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#writer wednesday
safarigirlsp · a month ago
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Music of the Night
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Music of the Night
Victorian Kylo Ren x Reader
Word Count: 14.4k
Warnings: NSFW. Smut. Graphic Violence. Fires. Guns. Murder. Old Timey Sexism. Romance. Dark Phantom of the Opera Vibes. Victorian Kylo.
AO3 Link
Author’s Note: Please enjoy this Phantom of the Opera AU for @writer-wednesday​! Edit by the enormously talented @kyloremus​
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Paris 1880 
Peeking out from behind the heavy red velvet curtain, your pulse raced like a startled hare and the corset of your ivory gown seemed to tighten around your ribs. Not a seat was vacant in the cavernous opera house. Thousands of patrons had purchased every available ticket, each of them as eager to see and hear you as you were anxious to perform in front of them. Men wore black tailcoats and women sported dresses and jewels in a bustle of kaleidoscopic colors. Below the stage on which you would soon stand centered, a sea of humanity sprawled the length of the theater. Above, the richest and the most famous guests filled the upper balconies and private booths. 
Word had spread like wildfire through the ranks of the Parisian elite, singing praises of the young virtuoso who had now come to grace the stage here in the City of Lights. Newspapers printed that you sang the way a falcon flies. Graceful, daring, and beautiful. However, your voice was not the only allure for some of the crowd. Eager men had come to catch a glimpse of your renown beauty, which was said to be extraordinary enough to draw attention even from the perfect pitch of your song. 
Other girls in the opera flitted around you, all equally nervous. Some sneaked a glance out of the curtains as well while others stretched their limbs or practiced last minute routines. There was a veritable harem of ballet dancers and harmonic singers who would perform throughout the course of the evening. Each and every girl seemed to be of one single mind. They were all aflutter at a rumor that had infiltrated their ranks and had spread faster than the calamity in a brothel. 
Rumor had it that a Prince from a foreign land had made the journey to Paris specially to watch this very show, and your very own debut. 
It was a foolish notion, you thought. The Prince, who hailed from a country you didn’t try to pronounce, had likewise been the subject of headlines, having been summoned to Paris on matters of business and the management of his great fortune. His name was never cited, only his moniker. The Black Prince. Rumors swirled like perfume on the wind about what had given rise to his dark title, but the smart money bet on his ruthless rise to power and the wartime battles he had won with blood and iron. He was unmarried. Which of course, to every eligible woman, meant that he was on the hunt for a wife, for what else could possibly occupy the thoughts of such a powerful man? 
As the lights dimmed and your pulse quickened, it was not the Black Prince who occupied your thoughts, but another man whose name, or rather whose legend, preceded him. The opera house was rumored to be haunted by a ghastly Phantom who stalked its darkened corridors, watching every performance from the shadows. If the specter was pleased by the evening’s show, he ensured a standing ovation. However, in the dreadful event that the Phantom was displeased by the quality of the opera, misfortune would befall the theater and all those performers who erred in their art. 
Alone, you stood centerstage when the red curtains were drawn open. The audience fell silent at the sight of you lit by the dim gas lamps that lined the front of the stage. Although thousands of eyes were fixed upon you, you could see no one in return for several long moments. The light blinded you when you began to sing, but your voice was sure and strong. With every note you sang true, your confidence soared and you found the familiar feeling of comfort under the scrutiny of a legion of unforgiving appraisal. 
Once your eyes adjusted, you were dazzled by luxury and opulence in a palette of crimson and gold, all canvassed in flickering candlelight that rained down from a pendulous chandelier hung above the seats in the theater. What was not adorned in those lavish hues was largely cloaked in shadow; the corners and crevasses, home to countless hidden secrets obscured by the darkness of the opera house. Perhaps somewhere within the embrace of darkness, the Phantom himself watched your debut and listened to your voice as you sung every note to perfection. Indeed, you could feel the presence of some malevolence in the air. To you, it did not feel dangerous but comforting instead, like a woolen blanket on a frigid winter night. It was also not the first time you had been aware of such a presence. 
The performance you gave was your best, as if you had been uplifted to greater heights than you had ever been before, carried high by the wings of a black specter. Every note you sang rang true from your lips in a voice that could make the angels sigh. The roaring applause that commended your finale had to have echoed across the entire city of Paris and as the red curtain fell before you, you knew that you had no equal in the opera of the day. 
Backstage, the girls all chattered about how they had caught a glimpse of the Prince, hidden high in his private booth. He was tall, they said. He slipped away after the curtain dropped but before the applause died, making his stealthy exit free of the crowds. 
Inside your dressing room, you gazed into a large gild-framed mirror, appreciating the way you looked dressed in your pristine gown surrounded by the hundreds of flowers in the bouquets that were sent to you in appreciation of your performance. You stayed later than the other singers and dancers. What many thought was a voice gifted to you by the heavens was in fact a kernel of natural talent that you had honed to a remarkable skill through years upon years of unrelenting focus and practice. In the late hours of the night when others celebrated their performance or slept peacefully, you remained in your dressing room. The events of the night replayed in your mind and you examined every note you had sung with meticulous scrutiny, musing how you could improve further still. 
Thoughts of the evening filled your mind like a ballet, carrying you off into a light dozing sleep there in your dressing room chair in front of your mirrored vanity table. In that hazy state between dreams and wakefulness, you soon felt the same presence fill your room that you had felt on stage; foreboding with a hint of danger, but accompanied by a protectiveness that enshrouded you. 
A faint brush against your cheek roused you and you couldn’t be sure if it was from your dreams or the corporeal world. When you opened your eyes, you saw a thick envelope resting in front of you on your vanity. It was secured with an ornate seal in blood red wax. Careful not to crack the wax seal, you opened the envelope and withdrew the documents within to find several sheets of music, written in elegant calligraphy. The music was a solo, a new composition unlike anything you had seen before. Reading the notes, you knew it was hauntingly beautiful. The solo was titled Music of the Night. 
On the last page of music, below the last bar, was a simple note that had been scrawled in the same flowing calligraphy. A gift from the Phantom. 
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Every night after you finished rehearsals, you retreated to your dressing room to practice the solo the mysterious Phantom had gifted you. It seemed as though every note had been written with your singular voice in mind. The song was sensual, evocative, and dark. It was the sort of melody a lonely spirit might sing in the halls of a long-forgotten castle, trying to summon her wayward lover back into her arms.
Midnight bells tolled outside the opera house and your voice rang within when you sensed a pair of eyes upon you. You were alone, as you always were in the witching hour, and the feeling of another presence in your dressing room was immediately apparent.
“Please continue, madame,” a resonant masculine voice sounded behind you. Frightened, you spun to look around the room but saw nothing and no one. “I will not hurt you, I only wish to have the pleasure of watching you sing and hearing your lovely voice.”
Unsure of what to do, you turned to face your gilded floor mirror that stood nearly seven feet tall. You looked frightened in the glass, but you composed yourself. You sensed truth in the man’s words, and you knew that he could have already taken whatever he wanted from you in the lonely darkness of the theater if that had been his intention.
“Did you like my gift?” the man asked from behind you.
“Did you write it for me alone?” you asked in turn. You watched your reflection in the mirror as an enormous figure materialized from the shadows. The towering specter approached you from behind but remained cloaked in darkness.
“Who else could sing it with such beautiful precision?” he asked and you could hear the grin on his lips even if you couldn’t see it for the darkness.
Although you could not make out the finer details of his appearance, you could see that he was massive. The man stood at least six-foot-three and was powerfully built, the muscles in his broad chest and shoulders could not be obscured by his black attire and black cloak. His hair fell to his shoulders in glossy ebony waves and his black goatee was defined against his pale skin. The way the shadows played across his features told you they were angular with a large but shapely aquiline nose, and his eyes glinted vibrantly even in the dim chamber. The right side of his face was covered by a mask of polished ivory, a stark contrast to the black of his clothing and hair.
“My mask is proof that I do not wish to frighten you,” he told you in a softer tone, reaching his enormous gloved hand to touch the ivory mask. “Whereas your face is the beauty which crafts the most wonderful dreams, mine is the fodder for nightmares.”
“I do not scare easily,” you assured him with a defiant tilt of your chin, looking at his reflection confidently.
“One of your many virtues,” the mysterioso observed as he stepped closer to your back. Still, the shadows seemed to follow him, obscuring the finery of his features from your scrutiny. Leaning toward you, his breath raised goosebumps on your neck when he spoke again, “I first heard your lovely voice in London. You were practicing behind one of the wings of the theater. You thought you were alone. I was early for an afternoon liaison, and I also thought the theater was deserted. But then it was as if the angel of music herself filled the theater with her song. Your voice touched me, even though you knew nothing of me. I knew in an instant with only my ears that you were the most beautiful woman in the world. I waited for you to reveal yourself, but you never did on that first day.”
“That was so long ago, I was a nobody then. But I remember.” You unconsciously leaned back toward the man who loomed behind you. “I remember that I sensed someone was there. It was comforting to know I was not alone, even if it was a ghost in the rafters. I have never feared solitude since that day.”
“Ghosts can be haunted too.” He brought his right hand that had touched his mask over your shoulder to your cheek, stroking his thick leather-clad fingers across your skin as delicately as a whisper. “And it is you, darling, who has haunted me.”
“You are the Phantom who haunts this opera house?” you asked with a teasing lilt. This bete noire was a man of flesh and blood.
“I have seen you sing before, but your performance tonight was astonishing.” His hand dropped from your cheek to trail away down the side of your neck. “Your song could even tame the beast in me.”
“Are beasts not better left untamed?” You smiled at his shadowy reflection.
“Sing for me.” His rich voice reverberated through to your bones. You weren’t sure if he was asking you or commanding, but you realized with some dismay that you didn’t care either way.
The notes he had written in your honor were already etched upon your memory and you sang them with ease. Every bar fell from your lips like an ethereal sonnet and the Phantom’s heart filled with your song. Your eyes fell closed with emotion as you finished on a lingering melody. When you opened them again, the Phantom was gone.
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Word of your remarkable voice spread far and wide, and ticket sales didn’t show any signs of ebbing. Despite your rigorous daily rehearsals in preparation for your operas, which were performed on Friday and Saturday evenings, you also devoted time to learning the mysterious sonnet in the hidden hours you stole during the night. The piece of music came to you so naturally, it was as though it were something you had known once but had long forgotten and were now remembering instead of learning it anew. Most nights while you sang you felt the dark but familiar presence watching over you. You found comfort under the Phantom’s gaze where others would find fright. Peering into the shadows instead of fearing the unknown as many would, you wondered what mysteries it held and what secrets the Phantom kept.
When the Black Prince was spotted in attendance at the same opera for the second consecutive week, the gossip among the other girls filled the cavernous theater to its domed ceiling. Speculation was rampant among the girls as to which of them had caught his eye, but you knew all too well his sights were fixed upon you. It was the primal feeling of being hunted that helped doe evade wolves in the forest that pricked your skin when you looked up at the Prince’s private box from your place on stage. You couldn’t see him while you sang, nor did you really want to, but you knew he watched you with lascivious entitlement.
What you had not anticipated, nor had the gaggle of other girls speculated, was that the theater director had grand plans of his own into which you fit perfectly. The director was an older bachelor whose blonde hair had run to gray years ago. He insisted all the young women call him by his first name, Luke, and although he was a shrewd man, he smiled like a simpleton whenever the ladies simpered his name. More so even than he coveted the attention of young ladies, he coveted his profits, and he was always watchful for ways to procure more of both vices. The repeated presence of the Black Prince ensured the opera was sold out for not only that show, but every show for the next cycle of the moon. With the eye of a natural lecher, Luke knew just as certainly as you did yourself which lady had captivated the Prince.
Seconds after the curtain fell, Luke swopped onstage in his customarily hunched gait. He congratulated you on the quality of your voice and took your hand, placing it on his arm in a brotherly manner. He led you off the stage and through the sprawling back of the theater as the night’s patrons made their exit on the other side of the curtain. Luke spoke to you of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that had presented itself to you in the form of a potential royal suitor. In his sales pitch, Luke neglected to cite his own opportunity at greater fame and fortune by proxy from riding your petticoat.
You were so caught up in Luke’s verbal portrait of your luxuriant future, that you didn’t realize he had led you back to his own private office. The largest private room in the opera house, the director’s office was furnished less for utility than for recreation. The theater girls who visited it frequently after hours told you they found it quite comfortable, especially when plied with absinthe and gourmet chocolates. Comfortable enough to tolerate Luke’s attention, short-lived as it was in his advanced age, in exchange for the rich food and drink.
Those times previously when you had come to Luke’s office during business hours, it had been arranged so that it was tolerably professional with only the underpinnings of debauchery. Tonight, the décor pendulum had swung to its opposite end to accommodate pleasure instead of business. The office was lit by candles and the furniture was covered with draped red velvet and lace. Trays of aphrodisiac foods sat on Luke’s desk and bottles of champagne chilled in a silver ice bucket. You wondered darkly at Luke’s intentions with you, but he addressed your unspoken concern.
“You’re a very lucky girl,” he said with a wide smile. “Every other girl in the theater would scratch the eyes out of all the others at the drop of a hat for the chance at a private audience with the Prince himself!”
“What?” You shook your head incredulously. “Why does he want to see me? I need to practice my singing.”
“A night off will do your voice good,” Luke continued as he ushered you fully into his office. “And you are no naïve waif. A girl as pretty as you knows very well why the Prince may want a private audience with you.” Luke smiled lewdly at you. “Tonight, you could secure your future as a princess! You could put this opera house on the map for the next hundred years as the place where this assignation occurred!” Luke clapped his hand on your shoulder and looked at you sternly. “Perform your encore well tonight and give the Prince a good show. Your future depends on it.”
Before you could protest, a knock sounded on the office door. Luke was as giddy as a blushing bride himself when he left you standing, still aghast, to answer it and admit the Prince.
The man who stepped through the door, leading with his walking stick and tipping his top hat to you, was not at all what you had expected. The Black Prince was not dark in appearance at all. Quite the contrary, he sported a pair of pale blue eyes and ginger red hair with the pasty complexion of a man unused to venturing out of doors for longer than necessary to walk to his carriage or glare up at the sun. He was indeed tall, but gangling and awkward, seemingly in poor command of his scantly muscled limbs. Perhaps it was to his mood that his nickname referred. If his pinched expression was any indication of his temperament, his demeanor appeared to be very black indeed. He surveyed the room around him with the sour expression of a man inhaling a putrid odor. When his eyes fell upon you, he offered you a rodent-like smile and an ungainly bow.
“Armitage Hux, and first, let me say, my dear, that you are even more beautiful up close than you look onstage,” The Prince greeted you in a nasally but cultured tone. He took your hand in his cold boney fingers and raised it to his lips. His hands were effete and smooth, not the strong calloused paws you would expect a man to have.
You thanked him politely for his compliment, but retrieved your hand as quickly as you could.
“And I do not speak only for myself,” he continued with a smarmy smile. “I speak for everyone who has seen you and heard you sing. It is a common sentiment, or so, I hear.”
Luke backed away from you and the Black Prince, trying not to disturb either of you as he slipped out through the door and closed it silently behind him.
“I brought you a gift,” Armitage Hux informed you proudly. He reached into the inner breast pocket of his tailcoat and withdrew a slender velvet box. Opening it for you, he displayed an extravagant diamond encrusted necklace, resting in its velvet bed. “A small token of my affection.”
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly accept such a gift,” you stopped yourself from adding, from you.
“I insist.” He stepped behind you to put the necklace in place. You would have had to jump to dodge him effectively. Furthermore, you had no frame of reference for the etiquette of refusing a gift from a royal, so you felt obligated to accept.
“It’s beautiful. It’s the most lavish gift I’ve ever received,” you said truthfully. Looking down at the diamonds that shimmered on your chest, you couldn’t help but compare the necklace of untold cost to the piece of music the Phantom had written with his own hand for you alone, which was of infinitely more worth.
“Oh dear, you don’t like it?” Hux noted shrewdly. For all the unpleasantness of his appearance, he was a keen observer. “What gift can I give you that you would like more? You need only to name it. There is nothing you could ask for that is beyond my means.”
You thought for only a moment before smiling at him and answering, “There is a piece of music that speaks to my heart, but it is not part of any opera.” You looked into his navy eyes. “I would like you to tell the director to allow me to sing it onstage.”
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More than anything, you wanted fresh air after your encounter with the ginger Black Prince, and then a long bath would be in order. Even though you had done nothing untoward, you felt slathered in the grime of his attention. The roof of the opera house towered above the streets below and offered a spectacular view of the City of Lights, especially at night, as it was now.
Rushing through the door onto the rooftop, you ran to the balustrade at the edge under the watchful stone eyes of the hulking gargoyles who perched upon the four corners of the rooftop. The crisp night air cleansed you as it blew through your hair and you breathed it into your lungs, making you feel instantly better.
“It is a rare woman who is at ease alone in the company of stone monsters,” the deep familiar voice sounded behind you, so close that you could feel the heat of his breath on the back of your neck. A cat walking on velvet couldn’t have approached you more silently.
“It seems that monsters are likewise at ease in my company, are they not?” you teased, looking back over your shoulder to catch a glimpse of the Phantom’s pale skin and ivory mask. Instead of responding to your question, the tall man leaned closer to you, so you continued, “Most people consider the gargoyles ugly. To me, they are beautiful. They are powerful and forever vigilant in their defense of their home, protecting those within.” 
Without having to turn to see his face, you knew a smile now turned the Phantom’s lips. Looking over your shoulder at the jewel that glittered with moonlight in the center of your chest, he growled, “Fancy trinket.”
“The Prince gave it to me earlier.” Your hand flew to cover the necklace from a rush of self-consciousness. “Or rather forced it upon me.”
“A lady with no title and no fortune of her own could do little better in life than by ensnaring a prince,” he told you as he trailed his thick fingers down the length of your arm. He wasn’t wearing gloves and his touch was warm and gentle. “Even I have heard rumors of the Black Prince, they reach down to the bowels of the opera house. He is said to be rich, coveted by many women.”
“Have you seen him?” you asked with a derisive snort. “All the money in the world could not make him attractive nor appealing to me. I could do better by perusing the docks for vagabonds and ruffians. At least their hands would not be more delicate than my own.”
“Few women, perhaps none other, would speak of a prince in such a way.” A grin could be heard on the Phantom’s rich voice. “From the time they are little girls, don’t all beautiful women want to marry a prince?”
“It is not the title that I find objectionable, but the man who holds it,” you said firmly. “Prince or Phantom, the title doesn’t make a man any more than a fancy dress makes a woman, wouldn’t you agree?” You leaned your back against his broad chest and felt it swell with a heavy breath. “What matters is what lies beneath the accoutrements and trappings, whether it is dresses or masks that we wear.”
“You’re a rare woman, indeed, and impressive far beyond your exquisite beauty,” the Phantom said huskily as his large hands came to rest on your hips.
You turned within his arms and faced him squarely for the first time, looking into his eyes that gleamed as fiery as those of a demon. He was wickedly handsome with a dark, dastardly edge to his features that make your pulse quicken. He appeared to be no older than forty with only a few lonely silver strands in the black forest of his luxurious hair. Nothing that his mask could be hiding could irreparably hamper his looks. You reached up to caress the smooth ivory mask, letting your fingers drop to its lower edge and the warm skin of his jaw beneath. 
“The mask is an improvement, I assure you, madame,” he said in a pained voice. He lifted his large hand to cover yours, and also to keep you from pulling off his mask.
“I’ll give you a choice, Sir Phantom.” You smirked defiantly. “Reveal either your face or your name to me.”
“And if I refuse?” he teased in return, the corner of his goatee twitching at the side of his plush lips in a smirk.
“You wouldn’t be here with me now if you intended to refuse me.” You cocked a challenging eyebrow at him, awaiting his answer.
“As clever as you are beautiful, I see.” The Phantom took your hand from his mask and placed it on his thick chest over his heart. “Kylo Ren, at your service, madame.”
“It suits you. An ordinary name would have been odd.” You pressed your body close to his, stroking your hand over his chest where he had placed it. “A Phantom with a heart that beats.”
“Perhaps you have rekindled it.” Leaning toward you, Kylo brought his lips to yours.
Your eyes fluttered closed when your lips met in a kiss that was so much softer than you had imagined it would be. He kissed you gently, his lips caressing yours eagerly but not persistently. It was you who parted your lips first, an invitation to deepen your kiss that he hungrily took. You collapsed against him, bracing your hand on his enormous chest, the heat of his tongue searing from your mouth down through your entire body. Something like a purr rumbled low in Kylo’s chest, as his lips moved against yours and his beard and mustache tickled your skin with the motion of his kiss.
When the Phantom took his leave from you that night, vanishing back into the shadows, leaving the ghost of his kiss wrought upon your lips, you wished that he had taken you with him, back to whatever dark shore from which he hailed.
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Two weeks passed before you had practiced the Phantom’s song enough to be pleased with your proficiency. Due to the Prince’s endorsement, Luke was eager to put you centerstage to perform your new solo for the opera’s grand finale. Ordinarily, you would have a rush of nerves when you sang a new piece for the first time in front of a crowd, but not tonight. As you stood alone in the halo of golden light on the wooden stage singing the Phantom’s song, each note blossomed from your lungs with a passion you had never felt before. You realized with sudden clarity that it was because each note reminded you of him, of your own dark specter.
Moments after you had begun singing, a shadow at the edge of the stage caught your eye. You had expected the Phantom to watch your opera, but you thought he would do so from further away; from one of his usual vantage points in the rafters or from the eves of a darkened booth. As your eyes fell upon his dark looming figure, he stepped out of the darkness and fully onto the stage in view of the sold-out opera house.
Standing on stage in a black ensemble as dark as his commanding presence, he seemed even larger than you knew him to be. He didn’t spare a glance out to the theater; his devilish eyes were fixed on you alone. You nearly gasped when you realized his intent was to join you centerstage, but you continued to sing each note faithfully.
The Phantom strode tall and proud to within a yard of you, his black cape with a scarlet lining swirling behind him. With a debonaire grin he held out his gloved right hand to you. Still singing, you placed your hand in his and felt the strength in his enormous body when he pulled you to him and into a dance. He spun with you as you sang his song, almost carrying you along with his powerful motions and you felt swallowed by his towering size and surrounded by his warmth.
Everyone watching was none the wiser, all thinking this dance was part of the opera instead of a sensual improvisation. Even when the Phantom cast propriety aside and brought your hand that he held to his lips, placing a hot lingering kiss to your knuckles. Following the lead of his steps, you trailed your hand down from his shoulder to rest on his large chest. His eyes burned into yours and it was fortunately timed that there was a pause in your song because you succumbed to the irresistible urge to pull him down by his peaked lapels and kiss him hard and deep.
With his body pressed against yours, the Phantom stepped a long leg beside you, dipping you backwards until your back was level with the bend in his knee. His huge hand at your back supported you firmly as he bent over you. He lowered his own body until the tip of his large nose skimmed your chest with the lightest touch, trailing from your sternum up your throat as he raised you from his dip, and returned to his full height. He truly was an astonishing dancer, his movements deceptively agile yet powerful.
The final true note of your solo rang from your lips as the Phantom brought you back upright, holding you in his arms against his chest as you sang for him alone, despite the crowd. The crowd roared with cheers and applause when you finished your song, and you stood smiling in the strong embrace you never wanted to leave.
“You sing with the enchantment of a siren,” the Phantom told you in a voice that was gravelly from exertion and desire. “That is surely what you are, for you have summoned me into your arms. Your song has called me home from being lost in the darkness for longer than I can remember, but when I look at you, I see only the brightest light.”
“When will you find me again?” you asked breathlessly as the curtain closed, knowing that he would soon vanish before anyone else could enter the stage.
“Do you think I ever truly leave you, madame?” He kissed you again before he tore himself away from you, melting back into the darkness.
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Cotton candy clouds floated across the cerulean sky on an afternoon that could have been the subject of a fine Monet as you strolled through the Tuileries Garden. It was your day off and you were in the mood to surround yourself with the beauty of the thousands of flowers of the Tuileries. You held a parasol to shade your skin from the setting sun, and also to shield your visage when unwanted eyes looked your way. You bent to inhale the scent of a pink blossom, aware of a pair of men with waxed mustaches who watched you from across the garden lane. 
“Beautiful, is it not?” came the voice you yearned to hear, resonating from behind you.
“And here I thought you were a creature of the night?” You turned to face him. Today, the Phantom was dressed entirely in black from his cloak to his hat, which was tipped rakishly down with a slant to his right. The mask he wore today was not ivory but black leather, matching his hair and attire.
“I am an admirer of beauty in all its forms. Lovely ladies, blooming flowers, lilting songs. Even Hades himself appreciated such beauty,” he told you with a slight nod that he managed to imbue with the gallantry of a medieval knight bowing to a noblewoman. “Does that surprise you?”
“Are you honestly asking me if I am surprised that the Phantom who haunts an opera house appreciates beautiful sights and sounds?” You cocked your head at him playfully. “Still, how do you expect to maintain your spectral air when you have drifted so far from your darkened corners?”
“Surely, you will keep my secret?” he teased you back with pleasant levity.
“How many secrets does a man like you have?” you tilted your chin up with your question, into a favorable angle for kissing.
“I have enough skeletons in my closet to form a battalion, I’m afraid.” He placed a delicate kiss on your cheek before purring, “But if you trust me, I shall reveal them all to you in time.” He kissed you properly then, with passion and warmth, pulling you flush against his powerful body.
Finally pulling away, Kylo placed your hand in the crook of his arm and led you casually through the gardens. Walking with you, his features drew surprisingly little attention. A beautiful lady at his side both served to vet him, and also to draw the eyes of onlookers who preferred to take in the sight of you over him.
“Would you walk with me through the darkness as you walk with me now through the gardens?” he asked you without meeting your eyes, keeping his gaze fixed ahead. “Could you love a man who must hide in the shadows? A man who can offer you so little? A man as monstrous as I am?”
“I take you for a man who is creative enough to conjure things more stimulating to do in the shadows than simply stroll through them.” You smirked at him and swore you saw a light blush on his exposed left cheek. “Whether walking or waltzing, I would be content to do either with you in the darkness. I see no deficit in what you can offer me. I would happily be your Persephone and bring light into your eternal night.”
“You do not find me monstrous?” he asked again.
“Not in any way that detracts from your allure,” you teased, squeezing his forearm where your hand rested. “Tell me some of your secrets?” you asked, watching the way his jaw clenched at your request. “Let us start simply and harmlessly, then. What is your favorite flower?”
“My favorite flower?” he mused with relief, pursing his full lips together in thought for a moment before a devilish glint flashed in his eyes. “My favorite flower is one with velvety petals and silky dew that blooms in the darkest hours of the night from a skillful touch.”
“I see.” You smiled through the heat on your cheeks. “And how many such flowers do you have in your garden?”
“I am wise enough to keep silent as to that question.” He winked at you playfully. “But I will tell you truthfully that I desire a garden with only one. The finest in the world, that blossoms for me alone. I shall prune any weeds in my garden accordingly when I find a truly exquisite blossom that surpasses all others.”
“Have you not yet found what you are looking for?” you asked, looking up at him with a coy smile.
“Where would you have me take you now?” Kylo punted without answering your question.
“Anywhere, as long as I’m with you,” you sighed, leaning against his shoulder as you strolled through the gardens.
“Be careful what you wish for, darling.” His voice was lower and his arm flexed under your hand. “Perhaps I will let you decide if you truly want to step into the darkness that is my underworld.”
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Even when you could not feel the Phantom’s presence enveloping you like an exotic perfume, he lingered with you still. He had carved a fixture in your waking thoughts, and he delighted you in your midnight dreams. Each day that passed without his company was longer than the last. It was on the eve of your next performance that your heart finally soared in hopeful anticipation.
Resting innocuously on the vanity in your dressing room was a folded note sealed with a bloody dollop of red wax. Your hands trembled with excitement as you opened it and read the simple note within. It contained a request for you to meet after your show the following evening. It was not signed, but it didn’t need to be.
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The note that had summoned you to a secret rendezvous was still clutched in your hand. The elegant script had bid you come to the rooftop of the opera house at the stroke of midnight. Surely, it had to be from your watchful specter. The prospect of seeing the Phantom for the second time outside of the shadows of the theater and its hidden alcoves excited you even more than when you stood on stage before a rising red curtain. Your heart hammed, trying to break free from the cage of your ribs as you imagined what your dark admirer would look like outside under the moonlight; how his hair would rustle on the wind, how his eyes would glimmer with starlight they captured from the heavens; how his warmth would comfort you against the midnight chill.
Far below the rooftop on which you stood, a lonely clocktower rang through the streets of Paris, sounding the stroke of midnight. You were alone, or so it appeared, seeing and hearing no one and nothing other than the tolling of the bells and the skirts of your dress moving as you walked. Standing at the balustrade, overlooking the lights of the city that shimmered like fireflies, you thought nothing of the silence. After all, you never heard the Phantom approach, but you knew that you would soon feel his presence drawing you in like the heat from a flame or hear his rich voice vibrating through the chambers of your heart.
The creak of the door to the rooftop opening startled you, resounding harshly in the serene night. Inhaling sharply, you jerked around to face the door with a half-measure of excitement, hoping to see Kylo’s dark towering figure, and with a half-measure of disappointment, knowing that the Phantom would never make such a garish entry.
With a disappointed sigh, you recognized the slender gangly figure of the Black Prince, who stepped out onto the roof. He wore his usual tailored finery and pinched expression. To his credit, he made an attempt at a smile when his eyes landed on you, but his pallid features seemed only capable of forming a sneer. He rushed to you with all the grace of a flustered goose, his cloak flapping about him like flailing wings.
“You look more beautiful every time I see you,” the Prince crooned as he closed the distance between you. “It pleases me greatly that you came to meet me as I requested in my letter.”
“Your letter?” you asked, unable to hide the regret in your voice. Holding your hands out to meet the Prince, you kept him from coming closer than arm’s length. “I was unsure who had written me.”
“Who else could it possibly be from?” he asked with a note of irritation, before waving his hand dismissively at the thought that anyone could capture your attention other than himself.
Unbeknownst to you, the mysterious man you had hoped to find was indeed on the rooftop with you. Lurking in the shadow of a stone gargoyle, the Phantom had watched you stand at the balustrade, admiring you in the moonlight while you were at ease and devoid of self-conscious affectation. The sight of your beauty formed a knot in his throat that he tried to swallow down, sure that you could hear the sound of his heavy breath and pounding heart. Nothing Kylo had ever encountered, no foe or fright, had ever affected him so. He wanted to rush to you, take you in his arms, and kiss you until you were just as breathless as he, but he knew that he could take no such action. You deserved better than a demonic monstrosity emerging from his rightful place in the shadows to spoil your evening.
Kylo watched you still. He watched as the Prince tried to take you in his arms, and he watched as you pushed him back. Kylo’s blood boiled, his teeth ground, and his fists clenched at his sides. It would be easy for him to overpower the Prince, if needed. To kill him, even, with a crushing blow of his fist that would knock the frail redhead over the rooftop railing to plummet to his death on the cobblestones far below.
However, the Prince seemed more interested in talking to you than pressing a more amorous agenda, and Kylo was content to listen.
“I have followed your rise to stardom,” the Prince told you after you rebuffed his attempted kiss. “I have never been so smitten by anyone, nor did I even think it possible that I could feel with such a depth of emotion.”
“I wish you would say no more,” you offered quietly, trying to stop his further unwanted advances.
“I did not summon you here tonight idly,” Prince Armitage told you seriously. “I have something of great importance to ask you.” The Prince reached out and grabbed your hands before you could flee further away from him. “Marry me, my beautiful songbird. Marry me and become my Princess and rule at my side.”
“I –” you stammered for only a moment before your wits returned. “I am very flattered, Prince, but I’m afraid I must decline. I cannot marry you.”
From his dark vantage, Kylo watched intently, clinging to your every word like a climber scaling the Matterhorn in a maelstrom.
“What do you mean, you cannot marry me?” Prince Armitage asked incredulously, incapable of believing such a thing. His grip tightened on your hands. “Of course, you bloody well can!” He looked at you more sternly and spoke again as though he were addressing a simpleton, “Did you not understand me? I, Prince Armitage Hux, am asking you to marry me, to be my Princess.”
“Repeat your question a hundred times and I shall decline it just as many,” you told him with equal vehemence. “I am not your songbird, and I shall never be your Princess nor your wife.”
“I understand that a lady must not be over-eager; that she must act coy and appear aloof to enhance her appeal to suitors,” the Prince continued undaunted. “So, I will forgive your rebuff and I will renew my offer again. You must know that the woman I take for my bride will live the rest of her life in unimaginable wealth and opulence. Every woman seeks my hand, and I offer it to you now. Marry me.”
“Since so many women covet the position of your wife, you will not lament my refusal.” You yanked your hands free from his grip. “When I marry, it will not be for wealth and opulence, it will be for love alone. I do not love you, and I shall never marry you.”
A feral anger crossed Hux’s features, unused as he was to being denied anything and everything he wanted. He lunged toward you, making a grab for you again, but his movement was clumsy. You dodged his grasping hands and in the same motion, you swiftly drew a dagger from under the bottom edge of your corseted bodice. The loyal little blade had served you more than once in stopping unwanted advances from eager men. You whipped the dagger up to point dangerously at the Prince’s throat. Your eyes gleamed ferociously as they bore into his and your hand didn’t tremble.
Kylo had been a heartbeat away from charging Prince Armitage and showing the ginger all the ways in which Kylo was every bit the monster of legend. Seeing you halt the Prince’s advances with the tip of your dagger under his chin, Kylo stopped himself. Despite the pain he felt at watching another man profess his love to you, Kylo grinned with wicked delight at the sight of your fierce denial. If Kylo hadn’t loved you with every beat of his black heart before, he knew now that it would forever beat for you alone.
Less like an angel and more like a warrior Valkyrie, you backed the Prince away from you with the tip of your dagger as the Phantom watched on. Your gown swirled around you as you turned and darted quickly away through the doorway, leaving a stunned Prince and a besotted Phantom out on the rooftop in the cool midnight air.
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In celebration of the extraordinary success of the opera, due almost entirely to your ethereal voice paired with the Phantom’s brilliant sonnet, the director planned a befittingly grand celebration. Luke chomped at the bit at almost any opportunity to host an event in his opera house. He was almost as giddy by the prospect as young women were to have an excuse to dress prettily and attend. Of course, foremost behind Luke’s motivation was a chance to further enamor the Black Prince with the star of the opera, which would hopefully lead to more money finding its way through the theater doors as a result.
The event was not to be just any soiree. Allegedly pursuant to a request made by the Black Prince himself, a masquerade ball was to be held in the opera house, beckoning forth the crème de la crème of Parisian elite. You couldn’t argue that Prince Armitage Hux’s appearance could only be improved with the help of a mask, much the same as you suspected that the Phantom’s allure could only be enhanced by removing his.
Just as you commanded attention onstage, you drew every eye in the opera house when you arrived at the masquerade ball. Dressed in a regal crimson gown that hugged and perfectly accentuated your curves paired with a black lace mask, you were stunning to behold. You hoped more eyes watched you than those you could see amid the light and glitter of the ball, that a pair of lupine eyes admired you from somewhere in the shadows.
Happy couples danced around you to the harmonic notes with which the string quartet filled the air. The women wore gowns, the men wore tailcoats, and everyone wore an opulent mask. Legions of phantoms could lurk openly tonight, hiding in plain sight at the masquerade ball. You searched the swarm of guests, but you didn’t see the towering figure you would recognize anywhere or the wickedly vibrant eyes you knew so well gleaming from behind any mask. A few nameless men approached you but you politely declined and slipped easily through the crowd to vanish from their advances. Your scouting soon brought the presence of the Black Prince to your attention. He was easily spotted; his orange hair and pasty complexion could not be hidden by the gold mask he wore. You wanted to avoid his attention more than any other. Keeping your eyes on him for the moment, you backed away toward the edge of the room.
“I would prefer to dance with you to the music of the night,” the Phantom’s husky voice boomed right behind you. You had almost backed into his chest and when you turned to face him, you found your bodies nearly touching.
“Here? In front of so many people?” you teased him warmly. “You would cause quite a sensation! I hope you could give an encore performance, because it would certainly be demanded.”
“I savor every sensation, darling,” Kylo promised you richly with a wicked grin on his lips. “And I will spend as many hours a night as you wish giving you encore after encore.”
You smiled and sighed voluptuously, letting him take you in his arms and twirl you into a dance. He was again dressed almost entirely in black, save for the scarlet lining of his cape and the matching ascot that was knotted elegantly at his throat, but tonight, he wore a white shirt that you could see peeking out just above his tie. His masquerade mask was blood red and covered only the right side of his face, as was his custom, with a pointed horn at the top that parted his thick hair around it. He made a sinfully handsome devil, indeed.
Only moments after Kylo had begun dancing with you, the pair of you had drawn the attention of many guests. They all recognized the unmistakable physique and formidable skill of the man who had been your stage partner during your now infamous solo. While many watched Kylo dance with you in his menacingly elegant manner, no one else knew the Phantom’s true identity. Neither did you for that matter, not in the fullest sense, but it hardly mattered.
“You must do quite a lot of dancing in your den under the opera house,” you teased as he led you in sweeping, agile motions.
“You’d be surprised,” he responded with a grin.
The Black Prince was among the onlookers who watched the mysterious man swirl you in his dance like a black spider coiling you in his nefarious web. The Prince sipped his champagne as he looked on with a venomous glare. As you had observed, Hux was an intelligent and calculating man, and he knew better than to hazard a confrontation with the fearsome man who held you in his arms.
Tonight, it was not your Phantom who watched you from the shadows, but another pair of eyes, beady and calculating. Luke’s narrowed eyes followed your every movement as the tall black-clad devil danced with you like you already belonged to him. Luke seethed at the outrage! How dare this stranger, this nobody, come into his opera house and steal his leading lady?! Luke’s ire was not stoked by the way you looked up at the Phantom with the brightest smile he had ever seen on your lips, nor even by the way the dark man held you too close and regarded you too desirously. It was rather in the way that the Black Prince looked on at the pair of you from his place in the fringes, lost and forgotten. The Black Prince wasn’t just a suitor for you, he was Luke’s way to fame and fortune in measures that his greasy little mind could scarcely fathom. And now, right before his very eyes, this man, this Phantom, was stealing that away from him.
Luke saw darkness looming on his horizon that heretofore had been nothing but clear skies and dollar signs, and knew he had to act to prevent this travesty from occurring. Not only for himself, of course. He had to protect you from yourself, he reasoned. You were young and foolish, impetuous, and too headstrong for your own good. You would be much happier with the Prince and his wealth. You would learn to love him, and you would be better for it.
No one in attendance at the ball noticed when Luke slipped quietly away, least of all you or Kylo Ren.
As you danced on, the novelty of the sight of you and your ominous partner faded, and the room resumed its pompous swagger. When you were no longer the centerpiece of the masquerade, Kylo brought his lips to yours, kissing you slow and deep. When he drew back, he looked at you with a longing you had never seen in his eyes.
“The Black Prince would marry you, if you would have him,” he told you, as if you didn’t know this fact already.
“And if I were to have a guardian angel, even one who masquerades as a Phantom of the night, to whisper in my ear?” You ran your hand over his chest where his heart beat beneath. “What advice would he give me?”
“To do as your heart commands you, madame.” Kylo held your eyes intently. “To follow your heart’s deepest and darkest desires. Those who restrain their desires do so only because they are weak enough to be restrained.”
“The desires of my heart shall never be restrained.” You looked up at him through your eyelashes with a tantalizing smile. “They may very well be as dark as the shadows from which you hail.”
“I commend your brave spirit for not being frightened by the darkness or by the creatures that dwell in it, such as myself. But I assure you, I am a monster, madame.” Even as he berated himself, he kissed you again. “Beneath my mask, I am monstrous. I am ill-suited to stand beside beauty such as yours.”
“Take the mask off now so I can show you that your only failing is your foolishness at believing such a ridiculous notion.” You reached your hand to the edge of his mask for the second time in your acquaintance, and this time Kylo didn’t move to stop you.
You were certain Kylo held his breath as you removed the mask from his face. A long ragged scar split the right side of the Phantom’s face. Your eyes followed it, from its origin above his arched eyebrow as it trailed down his cheek and jaw, down his thick neck to disappear beneath his collar. A closer study of his features revealed other small scars, and another angry raised scar on his jaw that was nearly hidden in the dark thatch of his goatee. Just as you had suspected, the scar only added to his villainous appeal. After all, each scar was evidence of him triumphing over violence and hardship.
“Scarred or not, you are the most handsome man I have ever laid eyes upon,” you said appreciatively as you caressed his scarred cheek with your fingertips. Kylo leaned into your touch, his eyes falling closed, like a great cat wanting to be petted. “But the scar makes you eminently more dashing.”
“I have nothing to offer you, no castle or fortune. Only the monster that I am,” Kylo purred, his eyes burning into yours. “I am yours, if you want me.”
“You know I do,” you replied happily as you looped your arms around his neck and kissed him hard. Kylo wrapped his arms around your waist and lifted you off your feet without breaking your kiss, twirling with you in his arms, his love for you on full display for anyone who cared to look.
“You’ve been onstage many times, but have you ever watched it from on high?” Kylo asked you when he returned you to the floor. He let his eyes drop to your cleavage with a teasing smirk. “The view from above can be rather lovely.”
You shook your head at him, but allowed him to take your hand and lead you through the masked crowd. He took you up the steps at the side of the stage, finding a few other amorous couples who had likewise stolen away. Every light and candle in the opera house was lit for the celebration and the gas lamps that lined the edge of the stage were flickering golden. Above the seats in the theater, the gargantuan and pendulous chandelier hung from the domed ceiling, hundreds of pounds of crystal and candlelight suspended by a decade’s old cable. Kylo led you across the stage and through the vacant backstage walkways.
A set of narrow wooden stairs led up to the rafters. This is where stagehands would work their own magic to create the effects of the show while performers sang and danced on stage. Kylo led you onto a narrow catwalk with a wooden railing that hung suspended high above the theater. It creaked with your every step and was made to accommodate the breadth of one average man. Kylo had to turn mostly sideways to walk along it with you beside him. There were thick ropes and pulleys, props and effects, weights and counterbalances used to raise and lower heavier objects. It was darker up in the rafters, above the level of the raised velvet curtain. But below you, the theater glowed with glimmering firelight from every lighted candle and gas lamp.
From the end of the catwalk was a vantage that overlooked the entire theater through a gap in the curtain that you suspected was of Kylo’s own doing. You could see the stage beneath you, the red seats of the theater sprawling out away from you, and the mighty chandelier hanging high above it all. As you watched the droves of partygoers milling below you, Kylo stood behind you and wrapped his arms around your waist. He dropped his head to kiss your neck and tease his goatee across your skin, raising a rash of goosebumps across your shoulders and down your spine. His enormous right hand reached up across the front of your body to the opposite side of your neck from his lips, holding you possessively as he claimed you with his kisses and bites.
The world around you blurred into faint notes of music and a dreamy haze as you became lost in the dizzying pleasure Kylo gave you with every caress of his lips and squeeze of his strong hands. You whined for more and writhed against him when his lips grew still and his body stiffened behind you, until you realized that his attention was no longer focused on you. Without warning, he shoved you roughly away from him, sending you stumbling down the catwalk.
Frowning with anger and confusion, you looked back at him and saw why.
Out from the darkness behind Kylo, a rope shot out over his head and looped around his neck as fast as a wrangler roping a stray bull, tightening instantly into a deadly noose. Kylo was yanked backward toward his attacker, a growl catching in his throat under the knotted rope. But Kylo was less like a bull in a lariat than a wolf in a collar, and he turned viciously on his assailant as the man foolishly pulled Kylo back into him. Before the man could tighten the noose enough for the killing stroke, Kylo punched his open hand into the man’s throat. Clenching his windpipe in an iron grip, Kylo ripped his hand to the side with a menacing snarl, tearing the man’s windpipe apart with his bare hand, sending blood pluming from the man’s throat almost elegantly. When Kylo turned back to face you as the man’s body toppled over the catwalk and down to splatter on the stage below, Kylo’s handsome face was a rictus of ferocity. You had never seen a visage so murderous and could not have imagined a demon springing forth from Hell itself to be consumed by such savagery.
Some of the crowd had noticed the man who fell from the catwalk and now watched with curiosity and concern. Others were blissfully unaware and danced on.
“Get down!” Kylo barked at you in a voice that was jagged from his bruised windpipe.
You followed his command without thinking just as a shot rang out from behind you at the far end of the catwalk. Sparks flew next to Kylo’s head where the bullet struck a metal cable, and the catwalk canted precariously as the same cable snapped that had helped suspend the catwalk from the rafters above. Your hand flew to the railing to keep yourself from being flung over the side as the platform bucked wildly beneath your feet.
Growling like a wild animal, Kylo lunged past you toward the gunman, who had also lost his balance and cartwheeled his arms in an attempt to regain it. His eyes widened as he saw death boring down upon him with Kylo Ren as its harbinger. Kylo didn’t need to employ any fancy maneuvers on the off-balanced gunman. Without slowing his charge, Kylo ducked his head and shoved his shoulder roughly into the man’s solar plexus, Kylo knocked him off the slanted catwalk, sending his body flying into midair out over the stage. The gunman’s fearful shout ended abruptly with the solid thwack of a slab of meat being slammed down onto a cutting board when he hit the floor.
The gunman’s body landed on the row of gas lamps that lined the stage. The lamps burst below his body, catching his clothing instantly aflame with the lamp oil. Now, everyone in the masquerade turned their attention to the stage that had erupted into gunshots, screams, and flames. A frightful chorus of shrieks and shouts resounded through the crowd. Like a single-minded herd of frightened livestock, the crowd ran for the exit, becoming a stampede of vibrantly colored bodies.
The gunman wasn’t dead yet, but was fast succumbing to his injuries and the flames that licked over his body to crawl up the drawn velvet curtain at the side of the stage. Glaring up at Kylo on the broken catwalk, the gunman feebly raised his pistol again. His hand shook uncontrollably as he yanked the trigger, sending an errant bullet somewhere high into the rafters, feet above Kylo’s head. As the man’s arm dropped in an arc back toward the floor, he squeezed off a final shot. This bullet found a mark, although it was not in Kylo’s body.
The round struck the center of the cable that held the chandelier monstrosity suspended above the panicking crowd. At first, there was nothing but a small rustle of crystals, like fairy dust sprinkling from the ceiling. Then, one metal thread of the cable unwound, followed by another, and another. With a snap that resounded through the theater as loud as the felling of a tree, half of the remaining cable tore apart and the chandelier lurched on its tether and began to swing as deadly as a glittering guillotine.  
You watched in macabre fascination as the chandelier swung like a thurible at mass, while smoke from rampant fires rose in tendrils to the ceiling. Worst of all was the crowd below, running with feral abandon toward the single exit at the head of the theater. When a person tripped and fell, they were swallowed by the stampede like a stone thrown into the ocean.
Kylo was likewise mesmerized by the horror that filled the theater, and he watched it unfold for a heartbeat too long.
Kylo rushed to you, but it was another man who reached you first. A harsh bony hand grabbed your arm from behind, yanking you back toward an unseen assailant, but then a voice you knew well spoke near your ear.
“Walk away, Phantom,” Luke hissed as he used your body as a human shield between himself and Kylo. You feel the cool touch of a gun barrel at your back. “That’s all you have to do, just walk away. Leave the girl to the Prince and leave my opera to me.”
“Leave the girl to the Prince?” Kylo snarled so ominously that you felt Luke’s hand on you tremble. Kylo advanced a step toward you with hunched shoulders and clenched fists, ready to launch a devastating attack. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.” A terrible grin curled his lips. “It will be my pleasure to educate you.”
Looking around quickly, you saw a coil of rope used to hoist props looped around one of the posts of the railing. You knew that Kylo would rush Luke at any moment like death himself and end him with the cruelest stroke. But why should Kylo have that privilege all to himself?
Luke was focused solely on Kylo’s enraged eyes, sparing you no mind at all. Twisting in his grip, you knocked the gun aside and slammed your fist backhanded into his crotch, hitting the small flaccid target with all the force you could command. Luke released his hold on you, doubling over in pain with a retching gag. Kylo instantly charged at the man as you snatched the coil of rope. Before Kylo reached Luke, you looped the rope around Luke’s bowed neck and cinched it tight. Then Kylo was at your side. His huge hand covered yours, his fist squeezing your own tight around the rope, and he yanked the knot tight around Luke’s throat. You felt Luke sputter as his eyes blew wide in shock and pain. He tried to swing his gun back to Kylo, but Kylo caught his hand easily and ripped the gun out of his grip.  
With your left hand on Luke’s chest and Kylo’s right planted beside yours, you both shoved Luke roughly over the catwalk. He hit the end of the rope only a few feet above the stage, his neck breaking with the sound of stepping on chicken bones, killing him instantly. Kylo grinned down at the swinging corpse of the man who had made the grave mistake of attacking you.
Smoke swirled around your heads and the sound of panic and death rang loud in the acoustics of the theater. Around the despairing opera house, fire now snaked up the large curtain that framed the stage. The gas lamps had all ruptured from the heat of the fire around them, and now formed a ring of fire around the edge of the stage. Even as you watched, the flames leapt from the stage out onto the first row of velvet-cushioned chairs.
High above you, the final heroic cord of the chandelier’s cable snapped with the crack of a bullwhip, sending the elephantine crystal ball shattering down upon the horde of scrambling bodies beneath it. The chandelier hit in an explosion of fiery candles, crystal shrapnel, and hellish screams. Fueled by the death from above, the theater was consumed by even greater chaos. Women shoved each other aside and men punched each other away, both in vain attempts to reach the exit.
“I’d say we’ve dallied long enough, darling.” Kylo took your hand, his grip strong and warm, and ran with you back across the crippled catwalk. The catwalk swayed in the air and bucked beneath your feet, shuddering with your every step and threatening to send you both plummeting down to the stage below. But Kylo’s balance was sure, and he pulled you with him to safety and back down the stairs.
When you reached the stage, the flames that danced on its edge were now taller than Kylo. They encroached upon the center of the stage, using the body of the gunman as a bridge across the smooth wooden floor. They lapped at Luke’s feet and crept up his pant leg where his body dangled, swaying on his tether.
Kylo knew the stage as well as you, and he ran straight to the trap door in its very center. This was used to elevate props and to likewise make them disappear during performances. Dropping to a knee beside it, he yanked the trap door open and lowered you safely inside. Following you down through the hatch, Kylo closed it behind and you both vanished from the theater like the ghosts who haunted it.
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Deep under the opera house, you were safe from the flames that ravaged the great theater above. Deeper still, in the maze of stone corridors Kylo led you through, the screams of those unlucky masqueraders still trapped inside were finally lost to your ears. It was a tragedy, but one that had been precipitated by the avarice of the theater’s director. You were lucky to have a man as strong and ferocious as Kylo to protect you and steal you away from a fiery death. Holding a torch aloft in his right hand, Kylo gripped your hand tight with his left and held you close to his side, imbuing you with his strength, as he led you toward a destination known only to him. 
The culmination of this underground labyrinth was a grand chamber with a high vaulted ceiling. You wondered vaguely at its purpose, but whether it was constructed for reasons of ordinary structural benefit or for something sinister, such as the meeting place for a secret occult society, is a question you would not have answered that evening. Regardless of its true purpose, the chamber had been commandeered by the Phantom and transformed into a darkly lavish bedchamber of sorts. 
Flickering golden light emanating from hundreds of candles illuminated the chamber. The dancing hue of firelight made the tall gold pipes of an organ glow and you saw sheets of music placed on the large instrument. You wondered if this was the place where Kylo had composed his masterpiece solo for you. 
Centered in the room was an enormous bed that looked as though it was a repurposed sculpture of an open clamshell that would have been fitting for Venus herself to lie upon. The bedding and draped curtains behind it were scarlet red that paired perfectly with the gild and gold throughout the chamber. 
While your eyes feasted on every detail and nuance of the room, Kylo walked to the organ. He made quick work of undoing the buttons on his waistcoat as he walked. Shrugging his jacket away from his broad shoulders and following with his waistcoat, he draped both over the back of the leather chair that sat before the instrument. When he turned back to you, he wore only his black trousers and his white shirt was open to reveal the thick cleft in his massive chest. 
Holding your gaze intently with eyes that were more ravenous than any you had seen, he closed the distance between you until you could feel his heat and smell the masculine lust radiating off his large body. Smiling up at him, you invited him to take your lips. He kissed you deep and slow, taking his time as he relished in the feeling of your lips. A taste of the passion to come. 
“You saved my life,” you whispered into his mouth. “I’m yours, Kylo. Yours to take. Yours to possess. Yours to keep forever.” 
“I have been yours since the moment I first laid eyes upon you, my love,” he told you huskily, grinning against your lips before kissing you deeply again. 
Your movements were more urgent when you reached to unbutton his shirt and push it away from his body. Breaking your kiss once he was freed from his shirt, you stared at the magnificent expanse of his chest and shoulders. Your hands ran across the dense planes and ridges of muscle, feeling it firm as marble under your touch. His pale skin was beautifully decorated with a spattering of scars that your fingers traced and caressed. You gave special attention to the scar he had kept hidden from you for so long. Starting at his cheek, you kissed the length of his largest scar down to his jaw, down the thick cords of his neck, and then down to where it crossed over his collarbone and on down his chest. 
Kylo groaned with desire when you kissed over his skin, and he growled when your hand skimmed down his body to palm the intimidatingly large bulge through the fabric of his trousers. Once you clumsily worked his pants open, your hand dipped eagerly inside to feel his hot heavy cock, unable to connect your fingers around his girth. 
Moving around to your back, Kylo brushed your hair aside, leaning down to inhale the fragrance of your locks before attaching his lips to the delicate skin of your neck, teasing your flesh as he carefully unlaced your dress and undergarments. 
Warm strong hands and long thick fingers caressed you as he pushed your dress down your body and away from you to pool at your feet. Your back arched when his fingers trailed back up your thighs. Pressing your shoulders back against his broad chest, you felt it expand impossibly further as he breathed in your scent, pressing his large nose against your neck behind your jaw while he continued to kiss and lick at your skin. Hot breath and plush lips contrasted with the sharp sensation of his teeth as gentle bites now mingled with the wet kisses he littered along the junction of your neck and shoulder. 
Kylo’s left hand smoothed up the front of your body to your breast, teasing your nipple between his thumb and finger. Once you were peaked, he accomplished both squeezing your breast and rubbing his calloused palm across your nipple in one sensual repetitive motion. The fingers of his right hand reached the top of your thigh, moving between them to skim the outside of your pussy, smearing the slick that had already collected there as his lips returned to your ear. 
“You’re already dripping for me, darling.” His deep voice thrummed through you down to pool in your abdomen. You inhaled sharply when he slowly pushed two digits into you, spreading you open around his girthy fingers as they curled inside of you. 
Moaning in pleasure, you dropped your head back onto Kylo’s shoulder as his thick fingers rubbed against your perfect hidden places. Kylo’s mouth found your pulse point as he kissed and sucked at your neck. He could feel your pulse quicken under his lips as he pumped his fingers into your pussy. His cock pressed against your ass through his pants, throbbing eagerly for you. 
Withdrawing his fingers from you, Kylo turned you to face him. His gaze raked your body hungrily, admiring every curve of your figure. With a coy smile on your lips, you backed toward the bed. Kylo paused only long enough to shove his pants down his muscular thighs. Your breath caught at the sight of his giant cock swinging free from its confines. The ridge running the long length of its underside swelled prominently like the veins that snaked its girth, its fat velvety tip aimed at you. 
A proud smile turned his lips at your awed expression as he again closed the distance between your bodies. Falling back onto the bed, your body bounced slightly on the bedding. Bending over you, he took a lingering moment to admire the sight of you, laid bare beneath him. His cock twitched and throbbed as his gaze fell to your pussy, glistening in the candlelight and flushed with your heightened arousal, a flower blooming for him alone. 
“I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as you,” Kylo groaned as he lowered himself over you, planting his hands on either side of your waist. “No one has ever compared to you.” 
Dropping his head, he brought his lips to your breast. Lingering on your nipple, his tongue swirled around its peak while he sucked it lightly. His mouth then moved slowly down your body, trailing wet kisses as he traveled lower. 
Pausing to grin up at you and meet your eyes, he placed a hot wet kiss to the top of your pussy. Your legs trembled as he lifted them over his shoulders. Lowering himself further, he parted your folds with a swipe of his aquiline nose, leaving its tip to rest against your clit as he kissed at your lips. The feeling of Kylo’s tongue when he licked into you was superior to any sensation you had ever felt. The feeling of pure bliss he elicited so easily with the strokes of his tongue along your folds and his voice groaning into you with pleasure was like nothing you had ever experienced. 
You were too enraptured to do anything but moan Kylo’s name. Your hands quickly found themselves tangled in his thick mane as your hips bucked subtly against his face of their own accord. Your Phantom’s amber eyes held yours in a burning gaze as he licked as deeply into you as he could, his eyes only briefly falling closed when he savored the taste of you. Merely the sight alone, of this dangerous and powerful man with his handsomely scarred face between your thighs, was almost enough to push you over the precipice. 
The gravity of pleasure was beginning to pull you over the edge when he brought his tongue to trace his name across your clit, before sucking it between his lips. Your mouth fell open in a silent scream when he sucked at you heavily enough to hollow his cheeks. You moaned loudly, as you felt yourself plunging into a chasm of ecstasy, fisting his hair roughly as you fell. A rush of heat flooded you, as you came on Kylo’s hungry lips and ardent tongue. He kissed and licked you ravenously as you pulsed and gushed, extending your pleasure as long as he could until your quivering subsided. 
Lifting his mouth from your throbbing pussy, Kylo kissed at your inner thigh as he looked up at you, smiling proudly. Even your thighs trembled with residual pleasure on either side of his face from the force of your orgasm. With an eager growl, he raised himself to crawl back up your body. You felt boneless as he moved over you, caging you inside his finely muscled arms. Your hands fell away from his hair, one holding his neck as an anchor, the other falling limp above your head. 
Lowering himself over you, Kylo’s lips met yours, his jaw working passionately as he smeared his adoration against your lips. You felt more than heard a low growl rumble through his chest, reverberating through your entire body, as his massive cock sank into you. Even relaxed and dripping with arousal, the stretch of him was intense. You moaned as he filled you with every long thick inch until his hips were flush with you, your pussy just the perfect fit for him. 
“Your pussy feels so fucking good,” Kylo groaned. “So tight on my cock.” 
The feel of your body made Kylo shudder with pleasure as he thrust his cock into you. You felt his muscles tensing beneath your hand at the feeling of being surrounded by your silken heat. Kylo bent to kiss you sweetly before his hips began rocking at first and then pounding into you, each thrust shoving you further into the mattress beneath him. Kylo knew exactly how to elicit more pleasure from you, exactly how to angle his cock to hit the best spots inside of you with every slam of his hips. He withdrew nearly his full length with every thrust, pounding back into you with a force that made you shiver with his every movement. You could feel every ridge on his cock drag and rub against your stretched walls, sending blissful sparks shooting through your body with each heavy thrust. 
Soon, your breath was coming in gasps as your pussy tightened around his perfect cock. Only a few more pumps of his cock were needed to spring the coil that had tightened almost painfully in your core. With each thrust, your pussy tried to suck him in further as he drove himself as deep inside of you as he could reach and as deep as you could possibly take. 
“Cum for me,” Kylo growled deep and rich as he pounded into you. “I want to feel my darling cum all over my cock.” 
At his command, you came a second time in heady waves of pleasure. An incoherent whine escaped your lips, while your pussy clenched around his thick cock in time with the pulses of your ecstasy. 
Kylo’s head fell back, pointing toward the ceiling like a wolf howling at the moon. Groaning deep and wholly lost in pleasure of his own, he fucked your tightened pussy through your orgasm. His eyes were wild with lust when he returned his gaze to you, his lips turned into a feral grin. Baring his teeth as he looked down upon you, his hair fell in jostling waves around his beautifully menacing visage. 
Fucking into you more roughly, he chased his own pleasure. He propped both hands on either side of your head to keep from crushing you beneath his powerful body with the force of his motions. Kylo’s arms began to tremble, as his cock throbbed inside of you. A thunderous growl tore through his chest and out of his throat when he came. You could feel his heat spreading into you as he pumped you full, grinding his cock as deep into you as he possibly could. 
He kissed and licked along the side of your neck and throat as his cock softened inside of you. Holding you tight beneath his heavy body, he kissed you for several long minutes, not wanting to separate your bodies. Caressing you with his lips, he silently praised and soothed you when he finally lifted himself from above you, kissing his way down your neck. His mouth was hot and open when he reached your collarbone, leaving kisses along it as he withdrew from you. 
Rolling onto his back, Kylo pulled you with him onto his chest, his arms wrapping around you to hold you tight against him. His lips grazed your hair as he inhaled the heavenly scent trapped in your waves. As you lay, held in Kylo’s warm iron embrace, your head rising and falling with his chest as his breath steadied beneath you, you could scarcely believe your present happiness. 
“Are you prepared to give me an encore? I told you I would demand one of you,” you said breathily as you raised your head from his chest and propped yourself up beside him, tracing a pattern on his skin with your fingernails. Kylo’s large hand stroked your back gently as he looked up at you with a pleasured smile. 
“I will give you an encore every night you desire it. Will you come away with me, my darling?” Kylo asked, smiling up at you. His eyes glimmered in the candlelight, shining with reverence as he regarded you lovingly. “Will you marry me even though I have nothing to offer you? I have only my heart to give you.” 
“It sounds very much like you have everything to offer me. I want your heart to beat for me alone and your arms to hold me tight,” you vowed. “Of course, I will marry you and follow you anywhere.” 
He tightened his arms around and held you hard as he continued, his voice softer, “What of the Prince’s proposal?” 
“I would rather be burned at the stake than have him touch me,” you assured him vehemently. “The feeling of my skin peeling away under a flame could not be a worse fate than feeling his hands on me.” 
Kylo grinned handsomely at your words, looking up at you with shining adoration. “I would not have faulted you in the slightest, but still, I was relieved that you didn’t kill him that night on the rooftop. Hux has been my faithful servant for decades.” 
You looked at him curiously, his words slow to sink in through the haze of your afterglow. 
“Hux played his role well as the Black Prince, just as I played mine as the Phantom,” Kylo said triumphantly, his chest swelling with pride. “The Phantom of the Opera was a rather convenient legend to exploit in order to grow close to you and learn the true nature of your character and your heart.” 
“What are you saying?” you looked at him incredulously now, your eyebrows climbing up your forehead. 
“You would marry me even though I could offer you nothing? That makes me happier than I have the words to express, and I would never have you for my wife if you had said otherwise.” Kylo’s smile widened and his eyes gleamed with passion. “But I wonder, my beautiful darling, would you marry me if I could offer you everything? If I could give you the world and all the stars in the night sky?” He raised his head to kiss you again before continuing, “Would you marry me if I was not a scavenging Phantom pauper, but a Prince?” 
“You’re not serious?” you asked in a small voice filled with awe and hope. “You can’t be serious.” 
“I am hunted by women for my money and title just as you are hounded by men for your beauty and spirit. I had to be certain you wanted me for who I am, not for what I could buy you.” Kylo shrugged beneath you in a rakish nonchalant way. “That being said, I happen to be able to buy you anything you have ever wanted.” 
You could only stare at him for a moment before a wide shining smile broke upon your lips. 
“Kylo Ren, the Black Prince of Alderaan, at your service, madame.” He gave you a dashing smile. “And you, darling, shall be my beloved Princess. The Persephone to my Hades, who will bring spring to my winter and fill my world with blossoms and beauty throughout this life and the next.” 
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© safarigirlsp 2022
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Tagging some buddies!
@babbushka @in-silks-and-flesh-and-leather @mrs-gucci @mrs-zimmerman @iamburdened @gabesprincess @reborn-rekall @maybe-your-left @rynwritesstuff @candycanes19 @queeniebee @mythrielofsolitude @ghoulian13 @icarusinthesea @darkhairedmenrule @reyloaddict55 @fizzywoohoo @heartlight-starlight @richbrittstein @woken-ariadne @clydesfavoritegirl @emi11ie @bensolodyad @danidanisara @thepalaceofmelanie @celiholland @durangoninetyfive @zillymaz @gotham-city-uber-driver @the-fangirl-diaries @parsnipping @cryptessence @tenlovesten @kyloremus @writer-wednesday
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oonajaeadira · 5 months ago
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Bare Skin Rug
Rating: T
Fandom: Kingsman: Golden Circle
Pairing: Jack Daniels x f!reader
Warning: none, other than Jack Daniels.
Summary: Jack’s on mission and sends a coded message
A/N: This was a quick little silly throwdown, not really proofed. I dunno why I thought of Jack other than @songsformonkeys​ and I having a little convo about him. This lives in the same ‘verse as my other little Jack drabble, Weapon of Mass Destruction.
Thank you to @writer-wednesday​ for the photo prompt!!! 
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-We wish you warmth! Were cold here, but relatively happy to. Please keep sending messages to me. Your warm words keep me pretty entertained; you’re a damn clever girl.
Something’s wrong here.
The first pass over Jack’s text causes confusion. Warm words? Entertained? Jack likes to push buttons, but the only thing you’d texted him in the last twenty-four hours was the coordinates of the Statesman vehicle pickup you’d arranged for him and Tequila. The target is on the move and there’s no way they’d keep up without something tricked out with tracking gear–damn good tracking gear that you’d programmed yourself.
The accompanying picture shows an idyllic town in the mountains, exactly where he needs to be, the Alpine buildings covered with sugar snow, a winter-scape perfection, the perfect place for a weekend getaway. If you ever had time for a weekend getaway… or someone to getaway with…
Most likely he’s just being sarcastic, poking fun at you for being dry and businesslike. But how are you supposed to act? You weren’t going to mess around with the agents’ lives on the line. Tequila’s like a brother to you and Jack’s… well. Jack’s charming and handsome and kind to you, so you certainly don’t want to see him hurt. 
Of course, for all he knows, your interest in keeping him safe is purely professional. Best to keep it that way. Jack flirts with everyone. It’s nothing personal.
But upon the second reading, you zero in on the source of your unease. “Were cold here, but relatively happy to.” Jack’s a Statesman. A CEO and a gentleman. Bad grammar is unimaginable and here’s two instances in one sentence? No. Something is wrong.
It’s code. It has to be. 
You run down the regulars. Not Centro, not Fortale, not Fibonacci. Certainly not a cypher. Was it hidden in the serifs? Lots of w’s and s’s, there might be a transposition….
“Ginger!” You find her in the lab, eating dinner while she keeps an eye on a readout on an electromagnetics test. “I need your help. Jack sent a code and I can’t crack it.”
Still chewing, Ginger abandons her salad on a lab table and meets you halfway, holding out her hand for your tablet.
Her eyebrows pinch together. She chews, swallows, and then a slow smirk spreads across her face, somewhere between amused and exasperated.
“This wasn’t meant to be hard, you know,” handing the device over, she abandons you for her beloved readouts. “Seems like you might be emotionally compromised.”
“Huh?”
“The tech will work, they’re checking in on schedule. We don’t have to handhold the boys through this one. Easy in, easy out. You don’t have to worry about Jack.”
“I’m not worried about–”
“It’s prime,” she sighs.
“...prime..?”
You read the message for the third time. 
Oh.
“Ah, of course. Thanks, Ging. sorry for bothering you. I’ll see you at 0800.”
Ginger nods, her focus on the numbers graphing across the screen. “Man’s nothing if not tenacious. Good luck with that.”
Back in your workshop you scan the text a fourth time, picking out the words in prime number sequence…2, 3, 5, 7…
-We wish you warmth! Were cold here, but relatively happy to. Please keep sending messages to me. Your warm words keep me pretty entertained; you’re a damn clever girl.
Well, Ginger’s not wrong. Tenacious.
The best reply is no reply. It means you’ve received it, that you have no further questions, but that you have nothing to say in return. If you don’t encourage him, perhaps he’ll stop. And if he stops, maybe you can put this crush quietly to bed.
Just as you put down the tablet, there’s another notification.
-Would you like to see my bare skin rug?
Statesman. CEO. That is not a typo so maybe it’s time to strike gentleman from the list of things you’re using to describe Jack Daniels. In the meantime you scramble for the tablet, furiously typing out a rushed reply.
-NO. MESSAGE RECEIVED. CHANNEL MONITORED.
-So you ARE there.
-No, I’m not. I’m doing very important things. As are you. Don’t you have a mission to attend to, Agent Daniels?
-I do. Let me ask you something.
-What.
-Do you like pasta?
-Yes.
-Well then. Mission accomplished. See you Friday.
Jack’s messaging status changes from active to away and you puzzle at his last message. Mission accompli–?
A notification pops up on the screen. Both of your names. Thank you; reservation received. Restaurante Bella Pisa, Friday, 7pm.
Shit.
God DAMN it.
This man is gonna be the death of you.
___
COLLECTION MASTERLIST
MASTERLIST
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skvatnavle · a month ago
Text
Love is Love
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Robert 'Bob' Floyd x Jake 'Hangman' Seresin
Warnings: pining idiots, yearning, Bob being clueless, Hangman being drunk, kissing, fluff, Hangman being a cocky mofo, SMUT! M/M. Oral (m receiving), anal sex, protected sex (be smart like HangBob).
Notes: Enemies to idiots to lovers, is the best way to describe this. A part of @writer-wednesday week 18, a few days late. Hope y'all had a great pride month 🌈
A huge thanks to @a-reader-and-a-writer for beta reading ❤️
Words: 4K
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“Bob, you need to drive Hangman home. He’s wasted.” Rooster says, pointing towards a booth in the corner.
Groaning, Bob looks over at Jake babbling in the corner, laughing at one of his own jokes. Something had been off with him all night. Actually, things had been a little off with him ever since that day they played Dogfight football.
“Why do I have to?”
“Cause you’re the only one who’s sober.”
Bob curses under his breath. The last thing he needs is to get stuck in a car with a drunk Jake. True, he had often imagined what it would be like driving Jake home, but that was under different circumstances. And frankly something that would never happen.
Bob had seen firsthand for weeks how Jake flirted with the ladies, how confident he was around them and how they all practically fell to their knees for him. Even if by any chance he was bi, he would never go for a guy like Bob. Especially with the way he was always teasing him, there was no way in hell Jake harbored anything but friendly feelings for Bob. If even that much.
Walking over to Jake, Rooster offers to help drag him to the car. When Jake sees Bob approaching, he smiles wide, his eyes unfocused.
“Baby on Board! There you are!”
“If you say that one more time, I’m leaving you in the gutter somewhere.”
Jake shuts up, faking pout, before he breaks into a laugh and looks at Rooster with a mischievous grin.
“I think the Missus is mad at me.”
“Fuck, he’s drunk.” Rooster laughs, as he hoists Jake up from his seat. Bob moves to hold under the other arm, blushing slightly when he feels Jake this close. His hand resting on Jake’s back and chest, he can’t help but feeling the heat creep up his cheeks at the toned body underneath his fingertips. The same chiseled body he’s been thinking of ever since that day on the beach.
Jake leans his head on Bob’s shoulder, giving him a soft smile as they drag him past the others. Once they reach the car, Bob takes over and gently helps Jake into the car and fastens his seatbelt. Jake reaches up and softly cups Bob’s cheek, instantly making him blush a heavy red and he prays Rooster doesn’t notice.
“I’ve always liked you, Bob.”
“And here I thought drunk people told the truth. You’re an even worse liar when wasted.” Rooster says with a laugh before he pats Bob on the shoulder and walks away, leaving them to themselves. Even though he knows somewhere deep down that Jake can be good, he can't help but think Rooster's words are true.
Jake had his moments, sure, and they had increased the last week after the game. But he was still cocky and asserted himself whenever he could, often on the expense of others. And it was usually Bob. But something had shifted, caused Jake to act out tonight and Bob can’t shake the feeling that it is because of what happened that day.
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When Mav had told them his plan for the day, they had all been skeptical. Dogfight football? How was that going to make them a better team? But within an hour, they had to admit his plan was working. Hell, even Bob felt like a part of the team, where before he sometimes felt a little on the outside of the group. Never been the most rumbustious person, he tended to fade into the background. But that had changed today and now he felt like one of them.
After Mav left, they all stayed and played for a while, but not as serious as before. People were joking around, having fun and all seemed relaxed for the first time since they came back to Top Gun. Tossing the ball around, the ball was passed to Bob and before he could throw it again, Hangman tackled him.
Laughing loudly, they tumbled to the ground, Hangman pinned Bob beneath him. As they laid still, Hangman’s thigh rested between Bob’s, pressed against his crotch. Bob whimpered softly at the contact, a heavy blush creept up his cheeks. Having Hangman this close was something he had thought of many nights, laying alone in his room with his cock in hand. His body instantly reacted, trembled under Hangman’s weight.
Hangman stopped laughing and looked into Bob’s eyes, his lips slowly turned into a smile.
“Are you blushing, Bob?”
“N-no.” he managed to stammer out, before gently pushing at Hangman’s chest. But Bob just looked to his hands as they trembled against Hangman’s warm skin. Fighting the urge to run his fingers down his perfect body, Bob felt himself harden.
Hangman’s smirk grows wider as he pushed his thigh closer to Bob’s hardening length, pulling yet another soft whimper from Bob. He hated how easily he reacted to Hangman’s touch but still, he didn’t want it to end. Wanted to stay here, pinned beneath him, feeling his breath on his. It would be so easy to just lean forward, to press his lips to his.
But before he knew it, Hangman pushed away from Bob with a smirk and took the ball, resuming the game. Phoenix came over to ask if Bob was okay and he did everything he could to hide his boner. Frantically, he looked around, afraid anyone saw them, but only Phoenix seemed to notice. No one was looking.
Except Hangman. Every now and then his eyes would find Bob’s, a soft smirk on his face. The rest of the day he looked at Bob with a knowing smile, like he was taunting him over the secret only they knew.
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When Jake has stared out the window for 15 minutes without a word, Bob finally looks towards him, concerned at how different he's acting.
“What’s gotten into you tonight?”
“Drowning my sorrows.”
Bob huffs as he shakes his head. The fact that Jake could feel sorry about anything or have any problems, is a foreign thought to Bob. He seems like the kind of guy that has everything.
“What problems could you possibly have?”
Jake looks up, only to see Bob frowning in disbelief. Laying his head back against the window, looking out at the landscape drifting by.
“Why do you care? You hate me.”
If only he knew just how untrue that was and how much Bob cared. How much he actually liked Jake despite all his flaws. Sure, he was cocky and borderlining on asshole, but since the beach he had seemed… sweeter somehow. Whenever they were alone, he was kind. It was just small things like bringing him water, a snack or asking how his day had been, but it made Bob’s heart soar. It also made him fall for Jake, even though he knew it would end with him having a broken heart.
“I don’t hate you, Hangman.” At that Jake sits up and looks at Bob, disbelief painted on his face. The way the light falls on his face as they drive past a streetlamp, highlighting his beautiful features, makes Bob’s throat go dry and his heart skip a beat. Slowly the corners of his mouth turn up into a faint smile, but his eyes are still full of sorrow.
“There’s this person I like, but I can’t tell him-HER! I meant… Her.”
He laughs it off as a drunk mistake, but if he only knew what his little error did to Bob. For a second, he actually started hoping, but of course not. Putting on his best smile, Bob looks quickly at Jake before returning his gaze to the road.
“Why can’t you tell her? You’re the most confident guy I know.”
“Not this time. This… Is different.”
He is silent for a while, contemplating his words. But he doesn't get to speak, before they arrive at the base. With a little struggle, Hangman frees himself from the seatbelt and staggers towards their living quarters. Bob follows silently behind, a little amused over Jake's wobbly walk as they walk down the hall. As they reach the door to Jake’s room, Bob leaves him there with a soft pat on the shoulder.
"Good night, Hangman. Drink some water."
But as he walks away, Jake grabs his hand, causing Bob to stop dead in his tracks.
"Bob…"
Turning slowly, he looks into Jake's eyes. Those beautiful green eyes that easily takes his breath away every time he looks into them.
“She…” he looks deep into Bob’s eyes, his Adams apple bobbing as he swallows hard “She’s too good for me. So I can’t tell… her.” He runs his fingers through his hair before turning away, looking to the ground. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“I wouldn’t?! I look at you every day and-” At that Jake looks up into Bob’s eyes and the look of surprise makes Bob backtrack. “I mean… guys like you… And you’re always so confident and get what you want.”
Jake turns towards Bob, his eyes wide as Bob rambles on like he's the one that's been drinking too much.
“I could never get someone like you. Get to be someone like you, I mean.”
“I thought I was the drunk one?” Jake smirks through half closed eyes. Oh God. Bob is silently praying that Jake wouldn’t remember anything of this in the morning.
"You, ehm… you should get some sleep. See you in the morning"
And with that Bob turns away and walks to his own room quickly without looking back.
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The next day he barely sees Jake. Another day full of training, spending all their time up in the air. And what little they have on ground, it seems Jake avoids him. So maybe he did remember what happened last night. Hopefully he would just let it go at some point.
After dinner and a much-needed shower, Bob retires to his room. Some of the others wanted another night at The Hard Deck, but Bob had had his fill of drunk people this weekend, deciding to just relax with a book and head to bed early.
But at midnight he is startled awake by a loud banging at his door. Scared what it could be, he jumps out of bed and open the door quickly, only to find Hangman standing there, gulping down a beer.
"Hangman? What are you doing here?"
When he doesn't answer, Bob lifts Jake’s head to inspect his face, only to find his eyes unfocused and glassy, a sadness etched into his features. He knows Jake can handle himself, but he still can’t help but feel worried.
"Are you drunk?"
"Maybe a little."
Sighing, Bob takes a step back and gets ready to close the door. "I think you have a drinking problem."
"No, I have a ‘you’ problem."
He slams his hand against the door, holding it open. His words hurt, more than Bob thought they would, and he tries his best to remain calm and seem unfaced.
“Okay, I know you don’t like me, but to come here and say-”
“Don’t like you? Bob…” he moves closer, his hand coming up to cup Bobs cheek softly, his thumbs caressing the soft skin, that’s slowly turning pink under his touch. “You’re all I can think about.”
Shocked, Bob is afraid he's dreaming. Did… did he just say…?
"But you… How? I thought you didn't like me."
"Why would you think that?”
“All the teasing? Name calling. Never letting me finish one game of pool without taking the cue from-”
Cutting him off with a kiss, Bob freezes as he feels Jakes insistent lips against his. But soon he melts into the softness of his lips, feeling his knees go weak as Jake’s tongue beg for entrance. Jake pulls Bob closer as he deepens the kiss, causing Bob to moan. Afraid someone might hear them, Jake guides Bob inside, his mouth still on his as he closes the door, pushing Bob against the wall. Putting his hand on Jake's chest, Bob gently pushes him away, breaking the kiss.
“I’m still confused. How am I even your type?”
Bob rubs the back of his neck, barely able to look Jake in the eyes as he’s blushing. Jake just moves in closer, his hand resting on Bob’s hips.
“Maybe I like scrawny nerdy dudes with glasses.”
“I’m not scrawny!”
Bob pushes at his chest, making Jake laugh. He doesn’t even budge an inch, just looks Bob deep in the eyes with a huge smile. Jake could really be an ass, but maybe teasing was just one of his ways to show affection.
“Well, I’ve never seen you without clothes, so how would I know?” Jake adds, the tone of his voice unmistakable.
“You… You wanna see me without my clothes…?” Bob asks softly, barely above a whisper. Jake leans in closer and looks into Bob’s eyes with an intensity that makes him shiver.
“There’s nothing I want more.”
Unable to hold back anymore, Bob crashes his lips to Jake’s, pouring weeks of want into it. Bob’s hands claw into Jake’s shirt, his fingers tangled in the thin fabric at his back, his waist, pulling him closer, drawing him in until even their little pocket of space fell away, and it was just them, biting desperate kisses to the other’s lips.
“Fuck, Bob. Your lips are so fucking soft.”
Jake pushes his thigh between Bob’s legs, and the kiss breaks as Bob throws his head back against the wall with a dull thud. The need came on like an explosion, sudden and inevitable, and the adrenaline coursing through his veins only heightened that unbearable heat. Jake nips at the tender flesh on Bob’s neck, pulling sweet whimpers and moans from him.
He hates how whiney he sounds under Jake’s touch, but he can’t hold back the whimpers, when finally, he gets what he wanted for weeks. He can feel Jake smile against his skin, as he places needy kisses along the column of his neck.
“Damn, Bob. Keep making those sweet little noises for me.”
Bob bucks his hips and rubs himself against Jake’s leg with a breathy whine–Jake responds with a guttural growl and sucks kisses to the line of his throat, swipes his tongue along the most sensitive spots.
“Jake, I- please.” he moans, low and quiet, making Jake still and pull away. His eyes are dark with desire and something else, something deeper, more vulnerable.
“Do you want this?” he asks, eyes fixed on Bob and the intensity of his gaze makes Bob’s throat grow tight with tears. He swallows and nods until he trusts his voice enough to answer out loud.
“Yes. God, Jake, I-I want this so bad.”
That was enough. Jake was on him once again, his tongue hot and wet and insistent against his own, unsteady hands fidgeting at the hem of Bob’s t-shirt, only breaking the kiss briefly to pull it over his head, before his trembling hands find their way to the waistband on Bob’s pajama pants, and a desperate moan broke from Bob's throat, immediately swallowed by another kiss from Jake.
Jake suddenly stops, stepping away to look at Bob. Feeling unsure of himself, Bob moves his hands up to cover himself, but Jake stops him. Taking Bob’s hands in his, he kisses his knuckles softly, before looking into his eyes.
“You’re gorgeous, Bob. It’s a good thing you kept your shirt on during the game or I wouldn’t have been able to control myself.”
Giggling softly, Bob blushes to a heavy red. Jake moves closer again, kissing Bob with an unknown hunger. Jake’s hands roam over Bob’s exposed skin, feeling every ridge of his toned chest, a soft ‘fuck’ leaves Jake’s lips as he explores more of Bob’s body.
As Jake runs his hand over Bob’s clothed length, Bob whines desperately, bucking against his hand.
Bob is lost in the wet heat of their mouths against each other, lost in Jake’s greedy hands exploring his body as though their goal was to leave not a single inch of skin untouched, lost in the too much and yet not enough friction of Jakes’s jeans against his hardness.
Jake is still fully clothed. He won’t change that right now. It feels right on some level, to have Bob pinned against the wall, half naked and so vulnerable, with Jake shielding him, put together on the outside as he fell apart and lost control on the inside.
Bob forces his hands to release the fistfuls of fabric he has clung to like a lifeline and brings them up to Jake’s face instead, cupping his cheeks with care, and breaks the kiss. They only separate far enough to look each other in the eyes. Jake panting like he has run a marathon, hot breath puffing against Bob’s kiss-raw lips. Jake smiles as he takes Bob in, flustered with kiss swollen lips.
“Fuck, Bob. You’re so beautiful.”
Bob swallows, and the motion hurts his throat. He rolls his hips against Jake even though the drag of the fabric against his delicate skin borderline hurts, but he just needs him. He needs Jake to feel how much he needs him, and he needs to feel the hard line of Jake's cock pressed against his hip to know he needs him in turn.
Jake’s beautiful eyes grow darker still, green irises almost entirely eclipsed by the black holes of his pupils, and he grinds back into him.
“Take me,” Bob breathes out, and Jake’s tongue darts out to taste his desperate plea. Turning them both around, Jake makes his way over to the bed, their clothes quickly finding its way to the floor. He pushes Bob down onto the soft mattress, before he crawls on top of him, his lips once again claiming Bob’s.
Jake makes his way down Bob’s body, worshipping every inch of him. When he reaches his cock, Bob is painfully hard with a small pearl of precum at the head. Jake looks into his eyes one final time for confirmation. Bob nods and with that, Jake lick the head of his cock, moaning at the taste of him.
“Fuck” he chokes out, eyes closed in pleasure.
Jake licks up the length of him before taking him into his mouth. Jake looks up into Bob’s eyes as he begins moving up and down his shaft. Bob gently places a hand on Jake’s head.
“Oh God!” he groans as Jake suck at his head, his fingers curling in Jake’s hair.
Jake releases him with a soft pop, looking at his blissful face, before flashing him the signature Hangman smirk. “Ready for more?”
Bob nods eagerly, reaching into the drawer of his nightstand to pull out a tube of lube. Jake runs his hands up Bob’s thigh, past his cock and slip it beneath his balls, seeking the entrance. The action makes Bob whimper out desperately. Jake lubes up his fingers and as he returns it to his entrance, Bob lets out a single deep breath, as Jake presses a slick index finger against it.
Bob arched into the touch and keened, both his hands gripping at the sheet and just holds on when the first finger slips past resisting muscle and enters him.
It burns. More than usual, more than it should, but the rest of his body burns for Jake, so he welcomes that ache, that intimate, gentle ache.
Jake waits until his body relaxed around his thick digit, before he pushes the next finger in, and it took a while–almost too long. God, Bob was tight. But in no time the fingers stretching him open meet little enough resistance for Jake to decide Bob is ready and he pulls away.
“No… More, please!” Bob whines, causing Jake to groan. The sight of Bob laying there, face torn in need and pleasure, pleading was almost enough for him to come right then and there.
“You need to tell me what you want.” Jake says softly, already knowing what Bob wants. But he wants to hear it.
“Fuck me… Please…”
Quickly, Jake roams through the pockets of his jeans, pulling out a condom and puts it on. He adds a generous amount of lube. When his eyes meet Bob’s, he has a look of shock on his face, eyeing Jake’s cock.
“Don’t worry, baby, I’ll go slow. I’ll make you feel good.” Jake laughs softly, reassuring him. Bob nods, licking his lips. Jake shifts slowly, sliding his cock against Bob’s entrance. Jake pushes the head in slowly, but Bob yelps and grabs Jake’s arm. He chokes out his name.
“I know. Fuck, Just- let me…”
Jake slowly pushes all the way in until he is buried to the hilt. Bob is shaking beneath him, and he clings to Jake. Jake keeps still, allowing him to get used to his size. Bob’s eyes are closed in pleasure, the feeling better than anything he’s ever felt before.
Jake exhales against Bob’s ear and kisses his lobe, nosing into Bob’s soft hair and breathed him in like he was a delicate flower, and Bob’s eyes burns like the rest of him did, tears threatening to spill.
“Please. Please, Jake, fuck me-” the rest of his sentence is lost to a sharp thrust of Jake’s hips, and Bob wants to scream but only manages a whine, high and throaty.
It hurts, but fuck, does he want it to. The burn, the stretch, it all meshed with the punishing pace Jake immediately settles into, caught up in his own need, and it is perfect.
Bob head falls back against the mattress with a strangled moan, the vice-grip he had around Jake’s back dragging him along. The angle changes by a fraction, and from one second to the other, Jake was nailing Bob’s prostate dead on with every single thrust; even the vaguest sense of discomfort disappears as stars exploded behind Bob’s tightly screwed shut lids.
The pleasure coursing through his whole form was almost unbearable. His body pulses with pleasure, his desperation only growing, and he yanks Jake in even closer, pulling him to his body until every single one of his senses is overwhelmed with him.
“Talk to me, Bob. Are you good?” he breathes out through ragged breath, lifting his head to look at Bob’s blissed out face. A smile spreads on his face, as his eyes open, blue eyes finding Jake’s green ones.
“I’m very good. Al-almost too good to be true.” Bob says with a grin, shaking his head. Jake laughs softly, before crashing his lips to Bob’s as he thrusts into him harder, pulling a new series of sweet whimpers from Bob.
Jake’s hips snap against Bob’s, making him moan loudly every time Jake thrusts home. Jake feels himself getting closer, his rhythm starts to get uneven. He reaches between the two of them, wrapping his fingers around Bob’s cock.
“Fuck, Jake!”
He throws his head back, tears forming in his eyes. It’s too much, yet he can’t get enough, as Jake works his length in the same rhythm of his thrusts. He shifts, changing the angle just a little, but it’s enough. When Jake thrust into him again, Bob almost stops breathing, his cock twitching in Jake’s hand.
“Oh God… D-do t-that again!” he demands, the words almost incoherent. Jake smiles to himself, as he continues to slam into him. They are both close, so close. Jake can feel it and all it takes is one good push. He presses against his prostate and finally, Bob is coming with a huge moan. His face contorts in pleasure and his whole body stiffens with the intensity of it.
Jake follows shortly after, growling into his neck. He thrust a few more times, riding out his high. When Jake breaks away from his neck, he finds Bob looking at him, a happy and blissful look on his face. Jake can’t help but feel a little cocky and gives Bob another smirk, before kissing him softly.
“Told you I’d make you feel good, baby.”
Bob looks into Jake’s eyes, before pulling him into a soft kiss. The kiss is soft, the intimacy of it almost making Bob cry. Jake is so soft with him, his hands caressing every inch they can reach, and they lay in each other’s arms.
Bob is still afraid of what will happen tomorrow, what will happen with them. But for now, he has placed his heart in Jake’s hands and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Thank you so much for reading <3
Tagging: @loverhymeswith @a-reader-and-a-writer @wildbornsiren @ed-baldwin @chasingdreamer @milestellussy @lucy-sky @sweetfictionalworld @autumnleaves1991-reads @joalsglasses @srry-itshockeyszn @sparrows-corner @multifandom-fangirl4 @lorecraft @ouroborus-momento-mori @lil-medic @paintballkid711 @weasleywinchester @tipsykeen @lluckpng @blindedbyyourgrace17 @levylovegood @andshivroytoo @green-socks @weakling-grace @mayhem24-7forever @happyblogsstuff @nik2blog @serpentssss @reveluving @yespolkadotkitty @beansficreblogs @alltabsclosed @maggiescarborough @writer-wednesday
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absurdthirst · 12 days ago
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The Cell {Marcus Pike x F!Reader}
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Incarceration, dub-con due to that, oral sex (male receiving), vaginal sex 
Comments: The cell that you are being kept in is small and without joy. Until a certain handsome agent opens the door and offers you freedom in exchange for doing exactly what he wants. 
Writer Wednesday Week 22: 7/26/22 @writer-wednesday​
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Click Keep Reading only if you have read the Rating and Warnings and understand the warnings may not be complete to avoid listing spoilers. As AO3 says 'creator chooses not to use warnings'. You also agree that you're the right age to be consuming anything here
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You shiver, fear and the unknown making goose flesh pop up and ripple over your skin. The entire place was barren, quiet and stark. There was light, the bare bulbs that shine are covered by protective covers, keeping them from being busted out and used as weapons. Anything and everything that could possibly be a danger has been mitigated as much as possible, even though you know nothing is one hundred percent. 
Two bunks, two beds neatly made with a sheet, a blanket and a pillow, all washed every week along with the scratchy jumper that you are wearing. Your underwear could be cleaned sooner, as long as you had no issues with washing them in the small wash basin in your room and going commando. No socks, but you prefer that with the slip on shoes you were handed along with the jumper when you were told to strip. You had burned hot with embarrassment when you had to strip down in front of the dark brown eyes of the agent who had brought you here. 
You don’t know where you are. The entire wing is empty, no one else but the two of you as you are lead down past the empty cells, the doors open and the lights out in each one bar the lone cell at the end. Pushed inside and the rattle of the iron bars clink shut with a loud boom that echos and makes you jump. Turning around to see the small smirk on the agent’s face. 
“You’ll be very comfortable here.” He promises, sending you a sly wink before he turns away and the sound of his footsteps echo on the concrete floors until they fade away and you are left with your own thoughts. 
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Hours pass, or maybe it was minutes, you can’t be sure. Time seems to stretch on in an endless loop when there is nothing to occupy your mind. Pacing the small 6 x 8 cell doesn’t leave for many footsteps before you are whirling around and trodding over the same space that you had just ventured. 
Sounds seem so loud, the drip of a faucet down the wing sounds like a torrent of water rushing out, splashing against the old iron sink. The scurrying of something in dark corners sounds like there are thousands of them, lying in wait. 
You hear when he starts coming back. The slow, steady gait of a man who has not a care in the world. Why would he, he is outside the cells, able to look in like a child watching an animal in a cage. That feeling starts to build in your stomach again, curling and twisting like a knife, your blood pressure spiking and your heart hammering in your chest. 
Whistling as he comes closer, a jaunty - happy tune, he makes another shiver run down your spine. Making you turn towards the cell door and anticipate seeing him. 
He’s handsome, his eyes lighting up when he spots you, standing near the front of the cell - waiting on you. The smirk reappearing on his face and making the lines around his eyes deepen slightly. He almost swaggers as he wraps his fingers around one of the bars and leans against it. “Look at you.” He coos, dark eyes raking up and down your body and biting his lip when they meet yours. 
HIs words makes your stomach flip, squirming under his intense gaze. You aren’t blind to what he wants. You knew it when he put you in this cell, it was why it was far away from prying eyes and ears. Where the camera had not been installed and there was no one there to bear witness. 
Your own mouth turns down into a frown, eyes narrowing at the cheerful look on his face. “What?” You hiss. 
His laugh is low, dark as it curls into your ears and makes your body react in the most basic of ways. “You know what.” He arches a brow at you and leans in, his face looming between the iron bars. 
“Mar-”
“Agent.” The words are harsh, sternly spit out. “Agent Pike.” 
“Agent Pike.” You amend, biting your lip and looking down at the canvas tops of your shoes. Remembering why you are here. “What are you planning on doing with me?” You ask breathlessly. 
A hand slides into his pocket, a key appearing into his hand, dangled in from a finger and shown off. “I think you know.” He teases, twirling them around playfully. “Don’t you?” 
You do know, you’ve known since the moment you stepped out of the car he had brought you here. Or maybe it was before then, when he had slapped the cuffs on you, bending you over the edge of your table and pressing against you far more than a federal agent should. 
Still, you shake you head and are greeted with that chuckle. One that tells you that he doesn’t believe you. The click of the lock and the sliding of the door fills the space, making you bite your lip again as he steps inside, closing the door behind him and locking the two of you into the cell together. 
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On your knees, looking up at him, you moan around his cock. Feeling his fingers curl around your chin and his hips press forward, forcing you to take his cock an inch deeper. Activating your gage reflex and making you lurch forward even more as you choke. 
“Fuck.” The agent hisses, watching you carefully and pulling his hips back slightly but your hands curve around his thighs and pull him forward. You need to be good for him. “God, you're good at that.”
You moan again, eyes watering and you swallow around him again. Your fingers curl around the fabric of his pants, keenly aware of the gun that rests on his hip. It adds danger, knowing that a loaded gun is just inches away from your face. 
Your jumper is open and pulled down to your waist, exposing your tits to his eyes. Your nipples are hard, peaked in the cold air of the cell and ache with the way that your pussy pulses. This turns you on, even as wrong as it is. 
Spit and the pre-cum spills down your jaw and starts to make it’s way down your throat. Making you swallow again when he starts to pull his hips back again. 
“Bend over the bed.” He orders, wrapping his hand around his cock and starting to stroke himself as you push off your knees and strip the jumpsuit and your underwear down. Bending yourself over the lower cot and sticking your ass back, pushing it towards the agent behind you. 
The flash of pain, the sharp crack of a palm against your ass makes you squeal and jolting slightly forward. “Marcus!” 
“Agent Pike!” Another slap to your ass makes you giggle, hearing the growl in his voice, even as his fingers caress the flesh of your ass soothingly. “You need to respect me.” He tells you. 
Your giggle turns into a loud moan when he sinks inside you without any warning. Knowing that you are dripping wet and ready for him. Your husband will make sure that you cry out here in this cell before he lets you out. He would never fail at that, not when this is a fantasy the two of you are enjoying so much. “Agent Pike.” You whimper when he grinds deep into you. 
“Good girl.” 
MasterList
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laters-gators · 2 months ago
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Tracing Chemtrails || Llewyn Davis x Reader
-> Rating: Teen (18+ rule still applies)
-> Word Count: 2k
-> Summary: Llewyn shows up on your doorstep late into the afternoon, in need of some company. @writer-wednesday Week 12!
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Gif credit does not belong to me
Cw/Tw: fem!reader. Sappy shit, religious discussion, mentions of war, making out. Mostly fluff :)
The perfectly plucked notes from Llewyn’s mahogany guitar drift on the light breeze. The grass you lay in appears to almost sway with the tempo of the song, blades caressing your cheekbone as you gaze up at your troubled friend. He’s frowning as he strums the brass strings with his calloused fingers, made rough from years of practice.
Between the carefully considered notes that Llewyn had been noting down in his songbook, the distant roar of fighter jets from the local army base fills the silence of the fields that surround you. When Llewyn had shown up on your doorstep with a contrite smile, as he often does, you weren’t expecting his inevitable request to be ‘Please can we drive out to the fields out of town and sit together?’ When you checked your clock, it was six o’clock in the evening. You should have said no given you were at work first thing tomorrow, but the appeal cost you nothing and Llewyn looked as though he needed company, so you just nodded and grabbed your keys.
Thank goodness you did. The warmth of the setting sunlight makes you feel as though you’re glowing within as it bathes you in gold, laying in the grass and inhaling the fresh summer air. Perhaps you’d be busy tomorrow, in a mad rush to get everything ready for your workday, but at this moment everything was slow, from the bend of the green blades on either side of your face to the plane gliding through the sky above you.
Imagination takes the reigns of your mind, leading you to consider the scenes that awaited the jets. Still, the war in Vietnam raged on, with Johnson insisting on capturing and keeping the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. Even Llewyn had been considering putting aside his guitar in favor of a rifle, the folk scene not paying as well as a military paycheque.
“Llewyn?” You speak his name softly, the first word from your mouth since arriving. His fingertips miss a note of the song he’d been working on, hesitating at the sound of your voice. When he looks at you, his curls move with the light breeze, auric sunbeams captured in the soft brown of his irises. You always thought his eyes reminded you of the coffee you drank when you returned home from work every day; comforting.
“Do you think when God created us that he considered our ability to learn how to fly?” You’re uncertain where the query comes from, or if Llewyn even had any interest in your bizarre, unanswerable question, but your friend pauses, glancing up at the blackened silhouette of the plane against the vibrant titian expanse of sky and squinting in the light.
“Maybe. Don’t think he ‘considered’ whether we’d be using that ability in order to bomb people though,” he pointed out. His voice is tired, his melancholy that had been hanging over his head like a rain cloud for the past few months even seeping into his tone. You’d never seen him look so tired, so forlorn as he has since contemplating whether or not he had to resign to his role as a soldier, the very thing he had fought so many years and stayed up many countless nights performing in bars to avoid.
Pursing your lips, you set your palm against the lush grass and haul yourself up to a sitting position in order to reach his eye level. When he glances back down at the guitar in his lap, his eyelashes are long and shield his pupils from the harsh, setting light. The warmth of the sun has kissed his cheeks, drawing a gentle pink flush across his face. He’s gorgeous and always has been.
“For all our transgressions, God also sees us so beautiful things, Davis,” You remind him, gently setting a palm on his knee as he continues to strum the guitar, but with an aimless tune now. There’s no thought behind the chord progression, no real logic, it’s just background noise not unlike the buzz of jet engines. “Like your music.”
Llewyn scoffs at that, opening his mouth to apparently argue that no one else seems to find the charm in his tunes, but his counterattack appears to die on the tip of his tongue when he notes the way you look at him, so full of conviction in your compliment. Instead, he presses those soft lips, so often found with a smoldering cigarette hanging between them, into a thin line.
“You have a gift, Llewyn. No amount of rejection or turn away can take that from you,” you remind him, brushing your palm up and down the worn fabric of his off-grey trousers in a soothing gesture. Again, his eyes flit down to your hands, watching as you smooth the creases out of the material. Perhaps you’re crossing a boundary in your friendship, touching him like this, but he doesn’t appear to mind.
Caught up in your compliments, or rather your assertions, Llewyn doesn’t seem to notice that you’ve moved your hand to his shoulder, that you’re pushing his back down against the grass until his head hits the soft soil beneath him and he’s gazing up at the clouds. Peeling his guitar from his fingers, you gently put it aside as he watches you, not bothering to argue with whatever you have planned.
When his beloved instrument is set down safely, you join him in his vertical position on the floor, your shoulders brushing as you lay down, facing up at the sky once more.
“Entertain me, Llewyn,” you murmur softly, raising your hand to point out the condensation left behind one of the jets, delicately tracing the length of the chemtrail with the tip of your index finger. “Where do you think it’s going?”
“Vietnam.”
“No, I mean… Where would it be going if you were flying it?” You push him, trying to get his mind off of conscription, his music failure and to get him to smile, to dream a little bit.
“Other than in the sea?” He muses as he turns his head to look at you with a smile, but swiftly clears his throat at the playful scowl that scrunches the skin of your t-zone which is glossy with perspiration from the heat. “Uh… Well, there was this magazine sitting on Roland’s desk in his office when I went to go talk to him about royalties. He had a page open talking about this holiday destination or something? Bali?”
Raising your eyebrows with a smile, you search Llewyn’s eyes for a spark as you keep the conversation flowing. “Bali? That’s where you want to go?”
“Mhmm,” he hums, also studying your expression as he talks. He’s close enough that he can probably see each individual hair in your brows, and the separate flecks of color in your irises, but you don’t find yourself intimidated by his proximity despite the way your heart beats solidly against your sternum. “Blue seas, tropical. Very relaxing, the opposite of New York.”
“Would you take me with you?” Your words are cautious, spoken in a whisper, the surface-level benignity of the question doing little to hide the underlying reason for your query.
It’s his turn to frown slightly, but not in jest. He looks almost sad for a moment, his eyes flitting between yours as if searching for something that doesn’t exist in the bottomless pools of your pupils. “Sweetheart, I’d stay in New York for the rest of my life if it meant I was around you. I’d never go anywhere if you weren’t beside me.”
Llewyn’s words had always been stunning, from the poems he wrote to the songs he sang in cigarette-hazed bars, but something about this admission transcends every love song you’d ever heard him play. Each syllable is a strain on your heart, the tendons struggling under the weight of your own feelings as you hold his gaze. Brushing his curls from his forehead, you note that they’re damp from sweat as you work your fingers through them.
Perspiration shines on his forehead as Llewyn twists his body onto his side, twists his body towards you, and your eyes dip lower to catch the way the top on his tongue traces his lower lip. His shirt is twisted at a funny angle, and you can see his clavicle peeking out from behind his collar.
The soft plush of his lips press against yours, so gentle you feel like you’re up in the clouds with the jets. He tastes like salt from the heat, like smoke from his cigarettes. His mustache and beard scratch your skin softly, and you hear it rasp as you run your nails through the coarse hair. It earns you a toothy grin from him, and you fall into a small giggle that he quickly steals from you with another earnest kiss.
“Mhmm,” you hum into his mouth, shifting slightly so your body is pressed against his, your thigh hooked over his hip. There’s something youthful to this kiss, the worries of work responsibilities and money difficulties melting away as you feel Llewyn’s tongue sweep across your lower lip, his hand gently taking your hip and squeezing it.
You don’t allow him the satisfaction of owning your lips for long, pressing feather-light kisses down his chin and underneath. Llewyn, usually stubborn, once again submits himself to your plan as he tilts his head back for you to expose his throat, basking in the sunshine and the feeling of your mouth on his heated skin.
“Sweetheart,” he murmurs, his voice husky with need as you take the skin of his neck between your teeth, sucking a bruise into the tanned skin there. You’re diligent, working to ensure it is dark and above the collar of his button-down shirt- to let Jean know that when he sleeps on her couch tonight, it will be you that he’s dreaming of.
When you pull away to assess your branding with hazy eyes, you can’t help the needy sigh that you exhale. It’s already blooming a deep red, one that will flourish into a dark purple that will compliment him nicely.
“Fuck, Sweetheart, c’mere,” he groans softly, taking your chin and pulling you back to his mouth effortlessly. It’s not as though you would resist him, he’s got you wrapped around his finger, playing you like his guitar strings as he traces your tongue with his own.
Your skin buzzes, tingling with arousal and excitement and relief. It’s as though you didn’t realize just how much you needed him to make you his, but the weight that falls from your shoulders as he winds his arm around your waist to hold you impossibly closer to his chest is immense. You’re certain that he can feel your heart thumping through your chest, against his skin, because he laughs again into the kiss.
Breathless, you inhale shakily as you chase his flushed lips for more, already hooked on the feeling of his mouth against yours, but he’s pressing his index finger to your lips, watching you with eyes that finally hold a joyful, almost sprightly energy.
“… Shall we do it?” He whispers, his own breath unsteady as he brushes the pad of his thumb against your cheekbone.
“Hm? Do what?” You murmur, at a loss as to what he could possibly mean and already exasperated by how long he’d made you wait to kiss him again- even if it was only a few seconds.
“Bali.” He reminds you of the conversation you were having before he turned your entire world upside down. The roar of another fighter jet taking off brings your body back down to earth, even if your mind is elated, high up in the clouds and the chemtrails.
“Hmm…” You playfully consider his proposal, knowing full well that neither of you had the money to achieve such lofty aspirations, and after a moment, you smile. And your relief, Llewyn smiles right back at you, his joy evidenced by the wrinkles at the edges of his eyes, a perfect flaw you hadn’t seen in quite some time.
“No. As you said, I think New York is the perfect destination if I’m with you.”
END
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toomanystoriessolittletime · 4 months ago
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Tired
Summary: Javi stays the night after he takes you out for dinner.
Pairing: Javi Guiterrez x fem. Reader
Wordcount: 1.121
Rating: G
Warnings: fluff
A/N: It's @writer-wednesday and here is more more Javi cause i have zero self control.
Part of the Stay universe
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Talking to Javi was easy.
“Have you ever tried Belgian chocolate? The last time I was in Brussels I had to buy another suitcase to get everything back home.”
You laughed, taking a sip of the white wine he had ordered. He had taken you to a cosy little Italian restaurant. You were sitting on a tiny table across from him.
“I haven’t been in belgium. Or… like out of this country? Ever? It’s hard making enough money to pay for everything on my own…” you sighed and he looked at you.
“I’m sorry…. I…”
“No, don't be Javi. You seem like a very successful man from what I can tell. And you’re funny and handsome and… Life just doesn’t work for everyone like that,” you shrugged. He just looked at you, seemingly in thoughts.
“Maybe one day I can take you to see other places?” he offered and you smiled.
“You are far too kind to me, Javi,” you said and he shook his head, his hand reaching over the table to squeeze yours.
“I get the feeling that you deserve someone to be kind to you for once, hermosa,” he said warmly and you sucked your bottom lip in as you breathed in deeply.
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He insisted on paying for dinner. It was him who invited you and he didn’t even let you try to pay. Only asking if a hundred were too much as a tip to which you just blinked your eyes.
It wasn’t like you had a problem with money. You had a full time job and another part time job and you were doing okay. Of course you wouldn’t say no to a raise, to maybe finally save some money and take a week long vacation in a budget hotel somewhere at a beach.
Javi insisted on walking you home, asking you more and more questions and answering every question you had for him. Except for his family and his job.
“My family is… complicated and my job has to do with them so… It’s not something I like to talk about. At least not yet,” he said and you nodded.
“I can understand that. Family can be… hard.”
He took a deep breath and nodded before he yawned.
“Tired?” you chuckled.
“No. I’m spending time with the most beautiful girl in the world, I am not tired,” he yawned again and you laughed.
“You’re kind of adorable, Javier Gutierrez,” you said, squeezing his hand. He smiled at you, his dimple showing and before you could stop yourself your other hand reached out to touch his cheek. He was still smiling as you stopped walking, looking down at you with his warm brown eyes. He gave your thumb a kiss before he yawned again.
“Come on. We’re almost there and then you can go home.”
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“You are walking to the hotel?” you asked, eying him concerned as you stood before your apartment building.
“It’s not that far…”
“It’s on the other side of the city.”
“I’ll call a cab,” he shrugged, and you hummed. He was leaning against the wall next to your door, looking at you with tired eyes.
You couldn’t let him walk to his hotel. A cab would probably take an half hour to get here and by that time he’d be asleep on the sidewalk. And it looked like it would rain soon…
“Come on. I’ll make you some coffee, maybe that’ll wake you up.”
“You don’t have to…”
“If spending time with me is making you this tired it’s the least I can do,” you teased, yet a little part of yourself was concerned he was bored of you, even if he hadn’t given you the impression.
“Oh… No. Spending time with you was by far the highlight of my trip. I didn’t sleep last night. There was a Lord of the Rings marathon on TV and then…”
You shook your head with a smile.
“I was teasing, Javi. Come on. Come inside.”
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Having Javi in your apartment somehow felt right. He had taken off his shoes after you got in, putting them next to yours. Now he was leaning against your fridge while you waited for the water to boil.
You both decided tea was better than coffee.
Your apartment was small. Just a one bedroom with a kitchen and a bathroom with a big tub. It was your own little piece of heaven.
Javi gave you a smile as you made the tea, no words were spoken, yet it never felt uncomfortable.
“Come on. I usually don’t invite strangers into my bed, but I really don’t want to sit at the kitchen table,” you said as you picked up the mugs of tea. He followed you to the next room. Your place wasn’t built for visitors. You had always lived alone, so everything was just the way you needed and liked it. Which is why you only had one armchair in your room next to your bed.
You sat down on your bed and Javi looked a little sheepish as he sat down next to you.
“I didn’t call a cab yet,” he said as he took a sip from his tea. You looked out, seeing that it must have started raining at some point.
“Will probably take even longer now,” you said and he sighed. You put your tea on your bedside table and let yourself fall backwards into your bed. Turning so you were laying on your stomach you looked over your shoulder to see Javi eye you curiously.
“Come on. Lay down,” you whispered before you looked away from him and out of your window, seeing the traffic lights outside switch from green to yellow to red.
You felt the bed dip and then Javi lay next to you on his back, his head tilted to you.
“I’m just gonna rest for a moment and then go…” he said tiredly, giving you a small smile.
“Of course you will,” you said, not believing a word he said.
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When you blinked your eyes open the rain had stopped. It was still dark but you could already see the sky getting brighter. During the night the inside of your window got fogged. You could still see the traffic lights on the street changing colours. Turning your head to the side, a smile sneaked to your face as you saw Javi sleeping next to you. He was breathing calmly, his face relaxed, his hair falling to his face.
Carefully you turned around, grabbing one of your bigger blankets tucking both you and him in.
Sleep found you again quickly as you lay next to Javi. Missing the smile that sneaked to his face as you cuddled to his side.
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prolix-yuy · 4 months ago
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Some Other Night
Pairing: Francisco “Frankie” Catfish Morales x F!Reader
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Summary: What does it mean when Frankie wants to take you back to the hotel?
Word Count: 2.1k
Warnings: E, 18+ Smut, MINORS DNI, past Sex Worker!Frankie, watch me make up shit about sex work, descriptions of male and female bodies, mentions of food and eating, oral sex (M and F receiving), fingering, safe PiV sex (not explicity stated in a couple places, but Frankie is a Good Boy™ and always wears condoms), a touch of Feral Frankie, a more liberal dollop of feelings than last time.
Notes: Set in my Sex Worker!Frankie AU and after Something New. The outpouring of love for that story has driven me to make more content, and Writer Wednesday had the perfect image to use for inspiration.
Writer Wednesday 5: 3/30/22, @writer-wednesday
Cross-posted on A03
Sex Worker!Frankie AU Series Masterlist
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You’d laughed when Frankie told you to meet him at Hotel Empire. The same place you both met the first time, full of nerves that gave way to excitement, pleasure and finally, this new relationship. With your escort. Well, not your escort anymore. But still. It made you laugh.
“I have something planned!” he said, his voice a little defensive over the phone.
“Something like last time?” you teased. The silence on the other end betrays his thoughts.
“If you say things like that to me at work, I’m gonna come to your office and make good on them,” he murmured into the phone. Your legs pressed together, the deep rumble an instant turn-on after the last few weeks.
“Okay,” you agreed, “Friday at 6:30 it is.”
“That’s what I thought.”
+ + + + +
He’s waiting for you in the lobby, shifting from one foot to the other with his hands in his worn jeans. He takes your breath away, flannel stretching across his broad shoulders, hair all askew beneath his hat.
Wait. Is that the same flannel?
Then he turns and sees you, a million kilowatt grin on his face, and it throws further thoughts out of your head. You know it’s for you, he doesn’t smile like that for anyone else, but it still feels like you don’t deserve it.
“Hey babe,” he says, pulling you into his side with one arm. He plants a kiss on your temple and you lean into it. “How was your day?”
You sigh as he starts leading you towards the elevators, a little paper envelope with room keys in his other hand.
“Not bad, just long. Happy for the weekend. Yours?” you ask back, stepping into the too-small elevator as it takes you to…the same floor.
You’re getting an inkling of what Frankie might be up to.
“Someone brought in an electric car today. What the hell did they think I could do about it?” he grouses, and you both laugh as he describes the confused customer, waving his unoccupied hand wildly. You lean further into the one around your waist, the comforting press of his bicep crossing your shoulder. The elevator dings and you step out, letting yourself be led right where you thought you were heading.
The same room.
“Frankie…” you start, but before you can say more the keycard is in the door and you’re both walking inside.
It looks normal. Like any old hotel room. Except it isn’t. You can see ghosts of your last evening; the table and chairs where you and Frankie ate your first meal together. The chest of drawers where he hid your phone. The bed where he made you cum again and again.
You feel heat creeping up your neck, settling low in your belly. You’d both fucked since then, unable to pretend you didn’t know each other’s bodies intimately, but this felt headier. Looking over at Frankie, his eyes are soft, his smile shy. He gathers you up in his arms, taking his hat off and tossing it behind your shoulder. Chocolate dark eyes roaming your face, he makes a thoughtful little hum.
“I first met you here,” he says, and as much as you want words to bubble out you let him speak his fill. “Under…different circumstances. But I’m happy that we did, and I’d like this to be a place with good memories attached to it.” His nose travels down your cheek to your ear, his lips coming up against the shell of it.
“I have plenty of good memories here, Frankie,” you say, trying to tease but it comes out breathy. Frankie smiles into the sensitive skin of your neck.
“Then I’d like us to make better memories here.”
Your words catch in your throat as Frankie’s hands slide down to your hips and palm your curves.
“Have something in mind?” you tease, and when he leans back to look at you his dark eyes tell you everything you need to know.
+ + + + +
You’re laying in a bathrobe on the bed, picking at the fruit and cheese plate settled next to you as you hear the shower turn off.
Frankie had not been exaggerating. You would never look at this hotel room the same way again. The mirrored closet door was now what you stared into while Frankie knelt at your feet, devouring your cunt. You thought you could come alone from watching his back and shoulders flex while he worked his fingers inside you, his large hand holding your hip steady as he dipped his head between your legs and licked long paths of pleasure on your clit. That talented tongue of his did you in, shuddering so hard he had to push you into the wall to keep your knees from buckling. He came close to lifting your legs onto his shoulders as he moaned into your cunt, only stopping when you warned him that throwing his back out was not on the menu tonight.
The table by the small window was where he bent you over and put a hand in your hair, squeezing just enough to put tension on your scalp as he thrust into you. His other hand planted over your shoulder, he’d kept turning your head to press open-mouthed kisses on your lips, liberal with his tongue and scraping his teeth along your jawline. He threatened to open the window so the people on the street could hear you moaning on his cock and you almost begged him to. Cumming with a groan, he rested his head between your shoulders and licked the sweat beading on your skin before he pulled out.
The bathroom, the scene of your first intimate moment, was left fairly untouched.
“Have you ever had sex in a bathtub?” Frankie chuckled in your ear, watching your naked body pressed against him in the mirror, his hands cupping your breasts and mouth dragging along your neck. “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Your knees get bruised all to hell,” he said, your chest jiggling with laughter as his hands roamed your skin.
He’d been open with you about his background, sometimes in offhand comments like, “This lube is the best, lasts for ages,” or “you’re gonna need to get me a plug if you want to play around back there.” More erotic was “best pussy I’ve ever had,” and “you’re gonna ruin me, babe, won’t even be able to jerk off after having you.” You basked in his prowess, but gave as good as you got too. Getting to watch Frankie fall apart while his clock slipped in and out of your mouth, pushed against the cool tile of the shower, filled you with pride that brimmed into your eyes. One look up at him, panting and pained, his thumb swiping at your lips slick with spit around him, and he’s begging you to slow down. He always spilled so quickly when you blew him, gasping that his stamina did not apply to world-class blowjobs.
And the bed…god, the bed. You didn’t think you both could top that first night, how fucking turned on you were by this mountanous man who could read you like a map, but you’d be dead wrong. The bed was for honest-to-goodness lovemaking, Frankie so deep inside that you couldn’t tell where you ended and he began, wrapped around you and gasping, keening, moaning your name as he rolled his hips sensually into you. You both enjoyed many different positions together, but Frankie couldn’t tear himself from missionary, forehead pressed against yours, hands hot and possessive on your skin, meeting your eyes and holding them for as long as he could before he got overwhelmed.
He was worshipful in the bed, praising how soft and wet you were, how much he enjoyed you, how he missed you when you’re not in his bed, in his home, in his days. You whispered your own confessions back, how talented he is, how glad you are that you met him, how good he makes you feel inside and outside the bedroom. You both regret cumming, wishing the moment could last longer before realizing of course it could, you didn’t have to leave this intimate embrace. And when Frankie got hard again after kissing you, giggling together wrapped in hotel-standard sheets, the caresses moving from gentle to needy, he put on another condom and slid back inside you.
Frankie steps out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist and rubbing a smaller one over his head. You admire the view openly, your hands and mouth having mapped most of it already. His hair is much darker wet, the tiny loops of curls making him look boyish. There’s a drop of water trailing down the back of his neck that you want to lick away. A purpling hickey on his left hip bone tempts you to press into it next time you’re on top of him to hear what delicious noises he might make.
“Yes, room service,” Frankie sighs, sauntering over to the bed before dropping his towel and lying facedown on the other side of the tray. His pert little ass garners all of your attention as he plucks a few grapes and pops them in his mouth. “This is better than most hotels, I hate when they just bring a couple Granny Smith apples and a banana.”
You smile at him, his ankles crossed, lying on his stomach and still damp from the shower, unselfconscious at his nudity. He’s so refreshing from your ex-husband, from the boys you’d dated in the past. Confidence in how good he makes you feel, in how you admire his body, even when he’s sometimes a little shy about the softer parts. Those are your personal favorites, the places where you can kiss and mouth that Frankie’s never had someone enjoy. Leaning down, you plant a kiss on his lips, smiling even more when he chases your mouth.
“Hey, I wasn’t done,” he pouts, and you stroke his cheek, circling the bald patch in his beard. He has another one under his chin, hidden from most, and that’s your favorite to tease and stroke
“Plenty of time, hot stuff, we got this room for the night,” you say, nibbling on a piece of cheese on a cracker that is dusting your cleavage with crumbs. You’ll deal with that later.
“Well…” Frankie says, more mischief in his tone as you fake narrow your eyes at him. “Technically we have the whole weekend.” Your mouth drops open scandalously.
“Franciso Morales, did we just abscond together without even a change of clothes?” you laugh, him moving the tray out of the way so he can crawl up on you, dragging you down underneath him.
“I planned on keeping you naked the entire time,” he purrs, and there’s no doubt in your mind that you’re so very gone for this man.
+ + + + +
On Sunday as you’re redressing (not for the first time, you did have to leave the room to get ice and more towels) Frankie takes both your hands in his and rubs the back with his thumbs.
“I wanted this weekend to be a way to remember the room we met in,” he rumbles, head turned a little low. He hasn’t put his cap back on yet, so it’s just the curls that hide his eyes. “But I also wanted to show you that…what we have between us doesn’t have anything to do with the first time. You were never a client, not to me.” You nod, agreeing emphatically, a little hitch in your breath at the intense sincerity Frankie is giving you. “And I want you to know that I’m all in with this. I’ll put a reminder in my phone right now to book this room again in a year because I’m really confident in how much I want this. How much I like you.” His eyes finally come up to yours and the shine in them makes you burrow into his chest. He wraps around you, sighing deeply into your shoulder.
“I’m all in too,” you say, and he squeezes you tighter. “And I can barely remember what happened in this room the first time. This was so much better.”
He pulls back and studies your face, a smile curling his lip.
“But you do remember, right? Because that was some of the hottest sex I’ve ever had, and I’m never going to forget it.” Your laughter cracks his face with a grin.
“First man to make me cum three times? I couldn’t forget if I tried.”
"Good thing it wasn't the last time."
+ + + + +
The next day, Frankie sends you a screenshot of his calendar app.
Reminder: Book Hotel Empire.
A year from today.
You smile into your hand, trying not to alert your coworkers. You text him back quickly.
It’s a date.
The story continues in Something More
Previous: Something New
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kteague · 4 months ago
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You Come Here
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Pairing: Sex Worker!Javier Peña x F!DEA Agent Reader
Word Count: 1.4k
Summary: When you witness something terrible, there's only one place you think to go. To the one person you feel safe with.
Warnings: No smut, Angst, Fluff
A/N: Based on my AU of Javi being a sex worker and falling in love with a DEA Agent. I don't have the smarts to make a whole world with it, but I wanted to try to give it a go with a one-shot at least. The picture for Writer Wednesday seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Tag: @writer-wednesday
Part 2: Love in Bloom | Part 3: Forever |
Part 4: Holiday Surprise + Carefree | Part 5: Eggs and Sausage | Part 6: Broken Rules | Part 7: A Promise | Part 8: Rooftop Rendezvous
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Those who are ignorant to his line of work easily assume that it has to be a piece of cake - getting paid to have sex - but there's emotional aspects to it that make it more complicated than those five words.
Fucking woman after woman that you have no emotional connection to wears on you after a while. Day after day of being face to face with someone while you're buried inside of them and feeling nothing tears at your soul bit by bit leaving you emotionally exhausted by the end. He's been doing this long enough that he's learned to compartmentalize but there's always a day here and there where it hits him hard and leaves him just tired. It's why when he made enough to afford a second apartment, he bought one. His original one stays as his place to entertain his clients, but his new one is his actual home. The place he can go to truly unwind and pretend life was different.
As he jogs up the stairs to his apartment, his home, there's one woman's face he thinks of. Her cheeks are flushed and skin dewy from how hard he took her. When he dreams of her smile, the one she lets him have when he rolls off of her and they’re trying to catch their breath, talking about whatever, he smiles himself as he reaches his floor. The dream vanishes in an instant when he turns down the hall that leads to his place and sees the very same woman sitting by his door holding an open bottle of liquor. Her cheeks are flushed and skin dewy but not because of him and the pleasure he gives her, but because she's crying.
"I didn't know where else to go," you tell him with a watery choke.
Javi frowns and quickly makes his way to you, crouching down in front of you. He brushes the hair that's covering part of your beautiful face and caresses your cheek. With a warm insistence he reminds you, “You come here. You always come here.” He takes note that the bottle is only a quarter full. Had he somehow known you were here, he would have cancelled his last client of the day.
"Come on, querida," he slowly takes the bottle from your hand and swipes his thumb along your cheek to catch a tear. He stands back up with your hand in his and you manage to stand up, swaying only a little. Javi supports you with an arm around your waist, the liquor bottle in his hand bumping your thigh as he pulls his keys out with his other and unlocks the door.
The bottle goes on the small table by the door and then he's scooping you up into his arms, carrying you into the kitchen where he seats you on the counter. Steadying you with a hand to your thigh, he reaches up to the cupboard and pulls out a glass, filling it with water. He quietly requests that you drink some.
He helps you guide it up to your mouth where you drink about half of it before you're bringing it down to place next to you with an unintentional thump causing some water to spill out and over your fingers.
"Are you hurt?" his hands fit to your face, looking into your tear-filled eyes.
Shaking your head, you let out a sob, "No," then cover your face with your hands. Javier pushes your knees apart and steps between, hugging you to him.
"Carrillo - you remember me mentioning him?" you ask.
"The Colombian cop, right?"
Nodding, "Tonight we rounded up these kids that have been helping Escobar. I thought we were going to just scare them straight," you tell him between watery gasps and small sobs.
Something in his gut tells him. You had a big heart, but he has never seen you this wrecked over your job before. As he rubs your back, he leans back to look at you, runs his fingers through your hair. Waits for you to finish.
"He...oh god...he shot one of them," your lip quivers, "Right in the fucking head. Left him there like he was trash. And all I did was stand there, Javi. Like a fucking coward."
He was right, but it doesn't make the information any less jarring.
"Christ," he breathes out, hands gliding back and forth along your thighs. He gains his senses back instantly though. Gripping your arm and hooking a finger under your chin, he guides you to look at him, "Listen to me. You are not a coward. You had no idea he was going to do something like that. I know that because if you had, you would have stopped him."
Shaking your head, then gripping your forehead when the room keeps spinning, you scoff at him.
"I didn't do anything after. I should have yelled at him. Just something! I was just in shock. I still am," you start crying again, "What the hell kind of monsters are we?"
"Hey," he soothes, taking your face back in his grasp and kissing your forehead, "You're not the monster. That Carrillo is. This isn't on you. Not at all."
You pull your face from his grasp and cover your face with your hands and yell out a frustrated "FUCK!" Quickly you lift your head and push at him to move over which he barely does.
"I shouldn't have come here. I'm sorry for doing this to you," you drunkenly slide off the counter and lean against him where he's quick to wrap his arms around you.
"You aren't doing anything to me. I'm here for you, you know that."
You close your eyes and slowly bring your arms around his waist, dropping your forehead to his shoulder, "We said we'd stay away from each other. Phone calls only to give me any information."
Javier kisses your temple, "Actually you're the one who said that. You know that's not what I want."
"It's what's best."
"No," he hugs you more and presses his mouth to your hair, "It's what's safe. It's not what's best, not when we love each other."
He's right and his words sink into you. You clutch at the back of his shirt and shift your face until you're pressing a light kiss to his neck, "I do love you."
"I love you, too, mi corazón. Please, stay here tonight?" Javi looks at you and smooths is palm over your temple, “You shouldn’t go anywhere like this. Just stay right here with me.”
"I might cry some more," you gently warn.
"And I'll be here holding you if you do."
You lift your head to look at him. He kisses your forehead before pressing his to yours, "I'm sorry you had to go through that tonight. Your job is hard enough without having to witness something as gut-wrenching as that. But don't get stuck in your head, mi amor. You could never have predicted that was going to happen. Baby, it was out of your hands."
Tears roll down your cheeks as you close your eyes, listening to his calming voice talk some much needed sense into you.
"And I’ll remind you of this again tomorrow when you're more clear-headed."
Opening your eyes, you look into his dark brown eyes and lightly run your fingertips along his jaw, “How could you love someone like me? Especially after this?”
“So easily, hermosa. So, fucking easily,” he tucks some hair behind your ears only to drag his knuckles along your jaw, tipping your face up to kiss you softly.
“Come on. Let’s go to bed,” he softly urges and before you can even nod, he’s scooping you back up into his arms and carrying you to his bedroom.
You’ve commented to him before how much you love his bedroom here. The large pane window that he put his bed up against lets you see the sunset every night you’ve spent here with him. The way it blankets his room in warm oranges and yellows. How it makes Javi’s tanned skin glow something heavenly.
Javier lays you down on his bed and closes the semi-sheer curtains of the window. It allows him to undress you in private while still allowing the soft glows of the lights of the city to peek in. He leaves you in just your underwear before walking over to his dresser and pulling out his old rock band t-shirt that’s so worn it’s practically see-through. It’s your favorite shirt to wear to bed.
You watch his handsome face as he pulls the shirt down over your head, sweetly guiding your arms through. When your hand grabs the front of his shirt, the grin he gives you is enough to bring that cute dimple out on his cheek. He lets you pull him into another kiss.
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phandoz · 3 months ago
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Morning Debrief
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For Week 8 @writer-wednesday
Summary: Benjamin Miller is a better gossip than cook.
Pairing: Frankie Morales x F Reader
Rating: Explicit, 18+ Only folks
Warnings: Some swears and brief mentions of sexy times
A/N: Gave myself half an hour to vomit this idea out of my sleep deprived brain at 1am and for that, I apologise.
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"I'm sorry about the eggs."
Benjamin Miller apologised sheepishly from where he sat opposite you.
You smiled down at your plate. As much as he tried, he really was a terrible cook.
"Don't worry about it," you managed to get out through a half chewed mouthful. "They're a bit like my brain at the minute," You speared a chunk of the white rubber that was once an egg. "A bit rough around the edges."
"I heard you get in late." He mentioned offhandedly. "Good night?" It seemed like innocent, light conversation but you knew Ben well enough to know better.
"You could say that. What is this, your morning debrief?!" Your eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"That's exactly what this is and you are trying to avoid the question. You pulled, didn't you?!" He waggled his eyebrows at you, thoroughly pleased with himself.
"You could say that."
Your eyes remained on your plate but you could see Benny lean forward in anticipation. Here we go.
"A lady never tells though I suppose..." He trailed off dramatically.
"You know, I think that's one of the nicest things you've ever said to me."
He held his hand to his heart in a mix of sadness and offence but you both grinned like idiots at each other. Your efforts to dodge his prying would only last so long. You knew this from experience.
You had originally stumbled into each other's lives when you had moved to town and were looking for somewhere to live. You needed a room and you suspected that he needed to fill a lonely house with some company more than anything. Regardless, the two of you had fast become close friends.
The kitchen was quiet bar the sound of cutlery on plates as you both persevered in eating Benny's abomination. The silence didn't last long as he tried again for more details.
"So, who is this mysterious stranger you met after my fight?"
"After your fight?! You're taking credit for it then?
"You could say that."
Using your own words against you. He was feeling cocky today. You scoffed as you took a sip of your now lukewarm coffee.
Benny wrinkled his nose at the mug in your hand. He gave you shit for it ever since sending you some stupid BuzzFeed article that said people who drank black coffee were more likely to be psychopaths. You might just prove that this morning.
"All I'm saying is that he must be a massive fan of mine if you met him at the bar during my celebratory drinks."
You smirk. If there is one thing that will make him back down it is playing him at his own game. If he wants details, he'll get them.
"He was massive alright." You replied nonchalantly.
Benny's eyes widened and he choked on the last of the eggs he had been shovelling into his mouth. "I didn't think anything could make this breakfast taste worse, but there you go. I think I've lost my appetite."
He pushed his chair back, deliberately letting the wooden legs grate over the floor like nails on a chalkboard. He smiled innocently as he stood, knowing the noise made your eye twitch in annoyance every time, before turning his back to you at the sink.
"Good for you though. It's about time you got back out there after that last asshole."
He was right about that.
"Well, I'm glad I have your blessing, oh wise Benjamin" you joked, trying to lighten the serious turn the conversation had taken.
"You know what I mean."
"Yeah I do." Did you ever. "Thanks Ben."
You saw a shadow cast from behind you appear on the floor. This should be good. The figure crossed the threshold silently into the kitchen and you soon felt warm arms slide down to your waist before giving you a light squeeze. You let your head fall back until it hit a solid stomach, closing your eyes as a warm smile spread across your face. You felt pleasantly loose this morning despite the late night activities you engaged in with the man now stood behind you. Late night, early morning, it was all a blur. One hazy, sweet, orgasm filled blur that left you wondering why the hell you hadn't done this sooner.
"I just want you to be happy." Benny continued none the wiser, the sounds of him viciously scrubbing the blackened pan filling the room. "We've been living together for like, what, three years now?"
"Mmmm," you replied distractedly as the arms around you slid up to your shoulders, "Best three years of your life, right?"
"Obviously, but you're like a sister to me."
A nose in the crook of your neck gently nudged your head to the left so plush lips could latch on to your neck.
"You deserve to be happy. I keep saying the same thing to Fish you know. You two are as bad as each other."
Teeth grazed across your skin before a tongue darted out to sooth along the same path. "Oh yeah?" You managed to smother the waver in your voice. Why hadn't you done this sooner?
"Yeah. I'm pretty sure I caught him checking out your ass the other day though, that's a step in the right direction I suppose."
"Francisco Morales..." you tsked in mock scandal before a calloused hand squeezed your breast through your tank top in response, thumb flicking across the nipple teasingly.
"You know if lover boy were still here, he would be more than welcome for breakfast, right?"
"Oh, he knows." The man behind you stood up straight and moved his hands innocently to the back of your chair as he finally announced his presence.
Ben's back straightened immediately. "Fish." He turned, hand on one hip in his best attempt at an overprotective brother stance. "You old dog." It might have been intimidating if not for his shit eating grin.
Frankie bent down to redirect your fork of eggs to his own mouth. After chewing for far longer than expected he politely declined any future offer of Benny's.
"I think I'll pass on the offer of breakfast. Jesus Christ Ben, you still can't cook for shit."
"Well you're more than welcome to do better."
"I can and I should. But, I actually had something else in mind for breakfast and it doesnt involve you."
"Ugh, in my own house Fish?! This is a kitchen. People eat here."
"I can eat here if you want."
You happily watched the back and forth between the two friends over your coffee as Benny's jaw dropped the moment he got the innuendo. You also found yourself subconsciously rubbing your thighs together under the table, the skin there anticipating that same delicious scratch of facial hair from the night before. This confidence. It was a good look on Frankie and damn if it wasn't doing something for you right now.
"You know what, I'm going to the gym and then I'm going to Wills. I can't deal with this right now."
"Don't hurry back." You chirped
"You sure?" Benny looked right at you as he stage whispered. "Fish is getting pretty old these days."
"It's not so bad," you shrugged. "Flying for all those years has really paid off for him. Great with his hands. He does this thing-"
"Alright. Just stop." Benny held a hand up, the other hastily snatched his keys from the counter, and headed for the door. "Just message me when it's safe to come back or something."
"Fine." You conceded, "But as I was saying-"
"No! Bye!" The door slammed shut and Ben's truck could be heard starting up only moments later.
You looked up to Frankie where he stood at your side as you sipped your coffee, licking your bottom lip for the stray drop that may have been intentional on your part.
"You know," Frankie cleared his throat, dragging his eyes from your lips back up to your eyes, "I read somewhere that coffee before sex gives you better orgasms."
"Honestly, what is it with you guys and your shitty BuzzFeed articles." You rolled your eyes.
"Benny sends me at least one a day." Frankie shrugged.
"What is he, like fifteen? Of course he does."
You swayed your hips just a little bit more than usual as you crossed to the sink, placing your dishes inside for later when you could think about anything else besides what Frankie had planned for you.
Before you know it he is behind you, hands gliding down your sides before slipping into your sleep shorts, grabbing a handful of each bare cheek.
"Well, their research wasn't conclusive. You going to finish that?" He nodded to your mug.
"And you are nothing if not thorough are you. Bottoms up, Morales" You wink over your shoulder as you tip your head back onto his shoulder to drink the rest, the angle giving him a clear view of your cleavage while pushing your ass back into him.
"Mmm, bottoms up." His voice rumbles next to your ear, giving your ass a playful slap. "That sounds like an excellent idea."
Tags:
@tuskens-mando @littlemisspascal @asta-lily @radiowallet @aliwritesfic
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radiowallet · 3 months ago
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A Disaster
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Summary: Ezra is a bit of a disaster in the kitchen.
Pairing: Ezra (Prospect) x GN! Reader
WC: 947
Warnings: Pining, slight unrequited feelings, drinking, cursing.
Ezra is a disaster in the kitchen. You learned this very fact three short days into your friendship with the loquacious prospector. The two of you had been out all night, celebrating new friends and lasting memories, shots followed by pints followed by more shots, stumbling back to your apartment in a fuzzy sort of haze. You can still remember how the door slammed open, the two of you giggling like school children, arms looped like noodles, your clumsy feet carrying you both as far as your lumpy couch. You passed out with his head in your lap, your fingers tugging at the shock of blonde in his hair, a gentle tease slurring from his lips. 
When you blinked awake the next morning the comforting weight of Ezra’s head was missing, the torturous sound of pots and pans jarring your hangover into a blinding existence. You stumbled into your kitchen, eyes squinted to a sliver, finding your new (and possibly soon-to-be former) friend making what you assumed was some sort of breakfast. 
“Good morning, Little Rose. I hope you don’t mind that I made myself at home. I woke up famished and I couldn’t resist the desire to wake you with the smell of a home cooked meal.”  
If you had had the strength to murder that morning, you would have been down exactly one over-talkative, broad-sized man. Your previously clean kitchen was a disaster, every bowl and utensil somehow dirty, the sink full of dishes, flour and salt and eggshells decorating the counters. On the cooktop was one pan sizzling pleasantly, two eggs cooking away, the whites browning at the edges, the yolks broken and bleeding. 
It was the best breakfast you ever had. 
And so a sloppy mess of a tradition was born. Every time Ezra appeared back into your life, whether it was a few weeks or a few months— the length of time he was away hardly mattered— you would head straight for the pub down the street, drinking and drinking more, until the dark of night bumped into the first violet streaks of day. You always ended the same way, back on your couch, bodies curled around each other in new and confusing ways, waking the next day to the sounds of your best friend destroying your kitchen. 
Even as the nights grew colder and with them Ezra’s mood, the tradition continued on, your fingers in his hair and his mess scattered across your kitchen counters, your two lives mixing together then falling apart in a way that only a true friendship could survive. 
You never once considered asking for more. Not once. Learning through night after night of pained practice to ignore the flutter of your heart when his hands reached for yours across the top of a sticky bar top or the way his brown eyes lingered on the bow of your empty lips.The affection was fleeting, brief, and even as you dreamed for a future together, it always felt so very far away.
You would hate to know what Ezra thought of your dreaming. 
And then one day he comes back to you, hardly whole, a ghost clinging to his eyes and a shadow chasing his words. He’s lopsided and tired, a wisp of a girl creeping alongside him, birdlike and broken, eyes just as tired as your best friend’s. She introduces herself only as Cee and just like with Ezra, you don’t ask her for more. You show her the bedroom, encouraging her to make herself comfortable, biting back the words only a child when you turn to face the prospector. 
He’s waiting for you by the door, your coat clutched in his one remaining hand, eyes looking anywhere but to his right. 
“Ready to go, Little Rose?” 
There’s just as much drinking but the laughter is gone, your hands are empty, and when you fall down to the comfort of your well worn couch, it’s alone. Ezra’s large frame finds its purchase on your floor alone. Against your better judgment, you bite your tongue again. 
When consciousness finds you the next day, it’s with the comfort of familiar sounds, Ezra’s voice, cursing and venomous, mixing with the sound of banging cutlery and sizzling eggs. The sight is just as you remember too, your kitchen a mess from top to bottom, and you know that after the meal is done you’ll spend the rest of your day scrubbing and scraping everything clean. 
You catch a glimpse of anger, frustration rolling out of him as he struggles to crack eggs with his left hand, thick yolk breaking and sticking to his fingers as the shell splinters open between his clumsy hold. His sigh is hopeless, ten times louder than the clang and clamor of pots and pans. When you finally make your presence known, his eyes find his feet, embarrassed and sheepish, the grip of his left hand knuckle-white on a spatula, a smear of butter sticking to his cheek. 
“It seems,” he starts, looking left to right before looking straight at you, the first smile since his return creeping up his lips, “that I am somewhat of a disaster in the kitchen these days.”
You can’t help but laugh as you cross the small patch of linoleum, bare toes dodging something sticky, hands finding his cheeks. You wipe at the little patch of yellow with the pad of your thumb and bring it to your mouth for a quick taste. He watches the move with a peculiar stare, and you can’t help but notice his eyes don’t seem as tired. 
“Ezra, I promise,” you say, stepping just a bit closer into his warmth, “you always have been.”  
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A/N: Apparently I like Ezra on Writer Wednesday? Always a big thanks to @autumnleaves1991-blog and @clydesducktape for organizing these lovely prompts.
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quica-quica-quica · a month ago
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COMING SOON
COMING SOON
Rated: T (one implication of sex)
Pairing: Javi Gutierrez/F!Wife Reader
Fandom:  The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Written for Writer Wednesday - the photo below was this week’s prompt.  
Thank you to @just-here-for-the-moment for her insight and encouragement. I owe you a ton, my friend!
Tagging: @softpedropascal @writer-wednesday @writeforfandoms @littlemisspascal
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As you stepped into the theater you noticed that it was virtually empty, save for a few couples interspersed in the auditorium.  The Palace was one of Javi’s favorite old movie houses, with its gilded decor and gorgeous murals. The fact that several Oscar-winning movies had premiered here solidified his love of the older building. Having been converted into a live venue several years ago it was a treat when they’d show classic movies, and your husband lived for it.  Upon the announcement that the old Hepburn and Grant movie would be showing, he’d asked you to book tickets immediately.  
“The lights are already down - we’re late.” He whispered it as the two of you hurriedly walked down the aisle. 
Javi was never one to be late for any movie, usually getting there fifteen to twenty minutes early.  He wanted to have all his snacks organized, ready to scrutinize every preview.  It was a part of him you loved.
“I’m sorry.”  You faked a pout.  “Shouldn’t have walked by in my robe while you were trying to get ready.”
He reached for your hand, smirking.  “Don’t ever apologize for that - feel free to walk by undressed at any time you wish.”
“Even if it makes us late?”
He smiled.  “The only acceptable reason.”
You took your seats just as the opening titles of the old black and white movie started.  To be honest, you’d never really cared for your husband’s love of the older movies, but this one held a soft spot for you as it was the one you watched together the night he told you he loved you.   Looking over at your husband, you could see the gleam in his eye as one of his favorites played out on the larger-than-life screen.
Twenty minutes in, the projector lurched and the movie stopped.  Javi looked over at you, then back to the projection room.  “It’s an older film, probably just got off track.”  
“Perhaps,” you quipped.  “I’m sure the old reels are harder to manage than the new digital ones.  Hopefully it will be back up and running soon.” 
He squeezed your hand as the light started to flicker back to the screen. “Right as always, my love.”
The images on the screen were now in color, vivid green trees under a blue sky, a sprawling villa in the background of the shot.
“This isn’t the right movie,” he leaned in to whisper.  “Kid running it probably hit the wrong button for the digital projector.”
A large, booming voice sounded over the visuals as two shadowed figures appeared, walking in front of the trees.
He was a man - a man who would give his life for the woman he loved.
She was a woman - a woman who’d do anything to make her husband’s dreams come true.
You smiled as the first clear image of your husband appeared, footage from his birthday party showing across the screen.  
Javi looked over at you, confused.  “Mi sol? What is…?”
“Shhh…just watch the movie, love.”
Several more images flashed on the screen: video from your trip to Belize, your wedding, silly videos made while in the car or at the beach. He looked over at you while you stared at the screen. “What is happening?”
“Just watch.”  
But, what would happen when a stranger enters their world?
The scene played in front of you: you, pacing back and forth on the balcony of your villa until your phone chimed.  You, walking nervously into your shared bedroom to look at the nightstand. A shot of the plastic wand, the word “Pregnant” reading clearly in the window.  
The on-screen version of you looked into the camera.  “I know this isn’t the version of ‘Bringing up Baby’ you expected my love, but I hope it’s one you’ll be happy with.”
There was a fade to black before a panel flashed up on the screen: Bringing Up Baby (Gutierrez) - Coming November 2022
The lights in the theater brightened as you handed him the small box.   Simple white paper, adorned with a pink, blue, and yellow curly-ribboned bow.  “Here, open it.”
Tears threatened to fall from his eyes as he looked into the box, three more positive tests staring back up at him. Also inside was a grainy ultrasound photo. “Mi sol,  is this true? We’re expecting?”  
You smiled.  “It’s as true as my love for you.”
Javi swept you up into his arms, his lips pressing to yours in an instant.  “A baby?”
As the applause of the others in attendance began, you smiled as he started to recognize your friends and family members who were present for the announcement.
“Not just any baby - our baby.”
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safarigirlsp · 23 days ago
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The Hunt
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The Hunt
Jacques Le Gris x Reader
Word Count: 7.8k
Warnings: NSFW. Smut. Humor. Romance.
AO3 Link
Author’s Note: Please enjoy a fun outing with Jacques Le Gris for @writer-wednesday
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Few would argue that no one in France threw a soiree to rival those of Count Pierre, and those few who did argue would be wrong. At Pierre’s events, at minimum, one could be assured of lavish banquets, flowing wine, eager women, lewd readings in the evenings and boisterous riding in the sunshine. By the time guests were ready to depart, heads ached, muscles stiffened, nether regions chafed – all the hallmarks of a good time had by all. 
As such, when the flamboyant Count took it upon himself to host a week of festivities in celebration of the acquisition of a grand new estate by his closest friend and most trusted knight, news of this sordid affair spread across the French countryside faster than the plague itself. Pierre invited legions of Lords and Ladies, both those who would celebrate the continuing rise of Jacques Le Gris up through the ranks of society, and also those who would seethe green with envy and jealousy over the same. The latter faction of guests always provided the most entertainment. 
However, only one guest received an invitation to attend the celebration at Anou le Foucon delivered personally by the estate’s new owner. Sir Jacques had made the long ride between his new castle and that of your family’s to place a letter of invitation in the hand of your maid so early one morning that you were not even yet dressed to see the man yourself. You suspected he intended it that way. A classical romantic, you had learned enough of Jacques to know that he found anticipation heightened experience. This made you muse as to the nature of the experiences he wished to have with you at his soiree, as if you needed to think deeply on that matter. The thought itself made you smile. 
Although Jacques was Pierre’s golden boy and the man of the hour, you were more widely known even than the infamous knight himself. You were part of the nobility and your beauty was known far and wide. Scours of suitors pursued you like hounds after a stag, and you held their respective offers of marriage in consideration like hands in a card game. Some of them would even be in attendance at the event to come, but none had the charm, the flair, nor the devilishly handsome appeal of Jacques Le Gris. You wondered if he were truly the one pursuing you, or if he was merely falling into your own honeyed trap. It was often wiser to allow men to believe themselves in charge of such things, even if they were in no more control of matters than a horse trotting ahead simply because you loosened your reins.   
Instead of arriving the evening your invitation requested, you chose to allow Pierre to get his usual antics out of the way. Also, to see how much Jacques would indulge in Pierre’s escapades if he was free from your scrutiny. Such information would be relevant in deciding whether you would let him keep chasing you until he caught you. 
Long before the sun rose over the towers of Anou le Foucon on the second morning of the festivities, you rode across the hills of verdant green through the mist curling around your horse’s legs, to make your grand entrance at dawn. Your crimson cape draped over your horse’s haunches and floated behind you like a bleeding specter. It had rained the night before, the ground was puddled, the grass moist with dew, and mist lingered low near the ground. The brisk morning breeze whipped through the mane of your horse as he carried you to your destination in a noble prancing trot. He sensed your own excitement when the grounds of Jacques’s estate came into view over the final knoll that separated you from the castle, snorting eagerly and fighting the bit as he tried to bolt ahead. 
Your horse was an enormous charger fit for a warhorse, a proud and high-stepping creature, alert and physically impressive. He stood sixteen-three hands at the withers and was jet black, not a single white hair marred his glossy black coat. A gift from your father, you had raised him from a foal and broke him yourself. The animal was as dear to you as your closest friends, and indeed you counted him among them; the pair of you had ridden thousands of miles of rugged terrain together over the last decade. 
The sky was golden-blue with watercolor clouds floating lazily above you, much less eager to make their journey across the sky than you were to make yours across the grass. Spring bloomed pink around you, softened by the early light of pre-dawn. Anou le Foucon had the highest concentration of pink blossoming trees of any estate in France, save for the royal gardens themselves. It was little wonder that the Lady Carroughes was so bitter over Jacques’s acquisition of the property, it was truly magnificent. You smirked wickedly at the knowledge that Pierre had invited Marguerite and her repugnant troll of a husband. Although, it was debatable whether such an invitation would be sufficient to entice Carroughes to emerge from his squalor. 
As you neared the long cobblestone bridge that led into Jacques’s castle, something drew your horse’s attention at the treeline of the forest a short distance away. Looking out between the pricked ears of your horse, you immediately saw what had caught his eye. 
At the forest’s edge, a contingent of riders were preparing to head out on a morning jaunt. Several men were mounted while others milled about on the ground. A pack of braying hounds trotted and paced near the horses, impatiently waiting to be turned loose by their handlers. A stag hunt, you knew at once. They commonly took place at first light. You were just in time. Giving your horse his head, you let him burst into a gallop, charging across the property to join the group of hunters. 
Smiling cockily as you reached the group of men, you reined your horse sharply, pulling him back onto his heels to slide to stop near enough to the group for the mud from his hooves to sling upon some of the men who remained on the ground. Your smile widened when you saw a particularly large clump of mud strike Carroughes in the chest. In addition to Carroughes, easily spotted by his butcher-shop haircut, you recognized the tall stoic features of Crespin, the decidedly puffy and hungover visage of Pierre, and finally the impressive towering figure of Jacques Le Gris. 
Jacques was already mounted, seated on a powerfully built dapple gray with a proudly arched neck. His horse’s silver mane and his own sable hair rustled gently on the wind. Unlike the other men, Jacques did not wear a hat of any kind. He seat was expert, heels pointed downward and taking his weight in the balls of his feet to keep perfectly balanced. His large hands were folded one on top of the other, resting on the pommel of his saddle as he waited, holding a loose rein. He looked particularly dashing atop his horse, backlit by the stormy sky as he watched you approach. He was dressed in a black leather tunic and a weathered black cape. His riding outfit was much less flashy and luxuriant than his usual attire, but even more alluring. 
The first thing that struck you about Jacques was the uncharacteristic lilt to his features. Devoid of his easy grin, he looked practically miserable, like a cat sitting out in a downpour. His frown was deep and despondent, his eyes cast down at the ground until they raised to greet you. He hadn’t slept either and, by the looks of it, the reasons for his fatigue were less than pleasurable. You didn’t have to wonder long at the cause of his dreary demeanor. Jacques’s face alighted at the sight of you sliding to a stop near him. Like a child on Christmas morning, he beamed at you with a wide smile and eyes gleaming brilliantly in the early light. 
Most of the men still milled about on the ground, chatting amongst themselves. Even a stag hunt was a social affair, more about comradery than sport. Pierre was the only other man already mounted on his horse, no doubt so that he could begin drinking for the morning without having to worry about swaying on his feet. His horse was an old bay, used to his owner’s inebriation, calm and bored with his surroundings. 
Aside from Jacques and Pierre, who each greeted you warmly, the men regarded you with looks that ranged from scowls to outright glares. Women did not ride out on stag hunts, and the men made their objections to your presence open and obvious. The men also looked skeptically at your horse. To most onlookers, the horse was imposing, if not outright frightening. He was highly spirited, always eager to go and hard to rein in, and prone to snorting and stomping the ground in frustration when held back. He was doing that now, as you sat him easily and still enough to hold a wine glass without sloshing it. 
Although the company eyed you skeptically, everyone was too polite to comment on your largely unwanted attendance. Everyone except Jacques, who grinned openly at the sight of you. 
“My dreams last night have been answered by your beautiful presence here this morning,” Jacques beamed at you, inclining his head in as gallant a bow as he could offer from atop his horse. “But you’re missing your sword, Milady,” he teased you openly. “I take that to mean that you desire my protection, should the need arise.” He grinned wolfishly at you. “I shall always see to your every need with all possible ardor.” 
“I shouldn’t have need of a sword today, unless you intend to behave badly, good Sir,” you returned with a smirk as you patted your horse’s neck to calm him. 
“And such a lovely gown!” he added, laughing at the playful glare you shot him. “Red is certainly your color, but your horse is going to be too weighed down with frills and skirts to keep pace.” 
“Says the man whose horse is weighted with easily more than a quarter of his own weight on his back between yourself and your saddle.” You made a teasing show of eyeing him judgmentally. “Perhaps I should bring my sword after all, in case I need to put your horse out of his misery when he collapses under you.” 
The huge black animal was less amused and even more eager than you to head out, thrilled himself by the prospect of the hunt to come. Heavy steaming breath snorted from his nose as he danced in place, thick neck arched and tail swishing in impatience, waiting for his rider to give him the signal to run ahead. 
“I will not ride out on a hunt with a woman,” Carroughes spat the final word as though he had found it stuck between his teeth along with last week’s mutton roast. “What’s this, Le Gris? You can’t control your women anymore?” 
“I get terribly bored with women I can control,” Jacques replied without looking at the squalid little man, his eyes fixed on you in admiration. “Some of us require more stimulation, Carroughes. I don’t expect you to relate.” 
“I say, Jean,” Pierre inserted pleasantly after taking a healthy draw on his flask. “Has Marguerite managed to teach you how to sign your name yet? Even read, perhaps? Has she started with the difficult words? Cat, dog, dimwitted posturing bridge troll?” 
You joined Jacques and Pierre in laughter at the joke that sailed over Carroughes’s disastrous hair. 
“Can you handle that horse, Milady?” Crespin asked, a hint of concern in his voice, as he walked toward you, eyeing your horse skeptically. He was still on foot himself, leading his horse. Contrasting with your horse, Crespin’s mount was alert but calm, a shining chestnut mare with four knee-high white stockings and a white blaze down her nose. She was tall and slender, built for taking jumps with grace. “I would be more at ease if you would ride my mare and allow me to make sure your horse is warmed up and calmed down before you mount him.” 
“Don’t worry. I’m used to dealing with large unruly beasts,” you quipped to Crespin while flashing a quick smirk at Jacques before returning your eyes to the other man. “But thank you nonetheless, that’s very kind of you to offer.” 
“I insist,” Crespin pressed, moving to take your reins. “You would be much safer on a less spirited horse.” 
By way of answering, you pulled back on your reins and dug your heels into your horse, making him rear straight up on his hind legs and paw the air in the direction of the offending man. You would not be insisted upon by anyone. Crespin’s face blanched at the sight, much to your satisfaction. You easily kept your seat and reined him back down to his usual agitated stomping. Unaccustomed to being disobeyed, Crespin blinked a few times almost in disbelief, but rightly decided not to press the matter further. 
Pierre pulled his flask from an inner pocket, taking a swig as he watched the scene with amusement. Carroughes looked as though he had already had enough excitement for one day, his soured expression as dreary as the damp misty weather. Jacques’s horse had become infected with the excitement your horse displayed, turning in a tight circle and chewing at the bit in his mouth, fighting against Jacques’s firm rein. 
“Crespin has a point,” Jacques commented, ignoring the less than playful glare you flashed him in response. “You should take some starch out of that horse before we get going.” He raised an eyebrow at you in a challenge. 
“You think you can keep up, Sir Jacques?” You smirked back at him, taking his meaning. 
Jacques opened his mouth to reply, but you didn’t give him the chance, nor Crespin the chance to issue another protest. Holding Jacques’s gaze, you spurred your black horse, slackening your reins, and allowing him to lunge forward into a gallop, charging ahead. You dashed right between Pierre and Carroughes, who each muttered curses behind you, although Pierre lamented a few drops of his liquor spilling from his flask more than anything else. 
A deep boisterous laugh and the sound of thundering hooves behind you told you that Jacques had kicked his horse into action, giving chase after you. Your horse galloped across the grassy grounds of Anou le Foucon. Cool morning air stung your cheeks and blew your hair out behind you as your horse ran ahead, lunging powerfully beneath you, swirling the light low morning mist in his wake. 
Jacques was gaining ground, his horse’s shoulder now even with the haunch of your mount, as he galloped to your left. He could have reached out and grabbed your cape billowing behind you. Sparing a glance in his direction, you saw him wink rakishly at you before spurring his horse to surge ahead. 
You could play this game. 
Reining your mount to the side, your powerful black horse veered in front of Jacques’s dapple gray, cutting him off, and charged forward. Your laughter carried back to Jacques, who was grinning himself at having such a fine opponent. You were a better rider than most men, having been perched on the back of a horse before you could walk and being led behind your father on his excursions. Jacques was a damned good rider himself, but you were his equal, if not even his superior. The thought brought a wider, genuine smile to his lips. 
You quickly reached a stand of trees with rosy flowers, your horse barreling inside. The thicket of trees grew denser. Beautiful buds and blossoms in various shades of green and that marvelous romantic pink consumed horse and rider, as your horse weaved agility between their trunks. 
“Better slow it down!” Jacques shouted to you in a booming voice, pointing forward along the outstretched neck of his horse. 
Ahead, coming up fast, was a treefall, a pile of jumbled tree trunks and scrub as high as your calf where it rested against your horse’s ribs. 
“You’re falling behind, Jacques!” you called back over your shoulder. “Do try to keep up!” 
Aiming your horse straight for the obstacle, you nudged him with your heels. The black horse sailed over the fallen tree easily with you leaning forward over his neck in perfect form, landing without breaking the stride of his gallop. Glancing back over your shoulder, you watched as Jacques’s horse cleared the large pile easily too. Although horse and rider were notably less graceful, Jacques landing heavily with a grunt. 
You still laughed when you reined your horse back down to a walk, your eyes following Jacques as he likewise slowed his horse, bringing himself in pace with your mount and walking beside you. Both animals heaved for breath and huffed beneath their riders. 
“Wherever you run, I’ll always chase you,” Jacques remarked fondly, as his chest swelled with a kind of pride on your behalf. “You’re quite the showoff, Milady.” 
“I can handle myself,” you replied with a casual shrug, but you couldn’t hide the way you beamed from his playful praise. 
“Certainly, while you’re on the back of a horse at any rate,” he agreed as he patted the neck of his horse and smiled handsomely at you. “Shall we head back before Pierre thinks we’ve both perished out here in the woods and mounts a search?” 
“You don’t want to ask for a rematch?” You followed Jacques as he turned his horse about-face, heading back in the direction you had come. 
“Every time I ride with you,” he assured you with a cockiness that made you smile. “This won’t be the last time, if I have my way.” 
Nudging his horse with his heel, Jacques sidled his dapple gray next to your black. He reached up to one of the pink flowers hanging above your heads in the trees. Plucking the finest flower he could find, he delicately placed it in your hair just above your ear, brushing his thick fingers over your cheek as his hand fell away. 
“Beautiful,” he told you simply. 
“We should match, don’t you think?” you teased as you located a full pink blossom that you plucked and handed to Jacques with a smirk. 
“If it pleases you.” To your surprise, Jacques took the flower from you and tucked it into the dense black thicket of his hair. “Do I look pretty?” 
“Radiant!” you laughed. 
Both of your horses were similarly sized and tempered. Each competitive with the other as to whom would lead and neither satisfied with walking side by side on the way back. Straining at the reins, both horses jogged along, stepping high and huffing in displays of dominance. 
By the time you and Jacques rejoined the other riders, they were finally all ready to depart and seated on their horses. Carroughes’s anger was apparent without him having to voice it, simmering off of him in palpable waves. He scoured you with his gaze when you rode back to the line of men. 
“You need to get your woman under control, Le Gris,” Carroughes snarled at Jacques with a nasty glare. “Or do you need me to do it for you?” 
“The Lady and I had a rather nice time.” Jacques only grinned back at his ugly belligerent face, making him all the angrier, much to Jacques’s satisfaction. Equally impetuous, Jacques’s horse snorted and chewed his bit, eager to run again. “I wonder how long it’s been since your wife could say the same of any activity she’s been forced to endure with you.” 
Rolling your eyes at the men’s posturing, you noticed the exasperation of Jacques’s servants whom you had not considered. The huntsman and his beaters had their hands full with maintaining the enthusiastic dogs in your absence. After apologizing to the men, Jacques nodded his consent for the huntsman to take command. 
“I think we’re dealing with a particularly wily stag today, Lords and Lady,” the huntsman explained to the group of mounted riders. “He’s got a rack as huge as an ancient gnarly tree. He’ll make a fine trophy. Been a while since I’ve seen the likes of him, it has.” 
“Try to keep them out of the thickets, will you?” Pierre implored from the back of his mount. “I hate it when I have to ride through the brush.” 
“Release the hounds!” the huntsman shouted, ignoring Pierre’s impossible request. The stag and hounds would run wherever they pleased. 
The small herd of horses all pawed and snorted with anticipation as they watched the hounds scurry away, barking and howling, with their wagging tails held high. Your horse could feel the excitement of the hunt radiating from the humans and the dogs, prancing beneath you. The other horses, too, were all ready to spring forward and give chase, like runners at the sprinting block. 
It was the huntsman’s job to investigate the best areas to locate the stag. The dogs would often separate and meander to and fro, with the beaters following along after them, keeping the dogs from wandering too far afield. And off they were, trotting away into the woods as happily as children running out to play, and then scattering this way and that in search of a stag’s scent. The huntsman and the beaters stayed close behind, searching for scat and tracks. 
Pierre rode on your opposite side from Jacques, sandwiching you between them. Much like the stags in the wood, you sensed an imminent attack from Pierre, trying to vet you for his friend. 
“It’s rather lucky you arrived when you did,” Pierre said casually to you, while watching the path ahead. “When you failed to show for our party last night, I advised Jacques that the best way to get over one woman is to get on top of another.” He ignored the murderous look Jacques shot him from your other side. “Fortunately for you, I suppose, Jacques was so distraught that he was of absolutely no use to anyone. Sitting around groaning like a kicked puppy, he was almost as miserable and uninteresting as Carroughes! Which I believe is the very worst thing I’ve ever said about him!” 
“You harm his chances with me by revealing that you, his best friend, advise him to betray me,” you said to Pierre, not teasing at all. 
“Well, you’re in luck then that he hasn’t listened to me on any damned matter at all since he became enamored with you,” Pierre snorted. “You’ve made him rather boring.” 
“And pray tell, what should I make of the fact that many of your consorts are married?” you asked Jacques, turning to face him. 
“It means they shall never form any unwelcome attachment to me.” Jacques shrugged, not bothering to deny what you knew about his past. He had learned the hard way that Marguerite especially had quite a mouth for gossip. 
“Do you not consider that a betrayal?” you raised your eyebrows in surprise. 
“Who am I betraying?” Jacques asked with his easy grin. “Myself, I am beholden to no one. Yet.” He looked at you pointedly. “Although many of the ladies in my acquaintance cannot lay claim to that truth.” 
“And if you were beholden to me, how do I know you would never engage in such transgressions against me?” you asked seriously, ignoring the laughter in his eyes. “That you would never stray from your wife to seek something new. Or even that you would be forever deaf to Pierre’s mating call?” 
“I have never offered myself to another,” Jacques told you genuinely, ignoring the disapproving snort from Pierre. “Only you, amour.” 
“You haven’t pursued any of the other women in your harem?” you asked with unveiled incredulity. 
“In a serious manner? Decidedly not!” Jacques scoffed and shook his head. “I have an appetite, Milady, that is stronger than most and I have sated it as opportunity presents. However, sharing my bed is all I have offered others. To you, I offer sharing not only my bed but my heart as well. And you shall be the sole mistress of both for as long as my heart beats.” 
“You know I have many other offers.” It would have been a cruel statement if you didn’t know that Jacques had no real competition; that even coming from peasant squalor, he was twice the man of any other you had ever known. “Offers from Barons, Counts, even a Marquis.” 
“Perhaps you should consider that if I am able to keep a harem, as you say, satisfied, that I would be quite proficient at keeping my wife satisfied beyond her most secret fantasies and her darkest desires.” Jacques looked at you hungrily, letting you see the lust you aroused in him simmer in his eyes. 
“You presume to know my most secret fantasies?” You cocked an eyebrow at him, feeling your cheeks flush with heat. “My darkest desires?” 
“What I presume, Milady, is that I can do things for you far beyond any fantasy you have ever had,” he assured you in a deep rumbling tenor. 
“That’s quite presumptuous, indeed.” You smiled at him, knowing he spoke the truth. 
“I wouldn’t listen to him at all,” Pierre said to you, teasing Jacques. “Women believe such things, but he is only weaving his web around you. Look at the man! He has no skill at all, little stamina, and nothing worth your time.” 
You joined Jacques in laughing at Pierre’s obvious ploy to keep Jacques performing in his arena instead of housed in your stables. 
Ahead of you, the hounds brayed in unison as the fresh scent of a stag hit their noses at once. Stags often gravitate towards the edges of the forest, but the savvy stags hide in the thicker brush. As such, much to Pierre’s dismay, the huntsman decided to start first where the woods were thick enough to slow the riders down but close enough to fields or meadows so that the less aggressive riders could opt for the longer but easier route.  
After giving the hounds enough of a head start that none of the dogs would stray underfoot of the horses, the riders gave their horses their heads and let them trot ahead. The riders stayed together at a trot in a fairly neat line at first, meandering around the thicker part of the woods and chatting pleasantly amongst each other. Riding beside you, Jacques caught your eye and spurred his horse into a gallop, veering after the hounds. You followed, of course, keeping pace beside him as you both cantered through the brightly blooming woods. 
Alone with Jacques, you followed the path of the huntsman, enjoying the challenge of the rougher terrain. Jacques rode on your left, keeping his horse so close that he could have leaned over to kiss you if he tried, his knee nearly brushing against yours as you trotted ahead. Favoring the path of less resistance, Pierre, Carroughes, and the others were content to stay in the open field. It was easier for Pierre to keep from spilling his drink when he sipped at his flask. 
A few leagues into the hunt, the hounds’ initial burst slowed to an amble as they had sniffed their way zigzagging through the brush without any luck, and the riders slowed with them. When the hounds delved into a denser thicket, you and your handsome knight rode out of the wood, skirting the edge of the treeline, riding near the other men who had chosen to stay in the grass. 
“You sit a horse damned well,” Pierre said to you, tipping his flask at you as he hiccupped, before teasing, “But I suppose you must. I can’t imagine Jacques would have much interest in you if you were not able to keep a good seat while a large animal bucked beneath you.” 
“Flushing a stag could take some time,” Jacques cleared his throat and explained from his horse, ignoring Pierre’s drunken humor. “Perhaps, I could show you more of the grounds before the hounds scent a stag.” His eyes glinted rakishly when he added, “There are many lush and secluded vales that I think would please you greatly.” 
“Tracks!” shouted the huntsman, before you could respond. The riders galloped to catch up with the huntsman who was ahead in an open field, as the dogs were led toward the tracks. “Look at the size of them! This is our stag, Milords!” 
Braying loudly, the pack of hounds ran away after the scent of the stag, their tails whipping with excitement. The horses were likewise infected with enthusiasm, galloping after the hounds without any prodding from their riders. Your horse charged ahead, wanting to outdo his competition and Jacques’s silver steed who kept the same robust pace. 
A stone fence lay ahead. The dogs scrambled over it, some tumbling over its side in their haste, and chased ahead after the stag on the other side. Jacques caught your eye, grinning at you as he kicked his horse ahead toward the fence. This time, he didn’t try to slow you or discourage you from taking the jump, instead galloping along at your side. You and Jacques jumped over the fence nearly in tandem, your horses landing side by side and running on after the hounds. 
Never wanting to be bested by Jacques, yet perpetually incapable of avoiding it, Carroughes ran hard behind you and Jacques, trying to outrun his rival. Leaning over his horse’s neck, Carroughes prepared to take the jump. Carroughes’s horse did not have the same need for competitive bluster, and no doubt was also in possession of more sense and brain power than his rider. Deciding against taking the jump, the horse sat back on his haunches, sliding in the moist grass to a choppy stop just short of the fence. Expecting a jump with his balance forward, Carroughes was catapulted forward over his horse’s neck as though he had been shot from a trebuchet. Without his horse, Carroughes cleared the fence himself in a flailing mass of furious limbs, landing face first in an obliging pile of mud. Pierre brayed with laughter louder than the hounds as Carroughes grunted and snorted and cursed like a swine in a wallow. 
Laughing with Jacques, you thought the morning couldn’t possibly get any better. 
The other riders stopped alongside Carroughes as he stood, cussing and spitting, to ensure he was seated again before riding on. Crespin dismounted to open a gate for the rest of them to ride through instead of taking another run at the jump. This gave the front two riders a long lead on the rest of the hunters. 
Slowing his horse to an easy rocking gallop, Jacques’s long hair rustled in the wind, making him particularly handsome when he looked over at you. “Since we have such a fine lead on the others, what do you say we lose them entirely? Yours is the only company I desire, Milady.” 
“Lead the way,” you assented with a smile of your own. 
Jacques led you into the trees again, down a gently sloping hillside to a ravine, shrouded by trees. You were surrounded by luscious greens and sensual pinks inside the blooming trees. With every stride of your horses, the sound of the hounds faded into the distance and the scenery grew more and more beautiful. When he finally came to a stop, it was in a shaded, grassy, lightly wooded area in a more open glade of the forest. Sunlight streamed down through patches in the canopy of trees above you mottling the emerald grass with pale spots of peridot. Only a short distance ahead of you was a small pond nestled in the apex of a valley between two ridges. Its crystal-clear water shimmered with diamonds of sunlight. The water was so clear that the light and reflection of nearby trees were the only barrier preventing you from seeing the bottom of its depths. A pair of ivory white swans floated together serenely, unbothered by your presence. 
Looking at you instead of the view himself, Jacques smiled broadly at you, knowing by your expression that he had done well. 
“I’m glad you like it,” he told you softly. “This is the most beautiful spot I’ve found on these grounds. The moment I found it, I wanted to share it with you.” 
“It’s beautiful, Jacques,” you affirmed as you nudged your horse next to his until your knees touched. Reaching to the collar of his leather tunic, you pulled him down to meet your lips in a slow lingering kiss. When he pulled away from your lips, he paused to smile adoringly down at you. 
While you admired the beauty surrounding you, watching the sunlight dance in patches on the pristine water where it peeked between the trees, Jacques stepped down from his horse and looped his reins over the branch of a tree. You laughed as he began rummaging through his saddlebag – Jacques was always prepared. First to be freed was a large blanket that consumed the majority of space inside his saddlebag. Jacques spread it out on the grassy ground as you dismounted and tethered your horse beside his. You were beaming at him as he took a seat on the blanket, all but reclining in his luxuriant manner and holding his hand out to motion you closer. 
“Who were you planning on riding out with carrying such supplies?” you asked with a raised and critical eyebrow. 
“You, belle amour,” Jacques said while retrieving a bottle of wine. “Yesterday evening. Had you arrived, as I had hoped.” 
“This is wonderful, Jacques,” you told him as you sank down beside him, placing a soft kiss on his lips as you took your seat. 
“Seeing you smile is more beautiful than the whole of spring itself,” he replied softly. His huge chest swelled even larger with pride at having surprised you so pleasantly. 
“I love it. Everything about this is perfect,” you replied with a shining smile. 
While you and Jacques passed the bottle of wine between you, he regaled you with tales of adventure and valor. His hazel eyes flitted every so often to the inviting water of the pond. It was only then that you realized how warm it had grown since you had ridden out on the stag hunt. As if Jacques’s eyes burned right through you, you suddenly sweltered inside your dress. Seeming to read your thoughts, Jacques reached to where your cape was tied at your throat. With deft fingers, he unlaced your cape and let it fall in a red cascade to pool on the blanket behind you. 
“Shall we christen this pond as our own, amour?” Jacques purred low and rich. “Now that I have an estate of my own, it needs a Lady to take charge.” He looked at you hungrily. “Just as a man needs a wife.” 
“Are you proposing to me on behalf of your castle?” you laughed at him outright. “I expect more from the infamous silver tongue of Jacques Le Gris.” 
“Do me the greatest honor of all and become my wife. I will devote my whole life to you, mon amour,” he promised you softly before capturing your lips in a genuine kiss that seared hotter than the rising morning heat. “My heart beats for you alone, and I will be yours entirely.” 
“That is the greatest honor for both of us, Jacques.” Looping your arms around his neck, you pulled him closer as you reclined on the blanket, encouraging him to lower his weight over you.” 
Drawing back from you just enough to look down at you squarely, Jacques searched your eyes, assuring you, “I can wait until we are married, if you wish it. I’ll do anything for you.” 
“Do my ears betray me?” you feigned incredulity. “The debauched hound is suggesting we wait longer to enjoy one another?” 
“I would never suggest such a heinous thing.” He grinned against your lips. “But I will offer it for you.” 
“But you make a good point,” you mused, pursing your lips and placing a restraining hand on his chest. Jacques’s face fell for a moment at the prospect of having to go longer without having you. “I should like to know what I’m getting before we marry. I should like to see you.” You looked pointedly toward the pond. “I like your idea of christening that pond.” 
Shaking his head, Jacques smirked at you before pushing to his feet. Offering you his hand, he pulled you up to stand beside him. He took your hands and placed them on his chest, encouraging you to unlace his leather tunic. You were all too happy to comply. Once you had undone the laces far enough, Jacques took charge and pulled his tunic and white undershirt off over his head, leaving his magnificent chest bare. He shook his wild hair back into place and spun you around so your back faced him and he could unlace your dress in turn. You didn’t mind. Your beauty was renowned, and coupled with the way Jacques looked at you, what was the sense in hiding from his lusting eyes? 
With the assistance of his expert hands, you were quickly stripped out of your clothing. Jacques’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of you and his hands skimmed your curves with a reverent touch. Casting a playful look at him over your shoulder, you sprang out of his reach and bounded into the pond. Behind you, Jacques growled like a predator on the hunt, and you gasped as you surged deeper into the surprisingly warm water until it pooled around your waist. 
Turning back to him, you laughed voluptuously, watching him struggle for balance as he hastily kicked out of his pants. Your lascivious gaze took in his incredible body, the breadth of his shoulders and thickness of his chest, the lines of muscle that framed his hips, the trail of hair that descended from his navel down to his half-swollen cock that bobbed heavily as he walked toward you. His powerful muscles rippled with his every movement as he strode with a swagger into the water to join you. 
Laughing, you backed away from his grasping hands, splashing his handsome face playfully. Crashing through the glittering water, Jacques caught you easily. With a teasing growl, he grabbed you around the waist, hoisting you out of the water and twirling with you as you kicked in his hold. Collapsing into the water with you, he met your lips in a wet laughing kiss. Slick with water, your bodies slid against one another and you looped your arms around his neck to pull yourself ever closer against him. His kiss was searing. All the passion he had long harbored for you poured from his lips to yours, and he held you as though he would never let you go. 
Beneath the water, you felt his cock harden, nudging insistently against you. Bringing one of your legs up around his ribs, you rubbed your center against his enormous cock. Jacques groaned into your mouth at the feeling of your pussy rubbing him, the feeling of your desire for him, the feeling of the effect he had on you. He felt dizzy with an excited ecstasy thrumming through his body as he kissed you and held you tight, a feeling that only you had ever given him. 
Pulling your legs around him to lock around his waist, Jacques wrapped his left arm under your ass and his right holding tight against your back, pinning you to his chest. He walked you both out from the water like that, carrying you and kissing you like it was the easiest thing in the world back to the blanket. Without setting you down, he dropped to his knees on the blanket, his lips never breaking contact with yours. Bracing himself with his right hand, he gently lowered you down onto your back below him. 
Instead of following you down, he broke your kiss, pulling away to sit back on his heels and admire the beautiful view of you spread out before him. His cock stood thick and long and proud, arching upward in anticipation of finally being hugged tightly by your hot silken embrace. Lifting your left leg, he brought your heel to rest on his shoulder, turning to kiss at your ankle while his right hand rubbed and kneaded its way up your thigh. His goatee tickled your skin as his hot mouth trailed its way down the inside of your calf and knee. Moving onto your inner thigh, his kisses turned to licks and bites, growing more heated by every inch he descended as he slowly lowered himself to the ground. 
When his lips reached your pussy, he kissed you the same way he kissed your lips while he positioned himself resting on his elbows between your legs. Shucking your right leg over his shoulder, pinning his head between your thighs, he pulled your hips closer to his face, eagerly diving in to run his hot tongue through your folds. Shuddering at the feeling, your hands flew to fist into his dense hair to pull him impossibly closer. 
“Sweeter than the finest wine,’” he growled low into you, the vibrations of his deep voice shooting through you. “You bloom more beautifully than the finest flower.” 
Nose nudging insistently against your clit, his tongue licked eagerly into you, seeking every drop of your arousal. When he felt you begin to clench from your building pleasure, he began sucking your clit. Moving his hand from your hip, he reached down to plunge two thick fingers into you, giving your pussy something to squeeze as he worked you closer and closer to the edge. The light scratch of his beard against the slick of your pussy sent shivers through you with every rub as he sucked at your clit while you moaned and writhed beneath him. 
Every sigh and whimper he pulled from you was music to Jacques’s ears, and every sharp tug on his hair and buck of your hips against his face was his favorite commendation. It was the pleasured groan vibrating through your core from Jacques’s lips as he sucked at you that pushed you over the edge into a blinding pulsing orgasm. Your pussy seized around his fingers as they curled and stroked inside of you in clenching bursts of pleasure in time with the pulses that coursed through you. 
Jacques kissed and licked you until your thighs loosened their grip around his head and rested limply on his shoulders. He flashed you a wet gleaming smile before returning his lips to your skin, kissing his way up your body as he crawled over you. Your legs wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer against you, as he rested his forearms on either side of your body, caging you beneath him. 
The thick velvety head of his cock nudged against your entrance, pushing inside of your wet heat when you raised your hips to meet his firm thrust. Despite your dripping arousal, the stretch of his enormous cock was almost painful. You had never felt anything like the delicious burn of his cock plunging into you, pulsing veins and thick ridges rubbing against your silky walls. 
“Now, I know you were meant to be my wife,” Jacques whisper-growled in your ear. “I’ve never felt anything as good as this pussy.” 
His lips caressed your cheek as he waited for you to adjust to his size, hips rocking gently against you for several long moments. When you turned your head to capture his lips in a needy kiss, he began thrusting into you, rocking your body with his every powerful motion. 
Already sensitive, your entire body on fire for the huge man above you, you felt every slam of his cock push you closer to another gushing wave of pleasure. Jacques’s pace grew faster and rougher the closer he brought you both. Soon, he was propped above you, looking down at you with a feral tooth-baring grin, his hair falling wildly around his shoulders and face, jostling with every hard thrust. Your head pressed back into the blanket, your back arching into Jacques’s chest and hips rolling in time with his rhythm. Nails digging into his muscled shoulders, his name fell from your lips in a lewd moan that echoed through the forest and across the pond. 
“Do you like that, amour?” Jacques’s voice was low and husky as he panted between thrusts. “Do you like how it feels to have your pretty pussy split open with my fat cock? I’ll ruin you for anyone but me.” 
“You already have,” you moaned from the pleasure. 
“I can feel how much you like it. I can feel your pussy tightening up on my cock.” Jacques was huffing now with each rough thrust, panting above you like a wild animal. 
Your second orgasm hit you even more intensely than the first, crashing over you in heady waves of ecstasy, your pussy tensing hard around his cock, trying to pull it in impossibly deeper. Jacques’s jaw clenched tightly as he fucked you through your aftershocks, a growl rumbling deep in his chest. You sighed his name, feeling weak and limp beneath him. He almost snarled yours in response, completely lost in the pleasure of your body. 
Jacques pounded his cock into you until his hips stilled, burying his cock as deep as possible. A rush of heat spread through you as he pumped you full of his thick hot cum. With a heavy sigh, he relaxed some of his weight down on top of you, panting as he regained his breath. Stroking your hands along his densely muscled back soothingly, you reveled in the feeling of his massive body resting on your own. 
After a moment spent catching his breath, he leaned down to meet your lips in a tender kiss. Jacques kissed you slowly and deeply, bringing his hand up to stroke your cheekbone sweetly, unable to keep a grin from tugging at the corners of his mouth. You ran your fingers through his damp hair and traced your nails along his neck and shoulders, making him only grin wider and purr happily. When Jacques pulled back to look down at you, a huge toothy smile beamed across his face. His eyes were full of pure unadulterated adoration as he regarded you. 
“When we return, amour, we’ll have a new celebration, for the new Lady of Anou le Foucon,” he told you, punctuating his intention with another soft kiss. “There are many other places in our new estate that need christening.” 
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© safarigirlsp 2022
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Tagging some buddies! 
@babbushka @in-silks-and-flesh-and-leather @mrs-gucci @mrs-zimmerman @iamburdened @gabesprincess @reborn-rekall @rynwritesstuff @candycanes19 @caillea @queeniebee @mythrielofsolitude @its-knight-time @ghoulian13 @icarusinthesea @reyloaddict55 @darkhairedmenrule @fizzywoohoo @heartlight-starlight @richbrittstein @emi11ie @bensolodyad @danidanisara @thepalaceofmelanie @durangoninetyfive @zillymaz @gotham-city-uber-driver
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oonajaeadira · a month ago
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Pulling Focus
Rating: T
Fandom: Kingsman: Golden Circle
Pairing: Jack Daniels x f!reader
Warning: none.
Summary: Jack’s on the job, but you’ve got the night off.
A/N: This is a quick little drabble in response to the Writer Wednesday prompt. This lives in the same ‘verse as my other little Jack drabble, Weapon of Mass Destruction. Aaaaaaaand since there’s four little one-shots with this couple, I guess I have an unintended series going with these two, jumping around out of order. This one would come after Mass Destruction, but before Bare Skin Rug.
Thank you to @writer-wednesday​ for the photo prompt!!! 
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It’s not often you get a night off, but then again, it’s not often that the Royal Shakespeare Company comes through on tour. The run was sold out before tickets even went on sale, but a friend on the inside was able to score you a ticket mid-floor. Sure, you had to drive two hours into the city, but an Elizabethan recreation piece of Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance playing Olivia and Tom Hiddleston as Orsino? Worth it.
All had been quiet at Statesman in the previous week; Tequila had been keeping a light follow on a jeweler’s underground market out in L.A. Meanwhile, Whiskey was working in-state on wooing the corruptible wife of some blood diamond magnate, trying to get some details on her husband and his possible ties to a bio-weaponry base in Sierra Leone. Info gathering could be a slow process, weeks of earning trust and leaning in. Backup and surveillance weren’t anticipated and you couldn’t do any testing on the new tech until the boys were back in town, so Ginger agreed to give you a night to yourself and be on call for the evening.
And, to be honest, it’s secretly nice for one evening not to have to watch the tracking and know where Jack was. And who he was with. It didn’t matter that seducing women was part of the job. It didn’t matter that you had this conversation with yourself over and over, that your crush on the cowboy was unprofessional and distracting and you knew better. It was still an effort to pack those feelings away when he checked in at a shared hotel room and shut off comms for the night.
He’s just handsome and nice and flirtatious. You’ll get over it in time. And hopefully someday you won’t spend two hours in a car thinking about it and what he might have thought of the dress you chose to wear to the theater tonight.
No. That’s enough. Tonight is supposed to be fun. Relaxing. A night out. Even if you’re by yourself, it’s a relief just to sit and take in a masterclass performance without having to worry about the other person having a good time or making conversation about the show. You dressed up for you, and you alone. Enjoy it.
There is something riveting about watching a man play a woman in love and make it simply about the universal feeling of being in love–man or woman–to wrap their tongues around words written by an author who must have sold his soul to write so eloquently… The performance is very captivating.
Even so, in the middle of Act I, something catches your eye in the private box at the upper left, a glint in the darkness as the stage lights hit something reflective–a large jewel on the finger of a woman. 
A woman who thinks nobody’s watching her up there when Tom Hiddleston is dazzling everyone onstage. A woman who’s straddling the lap of the man she’s with, kissing him slowly, hungrily, her hand weaving through his hair, tousling it and pulling it down from its slicked-back coif. 
And that man–you can clearly see when the woman comes up for air–has a very familiar hook to his nose over a very familiar mustache.
Seriously? Here? It can’t be. Gotta be a subconscious thing–
But as he holds onto her to keep her from tumbling off his lap, diving in for another kiss–
Shit. Shit. Unmistakable. And he looks so good in a dark blazer with a white rose in the buttonhole, his top shirt button undone. He’s probably wearing those tight designer jeans and the black boots you’re fond of–
Shake it off. He’s on duty. You’re here to see some of the age’s best actors take on one of history’s greatest romances. This night was supposed to be for yourself. Concentrate.
But it’s no use. No matter how much you’d looked forward to seeing the production, your focus keeps pulling back to the couple above. After a valet comes to check on them they cool it down a little and sit obediently side by side, putting on a show for each other of watching the stage. But even though the balcony hides them from the chest down, it’s obvious that their hands are as busy as they are unseen. It does not take long for his mouth to find her ear.
Your show program becomes progressively more and more useless as you roll it tighter, squeeze it harder, twist…
It’s his job. It’s his job and you shouldn’t care, not supposed to know him here anyway, but ugh it stings. Does it have to be right there in your face? Of all the nights…you just had to have tickets on the same damn night? You can’t even enjoy yourself now. See? This is what a crush on a man like this gets you. It’s time to stop this foolishness. He’s just a man. Just another spy in your agency. Just a jackass that constantly busts his tech and guess who’s always stuck fixing it.
Before you know it, Malvolio is reading a note he supposes is from Olivia and the lights come up on a very modern intermission. Leaving your crumpled program on your seat, you make your way out to the lobby for some air and to visit the restroom, not bothering to look up at the state of the lovers in the private box. 
A thought occurs to you while you’re sizing yourself up in the mirror at the ladies room of just…leaving. Just cutting the night short and driving home. But the thought makes you cringe; the strings that your friend pulled to get you this ticket. The rare occurrence that you weren’t needed at Statesman tonight. The journey to get here. The beautiful theater and the star-studded cast.
You can do this. You’ve gotten over the shock. Suck it up and enjoy the show.
As you make your way back to your seat, a quick glance up to the box finds it empty. With the way those two were at each other, you’re willing to bet it will stay that way for the rest of the night and they headed out early to get a jump start.
Figures.
Maybe Jack only knows one way to skin a cat…but the focused practice has made him very, very good at it.
Well, at least you can enjoy the rest of the show in peace.
Or you might have.
When you arrive back at your seat there’s a flat, decidedly un-murdered show program laying on it. Words scrawled across the cover: “That dress could lead a man to distraction. Still not as pleasantly distracting as the lady in it.” You know that handwriting. He knows you know his penmanship and doesn’t have to sign his name.
But just in case you needed another clue, there’s a rose sitting on top of it. A white one. Such as would go in the buttonhole of a dark blazer.
How–?
The ground floor seating is vast. Looking around at the audience, the swirl of color, the blur of faces; you’re just one dot in a sea of people and yet…
You spend the rest of the show in a daze, worrying the soft petals of the flower between your fingers, a tale of love and miscommunication masterfully unspooling before your eyes. But it will take more than Tom and Mark playing lovelorn fools to penetrate your shock.
Because, even though you’re in the middle of a crowd.
Even though you are one in a thousand.
Even though you’d be lost to anyone else.
He still saw you.
_____
COLLECTION MASTERLIST
MASTERLIST
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the-fic-baker · a month ago
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Bright
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A/N: my first @writer-wednesday piece!
Pairing: Din Djarin x GN!Reader
Content Warnings: Mention of bounty hunting, just short and fluffy☺️
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The crest wasn’t as homey as Din would like. Since you had joined him, he could help but notice how gray it all was. Your home world was bursting with color and light. Now you’re stuck in the dark. You’ve made your mark here of course. There were pieces of you littered about the interior. Little trinkets you’ve made for the child. Still, he can’t stop thinking of how you must miss the brightness of home.
His bounty on Babali was easy, he was in and out by dawn. He took a minute though, watching the sunrise over the rich forest. The colors were magnificent even through the lens of his helmet. He considered waking you, witnessing this with you. But the client expected the bounty soon. Maybe he could bring you back after, he’s sure Grogu would enjoy chasing the local wildlife.
For now, he could only show a piece. He picked the brightest thing he could take with him. A flower. Just one. Soft petals and glowing with color. He wishes he could be there to see your face when you wake up and see it. Instead, he leaves it near the cot. He knows you’ll find it along with a note.
Thank you cyar’ika, for all you do. Here’s something to brighten your day as you brighten mine.
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Taglist: @harriedandharassed
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absurdthirst · 2 months ago
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Happenstance {Oberyn Martell x F!Reader}
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Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Nudity, power dynamic, fingering, vaginal sex, unprotected sex
Writer Wednesday: Week 13 - 5/25/22 @writer-wednesday​
Click Keep Reading only if you have read the Rating and Warnings and understand the warnings may not be complete to avoid listing spoilers. As AO3 says 'creator chooses not to use warnings'. You also agree that you're the right age to be consuming anything here.
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You weren’t supposed to be here. It was against the laws for a servant to use these pools. Set aside and preserved for the nobility that roamed the hills outside of Kings Landing,  you thought it was ridiculous that they got everything good in life. 
They already had fine clothes, rich foods, plenty of coins to spend. They didn’t spend their days laboring away to make the lives of others cushy as you did. The springs that were rocked off and creating a pool were most beneficial to someone who worked all day. You had just spend the day scrubbing the hearth of that bitch queen that was on the throne, listening to her barbed insults being flung at you while you pretended not to hear. 
The heat in King’s Landing is oppressive. Pushing down and making your skin damp with the humidity and the stifling lack of a breeze. The Red Keep and the large houses that line the coast block the breezes that come off the water. The harbor still, the boats barely swaying in their moornings and most have to be rowed out into the sea. 
This place, this solitary pool is outside the gates of the city. Away from the cramped houses and winding streets. A little slice of paradise that isn’t locked away behind a gate in a noble’s house. It was supposed to be for the common people, a place of respite, but like all things - if it was nice, those that are in power seek to keep it for themselves. 
You were banned from stepping into the pools. From enjoying the cool water and letting the night breeze wash over your skin and allow goose bumps to form from how relieved you were. Except you don’t agree to those laws, those rules. 
It’s why you are here. Done with your duties, you slip away from the keep. Down the winding streets and out the eastern gate. Making sure that you kept your head down, unwilling to catch the eye of anyone passing, whether it was those that you work for or their guests. Not wanting to be beckoned back and forced to perform another task. Plastering a smile on your face like you want to spend you life toiling away for them and are grateful for the scraps from their table. 
The pool isn’t even in use. That’s another reason why you are bitter. They forbid commoners from using the beauty that is here and then they forget about it until they wish to frolic, never thinking about how they are denying those that it might be their only joy in life. 
Slipping out of your dress, if you could call the threadbare fabric a dress, your tits tighten, nipples hardening under the sunlight and the faint breeze that ripples across them now that you are away from the city. Nude, you reach for the handrail and step cautiously down the stone stairs as your feet hit the water and you gasp at the immediate cooling effect it has on your body. 
It’s easy to forget you don’t belong here. Closing your eyes and letting your body sink into the water, washing over your skin as if to baptize your past misdeeds away. Leaning back in the water, your head - more specifically your ears - are underwater. It’s why you do not hear the sounds of horses approaching, the small chuckle of a man and the conversation between several men. Or the soft leather boots when they hit the dirt and start walking towards you. 
It’s only when the sunlight is blocked. Obviously not a cloud that is passing by, it’s too direct, too centered on you to be a cloud, do you open your eyes. Finding the amused gaze of a man looking down on you. 
Screaming, you thrash in the water, slipping and nearly going under as you try to find purchase on the rocks under your feet so you can stand up and face him. “My lord! I- I did not mean to-” You start to stammer out apologizes, to beg for forgiveness.
One dark eyebrow raises, lips pouting in a disbelieving twist of a smirk and he looks around the deserted area, back at the group of three horses, only two mounted riders that are leaving. “You didn’t mean to? To swim? To be naked in these waters for my arrival?” He asks, his accent rich and his voice raspy seduction. “Pity.” 
Your head had ducked down when he started speaking, but now you look up, really looking at the man in front of you and you realize who he is. You were found out by the Prince of Dorne. Oberyn Martell of House Martell. The Dornishman that Cersei had raged against and scored in her chambers when she was talking to her brother. 
He was handsome, in a fierce, striking kind of way. His lean figure adorned in rich fabric. Yellow and beautiful robes covering his chest, the heavy gold chain of his necklace laying against warm skin. The hawkish nose make distinguished by the thin sliver of a beard framing his jaw. It should look ridiculous, but for some reason, it works on him. Dark eyes, intelligent and missing nothing, watch you closely. 
“I-” You are confused, he’s not scolding you, chasing you off or worse, calling his men over to arrest you. Instead, he’s reaching for his belt, tied over his robes to hold them together and takes it off. 
“You believe this is hot weather, do you not?” He asks, looking around in amusement as he shrugs out of the coat that would cost you a years wage, the fine spun fabric costly and the dye even more so. Your drab gown could never be more than the dark colors that were made from roots and bark. “It’s mild, you should see the sands of Dorne when the sun is high and the shadows have been chased away.” He looks back over at you, his bare chest showing after he removes the soft linen shirt under his robe and bends down to take off his boots. 
He’s talk to you. Something that is strange and perplexing. Not ordering you around or yelling at you. Conversing with you and expecting an answer. “I- there is no breeze in the city.” You murmur, noticing that his gaze slides down to your bare breasts with interest but he doesn’t stare at them like another man would have. His reputation is one that, if believed, means that tits are nothing new to him. 
“And water is the perfect place to cool down.” Oberyn hums, standing tall before he pushes his leather breeches down to strip them off and leave him as nude as you are. 
“I- I’m sorry, my lord.” You look away and start wading through the water to exit. “I should not be here. I will leave you to your swim.” 
“Stay.” The word has you looking back at him again, the lean lines of his body framing an impressive cock and you feel your body heat up again with embarrassment. 
He chuckles light and gestures around to the bare landscape around the two of you. “There is no one here to see.” He tells you. “And I will not tell.” He winks, making you blink in surprise but instead of continuing on to the stairs, you sink back down into the water. 
Oberyn hums in approval of your decision and keeps his eyes on you as he descends the steps into the water, joining you in the suddenly smaller pool. “Ellaria will be sorely disappointed that she did not join me.” He muses, making you wrinkle your brow in confusion. 
He senses your question and he gestures towards the city. “My paramour.” He tells you, making a brief flash of disappointment flare in your gut. Even if it was ridiculous for a servant to wish that a noble would be single. Even if he was, he would never look at you for more than a tumble or a distraction. “I left her in my bed, wrapped around a very pretty whore with another just leaving.” 
Your eyes widen in shock and you see a flash of teeth in his next grin. You can’t believe that he would talk so openly about such a thing or allow his lover to have dalliances that are not with him. 
Time passes, conversation flows and you find that he is not like other nobles. He is not demanding or too high browed to actually converse with a servant. He seems almost normal if it were not for the natural air of command and authority of one that is very used to getting his own way in all things. 
How you find yourself in his arms, mouth fused to his while his fingers bury themselves in your cunt, you can't really recall. It seemed to happen either so suddenly or so slowly you don’t remember. Either seduced by the aura of the prince from the moment he made himself known or jumping headlong into a foolish ideal of taking something for yourself for once. 
He’s skilled, that much you know, his fingers pumping into your cunt like he already knows it. A few quick flicks of his fingers has him pressing against a spot that has you crying out and gipping his shoulders while his tongue plunders your mouth brutally. 
Cascading you over the edge and making your walls clench down around his thick fingers. Fingers that you realize must be skilled in death and pleasure since his nickname is the Red Viper. 
In the pool, he slides inside you. Having you grip the stone edge of the pool while his lips caress your shoulder and his hips roll forward and his cock splits you open. You can’t believe that you are being fucked by a Prince. His attention to your body and your pleasure making it seem as if there is at least one man who does not prioritize his pleasure over his partners. 
You gasp, pant and whine, crying out his name. Something you would have never been allowed to utter with other nobles. He didn’t want to hear his title during sex, he wanted to hear his name from your lips. Feeling his cock spearing up into you harshly, the slaps of the water against the rocks and your skin with everything thrust making you hold on tighter. 
Hand on your tits squeeze and pluck at your nipples. Making them ache and your cunt clench around him. Adding to the pleasure and making that knot of tension build up in your core. Working you up to a fevered frenzy where you are poised to cum every time his cock fills you. 
His teeth find your skin. Making you shatter and scream when he bites down on your shoulder, driving deep into your spasming cunt and grunting into your neck. The warmth of his cum filling you, grinding deep and pulsing as he rides out his release. 
Only when he pulls away do you start breathing again. Slowly moving and blinking as if you are awakening from a dream. Maybe you are, this being just an interlude to life. You expect him to leave, watching him wade over to the steps. Climbing gracefully out of the pool, he turns back to you with that same amused smirk that has first graced his face when you set eyes on him. “Get dressed, Dove.” He murmurs as he reaches for his linen shirt to dry his legs off with. 
You think that he is telling you that your time in the pool is over. That it is time for you to go back to the monotony of your existence, but he surprises you. “My paramour will be thrilled to meet you and pout that I have kept you to myself for so long already.” He winks again and reaches for your dress to hand to you as you step out of the water. “Our bed is soft and the breeze is cool enough for you to enjoy.” 
Happenstance brought you into Oberyn Martells orbit. He doesn’t tell you today that it is very similar in that coincidence brought him Ellaria. That will be saved for another time, another night when you are wrapped between your lovers and grateful that an illicit swim in a forbidden pool led you to the life far away from Kings Landing that you lead now. 
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flightlessangelwings · 25 days ago
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Under the Cherry Blossom Trees
Joel Miller x gn!reader (no use of y/n)
Word count: 1.1k (1485 with optional epilogue)
Warnings: fluff, protective!Joel, established relationship, kissing, sweetness, optional angst epilogue
Notes: My blog remains 18+ only even if this fic isn’t explicit! I loved this writer Wednesday pic so much and the idea just instantly popped in my head! Thanks so much @writer-wednesday @autumnleaves1991-blog @clydesducktape for hosting this every week! Hopefully this formats ok since I’m posting from mobile!
I also have an update blog @flightlessangelwings-updates to stay up to date on when I post!
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~
“Joel, where are you taking me?”
“It’s a surprise, baby,” Joel replied with a smirk.
You rolled your eyes playfully as you tightened your grip around his waist. The horse the two of you shared walked gently through the quiet forest. Everything seemed at peace here, with no sign of infected for miles. The only sounds in the forest other than the clop of your horse were scattered bird calls and the rustle of the local wildlife.
You let out a short chuckle, “You know Joel, if it were anyone but you I would think I was about to be murdered and dumped out here in the middle of nowhere.”
Joel moved a hand from the reins and gave your wrists a tight squeeze, “You know I ain’t never gonna let anything like that happen, baby.” His tone was too serious for your attempt at a joke.
“I know,” you whispered as you leaned your head against his broad back and savored the warmth of his body, “I was just kidding.”
All Joel offered was a soft grunt and another squeeze before he fell silent again. You decided to keep quiet as well and just enjoyed the feeling of his body against yours and the soft warm wind against your back.
It was a sunny spring day, and as much as you loved living in Jackson, it was nice to be out and get some fresh air. Things almost felt normal like this with you and Joel out on a horseback date in the woods. But Joel always tried to make life seem as normal as he could for you.
Even so, he surprised you this morning when he told you to get ready to go out with him. He tried to hide it, but you saw through Joel’s calm and collected facade and noticed that he seemed nervous and jittery. But when you asked him why he needed you, he refused to answer.
Stranger still, Joel grabbed his guitar on the way out.
“Baby, we’re here.”
Joel’s hushed voice jolted you out of the trance you were in from the warm air and the soothing beat of his heart. You hadn’t even realized you almost dozed off right there on the horse until his voice broke the silence.
Suddenly, a rush of sensation flooded you and you took a deep inhale to smell something you hadn’t smelled in a long time, “Cherry blossoms?”
A soft rumble echoed from Joel’s chest, “Surprise,” he whispered softly.
Before you could restrain yourself, you gasped loudly, “Joel… Holy shit…”
In front of you was a long pathway lined on either side with cherry blossom tree after cherry blossom tree. The pink of the fully bloomed flowers in the sun lit up the forest in a way that completely took your breath away. Puddles from yesterday's light rain reflected the sunlight and made this patch of forest seem brighter than what surrounded it.
Joel turned over his shoulder and took in your reaction. Sure the trees were beautiful, but they didn’t compare to the look in your eyes as your face lit up in awe. He never could get enough of looking at you, and he swore there was never enough time to fully admire and appreciate your features.
He kept the horse still for several moments before he ushered you all towards a tree with a low hanging branch. You barely even noticed the movement.
With a click of his tongue, Joel steadied the horse, swung his leg over and pushed himself off. He quickly tied the reins to the branch before he extended a hand to you and said your name in such a sweet tone, “You coming?”
You shook your head as your eyes landed on Joel, “You bet!”
Joel’s hand felt warm in yours as he helped you down. You kept ahold of him even as you were steady on your feet and you let him guide you down the path. Your trust in Joel compared to nothing else and you followed his lead while you looked around and soaked in your surroundings.
“Wow…” you breathed, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
A warm smile lit up Joel’s face as he looked over at you. His heart skipped a beat in his chest as he studied your every feature as if he was seeing you for the first time. But then again, to Joel, every time he saw your smile felt like the first time all over again.
You felt the weight of Joel’s gaze on you and you froze in place. When you met his eyes and saw the look of pure admiration there, you swallowed hard and suddenly your skin felt like it was on fire, “What?” you asked in a whisper.
“Nothing baby,” Joel murmured as he suddenly felt embarrassed as well, “You just look so damn beautiful in the flowers like this.”
A chuckle escaped your lips before you could help it, “Always the romantic, aren’t you Joel?”
“I do try,” his voice was low as he ushered you ahead of him, “You like it?” Joel used his nose and pointed towards a small setup on the side of the path.
You gasped as you saw the small tent that was set up between two large trees. Inside were some blankets and pillows to make it homey and cozy. And the front was open so you could sit and enjoy the magnificence of the trees and flowers around you.
“I found this place with Tommy yesterday on patrol,” Joel explained as he led you into the tent and sat the both of you down, “I checked for infected, there’s no one for miles. Just you and me. We can finally get some quiet alone time,” he rested an arm around your waist and kissed the side of your face, “How’d I do?”
“Joel… It’s…” you couldn’t even finish your thought before you lunged at him and kissed him deeply.
A low rumble echoed in Joel’s chest as he eagerly kissed you back and held you close. Soft moans filled the tent as you immediately deepened the kiss and showed him just how much you loved his surprise.
“Happy anniversary baby,” he murmured against your lips when you finally broke away for air.
You didn’t even open your eyes as you rested your head on Joel’s shoulder and settled comfortably at his side. You felt him place one last kiss on the top of your head before he pulled out his guitar and played a soft, sweet melody just for you.
At that moment, everything was absolutely perfect under the cherry blossom trees.
*
Optional epilogue (warnings: tlou2 spoilers, angst, major character death)
The sun shined brightly as you rode your horse through the woods, but it still felt dark to you. Nothing seemed the same anymore, as if all the color in the world drained from your vision. Even the pinks of the cherry blossoms seemed dull in your eyes.
Everything was quiet around you, as if the world stood still for the moment, only to be broken by the sound of the clop of the horse beneath you. It was a strangely familiar feeling, yet it was different.
You rode down the path that Joel had taken you before, only this time it was just you. What was once a happy memory now felt somber as you had never felt more alone.
A sigh escaped your lips as you reached your destination: the tent Joel had set up for you.
You jumped off and tied the horse to a branch before you approached the space. What was once a warm, inviting space now felt cold and distant. Moss covered the blankets that were left behind and it felt like a shadow of what it once was.
But then again, so were you.
As you sat down on the damp ground, you choked back a sob. What should have been a happy day felt heavy on your heart. Reaching into your pocket, you pulled out Joel’s old watch and cradled it in your hands before you wrapped yourself around it and finally broke down into tears.
“I miss you so much, Joel,” you cried, “So fucking much.”
Birds fluttered in the trees around you, but you ignored it.
“Dina had the baby recently,” you spoke to the watch, “JJ is what they called him,” you let out a soft exhale, “Yeah, one of those J’s is for you,” you paused as you caught your breath, “Everyone is doing fine. You’d be so proud of Ellie, Joel. I’m watching over her, like I promised I would.”
Your eyes dropped down as you watched your tears hit the ground in front of you, “It’s not the same without you though,” you let out a deep sigh as you brought the watch up to your lips and gave it a gentle kiss, “Happy anniversary Joel.”
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artemiseamoon · 18 days ago
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Cherry Blossoms in Chicago
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Carmen "Carmy" Berzatto x f reader | The Bear masterlist
Week 20 @writer-wednesday
Words: 1,162
Warnings: brief mention of stress and his brothers death
An: it’s happening! I though I would start with Michael cause you know, Jon. But here we are! It’s blue eyes over here first.
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It’s been four months since you reunited with Carmen. He was quiet in school, shy, he didn't really have any friends and he stayed to himself. You weren’t the most extroverted person in the world, and the two of you eventually bonded over senior year.
But there was only so much you knew about Carmen, you only got so close. When you left college, you and Carmen didn’t keep in touch. He wasn’t the best communicator and anytime you tried to reach out to him, he took a long time to reply or didn’t reply at all.
Any hope for you and Carmen reconnecting finally died when he moved away, and you didn’t see him again for a long time. Though, his accomplishments outside of Chicago were a big deal, especially in the culinary world. The lack of communication from him didn’t sour how proud of him you felt, you hoped he was proud of himself too.
Over this time, you lived your life, graduated college and had boyfriends. Your crush on Carmen made its way to the back of your mind as you moved through your life without him. You didn’t think about it again until he came back home, after Michael's death to run resturaunt.
Carmen was in town for two months before you visited and ordered some food. You could tell he was stressed, tired, overwhelmed. Still, at the sight of you, Carmen’s brilliant blue eyes lit up. You could tell in that moment, your short lived-friendship stayed with him too.
From there, you would visit a few times. Carmen never really had time to talk and didn't seem to live a life outside of the restaurant. You didn’t have your first real conversation with him until the both of you ended up on the same train one morning.
When Carmen sat next to you, you initiated a conversion. You led most of it, Carmen still didn't say much, just like he did in high school, but he was slightly more relaxed and seemed happy to sit next to you. He listened closely to everything you said.
Carmen didn’t want to talk about himself, and even when you asked how he was doing, he said fine and ran his fingers through his wild hair. You didn’t push the topic any further.
Over the next few months, you and Carmen continued to have little interactions like this. Though they never lasted more than 10 minutes. Whenever you came into the restaurant, Carmen gave you something for free. Or something he made for you.
Carmen may not have been the best communicator, but he did it best though food, you could feel all the love and attention to detail he put into it.
Feeling hopeful and energized by the start of a beautiful Spring, you decide to get Carmen out of the restaurant for a couple of hours. You wanted to see the cherry blossoms in the park for a few days now and figure it could be a nice thing to do with Carmen. A peaceful chill activity that could bring him out of his ball of stress, perfectionism and anxiety.
A few days ago you saw the sign that the place was closed for renovations, so if there was any time to successfully get him away, it would be now. When you show up, he's inside with the crew and lets you in. You follow him back to his office.
“Hey. You're hungry, want some food?” He asked.
“Not yet but I’m here for you.”
“For me?”
“Yeah, you.”
His blue eyes remain locked on yours as he tries to figure out what you mean by that.
“Take the apron off, we’re going out.”
“I can’t. I have too much to do.”
“The place is closed. Right?”
“Right. And we're doing renovations. I have to be here.”
“Carmen, you practically live in this place. You can take an hour or two. Trust me. It will be worth it. Maybe grab some food to go.”
Carmen grins, “what are you planning?”
“It’s a surprise. Come on, apron.” You point at it. Looking past him, you see Sydney walking by.
Sydney smiles at you and mouths, “please. Take him. He needs this.”
You chuckle to yourself and point at the apron again. Carmen shakes his head, he’s still not sure about this. But he eventually takes off the apron. You take it and put it on his desk.
“Good. Now, how about we take two sandwiches and some drinks.”
Carmen laughs, “okay. Okay.” He leads the way out of the office.
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The relaxed walk through the park is just as calming as you dreamed it would be. At first, Carmen was still tense, but as you walked, you noticed him relax little by little. You even stopped to smell the flowers, which he refused to do at first, then gave in.
“Nice right, see.” You grinned at him.
One of the cherry blossom flowers falls off. Carmen catches it and awkwardly offers it to you. You take it and tuck it in behind your ear.
“Guess that one was for you. '' He slides his hands in his pocket as he observes you.
“Thank you tree,” you start walking again, he falls in step with you. Your eyes drift to his arms. His biceps were distracting. In his left hand he holds the bag with your sandwiches and two soft drinks.
“How about this spot?” You point to a bench under one of the trees. Carmen answers with a nod and you both take a seat.
He uses the space between you to set the food and drinks out, using the bag as a barrier between the food and the bench. As he does this, his hair falls into his face.
“This is nice. Thank you.” He said, his eyes still cast downward.
“My pleasure.” You wait for him to look up, he doesn’t yet.
“Um,” he glances up and runs his hand over his mouth, “we’re having family style dinner later, if you want to come.” He breaks eye contact. “You could uh, bring your guy, if you want.”
“I don’t have a guy, not anymore.” Carmen’s beautiful blue eyes dart back to yours. “It's done, mutual clean break. No drama. It just wasn't…the connection wasn't there.”
“Shit. damn, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be...It’s a good thing.” You pause, Carmen stares at you. “I feel fine.”
“Okay. Family dinner then?” The flower falls away from your ear where you tucked it, Carmen catches it. After a moment of hesitation, he places it back.
You smile warmly at him, “I’ll be there.”
Carmen smiles shyly. His eyes land on your outfit as he hands you a drink. “You look nice.”
“Thanks. It's gorgeous out today, figured why not wear my favorite outfit.”
“It looks good.” his eyes continue to burn into you and that school girl crush of yours grows tenfold. Carmen looks away and hands you a sandwich. “Let’s eat.”
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