Natural form era dress, late 1870s - early 1880s
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nobody does it like commander Nazyalensky
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Who: Whitney Peak as Zoya Lott
What: Closed Titania Jacket - Sold Out
Where: 1x03 “Lies Wide Shut"
Worn with: Happy Me Tee bag and Dr. Martens boots
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No I dont take criticism
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Clout from Grandma’s Closet
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So are we actually going to hear Clout From Grandma's Closet perform? Or hear Shay talk at all? Because that's the reason I was looking forward to this clip today
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thinking about skam austin again 😔
Mizpah // the darkling x reader // ch 5
summary: You tumble a Grisha in more ways than one ;)
warnings: violence, fighting, cursing, SMUT, fingering, masturbation??, praise kink, not proofread.
A/N: this is all over the place, forgive me y'all </3
WHEN you awoke the next morning, you found a single glass of water placed on your night stand. Your head pounded as you tried to recall the blurred events from the previous night. All you remembered was catching up with Alina and then finally leaving her room. From there it was as if everything had muddled together to form a single incoherent memory. The sun had just begun to peak through your window.
While you were away last night, a servant must have stocked up your closet with clean clothes. They had mainly been a few soldiers' uniforms and some new nightgowns. Along with a few robes, each one as soft as a rabbit's fur. The gold kefta still remained in the dresser, collecting dust.
You changed out of your dirty clothes that you had slept in, and placed them in a neatly folded pile on the corner of your bed. After throwing on a clean uniform and putting your hair into a low bun, you rang for a servant. You asked her to bring breakfast to you. It seemed like there was no use in eating with the other Grisha. Where would you have sat? You weren’t a Corporalki, Etherealki, nor a Materialki. You certainly weren’t the Darkling either. There would be no place for you if you’d chosen to eat there with Alina.
Soon enough, a light knock echoed on the wooden door. “Come in!” You said, and the servant strolled in with a cart. She placed down a golden tray in front of you. You were served sweet pea porridge and fresh figs with a tall glass of water. You thanked the servant before she dismissed herself, leaving you to your food. There was another covering that laid on the tray, no plate under it. As you shoveled another spoonful of the porridge into your mouth, you took off the covering. Under the dome laid your weapons, cleaned of the dirt and blood that caked them. You placed your weapons back onto their respective places: a pistol and dagger at your hips, a knife securely tucked into your boot, and the last knife hidden away in your sleeve.
Just as you finished your food, another knock resonated in your uncomfortably quiet room. You beckoned them to come in. A Grisha with a red kefta came in, the black stitching signifying that he was a heartrender. You gave him a polite smile as he stepped in.
“Hello. I am Fedyor. I am to escort you to the training grounds today.” He explained.
“Oh no, it’s alright. I don’t need an escort. I know my way around the palace, thank you though.” You assured him. Sitting on the corner of your bed, you put on your boots. You were surprised to find them in the normal place you had put them, at the foot of your bed, near the very corner. It was a habit you had since you were a child. Every other orphan at Keramzin always placed their boots either to the left or right of their beds. It was understandably easier than leaving your boots where you normally had, yet you couldn’t shake the habit.
“The General himself required me to accompany you. As you must know, I cannot obey the General’s orders.” He stated. After lacing up your boots, you made your way to the tray your breakfast was on. You put the small plate that once housed the figs into the empty bowl of the porridge you were served. Picking up the tray, you began to walk towards the circular table near the door and left the tray there so it’d be easier for the servant to clean.
You turned to him, arms crossed on your chest as you sighed, “Fine.” You examined the new jacket you were issued, it wasn’t the same as the frayed one you were used to. The hem of your sleeves were intact, unlike your old one when you had picked apart the stitching when you were nervous. The only thing that you were particularly happy about was the fur lining. Yours had matted from being used so much and slept on.
“You know, it’s quite odd that you’re staying in the General's hall.” You let out a hm, questioning what he meant by that. “Usually guests stay in the guest hall. The General never permits for anyone to stay in his. He’s the only person allowed to sleep in this specific hall.” He whispered as we walked past a group of Materialki. They were huddled amongst themselves, whispering and giggling as they made their way to their training rooms.
“Maybe it’s because I’m Alina’s friend? Perhaps he feels like he needs to watch over me himself since he has also taken her under his watch.” You said. You took a deep breath of the crisp winter air as the two of you stepped outside.
“Perhaps. But why is Alina staying in the vezda suite? Wouldn’t it make sense for her to be staying in the General’s hall as well?” Fedyor did make a good point, if Alina was the most important Grisha of all, why wasn’t she across the hallway from the Darkling?
“It truly is a mystery I suppose. But if I were you, I wouldn’t question his choices.” You teased. You thought you might’ve offended him until he lets out a short laugh.
“Saints know what he would do if I had.” He replied, making you giggle. Your laughter died as you arrived at Botkin’s training area. Grisha alike had already been paired up and were sparring. Alina had been paired up with a girl she had mentioned last night, you couldn’t remember her name. Madia? No that wasn’t it. Narie? It wasn’t that one either. Noticing a late arrival, Botkin walked up to you.
“Botkin has never seen little girl before.” You tried to suppress the surprise you felt when you heard him refer to himself in third person. “Who is she?” He asked Fedyor. By now some people had stopped training to hear the conversation. You noticed Alina was still sparring with her friend, unaware of your arrival.
“She’s here as Alina’s guest.” At the mention of her name, the girl stopped fighting. Finally taking notice of your figure, she let out a surprised gasp.
“What are you doing here?” She asked as she came closer.
“Training. If I’m going to stay at the palace I don’t want to rot away and do nothing.” You said, rolling your shoulders to loosen up your muscles.
“First Army girl wants to train with Botkin.” His voice, although baritone and guttural, brought a strange comfort to you. “Choose your opponent.” You surveyed the crowd, looking for someone who could pose a possible challenge. Your eyes landed on a tan skinned girl with raven black hair, bangs framing her face perfectly. Her black eyes stared into yours, challenging you.
“Her.” You stated while nodding your head towards her. Botkin weaved his head in the direction you had nodded off to.
“Ah, star pupil, Zoya!” So this was Zoya, the girl who told Alina that she reeked of Keramzin. “I have trained her since she was ten.” The raven haired girl offered you a way out, which you immediately declined.
“Fighters ready?” You put your fist up, getting into stance. “And..Fight!” You waited for Zoya to come to you first. She walked up to you, her fists hung up. You circled each other, playing the waiting game. You were about to make a move when you saw Zoya moving her right fist towards your face. You ducked left, managing to move in time to avoid the punch. With her back still to you, you jammed your elbow into her side making her hunch over.
She came at you again, this time with more veracity and anger behind each swing. Except she didn’t land a single blow. You were able to avoid each one as you let out a giggle, staggering a few steps back.
“Is that all you’ve got, star pupil?” Your comment only seemed to spur her on more. She ran at you in full force, this time you let her land a hit on you for the fun of it. What you didn’t expect was for her to punch you so hard that she drew blood. You sniffled feeling a drop of blood come from your nose. You began your attack with a right hook followed by a left one. In return she used her arms to block each time, leaving her abdomen vulnerable.
You were able to land a hard blow or two before you found yourself briefly soaring through the air, your back meeting the hard wall that was originally ten paces behind you. You let out a wheeze as you feel one of your ribs break.
Botkin had begun to reprimand Zoya, looking at her you could feel her shame as she upset her mentor. You couldn’t help but smirk as she looked at you, at least now she knows how someone from Keramzin fights. Her gaze hardened, about to walk up to you once more before she was taken away by some guards.
“Oh my Saints, now the General is really going to have my head.” Fedyor said in a panic. He helped you stand as he called for a healer.
“I’m quite alright.” You ensured, but the wince in your face gave you away. Alina came running up to you, giving you a once over before taking you from Fedyor and into her embrace.
“You know you shouldn’t be doing that.” She whispered into your ear. “It’s too dangerous for you.” She made a movement to grab one of your cold hands, giving it a squeeze.
“Everything’s a risk for me, Alina. The Doctor made that clear.” When you were younger, you were diagnosed with a heart condition. It was nothing serious really, and only acted up once in a blue moon. The tugging and squeezing feeling only lasted for seconds, but the pain left you feeling unstable for hours after. “The risk is always worth it.”
“But what if one day its not?” She pulled away from you, resting her hands on your shoulders. “The Doctor himself said there was no cure for this, no remedy that could help.”
“It’s worth it if it means protecting our honor.” You replied honestly.
“I don’t need you to protect our honor.” She protested. “I need you to protect yourself. Even if that means backing down from a fight.” You remained silent as a healer began to work on you. Starting first with your broken ribs then moving onto your bloody nose. After a few minutes of sitting still, the healer finally told you that you could leave.
Alina and Fedyor accompanied you back to your room. “What do you think will happen to her?” You asked. Alina shrugged her shoulders as the heartrender went to respond.
“She will probably get reprimanded by the General too. Zoya knows not to use her powers while training. Respectfully, especially not against someone who isn’t Grisha.” He commented.
You must’ve really gotten under her skin then if she went against all those years of training and discipline. “Good. She needs to know her place.” You snarked. “Now I’d like to get some rest.” You glanced at Alina, her gaze unwavering. “Alone, please.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I promise I’ll be fine. If I need help I can always call for the General.” You replied, placing your cold hand on top of hers and gave it a squeeze. With great reluctance, she nodded her head. Fedyor and her leaving to return to combat training.
As you close the door, you feel your resolve break. Wincing as the pain and exhaustion came back. As you grew up, your condition continued to tire you. You couldn’t fight nor run the same way you could two years ago. At this rate, you’d probably be dead in the next two years because of your heart condition. That was if the war didn’t kill you first.
The sun was nowhere near close to setting. You still had most of the day to kill yet you didn’t know what to do. You thought back to one of the places the Darkling had shown you, perhaps you could go to the library. Gathering whatever strength you had left, you returned to the calm and composed front you had always put on.
The walk there had been time consuming, nauseating even. But you were determined to snatch a book or two to read while you were cooped up in your room. The library of the Little Palace was grand, filled from floor to ceiling with various books. If you ever had the chance to visit the Grand Palace, their library would definitely be on a list of places of visit.
You ran your finger along the spines of the books as you walked through the shelves. There were two things that you loved most in your life: the feeling of the sun on your skin and the smell of books. Strangely enough, the smell of the books had reminded you of Keramzin in a way. Probably because you spent most of your childhood with your nose shoved into a book. Collecting two books, you were adamant on getting to your room in time to be able to sit in the sun and read a couple of chapters. All of a sudden the smell of incense and mildew had taken over your sense of smell.
“My Saints, where is that smell coming from..” You whispered to yourself. Unexpectedly you heard a shuffle behind you. Turning around you saw a greasy man in a robe.
“Hello, y/n.” Said the man.
“Do I know you?” You replied cautiously, reaching for the knife you had hidden in your sleeve.
“I am the Apparat, a priest. Advisor to the King.” He stated. Knowing who he was didn’t make you any less tentative, your fingers still gripped the handle of your knife.
“Okay...right. Nice meeting you. I’ll be on my way now.” You said, trying your best to move around him but he stopped you. He latched onto your arm that had been reaching for your knife, effectively rendering your weapons useless.
“Do you remember?” He acquired his answer from the confused look on your face, “Oh, soon you will remember. Everything will face into place.” You ripped your arm out of his rough hands and ran out of the library, never looking back.
When you were finally in your room, you threw the books onto the floor as you rushed to the tub. There hadn’t been any warm water around but you didn’t care. You filled the tub with lukewarm water as you began to strip yourself of your clothes. Skewing them across the floor as you picked up a velvet robe and tossed it on a nearby chair. Stepping in, you grabbed a loofah. Scrubbing yourself clean of the Apparat’s lingering touch. You scrubbed and scrubbed until your skin was raw. After dunking your head underwater to wet your hair, you picked up a soap. It smelt of lavender and honey. In the First Army, they had always given you a singular bar of soap to last you a week. Showers came scarce due to the fact that the soap practically diminished once it touched water. Gently lathering the soap in your hands, you cleaned your hair first. The repetitive circular motions of your hands had started to calm you down, almost lulling you to sleep. Quickly finishing off your hair and the rest of your body, you found yourself smelling good for the first time in a while.
Feeling satisfied enough, you let out a sigh, letting yourself relax as you rest your arms on the edge of the tub. It wouldn’t hurt to take a nap. You thought. After all, you fought a Grisha without the use of your weapons and came out somewhat victorious. You let your hair dangle outside of the tub to dry as you close your eyes, sleep taking over you.
“Stop it!” You screamed, you could feel someone splashing cold water at you. Wetting your hair and dress. “Aleksander, stop!” You said while laughing. You could hear him let out a laugh before coming up behind you and taking you into his embrace. He wrapped his arms around your belly as he rested his chin on your shoulder. The stubble from his face tickling you.
“How are you today, my darling?” He whispered into your ear, making you shiver. He began to pepper kisses up and down your neck, making your legs feel like jelly. Your hands flew to his in order to stabilize yourself.
“Good. But it could be better.” You teased, egging him on. One of his hands travels your hips, bunching up the fabric of your skirt to give himself better access. The other hand made its way to your core, ghosting past your eager bundle of nerves.
“Look at you, already so wet for me.” He shoved aside your underwear, plunging two of his fingers into your heat. He paused at the sound of your moan, “Taking my fingers so well.” He set an agonizingly slow pace, let out a few groans himself as he rubbed himself against you. His long fingers search for the spot he knew so well, the one that would make you mewl and fall apart in his embrace. He hits it once, twice, before extracting his fingers from you. He placed his slick covered fingers atop of your dry ones before guiding them back to your wet entrance. You were able to slide in with ease as he guided your movements.
“I can’t..” You breathed out, the feeling of his fingers and yours combined had been too much for you.
“Yes you can.” He purred, tilting your head with his own to get better access to your neck. “You’re almost there, I can feel it.” Just as he said that, he felt you briefly clamp down, signaling you were close. He guides your fingers deeper, nearing your g spot as his other hand lets go of your dress and goes to your clit.
The action makes you come undone as you moan his name repeatedly, your juices coating both his and your fingers. You let out a whine as he removes his fingers from you, only to place his hand into his mouth, sucking your cum off of him.
“Sweet, as always.” He gently grabs your chin and turns you to face him, his dilated pupils meeting yours. “Here, have a taste of yourself.” His words alone made another wave of heat pool at your core. He grabs your hand before inserting into your mouth. You wrap your lips around your fingers, staring into his slate gray eyes all the while. After lapping up your juices, you release your fingers with a pop!
Even in your dream state you could tell this man looked suspiciously like General Kirigan. They shared the same face structure, their cheekbones rested at the same angle. His eyebrows were as perfectly sculpted as the General’s. Lashes equally as dark and long. The only difference was that the man-- Aleksander, had a near clean shaven face and his hair was grown out to reach his shoulders. The General had a beard and sported a slicked back look. Yet the two looked identical.
Your eyes searched his face, his body, for anything that could tell you anything. You spotted a mole near his right collarbone. Nearly hidden by the collar of his shirt, small but it would have to do. Without thinking, you reach up to grab his face to pull him in for a kiss.
YOUR doors opened with a bang, startling you from your sleep. The person entered without even knocking, alerting you to three possibilities: someone had broken in and now was here to kill you, you were being kidnapped, or the Darkling was here to brutally murder you. You let the first two options leave your mind, knowing how well guarded the Little Palace was. So there was no possibility for an intruder to get so far into the grounds. Yet the third option did little to ease your mind.
Realizing you were still in the tub, you got out. Not wanting anyone to see you naked. Not like it hasn’t happened before. You thought, thinking back to your time at Caryeva. You quickly threw on your robe, haphazardly tying it while you grabbed one of your knives and unsheathed it. You threw the knife just in time, the person emerging from the curtains being nicked by your blade before it landed on the trimming of the bathroom entrance.
“Oh my Saints, I’m so sorry…” The Darkling stared at you, surprise flicking on his features. “I didn’t hear you come in. I was asleep.”
You walked to the side, picking up a towel to clean up his wound. You dipped it into a bucket of clean water, wringing it out afterwards.
“In the bathtub?” You gave him a nod, a blush forming on your cheeks. “Well you certainly sleep wherever you can.” He joked. As you shifted closer to him, you felt that familiar wetness in your thighs. Fuck. You thought, your blush becoming deeper. You’d been so caught up with the idea of someone coming to kill you that you had forgotten about your dream.
“Are you alright?” It should’ve been you who was asking the question since you nicked him after all. He awaited your reply as you gently pressed the towel against the cut.
“I am. Nothing serious happened to me.” You replied, assuming he had heard of the events that had taken place earlier that day. “Are you?” You asked, “I mean, you seemed very alarmed when you barged in.”
“My apologies for that. You just...you weren’t responding to my knocks or my questions. I’d assumed the worst.” He said, struggling to find the words. You didn’t know how to feel, in a way you were glad that he cared for your well being, yet it slightly made your gut lurch. You’d been here for less than a week and he seemingly cared more for you than Alina. Then again, you didn’t know what the two did behind closed doors. You stopped cleaning his wound, the bleeding had stopped. The two of you remained close, only an arms distance away from each other.
“Why do you care so much? After all, I’m only a guest here at the palace. I’m not a Grisha like you or everyone else here.”
“You're my guest. It’s normal for me to worry about my guests.” He explained. You crossed your arms over your chest, eyebrows furrowing as you listened to him.
“Yes, but..” You paused, “Yesterday I was Alina’s guest. Now today, I am yours. So which is it?”
“Whatever you’d like.” He whispered, taking a step closer to you. His gaze flickering to your lips then back to your eyes.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did.” He replied, giving you a smirk that made you roll your eyes.
“Have we met before?” You asked, making the General freeze in his place. His posture goes rigid, you struggle to read the emotion on his face. “.. I could’ve sworn that we…” You doubled over, your left hand clutching your chest as your right hand flew to his shoulder. The pain had never hit you twice in a day. Not even twice in a month.
“Alina..g-get her.” The General called for a servant to fetch her along with a healer. In his panic, he swept you off your feet and carried you to the bed. He laid you upon it as he took your left hand into his. In a haze, your right hand began to wander, weakly pulling at the collar of his shirt. The pain went away as a moment of clarity came over you, General Kirigan had bared the same mole that Aleksander had. As you placed your hand on his face, the pain came rushing back.
Before you allowed yourself to give into the darkness that called you, a tentative whisper left your lips, your eyes searching his.
Mizpah tag: @all-art-is-quite-useless @devilxangel @musicconversedance @parabatai-winchester @runawayolives @tartiflvtte @rbg1933 @thatguppienamedbae @batgal96 @thebarisinhell99 @5hundreddaysofsummer @kaqua @queenseneschal @benbarnes-supremacy @princessofpersia96 @takethee @dontjinx-it @freakytillthemoon @amortentiaaaa @marvel-ousnesss @coolninjavoid @areomalfoy @pansysgirlfriend @universalirwin @leavejuliaalone @xx-winwin-wednesday-xx @honeyofthegods @lunamyangel @d-list-goddess @comphersjost@telepathdestiel @the-celestial-kitsune @thestoryofmylife9 @s-corpionem @pancakeisreading @sanna2020 @secretsandtinyshadows @savannah-elliott @maliasblue @tea-effect @disneyandharrypotter @futuristicpinklemur @tanyaherondale @the-puff-is-strong-with-this-one @hxgreeves @yourboiialucard @thereeallink @ladyblablabla @wolfieellsworld @p3nny4urth0ught5 @louweasleymalfoy @the-natureofme @itsloveroflife @oddlittleminx @within-thehollowcrown @itsfangirlmendes @heyyimlaynna @jgtfvhsg @gloriousmoneyrascalbiscuit @auggie2000 @itsnotquimey @jtownraindancer @sonnensplitter @sarcastic-and-cool @poulterfilms @spookybooisa @stickyknightflowerbailiff @hollandsweetie @yungkvte @evyiione @2023-padfoot @kawaiimarshmallow @nikki-sixx-is-daddy @sanktawylan @blackbirddaredevil23
mizpah taglist closed </3
S.a.B. forever tag: @deceivedeer
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the grishaverse characters sexualities in my opinion
alina-bi with a preference for men. you can’t tell me that nothing was happening between her and genya
mal-straight. was a little homophobic that sometimes ur like is he fruity. has now come to terms with his wife’s sexuality
darkling-honestly to be determined. may be pan. idk. definitely aromantic. alina was the closet thing he got to love but he just doesn’t feel it
zoya-straight. as much as I wish she wasn’t she just doesn’t have the fruity vibes
nikolai-definitely a bisexual you can’t tell me he didn’t have a thing for his childhood best friend in kos because i won’t believe you
genya-a lesbian. look david is the exception, he is her soulmate but besides that this girl is 100% gay or maybe that’s just me wishing she was but it’s fine
tomar-non-binary and a lesbian. maybe uses she/they but could be they/them
toyla-aroace, bisexual and uses he/they.
david-he’s straight but a great ally. when you come out to him he would not blink twice. our unbothered king. i miss him
kaz-pan but let’s be honest he will only ever have eyes for inej. he lowkey thought jesper was hot but nothing more.
inej-also pan. has never had time to explore her sexuality with all genders. even if she never dates or hooks up with a women she is still pan.
jesper-our double bi-con. both biracial and bisexual. he likes both and is not afraid to admit it. definitely very flirty. and we all know he had a huge crush on kaz
nina-our other bi-con. but waffles over people any day. inej made her blush once in a very non straight way.
mathias-straight but just like he had to unlearn that grisha were inhuman, and women were weak, he had to unlearn that same sex couples are wrong. and now is super supportive
wylan-he’s a twink and we all know it. he’s so gay it hurts. honestly it shocks me that daddy van eck cared more about his dyslexia then his sexuality. also it’s not surprising, if i was a guy i’d be in love with jesper too.
kuwei-girl we been know he was gay.
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hello my dear bonnie, if you're still taking prompts, can i suggest #47 👀 ?
LOVE THIS PROMPT!!! here you go my love<3
prompt: you’re casually seeing my roommate and think they’re in the shower when you strip down to join me and we end up screaming and my roommate thinks it’s the funniest thing and tries to set us up on a date
yikes at this going from a quick lil ficlet to 6.7k oof
would it be okay if i came home to you (explicit) (ao3)
Alina steps into the shower, wondering how the hell she ended up rooming with Zoya to begin with.
Don't get her wrong, she loves Zoya. But her raven-haired friend can be difficult, and she was supposed to have buffer. Originally, it was going to be her, Zoya, and Genya living together, until Genya backed out last minute to move in with her boyfriend David instead.
"I'm so sorry, but it just makes sense," Genya said to them over lunch one afternoon. "Besides, if things go how I think they will, you two will be on the same path that I'm on soon enough."
Zoya scoffed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Alina had the same question, considering both of them were hopelessly single.
Genya just sipped her tea and said in a sing-song voice, "You'll see."
At first, living with Zoya was fine. They agreed easily on most apartment related things; splitting up chores, rules about not touching each other's food, a timely heads up before having friends or potential sexual partners over. Zoya could get nit picky about a few things, like the lecture she'd given her on the proper position of the toilet paper roll. It goes over, Starkov, understand? Under is for heathens and natural selection is coming for them. But otherwise, things had been fine.
He was a part of the friend circle she had surrounded herself with since freshman year. But there was something about Mal that had drawn her to him in a way that was different from the rest of the group — different from anyone else she had ever met. He was like a drug, a magnet, the missing link that had her saying, where have you been my whole life, when you're meant to be here beside me? So quickly he had become her closet friend, and as much as their group liked to tease them, they both denied feeling anything beyond fierce friendship.
But Alina was such a liar.
Which makes it her own fault, really, for ending up in this situation. Zoya could, quite frankly, be a bitch — but she wouldn't have gone after Mal if Alina had just owned up to her feelings.
Though she really could have told her about it sooner.
Alina had been studying in the living room one night when a knock at the door startled her. Zoya hadn't mentioned having company, and neither of them had ordered food. Hesitantly, she rose and stood on her tiptoes to peek through the peephole. Then her face lit up, and she swung the door open. "Mal!"
Saints, he looked good. He appeared freshly showered, dressed in a silky green shirt and dark jeans. He had actually put effort into his hair for once, and he had a small gold hoop earring in his left ear.
"Hey, Lina," he said, something a little off with the smile he gave her. As he passed by to come inside, she could smell expensive cologne.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, butterflies in her stomach. Her head was already filling with wild fantasies. He wanted to surprise her, so he showed up without notice. He put effort into how he looked, because he wanted to impress her. He was going to reveal his true feelings for her, and she would revel in the fact that he wanted her as much as she wanted him.
Instead, Zoya entered the room and said, "He's here for me."
Mal had the decency to flush and offer a sheepish shrug. "I'm gonna grab some water," he said, and scuttled off to the kitchen. Of course, Mal had been here plenty of times before. He knew where everything was.
Alina had barely heard him though, Zoya's words repeating on a loop in her head. He's here for me. She knew what this meant, even as her mind tried to deny it. The room was spinning and she couldn't quite steady herself, like something had broken inside of her.
She swallowed, and as calmly as possible, said, "What happened to the heads up rule?"
Zoya arched a brow. "I texted you two hours ago."
Alina frowned and pulled out her phone. Sure enough, there was a text from Zoya. Got a guy coming over in a couple hours. She must have missed it, lost in her studies. But still, something in the text ignited anger in her chest.
"You could have said the guy was Mal."
Zoya shrugged, so frustratingly nonchalant. "What does it matter?"
It matters because I am so hopelessly in love with him, and you're supposed to be my friend, and now I have to blast music so I don't hear the sounds of you two fucking, she thought.
"He's my best friend," she said. "It's just a little weird, I guess."
"Don't worry, Starkov," Zoya said, turning toward the kitchen, probably to grab Mal so they could get the night started. "It won't affect anything between you two."
Alina waited until the two of them were tucked away in Zoya's room. Then she pulled on her old running shoes and slipped out — there was just no way she could be here, knowing what was happening in the room across from her own.
She ran with no destination in mind, pumping her little legs as hard as they could go, music pounding from her headphones. When she became too tired to go further, she checked her surroundings and sighed. Of course, her feet took her to one of her favorite places in the city.
It's not anything, really. A quiet street with an old abandoned building at the end of it. But on the building's brick wall is one of her favorite pieces of art. A mural of the sun, complex in its simplicity, using colors she had never seen used to express the sun before, yet perfectly capturing the feeling of a warm sunny day.
Alina leaned against the wall, slid down until she was sitting on the old, cracked sidewalk. Only then did she realize that she was crying. Turning off her music, she called Genya, and told her everything.
"You have to talk to Zoya," Genya said.
"No!" she said quickly. "I don't want her to feel bad. It's not her fault. And if Mal likes her — well, it's not like he's shown any interest in me. I'm not going to get in their way."
"Alina," Genya sighed.
"It's fine," she promised. "I just—" A sob escaped her throat, the pain overshadowing any coherent thought. It was not fine.
"Send me your location," Genya said, and Alina did.
She spent the night at Genya and David's that night, David promising he was more than okay with taking the couch so her and Genya could have the bed. Which was needed, because Alina had a lot more crying to do.
"Just don't tell Zoya," she said.
"Alina, I don't know."
"Promise, Genya. Please."
Finally, Genya sighed. "All right."
That was four months ago. Zoya had told her it wouldn't affect her close bond with Mal, but it had. Alina never invites Mal over anymore, too afraid that he'll come to watch a movie, sit on the couch beside her — much closer than most friends sit. They would point out everything terrible about it, because they loved to watch bad films together as they stuffed their faces with popcorn. Then the movie would end and Mal would say goodnight, but instead of leaving, he'd go to Zoya's room, and the popcorn they ate would sour in her stomach.
There were so many little changes, too. Like when they hung out as a group, and suddenly Alina was questioning every move she made around him. Was it still okay to playfully ruffle his hair, to sit close enough that their shoulders pressed together, to look at him like he personally hung the sun and the moon in the sky, all while Zoya was there to see? Was it wrong to look at his lips and fantasize about how they would feel against her own, pressed to her collarbone, sucking her most sensitive spots? Zoya and Mal were a casual thing, they had both said so. But still, the natural intimacy her friendship with Mal had built for the past two years suddenly felt wrong, and she hated it.
Needless to say, Alina has been looking into new rooming possibilities for next year. She can't do this anymore. Every time Mal comes over, she waits for them to lock themselves away in Zoya's room, and then she leaves. She runs to her sun, sometimes just sitting and letting her sad song playlist make her sadder, sometimes bringing her sketchbook to at least make art out of the pain.
But tonight she has a very rare opportunity — the apartment to herself. Only for a couple hours, but still. She has spent most of the time so far blaring music, and her neighbors probably hate her, but damn it, they can deal with it for a night.
She lets the music play as she takes a much needed shower. Sure, she could have gone the bath route, but she doesn't want to waste all her time getting clean. Alina has decided her hours alone should end with a much needed date with her vibrator and an Owen Gray video that she's going to watch without headphones.
Olivia Rodrigo's Brutal is pounding from her speaker, and though Alina's twenty-one, not seventeen, the lyrics hit all the same. She's so into the music, thinking about her life for the past four months, thinking about moving as soon as she possibly can, thinking yeah, it really is fucking brutal out here, that she does not notice the telltale signs of someone entering her apartment, and even more worrisome, someone entering the bathroom. Not until it's too late.
"Thought you were too cool for Olivia Rodrigo," a very male voice says, and then the shower curtain opens.
Screams fill the air from both of them. Alina's already holding her conditioner bottle, and on instinct, hurls it at the man's chest while her other hand reaches for her razor.
Only then does her mind register that it's not a strange man come to sexually assault her, it's Mal. Her best friend. Her roommate's casual lover slash fuck buddy slash whatever. It's Mal, completely naked before her. She gets a quick glimpse of his cock, half-hard, before he curses and turns around.
It doesn't help that his backside is just as nice to look at. He's well toned, muscles flexing as he reaches to grab the clothes he must have just discarded. He bends, giving her the most sinful view of his ass, and Saints, her mind goes wild. She pictures him turning back around and pushing her against the wall, slamming inside of her. As he fucks her, she would reach around and grab that delicious ass of his, dig her fingers into the plump skin, and leave little half-moon indents.
Mal is apologizing over and over again — "I thought you were Zoya!" — as he gathers up his clothes and makes a beeline for the door. Alina finally snaps out of her filthy fantasy and slides the shower curtain closed with a shaky hand. She leans back against the tiled wall, breathing hard. Her heart is pounding like never before.
The song is winding down. Olivia is crooning, God I don't even know where to start.
Neither does Alina.
By the time she musters the courage to finish her shower and leave the bathroom, her robe clutched tightly around her, there’s no sign of Mal in the apartment. Zoya isn’t back yet, either.
With a sigh of relief, she flops onto her bed. Her previous plans were out the window now. Taking a breath, she goes over the facts in her head.
One: Mal has now seen her completely naked.
Two: she has now seen Mal completely naked.
It was the wrong thing to think about, because now she’s picturing the smooth expanse of his skin, his perfectly tight ass, and the quick glimpse she had gotten of his—
Heat pools between her thighs. She’s positively aching, when she should be feeling horrified. She should absolutely not be reaching for her vibrator as she lets the images of Mal’s naked body settle in her mind. It’s wrong, because Mal is, at least somewhat, Zoya’s, and Zoya is her friend. Besides, it was Zoya that he had come looking for, Zoya that he wanted to fuck against the shower wall.
But Alina does grab her vibrator, and as it buzzes her to multiple releases, she imagines Mal shoving her against the wall, pressing kisses to her neck, fucking her like it’s his sole reason for existing. Fucking her like she’s his, and he’s hers.
She doesn’t see Zoya until the next morning, passing out sometime after orgasm number three. Saints, if the memory of Mal’s bare skin had been enough to keep her going for three rounds, she wasn’t sure she could even handle actually being with him.
When she walks into the kitchen, Zoya is sitting at their tiny excuse for a table. “Good morning,” Alina says as naturally as possible.
Zoya only says, “Sit down, Starkov.”
It’s unnerving, how quickly can could take over her entire body. Saying nothing, still going for casual, Alina sits across from her. “What’s up?”
“That’s my question, actually.” Zoya arches a brow. “What happened with you and Mal last night?”
Shit, shit, shit. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, I think you do. I know he stopped by before I got home. When I asked why he left, he got all weird and said something came up with Dubrov. But I know that’s a lie, because Dubrov was happily posting drunken stories last night. So obviously something happened when he was over.” Zoya sits back in her chair and stares her down, making her insides twist. “And since I don’t live with him, the only person I have to grill is you. So get talking.”
Alina sighs, knowing she isn’t strong enough to deny Zoya when she’s like this, and babbles out the story. Really, it wasn’t her fault. Mal was the one that walked in on her. It was just incredibly embarrassing for both of them.
When she finishes, Zoya lets the information sink in, and then she laughs, harder than Alina has ever seen her laugh.
“Well I’m so glad this is funny to you,” she huffs, arms crossed over her chest.
“It is! I can only imagine your faces, shit.” Zoya wipes at her eyes. “Too bad you already know each other, that would make for one hell of a meet cute.” She pauses and says, “Well, it still could be your origin.”
Alina frowns. “Our origin?”
“You know, if you guys dated.”
She momentarily loses her breath. “What? No, you guys are a thing.”
Zoya rolls her eyes. “We’re fucking, Alina, that’s it. And actually, I was planning on cutting it off after last night.” She stands and pours herself what is at least her second up of coffee. “There’s someone else I’m interested in.”
“Someone else? Who?” Zoya says nothing. Alina pops up as it comes to her. “Oh! It’s that rich blond guy from the bar, isn’t it? The one that transferred here this semester. Nikolai or something, right?”
The tiniest blush spreads on Zoya’s face, and Alina squeals. “It is him! Saints, he’s attractive.”
“Yes, he is,” Zoya snaps. “And not bad for conversation, either.”
“Conversation?” She grins. “Why, Miss Nazyalensky, do you actually have feelings for this guy?”
Zoya scowls. “Shut it, Starkov.”
“Oh, you totally have feelings for him!”
“Keep it up and you will pay for this. I’m devising a plan as we speak.”
Alina just laughs. “Okay, Mrs. Whatever Nikolai’s Last Name Is.”
Under her breath, Zoya mutters, “Lantsov,” and stalks off with her coffee as Alina laughs harder.
Zoya, apparently, hadn’t been kidding when she said she was devising a plan.
When the weekend rolls around once again and Zoya texts the group chat they have with Genya about getting lunch, Alina jumps at the idea. She missed Genya, and it had been a hell of a week between juggling exams and thinking about her encounter with Mal. They haven’t spoken at all, and she had used her classes as an excuse to get out of any hang outs where he might show up.
Zoya’s words from the morning after had been on her mind a lot, too. It still could be your origin. Could it? Was Mal even interested in her — and would he even want to try, after he’d had something with Zoya, or would it just be inevitably awkward?
Alina approaches the restaurant and sucks in a breath. She’s decided to finally tell Zoya about how she’s had feelings for Mal all this time, and maybe with her and Genya, the three of them can come up with what the hell Alina should do next.
Zoya had texted five minutes ago saying she grabbed them a table in the restaurant’s outdoor patio, so she makes her way there. Only it’s not Zoya or even Genya waiting for her.
He looks just as surprised to see her as she is to see him, and for a moment, she believes it really is some crazy coincidence.
“Alina,” he says, standing. Neither of them can quite meet the other’s eye. “What are you doing here?”
Her hand is doing some nervous twitchy thing at her side, so she shoves it into the pocket of her dress. “I’m supposed to be meeting Zoya and Genya.”
Mal curses under his breath. “I’m supposed to be meeting Zoya, too.”
Shaking her head and feeling incredibly stupid, Alina takes out her phone and fires off a text to Zoya, WHAT THE HELL????
The next message she receives comes from Zoya — only not in the text chat between the two of them, but rather a newly created group chat with the two of them and Mal.
consider this the official end to our fuck-mance, oretsev. yalls little bathroom flash show was the perfect opportunity for a new beginning, because yes, i see the doe eyes you give alina when she’s not looking. you too, starkov. i’m sorry for getting in the way for so long. have a good date, no throwing bottles at each other xoxo
They finish reading at the same time, looking up from their phones, eyes meeting before flickering away again.
Mal sighs. “I think I hate her.”
“I think I hate her, too.”
He scratches the back of his neck. “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
Alina bites her lip. Because he doesn’t want to do this, she thinks. “Oh, well, I guess—”
Mal cuts her off. “But it might be a nice chance for us to talk.” Her head snaps up, and this time when their eyes meet, neither of them look away. He smiles shyly. “I missed you this week, Lina.”
Her smile matches his. “I missed you, too.”
They sit, and after the waiter takes their order for drinks and an appetizer for them to share — a sample platter, both of them too indecisive for any singular thing — Mal starts to stutter out an apology. Alina stops him with a hand on his arm. He looks down at where her fingers brush against bare skin, and she wonders if he’s thinking about all the skin they’ve bared to each other now. She certainly is.
“You don’t need to apologize, Mal,” she promises. “It was an accident.”
He shakes his head. “Still, I can’t imagine how terrifying that was for you.”
“Well, it was,” she admits, then adds, “at first.”
She shrugs, but says nothing, thankful for their drinks arriving to save her from answering. Because the truth was she had been scared for maybe three seconds. Once she had realized it was Mal, she’d only felt desire.
With their awkward shower encounter out of the way, they fall into fairly easy conversation, complaining about exams and projects, annoying classmates and neighbors. Soon enough, they’re back to being themselves. Alina pulls out her phone to show Mal all the memes and TikToks she had wanted to send him this week, and he does the same. Hours fly by without their notice, and now the dinner crowd is filing in.
“Oi, I think our waiter is silently praying for us to leave.”
She laughs, pulling out her wallet. “Definitely.”
Mal waves her off. “Let me get it,” he says, taking his own wallet out. “I mean, since this is apparently a date and all.”
Alina hesitates, a little flutter in her chest even though he’d said it teasingly. “Okay, fine. But I’ll get the tip.”
When everything is paid for, they stand. Going home is the last thing she wants right now, and not just because Zoya will be there.
Mal looks ready to pull her into one of their standard hugs, but pauses. “Do you want to come over? We can find something shitty to watch. Mikhael and Dubrov will be around, but I just really don’t want to see Zoya right now.”
Alina smiles, the flutter in her chest returning with vigor. “Yeah, okay.”
At Mal’s flat, they settle onto the sofa together, close enough that their shoulders brush. Mikhael and Dubrov tease them about looking like lovebirds, but otherwise surprisingly leave them be. She doesn’t mind their company — but admittedly, she was glad they stayed to their respective rooms tonight. Mal puts on an indie horror flick that’s so bad it’s good, and they laugh and joke with each other throughout, per usual.
About halfway through the film, they share a knowingly look — their that foreshadowing is so obvious, RIP to that character in twenty minutes look — and sport matching grins. But when the moment passes, neither of them looks away.
“Alina,” Mal says softly, and her breath hitches. Has he ever said her name with such longing before?
His eyes flicker down — to her lips. She thinks of Zoya’s text then, basically calling both of them out for having feelings for each other. And while neither of them had confirmed it, they hadn’t denied it either.
Her heart is beating so fast. She gives him the tiniest nod.
Mal understands, he always does, and then he’s leaning in. Their noses brush before their lips do, and it could be silly or awkward, but instead it’s a different kind of intimacy she hadn’t known she wanted.
“Alina,” he breathes once more, and then he kisses her, so softly at first, it’s barely anything. Her stomach is doing cartwheels regardless. She takes initiative, kissing him back. Still soft, still careful, afraid that whatever this is between them is something fragile, something that needs delicacy. In some ways, it is. Her closest friendship, blossoming into something more.
Mal lets out the softest moan, and it snaps something between them.
He pulls her closer, his hand on the back of her neck, and now Alina is the one moaning, fervor replacing the softness, the delicacy. It’s the kind of kiss she’s been fantasizing about, made even better from how obvious it is that they’ve both wanted this for a long time. A desperate kiss bursting with desire.
Alina shifts closer until she’s practically straddling his lap. Mal brings one hand to rest on her lower back, the other curling into her hair. His lips move to her neck, trailing down until he reaches her collarbone, where he nips and sucks, undoubtedly leaving a mark.
“Mal,” she sighs, her head tipped back from the feeling as her hips roll against his. He curses against her skin. Her hands move to the hem of his shirt, ready to pull it off.
All of a sudden, Mal pulls away, stopping her hands with his own. “Alina, don’t.”
She blinks her eyes open. “Do you want to move to your room?”
Mal bites his lip and shakes his head.
Alina frowns, any warmth in her chest turning cold. She quickly returns to her own side of the couch. “I don’t understand. I thought you wanted this.” Wanted me, she thinks but doesn’t say. Because he certainly had no issues with Zoya.
“I do!” he says quickly, taking her hand again and trying to pull her back. She holds her ground, pulls her hand out of his. “I do want this, Alina. Saints, I do. But this is technically our first date, right? I don’t want to do first date sex, not with you.”
Alina rolls her eyes, looking down and tugging at a loose thread on her dress. “Is this where you say something you think sounds respectful but really just puts down all the girls you have had first date sex with?”
“Alina, please look at me.”
Grudgingly, she does.
“You’re different because you’re my best friend, and because I’ve been hooking up with our mutual friend.” She flinches, but Mal continues. “I don’t want you to think we have to have sex because of that. What I had with Zoya — it was good, and I care about Zoya, but it didn’t go beyond the physical. That’s all we wanted from each other. But that’s not all I want with you.”
Mal closes his eyes. Alina’s unconsciously holding her breath. He exhales and opens his eyes again, holding her gaze. “I want everything with you, Alina. I want your highs and your lows. I want to take you against the wall as much as I want to hold your hand.” He does so now, both of his hands around one of hers, and this time she doesn’t pull away. “And if you didn’t want to be physical? I’d still want you. I don’t want you to think there’s anything we have to do. That’s why I want to wait — even if I also want to take you to my room and pin you against my bed, too.”
“Oh,” she says, barely audible. Alina shakes her head, a little speechless. “I don’t know what to say.”
The corner of his mouth tugs up. “Was that too rom-com confessional?”
The tension breaks. She laughs and climbs onto his lap again, wrapping her arms around his neck. “You’re such a dork, but you’re the perfect dork. So we’ll wait.” She pauses and looks up at him with innocent eyes. “But will you kiss me again?”
Mal grins, pushes her down against the couch, and does just that.
When she gets home, Zoya is waiting in the living room, reading a smutty romance book Genya had recommended. “Hey, how’d it go?” she asks, too casually to actually be casual.
Alina ignores her and walks straight to her room. She’s decided to let Zoya sweat it out a bit for the weekend after her little stunt, even if it was successful.
Though really, she didn’t think it would bother Zoya that much. Hard as steel Zoya, who never let anything get to her. But on Sunday, she bursts into Alina’s room, interrupting her studying.
“Okay, I know you hate me now or whatever, but at least let me tell you that I’m sorry. I didn’t know how much you liked him, Alina. Not until Genya told me.”
Alina closes her book, frowning. “Genya told you?”
Zoya nods and sits at the end of her bed. “Recently, when I told her about Nikolai and that I was thinking about cutting things off with Mal. Don’t be mad at her, just be mad at me.”
“Well—” she starts, but Zoya cuts her off.
“And honestly? The worst part is, part of me did know. I saw the looks you gave each other, but I brushed them off because I was selfish and enjoying myself. I was a really, really shit friend to you, and I’m so sorry, Alina. You don’t have to forgive me, but I just—
Zoya stops mid-sentence, cut off by the laughter bubbling out of Alina.
“Saints, I never thought I’d see the day that Zoya Nazyalensky grovels.” She shoots her a grin. “I accept your apology. And as much as I want to hate you for your meddling stunt, it worked, because we definitely spent the night making out. I just did the whole silent treatment to make you suffer a little.”
A moment passes — Zoya is completely still, too still — and then she grabs one of Alina’s pillows and smacks her with it. “You little rat!”
Alina only laughs harder, fighting off Zoya’s pillow attack with her hands. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say sorry non-sarcastically! You did so well, Nazyalensky!”
“And you’ll never hear it again! You’ve lost apology privileges!
Eventually, Alina moves into the living room to study, and Zoya joins her. When their brains need a break, Alina tells her about her date with Mal, and Zoya tells her about her own with Nikolai. If this is their new normal, Alina finds that she really likes it.
The next week is outstandingly better than the previous. She’s back to talking to Mal each day, even more than before. Halfway through the week, he sends her a song with the message, This song made me think of you the first time I heard it, still does every time. It has her heart beating extra fast as she listens on her walk to class, not only because it’s incredibly sweet, but because Mal has played this song for her before, months and months ago, which means he’s felt this way the whole time.
Early Saturday evening, Zoya announces that she’s spending the night at Nikolai’s. “He has his own apartment, so it just makes sense. I’ll be home in the morning, probably.”
Thank the Saints for rich boys.
She texts Mal, and Zoya’s barely gone for ten minutes before he’s there. They make dinner together — well, Alina sits on the counter while Mal does the actual cooking, but he spends any down time kissing her, so she likes to think she was the moral support. They eat on the couch, watching their favorite trashy reality television, and play a few rounds of Mario Kart afterwards. Really, it’s just like how things were when they were simply best friends, except now Alina drapes her body over his as they watch their show, Mal’s thumb moving in slow circles on her ankle, and instead of talking or playing on their phones during ad breaks, they pick up where they left off in the kitchen, their lips pressed together in a blissful ease.
They’re on their fifth game of Mario Kart, Alina in the lead, as she has been every round. She’s bragging about how she’s going to beat him again when suddenly her vision is blocked as Mal presses his lips to hers.
Her surprise doesn’t stop her from dropping her controller and kissing back. She’s just getting into the kiss when Mal pulls away as quickly as he had started the kiss. He stands, and only then does she see he never dropped his controller. Picking up right where he left off, he steers Luigi towards the finish line. (“Who the hell picks Luigi?” Alina had asked him once. To which Mal responded, “It’s not fair people only care about his brother when he probably works just as hard at their plumbing business. It’s just like people only knowing Adam Levine and ignoring the rest of Maroon 5—” which led to a very cute rant that Alina spent less time listening to and more time staring at his lips while he was distracted.)
Alina fumbles for her controller, but it’s too late. Mal hasn’t come in first — some of the computers still beat him. But he’s beat her, which by the smirk on his face, was his only goal.
“You’re such a cheater!”
“It’s not cheating, it’s strategy.”
“I suppose you need your strategy, since you don’t have any skills.”
Mal raises a brow, a devious look in his eyes. “Is that so? Perhaps I should show you my skills, then.” He moves in front of her and kneels on the couch, a leg on either side of her body, essentially pinning her there, and kisses her again.
Immediately, she can feel the difference from the strategy kiss and even the ones from earlier that night. He’s kissing with purpose, cradling her face with one hand, the other on her waist, and Alina is melting against him. She is putty in Mal’s hands, his to mold how he pleases.
He’s holding himself so that his weight isn’t pressing down on her, but that’s exactly what she wants. Her hips buck up against his, and Mal pulls back to moan, “Fuck, Alina,” so she does it again.
“Please tell me we can have second date sex.”
Mal chuckles. “Are we even going to bother with the dating process?”
“I don’t know, are we?”
“I don’t know. Do I need to ask you to be my girlfriend?”
Alina grins. “I wouldn’t mind hearing it.
“All right. Alina, my beauty, my beloved, will you bless me with the honor of calling you my girlfriend?”
Her grin widens, and giddy butterflies dance inside her chest. No, not butterflies — fireflies. She can feel their warmth and wouldn’t be surprised if she was glowing from their light. “Oh, I suppose.”
Mal laughs. “I can’t stand you,” he says, and kisses her again.
Alina returns the kiss for a moment before murmuring against his lips, “You don’t have to stand me, but now that you’re my boyfriend, can you fuck me?”
He practically growls as he says, “Saints, yes,” standing and lifting her with him. Mal brings them to her room, kissing her the whole way. He unceremoniously shoves her school books off of her bed, laying her down and crawling over her. “You don’t know how often I’ve imagined this,” he murmurs, lips on her throat.
“Tell me,” she gasps.
“Every time I came over, Alina. Every time.”
A shiver runs down her spine. “Even when you were here to—”
She has no idea what to do with this information. Her head is empty of thought save for the screaming need for more of him, so she pulls his shirt over his head. This time, Mal doesn’t stop her. Her hands roam over all the places she’s been dying to touch; down his back, tracing along his spine, up over his stomach, fingers running along the muscles of his chest, brushing over a few scars he’s accumulated through the years.
“You’re so perfect,” she whispers. Smooth in some places, rougher in others, but so incredibly warm everywhere.
Mal tips her chin up, kisses her lips once, hard, and then another to her jaw, down her neck, her collarbone. Then he’s the one tossing her shirt aside, his lips continuing their decent. He’s pressing soft words into her skin as he kisses her — beauty, beloved, cherished, my heart —murmuring his love for her even as he brings her nipple between his teeth.
“Shit, Mal,” Alina breathes. Her hips keep bucking, far beyond her control. He chuckles, murmurs something along the lines of no patience, and quickens his pace. Soon enough, he’s got her undressed completely — which isn’t too unnerving after the shower incident. Any lingering nerves flee once his head is between her thighs. She’s suddenly very thankful Zoya isn’t home, because even though it’s never been a problem during sex before, she absolutely cannot control the noises she’s making — and she’s loud.
Mal returns to her with glistening lips. She kisses him and tastes herself, a thrill better than any rollercoaster. Her hands move to the waistband of his pants, giving a half-hearted tug. “Off.”
“So lazy,” he teases, unclasping the button on his jeans, tugging down the zipper. “I could always make you work for it.”
“Have mercy on me, Oretsev. I’m still recovering from the pleasures of your cocky mouth.”
He looks so proud of himself, she wants to kiss him just to wipe the smirk off of his face. “If you enjoyed my cocky mouth, just wait until you feel my—
“Do not finish that sentence.”
But then he’s pushing down his boxers, and all Alina can do is stare as the cock in question springs free. He’s fully hard this time around, and her thighs squeeze together at the sight. He watches her as she practically drools over his dick, his smirk becoming even, well, smirkier. She reaches out and curls her fingers around his length, giving him two quick strokes — both to clear the smirk from his face and because she so very much wants to touch him.
“Fuck, Alina,” he hisses. He’s reaching for his jeans, probably to grab a condom from his pocket, but she grabs his hand.
“I’m on the pill, and I’ve been tested recently.” Of course, there’s still a slight risk. But it’s Mal — finally Mal — and she wants to feel every inch of him.
He pauses, then nods. “Okay.” Crawling over her, he takes one of her hands and intertwines their fingers. With his other hand, he grips his cock and drags the tip through her folds like the damn tease he is, eliciting needy mewling from her that he seems to enjoy. In her ear, he murmurs, “How do you want this, Alina?”
“I don’t want to be able to walk tomorrow.”
Mal chuckles softly, but the sound so close to her ear sends more shivers down her spine. “As you wish, moya solnishka.” My little sun.
She has only a brief moment to bask in the sweetness of his words before he’s slamming into her all in one go, anything sweet flying out the window. Mal keeps a steady rhythm while sucking on her neck, which is good, because all Alina can do is moan incoherently as her nails leave scratches down his back.
When he senses her getting close, Mal brings his finger to her clit, circling just right. “Saints!” she cries, and comes undone beneath him once again. But this time, she gets to watch him fall over the edge with her, his eyes so incredibly dark as he moans his release. He’s the only man she’s ever let come inside of her, and it feels very right that it’s Mal — she doesn’t want anyone else filling her like this, marking her in a sense as his spend drips down her thighs.
They stay like that for a while, foreheads pressed together, sweaty and sticky, but blissfully so.
“So, is the sex still good on this side of the apartment?”
In answer, he dips his head and bites down on one of her tits.
“Ridiculous questions get ridiculous responses,” he teases, then wraps his arms around her, tucking his face into the crook of her shoulder. “You’re all I’ve wanted for two years, Alina, and this still beat my expectations.”
Smiling, she rests her chin against the top of his head. “Good. I would hate to have to start fucking in Zoya’s bed just because you like the airflow better there.”
“Smart ass,” Mal mutters, but he’s smiling. Then he says, "You know, this may not be my first time fucking in this apartment, but I’m still checking off a first tonight — of many, I hope.”
Alina rolls her eyes. “Yes, I’m aware this is your first time fucking me in this apartment, dumb ass.”
"That’s not what I meant, rude ass.”
She frowns. “Then what did you mean?”
He squeezes her hip. “It’s my first time spending the night.”
Her heart does a little jump in her chest, and she doesn’t even have it in her to tease that she hasn’t actually asked him to stay yet. But stay he does, though he gets her off a few more times before they pass out for the night — definitely beating her vibrator. One time it’s with his fingers, so incredibly long that she knows all her fantasies will involve the slender digits now. Another is after Alina murmurs about how filthy she is and that she really ought to take a shower.
Mal waits long enough to join her that she starts to worry he hadn’t understood her intent. But then she hears his footsteps, and the shower curtain opens. There’s no bottle throwing this time, though she can’t say the same for the screaming. He steps into the shower, kisses her slowly, sensually, then pushes her back until she shivers from the feeling of cold tile against her bare skin.
“I meant to ask, you do know you have mirrors in here, right?” Mal murmurs huskily into her ear. She’s too disoriented with want to understand until he says, “I saw you staring at my ass last time.”
Then he slams into her, and Alina no longer has to imagine how it feels to be fucked against the shower wall.
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GRAVITY / YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
incredibly self-indulgent zoyalina (ft. polyamorous alina) written for the @grishaversebigbang mini bang!
with INCREDIBLE art by @bookish-ginger (x), @lucentcorrigan (x), and @archergirl-101 (x)!!
summary: alina and zoya. trapped in a broom closet together. great. what could possibly go wrong? (aside from, you know, accidentally realising you're deeply in love with your rival-turned-best-friend, getting locked in because SOMEONE forgot how to properly close a door, and having an obnoxious Squaller stand on your foot for ten minutes.)
read it on ao3
Alina doesn’t know exactly how she wound up squashed into a broom closet with Zoya. But they’ve been here for five minutes now, and she hasn’t shown any sign of wanting to move away from the door, and Nikolai surely must’ve passed by now, and it’s really fucking dark because the only light comes from the illumination from the candles in the hallway outside, and Zoya is way too close for her comfort, and-
She shuffles a little further back, rising onto her tiptoes to push herself up against the wall, and Zoya shoots her a grin. “Comfortable, sunshine?”
Alina scowls at her.
“Could you get off my foot?”
Zoya smiles sweetly at her. “Why, of course, Sun Summoner.” She lifts her boot exactly one centimetre off the ground, and Alina pulls her foot back with another pointed scowl.
“You could’ve done that before I asked, you know.”
“You could’ve thought about that before you tried to wedge us into a broom closet to escape your boyfriend, you know.”
Alina feels herself flush. “He’s not my- I mean, we’re not-”
A pause. Zoya frowns at her. In the darkness, her eyes have an odd shine to them. It’s transfixing.
“I would’ve thought you’d have gotten past that stage of your relationship by now, sunshine. You and Mal aren’t exactly the most oblivious-”
“No! No, that’s not- that’s not it.” (It is. It’s exactly it. It feels stupid, but it’s exactly what’s happening, and it sucks.)
Zoya raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t press her for more information, which is a relief. “He’s not exactly the most oblivious man in the world, you know. You could just ask him what you are to him.”
Alina shuffles back, further up the wall, and avoids her eyes. The truth is, she’s been… scared. Scared of what he’ll say, scared of hurting him, scared to try voicing her feelings in case his have changed. It hasn’t been that long since they made the move to Keramzin, and it hasn't been that long since they started taking in children from the surrounding areas again. In the few months since they moved here together, they’ve rarely been alone, and it’s... stressful. She wouldn’t change anything for the world, but… but sometimes she wonders if it’s enough. If she’s enough.
She swallows and presses her back against the wall again, ignoring Zoya. It’s too complicated for her to think about, let alone communicate to another person.
“I don’t- I don’t want to talk about this right now, Zoya.”
“Good, because Nikolai is coming back,” she beams, and Alina glares at her.
“Well, shut up, then.”
She kicks her shin, grinning way too brightly for someone with a very breakable nose, and goes silent.
Alina doesn’t bother saying anything back. It’ll only be a few more seconds before Nikolai and Mal wander past anyway, probably still trying to shake the snow out of their hair, and she and Zoya will inevitably tumble out and run hard in the opposite direction, giggling hysterically again.
(She tries very hard not to think about how bright Mal’s eyes were as he sprinted after her, soaking wet from their walk in the snow, laughter echoing down the halls of the empty building. She tries not to think about how pretty Zoya looks, framed in the dim light from the hallway. She tries not to think about how fast they both make her heart beat in her chest, how light she feels whenever Zoya shoots her one of those insufferable grins, when Mal slips his hand into hers and tells her everything will be okay.)
Silence. The kind that could last for hours if they left it. Alina frowns at her feet instead of the door and pushes down the thought of… the thought of…
Zoya sighs. “They’ve gone.”
“Thank the Saints,” she mutters. “Now will you get off my foot?”
She rolls her eyes. “Who knew you were so fragile?” (Alina scowls at her. She ignores it.)
And then Zoya starts jiggling the door handle.
Alina raises an eyebrow at her. She glares back. “What did you do?”
“Um.” Zoya hits the door with the heel of her hand. “I think… I think we’re trapped in here. Maybe. The door isn’t opening.”
Zoya turns to give her a Look and has to steady herself against the wall to prevent herself from lurching into Alina. “What? I didn’t do anything!” Her expression fades into a frown. “Why are you blushing?”
Am I blushing? Why am I blushing? Is it because I was thinking about - but that was -
“I’m not,” she says shortly. “You’re insane.”
Zoya raises an eyebrow again, but doesn’t say anything else. Again. Alina doesn’t know whether to be thankful or irritated.
(That’s a good question, actually. Why is she blushing? Is it because… because -
That’s… new information.
This is how - this is how I felt when - when Mal - this is how I feel about Mal, I - )
“Okay, you’re definitely blushing.”
Alina glares at her. Again. Zoya uses the opportunity to stick her tongue out at her whilst she jiggles the door handle, and she has to take a deep breath to try and stop her heart from pounding out of her chest.
Saints. What’s happening to me?
She stares down at her hands, and her heart leaps in her chest again. It’s… it’s certainly not new. She knows how to push it down, how to keep it locked away in her chest; she’s been doing it for years.
(Alina remembers how it felt the first time she summoned the light, how it became a matter of letting go. She remembers how it felt to reach for it, push through that hidden barrier in her mind, and find a power that at first seemed infinite at her fingertips. She remembers how it felt to reach and find nothing but ash in the bottom of the barrel, nothing but emptiness. She remembers where that magic, the magic she used to love, came from.
Her heart jumps a little at the thought of him, like it always does. She loves him, and he loves her; it’s not even a question anymore. She remembers what it was like to fall in love with him - the cold press of a pottery shard in her hand, blood trickling down through her fingers, Mal lifting her in his arms, laughter in his eyes. She thinks about kissing him for the first time in the snow - snow in his hair, on his eyelashes, caked into the hem of his trousers.
Mal. Always, always him.
Alina glances up at Zoya, still rattling the door handle like it insulted her hair, and her heart jumps again.)
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Ventillated corset for sportswear, 1890s
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your recent fivan picture reblogs and tags make me realize that its a tragedy that there’s not a royalty rivalry au (ivan and fedyor being part of feuding families? Ivan being all business and Fedyor being the sunshine one who always goes out in the town?? Both of them find the other irritating but together they’d be a power couple?)
also how are they so cute???
Anon, I truly love how you remark upon it being a tragedy that there is not yet [insert AU premise here] while pointedly fluttering your eyelashes at me like we all don't know exactly where this is going. Also, I don't know why they're so cute, but I hate them.
Fourteen hours ago, Fedyor Kaminsky was absolutely not planning on being trapped in a coat closet in an uber-exclusive London nightclub in the company of his sworn nemesis. (For that matter, he wasn't planning on it an hour ago either.) Fourteen hours ago, he was on board his family's private jet on his way home from a wild party weekend in Dubai and congratulating himself that he had managed not to think about said sworn nemesis for the entire time, aside from checking his Instagram forty-six separate times to see if Ivan could possibly be doing something this fabulous. Of course he wasn't. His page has 6,402 followers (Fedyor's has 545,300) and mainly consists of black-and-white photographs of urban decay with terse Russian captions. Ivan Sakharov has so many problems.
One of those problems, however, is that Fedyor is currently stuck in a coat closet with him, and he doesn't know how it happened but he doesn't care. Ivan is wearing his usual black-leather-jacket-and-jeans getup, and he's not even trying to text somebody and order them to come get him out of the closet. (Yes, the irony is blinding, but shut up.) He's just leaning against the wall and watching Fedyor with a judgmental expression (or in other words, how Ivan customarily looks). "So," he says sarcastically. "If you actually wanted to talk to me, Fedyor Mikhailovich, there were easier ways."
"You think I did this on purpose?"
Ivan shrugs. "What kind of moron follows me into a coat closet and then proclaims he can't open the door?"
"Open the door yourself, then!"
Ivan just laughs. Then he says, "How was Dubai? Don't they arrest you for having sex in public?"
"I did not have sex in public."
"Oh?" Ivan looks at him goadingly. "Then what do you call that display?"
Fedyor opens his mouth, then shuts it, reminding himself that the only thing worse than being stuck in a coat closet nemesis etc is then having an utterly absurd limp-wrist slap fight. It occurs to him to wonder if Ivan has been Instagram-stalking him too, but that's crazy. For one thing, while it's not quite Montagues and Capulets, the Kaminskys and the Sakharovs definitely don't get along. They're both moneyed Russian families settled in "Londongrad," as it is now known for the concentration of oligarchs who have snapped up luxe properties and set up house, and they're usually butting heads. Fedyor is the outgoing, photogenic playboy heir to the Kaminsky fortune, and Ivan... well, presumably he does something besides sulking in corners, but if so, Fedyor has never seen the least sign of it. He may be a little (okay, a lot) more obsessed with Ivan than he wants to admit. For example, he kept seeing Ivan with an equally gorgeous and judgmental woman, twisted himself into knots wondering if they were dating, and scoured social media until he determined that she was Zoya Nazyalenskaya, girlfriend of fellow Russian Rich Kid (tm) Nikolai Lantsov, and she and Ivan just like to stalk around and stare at you angrily when you're not expecting it. Or whatever.
Nonetheless, there is more to Fedyor than just racing Lamborghinis through Kensington (that was once, and he was seventeen, but of course the tabloids will never let it go). His family is best buddies with Roman Abramovich, which means match-day Chelsea tickets whenever he wants them, and he flits among nightclubs and influencers and hot vacation destinations while definitely absolutely not thinking about Ivan and how hot he is while he's being a jerk. Ugh. Why him. Why this closet at a nightclub called Prism. Why.
"You know," Ivan says, stepping closer. "I think you want this, Fedya."
"I do not." If he was going to make anyone believe that, Fedyor should probably have at least attempted to step away, rather than reaching up to grip hold of Ivan's biceps. He hates that stupid jacket. He hates how goddamn good it looks on Ivan. "You're the worst."
"Sure," Ivan says. "We'll go with that." And then, even more outrageously, he leans down and --
Fedyor tries to moan, but Ivan bites it away, pushing him into a lot of obscenely expensive overcoats and grinding his hips into Fedyor's. They kiss savagely, break apart for air, glare at each other, and kiss again, as Fedyor shucks off that stupid jacket and thinks dimly that Ivan looks even better without it. He's going haywire with the lust he has unsuccessfully repressed for three years, since he first laid eyes on this idiot, and every nerve ending on his body is afire. He wants nothing more than to do this until he dies. Until he is nothing but dust and ashes. But not right now. Right now he's burning.
They're pressed up hard (in more ways than one) against the wall, uttering incoherent noises of need, when the door flies open. "Fedyor?" his assistant, Nadia, demands. "Is that you in there?"
At that moment, she catches sight of what is going on. Her jaw drops. There is really no way to pretend that he wasn't just caught red-handed passionately making out with his sworn nemesis in a closet, so Fedyor wipes his mouth and summons up a winning smile. "Ah," he says through gritted teeth. "Nadia. Excellent timing."
She looks at him, at Ivan, then back at him. Then she steps back, says, "You know what, I'm going to give you five," and slams the door.
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when there is nothing left to take away
“You seriously had no idea about the Little Palace?” Gen asked, sitting in lotus position at the end of Alina’s neatly made bunk. Alina had the bottom bunk, so it was easier to do hospital corners and keep the patchwork quilt straight. She’d made it when she stayed at the one foster placement where the old lady took an interest in her before she’d had a stroke and they moved Alina to the group home at Keramzin. Gen had admired it when Alina unpacked it and then hadn’t spoken of it again when Alina hadn’t responded to the compliment. Gen was smart like that. Her top bunk was always a tangle of bedclothes and the graphic novels she read in her spare time but other than that, she was the ideal roommate and Alina had plenty to compare her with.
“No, I mean, I’d heard of it but you hear about a lot of things. Kids who get adopted when they’re fifteen. Kids who get accepted to every top college with a scholarship, people with angel investors and people who find treasure when they’re snorkeling off Yamaye,” Alina said.
“You never expected to get invited to the corps?” Gen said.
“How could I? I had a few lessons and I watched the same recordings over and over again, but however many hours I danced by myself, that was it—how could I ever expect to be asked to join the Grisha Ballet? The most highly respected ballet company in all Ravka? And by Kirigan himself?” Alina said, her hands busy sewing the ribbons to her newest pair of toe shoes. They were given two pair a week but more were available if you needed, a level of luxury that was as unimaginable as the perpetually stocked fridge, the seemingly endless numbers of available practice rooms, the expectation that what Alina most wanted to do was right and good, not “a pointless waste of time” she’d “never amount to anything at anyway.”
“But I’ve heard what people said about that performance. At the Festival,” Gen said. She meant the Volcra Festival, where Alina had wangled a spot at the last minute when another ballerina had overindulged in kvas the next before and showed up too late and too hungover to manage the role of the Sun Summoner in Kirigan’s renowned Firebird ballet. It had been one of her favorites since she’d watched it on a bootleg tape when she was fourteen and she had memorized how Felicie Luda had danced them but what she had performed was not merely a faithful copy; there was something of herself, her yearning and her boldness, her determination and her eagerness, that she could not keep from the dance and the audience had been shocked into silence before erupting in a roar of applause that rang through the theater. She had hoped at most that Sabina Zoya would consider Alina’s plea to be an unpaid member of her company, paying her way by picking up cleaning gigs around the city. When Aleksander Kirigan of the Grisha Ballet, widely considered a genius choreographer and the danseur nobel of his generation, had come to the closet she’d been given to change in and invited her to join him, “in the corps to begin, but principal is not out of the question if today is anything to go on.” Alina had managed to keep her head and not sputter about how she couldn’t possibly afford it when he added there was a stipend in addition to room and board at the Little Palace. When she still hadn’t answered, he spoke again, in a tone more gentle that any would have believed him capable of.
“If you don’t come with me, they’ll use you up. Sabina or Marie La Flamme, second rate directors of second rate companies, they’ll let you work yourself to death and take what they can from you. They won’t, they can’t see in you what I do, what you can become with the proper training, the proper support. Come with me, Miss Starkov, and let me make you the prima ballerina you were meant to be.”
His dark eyes had been intent, the severe elegance of his well-cut suit suggesting his usual restraint but his expression had been hopeful; Alina had recognized something of her own face in his and without any other consideration, had finally replied.
Later, when she’d packed up her few things from the rented room she didn’t bother to call home, she heard the words again “let me make you” and wondered if she had made the right choice. What would it mean to become Kirigan’s prima? If she failed, where would that leave her? If she succeeded, who would she be? She had hesitated and then caught a glimpse of the faded ribbons of her last pair of toe shoes, the soft pink now a color without a name. If she did not go with him, she would surely fade as well. She’d tugged the stubborn zipper closed and shut the door behind her. The Little Palace and Aleksander Kirigan waited for her, but they would not wait forever.
He’d given her two years with Bo Yul-Erdene and Madama Morozova, two years of intense study and remediation for everything she’d failed to learn or learned incorrectly on her own, two years of living with Gen and Natty, to make friends, to make a family. And then, he’d called for her and she found everything she knew as much about the Little Palace as the student mastering her first grand jeté.
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song association but book ships
ocean eyes, billie eillish;
alright this is obviously percabeth, listen to these lyrics
"you really know how to make me cry
when you gimme those ocean eyes
i've never fallen from quite this high
fallin' into your ocean eyes"
so this is annabeth talking about percy, and then
"careful creature made friends with time
he left her lonely with a diamond mind
and those ocean eyes"
time. time, guys. it's the fucking kronos/luke thing and then annabeth's trauma afterwards.
happier, olivia rodrigo;
more riordanverse! yay!
so this one is an au where perachel is canon and it's from annabeth's point of view.
"and now i'm pickin' her apart
like cuttin' her down make you miss my wretched heart
but she's beautiful, she looks kind, she probably gives you butterflies"
remember how jealous annabeth was in the battle of the labyrinth? yeah.
"i'm selfish, i know, i can't let you go
so find someone great but don't find no one better
i hope you're happy, i wish you all the best, really
say you love her, baby, just not like you loved me
and think of me fondly when your hands are on her
i hope you're happy, but don't be happier"
some more lyrics :)
line without a hook, ricky montgomery;
honestly, this one could be either zoyalai or ronmione, but i'm not much of a ronmione shipper so this one's zoyalai.
"i don't really give a damn about the way you touch me
when we're alone
you can hold my hand
if no one's home"
it's the whole secret romance thing!! nikolai as the king and zoya as his general!!
"i broke all my bones that day i found you
crying at the lake"
the. garden. scene!!
and then the ultimate lines:
"watching over me, he's singing
'she's a, she's a lady, and i am just a boy'
he's singing, 'she's a, she's a lady, and i am just a line without a hook'"
this is exactly how nikolai imagines her, too good to be true!
cowboy like me, taylor swift;
kanej. this entire song is just so kanej.
"you're a cowboy like me
perched in the dark
telling all the rich folks anything they wanna hear
like it could be love
i could be the way forward
only if they pay for it"
hi? this is so kaz?
"and the skeletons in both our closets
plotted hard to fuck this up
and the old men that i've swindled
really did believe i was the one
and the ladies lunching have their stories about
when you passed through town
but that was all before i locked it down"
"skeletons in both our closets"? trauma inducing backstories, and then kaz's dirtyhands reputation and inej "having him without armor".
"with your boots beneath my bed
forever is the sweetest con"
now this isn't exactly a kanej line but it gives off helnik vibes, and i might be crying.
special mention goes to trouble by valerie broussard and fairytale by alexander ryback but everyone already knows these iconic songs are six of crows and the folk of the air :p
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Bollywood Movie Recs
Ok so this is purely a product of my complete boredom. This is just (probably part one of) a collection of bollywood films that I think are amazing (because there are some gems out there). And this rec goes for both desis and non-Indians who want to try watching indian films <3
1. Taare Zameen Par (2007) dir. Amole Gupte, Amir Khan (trans: Stars On Earth)
Plot: Ishaan is criticised by his parents for his poor academic performance and is sent away to a boarding school. Ram, an art teacher, however, realises he has dyslexia and helps him uncover his potential.
Ok so this was one of the movies that genuinely made me cry as a kid. Not a sad cry - there is no sad ending. But it was so beautifully written and performed, with some really smart, hard hitting moments that discuss important issues such as child mental health and parent-pressure, and it's one of the few hindi films with positively depicted neurodivergent leads. Its creative and visually amazing and just all around wonderful. Not to mention the music is incredible 💕
2. Wake Up Sid (2009) dir. Ayan Mukerji
Plot: Siddharth Mehra, a spoilt and selfish college student, learns the meaning of life and the importance of responsibility from Aisha, an aspiring writer from Kolkata.
This is essentially a romcom with a delightful dose of roommates/coworkers AU. A simple, sweet story that will leave you smiling in the end, and it also includes a few beautiful shots of Mumbai sightseeing 💛
3. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) dir. Zoya Akhtar (trans: Life Doesn't Come Again)
Plot: Friends Kabir, Imran and Arjun take a vacation in Spain before Kabir's marriage. The trip turns into an opportunity to mend fences, heal wounds, fall in love with life and combat their worst fears.
This film is one of my all time favourites. If you love road trip films, then this is perfect. The plot is tight and wonderfully written, with some stunning visuals of Spain and an incredible cast. This movie is a whole joy-ride 💖
4. Queen (2013) dir. Vikas Bahl
Plot: Rani is devastated after her fiance leaves her just before the wedding. Undeterred, she decides to go on their honeymoon alone where she gets pulled out of her comfort zone and rediscovers herself.
You know that tiring trope of like, white ladies travelling to india to "find themselves" and whatnot? Well this movie flips that trope right over its head (is that the right phrase?). This movie is unique and hilarious and refreshing, and though it caters a little more to the desi side of things, it's a great watch for non-Indians too 💗
Also, unrelated but lisa haydon could step on me and I would thank her
5. Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) dir. Zoya Akhtar (trans: Let The Heart Beat)
Plot: On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, Kamal and Neelam invite their family and friends on a cruise. However, on the journey, they learn many life lessons and change for the better.
This movie is feel-good, funny and modern with some very real moments, dysfunctional families and adorable romance. It's from the same people who made zindagi na milegi dobara, so you know it's going to be really good 💝
6. Dear Zindagi (2016) dir. Gauri Shinde (trans: Dear Life)
Plot: After a series of career and relationship downturns, Kaira begins suffering from insomnia. She contacts Dr Jehangir Khan, a psychologist, who uses unconventional methods to treat her.
It's a simple, fun movie that talks about love, family, friendship and learning to live your life and making yourself happy. It also discusses mental health and normalized seeking therapy. It'll leave you smiling in the end ❤
7. Kapoor And Sons (2016) dir. Shakun Batra
Plot: Brothers Arjun and Rahul return home to visit their ailing grandfather. Amidst numerous ongoing family problems, emotions get intensified when a girl causes a rift between the two.
If you haven't figured out by now that I've just copy-pasted the plot from google then here's your chance. But seriously, this movie isn't some love-triangle focused angst-fest. It's actually a really beautiful movie about a family and these two brothers specifically and it's just all around beautiful. There is a good dose of angst, but also some really beautiful, funny moments, adorable and healthy romances, and lgbt rep (though it's a little minimal, but it was pretty great for a little closeted me watching this movie). Trust me, it's a really great watch 💞
8. Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) dir. Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (trans. Bareilly's Barfi)
Plot: After reading a book that changes her life, Bitti is intent on meeting the author. Her quest takes her to a publisher, Chirag, who leads her to believe that the writer is Pritam Vidrohi.
This is one of those sweet, small town romcoms with an adorable plot, hilarious moments and a main cast so attractive they will make you question your sexuality. I have rewatched this movie so many times you guys, and it never gets old. It's honestly one of my comfort films 💙
9. October (2018) dir. Shoojit Sircar
Plot: Dan and Shiuli are brought closer in an unexpected turn of events. Eventually, they develop feelings for each other and establish a bond unlike any other which leads to an internal awakening.
Okay so fair warning, there is a major character death in this movie, and it will most definitely make you cry. It's a relatively short film with a ton of beautiful moments and a bittersweet ending. It's not entirely romantic, per se. Like the trailer says - it's not a love story, but a story about love 🖤
10. Andhadhun (2018) dir. Sriram Raghavan (trans: Blindly)
Plot: Akash, a piano player pretending to be visually-impaired, unwittingly becomes entangled in a number of problems as he witnesses the murder of a former film actor.
This is one of the most interesting thriller movie I have seen , especially in Bollywood. The plot is well-written and intense, the cast is fucking amazing, and you will be at the edge of your seat at every. Fucking. Minute. It's a complete masterpiece from start to finish 💚 (warning: violence, blood)
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There’s no Need to Break the Door
Summary: A Zoyalai fic based on the prompt: ‘There is no need to break the door.’
send me a promt and i’ll write you a blurb
Prompt: "There is no need to break the door"
“Zoya! Open the door! You chose the worst day to sleep in for the first time in your life.”
Zoya groaned, burying her head underneath her pillow, trying to block out the banging and yelling. A lack of sleep was making her head pound, the too-bright sun was poking at her eyes, and the heavy weight at her waist was helping drag her back towards sleep. What could Genya possibly want?
“Zoya! We agreed to get ready here before we meet up with the others at Nikolai’s before the event!”
Shit. The fundraiser. She shot up in bed, momentarily unable to register the resistance she was met with on the way up. Zoya let out a shriek as she scrambled back against the headboard, there was a man in her bed. No, she thought as he turned over to face her, not just any man, it was Nikolai. A shirtless, dazed, Nikolai who looked a little too much like he was exactly where he belonged on the opposite side of the bed.
“Give me five minutes, I’m getting dressed,” she snapped, flinging herself across the room to throw a housecoat over her thin nightgown. The memories of the night before were rushing back at her, and the more she remembered the less she wanted to. Flashes of Nikolai and her both being stood up for their dates, coming back to her place, slipping off her heels and throwing her legs over his while they watched a movie with takeout on the couch. Falling asleep against his shoulder, being carried to bed, refusing to let go of him when he’d tried to go back to the sofa. Resting her head on his chest while he told her the story of how he met Tolya and Tamar, his arm tight around her, the same arm that had still been wrapped around her this morning. Shit.
“Hey,” Zoya hissed, snapping her fingers at the blonde in her bed, “wake up.”
“What do you want,” Nikolai mumbled, his voice husky with sleep. Get yourself together, Zoya thought, trying desperately to reign in her fluttering heartbeat. You’re not attracted to him, you’re just sleep-deprived and groggy. Yes, that was it. She tried to ignore the fact that last night was the first time in months that she’d slept for eight hours straight.
“Hey,” she snapped again, balling up his discarded shirt from the floor and pelting it at him. “Get up!”
“Zoya? What are you doing in my--” he bolted upright, “this is your bed.”
“No shit! Get dressed, Genya’s banging on the door because we’re supposed to be at your place in twenty minutes.”
“The fundraiser,” Nikolai groaned, tugging on his shirt over his head before turning to her “Tamar and Tolya are probably already there, I need to leave, right now.”
Okay, so they were acting as if nothing happened, which was perfectly fine with her, it wasn’t like anything had happened, it wasn’t like she’d slept with him. Well, she had, but in a completely innocent and platonic way. Nothing unusual for good friends, right? “Yes, you need to leave. Right now.”
“Everything okay, Nazyalensky? You’re looking a bit peaky, is the sight of me in the morning really that awe-inspiring?”
“Zoya, I’m going to break down the door if you don’t open it. We’re already late!”
“Shut up,” she groaned, her head was pounding and she couldn’t tell if it was from the alcohol or his voice. She’d never had to deal with him before she had at least two cups of coffee in her system, and she realized now that he was infinitely more insufferable on an empty stomach. “Genya’s going to try to pick out an outfit for me, you can’t hide out here. You need to climb out the side window when I bring Genya in.”
“Right, right,” he nodded, “remind me why I have to avoid Genya.”
“No one can ever know about this, no one.”
“Come on, no one’s going to care. It’s not like anything happened-- well other than your snoring for eight hours.”
“I don’t snore.”
“Sure you don’t.”
“Get out before I throw you out.”
Nikolai winked, throwing her a mock salute before grabbing his shoes from the entryway, and making his way over to the side window. “See you in a bit, Nazyalensky.”
She huffed, opening the door to a perfectly styled Genya in a pastel floral dress, flowing down to her ankles, complete with strappy heels. Her look at Zoya was downright murderous, “did you just roll out of bed?”
“Maybe,” Zoya ground out, stepping back to let Genya into the apartment, the other girl making a beeline for her room, and she could only hope that Nikolai had gotten out unnoticed.
“Was the date last night that good? Or that bad?” Genya’s voice called out from the closet where she’d already begun flinging out pieces of clothing onto Zoya’s unmade bed. “How do we feel about Baby Blue?”
“We feel great about whatever gets us out the door in less than ten minutes.”
Genya rolled her eyes, throwing the tulle corset dress at her, making her way over to the vanity. “Where are your earrings?”
“In the jewelry box in the corner.”
“So, how was the date?”
“We don’t have time for this,” she called out from behind the folding screen. She really didn’t have it in her to come up with a fake story regarding the night before, and now that she thought about it, she and Nikolai probably should’ve straightened their stories out. What if he told everyone a conflicting story and they all found out what had really happened? She’d never live it down.
“It was terrible,” she began, as Genya sat her down at the vanity, curling wand in hand. “He never showed, so I came home and drank while watching that movie Tamar loves.” There, that was close enough to the truth that she wouldn’t mess up her recounting if pressed on the matter. It didn’t matter that she’d excluded how Nikolai had split those bottles of wine with her, and how there were definite gaps in the memory of the night before. Now she just had to hope Nikolai didn’t say anything stupid.
“He wasn’t worth your time anyway,”
She laughed, “who is?”
“Well,” Genya began as Zoya applied the finishing touches to her makeup, “if you’re looking for suggestions--”
“No.” She knew exactly who Genya was going to bring up, and she was less than willing to talk about the idiot she’d found in her bed this morning. Saints, how was she reckless enough to let this happen? Why did she find herself less and less horrified the more she thought back on just how much she’d enjoyed last night in Nikolai’s company? She needed breakfast, now. She clearly wasn’t thinking straight.
“Just hear me out!”
“No. Now let’s go, we’re going to be late.”
The ride to Nikolai’s apartment was short so she only had to skirt Genya’s attempts to weasel more information about her date, or lack thereof, out of her for a short while.
“Do you think they’re all set up yet?” Genya asked knocking on the door incessantly, her knuckles continuing to tap the wood as Zoya replied.
“Given how Nikolai’s probably only been home for all of ten minutes, I figure they’ll have barely started.”
Zoya whirled on her, how did she know? but the door was already opening, Nikolai leaning against the doorframe without a hair out of place. “There’s no need to break the door! Genya, Zoya, it’s been so long!”
Genya raised a brow, “we saw each other last week.”
“A moment can feel like an eternity when one is away from friends.”
“Cute, is that an original or from one of Tolya’s books?” Her gaze swept the room, undoubtedly scanning for signs that he’d just arrived, but like Nikolai, the apartment was perfectly set up, all the chairs were in even rows and bouquets sat along the large window sills adding warmth to the large sitting room. They made their way to to the back garden before Nikolai replied.
“I think it’s from a movie? The one based on that book Tamar loves?”
Zoya saw the girl’s eyes narrow at this. Oh Saints. “Are the twins back from the caterer?” She asked, trying futilely to turn the conversation away from the inevitable.
“I know you two were together last night!” Genya burst out. Shit.
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Nikolai replied casually, and looking at him, Zoya would’ve thought that was the truth, had she not known differently.
“Genya, I told you, I came home after my date stood me up--”
“You both know that I know, so you can cut it out. I saw Nikolai’s watch in your bathroom, his phone was on your vanity, he smells like your wildflower perfume, Zoya! Now which one of you is going to tell me what happened?”
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The Q&A was on Spotify green room with doixmoi . He also answered this question from teen Vogue I believe.
“JS: Totally, you know, we talked a lot about stories about people who were outed, inadvertently. There's a lot of queer writers in the writers room, myself included, and we talked about our coming out journeys. Audrey is so exhausted and drained by her experience in the hospital, she's not even thinking when she stands up. She believes she's standing up for a boyfriend, and then realizes that she's outed him. We talked a lot about that, about how like, oftentimes, the closest friend you tell early on, who becomes your [confidant] about that, then takes over a version of ownership or more pride in you, and wanting you to be happy and healthy and in the world. And it's not even a thought. Moving forward, I think now that it's been named, and it's in the world, I think Aki is going to come more and more into his own power as a bisexual man.... I wouldn't say he was closeted, but when you're reckoning with it and dealing with it, like your biggest fear is coming out because you're not ready yet, or you don't know what it is or what it means. And then once you start to come out, you know, it gets better. Sometimes it doesn't, which we all know. But a lot of the times, naming it, owning it, being able to be it and not be afraid of it can give you strength. Aki’s journey is one of strength.” So she didn’t do it maliciously and it was accident. In the Greenroom he said out of everyone, it make sense for it to have been Audrey because of their connection to one another
thank you for taking the time to type all of this and i will listen to the q&a as soon as i have some time.
i still stand that even if its an accident its not ok at all and she needs to apologize. if the writers wanted the whole audience to see audrey outing her boyfriend as not a huge deal they should not have made her 1. out him again to zoya, 2. blame it on him and 3. hide for the rest of the episode.
i wonder if any lgbtq+ person had a say on this storyline cause its the weirdest "coming out" in a show i've seen in a while. (i was informed there is in fact at least one person involved)
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a calming presence
here’s my fic for the kotlc 2021 collab (@kotlc2021collab)!
trigger warnings: alden being a bitch about marella’s pyrokinesis
notes: many thanks to my beta reader, Vin @zoyas-kefta! without her excellent edits and advice, this fic would have been a complete disaster.
Marella pulled the hood of her cloak up, moving swiftly but unobtrusively through Atlantis. She scanned the crowded streets for any sign of the Neverseen.
A black cloak flashed at the edge of her vision, and she whirled around. She recognized the pale skin and borderline ostentatious jewelry that matched her memory of Vespera. The Ancient elf strode with a confidence that didn’t match her frail frame, drawing stares and whispers from the other pedestrians.
At the sight of her, Marella’s fire blazed higher inside of her, the flames just begging to be unleashed on the elf who had given Biana her scars, kidnapped and tortured Sophie’s human parents, and created Nightfall. But Marella kept herself in check, promising herself that there’d be plenty of time for rage when Vespera was locked away in Nightfall or wherever the Black Swan’s prison facility was.
She trailed the black-cloaked figure for two city blocks, until an elf with messy blonde hair and sky blue eyes stepped out of the crowd to meet Vespera. Fintan. He’d escaped from his prison a few months prior, and he’d wasted no time returning to his wicked ways with the Neverseen.
She was so focused on Vespera, that she only noticed the fire when people started screaming.
The neon-yellow flames flared up around the two elves, and Marella broke into a sprint, discarding her red cape as she ran. She hurdled obstacles and shoved civilians out of the way as she sprinted full-tilt towards the flickering cylinder of Everblaze mixed with regular flame taking up the center of the square.
Without stopping, she flung herself right through the wall of fire just in time to catch Vespera handing Fintan a marble-sized crystal orb. A cache! Where did she get one?
Marella hurled a ball of fire at Vespera, then grabbed for the cache, sending Vespera’s cloak up in flames. Her hands ignited as she snatched the glass sphere from a shocked Fintan. He responded in kind with his own inferno, the heat of Everblaze meeting her own orange-red flames.
“Put out the Everblaze, Fintan!” she shouted, finding her voice. “I don’t want to have to hurt you, but I will if I have to!”
Her former teacher simply laughed derisively. “As if you could ever get close enough. I am the most powerful Pyrokinetic the Lost Cities have ever seen, and you haven’t even been training for a year.” His blue eyes danced with a mad gleam.
Despite the heat surrounding them, Marella fought back a shiver. Fintan never failed to unnerve her, even when he was cooperating with the Black Swan. She took a deep breath, steeling herself for what was to come. It was true that she was relatively untrained, but the Black Swan’s wrinkly leader had said she had the strongest Pyrokinesis he’d ever seen.
Hopefully she could utilize that power now.
She opened her mind to the fire around her, the familiar, normal fire, and pushed past it, wrapping her control around the Everblaze that was rapidly turning everything around it to cinders. She pulled hard on it, and the walls surrounding them vanished, seemingly sucked into the ball of Everblaze she now held aloft in her hand.
Huh. So that’s why it’s called the fire of the sun on earth. Marella felt like she was holding the entire sun in her hand, the energy from it surging through her body. The fire wanted nothing more than to turn the city to ashes, engulf the entire world inside its destructive power. But Marella wouldn’t let it. She focused as hard as she could, and the flames slowly shrunk smaller and smaller, glowing brighter and brighter. Finally, she closed her fist over the Everblaze, extinguishing it.
Fintan looked faintly disappointed, but shook his head, raising a crystal and a bottle of starlight. He glittered away through the light of whichever unmapped star he was using. Marella spun around to see Vespera step into her own path of light and vanish.
Marella let out a breath she didn’t quite realize she’d been holding, and reached out with her mind to the remaining fires. With barely a thought, they shrunk down to nothing.
She was suddenly very aware of the staring elves that had crowded around the battle, if it could be called that.
Whispers and mutters tore through the crowd.
“The Redek girl, a Pyrokinetic-”
“Unstable, like the rest of them-”
“Did the Council know about this?”
Shoot. The Council. Marella didn’t know the exact terms of the contract that allowed her to train in Pyrokinesis, but she was pretty sure that “publicly revealing her power in a showdown with the Neverseen” wasn’t part of it.
With shaking hands, she fumbled for her home crystal, until she remembered she couldn’t light leap in Atlantis. Marella shoved the cache deep into her tunic pocket, kept her head down, and practically ran as far from the site of the confrontation as she could.
She left the city as fast as possible, leaping back home as soon as she could and rushing immediately to her room. She gasped a few deep breaths, trying to calm her racing heartbeat. She felt light-headed. I can’t believe I just revealed my Pyrokinesis to all of Atlantis. Soon all of the Lost Cities will know and then any second now the Council will be knocking on my door and my mom’s going to panic and my dad’s going to have to deal with this, I have to calm down-
Unsurprisingly, the thought didn’t help her calm down at all.
Marella shut herself inside her closet and curled in on herself, trying to steady her breathing and blink back the tears prickling behind her eyelids. She wasn’t sure how long she stayed like that, but she had no intention of coming out.
Footsteps sounded through the hallway and into her room, too light to be her dad and too even to be her mom. Probably one of her friends, then. Marella held her breath as though playing hide and seek, hoping that whoever it was, they would go away soon. She soon realized that her plan wasn’t going to work as the twinge of oxygen deprivation set in.
Marella gave in, and gulped down greedy lungfuls of air. She heard an amused hum from outside of her closet.
“May I come in?” Her girlfriend’s soft voice asked. Marella nodded, then realized Linh couldn’t see her. Her cheeks reddened, and she muttered a quick “yes.”
Linh opened the door, and Marella buried her tearstained face in her arms.
“Hi,” she said, her voice muffled.
“Hi there,” Linh replied. “I heard about your ability reveal, and I brought ripplefluffs. I know they’re your favorite.”
“What did I do to deserve you?” Marella sighed, uncurling her arms and legs and standing up to squeeze the other girl’s hand. Linh smiled warmly, but the look did little to calm Marella’s nerves.
“Love you too,” she said, placing an arm around Marella’s shoulder and steering her to one of the many balconies that overlooked the courtyard.
The two settled into the soft chairs on the balcony and slowly worked their way through the large basket of ripplefluffs.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Linh asked, after about a half-hour spent in silence. Marella hesitated, then shook her head. “Do you want a distraction?” A nod this time. “Okay… Keefe and Sophie came over this morning, before the news went out, and they tried to bake desserts for Tam and Biana. It went about as well as you’d expect.” Marella giggled. “I swear, the kitchen was a disaster by the time I finally had enough and kicked them both out. I ended up having to walk them through the steps to make custard bursts, and only because they insisted on making the food themselves. You know how Keefe and Tam have their date tonight? Well, Biana dragged Tam out shopping to give him a makeover, and Sophie insisted on Keefe bringing baked goods. I think it’s revenge for how much unasked-for advice Tam and Keefe gave Sophie and Biana on their first date.”
Marella laughed. “Honestly, when will those four learn? At this point, it’s become a competition to see which couple can out-wingman the other!” The doorbell rang, and Linh put a hand out to stop Marella getting up.
“Here, I’ll get it.” She returned a few minutes later with a scroll. “It’s a summons for an assembly in… Tribunal Hall.” Marella clutched the armrests of her seat, her hands growing uncomfortably warm.
“They’re holding a Tribunal for me?” she asked, trying not to panic.
“They’re actually just trying to explain everything,” Linh clarified. “They’ll probably explain their reasoning for allowing you to have your ability without being banished, and for keeping it a secret as well.”
“Oh.” Marella relaxed a little bit, though she was still nervous. “When is it?”
Linh shifted a little bit. “In three hours.” Upon seeing Marella’s reaction, she backpedaled. “Don’t worry; I’m sure everything will be fine!”
“You don’t know that,” Marella groaned, hiding her face in her hands again.
“Yes, I do. I know that I won’t let them banish you, even if it means I get banished again,” Linh promised.
Marella looked up at her with an expression that probably looked pathetically smitten. “You really mean that?”
“Of course I do,” Linh answered with a confident grin. “We’re both going to come out of this absolutely fine.” She held Marella close in a hug.
“We’re going to be fine,” Marella echoed, but it felt like less of a promise to Linh than a promise to herself.
“Absolutely right. Now, let’s go get ready.”
Marella fidgeted with her ruby-red dress in the front row of Tribunal Hall. The seats behind her were packed with elves. It seemed like the entire population of the Lost Cities had come to watch, but maybe that was just her nerves.
Sophie sent her a reassuring smile from where she sat, looking elegant in a dark red tunic with black leggings and black blazer, arm in arm with Biana.
She tried to smile back, but it probably looked more like a grimace. Linh nudged her arm.
“We’re going to be fine,” she whispered. Marella nodded, entirely unconvinced, but Linh being there calmed her more than a thousand comforting words ever could.
The buzz of chatter in the room gradually died down as the Council took their seats, flanked by a dozen goblin bodyguards.
“We are here today to discuss the ability of Marella Adene Redek,” Emery stated. “To clarify for anyone who the news has not reached yet, Miss Redek recently manifested as a Pyrokinetic, an ability that, as I’m sure you all know, is banned due to several tragic incidents involving the notoriously volatile and unstable ability. We did not exile her, and allowed her to train in the power at the urging of the Black Swan and Sophie Foster.” That was news to Marella. She supposed it made sense that Sophie would stand up for Marella’s right to train in her ability, but she was still surprised that Sophie had found the time to do it, between all the assignments and missions and cryptic notes from the Black Swan.
“We kept this secret from the public because we wanted Miss Redek and her family to have privacy, and for the sake of her mother. I assume you all know about Caprise Redek’s injury?” The crowd murmured assent.
“However, in an incident earlier today that involved several members of the Neverseen, Marella was forced to reveal her Pyrokinesis to Atlantis. I am sure that many of you have opinions about this.”
Alden Vacker stood up. “I would like to make it known that I do not approve of allowing an unstable girl with an unstable ability to train in said ability. The rules banning Pyrokinesis were made for a reason, correct?”
“The rules banning Pyrokinesis were made and signed into effect during a more desperate time, with tragedies involving Pyrokinetics happening left and right,” Councillor Bronte called out.
“That does not change the fact that Marella has been left unchecked with this ability solely because a group of rebels wanted her to be,” Alden argued. Biana glared at him from across the room. If looks could kill…
“Marella is one of the most brilliant, kind, and powerful elves in the Lost Cities,” Linh said abruptly. “There is no reason to judge her based on her ability and not her compassion and bravery. Ask anyone in Atlantis, they all saw her running straight into that fire to stop Fintan today, without a thought for her own safety.”
“Yeah,” Biana stood up. “There’s no reason to worry, Dad.”
“Thank you, Miss Linh and Lady Biana,” Councillor Emery nodded.
“Miss Redek has not had any Pyrokinesis-related incidents since she manifested. We have been observing her closely, and she is neither unstable nor unreliable,” Bronte said firmly, cementing the decision.
Marella released a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding, and Linh squeezed her hand reassuringly. They weren’t out of the woods yet, though. The gathered elves were murmuring disapprovingly, and she heard someone call out.
“Maybe she hasn’t yet! But who knows what will happen?” Marella craned her neck to look for the speaker, but she couldn’t pick them out of the crowd.
“We will not be changing our decision on allowing Marella to train in her ability,” Councillor Oralie spoke up. “This is final. Remember, we did not call you here for you to question our choices, but to give you the facts.”
“And the facts have been given,” Emery said. “You are all dismissed. Do not harass Miss Redek because of her ability, and continue to treat her the same as you did before you knew she manifested.”
Linh stood up, Marella trailing behind her, and they filed out of the building surrounded by their friends, and the rest of the crowd.
“I can’t believe they defended me,” Marella said excitedly. “I mean, I was pretty sure, but you never know.”
“I’m not surprised.” Sophie smiled. “The Council can make good decisions from time to time, you know.”
“By the way, thank you for what you said back there,” Marella addressed both Linh and Biana.
“Oh, it’s no trouble. I’ve been wanting to say that to my dad for ages!” Biana grinned.
Linh said nothing, but pulled Marella into a hug. “Of course, love.” Biana and Sophie leaped away, and suddenly it was just the two of them.
“Let’s go back,” Marella said suddenly. “We can steal some of those cupcakes Keefe was making.”
“I think that after today, no one is going to deny either of us cupcakes,” Linh laughed.
She held a crystal to the last rays of the sunset, and the two of them stepped into the light.
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I got bullied into this. But here you all are: Slytherin!Zoya okay!!!
@reapersbarge @wafflesandkruge BITE ME
(if y’all like this I might be persuaded into taking short prompts for this au)
it takes so long for Zoya to be sorted that she's nearly a hat stall, but when she walks to the Slytherin table, every eye in the Great Hall follows her, despite being only 11, her chin is high and anyone who meets her eye is met with a glare that will become infamous over the next seven years
She meets Genya in potions, Genya is a Gryffindor and knows everything about everyone, which Zoya finds very helpful, they become allies at first, and then good friends
It isn’t until their third year that they befriend Alina, the Hufflepuff girl is quieter than Zoya or Genya, but half blooded Zoya has never been one to allow the more prejudiced Slytherins to give shit to the muggle born students. she gets three weeks of detention for cursing her housemates, but she also gets a new friend
Zoya hears about Nikolai of course, everyone’s heard of Nikolai Lantsov. From one of the oldest Pureblood Families, but very scandalously sorted into Gryffindor (which only fuels the rumors that his mother had an affair with a muggle of which he is the result)
So Zoya’s heard of Nikolai, and she’s seen him around of course, but she doesn’t actually *meet* him until she makes the Slytherin Quidditch team as a chaser her second year
She hates him. He’s loud and arrogant and his blonde hair is perfect even after he’s been flying which makes her Very Suspicious. Anyone who’s hair looks good after a quidditch match is up to no good.
Genya knows him better of course, they’re house mates even if he is a year older. She claims he’s very good at charms. Zoya claims she doesn’t care what he’s good at.
Zoya and Alina have a slight falling out in fourth year when Zoya pursues her childhood best friend and fellow fourth year Hufflepuff, Mal
It doesn’t last long, and Zoya and Alina make up. (When Alina and Mal get together just after Christmas that year, well, Zoya can’t say she’s surprised. Nor is she surprised when four years later they get married six months out of Hogwarts)
Fifth year is where the real trouble begins
Zoya is a prefect, and spends most of her time giving detention to her fellow Slytherins and the Gryffindors for doing dumb stuff
It begins with Genya, as most of Zoya’s trouble does (It ends with Nikolai, as most of Zoya’s trouble does)
Genya is lovesick and Zoya thinks it’s disgusting. Love is overrated she thinks. But, Genya is her friend, and frankly, Zoya is sick of hearing about the cute sixth year Ravenclaw
She’s in the library trying and failing to write a paper for transfiguration when what Alina will later call her best idea ever comes to her (Zoya will call it her worst mistake. Nikolai will call it fate.)
She spots Nikolai studying with the infamous Ravenclaw in question. And David is actually talking to Nikolai.
She doesn’t regret her idea when she yanks Nikolai into a broom closet in the fourth floor to recruit him into her scheme.
She doesn’t regret her idea when Nikolai helps her take all of David’s notes for transfiguration so he’ll freak out enough to go to Genya for help (Genya is by far the best transfiguration student at Hogwarts, fifth year or no)
She doesn’t regret her idea when Genya comes into the great hall with a grin on her face and David’s hand in hers
She does regret her idea when she sees the way Nikolai is looking at her when they pass in the hall. She regrets it when he tries to get her attention and his stupid hair is still stupidly perfect after the Hufflepuff Gryffindor game with the stupid snitch still clutched in his stupid hand
(if she hooks up with Dominik the next day, well no one can prove it’s related)
(if she stops hooking up with Dominik the minute Genya tells her he used to date Nikolai, well no one prove that’s related either)
It all goes to shit during the Slytherin Gryffindor Game. Because of course it does. Nikolai is the team captain, golden and perfect hair perfectly in place from start to finish.
Zoya is so furious about his stupid hair that she scores a dozen goals herself. (Nikolai catches the snitch too early though, and Slytherin loses)
She stands in the shower for a long time afterwards. (she’s thinking about the game damn it not Him)
He’s waiting for her outside the locker room
“I hate you” she says
“I know” he grins at her
She grabs him by the collar and pulls him back into the locker room with her.
(when they emerge an hour later, his stupid hair isn’t so perfect anymore)
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