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#tw ptsd
nonstoptrashpanda · 7 hours ago
You Locked Yourself in the Bathroom
fandom: walker
series: Hold On, I Still Need You
part: 1/4
tw: suicide attempt, ptsd, panic attacks, mildly graffic war flashbacks
set: pre-season 1 - one month after cordell’s exit from the marine corps
category: gen
word count: 8,430
the joy and the chaos // the demons we're made of // I'd be so lost if you left me alone // you locked yourself in the bathroom // lying on the floor when I break through // I pull you in and feel your heartbeat // can you hear me screaming please don't leave me
Cordell made it out of Iraq, but he can't get Iraq out of his head. He'd rather bite the bullet himself than let the person he loves most get caught in the crossfire.
notes: I had the idea for this series at the beginning of the last hiatus, but it took me a hot minute to actually get this first part done. A million thanks to @trekkiehood for all of her help. From spending an hour in the middle of the night helping me figure out a timeline, to requesting what ended up being one of my favorite scenes, to reading and giving me feedback as I went, she’s definitely the only reason this is being published when and as it is.
“Cordell has never been like this. Why… why all of a sudden?”
“Abby, he did two tours in three years. Just because he doesn’t talk about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
“But what happened? What isn’t he telling us? Hoyt?”
A hesitation, then a sigh. “Even if I felt right about tellin’ ya, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
The conversation continued, but Cordell pressed his eyes closed and desperately tried to drown it out.
The events of the past several hours were already making a terrible loop inside his head. His family’s two cents on it really wasn’t helping.
“What happened over there, happened over there,” Hoyt was saying now. “It’s what happened today that we need to focus on. Emma Grace, ya think you can fill us in a little?”
He didn’t have to see to know Hoyt was rubbing Emily’s shoulders in an attempt to comfort her.
The reminder of the devastated state she was currently in made Cordell sick to his stomach.
Emily’s sigh was tremblingly amused. “Hoyt, my name is not…”
“It is now, Darlin.”
She sighed again, but without the amusement. In his mind’s eye, Cordell could see her leaning on Hoyt’s shoulder, using all of her strength to piece together the nightmare that had been that night.
“Something was wrong when he got home from turning in his police application, but he wouldn’t tell me what.”
“You okay, Babe?”
Cordell looked up from his plate, forcing himself to meet the concerned eyes of his bride and fabricating a smile.
“I’m fine, Hon. Great, actually. How could I not be with a vision like you in front of me?”
She smiled softly at the compliment, but didn’t allow it to distract her. “You’ve barely touched your food.”
He looked back down, eyes finding a chicken and potato meal with maybe five bites missing. “Have I? Just got lost in thought, I guess.”
“ Cordell ,” she sighed. “Babe. Level with me. Something’s on your mind, and I wanna know.”
“It’s just the application.” Maybe if he gave her some kind of an answer, she’d be satisfied. “I really wanna get this right.”
Upon getting out of the Marines, he’d been on paid leave for a month and a half. He’d used the time to first finally marry Emily, and then to attempt to get used to civilian and married life at the same time.
But as that period drew to a close, he’d finally pursued the job he’d had his heart set on ever since he decided not to reenlist.
And in reality, he wasn’t really lying when he said that was what was bothering him.
“So, what did you find out?” she pressed.
He forced a bite down his throat before answering. “Just about what I expected. I got the initial app filled out and turned in. If they like what they see, they’ll run a background check, bring me in for physical and psych exams and then hopefully, I’ll go to academy.”
And it was almost what he’d expected. He’d been eager and prepared for every part except the psych evaluation.
He didn’t know why he hadn’t seen it coming. It made sense. He’d had to undergo one upon enlisting and had passed with no problems. But the emphasis there was that it had been before he enlisted. He’d gotten so caught up in getting out and the wedding and moving and the fact that his military background made him a perfect police candidate that he’d forgotten to consider the possibility of being subjected to another… and the reality that his mind had been forever changed by his time overseas.
Emily wasn’t allowing herself to be put off by surface-level answers. “So what’s the catch?” she asked. “What has you all in your head?”
When he’d turned in his application, he’d been given a list of what the next steps would be, and the reality of the psych evaluation had hit him like a ton of bricks. The rest of his afternoon had been spent researching the specifics of it. Three dozen horror stories from other veterans later, he’d had good reason to truly freak out.
“Nothing!” he insisted. “Seriously, Em, I’m fine.”
“Staring into oblivion, picking at your food, dodging all my questions,” she countered, “It’s all a very convincing picture of alright.”
He speared a bite of chicken and shoved it into his mouth, saying through it, “Look, I’m eating! Alright? Better?”
She was frowning, her brown eyes sad and concerned. “Is this about the nightmares you’ve been having?”
He looked away for a moment before forcing his gaze back to hers. He could feel his face twitch a little. “What nightmares? I haven’t been having nightmares.”
Emily exhaled heavily. “Cordell, we sleep in the same bed now, remember? I’m there, I know.”
“I must just be a restless sleeper,” he replied, shrugging a little. “Because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“A restless sleeper?” she repeated, a little incredulously. “You’re just a restless sleeper when you fly upright at three am sweating and hyperventilating, and then you run to the bathroom and I hear the water run, and then you come back a few minutes later and I pretend like I’m asleep because you always seem so guilty and worried and I don’t want you to feel bad for waking me up?”
And he’d actually thought he was getting away with it.
He furrowed his brow and tilted his head a little, once again feeling the muscles in his face twitching. “Babe, the only thing I do at three o’clock in the morning is get up and pee.”
At the root of her emotion, his wife was still very clearly worried. But Emily Walker did not like being lied to, and that was all he’d been doing for their entire conversation.
“I pushed, and I pushed,” Emily recounted with that heartbreaking tremble in her voice, “but he just… kept brushing it off. I asked about his nightmares, I even mentioned Iraq by name.”
“Cordell, I’m not stupid,” she told him plainly. “And I just want to help. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through over in Iraq. I know that. But I’ll never understand if you refuse to talk to me about it.”
“That’s when he completely shut down the conversation and said we needed to go out.”
They were suddenly in very, very dangerous territory, and he was quickly running out of the words and energy it took to lie to the person he loved most in the world.
“Babe, for the last time,” he groaned. “I am fine. I’m better than fine!” He got to his feet and walked around the table to hold out his hand to her. “Let’s go out. We have to prove to Hoyt and Geri that getting married doesn’t make you forget how to have fun.”
“Cordell -” she started to argue, but he cut her off, grabbing her hand and pulling her to her feet.
“Hey, you said you wanted to help, right? Well, an evening at the Side Step with you is all the help I need.”
For a while, he’d believed his own words. Convinced himself that he just needed to relax, wait it out, push on through, and everything would be just fine. The PD hired veterans all the time. He couldn’t be the only one with a mind like he had. Every other thing he’d carried with him out of the military would put him at the top of the recruit list. Things would blow over and everything would be fine.
“So, we did go out.” She was no doubt looking up at Hoyt for his confirmation of the fact.
He did just that. “Something was wrong for sure. Another group made a little too much noise a little too suddenly and we both ended up hiding behind our chairs. Then he kinda… fell apart. But he said he didn’t wanna talk about it.”
There was a relatively rowdy party taking up one corner of the Side Step. They weren’t causing any trouble… just getting increasingly loud and rambunctious as they continued to call more drinks to their table.
Cordell was nursing a beer at the bar beside Hoyt while Emily was on the other side with Geri and the bar’s owner, undeniably fond of both her top bartender and her best friend, as they taught Emily the ropes of mixology.
They weren’t really talking. They didn’t have to. Sometimes, Cordell just needed to sit beside his best friend and know they’d just gotten back from the exact same hell.
The sudden clash of glass and plastic and wood in the corner of the room had them both on their feet in an instant, turning towards the sound at the same time they backed away from it. Knees bent under them out of instinct and made their bar stools barriers between them and what their minds were in the moment convinced was imminent danger.
A second passed, and reality seeped back over memory. Their eyes found that corner party. An arm wrestling match was going on between two members. The noise had been them shoving all of their bottles and glasses to the side of the table and against the wall to make room for the competition.
Two heavy, tired sighs passed two sets of lips, two heads dropped momentarily against the stools they were hiding behind.
But as his friend pulled himself upright and sat down once more with a certain exhausted resignation to the fact that these things just happened, Cordell felt a sudden rush of tears biting at his eyes.
He was never going to pass that test. They were going to label him every bit as crazy as he was and send him packing before he’d ever had a chance. He was useless. He hadn’t been able to handle the idea of reupping and facing another tour, but now that he was out, he couldn’t escape the two he’d already been on. He couldn’t move past it. He was a prisoner in his own mind, and it was destroying every hope he’d had for his coming life.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and realized he was still on the ground.
“Cordi, hey, hey, you’re okay,” Hoyt was down again too, pushing the bar stool aside so he could crouch in front of his friend. “We’re at the Side Step. Everything’s fine.”
Cordell shook his head a little, swiping angrily at the tears on his face. “No, I know. I know… I just.” He took a deep, shaky breath. “I just hate that I still do that.”
His best friend offered him a smile that was understanding, but more sad than happy, as he pulled him to his feet. “We haven’t been back that long. I’m sure it’ll get better.”
“I need it to be better now!” Cordell ran a hand down his face hard, inwardly cursing himself for the outburst. “I’m sorry. I just… I don’t know.”
“Hey, it’s okay. I get it, Cordi.” Hoyt looked at him for a long moment before compassion flooded his face. “Alright.”
He pulled him into a hug, and Cordell didn’t have it in him to do anything but return it and let his face drop onto the other man’s shoulder.
“Rough day?” Hoyt asked after a moment.
Cordell swallowed hard against a second rush of tears and nodded into his shoulder.
“You wanna talk about it?”
This time, he shook his head.
“You wanna take some shots?”
Cordell hesitated before nodding again. Anything that got him buzzed and out of the personal hell that was his mind.
“Alright.” Hoyt finally pulled back, though he kept both hands on Cordell’s shoulders. “Then let’s take some shots.”
“We didn’t get slammed or anything,” Emily continued. “I mean, I wasn’t even drunk. He was, but not bad. I drove us home and we were in bed by twelve-thirty.”
There was a long moment of silence.
“You’re doin’ great, Sweetheart.”
Hoyt would be rubbing Emily’s shoulder again, she’d be reaching up to squeeze his hand as a silent way of saying thank you.
“Sometime close to four in the morning,” she continued at last, “he woke up from a nightmare. He usually does. But this one was… different. Usually, it seems like he immediately knows where he is after he wakes up. Comes out of it to a point. But this time, he just sat there gasping. I… I was scared. It was so shallow. I thought he was going to stop breathing for real. So I put my hand on his arm to try to talk to him. Which… I know was stupid.”
His wife shouldn’t have to think like that. She shouldn’t have to consider whether it was a good idea to touch her husband in the middle of the night.
“He didn’t even hit me.”
She was beginning to cry again. He hated himself. Oh, how he hated himself.
“Just shoved me off in a panic. It didn’t hurt. It just surprised me. Scared me a little, I guess. I mean, Cordell… he’s never… so I… I think I gasped and flinched away. And then it’s like he woke up for real. And he… I’ve never seen him look so broken.”
One minute, he was watching his battle buddies die in front of him, trying to run to them, but his legs wouldn’t work. Trying to scream, but it was like there was cotton in his mouth and he couldn’t even breathe.
Then, someone was grabbing his arm. He was shoving them off, raising his gun.
And looking into the terrified eyes of his wife.
He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Her face seemed to flicker in the darkness, one minute an enemy with a grenade in hand and the next his bride again, shrinking away from him.
He blinked hard in an attempt to make it stop. An explosion flashed behind his lids.
“Cordell?” That was Emily’s voice, scared and worried at the same time.
He tried to speak, but all that came out was a slight, strangled croak. He sucked in a sharp breath. Why did the air seem so thin all of a sudden?
“Maybe he wasn’t really awake?” Emily sounded so helpless and confused. “He was looking right at me, but sometimes it was like I… like I wasn’t what he was looking at. He tried to talk, but he… he was barely breathing and he couldn’t. I shouldn’t have tried to touch him again, but he just… he looked so scared and I thought… but he pushed me away again. Then he looked so scared and sorry that he’d done it. I think he tried to apologize, but he still… he still couldn’t talk.”
“Cordell?” she repeated, reaching out and laying a hand on his shoulder.
He shoved her off again, harder than he meant to. She shuddered away, back pressed against the wall behind them, even more fear in her eyes.
I don’t want to hurt you , was what he willed off his tongue.
“I…” was all he could choke out before he ran out of oxygen.
“Then it’s like I wasn’t there again, but someone else was. And he panicked. Jerked back so hard he fell off the bed. He got tangled in the blankets, I think, and really just… he was thrashing and hyperventilating, and… I… He was just so terrified. I’ve never… I’ve never seen him so scared.”
She wasn’t supposed to have to see him scared. He was supposed to protect her. He was supposed to stay there next to her and be strong and be anything but a pathetic, quivering mess, bowed before things that lived only in his mind.
Her hand, retracted sharply when he’d pushed her away, was balled around her shirt sleeve, wrapped around her body.
A woman was running towards them with her head down and her arms wrapped around herself. Cordell started to retract his gun only to catch a glimpse of something on her back as someone behind him screamed, “Bomb!”
He reeled away from her so sharply that he fell off the side of the bed. His head slammed into the wall, his arm caught on the corner of the nightstand. The pain almost felt good.
But the blankets had come with him, and a second later he was kicking and gasping in sharp, ragged breaths, desperately trying to free himself from the linen tangled around him.
He didn’t know whose body had landed on top of him or what side they were on, but he knew instinctively that they were dead. Blind panic took over as he desperately tried to shove it off, a limp arm swinging down across his face, two lifeless legs bound by gravity to the ground on either side of him.
“After he got untangled, he just… bolted. I… I don’t know if he was running from me or something in his head.”
He was crazy. That sentence literally defined him as crazy.
He finally got the body off of him and ran, blind through the smoke and debris and sand, towards the sound of Hoyt screaming for him.
He found himself staring at his own haunted expression in the bathroom mirror. At least this was familiar. He stood here looking at his own blood-shot eyes at least once a night. He didn’t remember the last time he hadn’t.
He reached out to turn on the water, but his hand was shaking so much that it knocked into a little dish beside the sink, one Emily kept earring backs in. Ceramic plate loudly met ceramic sink and made him flinch before the little tray came to rest over the drain, the earring backs it had held collecting along its edge. As the water rushed out of the faucet, it began to fill the sink bowl, but Cordell didn’t think his hands had it in them to pick it up so it could drain.
He cupped them together to collect water to splash on his face, but they were shaking too much for that, too.
His fists clenched in frustration, his head dropped to his chest, and his eyes squeezed shut against a rush of tears.
A car alarm went off somewhere in the neighborhood. Fire and debri flashed behind his eyelids, and his upper body dropped in blind panic. His face met water before he realized he’d ducked straight into the fiilling sink.
Eyes flashed open and he froze for a moment of not knowing where he was. But then, he knew.
He was in his bathroom, in the apartment he shared with Emily, his wife. Iraq was an ocean away. He was never going back.
He came up gasping for air, but still grounded in the present. His hands weren’t shaking anymore as he turned the water off.
He stared at his reflection for a moment, trying to grasp the reality of the last few minutes.
Why was everything so blurry?
He remembered the shadows of dreams and the memories they’d been replaying in his head. He remembered shoving his wife away in accidental panic. Was that all he’d done? What if he’d hit her?
Even if he hadn’t. The way he’d shoved her was unforgivable enough.
And what if he had?
Only freaks had to wonder if they’d hit their wives.
She didn’t deserve this. She’d fallen in love with a care-free high school student, and he hadn’t been honest enough with her for her to know that she was marrying a psychotic, broken shell of a man who was never going to be good for anything again.
He knew that even if he knew where he was now, he still wasn’t thinking straight. But he also knew that he hated no one more than a man who couldn’t remember whether he’d hit his beloved Emily.
He couldn’t live with himself being that man.
“Gun,” he muttered, barely audible.
He could fix this. He could destroy the thing he hated most.
“Gun… where did I… gun.”
His own whisper was just another confirmation that he was crazy. Useless, broken, and crazy.
In a state of just-back-from-Iraq paranoia, he’d hidden them everywhere. Under the sink in the kitchen. Top of the closet in the laundry room. Nightstand drawer in the bedroom. And the back of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
He stumbled two steps to stand in front of it and yanked the door open. His height allowed him to easily reach behind the cold medicine and Ibuprofen and bandaids until his hand closed around the cool surface of the Ruger.
He pulled it out and hesitated, staring at the weapon, for only a moment. He couldn’t talk himself out of it. He had to do this. For Emily.
“I heard the water running. I always do when he leaves after a nightmare. He usually comes back a minute later and goes to sleep again. So I thought I’d give him a minute. But then… I…”
He heard her choke on tears.
He hated himself. He hated himself more than he’d ever hated anything.
“I just had this terrible feeling. So I went to check on him. And I… he… he had a gun… pressed to his forehead. His… his finger was on the trigger and if I’d come even a moment later, I…”
She broke down sobbing.
Cordell dug his nails into his skin as hard as he could and dragged them across the length of his forearm.
He cocked the gun, clicked the safety off, pressed it to his temple, and closed his eyes. He could hear his own heartbeat, pounding in his head. He swallowed hard as he moved his finger to the trigger.
“No!” It was a strangled, desperate, terrified scream, and it was the scream of the person he loved most in the world.
He jerked the gun away from his head, eyes flying open and finger coming off of the trigger like it was on fire.
“I screamed,” she managed through tears. “And he looked up and saw me and dropped the gun on the counter. “He… he seemed afraid of me. Or maybe afraid of hurting me? Just… so afraid.”
His gaze locked with Emily’s. She was standing in the hallway, mouth open and eyes wide with pure fear.
What if she thought he was going to shoot her?
His hands started to shake again, but he somehow managed to click the safety back on before practically dropping the gun onto the counter in front of him.
“Cordell?” she whispered, taking a trembling step towards him.
He backed two away. “Em…” His voice came out strangled, and he once again swore there was no oxygen in the room.
Please stay away. I don’t want to hurt you.
“Please… I… I don’t… you…”
“Then he ran back to the bedroom and locked the door.” She sniffled and took a shaky breath, obviously trying to get a hold on her tears. “And that’s when I called you.”
“Babe, it’s… it’s okay. I’m okay. You’re okay. I love you. You’re okay.” But her shaking voice gave away the fact that she was still absolutely terrified.
She took another step towards him, hands held in front of her placatingly.
He shook his head desperately since the words wouldn’t come out. He didn’t know how to communicate to her that it wasn’t that he wanted to keep her away from him… it was that he wanted to keep himself away from her.
She was well inside the bathroom now. The door was clear. As she took another step closer, he bolted. He couldn’t let her get close enough for him to hurt her again.
She yelled his name, but he just sprinted back to the bedroom. This time, he was mindful of the door, closing and locking it as he heard her run after him.
She desperately tried the knob as he backed as far away from it and her as he could get.
“Cordell!” she sobbed through the wood. “Cordell, please! Please, open up! I love you! I can’t… you can’t… please!”
His legs gave out under him and he dropped to the carpet, finding his nightstand at his back. There was another gun in the drawer. He could finish all of this right now.
“Cordell!” Emily screamed again, more desperate with every passing second. “Please! Cordell!”
He pressed his eyes shut, but he couldn’t fight the tears this time, and his head dropped to his knees as he sobbed.
The house went silent except for the sound of both of them crying on opposite sides of the door. Then he heard the electronic sounds of buttons being pressed and remembered the phone they kept in the hall.
Would she call the police? No. No, no, no, no…
“Hoyt!” She could barely speak given how hard she was crying. “Hoyt, please, it’s Cordell. I… he had a nightmare, and then I walked in on him… he had a gun, and it was against his head, and I… I think he was… he was going to… to…” She couldn’t get it out. “And now he locked himself in the bedroom and I think there’s another gun in there and I don’t know what to do! I… I can’t… he can’t…”
A pause. This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening.
“Okay. Okay, please hurry!”
He would be on his way. He needed to do it before he got there.
“Cordell, Baby, Hoyt’s coming,” Emily cried through the door. “Please just don’t… don’t… I love you. I love you so much. Whatever’s going on, we’ll get through it together. Please.”
He wanted to respond, wanted to comfort her, but he still couldn’t form words. And he didn’t trust himself with her. Not to touch her, not to speak to her, not anything. That was why he just had to do it.
More tones from the phone.
Please , he silently begged her. Please don’t call the police.
“I’m so sorry, Abby, I know it’s late, but I… I just…”
No. No… his parents… no.
“Cordell, he… he had a nightmare, and then he almost shot himself, and now he’s locked himself in the bedroom and won’t come out. I think he has another gun in there. And Hoyt’s on his way, but I just… I just don’t know what to do. I can’t… I can’t lose him! I… I…”
Cordell’s attention was grabbed by a buzzing on the nightstand above him. He reached up and found his cell phone, vibrating with an incoming call. Hoyt’s name was displayed on the outer screen.
He shoved the little device away from him as his head dropped back to his knees with a new rush of tears, reaching back above him without lifting it again. A moment of fumbling finally opened the drawer, and a moment later his hand found the handgun inside.
Now he only raised his head enough to make room for the gun between it and his knees. He didn’t even look as he clicked off the safety and pressed the barrel to his forehead.
It was like his wife knew what was going on, because her voice carried to him once more.
“Baby, please. Please just hold on. You can’t leave me, Cordell. Please.”
And then to his mother on the phone once more.
“No, he didn’t say anything. I just… I’m just so scared.”
He pressed the gun harder into his skin and tried to drown out the conversation. He just had to pull the trigger. That was all. For Emily. He had to do this for Emily.
But her desperate, terrified pleading was in his head and wouldn’t leave.
How could he do something for her that she was literally begging him not to?
But how could he sentence her to a life lived beside the dangerous mess he’d become?
He didn’t move the gun, but he also didn’t put his finger on the trigger.
So he just sat there… gun pressed against his forehead, sobbing and listening to his wife cry on the other side of the door.
“Cordell, I love you so much. We’ll get through this. I promise you we’ll get through this.”
He didn’t know how long passed. Probably a few minutes. Hoyt didn’t live far, and he’d be speeding like he had hellhounds on his heels.
Finally, he heard footsteps running up the stairs. They stopped, Hoyt’s spare key clicked in the lock, and Cordell heard the door open.
It was now or never.
He put his finger on the trigger.
Those running footsteps came down the hall. His best friend’s voice carried to him. “Emily? Cordell?”
“Hoyt, thank God,” Emily sobbed. “Please. Please help him, please!”
A fist pounded against the bedroom door. “Cordi!” He didn’t know if he’d ever heard Hoyt sound so scared. If he had, it was only over there. “Cordi, you gotta open up, Buddy, you gotta let me in!”
All Cordell could think of was the terrified look in his wife’s eyes when he’d shoved her away from him.
He pulled the trigger.
Nothing happened.
“Stand back, Emily. I’m sorry about your door.”
He hadn’t cocked the gun.
He couldn’t even kill himself right.
With a splintering crack, the door flew back against the wall, dangerously coming to rest hanging off of one hinge.
He allowed the hand holding the gun to drop as he broke entirely, sobbing into his knees like a child. He heard Hoyt rush across the room, felt him kneel in front of him and take the gun away.
The safety clicked on, then the magazine slid open, then the ammunition inside pattered onto the carpet, then the gun itself thumped into the far wall as Hoyt slid it as far away from Cordell as he possibly could.
Then, two arms wrapped around him, pulling him to his feet just for their owner to support his entire weight because he had neither will nor strength to stand on his own.
Hoyt staggered back a single step so his back was against the wall and the structure could help him keep his six-foot-four friend upright. Cordell’s head dropped onto his shoulder as he continued to helplessly sob.
“You’re okay, Buddy,” Hoyt murmured softly, holding him a little tighter. “You’re okay.”
Cordell wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, until he could get a handle on the tears that were racking his entire body. When he finally had, Hoyt straightened off of the wall and gently set him back in a sitting position on the bed.
“Alright.” Hoyt laid a hand on his shoulder and bent so that he could stay in front of him and talk to him at eye-level. “Can you tell me what day it is?”
“I…” He brought a hand up to cover his eyes, squeezing until he saw colors behind their closed lids. “I don’t know.”
“Okay, that’s okay,” the other man replied steadily. “How about where we are? Do you know where we are?”
“At… at Emily and… and I’s apartment. In Austin.”
“Good. That’s right. That’s good.” Hoyt squeezed his shoulder a little. “Now what’s that?”
Cordell dropped his hand from his face so he could see what he was pointing at.
“Clock. It’s a… alarm clock.”
“You got it. And what about this?”
“And that over there?”
“It’s a… a lamp.”
“Good. Now what color is my shirt?”
Cordell blinked at it a few times. “Blue.”
“Now what day is it?”
It had been an impossible question a few seconds ago, but now it didn't seem so hard. “It’s Friday. Or… Saturday. What time is it?” He looked back at the clock. “Saturday. It’s Saturday.”
“You got it, Cordi. You got it.”
Hesitantly, Hoyt released him, slowly turning and sinking down on the bed beside him. “Okay.” He seemed to be talking more to himself than his friend. “We’re okay.”
“Cordell?” The whisper came from the door. He looked up, and his gaze locked with his wife’s.
He could feel his lips part a little, but he had absolutely no idea what to say.
She took a step forward, but he raised his hands a little as his eyes squeezed shut again. “Em, please. Please. I don’t… I don’t want to hurt you.”
He’d been trying to say it since he woke up, and now he finally had.
He forced his eyes open again to see her frozen where she was, a helpless and heartbroken expression on her face.
There was a moment of strained silence. It was broken by more footsteps outside, then a frantic knock.
Hoyt looked at Emily. “Did you call his parents?”
She nodded a little, her eyes still locked on her husband.
“Why don’t you go let ‘em in?” Hoyt prompted gently. “I’ll take care of Cordi, I promise. We’ll be out when he’s ready.”
Emily hesitated a moment, but finally nodded again and turned, disappearing out into the hallway.
Once she was gone, Hoyt looked back at Cordell, placing his hand on his shoulder once more. “You think you can tell me what happened?”
Cordell blinked a few times, his eyes locked on the carpet, before they squeezed shut yet again and he wordlessly shook his head.
He could feel his friend nod a little. “Not yet. Alright. You wanna go hug your momma?”
He shook his head again, more frantically this time.
Again, he felt Hoyt nod his understanding. There was a moment of silence before he asked, “You want a minute to yourself, or you want me to stay with you?”
He actually looked his friend in the face for the first time that night in response to the offer. “Can I… can I have a minute?”
It was asked as it was meant… he hadn’t thought that was an option, and he was looking for clarification that it really was.
Hoyt offered up the sliver of a sad smile. “Yeah. Yeah, Cordi, of course you can. Just…” He looked around until his eyes landed on the office across the hall. “Just follow me, alright?”
Cordell obediently trailed him into the smaller room, sinking into a chair as Hoyt quickly baby-proofed the area.
Every drawer was opened, and yet another handgun was quickly taken into the hall and completely disarmed as the one before it had been. Scissors, staples, and anything else even vaguely sharp or dangerous was dumped onto the bed in the other room.
He went over the whole room three times before he was finally satisfied.
When he was, he looked at Cordell and sighed a little. “Alright, Cordi. I’m gonna go talk to your folks. You yell if you need anything, you got it?”
And that was where he’d left him, to relive it all over again as Emily told the horrible story of the night.
“What’re we gonna do?” That was his mother’s voice. “Should we check him into a hospital?”
No. No, no, no, no they couldn’t do that, no.
“I don’t think Cordell needs to be in a mental hospital,” his father argued quickly, and Cordell felt a little relief wash over him.
“Bonham, he almost shot himself tonight! Twice!”
“I know that, Abeline, but…”
“If you ask Cordell, putting him in a hospital is about the worst thing we could possibly do to him,” Hoyt sighed. “Maybe he needs it and maybe he doesn’t, but if we do that, he’ll never trust us again.”
At least his best friend knew him well enough to know that.
“He mentioned that he had to pass a psych evaluation to go to academy,” Emily put in softly. “Forcing him into treatment could make him an automatic fail.”
“Suicide treatment?” Hoyt put in. “Yeah. They probably wouldn’t even consider him for another few years at least.”
Cordell dragged his nails across his arm again, right back over the smarting scratches he’d created the first time. He’d been so caught up in the fact that he was almost a sure fail already that he hadn’t even thought about the consequences if he didn’t get it done. Which he hadn’t.
“If he can’t keep his head on his shoulders, maybe that’s for the best,” his father sighed. The disappointment was heavy in his tone.
He hated himself so much.
“Cordell could be the finest cop you’ll know,” Hoyt stated, a little edge in his tone. “He just needs a little help coping. And he has the right to have a say in how he gets it.”
Even after everything that had happened that night, he’d still stick up for him to the end. Somehow, that almost made Cordell hate himself even more.
“And on that note,” his best friend went on before anyone could argue, “I’m gonna go see if he’s ready to talk.”
“I’m com…” Bonham started, but Hoyt cut him off.
“No. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Not yet. I promise I’ll bring him out as soon as he’s ready, but all of us coming in there and crowding him and pushing for answers isn’t going to help anyone.”
All Cordell could think about was how lucky he was that Emily had called Hoyt first.
Footsteps approached, then a light tap sounded on the door before Hoyt slowly eased it open. His eyes were compassionate as he regarded his friend.
“How we doin’, Cordi?”
Cordell sighed heavily, allowing his head to drop into his hands. “I don’t know.”
“Emily saved you from tellin’ the story,” Hoyt said as he crossed the room and sat down in the second desk chair. “But are ya up to tellin’ me what was going on up there?” He indicated his head.
“I don’t know, Hoyt.” He repeated, then hesitated, but his friend said nothing, waiting for him to go on. “I just… I forgot there was gonna be a psych test. And with the nightmares every night and the public triggers and…” He blinked back a sharp bout of tears. “And the way I feel right now, I just… I didn’t think I could pass it. And if I can’t become a cop, I just… I…” He blinked more water out of his eyes. “I just feel useless. Like I’m broken.” That part came out a whisper.
Hoyt was leaning forward, his hands on his knees and his eyes locked on his friend’s face, listening to and processing everything he was saying.
“So that’s what was wrong earlier, I guess,” he sighed. “And then I had this nightmare, but I didn’t… didn’t fully wake up. It’s fuzzy, but I… I would see Emily, and then I’d see… see something from over there. And when she tried to touch me, I just… pushed her away so hard. Harder than I… than I ever wanted to touch her. And when I finally got myself pulled out of it, I… I couldn’t remember everything. I knew I’d shoved her, but what if I did worse?”
His face contracted and his hand came back up to his eyes as he really started to cry all over again.
“If I ever hurt her, I… I couldn’t live with myself. And I didn’t know if I had. So I decided… I thought… it’d be better for both of us if I just…”
He shrugged helplessly.
“Emily said you dropped the gun as soon as she came in,” Hoyt prompted gently. “But then you picked another one up as soon as she wasn’t there.”
“I didn’t want her to think I was going to shoot her.”
Cordell didn’t know how his friend managed to respond in a way that didn’t make him feel absolutely insane.
“You had a few minutes alone while I was breaking every traffic law to get over here. I’m proud of you for not taking the shot, Cordi.”
Cordell wanted to just let him believe that, let him think that he was just a little stronger than he actually was, but something inside of him wouldn’t allow it. He shook his head a little, more tears freely sliding down his cheeks.
“No?” Hoyt asked, his brow creasing in confusion.
“I pulled the trigger,” he choked out, his voice barely audible. “ Right before you came in. I just… I forgot to cock it.”
Hoyt had taken everything he’d said in stride so far. That hit him hard. He processed it a moment, lips parted but nothing coming out, before finally swallowing hard, taking a deep breath, and trying again.
“Well.” He made a horrible attempt at a smile, blinking rapidly against sudden moisture in his eyes. “I guess your guardian angel worked some overtime tonight.”
There was another moment of silence before he spoke again.
“Cordi…” His voice was gentle. “You need some help.”
Cordell opened his mouth to argue, but his friend held up his hands to stop him.
“I’m not talkin’ a mental hospital. Just some counseling, alright? They don’t even have to know what happened tonight. I know how big a mark this would leave on your record for that psych test. I’m not trying to make it so you can’t pass. I’m trying to make it so you can.”
“But, I…” Cordell sucked in a breath, trying to keep his rising anxiety in check. “They… it… I shouldn’t need help.” The last part came out a whisper.
“Now, who told you that?” Hoyt asked, reaching out and placing a hand on his arm. “Cordi, there’s no shame in not knowing how to process through everything that happened over there. You lived through hell. It’s okay to admit that.”
“But you lived through it, too, Hoyt!” Cordell argued desperately. “And you don’t do this! What is wrong with me, that I need help and you don’t?”
“Hey, I may not have put a gun to my head tonight, but I haven’t been dealing with things so well either,” his friend sighed. “I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t buzzed or drunk or hungover. And it’s not about what’s wrong with you… nothing’s wrong with you. Our minds weren’t made for what we went through. They all react to it different.”
“And like I said, I haven’t been doing so great either,” Hoyt reiterated. “That’s why, if you want me to, I’ll go with you.”
Cordell froze, his eyes snapping up to his friend’s. “What?”
Hoyt just nodded a little. “We’ll find a group. I'm sure the VA can hook us up. It’s not even counseling. Just somewhere to go to learn some tools so this doesn’t happen again.”
“But…” He still couldn’t wrap his mind around the offer that had just been extended to him. “But why would you… You…”
“Because I don’t think I’ve ever been as scared as I was driving over here tonight,” Hoyt said softly. “Maybe in Iraq. Maybe. Because I would die for you without a second thought, so going to therapy for you’s an easy call. And because I’m sure it’ll do me good.”
Cordell shook his head slowly, unable to stop the tears that were still streaming down his face. “Hoyt, I… I don’t know.”
“We can talk about it later,” his friend stated. “For now, there’s some people out there who really need to hug ya and know you’re alright. Are you up to it yet?”
He wanted to say no, wanted to hide from them forever, bury himself in shame, but he nodded a little against his own will. “I… I think so.”
“Good man.” Hoyt got to his feet and offered him a hand up. He took it, and he was almost sure as he got his feet under him that he wouldn’t have had the strength to do it without the help.
With him somewhat steady, Hoyt’s hand moved to his shoulder instead and guided him from there, out of the office and down the hall.
Cordell’s head was hung low as he stepped into the living room. The mere thought of looking at any one of the three people waiting for him there was enough to make him wish he had that gun in his hand all over again.
They all got up as he entered the room. He glanced up for just long enough to see that it was Emily who stepped forward first, hesitant though she was.
“Cordell?” she asked softly. It was exactly how she'd greeted him several times that night, but this time the word was a request. She was asking him for permission to come closer.
He squeezed his eyes shut, jaw tight and head still hung low. “Hey, Em.”
His arms barely moved… just the slightest spread outwards… but the subtle invitation wasn’t lost on his wife. She crossed the room in just a few deliberate steps and wrapped him the tightest hug he’d ever been given.
He responded by gathering her up his arms, bending and smothering his face in her shoulder. “I’m sorry.” His voice came out hoarse and shaky. “I… I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay.” She was crying as well, squeezing him that much closer. “We’re okay.”
They held the embrace for several long moments before she finally stepped back, though not before leaning up to kiss the top of her husband’s bowed head.
“I love you.”
He swallowed hard, desperately trying to gain control of the water that was still sliding from his eyes. “I love you too. I love you so much.”
She pressed another kiss onto the back of his hand before stepping aside for real. Abilene was quick to replace her, rushing forward and throwing her arms around Cordell as well.
“Oh, I thought I was gonna lose you.” Her voice was trembling with devastated relief.
“I’m so sorry, Momma.” It was all he knew to say. He reached out over her shoulder, in the direction of his father. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
Bonham stepped forward as well, taking his son’s outstretched hand and squeezing it briefly before letting go again.
“It’s in the past, Son,” he said, his voice low and gruff. “We’re just thankful the Good Lord kept you here.”
Before anyone else could speak, a bouncy, obnoxious tune began flowing brightly from Abby’s pocket. She released Cordell and took a step back as she pulled out her cell phone and made a sympathetic noise at the name on the outer screen.
“That’ll be Liam.”
She flipped it open and greeted her younger son, while Cordell processed panic anew.
“L… Liam?” The mere thought of his fourteen year-old brother knowing what he’d done that night made him sick. “Wha… what does Liam… what did you tell him, Daddy?”
The senior Walker regarded him just a little tiredly. “Well, we had to give him some good reason why we were rushing off in the middle of the night, Cordell,” he sighed. “He wanted to come, but we…” He swallowed hard. “Well, we didn’t know what we were gonna find here.”
Cordell was once again struggling to breathe as he processed that information. His brother… his kid brother who he never wanted to disappoint… knew that he’d kept his promise to come back from overseas alive only to come close to shooting himself in his own apartment.”
“He’s alright,” Abby was assuring into the phone. “He’s standing right here.”
A pause on her side.
She looked up at Cordell as if considering something, then nodded despite the fact that the person she was talking to couldn’t see the gesture.
“I don’t see why not.”
Then, she was holding out the phone to Cordell.
“Your brother would like to talk to you.”
He took a deep, shuddering breath as he accepted the device with a shaking hand. Pull it together. He had to pull it together.
“Hey, Kiddo.”
“Cordi!” The blind terror in the teen’s voice hurt something deep inside of him. “Cordi, tell me you’re okay. Please tell me you’re okay.”
The kid was crying. Cordell’s face contracted sharply with a renewal of his own tears.
“Hey, listen to me. I’m fine. You hear me? I’m fine. I’m right here, and I’m fine.”
Liam choked on a sob. “Cordi… Cordi please don’t… don’t ever…”
“I won’t ever do it again.” It wasn’t a promise he was really ready to make, but the boy just sounded so scared . “Okay? I’m sorry for what I did tonight. I am so, so sorry, Liam. I know I scared you. But you do not need to worry about me. I will be just fine, alright?”
“But… but things don’t just work like that!” the younger Walker argued. “You can’t just… Cordi, please, you… I can’t… you need… I… I…”
“Hey, hey, hey, listen to me, Liam.” Few things tore his heart out like hearing his baby brother panic like this. “I’m alright. I am not going anywhere. And as soon as I know you’re okay too, I’ll hang up and come out there and hug you. Okay?”
The teenager on the other line took a deep, shaky breath. It was clear Cordell had just provided him with a very, very motivating incentive to calm down.
“Okay. Yeah. Okay. I… I’m good.”
“You sure?”
“Good. I’ll see you in a little bit, Kid.”
“See you,” the boy whispered, then the line went dead.
Slowly, Cordell closed the phone and handed it back to his mother.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt his wife’s arms wrap around one of his own and bowed his head to rest on hers, inhaling the sweet, familiar scent of her shampoo. A hand gripped his shoulder, and he opened his eyes to meet Hoyt’s gaze.
“If you can’t do it for yourself, Cordi...” He didn’t have to say it for them to both know what it was. “Then can you do it for us? We won’t make you do it alone.”
As his wife snuggled into him a little closer, the ache in Cordell’s chest throbbed in a whole new way.
“You’ll really go with me?” The question came out a whisper, and he inwardly berated himself for sounding so completely pitiful.
“I’ll really go with you.”
He shut his eyes again as the shame hit him in another wave. He heard his own voice agreeing to something he still wasn’t sure he could do.
“Okay. I… I’ll try.”
With a small gasp of relief, Emily let go of his arm so she could wrap all of him in a hug all over again.
The reality that even after everything he’d put her through that night, she was still holding onto him like the world was going to end, both eased and intensified the ache in his chest.
And he wondered, as he so often did, what on earth he would do without her.
If you leave a comment (or a surprise in the tags), I will love you forever. Once again, @trekkiehood was a life-saver with this fic, so if you’re not already, go follow her here and on Ao3 and Twitter @Trekkiehood. You can find me on Ao3 and Wattpad @pricelesstrashpanda and on Twitter @riplineb. Thanks so much for reading!!!
- Line
Also, it hasn’t been canonically stated that Hoyt joined and served with Cordell, but we do know they went to high school together, and it’s also never stated that he didn’t, so it’s a personal headcanon of mine. Abby did say, “You saved my son,” and while there are about a million things that could be referring to (such as the plot you just read) and I really hope they expand on it in canon, one that makes a lot of sense is that he fought beside Cordell and saved his life in battle.
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vill123 · 20 hours ago
I hate to say but a character in my hero should contemplate Suicidal Thoughts, PTSD, or depression. Based on everything they've been through, at least someone develop PTSD. For example, Shouto Todoroki. My man has been through hell. Imagine you being born in the family what your older brother absolutely despise your ass, you have an abusive father, your mom scars you and then gets put into a mental institution, you're seen as a mere tool, you're high school gets attacked on The Daily, the older brother is a serial killer and attempts to murder you. I would end it ALL.
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gothbbymel · 2 days ago
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It’s always after the mental breakdown and the explosions. They care how I reacted after I was pushed and pushed up until it was right mode.
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gothbbymel · 2 days ago
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Every. Single. Time.
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bigsisterpaca · 2 days ago
This might be 2complicated of a problem so if u don’t know the answer a hug &a gif of a puppy will help... but recently there was a massive argument that I overheard &ended up having a real bad panic attack (I haven’t had any massive panic attacks in over 5 years up until then) &I’ve just have felt very off/Not Right since? I thought I was finally feeling better today until I suddenly got yanked out of Dreamland by a mini panic attack &now I feel broken cause I can’t shake this weird feeling off
I can actually completely understand, as I myself can get very upset from even hearing angry words, let alone a full blown argument. How upset you get, or if a PTSD is triggered, is usually based on circumstances and personal history. For me, angry men trigger my PTSD from my father, and I feel helpless like I was then. I don't know your history, but it is safe to assume that the argument deeply bothered you, and that's very common.
What works for me is finding my safety again. The weird feeling usually will settle itself down as you find equilibrium again. It helps to ensure you feel safe, and distract your thoughts for the time with things that bring you happiness. Others may have further tips.
And here's a puppy gif anyway.
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wolfstsrshipper · 4 days ago
Neil: *is near the Baltimore area, gone rigid and tense and shut down*
Andrew: how’s the ptsd going for you, rabbit?
Neil, completely genuine: what’s ptsd?
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apathetic-coffee · 4 days ago
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mickey dealing with the stuff that happened in epic mickey
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recklessinventor · 5 days ago
@dreamsofalife​ | continued from here
At least he hadn’t woken up screaming this time. 
Nightmares and night terrors plagued him nearly every time he slept. Jeff thought he had reached a sort of rhythm by letting himself stay up as long as possible, because the less he slept the fewer dreams he’d have, but he knew as soon as Shy had goaded him to sleep that it was going to be nothing but trouble for her.
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Jeff had awoken with a loud gasp, still thinking he was in his nightmare (one of the usual ones about Giygas, and the hopelessness and the fear and the screaming and the pain and-) and the more he thought about it the faster his breathing got, until he’d hugged his knees close to himself and the tears wouldn’t stop streaming down his face. He barely could tell someone was holding him over his uneven breathing and the blood rushing in his ears, until his breathing finally began even out and his heartbeat began to wind back down, and he hiccuped and sat there for a second, trembling, his bangs damp with cold sweat. 
“....I t-told you I don’t like sleeping.”
A much shorter reply than his usual tone, but he could apologize later.
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descendantsofwar · 5 days ago
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🌊 — Welcome to Oceanside, California, Damian Pierce! They are said to resemble Richard Madden, but they are a 33 year old K9 Trainer at Oceanside Police Department. They identify as a heterosexual male, and others have described them as charismatic & loyal, but also impulsive & hot headed. — 🌊
Damian Jacob Pierce was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina to two loving, caring parents. His mom was a nurse, his dad was a lawyer and while they both worked extremely long hours, they made it a priority to spend quality time with him. Two years later, his younger sister, Isabella was born. Ever since she could walk, they were inseparable. The two were laughing, playing, fighting as all siblings did and even when they were in their teenage years, they still loved hanging out together. Both Damian and his sister were popular in school, Damian being a stud athlete while Isabella was schooling everyone in academics, being the mathematic genius she was. During his junior year, his whole world came crashing down. Having a football game the next day, Damian stayed home as Isabella went out to a party. He got a text from her hours later letting him know that she was on her way home and that night, she never came back home. She had been killed from a car accident by a drunk driver.
While he didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol, Damian found another way to cope with the death of his sister. He turned to guns at the local gun range and was completely interested. He spent hours there, shooting different guns. While some people thought that he was going to take his own life as he wanted revenge, he decided that he was going to enlist in the Army once he graduated high school. Now in his senior year and barely getting by, he fell more in love with the guns at the gun range. Not only did he love the way he felt while holding them, but he loved they way they sounded and the way they made him feel powerful. When he graduated and was enlisted, he said goodbye to his family and friends and went off to bootcamp. Two years later, he was deployed for Afghanistan.
One of the first days that Damian stepped onto the military base, he met a man named Ryan Marshall. The two had completely different personalities yet the more they talked, the faster they became friends. It took them no time to become best friends, each other’s partner in crime. They would do absolutely anything for each other. Damian was gone for a total of six years and only came back to visit his parents who were still grieving but slowly moving on with life. He came back for some of the holidays and when he was away, he would send his parents letters, checking in on them. During his last tour, he saw one of his best friends that he made there get shot in the chest. Hiding for safety in a bunker, he held his friend as he died in his arms, never forgetting his face as his heart stopped beating. His name was Anthony. While wanting to serve others and be a hero, he hated the killing; first his sister and now Anthony. He remembered bringing Anthony back home to Charlotte with him for the holidays to introduce him to his parents before they were deployed again. Not being able to handle being a soldier anymore, he had to put himself on leave due to the PTSD that he never realized was going to take control of him.
When Damian came back to Charlotte, he lived with his parents for a few months as he was getting himself a place and once he did, the PTSD started to kick in. He started having nightmares, waking up in a cold sweat and screaming and during the day, he was constantly feeling on guard. Ryan was going through this exact same thing and he wished he could’ve been there for his best friend. As much as he wanted to get back out into civilian living, he couldn’t leave the house. Even fireworks on the 4th of July sounded like gunshots and he would be triggered. A little over a year later, he started to finally adapt back to the civilian lifestyle. He has been going to therapy for his PTSD, he was in a veteran support group and he was taking online classes to get his bachelor’s degree out of North Carolina State University. Once he got his bachelor’s, he decided that he wanted to go into law enforcement. It was not easy being a cop and while he tried his best to stay out of shooting situations, he finally found the job that was best for him, a job that made him happy. Damian decided to become a canine trainer. With his career, he was able to go to sleep each night knowing that these dogs will one day save lives.
After spending some time in Charlotte and getting adjusted to his life, he realized that as much as he loved home, he wanted to travel…explore new places. One person that he really wanted to see was Ryan so with one single call to him, he packed up his things and in a matter of days, he was moving to Oceanside, California across the country. He’s been living in Oceanside for over a year now, hanging out with Ryan constantly, going to therapy and the veteran support group to keep his mental state in check. At this point in life, he is happy to be back in civilian living and is ready to get back out there and date.
» Ryan Marshall — Like fire and ice the unlikely pair connected from the moment they both stepped foot onto the military base. The two rather different personalities that fit together like yin and yang, became fast friends. And that was how it would remain as partners in crime long after their respective military careers ended. They are but the only person that knows of Ryan’s troubles with PTSD and night terrors, both of which he remains very much in denial about.
» Valentina Francis — Friends with Benefits. Both find comfort within the other. Since his arrival to town, the pair spent many nights laughing and eventually continued it without clothing too. Their relationship is purely physical.
» Ramsey Haller — Ever since the two met, Ramsey has always made Damian smile. She was the kind of friend that helped him out when he was stressed whether it was getting drinks somewhere or just talking at the pier. He wants to continue to build a solid friendship with her as she seems pretty damn great. 
Damian Pierce is a TAKEN character, who is portrayed by Richard Madden, and is played by Megan.
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I’m beginning to think something happened (that I don’t consciously remember) either when I was intubated or extubated. It’s the same damn nightmare, almost every night. Last night’s was worse than usual.
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minninugget · 5 days ago
We love ptsd episodes 🤠
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gothbbymel · 5 days ago
Like, I neeed to be fucking wrecked but like I don’t wannna be touched. Does that even make sense?
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herpartnerintime · 5 days ago
Things that can trigger Max... The trauma Max went through that week, from Chloe's deaths, her creation of an alternate reality where she accepted Chloe's request to end her life, her nightmares, the deaths of hundreds of people to the storm because of her powers and her being held captive in The Dark Room have left Max a lot of mental scars.
She's developed PTSD and a host of triggers. For Max, it's overwhelming and scary. She has no control over what triggers her, or the flashbacks they bring. Doesn't help she hasn't actually been diagnosed officially and can't go to therapy (she can't be honest about everything for obvious rewinding power reasons). She went from someone who just had general anxiety disorder with no triggers to having PTSD/severe separation anxiety and a much more severe anxiety disorder and suddenly could be triggered and set off by a lot of things. She's constantly discovering new things that can be triggering for her.
But she's working through it, with Chloe at her side. This won't be forever, she hopes. Or at least, she thinks of the epilogue of the last Hunger Games book Mockingjay, at least even if this never fully leaves her, there's happiness in her life. Katniss had Peeta. She has Chloe. To Katniss, Peeta symbolized the bright yellow that meant rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life could go on, no matter how bad their losses. That it could be good again. And only Peeta could give her that. And for Max, it's the same for her with Chloe. Except it's not bright yellow but bright blue that symbolizes that rebirth and the promise life could go on and be good again, no matter how much they've lost. And life is so good with Chloe. There's so much happiness and love. She knows she'll be okay in spite of all the struggles... (Note: if she dies, i’ll spend the rest of my life trying to escape this storm - a headcanon about how Max knew if she let Chloe die, she'd never truly escape the storm and never be okay again)
Her triggers...
Separation from Chloe - Talked in more detail here but for Max being apart from Chloe makes it impossible for her to feel safe for herself or Chloe. Seeing Chloe die so much and being forcibly separated from her at times that week left a huge impact on Max. She protects Chloe. Chloe protects her. They can't protect each other apart. Her rewinding power might not last forever, even though they will. The fear takes over if they're apart from each other. Max even fights against sleep because even though she feels perfectly safe with Chloe's arms around her, that protecting shield, sleep means possibly leaving Chloe to nightmares and she can't even stand the idea of her mind being separated from Chloe.
Storms - Max used to like storms. They were amazing to take photographs of. Now storms just send her back to memories of being alone in the storm, Chloe dead and gone from her reality, Max struggling to make it back to that photo that would take her back to a reality Chloe was still alive. Storms remind her of a world where Chloe no longer exists, reminds her of all the lives lost because of her power. If she's apart from Chloe, the fears are a thousand times worse for her, and she feels like she needs to go to wherever Chloe is.
Anything to do with the victims of the storm - The news was never fun to watch but now just switching on the news is so scary - even looking at newspapers makes her anxious. It's been hard to avoid. She and Chloe left without looking back for a reason. They needed to move on, to keep going, because it was to much otherwise. But when an entire town is wiped out by a mysterious storm... you can't always avoid it.
Max was down right terrified of even opening any of her social media accounts for months and when she finally did she had been flooded with messages of people sending their love and thoughts and prayers knowing she was a survivor of the storm which made her private all her accounts. And Max still remembers how badly she broke down when she made the mistake of opening her twitter to see 'Remembering the Victims of Arcadia' trending with all these photos and images. She'd made herself look at them, thinking, I killed them, I killed them, until she'd literally been crying to much to see them and Chloe had taken her phone from her and just held her.
Max always feels guilty in moments like this for Chloe, because she knows how much Chloe struggles with the fact her life was chosen over hundreds. And Max is always scared Chloe will see her like this and think she regrets it. Because Max will never ever regret choosing Chloe, and she always wants Chloe to know that. She never could have traded her. Loved her to much too. She needed Chloe forever.
But it hurts so deeply the price of having Chloe forever was so many lives. It's not fair. She hates Chloe has to share this pain with her. Feels guilty she put this pain on Chloe. Feels like she killed Chloe's mom. Adding to her guilt of making William die twice...
And as if it's not hard enough, having strangers bring up the storm to them is equally upsetting. Oh, she and Chloe never tell people they survived the storm, but their names have been mentioned among the very tiny list of survivors at times. So some people know. And of course everyone in The Photographer world figures it out sooner or later. And then there's just the fact it's small talk conversation to some people. "Can you believe that storm up in Oregon? Wiped out a whole town?" They heard that a lot for awhile.
Max wishes she could forget and yet she knows forgetting wouldn't be right.
Mark Jefferson - He was... still is Max thinks bitterly, a famous Photographer, and since she's a Photographer, the topic of Jefferson comes up alot among other Photographers. No one can believe he was like that, that he did those things. She hates talking about him, though it's probably good to venomously talk about him with others. She has a lot of anger to let out and it can feel good to talk about what a fucking monster he is.
But it also always triggers memories of The Dark Room with him where he drugged her and had her tied up. And then she starts thinking about how maybe he'll escape prison somehow or be let out early and come after her and Chloe, since she knows he'll know she and Chloe are why he is in prison - the whole 24/7 surveillance thing showed him she and Chloe were there in his Dark Room and he ends up arrested that night...
In this reality, he never got his photos of her and Max fears he still desires them. Will come after her and Chloe for revenge... She bet he'd think of it as a collection, having images of her and Chloe along with Rachel. His name makes her feel physically sick. He's hurt her and Chloe to much... and she is so scared it's not over. That one day she'll end up back in his Dark Room again. Alone or worse with Chloe. She's even paranoid he might connect things together and realize she has powers, so he can come after her prepared for her power.
Sometimes, she swears she sees him walking around, looking at her, or hears his footsteps behind her, or hears his voice in her ears, or feels his hands touching her. She can't get him out of her head sometimes. And she hates that.
This one is weird - but sitting in a chair can trigger it. On some occasions Max will get hit with a flashback where she feels like she's tied down to the chair she's sitting in, her wrists taped down, her legs taped to the chair legs, and no matter how hard she struggles against the restraints she can't escape.
Footsteps behind her - The exception being Chloe, whose footsteps she can recognize (though when she's hyper anxious sometimes she hasn't recognized them and panicked). Unfamiliar footsteps make her think of how Jefferson snuck up on her and injected her with his needle. Makes her think he really has found her again and is going to take her back to his Dark Room. Or if it's not him, maybe some other sick person who wants to get the jump on her. Her powers don't work well with the element of surprise.
Car accidents - If they drive by one, and they're on the road so much it happens probably to much, Max starts thinking of Chloe's car accident in the alternate reality that left her paralyzed and slowly dying. Which makes her think of Chloe's last request, how she ended Chloe's life for her. They can send her back into that moment... as well as make her anxious and nervous and scared they could get into an accident. She trusts Chloe and Chloe's driving completely, it's just the other drivers she doesn't trust. It's other drivers after all who killed William, left Chloe dying... even the driver who hit poor Bongo speeding through their neighbourhood...
Guns - She saw bullets in Chloe more than once. The bathroom. The Junkyard.... She hates guns, always did, but now it's worse. And yet she also feels like Chloe should keep a gun because her paranoid fears of Mark Jefferson coming after them take over so much, she wants to be sure they can defend themselves. She feels like David's paranoia is rubbing off on her. It doesn't help when they eventually meet him again, he has a lot of things to say about making sure they're careful, since they're two girls travelling around alone. Now she's even more anxious. Just what she needed.
Men - Not all the time. But she's noticed how nervous she can sometimes be around men. Ending up alone with one, like the time one ended up walking into an elevator with her, trapping her alone with him had caused her to panic, rewind time, and then freak out and call Chloe after locking herself in a bathroom. She is sometimes even anxious just talking to higher up male Photographers about her work. She trusted and looked up to Jefferson so much, now she feels like she can't trust any of them again. She hates feeling this like.
Needles - Okay who likes needles? But now it's even more intense. It's safe to say if she ever needs a shot, she's embarrassingly going to need Chloe with her to keep herself from trying to run away. Sometimes, she feels like she can still feel the needle injecting into the back of her neck.
Medications that make you sleepy/drowsy - Medications like this recreate that feeling of being drugged in the Dark Room. It's terrifying to Max, feeling so weak and tired and heavy that even moving a little is exhausting. It makes her feel so helpless again, makes her feel like her wrists and legs are taped together again, that she's in the Dark Room again. And there's nothing to do but just ride it out, to weak to even verbalize it. Though Chloe has thankfully noticed it when it's happened, from the whimpers she makes and will stay with her to help remind she's safe.
Being touched by strangers/personal space - Not that Max was ever the biggest fan of invasions of her personal space, now she feels hyper aware of it when someone gets to close to her, or is touchy feeling when she doesn't know them. It might be because of how horrible it felt having Jefferson touch her to pose her for his photos that makes unwelcome touch so triggering to her.
Scenes involving anything similar to her Dark Room situation - Movies or TV shows that involve kidnapping are harder to handle now. It turns out, Max now realizes, when you have been kidnapped and drugged and have your hands and legs taped together it kinda hits a little to close to home to see it happen in a movie or TV show.
This applies to any True Crime stuff now too. It's to much for Max. After what happened to her... to Rachel... and Max starts thinking of Chloe, who will probably never be able to unsee those photos of her abused Angel Rachel, or get it out of her head Max went through the same...
And... it's something Max can never say out loud... not to Chloe or even herself, she can start to say it to Chloe but can't finish it... can't say the word. But in The Dark Room drugged with him standing over her, touching her and moving her around, taking pictures, her mind feared this might not be all he did to her. She thinks maybe that was his intent, to make his victims feel so helpless knowing he could do anything.... and so that topic coming up at all really triggers Max too.
Even if she couldn't say the word to Chloe, Chloe knows, Max knows. She wishes she didn't. But it helps Max not feeling alone in it.
Suicide - Kate... Max saved her life. Stopped her from committing suicide only to let her die in the storm... choosing Chloe over her life, even though she'd saved her earlier that week from taking her life. The guilt she feels from this is so powerful. Her love for Chloe meant letting others she cared about die. Like her and Warren....
Anything depicting suicide or mentions of it really trigger Max, not only making her think of Kate, but because truthfully she sometimes struggles with such thoughts herself, like in those moments she lets herself look at pictures of Kate and Warren and all the people she knew at Blackwell or Joyce or the hundreds of others (so many children among them...) she can see in those trending memorial posts or articles about the storm victims. Or when she feels like to much of a burden to Chloe. These thoughts scare her so bad she tries to tell Chloe when they come, because she never wants to abandon Chloe again. They promised each other forever. She knows from Kate how dangerous it is to keep your thoughts to yourself and she knows she can't keep this inside and risk it taking over like it did for Kate. She can't do that to Chloe. She loves her to much to leave her again.
Note: If Max sacrificed Chloe, she would also struggle with those sorts of thoughts, only she wouldn't have Chloe by her side to help her stay. Only the fear of losing memory of Chloe, because she promised to never forget her, would end up keeping her in the world.
Death - Death is a part of life. In the past, Max would catch herself thinking about it late at night, shudder to herself about the finality of it all, but move past it. Now the thoughts creep in more, now that she's seen death, seen her her best friend, her girlfriend, the girl she loves most in the world... actually die... and it hits Max hard sometimes that nothing is forever... Everything That Has A Beginning Has An End Neo, that Oracle crap. It freaks her out. She wants to be with Chloe for literal forever. She wants them to be immortal. She doesn't want them growing old and dying... one of them will go first someday. They can't do that, can't leave the other, for how would the other survive?
But after everything... Max lets herself find comfort in the belief they'd find each other again in the next life. Her powers have proven to her anything is possible. And somehow, they will beat death too one day and truly be together forever.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” She understands what Hermione meant now about James and Lily’s gravestone meaning living beyond death, living after death. She and Chloe’s forever will be forever. She doesn’t have to fear their deaths of old age one day separating them. They’ll always be together.
Lastly, Max sometimes feels like a burden to Chloe because of all of this. It's impossible not to feel guilty that Chloe will be there for her every single time she needs her without fail, when Max spent five years ignoring Chloe when Chloe was going through horrible trauma herself. She should have been there for every single moment Chloe needed her too.
And she also feels guilty and ashamed because it all makes her feel so weak. She can't control her triggers or her flashbacks and she feels like such a burden needing Chloe to take care of her whenever it happens. She's always there for Chloe too now... but Chloe just seems so much stronger to Max. Or maybe it's just that she keeps it in more. But Max feels so guilty about it. She knows she's strong. But she doesn't feel very strong in the midst of a flashback or when she's spiralling from a trigger or having an anxiety or panic attack. Not to mention the nightmares she gets, where she wakes up crying Chloe's name and shaking her awake to make sure she's alive. She puts Chloe through so much. But Chloe is aways there, never begrudging her needing her so much. It means everything to Max, her endless love and devotion.
Time heals all wounds right? She's so grateful she has forever with Chloe.
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dreamsclock · 5 days ago
one thing i can’t stop thinking abt is the idea of jack confronting tubbo about the “dead man’s switch” on his nukes, which he NEVER told jack about. jack is so confused because, “i thought you were finally happy, though? yknow.. with ranboo? what happened, tubbo? why would you..” and tubbo just. doesnt answer him. goes all quiet. you can never be too certain, he thinks. because it’s not like there is much permanence in his life, anyway.
c!tubbo makes me so goddamn sad and this ask actually had me crying this morning LMAO i’m so emotional,,,, c!tubbo deserves so much better than he gets and the implications of him building a dead man’s switch and not telling anyone is DEVASTATING :(( have this little thing i wrote bc i’m really enjoying writing c!tubbo right now !! pls heed the warnings though 
warnings: suicidal thoughts, discussions of suicide, trauma, alcohol, nightmares, PTSD, explosions, death, general dark themes (c!tubbo is pretty fucked up :( pls be careful while reading! if you need more tagged, let me know)
Tubbo can’t meet Jack’s eyes. Everything is so close, suddenly, everything is so close and quiet and focused that it crushes his chest like Dream’s netherite chestplate which is too big for him, far too big for him, but that he can’t afford to take off in case he’s killed. With a jerky inhale, he shrugs, keeping his eyes fixed on Michael, very carefully keeping his voice light.
“It’s- You know,” he says, awkward, “it was a precaution. In case one of us ever needed to use it, you know?”
Jack doesn’t know. He’s too smart for that. “Which is why you didn’t tell me about it,” he replies, frowning, “Tubbo, if you’d ever meant for me to use it, you would’ve told me about it. I’m not stupid.”
He’s not. Tubbo feels the prick of something in his throat: tears, maybe. Humiliation, thick, syrupy embarrassment at the situation, more likely, because he hadn’t ever wanted anyone to find out about this - it’s stupid, when the server has a lot bigger problems.
A boy and his dead man’s switch aren’t important enough to pursue solutions for.
“I thought you were happier,” Jack pushes, voice soft, confused, “you know, you have Snowchester, and- and Ranboo and Michael and me. Even Tommy’s still alive, you know, that’s a fucking miracle.”
Tubbo snorts, throat burning. “It is a miracle,” he agrees, trying to sound amused, “and- and I am. Happy, I mean. I am happy, Jack.”
But isn’t that the issue? Isn’t the underlying issue that he’s happy, and that happiness is so fleeting, so terrifyingly short-lived, that he can’t afford to underprepare? It’s not that he wants to die, not really - that would be silly, he thinks, because only sad people want that, and he’s lucky, he has a husband and kid and friends and isn’t that all he’s ever wanted? He has no reason to be sad, not really. 
But Dream’s inevitable escape still hangs over him like the world’s weight on his shoulders. The Egg is still a problem. The Syndicate could kill them, squash Snowchester like bugs if they cared enough. Tubbo is missing a nuke. And, like usual, he can still see horns in his dreams, the sight of horns and the scent of alcohol and the sound of his name roughly being called from the President’s office, an unsteady “Tubbo, Jesus fucking Christ, I’ve been waiting for you for hours”, and Tubbo hears his own voice, higher-pitched, filled to the brim with anxiety, reply with a “sorry, sorry, I’ve been- I’ve been busy”.
Still has nightmares about his old life - his days spent with Schlatt and Quackity and his nights spent with Wilbur and Tommy, falling apart at the seams trying to follow the orders of two madmen that get him killed, and more often than not those nightmares will spiral, sending him pressing his back to the side of a box and saying “Schlatt, I can’t- I can’t get out” and staring down a firework and then he explodes and L’Manburg explodes twice, under his rule both times, and he can’t do anything to stop it and it’s because he failed and-
And oh great, he’s crying. With a shaky snort, Tubbo scrapes a hand roughly over his eyes, shakes his head, and pulls himself together. “I am happy,” he says again, and there’s a falseness in his voice now, ringing out brightly while he shuts down, “I wouldn’t use it unless I had to, Jack. I promise.”
(Wilbur Soot whispers to you: techno is on our side he won’t hurt you)
(Wilbur Soot whispers to you: i promise)
Jack blinks down at him, squeezes his shoulder uncertainly. He’s never been the best at comfort - he and Tommy have that in common, which is funny, considering how tense they’ve been recently, really, Tubbo thinks, they’re both more alike than they realise. 
“You sure?”
“Yeah.” Tubbo sniffs, choking down the pressure in his throat. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
Jack releases his shoulder with a sigh, still looking unsure. “You know you can talk to me about anything, right?” He presses. “I’m here for you, man. Really.”
“I know.”
He does know. If there had been anything Jack could fix, Tubbo would be at his door in a heartbeat. As it is, he stands frozen in his house, with Michael toddling near the window happily, while Jack sighs and begins to head for the door.
Jack turns, furrowing his brow. “Yeah, Tubs?”
Tubbo swallows, turning to face his friend. “Don’t tell Ranboo,” he says, as firmly as he possibly can, “alright? Promise me.”
“...Tubbo, I’m not sure if-”
“Hey,” Tubbo snaps, “Jack, I promised you I’d be careful with it, alright? I don’t- I’m not about to worry Ranboo over something that isn’t even a worry in the first place. He’s got enough to worry about without this adding to it!”
Silence. Tubbo wonders if he’s been too harsh. 
“Yeah, okay,” Jack says tiredly, “I promise not to tell him. Okay?”
He regrets snapping at Jack. It reminds him of Schlatt. Nausea rising in his throat, Tubbo runs his fingers over the tiny horns on the top of his head, trying not to think about it.
“Thanks,” he says softly, and then Jack leaves him with Michael, colder than ever. He hopes Jack actually believes him: because it’s not a problem, not really. For all intents and purposes, he’s got his happy ending.
Out of the window, his eyes dart to the vault, hidden in the hill, where Dream’s armour and weapons lie.
...The problem with a happy ending is that it’s not allowed to be a permanent thing. Tubbo’s learned that the hard way, and he doesn’t want to be ill-prepared for it to end suddenly. Nothing bad has to happen to his home or family this time. Nothing bad has to happen to anyone except himself.
“It’ll be okay,” he whispers, because it makes him feel less small, “it’ll be okay, Michael, trust me on that.”
(A game of chess isn’t lost over a single pawn. Tubbo knows that better than most. His hand curls round Checkmate, and he wonders how long he has before Dream forces him to make his move.)
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ckjbun · 6 days ago
The butterflies surrounding Yosano (Part 2/2)
Two weeks ago, I did an analysis on Yosano’s butterfly hairpin. I tried to identify it and discovered that it might have a reference to a famous Greek mythology, so I drew some parallels there. If you’re interested and are also wondering about what meaning the butterfly holds and how it ties into Yosano’s story, then you can read it here. In this part, I will focus on the other butterflies appearing in the manga. 
If I remember correctly, we have never seen butterflies appearing around Yosano before chapter 59. However, it makes sense since before this chapter we were never directly shown how she uses her ability (this might make more sense when you’ve read the first part but otherwise you don’t need to read it to understand the rest). The first time is here when the ADA was framed as the terrorists by the DOA. 
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(translations by @dazaiscans)
Showing the butterflies and showing them in such detail must hold some kind of significance. Just like all the flowers shown have probably some hidden meaning, I’m convinced the butterflies do too. That’s why I tried to identify them. This time it was a tiny bit easier than in the first part of my analysis. Anyhow, the butterfly species I suspect them to be is this one:
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This beauty here is called Papilio ulysses. And yes, it is again a reference to a Greek mythology figure. You might know Ulysses better under the name Odysseus, the protagonist of the Odyssey mythology. I won’t go into greater detail about the story but basically Odysseus is the king of Ithaca who fought ten years in the Trojan war. After the war, he tried to return home but because of several Greek gods’ disapproval he encountered many hardships, barely escaping death. At the end, it took him ten more years until he finally returned home to his wife. 
Do you see how well this fits here? Using the Ulysses butterfly here is an ingenious way to mark what lies ahead, namely the ADA’s Odyssey to prove their innocence, restore their reputation and to return back home to their agency. Similar to Odysseus, the ADA must overcome many obstacles, deceptions and temptations to give up. 
Interestingly, this same species is shown later again. But first I'd like to describe a bit more in the following how this arc shares the same major themes as the mythology and then I will go further why this species is used a second time. 
One key theme in the Odyssey is hospitality. During his journey, Odysseus encountered lots of people who helped him, gave him shelter, but also people who meant him harm.
Etymologically, hospitality stems from hospes which means guest, stranger but also host. Technically, it means the helpfulness and generosity you treat strangers or other people in general with.
And this is imo one of the most important traits of the ADA, their willingness to help strangers or even enemies. Actually, a quite important aspect in the mythology is that this hospitality sometimes gets exploited or that people get even punished for it. In fact, exploiting hospitality is the catalyst of the whole mythology, the reason why the Trojan War started. Similarly, this applies to the current BSD arc. All this happened because the ADA still accepted the DOA case even after Mushitarou’s warning. Predicting this, the DOA set them up, exploiting their hospitality. 
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(translations by @dazaiscans)
There are also other forms of hospitality throughout the ADA’s Odyssee. For example, Lucy harboring Atsushi and Kyoka in Anne’s room and helping them or the Port Mafia sheltering Yosano, Tanizaki and Kenji. 
Another important theme is loyalty. E.g. while Odysseus is away, his status unknown, his own people betray him in order to help others get to the throne. In contrast, his wife, Penelope, stays loyal to him and stalls the selection of a new husband.
According to the dictionary, loyalty is the quality of staying firm in your friendship or support for someone or something which is a crucial theme in the recent arc. Due to the DOA writing onto the Page, no police force nor organization will consider the proof of the ADA’s innocence with earnest. Yet, there are people that believe in ADA’s innocence without having any proof, e.g. Lucy or the Port Mafia. The most remarkable of those people must be Ango imo. Since he is in the Secret Service, the condition that the DOA wrote onto the Page must have an effect on him. But he stays loyal to Dazai and helps the ADA as an important ally.
Moreover, probably the most significant demonstration of loyalty we have is the part of the police force that stays firm in their support for the ADA after Ranpo convinced them to think with their soul instead with their police badge. 
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(translation by @akai-koutei​)
Ofc there are more representations of loyalty, for example the whole Tachihara and PM thing, or Fukuzawa’s faith in Fukuchi. But that would be too much for this post.
The last motif that is extremely important in the mythology is disguises and deception. I don’t think that this needs a lot of explanation. The whole Odyssey of the ADA starts because of the DOA’s deception of the public and police forces, making them believe that the culprit is the ADA. Furthermore, there is Mushitaro using the door trick to deceive the Secret Service, Ango deceiving his coworkers in the Secret Service in order to deceive Fyodor, Ranpo disguising as Kamui, Tachihara as the fifth Hunting Dog and so much more. 
Now, you could say, these are just your standard themes for any story. And yes, you’re right, they are very common themes. But imo they weren’t as present in previous bsd arcs as they are in this arc and they are catalysts for many events in this arc. Plus, the fact that they became key factors after showing the Ulysses butterfly makes them really interesting and special to me. 
Anyways, we see these butterflies a second time. On the cover of chapter 65.
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(translations by @dazaiscans)
Again, they are Papilio Ulysses butterflies. If you compare the structures on the wings, you’ll see the similarities.
In this chapter, Yosano’s backstory is revealed. (Idk if I need/should do this but in the following there might be triggers for ptsd and s*icide). Now, how does the butterfly ties into this? 
The soldiers in the Great War. 
The Odyssee is not just some adventurous story of a hero. It’s about trying to come home after a long-fought battle. Odysseus’ men have fought 10 years in the Trojan War. Likewise, Yosano’s soldiers have been fighting for a long time because her ability allows them to stand back up and go back to the battle field. Odysseus did not only try to go back home but rather he tried to bring all the soldiers home. But at the end, he was the only survivor. Sadly, Yosano’s case is comparable. She wanted to heal the people in front of her and bring them home safely. 
But they died. 
Odysseus and his men encountered many temptations to give up. Many times there were food and potions involved that erase the soldiers’ memories of their homes, the Sirens whose song causes people to commit suicide etc. There were moments the soldiers doubted Odysseus and turned against him. 
Same goes for Yosano. The soldiers started to doubt that Yosano was there for their own good. They started to think that she was the reason they couldn’t go home.
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(translations by @dazaiscans)
These soldiers have stared into death’s eyes over and over again. Repeatedly, they experience the agony of dying. Some of them lose all their willpower to go home and decide to take their own lives like Tachihara’s brother. 
Both the mythology and Yosano’s backstory pose the question whether the soldiers can be brought home. There is a wonderful article in the Guardian I want to quote:
The Odyssey invites us to ask: can soldiers ever, truly, return home? Will they "recognise" their family, and vice versa? Can they survive not just the war itself, but the war's aftermath? Will they, in some dread way, bring the war home with them? The Odyssey says: you thought it was tough getting through the war. Now, see if you can get through the nostos – the homecoming.
– Charlotte Higgin
This is actually a very central topic in BSD, the war’s aftermath. We see this reflected in the Mimics and Gide, Jules Garbiel Verne (in 55 minutes LN), Fukuchi etc. But I need to stop here now bc this is not directly connected to Yosano anymore and it just makes me unnecessarily sad. 
Anyways, thank you for reading this. I swear I try to keep it short but my thoughts just don’t shut up and I can’t decide what is important to say and what not, so you just get the whole chunk. And if you still have nothing else to do and haven't read it yet, here is the first part again.
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dreamsclock · 6 days ago
Lot of c!Tubbo's trauma is related to explosives (Doomsday, his execution, 16th, etc.) so it's possible that by building nukes n stuff, he's trying to take control of the thing he's afraid of!
Now that one of them is lost, well,,,who knows what he'll resort to.
this was fun to write, i’ve been really really interested in tubbo’s character recently !! i couldn’t resist writing wilbur-as-ghostbur either skdncsdcd, i’m a sucker for this stuff ^^
warnings: mental deterioration, PTSD, explosions, possession (sort of), recovery, mental illness, trauma, nightmares, violence, emotional distress
Wilbur sees himself in a lot of people. 
He doesn’t really have anything better to do in the Void other than play cards, which is fun only when people play with him (Schlatt doesn’t count), so Wilbur spends a lot of his time watching the server that had been his downfall. It’s interesting, watching them scramble like ants to correct mistakes they continue to make: Wilbur’s always liked ants, and he likes them even more now.
He’d been watching Niki, for a while - watching her take his coat and sleep with it curled around her when the nights got cold, watching her swerve dangerously close to the ravine’s edge he’d fallen over, careful, Niki, part of him wants to warn her, don’t be stupid, don’t be me. But he doesn’t: he watches, and is only partially relieved when she pulls herself away from revenge and the darkness that covers itself with Wilbur’s coat. Wilbur ghosts from her to Tommy, but he’s not fun anymore either: he stares at Ghostbur suspiciously, and Wilbur stares back with Ghostbur’s signature vacant smile, wishes he could smirk at his brother and give him a sarcastic take a photo, it’ll last longer, but he’s not going to blow his cover just yet, he doesn’t dare. Tommy has already proven he’s not going to follow in Wilbur’s footsteps - his refusal to die when he’s supposed to or indeed stay dead proves that much. Fundy is a no-go too - though Wilbur does wonder just what is going on inside his head when he’s dreaming. 
Nobody is supposed to have dreams like that. Wilbur is fascinated, but ultimately bored, by his son, and drifts over to Snowchester, where he thinks he might see himself the most.
Drifts over to Tubbo, whose shadow looks so much like Wilbur sometimes that it makes Wilbur want to laugh. It’s funny, too, because out of all people, he hadn’t ever expected Tubbo to end up spiraling like he had. Hadn’t expected the paranoia, the nuke building, the late nights where Tubbo sits awake in bed staring at the key card for his explosives cupped in his hands - oh, Tubbo, Wilbur thinks, and he doesn’t know whether it’s regretful or amused or both, this isn’t going to end well.
And maybe to ensure that it doesn’t, he steals one of the nukes.
It’s easy enough: Tubbo is sleep deprived and on edge, Jack is careless: invisible, ghosting inside, Wilbur slips the nuke into his inventory and heads away instantly. He doesn’t bother pretending to be Ghostbur: his smile is too gleeful and a touch to the left of friendly to be the ghost they know, but it doesn’t matter now. Nobody is around to see.
He returns only when he’s sure the nuke is hidden, and only when he’s sure it won’t be spotted. Returns to Tubbo, who is a mess; panicking and rambling to Jack, lapsing into horrified silence when he’s gone, burying his head in his hands with a choking, bitter laugh when he realises he’s alone. 
Wilbur doesn’t console him or correct him. He watches, instead - watches Tubbo dig himself deeper and deeper into his hole by building weapons and interrogation rooms and watches Tubbo grow imaginary horns and don his imaginary coat in front of him. When Tubbo wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, clutching his face a firework had hit only months ago and sobbing dryly into his pillow, Wilbur is there, but not to comfort; instead, a cold breeze sweeps through the room, seizing Tubbo’s throat and leaving him gasping for breath that comes too thin and too slow.
Tubbo is a product of his environment, the same way Tommy is, the same way Quackity is, the same way everyone is, in the end. And Wilbur can see it better than everyone, knows Tubbo is stuck between Pogtopia and Manberg, despite being so far out from them. 
The only thing left to do is wonder when Tubbo will end up blowing up the place: before he finds Ranboo with the missing nuke Wilbur planted, or after.
Wilbur fiddles with the pack of cards in his pocket, pulls out the King of Clubs, and thinks it might be sooner than anyone thinks.
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reigningsniper · 7 days ago
@flameleads said: “ it’s okay , i’m here . i’ll always be here . ”
      The events of that last few years had the potential to bring them closer together, or fling them further apart. At times, she worried that every time they teetered, they came closer to plummeting from the precarious line they walked each and every day. From outside forces, and those internal that threatened every step they took to bettering this country. 
      There were countless individuals who undoubtedly sought to place their heads on a pike. Events of the Promised Day or no, some were either skeptical they had any part in the prevention of outright destruction communicated by the government, or they didn’t care. The blood they spilt was enough to stain them for life.
      Riza didn’t ever disagree. Nothing they do now would erase the atrocities they enabled, participated in. She would accept judgement if it were ever brought against her. Until then, she would stand against any enemies to kindness, care, support, retribution.
      Even in her steadfast resolution, there were doubts. All the moments she deemed she failed on keeping her promises. If she faltered once, twice, there was almost certainty that she would falter again. Every day she trains, she plans, in hopes that it would never occur again. But night always falls, their work dies down. And the doubt runs rampant, drowns out all certainty she built for the day, that week, that month.
      It’s rare night like this, where he finds her by one of the campfires. Alone in the wake of other lower ranking soldiers having gone to their tents, trying to find solace in their cots, find comfort in sleep until dawn finally comes. She has no flask. No blanket.
      The desert nights have been cold as of later. She wants to feel the chill, as much as she truly loathes it. She doesn’t want to sleep. Be vulnerable and unconscious to stop her mind from wandering further into darkness.
      She doesn’t hear him approach. Not the pace of his steps in the sand. Not the concerned sigh as he sits beside her. No words come. She remains, arms crossed and elbow on top of her knees as she watches the fire flicker and fade into glowing embers. 
      Apologies linger at the base of her temple, in the back of her throat. They’d already gone through this once, after he regained his sight. And yet the guilt lingers. She wonders if it will linger for the rest of her life. Embers fade as her eyes lose focus. No tears, just emptiness.
      Just fear that she wouldn’t be enough. 
      He speaks, and finally, she drops her head to rest against her arms, exhale trembling from her lungs as the desert air continues whipping around them.
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n30n-snak3 · 7 days ago
Hey Yall, I dont usually get serious on my blogs but HEY-HO FUCK ME AMIRITE
Im seeing my Dad for the first time in 2 years tomorrow, his girlfriend verbally abused me and is the reason I have a PTSD diagnosis and several undiagnosed mental illnesses, all of which, including my PTSD that i was diagnosed with at eight years old and am now 12, currently go untreated.
Ofcourse I love my Dad but its been two years without contact.
I have gone to the Internet about things like my gender and sexuality, things that are in my bio and whatnot but this was too personal to just put out there,, even my deadname, you can find it by just reading one out of three serious posts on this blog. The notes app wasnt cutting it anymore. Someone, anyone is going to see this!
At the time of typing this its twelve hours until i see him! Im excited but really nervous
I'll be forcing myself to not have a panic attack in the park while waiting for him.
Tumblr, you dear hell site, Am I doing the right thing?
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