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#which is why i included the distances
ohmygodwerebackagain · 7 days ago
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9-1-1verse Locations
Hi all! I wanted to compile what we know of the locations frequented in 9-1-1 in a visual manner to give us a better sense of where characters live in relation to each other and the firehouse (more on that later). 
First and foremost, I could not have done this without @monsterfuckerdiaz and @liesoverthec - their invaluable research made this possible.
Here is a visual snapshot of where Chim/Maddie, Eddie, Bobby/Athena, and Buck reside:
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Disclaimer: Some distances and times are approximations (~) based on neighborhood and traffic. This is LA so a mile can take 30 minutes depending on time of day or location (side eyeing Buck’s loft in Downtown LA).
Observations and analysis under the cut.
Hen/Karen - As you can see there is no discernable address for them, so using my powers of deduction, I’ve concluded that their house must be in the pink quadrant highlighted on the map. They obviously live in a residential area and more likely than not, near Athena. 
Station 118 - This address was another shot at my powers of deduction. Based on everyone’s locations + calls they take (typically residential, but also in downtown LA) it seems this location fits the bill. In real life, this is Station 26 - 2009 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90018 and when you look at pictures from the outside, could be Station 118 was modeled after it. 
Chimney/Maddie - Their address is: 2385 S Orlando Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90035, Apt. 2B. There is a North Orlando and a South, but based off what we saw of the outside in 5x04, South Orlando seems like the more plausible address. 
Madney live 20-25 minutes from the Firehouse [ 4.5 miles ]. There is another station closer to their apartment (about 10 minutes) but it makes sense it is not the 118, because in Breaking Point when considering a home birth, Chim mentions the closest firehouse but doesn’t address it as the 118. 
In relation to everyone else, Madney live:
8-10 minutes from Eddie [ 1.8 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Bathena [ ~3.3 miles ]
~30-35 minutes from Buck [ ~6.1 miles ]
Bobby/Athena - Their neighborhood is on: Fallsgrove St, Los Angeles, CA 90016. This is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. What is interesting is that it’s just west of Crenshaw, which Athena has referenced as being familiar with in 2x01. 
Bobby lives 20-25 minutes from the Firehouse [ ~4.6 miles ]. We don’t really have an address of where he lived before, but since he moved in with Athena, my guess is that it put him further away. To put it in perspective, it seems like the Police Station Athena would work at is 6 minutes away, unless she works at the LAPD Headquarters which is in Downtown LA, about 30 minutes away. 
In relation to everyone else, Bathena live:
~10-15 minutes from Eddie [ ~2.2 miles ]
~15-20 minutes from Madney [ ~3.3 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Buck [ ~7.4 miles]
Eddie - Based on the show his address is: 4995 S Bedford St, Los Angeles, CA 90034, Apt.403. I say based on the show, because when looking at street view on Google Maps, S Bedford makes sense, but not the house number. They probably just changed it for the show. Reyneir Park is right down the street from his house.
Eddie lives about 15-20 minutes from the Firehouse [ 5.2 miles ]. The same firehouse I referenced for Chimney is 10-15 minutes away from Eddie. Not sure if we can assume this would be the infamous Station 6 or, Station 126 since they are the closest to the Santa Monica Pier and would’ve responded to the emergency prior to the Tsunami in 3x02. 
In relation to everyone else, Eddie lives:
8-10 minutes from Madney [ 1.8 miles ]
~10-15 minutes from Bathena [ ~2.4 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Buck [ ~7.2 miles ]
Buck - The neighborhood we have for Buck is on: W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA. This obviously puts Buck’s loft downtown in Westlake and based off the overview we saw in 5x04, the point on the map best represents that. A couple of observations specifically for Buck:
He lives the furthest away from everyone. It’s heartbreaking to think, when seen visually, that his distance is a representation of how he feels like he’s not a part of a family. Of course, he could’ve just picked a bachelor pad in Downtown for aesthetics sake, but considering when he rented it - midway through season 2 while with Ali - I think it best represents where he was mentally in relation to the rest of the Firefam. Or, he may have wanted to just be near the only family that he had, which is Maddie. 
Brings me to my next point, prior to Maddie moving in with Chim, she could’ve lived closer to Buck considering the Dispatch Center is in Glendale and about 20 minutes from that general area. At the moment, where she lives, she has the longest commute out of everyone, about 45 minutes. 
Buck lives about 10-15 minutes from the Firehouse [ ~3.4 miles ]
In relation to everyone else, Buck lives: 
~20-25 minutes from Eddie [ ~7.5 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Bathena [ ~7.2 miles]
~30-35 minutes from Madney [ ~6.1 miles ]
So there you have it! If we ever find Hen and Karen’s house/neighborhood, I’ll come back and update this. For now though, I hope this proves helpful. 
@iamcatchingteardropsinmyhands @hmslusitania @kitkatpancakestack @evaneddie @evcndiaz @translucent-bisexual @eddiediaz-buckley @diazchristopher @ghostdiaz @werewolfdiaz @whattarush @ktinaj @monsterfuckerdiaz​ @liesoverthec​ @reallysmartladymariecurie​
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effthisnothingworks · a year ago
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Reasons school was better when we had it at a distance
Our classroom has incredibly stale air
The chairs at school are incredibly uncomfortable
I have to travel 30 minutes there and home and I get travelsick
At home I can eat whenever and whatever I please
I can go to school while laying down or while doing something else way more engaging like buying hay
I could get silence way more frequently than I can at school
Dog
I don’t have to be afraid of teachers or other students judging me for the way I do school
I can literally get up and stretch or change positions or grab water without having to ask anyone for permission or having teachers get mad at me
It is less time-intensive as I don’t have to travel anywhere which also decreases stress
The fact I can go to school anywhere also decreases stress bc as long as I have my phone with me I don’t have to worry about getting to a specific place at a specific time
If I can’t handle school on a day I feel way more comfortable not putting in more spoons than I have if I’m not physically there
It feels more free bc no one can yell at me for not doing the same thing for an hour straight. Like if we have geography but I’m getting exhausted and want to take a break or feel psychology needs more attention I can just do something else and come back to it later
Breaks are more chill bc I have the option of literally everything in my house or where I currently am. If I want to play Just Dance on the break I can.
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sanzuqu · a year ago
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01 | on teaching. lon'qu doesn't think of himself as a teacher and he knows he is not well-suited to be one. he prefers to defer to the instruction and direction of others and to teach as few students as possible. though this is partly motivated by the fact that he does have a general aversion to large groups of people and to female students in particular, it's also because he is conscious of his own shortcomings as a teacher. that is to say, his method of instruction is not one that suits the temperaments of most people and he knows it.
i'm just going to list some details of what his classes are typically like just in case you need know only for flavor, but further explanations are included beneath the cut!
his classes are small and quiet. very show, don't tell. instructs without speaking aloud most of the time. classes start with a line-up, in which lon'qu will swing a training sword against his students and see if they've learned how to defend themselves adequately. ( not a full-fledged sparring match, brief. ) prone to dismissing people if he does not feel they have adequately improved. has a very individualized approach to teaching. will not move onto the next lesson with a student he does not feel is prepared enough. doesn’t repeat himself.
lon'qu describes himself as inexperienced, "raw" in comparison to basilio in his b support with m!robin and doesn't think highly of his skill, though he knows he is more capable than the average sellsword. ( which, you'd have to be, given he was the champion of the west khan for a time! ) certainly more capable than the literal children he's been entrusted with, too. but, i don't think he really thinks he's better than any of the other instructors. in fact, i'm inclined to say he thinks he's the weakest of them — both, in teaching and in mettle.
lon'qu's likely never received formal instruction on how to fight given his background and picked up the tricks of the trade through experience alone. because of that, i think that carries over into the way he teaches. he obviously isn't someone who's very chatty and though i've written him to be particularly impatient with people who ask him theory questions or the differences between combat styles, the truth is he wouldn't know how to explain them even if he tried to.
his method of teaching is very action-oriented, i think.
he's learned through watching and repetition, not through thought-out discussions on the differences and semantics between things. i think he has a rudimentary understanding of differing combat styles and gambits that people play in battle, but he wouldn't really know how to place a name to them. he's very show, don't tell in the way that he teaches, so most of his classes are fairly quiet with the exception of clashing swords. it's important to know that lon'qu is constantly learning while in combat, a trait that he hopes to impress upon his students.
he is always watching his opponents to see how they move, their tics and works to make sense of that in a way that he knows how to respond all while in the midst of a battle. he's learning about his students, from his students as they move, rather than hearing them list off what they think are their strengths and weaknesses. this is important to understand why it is that he teaches the way he does. he expects his students to slowly pick up that he is doing this through their observations and try to do the same without him ever mentioning it because to him, it won’t matter if you know all the names and terms if you can’t put them into action. and given the fluidity of battle, you have to be able to change at the drop of a hat.
his classes are small because he has a very individualized approach to instruction. again in robin's support, he says, 'strength is everything [in regna ferox]. weakness is weeded out and eliminated.' i don’t think he’s cruel enough to tell someone to get the fuck out of his class or anything because he thinks they’re weak, but i think he’s of the mind that if he feels a student isn't at an adequate level to move to the next step/lesson, he just won't teach them. he'll wait until they've learned what they did wrong and correct it because it’ll make them stronger.
all this said and done and even with good intentions, it's quite difficult to want to put up with lon'qu as an instructor when there are so many other options available which i think he realizes. he's not nice and tends to come off as impatient or rude because it’s not like he goes out of his way to explain how he thinks nor is he ever going to feel the need to defend himself. patience is a virtue, but if you're willing to put in the work with him then he's willing to teach. or at least try.
( the good news is that he's learning slowly that you can't always teach this way. now, if only someone could teach him how to read. )
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doux-amer · 2 years ago
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No offense, but as an Asian Steve fan, I get uncomfortable when I come across a white Steve fan/Team Cap person (if they’re a cis white male Cap fan, I backpedal the hell out of there. Istg seeing one out in the wild with a Cap shirt always makes me wary to the some degree).
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terudai · 2 years ago
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what i want to understand is, who was the one who thought "we should fight killer robots with men directly in front of them wielding hammers and shields, in this year of 2050-ish, even though we probably have more advanced technology than hammers, this is just brilliant, what could go wrong"
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screnwriter-old-i-moved · 5 months ago
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a shit ton of enemies to lovers prompts
warning: includes nsfw
your enemy has been badly wounded, and somebody needs to bandage them up, so you agree to help them, and suddenly they're shirtless, and you can't help but admire their body, something this cheeky motherfucker takes notice of
you and your enemy has to kiss each other to create a distraction, though you get lost in kissing each other, and the only one who ends up getting distracted is the two of you, and as your enemy shoves you up against the wall, and you fumble with their belt, the antagonist sneaks right past you
chaining your enemy, leaving them behind while they scream and curse at you to release them
there's only one bed, but this time, they're arguing over who should sleep on the floor, which nobody agrees to, so instead they end up sharing, incredibly annoyed over having to share their space (it’s not like friends to lovers, in which they both awkwardly get into bed. this is straight up just. i will set this bed on fire if you don’t stay on your side)
your enemy seduces you by kissing your neck, tracing their fingers down your body. bonus if it takes place on a balcony, with your friends in the garden below you. if one of them look up towards the balcony, you'll get caught, and yet you can't bring yourself to push your enemy away from you
you're upset one night, and you don't know where to go, so you end up at your enemy's house, and as they open the door, you stay silent for a second, before saying (with tears in your eyes) ''i don't know where else to go.'' your enemy doesn't say anything. instead they pull you into their arms, giving you a shoulder to cry on.
during a dance, formal or informal, character A is dancing with character C, and character B can't take their eyes off of them, and when character B notices this, character B smirks, and starts dancing more intimately with character C, while not taking their eyes off of character A
your enemy's crew is talking about kidnapping or torturing you, and your enemy doesn't understand why they feel a sudden urge to strangle their crew for wanting to put you in harms way
pinning your enemy against the wall, or straddling their hips, pinning their arms above their head
you snatch a knife from your enemy's grip and throws it at the ground, then you grab your enemy by the collar, and crash your lips against theirs. they're surprised, but responds immediately
you threaten your enemy, and when they close the distance between you, you realize how attracted you truly are to them
your enemy's crew tells your enemy that they have to choose between you and their crew. your enemy doesn't hesitate. they choose you. as your enemy's crew raises their weapons, your enemy shields you, because if the crew wants to get to you, they'll have to kill [your enemy] first
jumping into bed with your enemy to ''blow off some steam'' or to ''resolve sexual tension.'' you promise each other it's meaningless, but the next night, it happens again
wrestling your enemy to the ground when they threaten you, holding a knife to their throat ''touch me if you dare.'' ''is that a challenge?''
''you're not going to kill me.'' ''don't be so sure about that.'' ''if you wanted me dead, i'd already be six feet under.''
you've been wounded, your face is all bruised up, your enemy puts a finger under your chin, bringing your eyes to theirs, asking: ''who did this to you?'' when you don't answer, they ask again ''who did this to you?''
your enemy keeps on smiling when you've got them pinned down, and seem to enjoy having a knife against their throat ''are you getting off on this?'' ''i quite enjoy the view.''
you and your enemy bond over something you have in common. when your conversation is over and you need to leave, your enemy follows you to the door and says ''we still hate each other, right?'' you hesitate for a moment: ''i'd still kick your ass.'' ''i'm counting on it.'' you share a laugh, and as you walk out the door, you start blushing
you and your enemy hug each other, it's completely accidental, and neither of you know why it happened, and it's like,,, you glare at each other, with an expression of ''let's never speak of this again'´
avoiding each other for weeks after sharing an intimate moment, be it a kiss, a hug, holding hands, or just looking at each other's lips
you end up on your enemy's lap, and you yank the belt from their pants ''let's just get this over with.''
it's 1am, your enemy knocks on your door, and you're like wtf are you doing at my house, then you notice that they're carrying a dead body, and you're like what the fuck is that, and your enemy's like, i need your help, now, desperately, and you're like, fine, but if you get blood on my carpet, you'll end up just like him (dead)
you recently broke up with your partner, who cheated on you. knowing that you're upset and pissed, your enemy shows up at your house. you claim you don't want them there, and as you open the door, insinuating that you want them to leave, your enemy slams it shut and says ''use me.'' you know they mean in bed. and you know it's wrong. and you know you shouldn't. and you know you'll regret it. and you end up sleeping with them the same night.
''i can't go there with you, you know. everything's just... too complicated.''
''if you hurt them, i will kill you. do you hear me? i'll kill you.''
your enemy says ''slap me.'' you slap them, no hesitation. your enemy's like ?????
i might make a part two
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no-droids · 7 months ago
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Home
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gif credit: @javier-pena
Part Eighteen of the Rough Day Series
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 19.5K
Warnings: SMUT, religion kink (maybe?), squirting, consensual stalking/pursuing, canon-typical violence, mention of underage drinking, uhh I believe that’s it but as always, let me know if I’ve forgotten anything please!
A/N: Hey yall!!!  So I know this chapter has been a long time coming and though I’m not completely satisfied with it, I hope it brings a little happiness to you for an hour or two while you read!  School has been kicking my ass and I’ve been in a bit of an emotional slump recently, but I pulled a few all-nighters to post this on time and it’s finally finished!  Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me and sent me encouraging words over the past month or so, I hope you enjoy the end of the Sanctuary arc💕
Also like last time, part 2 of my collaboration with @followwhereshegoes will be posted after the chapter!!  As a reminder, sweet girl is a reader insert and every imagining of her will be different—this is Lisa’s interpretation of her and her artwork is absolutely gorgeous, so please go give her a follow!
Day 5–11:13am:
You zone out again in the early morning, but that happens a lot.  Din always keeps you up so late, all the time, and without any caf here, the rising sun just makes your eyes droop instead of flutter brighter and wider.  You helped a bunch of younglings find their way into their robes when it was still dark out, tying sashes and fitting masks while holding back your yawns.  The walk into Nariss is close to three hours, probably more with all these tiny little legs, and you almost forget to change into your new digs before everyone grabs breakfast.
Even though your ragtag entourage leaves for Nariss just as soon as everyone finishes eating, you don’t reach the city until nearly lunchtime.  Mostly because the kids walk about as fast as the elderly holy women chaperoning the trip.  You and Naydee lag behind the group, forcing yourself to meander slow as fuck when you nearly sprinted this same exact path just a few days ago.  On the way there, you listen to children of all sorts sing happily as they walk, chatter about their excitement for the parade, complain about wearing the fabric mask they made themselves, and more than once, somebody takes a tumble onto the ground and is left in teary sniffles and dirt stained clothes.  Likely for this reason, the robes are designed to be two pieces—a long tunic with a hood and a separate pants portion to prevent tripping instead of a draping skirt, but the smallest ones are clumsy and find a way to fall anyways.
It’s a colorful bunch—a chaotic rainbow of babies running around, and you share easy conversation with your new friend about the plans for the day until she asks something that makes you nearly trip and join the dirty robe club.
“Sister Drya said your family is meeting you in the city,” she tells you, ignoring your immediate subtle toe stub and the awkward shuffle you have to do to make up for it.  “There’s going to be lots of people downtown, I’m worried it might be hard for them to find you.”
Your heart thuds in your chest and you feel a bit short of breath at being abruptly confronted with the need to lie, but at the same time, you kind of love it.  Having a secret, hiding the truth from others, and just the reminder that you’re almost guaranteed to see Din and the baby before midnight pours warmth and tingles through your tummy.  Everything together is a hit of spice, filling you with a kind of excitement that used to be foreign to you.  Having fun, experiencing new things isn’t quite over yet, but home is calling and you miss it with every fiber of your being.
“I don’t think so,” you eventually respond, hoping she can see your kind smile and the sentiment it carries even as light, shimmery fabric wraps right around your mouth.  “If I disappear, you’ll know why.”
Naydee’s eyes crinkle in the corners to match yours.  “Hopefully you’ll be able to see the fireworks first,” she nudges you, her skin glowing against the pale cream fabric she has wrapped around her own mouth and the hood laying delicately over her braids.  “They start at eight.”
The fireworks, you almost forgot.  You know what?  Today is a good day.  You hear yourself think the full sentence multiple times, and the words put a spring in your step after every single one.  The road gradually becomes wider and filled with more travelers, and you feel safe in the back.  Like some kind of sheepdog bringing up the rear of this migrating cluster of children, making sure none of them drift off by themselves and start eating grass or something.
Surprisingly, the kids manage to be relatively patient and well-behaved once they’re in line at the gates.  The Sisters shuffle them along one by one as everyone moves up slowly, taking even longer to get into the city than it did a few days ago.  The entrance is packed already—so many people visiting for the festival, and they’re all dressed in costumes or robes of sorts, or at least a mask.  Most are beautifully crafted, but some manage to look slightly scary even with the soft springtime color schemes.  It’s a completely different world, a different life for each person as you pass them by.  Your stomach is starting to growl by the time you finally make it to the front, and luckily the guards just let the kids through without any ceremony.  Just you and the rest of the caretakers in light robes need to hold still for the retinal scan, matching each other perfectly except for differing shades of fabric, skin, and eye color.  Once the gates open for you and you step through, though… it’s… Maker.
Extravagant, magnificent are both words.  Floral is another.
It’s like they hung up bouquets wherever they could think to fit them, and this is just the edge of the city.  As the group moves through the streets and closer to downtown, it becomes more and more overwhelming.  The air itself is a warm fragrance wafting all around you, sunshiney and breezy and perfect, flowers of all kinds lining the modern buildings and archways like they were planted there from the very beginning and it just took this long to bloom between the cracks in the concrete.  You wish you had names for all of them so you could list them—the only thing you can offer is the color and vague descriptions of the ones that stick out to you.  Tiny yellow ones that are so small, they need to be bunched all together in massive quantities to even resemble normal flowers.  Up overhead, elaborate arrangements of enormous blue and purple and pink ones, wrapping around each other and hanging down from rooftops.  Some don’t even have petals, it’s like they’re big green cups that are big enough to hold things inside them.  You’re fascinated by every single one, wanting to stop and smell them all individually but needing to keep up with the large group and not allow any stragglers to be left behind, including yourself.
About an hour later, when you’re almost in the middle of the city and there are people everywhere, it’s time to eat lunch.  There isn’t much to it because of how expensive it is, and you’d normally feel bad for accepting the small meal each one of the children gets, but you donated all of your credits to the Keja and left absolutely zero for yourself.  Good intentions, terrible idea.  Still, you pull your mask down and snack on some deliciously fried food, trying not to eye anyone else’s platter after you finish yours.  It’s so good and it’s gone in an instant; you couldn’t even say what exactly it was besides which stall you got it at.  Whether it’s just the brilliant atmosphere or if the food on this moon is really just that good, you’re not really sure, but you’re still slightly hungry afterwards with no extra money to sneak a snack.
Soon after, the kids all line up to get their faces painted, or whatever portion of their face is visible behind the cloth masks and hoods they’ve got on, and music blares from at least four different directions and none of the songs are even in the same language.  Depending on the part of town, it seems like the celebrations are all different.  It makes sense, considering most if not all of these individuals were victims of the Empire’s wrath, spread far and wide across the galaxy.  Here, they’re free, and they want everyone to know it.  Spring festivals of some sort are likely common for most cultures, at least those from planets with seasons, not like Arvala-7 where it was arid and hot year-round, and you’re assuming there are multiple things being celebrated today depending on which street you live on.  There’s chanting in different tongues, dancing and drums, outfits and masks from different cultures every single time you look.
At some point, the children spot a crowded street with flowery rails set up all along them, and you stand behind the tiny heads while everyone waits for the parade to begin.  You think your heart has just been beating slightly faster than normal all day today, but when you finally hear the sound of sirens blaring in the distance and cheers begin to pour out from the gathered crowd, it kicks up and you feel like you’re just as wide eyed at the spectacle as the waist-high babies all huddled together up against the railing.
A flurry of people and things pass in slow succession.  First, New Republic officers with their blaring holobikes, bright orange as always.  Then come large groups of people walking behind banners in languages you can’t read, some of them waving, some of them making different sounds and songs.  Bands marching in formation, dancers in dresses and masks and gorgeous flowers in their hair like crowns, and then brilliant hovering vehicles decorated in bright colors and festive depictions.  The craftsmanship and cultural significance is stunning to witness, it’s so insanely loud, there’s so much going on, and yet…
Through it all, you think of Din.  No matter the faces, the sights you see.  There’s someone juggling.  There’s either a very tall man and woman walking together or they’re both on stilts.  There are enormous balloons being led through the air, people are riding atop an assortment of animals you’ve never seen before, there are traditional costumes and spectacular stunts being performed.  Stalls with games and prizes line the stretches of concrete on the cross streets, people are laughing and celebrating and drinking in equal parts, everything is so lively and festive and fun, and yet, though it all, you think of Din.  Him and the baby, they’re always in the forefront of your mind, occupying your thoughts and making your tummy stir more and more as the time passes like the parade in front of you.  You don’t think this environment would ever be his favorite, and in some far away galaxy, perhaps if you lived other lives together and called a beautiful moon exactly like this home, then you might have to drag him out to see all the with you and the kid every year.  You’d have to bat your eyelashes and kiss his cheek and snuggle up to him all nice and pretty like, and he’d probably grumble and complain about it while wrapping his arms around you—all the people and the noise, sweet girl—but he’d go.  For you, he’d go.
Your thoughts suddenly stop short and you blink for a second.  Why… Why was that scene so vivid?  So wistful?  You used to preoccupy yourself with fantasies about Din all the time, back before you even knew him as Din.  But in every single one, it was sexual and likely came from a place of boredom, a lack of external stimulation.  Here you are amidst bustling surroundings, and you’re daydreaming about domesticity with him.  Why?  You want to travel the galaxy, right?  You want to see things you’ve never seen before, right?
For some reason, you think of the floor, and you miss it.
***
Day 5—5:04pm:
It’s late afternoon at this point and nobody can find the teens.
More people have made their way into the city and it’s starting to get extremely fucking crowded, especially where you are downtown, and the handful of them must’ve slipped away with all the excitement happening and how difficult it is to keep the young ones together now that the parade is over.  You don’t know how long they’ve been gone—one second they were walking around just slightly detached from the rest of you, you assumed because the boisterous younglings fucked with their cool vibe, and then the next Naydee is gasping out to you that they’re gone.
“Sister Drya is going to kill me,” she hisses, her dark eyebrows furrowed in self-admonishment and stress.  So many fucking people here, you know her pain.  “I was supposed to be chaperoning them, they were just here—”
She shakes her head under the loose, cream-colored hood, groaning and then speeding up her gait to catch up with the woman in charge, but you decide to grab her wrist before she can relay the bad news.  
“I can go find them,” you offer, speaking as low as you can with the blaring noise surrounding you.  “Before anyone knows they’re missing.  Is there a way to convince everybody to stay in one spot for a little while?  You won’t get in trouble, but I need to know how to find you again.”
Naydee’s eyes widen in surprise, and even though it’s likely a bit out of character for you, you have a feeling it’ll be a deceptively easy task.  Even with the masses right now and how atrociously big this city is, you already have a general idea of where they’re likely to be.  Besides, you’re not even sure your absence will be noticed if Naydee is the only one who figured out the teens were gone—the other Sisters can thrive without you while missing anyone else would be noticeable, and you owe your new friend a thousand favors for helping you out these past few days.  The least you can do is save her from the scolding of one of the scariest old ladies you've ever met.
“Be as quick as you can,” she finally agrees.  It’s a lot of trust to put into you, but you’ve had experience in reading the most unreadable man in the entire galaxy, some teenagers shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.  “If you’re not back in thirty minutes or somebody notices, I’ll have to say something.”
You nod, silently breaking away from the group without another word.  You think you can hear her announce to everyone that it might be best to eat dinner now to skip any long lines later—smart—but you’re out of their hearing range and line of sight almost immediately.
***
Day 5–5:17pm:
“Really?”  You raise an eyebrow since they won’t be able to see the way your mouth is twisted up underneath your mask, crossing your arms and tapping your foot against the ground to further illustrate just how not fucking impressed you are.
Seven teenagers freeze, and slowly—depending on how much bravery they can individually muster—they turn around on their stools to face you.  The atmosphere in the tavern is bustling and cheery, booze being passed around a large crowd that laughs and mingles, but your vibe is stone cold and quiet.  The contrast doesn’t feel wrong on you like it normally would; the negative and disapproving energy you’re emitting makes you feel powerful, untouchable, armored and strong.
“How did you find us so fast?”  One of the twin boys squeaks out behind a light blue robe, sounding worried.
“Had a hunch,” you grumble, glaring sternly at each of them in turn.  Your tone is dry, your voice sits lower in your throat when you’re pissed off.  All you had to do was look for the closest bar that doesn’t have any orange jumpsuits poking around waiting to card underage younglings, it wasn’t that difficult.  “You’re not exactly unpredictable.”
“Are you gonna rat us out?”  The other twin asks you, in a voice that’s oddly deep compared to his brother.
“I should,” you snap, quickly reaching out to push their drinks away.  “I should let Sister Drya rain down her holy fury on your asses, got good people all twisted up over you for nothing and I’m missing dinn—”
You don’t know why, but you suddenly cut yourself off and jerk upright, spinning around.
The sounds of glasses clinking and boisterous voices fill the bar, but they seem to fade out for a second.  Your eyes fly around the crowded space, your heart lodged in your throat and looking for anything reflective.  Every flash you see is a false alarm—belt buckle, wristwatch, cocktail shaker—
He’s here… isn’t he?
Only, there’s nothing.  Nothing is out of place, nothing jumps out at you the way you’re assuming it will.  You’re braced taut and ready to bolt at the first sign of a chase, but it never comes.
It’s so… unexpected, this feeling.  It’s not like you’re being hunted anymore, but instead, you’re the hunter.  You’re feeling the weight of him from this far away and it’s like he’s calling for you to come find him, teasing the wild adrenaline rush you get from just feeling his presence, as if he absolutely knows it happens.  Whispering soft in your ear and then vanishing the second you’re able to turn around, like he’s here but he’s not.  Playing with you from so far away.
This… this is a taunt.  
The whole thing at the inn was leagues below this, that was rudimentary.  Teasing, getting even, having fun with each other, whatever you want to call that, that’s what it was.  This is scarily sophisticated.  Fluid and practiced and the best kind of frightening, stark and dangerous compared to the carefree and upbeat setting surrounding you.  You’re not making it up, it’s not just you being paranoid.  You know him with your eyes closed.  You know he’s here somewhere watching you, just like you know the starlight that streaks across the pitch black horizon of hyperspace.  Not because you can see it, not really, not directly.  But because by it, even in the vastest and darkest and emptiest of voids, you’re suddenly able to see everything else.
“You okay, Nerida?”
The volume gradually comes back up and you blink, suddenly remembering where you are, who else is with you.  The chatter becomes slightly louder than it seemed before.
“Yeah,” you eventually say, slightly airy while continuing to stare emptily at the crowded room.  He’s not here, you don’t think, not anymore at least.  But you’re not stupid, you know what this means.  You’re already caught, there’s nothing you can conceivably do that will delay the reunion for the next—you look down and pull the loose sleeve up to check your communicator—seven fucking hours, there’s no way.  He’ll pull back and follow you, keep up with you from a distance and then snatch you away right when you let your guard down.  You at least need to get the kids back to their guardians before that can happen, though.
“Let’s go,” you quietly tell the group of foundlings, grabbing elbows and hauling them out of their stools.  “Naydee was the only one who knew that you were gone when I left.  Here’s to hoping she managed to keep it that way.”
***
Day 5–5:32pm:
Against all odds, you’re able to rally the wayward teens and successfully lead them through shoulders that are beginning to move closer together as the crowd grows and grows.  You stay towards the back and don’t look behind you once—not only do you not want to give the younglings an unnecessary reason to become paranoid or to question your actions, but you can still feel Din lingering.  Moving like a shadow, probably fitting in perfectly with the masked festival-goers, nothing drawing any attention to him with all the spectacular sights and noise occurring.
Soon you return to the same spot from before, and you and the teenagers seamlessly integrate yourselves back into the rest of the group without anyone noticing a thing is out of place.  When you move to stand beside her, Naydee’s bone-deep sigh of relief is palpable even behind the concealing fabric; she squeezes your hand incredibly tight in a silent gesture of thanks, and then pulls something from the deep pockets of her robe and passes it to you sneakily.  A purple fruit.  She must’ve saved it for you.
Maker, fuck yes.  It’s not much but it’s more dinner than any of the seven troublemakers get, but Naydee quietly assures you they’ll be able to eat something once they return to the Keja around midnight, just not the tasty expensive treats they’re selling at the vendors.  As the sun goes down, you try not to stain your pretty fabric a deep maroon as you chomp and feel your lips start to curl upwards.  It sounds so fucking stupid when you put it like this, but you keep going back to Din and revelling in knowing that he’s so close, like you’re just mentally checking in on him.  You don’t get the sensation by thinking, though—more like you just focus really hard on your heart and feel him there just a second afterwards.
Is that how pure, stupid, shameless love feels when you’re completely entrenched in it?  It’s not like it’s surrounding you, it’s not suffocating you or making you float.  It’s just a thing.  Like… a thing inside your chest, a physical thing you can search for and find, something you can point to on your body and say it’s right here, this is where my love for him lives.  Right at the bottom of your heart, right where it curves and beats strong when other hearts meet flat at sharp angles.  You do it over and over again, reconfirming its existence every single time.  You don’t know what else you’d call it.  Love is the only word.  To love, to know.  To hold in the heart.
Soon, you start to notice that people are slowly moving around your stationary group.  You look up and watch the crowd begin to walk, some of them giving soft smiles to the cute children as they pass by, but all of them following the same unspoken direction.
“Where is everyone going?”  You ask Naydee, standing on your tiptoes to watch the crowd migrate like a giant system, an organism or mechanism of thousands (or tens of thousands?) of smaller moving parts all traveling in tandem.  It’s fascinating—you’ve been to crowded places, you know what it looks like when a lot of people are packed into one area, but you’ve never seen what it looks like when they all move together.  They would normally be bumping into each other, slipping in between, fighting and never really getting anywhere, interacting individually and thinking separately.  Now they’re progressing in one single direction, so many with the same mindset and understanding of what comes next.  A second parade, almost, with New Republic officers directing the flow of pedestrians as they pass.
“The eastern part of the city!”  Naydee yells over the noise and points, and beyond her extended finger, you can barely see the light of a dusky body of water in the distance beyond the buildings.  “The fireworks are going to go off over the bay, but it takes awhile to get there!”
“Is…”  You blink for a second, suddenly caught off guard, trying to think back to the holomap the concierge pulled up at the front desk of the inn.  Surely you would’ve noticed it, but your sudden childlike hope makes you ask anyway.  “Is it part of an ocean?”
Naydee shakes her head.  “A really big lake!”
Your shoulders drop just the slightest bit in disappointment but still, you ache to see it.  You can’t even imagine—the fireworks are likely going to reflect across the water, giving everyone double the view.  And luckily, after all the children and caretakers are individually accounted for, you start to behind the slow-moving crowd towards the docks you know lie beyond.  
Naydee scurries ahead to keep the kids together, ushering them forward and preventing any drunk passer-bys from accidentally stepping on them, and you quietly bring up the very rear of the entourage.  You take the time to observe more than anything, walk in the back and experience instead of trailblaze.  So many people, so many stories to be told, so many differences and diversity around you.  Your face is partially concealed and you don’t move your head too much, just your eyes.  They flick around to take in everything, the crowd thinning little by little as you make it out of the confined space downtown.  You’re able to make out full bodies and outfits again instead of just heads and shoulders, allowing you to breathe just a bit easier under your mask.
And then at one point—and it’s almost a little startling because it happens all at once—the organizers must decide that the sun has officially gone down, because the lights come on.  All of a sudden, paper lanterns and bulbs flicker into existence all around you and the world decides it wants to glow, glint and twinkle from the inside out.  They’re everywhere, draping across rooftops and tangled around street signs and stuffed into the flower bouquets overhead, raining soft colors down on everything.  You’re in complete awe, trying to keep walking but also needing to look at as much as fucking possible in the suddenly luminescent city.  It’s so colorful, so vernal and warm and you feel like you’re… Like when you took a shower on the Crest for the first time and spent a few happy moments just playing with the water and soap for your own enjoyment, it’s as if all the brilliant rainbow of colors the bubbles would make under the fluorescent light decided to surround you at the same time.  You’re inside stained glass, blinking at the flowers and wondering if Din can even smell the air or if it’s filtered, processed and reduced to nothing under the helmet.
And that’s when you see him.
But with the way your chest rapidly constricts and you can count your heart beats as they pound, blaring white noise through your ears and adrenaline through your veins, it’s like he's just allowing it to happen.  You immediately understand that you don’t have fucking anything the second your eyes land on him; this isn’t a heads up that you caught wind of early, it’s not a gift or an advantage you’ve incidentally gained over him that you should be thankful for.  Being able to see him directly like this, being able to make out all these fucking details from this far away…  This just feels like you’re being informed of the endgame right before it comes.  If you were anyone else, if you were a real bounty and this was a real hunt, his armor glinting and reflecting the lanterns overhead would feel like a knife you're about to be on the wrong side of.
You have a decision to make, very quickly.  Either keep in this same direction, head straight towards him and just pretend like you are who you’re dressed as, a random caretaker for a bunch of rowdy foundlings during a spring festival on Nariss, or disappear.  Drop back, move through the crowd and use the distance you have between you right now as your only hope of getting away in time.  Neither one gives you a particular advantage—your chances of being caught have already skyrocketed exponentially just being able to see the reflection in his armor, the hovering shield at his side with big black eyes… staring directly at you.
You almost trip over your pantlegs, gasping.  Baby.  He beams at you and you think he calls out through the passing crowd, his tiny arms extending out, and your chest feels like you’re pulling organs as if they were muscles, cramping up and seizing with emotion.  You want to run to them even though you’re meant to be running from them, call out over the noise and wave even though you’re not supposed to.  You want to hold the kid again, squish his little forehead with kisses, walk around with Din’s hand pressed against your lower back and see the fireworks with him.
Your hands clutch at the draping fabric covering your chest, pulling and twisting it uncertainly.  What do you do, what do you do?
No matter what, you know it’s over.  Keep your head down and try to move past him, or break away from your group and try to escape—both are different paths that lead to the same result.  What’s the point of running when he’s the one chasing you?  The heart-pounding thrill is the only reason you’re even considering it, but his body stands so tall amongst the crowd, not moving while people ebb and flow like a river passing around him.
Except then you can hear his voice repeat the last thing he said to you in person as if he says it directly into the comm in your ear.  When you do see me… try to outrun.
You should run—run, it’s better than just hoping he doesn’t see you when you already know he does.
Unless…
Out of a trillion different possibilities, you soon realize that there is exactly one situation in which this could turn out in your favor.  You can immediately picture the scenario in your mind, but there’s just too many variables to conceivably rely on getting them all right.  This maybe has a… two percent chance of working?  Maybe?  Everything would have to go perfectly, just fucking flawlessly, but what other choice do you have?  Two percent is better than whatever odds you’re dealing with now.
You walk silently behind the group of foundlings as you approach closer and closer, keeping your head purposefully down as they skip and giggle and dance ahead.  He knows you’re here—he has to know, you’re counting on him knowing.  Walk right in front of him, pretend like you don’t see, make sure you keep left.  Keep left, keep left, keep your head down, keep your head down—
A leather glove suddenly catches hold of your wrist hard enough to tug you backwards.
Your gasp is audible over the sound of the crowd and you spin around, jerking your head up to look at him in fear.  Your heart slams as the beskar reflects your mask and hood back at you—you’re terrified and it shows, you can see it in your eyes.
You quickly try to yank your hand away, even as your index finger stretches up towards the communicator around his wrist.
“Miss Nerida?”  A child’s voice cries, and then small hands grab at you from behind as you bury the urge to actually fight him.  Your instincts are demanding you attack when his grip is this strong, but you just whine and struggle, slapping weakly at him with your free hand and feeling more of the younglings begin to pull at you, their high pitched voices calling more and more attention to the scene.
Your gaze flicks to the side, suddenly landing on a pair of New Republic officers helping direct the thousands of moving bodies from the closest street corner.  They’re looking at you, pointing and beginning to speak into their own comm units.  Din’s helmet snaps sideways to follow your gaze, and then he’s immediately dropping your wrist and stepping back, retreating as quickly as he caught you.  Though you don’t want to—though you don’t want to give yourself away even more, you want to pretend fully that he was a complete stranger and the children were right to try to help you get away—your eyes fall to your son in the hovering crib by his side and you feel yourself crumble just a bit.
Just a few more hours, kid.  A few more hours.
Children pull you away while your pursuers both disappear into the crowd, and you quickly turn to soothe the tiny babies instead of chasing after the one you miss so terribly.
“I’m alright,” you tell them, scooting them up and encouraging them to continue walking.  Blend in, blend in, don’t let anybody think anything is wrong.  “Come on, we’re fine, come on, we have to catch up.”
They take your lead as soon as one of the caretakers turns around and sees the small group crowding around you.  You think she asks what happened, but you just tell her a man mistook you for someone else and nothing more comes of it.  She’s able to settle the chaos better than you are, and by the time you’re continuing to travel forwards once more like nothing happened, the communicator suddenly flicks on in your ear.
“What did you do?”  He breathes out, his footsteps moving fast through his voice.  He’s traveling much quicker than you expected—is he still being followed?  The officers are gone from your sight, they might be going after him right now, weaving between bodies and calling out to the perpetually vanishing glint of armor as he navigates his way out of danger.
You look down at the comm on your wrist and your heart nearly soars with victory.  It worked.  It worked.  You just have to outlast a bit longer, don’t draw any extra attention to it—he’s preoccupied and he certainly doesn’t sound happy, but you hope that’ll be enough to make him slip.  Use his frustration to your advantage, let him think the only thing you were successful at was momentarily escaping him.
“The cops weren’t part of the plan,” you admit quietly, keeping your head down as your loose hood billows in the twilight breeze.  “Don’t get caught.”
There’s a few moments of just his breathing, his footsteps, and the noise floor humming through the comm, before he finally responds.  “You look beautiful.”
You stare unseeingly down at the concrete under your feet, still feeling your hand tingle from where he caught you.  The line abruptly mutes on his end and you just keep moving forward, onward, wanting to look back but knowing he’s already long gone.
***
Day 5–5:24pm:
Din is fucking furious.
He had you.  You were right there, right in front of him, and even if he hadn’t been subtly trailing you all day, seeing the red footsteps get covered and flicker out of existence just a few moments after you make them, he would’ve recognized you anywhere.  In black and white, in the fading light, with your face covered, children calling you by a different name and attaching themselves to you like they’ve known you forever—doesn’t matter, he would’ve known you.  Your eyes have always given you away, always so expressive and starry and soft, but able to see right through solid steel whenever you look at him.
But then you slipped from his grasp, and then more guards pushed him further and further away from you.  They must all be in constant communication, because every single jumpsuit he sees immediately spots him and starts following.  It’s fucking exhausting, and he thinks of you the whole time.
He waits in a dark alley with the kid and taps the side of the helmet a few times to bring up the time on his comm, but then relaxes just slightly when he sees the hour.  It’s earlier than he thought it was, he’ll be able to find you again.
Though, something tugs at him while he’s looking at the clock ticking away in front of his eyes, counting down each second that passes.  There was… a moment.  Back in the square, when he was holding onto you again, when you were looking directly into his once more—everything in his helmet— 
No, he shakes his head while the kid looks up at him curiously, it can’t be.  It was just a split second, it was gone so fast.
But he can’t get rid of it.  Though there’s no explanation, he thinks the display screen flickered.  The sky behind you looked different for a single frame, your footsteps weren’t bright red and visible anymore, your eyes weren’t grey and he stopped wondering what shade of fabric you and your friend decided to choose for you to wear.  It was silvery, he’s almost certain.  Like his armor, it only reflected the color of everything around it.
Color.  Everywhere.  Bursting for a blink of an eye, and then gone just as quick, before he could actually figure out what it really meant.
***
Day 5–6:59pm:
This water is quiet here, but it sparkles.
It doesn’t ever really get truly dark thanks to the enormous hanging moon and ringed gas giant dancing with Sanctuary II, constantly reflecting light back onto the surface and reacting with some of the trace chemicals up above the atmosphere, and you think the sky just might be the prettiest you’ve ever seen it.  Must have something to do with the equinox, the glimmering angles of light being played with by celestial bodies in this stunning system, but it’s a dream.  The Maker apparently couldn’t decide which colors he wanted tonight so he just splashed all of them together all at once, let them run and blend like ink in the gentle water below, like the various people who call this moon home.
That view in front of you, coupled with all the flowers and lanterns lining the streets behind you, and you’ve lost track of time the exact same way you hoped Din would.  You think you’ve stood for about an hour or so in this one spot, half-listening to excited chatter from the babies, mostly just gazing across the stretch of water and being able to just barely spot the docks in the distance, but it feels like it’s only been minutes.
You check your watch—the fireworks should be starting any second now.  You don’t know what to expect, just that in your experience, explosions tend to be loud.  You've decided you’re not going to plug your ears, though.  Tummy twisting with nerves and another inexplicable feeling you can’t quite put your finger on, you resolve to experience the unknown exactly the way it’s meant to be.  Fully, without worry or fear.
Then, lacking any warning or ceremony whatsoever, a single flare launches silent and high from one of the small boats skimming the bay, and the crowd seems to hold its collective breath as the dim light disappears into thin air for a split second, before—
It’s… quite possibly the most dazzling thing you think you’ve ever seen.  So shamelessly decorative just for the sake of it, not serving any other practical purpose besides celebration and visual spectacle, and you’ll probably never know another extravagance like it.  You grew up with dust pelting against tired eyes, you never thought they’d get to reflect such gorgeous bursts of color back up at the sky, glassy and childlike amongst a group of equally wide-eyed children.
As expected, a deafening boom follows closely behind the singular display, but just witnessing it is incredible enough to make you forget to brace yourself for the sound and you jump almost violently in response.  There comes a loud cheer from the people standing around you, a few delighted gasps and children who decide now is the best time to start crying, but then more flares begin to launch from the boats and the subsequent show will sear itself into your memory to replay over and over again.
Still, you think the endless sky and dark water below would have to light on fire to stop him from coming to mind.
Din.
You click the comm on, continuing to stare in stunned awe but wanting nothing more than to hear his voice right now, feel his hand rest on your lower back and the kid’s three fingers squeezing one of yours while the stars rain down from above.  You’re only continuing to run from him because it’s expected of you, that’s the reason you’re here, but it’s becoming harder and harder to argue with yourself.  “Do you always see in black and white?”
It takes him just a few seconds to respond, but he always does.  “Only when I’m tracking someone.”
The loud booms can be heard over the earpiece, happening maybe a second after they crack and sparkle above you.  You can’t tell if the latency is due to the electronics or if he’s just that far away from the source of the sound itself, but… you don’t think he is.  He feels close again, like he could just walk up right next to you any second, or maybe that’s just how he always feels now.
“Does that mean you haven’t seen the sky here?”  You ask after a moment.  This whole time, everything has been grey for him?
“I saw it,” Din murmurs, and even though it’s quiet and explosions are thundering loud enough to deafen more sensitive ears, his quiet voice somehow breaks through it all.  “When you left the Crest, I saw it behind you.”
For some reason, you suddenly feel like crying.  Whether it’s the way he phrases it or the sentiment in the words, you’re close to tears without even knowing why, looking up at the sky illuminating spectacularly.  He says it like he wasn’t the one who parked on this moon and told you to go on without him.  “Can you… turn it off for just a second?”
He takes a second, before clarifying for you.  “I turn it off and I lose your footprints.”
So that was the ultimatum.  He doesn’t want to turn it off until you’re back with him again.  Does he not understand?  Does he not know what you know?  Maybe you just happened to feel it first, this overwhelming physical sensation inside you whenever you think about him.  It’s like the exact opposite of a hole in your chest.  And it’s so odd, so counterintuitive.  Being comforted in his absence, feeling him with you when he isn’t.  Falling in love in the dark, knowing him without ever seeing him.
“You never needed them,” you say, reaching up to pull your mask down under your jaw and chin for a moment, wanting to freely breathe the freshwater and flowers while stars explode and fracture across the sky.  It’s a truth you’re acknowledging, something you’ll carry with you, something you fundamentally own at this point.  “You’d find me without the helmet.  And I’d find you.”
The fireworks continue to bleed into the water beneath them, multicolor splashes rippling into existence and disappearing just as quick.  You could’ve never imagined a more colorful, magnificent landscape—besides your waterfall on Naboo, of course.  That was a pure product of nature though, a place hidden away and untouched by people, completely sacred.  Light refracting against mist, natural glass that would shatter under your weight.  This is a celebration of life and family.  Loud in a different way, affecting you in a different way, but just as wonderful and touching.  A cultivated paradise, designed to be beautiful and safe only because they wanted it to be.
“Think so?”  He asks softly.  He sounds so deep and warm, but… a little distant.  You’re able to hear it in his words.  You don’t know why, though.  Doesn’t he believe you?  Perhaps… perhaps this isn’t The Way.  Perhaps this is part of a completely different oath, one where knowing and loving somebody isn’t the same thing as looking at their face, not at all.  Where you can have them exist entirely separate from each other, because this is love.  This is real, enduring, bone-deep love, and you haven’t ever seen his face, so how would he explain that?  How would the Mandalorians reconcile that?  You bear the mark of the mudhorn, you’ve moved through time and space with him, you’re a mother to his son, and you’ve never seen his face.  It defies both the Mandalorian oath and traditional understandings of love, or it meets them right in the middle, depending on how you look at it.
“I know so.”  For the first time, you think you might sound more confident and certain than he does.  Maybe he doesn’t fully get it yet, but then you suppose he’ll just have to trust you.  “Will you look at the sky?”
“I see it,” Din tells you, but you know he doesn’t.  Not the way you want him to.  And stars, you just want so many things for him, don’t you?  The sky, fresh air, water, light, food, rest.  You want him to see the galaxy the way you do—have a new appreciation for the gifts that are given just because you’re alive to experience them.  All the physics and mathematics aligned perfectly for it to happen—all the chemistry, the systems, the dynamics that dictate the universe, they all got together and crafted a world where you, him, and the kid all exist together at the same time.  You want him to know the significance of that.
“With color?”  You ask, knowing his answer before he seems to.
“I…”  Din wants to argue, or at least say it again.  He can’t or he’ll lose you, he already told you he doesn’t want to turn the setting off.  It’s such an unnecessary conflict, but you want to respect it so much that you’re willing to give up things of your own to make it happen.
“How do I fix it then?”  You whisper, so desperately wanting this one thing for him, this one grandeur to behold.  How do you fix this problem?  How do you convince him to look with you?  You’d offer to just go and find him instead of continuing to run away for the next few hours, but you know the show will be over soon and you don’t have much time left.  “Do you want me to come look for you?  It’ll be too late by then, you’re too far away.  Look at the sky.”
It’s silent for a moment—truly silent, even though colorful bombs are going off above the bay.  You don’t know why you’ve attached yourself to this so strongly, but it’s almost devastating when you don’t get a response.  You look away from the spectacle for the first time in an eternity, gazing unseeingly into the crowd of onlookers with a sudden sadness taking hold of you.  He won’t look, he’s too stubborn, he holds onto things too tightly.
But then, a flurry of flares start launching in rapid succession from the distant boats, screaming and crying on their way up and then igniting into showers of light, and the abrupt increase in activity manages to catch your attention once again.  This must be the end, they saved the best for last.  Every corner of the horizon flashes and sparks, and you’re mesmerized at how bright it is, how many colors they’ve managed to fit into one single frame.
“It’s beautiful,” comes his voice, and the smile that you break into feels just right for the brilliance of the view above you.  Maker, it is, isn’t it?  Now you can hear it—he sounds like he’s looking at it too, with color, in all its breathtaking glory, and you feel like you’re flying.  Like he picked you up and let you watch up close, like you can feel his armor under your fingers right now as he carries you through the sky.
It swells up inside you, a rising wave similar to the ones you can see in the distance, and you know you probably shouldn’t say it because it’s not in your best interest to say it right now, but you have to say it anyways.  It’s an unknowable compulsion, a need to connect and communicate directly with him but for your sake, not presently, not at this exact moment in time.
Luckily, you mute your comm just in time and simply give the words to him from very far away.
“Hurry up,” you say, sending the sentiment into the sky with all your love, and the conflicting hope that he won’t take the advice until a bit later on.  “Come and find me.”
***
Day 5–7:37pm:
After the fireworks are over, people start to drift off in separate directions, clearing the traffic and congestion from the streets around you.  Someone puts their hand on your shoulder and you blink a few times, spinning around and almost stepping on a bunch of tiny little feet by accident.
Stars, that’s a lot of children.  They’re all crowded around Naydee, who pats a few heads and almost buckles under the younglings clinging to her leg.
“Figured you would be long gone by now,” she grins at you from behind her mask, and you’re reminded to pull yours up over your face just from looking at her.  “It’s late—we’re going back to the Keja.”
“Oh, shit,” you breathe in surprise, but the noise of the gradually dispersing crowd manages to cover it up.  At least from younger, more easily distracted ears, but you think Naydee hears you.  Her dark eyes roll good-naturedly, looking happy but exhausted from the long day.  You’re going to have to say goodbye now.
“What happened to your family?”  She asks after a moment, and you think she’s being careful with the way she says it, likely because family is a difficult topic to navigate in general around some of the children hanging on her and begging for her attention.  “Have you been in touch with them?  If not, I’m sure you can come back with us.  It’ll be late by the time we get there, but at least you’ll be safe.”
You open your mouth to automatically decline her offer, knowing Din is still in the crowded city looking for you and wanting to stay where there’s lots of people.
But then… well, he would expect you to do that, wouldn’t he?
There’s more people here.  More danger, but better places to hide.  It’s the obvious choice, it’s the one that makes the most logical sense.  But you’d also be completely alone and you’re assuming the only reason he hasn’t snatched you up yet—which you know he could’ve done multiple times by now, is likely because you’re with a group of innocent foundlings, moody teenagers, and very stern older women.  He probably doesn’t realize you’ve told them about him and the kid, though you were slightly vague on the details.
It’s also a little over three hours to get back, but you’re banking on it being closer to four with how whiney and tired some of the small voices sound, others sounding like they’re an enormous sugar rush contained into a tiny little capsule.  Would he have the gall to try and get you right from under their noses?  Will he even know you left the city, or will he assume you made the smartest decision possible and simply account for it ahead of time?  No, you're overthinking it, just make a decision and stick with it.
“There’s also free food,” Naydee shrugs while you’re still considering, but… well, that settles that.  Almost three days of friendship and she already knows exactly how to win you over in the end.  Sustenance for your empty tummy, an escort the entire way there, and heavily guarded walls beyond.  Din will have to get creative in response—you flaunted your imagination for days, coming up with dozens of evasion tactics to outlast him, but this one just seems… incredibly practical.  Exploiting a weakness of his—isolating it, having it be reinforced by precedent, and then taking advantage of it.  You bet he’ll catch on, but still, it’ll make it more difficult for him, and you’re grasping at straws to hang on just a little longer.
“I…”  Quick, come up with something.  You clear your throat.  “The city is too crowded, I haven’t been able to find them.  I could just… tell them where I’m headed and see if they can find me along the way?”
Naydee smiles and nods.  “Sounds perfect.”
Yet, the entire walk back… you keep thinking you’re going to feel Din trailing behind you, waiting to feel the nerves twist in your tummy and your palms to sweat, but you don’t.  You keep glancing over your shoulder and then down at your wrist, needing to talk yourself out of addressing him through the comm to let him know exactly what the plan is.  You like maintaining a sense of secrecy from the new characters you’ve met on your adventures—Naydee, Karga, Peli—almost everyone you’ve been introduced to, you found a way to find a subtle enjoyment in hiding certain things from them.  But with Din, you don’t have any walls.  They crumbled nearly a full year ago when he silently pushed a cauterizer in your hand and took his armor off for you, and you’ve felt the inexplicable need to bare yourself to him in return ever since.  It would be to your extreme detriment to do it now, but you still have to fight the urge.
Even if you don’t feel him following, you still find yourself acting like he is.  Constantly turning back to double check the road behind you, drifting off in the middle of shallow, distant conversations with tiny foundlings who can’t tell the difference, keeping towards the middle of the pack this time to avoid being picked off towards the back.  The belltower at the orphanage is loud and will ring for quite a distance, so your timing has to be utterly pristine for this to all work out.  You eye your comm the entire way there, trying to stall just the right amount to avoid any realizations or fall into any traps he may be setting for you.
You eventually leave the city walls far behind you, and now you have no clue where he is.  You lost him, and maybe that’s why you feel your heart beat insanely fast the whole time.  He could be anywhere now.  Behind you, adjacent, parallel—you can’t decide where to look, but it keeps you wide awake and focused while the group tiredly travels back to the temple.
***
Day 5–11:32pm:
You can see it in the distance, the brick buildings slowly coming into view.  One might think your stress would have worked itself out by now, been brought back to a manageable level after four hours of walking, but you’ve been on red alert for the past hour or so.  Any movement or rustle that doesn’t come from the sleepy children or exhausted caretakers, you’re on top of it, snapping your attention to the offending tree or animal and not being able to relax even after affirming it’s just nature, it’s not shiny metal bounding after you in the darkness, ready to take you down.
The infants are all likely snoozing away in the nursery, and the Sister who volunteered to stay behind and look after them comes to greet the group at the gate as you approach.  Like always, two Brothers open the iron bars to allow you inside, and you feel the anxiety dig its claws into your tummy.  If Din is going to get you, this is the very last moment to do it.  These walls are guarded and you’re nervous for him, you’re nervous for yourself—you’re just fucking nervous.  Jumpy and worried, not being able to pinpoint him anymore and feeling all the more anxious because of it.
It doesn’t feel right.  Nothing feels right about this, but you can’t figure out specifically what’s wrong.  This was the exact plan, this was a way for you to just survive these last few hours and yet, it doesn’t feel right that you actually succeeded in doing so.  It doesn’t make sense that he’d allow you to return all the way here, especially when he was close enough to touch you earlier.  Din has had so much time to snatch you up, so many opportunities to lure you away, confront you—anything to catch you, and he hasn’t done it yet.  Why?  Either you truly did escape and he has no idea where you are, which doesn’t feel right, or he’s choosing not to get you for whatever reason, which also doesn’t feel right.  What’s he waiting for?  You can’t have won.  It was all too fucking easy, you’re expecting to see him around every single corner because he should be there, he shouldn’t have allowed this to happen.
When someone gently touches your elbow, you’re so on edge that you nearly whip around in surprise.
“Sorry!”  Naydee immediately apologizes, taking her hand back to lift her hood and remove the mask covering her face.  “Didn’t mean to scare you!  I was just going to say that the commissary is still open,” she offers, and you watch the small group of hungry teenagers break off from the group to make their way there.  “It’s going to take awhile to get the children ready for bed, so we’ll be in the dormitories if you need to sleep.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I’ll see you again.”
You stare at her and blink a few times, trying to readjust your focus.  She’s your new friend, she just said this was likely the last time you’ll see each other, but you can’t stop thinking about Din.  Imagine he’s hours away in the city right now, still looking for you.  You’re trying to evaluate your priorities here, but you truthfully never expected to get this far.  Inside the gates, surrounded by brick buildings and silent guards.  You know your way around here, you know hiding spots, you know how to outlast—it’s incredibly advantageous for you to be inside these walls.  What is he doing?
Shaking your head to clear your thoughts, you give Naydee a quick hug and she happily accepts it.  “I’m sure we’ll meet again at some point.”
She smiles and nods, pulling back and letting a couple grumpy foundlings catch her robes and yank on them impatiently.  The loud group eventually disappears into the dorms, and the door shutting behind them cuts off the tired crying and chatty voices determined to stay awake, leaving you in silence that feels slightly unfamiliar after going without it for so long.
Fuck, you just need to breathe.  As soon as the dead quiet grips the air around you, you realize you need to relax.  You’re way too fucking wound up; you want to bolt at the smallest thing and the sudden silence of being alone multiplies it to the point where you have to remind yourself of its importance.  Breathe.  Focus.  There’s about fifteen minutes before the bells ring, fifteen more minutes and the chase will be all over.
Can you eat?  You thought you’d want to, but you think you’re too fucking antsy.  You can’t stay here alone, that’s for sure, but you also don’t want to be around all the children right now.  The commissary will have a handful of people wandering around, teens snacking and maybe a Brother or two standing guard.  It’s the best place to wait the clock out, so you make your way there.  The gentle breeze billows around your loose robes, your pantlegs swishing as you walk.
A few minutes later, you’ve got a plate of food in front of you but your mask is still up, and you’re just sitting there.  Towards the back of the large room, sitting by yourself at one of the tables and staring down at your communicator.  Five minutes.  You have five fucking minutes left before he finds you.  Can you feel him?  Is he closing in?
You sit up a bit straighter, taking a deep breath.  Focus on that feeling from earlier.  The presence in your chest, the weight that didn’t used to be there months ago—focus on that feeling and branch it outwards.  Can you feel him?
Something catches your eye.
Or no… it doesn’t, does it?  Nothing is out of place here, nothing is visibly wrong or amiss.  The only thing that’s changed from all the times before is how dark it is through the windows, and how there are only a few kids in here grabbing a midnight snack instead of being packed like usual.  Nothing else.
But there’s… there’s an acolyte in the far corner, standing guard with his back to the wall.  It’s not his presence that gives you pause—you expected him to be here, there’s always been at least one present whenever you’ve sat down to eat.  He doesn’t look any different from the rest of the Brothers you’ve passed by this evening or the days before—tall, silent, dark brown robes, hooded and mysterious—so why do you suddenly feel yourself break out into a cold sweat as soon as your eyes land on him?
Bubbling laughter and chatter echoes through the large room from one of the tables near the entrance—seven teenagers stuffing their faces with food and sharing animated conversation with each other now that it’s late and they’re alone—but your stomach twists and your fingers start to tremble as you slowly rise from your seat in the back.  You want to keep your head down and be casual but it’s impossible, you desperately need to keep looking at that silent guard in particular and your heart kicks up in your chest—
—and then it wrenches sideways when you’re carefully backing away from the table and the offending acolyte takes a single step forwards.
Run.  Everything in you screams for you to run, and it’s rarely done that before, but you can’t.  Not yet, you don’t want to draw attention, and the logical part of your mind rages against your gut instinct to haul ass.  He’s here—of course he is, the thought screams through your veins as you try to weave quickly in between tables, feeling light on your toes and readying yourself to run as soon as you can.  The dark figure seems to find a careful pace behind you, staying just far enough behind and walking in perfect silence, and you have so many fucking questions but you can’t even think a single thing beyond run away, run away.  Where’s the kid?  How did he get those robes?  Did he actually take his helmet off just to get to you in a room where anyone could confront him?
Your feet propel you forward as soon as you make it out of the door, you break out into a sprint—just flat out bolting because you know how fucking fast he is and you need as big a headstart as you can get.
You race down the stairs and through the courtyard, the beautiful surroundings contrasting drastically with the way you’re running for your fucking life through them.  It’s not beautiful to you right now; you feel clumsy and physically unable to move fast enough no matter how quick you go, your eyes are wide and every nerve is on fire and you can’t even tell if he’s behind you anymore with how silently he moves, but you just trust that he is and keep barreling forward.  Your breath puffs against the clinging fabric of your mask as you keep sprinting, willing your legs to pump faster.  Get to the belltower at least, get to where you have the smallest chance of being caught by the people who guard this place.
As soon as you allow yourself to even conceive the possibility, two Brothers in dark hooded robes suddenly turn the corner a little ways in front of you and your reaction time is perfect—you jerk to a halt and take a single step forward as soon as they spot you.  Since your momentum already committed you to it, you just have to walk, keep your head down, move directly past them and hope Din disappeared from behind you in time.
Step, step, step—keep going, control your breathing, you’re okay, you’re allowed to be up late tonight and they shouldn’t stop you.  Walk right by…  Stars, you feel their silent stares as you casually pass, and it just feels so cold and analytical compared to the kind of danger Din is gives off when dressed in the exact same clothing.  He’s hard and tangible and an unrelenting force, where they just feel like ghosts that haunt this place.  The threat they present is impersonal and detached, but the terror currently chasing after you is so real that he can read your mind.
You wipe the sweat from your brow as soon as you turn the corner, and your feet are already starting to speed up on their own knowing you’re out of their sight.  Run, get to the belltower before Din does, you can see it standing tall about a hundred feet away.  The stairs leading to the door come closer and closer, but you hear something behind you and it propels you faster.  It’s like you can feel him right at your heels even though you haven’t seen him, snapping at your ankles even though your footsteps are the only ones you can hear anymore.
You scramble up the stairs and close the door behind you, spinning around and facing it even as you slowly retreat backwards into the moonlit tower, trying to stay quiet.  Breathing through your nose, eyes shifting around the enclosed space, continuing to back up and away from the door.  Where is he?  There are so many windows that allow you to look outside, but why can’t you spot his movement through them?  Wasn’t he right behind you?
Behind you.
There’s no reason or logic at all to it; you just react.  Spinning around and throwing a mean punch.
Din jerks back just in time to miss it, twisting and dodging at the very last second to avoid your next few hits—but… things seem to slow down, even if they’re happening so fast.  The moonlight cascades through the dozens of windows lining the circular walls and it shines just enough to reveal small glimpses of him.  With every aggressive strike from you, you see something else—you see a flash of his chin when you try to uppercut, you aim for his chest and you see a bit of his jaw.  When you go for his jaw, he steps sideways and catches your wrist, and you see the bend of his nose catch the light this time.
But then it’s like he finally figures out that you’re actually fighting him, and now he’s coming for you.  Trained and ruthless, not weighed down by any armor and lightning quick, launching perfectly aimed attacks that you’re only able to avoid from reaction and muscle memory alone.  You block or move whenever he strikes, you attack whenever you see an opening, you sidestep at the same time he does—
Until you land a spin kick directly to the center of his chest and snap your leg to shove him back, your heel smashing into that soft spot right above his stomach with dead precision and brute force.  He exhales sharply and takes a few more steps back to steady himself while you pause to catch your breath.
Din abruptly comes back and you fall into it with him again, keeping a sharp rhythm with each other that’s faster, harder, and way more real than any sparring match you’ve ever shared.  The hours and days in hyperspace you spent practicing with him are but a fraction of what he’s throwing at you right now, the combinations so rapid and blurred that you just have to trust your knowledge of him and his movement through the dark.
But then, your downfall.  Bells begin ringing an earsplittingly familiar melody above you, and it shatters your concentration—you falter just as he grabs you and sweeps your feet out, and though you know how to get out of that, you’re not quick enough on the jump nor counterswing to prevent it.  He takes you to the ground, hard, and then your wrists are being pinned together above your head and your mask is being tugged down.
Din’s mouth on yours makes you want to cry.
The whole thing is like coming home.  You spent a week surrounded by strangers and having them call you by a name not given to you, fending for yourself, and now here he is.  Someone who knows who you really are, someone that wants to care for you.  Tears come to your eyes even as they're pressed tightly shut, and Din kisses you like he’s never known anything else.  His mouth fits to yours as if the Maker made your lips before ever considering the rest of you, his bare hand clutching your jaw and forcing you to open for him, letting him lick deep inside after going so many days without it.  It might feel dominant and overwhelming if it happened to any other person, but through it, you can also taste his desperation and weakness, how soft he is even when he’s squeezing your jaw and squishing your wrists together too tightly.
Rigid steel that bends only for your touch.
He pulls back and your heart throbs at how moonlight continues to bathe just the smallest glimpses of him under the hood—never the full thing, never the whole face, but enough.  The quiet light that brushes the arch of his nose, how it bathes the hard line of his jaw so that you can barely see his scruff when he turns his head the right way.  His eyes are hidden in near darkness but there’s the faintest glimmer where they should be, and it’s the closest you’ve ever been to looking at him without the helmet.  You can see him, you can see shadows of his chin, his neck—dear stars, his fucking neck.  You’re pinned and paralyzed under him and the ringing bells, yet you feel like you just might float if he wasn’t holding you so tight to the floor.
“Where’s the baby?”  You finally lift your chin and ask, needing to raise your voice over the melody clanging loud throughout the tower.
“Making friends,” Din pants back down at you, and… stars, then you just start giggling.  Adrenaline turning into pure joy, imagining the kid wreaking havoc with all the other babies in the nursery right now.  It feels more light and airy than anything your body should know.
“What are you so happy about?” He asks, swallowing and then continuing on with the same quick gasps.  “You lost, I caught you in time.”
“Did you?”  You drop your head to the brick floor and ask, biting your lip as he stares back down at you.  Suddenly—
—Bong—
Din holds utterly still over you while you take a quick breath and wait for the next eleven bells… 
…but then break into a slow grin up at him when nothing but utter silence follows.
There’s a moment.  Just a single moment where the cogs turn rapidly under that shadowy hood, one where the faint reflection of light in his eyes flickers down to the communicator on your wrist that says midnight and back to you, one that solidifies the longer it takes for another bell to ring.  It’s not going to.
One o’clock.
You think he puts it together.  The one moment he was never able to figure you out—when you tried reprogramming the comms just a few days ago.  The one trick up your sleeve that you resigned to throw away and almost forget about because the circumstances for pulling it off were never realistic.  Fuck with the electronics and set the clock back just one hour—all you’d need to do is reset his communicator, the timecode is synced together.  He told you before that it’s connected to his helmet, but all the buttons still work.  Rapid, panicky thinking and a wild surge of bravery in the face of certain downfall is the only reason you were able to pull it off, and you’re perfectly willing to admit you just got lucky… especially when he’s still holding dead still over you.
But then Din moves so suddenly.  You can’t account for it because there’s no build-up whatsoever—it’s so fast, you yelp while he grabs your knees and throws them both to one side.  You flop over sideways and large hands reach up under the draping length of your tunic to yank your pants down over the curve of your ass, before he’s fitting his palm up between your legs and pushing two thick fingers inside you.
Your head thunks back against brick with how unexpected and merciless it is, but his other hand is grabbing your jaw and twisting, forcing you to look up, stare right into the dark shadow under the loose cowl.  The whole thing is too overwhelming—you’re trying to keep quiet but your breathing feels like thunder crashing inside this tall, echoing chamber.  He’s touched you so many times, he knows exactly how to do it by now, but it feels like so much more than that.  Probably because you can see the way Din’s mouth silently falls open as he feels you, stretching his fingers up and hooking them tight inside.  You can tell when he closes his eyes, the smallest glint slowly disappearing into nothingness while the hand around your jaw blindly moves up.  It catches your chin and lips, and then two fingers push over the bottom edge of your teeth to slip into your mouth.
Your entire leg twitches and jerks while you lay sideways on the ground and open up for him, your neck twisted at a sharp angle to keep your eyes on him and his fingers in your mouth, giving you something to bite to stop making noise.  Din makes room for himself inside you two different ways, and you just choke on his fingers and try to stay quiet, praying he’ll go deeper.
But then you’re not expecting his whole fucking arm to start moving the way it does—oh fuck, what is that?  First you just feel jostled and displaced, but then suddenly a wicked, deep, burning pleasure starts to roar through you, radiating outwards from the rapid motion of just two fingers inside you.  It’s not in and out, it’s up and down so hard and quick against your g-spot that your eyes cross and your hands go numb.
You think you grab at him, clutch onto his arm or chest and open your mouth to moan at the new and overwhelming sensation, but his hand pushes up against your chin and closes it for you, the bend of his fingers caught hard between your teeth but you don’t think he cares.
“Quiet,” Din hisses the word down at you while his arm continues to work, your toes starting to curl as the feeling overwhelms you.  Fuck, what is happening, what is happening?  It’s like he’s just shoving unfamiliar sensation at you so forcefully that you can’t even think straight anymore, not even ten seconds in.  You can only feel the pleasure, fire blurring hot and shapeless through your entire body as your eyes clamp shut, his fingers isolating that perfect spot and stimulating it directly, relentlessly.
Something dull and white hot presses up tight against all the muscles you have down there and you’re almost afraid of how strong it is.  You gasp and choke and he has to take his fingers out of your mouth and just clamp down around your entire jaw, sealing the whole thing shut with his large hand.  And then Din’s fingers leave your pussy too—and stars, you should be embarrassed by how desperately it clamps around nothing for as long as it does.  He’s not even inside you anymore but your body is on such a delay from the hot, twisting pleasure, and he doesn’t put them back in until your muscles are finished spasming.
Everything comes back full force as soon as he starts moving again.  Noise starts to come from your throat, humming in your vocal cords to deal with the arcing, swirling build, and so Din just moves his hand there instead.  He finds where it’s vibrating from your neck and he pushes up against it, trapping the sound right at the source.  He’s fucking perfect at it for some reason… how many times must he have done this to know how to cut noise out without stopping airflow?  You clutch at his wrist and silently mouth his name, feeling his arm work between your legs—faster, faster, harder, pushing you higher, higher—
Din pulls his fingers out again and this time, one of your thighs suddenly feels warm and wet while you spasm and you hear him growl out a ragged, “Fuck yes.”  Everything is sparks zapping through you long after his touch is gone, you cry out but it’s all trapped under Din’s expert grip.  His fingers soon push back inside you and you dig your nails into his forearm, your sounds muffled and quiet enough to hear his raspy groan.  
“Let me see it again,” Din breathes, his arm starting to work up and down once more, and you don’t even know what he’s talking about anymore.  What does he want to see?  You losing your mind again?  Being reduced to an utter mess in front of his shadowy but unobstructed gaze just because you managed to pull one over on him?
Fucking… apparently.  It’s what happens, after all.  You’ve never seen him like this before; whenever he’s worked up and taking it out on you, there was always something in it for him, too.  He’d hammer into you and rock your world until his eventually shattered, and then you’d both lay exhausted afterwards, equally affected and satisfied.  This isn’t like that—this is just cruel, targeted retribution on his behalf, coaxing the molten pleasure out of you with his fingers and keeping his other hand locked around your throat.  You blink helplessly up at him, your vision starting to blur by the time he leans down to whisper to you.
“I missed you, sweet girl.  Did you miss me?”  It’s so soft and quiet compared to the strength and relentlessness of his movements.  You can’t speak even if you wanted to, but when he finally pulls away to yank his hand out and you feel all your muscles automatically flex outwards and push against the sudden emptiness inside you, his voice groans long and satisfied while your thighs get wet again  “Yeah you did,” he breathes, pushing your shaky legs to the brick with his hand and watching you struggle through the aftershocks.
Did you just cum?  You don’t even know, that’s how fucked up you are right now.  The whole thing felt like an orgasm from the very beginning, just a boiling hot tornado ripping through every single cell in your body, never really having a peak.  If you didn’t cum, then why do you feel so weak?  You feel heavy, your limbs don’t work properly, and you barely even register Din pulling at the fabric of his own robes until he fits himself up against your entrance.
When you do realize it, though… your body burns with it, wrecked already but wanting him to take what he wants from you.
“Oh, plea—” you gasp but you don’t even have enough time to get the full sentence out.  He’s already pushing his hips forward, pressing you tight into the ground and opening you up after what feels like a fucking eternity without him.  It’s the hottest, slickest welcome you could give him, you hear it in the whispered curse his lips brush up under your ear, the wet noises your body makes that get louder the longer you hold the moan in your throat and bury your head into his shoulder.  He throbs thick and perfect inside your tight, spasming cunt, stretching you and smacking the rough ground near your head with how fucking good it is to be back, finally, finally—
Your hands grab uselessly at his chest while you try to acclimate, try to breathe while you’re blind with sensation.  It’s so fitting for him, isn’t it?  That your reunion should be just as physically debilitating as it is mentally.  Din’s voice scrapes on a groan like he’s dragging it across the brick ground as quiet as he can, catching when you clamp down on him and shuddering when you clamp down harder.  That’s just it—you don’t ever loosen, you just keep tightening and tightening around him, threatening to break and cum again.
This feels different from before, though.  It’s deep, purposefully so.  His hand reaches up to push the fabric of your hood back, lifting himself up over your body and wanting to start as deep as he can.  You feel him in a place you’d never be able to reach and that’s just the beginning—that’s before he starts thrusting into you, hitting a dull sensation at the apex of each movement so hard that it becomes sharp.  His hips don’t make practically any sound smacking into you because they don’t really smack, they just rock downwards and fuck you into the floor without needing to pull out really at all.  You know he’s just trying to keep it as quiet as possible, but what he lacks in speed and agility he makes up in power.
You don’t even realize you’re making too much noise until a palm wraps tight around your mouth and the room gets a little emptier.  Din keeps you all to himself on the floor, silencing as much as he’s working you up, smothering as much as he’s freeing you.  There’s no easing up, no dragging it out, no gradual build or climb—it’s just there all of a sudden, pleasure and pain pummeling you all at once, engulfing you in flames.
You reach up to grab at the loose fabric of the hood over his face, catching a fistful of it before his hand suddenly snatches your shaky wrist and pins it back to the ground.
Maker, you forgot—oh, you completely forgot about how many people could find you right now if they ever decided to look in the right place.  You’re not in hyperspace; your body is rocking against rough brick, you’re probably going to have a lump on the back of your head from how terrible you are at trying to map out heaven while holding still.  He’s pinned down what he can with one hand; your fingers are the only things that can move besides how tight you can curl your toes, but you feel your moans turn into words against his palm.  They garble indistinctly and you’re not really even sure what you’re saying, but Din decides it’s worth hearing.
“Shh,” he whispers, slowly lifting his hand from your mouth.  “Shh, tell me—”
“W-wanna look,” you hear yourself whimper, trying your best to keep quiet but wanting to scream it while he fucks you hard and slow on the ground, “—I wanna see, I wanna look at you—”
“Fuck,” Din gasps, and though his grip tightens on your wrist and you know he can’t do it right this second, the words seem like they shatter something inside him, “Keep—oh fuck, please, k-keep saying…”
“I want to marry you,” you nearly whine for him, feeling his hips kick up rapidly and start hammering in and out, in and out, in and—“I want to see your face, I wanna be yours, I don’t want anyone else to know you the way I-I—”
You think he drops his head into your neck to muffle his own sounds.  Though they start out rough and quiet and indiscernible, but they gradually become louder as he repeats himself over and over again, growling and fucking you rough.  You only catch it on the peak, when he pulls his mouth away from your skin and gasps them raggedly one last time.
“—ve you—I l-love y—”
He kisses you to stop himself.  But it’s not really a kiss, it’s more desperate than that.  Though it’s beautiful, it’s beautiful in a different light.  It’s not rejoicing at having you back with him once again; it’s a last prayer begging you to stay by his side forever.  He loves you.  He gives it everything—it feels even more concrete and simple than taking the hood off him and revealing his face would.  You told you that you'd know him without ever seeing him, and you did.  You picked him out and found him when absolutely nothing was giving him away, and this feels like a manifestation of that.  Even if you’re not in a place where he can show you his face, his beautiful brown eyes, something still feels like it changes.  He loves you.  You gasp into his mouth and his tongue sinks deep into yours, tenacious and brave and unyielding.  
When you finally cum, you almost bite him on accident.  
Everything surges hot and molten while he pulls back and keeps fucking you through it, and you can’t tell where you’re touching him anymore, just that his skin is blazing hot under your hand and he feels like everything the armor isn’t.  He loves you.  You’re looking into his eyes right now.  You can’t see any of the details, not really, but the moonlight flickers like silent stars moving through dark depths, staring right back at you and giving you an anchor for the euphoria rocketing through you.  He loves you.  Your nails dig in sharp and slowly drag downwards, scratching hard red lines into whatever thick muscle that is—
The back of his neck, making his hips stutter and when he cums for you, he does bite.
You lift your head just in time to feel his teeth catch your chin instead of your mouth, and his entire body shakes while you keep dragging your nails down the side of his neck and his throat.  Din fucking lives for it, he releases you and arches into the pain and owns your marks like he wishes you made them deeper, stretching his neck and lifting his chin into the moonlight and—
Maker.  You can see it, with direct light, you can see more of it than ever before.  You can see his soft lips and white teeth gritting the sound of your name as quietly as he can, the dark facial hair dusting across the lower half of his face.  A fucking gorgeous jawline and throat extended long over you, flexing hard with his cock pulsing inside you.  You can just barely see the bottom of his nose from under the brown hood, the dark curls brushing up under his ears.
Stars, you still never see his eyes, the fabric of his hood acts like a blindfold draped over them, but you think you cum again.  Even if it’s on accident, it’s mean—Din tries to keep from squishing you and his hand pushes down hard against your lower tummy while he shoves his hips deep one last time, and you cum while staring at half of his face in the moonlight.  Completely lovestruck.
How can he be this beautiful when you’ve only seen fractions of him?  You have everything but the eyes now, everything but the most mysterious thing about him, the reflection into his deepest self, but you feel like you’re hypnotized by every single feature you do see.  His tongue coming out to wet his lips, the vein pulling under his sharp jaw—he’s gorgeous, he’s gorgeous, and your body agrees.  It shakes and shudders under him and eventually, Din finishes and you keep looking as his chin slowly lowers, face disappearing into the shadow once more.
Stars.  He’s so handsome and no one has ever told him, fucking dreamy and the biggest grump you’ve ever met.  Without being able to see him, you already want to reach your hands out and touch him, drag your nails through his scruff and force him to extend outwards into the moonlight again for you.  Whenever he does end up showing you his face, you know right fucking now that you’ll never be able to look away.  For the rest of your life, you’ll be staring at him, apologizing blankly for your rudeness but not feeling sorry at all.
Din leans down and gives you a slow, gentle kiss, finally relaxing into a slouch and breathing hard with the effort it took to shatter you with pleasure.
“The kid is with the other foundlings,” he whispers against your lips.  “You… you’ll have to go get him, I need to grab my armor.”
You squeeze around his cock, pulling at the fabric of his robes and ignoring him for just a second.  He fucked you in robes belonging to one of the guards and nobody has mentioned it, you need to say something.  “Where did you get this?”
“I found it,” he tells you after a moment, kissing up under your jaw.  Oh fucking Maker, he feels so good and perfect inside you, shoulders so broad and crowding you on the floor, and his lips are plush and hot, brushing and fitting your skin like it’s just an extension of his own.  “Some guy was wearing it.”
It takes you a second.
“Mando,” you suddenly gasp in quiet horror, pushing at his chest and trying your best to detach his mouth from your throat.  It’s so much more difficult than it needs to be, but you eventually succeed.  “What did you do to him?  Where is he?”
He lifts his neck up just the tiniest bit, turning his face towards yours under the hood and holding still for way too fucking long.  He’s too close to see the expression he’s making, but you know the tone of his silence.  He’s in trouble and he knows it before you do.
“Ma—”
“They’re in a closet,” he admits at the very same time, completely monotone.
You don’t know which word to emphasize.  A fucking closet?  They’re?  Plural?  Instead of stressing any particular word, you decide not to do it at all and it ends up just coming out in the same exact blank tone as him.  “They're in a closet.”
“Inside the Temple,” Din continues on when you lay still as a statue underneath him.  His head slowly dips down once more, pushing his hips against you just the slightest bit to make you remember the cock still inside you instead.  Your eyelashes flutter with it—fuck, focus—“I didn’t know there’d be more than two.”  He kisses your neck so gently.  “It was an accident.”
You don’t say anything at all, your mouth pinching down at the corners because it should but your heartbeat galloping with how… fucking sexy he is.  You shouldn’t encourage this, this horrible behavior just to get close enough to catch you, but your curiosity overtakes you and you ask a question you’ve asked yourself before.  “Did they put up a fight?”
“Mm,” he whispers noncommittally, rocking his hips down once more.  “You did.”  Your nails dig into his chest, making him falter just slightly before slowly kissing your neck again.  “Did so good.  Fought hard, outsmarted me.  Pretty fucking girl.”
And then your eyes pop open as you feel it.  His cock suddenly beginning to harden once again inside you, twitching and gradually gaining a thicker shape, and for a moment, you actually fucking consider it.  He’s the only one in this galaxy that could not only ruin you on these sacred grounds, but then coax you into doing it more than once—stars, are you actually considering it?
“We can’t,” you automatically tell him, but it’s fucking pitiful.  Zero effort, absolutely no umph behind it, leaving it entirely up to him and how much he wants it.  Your logic reminds you that the kid is probably wreaking havoc in the nursery and there are tied up guards in the fucking temple that could be discovered any second.  You shouldn’t have even let him fuck you here in the first place, but…  “Mando, we can’t—”
His mouth opens against the crook of your neck and his tongue brushes velvet hot on your skin, tasting the glistening sweat there and not moving his broad figure a single inch over you besides getting closer, deeper.  Your nails dig into his collarbone, aiming for reason one last time.  It’s apparent that you’d be better off rephrasing, knowing the challenging streak in him and how much telling him what to do doesn't help.
“It’s not a good idea,” you attempt instead, breathless and trying not to move under his mouth and lazy hips.  “Not smart.  Bad idea to fuck again.”
Din’s body stops moving, even though he keeps getting harder.  His jaw opens and then his teeth scrape softly against your flesh, making you tilt your neck back and gasp.
“Later,” he lifts his head to state aloud, committing it to truth now that it’s been spoken and heard by another person.  “Later, I’ll fuck you on the ship, in our bed, when I can get you naked and have your taste in my mouth.”
Tingles rock through your body and you squeeze around his cock just as he pulls it out and tucks it back into his pants.  Your lungs quiver when you inhale—it’s shaky, but it reminds you of how long it’s been since you’ve been able to breathe correctly.
“Later,” you finally agree, combing your fingers through your hair and glad you have this hood to cover your freshly fucked dishevelment.  He came inside you and you don’t want to be leaking and getting your nice pretty robes all wet and stained, but then of course, without any prompting, Din quickly scoots back on his knees and drops his head down to take care of it for you.
***
Commotion.
After Din helped you clean up the way he sometimes likes and then disappeared to change back into his armor, you put your mask and hood back on and tried to look as casual as possible walking to the nursery.  Your knees wobbled slightly and you couldn’t stop smiling under the mask the entire walk there, but when you arrived, you just saw a dim room with sleeping infants—not what you were expecting.  Soon, however, you hear it: down the hall, distant and coming from the dormitories, you hear a loud commotion.
Fuck, you’re nearly wincing with every step you take now, and not because you’re sore.  Well, you… are, a little bit, but in a great way.  No, you’re just dreading the ridiculous shinanigans you already know are well underway, wondering if Din actually dropped the kid off in the dorms from the beginning or if he somehow migrated his way there to cause trouble.
When you walk inside, the first thing you see is a handful of crying and shouting toddlers, and while you can’t immediately spot your favorite floppy-eared monster, you don’t have to see him to know he’s probably standing tiny directly in the middle of this tense showdown.  Automatically, you’re taking a few steps forward to rescue him, but then you stop as soon as you see what the other babies are so mad about.  A large piece of chocolate leftover from the festival levitating just beyond their pitiful little reaches.
Hm.  Who could possibly be responsible for using demon powers to steal snacks and hold them hostage from a sizeable group of hostile children.  A mystery that may never be solved.
It makes you take a second.  The sheer… the… stars, you can’t even think straight—how fucking typical it is just hits you right in the chest, sends your heart into orbit.  Of course.  Of course this is what he’s gotten himself into without immediate supervision, of course this is the shipwreck you’d walk into, and you’re holding back a chuckle before making a single move to intervene.  In the midst of everything, you can hear adults approaching distantly from behind you.
“—don’t know where it came from, I was helping the younglings into bed when I heard the ruckus and I—”
The voices gradually grow louder, and you snatch the floating piece of candy out of thin air and whip around right before Sister Drya and Naydee walk in.  Their hushed, concerned conversation is cut to an abrupt end, and you clear your throat as they take you in, standing in front of chaos central continuing to go off behind you.  Do you… look as freshly disheveled as you are?  You’re not supposed to be here, you know, but hopefully the only strange thing is your presence itself and not anything concerning your appearance.
“Nerida,” the older lady suddenly announces, the name alone holding so much expectation, and the younglings missing their candy have now turned their ire towards you and the crinkly food wrapper hidden in your fist.  “What is the meaning of this?”
“Ah, yeah,” you stand up a little straighter, letting the chocolate casually fall out of your grip behind you, and a stampede of feet suddenly kick up to recover it.  It’s fine, nobody will know, it’s fine.  “It’s just…”  Your head tips behind you to the cause of the uproar, feeling a bit sheepish yet so incredibly fond.  “My… kid.”
Sister Drya stares at you for a few seconds, before tipping sideways and staring at the culprit.  “That is your child?”
You turn around just in time to see him, now abandoned by the angry mob of children, finally notice you.  All of a sudden, his pitch black eyes light up something bright and sunshiney, and you just start beaming in return.  What an adorable little creature, apple of your eye and pain of your ass.
“Yep,” you sigh, dropping into a squat and watching him barrel towards you, catching him right before he can trip over his brown potato sack and scooping him up into your arms.  “Hiya, bug,” you murmur with a grin, lifting back up and plopping him in his favorite spot in the universe—your left hip.  “You making friends?”
He giggles and it’s like sparkles and bubbles fill the room instead, wrapping tiny arms around the largest surface area he can get and clinging.  He laughs with a tiny open mouth, bless him, clearly not understanding the sarcasm, and suddenly your eyes feel just the slightest bit wet.  No, you’re not crying, don’t be fucking ridiculous, but you missed him like hell and he’s just the cutest fucking thing—why do you feel like crying?
“Sorry about that,” you apologize to the two women while slowly turning around, brushing your thumb over one of his cheeks and smiling as it squishes.  “He’s… uh.  Not great at sharing.  We’ll work on it.”
Takes after his dad, you purposefully leave out, just a different kind of sharing.  Din hasn’t shown you his full face yet and the kid performs magic tricks to taunt a roomful of children a fraction of his age for a single piece of chocolate, completely different kind of sharing.
Sister Drya says something in response, but when you look up to address her, all you see is Din standing silently behind her and Naydee, slowly dropping his hand from his helmet to his side.  They don’t seem to notice he’s there and you automatically try your best to pay attention to the Sister speaking to you, but your eyes get caught on the silver reflecting in the dim light beyond.  Fuck, he’s a presence.  An immediate distraction, taking all your focus with a single glimpse.  Seeing him fully armored again, staring at you from the silent shadows behind everything… you melt a little bit, knowing that you’ve seen more of what’s underneath than anyone.  Your shoulders settle and your entire body burns warm, wobbly like the air around a fire, and one of the kid’s hands leaves you to reach out towards his dad.
You watch the metallic helmet tilt sideways after a moment, saying everything without saying anything.  Come on, make up an excuse, let’s get out of here.
Looking at him in the quiet shadows, you’re reminded once again about how much you love him, how much softness you have inside you for a man so hard, so guarded.  And, for the first time, a voice in your head finishes a poem you didn’t realize you were writing, adding its own verse and bringing everything back around to the beginning.  He loves you, too.  How much he lets his guard down for you, the way he’s revealed more of his face to you than not.  You love each other.  You’re family.
So, all at once, you decide to mess with him, because that’s what family does best.
“Don’t be shy, come say hello,” you suddenly urge his silent figure, taking a step forward and speaking directly to him.  “Sister Drya, Naydee, I’d like to introduce you to my—”
It’s remarkable, you see it happen in front of you.  Like he has powers of his own, Din just literally fucking disappears.  Like magic, he’s nowhere to be found within a blink of an eye.  You know he’s capable of it; he’s done it plenty of times during the chase just to fuck with your head, but you’re staring straight at him when it happens this time and it might just be the funniest fucking thing you’ve ever seen him do.
Sister Drya and Naydee both turn around to an empty hallway bathed in shadows and you laugh.  A deep, shameless, loud belly laugh.  Where the fuck did he go so quick?  You were staring straight at him and you have no fucking clue.  He’s just out, and you’re left alone with his child and the unspoken understanding that he’ll just catch up with you later.
You’re giggling even as you shake your head and give the women your genuine thanks for keeping you and feeding you these past few days, grabbing your backpack with all your belongings and eventually using three green fingers to wave goodbye to them.  The very first thing Din says when he seamlessly joins you outside the Keja later is, “That wasn’t funny,” which just makes you laugh harder.
***
About a half hour has passed, and you’re walking along a dirt road, cradling a very happy baby in your arms and giving the grown man next to you an incredibly hard time.
“You’re unbelievable,” you mutter, your back twinging slightly at the way you’re leaning about as sideways as you can get without falling over.  You think you’re basically just the hypotenuse between the ground and Din, who easily supports almost your entire weight with your backpack slung around his far shoulder and readily allows you to rest against him.
“They’re fine,” he grumbles in response, squeezing you tight to his side.  You just have to focus on moving your feet; it’s like he’s practically carrying your upper-half anyways.  “I gave them the night off.”
“You stuffed them in a closet,” you hiss, feeling his shoulder shrug under your cheek.
“I gave them the robe back,” he says, not really defending himself and more just throwing it out there to see if it helps any.  “I’m sure someone’s found them by now, they’re fine.”
Your eyes suddenly go wide, absolutely mortified at the thought.  “Wait.  What do you mean you gave the robe back?”
He shrugs once more, apparently not seeing the problem yet.  “I borrowed it, so I gave it back after I put my armor back on.”
If you could plant your feet on the dirt road and screech to a halt, you would, but all your weight is already resting on him and you’re working solely off his forward movement.  You just hope your tone holds the same amount of shocked disapproval your body language would’ve conveyed if you weren’t so completely attached to his hip like a parasite he adores.
“You fucked me wearing it, though.”  Your voice is strangely flat, so fucking confused and horrified by the mental image of him just tossing the soiled garments haphazardly somewhere in the temple behind you, or even worse, leaving them somewhere respectful, and Din soon stops in the middle of the deserted road.
“Oh,” is all he says, emotionless and blank through the modulator.  Did he not even consider this?
“I had to promise them I was a virgin just to sleep there, you know,” you admit, and you can tell that’s brand new information to him with how still he goes as you continue to lean against him.  You’re getting the feeling that he probably knows a lot more about your experiences on this moon than you think he does, but can tell that this is brand new information to him.  “And you locked three of their holy men in a closet, chased me across the temple grounds, fucked me in one of their robes, and then.  You gave it.  Back.”
Din stays perfectly silent for quite some time.  You can never go back to that place, you know this for a fact.  You’re banned forever now, it’s what you deserve.
Never one to be outdone but not actually having anything to say for himself, Din suddenly decides to just scoop you into his arms and boost up into the sky without a single word like an actual fucking maniac.
You squeal and damn near drop the baby because of it, but he cinches you tight to his chest and refuses to loosen with your struggle.  Eventually, after you realize he’s completely locked you in and you won’t fall to your death with this poor innocent child in your arms, you glance over the shiny pauldron on his shoulder and watch the kid’s crib disappear by the abandoned road as Din takes you higher and higher.
The crib—he forgot the crib—
“D-Din,” you stammer out through the whistling air, stiff as a board.  Stars, you have such a different sense of adventure than him; an explorer and a daredevil, one who gets a thrill from discovering the existence of the edge of a cliff and one who’ll take a running dive off of it without thinking twice.  He’s hit with blaster fire some days, he faces down death completely fearless like it owes him one every single time, and you’re stiff as a fucking board while he carries you through the sky.  It’s stunning up here, it’s exciting and wonderful, but you’re so scared that you can barely even look.  He’s giving you the most fantastical view, everything your budding adventurous streak could ever ask for, and your terror is crushing.  It would be different if you could hold on, but you’re responsible for not letting the baby slip through your arms and you just have to trust that he won’t let you slip through his.
You raise your voice.  “Din?!”
“I won’t drop you,” he automatically reassures, and well you sure as fuck hope not, but there’s something else.
“What about the crib?”  You call out over the wind whipping, tucking the baby tight to your chest and settling your hands over his ears to avoid them flapping and whacking you repeatedly in the chin.
“We’ll come back for it,” he responds, just as easily.  Maker, you wish decision-making came that easy to you, that commitment and choice should be so simple as to just fly away from things on the ground and promise out loud to come back for them.  You know he will, but still, his spontaneity shocks you after spending the past week thinking every decision through meticulously, and you’re taken aback by the casualness of it all while soaring through the sky, committing such spectacular feats without a single thought beyond it.
Soon—incredibly soon, which honestly kind of blows your mind—you spot Nariss glowing in the distance and then you’re flying overtop of the city, slowly dropping altitude in the middle of a quiet little side street.
Din carefully allows your feet to settle on the ground before letting go, but you still stumble a bit stupidly after flying so high without any sort of safety measure besides him, prioritizing the steadiness of the baby in your arms instead of your feet underneath you.  His gloves catch at your clumsy body and pull you along with him without another word, leading you out of the quiet alley and into the middle of a beautiful, luminescent street.
What’s he doing?  He seems slightly hurried, and you’re clueless but you go with it, clamoring along behind him to wherever he’s leading you.
Though, you suddenly remember one of the very last things you told him last night right before he steps up in front of a vendor.
“Caf,” Din grunts, sliding a few credits towards the man standing behind the counter. “The… biggest one you have.”
Okay, well.  You could just about fucking cry.
“Y’sure?” The vendor asks skeptically, jerking his head at the large thermos behind him.  He’s balding, wearing a white outfit with his eyes scrunched up and forehead sweaty, likely working all day.  “It ain’t fresh.  Closin’ up soon, was just about to trash it and go home.”
The helmet turns to gauge your response to the news, the sharp angles and contours looking so sleek and dangerous as they reflect the colorful lamplights, but just filling you with comfort beyond anything in the entire galaxy.  He’ll take that armor off for you tonight and you’ll sleep next to him.  He’ll call you by your given name, or the fond name he’s given you, and you’ll cuddle your baby on a metal floor in hyperspace with him, and all will be well.  Even if he needs to leave again soon—even if you don’t get to go with him, you’ll always have these small eternities with each other, and that’s more enough for you now.
You’re completely zoned out while staring at him, and Din turns back to the vendor before you can even remember the conflict he was attempting to defer to you.
“Yeah, just empty the whole thing in there for her,” he mutters, and you want to marry him.  It’s been a long week, and in your haze and delight of being with him in this gorgeous setting, your brain turns to cavewoman mush.  Big man, makes me happy.  Strong man, loves me, knows me.  Provider, makes me feel good, protector, loves me.
Din hands you the large cup of steaming caffeine, clueless to your grunted inner monologue but knowing better than to reach out and grab the kid from your other arm.  You’re just fine like this, hands full, the little frog snuggled up against your side and blinking up at your face instead of any of the shiny or glowing things around you.  When you look down at him, you can see the world through his eyes—quite literally, they’re reflective and gigantic—and his father’s hand quickly finds its preferred spot on your lower back.
“Try to drink it quick,” Din advises you gruffly, pulling you snug into his side and sloshing the big cupful of piping hot liquid in your hand.
“It’s a thousand degrees,” you protest, trying to balance your three favorite things in the universe all begging for your direct attention at once.  “It has to cool down.”
He gives a dismissive hm in response, and you frown even as your heart soars with how tightly he’s gripping you, how little leeway you have to even move without him.  Part of you is so thrilled at being reunited with him that you consider snarking something back at him, excitement making you brave.  He could probably chug boiling hot liquid in thirty seconds and doesn’t see the point in letting it sit any longer, and you could make some stupid joke about filtering it through his helmet or having a built in bendy straw but you decide to keep it to yourself.
So then you just stand there together, under stringed lights and flowers everywhere, and he waits.  Holding you glued to his side, completely silent and clearly just waiting for your caf to stop steaming so threateningly in your hand so you can drink it.  For some reason, the fact that he’s wanted by the New Republic doesn’t really register at this second—you’re not looking for cops, though he may be.  You’re just lost in this beautiful, fancy city that’s on the edge of finally quieting down after a long day, and you’d like to see more of it with him next to you.
“Well, do you wanna just…”  You ask, tilting your head around at all the vendors.  “Shop around for a bit?”
“Shop… around,” Din repeats slowly, sounding the words out like they’re not common Basic.  Admittedly, they do sit a bit awkward in his voice when put together like that, describing a phenomena he’s likely never even considered a thing before, but it’s so fucking pretty here and you’d like to show him something this time instead of the other way around.
“Yeah, like,” you shrug a shoulder, tipping your head in a random direction.  Anywhere, you’ll go literally anywhere with him, the three of you can go explore.  “Just wander around, and look at all the pretty things.”
From where you’re standing right now, you can already see glittering crystals and jewels being sold at the tent across the street, there’s a booth dedicated entirely to floral arrangements and crowns next to it, you can hear a distant quartet playing melodically in the distance and a couple is being painted by an artist on the corner.  Bars are in full swing at this point, as if they weren’t all day, and even though the merchandise is all different, the multicolored tents look slightly similar when they’re underlit with multicolored lights.  It’s less slightly lively than it was in the daytime, but also… more beautiful, in a sense.  Muted, softer, more romantic.
“I don’t have any more credits,” Din admits casually, finally turning to look around at everything.  You get the feeling that he’s just now seeing it, even after spending the entire day here.  “That stale caf was the last of it.”
Money well fucking spent, you can assure him of that.
“It’s okay,” you tell him automatically, gently bumping your hip into his.  “We don’t need credits, we can just look.”
So that’s what you do.  Even though it’s completely not his fucking style, for the next hour or so, you just walk around downtown with him and sip your caf, looking at anything and everything new and experiencing it with him.  At first, you think he’s just entertaining you, following you while you discover new streets and attractions, but then he points out different things and you know he's looking, too.  There are large animals harnessed up and pulling carts for people to ride, there's an enormous spinning wheel set up in the distance, its colorful lights flickering out as soon as you ask what the fuck that is and why anyone would ever get inside one.
You eventually end up finishing your caf around the time he’s leading you back through a quiet, abandoned alleyway, and you hand him the empty cup to throw away in one of the trash cans on the corner.  The conversation has faded to a comfortable quiet and you don’t really need to ask—you go willingly, not requiring anything beyond his hands on you and the baby dozing in your arms.
“Come on, sweet girl,” he murmurs, gently sweeping you up into his.  You sigh, glad he’s giving you a moment to prepare yourself this time, holding the sleeping kid securely to your chest and resting your head on his shoulder.  “Let’s go home.”
After you’re comfortable, Din rockets up from the ground and climbs high up into the canvas sky.  He disappears with you and the baby into the pastel clouds above, making it back to the Razor Crest in probably about an hour, maybe less.  You and the baby do nothing more than climb into the comfy floor blankets while Din starts up the engines, and you think you’re dozing off together by the time he makes the pit stop to collect the crib and the jump into hyperspace.
You think he might shower?  You’re not sure—you just know he moves up behind you in bed at one point without any armor, burying his face in your hair while you cuddle the sleepy kid to your chest.  It’s dark in the hull, Din’s palms are bare and warm as they slide around the front of your body and he breathes you in, and there isn’t a single place that can touch you here, not a single place you’d rather be.
Home.
***
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@followwhereshegoes​ Thank you for the stunning artwork! 💕To anyone interested in possibly doing an art collab in the future, please message me!!
6K notes · View notes
oikadori · 5 months ago
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helloooo i have a request <3 you close your laptop right when they walk in and they get suspicious :) (sakusa and whoever else your choice)
CLOSING YOUR LAPTOP RIGHT WHEN THEY WALK IN
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⇢ includes : sakusa , iwaizumi , atsumu 
⇢ genre//cw : fluff, some crack, the omi one has a little bit of angst// swearings, 
⇢ wc~ 0,9K
a/n : nonnie this sounds so fun 🤩 thank u for requesting sorry to answer so late bby >.< ahhh for real i’m sorry this been in my drafts for so loong :cccc 
reblogs are very appreciated you'll get a kith
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“I prepared us a bath, do you want a―”
Sakusa’s tired eyes squint and his dark brows furrow together watching you snap your laptop the exact same time he entered in your shared room.
“Heyyyy!”, your hand rests on top of your computer as you force a smile on your lips.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you mean Omi?” you tilt your head acting oblivious as you could while his dark eyes drift from you to your computer.
Your answer had an unpleasant feeling nestling inside the outside hitter’s chest. And maybe he is being dramatic or maybe he is tired from dealing all day with his bubbly teammates, but the fact you’re hiding something from him unsettles his heart.
“Right… I’ll be on the tub, go on, I won’t bother you” The dry tone he uses makes you blink as you observe him walking back to where he came through.
“Wait, Omi!” you quickly jump from your seat, holding onto his arm with a strong grip as you sigh “Jeez, I can’t hide anything from you!”
Sakusa’s brows quirk up in confusion as you drag him to your desk, opening your laptop to show him the reason of his irritation.
His eyes widen as he sees tons of MSBY merch in your shopping cart but that’s nothing compared to how his cheeks burn when he sees a mask along with a jersey carrying his number on them.
“Why didn’t you ask me to get some of these for you?”, he whispers, eyes locked on the screen still too blushy to face you.
“Because you always complain about how silly they are!”
Sakusa blushes in embarrassment before sighing, a hand moving behind your neck to push your head closer to him so he can plant a chaste kiss on your forehead.
“Yeah but—next time just ask me, okay? Don’t act all suspicious like that…you scared me”
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“Doll, you ready for our run?”
Iwaizumi says peeking his head through the door, finding you on the bed, holding your laptop ridiculously close to your face. Your eyes flicker from the screen to his face and with a clumsy maneuver you close the device.
“Y-Yeah! Let me grab my bottle”
He blinks, his features contorting as he replays your previous action in his head.
“What the hell was that?”, he says with a frown on his face, arms crossing over his chest, walking through the door before sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Mmh?”
“You know exactly what I mean, don’t play silly on me princess!”,
He trusted you entirely, but Iwaizumi’s patience was running thin. The need to know what you were hiding from him was too intoxicating. So, he kept his hard features as he waited for your answer.
“I swear, I wasn’t doing anything, Haji” you bat your eyelashes at him, pathetically holding back a chuckle at his angry face, making impossible for Iwaizumi to not soften after that pity attemmpt to contain your smile.
“Let me see”
“NO! H-Hajime—wait!” he pinches your sides making you explode in laughter, dropping the laptop onto the bed in the process. You have tears in your eyes as you pathetically try to retrieve it from your boyfriend’s strong hold while he keeps an arm up preventing you from getting any closer.
His face goes completely red when he sees his young self-dressed up in a Godzilla costume on the screen.  
“How—How did you get this?” you’re still chuckling as he looks at you, wearing a horrified expression that could only match with a ghost story.
“Who do you think would provide me such “sensitive” pictures, baby?”, you tease, quirking a brow at your boyfriend, before pecking his cheek. And he knew that somewhere in Argentina a good looking setter was laughing like a fool.
“I’m blocking Oikawa from your contacts right now!”
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“What are you doing babe?”
Atsumu says, coming out from the shower to the living room where you are curling on the couch holding your laptop on top of your thigs. When you hear his voice, you quickly slam the laptop and press it close to you as you shoot a naïve smile in his direction.
“N-Nothing, ‘Tsumu. Uhm, you ready to eat?”, his lips curl into a cocky smirk as he raises his eyebrows.
“Oh, I see” he says, moving a hand to brush his wet locks, walking to the kitchen. You follow his movements, confusion printed all over your face as he leans on the counter, smiling smugly at you. “You’re testing how much I trust you, right? Is one of those couple challenges or something.”
You hold a deadpan expression as he mentally praises himself, thinking he figured out what you were doing.
“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about ‘Tsumu”
“You can stop pretending now sweetheart. I fully trust you” he winks at you before you make your way to the counter with light steps. Placing the laptop on top of the marble table, you rest your chin on your palm and lock eyes with the blonde setter.
“You sure about that?” you smirk, sliding the laptop closer to him.
 Atsumu’s hands itch, holding back his impulse to grab your computer and open it right there, and just as you imagine, 5 minutes later he is grasping the laptop and snapping it open in between curses.
His hazel eyes are so focused on the tab that says “Which MSBY player would be your boyfriend” that he doesn’t notice that you had erased the distance with him until he feels your soft lips on his cheek. Atsumu’s thick eyebrows move up as his mouth falls open while you disappear in the corridor to hide your giggles.
“OMI? Why the fuck did you get Omi?! Come back here, Y/N!”
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thestylesindependent · 8 months ago
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It was Harry Styles’ birthday this week, which is why I am going to tell you about the time I met him, and what it taught me about a phenomenon called “gender contamination” in business.
This is what happened:
It was a few years ago at the press junket for Dunkirk. Now press junkets for big films like Dunkirk are rather strange affairs. In this case the studio sent my group of European journalists to view the film at the gigantic London Imax at seven o clock in the morning. And believe me, watching a WAR FILM at an IMAX first thing in the morning is INTENSE…
Then they drove us off to one of the fancier London hotels.
At a press junket you are normally put in a hotel room where you sit with a few other journalists and wait for the different cast members and the director to come in for their individual interviews.
The room was a bit chilly and most of the female journalists started putting cardigans and coats on. If you are familiar with the work of Caroline Criado Perez (which you all should be) you know that air conditioning temperature is often set based on a formula developed around the metabolic resting rate of the average forty-year old man. This is usually too cold for the average woman.
Then Harry Styles came in.
He looked around the room and IMMEDIATELY noticed that the women looked cold and IMMEDIATELY asked if he could turn the heating up. He even got up and tried to do it himself (unsuccessfully). He was the only man that day who noticed.
I would argue that this little incident tells you A LOT about the commercial success of Harry Styles.
Why?
If it’s not too painful - let me take you back to the time when One Direction broke up. Some other members of the band (no names!) did everything they could to distance themselves from their boy band roots.
Not Styles.
When Rolling Stone asked him if he felt pressure to prove himself as a “serious musician” with “an older crowd”. He said:
“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music— have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?”
Then he pointed out (correctly) that The Beatles became successful thanks to hords of screaming teenage girls.
“You gonna tell me they are not serious?”
And this is the key: Harry Styles has made a career of not looking down on female preferences or things perceived as female. You might say: well who does that? Who looks down on things just because women and girls like it?
A LOT of people.
There is even a name for it. It is called “gender contamination”.
Research from Harvard Business School shows that loyal customers often get upset when a brand associated with men expands to include products perceived as feminine. Coca Cola couldn’t get American men to drink Diet Coke because women liked it. In the end they launched Coke Zero - in a (manly) black tin…
There’s a paper by Jill Avery that looks into the reactions when Porsche launched Porsche Cayenne, it was a SUV and therefore by many perceived as a car “for mums”. Would this “catering to female consumers” contaminate the whole Porsche brand?
It is not surprising that these sentiments exist. When people call my youngest daughter a “tomboy” it’s a compliment. Hell, it’s basically a promotion! Congratulations you are almost a boy!
It’s the things we perceive as “feminine” that we look down upon.
But Harry Styles has always wanted us to know that he doesn’t. He is the first man to pose solo on the cover of American Vogue.
And he did it wearing a dress.
Is there a more OBVIOUS way to say: “Hey, I am a man who does not fear my brand being “contaminated” with things perceived as feminine?!”
And when it comes to business and consumption he is right: the bigger story is how things first liked by women and girls have taken over the world. Everything from The Beatles to Star Trek (women created the first Star Trek fandom). And as you probably know Porsche ended up selling a lot of those Cayennes…
Women influence 80 percent of all consumer decisions in the economy. It’s frankly irrational to pay as little attention as we do to their preferences - whether that’s for warmer rooms or pop stars from Cheshire with great hair.
Happy Thursday!
(x)
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claremonts · 3 months ago
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not to be an english major on here but i find dream smp so revolutionary- and there are plenty of articles about this, including a wired report with a quote from quackity that perfectly summarizes the way i feel about this piece of media- ""We’ve legitimized the fact that we can tell very interesting stories through video games." i think about this a lot because it emphasizes two things: the concept of roleplay, and the revolutionary media that's come out of this.
there's a concept in literature called psychic distance which is the measure of emotion, mental, physical and otherwise distance from you to whatever media you're consuming. in class, it was taught to us alongside a dnd module where we experience the psychic distance between the self and the character. in dsmp, that's taken another step further as you experience the distance between you and the content creator, and the content creator and his character. so yes, it's like watching a stream of people playing dnd- and this is where quackity's quote comes in- but because it takes place in a media that is viewed in first person, it completely surrounds you audio and visual wise and becomes something else entirely. minecraft especially as a sandbox world further heightens that by allowing the ccs to change the geography as it suits them, which is something that you wont really get in another game like grand theft auto, for example.
in this aspect, the psychic distance becomes shorter as you watch how a content creator interacts in a first person point of view. contrast to traditional acting, where you watch the content creator from the third person. there's some nuance between the ccs who use facecam and who don't- quackity and ranboo are both prome examples of this, but the end point is still the same. you hear their thoughts, and you see exactly what they're seeing. i think that's the crack cocaine in the dream smp that we've all been snorting, and why i personally love it so much. quackity was right, it completely is revolutionary.
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cursedraiden · 3 months ago
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hello!! may I request for hcs for when you get into an argument with the genshin boys (you can choose who!!) and the guys end up saying something hurtful, and your reaction is like "well, if that's what you think, then maybe we shouldn't be together." and walks away (tryna hide a tear,,)?? I'm sorry if this is too specific aah I'm just in the mood for angst ( •́ ‿ ,•̀ ) I really like your characterization!! <333
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— 🧧 THEIR S/O BREAKS UP WITH THEM AFTER A RUDE COMMENT THEY MADE
includes — kazuha, tohma, diluc
warnings — angst, pre tohma release
pronouns — they/them
note — in honour of the 2.0 announcement trailer, i included the newest boy to my writing list (tohma by beloved) - i’ve also added baal (or raiden), ayaka, and yoimiya!
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KAZUHA
kazuha wasn’t usually confrontational off of the battle field — opting for more serene and peaceful things while resting and spending his time with you
but sometimes when emotions boil over, we say things that we don’t mean, nor wish to say at all — it’s in the heat of the moment type of thing, which is exactly what was happening to kazuha in the present time
“you don’t get it- you never will,” kazuha paced away from you, wanting to put an end to the conversation station as soon as he could.
“and what’s that supposed to mean?” you took strides to catch up with the upset male, desperate to understand his reasoning. “why don’t you face me, and tell me why the hell you won’t let me help-“ the moment your hand made contact with his arm, he turned in fury — something you had never seen him in ever.
“you’re too clumsy, too reckless, and simply not able to withstand that type of battles that would occur!” kazuha’s face was mere inches from your own. “you’re just not enough.”
you weren’t enough.
he was talking about physical ability, but... why did it feel as if he was talking about everything — the way you dressed, the way you acted, the person you are.
he didn’t think you were enough.
“... if- if you think so lowly of me, then i don’t think this is going to work,” your feet slowly brought your body away from the now shocked and calming male, trying to put as much distance as you could between the two of you.
“y/n-“ he reached out for your arm, only to pull back as if he had been shocked as you flinched away from it. “i didn’t mean it like that.”
“well that’s what it sounded like kazuha.”
you never called him kazuha — it was always kaz, or some other nickname — but never kazuha.
“i’ll leave you to your business, and i’ll board with beidou in the morning,” the distance grew greater, and hearts cracked piece by piece. “i hope you find someone who’s enough on your travels.”
kazuha’s heart left with you — the emptiness in his chest product of his own doings, his own words.
it seemed that he was the one not enough for you.
TOHMA
tohma didn’t like to fight, argue, or even cause any sort of pain to you — and in the past if he ever did, it was not by his choice, or it was a complete accident
yet here he found himself, spouting words he didn’t mean, watching the look of anger on your face crumble into hurt and betrayal
tohma was tired — beyond even — with the job that he possessed, and the dedication to match, nights were often spent resting and resetting for the next.
“y/n i really don’t have time for this right now, you know this,” his fingers pinched the bridge of his nose, desperately trying to rid himself of both the anger and headache that clawed at his mind.
“i think you have plenty of time right now — all i’m asking is for you to consider my idea,” you stepped closer to the blonde, brings your hands up to run through his hair in order to help calm him down. “i just want to see you a little more often, even if it’s only a day a week — just more then i see you now-“
his head was yanked away from your hands, and his eyes burned into you like the vision that hung on his hip. “for the last time! i have my duties with the kamisato clan, and they need my dedication and focus — i don’t have time to waste.”
his words didn’t fully click in his head, until he saw your eyes widen in both shock and hurt — and all he could do was watch as your body slowly backed away and shrank into itself, becoming smaller and smaller by the second.
you tried to appear bigger in mere moments after the metaphorical slap to the face — your chin being held high, eyes narrowed, and drawn in tight.
“don’t bother coming home tomorrow, or the nextday, or even the next,” he could see the hurt as you tried to keep your composer. “wouldn’t want you wasting time, now would we?”
“y/n-“
“leave tohma — you have your duties, remember?”
it happened too fast for tohma to handle — one minute you were happily chatting, next the argument broke out, and the next, he had broken the one promise he had made to himself and you.
he had hurt you, one too many times.
DILUC
he was a calm and collected man, trying many other options before it truly came down to a fight — he poked and prodded most times during arguments, but never before had he pointed out things he knew would hurt
maybe that’s why he wasn’t only in shock as he watch the anger turn into sadness and thought, but also at the words that seemed to flow out of his mouth like a river
“dee, please take a break,” your hands worked on his shoulders — thumbs pushing on the knots and sore spots in the muscles, trying anything you could to get the red haired man to relax.
“y/n please — i’ll come to bed in a few more minutes, i just have to finish this-“ the quill was plucked out of his hands before you could finish — now dangling between your own fingertips.
“you said that the yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that — i know you dee — like that back of my hand,” you waved the back of your hand in an example, the smile on your face doing nothing to ease the furrow in his brow.
he was committed to finishing paperwork and documents — and if that meant forgoing a few nights of actual rest and calmness, then so be it.
but you were making that difficult.
“give me that,” diluc harshly grabbed the quill from your hand, not caring or registering if he had hurt you in the process.
he turned back to his work as soon as it was in his hand, but the moment didn’t last long.
“diluc-“ your hand reached down for the quill again, but were quickly shoved back as he stood from the chair.
“would you just give me some space!” his eyes and cheeks gleamed red, similar to the colour of his hair. “i can’t get any actual work done when your clinging to me like an animal in heat!” in the moment, diluc didn’t care if he had hurt you, and that was one of his many mistakes in that moment.
the quietness was tense and uncomfortable — dilucs heavy breathing, and the sound of soft fidgeting being the only things that could be heard.
“i’ll leave you be then,” you turned in that moment, the tears running freshly down your face the second your back was to the man.
diluc didn’t panic at first.
he had hurt you, yes — but you would let him cool down, calm, and finish was he was doing. that was all.
but the empty room that was once occupied by two and the quick feet that turned and walked in the other direction every time he was near — was enough to tell him the truth.
you left him to be on his own.
for good.
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saffyspirals · a month ago
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𝚜/𝚘 𝚠𝚑𝚘’𝚜 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚒𝚎𝚜!
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; with: mitsuya, hakkai, inui and hanma
; warnings: hanma swears (once) in front of a baby.
; author’s note: posted it by accident in the middle of editing, so i deleted it! luckily, i took a screenshot of the request, so you can still see what it said :)
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𝚖𝚒𝚝𝚜𝚞𝚢𝚊
this guy loves you so much. he could literally write novels, just listing all the thousands of things that he loves about you.
you being an expert in making babies laugh is just another thing to include this in novel of his.
the first time mitsuya discovers this talent of yours, is when he’s taking you home after school.
you choose to stop by at a supermarket, because you’d like to pick up a few ingredients for dinner.
in the fruit and veg aisle, you find a middle aged woman carrying a wailing baby.
it’s clear she’s distressed; eyes darting round to look at judgemental shoppers who are wondering why she hasn’t managed to calm this baby down.
leaving your shopping trolley with mitsuya, you walk over to the pair.
“can i help?” you offer, to which she nods. you draw the child’s attention by gently cooing at it, before giving him your finger to hold.
he takes it, teary eyes quickly filling with curiously.
with your other hand, you ‘boop’ his nose, smiling as you do. this alone is enough to get the baby smiling too, and eventually to laugh.
his mother thanks you over and over for cheering her child up, to which you kindly wave her off, telling her it was, “no trouble at all!”
when you return to him, mitsuya is grinning from ear to ear.
“you never told me you were so good with kids!”
“ah, well…it’s just never come up in conversation!”
from there, he discovers something that had helped: you’d looked after your baby sibling, whenever your parents had to go out for whatever reason.
not only does mitsuya love the fact that you’re good with babies, he loves that the two of you have yet another thing in common.
he too looked after his two younger sisters (and still does), because of his working mother.
him discovering your talent just brings the two of you closer, really.
𝚑𝚊𝚔𝚔𝚊𝚒
because of the kind way you treat others, hakkai has always figured that you’d be good with kids.
he’s thought about what it’d be like to have kids with you, and came to the conclusion that you’d be an amazing mother.
but, he’d completely underestimated just how good you’d actually be!
hakkai asks you to come over one weekend. he sounds panicked, so you come over as quickly as you can.
wanting to make a little money, yuzuha offered to take care of the neighbour’s baby while his parents went to work.
she’d underestimated how difficult it would be; since the time he’d woken up from sleep, the baby hasn’t stopped bawling.
hakkai had been in his room, and, hearing all the noise, had come out to try and help.
evidently, he’d been unsuccessful, which is why he called you.
upon your arrival, hakkai takes you to his living room, where the baby is.
you don’t even flinch at how loud the baby is.
yuzuha hands you the baby, finally relieved to be able to distance herself from the child’s noise.
you take a seat on their sofa, sitting the baby on your lap.
“hey.” you greet, gently. the baby continues to cry, but he’s looking at you now, paying attention.
“i bet you miss your momma and papa, right?” you bounce him on your knee. “i’m sorry that you do. but they’ll be back soon. promise!”
as if it can understand, the baby babbles back, no longer crying. you tickle him underneath his chin, which gets him to smile.
yuzuha and hakkai watch you in awe.
once the baby is totally calm, you put him inside his high chair, and retrieve some baby food from the bag yuzuha had been given by the neighbours.
“how’d you do it?” hakkai questions, watching curiously as you feed the kid.
“mmmm…” you give him a lazy shrug. “i have a baby sibling at home too, so i guess i have a little experience.”
this is what you call a little experience??
hakkai shakes his head at you, telling you, you shouldn’t be so modest.
you are the best with babies — seriously, like god-tier level.
“you can meet her sometime, if you’d like?”
“i’d love to.”
𝚒𝚗𝚞𝚒
inui and you are on FaceTime one evening.
you haven’t been able to see each other outside of school for a few weeks now, because you were grounded.
inui is halfway through a story about something funny that a teacher had said to another student today, when he’s interrupted by what sounds like somebody shrieking.
“oh, sorry! that’s my baby sister. thought she would stay asleep for the whole night…”
“you have a sister?” he asks, as you pause your camera. he hears the rustling of your sheets as you climb out of bed, and the creaking of your bedroom door when you open it.
“yeah. my parents are out tonight, so i’ve been left alone with her.”
you go into your parents room, and turn on the light. the crying quietens immediately, once your sister catches sight of your smiling face.
inui wishes he could have seen the interaction.
“hey, [sister’s name]! you should be asleep.” you tell her, tossing your phone on your parents’ bed before reaching into the crib.
“awh. you were just lonely. am i right?” sibling in one hand, you go and pick up your phone with the other. “well then, come hang with inui and me in my room!”
once you get back to your bedroom, and both you and your sister are comfortably laying down, you unpause your camera, allowing inui to see your face again.
“meet [sister’s name]! say hi, little sis! this is my boyfriend.”
of course, [sister’s name] doesn’t understand what you’re actually saying, but your tone is cheery enough to make her laugh.
inui is nothing short of mesmerised.
𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚖𝚊
final exams are coming up.
you know that hanma won’t study unless pushed, so you invite him to come over the weekend before the first test.
originally, the two of you were meant to have the house to yourselves; your mother was heading to work, and was supposed to take your baby sister to the sitter’s house.
but, twenty minutes before your mother was meant to drop your sister off and go to work, the sitter cancels, claiming to be ill.
so, your mother leaves her behind, promising to make it up to you once she got home.
hanma sends you a message, telling you he’s outside.
you’re in the middle of putting the baby down for her afternoon nap, so you don’t see it.
your bf gets tired of waiting, and climbs over your fence into your backyard, to get in through the back door.
finally, your sister falls asleep. you gently lower her into her crib, careful not to wake her again.
you let out a quiet sigh of relief, before walking over to where your phone is, to check for any messages.
“oi. why the fuck didn’t you answer my message?” hanma’s booming voice startles not only you, but your sister, who wakes up and starts crying.
“shuji, i just put her to sleep!”
you head back over to the crib, and pick her up. hanma watches, confused.
…you have a baby sister?
you’ve been dating for a month, how did he not know?
before he can even blink, the displeased baby becomes settled.
your sister starts giggling innocently, as if she hadn’t been screaming just a moment ago.
you return her to her crib, and her eyes flutter shut.
you point hanma towards the door; both of you leave the room.
“i — uh. you didn’t tell me you were that good with kids.”
“you never asked, love.”
this newfound knowledge spreads an oddly warm feeling through hanma’s chest.
[here’s my masterlist] !
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agentofbarnes · 5 months ago
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Ransom can be really fluffy when it comes to his girl. And can get really sad when he don’t get the attention he needs
attention
request | Ransom can be really fluffy when it comes to his girl. And can get really sad when he don’t get the attention he needs
summary | ransom realizes he loves your cuddles
pairing | ransom drysdale x sweet!reader
warnings | fluff, minor smut, minor degradation, needy!ransom, reader has a job but it’s very vague, reader is fresh out of college, the very briefest of daddy kink (one mention), kinda a dom/sub relationship
authors’s note | so this is my first time writing ransom, this is how i imagine soft!ransom and it may be a bit out of character but i so enjoyed writing it
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Ransom Drysdale was an enigma, despite what people thought about him, they didn’t truly know him. Not like you did. When people found out Ransom was shacking up with one girl, they were surprised. Imagine their shock when they actually met you.
You were the sweetest being to walk the earth. You treated everyone with kindness, not a mean bone in your body. They knew understood how Ransom had convinced you to even give him the time of day.
Ransom was mean, spoiled, and an absolute terror. He put people in their place and while you found his way of dealing with thing vulgar, you had fallen for him. He was everything you needed and vice versa. He was willing to tell off your overbearing parents that never thought you were good enough or the waiter that won’t stop hitting on you. He stood up for you and you kept him calm. Things always seemed to even out.
Not to mention Ransom was a dream in between the sheets, and you loved the way he fucked you dumb. Some people would consider Ransom as the man who corrupted you and they would be right. Before he walked into your life with that long coat and shit-eating grin, you would have never imagined yourself getting off on a man calling you such nasty things.
“God, I’ve fucked you dumb, haven’t I?” Ransom had taunted you the night before when his cock was sheathed in your cunt,”Can’t even find the words, hm? My poor dumb baby. Is my cock just too much?”
He never failed to reduce you into an absolute mess of mewls and whines. He liked it rough, leaving your legs weak and throat raw. You loved every second of it, especially when he pumped you so full of cum that it leaked out of pretty pussy.
Ransom had a whole folder in his phone dedicated to you looking wrecked, tears staining your cheeks from your immense pleasure.
No one would ever treat you like Ransom did. He fucked you like he didn’t love you, but god, that spoiled man adores you. He pampered you like no one ever has and he never lets you forget that you are the only girl who gets his affections like that.
Ransom would buy you all the things you’d ever desire and then turn around degrade you like a whore, which you were...for him.
You had been dating for quite awhile, and you had gotten into a routine of sorts. Ransom had moved you into his expensive house with its glass wall, exposing your life to private neighborhood outside of Boston. He wanted you around all the time, tired of worrying about you in your tiny apartment in the south side of town.
You liked being around him all the time, craving his touch and affection constantly. Ransom wasn’t exactly an affection person per say, but he would let you cuddle in his lap while he wrote or cockwarm him when he was doing business. He never sought you out like you did him, but you never minded. You were the affectionate one and you were okay with that.
Ransom had grown accustomed to your needy ways, and he had gotten used to you being pressed against him. He had gotten so used to it that he hadn’t even realized how much he loved it. Ransom had grown attached to your affections and clingy behavior. You never went a day without curling up in his lap and Ransom quite liked that, not even comprehending that maybe he was just as affectionate as you.
Today was different. You were busy at the moment, and Ransom found himself craving your touch. This was new to him, his feeling of neediness for your attention.
Ransom stood up from his desk, calling it a day even though it was early afternoon. He searched the house for you, looking in the spots you oftener frequented including the bedroom and the comfy couch you loved to sink into.
The more he had to look you, the more sour his mood had gotten. Ransom didn’t know why you didn’t come to him today and honestly, it worried him. He had a heavy feeling sinking into his chest, craving your assurance. Were you distancing yourself? Had he done something to push you away? It wouldn’t have been the first time. Early in your relationship, he found plenty of ways to push you away, but you always pushed back and were determined to break through his strong walls.
If he had done something, it had to be bad if you weren’t clinging to him. You were dependable and predictable in this sort of way. Ransom couldn’t help the insecurity that seeped through him.
He found you in one of the spare room that you have accommodated in order to sketch out some designs for your jobs. You were hunched over a desk, shoulder tensed and brow furrowed with intense focus. It was very clear you had been there for an extended period of time.
He realized then exactly why you had disappeared. When you started something, you had a way of letting it consume you. So, Ransom tended to navigate you to make sure you wouldn’t overwhelm yourself. It seemed this one might have slipped through his fingers. His anxiety turned into concern for your own well-being while his heart craved to have you in his arms.
“Sweets, it’s time for a break,”Ransom determined, his deep voice ripping you from your thoughts.
You relaxed slightly when you see your massive boyfriend in a soft sweater that looked so comfy and a pair of jeans. You wanted nothing more than to curl up against the plush fabric that clung to his chest and just rest.
“I have to work, Ran,”You told him, shaking your head,”I can’t stop.”
“You need to,”He replied, his voice a little more demanding than the usual tone he took with you. It was eerily close to his dominant voice and it had a way of making you listen....most the time.
“I need to focus,”You rebuttal,”This is so important and if I do good, I’ll be one of the top contenders for an actual job, this could get me out of my internship and into a permanent position, Ran.”
Ransom huffed at your disobedience, and he knew it was selfish. Yet, he still wanted your attention. He stepped forward, slowly striding towards you as you turned back to your work. You barely noticed him slip behind your chair until you felt his breath on your neck when he leaned over.
“I need you, Sweets,”Ransom admitted, his voice much softer and loving than before.
You tilted your head back, dropping the pencil on the desk with a confused look.”What for?”
Ransom struggled with this, expressing his desire to have you in such an intimate and non-sexual way. His parents were never good with affection and he was used to be denied since he was child.
“You haven’t been around all day,”Ransom complained honestly,”I miss my sweet girl curling up with me as I revise my work.”
You brighten at the comment. You always felt overly clingy and you always thought Ransom hated it, but dealt with it. Now, the tables had turned and he was interrupting your work for cuddles.
“Oh, is that all?”You asked all giddy, smiling up at him as you bit down on your bottom lip gently.
“Yes, so, you are going to take a break and come sit in my lap while we watch a movie, and I don’t want to hear anymore about work. You need to relax, I don’t want you to get overwhelmed, you hear me?” Ransom commanded, and who were you to not obey?
“Yes, daddy,”You uttered, standing up from your chair and Ransom quickly grasped your waist before picking you up off the ground.
Your head fell into his shoulder, nose nudging against the base of his neck. The man sighed happily, at ease with you so close against him. You barely registered that he fell back against the couch, his massive body sinking into the cushions.
His body practically covered the couch, his head just barely propped up by the pillow. Your knees fell to the side of his hips as your chest pressed against his.
Ransom’s hands rubbed down your back, breathing softly as he finally relaxed. You needed this too. All the stress from your internship faded away when you were curled up against him.
You nuzzled your face into his shoulder, listening to Ransom breath. His aroma overloaded your senses, smelling distinctly of oak and tangerine.
“You’re not going anywhere else today, Princess,”Ransom informed you, kissing the top of your head.”
“You’re so needy today,”You commented, hand resting on his chest as you barely tilted your head up to gaze at him.
“When you have such a pretty girlfriend like I do, you tend to want her near,”Ransom played off.
“You missed me.”
“Yeah, I did,”He admitted, his hand slipping under your shirt to splay his hand on the small of your back.
“You have me now, no need to miss me anymore.”
“This is exactly what I wanted,”Ransom uttered, pulling you closer to him. He wanted you so close and now that he finally had you, he was determined to keep you there.”Spent the whole day thinking I had upset you, I couldn’t find you.”
You recognized the sadness in his voice and it makes your heart ache that you made him feel this way.
“I’m sorry, Ran, I should have told you my plan, but I wanted to get started as soon as possible.”
“I know how you get, sweet girl,”Ransom remembered,”I love you, you know that right? You’re the only girl that ever made me...so needy.”
“I love you too, Ransom,”You nudged your nose against his jaw, making his heart thump in his chest.
“You’re my girl, and I’ll always take care of you, remember that.”
“As long as you let me take care of you,” You kissed his shoulder sweetly.
Ransom glanced down at you, his lips twitching into a smile.”Besides, I’ve gotten quite fond of your clingy cuddles, I like being around you. Why are you so surprised?”
You shrugged lightly, now brushing your lips against his jaw,”I always thought you got annoyed when I do like this .”
“No, I can’t stand you being away from me,” Ransom kissed your nose sweetly,”Guess I’ve gotten used to you purring against my chest like little kitten looking for attention.”
“Well, I like this side of you,” You told him, stretching up to meet his lips in a very soft impact. It was very different from your usual kisses which were desperate and rough. This one was full of love, offering comfort in each touch as your lips molded into one. You weren’t gasping for air or clawing each other’s clothes off, instead you were just basking in the love you had for each other.
No one knew Ransom the way you did, and no one ever would because this side of him was just for you. He was your little secret and you loved him with everything you had.
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ventisehe · 4 months ago
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crying on their wedding day, or not / genshin impact / part two
this is the second part of crying on their wedding day. i didn’t add dainsleif and baizhu because i don’t have enough creative juice to squeeze them in. 
requested by: @bakuhoe-is-my-bakubro
includes: venti, kaeya, xingqiu, scaramouche, razor, albedo, chongyun, xiao, kazuha
warning: unedited, not proofread, different variation of not seeing the bride before the wedding ceremony, written before kazuha was released
part one
THOSE WHO WILL NOT CRY
     VENTI
            Although his wings that have soared through the vast open azure skies was as ancient as the winds that swept ever so delicately through the lands that made up Teyvat, although his curious viridescent hues have become quiet witnesses to numbers of renowned and untold tales of mortals across nations, no matter the countless years he devoted trying to cognize the mortals and their atypical behaviors, Barbatos – or Venti, as he refers to himself now – can never truly understand how so many human beings can stay in one place with one person.
                            Before he had even come to be the Anemo Archon, all that Venti knew was how to heed the call of the wind. To him, it was confounding how mortals do not have the similar urgency as he to follow the winds. Even when he had taken the form of his dearest friend, Himmel, and has elapsed through myriad of seasons and centuries, still he soared gently in the air, lyre in his possession as he sung melodies of his own composition and strummed symphonies for those who yearn to hear his voice, and with his braids billowing in his travel to a destination even he cannot tell yet.
            One has made an attempt - and unfortunately, a fruitless one - to make sense to him why some has gone against the heed of the wind, a very peculiar decision in the eyes of someone like him. His form nothing but a mere wisp at that time, nothing but a small creature with little understanding, and he remembered he was seated on the shoulder of his companion as they perched by the edge of a mountain, legs dangling and kicking gently back and forth. They basked in the caress of the wilting warmth as the sun bid its farewell.
                      Himmel was humming a tune with the corners of his mouth curving up and his eyes closed, and Venti's small frame thrummed with delight at the euphony he made.
                And in the serene quiet, his dear friend spoke, "Someday, you'll find yourself wanting to stay somewhere. For something, or for someone. You don't understand now, but when you come to love one thing, you'll always want to be close to their side." Himmel turned to him, a subdued smile etched across his features, and upon catching sight of the sincerity and fervor Himmel in his bright eyes, Venti cannot help but mirror his sentiments and reciprocate his smile the best he can with the body he manifested in.
     "When that day comes, you'll understand why many choose to . . . stay." Venti tilted his head to the side, and Himmel let out a small chuckle once he catches on the puzzlement that he displayed in his actions. "Don't look at me like that. I know you're curious about the whole marriage thing. Who knows, maybe someday you'll find yourself a nice fellow wisp and - "
            All it took for Himmel to cut his statement short and burst out in laughter was how Venti prodded against his neck as a feeble attempt to make him quiet down.
               And as Himmel has predicted, Venti - in time - did understood.
                        Venti was able to perceive the reasonings of mortals to turn their heads away from the beckon of the wind, to live a peaceful and quaint life, some alone, and some with their spouses. Himmel had done his absolute best to explain to him the wanders which are humans, and gleefully watched as Venti attentively listened to every word he spoke.
      However, at the end of the day, Venti was still a free spirit. He can never be tied down to one place, much more to another living being. He will always find himself favoring the whisper of the winds in Teyvat, adrift and letting himself go adrift.
            It was after he had witnessed the life in Himmel's eyes leave, heard his last breath, the whisper of the triumph of Mondstadt in achieving freedom, and his final request as he stroked Venti's quivering figure - A sad smile has been painted upon Himmel's brims as he gazed at the smaller entity weeping under his touch, "I ask only for one last favor from you, my dearest friend. Look after Mondstadt, after our people, for me, and never let everything we've sacrificed go for naught."
                          Venti was still a free spirit, but with what happened to Himmel, he longed to understand how he saw the world. It seemed he understood it differently than he did. And thus, he took the form of his beloved friend, and ventured closer than he had before to mortals.
      The day he found a place in The Seven, the fateful he became the Anemo Archon, Venti has not once missed an event with his people. He celebrated with them in festivities, cried with them in their sorrows, aided them in battles against transgressors or wars within their own mind. He laughed with them, ate with them, drank with them, and his love for his people grew everyday.
          But still, he can never stay for too long.
                      Venti tried to, he really did, for his friends, as his last gift before he lets go of the pain of losing him. But cannot force himself to remain in one place if his heart kept searching for places to explore, people to meet, discover the secrets of Teyvat.
    Hopelessness was beginning to gnaw inside him as hundred of years has passed, and he has already traveled through long distances and saw generation after generation of his people in Mondstadt, and yet nothing he has yet to fulfill his own promise to hos friend.
           Perhaps this was the way it was supposed to be. Maybe only mortals are giving the ability to be content and stay, but the Anemo Archon was forever to be appearing and disappearing - always, always stringing along with the wind.
                      And Venti believed that thought of his, and it stuck to him throughout many more years in Teyvat.
       Not even a dust of faith was left in the ruins of what he now thought of as a vanquished promise, marring Venti with a wound in his heart, and a doubt in his standing as an Archon. However, it was through this belief that took him by surprise when he met a rather strange woman at the last day of the Windblume Festival, and in Stormterror’s Lair, no less.
                    The Honorary Knight, and their odd traveling companion have long been gone after they bid him farewell and a safe travel in his return to his abode – or whatever dwelling was the closest he could denote as home – leaving Venti by himself to reminisce in the ruins of where Old Mondstadt once stood.
                                        The heavens were a color of black dotted with stars and the moon. The wind has grown softer, as though to accompany him in this lonesome hour, leaving chaste kisses against his pallid skin. From afar, the City of Mondstadt remains lit with lanterns and plethora of flowers. Even in this distance, he can oversee the joy that exuded from the people as they celebrated the remaining hours of the festival and take in the fragrance of the flowers friends and partners exchanged with one another. It was a beautiful sight to behold if one sits in such a desolate and dark place, in the very tower that he had confronted Stormterror – no, it was Dvalin now, Stormterror has perished along with the danger of the past.
                                        But a presence – curious, sorrowful – has intervened in the quiet evening Venti thought he had saved for himself. He stood up from the platform where he has previously perched upon and took off to take a gander in the Lair, and it did not take a moment longer for him to spot a figure nearby. There, standing on top of a boulder clad in a crestfallen expression was a lone woman. She was casting her gaze around Old Mondstadt, and the breeze blew her tears away,
            Venti had never seen her before. He had met every family, every person, in Old Mondstadt, and the same was to be said to the generation that followed after them. He knew them well, recalled their quirks and appearances, and this woman has no resemblance to any of them. Has she come from another nation?
                                   Venti made it his point to glide down and noiselessly land behind her, but it seems his efforts have failed him for this stranger spoke the second his feet made contact with the ground.
        "I wonder how this place used to be." You stated, and Venti was unsure whether you have felt his presence or you were speaking to yourself.
   “So, this is Old Mondstadt.” She stated in a murmur. Her voice was laced with awe, but with evidence of forlornity. “I heard rumors about what happened here, and-and the thing with Stormterror too. Archon, I wish someone would tell me the real story of the City of Freedom. Back in my home, we’re not even allowed to learn much about the Archons of other nations. It’d be foolish to just trust rumors.”
                                  There was something about her that piqued his interest. He did not know what it was. Maybe it was the way she talked about Mondstadt, her interest in the history of his city and his people, the sincere sorrow she felt for what the fallen tyrant of Mondstadt had had done to his former subjects, and how he had forced their hands to rebellion to protect their nation.
                            Venti spoke before he can stop to think. “If you’d like, I can retell the story of how Old Mondstadt came to be. I’m well versed in the history of this city, so rest assured everything you’ll hear is the truth.” He carved a smile to his lips. “And I am a Bard, so you have no need to worry about me chatting your ear off. All it takes is an audience and my lyre to get me started. Of course, a private performance will cost you, but since you’re new in the city, I suppose I can – ”
                                  His breath was taken away when the stranger turned to face him, and his words withered from his tongue. Ever seen a speechless bard? It was a sight people will scarcely see.
                Could he ever compose a song to even come close to the lovely view that was before his eyes? Gleaming curious pair of eyes, a smile so eager to listen, hair flitting with the wind as his heartbeat raced –
             Venti was used to captivating his audience with his songs and stories. However, this time, it was he who was captivated, and when he took out his lyre and played a sweet tune to sing the story of his beloved city, with this gorgeous woman listening to him with bright and shining eyes, Venti knew then that he wanted to play for her every song he knew, every story he saw and heard, to the end of time.
                            You told him your name after his song, and you came all the way from the isolated nation of Inazuma. It took him by surprise how you have confidence in him to reveal to him your identity and place of birth. Surely, not everyone will trust a stranger who has appeared out of nowhere who offered to sing them a song. But then again, Venti trusted you as quickly as you trusted him, and now it was his turn to listen as you confide in him.
  You have escaped from your home nation and survived out in the seas under the heat of the sun and threat of starvation for days until a compassionate Captain from Liyue, and her crew found you and delivered you to safety. And it was after your recovery that you fled to Mondstadt, the opposite of the nation you were born in.
                     Venti found himself sitting down in front of you as you told him your story, sight never leaving your frame as he did so. You were no Bard, and you were no storyteller, but he cannot tell the time or noticed the sun has set as you regaled him with story of Inazuma and your life after and before your escape. He was enchanted with the way you spoke, how you looked about Old Mondstadt with saddened awe, the fervidness in your voice – Have I found myself a rival? Thought Venti, eyes softening as you went on about your admiration for the affability and generosity his people have shown you.
                                                          When you left that day, you promised to come back and when you do, you shall ask him to sing to you more of his songs. At first, Venti was hesitant to believe your promise, but to his relief and happiness, when he saw you in the same place in the ruins undoubtedly waiting for him with your eyes closed and relishing in the wind that rushed past you. Venti always came to Stormterror’s Lair to oversee what remained of his old home, but for once, his sights were held torn and you have all his attention.
                   Seeing you keep your promise of return made his day, but when you whipped your head to face him with a smile, waving a hand as you asked him to sit with you, Venti knew that his heart desired yours. Was it a wise decision to fall for someone you've only just met? Certainly not, but he was an Archon who had too much time but too little for those who he holds dear. He cannot afford to be unsure when his time with you was limited.
     So, he decided – when the day is right and the wind is quiet, he shall make his feelings for you known.
            It became a routine for the two of you to meet in Stormterror’s Lair and share your stories with one another, Venti always telling his in songs, as a Bard would. There was never a dull moment between the two of you, and every story told in the ruins were to be fascinated of. And soon, it wasn't just stories. Soon, he was finding out more about you, knowing you better until he couldn't get you out of his head.
                  It became a routine for the two of you to meet in Stormterror’s Lair and share your stories with one another. Venti always told his in the form of songs, as a Bard would, you will always applaud him after, to which he would respond with a melodramatic bow. There was never a dull moment between the two of you, and every story spoke in the ruins and the silence of the night was to be fascinated of.  He was learning more about you, knowing you better, until he couldn’t get you out of his mind when his head falls against his pillow.
    Venti cherished these times he had with you. He knew it won't be long until you were gone. He knew his fate as an Archon – seeing loved ones perish and more to come, and the cycle continued.
                                           He hasn't even told you about his identity.
                          Venti was grateful for the Traveler for pushing him to tell you about his feelings and his standing in Teyvat, but he was still uncertain. What would you say if he confessed to you? What will you say if he admits to being the Anemo Archon? Will things change between the two of you? Will you leave? Venti can’t think about that.
                                                                       Venti grew worried when you didn’t come to Stormterror’s Lair one day, and then another, and his concern grew as days turned to weeks. Everyday he found himself visiting Stormterror’s Lair in hopes of seeing you waiting for him again, but he was always left disappointed. You did not mention going on an adventure or a commission, so his worry was warranted. Were you safe or were you simply sick of him?
                 When the day you finally appeared in the Lair, relief washed over Venti and he practically jumped off the broken tower he frequently resided and made haste towards you. But his footsteps faltered when he found no traces of a smile on your face. He can see the relief and joy, but the smile was absent. From that, Venti’s own beam wilted as he walked over to you with reluctant steps.
      When he came close to you, he opened his mouth to ask how you have faired for the past weeks and question your abrupt disappearance when you said something that took him by surprise.
                                    “I know who you are.”
          It felt like his entire world has stopped for a moment as he stared at you with disbelief smearing his countenance. How ever did you discover the truth? Certainly, he had similarities with his statues, but none of his people nor visitors from outside ever pieced the puzzle together.
                            He averted his gaze, ashamed. Why was he wallowing in shame? Or perhaps was this regret of not telling you sooner? Did you feel betrayed? Will you cast him away?
                      “But how . . . ”
                                            “The man at the Tavern told me, Master Diluc.” You answered. “I was telling him about you, and I guess he thought I already knew of you being the . . . Anemo Archon.”
           “Is that why you were gone for weeks?” Venti questioned, and when you nodded in response, he winced. He can’t help but think of the worse – She’ll leave me.
                          Venti looked away. “Ah, I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, it is hard to believe someone like me is an Archon.” He laughed out, but the humor was nonexistent in his statement. “So, how do you feel about that?”
                      Venti let out a gasp when you threw yourself to him and enveloped him in a tight hug. Venti froze at your actions and waited for you to withdraw, but when you did not, he slowly accepted your embrace with gratefulness. He didn’t know what you do this, but he was more than happy to reciprocate your actions before he lets you go.
        It won’t matter, anyway. He’ll hear the winds calling for him somewhere soon. Maybe letting you go now would hurt less in the long run.
                    “Are you not . . . angry?” Venti asked as he closed his eyes and rested his chin on your shoulder.
                                    “Oh Archons, no, Venti. I could never hate you.” You assured him in a whisper and from the brokenness on your voice, Venti knew you were crying. “Those times you told me about Barbatos . . . all the stories about his past . . . everything he had gone through . . . ” You murmured, tone lowering. “ . . . you must have been so hurt and lonely.”
                                              He didn’t know why your words shot through him. He can feel tears streaming down his cheeks as memories of his past and the continuous pain of loss and regret caught up with him. Finally, after thousands of years, his false smile was shattered.
          How pathetic. He thought. An Archon weeping in front of a mortal that he is in love with. Could things get any worse?
                  Your hand stroked his hair, comforting him as he cried against your shoulder and in your arms.
                          “I was . . . ” He breathed out, choking as he tightened his grip around you. “ . . . it never stops hurting . . . I keep seeing Himmel, and everyone, and – ”
                He couldn’t finish what he was saying and just relished in the comfort of your arms, breathing in your scent.
                                    “I don’t understand what you’ve been going through these thousands of years, and I never will, but it’s okay now, Venti.” You whispered in his ear, and he can detect the compassion and love lacing your voice. His heart hammered against his chest. “You have me. You don’t have to pretend everything is okay. I’m here for you. I want you to be Venti and Barbatos with me, I want all of you.”
             He couldn’t believe his ears. Did he hear you correctly? You want him?
                    Venti gently retracted himself from you, but his arms remained at your sides. “You still want me, even after I kept this from you?”
         “I want you, Venti.” You clasped your hands over his shoulders, firmly looking into his eyes. “I’m not going anywhere anymore. I’m staying here, with you.”
                 And so, you stayed, and so did he – it was the first time he stayed, and he will never regret it.
One would think that as a renowned Bard in Mondstadt, Venti would push for a grand wedding where all people of Mondstadt are invited to wine and dine together as bards banded together to regale everyone with their music, and as the Archon who values freedom above everything else, a big part of him wanted to. But he thought of you and what you wanted. It took some time for him to deliberate over how selfish it would be for him to make you uncomfortable in your wedding day and agree a small wedding would be a much better option considering how sacred and intimate marriage is.
However, knowing you cannot simply have the Anemo Archon go against his belief, and of course because of your love for him, you have secretly devised a plan with Jean and Kaeya to invite all the citizens of Mondstadt to your reception to celebrate this joyous occasion for the two of you. There was more than enough food and drinks to feast, courtesy of Master Diluc, and you’re sure Venti will be over the moon with this surprise. 
Venti had no family, and those he did consider as family were long gone, just a memory from the past. Even though it is unusual for a groom not to have a best man in his wedding day, Venti claimed he was fine without a best man. He had no doubts in marrying you. When he proposed to you, there was no touch of regret or doubt. Albeit reluctantly, you were in a mutual agreement in that matter, as well. Until, of course, an unexpected tribute arrived offering his services.
Venti was not the least nervous when the day of your wedding came. He did not waste time when he woke up and immediately got to work on his appearance. Jean was kind enough to have his wedding suit tailored for him, an early wedding gift, as she says.
Venti knew of the rule that a groom mustn’t see his bride in her wedding gown until the time she walks on the aisle. But he was just so thrilled for this day that he forgot all about it. And even if he did remember it, who in the world would stop him from seeing you? He has no best man to stop him anyway -
Venti almost choked to death when a hand came to grasp him by his the back of his collar, and he blubbered pathetically as he was thrown off balance and was dragged back to the altar.
“Who are - Master Diluc? What are you doing?”
Diluc let out a huff as he continued dragging Venti away from your house. “Stopping you from upsetting your bride. I’m sure you know that you shouldn’t see your bride in her gown before the wedding?”
“But Master Diluc, as much as I appreciate what you’re doing, you’re not in any position to - ”
“Actually, I am in a position where I’m allowed to stop you from making a mess of your wedding.” Said Diluc. “I’m your best man, after all.”
Venti couldn’t put to words how touched he was, and more so when you revealed to him after the wedding that Diluc has offered to be his best man by his own volition. As thanks, the next time Venti visited the tavern to drink, he paid for a single bottle of wine once. It wasn’t exactly ideal but considering how he had no original plan to pay Diluc for any of the drinks he will consume, this was as good as it gets.
When the doors opened to reveal you in your pretty white wedding dress, Venti swooned, and a large joyous smile stretched across his lips.
A gentle breeze swept in the altar and Venti felt his feet leave the ground briefly, floating in the air as he excitedly watched you walk down the aisle, and it took Diluc’s hand pulling him down by the back of his suit to stop him from floating up above the cathedral.
“My, my, if I knew any better, I would have thought the Archons have taken favor on me and blessed me with a beautiful bride.” Venti said once you join him in the altar and took your hands in his own. “You look beautiful, darling. I might just write another song about you.”
You shook your head, pink tinting your cheeks. “Haven’t you written enough songs about me?”
Venti inched his face close to you, his large smile altering to a soft smile. “There aren’t enough songs to tell you how much I adore you.”
The wedding went on, and when the two of you kissed, only one thing entered in Venti’s mind - I found my reason to stay, Himmel. I just hope you can see this.
The wind blew gently.
     KAEYA
                      Kaeya did not know what to feel when his brother has made it clear once and for all that he wanted nothing to do with him. His dismissive remarks, his heated glares, his cold and aloof treatment – he had known Diluc for so long, and his memories with him in their childhood never grew old in his mind, so it pained him to have his once bright-eyed sibling who aspired to be part of the Knight acting as though they were strangers. No, strangers would have been merciful. He acted as if the bond they had never meant anything to him, and casting him aside and seeing him under the light of contempt was the easiest decision he has ever made.
                                               Even you were not spared from the same fate. The three of you become inseparable the day you and Kaeya were introduced to each other. You’ve done everything together, and it would be a strange sight to see one missing from the group.
                When Diluc has cut ties with Kaeya, you suffered the same fate as he. You poor, poor thing – you tried your best to patch the friendship he no longer wanted to be part of, and Kaeya did not waste time running to your side and picking up the pieces Diluc shattered. It was not an easy feat for both of you to lose Diluc – he lost a brother, and you lost a good friend.
                                 But it was because of your fall out with him that you and he become closer than ever, closer than before, if that could even be possible. The two of you support one another and you go to each other when things get difficult.
             Kaeya will never admit it, and he would rather die than do, but he has loved you for many years. The moment Diluc pulled him into an unknown house, claiming that he wanted to meet someone important to him, and his eyes landed on your form with the sunrays kissing your skin, a wide smile stretching across your face, and a fake sword in your hand, his heart was taken.
                            You were one of the reasons he wanted to become a Knight. Diluc admitted his want to become a Knight, and you expressed the same sentiment, and of course, hearing his friend and brother say so, he became inclined of joining the Knights. I’ll get good training. He thought back then as stared at you, blushing as you braided Diluc’s hair. Then, I’ll be able to protect ( Your Name ).
        Now that Diluc no longer wanted to be in contact with you than more than is necessary, Kaeya grew to be more protective over you. He knew you can handle yourself as you were a Knight yourself and wields a Vision, too, but his heart clenches at the thought of you getting hurt when he could have easily had your back, like he always did.
                                                 Kaeya didn’t knowif you had feelings for him, or for anyone, for that matter. Many times he thought of confessing to you just to rip the band aid off, but he couldn’t. He’ll keep his feelings to himself and continue being the Cavalry Captain that everyone adored, and your own personal protector.
   But it was getting harder and harder to hide his feeling. Everyday he was always under the threat of falling deeper in love with you. Everyday, you always give him more reasons to love you. Waiting for him to come home after taking too long in his work, taking care of him after a nasty battle or when he’s drunk, always checking up on him even if your schedule was hectic, offering him help if you deem the responsibility given to him is too much. How much longer can he pretend that he wasn’t thinking of you everyday and every night?
                                He was pulled back from his train of thoughts when he felt a soft material doused in alcohol perch on the wound blemishing his skin. “Ah, be gentle, ( Your Name ),” Whined Kaeya, stilling himself to refrain from moving and delaying your nurse on his cuts.
                          “We wouldn’t be in this situation if you had only been careful fighting those Abyss Mages.” You reprimanded with a stern glare. “Think of this as your punishment from me. Now, hold still.”
                      “I was fighting Abyss Mages and came back with small wounds. How am I not careful?”
       “You can be more careful.” Quipped you, and finding your chance, you pressed the cotton again his skin, causing the Cavalry Captain to hiss in pain.
                      “Ow, ow, ow – I said be gentle!”
                                         “Oh, you can fight Abyss Mages but can’t handle getting your wounds treated? What a baby.”
                        Kaeya pouted while you pulled away from him. “My dearest ( Your Name ) doesn’t love me anymore.” He cooed. “Tell me, what can I do to make it up to you, hmm?”
                                      You shook your head and placed your hand over his head, beaming. His heart leaped in his chest. “Stop being reckless.” You responded. “You’re the most important person to me, Kaeya. I don’t want to lose you too.”
             Days and days he spent thinking of what you said. He never truly knew how he important he was to you. The thought of that had him sleeping and dreaming of you and your smiles, how the days will be if you loved him the same way he loved you, and the fateful day you owned his heart.
   He had to thank Diluc for introducing him to you. He couldn’t imagine being in a world where he has no one to lean on when he lost the only family he had. You became his rock, someone he could lean on and trust. His friend who he loved more than he should have, the woman he wished to see in his arms someday.
                     But it will never be. He has to protect you. He is always in danger and he doesn’t want to hurt you more if he died and you two are in a relationship. And he had seen firsthand how affected you were when Diluc no longer wanted to be friends with you. He won’t let you go through the same pain if your relationship didn’t work. He loved you too much to let you suffer again.
                                  Kaeya didn’t think he would be able to thank Diluc again after their fall out but he was mistaken.
                            He didn’t know the full story of what had happened the night he got shitfaced drunk in the tavern but woke up the next day to learn he has revealed his feelings for you in front of his brother, and the latter had casually mentioned it to you when you dropped by the tavern to escort him back home.
                      Regret and frustration welled up inside of him and he spent ten minutes walking back in you guest room, trying to explain himself and perhaps even jest about having feels for you but his preparation was all futile when you opened the door just as he was about to.
               Before he can speak, you beat him to it.
        “The next time you get drunk like that, you’re sleeping on the couch.” You chastised, shaking your head and proceeding to turn your back to him to return downstairs. “Freshen up, and head down. I already cooked you breakfast, so hurry up before it gets cold.”
                                              Kaeya stared blankly at the spot you previously stood before smiling. He rushed over to the staircase and looked down to watch you descend the steps. “I won’t keep you long, love.”
                            His smile broadened when he saw redness rush to your cheeks.
Kaeya proposed to you in a way you expected him to propose to you. A fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant where he ordered a fancy bottle of wine and placed the fancy ring he bought into your glass. It was only because you knew him well that you have no accidentally imbibed the accessory. 
Upon receiving your answer to his proposal, the first thing Kaeya did the day after is hunt down for a best man. As a popular and charming Cavalry Captain of the Knights of Favonius, he thought it would be an easy task finding himself a best man but that notion gradually wilted as the date for your wedding approaches, he has yet to find someone to take the position.
In his pursuit for a best man, Kaeya came to realize something. His relationships with others aren’t exactly intimate. They drink and laugh together, but none of them really knew him. Kaeya couldn’t go to them with his personal problems or have their shoulders ready for him to cry on. They were good friends, but not people he would let inside his heart and vulnerability.
There were only two people who knew him behind the title of Cavalry Captain - you, and of course, his estranged brother, Diluc.
The very thought of Diluc sent a shiver down his spine. Diluc hated him and ( Your Name ). He pushed them away, treated them horridly, like they had been nothing to him but strangers with bad memories. Why would he want him to be his best man?
He remembered one day in Angel’s Share, he asked Venti if he could stand as his best man in the wedding and he swore he heard a glass dropping from behind the counter but when he turned, he saw Diluc wiping a wine glass with a blank expression. When Kaeya faced Venti once again, the excitement of being asked of such honorable position has withered and the Bard kindly declined before telling him to ask Diluc to be his best man. He did not.
Who cares about best man? The only thing important to me right now is marrying ( Your Name ).
But when the day of his wedding dawned, Kaeya was in a panic. Behind his charm was a man with a dark past, dark memories, and dark thoughts. He began doubting his ability to give you the life you deserve, began feeling insecurities he thought he had set aside.
He tried his best to remain calm, and for the most part, it worked. Everyone did not find something amiss when Kaeya was interacting with them before the wedding, but someone did, and that someone took him by his arm and dragged him a far and secluded corner after excusing him from who he was conversing with.
“Stop fidgeting with your tie, it’s beginning to bother me.”
Kaeya let out a huff. “Master Diluc, what a . . . surprise that you’re here.”
“You sent me an invitation.” The red head retaliated.
Kaeya had indeed sent him an invitation but he had no recollection of this or whatsoever. He was too wasted to remember.
“The Cavalry Captain losing his cool. Now this is a wedding just waiting to be ruined.”
It was almost like magic how the anxiety that has been eating him up vanished at his brother’s taunt. Kaeya glared at Diluc, opening his mouth to retaliate but before he can even let a single word move past his lips, Diluc turned his back to him and returned to the cathedral, leaving Kaeya in disbelief.
He let out a huff as he stared at his brother’s retreating form. “Bastard still knows me best.”
Kaeya has taken the reins over his emotions again, and he was sure he can keep his composure when you enter through the doors. But he was thoroughly mistaken as he swallowed the lump in his throat when his sight landed on you.
It felt like a dream. How can someone like you love him? In all his flaws, mistakes, and faults, how did you see him as someone you can lean on? Someone you want to spend the rest of your life with?
Surely, he must be dreaming. He’ll wake up in his bed any moment now and realize that everything had been the foolishness of his mind -
Except you continued making your way down aisle, and then you were in front of him with a veil covering your flushed face, and then he was slipping his hands in yours. This was real. You love him.
You leaned forward to him, nose brushing against his. “You look very dashing today, Kaeya.”
Kaeya chuckled. “And you look splendid today, Mrs. Alberich - oh, don’t go shy on me now.”
His smile broadened at the sight of your reddening cheeks. If it wasn’t for the priest speaking right now, he would have flipped over your veil and kiss you.
But there is plenty of time to do that. Kaeya will make sure of that.
     XINGQIU
          The youngest of the Guhua Clan will rarely be seen without a novel in hand. Everyday, Xingqiu will be seen with his friends with a book near him, always different from yesterday. He had read many novels and heard stories from storytellers, but one story he will never get tired of was his story with you.
       Although it may not seem like it, Xingqiu was a hopeless romantic, and he has always imagined seeking a woman to make his bride. However, it will always be something he can only imagine. As a heir of the Guhua Clan, he has responsibilities to keep and adhere, and he has willingly accepted this. Being given the freedom to choose his bride is something he cannot afford. When his father has informed him about offering him to a daughter of another prestigious clan, he has voiced his discontentment and disinclination to the arrangement but has nonetheless followed.
                  What a horror it would have been if he had followed through with the tiny voice inside his head saying to run away because if he did, he would have missed the chance of laying eyes on you and experiencing what many romance novels he read called – a heart skipping a beat.
           It was a tiring charade of formalities and display of pristine etiquette. All Xingqiu wanted was to retreat to a secluded area and continue immersing himself in the book he has picked up from the local library. With how often he reads, the novels in his own house he has already read, twice.
                                And so, he did. He kindly excused himself from the dinner between the families, making up a lie about feeling unwell and needing rest, and hurried over in the fields near his place. It is not exactly rude for him to skip dinner. It is not exactly ideal for his bride-to-be to be late in an important occasion like this so why shouldn’t he exhibit the same treatment as they did to him?
                    When he came to the spot be frequented, he caught sight of an unfamiliar figure from afar. A girl around his age sat on the bench under the tree, in the same spot he always occupied. She wore clothes similar to the families of the clan his family are negotiating with, so it didn’t take long for Xingqiu to learn this girl was related to them. He just didn’t know what her standing was with them.
 She was beautiful, he will admit, but it was the book in her hand that caught his attention. Thus, he approached her, adorning a friendly mask as to not scare her away. It is rather uncomfortable meeting strangers in the dark of the night and somewhere far from civilization.
           “Her hair billowed as she stood by the precipice, golden hues dimming in the dying light as she was left disappointed for yet another century. Her tears stung her skin and her throat tightened, but another century is simply common for someone like her. She will wait for his return, even if every mountain has eroded and all that was left of her was hope.” He recited a line from the novel as he took even ambles towards the girl, and he did not falter as she turned to face him. He offered her a smile and bowed with the elegance that his family taught. “Apologies for my disruption, my liege, but I can’t help but be thrilled to see someone with such incredible taste for literature. Not many are fond of historical fiction. Well, in my case, not many are into literature.”
                                        Her eyes appraised him with wonder as she perfected her posture. “That’s one of the lines in the book. My, even I haven’t memorized a single phrase from any of the books in my collections.” She remarked.
                                “I like to memorize a line or two from all the books I’ve read. It feels like a part of them will always be with me even if my memories fade in time.” Xingqiu gestured to the vacant spot beside her. “May I sit next to you?”
     She let out a laugh, to which sent shivers down Xingqiu’s spine. “You may. It’s not everyday I get to speak with someone with the same interests as me.”
                      He gladly seated himself beside her and immediately, he was greeted with the fragrance of flowers.
                    The girl extended her hand to him, smilingly softly at him. “My name is ( Your Name ),” She introduced herself. “You’re probably thinking you haven’t seen me around in Liyue, and you’re right. My family is here to meet with the Guhua Clan.”
                                                      Xingqiu took her hand and pressed a chaste kiss on the back. “Glad to make your acquaintance, my lady. My name is Xingqiu from the Guhua Clan.”
      Her eyebrows raised in acknowledgment. “Is that so?” She mused. “Then, I must show my sincerest gratitude for letting my family into – ”
               “Ah, there’s no need for that,” Dismissed Xingqiu as he shook his head. “We’re far from the dinner they’re sharing together. No need to be so formal with me.”
          Her smile brightened. “I have a feeling we’re going to get along splendidly, Xingqiu.”
                        Upon returning together to his house and finding an excuse as to why Xingqiu had been outside did he and ( Your Name ) learn that it was them who were destined to be married when they are of age. The disappointment of meeting his soon-to-be bride has dissipated at the revelation, leaving him filled with utmost joy and pride as to having you as his, and from the shy and gleeful smile that wandered to your lips, Xingqiu can tell you think the same with him.
It was to be expected that the two of you will have a luxurious and grand wedding. With the two of you coming from wealthy families, it was no surprise. If you have insisted for a small wedding consisting only of close relatives and friends, your parents will fear some other elite clans will perceive this as them losing power and money and will take advantage of them or simply cut ties with them. You and Xingqiu had no other choice but to respect their requests. Although Xingqiu was secretly relieved you agreed to a big wedding. For him, you deserved only the best of the best, and in this case, larger is better.
Both families came to an agreement that it would be for the best if the two of you are not to see each other for the week before your wedding day. You found nothing wrong with this arrangement. Xingqiu, however, was the opposite of you.
Many times he tried to sneak out of his house to visit you in secret but Chongyun has thwarted this attempts many times. When he goes to adventures with the Traveler, he find himself missing you in mere hours. How can he survive a whole week without communicating with you?
Oh, how foolish of him. He was now allowed to visit you but he can, however, write letters to you.
For the whole week, Xingqiu will be writing to you without ceasing. You’ll have a difficult time keeping up with his letters but you’ll always find time to respond to him. After all, you missed him just as much as he missed you.
Xingqiu woke up before the sun can call for him. He walked around in his room, breathing in and out as he tried to soothe his joy. Chongyun, who was tasked to look after Xingqiu for the whole week, woke up from the sound of his footsteps. When he stepped inside his best friend’s room, Xingqiu held Chongyun’s hands and twirled him around, startling the half-asleep Cryo user.
“I’m getting married to ( Your Name ) today!”
“I know, Xingqiu. I’ve been stopping you from visiting her the whole week.”
Your wedding was held in a beautiful garden where cherry blossoms flutter and the wind was gentle and cool.
Xingqiu always held his composure in any situations and circumstances he encountered. But he was going to admit that seeing you in your wedding dress with the cherry blossoms kissing your skin and tresses every now and then had him malfunctioning.
It took a worse turn when you finally stood before him, expectantly looking at him. A compliment, a playful jest, a seductive remark - but there was none of that.
Xingqiu stared at you, eyes shining with admiration and his lips parted in pleasant surprise.
“Xingqiu, earth to Xingqiu,” You whispered. “You there?”
It was only after you spoke that Xingqiu snapped out of his stupor.
“Get yourself together, Xingqiu.” Stated Chongyun beside him in a whisper.
It took him a while to find him bearings but when he did, Xingqiu smiled at you and pressed a kiss on your forehead.
“Beautiful, just like the first time I saw you.”
     SCARAMOUCHE
            Scaramouche has dedicated his entire life to seeing through what his majesty, the Tsaritsa, desired. His life shall be nothing but a pawn for her to use in her schemes and may her will be done through him and her subjects. If she must dispose of him to make success of her endeavor, Scaramouche will gladly surrender before her eyes and bare his neck for her to cut. He will do anything she commands without a second thought, and anyone who dares get in his way will face the wrath of an incensed Harbinger.                
         It was all about the Tsaritsa. His entire his existence is for his majesty. It was all he ever believed in when the honor of being the sixth Harbingers was crowned over him. With that said, Scaramouche can never bring himself to admit his resolve has been altered upon his discreet visitation to the City of Freedom to conduct a more intimate investigation over the meteorites and the impact it had on the people of Mondstadt.
                      His skull was throbbing, his thoughts scattered, and frustration was beginning to settle inside of him. Scaramouche has just dispatched his soldiers to continue their research on the meteors after his failed attempt to eliminate the traveler. He was left alone in the tranquility of the night, with the remnants of the astrologist’s escape glittering beneath his eyes, mocking him.
     “I should have acted quicker. The Traveler will continue foiling The Tsaritsa’s plans.” Mumbled Scaramouche to himself. “No matter. There will be another chance in the future to finish off the hero of Mondstadt, and I’m sure it’ll come sooner than I expect. I must prepare for that time. I can’t make this mistake again.”
                  A curious hum that echoed behind him had him stiffening in his place and drawing out his weapon from thin air. “Are you interested about the meteors too?” A voice asked.
          Scaramouche turned around, and he found a woman standing behind him a few meters away. She has a beauty that he favors, a smile so gentle that it thawed a bit of ice in his heart, but a scowl made its way to his countenance. She’s taller than me.
  She didn’t look particularly like anyone he would have any interest in knowing, and when she has introduced herself to him after he supplied her with no answer, Scaramouche predicted correctly. She was merely an ordinary folk in any ordinary city with no Vision or any skillset that could benefit him in anything.
                                                    “I must get going.” Curtly stated Scaramouche and he turned around without even bidding goodbye to the woman.
                          “So soon?” You asked. “I thought we could at least talk what’s been happening – about the meteors, the stars.”
              Scaramouche frowned at the mention of the latter and he spun back around to meet your gaze. “The stars? What about the stars?”
                                        You smiled a secret smile. “The stars . . . they’re fake.”
         Scaramouche stared at you with wonder and amusement in his dark hues. He has always believed in that notion, and only a handful came to agree with him. Now, here a lady stands before him, with nothing in particular to offer him, speaking of the truth many has rejected.
                      He examined you from head to toe, evaluating your form before beckoning you to come over to him, saying, “Perhaps I can spare some time to talk.”
                  What was supposed to be a conversation within an hour or so has extended for a day, and when you requested to accompany him back to ship docked in Liyue Harbor to continue your conversation (it surprised him but has nonetheless allowed you to tag along) about the meteors and the stars, it dragged on for weeks.
     But Scaramouche would be lying if he said that was all you discussed about. There was only so much information they can relate to the subject that has intertwined their fates that it did not take long for the two of you to stray from it to favor a more civil conversation. He learned of your mundane life back in Mondstadt where you were merely another dot in the bustle of the city and he managed to extract from you valuable material regarding the Honorary Knight (in truth, you have willingly told him everything you knew about the Hero of Mondstadt and this he was very pleased with). He learned about your family, your work, your past, and your ambition to adventure throughout the lands of Teyvat even without a Vision.
                He thought it was foolish of you to believe you can ever get out of your city without a Vision. There were too many enemies that a simple adventurer like you could easily be overwhelmed with. Not to mention the Fatuis that he and his fellow Harbingers has placed all throughout Teyvat. The thought of you getting hurt, especially by his own soldiers . . . it did not sit right with him.
                                 Arriving at Liyue Harbor, Scaramouche proposed that you come with him. It is no secret that anyone who do not possess a Vision cannot survive if they were ever to embark on a journey. Hearing your desire for an adventure, Scaramouche has come to decide that as gratitude for your pleasant company and for your compliance in giving him information about the renowned traveler, he shall take you along in his voyage, showing you the grandest landscapes, granting your every need and desires, all the while keeping you at his side where he was certain you were safe.
    It was all to thank you, nothing else. It wasn’t because Scaramouche knew he would find himself missing you and the comfort you bring when you leave, nor was it because he was fond of you. Yes, yes, all just to show his gratitude.
              As his soldiers watched as Scaramouche led you aboard in ship with his hand interlocked with yours, they thought the same thing – Scaramouche is never the one to show gratitude to anyone. You had him smitten.
How you were able to fall in love with Scaramouche in such a short period of time is fascinating. Especially with his horrid personality.
But he was different with you. He was gentle, caring, and never raised his voice. The insults remained but there was no venom behind them. It took you quite some time to get used to his belittling remarks but it didn’t evade your perception how Scaramouche begun lessening his insults, opting for a more playful jab instead.
He proposed to you over at dinner. He had just come back from an expedition and came home to a table filled with your cooking. As the two of you are exchanging your stories of what went with your lives when you two were separated, Scaramouche placed his chopsticks away, looked at you straight in the eyes and said, “Marry me.”
How can you say no to such a romantic proposal?
Actually, you made him redo his proposal before you accepted but nobody else has to know about that.
There was no best man for Scaramouche in your wedding. The man was feared by everyone, and his fellow Harbingers hated him. Childe did insist on being his best man at one point but he almost ended up being fried by a lightning bolt. Apparently, the 11th Harbinger pestered him for a whole week trying to convince him to let him be the best man so his actions were justified - just a little bit.
You have to give it to Scaramouche. Regardless of his busy schedule and the current predicament in Inazuma, he managed to find time and opportunity to plan your wedding and marry you without having to worry about the Electro Archon and her subjects.
Scaramouche scoffed at the tradition of not being able to see you on the very day of your wedding. What good would it be? You were going to be his wife, and he wanted to see his wife. He saw himself above tradition, and visited you first thing in the morning at the day of the wedding.
It was no question Scaramouche was an authoritative man but he was more so as he prepared himself for the wedding.
His maids ran about in the room, providing everything he needed and wanted. Scaramouche was not known for being compassionate, but this was the first time they’ve been on the receiving end of his wrath. Normally, he would ignore their existence and not even bother to call them by their names but today, he was different. He acted worse than when he comes home after a failed mission.
The maids knew he was beyond frustrated with the wedding. So, they called to ask for your help.
“Scaramouche, you’re scaring the maids.” You cooed as you came up behind him and placed your hands on his shoulders.
Scaramouche let out a scoff, but you felt his frame soften. He sat before a mirror, and he gazed at your reflection as he placed a hand over one of yours. “Even they weren’t so terrible with their jobs . . . ”
“You’re making things so hard for them. And for yourself too.” You stated. “Marrying me shouldn’t be hard, should it?”
That statement set Scaramouche right, and when you left to carry on with your own preparation and the maids returned to their duties, he was more civil with them. If that’s what you want, then he can endure it.
The hour has finally arrived. Scaramouche has faced many dangers in his life, but it was only now he felt restless. What is taking you so long? He thought you wanted to marry him. Then what’s warranting your late arrival?
At that thought, you finally appeared by the end of the aisle, holding a bouquet in your hands. Everyone in the venue gaped at your beauty, and Scaramouche was thankful you had everyone gazing at you. He didn’t want them to see the dumbfounded and poorly hidden lovestruck expression that crossed his mien for a moment.
But a sense of pride also touched him. 
That’s my bride.
When the ceremony begins, you and Scaramouche were seated side by side. You smiled brightly at him when you sat, but he didn’t any indication that he saw your smile and continued giving his undivided attention on the person conducting your wedding. You pouted heavily at this but said nothing and followed his actions. However, your smile returned when you felt his fingers hooking with yours. It was a small improvement, but it was intimate and loving.
Scaramouche didn’t cry in your wedding but when his arms held you tightly to his chest when evening came and two of you lied down on your shared bed, it was enough for you to know he loved you as much as you loved him.
Maybe more so.
     RAZOR
   Razor rarely experience human interaction, and if he did, it would be abrupt and depending on how the communication was being dealt by both parties, it would either be Razor who parts from them first out of wariness or lacking knowledge of being social or the other would, most of the time for the reason they find it disturbing a human could act so much like a wolf. The humans Razor constantly encounter are the hunters from Springvale and due to their bellowing voices and violence against his Lupicals, he has limited his ventures to Mondstadt unless something calls for an emergency.
        Other than the man who gave him his name, Razor only knew a handful of people – six of them being the Traveler, Traveler’s companion, Bennett, Klee, her big brother Albedo, and the woman he sees as his mentor, Lisa. He can only ever let his guard down when around them, though he was still a wee bit cautious of Albedo whenever Klee drags him to his camp.
                          He didn’t think he could meet anyone else who can consider a Lupical. That was until he met you. You were taking a peaceful stroll around Wolvendom – Archons know why you chose the most avoided place in Mondstadt to walk through – at the same time he was hunting down boars for his Lupicals.
  There was no rescuing or danger involved when he met you. It was a simple encounter, to which Razor was pleasantly surprised with. In almost all occasions, when he is meeting a fellow human being, it would be under rather unusual circumstances. He met the Traveler and her floating friend when they were being attacked by slimes. He met Lisa when she has painted the skies dark as she was singlehandedly fending herself off from a mob of Hilichurls. He met Klee when she was using her bombs to fish. He met Albedo in the middle of a chaotic experiment to which resulted in an evacuation. He met Bennett when he was hanging upside down from a tree when he tried to take an apple from a high branch, and the tree was up in flames.
                   To say, meeting you normally was a breath of fresh air.
      The two of you hit it off almost immediately, or so that is what it seems to you. Although you consider Razor a good friend even in just the few days you have met, he was still very careful of you. He had been deceived by humans before and it may be a little unfair to you since he trusted the Traveler and Bennett almost in an instant, he must first know you are trustworthy.
  And indeed, you’ve proven yourself as such. Perhaps, more so than the Traveler. You have done everything to show him you have no ill intentions against him and his Lupicals – helped him in hunting for sustenance for his family even if you have to knowledge in hunting, helping him broaden his vocabulary, helping him read and write – but it was your sacrifice to protect them that made him truly open himself up to you.
             An Abyss Mage has appeared out of nowhere and has wreaked havoc in their residence. Razor can feel his heart thundering as he raced through Wolvendom along with a few of his Lupicals who he had gone out with to hunt. Upon arriving at their home, Razor has anticipated to see the grass painted with red and wounded wolves whimpering in pain as others try to battle against the Abyss Mage. But to his relief, such image was not implemented into reality. Instead, he found his Lupicals sleeping soundly in their den, and the remains of the Abyss Mage has slowly evaporated in thin air. As the particles gradually disappeared, they made way for your presence to be revealed.
           Razor let out a gasp when he laid eyes on you. Bruised, bleeding, exhausted, but smiling as you happily waved at him with the hand clutching your weapon.
                              You happily advanced towards him, tittering. Razor reached out to take your hand, and reluctantly asked of your welfare. Now he understood why humans ask how one is fairing when they are clearly unwell – they do not know what else to say.
                      “Why would you do that?” Razor questioned as he brought you far from his den to tend to your wounds without waking his family. “You are hurt now.”
    “I can’t let an Abyss Mage hurt your Lupical.” You answered firmly, the smile you wore dissipating as you gazed into his eyes. “I might not be as strong as the Honorary Knight or Acting Grand Master Jean, but I fought well.”
               What was this odd sensation he was feeling? This strong urge to protect you, to take you in his arms and never let you go – what was this? He has never felt like this before. So light, so . . . flustered. He thought this feeling would be gone after a few days, but months has passed and since then, the feeling became more prominent, stronger. All the time he could never get enough of you and there will always be that lingering trickle of pain in his chest when you have to leave for the day. Razor knew you would come back the day after when the night has gone, but it never stopped that little ache.
                          Razor understood that he lacked understanding of feelings, so he confided to Bennett about it. Bennett was almost as clueless as Razor about feelings – almost – but he did know when someone was taking a liking of someone in a more amorous manner. He has filled Razor about exactly what he was feeling for you, and not the kind of feeling that he has for him and the Traveler, but the kind of liking he would have towards a . . . girlfriend? (Bennett had to explain to him the meaning behind girlfriend and it was no easy task).
            “Liking someone like a girlfriend . . . ” Razor muttered, scrunching his face in puzzlement. “ . . . like a mate?”
                                 Bennett flushed at the word but nodded. “Yes, like a mate.”
                                                Bennett tried his best to help Razor confess to you, and this is where disaster happened. Since Razor is mostly uneducated in terms of romantic feelings, he did not feel any anxiety crawling up to him when he decided to admit his feelings to you. The problem is that he has decided to confess in a wrong time and in a difficult situation.
       “You should confess to her after you’ve saved her from danger!” Exclaimed Bennett, beaming at Razor.
                   The latter tilted his head to the side. “Razor doesn’t . . . get it.”
    “Well, in the books I’ve read, the guys confess to the girls they like in a dangerous time. I don’t know how that’s safe, but it works. But since we don’t want to hurt ( Your Name ), you’ll save her before confessing!”
                    Bless his innocent heart, Razor trusted Bennett’s word without a smidge of doubt. His opportunity to admit his feelings came when the two of you saw Reckless Pallad being surrounded by Hilichurls getting ready to pounce on him. The thing is you too knew your way around a battlefield and have efficiently begun fighting off the Hilichurls. Razor watched as you made quick work of rescuing Reckless Pallad and he didn’t even notice himself beginning to pout in disappointment until you were right in front of him again, worriedly gazing at him.
             “Razor, what’s wrong?” You questioned, appraising him. “You’re not injured, are you?”
                                     He shook his head. “Razor not injured.” He confirmed.
        “Well, that’s good, but why aren’t you moving? We need to save that man.”
                            “Razor wanted to confess to ( Your Name ) by saving her.”
       Razor explained the plan of his confession he conspired with Bennett, how he would save you from danger and tell you his everlasting love that he didn’t notice the redness tinting your cheeks and the wide smile stretching across your face.
           Razor only took note of the phenomenon occurring on your features when he has finished elaborating his scheme. He narrowed his eyes curiously. “Your face is all . . . red. Sick?” He asked.
                                                                         Razor didn’t have a chance to further speculate just exactly was ailing you before you took hold of his face and softly placed your lips against him, catching him off guard.
                                      There was a blossom in his chest when you kissed him – this is love, right? Razor decided there and then he liked this feeling of love.
                      Needless to say, Reckless Pallad was left alone for the Traveler to save. Again.
Razor had no idea what weddings were. He has never heard of such thing before. The first time he did learn about it was when he was hanging out with you and the Traveler. The latter mentioned that you and him are invited in a wedding. Razor tilted his head in confusion but when he turned to ask you what it was, he froze. Your eyes were shimmering with joy and excitement. Razor liked seeing you like that.
So when you were preoccupied, Razor asked the Traveler what a wedding was. Perhaps a wedding was some sort of food that he can find in the wild?
After Traveler has explained what weddings are and the concept of marriage as well, Razor did not waste time trying to propose to you. Since he had no money to buy a very expensive ring, he asked Bennett for help to find materials so he can make one of his own. In the end, they had Wagner help them form a ring. It wasn’t exactly the best looking but when Razor showed it to you and asked for your hand in marriage (Traveler helped him with his proposal speech and had to explain that asking for your hand doesn’t mean literal), and he saw the pure joy on your face, he thought it was pretty enough for you.
Razor didn’t know you were happy mostly because he proposed to you but you didn’t tell him. He looked so proud with the ring.
Your wedding was small and only a very few people were invited. Klee insisted on being one of the flower girls and Razor almost agreed until she began spouting about bombs which will detonate in the air and will explode with flowers. Albedo advised Razor not to make her one of the flower girls because Klee, for sure, will bring flower bombs (it will explode with flowers, but the explosion is still there).
Razor chose Bennett as his best man. That was supposed to be a good thing but when the two of those pair up together, they can tend to cause a lot of chaos, unintentionally.
At the day of the wedding, nearly all the invitees refuse to enter the cathedral as they claim there was danger inside. When Kaeya and Jean came to inspect this danger they speak of, both wielded their weapons once seeing a pack of wolves huddled at the front, just before the altar, with Bennett and Razor telling them to behave.
You had to explain to Razor why it was dangerous and made people uncomfortable when there are wolves present in the cathedral. Although Razor was understandably disappointed by this, he conceded and brought his Lupicals back to Wolvendom. To make it up to him, you promised a private celebration will be held in Wolvendom with nobody else but you, him, Bennett, and of course, his Lupicals.
Razor didn’t know why Bennett seemed more nervous than him when the two of them were standing by the altar. 
“I’m going to ruin your wedding, Razor! Aren’t you worried?”
“ . . . but you not ruining anything . . . ?”
When you finally arrived in the cathedral, Razor felt excitement surge in his body and he can hardly stop himself from squirming on his seat. 
But he wasn’t smiling. These emotions . . . he was having a hard time comprehending them. It was good, it was nice, but it was overwhelmingly so.
He could have cried, and he almost did but when you were before him, smiling at him, he couldn’t help but smile back.
His beautiful wife, his Lupical.
Bennett was the one who cried in your wedding.
     ALBEDO
                It was always a fascinating sight to see a traveler meandering through Dragonspine without minding the sheer cold or flawlessly fending themselves off from the enemies lurking around. Even Albedo has some degree of difficult in navigating his way back to his camp without the Fatui spotting him or tailing him. But it was more fascinating to see a young woman standing in the middle of a freezing lake with nothing but her trousers and her brassiere.
                            It was a peculiar meeting, yes, but out of the ordinary people and matters has always endeared him.
    Albedo brought you to his camp as quickly as he can and asked Timaeus to hand you a cup of warm tea and a blanket. After thanking him for his kindness and consuming half of the beverage generously given to you, you introduced yourself.
             You were an adventurer who came all the way from Liyue to embark on a journey to discover the harshness and secrets that laid within Dragonspine, a mountain many do not dare set foot further in. Other than the mentioned reasons, training was a top priority of yours. You claim one cannot go further in their adventure while being comfortable in their current, and he completely agrees with your statement. When Albedo questioned why you had been in the middle of a lake in Dragonspine, you answered that being able to withstand the cold was just part of your training and seeing as he had caught you shivering to close to death, it was not going well.
                            Albedo didn’t think he would see you again after you parted from him, but he was surprised when the next day he found you waiting for him in his camp, a smile on your face as you stand proudly and wave at him.
   Something about you piqued his interest, if his interest was somehow related to how his heart accelerated whenever you come close to him to offer help with his experiment, or when his face grows hot if you offer him a compliment. He thought it was your way of showing him your gratefulness for taking care of you yesterday, so he allowed your presence in his camp, around him. Albedo didn’t expect you to visit again the next day, and the day after that, and so on and so forth. But he can’t say he disliked your frequent visitations, or your presence that always seem to be following him everywhere he went. He very much liked your company and thoroughly enjoyed listening about your adventures and everything you came across in your adventure. They were a good distraction from his experiments. Everything about you set his mind in ease.
             It wasn’t long until the two of you are spending more time together alone. No experiments, no work in mind. It just the two of you keeping one another company and sharing stories about your days, and making banters here and there – whether it be in a walk under the moon, or sharing a meal in Good Hunter, or while he paints somewhere in Dragonspine.
                 Although Albedo was not well versed in the complexity of romance and has deemed relationships to be rather tedious to uphold, but he was knowledgeable enough to know that in the process of his growing friendship with you, he has caught feelings for you.
  This has certainly brought difficulty in his relationship with you. Albedo, although never verbally admitting so, has always thought of feelings as a nuisance. In a relationship, in his own observation, disadvantages trump over advantages. He had seen the irrationality that love has caused, the stupidity. His observation led him to one conclusion – other than being friends with people, relationships is not for him.
           You have put him in a challenging situation. It would have been easy to cut ties with you if you haven’t successfully infiltrated his walls and snaked your way in his heart. The very thought of pushing you away was repulsive to him. Seeing the hurt cross your features – it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
                      The interest he had for you was not interest at all. It was the beginning of love. He should have been more alert, and this wouldn’t have happened.
                                 What if you returned his feelings and your relationship did not work? There was no way your friendship could be salvaged. Isn’t it much better to remain as friends than risk ruining any chance of keeping you in his life?
  No, no, that would be insanely idiotic. It will eat him up. Thus, he treated his feelings for you like an experiment. Dipping carefully, testing the waters – confessing to you.
        He can construct a confession that will perfectly enunciate his feelings for you while emphasizing your freedom to reject him and his desire to remain good friends with you. Surely, you didn’t reciprocate his feelings. All he needed is for you to let him down, and he will hope you can still see him the same way after.
            All his preparations, however, were thrown out of the window when you beat him to confessing.
   Albedo had no idea how struck his expression must have been with puzzlement, anxiety and flatter as he attentively listens to every word that leaves your lips. His heart pounded at everything you were saying – everything he adored about you, you adored about him. Being unable to speak his mind felt foreign to him. After you finished your confession, a beautiful red hue coloring your cheeks as you looked into his eyes with hopefully eyes, all he can do his open his mouth a smidge, and close, and then open again. He must have resembled a goldfish at that time.
                      Albedo couldn’t believe it. You loved him, and here he was expecting to be rejected and thinking relationships were a waste of time.
                                          He was in a dilemma now. Accept your feelings as his heart desired to, or gently reject you for practicality? Having a lover would complicate his life and he will risk so many things that he were used to just to be able to keep his relationship with you fruitful. Was he ready for something like that?
           This was the first time Albedo has listened to his heart. He still remembered how he cupped your face in his hands and pressed his lips against yours, muffling the gasp that tumbled out of you.
                                Albedo might be a stranger to romance but he is an Alchemist and risks are part of his job, and risking coming out of his comfort to be with you was something you deserve, and maybe something he deserved as well.
You knew Albedo was going to propose to you. He was always immersed in his experiments and research that you took the responsibility of tidying up his lab. It did not take long for you to find a small black box nestled in the back inside a drawer filled with haphazardly thrown papers and used pens.
Albedo knew that you knew he was going to propose to you. The two of you were taking a peaceful stroll around Dragonspine and after a heartfelt speech, he knelt down to one knee, he curiously watched as you malfunctioned right in front of him, trying to elect which route of surprise should you take before displaying a less then satisfactory theatrics of surprise.
Nonetheless, the two of you are still happy.
You and Albedo agreed that the two of you will have a small and private wedding. Klee, however, did not. She was less than thrilled to hear about that and went on a whole spiel of the reasons why you should have the biggest and most fun wedding ever, as she said.
“ - then where will a really, really tall wedding cake and Klee is going to make a bomb that will explode in the skies where it will burst out many pretty flower petals - ”
Jean promised the two of you that she will keep an eye on her at the day of the wedding.
Albedo is adamant on two things - a small wedding, and having no best man, and the latter had two reasons. Although he is highly respected in Mondstadt, there was no one he could ask to be best man, and the second reason is that he loves you and is certain that marrying you is something he wants. No doubts. He didn’t need a best man helping him in something he didn’t need help with.
Albedo was also not someone to conform to the ritual of not seeing the bride on the day of the wedding until the very ceremony, but for you, he begrudgingly followed.
On the day of the wedding, Albedo prepared himself without the help of anyone. He prepared his own clothes and had Klee braid his hair (it was a wee bit sloppy and Albedo fixed them when she had her back turned to him and gave her all the credit).
The man reached for the door to visit you but he let out a sigh when he realized that he cannot. He made a promise that today, the first time he’ll see you is when you walk down the aisle. He has to keep his promise. Not to mention Klee blocked his way and reminded him of that (tried to block).
Albedo was a patient man. Patience was nothing new to him. His research and experiments needed patience or they will ultimately fail. It came to the point where being impatient made him uncomfortable. That’s exactly what was happening when he was standing at the altar. Nobody, not even the observant Kaeya himself, can tell Albedo was beginning to lose his patience.
The day had been a little too long. He wanted to see you already. It didn’t matter if the ceremony would take a while before he can kiss you and call you his wife. He just wanted to see you again.
Albedo turned away the moment you stepped inside the cathedral. You were far from repulsive or ugly (and he can never think of you like that), but he had to cast his gaze somewhere but on you. He knew you’ll be beautiful in your wedding dress, but seeing you now with your adorable and shy smile, with Cecilia flowers in your hands, and your eyes fixated on him and only him - Albedo nearly lost his composure.
This time he was sure Kaeya saw it.
“Waah, big sister ( Your Name ) looks soooo pretty!” Klee cooed loudly, causing the guests to let out a few chuckles of amusement.
His impatience was beginning to pierce through him. The moment you faced him, Albedo did not waste time grabbing your hands, and once he did, you saw him visibly soften, as though a huge burden was lifted from his shoulders.
“What happened to you?” You asked, giggling.
Albedo returned your smile. “I’m just very happy to see you.”
The fervor that he exuded when he kissed you certainly supported his statement.
THOSE WHO WILL HIDE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RECEPTION TO CRY SOMEWHERE NO ONE CAN SEE THEM
     CHONGYUN
    Chongyun was known for two things – being an exorcist and having a type of condition that needed his keen observation and awareness.
       He has always disliked his condition. Whenever his Yang energy overwhelms, he must immediately consume an icy treat to be able to soothe his nerves. But it seems he can be thankful for it for this one time. If it wasn’t for his congenital positivity, he wouldn’t have stumbled across you, and your hundred homemade ice cream you smuggled out of your own home.
                      Chongyun had been hurrying to meet his friend at that day. He had just finished an exorcism somewhere in Qingce Village and was rushing to where he and Xingqiu usually meet in Liyue. He was already running late, and who knows what Xingqiu will do if he was late again. He let out a pained yelp when he crashed against your form when he made a sharp turn, and his Yang energy has never been in a more unstable state than when he saw you seated on the ground, groaning in pain, with peculiar looking containers littering the floor around you.
                   Chongyun had profusely apologized for his actions and assisted you in gathering all the belongings he had knocked off your possession. He felt the coldness in the small containers you once held and wondered what was inside. He hasn’t seen anything like this before. He knew his Yang energy was starting to ooze out of him but he underestimated its manifestation until you placed your hand over his forehead. He pulled back away instantly, startled by your actions, to which you immediately apologized.
        “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” He repeated, light blue hair bobbing with his movements as he bowed his head over to you again and again, mortification palpable on his features. “I-I didn’t mean to run – ”
                        “No, no, I should be the one apologizing! I wasn’t looking where I was going and I put my hand on you all of a sudden – ” You were about to continue spewing apologies and explanations when you froze, concern etching across his face. “ - oh, hey, you’re really, really red. Are you okay?”
                  Even when it had been years since his encounter with you, he still gets embarrassed when he remembered that, and you and Xingqiu tease him about it.
                                           He explained to you then about his condition and when you offered him a container you owned containing ice cream you made, that’s when your friendship begun. When the two of you snuck out to a secluded area in Liyue Harbor to gorge on the tons of ice cream you have once again brought out of your house despite your mother’s warnings did he know it would be a friendship that will last long. His only regret was that he introduced you to Xingqiu, and now he must endure double the teasing.
                       One thing he appreciated about you was how ready you were whenever you were with him. You made it your point to know what can cause his condition to act up and soothe him by your words, and always having ice cream with you. And the best part was that the ice cream you give him is always homemade, made by you. His popsicles could never compete to your masterpiece.
    He never really thought of you as someone he would be romantically interested in. Sure, there were instances when his Yang energy would flare up because of having you by his side, when your smile brought upon his own, when his heart raced when you held his hand as the two of you were returning from a commission, when he gazed at you with adoration when you took care of him and fed him cold noodles when he was having a fever (he refused to eat hot noodles even in his illness). Surely, all friends do that with one another, right? And feeling this odd sensation in his chest was normal, right?
                      When he confided in Xingqiu with this, the boy laughed at his cluelessness. It wasn’t surprising. Chongyun did not have a lot of friends so distinguishing friendship and romance was not easy for him. The Hydro Vision holder filled him in with everything he has to know about relationships, and he used some pretty unconventional ways like giving him a too descriptive image of how a man and woman would kiss, and other explicit doings of adults.
         But it did bring light one thing – Chongyun liked you, and of course how he handled such revelation was, simply put, disastrous.
                                      His entire body felt hot, and he was stammering to the point even the ever so eloquent Xingqiu cannot understand him. Normally, when things get like this, he’ll rush over to your place and request for some of your delicious ice cream but seeing as you were somehow part of the reason for this, he had to rely on Xingqiu to take care of him.
                      After learning about his feelings for you, Chongyun have never been more uneasy around you, which was odd, and he was sure you’ve noticed, and yet has never dropped any comment about it.
                     He was always nervous around you. Blushing whenever you come close to him, jumping when you take his hand in his, stammering whenever you praise him for anything, feeling the need to run away if you ask him about how he was fairing – he has lost count just how many popsicles he has eaten just to keep his cool. He has stopped asking ice cream from you and declined any offer from you because he thought accepting your homemade ice creams could lead him to falling deeper in love with you until he couldn’t move on anymore.
             Chongyun didn’t notice your growing impatience. He was so immersed in his own feelings that he didn’t take into consideration how you felt whenever he flinched away from your touch and rejected your treats.
   It took Xingqiu for the growing tension between the two of you to alleviate. He made an elaborate plan to get the two of you together in an isolated place (a broom closet) and has made a claim not to let any of you go until the two of you have confessed your feelings with each other.
                      “Just tell me what’s wrong with you, Chongyun! Why are you acting so weird around me?” You asked him but he refused to answer you just as he refused to look at you.
      You let out a sigh as you reached out to take his hand but when he pulled away from your touch, that was the last straw.
               “If you don’t want to be friends with me anymore, just say so.”
          Alarmed, Chongyun faced you, stuttering. “No! Of course, I want to be friends with you - I mean, I don’t want to be friends - wait, that sounded wrong, and so bad - ”
   Your brows burrowed together in question. “You want to be friends but you don’t want to be friends?”
   Chongyun groaned as he buried his face on his hands. It’s now or never.
                “I like you, ( Your Name ).”
           The silence that followed was deafening for Chongyun. He removed his hands from his face and prepared himself to apologize and beg to continue being friends when he felt hands cup his face, and your lips pressing against his. It was a good thing you had ice cream on you even after he avoided you for weeks. He almost fainted in your arms if it wasn’t for you shoving a finger in his mouth with a scoop of ice cream. 
                                   It was one of the few times Chongyun was grateful for Xingqiu’s interest in romantic tropes because if it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t have left that room with a blushing but happy face with you.
      Xingqiu smirked as the two of you exited the room, hand in hand and redness coating your cheeks. “Well, well, well, look who - ”
                    “Shut up, Xingqiu,” You and Chongyun chorused. The two of you looked at each other out of surprise and then burst out laughing, all the while the Hydro Vision user stood by the side, sighing.
         “Now, I have to deal with these two’s teasing.”
When Chongyun realized he was ready to propose to you after years of being together, he asked Xingqiu to propose to you on his behalf.
His best friend nearly destroyed his book from whacking the Cryo user for thinking such an inane idea could work. Not only was it not romantic, it was also inappropriate. Xingqiu had to reprimand him for an entire hour proposing that idea but being a good best friend that he is despite his mischievous streak, he vowed to help the man propose to you.
It was no easy task and there were times where Chongyun held himself back and risking yet another proposal plan. He was thankful Xingqiu was well versed with romance and everything entailed with it and knew more ways to help him. After a countless of delays, Chongyun managed to get down on one knee one fine evening by the trails leading to Liyue Harbor, spew out affirmation of his love for you in stammers, and asked for your hand in marriage.
When you accepted his proposal and adorned your finger with the ring, Chongyun discreetly showed a thumbs up to a nearby bush. About three hands popped out from the leaves, offering the same action.
Xingqiu let out a sigh as Xiangling and Xinyan giggled. “Finally.” He breathed out. “Now, time for me to be his best man.”
Of course, Chongyun chose him as his best man. Who else would be a better choice than him? 
Chongyun is firm about Xingqiu being his best man but sometimes he can be a little bit . . . pushy, especially when it comes to something he believes in.
There was a tradition where he cannot see you for a whole week until the ceremony. Chongyun was mildly bothered by this arrangement but nonetheless, since you agree with it, he will respect your wishes and do the same. Xingqiu has over and over again tried to persuade him to visit you at home, and he made some interesting points why he should. He almost convinced him a few times but in the end, he refused to be lured in his trap and stopped the temptation of breaking his promise.
He missed you dearly, yes, and his patience will surely be rewarded soon.
Chongyun, as expected, was freaking out at the day of wedding. Marriage is a huge step for the both of you. You’re not going to regret marrying him, will you? What if this marriage didn’t work? He’ll lose you for you.
Xingqiu had to guide him away from the altar and to a corner for privacy. Other than you, Xingqiu was a person who had been when his condition start acting up and how it worked.
After successfully cooling him down with a popsicle, Xingqiu consoled Chongyun. “I don’t know what you’re thinking about back there but you have nothing to worry about. ( Your Name ) loves you.”
“What if it doesn’t work between us?”
“It will. I’ve seen how you two are. You’re perfect for each other. I think you already know that, and ( Your Name ) does too. Why would she accept your proposal if she didn’t think the two of you wouldn’t prosper together?”
Chongyun murmured. “Pity?”
If Xingqiu had a book with at that moment, he would have smacked Chongyun again.
Once his condition has subsided, Chongyun returned to the altar and Xingqiu stood behind him, waiting.
The moment you arrived, Chongyun can feel himself heating up and his heart pounding against his chest. It felt like his condition was acting up but he wasn’t feeling nauseous or at the edge of fainting. It was a pleasant sort of warmth, the warmth he felt when he first met you.
No. It was the same warmth that travels through his body whenever he sees you, but this time, it was stronger to the point he it almost felt like his condition.
Your smile immediately disappeared when you saw Chongyun flushed red and his eyes averting from yours.
Worry encapsulated you. “Is your condition acting up?” You asked in a whisper.
Chongyun blinked, puzzled. “What?”
Discreetly taking a gander at the audience completely unaware of your interaction, you slipped your hand under your dress and showed Chongyun was a small ice cream container.
“I brought this with me just in case.”
Chongyun decided he made the best decision of his life to marry you.
He took your hands in his and pressed a small kiss on top of one.
“Thank you, love.”
After the wedding, Chongyun immediately visited the comfort room. You tried to follow him but Xingqiu told you there was nothing to worry about, and he was right.
When he entered the comfort room, Chongyun locked the door behind him and headed straight to the sink to splash some water on his face.
One won’t be able to tell Chongyun was crying from the water streaming down his face.
He looked up at the mirror, staring at his reflection as he let out a small, and content sigh.
“I’m married. I’m married to her.” Chongyun tried to hold back his smile, but he failed. “She’s my . . . wife.”
And did it sound nice to call you his wife.
     XIAO
              It was his duties to Rex Lapis, to the thriving land of Liyue, that kept Xiao grounded and his mind temporarily fleeting away from the karmic debts that weighed on his shoulders. If it had not been for the responsibilities laid down on him, he was sure to have succumb to the consequences of his bloodshed from the past long ago. It was the reason behind his creation, to serve the people of Liyue and protect them from any transgressors or anything that could potentially lead to their destruction, and it was all he knew. His existence was all for Liyue, and to seek out the desires of Rex Lapis and accomplish them no matter how difficult and by what means.
    Day and night he oversees every part of Liyue and hears every call of his name and seeks refuge in Wangshu Inn. It was a cycle that has never changed ever since the gruesome war between gods has taken place in Teyvat, and all was same until that night when he heard a cry for help from a distant place, and rescued a strange maiden from the peril she found herself in.
                          Love at first sight disgusted him the most. He can understand, to some degree, that mortals can fall in love with people they have built a caring and trusting relationship with but falling in love with someone who one has no dust of knowledge of their identity was simply unwise and incomprehensible. And yet there he was, leaping from the precipice of a soaring mountain and securing the mortal in the middle of her fall.
               Xiao had no clue why it felt like time has stopped and they have gently floated in the air as he took a gander at the woman in his arms. Scratches littered her features, and twigs adorned her mop of hair, but she still shone brighter than the stars and moon behind her.
   He did not let her speak to him after he has placed her safely on solid ground and he quickly took his leave without even a glance back.
                          When he had painted the lands of Teyvat red with the other Yakshas, he did not blink an eye or feel a bead of sweat trail on the side of his face. But that woman has caused his chest to flutter, and he always find himself thinking back to the day he had saved her. If he had been like any other mortal which has sleep as a necessity, he would find himself thinking of you every morning and every night, longing for another chance to meet you again. What has she done to him? He already has to carry the burden of his sins, and now he must endure this painful curse she casted on him?
              But it didn’t matter now. She was already long gone, for all he knows, and he doesn’t even know her name.
    Xiao already came to accept that she was merely going to fleet away from his mind, a distant memory that his heart will ache every time he remembers her. He had many regrets in his lifetime, and this leaving her behind without knowing her name is one of them.
                                    But it seems to him that Rex Lapis has taken favor of him and has graced his undeserving existence. Xiao had just exterminated a Hilichurl camp getting increasingly close to Wangshu Inn when his ears preened and his pupils dilated – that voice, the same voice that he never thought he’d hear again, was calling out for him again. He did not find the time to dispose of the monsters in a more appropriate location where they will no longer continue their venture towards the inn, and quickly made his way to where he heard her.
           When he arrived, it did not take long for him to spot her standing perfectly still in front of him, hands behind her back. His eyes dilated as he took in her familiar form. Her tresses were no longer matted with twigs and mud, the scratches that once marred her skin no longer present, and a smile has replaced the cowering fear that adorned her visage before.
                   Xiao ignored the increasing heartbeat that drummed against his chest and surveyed the area with a flick of his spear. “There’s no danger.” He remarked after assessing the parameter, his mask dissipating into the night as he returned his gaze back at her.
       She rubbed her arm as she averted her eyes from him. “I spent months trying to find you again.” The mortal woman murmured. “When all has failed, I thought back to that night you saved me, and I called – and you came.”
                                         Xiao did not speak another word, but he was afraid that you can hear how loud his heart was racing. He needed to ignore his selfishness, he needed to leave. “If you’re not in any danger, then I’ll be leaving.”
  He turned around to do as he said, but his eyes widened when he felt your hand around his wrist.
                “Wait, please,” She pleaded, and when he looked over his shoulder, any resolve of leaving her again vanished. She was looking at him with hopeful and vibrant orbs. How can he ever let her down when she’s looking at him like that?
      Xiao let out a sigh and turned back around to meet her properly, but her hand never left him. Were you afraid he might disappear as quickly as he did like last time?
                                    “Don’t go.”
                   “Why not?” Xiao questioned. “If you know anything about an Adeptus, then you understand my duties.”
              She bit her lip as he withdrew her hold. Xiao missed the warmth she gave him already. “I know that but . . . ” She trailed off. “ . . . can I . . . at least know your name?”
                                                Xiao did not give her an answer.
            “Even if we never meet again, I want to at least know the name of man who saved me.” She mumbled softly. “But I’m afraid if I ever know your name, I’ll never get to think of any other man but you.”
                                                    Xiao appraised you, taking in her apprehensive frame. A mortal has fallen in love with an Adeptus? This was preposterous. He saved her months ago, and back then they shared little time together. Too little to gain feelings for him.
    But still, he found himself relenting to your wishes.
                                     “Xiao,” He answered. “My name is Xiao.”
            Don’t look for another man. I’m here. I’m staying.
                   That’s how he met his first and last love, ( Your Name ).
Xiao has lived in Teyvat for thousands of years and is knowledgeable of the culture of mortals, one of them being marriage. He had witnessed humans bounding themselves to another, promising to cherish them, protect them, to love them. For Xiao, marriage is something far from disgusting. Although he cannot understand the need for them to be together under an oath, it was undeniable that many great things and opportunities birthed from them.
However, no matter how beautiful it is for them, it will never stop perplexing Xiao. How is it that one can look at another and know that they’re the one? Are they not afraid to be betrayed? Are humans so willing to have themselves get hurt and offer forgiveness for the sake of love? It’s confusing for him.
Not until you came along that it made sense. Every argument, every disagreement, sleepless nights, every sincere apology, every countless forgiveness, every embrace, every kiss - is this what mortals feel? If so, he’ll endure all the hardships of love if it means staying by your side, and he knew that you feel the same.
Unfortunately, Xiao is not one for marriage.
Not that he does not love you - oh Archons, because he did, deeply so - but the consequences of your relationship always hang in front of him.
 It’s already a risk to let you in his heart and love someone as sinful as him, but the thought of you bearing his karmic debt terrified him.
What happens if the two of you are bound together, and under a contract that Rex Lapis will surely oversee? Will the demons that torment him sink their teeth on your pure and innocent soul? Will he see the life in your eyes wither as you strive to remain with him? And what if you try to break the contract to escape karma? Will the both of you suffer in karma and the wrath of the rock?
Xiao can’t do that to you. This is one way he can guarantee your safety. It hurts him to know he cannot marry you, and it hurt more when he saw the disappointment and pain in your eyes when he explained himself. But keeping you safe is his top priority. He deserved this punishment, he can’t put it over your shoulders too.
But that didn’t stop Xiao from imagining how your wedding could have been if things we’re a little different.
A small wedding in a place of your choice with only a handful of close friends and families. You’ll wear a gorgeous dress and walk up to where he is with the same smile you wore when he met you for the second time.
As you stand before him, Xiao could only imagine the happiness and contentment he would feel at that time. 
He’ll hold you close, hear you laugh, and then he’ll press his lips against yours, sealing you to a promise that everything that he is, and everything that he has, is yours.
He’ll find himself retreating somewhere private. He didn’t want you to see him vulnerable, weak, as he cried for the first time in his life, and for the greatest reason.
He could have a chance of happiness, but he can’t.
It was all a dream.
A dream he will never achieve, a dream of yours that he can never grant.
“Xiao, you’re still awake?”
The man looked away from the moon and looked over his shoulder to see you standing by the threshold leading to the terrace. You were tired, and yet you woke up to tend to him. 
“You know I don’t need sleep.”
“But you always lie next to me. What’s wrong? Something bothering you?”
Xiao did not respond, and you didn’t push any further. He adored it how you know when to prod to a subject or not. You know him so well.
After a moment of silence, you walked over to him and sat  beside him on the railing. You looked up at the moon, and Xiao slowly placed his head over your shoulder.
He felt at peace.
Xiao closed his eyes, dreaming of a day that will never come when he can marry you without anything holding him back.
     KAZUHA
                        Kazuha can no longer remember how long it has been since he was on the run from the shogunate. The Electro Archon and her subjects are on the hunt for Visions of every single person residing in the walls of Inazuma, and he was one of the few who refused to have their Visions confiscated from them. It seems exiling him from his homeland was no longer sufficient and the said Archon has ordered for every so-called transgressor that they banished to be apprehended and have their Visions forcefully taken from them. It was only his luck that Beidou, and the crew she captained, has taken him under their wing and he has been sailing the seas with them since then.
            Has it been months? Days? Or perhaps weeks? Being away from land with nothing but the ocean to take in and his mind seemingly always preoccupied with his doubts and worries has him losing track of time.
   In all honesty, he doesn’t remember the last time he stepped on dry land. Perhaps they did, but it was not a memory that has fleeted a long time ago. All he can think about was Inazuma, the threat of being having his Vision taken, and his past he buried deep within the back of his mind.
            Beidou must have taken notice of his continuous lackluster attitude and has set sail for Liyue for him to take a break from the seas. This, of course, he appreciated though he insisted Beidou that she did not have to dock just for him to clear his mind.
          Back at that time Beidou claimed she knew what is best for him and she should put his trust on him, and with the lack of reasons to refute her statement, Kazuha merely let out a sigh and agreed to land in Liyue.
                         He has never been to Liyue, or to put it more accurately, he has never stepped foot in in the few times the Crux made their return on Liyue. It wasn’t because he hated it there, but he felt more comfortable and more at home inside the ship. The furthest he has gone was on the docks to help the crew load supplies in their next sail. But now Beidou has encouraged him to leave the ship and explore, and implied being forbidden to come aboard if he refused to do as she says.
       When Beidou said she knows what is best for him, maybe she was right. He must admit, even if he was still longing to return to his homeland, Liyue had many sights and delicacies to offer. But the best and most beautiful sight he saw was up on a rooftop when he was resting from hours of mindless meandering in the streets.
                                                              He played with a green leaf that fluttered over to him after it has been carried away by the wind from its tree, and he pressed his lips against it to whistle a melody. The tune was buried under the bustle of the city night but it seems that one picked it up from the terrace just below him.
                    Kazuha saw a girl around his age walk out to the terrace, head moving left and right, as though looking for something. Kazuha did not think much of this behavior assuming she was searching for something else, and he tore his eyes away from her and nonchalantly continued to whistle against the leaf.
                                           “So, that was you who was making that beautiful sound.”
                Kazuha casted his gaze down to see the girl on the terrace looking up at him as she leaned against the railing with her arms crossed, a gleeful smile present on her brims. He pulled the leaf from his lips as he regarded her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to – ”          
          She shook her head, chuckling. “No, no, it’s fine. You can stay there.” She assured, and Kazuha eased on his spot. She stared at the leaf in his hand. “I didn’t know you can make a tune using a leaf.”
                      Kazuha flashed her a small smile. “It’s something only a few can do. It’s pretty hard to master.”
                     “And you’re one of those few.” She remarked. Silence prevailed between the two until she spoke again. “Can you play something for me?”
      Kazuha was bewildered by her request. It wasn’t common to find a foreigner sitting on the rooftop of her household. One would think that their first reaction should be an accusation of trespassing and a demand for identification, but no. This girl was different, you were different.
                    Kazuha did not question your request, just as you have not questioned him of his place on your rooftop. Instead, he granted your wish. He pressed the leaf against his lips and blew, a tune of his own composition sounding in the air.
      He watched in awe as you raised both your hands to your chest and white particles formed above your palm, creating a shape until it formed and bloomed into an elegant wooden lyre. Without saying anything else, you strum the strings along with his tune, and the people of Liyue beneath their feet are unaware of the small haven the two of them created together.
               Kazuha is more than grateful for Beidou for pushing him to go to Liyue. Ever since that night, he has made constant visits to your house. Early in the morning – that’s when Beidou would barge into the barracks and force them out of their beds – he would always be the one out of the door to finish his tasks and leave immediately to visit you, a prominent smile over his face. The crew, of course, has pestered him to tell him of the reason for his constant leaving and he could only let out a sigh of relief when Beidou shooed them away from him and asked them to return to their work. She winked at him right after and whispered, “Go and hurry to your girlfriend.” To which he denied with a shy grumble before making haste to Liyue.
                               Liyue was brighter than the isolationist Inazuma has become, and one of the reasons Kazuha thought this was you. The Crux was like a family to him, and Beidou was like an older sister to him, but you – he has never felt more soothed than in your presence. You felt like home, and it has been so long since he had felt like he was at home. Seeing you smile, hearing you laugh, seeing how you nod attentively as he talked, your arms embracing him when he opened up to you about his past, the music you played together in perfect harmony even without practice – it was all so surreal.
        Kazuha didn’t have to tell you about his growing feelings for you. He knew that you knew.
  It started with a shy kiss, and then a longer one, and the two of you found solace in each other’s arms. There was no music playing, and there were no stories shared – just him with his arms around your figure and lips connected with yours. None of you dare say it but your days together were slowly coming to an end, and it won’t be long until the day comes when he has to set sail to visit neighboring nations.
                  But Kazuha will always come back to you, that he promises.
After a few years of frequent visiting and writing letters to one another, Kazuha has finally decided that it was time for him to propose to you. Beidou - being the supportive big sister she is to him - upon hearing of his plan, gathered her crew to help Kazuha in his objective. Everything from food, drinks, location (they chose the ship), and atmosphere, they provided. As thanks for their dedication and help, they only ask an invitation to his wedding, to which Kazuha replied will surely come even if they did not help.
The crew claimed that they shall be far away as possible from the ship so that the two of you can have your privacy, but Kazuha, and definitely you, as well, heard loud cheering from a short distance followed by a shushing Beidou when you accepted his proposal.
“I thought they said they’d be at Wanmin Restaurant - ”
“To be honest, I didn’t really believe them.”
Unlike the other boys who were hesitant of not seeing the bride for a week until the wedding, Kazuha was actually the one to push this tradition. He disliked it as much as the other boys, but Kazuha loved being able to give you his all. Not being able to see you for a week is a sure way for him to crave for your presence, and once the two of you see each other again, he’ll pour out every love and care for you then.
You were dismayed by this whole arrangement but since it is important to Kazuha, you respected it.
The crew fought for the spot of best man, but in the end, all of them got to be best man. Kazuha did not have the heart to choose one from the crew, so he had to explain to you beforehand that the almost the entire male crew of The Crux are going to be standing with him at the ceremony.
It wasn’t a common occurrence in a wedding but you allowed it. The crew was like his family to him, and if it’s going to make him happy to have them as his best men, who are you to go against it?
At the day of the wedding, Beidou was the one to fret over Kazuha’s appearance. The Anemo user tried to calm her down but after she continually tried to fix his hair for the wedding, he just sighed and allowed her.
“I can’t believe you’re going to be married in just a few hours.” Beidou remarked in the quiet after a while. “To think you were just a teenager when we met you, and our little teenager is a big man now.”
“Nothing’s going to change. I’ll just be married.” Kazuha tried to ease her worries but he knew as well there are going to be major changes. One of being concerning his frequent endeavors with the crew. Once he gets married with you, he’d want to be with you always, to settle with you. But he was so used to the sea, to be living with the crew in a ship. Can he really get used to this coming change?
Beidou let out a sigh. She placed a hand over his head, patting him gently. She would have ruffled his hair but that would waste her effort on making it as presentable as she can.
“Things are going to change, Kazuha.” Stated Beidou, beaming. “And it’s not all bad. Trust me.”
Kazuha nodded, but he was still uneasy. He was ready to give himself to you, but at the same time, he wasn’t ready to leave the crew. 
This thought haunted him even in the time of the ceremony. He should be focusing on the wedding but he couldn’t. 
He needed to talk to you about this. You need to know what’s bothering him.
Was it possible to feel dread for the future while also looking forward to it?
Because it felt like a gust of wind billowed his direction when his eyes landed on you. Beautiful, you’re beautiful. What else can he say? 
Was he really going to marry you? Whatever did you see in him? He was a banished Ronin from Inazuma. There must be some other man more worthy of you.
But you loved him, nobody else.
“Stop gawking at me like that. You’re making me embarrassed.” You murmured, cheeks flushed. He didn’t even notice you standing before him until you spoke.
Kazuha closed his parted lips as he turned away from you. “I . . . uh . . . ” He swallowed. “You look beautiful, ( Your Name ).”
“At least look at me when you say that, Kazu-kun.”
 He looked at you, breathing in before speaking. “You look very, very . . . uh, pretty.”
You laughed a little. “You look very, very handsome, Kazuha.”
You took his hands in yours and gazed into his eyes, smiling. “Things are going to change once we get married.”
A pang of uneasiness struck Kazuha.
But what you said next shocked him.
“After this, I can finally be part of the crew and join you on your adventures in the sea!”
Kazuha gawked at you again, blinking.
Everyone invited to his wedding gasped when Kazuha suddenly kissed you out of nowhere in the middle of the ceremony.
Beidou, and the rest of the crew, however, cheered loudly for the two of you.
After the wedding, Kazuha snuck away from the reception for a while. He found a tree from a short distance and sat on the branch, breathing in the cool evening air.
He caught a fluttering leaf and smiled as he gazed at it and recalled how the two of you met.
Things will change, and soon, he’ll be adventuring with his wife in the vast ocean. Oh, he has so many things to show you.
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everafterkeiji · 3 months ago
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1 step forward, 3 steps back ft. hanma shuji
INCLUDES: toxic relationship, angst
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"Boring."
If there was one word you could kill off of any language, any dictionary, it would be that word.
"Boring."
If there was one thing that you hated being called a certain name, it would be that word.
But Hanma seems to remind you of it every passing day and it brings you to your weakest point as he towers over you with that unimpressed scowl and throws his cigarette on the ground, letting his foot do the damage to it as if the cigarette was your body while he destroys it to ruins.
So when you were drained out of love, out of senses, you'd go to a certain dock and let your legs swing off of the ledge with a cigarette in hand while you felt that the waves of the water carried every tear that was destined to fall from your eyes when you felt movement from where you sat and soon, Hanma sits beside you while you exhaled the smoke from your lips.
"You prefer to be alone now, Y/N?" He questions, mocking how you used to cling onto him but somehow, he can feel how the distance between you wasn't just the typical afterthought of an argument.
"If you can't save me then why the fuck are you here then? What's your goddamn use to me?"
"Hanma, I am not someone you can use for fucks sake! I'm not meant for this shit that you're into!"
"Then I don't need you anymore, Y/N. Go ahead and fucking leave already!"
You didn't mind that the same words he had yelled earlier were still endlessly replaying in your ears. You didn't mind how your heart was burned to ashes just like the ones stuck to his sandals.
Hanma sees the nothingness in your glance to the lake ahead of you, the lack of saturation in your features, so he brings his hand to his nape before resting his arms behind him as he looks at you.
"You want to go? Just like old times?" He suggested, remembering how swimming in this same lake would always make you smile because of how you two would be the only ones left in it at a late night so he uses it as a distraction instead of apologizing. Perhaps it was because he was used to you coming back dozens of times regardless of the fight or he just hated to feel how you sat beside him like he was a stranger. You didn't even spare him a single glance since he got here and it sends an odd sensation to his heart by how you acted.
"Sure." You answered which made him feel the slightest hint of relief that you were still responsive to him so when you both stripped of your usual uniforms to be left in your undergarments as you both dive into the water, you let your tears join in while you swam. Hanma stares at you while your eyes were fixated on the stars, with a flutter to his heart but he knows there was sadness laced to it knowing he's never seen you this quiet.
"Hey, Y/N?" He called out to you as you laid on your back, eyes intent to never rest on him while he moves closer to you. "Do you—do you wanna talk about it?" He asked with his voice covered in delicateness, a side you've yet to encounter especially when he always had the louder voice in contrast to you. Why was he becoming vulnerable? Why was his emotions developing more and more uneasy like he was showing how your detachment to him was affecting every part of him when he was usually the type to be so numb to your feelings?
"No thank you." You answered, sending him a timid smile while you returned to your usual position, meeting his standing figure and your eyes finally comes to his worried orbs that causes your breath to hitch. It'd been a long time since you looked at him, since you've got the chance to trick yourself into thinking that maybe he'd look at you one day like a human being.
But usually, he eyed you as something so replaceable, like an object that was only useful when he needed yet he'd quickly dispose of when he got bored.
So with a change in his stare, you took a few steps back knowing it was temporary and that this was the only night that you'll ever be looked as someone he loved.
"Hanma." He turns to you, expecting that you would say something to break the ice with that smile of yours and the glimmer in your eyes. "Y/N, you're freezing." He comments when he realizes how your lips were quivering while he tried to make his way to you but you moved in your place.
"You're right. I'm gonna go ahead of you, I don't wanna catch a cold." You chuckled lightly, hoisting yourself up on the dock, drying your hair before putting on your clothes from earlier. "Thanks, Shuji. Goodnight then." You bid him, ending your conversation with a smile and as you turned your back to him, that same smile disappears while your tears lands on the floor with every step you took, abandoning a baffled Hanma to question if you were just going to cool your head so he let you be which turned out to be the worst decision he's come up with.
Because with the three steps back you took from the lake turned into hundreds more and you never came back to your hideout with him, leaving Hanma to silently cry at how you left him as the final moments from last night haunt him at how he failed to keep you beside him.
"I'm sorry, angel."
TOKYO REV : @strawberrieas @kwrg @raya-sano @kimrena-stuff @heavensbeloved @rosewood1999 @beezebub
OVERALL: @stesphy @itsmeaudrieee @crapimahuman @meguroshi @floydenai
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#k it's time to come back to tumblr#i had the worst months of my life lately#a lot of exams (which is. normal. but nonetheless stressful)#a bunch of health problems (mental health included. but I guess it's normal considering the circumstances)#my dog passed away (the worst thing ever)#new dog has arrived (and he's the loveliest boi)#also shitty presidential elections happened (which is bad)#and the current situation - repressions against lgbt+ people - is making me constantly ask why didn't I leave the country yet#it was all a little too much for me. and it had no end.#one thing ended the other has immediately begun and so on and so on#so i packed my fucking bags and went into the mountains. LITERALLY. for almost two weeks.#there was the weekest wi fi possible#so i had the opportunity to look at everything from a distance#it wasn't any mind-opening experience. i just. had a rest I guess. and i needed it.#but now im back home with NORMAL wi fi and i guess my brain needs to occupy itself with midless reblogging#of all that CQL stuff i've liked since MAY#so that's what i'm gonna do#i’ve finished some shitty fanart too so maybe im gonna post it soon#i also have a shitty textpost in drafts about dealing with dog's death but yea idk if anyone wants to read it#and besides there are my photos. and the photos of both my dogs. and im not really sure im ready to share it yet.#yea but probably im gonna do it anyway. soon.#idk why am i writing about this.#ANYWAY. IT'S#PERSONAL#AND I KNOW NO ONE CARES#yes you know it's about you and i love you)#BUT I HAD TO VENT#oversharing on main yaaay
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mademoisellehypergamy · 8 months ago
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✨ CREATING A PERSONA FOR HYPERGAMY & SOCIAL CLIMBING  ✨
The votes are in and “Persona” won! Ladies, get the notebooks out. Class is in session. And this is gonna be a long one.
Be honest with me: Are you currently your ideal woman? The majority of you will probably answer honestly and say no. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. The harsh reality is most women on their hypergamous journey aren’t even close to being the ideal woman they aspire to be. Hell, the average woman (hypergamous or not) will probably live her life never being able to become that woman, if we’re being completely honest here.
I believe every hypergamous woman should create and adopt a persona. You are who you believe to be. When I was younger, my teachers and parents told me I was academically gifted. So guess what? I believed the same! That pushed me to work even harder in school. Same concept applies here. You are who you believe to be. A persona isn’t a “fake” version of you. It is you. Your ideal person. It is malleable, so it can change at anytime. Just like you changed throughout your life.
STEP 0 - WHY YOU SHOULD ADOPT A PERSONA
✨Not Everyone Will Win the Birth Lottery. But that doesn’t mean you can’t rewrite your past, and repave your future path. Let’s face it: some of you were born into bad circumstances; abusive families, poverty, toxic relationships, obstacles and barriers, etc. And some of you are living lives currently that you aren’t satisfied with: stressful job, health issues, bad environment, *insert sob story here*, blah, blah, blah, woe is me!  But should your current and past conditions get in the way of your hypergamous journey? No! Absolutely not. 
✨You Can’t Be the Same Basic B*tch Forever. Okay b*tch, when you were being “true to yourself” in the past, look where it got you. Probably in a less than favorable situation. Congratulations for being an authentic basic b*tch! 🥳😊
Ladies, change is necessary. When you started your hypergamous journey, you underwent a change. Are you saying your hypergamous self is fake? Of course it isn’t! It’s still you, just an “elevated you”. One that is more aware and knows what she wants. 
✨ Most People Don’t Even Know Who TF They Are. It’s sad, but true. Most people are lost and suppressing their true desires and personality. I’m here encouraging you ladies to create your ideal persona and to become this woman. Because this woman is who you are deep inside, who you want to be. Stop hiding her! Create her, and become her! As long as this person isn’t harming anyone, there is no reason you shouldn’t chase your dream self.
STEP 1 - CHOOSE & CREATE YOUR PERSONA
This is the fun part ladies! Time to choose and create your new persona!
✨ What Kind of Woman Do You Aspire to Be?  Have fun with this ladies! What kind of woman have you always dreamt of becoming? Is she wildly intelligent and beautiful? Or perhaps she has a heart of gold and is adored by all?  Nothing is off limits. This is you.
For those of you who are truly struggling, below I have included a few examples of common personas. If you don’t know where to begin, choose one as the “foundation” and build on it. Make it your own!
*Disclaimer: Anyone that I mentioned/included below is simply for inspiration. Not all of these women are hypergamous. This is just for inspiration*
1. The Socialite/ The “It” Girl: This is the girl that everyone knows. She’s always at a party with a glass of champagne, wearing the latest styles, and living the BEST life. She’s glamorously unattainable and few have access to her, but somehow she’s a part of every social circle.
Inspiration: Jamie Chua (https://www.instagram.com/ec24m/)
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2. The Traveler: This is the girl that travels constantly. Whether it’s across the globe or to a different state/town, she’s always on the go! No one seems to know how she funds her lifestyle because she always appears to be traveling and never working. Her pictures are always on point and high quality, with a combination of bikini pictures, relaxing scenery, exotic foods, and endless hotels.
Inspiration: Jennifer Tuffen (https://www.instagram.com/izkiz/)
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3. The Influencer: Think of the ultimate Instagram Baddie; perfect body (usually because of surgery), full lips, carefully applied makeup, nails always done, hair on point. She is sponsored by all the clothes brands, and lives lavishly. She’s always out at a restaurant and traveling. Typically dresses in more revealing clothes/lots of bikinis.  What differentiates her from the Socialite? The degree of elegance and class. While the Socialite gives you an “heiress” vibe, the Influencer is more on the “flashy celebrity” side.
Inspiration: Kaylar Will (https://www.instagram.com/kaylarwill/)
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4. Femme Fatale: She rarely posts on social media, but when she does, it only makes you question her existence more. This girl is beautifully sensual, and her social media only reveals bits and pieces of her life. She is an entire mystery, no one knows about her private life. One day she’ll be flying from London, the next she’ll be visiting an art gallery  She’ll sometimes post images of gifted roses with poetry captions. She oozes seduction and dark mystery. 
Inspiration: Dita Von Teese (https://www.instagram.com/ditavonteese) Now I thought long and hard about who to choose for this one, and if you take a moment to look at Dita’s IG account, you will understand why. You will notice that the ONLY thing she posts about is her clothes/lingerie brand or things relating to business. She reveals nothing about her personal life. Every post is promotion about her business. In fact, the last time she posted something about her “life” was on October 8th when she posted her CAT modeling another designer’s scarf. She’s a very discreet woman, and it works in her favor.
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5. Girl Next Door: You know that basic b*tch that’s SUPER popular for no reason? This is her. From her Starbucks to her Tiktoks, she’s just your average girl living her life. In a way, she isn’t a threat because she seems approachable, relatable, and friendly enough through social media. Something about her aspires others that they can achieve a similar lifestyle. She’s terribly basic, but somehow, it works. 
Inspiration: Loren Gray (https://www.instagram.com/loren/)
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6. Exotica: *This persona is best suited for women of color* She is exotically beautiful and unique. She is a trendsetter, not a follower. She has an air of heightened sexuality, with a touch of grounded-spirituality. Something about her is wild and untamed, and she oozes excitement and adventure. 
Inspiration: Monica Leon, or “Danger”. Now if you’re in my generation, you may remember the reality show “For the Love of Ray J” (which was ghetto btw💀). To this day, one girl that I will NEVER forget on that show, was “Danger”, the girl with the tiger tattoo on her face and that NO ONE liked, but Ray J was obsessed with. Although she no longer is on Instagram (and has since legally changed her name), I still believe she naturally embodied that exotic and mysterious woman persona. I recommend watching the show for free on Youtube just to observe her (and only her because the other women were pickme’s  💀)
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7. The Luxurious Diamond: This woman is the epitome of class and elegance. She exudes femininity and grace, and holds an air of mystery by only showing us bits and pieces of her life. What we see is soft luxuries, wineries, beautiful clothes/scenery, and a life of comfort. She balances a mature, elegant, ladylike presence, with subtle girly-youthfulness. 
Inspiration: Г-жа Анисимова   https://www.instagram.com/creme_de.la_femme/
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✨How Does She Look Like? From her hair to how she wears her makeup, be able to create a vivid description of her appearance. Being able to do this will show you where to work on with your current appearance.
✨Personality We all have traits about ourselves that we don’t like. This is your chance to identify your traits that you love and maximize them, while also working on the aspects of your personality that are a bit more problematic.
It’s important to recognize that some “negative” traits are not really negative. Society just shames us for them. For example, “The Socialite” persona may be polite, but that doesn’t mean she’s super open and friendly with everyone. Not everyone is her friend, and she is naturally unattainable. So why would she be super friendly to everyone? Some may call her “standoffish”, but I call it “selective”.
✨Past Self? Not a Problem.  So let’s say you had a less than perfect childhood and endured a lot of trauma. Not a problem, just reinvent your past! Now I’m not saying to straight up lie and make up a crazy story about how you grew up with billionaire parents and traveled the globe. I’m saying adopt a realistic story that’ll help you on your journey. 
For example, if your date were to ask about your past, instead of telling him how tragic your childhood was and how you were homeless and abused by your parents, and no longer have a relationship with them, you can say: “I moved around a lot as a child (“homelessness”), so I really enjoyed being able to interact with a lot of different people (make the negative seem positive). My parents still move around a lot, so it’s hard for us to meet (explains why you aren’t in contact with your parents). 
Reword and reframe, ladies. Not everyone needs to know everything.
STEP 2 - BRING HER TO LIFE
✨Remove. You cannot embrace your new persona, your new IDENTITY, if you are still stuck in the past. And that includes past connections that do not serve you. Some of your old friends (college friends, childhood friends, etc.) are not meant to accompany you on this journey. And that’s OKAY. Same with other toxic relationships in your life, family included. You will have to decide who to keep, and who to distance yourself from.
✨ Social Media! I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post, but social media is the easiest way for you to push your new persona. You control the content that goes on your social media, so even if you haven’t fully embodied your new persona, you can sure as hell fake it on social media. 
- Unless your persona is a socialite/influencer type, avoid posting too often. - Be consistent; if you retouch your images, make sure its consistent with all your photos. - Be mindful of what people tag you in/post about you. You know that “friend” who always posts the ugliest pictures of you? Yeah. They’re not your friend, hun. 
✨Dress. The. Part. Okay, sis. You can have the personality down perfectly, but if the look doesn’t match, no one will buy it. Your look is the first thing people notice, so invest in it. It doesn’t cost a lot, especially with fast fashion sites like Shein that sells clothes for $5. Just be able to keep up the appearance.
✨ Immerse Yourself in the Environment.  Looking the part and having the right personality is not enough, ladies! It wouldn’t make sense for you to be a “Socialite” sharing pictures of you eating at Red Lobster and Olive Garden every night. It wouldn’t make sense for the “Traveler” persona to share only bathroom selfies in her apartment. You have to live like the woman you aspire to be, and that includes placing yourself in those environments.
If you are not in the place financially to do so, learn to project the image without spending money. Ex: If you can’t afford to go to Hawaii, go to your local beach and take bomb ass pictures. Don’t tag the location. People will automatically see a beach in your picture and assume you are on vacation traveling. Get creative, ladies. 
✨You Owe Them Nothing. Ladies! Remember you don’t owe anyone anything. Not an explanation, not your time, nothing. So if you are living this new persona and people are asking questions you don’t want to answer: don’t. This is your life. 
STEP 3 - YOUR PERSONA WHILE DATING HYPERGAMOUSLY & SOCIAL CLIMBING
So now that you have created your ideal persona, and taken the steps to incorporate it into your life, how can you use your newfound persona to aid you on your hypergamous journey and while social climbing?
✨Infiltrate New Circles. Your persona should be someone exciting and enticing. People love befriending people who are happy and adventurous. Use your persona to befriend others and enter new social circles. You can do this through: - Social media; follow similar accounts to yours and interact with them. - Activities related to your persona; Let’s say you adopted the “The Luxurious Diamond” persona and started visiting wineries. You may notice when you go that there are regulars; identify the regulars and use your common interest of wine to strike a conversation. -Interest groups; join clubs/groups that help you reach your goals. For example, “The Traveler” may have always wanted to travel to Bali, but didn’t want to go alone. She joins a travel group to meet other likeminded inviduals and meets a travel buddy. This person ends up introducing her to others who also enjoy traveling.
✨ Be a Chameleon. You should  never be set on just one persona. Like I said earlier, your persona should always be malleable. You should be able to change yourself to your benefit, and always be open to expansion. When it comes to dating, a man may “want” a certain type of woman, but the secret is that most men just want a woman who is open to possibilities.  I remember a man who used to be on my roster who loved music. This man was always insisting on taking me to operas and symphonies. And he too was a musician (I really don’t like dating musicians, but that’s a topic for another day), so whenever he was performing he would have me sitting in the box so I’d have an “undisturbed” experience.  Now ladies, I’m not into music AT ALL.  But I was open and willing, and guess what? The man adored it, and he adored me even more! He spoiled me like crazy and would serenade me with music he wrote about me because I was his “muse”. Although I ended up ghosting him, I definitely appreciate a good opera now! 
✨Be Larger than Life to Entice. The attractive part about these personas is the fact that it feels almost fake. The image that is portrayed is almost mythical, like something out of a fantasy. You can’t believe this girl is traveling so much, or you can’t believe this girl still has a social life in the middle of a pandemic! It’s unbelievable, but that’s what makes us so intrigued. Men especially love fantasy. That’s why many men have a “dream girl”, a woman that embodies their physical and emotional fantasies. They love the impossible. It’s also important to remember that you are always being watched. People see you, whether in person or on social media, and when they see someone or something more interesting than their mundane life, curiosity will get the best of them. They’ll be drawn to you and want to know you.
✨ The Persona Advantage. Creating a persona is supposed to help your journey. The purpose is to reinvent yourself into someone who will help you better navigate your hypergamous life.  For example, if you are trying to get into more exclusive, affluent circles, creating a persona who is skilled in social and dining etiquette would be more beneficial than a persona that’s an Instagram Influencer. Being an Instagram Baddie that wears Fashion Nova won’t help you at a Charity Gala. So be sure to think of what you desire in life to shape yourself into that. Don’t just become someone who won’t get you to where you want to be. 
This post will definitely have a Part 2 in the future, but in conclusion: You can be whoever you want to be as long as you play the role. Be an actress in your own life, and live the life you desire.
Well ladies, I’ll be away for Valentine’s day weekend. Wishing you all a wonderful and safe weekend ❤️ Lots of love.
Follow my IG for more: @mademoisellehypergamy
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therescrackinmytea · a month ago
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You are by far, my fave haikyuu angst writer here on Tumblr. Like you just know how to hurt me. I'm not sure if you're taking requests but could you do one where they reject your confession but like later on regrets it? 🥺👉👈 Each captain could have like a different response though like in your earlier posts. Thank you for the writing and hope you have a great day!
Angst, I hope it’s angsty enough
A/N: Tysm, that’s so sweet of you 😭 I’m so sorry that this has taken me so long to write but I kinda struggled with this one. These feel very repetitive to me? I tried to make them all different which is why there’s only 5 cos I ran out of ideas :/// I’ve gone back and forth so many times and even now I’m not completely satisfied with it but I’ll put it out anyway and hope for the best 😩
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Daichi - The day you confessed to Daichi, you swore you’d never lay your heart out like that for anyone again. Fidgeting with your fingers, you peeked up at him shyly, waiting for a response but you were only met with silence. All you saw was the shocked expression etched onto his face that slowly morphed into discomfort.
“You’re like a little sister to me.”
That was all he said, shuffling from foot to foot awkwardly, itching to take off and escape from the heavy atmosphere that suddenly suffocated the pair of you. You gave him a weak little nod and an even weaker smile, dimly hearing some lame excuse before he all but sprinted away from you.
You didn’t show your face to him again after that, too humiliated and hurt from his words. The longer he went without seeing you, the louder his heart screamed at him. Why would you say that? Why would you just let her go like that? You know that’s not how it is! But cowardice had won out before he could even think about it and led to days now spent wondering what if?
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Kuroo - You shouldn’t have opened your mouth. If words could be swallowed you’d force every single syllable back down your throat. But you’d been overwhelmed, heart swirling with too much all at once so the pot had bubbled up and spilled over. Words left you in an endless stream and he somehow listened through all your sniffles and sobs, holding you gently. And you were grateful for him, you really were. So much so that your gratitude joined the tide and before you knew you it, you’d told him your deepest secret.
He stiffened up. He tried to play it off quickly but you felt that moment of silence more keenly than everything else you’d felt that evening. It became clear that you were on separate pages, hell, you weren’t even in the same book. You were just his best friend, that’s all you’d ever be. How unfortunate.
The distance between you grew after that, the silence on your end almost deafening. Every night, he’d lay in bed and replay your words, regret festering away inside him. If only he could turn back time, react differently, say something, anything to not make you hate him. He was sure that you did and now there was no telling if he could ever fix the mess in his heart and in your relationship.
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Oikawa - Never in your wildest dreams did you expect Oikawa to notice you, let alone speak to you. He was as popular in college as he was in high school, with his winning smile, soft curls and athletic prowess. Everyone fawned over him, including you and he somehow decided to talk to you. He sat by you during lecture, every curve and lilt to his voice captivating you utterly. You were in love, well and truly smitten and you wanted to be his. So you plucked up your courage and took a leap of faith.
It was only a small note, you couldn’t even call it a love letter. Your message had been simple and sweet and you’d left a great big hint in the form of one of your inside jokes. He would be the only one to know it was you.
When he found the note stuffed in his bag and read it, he did know it was you. It made him feel strange, off kilter and that was never a good sign. Your message went ignored and that was that. At least, that’s what he thought.
Neither of you acknowledged the existence of the note and it made him antsy. Why weren’t you saying anything about it? Should he say something? Shouldn’t you be distraught or something? It filled him with unease, how easily you pretended you’d never confessed your love for him and he wanted to respond. ‘Wait a second, I’ve got my answer now!’ is what he wanted to say to you but he’d left it for so long he was sure he’d run out of time and chances. Ignorance was not bliss.
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Bokuto - If anyone told you that they didn’t like Bokuto, you would’ve laughed in their faces. How could anyone not like him? He was kind and fun and he made you grin so hard you cheeks hurt. You fell in love with the man you were sure was the human embodiment of sunshine. With the way he treated you, you were sure he loved you same way. Always hugging you and complimenting you, looking at you fondly with those shiny eyes that held so much more intelligence than most people would expect.
But just as Icarus flew too close to the sun, so too did you. Your confession was spontaneous, in the midst of a movie marathon where his arm had been wrapped around you, pulling you into his side. His brows had furrowed at your words and he withdrew nervously, cocking his head to the side and standing abruptly. His mind was racing. What did this mean for you? For him? How would things change? Would they change? Overcome by his thoughts, he mumbled an ‘I can’t do this’ and rushed right out of your apartment. You suppose that was your answer right there.
Bokuto was terrified. His heart was pounding as your words echoed in his mind and he knew the second he ran out that he’d hurt you. Badly. He hadn’t missed the way your expression had fallen, how your eyes had clouded and how you chewed nervously at your lip. Regret made his stomach churn unpleasantly even as he sprinted back the way he came, hoping and praying he still had a chance.
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Ushijima - For a long time now, you’d been labouring under the impression that the two of you were meant to be. You were just so in tune with each other, everything felt so natural. You were absolutely sure that he felt that way too, that he only treated you this way. You should’ve been the only one.
Assumptions, it seems, can mean the death of ones heart - figuratively speaking, of course. With a shy smile, he’d told you he had something important to tell you. He’d asked you to meet him at your spot, beneath an old sakura tree with heavy branches that you both hid under for shade during the scorching summer days. This was it, it was finally happening.
Quietly, with a bright blush lighting up his cheekbones, he confessed. That he’d finally begun dating some girl that you’d never even heard of, let alone seen. You forced a smile and spat out a congratulations, mumbling a flimsy excuse as you turned on your heel and all but ran from him.
Something didn’t sit right with him after that day. Even though he was content with his new girlfriend, the image of your eyes swirling with a storm of emotions he couldn’t decipher, wouldn’t leave his mind. That day, things had shifted between you and all of a sudden he wanted to take it all back. He wanted to erase everything that made you look at him like that. Like he’d taken something precious from you and burnt it to ashes right before you. What he wouldn’t give to see the gleam in your eyes once more.
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