Tumpik
#Ok this post is doing numbers so i felt i should explain that that's the personification of the HS fandom
milli-shadewhisker · 17 days ago
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Tweetsongs' Tyranny
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It's Going To Be You
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Prompt - I knew I did from that first moment we met. It was…not love at first sight exactly, but - familiarity. Like: oh, hello, it’s you. It’s going to be you.
—————————————————–
Spencer Reid knew from the moment he laid eyes on you that you were something else, he could tell from one glance that you would change his life. No words needed to be exchanged for the man to be completely and utterly taken by you. He watched as you walked through the door, though your head was held high, shoulders pushed back giving the impression of complete confidence, he saw the way you fiddled with the strap of your bag with one hand. When he looked at your other hand he could see your forefinger picking at your thumb, clearly a nervous habit. He watched as you looked around the room, watched as Rossi made his way over to you, guiding you over to Hotch’s office with a smile.
“Down, pretty boy.” Derek grinned as Spencer startled, his head snapping around to face Derek just as you entered Hotch’s office. “I’ve never seen that look on your face and you don’t even know her name.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Spencer replied, cringing at how unconvincing he sounded.
He turned away from Derek and tried to focus on his paperwork but he could stop his eyes from straying over to the closed office door every few minutes much to Derek and Rossi’s amusement.
“Who is she anyway?” Derek asked.
“She’s lucky number ten,” Rossi told them, smothering a smile as Spencer looked over, “who knew finding another agent would be so difficult.”
“Wait,” another voice interrupted, “there’s a new person here? Is she nice? Why is that always my first question?” The group laughed as Penelope quizzed Rossi.
“Listen, I know as much as you people.” He said and before anyone else could speak Penelope was being handed a folder causing them all to groan.
-
“Agent Hotchner?” You asked as you were granted access to the office.
Hotch stood as you walked in, moving around his desk to hold a hand out to you.
“Yes and you’re Y/F/N Y/L/N, I presume?” He asked, smiling slightly at you as you nodded, still fiddling with your bag. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, please have a seat.”
“Thank you sir.” You smiled, taking a seat in the offered chair watching as he made his way back behind his desk.
“Your supervisor spoke very highly of you when I spoke with him, your success rate is impressive.” Hotch praised, glancing down at the file in front of him. “Your latest case seemed rather difficult, are you sure you’re ready to be back in the field again?”
“I passed all my psychiatric exams, I was cleared to return.” You told him stiffly.
“I’m aware of your results, I just want to be sure you’re ready. Infiltrating yourself into the life of Douglas Miller couldn’t have been an easy feat.” Hotch watched as a look of satisfaction took over your face.
“I’m ready, sir.” You told him, relaxing slightly. “It was a tough case, I’ll be the first to admit that seeing what I saw had an impact but I can do this.”
Hotch smiled at you before closing the folder.
“I believe you,” he said, “I think you’ll be a valuable addition to this team.”
The words were what you were hoping to hear, you’d wanted a job with the BAU for longer than you could remember but you paused. Surely it wasn’t that easy, right?
“Wait? That’s it?” You asked.
“That’s it.” Hotch confirmed, fighting back a smile at your expression.
“But- but I’ve been here less than five minutes.” You countered back, there were so many emotions going on within you that you felt slightly overwhelmed.
“Y/N, ever since your name was put forward I looked into your work and I was impressed. Your skills at undercover work are far above what I’ve seen in a long time, that alone would be an incredibly useful assest to the team but on top of that your ability to connect and empathise with unsubs, fast thinking and your profiling skills- trust me, you deserve this job and I have complete faith in you.” Hotch’s words had left you speechless, you had no clue how to respond but thankfully you didn’t have to as the door was pushed open and both you and Hotch turned to look at the brightly dressed woman in the doorway.
“I’m sorry to interrupt sir but we have a case.” The woman said and Hotch stood gesturing for you to follow.
“You have a to go bag?” He asked as you both walked out the door.
“Yes sir.” You nodded, still baffled by how well things had gone.
“Good, welcome to the team Y/L/N.”
-
“Everyone, this is SSA Y/F/N Y/L/N. I’m sure proper introductions can be made later.” Hotch said as the two of you entered the room before gesturing to Garcia that she could begin.
“Ok, yes, so, we have five bodies so far found in Wyoming. The first two bodies were hidden amongst some trees close to firehole bay. The ME presumes that the time of death was mostly likely a week ago but we should have full confirmation when you arrive. The victims, who we haven’t been able to identify yet, but I am working on it, were stripped completely and the wounds, that are in your files because I so do not need to see that, show heavy signs of torture. ” Garcia informed you all.
“The next body was a single male, again stripped and tortured and the ME says this death is most likely four to five days old. This body was found a few miles away from Basin Bay Point campsite.”
“Wait a second,” somebody interrupted, causing you to turn your head. There sat a man, younger than the rest of the team, he was…how you had missed him you didn’t know but now you felt like you couldn’t look away. “If I’m not mistaken those places are roughly twenty miles from each other at walking distance.”
“And driving distance?” An older man asked.
“I don’t think there is a way to drive to Basin Bay Point, especially not to where the body was left.” The younger man replied, looking down at the folder he was given with a frown.
“I’ll have a map ready for you on the plane.” Penelope assured him before continuing. “Now, the next two bodies were the most recent, ME says they were killed a day or two ago and these victims we have been able to identify as Taylor Gomez and her boyfriend Jack Gaskarth.” Penelope said as she brought their pictures up. “They were never reported missing because they had told friends and family they were going camping, which checks out because their bodies were found three miles away from Lewis Lake campground. They show the same wounds as the other vics.” Garcia explained.
You grimaced as you looked down at the tablet Hotch had passed you as you saw a young man and woman, naked with slices all across their bodies, as well as deep bruising to the neck.
“What was the CoD, Garcia?” The younger man spoke up again.
“ME still needs to run a full examination but her best bet is that it was asphyxiation.” She told him with a frown.
“That makes sense, there isn’t a lot of blood or scabbing which suggests they were done post mortem.”
“So what,” you spoke up, pausing for a moment when everyone turned to you, “the unsub blitz attacks the victims and kills them before torturing them? What’s the point in that?”
“It could be a number of things actually. Perhaps it’s not about the kills for him but more to do with the fascination of the human body, we’ve seen it before where curiosity leads to this kind of attack. It could also be that he has to kill, he has a compulsion to kill and once he’s given into that compulsion he gets to fulfil other urges. If I had to guess I’d say the victims are victims of opportunity-” The younger man rambled, his hands gesturing in front of him as he spoke causing you to smile.
“Because there is no set pattern, he crosses race and gender lines and there’s no secondary location.” You cut off the other man who looked at you with a grin.
“Exactly, the area is so isolated that he can get away with quick and easy killings but because it doesn’t seem like there’s a secondary location yet we have to presume that the torture is a means to satisfy himself when he can’t hold his victims hostage.”
“It’s a long flight and this unsub doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Wheels up in fifteen.” Hotch said as he stood up, everyone was quick to follow until it was just you and the guy you had spoken to left.
“Hi.” He said, causing you to turn around with a smile.
“Hi.”
“I’m Spencer, Spencer Reid.” He introduced himself.
“Y/F/N Y/L/N, nice to meet you.” You replied, reaching out your hand to shake his, your eyebrows pulling together slightly as he shook his head.
“Sorry, I don’t um,” He said, causing you to drop your hand and nod understandingly, “it’s nothing against you, just…germs.” He trailed off, berating himself in his head.
“No problem.” You smiled again, god that smile. Spencer felt his heart race.
“Congratulations on joining the team.” He praised as the two of you walked out of the round table room.
“Thank you, I’ve wanted this for so long.” He watched as the smile fell from your face before you shook your head slightly.
“Is everything ok?” He asked, understanding the nerves. He couldn’t help but glance down, almost smiling as he saw you picking at your thumb.
“Yeah, I’m just, what if I mess up?” You couldn’t help but ask. After wanting this job for as long as you had, all the hard nights and long days spent training you were finally here and you’d be damned if you screwed everything up.
“You won’t, Hotch wouldn’t have hired you if he didn’t think you were good enough, trust me. I think you’ll be amazing.” He told you, flushing slightly at his own words and the soft smile that replaced the frown on your face.
“Thank you Spencer.” You replied softly and before he could respond the rest of the team was calling for the two of you to head to the air strip.
-
On the plane you were properly introduced to everyone as you took a seat next to Spencer, sitting opposite Hotch and Rossi. On the table in front of you Spencer had both a map of the US and a smaller map of Wyoming. You watched his fingers trace invisible lines as his eyebrows knitted together.
You were trying not to stare, really you were, but there was just something about the man that made you want to get to know him.
Thankfully before anyone noticed your eyes glancing at Spencer every few moments, the man himself spoke.
“Guys, if you map out where the five victims were found,” Spencer began, circling three places on the map as he did, “it looks like the victims might have been hiking the continental divide trail.”
“Pretty boy, isn’t that trail like thousands of miles long?” Morgan asked, watching as Spencer nodded, pushing the little map of Wyoming out of the way for a moment and drawing a line down the map of the US.
“This is the continental divide trail, it’s 3,300 miles long and it’s actually quite difficult to hike. These people had to have been exceptionally fit and healthy which further backs up the theory that these were blitz attacks. You can go days without seeing other people when hiking the trail and most hikers have to give up because of lack of supplies or needing urgent medical care from injuries and illnesses they attract. A part of the Wyoming part of the trail includes a 120 mile stretch of desert with water sources few and far between.” Spencer rambled and you couldn’t help the soft smile, though you did try to hide it behind your hand, glancing away from Rossi when you locked eyes with him and he raised an eyebrow at you.
“So we have a serial killer and 3,300 miles of potential hunting grounds?” JJ asked.
“So far he seems to be focusing on Wyoming, which narrows the geographic profile down to…’ Spencer paused as he pulled the Wyoming map closer to him, “550 miles.”
“I hope you all brought your hiking boots.” Rossi said as groans filled the jet.
“Hello my crime fighters.” Garcia’s voice sounded through the speakers. “Hotch, the families of the latest two victims are at the station waiting for you.”
“Thank you Garcia,” Hotch replied before turning to the team. “JJ, I want you to come with me to the station and help interview the families. We also need to get ahead of the media on this before they start glorifying the unsub. Reid, since the geographic profile is mostly established, I want you to take Y/L/N and head to the latest crime scene. Dave and Morgan, the two of you head to the second crime scene.”
You and Spencer both shared a look at the news you were travelling to a crime scene that couldn’t be driven too. Whilst you managed to pass the FBI’s training and fitness tests you weren’t exactly athletically inclined and seeing from the look Spencer was giving you neither was he.
Judging from the chuckles that filled the plane the others had come to the same conclusion that you and Spencer were not going to recover from this trip.
-
You had driven as close to the crime scene as you could get, which was thankfully closer than the one Morgan and Rossi had to go to. It was still a hell of a hike to get to where the unsub had dumped the bodies.
“Ok, ok,” Spencer panted, cheeks flushed from the heat. “Let’s take a break.”
“Please.” You were quick to agree and the two of you sat down heavily on a fallen tree trunk. You had all been warned that you needed supplies, even for a short hike. So you had both been sent out with backpacks filled with water bottles and food. There were other supplies like maps, compasses and first aid kits that you were hoping you wouldn’t have to use. Thankfully you had been paired with the man with the eidetic memory because you couldn’t read a map to save your life.
After the two of you gulped down some water and caught your breath Spencer spoke up.
“Why the BAU?” He asked suddenly, causing you to look up in confusion.
“Sorry?” You replied.
“You said you had wanted to join the BAU for a long time, why?” He asked again, not pushing you when you paused.
It wasn’t a secret what had happened to your family, Spencer could easily find the information out if he wanted to but you wanted to be the one to tell him. It wasn’t a story you liked sharing with people but something about Spencer made you feel…safe.
“When I was a kid there was a serial killer but he was in the next state over and we were from a small town so nobody thought to worry and after a while things went quiet so everyone just assumed he stopped, you know? Anyway, one day I went to my friend’s house, it was summer and I was always out with my friends. I was there for a few hours but I was always home in time for dinner except for this day, I ended up losing track of time and headed home an hour late. When I got home, my momma was there in the kitchen. She was covered in blood and I just screamed. The rest of my family didn’t make it either. When the police came they said the markings were the same as the victims from the next state over.” You told him, not pausing for breath as you rushed through the story. You watched as his expression fell, his sympathy written on his face.
“I’m so sorry.” He told you and you could hear the sincerity in his tone. You gave him a small smile before continuing.
“I could just never understand why. The thing that kept me up at night was that question: why? Why them? Why did he come here? Why wasn’t I home? Why did I deserve to live? I started researching and somehow came across an article about the BAU, from there I knew I wanted to work there.”
“Most people wouldn’t be able to come back from something like that, especially at such a young age.” Spencer said, causing you to glance over at him. “They’d be so proud of you.”
You couldn’t help but let out what sounded like a chuckle and a sob at those words, causing Spencer’s eyes to widen in fear he had upset you further but then you smile brightly and he couldn’t help but smile back.
“I like to think so.” You said softly. “You ready to continue?” You asked, chuckling as he groaned before standing up.
“I hate Hotch.” Was the grumbled response and the laugh he received in return made every sore bone and the aching feet worth it.
-
“We know that this unsub is a physically fit white male in his mid to late thirties.” Hotch began.
“Looking at the geographical pattern it’s safe to assume that he too is hiking the Continental Divide Trail in search of victims who are isolated from the rest of civilization. He also has no problems taking down two victims.” Spencer continued.
“The period in between kills is lessening so we should expect to find another body soon, have as many officers as possible on the rest of the trail.” You picked up.
“Considering the last kill was two days ago, the average person could walk up to 30 miles a day on normal terrain but we have to consider that the terrain out there is harsh so lets say he walks 20 miles a day that gives up a 40 mile radius he could be in. He is guaranteed to stay on the continental divide trail so stop every male you see.” Spencer told the LEO’s and after some more information was shared everyone headed off in different directions, the BAU members heading into the room they had been given to work in.
“Y/N,” Hotch said, causing everyone to look over at you.
“Yes sir?” You asked, looking up from your laptop.
“You’re probably the most skilled undercover agent in this room,” He said, causing your cheeks to flush and Spencer couldn’t help but smile. “I know this isn’t exactly the type of case you’d usually be assigned but perhaps if we send you out there we have a better chance of catching him. This man is impulsive, if he sees you he won’t be able to control himself.” Hotch explained, ignoring the questioning looks he was getting from most of the team.
You, however, relaxed, thankful that you hadn’t done something wrong. Undercover work was easy, you were comfortable with it, you knew you were good at it. Obviously you weren’t as confident at this part of the job yet, how could you be on your first case, but undercover work? That was your area of expertise.
“Of course sir.” You agreed easily before remembering how fun the small hike to the last crime scene was…your body would not thank you for signing up for a much longer hike.
“Hotch, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Morgan spoke up causing you to frown. Sure they didn’t know you yet but surely your record spoke for itself. “No offence to you,” he said quickly as he turned to you, “it’s just-“
But before he could finish Hotch cut him off, “I have full faith in Y/L/N’s abilities.”
You couldn’t help feeling a swell of pride at Hotch’s words, a man who you looked up to, a man who barely knew you but was trusting you with so much already. You locked eyes with Spencer who smiled at you reassuringly.
“I’m not doubting the kid’s abilities,” Morgan continued, missing the way you rolled your eyes at being called a kid. “I’m just saying maybe don’t send her in on her own on her first case.”
“I’ll go with her.” Spencer spoke up before Hotch could argue back.
Your eyes widened at Spencer’s offer, he did just as well as you did on your first outing and now he was offering to put himself through hours more of that for what?
“Are you ok with that, Y/N?” Hotch asked you.
You didn’t even hesitate to nod, more than happy for the opportunity to spend time with Spencer Reid.
-
“We’ll be close by the whole time,” Hotch told you as he passed you your backpack filled with supplies, “the second we hear something, we’ll be there.” He assured you and you couldn’t help but smile at his concern.
“I’ll be fine, sir. This is actually the part of the job I’m good at.” You laughed, watching as his lip twitched upwards.
“You’ve been a great help in coming up with a profile too.” He assured you and before you could say anything the rest of the team was flooding in.
The plan for you and Spencer to hike up to a specific spot that Spencer had managed to pinpoint the unsub at and set up camp there. From there you would wait and hope for the unsub to appear. The man was impulsive and his need to kill would be overwhelming by now. The two of you were wired up so that if the unsub appeared the rest of the team could step in and help with the arrest.
You and Spencer were dropped off half an hour away from your campsite just so that if the unsub was around he wouldn’t suspect anything.
The walk was mostly silent, both you and Spencer focusing on not breaking an ankle on the uneven terrain when Spencer finally spoke up.
“Morgan didn’t mean anything insulting.” He told you, causing you to pause before shrugging your shoulders and continuing. When you stayed silent Spencer continued, “he’s just protective but sometimes he isn’t really good at showing it and it comes across…”
“It comes across like he thinks I can’t do my job despite this being my forte.” You finished with a huff before sighing. “I’m sorry, I just…you can’t imagine how many times a male colleague has said I can’t do something and then a supervisor has agreed, you don’t understand how hard I have to fight to be given assignments and not have somebody constantly berating me.” You ranted.
“People look at me like I’m a child. When I first joined the BAU nobody would take me seriously, without Gideon I don’t know what would have happened.” Spencer told you quietly, causing you to frown.
“So you can understand why it’s so frustrating that someone who doesn’t know me didn’t even want to give me a chance.” You replied, causing him to nod sadly. ‘I know he probably didn’t mean anything but…”
“You’ve heard that your entire career.” Spencer finished.
“Hotch was the first person to give me a chance without any hesitation.” You told him softly, watching as he smiled at that. “This should be close enough.” You said as you looked around, the place looked similar to the image Spencer had shown the team.
“Please tell me you know how to put a tent up.” You said, watching as his face twisted.
“I know the theory?” The way his response sounded like a question made you smile as you pulled poles and material out of a bag. The two of you staring down at the mess with matching expressions of confusion.
“Now would be a really good time for the unsub to attack.” He muttered, causing you to laugh loudly. Spencer couldn’t help but grin over at you, your cheeks flushing as you caught the expression.
It took longer than either you or Spencer were willing to admit to put the tent up, despite the fact that it wouldn’t get used, you had to make it look like the pair of you were really camping. There was a lot of grumbling, many curse words and a cut or two.
There was also a lot of laughter coming from the comms in your ears causing both you and Spencer to roll your eyes.
Once the tent was up, Spencer lay a blanket down outside of it and sat down, gesturing for you to do the same. Miraculously the two of you got a fire started and as the sun set and the night time air chilled you were thankful for it.
“I don’t camp but I guess I can see the appeal.” Spencer told you as he titled his head back to look up at the stars. You glanced up too, the sky wasn’t totally black yet, more of an inky blue colour and you could see every star on the cloudless night.
It was beautiful and yet you still found your gaze falling back on Spencer.
“Yeah, me too.” You replied softly, your voice quiet so as not to break the peacefulness around you.
Somehow the two of you ended up laying down and looking up at the sky, you had a smile on your face that refused to move as Spencer’s hushed voice told you facts about stars.
“I’m glad you’re on the team.” Spencer whispered after a long pause of silence. It took you a moment to register his words before you turned your head, coming face to face with the man.
“Me too.” You whispered back, meaning the words with your entire being.
Just as Spencer went to say something you heard a rustle in the bushes and locked eyes with Spencer who nodded.
The two of you waited, not waiting to disrupt the operation if it just turned out to be an animal, but as you pushed yourself up on your elbow and discreetly looked around you saw a faint outline of a man. He was hidden behind a tree but he was watching the two of you.
“The hike up here was exactly what we needed.” You told Spencer and through the comms you heard the team moving out.
“You’re right.” He played along, smiling up at you from his reclined position.
Before you knew what was happening Spencer had his gun out and the unsub grabbed you, placing you in front of him as a human shield. If someone asked you, you would never have been able to recall the events that led to you having a knife held to your neck.
You saw the panicked look in Spencer’s eyes but you couldn’t hear his thoughts, they were overwhelming. Thoughts of Maeve passed through his mind as he pleaded with anyone who would listen to let you be ok, he couldn’t lose you too. Hell, he’d only known you a few days and yet he knew you were special, he knew he had to have you in his life. If you died now…
“Just let her go.” Spencer said, keeping his gun trained on the man.
“I let her go, you ship me off to death row.” The man responded, his face close to your face, too close. The smell of his breath had you grimacing.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Spencer responded, not even thinking. He just needed to get you away.
“Spenc, what you doing kid?” He heard Morgan through his ear piece but he just shook his head before shooting you a reassuring smile, trying not to focus on the tears in your eyes or the blood on your neck.
“I’m listenin’.” The unsub replied after a moment of silence, gesturing for Spencer to continue.
“Let her go,” He said, lowering his gun, “I won’t arrest you. You can get a head start before anyone else gets here. Just let her go.” Spencer pleaded.
It was a tense few seconds in which Spencer never took his eyes off you, he hated to see that scared look in your eyes, the fear in them made Spencer ache.
“Let her go.” Spencer said once more and he let out a sigh of relief as you were pushed into his arms.
Just as the unsub ran to leave, you twisted around in Spencer’s arms and drew your own gun, shooting the unsub in the leg. The rest of the team ran in just as the man fell to the ground.
Spencer turned you around so that you were facing him, his hands on your shoulders.
“Are you ok?” He asked, Morgan and Hotch walking over whilst Rossi and JJ dealt with the man.
You didn’t respond with words, instead you wrapped your arms around Spencer. He didn’t hesitate to wrap his own around you, holding you close as you let the tears slid down your face.
You pulled away abruptly, rubbing your eyes as you did.
“Sorry, you don’t like to be touched and here I am-“ You said but Spencer just cut you off.
“It’s fine, really.” He assured you before his attention turned to your neck. The knife hadn’t pierced the skin too badly, there was a small bit of blood where the knife had nicked you when the unsub pressed a bit too hard.
“Are you ok?” He asked again, fingers on your jaw so that he could tilt your face and get a better look.
“Spencer, I’m fine.” You assured him but that didn’t stop him from getting you medical attention the moment you were back in the town.
Spencer watched as you squirmed away from the nurse seeing to you with a soft smile.
There was something about you that made him feel so free, like he could be himself and the thought of losing you…he didn’t want to think about it again.
“You like her.” Derek said as he came to stand next to the younger man.
“That’s ridiculous, I’ve known her for a few days.” Spencer shot back but he knew his friend was right.
“If she’s the right girl, a few days is all you need.” Was Derek’s reply before he walked away, leaving Spencer looking at you with a thoughtful look on his face.
-
The plane ride home was uneventful.
You took the seat next to Spencer again and watched him pull a book out. You couldn’t help but glance down at it, your eyebrows knitting together in confusion as you didn’t recognise the language.
“It’s Russian.” He told you quietly, not wanting to disturb anyone as they settled in for a long flight.
“You read Russian?” You asked just as quietly, watching as he smiled bashfully and shrugged before nodding. You glanced down at the pages again before letting out a small yawn. “Can you read to me?” You asked him, smiling as he nodded again.
“Of course,” He said and with that it wasn’t long before you fell asleep to the soothing sound of Spencer Reid.
-
“Ask her, man.” Morgan said as both he and Spencer watched you leave the office after finishing your paperwork. Spencer too was done and Morgan assured him he’d make sure Hotch received it.
There was only a brief moment of hesitation before Spencer snatched his satchel up and ran to the elevators, getting there just before they shut on you.
“Hey.” He greeted as he stepped in.
“Hi.” You smiled, brushing a piece of hair out of your face.
“I was wondering, I mean if you wanted to, of course you don’t have to, I was only suggesting but I’d really like it if you would,” Spencer rambled before cutting himself out with a groaning causing you to giggle.
“Are you asking me out?” You asked, cheeks flushing as you asked.
“I’m trying to,” he told you, “but I’m not very good at this.”
“Just ask.” You told him softly.
“Would you like to go out with me?” He asked after taking a deep and calming breath.
“I’d love to.” You grinned, thankful that the man had made a move. You wouldn’t have risked asking him on the chance that you were reading him wrong and he didn’t like you but thankfully he had taken it into his own hands.
“Good. Great. That, that’s great.” He repeated, a soft grin spreading across his face causing you to giggle as the doors opened.
The two of you walked out together and there was a moment of awkward silence before Spencer dipped his head down to kiss your cheek, making your blush even more prominent.
You looked so pretty when you blushed, Spencer thought.
“I’ll call you.” He promised.
“I hope so.” You replied before heading towards your car, when you turned around you saw Spencer still stood by the doors with a smile still on his face. You giggled to yourself but couldn’t stop smiling yourself if you tried.
Spencer Reid was something else and you couldn’t wait to learn everything about that wonderful man.
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girls4keigo · a year ago
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A Bird Whisperer’s Guide to Fighting Villains and Falling in Love | Hawks x Hero!Reader
Summary: Hawks needs help to defeat an upcoming hero attack in Tokyo. What better hero to ask than the one he’s been crushing on for months
Warnings: F!Reader, Hero!Reader, Fluff, Cursing
Reader plays hard to get. Reader has a nature quirk and can control natural elements and talk to animals. Reader is a popular hero
a/n: hi! this is my first post i hope you all enjoy! :)
————
You sighed, trying to keep your composure while talking to a bunch of big name heroes. The fundraiser events that your agency made you go to were unbearable. Standing around for hours listening to the most mundane heroes try to impress you with their line of work. But hey, if it helps boost approval ratings I guess it’s not that bad.
For the past year you’ve slowly been climbing the ranks of the hero world. With a powerful quirk and unique fighting styles it was hard to go unnoticed. By now you were familiar with how the industry treated female heroes. It seemed as if the general public cared about anything but your hero duties.
It was all love, relationships, “Who are you dating?”, “What’s your skincare routine?”
You honestly didn’t expect any different but geez, it sure did piss you off. And now that you were in the top 3, you weren’t expecting any of it to die down. Might as well just get used to it.
You continued to chat when suddenly your ear twitched as you sensed a certain birdie approaching.
Oh God.
“Hey. Mind if I steal ya away for a little?” Hawks’ signature smirk appeared on his face as he approached you.
Hawks seemed to really be latching onto you for quite some time, well since the new hero rankings were announced. You were on your way to surpassing the number 2 hero and had gained a lot of notoriety in the past couple of months. 
He was clingy for sure, always play flirting, inviting you to lunch, showing up at your agency unannounced. It was obvious that he was just trying to get a reaction out of you. You’d be surprised if he admitted to actually having feelings for you. Well, not that you cared anyways. Your job was to save civilians, defeat villains, and do things that any other normal hero would. Love was simply not on your agenda.
Holding back a heavy sigh, you complied and stepped off to the side with Hawks.
He seemed delighted by your decision, using his feathers to fetch you a glass of champagne off of one of the caterer’s trays as you two walked over to the bar area.
“So your agency makes you come to these lame things too, huh?”
You didn’t answer, not very interested in the direction that the conversation was going in.
“You look nice.” He bit his lower lip, dragging his eyes vertically across your figure.
“Thank you.” You replied, taking a sip of your champagne.
After you both had made your way over to the bar he instructed his order to the bartender, asking you if you wanted anything and keeping the same dumb smirk on his face when you denied.
“Rarely ever see you in a color other than green. I mean, I guess it’s your entire thing but I really dig this red look you’ve got goin’ on” He mused, as he watched the bartender carefully make his drink.
He wasn’t lying. He’s been eyeing you since you walked in, you look good.
“What do you want, Hawks?” You asked, visibly annoyed.
“Damn.” He chuckled, “Small talk isn’t your thing, noted.”
You side-eyed him, getting impatient with his overly relaxed demeanor.
Catching the hint, he got straight to the point. “There’s some trouble going on in Tokyo.”
Now you were intrigued. You took another sip of your champagne, “Petty villain attacks like always, isn’t it?”
You turned towards him, he got a good look at your face before he answered.
Fucking pretty, he thought to himself.
“That’s what I thought at first but it’s getting harder to believe that as I do more digging.” He looks around before inching closer to you, trying to keep his volume to a minimum. “The League is planning something big next week. The ‘Rain of Terror’, they’re callin’ it. They’re trying to ease the amount of big attacks in the city to let our gaurds down. And frankly, I think it’s working.”
Your eyebrows furrowed. “How do you know all of this?”
“I’ve got connections,” Was all he said, with a shrug.
Ok, whatever. You’ll confront him about that later. “And this ‘Rain of Terror…’ what does it entail?”
“Bombs.”
“Shit,” You muttered.
“Big ones. Huge ones, actually. I don’t know how the fuckers did it but they found a way to make these huge, bioengineered clouds that ‘rain’ bombs.”
You grew uneasy. Raining bombs? Over the entirety of Tokyo? The amount of destruction it would do to the earth, to civilians, made you panic. Hawks sensed your uneasiness but continued anyways, “I want us to team up. Your quirk would be useful with the entire controlling nature n’ weather thing.”
He loosened up from his serious expression, talking a bit louder and showing a teethy smile, “Plus I think we’d make a pretty good team. I’ve already got a plan so we’ll meet up at yours tomorrow.”
“As in my house? Why not anywhere else?” You questioned.
“Well,” He grabbed his drink and used his free hand to rub the back of his heck, “This isn’t really the typa thing we can talk about in public. Mass hysteria, panic, that type of thing. And my living situation is pretty…complicated right now.”
You felt a small tap on your shoulder, followed by the voice of your high school aged sidekick. You turned to the younger hero. “Uh..Y/N? It’s time to go. I gotta be back by 11.”
You sighed before turning back to Hawks.
“Kids and their curfews, right?” He commented.
“Fine. I’ll have my agency send you my address. Don’t come during the day.” That was the last thing you said before finishing your drink all in one quick sip and making your way to the exit. You could feel his eyes on your backside until you left the venue. And the singular scarlet feather rushing in front of you to open the car door for you was really the cherry on top.
You rolled your eyes.
“Woah.” Your sidekick mused, “He seems to really like you. You should give him a chance, he’s hot.”
You giggled at her comment, “He doesn’t really like me, y’know? He flirts with every female hero.”
You heard a slight tap on the window leading up to your balcony. You already sensed him flying towards you when he was about a mile away, but your bedroom? Reluctantly you walked over and opened the sliding door.
“Never heard of a front door?”
“Well that’s no fun, is it?” He said, displaying his signature smirk. You looked cute out of your hero clothes. Hair tied up and messy, and in big comfy clothes.
Adorable, he thought to himself. He walked in as if it was his own befroom, slipping off his shoes, gloves and jacket and placing them in the corner of your room.
“Make yourself comfortable I guess.” You deadpanned at him, “And we’re still going downstairs anyways.” He shrugged.
He couldn’t help but be taken aback by the layout of your room. There were plants in almost every corner, on every shelf. Vines growing on your walls, half read books strewn across your bedside table and dresser, your pet birds of all different shaped and sizes flew freely around your room, chirping every once in a while. “So you’re a bird whisperer, huh?” He said, looking around.
“I’m an animal whisperer.” You said, “That’s kind of like my entire thing.”
He let out a hearty laugh before making his way out of your room.
“Tea?” You asked, heading towards the kitchen as the winged hero made himself comfortable on your couch.
“Sure.” He picked up your remote with one his feathers, flicking through the channels.
He turned his attention to you a couple moments later as you took a seat across from him at your coffee table, setting down two mugs of green tea.
He explained his plan carefully, paying close attention to all details and pausing for any questions you might have. You had to admit, as much as an annoying asshole this guy could be, he knew what he was doing. You could tell he plans his strategies very carefully, as much as he likes to come off as lazy and laid back to the general public. He was a damn good hero. And you hated admitting it but he was right, utlizing his speed and your ability to control weather, it wouldn’t be all that hard to stop villain attacks.
Hawks also couldn’t help but admire you. You seemed attentive, always paying close attention to detail and asking a lot of questions. I mean he already knew you were good at your job, watching some of the viral videos of your fights with villains.
When the day finally came, it went as smoothly as planned, of course with a little bumps along the way. Still, the few civilians that were hurt only had minor injuries, and you and hawks made it so only a couple bombs hit the ground.
You, Hawks, and some other minor heroes who had joined mid-battle regrouped to talk about how to resolve the collateral damage.
“It’s not too much to be honest, I’ll have it all repaired by midni-“
“Wow! What an incredible display of courage from Hawks and Mother Nature, currently sitting at number 2 and number 3 of Japan’s Hero BillBoard Chart!” A loud reporter exclaimed, accompanied by a camera crew.
Of course.
You tried your best to ignore and keep talking to fellow heroes until a microphone was shoved in your face. The face of the reporter gleamed as she talked to you. “Tell me Mother Nature, how does it feel working with number 2 hero Hawks?” You winced at the question, but answered nevertheless.
“Hawks is a  diligent hero with a lot of experience under his belt despite being so young. It was great working with him.” You answered, forcing a smile on your face.
“There’s speculation that you two planned this together..is this true? How were you able to predict this attack? More importantly, are you two dating?” Those questions hit you like a truck.
“Um..no comment.” Was all you could answer with.
Nevertheless, the reporter persisted, “Well there has to be something going on. It’s just my opinion but you two seem perfect for each other.” She giggled at the camera, “Please! The public is dying to know!”
Before you could even muster up an answer to the reporter’s overwhelming question, a giant scarlet wing came between you and the reporter, blinding both her and the camera from your view.
“Hey. She said she doesn’t wanna talk about it. Let’s respect personal boundaries, yeah?” Hawks said in a nice but slightly defensive tone.
You blushed, looking up at him. As nice we he was trying to sound, he looked angry. And damn right he was. How dare they talk to you like you’re no more than just some D-list celebrity? You’re a fucking hero, who cares about dating speculation when you just saved Japan’s largest city? And how dare they ask questions about him when you were the one doing most of the work. He was enraged, and it was his natural instinct to protect the thing he cared for.
Before you knew it, he latched his arms around your waist, pushing you into his chest.
You were flustered. “What are you-“
“Let’s go.” Was all he said before flapping his wings, sending you guys soaring through the air.
You held on to him for dear life, damn was he fast.
Hawks smirked to himself, feeling your rapid heartbeat against his chest. You were trying your best to hide your blushing by burying your face in his neck, granted that probably made it worse because he could already tell by how hot your face was.
God, she’s adorable
As soon as you two landed on top of a building, you pushed him away as quickly as possible.
He chuckled, putting both of his hands up in defense, “You’re the one making this awkward y’know? Plus you owe me for saving your ass.”
You were angry. Was it because of the downright rude questions that the reporter asked you not too long ago, was it because you knew tabloids would be posting all about you and Hawks for the next couple of days, was it because you were..warming up to that damned bird?
And then you started. “Just so you know, this..us..is not a thing. It will never be a thing. I wish you’d just stop flirting with me all the damn time. Just move on to the next female hero. I actually don’t care what you do. Just leave me alone. I don’t understand why you have to be so clingy, it’s annoying.”
Hawks did nothing but smile, listening to you ramble.
“You know…I-“ He interjected, only to be interrupted by you.
“And geez, you’re so goddamn entitled. I owe you? I don’t owe you anything. I didn’t even need your help. You’re no different from any other guy, you’re fucking insuffer-“
Hawks shut you up with a gentle kiss on your lips.
Oh.
“You talk too much.” He said in a low whisper, before pulling on your chin to kiss you again. You kissed him back, resting your hands on his chest, completely indulging in the moment.
Fuck. Your knees were weak. As much as you wanted to keep going you pulled away, blushing furiously and refusing to make eye contact with him.
“Oh? So now you’re shy?” He chuckled, pulling you closer to him. He tried to catch your gaze but you just moved your head away from him each time.
“Someone might see us. This is bad,” You were able to muster out.
“You’re so fucking cute.” He said, making you blush even more. He continued, “I don’t flirt with you for no reason, y’know? Sure, sometimes it’s just to tease..but I think you’re amazing.”
You felt like you were melting in his arms. Unable to find the right words, you panicked. You were gone in seconds, manipulating the wind so it could carry you back home, the same stupid blush unable to leave your face.
“Call me!” He yelled.
That damn bird.
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waywardxsouls · 5 months ago
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Hey there! Can I ask a headcannon the obssession finding and taking care about the post-cage Michael? I love your work. 💖
Hi! Thank you so much!!! I’m glad you enjoy my work!
Ok so I haven’t seen anything after about S10/11 and don’t really care to, so I’m just winging this lmao. (Also I haven't written anything in a while so sorry 4 the quality lmao pofgjdpp)
This is based off of my own PTSD responses ig so this was kinda hard for me to do pofjsdgvibofv
Ok so I imagine that the Reader comes across him on a hunt and he saved her even though she was supposed to be rescuing him
Like from a Vampire or something and Michael just snaps the Vampire the second he sees Reader in danger
For him, seeing Reader was like someone flicking a switch inside of him and he became obsessed
He had to have her
But he didn’t want to freak her out so he reasoned that they should go hunting together so she’d be safer
For Reader though, she’s SHOOK because he just Thanos snapped a vampire and is acting like everything’s normal, but you figure that having him along with you would be better
You demanded he explain what the FUCK he was, and he did – he explained who he was, how he got here, the Cage, Lucifer. Everything.
You hauled ass out of there
You wanted no part of that initially, but then you started thinking.
Michael, the Archangel, was being kind to you. He was being kind to humanity and trying to love it as best as he could from what you had been told and observed. More research on the whole topic made you feel sorry for the guy.
Being stuck with Lucifer in a tiny cage for years must have done a number on him, and while he did seem well adjusted, it was clear to see he needed help.
You had contemplated giving up hunting for a while, and it seemed that meeting Michael was the sign you needed.
You tracked his ass down and took him home with you, explaining that you were leaving hunting, but you were still open to him moving in with you or whatever he was comfortable with.
Michael ended up moving in
He sometimes “woke” up screaming and gasping from “Nightmares” – you knew angels didn’t sleep, but what he was doing was pretty similar you figured. These incidents left you feeling sorry for the guy, so you ended up staying up with him and watching funny dog videos on YouTube, like Tofu-Chan until he rested again
You did the same with flashbacks, often hugging him and rocking him back and forth until he was out of the danger-zone again
You introduced him to different hobbies such as journaling and watching movies, which often helped take his mind off of his memories, and comforted him during his darkest hours
Bit by bit, you fell in love with him, and you could tell that he felt something for you too
You were just too shy to act on it
For Michael though, he was ecstatic that the first person to show him kindness like this was a person like you. Beautiful inside and out, and with kindness that made his grace sing
He adored you for everything that you had done from looking after him to introducing him to cupcakes to simply holding him when his memories got too much
Initially, he felt weak and cursed himself for showing such weakness to you, but it worked out for him in the end.
You were there for him when no one else was, and he couldn’t do enough to thank you
But what he did know is that you loved him but you didn’t act upon it, but that was more than ok because he would make it all okay
Because for once, he would make the right decision and bring you up to heaven, recreating your cosy cabin in the woods that he’d fallen in love with and recreating your life for you up there.
The only difference is that you’d never know you were in heaven or what was going on back on earth
All that mattered to Michael was the two of you enjoying life, and that you loved him just like how he loved you.
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vonlipwig · 7 months ago
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Franky, your love and dedication for Rhys over the years is the most adorable thing to witness since being part of OFMD fandom <3 It's a delight seeing your posts.
this is extremely sweet and you are very kind but i'm afraid i'm going to answer in a really fucking weird way because, you see, i need to explain what's been going on in my head the last few weeks. sorry.
this is a story about growing up neurodivergent. it's also about rhys darby but we'll get to him in a minute.
when i was in 2nd form, our english teacher came up with a great exercise to illustrate the concept of 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. she gave us all a slip of paper and told us to write down the celebrity we found most attractive. the person i wrote down was the Wrong Answer so i was mocked relentlessly. and publically. the teacher managed to get control of the class eventually but i'd learnt a lesson - sometimes i was weird and it was Not Good to be weird. so in an attempt to get some sense of Normality i came up with the Weird Crush Principle.
the Weird Crush Principle is simple and complicated at the same time. sometimes the people i found attractive were Normal and ok to admit to Normal People. sometimes they were Weird and should not be admitted to Normal People or they would mock me relentlessly.
in order to be in the Normal category, they had to fulfill these criteria:
sufficiently well-known - to avoid having to explain who they are
within appropriate age range - just shoot for <60 and we're ok
conventionally attractive - baffling but workable
let me give you an example of what it looks like in my head:
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are you with me? ok. look i know. i know this is fundamentally not a Normal thing to do but i'm admitting to this on neurodivergency.com so you can't judge me
this has worked at making me seem Relatively Normal In This Particular Area since 2005.
now the intersection gave me grief because i knew it existed. Normal People sometimes talked about their 'weird crushes'. but their 'weird crushes' didn't seem to fit with my Weird Crush Principle. and putting someone there felt like too much of a gamble.
enter rhys darby.
i was at uni (2012-ish) when i latched onto rhys darby like the little adhd limpet i am and i thought. huh. actually. i reckon he could go riiiiight here
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he wasn't exactly a household name but you could explain him with a single word - 'comedian'. he was in his late thirties, at the time. and i thought he was hot as hell. i mean he's funny. and has a cute accent. and he's ginger. everyone has the hots for ginger men... right?
the girls in my dorm had this thing where we'd get together somewhat frequently to watch romcoms with people we fancied in them and when it was my turn i was confident in my ability to be Normal so we watched Love Birds and UH OH
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OH NO BAD WRONG ANSWER FUCK
so that was literally the last time i ever admitted to having a Thing for rhys darby. to anyone. not even tumblr - the website that had a collective breakdown over benedict fucking cumberbatch for christ's sake - because this is something that i'm pretty sensitive about. once bitten, twice shy. twice bitten, fuck off don't come near me.
i know i know it's stupid but school really does do a number on you doesnt it?
anyway about three weeks ago this happened
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and since then i have not known peace because i was right??? i was right all along??? i was so normal about this?????
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sa-gt-tarrius · 9 months ago
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Thank you anon for oiling my brain gears……. I call this the Rattatiniest Tourneybout
Credit for the Ratattorney AU goes to @spirit-small I hope you’re ok with me posting this dvsksvsk
Maya was careful to avoid eye contact with random passerby as she sped down the courthouse hallway. Snatching a not-guilty verdict from the jaws of defeat had taken a lot out of her, and she hadn’t gotten the chance to speak with Phoenix since the verdict was handed down.
So there she was, searching for a secluded place to speak with the borrower currently perched on her shoulder. It was too dangerous to converse in the open, after all—especially with so many prying eyes around. Hidden behind Maya’s locks of hair, the man’s tiny hands gripped her robes for balance. He remained silent as Maya continued speed-walking.
A sign pointing to the courthouse bathrooms caught her eye. She turned the corner, ignoring a nearby bailiff, and shoved herself into the farthest stall from the door. It was hardly the perfect place to chat, but it was safer than anyplace else and would suffice for the moment.
“Nice job out there, Maya!” Phoenix whispered a quiet cheer into Maya’s ear. He grasped her robes to keep himself steady, which only slightly offset his excited bouncing. “I thought we were done for, but you really pulled through.”
“I don’t know how lawyers do this full-time,” Maya sighed, collapsing onto the closed toilet seat. She reached behind her ear, holding her hand flat for Phoenix to step onto. “But it’s worth it, you know? I think our client was about to cry tears of joy.”
When she retracted her hand, Phoenix stood atop it, grinning widely. His face was flushed from embarrassment and adrenaline, but his eyes glimmered with pride nonetheless. “Yeah… we did great today. Burgers to celebrate?”
“You read my mind.” Maya fumbled for her cellphone. “Maybe Edgeworth wants to come with us!”
Phoenix shook his head and laughed. “No way he wants to buy you food after losing so badly.”
“He can’t say no to this face,” Maya replied with a cheeky grin. She began punching Miles Edgeworth’s phone number into the keypad, wondering what kind of burger she should order. The phone rang twice before someone picked up. “Hey, Edgeworth! Wanna meet us in the lobby for burgers?”
“Miss Fey,” Miles hissed from the other end, ignoring her question and sounding incredibly irate all of a sudden. Perhaps he was upset about losing the trial? “Tell me… has Wright suffered any major head injuries recently?”
Maya glanced down at Phoenix, who shrugged in reply. “Uh, no,” she told Miles. “Not that I know of.”
“Then could you explain to me,” Miles continued, every word laced with fury and anger, “why I found him wandering in the open? In the lobby, no less?”
“Huh?” Maya scratched her head, as if it would help her figure out what the hell Miles was talking about. From his spot on her palm, Phoenix appeared to be just as confused as she was. He could only offer a puzzled stare. “Nick knows better than that,” Maya said slowly. “He wouldn’t—”
Miles cut her off, his words rising in pitch until his voice cracked. “Well, he did! He was almost found by Payne of all people, and I shudder to think how that could have gone!” He sucked in a sharp breath, evidently trying to calm himself down. “Come to the lobby. I have Wright with me and I’m taking you both home. Now.”
With no further fanfare or explanation, the line went dead. Miles had hung up on them. Maya stared at the phone with a puzzled expression before turning her attention back to Phoenix. “Huh? Edgeworth has… you?”
Phoenix simply shrugged again.
***
When Maya returned to the lobby, Miles was silent at first. He simply motioned for the girl to follow him to the parking lot, and although his face remained carefully blank, there was a wild panic in his eyes that betrayed how he really felt. Maya trailed him without complaint, and they stayed silent until they were in the safety of Miles’ car.
That’s when hell broke loose.
“You’ve spoken to me at length about the importance of staying hidden,” Miles growled, slamming his hands hard onto the steering wheel. “I took great care in keeping your existence a secret from the courts. I’ve overlooked countless crimes just so you can practice law!”
Maya winced at the volume. She stuck a finger into her ear and scowled. “Edgeworth, what—”
“You could have gotten Miss Fey into serious trouble, you know. You could have gotten her arrested! What happened to being careful?!”
At first, Maya had been annoyed at being yelled at for seemingly no reason, but seeing Miles in his half-angry, half-panicked state was strangely fascinating . He never once looked at her (or even in Phoenix’s general direction, although he was still hidden behind her hair). In fact, he never once looked up—his gaze was kept locked downwards, avoiding both Maya’s and Phoenix’s eyes.
How curious.
Apparently, though, Phoenix had already heard enough. He jumped off Maya’s shoulder, landing on her knee with a soft thud. “Edgeworth, what do you take me for? Of course I’m careful.” Miles flinched a bit, blinking at Phoenix with buggy eyes. Phoenix simply folded his arms and curled an eyebrow, unimpressed and annoyed with Miles’ odd behaviour. “Maya was with me all day. I wasn't by myself for a second.”
“But… We… But y—you were…” Miles devolved into incoherent sputters, glancing between Phoenix and Maya rapidly. It seemed like it was the prosecutor’s turn to be utterly confused. “B—but we were… just…”
“Edgeworth,” Maya pressed, taking advantage of the quiet to speak up. “What’s going on? Why are you being so weird?”
Miles didn’t answer her. His lips pressed into a thin line, and he once again fixed his gaze downwards. “…Is every borrower named Phoenix Wright?” he breathed, his voice strangled.
“What’s a borrower?” a faint new voice asked nervously, and to Maya’s surprise, something in Miles’ breast pocket began to shift and squirm. He wasn’t talking to Maya. He was talking to his pocket. Or at least, whatever was inside it.
Miles scowled. “What do you mean, what’s a borrower? And how do you know my name if you’re not Wright?!”
Phoenix let his arms fall limply to his sides. He climbed around the stickshift and onto Miles’ leg, cocking his head at the new presence in the car. Maya shifted around so she could face Miles fully. They both looked on with varying degrees of uncertainty.
“I—I… I’m sorry, I’m just a bit confused,” the new voice continued, stammering over its words. “Why are we at the courthouse? Did I fall asleep?”
“Edgeworth,” Phoenix said suddenly, looking rather grim. “I think you kidnapped a borrower.”
“But he’s you!” Miles shouted. It took all of Maya’s effort not to wince from the volume spike. “I’m not blind, I wouldn’t just kidnap a random borrower!”
“Let him out,” Phoenix said simply. “I’ll handle this.”
Miles tried to protest, but gave up halfway through a sputtered first word when Phoenix shot him a look. Hesitantly, he reached a hand into his pocket. He carefully gathered up a mess of blue limbs—a tiny person—and set them down in his lap. Phoenix gasped sharply, and Maya found herself gaping like a fish.
Miles wasn’t kidding—the resemblance was uncanny.
The borrower’s hair jutted backwards, seemingly sharp to the touch, and his suit was crisp and well-pressed—not to mention expertly made. But other than that, the little man fumbling for a foothold atop Miles’ leg was eerily similar to Phoenix. Even their heterochromatic eyes were identical—brown and blue, and wide as saucers.
The strange borrower didn’t fully register Phoenix’s presence until he’d accidentally stumbled and fallen forwards, collapsing into Phoenix’s chest and sending them both sprawling onto the nearby armrest. “Crap,” the man whispered apologetically, fumbling for something to hold onto. “I’m so sorry. Did I hurt you?”
Phoenix blinked rapidly, alternating his bewildered gaze between the new borrower and a rather helpless-looking Miles. “I’m fine,” he eventually settled on saying, shoving the man off his chest and rising to his feet. He paced around the spot the other man sat, gripping his forehead with his hand. “You’re… You’re a…”
“I can’t believe that stupid machine zapped another person. If the doctor wasn’t already dead, I would have killed him myself.” The borrower shakily rose to a stand, focusing more on steadying himself than anything else. “And when we get back to normal, I’m throwing that piece of junk into a volcano.”
Doctor? Machine? Maya was beginning to wonder if the borrower had hit his head at some point.
“My name is Phoenix Wright,” he continued, brushing dust off his suit and turning to face Phoenix for an introduction. He stuck his hand out and finally looked at Phoenix’s face.
“What about you? What’s your—n–ngh?!”
The man suddenly choked on his tongue, his eyes bugging out comically. It seemed that he finally realized what everyone else had already noticed. “Y—you’re me!” he shouted, pointing an accusatory finger in Phoenix’s direction. “What the hell?! You’re… y—you’re me!”
“That’s what we’ve been saying,” Maya said carefully, her face scrunched up in confusion. “Who are you? Are you a borrower, too?”
The answer to Maya’s question was the borrower promptly passing out where he stood.
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writefightandflightclub · a year ago
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Disarming (Santi x fem!reader)
Summary: you and Santi - good friends- are Best Man and Maid of Honour at Frankie’s wedding, and guess what? There’s only one bed!
What is this? This is 5/10 one-shots/blurbs for my “friends to lovers” event. The prompt is “We can share a room, right? It’s only for a weekend”, requested by @woakiees​. Another double trope extravaganza! Hadley, I’m so pleased you suggested Santi for this one, as he immediately came to mind when I was writing this prompt :D Thank you so much for requesting! <3
If you’d like to  read/keep track of the other fics, I’m keeping an up-to-date friends to lovers list in my pinned post.
Author’s note: Apparently I get carried away EVERY time I write Santi. WHY AM I LIKE THIS?! :-/
Word count: 7.5k. I’M SO SORRY. PLEASE FORGIVE ME.
Rating: 18+ ONLY (minors out, please, do not read or interact)
Warnings: it gets angsty in the middle. Reader has nightmare- comfort offered. Mentions of reader being “hurt” in the past but vague and unspecified. They have a fight. One or two alcohol mentions- no actual consumption. Food mention. Swearing. Steam leading into smut but not explicit- mentions of masturbation, erections, making-out, one brief allusion to choking kink. Let me know if I missed anything.
Tagging: @isvvc-pvscvl​ @casifer-is-king​ (loads of the tags aren’t working :-/)
GIF: @nathan-bateman​
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From the first moment you met Santi, you had simply fallen into step with him. It was effortless, and so, as soon as you found yourself by his side, you stayed there. What’s more, that’s exactly where he wanted you to be.
Despite the man’s hard, no-nonsense edge -which you also appreciated- he was warm and charming. It was easy to connect with him, in a way it hadn’t often been for you. For him too - or so the boys told you - the way you surpassed his defences was a rare thing. It shouldn’t have worked, perhaps. Usually, he was slow to trust and you were quick to love, but on this occasion none of that seemed to apply, the two of you tumbling squarely into a fast-friendship; one deeper and more intense, perhaps, than its duration might suggest. Still, despite the boys’ inferences that you would quickly become an item, and Santi’s continual attempts to blur the lines between this and… something more, “friends” is what you have remained.
You had felt it immediately with him. Something different. You simply... flowed. You fit. It was immediately evident, even on that first night, in the way you orbited around one another, setting up an impromptu beer pong of all things. You moved together with a fluidity and a precision that seems almost tactical- as though you too had run countless manoeuvres in the field with him. You could read him and understand him as though you had drilled his habits and patterns and idiosyncrasies over and over; learning him. However, he was never that much effort - the two of you came naturally to each other, little learning required. You knew each other with your gut.
At that fateful party, when you each escaped to the back porch steps for some air at a serendipitous moment, the conversation had immediately flowed, and not only as a result of his natural, disarming charm. The silence even came easily rightaway – a comfortable thing, the space between you stuffed with contentment, rather than the feeling of a gaping vacuum, needlessly filled. It turned out his best friend was dating yours (the pair to be wed this very weekend) but that almost seemed like the cherry on top, rather than the thing bringing you to each other.
Safe to say, what was true then is true now. You get on so well. You find him fun and easy and generous and you love the man dearly.
…Most of the time.
Those other times, though? Santiago “Pope” Garcia can be a pain in your ass. But that’s another reason you love him, you guess. Keeps things interesting.
“Please don’t kill me,” Santi says sheepishly, and it’s obvious to you he’s laying on the charm - actively trying to be as disarming as possible as he saunters over from the reception desk. For a moment, despite all his training, he looks as though he believes you could pull it off, too.
Your annoyance is already prepped; locked and loaded, as he pads squarely towards the banquette where you are sat - amidst a sea of luggage. You’ve been observing his attempts to charm the desk clerk with interest (his efforts, you surmise, at least partially effectual), and judging from the slight level of desperation in his efforts, you can already tell he fucked up somehow.
“What did you do?” you say impatiently, even as a smile twitches at the corner of your lips.
“I booked all the rooms we needed, for all of the wedding guests, right? 13 rooms here, and all 10 at the hotel across town. 4 more in guesthouses,” he recaps. “Got Frankie and Mila a great deal too, remember?”
You remember. And yet, you fold your arms across your chest, looking up at him incredulously. Okay then. Rolling with your attitude, the man takes a different tack. He sits next to you. Smiles. Leans in. Pats your thigh. He’s trying to disarm you too, you realise. It’s going to take more than that - you’re not some flimsy desk clerk who will form a puddle and bat your eyes at the first sign of his charm.
“Well, funny story. I may have forgotten to book our rooms,” he blurts.
Oh? Oh, great. Yeah. This is a grand fuck-up. The whole damn town is booked-out. It’s a small town. No longer amused, your nostrils flare in annoyance as you tug in a slow breath, schooling your tone just a little before you speak. “You what?” Okay, you didn’t manage to school it all that much.
“Look, I already sort of fixed it,” he smooths. That explains the flirting with the clerk. Although, you think, glancing back at her. She’s pretty. That partially explains the flirting with the clerk, then, you mentally correct. “There’s just one, teeny-tiny issue.”
You raise your eyebrows and widen your eyes. Well?
“We’re gonna have to share a room.”
You blink at him a few times, in surprise. Well, it’s not ideal. For a number of reasons. But you can think of worse things, truth be told. And he’s not wrong. It is a solution. Still, on his reveal, a succession of emotions and micro-assessments are bounced back and forth between your eyes and his, until you land on resigned annoyance, exhaling a long sigh. That is, until Frankie appears in the lobby, swanning in like he’s walking on air. He probably is, given that he’s getting married this weekend. His face splits with a smile so wide you reckon it should be painful to maintain, and you stand to greet him as he heads over.
You’re glad he’s happy. It means that you and Santi, as Maid of Honour and Best man, respectively, are doing a fantastic job of deflecting all of the stress away from the happy couple. Indeed, that assessment certainly feels true – you do feel stressed. Still, the two of you immediately paint your faces with masking smiles; though, in fairness, it’s hard not to smile while looking at Frankie – his obvious joy is infectious.
Frankie wraps you both in a hug, then rubs his palms together like an excited kid. “I don’t have much time. Just gonna say a quick hello to my parents. Apparently, my mom’s already started crying? Can you two sort some extra tissues for the ceremony or something? Oh, and is everything okay with the rooms?”
“With this guy? Are you kidding?”, you say before you think, throwing your thumb towards Santi. Immediately, his eyes submit a powerful plea to you to keep schtum- it is written all over his face that he doesn’t want to let Frankie down. Not even in the smallest of ways.
Frankie would find his little error funny, probably. But he can find it funny after the ceremony. “Everything is A-OK! This guy? He has every single detail taken care of.”
Frankie grins, his eyes narrowing proudly at Santi as he slaps him on the back, laying profuse thanks on the two of you; then, he floats away again, as if on a cloud. Santi’s brown eyes are big with gratitude when you look at him again, and you can’t help but weaken. You’ll admit, it’s really not that bad of a fuck-up. Besides, you’re tired. Between the drive out here, the wedding rehearsal, and a never-ending list of errands, the day has been long. You just want to get to the room, and maybe even clock a snooze before the rehearsal dinner tonight.
“Fine,” you agree, albeit through gritted teeth. “We can share a damn room.”
Santi looks visibly relieved, and squeezes your shoulder in thanks. You’d even been nice enough not to bite his head off. “Yeah. We can share a room, right? It’s only for a weekend.” Suddenly, he doesn’t sound quite as certain.
“Sure. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?” you smile nervously.  
He returns your smile and swivels, heading back towards the desk.
“Oh, wait!” you call after him. “Is it a double or a twin?” you ask in horror. Sharing a room is one thing, but sharing a bed?
He turns, looking over his shoulder. “Doesn’t matter!”, he winks. “Whatever it is, we’re gonna have to take it.”
Oh. Oh dear.
You’re inclined to agree -you don’t have many options- but when you catch yourself stealing a glance at the man’s shapely butt as he walks back to the desk, you begin to chew your bottom-lip nervously.
Right. Ha.
What could possibly go wrong?
**********************
It turns out, sharing a room with Santi is resoundingly not bad at all. In fact, at first, it’s as easy as everything else is with him - even between your hurried preparations for the evening, unpacking, shuttling items to the relevant members of the wedding party, and calling down to reception several times to check the logistics for the rehearsal dinner. Even getting dressed, you find an easy flow as you each flit in and out of the bathroom, dancing around each other with ease and only a hint of friendly bickering.
Santi’s respectful too- always knocking and announcing himself before entering a space, and averting his gaze when he needs to, given that you’re rushing around and undressing. You even manage to ignore the fact there’s only one bed for the longest time, parking that specific panic for later. Even then, he has already made reception send up extra pillows and blankets, forming a barricade in the middle of the bed so you two can comfortably separate.
Thankfully, you are so busy that the idea of sharing a bed with Santi doesn’t even cross your mind until you’re finally ready, dressed in your finery. When you step out of the bathroom, Santi -sat on the edge of said bed- stands up, thrusting his hands into his suit trousers as he takes the sight of you in, pulling the material taut -in a rather pleasing way- across his hips and thighs. He ends up slightly slack-jawed for a moment as his eyes trail over you, brewing with a gentle, self-conscious heat. “Fuck,” he says softly, his voice gruff. “You look…” a little gulp trails down his throat as you give him a little twirl. “…hot”, he says, his eyebrow ticking up on the last beat.
“Wait until you see my bridesmaid dress,” you smile, and he returns it easily, those gorgeous creases appearing around his eyes.
Unconsciously, you lick your lips. You can’t help but wonder, vaguely, what it would be like to push him down on to the mattress. Maybe straddle him. Fuck, you should have known this would be a bad idea. A heat rising in your face at that thought of that, you distract yourself by lifting his suit jacket from the back of the chair, holding it out for him as he slips it on to his shoulders, and feeling the luxurious texture of it beneath your fingers.
It’s a grey suit, tailored, and it hugs him in all the right places. The cool colour is perfect against his warm-toned brown skin, and brings out the salt in his salt-and-pepper curls, and in the rough rasp of grey flecked through his stubble.
You try desperately not to notice how good he looks, but this may be your greatest challenge yet.
“Come on,” you encourage, nodding towards the door. “We better head down.”
“Yeah,” he agrees, half-heartedly. The way his eyes are subtly roving over you, though, he looks like he has something entirely different in mind for dinner.
“You’re probably going to spend all night being chased by the single bridesmaids,” you add casually as you collect your purse, and apply a final dab of lipstick in front of the mirror. You’ve already clocked a few members of the wedding party eyeing him up, and you don’t exactly blame them for being thirsty. Besides, Santi is a huge flirt; so perhaps he’ll be the one doing the chasing. You wouldn’t be surprised if he ended the night with his tongue thrust deep in someone’s throat, which -you assume- is typical Santi fashion.
“Isn’t it traditional, anyway,” he smirks cheekily, applying a splash of cologne, “for the Best Man to hook-up with one of the bridesmaids?”
Lord, does he have to smell so… edible.
“Got news for you, man. You fucked up. You can’t exactly bring a girl back to your room now, can you?!” you tease, nodding back towards your shared bed, a wall of pillows already arranged down the middle. You mean it to come out in good-humour, but you can’t scrub the hint of jealousy from your tone entirely.
You feel so silly for being jealous of whomever he may hook-up with. After all, Santi is always the one testing the boundaries of friendship with you. It’s not like he’s ever made a secret of the fact he’s attracted to you- and you are the one here will a firm line in the sand. A line you simply won’t cross with him. Can’t cross. You want to - of course you do, but after being hurt in the past, you have simply built-up far too many defences; or, more accurately, just the right amount of defences, you think, to protect you. So, no matter how disarming the man is, you simply have to keep your guard up; because if he breached your walls, you know everything else would come tumbling so easily down.
You had fallen so easily into friendship with him, and you are certain that you would fall just as recklessly in love with him.
You’re not ready for that.
You can’t take being hurt again. Besides; Santi? He’s an incredible friend. He’s tenaciously loyal and dedicated to his squad. But when it comes to love, and sex, you doubt whether serious is even his thing - and you’re too afraid to ask.
“You ready to do this?” he asks, with a wink.
“Yep,” you nod. “Let’s roll,” and with that, you turn, heading for the hallway.
“Princesa- that dress really highlights your ass,” he praises as he tags along behind you.
“Thank you, it’s true,” you smile devilishly, already beginning to let your guard down, just a little. He’s simply so disarming. “Speaking of, Garcia – did you get your trousers a size too small on purpose?”
“Oh, you noticed?” he retorts, smugly, guiding you through the door with a hand on the small of your back.
Okay. Sometimes you flirt back. After all – look at him.
Especially in that damn suit.
***********************************
The rehearsal dinner goes swell. Frankie and Mila are a picture-perfect, loved-up couple, and they grin their way through the evening as if they slept with coat hangers in their mouths. The speeches are well-received, including Will’s, thus setting a high bar for you and Santi tomorrow. (You may be biased, but Santi’s is ten times funnier, and it’s going to kill, in your opinion.) There are no dramas through the evening- logistical or familial, and thanks to you and Santi overseeing everything with a military precision, it looks as though -so far- it is shaping up to be the perfect wedding weekend.
Finally, once your duties are over for the night, you are able to let your hair down a little, so to speak, and enjoy the food and company on offer. Still, with a big day ahead tomorrow, things wind down relatively early, and -having lost track of Santi at some point- you find yourself back at the shared room a little while before him. You usually burn out more quickly than he does in social situations, but even taking that into consideration, you begin to fret about where he has gotten to. With the way he was flirting his way through the party, though, it doesn’t take a genius to guess what (or who) might be keeping him up.
You try to sleep but you can’t, your mind going to the worst places, so, by the time Santi does return -softly cracking the door, and padding in with his shoes in his hands so as not to wake you- you have stewed in your own thoughts long enough to have become a little cranky. A little… green-eyed.
“Hey,” he greets in surprise when he enters, immediately noticing the soft lamp glow, and seeing you still sitting up in the bed, mindlessly watching the flicker of the tv on mute.
“Hey,” you return, your voice noticeably strained. “Have a fun time?” You find yourself wishing you weren’t sharing a room, then you wouldn’t have to know what he got up to.
“Yeah,” he replies softly, slipping off his jacket and laying it over the back of a chair. “Did you? How come you’re still up? Thought for sure you’d be wiped out by now.”
So, he did think of you, then?
“Couldn’t sleep,” you reply neutrally, fixing your eyes dead ahead as he begins to slip out of his trousers and shirt too, until he’s dressed in only his tight black boxers. Next, he takes off his watch and sets it at the bedside, and you notice that he smells of perfume. A cloying, floral scent that makes you feel a little sick.
“Just gonna have a quick shower and then I’ll slip in with you, okay?” he says, his voice slow and deep and muted, matching the soft light.
You still don’t look at him. You can’t.
“Do what you want. You usually do,” you bite, the words tasting bitter as soon as they have left your lips, and tears of regret pooling as your anger dissolves.
You don’t blame him if he was with someone – you really don’t. You’re simply angry at yourself; because you wish you could be that person, and you can’t for the life of you seem to find a way.
“Okay. What was that for?” he bristles, reacting defensively, turning towards you. And perhaps it’s because it’s late and he’s tired, or because certain demons feel safer coming out under the cover of darkness, but he doesn’t stop there. Especially when all he gets from you is a stony, pointed silence. “You know what? Actually, no. You don’t get to do this”, he hisses, and it is the first time you’ve ever heard him direct any genuine anger at you.
It doesn’t half sting.
“Do what?” you ask, but you already know the answer.
“You don’t get to be mad when I give my attention to someone who actually wants it,” his voice is hushed, but his words rattle through you as if he had yelled them. “I don’t have to explain myself to you. Guess what, I’m not yours.”
“That’s not fair”, you snap back, and then things are quickly escalating.
“Isn’t it?” he asks, rasping a hand over his stubble in distress. “I mean, come on. Shit. You know that I want more but I…” he exhales a disgruntled laugh. “You shoot me down, which is your prerogative, honestly, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t knock me back all the time and then be pissed off when I look elsewhere.”
You meet his face, the planes of it shadowed and angled harshly with anger, suddenly so unfamiliar to you, and it causes your eyes to bloom with tears. You two look the opposite of Frankie and Mila; of a picture-perfect couple. But you’re not even a couple at all, are you?
You see him try. To blunt the emotion which is bubbling up. To soften. But he has uncorked something he now can’t put back in. “Fuck, I just wish that….” he pinches his lips together and shakes his head, planting his hands on his hips and looking at the floor. “If you don’t want me, just put me out of my fucking misery. Just say it. Just fucking tell me.”
Your heart shatters into a thousand pieces at the thought you make him miserable. At the way his voice breaks. At the way he thinks you don’t want him. Maybe you were wrong, thinking that you could be friends at all. Thinking that could be enough for him.
Your lower lip trembles, and your fingers clutch the edge of the blanket. “I… I can’t tell you that. I can’t tell you that I don’t want you, Santi.”
You can’t because it isn’t true. It could not be further from the truth, in fact.
He puffs out air, an exasperated sound, his hand raising up to tangle in his grizzled curls. Raising his voice a little more. “Let me guess. You can’t tell me the other thing either?”
“I.. I..” You try, but no words will come. You simply shake your head, swallowing a sob, your eyes almost brimming over.
He nods. He nods, his mouth slanted down. “Great. Got it,” he huffs.
You hate this. You hate how much you’re hurting him.
“Santi,” you breathe weakly, but it is too weak to blunt the force of his emotion. To halt his trajectory, and so, resigned, he turns towards the bathroom, grabbing-up a fresh white towel from the counter. Before he closes the door, he turns to you once more, now speaking softly, his eyes as sad as yours. “You know,” he says, his index finger sawing back-and-forth over the stubble at his chin. “For the record, I wasn’t with anyone else. I can’t even fucking think about anyone else but you. I was late back to the room because I couldn’t face it.” His voice becomes small and pained. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to just curl up next to you and act like I don’t care.” His eyebrow ticks up, and he adds, with a final flourish. “Guess I should have taken a lesson from you.”
Oh, how it stings, pain flowering in your chest like a bruise, but you hold yourself together until he’s out of sight. Then, when he’s gone, you immediately cave in on yourself, falling on to your side and screwing your eyes shut, clamping your hand over your mouth so that he can’t hear you crying as wet tears spill onto your pillow.
When he comes back into the room, after a long shower, you simply screw your eyes shut and pretend to be asleep. You hear him sigh heavily, and mumble something to himself under his breath, before dragging a few pillows and a spare blanket down on to the floor.
A few more silent tears roll over the bridge of your nose.
You guess you wouldn’t be sharing a bed with him after all.
***********************
You wake panicked in the night, sitting bolt upright in the bed. A cold wash of sweat over your skin chills you, even though you feel like you’re burning-up.
Immediately, you reach for him, for Santi, calling his name even as your fear strangles the sound in your throat. Your heart is thudding, and your breaths are sawing in and out of you, but your grasping hands find nothing to your side but pillows and blanket.
Unfortunately, you are used to this occurrence, and you quickly realise it was “only” a nightmare. Still, the feelings and images it conjured linger in your body, and around you in the shifting, seemingly fluid shadows of the room.
With a release of tension, you whimper, leaning forward and cradling your head in your trembling hands, and you try to ground yourself. To steady your breath and your heartbeat, like you’ve practiced. As you do so, the shadows to your left shift and change, and, even in the pitch-black you can feel him, a safe and warm presence, instantly travelling to your side, his weight dipping the mattress. His soothing, sandy voice filtering through the shadows and cutting back the tendrils of your nightmare like a Disney prince hacking through cursed vines.
You vaguely remember that he’s mad at you - but you can’t help it. Can’t help asking. “Hold me?” you plead, desperately afraid that he won’t.
Still, without questions or hesitation, you feel the wall of remaining pillows coming down, the defences around you quite literally being dismantled – a figurative wall between you shifting away along with it. He shushes you, and you focus on his voice, until he is close enough that the scent of him wraps around you, before his arms follow closely after.
You reach for him in return. You reach for him in every way possible.
“It’s just a nightmare,” he soothes. “I’m here, baby. I’ve got you,” and there is pain in his voice on your behalf, as if he tries to bear the burden of it for you.
“Closer,” you plead, and before you know it, he is shifting you on to your side, slotting his sturdy yet soft body around you, not caring that you feel clammy and hot against his bare skin. He simply loops his arms and draws your back, closer to his chest, becoming your big spoon.  
He calms you, hands enveloping yours and bundling them against your chest, his nose nuzzling into your hair, and his deep steady breaths slowing your breathing as you let his calm and his rhythms overcome you. He holds you, until the feelings pass, not caring how long it takes – and with any anger from before apparently forgotten.
This pain is all too familiar to him, you know. It something that Santi understands. It is your own and it is not the same as his, true, but you know it is familiar enough that he will feel the ache of it echoing in his own chest. You know that he is accustomed enough to bearing his own pain, that when yours is too heavy to carry, he will help you hold it for a while. And so, he holds you, while you are a tender thing, bruised and afraid, and he keeps you safe; with all your walls down, all of your defences collapsed, he becomes your fortress.
You never thought that letting yourself be so vulnerable could allow you to feel quite as safe as this.
As you lie together, Santi continues to usher soft reassurances into your ear, his words like charms and incantations to ward off the ghosts which haunt you. And, after a series of slow, stretched moments, you become more settled, and Santi feels you relax against him.
After a few moments more, he eventually whispers a small question into your hair. In the dark, the question feels safe to come out, perhaps.
“Do you always call for me when you…?” he trails off, thinking better of it. “I’m sorry- forget it, you don’t have to answer that.”
You don’t. You know you don’t. You don’t even truthfully know the answer. It’s likely that you do call for him, though how would you know, when you’re usually alone? But, there is something else you can tell him, while it is safe to come out in the dark. Something you want to tell him, before you build your walls all the way back up.
“Santi,” you begin, timidly, and his fingers skim softly up and down your arms, encouraging you to go on. “I-I’ve been hurt before. And, I want to be with you. I want to let you in but… I’m. I’m not ready. I’m trying so hard but I… I can’t.”
There is a long beat, and you realise he has held in a breath only when he releases it all at once, fanning hot across the back of your neck.
You are afraid. Afraid of what he might say, in response – what he might feel, but you think, maybe, it might be something like relief? And, Santi squeezes you, just a little tighter. A little closer. “Don’t worry about that now, okay?” he soothes, his voice feather soft. “Just… know one thing, okay, Princesa? Whenever you are ready? I’m waiting.”
This time your heart fills with a different emotion, all the spaces in it flooded with contentment, Santi’s words followed by a perfect, happy silence.
A soft smile blooms on your face.
It was not a confession of waiting impatiently, you understand, but an invitation to take your time to arrive at him. He’s not trying to bring down your defences at all, is he? He’s waiting for you to open the door, and invite him in. He’s waiting until you are ready. He simply needed to know that you are on your way, even if your footsteps are getting you there slowly.
For now, though, the thought of it is too much. More than you’re ready for.
So, you simply let him hold you.
To disarm you further.
To walk yourself a little closer toward where you want to be. With him; by his side.
****************************************
In the morning, you wake up tangled around each other, Santi’s arm wrapped securely around your back and your head settled on his chest. He is still snoring lightly – cutely - when you awake, and so, as the night prior comes flooding back to you, you hastily try to extricate yourself from him; even if his bare skin feels so good against yours that you never want to move. You’re apparently not so subtle- or he’s a helluva light-sleeper – as, just when you pull away, Santi wakes up, quickly rushing to prove his innocence.
“You had a nightmare,” he croaks, still trying to peel his eyes open. “You asked me to- “.
“-I know. I remember,��� you reassure, sitting up in bed, the blankets tugged to your chest. Santi shuffles, opting to assume the same position on his own side, mirroring you, rubbing his eyes.
You’re still not sure whether to apologise to him or thank him. Or maybe even to wait for an apology from him? Christ. Maybe all of those things or none of them, who even knows? You mentally spin a wheel and land on a casual “Uh. Thank you, for…. You know.”
“Anytime,” he says, turning his head to the side and looking at you earnestly. As if your bickering -your jealousy and his outburst- is all but forgotten. What’s more, you know that he means it.
Admiringly, your eyes wander over him, enjoying a side of him you’ve never quite seen before. Apparently, he’s even more handsome in the morning, with an even thicker, darkened brush of stubble, his grizzled curls dishevelled, and his swooping eyelids still heavy from sleep. Combined, it gives him a sultry, bedroom look. Feeling an involuntary rush of heat in the pit of you, your gaze drops to his corded neck, where, given the special occasion, he has substituted his dog tags for a silver chain, drawing your gaze down over his smooth, brown chest.
Your skin now cooling in the conditioned air of the room, you long for his body heat again, recalling how it felt to be held by him and wishing you had lingered a little longer while you could. Even with your interrupted sleep last night, you have somehow woken feeling refreshed, as though you had slept unreasonably deeply in his arms, reaching a whole new level of contentment - as though you just fit together, perhaps. As though it comes naturally for you to be held by him, and for him to hold you.
There is a silence and it isn’t awkward exactly; more… pregnant, with possibilities. Possibilities you see brewing with a gentle heat in his eyes. So, tearing yourself abruptly away from that line of thought, you lift your phone up from the nightstand, and note that there isn’t long before your alarms sound anyway.
Operation Wedding Day is go.
That should be enough of a distraction for you, shouldn’t it?
“You ready for this, Best Man?” you ask him, with a gentle quirk of your lips.
“Sure. Are you ready, Maid of Honour?”
Ready. Are you ready?
Thoughts of last night swirl in your head.
Well – as Santi flashes you a tentative, disarming smile, with hooded eyes, you certainly feel like you’re getting there. Like soon you could be ready.
“Sure. Let’s get this show on the road.”
“Atta girl,” he encourages, folding his arms behind his head as you jump out of bed.
You suddenly don’t care that you’re in nothing but your underwear, as you stretch out your body and track towards the bathroom. “I’ll shower first?”
“We’re sharing a bed,” he teases. “Sure you don’t want to share a shower too?”
You scoff, flashing a mischievous smile right back at him. You’ve always had a soft spot for his flirting, but you feel like -after all that transpired last night- you truly see if for what it is now. You realise why it has never felt like he’s pressuring you - not once. He’s simply reminding you, that as soon as you call for him, he’ll be there. That he’s waiting, when you’re ready.
Reminding you, that as soon as your walls drop, he’ll be your fortress.
“I don’t think you’re gonna get quite that lucky this morning, Garcia.”
You do linger in the doorway, just a little longer than necessary though, so that he can get a better look at you. He’d never look without permission – he proved that yesterday, when you were in various states of disarray- but this time, sensing your invitation, his eyes graze over you slowly, keenly. So, when he strategically moves his hands from behind his head to hide the tenting covers, you don’t mind at all.
You smile devilishly as you slip into the bathroom, closing the door behind you. You’re not sure if he will… take care of himself out in the room – how could you know? But, feeling inspired, you certainly do so in the shower, and it’s a pretty great wake-up call before you face the wedding day.
Maybe sharing a room isn’t so bad. Maybe you could even get used to it.
*********************************************
Frankie and Mila get hitched without a hitch.
Santi goes to the ends of the earth to make sure that Frankie has the best day possible- and at some points, he goes even further than that. His speech was moving and flawless, and pretty fucking funny; even if you are a little (or a lot) biased. Not a dry eye in the house, just as you predicted.
The man adores Frankie with his whole heart, and you could barely hold back the glow of admiration as you listened to him, feeling like it might burst from your chest like a beam of gold sunlight. You felt it especially strongly every time his eyes met yours during the course of the speech, and you couldn’t help but smile yourself stupid each time he did so. And, of course, you were overjoyed to see your best friend have the day of her dreams, with the man of her dreams. If you do say so yourself, you think your speech was pretty killer too.
Suffice to say, you ate until your belly was full, loved until your heart hurt, laughed until your sides ached, and danced until your feet ached.
Tonight, unlike last night, you and Santi retire to your shared room at the same time, your arm linked into his, and your shoes carried in your hand to spare your sore feet – there’s a reason you never normally wear shoes like this. Without your heels though, you keep tripping over the hem of your dress almost every few paces, causing you to giggle and Santi to steady you with a warm, rich chuckle, sometimes throwing you an extra hand to assist you.  
You look over at him, furtively, as he recounts some of the more choice moments from the day, immensely enjoying the simple pleasure of hearing him talk and smile and laugh. Seeing him happy. Of course, enjoying how he looks too, you have to admit - even more handsome than he did yesterday (somehow) in midnight blue dress pants, and a white, crisp shirt, now tieless. He’s only grown sexier as the evening drew on too, now with a wide open-collar and rolled up sleeves to accommodate all of the dancing; or, at least, as much dancing as his knees could handle, until he’d simply opted to sit to the side and watch you boogie, his eyes apparently transfixed on you and only you - the advances of the other bridesmaids be damned.
There is something that hits different about the way he looked at you today. His admiration shining deeper than usual. Less like a casual lust, and more like something… serious. You’re not sure why you doubted it before, exactly. Why you have been so inordinately afraid that he might hurt you. You broadly figured him for a smash and dash type of man, which is fine, but you have every reason to believe that he wants more with you.
After all, Santi can be deeply and tenaciously loyal. He has dedicated himself to things deeply and unwaveringly several times over in his life. To his country, to his missions, to his morals, to his squad. And there’s something about the way he looked at you today, you think, that suggests he might dedicate himself to you with the same tenacity. Something far deeper than appreciating how you look in this bridesmaid dress (and oh boy do you look hot). It’s more like the way he looks at Frankie. A little different to that, obviously. But you’re realising he looks at you like he’d never let you down. Not even in the smallest of ways. Like he’d rather go to the ends of the earth -or beyond- than do that.
At least… you think so.
You are sure about one thing though. The way he looks at you? It’s thoroughly disarming.
And so, you arrive at your shared room, utterly wiped out from the day (and night), yet still somehow buzzing with an energy. A gentle suffusing heat under your skin as you watch Santi walk inside and kick off his shoes at the end of the bed, before turning back towards you.
You have entered a few paces behind him, after nearly tripping on your gown all over again by the door, but now, you are quite steady on your feet - aside from that slight, nervous tremble in your quaking legs as he looks at you like that. As Santi looks you up and down, eyes skimming over the contours of your dress and hence everywhere it hugs your figure. Evidently, he likes what he sees.
“Wow,” he breathes, his brown eyes shining as if he’s looking at you for the first time that day, even if his gaze has barely left you all night. “I know it’s the bride’s day, but you look fuckin’ smokin’, sweetie.”
“You think so?” you ask humbly, suddenly feeling unreasonably shy. Flustered even.
“Yeah. I think so,” he nods, positively certain. “Shit, you’re so beautiful.”
You look at him. You look at him in a way which suggests an answer in your eyes instead of a question. A clear intention in your body, instead of uncertainty. But he doesn’t push you. He doesn’t assume. He doesn’t make a move. Instead, his mouth tugs up into a lopsided smile, offering you a lazy flash of teeth, and he shoves his thumbs into his belt loops.
“Well, we’re officially off the clock now, so I’m calling it. Well done, Maid of Honour. Think we nailed it? Made a pretty damn good team?”
A smile lights your face. You did. You flowed. You fit. It was easy.
Fuck. It feels so easy. Why had you ever thought this would be hard?
You nibble on your lip, eyeing him with intention, and a hard swallow trails down his throat in response.
“Off the clock, hmm?” you say breathily. “No more titles or duties? Huh. That’s a real shame.”
“How so?” he asks, his eyes devouring you alive, but his body fixed resolutely in place. Transfixed to the spot.
“Because it’s traditional for the Best Man to get with one of the bridesmaids, isn’t it?”
A slow, disbelieving smile inches over his face, and he looks at his feet, a little bashful. “Gross tradition. Kinda sexist,” he says, and your gaze fixates on his full, curving lips. On his hands, poised and broad at his belt.
“So, you don’t want to make out then?” you ask in your most sultry voice, mere breath.
The man huffs out a quick, broken exhale. “Fuck me. You know I do, sweetie. But only if you’re ready.”
Ready. Are you ready?
“Santiago,” you say, with conviction, your eyes dancing between his. “I’m ready.”
Santi searches your face one last time, just to be certain. He’s sure, of course – has been for a long time, but he needs to know that you truly want this. That you want this now. So, he looks at you, and he finds nothing but permission. Even so, after so long, he still can’t quite believe it. He would go to the ends of the earth to keep you safe – or beyond – and, so dammit, he will ask you again.
“C-can I..” he begins, and his voice already sounds choked; hollowed out with need. “Fuck, Princesa, can I kiss you?”
Too long. Too long without moving. Without touching. Too long.
If you were suddenly ready, his kiss becomes even more suddenly overdue.
“You’d better,” you encourage, feeling like vapour. “Unless you want me to do it first.”
With permission granted, you expect him to be on you, with a surge. All at once. But Santi has been patiently waiting for you long enough. He can wait just a little longer, and, when he subtly tips his chin up, ever so slightly, and when he near growls “come here then, honey,” somehow, it is perfect. Somehow, it is a thousand times hotter that he makes you come to him.
You lift the hem of your dress, and you pad delicately towards him, feeling like you are wading through molten honey to get to him, the air thick and sweet.
“That’s it. Come here, baby,” he encourages, with a curl of his index finger beckoning you to him, his voice curling in the pit of you, making you feel weak in the best way possible. Making you feel spent before he’s even done so much as brush you with his hand or his lips.  
You close the remaining distance with your steps, the anticipation too much, and your legs feeling so weak from the reckless lust and the light, liquid softness in his eyes. By this point, you are begging for his arms to reach out and clasp you- to hold you up; make you secure and safe in him. You are begging for his lips to sink down on to yours. But he makes you wait, through a few more slow, stretched moments. Makes you inch your mouth closer and closer until your lips are almost skimming his. He makes you wait until you are moaning his name into the air before he has even touched you.
“Santi.”
And, if there’s one thing you know for sure, it’s that when you call for him, he is always there to take care of you.
You know he will take care of you.  
With that, his name a plea, he swoops his broad, large hand up until he is holding you, his fingers closing around your jaw and your throat, trailing down your neck. His touch is painfully gentle, but in a way that makes you want him to squeeze, a little harder. In a way that makes you push yourself ever so subtly into his hand. A way that draws a silken moan from deep in your chest, and Santi is moved to dip the pad of his thumb into your mouth, where it meets your wet and willing warmth. When your tongue skims him, humming as you taste his saltiness, that seems to be the final straw, a wrecked groan sounding from his throat, and finally he surges on to your lips, leading with his tongue, thrusting into your open mouth and drinking down every sound and moan he can draw from you, his stubble rough against you. You don’t care if he leaves you raw.
It’s tender, and it’s gentle, but Santi knows all about control, and you can tell he’s holding back. His hands are lethal, and he knows just how to kill you softly; but, you are certain, that if you want more of his power, he’ll give it to you. That he’ll take care of you however you like.
So, he kisses you more deeply, harder, and you go near limp against him until one of his arms wraps at the back of your head and one at the small of your back, making you feel a feeble thing, waning in his arms as his large hands support you. Except; you’re not feeble though. You’re not by a long shot, and you know exactly what you want.
“Santi,” you suspire, letting him walk you back against the wall, pressing his bulging arousal into you as more wrangled sounds and little grunts slip from his parted lips.
“Yeah, baby?” he asks, already sounding wrecked for you.
“There’s only one shower. Wanna share?!”
Even as he releases an endlessly eager, disbelieving breath, his eyes keenly search your face, checking you are ready. He watches, enraptured, as your lips curl into a deliciously sinful smile.
“You know. We don’t have to rush this,” he insists, even as he shivers with need, closing his eyes and biting his lip when you angle your hips to brush the tenting bulge at his crotch, ever so fleetingly, his hips bucking into you immediately in pursuit of more pressure.
“I know,” you say coolly, your body an undercurrent of frenzy, but your mind calm and sure. You push him back, with your palms to his chest, making room for you to about-turn into the bathroom, shimmying off your dress as you go and letting it waft to the floor like a sigh. Looking at him over your shoulder, with lust-blown eyes, you leave Santi stood there, entirely dumbfounded, as you reveal all of yourself to him.
You retreat, but once the water is running you call out to him, wondering where he has got to. “Take a hint, Garcia. If you’re ready? I’m waiting.”
And, he doesn’t waste another second before joining you.
THE END
(BONUS: Outfit inspo, if you wanna imagine him in the suits a lil better 😉)
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beauvibaby · a year ago
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become a family – a.beauvillier
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You hadn’t meant to keep Gia a secret from your childhood friend, really honestly, you two had just lost touch, and by the time you found out you were pregnant and her dad left, it felt wrong to reach out simply to tell him that. So you didn’t.
But when you found out you were relocating to New York, Long Island specifically. You knew you had no choice but to reach out, it only made sense, it felt wrong not too. “Mommy.” Gia whined, “play!” She demanded with a tilt of her chubby face, motioning to the Minnie Mouse tea set she had sprawled across your tiny unpacked apartment floor. “Just a second baby.” You assured her with a soft laugh, you read the message you had typed out, you let out a deep breath and pushed send before moving to join your daughter on the floor, forcing the thought of checking your phone to the back of your mind.
“Hey, Tito. I know we haven’t spoken in forever, but I’m moving to Long Island, with my daughter, I thought it’d be nice to meet up sometime. Hope all is well!”
When he got the notification from Instagram, both of you long having lost each other’s phone numbers, his heart stopped briefly, he scrambled to unlock his phone, Mat eyeing him suspiciously. Tito read the message at least five times before what you said had processed with him, he clicked on your profile, he hadn’t really paid much attention to your posts, and they were so far and few between, he scrolled to the first one that was baby related.
A picture of your sonogram in front of your crossed legs, your ready to pop stomach on display, “just me and you against the world baby girl.”
Tito’s heart clenched in his chest, guilt, curiosity and sadness running through him, he scrolled to the next, a simple black and white photo of Gia when she was born, the caption only being her date of birth. The next wasn’t for another six months or so, the two of you in a small apartment back home. “Gia and mommy’s first place!”
He went through them all quickly, up to the most recent, from just before you sent the message, you with Gia on your hip, the two and a half year old hanging on tightly to you with a giggle as you grinned at the camera, your keys hanging off your finger. “New beginnings…”
“Tito? Dude, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Mat finally spoke up, Tito nodded, “you remember, Y/N? Right?” He questioned his friend, Mat nodded, curiously. “She’s here.” Tito whispered, Mat raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean she's here?” “She moved to Long Island.”
***
You truthfully had forgotten to check your phone that night, you ended up putting Gia to bed late and you simply passed out right after. So when you woke, the memories came flooding back, you rushed to grab your phone, seeing a response on your Instagram.
“Long Island? A kid??? We definitely need to meet up, I’m dying to know everything. Missed you.”
Your heart returned to normal at his response, thankful that he was accepting and not shutting you out.
“Missed you too, you became a big shot! I’m taking Gia to a park down the street from my apartment today, I’ll send you the address if you want to come.”
That’s how you ended up here, pushing your daughter in the swing as she shrieked excitedly. Your laughter echoed through the remotely empty park, your attention solely on her as she had a nervous look on her face as the swing went a little higher, you slowed her down and she resumed her happy shouts. “Y/N.” Tito called, your head snapping in his direction, his hands shoved into his jacket pockets as he looked over at you with a grin, his eyes flickering between you and Gia. “Hi.” You grinned right back at him as he walked over to you, he wrapped his arms around you in a hug as he reached you, Gia slowly coming to a stop in the child swing. “Oh god, it’s been too long.” You spoke, voice muffled by his jacket. “Definitely.” He agreed easily, pulling away as Gia began to fuss. You pulled her out of the swing and she clung to you, eyeing him suspiciously, she was always particularly wary about men. “Hello.” He spoke softly to her, giving her a soft wave. She smiled weakly, hiding her face in your neck. “Say hi, Gia.” You whispered to her, she lifted her head, looking over at Tito who was still smiling fondly at her, “hi, Gia.” She spoke, sending you both into a fit of laughter. “We’re working on it.” You assured him through your giggles, your daughter dramatically hiding again. “That’s ok.” Tito assured you, noticing all the ways Gia resembled you.
“Lunch?” She whispered to you, wiggling to get down, “yes, let’s go.” You led her over to the covered portion of the park, where you had left your things, Tito followed behind you, holding in a chuckle at the way Gia happily ran towards the table, swinging her arms for exaggeration. You sat her up on the bench, sitting beside her and Tito sat across from the two of you, watching you silently, “how have you been?” You started speaking, feeling your skin warm up under his gaze. “Good, yeah, I’ve been good.” He answered, “what about you? Been busy I see.” He joked, Gia glanced up at him as she took a bite of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “Yeah, she keeps me on my toes, in the best possible way.” You smiled at your daughter, she happily minded her own business, clueless to half the stuff you two spoke about. You told him about her dad, only using his name so she wouldn’t be confused, already learning that she didn’t have the two parents that some of her other friends have.
Jesse, you never expected him to work out long term, but you never expected to get pregnant either. Long story short, you told him and you gave him the option to not be involved, but he had to be committed to being a co parent or nothing at all. He chose the latter, and never looked back.
“That’s-“ “it’s good, I think, he wouldn’t have been able to stay committed.” You cut Tito off, not needing the apology speech again. He nodded, moving past the subject, a large grin started etching across his face as Gia tugged on your sleeve. You leaned down and smiled as she whispered to the best of her ability, “share?” She asked you, Tito cocked his head to the side as you nodded and leaned away. Gia grabbed one of her fruit gummies and held it out to Tito. “Share.” She mumbled cutely, smiling shyly with her head tilted down a little, just like you do. Tito gasped dramatically, placing a hand over his heart, “thank you!” He took it from her and popped it in his mouth, earning a genuine laugh from her that made his heart sore. Already so in love with your daughter and wanting nothing but the best for both of you. She tried to offer him more but he sweetly told her no, and that she should eat her lunch, she listened and continued snacking away. “Has she been to a game?” Tito asked you with a wicked grin, “no, actually, I haven’t been to a game since I had her.” You admitted, cringing as he gaped at you, muttering in French under his breath.
“I’m getting you tickets.” He spoke, already pulling his phone out, “what? No, Tito.” You rushed feeling guilty,
“Yes.” He stuck his tongue out at you, typing away on his phone before asking for your phone number to send you the info. You gave it to him, knowing he would just be stubborn anyways. “Thank you. Really. She’ll have a blast, I’m sure.” You spoke as you opened your phone to look at what he sent you, “Anthony!” You scolded, Gia jumping in her spot next to you, “Y/N!” He mimicked, giggling at your daughter who glared at him. “That’s too much, those seats are–“ “Those seats are necessary.” He cut you off, “it’s final. No take backs.” He teased, much like he did when the two of you were younger. You sighed, shaking your head with a small smile, “fine, you better win, for her.” You told him, motioning to Gia who was getting sleepier by the second. “I should take her home.” You added as she yawned, her head resting against her arms on the table. He smiled at her eyes fluttering shut, “yeah, but I’ll see you at the game, right?” He raised an eyebrow as he stood up, you nodded, moving to give him a hug goodbye.
You watched with a bursting heart as he pushed some of Gia’s hair back, leaving a feathery light kiss to her full cheek, “bye, sweetheart.” He whispered, she whined, nestling further into herself. You wiped at your eyes once he was no longer facing you, the sight before you simply pulling on your heart strings.
***
You adjusted the jerseys on yours and Gia’s bodies, the both of you wearing jeans with them. She smiled at the excitement on your face, “do you remember mommy’s friend we met yesterday, Tito?” You questioned her as you walked hand in hand to the elevator, she looked up at you curiously, “we’re going to see him do his job, you get to watch them play hockey.” You explained to her, she simply smiled, all oblivious to what you meant, but she got excited because you were excited. “Teo.” She spoke, an attempt at his name, not very good but adorable nonetheless. You whipped your phone out, squatting down in the elevator, you started recording her, “who are we going to see?” You asked her, she shook her head happily, her pigtails bouncing around, “teo!” She said proudly, clapping for herself. “Tito, good job.” You praised her before ending the clip, you sent it to him with a thumbs up before continuing to acknowledge Gia’s babbling.
He responded quicker than you thought he would, “I guess I’ve grown on her.” He sent a heart afterwards, presumably putting his phone away for the night to prepare for the game.
Gia whined as she clung to you, terrified of all the people surrounding the both of you, “it’s alright honey.” You shushed her as you slowly inched forward in the line, she nodded against you, arms wrapped around your neck and legs trying to wrap around your waist. You thanked the person as they scanned your tickets, letting you two begin the journey to your overpriced glass side seats. You were relieved to see they had already begun warm ups so she would be distracted by them, once she adjusted to her surroundings you knew she’d be fine. “Look baby, see how fast they go.” You held her up, pointing out to the ice, she instantly became mesmerized by them whizzing by. You sighed in relief as you tried to spot the oh so familiar number 18. The two of you wearing jerseys with his name, something you knew he would get a charge out of, as long as you could remember, you would wear his number to his games. And now would be no different.
You spotted him at the same time he spotted you, a bright smile coming over his face as he flicked a puck up and caught it in his hand, skating over to you. He waved at you and Gia and she grinned, recognizing him and suddenly no longer being shy as she tapped on the glass with an amused smile. “Hi!” She shrieked, earning a laugh from him. He motioned the puck in his hand and you nodded, easily catching it as he tossed it over, handing it to Gia who stared at it in amazement, “good luck.” You mouthed, fist bumping the glass like you did as a teenager, he grinned and did the same before skating off, some of his friends nudging him and asking questions as you settled into your seat for the night.
Gia enjoyed the game and the loud sounds more than you thought she would, she adjusted quickly to the slamming of the boards, if anything, you think that may have been her favorite part.
Once the game was over, you were directed by Tito to tell one of the arena employees your name and they’d bring you down to see him. Much to your surprise, it worked, Gia was antsy to be let down to run around, and thankfully the person leading you through the huge building was a sweet young girl, probably your age, who was just absolutely loving Gia. “Just go to the right, and stop at the double doors.” She explained to you as the elevator came to a stop, “thank you.” You smiled, ushering Gia onto the concrete floor, her laughter echoing as she had some room to run around and burn up some of her energy. You were speed walking behind her just to keep up with her little legs, “baby, hang on!” You called, sighing as you rushed to grab her, just in time too as the doors opened and a couple of guys walked out, thankfully Tito was one of them. “Hey.” You breathed out, Gia looked over, “teo!” She ran over to him, putting her arms up, he looked at you for approval, “oh, of course.” You gave him a look, as if you wouldn’t trust him with your daughter. He easily lifted her up, smile widening when she wrapped her little arms around him. A stark difference to her greeting yesterday. “You must be, Y/N.” One of them spoke to you as Gia began babbling to Tito who nodded along enthusiastically. “I am.” You responded, shaking his hand, “Mat.” He grinned, you nodded knowingly, “I know, I follow the sport.” You teased him, earning a snicker from Tito as he walked over to you. “Hey.” He mumbled, giving you a one armed hug as Gia refused to leave his hold. You lightly tickled your daughter as she hid in his neck from all the other guys. “You played good.” You assured him, he smiled softly in return before introducing you to some of his teammates, laughing when you became all shy, staying close to him and your daughter. You answered all the questions they threw at you, not noticing Gia was drifting off on Tito’s shoulder until she was already out like a light.
***
It’s been about 6 weeks since that game, the season kicking into full gear, Tito traveling very often but still coming over to see you guys when he wasn’t on the road, and today, he was coming over for the first time in two weeks, and Gia had no idea. The relationship between them was more than you could ever ask for, even yours and Tito’s relationship had changed, it wasn’t even spoken, it just happened, one night as he was leaving after you put Gia down. You leaned up to kiss his cheek but he turned, not knowing what you were doing. You both jumped back, muttering apologies, but you kept your hands on his chest, slowly you inched back together, your lips coming together softly.
Then it became more often, sneaking in kisses here or there, I miss you texts, phone calls. And now, now you were bouncing with excitement just to see him.
Tito knocked on the door with a wide smile, excited to see his two favorite girls, that thought running through his head the whole trip back, in his mind, he wanted to call you his, but he knew he hadn't even spoken to you about what this was.
You rushed over to open the door, Gia only just waking from her nap, “hi.” You whispered immediately being engulfed in his arms, yours going to wrap around his neck. “I missed you.” He admitted into your hair, kissing the side of your head, “I missed you too.” You assured him, leaning away to meet his eyes, something went unspoken between you two as he pulled you in for a kiss. This one was different though, more powerful than the rest had been. You sighed against him, melting into his hold as you kissed him back slowly, not wanting to rush the moment. “Tito.” You went to speak after you pulled back to breathe, “yeah, I know.” He murmured, pecking your lips again before finally stepping all the way inside. “Is she sleeping?” He frowned, wanting to see her, “she’s starting to wake up, I heard her fussing.” You explained, neither of you making any effort to untangle yourselves. “Would you want to go out with me sometime? Like a date.” Tito asked, you nodded instantly, “can’t we just count all the times you’ve stayed over here late as dates?” You teased, instantly making him relax. “Well, then I think it’s fine if I do this, as much as I want.” He joked, kissing you again, squeezing your hips.
“I think so too.” You agreed, pulling away once you heard Gia climbing out of her bed. “Gia, I have a surprise!” You called, hearing her giggle and run down the hall, she saw you and then she saw Tito standing beside you. What neither of you expected was the word about to come out of her mouth, “daddy!” You nearly passed out right there, literally swaying and having to grip Tito for stability. She hugged his legs, looking up at him with a grin. “Tito.” He corrected her gently, lifting her up once you regained your composure. “Hi, sweet girl.” He tickled her sides as he hugged her tightly, her laughter filling the room, you smiled at the sight, hoping that one day this would become a reality.
****
“Rough day?” You questioned Gia as she dramatically huffed and sat at the kitchen counter beside her sister. “Yes.” Gia spoke with a sigh, you held back your laughter, knowing that 1st grade could just be oh so difficult, Tito walked in a moment after with her backpack and lunch box, smiling at you as you held the two month old to your chest. He walked over to the girls, laughing at the bored expression on Gia’s face as she watched her two year old sister munch away on her fruit, “hi princess.” Tito greeted Sadie with a kiss to the head, before making his way over to you, kissing your lips and whispering a hello before taking the baby from you. He smiled as Cade gripped his finger tightly, looking up at his dad with the bright blue eyes that they shared. “Daddy, can we go for ice cream tonight?” Gia pouted at him, using the look she got from you that made him cave immediately. He glanced at you, who nodded, “only because it’s friday.” He pointed an accusing finger at her, watching as her annoyed expression broke into a smile. “Thank you!” She sang happily bounding to her room upstairs. You laughed at the sigh he let out, “Aw, did you have a rough day too, honey?” You teased, resting your head on his chest as he wrapped his free arm around you, Sadie coughing for attention and succeeding as you both looked over to make sure she wasn’t choking. She only smiled, Tito’s smile as she continued to eat her blueberries slowly, you glared lightly at her as she giggled. “I did have a rough day, thanks for asking.” He mused.
“My wife didn’t text me once all day.” He pouted at you, “I’m so sorry, I assumed you would be busy working and all.” You laughed at him, cupping his stubbled jaw, “how ever did you survive?” You asked with fake concern. “I’m not really sure. But I did, and I lived long enough to pick her up from school, I’ve earned my ice cream.” He quipped.
taglist: @boqvistsbabe @tortito @2manytabsopen @heybarzy @barzysreputation @yzas-stuff @iwantahockeyhimbo
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n00dl3gal · a year ago
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Like Old Times (Father-Son Bonding AU)
A direct sequel to the “Expiration Date” fic, which I’ll link in a reblog. I’ve also posted all my fics in this AU to AO3!! Thanks again to @thetriggeredhappy for their help and just generally being a cool dude, and the Scoutsune Discord server for indulging my brainrot
No warnings beyond family schmoop!
Less than an hour after the bread monster incident, the Administrator called for a ceasefire. “Only while your base is repaired,” she said over the TV screen. “BLU is quite disappointed in this negligence- as am I. Regardless, you may use these three days as you see fit. Go home, stay here- whatever you do, no more bread monsters.” The screen turned off with a click. 
Scout exhaled through his nose. He was thankful there was no mention of him or Miss Pauling’s woodchipper. 
Spy decloaked behind him. “Less time than I wanted, but c’est la vie.” Scout looked at him over his shoulder. “I’m meeting with an old contact during our break,” Spy said in Italian. “Would you like to come along? It’ll be like old times.” 
Scout’s brow furrowed, but he nodded. At least this way, he’d get out of helping Engie and Heavy with repairs. And possibly meeting Miss Pauling’s woodchipper. 
“Excellent. Our flight is at 7 AM tomorrow.” 
“We’re flying commercial?” Scout asked, also in (more hesitant) Italian. 
“Our destination is continental. We’ll leave the base by 5:30.” Scout groaned as Spy started to leave. But- wait, he hadn’t- 
“Oi, where are we going, anyway?” he called back in English. 
Spy paused to look at him and smile. “Boston.” 
“Why do we always get the ass-crack-of-dawn flights?” Jeremy asked groggily, reclining his seat.
“They are the ones with first-class seats available,” Raphael replied. He took a sip from his mimosa. 
“Yeah, cuz God forbid you fly coach for once.” Jeremy shifted, trying to get comfortable. “Hey. Have I ever been to Boston before?”
Raphael didn’t answer immediately. His lip sucked in, as if in thought. “Yes. When you were very, very young. You wouldn’t remember.” 
Jeremy nodded. He wanted to ask more, there was something Raphael wasn’t saying but… well, he was never a morning person. He fell asleep before the plane even took off. 
. . .
It was mid-afternoon by the time they landed in Boston. Jeremy was never fond of long flights; having his legs cramped like that for extended periods of time was murder. He was half tempted to take a jog around Logan International. Raphael, on the other hand, was ushering them both to the car rental. “Can’t even get a stretch in, huh?”
“Unfortunately, we are expected by 4, and I would hate to keep my contact waiting,” Raphael explained in French, accepting the keys from the girl at the counter. “She’s not a very patient woman, in some regards.” 
Jeremy huffed but didn’t argue. He just followed his father to the rental, tossing his suitcase in the backseat. “Y’know, the girl at the counter-” 
“We will not have time for you to go out on a date, Jeremy.” 
“No! No, it was- her accent’s kinda like mine, it’s weird,” Jeremy said. Raphael started the car. “Cuz I’ve only been here as a baby, and I got mine from TV and shit. It’s just… really strange, is all.” 
Raphael made a quiet noise of agreement. “Some of the shows you watched as a child were filmed here. It’s not as complex as you think it is.” 
“Yeah, probably not…” 
The pair lapsed into silence as Raphael drove. Storefronts and high rises morphed into houses. It had been a while since they were in a residential area. RED, for understandable reasons, kept away from civilians. 
Raphael took the roads with practiced experience. Sure, it had been implied he knew the area. If he had a contact here- one with a house, presumably- he must’ve spent time here. But this- this was far too familiar. A bit suspicious, actually. 
Eventually, Raphael slowed in front of a more rundown Brownstone. Still quite nice, just needed a little work. It felt… welcoming, in a way Jeremy couldn’t name.
“Lotta cars,” he observed as Raphael parallel parked. “Must be a party going on somewhere.” 
“Hmm, perhaps,” Raphael said, turning the car off. “Would you mind ringing the doorbell for me? I need to grab something from the trunk. Ask for Sara Jane.” 
OK, now Jeremy knew something was up. He was never the one to make the first contact, that was always Dad’s job. Jeremy might be a full-grown adult, but there were some things that didn’t change. This was one of them. 
Still, he nodded. He climbed up the front steps and ringed the doorbell. He heard- multiple voices from inside, predominantly male, but they quickly silenced themselves. A TV, perhaps? They really ought to get that flower box on the second story window fixed- 
The woman who opened the door was a bit shorter than him, though not by much. She was wearing a simple dress, hoop earrings, and flats. Her hair was dark, curved to her chin. But her nose and earlobes felt… achingly familiar. Like Jeremy saw them all the time. 
“Um, hi, I’m looking for Sara Jane? My name’s-” The rest of his speech was knocked out of him as the woman launched herself at him. Jeremy braced for an attack, but quickly realized she was… hugging him. 
She was hugging him, sobbing, and choked out the word “Jeremy.” 
Wait. He knew that voice. He had only heard it a few times in his life, few enough he could count them on one hand, but he knew it. “M-Ma?” he whispered. 
The woman- Sara Jane- Ma looked up at him, still crying. Her hands found his face as she observed him. “Y-yeah, sweetie, it’s me, it’s-it’s your ma,” she said. 
“Ma!” he laughed, tears of his own dancing down his cheeks. He hugged her back, practically lifting her off her feet. “Oh my God, Ma! I-I never thought I’d-” 
“Oh Jeremy, sweetie, look how tall you’ve gotten! Last I saw you, you fit in my arms! My baby, my handsome baby,” she spoke over him. She rubbed circles into his back as they embraced. It felt so, so right. 
Jeremy laughed even harder. “Are you kiddin’? I got it from you, you’re beautiful, Ma!” He stared at her, trying to commit every mole and wrinkle and perfect flaw to memory. “I can’t believe- oh my God, I’m actually meeting you!” 
“It was long overdue,” another voice said, as Raphael joined them on the front stoop. “I had put it off for safety reasons, but considering our current, ah, situation… I felt it was worth the risk.” 
Sara Jane squealed, pulling Raphael into the hug as well. “You’ve been taking good care of my boy, you promise me, Raphael?” 
“Don’t worry Ma, he’s the best dad I could ask for, considering,” Jeremy teased. 
“Oh, don’t I know it. Called me up last night and told me to get the whole motley crew together. Even managed to get Melvin to bring his twin daughters, bless his wife’s heart,” she explained. 
Jeremy blinked. “Uh- Melvin? Daughters?”
Sara Jane laughed. It sounded so much like Jeremy’s it practically hurt. This was his mother. Lord, he’s finally seeing her. “Melvin’s your older brother, sweetie. Eh, sixth oldest. Bobby’s the oldest.” 
“I have a brother?”
“Oh honey, you’re the youngest of eight,” Sara Jane said plainly. 
“...fuck,” Jeremy whispered. 
. . .
He didn’t just have seven brothers. He had seven brothers, four of which brought their wives, one who brought his boyfriend, and three who brought their kids. And the kids totaled to an additional six, counting the babies. 
It was… an admittedly tight squeeze in the living room. 
Sara Jane introduced Jeremy. Jeremy had been expecting to be treated like a stranger. He had vanished when he was a baby, after all, and his younger-older brothers probably wouldn’t remember him at all. 
And yet, it was like he knew them all his life. 
They teased him and punched him playfully and acted so friendly, so familial it nearly made Jeremy break down. He was still crying from meeting Ma, but being dogpiled with so much affection was suffocating. In a good way. He had seen on sitcoms the intrinsic bond between family, and while he felt it with Dad, they also risked their lives nearly daily. But it was real, it was here, and it was wrapping him in a warm blanket. 
Despite the chaos and the sheer number of people, Jeremy didn’t feel overwhelmed. He laughed and played along with their jokes, cracking some back when he could get a word in. Scott ragged on his dog tags, he countered by pointing out the hole in his pants. Michael told him he was still a shortass, he replied with “it takes one to know one.” Elliot and Ricky were the closest to actually getting hurt, and that was only because Jeremy elbowed them both so hard they nearly fell over. 
For the first time in 25 years, Jeremy understood what “home” meant. 
The kids were especially curious, eager to meet their uncle and step-grandfather. Within seconds, young Rebecca- only four years old- was challenging Jeremy to a race around the house. “I’m the fastest kid in the world,” she bragged, puffing out her chest. 
“Oh yeah?” Jeremy asked. “That a fact?”
“You wanna test me? I beat Johnny Three-Legs at running, and he’s got three legs!” Jeremy laughed and stood from the couch, letting her lead him outside. “On the count of three, OK?”
“You’re on, pipsqueak,” Jeremy teased.
“Onetwothree GO!” Rebecca yelled, taking off in a sprint. Jeremy knew that, by all accounts, he should beat her. His legs were longer, she didn’t have the proper running stance, and it was his job to be fast. That’s what he got paid to do. But some small voice was telling him to let her win, so he did. “Ha! I told ya!” 
“Ya sure did,” he replied, mock panting. “Look at you, a freaking blur on the green. You’re goin’ to the Olympics, kid.” 
Rebecca beamed and hugged his leg. “Promise, Uncle Jeremy?” He nodded because, after that display, there was no way he could speak without squeaking like a chew toy. 
Rebecca skipped back inside, past Raphael, who was watching on the stoop. “You’re a natural with children,” he observed. “I used to do the same thing when you were that age.” 
“Wait- wait, really? You sure fooled me,” Jeremy said. 
Raphael rolled his eyes. “What’s my job again, mon lapin?”
“Yeah, yeah…” Jeremy leaned against the railing, watching Raphael’s cigarette smoke in the wind. “Hey. Uh… thanks for arranging all of this. You really didn’t need to.”
“But I did. I meant it when I said this was overdue. I’ve been wanting to introduce you to the rest of the family for a while, but have been unable. Then that whole ordeal with the supposed tumors, and-” Raphael exhaled slowly. “It wouldn’t have been fair to you if you died without knowing them. I would’ve never forgiven myself.” 
Jeremy punched his shoulder lightly. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, pops. It all worked out, we’re still kicking, and that roast chicken Ma’s making smells incredible. Everything’s perfect.” 
Raphael finished his cigarette and smiled. “Oui. It is.” 
. . .
While Sara Jane had been able to get the rest of the family here, it was a school night. Kids needed to be tucked in by 9:30, so most of Jeremy’s brothers were gone by 8. Elliot was staying overnight, as was his boyfriend. Otherwise, the house quickly went from bustling to barren. 
It gave Jeremy a chance to explore his would-be childhood home.
He made his way upstairs, pushing open one of the doors. It led- to little surprise- to a bedroom. It was set up like a nursery, with a crib in one corner and a toddler bed in the other. Toys were scattered about across the floor. 
He heard Sara Jane sigh behind him. “This was your room, you know.” Jeremy turned to look at her as she flipped the light switch. “That crib… I had put you to bed the night your father planned to fake his death. I was in on the whole plan, naturally. He wanted to hold you one last time, so I said OK. When I woke up the next morning… you were both gone.” She exhaled slowly, grabbing onto his shoulder. “I wrote both of you off as dead, but I knew what had happened. Honestly, should’ve figured it out before then. You hadn’t woken me up crying,” she joked. Her eyes were watering. 
Jeremy hugged her, pulling her close. “You never took the crib down?” 
“By the time I was ready, Bobby’s wife was pregnant, so I kept it up for my grandbabies. I knew- I knew you were out there, sweetie. Both of you.” She kissed his cheek, squeezing him.
“I-I never got to be a normal kid, really,” he confessed. “I mean, Dad did his best, gave me comic books and board games and stuff, but-but I never went to school or made friends or anything like that. I-I didn’t even know I had a family. It took me forever to even realize I had a Ma. An-and everything I did-” The tears were flowing again, more freely than earlier. “Ya missed me losing my first tooth, and potty trainin’, and all that stuff parents should know about. I-I’m sorry,” he whispered. 
Sara Jane wiped his cheek dry. “Don’t apologize for what your father did, Jeremy. And definitely don’t apologize for me not potty training another kid. Besides… hold on, I’ll be right back.” She made her way down the hallway. Jeremy didn’t follow, instead deciding to examine the crib. This was where he grew up. It was a simple crib, obviously well-used. Not worn-down, mind, just… used. It had a history. A history that Jeremy wanted to decode, but unlike his dad’s ciphers, he didn’t have the key. 
“Took me a second to find it,” Sara Jane said. She handed him what appeared to be a scrapbook. “Raphael- he wrote when he can. Taught me some basic codes, would send out letters whenever you’d leave a town. Never left a return address, but…” Jeremy flipped through the pages, moving to sit on the small bed. The letters were all coded but appeared to be about how much Raphael missed Sara Jane. Updates on Jeremy’s growth. Letters from a father to his lover and son’s mother. 
One page jumped out to him, though. “I remember this,” he said, running his fingers against the paper. It was a simple drawing of a young boy, holding a catcher’s mitt, and a taller man next to him. “I drew this after Dad took me to my first baseball game, for my eighth birthday. I thought I lost the drawing after we skipped town, but- he sent them to you?”
Sara Jane nodded. “And I kept them all. Oh, honey, the day I first heard your voice on the phone- Mikey can tell you, I damn near fell over. You sounded so happy, and even if I couldn’t see you, that’s all a mother wants.” Jeremy leaned against her and she shut the book. “That’s all a mother wants, sweetie. To see her kids be safe and happy.” 
“I am, Ma,” he assured her. “I promise.” 
They sat like that for a while, with Sara Jane commenting on various letters and drawings in the scrapbook. Apparently, Raphael sent her money when he could- more frequently now that Mann Co. paid so well. She also had a rough idea of their current occupations. “I figure, if you and your father are working for the same company- with his skills, there’s gotta be a whole lot of nonsense going on out in that desert.” Jeremy laughed at that because she wasn’t wrong. “But I also figure since he raised you right, he’ll keep the both of you safe.” 
“I keep him safe too, don’t worry,” Jeremy added. “Uh- listen, it’s touching and all you kept the crib, but I don’t have to sleep in it, right?” 
They both had a good chuckle over that. Their laughs were in perfect harmony. 
. . .
The next two days were a mix of learning the family history and exploring Boston. It was the offseason, so there weren’t any games going on at Fenway, but Jeremy still got a picture in front of the park. Sara Jane took the pair to a restaurant that served “the best damn clam chowder in the contiguous United States.” Which, incidentally, led them to discover Jeremy was allergic to clams. Thankfully they didn’t have to go to the hospital- he just sort of immediately got sick before it passed- but it did suck.
It was damn good chowder, though. 
They went down to the harbor where the Boston Tea Party happened. It was crowded with people, resulting in them not staying long. Jeremy was a bit better with crowds than Raphael, but neither was great with them. Came with the job. Getting overpriced memorabilia from a nearby gift shop, though, went over much more smoothly. 
When not out on the town, Sara Jane dug out more scrapbooks and photo albums, catching Raphael up on what his stepsons had been up to. She showed Jeremy pictures from Ricky’s first school play to Scott opening up his butcher shop. Graduation pictures, wedding pictures, baby pictures- it was all there, and Jeremy devoured it. He wanted to know these people. He wanted to know his family. And he did. He learned about Michael’s stint in the Navy, Melvin meeting his wife, how Bobby’s son could dribble a basketball for twenty minutes straight. He learned about how his parents met. How Raphael loved each of Sara Jane’s children, even if they weren’t biologically his. How Jeremy wasn’t planned- few of the kids were - but they were both so, so happy to realize he was coming. 
He also learned that, while diner food would remain the undisputed king, homemade meatloaf came pretty close. 
. . .
The only problem came when it was time to leave. It wasn’t that Jeremy didn’t want to return to work, or leave his Ma behind. Sara Jane wasn’t even torn up over losing her son and lover again. It just felt like there was so much left to say, to do. There was uncertainty as to when they’d be able to return. “We get time off for Smissmas, I know that’s months away but I’ll be here, I promise,” Jeremy swore, hugging Sara Jane for the eighth time. 
“You better,” she said, squeezing him tightly. “You have 25 years worth of gifts to catch up on, not to mention birthday gifts-”
“Ma, you don’t have to go that far,” he whined. He was touched, sure, but the thought of that much luggage was truly frightening. Oh God, he was going to have to get gifts for everybody, wasn’t he? What do kids even want for Smissmas? 
“Hush, let me spoil my baby,” Sara Jane told him, kissing his cheek. “Oh, Jeremy…” 
Jeremy nodded. “I know, but I’ll call. I’ll write, too. Send pictures if I can.” 
“I’ll make sure he does,” Raphael assured her. Sara Jane stood to kiss his lips, with Jeremy looking away pointedly. “You have my word, ma petite chou-fleur.” 
“Alright, alright- now get going, I don’t want you two missing your flight. That boss of yours sounds like she’ll tear you both a new one if you’re late,” Sara Jane said, shooing them away. “Love you boys!” 
“I love you too, Ma!” Jeremy shouted back, for the very first time. 
The drive back to the airport was quiet. Jeremy stared out the window, watching his hometown- he had a hometown- pass by. “Hey, dad?” he asked, still looking outside. Raphael grunted to acknowledge he was listening. “One of these days, our contracts with Mann Co. are gonna expire. We’re gonna have to find new jobs.” 
“Yes, that’s correct,” Raphael said. He tapped a rhythm against the steering wheel. 
“And-and I was thinking when that time comes… maybe we could come back to Boston. Find some gigs out here,” Jeremy suggested. 
Raphael sighed. “Unfortunately, being a spy means that you don’t have the option of retiring, Jeremy. Not until you’re unable to complete your job. At that point, though, you’ve probably died a dozen times over,” he explained. “Even if I could retire, settling down somewhere so close to people I care about- I would still have enemies.” 
“Right. ‘Course,” Jeremy said. “It’s OK.” 
“That being said,” Raphael continued, “you have the luxury of youth and not being tied down to such a career. If you want to find a job in Boston after we finish with RED, there’s nothing stopping you.” 
“But people will still be after me, since I’m your son. And you wouldn’t be around.”
“Every child leaves their parents someday. And you’re strong, Jeremy. You can protect yourself and your family.” Raphael smiled. “I don’t believe Sara Jane needs much protecting, but I do worry.” 
Jeremy laughed. “I mean, did ya see the muscles on Scott and Michael? Guys can probably bench press a tractor!” 
They both chuckled before settling into quietude. Eventually, though, Jeremy had to break the silence. His voice was barely above a whisper. “I love you.” 
“I love you too, mon lapin.”
“...so your nickname for Ma is fucking ‘little cauliflower?’ What the hell, Dad?” 
71 notes · View notes
nol-an · a year ago
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when our stars aligned || n. patrick
hello everyone! i’m super excited to finally be posting this slow burn, friends-to-lovers fic that has been in the works for almost a month now!
grab a drink and some snacks, this one’s 12.5k words (and not proofread oops)! as always, feedback is appreciated <3 enjoy!
__________
+ her
Your sweater-clad figure collapsed into your plush mattress as soon as you finished your last assignment for the day. After a hell week of university, you couldn’t wait to spend the rest of your night de-stressing and indulging in the bottle of wine that had been calling your name since the beginning of the week. You wanted nothing more than to catch up on the Bachelorette —because who doesn’t love trash TV— and to coil yourself in blankets for the rest of the night. 
On the other hand, your best-friend-slash-roommate, Maya, had different plans. She was fully convinced that the only proper remedy to your school-induced slump was a night out on the town. However, you knew that Maya’s plans for you would really just result in you third-wheeling her and her boyfriend, Joel. You don’t even need to ask your friend to know that Joel would be coming along too because the two were a package deal. Although you don’t mind Joel and think he’s a wonderful match for your long-time friend, the last thing you need is to be awkwardly tagging along with the sometimes overly-affectionate couple.
After a back-and-forth negotiation that seemed to last hours, you finally agreed to Maya’s proposition after she offered to wash the dishes and take out the trash for the next two weeks. You still expressed that you wouldn’t be happy if you came across any Bachelorette spoilers while you were out with Maya and Joel, but eventually, your mind became occupied by thoughts of what to wear. Deciding not to think too much into your outfit, you settled for a Pittsburgh Penguins pullover and your comfiest pair of black jeans. You sprayed yourself with perfume and glanced in your mirror one last time before leaving your room with the hopes of returning to your tempting bed soon.
As Joel’s car pulled into the parking lot of your and Maya’s apartment complex, you soon noticed a figure in the passenger seat. Squinting to see if you recognized the man, all you could deduce was that he had long hair and florid cheeks. Turning to Maya in confusion, your best friend looked unbothered as a grin spread across her face at the sight of her boyfriend. You trailed behind her as she jogged towards Joel’s car. She promptly gave him a peck on his cheek before giving the stranger in the passenger seat a hug. Huh, so maybe he wasn’t a stranger after all.
It only took you a few seconds afterwards to realize what was going on.
You were going to kill Maya.
As if she read your mind, your best friend waved you over to the car. Deciding to play nice for the sake of Maya and her excitement, you plastered on your best I-don’t-want-to-be-here-but-you-don’t-know-that smile, and greeted the two guys.
“Y/N, this is Nolan, one of Joel’s friends,” Maya explained. “I know you said you didn’t wanna third wheel, so Joel and I, being the wonderful friends we are, took what you said to heart,” she laughed as she watched your smile twitch a little.
It always took you a while to warm up to strangers and being your best friend of three years, Maya knew you were going to give her an earful after the night was over. So, she figured she’d at least have some fun while she was at it. Your eyes sent daggers in her direction before you waved at Joel and stuck your hand out to greet Nolan.
Other than his small smile that you would’ve missed if you weren’t as observant, Nolan didn’t give much indication that he wanted to be here, either. Great. You couldn’t read his expressions, but you hoped to god that this night wouldn’t be as awkward as you think it’s going to be.
Shortly after the introductions, you and Nolan are squeezed into the back of Joel’s car as him and Maya bicker over who should get the aux. Rolling your eyes, you turn to Nolan, who looks quite amused at the couple’s antics. Figuring it wouldn’t hurt to break the ice, you attempted to start a conversation with Nolan.
“I’m guessing this isn’t the first time you’ve been stuck in the same space as Joel and Maya, either?” you joked.
He chuckled and angled his body a little closer towards you. “Unfortunately it’s not. If I’m being honest, this is not how I envisioned my Friday night going.”
Immediately processing his own words, a blush formed across his cheeks. “I- that’s not what I meant. I mean, I’m sure you’re a wonderful person, but Joel told me that we were getting food with Maya. I didn’t know this,” he used his right hand to gesture around the car, “was his actual plan,” he explained.
You couldn’t stop the giggle that escaped your lips, your eyes glinting with amusement. “I’m in the same boat. No one mentioned that you were coming, but honestly, I’m glad I’m not third-wheeling because I wanna puke every time they get too lovey-dovey.”
Nolan nodded in agreement, “You know what, Y/N? I think we’re gonna get along just fine.”
Relieved that Nolan was a lot less intimidating than you initially thought, you agreed with his comment and thanked the gods that this night was starting to look up.
“But there is one issue,” Nolan spoke up.
Your raised eyebrows cued him to speak again.
“I don’t know how I feel about that Pens sweatshirt of yours.”
+ him
“Dude, what the fuck are you doing?” an amused Kevin Hayes emerged from his room. He’d been living with Nolan for quite some time now, but the last thing he expected was to wake up to the sight of his roommate organizing their apartment, dust swiffer and all. There was even a vase of fresh flowers that Kevin sure as hell didn’t buy or remember seeing last night.
“Isn’t it fucking obvious, Hayesy? I’m cleaning the place,” Nolan deadpanned.
“Ok firstly, no shit. I was hoping you’d explain why you’re cleaning. I didn’t even know we had this much cleaning supplies,” Kevin quipped back, glancing over at the array of window and wood cleaner that was haphazardly strewn across the kitchen counter.
“Y/N is coming over,” Nolan curtly responded. He didn’t need to turn his focus away from scrubbing away the stove top’s stains to know that his roommate had a shit-eating grin on his face.
“I thought you said the two of you were just friends?”
“Can’t friends hang out?” Nolan retaliated.
“Sure, they can. But why are you disinfecting this whole place? Teeks comes over all the time and you never do this for him,” Kevin pointed out. He knew Nolan enough to know that you weren’t “just a friend.” Nolan talked about you way too much for that to be the case.
“It’s the first time she’s coming over. I just don’t want her thinking we live in a pigsty,” Nolan started, “which is gonna be a little difficult considering you leave your shit all around the place. Plus, don’t act like you’ve never cleaned the place up when you’ve had someone over.”
Kevin was having a little too much fun messing with Nolan. “Okay, first of all, that was one time. And it was for a girl I liked,” Kevin enunciated his last word.
Nolan knew Kevin had a point, but he’d be damned if he let Hayesy know that. Nevertheless, Nolan’s silence gave it away, and that was all Kevin needed to rest his case.
“Deny your feelings all you want, but I know you like her — even if you don’t even know it yourself. Don’t be surprised when I say ‘I-told-you-so,’” Kevin laughed as he headed towards the front door. “m’Gonna head out, but text me if you need anything. Maybe confess your feelings for Y/N while you’re at it.”
Nolan flipped off his roommate. Sometimes he was sure that Kevin was a middle-schooler trapped in a grown man’s body. Why couldn’t you and him be friends without feelings being involved? Nolan was sure you only saw him in a platonic light and he was perfectly fine with that. If anything, he was glad to have met you — in the few months you’ve been in his life, you’ve become a breath of fresh air from his circle of Flyers friends. Sure, he didn’t think the two of you would talk again after the little number that Maya and Joel pulled, but he was glad that his friendship with you bloomed. Not only was he glad to know someone else to tolerate Maya and Joel’s shenanigans with, but he enjoyed how you made him feel like he didn’t have to maintain any facade. Your welcoming aura appreciated Nolan as the goofy, indie music-obsessed Winnipeg native — not a Flyers centerman who was more often than not, under the microscope of Philly and NHL media. He was perfectly content with the friendship and appreciated the soothing presence you offered. Wasn’t that enough of an indication that the two of you were just friends?
Within the next twenty minutes, three knocks on the door vibrated through the apartment, and Nolan rushed to the door to greet you. A smile gleamed on your face and you greeted Nolan with a hug. Although it was your first time hanging out at Nolan’s place — the two of you usually stuck to more public locations — nothing about the exchange was awkward and for that, Nolan was extremely thankful. He knew his quiet demeanor could sometimes scare people away, but you didn’t seem to mind it. Instead, you were patient with him and understood that the two of you would become more comfortable around each other as time wore on.
After setting your bag down on the key table, you casually dove into a story about how you nearly couldn’t make it to Nolan’s apartment because you were convinced you lost your keys.
It was nice, nothing felt stiff and Nolan was relieved that the two of you were able to skip the formalities that usually occur when someone visits for the first time.
Once you wrapped up your story, you finally took the chance to look around Nolan’s home. From the look on your face, Nolan knew you were expecting the place to look different. Whether or not that look was a good thing, however, he wasn’t sure.
“Nols, if I’m gonna be honest here, I was not expecting you and Kevin to have such an organized place,” you laughed, your light-hearted tone indicating that you meant it in the nicest way possible.
Releasing the breath he was holding, Nolan chuckled a bit. “Well, don’t get used to it. It’s only this clean like once a month,” he laughed while scratching the back of his neck. He almost contemplated telling you all the trouble he went through to make sure the apartment was clean for you, but a nagging voice in the back of his head told him not to. Probably a good call. “Can I get you anything to drink?”
“Yea, water would be great,” you sat on one of the kitchen’s bar stools and watched Nolan pad over to the fridge. You couldn’t stop yourself from laughing as you peered into the relatively empty fridge.
The hockey player rolled a chilled water bottle over to you, perplexed by your reaction. “If you have something to say, say it to my face,” Nolan attempted to intimidatingly say. His cheery voice and sheepish smile gave away his tough-guy act, though.
“Just wondering how you have like three things in your fridge. What are you supposed to make with two carrots and eggs?” you chuckled.
Nolan feigned offense. “I’ll have you know that my ultra-busy schedule doesn’t let me go grocery shopping much. You should be honored that I was able to fit you into my agenda.” It wasn’t a lie that time didn’t permit Nolan to go shopping for food often, but he knew that if you wanted to hang, he would’ve found a way to make it work. But that’s normal, right? Friends can be excited to hang out with friends, right?
“So I’m guessing your pantry is just as bad?” you inquired.
“Ever the detective, Y/N,” Nolan confirmed. He opened the pantry door, gesturing to the several empty shelves.
Seconds later, the two of you got into a conversation about your favorite snacks. Nolan wasn’t sure how he found so much entertainment from talking about cookies and chips, but he wasn’t complaining. The discussion eventually moved over to the living space of the apartment, where you and Nolan settled on watching “How to Get Away With Murder” before promptly resuming your increasingly-heated debate on the best snacks.
“I don’t think we can be friends anymore, Nols. How could you possibly like goldfish more than cheez-its?” you seriously questioned.
“They’re the superior snack, can’t do anything about that. That’s like asking me to choose between indie and country music, no competition,” Nolan shrugged.
Promising Nolan that you’d one day convince him otherwise, you let the conversation slowly fade out as the show started. The next few hours passed by in a blur. There were some side-conversations here, and there, but the two of you were mainly focused on the show and enjoying each other’s presence.
You’re not sure when it happened, but you and Nolan started sharing the same blanket. Minutes later, you were curled into his side, your head resting lightly on his right shoulder. You were so close to him that you could feel his body rumble with laughter every time you made a witty comment. Despite the position the two of you were in, things didn’t go further than that. You didn’t think much of it and based on Nolan’s concentration on the show, it didn’t seem like he gave it much thought, either.
It was nice. More than nice, really. You became so comfortable that you had to keep yourself from dozing off. Every once in a while, Nolan’s hand would play with your hair, his gentle movements nearly lulling you to sleep.
Eventually, you two found a good stopping point and you told Nolan that you should start heading home, not wanting to overstay your visit. Although Nolan protested, you insisted that you would definitely find another time to see him soon and that he should hang out with Kevin, who had gotten home just a few minutes ago.
“Text me when you get home, alright?”
“Yea, of course. Don’t watch any episodes without me, okay?” you said, sticking out your pinky to make Nolan promise.
“Only if you bring over some of your homemade chocolate-chip cookies that you talked about earlier,” he bargained.
“Deal,” you waved goodbye to Nolan one last time before slipping out the door. “Tell Hayesy I said hi,” you hollered from down the hall.
Speaking of the devil himself, Kevin walked over to Nolan once he shut the door. Before Kevin could even wipe the smirk off his face, Nolan stopped him.
“Just friends, Hayesy,” Nolan reaffirmed.
+ him
Another few months passed on, and everything proceeded as normal. You and Nolan’s bond inevitably grew, and he could confidently call you one of his best friends. You two made an effort to hang out at least every other week, and your plans ranged from short weekend getaways to study sessions where Nolan attempted to help you cram for tests. Nolan loved every second he spent with you, and he was more than grateful that Maya and Joel had introduced you to him. Eventually, the hang-out regimen that you and Nolan had developed started wavering as the universe had different plans for you two. You had totally forgotten about a major ten page paper you had to do and with the season starting soon, Nolan was back to practices and workout sessions nearly every day.
You two texted and FaceTimed, though, so not all was a lost cause. Especially for Nolan, it felt as if he was spending every minute of his free time talking to or texting you — not that he minded it, anyway. The text conversations were always light-hearted and mostly consisted of funny tweets and song recommendations. Even when you and Nolan called, your minds that were typically flooded with thoughts of school or hockey became more relaxed upon hearing the other’s voice.
After wrapping up a morning skate with Travis, Nolan checked his phones for any notifications.
Hayesy: Y/N is here. Not sure why but she was looking for you.
With panicked eyes, Nolan tried to think of all of the reasons why you’d be at his apartment. The blood nearly drained out of his face at the thought of making plans with you and accidentally forgetting, but he reassured himself that there was no way that was the case.
Is she okay???? Nolan quickly texted before running into the showers.
Nolan had never showered and changed that quickly, and he was almost positive that he put his shirt on backwards as he ran to his car. He mentally cursed Kevin, who for some reason thought it was acceptable to send him a cryptic text about you without any follow-up. You were usually good about texting Nolan about any updates to your life, so Nolan couldn’t help when his mind started conjuring worst-case scenarios.
Once Nolan got to his apartment complex, he sprinted up dozens of flights of stairs thinking that they’d be faster than the elevator. However, coupled with his growing soreness from his earlier workout, each step on the stairs sent rays of pain through his legs and a regret for thinking the stairs would be a good idea.
After it felt like he had run a marathon, the hockey player finally reached his door. He frustratingly searched for his keys, hoping to god you were okay.
Nolan swung the door open with so much force that he was almost sure he’d have to tighten the screws on its hinges. “Y/N?” Nolan called. His frantic eyes searched for your figure, but he was instead met with the sight of his roommate.
“You just missed her,” Kevin replied from the kitchen. In his hand was what looked like a cookie, and behind him was at least three grocery bags. “I told her to stay because I figured you’d be home soon, but she seemed like she was in a rush. Something about a paper she had,” Kevin elaborated, his mouth full of the cookies. “Did you run here from the rink or something? You look like shit,” Hayesy jokingly noted.
Nolan rolled his eyes at his roommate and sighed, genuinely relieved to know that you were alright. As soon as any of the fears of you being hurt left his system, Nolan started thinking about how he would’ve been able to see you had Travis not persuaded him to run extra drills. It had felt like centuries since he last saw you, and seeing you even just for a second would have undoubtedly made his day better. Dammit, Travis.
Deciding he didn’t want to endure any of Kevin’s teasing, Nolan suppressed his disappointment and tried to subtly get more details out of his roommate.
“She didn’t text me about coming over. What did she need?”
“Well, after making fun of us for our empty fridge and pantry, she said gave me all of these bags,” Kevin gestured to the bags behind him. “Said she visited a grocery store nearby and figured she could get some stuff for us, too,” he continued.
A smile graced Nolan’s face as he recalled the conversation you and he shared about his grocery shopping (or lack thereof) habits.
“She also brought over these cookies she made, but I think I’m gonna have to take these for myself,” Kevin grinned, reaching for another cookie from the tupperware container. “Why do my ‘just-friends’ never bake me cookies?” he nearly moaned at the taste of the treats.
“Maybe because you have no restraint and eat cookies that are meant for your roommate, you jerk,” Nolan remarked.
“Hey, I was being nice by telling you she brought these cookies over. If I really wanted to, I could’ve hid these. You can have a bite, though,” he stuck out his already half-eaten cookie in front of Nolan’s face.
Flipping Kevin off, Nolan walked over to the counter with the bags. Pulling out their contents, he slowly started placing everything in the pantry and fridge. In the second bag, he found a box of cheez-its with a small piece of paper tacked on the top.
Doing you a favor by buying you these, no need to thank me. Miss ya lots <3
Under the message, your name was messily etched onto the lined paper along with a smiley face. Nolan could almost hear your feigned-snarkiness through your note.
Once all of the groceries were put away, Nolan returned to his room. He immediately plugged in his phone before pressing your name under his FaceTime contacts. It only took a couple of rings before you picked up. Your hair was in a loose ponytail, large glasses covering your face. You looked exhausted from the stress you were undoubtedly experiencing because of your soon-to-be-due paper, but your positive personality radiated through Nolan’s phone screen nonetheless.
“Should I feel guilty that my snack collection was so pathetic that a busy college student felt compelled to take time out of their day to buy me food?” Nolan joked.
“I felt guilty that we had been friends for months before I found out that your pantry was that pathetic,” you laughed. “But seriously, don’t worry about it. I was in the area and I know you’ve been super busy recently so I figured I could help you out. The cheez-its were the first thing I saw in the store and I thought of you and that conversation we had when I came to your place for the first time,” you sheepishly responded.
Every few seconds, your eyes would dart back to your laptop, where you were taking notes. Nolan knew that you would never want him to think that he was calling you at a bad time, but the laptop’s reflections on your glasses gave away your act. Of course he felt bad, but he was momentarily distracted by the warm feeling that overcame him. It was such a sweet gesture, and he would be lying if he said he didn’t get butterflies at the sound of your confession.
“Y/N you didn’t have to do this, but I really appreciate it. Thanks for the cookies, too. Pretty sure Hayesy destroyed half of the container before I even got home,” Nolan laughed.
“Oh, gosh,” you started, “in hindsight I probably should’ve texted you to let you know I was coming over, but I wanted to surprise you.”
Upon hearing you words, Nolan’s beaming smile grew impossibly wider. And to his dismay, the butterflies came back for a second time.
“Hey, I gotta go but I promise I’ll text you soon. My prof is out for blood with this assignment,” you groaned. “Maybe we can do dinner at your place now that you have more than two things in your fridge.”
Nolan laughed off your banter and nodded in agreement. He felt like a giddy school girl. “Yea, yea of course. We can pick up on ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ while we’re at it.”
“It’s a date,” you flashed him a thumbs up. “Oh, and I think your shirt’s on backwards,” you giggled and tugged at the collar of your own sweater to emphasize your point. Luckily for Nolan, you hung up before you could see his embarrassed expression.
Had it not been for the fact that you called your upcoming plans with Nolan a “date,” he would have cared more about his shirt issue. But, here he was laying in his bed and already counting down the days until he’d get to see you again.
He knew you meant it as a friend date, but could you blame him for envisioning what it’d be like to go on a romantic date with you? He wanted to bake homemade cookies with you, run his fingers through your hair when you were stressed from school, and become consumed in pointless conversations about anything and everything with you. Hell, he even wanted to help you proofread your school papers, even if he’d have no idea what the fuck the Pygmalion Effect is. He adored so many things about you and was more than willing to jump through hoops and hurdles if it meant he could be your source of happiness and support.
And that’s when Nolan knew he was in trouble. He had never let his mind drift this far, and he usually had enough self-restraint to stop himself from envisioning you as his girlfriend. He knew he needed to stop before he dug a hole for himself that he wouldn’t be able to get out of. But if he was being honest, Nolan quite liked the warm feeling he had from the thought of calling you his.
Oh god.
Nolan was so far gone for you. Kevin knew it, his teammates probably knew it from the dozens of times he managed to bring you up in conversations, and now he certainly knew it for himself. What he didn’t know, however, was if you felt the same feeling of anticipation in the pit of your stomach at the thought of being more than just friends.
+ her
After your FaceTime call with Nolan, you finally gathered enough motivation to finish your paper. You weren’t sure if it was because of your excitement to see Nolan or because you were sick of staring at your screen, but you were nonetheless relieved when you sent off the finalized version of your work.
The two of you eventually settled on meeting at his place on Saturday night, which was only a couple of days away.
If you were being frank with yourself, you knew that you were catching feelings for Nolan, but how could you not? He has immaculate music taste, is a great listener, and always knows the best ways to make your off-days better. Not long after you met him for the first time, you had a feeling that it wouldn’t take long for you to want a more-than-friends relationship with him. In fact, it was frightening to acknowledge how much better your life has been now that Nolan is involved. You were a little embarrassed that he was able to sweep you off your feet as quickly as he did, but you couldn’t control how you felt. Well, that’s at least what you kept telling yourself.
You weren’t entirely sure how to deal with your feelings for Nolan. You relied on familiarity and stability in your life, and if Nolan didn’t reciprocate your feelings towards him, there was no doubt all hell would break loose — at least for you. Per every rom-com you’ve ever watched, you were fully aware that unrequited feelings, in most cases, was a one-way ticket to a doomed and awkward friendship. If confessing your feelings towards an indifferent Nolan meant that your friendship with him would be jeopardized, you would gladly keep your thoughts to yourself.
It was hard, though. Sometimes he treated you like you were the only person in the room, and other times, it felt pretty clear that he only saw you in an extremely platonic light. Of course none of your friends could tell the difference between your interactions with the centerman because they always teased the two of you about needing to finally date each other. However, his mixed-signals convinced you that you had a chance with him on some nights and that you were overthinking everything the next.
As much as you wanted to tell Maya about your dilemma, you knew that she was terrible at keeping secrets. In any other circumstance, you would’ve told her that you liked someone the minute you found out. However, considering how her boyfriend’s a teammate of Nolan, it would have been game over if Joel knew. As much as he prided himself on having a tighter seal on secrets than Maya, he wasn’t much of an improvement from your best friend. You considered telling your other friends because you desperately needed someone to vent-out your feelings to, but you didn’t have the energy to explain how you ended up being wrapped around the fingers of a Philadelphia Flyers player.
So, here you were, in bed and confused. You were counting down the days until you’d get to see Nolan again, but you also wish you had more time to figure out what to do about your feelings. Part of you told you that you could handle pushing away your emotions for the few hours you would be with Nolan. The other (and more obnoxious) part of your brain, though, sent blaring red sirens through your body at the thought of your Plan A. It warned you that internalizing your feelings was a terrible idea and that no matter how tempting it would be to pretend like you weren’t falling for Nolan, maybe it’d be better to just rip off the bandaid and tell him.
You went back and forth between your two plans and were sure that if anyone could take a look into your brain, they would be faced with thoughts that were racing around at a million miles per hour. (And they’d probably  have pity on you.)
As if someone was witnessing your inner turmoil fetter within you in real time, it seemed like your prayers for more time were answered when you fell ill with a cold Saturday morning.
Sure, it wasn’t ideal. You sure as hell were not enjoying your congestion and occasional chills, but at least you had plenty of time to sort things out. It was disappointing to know that you wouldn’t get to see Nolan, but he was extremely understanding of your issue. He reassured you that you shouldn’t feel guilty for bailing, especially since you were sick. He even made you promise that you would get plenty of rest and that you wouldn’t apologize for something you couldn’t control.
With those words from Nolan, you took your promise to heart and slipped into a much-needed slumber.
+ him
“So, Patty, care to explain to Teeks what you were planning to use these candles for?” Hayesy teased as he plucked a tealight candle from its spot on the kitchen table.
Kevin knew you and Nolan had made plans for dinner, and he also happened to know that Nolan finally came to terms with his feelings for you. As much as he chirped the younger hockey player, he was glad that Nolan wasn’t beating around the bush anymore. Kevin adored you and had no doubt that you were a perfect match for his friend.
Travis, on the other hand, looked extremely confused. With furrowed eyebrows, he shifted his focus from the television to Nolan, who was sending death glares at his roommate.
“Well, I, um-” Nolan was cut off by Kevin.
“Patty here was gonna have a super-romantic, candle-lit dinner with the girl he’s been pining over for ages,” Kevin excitedly cut to the chase. If a bystander didn’t know any better, they’d think that Kevin was more ecstatic about the dinner than Nolan.
Those words definitely caught Travis’ attention. He got up from his spot from the couch and joined his two friends in the kitchen. “Wow, Pats,” he playfully shoved his friend's shoulder, “took you long enough. Was fully convinced I was gonna have to do something about your weak game.”
Nolan’s eyes widened upon hearing TK’s comments. Was he really that obvious?
He could barely comprehend his feelings for you just a couple of days ago, and he definitely didn’t tell Travis about these newly-discovered feelings yet. He didn’t even plan to tell Kevin about it. He fully intended to have you be the first to know, but Kevin managed to get Nolan to crack.
“Ok, fuck off,” Nolan mumbled. Sure, he was a little slow at realizing his feelings, but better late than never. “Y/N was supposed to come over for dinner tonight, but she’s sick,” Nolan explained. He purposefully left out the fact that he was toying with the idea of confessing his feelings for you after the now-cancelled dinner.
“Oh shit,” Travis was the first to speak up.
“Does that mean you’ll be cooking for us instead?” Kevin added, wiggling his eyebrows towards Nolan and fist-bumping Travis.
“No, I don’t know what it means, but I can tell you right now that there is no way in hell I’m cooking for you two slobs.” Nolan replied. “I was thinking of bringing soup over to her place as a surprise or something.”
At that, both Travis and Kevin’s faces told Nolan that they needed him to elaborate.
“What? She told me that she was craving soup, and Maya is on that road trip with Joel so I figured…” Nolan’s voice gradually decreased in volume.
Travis was the first to interject, “I, for one, think that’s a great idea. Gotta roll with the punches, you know?”
Of course, no conversation between the three guys would be completed without Kevin’s incessant teasing. “We can barely tolerate you when we’re fully healthy — what makes you think Y/N is gonna want to see you while she’s sick?” he chuckled.
“You’re such a pain in the ass,” Nolan groaned.
“You know you love me,” Hayesey playfully blew a kiss in Nolan’s direction. “Here, let TK and me help you with the soup. We gotta make sure it doesn’t make Y/N feel worse than she already does,” he suggested.
+ him & her
Staying true to his words, Kevin made sure Nolan’s attempt at making homemade soup went smoothly. After getting a thumbs-up from both of his teammates, Nolan filled some soup containers up and headed over to your place. He opted out from texting you about his arrival just in case you were sleeping and banked on the possibility that you still had a spare key under the small flower pot in front of your door.
Although Nolan nagged you for the key placement and insisted that it was a terrible hiding place for a key, he was grateful that it was still there when he arrived to your apartment’s door. Quietly letting himself in, he set the soup on the kitchen island before softly calling your name.
He quietly treaded to your room, which he’d only been in twice out of the dozens of times he had come over. Once he poked his head into your bedroom, he couldn’t stop his heart from overflowing with adoration for you. You were swaddled in a mountain of pillows and blankets. Your soft snores flowed through the room, and your messy hair partially covered your content face. You looked like you were at peace, and Nolan was glad to see that you were resting up.
The sight of you filled him with joy and he silently thanked his past-self for not calling and waking you up. Snapping himself out of his trance, Nolan had to remind himself that he was probably being extremely creepy. You probably wouldn’t let him live it down if you caught him, and he knew he wouldn’t have any excuse for his compromising position. Well, other than the fact that he was hopelessly falling for you and that everything you did made his feelings for you increasingly clear.
With it being close to dinnertime, Nolan figured that it wouldn’t be much longer until you woke up. He returned back into the living space of your apartment and found a comfortable place on the suede couch as he waited.
Sure enough, 15 minutes later, you emerged from your bedroom. “Nolan?” you softly murmured. The two syllables were coated in drowsiness, and Nolan swore he would’ve done anything to hear you utter his name like that again.
He looked up from his phone and suddenly had to remind himself how to breathe.
You were wrapped in a wool blanket, but a sliver of your sweater peaked out from the part where your blanket couldn’t fully cover. He’d recognize the black and orange pattern anywhere, but what stuck out to him was the “19” that was spread across the corner of your sweatshirt. Well, it was actually his sweatshirt if he wanted to get technical. His heart was beating out of his chest at the sight of you wearing his clothes and if he wasn’t sure if he was falling in love with you before, he was definitely sure now.
“I-, hi, Y/N. M’sorry for coming over like this, but I knew you said you wanted soup, and my mom has the really great chicken noodle soup recipe, and Teeks and Hayesy even helped me even though I’m not really sure if that was the best idea because Teeks almost mistook cinnamon for cayenne but-” Nolan started to ramble. He wasn’t sure why he was so flustered. It was the first time he’d gone out of his way this much for a girl and he was subconsciously stalling just in case you might’ve perceived his act of kindness as something that was way too creepy and something that supposed just-friends don’t do.
“Nols,” you started, “that’s so sweet of you, but you didn’t have to do that! I could’ve just sent for an UberEats so you wouldn’t have had to go through all of that trouble for me.”
Nolan wanted to stop you and let you know that he’d swim across the Atlantic Ocean for you. However, he settled for something a little less revealing. “Don’t worry, Y/N, I promise I wanted to do this. Plus if I didn’t, how would I have gotten to see you wearing my number?” he smirked.
Your gaze slowly descended to your body, where you were in fact wearing Nolan’s sweater. He forgot to take it home the last time he was over at your place, and you couldn’t help that it looked extremely comfy. A rush of blood and warmth flooded through your face. “I started wearing it because I missed you and it smells like your cologne,” you cringed for including that last detail, “but it’s actually so soft and I don’t think I’ll be returning this,” you tightened the blanket around you to emphasize your point.
Were you trying to kill Nolan? His brain was overloaded with emotions and this was probably the nail in the coffin. This was it for him. In the few seconds following your explanation, he knew he’d do everything in his power to get to see you like this for the rest of his life. He was sure a younger version of himself would’ve laughed at him for being so dramatic, but he also knew that his younger-self hadn’t met you yet.
“You pull off the sweater better than I do, so you can keep it,” he cheekily smiled. His eyes couldn’t decide if they’d rather look at your sleep-pampered face or his sweatshirt that engulfed you.
“What rom-com movie did you pull that line from?” you chuckled.
He dramatically gasped, “I’m truly offended.” He also took note of how you’ve been standing in the same place for minutes, “Also, why are you standing so far away? Promise I don’t bite,” Nolan joked while he reached out in your direction with grabby hands.
“I don’t wanna get you sick. Don’t know how your coach would feel if you caught the cold with the season so close,” you reasoned with a playful tone.
“That’s a later problem. Please c’mere, I missed you too much,” his eyes pleaded with yours. How could you say no when he had that look on his face?
You hesitatingly approached Nolan, still trying to keep your distance from him. You genuinely didn’t want to get him sick, but you were also still deciding about whether or not you wanted to bury away your feelings for him or let him know what was on your mind. You weren’t expecting Nolan to come over, and you were now wishing that you spent some of your snooze time on sorting out your Nolan dilemma.
Taking a few strides forward, you reached the coffee table that was only a meter or so away from Nolan. Apparently that distance was still too far for Nolan, though, because he grabbed for your hand and tugged you into his body. His scent instantly overcame your senses and you promptly relaxed into his hold. Your body was awkwardly positioned over his but his tight grip on you, which shifted down to your hips, gave no sign that Nolan wanted you to get off of him. With this signal, you repositioned yourself so each of your legs found a home on either side of his lap. His arms wrapped around your body, and your chest was pressed against his as you nuzzled your head between the junction of his neck and shoulder.
For a while, neither of you said anything. It was a serene moment and truthfully, neither of you needed to exchange words to express how much you both cared for one another. There was no better way to make up for lost time than to fully appreciate the other’s presence, and neither of you were in a rush to get out of the situation that you two were in.
Occasionally, Nolan would pepper kisses along your hairline and twirl your hair along his fingers. Praying that you couldn’t feel how fast his heart was beating, he tried his best to calm the thoughts that were incessantly running through his mind. Nolan never wanted this delicate moment to end for multiple reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason, though, was because he was trying to formulate the right way to tell you how he felt about you. He wasn’t sure if he’d find a more perfect time than this one, and he wanted to make sure that everything he was going to say to you would properly express how much he cared for you and wanted you in his life as a more-than-friend.
Another few moments passed before he finally mustered up the courage to break the silence.
“I love you,” he breathed out.
He waited for your response, but was only met with a deafening silence. Unfortunately for Nolan, he never got to see your reaction to his confession because your drowsy state seemed to pull you into another sleeping trance just as quickly as Nolan spoke the three words.
+ her
Following the night that Nolan had come over to bring you soup, the two of you became a lot more physically affectionate. Whether it was cuddles on your couch or hugs that lingered for a little too long, you knew you were chartering into dangerous territory. You didn’t treat any of your guy friends in the same way you did Nolan, and somewhere along the road, you knew this shift in dynamic was precariously dancing between the line of platonic and romantic.
Maya and Joel picked up on it, too. Nearly every chance they got, the two attempted to get you or Nolan to finally confess that things had changed. They were never successful, however. Nolan would always brush off Joel’s inquiries and play off the situation. As for yourself, you ultimately decided to keep your feelings to yourself, too scared to lose the special connection you had with Nolan.
You had done a decent job of keeping your feelings locked away in the depths of your heart until the season opener for the Flyers.
Nolan had asked you to go, and as much as you would love nothing more than to root on your best friend, you were called into work at the last minute. You tried your best to see if any of your other co-workers could pick up the shift, but you were stuck watching the game from your phone as you begrudgingly got through your shift. You couldn’t forget the way Nolan’s excited expression fell after you told him you couldn’t make it and even though your shift was scheduled to end during the game’s third period, there was no way you would have made it to the Wells Fargo Center in time.
After your shift, you took out your phone and swiped through your friend’s SnapChat stories. Since Maya went to the game to support Joel, you had the apartment to yourself. Clicking on your best friend’s name on the app, you smiled as you watched the video that she’d put on her story. The Flyers clinched their first win for the season, and based on Maya’s story, it looked like everyone had gone to a nearby bar to celebrate. Despite the fact that her story was a video of Joel, that’s not what caught your attention.
Instead, it was the sight of a man in the background, his arms draped around a girl who was cozily perched upon his lap. His chin was resting on her shoulder, and you knew from the unmistakable rosy cheeks that the man was Nolan. Although the image lasted no more than a few seconds as the frame of Maya’s camera moved, you suddenly felt yourself become nauseous. Your fingers moved by themselves, torturing you as you watched the video over and over again to make sure you weren’t playing mind games on yourself.
You weren’t sure how to react. A mix of hurt and jealousy swarmed your body, sending shivers of confusion through it. You knew you had no right to be so upset. After all, Nolan and you never had a conversation about where you two stood. You two were still just friends — even though you’ve known for a while that your interactions with Nolan have meant much more to you than you’d let on. For all you knew, you could have been mistaking Nolan’s physical affection for something more. For all you knew, the physical affection never made Nolan’s heart beat race in the same way it did with yours.
Nolan wasn’t yours, but you so badly wish he were. You became increasingly frustrated at yourself for letting your heart believe that there was something more between you and Nolan. You knew you were playing a risky game — a game that you had just lost, because it became painfully apparent that Nolan only ever saw you as a friend. The video continued to play, though your clouded vision and mind drowned out its volume. A teardrop slipped down your heated cheeks and pattered onto your phone screen. You berated yourself with what-ifs, wondering if you could have done anything different to be able to call Nolan yours. Maybe it was never meant to be, but that didn’t mean that you didn’t beat yourself up over the situation.
Ditching your plans to immediately sleep after getting home from work, you made a beeline to the kitchen’s wine cabinet. You now let your tears run freely and let yourself drown in affliction. You didn’t even flinch when Maya and Joel entered the apartment, who both rushed to you with concern after they noticed your tear-splotched shirt and face that was swollen and red from crying.
Not used to seeing their typically calm and collected friend in such a state of disarray, the couple wasn’t quite sure how to approach the issue. For what felt like the first time in forever, you decided to be transparent with your thoughts. You had spent so long compartmentalizing your feelings that the need to let them out and the countless glasses of wine had you admitting your feelings for Nolan to the two. You didn’t want their pity, and you were thankful that they let you speak without interruption. Your words, though slurred, clearly explained how you felt foolish for falling for Nolan in the first place. You explained how your friendship with Nolan had evolved into something much more for you and how you couldn’t pretend like you didn’t love him as more than just a friend anymore.
At the end of your spiel, Maya and Joel shared a knowing look with each other. Maya looked like she was fuming, though she tried her best to maintain composure as she pulled you into a hug. You almost missed the way Joel cursed under his breath, calling Nolan an idiot. They were so sure Nolan had felt something towards you, and weren’t sure how to respond when you drunkenly asked what you did wrong for Nolan to be oblivious to the way that you only had eyes for him.
As much as they loved Nolan, they adored you just as much and felt terrible for the pain that you were going through.
Apparently not terrible enough to postpone movie nights, however. Some time down the road, you, Nolan, Maya, Joel, Travis, and Kevin made a habit of gathering for a few hours each week to watch movies and hang out. You almost forgot about it in your moping state until Maya brought up a few days later that it was your and Maya’s turn to host. The blood drained out of your face when she reminded you, and your first instinct was to come up with an excuse to miss the night at all costs. You didn’t want to ruin the budding tradition, but you weren’t ready to see Nolan either.
As much as it hurt to still be in contact with Nolan, the thought of cutting him off hurt just as much. So, you subjected yourself to the heartache of talking to someone as if you weren’t enamored with. After the night of your break down, Nolan tried texting and calling you as usual. Although you weren’t ignoring him, you kept your texts brief and the phone calls even shorter. You felt bad for creating a wall between you and Nolan, especially since he wasn’t sure what was going on with you. He often asked what was on your mind, but you typically brushed it off and churned out a half-true excuse about being busy with school before cutting your conversations with him short.
Maya understood your discomfort with the situation, and offered to call off the movie night. You quickly objected, not wanting to ruin the night for the others just because you were battling your own demons. You told her that the movie night could go on at your shared apartment, and that you would find something to keep you out of the house for a while.
Your escape from the apartment came in the form of Austin, a boy from your psych class. Although you two didn’t speak to one another much, his kind eyes and bashful smile always led you to gladly agree whenever he’d asked to sit in the open spot next to you in the lecture hall.
One day, after you offered your notes to him for a day he missed, he offered to take you out for dinner in return. Although you were hesitant at first, you couldn’t think of any cons that would weigh out the opportunity for a free meal and spending a few hours with the charming boy. Plus, he had mentioned that he was a transfer student from out of state, and you knew how much you would have appreciated a few friends from school when you first moved to the city. Ultimately agreeing to his proposition, you gave him your number and scheduled the dinner for the same night and time as the movie night.
When the night of your plans with Austin came around, you made sure to leave your apartment before the guys were coming over. Because you felt guilty for skipping on the movie night, you attempted to help Maya set up the snack. However, Maya insisted that you shouldn’t keep Austin waiting and that she could handle the food herself. When you told her about Austin, she was ecstatic for you. She knew how difficult the past week has been for you and nearly screeched with excitement when you told her that you had actual plans for the weekend.
She gave you a hug and reminded you to call her if you were in an emergency before practically pushing you out of the door.
+ her
The night with Austin went better than planned, and you genuinely enjoyed yourself. Not wanting to give Austin any false impressions, you made sure that the night was strictly platonic. Luckily for you, Austin was incredibly understanding. Although you didn’t miss the look of slight disappointment on his face when you told him that you weren’t interested in being anything more than friends, he respected your decision and upheld his offer for dinner.
Quickly, you found out that you two had a similar sense of humor. Austin was easy to talk to and eventually, you opened up to him about Nolan. You nearly apologized for doing so — you weren’t planning to drop your baggage on a boy that you barely knew. However, Austin was surprisingly good at giving advice and even recounted some of his own stories about unreturned feelings. It was nice to be able to talk to someone that could relate to you.
Knowing that Nolan was at your apartment, Austin suggested that you two get dessert and explore the city to make sure that the hockey player would be gone before you got home. At first, you turned down his idea, jokingly arguing that he didn’t have to spend his whole Saturday night with you out of pity. In spite of your protests, Austin promised that he wanted to continue spending time with you and didn’t mind the idea of getting ice cream.
You didn’t return home until it was nearly midnight. You were sure that the boys would have already headed home, since they had a morning skate the next day.
Opening the door, you were shocked to see that everyone was still in the apartment, eyes occupied on the Marvel movie on the television. Your eyes immediately landed on Nolan’s figure, and you contemplated your next actions.
Settling on trying to go unnoticed by the group, you tried your best to discreetly enter your home and head to your room. With everyone's backs turned away from you, you almost made it to your room safely.
You were so close until your keys loudly fell onto the floor as you tried to remove them from the lock. Instantly, everyone’s heads turned to the front door. Someone turned on the living room’s lights, and you became uncomfortably aware of everyone’s attention on you.
You flashed them a smile, and Maya was the first to speak.
“How was your date?” she slyly questioned, making sure that everyone in the room heard her.
You raised an eyebrow at her question. Maya knew that the night with Austin wasn’t a date. However, the way she glanced at Nolan reminded you that he and the other guys, for that matter, didn’t know that. Not wanting to entertain whatever plan she was brewing in her mind, you tried not to acknowledge her question, flashing her a nervous smile.
“You ditched us for a date?” Travis gasped incredulously, clenching his hand above his heart for the added dramatic effect.
“Is that why the cookies were weird? I knew something was wrong with them when I nearly broke a tooth trying to eat one,” Hayesy laughed as an embarrassed Maya threw a pillow in his direction. You chuckled along with the joke, knowing that you should’ve stuck around to help her bake them. You made sure to promise not to miss the next movie night and even reassured Kevin that you would make a fresh batch of cookies just for him next time.
As Joel chimed in with the others about your “date,” Nolan remained oddly quiet.
His body language was stiff, and his eyes were mostly glued to his lap. He was playing with his fingers and refused to look you in the eyes. He almost looked uncomfortable, his smile forced whenever someone made another funny remark. Although everyone seemed oblivious to it, you couldn’t help but notice the way Nolan was biting the inside of his cheek. It was a habit that you noticed before, but you usually only ever saw him do it when he was in deep concentration or thought. You wouldn’t lie and say that it didn’t hurt to see that Nolan didn’t even acknowledge your presence. Of course he didn’t owe you anything, but your heart didn’t necessarily know that.
You didn’t want to overanalyze anything, though. So, after chuckling at their comments, you headed to your room to remove your makeup and change into the oversized tee shirt and lounge shorts that you had been looking forward to changing into ever since you left the apartment.
“Calling it a night already?”
Upon hearing the question, you nearly had to do a double take. It was the first time you had heard Nolan’s voice all night. The lack of inflection in his voice transformed the previously light-hearted atmosphere thick with tension.
“Um, yea. It’s been a long night and I don’t know how much longer I can keep my eyes open,” you curtly responded with the first excuse that you could come up with, continuing en route to your room without sparing Nolan another glance. You gave everyone in the living space a small wave before you slipped into your room.
Although your reasoning was partially true, you didn’t know if you could handle being so close to Nolan at the moment. The two of you had gotten used to snuggling up together during movie nights and with your current emotional disarray, you didn’t want to put yourself in the position where you had to pretend like you weren’t still hurt at the thought of Nolan not seeing you in the same light that you saw him. And, regardless of how idiotic Nolan’s teammates could act at times, you knew they were pretty observant — especially when it came to you and Nolan’s complex friendship. If you decided to join in on the movie night but sit in any seat that wasn’t next to Nolan, they'd undoubtedly pick up on it.
Even though you thought your excuse was enough to get by your attentive friends, everyone in the room —bar Nolan— exchanged knowing looks with each other after once they heard the lock of your doorknob click into place. They knew how much you loved movie nights and how you were usually a night owl, regardless of how busy your day was. In fact, it was usually you that begged for an extra movie to be played when everyone was ready to call it a night.
More importantly, they knew you had a soft spot for Nolan. They weren’t ignorant to the way you’d sprint through hoops and hurdles to spend time with Nolan, mostly because they noticed how Nolan would go great lengths to see you, too. It had been a while since you last saw Nolan, and they figured that you would jump on the chance to be in your best friend’s presence again. Of course Maya had to play along, pretending as if she didn’t know why you were avoiding Nolan.
Even though Nolan was a little more subtle with his actions and words, it was no secret that Nolan missed you. His question from earlier was his way of asking you if everything was alright and if you wanted to spend time with him, and your deflection to his implied questions told everyone what they needed to know.
They weren’t quite sure what was going on between you and Nolan, but they knew things weren’t the same as they used to be.
Noting the way Nolan’s shoulders sunk after you disappeared into your bedroom, Maya was the first to rise from her seat. The mood of the night quickly became awkward after Nolan’s short-lived interaction with you, and Maya had no intention of having to sit through another hour of the movie if it were going to be this uncomfortable. She also hoped to talk to you before you actually went to sleep.
“Well, I think I’m gonna head to bed, too. I have to pick up an early shift tomorrow,” she explained as she gathered her blankets from the couch. “You’re staying the night, right?” she asked Joel.
Painfully aware of the newfound tension, her boyfriend silently nodded and helped Maya bring the rest of the throw pillows and blankets.
“You all can finish the rest of the movie,” Maya nodded towards Nolan, Travis, and Kevin. “Just lock up on your way out once it’s over. There should be a spare key under the flower pot outside.” Waving to the guys in the living room, Maya tugged Joel into her room and shut the door.
And then there were three.
+ him
Nolan’s jaw was beginning to ache from how hard he was clenching his teeth together. He didn’t know how to take in the rollercoaster of emotions that he had been feeling for the past few days. He wasn’t oblivious to the barrier that seemed to build up between you and him, but he didn’t know how that wall formed in the first place, let alone how to get over it.
He thought the past few days had been rocky, but he was certainly not prepared for his heartstrings to be pulled into so many directions tonight.
Nolan was looking forward to seeing you in person and was more than disheartened to hear that you were out for the night after he awkwardly asked Maya about your whereabouts. Your roommate didn’t go into the specifics of why you were missing out on the movie night, so he was left to his own devices to figure out where you were.
Of course he could’ve texted you, but given your erratic reply rates as of late, he resorted to refreshing his SnapChat and Instagram apps every once in a while to see if you were posting about where you were spending your weekend night.
Nolan wanted to understand why there was a strain in the relationship and more than anything, he needed your reassurance to know that everything was alright. He partly thought you were distancing yourself from him because he had made his feelings for you too obvious and you didn’t see him in that same way. The theory wasn’t even farfetched. His friends always made fun of him for being so whipped for you, and Nolan knew that you hated letting others down. Throughout his friendship with you, he had quickly learned that you would much rather deal with the brunt of someone else’s problems than to let them down. The thought of you distancing yourself from Nolan just because you only saw him as just a friend hurt Nolan, and he needed to let you know that he’d much rather deal with his feelings being unreciprocated than to have you fade away from his life.
Nolan also thought that he said something wrong and made you upset. However, after replaying all of the conversations he had with you leading up to your new treatment towards him, he didn’t know what he would have said that would have made you this indifferent to him.
Your social media gave no hints as to what you were doing, so Nolan let his imagination run wild with all of the reasons why you would’ve skipped movie night, especially when you were usually so excited about them.
When you entered the apartment a few hours after his arrival, Nolan felt his heartbeat begin to thrum as loud as a kick drum. All of the hypothetical situations that were previously occupying his mind were now invaded with thoughts about how good you looked. Nolan recognized the denim jacket you were wearing as the one that you had gotten a few months ago. He had just finished an afternoon practice when you FaceTimed him and couldn’t contain your excitement about finding the “most perfect article of clothing” you’ve ever owned. Although Nolan chirped you for driving so far away just for a jacket, the ecstatic expression on your face that day was one he’d never forget. It was also one that he so desperately craved to see for the rest of his life.
Just as quickly as he was brought out of his slump from seeing you, he was rudely pulled back down to reality after Maya asked you about your date. Needless to say, the warmth that filled his heart left as quickly as it had entered. Jealousy consumed Nolan, and he was momentarily blinded by a pain that he couldn’t quite describe.
As his friends joke around with you, Nolan struggled comprehending the thought of you with another guy. He had no right to be upset, really. Not when he couldn’t muster up the courage to tell you how he felt and especially not when your eyes were twinkling with so much elation.
Throughout the friendship Nolan had developed with you, you never mentioned that you were going on dates or seeking relationships. The hopeless romantic in him let him believe that maybe, just maybe, you were saving your heart for the right person. For him.
However, the breathy chuckle you released after Maya’s question shattered any amount of hope that Nolan had built up. Now, instead of butterflies, Nolan’s stomach was filled with a piercing ache. As if he wanted to punish himself more for not being more vocal about his feelings for you, Nolan attempted to ask you to join the movie night. Sure, maybe he wasn’t exactly direct with his words, but he was hoping you’d pick up on his hint. Nolan shouldn’t have been so surprised when you decided to go to your room instead of joining him and the others, but the already-tense coil in his stomach continued to tighten.
After you went to your room, followed by Maya and Joel, Nolan looked at the remaining people in the room.
“We’re sorry, Pat,” Travis was the first to speak. His words were laced with sympathy, knowing how much his friend was head over heels for you.
Moving from his seat to stand over his younger teammate, Kevin rose from the couch and rubbed Nolan’s shoulder. “Let’s head home, yea?” Kevin attempted to dance around the topic of you.
“I’ll meet you two in the car. Just need to clear my head for a bit,” Nolan muttered to his understanding friends.
Quietly, Travis and Kevin left the apartment, making sure to shut the door carefully as to not disturb their teammate.
+ him & her
Thinking you were in the clear after hearing the front door close, you left your room in hopes of making a mug of tea.
You felt bad for avoiding Nolan, but you didn’t know how else to deal with the thousands of thoughts that cycled through your brain.
To say you were unprepared to see Nolan in your living would be an understatement. His arms were propped on his knees and his face was cradled by his hands. His shoulders were slouched and his tousled hair looked as if he had run his hands through it multiple times.
You weren’t sure if you should’ve just turned back around and locked yourself in your room, but your instincts beckoned you to come closer to Nolan. No matter how hurt you were, he was your best friend first and foremost. If there was anything you could do to bring him out of his clear distress, you would do it without a second thought.
“Nolan?” you meekly called out his name.
Nolan slowly moved his head just enough so he could hear the source of the sound. Unintentionally mimicking your facial expression, he looked just as stunned to see you. “Sorry, I thought you would’ve already been asleep. I was uh- I was just about to head out,” he timidly said.
“Stay as long as you need. I’ve been trying to sleep but didn’t have much luck, so I’m hoping tea will help. Haven’t been able to get a good sleep for a while now,” you explained while opening a kitchen cupboard for a mug.
“Me neither. Things haven’t felt right recently,” he sighed. After his statement, the apartment was eerily quiet. Neither of you wanted to say anything else, scared of stepping over any boundaries or maybe the situation even more awkward.
You’re not sure what gears clicked into place, but you felt compelled to finally tell Nolan what was on your mind. The guilt of ignoring him was eating away at you, and you felt like you at least owed your best friend an explanation as to why you needed space from him. After you dropped the tea bag into your mug, you walked back towards the living space to where Nolan was still sitting.
“Look, I’m sorry,” you started.
Nolan didn’t say anything, his eyes pleading with you to continue with what you were saying.
“I’m just gonna lay everything out because I know I’m not gonna be brave enough to do this on any other occasion,” you prefaced, making sure Nolan was paying attention to what you were saying. You were already embarrassed that you had managed to think that Nolan could ever like you, and you did not want to have to verbally explain your emotional affliction more than one.
“I don’t really know when, but I caught feelings for you. At first I wasn’t sure what to do about it, because everyone always warns about falling for your best friend and I didn’t want to make things awkward between us if you didn’t feel the same,” you continued with your explanation, eventually getting to the part where you saw Nolan and the girl on Maya’s story.
“It just sucked, y’know? I thought I was doing a good job of suppressing my feelings and then I saw that. Obviously it’s not like we were dating or anything and I never told you how I felt at the time, but having that confirmation that there wasn’t actually anything between us was like a kick to the gut.”
“I feel terrible for letting my feelings get in the way of our friendship and reading all of the signs wrong. I don’t wanna lose you because of this, and I’m really trying to get over my silly feelings becau-” you were cut off by Nolan.
“What if I don’t want you to get over those feelings?” he said while approaching the spot you were standing in.
Your heart dropped to the pit of your stomach. You weren’t sure if you were hearing things right or if you were so sleep deprived that you were starting to make things up. “I-I’m not following,” you silently begged Nolan to continue.
“I liked you, too,” he confessed. “Well, I still like you. If I’m being honest, I think I’m in love with you,” he admitted all in one breath. “I thought it would be easier to try to get over you instead of dealing with the possibility of ruining our friendship just because I caught feelings,” he elaborated.
“Obviously it didn’t work, though. And I ended up messing up things between us anyway, so it really didn’t work,” he sighed with a hint of resignation in his tone. He wasn’t sure if he was referring to ruining the friendship, his chance of getting to call you his, or both. Upon that thought, Nolan became even more dejected after he was reminded about how you were just on a date a few hours ago.
Your head was spinning with each word. Every fiber in your body was consumed by joy, and you were now wide awake. Nolan was now only standing a few feet away from you. You still hadn’t replied to his confession, and you could tell that he was becoming increasingly nervous as he awaited your reaction. With that realization, you were drawn out of your thoughts. Your heart was lodged in your throat, and you knew that no words could articulate the words you wanted to tell Nolan, anyway.
With that, you closed the distance between the two of you. Your hands grabbed his and although he flinched a little bit, he welcomed your gesture and interlaced your fingers with him.
Going on your tiptoes to come a little closer to your face, you become hyper-aware of Nolan’s burning gaze. His face is painted with a light blush, and he’s biting the inside of his cheeks again.
“I hope this is okay,” is the last thing you whisper before you connect your lips to his.
Instinctively, Nolan’s hands pulled away from yours to find a home on your hips. He pulled you closer, attempting to deepen the kiss. The kiss was soft, reassuring, and everything in between. Nolan couldn’t stop the smile that was tugging on his lips, and had to pull away to make sure that this was actually happening.
He was met with your confused face, your eyebrows scrunched in the cutest way. His smile promptly turned into a smirk as you tried to pull him into a kiss, your shorter height causing you to barely graze the corner of his lips.
When Nolan released a chuckle, you started to become impatient. “What?” you questioned while narrowing your eyes towards the rosy-cheeked boy in front of you.
“Does this mean I’m forgiven?” he cheekily asked.
“Only if I get a second kiss,” you said with gleaming eyes, fingertips grazing along his jawline. With those words, Nolan wasted no time fulfilling your wish and peppering your neck with dozens of chaste kisses.
The two of you were so consumed with the high of finally getting to hear the other admit their feelings that neither of you heard the sound of the front door violently swinging open.
“Patty, where the fuck are yo-” Travis called, immediately realizing the moment he was intruding on. “You know what, I think I’m just gonna head out. Have a good night!” he awkwardly chuckled, undoubtedly embarrassed. He sent the two of you a thumbs up before quickly shutting the door as if he never interrupted.
“Oh my god,” Nolan said, his head falling into your shoulder and arms wrapping around your body. “I forgot that TK and Hayesy were waiting for me to come down. It’s probably been like half an hour at this point,” his laugh rumbled through your bones.
“Stay the night?” you offered. “Maybe I can finally get more than four hours of sleep,” you laughed.
“Mm, sounds like a plan,” Nolan peppered kisses along your neck before scooping you into his arms and heading to your bedroom.
Although both of you knew that there would be a lot to talk about the following morning, neither of you wanted to disrupt the current state of bliss that both of you were in. You and Nolan’s hearts were finally intertwined, and for now, that was enough to engulf you in ease.
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merscylilith · 4 months ago
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TOKREV Manga spoiler
Ch.262 ⚠️
Masterlist
Before we start , Takeomi just suspiciously, never been mentioned or no appearance at all. It would be understandable if he really didnt wanted to do with any of deliquent world anymore, but it just hurt if he in silencely beside with Mikey , because Takeomi seems adore how Mikey handle the business, and in which chapter i forgot, but the olace definitely in Brahman's headquarter and Takeomi's gaze really,sus. Let's think positive, the only reason Takeomi didnt involved in any battle between KMG and Toman this time, he might doesnt want worsen the relationship between his sibling, and it was a good decision for him, and Sanzu better not touched his tip katana on Takeomi
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Not gonna lie, when i saw Chifuyu, it always reminds me of Draken. Chifuyu literally the glimpse of Draken, who's always protect the captain no matter what.
Wait, there's 4 type of reaction.
Bored, Anger, Rage and Passion ^^
But Hanma is the most relatable one if we heard our enemy says something annoying.
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How deep you wanted Haru ? T^T
I really love Haru, and that's make me think i should go to theraphy, for cheerjng everything he does.
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The thread of possible activate of Mikey's Dark Impulse was definitely from the dark emotion that cant control. So, the assumption of number 2 from my post yesterday was right. The reason of Mikey's dark impulse activate because his ego of being invisble Mikey got scratch when he heard the spirit of his opponents come to alive.
His dark emotion like, anger and sadness. I have noticed Mikey, never have any emotion other than, anger, happy and sad.
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The difference between Sanzu and Mitsuya. If Mikey didnt time leaping, Mikey surely fallen into darkness with no one stay with him. Mikey have no friend at all. Baji ? Other Toman founder ? Im sorry, they are might be a friend but i was referring to real friend that will put up with Mikey's attitude, Draken is a good example of his real friend. But to think Draken have Mitsuya, Baji have Kazutora, Pah-chin and Peh-yan. And Sanzu indeed know how to triggered Mikey's dark impulse and he's ready to have something else after this.
S, there are no one stay with him at the very end. Draken die in when he being in a gang when he shouldnt have to, but he did, in order to save Mikey and Im glad Takemichi willingly sacrificed himself to save Mikey, to prove Mikey that he deserved love and good future.
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He smile ?!?!?! Crazy man. Im just thinking that Sanzu being enjoy when he felt the pain as if the violence Mikey hold to show the appreciation for him. Oh wait, Sanzu smile when he saw Mikey's dark imoulse in this battle, reminds me of Mikey asked him smile when he ripped of Sanzu's side mouth ( giving scars ).
The explaination of Mikey's dark impulse definitely had something to do with Sanzu.
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Everyone...passout ? Now, what's Mikey ? Who's gonna step up front. To think that Senju not this scenes where Mikey beat her, maybe she would step toward Mikey ? As she wanted to settle down the misunderstood from their childhood, i guess ???
Ok, i have nothing much discussion about this released since i have been make a lot post for this chapter.
And bonus :
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Im dying to know what the contains of this book. Might be their friendship.
Im sleep but i earger to play game right now.
masterlist
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justkending · a year ago
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Moral of the Story. Chapter Four.
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Summary: Marrying too young out of highschool leads to a naive and failed marriage. Now 10 years later, word comes that the divorce was never actually completed. Bucky and Y/N have to come back together after all this time to settle what wasn’t all those years back. Passive attitudes, miscommunicated endings, and reminiscing of old loves and lives all comes back for the two.
Pairing: Bucky x Y/N
Word Count:
A/N: 
Chapter Four:
Bucky groaned as the alarm blared throughout the room. Rolling over to his side, he threw his head into the pillow. That didn’t stop the beeping like he had hoped, so with a groan he pushed up, smacking the red numbers that screamed at him. He rolled back onto his back and blinked up at the bare ceiling.
Today was the day…
_________________
Y/N couldn’t seem to sleep at all, so she woke up early at 6:30 jumping into the shower. Having the extra time, she took it to have a nice long soak in the hot water. The schedule of the day running through her mind.
The chance of them running into each other was practically at 100%. They had a time frame of 9-10 to get in and sign what they needed. Mr. Murdock said something along the lines that it would take about 30-45 minutes to get everything finalized and copied. 
So yeah… Within an hour frame of needed 30-45 minutes of signing shit and getting multiple copies made, meant Bucky and her would most likely be sitting next to the other as it was done. 
She let out a tired and irritated moan as she finally decided to turn off the water. She had it running for so long, her hands were prunes and the water was becoming lukewarm. The world was telling her to suck it up and move on with the day. 
____________
The car ride there was dreadful. Every stop light just elongated the inevitable meeting. Every turn brought him closer to the terrifying reunion. 
He was running early to begin with, but after hitting traffic from a wreck, he was now running just a few minutes behind. So weaving through the people who didn’t understand New York traffic was his specialty in showing up in time. 
____________
She stopped at the coffee shop by her house before really heading to the attorneys office. The car ride to the place was easy and smooth on her end. From coming from the outskirts of Brooklyn, the inner city traffic was avoided for the most part. So she was there early. She even had a second to sit in her car and drink the latte she had bought. Something about Brooklyn latte’s was 10x better than anything California had.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact they actually had cold weather to pair the hot drink with, whereas where she now lived, the lowest low in temperatures was 70 degrees. 
________________
Getting there with just 3 minutes to spare, Bucky rushed out of the car and walked with a hint of speed to the door that read Nelson and Murdock Law Firm. 
No sign of Y/N yet, but as he walked in, he heard a shout from the street that caused him to turn as soon as he walked in. He didn’t have a second to register what the shout was about as he took two steps in and ran straight into someone’s back. 
“Whoa!” he said, using his hands to brace himself on the mystery person's shoulders, and the other person making the same exclamation. “Oh God, I’m so sor-”
Before he could finish the apology, the women turned showing the face of his matured high-school-sweetheart. 
“Oh,” he let out in a breathy turn. He could tell just from past experience with her, she had a snarky comment on her tongue at the run in, but upon seeing him, the words died on her lips. “Hey.”
She looked great. Like, really great after all these years. Not that she wasn’t a beautiful gal to begin with, but you never know how someone’s going to age. However, she looked almost the same. 
Sure, she had aged some, but just like a nice bottle of the finest wine in all the vineyards of California. Maybe that was her secret given her new home. 
Her Y/H/C hair was styled in loose curls. It was voluminous with a healthy shine to it. She had on an off white, canvas dress that cinched at the waist with buttons going down it. And she had a layered gold necklace going down her chest where the buttons were undone. She looked both professional yet casual at the same time. 
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Bucky realized he had been staring when she awkwardly looked around her trying to not pay attention to his analyzing eyes. 
“Hey,” she said, letting out a deep breath. 
She didn’t miss how good he looked either. Even in those facebook pictures that she had found the night before, the ones she found him just as attractive, they didn’t do the real man justice. His hair was just as long as the most recent picture his mother had posted, and he looked more muscular than she ever remembered. The scrubs didn't do his build justice. 
He was wearing a navy blue v-neck tight fitting t-shirt. A brown leather jacket that looked as though it was tailored specifically for him and him alone. And lastly, he had on a pair of jeans that of course, fit in him all the right places. 
There was a very awkward silence as they stood there not knowing what else to say. Neither now looking at the other, but instead looking at every little inanimate object item in the office. 
After what felt like eons of the most tense silence to exist, Bucky was about to speak up again, but was cut off from another person running in late.
“Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry guys,” the voice sighed, out of breath from what they presumed was running to get there on time. “Foggy was supposed to pick me up and we were going to ride together, but he got food poisoning last night, so I had to take the train last minute.”
The man had dark brown hair, a nice suit, and a pair of sunglasses on even though it was overcast today and the sun was barely peeking through the heavy clouds. 
“Foggy?” Y/N asked with a tilt of her head. 
Bucky turned back looking at her with the same question on his mind, but watching the small action of confusion brought him back 10 years. God, it had been so long he had almost forgotten the little mannerisms she had that he found adorable. And damn her for still having that adorable action. 
“Oh, right. Franklin Nelson. My co-attorney,” he nodded. “We’ve been friends since we were in college. Friends call him Foggy.”
“Oh, I see,” Y/N nodded with a kind smile. 
“Anyway, I won’t bore you with my morning chaos. I’m sure you two are ready to get this over with and go on about your day,” he smiled, and pulled a walking stick out from around him as he closed the door. One that neither had realized he had been holding until now. “You two much be James and Y/N. It’s nice to meet you, I’m Matthew Murdock.
“It’s nice to meet you Matthew,” Y/N replied sweetly.
“Yes, thank you for helping us out,” Bucky nodded, placing his hands nervously in his pockets. 
“It’s my pleasure. I’m so sorry about everything that you guys are having to fix,” he said apologetically. But I’m sure you guys want to go about your day, so please, right this way,” he motioned to the door that was across from them. 
Bucky and Y/N both shared an impressed look on their faces as they watched him maneuver through the office gracefully. 
They followed close behind him and once they were seated in the chairs in front of the desk, Bucky began to fidget in his spot. Sure the office had been redone and really didn’t look much like it had all those years ago, but the layout was the same. And all it was doing to him was bringing back memories he hated trudging back to the surface. 
He subtly looked over at Y/N and saw her sitting in perfect posture watching Matthew as if if she were to look at him and only him, then she wouldn’t have to face Bucky. 
Why did he expect anything less? Of course she hated him just as much as she had all those years. She was probably dreading this meeting just as much as him. That small speck of hope that maybe they could be somewhat normal and civil upon meeting again after all this time, completely faded at that point. 
“Ok, this really shouldn’t take all that much time since Foggy and I went ahead and wrote up all the things that needed signed and double checked. So we should be able to breeze through all this,” Matthew nodded, bringing up a thick file that looked as though it had tabs on the side organizing them. 
Y/N looked over wondering just how he knew the difference between documents and noticed on each tab, there were bariel markings along them. 
“If you don’t mind me asking, out of all places to live, why New York? It’s got to be hard getting around such a crazy busy city given.. ” Bucky asked, but didn’t finish not sure how to word it. Y/N snapped her head in his direction and smacked his arm. “Ow!” Bucky jumped, sending her raised eyebrows. “What the hell?”
“I’m assuming you’re asking because of this,” Matthew laughed casually as he pointed to his glasses. “Don’t worry. You would be surprised just how often I get asked that.”
“Yeah, it was just a question,” Bucky pouted toward Y/N while rubbing his assaulted arm. The two falling back into their old behaviors rather fast. 
“I wasn’t always blind. I mean I have been for a good chunk of my life, but I’ve lived in New York my whole life as well,” Matthew went on to explain as he moved papers around. “If anything it would be harder for me to get around if I moved any place else. I know this place like the back of my hand.”
“That’s impressive,” Bucky nodded, getting comfortable in his seat. 
“Eh, it’s either learn or get bumped around the sidewalk of a place full of people who don’t give a second glance to anyone who’s in their way,” Matthew shrugged. “Oh, I need to go grab something before we start.”
He maneuvered through the room leaving the door open as he went across the office. Tension filled the air as they were left alone for a second time in the past 5 minutes. 
Y/N was sitting straight forward, her eyes wandering here and there around the meeting room, but careful not to go over to Bucky’s side of the room. He looked down seeing her hands were fiddling in her lap. She was tapping her thumbs together while his leg bounced up and down.
Bucky had opened his mouth to start to say something, but even he wasn’t sure what was about to come out. Lucky for him, Matthew came back in and went back to his seat. 
“Sorry about that. I thought I had it all, but needed to get some pens and one last paper I left on the printer last night.”
“You’re fine,” Y/N said professionally, but kindly. “I have one quick question, if you don’t mind.” Matthew nodded her on with a soft smile. “What exactly happened to Hammer after all this chaos was discovered?”
“Oh, yes. He, uh, he will not be an issue to anyone else to put it lightly. His license was revoked and terminated and he is currently on trial for money laundering and malpractice,” he answered. 
“Serves him right,” Bucky mumbled, and instead of getting a smack to the arm, Y/N nodded in agreement. 
“Ok, if you two are ready, let’s begin,” Matthew smiled before grabbing the first set of papers. 
The two straightened in their seats and the process began.
After a few minutes of just signing, Matthew started to make notes of updated information for the two. 
“Ok, Mrs. Barnes, sorry, Y/N,” he corrected quickly. “What is your line of profession at the moment?”
“I work at Horizon Labs in L.A. It’s a company a friend and I from college started up. I’m a Sustainable-Conscious Financial Advisor for a lot of smaller businesses as well as some bigger ones we recently just became partners with,” she answered. 
“Horizon Labs, huh?” Matthew said with an impressed look. Bucky turned to look at her as she lightly blushed. “I think I listened to a podcast about them. You guys help companies use recycled goods and find energy efficient technology, right?”
“We just redirect them to people who can help them get those resources. It’s practically just connecting the companies that would work great together in helping the environment,” she nodded humbly. 
“That’s amazing,” Matthew smiled. “We need more people and companies like that.”
“Thank you.”
He made note of that on a computer. “I’m assuming with all that, you have to be a little too busy for a second job, right? I don’t need to make note of another?”
“Uh, actually,” she added, Bucky’s already focused eyes on her quirked at her response. “I just invested in a Woman’s shelter with another friend of mine. I haven’t really got to do much with it, but it is a second job as of lately.”
“Wait? Nat?” Bucky caught on.
“Uh, yeah,” she nodded almost shyly. Probably the second time out of this whole meeting that she actually made eye contact with him. “My company works with them in getting some of the resources and items they need for the shelter. I talked with Nat and I invested into it some to help with some with their financial advisements.” 
“Wow, th-that’s,” Bucky faltered. “That sounds like you,” he said with a breathy laugh thinking about how maybe she really hadn’t changed all these years. That being one of the ‘reasons’ they had broken it off, how people change and all. But that’s a story for another time.
Y/N didn’t show a response to his words, but she did take them in. 
“So you run a woman’s home and you run a well-off business that promotes eco-friendly resources for the environment?”
“Well, I don’t run the woman’s home. That’s all my friends doing. I just help where help is asked if I can,” she answered once again humbly. No sense of egotistical pride hinted in her explanations or answers. 
“That’s extremely impressive Y/N,” Matthew gushed some, and Bucky noticed the smallest form of attraction come off the lawyer. He straightened at that. “I’ll make a note of it. And you Mr. Barnes. What is your occupation?”
Bucky relaxed his shoulders and focused back at the issue at hand. Trying to not get jealous of something that wasn’t even his to be jealous of. 
“I’m one of the head occupational therapist at Stark Theracorp,” he answered. Now it was Y/N’s turn to look at him intrigued. “I run the geriatric occupational therapy floor and manage our equipment and employees. ”
“Two very impressive people in the work field from what I’m getting,” Matthew chuckled some as he made the notes. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have to ask about income from the both of you for the record. If you want to write it on a paper and hand it to me you can or if you are comfortable saying it outloud that works too. Either way, I’ll have Foggy add it in later to the finalized papers.”
“Wait, so we aren’t finalizing it today?” Y/N asked, somewhat shocked. 
“Did Foggy not tell you?” Matthew asked. “I thought he reached out to you before this meeting.”
“I don’t believe so,” Y/N shook her head. 
“Well, the reason this one is so quick is because I just need a few signatures and updated notes on you two. After that, I’ll make the altercations for the official papers and I’ll send those to you both on their own to get the final signature. You can either bring them to me here, fax them, or have them sent via mail after you signed off on them.”
“Oh, I see,” Y/N nodded. The look of defeat in her posture and facial expressions.
It hurt Bucky a little seeing her reaction to it. Did she really want to get away from him that bad? Was he that much of a nuisance in her life? I mean, yeah, they were supposed to be divorced 9 years ago, but he didn’t want it then and it still hurt seeing just how much she wanted it now. 
“That’s not an issue is it? I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience,” Matthew apologized. 
“No, no. It’s ok,” she said in reassurance to him. But she let out an almost bitter laugh before she spoke again. “We’ve been married for the past 9 years apparently. What’s a few more days?”
“I guess that’s true,” Matthew laughed with her. 
Bucky rolled his eyes discreetly. He really hated how she was reacting with all this. It wasn’t surprising, but doesn’t mean it hurts any less seeing how badly she wanted out of the situation.  
“Mr. Barnes, are you ok with that?” 
“I’ll survive a few more days, I guess,” he returned just as bitterly as Y/N. The two looked at each other one more time, but this time, anger and annoyance was clear on both of their faces.
If you would like to be tagged in this series, please send an ask! It keeps things more organized for me. If you comment, I most likely will not add because I loose them:)
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@taylormobley @ximaginx @vicmc624 @leyannrae @lonerlovescompany @jessyballet @angstysebfan @tita127 @semistablecentenarian @im-a-light-child @alyssahowden @studiesinspanish @natyvwe @[email protected] @millennial-teenybopper @scotlandasshole @aquariusbarnes @shinykoalacat​
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@natura1phenomenon​ @lauravicente​ @kakakatey​ @traceyaudette​ @notyourtypicalrose​  @laneygthememequeen​ @awesome-badass-cafeteria-sauce​ @sandlee44​ @thorne93​ @thefaithfulwriter​ @essie1876​ @greyeyedsmile14​ @capsiclehan​  @xostephanie​ @averyrogers83​ @awesomenursingstudent​ @gh0stgurl​ @cs-please​ @carls1022​ @jjlevin​ @rainbowkisses31​ @anise-d-castle6​ @deannotmoose​ @their-bibliophile​ @kitkatd7​ @willowbleedsonpaper​ @mariaenchanted​ @snffbeebee​ @couldabeenamermaid​ @rebekahdawkins​ @alyispunk​ @princess-annna
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angryschnauzer · a year ago
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Blackwater Lake - Chapter 2
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Summary: There’s a little town high in the mountains where everyone has a secret, and every family has something that makes them unique. In Blackwater Lake those that are outcast by nature come together.
Characters/Pairing:  Vampire!Walter Marshall x Female Reader
Warnings (for this chapter); Talk of PTSD, Reader is ex police, Possible home invasion, NSFW sexy times, protected sex.
Previous Parts: Werewolf!Sy: Moonlight on the Sand  Castle Under The Stars.  Werewolf!Sy, Vampire!Walter: Chapter 1
This will be a series of stand alone stories/2 parters, which will revolve around the residents of the town, with some recurring characters. The ‘reader’ for each story will be a ‘new’ reader, so its not the same woman being with all the male characters.
I do not run a tag list, but please follow @angryschnauzerwrites​ and put that blog onto notifications. You’ll then get an alert every time i post something new.
Chapter 2
Walter had managed to recover from the shock of seeing his best friend and his wife being able to make their eyes glow, and as unbelievable as it sounded, had accepted their explanations of how they’d been turned into Werewolves. Much like his own knowledge of Vampirism before he had been turned himself, he quickly understood that what the media made these quirks of nature to be and what they actually were had been greatly exaggerated. 
Sy had stayed up into the early hours of the morning with him, sharing the better part of a bottle of bourbon as he’d described how it affected their family, and how his wife only turned when her period coincided with a full moon, and how they dealt with childcare during the times that they would turn. 
-
Walter woke with a start, the soft mountain light pouring in the windows and for a moment he was confused, not recognising his surroundings until he remembered spending the rest of the night on Sy’s couch. His mouth felt like something had crawled inside and died, and he swore in that moment not to share hard liquor with someone that could howl at the moon. Finding some painkillers high in a kitchen cabinet he crushed two between his teeth before drinking straight from the tap. Standing tall he moved his neck, trying to get the kinks and knots out of his muscles when a pair of fluffy slippered feet appeared in the doorway. Looking up Walter poorly suppressed a laugh as he saw Sy wearing a pair of sheepskin moccasins and what was obviously his wife’s robe;
“Reginald, you look stunning” Walter muttered as he watched his friend shuffle into the kitchen
Sy held up his finger and waggled it, wincing at the sunlight pouring in the window;
“Don’t…”
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t call me that, the only people that call me that are the preacher or my Ma, and unless you’re planning on marrying me or making me biscuits...”
Walter laughed, leaning against the counter as Sy filled the coffee pot as if he was on autopilot, before reaching into the refrigerator and pulling out a baby bottle with the previous day’s expressing date on. Setting the bottle to warm in a bowl of water he handed Walter a tin of coffee;
“Fill that up, i’m gonna go get Luna”
A few minutes later he reappeared holding his little girl in his arms, wrapped in a soft blanket covered in moons and stars. Grabbing the bottle before settling at the kitchen table, he popped the lid off and shook the bottle, before lifting it and shaking a few drops onto his tongue, laughing when he saw Walters eyes go a little wide;
“Better straight from the source but Mama is sleepin’ so its me in Mama’s robe” he explained with a grin on his face. Walter placed a mug of steaming black coffee in front of Sy; “Thanks man… hey, in the fridge there’s a pint of pigs blood from Walkers Meats… ya’know, if you need it”
“Why have you got pigs blood?”
“The missus was gonna make some Scottish thing, some sorta sausage, but if you need it, we can always get another… in fact she’s gonna be too tired to use it before it spoils, what with the full moon and all...”
Sy turned his attention to his tiny daughter feeding in his arms, giving Walter the sense of privacy to do what he needed to do. As Luna finished her bottle Sy held her to his shoulder, rubbing her back until she let out a burp he would have been proud of himself, only looking up when he heard Walter also let out a low belch;
“You need me to rub your back too Walt?”
“Fuck off Sy” the vampire said lightheartedly, a sense of relief in his mind now that the guy that had become one of his best friends knew his secret.
-
Pulling the last crate of bottles off the back of the pickup you thanked the guy from the craft brewery and waved him off, taking a deep breath before slowly climbing the fire escape at the back of the bar that led into the storeroom. It had been a long shift already, starting at 10am you’d opened up and started the ovens, restocked the bar as the cleaners had come through and cleaned the place top to bottom. Your boss was always decent to his staff, paying a good wage and having the cleaning crew come in during the closed daytime hours rather than in the early hours of the morning.
Working around them as they did their job, you restocked the caddy’s on the tables with silverware, napkins, and condiments, before returning to the bar and checking on the ice machine.
“Hey we’re all done now” one of the cleaners said as you looked up.
“That’s great, thanks. You guys always make this place look good”
Chatting with them you walked them through the storeroom - something your boss always insisted on that any non bar staff had to be escorted through - before one reached for the wooden rail on the fire escape. Something made you stop talking and before you could stop yourself, one hand was pushing one of the guys back into the storeroom, the other was grabbing the shirt that was already standing outside. Just as you did the rail slipped away, as if in slow motion, the three of you looking in fear as the heavy wood crashed twenty feet below onto the empty kegs that were stored beneath.
Speechless you stood there, fingers still curled around the shirt of one, hand splayed across the chest of the other;
“Fuck” you whispered quietly, not to anyone in particular.
“You could say that…”
-
Having made sure both cleaning guys were ok, if a little shaken up, you made them leave by the front door then considered your options. Dialling the boss you weren’t surprised to hear it ring out before going to voicemail. He had strict downtime rules, and was more than likely out on his ranch land taking care of his horses. Knowing he trusted you to make the right judgement, you scrolled through your numbers and dialled Marshall’s Property Maintenance;
“Marshall’s, what can i do for you?”
“Hi, i’m calling from Big G’s Sports Bar? We’ve just had the handrail fall off our fire escape. Wondering if you’ve got space to fix it this afternoon?”
There was a pause before you heard a long exhale of breath;
“Yeah, sure. I’ll be there in twenty minutes”
“Thanks Walter”
Hanging up you smiled. You’d worked with Walter when you’d been on the police force, you’d been a patrol cop that would assist with crime scene control and you’d been first on the scene for countless horrific acts of violence. One final call had given you PTSD so bad you’d resigned, finding a home in the small town of Blackwater Lake and a steady job at Big G’s Sports Bar. Your boss was the big quiet type, liked to spend more time out on his ranch with his horse, having enough trust in you to run the day to day operations of the bar as his assistant manager. 
-
It had been well past 9pm when Walter finished the repairs. Your boss had come in and helped him out when he’d got your text, leaving you in charge of the first few hours of opening. When the two men reappeared through the storeroom you smiled at them, getting ready for the evening handover before grabbing your coat and clocking off.
A few minutes later as you hopped off the last step of the fire escape onto the dandelion scattered gravel - your boss liked to let them grow - you smiled at Walter as he was loading his tools into his truck;
“Hey, thanks for today. Really saved our bacon… without the fire escape we wouldn’t be up to code so couldn’t have opened”
“S’ok. Glad you called” Walter admitted; “It’s been a while…”
Scuffing the gravel with your boot you swallowed the lump that was in your throat;
“How have you been? Since… ya know…”
“Alive. Wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t of been for you and your partner”
“We did what was needed… not every day you see va…” you stopped yourself, you still hadn’t completely come to terms with what you’d seen; “V...vagrants doing that… I’m just glad we got there in time…”
There was a moment of awkward silence before Walter rounded the truck and stood in front of you;
“Do you need a ride home? Your boss mentioned that you walk to work and you stayed late where he was helping me get this fixed”
“Thanks, that’d be nice”
-
Over the next few nights Walter would appear at the bar early evening, usually under the pretense of checking the work on the fire escape or dropping off the bill to the office, and you quickly clocked that he would always be leaving just as your shift was ending to conveniently give you a ride home. Not that you minded, the weather had turned unseasonably cool after the warmth of the parade weekend, so the casual conversation as he drove you home in the warmth of his giant truck was a good way to end the day. 
As he rolled into the parking lot behind your apartment complex you wondered if you should invite him in for a coffee, but weren’t sure if you were reading his intentions correctly. Gnawing on your lip you reached into your pocket for your keys, smiling at Walter as he pulled the truck to a stop;
“There we go, home sweet home. Have a good night”
“You too Walter”
Stepping out you smiled and gave him a little wave, knowing he waited until you had gotten into your building.
-
Watching you go Walter cursed himself. When Rachel had left he’d been in the dumps even more than usual, but over the last few days he’d taken a shine to you. He was pretty sure you had clued onto the fact that he had always turned up around the time of your shift finishing, but when he’d found out from Geralt that your car had died and you couldn’t afford to repair it, he didn’t like the thought of you walking home alone. Sure Blackwater Lake was a sleepy little town, but keeping in mind what lurked in the woods - both natural and supernatural - he felt better knowing you’d gotten home. He had been sure you were going to invite him in for coffee tonight, but he’d gotten butterflies in his stomach and had blurted out a farewell before you’d had the chance.
Looking up at your apartment he let out a sigh. 
Then… then something caught his eye. You hadn’t been in the building long enough for the shadow to be you, knowing you stopped to grab your mail each time you entered the building. Killing the engine he reached to the glove compartment for his gun - he still had a concealed carry permit - and raced to the building.
-
Juggling your mail and your purse, you held the letters in your mouth as you searched for the right key on your set when suddenly the sound of thundering footsteps made you spin around, your jaw dropping when you saw Walter appear from the staircase and running to your side. His hand was on your arm and he was pulling you to the side of your door before holding you to his chest;
“There’s someone in your apartment”
“What? No, i locked everything before i left… and there’s no sign of any damage to the door…”
Letting you go he pulled his phone from his pocket and dialled for the sheriff, but as you listened in you could hear the volunteer dispatcher explain that both the Sheriff and the two deputies were out on the highway dealing with an 18 wheeler logging truck that had spun off on a bend. Walter cursed under his breath and hung up;
“Do you still carry?”
“No… not since…”
“Ok. Unlock the door and stay behind me”
The next minute seemed to last both seconds and hours, following Walter through your apartment until he silently pushed the bedroom door open with his gun;
“Freeze!”
The shape in the darkness didn’t move, and when you peered over Walters extended arm and you realised what he was looking at, you let out a sigh and flipped the lightswitch, the ‘threat’ suddenly illuminated and Walters shoulders dropping;
“Oh…”
Your spare uniform shirt was hanging on the frame to the window where you’d hung it earlier in the day so the sunshine would dry it. You let out a deep breath and laughed, resting your forehead against Walters shoulder;
“It’s just my uniform…” you hadn’t realised your voice was shaking until Walter turned and wrapped his arms around you
“I’m sorry i scared you”
Burying your face in the warmth of his sweater, your voice was muffled as you spoke;
“Its ok. I’d rather you have seen the mess in my apartment and saved me from an intruder than the alternative…” you smiled weakly at him, and it was then that the tension in the room was like static before a storm. Like the first lightning strike, when Walters lips touched yours it was as if electricity coursed through your veins, the kiss hungry and needy, contact between two touch starved people needing that connection. Your fingers curled in threads of his knitwear, pulling yourself closer as his arms wrapped around you and his hands splayed out over your ass, squeezing handfuls of flesh so he could pull you flush against his body. The kiss deepend and his tongue sought entrance between your lips which you eagerly granted. He tasted of coffee and peanut butter chocolate, and when he pulled away you were both gasping for breath.
“So, vampires do need oxygen then?”
“How do you…? How are you not scared?”
“Because i was there when it happened. And I've seen you hundreds of times since. I’ve seen you in the mirror, I've seen you outside in the sunshine, i’ve literally served you garlic bread…” you paused; “And i didn’t need to invite you in. Whatever myths are linked to your condition, i know the Walter behind them, i know the quiet and controlled Walter that assesses a situation and ensures everyone is safe…” you paused; “Because I know i’m safe with you”
Walter opened his mouth to speak, but the lump in his throat caught the words. Closing his eyes he rested his forehead against yours, letting out a shaky breath as you gently held his face in your palms, your thumbs softly caressing the skin of his cheeks where his beard ended. You pressed your lips to his, and this kiss was different, this kiss was full of passion, of acceptance and the growing need that was blooming. 
Clothes were scattered as fingers and lips found each new patch of exposed skin, running your fingernails down his massive chest as you both fell to the bed, your fingers curling in the coarse hair that covered his chest before clutching at his belt as his teeth sharply ran over the line of your collarbone and you let out a gasp;
“More…”
“I… I’m not going to bite you…”
“I don’t want you to, but my neck is super sensitive, it's like my biggest turn on…”
At that moment Walter could feel the change, his eyes paling and his fangs growing more prominent as you watched from below him, but what he wasn’t expected was the groans that escaped your throat and the way your body shook;
“Did you just…?” he cocked an eyebrow, he already knew you’d just cum, but he wanted you to admit it.
“Yes, fuck yes, now i need more…”
With a growl he ducked his head down and peppered sharp kisses over your neck, hands working on each others jeans before you were able to kick them off. Your hands ducked into Walters pants and you grasped at his hard length, hot in your palm through his underwear;
“Oh fuck, you’re big…”
“Don’t worry, i’ll go slow… do you… do you have protection?”
“In the drawer”
He reluctantly pulled himself off the bed, and you propped yourself up on your elbows as he searched out the condoms, pulling the box out and swinging something else from his fingertips;
“These aren’t regulation edition”
The pink fluffy handcuffs had been a present a long time ago, and had somehow moved apartments with you;
“Next time…” you reached and grabbed them from him, tossing them aside before grabbing the box and a small foil packet, ripping it open with your teeth as Walter quickly shed himself of his boots and jeans, his dark boxers discarded as you reached for him and smoothed the latex over his fat dick.
He smoothed his hands down your legs, before tugging you down the bed and flipping you onto your stomach, pulling your hips up until your ass was in the air. The rough brush of his beard against your soft inner thighs was quickly soothed by his tongue swiping a firm lick through your soaked folds. He took hold of your hips and you felt him move into position, the firm nudge at your entrance before with a low groan he speared you with the slow stretch of his girth.
“You feel so fucking good… so tight…”
Your fingers curled into the bedsheets and your jaw hung open, the sheer pleasure that was coursing through your veins felt like an elixir as Walter hammered into your tight velvet channel. The carnal slap of flesh on flesh resonating around the room, only joined by the breathless pants escaping your lips and the grunts Walter would let slip as he sought pleasure in your body with his own. He splayed his fingers over your back, running the palm of his hand up your spine until he was able to cup your neck and pull you up, flush with his heated body. His sharp teeth scraped over your neck, his beard rough against the etched skin;
“Look in the mirror. See how amazing you look”
Focusing your attention on the dresser mirror that stood in the corner, you watched as Walter continued to slowly rock his hips, fucking you slow and hard from behind. But it was his eyes that drew your attention, icy pools of white with deep obsidian pupils piercing the tundra, and the flash of danger from his sharp teeth at your neck, just catching on the skin as he spoke;
“You’re so fucking beautiful, dunno what i did to deserve you… will you cum for me?” he slid his hand down your stomach and in the patch of curls at the apex of your thighs, seeking out the sensitive pearl of your clit and rubbing the pad of his finger over it in firm circles; “Will you cum for me?” he repeated, punctuating each word with a sharp thrust of his hips.
“Yes… Walter, please…”
“What do you need…”
“My neck, please…”
Walter knew he couldn’t bite you, there were so many unknowns he’d never explored, but he closed his eyes and focused his energies on bringing you to completion. Thrusting his hips in time to the movement of his hand, whilst sucking a hickey onto your neck, knowing his teeth were rubbing against the skin but not breaking it. The triple stimuli sent you over the edge, your head rolling back onto his shoulder and your mouth open in a silent scream as you came so hard you saw stars, shockwaves of pleasure coursing through your body as your walls gripped Walter tight, before with one final thrust you heard him growl as he came hard.
He held you for the longest time, your heart racing in your chest as echoes of your orgasm ricocheted through your body. As Walter started to soften you felt him hold the condom at the base of his shaft as he pulled out gently;
“Err… bathroom?”
“Just through there” you nodded to the door off of the bedroom as you fell to the bed, laying back with a smile on your face.
A few moments later he reappeared with a warm washcloth, first soothing your neck before tenderly attending to the mess between your thighs. After putting it back in the bathroom he appeared at the side of the bed, reaching for his jeans when you caught his wrist and pulled him onto the bed;
“You don’t need to go”
“Are you sure? I don’t want to overstay my welcome…”
“Look, unless you’re going to turn into a bat or something, you’re fine… we can talk, order some takeout…”
Wrapping his arm around your shoulders, you snuggled to his chest as he smiled sleepily;
“That sounds good. Can i take you out on a proper date at some point?”
“That’d be nice. Though our options are slim in this town, its only Sue’s Coffee Shop or Big-G’s Bar… unless you want to get a take-out pizza and sit outside on the kerb”
“I’ll cook, come to my place? What are you doing Friday night?”
“I’m off, but…”
“But?”
You felt your cheeks flushing with heat;
“I’m due on by the end of the week…”
“Oh. OH…” You looked up at Walter and saw a flush over his cheeks and his blue eyes glinting with excitement and a smirk on his lips.
“Oh… you’re into that?”
“You’re… not? Because i just want to say, i would happily give oral to my girl on her period even pre-vamp status…now its just…”
“A snack?”
He let out a low belly laugh;
“Yeah, you could say that”
Curling up to Walter’s chest you felt a sense of calm you hadn’t experienced for a very long time, the conversation flowing easily and long into the night, before you both fell asleep in each other's arms.
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ukrfeminism · a year ago
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This article is behind a paywall - please find the full text below.
‘Not a single security guard helped me’: The urgent need to make gigs and festivals safer for women
With nearly half of women attending music events having suffered some form of harassment, Elizabeth Aubrey speaks to the people – from musicians to campaigners – who are trying to make a change
Sarah, 23, was enjoying her first festival post-lockdown when it happened. She was near the stage in a crowded space, and a man started to dance close to her. She felt uncomfortable. “I asked him to move,” Sarah recalls. “He just ignored me.” She moved away, but he followed her. “Ten minutes or so after this, he put his hand up my skirt and assaulted me. He then disappeared into the crowd.”
Sexual assaults like this at gigs and festivals are endemic. A YouGov poll in 2018 found that nearly half (43 per cent) of female festival goers under 40 have experienced sexual harassment. A UK-wide study at Durham University recorded similar numbers, estimating that the true number of sexual assaults at festivals could be closer to 250,000 a year. Safe Spaces Now, a new UN initiative to make safer public spaces for women, found seven in 10 women had been sexually harassed this year alone.
Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK (and creator of the UN Women’s Safe Spaces Now project), says cases like Sarah’s aren’t unusual. “Music should be a space to really escape and experience joy with your friends, but instead groping, drink-spiking, up-skirting and other violent behaviour is still far too common,” Barnett explains. “It’s a quintessential part of nightlife for many women – and this is totally unacceptable. The threat and reality of violence ruins live music for so many women and girls. It’s been allowed to continue for too long and frankly, almost nothing has been done to stop it.”
There are some, at least, who are trying to stop it. In August, dozens of women from the music industry, including Mabel, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis, signed an open letter from UN Women calling for an end to women feeling unsafe at live music events. “It is not OK for women to be constantly worried about their safety at festivals,” it began. “We have a collective responsibility … Our spaces must provide safety from harassment, violence, and abuse of power.”
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sigrid signed the letter. “No one, women nor anyone, should come to venues wondering what could happen tonight,” she tells me. “It should be a place of joy, inspiration and fellowship.”
Another of the signatories was Holly Humberstone. “Every woman has the right to feel safe in a music venue and space where they are celebrating music together,” says the heavily touted singer-songwriter, who was runner-up in the BBC’s Sound of 2021 poll and has been compared to Phoebe Bridgers. “We have to be able to dance and live without the threat of unwanted attention. My friends, sisters and I have been going to gigs for years and it’s where some of our most treasured moments are. The UN Safe Spaces initiative is so important so more women can continue to create memories together.”
Musician Jess Eastwood from Coach Party says she’s seen women experience unwanted attention at gigs – and has experienced it herself as a musician. “I have seen it at gigs that I go to, but also as an artist now,” Eastwood explains. “When we finish playing, we’ll go out into the crowd to speak to people and I’ve experienced some really uncomfortable situations, like people assuming that they could just put their arm around me, or have a cuddle, or kiss me on the cheek. It’s just such an invasion of personal space. It’s just the inappropriate touching and the assumption that it’s OK when it’s really not.”
She says the male members of the band “do not experience those types of things”. On another occasion, a man in the crowd told her to “get your t*** out”. “Because we’ve [the female members of the band] pointed it out now, we can all notice it and it’s so obvious and blatant,” says Eastwood. “There may be a greater awareness of it and people are speaking about it, but the actual actions I don’t think have improved at all. I think it’s worse now than ever.”
Mary Crilly, CEO of Safe Gigs Ireland, has been supporting victims of sexual assaults at music venues and nightclubs for more than 40 years. “Our job is to help people pick up the pieces,” she says. “We take them from disbelief to belief, from shock through to acceptance, via counselling and support.”
Crilly says reporting the crime presents huge challenges for women. They fear they will not be believed, or they feel as though it is somehow their fault. “We help set up one-to-ones for victims who are scared to report the crime and we support victims who are dealing with guilt and who are often blaming themselves,” she explains. “We have to put a stop to victim blaming and part of that comes in helping women to feel supported in reporting the crime in the first place. Little has changed in this respect for over 40 years: women are still not taken seriously when they report assaults.”
Sarah blamed herself for what happened. “Not a single one of the security guards helped me,” she says. Few had any understanding of what to do. “They just shrugged and it was very much a ‘what do you expect us to do about it?’ situation. ‘Can’t you see how many people are here?’”
Sarah left the festival soon afterwards and went to her local police station. “I was there for hours, alone, and I wasn’t offered any support. I was physically very badly bruised from how hard he’d groped me. It was a massive violation of my body, my safety, and the officers didn’t seem to care. Once I reported it, I never heard from the police again. I can fully understand now why women feel reluctant to come forward because frankly, we’re treated as though it is our fault.”
Barnett says few women are reporting crimes because of situations exactly like this. “Over 95 per cent of women told us they aren’t reporting these experiences, which would suggest the picture is far worse than the few figures we do have. Many say they don’t report it because they don’t believe it will change anything.”
Dr Hannah Bows, who led the Durham study, agrees. “We’ve spoken to women who either experienced sexual violence at a festival or have witnessed it – actually in most cases, it’s both – and a lot of them don’t report it because they don’t feel they will be believed. They think there’s no point because nothing can be done, or that they won’t be taken seriously. I think having the right messaging [at live music events] is paramount – an acknowledgement that this does happen and a commitment to doing something about it. Listening and believing people when they come forward is the first step. Having better responses from security though training is the next.”
Bows says situations like Sarah’s, where security staff are underprepared when it comes to dealing with women reporting sexual assaults, is common. “It’s a case of ‘well it probably did happen but look at the size of this place, what do you really expect us to do about it?’ But it’s still intelligence you’ve been given about an incident and if that were reported and held somewhere, you start to build up a picture because lots of women are telling you the same thing. You would have an idea then not only of what’s going on but also what you might do long term in terms of prevention.”
When Bows went to look for statistics on assaults at festivals, she found a woeful lack of data. “The crime survey [a collection of data that monitors crime in the UK] doesn’t give us any information whatsoever on festivals, for example, and perhaps not surprisingly, festivals haven’t really been forthcoming with this kind of data themselves.” She felt that many festivals were putting fear of bad publicity over their duty of care to attendees.
“We found the behaviours women experienced were groping, catcalling, verbal harassment, being followed, being grabbed, men coming into tents and attempting to rape women and in some cases, completing rapes,” she says. “It was a spectrum of behaviours that we know women experience in basically every public and private setting.” The existing data out there, she says, is a “gross underestimation” of the true picture.
“I think our study has shown that festivals aren’t some kind of special space where it doesn’t happen. I think the festival industry wants us to think that’s not the case. We’re sold a particular message about festivals, which is that they’re these sort of escapist, fun, hedonistic spaces. But for most women, they’re not much fun at all.”
Amy, 27, was celebrating seeing one of her favourite bands live this autumn after finishing her master’s degree. “I was enjoying the night so much, but then after about 10pm, I don’t remember a thing.” Amy’s drink was spiked, she thinks, at about 8.30pm when she visited the bar to get drinks for her and her friends. About an hour later, she was unable to stand. “I was in a mess, got separated from my friends and the next thing I know, security guards threw me outside and left me there.” Amy was approached by a man who she thinks could have been responsible for spiking her drink. “Fortunately, one of my friends found me. God knows what would have happened otherwise.”
Dola Twomy, who works with Crilly at Safe Gigs Ireland as a victim therapist, says she sees this situation time and time again on nights out. “Women appear to be out of it, they’re kicked out, on their own and totally vulnerable. There is so much danger there. Venues have such a duty of care and many actually contribute to the danger by doing things like this. I can’t imagine a more desperate situation created by security.”
Drink spiking is a crime on the increase. In September and October, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said almost 200 drink spiking incidents were reported to police forces across the UK. Mari Lane – a co-founder of Get In Her Ears, a non-for-profit platform that promotes the safe enjoyment of live music for women, non-binary and LGBT+ people – was a victim of drink spiking while a student at university. “I know sadly that men’s feeling of entitlement to women’s bodies has been going on forever,” she says. “I’ve seen in the news and on my social media feed the distressing reports of an increase in girls and women being spiked at gigs and pubs. I’m not sure if this means the incidents have increased or whether people now feel more able to report them. I’m hoping it’s the latter.”
Along with co-founders Kate Crudgington and Tash Walker, Lane and Get In Her Ears promotes and hosts gigs with a strict policy about behaviour – something they hope other venues will follow. “We consistently maintain a zero-tolerance policy to sexual assault or harassment at our events,” Lane says. “We promote ourselves as a point of contact for incidents to be reported to and we always make sure there is a member of staff from the venue who we can consult when an incident is reported.”
Lane says staff at venues need training – which organisations like theirs, along with Safe Gigs for Women and Girls Against, are putting into practice. Lane thinks if venues “strive to promote the safest possible environment and make people explicitly aware that they have a definite protocol to follow in incidents of harassment”, then ultimately “survivors would feel more comfortable in reporting it”.
After Sarah Everard was sexually assaulted and murdered by a serving police officer earlier this year, women’s confidence in authority is at rock bottom, says Lane. “I certainly don’t think our confidence or trust in the police has improved in light of recent events, and I don’t believe that instilling plain clothes officers into venues – as has been recently suggested – would make us feel any safer. In fact, quite the opposite.”
Get In Her Ears, Safe Gigs Ireland and Safe Gigs for Women have all recently stressed the importance of the role of the “active bystander” in helping to prevent such assaults, too. As Lane puts it, “putting a focus on making men aware of the problem and encouraging them to be proactive in preventing it by not being afraid to call it out, to reprimand their peers if they feel they have been responsible for putting someone’s safety at risk”. Lane believes “there’s too much focus on ‘victim blaming’ and giving ‘advice’ to women and girls about what not to do in society, when the emphasis should be on educating men and calling to account those responsible”.
GigSafe, a not-for-profit organisation based in Glasgow, stations people in venues to help those facing safety issues at gigs. Amelia Boyle, founder and managing director of the organisation, says the power of education in bringing about change is always underestimated. “These issues are rooted in society and we should be breaking the problems down by educating people on topics like misogyny,” she believes. “If the government recognises that by implementing these topics in early education, it will begin making change in our society, which will then gradually make change in our music venues.”
Crilly says she’s tired of seeing men not calling out others when they witness an assault – which she thinks is also through a lack of education. “So few men stand up and challenge it. I get sick and tired of the guys who are having a great laugh about it all. They need to be held to account too because in my mind they’re just as bad because they’re colluding with it. They’re not just tolerating it, they’re allowing it.”
Laura, 32, was at her first gig post-lockdown when she was assaulted by a man in full view of his friends. In Laura’s words, they “just stood there laughing”. Laura was groped and up-skirted and received a torrent of verbal abuse from her attacker when she told him to stop.
“It’s often a very intrusive sexual assault,” says Bows, “and what is difficult is that often, by the time the woman has turned around to look at who it was, they’ve gone through the crowd, making identification difficult.” To counteract this, Bows says they’re going to advise that venues set up vantage points on stage. “We know that some musicians have actually stopped their sets when they’ve seen an assault.”
Up-and-coming musician Alfie Templeman recently told his fans that assaults at his gigs will never be tolerated. “I don’t want anyone like that coming to my gigs full stop, so if we see it or are aware of it at a gig, we will throw that person out instantly,” he says. “Having a zero-tolerance policy for harassment at my gigs is mandatory. Anyone who does this should be banned from going out because there’s absolutely no excuse for harassing someone.”
Venues should follow suit, he adds. “I think the industry should be working harder to state that there’s a zero-tolerance policy for any abuse in their clubs or venues. If they don’t make that change then how can we know that it’s a safe place to go to? How are women meant to enjoy gigs if they’re constantly worrying about the safety of the place they are in?”
When Coach Party toured with the all-male band Sea Girls recently, Eastwood was impressed that they made a point of addressing the male-heavy crowd directly, every night, about gig safety for women. “They made the effort on stage to create awareness of this problem,” she explains. “They’d be like, ‘We’re all here to enjoy music, same as each other, protect women, make sure they’re enjoying it just as much as you are.’”
In many ways, the pandemic has worsened the problem. The men who watched as Sarah was attacked were all wearing masks. “I felt like this actually encouraged them to be more brazen about it because obviously I couldn’t see their faces.” Laura reported the incident but received no follow-up call.
Kai Stone, freelance project and partnerships manager from the Good Night Out Campaign, a campaign to make nightlife safer, says he’s seen attackers abusing Covid-19 safety measures to carry out assaults.
“As lockdown eased, we received reports of perpetrators of harassment using social distancing and safety measures to their advantage,” Stone explains. “Masks were used to grant them anonymity which in turn further dissuades people from reporting harassment due to the additional barrier of not being able to identify the harasser. We also saw staff using the handwritten track and trace system to harass women who had visited venues they worked in to call or even visit their address after they left.”
He continues: “The reset that lockdown provided from certain forms of public harassment has provided us with an opportunity to notice, name and challenge the behaviours that we should never have to put up with as they re-emerge as part of the return to nightlife. They should not be part of our ‘new normal’.”
Stone says they are frustrated by venues whose managers know what’s going on, but fear addressing this will result in negative perceptions. “Venues definitely understand the extent of the issue,” he says. “But many managers we speak to feel that openly addressing the issue is too high risk. In the UK, there are currently no legal requirements for venues to demonstrate sexual violence prevention measures when applying for a licence, nor is there any mandatory training for nightlife staff so the venues and festivals we work with are under no legal obligation to do so.” Good Night Out has worked with more than 200 nightlife spaces, training several thousand workers on how to respond to disclosures of sexual assault, and how to support victims.
“Unfortunately the nightlife sector consists of low-paid, often precarious work where frontline staff are not offered adequate training,” Stone continues. He says their organisation encourages a “whole-venue approach” so that as many staff at the venue as possible are equipped with the tools they need to offer support. “When we up-skill staff and replace myths with reality, we create safer spaces.”
Barnett, meanwhile, worked with Oxford’s Strawberries & Creem festival as a pilot event for creating a safer space over summer. “It was really exciting,” she says. “Our interventions included a Safe Spaces Now tent where festival-goers came to talk to us about rights and better bystander behaviours. We had Guardian Angels around the festival site available for people needing assistance or advice and [we provided] training for security, hospitality and welfare staff. We were able to speak to thousands of festival goers of all genders to share tools, helplines, support people in need and give information on how to step in as a bystander.”
The result, Barnett says, “was incredible” and they’re “now in conversations with several festivals who will be implementing our measures for the 2022 cycle”. They’ve also consulted more than 5,000 women on how to better design safe spaces. “The physical spaces need to be designed with women in mind,” she says. “From the toilets to darker areas and campsites to make sure those are safe and someone in danger can easily seek help from wherever they are and then the behaviour within those spaces needs to be addressed.” Barnett says Covid has shown that behaviours can be changed at scale, but “the reason this knowledge isn’t being used to reduce sexual harassment”, she says, “is because those in power haven’t cared enough, and there hasn’t been enough of a co-ordinated response”.
Many venues do get on board once they realise how simple, easy and cheap the safety measures are to implement. “There are actually people who want to run good, safe gigs,” says Crilly. “We’ve met many decent people who are prepared to do that once it doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg, and I don’t think it has to. Venues getting it right will have a safety statement, a code of conduct and will train staff. By training, you’re enabling: it’s so simple to achieve with just a little time and thought.”
Boyle says GigSafe in Glasgow has had much “positive feedback” from crowd members. “We get frequent gig goers approaching our desk and saying they are glad we are here if something happens to them.”
Jennifer, 31, says being in a venue with clear safety measures saved her life. “My drink had been spiked with a date-rape drug,” she explains. “I was woozy, out of it, and I remember a man escorting me to the back of the venue.” He started to assault her. “Someone in the crowd had seen, and suspecting something wasn’t right, told one of the venue’s several welfare officers, who were highly visible in the auditorium,” she says. “They intervened, called the police and he was arrested. They saved my life.”
Barnett says now is the time for that action. “Ten years ago, we said this was a generational thing, and that we’d naturally see change soon – but women are still reporting violence on a daily basis,” she says. “We need to be seeing commitments to change now. While this topic is being widely discussed, we have a window of opportunity to introduce better preventative measures – and this window will not be around forever.”
“Violence in public spaces is a human rights crisis,” Barnett continues. “It will continue to cause harm if we don’t act now… and we must act now.”
Some of the women’s names have been changed to protect their privacy
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saalvasam · 5 months ago
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STRANGER THINGS S4 VOL. 1 TAKES
Spoilers! Long post ahead, so Idk, you should probably grab a coffee or something.
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I'll divide my takes according to the arcs and characters.
- Lab
1. Unpopular opinion, but I didn't enjoy as much. I mean, it was interesting to a certain degree seeing El's past and everything, but it was a boring progression for me.
2. Man I got so angry at Owens for betraying El like that. He had no rights to lure her to help them, and then bring her abuser back. Also, why the hell did they need to shave her head? For someone so concerned with her well-being, Owens certainly didn't behave as such.
3. I will not shut up about not bringing Kali and her gang back. She is not even in Eleven's memories (just that little shot in the rainbow room), and this makes 0 sense. No matter how much you hated the Lost Sister arc, it's already in the story and should have been addressed. They erased it, and that's downright terrible writing.
4. Brenner being shown as someone more acceptable made me ANGRY. That man DOES NOT deserve to call himself "papa" and call El "daughter". He's a child kidnapper, an abuser, a child torturer and a hungry for power bitch. Also, did they bother to explain how did he survive the demogorgon attack? Is he also a magician? Does he have powers? This guy survived a lot of knock outs.
5. The ending that also connects with the Hawkins timeline was SUPERB, I'll give you that. Number 01, Vecna? Henry Creel? This plot twist alone put this season miles and miles ahead from S3.
6. It's more about Eleven than the Lab arc, I felt so sorry for her throughout this season. She was so miserable and alone, I could perfectly understand her reasons for lying to Mike (even if wasn't the smartest decision). I love her, she is my baby and deserves better. She's been through so much. I wished there was a way to bring her powers back without involving Brenner... 😖😖😖
- Hawkins
7. Eddie Munson. I LOVED him. I had no previous knowledge about him, haven't seen what people were speculating about him, so everything was news-news. He kinda scared me, especially at the beginning, but he grew more and more on me. Like, seriously, one of the highlights of the season. I was already starting to like him and Chrissy, but her destiny was obvious for me from the start... Poor girl was bound to die.
8. Jason, the anti hero. Hum, I kinda feel sorry for him. I mean, he is a douchebag, but I don't think he is truly a bad person. He is arrogant and narrow minded, which can lead to bad decisions and actions (and he believes he is correct). He is probably going to die a gruesome death. It would have been so much easier for him if instead of thinking "oh, hey, Eddie Munson is Satan!", he'd actually have connected the right dots. A total clown.
9. Dustin. OK, so... *Crack knuckles* I love how smart he is, and baby Dustin is back in action with everything he got. I don't have much to say about him, other than I love his relationship with Steve and now with Eddie too. I hope to see more Steve/Dustin in near future, which makes me feel soooo hypocritical because I am sure somewhere in the past I might have complained they had too much screentime and I wanted to see them interact with other people. Well. Well. Well!
10. Lucas, so underrated my boy Lucas. I don't think he was wrong in trying to be popular and distancing himself from the nerdy things. Lots of people do that, and that's totally OK, but it was obvious it would cause problems between him and his friends. Part of growing up sometimes is forming new friendships and going different paths. It's easy to blame him, but I assure you all it's not easy to grow up being bullied. I laughed a good deal when he came back to school to warn Dustin, he was so behind from everything. Also? Can we talk about the fact that he still cared so much about Max? He was the only one seeing that something was odd and wanted to help, but she kept pushing him away. His role this season was kinda similar to s1.
11. I don't have much to say about Max, we can all agree she was one of the highlights and that Sadie performance was brilliant. I enjoyed every Steve/Max crumbs, and it was touchy that she cared to write him a letter too. I wonder if we will see what was inside said letters in volume 2 or season 5. And also, I'm so glad they depicted her suffering as a survivor guilt. It would be hard to buy it if she missed Billy as if they got along well and he was a great big brother.
12. Robin. Now there's someone I have a LOT to say about it. Because, personally, yes I loved her this season, but she felt different from season 3 when she was introduced. She was speaking non stop and at all times a goofball who could do few things right. According to herself, she gets nervous around people she has a crush on and acts weird, could that mean we had the entire season Robin crushing on Nancy? But even with Steve she would act this way, so it felt like it was her default. She felt smarter last season, Idk. Glad to see she has a new crush and, who knows, it might work out at the end if she is brave enough to ask her out!
13. Nancy. Honestly, speaking of Nancy is speaking about Jancy and Stancy, and the Stancy parts got me confused to the bones. Is Jancy over? Why built it then? My dudes, I am not a fan of Stancy and I do know this is very personal, but I don't want to see her cheating on Jonathan with Steve. Please, don't. If she leaves Jonathan, I want them to be on good terms at least. Jonathan doesn't deserve to be cheated on. Anyway, Nancy had great scenes this season, and episode 7? I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. Ready to see how she will escape.
14. Steve. He didn't have a lot to do so far, did he? Mostly it was him crushing on Nancy all over again, when all I wanted was for them to just, you know, be good friends. That's very personal, I know. Other than this, he is dear as always, and I need more Steve X Eddie. Please.
15. Was almost leaving Erica behind. She annoys me as usual, but I did love to see her winning the game in the first episode.
16. Probably my favorite arc? Maybe because there were more people and more things happening, and anyways how not to love Hawkins. It's where shit happens.
- Russia
17. I enjoyed the Russia arc more than the Lab, but there's not much to say about it. The new characters, "Enzo" and Yuri, were great. I would guess our Enzo will end up dead. There's always this new lovely character that dies, so I guess this is his turn.
18. I wasn't expecting the Jopper reunion this season! Or at least not until the very end (vol 2). It got me by surprise. 🥰
19. The drugged coffee was something I was already expecting. Never drink from your enemies cup, guys!
20. Wasn't Murray smarter than this? Well, gotta love him anyway.
21. How do they intend to fly away from Russia, a mystery worth solving.
- California
22. Seeing El suffering like that was hard. Real hard. Things got easier when she decided to go with Owens. Man, can't believe they arrested my girl for assault...
23. Jonathan, Will and El being siblings is peak ST. I don't make the rules.
24. Wished Will would have stood up more for El, but I guess I can understand him. He also suffered seeing her go through the bullying. I just wanted more Will X El bonding.
25. They went to the Gay-Will-crushing-on-Mike route. That's a statement. There's no more denying after this season. I can save all my comments about Will to another post.
26. Mike being a douchebag and then apologizing is classic Mike for you. I like him. I like how he is honest about his feelings. I wonder what will become of Mike X Will, if Mike breaks his heart I'm coming for him. 🔪🔪🔪
27. Which leads me to the point where I don't see a reason why not support these two. Ok son, you are in love with your best friend, that's what they gave you so I'll root for you.
28. But please, can they make Will relevant again? Please?
29. Argyle was suuuuuuuch a great addition. Another dork to the group.
30. Jonathan and Argyle. That's it, that's my take. The friendship of the year.
31. Kinda disappointed with Jonathan's life choices lmao
32. Suzie's house? That many siblings? Susie is a hacker? Argyle finding a crush there? 10/10. But honestly, at this point they may as well tell her the truth and get the girl involved. She is a genius.
33. This gang will probably be more relevant in volume 2. Looking forward to it!
- Overall
34. I thought the series would open with the Creels past. Was almost disappointing (who am I kidding, it WAS disappointing) seeing instead Brenner's face.
35. The plot twist was 11/10, soo great.
36. Some people are complaining they were padding out in the beginning, but I'm OK with it. I just think something was missing and I'm not so sure what it was.
37. Robin and Will are definitely autistic coded, and I'm so happy.
TL;DR: better than S3, highlights are Sadie and Jamie's performance, the plot twist. Hated to see Brenner's face again like this, hard to see El suffer so much. Stancy caught me off guard. We now know for sure Will is in love with Mike, and you know what, I give up, I'm shipping it. I'll suffer anyways. Can't wait to see what they have for us in volume 2.
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x-lovely · a year ago
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[Restless Corpse].
Summary: Corpse continues to play Among Us even though you try to convince him to get some rest. (shitty summary, i’m sorry) 
Pairing: Corpse x (Female) Reader
Genre: ALL FLUFF
Warnings: None? But… sweet fluff? 
Word Count: 902 words (I tried to make it 1,000 but fuck it I was so tired) 
A/N: After working for 10 hours today, I decided to write this story at midnight while drinking a red bull and listening to a lowfi remix of e-girls by LLusion on a 1 hour loop. Pls enjoy. 
Link to part 2: https://x-lovely.tumblr.com/post/638546269242097664/restless-corpse-part-2
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Another day, another livestream of Among Us. 
As Corpse walked into medbay, he overheard Dream talking about cinnamon raisin bread and wished for some himself. He was tired after staying up all night as per usual but still wanted to play the game with his new friends. Sighing once again, Corpse fixed the eyepatch over his eye and continued to focus on the game. 
You frowned upon hearing this because you have been with Corpse this entire weekend but he had not gotten much sleep at all. As you got up from the bed, Corpse muted himself and turned around to face you. 
“You okay? How are you feeling?” He asked, smiling softly. 
You pouted. “I should be asking you that. I’m worried about you, Corpse. You must be so tired.” 
Corpse let out a sigh and there was silence. After a moment, he motioned for you to come over to him. As you moved closer, he opened his arms and happily embraced you, wrapping himself around your waist and resting his head on your cute pudgy tummy. Even though you were standing beside him, Corpse was still tall enough to reach your stomach while sitting down. You welcomed his hug and chuckled as your fingers ruffled through his soft curls. He sighed blissfully as you continued to do this. It was as if time had stopped and nothing else mattered. Before pulling away from his sweet embrace, you planted a soft kiss on the top of his head and lifted his chin up so that he could face you. 
“Why did you stop? I was enjoying it.” He said, frowning once again as your fingers moved away from his hair. 
“I’m sorry, love. I didn’t mean to. It just felt like you were going to fall asleep on me if I continued to do that.” You said, chuckling as his eyebrows furrowed at what you had just said. 
“Hey! Fix your eyebrows. Your chat already thinks you don’t have any,” You exclaimed as you were tapping his eyebrows with your fingers. 
Corpse laughed loudly and brushed your hand away from his face as he continued to wrap his hands around you. 
“What you said earlier…” He said softly. You could barely hear him because his face was practically glued to your stomach at this point once again but you managed to hear his thoughts.
“I’m okay. I just don’t want to disappoint my new friends and my fans, you know? I feel off whenever I don’t post anything or do a stream so this is just me making up for it. This way, everyone would be happy,” Corpse said. 
This time, you did not hesitate to pull away from him. “Corpse…” You said. “Your friends and fans support you. They’re not going to leave you just because you don’t post. I know I’m in no position to tell you what to do, but I do know that you’ve been tiring yourself out over these past couple of months. I know there’s a social reputation to uphold, but you definitely deserve a break, even if it is for a couple hours. We all respect you. I respect you. No one is going anywhere. I just want you to know that.” You explained, wishing that he would understand. 
Corpse was quiet for a moment before letting out another sigh. “I wish I could believe that. I really do. I appreciate everyone for being there for me, and you, for being my number one supporter but I just want to give them the best of me.” He said as he turned back around to face his computer. He had forgotten that he was still playing with the gang. 
You approached him once more and cradled his head to your chest. “Tell you what, Corpsey,” You said, petting his hair softly. “I’m going to go run some errands while you finish the game.” 
“Okay… Where are you going though? He asked. You guys usually run errands together on the weekend, despite the fact that Corpse hates going outside. However, he feels safe when he’s outside with you. 
You smiled at him. “Don’t worry, dear. I’ll be back soon.” 
“Okay.” Corpse said. 
You cradled him for a moment, basking in the warm embrace of his scent. You trailed your lips down to the side of his cheek, planting a soft kiss on his right cheek and another on his tiny ear. 
It was an infinite moment that felt like eternity until the discord server started blowing up with notifications. 
“They’re calling for me,” Corpse stated as he prepared to resume the game. 
“Okay,” You said. “I’m going to get dressed and I’ll be back in a few.” 
“Alright. Be safe. Text me if you need anything and please don’t forget to wear your mask.” Corpse was always worried whenever you went outside without him. 
“Don’t worry, I won’t forget.” You said, smiling at him. 
“Okay, baby. I can’t wait until you’re home again with me.” Corpse said, wishing that he was cuddling with you instead of playing the game. 
As you walked into the bedroom to get dressed, Corpse unmuted himself on the game server and apologized for being away for so long. 
He wondered where you were going, but he knew that he could always trust you. 
Little did Corpse know that you were going to surprise him with what he loves the most: food. 
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A/N: DO YOU LIKE ITTTTTTT?? DO YOU WANT A PART TWOOOOOO. I’M SORRY ITS SO SHORT ): I deadass left you hanging, I’m sorry LOL. It’s currently 1:30 AM. I have so many ideas but I get so lazy to write but this time, I was like I HAVE TO WRITE FOR CORPSE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK. Should I make a separate tumblr for Corpse content? Because bet. I apologize for any grammatical errors. Also, I think I used “you” / “said” / “sighed” a lot. I personally do not like using “Y/N” because idk… it makes me feel disconnected from the story and it doesn't feel real. THAT IS JUST ME THOUGH, MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE. Anyhoo, I really hope that you liked it because I enjoyed writing this. Xx I’M ALSO REALLY NERVOUS THAT THIS ENTIRE THING SUCKS AND EVERYONE HATES IT omg ok bye im leavin
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