I love like when I’m in the shower and have nothing better to do than to think of scenes or concepts that I believe would make for a really great movie or TV show. But is it weird that I often now think of in what ways I could portray an LGBTQ love story and do it justice? Like I imagine LGBTQ scenes in my mind that I think would make for a better movie than what’s out there. I’m straight and I personally also feel that LGBTQ stories should be left for LGBTQ people to tell and I don’t wanna talk over those who’ve actually experienced it cause I feel like it’s not my place. Idk hopefully I made some sense. I do the same thing with like straight couples too, tbh I just like seeing the different ways in which love can be portrayed.
1 - I think telling stories of any sort in your head is normal. It’s like the exact opposite of weird. I do it in the shower, or lying in bed, or walking or basically as a default if my brain is not actively doing something else. Stories are how we make sense of the world, entertain ourselves, escape, figure out what we want.
2 - You didn’t ask for me to go into ‘and in this essay I will’ mode, but...
I strongly don’t believe that only LGBTQ people can or should tell LGBTQ stories.
I think own voice stories are incredibly important, and LGBTQ people can talk about their specific experiences and struggles with more nuance and lived experience than someone heterosexual can. But also...like, imagine if we told LGBTQ people that they’re only allowed to write LGBTQ stories. There’s something squicky and very censorship-y about it that I don’t like.
As a very basic example, which I hope highlights the absurdity of the premise, does that mean because I’m a biromantic asexual that I should just stay in my lane and never write any stories which involve sexual attraction, sexual activities, or that I should only write a story in which a character is asexual?
There are differences in how LGBTQ people experience our contemporary or historical world, but to suggest that only LGBTQ people can write LGBTQ stories perpetuates the myth of LGBTQ people as somehow inherently other, as if there is no cross-over or universal feelings between straight people and LGBTQ people and that is both a) not true and b) a potentially harmful an idea to perpetuate. It is harmful because to portray LGBTQ people as other, as people straight people cannot possibly understand, helps foster an ‘us versus them’ mentality. I.e., it once again centres the straight narrative as the default that everyone can understand, versus the LGBTQ narrative that is therefore not for everyone. It discourages empathy and upholds heteronormativity.
Writing a story with LGBTQ characters when you are not LGBTQ is not inherently talking over LGBTQ people, or inherently taking away story-telling opportunities away from LGBTQ authors. I know we love to check the diversity credentials of authors at this moment in time, but whether you are an own voices author or not doesn’t magically decide if your story is good or not, or whether it fits a nebulous gold standard of ‘good representation’, as if its a one size fits all when it’s just doesn’t.
The larger issue, to my mind, is a structural one. It’s to do with things like:
Well, are we only telling LGBTQ stories that primarily cater to straight audiences?
Are we only showing one specific kind of queer identity or presenting one specific way of living as the authentic queer experience?
Who are we giving authority to when we tell LGBTQ stories? Who gets listened to? Who knows queer history in the story? What is this saying?
How are we portraying the LGBTQ characters we do use compared to how we are portraying straight characters?
Own voices are important, and should be boosted, but at least some of the context behind own voices currently being prioritised is that historically they haven’t been, because historically if you were openly LGBTQ you were censored and own voices is trying to fill in the huge representation gap.
In the long term, what we need is more LGBTQ stories, period, because then there is not as much of an issue with ‘oh but this one story doesn’t reflect me’ or ‘this one character has to represent everything’. An LGBTQ villain on their own, for example, might contribute to a history of queercoded villainy which can be argued to contribute to the demonising of LGBTQ characters/attributes/culture by associating them with the evil characters...but similarly, to only be allowed to write LGBTQ characters as perfect little angels limits the humanity and variety of LGBTQ characters, and by extension our understanding of LGBTQ people.
So to sum up: go forth, do your best, and write LGBTQ stories. Not every story about straight white people is a literary, nuanced masterpiece, and that’s okay. LGBTQ stories shouldn’t have to be that either to be worth writing or reading.
Wanting to explore different ways that love can be portrayed is one of the many reasons to write about love.
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hello! I hope you're doing well. perhaps if you're taking requests, could I ask for something? a hero rejected and ignored with the mask off, only finds some sort of recognition in the glory of being a superhero. nobody really sees them behind the facade though - except for a cunning villain whose admiration is nothing short of dangerous obsession. maybe the hero is conflicted between the desire and the guilt of being wanted like this.
thank you for all you do, I really admire your work.
"You want them to love you." The villain spoke softly, with eyes that were anything but. "They won't, they can't. Not really. No one can truly love something which they do not understand."
The hero's mouth felt sandpaper dry. They knew the way the words, the way that the villain was looking at them, should have tripped a hundred different alarms. Mostly it sent a guilty thrill coiling through their stomach. The terror-delight of a rollercoaster, right before it plunged through the biggest drop.
"And I suppose," the hero kept their voice light, teasing, "you think you understand. Does that mean you love me?"
The villain's eyes burned even darker at that question. They hummed, head tilting as they considered the hero.
"Depends on your definition of love." They continued to circle, pinning the hero to the spot with their fluid movements, sinuous as shadow. "Do I feel any particular affection towards you? No." They stopped behind the hero, catching their throat in one swift movement, pulling them back flush, lips pressing against the shell of the hero's ear. "Do I take great interest in you? Certainly." The hand tightened. "One could even say I take pleasure in you."
The hero swallowed. They knew, too, that they should recoil from the touch. Wrench away from the threat-promise of it. They didn't. A shiver ran down their spine instead and they knew the villain felt it.
"I find my thoughts turning to you," the villain murmured, "more often than not. You are a consuming thing."
The hero closed their eyes, and drew in a steadying breath.
"I don't think that's love so much as obsession," they replied. "But nice try."
They couldn't remember the last time anyone had touched them, and it left them a little dizzy. Giddy, even. They wanted to lean in, not pull away, but after their belated moment they twisted and slipped free. After all, if they didn't do that, the villain wouldn't follow. They wouldn't need to. And being followed...well, maybe that wasn't love, but squinting in the half light it could be close. Closer than anything the hero had ever had before. It was, at least, proof of being wanted. Needed, even.
The villain stalked unerringly after them.
The hero wet their lips, heart pounding.
Of course, the villain couldn't possibly really understand them. If they did, they wouldn't still have any great interest in the hero at all. Outside their mask, the hero was no one worth having any particular interest in. Life had proven that more than once.
But in the mask...
In the mask they were a hero, a worthy opponent, someone worth admiring and coveting. And the hero knew, they knew, that the villain's desire was a dangerous thing, and yet there was something intoxicating about it.
"You," the villain said, "are an empty starving pit that the masses project all their hopes and wishes on. And that fills you up, at least for a little while."
The hero faltered, stumbled, not expecting that.
"The problem with that, however, is the at least for a little while." The villain took advantage of the brief hesitation to catch up, hands winding around the hero's wrists like shackles. "Their adoration is empty of understanding, and so the hit of it will never quite scratch the itch in you. Never quite leave you full. I, on the other hand..." They pulled the hero's bloodied knuckles up to their lips, pressing a too gentle kiss, "know you better than you know yourself. I know exactly what you need."
The hero jerked back.
"Ah, ah." The villain's nails dug in, not letting go. There was no twisting easily free that time. "You wanted to be chased, hero. I kindly obliged. Now you're going to let yourself be caught."
The hero laughed, a little shaky. "If you think that's true-"
Sam froze. That was their name, their actual name. But the villain couldn't know their actual name, because that meant that the villain knew who they actually were, and if they knew who they actually were-
"Told you," the villain crooned, "that I know you."
Sam stared at them, wide-eyed, off-balance.
"I know you have no actual superpowers." The villain squeezed their wrists. "Though you are clever, an expert in smoke and mirrors and creating tech. Manufacturing a little magic for yourself in that mask. Enough to fight against people like me, even! Incredible."
Sam's ears were ringing. They tried to take a step back, to jerk their wrists free again. The villain simply moved with them.
"You got so much more interesting when I learned that," the villain said. "Seeing what you'd come up with next..." The villain sighed, dreamily. "Power is power, but you..."
"Let go of me." It came out hoarse.
"What do you think happens when your adoring public finds out that you're a liar and a fraud?" the villain asked, with a sly smile. "When they learn you've been hoarding power that they could use to protect themselves, so that they have to rely on you instead?"
Any thrill vanished. Sam felt a rush of cold.
"I could disable that tech, bit by bit," the villain said. "Unravel you, leave you with no option but to do what I say. But I think you're going to kindly oblige me and take that mask off instead, don't you?" The villain let go, expectantly.
The hero considered bolting, but - where would they go? The villain knew who they were. They hadn't factored in for the villain ever knowing that. What if the villain did tell everyone? The hero reached to remove the mask with trembling hands, with a small click and a whir.
It was over. They were over. If the villain didn't kill them, everything would go back to nothing, and to being nobody and -
"Oh, Sam." The villain took the mask. "You don't understand me anywhere near as well as you think you do."
The villain pocketed the mask, and reached out to trace the contours of Sam's face. The look on the villain's face hadn't changed. It seemed impossible that it hadn't changed. Still burning, still intent. Their grip tightened on Sam's jaw.
"You want to be wanted." The villain leaned in, and pressed a kiss to Sam's mouth. "You want to be important." They wrapped an arm around Sam's back, pulling them flush once more. "And I want you to be mine. I think we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement, don't you?"
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Hello!! I love your writing ❤ would you write a piece about a hero turned villain and how much it hurt their partner? Thank you!! I hope your food tastes better today and you smell the scent of the forest
"You left me," the sidekick said. They stood opposite the once-hero, their body shaking with adrenaline and fury and fear. Still, they held their ground.
The words stopped the villain short.
"You've told me all of the reasons," the once sidekick continued, through gritted teeth and blurry vision, "why you switched sides. You've given me the whole damn monologue about how the side you once fought for is all wrong and terrible and how you've seen the light." They took a step closer, fists clenched. "If that's true, give me one good reason why you left me behind."
"Would you have come with me if I asked?"
"That's not the point. You didn't even try."
The villain's head tilted, observing the sidekick, now newly minted a hero, as if they were seeing them for the first time.
"You didn't try," the once sidekick said, "because ultimately you didn't care. Not about me." They could feel their voice growing louder, but couldn't stop it. "You say the league is broken? Well, you left me to be broken. So yeah, I'd say you can stop acting like you have some kind of moral high ground, and are anything other than scum! I would have died for you." By the end, it was nearly a scream. The sidekick had to stop to pant for breath.
The villain's raised a brow. "You could join me now, if that's what you want."
"No bloody thanks."
"I didn't think so. You would never have joined me anyway," the villain said. "They have you too tight in their claws."
"Convenient for you to think so. Justifies it, doesn't it?"
The villain smiled, then, and it was awful.
"I'm sorry. Did you want me to tell you that you alone were worth something on the side of the good? That you were special and all this is secretly to protect you? That all of the blood and the sweat you sacrificed meant something? It never does."
It was the sidekick's turn to stop, as if the villain had smacked them.
"All of those years, with you clinging to my coat-tails..." The villain moved once more, closing the gap between them, abruptly fast, and the sidekick skittered back at the twisted expression on their face. "You were obsessed with me, like they all were. Like they all are. Forever wanting, wanting, wanting something from me. Following me around, begging for my attention. Even now. Always needing reassurance!" Their voice was poison. "Well you're doing a great job coming here, sweetie! You're going to do an even better job dying. I'm so proud of you."
"Screw you." It came out choked. "We were friends. A team."
"Oh, honey." The villain laughed. "I was never the one who asked you to die for me, now was I? I never asked to be given some over-powered teenager to mentor. They shoved you on me in a last desperate ditch effort to humanise me, and control me, and give me a reason to stay. You were a perfect little trap they set for me." They caught the sidekick by the throat, and the smile wasn't even pretending to be a smile anymore. "So, tell me. Why would I have ever taken you with me?"
"Because that was them. It wasn't me!"
"You're here on their orders, are you not? Ready to step out of my shadows and make a name for yourself killing me?"
The sidekick caught hold of the villain's wrists, staring at them. Their heart pounded, and ached, and they really didn't know what they'd expected coming here...
Everyone had warned them not to even bother.
I’m here because I loved you. The hero didn’t say it.
"You really," they peeled the villain's hand away from their neck, and watched the villain's eyes widen with surprise. "Are the absolute worst sometimes."
They were fighting properly after that.
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hello! Could i request a villain with lie-detector powers who is fighting a hero and can tell that hero likes them (and they like hero back?)
"I know you like me," the villain said. "I don't know why you insist on lying to yourself, so."
"I'm not lying."
"So tell me." The villain appeared in front of the hero once more, a smile curling one of their corner of their lips. "Tell me that you don't like me. Tell me, in those exact words, that I don't make your heart pound? That you don't look forward to every time you see me?"
The hero glared at them, face-flushed.
"I'd rather take you in."
The hero came to a reluctant stop at the sing-song voice. Their teeth gritted.
"I reveal the rotten truth in this golden beacon of a city," the villain said, more seriously, and the hero's insides jolted. They'd expected the usual teasing, not...
The villain was continuing, eyes hard. "I expose the lies told by the politicians, and the police, and your handlers."
"You cause mass panic and undermine-" the hero didn't finish, because the villain would hear the lie, the creeping doubt that maybe the hero no longer believed the good side to be as good as they had once thought.
It was true that the villain did have a habit of causing mass panic, but that wasn't truly the villain's fault. Sure, the villain could be ruthless in their timing for revealing certain truths, but they were only exposing the actions that other people had already taken and tried to hide.
"You know why they're so desperate to get you to knock me out and take me in," the villain said. "Why they're so desperate to never let me talk."
It was true that the prime directive of any hero despatched to take on 'The Lie Detector', as dumb as their name was, was to go for the mouth. Silence words. The head of the Super League said it was the only way to protect oneself from the villain's manipulations, from the poison they would spew like toxic radiation.
The hero had listened one too many times already, they knew that.
"I know you like me," the villain said, and the smile was entirely gone from their face now. "And I know you wouldn't like me if you honestly thought I was as bad as they told you I am. So, stop. Please. Stop. We both know I'm not going to win a physical fight with you. Do you know what they'll do with me when they take me in?"
The hero stared at them, heart pounding.
"It doesn't matter," the hero said, finally. There was a reason that they didn't want to say the truth aloud. "It can't matter."
"One of those was a lie." The villain studied them with equal intensity, scouring their face.
Of course it mattered and, of course, it couldn't.
"Do you know what will happen when you tear this city down?" the hero asked, because they had no doubt the villain would and could succeed in that. "Do you think the new people the league put in charge will be any better? That you'll keep them honest?"
"I can try," the villain said. "The people will rise, once they truly know-"
"You tell the people the truth, to the point that they snap, and the League will slaughter them."
The villain did not accuse them of lying, that time. The villain swallowed, fingers flexing at their sides, tracking the hero's moves in anticipation for a continued attack.
The hero couldn't bring themselves to move, not yet.
"I want to help them," the hero said. "You know that's true."
"I know you're scared."
"I'd be an idiot if I wasn't," the hero snapped. "Aren't you?"
The villain looked down, but the hero still caught the flicker of fear flashing across their face.
"I want to help them," the hero said, again. "And that means I need to be where I am, on the inside. Where I can do some good."
"Good like shutting me up?"
"That," the hero said, gentler, more broken. "Is why I insist on lying to myself. Because what's the alternative?" They took a step closer, looming over the villain, who suddenly seemed so small for a thing that caused such cataclysmic panic in the hero's employers. "Love you and lose you? We both know you've always been the strong one out of the two of us, my super-strength be damned."
"You could fight with me."
"To what end?"
"To take down the League."
"And then the other villains will have nothing stopping them, once the League is gone. The ones that aren't like you. I know you think - I know you think we're all corrupt," the hero said, "and maybe you're right. Some of us are. A lot of us are. But we're still not them."
"You just said the League would slaughter the masses!"
"Only if they felt sufficiently pushed. The villains would do it for fun. For profit."
The League maintained, at least, a shiny surface. Everything could seem fine, coasting along the skin of life. There wasn't blood on the streets. People, for the most part, were happy, right? They were safe. So long as they stayed out of the way, they were safe. The hero knew that system. They could work it. Offer what protection they could. In a world ruled by the villains...well, there would be nothing hold back the people already willing to lie and cheat. The truth wouldn't stop them, it would only set them free of the frail shackles of social acceptability, and the hero couldn't take that risk. They couldn't.
The villain looked at them for a moment, with such abject disappointment that it made the hero's insides shrivel.
The hero took the final step closer, cradling the villain's jaw in their hand. "I'm sorry." They felt ready to cry. "I can't risk everything for the truth. For you. I have too many other people to..." they stopped, again. This time simply because their throat felt too tight to talk.
"I love you," the villain said, and reached up to press a palm to the back of the hero's neck. "But that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And I can't let you lie to yourself anymore."
The hero felt the device click, and whir, and they slumped to the ground, gasping. Their strength refused to come. Their body didn't want to move.
The villain crouched down, brushing the hair from the hero's eyes. Their face swum in and out of the hero's hazy vision.
"You cling to a system that will bleed you dry," the villain said. "At least the monsters will be honest about it."
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Hi! First of all, I love your writing.
As I write myself, I wanted to ask how to prevent getting TOO inspired by something. Also, how do you know that it's too much?
I'm not entirely certain what you mean by 'TOO inspired'? But my brain understood you to mean the line between taking inspiration from something, and plagiarism. So I'm going to write/chat about that.
This is also going to get long, because it's a big, complicated topic and I have a lot of feelings. So I'm going to put it under the cut.
Please note I am not a copyright lawyer by any means, but I kinda have to start there for this post.
What is plagiarism/copyright law
Every time someone creates a piece of work (that is original - e.g., a product of one's own skill and labour, not a replica or someone else's work, and tangible - e.g., it has to have been expressed in some physical way, it can't just be in your head, but with regards to a story for example the second I write a paragraph down, it's mine) they automatically have copyright over that piece of work.
Copyright = a kind of intellectual property right which means the creator has exclusive rights over a piece of creative work. This means that you are not allowed to directly copy someone else's work and/or claim it as your own. This applies to ideas, not just specific words or lines.
Copyright law varies in its specifics from country to country, and can vary on factors like publication date and the reason something was created in the first place (a piece of educational material, for example, is different to a novel).
In the UK and I think the US, the main thing to be aware of is that copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator. After that, a work becomes public domain, which can be used in more ways. See, for example, the amount of people who can use the character of Dracula in their work, without being susceptible to copy-right fees or being sued.
I'm not going to go into the whole shindig, because that would make for an extremely long technical post. Suffice to say, you can research copyright law yourself if you are in doubt. For example:
You can find out more about copyright here at the British Library.
Inspiration vs plagiarism, how much is too much - my view
Inspiration = wow, reading the-modern-typewriter really made me want to write my own story about heroes and villains. So I'm going to do that, with my own characters and my own plot.
I sometimes get requests in my inbox that people note are “specific.” For example, this post.
I was wondering if you could write something about a protagonist that is hallucinating the antagonist wherever they go, and the antagonist is taunting them but also being kinda gentle, and eventually the protagonist succumbs to the antagonists power willingly
However, if you and me, anon, both sat at a table and got told to write a story based on that ask we would come up with different stories, with different dialogue, likely even if we got given the same hints for each character’s personality. It’s a bit like that. Same ‘source’, but the final product would be original to each of us. That would be an example of us both being inspired by the same thing, but it wouldn’t be being ‘too inspired’ meaning plagiarised, because they would be original in and of themselves (see, derivative work at the bottom)
Plagiarism = wow, I really like the-modern-typewriter's hero and villain stories. I'm going to take one of the passages she wrote and use it in my own story. Alternatively, wow, I really like this story of the-modern-typerwriter's, I'm going to change the character names and genders but use that plot. Etc.
I’m going to go with an example now.
The one I see come up most often is this prompt of mine:
“Shh, it’s alright,” the villain said. “You’re doing beautifully and I’m so proud of you. But that’s enough now. It was cruel of them to make you fight me - you could never have won. It’s not your fault.”
There was a popular follow up by @hufflepuffkat which I have linked, which essentially stated that dialogue was from a villain furious at the gods/people continually sending kids and teenagers to fight their battles.
This post exploded. I have seen it reposted, often uncredited, either with or without the hufflepuffkat addition across multiple platforms.
Removing the credit that the dialogue was mine? That is against copyright law, regardless of if it was originally tagged as a prompt. This is because the dialogue is distinct (i.e., the lines aren’t generic, you can’t claim it’s something that anyone could have come up with really), it is original and tangible (I came up with the dialogue and I wrote it). I therefore legally have the write to be attributed for my work, even if no one explicitly claims that they wrote it themselves.
But it’s a prompt, you say? Writing prompts are there to be used!
Yes, they are. With credit.
This will typically cover you for any kind of fanfiction or non-profit stories you write using this dialogue, because my publishing as a prompt means I have already indicated a certain level of permission for it to be used. However, this does not mean I for example give permission for my work to be used commercially or without attribution. I say this explicitly on my blog which means there’s a certain level of agreement between me and the people engaging with my work.
You can read more about the different creative commons licenses that you may come across on the web here.
This means that if you include my dialogue in a novel you then go onto make money from? Again, copy-right problem.
However, take out the specific dialogue that is mine, and come up with your own plot and story for the novel, and you’re good to go. not too much.
This is because the hufflepuffkat idea of a villain being angry about kids and teenagers being sent to fight them is too broad to reasonably be copyrighted, even if hufflepuffkat posited the idea. There are a million different stories you can tell based on that premise. The dialogue, however, is incredibly specific, regardless of if you can infer different meanings or interpretations. Even if you take that dialogue to mean different things, the dialogue is still the same dialogue that was written by me.
You can see this in other ways, too. For example, ‘kid goes to magic school’ as a premise is too broad for all stories about kids in magical schools to be plagiarism of say Harry Potter. Naomi Novik’s recent A Deadly Education also takes place in a magical school, but beyond that it is not comparable in plot, setting and character. Ergo, she may or may not have been inspired by the Harry Potter verse, but she certainly isn’t plagiarising the idea.
However, if Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education took place in a place called Hogwarts, even if nothing else changed between her work and JK’s, there would likely be a copyright issue because - again, Hogwarts as a name for a magical school is specific and unique enough to clearly be JK’s.
So. To answer your question. What does this suggest?
1 - Too much is definitely using someone else’s characters, or their writing, directly without either a) obtaining permission and providing proper credit that you can or b) that character or writing being out of copyright (ergo, it’s in now in public domain.)
2 - Broad ideas are archetypes are fine, specific unique parts of someone’s work is not.
3 - As a gentle, tentative rule of thumb...if someone needs to have read the original to understand your writing, you may be cutting it too close unless you are writing fanfiction which comes with the expectation of having read the original.
But what about derivative work and adaptation?
In copyright law, a derivative work is something based on, adapted from or strongly inspired by something else. The reason derivative work often does not fall under copyright law, even if it includes major copyright elements of the original it is based on, is because it is still a distinctive, separate piece of work.
It is transported, modified or adapted in a substantial way that makes it sufficiently different, and unique to the creator, as to be original in its own right. A common example of this is when something is adapted into a film from a book. They’re not the same piece of work. (You may still need to obtain rights/permission to adapt the book, depending on when it was published, but nonetheless.)
4 - It comes back to originality. Is there enough in the piece that is distinctly yours?
This isn’t a matter of changing a few details. It needs to stand as it’s own thing.
How to prevent
Even accidental plagiarism is still plagiarism. However, after a certain point I feel there is a level of intention required. It may be possible to accidentally steal a line of two of distinct dialogue, but a whole plot lifted takes a certain amount of conscious decision making. It’s not something you can do by accident I don’t think.
Writing a novel is hard. Coming up with plot ideas means thinking about your story, and trouble-shooting, and inevitably getting stuck at certain bits and working through it. If it all pops into your head magically formed...maybe take a second to think where it’s coming from.
Don’t copy-paste other’s work and, when in doubt, provide proper credit/attribution.
I hope this helps and didn’t just confuse you more!
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hi can u recommend any old/non modern queer books. i need to find something to read haha :) no specific time period or mood btw..
hope ur doin well and ur writing is cool asl
What counts as 'non-modern'? Anyway. Here is some queer lit that's more classic, that I liked. I have put * next to my absolute faves.
Tipping the Velvet (1998)*, Fingersmith (2002) and The Night Watch (2006) by Sarah Waters - all f/f historical. She has other works, but these three are my favourites of hers.
Nightwood (1936) by Djuna Barnes* (bizarre, but it's stayed with me, I can't describe some of the lines)
The Well of Loneliness (1928) by Radclyffe Hall
The Colour Purple (1982) by Alice Walker
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987) by Fannie Flag
Carmilla (1872) by Sheridan le Fanu (there's also a great Youtube mini series fyi)
Annie On My Mind (1982) by Nancy Garden
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) by Alison Bechdel
Giovanni's Room (1956) by James Baldwin*
The Picture of Dorian Grey (1890) by Oscar Wilde*
Maurice (1971) by E.M Forster
The Charioteer (1953) by Mary Renault
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I saw your „hero forced to go on a date with a villain to convince them to help” fragment and I thought of something similar: hero forced to go on a date with a villain by their superiors and the villain is appalled/horrified/angry at said superiors upon finding out
Already did something that :) With an additional two parts for Patrons called "The Dating Game".
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Hero forced to go on a date with a villain to convince them to help? Hero is terrified and villain is flirty. (Love your writing so much ❤️)
"Oh, good," the villain purred. "You received the clothes I sent you."
The hero's skin prickled under the villain's admiring gaze, heat rushing to their face.
The villain smirked, even though the blush was hardly flustered pleasure, so much as some flushed combination of helpless, frightened fury and humiliation. The villain made a twirling gesture with their finger.
The hero turned in a slow circle, however much they hated putting their back to the villain for even a second. Not that it mattered. The villain was just as dangerous standing in front of them as behind them. The hero still jumped when they turned to find the villain right in front of them, movements perfectly silent. Or maybe the hero's heart was simply pounding too loud to hear.
"You are even more stunning than usual," the villain said. "Now say hello." They tapped their cheek.
The hero leaned in, dizzy, and pressed a quick chaste kiss where the villain indicated.
The villain curled an arm around them, pulling them flush in one easy movement.
The hero squeaked.
Any thought that this could even vaguely be like a normal date, with the same expected courtesies, social niceties and distance, vanished. They really hoped they weren't expected to put out on the first date too. They weren't sure what they do would do if that was the price that the villain demanded in return to their aid.
The hero tried to focus on the main goal, but their every instinct twitched to have the villain so close. It made it difficult to think straight.
The villain inhaled, lips brushing the hero's cheek in turn.
"Fear," they said. "Is such an exquisite perfume on you, my dear."
Then the two of them teleported.
The villain's ability was such that they could transport themselves across both great distances, and also great time periods. The only thing they needed to do it was some small thread, an item or even a memory, to connect them to where they wanted to go.
It made them almost virtually impossible to imprison or out-trick.
It also made them the only person the hero knew who could rescue the trapped civilians before it was too late.
Unfortunately for the hero, 'too late' for the villain, given their abilities, was rather less of a ticking time bomb than it was for the hero's stress levels. How long would they draw it out? There were still limits, there had to be. Bringing back the dead on one's own timeline was a rather different skill, after all.
The two of them appeared upon an empty beach, the sky lit the same fading gold as the sand. The air was warm and sweet. There was a picnic blanket awaiting beneath a small marquee like-covering, its hangings entwined with glimmering lights. There was a picnic basket, too.
"I'm told," the villain said, "that you enjoy picnics."
The hero was never going to enjoy a picnic ever again.
Their stomach squeezed, unsure how they were even going to manage to eat anything without hurling. Except, well, they could imagine how well throwing up in the middle of the date would go. They resisted the urge to start running, or at least recoil. They let the villain lead them to sit down instead.
The villain retrieved delicate glasses, too fine for any normal picnic, and poured them - it was the hero's favourite wine, too. Their favourite food. How could the villain know? How intently did they watch?
The hero shoved away another wave of dizziness.
"So," they said. "You said you'd consider helping, if I came to this date with you. I'm here, so-"
The villain clicked their tongue and held up their glass in toast.
"Don't be so eager to skip the foreplay, love. You'll need it."
The hero nearly dropped the glass in panic.
The villain smiled, head tilted in that admiring way once more.
"I said I'd go on a date." The hero tried to keep their voice light, careless, suitably at an advantage. "That was it. I said nothing about how long that date would be, or how good it would be. I've shown you what it can be like if I behave, but-"
"But if I don't help you, you'll be a naughty little hero?" The villain bit down on their lip, as if delighting in the idea.
The hero stopped short, feeling like they'd put their foot in a minefield. An active one.
The villain laughed, softly. "Whatever would I do with you, if you did that?"
"You could save them now," the hero tried again, mouth dry. "Come back, after - I'm not going anywhere." There was nothing light or careless in their voice now. "Where would I go? I have no idea where we even are."
And thinking about that, about being somewhere completely alone with the villain...
"And miss that adorable desperation on your face? Sweetheart."
The villain sounded chiding, and the hero shivered.
They gulped down a mouthful of wine but couldn't taste it over the acrid panic burning in their throat.
The villain settled back, perfectly at ease, and set their glass their down. They arranged food on...there was only one plate. One plate, two forks. The villain loaded up a bite, holding the morsel out the hero's mouth, eyes agleam with dark amusement, with a hunger that had nothing to do with the horrifyingly delicious scents surrounding them.
"I'm curious," the villain said, "how far you'd go save them. And the night is still so young! Shall we find out?"
In the end, everyone was saved from the caves and the oncoming tide. In the end, the hero lay upon a picnic basket, cool evening air stroking bare skin and...
And the villain stopped. Arms braced on either side of the hero's head, studying them.
"I said I wanted to see how far you'd go to save them," the villain said. "I didn't say I'd make you do it. When you pick me you'll do it of your own volition."
The hero stared at them, brain un-computing.
The villain smiled, and pressed their fingers to the hero's lips instead, parting them a fraction.
"They're saved, my dear. Have been for a while. Now." They sat up, and pulled back. "Shall we do this again and see what you do next time? I still can't quite predict you...you're incredible."
And time looped back to the beginning of the evening again.
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Hello! Are you still doing book recs? If you are could you rec some ya wlw books? If not, that's okay. Have a nice day and thanks!
So, I haven't read that many, because the genre has exploded and I can only (sadly) get through so many books a year. However, I can definitely do some recs, but note almost all have some element of fantasy (which isn't that surprising, I guess, cos it's me.)
My personal favourites:
Girls Made of Snow and Glass and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
Other ones I have enjoyed:
Blood Countess, by Lana Popović
Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Didn't really do it for me personally, but you might like them and I didn't one star them
Of Fire and Stars, by Audrey Coulthurst
Ash by Melinda Lo
Next on my to read list (it fits the bill and I'm excited!)
The Dark Tide, by Alicia Jasinska
If you're looking for more wlw recs, @biandlesbianliterature are a great tumblr to follow!
And my Goodreads for my general recs and reading is here.
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Hello! I adore your work so so much, and I was wondering if you could write a snippet where the antagonist is the only person who can touch the protagonist, so the antagonist starts teasingly flirting with them about it. It could be slightly NSWF as well! Thank you :)
"You're so responsive," the antagonist murmured. "Starving for even the smallest of touches."
The protagonist's breath hitched.
They knew they should move back, knew they should knock the antagonist's hand away, knew they should tell them to 'get the hell off' in no uncertain terms. They didn't do any of those things. Just like they hadn't last time, or the time before that. They watched the tips of the antagonist's fingers as it traced down the sleeve of the protagonist's shirt, not yet touching skin.
But they could.
The antagonist could touch, and so the protagonist stared entranced, anticipation notching along each rib as their heart pounded in their chest.
They could feel the antagonist's eyes burning into their face, examining them, watching the way that even the thought of contact laid the protagonist bare.
The antagonist's fingers stopped, pressed atop the protagonist's racing pulse.
The protagonist knew, theoretically, that they didn't have to wait. They could simply reach out, but...well, if they did that with anyone else then the other person would die. The protagonist's touch was toxic. So they held still, pulse betraying them, their own fingers gripping the materials of their jeans in a white-knuckle hold. They waited.
The antagonist shifted a little closer in their own chair, expression barely visible in the dim light. Their knees brushed.
The protagonist squeezed their eyes shut.
They heard the antagonist laugh, softly. Then the protagonist felt the antagonist's other hand pushing back their hood, tucking their hair back behind their ears. The antagonist's hand was so warm. And their - their lips, as they grazed against the delicate shell of the protagonist's ear, was even warmer.
The protagonist bit back an absurd whimper.
They could feel the puff of the antagonist's breath, perfectly steady.
"Is it too much?" the antagonist teased. "Should I stop-"
"Don't you dare," the protagonist hissed.
The antagonist laughed again. They dipped their head, nuzzling a kiss against the hollow of the protagonist's throat. Their fingers slipped down, off the protagonist's sleeve, tugging off the protagonist's glove.
The protagonist's hand tingled in the cool air. They let their wrist curl, then, just skimming the antagonist's palm as they let the glove drop carelessly to the floor. The antagonist entwined their fingers properly for a moment and gave the protagonist's hand a firm squeeze.
The protagonist had never even imagined they would be able to have that much, once.
"I'm going to wreck you." There was a promise in the antagonist's voice. "Now, tell me please."
"Please." It slipped out, without hesitation, without thought.
The antagonist grinned against their skin, all teeth.
They made achingly slow work of the rest of the protagonist's clothes after that.
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hiii could you pls give the links to the 3 part-story where the villain is blackmailing the hero?
Act Natural Verse. I think, is the one you mean.
The story has been continued on Patreon with Part 4. Part 5 is due this month because it's one of the next ones I'm writing. So it will be up either today or early next week.
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Thank you for the ace story. I can't express how it feels to see it represented so well in a popular format.
I remember how I felt when I first got to read about ace characters. Even when they weren't exactly like me or my experience, simply seeing the representation of part of myself that I never really see talked about in any mainstream way, made me feel so validated and seen and excited. I think I got a bit teary, if memory recalls.
(Let's Talk about Love, Claire Kann was my first!)
Honourable recs go to:
Loveless, by Alice Oseman
Sawkill Girls, by Claire Legrand
Every heart a doorway, by Seanan McGuire
(Edit, for the people who asked: This was the ace story, which is a draft opening of my new ace-romance novel. I’m up to about 10K words now.)
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Hi! I love your writing! Please can you do something with a male villain chasing a female hero and then pinning her down with a boot to the back? I love your writing sm xx
"Ah, ah." The villain clicked his tongue with gentle disapproval, and slammed his boot down on her back with rather less of the gentleness. "Stay down."
The hero's breath crushed out of her as he pressed her to the dirt, pinning her from rising to her feet once more. It seemed impossible that he could exert so much force, and yet - he could crush her spine, if he wanted to. His strength was not exactly human after all. She twisted her head to glare at him, spitting hair out of her flushed face. "Get off me!"
"Go still. I don't want to hurt you."
He pressed down a little more, idly almost.
She dug her nails into the ground but it did little to brace her. Her exceptional speed did nothing to save her, not so long as his foot was there, with all of the cliché positioning of a hunter boasting over his conquered prey. She thrashed.
He pressed down more, and she grunted in pain and stilled. The pressure eased. Her back ached. She didn't think he'd broken anything though; for now, at least, he wasn't trying to. For now.
"Aris." Her teeth gritted. "Don't do this. Don't bring me back there. You were my friend."
"I can't pretend to hunt you forever," he said. "It's what I'm known for. There are only ever so many near misses I can get away with - even with you. If you wanted freedom you should have killed me when I had the chance."
"So this is my reward for mercy?"
"It wasn't mercy that stayed your hand, it was sentiment and arrogance." He eyed her, carefully, as he reached into his pocket for the tranquilizer. "You were so sure I would never catch up with you again."
She had been.
She was one of the fastest creatures in the world; running should have been her victory. It would have been, if the order had sent any other hunter after her. His strength helped, sure, it let him move barriers aside with the ease and ruthlessness of a juggernaut charging for its prize. But the larger problem was that he knew her better than anyone.
He trained the tranquilizer, but didn't fire. Not yet.
She didn't know if that was mercy, or sentiment, or arrogance.
"You should have stayed down," he said, again, finally. "If you hadn't risen so high they wouldn't be so desperate to clip your wings."
He would never had said that once. He wouldn't have been someone else's weapon. Someone else's monster.
"You disgust me." Her voice cracked.
His was dead. "You know what they'll do to me if I don't bring you in."
She couldn't stand to look at him, at that. She struggled to push herself up again, and once again it did nothing. The weight of him could cave the world if he wanted it to. Frustrated tears sprang to her eyes.
"You could run with me."
He crouched down, then, even if he must know risking getting close was a bad idea, even when she was pinned and exhausted. She flailed an arm. It bloodied his nose, before he caught her wrist in a vice grip, hard enough to shatter the smaller bones whether he meant to or not.
His free hand pressed the syringe to the back of her neck.
"You know I'd never keep up with you, Di."
And then he plunged a prison into her skin.
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Hello, hope you’re having a great day so far. So I’ve been here a while and I don’t think I’ve seen you post anything about your pronouns. If you have, then sorry for wasting your time, just wanna make sure I use the right ones for you. Thx 🥰
She/Her or They/Them are all fine :) Thanks for asking!
It's never a waste of time to check.
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Hi! I found your blog and am obsessed with your writing, it’s so amazing! I was wondering if I could perhaps get a prompt about an unseelie seducing the human into their realm and the human only finding out their cruel nature at the last minute?
I don't write prompts anymore, but I can do you a modern-typewriter original story snippet.
Their lover's cottage was lovely, quaint, all white stone and wildflowers. Their lover's cottage was a threshold, apparently, beneath their lands. The front door led to the human world, and the back door to the fields and the forests of the immortal courts.
"Are you ready?" the fey looked back at them, still holding the human's hand in theirs. They raised it to their lips for a kiss. "I understand if you don't want to do this..."
"I do!" It felt xenophobic to be frightened. Their lover had been patient with them, never complaining of homesickness - always smiling so beautifully, so sadly, as they thought of what they had left behind. What kind of person were they if were scared of seeing all the magic in the world? Of their lover, just because the world wasn't human? "I want to see." It wasn't a lie.
They'd always thought there should me to the world than what humans had. That was why so many people wrote stories about magic, wasn't it? Hoping for a glimmer of something extraordinary. And now...now they, of all people, had it. They had it and their lover was sweet and thoughtful and brilliant and so gorgeous that it almost hurt to look at them.
The fey smiled at them, bright as the sun.
They didn't know how they'd got so lucky.
"Of course I want to see your home," the human said, more firmly. "I'd never ask you to split yourself in half and stay with me forever, as if you're not what you are. That wouldn't be fair."
The human was, therefore, the one to led the way forward. They pushed the door open with fey's key - moving past a comfortable, elegant living room and a kitchen that smelled like baking bread and herbs.
"Just through the back?" they asked their lover, heart hammering.
"Just through the back," the fey echoed, softly.
The human drew a steadying breath and went through to the back door, stepping out into...
"Wow," the human breathed.
The world ahead of them was unlike anything they'd ever imagined. It was wild and it was magic. The trees shone like they were bioluminescent, vivid green and flowering against the pitch back night. They took a step forward, then another. Music drifted through the trees, something orchestral and lilting that made the human's chest ache. They turned to face the fey, wide-eyed, and - stopped.
They had never seen the fey look like they did just then.
In the human world, the fey didn't quite register as fully human, but they were close. A little too pretty, maybe. A little too graceful. Their lover only looked like their lover in the way that a painting could capture something of someone's essence. Their lover now was - the air around them felt different, cold. Not the cool of the sea washing gently over hot skin on a sunny day, but painfully frozen. And their eyes...
"Sweet little human," their lover crooned. Even their voice was different. It had always been like music, but now..."what's the matter?" the fey tilted their head. "I thought you wanted me to be able to be completely myself? Because you love me?"
The human bolted for the cottage door, still so small and so human looking. It didn't open. The key hole was gone.
The fey made a wounded sound.
The human whipped around, and then the fey was there, pressing them up against the wood in a mockery of intimacy. Their fingers closed on the human's hair, tugging their head back with a sharp yank, baring the human's throat.
"Say it again," the fey murmured against their lips. Their breath was like honeysuckle. "Go on."
"Say it." The fey's nails dug in.
Tears, bewildered and hurt, sprang to the human's eyes. Still. They straightened their spine against the door as best as they could.
"You said you loved me too." The human clutched hold of the fey's hand. "Your kind can't lie."
"Of course I love you," the fey said. "You simply have a mortal's adorable comprehension of what that means. Are you going to make me ask again?"
The human swallowed. They studied the fey's face, searching for something they recognised. The problem wasn't that there was nothing recognisable - there was too much, and not enough, and they'd been so blind.
"I love you," the human whispered. "And you're offended by the lie, aren't you?"
The fey looked momentarily surprised. Their grip loosened a fraction, enough to mimic something mortal.
"You hate that I would claim to love you and care for you when I don't know anything about you at all. Well." The human smiled, without mirth. "No more than 10% of you. How dare I call 10% love?"
It was the right and the wrong thing to say, they could see it on their lover's face. Right because it was why the fey loved them, why they'd picked them. Wrong because it was why the fey loved them, and why they'd picked them, and the human barely knew what that meant but the door was locked so it couldn't mean anything good.
The fey leaned in and kissed them, fierce and claiming, and the human had never been kissed like that before.
"Don't worry," the fey said, with a cruel smile hat still had the audacity to be stunning. "You have the rest of your life to make it up to me. For once you were blind..." They kissed the human's nose. "Now you will see."
They swept the human up into their arms, spun on their heel, and carried them into the lights and the dark.
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So, thought I'd try my hand at fluffy YA ace romance. You know, to challenge myself because neither YA, nor fluffy contemporary romance are my usual tropes. As in, at all.
Obviously that means I decided to start small and write a novel.
This is the first three two chapters. Reckon it works?
Edit: Changed from three, to two, because since posting I’ve already seen a million structural issues with things I want to tweak and fix in Chapter 3. Ayy first drafts. This is why I shouldn’t get ahead of myself...
“What about you, Astra?” Chloe asked. “Who do you like?”
Who do you like? It was one of Astra Sutton’s least favourite questions in the world, and it always seemed to sneak its way into parties. Astra twisted her drink between her fingers and searched for a way to be absorbed in another important conversation.
It was Laura’s eighteenth birthday, and the room was clustered with people, spilling out into the hall and the kitchen. There were plenty of conversational candidates. She didn’t even have to talk to them. She could stand awkwardly and listen, or drain her drink and pretend to get another, or go to the bathroom and hope her friends had moved onto another topic by the time she returned. She had options.
“Astra?” Chloe flicked a popcorn kernel at her. It hit her gently in the middle of the forehead, with an aim that would be impressive in other circumstances, and bounced off.
“Hm?” Astra turned back to Chloe, Ingrid, and Laura.
The three of them were crowded in one corner of Laura’s lounge, a huddle of laughter and secrets that had seemed so much warmer only moments before.
Chloe smiled at her, mischievous and full of curiosity.
“Who do you like?”
“You know me,” Astra said, and tried for deadpan. “I hate everyone. Ew, people.”
Laura snorted, and nearly spilled her a cider with a flamboyant wave of her hand.
“Oh, please,” she said. “C’mon. We all said.”
The three of them stared at her.
Astra swallowed and took another gulp of lemonade to buy herself time. She could feel her face heating, and she could just imagine them taking it for the flustered embarrassment of a girl thinking about her crush. She knew, of course, that ‘who do you like?’ wasn’t the worst question in the world. Her friends weren’t asking to be mean. Nobody was trying to trip her up. It was simply one of the questions that apparently came with being fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and apparently eighteen too. At seventeen, there was ‘what are you planning to do at uni?’ ‘which uni were you thinking of?’ and ‘who do you like?’
Astra wanted to study Psychology, her top choice could probably be UCL or York, and she liked…
“No one,” she said, and dropped the deadpan. “I don’t like anyone. Not like that.”
Astra had been friends with the three of them for years, in the way that people became friends when they lived in the same small place and went to the same school, day in and day out for about ten years. That made it sound like she didn’t like them – she did. Theirs was a friendship born of the battlefield of secondary school. They might go their separate ways come graduation and never talk again, but should they come to her with a body now, she probably would have buried it with minimal questions asked. With all of that said, she had never seen eye to eye with any of them when it came to dating.
Chloe and Ingrid loved talking about their crushes. When Chloe wasn’t seeing anyone, she liked the fizzing possibility that she could be. Every day was another chance for a meet cute and happily ever after. They’d first bonded over their love of romance novels and the hand touch scene in the Pride and Prejudice movie. Laura didn’t go into the whole dating thing as much, but that didn’t mean she was any less invested in knowing who liked who. Knowing was power.
“You have to like somebody,” Chloe said, more confused than accusing. “We’re not going to judge, or anything.” Her blue eyes were starting to cloud with hurt, with the sense that despite everything, Astra didn’t trust her. Astra could just imagine the internal monologue – Ingrid told us she liked Zoe, so what are you trying to hide? Is it one of us?
“Yeah.” Laura shifted her weight, leaning in. “You can tell us. It’s not like we care if you’re, like, gay or something.”
“I know,” Astra said.
Chloe, Ingrid and Laura exchanged glances. In hindsight, Astra would wonder if it was the glance that did it. It was the kind of glance that people did when someone was being weird. Not bad weird, exactly, just not normal. It made panic rise in her throat. It wasn’t the first time that the four of them had had this conversation. Usually Astra managed to dodge, or they let up with a roll of their eyes and indulgent smiles. Usually, they didn’t look at her quite like that.
Astra turned her head away, desperately scouring the room for an out and –
And Cade Wright walked in. He flashed their group a smile, all crooked at one corner, as he passed by.
Astra felt herself calm. She exhaled a breath. She looked back at her friends.
“Cade,” she said. “I like Cade.”
Cade was, probably, one of the most popular guys in their year. There were a few contenders for the spot. Cade was the tall, dark and handsome option. He was handsome, Astra knew that much. He had the cheekbones for it. More to the point, he had the eyes – pale green, and typically filled with some private amusement. He was in her some of her classes, and she’d enjoyed talking to him on the few times they ever had. He was quick. Sharp-tongued. He was, for all intents and purposes, her type. Therefore, if she said that she liked Cade Wright, they would believe her. Cade was the type of person that people had crushes on. No need for further questions, thank you.
Chloe and Laura’s expressions relaxed, that mischievous smile returning to Chloe’s face.
“He likes you too,” Ingrid said.
Astra’s stomach dropped out. All calm vanished.
“What?” Laura rounded on Ingrid. “How do you know?”
“It’s obvious.” Ingrid shrugged. “He was just smiling at you.”
Astra’s brow furrowed. “He was smiling at all of us.”
“He was smiling at you.”
“Lots of people smile,” Astra said. “It’s a friendly thing to do at parties. It doesn’t mean he likes me like that. I mean, god, what if we were all accused of fancying guys just because we smiled at them?”
“I mean,” Laura swigged her cider. “We kinda are. People definitely do that to women.”
“Okay,” Ingrid held up her hand, “I take your point. But, also. He likes you. Do you want to bet on it?”
“No,” the three of them chimed in unison.
Ingrid scrunched up her nose, disappointed.
Astra’s ears buzzed. He didn’t like her, right? He didn’t. People like Cade didn’t fall for people like her, not in real life. Ingrid was reading too much into it.
“Is it just the smiling?” Chloe asked Ingrid, “or do you have other evidence?”
The conversation, mercifully, moved onto whether it was wrong to assume someone fancied you just because they made a habit of smiling at you, and how exactly then one could tell if someone had a crush. Astra let the chatter fill her ears, tucking her knees to her chest. Her temporary calm had vanished again, leaving behind a swirling pit of uncertainty.
It was generally decided that Chloe was the prettiest of their friend group, with her hourglass figure and long red hair. Astra could see the appeal. Chloe was like summer personified in the body of a girl. Ingrid on the other hand leaned more into the androgynous style, blond and lean, with a truly awe-inspiring collection of heeled boots and long swoopy jackets she was rarely seen without. Astra really liked the boots. Laura was cute too. Wholesome looking. If Astra was gay, wouldn’t she have felt a stirring of something when she looked at one of them? She had tried imagining kissing them before once or twice, just to see if that sparked something in her brain, but despite the movie montage reel of possible scenarios it hadn’t clicked. She ended up getting more bogged down imagining the dialogue, the tension and the heartfelt confessions, without any particular face attached at all. Then she felt weirdly guilty for imagining kissing her friends. Like it was a betrayal, or something.
Astra looked across the room to Cade. He was mid-laugh, carding an artist’s fingers through his black hair. He looked so alive, so comfortable in his skin, so lovely that it almost hurt. She waited for a flutter in her chest, for fireworks, for the desperate hope that he would turn around and catch her looking. If he did, maybe she would look down, and pretend that she hadn’t been staring. They would both know, though. The air would crackle. She would busy herself with some other distraction, until it felt safe to look over again. She would find his attention already on her, waiting. He would smile. If she was bold, she would wander over with a quip. Or, maybe, before she looked over the second time, he would appear at her side. He would touch her shoulder, all casual like, and offer something perfectly snarky and charming all at once.
Astra’s chest ached.
He glanced over, catching her staring at him.
The ache vanished, replaced by mortification. She looked away so fast she got a crick in her neck, and caught Ingrid smirking at her.
“You know what,” Laura said, apparently catching Astra’s stare also. “I’m going to do you a favour.”
Astra’s eyes widened as Laura pushed to her feet.
“Wait—” Ingrid began, smirk dimming. “Laur.”
“Are you-?” Chloe began, more gleefully.
“No,” Astra said. Too late. Laura had appeared at Cade’s side while Astra was still pushing numbly to her feet.
Laura tossed her a reassuring, ‘you owe me’ sort of smile. Then she leaned down to murmur something in Cade’s ear as he looked bemused by her sudden presence.
“Oh,” Ingrid said softly. “Crap.”
Astra felt dizzy as Cade’s gaze snapped to her. She didn’t wait to see if he smiled, or laughed, or did anything to indicate what the hell Laura had said to him. She turned on her heel and strode out of the party, into the chill of Laura’s back garden. Her hands were shaking. Why were hands shaking?
Maybe Laura had been teasing. Maybe Laura hadn’t actually told Cade that Astra fancied him. Laura was drunk, she probably thought she was being funny, even when she really wasn’t. What if he thought it pathetic that she liked him? Even if she didn’t, she still didn’t want him mocking her for it.
God. She wished she could have said she was gay, for certain. Or straight. Bisexual. Anything for certain. At least then she could make a decisive stand on the matter. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to have a crush on someone, even an unrequited one would be fine. It was just…she didn’t. At least, not in so far as she could tell. That stupid fantasy of glances across a shared room could have happened to anyone, she’d probably stolen it from a book, it didn’t have to be Cade. It wasn’t about him, not really. So where did that leave her?
Her father said that she had her whole life ahead of her to find someone, to fall in love, that high school was a fish pond. She would find her people somewhere else. Her mother said that sometimes love was learning to love someone, and that the whole love at first sight thing simply wasn’t true. Honey, she said, you have to give people a chance. What happens, Astra, if you meet the love of your life and you don’t even give them a chance? I just don’t want you to regret anything when you look back!
Was giving people a chance supposed to feel so hard? Wasn’t she supposed to just meet someone, hit it off, and know? Her eyes started to grow hot and prickly. She willed herself not to start crying. This was a ridiculous thing to cry about. It could all be so much worse. Her throat grew thicker.
The backdoor swung open behind her, and it was probably Chloe or Ingrid come to check that she was alright. To tell her that Laura had been a bitch, but a well meaning bitch.
“Oh bloody hell, it’s cold.”
That was not Chloe’s voice. Or Ingrid’s. Or Laura’s. It was low and male and a little rough.
Astra whirled around, hastily wiping her eyes.
It was Cade.
Cade lingered in the doorframe for only a moment – Astra caught a glimpse of Ingrid and Chloe lurking somewhere behind him in the hallway, surrounded by curious faces, before he stepped out without a backwards glance and shut the door behind him with a quiet click. He leaned against it for good measure, as if to stop anyone from following, and folded his arms.
They stared at each for an excruciating beat.
Astra looked down.
“Sorry,” she said.
“Are you alright?” he asked. His voice was clipped.
Astra exhaled a steadying breath and turned away, to face the garden. She couldn’t see much of it in the dark, but she had been at Laura’s home enough times to be able to imagine the shape and structure of the lawn and plants in front of her. It was better than trying to look at Cade when she felt like such an idiot.
“I’m fine.” She cleared her throat and tried for casual. “You came to check on me? My hero.”
He must have got up almost the second that she’d rushed out, following with only the smallest of hesitations. If that. The thought made something warm rush through her stomach.
“I can leave if you want,” he said. “Send in the cavalry.”
“Thanks.” That sounded like she wanted him to leave. “Wait.” Didn’t she? “No. I mean, I don’t mind. You can be out here. It’s a free country.” Wow.
Maybe not looking at him wasn’t such a good idea, because now she had no idea whatsoever what he was thinking. She turned again, and he was there, having apparently been moving to her side. They both froze, barely a foot between them.
Up close, his cologne filled the air around her, woody and enticing. Up close, those ridiculous green eyes of his were dark with anger or maybe concern. Maybe both. Her breath caught in her throat.
Was that having a crush on someone? Or was that just being glad that someone cared enough to follow? Or did that just mean she enjoyed the feeling of being important? She wanted to knock her head against a wall. Maybe then she’d stop.
“I know I can,” he murmured. “That wasn’t what I was asking.” He studied her face. “You look like you’re about to pass out.”
Oh god, did she?
“And you’re…” he trailed of. “Okay.” He gingerly set a hand on her arm. “Sit down, um—” He looked around the dark garden and alighted on the step. “Sit down.”
“I’m not going to pass out.”
“You’re breathing funny.”
“You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Wright.”
That seemed to startle him out of his admittedly chivalrous efforts of care. His lip twitched, that wicked smile, and the anger in his eyes softened.
She found herself smiling back, despite herself. “I suppose I can forgive you,” she said. “You’re not used to girls hyperventilating in response to having a crush on you.”
And…she shouldn’t have said that. It was a terrible line to blurt out. Probably great if she was trying to flirt with him, because it implied it did have a crush and she could see on his face that it was definitely registering on his face as ‘confession’.
Astra threw herself down on the step, and wished she could fling herself into another kinder dimension at the same time.
He hesitated, before sitting down next to her.
“Judging by your reaction, I’m guessing you…didn’t want me to know.” He cleared his throat, a grimace twisting his mouth. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“They shouldn’t have done it if you didn’t want them to.”
“That’s Laura.” Astra tried for a shrug, for a smile. “Natural born matchmaker. Can’t imagine why anyone would keep their feelings to themselves ever.”
He frowned, the anger rushing back to his face. Damn it.
“Sorry,” she said, again.
“It’s not your fault.”
“Are you alright?” She wasn’t entirely sure why he was upset, but it was clearly written across the hard set of his jaw and his shoulders. His hands balled into fists in his lap.
“Me?” He seemed surprised, then he looked down and uncurled his fingers. It did nothing to make his posture radiate annoyance any less, but she supposed she could acknowledge the effort. He released a breath and shook his head. “I don’t like it when people push themselves where they’re not wanted. Your friends are dicks.”
“I’ll get over it. It will be hard, and require lots of therapy, but I’ll struggle through.”
He snorted. Their eyes met again.
Astra tipped her head back to the sky, searching for stars. Something enormous that might clarify her fate and put all of her problems into a proper perspective. It was, regrettably, cloudy. Still, whatever other horrors the night had wrought, it proved at least she had excellent taste in picking crushes. Even if he didn’t like her, he could have been so much more of an asshole about the whole mess.
“If it stops you hyperventilating,” he said, carefully casual, “I like you too.”
It should have been sweet. It almost made her panic again. What the hell was wrong with her? Should she turn around, now, and explain the misunderstanding? She should. If she did that, she would hurt his feelings. If she did that she would be right back to where she started, with the added joy of having to explain why she would have lied about such a simple question.
His hand moved down to her knee. It was the only point of heat in the evening air.
Her eyes flicked down to it, her heart hammering.
What if she did have a crush on him, and simply didn’t realise it? That could happen, right? She must have picked his name out of the hat for a reason. On paper, he was her type. He was perfect. If she had a crush on anyone, it would Cade Wright. Maybe it was like her mother said, and she simply had to give him a chance.
“Oh,” she managed, because she was being silent for way too long. “Cool.”
On the other hand, if he genuinely liked her, it was probably leading him on not to explain everything immediately. She didn’t want to do that anymore than she wanted to hurt his feelings.
“Cade—” She faltered. She didn’t know how to explain. What if the same look crossed his face that had crossed her friends’ expressions? What if he thought she was a freak? No one normal had to make up a crush. What if she scarred him for life, like one of those horrible people who asked people out as a joke?
His brow furrowed, studying her. Probably he was already trying to figure out why she was being weird. God knew why he would have a crush on her anyway. Could people get crushes from having a few debates in class? A few solid conversations? Maybe he was faking it too and would be really relieved if she said this was a game they didn’t need to play.
He could have simply said he didn’t like her, though. Nicely. To spare her feelings.
She looked at him, brain swirling, stomach in a knot. His hand was still on her knee.
This was it. This was the moment in every YA romance movie or novel she had ever read and silently squealed over. She should have been debating if she wanted to lean in and kiss him. No, she shouldn’t have been debating if she wanted to, she should have been plucking up the courage. Happily ever after.
“Right.” He looked away, into the garden. “You didn’t tell me for a reason, probably. Back to your friends being jerks.”
“I do like you,” she said. She was certain of that much. Just…how she liked him felt like much more of a minefield. “I’m being – um. It’s complicated.”
“It’s okay.” He took his hand away.
She reached out and took it, thoughtlessly, squeezing his fingers.
Their eyes met again. He looked hurt, because of course he did. Confused. She wasn’t following the script. She hated it.
She took a breath to steel herself.
“Yes,” she said.
His head tilted.
“Yes, I’d like to go out with you.”
“So formal,” he said. “Especially given I haven’t actually asked you out.”
Her world froze again. Heat rushed her face.
She scowled at him.
“You love me.”
“Pretty sure that’s supposed to be a bigger thing, in like six months, where we agonise if we’re ready to say it.”
“Oh?” He laughed. “You’ve planned it out? And when on your timeline is our first date?”
“What – no – I didn’t mean.” She closed her eyes.
He laughed again. It was a contagious sort of sound, it filled the garden and, despite everything, it was such an easy thing. Cade Wright laughed like he could make you believe that everything was going to be fine. Some of the tension fell from her shoulders.
She was still holding his hand, wasn’t she?
She opened her eyes again, and he was watching her again – amused, curious, like he couldn’t wait to see what she did next. Possibly she should have been offended by it. She was strangely flattered instead. People didn’t, as a rule, look at her like that. A thrill ran through her stomach.
“How’s next Friday, for you?” he asked.
“For our date.”
She wasn’t doing anything on Friday.
“I can do Friday,” she said, and found herself smiling.
That meant she must like him and want to date him, didn’t it? Or did she just want to date someone to see what it was like? She shoved the thoughts away as best as she could, and squared her shoulders. She focused in on him, on the gleam in his eyes that had replaced the annoyance, and the fact that he was interested, and had followed her, and was everything that she always claimed she wanted.
“Friday it is, then.” His head remained tilted, like he was trying to figure something out. He wasn’t radiating annoyance anymore either.
The wind blustered through the back garden, tugging at his hair. He shivered and let go of her hand to wrap his arms around herself.
“Bloody cold,” he muttered. “You ready to go back in there?”
Astra hesitated, and for a second her brain flashed to all of the questions her friends would have. They would want to know exactly what he had said. They would want details and to know why Astra had been so reluctant to just say she liked him.
Her hands were turning blue, without his to hold.
It really was bloody cold.
“Yeah,” she said. “Thanks.”
He gave her an odd look, raising his brows.
She shook her head.
He stood up and offered her his hand.
She took it, and when they headed back into the party, they did so together.
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Hey! I found your blog and have read a lot of your posts recent, your writing is really cool. I was wondering (if you haven't already) could something like: after a villain helps the hero(s) defeat a bigger threat, villain is treated like one of the heros and is struggling to get used to the good publicity (swarms of fans, cameras shoved in their face everywhere they turn, etc)
They couldn't do this.
The villain had never been great with attention. Attention, in their experience, typically meant trouble. It meant the flash of a father's furious eyes, or the scorn of their classmates for being just a little too much as a person. It meant punishment. It was much safer to make a study of invisibility, in short, and if that wasn't an option - to make oneself so terrifying that nobody would dare meet your eye.
"No comment," the villain snapped, not even listening to the question.
Unfortunately, in this instance, neither invisibility nor intimidation was having any effect at all.
Their words didn't stop the demands for comments. It didn't stop everyone from staring at them or the cameras from being shoved blindingly in their face. Too much. Disorientating.
"I said no comment - and no pictures!" They held a hand up in front of their face, struggling to shunt through the crowd. Their heart pounded in their chest, like a grenade about to go off. Unease wailed like a siren in their brain. They could feel their powers itching beneath the surface, desperate to slam everyone away from them, to find some room to breathe and "don't touch me. Get back. Please."
The questions grew louder. Some inane. Some cutting. All wanting a piece, and then another piece, until the villain felt like vultures were circling them, ripping at their flesh bite by bite and-
"Excuse me! Coming through." The hero's voice rang out through the crowd, just as the villain was about to completely lose it. Their arm encircled the hero's shoulders, and the villain would have been annoyed, except it was such a merciful shield against the lights and the sound and the madness. "Alright?" they muttered, into the villain's ear. "Just - hold on. Gonna get you out of here."
The villain released a shuddering breath. Their powers itched, clawing beneath the surface. The hero had to be able to feel the ominous hum of it.
"Thank you all for your support!" the hero said. "We just have some business to take care of, alright? Crime waits for no autographs!"
There was some good natured laughter at that.
The hero smiled and answered a few questions with their usual easy charm, and the villain hated them, and they hated themselves more for the lightheaded relief they felt. They wanted to bury their face in the hero's chest. The moment after that, the hero had pushed them up off the ground and into the air, away from everyone.
They landed on a rooftop some distance away.
The hero immediately let go, taking several large steps back.
The villain fell to their knees, and let their powers go. It leeched into the concrete beneath them harmlessly - no life there to touch, nor destroy. They cursed under their breath.
"Alright?" the hero asked.
"I'm going to kill them."
"You did well."
"Ugh." Horribly, the villain's ears prickled with tears. They swiped at their face, shoulders hunched. "I hate them."
"They don't mean any harm."
The villain looked up, and glared.
The hero took a step back seeming on instinct.
"I'm not a piece of meat." The villain's teeth bared. "I'm not some - they can't just - how do you stand it?" They used to mock the hero for loving the attention of their adoring fans, sometimes they'd even wondered what it would be like to be so loved, but this...
It had been barely a week, and the villain had never felt more powerless in their entire life. Everything they did was watched and they knew, they just knew, that the second they inevitably screwed up the whole thing would come tumbling down and everyone would hate them even more for having the audacity of not fitting the pedestal they'd been given. As if a pedestal wasn't a tiny, very high to fall off, thing that allowed no room to manoeuvre.
The hero eyed the remnant tears on the villain's face, and the villain looked down. The hero sighed.
"I'm sorry," the hero said. "I know it's - difficult. And I know that just because they don't mean any harm, that doesn't mean they don't it."
The villain stilled. They'd half expected the hero, even after all they had been through together, to mock them for not being able to handle it. Certainly, they'd expected the hero to take the side of the adoring public, who could do nothing wrong ever, and obviously had every right to their curiosity.
"I've just got so used to it." The hero shrugged in their periphery vision, a little helplessly. "I didn't think what it would be like for you. Will it help if I say it will get better?"
"You mean I'll be so broken down that I won't care about my privacy, like you?"
The hero said nothing to that, but the villain grimaced into the silence, hearing the words back.
"Sorry," the villain added, softer. "That was - sorry."
"I used to care." The hero turned to look over the city stretched beneath them. "It got exhausting. If it doesn't matter how many times you stop saying no, it's sometimes easier to stop saying it. Hurts less. Makes it feel less like -" the hero's shoulders squared.
"Makes it easier to pretend it's your choice." The villain pushed to their feet. "That you're in control."
The hero glanced back, and their eyes met.
"God, why do we protect them." There was less bite in the villain's tone that time, because they both knew why. The villain moved over to the hero's side, to peer down too and break the stare between them. They cleared their throat.
"You're shiny and new," the hero said. "I'll do something big. Get some of the aggro off you. That should make it easier, if you keep your head down for a bit."
"What about you?"
The villain could feel the hero's attention on them again, but they kept their gaze trained on the horizon.
It was the hero's turn to clear their throat.
"I can handle it."
"Meaning I can't?"
"I didn't mean -" The hero made another helpless little noise, and pivoted to face the villain directly. "Hey."
The villain considered ignoring them, because their skin was still crawling, but...well. The hero had come swooping in to rescue them, and nothing was exactly how it used to be. They glanced over again.
"I didn't mean it in a bad way," the hero said, seeming unable to find any of their famed eloquence now. Their cheeks burned. "I meant I don't, bloody hell. You don't like attention. That's what I meant! You start flinching like you expect them to hit you and - I'm making this worse, aren't I?"
"Completely." But a small smile crossed the villain's lips, without their permission, and their eyes softened a fraction. "But thank you."
The hero clearly had questions, about exactly why the villain reacted the way they did, but unlike the reporters and the crowds, they didn't ask. They didn't force themselves into the villain's space. They smiled back, tugging a sheepish hand through their hair.
The last of the tension left the villain.
The air, up high, was clean and cold. The world felt small and manageable, and far away.
"Any time," the hero said. "You're not on your own in this, after all."
The hero laughed, at the expression on the villain's face and the villain...well, the villain found themselves laughing too.
The hero didn't let it get so bad after that.
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Hello, I hope you are having an astounding day! I’ve been wondering if you could write a snippet about a sapiosexual villain and their smart, methodical henchman/ scientist. If you don’t want or can’t do that, I understand. Thank you for the gorgeous writing! 💕
People often assumed that the work of a henchman was simple, purely physical. All you had to do was look tough and intimidating.
They were wrong.
At a professional level, every gun shot required quick mathematical calculation, every blow an equation of angles and force. At any given time the villain could turn to their henchman and be presented with solutions. The most effective way into a building, the quickest way out in a pinch. Their henchman was a map of entries and exits; the whole city was sitting pretty and 3D somewhere in his brain.
It was intoxicating.
Most of the time.
(All the time).
Even when their - especially when their - dangerously smart and actually quite tough and intimidating looking too, henchman had them plastered up against the front door of their apartment. With a deadly look in his eyes.
"Um," the villain said, raising a brow.
"Are you deliberately placing yourself in danger so you can watch me get you out of it?"
The villain's face heated, because, um. It wasn't exactly deliberately, they were not a complete idiot. But they were also aware that they had been pushing their luck more than often recently, precisely so they could watch the way their henchman shifted gears so exquisitely.
Their henchman's grip tightened.
"Don't pretend you don't love the thrill of the puzzle!" The villain wet their dry lips. "I know you do. You'd be terribly bored if all I ever did was have you stand in a corner looking menacing. I'm simply being a good employer, you know? I'm offering you enrichment."
"At the risk of your life."
"Gambling for pennies is no fun."
"You're a dumbass."
"It's what I keep you around for." The villain tried for a winning smile.
Their henchman's grip didn't budge. His gaze raked down the villain's face, their body, and he had that -
Oh no. He had the calculating face on.
The villain squirmed, clearing their throat, turning their head away. It was one thing adoringly staring at their employee when the henchman wasn't looking back. It was another for him to know the way that the villain gazed at him, know the reaction the villain had every time they started doing-
"Look, it all turned out fine," the villain did their best to sound stern and commanding, despite the stupid twist of heat and panic mixing in their stomach. "So get off me. I'm your boss, you can't - manhandle me like this."
"You're right," their henchman said. He still didn't let go. "I do love puzzles. I love figuring out how to make your madcap ideas work, because you're always onto something. I love solving problems for you because every day is something different. What I don't love is the thought of you dying because you have a crush on me, and can't seem to find a safer puzzle to get off to."
The villain's face burned.
"I'm talking now. You're listening."
The villain's mouth snapped shut.
"So, that leaves us with a problem, doesn't it? Look at me."
The villain met the henchman's gaze, wide-eyed. Their henchman still had that mile-a-minute expression, and the villain stared at it almost helplessly. They wished they could read thoughts, they wished they could display all of their henchman's internal maths on a canvass and hang it on a wall in the bedroom.
"Luckily for you," the henchman's voice dipped lower, "as covered, I'm very good at solving problems." His grip eased, finally, but he didn't step away, palms sliding down the slightly torn front of the villain's coat, undoing the buttons and shoving it off the villain's shoulders.
The villain's brain whirled.
"I'm not a problem." They didn't - they'd imagined the henchman returning their feelings in a fantasy. None of that was meant to be some calculated thing, however much they enjoyed their henchman's cold logic. They didn't want the henchman to do anything with them just because they thought the villain would be reckless otherwise. This had backfired. This had backfired so badly. "I won't do it again, I promise! I know I was stupid and-"
The henchman kissed them. Short, sweet, nothing cold about it.
The villain's breath stuttered.
"You most certainly are a problem." The henchman's lips trailed up the villain's jaw. "My favourite problem, in fact. Have been for a while. Nearly losing you today made me realise that."
The villain gripped the front of the henchman's t-shirt, heart pounding.
"That's not to say you should do it again," the henchman added, biting down, drawing a groan from the villain's lips as their head tipped back. "That's me saying, if you want to watch me solve a puzzle, I can think of no shortage of puzzles we can play together. Would that work as an alternative solution?"
"Excellent." Their henchman drew back, eyes dark, and full of plans. "I think we'll start with 'how quickly can I unravel you, what do you think?"
"I think," the villain said, very serious, "you should figure out how to get your clothes off in the next thirty seconds before I rip them off you. If you want to keep them, that is."
The henchman laughed, and shoved them in the direction of the bedroom.
Near death experience was rarely a problem after that.
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I love your blog so much! Reading all of your stories is such a joy; you're extremely talented! May I ask for a little snippet of a villainxhero pairing who were once lovers but are now enemies (maybe with a light sprinkle of some angst)?
"You'd think," the villain said, "that at some point you'd get a life of your own." They spun to face the hero. "But you always were a bit obsessed with me, weren't you?"
Obsession had connotations, but it was possibly not entirely untrue either. The villain had been the sun the hero orbited once. (Maybe in some way, they still were. Always would be.) The hero's face flushed. Their fists clenched at their sides.
"I'm not obsessed with you, just with stopping you." Maybe if they'd seen what the villain would become, maybe if they'd done everything differently, none of this would ever have come to pass, after all. The villain was monster that was, if not of the hero's making exactly, certainly their responsibility.
The villain snorted.
"You always did follow me around like a lost little puppy."
"And you always did get particularly cruel when I was close to winning," the hero said. "When you wanted me to back off."
The villain's eyes darkened.
"Stop following me."
The hero shook their head. Their throat felt thick, but it changed nothing.
The villain raised their brows. "Do you want to die?"
"Have we got so bad that you want to kill me?"
The villain opened their mouth, then closed it. The hero watched them swallow, hard. They took a step closer in silence and raised a hand to the hero's throat - waiting for a flinch, perhaps, or some reaction. The hero jutted their chin up almost defiantly.
The villain's fingers brushed along their frantically racing pulse. The hero remembered their lips there so many times, warm against their skin.
"I could," the villain said. "You make it easy."
Their eyes met.
"A little pressure..." The tips of the villain's nails lengthened, sharpened, like the press of a claw. "And your life is over, because you still can't help letting me close. Over, and over again. Do you never ever learn?"
People basked in the sun, and near flame, for warmth and light and safety against the dark. But those things could burn. Could kill.
The villain's lips were inches from the hero's. The hero closed their eyes, and still didn't move.
"It's not about want," the villain whispered, with a voice full of exactly that, still, after all the time that had passed.
"Everything is about want." The hero leaned in, just enough for the villain's hand to cut skin.
The villain recoiled like they were the one burning, burning, burning. Their gaze fixed on the hero's throat. Their breathing stopped.
"You should now that," the hero said, with a small shrug. "What we want makes the world turn. Right now." They stepped closer that time, and the villain stumbled back. "I want information on your employer. I'll stop following you when I have what I want."
The villain seemed to force themselves to exhale a breath, and it was their turn to flush, for their fists to clench. "I only didn't kill you because they haven't ordered me to do it yet."
"Good start. What were their other orders about me and the infinity project?"
"I'm relentless. You liked that in me once."
The villain shook their head, turning away. They looked down at their hand, and forced their hand to uncurl. It appeared normal again.
"I'll follow you everywhere," the hero said, and this time it was their tone that was cruel. "Like a lost little puppy. One that hasn't been trained not to bite when backed into a corner. You want to back me into a corner?"
The villain glanced at them, once more, assessing. Because for all that things had stayed the same, things had changed too.
"I'm not concerned about backing you into anything." Their voice was cool once more. "You should be concerned about what I'll lead you into."
That was probably true, too. The hero shrugged again. Waiting.
The villain sighed, heavily.
"I really should just kill you. Let's get off this street before someone sees us. You get three questions, alright? That's all."
The villain spun, and walked.
And the hero followed them.
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if it's not too much, could you please write about a protagonist who is tipsy/drunk and flirts with the antagonist? if you could make it a bxb, it'd be very very grateful. love youuu ❤
"You know," the protagonist said. "You have a very kissable mouth."
"And that's you cut off."
"I'm not even drunk!" The protagonist clutched his wine closer, pointing a warning finger in the antagonist's direction.
"No?" The antagonist's voice was a low, low rumble - somewhere between amusement and danger. He leaned against the table, crowding the protagonist effortlessly into the booth. "Then what's your excuse?"
"Excuse?" The protagonist's brow furrowed. His heart skipped. His death grip on the glass loosened.
"Mm." The antagonist said, tucking a finger beneath the protagonist's chin. "Your excuse for thinking you can get away with saying something like that to me."
"Oh." The protagonist's cheeks coloured. God. He had just told his nemesis he had a very kissable mouth, hadn't he? What kind of idiot move was that? Of course, it was true. Otherwise such blatant facts wouldn't slip out while he was staring at those exquisitely kissable...The protagonist's gaze snapped back to the antagonist's eyes. He bit down on his lip, then, measuring.
Okay, yes, he was probably a little tipsy. Yes, he could probably pretend he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. But, he did. Just as he knew the words might just make his nemesis look at him like that, all dark and heated. Just as he knew the antagonist would glance at his mouth at the bite.
"You know," the protagonist said, jutting his chin up. "I wasn't really planning to get away with anything. Not this time. Thought maybe you'd find a creative way to shut me up."
The antagonist's expression flickered, no doubt registering the protagonist's intent and deliberation. The tectonic shifts of their convoluted relationship, ready to shatter the world.
"A few ideas did cross my mind," the antagonist mused, after a moment. "But, you see, given you're drunk...."
"Now you care about ethics?"
"Not ethics." The antagonist leaned in.
"Not you." The antagonist huffed, but for a moment he seemed - fond - something. "Well, you, I suppose. In a way."
The protagonist raised a brow. He leaned in, leaned up, so there was only a few inches between them. "In a way?"
"Mm. The way in which...when you end up in my bed, golden boy, you will be of clear mind and sanity, so that you can't pretend you begged my name for any reason other than that you wanted to."
The protagonist swallowed. His mouth dried. He felt a grin curl the corners of his lips; challenge offered, received and matched.
"It was just a statement of fact, you know."
The antagonist reared back.
"That you have a kissable mouth." The protagonist's eyes gleamed. "Just a statement of fact. Very objective. You're the one who took that and jumped straight between the sheets. Something on your mind there?"
The antagonist opened his mouth and...spluttered.
The protagonist's grin grew.
"I'm flattered," he purred. "Really. Now, I believe you were saying something about cutting me off-"
The antagonist grabbed him by the shirt, and kissed him.
Goddamn, but it was a kissable mouth.
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