#most relatable thing I've read all month
shawcl · a year ago
#i'm abt to overshare real hard now but i rly need to know if i'm overreacting bc i feel like i'm losing my mind here#everything in the tags bc ppl are weird on here#so a couple of months ago one of my friends made a racist joke in the groupchat not outright malicious but more like mocking the whole blm#movement in a way whatever it bothered me so i called him out which lead to this HUGE discussion abt racism and me trying to explain things#to them but them being unwilling to listen (white fragility hello) and it basically was like 3 people against 1 while the other 5 ppl in the#chat chose to be ignore this whole thing which made it feel like 8 against 1 but yeah#it basically ended with them telling me i'm overreacting and blowing things out of proposition and THEN one of them CONTINUING DOING one of#the things i told him not to which was like a huge fuck u in my face tbh#it's probably hard to judge the situation when u can’t read the exact chat but long story short i was full on anxious for like a whole week#afterwards and stopped talking to them (or most of them) since and the more time goes by the more i'm overthinking once again as i'm prone#to do combined with the fact that i'm kinda really lonely since those were my 'main' group of friends and wondering if i rly overreacted#my mum surely thinks i did but her opinions are kinda shit so it doesn’t count#idk what to dooooooo#but it'd be also lowkey weird to come back after like idk how many months like hi#and frankly none of those ppl i had the discussion with reached out to me afterwards despite knowing how bothered i am by all of this#(i mean i straight up ghosted them) so idk. don’t rly feel like real friends u kno#i've been friends with them for give or take 10 years and to make things worse i'm related to 2 of them ha#anyhow#the more i think abt it the more i think that it's rly hard to see the big picture as an outsider since even more things come into play than#what the things i described here but. i'm rambling now djdjdkdk AAAAAAH what a year i hate it#i'd probably be talking for an hour if i listed everything in detail#feel free to send me anons on this but i won’t publish them i think#i'll probably delete this in 5 mins anyway bc anxiety
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cowboybruce · 2 months ago
ok sorry for being a hater yesterday. I started reading some Ursula k le Guin essays and i have positive emotions again. i love her.
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harcove · 2 months ago
Okay, hear me out.
After you and Billy has an argument over god knows, your crying on the couch whilst Billy had gone out to get some air. It’s his cooling down mechanism but you are too so he feels like even more shit for leaving you behind upset so every time he will without a doubt come home with flowers. Sometimes it might be one or the next it will be a bouquet but he always walks through the door maybe an hour later with a saddened look to see you so crushed.
He’ll put the flowers on a table or on the floor and sit at your feet, no words shared as his thumbs swipe away the tears, gentle eyes that was only given to you staring into your soul as he takes your hands next to kiss with such delicacy. He’s got a heavy touch so it feels like he’s grabbing you almost but it all gets made up for with his soft plump lips that he cares for with chapstick you give him every few months when he’s run out.
If you guys haven’t had dinner yet after your both calm, he’ll cook before going to bed with you in his arms. Though if you hadn’t forgiven him, he’s still at his knees for you, showering you and pampering you the rest of the night but if even that wasn’t enough; he’ll sleep on the couch till morning and make you breakfast in bed. He loves you a lot and shouting at you hurts even more than when his dad used to. He doesn’t want his girl feeling scared of him so if he has to carry you like one of them royals on a bed, he will do it.
Hope your feeling well, Lovely. <3
a/n: Okay so sorry this took so long; I write so slow and I've been writing multiple things but this was so cute I LOVE the idea of it sm. I wanted to do like every single thing in there, but I couldn't cause it'd be wayyyy too long and idk how many people wanna read that, and also just, I'd be making contradictions in the story asdfghjkl. I hope you're feeling well too bby! <3
Pairing: Billy Hargrove x Reader
Warnings: Text-heavy; not a lot of dialogue, mentions of arguments/yelling, trauma-related emotions, maybe OOC Billy? abuse mention
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Pink Roses - B.H.
The moment Billy walked out the door, he regretted it.
He regretted fighting with you, he regretted the yelling and the words the both of you would hurl at one another in your anger. He regretted that he'd hurt you, knowingly too.
He regretted being like his father.
You always insisted he wasn't his father. He was Billy Hargrove, not Neil Hargrove. But sometimes, when things got hard, or when he was alone with too many thoughts, he'd find himself feeling like the man who made his life miserable before he'd met you.
Billy never hit you. He could never even imagine doing that. The closest he'd come to ever hurting you was grabbing your wrist, and he was stronger than he realized- it's what he got for weight lifting. And his bodies instinctual response to fight and defend. He needed to really pay attention to how heavy his hand was, even in moments of love. It was never intentional.
But he tortured himself. He told himself that maybe that was who he really was and he was just trying to hide it; that really, he was an abuser like his father, and that he would only ruin you. Like how his father ruined his mother, ruined him, ruined everything he ever touched.
As guilty as he felt leaving you in the house, the small home you two had gotten in Hawkins (as much as he wanted to go to California or something, the two of you were still young and Max was still here, still a teen), most definitely crying, alone, he wouldn't go back just yet. He knew better than that at this point.
Years together, being away from his father, you, surviving Starcourt, it all helped. It gave him the chance to work on himself without the heavy hand of a parent that despised him. Almost dying, not being able to control himself and his actions quite literally, everything, it made him think.
But he still struggled. An entire life thus far of abuse and abandonment wasn't something that could easily be undone. In fact, it was likely that even with time and change, there would still be parts of him that would peak through. Parts of him that would never trust properly, or would retain fear and anger in horrible ways.
So he knew, right now, he needed air. Even with regret, his blood was still pumping fast. He still felt the remnants of anger and adrenaline from the yelling match the two of you had just had. So staying away for now was better than walking back in. Even if he wanted to.
You always told him that was progress: the acknowledgement and realisation that his emotions were dangerous, and the willingness to separate himself for his own good and others.
He always just said it would be better if it never happened at all.
The cool air was a balm to his burning blood. The way it whipped around his Camaro as he drove aimlessly made him feel better. It quieted his thoughts and allowed him to breathe. The radio played a song, one he didn't really have any particular feelings for, but it was better than empty silence.
When the driving fast (something he knew you'd get angry at him for) and the loud music from his radio (if you were there right now, you'd be singing with it just as loud) ran it's course and he no longer felt as angry, or angry at all, he pulled his car into a strip of small stores.
He didn't even bother to turn his car off, leaving it on but locked as he entered one of the small stores. They sold various things inside, but the item he came for was the flowers; they always had so many different ones and you always mentioned how beautiful they were.
It felt juvenile as he picked out flowers. He knew nothing of the 'language of flowers' but he remembered Max mentioning that pink roses are a symbol of apology; asking for forgiveness and to show gratitude, appreciation.
And Max only knew that because Lucas had gotten them for her, on more than one occasion. Billy always knew when Max and Lucas had a fight, or broke up (again, god, he keeps asking her why she keeps going back if they've broken up at least six times already, she says he 'wouldn't get it,') he would see pink roses in the house when he still lived there.
He had gotten sick of the colour pink.
But now it wasn't so annoying to look at, not when he looked at the pink roses and thought to himself- thought about you and whatever it was you argued about. He couldn't even really pinpoint the exact reason for whatever triggered the argument, which made it all the more silly. He looked at the roses in his passenger seat where you always sat, driving back home to you.
He couldn't be sick of the colour pink. Not when it's meaning in those flowers was something he felt. He loved you, and he was thankful for you. Always sorry after a fight. It would always be you, no one else was meant for him like you were- no amount of arguments or sullied words could change the fact that it would always be you.
He understood Max more than she knew. More than he realised too.
Inside the small house, you lay curled up on the couch. It smells like him. Everything in the damn house smells like him; his cologne, cigarettes (he tried to smoke outside most of the time but it wasn't always) and it only made your eyes water once again.
You regret it the moment he walks out the door, slamming it shut behind him. You regret the volume of your voice and the words you spoke. You regret letting him walk out.
But you also respected that he did so. It could've easily went differently. His measuring of his own emotions, allowing him to remove himself from the situation; that was something more new.
You couldn't look at him and not say he made progress everyday.
Whatever the argument had been lost on you the moment you fall onto the couch in tears. Hagard breathes from anger and adrenaline. Angry tears become sad ones, lonely ones. And you just wish he was there. Even if you're mad.
Only Billy Hargrove knows how to make you this upset, and only Billy Hargrove knows how to make you feel better.
It's the double edged sword of being so close to someone; so close to him. You know each others flaws, you know their weak spots and the words to use to dig in deep- but you also know the words to make them feel better, the touch to comfort them and calm them down.
It's so contradictory. Your body and mind are angry with him, but at the same time, they want him there, to make you feel better.
It takes time for him to come back. However long had passed, you aren't sure, because the time blurs together as you lay on the couch, tears still spilling down your cheeks. You hate them because you can't control them and they just seem insistent on sticking around.
But you know it's late because the light isn't coming from the windows, and when he opens the front door, maybe a bit gingerly, you hear crickets, and no cars.
You hear his heavy steps; booted feet hitting the faded hardwood floor. Parts of you flood with relief now that he's back. The house feels fuller once more, but all the same, there is a pain and anger in you. The metaphorical temperature is still cool in the house as the memories of an argument too intense for its own good linger.
You're not facing him, rather, facing the inside back cushions of the couch, one of your arms under your head like a makeshift pillow while the other rests curled up into your chest. You smell is cologne when he walks closer; stronger than it was on the furniture. Invading your senses.
The crinkling from the flowers Billy brought back with him interrupt dead silence; he places them on the floor beside the couch before he lowers himself onto the floor as well, back to you, just as you had yours to his, resting an arm on his propped up knee.
It stays quiet. There's nothing neither your nor him can find it in you to say. Words that should be said, words that want to be said, stay locked behind your tongues. Stuck in your throats.
If he was still angry, Billy might've walked in, and scoffed at the sight of you crying on the couch. He might've rolled his eyes and ignored you. But he wasn't angry anymore. And it was something that he had worked on.
He was only sad when he saw your body on the couch. He only felt heartbroken, and wanted to take back everything that happened. It was an emotion he was used to. Regret. But it was one he spent his entire life burying.
There hadn't been time to feel regret. Not when every action he made had been a response to the abuse he had experienced. Not when, in his life, he had only known the feeling of trying to survive in a world that seemed to be against him from the start. There was no place for regret then.
But now he was safer than he had been before. And he could feel regret for his actions; truly, deeply, feel them.
And hurting you, in any way, shape, or form, was something he regretted.
It was quiet. No noise save for the breathing from both of you. But eventually, the quiet breaks when he moves his body from where he sits at your feet, basically crawling his way to where your head sits. The sound of his leather jacket he had yet to take off evaded your senses as he brought himself closer.
You wanted to look at him. So you swallowed any embarrassment you felt for crying, or any lingering negative emotions and pettiness, and slowly maneuvered to turn over onto your other side.
His beautiful blue eyes met yours, and they looked sad. Your eyes could only fill with tears you had believed had dried up by now, but rather, they were waiting for something to trigger them again.
His larger hand, rings and all, reached up and he used his thumb to wipe the tears that built up from your eyes, barely giving them the chance to fall. He was heavy handed, as gentle as he tried to be, so the way he did it almost made you crack a sad smile. It was like he was getting ready to fight the tears away if he had to, like they were a physical opponent. It's as if he's grabbing your face more than wiping your tears away.
But you don't care, because it's him. It's absolutely, perfectly, Billy Hargrove. Heavy handed by nature, it is filled with emotion and care. He doesn't hurt you. And it feels like protection whenever he does touch you this way. You could fade away into his hands, you loved them so much. It made more tears fill your eyes. This man, you couldn't lose this man. And every time you argued you worried, maybe he won't come back.
He always did however.
His eyes look so gentle. Something that only you have ever gotten to experience. For Billy Hargrove was tough, he was angry in most things and empty eyes were an easy way to keep people at a distance. But you saw every emotion that no one else did. 
Engulfing your hand with his own after he takes it, it feels tingly. Warm. He's always been like a personal heater (something you loved in the cold but hated in the summer because he would wrap himself around you and not let go till you cried uncle) and it feels good in those moments to have his hand holding yours. It feels like he's holding your hand more than you're holding his, grabbing it. It's his heavy touch.
His plump lips touch the skin on your knuckles softly. They're soft, and warm, and you can tell he's still using the chapstick you get him every few months. Because as much as you loved feeling his lips on your own, he was definitely just stealing the chapstick off your lips at that point and it was only fair if you could do the same.
"...'m sorry."
It's so quiet and muffled when he says it that you almost miss it. But you're so close and it's so quiet around you that you do hear it. Words are hard for him, words of remorse and apologies, it's always been hard. But he's saying it, he's trying.
The pink roses on the floor beside him finally catch your eye and you feel your chest fill with an overwhelming love and warmth.
"I'm sorry too," you respond, voice wobbly as you pull yourself closer to him while also pulling his head closer to you where you can rest your forehead against his own.
One of his hands comes up to cup the back of your neck, holding it with some pressure as his fingers touch your hair and he digs his fingers into it if he can.
"I'll do better."
You shake your head abruptly, almost horrified that he thinks he's not doing better or not doing good enough at this pace right now.
"No, you are doing better," you say firmly, looking into his eyes sternly, still glossy with tears, "I'll do better too."
"Guess we both have to do better," he says with a hint of humour. His smile, it's so beautiful. It is one of your most favourite sights in the entire world.
"I love you Billy."
He's silent at first, as he slightly pulls back from you. It doesn't matter how many times you say it to him, it's still sometimes surreal. Since he was a child and his mother left, no one told him they loved him. But you came into his life, and told him more than he thought he deserved.
"Is this a shit time to say I got flowers?" He's good at changing the subject. He's said he loves you before, but sometimes its overwhelming. Giving love to someone and it being given back tenfold, "Cause they were expensive and need water, or whatever."
You laugh. A small, but genuine laugh. You love this man, and you know you always will.
"They're beautiful; the Lucas and Max special? I'll put them in a vase if you go get dinner started- unless you ate when you left?" You say as you begin sitting up, Billy moving back and getting up himself, dropping a heavy kiss to your lips as he does so.
"Screw off," he responds with no malice, rolling his eyes playfully, "Max only gets one of these shits at a time from her boyfriend, I got you the whole bouquet. And no, I didn't."
"A real man," you jokingly say, plucking the bouquet that he had picked up when he stood up himself from his hands, you stand there for a moment looking at them. They smell amazing, and it's mixed with his scent. Smells like his car, like his cologne. They're beautiful. You almost get lost in them, "...thank you."
He's already going to your small open kitchen when you speak again, grabbing the singular glass that is tall enough for the flowers and putting it on the small table for you while he's also grabbing a pan.
"Don't tell Max, for Christ's sake," he bemoans, "I won't hear the end of that shit."
"Good thing I invited her for dinner tomorrow."
"What? Babe, come on..."
You don't offer him a response as you smile to yourself; he's sulking only a bit and mumbling to himself as he grabs things to start cooking. Things go quiet once more as you unwrap the flowers and cut off their thorns.
"...love you too."
Yeah. He was the only man you'd ever love.
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pamgkrthwrites · 4 months ago
Oh gosh, the hc post with the 'cute lil housewife with a breeding kink' prompt was absolutely perfect! Would you be willing to write hc's of the same prompt but with Swk, Macaque & Red son? (Also preferably nsfw 😳👉🏻👈🏻)
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Is it sad I had to go looking don't know which ask you are talking about because I have done so many? Yes. Will I still do the ask? Yes. Now, I believe you are talking about this one, as it's my most recent one and if I remember correctly, came out before this ask came in and because those characters you have asked for are not on this one. If I'm wrong then we both screwed. I will be copying the format I did for that one. So reader in this will be afab.
Warning, the following content is for an 18+ audience, if you are under the age of 18 do not read below. The character(s) depicted within this post are over the age of 20.
Sun Wukong
I've stated before in other asks that this man has a breeding kink, so he is going to be trying to breed you if he hasn't already.
When you started dating him, you talked about how you wanted your own little family and how you wanted your dream house to be.
So of course he upgrades his home, moves you in and starts already trying to breed you.
Will be trying to breed you whenever he can.
He loves watching you clean around the place and cook him meals.
His favourite thing to watch you do however is cook breakfast while talking to the baby monkeys.
His thoughts are "I can't wait until she does that with my babies."
Sad baby monkey noises.
Once you confirm you are pregnant, is over the moon and twirls you around.
Then bends you over and fucks you on the kitchen counter.
He is so glad you told him early on that you wanted to be a housewife.
Moves you into his home or moves into yours quickly.
Now for the breeding part, I think he would actually wait a year before actually trying.
He becomes very intermate as he puts you in a breeding press and tells you that you will fucking hot when swollen with his children.
He really enjoys seeing you in your underwear as you clean the house if you are that type of person.
Once you are pregnant, however, expect a lot of change.
Macaque will not let you lift a finger in his house until you are no longer pregnant and after you have fully recovered from the birth.
He will be cooking you healthy meals while pregnant and breastfeeding because he wants his child healthy and strong and will cry about it.
You will be comfortable at all times. He gets you soft pillows, gets you soft soals for your shoes, gets you comfortable(though ugly) shoes for around the house.
Once you have fully recovered and it's been 9 months since you have given birth, get ready to be bred up again cause he is now addicted to see you big from caring his child.
Red Son
For Red, I think it would take a little longer for him to grow to the idea. I know I've stated before he probably wants blood-related kids, but that doesn't mean he is quick to do it.
I've recently grown to the idea(after S3E6) that Red doesn't have the most positive relationship with his parents.
If 3 years into your relationship he doesn't see any improvements, he is going to move in with you and start your family with each other. He has accepted he will always be a disappointment to his parents.
His way of correcting that is by being an awesome dad and husband.
He doesn't do the whole breeding thing but more loving sex but he will change his diet just to have large cum loads just for you.
He gets really blushful when you tell him he did such a good job when he does try to breed you.
When you fall pregnant, he nervously tells his parents only to have no reaction. He might seem upset, but it's over his parents and not you.
When the baby is born, he does the whole 100 days thing. He loves your child with him so much but he feels actual disgust from then on when his parents belittle him.
It is very clear to him now why he didn't have any siblings because neither of his parents could pull their heads out of each other's asses and love him with any love.
He really loves being a parent with you, and he learns a lot about himself and his own issues.
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styloff · 4 days ago
The absolute best article I've read in all of this stupid drama. It hits every nail on the head. Sadly the people who need to read it probably won't and even if they do, it'll go right over their heads.
Hating Olivia Wilde is an example of the depressingly common venom leveled at the romantic partner of a star with whom stans have a parasocial relationship. Styles has been notoriously private about his personal life, saying in interviews that regaining his privacy was paramount to him after five years of intense scrutiny as a member of the world’s most famous boyband. 
And yet, all of the women with whom he’s been linked over the years have been subject to the same outrageous levels of hateful conduct and harassment. Styles, speaking to Rolling Stone last month alluded to this, saying “Can you imagine going on a second date with someone and being like, ‘OK, there’s this corner of the thing, and they’re going to say this, and it’s going to be really crazy, and they’re going to be really mean, and it’s not real.… But anyway, what do you want to eat?’ ”
These so-called fans are happy to dig through years of social media posts to find ways in which a romantic partner has been “problematic”, dismissing French model Camille Rowe for “supporting serial killers” (she dressed as Sharon Tate for Hallowe’en) and British chef Tess Ward for being fatphobic. In the eighteen months or so that Wilde and Styles have been seen together, Wilde has come under an even more intense array of criticism. The ten-year age gap between her and Styles makes her “predatory”. Her shared custody of her children with former partner Jason Sudeikis has been interpreted to mean she is a bad mother who routinely abandons her kids. She is “unprofessional” for embarking on a relationship with someone she met on set. 
For the fans spreading these talking points, finding reasons to justify their toxic behavior is critical—that way they can deny that this is a case of, “if I can’t have him, no one can”. It’s not that they don’t want Harry to find love, it’s just that this woman (and the one before her and the one before that) is obviously completely unsuitable.
Maintaining their ongoing hate campaign against Wilde puts stans in what should be some awkward spots, given the demographics of Styles’ fandom (female, progressive, queer). They side with Wilde’s former partner Sudeikis in their split, revelling in Wilde being served papers relating to custody on stage at CinemaCon, despite it being a cruel and humiliating tactic deployed against a woman in a professional setting. While they won’t come right out and say that LaBeouf is a hero, the glee with which his side of the story was received was a sight to behold. Even aligning yourself with alleged abusers is okay if it’s against a woman who isn’t what you want her to be. 
Worse still, Media Matters found that right wing sites exploited the situation, amplifying the hateful content and using terms like “commie whore,” “Hollywood harlot,” and “bimbo” to describe Wilde, “eager for the downfall of women who are outspoken on progressive issues” (and for the income that clicks on these stories generate).
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dungeons-are-too-cold · 2 months ago
New Favorite Holiday (GN! Reader)
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Summary: A birthday surprise gone wrong that actually ends up going right again. Spencer tries to throw a surprise party for you, but it triggers a meltdown in front of the team. He knows how to calm you down because there is something you haven't told each other: you're both autistic.
Pairing: Autistic! Spencer Reid x autistic! Reader
Warnings: gender neutral reader, autistic meltdown, harmful stim, mention of throwing up, self-hatred/ negative self-talk relating to reader’s autism, comfort, mentions of food rules, fluff, cuddling, mutual stimming
Author’s Note: Hey! This is my first time posting fan fiction on here so I hope I've done all this right lol. I did my best with tagging but if there's anything I missed please feel free to let me know so I can edit the tags or edit any warnings! 
Word count: 4.9k
Hope you enjoy :)
Read on AO3 here
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You had never liked your birthday. Kids could be cruel, especially growing up wanting to be in the FBI, so you never really made many friends. There were no birthday parties or classroom cupcakes. You mostly spent your birthday at home alone, your mom and dad usually too busy working to do something with you. Money and a note on the counter would tell you to order something special and get dessert.
“You deserve a proper birthday. Ya know, one with cake, and presents, and balloons, and everything,” Spencer said. It had been only a few months since you joined the BAU when the team first discovered your birthday situation. Spencer’s reaction when you told him was a mixture of shock and recognition. He never really had much of a birthday growing up, either, but he assumed you were at least a little more popular than he was in high school, considering he was twelve.
That first birthday at the BAU, Spencer snuck into the office really early to decorate your desk. There were donuts and balloons and a sign that said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY Y/N” in big, bright letters. Everyone in the office wanted to come up and say happy birthday. It was a constant barrage of handshakes and hugs and claps on the shoulder. There were so many balloons tied to your office chair and they squeaked whenever you shifted. It got really overwhelming, so you tried to calm yourself down. A black pair of noise cancelling headphones found their way over your ears, and you went to see if the conference room was empty; it was the place you liked to stim the most because it had the space to rock on your feet the way you liked. Plus, you could close all the curtains so no one would see you.
It had only been a few months of being on the team at this point, and you wanted to keep your diagnosis a secret. Emily knew, of course, because it was in your psych evaluation. However, you weren’t exactly ready to broadcast that you were autistic to the whole BAU. You had never really had to tell anyone like that. Plus, if they were good enough profilers, they would figure it out on their own. You weren’t sure if that was a good or bad thing, but you would cross that bridge when you got there. Right now, you needed to stim, so you shuffled off to the conference room.
“Surprise!” the whole team shouted as you walked through the door. Luke and Matt both popped a party popper over your head as Penelope brought over a cake, candles already lit. With everyone singing and celebrating, you found yourself frozen, panic rushing suddenly through every inch of your body. Breathing became difficult, the lights were burning into your eyes, and you felt incredibly disoriented. All you wanted to do was turn and run, but all you could do was rock back and forth and start to hit your head.
“Woah, are you alright?” Luke moved to touch your shoulder, but a small whine escaped your lips before he had the chance. You couldn’t be touched right now; it would absolutely send you over the edge and you were doing your best to keep some semblance of calm in front of your teammates.
After shutting your eyes, you were able to briefly pull your hands from your head to sign “quiet”, signaling Luke to shut off the music.
“Hey, Y/N. Its Spencer. I’m gonna move past you really quick to shut off the lights, okay?” You gave a small nod of assurance, and the space behind your eyelids went dark.
“Can you move right now?”
You shook your head.
“Do you want everyone else to leave?”
You signed yes. Shuffling soon died down and you opened your eyes. Spencer was standing just a few feet from you.
“I’m gonna stay with you, I just don’t want you to hurt yourself, okay?”
You sat down on the floor right by the door. Standing was getting to be too much, and you wanted to rock back and forth. Your colleague sat down opposite you.
“Would pressure be helpful right now?” He spoke softly, as to not hurt your ears. You were in survival mode and would taker any comfort you could get, so you simply tapped your back and nodded your head. There was a little bit of space between you and the wall, which Spencer gently worked himself into, placing you between his legs.
“I’m going to put my arms around you now, around your middle.” You sank down so your head was on his chest, and you banged it softly against him. Eventually you were able to calm down enough that a few tears slipped from the corner of your eye. Spencer was quick to wipe them away. “I am so sorry about this. I didn’t think about how overwhelming it might be for you,” he said as he gently stroked your hair.
“It’s okay, it was really sweet of you to try,” you croaked out, voice still not quite there. As overwhelmed as you were, you had never had someone care this much about you. You really did think it was sweet of him to put all of this together, you were just nervous about how you would look to the team. It was the first meltdown you had ever had in front of them.
All of a sudden, feelings of shame and embarrassment washed over you as you realized something: you just had a meltdown in front of the whole team.
You thought about how stupid you must have looked to the rest of the team; you couldn’t even let Luke touch you. They had all gone out of their way to be nice to you when they didn’t have to, and you were ungrateful and ruined it by freaking out and crying like a baby. And on top of that, what if they think you can’t do your job now? How will they treat you out in the field if you can’t even handle a birthday surprise? There’s no way anything will be okay on the team again.
Your breathing picked up and you felt frantic. All of a sudden Spencer’s hold felt impossibly tight around you, like he was strangling you, and you clawed to get away.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” you muttered to yourself. You returned to hitting your head as the tears started flowing. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.” Strangled cries spilled from your mouth as you pressed your back against the ground, feet flat against the carpet and arms digging as hard as they could into your stomach.
“You’re not stupid, Y/N, no one thinks this is stupid. I’m the stupid one, I should have known to ask.” Spencer slowly made his way over to where you laid. Now completely exhausted, you were more willing to lean on him. You needed the support and would worry about the consequences and conversations later. Right now, getting your breathing back to a regular rhythm was the number one priority; you couldn’t get a deep breath and a painful case of hiccups wasn’t making it any easier.
“I’m going to reach up behind me and grab a bottle of water, okay?” You nodded and he shifted beside you.“Okay, I’m gonna have you sit up so you can take a sip. Hold the water in your mouth for a sec, and then lean your head back on my lap so you’re slightly upside down. I know its gonna feel weird and might be a little scary right now, but I think it will help with the hiccups, okay?”
He gently stroked your hair until you started to prop yourself up. Reid’s arms were suddenly hooked under yours to help you take some water into your mouth before helping you lay back in his lap. With your eyes closed, you held your breath for a moment and then swallowed.
You could feel that the hiccups had passed when you sat up again with Spencer. The two of you moved in silence against the nearest wall to support you both as he held you.
“I am so sorry Spencer. I ruined your surprise for me, and I probably freaked everyone out and I feel so bad because you all tired really hard to make it special for me. I’m so stupid.”
“Shh, Y/n don’t feel bad, please, I got carried away. I of all people should have paid more attention. This celebration was supposed to be about you, and I had every opportunity to ask if this would be overwhelming, but I didn’t and I’m sorry.” Spencer couldn’t meet your eyes. Hurting you was never, ever his intention. You repositioned yourself between his legs, this time slightly on your side to lay your cheek against his chest, almost to comfort him. Instinctually, his arms wrapped around you. You wondered what he meant when he said he of all people should have paid more attention.
“As for the team, this was nothing for them, especially nothing new. We all get panic attacks, and we all have triggers, so the team understand. I understand. Just before you joined the team, I had a meltdown on the jet of all places. Luke’s headphones were rattling every time the bass in his music was particularly low and I spent twenty minutes throwing up and screaming in the bathroom before passing out from how exhausted I was.” It wasn’t funny, but he let out a small laugh. “Matt told me he almost peed himself.”
“You passed out in the bathroom?”
“Yeah, it was bad. I probably should have remembered to eat before we got on the plane, but I am not exactly consistent in the food department. It was a lot of dry heaving.”
You let yourself chuckle at the story as you pressed further into him. You were able to match your breathing to his and the resonance of his voice in his chest was comforting, almost like brown noise. His cologne smelled sweet and full like autumn and his cardigan was soft against your face. Thinking through all your sense was a way you helped calm yourself down, and you were grateful that everything about Spencer in this moment seemed to be sensory friendly.
“I’m sorry for laughing.”
“It’s okay, it just goes to show that the team doesn’t care about stuff like that. They just want to make sure you’re alright.”
“Can I ask you something?” you questioned tentatively.
“Why do you have meltdowns?”
“I’m actually autistic. I wasn’t diagnosed until I started at the bureau. My old supervisor, Hotch, helped me get a diagnosis so he could officially request accommodations for me.”
“Oh. That was nice of him.”
“Yeah, he was great. Emily has helped me adjust them too since she became unit chief. After coming back from prison, a lot of things had changed, so we updated what I needed, and things have been going pretty well so far. There’s a lot more noted in my file. If you ever feel like taking a look, you have my full permission.” Spencer said this almost knowingly, like he was nudging you to ask more questions, or to give him some indication that this was helping.
You could tell he had his suspicions about what exactly was going on, so you decided now was as good a time as any to tell him.
“I was diagnosed during my PhD program a few years ago; also with autism if that wasn’t clear, sorry. A professor who was supervising my research on neurodivergence in criminal behavioral analysis suggested I get evaluated.” You were almost ashamed to admit this next part. “I’ve never had any accommodations before. I don’t even know what I would need or what would help.”
“That’s okay. You don’t have to know everything or even do it on your own. That’s why I said my file is open if you want to take a look. Sometimes you don’t know you need or want something until you know it’s an option. It was a lot of trial and error to get to where I am now, and there were a lot of bumps along the way, trust me, but it gets easier. I promise.”
“Thanks, Spence.”
“You are incredibly strong, y/n, there is no doubt about that, but you don’t have to do this alone.”
Eventually the two of you made your way off the floor. You sat in one of the rolling office chairs, music in your headphones, while Reid took down the balloons and moved them out of the conference room. When he entered again, a few of your colleagues came in with him to check on you.
“Do you think it’s alright if Luke and Penny come in? They wanted to make sure you were okay.” You nodded your head and removed your headphones. Things seemed calm enough and the foam was starting to irritate you.
Luke immediately signed to you, asking if you were okay, to which you responded you were, just a little tired. It surprised you that he remembered you signing before they left, but you were grateful.
“Sorry about the touching,” Luke signed back.
“It’s okay, you didn’t know. I’m okay with it now.”
That was his cue to make his way over you. He ruffled your hair a bit before you hugged him from your seat.
“Thank you for signing with me,” you said as you pulled away.
“Anything for you.”
Penelope came and kneeled next to you. She gently placed her hand on your knee and rubbed little circles. It was calming; she always knew how to put you at ease.
“Hey sugar, I am so sorry about all of this. Are you feeling alright now?”
“Yeah, Pen, I’m alright. Alright enough to have some cake, maybe? If that’s alright?”
“Omg yes absolutely!” You chuckled as Penelope rushed around the room to find plates, utensils, and all the necessary accoutrement for serving you the dessert she baked herself. Spencer knew you well enough to know your favorite cake and asked her to help him since his cooking skills were basically nonexistent.
“Do you think you could get the rest of the team to come back in?” you said to Luke.
“Absolutely, are you sure you’re okay?”
You nodded your head and he left to grab everyone else. Spencer turned the lights back on and moved to a chair by your side. His hand found yours and squeezed it as the team filed back in.
“If it’s alright, I’d like to say something to you all,” you started. Reid gave an assuring nod as everyone found seats around the conference room. Any concern they had was alleviated as they saw you smile at the sight of them. Despite the hectic events of the day, you were really grateful to have the team in your life.
“I wanna say thank you for wanting to celebrate my birthday. As you have probably gathered, I am not used to this kind of thing. I haven’t really told anyone this but I’m autistic so I can have a hard time with surprises or changes in my routine. Please don’t feel bad for my reaction, there was no way you would have known since I didn’t tell you. It was just a bit overwhelming to have so much going on today. I don’t ever really celebrate my birthday. That said, I am so grateful to all of you for wanting to make this special for me. I’m really happy that I have all of you in my life and I hope we can all still have some cake and such but just maybe we don’t like pop a bunch of things and have loud music on and yell and stuff all at the same time anymore. I mean been there done that, am I right?” Luckily the team let out a collective laugh at the lighthearted ending of your speech showing there was no animosity here or need for concern or guilt.
Spencer drove you home after the party. The team hadn’t had a case all week, so Emily let you take the rest of the day off to recover from all the excitement. The radio quietly lulled in the background as you curled up in the passenger seat. Reid was a very cautious driver normally, he was a both hands on the wheel kind of guy, but he wanted to give you some kind of comfort, so he let his right hand find yours over the center console. You gladly took it, staring up at your colleague to watch him drive. His brow furrowed in this really cute v shape when he concentrated that you couldn’t help but smile at. Normally you wouldn’t allow yourself to stare like this, but the combination of how tired you were and how comfortable Spencer made you feel had you dropping your mask in ways you never imagined you would, or even could.
As he scrunched up his nose at a red light, a loc of hair fell from behind his ear into his face. He turned to look at you, disappointed, when your hand left his, but you quickly reached up and tucked the loose curls back behind his ear. Lingering for a moment on his cheek, you placed your hand back in his. For all the comfort he offered you today, you wanted to offer him some in return. He smiled as a thank you before the horn of the car behind his loudly let you know the light was green.
“Well, this is me,” you said as Spencer pulled up to your apartment building.
“I guess it is.”
The two of you lingered in the car. Neither of you wanted to part just yet, but someone needed to say it.
“Yeah, y/n?”
“Would you want to come in? Maybe? I have coffee or tea or water or really anything I actually just went to the store yesterday so the pantry and fridge are like full and everything and maybe you could like stay and we could watch a movie or something? I was gonna do that anyway because it’s like a birthday tradition for me I guess so I thought maybe you might wanna come up but it’s also like totally cool if you had other plans or even if you just don’t want to you don’t have t-”
“Y/n, slow down. If you would have me, I’d really like to stay.”
“Yes, really.”
The two of you headed upstairs to your apartment. It wasn’t very big, but that made it incredibly cozy. The dark blue walls paired with your deep orange sofa made you feel at home. When you moved in, you did your best to make walking inside feel like a deep pressure hug, and although it wasn’t perfect yet, you immediately eased up upon entering.
“Your place looks incredible.”
“Thanks, it’s not perfect, or even clean really, but it always feels nice to come home to.”
The two of you headed into your kitchen as you pulled down a cup for yourself.
“Do you have a cup preference? I guess first I should be asking what you want to drink.” You rummaged momentarily through the fridge and started to rattle off beverage choices. “I’ve got coffee and tea like I said, and hot chocolate for hot drinks, and in the fridge, I’ve got sparkling water, regular water, both bottled and from the filter, lemonade, iced tea, its peach, apple juice, orange juice, protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, chocolate milk, that’s what I’m having, regular milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut water-”
“Do you really have that many drink options?” Spencer seemed genuinely shocked by your list. You couldn’t quite tell if that was good or bad, though.
“Yeah, not really great with most foods but I love a good beverage. I like to make mocktails in my free time too, so I have a lot of options. Which reminds me I have some alcohol-free liquor if you really wanna party”
“I think I’ll stick to water; I haven’t had any today so it's probably a good idea. And if its okay, I'd like some ice?”
“Excellent choice, sir. And for your cup?” Spencer gave you a slightly puzzled look when you asked him about his cup preference. “For routine reasons I have a particular cup I like to use for particular liquids, so I wasn’t sure if you have any preference. And for sensory reasons, there’s also some kind of cups I can’t use at all, like anything with matte or frosted plastic and anything with a thick rim, and also anything that is bigger at the bottom than it is at the top like wine glasses. So sorry if you’re looking for a wine glass, but, uh, I have most other cups.” Reid stared blankly for a moment, and you couldn’t quite tell what he was thinking. Eventually he gave a slight nod, like he was moving past something, overlooking something weird and continuing with the conversation. It wasn’t exactly settling to see that look on his face.
“Um, I’ll take something tall please, and glass, I don’t really like to drink from plastic cups.”
You shuffled for a moment and found something you thought would work. Reid nodded in approval at a tall, clear glass with flat ridges on the side. After filling both of your glasses, the two of you headed to the couch. A cute set of mosaic coasters sat in a stack on the coffee table, which you quickly slid under each of your drinks.
“Cool coasters.”
“Thanks, I made them! I like to take up a lot of crafty hobbies, keeps my hands busy and distracted especially from some of my more harmful stims. My fine motor skills aren’t so great, so they are a bit messy, but I think they turned out alright.”
Immediately you felt heat rushing to your face. Spencer once again seemed confused and surprised by the sudden burst of personal information. For some reason you couldn’t shut up around Spencer. You were starting to notice just how much information about yourself you had given him involuntarily since he stepped into your apartment. It was weird to be with someone in the place you usually unmask; you hadn’t ever brought anyone into your apartment like this and now you were scaring Reid away.
After catching yourself talking so openly to Spencer so quickly, you tried your best to be quiet. In a feeble attempt to collect your thoughts, you excused yourself from the room.
“I think I’m going to change, if that’s alright with you.”
“Yeah of course, get comfortable.”
You changed into some pajamas and brought out a hoodie and an array of pajama pants and shorts as well as some sweats for Spencer.
“I don’t know what exactly of these things will fit you, but you can try anything you want to on in the bathroom just over there. I feel bad getting cozy when you didn’t bring anything to wear.”
“Wow, um thanks y/n, thank you. I’ll go try these.”
Spencer gently took the stack and plodded off to the bathroom. Everything since you walked in the door seemed to be weird or confusing to Spencer. He had been nothing but sweet and kind and normal all day and you’ve been making a fool of yourself at every opportunity. You didn’t want Reid thinking you were too weird.
You did your best to sit incredibly still on the couch waiting for Spencer to return from the bathroom. You could feel yourself wanting to stim but didn’t want to let yourself get carried away. Stimming would mean unmasking more and that was something you couldn’t handle. You already blurted out that you stim so much you hurt yourself sometimes, the least you could do was not let him see it. Eventually he returned with your hoodie and a pair of your pajama pants on. His mismatched socked poked out of the bottom clashing with the Christmas print of the flannel pants but, somehow, he made it work.
Spencer placed his neatly folded clothes on the floor next to the couch before sitting down next to you. You had laid a few blanket options out on the coffee table.
“Take your pick, Reid. I got a variety out to see what you liked best.”
Spencer stared at the blankets, reaching out to gently touch each one.
“Hey, y/n, thank you.”
It was your turned to look puzzled this time. Why was he thanking you?
“For what?”
“Well, it’s just you’ve been very considerate with everything, and I’ve never had anyone really think about me this much when I’ve been at their house. I mean I guess it’s not really their fault, they aren’t autistic so they might not even know that things like cups or drink options or fabric textures might be hard for me,” Spencer rambled as he started to lightly flap his hands. This was the first time you had ever seen Spencer stim in front of you. “But it’s just really nice to be around someone who understands without me having to ask. I didn’t think that was even possible.” Reid even let a little tear slip from his eye as rocked back and forth and shut his eyes really tight. You could tell now that this was what he wanted to do in the car. This was probably what he wanted to do every time he scrunched up his face for a split second but didn’t want the team to see him like this.
Everything started to make sense. Spencer wasn’t weirded out by what you had said. He was simply in shock. Neither of you had been around other autistic people much, let alone had an autistic friend before. He was just excited to finally have someone he could feel comfortable around. You let out a breath that you didn’t know you were holding and jerked your head back happily.
“Thank god that’s what this is about. I thought you thought I was weird or something.”
The two of you let out a big laugh and stimmed together for the first time. You even let yourself vocal stims, letting out a few high-pitched yips before going to take a sip of your chocolate milk.
There was a softness now between you two that wasn’t there before. So much of socializing was rigid for you, a constant guessing game of rules and lists and cues where you felt you had to deduce some kind of invisible formula from the facts of the situation in order to communicate, or at least not make a fool of yourself. The same could be said for Spencer. The way you two had to walk through the world was not conducive to who you wanted to be. But now, after today, there was no pressure to guess.
“Oh! Since this is my first time having another autistic person over, I can finally get out my stim toy box!” Immediately you rushed to your bedroom and pulled out a small plastic bin filled with all kinds of stim toys. “I usually use these when I watch a movie, so I don’t end up texting or playing a game on my phone and missing the whole plot, which happens more often than I’d like to admit.”
“This is the coolest thing ever! Remind me to show you my stim toy drawer at work when we go in tomorrow.” The two of you picked out a few stim toys to hold onto for the movie. The blanket Spencer picked was big enough for the two of you to share so you both snuggled up close to each other and got comfortable.
As the movie progressed, you found yourself wanting more touch from Spencer. With his permission you climbed into his lap and curled up on his chest with your arms around his shoulders. He squeezed back tightly around your middle, bringing you two even closer. Spencer placed a small kiss on the top of your head.
You looked up at him. His big hazel eyes looked back at you as he smiled.
“What was that for?” you questioned with a smile.
“I just really like you is all. I’m sorry I didn’t ask.”
“It’s okay. I really like you too. Like romantically. You weren’t exactly specific.”
“I like you romantically.”
“Okay cool because it would be really awkward right now if you didn’t.”
Your hands found Spencer’s cheeks as you leaned in and placed your lips on his. The both of you couldn’t help but smile into your first kiss. It was sweet and full and long overdue. The two of you felt made for each other in this moment, perfectly fitting into one another as you moved in sync through the kiss. When you finally pulled away, movie completely abandoned at this point, you couldn’t help but burry yourself in Spencer’s chest, pushing the two of you back on the couch laying down. All Reid could do in this moment was gently card his finger through your hair, smiling lazily at the ceiling with you starting to silently drift off. The day hadn’t been perfect, but you seemed happy now and that was enough for him.
“I think your birthday is my new favorite holiday,” he said to himself, as you were now fully asleep on his chest. “Happy birthday, y/n”
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yakaaamoz · 3 months ago
Modern au!, Lawyer! Levi x Lawyer!fem! Reader, Zeke x Reader, Hange, Erwin, Eren, Mikasa
Warnings: mentions of abuse, insults, enemies to lovers, allusion to smut (mdni), no proofreading and formatting
Summary :Your life had always been scheduled, everything in your life was planned but falling in love with your enemy, Levi Ackerman.
A/N: hope you like it as much as I did, I spent a lot of time on this. Sorry for the length, I got carried away. I haf this idea for a lot but Depp-Heard trial hit me hard. I don't know anything about legal things in other countries other than my own and I've invented it, given that it is set in "Paradis". So... Have a good reading, hope you like it! Anyway, feedbacks/comments and likes are appreciated and English is not my first language so forgive me for any mistakes.
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If you could use a single word to describe your life, that would certainly be, without any doubts, scheduled. Ever since you were little, you used to plan your day: you had the time to play, the time to help your mum doing the housework, the time to do homework and so forth. As time passed by, you had improved your organization skills to an extent that you had managed to have some romantic relationships and friendships which, however, didn't last much. Work and studies prevailed above everything.
Your grades were the highest in the entire school, so it wasn't a problem for you to get into the best University in Law and to get a Juris Doctor in your subsequent Law School. It wasn't surprising to you either that, a month or two later you'd graduated, the best firm in all Paradis had reached out for you, claiming that they were impressed by your curriculum vitae.
That had brought tears to your excited eyes, as your efforts were finally paid off: all the sleepless nights, the exhausting work shifts to pay for education, the 'nos' to friends. Moreover, working there gave you the possibility of getting to know one of the intern's half brothers, a blonde and muscular boy named Zeke, who had courted you with flowers and sweet words until you said yes to the fateful question of will you be my girlfriend?
So, in short words, everything in your life was scheduled and was going smoothly. Well, until attorney Levi Ackerman came into your life.
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The clicking sounds of your heels echoed in the building as you walked up the stairs to your office. With a kind smile you greeted everyone you encountered, trying to remember that, even if work was hands down the most important thing, building relationships with your team was also fundamental, even if it was only work - related. And, not to brag, but you were happy to say that you clicked with almost everyone. Except for the short in stature and in temper attorney who everyone seemed to admire, Levi Ackerman.
Erwin, your boss, has often referred to the two of you as his best attorneys, never giving a clear opinion on whether he or you were the best. It was obvious both to you and the ravenette that there was someone better between the two of you, and it was when the realization hit that the challenge - namely, who is the best in terms of victories and clients?- started.
On that particular spring day, your face was lit up by a small smirk as you had just won another case, so you automatically had the upper head. To celebrate your little victory, you had brought Levi a cute and extravagant gift, which he would surely hate: a very bright yellow mug, upon which the sentence "second best lawyer" was printed in a childish and dummy font, very close to Comic Sans- which you knew he hated.
Before going into your office, you decided to pay a little visit to your contestant. His office was some steps ahead before yours so you gently knocked even if his door was already opened.
"Hey, Shorty, I-".
Your words caught in your throat as you saw him talking to Hange, Vice-president of the firm, with whom Levi seemed to have a pretty good bond. They had always been nice to you, even if you found them to be a little too much sometimes, but the relationship that bonded those two wasn't clear to you - it made you a little jealous, honestly. What? No, it should have been your tiredness and stress talking for you. Zeke and you and a wonderful relationship, why would you be jealous of a little runt who you hated and who reciprocated those feelings? Well, honestly, things between you and Zeke weren't going that well-
The shrill of your name coming out of Hange 's mouth brought your feet on the ground. "How are you?", they approached you, smiling ear to ear.
"Everything' s fine, Hange. What about you?". You tried to sound as nice as possible, but you weren't sure if the output was the one you'd imagined.
"Perfectly fine, I would say even amazingly well", they answered, taking your hands in her firm grip.
Your tight smile became even more nervous. "And what is the reason for that?".
"Today is my birthday", they exclaimed, excitement shining in their big, crazy eyes. "Are you free tonight? Please tell me you are. I'm offering drinks to everyone and I would really like you to-".
"I don't know", you nervously interrupted them. "It's just that I may have this thing to do and I don't know if I can make it-". Honestly, there were two main reasons as to why you didn't want to go: first, your mother had never taught you to celebrate your birthday, as she stated it was just a waste of money; secondly, the excuse was bullishit, it was just that Zeke would really get angry if you went.
Hange's face fell off and it surprised you how your heart broke a little. In the end, they were just one of your colleagues. "Oh, I-".
"I'll do my best to be there, okay?", you surprised yourself saying, placing your hands on both of their shoulders with a conforming smile on your face.
"Thank you, you're the best", the brunette told you, hugging you into a tight hug. Your hands didn't hug them back, instead they just stayed up in the air. It was… Comforting. Your irises focused on someone in front of you, namely the guy you had been searching since you entered that spotless office. He was taking off the jacket of his dark blue suit as he placed some papers on the white desk, clearly annoyed by your presence.
"Speaking of the best", you started, unlatching yourself from that not-so-wanted touch. "I've a gift for you, Levi".
He grunted, rolling his eyes and giving his face an even more annoyed expression than it ever was. "Your dismissal letter?".
Your lipstick covered lips thinned in an annoyed line. "Ha-ha. You're so funny, have you ever thought of starting a career as a clown?".
"He's scared of them", Hange whispered loud enough that you could hear that.
"What? I can't believe an attorney like you gets scared from fucking clowns!".
"Oh, fuck-".
"This is so, so precious-".
A loud thump on his desk caused by his hands made you shut up. His head was lowered and his jaw clenched, as if he was holding back his rage. He eyed you through his raven bangs, piercing your soul with his gunmetal stare. That sight had you swallowing soundly as you felt your heart start racing uncontrollably. What the fuck -
You adjusted your white blazer with a proud smile on your face and then, very slowly, took said cup out of your bag. "Ta-da!", you exclaimed as if you were part of a marketing company who tried to sell your latest product. You held the shitty mug in one hand, while the other was opened behind it: if there were neon arrows and lights it could have been the start of a commercial. "A horrible tailored mug".
Levi breathed through his nose, while placing his fingers on his temples. "You are so fucking annoying".
"Don't you like it? It's well made, plus I had customized it for you, just as you liked".
"Another reason to hate it even more".
You opened your mouth to reply with a sassy comeback, when Erwin, the President of the firm, cleared his throat, in an obvious attempt to get your attention and stop your bickering, as if he was the wise and tired dad and you two his problematic children.
"You two", he thundered. "My office. Now".
You gulped, nodding furiously and turning back on your heels so fast that you didn't notice Levi carefully placing the mug you had just given him on his desk.
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"What does it mean that we have to work together?". Even though you tried to maintain a composed figure, the high pitch in your voice failed you. It wasn't that you didn't understand Erwin's words, it was just that it was so… Unexpected. You would have rather eaten worms instead of working alongside your number one enemy - gross.
Next to you, Levi was sitting in a chair with a hand on his face. "This better be something important, Erwin".
The blonde man nodded. "It is, Levi. That's why I called you both, since you two are my best attorneys".
A breathy and sound breath fell off your mouth. Your gaze moved around the room, thinking about how much effort you had made to arrive there and get that perfect life you were living - or that you pretended to have when people were around you. A few years back, you wouldn't have imagined working for the finest firm, where you had the chance to enhance your experience and prove yourself to everybody, especially to your parents who never fully believed in your abilities. You couldn't throw it all away only because you had to work with that shithead. Fuck worms, you would have done the thing you'd never planned since you had stepped into Titans Firm, namely work alongside Levi Ackerman.
"Okay", you muttered, looking into Erwin's bright eyes. "What's the issue?".
With the corner of your eyes, you could see Levi 's head quickly turning towards you, his bangs moving together with his head. You clenched your hands to hold the feeling of putting them in place. Your OCD was pretty hard. Yeah, OCD. Nothing more.
Erwin smiled. "I'm glad that you understood". He opened a drawer, pulling out a stack of paper while explaining the case clearly, defining every point. Your client's name was Petra Ral, a woman who was a few years younger than you, but had already married and birthed a baby, Mason, who, at the time, was five years old. You looked at the documents Erwin gave you, focusing on the important pieces of information in order to get the current state of the play.
"Petra Ral and her husband, Oluo Bozado, had divorced last year. She had custody of the child during the week, while on weekends, Oluo had to watch over little Mason."
Levi peeked over your shoulder to see the documents you were quickly reading, his breath was hot against your ear and it had almost made you forget the story Erwin was telling. You cleared your throat, as if you wanted to state something, and he hastily moved away.
"Is everything alright?". Erwin furrowed his funny and bushy brows, as his attention has probably drawn on you after you coughed.
"Yes, absolutely", you answered with a big nervous smile and a racing heart in your chest. Why did he have that effect on you? He was so damn annoying and rude to everyone and that's why you hated him. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him, you said to yourself.
"Well, as I was saying, they had joint custody of the boy. The problem arises when Miss Ral starts noticing scars and bruises over Mason's little body and sued her ex-husband", he placed the paper in a yellow folder, handing them to Levi. It was hard to tell, but his eyes were a little bit wider and he was holding the chair arms so hard that his knuckles became white. You shrugged it off, believing that he was horrified by that story, as everyone should be. "And that 's when you go into action".
Seconds after, you and Levi were both dismissed by Erwin. Gently closing his white door, you leaned over the wall, crossing your feet together and eyeing your number one enemy and, now, cooperative partner.
"Why did you do that?". Levi asked, placing the folder under his arm.
"Did what?".
"Why did you decide to cooperate with me", he specified, stressing the last word. "I could have asked to do this on my own, or even ask Hange -".
His eyes widened when you laughed soundly at what he had just said. "You're so full of yourself, Ackerman. I think that Erwin would have wanted me to work on my own as, you know, I'm the best lawyer up to today".
"What do you think you are?", he snapped at you, causing some interns to get out of their offices and look at the scene between you two. "I'm sure Daddy would be proud of the cynical brat you've become!".
Your eyes widened and welled up as those words sunk on you. Your heart was beating so fast that you could hear the echo inside your ears, while your memories seemed to focus only on your lonely childhood, during which" parents-daughter time" was strictly confined in houseworks. A single tear crossed your cheek, bringing you back to reality. In front of you there wasn't your dad but another sort of abusive man, words-related, who was looking at you with an extreme rage. "You don't know anything about me, asshole!".
"I hate you!", he yelled, his gunmetal eyes both cold and glowing with rage.
"I hate you too!".
"Fine!", you echoed. Silence hovered over the two of you, whose heavy breaths were the only audible thing all over the office. Your angry irises collided with his in a battle who seemed to have no winner. Groaning, you walked off, heading towards your office where you hadn't had the chance to go inside yet.
"Wait-", you heard Levi's voice behind you, even if you didn't turn your back to face him. "OI! Where are you goi-". You didn't let him finish the sentence and slammed the door hard, the sound echoing in the corridor.
Outside your small office, Levi groaned loud as well and followed your actions by closing himself in his office with a loud thump of the door. Hange, who had been looking at the scene quite shockingly, entered Erwin's office with cautious steps. "What have you done?".
The other man' back was leaning against the puffy chair, his hands crossed on his belly and a big, smug smile on his face. "Don't worry, Hange. They'll thank me afterwards".
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The day couldn't be worse. After pulling that little show for everybody, you had closed yourself inside your office, not wanting to deal with anyone. The fight which happened hours ago would come up at some point and you didn't want to explain your reasons for how you reacted to anyone. It wasn't their business.
This led also to skip your lunch, the loud rumbling of your stomach reminding you every damn minute. At some point, between a document and another, you had texted Zeke, asking him if he was free that night as your day at work has been shitty to say the least and you needed him. It goes without saying that he texted you back, saying that he was busy. You had considered the possibility of staying home, in your comfortable pjs, warm enough to protect you from the somewhat chilly weather of September but you knew that you needed a distraction.
Deciding to go to Hange's party meant that you were basically going into the lion's den; however, contrary to your expectation, nobody asked you about that quarrel and you and Levi kept a safe distance. As soon as you saw him you bit your lips, trying to hold your anger back: you had noticed that everyone had come home and got changed, while you decided to stay in late going through some files for your new client. You felt like a fish out of water with your work - elegant suit, while everyone had casual clothes on.
As people arrived, you mentally acknowledged the fact that you had been working for them for an entire year, yet your strict schedule had never allowed you to do something like this - being all together. Maybe it was for this reason or because of your clothes, however you didn't talk much, drowning your sorrows in cocktails. When everything started becoming a little hazy and your voice insanely high, you decided that it was enough. Some people had already left, claiming that they had to return to their families and that their children had been waiting for them to come home before going to sleep. Hange was smoking outside with Erwin while you stated your preference to stay inside and join them later. That 's how you found yourself alone, sitting at a table with a glass of water and a guaranteed headache the next morning. Your phone buzzed and you took it out of the pocket of your blazer. Your brows furrowed when Zeke' s name appeared on your screen, with a message asking you were the fuck are you. You had just thought of moving in together but his job didn't allow him a stable pay, so you had both decided to exchange the keys of your flats. It was not ideal but at least it was something. Your digits were about to unlock your phone, when you felt someone before you, causing you to raise your head.
Levi was staring at you with his usual bored appeal, his mouth completely shut.
"Is there anything I can help you with?", you asked, not having the force to sound sarcastic.
"I wanted to talk", he stated.
You nodded, moving to make space for him on the little couch . "Have a seat".
Moments were spent like that, without talking. You occasionally drank from your glass, happy that everything was starting to get into place again.
"I thought you wouldn't come". He was the first to start, placing his leather jacket beside him and resting his arms over the couch. His scent inebriated your nostrils and you quickly took note that it was the first time you two were this close.
"I've changed my mind". Your voice tone was rather blunt but the finger playing with the brim of your glass broke your confident composure.
"Hange was happy that you came".
"That's nice".
You eyed him with a confused look on your face as you swallowed the last bits of water in your glass. "What was that you wanted to talk about?".
His tense shoulders became even more tight when he looked completely at you. "Look, I know we hate each other and I'm not interested in changing that. We could hate each other for the rest of our life, for all that I care".
"We agree on something at last", you gifted him with a fake ear to ear smile.
"Tsk", his gaze moved away from you. "We both have our reason for working this case and I want to go through it".
Surprise and confusion hit you, as you didn't understand where he was leading the conversation. "Yeah, me too".
A loud breath left the ravenette's lips. "I guess that what I want to say is that… let's try to be civil. For the sake of the case, obviously".
Small glimpses of his eyes and fidgeting of his fingers told a different story, but you didn't question anything. For once, you had to admit that he was right: this was an important case, which affected your work, your clients and, mostly, your image. You had to clench your jaw and work with that asshole everyday, sure, but if it meant having more fame in the law - related environment, it was worth it.
Finally placing the empty glass on the table, you held a hand towards him. He arched an eyebrow, probably not understanding your interaction.
"Shake it, partner". Your playful tone matched the teasing smile on your face. He chuckled, surprising you. What struck you the most, thought, was the electrifying feeling his hands caused you, giving you a spark which directly reached your heart. This had to stop.
"Partner, uh?".
"Don't make me regret it", you stated, bidding him goodbye as you walked out of the pub.
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From that day on, working with him was easier. Also, he wasn't as bad and rude as he had always been with you. Sure, there were times when you wanted to rip off each other's hair but you have learnt that all that you needed was a ten minute break, during which he would make his cup of black tea and relax. If that was a good day, he would also offer you some.
If things with Levi were going rather well, your relationship with Zeke was slowly falling apart. He didn't talk to you anymore, you didn't make love anymore, everything was so dull. However, at the same time, you didn't want to admit that something in your perfect plan was failing so, instead of facing it as an adult should, you had ignored it, hoping that everything came back again, that your feelings and your chemistry found the way back home, your hearths.
Nonetheless, what happened at home, stayed at home. Everytime you stepped inside Titan Firm you forced yourself to forget it all. It wasn't very hard, honestly, as you started to create real relationships with people who cared for you - or, at least, appeared to do so. Moreover, the workload was so much that you couldn't allow yourself to get distracted.
Your heels clicked on the floor as you reached Levi 's office with a new folder in your hands.
"Come in", his voice echoed in the office. As usual, he was sipping on his favorite cup while watching the scenery from his window.
"Hi, Levii", you said, almost singing his name. That made him turn to you with a furrowed glance on his face.
"Feeling happy today, aren't you?".
You held the folder between the two of you, smiling proudly for what you had found. "Take a look".
The raven man placed his cup on a desk where he had also placed the blazer of his suit. His hands picked the folder out of yours, slowly opening it : your eyes were fixed on his veiny and - as far as you could remember - soft hands, admiring every feature of them and thinking at how damn attractive they were.
"Fuck, how did you -?". His unfinished question lingered in the air, causing you to shake your head and focusing again. You moved next to him, taking every paper and picture of Mason out of the folder.
"I never mentioned it, but one of my closest friends back in high school works at the hospital right now, her name 's Nifa", you explained. "I thought that it was a wise thing to call her and ask her to take a look at those pictures. Apparently, it seems that Oluo had taken Mason to the hospital but had always claimed that his bruises were due to falls and things like that".
"What an asshole".
"I know, right?", you found yourself smiling as you felt appreciated and important. "Long story short, she was the one who visited him. Nifa told me that she always had some doubts as those scars were different, you know? Anyway, she couldn't say anything because her boss had told her that they were doctors, not social workers. I may have insisted a little too much but I've convinced her to testify in court and these papers, pics and slabs are her evidence".
"That 's… perfect". His gaze was fixated on medical reports and pictures, turning them quite slowly. In doing so, he accidentally touched your hand placed on the desk : the usual burst of energy traveled through your body at the highest speed, making you feel lighthearted as you hastily moved your hand away from his. It kind of comforted you that he mirrored every one of your movements, a reddish blush on his cheeks. "You did a wonderful job", he whispered, his gaze away from yours.
Your heart was beating crazily, thundering in your head. You bit your lower lip, trying to stop the big and genuine smile that was appearing on your face. A giddy and warm feeling spread all over your chest for being finally appreciated by someone. Bonus point if that someone was Levi Ackerman who, although his infinite flaws, was a goddamn good attorney. "Thank you", you whispered as you walked out of his office, not standing that tension anymore.
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"Where are you going?".
You leaned over the doorpost, your arms crossed over your chest. It was around seven in the evening and you had just come back from work. That had been another stressful day, during which you and Levi had studied another set of papers, as well as having finally met Miss Ral. You had explained your strategy to her, trying to be as clear and kind as possible even if the fact that her attention was basically focused only on Levi made you extremely angry. You didn't want to be rude but, at a certain point, you had to tell her to concentrate on what you were saying, to which she blushed hard and looked down at her feet. Obviously, she could have looked at Levi for as far as she wanted, you didn't care for that ; it was just that you were talking to her and, also, relationships with clients weren't appropriate at all. So, yes, it pissed you off more than you wanted to admit.
"Hi babe", Zeke answered, looking at you under his silly round glasses you always teased him for. "Just going out with some of my friends, I will be home by midnight".
"Oh", you exclaimed, your sad gaze falling off your feet. "I thought we could spend some time together, we have been so busy lately that we rarely see each other".
He scratched the back of his head, moving closer to you. His big hands were placed on your hips, making your bodies touch. Why did it feel so normal? There wasn't the special spark anymore moving your body with love. When you looked at him in his blue eyes, you couldn't see the happy glint he used to greet you every time he saw you; your mind and heart kept telling you that those eyes weren't the ones you wanted to be looked with, you wanted those wonderful gunmetal irises that annoyed you so much. But, if you failed with Zeke, it meant that you had failed your life, your plan.
"I swear I'm making it up to you, okay baby girl?". Zeke's lips hastily pecked yours and, a second later, he had closed the door behind him.
You sighed, feeling alone again. Changing into something more comfortable and wiping off the makeup on your face, you decided to sit at the table and go through some files again. Meetings in court were going to start soon, so it was better that you were completely prepared. As you were writing a draft for your speech, an idea came to your mind and, before you could even process your actions, you were calling Levi. Your leg bounced up and down as you waited for him to pick up the phone.
"Oi, brat?", you heard him say. He sounded weird, as if his mouth was full. You wanted to slap yourself as you noticed that it was around nine in the evening, and you didn't have dinner yet. "Why are you calling?".
"Mh, I don't want to overstep here but", you started, nervously curling a lock of hair around your index finger, "can I come over? I've thought of something".
Your heart raced a little bit more when he quickly answered yes and gave you his address. However, when you reached his flat, you didn't expect to find Zeke's half brother, Eren, with a girl who looked very similar to Levi.
"She's Mikasa, my cousin", Levi explained with a quick tone, as if he had something to justify. "And your boyfriend's brother's girlfriend".
"What?", even if your tone was inquisitive, you had a teasing smile on your face.
Levi closed the door behind you, holding his hands towards you to place your jacket on the hangers. "What?", he echoed.
"I'm sure I've never mentioned to you nor to anyone at work that I have a boyfriend", you chirped. "I wonder how you know it".
His shoulders tensed but he had your back at you, so you couldn't see if his face revealed something. "Mikasa and Eren told me, brat", Levi countered. "Simple and linear."
" Yeah, just how he says", Eren nervously said while eating the last bits of food. "We told him because I knew you were colleagues!".
You chuckled, realizing the situation. You weren't the only one fantasizing about him, apparently. However, Levi annoyed you so much sometimes that you honestly asked yourself if you could last five minutes together. A relationship with him? Out of the question.
Reaching the table and sitting down made your stomach remember that you hadn't eaten. Levi turned to you with a weird look, a mix of annoyance and care.
"Are you hungry?".
You were quick to shake your head no, even if your tummy would have answered in a different way. "I don't want to intrude on your family time, so I'll be quick". His quiet nod gave you permission to talk and you started explaining your new idea, which involved the school the boy was attending and its relative teachers. "Usually, they are the first to notice if something is wrong. We can talk it through with Miss Ral and see if she likes the idea, maybe we could get another testimony".
Levi hummed, his hand on his chubby cheek as his curious, bored and fairly amazed glance was directed to you, and to you only. It was as if you were the only people in the room.
"What do you think, Levi?", you asked, semi - whispering. His lack of answer and the intensity he was staring at you made you very nervous.
"I think -".
"I think you're pretty clever for someone that has been cheated on for months!", Eren said with nonchalant, as if it was the most common thing in the world. Mikasa slapped him very hard, causing him to spit the food on his plate, making her boyfriend realize the huge mistake he just made.
If there was a lot of commotion all around you, inside your body everything stilled for a second. Your ears were ringing with a high and annoying sound, which was very close to a white noise, that increased even more until you felt a single tear dry your face and something breaking inside your chest. Crack.
Your heart.
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The next few days passed in a weird haze. You tried to keep yourself as occupied as possible in order not to think about your recent and fresh break-up, or the fact that you had to tell your parents at some point.
Letting out a long and exasperated sigh, you sat at your desk, placing your black bag and your cup of coffee on the table. You should have noticed before, not ignoring all the night he spent outside hoping that, someday, love would come back. Every damn morning you had to face Eren's apologetic look for that night and Levi's preoccupation and occasional insults. He had been very supportive, honestly, but your differences were still very clear and sometimes the frustration was too much to let you both think stray.
That morning, it was exactly the case. You had just snapped at him for the stupidest thing, actually, that you couldn't even remember where the fight started from. At some point, around three in the afternoon, you stood up, on the verge of nervousness, and headed towards Levi's office to make things clear between you two. Going into court like that was out of the question.
The door was slightly opened, so you knocked and peeked inside. Levi's head shot up at your sight, with a curious and inquisitive look.
"Hi", you said, entangling your hands together, belly height.
"Hi", he echoed, his voice sounding a little bit breathy and relaxed, as if he was waiting for this moment.
"Sorry to interrupt you, I-", words got trapped in your throat and you closed your eyes in the hope of regaining some decency. "I wanted to apologize. I'm feeling very stressed and I put it on you. That's not fair".
"Don't worry. You are going through a lot and I get it. I'm sorry too", he surprised you by saying that, as you didn't expect any excuse from him.
It caught you off guard and you physically answered with a nervous smile and a very evident blush on your cheeks. "Good".
Your eyes were drawn on the yellow mug on his desk, the one you had given him for a joke almost a month ago, where he had placed several pens inside. "You kept it", it turned out more like a statement than a question.
"Huh?". Levi followed your eyesight and quickly looked at his feet. "It is useful".
You shifted your weight from one feet to another, fidgeting with your hands and biting your lips as the embarrassed silence between the two of you made your heart beat even faster. And that's when you spoke without thinking first. "I was thinking-um",you cleared your throat with a laugh. "There's a new tea shop nearby and I know you are a big fan of tea, so I was wondering if you'd like to go". Why were you so nervous? You were a lawyer for Christ's sake, you had faced murderers and abusive men therefore why did Levi Ackerman have this effect on you? Minutes passed as you waited for his answer, so you clarified. "To revise documents together for tomorrow- that's why I was asking".
Levi kept on not answering you but, at a certain point, he stood up and put on his jacket. Even if you had been working together for a lot by now, you never acknowledged how good he looked in a suit. "Coming or not?".
And so, you spent the next hours together, in an environment which wasn't work - related for the first time. In the end, he wasn't the rude person you had always thought he would be. On the contrary, he seemed to care a lot for people around him. Sure, he started off the wrong note, but you assumed that he wasn't the only one being blunt, wasn't he?
You let him choose your tea, as he claimed to be an expert. And maybe he was indeed, because your tea was delicious. As you went through documents, reports and strategies, your hands accidentally touched, creating a feeling of embarrassment between you two. His scent filled your nostril and his sharp profile invaded your sight :however, you couldn't have asked for anything better.
Seven p. m. came by quickly and the owner of the shop forced you to go away as he wanted to close the shop.
"C'mon", Levi told you, signaling with your hand to follow him. "I'll give you a ride".
"No need, Levi, than-".
He pouted. "I wasn't asking".
The ride was pretty silent, apart from you giving directions. When he parked under your building, you were about to unfasten your belt, he called your name.
"I'll pick you up tomorrow", he said in one breath. "Because it-um. If we go to court together, we would appear more united. As a team". His cheeks painted the slightest shade of red, but you couldn't tell whether it was because he felt flustered or because the reflection of the twilight was making him look ethereal.
"Yeah", you breathed out. "Yeah, okay. That's actually a good idea".
"Um, thanks".
Silence again. "I should probably go", you blurted, acting as if to leave, but staying still. Besides, he didn't answer you, you couldn't leave without him saying nothing. Thing was, you didn't want to leave. "Levi?", you asked, aiming to question him about something that had been bugging on your mind since the day you were assigned to this case. He simply looked at you, a curious gaze in his awesome eyes. "Why is this case so important to you?".
You noticed how he gulped, a mask of sadness spreading all over his face. The fear that you crossed a line increased every minute he wasn't answering you, making you think that you had ruined everything again. "I see myself in that kid", he whispered.
A clenching feeling spread all over your chest and tears formed in your tear line as you suddenly understood why he was putting so much effort in this and why he snapped at you the day Erwin had chosen the two of you. Moved by your feelings, you extended your hand and, for the first time, voluntarily, took his in yours. A set of gray eyes looked first at you and, then, at your connected hands; his cheeks were redder if possible and his mouth was opened in a little 'o'.
"We 're going to win this, Levi, I'm sure".
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From the next day on, you two fell into a comfortable yet stressful routine. He picked you up every morning, you entered court, asked questions, took notes and so forth. Petra had been eyeing Levi even more and you couldn't help but feel jealous at that scene. He seemed to be on her field of view every time, but Miss Ral's inappropriate behavior was even more evident when Levi was interrogating testimonies.
You couldn't possibly notice the look he was giving you when you took the charge and walked in the middle of the room. Sure, maybe you were a little bit rough and direct to the point - but damn if you were spitting fire.
"This is the time for me to ask you questions, Doctor Moore", you said, annoyed by the fact that he kept on being around the bush, without giving you a clear answer.
With your full white outfit, Levi thought that you shone more than ever, your graceful figure contrasting with the blunt questions that escaped your mouth. He felt the hem of his suit being pulled down, furrowing his brows when he noticed that it was Petra.
"She's doing great", she whispered.
Levi nodded. "Yeah".
"I hope your love story doesn't end up like mine", the raven girl said with a saddened expression on her little face.
"Um- we are not together".
"My question is much easier, Doctor", you claimed, glaring at the testimony, who had decided to help Ms. Ral's ex husband. "You can't definitely say what caused the injuries to Mason Bozado's head. Yes or no?".
"Okay. In conducting your analysis on Mason Bozado's injury, you did not attempt to reconstruct the injuries, not even when the nurses had some suspicions over the cause of them. Is that right?".
The man shuffled in his seat. "Well, Mr. Bozado told us that he fell down the stairs, so…no".
"But you are aware that they look pretty severe for a fall on the stairs, don't you?".
Days and weeks passed like that, you admiring him, he admiring you, but never admitting it. Finally, the last day arrived and you were nervous as hell while waiting for the judges' verdict. You had noticed that Levi 's leg had been bouncing up and down nervously, a normal thing you had come to understand whenever he felt nervous. You placed your hands on his, squeezing it a little and giving him a soft and comfortable smile when he looked at you as if you were a star on the ground.
When your victory was announced minutes after, you couldn't help but hug him tightly and smile from ear to ear.
"You were great", he told you, a smile coloring his face, too.
"I'm the best lawyer after all", you teasingly said back. He chuckled and everything felt right.
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Your glasses of wine tingled together, resonating all over your flat. After your victory, you had invited Levi home, to thank him for all the rides he had offered you. Or so was your excuse to spend time with him.
"To our victory", you said, looking directly in Levi's eyes. He had placed the jacket on one of your chairs but still looked ethereal in his white shirt.
"To our victory", he echoed before taking a sip of wine.
"Who would have thought, hm?", you asked, sitting on your coach. "That we would work together, I mean".
The raven head smiled, his bangs touching his cheeks as he sat next to you. "Yeah", he breathed out. "I didn't regret any second of it, though".
You turned your head to look at him. "Not even when I snapped at you because the printer wasn't working?".
He actually laughed, throwing his head back. Your ears were filled with the most beautiful sound you had ever listened to, mentally recording it so that you could play it again whenever you wanted. Before you could think of your words, they slipped out of your mouth.
"Don't ever stop doing that".
Levi stopped, his face becoming an expression of complete and utter surprise. His mouth was slightly opened, your attention drawn on those pinky lips and your irises merging together in a new color. Without unlatching your gaze, he placed the glass on the small table before your sofa, moving even closer to you afterwards.
"Out of everyone", he started, caressing your cheek with the back of his hand and looking directly in your eyes, making you feel so vulnerable and naked, "you had to steal my heart. That's very rude, you know, to steal?".
That was the drop which broke the camel's back. Your head moved forward, pressing your lips on his and moving your hands all over his hair. He would probably get mad at you for that, but you couldn't care less. Levi opened his mouth, quietly moaning, and you responded to his kiss with equal force. His hands you had long dreamt about moved across your body, sculpting it as if he was an artist.
When you moved away needing air, you let your foreheads touch each other. "Well, you could always sue me for stealing".
"Stupid brat", he said, kissing you again with more force, until you freed yourselves of your suits, chest pressed to chest, hand held in the other's hand, skin to skin as you could feel his breath and moans on your skin, finally becoming one.
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The next day, when you two walked into the building hand in hand, Hange couldn't believe their eyes. They were not alone, though, as the same expression of bewilderment and curiosity appeared on everyone's face, even the janitor's.
A big, strong hand was placed on their shoulder. Hange looked up, noticing Erwin with a large smugly smile on his lips.
"See, I've told you they would have thanked me later".
148 notes · View notes
madlori · 2 months ago
Out of curiosity, how do manage doing everything that you do
You have an etsy store, you write, you sew - are those your full time jobs or side hobbies alongside a job?
I'm asking because I'm at the humble age of 20 and am already quite intimidated by managing to have a life outside work, when all that my short stint of a fulltime allowed was eating, showering, sleeping and back to work, plus some chores on the weekend.
It's true that I do a lot of things, but I don't do them all at the same level of intensity at the same time. That would definitely be impossible.
My full time job is a regular office job, STEM-related. A science support industry, you might say. And I have a lot of things I enjoy doing, but I sort of go in phases.
I'm more or less off sewing right now. After making like 3000 masks in two years I'm a bit burned out. I haven't sewn anything in months. I have been feeling that itch lately, and I have a special order to completely by the fall, so I may be back at the sewing machine soon.
I write most days but not all days. Lately I've been doing a lot of editing and sprucing up of manuscripts and doing query letters.
I go to the gym two days a week, after work (my gym is near my workplace but far from my house). I try to get in one additional walk or hike. That sometimes happens and sometimes not.
I volunteer at the zoo. I try to get there once a week. Again, sometimes it happens, not always.
I like to cook. Some weeks I cook and meal prep a lot. Other times I eat crackers and cheese for dinner.
Seeing a pattern here? You can do as many things as you like, however often you like or have time for. Some things (like exercise) are better done on a regular schedule that you fit into your daily life. Other things, like a hobby or a leisure pursuit, can go in phases, or fit in around the edges. One year I read like 120 books. This year I've read like, two. Sometimes I watch a lot of movies. Other times I don't watch any for months.
Some days I go go go all day long. Other days I don't make much further from the couch than the fridge. It doesn't have to be all the things all of the time.
146 notes · View notes
writteninkat · 7 months ago
Songs from Olivia Rodrigo's SOUR album you associate to MHA guys after you two break up
w/ Bakugou, Kaminari, Kirishima, Tenya, Todoroki, Dabi, Hawks
warning: angst
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Bakugou Katsuki
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"All I did was speak normally, somehow I still struck a nerve"
"Never doubted myself fo much"
"I'm the love of your life until I make you mad"
"And I'd leave you but the roller coaster is all I ever had"
throughout most of the relationship, you were unable to understand/predict Katsuki's mood, leaving you on your toes and guarded most of the time
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"You'd talk to her, maybe did even worse"
"Ain't it funny how you ran to her the second we called it quits?"
"You'd talk to her when we were together"
"Guess you didn't cheat, but you're still a traitor"
"Remember I brought her up and you told me I was paranoid."
Denki is friendly with everyone, he has a pretty big social circle but what irks you is how he doesn't see to have any boundaries at all
you noticed that he treats you the same way he treats all his other close girl friends
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"I bet she's bragging to all her friends, saying you're so unique"
"So when you gon' tell her, that we did that too? She thinks it's special but it's all reused."
"Do you call her, almost say my name? Cause let's be honest we kinda do sound the same."
"I hate to think that I was just your type"
"Do you get deja vu?"
Shoto is a simple man; which means the girls he's ever been with, including you, have not only one but multiple things in common
he doesn't seem to be interested in changing his ways, and you once hoped to be the one to change him. nah, relax bob the builder. seven other girls who went before you thought that too
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"And you're probably with that one girl who always made me doubt."
"I know we weren't perfect but I've never felt this way for no one."
"I just can't imagine how you could be so okay now that I'm gone."
"All my friends are tired of hearing how much I miss you"
"Cause I still fuckin' love you"
"You said forever now I drive alone past your street"
this man. he. fucking. broke. you.
every time you looked at him while you two were together, you imagined a future with him, you imagined nothing in the world can tear you two apart
you would watch the whole world burn if it meant getting him to smile
when he told you he fell out of love, you felt everything about you disappear. you turned into a hollow shell of a human for weeks, to months, to years.
when i tell you this man affected you so much to the point that he ruined trust and love for you...
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"If I looked like the other prom queens I know that you loved before"
"Tried so hard to be everything that you liked, just for you to say you're not the compliment type"
"I read all of your self-help books so you'd think that I was smart"
"You found someone more exciting. the next second, you were gone"
"You left me there crying wondering what I did wrong"
"All I ever wanted was to be enough for you"
"I'd say you broke my heart but you broke much more than that. Now I don't want your sympathy I just want myself back."
"Don't you think I loved you too much to be used and discarded?"
relating this song after a break up with Iida says a lot about you during the relationship; self-destructive, maybe a little too obsessed? perhaps this feeling was new to you and you didn't want to lost this feeling.
the break up leaves you wondering if Iida really did love you for who you are or for who you tried to be and tried to show him during the relationship
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"Know that I love you so bad, I let you treat me like that, I was your willing accomplice, honey."
"Those things I did, just so I could call you mine."
"I hope I was your favorite crime."
"I defended you to all my friends."
"every time a siren sounds, I wonder if you're around. 'Cause you know that I'd do it all again."
"It's bittersweet to think about the damage that we do, cause you were going down but I was doing it with you."
"I say that I hate you with a smile on my face."
Dabi used your status as a pro hero to have access to information. And you should have known better, you should have planned three, seven, ten steps ahead. But somewhere in between, you fell in love
You thought him opening up about his past meant he trusted you. You thought when he saved you from a burning building meant he cared for you. But it was all a ruse; an attempt to have you think he was genuine.
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"You've moved on, found someone new."
"She's so sweet, she's so pretty. Does she mean you forgot about me?"
"I hope you're happy but not like how you were with me."
"An eternal love bullshit you know you'll never mean. Remember when I believed you meant it when you said it first to me?"
"Say you love her baby, just not like you loved me."
what you and Hawks had was something real, something genuine, something that's one out of a million
everyone truly thought you two were a match made in heaven. everyone thought you were his first love. nope. being a pro hero and saving civilians is his first love
having a woman in his arms, a woman to come home to, a woman to share moments with and make memories with was just a help to pass time
safe to say you became one toxic motherfucker after he left you for his bunny best friend
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dingdongyouarewrong · 10 months ago
(I apologize if this comes off as anything but sincere, I don't mean it to)
I'm a little off-put by the catholic posts you’ve been making
Catholicism definitely has a fuck ton of flaws. The papacy and general structure of the catholic church has been used to take advantage of and abuse people in horrific ways (just look back a few years ago with the sexual abuse scandal) and that sort of behavior needs to be acknowledged and addressed. There are a lot of legitimate flaws and criticisms of the catholic church and its participants - but your posts don’t seem to be actually critical of that so much as "believing in religion is cringe"?
It doesn’t feel like an actual critique or in support of anyone who has been hurt by the catholic church so much as a slam-down. There are plenty of catholics who stick to the religion because of their belief in the bible (as a historical text that should be properly analyzed in context, not just as an allmighty book of rules to follow) and their relationship with god who do actively criticize the catholic church and its doctrines about things like abortion and same-sex relations, and I feel like its important to acknowledge that there's nuance in issues like this. There are also plenty of people who were hurt by the church but have a complex relationship with it because they still believe in god
I'm in full and earnest support of criticizing religious systems, but I feel like the slam-down sort of posts aren't necessarily productive
(as a tangent - there's also some danger to talk like this - religious people start feeling like they're attacked and can validate some of the fearmongering about the Attack on Faith in This Modern Age, and push them into more radical/extremist spaces)
Again, I mean this all sincerely and I apologize if any of this came off as condescending. I'm not trying to control what you post, but I'd like to open up a dialogue about it
i honestly don't know what to tell you. i made one (1) singular lighthearted joke about finding unabashed hardcore catholic blogs on tumblr wild. i don't think i've posted anything else about catholicism recently, not in months. that being said, if said post comes across like i think catholicism is awful, it's because i do think that, and i think the argument you're making, that catholics will be further pushed into becoming right-wing extremists because a user on a dead social media platform made one tumblr post that said 'lol catholic blogs on tumblr are wild' and that, if that happened, it would reflect most negatively on, and be the fault of, the tumblr user and not the person becoming a right-wing extremist, is absolutely nuts and reads like apologism. if you want to unfollow or dislike me because of my intense dislike of catholicism and christianity in general you are absolutely welcome to and i would not blame you, but that is not something that's going to change.
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evernoddingaudience · 11 months ago
When I listen to my mother talk about me as a child, I feel such an overwhelming confusion and disconnect. With the way she remembers me, it would seem as if I had no clear personality of my own. I hardly cried or laughed as a baby, I never got into trouble to the point that I'd never even been disciplined, I followed all the rules, I excelled at all my schoolwork but never boasted, I had vague interests but nothing intense, I was kind and friendly but I didn't push for friends, etc.
The perfect child. Perfectly average traits.
I read "The Divided Self" by R.D. Laing recently.
One of the things that gave me the greatest feelings of validation and relief from that book are the childhoods of the patients he talks about- before this, I've never seen such a clear example of my own childhood painted in a light that resonates with me.
None of the patients he provided had explicitly abusive childhoods, and none of them remembered their childhoods as particularly traumatic. Of course, most recalled their parents as some mixture of distant and unpredictable, and in some cases there was definitely emotional neglect and verbal abuse, but it was passing and not incredibly eventful. (I am not making light of anyone's experiences, I'm speaking only about the example patients' own accounts).
Many of the patients and the patients' families tell tales that mirror my own: "Julie was never a demanding baby. She was weaned without difficulty. Her mother had no bother with her from the day she took off nappies completely when she was fifteen months old. She was never 'a trouble'. She always did what she was told. These are the mother's basic generalizations in support of the view that Julie was always a 'good' child."
Most interestingly, the author hears these accounts both from the patients and the patients' family, and he sees them as negative. In contrast to literally everyone else I've opened up to, he says, "I have come to regard such an account of the earliest origins of behaviour as especially ominous, when the parents sense nothing amiss in it all, but on the contrary mention it with evident pride.”
The author goes on referring to the patient Julie, "This is the description of a child who has in some way never come alive: for a really alive baby is demanding, is a trouble, and by no means always does what she is told. [...] The crucial thing seems to me to be that [Julie's mother] evidently takes just those things which I take to be expressions of an inner deadness in the child as expressions of the utmost goodness, health, normality."
Complete and total compliance and obedience is NOT normal from a child (nor from anyone, I would argue but that's not the point). Children have to make mistakes and cause problems and stand up for themselves in order to learn how to live and be their own person! If a child doesn't do that and is only ever praised for their lack of autonomy, they're not going to grow into a secure personhood.
It is very important to me to hear this for the first time, especially from a credited psychologist. For years I've felt I was crazy for thinking that my childhood was so dreadfully abnormal and concerning whilst everyone assured me I was as healthy as could be (and side-eyed me as if I was exaggerating for attention).
I've always considered myself to be afflicted by "gifted kid burnout", which I am going to assume my small audience is familiar with, but the concept of "ontological insecurity" Laing discusses in this book fits even better, which I didn't think was possible.
It's rare that I feel someone completely understands even a small part of myself, so I am very glad I read this book and I would recommend it to anyone else interested.
To end this post, here's three additional quotes from the book, each referring to a different patients' childhood, yet all I can relate to:
“There was no open neglect or hostility in her family. She felt, however, that her parents were always too engrossed in each other for either of them ever to take notice of her. She grew up wanting to fill this hole in her life but never succeeded in becoming self-sufficient. [...] [H]er abiding memory of herself as a child that she did not really matter to her parents, that they neither loved nor hated, admired nor were ashamed of her very much.” pg54
“What she called 'unreliability' was a feeling of bafflement and bewilderment which she related to the fact that nothing she did had ever seemed to please her parents. If she did one thing and was told it was wrong, she would do another thing and would find that they still said that that was wrong. She was unable to discover, as she put it, 'what they wanted me to be'.” pg59
“His father's account of him was very meagre. He had always been perfectly normal, and he thought his present eccentricities were simply an adolescent phase. He had always been a very good child, who did everything he was told and never caused any trouble. His mother had been devoted to him.” pg70
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rantswithhannah · 6 months ago
my favourite quotes from the dream thieves
once again - the raven cycle is the best series in the entire world. and the dream thieves may just be my favourite book in it???
so, here goes angst and magic and belonging and fall:
“The congregation was so natural that it was impossible to tell if Declan was the magnet attracting or the filings attracted.” - this is so poetic and descriptive, like you get EXACTLY who Declan is in this one sentence
“Of course it was Joseph Kavinsky, fellow Aglionby Academy student and Henrietta’s most notorious recreational forger. Kavinsky’s infamous Mitsubishi Evo was a thing of boyish beauty, moon-white with a voracious black mouth of a grille and an immense splattered graphic of a knife on either side of the body. The Mitsubishi had just been released from a month-long stint in the police impound. The judge had told him that if he was caught racing again, they’d crush the Mitsubishi and make him watch, like they did to the rich punks’ street racers out in California. Rumor had it Kavinsky had laughed and told the judge he’d never get pulled over again.” - this because its perfect exposition and if this was a movie it would be shown in a fast-paced montage to heavy metal music
“What do you want, Adam?
To feel awake when my eyes are open.” - no I will not shut up about how perfect Adam is in his imperfectness and how he's the one character in the hundreds I've read about that I can really relate to
“Sometimes Ronan thought Adam was so used to the right way being painful that he doubted any path that didn’t come with agony.” - because the dream thieves really started to set up pynch in the most subtle way
“But this flock of peacocks was too busy fooling to notice they were being fooled.”
“Gallantly, he said, “Thank God for past tense.” Then: “I can’t — we can’t do this to him.”
It was jagged inside her. “I’m not a thing. To have.”
“No. Jesus. Of course you’re not. But you know what I mean.”
it was jagged inside her - why does this convey the perfect feeling of discomfort and disappointment and maybe a little bit of disbelief
“Ronan,” he said.
It sounded like he meant to say Finally.”
“Ronan,” he said.
And it sounded like he meant to say
Wake up”
“Blue thought about what Gansey had said, about being wealthy in love. And she thought about Adam, still collapsed on their sofa downstairs. If he had no one to wrap their arms around him when he was sad, could he be forgiven for letting his anger lead him?” - Adam is hands down the best character in trc
AH all I want is to live inside the same world that the gangsey does...
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skepticalarrie · a year ago
With all this talk about names that were banded about during the "pregnancy". I've always wondered why people think Freddie Reign wouldn't be a name any Brit would pick, like it's Louis taking the piss. Both names are regularly used here, Freddie more so as a first name, especially in the last 10 years. What was considered old fashioned is super popular now. As a Brit I don't understand the fandom's thinking, it's seems also as if everyone thinks Louis made the names up for spite, that it's unthinkable to name a child here that. It's my biggest bugbear with the fandom. As more popular blogs say "do your research".
Brit anon, I can't really tell for your tone if you know the reasons behind Freddie Reign being such a massive joke and is just trying to pin it on "it's a usual name" and "just a coincidence" or if you actually have no idea about the context. But I will explain it anyway because there's no such thing as a coincidence with this name, love. And I don't know what blogs you've been reading but no one is saying Freddie Reign wouldn't be a name any Brit would pick. This could be the most popular name in Britain but we're talking about context and what these two names represent together for Louis Tomlinson.
As you may know, throughout 2015 we were presented with the rainbow bears. But RBB wasn't the first name given to the bear, it was previously known for Freddie Mustache among other variations of the name, for the resemblance with Freddie Mercury.
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As months went by, they gave us dozens of queer icons and references, and the Freddie Mercury/Queen references were always there, over and over. Probably the most important reference actually, considering RBB never let go of the combo mustache+glasses. That's Freddie Mercury's very recognizable brandTM
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But they really kept the references coming, from the Hollywood walk of fame, profile pictures, dumb puns (*cough* harry) to even movies from RBB's collection
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(Meanwhile SBB was out there shading his fake baby)
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Still in 2015, FIMQ was a well known larrie, very very popular for making Larry videos on youtube. FIMQ = Freddie is my queen, a play of words because of the fact that Freddie was from the band Queen.
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This is BEFORE Freddie Reign was born. The bears spent the entire year of 2015 and early 2016 talking about Freddie Mercury. To only a few weeks after this picture
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FIMQ = Freddie is my Queen
Freddie Mercury, from the band Queen
Freddie Reign, are you kidding me????
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Plus, look at the picture! It's literally right there under everyone's noses:
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Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupid Hotel Babylon Mercury and Me
Under it we have "QU", probably something else Queen related and again a crown.
Before Freddie Reign was even born.
They're spelling Freddie, Queen, baby and lies all in the same sentence here. It couldn't possibly exist a most fitting name for this fake parenthood after everything RBB and SBB gave us.
Oh, and just for the record, later on, FIMQ was the same youtube channel Harry and Louis shared revenue with. They went there and literally split money with her youtube channel.
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olderthannetfic · 19 days ago
Your blog just keeps turning into the place to discuss the discourse of the week lol. To make this an actual ask, how many books do you read? I've personally found my actual book reading dropped off after starting to read fanfiction do you feel the same or?
I have experienced that, but it hasn't been uniformly true in recent years.
Up through high school, I read regular big publisher fiction voraciously. I read many different genres and a lot of books that weren't entirely my thing. Whatever was handy, I read. We're talking the 90s here, so while I lived near a ton of amazing independent bookstores, it wasn't yet a time when you could find literally anything.
In college, my pleasure reading dropped off considerably, especially my reading of fiction. After college, I didn't pick it up again, at least not to the same degree and not for a while. My mother once described the same process in her own life. I think it's common.
I started reading fic at 13 in 1994, so no, my fiction reading did not drop off at once.
Since that time, my fic reading has waxed and waned, usually in relation to whether I'm in any fandoms big enough to have a steady supply of fic. I don't tend to be able to stick to big fandoms for more than 6 months or so (BTS being an exception), and I seldom reread fic, so I don't always have anything to read.
In 2016, I suddenly discovered the world of "m/m romance", which is a niche that tends to be indiepub and selfpub, very fic-like, and primarily produced and consumed by AFABs. My favorite thing is casefic with first time ship, so novel-length m/m genre fiction with plots was catnip. I'm not as into the contemporary romances or series romance (in the 1 ship/book industry sense), but I fucking love the series urban fantasy mysteries +/- historical.
I spent that year reading through the backlog of famous m/m romance authors and read very little else. But, eventually, I ran out of obvious things from recs lists and got distracted by fandom again. Just lately, I've mostly been reading BTS fic when I've read fiction.
Throughout all of this, even in college to some degree, I've read stacks of nonfiction. I do tend to read on subjects I'm specifically researching now rather than just picking up any book that's sitting around.
Basically, I think there is a common experience where bookworms read everything when young but eventually figure out what they like most and stop reading things they don't really care about just because they're there.
Many people who like m/m on AO3 don't know about m/m romance ebooks or translations of danmei novels or scanlations of BL manga or whatever. For them, AO3 is the primary and best source of this type of content. It's only natural that regular books start to look less appealing. Why waste time on something kind of okay when there's something you love right there?
Some people will say that it's all about the familiar characters giving you an easy entry point, and for some people, I'm sure that's true, but I think plenty of people would stop only reading fic if they could reliably and easily find original work that actually caters to them.
To answer your specific question, at any given point in time, I probably have two or three long nonfiction books I'm in the middle of reading, but finishing could take months since these tend to be reference books and weighty academic tomes.
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stay-outta-my-blood-circle · 10 months ago
I would be INCREDIBLY interested in reading what you wrote about the extent of the damage on Vincent’s face!
Okay okay okay. So let's start off with a few caveats:
I have a medical background and lots of general medical and biological knowledge, but I am not a doctor or anything, so while I have done some additional research relating to this, I'm sure there are things I missed/don't know. A lot of what I'm going to cover is just what I consider to be scientifically logical with the benefit of my background.
While we're at it, I've seen the movie a decent amount of times but not, like, a ton. I may very well misremember something. Feel free to correct me or add on.
I'm disinclined to believe that the House of Wax production team brought in a specialist or even did more than cursory research on the subject, so there will be areas where I'm going to have to discount aspects of the movie for the sake of realism. (Sometimes movies aren't intended to be completely realistic and that's okay, but we're going to cover this from the perspective of how it would have to be to work in the real world.)
I'm not trying to debunk anyone else's interpretations; if anything I put here flies in the face of your personal headcanons, don't worry about it. You do you. This is not intended to be dogmatic.
This is fuckin LONNNNNNG. Which is why I avoided typing it up for so long. This took like 3 hours :p
So first off: conjoined twins.
The specific type that describes Bo and Vincent is craniopagus, i.e. conjoined at the head. The movie takes some liberties here, as the face area is practically never involved in real life, and as far as I could tell there's never been a case of conjoined twins born in their specific orientation (most of the time they're joined at the forehead and facing each other, joined at the back of the head and facing away from each other, or joined at the top of the head).
Furthermore, there are two major subtypes of craniopagus twins (CPT): total and partial. This has to do with whether or not the twins share a large portion of their dural venous sinuses (major vessels found in the lining of the brain) - total meaning they do, and by extension also show pronounced distortion within the cranuim. As you may expect, this type is associated with higher mortality rates and much greater difficulty of separation (lots of large vessels at a surgery site = higher risk of complications and bleeding out). Many of these twins are stillborn, die shortly after birth, or cannot be separated without one or both twins passing away during surgery or shortly thereafter. While it is the more common type of CPT, it's safe to assume that this is not the type that Bo and Vincent fall into, since they were apparently separated fairly easily and with no lasting damage aside from poor Vinny's precious face :(
Partial CPT, however, do not share a significant portion of these vessels (or any at all), and are characterized by limited surface area involvement and intact (or mildly defected) skulls. Prognosis of separation is much more optimistic in these cases. I'd say this one has gotta be our boys.
Okay, so we've got some background on the condition. Let's move on to surgery.
We're told (I think? I'm pretty sure this has been said) that Dr. Sinclair performed their separation surgery. Now. This is a tiny town in backwoods Louisiana, which probably does not have the best facilities or equipment - and who knows how qualified he was to actually perform this procedure in the first place.
The process in general is super interesting, but I'm not going to get into the details since it's not relevant to the current discussion (and probably isn't nearly as intriguing to people without a medical background, honestly). It usually involves a multidisciplinary team (often surgeons and cosmetic specialists), a long procedure (sometimes 12-18 hours), and several stages of surgery (as in, several surgeries over a few months) before full separation. Dr. Sinclair's resources were likely not ideal, which is why Vincent's face looks that way. Normally, there would have been cosmetic surgeons present to repair damaged tissues and structures. Dad likely just had to make do with what he had. (For this reason, I'm going to go ahead and make the claim later that their skulls were fully intact, because I honestly don't think he would have been able to separate them so successfully otherwise.)
Bo seems to have come through quite unscathed (someone has stated previously that he might wear a wig, and yeah, he might), but let's talk about
the lasting damage to Vincent's face.
There are two ways to approach this: skull deformity or no skull deformity. I've already stated which one I prefer, but let's go over both for the sake of thoroughness.
Let's say the twins' skulls were, in fact, joined. Bo would have been the one to come away with it, leaving Vincent with an open cranium - which their surgeon would have had to address, because you can't very well leave the brain with no protection. This would mean some kind of plate, or something, which would significantly complicate and lengthen the surgery. It's possible, but not likely in my opinion.
If Vincent had his own complete skull, albeit with some degree of fusion between the soft tissues to the bone, things would be a lot simpler in terms of survivability. The bone would be damaged from the separation, but present and closed, which at least means his brain is intact and safe, and it's only the outward structures we need to worry about.
If you separate his face into quadrants, the connection seems to be focused on the upper right side, specifically in the area of the eye socket - contrary to being a casualty of the separation, that eye likely never even formed.
Other possible structural issues include the sinus cavities, any holes in the hard palate, jaw connection (if it extends that far), and muscles/connective tissue. These things could all be repaired with varying degrees of success. It's likely his TMJ (jaw joint) wasn't involved. Dealing with a cleft palate or damaged connective tissue is easy enough (at least enough to make it functional). His sinuses on that side are very probably fucked up, but that's not necessarily a big deal. His mouth and teeth shouldn't be affected, overall.
There is, however, significant trauma and scarring throughout the soft tissue layers. His skin is visibly a mess. There's nothing wrong with it, necessarily - that's just what happens when tissue is traumatized and then left to heal that way. This is something a cosmetic surgeon could have fixed, at least by and large.
Ready for some pictures? :)
I'm not sure the method they used for this, but even if they did some practical effect makeup, I suspect CGI was at least involved and I'll tell you why in a moment.
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You can see an intact zygomatic arch (cheekbone) and supraorbital, forming a complete eye socket. This part of the skull appears to be properly formed and structured. You can see where an eye would have been. (That ear might be gone, too, if the damage extends that far - I'm not sure if we're ever shown. But cartilage isn't very hardy.)
That nostril is gone, and the sinuses surrounding it are likely either not present or collapsed and nonfunctional. Our boy is probably very congested (and nasally, if he speaks), and has to breathe through his mouth unless he wants to sound like Darth Vader.
The tissue around his mouth is fairly deformed, though his lips seem to be mostly intact. I don't know what that's supposed to be in the corner there - it's tooth-colored but doesn't have the same structure as teeth and isn't in the right place. Weird scar tissue or CGI weirdness, idk.
I also don't know why his teeth look sharp there?? There's no reason his teeth would be sharp. If anything, they would be missing, IF the permanent teeth, which form within the skull before they erupt and push out the baby teeth, seen here:
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were either affected by the process or didn't form in the first place, which I suppose is possible. But even then, his lower jaw shouldn't be involved. Those teeth should be normal.
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His mouth looks more normal here, and you can see even more clearly that the cranial structure beneath the skin seems to be complete.
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Right side of lower lip and corner of mouth look more substantially affected here. (and the teeth again. why the weird spacing and sharp points? it doesn't make any sense.)
Here he is in motion:
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And here's the annoying part:
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From this angle, it looks completely caved in on that side. I'm going to discount this as a CGI mishap or something, because 1. his skull seems perfectly intact in every other view and 2. this would cut deeply into his cranial structures, which would cause pretty significant impediments and 3. if his skull was caved into his brain like that, he'd be severely impaired or dead. And he doesn't appear to be either one of those. This is horseshit and it will not stand.
Finally, on the subject of speech:
Is he unable to talk, or does he just not want to? I'll give you my take on it, but again, feel free to believe whatever floats your boat.
I don't see any reason he shouldn't be able to speak, physically (its possible he could be mute for some psychological reason). His vocal structures themselves should be unaffected. Between the damage to his lips (not extensive, but still), sinuses, and possibly some missing teeth or palate deformities, however, it's likely that he has a hard time speaking clearly - whether due to the quality of his voice (nasally, congested, probably can't articulate terribly well) or even a full speech impediment. That's my personal belief on the subject.
And with that, we've finally reached
the end!
Let no one ever challenge my love and devotion for this man. :)
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skazoo · 5 months ago
when we twisted shadows back into stars.
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↳ lee minho x f!reader
he's coming for all the monsters that touched his past. you're coming for those who twisted your stars into shadows. they turned your lives into a nightmare, and you're going to be theirs.
length. 15.3k
genre. men in black!au, sci-fi, ANGST, crack, fluff, dumb and dumber go on a secret mission
warnings/tags. language, death and mentions of death, violence, mention of sexual abuse, substance use, mention of sex
networks. @kflixnet
notes. first of all, 25° celsius is 77 fahrenheit for my american besties. second, Y stands for whatever your initial is and M is for minho. third, a neuralyzer is, and i quote: an object that has the ability to wipe the mind of anybody who sees the flash via isolating and editing certain electronic impulses related to memory.
and last but not least, i want to kiss this fic on the forehead and tell her to be good and make me proud because she is the longest thing i've ever written.
(as always, big thanks to my bff who always finds the time to read every dumb thing i write)
i'm desperate for feedback and i love comments with your opinion!
(cross-posted on ao3 only)
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'Agent M: the tragic back-story of a true international hero’ 
'Most eligible bachelor: Agent M doesn't need a partner on the job, but maybe in his life...?'
'The Agency's Golden Boy saves the world once again: what happened in Helsinki'
Your eyes skim over the countless framed magazine covers on the walls as you are swiftly conducted down a long and sterile white corridor. 
The man in front of you hasn't spoken a word for the whole trip, but from time to time, he turns around to see if you're still following him and throws you dirty looks that make you speed up the pace each time.
You're nervous. You're nervous because you're right and after so many years of trying to prove it, you're scared everything is going to vanish from right in front of your eyes, leaving you with the aftermath of your wasted time and promises you can't keep. Leaving you with nothing.
She spoke of horrible things. Wars, the Apocalypse, things that would usually disturb an adult, not to mention a child. 
But still, you listened carefully to every word, trying to understand the meaning behind her ramblings, behind the fear that was perennially carved in her languid eyes. Eyes that had once comforted you through your nightmares.
But still, you listened carefully to every word, trying to understand the meaning behind her ramblings, behind the fear that was perennially carved in her languid eyes. Eyes that had once comforted you through your nightmares.
Her last words to you — in the baby blue room of the nursing home in which your father had placed her after she had tried to attack you and then kill herself with an old letter opener — were that she was sorry. Sorry that you didn't believe her, sorry that she was leaving you to fend alone in a world full of dangers, sorry that she couldn't be there to help you understand.
After that, you had felt the need to trust her, the need to justify her actions. 
After that, till 24 hours ago you had been desperately searching for something that most likely didn't exist.
By a twist of fate, they came looking for you. 
Well, maybe they didn't exactly come looking for you. Let's say you ran away from the problems you intentionally created, and they chased after you for three months before they cornered you... and caught you... and offered you a job...?
The important thing is that you're here now. You can do what you came to do: find who or what made your mother go mad, find who consumed her. Find the culprit, and get revenge. On everyone, even on the Agency that stood watching while your family slowly disintegrated before your powerless eyes.
You wipe your sweaty hands on the sleek, black Agency-issued dress suit, as the big man with an evident balding spot on the back of his head that impressively reflects the white neon lights, abruptly stops before a big fancy wooden door that feels completely out of place in the hospital-like setting.
"Wait here," with a voice that is uncharacteristically high for his build, the man turns on his heels and stomps away, giving you one last glare.
You stand very awkwardly in the middle of the deserted corridor, intensely staring at the door from which you can faintly hear a conversation taking place.
"...you have to understand... not my decision... the higher-ups".
"... they adore me... a change of plans... should not be so hard?"
A robotic voice calls your code name, startling you. "Agent Y, entry please"
The door automatically opens right when a scream of indignation leaves the room you're about to enter.
As you hesitantly step in, two pairs of eyes fix on you; one is slightly apologetic, and the other wants to kill you and dance on your grave.
The man who you've never seen but has clearly some issues with you, straight up pretends you're not there and angrily bangs his hand on the polished desk that stands as a barrier between his dramatic rage and the little chubby man that looks like he's about to have a heart attack.
 "Don't waste my time and your breath and explain in simple words why I'm being assigned to this mission. Everyone knows I work alone. You know I work alone! I don't do partners", he spats out the last part, giving you a side-eye that makes you stare at him, at a loss for words and admittedly a little angry.
What is this guy's problem?
He's not very tall, but his menacing aura makes him look like a real threat. His perfectly ironed black suit hugs him in all the right places, his tie is loose, and he's replaced the standard dress shoes with heavy jet black stompers that are oh so ready to step on you, judging by the way he's looking at you right now. And his hair is purple. 
Perfect color to go unnoticed.
"Agent M, please calm down there's no need t-," the little man stops mid-sentence at the other's expression of fury.
With a big breath and a nervous look directed at you, he starts again, anxiously fidgeting with a pin on his jacket that clearly states 'AGENT D' in small black letters.
"M, listen. Like I said it was not my decision at all," he mumbles, looking everywhere but at the man fuming in front of him. “They called this morning- no, not they, he called this morning explicitly asking for you to take this case, and-and I know you work alone, ‘fly solo’, how you young people say no?” he looks at you for confirmation but his attempts to lighten the mood miserably fail, resulting in awkward silence.
Agent D clears his throat. "Anyway, I -I tried to reason with him, reminding him that you are a prodigy, right? And-and that you don't need anyone, but he told me that if you were to complain, I had to ignore you and introduce you to our new Agent-" 
"New Agen- you're telling me he paired me up with a rookie!? What the hell D!," his eyebrows raise to the roof with an exasperated expression that is almost comical.
"I'm gonna talk to him. But next time, D grow some balls and stand your ground, for fuck’s sake,” he storms out of the office, and you find yourself following him, offended and a little hurt.
"You know, your behavior makes for a very uncomfortable workspace", your voice is breathy from almost running beside him to match his stride.
"It happens, rookie, get used to it. Now stop following me" 
"Stop calling me rookie like you're so much better than me and slow down."
He suddenly halts in front of a simple black door, and you have to brace yourself to the wall to not collide with his back. 
He turns to you, towering over your frame and looking you straight in the eyes. 
"The fact is, rookie," he smirks as if he already knows everything about you, "that I am better than you. In fact, I'm on an entirely superior level you'll never reach, and that's why I and any other sane agent in this massive building would rather get neuralyzed than be paired up with you,” he mockingly boops your nose as he whispers the last part.
He opens the door and you're left with your rising anger, scrambling for an acceptable answer.
"Now, if you please… I have to go kiss my boss' ass and get rid of you. It was not a pleasure to meet you, and I don't want to see you in front of my apartment's door when I come back."
He's already walking away when you manage to shout at his back the smartest thing you can manage.
"Fuck you!"
"Byee!", he doesn't turn as he waves his hands at you.
Lost in the indecent amount of desire you have to just run and tackle him to the ground, you almost miss how the black door is left slightly open. Just for you.
If curiosity killed the cat, the amount of joy you're about to savor by doing something horribly petty and childish to the apartment of a colleague who’s most likely gonna kill you is going to bring it back.
Or so you hope.
His living space in the Agency is exactly what you would expect from a person like him: pristine stainless-steel walls, devoid of any ornament except for a framed photo of a cat-like being with more or less eight legs, a big futuristic white couch that is most definitely not Ikea with gray pillows neatly positioned, little ground lights that emit a soft neon-blue hue, and a huge mirror that makes the place look ten times bigger.
Twenty minutes have passed, and as you're looking around, you can't help but be terribly curious about this man's life.
An agent so young yet so highly respected in a business that's not exactly normal should expect to raise some eyes here and there, no?
Did he ace the aptitude test on the first try? Was he recruited because he had some special abilities? Maybe he did parkour or something like that, that's why they took him in. Was he a runaway just like you? Lost, desperately looking for something, willing to do everything to reach his goal?
Before trying to get noticed by MiB in your own illegal ways, you did your research. You studied everyone: from the clumsy and weak HR chief — Agent D — to the responsible but hardly ever seen around, founder of the Agency — Alpha.
You managed to find something on everyone because despite it being a secret organization, it had very hackable systems. At least for you.
You found something on everyone except for the frustratingly mysterious Agent M, on whom you still have nothing. Not a failed mission report, not a past slip up, not an old Facebook account created against his parent's will when he was 9, not even a birth certificate.
He was a ghost, and something deep inside you made you empathize with him. He was running from his past, and you desperately wished to tell this unknown man that you knew how hard he was fighting to remain intact, to not crumble to the ground under the weight of his desolation.
This, of course, was all before you met the man who's really just a raging asshole.
"Hey, man I was thinki-"
A scream tears itself from your throat when a voice speaks from behind you, and your fist reacts before your brain can process what's happening, punching the unfortunate figure that emerges from the dark hallway, right in the face.
"Ow-WHAT THE FUCK! That fucking hurt, what the hell!", the stranger is kneeling on the ground, hands holding his nose, and you can see his eyes starting to water.
"You scared the shit out of me! What was I supposed to do!?"
"What were you supposed- w-who even are you," he cries, you don't know if it's because of the punch or because he's not understanding anything at all. "And where the hell is Minho!?"
"Who is Minho? I don't know what you're talking about.” You ask him, not letting your guard down.
The door of the apartment opens, revealing a perplexed Agent M, with his suit jacket in his left hand and a pastel green manila folder in the other. His loosened tie and his ruffled shirt make him look more tired than he probably is.
"What is happening here? Agent J, why on earth would you let her in?", he questions the man as one would do in an interrogation.
"Why would I let her- I didn't let her in. She just punched me in the face, and you're getting mad at me?!", his incredulous mumbles culminating with a loud whine.
Agent M's hard eyes turn on you. "Didn't I kick you out already?"
"Yes, but-"
"No. Out.", he passes you to go take off his shoes.
"Who is Minho?", you manage to ask before he can say something else.
You can see his shoulders tense, and with a big breath, without turning, you hear him address the man who is still on the floor, cradling his face.
"Han, I know I told you I don't care if you call me that, but can you please stop giving my name away to everyone you meet? The whole point of code names is that they hide your identity from strangers, you know?"
"But you just said mine!"
"It's called revenge, now this," he walks towards you and without mercy, shoves you out of his apartment, "is Agent Y. She was just leaving."
The door shuts loudly behind you, leaving you alone. In a long corridor. Again.
"What am I supposed to do now, uh?!", your voice is full of frustration as you bang a fist on the wall.
Before you move the first step to find your room for the night, the manila folder M had in his hands slides under the door, and an annoyed voice mutters words you weren't sure you were going to hear.
"The mission starts tomorrow. Be ready."
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"Unlimited technology from the whole Universe, a multi-billionaire Agency and we had to cruise around in Economy?", your tone is skeptical as you start retrieving your light luggage full of gadgets that somehow passed the security scanners, from under your skimpy seat.
The man beside you, who had begged- no demanded to take the window seat, looks at you, disgusted, "I'm sorry this was not to your liking, you ungrateful child. With such short notice Han had to improvise a little."
Ah, Han. After your little... encounter last night, you and Agent J or, like he expressly wants to be called, Jisung bonded over an early morning roast session of your common acquaintance, the one and only Agent M or, like he expressly doesn't want to be called, Minho.
Turns out Han is the most easy-going and funny guy you've met in a long time, and it makes you feel more sorry than you already are to have punched him straight in the face before he could even say a word.
"I was just saying... don't need to be so hostile. Maybe if you relaxed a little," you shift in your seat, trying to find your seatbelt, "you could find out you actually like being happy, and you could start behaving like a decent human being towards me you know? Think about that Minho..."
"First, don't ever use my name. Ever. Second, I will never relax till I have to take you around with me," he rants, looking out of the window to the ground that is rapidly approaching.
You scrunch your eyes closed and hold up a hand right in front of his face. "Whatever, Minho, talk to the hand,” you say as a yawn escapes your mouth.
You're so tired. You're tired because as soon as you boarded the plane, a baby two seats behind you started crying, all your plans to sleep during the flight got thrown out of the window, and you swear you heard him smirking from beside you like it was some kind of personal victory.
And so, for the whole trip, you have been staring at the back of the seat in front of you, wondering what you have done to deserve this treatment, and watching, staring shocked at the figure beside you that didn't seem to have any problem sleeping amidst the chaos. 
Since you can't, for the life of you, stand the awkward, long silence that's fallen between the two of you any longer before the plane touches the ground, you find yourself initiating a desperate conversation with the last person you want to talk to.
"What did he tell you?", you ask, trying to make yourself heard over the obnoxious kid in the back and successfully earning a dramatic exhausted sigh from the man beside you.
He stretches as far as possible on the narrow seat and throws you an annoyed glare. "What did who tell me?"
"The... boss? I don't know his code name."
"Alpha. He's one of the founders of MiB." The imperceptible fondness with which he says his name throws you off a little. You let your head wonder what the relationship between the two is, but your neutral expression is immediately put back in place.
"Yeah, him. What did he tell you to convince you to be here now? You know, with all the 'i don't do partners' stuff."
"Why you wanna know?"
"I'm just curious, and it's not like I have anything else to do."
He looks at you weirdly.
Minho knows his assignment very well. He knows he shouldn't trust you, and he's not about to get played by your stupid little questions.
"He told me it is a very important mission and that he wants me to teach you how to do your job properly." You can feel him studying you, analyzing you as he speaks, and something about it feels off. You can't pinpoint what though.
"That's it?"
"Yes, that's it. What did you expect uh?"
"Me? No, nothing… Well, maybe something more inter-"
"Why are you here Agent Y?", he interrupts you, and you can feel the atmosphere shift slightly. 
Maybe it's the altitude?
You know what he means. Of course you know what he means, but you try to play it off cluelessly, relying on the fake and hopefully well structured image you're going to adopt with him. "I'm here for the mission. We're both her-"
"Why are you here, Y."
Why is he asking these things all of a sudden? Isn't he the 'don't call me by my real name, or i will self-combust' guy?
"I-", you think about what you could say to not sound too suspicious, and you opt for the closest thing to the truth.
"I- you know when we're kids, right?”, you look at him expectantly.
“Before we're taught how to think and what to believe? Before that, our hearts, and maybe our sixth sense too, tell us there's something else out there, something different." Your eyes wander around to the other passengers, avoiding his searching gaze.
As absurd as it seems, you've been carrying this thought inside of your head for years, and having a real person here to listen is almost freeing.
"Now, I know what my mother's eyes saw, I know what I saw. Tell me what I'm supposed to do. What I'm supposed to believe.", you don't know if he hears the last bit because it's almost above a whisper, "I want to save those who can still be saved."
He observes you with expressionless eyes that seem to hide something more and lays back on the seat that's too small for his frame.
"Are you not going to say anything?"
What the fuck? You just told him something personal and profound, and he doesn't even look at you for more than five seconds? 
"I'm still trying to wake up, I need silence." He closes his eyes and pulls out of his ears some kind of earbud.
"Silen- a baby has been crying for the whole trip. How did you even sleep that much?" you ask, half-curious half-frustrated.
"Noise-canceling buds from the Agency. A real deal I'm telling you", he waves the two buds in the air before putting them back in his luggage.
"Wha- and couldn't you have told me earlier about this?", you slap his shoulder without realizing.
On his mouth grows a mocking smirk that's maybe the closest thing to a genuine smile you'll ever see him doing, and the dangerous conversation unanimously ends there.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Rome Airport. Local time is 11:04 pm, and the temperature is 25°. For your safety and comfort, please-"
M taps you twice on the shoulder to signal you have to get up. "Come on, we have somewhere to be."
"Ah, about that, you only told me- no, kidding, you haven't told me anything about the mission. I mean, I don't even know why we're in Rome and-", you stop dead in your tracks because, oh my god did you just follow a complete and possibly dangerous stranger in another country without asking for information beforehand?! Embarrassing.
He's navigating ahead of you through the crowded airport, and you have the sudden urge to put him on a leash to avoid having to look around for him like a lost puppy.
"I'm sorry, why did you think I gave you the folder yesterday? As a peace offering? So you could doodle on it if you were suddenly bored?"
"I was tired, okay?! You kept me guessing all night, and I figured you would have briefed me in the morning or something!"
"You figured wrong." He looks at his watch as if he's waiting for something, his sunglasses on even if it's dark outside.
"Don't be rude Minho, come on, I kno-"
He stiffens at you saying his name so freely. "We're going to meet some friends who can give us some information about what we need to retrieve."
"And what we need to retrieve is...?"
He impatiently taps his foot on the sidewalk. "A weapon. It's a weapon rookie, now stop asking questions."
A beat of silence then a loud black SUV stops right in front of you, and M signals it's your ride.
As you're entering before him, you don't miss the occasion to tease him. 
"I'm happy for you, M! Didn't think you had friends, congratulations!"
With a push from behind, you fall messily in the car, and he mumbles a 'shut up' that it's more an 'if you embarrass me in front of the people I know I will personally see to find you a one-way ticket for another planet'.
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The fact that Minho had friends was already shocking as it was, but that he had friends that were rich as fuck and literal princes of another planet? Scandalous.
When he told you his friend was hosting a private party near the center of Rome, you thought of a tea room full of distinguished gentlemen with monocles and luscious mustaches. 
What you absolutely did not consider was that Minho was maybe two years older than you and had friends his age who were young, horny, and ready to party in a huge penthouse right in front of the Colosseo.
"Do you like the music?!", Changbin screams in your ear to top the loud bass of the song.
He's one of Minho's connections, and you've been entrusted to him the moment the two of you stepped out of the private elevator and into the sea of people. 
His hair is dyed a bright red, but you swear they've been slowly changing color from when he started talking to you, and you can't understand how or why.
"Yeah!", you scream back, nodding a little too enthusiastically to make sure he understands.
"Doesn't look like it!"
"I'm sorry! I've never been to a party this big! Fuck, I've never been to a party at all, so I feel a bit awkward...?!"
He looks at you weirdly, his eyes a little sympathetic, before shaking his head and screaming again. "Oh, that's totally okay, don't worry! If you want I can give you something to help you get loose a bit! Something from my home!"
"You mean... drugs?", you whisper the last word, but you're sure he understands from the way his smile widens and his eyes twinkle with mischief.
"Well, on my planet it's just an antidepressant, but for others it feels different! You should give it a try! What's the worst that could happen?!", he thrusts a candy-looking pill in your direction, hair now a bright green.
The worst that could happen is very obvious, but you think of Minho, who's left you here, alone while he speaks with his other friend like he's babysitting you, like you're just a burden and not his partner, and Changbin needs little to no persuasion to convince you to take the pill.
From that point on, everything gets better and a little blurry, but you don't care because you feel fantastic. 
Fuck M and his superiority complex.
You're singing along to songs you don't know the words to, you're happy, you're laughing with beautiful strangers with long tails that curl around your calf, and most importantly, you're dancing on a table without a care in the world, people hyping you up from around and you feel adored.
Minho snaps his head to the closed door of the office when he hears the already loud voices of the crowd shout in appreciation.
Chan's amused voice comes from the reclinable chair behind the glass desk. "Don't worry, every now and then they get these flashes of euphoria. Go on, please"
With a scoff, Minho starts again. "Yeah, so I need information on this weapon: a shape, a location, anything really," he passes a stressed hand through his bright purple hair.
"Alpha, made it clear that it's urgent, actually I don't think I've ever seen the man looking this nervous for a mission."
"Alpha has reasons that we mere mortals can't even begin to comprehend," Chan's tone is ironic, but both Agents know it's true.
"I should know. He paired me up with a literal first-day rookie without telling me anything. I had to chase him around to get some explanations."
"Sucks to be you, but the only way he would pair you up with a nobody would be if...", the blond's words get stuck in his throat as he puts two and two together. Minho can see the gears in his mind get in place. Chan’s fingers stop tapping on the glass.
"Alpha thinks she's a threat," Minho's tone is careful as he completes Chan's thought.
"A terrorist, and not just that. Chan, he gave me her name. He gave away her name, her identity, and seemed happy while doing it."
There's an uncomfortable silence between the two. 
A silence of doubts and values. Of principles that slowly start to collapse as they're replaced by confusion and inner conflicts.
"Chan, I don't- I trust him, I really do, but the feeling of not knowing for certain that what I'm doing is the right thing... I don't know how to look at her, Chan. A name can sign your end in a business like this. It's not something that can be given out to others if you're not okay with it, and the fact that she doesn't know it- man, I feel sick every time she says my name."
"She's your mission too..."
Chan straightens up in his chair and glances at the door. "You didn't come here just for the weapon. You came to ask me what I have on her."
Minho knows he looks guilty right now. He knows it because he looked in the mirror when he woke up this morning, and he knows it because he feels it deep inside his guts.
"I won't give you anything if you don't want to. You know that".
"I'll know. Tomorrow. Not now."
Another loud cheer resonates from the closed door.
"We'll go downstairs. Changbin said there's a free room we can stay in for the night. We'll stay there, and tomorrow we're off again.” He's tired as he gets up from the chair and walks towards the exit.
Everything moves fast and slow at the same time, with sweat running down your neck, you feel the need to breathe and wash your face with freezing water.
Changbin squeezes your shoulder with a wide smile as you pass him to go down the hallway to the bathroom that's bigger than your room.
It's crowded and noisy, and it smells like sweat and some other things you don't wish to know about. 
Even here, the air is stuffy, and you feel the effects of the pill Changbin gave you starting to fade into intoxicated exhaustion.
You drag your sweaty palms against the tiled wall to keep you steady as you stumble through the crowd of looming figures. 
You can feel your feverish skin sizzle as you grip the metal sink with both hands and stare at your blurry reflection in the mirror, trying to keep your head still and focus on your current state.
You're sick. And you're panicking. You're sure of it, you can feel as your whole body tingles, overstimulated by the harshness of the soft clothes on your skin, you can see it as you frantically search for the thin irises of your eyes, now drowned in a pool of black, and you can feel it as your heartbeat is the only thing you hear, ringing in your ears as an unsettling reminder of your stupid naivety and childish pettiness.
You recoil as a sloppy kiss is planted behind your earlobe in a disgustingly sensual way.
Panting, struggling against two pairs of confused hands roughly groping your body in a disturbingly viscid way, and when you succeed to raise your heavy head, you're met with hungry, dazed eyes that you think are blinking sideways.
It's nauseating. The feeling of despair, of utter and wretched powerlessness over your own body. 
You want to scream that you're strong, that this is not what you want, but all you do is scrunch your eyes closed, a lonely tear of frustration, and what most definitely is fear marches down your reddened cheek.
The fear of being weak is one you've been carrying around since you were little. It was your father's words or maybe your mother's actions that made you promise to yourself to never give up, to never crumble because faltering meant defeat, and defeat meant shame. 
Thinking back at it, maybe it wasn't a really healthy parenting strategy, but it worked, keeping you alive after the loss of your family and guiding you out of the trickiest situations.
And you are sure as hell not letting it stop now when you're so close to the top you can see the warm sunlight of a sweet revenge shine on you again.
Mustering all your strength, you get your head to violently loll back, slamming it on the nose of the lizard girl slithering her tongue dangerously close to your ear, and as you hear the loud crack of broken bones, you feel the corners of your mouth unconsciously lift. 
The man on the other side of you seems startled by the sudden display of violence and tries to take a shaky step back towards the exit. Tripping over someone's foot, you see him bash his head against the narrow edge of the shower and fall on his back; a smidge of blood stains pastel tiles, and you bend down to give him another punch, just for precaution, just for you.
You feel your consciousness slowly starting to slip away from you, and you manage to get to the large sliding door as it opens, revealing a very stern and very angry-looking M whose eyes widen, snapping to the comatose body on the ground and back to your disheveled appearance.
If you weren't about to close your eyes for the longest nap of your life, you would say there's a faintly panicked urgency in his voice as he speaks.
"Y, what the hell- what the fuck happened here, who-", he messily brushes your sweaty hair away from your face, and you flinch again at skin-to-skin contact, "-are you okay?"
You chuckle. Or at least you think you're chuckling, but you're just awkwardly coughing in the other Agent's face. "Ow Minho 'r you worried, mh? I'm finee."
"You look like you're about to faint."
"Yeah, catch me," you mumble.
The last thing you hear is Minho's huff as you drop your weight into his arms, and everything drifts to black.
You dream of a secret. 
You can't see anything, but you know what is in front of you, you've known all your life, and just now you're starting to see the outline, the hidden meaning, the answer.
You feel everyone walking past, everyone leaving, and then you feel him.
He doesn't move, doesn't fit in, doesn't make sense, but he's there. Waiting. Alone. Always.
When you shoot up in your bed, a shin of sweat coating your body, clenched fists piercing through hurt palms, you're the most confused you've ever been. 
You blink to get accustomed to the hot summer sunlight shining from the tall window, and you're surprised to find your eyes freshly wet from salty tears.
Candy. Party. Bathroom. Lizards. Dream. Him.
You browse through the dazed memories of your last 24 hours.
What happened was your responsibility, your fault, and you know it's just a fortunate circumstance that you're waking up unscratched and safe. Mortified, but safe.
You note M had the decency to undo the metal straps of your boots that are neatly tossed to the side of a velvety armchair.
Taking in your surroundings, you force your aching limbs to move, to find your partner, (to whom you owe a reluctant but genuine 'thank you'), and get back to work. 
After ten minutes of stumbling around broken pieces of valuable vases, glittery confetti, and an amount of wasted food that makes you wonder if people can, in fact, eat normally, you reach an untouched angle of the penthouse.
As you digest the excessively fancy living room with golden details on every piece of furniture, your eyes venture to the big terrace overseeing the ancient arena on which Minho and another man are hushedly talking.
Images of the dream flash before your eyes, and you can't help but wonder what his presence meant.
He's standing there, alert, shoulder tense, a conflicted look troubles his dark eyes, his brows furrowed, and in normal circumstances you would be teasing him, telling him to relax and stop being so sullen only something tells you this is not one of those.
You inch closer as the blond man asks M something, to which he replies with a resigned shrug and a small, imperceptible nod.
Then a familiar folder is passed between them, and you freeze, observing as M scans the paper in his hands.
The file. Your file.
Can you feel betrayed by someone you didn't trust in the first place? 
Can you be so entitled to feel like you're being back-stabbed by someone who you're actively trying to use, someone who's just collateral, someone who's just there, doing his job?
You see his eyes close for a second, and when they open you almost flinch at the disappointed rage they hold, a composed fury that's way scarier than anything you've seen him do.
M pats the other man on the shoulder and takes his leave, walking in your direction. 
Now there's the question of how you're going to proceed with this. 
When Minho rounds the corner where you're hiding, you make sure to put up a display of feigned innocence and soundly gasp as you stumble into him.
"Hi...", your voice is breathy.
"You're awake. Good, we have to go soon,” he looks nonchalant as he says it without looking you in the eyes.
So this is how he wants to get on with this uh?... he's not gonna acknowledge it or confront you or something like that?
"Yeah, I want- I think I have to thank you...?"
"I've already talked to Changbin."
"You talked to him?"
"Yeah, he drugged you, and it was wrong. I told him that."
"He didn't drug me. He asked. I said yes."
"Well, he should have known better than to offer it to you"
"Stop treating me like this."
"Like what?"
"Like you're babysitting me! With your condescending tone and everything! Stop it! It was my decision, my responsibility! I made a choice!"
"Well, maybe you should stop acting like a baby then!"
"I'm not acting like a baby! You make it impossible for me to work like your equal!"
"Y, you were high and were almost- that was not a decision! Hell, that was not a choice! And it was not your fault!". He's looking at you with an undecipherable expression, eyes wide.
"I had to carry your unconscious body out of a bathroom that looked like a crime scene without knowing if you were going to be okay! Without knowing if what they gave you was going to kill you! If you want to be my equal then start by thinking before you act out on pettiness to get attention!"
He starts marching away, expecting you to follow.
"If you want to be my equal, consider that there has to be a bond built on trust, and right now I can't trust you-,” his voice cracks imperceptibly as he murmurs the last words, "-if you act like this."
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“Look, I can understand you’re scared, I mean I’m a little scared too-"
"I’m not scared."
"No, no me neither- but you can't stop talking to me out of the blue like this,” you're full-on whining now.
He raises a skeptic eyebrow without looking at you, his eyes fixed on the road while he drives. "Out of the blue?"
After the not-so-civil discussion at Changbin's place, M has not said a word for the whole hour and a half meant to get to your target location, and you don't know if you can really blame him after he read your highly compromising, highly illegal and highly 'it's not what it looks like' private dossier.
On top of the ever-growing frustration and stress you're feeling right now, there's the constant possibility of your 'partner' arresting you and/or taking you out, and not in a romantic way.
"I know we've had our ups and downs, but can you at least tell me what your blond friend told you?"
His eyes flash for a second, and you're sure there's alarm in the glance he throws in your direction. "I- how do you know he's blonde?"
"Oh sorry, I- uh, I thought the guy we passed on the balcony while we were going away was your informant since you came from that direction, I just assumed...". Lies, lies, beautiful lies.
"I got the location. We should be there now.” He hazardously stops the black car in front of a spiked iron gate, gets out, and without waiting for you, starts climbing the only barrier between you and what you're hoping to find.
"Hiding a super-secret weapon in an abandoned warehouse is so cliché it's almost genius," you absentmindedly mutter as you try to imitate the intricate parkour move M just showed off.
"Do we know where to look?", your voice echoes lightly, bouncing from wall to wall.
"We don't"
The place is big. Too big and too empty, creating a ghostly atmosphere that doesn't sit right with you.
Infinite pillars of concrete stretch through the dust-filled space, vanishing in the dark end of the east wall, and stray sun rays coming from the high and greasy windows draw abstract patterns on the grayish asphalt under your feet.
You mindlessly wander around for what feels like hours, kicking stray debris in the occasional little hole in the ground you imagine was used for draining of some sort, when you start sensing a familiar pattern.
Not a sign of acknowledgment, but looking at them from another perspective, the holes start to form something.
"My god- M!"
Minho snaps his head in your direction from the other side of the building, eyebrows raised in a questioning look.
"M, I know what- these are stars, look! This is Algedi and that is Nashira! It's a constellation, and it points to..."
Then you see it. Hidden under a thick layer of dirt, small, utterly vapid, and yet it holds the heaviness of an apocalypse, the rage of people, and an oath of revenge and protection.
It's calling you by your name, and its familiar voice lures you in, grabs you by the hand, and asks, begs to take it with you wherever you're going. 'Take me home' it whispers, and like in a trance, you feel your feet moving without your brain's consent. 
A strong grip tightens around your wrist and snaps you back to reality.
M is staring at you alert, his hold on you stronger every second that passes.
"What?", you whisper, almost afraid to wake up the small object at your feet.
"Just... be careful. We don't know what it is."
His eyes are made of stone, expressionless, cornering, analyzing every breath, every little movement you make.
"Why are you looking at me like that?", you unconsciously step back, away from his judging gaze.
"I'm waiting..."
Another step. "For what?"
"For you to do what you're here for." 
"Which is? M, what you're saying- I don't understand...", you whisper as your hand slips into the back pocket of your ironed black pants and silently grabs the neuralyzer.
"I'm sure you don't, Agent, but I know what you are. Now open it." His head nods towards the small triangle-shaped object on the filthy floor, and you feel your stomach shrink in fear of what his words might mean.
"Minho please, I don't think I-"
As you say his name, his eyes flash with a deep and red angry betrayal.
“Activate the fucking thing!", he yells, his broad voice echos through the empty warehouse, his laser gun points directly at your face. Shaky hands give away what he looks too scared to admit.
And then it starts, the original game of cat and mouse, only today, the cat is furious and is not going to back down.
You manage to stay still. The first warning shot lands on the concrete pillar near your head, but as soon as his intentions are clear, you dash through the distance that separates the two of you and tackle him to the ground with a force you didn't know you possessed. A thin cloud of dirt rises as you roll on top of him.
"Don't consider this as an admission of fault or something like that, M. I'm merely looking out for myself right now and-"
You feel the palm of his hand connect with your nose, and your head swings back, taking your body with it. 
"Looking out for yourself, how fitting for a traitor."
"Stop saying these things like I know what you mean!" You touch your nose, and your fingers come back a deep red; you wipe them on your shirt.
"And you stop behaving like the innocent girl you think you are," he gets closer, "and show yourself for what you really are."
You block a kick aimed at your stomach and taking advantage of your position, you strike M on the back. He falls back on the ground with a huff.
With a hold on his purple hair, neuralyzer ready to make him forget you ever existed, your exasperation and exhaustion bleed through your voice. 
"And what am I!?" 
"An alien! A destroyer of worlds and a terrorist!"
Your world stops, and your eyes go out of focus for what feels like minutes. Do you believe him?
"I-I don't-", you let out a loud groan as Minho hurls you to the ground; air leaves your lungs, and you squirm in pain like a bug on a windshield.
The time to inhale sharply and a heavy boot is pressed against your chest, leaving you breathless yet again.
"You're an alien, and you think you're sleek with that- that dumb look in your eyes, but I know everything.” He's smirking but his eyebrows are furrowed in confusion like he's trying to explain the situation to himself first. 
"All this time you were looking for the weapon to use it on this world and every world you consider unfit to survive, and you knew it would work, you knew you had to be here because just as your mother before you, you are the key."
You're clawing at the shoe constricting your airways when a realization occurs, one that feels like bestowed upon you by some sadistic god that loves torturing its followers.
"It was not meant to happen like this... you were not meant to be here like this, that's why I saw you, that's why you didn't go away, you didn't have a place to go...", you pant, eyes wide.
His boot relents for a second, distracted by the disorientation of its owner, who doesn't seem to understand your ramblings, but it's ready to go back to its work as you shift slightly under its control.
"You can't really blame me, can you?"
With a knee on your neck to prevent any move, he grabs your limp hand and sets it on the little, smooth triangle that hums, emitting a soft green hue at your touch.
"You can only blame yourself, Y/N.", your name is thrown at you like a dagger, gelid and mocking as it escapes his guilty lips for the first time, and you're not sure if this is how you want him to say it. Not now, not ever, not him.
“I didn't- I did not come here for this, I swear Minho please, I thought that we- I thought we were partners, that this was…" It’s a whimper that escapes you, and you can't understand where it comes from, which pain is causing it. 
Did you unconsciously believe that the little thing of back and forth you had was genuine? That you found an improbable friend in the sarcastic and stern Agent? Are you this desperate for affection? You hate yourself, and you want to scream.
"Don’t act like you’ve not been lying to me this whole time. I’m just doing my job..."
His gaze holds a tired conflict you have never seen on anybody. You imagine him fighting against whatever he's struggling with just like he did with you: choking the worry but letting it survive because he knows that it might be legitimate. That he might be wrong after all.
With a tired shove, his foot releases your chest.
"Just doing my job..."
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Minho's life began here.
The pristine white walls of the Agency were there when he doodled on them with a permanent marker and got scolded by his father while his mother laughed. He was two.
The cool air slide that took the Agents to the garage was there when he sneaked out with Chan to sit inside technological cars and eat snacks from Starpan. He was eight. 
The strategic planetarium was there when he kissed the cute Hunvilian kid from his human studies class. He was thirteen. 
And the Agency was still there when he watched his parents beg him to end their pain and kill them before things got worse. He was still thirteen and he didn’t deserve any of it.
No one even had the time to react to the attack, and before anyone could realize what was happening, many Agents were already bleeding out on the floor, lifeless, their eyes scooped out of their sockets, leaving a hollow space from where tears of blood clawed at dull skin.
Minho remembered from his diligent studies that this was a signature move, a threat for anyone stupid enough to play hero, an invite for cold revenge given out by the Vacuis: hostile and vicious alien species, thirsty for violence and bane of the universe the Agency was created to protect.
Minho knew that being subject to the perverse manipulation of the Vacuis meant losing oneself to madness, seeing things, begging to die, but he still wondered how could his parents ask him something so atrociously vile, something so intrinsically cruel. 
Just when they thought he was mature enough to understand things, he wanted to still be considered a child before their cries; he wanted to be kept in the dark, not being able to understand what they were asking of him.
"Do it Minho, please"
"Mom why? I don't want to-why?", his broken voice tried unsuccessfully to contain the sobs in his throat.
"Minho baby, do it please. Do it for mommy, yeah?"
"Mom I can't- please I-"
"Useless Minho! If you loved us you would do it, you useless child!"
As his mother's voice echoed screeching through the death-filled hall of rotten bodies, Minho decided that he was going to be useless and save himself from something that would have been bigger than what he could take.
With shaky legs and tear-stained cheeks, he took his time to look, and when he was sure there was nothing left in their eyes, he mouthed a painful 'sorry' and staggered away, roaming the white hallways like a ghost, looking for someone he could still trust. Someone like Alpha.   
The Agency is still present now, as Minho takes the crystal elevator to the oval office that oversees every operation. The Agency is present, but he doesn't know if that's a good thing anymore.
He thinks of your eyes. How they held a confused and painfully lonely glaze, how they were staring at him and only him as you were dragged into the black windowless jet and back to the headquarters. 
But you are just like them, just mean, wretched, treacherous, manipulative, and a liar, and maybe if he keeps trying to convince himself of this, he will really believe it.
Four levels below him, you're having what you think is the beginning of a panic attack.
You've managed to stay relatively calm and composed for almost an hour, but you feel the dam of your mind starting to let all the agony and profound grief out. Letting anguish bleed through your mouth, your ears, your nose.
How could this happen? Why?
You miss your mom. You miss a guide. You miss someone, anyone. 
You let yourself slowly sink onto the cold white floor of the cold white room with cold white lights. Everything is so white, and it makes you so angry. And sad, and scared, hopeless, and after a long time of ignoring signs, of turning away your head, of waiting for things and people and answers, you cry. 
You cry, weep for yourself and maybe also for him, who you're suddenly scared to lose like you lost everyone else.
You cry because this was not your choice, nor his, and you’re starting to think that you don’t deserve all this bullshit at all. 
You cry because it hurts deeply to be a pawn.
You cry because you’re tired. And he is too.
Him. M. Minho.   
"-Minho are you listening? I'm speaking to you Agent, I would like your attention."
"Yes, I'm sorry Sir. I'm listening Sir"
"The mission report Agent. Is the terrorist dead?"
"Dead, Sir? No... but she's confined and won't escape, Sir, maybe that's what you meant...?"
Alpha's expression falters for a second, morphing into one of veiled disgust that has Minho straighten his posture and look around the familiar office of his mentor. 
"Yes, yes, yes! Confined! You're always right my boy! But now where's the-", the man vigorously gesticulates with his hands as he impatiently paces back and forth, "-where's the thing- the weapon!"
Back and forth, back and forth, rhythmically, so creepily mechanical that Minho's convinced he could keep the time just with his steps.
"Yes Sir, I was on my way to the labs before you called for me. I'll take my leave"
The clock stops and shoots at Minho with an ominous look.
"No! No my boy-", the man whose protruding veins are dangerously close to bursting, chuckles dryly, "you see, it's a matter of utter importance, my boy. I have to handle it myself, don't worry about it, my boy"
This interaction could be considered normal if it wasn't for two key factors Minho can't stop his brain from pointing out. 
Two huge and angry red flags that have been waving right in front of his eyes from the moment he stepped foot in the office. Red flags that maybe are the last bits of something that has been going on for so long, insulting his years of training because of how blind he's been.
One: the left corner of the spotless white rug under the desk is folded as if someone tripped over it. Alpha doesn't allow imperfection.
Two: in the two decades Minho has been alive and breathing, Alpha has never, not even when he was an actual child, called him 'my boy'.
And so the first punch Minho throws lands straight on the impostor's nose. The man grunts and cradles his jaw. A cruel smirk forms on his lips.
The second punch strikes right in the man's stomach. He doubles over; a dark chuckle leaves his mouth.
The third, and the fourth, and all the ones that come after that are aimed at his disgusting bloody face that stares back at him with a calm mockery. 
A silent, knowing expression that awakes in Minho a rage buried so deep inside his unforgiving heart he almost forgot existed.
"Yes, my boy let it out," Alpha's face starts to vanish as the alien coughs. "How blinded by despair you are, how betrayed you feel, let it all out like it's going to serve something." Again that chilling laughter.
"What did you do to him?", Minho hushedly seethes, angry sobs threatening to spill out. Another punch.
"We took his face six months ago. Don't you feel stupid?"
"Shut up!" Another punch. "Answer me! Why did you take them into this?! Why now? You could have just used her dying mother! Why now!? Why him!? Why her!?”
"Look at you being greedy… she’s going to vanish just like everyone else.” The man coughs blood.
“What do you think, kid? I know you're smarter than this Minho... I know it now, I knew it when you left your parents to die a long time ago... We don't forget such things."
With these last words, Minho is left stunned, wordless. His body won’t move, he's frozen over the man. A fist hovers over the bloodied face and, only for a second, nothing moves.
“Did you really think you were lucky enough to survive the attack on your own?”, the blood in his mouth gurgles when he lets out a dry chuckle.
“Agents with a life of experience died- your parents died, and you thought you were lucky? Boy, you are an experiment, a mere representation of how cause and effect work, of how the seeds of revenge silently grow in a weak human, of how long one can live after seeing something so gruesome.”
“I-I don’t.”
“We know you don’t Minho. We know…” 
The alien wrinkly hand shoots out and grabs Minho’s neck with a force no normal person would possess. It’s like a morse, slowly closing on his consciousness, stealing him away from reality. As darkness creeps on him, he thinks he hears a voice.
“The key is passed down when an heir is born, my boy… it’s always been her Minho, she was always meant to die anyway.”
Who has to die? 
Not you. You can't die, not before he can say he's sorry. Not until he can’t save you. Save everyone. 
With the little force Minho still stores inside of his body, he smashes his foot on the impostor’s knees that buckle, giving him the time to dash to the ajar door of the office, down to the cells.
Mino runs to you. Hot, fat tears streak his pale cheeks on a path they know all too well.
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“You can’t treat me like that and expect me to help when you’ve finally lost what you believe in, M. It doesn't work like that and you know it.”
Your hoarse voice makes the bitter laugh that escapes your lips scrape your throat.
You look pathetic. You just know it. He knows it. The pitying expression he tries to hide so hard, telling you everything you need to know. 
You fell asleep on the hard floor after crying yourself to exhaustion. 
Now the sheer panic of before molds into a mask of compliance and attempted apathy, miserably failing as your puffy, bloodshot eyes and the residues of your runny nose stand out like a sore thumb in the frame of your face.
“I thought that after- I mean, I thought you were someone else…”, your voice trembles as he scrunches his bushy eyebrows in a sympathetic frown from across the laser barrier that stands between you.
“Y/N, we met a week ago, I- “
You close your eyes, head in your hands and the corners of your lips raise gently. “I know, I know. I should have predicted all this. Really, it was my mistake. It was really naive of me but you know…” 
“Y/N, if I could have done things differently, I would have. I didn’t really have a choice, you have to understand this is our job, I-”, his rambles fall on deaf ears.
“Stop.” It’s just above a whisper and you're surprised he even hears it. “Stop saying my name like you know what it means, like you know who I am. All this time, M?”  
“From Changbin’s party- but it wasn’t my intention, I just- I had to…”, he does everything to not leave your eyes. He’s climbing mirrors and you can hear the screeching of his nails every time his beliefs crumble, word by word.
“Fuck you with this ‘it wasn't my choice’ bullshit! If you really didn’t want to, you could have stopped, M! What was holding you back, uh?! Curiosity? Resentment? What!?” So much anger.
"Loneliness! Fear! I am fucking helpless when I’m alone, Y/N! I am- I was in no condition of doubting the only link to my past I had! I wouldn't have forgiven myself, and,” you can see your grief reflected in his eyes, “Y/N there's so much you don’t know about this and you have every right to demand an apology, but there's no time. I have no time to beg… “
“I’m sorry for your loss, M.”
“I feel sorry for yours, Y.”
His arm reaches for the control pad on the wall and the barrier immediately vanishes with a short buzz.
You pass him and you think you feel him lean in. To see if you’re really who he wants you to be. And not a mask. Not an impostor. 
You brush his knuckles and as you start marching towards the garage, he lets out a shaky breath. One that had been there for too long.
The drive to the only building high enough to serve as a weapon-launching spot is silent. 
It’s fast and saturated with unspoken words, both of you wanting to save explanations for after the prevention of the annihilation of Earth.
Minho is tense: his hands grip the steering wheel so hard his fingers turn white and he checks the rear mirror every ten seconds exactly.
“What happened to you?”
He looks at you for a second before focusing back on the road.
“Even if I knew what happened, what I’m feeling, I wouldn’t know how to talk about it…”
The chuckle you emit makes him turn his head again; his eyes widen at your reaction and once again he thinks about how unreal you feel. 
The curiosity of a child, the past of a damned, the mind of who’s got nothing to lose but still fights for something. Because of duty? Revenge? Maybe because of fear. He doesn't know it yet.
“What? Don’t look at me like that, It was funny c’mon.” You’re looking out of the open window; the wind whiffing your hair all over the place.
“Did you really not know anything about being the key?”
You turn to look at him. “If you want me to be honest I think I know less than you”
He scoffs. “Great”
“But… I-I think- no, I know I saw you…” 
It feels so weirdly intimate to say out loud. That he crosses your dreams without looking both ways, without an invitation. Or maybe the invitation was given out by a seed of affection, of attachment to a person that understands what you feel to a certain extent.
“You saw me?”  
“A while ago I dreamt about this ‘key’ situation, like… I think my consciousness was trying to tell me what my mother couldn’t, that I was the key, that I was born for a reason and all that bullshit, and I saw you…”
He stops the car in a dark alley that you suppose serves as a dumpster for the Chinese restaurant on the main road, and the dread of having arrived fills you to the brim.
“M, everyone- my mother, my father, hell, I saw my past self leaving me, walking away, disappearing, but you stayed there.” You unbuckle your seatbelt, ready to get out of the car and into battle. “You looked lost and- and I think it’s because you weren’t meant to be in my life. Your story is not written in my destiny if that makes sense…?”
You realize he’s staring at you with a funny glint in his eyes, the corners of his mouth are raised in a gentle but small smile. “Is this your dramatic way of turning me down?”
Saliva gets stuck in your throat as you frantically look for an answer in the chaos his words created in your head, and you start coughing louder and louder as he starts to… chuckle?
“Wait, I didn't mean it that way! I was just-”
He stops your ramblings with an everything-but-calming hand on your thigh. “It pains me to tell you this because you’ll never let me forget about it, but I’ll love hearing about how you dream of me after we don’t die, okay?” 
This whole thing is so weird. What the fuck is happening. Is he an alien? He’s definitely an alien, fuck what did they do to the real him.
And you punch him. 
“Ow- fuck you! What the hell was that for?!”
“Oh my- I’m so sorry! Please, you’re never like this, I thought you were an alien I panicked! I’m sorry!”
His voice comes out nasal as he pinches his hopefully-not-broken nose. “If you must know,” he aggressively jabs his pointer finger at you, “I’m a very approachable person if I don’t suspect you want to destroy my world”
An offended expression spreads on your face. “Well, and whose fault is it, uh?”
“Whatever, get out. We’re gonna talk about this later.” He slams the car door in your face and starts walking towards your demise.
You scramble out of the car to follow him. “Wait! Is this a threat?! And- wait did you just admit that you want me to ask you out?”
“Shut up, Y/N.” And he’s back to his old asshole self.
You stand on opposite sides of the large elevator that’s taking you up to the roof of the huge skyscraper; an annoying tune plays in the background of your thoughts. 
Millions of questions swim between the two of you but the knowledge that the other will not be able to answer is enough to keep a tense silence stretched while you wait for the ‘ding’ signaling you've reached your floor.
Surprisingly, you don’t think of the past, of what could have been. You don't even think of the present if you have to be honest; of the nearing possible end of the world, to your probable death, no. You let your mind wonder about the future. How you’ll grow up and gently caress your scars, admiring yourself in all the strength you own. In all the strength you are.
You foolishly whisper to yourself that, maybe, if you manage to work things out, you’ll not be alone in the future. Someone could be there, waiting for you. Staying, for once.
As the elevator doors open, a gush of air makes the hairs on your arms stand up. Or maybe that’s fear that you don't want to acknowledge.
This up in the sky the noise of the city below reaches you in a muffled buzz; the horns of the traffic, the chatter of the people, all mashed together in a low static sound.
From the position you’re in, the roof is empty, plain; a lonely reclinable chair sits in an angle with an empty beer bottle on the side. Everything is calm, normal even. 
“M, what if we’re not in the right place,” you whisper, hugging your body in an attempt to warm yourself.
“It must be here. I can’t be wrong- it has to be here- I-”
“And it sure is here, my boy” a rough voice booms from your right. 
The dark silhouette of a man stands out against the sky illuminated by a faint moon, and your body freezes as you recognize the voice. 
“Because Minho, how could you ever be wrong, uh? You’re the most intelligent human we know”.
Minho’s hands grip the gun in his holster. He’s confused and you force your brain to think of something useful, but he’s there and looking at you with nostalgic eyes and his lips wobble slightly when you tilt your head to the side trying to understand.
“Dad?” with the corner of your eye you see Mino’s eyebrows furrow deeper into his face.
It can’t be true and you know it but part of you just wants to hug the man; despite everything you miss him so much.
The figure turns to you fully, and you have to take a deep breath. “Oh, my little star, look how much you’ve grown. Your mom would be so proud of you” he coos with a sickeningly sweet hint to his voice.
Minho takes a step forward effectively shielding you from the man. “Y/N, this is not his face, I saw your father in your dossier, this is not him”
“But he is, M. I know what my father looks like-”, you insist.
“My little star, I’m sorry you had to find out everything like this. If your mother was here she would have never let the leeches of the Agency put their hands on you like this, I'm so sorry, Y/N.”
You move a hesitant step around Minho, trying to reach the outstretched hand of your dad. He’s waiting for you with a furrow along his face like some kind of ambiguous smile.
“If you knew why didn’t you tell me sooner? I could have been prepared, I could have made different choices,” your voice has a whiny edge to it. “It’s been so hard and I was so lonely.” Another step closer to the man.
Minho tries to get a hold of your arm but you swiftly pull away. “Y/N, stop. He’s a Vacuo, and you know it-”
“My baby, I know. I’m so sorry. I love you”
Another step and now you’re in front of him. You reach out to him, your fingers almost touching. Too focused on the feeling of belonging, of home, you miss the devious light that flashes in the man’s gaze. Before his hand can close violently around your wrist, a bang resonates through the windy roof and you see your father die again before your lucid eyes, his expression vanishing, molting, leaving room for the disgusting and beaten up face of the Vacuo.
For a moment, while the alien lets out a dry chuckle and regains his composure, you stand there; trembling hands covering your face. 
Then you charge your fist and smash it directly in the man’s face in a manner that’s so familiar to Minho’s, that he almost wonders if he’s living a deja vu.
“Well, I can’t say I’m surprised but I must admit, I thought you would have been too emotionally drained after the golden boy here betrayed you like it was nothing”, he holds your hands that violently grip the collar of his dress shirt.
“Shut up and- why the hell won’t you die!? He shot you in the fucking face! Just,” a punch, “stop,” a kick in the stomach,” existing!”, the last word comes out in an exasperated scream full of anger.
“I shot his stolen face, he has to die with his original one”, Minho’s gun is still unwavering, pointing at the enemy.
“Look at you two, oh gods. My boy and my little star working together”, you harshly throw him to the ground and he coughs up blood. “When we watched you grow up, we rejoiced at your succeses, you know? In another timeline, you two would have made perfect soldiers.” 
You’re both standing over his body and you have to resist the sudden urge to grab Minho’s hand and hold it dear to life in this shit moment.
“You are my little experiments, my perfect children, and I-”, he starts to get up on wobbly legs, “and I’m sorry I have to kill you both.” 
In less than a second, the Vacuo takes Minho in a chokehold and gets closer to the edge of the roof. Your hands fly to your gun but the alien holds up a pointer finger signaling you to stop. “Tut-tut, child. You wouldn’t want me to kill your little boyfriend messier than needed, now, would you?”
You let your eyes fall on Mino’s struggling form; his expression tells you to do everything you can to put an end to this thing, but you’re an egoistic person, and you just can’t watch him disappear too.
“Why do you even have to kill us?! I already unlocked the weapon. Just leave us alone!”
“You must consider me an idiot if you think I’ll let you get out of this still breathing, love. You’re both too dangerous to be alive, too smart for your own good, my children. Oh how lucky you’re parents would have been if we didn't kill them”
Minho’s face has started to turn an unpretty shade of purple. 
“Why are you doing this!? Stop!”
The man grins, his malice as tangible as the ground beneath your feet. “Because your world still has hope,” he clenches his forearms harder. “And you all need to learn that hope won’t save you when death comes. When we come.”
And like a dramatic entrance, the weapon sitting in the corner of the roof explodes with a bright light creating a thick stream of raw power that paints the moon an unsettling neon green.
A choking Minho manages to hoarsely speak words you don't want to hear. “Switch it off, Y/N… the key… p-please.”
You dash for the little triangle that’s causing everyone so much pain and try to ignore the warning roar of the Vacuo who’s slowly killing M.
Yesterday you didn’t even know you were the key, how does the world trust you with knowing how to take back what you started?
Your hands fumble with the weapon, trying to find anything that could mean salvation.
“Y/N, you know I will kill him!”, the Vacuo tries to top the noise that the bright light is emitting, and holds a passed-out Minho. You can feel your stomach drop at the sight of his closed eyes. “Haven’t you been lonely for enough time, Y/N!? We both know you can’t lose him too, right!?”
You realize you’re crying again and, in the midst of it all, you can’t help but feel embarrassed. “Having him doesn’t mean anything if we won’t have a future!” you scream back. Angry. Sad. 
Then without having to turn your head to look at the scene unfolding on the other side of the roof, you feel it. The incumbent feeling of dread, the premonitory sixth sense that anticipates death and pain. And you really want all this to be a dream, to not be real. But your head shoots back and as if in slow motion, you see the heavy body of your partner fall from the low edge of the roof and into the rumbling city as if in slow-motion.
You know the eyes already. The eyes that gain a new determination, that are too full of rage to cry, that are ready to burn everything down to avenge, the eyes you have right now. And all you do- all you have to do is scream.  
The stream of light seems to get bigger and bigger every second that your voice doesn't stop screeching in the night air. You see the Vacuo dare to step closer to you but the noise is too much to even stand on the other side of the roof.
“Y/N, stop!”, the man’s voice gets drowned by your rage.
“You don’t get to talk!” you speak like in a trance; your voice sounds distant, it seems to belong to another you. “I’ve lost my mother, my father, and everyone I’ve ever loved because of your kind, what makes you think you deserve to destroy me too!?”
The blinding light glows larger, stronger, creating a dome in the sky, ready to devour everything under it.
“You will perish and crumble under your own arrogance, and I will be watching you beg for my mercy, you understand!?”
You want to tell yourself to stop this and operate with your rational mind because you can see the edges of the building starting to crumble and float away from their existence in this universe, but you can’t. 
You’re mourning and you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, until a scream that is not yours cuts through the air, and you see the Vacuo kneeling on the ground, bleeding out on the floor.
A quivering hand that holds a knife like a lifeline slowly rises from the edge of the building and after the hand, a head and a body and you decide right at this moment that your favorite color is the bright purple of your partner’s hair.
The knife that just sliced through the alien’s calf, comes up and down again into the man’s back once twice, impaling him to the ground, hitting him relentlessly, with an unstoppable force and pace.
The Vacuo tries to fight Minho off with everything, anything. His hands claw at the young man's tights and you see as he desperately changes his face to Alpha’s. For a moment you see Minho’s eyes widen in a mixture of guilt and shock, his mentor is looking at him with a betrayed expression, but he doesn’t stop until the body of the now turned Vacuo impostor stops moving once and for all.
The dome of green light is slowly retreating on itself; you touch the weapon once again and the familiar hum is calmer, softer.
You let your wobbly legs take you to the crouching form of Minho’s body, and you crash into him with full force.  
He hugs you, hands gripping, almost trashing your shirt and you feel him sob into your neck. Fat, salty tears wet your chest and you can’t help but mutter words you hope are reassuring. “You did not kill him, M. They killed him and it’s not your fault, okay ?”, he takes a deep breath but his cries don't stop. “Alpha would be so proud of you right now…”
You’re exhausted; the adrenaline from before quickly fading, but you don't stop stroking his hair, threading your fingers in his soft, purple locks, undoing the knots.
“I’m tired, Y/N”, his voice is small, unsure, tired. 
“I know, me too”, your eyes are scrunched closed. “Your hands are shaking”
“How much longer will this last? I don’t know if I can take it”, he’s fainting again, his words slurring together as he falls asleep.
“It’s over, Minho. I will be there to help you when you wake up, okay?” 
At least you hope you will be awake when he opens his eyes again.
In the hazed state of your mind, you hear the nearing sound of voices from the elevator doors.
Someone screams both your names, and the last thing you see before you collapse to the ground is Jisung’s worried face that mouths something. You dumbly smile at him and everything goes black.
What an unceremonious ending to your heroic beginnings.
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Yesterday you woke up in a cold sweat after three days of being asleep, and to say you panicked when you found yourself tied to a bed in a white room with a one-way mirror, would be an understatement. You trashed and screamed for what felt like hours before an alarmed nurse burst through the door with an alluring glass of water in one hand and an aspirin in the other. 
The first rational words you spoke were a mix of ‘where’s Minho’ and ‘fuck it hurts’ that miserably came out as a loud ‘fuck Minho’, and when the kind-eyed nurse, with an amused smile, nodded his head towards the huge one-way mirror, you felt like crying out of joy.
Somewhere behind that ostracizing glass, he was alive. And you were too.
Now you stand behind a makeshift curtain on an improvised stage; both your black suits ironed to perfection, your combat boots laced up. 
The white bandages that scarf Minho’s bruised neck peek out of the collar of his shirt but he’s never looked more stunning. You’re sure this could be an awakening of some sort, but at this moment in space and time, you can’t help but focus all you have on the rising anxiety that makes you wipe your sweaty palms on your pants.
“Are you okay?”, you don't look at him when you speak with a breathy voice.
“Are you really asking me? You look like you’re about to have a heart attack. Calm down, Y.”
Closing your eyes doesn’t make the crowd of people behind the curtain disappear, and you know it. “I-I know, I’m sorry, I’m just- I don't do well with public speaking, or public anything really, and- why are you looking at me like that?”
His dark eyebrows are so raised that they disappear into his hair. “You’re literally the most extroverted and talkative and noisy person ever and you never shut up and you’re tryna tell me you’re glossophobic?”
You scoff, incredulous. “Oh, look at you using big words I don’t know to shit on me. ‘Look at me, I’m Minho and I love to gaslight my friends into thinking they’re dumb’. Yes, I don’t like talking in public, and?”
You stand away from him with your arms crossed and an embarrassed blush on your face you hope he won’t notice.
“We’re friends?”
You turn around and look up at him with an amused smile. “Is that all you got from me telling you to fuck off?”
“I’ve learned to filter all your ramblings”, you chuckle and miss the way his eyes twinkle at the sound of your laugh. 
“Give me your hand.”
“Just give me your hand!”
“Jeez, okay, just- if you lick it I'll kill you.”
He sneers and looks at you confused. “Why would I even lick your hand?”
“I don't know, It’s just to be sure and-”
And? One could ask. And what, Y/N? You can’t leave us hanging like this. But you can because he’s intertwined his long and callous fingers with yours and has gently placed them in the warmth of his suit’s pocket.
You look up at him again, this time with wonder and a soft glow of admiration, you don’t know for what precisely.
“I can talk for us”. And the weird use of the pronoun ‘us’ makes you want to kick your legs like a teenager.
From the other side of the curtain, a cheerful voice announces your code names and you step into the light before the eyes of a sea of black suits.
The two hours of the press conference pass in a blur and you’re back in your room before the sun disappears completely under the horizon.
Saving the world and surviving an A level threat apparently doesn't mean that sleep comes easy, and you find yourself lying awake in your bed, staring at the fluorescent stars you stuck to the ceiling the day you joined the Agency, and wondering, imagining what a future with this past would mean. Fear. Resentment. Maybe regret? You wish for hope.
Honestly, the only question you have to ask yourself is: ‘what do you want it to mean?’
Your bare feet seem to have found an answer because they touch the cold floor and exit the door of your living quarters, leaving behind a disheveled bed full of doubts. 
They take you up the stairs and to the other wing of the apartment building, in front of a simple black door that stares at you questioningly. 
What are you doing here? It seems to whisper when you stand immobile, not even blinking.
I don’t know. You want to answer, but talking to inanimate objects is not normal and you hold back.
You go to knock, but your hand stills, as the door is thrown open by the owner of the room, who stares at you with surprised wide eyes, and a long strip of gauze hanging from his mouth. He’s shirtless, and you can see for the first time how unforgiving his life has been.
His chest is littered with scars, some old and faded, some fresh and bold; a constellation of purple bruises chains his neck, and a string of little burns marches its way under the waistband of his pants.
The suffused light that comes from inside his apartment crowns his head like a halo. 
His head tuts to the side confused. “Wh’ ‘re yo’ doin’ here?”
“W-What?” Because you didn’t understand? Because you can’t seem to form a coherent thought? You don’t know.
He spits the bandages into his hand and throws a sheepish smile your way. “What are you doing here? You should rest.”
You scoff. “You’re walking around like this,” you point at him dramatically, “and you’re scolding me? Typical.”
He yawns a smile and scratches his neck. “I’m having problems with the whole ‘disinfect and change bandages every two hours’ thing. I was going to Han's to ask for help”
“You asking for help? A thing I didn’t know I would hear before my heroic, super dramatic death.”
He chuckles. “Yeah, yeah, happens to the best of us.”
A weird tension falls on the deserted hallway. You can hear someone’s TV humming a tune from two doors away and you can feel his eyes boring curious holes into your brain.
“I…”, you shift on your bare feet; the gray moquette of the corridor keeping them warm. 
“I could help you… if you- ahem- if you want- or-or I could go call Han and tell him you need him… yeah I’m gonna do that, cool-”
“Okay what?”
“Okay, you can help me change my bandages”, he repeats and moves to the side to let you into his apartment. Not a sign of hesitance in his voice.
“Soo… this is your… hole mh?” Oh, how you hate uncomfortable silences.
He walks to the huge white couch and lays with his head propped on the armrest. “Why are you being so weird? You’ve seen this place already, or have you forgotten about when you invaded my home without my consent and punched my best friend in the face?”
Embarrassment flushes your face. 
Fucking Minho. You hate him but not really because when you sit beside him, in the little space he left for you, the way he stares up at you is priceless, with his twinkling eyes, and the amused tilt of his lips, and the messy purple hair, the mole on his nose.
You have to physically shake your head to regain the composure he knows you lost. “I’m gonna leave if you keep making fun of me.” Your soak a cotton wad into rubbing alcohol and begin your ministrations.
He pouts. “But I thought I was your friend.”
“And you are!” He hisses as you jab the cotton ball a little too harsh into a fresh wound. “But as your friend, I’m telling you that you’re walking on very thin ice” A loose strand of hair falls from behind your ear.
Minutes pass and no one says anything. You can hear his breath hitch now and then but other than that he’s a wonderful patient. Until he isn’t.
“Mh?”. You don’t look at him, too focused on applying the healing cream on his bruised neck.
“We haven’t talked about what happened”. His voice is strained by memories, and you don’t have it in you to look into his eyes.
You put the cream to the side and start cutting the bandages. “And we don’t have to.” If you could, you would forget about everything all together.
From the corner of your eyes, you see how his are desperately looking for something. “Don’t we?”
“Y/N,” his fingers brush your chin as he puts the escaped lock of hair back in its place, “I wish I hadn’t been so stupid and-”
“Don’t really know if that’s possible”, you mock him under your breath. You’re starting to feel suffocated.
His eyebrows furrow in a glare from below you. “And I should have trusted you and believed you because-”
You chuckle. “Took you long enough, uh-”
“I’m literally trying to have a serious conversation right now, Y/N!” His hands grip your thighs to get your attention. 
“And I’m trying to avoid it at all cost, Minho!”. You’re glad you don't stutter. You know you want to sound harsh, angry, and hard-headed, but the slight trembling of your lower lip doesn’t help.
Tears threaten to spill from his eyes as he takes your face into his hands and gently caresses your temples with his thumbs, a sad smile on his mouth.
“I saw someone die- I saw you die and- and I was ready to sacrifice everything for my suffering, for my pain, and I was so scared Minho, I was- I am terrified, and I would have done it all, I swear I would have let the world burn without even thinking if you hadn’t survived, I swear, Minho” You’re sobbing, and your tears fall messily on his face, mixing with his own.
He’s listening and you realize you’ve not had someone to pay attention to you like this in a long, long time. 
“And-and I told you I would help you, that you could lean on me but I don’t know how to do that, and I don't want- I can’t afford to hurt you more than you’re already suffering by yourself. Minho, I’m so sorry-” 
He kisses you.
You go without breathing for a few seconds before you realize what is happening. And then you melt into his warm body, completely abandoning your mind to the sheer relief you feel holding him so close to your heart, so close to your future.
With your eyes scrunched closed, you let your hands venture to his soft hair, to the nape of his neck. Your fingers trace his brows as he completely devours everything you have to say, soaking it up like a sponge, preserving it like a safe.
You taste the salt of your tears and feel his hands strangle the soft fabric of your pajamas, using it to get you closer than you already are.
And in that infinite moment, you feel okay. You feel unbothered by the things that happened to you, you feel untouched by the past. You feel normal, safe.
When you part to breathe, he looks up at you like he already misses your touch, and you’re quick to satiate his and your anger, once, twice, the whole night, the whole time.
It's a little before sunrise when Jisung reads Minho’s messages from the night prior, and anxiously reaches his friend’s apartment to check on him, only to find the two of you messily tangled in a little corner of the huge couch. Minho’s hands hold yours over his heart and your face is nestled in the crook of his neck, your lips puckered in the memory of a kiss.
You literally fly out of Minho’s apartment as soon as you recieve Agent D’s memo to come into his office for a new mission.
You awkwardly run down the carpeted stairs of the apartment building, struggling to lace up your heavy boots, fastening your wrinkled tie. 
The elevator ride is filled with buzzing excitement and your feet can’t stop bouncing up and down in anticipation. 
At the ‘ding’ the doors roll open, and from there you just sprint down the straight hallway that takes you to the big fancy door that’s still completely out of place.
A loud, muffled laugh makes you smile in recognition, and after catching your breath and smoothing out the white shirt, you knock.
“Ah! Here she is!”, Agent D beams on the other side. “Come in! Come in!”
You step in and your eyes immediately find Minho’s with an annoyed glint. 
“A new mission, Sir?”
“Yeah, yeah Y, but while we were waiting for you I was telling our Agent J here, how the Rome mission went exactly, so I’ll be there in a second…”
Han is leaning on the polished desk and shoots you an almost pleading glance.
As the man animatedly explains to an uninterested Jisung how good the two of you fought, you jab your elbow in your partner's stomach, who almost folds into two. 
“You didn’t wake me up,” you whisper-yell. “Why didn't you wake me up?”
He’s smirking, eyes concentrated on the little man before you. “You’re just so adorable when you sleep. It’s absolutely not because you bit me while we were having sex yesterday. Not that at all.”
If your eyes could roll further into your head they would. “Aren’t you a little too petty for someone who actually liked it?”
He throws a kiss at you and winks.
“Anyways,” you fix your sleeves, “you took my shirt this morning.”
He looks down at his body in recognition; the buttons on his chest threatening to pop. “Oh, so that’s why- I thought I grew muscles overnight. I was gonna brag if you got out of bed earlier.”
You snicker under your breath and, throwing one sneaky glance at Jisung’s pained expression, you grab Minho’s tie and pull him in a short, sweet kiss, one that has him smiling into you.
“... and that’s how they managed to kill the Vacuo. Isn’t that awesome? By the way,” Agent D hands you a folder with both your initials on it, “this is your mission information. I’ll leave you two to it. Good luck!”
The three of you thank him with a small bow and exit the office.
“The next time he asks for me, just tell him I died or something. It’s the third time this month he narrates every little detail of the stupid adventure I wasn’t invited to.” Jisung grumbles as he drags his feet.
“I’ve already told you it’s not something to be jealous of, Ji”.
Minho throws an arm around your shoulders and smiles down at you. “No, please. Let him continue, I want to hear how jealous he is.“
As the two agents bicker like little kids, you let your eyes skim over the countless framed magazine covers on the walls of the long and sterile white corridor. 
'The IT couple of MiB back to work'
'The battle of Rome explained'
‘M&Y: when they twisted shadows back into stars’
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basicallyahedgehog · a month ago
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Today marks ten years since I made a fanfiction net account. Whilst I didn't post anything for another month, I count this as my fandomversary, as it splits the difference between the first fic I read and the first fic I posted.
Please indulge me as I get sappy for a moment 😂
When I was about 10 or 11 I first read Philosopher's Stone and instantly hated it because it "couldn't happen in real life." I don't even know if I finished the book or not, but I vehemently vowed to never engage with Harry Potter ever again. And then in 2012 - at 16 - my family visited my cousins who were in the UK for the year, and my little cousin convinced me to read her a chapter of POS. After putting her to bed I went back and read the first chapter, and upon my return home I borrowed the books from the school library and devoured them.
For the last ten years I've been known as the "Harry Potter nerd" in every friendship group. I went from zero to 100 in half a second flat, and I've never looked back. But I truly believe that if it wasn't for my fandom family I wouldn't still be consuming HP-related media - and definitely not creating it. I have friends that I made ten years ago in fandom that I count as family, and I feel so blessed to be adding to that number every day.
This fandom has given me so much. In the last ten years I graduated highschool, completed my undergraduate degree, met and married my husband, moved across the country, and started my Masters. I have learned things about myself that I never dreamed of, and I credit most of that to this fandom.
Through it all, fandom has been my one constant. The one thing I knew would always be there waiting for me. And my fandom family has been there for my highest highs and lowest lows. I'm not going to try to list people because I know I'll miss some. But you know who you are. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thank you.
What I love most about this fandom is how we have been able to take something and truly reclaim it as our own. It was HP fic and art that gave me the words to explain that sometimes I just need to go nonverbal. It was HP fic and art that first introduced the word "asexual" to me. It was HP fic and art - and the wonderful, incredible, huge-hearted people who write it - that gave me the space I needed to explore my gender.
To my non-fandom friends and family, this all just looks like a hobby. But it's so so so much more than that, and I will never, ever be able to articulate the true impact fandom has had on me, nor will I ever be able to give back even a tiny fraction of what I have been given.
If you have been with me on this journey for ten years or ten minutes, thank you. You have quite genuinely changed my life.
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