blame her, Hanji was just invested in other things. Rather than playing with makeup or wearing dresses she was into boy’s clothes (or her uniform) and getting down and dirty with the wildlife. You took Hanji to some stores to pick out a dress and some makeup, but really it was just you picking for her. Turns out Hanji was really indecisive when it came to these things but the other part was that she trusted you to make all the decisions. The fact that she had so much faith in you made her heart warm and you were determined not to let her down.
Gazing at your lover you smirk to yourself. You think you did a pretty damn good job.
Her brown hair was put into a bun with a few strands framing her face. A beautiful golden dress hugs her body just right and flows right down to her feet. Light makeup accentuates her facial features. In your opinion, Hanji didn’t need that much makeup, she was beautiful as she was but you were most likely biased. To top it all off, she wore some studded earrings and a simple pearl necklace.
“Like what you see?” Hanji’s voice brings you out of your train of thoughts. She was smiling suggestively at you, wiggling her eyebrows.
“Well duh, you’re beautiful Hanji, with or without all the makeup and dress.” the second you said that you knew what Hanji would be implying.
“So you’re saying you want my dress to be...on the floor?”
“Hanji!” You slap her shoulder playfully. “Now’s not the time!”
“So the carriage? Or in a closet at the party?”
You roll your eyes at her playful banter. “Neither. Now just sit there while I get dressed and put on my makeup.”
For you look you bought a (fav. color) dress and some accessories that went with it. It didn’t take long to put those on so here you are now applying makeup.
“(Y/N), have I told you how gorgeous you look?” Hanji rests her chin on her hand as she looks at you with soft eyes.
“Every day Hanji.” She never fails to make you feel special and loved on a daily basis.
“It’s true! Even without my glasses you’re beautiful.” to emphasize her point she takes off the items that helps her see and squints at you. You shake your head, pausing your actions.
“Hanji your eyesight is shit, I bet you can’t see me right now.” “You have a point, but that doesn’t matter!” She puts her glasses back on and gets up from the couch. Walking over to where you were sitting down and doing your makeup she stands behind you and wraps her arms around your neck, resting her chin on top of your shoulder. “I don’t have to see to know that you’re beautiful you know.”
“Hanji...,” you trail off, a little stunned by her words. The bespectacled woman plants a light peck to your cheek before pulling away. “I’ll leave you to finish your makeup.” Hanji plucks a book from the bookshelf and sits back down on the couch. Unlike you, Hanji was focused on her task.
How could you get back to doing makeup whatever what she just said? You just sit there, eyes locked on Hanji’s form. Forget the makeup, her words make you feel way more beautiful. After a few moments of staring Hanji looks up form her novel. A sly smile forms on her lips.
“You’re staring....does that mean you want my dress off-”
“Erwin, Levi, Mike!” Hanji cheers, waving her hand at the three males as you two approach them. They were dressed up in their fancy military clothes and had their hair gelled back. Erwin offers a kind smile to the both of you.
“You two look beautiful.”
“Thanks Erwin, you three don’t look bad yourself.” you compliment them back.
“Ooh shorty, look at you all dressed up!” Hanji pokes his cheek and he bats her hand away. “I can say the same for you Four Eyes. You sure you showered?” he gives her a pointed look.
“Don’t worry Levi, I made sure Hanji took a bath and shampooed her hair. She’s all clean and beautiful, right?” Walking over to Hanji you wrap an arm around her waist, tugging her against you.
“She looks better than usual.” That’s about as a close of a compliment you’ll get from Levi.
Mike leans over and sniffs Hanji, nodding in approval. “Peaches,” he comments. It was the scent of the shampoo you used on her hair.
“Alright you four, let’s all get going.” Erwin ushers his friends into the carriages. The guys took one carriage while you and Hanji took the other.
The carriage starts to move, creaks filling the silent air as it travels to the castle where the ball is held at. Leaning against the window you look at the scenery passing by. This would be your first time at ball, to say you were nervous was an understatement. You all had to represent yourselves well so people know what the Survey Corps were like. You hope nothing goes wrong at then party. What if you spilled your drink? What if you said the wrong thing? What if-
You didn’t realize your leg was bouncing up and down until Hanji places her hand on your thigh, calming your nerves. Turning your head to look at her she shows you a reassuring smile. “Hey, it’s going to be okay.” grabbing your hand she gives a gentle squeeze. Leave it to your lover to notice even the slightest shift in your moods. She can read you like a book.
“Yeah, you’re right.” you return her smile and squeeze back. The nervousness inside you dissipates into nothing. You had Hanji with you, everything will be just fine.
“Besides,” Hanji leans back. “We can just leave the talking to Erwin. We’ll just go raid the food table.”
“So that’s our plan?” You giggle, leaning against her shoulder.
“The only good thing about these kinds of parties are the food so we might as well make the most of it.” “Good point.” No doubt there would be exotic foods at the party, things you’ve never even tried before.
A comfortable silence falls over the two of you, content with each other’s presence as you guys head to the ball.
“Mike seems to be having the time of his life.” You note, jerking your chin towards the large man who was surrounded by women who all wants to dance with him.
“And then you have Levi looking so miserable.” Hanji snickers. The poor Captain was also swarmed by women, but the difference here was that he did not enjoy their company. He wanted to escape but he was trapped in a circle of women.
“We should help him out.” You move to head over to him but Hanji pulls you back. “No way, this is too fun.”
“Hanji that’s just mean.”
“Okay fine fine, look Erwin is coming to his rescue.”
The blond man comes over and immediately the women disperse when they noticed he brought someone else over to talk with Levi.
“Levi looks like he would rather be anywhere else in the world than here.” You were startled by the new voice, whirling around only to see Mike standing behind you and Hanji.
“Mike, weren’t you with those girls.” Hanji asks and he shrugs in response.
“It got boring after a while so I decided to see what you two were up to. Entertainment from Levi’s suffering?”
“You know it.”
You sigh, shaking your head. Those two were one chaotic duo and feed off of pranking Levi and poking fun at him. Honestly, you never would have guessed that Mike would be the type to indulge in Hanji’s pranks and craziness but you soon found out that despite being so quiet, Mike had a teasing streak. Poor Levi had to be subjected to their jokes but he always gets back at them. It was a like game, both sides one upping each other.
Last you remember, Hanji and Mike substituted sugar for salt when Levi was making his tea. Safe to say Levi was not amused.
Speaking of Levi, he also wasn’t amused in this instance either.
“So you two idiots were here just laughing at me huh?” The stoic man says as he approaches the food table while Erwin trails behind him.
“What else would we be doing?” Mike responds, mirth shining in his eyes.
“Something useful, like talking to the military pigs or something.” He huffs.
“But they’re all boring!” Hanji throws her hands up in frustration. “What good would it do talking to them?”
“Erwin, how has the party been for you?” You decide to completely ignore the three of them and checked up on the blond man.
“It’s been well, thank you for asking. The people here are very kind.”
“They’re trying to get favors from you Erwin,” Levi remarks. “Tch, they should be the one helping us since we save their asses.”
“Now Levi, no need to get heated. This is a ball,” Erwin chastises him. “We’re here to be friends, not enemies.” Levi grumbles under his breath, annoyed by the whole ordeal. “There’s nothing to do here.”
“You could dance with someone.” Erwin suggests.
“Fuck that.” he shoots the idea down.
“Oh dancing!” Your eyes light up. The answer was right in front of you. “How about we dance Hanji?”
She averts her eyes from you, shuffling her feet. “Ah you see (Y/n)...,” she rubs the back of her neck. You were surprised, this was the first time you’ve seen Hanji look so sheepish. “I don’t really know how to dance.” she confesses.
“I tried teaching her dancing once and she stepped on my feet about five times.” Mike brings up.
“You don’t have to rub salt on the wound Mike..,” Hanji mutters, sulking off to the side. She didn’t want to damper your excitement. You always took the time to indulge in her activities and now she feels bad she couldn’t do the same for you. This new environment was just not her style.
But you weren’t giving up that easily. Grabbing her arm gently you pull her to the middle of the floor.
“(Y/N) I just said-”
“It’ll be fine,” you reassure her, just like she reassured you in the carriage. “It’ll be slow dancing so there won’t be that much movement. Place your hand here and here.” You guide Hanji by placing one of her hands on your hip and intertwining your hand with hers and sticking it out to the side a bit. “Follow my lead. Don’t worry if you step on my feet.”
Hanji was hesitant at first, her movements stiff and choppy but soon she got into the rhythm matching your tempo perfectly. The soft melody swirls in the air and envelopes you two as you guys dance. Everything fades away, leaving you only focused on Hanji. With half lidded eyes you give her a brief peck on the lips, not wanting to mess up her lipstick.
“This is fun,” Hanji shows a soft smile. Swaying side to side with the person she loves, it was a nice change of pace from the usual frenzied chaos inside her laboratory.
“It is, isn't it?” your eyes was tender.
Hanji wasn’t used to dancing but with you, it quickly became one of her favorite activities.
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