#but that's not exclusive to where i live i think most places in the us rlly i wouldnt…
one thing i will never understand is pride themed clothing. like where do you live. where do you live where you’re not afraid. i live in a moderately liberal small city but i still wouldn’t wear something like that.
I want an AU where it’s revealed that AFO has a child but no one knows who they are.
And by no one, I mean the heroes. Exclusively. Just so I can have this type of exchange for the whole AU.
Heroes: “But who could be the child of the Symbol of Evil? Of course, we will put our best elements on the case but we might never find out.“
The entire villain community: “It’s the bone breaking kid from the Sport Festival.”
Heroes: “Really, this is a riddle for the ages...”
Heroes: “Maybe we should look more closely at the teenage villains. It can’t be Shigaraki, right? He is a little too old to be a teenager?”
The entire villain community: “This is Midoriya Izuku, Hero name Deku, currently a student of UA and living in a dorm full of teenagers with OP powers.”
Heroes: “Don’t be ridiculous! The kid is a sunshine personified! Always nervous and fanboying! There is no way!”
Villains: “Sunshine personified punched Muscular through a mountain.”
Heroes: “... That was a one time thing.”
Villains: “It certainly wasn’t but we will get back to that. Didn’t he recently started to use a completely different quirk?”
Heroes: “Oh yeah, common mistake but it’s actually a new form of his bonebreaking quirk.”
Villains: “There is no way you can actually believe that eldritch black tendrils can be related in any way to a power-type quirk so I am just going to assume that you’re in some kind of very deep denial. Or that he used a brainwashing quirk on you since... you know... HE OBVIOUSLY HAS THE ABILITY TO STEAL QUIRKS. How about that time when he was accused of mass murder?”
Heroes: “That was a mix-up.”
Villains: “Like the time where he definitely didn’t help to bring the Hero Killer down despite the very obvious Air Might red sneakers trace on Stain’s face? Or the time where he obviously forced the son of Endeavor to use his flames on live television? Or when he kicked the crap out of a villain Youtuber so his school festival wouldn’t be interrupted? Or that time when a kid matching his description was seen in Kamino... RESCUING THE LEAGUE OF VILLAINS’ HOSTAGE. How about the fact that every villain trying to take AFO’s place met Deku at some point and he personally kicked their ass?”
Heroes: “Well, no, obviously, those aren’t mix-ups...”
Heroes: “These are called coincidences.”
Hawks, finally finding where the local serial killer is hiding in the MLA HQ: “Hey there! How is my favorite pyromaniac doing! I came to visit you because Toga told me you were a bit of conspiracy theorist...”
Dabi, looking up from his conspiracy board with the words PROPRIETY OF TODOROKI TOUYA written on the back: “I’m not.”
Hawks: “Sure, keep telling yourself that. I was just wondering if you had any theories about who All for One’s kid -”
Dabi, going back to his How To Ruin Endeavor’s Life And Kill My Brother plan: “It’s Midoriya Izuku, the kid who keeps mumbling about quirks and who put the fear of God into the heart of most villains now that All for One is in jail. Can you leave now?”
Hawks: “Listen, I know this is a really popular theory in the villain community but I know he can’t be All for One’s kid. I really shouldn’t tell you that but the Commission is pretty sure that his father is a very important top hero...”
Dabi: “Only a moron would think he is All Might’s secret lovechild. It’s obvious that All Might bribed him with a new identity and his own quirk so he wouldn’t become AFO 2.0.”
Hawks: “It’s crazy. His quirk isn’t All Might’s!”
Dabi: “Then why did the number 1 hero’s activity drastically dropped after a kid with an identical quirk started attending UA? And how come that as soon as Midoriya got a handle on the quirk, All Might retired?”
Dabi: “As for Kamino, I would also be pissed if All Might had deprived me of my villainous heir and I was now stuck with Shigaraki instead.”
Hawks: *leaves because it’s starting to make sense*
Dabi: “YOU CAN’T FLY FROM THE TRUTH!”
Man, the closest to a ‘golden age’ of being a homosexual must have been the late 2000′s, early 2010′s...I remember being a young teen going through the realization that I was gay and going online to spaces where it was actually okay in their eyes to be a homosexual.
So many YouTubers who were based around serious and light-hearted discussions about being lesbians really helped me, as well as seeing gay men express themselves since that helped me learn more about the LGB community. I felt like things were looking up for us and that even though being gay was different and could sometimes be scary, there would always be this community to back each other up. It was going to be okay to be a gender non-conforming lesbian, because the older women I saw on my laptop screen were trying to make it so.
And then in about 2015-2016, something shifted right before my eyes. It’s not like the trans community didn’t exist before - I knew them well enough, and was 100% supportive of them, but they had grown much louder. I think the most damning thing for me personally was watching all the lesbian idols I had come to know on places like YouTube started coming out as trans men or nonbinary. I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed each time, even though I had been taught by now that this feeling of disappointment was “transphobia”. These were my role models, my only connection to gender non-conforming females since I lived in a small conservative town in the armpit of Florida.
I tried to be supportive all the same, even though it seemed like every day those channels I watched or blogs I read started to disappear or change themselves to being about exclusively trans topics. It was like these people thought that the legalization of gay marriage in America was the end-all to oppression or issues for homosexuals, and so they had to move on to the next thing. I felt frustrated, but also pressured to joining the bandwagon, accepting that trans people were the oppressed now, and “cis” gay people had power over them even if it didn’t make much sense to me.
I wish I could go back to those times. Most libfems and tras really think that because gays can marry now and sometimes commercials on TV will show a gay couple, they don’t need to care about us anymore. But I’m still here. There’s plenty of people still here. This is a very America-centered post as well, since I’m sure the experience of anyone outside of it may be different, but my personal experience really opened my eyes to the trans community and their ‘allies’. Greedy consuming erasers.
THE NSFW ALPHABET, haitani ran.
fem!reader x haitani ran. bonten timeline.impact play. panty stealing. body worship. exhibitionism. bondage. brat taming. throat fucking. mention of phone sex. fingering. edging. orgasm denial. (1) clit slap. creampie. petnames. praising. crack if you squint. dirty talk.
+ REI SAYS headcanons + drabbles.
ଓ — what he’s like after sex?
ran is gentle, considerate even. exclusively for his s/o, he spends the coming down period placing chaste kisses over your entire body and rubbing any sore parts, focusing mostly on your thighs and ankles while praising you on how good you took him with that teasing grin of his. may indulge in pillow talk if he’s feeling up to it and almost always runs a warm bath for the both of you.
(B)ODY PART !
ଓ — fav body part on themselves and his s/o?
his s/o: ଓ legs !
lives for every single part of you; however, he has to admit to having a special weakness for your legs. tall or short or somewhere in between, it really doesn’t matter — ran loves feeling up on them– public or not, biting your calves, or even holding them up, placing soft kisses on your ankles as the angle from him standing upright causes him to thrust deeper into you than normal, hitting that spot that makes your legs shake uncontrollably.
himself: ଓ hands !
ran is attractive and he knows it, he takes pride in his charisma, but the one trait he is rather proud of, is most definitely his hands. they’re flexible with long, slender fingers that can fit in and around all the right places, eliciting the best reactions out of you. especially loves seeing them wrapped around your throat.
himself: ଓ arms !
similar to his hands, the strength and size of his arms are another favourite aspect of himself. it’s the same arms that hold you close while he’s scissoring his fingers through your pussy on his lap or that can wind around your back while he’s thrusting up into your plush, inviting walls.
ଓ — anything to do with cum, basically.
ran’s a tease, so naturally, he cums on the place so close yet so far away from where you both want it. your thighs. might just get hard again from looking at your cum-soaked skin. albeit, when he’s feeling particularly mean, your mouth is his best friend.
lips curved into a perfect o shape, ran jerks himself over your face.
“open your mouth.” pumping along his shaft a few more times, he releases a silky stream of hot, salty cum into your mouth, an animalistic grunt of pleasure floating from his lips.
utters a “don’t even think about swallowing it.” before patting your cheek.
(D)IRTY SECRET !
ଓ — a dirty secret of his?
ଓ panty stealing !
not a secret because he never bothers hiding it, but ran loves stealing your panties. whether it’s right after a quickie or for fun, he stuffs them deep into his pockets like their some sort of keepsake. ran is damn near addicted to the smell of you and there’s nothing you can do to change that.
ଓ being dommed !
ran has also had multiple fantasies revolving around you edging him until he’s crying and can’t take it anymore. would find the contrast between your angelic face and dominant personality in bed incredibly attractive and very much so thinks he’d cum in his pants instantly upon you forcing him on his knees and telling him to suck his own baton.
“you’re really going to make me beg for it?”
“fuck, sweetheart, please. i need you. now.”
ଓ — how experienced is he? does he know what he’s doing?
not that much of a shocker, ran has probably only been in one serious relationship his entire life— if you’re not his first, but is no stranger to causal hook-ups. that being said, he’s probably more experienced than you are, and is good at understanding your feelings and desires. doesn’t take him long to memorize your sweet spots and definitely uses them to his advantage.
“feels good, doesn’t it?”
(F)AVORITE POSITION !
ଓ — this goes without saying.
ଓ missionary !
the older haiani enjoys deliberately trying out new sex positions in order to keep things interesting in the bedroom; albeit, ran is a missionary man, face to face! although, it gives him access to your lips and neck, he loves the intimacy and eye contact it allows him, as he gets to see your wet, clumpy lashes and your watery eyes staring up at him. like this, you’re beautiful— you are more than beautiful. and when you cum? well, that’s his favorite part. you almost always try to cover your face, too overwhelmed by it all to face him and those piercing violet eyes of his; and in turn, he almost always wrangles your wrists in one hand so he can watch you, watch your face contort as those beautiful fucking tears finally start to spill down your cheeks as he fucks you with even more force and precision, each stroke calculated to the t!
chuckles when he sees you mewl as you peer down. his cum is already leaking out of you, only for him to stuff it back in and watch the growing creaminess spreading all over the two of you with amusement.
especially loves the view of your bouncing tits and how easily accessible they are; easy to grab, squeeze, and play with just the way he likes. + kissing you in this position is sloppy and messy and more teeth than anything else.
ଓ standing up !
ran is strong and wants you to know it — feel it when he holds you up to pound into you.
likes hearing you whimper when his cock bobs and glides between your lips with every step he takes. every motion, rubbed against you and caught on your entrance with just enough pressure to feel, but not enough to actually get off to. pins you against the wall with his weight but doesn’t give you time to rest, his pace unrelenting, yet slow; the sheer intensity of his thrusts slamming into you overwhelming your senses. when your orgasm comes without warning, your body shudders and spasms in rans grip, and wet heat splatters against your inner thighs as you practically scream his name, clutching onto his broad shoulders for dear life.
ran, however, barely misses a beat, riding through every second of your orgasm with enthusiasm. his breath hitches before his fingers dig even deeper into the flesh of your ass, spreading your cheeks, and you can hear his breathy laughter in your ear as the waves of pleasure continue to run through you.
ଓ bonus !
enjoys laying down behind you, your back pressed flat against his chest as he penetrates your pussy from that angle that you both love because it allows him the space and control needed to thrust into you just right, glistening cock sliding in and out of your messy pussy.
ଓ — is he more serious in the moment? is he humorous?
always has that sarcastic, teasing humor that doesn’t seem to go away in bed. serious when he wants to be and understands when not to ruin the mood. tends to get very passionate, specifically when he’s had a bad day at work.
ଓ — how well-groomed is he?
pretty well groomed and keeps them the natural colour they are. as far as the cut goes, ran keeps it trimmed and short, even if no one will see it. he might even shave it completely if he’s going to be too busy to see to it properly for a while. he doesn’t have alot of body hair in general, though, his pubes lead up into a thin, very light happy trail.
ଓ — how is he during the moment? the romantic aspect.
ran is very intimate in the moment. considers sex itself to be an intimate and romantic activity. even if he’s acting rough and dominating, he can’t help but let a bit of softness and love seep into his words and actions, whispering sweet nothings into your ear. probably one of the only times where he can voice his emotions easily without his pride getting in the way.
(J)ACK OFF !
ଓ — masturbation headcanon.
hm, ran rarely takes the time to take care of his needs, mostly because he usually puts it off in favor of working until he suddenly realizes just how long it’s been and how needy he feels; leaves him feeling so pent up and tense, not to mention unbearably sensitive, but getting himself off just doesn’t leave him feeling satisfied enough to be worth the time. would much rather prefer your plump lips wrapped around his cock, the feeling of his tip resting on your tongue eliciting a groan from him before he pushes in.
“fuck— that’s it, baby.”
tears squeeze past your lashes and stream down your cheeks as nothing but the sound of ran’s deep moaning and your gags fill the room. he brushes a single thumb over your cheek, signaling you to look up at him. “always s’pretty with my cock down your throat.”
ଓ — one or more of his kinks.
ଓ phone sex !
ଓ exhibitionism !
whether it be in his office or during a dinner date on top of a high balcony as you overlook the city, what ran wants, ran gets.
enjoys the flustered look on your face as well as the excitement coursing through his body as he fingers you in a shared booth while on a double date with rindou. “you make a sound and it’s game over, baby.”
“you think you deserve another finger? deserve to be stretched out before i use you, right here, right where anyone can see us?” he purrs in your ear, your walls clenching around him as you sink your nails into his bicep. “i think i wanna feel you stretch ‘round my cock, sweetheart. bathroom in ten.”
it’s safe to say, rindou knew exactly what was about to go down once you left the booth just five minutes apart from each other.
ଓ vouyerism !
this man is an absolute sucker for watching you pleasure yourself; something about it makes the tip of his dick leak with pre-cum and twitch in excitement.
“go on, show me how you like to be touched.” he’s sitting back, arms spread out on the back the couch; a glass of whiskey in hand.
you move your hands to your body, slowly cupping at your breasts and rolling your nipples between your fingers, a quiet sigh escaping your lips at the sensation. you bring them to hardened peaks before trailing your hands down your body, spreading your pussy lips with two fingers for ran to really get a look at you — just the way he likes. you can feel the dampness already oozing from within you, the thought of him watching you fuck yourself more than hot enough. you fingertips delved in, collecting your juices before coming up to circle your clit. you let out a soft moan, your head falling back among the pillows, your eyes fluttering shut. you’d been riled up since the previous night, and with ran busy at work, having not gotten yourself off, you were more than pent up. a small whimper escapes your lips and your hand slides down, plunging two fingers into your pussy with ease, a steady pace of thrusting and curling.
ଓ bondage/impact play !
a surprise to no one, ran loves bondage. having you tied up, watching as you wiggle helplessly, unable to escape his touch, never fails to turn him on. he especially likes using his tie, pulling at it so that it loosens around his neck, the knot resting in the middle of his chest, before he’s tying your wrist together and bending you over his knee.
specifically enjoys this on days where you’ve a brat.
“do your worst, love.”
…is the last coherent sentence to slip past your lips. that was ten minutes ago, your pussy contracting around nothing as ran continues tracing circles — applying just the right amount of pressure onto the ache between your thighs, your breathing growing faster. increasing the pressure, your body jolts uncontrollably.
you feel a burning sensation at your aching core, your legs twitching more aggressively. your back ever so slightly arches as you’re about to release, but the pressure on your clit disappears. you were in a cold sweat, chest heaving from panting too much and trying to keep your breath moderate, squirming against his legs as you moaned his name, sexually frustrated that you were deprived from your orgasm.
“what’s wrong?” he asks, sarcasm laced in his tone. “don’t you like being edged?”
you whine, of course, shaking your head, resisting the urge to press your thighs together. the hand holding your restrained ones remains still as his free hand slides down to pull your thighs further apart. he bends over some, his hot breath fanning against your ear as he opens his mouth to speak.
“you should’ve thought about that before embarrassing me infront of my colleagues,” he chides, before slapping the soft flesh of your ass, eliciting from you a loud cry as you inhale sharply at the pain. “you like being a fucking brat, huh? love when all the attention is on you?” his fingers slide closer to your aching pussy, your hips bucking, desperately needing to be touched. a mistake on your part, his fingers meeting your cunt with a harsh slap right before cupping it, threatening to push his finger in. your hips jolt in the air, the touch of his fingers making your body react suddenly and dramatically. “answer me.”
"yes! god— yes ran. ‘m sorry, please..” you cry, turning your head to meet his violet eyes, peeping the smug grin on his lips. his lips were wet, hair tousled. he bared his signature toothy grin, before saying, “poor thing. always needing something— my attention, my fingers, my dick.” his grin grows wider when you shiver at the mention of his cock, pressing a gentle kiss to your temple.
“actions have consequences, baby.”
on occasion, ran likes to be the one getting tied up.
ଓ — favorite places to do the do?
you: “oh fuck— god, wait wait wait, ran do you think they can hear us through the walls?”
the executives: “yes, we can!”
ଓ — what turns him on, gets him going?
ଓ taking charge !
seeing you act bold or taking charge never fails to excite ran. it makes his mind wander and he can’t help but imagine you acting that way towards him, disregarding his power and taking control of him. huge plus if you’re angry. sends blood rushing straight to his dick.
ଓ pulling him by his belt !
ଓ seeing you in a white button up !
ଓ back tattoo’s !
ଓ praising him !
ଓ when you get possessive !
saying things like “mine.” or “you’re no one else’s, okay?” will always elicit the response of “say that again.”
ଓ — something he wouldn’t do, turn-offs?
not fond of anyone having the chance to see you in a disheveled state. your body and reactions are for his eyes only.
ଓ — preference in giving or receiving, skill, etc.
ran’s favorite place to reside is by far in between your legs, sucking on your puffy clit, watching you writhe with his tongue buried deep between your folds; but, he’s definitely not opposed to receiving head every now and then.
seeing you on your knees, pink tongue lolling out of your mouth is an eye-watering sight for him; your legs rocking back and forth to try and dull the ache between your legs. his sensitive, throbbing head being teased by the swirling motions of your tongue, your dainty fingers twisting around the base of his cock. loves the way you kitten lick the underside of his cock and trace the thick vein with your tongue. it drives him crazy when his seed spills down the tunnel of your throat and you look up to him with innocent, glassy eyes.
ଓ — is he fast and rough? slow and sensual? etc.
hard and fast, slow and sweet — either way he makes sure to satisfy you completely. ran, of course, prefers slow and sweet, granting him the ability to completely worship your body, kissing and massaging every inch of skin, driving himself deep into your velvet walls, leaving no nerve ending untouched. albeit, that’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy hard and fast. he thinks there’s nothing quite like the high of a gang confrontation victory while being driven into your sloping pussy, his balls slapping the curve of your ass as he has you bent over the kitchen counter.
ଓ — his opinions on quickies, how often, etc.
ran is a man who likes spending time praising each and very part of your body. doesn’t think you deserve anything half done which is why he takes his time. he’s not exactly opposed to a quick fuck, but chooses to only do so when you’re desperate and clinging to him. even teases you as recompense for taking up his time.
“let’s see how quickly you can cum, hm?”
ଓ — is he game to experiment? does he take risks?
man’s is a sucker for you. bring up a fantasy that you find hot, and he’d be more than willing to help it turn to reality. his pleasure comes from yours; loves to see your euphoric expressions when he’s fucking you oh-so-god against the balcony railings.
ଓ — how many rounds can he go for? how long does he last?
he can and will go all night.
stamina is off the charts and lasts fairly long during rounds. ran can usually go for 3-4 rounds before needing to tap out, for your sake.
ran’s head tilts at the side to gaze at your panting frame, your chest rising and falling after you’d just rolled off of his lap.
“oh yeah, so done. four orgasms, ran, really? feel like m’clits about to drop off,” you joke.
a deep grumbling laugh rumbles from his throat, his strong arms leaning to pick your body up over back onto him, placing a soft kiss against your temple, thighs shifting to pick you up. “we’re finishing what you started in the bath, yeah?”
your whines, profanities, and fits of laughter can be heard through the penthouse as ran guides the both of you towards the bathroom.
ଓ — does he own toys? does he use them? on a partner or himself?
prefers using toys on you rather then on himself.
ଓ — how much does he like to tease?
isn’t even a question. he loves teasing and feeling you squirm and clench around his cock, his fingers, his mouth, whatever he’s teasing you with at the moment. he also loves the noises you make and the way they change when he stops teasing you and starts bringing you to an orgasm.
finds it amusement in your failed attempt to tease him the next time around. “darling, you know, you really shouldn’t tease me.”
ଓ — how loud is he? what sounds does he make, etc.
ran is not that loud, but that doesn’t mean that he’s quiet. grunts and groans a lot, especially just before he cums or when he’s praising you on how good you make him feel. other than that, he mainly only talks, and fuck is he good at dirty talk. deep, breathy sighs escape his lips when his sensitive head is suckled on and if you’re lucky, a strangled whine when you grab his balls.
(W)ILD CARD !
ଓ — a random headcanon for the character.
ran is a dom-leaning switch, so he loves when you take charge and ride out your orgasm using his cock. he’d say something around the lines of “you like that? like being in control?” as you’re riding him to no end.
ଓ — let’s see what’s going on under those pants.
ran’s dick is an impressive sight, but isn’t too intimidating. has a lot of length, more than the average person, and just enough girth to provide a stretch without requiring extensive foreplay. still, it’s a stretch that you can never become fully accustomed to — stretching your silky walls in such a sensational way, that you’d never grow tired of feeling the pleasure from the initial thrust.
ଓ — how high is his sex drive?
his sex drive isn’t as high as most people would think. ran works a lot, and is tired after a very long, stressful day of dealing with things like meetings, examining drug cargoes, ect. tries his best not to leave you unsatisfied, so if you want to fuck everyday, then hey, he can keep up.
ଓ — how quickly does he fall asleep afterwards?
if it’s a quickie in his office or something, then obviously he just goes about his day like normal, but if you’re in bed at the end of the day, as stated before in aftercare, he may indulge in a bit of pillow talk, waiting for you to go to sleep first before falling asleep himself.
© 99VES 2021 — please do not copy, repost or translate any of my work without my permission. feedback and reblogs are appreciated!
AITA for "stealing" my (35F) ex-boyfriend (38M)'s ex-boyfriend (34M)
a geraskefer reddit spoof
Okay, I know this doesn’t sound great, but let me explain the background first. I (35F) have had a long on-again, off-again relationship with my ex (38M), who we’ll call Eric. We’ve always had a tumultuous relationship, for lack of a better word. We fought a lot in the times we were together and sometimes it seemed like we were better when we were “off”, but we always ended up together again.
Here’s where the other ex comes in. Eric has been friends with this other guy (34M) who we’ll call Dan since they were teenagers. Dan was frankly horrible to me when I started dating Eric. He was always making snide little comments about my appearance or making me sound like a shitty person to Eric. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly nice to him either, but I could see that he was jealous of what we had so I wasn’t surprised.
The three of us and some other friends went on a camping trip two years ago and Eric and I got into a huge fight (I want kids, he doesn’t), and we broke up for the most recent time. I left the trip early so I didn’t see what happened but supposedly Eric and Dan had a falling out too. That one was a surprise to me because honestly I never thought it would happen given how close they were and how long they’d known each other. Eric’s a park ranger and doesn’t see a ton of people besides me and Dan and his brothers, so he tends to keep the few people he does have close to him.
A few weeks ago, I was at a bar and I saw some people I used to be friends with and I went into a corner to try to avoid them, and ended up running into Dan. I’ve had a pretty shit year with people so to be honest it was kinda nice to see someone I knew wasn’t gonna stab me in the back. We ended up talking for all night and I got so smashed that he let me crash on his couch (nothing happened).
Anyways, since then we’ve been getting closer and we’ve become pretty good friends. He told me that he and Eric (confirming my suspicions) did actually date in the times Eric and I were “off” (which was fine by me, we weren’t exclusive then anyways) and that they basically also broke up during the camping trip when we did. He’s been over at my place pretty much all the time and we’re essentially dating now but haven’t put a label on it or anything. As far as I could see, Eric didn’t treat Dan super well but I’m not going to pretend I understood their relationship, so I was trying not to think about it.
In attempting to mend old bridges, I also started talking to Eric again a few months ago (as friends) and he told me he ended up (!!!) adopting a little girl since we broke up. Her parents were family friends of Eric and they were killed in a boating accident a few years ago. She used to live with her grandmother but she passed away, so Ellie ended up with Eric somehow. Honestly, I was pretty shocked given how averse to having kids he was when we were together, but it’s actually pretty cute to see them together now.
Here’s where shit hit the fan: Eric said Ellie wants to learn piano and I’ve been playing for thirty years so I suggested he bring her over and I could teach her every week. Last week, when they were over, I forgot to text Dan that they were here and he brought dinner over as a surprise. Eric was so shocked to see us together and we explained to him that we’ve been dating for a while.
Eric blew up at me saying that I “never liked Dan in the past” and “how could I steal him (Dan) from him (Eric)” blah blah and I told him that he should have treated him better then, especially since HE’s the one who broke up with DAN in the first place and it’s not my fault if other people see what a great person Dan is. Eric left my place in a huff and we haven’t talked since. Dan felt pretty awkward about the whole thing (he’s way nicer than either Eric or I) and feels caught in the middle.
Was it wrong of me to start dating Dan? I don’t think so, especially since he was single, but Eric saying I “stole” him has been sticking with me and I’ve been really wracking my brain. The issue is, Dan and I both still have feelings for Eric and we both still consider him a dear friend. The three of us have known each other for so long that I don’t want things to end like this.
So, am I the asshole here? And if so, how do I fix this?
ok truth or dare at a party where reader is kind of like a loser/unpopular and somehow James gets dared to kiss her, and then people make like comments or whatever so he looks after her and just like fluff plsplspls
sure! I made this more of a friendship-centred fic, but I hope you still enjoy it!
james potter (friendship) x fem! reader
warnings: symptoms of social anxiety, light mocking that could be interpreted as bullying
You sipped the drink in your hand, trying to recall exactly what you’d put in it. You felt acutely aware of the way you looked, the way your mouth fit around the cup, the fit of your top or your skirt- it wasn’t often you sat in this exclusive sort of circle at a party, and certainly not with this crowd. James Potter, Sirius Black, Lily Evans… It was as if the most popular students at Hogwarts had collectively decided to do their charity work and hang out with you for the evening, pretending that this was entirely normal when you knew there must be confusion as to your place in the group. You were getting a few looks from some other girls in the circle, and they weren’t the smiles that Marlene, Mary and Lily directed your way.
It wasn’t that you were disliked- you had to be known, for that to be possible. People just didn’t really seem to notice you; to be fair, you largely kept to yourself, watching everyone’s lives go on as they surrounded themselves with friends and fun. There were some people you admittedly watched more than others- they were sitting around you now, laughing and joking with one another as they did most days. You weren’t the first to envy them, just as you weren’t the first to have a crush on the Gryffindor quidditch captain, James Potter. He was nicer than most people. He always remembered whatever you’d told him in the time between your conversations, and he even sometimes waved at you from the quidditch pitch. He gave your words more credit than you might’ve done, and he even seemed to think you were funny sometimes. You couldn’t really understand it, but you didn’t want to argue.
But he didn’t like you- not that way, at least. He liked Lily Evans, and how could he not? She was everything someone should be: strong, kind, brave, witty. She was the kind of girl who people actively sought out instead of stumbling upon, who had opinions people wanted to hear and learn from. You couldn’t dislike her, not at all. You couldn’t dislike any of them. They were good people.
“Hey,” Someone nudged your shoulder, and you blinked. Remus Lupin looked down at you, eyebrows raised. “Marlene’s asking you.”
“Oh, sorry.” You said, looking at a spot just above Marlene’s eyes and trying not to feel too awkward. “I choose truth.”
A few of the girls laughed, as well as Sirius. “No,” He said amusedly, raking a hand through his black hair, “Marls was asking if you were okay with kissing James. It's his dare.”
What? You felt your face go red, the clamminess you’d wiped off your palms instantly reappearing. You opened your mouth, then shut it again, staring determinedly at your drink. “Oh, yeah, I s’pose.” You stammered, blinking quickly.
You heard him speak above the noise of the party, and you could picture the concerned frown on his handsome face. “You don’t have to, it’s just a game.”
“She’s probably dying to, just look at her.” You heard someone whisper callously. Something tightened in your throat, the hot shame of being mocked. You bit the inside of your cheek.
“Yeah, it’s fine, James. I’ll kiss you.” You forced out, making yourself look at him for a second. He grinned.
“Lovely. Well, if you’ll excuse us…” He stood, holding out a hand to help you to your feet. You hesitated, embarrassed at how much your palms were sweating, but it felt worse to decline him. You tentatively let him pull you to your feet, tugging down the back of your skirt.
“No fair, Prongs, why do you get to have privacy?” Sirius complained. You wished James would let your hand go. The girls were giggling again.
“Black, we all know you wanted the world to see you kiss me. Potter had more class.” Mary teased, laughing at Sirius’ expression. James led you away from the group, hand still gripping yours, until you found a hidden alcove with only a third-year in it. At the sight of James bloody Potter, the kid scrambled away.
“You sure you’re cool with this? We can just say we did it and go back.”
Your heart was thumping against your chest, but it was accompanied by a surge of hurt. Did he really dread the thought of kissing you that much?
You shook your head. “It’s fine. I mean, if you want to, that is.”
“A dare’s a dare.” James said flippantly, leaning down with his hands on your jaw to press a soft kiss to your lips. Your eyes fluttered closed, your hands on his biceps, and for a brief moment you wondered if he felt what you felt. If this really was the start of something- if James felt it too, then maybe-
He pulled away, grinning. “Not bad, sweetheart. Shall we?” Before you could even formulate a response, you were moving back to the group, feeling rather starstruck. James looked fine, sitting in his previous position and elbowing Lily gently. She rolled her eyes, and you looked away.
“Merlin, look how red she is,” Sirius laughed, swaying drunkenly.
“Well, duh. She obviously has a massive crush on Potter.” One of the other girls- Olivia Green- said bitingly. “I see her watching him all the time, it’s pathetic.”
“Liv, that’s mean.” James frowned. You stepped backwards, grabbing the hem of your skirt anxiously.
“What? It’s true,” She covered her mouth as if she’d surprised herself, laughing. “Sorry, sorry, I’m drunk, don’t hold me responsible for this.” Her Ravenclaw friends laughed awkwardly, but the rest of the group was more quiet. You felt tears gathering in your eyes- Liv had barely had anything to drink. She'd made a big point of judging Marlene for having three drinks by the time she'd finished her first.
“She’s not wrong, is she?” One of her friends said, attempting to cover the silence and looking at you. “It’s fine, just admit it.”
“Hey, stop.” Lily and Marlene said. Lily was frowning. “That isn’t okay.”
“Yeah, back off.” James said.
You could feel people looking at you, and you realised you were still standing, flushed and almost crying. You felt humiliated, like they’d all brought you here just to mock you. Your lips, which had been tingling only seconds prior with the joy of having kissed James, felt dry and chapped. You felt ugly, and it was worse than sitting alone in your room or watching everyone else have all the fun.
You turned and walked as quickly as you could from the party, scrubbing a frustrated hand across your face and smearing your makeup. You were stupid for having thought they actually liked you, stupid for thinking James Potter would ever kiss you out of more than pity, stupid stupid stupid-
“Hey, wait.” His voice echoed off the walls of the hallway. It was almost entirely silent, save for your footsteps, given the extensive silencing spells that students had placed on the common-room to ward off any teachers. You rolled your shoulders back and turned.
The pity on James’ face was almost unbearable. “You should go back to your friends.” You said quietly. He heard, though, and he rubbed a hand on the back of his neck.
“No, no,” He muttered, coming closer and looking at you. “I’m really sorry about them. I don’t know why they said that, it wasn’t okay.”
“Why do you think they said it, James?” You said, voice shaking. You sniffed, looking away to catch your breath.
“I don’t…” He paused. “They had no right to try to embarrass you that way. I’ll make them apologise.”
You shook your head, bringing your arms up to hug yourself. “Don’t. Please, don’t.”
“I would rather go back to being unknown. I don’t want to cause drama.” You said quickly. James’ eyebrows were knitted together, his face the picture of worry. For you. You let yourself wonder, just for a moment, before you reeled yourself back in. “Go back. I don’t mean to ruin your night.”
“You could never ruin my night. You were making it more fun, actually.” He said, stepping over to one of the candle-lit stone walls and sliding down until he was sitting on the floor. He patted the spot next to him, and reluctantly, you sat there. “You’re my friend.” He said.
You drew your lips together, swallowing. “Friend.” You repeated, barely a whisper. You didn’t dare look at James, who sighed slowly.
“Friend.” He confirmed gently, patting your knee. “My very good friend, who I want to be happy.”
“I’m not your responsibility, James.” You pressed the heels of your hands into your eyes, resting your elbows on your knees. He bumped you, gently.
“I care about you, though. You’re always so quiet, keepin’ to yourself like you don’t know that people like you.” You glanced at him, eyes pricking, and something softened in his expression. “We do.”
“Mm.” You said.
“We all want you around more, too- Remus thinks you’re amazing, and Lily adores you. You should get your nose out of your books once in a while and come to Hogsmeade with us.”
You smiled ruefully. “I don’t want to push myself in because I’m pitied.”
“That isn’t what’s happening, I promise. Anyone that matters thinks you’re great.”
James clapped his hands together, face breaking into a grin.
“Alright, love, enough moping. We don’t have to keep playing truth or dare, but you should dance with me.” He held his hand out again, and you stared at it. He wiggled his fingers, smiling widely. “Come on…”
“Fine.” You let him pull you up, breathing deeply. James slung his arm over your shoulder.
“There we go.”
You felt a twist of anxiety in your stomach again as you neared the doors, but it had almost nothing to do with the party itself. “James?” You pulled back, fiddling with your fingers nervously.
“Things won’t be… weird between us now, will they? I didn’t want to ruin things.”
James batted a dismissive hand through the air, smirking. “‘Course not. You don’t think I’d let something like that get in the way of our friendship? Get outta here.”
You smiled, and he ruffled your hair. Everything was okay.
Wanted to talk something that has been really bothering me for a while. (tw for exclusionism)
When I was first introduced to the online queer community, I was 13 and just starting to be happy in my sexuality. (What I ID'd as then is not the same as now but still.) It was genuinely such a RELIEF to go online and see people joking about bi culture and frogs and stuff, it made me feel normal while living in a country that is still very behind on any queer rights. But over the years I've developed a kind of... bitterness about the whole thing. The same posts about Gay Culture now kind of feel like the people who made them wouldn't consider me as a valid queer person. I'm nonbinary but I don't want to medically transition, I'm aromantic and asexual, and I also have a personality disorder. I know the last one isn't related to queerness but it has a very complicated relationship with my aroace identity. So it's really tiring to go online everyday and see posts like "We shouldn't exclude aroaces and they are valid because they can still feel empathy!! so they're not complete monsters!!" But here's the thing: I don't. And it's just so tiring to see the same example of a Quintessential Gay person over and over again that's just Tiltok User Who Is Skinny, White, And Has A Mullet. No hate to those people and I know that's how they want to present and it makes them happy, but I kind of just feel like the very things that used to give me so much comfort when I identified as Finger Guns Rolled Up Jeans Bisexual are exactly the ones alienating me now. To the point where I don't even want to tell people that I'm queer anymore. I remember that one twitter post that said "I'm leaving the LGBTQ Community ✌️" and it was funny and ridiculous when I first saw it but now... oof.
Not sure what the point of this Very Long ask (sorry!) was but I just wanted to see if anyone else feels the same. Whenever I attend a queer event online I feel like The Imposter In The Vents. I am certain of my identity, happy in it, but kind of just developed a sense of mistrust for any queer person I meet online. Does that make sense? I don't want to be a Valid And Sufficiently Oppressed Part Of Communities anymore, just want to exist
This makes complete sense and is something I have thought of often actually. There is this discussion that has been started by queer people of colour, asking what we define as "queer culture" and if what we understand as "queer culture" is simply a culture that has been sieved and shaken hard enough to remove all of the truly challenging and less privileged narratives. This is a discussion I have largely watched from the sidelines, as it is being led by queer people of colour, but I think it is relevant to bring up now.
I think, largely due to the internet, there is this drive to have one clear understanding of the queer community. This drive has led to solidarity, questioning long-held beliefs, and truly fascinating conversations, but it has also, unfortunately, led to exclusion, Neocolonialism, and confusion for a lot of people, because here is the rub, queerness is often the opposite of clarity.
This is confusing because early on in our experiences with queerness, there are often these bites of clarity. When we first understand the whole of our identity, when we see the beautiful untold history that has led us to where we are, when we meet another person who is like us. For a beautiful moment, things are clear and connected, but the moment passes. I don't think the moment will ever go away, but it becomes scarce, especially if we are looking for it in the same places.
Queerness is a thread of connection, and when you pull you find yourself tied to some of the most incredible, complicated, and fascinating people. You will also find yourself tied to people who sorta suck. But just because you share community with these people, doesn't mean they have to be your community. You get the privilege, due to the abundance that has been hard-won by our queer ancestors, to think some of these people are awful and choose not to hang out with them. Congratulations!
There is A Queer Community, an amalgamation of tradition, rebellion, love, and diversity that likely looks a lot different than what some of us think when we think queer community. The reason for the difference is because there is also your queer community, which you have to build yourself through the people and stories you find throughout your life. So many people get one confused for the other, and a lot of damage can be done that way.
I suppose you weren't looking for advice, but here it is anyway: build your queer community intentionally and accept The Queer Community as a flawed but overall beautiful pool to draw from in the creation of your community.
#AMERICAN GODS :
( some triggering content may be present ! change pronouns to suit. )
how was the funeral?
normally people who die stay in their graves,
there is a secret that the casinos possess, a secret they hold and guard and prize, the holiest of their mysteries.
most people do not gamble to win money, after all, although that is what is advertised, sold, claimed, and dreamed.
i believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating.
that is the eternal folly of man; to be chasing after the sweet flesh, without realizing that it is simply a pretty cover for the bones.
the important thing to understand about american history is that it is fictional, a charcoal-sketched simplicity for children, or the easily bored.
at night, you're rubbing yourself against worm food. no offense meant.
you have no idea what i can believe.
gods die, and when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered.
some grifts last forever, others are swallowed soon enough by time and by the world.
i don't like you.
i'm alive. i'm not dead. remember?
none of this can actually be happening.
if they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted.
i can believe things that are true, and i can believe things that aren't true, and i can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.
they die like men, after all.
this is a bad land for gods.
damn straight i’m a hustler.
we don’t need anyone to believe in us.
it's going to be a white christmas.
they only tell the truth, and the truth is not what people want to hear.
i've come too far for more lies.
i’m going now. it will be better if i go.
in the unlikely event of my death, you will hold my vigil.
you’re dead, babe.
like i said, don't piss off those bitches in the airports, or they'll haul your sorry ass back here before you can spit.
i have as many names as there are winds.
it's a sacrifice, of sorts.
one day every soldier in the empire has to shower in the blood of your sacrificial bull.
you work for me now.
if hell is other people, then purgatory is airports.
if you just hang in there, someday they’re going to have to let you out.
that boy was one lucky son of a virgin.
i used to think that too. now i’m not so sure.
you're not so prejudiced anymore.
life is a game, a cruel joke.
i mean, it's not such a big deal.
i'll work for you.
so what are you? a two-bit con artist?
you people talk about the living and the dead as if they were two mutually exclusive categories. life and death are different sides of the same coin.
that is merely the easy lie that gets them through the enormous, ever-open, welcoming doors.
you see, i am the only one of us who brings in any money.
if it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as metaphor.
all we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory.
it all depends on where you are.
i need someone to look out for my best interests.
it's easy, there's a trick to it, you do it or you die.
we are not friends.
anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly.
either you've been forgotten, or you're scared you're going to be rendered obsolete.
you should know that when we're done, i'll be gone.
if you piss me off, i'll be gone.
if you move and act in the material world, then the material world acts on you.
he’s hustling you, he’s a hustler.
some things may change; people however, people stay the same.
the best thing—perhaps the only good thing—about being in prison was a feeling of relief.
even for my kind, pain still hurts.
come and sit by me.
i'm impressed, you have class.
isn’t she the one who killed her children?
if we're still loved and remembered, something else a whole lot like us comes along and takes our place and the whole damn thing starts all over again.
we just keep going anyhow, it’s what we do.
i can lie to them, tell them what they want to hear.
there's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right.
i got a son, and you remind me of him.
would you believe that all the gods that people have ever imagined are still with us today?
people only fight over imaginary things.
it's easier to kill people, when you're dead yourself.
we have some unresolved issues to address.
i shall make sure that your needs are adequately taken care of.
it would distress me equally, my dear.
we don’t always remember the things that do no credit to us.
you want to talk about it?
ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.
all your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
first, you go down on your knees. then i hit you a blow with it, so you don't get up again.
if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.
people gamble to lose money.
if i win, i get to knock your brains out, with a sledgehammer.
too much talking these days. talk talk talk. this country would get along much better if people learned how to suffer in silence.
i can believe anything.
they are gone, all gone, but their names and their images remain with us.
there are accounts that, if we open our hearts to them, will cut us too deeply.
which path should i take? which one is safe?
if i tell you what i've learned you won't think that i'm a nut?
it's what people do.
if you didn’t have a death sentence, then prison was, at best, only a temporary reprieve from life.
you hurt people who need to be hurt.
it's not easy to believe.
the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless.
is that you?
so, you're praying?
i told you i would tell you my names. this is what they call me.
fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes.
i can see nothing romantic in a death sentence.
i want to rest now.
candy really did taste better when i was a kid.
religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.
i think i’ll stay right here for now.
religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all.
the really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is—without question—the right thing to do, and that is what makes them dangerous.
gods are great, but the heart is greater.
once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.
which way would you walk—the way of hard truths or the way of fine lies?
i want nothing. no heaven, no hell, no anything. just let it end.
i got to tell you, you don’t look too bright.
i guess you’re going to ask what i’m doing here.
i was thinking more of how you died.
we may not die easy and we sure as hell don't die well, but we can die.
for the most part, history is uninspected, unimagined, unthought, a representation of the thing, and not the thing itself.
what i say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore.
keep safe. i would not like to hear that you were gone for good.
the rest of them know what they are.
have you ever looked at peas in a pod? i mean, really looked at them?
the quickest way is sometimes the longest.
you're not dead, but i'm not sure you're alive, either. not really.
lucky guy, he could fall into a cesspit and come up smelling like roses.
Jason Todd’s Masterlist
Return to Curated Masterlists
Minors and ageless blogs do not interact or follow! You will be blocked!
♡ fluff ❣ smut ▽ hurt/comfort ◆ tw/kink, please read fic notes/ tags
Sweet One Shots & Drabbles
alive and well ♡
Sundays Down the Aisle ♡
The Sky is Grey ♡ ▽
Corn Dogs & Kissing Booths ♡
hallelujah ♡ ▽
Spicy One Shots & Drabbles
Playmates ❣ ◆
Sir ❣ ◆
Sea Foam on Your Skin ❣ ▽ ◆
under your (dry) spell ❣ ◆
Unholy Confessions ❣ ◆
Since I Ever Was Your Star ❣ ◆
Fire & Envy ❣
Dressed in White ❣
Call Out My Name ❣ ◆
The Dream of the Astronaut’s Lover ❣ ◆
Check out the tags for specific content
Where Daybreak Strays ❣ ▽ ◆
Direct link to AO3 here!
Status | in progress!
Summary: You’ve had your fair share of odd folk stay at your humble B & B, but you think that this one is more unusual than most with his guarded demeanor. Then you know he’s different when he offers you a heavy sack of silver to rent out the entire place for the next few months. As you two dance around your secrets while living together, nearly everything is revealed with the arrival of one Madame al Ghul.
It took months of tiptoeing around and carefully curating your words to choreograph the routine you two laid out for the other. The walls of your home felt impossibly small from the tension -smaller now that Jason approached you. Common sense told you that you could never break in a wild horse, let alone breakthrough to the reticent man you lived with. Yet there he was, head bowed before you as if in church. His prayer was the brush of his fingers against yours quietly begging you not to go.
Stake Your Claim ❣ ▽ ◆
Direct link to AO3 here!
Status | COMPLETE!
Summary: In a desperate attempt to improve your social status, you sneak into a wane gala in the hopes of getting turned by a vampire. Anything was better than being an omega and a base. Instead of getting turned, you meet a werewolf who’s determined to show you what you’re truly worth.
“Do you like to play with your food before you eat it?” You asked, trying to wash away the bitterness that Jason brought out. He seemed to hit all the sensitive parts of you, your insecurities and your weaknesses.
Finishing his drink, he set the glass down with a loud clunk. Instead of using his hand, his tongue peaked out to lap at the stray droplet on his lip, his eyes never leaving yours until he winked. “Isn’t that why it’s called foreplay, sweetness?”
Words with Friends ♡ ❣ ▽ ◆
Direct link to AO3 here!
Status | COMPLETE!
Summary: Jason Todd was someone you’d consider an acquaintance at best, having run in similar crowds during college. After meeting at a gala, you’re surprised to learn how much he’s changed since then, especially when he makes a proposal that the two of you should have sex.
“I’m just trying to get laid, have fun and do some kinky shit. Maybe even have a few good memories to look back on when I’m old and my dick isn’t working anymore. And -don’t let this get to your head now- for whatever reason, I feel comfortable doing this with you.”
The Spaces Between Us ❣ ▽ ◆
Direct link to AO3 here!
Status | COMPLETE!
Summary: The Red Hood has been on your tail for months. Confrontations get heated with each meeting. What seems hopeless finally becomes hopeful when he ambushes you in your safe house.
A kiss, crushing and desperate. Your hand pressed against the back of his head to keep him there. It was a kiss that left your mouth red. Red like the color of passion. Red like the color of guilt. Red like the color of anger. A kiss that reminded you of Red, the man who didn’t love you
Dripping in Gold ❣ ▽ ◆
Direct link to AO3 here!
Status | COMPLETE!
Summary: A sequel to The Spaces Between Us. You filled in the parts of yourself that left you broken with forgiveness. But as life moves on, there’s someone out there who wants to know if there’s space for reconciliation. Someone who’s refusing to be known as Red anymore. Someone by the name of Jason Todd.
It wasn’t a kiss. It was a draw, a deadlock. Fights in the past weren’t easily erased. You could still make out the words as you slept, your mind filling in the parts that were scratched out. It couldn’t be remembered as it was but it was feelings not facts that were key to relationships.
One of the most devious and heavily overlooked features ever added to any tabletop roleplaying game, and a mechanic I can’t really find an equivalent for anywhere else in any other RPG, is the catch-all “Unusual Background” attribute for Steve Jackson’s GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System). In brief, Universal Background charges an open ended amount of character-building points during character creation for a unique background that gives access to special abilities. It’s a fascinating case where they are deliberately coy in writing about what this advantage is for because explaining what it does defeats the purpose of what it actually does. In fact, I might be violating some Magician’s Code or kayfabe here by explaining what it really is, but what the heck.
Every single Game Master (who have to think differently than players do by necessity) who ever saw it, knows what the Unusual Background advantage was for instantly: it’s an Annoyance Tax. In other words, GURPS is the first game to charge a tax in character creation for an irritating, or setting stretching/breaking character concept for unique-freaks.
What do I mean by that? Unusual Background is applied when:
If you have a character concept that breaks the “rules” of the setting (like a “free” genie that isn’t bound to a lamp or ring, or a droid that can use the Force)
is out of place for the time era and feels more like something a writer would come up with who didn’t do any research (a 1820s London set game with a white guy knowing Chinese Kung Fu for some reason, or a female police officer in a metropolitan area prior to 1960)
Is a weird combination of races that wouldn’t logically exist, usually only to get a few weird super powers nobody else on the table has, like a half-Dwarf Half Pixie (I call this being a Zevonite, after musician Warren Zevon, who was half Jewish and half Mormon, which if you stop and consider it theologically, made him the Chosen One)
is intensely focused on being a unique species or splat that game lore disallows, to the exclusion of creating an actual character concept (like the player who wants to be Last of the Snakemen when the campaign background says the Snakemen have been extinct for 300 years).
We all know someone who has tried to be one of those things and who doesn’t quite “get it.” So the very fact that Unusual Background is left in the air is deliberately so it could function as a very heavy disincentive, as in “well, gee, Frank, I’d love to let you play your idea of being the last of the Snakemen – who, incidentally, were clearly stated to be extinct for 300 years as a major plot point in the campaign packet on the discord server that I asked you to read – but it’ll be an Unusual Background of…” (quickly looks in his eyes and assesses how much he wants to do it) “…say, 50 points, so, uh, you sure you wanna do that after all?”
The very fact it is usually left to the Game Master’s discretion is the entire point: the point value is whatever it needs to be to function as a disincentive, depending on how totally you want to disallow it. It can be a de facto ban without ever having to tell someone no. The point value for Unusual Background (Last of the Snakemen) would be whatever it takes on the spot to make Frank change his mind about this.
Likewise, if some element of the character is something setting stretching as opposed to setting breaking…but if a player really wants it, you can live with it, you can set the value of Unusual Background lower. Like, a Londoner in 1820 knowing Chinese Martial Arts or a female police officer in the US prior to 1960, which would be shockingly unusual but not outright impossible. I wouldn’t charge more than ten points for something like that.
That’s precisely why the creators of the game are deliberately coy about what an Unusual Background is or what it costs, and why no otherwise complete setting book ever lists specific, explicit unusual background costs as a part of it, even though GURPS is insanely defined and hyper-granular: what’s the point of having a list of “annoying setting-breaking things I don’t want you to do?”
In fact, suppose some eager-beaver player of yours really wants to play a white Londoner who knows Kung Fu in 1820 and they come up with a really plausible way to explain how that could be. In other words, they’re able to talk you into it. If that’s the case, you might want to waive the cost of Unusual Background entirely. Because the point of it is an annoyance tax, so if it’s not annoying…why apply it? It’s precisely for this reason that Unusual Background is so ill-defined: it’s dependent on interpersonal and situational factors like that.
It’s also why this mechanic was heavily overlooked as the game went on (in fact, 4th Edition barely uses it). When a mechanic not being explicitly defined is the point of the mechanic, don’t be surprised when it isn’t used or referenced too much in places that define mechanics.
I think it’s really important that we talk about a very pertinent and relevant topic:
How to spot fake crystals!
“Fake” in reference to crystals can mean many different things depending on who you ask, but we’ll cover all of them. Dyed stones, heat treated, glass, man made, mislabeled/marketed, etc.
As the crystal community grows, so do the counterfeit dealers! One of the fakes I see most often are the small little bullet shaped points made into pendants, with very over exaggerated color and patterns, that are being sold at extremely low prices and readily available at places like Walmart, Five Below, and Amazon. These are either made from resin/plastic or dyed glass, and possess absolutely no metaphysical properties or vibrational energy.
Another way to spot a fake is if the price is just too good to be true. While I am able to offer stones (IG @petriquartz) at a lower price than most retail metaphysical stores, it’s usually just because those places are OVER charging for their product. While you don’t want to overpay, you also don’t want to underpay, as that is an indication that the stone you are purchasing is not genuine.
If a stone is one with a natural pattern, we want to be sure that the pattern is not completely uniform or symmetrical. A patterned stone that is often faked, as it is on the rarer and pricier side, is malachite. A good way to tell if your malachite is genuine is to see if the stripes on your stone are dark green or black. Black stripes that are very uniform are a tell-tale sign that what you have is a fake.
Now what about heat treated stones??? The vast majority of the time, heat treated amethyst is marketed and sold as citrine. While this isn’t really false, it is a little deceptive. Amethyst and citrine are both varieties of quartz. The only difference is the oxidized state of the iron impurities within the mineral. Naturally occurring citrine is quite rare, which is the result of natural heat and pressure applied to amethyst over a very long period of time. We are able to simulate that effect by heat treating pieces of amethyst in order to speed up the process.
Finally, let’s talk about man made stones. Some of the most popular man made crystals include opalite, goldstone, and blue sandstone. Some people debate whether or not these man made stones still possess any sort of metaphysical properties while not coming directly from the earth. Whether you use them in your own practice or just have them as display pieces in your house is totally up to you! Do what feels right, and if you feel called to them, there is nothing wrong with using them!
I hope that this can offer some insight to anyone just getting starting, or some guidance for anyone looking to purchase crystals! For genuine, ethically sourced stones, be sure to check out Petriquartz on all platforms. The majority of my sales are done via my Facebook group, where I offer exclusive prices for members, as well as frequently host giveaways and live sales once a week or more! Click the links below to join us!!!
harry is a newly single father to a brand new baby and he doesn't know what he's doing. going home for the summer, he didn't expect to find himself a new kind of honey named (y/n).
this is a patreon exclusive piece, with this first part being the only publicly available part.
That used to be Harry's favorite month until it became the name of his whole world.
She was a December baby named after the peak of summer—his idea. He'd always loved the colors of the berries and the flowers that bloomed at the end of the month—something sweeter than strawberries, even—tinting the sky and the air that filtered all around him. That was all he could think about the second he held his baby girl in his arms, dressed in hospital scrubs and a thin, ice-blue cap covering his hair. He saw her through distorted vision, his gaze warped by the tears rimming his waterline. All he could do was let out a strangled breath, the air having to move around the lump of his heart in his throat.
It was the most overwhelming moment of his life.
Despite the way she was still covered in stick and the world she knew before joining his, she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. She had her mother's chin and the shape of her rounded lips, but she had his eyes and nose. She was his baby, it was clear. Clear like the dewy summer mornings in his youth, when he would race outside to play with his friends. Clear like the prickling taste of watermelon rinds when he'd bite just a little too far past the pink of the flesh. It was clear that he was going to love her for the rest of his existence—and then some—like the reflections on the bottom of a pool.
She was his June.
While his baby girl—June, he remembers thinking so fondly—was getting cleaned up, swaddled and eased into her new world with the help of the birthing team, Harry was able to make it official.
June Clover Styles.
His last name scrawled across the paper to punctuate her existence, right above where he was put down as her father. Nothing could have prepared him for the pride he felt looking at the certificate in his hand. He was her dad.
Those quiet moments when he was finally able to really hold her, a little pastel striped hat tucked over her head and a blanket swaddling her form, everything melted away. In that second it was way too easy to forget the fact that she was just on the brink of being considered premature, brought into the world exactly three weeks before her due date, with the size to prove it. For those measured paces it was like her premature status wasn't due to the fact that he and her mother—who was sleeping off the delivery only feet away—were on the rocks for the entirety of the pregnancy.
He didn't see any of the complications between the mother of his child and himself when he held the product of all of his love and affection in his arms. He sat in blissful ignorance. It was a bubble he wished he clung onto just a little tighter, kept around himself and June for just a little while longer.
But as Harry learned the hard way, all bubbles pop into prismatic shards at some point, no matter the lengths you go to keep it safe. He got his bubble for a little over two months before it was burst.
Carolyn—June's mom—was at one point, who Harry considered to be the love of his life. He saw the white picket fence, the kids, and the powder blue home when he looked into her eyes back then. Every once in a while he swore he could pick out the stills of that imagined life if he really searched for them, but after June came into the world, it was like they were erased completely.
Despite the way Harry may have fooled himself, he and Carolyn were never perfect. They were never meant to be the perfect match even though he tried his hardest to make it so. His life became a soap opera the second they made it official when they were attending university. The people in his life were less than entertained with the constant on-again-off-again antics they pulled, majority of the time at Carolyn's hand when she would suddenly become bored of Harry and want "time apart" as she had said. He had only ever been the one to call it quits when he felt he was at the end of his rope with her, when he felt his beaten heart couldn't take much more of her dangling her love in front of him only to pull it from his grasp last second.
But when they made up, oh, that was the easy part.
Every heated argument finished with them falling into bed with one another. Nothing was ever truly resolved, just pushed to the back burner while the sheets hissed around them and meaningless apologies were shared between kisses. When the morning came, Harry still felt the same frustration, sadness, and subsequent anger that he momentarily forgot about the night before. The cycle was never ending, the same arguments prompted by the same so-called mistakes that would end in the same bed that only bred more resentment.
Along with the juvenile games played out between them, they made it as far as to living together for over a year when Carolyn fell pregnant. Harry's pretty sure that happened after they'd had a day full of arguments where he ended up with his bags halfway packed and his phone pressed to his ear calling his sister for a place to stay for a while. He remembers the way she gave him those big brown eyes that he once saw a future in, her pouted lips telling him she was sorry, that she wanted him, needed him even. She told him how she loved him, but that he made it so hard to not get mad at him with the way he just wasn't fun—her exact words. He could hear the echos of his own voice telling her he would work on that, he would try harder for her, and that he loved her too.
That was the night they decided to forgo protection—his idea to follow through on the beginnings of being somewhat adventurous for her.
A couple of weeks later, Carolyn's period was late and he picked up a handful of at-home pregnancy tests on the way home. All three they tried were positive, the verdict later backed up by a doctor.
Harry didn't like to think about the way Carolyn's shoulders fell with every confirmation of the baby growing in her tummy. How each time she was told "Congratulations, you're pregnant!", her jaw would tick and she would tune out the rest of the information. He was worried that she was thinking she had to follow through with the pregnancy, that he was apart of the pressure that made her uncomfortable with every mention of what would happen nine months (technically, ten as he had found out) from then. But, even when he reminded her that this was all up to her, that no matter what she chose for herself and her body, he would be there every step of the way, she told him that she wanted to follow through with the pregnancy.
Things went well for the first month or so after they found out. It seemed Carolyn had felt at home with the idea of the life inside her and the one that was being crafted with Harry at her side. He was ever the doting gentleman, working his way around her mood swings and trying his best to satiate each of her cravings. Though, eventually, it didn't seem to be enough for Carolyn to be happy.
The fighting followed soon after, carrying them all the way through to the unexpected early delivery of June.
A pause was triggered when they took her home, Harry protected by the baby bubble he had inflated in the delivery room. Carolyn did everything she could to avoid the bubble Harry made, doing what she could for June before completely checking out. He wanted to leave her be, let her have her space after housing a human for nine months. He read how some people, after giving birth, struggled to find their identity and purpose now that they no longer had a baby inside them. He stayed the silent pillar beside her, offering support in subtle ways, but ultimately allowing Carolyn to come to him when she was ready.
He remembers the day she sat him down after June went down for a nap. Going into it, he figured she was now going to open up to him with the way she sat across from him with her lips in a stern line and her eyes glossy with tears. He was not at all prepared for the words that came out of her mouth.
"I can't do this, Harry."
In hindsight, he should have just taken her words for what they were, instead of mixing them up into a mind game he ended up only playing against himself. He just couldn't fathom that she would willingly walk away from the same little girl that he thought about when he fell asleep and woke up with the need to cuddle. There was no way she was exhausted of June's big eyes looking up at them with all the wonder of the universe swimming in her irises, or the way she cried for no other reason than she missed her parents. There was no way she could be choosing to opt out of the endless summer that was the baby girl asleep upstairs.
During his research to become the best father and partner, he had read up on the after affects pregnancy can have on a person, and worried Carolyn was experiencing a bout of Postpartum Depression. There was no other explanation for her words, right?
So he told her: "I can't even imagine how you're feeling, Carolyn, but I promise y'that I'll be there every step of the way. We can get through this, yeah? June needs you—I need y—"
Though his tone was soothing, he only seemed to spark a fire within her he hoped wouldn't burn his world.
"But I don't want this!" she had yelled, stiffening in her seat and looking Harry dead in the eye, "You know this was never the life I saw for myself. It was always you who wanted kids, I never pictured any of this for me." Tears glossed over her gaze, but even the distortion couldn't deter her from squaring up against Harry. "I can't do this, Harry. I don't want this life, and you need to let me go. I can't stay here, and you'll take care of June better than I ever could. I just can't be here anymore; I can't be with you."
He remembers the small fight he put up against her, and how he was quickly stomped out with her admittance that she was not happy with him and the life he'd made for them. She told him she never could be happy like this. Was he expecting her to be tied down forever? Be tied to him for the rest of her life?
After that, Harry just sat on the overstuffed couch that had been their couch for the past two years, as she stomped upstairs. Only forty-five minutes later she came back with a collection of his suitcases packed full of her clothing and anything else she figured was important enough to rip from Harry.
Before he could drown himself in an ocean of tears, Harry took himself upstairs, completely bypassing what was now his room alone, and to the nursery he had painted and decorated all by himself. His baby girl who was just days shy of being two months old at the time, was still sound asleep, unaware of the shift her life had taken in the last two hours. All he did was sit beside her crib with his legs criss-crossed under him, gazing at the earth angel that had chosen him to be her father.
A tint of bitterness had washed over his vision for just a second, seeing all the memories, milestones, and moments a mother is supposed to be there for. Carolyn had been thinking selfishly when she left, taking each of those things from June without so much as a second thought. Now his baby would have to settle for him when he barely knew what he was doing as is.
The longer he looked at her—her bowed lips gaped with deep puffs of air escaping, tiny fingers and toes grasping after whatever it was she dreamed about, a dusting of blonde locks that he hoped would darken to brunette curls just as his had—the bitterness faded away. Harry was left with only a rose tinted picture, one where he saw himself with his June every step of the way. Carolyn had created a void of her presence that now only made way for Harry to be there for her, just as he promised her the second he looked into her eyes for the first time. It was hard to be upset when he saw his future now swathed in baby giggles and a tiny voice calling for her daddy to come play with her. He wouldn't let her want for a single thing, every void filled with his love as he made the life for her that she deserved.
Harry didn't look back after that. As far as he knew, now three months later, Carolyn had been traveling the world since the day she walked out with a new companion who made her smile more than he ever remembered being able to do.
It was just him and June from that point on. And, god, Harry wished he could say he had seamlessly filled the void of another parent and was so in-tune with everything his little girl needed that it was like nothing had changed. But, it seemed no matter how many parenting books you read, how many documentaries you watched, or how many actual parents you talked to, nothing could prepare you for the real thing. All the texts and the visuals made it seem so easy; just hold her, change her, and feed her.
But, how is he supposed to know the difference when she cries the same heartbreaking cry for everything? How is he supposed to keep his cool when she cried like every small inconvenience is the worst thing to ever happen to her? It scared him when she cried for even just a handful of minutes and he couldn't figure out what she needed. It scared him more than anything in the world that he couldn't help her.
He was so exhausted.
He bypassed tired the second week she had been home, now the only word that described the way his bones ached and head was a constant state of mush was pure exhaustion. He was very, very, very lucky that his workplace had been more than understanding of his situation, allowing him to work from home since Carolyn had left, but June still wasn't sleeping through the nights as soundly as all the mommy-blogs said, creating a light sleeper out of the both of them.
His mom helped as much as she could from across the country. Anne was always available and ready to offer advice even if he was calling her in the middle of the night when he was having a particularly panicked night with his little star. She answered his FaceTime calls with a smile on her face and enough wisdom to calm him despite the distance between them.
Harry just needed more; more sleep, more time to work, more time to be Harry before he was June's daddy (though he's fairly certain that's the most fulfilling part of his life). He needed more help.
Despite the way he cried for help just short of actual crying, he was hesitant when his mom first offered for him to come stay with her for the summer. He didn't want to intrude on the life she had curated for herself after he and his sister embarked on their own adventures. She had already been a mom, twice, anyway, it wasn't fair to make her raise another baby that wasn't her responsibility to begin with. And, he couldn't help but feel like he had something to prove. He wanted to prove to not only himself, but baby June that he could do this himself; prove to her that he could be the dad he promised her he would be.
His resolve came crumbling down on a particularly rough night with June. She'd had an upset tummy for hours, and as far as she knew, it was the end of the world. All she could do was cry for hours on end while they waited for the ache to pass. Harry held her with shaky hands and tears that matched her own harbored in his eyes, cooing to her around the lump in his throat over how sorry he was and how much he loved her. He told her how everything was going to be okay in the most soothing voice he could muster, but he didn't even believe the words.
At some point in the early morning, she ended up falling asleep. It was a small reprieve for her tiny voice that was going sore and her puffy eyes that couldn't produce anymore tears. Harry took advantage of the short time, unsure of how quickly she would stir again, and called his mom. He needed to talk to someone, apologize to someone who could actually listen and maybe hear the same reassuring words he couldn't believe from his own mouth. His mom barely said anything after she picked up, only listening to Harry's hushed words on the other line. He told her how bad he felt thinking she had been ready to incorporate some solids into her diet, the couple spoonfuls of mashed peas being the thing that's kept her up all night. Her distress was his fault and he couldn't even make her feel better.
It wasn't until Harry paused, trying to regulate his breathing after the ocean that had fallen from his eyes when she spoke over his sniffles.
"Harry, be honest with me. Do you need help?"
Harry had felt like someone had asked him if he was okay after struggling through a whole day of being not okay. It all came crumbling down. The measured breathing he had worked himself up to was gone in a second, reverting him back to shaky inhales around the rock in his throat. He got himself out of the nursery before his crying could disturb June. He remembers the way he sunk to the floor of the hallway outside her room, nodding his head despite the way he knew his mom couldn't see him.
"I do, I really do, mum," he had cried, the words quiet as it was the only way he could get them out.
That's how Harry found himself trudging through his bathroom at three a.m. on a Sunday, getting ready for a flight that would take off in two hours. He was going home for the next three months, staying with his mother for the first time since he'd left for university almost ten years before. He was excited to see his mom and receive the much needed help, but he couldn't say he was particularly ecstatic to be going back to the small town. He remembered all too well how nosy the people could be, thinking that since they were all neighbors and everyone knew everyone in a round-about way, that they were permitted to know everything about everyone. He wasn't exactly ready to field questions over where June's mom was, why he was out here, and minute details about his baby he didn't feel comfortable sharing. But, through all of that, Harry was maybe a little too excited to show June around to all of the little places he used to go when he was young. Of course, she wasn't going to remember this visit really at all as she grew up, but at least there would be that foundation for the rest of her life.
He was most excited for June to meet his mom for the first time. Per his request, the few months after she was born, when he and Carolyn were struggling the worst, Anne didn't visit, only meeting June over FaceTime calls. Harry didn't want to make her come down only for her to see a deteriorating relationship and his own shortcomings as a father, a hard decision he had come to when he maybe wasn't in the best state of mind in the middle of the night, operating off of little sleep. But, he didn't want to think of those times anymore, he only wanted to think about the summer that lied before him and the baby girl waiting for him in the other room.
Stepping out of the shower, a yawn stretched his features. Harry dressed himself in a pair of black and white speckled sweatpants, a pastel yellow hoodie adorning his torso. He padded towards June's room, absently tying his hair up on the top of his head with a green scrunchie. The strands created a little sprout on the top of his head, the curls still wet from his shower. He quietly stepped into June's room, her white noise machine still running as she lay sound asleep in her crib. When he saw her like this, he couldn't help but wonder what she dreamed about—if she dreamt at all, anyway. He selfishly hoped they were happy dreams with him as a star, just as she was in his.
He gently picked her up from her crib, wishing he could craft a way where she could continue to sleep through this whole ordeal but knowing that was going to be impossible. He offered his pinky to her tiny hand, heart melting when her fingers unconsciously wrapped around the digit as best she could. The whole of his palm cradled her back, keeping her secure to his chest as he dropped a kiss to the top of her head.
"Good morning, Junebug," he cooed, dragging his nose along the baby thin curls on the top of her head. Her baby soft scent was a source of comfort for him, his favorite thing in the world now.
She took her time waking up, Harry having to coax her from sleep with a few more cooed pleas and gentle kisses for her soft skin. Eventually, she lazily blinked open her big green eyes, the length of her lashes felt against Harry's chin. He pulled her back just far enough to get a good look at his little star, finding her looking up at him with her gaze wide with wonder and the same adoration he held for her.
"Hi, bubba," he cooed, petting at her side with his thumb as she squeezed his finger, "I missed y'so much, 'm so happy you're awake." He ducked his head head and pressed another tiny kiss to the tip of her nose, pulling back only to find a smile tugging at her lips. He liked to think she was just as excited to see him as he was with her. "We need to get ready, we've got a big day ahead of us, don't we?"
Harry sat her down on the padded, green changing table at the end of her crib. "Do y'remember what I told y'we were doing today, bubs?" he asked as he started changing her out of the soft pink onesie she had slept in. A mess of babbling noises left her mouth, small hands reaching up towards Harry. He nodded to her like she had made perfect sense in her ramblings, "That's right Junebug, we're gonna get on a plane today. 'M a little worried, 'm not gonna lie. We've never done that before, have we? Don't want y'to be scared, especially at the airport—I know it can be a little overwhelming. But, 'm gonna be right there the whole time."
She pliantly moved every which way he needed as he spoke, offering small babbling of her own thoughts to imitate the timbre of her daddy. Once he had her diaper changed and she was all cleaned up and ready to be dressed, Harry couldn't help but to drop a tickling kiss to the bare of her tummy. A screaming peel of laughter bubbled from his baby, her legs kicking and arms flailing in accordance with the noise. It was his favorite thing to do, get her all giggly and smiley when she woke up, the best way to start his day. He indulged in the act a couple more times before pulling away, offering her his finger to hold on to as he picked through her lemon yellow dresser. The drawer held slim pickings, only a handful of outfits she no longer fit into and wouldn't be appropriate for the weather still in the furniture. Most of her things were tucked away in one of his suitcases. A tiny green romper printed with watermelon slices on it was the first item pulled out, followed by a pair of little socks and a warm cardigan to go over her arms (he'd read layers were best for traveling babies).
She didn't fuss as he dressed her, only offering occasional burbles of her thoughts. "Yeah?" he prompted as she looked up at him, "Is that what you're most excited about?" He nodded along to her gibberish that followed, her tiny voice filtering through the otherwise quiet nursery. "Me too, me too," Harry mused, pulling her chubby legs through the ruffled leg holes of the fabric, "'M really excited for y'to meet grandma. I don't know if she's got another name she'll want you to call her, though, but 'm sure she'll let y'know." He smiled at the way the green of her romper matched the bright of her eyes, absently reaching for her little, white socks as he didn't have it in him to take his eyes off of her. "I think, after we go home with her, we'll take a short nap and then go out for a little, how does that sound? Explore some, maybe pick up some dinner?"
June paused for a moment, quiet as Harry fit her wiggling toes into the socks before offering her input. A short bubbling of noises came from her, stopping abruptly as she kept her gaze locked on her dad above her.
Harry thoughtfully nodded his head, tying her hair up in a matching sprout, "You're right, you're right. We'll stay in tonight instead, get a full night's rest before we go out and terrorize the town. Good thinking, Junebug."
With the finishing touch of slipping her cardigan on and a pair of tiny shoes that he dreaded the day she grew out of (they matched a pair of his own, just in opposing colors, and he hadn't been able to find any bigger sizes for when they didn't fit anymore), he finally had his girl all ready for the day ahead. He already had her diaper bag all packed, the banana printed tote sitting on the kitchen table beside the pastel purple front pack he was going to be wearing in the airport with her. Harry had been ahead of it all, prepacking his car with all of their luggage the night before.
"Ready, Junebug?" he cooed as he picked her from the changing table.
The response he got back was a blink of her green eyes and the makings of a smile on her pouty lips.
Harry dutifully waited his turn to get off the plane, June tucked against his chest as he had retired the front pack to the diaper bag once they were seated. While she had been a tiny bit overwhelmed in the airport itself, she had been just the sweetest thing the whole flight. He had both heard and been on the receiving end of horror stories of traveling with a new baby, so he was more than relieved when she settled for looking around at other passengers and playing with the strings of his hoodie.
Passing by the stewardesses, Harry politely nodded to them, proudly puffing his chest when he heard them fawn over how cute and sweet his June was. He took his time as he exited the tunnel, allowing other passengers to flow around him and keeping out of the way. He stuck to the less crowded and quieter spots he could find as he searched for his mom, peeking over the sea of people. A smile bloomed across his features as he spotted her with a brightly colored sign with both his and June's name printed on it, bubbly hearts and bright accents drawing his attention.
It was quite the job to meander through all the people, but completely worth the elbows he got to the ribs when he was finally within sight of his mom. Nothing felt like home the way she did, her smile the sun and her arms the warming fire on a chilled night.
"Harry!" she called, already abandoning her sign on the floor beside her feet, not caring of the footprints that would be stamped across the back of the paper. Her arms were open for him to step into, holding his baby in one hand as he wrapped his other around his mom.
"Hi, mom," he smiled, taking advantage of the short hug before he maneuvered June to be in the spotlight.
"And little June! Oh, let me say hi."
She was quickly passed off, Anne taking her expertly in her arms with what Harry swore was a sheen of tears coating her eyes. He excused himself, allowing them a moment to get acquainted as he picked up the luggage that was waiting for them on the carousel. June didn't even seem to notice his absence as she was caught up in playing with his mom's hair, and looking at her with wonder in the green eyes she had passed down.
Harry wasn't sure what it was that followed him as they left the airport. His hands were heavy with his bags and the homemade sign his mother gave him, but there was more than just the luggage that stuck close to him. He peeked over at his mom beside him, finding June still happily entranced with her, the silly game of wiggling the sprout of hair on the top of her head entertaining her endlessly. Something joyous was following him and he prayed this was the kind of the bubble that could withstand his harsh grip.
God, it was good to be home.
A single kiss was pressed to June's head before Harry laid her down in the hand-me-down bassinet he had set up beside his bed. While some of her bigger items, like her crib and bouncer she loved, were being mailed down later in the week, he made the choice of packing the noise machine down with them. It had been the perfect choice since he knew she was going to have trouble finding sleep in the new environment, which was proven right with the way she fussed all afternoon. He'd kept her up after going back to his mom's house, wanting to keep her schedule as it is at home, and allowing his mom to spend time with the grandchild she'd already missed too much time with. It only resulted in a cranky baby who refused to go to sleep despite the way she was fighting off her dreamland. In the end, the white noise and the rhythmic bouncing he was doing around the room won out.
Though sleep tugged down his eyelids, Harry still gently cracked the door to his bedroom shut with one last glance through to check on his sleeping bubba. He padded down the familiar staircase, absently rubbing at his eyes as he listened into the sound off bubbling water and simmering sauce in the kitchen. His mom had been busy with June for most of the afternoon, and while he loved seeing them bond for the first time, he missed her, too. He wanted to spend the night with her like he used to when he would visit: sipping on red wine, watching a show that she swore was the most entertaining thing she'd seen in years, and finishing when both of them couldn't keep their eyes open any longer or when Harry started dozing off in the corner of the couch (usually around nine p.m.).
"Smells good, mum. What're y'making?" he mumbled, stepping towards the dining table where she was putting out the place settings.
Despite the simple pair Harry was expecting her to stop at, she sheepishly looked up at him as she arranged an added duo to the table. "Now, I know you're tired, but..."
"Mum," he started, a petulant groan already building in his chest before she looked up at him with the parent eyes he could only wish to master.
"Don't be upset, Harry," she warned, resuming her fixing of the place settings, "Do you remember Mrs. Crowley I've told you about? Beth?"
Harry nodded his head, remembering the silly stories about the so-called "Gardening Club" his mother was apart of, along with Beth Crowley (he's pretty sure minimal gardening was discussed with more of an emphasis on town gossip and casual wine drinking around charcuterie boards). He already knew where this was going the second her name was mentioned.
"I may have told her that you were back in town along with June, and she wanted to come by and meet you." She flashed him a beaming smile Harry didn't have the heart to be mad at. She had already mentioned to him how she told all her friends about him and her grandbaby, prepping them for the "someday" she used to fantasize about, where they would come visit and she got to show off the family her son was creating.
Honestly, Harry wasn't much in the mood to entertain, much preferring to the original wine and reality T.V. night he had planned on, but he couldn't find it in him to turn down his mother's plans. She had already agreed to having Mrs. Crowley over anyway, so he couldn't much back out when she was most likely on her way. Instead, he would take one for the team and take his own sleep deprivation while June got to snooze away her hectic morning upstairs.
"Okay," he slowly agreed, "But, 'm not waking June up. She can meet her another time, but I really want her to sleep right now."
"That's totally okay, I'm sure they'll understand," she bubbled, popping up from her place and bustling towards the kitchen to start portioning out the dinner she had put together, "Thank you, Harry!"
As he settled into of the chairs, a familiar divot in the table from where he had accidentally spilled nail polish remover on the surface and the acetone ate at the coating, Harry couldn't be more happy to be home.
Anne ran around the house, bubbling off tidbits of information about how excited Beth had been over the phone when she invited her over. She told him of how she had talked him up to all of the ladies in the Gardening Club, and he just had to meet all of them and show off his Junebug, but Beth was her favorite and best friend out of the bunch so she got priority seating. Harry was listening with a lopsided smile on his face, a single dimple denting his cheek until a knock on the door interrupted her tittering.
"Oh!" she peeped, already rushing out of the conversation and towards the front door. Harry checked the baby monitor on his phone as he waited, making sure June was still okay before he got busy with entertaining for the night. He was absently aware of the sound of the door opening, followed by his mom's excited greeting. It wasn't until another name was mentioned that his ears perked up and a pinch in his brow appeared.
"And you've brought (Y/N)!"
The call was filled with bubbling excitement that Harry had only ever really heard when she was greeting June over FaceTime or short phonecalls when she was awake. With that tone Harry just figured Mrs. Crowley had brought one of her nieces his mom had told him about, someone to bond with June. What he was most distracted with, was whether or not his mom was loud enough to disturb his bug. Ever the worrier, Harry couldn't help himself before he checked the baby monitor app again, absently hearing his mom in the background escorting their guests through the house.
"And this is Harry!" was his mom's eager introduction, his cue to put his phone away and be the junior host under his mom.
When he picked his head up, Harry couldn't help but feel silly for not having given them his full attention right away.
(Y/N) was not a little girl brought along to entertain June—no, she was a woman that he couldn't take his eyes off of. A soft smile adorned her features, Harry grateful for the unobstructed view he was given with the way her hair was gently pulled back with a clip in the shape of a large butterfly. A white sundress was draped over her body in flowy runs. Smatterings of matching blue butterflies that mimicked the ones hatching in his tummy dotted the fabric. She stood silently beside Mrs. Crowley, only offering her quiet smile while his mom continued talking despite the way he hadn't heard half of what she said.
Harry was quick to stand up from his spot at the dining table, stumbling to his feet in an attempt to make a good first impression with his worn sweats and the messy sprout of hair on the top of his head. He made an effort to draw his eyes away from (Y/N), moving them to the woman beside her.
"Harry, this is Beth," his mom introduced, a giddy smile on her face.
"Nice to meet you," he greeted, leaning over and politely shaking her hand, even though he was sure his own was shaking, "Mum talks about you all the time, thank you for keeping her busy."
Mrs. Crowley—Beth—let out a small laugh, "I doubt she talks about me as much as she does you. It's nice to finally meet you as well." She drew back, dropping Harry's hand that returned to the bundled mess he was making of his fingers behind his back. "And this"—placing her hand on the girl's shoulder—"is my niece, (Y/N)."
Her tried not to appear as eager as he really was when he took his half step towards her, offering his hand for her to shake just as he did her aunt. "Nice to meet you," he mumbled, a small smile taking home on his lips.
He wasn't sure if it was because he's almost certain this is the first time he's touched a woman in over a year (Carolyn wanted nothing to do with him for most of the pregnancy, and dating wasn't really a priority after he had June), but he could have melted at the small contact of her hand in his. Her fingers were soft, wrapped around his palm. The heat from her skin was enough to warm him for just a second. He felt so juvenile to be getting so caught up in something like this—he had a child, for God's sake, he was a little too old to be getting so flustered over touching her hand.
"Nice to meet you, Harry," she reciprocated before pulling back, taking the same hand that had been in his to brush a stray piece of hair behind her ear.
Harry wanted to say more (what he would have said, he's not sure, but he wanted to hear her voice again), before Beth cut him off with the perfect distraction to get him back on his feet.
"And where's June?" she excitedly smiled as Anne herded them to the dinner table.
Harry perked up at the sound of his daughter's name, "She's upstairs, sleeping. We had an early flight this morning and she's still recovering a little, but I would love for y'to meet her another day."
"Of course! She sounds lovely, I don't mind waiting on her."
A proud smile took home on his lips, happy to hear such praises of his little star.
His mom started passing around the serving bowl full of pasta to the table after everyone was settled, she and Beth leading the conversation. Harry couldn't help but be hyperaware of the way he had luckily sat himself across from (Y/N). He had a front row view to the smile she wore on her cheeks, the pout of her lips every time she took a sip of her water, and the perk that was brought to her shoulders whenever she was called in by Beth or his mother on some facet of their conversation. He felt like a teenager the way he almost rushed through his answers about his life, and his baby upstairs so he could go back to gazing at her across from him. All that was missing was his sister—Gemma—to call him out for giving (Y/N) his softened eyes throughout the meal.
Whenever (Y/N) spoke, Harry gave her his rapt attention. Despite the way he wanted to pretend like he wasn't already just a little too taken in her presence, he found himself searching for small cues that she might be holding the same kind of affection that he immediately drew for her. He knew, in the long run, it would be best if he didn't get involved with her, the list of reasons starting with the fact he was a new father and ending with his inevitable departure in just a few months, but maybe it wouldn't hurt to spend some time with her. Though he searched for those signs through the dinner, he couldn't find anything other than the fact she was just very... friendly.
He couldn't think of another word to describe it but friendly. She was kind, giving whoever was speaking all of her attention, chirping out a laugh when appropriate and adding her own quips. She wasn't overly involved whenever the attention was on him, keeping just as kind as she was when the other women at the table were talking. As plates started getting cleared and the short dessert of cookies was being placed on the table, Harry couldn't help but feel a bit silly. He already had a list of reasons on all the ways they couldn't work if he allowed the butterflies in his tummy to take control of his heart, but he should have started with the question of if she was even interested in him.
"And have the hyacinths bloomed yet?" Harry heard Beth ask as he tuned back into the conversation, nibbling on the consolation prize of a cookie.
He saw his mother perk up from the corner of his eye beside him, obviously having been waiting for this question. "Oh, they've just started! Do you want to come see?" It only took a second, it seemed, before the two of them were ushering out the back door to the garden his mom was so proud of. "Did you want to come, too?" his mom offered over her shoulder.
Harry shook his head, "I'll stay in, jus' in case June wakes up or anything." At the mention of his daughter, he double checked the baby monitor on his phone, finding her still sound asleep.
Fiddling with the notification settings on the app, Harry hadn't even realized (Y/N) was still across from him until she chirped out his name.
"I think I'll stay inside with Harry, but thank you, Mrs. Twist."
He could already imagine the smile on her cheeks as he tried to settle the thumping heartbeats that were rattling through his chest. Anne nodded her head, Harry catching the small look she shot him before sliding the glass door closed behind her. He already knew what she was thinking, always the gentle matchmaker, especially when he and Carolyn weren't on the best of terms. He wished he could tell her that he'd already found that (Y/N) wasn't being anything more than a polite friend.
"So, you're close with your aunt?" Harry prompted, locking his phone and giving the full of his attention to (Y/N). Even if she didn't reciprocate his own enchantment, it would be nice to have a friend over the summer.
She perked up at the sound of his voice, her bright eyes being drawn from the cookie in her hands to Harry across from her. "Oh yeah," she bubbled, nodding her head, "Me and her have always been pretty close, so after I graduated I came out here for the summer with her and ended up loving it. So, I decided to just stay here, and work in her bakery instead of going to school, and I've never looked back."
It made sense to Harry, now knowing that she worked in a bakery. Of course she did, someone with a smile so sweet and a demeanor warm enough to rival the toasty pockets within fresh baked bread would have no other place to be.
"Oh, which bakery?" he asked, leaning his elbow on the table with his chin caught in his palm.
"It's called Marigold, right off of Bluebird and Main. Have you been before?" The same pesky flyaway that he caught her pushing behind her ear more than once throughout the night, fell into her sightline again. This time, Harry was able to catch what looked to be small cherries printed over the surface of her nails, the bright red catching the waning light from outside. He missed painting his nails; maybe he could grab a lesson or two from her.
"No I haven't," he shook his head, forcing himself to not follow the gleam of her nails as they adjusted the top of her dress, "This is the first time I've been home in a while, so I've never been by." If his mom had told him about her, he may have come home a bit sooner.
(Y/N) immediately perked up in her spot. "You have to come in! I love everything we make, but our macarons are my favorite!" The brightness that illuminated her irises like the sun only intensified as she spoke, guiding him like a bumblebee to the marigold she so fondly named.
He felt his own smile stretch enough to cause a dimple to dent his cheek, "I don't think I've ever actually had a macaron before."
"Oh, Harry, you have to come try! Aunt Beth has this special recipe and I've never had any as good as ours," she gushed, her hands animated in the air around her.
"Is that what y'do? Do y'make them?"
"I do, yeah. Aunt Beth showed me how to make a bunch of the different pastries and things that first summer I lived here, and since then it's all I've wanted to do." She spoke about that summer with a fond smile on her sugar-sweet features, "Come in when I'm there, and I can give you a sample or something, just to finally try a real macaron and everything."
"I definitely will," he smiled, a little more than eager to already have an excuse to see her again, "I've got to catch up on some work next week, but I'll be by really soon."
"What do you do? For work I mean." She mimicked his earlier body language, leaning into the table and giving him a closer look at the sunshine eyes he couldn't draw away from.
"I—uh—I work for a publishing company," he started, reeling back into himself with a reminder that she wasn't doing anything more than being friendly. It wasn't her fault she was so lovely. He absently ran his knuckle under his nose, "I read over manuscripts and see if they're worth investing, then I send them off to the editors to do the real work."
"What kind of books do you usually get? Would I know any of them?"
Harry couldn't help but feel a little giddy under her attention, recalling the ways Carolyn never really shared any interest in his career. "Maybe," he smiled, "We publish a little bit of everything, but mostly er—"
Just then, a notification buzzed at his phone. He already knew what the grey bar on his screen would say, June's short nap coming to an end. Nonetheless, he double checked the baby monitor, finding that June was stirring in her borrowed crib. While he wanted to keep spending time with (Y/N), he hated the idea of June waking up somewhere unfamiliar all alone.
"What is it?" (Y/N) asked, her tone still soaked in the smile he could already picture in the back of his mind.
"June needs me, I'm sorry," he explained, putting his phone away with an apologetic smile curling his lips, "But, it was really nice to meet you, (Y/N). I'll definitely be coming by the bakery sometime." He hated to be rushing away from (Y/N), but he already got another buzz from his phone to let him know there was more movement coming from his bedroom.
(Y/N) only offered him a friendly smile, Harry swearing he saw a disheartened sag to her shoulders but he didn't allow himself to analyze much further. "It's totally okay, don't worry! It was really nice to meet you, too. I'm looking forward to having you at the bakery; you'll have to bring your June with you."
An edge of guilt followed him up the stairs after he waved to her goodbye, leaving her be in the gold bathed dining room. He peeked inside his bedroom, finding June just on the edge of waking up with sleepy coos leaving her pouted lips. He got to her just in time, crooning small calls of her name as he reached into her crib.
"Good nap, bubba?" he whispered, cradling her to his chest. He dropped an affectionate kiss to the top of her head as he sunk down onto his bed. She sleepily blinked up at him, green eyes matching his own calming him with saccharine sweetness pumping through his system. The sound of several pairs of footsteps knocking downstairs caught his attention, bringing a smile to his face thinking of the girl just a level below. "I met someone tonight, Junebug. I think you'd really like her, she was very nice. I really liked her, but I don't think we're ready for that, are we?"
The chirp of (Y/N)'s voice sharing her goodbyes floated through the house, including the message she told his mom to pass onto him. He almost wanted to rush down the stairs, halfawake June in his arms and tell her goodnight, that he promises to be around soon. Instead, he watched as June's eyes wandered in search of where the voice was coming from.
"We'll visit her soon," he murmured to her, "Sound good?"
Harry took the sound of her babbling to be a good sign.
When Harry fell asleep that night, his feet hanging off the too-short bed, with the even keeled breathing of his baby beside him, he couldn't help the trail his mind was tracing.
He knew he had a good feeling about this summer.
clover honey has a sweet and floral taste, the aroma lingering long after finished
ahhh!!!! its finally done!!! tbh this is not at all a fic I ever thought id write and it took me a minute to really get into this but im really happy w how this has turned out and I really really hope u all like it too!! this is a patreon exclusive, my second exclusive series on there, with this being the only publicly available part!! thank u for reading, sorry for any mistakes!! if u have any questions or requests please send them in!!
Shame To My Name
With her father's return a new chapter begins for (y/n) Grimes in a world where the dead started walking. Rick and his daughter had quite a troubled relationship in the past but will the apocalypse help them getting closer again? Or will (y/n) get even more distant from her father?
Chapter 1: His Return
„If you think this is bad wait till you start shaving.“ That voice. Hearing his voice is enough to get my blood boiling. The combination with his know-it-all and I-got-every-right-in-the-world-to-be-sitting-here attitude definitely has me wishing for a walker to strive by and making me their lunch.
„Tell ya what. Get through this with some manly dignity and tomorrow I’ll teach you something special…“ Of course Carl’s eyes light up at that. „I’ll teach you to catch frogs.“
They’re both eating out of his hands. Carl looks like he’s the rebirth of fucking Jesus Christ himself and Mom is basically drooling at this point. It’s pathetic. And hella disrespectful. The world went to shit only a couple of weeks ago and it hasn’t even been two months since my dad was shot. Sure, my parents weren’t the most perfect couple that has ever graced the earth but holy shit that woman could have at least waited a little longer before hitting the sheets with dad’s best friend. Of course she thinks that I don’t know about it.
I’ve always been my parents naive little girl who’s never going to make it in the real world. I once ears dropped on mom and dad when they were talking about me in the middle of the night. While mom was concerned I would never make it into college (which by the way: WHAT? I was 14 years old back then. It’s not like my friends have gotten their acceptance letters to Stanford at that point) my dad only worried about me not finding a man „with that attitude of hers“. Sorry I’m not buying every bullshit people present me and that I used to have an opinion. However, dad made it very clear early on that my opinion didn’t matter… a fact that only got worse when my brother was born. When dad found out he was having a son he was beaming. From that moment on the Grimes family exclusively turned around Carl. I love by baby brother, I really do and it’s definitely not his fault but the older he got the more attention he received and the worse my relationship to my parents got. When Shane told us that dad was shot on duty and got taken to the hospital I felt numb. Mom and Carl started crying but I just stared at Shane like he told me my school caught on fire. I haven’t cried since.
„I’ll go take a leak“, Shane announces and starts heading for the forrest. With the new found peace and quiet I return to my book. Even though I am re-reading the same page for the 5th time I have no idea what it’s all about. My mind keeps drifting of to any place anywhere in the world but here. I always imagined hitting the road after graduating. When my mom was concerned about me not getting into college she was right. The only difference is I never wanted to go to college. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to go to Europe. I wanted to fall in love with a hot-blooded Italian in Capri, I wanted to spend most of my evenings drinking wine in Paris while watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle. While my friends’ worst nightmare was ending up as a waiter I wouldn’t have minded a job like that. A job that gave me enough money to survive but wouldn’t demand too much time. I just wanted to live. Now I don’t even know if Capri or Paris still exist or if anarchy has gotten the best of these places. Now most walking creatures are generally lacking blood and I am very far away from ever falling in love with anyone. I’ll probably die without ever being kissed.
„Okay, handsome, we’re done here!“ Mom announces and Carl basically jumps up from mom’s grip. „His haircut is looking good, right, (y/n)?“ I could be honest and tell my brother that mom’s an equally good hairdresser as I am a good rocket scientist but why putting effort into being an asshole when the whole world is falling apart?
„The girls will be standing in line“, I absent-mindedly say but as I said it’s not like anyone really cares about my opinion.
„Can you watch your brother for a little while? I need to take a nap. I’ll be in the tent“, mom states and heads over to our made up camping ground. She’s so obvious. I am 17 years old and she really believes that she can convince me that she’s not going to the
forrest searching for Shane. She actually believes that I haven’t seen Shane winking at her when he left. She believes that I don’t hear them fucking every other night with Carl and me in the tent next to them.
„Yeah sure…“ I tell mom and watch her leave. I look around and see Dale on top of the RV eying after my mom. His gaze turns to me and gives me a knowing look. They all know. Everyone knows that my mom didn’t even wait until my dad was officially pronounced dead before she jumped into another man’s bed.
Even though our new group feels like a completely dysfunctional family I feel more at ease with them than I’ve ever felt at home. With the world basically ending and the dead walking there’s no expectations left. Nobody gives a shit about what you’ve achieved in your life or what you have done wrong and which expectations you haven’t met. Today is about survival and whether you can contribute to the groups chance of survival or not. We’re all fighting for each other. Everyone’s giving their all to protect the kids of the group, Carl and Carol’s and Ed’s daughter Sophia, and even the clearly very idiotic Dixon brothers are more or less adhering to the group’s rules and laws.
„Do you think we will every get to eat ice cream again?“ Carl asks me. It’s his new thing. Asking whether we will do stuff or see certain things ever again. And even though it drives me against a wall I keep on reminding myself that he’s only 12 years old. I want to protect him and the later he realises that we will probably never live an even similar life to our lives before the better.
„I don’t know, buddy. I certainly hope so. If you could have ice cream right now which flavours would you take?“
„Probably strawberry. Or chocolate. Oh, or lemon. No wait! Maybe caramel, but also…“ Before Carl can go on naming every flavour he could possibly think of a siren is going off somewhere. I motion for Carl to stop and take a look around.
„Dale?“ I shout over to man on top of the RV.
„I’ll me damned…“
„What is it?“ Amy asks next to me.
„Stolen car is my guess“, Dale goes on watching through his binoculars. The siren is getting louder and you can clearly hear a car coming nearer.
„What is going on?“ Mom suddenly asks next to me and Carl. She throws her arms protectively around Carl with Shane, oh wonder, appearing behind her.
We see a bright red Dodge Challenger turning the corner and heading straight over to our camp. Its alarm system is going off like crazy, the fact that walkers haven’t appeared yet is nothing but a miracle. The Dodge comes to a halt and the driver opens the door.
„Holy crap! Turn that damn thing off!“ Dale starts yelling at a smiling Glenn who turns out to be the driver.
„I don’t know how!“ Glenn keeps on grinning like death isn’t literally around the corner waiting for any sound of life. Shane sprints towards the car and opens its hood. The alarm is off within seconds.
„Where is Andrea? Is she okay?“ Amy keeps on shouting at Glenn asking for her sister’s whereabouts. „She’s fine! She’s fine!“
„Is she okay?“
„Yes. Yes, she is. Everybody is. Well,… Merle not so much…“ Glenn admits quietly.
Somehow it seems like nobody heard that last bit of information because Shane starts yelling at Glenn for driving an alarm system on wheels all the way through the mountains and basically handing us to the walkers on a silver platter. Before their argument can get too heated though a moving truck stops behind the red Dodge. The truck’s engine gets killed and seconds later Morales and Andrea jump out of the truck. Morale’s wife and kids start running for their missed husband and father and Amy starts crying in Andrea’s arms. Moments like these are already a routine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hella glad Morales and especially Andrea are back save and sound. Andrea really turned into basically a sister for me as well. She’s probably the first person I maybe ever opened up to. I told her about my dreams and aspirations which obviously vanished into thin air but still Andrea listened to them and didn’t judge me. She’s even the first person I’m somehow
comfortable with when it comes to talking about boys… it’s not like that’s a daily conversation between me and my mom, I mean have you seen her taste in men?
„It’s good to see you“, I tell Andrea once her sister let go of her.
„It’s good to see you, too!“ She says and throws her arms around me. Okay, I’m actually really, really glad she didn’t end up as walker food.
„How did y’all got out there anyway?“ Shane breaks the cheerful reunion.
„New guy. He got us out“, Glenn replies.
„New guy?“ I ask, still in Andrea’s arms.
„Oh yeah, he saved us…“
„Hey, helicopter boy!“, Morales shouts. „Come say hello!“
I turn towards the moving truck just when a the door of the driver’s side opens. My breath completely halts when a man closes the truck’s door and turns around. Brown short hair. Blue eyes. Slight stubble. An unmistakable police uniform. All the things I’ve seen before. All the things I’ve known my whole life. The sight I’ve been waiting for for five weeks. The sight I’ve been dreading for five weeks. I’m paralysed. I can’t move, hell, I don’t even feel my legs anymore. I can’t breathe.
„Dad!“ I hear Carl screaming. My brother rushes past me, my mother on his heels. „Dad!“ Carl keeps on screaming and starts crying the second he reaches our father. Dad is tearing up, his arms close tightly around Carl. Mom stops a couple feet in front of them. She looks shocked. Happy tears are rolling down her cheeks as she kneels down into her husband’s arms. But I see through her. She might be beaming right now but I definitely haven’t missed the terrified glance in her eyes. Life has just taken another 180 degree turn.
I’m still unable to move when my father lets go of Carl and mom and starts heading towards me. All I can do is stare at him.
„Hi, peanut“, I hear my dad say before he throws his arms around me. For the first time since the dead started walking I feel tears rolling down my cheeks.
↬genre: angst; slice of life; fluff; romance.
↬characters: neighbor!hong joshua x reader | mentions: none.
↬author`s note: not going to lie, i was scared to write joshua. i think he`s pretty difficult to read so most of this is just how i think of him. you know, just pure joy and comfort of someone`s companionship. in my head, that`s what joshua sounds like to me. hope you have a happy read! take care of yourself.
↬synopsis: there are 13 boys who lives in your town where each of them have each of their own colours. some you know in person & some from afar so one day you sat down deciding to describe each of their colours absorbing all of their goodness and all of their flaws. you wondered what if someone in some other town ever thought of questioning when they looked at these boys, that―what if we lived in the same town?
☍ seungcheol | jeonghan | joshua | junhui | soonyoung | wonwoo | jihoon | seokmin | mingyu | minghao | seungkwan | vernon | chan
[04:35 PM] [unspoken words, unspoken feelings….what are those if not the air they both share?]
―you thought people would know and not assume but if that was the case, you wouldn`t be here sitting in your bedroom with joshua who is wearing his signature tender smile upon his face. one look at him and you know if he truly intents to take up acting as his future professional side endeavor, he can bag that joker role quite easily.
you thought people would know that you and joshua have been close neighbors since the beginning of both yours and his time on this planet and yet there were these wild rumors spreading around like a forest on a sudden fire inside your school buildings for the last four months.
“we should do something,” you finally say, turning around in your newly bought rotating study chair at the boy who has years of access to every single corner of not just your house but your childhood too, inside his pockets. you`re wearing one of your old t-shirt with a cooking oil stain at the edge and a checkered shorts, which isn’t an attire you`re in anyway hesitant to wear in front of him. after all, he has known you all his life. there is nothing to hide from him at the end of the day.
“does it really matter?” he asks you.
“of course, it does! people in school are really making up all kinds of things and asking me questions i don`t know the answers to,” you retort back, a bit frustrated by the casualty dripping from his voice.
joshua holds your gaze with his for a while trying to figure out what`s going on inside that head of yours or maybe he is just simply thinking of what to convey to you in return.
“aren`t you going to say something? or is it just because you`ve graduated 2 years ago so suddenly it doesn`t matter to you?”
you ask the boy in your room, who`s sitting at the end of your bed in a tank top that`s the shade of your favourite flower which of course, he knew as the yellow freesia and a black sweatpants coupling with that. leaning back with both of his palms pressed to your bed, to any stranger this scenery would seem like joshua was in the comfort of his own four walls and not a place which he personally likes to call, his second home.
“the thing is, i find this quite funny.”
“funny?” huffing, you roll your eyes. “i don`t think there`s anything funny about all this, hong joshua, you`re being ridiculous,”
“no listen. listen carefully…i always knew people were aware that we literally have the same street name? i`m sure i even told my classmates that you live right next to me, so the fact that this piece of information is now getting circulated is….funny.”
you shake your head, “honestly…you`re not wrong. but i think it would`ve been better if things just stayed at that length. unfortunately, people are not just talking about us being exclusively neighbors.” you finger quote the word ‘exclusively’ to make it seem more obvious to joshua.
“does it bother you? being associated with me that way?” joshua straightens his posture only to hunch over, his elbows resting on his knees and his wrists now hanging in-between his legs.
“what kind of question is that?” you mumble back to him. the question of his threw you off to a state of mind where you needed to think before speaking which is something you most often never needed to do when it came to any spark of conversation with joshua.
it makes you think, and the act of thinking when you`re around someone with whom you have spent almost all of your definite lifetime sounds like a chore. you don`t like thinking before speaking when you`re around people like that. you want them to read you like an open book. you want to be selfish and lazy. you want them to know what you`re telling them, “look, here`s me. you`ve known me all along. i want you to complete my sentences and read the words hanging in the air between us before i can utter them out loud to you. i want you to understand my pain and scream for me.”
you wondered, what is the purpose of spending countless hours with someone and a myriad of shared numbered of years if the other person can`t even read another like the lines on their palm?
you aren`t sure why joshua is asking you that question. why is he asking that if it bothers you when your classmates assume both of you to be romantically involved? does it really matter to him? or to you? does it even matter what you think of this issue? or is it the unsettledness that you keep showing on your face for him to see, to joshua, who has only come back home this weekend for some rest from the hectic life in the city far away where he goes to college?
“i was just simply asking,” he paused for a second closing his eyes, and you see creases appear in-between his eyebrows, “i`m trying to think from your point of view. more like…see myself through your eyes.”
“and? what do you see?” you ask him languidly.
“ask me.” his voice sounds firm, like as if he`s trying to concentrate on something in the dark with his other senses except for his eyes in activation mode.
by then, you have already turned around in your study chair, your back now facing joshua.
“ask you what?”
you question him naturally as you open your chemistry lab book, to revise for the practice test that`s suppose to happen two weeks later. you`ve always been pretty mediocre with chemistry so whenever there`s a chemistry test – be it theoretical or practical, you dwelt more time into the books than usual, although it is pretty obvious from your evident irritable mood that you aren`t doing it out of likeness.
“the question i asked, if it bothers me or not?”
your eyes stop at the beginning of the qualitative analysis notes you took down yesterday during the lab class. your handwriting has the evidence of a rushed dilemma. even though you can`t see joshua, your eyes pry to your right.
“does it bother you?” you do as he asks you to.
“no.” in came his answer, as quick as the sudden flap of a swan`s wings at the beginning of every downpour.
you turn around to face joshua, who is now looking to his right at the sun setting outside your bedroom window. the orange and yellow ochre mingling into one unknown hue to highlight the silkiness of his hair and illuminating his gentle features.
you open your mouth to speak but is quickly put on a halt.
“does it really matter, ______?” joshua goes back to looking at your direction, “you are going to graduate in the next few months. the rumors will die down along with the dawn of the final exams on your classmates. i don`t think there`s any reason for you to worry so much, silly,”
he is right, you tell yourself and yet you can`t say it out loud. why are you worrying so much about what people thinks about you and him? what does it even matter? you are back to square one but this time from a different perspective.
apart from some acquaintances, most of your classmates are unaware of your proximity with joshua. it will not be anything life changing if they think of something exaggerated. nothing will, at the end of the day, change between you and him. he will still, for the rest of yours and his limited existence on this planet, in this shared life of both him and yourself, be your close knit neighbor whom you`ve known since you uttered your first syllable.
joshua smiles at you when you don`t answer anything. maybe he can figure out the answer in the expression you bear? maybe he can actually read you like an open book? or maybe, who knows, there`s a possibility that he knows about all the words lingering in the air between both of you?
“you have to study, don`t you?” he diverts the subject away.
you nodded, humming back at him while looking down, away from his eyes.
“well then!” he exclaims softly as he gets up from your bed to walk behind you and puts both of his hands on top of your shoulders, “study hard but take care of yourself too, okay?”
you tilt your head back as you stare up at him.
“i will,” you promise to him, “but will you please tell one of my classmates that we have nothing going on in-between us? please do it for my sake, will you?”
“if i meet one of them, i will do so,” after a long pause, joshua replied to you. “but don`t tire yourself out thinking about what others think about you…or anyone whom you`ve known all your life. trust yourself and the memories.”
why the hesitation? you want to ask him. what does he think of you? are you just the person next door who`s also his school junior, whom he has given english lessons almost regularly when he was still going to school and not far, far away at some big city studying big words?
“i`ll see you at dinner,” he says to you, when you have only hummed back a ‘thank you’ to his reply to your request.
joshua was walking out of your room when you ask, “at dinner?”
he looks back over his shoulder, “yes, your mother said i can come over. mine has a night shift at the hospital so,”
“aunty really misses you, you know,” you tell him about his mother as he stands by the doorframe, holding the door with one arm.
“ah,” he sighs, “don`t tell me about it. she almost cried when i said i`m coming back home this weekend,”
“i mean, i would too,” you confess.
joshua`s eyebrows shoots up at your words for a split second and then you see the s-shaped creases appear at the end of his eyes while his toothy grin surface upon his plump mouth.
“silly. i knew that already,” he tells you as he closes your bedroom door with a goodbye.
before anything, let`s paddle back to how the infamous rumor started – well, it was exactly four months ago.
two years ago, joshua had graduated school. the same school from where you`ll graduate in the next few months, just like he said before. but because he was 2 years your senior, both of you never got the chance to interact with each other at the school hallways. even if you would pass by him once in a while when you`d be going to the teachers` room, he would always be with his classmates busy in conversations. in any rare case occasion during such normal school days or sport days, he would acknowledge your presence with a rise of his eyebrows or a light smile from a distance.
it`s like his way of saying, “i know you`re there. i know you exist and i care for you so here`s a smile or a flicker of my eyes. i can`t do much, forgive me, for what if someone sparks any rumors about us. i don`t want you to not have answers to questions they will ask you when i graduate. i don`t want you to face all that in solitude.”
yet, four month ago on the last day of your mid-term when you were coming out of the school gates, discussing a certain question from the exam with one of your classmate, you found joshua on the other side of the street waiting for you, waving his hands with a child-like excitement, leaving you a bit flabbergasted.
it was friday – a weekday and not just that, you weren`t expecting him to be back in the town at all. he would always tell you first thing if he`s ever even planning to come back during any weekends, forget weekdays – they were always off-limits. your classmate who was next to you instantly recognized joshua as on top of everything, he was one of the reigning heartthrob of the school so everyone knew him. he was the friendliest senior in school and nobody could ever top him in that category.
“is that the hong joshua? is he waving at you? what is he doing here? isn`t he in college now? how do you know him? are you guys….dating?!”
countless questions, assumptions and curious eyes came from all directions when more and more of your classmates discovered him. the fact that just few seconds ago they were discussing the answers to the mid-term questions suddenly got all thrown out of this imaginary window.
“he`s my neighbor,” you only said, rushing out of the crowd of your fellow mates and crossed the street to reach to the infamous man everyone was fawning over from a distance.
“let`s walk out of here,” without greeting him whatsoever, you had held his wrist and dragged him out of the area around school.
you almost asked him if he was out of his mind but that sounded awful in your own ears. it was not until you both were half-way to your houses on the same street that you asked him what was he doing there.
to which joshua gave you a very reasonable explanation, resulting in you not being mad at him for long.
“well, i thought of surprising you. i know how stressed out you are because you think you`ve to do well in everything this year. you have to study extra hard and make up for all the flaws you have….which obviously i think is not very necessary. i think you`re doing more than enough.”
“two nights ago, when you had called me at two in the morning, apologizing at the end that you might have disrupted my sleep, i wanted to tell you more than a it`s alright or a lie that i wasn’t actually sleeping. i wanted to tell you that yes, i was sleeping but i was also happy that you called me at such a vulnerable time because you felt like i was the only one whom you can reach out to. i thought i needed to do more to show you that whatever you`re doing is completely enough, that it`s not okay to be so hard on yourself.”
“is that why you came to see me?” you asked him.
joshua nodded, “yes, and now i feel bad about all the time when i actually had the chance to talk to you inside school. your classmates, what were they asking?”
you sighed, closing your eyes.
“about why you were outside our school waiting for me like that.”
“and, what did you say?”
“i said the truth that we`re neighbors,”
“good, i`m sure they won`t pester further,”
“i hope they don`t. but i don`t know…with your reputation in our school, i don`t know.”
“i don`t think i matter much on the school ground anymore,_____, i`m more than just an alumni of that place. i`m your neighbor. and, i`m also your person.”
you look up at him and you realize it`s a mistake because the sun was falling directly in your eyes and you squinted so hard you almost missed out what he said next.
“that place is my past but you`re my constant. why should i care what anyone inside that place thinks anymore about me? just like that place is my past…i`m a person who`s now in a minuscule part of history on the school walls. people will forget about me one day.”
“that`s….very philosophical,” that`s all you could say while you looked down at gravel road.
“i`m glad i came. you don`t look bad,” joshua tilted his head to the side and bent down his body a bit to look at you whose head was down.
“well, the exam ended so…maybe a few days of break will put me back to pieces,” you move your eyes up to catch with his own.
“right…” joshua nodded, straightening his back.
you wanted to ask him more but you were already infront of your house.
“are you staying this weekend?”
joshua shook his head.
“no, i`ll be taking the evening train back to city. the library at where i do my part-time didn`t give a permit saying how there`s already a lack of helpers so unfortunately i have to go back to do my part-time job as usual.”
“i`m sure aunty would`ve loved you to stay back,” you too, would`ve loved him to stay back but somehow you didn`t want him to know this piece of information so you only talked about his mother.
“what about you?” joshua asked you the question you didn`t have the courage to answer.
“you`ve already done enough,” you told him instead. you couldn`t bring yourself to ask for more. you had lots of question in your head but time was the biggest enemy and you had to apparently let go to him.
“call me when you need me,” joshua said as he leaned in to embrace you just like he always does whenever he leaves for the city. you have a bittersweet relationship with this act of him hugging you. hugs always reminds you of farewells and if there`s one thing you don`t like in the path of life is goodbyes.
you wanted to tell him not to take you in his arms like this when you were sure you were sweating underneath your school shirt. you were sure there`s salt from your perspiration on your neck and your hair that`s messy from all the careless ruffling during exam hall must be sticking to the side of your face. you wanted to tell him to not look at you from this close.
you wanted to hide away from him and ask him not to say goodbye yet again.
“you smell like the earth,” he told you as his chin rested on your neck.
joshua closed his eyes and buried his face against the crook of your neck and as he pulled you in his arms in a close embrace, he caressed your back and told you once more that you did well.
joshua has the face of someone who dreams big but least did people know that he isn`t much of a dreamer himself. he is a man of simpler hobbies and of year-long acquaintances.
when he had told you that he`s going to take psychology as the subject for higher studies, you weren`t surprised for you knew that someone like joshua who doesn`t talk much often about his innermost thoughts, he must be a keen observer. you liked that part of him. it`s like you could always count on him to understand you even if you don`t convey your thoughts verbally.
although, you weren`t really happy about the fact that he was going to go so far away from you. for the first eighteen years of your life, you`ve always found him near you and suddenly you were envious of the fact that the far, far away big city is going to take him away from you leaving behind a void for you to dwell in. you had panicked.
whom were you going to talk to about things at school? who`s going to help you with your english lesson? who`s going to open his own bedroom window which faces your own and call you to listen to your cries of frustration after he has heard everything about the fight you had with your mother few moments ago?
how are you supposed to wake up every single morning after he leaves the town to the big city knowing very well that when you`ll be back from school and the sunset will greet you of the end of the day, when you`ll look out from your window, there`ll only be darkness on the other side?
all these thoughts only helped in the passage of time and when the day came for him to actually leave, you almost thought of not seeing him off at the train station. you almost told yourself you`ll not see his train leaving the platform while he`s inside one of the compartment waving you a goodbye and a promise to a return.
you wanted to just sleep through all of that convincing yourself that when you`ll wake up the next morning, he`ll still be there when you`ll open your bedroom window or when you`ll get to school, you`ll see him from afar on the school ground or the hallways in front of the teachers` room.
but you failed at everything you thought of doing and ended up standing at the platform, watching his train leave and took all his goodbyes and promises to yourself. you stood there long after his train had left, looking down at the grey marbled floor of the platform already feeling like a part of you is missing.
you remembered of this word in japanese, 会者定離 (eshajouri) – (n.) “people meet, always part” it means that every human relationship stands upon the concept of impermanence. every person that we meet in our walk of lives are bound to part with us in some way or other. it might be because of our mortality or the fact that we, as human beings, can decide to leave another voluntarily.
the train platform, the hugs, his eyes, the remembrance of his breath against your neck. everything reminds you of parting.
so four months ago, when you saw him at the school gate, you were unable to decide what you should be feeling. you were conflicted if you wanted to act surprised, happy or enraged. it was like something had malfunctioned inside your system and with all the questions coming from all the directions at you from your classmates, you felt the buzzing in your head only incrementing.
for someone who thinks a lot from inside, you were confused why joshua did what he did. why was he at the school gate for you? why did he suddenly want the world to know that you were someone he knows enough to come pick up from the school gates in front of everyone, that he`s someone you`ve known all of your life? why did he want to let people know that he knew you more than anyone could know you? what was his reason? will he ever tell you?
you also wanted to know what has changed in him. why was he saying all that to you when you both were walking back to your home before he left for the city in the evening train? he has always been an observer, a keen listener so why was he so desperate in explaining the purpose of his action.
joshua speaking so much of his mind to you like that was surprising yet you didn`t question him because you`ve missed conversing with him and you wanted to hear his voice more and more so you let him tell you everything he wanted to tell you be it something out of box for him to do.
or was it the effect of his on-going degree? does it make you talk about your feelings a lot when you`re dealing with people who has internal conflicts? did joshua find himself of having one of those too?
at the end, joshua was right. all you had to do was wait for time to pass. time became your good friend unlike two years ago when it took away joshua from you, creating this long bridge of distance.
everyone only cared about finishing their projects and studying for the school finals. by the time the exams were done and you were back home, in front of your computer, scrolling through the colleges you`ll be applying to, everyone has accepted the fact that you and joshua were just neighbors who grew up together like most of your classmates who probably lives on some street as neighbors just like you and him. there was indeed nothing phenomenal about him picking you up from school, which was still to this day a one-time thing. a day you`ll remember for the rest of your life. a stamp at the corner of a certain page from the diary of your life`s history.
some were envious but when you told them he doesn`t even come to the town most often because of how busy he is with his own final year at college, everyone stopped asking about him. they too understood the weight of the dusty space in-between both of you.
in the end, joshua might have been just a neighbor to you for the eyes of the world but for your own, he was like a family, an older brother, a friend, a father and a lover. he took various different forms for you, filled up each and every space like pouring tap water into the ice cube tray. he was the boy with whom you painted the walls with crayons, with whom you shared a plate of food when both of you were unaware of the impact this memories will make.
you knew how his kind face always knew how to hide the pain of his own. you know how to differentiate all the kind of smiles he gives out for free. you know when that smile is poignant and when it`s from the deepest part of his heart and yet you don`t know certain things about him. it`s like his heart is this big mansion which has some doors, some corridors that are far hidden from your sight.
or maybe it`s not supposed to be you who gets to open those doors or walk through those corridors. maybe it`s someone in the future from this town or the other who`s going to get to do all that. maybe then joshua will be a fully fledged person. maybe then when you`ll look in his eyes, he`s going to finally tell you why he thought you needed to see him that day in front of your school.
and yet, you wonder, who`s going to hug you like that on the street under a familiar sunset when you`ll be on your way back home all tired, famished and sweaty and tell you that you smell like the earth.
joshua was wrong. he`ll never become a history, at least not for you. a part of you will be living inside him just like a part of him will always stay with you.
if you were bound to part with him because you`ve met him then why do memories linger? why doesn`t the head know the world of parting? why is it that you`ll always remember him longer than you actually knew him?
Omg wait, dragon farmers, dragon brewers, are farmers talked about in the series? i feel like there pretty important but idk if they were talked about
(also ps. i really liked the headcanons you talked about on the vineyard post)
Aw man thanks !!!
This turned into a huge ramble about food in the wof universe I'm so sorry, but I talk about farms specifically towards the bottom:
The fact domesticated animals (cows), pets, chefs, and dining rooms/dinner parties exist in WOF makes me think farms and agriculture do too? Wof is,,, really weird about how "civilized" dragons are (Darkstalker lives in a cave but the caves have different rooms??? Everyone seemingly hunts for food but the Talons Of Peace trade cows to Cattail that she was seemingly supposed to raise????). So the text,,, does not give us much.
My take on it is each tribe has a different ability to eat vegetables and meat- Rainwings primarily eat fruit (the word for this is frugivore btw) but are still true omnivores/can eat meat, Nightwings, Mudwings, and Sandwings are hypocarnivores with a strong preference towards meat (Sandwings are also more inclined to eat insects/small lizards moreso than red meat), and Seawings, Skywings and Icewings are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet is almost entirely meat.
Most dragons will cook their meat before eating it and are meant to digest cooked food, like humans (there are obvious exceptions, namely Icewings/Seawings, who are meant for raw food). The fact the DoD don't is evidence for the neglect the DoD were subjected to- part of the reason for Clay being so much hungrier and the fact he felt like eating entire cows is eating purely raw meat is significantly less nutritious than cooked meat (Stonemover only eats raw animals because he's a freak who thinks he doesn't deserve cooked food anymore). I choose to think this is mostly also because Kestrel and Dune (who are canonically the least involved in the dragonets lives) genuinely didn't think about if you had to teach younger dragonets to cook their food and just assumed they would figure it out, this is also backed up by the fact prey like cows is seemingly just released into the cave without any guardian supervision (Webs, being a Seawing, does actually eat his food raw, but his food is also primarily fish instead of red meat).
Seasoned food, as in cooking actual recipes, is a skill the same as it is in the human world and thus a profession. Because of the nature of a world where everyone *can* hunt for food, prepared food is mostly a delicacy- only royalty eats prepared food every day (we have actual evidence for that considering the Seawing royal family seems to live that way + Sandwings have a castle chef). The exception to this though is soldiers- the time cost and cost on the environment that soldiers mobilizing for war would have hunting for themselves is offset by having rations distributed to soldiers (this is also extra incentive for dragons to join the army, especially for Mudwings where the hunting ability of each dragon in a troop might vary but everyone still has to eat).
The other place cooked food shows up is restaurants and inns. Inns, since they're almost exclusively for travellers, tend to have quick and easy meals and tend to be stationed on the outskirts of the Kingdom if they serve food themselves- otherwise inns that are meant to house visitors to cities will partner with an existing restaurant instead, thus providing a perk of staying in the inn (often a discount to the food) and giving more business to restaurants. Restaurants are either geared towards travellers, or fancy/upper-class dragons having a nice night out.
Finally, agriculture in WOF: for agriculture, I think Mudwings are the main producers of crops. Vegetables are easy food to pad out a diet plus the war made rations much more of a necessity. The Mud Kingdom is the biggest on the map, and thus has a lot of different zones to it, however we do know the territory is very warm and wet (I'm planning on talking about the terrain in the Kingdoms, that's another rant on its own). Considering the climate is warm and wet, my instinct is rice would be a staple Mudwing crop, as well as sweet potatoes (really any plants that grow well in consistently warm and wet environments will work here). Farming and cooking are still specialist jobs and not the main job most dragons will have, but they're most common in the Mud Kingdom. They're where 90% of all crops come from.
Other forms of agriculture include:
Rainwings: primary producers of jungle fruits, formerly very wealthy from this but after the Rainwing isolation/withdrawl from the world, much of that has been lost.
Sandwings- Since they're the center of Pyrrhia, many goods pass through the Sand Kingdom, meaning Sandwing markets are often reliable sources for goods across the kingdoms. Sandwings also grow cactuses and have the highest concentrade of scroll sellers, since the paper and ink is preserved best in the arid heat.
Seawings: Seaweed features pretty prominently as a garnish in Seawing food, and Seawings are the prime sources of fish (obviously) but also shellfish, salt and salted fish/meats. Seawings are also the originators of pickled goods in this world, and hold market dominance on pickled foods, especially pickled fish.
Icewings: blubber, oil, and fat are Icewing exports, whale-hunting is big and seals/seal meat features heavily in Icewing diets
Skywings- the mountainous terrain is good for olives closer to the Mud Kingdom, other common crops are potatoes, dill, carrots, and other common dried herbs. Skywings are some of the prime purchasers of exported goods, and primarily deal in treasure, especially gold/ores and crystals. Skywings, while eating primarily meat, also produce a lot of cheese, especially goat and sheep milk cheese.
Nightwings- formerly the biggest purchaser of exported goods from the kingdoms- after fleeing to the volcano, Nightwings have basically vanished from Pyrrhia's market. However- as part of the food scarcity on the island, Nightwings have their own form of curing meats that make the meat taste incredibly funky and keep essentially forever. Dried stolen jungle fruits, fermented vegetables, and wild honey/honey fermented fruits (bees are unable to survive on the island but desperation leads Nightwings to find ways to harvest honey from wild hives) are also Nightwing specific foods that have become somewhat of delicacies in the modern day, since few dragons have ever eaten Nightwing food.
Sorry this got so long I got really tunnelled in on this stuff, I hope you find it interesting !!
get it together || c.b.
summary: colby catches you and nate being chummy again and falls back into a place where he knows he shouldn’t be.
requested by anonymous.
read the first part here!
“so, you guys aren’t together? officially?” katrina asked you. you and here were having a girls night while sam and colby were out filming for their channel.
“no? i don’t think? i know that sounds stupid, but we never really had a conversation about it.” you sighed.
it had been about eight months since your trip to ukraine when you visited the catacombs, with sam, colby and nate. on that trip, you and colby had a conversation about the fact that you both had feelings for each other, but were hesitant to act on them. after the trip, it seemed like you and colby were on the right track to becoming exclusive, as you’d gone out on multiple dates. but things sort of came to a screeching halt as the two of you became distant again.
“i don’t understand what’s up with him. the way he talks about you when you’re not around is as if he’s never been in love with anyone the way he’s in love with you.”
“stop, that’s gonna make me cry!”
“it’s true! i’ve known colby a long time, and i’ve never heard him talk about anyone the way he talks about you. i’m not sure what kind of push you guys need, but we’re gonna get you over this hump you seem to be stuck at.”
a few weeks later, you traveled with sam and colby to ohio to accompany them on their investigation at the fairfield infirmary. you didn’t know at the time you agreed to the trip that nate was also coming along.
“hey, can we talk for a second?” you asked colby as you pulled in to the parking lot, before him and sam started filming their video.
“what’s up?” he asked, pulling you off to the side.
“are we gonna be okay? you know what happened the last time i came with you guys and nate on an exploration trip.” you said.
“yes, everything’s gonna be okay. i promise.”
“okay, if you promise.”
throughout the night, you and nate struck up a conversation. the two of you spent most of the time catching up, and talking about other things that were going on in your lives. you loved talking to nate, especially considering how long it’d been since you’d last seen each other.
and, despite his promise to you, colby was not having it.
tonight’s events were almost entirely identical to what happened the last time. colby saw you and nate talking and laughing with each other, he did not like it, and he made sure everyone knew he was upset.
“alright, everyone. let’s take a break for a bit. things have clearly already been a little hectic today, and we still have a long night ahead of us.” sam said as he set his camera down on the table.
“hey colby, can i talk to you outside?” you asked him.
“outside? but it’s freezing.” he said softly.
“yeah, but maybe it will help cool your hot head.” you said sternly. you raised an eyebrow at him as he looked up from his phone and locked eyes with you. you watched as his shoulders dropped, he knew he’d upset you. he got up and followed you outside, the two of you standing across from each other on the lawn, your arms crossed tightly across your chests.
“no, i don’t want to hear it. you promised me that things were gonna be okay tonight. you promised be that you weren’t going to get too into your head.” you said, already on the verge of tears.
“well, i’m not going to apologize for the way that i feel.”
“considering you made yourself feel this way, i wouldn’t expect you to look into a mirror and say you’re sorry. that would look funny.”
“y/n, you know i like you. actually, at this point, i think i might love you. but i’m just so scared that if things don’t work out with us as a couple, that i’m going to lose you as a friend. that’s why i’ve kinda pulled back these past weeks. we were so close to getting together, then something went off in my brain that said ‘if you get too close, she’s gonna end up hurting you. she’s gonna leave you when she gets the chance and meets someone she thinks is better than you.’ and seeing you be all friendly with nate like that, it makes feel like you’d choose him over me.”
“colby, i’m nowhere near as close to anyone as i am with you. i don’t even think my own family members know some of the stuff you know about me. you are the one person that i feel like i can trust, and that i can truly confide in. i don’t think i could ever find someone better than you. and it’s not fair that nate is at the end of your scope and he doesn’t even know it. he’s one of your best friends, and i already told you that if you felt like i was encroaching into somewhere that i’m not welcome, then i’ll back off.”
“no, i can’t make you do that. nate likes you, as he should. what’s not to like. you’re a great friend to him, as he is to you. and i know that it’s not right for me to dictate who you guys can and can’t be friends with.” colby said.
“i think you need to explain yourself to him.” you said, and colby nodded. you opened the door back into the building and stuck your head in. “hey nate, could you come out here really quick?”
“sure?” nate said, hesitantly getting up from the table he was sitting at.
“what about me? why can’t i be part of this too?” sam asked.
“you’ll probably hear about it once it’s all figured out.” you said.
“but i wanna know now.” he pouted, pretending to be offended.
you stepped back outside with nate and colby and they both stood there staring at you, as if they were waiting for permission to speak.
“well, colby, you know what you need to do.”
“what’s going on?” nate asked, looking back and forth between you and colby.
“i have something i need to apologize to you for.” colby began. nate looked at him with a puzzled look on his face. “so, the reason i was so snippy with everyone earlier tonight was because i had this intense feeling of jealousy. seeing you and y/n be all friendly with each other, it wasn’t sitting right with me.”
“oh, man. i’m sorry.” nate said.
“you don’t have to apologize. y/n and i have this ~thing~ between us, but you didn’t know that i liked her, so it’s not fair for me to have been jealous of you.”
“you don’t have to be jealous of me ever. if you would’ve asked me to back off, i would have..” nate said, he then turned to you.
“i told him the same thing, but he doesn’t listen” you said. colby looked at you and rolled his eyes.
“look, i never want to be the guy to tell his friends who else they can and can’t be friends with. you guys are both adults, and can make your own decisions regarding your friendships and relationships.” colby said. “i said what i had to say, and im sorry for having you both on the receiving end of this unfair and unnecessary jealousy.” colby explained.
“don’t beat yourself up too much. you had feelings, and you felt them. but we do appreciate that you’ve apologized.” you said, and nate nodded in agreement.
“good. now we can call move on from this.” colby said. you all turned to walk back inside, and just before you reached the door, colby grabbed your hand and pulled you off the porch.
“you and i are not done.” he said as he pulled you into his chest.
“what else do you think you need to say?” you asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“i’m sorry i’ve been stringing you along like this, you don’t deserve that.” he sighed.
“i don’t, but i can’t blame you for how you feel. i just hope you know that no matter what, you will never lose me as a friend. you mean too much to me to ever let anything come between us.” you said.
“you’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“no, i promise. and i keep my promises, unlike someone i know.” you teased.
“oh, great. making jokes at my expense already.” he laughed.
“also, what was that L word you dropped just a second ago? you said that you,”
“yeah, yeah. i said that i think i might love you. actually no, i ~know~ that i love you.”
“that’s big talk for a guy who hasn’t even asked me to be his girlfriend yet.”
“well i guess now’s as good a time as any.”
“you guess?” you asked, pushing away from him. he smiled down at you and shook his head.
you looked up at him, and you had a quiet moment, the two of you just enjoying your moment together.
“your lips are the same color as your jacket.” you said softly.
“you’ve got me out here freezing my ass off.” he laughed. “why are you looking at my lips anyway?”
“i bet you can guess why.” you smirked. colby pulled you into his chest and held you tight, pressing a soft kiss to your lips.
“so, i think we’re past the point of me having to officially having to ask you to be my girlfriend, right?”
“i’d say so. i think that kiss solidified us as a couple.” you said.
“glad we’re in agreement.” he smiled, kissing you again.
you were glad that thing were finally on the right page between you and colby. fingers crossed they stayed that way.
Here with my semi-annual brain dump about global perspectives vs culturally-informed criticism!!
So, my main perspective on Autistic rep in Extraordinary Attorney Woo is informed by being a teacher in Korea for 2 years + having friends who worked with students with developmental differences there for longer than me and then being a teacher in the US for many years who has worked with a number of students with Autism.
Which is to say I don’t get to decide if something is good or right, but here some things I consider when thinking about the representation here (or elsewhere) in Kdramas. Most of this sort of applies broadly to how I think of rep of any type of difference, not just developmental differences:
You might be interested in this scholarship review on ASD in Korean children to see where I’m coming from. It’s outdated (from 2013) but that’s how such things work.
Be aware of when you are thinking about global representation vs. kdrama representation. When it comes to representation, I am a big proponent of the idea that more representation is better than “good” representation. The more characters with xyz difference, the more opportunity there is for characters to be diverse, specific, and interesting, and the less important it is for them to be “accurate.” (I know it’s not THAT simple -- like there are things that ARE just wrong... my Big Thing as the granddaughter of someone with schizophrenia is media ALWAYSSS confusing it with DID... so the “diversity” of schizophrenic characters is just a bunch of characters who aren’t schizophrenic -- check out a beautiful mind or, surprisingly, criminal minds for the only portrayals I personally like) You might look at this drama and feel like it’s all been done before or it’s leaning into tired tropes, but are those *GLOBAL* tropes or things you’ve seen a million times in kdramas? I’m not saying one way of looking at it is better, but I always think it’s important to be aware of the fact that even a netflix kdrama that is meant to be “global” is also being made by Korean people with a Korean audience in mind. Just as an example, many people who watch this show will hear the Korean term for echolalia for the first time. Even if they might have seen it in other foreign-language media, I think that sort of thing is valuable if we’re thinking exclusively about representation as a societal device for good.
Developmental differences and disabilities are treated very differently in Korea than where I live in the US. Schools don’t have inclusion programs, for instance. At one of my schools in Korea, a student who needed a lot of extra academic support was lucky if a public service military officer happened to be assigned to the school. He would sit next to them and “help” - but obviously wasn’t a teacher and didn’t know what he was doing. Of course this show isn’t about her childhood, and I’m NOT saying that Western/American special ed is good for all students all places or even most students in most places, but it’s just an example of the fact that things are different, how society works is different.
Korean culture is its own thing and how someone with social communication differences interacts in that culture feels VERY hard to compare to American/Western culture. Like, if you read the above scholarship review, there is a difference in themes of pretend play for anglo-american children and korean-american children! Wild! I’m interested in how much this portrayal is driven by actual input from or research into Korean Autistic people and how much is driven by portrayals of Autism in Western media. For instance, they showed Young-woo being uncomfortable with a handshake, but handshakes are RARE in Korea, even when being introduced to people! Korea also has MANY more social RULES. Meaning, you don’t need to use subtle social cues to determine how to interact with someone. You are taught at a young age how to greet people, when to use honorifics, how to refer to people. In fact, according to the above scholarship review, a child’s difficulty to use honorifics correctly is one way to help form a diagnosis. All of this is to say that trying to read characters in kdramas based on expected Western behaviors or values will always be flawed, and that continues to be true in this context!