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PSA about that short story floating around based on the writing prompt “You’re a daycare worker, watching over toddlers, when the imminent end of the world is announced. It becomes increasingly clear none of the kids’ parents are going to show up as the end inches nearer. “

It’s great! It’s terribly moving and very powerful!

But, it is also harrowing, and as a parent of a small child who goes to ECE/daycare, I was ABSOLUTELY FULLY CRYING through about ¾ of it. Even through just the first bit before the cut - I actually stopped there, scrolled past, then came back because I had to find out what happens.

I feel like other parents of small children may not be emotionally prepared - even just reading what’s on the dash on tumblr may be enough to catch you, and I haven’t seen it reblogged with what I would have considered adequate warnings or tags.

It ends happily. That’s the main thing, and what I wished I’d known at the start. But before it gets there, there is imagery that made me feel super anxious and sad thinking about my child in that situation, and that’s with our family in an environment where all else is pretty good right now - I’d hate to think about someone on less of an emotionally-even keel being caught out.

If you’re reposting it, please think about tagging it so the content is more transparent (e.g. risk of child harm etc.), and if you’re a parent who comes across it, just be warned you might want the tissues handy (as well as your child so you can promptly hug the fuck out of them.)

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Written for SOSH GTA 7, prompt: “Big spooky fan, me,” as hosted by Euterpein! Full author list in @aethelflaedladyofmercia’s post here.

Crowley was a thing of tension getting into bed. Curled his whole body into a tight ball, locked his limbs, and squeezed his eyes shut. Now, though, he is asleep. Loose; sprawled out. Unguarded.

Unguarded. The word sets Aziraphale on edge, sets him to pacing the room. Then he wonders whether his movement might not wake Crowley, so he tiptoes downstairs instead, hands twisting in front of him, waiting— but for what, he dares not name.

Please let him be safe, he thinks; when he realizes this comes dangerously close to prayer, he slams the brakes on that line of thought and thinks instead, I will keep him safe.

The night passes like this, in incremental moments of bated breath. In the tremor of his fingertips. In the unsteadiness of a heartbeat. It is a night like all that have passed. It passes; he passes through it. The sunrise comes. Aziraphale watches as its light climbs through the bookshop windows, catches on the dust motes, sets the merchandise to glowing. Another night survived.

The door rattles. Aziraphale freezes.

“Open up,” someone says. Immediately, Aziraphale releases his wings. Seizes at a power deep within his core; prepares to do battle with forces ancient and eldritch.

“You are not welcome here,” he thunders, voice slipping past vocal registers and shaking the shelves. He is gathering light, pulling sunshine into his orbit, burning brightly enough to produce a hum. “You should not be here.”

Continue on AO3! or:

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Crowley flung himself across the sofa and threw an arm over his face. “Ugh!” he declared, for the third time in as many minutes. “Stupid Hastur with his stupid assignments. Prick. D’you have anyone Up There who’s just– the slimiest creep you’ve ever met?”

Aziraphale sniffed. “I shouldn’t speak ill of other angels,” he said, delicately and disapprovingly, but he was already fetching the wineglasses and they’d only just gotten in from dinner.

“Oh, come on,” said Crowley, who was not above a bit of wheedling and who knew exactly how much Aziraphale enjoyed reveling in a good complaining session. “I know Gabriel’s a twat.”

Aziraphale poured the wine in silence. Then he said, “Well. You said it, not me.”

Crowley grinned. There was nobody like Aziraphale for finding loopholes. Half the contracts in the corporate world had been drafted as collaborations in this very room. Arguing over legal tedium was even better entertainment than the old do-dogs-have-souls chestnut. This was familiar ground. “How’s Michael doing, then?” Crowley raised an eyebrow. “Has she still got the biggest stick up her–”

“I’m going to stop you there,” said Aziraphale warningly.

“So that’s a yes.”

A meaningful pause. “I wouldn’t say it was a no.”

There was a particular kind of laugh only Aziraphale could draw out of Crowley. Not that he knew it himself, of course. Crowley laughed now, an exclamation mark of joyous sound, and wriggled around on the sofa until he was seated enough to accept a glass. “To horrible coworkers,” he said, extending it to wait for Aziraphale’s corresponding clink! But it didn’t come.

Crowley drew down the sunglasses to get a better look. Aziraphale was twisting the ring on his smallest finger, almost in danger of spilling his own wine, and so Crowley threw out a careful little miracle to prevent it. Just in case, and for self-preservation of course, just to avoid getting splashed. No point getting messy. “Angel?”

“Oh,” said Aziraphale, blinking. “Erm. To- to terrible friends.”

It was exactly this sort of thing that made Crowley lie awake at night. (Demonic insomnia notwithstanding.) Friends was a nice word– too nice by far, stinging somewhere deep in Crowley’s chest– but tempered with terrible. They both knew to avoid descriptions which gave demons hives.

“Terrible friends,” he echoed, and they drank.

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Burning Down the House

(Ring of Fire part 4)

** part one ** part two ** part three **

There are multiple candidates for worst day of Jaime Lannister’s life. It is a competitive field. 

There is the day his mother died. The day he lost his right hand - and several days after that, which were all equally awful. The day he barely remembers when he and Cersei had so horrified their mother that she had separated them forever and he lost both his twin and any good memories of his mother. The day his brother Tyrion murdered their Father. The day Cersei married Robert. The day he slew Aerys and became forever the Kingslayer. 

Despite the crowded field, today is a strong contender.

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A Child’s Fear (1) [virgile-is-the-changeling]

(If this gets posted anywhere but Tumblr, tell me. and this is unedited, lol.)

Bouncing on his toes, a 10 year old boy walked through the hallways of the mansion he practically lived in as his dad was nearly always away. It wasn’t that he wasn’t loved, in fact he was his dad’s favorite person in the whole wide world, but work always seemed to get in the way of that.
After all, being an assassin meant you spent little time at home.
The boy got phone calls at least once every week and he never knew in what language his father would greet him in, so he learned them all. And he didn’t mind learning so many languages as he could always look forward to the look of pure joy on the faces of those he spoke to when their Japanese wasn’t good or they didn’t know any at all, and suddenly a polite little boy came along and could carry along a whole conversion in German.
Aside from his phone calls, he got letters from a girl he adored named Mirien Blanc who lived in London though her father was French, and they’d been writing back and forth since before he could remember.
Speaking of Mirien, the boy had only seen her once and that was when he was seven years old. The girl was two years older than him and towered over him, then again that might just be because her Quirk made her taller than most. It was an ability named “Satyr” that gave her the physical mutations of the mystical creature (complete with a fine set of curled horns) and fingers that could become flute-like if she ever needed to call upon animals or send a distress signal.
Over all, the boy found her to be beautiful and often found himself sketching her face when he wasn’t looking after his baby siblings or at the mansion he was currently in learning under his friends governess and learning how to fight.
And he loved fighting.
Not in a bloodlust or all-pacifists-must-die way, but he found that every kind of martial art or sword fighting techniques he had learned thus far, were like dancing. The ways in which his feet had to move so he didn’t stumble and how he had to think of every part of his body like a gear in a clock to keep him safe and moving. There were his hands showing that no matter how small the movement, it mattered in a battle as your opponent could easily take you down by noticing you only use your left hand and most importantly there were the eyes, the ears, and the mouth.
His eyes assess the situation and environment, his ears to hear how one’s breathing pattern changes, to hear your opponents words, or to hear how a person’s feet move across the ground, and finally his mouth. His mouth was always the boys favorite as it could be a deciding factor in winning or losing a battle. The mouth was used for encouragement to your fellow soldiers, to try and talk things out if possible, to beat down and distract an enemy, to lash out making you lose focus, or even to comfort someone when things don’t always go correctly.
Indeed, the boy was fond of the mouth’s use in battle.
The hallway ended soon and he quickly found himself at the set of doors leading into the courtyard of the Yaoyorozu mansion. He liked her home and he was glad that she let him spend his long school days here with her, learning and fighting by her side. His baby siblings also weren’t too far away, they (much like the boy) loved the family’s cook, a woman named Baioretto Koshin. The woman was good with children and always seemed to know what they wanted before they could express themselves through words. The boy often wondered what her Quirk was, that is if she had one at all.
He couldn’t be the only Quirkless boy in Musutafu… right?
He shook the thoughts of Ms Koshin from his head and made his way through the courtyard and the main trees and flower bushes his friend had planted when her parents were away. Unlike his father who loved him with his whole being, his friends parents were neglectful and weren’t ever around unless they were to host a party to keep up with their social standing.

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I think you are exactly right (there’s even another sad immortal French veteran in the group!) and the way I see it happening is that he ends up being an acolyte to Brent or Nicky (Neckinger), because he was a parent and is good with kids, and Peter is like “Bev why is your sister’s new acolyte a depressed immortal Frenchman” and Bev goes “IDK mum found him in the Thames you know how it goes, why do you care?” and Peter, being innately nosy as well as a cop, makes a point of pulling him aside and asking a lot of questions.

This is a deeply awkward conversation because the whole “I betrayed my friends and they got kidnapped and tortured” thing is going to be HIGHLY triggery for Peter, and Peter’s scientific curiosity is probably NOT going to make Booker happy, but it would end with Peter going “look if nobody’s told you already, my brother-in-law has an art therapy class, I HIGHLY recommend it, if that’s not your thing I also know a therapist who will not freak out, but please believe me when I say I have some expertise in the area of Depressed Immortal Soldiers and therapy IS what you need” and Booker’s like “wait what do you mean you have experience????? there are only five of us??????” and not only does he get the therapy he needs but five days later he texts Nile like “I KNOW WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING BUT…”

but also imagine him and lady ty talking about kids. owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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So @lisagarlandd made this, so I wrote this because I couldn’t stop giggling.

“Watch and learn, kids,” says Joe. “This is how you flirt professionally.”

Andy makes a pained noise, Booker tries to stop it and Nile should know better by now what happens in situations like these but she must have looked just interested enough for Joe to go on. (Chances are Joe wouldn’t have cared anyway.)

Joe clears his throat. “Nicolo?”

Nicolo doesn’t look up. “Hmm?”

“Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?”

Everyone at the table dies a little inside when the most eloquent of them all utters the cheesiest of lines. Nicolo, however, looks up with a rather bewildered expression on his face.

“Did you just call me Satan?”

Joe doesn’t take his eyes off him and after a long pause he says, “You know I did.”

And Nicky – honest to God and Satan – blushes. He blushes like a teenager being noticed by their crush and, fighting a smile, he turns back to his book.

Joe looks round the table, pretty pleased with himself. The others stare at him, because what the fuck?

Joe looks confused at them. “What?”

Andy shakes her head, making it clear that this will never be discussed again.

Later, Nile has to ask, though.

“Did you really mean to call him Satan?” 

Joe winks at her, which just confuses her further. Well, not ‘just’. It scares her off from asking more questions.

Or, asking him more questions.



“Why did Joe call you Satan?”

Nicky smiles, awkwardly stroking the back of his own neck. “Well, you know…”

“Eh, no? He called you Satan, that’s… Satan. He’s the opposite of… He’s… the Devil.”

Nicky laughs. “I went to seminary, Nile. I know who Satan is.”


“It was his first nickname for me, though granted, at the time he meant it as a vile insult.” He smiles. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And everything he says now is love.”

Nile smiles and shakes her head. She’s not sorry she asked, but she realises that the main reason Booker drinks must be to dull the toothache.

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The car service picks him up in a sleek black Lexus and he settles into the plush backseat gratefully, leaving the driver to stow his rollaway bag in the trunk. Jaime disembarked from his flight only minutes before and walked straight here. It had been a red-eye, not a full flight, and with the lights out as quiet as a tomb, and still he had shifted uncomfortably for hours and hours.  The first international flight he’s ever managed without getting absolutely hammered, and consequently he didn’t sleep a wink. 

By now he’s been awake going on 32 hours straight. The air tastes like burnt toast and his eye sockets feel like exposed wires; he keeps his sunglasses on even though it’s 3am and it makes him look like an asshole. Jaime tosses his briefcase on the seat next to him and lets his head fall back against the leather seat. He doesn’t make conversation with the driver (again, asshole) because there’s nothing to say. The driver knows where to take him. Everything’s already arranged, like it always is - the pickup and the destination. Driver gets in and they’re off.

Lights streak by dimly through the tinted windows. Headache colors, white and yellow and red.

Even his own birthday celebration tomorrow has been planned out without him. It’s convenient, in a way, since he hasn’t been home in three weeks. The Singapore trip stretched into the London trip and there wasn’t time, and now it’s tomorrow. Today. Tomorrow. Jaime is fully of the opinion that it doesn’t count as tomorrow until you wake up in daylight. So technically, he’s still on yesterday, and he would not have had time to plan something out for himself. But that means Jaime is attending a party in not-enough-hours-from-now and he has no earthly idea who will be there. Coworkers, probably. Family, possibly. Family coworkers for certain. Will there be anyone there he actually wants to talk to? His assistants and no one else, most like.

Jaime procures a tiny bourbon from the tiny barset. He was sober on the flight, and well done him; now he can relax.

Probably it’s the second tiny bourbon gives him the idea. 

Brienne Tarth. He hasn’t seen her since the Event. There’s been no reason to. But a party is a good excuse to contact her. Or would be, if he had her number. Or an email address. Or anything about her, really, except what bar she used to go to and where she works. He can probably find his way back to her apartment, with some amount of wandering around, but knocking on her door is not the best way about it, considering how they left things.

Jaime takes out his phone.

He’s looked up her pen name before. Brienne Blue. He’s read several of her articles as they’ve popped up in his feed. But he’s never looked up her real name before.

It doesn’t get him much. She hasn’t got a Facebook account, or Twitter, or even an Insta, unless she has another pseudonym. She’s a ghost. There’s a professional profile for her nom-de-plume that has clearly not been updated since the last presidency. He’ll never reach her there.

The one thing it does get him is a link to a Youtube video. Her name isn’t anywhere in the title or description, but it’s mentioned in the referring page. Hey Ron, remember Brienne Tarth? Brienne the Beast? Check this out XD

His stomach drops when he sees the title of the video. “Pull the Pig #18: Dogface Gets Lucky!” He hopes, with a faint and shaky vestige of optimism, that the video isn’t what it sounds like, or at the very least isn’t about Brienne.

Jaime watches the video.

He reads the comments.

He stabs the Report Video button, and frowns at his phone when this does not immediately whisk the video away. He pulls up the contacts list and presses the first name. He leans back in the plush leather seat and drums his fingers against the armrest agitatedly while it rings.

“Tyrion. I’m back. Hey, how do you get a video off the internet?”

A groggy voice emits from the phone. “You don’t. Where are you?”

“In a car, on the way back from the airport.” The muffled lights against the darkened windows remind him suddenly that it’s the middle of the night. “Oh sorry, is it late here?”

“For normal people, it’s early.” A yawn. 

Jaime glances up at the driver, who doesn’t meet his eyes in the rearview. As usual, he is doing his best impression of a deafmute. “Real quick, help me out. I need to make this video go away. I hit the YouTube report abuse function, but…”

“That doesn’t do anything. YouTube? If it’s on YouTube it’s probably on Vimeo and Facebook and gods know where else. How bad is it? Tell me it’s not Bran Stark bad.”

“It’s not me.” Suddenly, Jaime doesn’t want to tell his brother too much. “It’s this girl I know, she’s in this prank video and now she doesn’t ever leave her apartment or talk to people and I want to make it go away.”

“Sorry Jaime, once something’s on the Net it’s out there forever. You can pull it down in one spot and it shows up in 4 more. Is it revenge porn?”

“No, it’s a prank. But they got her top off. Video blurred it some, but you can still see just about everything.”

“That’s revenge porn. You can sue for that. Tell her to sue. I’m going back to bed.”

“No, it’s more like - it’s a joke, they’ll say it’s a joke. There’s one of those crying-laughing emojis over it, like ha-ha, this girl thought I wanted to bone her and now she’s got her clothes off and my friends are all here and we’re having a laugh.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve seen those. They’re funny.”

Jaime grabs the bridge of his nose. Tyrion’s taste in internet videos is something he has tried not to learn too much about. “This one isn’t. I want it gone.”

“Send it over, I’ll see what I can do in the morning.”

He has a sudden vision of Brienne glaring at him fiercely. “I’m not sending you the link.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not explaining to this girl why I’m spreading her traumatic video around even more.“

"Well, I can send some cease-and-desist letters on scary company stationary to the usual platforms, if it’s somehow work related.”

Jaime replies without hesitation. “It is.” He wouldn’t be getting much work done for Lannister Corp if he’d bled out on the floor that day, and she stopped the bleeding. That’s related enough. 

He hangs up. Leans his head back and tries to go to sleep. He keeps seeing the look of horror on Brienne’s face, captured on the internet for all time. Hearing those idiots sniggering and holding up her shirt while the poor girl’s locked herself in the bathroom. The video’s dated five years ago. She would have been, what, nineteen? Still a kid.

No wonder she said she didn’t trust men. No wonder she thought he was making fun of her when he tried to flirt. No wonder everything. 

And now, he realizes abruptly, he’s watched it too. He’ll have to explain that to her somehow. Somehow he doubts the prickly, defensive girl who never even told him her name is going to accept “I was only looking so I could report it” as a good answer.


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the more I consider immortality and the Old Guard as a metaphor for academia the more I know I have to write a proper academia AU someday. Nicky and Joe are those assholes who have permanent positions less than five years out of their PhDs AND have solved the two-body problem, and everybody both admires them (because they deserve it, they’re sweethearts) and resents them for it. Andy wants to get out even though she has a permanent job, but doesn’t know any other life. Booker is the eternal postdoc, too tired to even contemplate the possibility of a long-term position. I have never seen a character who exudes more postdoc energy. Lykon quit for industry right after his PhD and honestly? good life choice. Quỳnh is stuck overseas because her contract keeps getting renewed and, well, it’s a job. One day she and Andy are gonna solve the two-body problem. One day.  

Nile is a PhD student who didn’t realise what she was signing up for and wants to leave, but Andy keeps persuading her that there can be good things here, and Nicky and Joe want to fix academia, and maybe she can save these guys from themselves…? hope springs eternal! 

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I had a conversation with @stronglyobsessed​ (who doesn’t even go here!) this morning and this happened during a boring meeting.

warnings for violence and temporary death

It’s torture for everyone involved.

Plain and simple.

Joe forces himself up on all fours, but his hand slips in the dark pool of blood and he falls down again. Nicky winces where he stands just a few feet away, but other than that he doesn’t move. 

Andy has her head turned, not watching any of it anymore. Her knuckles are white white and her nails are digging deep into her palms.

“Get up,” says Quynh, her voice even, and Joe does another attempt to obey. 

He gets on his feet, takes a deep breath which clearly hurts, but he keeps quiet. It’s been going on for almost two hours. Quynh has alternated between killing Joe and Nicky with the other one and Andy just watching, for two hours

And they let her.

Again and again.

Because they left her in the ocean, all of them. 

And she can’t kill Andy.

Or she can, but only once, and even though Andy doesn’t mind, Joe and Nicky do.

So Joe gets up, covered in his own and Nicky’s blood, as he slowly heals, as the pain subsides. He looks at Nicky who grimly nods before he meets Quynh’s eyes.

He’s ready.

She slits his throat.

Nicky holds his breath until Joe gasps for air.

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I got tagged by @cluelessheroes and @heisallandheismore; ty both!! 🌻

Rules: Post the last line you wrote (from any WIP) and tag the same number of people as there are words.

Since I got tagged twice, here’s one from two different wips.

There’s blood on his hands.

“[…] He’s a strange kid, Regina.”

I don’t think I know of 5 people who write and who haven’t been tagged already, so if you see this and you want to do it, please just say I tagged you (and @ me! I want to see!).

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Princes au - part 4 - Riptide - (read part 1; part 2; part 3)

[[[Note: tell me if the way I wrote the texts is easy to understand, it’s always back and forth so it should work.]]]

Yusuf wakes up in Paris, in Lu’s flat, in Nicky’s bed. He’s supposed to be in Belgium. He is aware that he’s alone in the bed. For a moment, though, the fog of the early morning still in his brain, he indulges in what would have happened if Nicky had chosen to sleep beside him. Just the thought of waking up in close proximity to Nicky, maybe close enough to feel his skin warm from sleep under his hands, is enough to shake him awake completely. He should have stayed in Belgium. Why did he answer Lu’s text?

Because it was Nicky’s birthday.

Because a month before it was Nicky’s birthday and Yusuf spent that day of spring with the thought of Nicky in the back of his mind, It’s his birthday, you should call him. Because in the end, he hadn’t texted Nicky, even if he could have asked Lu for her brother’s number. Nicky’s birthday had come and gone, like any other day, and Yusuf had wished that things were different.

He finds his clothes folded near his bed, any trace of rain is gone. He knows his shoes are ruined, sitting on the windowsill where Nicky left them, but before he can panic and wonder if he’ll have to call Jack and ask him to buy him a pair of new shoes —maybe he’ll go back to Belgium barefoot, to show remorse for his actions—, he finds a pair of black converse that look almost new. There’s a note on top of them.

If you wake up before me (I know you have to leave soon): these are mine, but they should fit? They’re basically new so I hope it’s not too weird/gross for you.


P.S. Thank you for yesterday.”

The fact that Nicky bothered to sign the note, write a post scriptum and use proper punctuation at three at night makes Yusuf smile. He shouldn’t give himself the time to find more things to like about Nicky. It’s not the right strategy, Andy would say.

Nicky was right. The shoes fit —they’re basically the same height now— and Yusuf opens the door, careful not to make noises, dressed and ready to go. He texted Jack and the man, always a Godsend, is waiting for him outside. He is not surprised to find Lu’s bedroom door closed, even if he’s not sure what to make of Booker’s shoes, left on the soft carpet in front of the door, mixed with Lu’s high heels. It’s a peculiar image, the composition —white high heels, worn leather boots, soft early morning light, warm colours for the carpet— strikes him.

Then Yusuf raises his eyes and sees Nicky.

Nicolò is sleeping on the old blue sofa, his face smushed in a white pillow, mouth open. Nicolò covered Yusuf with a blanket, yet he slept without one, wearing a soft grey t-shit and basketball shorts. He fell asleep holding his phone, and on the ground there’s the grey tie Yusuf helped him wear for the dinner. He is also snoring, which makes Yusuf smile. Again, he needs to get out of the flat before he learns too much of the everyday Nicky he never had the chance to know.

He leaves Paris thinking that it’s better this way, that it’s safer being kilometres away from the image of Nicolò under the rain, from Nicolò saying: ‘‘Not Booker, never”. He keeps the note though, in the small pocket at the end of his notebook. And he asks Lu for Nicky’s number.

Keep reading

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The Last One (pt 1)

  • (TW: angst/death/loss of immortality/brief self inflicted injury)

It doesn’t happen in battle.

At least, not the normal kind of battle. Nicky and Nile are play-wrestling over control of the holoprompter when it happens. Nile emerges victorious, swapping into a rerun of an adaptation of a play written in 2350; Nicky goes backwards over the K-9 unit and into the kitchen table. The robodog barks an apology and earns a conciliatory pat from Nicky; then, they all settle in to watch Nile’s pick, Nicky only slightly grumbling in mutiny as Booker laughs from his seat.

That night, when Nicky pulls off his shirt (still grey, still loose, classic and made of organic material) to climb into bed, Joe sees it: a bruise the size of his hand, under Nicky’s scapula.

“Nicoló?” Joe asks, hand lifted as though to press into the bruise. The hand hesitates; Nicky doesn’t respond. Joe realizes it’s because his throat was too dry to allow the word to materialize. He tries again. Swallows. Touches his beloved’s back beneath the bruise while Nicky sits on the edge of the bed. “Nicolò. What is this?”

His voice is still weak. His spirit is too when Nicky’s broad shoulders slump. “I had hoped I was imagining the pain,” he murmurs quietly. He presses back into Joe’s palm and sighs. “How bad is it?”

It’s a normal bruise — but that’s the problem. It’s a bruise. Blue, spotted with purple, ragged-edged. There.

Joe opens his mouth to reassure him, but all that comes out is a sob.

Nicky spends the rest of the night holding him, except for the moment when Joe grabs a small blade and presses it into his thumb. It heals immediately. Joes heart shatters all the way, and they hold each other until dawn, Nicoló murmuring apologies that lack any kind of actual responsibility, but Yusuf treasures all the same because Nicoló’s voice has suddenly become an even more precious commodity.

(Pt 1/?)

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Just saw a picture of fetus Robert Sean Leonard in Dead Poets Society, smiling so sweetly with impossibly more of a babyface than he already had 15 years ago, and I literally cannot stop thinking of baby James Evan Wilson in this prestigious fucking boarding school and there’s this boy with bright blue eyes and a tongue like a razor who got sent there because his father was fed up with him (because his mother saw the belt bruises, because she saw the blue-purple tint to his wet skin after those hours in the garage, because she got tired of finding the yard door locked on winter nights and an empty bed that belonged to her son, because she realized she could see his ribs even under a shirt, because she couldn’t do anything else but send him away -let me pretend for a moment that the mother he loves cared about him), who speaks too many languages and knows too many obscure things and makes a point of very loudly hating everyone. His uniform is never proper, his insults always hit too hard, he’s too brilliant to be liked even if he wasn’t such an asshole. James watches him on the racetrack, graceful like a greyhound, watches him climb down the trellis of his window wall at night and escape, finds out what he does in secret is play piano, of all things. And then this new teacher comes and bit by bit James has his own secret too, one that has nothing to do with ice-blue gazes and sharp words behind kissable lips, this time. He expects the boy to mock his passion as relentlessly as he does everything else, but for once he says nothing.

And not too much later the boy is climbing his trellis, up into his room this time instead of away from his own, and the kiss is lingering and warm and everything neither of them ever had, and he leaves behind a music sheet -“Puck”, for piano solo, by G. House, age 17; now James has three secrets and a hummingbird for a heart.

He lets him listen, after he starts sneaking out for rehearsals, after he gets the part. He doesn’t look at him, those glacier eyes deeper-colored and distant, hands flying over ivory like there is nothing else in the world, but he lets James be there, with him, and he knows how much that means, and he’s never been so beautiful. He still has a tongue like a shard of glass, but inside James’s mouth it’s warm and yielding and careful, and sometimes he will mock how stupidly perfect his hair is because he can’t stop wanting to touch it, and sometimes, apropos of nothing, he will mention that he used to consume his weight in lollipops, but now he’s practically addicted to chocolates, and James never thought his own eyes were special, even less when he looks into the sapphires G-d encrusted on Greg’s sockets, but the tilt of his head, the quirk of his mouth, the direction of his gaze when he says that, time and again, sometimes in earshot of everyone, makes him change his mind.

They kiss again, and again, because they just can’t not, especially after Greg plays, after James steps down from a stage, either or both euphoric and high on adrenaline and endorphins, and Greg indeed cannot keep his hands away from James’s hair, and he does indeed taste of chocolate mixed with nicotine, and he says that James has girl eyelashes, girl lips, girl skin, and then, hushed, private, girl things aren’t supposed to be bad, even if he thinks otherwise, even if he hurts him for it. James doesn’t ask who “he” is, doesn’t need to, and says that he must have a girl heart too, then, and kisses the smile from Greg’s face but it’s etched forever in that blue.

They have one night, just one. James premiered as Puck, and Greg took him away to Lord knows where and finally played that piece, the one from so many months ago -from memory, because James has the paper tucked into his breast pocket, into every breast pocket he’s wearing at that moment. The carpeted floor is plush and soft when they lay down on it and Greg’s body is longer than his, his hands larger but his fingers so delicate, in every sense of the word, his cutting mouth gone gentle and searing and soft. James doesn’t mind that he’s not Greg’s first. He minds that Greg is his first, because it’s what he wanted and what matters, because Greg touches him both like he knows what to do and like there’s never been anyone else, like James is made of silk and glass (there have been, yes. None that mattered. None that will ever matter like this again) and James was wrong, so wrong, about having seen that steel blue focused before. The way he looks at him now, there might as well be nothing else and no one else in the whole expanse of the universe; they’re wide and tinged dark and so intent he feels cut open and bared, his soul a raw red thing for him to see, and he doesn’t care. That’s how he wants it. To be devoured whole, suffocated in blue and piano notes that had his name from the first day. And Greg, as much as he gives, is greedy; he can see it, the blood-glass soul, and wants it, wants to take it, to tuck it in his chest and keep it warming his own blackened one. He gives to James’s body instead, and takes as much of that palpitating life-warmth as he can in return, and neither of them say three words, eight letters, because there’s no need, because they know.

They come back at daybreak, and two days later, somehow, both of their fathers know, someone told them. They only know, thank G-d, about music and theatre and breaking the rules; of what regards to them, of just kisses (they were never “just”. Neither of them will understand this for as long as they live). They both get pulled from the school, both sent elsewhere. James home, for the time being, Greg to his father’s current post in Japan.

James has bruises on his face and arms and copper has replaced the chocolate and cigarettes on his teeth and tongue when he puts the barrel of the gun to his temple, sparing a thought for how Greg must be even worse for wear. He hasn’t gone into medicine yet, despite his father’s forceful orders; he doesn’t know how to shoot better, how often the temple fails.

He wakes up from the coma and goes back to studying. He chooses McGill, as far from this place as he can manage, the foreign language mix and vast outdoors soothing to him, but he doesn’t join the theatre club there, and he hides the round dime-sized scar with the part of his hair. He martyrs himself and goes into oncology, hearing the last scoff from his father about his useless specialty over a long phone line. He gets married, and it’s a mistake, and he always knew it, but little rebellions or no, now he is what his father wanted. What he demanded.

It’s been a decade. He closes his eyes and sees it, the glitter from his cheeks getting everywhere, the pretend-insult of how good he looks with painted eyes, hands on his hair and everywhere on his skin. He knows -has known always- that it branded him forever, that it’s burnt into his skin as deep as the marrow of his bones and it can’t be erased. (He’s tried. He’s tried so much, with so many. Always girls, because he isn’t supposed to want what he wants. He gives and gives, and gains a reputation, and feels nothing except for the futility of it.) He sees it, has every day for ten years. He doesn’t understand why that stupid manila folder hurts so much when he never wanted the marriage in the first place. Perhaps because of how Sam bled him dry, used his neck for a stool to reach what she wanted, and now that she has it, she’s discarding him, like he’s nothing. (He was only ever something to one person, he thinks.)

A stupid song won’t stop repeating, his every last already frayed nerve snaps, and the antique mirror shatters before he can register he’s been the one to throw the glass. He clutches the folder in his hands, in the holding cell, still unopened, and doesn’t need to ask himself where it all went wrong.

But then, how many times did he hear his rabbi say that the Lord takes care of His people? He’s not particularly religious, never has been, but this, this feels like a miracle the size of the one that kept oil burning for eight nights, of the one that split the sea wide open.

Because New Orleans couldn’t be more different from Welton, but the laughing, teasing lilt to that voice, the flutter to those hands, the quirk to those lips, the blue blue blue blue of those irises, those haven’t changed at all. And the greatest miracle yet -what hasn’t stopped burning in his heart for all this time, with oil for only one night, is alive and alight still in him too.

They go to the hotel, which of theirs he doesn’t remember and it doesn’t matter, and when Dr Greg House kisses him again, unsure and halting at first, it feels both like crossing the greatest bridge ever built and like not enough time has passed for him to completely wipe the glitter off his cheekbones all at once. They make love like they intend to devour each other whole, like they couldn’t and now will every chance they get, and the world and time don’t exist inside these four walls as they while the conference away like this.

(There’s no Bonnie, no Julie, no Stacy. No more nurses and no patients. Greg has an offer in Princeton, and James goes with him. The first time was a mistake, but the second time around James stands under the white chuppah, blue eyes that never stopped looking at him like that bore into his, and everything’s right with the world).

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what i want is to be with you

fandom: the wayhaven chronicles

pairing: mason/nb detective (Billie Vale)

rating: E

warnings: this has some Adult Time, so minors please do not click

word count: ~4.5k

summary: The detective and Mason dance, and they talk about stars.

This was unbearable.

Every step felt like a mistake, likely because it was; Mason was seriously regretting not paying more attention when Nat was trying to teach him the steps. He couldn’t stop staring at his feet, which Nat had said was “improper” and “unacceptable”, but how else was he supposed to keep from stepping on Billie’s foot again? He grunted for what felt like the hundredth time as he abruptly shifted his foot at the last second to narrowly avoid yet another mishap, scowling all the while.

On top of that, the ballroom was too large for his liking, filled with too many people; the light was too bright, crystals dangling from the chandeliers, refracting to and from every angle and leaving no spot unlit; waiters kept walking by with trays of little finger foods that, despite their size, managed to assault his sense of smell with every pass; the suit the Agency had provided was scratching at his skin whenever he so much as thought about moving; and none of these assholes seemed to ever shut the hell up. He was learning way more about the business dealings and personal dramas of smarmy rich people than he ever wanted to know. And it was keeping him from focusing on these steps that he shouldn’t be struggling with so much, goddammit — 

“You’re doing pretty well, y'know.”

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