Tumpik
#slow burn
ao3screenshots · 2 days
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slow burn but like the free try out version
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Another Au centered around music & punk Steve(sorta) bc of Steddie twt talking abt switching it up to celebrity Steve & just some guy Eddie.
I do love a good trope reversal
Underground Metal Eddie x (pop)punk Steve
Eddie working at a guitar shop that mostly catered to metal & hard rock musicians with a preference for a certain crunchy sound.
Since he was into a very specific niche of gay power & thrash metal, Eddie didn't know Steve was a pop punk star when they meet
He knew who Stevie Dynamite was, of course he did, everyone did. He knew that the guy debuted at 15, was supposed to be some musical genius who could play any instrument.
Eddie remembered the early songs because they were so personal, haunting little folk proto punk songs w/ a glam pop edge about identity, isolation, & loneliness. They weren't his thing but they were better then the usual radio fare.
Three years later after a series of salacious magazine spreads, notoriously explosive deals with several different make-up and high end hair care lines, more scandals then you could count, public partying, public meltdowns, cancelled shows, article after article abt the King of Pop Rock losing his touch, a mediocre album full of bubble gum party till you drop songs, and open speculation abt the nature of his relationship with indie pop darling Birdie (but Eddie knows that's not what ppl think it is. Her music is wall to wall barely subtle sapphic yearning, if there's one thing he knows it's gay subtext)
The rumors got louder & more dramatic until, five years after he rocketed to superstardom Stevie Dynamite publicly sued his label & parents for control of his image & brand.
He won
Then he quietly disappeared.
Thus was the end of the bigger then life legend of Stevie Dynamite
So when Steve Harrington walked into the guitar store on some lazy Monday afternoon while Eddie was sitting behind the counter working on a song in his downtime. He had no idea who Steve was.
When the unknown hot guy in a Violent Femmes hoodie & a plain black beanie struck up a conversation about Eddie's lyrics he thought Steve was just another life long grind musician wanting to talk shop
When the guy introduced himself as Steve, Eddie didn't think anything in particular about it
When Steve seemed to be flirting a little Eddie chalked it up to the guy wanting a discount on whatever he was in to buy.
When he dragged Stevie Dynamite viscously for being an absolute fake from top to bottom, when one of his newer songs came on the shop radio, Eddie laughed and agreed.
When Steve asked Eddie for help choosing a guitar with a very particular pensive but angry victorious sound he was happy to help (Steve paid full price & if he was annoyed he didn't show it)
When the guy came in again next monday for a new amp, and the Monday after that for new strings Eddie was confused but happy to see him
When Steve came in the Monday after that asking for help with the writing of a song, a service he would be happy to pay for, Eddie said yes against his better judgement. He knew he was well and truly fucked by the happy burbling in his stomach at the thought of creating music with this incredibly hot man.
When they spent six months of Mondays holed up in the break room working on lyrics, Eddie tried not to examine what it meant.
And when Steve abruptly didn't come by one Monday, Eddie had no idea what the hell happened but he was disappointed.
When one Monday no show, became two, then three, Eddie decided he must've been ghosted, he picked his embarrassingly broken heart up off the floor and kept going, resigned to never knowing what happened with Steve.
In fact Eddie had no idea that Steve Harrington was Stevie Dynamite until the first royalty check came in with a $ number so high, Eddie thought he probably died without realizing it. He'd never even dreamed of holding that much money in his hand at one time.
The check was from Dynamite Records?!?!?! Stevie Dynamite's personal label?!?!
Through a haze Eddie remembered that a a few weeks ago Stevie Dynamite had released his first post corporate divorce album to a tidal wave of media fanfare and critical acclaim. Everyone who had an opinion about music swore the real Stevie Dynamite was back on top again. Eddie barely noticed it, he'd been to busy not caring that Steve ghosted him to pay attention to yet another meaningless corporate shill telling him to dance all night
He called the corporate number on the check
"Dynamite Records, Jonathan Byers speaking, how may I help you?"
"uhh yeah man, I think there's been some sort of mix up. I uhh-, Look my name is Eddie Munson & as much as I would love to keep this check. It couldn't possibly be for me and I really don't want to get sent to prison for check fraud so maybe someone should come and get it or something."
The man, on the either end of the line immediately relaxed into a more casual manner.
"Eddie hey man, I've heard so much about you. It's definitely not a mistake, he wanted you to have credit since you guys wrote the songs together."
"uhh not to seem totally clueless or whatever Mr Byers, but umm He who?"
"Jonathan is actually totally fine, we're all family here right? Stevie Dynamite of course"
"Ok, but how in the world does Stevie Dynamite know me & why would he want me to get writing royalties on his new songs?"
"... Fuck...He still hasn't told you has he?"
"told me what?"
Jonathan sighed a kindly exasperated sigh on the other end of the line.
"Eddie have you looked at the new Stevie Dynamite album?"
"No-, I uhh no offense or anything it's just glam rock pop punk isn't really my thing."
"it's fine, it's not mine either-, hmm well are you at work? No of course you are that's where we sent the check. He didn't know your home address. You know, I should've known he didn't tell you now that I think about it. Why don't you go take a peek, pay specifical attention to the dedication. I'll wait here."
Eddie heard some rustling as Jonathan leaned back, talking to someone else apparently.
"Argyle, babe, you wouldn't believe this. He still hasn't told Eddie."
Even further away he heard a good natured huff of laughter.
"Bro? No shit. Man... Babe, your ex is so beautifully weird. I wish I found out a pop star was in love with me w/ a fat check and an album full of love songs. Stevie boy has style at least... wanna hit this?"
What the hell was that all about? If they were getting high he might as well just go look at the album right? Right. No time like the present.
Eddie didn't know why he was so nervous
The album cover wasn't anything remarkable, tattoo flash art of a nail bat, a weird flower full of serrated teeth, and a guitar. It was called "Stevie Dynamite: Love, Death, and a Baseball Bat Named Baby"
Inside there was a lot of concept photography, Stevie Dynamite after a show, make-up smeared, staring into a mirror with empty eyes. Each page of lyrics had a new picture of Stevie with some of the glamorous accoutrements removed staring at himself in the mirror, first he took off his shiny rock and roll lace top, then he replaced his leather pants with sweats, the next he had on an old beat up violent femmes hoodie, lastly he took off all the flashy metallic glam rock make up.
The last picture was just Stevie Dynamite, No, Steve Harrington, his Steve Harrington fresh faced, staring into the camera with a note superimposed, written in loopy feminine handwriting, the dedication.
'To Eddie who's inspired me since the day I met him, who never gave a damn about Stevie Dynamite'a fame or reputation, who was kind to me because that's just who he is.
To Eddie who helped me find my love of music again, reminded me why I was here in the first place, and helped me write the most sincere and meaningful songs I ever have.
To the Eddie I was so afraid of losing to the gossip machine I couldn't quite tell the truth.
All those dumb love songs that you were always teasing me about writing were for you Eddie. No matter what, you deserve to know that. I'm sorry, I hope you can forgive me.
I love you,
Stevie Dynamite
(but you can still call me Steve if you want to)'
Eddie felt faint again. He picked the phone back up
"What the fuck Jonathan?"
"Yeah, man what the fuck. But that's our boy Stevie, passionate, loyal to death and back, more than a little impulsive, and terrified of his feelings. Once he decides he loves you, he's impossible to shake. I'm so sorry he sprang this on you like this man, but Argyle's almost done getting him ready. I'll send him your way when we're done ok?"
Eddie wasn't sure what he was agreeing to but he still agreed.
20 minutes later a leather clad pop rock god, slouched in, looked around from behind his dark sunglasses with disinterested affected distance, pushed those sunglasses up onto his head and magically transmogrified into Steve Harrington, the guy he'd been pining over for a month. They both sat in silence, each afraid to go first. Finally Steve cleared his throat and broke the oppressive quiet
"I'm sorry I stopped coming by, I was so afraid that once you knew you'd only see Stevie, not me anymore. I couldn't bear losing another person I loved to him. God he sucks."
"But... you're Stevie Dynamite right? I haven't hallucinated all this, right?
"No no, you definitely didn't. I mean, yeah technically I'm him, but he's still the worst. I kinda hate him"
"uhhh...."
"I know it's weird"
"No I get it-, I think,-, trapped in reputations of our own making and all-, but uhhh... You love me?"
"Yeah Eddie of course! How could I do anything else but love you? Didn't you listen to the album?"
"uhh-, well-, No? Glam Rock Pop Punk just isn't my thing"
To Eddie's surprise, Steve broke out in a radiant smile.
"Of course you didn't, what was I thinking? All that worry for nothing. I'm so-... Hey I'm about to go play a private vip show to celebrate the album's success, you want to come? I promise I'll explain everything-, No pressure though!"
Eddie still wasn't sure exactly what he was agreeing to, but couldn't even feel to bad about it when Steve blushed, radiant, bigger then life, like a rock god, as he pulled Eddie out the door.
Right then and there Eddie made a pact with himself to keep saying yes to Steve as long as Steve bothered to ask. He was to precious not to.
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youseeingthis · 8 hours
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Title: A Long Time Coming {2}*
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Lewis Hamilton x Friend Group Reader
Warning: Cursing, Teasing, Slow Burn, Plot, Raunchy/Crude Language, Jokes & Comedy
Words: 7.2k
Summary:  After a long, grueling and stressful 2023 season where Lewis dominated and showed the world once again why he was the best at what he does. He walks away with his 8th championship title and plans with his closest and bestest for some much-needed R&R. 
Note: If you couldn’t tell by the summary, we are manifesting with this fic, MANIFESTING HARD for Lewis for 2023. Also, thank you Ru for filling in some of the friend info for me. XOXO
Note II: I like the Daniel Ricciardo’s face and how he looks so sweet and unintentionally hot. He seems to have a good friendship with Lew, so I added him in.
Thank you for reading, I appreciate it!
If you enjoyed this, please, LIKE, COMMENT, REBLOG!!!
***NOT Edited/Proofread***
***Interactive***
{Part 1} 
~~~~~~~
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Meg the Stallion and Beyonce rang in your ear as you pounded your feet on the beach as you ran like your novel was chasing you badgering you to finish it this instant. You ran faster than you’d ever ran on one of your jogs. The sun was rising and it gave a beautiful distraction rounding out your group of distractions. You rapped out loud along with Meg and Bey using the bass to fuel you to push yourself harder. You ignored the burn in your thighs you pushed and pushed and pushed. You began shouting when it got too much but you still refused to stop.
 However, no matter how fast you ran, or how hard you pushed yourself you still replayed the events of last night. You still heard the muffled words from the other side of the wall. You heard the moans and the deafening silence. None of it wanted to leave your brain. This morning when you’d woken you still hadn’t wrapped your head around it. You’d gotten to the point to really wonder if he’d purposefully put you in the room beside them. Then you wracked your brain further wondering if it was maliciously done. 
Was he fucking with you in a psychological way? It didn’t make sense. You weren’t frenemies. Something like that you did to someone you didn’t really like or respect. You were sure there was no bad blood between you. However, when you took that away the answer you were left with was one you didn’t dare touch. You didn’t even dare to think about it. Instead, you shoved it into that untouchable travel back and avoided making any eye contact with it. It was edging the line of exploding from everything it was already holding.
 Your brain couldn’t handle many more things to think about right now. You were at capacity. You could feel your breakdown steadily approaching. You needed to blow off steam in the worst way. After pushing yourself for another fifteen minutes, you did another mile and a half then turned around to walk the whole four miles back to the villa.
 You took your time, thoroughly enjoying the quiet of the still brand-new morning, the beauty of the scenery and the calm of the sweet breeze wafting over your sweat dampened skin. A wave crashed to the beach and washed around your ankles. It was so warm and inviting you almost stripped and ran in. Instead, you peeled off your sneakers and socks and dropped into the sand. You weren’t in any rush to get back. You dug your phone out of the strap on your arm and took a few calming breaths. A fraction of an idea came into mind and instead of thinking about it, you pulled up your draft app and let your fingers fly.
 You’d expected a sentence or a paragraph at best, but after 2 pages you were still going. Would you be able to keep any of it? Who knew but you didn’t stop. Was what you were putting down unputdownable? Meh, still to be determined. By the time you ran out of steam, you had five pages. Deciding not to read it then and there you turned your phone off and focused on the view. Who needed any more than this?
 When you got back to the villa everyone was already sitting around the table where a massive breakfast feast was laid out.
 “There she is. Where you been girl?”
 You held up your shoes so they would get the drift.
 “How far today?”
 “Four and a half miles,” you replied to Gisella.
 “Damn girl, running from someone or tryna run off your ass?”
 You snorted. “Whatever, this ass is here to stay!”
 For emphasis you dropped a baby twerk showing off one of your best assets. Cassie, Robin, Nikki and Gisella cheered you on. Noticeably Justice remained silent, her eyes glued to her phone with a bored look pasted on her face. Interesting you thought.
 “Sit down let’s grub,” Lewis said.
 You ignored him, leaning down to grab a tomato from Nikki’s massive omelet.
 “Mmm. I’m gonna take a shower. Y’all go ahead.”
 Not waiting for any replies, you walked inside toward your room for that shower you desperately needed. Though your belly was grumbling from that small taste of Nikki’s omelet you took your time. It didn’t matter that you were having serious daydreams about identifying the smells you’d caught from that table, allowing your imagination to run wild. It didn’t matter that the longer you did that your belly got louder than your music. By the time you got out, your stomach was eating you from the inside out.  that was when you hurried your movements. Food was the ultimate motivator.
 When you stepped back out, the commotion was loud. Lewis was laughing and carrying on with someone across the table that was not there when you came back. After a few moments, his eyes landed on you and recognition hit you.
 “There she is. The life of the party!”
 You smiled widely as you approached Daniel.
 “Daniel Ricciardo!”
 You did a dab in front of him at the same time he did it then both of you giggled like idiots before he pulled you into a hug.
 “How are you?”
 “I’m good. What are you doing here? This isn’t Australia.”
 “Naw, I know. Lewis sent the invite, and I was like hell yeah. I’d never been to Mozambique so here I am.”
 “Regret it yet?”
 “Now that I know you’re here, not a chance.”
 You smiled, dipping your head at his words. The last season you’d spent a lot of time with Daniel. He and Lewis were close and got along well and because you’d been to every race weekend, you’d gotten to know each other better than just passing strangers. You enjoyed his company and more importantly enjoyed his face. He was always a gentleman and always sweet to you.
 “Such a sweet talker.”
 “Are you guys gonna chat the whole time let’s eat,” Lewis chimed in.
 His voice was tight as if he was speaking through clenched jaws. Again, you ignored him.
 “Shall we? Looks like you’re next to me,” Daniel said holding out his arm for you.
 “Yes, thank you.”
 You looped your arm in his and allowed him to lead him around the table to the two empty chairs remaining. Ever the gentleman, he allowed you to sit first by pulling out your chair.
 “Thank you. It’s so cool you’re here. Honestly, I like you better than any of the other drivers. You and Seb.”
 “Well, I like you better than any of Lewis’ other friends that came to the race weekends.”
 “Woooow,” Miles voiced mad loud.
 “Don’t be jealous,” you said sticking out your tongue at him.
 You brought your attention to the table to survey the dishes and quickly made a game plan. By the end of breakfast, you wanted every single dish in your belly. Taking your time, you filled your plate not caring that everyone could see how much of a glutton you were being.
 “I see why you need to run 4 miles,” Miles added.
 Without warning, you picked up a sausage and threw it at his head. When it hit him right on the mouth you sneered at him, “And hol’ dat!”
 Everyone laughed all at his expense.
 “Is after breakfast a good time to switch rooms?”
 You groaned internally at Nikki’s question.
 “Yeah.”
 “Why’re you switching rooms?”
 You ignored him again focusing on your food. You were not doing this passive aggressive shit with him right now even though your silent treatment was massively passive aggressive.
 “Y/N?”
 You pushed the strawberry pancakes into your mouth and moaned exaggeratedly hoping he’d get the hint and drop it.  
 “Y--.”
 “It’s nothing Lew, she just wants a different view. I thought the foliage and horizon would be a good one.”
 You could feel the tension off of him but still ignored him. The conversation turned and everyone began listing off things to do and places to see. Everyone had different ideas of what consisted of a vacation for them so within a few minutes the list of possible things to do had over fifteen things on it. You happily ate and chatted with Daniel when he leaned to you to spark conversation. You barely paid attention to the discussion to narrow down the itinerary.
 “Anything you wanna do, Y/N?”
 Lewis again attempted to engage you and by now you knew that he knew you were purposely ignoring him. This was his defiance to annoy you because the one thing you wouldn’t do is ignore Lewis Hamilton. God Forbid. You didn’t fall in though, instead, you looked to Daniel.
 “Anything you wanna do?”
 “The beach is calling my name.”
 “Mine too actually,” you seconded.
 “Yeah? Wanna hang with me then?”
 “Absolutely.”
 You could feel Lewis’ radar eyes on you boring hot holes into your head. He was daring you to look at him, but you didn’t. It would be more beneficial to ignore him. You knew every single button to push and right now you wanted to push every single one of them until he got the hint that you were pissed.
 After a pit stop in your room to change into a bathing suit, you attempted to find Nikki to get the room switch over with, but she was already gone with a few others to tackle that endless list of activities. When you walked back outside you bumped right into Lewis. Clenching your jaw, you attempted to step around him, but he stepped in your path to stop you. After two attempts you sighed.
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“Why are you giving me the silent treatment?”
 You glared at him then rolled your eyes continuing said silent treatment.
 “Come on kitten, you know these games are boring.”
 “Fuck you! You know what is boring, listening to you fuck your flavor of the month through the walls knowing I was on the other side of it. That—that’s boring and fucking childish.”
 You walked away not giving him the time to reply. You followed the path from the villa to the private beach practically stomping the entire way. Just before you got to where sand met stone Lewis slid in front of you. He didn’t speak though, he just stared you down. He was challenging you.
 “Also, why bring a flavor of the month that couldn’t suck a dick even if she had the first edition copy of the Kama Sutra? Pathetic.”
 You exaggeratedly rolled your eyes at him and pushed past him, clipping his shoulder intentionally. Instantly, you regretted the move. His shoulders were a lot broader than you remembered, and stronger too. A dull ache radiated in your shoulder from the aggressive contact, but you pushed forward. Before you got too far, you felt Lewis wrap his hand around your wrist and pull you back.
 You spun to him colliding into his defined chest. Your first reaction was annoyance and anger but at the feel of his impeccable abs and chest muscles pressing into the softness of your torso and breasts that anger cooled and made way for something else—something you weren’t prepared for, something you had to quash now.
 Lewis’ tongue darted across his lips ever so slowly pulling your attention and holding it for much longer than you wanted.
 “Were you listening in, kitten?”
 The look in his eyes was a teasing one of course but there was something else there. Something you hadn’t seen before. The look poked at you, goading you
 “Did you want me to listen in LewLew Boo?”
 His cocky smirk made an appearance before he leaned a little closer. His scent engulfed you. The sea salt and fragrant indigenous flowers around only enhanced it. The fire behind his honey kissed orbs burned into you. Neither of you spoke again. It was as if both of you were searching for something within the other’s eyes, something that would determine the next move.
 “Eh-Em!”
 Neither of you moved. Again, the sound came. You turned and found Justice standing there with a salty look on her face.
 “Am I interrupting?”
 You took a step back from Lewis but his hand on your waist remained. Glancing at him, you waited for him to release you. He didn’t though.
 “Is that why you want to change rooms?”
 He still hadn’t given any acknowledgement to Justice and his question only proved he wasn’t fazed she was standing there within earshot.
 “Maybe if I wasn’t next door, you’d be able to concentrate on the bad head. I mean—WAFF.”
 You saw the moment your snarky comment made impact. The bratty little monster inside of you snickered. You were in no way meek or mild. You always rose to the occasion. It was your fatal flaw. If he wanted to play mind games, you’d play mind fuck. Moving from his grasp you walked around him again leaving him standing there.
 The beach turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. The water, sand, drinks, and company really took your mind off of everything—book, editor, agent, your sleepless night and Lewis. When you weren’t sipping mixed drinks in your rocking lounger, you were enthralled in conversation with Daniel. Though you’d known him through Lewis for a while and knew he was a cool guy, you didn’t know very much else about him. You sat talking about everything under the sun constantly switching from topic to topic never once succumbing to boredom or uncomfortable silences. He was funny, intelligent, fun and actually pretty damn hot.
 Who would have known that underneath those racing jumpsuits laid a six pack God with curly hair and a killer smile? You openly checked him out and whenever you frolicked in the water you caught him openly returning the favor. It was all in the name of fun and carefreeness and by the time the sun was beginning to roll behind the waves you were thoroughly relaxed. You and Daniel walked back inside the villa laughing together still covered in the salt of the ocean.
 “You’re fun,” Daniel declared.
 “Of course I am. I’ve said it before I’m the life of the party around here. Anyone tells you different they’re full of shit.”
 He laughed again as you turned the corner and found everyone lounging in the large TV room.
 “There they are. My god. I felt like I was on Love Island waiting for my turn to accost Y/N away,” Gisella teased.
 “Shut up.”
 “You guys sure look cozy, like tonight will be interesting,” Nikki insinuated wiggling her eyebrows up and down.
 You rolled your eyes and perched on the arm of the couch nearest Gisella. “What’re we doing for dinner, I’m starving.”
 “Lew ordered a whole spread, they’re setting up now,” Mabdulle informed.
 “Cool. Then I’m gonna shower wash off this salt,” you said,
 “And other substances,” Gisella said with a wink.
 You knew what she was insinuating, and you didn’t want to give her fuel Especially since you could feel Lewis’ eyes on you taking special interest in the prospects of this conversation. You knew why. He and Daniel were friends and crossing that line with someone in his immediate friend circle was messy. He’d never once entertained anyone you mutually knew, never once even attempted to flirt either. It was an unspoken rule between you.
 “Thank you for a great beach day, Daniel.”
 He smiled widely and bowed his head like the perfect gentleman. “My pleasure.”
 You walked toward the room that was once Nikki’s and was now yours since you’d switched. Once you walked inside, the place you’d left your suitcases was taken by suitcases that weren’t yours. You knew they were Nikki’s. Attached to the top of one, you saw a note.
 Truce. I only booked this place for you because you were so upset you missed the first Africa trip. I saw the photo from the room you were in and knew instantly it would help you write. There’s no point to any of this if you switch. So, truce.
 After rolling your eyes, you read it a second time then sighed softly. If one thing was certain it was that Lewis could be infuriating. You were always going back and forth with annoying each other. There were times you both needed days to cool down from your verbal altercations. Your friends always joked that both your passion levels matched one another and would make for a good sex. You saw the flip side where it could lead to the very opposite. You always felt like you and Lewis’ relationship could go anywhere on the spectrum it just depended on the mood of the day.
 You walked back to the room you’d had last night and found your things neatly in the corner waiting for you. You had half a mind to immaturely stomp them back to Nikki’s room like a petulant child just to see if he’d leap up and drag them back, but you fought the impulse. Part of you believed he would definitely out petty you tonight. Shaking your head, you proceeded to get your things for that nice, hot shower you were looking forward to.
 By the time you made it back out to the tv room, you heard uproarious laughter coming from the dining area that was set up on the beach. The breeze was soft, and it carried the scent of the delicious food you were more than ready to stuff your face with. Lewis was the first to see you. his eyes drank you in, slowly roaming over your body like were a classic painting and he was the appraiser determined to pinpoint your value. Your flesh heated from the intensity of his gaze making you slightly uncomfortable. The discomfort wasn’t from his eyes on you though, it was from the lack of expression to his face.
 You couldn’t read him at all and that was a first for you. Thanks to your years of friendship both as preteens and again as adults when you found each other again, you could read him easier than others. You often communicated nonverbally. He’d give you a look and you’d return it having a conversation and formulating a plan in under a minute. Now, you couldn’t get anything. When you got to the table, it was Daniel who pulled your chair out though it was on the opposite side of the table from him. Lewis watched the whole thing happen and when Daniel leaned down to whisper how beautiful you looked, you knew Lewis saw it too.
 Dinner was slightly tense but uneventful. Drinks flowed and the food kept everyone mostly focused there. Everyone was broken off into mini conversations that combined every once in a while. Once dinner was over, Gisella, and Nikki took lead bringing you all to a circular fire pit that was quite impressive. On the large stone table there were at least fifteen bottles of alcohol waiting. Everyone spoke at once, clearly shocked.
 “Who’s drinking all of this?”
 “Please, we know you can guzzle it all, Miles!”
 You snorted. Every time he was called out, he always made such an exaggerated face like he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
 “What is all this?”
 You took a seat and instantly reached for one of the white wine bottles to pour yourself a glass.
 “We knew it would be you taking the first glass,” Miles called out.
 You raised your glass that was filled to the brim at him and took a hearty sip. Wine was your friend, and no one could tear you apart.
 “Cassie, Robin, Nikki and I thought it was a good time to increase our fun.
 “How?”
 Cassie stood with a wide smile on her face, “Truth or Dare.”
 Everyone exclaimed all at once. Some groaned in annoyance, some clapped and cheered, and others just laughed. You rolled your eyes and kept nursing your drink. You weren’t surprised. It seemed when grown ass adults got together truth or dare was the only obvious choice. Slowly, everyone quieted down, but no one protested. A few eyes fells to you but you ignored them and refilled your now empty glass.
 “All right, the life of the party is down,” Mabdulle confirmed.
 “What are the rules?”
 Nikki snorted at Lewis’ question.
 “Simple, anything goes. We’re all grown ass adults. Do you boo.”
Oh boy you thought taking a mouthful of the sweet wine. You knew it was going to creep up on you in a few—it always did. You hadn’t decided if you cared or not yet. Robin was the one to start things off directing her first question to Mabdulle. He of course picked truth.
 “Is it true that you love me more than your boys?”
 They all made a buzzer sound as if they knew Mabdulle was going to shut that down.
 “Hell yeah, it’s true. I love my baby, fuck these fools.”
 Once he said it Lewis, Daniel, Miles and Andrew all looked shocked as Mabdulle kissed on Robin who gave his friends a cocky grin.
 “That’s fucked up. It’s like that?”
 “Fool you ain’t fuckin me and suckin my dick.”
 They all lost it then protesting his choice of words. You knew that if the choice came down to it, Mabdulle would have a hard ass time choosing between his boys since back in the day and Robin. He’d probably try to pick them all. He was that much of a sweetheart.
 “All right this one’s for Lew, truth or dare?”
 He looked half bored. “Truth.”
 “How many times this season did you want to rock Vansteppan’s shit?
 Everyone busted out laughing then, even Daniel who always tried to be diplomatic. Lewis smirked and took a sip from his glass of dark liquor.
 “More times than he could handle.”
 You smirked on the rim of your glass because you’d come close to running onto the track and straight up drop kicking him once he’d gotten out his car. Lewis had to stop you several times.
 “Yo, Y/N came so close. I swear when she slipped away without no one knowing that one time I heard those Kill Bill alarms and knew shit was bout to go down,” Miles recounted.
 “Yeees. One minute she was there, the next she was halfway across the room,” Lewis’ best friend Daniel piped up.
 “If I had been two seconds slower, she would have broken his jaw,” Lewis added.
 “In the words of 50, if you got a glass jaw you should watch your mouth cause I’ll break your face,” you said.
 Everyone laughed loud again as you shrugged. They thought you were kidding. You weren’t. From the look on Lewis’ face, he also knew you were bout it, bout it.
 “Like he has no reason to be so confidant looking like a whole blind mole rat. Uggh so unattractive,” you ranted.
 “So, you don’t think he’s attractive?”
 “Fuck no. He’s as attractive as a tree with peeling bark and dripping sap,” you said rolling your eyes.
 They continued to laugh. “Fuck that, he’s as attractive as Candyman,” you added.
 “Hol up, Candyman? Which one cause you definitely not talking about Yahya’s fine ass,” Gisella said.
 “Oh hell no, not Yahya’s fine and hung ass,” you agreed.
 All the ladies squealed and laughed knowing just what you meant and wholeheartedly agreeing. The game continued and slowly you found yourself unwinding and getting real loose. When the warmup round of truths passed the dares got interesting. Nikki got the first raunchy dare to run around the pit in her underwear and in true Nikki fashion she did not disappoint. The dares just kept rolling one after the other at that point. However, when it came to your turn you switched it up.
 “Truth.”
 Everyone groaned and rolled their eyes as if fed up with you.
 “It’s all good. I got her,” Miles began smiling like he was about to fuck your whole world up. He rubbed his hands together and you were sure he was sure he was about to drop the best mixtape in history.
 “Out of anal, public sex and a threesome which would you say hard pass to?”
 There were a few snorts and gasps around the group, but you rolled your eyes because he thought this was really going to be uncomfortable for you.
 “None of the above.”
 No one spoke for several moments. They kept their widened eyes on you seemingly waiting for you to clarify or continue.
 “Moving on,” you added.
 “Uh—no!”
 “What do you mean none?”
 You looked around the group, skimming your eyes past Lewis who wasn’t even looking at you. His eyes were planted across the way.
 “I said what I said and meant what I said and none of you need clarification on what I said because it’s nonya!”
 They really lost their shit then, but you didn’t care. You proceeded to ask Justice to choose, and delight hit you when she chose dare. You were about to show you were the pettiest of all in the land. You hurried into the villa and came back with a banana then handed it to her.
 “For the next two minutes, show us your technique.”
 She looked shocked then as she hesitated with the banana in hand.
 “What?”
 “We’re all consenting adults secure in our abilities or—short comings. I dare you to show us your technique and we’ll rate you.”
 “Why you so interested? Tryna pick up some tips, Y/N?”
 Your eyebrow shot up fully getting her hidden meaning and catching the bitch in her tone. You didn’t doubt that once you’d walked away from Lewis earlier that she’d badgered him over what you were talking about and why he’d held on to you so long. You didn’t doubt that the green monster was attacking her now. It was common with anyone he brought around the friend group. Nikki’s theory was that they all picked up on something that no one wanted to acknowledge, and it made them territorial.
 You cocked your head to the side, “Tips? Nah, I’m good, but you did agree to this game, and you did choose dare. You can refuse and take your punishment. Choice is yours.
 You watched the uncertainty on her face but the glare of hate she sent your way shocked you. You’d done nothing to this girl.
 “Okay.”
 Justice peeled the banana, which slightly looked to be in the eight-to-nine-inch range, then she paused taking a breath.
 “We won’t judge you girl. Pretend it’s Lewis’,” Gisella encouraged making most around the circle snort.
 You on the other hand, hid your amusement behind your glass. Justice began by raking her front teeth over the tip leaving indentations in the flesh of the banana. All the men sucked in a hiss of pain with some of them crossing their legs. That didn’t stop her though, she then clumsily swirled her tongue around the tip of the banana and down a few inches until she awkwardly wrapped her lips around it. When the imprint of the banana pressed against her cheek a few grumbles erupted through the group. You peeped around fighting the confusion in you. Everyone looked to either be just as confused or bored.
 Before you looked back at her, your eyes met Lewis’. He was watching you like you were the show instead of his chosen flavor of the month. By the look on his face, you knew you’d done this on purpose. He didn’t look bothered though, he looked amused by your pettiness. You looked back Justice in time to see her accidentally bite off a piece of the banana.
 “Oops.”
 “And time,” Andrew shouted avoiding her eyes.
 “It’s weird to do that to a banana so take that into consideration,” Justice defended.
 Everyone exchanged looks trying to gauge who was going to deliver the critique. Little did they know, you weren’t done with your pettiness.
 “I think the best person to deliver the critique consensus is Lewis,” you said.
 “And I oop,” Cassie said just as she took a few gulps from her glass.
 “Me?”
 “Yep. I mean you’d know all about her technique. Right?”
 He stared you down challenging you. It was a challenge you didn’t back down from.
 “I agree,” Nikki said.
 Lewis emptied his glass then spoke, “Out of ten let’s say—a five.”
 Justice gasped, clearly offended.
 “A five? Lewis!”
 “It’s all good. It’s a banana as you said. A cock isn’t a banana.”
 You snorted and averted your eyes when you felt them both look at you.
 “Maybe you should show us how it’s done,” Lewis suggested.
 All eyes landed on you, but you didn’t entertain it. “Not my turn.”
 “Conveniently,” Lewis muttered as he refilled his glass.
 The dares continued and it was like your dare set everything that was raunchy and nasty off. Miles and Gisella ended up exchanging lap dances, Nikki ended up showing off her best twerk which began a twerking competition between her and Justice which surprisingly ended in a tie. The girl couldn’t suck a dick, but she could shake her ass, maybe that was what kept Lewis around. With Daniel’s turn he ended up having to take a tequila shot off of you. Rather than putting the salt on your hand Nikki opted putting it right at the crook of your neck, one of your most sensitive spots. When she did her reasoning became clear.
 “No man friend or not likes to see the woman he wants being licked by another man,” she whispered winking at you then Gisella.
 These two were trying to set your ass up and were playing with fire. Daniel looked sheepish as he approached you with the doubt shot of tequila in his hand. his eyes asked the question his lips hadn’t. You smiled and angled your neck giving him access. With the way your neck was angled you were able to look directly at Lewis. The scene had his undivided attention. Daniel knocked back his drink and lowered his lips to your neck. The tip of his tongue slowly trailed along the salt path and the suddenness made you bite your bottom lip. When the thick pad of his tongue came into play, he sucked, and you had to pinch your lips to conceal the small moan. Lewis’ jaw clenched as he looked away. Daniel bowed his gratitude to you then sat back down.
 “Y/N, truth or dare?”
 “Truth.”
 “Again!”
 “What does it matter? My god, are y’all trying set me up or something?!”
 “For someone who is the life of the party you sure are boring tonight,” Lewis challenged.
 You smirked. “Fine. Dare.”
 “Pull up your last sexy thirst trap selfie and pass it around for everyone to see.”
 You immediately began laughing. “So sorry, I don’t take thirst traps.”
 “Liar!”
 “Really Gisella. Gonna shout me out and everything!?”
 “I’m sorry boo, we all know that’s a lie. Everyone here has read your books; we know what goes on in your head.”
 You busted out laughing. “Fine.”
 Pulling out your phone you scrolled through your gallery and easily found the picture but hesitated when you realized how revealing it was. You then scrolled past it in search of another.
 “I’ll do it,” Robin said coming over to you and taking your phone. You groaned.
 “Damn, Y/N. You were gonna pass this weren’t you?”
 You pinched your lips and looked away.
 “If you’re not comfortable I’ll find a different one.”
 You loved Robin. “This is why I’ll forever love you Robin, but it’s cool. Give the vultures what they want.”
 Robin snorted then handed it to Nikki who was beside you. She smiled widely then gave you her thumbs up of approval before she passed it to Daniel beside her. His eyebrows shot up then his Adams apple bobbed making Nikki snicker. He passed it along to Justice who rolled her eyes and passed it to Lewis. When he looked at it, his head cocked to the right, then the left. Justice must have expected him to barely look at it before he passed it on but after a while fifteen seconds, he was still staring at it.
 “Ehhh-emmm!”
 All eyes went to Justice who crossed her arms and stared at Lewis. Though his expression gave nothing away the fact he was still looking sent your stomach into your throat. When he passed it on, he guzzled the rest of his drink. Of course, when it got to Miles, he had to make a huge commotion.
 “Damn, Y/N. There’s a thirst trap and then there’s this. Bruv, this is risk it all material.”
 Everyone laughed and told him to shut up. It was something everyone often said to him. A few more rounds and it was Lewis’ turn.
 “Dare.”
 “Grab a marker and draw a tattoo of your choice on Y/N’s ass.”
 Your jaw dropped at Miles’ dare.
 “Wait what? Why me?”
 He shrugged. “First person I thought of.”
 “You ass!”
 “No, your ass,” he countered with a wide grin.
 Lewis stood and grabbed the black sharpie on the table and walked over to you.
 “You expect me to what show you all my ass cheek?”
 “We’ve seen it before,” Andrew blasted.
 “If you’re so shy then to inside,” Mabdulle suggested.
 No one spoke up, no one even attempted to get you out of this. Resigning yourself to your fate, you pouted and stomped your way to the villa. A few moments later, Lewis came in behind you. his eyes were glossed over, facial features relaxed and a comfortable vibe emitting from him.
 “Bend over for me, kitten.”
 Five little words and your panties were soaked. What the fuck is this? When you didn’t comply or speak, he licked his lips, and your mouth went dry. What is life right now?
 “Want me on my knees instead?”
 A visual of him on his knees behind you with his mouth on you had you staggering back into the wall. Lewis cocked his head to the side and studied you.
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“What am I seeing right now? Fear? Or is it something else maybe--.”
 Before he could continue, you turned away from him and bit your bottom lip. If he continued looking, he’d see right through you. His steps were slow as he approached you. He didn’t touch you though and the longer he didn’t the more the puddle between your legs increased. Soon you knew you’d begin dripping onto your thigh.
 “Poke that ass out for me, kitten.”
 Obeying, you bent low enough that he could get enough access. Your cheek pressed against the cold wall offering you some cool to alleviate the heat you were now engulfed in. Lewis slowly moved the gauze like material of your dress using the high thigh slits as his opening to gather the material just at the top of your ass. You heard him suck in a breath as he hesitated. A long moment passed where neither of you spoke or moved, you just remained suspended in uncertainty and a weird mixture of arousal and confusion.
 “I should mark you so everyone knows what you are. A petty petty brat.”
 “Takes one to know one.”
 He scoffed, “Naw, I have something better. I’m gonna put the only thing you should ever have on you.”
 You felt the press of the marker against your skin and Lewis’ hand right atop the spot he was writing on. You tried to focus on what he was writing but the knowledge he had his hand on your bare ass was sending you over the edge and you needed to concentrate so you didn’t cum right then and there and give yourself away. This was not what friends were for.
 As soon as he started, he stopped. “All done.”
 “What is it?”
 “Go look,” he replied with a wink before he walked back out. You walked to the nearest bathroom ignoring the slickness between your legs then turned your back to the full-length mirror. As clear as day and easily read was his name across your ass cheek. His words echoed in your head.
 “I’m gonna put the only thing you should ever have on you.”
 Lord have mercy, you thought as you slouched over trying to compose yourself. When you went back out to everyone their eyes followed you as you tried to play everything off.
 “What’s the tattoo?”
 “Doesn’t matter. Whose turn?”
 Everyone looked around at each other silently speaking because Lewis’ best friend Daniel spoke. “Y/N truth or dare?”
 “Dare.”
 “Leave the room. We’re all going to pour a shot. When you come back, choose one. Whosever shot you choose you have to try to turn them on in 2 minutes. You win if the other person laughs or taps out first, you lose if you laugh or tap out first. If you lose, you have to sit on that person’s lap for the rest of the round until it’s your turn again.”
 “Well damn Daniel.
 “My baby is good at everything he does,” Cassie said while kissing on him.
 Without a word you walked inside the villa and grabbed a bottle of water hoping to flush some of the alcohol in your system. That had to be the reason you were behaving so out of character. As you waited, you couldn’t stop thinking about what Lewis said and the fact you now wore his name in sharpie on your ass. It would be there for at least a few days which meant for the next few days you’d be stuck with this memory unable to tuck it away into the box of never to be touched again things.
 “Y/N!”
 You took a few breathes then walked back out. On the stone table there were twelve drinks laid out for you.
 “Choose your destiny!”
 You snorted and surveyed your options. There was no way for you to guess who’d poured what, so it made no sense to carefully go through them and assess the options. Without thought, you reached for the one that was the most out of character choice for you, the clear glass that smelled like lemons. As soon as you knocked it back, you tasted the lemon and the harsh burn of Vodka.
 “Eeck!”
 “Vodka, I hate vodka and lemons. Who did this?”
 All eyes turned to Lewis who looked amused as hell.
 “Why’d you pick something you hated?”
 “It be your own people,” you began making everyone laugh around you. “Why, Brutus?”
 Lewis smirked, “Strategy.”
 You took another shot to wash the taste out your mouth and moaned at the cherry flavor. “This is much better.”
 You groaned walking over to Lewis taking the seat on his left side which Cassie gave up for you.
 “Your two minutes start now.”
 ��Wait, how am I supposed to turn him on?”
 “It’s easy for me,” Justice slid in.
 You snorted and looked at her. “Is it, are you sure?”
 She rolled her eyes again at you and you were two seconds away from smacking her.
 “You’re a grown ass woman. Tap into your writing skills, you got this,” Cassie said.
 You took another shot then sat back down. “Okay. Wait, do I have to speak so you hear?”
 “Nope.”
 You leaned into Lewis’ ear then whispered.
 “I’ve been a bad girl and I deserve a spanking.”
 Lewis reared back and looked at you with his eyebrows raised. After a few moments, he came back. You allowed your lip to brush against the shell of his ear and continued. “You should use that big hand and slap my ass until I’m whimpering and screaming your name begging you to make it better, make me wetter.”
 You heard he take in a harsh deep breath but didn’t know what it meant.
 “You asked me earlier if I want you on your knees and the answer is yes. I want you on your knees behind me with your hands spreading my ass, on your knees in front of me while I use your tongue. I want to use your face as my throne while you worship this pussy like the queen I am.”
 From your angle you saw him squeeze his knee while the other hand was balled tight.
 “Does that sound good? Do you want it as bad as I want it? Do you want to hear me say your name while I cum on your tongue? Do you daddy?”
 Lewis’ head began to move but that was where you lost your shit. You snorted and kneeled over laughing your ass off. It was the daddy that had put you in the ground. You were managing fairly well on the string you were hanging on, but that one word made it impossible to remain in character reciting the words of one of your characters in your previous book.
 “I’m sorry—I just—I can’t—oh my god. fuck!”
 “And Y/N loses,” Daniel announced.
 “How the fuck did you not laugh?”
 Lewis didn’t look amused at all. His jaw was tight, his eyes trained to the ground, his fists balled tighter than a newborn’s, and his shoulders tensed.
 “You okay?”
 He nodded but he still didn’t look at you.
 “Take your punishment.”
 You sighed then went to his right side and sat across his lap. The instant you sat you, felt it. He was as hard as granite. You sprang right back up snapping your head to him.
 “I’m just as fucking shocked as you,” he muttered.
 Lewis pulled you down back onto his lap holding you still. You weren’t on top of his length but you from your angle, you still felt it pressing against your hip. Your head immediately went bye-bye. Following the game was impossible because all you could think about was the fact that you’d just actually turned him on, you’re actually managed to do it. He was solid hard right now because of you and the way he was pressing against You was sending your head to one place—the gutter.
 Biting your bottom lip, you chanced a glance at him. His eyes were focused on something, but it wasn’t you or the game going on around you. His entire body was tense. Long gone was the man who was always at ease with you. The man who no matter what joke you ran with each other remained unphased. This was definitely not the same Lewis. As if sensing your thoughts, his eyes met yours and you remained locked in his gaze.
 You searched his eyes for an answer, or an explanation to this predicament. You were in uncharted waters, and you didn’t know how to act at all. His eyes dipped to your lips and the attention made you suck your bottom one in and in response he did the same. A swarm of butterflies took flight in your gut and your alarms went off.
 “This is bullshit Lewis!”
 Journey stood and stomped off leaving everyone to watch as she left. You stood and averted your eyes while stepping as far away from him as you could. Lewis sighed, then stood and followed where Journey walked. The rest of your friends whispered amongst themselves, each speculating what the problem was. You didn’t care, you had more than enough to think and speculate over.
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{Final Part To Come}
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crimxonwrites · 2 days
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Blood-painted kisses | Aemond Targaryen x female!OC | Chapter 1 ❝Scars and bruises❞
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☽➛ Summary: Nothing satietes Maehrys Velaryon's hunger as well as revenge. Growing up at the Red Keep as the bastard of Rhaenyra Targaryen did not come trouble-free. Her childhood consisted of bitter words and repulsive looks from nearly everybody in the castle. As she grew older, Maehrys grew meaner. Once the Velaryons return to King's Landing to defend Luke's claim as Lord of Driftmark, Maehrys decides that it is time for the people who hurt her in the past to pay.
☽➛ Warnings: heavy mentions of self-harm, mentions of attempted suicide, bullying, mentions of blood, overall 18+!!!!
☽➛ Pairings: Aemond Targaryen x female!OC (slowburn enemies to lovers to enemies to lovers again?? romance is a subplot)
☽➛ Word count: 3.1k
!!DISCLAIMER: English is not my first language! feel free to correct me at any time!
Prologue
Maehrys Velaryon, age 16
The waves of Dragonstone were particularly loud that day. The princess Maehrys was sorrowful that she had to leave, but she did not have a choice. Her mother forced her and her siblings to get on the ship and sail to King’s Landing. Ser Vaemond wanted to question Luke’s legitimacy and plead for the title of Lord of Driftmark. If she were to leave on any other circumstances, Maehrys would have been a little bit content with going back to the place where she spent her childhood.
 Despite King Landing being a nightmare-fuelled place, Maehrys found herself chasing the feeling of nostalgia. She missed the capital and its sights, but she did not miss the people.
 “Your name day is approaching.” Jace’s voice startled Maehrys. She turned away from the ship’s window and smiled at her older brother.
 “It is.” Her voice was raspier than usual, and she decided to take a sip of water. “Are you going to get me a gift?” She put down the glass as Jace sat down beside her.
 “Perhaps I should get you a new dress made. Are you going to change before we arrive?” Jace pointed at the short sleeves of her dress, specifically at the scar on her lower left arm.
 Maehrys looked down and grazed her fingertips along the eight-year-old scar. When she was younger and still lived in King’s Landing, Rhaenyra forbade her to ever wear a short-sleeved piece of clothing. Her mother commanded her to never tell anyone about her attempt on taking her life and threatened to cut anyone’s tongue who would ever speak a word about it. Maehrys did not care any longer, as she buried her old self once she left the Red Keep. The new Maehrys decided to not let a scar define who she is.
 “Perhaps I’ve grown fond of it.” She told Jace. The prince’s eyes furrowed in a mix of uncertainty and compassion. Maehrys sighed; she was tired of the pity that she often received from her mother and brothers. She wanted to be more than just a pity-worthy, weak princess and she planned on proving everyone the opposite, particularly her mother.
 “Would you mind accompanying me on my walk?” Jace enjoined, drifting away from the main topic of their conversation.
 “Lead the way, brother.” Maehrys responded, delighted that her older brother decided to not continue the conversation about her scar.
 The ship’s deck was filled with servants and sailors, all of whom bowed down to the pair of heirs and saluted them, respectfully. Maehrys will miss the genuine politeness when they will arrive at King’s Landing. The folk of Dragonstone were truthfully respectful of Maehrys and her brothers’ titles, and would not dare do otherwise, whereas the people of the Red Keep would not fail an opportunity to throw an insult or give them a venomous look.
 Vermax’s screeches stifled the sound of the waves crashing against the ship as Maehrys looked up, eyeing the leafy-scaled dragon. The three eggs that were presented to the princess while she was in the cradle did not hatch, so she remained dragonless.
 Do not trouble yourself with these eggs, I am sure they will hatch someday was Luke’s signature comment when it came to comforting his older sister. Maehrys appreciated Luke’s optimism, but the girl lost hope long time ago, despite still carrying the chest containing the three dragon eggs everywhere she went. She began to feel attached to them, and even though she made peace with the certitude that they will never hatch, and she still treasured them. Luke, Jace and Joffrey got lucky.
 “Perhaps you will claim a dragon at an older age.” Jace spoke, still gazing at his dragon. “It is not rare and if that little shit Aemond accomplished it, so can you.”
 Maehry’s body shivered at the sound of her uncle’s name. She despised that after all those years, his presence still impacts her. Out of all the silver-haired children, she hated Aemond the most. During her pre-teens, Aemond was the one to target her the most; he would call her names, hurt her, and make her cry herself to sleep. He was the cruellest of them all. The princess was tired of fearing him, it ought to be the other way around.
 “I am sure one of our dear uncles will die soon, and I will hurry to claim his dragon.” Maehrys spoke, shifting her gaze towards Daemon, who was keeping the captain company. “Or maybe Seasmoke will come back, he has been rider-less for quite a while now.” She added as Jace stopped and leaned on the ship’s wooden edge.
 “Do you ever notice the absence of our father?” Jace asked, and Maehrys frowned at the vagueness of her older brother’s question.
 Every time the word father would invade Maehry’s ears, she would have to put on her defences. Because of the people she was surrounded by growing up, she learned to always be cautious when someone would mention her paternal figure. She also learned to doubt whomever they were referring to.
 “Not more than I did when he was alive.” The princess responded. “Though Daemon is doing a significant job when it comes to filling Laenor’s shoes.” She added, hinting at Rhaenyra’s pregnancy. Jace scoffed.
 “You dislike him.” Jace’s intention was to ask her a question, but it sounded more of a statement.
 “He refused to train with me.” Maehrys joined Jace, leaning on the edge of the ship. The ocean seemed restless today, as did her. Daemon would train with the boys, but never with her.
 “That’s because you’re a-“
 “Woman?” Maehrys cut off Jace in the middle of his speech and gave him an imposing look. They both knew that the only reason Daemon would not want to train the princess was because her mother could not command him. No knight in the Seven Kingdoms would willingly train with a girl.
 In spite of Daemon’s refusal to train with Maehrys, she still trained with plenty of knights at Dragonstone, none of them compared with ser Criston Cole, her first mentor. She began to feel like the training sessions became dull three years ago, and she asked Daemon to train her. He laughed in her face.
 “All hail Rhaenyra of House Targaryen, princess of Dragonstone and heir to the Iron Throne, her royal consort, Daemon Targaryen and their children.”
 A shiver ran down Maehrys’ spine as she stepped out of the carriage. The cold autumn air was as unwelcoming as the lack of presence from the Queen, King, or the other silver-haired children. Lord Caswell’s figure came out of the massive doors.
 “Welcome back, Princess.” The man greeted Rhaenyra.
 As they were walking towards the castle doors, a swarm of servants approached the young heirs. A couple of ladies-in-waiting insisted on leading Maehrys to her old chamber, forcing her to split from her brothers. The princess wished she did not feel like an enemy within the castle, but as a guest. Walking through the Red Keep’s hallways felt strange to Maehrys. Every chamber and every corridor seemed so much smaller than she remembered. The princess’ mind was not the only thing that matured, but her height as well. She has grown almost as tall as Jace, and she is finally able to see the actual size of the castle. Maehrys wondered if her world also became much smaller than she remembered.
 “This way, my princess.” A faceless servant stopped Maehrys from walking. “That is the way to the library.”
 Perhaps her muscle memory was taking her to the library, one of the few places where Maehrys was allowed to have some peace during her youth. The smell of lavender and candle wax invades her nostrils as she entered her old chambers. Nothing has been changed from the last time she saw it, besides the bedsheets and a few tablecloths. “Very well, you may leave now.” She spoke to the group of servants.
 “But-“
 “It’s a command, not a request.” Maehrys put on a forged smile as she placed her hand on the doorknob. The ladies gave her bitter glances as they turned around to leave. “Not you, Alisha.” She added as she noticed her lady-in-waiting attempting to leave with the group.
 The princess closed the doors as soon as Alisha entered the room. Alisha has been her primary lady-in-waiting ever since she got to Dragonstone, and Maehrys found comfort in her. She would sometimes tell Alisha what bothered the young princess and would even ask her for guidance, which is not an ordinary thing, but Alisha was wiser, and a bit older than her. Maehrys did not care for formalities with her and would even go as far as considering Alisha her friend… which she did not have many of, besides her brothers.
 “How could I be of use, your Grace?” Alisha asked as Maehrys prompted herself onto the comfortable armchair. It was the same armchair she used to climb onto and watch Ser Harwin Strong train with Jace when they were younger.
 “I wish to train with my brothers, fetch me the training clothes.” Maehrys commanded.
 “Yes, your Grace.” Alisha opened the chest that arrived with them from Dragonstone and laid the clothes on the big bed. “Do you think it is wise, your Grace?” She asked as the princess stood up, looking at the bland tunics. Some of them were blood-stained, and some of them were even ripped. Rhaenyra would always give her second born a lesson about how she should avoid getting cut or hit during training sessions, but Maehrys refused to let that happen. She considered that if she didn’t bleed or bruised, she would not learn.
 “Why would it not be?” Maehrys scowled and turned her back to her lady-in-waiting, signalling her to help the girl take off her necklace.
 “Your uncles might have the same idea as you.” Alisha spoke as she placed the pearly necklace on the desk.
 The thought of Maehrys training against her uncles, Aemond especially, used to terrify her. They both trained with the sword ever since they were able to think, and Maehrys was attuned to sleep with a dagger under her pillow just in case her uncle might sneak in her chamber in the middle of the night to try and kill her.
 Maehrys is no longer afraid. She yearned for the day she would defeat Aemond in combat and prove to everyone at the Red Keep that she is no longer a weakling.
 “I am looking forward to my encounter with my uncles on the training field.” The princess finally answered as she put on the last article of clothing.
The training grounds were cooler than the ones in Dragonstone, and the winds seemed to be restless, same as the waves she arrived upon. Maehrys checked her surroundings, hoping she would spot her two brothers. She did not, instead, she was met with disgruntled stares from the folk of the Red Keep. Suddenly, she was ten years old again and people would whisper bitter things behind her back, looking at her as if she was a traitor and offering her false smiles. Suddenly, the world felt bigger and Maehrys felt small again.
 Jace’s snicker made the young princess focus her attention on her two brothers and she sighed in relief, feeling her anxiety-filled body relax.
 “Brothers.” Maehrys greeted the pair.
 “I defeated Luke, again.” Jace said, triumphantly.
 Maehrys’ smile faded as she shifted her gaze towards her younger brother, who had an uneasy look on his face. “What’s your problem?” The older brother asked.
 “Everyone is staring at us.” Luke replied quickly.
 Maehrys’ could swear she felt her heart break because of the words her little brother spoke. One of her biggest fears was that Luke would experience a similar youth to hers and Jace’s. People marginalizing him, discriminating him, and calling him a bastard. Luke did not deserve this. None of them did. The princess decided to not let this visit upset Luke or sweet Joffrey.
 Jace grabbed a wooden sword, trying to distract Luke from drowning in sorrowful thoughts. “No one would question me being the heir of Driftmark… if I looked more like Ser Laenor Velaryon than Ser Harwin Strong.” Luke spoke, looking around anxiously, making sure no one heard him.
 “Don’t say that around them.” Maehrys took a step closer to Luke. “If you do, you accept defeat.” She added on a worried but also commanding tone.
 “It does not matter what they think.” Jace added.
 The crowd was growing noisier and noisier as a circle was forming around two people. The three siblings made their way towards the mass of people and watched in silence. Maehrys quickly recognized the pair that were duelling: Ser Criston Cole and Aemond Targaryen, her half-uncle. Aemond’s silver hair has grown longer, and he wore an eyepatch covering his left eye. The prince moved swiftly, dodging Ser Criston’s attacks. It looked as if he was dancing. Maehrys gripped the wooden sword harder and harder as she watched the man she desperately wanted to defeat in combat, winning against her childhood mentor. Aemond’s sword rapidly found its way a few centimetres away from Criston’s neck. She could not help but wonder if she had any chance of winning.
 The crowd applauded as Ser Criston accepted defeat. “Well done, my Prince.” He spoke and Maehrys noticed that his voiced has changed over the years. It became deeper, sharper, and more menacing. “You’ll be winning tourneys in no time.”
 “I don’t give a shit about tourneys.” Aemond said, his tone being as icy as his hair. He lowered the wooden sword and shifted his attention towards the trio. “Nephews, niece…” The sight of him made her stomach turn. “Have you come to train?” Aemond was making eye contact with Maehrys, and she could feel her heart galloping with anger. His face was unreadable, but his voice was threatening.
 The princess waited so long for this moment, where she could prove to everyone that she’s changed, and she’s capable of fighting. Maybe she was wrong about not fearing her uncle, because the moment she saw him, her body was rejecting any kind of confidence it once held. She greatly wanted to fight him, but she was no longer certain that she will take the victory.
 “Open the gates!” A foreign voice startled the folk. Everyone turned their back from Ser Criston and Aemond, who was placing the wooden sword back where it belonged.
 Everyone but Maehrys.
 The princess watched her uncle’s every move with curiosity but also despair. He has grown a lot, his figure was not as slim as it used to be, and his height was taller than even Ser Criston’s. She desperately tried to find any weakness within him, but she failed miserably. Maehrys drew the conclusion that her uncle countered her from every perspective.
 Maehrys finally turned around towards the gate and watched the bannermen march towards them, together with a man who resembled Lord Corlys. Lord Vaemond Velaryon came to defend his right to claim Driftmark., and with that, question Luke’s legitimacy. Overwhelmed by the situation, the princess decided to leave.
 As she paced back to her chambers, Maehrys found herself haunted by shame. It was the first time she ever backed out from a fight. She was afraid to admit that she would have to fight dirty in order to beat Aemond, but she had no other option. The princess opened the doors to her chambers and found a satisfied-looking Alisha.
 “I do not wish to hear it!” Maehrys exclaimed as she stormed through the chamber.
 “Hear what, your Grace?” Alisha asked, with a grin on her face.
 “You know what. Now help me out with these.” The princess commanded.
 Maehrys felt like she was not worthy of wearing her training clothes anymore and was glad once she was back in her red gown. She left her chambers and headed to her only battlefield for today: the library. The princess would lie if she said she did not miss the massive library within the Red Keep. Dragonstone had its own library, sure, but it did not compare to the Red Keep’s.
 Walking through the giant isles of books, she felt delighted. The books were more welcoming than the people. As she encountered the history section, she picked up a book titled The doom of Valyria. The contents of the book described how the magic-powered empire turned to ash when the volcano erupted, its lava killing even the biggest of the dragons.
 “Bastard.” Her lecture was interrupted by Aemond’s voice.
 Maehrys quickly closed the book and furrowed her brows. She had almost forgotten that Aemond liked to frequent the library as much as the training grounds. He has changed from his previous training clothes into a greener uniform. It appeared as though Alicent’s preferred colour of clothes imprinted on her children. His long hair was tied back, with only one silvery strand of hair hanging over his eyepatch. Aemond had his arms behind his back, and Maehrys wondered if he was holding a dagger, or perhaps even a sword.
 “Aemond.” She simply greeted him, not taking her eyes off his arms, afraid that he would try to harm her. It appears that harming the princess remained his preferred activity.
 “I see you’ve chosen not to hide your scar anymore.” Aemond pointed towards her left arm.
 The princess could not help but ponder on why he has initiated the conversation. Has he come to torment her again? Was his body the only thing that matured? Is his mind still young and stupid, still searching for fights with people that would not win against him? Maehrys glared at him again, anger fuelling her train of thought. She also wondered if the Gods were testing her, because she wanted to wrap her hands around his neck, and not leaving the library until he was breathless. Maybe it was good exercise to be around him to not fear him anymore.
 Maehrys needed discipline as much as she needed revenge.
 “I see you’ve chosen to hide yours.” Maehrys let displeasure take control of her and spoke without giving too much thought. She immediately put her defences up when she noticed the young prince begin to slowly walk towards her.
 “Do you wish for me to take it off?” He asked nonchalantly, with every step getting closer and closer. “Do you wish to see the aftermath of your brother’s doing?” Her heart started beating faster and faster as Aemond got closer to her. The anger quickly turned into fear when he grabbed her left arm. His clutch was strong, and she winced when he dug his nails into her skin. Aemond forced her to turn her wrist up, disclosing her scar. “I wish you would’ve pierced deeper, dear niece.” His words hurt as much as his grip.
 Maehrys was right, the library turned into her battlefield that day.
˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°˜”*°
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vyduan · 1 day
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Soul on Fire: Ch 1
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Author: vyduan Pairing: Kim Seokjin | Reader Genre: soulmate touch AU, slow burn, strangers to lovers, smut, idol au, angst Word Count: ~6.7k Rating: Explicit, 18+ Warnings: swearing, legal consumption of alcohol, light mentions of Ehlers-Danos Syndrome, light mentions of disability in general, eventual smut
Summary: What happens when you find your soulmate accidentally at a gala and he’s international superstar Kim Seokjin of BTS and you are both engaged to other people? Or the soulmate touch AU that no one asked for but I absolutely had to write. 
Notes: I went on a tear of reading soulmate touch AUs recently (where once you touch, your soulmate’s touch replaces food) and I’m indebted to the intricate worlds created by @bagelswrites and their fic “Love at First Touch,” “Turbulence” by @fallencairns, and “Trip No Further” by new bestie @matchstick6812​. 
Soul on Fire Masterlist [IN PROGRESS]: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | AO3 For more of my fics, here is my Masterlist.
~~~~
Chapter 1.
You tried not to fidget in your seat but it was nearing the end of the interminable (and inaugural) White House Asian American Awards ceremony and your patience was wearing thin. The fact that you’d already received your 2026 Asian American Poet of the Year award probably had a lot to do with it. You were done with smiling, fake or otherwise. Your belly was full though you didn’t understand how a dinner in honor of Asian Americans had to be the generic surf and turf bullshit of every other gala dinner.
There was a poem in there somewhere.
You leaned over your fiance’s ear. “I can’t wait for you to take me home and fuck me, Lucas,” you whispered.
You saw a hint of a smirk grace his handsome face, his well-groomed goatee the perfect frame for his perfect smile. You couldn’t wait to smother your cunt with his mouth, the abrasions of his facial hair the headiest contrast to the smooth heat of his tongue.
You’d perhaps had a little too much champagne.
“And now, for the first 2026 White House Global Asian Award, we are proud to honor K-pop band BTS!” you heard the emcee finally announce.
You watched as seven men in sharp tuxedos headed to the vividly decorated stage full of balloons and flowers and politely thanked the host and the White House. You listened with half an ear as the tallest member said his prepared words in English. You were surprised by their sincerity and poignancy — especially when he’d admitted to feeling awkward at an event meant to honor Asian Americans, an experience he did not personally have. He only hoped that their work as BTS helped elevate Asians everywhere, including America.
You found that neatly done and your respect for them as a group lifted.
You clapped mindlessly as the emcee continued his closing thoughts for the evening, your mind returning to the handsome men exiting the stage.
You only had a vague idea of who BTS was, having seen them in various headlines over the years. You weren’t quite sure how a Korean band was Asian American, but you supposed the award was technically “Global Asian” so why the fuck not. You were actually very surprised that they were actually here in person to receive the award, but you supposed that since it was the White House inviting them, it would seem rude or spur some international incident if they did not.
You hated coercion of any sort and so, you sympathized with the delicate position they were in more than you resented the blatant publicity stunting of the White House. You supposed whatever brought more eyes to Asian American art, work, and excellence was a good thing.
It didn’t hurt that they were the hottest people in this ballroom. The seven men with disgustingly poreless skin had been seated together at a round table nearest to the center. You, being a little less important on the scale of famous Asian Americans in the room, were a few tables behind them. Though your view of the center stage was slightly obstructed, your view of them was perfectly angled. When you’d mentioned it to Lucas, he’d just chuckled and murmured promises of lewd activities he was planning to take advantage of your new obsession.
You loved that man so much. If you’d believed in soulmates (as a concept, not the incredibly rare phenomenon your brother studied that affected 5 to 10% of the world population where two bonded people required each other for sustenance and energy), Lucas Gao would fit the bill to a tee. He was brilliant, kind, and terribly funny. Plus, he was tall and handsome, too.
You were a sucker for kind, handsome, and funny.
“Y/N, they’re calling for all award recipients to go on stage and take a group photo,” Lucas said, interrupting your thoughts.
“What’s that?” you asked.
“Go on stage, babe. They want to take a group picture,” Lucas repeated, his eyes laughing at you. He was used to you spacing out, your mind mulling over some turn of phrase, but that didn’t make it less amusing to him.
“Oh, shit!” you exclaimed and rushed to the stage.
Lucas’s rowdy cackles followed you all the way to where the rest of the honorees were already gathering. If you hadn’t been in such a hurry, you would have turned around to flip him off, decorum be damned. As it was, you didn’t want to get caught doing something unseemly in front of all these top Asian American minds. Instead, you rued your silver stilettos and itchy Rent the Runway confection that hindered your progress.
Yes, yes. You looked hot and expensive, but at what cost?
You were ushered to the front due to your height and somehow, you ended up squeezed next to the members of BTS (the true focal point of the picture). You were hesitant to get too close to them but the crush was unavoidable and soon you were pressed into the side of two of them (you had no idea who — you would have to investigate after they sent the official pics out).
Before you knew it, photos were officially done. You tried to extricate yourself from everyone, occasionally thanking and congratulating the other award recipients, but of course, a ton of people were trying to get closer to BTS members, wanting private photos with them. You didn’t blame them, but all you wanted was to get back to Lucas, for him to take you to your hotel room, and have him fuck your brains out.
A very handsy (and pushy) person rudely shoved you, not caring that your dress was rented or that you were already unsteady in such precarious (but pretty) shoes. You felt your ankle give and before you knew it, you were falling. Your stomach swooped as you anticipated the heavy (and humiliating) landing — but instead of making an ass of yourself on the floor, several sets of warm hands caught you.
A shocking jolt of electricity zapped from one of the hands on your person, radiating all the way to your extremities. Your body went slack — first with the sudden shock to your system, and then from the wave of perfect contentment that settled in its wake. Though you had never felt any lack, it was like you had suddenly been made whole.
“Miss L/N, are you alright?” you heard a low, raspy voice ask in charmingly accented English.
You opened your eyes (which you did not recall closing) and laid eyes on the hot BTS member who had given the acceptance speech. “I’m fine, thank you,” you said, still slightly dazed.
Then you realized that all your weight was still being hard carried by several as yet unseen people, their hands feeling tacky against your bare skin, so you quickly accepted the young man’s hand as he helped you up.
“Thank you,” you remembered to say. You turned around and to your extreme mortification, a few of the other BTS members were there. Apparently, they had saved you from a fated appointment on the floor. You felt your face heat and only hoped that your foundation and makeup was enough to cover it. “And thank you all so much. I’m so sorry.”
They all bowed and rushed over each other, saying the polite phrases one does after saving a young woman from wiping out.
“Babe, you okay?” you heard Lucas ask, his strong arm wrapping around your waist and pulling you close. “Thank you all so much for saving Y/N, here. I saw from across the room and couldn’t get here fast enough.”
You leaned back into his sturdy chest, gaining comfort from his warmth and steadfast presence.
“It was no problem,” replied the leader.
“I’m Lucas Gao,” your fiance said as he stretched out his arm to introduce himself. “If you ever need any help with international finance law, I’d be happy to offer my services in thanks.”
“Lucas,” you reprimanded, both amused and embarrassed. “I’m sure they have their own fleet of lawyers.”
“And this gorgeous creature is my fiancee, Y/N L/N. She’s the poet of the year, you know?” He beamed an insouciant grin, looking every bit the lighthearted rake he could be when he wanted to weasel out of trouble. Your heart skipped a beat. “It’s always best to take advantage of every opportunity, no?” he added for your benefit. “Don’t worry, Y/N. Everyone loves me.”
The leader — you really wish you knew his name, you felt rude not having a name for him even in your thoughts — he cracked a laugh and introduced himself formally. “I’m Kim Namjoon, leader of BTS. These are some of my fellow members: Kim Seokjin, Park Jimin, and Jeon Jungkook.”
You looked over the three other men and thanked them again. The one named Seokjin seemed a little out of it, rubbing his hand as if it hurt. You hoped you didn’t injure him.
“Are you okay?” you inquired, not wanting to be rude. “Did I hurt you with my fall? I’m so sorry if I did. Should we get a medic?”
Seokjin startled, as if he was suddenly aware of you for the first time. “Oh, I’m fine. Thank you. No need to worry.”
“Well, I am in all your debt,” Lucas interjected, voice serious. “Y/N is my favorite person in the whole world and though I’m sure she doesn’t mind being rescued by four incredibly handsome men, she’d rather avoid the whole thing altogether.”
You rolled your eyes. “Oh Christ, Lucas,” you scolded. “Laying it on a bit thick, aren’t you?”
“How else will this stick out in your memory?” he teased, eyes sparkling. “You guys might not believe this, but men are constantly falling at her feet. I’m doing this for all of you.”
“That was one time!” you laughed.
The guys all joined in good-naturedly. That’s what you loved about Lucas. He was so good with people. Half the time, you thought his business acumen was mostly getting people to like him and then being willing to do him favors. You supposed that was what most of networking was. It would do you good to learn from him, but it had been three years and none of it had stuck. It likely never would.
You were a prickly sort, but for some reason, Lucas loved you anyway.
Namjoon’s eyes crinkled into happy crescents. “It was our pleasure. Please excuse us, I think our managers are trying to get us out of here.”
“Thank you again,” you said as they left and sent you polite waves.
“Wow,” chuckled Lucas as he guided you back to your seats. “That was exciting!”
“It was humiliating,” you griped.
“I doubt they’ll hold it against you, Y/N,” Lucas comforted. “They seemed like good guys.”
You hummed in thought. “Yes, I suppose they did.”
“Let’s go back to the hotel, hmmm?” Lucas murmured into your hair, snuggling close to you.
You felt his hand skim your bare back, intimate and close. You shivered and for a moment, you wondered why the gesture felt empty somehow. As if you were expecting literal sparks to emit from his hand. You shook off the thought and followed him out the ballroom and towards the taxi line.
———
You woke up the next morning, feverish and shivering. Your entire back radiated pain, pulsing with a fire you had not thought possible. You whimpered as Lucas put cold compress after cold compress on your forehead. He offered you pain medication and you dutifully swallowed them despite immediately vomiting. The only thing you could keep down was slow sips of water.
You slipped in and out of consciousness. Your dreams were strange and when you tried to remember a few days later, they all slipped away. All you knew was that it resembled Tim Burton movies on acid mixed with a little Salavador Dali for ambiance. You could occasionally hear people speaking in hushed voices or feel people poking and prodding you.
And then, your eyes flashed open, landing on poor Lucas exhaustedly slumped in a hospital chair. You were in a hospital room with tubes connected to your arms and sensors stuck to your chest. Every part of your body ached, but most especially, your back still hurt something fierce.
“Lucas?” you croaked.
Your beautiful fiance’s lashes fluttered and then, you were staring into his deep, brown eyes.
“Y/N?” he said, voice cracking. You had never seen him so worried and anxious. He seemed sad, too. But you supposed you would be in the same state if your positions were reversed.
“What happened?”
Lucas clasped your hand in both of his own. His skin seemed dry and chapped and you had to resist the urge to tell him to put on some lotion. His eyes filled and you had a sudden sense of foreboding.
“What’s going on, Lucas? Am I dying? Why are you crying?” Panic began to fill your senses and he pulled you into a tight embrace.
“No no no, you’re not dying, babe. Or at least, no more than we all are,” Lucas tried to joke. “But it is serious.”
He sighed, leaned back in his chair and wiped a shaking palm over his face. “You’ve been very sick, Y/N, but the good news is that the doctors have figured out what you have.”
You wanted to vomit. “What is it? Do I have cancer?”
“No, baby,” he replied, though his face still seemed stricken. “You were in the throes of First Touch Fever,” he explained.
“What? Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t try to soften the blow for me, Lucas. It’s cancer, isn’t it?” You barely absorbed his words and quite frankly, you did not want to.
Lucas shook his head. “I called your brother Godfrey after the doctor gave me his diagnosis. I told him all your symptoms — including the hand shaped bruise on your back — and he agreed with them.”
“But that’s impossible,” you stammered out, voice broken. What did this mean? How could Lucas not be your endgame? “They must have it all wrong.”
“No, Y/N, I’m afraid they are right,” he said quietly.
You sat in your hospital bed, the thin hospital gown doing nothing to ward off the chills spreading through your body. “What does this mean? Have they found who it might be? I don’t even know how it works — just that we have to find each other before our bodies totally shut down?”
“I’ll get a doctor to explain, Y/N,” replied Lucas. “This is definitely outside my area of expertise. I can call your brother after and he can explain it in layman’s terms.”
You nodded, despondent. “They have instances of platonic soulmates, right? Like, it’s only called Soulmate Syndrome because it’s catchy and alliterative. It’s not like people are actually romantic soulmates — it’s just more palatable if they are.”
“I really don’t know, Y/N,” Lucas said glumly.
You wanted to cry. “We should have never come here. I knew we shouldn’t have attended this fucking gala. I had a bad feeling about it.”
Lucas’s mouth quirked into a half-smile of sorts. “You were worried your award was a fluke and that if you actually attended, they would regretfully inform you of the mistake as you checked in.”
He stood and leaned over you to kiss you on the forehead.
“Let me ping a nurse to tell them you’re awake. I should have done that immediately,” he said.
You watched as the love of your life called the nurse’s desk and then returned to your side. “Thank you for taking care of me, Lucas,” you said softly.
“Of course, babe. You’d do the same for me. We’re in this shit together,” he reassured.
Lucas caught you up on the last four days. He’d called 911 when your breathing became labored and your fever spiked over 104 degrees. Then mostly he just sat next to you in the hospital in the hopes of you waking up and was the liaison to your family.
Your mother would have flown in immediately to D.C., but your grandmother’s health had taken a turn for the worse. Your father would have come, but he, too, was down with some bug that was sweeping through the Sacramento area. Your older brothers, Godfrey and Grayson (such pretentious and yet fitting names), couldn’t get away from work, and so poor Lucas had to stand in the gap. He’d called in for a few more days off work (though he’d been working off the spotty hospital wifi to keep his mind off of things and not be too behind).
When the doctor came in, you automatically reached out for Lucas’s comforting hand.
“Hi, Y/N,” she said. “I’m Dr. Dana Yee, our hospital’s leading expert on Soulmate Syndrome. I’m here to answer as many of your questions as possible and explain to you how it progresses and manifests, as well as some of your next steps.”
“Okay,” you said.
And so, you listened as Dr. Yee explained that it was called a syndrome because it was a cluster of symptoms that correlated to each other and were often associated with a particular disease. Until they could find out the definitive cause of the syndrome, it would continue to be labeled as such and not a disease or illness. There were many theories, of course, but few of them held water and Dr. Yee would not be delving into them at this time.
She went on and on, mostly emphasizing that what had trickled into popular culture was largely incorrect. In general, patients would experience First Touch Fever, a period of 3 to 5 days of intense fever and pain at the First Touch site while your immune system was shocked into recognizing another person’s antigens and immune system as yours.
Once you recovered from the fever, you had approximately 15 to 30 days before you would need to rely on the other person for all your energetic and nutritious needs. While you could still eat and drink regular food and liquids (unlike what the movies depicted), your body’s digestive system no longer quite functioned in the same way, not needing to extract any nutrition from the food. Thus, whatever you ate or drank would leave your body in relatively the same condition as it entered. Whether that was through the form of vomiting or oddly shaped excrement depended on your personal preference as well as your body.
The onset of these symptoms were usually the signs that you would need to have skin to skin contact with your soulmate sooner rather than later. The more skin to skin contact, the less time it took to recharge. It was strange because how could two depleted bodies replenish each other energetically and nutritionally? And yet, that was how it worked. There was very little waste produced other than urine and sweat — and that was because despite the bond, people with Soulmate Syndrome still needed to ingest water.
Alcohol, drugs, and other medications could be absorbed, but at very low rates. Dosing was still being figured out, but it was commonly accepted that you would need to at the very least double or triple the amounts to obtain pre-Syndrome results. Doctors found that most physical ailments could be ameliorated by skin to skin contact — especially over the affected areas — so medications were usually the last resort.
As for the myth that if a soulmate died, the other would also die, that was not technically true. One could survive without a living soulmate, but they would have to be constantly hooked up to an IV for their nutrients and their quality of life would be severely diminished. Many people in their extreme grief and loss of connection chose to die rather than to be without their soulmate (a reaction you found particularly ableist and ridiculous, but you supposed you would get over that hump when you needed to).
Your ears perked into attention when Dr. Yee explained what measures were in place to help you search for your soulmate.
“Because time is of the essence, the protocols for when someone comes into a hospital exhibiting signs of First Touch Fever is to immediately send out a notice to all hospitals within a hundred mile radius to look out for another person with the same symptoms,” Dr. Yee explained. “Since it’s a very rare occurrence, odds are that the other person is usually the soulmate. Of course, this doesn’t account for people who choose to ride out the fever at home or have already traveled outside the area.”
“Makes sense,” you said. “I presume by the lack of someone presenting me with a new soulmate, you have had no luck with this route.”
Dr. Yee grimaced. “You are correct. The onset of First Touch Fever usually occurs within 24 hours after first touch, but for some people, the fever is mild or doesn’t manifest until later. Due to the extremely small sample size, we do not know much more than this.” The doctor took a deep breath. “In cases such as yours, we also input your basic information like sex, age, current location, and possible First Touch site and occurrence dates and location, into a global database for other hospitals or investigators to check.”
“What happens if we never find them?” you asked quietly.
“Well, then we’ll figure something out. For the people who are in this situation, we usually implant a permanent IV port on your body. You can decide whether or not to be hooked up to an IV all day, or only at night,” Dr. Yee explained. “Your energy levels will be down a lot and exhaustion will be your constant companion. But you will be alive and can carry on a mostly normal life.”
You considered Dr. Yee’s words carefully. Despite not particularly caring for this skin on skin contact business with a complete stranger, it did seem better than being tethered to an IV at all times. Otherwise travel would be a complete pain in the ass — not to mention swimming or revealing clothing — or whatever else you had not yet thought of.
Lucas squeezed your hand. You surreptitiously examined him, unsure if he would prefer you find your soulmate and possibly be lost to him, or never find out and live with a drastic life-altering condition.
After the doctor answered a few of your minor questions, you sank back against your bed, utterly spent.
“I’m already exhausted,” you sighed.
Lucas gazed at you sympathetically. “It’s a lot to take in.”
“Are we okay?” you asked softly. “I —” Your voice broke and tears streamed down your face.
“Hey, hey, Y/N,” he comforted, his hand stroking your cheek gently. “We’re okay, babe. We’re more than okay. We’ll figure it out, okay? I love you — with or without this new energy parasite.”
You cracked a wry smile. “It kinda is like a parasite, huh?”
“I guess ‘mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship’ is how Godfrey explained it, but parasite sounds way cooler,” Lucas said. “And just think how much money we’ll save on food — and you might finally be able to outdrink me.”
“It’s not my fault you have this insanely efficient liver,” you griped.
Lucas preened. “We’ll have to go toe to toe one of these days,” he grinned. “Can you imagine the number of wagers we could win? You’ll drink folks under the table!”
“I suppose we would have to test my limits first before we make any preposterous claims,” you reasoned. “All our food savings will be sunk into alcohol.”
“Sounds like a good trade to me,” he said. “I love you, Y/N. I’ve got you, okay? We’re stronger together than apart. I promise.”
You smiled, your heart impossibly full. You didn’t care what the doctors said. If anyone was your soul’s mate, it was Lucas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Seokjin’s hand wouldn’t stop throbbing. It had been hours since he’d caught that poet along with the rest of his members and really, his hand shouldn’t be hurting so much. It was a bit like pins and needles, but much more severe. The weirdest thing was, he could have sworn that when he’d touched her, an arc of electricity had shot from his hand up his arm and through the rest of his body. He’d felt strangely invigorated and yet, deeply satiated. It was very confusing. His body had almost gone limp with pleasure and yet, hours later, his hand was practically vibrating in pain.
Seokjin wondered if perhaps his Ehlers-Danlos syndrome symptoms had worsened. Normally, he had no problem lifting or supporting a minor fall such as the woman’d had — and truly, his hand felt nothing like when he had a flare-up, so Seokjin really didn’t know what was going on.
All he knew was that he was in the first class cabin on a flight back to Seoul, except he couldn’t sleep due to the pain. He’d tried pain medication, but none of it was working. Plus, Seokjin felt warm, like he had overexerted himself. He hoped he didn’t have a fever — they might not let him back into the country if he exhibited any symptoms of COVID or flu.
Seokjin closed his eyes again, hoping he could power through the remainder of the sixteen hour flight. It briefly occurred to him that he should tell one of his members or at least a manager, but they had all promptly conked out and he didn’t want to bother them.
After not being able to sleep, Seokjin gave up entirely and queued up a bunch of movies on his screen. He texted his girlfriend Chae-Yeong, mentioning briefly that he couldn’t sleep and wasn’t feeling well. She, true to form, texted many cute emojis and stickers and wishes for him to feel better soon.
He was so endeared and fond that it was almost enough to make him forget his pains for a while. Sometimes, Seokjin truly wondered what he’d done in a past life to lead him to live the charmed life he now lived.
Seokjin missed Chae-Yeong something fierce. He always missed her when he traveled and lately, he’d been thinking that he should finally propose. He was already 34 international age (he still had great difficulty thinking in those terms — even after Korea had shifted its age system). That was the usual time to settle down, right? And though Chae-Yeong never complained, she was 32 and likely receiving pressure from her friends and family.
He smiled to himself as he thought of how they’d met. He had just finished his military service and was attending a friend’s birthday party when he heard her laugh. She was so cute and sweet, he had been lost immediately. Chae-Yeong had such happy eyes and a pleasant demeanor that Seokjin couldn’t help but think of her even days after the party. He’d finally given in and asked his friend for her information — much to his friend’s delight.
They’d been inseparable since. She’d even moved in with him after a year, though it had been somewhat of an adjustment for him. They’d had to be very careful, but Seokjin was staunchly in his thirties now. His fans had to know he was going to be settling down soon. In fact, they should be encouraging it!
Seokjin occupied himself with bingeing the latest Marvel movies between texting Chae-Yeong, and after a while, he fell into a restless slumber on the leather seat.
When he woke up, everything felt too hot. He tore off his oversized Louis Vuitton sweatshirt but that didn’t help. He asked the flight attendant for some cool water and downed it so quickly, he had to bother her again for more.
“Are you feeling alright, hyung?” Jimin asked. “You seem a little flushed.”
“I’m not sure,” Seokjin finally admitted. “My hand has been hurting ever since the award show, and I just can’t get comfortable.”
“How did you injure yourself? Surely it wasn’t because of that woman we caught?” Jimin giggled. “Hyung, you really are getting on in years if that hurt you. Let me see.”
Jimin reached out and grabbed Seokjin’s hand and gasped.
“Hyung, what did you do to your hand?” he exclaimed.
Seokjin snatched his hand back to examine it only to be confronted by dark and mottled flesh. His entire palm was black and purple. At least that explained the pain — but how could he have wounded himself to that extent without noticing?
Jimin examined Seokjin closely. “When did your hand start hurting?”
Seokjin thought for a moment. “You know, it’s kinda weird but right after we caught the lady at the show. The instant I touched her, it was like I got zapped.”
“Like when it’s really dry and you static shock someone?”
“No,” he said, “like I touched something hot or got shocked by a live wire. It was really weird.”
“And it’s been hurting since then?” Jimin confirmed.
“That’s the weird thing though. At the time, it didn’t really hurt? It felt amazing — like right after you — you know.”
His bandmate leered mischievously. “No, I don’t. Please elaborate.”
Seokjin could feel his ears heat up, which was some sort of miracle because his whole body felt warm already. “Like right after you nut,” he choked out.
“So, orgasmic. You had an orgasm after touching a stranger,” Jimin teased. “Hyung, it hasn’t been that long since you saw Chae-Yeong noona.”
“You insolent pup!” Seokjin scolded, though he wasn’t really mad. He was used to their teasing. “I said it’s like the feeling right after — not the actual orgasm.”
“Well, what’s the point then?”
“I don’t know! It’s not like I had any control over it!”
“But since then it’s hurt?” Jimin asked, still concerned despite his gentle teasing.
Seokjin nodded. “Yeah. It just felt all tingly at first — like after your arm falls asleep. But it’s steadily gotten worse. And now, it throbs and feels like it’s radiating up from my hand and into my forearm.”
“Maybe you got bitten by a radioactive spider.”
“That would be so cool.”
The two of them giggled some more and Seokjin was grateful for the distraction. When the meal came, he was surprisingly not interested though he tried to choke down some of the spicy pork ssam and the accompanying corn soup. The flavors of home comforted him. It was far better than the overdone steak and lobster they’d had at the gala, but he supposed they were working and it could have been worse.
“You should probably go see the doctor after we get back, hyung,” Jimin said after the meal. “It’s likely nothing, but just in case you start getting spidey senses, you’d want to know sooner than later, right?”
Seokjin laughed. He loved how Jimin knew exactly what to say to make him feel better.
“Although, the more I think about it, the more it sounds like what happened in the drama that was popular a few months back,” mused Jimin. “What was it called again? ‘Soulmate of My Dreams’ or something cheesy like that?”
His brain scratched to a stop. He took it back. Jimin didn’t know what to say at all. “Did you say soulmates?” Seokjin stammered.
“Yeah, the main character had all your symptoms after touching a woman, and then he had like 30 days to find her before he died a painful, horrible death,” the younger man continued.
“This is not helpful,” he choked. “This is the opposite of helpful!”
Jimin at least had the grace to look apologetic. “I mean, what are the odds though, hyung? First, to be a global K-pop star at our level. Second, to also be one of the few with a soulmate?” He huffed a laugh. “You should buy a lotto ticket.”
Seokjin’s mind raced. He knew very little about soulmates other than they required each other to live or something and that their soulmate status was set off by touch. If they were separated from each other too long, they would starve and die. That about exhausted Seokjin’s “knowledge,” which even he knew was more like a bunch of rumors and hearsay.
“It’s probably just your condition, hyung,” Jimin said again, going back to reassurance. “Don’t worry about it. You’re probably just really tired from all the traveling, your immune system is working overtime, and you’ll be better before you know it.”
He nodded and secretly hoped that was the case. If it was his Ehlers-Danlos acting up, he understood that. He could deal with that. Seokjin possibly could also deal with becoming the first Korean Spiderman. It was the soulmate thing that would ruin everything. Everything.
———
Everything was ruined.
“Are you sure?” Seokjin asked his doctor in the cold, clinical office. “Everything you’re describing about the First Touch Fever sounds terrible and I don’t even feel that bad — just a tiny fever and some aches and pains. No more than after a long day of rehearsal — well, minus the fever, I guess.”
“Your symptoms, though mild, are consistent with Soulmate Syndrome,” repeated Dr. Cho. “It has been hypothesized that people who are high endurance athletes or really in good shape tend to experience First Touch Fever better than most. Of course, though this sounds like it’s good, it often delays diagnosis and can needlessly endanger both parties.”
“I see.”
Seokjin felt uncommonly exposed — and not only because he was sitting in a paper thin medical examination gown. The patient room was not conducive to warm fuzzies and he yearned for one of his stuffed animals to hug.
“Understandably, you will have concerns. In particular because of your high profile occupation and lifestyle. You will want to discuss this with your family and company, and if you need me present, I am at your disposal,” Dr. Cho offered. That was kind of him.
Dr. Cho explained a lot more and then offered Seokjin a packet full of websites, resources, support groups, and book recommendations. On a good day, Seokjin hated research, mostly trusting that a combination of luck and good humor (or truthfully, his much older friends) would see him through a new situation. This soulmate thing though, along with their stratospheric rise on the global pop scene, offered few friends ahead of him.
He would get to making his way through all that information, but first, he had to hurry home and talk to Chae-Yeong. He was not looking forward to it in the slightest.
———
“You have what?” Chae-Yeong asked, voice only slightly rising. It was one of the attributes Seokjin loved the most about her. She was generally calm and rolled with the punches. This was one helluva punch.
“The doctor diagnosed me with Soulmate Syndrome,” he repeated carefully, shifting slightly on their cream-colored sofa, unsure how Chae-Yeong was going to take it.
“I thought that was a thing dramas made up,” she said shakily. “How — how did you get it? Were you… intimate with someone?” Chae-Yeong looked on the verge of tears. Not for the first time did Seokjin suddenly hate the random woman who’d fallen in front of him.
“No, jagiya,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that. I mean, I suppose it could, but that’s not how it happened. I helped a woman who had fallen and my hand touched her bare back.”
“Why were you touching her bare back?” Chae-Yeong’s voice hitched higher.
Seokjin wanted to kick himself. “I told it wrong, jagi. We were all at the White House Asian Award thing and it was time for a group picture. One of the award winners was a woman and she was wearing a backless dress,” he said, noting how his girlfriend’s demeanor was becoming more and more closed off. “Someone pushed her and she lost her balance. We were all right behind her and caught her. I happened to touch her back — just like Jimin and Jungkook did!”
He felt defensive, but he really didn’t know how to make Chae-Yeong understand. It was just an innocent touch and nothing more.
She cast him a look of extreme skepticism. “Is this on film somewhere?”
“Jagi, I have no idea. Probably? Her fiance saw from across the room — it was in public. I promise, nothing untoward happened.” Seokjin felt desperate. “Chae-Yeong, please. Have I ever given you a reason to doubt me or to worry?”
His girlfriend of two years scrutinized him, face still pinched. “No, I suppose you haven’t.”
“I love you, Chae-Yeong. I would never do anything to hurt you,” he insisted.
She sighed, tears dropping from her sweet, brown eyes. “I know, oppa. I’m — I’m sorry I doubted you. It’s just — all those dramas make it seem like love at first touch. I can’t help but think this means the end for us.”
Seokjin handed her some tissues and she took them gratefully, dabbing her eyes and blowing her nose. He looked around his living room, so much more of a home once Chae-Yeong had moved in with him, adding her delicate touch in the cream and gold accents scattered around their living room.
“Look, I don’t know what will happen in the future, but there are instances of platonic soulmates — especially when the soulmates happen to be different sexual orientations,” Seokjin explained. “And there have definitely been situations where people were already married or had partners.”
“What happened to them?” Chae-Yeong asked.
Seokjin’s heart sank. From the bit he’d scanned on the car ride home, it had not been promising. “They often separated. Not always because of infidelity or anything, but can you imagine just how disruptive or awkward needing to touch someone who was not your spouse to recharge would be?” He rubbed his hand on the back of his neck. “I suppose that is not really good news.”
“No, not really,” his girlfriend replied. “But I suppose the odds were already difficult for us, right? You’re a world famous idol with millions of fans and I’m just a nobody.”
He felt throbbing pressure behind his eyes. “You’re not just a nobody, jagiya.”
She waved her hand imperiously. “You know what I mean, oppa. I’m just a regular person. You are — well you’re you.”
“I’m a regular person, too,” he murmured as he picked up her hand and kissed it reverently. “And as a regular person, I love you. You are everything I ever wanted in a girlfriend —” he hesitated a moment but then decided he’d go big or go home. “Or in a wife.”
Chae-Yeong’s eyes widened. “A wife?”
Seokjin leaned closer to her, his hand stroking the outline of her soft face. “Surely, you know I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I — I had hoped, but I didn’t want to pressure you,” she stumbled.
“Well, I do. This isn’t an official proposal — I have better sense than that.” Seokjin smiled at his girlfriend’s snort of laughter. “But it’s a promise to you that nothing — not even this diagnosis — will get in the way of us.”
Chae-Yeong’s eyes brimmed with emotion as she took in his declaration. “How can you be sure?”
“Because I believe in us,” Seokjin said firmly. “I worked my ass off and brought a tiny music company on the brink of bankruptcy to a billion dollar one from the might of my face alone,” he said, knowing he was being entirely ludicrous. Chae-Yeong wouldn’t take him too seriously. She knew how he was.
“Hmmmm,” she giggled. “All by yourself, huh?”
“Yeah,” he husked as he pulled her close to him. “Okay, maybe I had some help — but we’ll have help and support, too.”
Chae-Yeong leaned into him, her lips so tantalizingly close. “Okay, oppa. I trust you.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and he closed the distance. She tasted sweet and warm, like home. That she didn’t send sparks tingling under his skin was irrelevant. Seokjin loved Chae-Yeong, and he wouldn’t let some American poet ruin it.
~~~~~ Soul on Fire Masterlist [IN PROGRESS]: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | AO3 For more of my fics, here is my Masterlist.
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persephon333 · 5 hours
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hmmmmm ik i said i hc wednesday as aroace. but. i think mayhaps. i have been convinced. her and enid should be together. on one condition: it is the slowest of slow burns of all fucking time with LOTS of explicit build up
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kailoraurelius · 2 days
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Chapter Update! Chapter 8: Yellow Dog
Fandom: Pitch Perfect Pairing: Bechloe Rated: Teen and Up Chapters: 8/? Words: 24,518
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expressionist-hira · 3 months
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britcision · 24 days
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Okay so I fucking adore “Jason feels peace around Danny as the pit shuts the fuck up”
Now give me the slow burn
Just two lads trying to help but keeping it as not-weird as possible
Weekly coffee dates where Danny and Jason just… go somewhere
Read in the park
See a movie
Hang out behind a mall doing kick flips, whatever
Danny doesn’t wanna take advantage of the warm fuzzies Jason gets around him cuz they’re not personal, this is just…
A weirdly fast friendship speedrun
Someone who finally, fully gets him, and yeah, maybe just getting to be himself feels pretty fucking good to Danny too
Jason doesn’t want to impose any more than he surely already is, this is the Ghost King, taking time out of his schedule just to hang out with him so he can have some self control
He’s always and only a burden, Danny’s clearly just being cool cuz he’s the only King Jason’s met who actually fucking cares
He’d do the same for anyone
And so Jason tries to make sure they’re always doing something convenient/easy for Danny, something Danny likes to do
And Danny’s Physically Allergic to asking for anything or telling people things he wants or needs, so this requires Jason’s full detective abilities
And Tim’s but shut the fuck up no one will ever no Jason caved and asked for help
So when Jason sets up their next weekly sesh and takes Danny to the planetarium (maybe he was scared to ask first, maybe he was prepared to wimp out, it’s a surprise stfu)
And sees Danny’s whole face just light up
And they go inside, and Danny’s glowing in human form, bouncing from one place to another, gushing about everything
Jason knows he’s even gonna accept a favour from B to get the whole place to themselves for an overnight viewing
Cuz all he can feel isn’t just the soothing calm of the pit being silent, isn’t just the satisfaction of a job well done
He can feel the joy, the excitement, the radiant enthusiasm pouring off of Danny as if it were his own (and maybe something soft and small and fond that’s truly his)
And Danny
Danny’s a competitive little bitch
If we’re playing “Find Each Others’ Secret Hobbies” he’s got the god of software and his lesser subject Technus both on the line
(Technus stays Tucker’s subject instead of Danny’s until he can hack the PDA, it was a dare)
So he brings Jason out of Gotham for the first time (maybe through the zone, it’s fast travel either way) and they do Shakespeare in the Park
And Jason knows exactly what Danny’s doing (the bastard, this is supposed to be how Jason thanks him for this clearly super annoying favour) but he’s
He’s not had the chance to be soft in so long
To be the literature nerd he’s never left behind
It takes literal years for them to realize they’ve been competitively dating each other and everyone else is absolutely betting on when they will finally kiss
Danny moves in and Jason makes a joke about “well I guess we won’t need our weekly hang sesh” and Danny stares him dead in the eye, full Eldritch Horror
“Does that mean I win?”
So nah Date Night is permanent and eternal and every fucking rogue in Gotham knows to hold it sacred
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rolycolysficrecs · 1 month
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Double Tap
Summary: You were hesitant when your friends told you about their other friend who needed a roommate. Living with a man, let alone a Naval aviator, isn't your ideal living situation. However, you are desperate to get out of your current house. So, you will have to suck it up and make a deal with Jake "Hangman" Seresin. Now you just wish he would stop doing things that make you fall in love with him.
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Pairings: Jake "Hangman Seresin x Fem! Civilian! Reader, minor Javy "Coyote" Machado x OC
Word count: 19k
AO3 LINK
Warnings: Abuse (Implied and mentioned), confrontation with Abuser, Child abuse (mentioned), Slow burn, Implied calorie counting, routines and compulsions, Jigsaw puzzles, taxes, Neurodivergent coded! Hangman, Fiscally responsible!Hangman, Protective!Hangman. Please let me know if I missed any for this part, I know it is a long one.
Authors Note: This got so completely out of hand. It started as one scene and then grew a mind of its own. Part two is written, just not edited, I'm planning on having that done later this week. Hangman Coyote BFF supremacy.  I apologize for writing the most hyper-specific!Jake you have probably ever read. 85% of his personality is just things I find attractive in men.
Thank you so much if you take a chance to read this work. I hope you enjoy it. My inbox is always open if you want to let me know your thoughts. Reblogs with your thoughts, opinions, and tags are gold to me. I love reading through them.
You had been at your friend Marlee's house for almost an hour before she couldn't stop herself from confronting you. She had at least let you get settled and offered you a drink while pretending to be distracted by the lasagna she was making. She had spun towards you expectantly when it was in the oven, having reached her limit on waiting. 
"What happened?" Marlee asks. 
"It's nothing." You respond. 
"It is something. I don't want to reread your texts back to you, babes."
"Marls," you sigh, briefly closing your eyes, trying to fight the exhaustion you feel. 
"You can't live there anymore. We need to get you out."
"Yeah, let me just move and find a place to live. It's not that easy, Marlee." 
She sighs heavily. "I know, babes, but at least stay here with Javy and me. If he touches you like that again."
"It was just a one-time thing," you quickly cut her off. But, from the pitying look in her eyes, she knows it hasn't been just this one time. 
"If something happened."
"Nothing is going to happen." Marlee was too bright and too good of a friend. She knew something had already happened, and she knew things had been happening. Her frown and eyebrow raise say it all. 
"I can't just crash here," you say. 
"You are always, always welcome."
"You are," a voice pops up, and you both look over to the couch. You thought Marlee's husband, Javy, was thoroughly invested in the game he was playing on his Xbox, but it turns out he had an ear on your conversation. 
It wasn't something that bothered you. You loved Javy, he had been an excellent partner to Marlee, and you considered him a friend. He was fun and easygoing, something you hadn't expected from a Navy man. You also weren't bothered because everyone knew they were the type of couple that told each other absolutely everything. So, Javy would have found out one way or another.
"I know that. Thanks, you two." You tell them, trying to get them off your back. 
"Marlee is right. We can't have anything happening to you."
"Nothing is going to happen to me, Javy," you say, now trying to reassure them and stop this unnecessary worrying. 
"You know. I have a friend who has actually been looking for a roommate." Javy says. 
"You do?" you ask, surprised you hadn't heard about this sooner. 
"Yeah, I mean, he can be a lot. But he is a good guy and a great roommate."
"Who ?" Marlee cuts in. 
"Jake."
"Hangman?"
"Yeah, Hangman." The two of them stare at each other, and you can see that they are having one of those conversations of glances and small expressions you weren't entirely privy to understanding. 
Marlee then shrugs, nodding, and looks back at you, "It would be a nice safe place." 
"I mean, it's an option and would be a nicer place to stay than anything else you'll find. Plus, someone who is not a total stranger as a roommate." Javy tells you. He pulls off his headset and makes his way to the kitchen. He sets his hand on your shoulder and gives you a kind smile. 
"I'm not sure about living with a man."
"If you don't want to live with Jake or you aren't interested, we will find somewhere else. Or you stay here with us, but you can't stay there anymore." The seriousness behind Javy's smile isn't lost on you. So you start to slowly nod. 
"I guess I could at least chat with your friend if y'all think it's a decent option." 
"Yeah, for sure," Javy said with a grin. "I'll ask him about it, then maybe y'all can meet this weekend. We are still having a big bonfire on the beach. I'm sure he will be there."
"Oh, I wasn't planning on going to the bonfire." You start to say, which makes both Javy and Marlee frown.
"Why aren't you coming to the bonfire?"
You tried to think of a valid excuse beyond that being in open public spaces was terrifying to you right now. An excuse past the fact that you knew your bruises wouldn't be gone by Saturday. 
"I've just been stressed about finding a place to live, you know." You gave them both a weak smile, but neither of your friends seemed appeased. 
"Well, now you have a reason to come," Marlee says. 
"Yeah, exactly, and I'll talk to Jake." Javy presses a kiss to your forehead and then a lingering one to Marlee's lips. He returns to the couch, but not before looking at you seriously. "You know if you ever need anything, you call us?"
"Sir, yes sir," you tell him with a laugh, making Marlee giggle too. 
Even with Javy's reassurances, you are unsure about this whole idea. However, whoever this friend Jake is, you know he had to be better than your current living situation. After dinner, Marlee and Javy both reiterate their feelings on the whole issue before you leave their house. You did your best to wave them off and tell them you would see them in a few days.  
When Saturday rolls around, you head to the pin Marlee sent you for the bonfire. You are thankful it is a cooler day and will only be colder once the sun sets. It allows you to not look so out of place in your conservative clothes, ensuring all your bruises are covered. 
You arrive purposefully late and park far from the beach. By the time you make it to the group of people, you have sufficiently hyped yourself up to interact with the others. You decide to ease yourself into the party. You walk around the different coolers, opening them and investigating the available drink options. 
You are in the middle of shuffling through one when you hear a voice behind you.
"Anything specific I can help you find, sweetheart?" You turn around and are met with one of the most attractive men you have ever met. He is tall, with dirty blonde hair and a pair of sunglasses perched on his nose. 
"I'm just browsing," You tell the man with a shrug, proud of yourself for being able to put together a sentence. 
"I think I know what would be perfect for you, sweetheart.
"Oh really?"
"Yeah," He says, flashing you a grin. His smile makes something in your stomach swoop a tiny bit. 
"And, what would that be?" you say, raising an eyebrow. 
"Me, of course."
You can't help the shocked laugh that falls out of your throat. Which just makes his handsome smile widen. 
"I was thinking something a bit stronger, actually."
"I know I look like a tall glass of water but let me tell you, I won't disappoint you."  
"Well, looks certainly can be deceptive."
"That's true. Are you really as sweet as you look?" 
Before you can answer, you hear Javy's voice to your right. "Oh good, you two already met." 
You turn your head to see Javy jogging over. He stops next to you with a smile on his face. You process his words and feel your stomach drop. The incredibly handsome man you were trying to flirt with was Javy's friend. Javy's friend he thought you could live with. 
"There haven't been any formal introductions," you say. 
"Jake Seresin," he says. He sticks out his hand, waiting for you to shake it. You take his hand, give it a firm shake, and share your name. He repeated it softly, giving your hand an extra squeeze before letting go. 
"Javy said you are looking to move," Jake says casually. Your voice seems stuck in your throat. You examine Jake's handsome face again and know you can't do this.
"Yeah, she is. Soon, too." Javy says after you haven't said anything leaving an awkward pause. 
"I have lots of space."
"Oh well, you know." You say, trying to figure out what to say by saying nothing at all. Jake nods along with you, but his eyebrows pull close together while his eyes narrow. 
"Plus, Jake is really clean," Javy adds. 
"That is good to know. Maybe Jake and I can talk about it later?" You say, giving both of them a smile. You turn back to the coolers and grab the first drink you see. 
"Yeah, we can talk about it later. Javy owes me a spike ball game anyways," Jake says. He flashes you another smile while grabbing a High Noon out of the cooler, gesturing for Javy to do the same. You leave them to find Marlee and chat with some other people at the party. 
You are considering how to best say goodbye and leave the party while sitting next to the fire later. You stare into the flames hoping they might provide you answers. 
"You would actually be doing me a huge favor by moving in, "Jake says to you casually. You are startled by his sudden presence, and you look over at him, quirking an eyebrow in response.
"Oh really?" 
"Yeah. I haven't had a roommate for a while, and I would prefer someone who isn't in the military. I don't want to bring work and ranks home. You know?"
"Oh yeah, sure, that makes sense," you say, following his line of logic. 
"Also, rent these days is," Jake doesn't finish the sentence, instead just whistling quietly.
"Yeah, rent is expensive," you laugh. You find it much easier to talk to Jake if you don't have to look directly out at him. 
"You don't have to let me know right now, but I don't have any issues with it."
"We haven't talked about it much," you tell him, surprised he had decided so quickly.
"There is this saying that beggars can't be choosers."
"I would want a roommate contract. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, that would be fine by me, Sugar."
"Okay, cool, but we should think about it."
"Tonight is a party, and we are supposed to be having fun. Not doing business. So, why don't you text me, and we will hash out the details this week. Plus you can see the place, which you would probably want. Maybe you could move in next weekend if we can work it all out?"
Part of you thought you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, so you decided to text Jake throughout the week to hash out the details. And the next thing you know, Javy, Marlee, and Jake are helping you move your stuff. 
Living with Jake wasn't as hard as you worried it would be. In fact, it was much easier than you were anticipating. Jake led his life with strict regiment and routine. It was something that stretched beyond that he was in the military. 
Jake would wake up in the mornings and go on a run before coming home, making breakfast, showering, and going to work. Then he would come home, change and go to the gym, come home, shower again because he needed to, and then eat dinner. Every night if you were home while he was cooking, Jake would always offer you some. That leads you to find out he is a phenomenal chef. 
Then Jake would read in the large armchair in the living room and half-watch whatever you put on the TV to watch yourself. He only requested to use the TV when one of his sports teams was playing or on Wednesday nights, where he would spend an hour and a half playing Animal Crossing with his niece while they facetime. 
You had told Jake that the TV was his, and he didn't have to ask you to use it. Jake just laughed and shrugged before telling you he wasn't the biggest TV guy. Jake had been telling the truth when he said that. You realized that Jake was more interested in his books. If he wasn't reading a book, he sat silently with one of his sudoku puzzles and country music playing on vinyl. Then Jake would go to bed after whatever chores he deemed he should do. 
It was a strictly followed pattern, only differing on Fridays when he would sometimes go out to a bar with the guys or sometimes Saturdays. However, even on the weekends, he would follow the schedule closely. Regardless if he had gone to the bar, he would still wake up outrageously early in the morning, work out, do chores, and then go to the gym again. Sometimes Jake would venture out of the house to see his friends, but more often than not, he was reading or in the workshop in the garage with some project. 
Marlee had not prepared you for how amazingly hot Jake was. When you moved in, he had been very polite, if a bit curt. Never venturing to flirt with you again like when you first met. As the weeks living with Jake passed, though, he definitely warmed up to you. But still never pushed the roommate line between you. 
You worked hard to push your attraction for Jake to the side or shove it into a safe in the back of your mind. That was a challenging task to accomplish because, just like Javy said, Jake was very clean. It wasn't that he was a clean freak per se, but he was definitely an orderly and well-kept person. Everything in the house had a place it belonged. 
Jake always did his dishes and tidied up after himself in your common areas. He also never leaves any of his laundry waiting around. You had watched in a mix of awe and horror the first time he pulled out clothes from the dryer within five minutes of the machine going off. Then Jake started folding, halfway through the laundry, stoping to pull out an iron and ironing board. 
The sight was all so attractive that you had to excuse yourself upstairs. That was something that you often had to do. Anytime you felt heat build in you towards your roommate, you would quickly excuse yourself. You knew giving into your attraction for Jake in any shape or form would not lead anywhere good. You needed a place to live, and this place you had with Jake was way too good to risk anything. 
Given his career choice, it was not entirely surprising how regimented Jake is. However, what did surprise you was when he started to incorporate you into his routines in small ways. Jake would automatically set out an extra plate for you when cooking, and picks up snacks you like from the store. One day you come home and find a second shoe rack by the door just for you. On the days you had to be up for work, you would find that Jake had already put your morning drink together for you when he returned from the gym and was making his own breakfast. You like the steady rhythm and consistency that living with Hangman provides you. It's seamless and easy to fall into step with him. 
You had been living with Jake for a few months, and things were going really well, almost too well you sometimes felt like it was too good to be true. Your nightmares weren't as frequent. You get full nights sleep and feel comfortable here with Jake. The only times you don't feel content are the times that you think about how hot Jake is. Or when Jake does something that makes it hard not to try and smash your lips against his in a heated, passionate kiss. 
Then one day, you get home from work, and worry suddenly sweeps over you as you glance at your phone and realize what time it is. The house is completely dark and quiet. Jake should have been home several hours ago and on his way to the gym already. In fact, right about now was when he should have been getting home from the gym.  
You resist the urge to call Jake and check that he is okay. You know that action would be overstepping the roommate boundaries that exist clearly between you. You tell yourself it's silly to worry all because he wasn't following the schedule you made up for him in your head. It's not like Jake had ever written down his routine and given it to you. Maybe today was a special anniversary, or maybe he had after-work plans you didn't know about. 
Your worry is eased about twenty minutes later when you hear Jake's truck pull into the driveway, followed by the garage door rumbling open. You find yourself easing further into the couch, some of the tension you weren't wholly conscious of easing out of your body.  
Jake comes in, and you cut your eyes over to see him still in his flight suit. He doesn't say anything to you as he unlaces and kicks off his shoes. He passes you while walking to the stairs and manages a short but gruff hello. Then, without another word, he is gone. You stare after his back in shock. Something is definitely not right with Jake. 
He left his shoes sprawled on the ground by the door. It was not a sight you had ever seen in the house, not even the times Jake had stumbled home drunk and giggly. Jake always pulled off his boots, neatly tucking the laces in and then setting them up on his small shoe rack by the door. 
You get up from the couch and walk over to fix his shoes, tucking in the laces. You tell yourself it is so no one will trip over them, not for any other reason. Then you hear Jake's shower turn on, and the water runs much longer than the twenty-minute showers you are used to him taking. It all feels so odd and out of place. You decide to make some pasta for dinner, convinced Jake is planning on not eating at all with how far he is off his schedule. 
You are just finishing dinner when the water in his bathroom finally shuts off. Then fifteen more minutes later, Jake comes downstairs in a pair of plaid pajama pants and a thread-bare Annapolis shirt. He appears to be looking around downstairs, almost a bit dazed and lost. 
"I made dinner. How about you have some?" You call out to him from the kitchen. Jake follows your voice to the kitchen and looks at the food you have made and dishes up. Hesitantly he sits down at the table. 
"If you don't mind."
"Of course not. I know this may shock you since you normally cook, but I can do it too." 
"I've never thought that you couldn't cook." Jake quickly responds. 
"I know, Jake. I'm just teasing you. Now eat up." 
Jake follows orders and takes a bite of the pasta, letting out a small groan. "So good," he mumbles before taking another bite. 
"Do you want the macros?" You ask him conversationally after eating in silence for a few minutes. 
"Oh. No, thank you. I appreciate you making something and sharing. No need for you to put in extra work. I will be fine not tracking my macros for one meal," Jake says. 
"Okay," you say and give him the kindest smile you can think of. You don't want to push him on why he isn't okay. However, you can't stop yourself from sliding the piece of paper you wrote the macros on across the table to him anyways. 
Jake stares at the note card for a long moment and then looks up at you. It's not a look you have ever seen on your roommate's face before. You aren't entirely sure how to decipher the way his green sea-glass eyes are gleaming back at you. He folds the paper once before putting it in his pocket. 
Jake clears his throat, and the edges of his lips quirk up. "Thank you."
"Of course, anytime, Jake," you say back. He puts away his plate a few minutes later after finishing his food. Then packs up the leftovers into some tupperware. 
"I'm going to bed," Jake tells you. Jake doesn't even stop to grab the current book he is in the middle of from where it is placed next to his chair in the living room. 
The moment Jake disappears up the stairs, you are frowning again, considering his behavior. It bugged you, something clearly was off, but you weren't in the position to ask him what it was. As you start to settle down for the evening, you notice that Jake had put it in the laundry basket next to the washer that morning. Seeing that you knew he originally had every intention of starting it before going to the gym that night something that never happened.
You briefly considered that maybe it isn't normal how you have memorized his routine, but also maybe that was just part of living with Jake. You didn't even think before you were throwing his laundry in the washer for him. You stay up to put the clothes in the dryer. Then you find yourself folding items and hanging some of them, not confident that you could iron them correctly. About halfway through the chore, you stop realizing just what you are doing but finish it out, imagining the look on Jake's face when he sees his laundry done. You are in too deep to back out at this point. 
🏡🧩🏡
You knew it wasn't the best idea that morning when you had left to go pick up some of your remaining stuff and random mail from where you used to live. However, you didn't expect it to go as badly as it had. You were still shaking from the interaction you had when you got home. Every moment of the interaction repeats over and over in your head. You hazardously throw your keys into your little key bowl, not caring to notice Jake's there as well. 
You were still trying to take calming breaths and push away the tears streaming down your face. Standing at the entrance to the living room frozen, you aren't sure if you are actually at home or back there with him. 
You startle and jump, letting out a small shriek, hearing a sound in the kitchen. You turn slowly, shocked to see Jake staring at you dressed in his NWUs instead of his flight suit. You are equally surprised by the sight of him home in the middle of the day, in a uniform you rarely see him wear. 
The adrenaline of being scared forces your brain into letting go of the nerves and panic you had barely been keeping in check. Tears spring freely from your eyes as you take gasping breaths. J ake sets down the knife he is holding and takes long strides across the room to quickly reach your side. His hands hover near you but don't actually touch. 
"What's wrong?" Jake asks in a deep voice. 
You just shake your head at him, unable to respond, instead focusing on getting air into your lungs. 
"Can I touch you?" Jake asks then, and that does seem okay, so you jerkily nod your head yes. 
First, his hands settle lightly on your shoulders. Once it seems like you are okay and comfortable with that. Jake goes a step further and wraps his arms around you, pulling you flush against his chest. You press your face into the material of his shirt. Your hands come up to bunch it slightly on his chest as you find purchase to clutch him closer. 
He makes gentle shushing noises but otherwise doesn't say anything while holding you. He is so warm, and his arms feel strong around you. Jake's hold on you doesn't waiver once while you cry. Only relaxing slightly when your sniffles and crying start to level out and you let go of his shirt. 
You take one more deep breath of him. Jake smells of a pleasant mix of his body wash, y'all's fabric softener, and his cologne. Letting the calming effect of the smell flood your system before letting go of your hold on him completely, only then does Jake let his arms slip away. 
Pulling away from the hug, you shyly look to see Jake's face. You find that he is already looking at you. For one of the first times since you met him, you don't like how Jake's face looks. There is a soft and sad demeanor that you see in his eyes. His eyebrows crease and his lips are pressed into a flat line. You feel embarrassment and shame flood you. The way that you just broke down and cried on your roommate, fully processing in your muddled tired head. 
"You're home," you eventually say, trying to break the ice and put a brave face back on. 
"Yeah, I'm not flying today. So, I had the time to come home for lunch."
"Sorry to interrupt." You say, looking down to examine your feet. 
"You didn't interrupt anything," Jake reassures you. He goes back to the kitchen, and you watch as he continues to cut ingredients for his salad.
"Do you want me to make you anything?" He asks.
"No, thank you. "You say not feeling even a little hungry. 
"Do you want to talk about it?" Jake asks next. 
"No, thank you," you say again and settle at the kitchen island to watch Jake cut the veggies and toss them in a big bowl. 
"Okay," he says. You like that Jake doesn't push you for things. He respects the boundaries you set and doesn't even try to toe up against them. 
"Am I allowed to know why you aren't flying today? I thought someone had broken in. Plus, I hardly recognize you out of a flight suit."
"You don't like these?" Jake asks, looking at the Navy camo print he is wearing as if this uniform suddenly offended him. 
"I didn't say that," you tell him, giving a small laugh. Obviously, Jake could make anything look good, even things that shouldn't. 
"Can't fly every day." He says with a shrug. "Also, I'm going through some maintenance stuff and checks with my sailors." 
You hum, but otherwise, don't comment watching Jake wash the knife and cutting board he had been using then. Then, after he drys them and puts them away, he turns back to you. 
"There isn't anything to be embarrassed about," he tries to venture lightly. 
"You don't come home and cry on me," you say, frowning. 
"You sure about that one?" He asks, shoving a mouthful of salad into his mouth. 
"Pretty sure that I would remember such an occasion." 
Jake just hums. One of those sounds that makes you feel like he doesn't actually agree. A few bites of his food later, he sets his bowl down. His green gaze is trialed on you, but then he glances at his watch, huffing in annoyance. 
There is a slight caving feeling inside you. You feel bad. How much of Jake's lunch have you taken up? You had never actually seen him come home for lunch before, so he must not get a long time. 
"I do all the time. Maybe just a bit less of the wet physical crying." Jake tells you, putting a container lid on his bowl.
"You could," you utter to him, a little embarrassed. 
"Yeah?"
"Yeah, wouldn't bother me if you ever needed to. You know. I'm here for you."
"Thank you, Darlin," Jake says. Then glances at his watch again. "I got ten minutes before I have to go. What would you like to do?"
"I'm fine," you tell him. "You should use that time to eat." 
"I'll munch while I'm doing some paperwork later."
That was a lie. You knew that Jake would never eat around paperwork. However, it was the kind of lie that settles warmly. It was one of those lies born with good intentions and made to be soothing. You could never be upset that he is even trying to comfort you at his own expense. 
"I don't want to talk about it, Jake." You reiterate again.  
"I know, and you don't have to. I won't ask again. However, if you ever decide that you do. I'm here for you too. Always." 
"Thank you, Jake. You're a really good roommate."
"I hope you can consider me a friend too?" 
"Of course, we are friends too," you reassure him. Jake's lips quirk upwards, his dimples flashing upon hearing that. 
"Now, I can't go back to work without seeing at least one smile." 
"That's a pretty tall order." 
"Well, they don't call me the best for nothing."
"Do they really call you the best or is that something you just tell people?" You ask him, mostly joking. Jake pretends to take offense, pressing his hand dramatically to his chest. 
"Ma'am, you wound me," Jake says, pouting. 
"I don't know. I think it is a pretty legitimate question." 
"I am the best." 
"And how do they determine that exactly? Who the best is." 
"Well, there are a lot of ways. Many different factors to consider." 
"Oh really?" 
"Yup. Also sorts of stuff, but they get us all together once a year, and we have a competition." 
"What kind of competition?"
"Only the elite members of the Navy participate. We all take turns sliding." 
"Sliding?" 
"Yup," Jake confirms, sounding one hundred percent serious. "We set up a huge slip and slide on the carrier runway. You only get three tries, and then we add them for scoring. I may have ripped off all the skin on my chest last year, but it was worth it to win." 
You can't help but let out a laugh. You picture Hangman competitively sliding down a yellow tarp that doesn't have enough water on it. It's such a silly concept you aren't sure where he came up with it. 
"Ahh there she is," Jake says with a broad smile. 
"I never would have thought that was a skill the Navy values." 
"Yes, Ma'am. It's actually the second part of the Naval academy mission," Jake tells you, still maintaining a serious tone despite his smile. Then Jake stands up straight to his full height in parade rest. 
"To develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government." Jake repeats dutifully and then adds. "In addition to putting these ideals to the test by hosting the world's most competitive slip and slide competition. Weirdly, people don't talk about that second part much." 
You only laugh harder, shaking your head at him. "Yeah, an absolute mystery. I can't believe that isn't common knowledge." 
Jake chuckles along with you. Then you two are interrupted by a timer going off from Jake's phone. He sighs and silents it. 
"I'm sorry. I've got to go, sugar. Are you going to be okay?" 
"Yeah. I promise I'm okay. Thank you, Jake." 
He bites his lip and nods at you going to put in his shoes and lace them back up. "Are you going to be home later?" 
"Yeah, I'll be home." 
"We could do something if you're feeling up for it. Or I can pick up takeout." 
"That's sweet, Jake, but you really don't have to." 
"I want to," he says with a shrug. Then checks his reflection in the mirror, making sure he is presentable to go back to work. After that, he turns back to you. 
"I'll think about it." You tell him before playfully shoving him out the door so he isn't late. You try not to melt when Jake gives you another hug. You catch his hand just before he is too out of reach.  
"Thank you, Jake. For making me smile."
"It's the prettiest thing I've seen all day," Jake says, squeezing your hand with his own. His words muddle your brain a little bit. You don't get to say anything else before he heads off to his truck, waving at you one more time and driving off. 
You also pretend you aren't screaming on the inside when Jake comes home from work that night with your favorite food and ice cream. The night feels easy and warm, sitting and eating with Jake. The events of that morning can't cross your mind while Jake tells you all about some of the weird contraband he found in the junior sailors' barracks that day. He is no less than spellbinding. 
🏡🧩🏡
Jake is sitting at the kitchen table when you get home from work. He is surrounded by neatly organized papers spread all along the table in various piles. Jake is wearing a button-down, tie, and slacks that make you do a triple-take on him.
"Welcome home," he says, glancing up from his laptop that is open in front of him. That's when you see he also has a pair of glasses on. 
"Thank you," you say, slowly making your way to the kitchen but still looking at him. 
"What are you working on there?" You ask. 
"Oh, I'm doing my taxes," Jake says while giving you one of his winning smiles. 
"Taxes?"
"Yes, Ma'am"
"I guess that makes sense," you say while looking around the kitchen for a snack. 
After a few minutes of silence, you decide to ask another question. "Do you have a date later?" 
You knew Jake dated. A man who looks like that has to date. However, you had yet to see him ever bring someone home, which felt odd considering everything about Jake, and the persona he liked to put on as Hangman.  
"No. What makes you ask that?" Jake asks you. 
"Oh. I don't know. You're dressed like you are going on a date."
"No, I'm not," he says, looking down at himself. 
You laugh at him and shrug. "If you say so."
"I would never wear this on a date," Jake mutters, clearly offended. 
"Well, then, why are you wearing it?"
"I'm doing taxes," he says again. 
"Yeah, we have covered that. What does that have to do with your clothes?"
"I'm dressed like an accountant," Jake tells you. You can't hold back your giggles at his phrasing and bring a hand up to your mouth to try and stifle them before giving up entirely. 
"What? What's so funny?" 
"Two things," you say, holding up two fingers, finally biting back your giggles. 
"One, the fact that you got dressed up to do your taxes. The second is that being an accountant is a euphemism for being a sex worker." Jake chuckles at your explanation but shrugs. 
"Well, Mrs. Celeste said I should always dress for the day. It helps you present your best self. If you dress the part, it helps you act that part." Jake says that like a well memorized and treasured quote. A saying he clearly remembered with much fondness.  
"And today is my tax day, so I am dressing like a tax professional. I will have you know. Since I started doing them myself, I have never had one problem with my taxes."
You couldn't help but chuckle more at his explanation and give him a fond smile. Sometimes the way Jake was so perfectly built and attuned for the military was endearing. Of course, a career Naval man would think a uniform was essential for each different activity. 
"So, are the glasses part of your tax uniform too?"  
He made a show of pushing the said glasses further up his nose. "Yes, Ma'am. They also are blue light blocking, which helps prevent migraines."
You nod along to his explanation. You finish putting together your snack and lean against the kitchen counter while munching on it. "Who is Mrs. Celeste? A teacher?"
Jake's lips flatten slightly before the expression relaxes just as quickly. "No, Mrs. Celeste is my Babula." 
"Your Grandmother?" You guess. 
"Yeah, sorry. My grandma, but she was strictly Mrs. Celeste growing up, only Babula occasionally." 
"I don't think I've met someone who calls their grandparent by their first name."
"Well, not really her first name. You have to be respectful and throw the Miss in there with it. She is a very particular lady."
"Is it a southern thing?"
"Yeah, maybe," he says with a small laugh. The edges of his lips quirk up, and you have to look away from Jake to distract yourself. It is easy to fall into the trap of how beautiful he is, with the sparkle he can get in his eyes. Or how even the smallest of his smiles makes you want to grin back. 
"So, how are the taxes?" 
"Oh, it's good. I'm almost finished up."
"Awesome, congrats Jake."
"Have you done yours?" He asks you. 
You shake your head and roll your eyes at the idea. "No, I definitely haven't."
"But you got your W2s in the mail last week."
"Jake, are you snooping through my mail?"
He raises both his hands up in defense. "No, I'm not! W2s just have a very particular look." 
"I'm just kidding. I know you wouldn't snoop through my mail. Yeah, I got them, but I've been busy. I guess I should make a Tax Masters appointment or something."
That crease in between Jake's eyebrows appears, the one that haunts you, that you pretend you don't obsess over. Followed by a small frown.
"Tax Master?" He asks, clearly appalled. You shrug back at him, not entirely seeing the issue. 
"I could do them for you," Jake says, then quickly adds on. "I mean, I can help you do them. If you have the time. I'm already dressed for it, and I won't charge you or anything."
"Oh no, Jake, that is so sweet, but I can't ask you to do that."
"No, really, I wouldn't mind. I think it would be fun. Plus, then you will have it done, and you won't have to worry about it." 
"Really, thank you so much, but it's fine." 
Jake's frown deepens at your answer, and he seems almost genuinely upset at your denial of his help. The warm feeling in your chest likes to flip over and grow a little bit more each time he is too sweet in moments like these. 
"You know Javy warned me that you were an asshole when I was going to move in. However, you have not once lived up to that. You could stand to be less nice to me, Jake." You tell him. You mean it to come off as almost flirty and a bit of a joke. However, it doesn't seem to land with him that way. 
The change that comes over Jake isn't something entirely tangible. It is almost like a shift in the air around him rather than anything physical. The way Jake looks at you just feels heavier and more charged. The confidence he always exudes seems to double with how he sits up just the smallest bit straighter but then leans back against his chair casually. 
"Go get your W2s." He tells you in a perfectly level tone, but it has a demanding edge. 
"Jake," you start to say and roll your eyes at him. 
"Nope," Jake says, popping the p. His voice takes on a lower candace, leaving no room for arguments. "I'm not giving you a choice. We are going to do your taxes." 
"No, we aren't doing my taxes." 
"Yes, I am. I can't be caught not living up to my reputation. So, I'm not going to be nice and accept that you don't want to. This is one of the few situations I won't take no for an answer." 
"It was just a joke." 
"No, it wasn't," Jake says, giving you a small shrug. You can't tell if he is actually hurt by how he is acting, but you suspect some part of him was twinged at his best friend's description. 
"It really was, Jake. Javy adores and trusts you. I'm sure he never would have suggested me moving in with you if he actually thought you were an asshole." 
"I know I'm an asshole. It's fine, sugar, don't worry. I'm not going to tattle on you telling me that to Coyote."
"You aren't an ass, though. That was my whole point."
Jake just shook his head at your answer. "I am one, and I don't want that to be a surprise when you inevitably witness it." 
You aren't sure how to respond to that, so you are relieved when Jake changes the topic. "Now, get your tax stuff, so it doesn't take us all night."
"Okay," you sigh, giving in to defeat. Jake gives you a mega-watt smile, and looks back at his computer screen. 
As you are walking up the stairs, you hear him yell across the house. "Dress like your best accountant self!"
"I won't be doing that," you yell back. 
"Please! It's important." Jake yells back.
When you are in your room getting all your stuff and paperwork pilled together. You find yourself opening your closet and pulling out an outfit that you could imagine wearing if you were an accountant.
You also spend several minutes too long wondering what would happen if you went back downstairs in the most provocative lingerie you own. After all, Jake didn't specify which type of accountant to dress up as. You wondered if it would be tempting to Jake. Could you provoke him into falling into lust with you? Tempt him enough that he took you on the dining room table on top of all the Tax paperwork? Jake has expressed attraction to women before, so there must be at least some part of him that is at least a little attracted to you. 
You smash down your thirsty thoughts and try to screw your head back on straight before it can drift too much off on track. When you get back downstairs, Jake is still at the table. You dump all your stuff on an empty spot there. 
Jake looks up from his computer and smiles at you, quirking an eyebrow. Then, Jake speaks to you teasingly, "And here I thought you might dress up as the other type of accountant you were telling me about." 
Your brain has no choice but to start short-circuiting, and you open and close your mouth twice. Jake starts shuffling through your paperwork, looking at what you have brought him. 
"I ordered us some pizza too," he says before you get out a proper response or say anything teasing back to him. 
"Yum. I'm excited," you tell him sliding into a seat and opening up your own laptop. 
He stops his shuffling and examination of the papers to level you with a serious look. "Thank you for indulging me, by the way." 
"Anything for you, Jake," you tell him and mean it. Unfortunately, the way you feel about your roommate is rapidly spiraling out of the tight control you tried to keep it in. 
"I like when we do fun things like this together," Jake says to you, grinning. 
"Me too," you tell him. Then add, "Only you would find taxes fun, though, Hangman."
"I am about to show you just how fun taxes can be and how you can get a great return," Jake says, taking your words in stride. 
Jake does your taxes almost entirely by himself, only asking occasional questions. He also then organizes all of your paperwork in an extra accordion binder he has. The taxes aren't fun, but spending time with Jake is.  
"Thank you," you say to Jake daring to press a soft, affectionate kiss to his cheek. You linger for a moment, the prickle of his end-of-day stubble ticking your lips, but you don't mind it.  When you pull back to gauge his reaction, Jake looks almost pained and upset. You worry for a moment that even just a cheek kiss could make him react this way. You briefly thank god you didn't actually try to seduce him earlier. 
"Always, anytime." He finally says. However, Jake is now glaring down at his keyboard and not looking at you. 
"I hope it wasn't too much trouble," you venture, confused by this mood shift. 
"Sugar?"
"Yes, Jake?" 
"I don't think you should pay so much rent." 
"What?"
"Listen," he runs a hand through his hair, pushing it all out of sorts. "I just don't think it's fair for you to pay so much."
"Of course, it's fair. I live here," you explain. 
"Yeah, but no. I get BAH, and I don't have any student loans from school. Plus, the Navy pays me plenty as an officer. I was paying for this place all alone before you moved in anyways."
"I'm not going to pay less rent because you saw my financials and feel bad." You tell Jake quietly, trying not to actively become upset. 
"Please don't be so stubborn," he pleads with you. 
You cross your arms over your chest, "Take your own advice."
"I'm the one being stubborn?" 
"Yes! You are. You are the most stubborn man I have ever met."
Jake's frown deepens, and that sad look in his eyes at your words starts to break through to you. Then he responds, "I'm sorry. I guess I'll try and work on that." 
Jake starts meticulously putting things away into different folders. He moves through each of his piles on the table and doesn't spare you a second glance. It leaves a crushing feeling in your chest. 
"I'm sorry for snapping at you." 
"There is no need to apologize. I'm the one who is sorry." Jake says, shrugging off your apology. 
"No, you don't need to apologize. I understand why you said what you did. I know you were trying to be sweet." You start to say but are cut off. 
"I wasn't trying to be sweet."
"Oh my god. Okay, fine, trying to be nice, then," you say, rolling your eyes. 
Jake sets down the folder he is currently holding, and it thumps a little bit on the table. The force and loud sound make you flinch. 
"I'm not sweet, nice, good, or kind. Okay? I'm not any of those things. I call things how I see them. I look at facts, figures, and numbers. Then I run calculations and act accordingly."
"And how is it mathematically possible that me paying less rent possibly works out for you, Jake? You will be losing money." As he shakes his head, he huffs at your words a little bit like they are funny. 
"You could do a lot and make a lot of gains if you paid less rent, and I don't mind picking up the extra amount. You might be one of the few people I haven't hated living with. I don't want you figuring out you need to live somewhere cheaper and moving out on me. So, I'm not being nice. I'm being a selfish asshole." Jake clenches his fists hard, and you see his knuckles start to turn paler. With a deep breath, he relaxes and shrugs. Loosening the tight coil of his muscles, Jake gives you a curt tight lipped smile with a nod. "I'm just a selfish asshole, okay?"
"Please stop. Don't say that."
"Why not? It's true," he says, rolling those beautiful eyes at you. 
"It's not true. Also, I would prefer if you don't use the word selfish around me, please." You say in a surprisingly steady voice. You don't really want to get triggered right now, and you could only hope that you wouldn't have to explain triggers to Jake. It takes him one moment to think and another to process before he says anything. 
"Oh fuck. I'm so sorry. I won't use it again." Jake promises, no questions asked. His words blow up a balloon in your diaphragm, making it feel like your breath is about to catch. Then he adds on, "If there are any other words…" He looks around and grabs a loose pen and one of his notebooks. Jake slides them across the table to you. "Write them down. Maybe? If you can." 
The warmth Jake inspires in your chest is unparalleled and drowns out anything you can think of aside from how endearing he can be and how fond you are of him. Jake doesn't take the lack of response from you well.  
"I'm sorry," he apologizes again. You spring from where you had been sitting, walking slowly and deliberately toward him. You make sure to give him plenty of time to protest and say something. 
Jake looks steadily back at you. However, he looks like he is preparing himself to be slapped or punished, holding perfectly still. Instead, though, you wrap Jake in a tight hug. He is stiff as a board beneath you. After a long moment, as you consider pulling away, Jake relaxes and wraps his arms around you. They are wrapped loosely at first but then tighten in small intervals until Jake is practically clinging to you. 
"You are so good," you whisper to him, a little dazed. You are almost stunned by how desperately Jake tries to pretend otherwise. 
"Don't say that," Jake whispers in a broken voice, hugging you a bit tighter. 
"Too good." You left the words for me unsaid, but you felt them. 
"I'm really not."
"It's okay if you don't see it. I see it for you. I'll make sure everyone else sees, too," you tell Jake curling your hands into a fist in his shirt. 
He doesn't say anything but keeps holding you tightly. You don't know how long the two of you stay embraced like that until Jake finally eases his grip on you, and you reluctantly pull away from him as well. 
He presses a lingering kiss to your forehead. "Please stop paying so much in rent," he requests again. 
"That will not be happening, Hangman."
"So stubborn." He sighs. Jake kisses your forehead again. He leaves his lips lingering, and you start to count the breaths memorizing how warm his lips are. Three breaths later, he is pulling away. Jake grabs his laptop and a stack of folders heading upstairs without another word to you. 
You stare after him for a while, trying to parse out the mystery Jake presents, and coming up a bit short, just like you always did. He is one of the most outwardly confident men you have ever met. Yet, other times, Jake is the first person to make a self-deprecating comment about himself. You swallow down how much you desire more from him, wishing for more, knowing you can't and shouldn't have it.  
🏡🧩🏡
You and Jake were lounging on the couch. He was scrolling on his phone, avoiding going to the gym, half-heartedly trying to convince you to go with him. You were also scrolling your phone while deflecting Jake’s offers. 
That was when your doorbell rang, followed by heavy knocking. You and Jake both look up at each other. He raises his eyebrows, and you just shrug, having no idea who could be at the door. Jake looks back to his phone, clearly ready to ignore it, when the doorbell rings twice more, and the pounding on the door gets louder. Jake sighs and gets up, walking across the house towards the noise. 
“Hold your horses out there!” Jake yells towards the door before opening it. 
You wait for a moment, trying to hear who it is, curious about who would be so rude and what they needed. However, you don’t hear anything from where you are on the couch. So you stand and follow Jake into the entry hallway. 
“Sir, I am going to have to ask you to leave.” You hear Jake say. He is standing at his full height in the door frame. 
“What the fuck did you just say to me?” You hear from on the other side of the door. 
Nervousness shoots through your whole body hearing that voice. Anxiety immediately pops up, and your stomach drops. You know that voice. You have heard it a thousand times before. Why was he here? How was he here? 
“I asked you to leave, Sir.”
“Just tell that little bitch that —”
Jake steps further forward onto the front porch. “Now, we don’t speak about ladies like that where I am from. And I’m going to ask that you act accordingly while at my home, Sir.” Jake cuts him off with that well mannered southern military niceness. 
“I don’t give a fuck where you are from.”
You flinch at his tone of voice, feeling bile rise up in your throat. You lean against the wall slapping your hand over your mouth, trying to prevent yourself from throwing up. 
“I asked you politely to leave. I won’t ask again. I can call you a taxi or an uber. But don’t you dare take one more step on my front porch.” Jake says in a deep tone. You are hit with the sudden, horrifying realization that he is going to hurt Jake, and that is something you just won’t let happen. 
You are trying to go through possibilities in your head. Anyway, this could shake out; it would be bad for Jake. Jake would either get hurt and get in trouble, or he would kick ass and gets in worse trouble. This would end badly; either way, Jake is going to get in trouble, and it would be your fault. You would be responsible because you caused this situation. Jake was going to pay the consequences all because he was trying to protect you. You were roommates, so Jake must think he has some obligation to protect you. 
You feel swamped in stress knowing how easily Jake can escalate a situation and provoke someone; sometimes, all it takes for him is one well-placed smile. That stress is finally what unfreezes you, and you stumble towards the front door. 
Jake’s large, broad form still mostly hides your view of the other side, but you cautiously approach and set your hand gently on the back of his shoulder. You feel how tense Jake’s muscles are under your hand and can see it in the line of the back of his neck. 
“Sugar, I’m not going to tell you what to do,” Jake says in a deep voice. He doesn’t budge an inch or look back toward you. “But I would like to suggest that you go back inside. I have this handled.” 
You want to cry. You want to cry for so many reasons: cry because you are in this situation, that you have to deal with this again, that you feel so small. However, you mostly want to cry because Jake “Hangman” Seresin is such a good man. It’s startling sometimes, not because it’s really unexpected, but rather that it is so completely and bluntly genuine. 
Having Jake here defending you, trying to protect you from the person who has probably scared you most in your life, it feels so silly to pretend like you don’t have feelings for him, to pretend that you aren’t more in love with him than you ought to be.
The realization doesn’t really feel shocking; it is closer to acceptance. A given truth that is part of your life now. An empowering truth that swells in your bones like a swift tide, filling up the spaces that have been empty for so long. 
You love Jake more than you are scared. The warmth of affection towards him is so hot it burns out the freezing ice in your veins and the numbness in your fingers. You love him, and you will be damned if you let Jake be hurt, touched, tainted, or affected by this man who has hurt you. It seems cliché that loving someone like this is enough for you to finally break through the barrier of fear you have lived your whole life in. However, now it just feels so simple. 
Your heart is beating hard. The adrenaline is pumping through you so strongly that you can hear it echoing in your ears. Your hand slides up Jake’s back to his bicep, and you give him a gentle push. Jake shifts with the movement. He slides to the right so you can finally fully see the front porch. However, he doesn’t move enough that you are fully exposed. Jake’s body is still partially concealing you from view. 
Then you hear your name, and your attention snaps away from its hyper-focus on Jake. You turn it forward and brace yourself. You drift your eyes to the ground, landing on the feet of your visitor, staying there for a minute before meeting his burning eyes. 
“Hello, Dad.” 
“Ah, so she is here,” your father says, throwing his hands up and glaring at Jake. You can smell the booze on him from the doorway. It makes your stomach turn. You resist the urge to wretch, squeezing your hand, which is still on Jake’s bicep. He flexes, and his bicep digs into his shirt as your nails also dig in. You don’t like those angry, hateful eyes on your Jake. Jake doesn’t budge an inch or react to your nails on his skin.
“What are you doing here, Dad?” You ask him. Your hold on Jake acting like an anchor point for you. 
“You don’t bother to answer my texts or anyone else’s calls and texts. Just because you moved out doesn’t mean you get to be a selfish bitch” your dad spits out. 
“I’ve been pretty busy,” you defend yourself in a small voice.  
“Oh, I bet you have been so busy. What are you doing these days?” He growls at you. “You know it doesn’t really count as moving out if you are spreading your legs to pay for it.” 
You flinch, your hand falling from Jake’s arm and balling into a tight fist at your side. You hate how easily he can make you feel small, even when you are angry. 
“Watch your mouth,” Jake hisses, rejoining the conversation. You glance at him, and Hangman is shaking with contained rage. You know this is not a good situation; anytime, someone could blow up. 
“You should go inside, Hangman,” you tell him gently. 
“Absolutely not,” Jake responds instantly. 
“So you are playing the part of a pathetic little whore wife for this pretty boy.” Your dad says, cutting in. 
You grit your teeth as he continues on. “Come on. I thought you gave up pussies after our talk when you were in high school.” 
With the reminder of just what he is referring to, You are overcome with anger, and you finally can’t take it anymore. You recognize his words for what they are, a direct bait at Jake and undercutting you. It makes you so angry you start shaking. Tears burst from your eyes, trying to let off some steam bubbling inside you. It boils up, so you can’t take it anymore, and you whisper, “Shut up.” 
“What?” Your dad asks, clearly shocked. You take a step forward fueled by your anger. 
“Shut the fuck up.” You pronounce each word slowly. Then continue on, “I’m tired of this. You don’t get to be mean to me and still expect a relationship with me. You don’t get to hit me, yell at me, and abuse me just to show up at my house on your bullshit. And you sure as fuck don’t get to say anything about Jake.” You suck in a rapid breath, the words fueling the fire in you. Your angerburning brighter with every word. 
“You made me think that kind, decent men didn’t exist, Dad, but Jake is good. He isn’t a pretty boy. He is smart, sweet, strong, and kind. I will not hear you say one more thing about him. Ever.” You punctuate the sentence with a jab of your index finger at him. He looks like he might be cowed, and before you can even finish a prayer that he will be done, the fire in his eyes lits again. 
“You could have at least found someone who stands up for you. A real man.” Your dad isn’t even looking at you when he says it. Instead, he is staring at Jake. 
“That’s a rather rude thing to say about an active duty Naval Officer,” you hiss. Your dad takes a step back, his eyebrows raising, reexamining Jake. He shifts his weight between his feet nervously. 
“You aren’t welcome at our home. So leave and crawl back into the bottle you drank before coming here. Don’t come back, Dad. I don’t want to see you.” 
You try to force your body to relax, but the adrenaline is still pumping hard in your veins. So, you start to walk backward back into the house. Jake still hasn’t taken his eyes off your dad, and he makes no move to come with you back into the house. 
“Jake?” You ask. 
“Just give me a minute, sweetheart. I need to have a talk with your old man here and make sure that he makes it home.”
“I don’t want him near you.” 
Your dad still looks blown away by this turn of events. Like he is scrambling to put words together. He keeps looking back and forth between you and Jake. 
Jake breathes out heavily through his nose. He turns his head enough to glance at you. Whatever he sees on your face must break his resolve. Jake clenches his jaw, and you watch the muscle flex once, then twice. After that, he rolls his shoulders, and it’s like Hangman is physically able to just shrug the tension of the situation off. 
“Get home safe, Sir. I suggest doing so soon. MAs are known to drive down our street.” Jake says it in a light, easygoing tone, border lining on cheery. Then, plastering that practiced, perfect smile on his face, Jake nods his head toward your dad and comes back into the house. 
Jake closes the door but doesn’t move, staring out the frosted window on the front door. His body is tense again, standing rigidly at his full height. You are still shaking from anger. You slump against Jake’s back, letting your body weight shift into his. One of his arms bends backward a bit awkwardly, sitting on your waist. His large palm is burning hot. You can feel it through the fabric of your clothes. Then Jake’s fingers flex to give you a small squeeze of reassurance. 
When Jake finally does move, it is just to turn away from the door and wrap you tightly in his arms. You enjoy the warmth of his strong embrace, feeling exhausted as the adrenaline starts to fade. Jake is still shaking, though. 
“He’s gone,” Jake says into the crown of your head. You let a little sigh escape you, feeling a bit more of the tension release. 
“Good,” you manage to tell him. 
“I wanted to defend you. I wanted to slam his face so hard into the porch that he wouldn’t ever be able to open his mouth again. Wanted to tell him how you are—”
“I’m glad you didn’t,” you cut Jake off before he can continue. You don’t want to know what he thinks about you right now. You can’t handle whatever words could spill out of his mouth next. 
“I’ll make sure he never comes back here,” Jake says, his voice dropping, and you feel the rage contained in him, the subtle shake and heat coming from how tense he is. 
“I don’t want him near you. If something happened to you because of him….” you trail off. Your hands wander the expanse of Jake’s back in an almost soothing motion. However, you don’t know who it is soothing more, you or him. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
He takes a deep breath and then releases it in a heavy sigh. “What if you just give me his full name and social security number? You wouldn’t have to know about anything else.”
“Jake,” you whisper in a tone that is almost reminiscent of amusement. 
Jake sighs again. He draws back from your hug and cups your face. He swipes his thumb across your cheekbone, wiping away the tears that have been lingering. 
“You are the kindest, most compassionate person I have ever met,” Jake whispers. Considering how he is looking at you with a glimmer in his eyes, it’s clear the emotions of the situation are still running rampant. That look, paired with how he is holding you, makes you think Jake might be about to kiss you.  
“No, No. Stop.” You don’t know if you are trying to ask him not to kiss you or to stop talking. Either way, you feel like you might explode if this interaction isn’t over soon. 
“Yes,” Jake says. “Let me, please.” 
His thumb is still tracing along your cheek, and you can’t help yourself from leaning a tiny bit into his palm. An action that momentarily freezes his thumb before it picks up steadily again. Not hearing an explicit no from you again, Jake continues on. 
“That man has no say over you. Who you are is so stunning. You never deserved to be treated the way you were. I am so sorry you ever had to go through that. I am so sorry he showed up here. You don’t owe him a single second of your time or attention. You are valuable. You are amazing. He is trying to make you small because he sees how good you are.” 
A shudder racks through your body, hearing Jake’s words, and fresh tears start to fall unprompted from your eyes. As soon as they do, though, Jake pushes them away. “I am so proud of you for getting away from him. You are so strong and brave. It makes me awed. I’m so glad that you moved in here. You are…” Jake doesn’t finish the sentence, he seems to lose his train of thought. His mouth parts a little bit, and his eyes flash down to glance at your lips. 
Jake is going to kiss you, and it might possibly be the worst thing that could happen. If he kisses you right now because of your dad, you know you might break into a million different pieces. You don’t want Jake to kiss you for any reason but pure desire and affection. You don’t want him to kiss you in comfort, or pity, or convenience, or as an outlet. You don’t want him to kiss you just because emotions are running high from the incident that just happened. Most of all, you don’t want Jake to kiss you and not mean it. You don’t want him to kiss you without the intention of kissing you again. 
So, even though you are desperate to feel his lips, and memorize their shape, how they feel against yours. Desperate to discover what he tastes like, curl your fingers in his hair and take comfort in the form of his body. You know you can’t, it has the power to break you, and you already feel so broken and exhausted. 
You cover the hand Jake has on your face with your own and pull it away. However, you don’t immediately let go holding his large palm. Hangman takes your hint and steps backward, giving you a little space so that he is pressed against the door again. You decide to thread your fingers with his. Jake’s skin is still almost hot to the touch in your hand.
“Thank you, Jake,” You finally say, meeting his piercing green eyes again. You squeeze the hand you are holding. He gives you a tight nod and then tips his head upwards, so he is looking at the ceiling. Jake rests his head against the door as well and closes his eyes. 
You observe him for a moment, then you go to release the hand you are holding. Jake stops you, though, his hand tightening as yours loosens, and you try to pull away. You give a little tug, and he tightens his fingers even more. Jake’s head is still tipped, and you hear him sucking in a deep breath before blowing it out.
 “Please don’t let go,” he begs you. Jake’s eyes flash open again, and he is looking down his nose at you. “I just, I need you.”
You inhale sharply at his phrasing, and he sighs heavily. “I might do something terrible if you let go of me. If you don’t need me here, there won’t be anything to stop me.” 
“You’re not going to do anything terrible,” You say, retangling your fingers with his. Jake’s hand flexes in yours, and he takes another big breath. 
“I’ll make sure he loses our address and forgets it too. Make sure he doesn’t remember anything at all anymore. I’ll—”
“You’ll stay right here, Jake.”
He lifts his head so it isn’t tilted against the door anymore and stares down at you. He looks like he is holding on to every word you are saying to keep his sanity. His skin is flushed from anger, and his palm shakes slightly in yours. You were in awe he was able to hold back this reaction so long, remaining calm and collected throughout the entire encounter. 
“You will stay here with me, Jake. I need you.” 
“Yeah?” He asks shakily. 
“Yeah. Need your help, Jake.”
There is a low rumble in his chest, almost resembling the hum it was probably supposed to be. You step closer to Jake, once again closing the gap between you.
“Tell me what you need.” It comes out as a demand, and he seems to realize that when he adds on a small quick “Please.”
You look at him then, trying to read his face and those eyes that haunt your dreams. You examine the creases and lines his face makes with the severe angry look he has plastered on. You take the time to observe how his hair is hazardously falling out of place for how many times he has run his hand through it. You don’t really find any of the answers you are looking for. You just find Jake. And Jake is an oh-so-wondrous thing to find. 
You step closer to him and tug the hold he has on your hand again. His nose scrunches for a moment, and his frown tightens. His eyes lift upwards towards the ceiling again as his jaw clenches; he lets go of your hand. Jake’s hand falls heavily back until it hits the door making a smacking sound. You flinch at the sound but take another step forward, crowding Jake against the door. You lift your hand up to trace over his neck and then settle on his face, encouraging him to adjust his gaze back to you. He follows direction and leans into your hold, just like you leaned into his earlier. 
“Need you to stay with me,” you start slowly, encouraged as Jake nods his head in a small jerk. 
“I need you to leave the front door.” 
He considers your words for a moment, then shakes his head. “I don’t think I can do that. I’m sorry, sugar. I need to protect you.” 
“There is no one in the world I feel safer with than you, Jake.” He squeezes his eyes tightly closed at those words and pulls in a ragged breath. “So, you can’t leave me alone here.”
He nods again but still has his eyes closed. “Ain’t leaving. You need me.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Can I hold you?” Jake asks, then once again remembers his manners throwing out another small, please. 
“Yes, please,” you whisper. Jake doesn’t waste a moment before wrapping an arm around your waist and pulling you snuggly against him. The change of angle causes your hand to slip from his face, so you wrap it around his neck instead, your fingers drifting against the short hairs there. You go to wrap your other arm around his waist but instead awkwardly hit the front door. You hiss out a small breath at the momentary pain. 
Jake responds to the sound. He starts walking forward, making you walk backward. Walking while he is wrapped around you proves to be difficult, and you stumble a little. That seems to be all Jake needs; he wraps his arms under your ass and lifts you. 
You are terrified at the concept that Jake is going to try to carry you, and you open your mouth to protest. However, with only one small grunt that honestly sounded more like pure sex with how low and husky it is, Jake is carrying you down the hallway. You wrap your arm around his neck more securely, adding a second one for more leverage. 
Jake doesn’t stop to set you on the couch like you had expected. Instead, he continues up the stairs and right into his room. He sets you on his bed gently, and you unwrap your arms from his neck, letting him pull away. Jake goes back to the door of his room, closes it, and clicks the lock into place. You raise an eyebrow at his action.
"That’s rather presumptuous, Hangman.” 
“What?” He looks at you confused before he looks back at his door. “Oh no, I’m sorry. I wasn’t, I’m not.”
You shush him motioning towards yourself to try and get him to come closer again. “I know.” 
Jake comes back to your side. Now that you have been given the temporary clearance to freely touch him, you cannot stop yourself. Jake sits next to you on the bed, and you are scooting closer so that your thighs are flush side by side. Jake throws an arm across your shoulder, pulling you even closer to him. 
“Do you need to talk about it?” He asks you softly. You let a hollow dry laugh at his question, your laughter starts to devolve until it’s nearly hysteric giggling. Jake takes it in stride, holding you close and his thumb drawing small soothing back-and-forth shapes. After you are almost breathless and heaving, you finally start to recover. 
“I don’t want to talk about it, but I definitely need to. Not with you, though, Jake.”
“Why not me?”
“Because it’s the kind of fucked you talk to a therapist about.”
“I’m a great listener.”
“I know you are, but this isn’t your baggage to pack around and deal with, Jake.”
“Baggage? Sugar, that’s why we have the attic. If that isn’t enough space, or you fill it up. I’ll build a shed in the backyard.”
“What if that’s not enough room?”
“Then we have the garage. We’ll just park in the driveway.”
“You would give up your shop?” You ask, thinking of Jake’s favorite place in the house. 
“Yup,” Jake says without hesitating. “And after that, well, I’ve never been too fond of the extra guest room anyway.” 
“If that’s all not enough?”
“Then we’ll move. Or we go through it until we find some we can let go of.” Jake says, his free hand crossing his body to settle warmly on your knee. 
“It’s not physical baggage.”
“I know it’s not.” 
The feeling of affection you feel for him grows even more. Every time you think that there is no way possible you can fall further in love with him, Jake turns around and proves you wrong. He does some kind, funny, sweet, unexpected thing that makes you fall a little harder. 
You lift your head and look at him. Jake’s eyes meet your own, the severe stormy look in them a little less present. He is a bit more at ease, no longer shaking with anger. You let your eyes fall to his lips. You briefly think you love him so much it might be worth the risk to shift forward and kiss him. That maybe it wouldn’t lead to disaster like you’ve convinced yourself it would.
“What’s your favorite comfort movie?” Jake asks, breaking you from your trance. You shift a bit further away from him but not far before giving him an answer. 
The two of you watch your favorite comfort movie. You are cuddled into Jake’s side the whole time. The two of you had shifted back into the bed, cuddled close while watching the wall-mounted TV in Jake’s room. Exhaustion hits you like a wall as the adrenaline leaves your system, accompanied by the heat radiating off of Jake, the way everything smells like him, and his Tempurpedic bed; you relax more than you have in a long time. 
As you start to drift asleep against Jake’s chest, his heartbeat has a steady, soothing rhythm under your ear. You think out of all the times you have dreamed of falling asleep with Jake in his bed, none of those fantasies come even close to how good it actually feels. None of your dreams prepared you for how safe you would feel.
Your dreams also didn’t prepare you for sneaking back to your room at three in the morning when you woke up. Or pretending the next day that nothing had happened. After all, nothing had happened except some tense moments and Jake getting a glimpse of your past. You don’t say anything, and he doesn’t, either. You catch him watching you closer than he would typically for the next few days. 
More time starts to pass, and you are thankful that nothing was risked or changed between you and Jake or has affected you as roommates. There are only the slightest moments when both of you are much more casual about physical affection. Hugging Jake was now a commonplace part of your day, and you occasionally catch yourself daydreaming about what it felt like to fall asleep in his bed. 
🏡🧩🏡
You had started to pick up what the signs were when Jake wasn't okay, and something was bothering him pretty early into moving in. He had some pretty obvious tells. However, something had been really really bothering him for a while now. He didn't say anything to you, but he didn't have to; Jake's mannerisms gave him away. Jake wasn't following his routine and had started obsessively cleaning.
The other night, he knocked on your door, bursting open seconds after you told Jake he could come in. Then Hangman had all but begged you to let him deep clean your room. When you told Jake no, he gave you a look like you just insulted his Babula and stalked out of the room. Half an hour later, he was back in your doorway, asking the same question phrased slightly differently. You had finally given in after his second time double-checking. However, you insisted that you helped and supervised his cleaning. Once you agreed, Jake had done his happy dance. It was so cute it managed to cover the embarrassment that was crawling in you at letting someone else, let alone the man you loved your roommate, clean your room. 
The next day Hangman decided to reorganize all the bookshelves. First by color, then by genre, and even one time by the number of pages. His last reorganization was to put them all back to by author's last name. This was only after Jake talked to you for over an hour about the pros and cons of the Dewey decimal system in modern library science. 
After the books, you come home, and there is a puzzle on the table. A 2500-piece puzzle of the painting Meeting On The Turret Stairs. Jake works on it constantly. Only stopping to go to work and the gym. For three days, he doesn't read and doesn't do his sudoku. Jake doesn't sit with you in the living room at night. Instead, he just works on his puzzle, blowing past his typical bedtime every night. Then he stops going to the gym, and a day after that, he cancels his weekly call with his niece. That's when you know without a shadow of a doubt that whatever is bothering Jake must be significant. 
Finally, you can't bite your tongue or try to keep your nose out of his business anymore. The concern you feel is too much to handle. You had gotten up at 3 am for some water, and Jake was still puzzling at the table. 
"How's it going, Sport?"
"No, I'm Hangman," Jake answers in a quiet voice. 
"What?" you ask him, confused. 
"Not my callsign," Jake mumbles to you. You squint and try to piece together what he means in your still half-asleep brain. 
"You know someone named Sport?"
Jake just shrugs his shoulders, engrossed in his task. "There are worse callsigns to have." 
"Like Hangman?" You tease him. Jake finally looks up at you when you say that. Jake's eyes are bloodshot, and he has a hurt look. The small frown, paired with his glassy tired eyes, makes you feel like you just kicked a puppy. 
"Hangman is cool," Jake protests. 
"Hangman is very cool," you tell him placatingly, holding up your hands in surrender. 
 "You don't actually think it's cool," Jake whispers, his tired eyes falling back to his puzzle. Jake sounds so sad about it that your feet are moving before your brain, and you are sliding next to him on the bench for the long side of the table.
"Hangman is cool," You say and then nudge him affectionately with your shoulder. "You are cool." 
His lips quirk upwards from his frown before falling again. “Well, I am the Hangman.” 
"How is the puzzle going?"
"Fine, good. I like puzzling."
"You have done other puzzles?" You ask. 
"Yeah, I have a whole box full."
You hum at his words, tiredly wiping your eyes. "You should have been Puzzleman." 
Jake's eyes flash over to yours, slightly worried. "Do not ever say that around Coyote." 
"Hangman, It's three AM." He looks surprised to hear the time, and you watch him turn his wrist to confirm the time on his watch.
"Go to bed," You add softly. 
"I like when you call me Jake." 
"Then why do you listen better when I call you Hangman?" 
"Hmm, maybe because that's the name I hear most often. Maybe because it's easy to be Hangman."
"Is it hard to be Jake?" You ask him gently. 
Jake is quiet for a long moment after your question. Before answering, he sets the piece he had been holding back in its color pile. All he gives you is a whispered, "Sometimes."
You aren't sure what to say, so instead, you put a hand on his shoulder and squeeze it. "It's time for bed, Jake. It'll be here in the morning." 
Jake nods his head, listening to you. You get the water you initially came downstairs for and wait until Jake starts up the stairs. Following behind him, you make sure he goes into his room. You aren't really eased about the situation when he shuts the door. However, you are glad he will at least get some sleep. 
Before you go back to bed, you shoot your group chat with Marlee and Javy a text. 
Have you ever seen Jake do a puzzle?
You wake up to texts from Javy and Marlee, both asking all kinds of questions like: what you meant? What kind of puzzle? With how many pieces? And, how long has Jake been working on it?  
From the questions alone, you gather that your worries are correct and Jake puzzling is not a good thing. Getting out of bed, you make yourself presentable enough to venture out of your room and downstairs. 
In the mid-morning light, you are once again greeted with the sight of Jake hunched over his puzzle. A steaming cup of tea sitting next to him, and Chris LeDoux playing from the record player. 
"Good morning," you say. 
"Morning, sugar," Jake says back. You are glad to get a response, but the worry is still gnawing at you. You start putting together your own morning drink, and your eyes keep drifting back to him. 
"Jake, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm good." He says, not looking away from the puzzle piece he is currently studying. 
You stop leaning against the counter, taking your drink with you and walk over to his side. Jake is completing this puzzle concerningly fast; you notice examining his progress this morning alone. He keeps staring at the piece in his hand, unblinking even as you approach. You watch him for a few more moments before deciding it's time for you to intervene. 
"Do you want to talk about it?" You pose cautiously. His eyebrows crease, and he still doesn't look away from the puzzle. 
"About the puzzle?" he asks you in a hopeful tone. 
"No, Jake. About what's bothering you." 
He finally does spare you a glance, and you don't like how dull his green sea glass eyes are. The normally vibrant, mischievous glint isn't present, and they are slightly bloodshot and red, even after you forced him to get some sleep. 
"It's fine. I'm fine. Just work stuff. I've got to finish this puzzle." He tells you, then looks away. 
You frown at Jake's answer. Puzzles are supposed to be fun, and you don't think this is actually a healthy, cathartic activity for Jake anymore. You almost preferred his book reorganization or when he went to every door and oiled the hinges, the top and bottom hinges twice but the middle ones only once. When you asked why not the middle one twice? Jake had told you something about middle children that had made you laugh. 
While Jake normally released stress through organization, order, and control. The frenzy and energy he has with this puzzle is different. This wasn't like the month after you moved in, and he decided to rearrange his shop in the garage. Jake had reorganized his tools, labeling where they all went. After that, he made you a booklet of where everything in the garage was located, just in case you wanted to use something. Jake was very genuine about it, too. As if he really believed you were about to start borrowing his screwdrivers, saws, wrenches, lathe, and various other tools. 
Your frown deepens, and you pull out your phone, shooting a text to your group chat with Marlee and Javy. Answering some of their questions from the morning and shooting back a request of your own. 
After texting with them for a few minutes, you set your phone down on the table, taking the spot next to Jake. He gives you another short look but doesn't say anything. You take a moment to look at the piece he has been staring at for over five minutes at this point. 
Taking it gently from his grasp, you examine it yourself. A moment later, you place the puzzle piece into the correct spot. Jake ghosts over the piece you just placed and taps it twice as your hand retreats. 
"You got to tap it into place," he tells you softly. Then Jake is back digging through his piles, looking for the next piece. 
You help Jake with his puzzle for a little bit, pleasantly surprised at the textured surface of the pieces, enjoying how tactile they are. You know this must be a very expensive and nice puzzle. Any time you place a piece, you make sure to tap it twice for Jake. Each time you do, Jake gives a small nod of approval. The one time you forget, his fingers quickly find the piece again and tap it twice with a small annoyed huff. You don't try and coax Jake into a conversation again, simply enjoying just being with him. 
Y'all's work is broken a while later by the doorbell ringing. The sound startles Jake, and he jumps in his seat and his head snapping towards the door. You place a hand on his shoulder again to try and ease the sudden tension.
 "It's okay," you tell him quietly, giving his shoulder a slight squeeze. "I'll go get it."
"No, I can get it," Jake says, starting to stand up. You know he doesn't like you to answer the front door anymore. He hasn't ever since your dad showed up unannounced. Jake has never explicitly told you he doesn't want you to answer the door. However, you have picked up on it because he has not let you answer the door once since the incident. One time Jake had even sprinted across the house to beat you to the door. 
"Don't worry. I know who it is," you say. Jake gives you a concerned look but then nods a little bit. His eyes trail after you as you make your way to the entry hall. 
You open the door to Javy's tall form and are immediately wrapped in a tight warm hug. You lean into his embrace, enjoying the comfort for a moment. 
"Is it really bad?" Javy asks you in a low voice when you pull away from his hug. 
You shrug but then follow it up with a nod. "Yeah. I mean, I don't know. Maybe not? But it's the worst I have ever seen." 
Javy gives you another reassuring squeeze before he saunters into the house towards the living area. Jake's eyes are trained on the hallway, clearly waiting for you to come back. However, when he sees Javy, he blanches, dropping his eyes back to the puzzle. Jake's shoulders hunching tight almost up to his ears. 
"Hey, Hangman," Javy hums. 
"Machado," Jake says gruffly, fiddling with a piece. 
Javy shocks you by not immediately going over to Jake. Instead, he meanders over to your TV. He shocks you even more by opening a drawer in the entertainment center and pulling out an Xbox. Javy starts hooking up the console, and you shift your eyes to Jake again. 
He is still sitting there digging through his puzzle pieces. You aren't sure what to do. If you should leave the two of them alone, join Javy in the living room, or go back to the table with Jake. So instead, you end up in a weird middle ground lingering in the hallway. Finally, when Javy has everything set up, and the Xbox booted on, he goes over to Jake. Coyote sets his hands down so hard on Jake's shoulders that it jostles the blond a bit. 
"Wow, buddy, this is a nice puzzle," Javy says casually. 
Jake just hums in response, placing a puzzle piece and tapping it twice. Only answering once he picks up another piece. "It's a watercolor by Frederic William Burton. He painted it in — "
"It's time for a break, Hangman," Coyote says, cutting him off mid-sentence. 
"Naw, you see this section," Jake gestures generally towards the entire surface area of the puzzle. "It's almost done."
"Nope, it's break time," Javy repeats more firmly. 
Jake's shoulders hang, and it looks like it takes him physical effort to stand up from the table. Jake's joints and back audibly pop from the action, and he raises his hands above his head to fully stretch. 
You try to root yourself in concern, not thinking of the flash of skin you saw where Jake's shirt rode up a bit. Jake blinks a few times, and when he finishes stretching, he turns to fully look at Javy. 
"How long are you staying?" Jake asks, daring to glance back down at the puzzle. Javy snaps his fingers in front of Jake's face twice and then points aggressively toward the couch. 
"As long as I want to," Javy responds with an upbeat tone and a wide grin. He gives a light shove, and Jake shuffles over to the couch. Jake looks at you as he walks, and you can tell that he feels betrayed. 
"I'll leave you to it," you say, ready to retreat into your room. 
Jake looks away from you then, and you don't like the flash of embarrassment on his face as he does. It's been odd seeing Jake so completely out of his element and uncomfortable in his skin the last few days. Embarrassed wasn't a look that fits well on Jake. It made you want to rush in and remedy the situation. 
"You don't gotta go," Jake calls to you.
"Javy came over to hang out with you, Jake." You say plainly. You want to give them space to talk and hang out. 
"Yeah, bro, feeling the love," Javy says jokingly. It earns him a sharp jab to his side from Jake. The action just makes Javy laugh, though. "Don't worry so much, Hang. Marlee is coming by later with dinner, and then all four of us will kick back, but right now, it's me, you, and the Master Chief." 
"You'll hang out with us later, though? Or are you doing something tonight?" Jake asks, ignoring Javy.  
"There is nothing I would rather do tonight than hang out with you," you tell him. Jake's eyes snap up from where they had drifted to the left, lowered just enough not to meet yours. The burning bright color in them is startling after the dull, distant look he has supported the last few days. You can't stop the words you say next, needing to try and back peddle. It takes a long beat before you say, "and Marls and Javy. I don't know if you've ever had Marlee's green chile enchiladas, but they are to die for." 
"They are so good," Jake agrees enthusiastically and looks down at the controller he is holding for the first time. Javy then shoots you a smile with a thumbs up, and you are reassured enough that you head upstairs and into your room. 
You hear Javy's voice behind you, "You know Marlee only cooks for two reasons." 
You close your door before hearing Jake's answer and resist the urge to eavesdrop. A few hours later, you hear loud yelling and laughter from the living room. Then get a text from Marlee to send the boys to help her get the food out of her car. 
The rest of the night is mostly light, and Jake almost passes for his normal self. He jokes with Coyote, eats two helpings of Marlee's enchiladas, and with you... well, with you, he is hot and cold. One moment Jake will be flirting with you in a heavy bravado, then the next, he falls into a quiet, contemplative silence. Javy has to herd Jake away from his puzzle three separate times. It gets easier to draw Jake back in every time; the last time only took a question directed toward Jake to draw him back to you guys. 
It is a good night, and everyone seems happy at the end. Jake hugs Javy and Marlee goodbye and leaves you to walk your friends out. You let out a small sigh of relief, seeing Jake walk up the stairs and not back to the dining room table. 
You talk with the couple for a few more minutes on the front porch, then hug them goodbye. You are thankful for them, to have such good friends who are willing to be a support system, for you, for Jake, and for their other friends too. It warms your heart, and it feels a lot like family. 
Jake's puzzling is less frenzied after that night, and he starts to reign back in. He has full conversations with you again and goes to the gym after work as well. He follows Javy's rules that had been texted to you both and doesn't puzzle by alone again.
 For the next week or so, Javy and Marlee end up in your living room in the evenings. Keeping Jake from becoming too obsessed, you also notice that he won't let Javy or Marlee touch his puzzle pieces. But when Jake does work on the puzzle, and you are home, he always invites you to join him. 
Jake makes an effort to converse with you while working too. The conversations you two get into range from academic to childhood memories, favorites — books, movies, foods, bands, animals— funny stories, and anything else that would pop in your heads. Of course, each puzzle piece must still be double tapped into place, and you are meticulous about following that rule. 
Puzzling in the evenings with Jake surprisingly becomes one of your favorite times of the day. Sometimes you would even just sit there at the table with Jake, scrolling on your phone while he works on the puzzle. 
Hangman's presence is a comforting steady grounding force, so much so that you can only hope you provide half of that for him. You knew you were roommates, and Jake may not carry the same romantic feelings you do. However, you couldn't deny the plain platonic affection that poured from him, so much you sometimes think M aybe . Maybe he does feel more. 
When you enter the kitchen, you see the puzzle is finished. You go to examine it and realize two pieces are missing. You feel a bit of worry creeping up in you, not sure how Jake will react to having lost pieces and being unable to complete the puzzle. 
You start to look around, checking every chair and bench to make sure a piece hasn't fallen. You shine a light under the couch in case they slipped under there. Then you are flipping up the edge of the rug in the living room and trying to think of any other feasible place the pieces could have disappeared. 
"What are you doing?" you hear, and you snap your head to see Jake standing on the other side of the couch, looking at you bemused. 
"Sorry, I was just looking for your missing pieces," you say, straightening up and fixing the rug. 
Jake quirks an eyebrow then he follows your gaze to the table where his puzzle is. Jake's mouth drops open, lips barely parted, and a soft "Oh." falls out like he didn't even make the sound intentionally. 
"No luck so far, though. I'm sorry. I'm sure they will turn up. Only so many places they could have gone," You say, making sure to project an upbeat, positive tone and attitude. 
Jake looks between you and the puzzle twice before suddenly you are graced with the rarest of Jake Seresin's smiles. It is one you have only seen a handful of times. It's different than his smirk and his confident panty dropping smile. It's not the smile that he gets when he laughs, and his eyes crinkle around the edges or the mouth wide open smile. It's not his practiced perfect smile he uses for pictures. 
No, this smile is closed-mouthed, those pearly whites hidden from view. It's a quirk of his lips like Jake is trying to hold it back from showing it on his face but he isn't entirely successful. His bottom lip is tucked a little bit between his teeth as if he is physically trying to bite back the expression, none of which prevents Jake's dimples from popping up. 
It's a smile that always leaves you a little stunned, and this is no exception. Not that there are many things about Jake that don't leave you feeling that way. This smile, paired with the soft look in his eyes, makes you want to melt into the floor. 
"I have the pieces," Jake tells you then. It takes you a few moments to process his words. 
"Oh, you do?"
"Yeah, I do," he says and pulls out a ziplock baggie from his pocket with the two pieces in it. 
"That's great!"
"They weren't lost. I was saving them, actually."
"Saving them for what?"
"For you. Well, for us."
You don't think you are able to hide your surprise at his words. "For us?"
"Yeah. You know, so we can finish this puzzle together. We worked on it together. So, we should finish it together. Few things match the feeling of putting the final piece of a puzzle into place."
God, you want to kiss him. You want to grab his face and smash your lips against his. You want to taste him and thread your fingers in his short dirty blonde hair. The little fantasy starting to form in your brain is cut off by Jake walking over to the table. 
You follow him there, and Jake sets the last two pieces on the table, letting you pick which one you want. Once you make your selection, Jake grabs the other one. 
"Okay, on three," he tells you with a grin. At his countdown, you both place the pieces of the puzzle. Automatically you double tap your piece into place. Jake was right; it is an extremely satisfying feeling finishing the puzzle and seeing it whole for the first time. 
Your gaze drifts over the puzzle, and you look up to see Jake staring at you instead of the finished piece. After a moment, you realize what is wrong. Your hand reaches across and gently nudges Jake's to the side. Then you tap Jake's piece twice, realizing that for the very first time, he seemed to have missed that compulsion of his. However, you knew it would bother Jake when he realized he had forgotten, so you make sure to complete the ritual. 
Jake's gaze snaps down to the piece you had tapped for him. Then his knuckles purposely brush against the back of your hand, sending shivers up your arm.
"Thank you," spills from both of your mouths at the same time, which makes you laugh.  
"Jinx," Jakes says in a rushed voice, making you laugh harder. That odd tension in the air between you two disappears. 
You walk into the kitchen and grab a white claw from the fridge, bringing it back for Jake, handing it to him. Jake is a strict enforcer of the jinx soda pop rule. The two of you look at the puzzle for a few more minutes. Taking in the stunning painting, the yearning and sadness of it never fails to impact you. 
While the two of you had been working on the puzzle, Jake had told you many different facts about The Meeting On The Turret Stairs. How it was a watercolor painting by Frederic William Burton, the poem it was based on, the era it was painted in, and its place in Irish art. 
When you asked Jake more, he surprised you by knowing hyper-specific details and answers off the top of his head. Intrigued, you learned how he had double majored at Annapolis in Aerospace Engineering and History. However, because Jake was golden boy Midshipman Seresin, he had gotten away with his final history thesis being art focused. Hangman more than understood how to be charming when he needed to be. 
"What now?" You ask him. 
"What do you mean?" Jake asks, confused. 
"What do we do with the puzzle?" you ask. It sounds much better than what you wanted to say. What now between the two of you? What were you going to do to keep spending time together? 
"We take it apart." Jake shrugs. 
"No," you gasp, horrified thinking of all the time you had put into the puzzle just to undo it and throw it back in the box.
"What else would we do?" Jake asks you. You think for a moment before smiling at your own idea. 
"Let's Mod Podge it, and then we can hang it up. We have some pretty bare walls in the house, and it is a stunning piece of art," you suggest. 
Jake doesn't even take a moment to think it over before saying, "I love that idea." 
So, you two are driving to the craft store to get cardboard and Mod Podge. A week later, the puzzle has been cemented and hung on the wall in between your and Jake's rooms upstairs. After the puzzle is finished, Jake is back into his sudoku and his various other reading books. He still lingers near you in the evenings, waiting longer than he used to before retreating to his room for bed. 
One night almost a month after you two had finished the puzzle, Jake brings the subject up again. You two are lounging on the couch, he had just gotten home from watching the Army-Navy game at a bar with some of his friends, and he is definitely a little bit tipsy. 
"I am going to build us a puzzle table," is the first thing he had loudly declared, walking in the door. 
You were instantly worried about why Jake might want to start a new puzzle. "Is everything okay?"
Jake doesn't seem to hear you, though, as he continues on. "A really nice one that opens and closes with velvet or something so we don't have to worry about losing pieces, and maybe I can even make it an adjustable height?" He is talking to himself more than to you. 
You watch as he grabs a notepad and pencil out of a drawer. Then he slumps on the couch. Before you know what's happening or can stop it, Jake has his head on your lap and is sketching design ideas, potential measurements, and materials. 
"How are you doing?" you ask him again, staring down at his face, unable to contain your enamored smile. Jake just nods his head and keeps sketching while mumbling. 
You run a hand through his soft hair tentatively. It is a bit longer than usual right now, almost out of regulation. He will need to get a haircut this week, but the strands are so soft, and you can't help but enjoy that there is a bit more there to run your fingers through. His eyes instantly close, and he hums contently at your touch. 
"Hangman?" you ask him almost teasingly, halting your movements.
"Yes, sugar?" 
"Are you okay?" 
He blinks his eyes open and looks at you. Their gleaming sea glass green color is a little glazed over and so very soft. His mirth is open and obvious to you. "I'm so great. Navy won." 
"That's great. Go Navy." A wide grin splits his face wide, and Jake's eyes actually crinkle closed, hiding their unique color from you again. 
"That's right, Honey. Ooh ahh!" Jake responds automatically, making you both laugh, and maybe you had been drinking a little bit of wine before he came home; perhaps you were warm from that, or maybe Jake was the most beautiful man you had ever seen. Your eyes lock with his, and your hands pull out of his hair. You let one drift trace his face helping him relax the furrow in his eyebrows. 
"Why do you want to start a new puzzle?" You ask. 
"No new puzzle. A new table." He corrects you. Jake taps his pencil on the notepad pointedly. 
"For a new puzzle?"
"You liked doing a puzzle with me, right? Well, after the first bit, you liked it?"
"I loved it." The words slip out of your mouth before you can amend the sentiment to come off less forward.
"Me too,"Jake says and trails off for a moment. Then he continues asking, "So you would be open to doing another one with me? Just for fun this time, not my mental health." Jake doesn't say the last sentence with any bit of shame or embarrassment, which you admire. However, the vulnerability is obvious and glaring. 
"Yeah," you confirm, once again having to run your fingers over his brow to relax his face. 
"Perfect. I'm building the table, then. You can pick the puzzle this time." 
You can't help but let your hands slip back into Jake's hair, and he returns to sketching on his notepad. It was a moment of quiet peace you knew you didn't ever want to let go of. 
"Javy said that you don't like to do puzzles with other people, and that's what helps you pull out of the pit." 
Jake's eyes don't leave his notepad, and he turns the page. You watch Jake start to scrawl the pros of a dovetail joint versus a dowel joint before he starts to draw it out as well. You almost don't think he will say anything back by the time he finally does. 
"You aren't other people," Jake tells you, as he starts drawing in shading, which is completely unnecessary for anything beyond aesthetic. He bends the lines from a basic blueprint to a detailed drawing of a realistic table joint. It was distracting watching the engineer in him flow into the unexpected artist. 
The idea that you ever had thought his talent for art and engineering were such radically different things was a bit funny. Now that you see him dance between the lines back and forth so elegantly that you understand it wasn't two competing sides of Jake. It was just him. It was how he worked and operated. 
It was how he was Hangman and also Jake. It was how he could fill out sudoku then go to bed at 9 pm and how he could shoot pool until closing with the squad. It was how he was a cowboy and a pilot. It was how you wanted to cry a little bit, knowing he enjoyed you there, knowing you weren't like other people. 
And you are struck with the thought that you don't ever want Jake to do a puzzle with anyone but you. You never want to see him sitting alone at three am with bloodshot eyes putting pieces into place again. And you don't even want to consider him explaining animatedly why he believes a piece goes in one color pile and not the one it was originally sorted to anyone but you. 
You want to be selfish with Jake. You want to have him, and you want to keep him close, never letting go. Surely you could convince Jake to be yours. It was a selfish act that could be forgiven if you promised to cherish him. After all, there were worse things in the world than loving someone, so entirely the fact they might not love you to the same degree didn't hurt so much.  
Jake flips to the next page in the notepad and starts to sketch out the living room. As he works, the living room table starts to look significantly different than your current one. 
"Oh. It's for the living room?" You ask him.
At first, he just hums in response, but when he finishes rounding out a line, Jake lifts his pencil from the paper. It pauses there, poised and frozen, as he asks, "Do you want the dining table instead?" 
"No." As you continue, the pencil falls back to the page, "It just wasn't what I was originally thinking."
"I could do a dining room table too. They could even be made of the same wood." Jake says. His green eyes broke from the page to glance up at your face for the first time in a while. He searches your face trying to gauge your reaction to his suggestion. 
"Two puzzle tables?"
"Think of all the possibilities. We could do two puzzles at once." Jake gasps. You kind of hate the excited timbre that Jake's voice picks up at the idea, but you actually mostly love it. 
"Just one puzzle at a time, please." You say, giving his hair a teasing gentle tug, ignoring the sharp inhale of his breath that immediately follows. You refuse to give away the unexpected thrill sent straight through your body that settles at your core. You have to consciously make sure your words do not fall out rushed, "I think it would be nice to have out here, comfier." 
"I thought the exact same thing."
"Oh really?" You ask, amused. 
"Yes, Ma'am. I've got two words for you, puzzle naps." 
You huff a small laugh at him and bite your lower lip. He flips back to his first page of notes, where he had a small list of wood. He adds cherry to his list after oak. 
"Juniper is really pretty," you suggest. He immediately starts to write down your suggestion with a little heart next to it. When Jake starts to shade in the heart, you feel like the one in your chest might actually burst out. Something very similar to butterflies was fluttering around in you, but it is much less nervous and rather born of pure fondness. 
"Sounds beautiful. I'm sure it's perfect," Jake tells you. 
"Let's pick one together, though. It should be our choice."  
"No," Jake says, drawing an elegant oval around juniper. Then he goes back and strikes a straight line through the other options. "No one else has ever remembered to double tap."
Jake spends a few more minutes detailing the design before his eyes start to get sleepy, and his pencil marks become light and halting. It doesn't take much from you to encourage him to go to bed, just a whispered suggestion. 
He stumbles up from the couch and places a kiss on your forehead. Jake puts his notebook on the counter in the kitchen. After that, Jake circles back to press a second lingering kiss to your forehead. You watch him go all the way around the house to double check the locks, the front door, the garage, and the back door. Finally, after sending you two finger guns, Jake drags himself up the stairs, humming Anchors Aweigh. 
"Until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home!" You loudly hear him sing. You listen to Jake as he hums his fight song while randomly peppering in other lyrics. When you finally hear him close his door, your mind makes a decision on the war it's been having. 
You are going to do whatever it takes for Jake Seresin to agree to be yours. Potential consequences be damned; Jake is worth the risk.
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lost-in-fictionn · 1 year
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Yes.
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youneedsomeprompts · 1 month
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~ A LOVE EPIPHANY ~ realising a crush PROMPTS
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requested by: @boomhauer & various anons
Feel free to use and reblog!
needing someone else to point it out
wondering why they can't stop thinking about them
trying to find other explanations for their obsession
getting flustered around them
getting even more flustered when they realise the extent of their feelings
trying to 'undo' their crush
trying to rationalise it
being confused because they thought this couldn't happen to them
"But how?!"
imagining their future together
daydreaming about them
being intimated by the strength of their own feelings
always coming back to thinking about the perfection of their crush
needing to sit down as the realisation hits them
gasping when they realise it
"No, no, no, no, no! This can't be!"
finally having an explanation for the butterflies in their stomach
sudden bliss because love is the most beautiful thing
devastated because they know it won't be returned
being paralysed by the realisation
acting even more foolish around them than before
not wanting to confess their feelings because they're worrying it would ruin everything
trying to tone down their excitement when around them
being confused because they thought love would be something more tangible and concrete
unable to tackle life's tasks because they're lost in their feelings
everything they do brings them back to their crush
asking themselves why they haven't seen it coming
thinking it might have been inevitable
being relieved from all worries and stress when they see their crush smiling
dedicating themselves to their crush's wellbeing
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loveissupernatural · 4 months
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···
**read chapter one here** - **read chapter two here**
Morpheus/Dream x fem!reader
In Your Dreams
Chapter 3
“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.”
-Suzy Kassem
You didn’t sleep for the rest of that night. You couldn’t. How could you when a being like that was trapped beneath your feet?
You still weren’t sure if you were frightened by him, or by how much you wanted to be near him.
You rolled onto your side for the millionth time, leaning up to punch your pillow again. You slammed your head back into the normally-comfortable fluff that, for whatever reason, felt hot and scratchy tonight. That ethereal man’s eyes flashed through your brain like a sight you barely caught out of a speeding car window. The sketch of the hauntingly beautiful face flitted through your mind’s eye.
A thin sheen of sweat had broken out on the back of your neck.
You climbed out of bed with a frustrated huff and took a warm shower, trying to wash the night’s events out of your head and off of your skin. By the time you shuffled out of your bathroom the light of dawn was beginning to peek through the foggy grounds. A bird began to chirp outside your bedroom windows.
You tried to doctor the dark circles forming beneath your eyes with a cool eye mask and some concealer, but they were there to stay. You hoped that your obvious exhaustion wouldn’t raise any suspicion with Alex or Paul—after all, how long could jetlag be a viable excuse?
To avoid Paul or Alex getting a good look at your tired eyes that morning, after you prepared their tea you volunteered to give the mansion a good, thorough cleaning. They seemed quite happy that you mentioned it, in fact.
“You’re a godsend, you are,” Paul whispered to you, putting both his and Alex’s teacups in the sink. “If I mistake another dust bunny for a mouse I think I may have a coronary.”
You chuckled as you opened the door to the closet adjacent to the kitchen that contained the cleaning supplies. “Just doing my job.”
While the house actually was in desperate need of another one of your cleaning sprees, you really just wanted an opportunity to go into every room and snoop—especially the library and its adjoining study. There had to be some forgotten book or neglected journal hiding in the crannies of this house that told you more about the man in that basement.
A physical therapist would be coming later in the morning to see to Mr. Burgess, and you knew that Paul was always present for those appointments. That would be the best time for you to look around in their bedroom, something you hadn’t yet had the opportunity to do.
You started in the library just in case you’d missed something in your previous excursions, but you came up emptyhanded. You organized the papers that were strewn across the burned desktop, keeping your eyes on the doorway to the study and your ears peeled for any approaching footsteps.
After giving every wooden corner a thorough rub with your dust rag, you gently pulled open the drawer that you knew housed the only thing of importance you had found. You gave the doorway another glance and pulled out the aging scroll. You spread it across the desk. As it always did, the sketch of the man’s face pulled your gaze. You gingerly stroked the drawing’s cheek with your finger, your chest tightening.
The parchment was covered in faded words, phrases, and chicken scratch that you were still unable to decipher. The crude sigils held no meaning for you. But your eyes settled on the word you first noticed when you originally found the paper.
Dream.
Did the powerful being encased in a prison of glass and magic below your feet have something to do with this word? After a moment, you returned the scroll to its home and ran upstairs to your room. You pulled out your laptop, plopped onto your bed, and waited for your home screen to come to life. When it came to the Burgess house, Google had always been your friend. It was time to see what you could find.
You pulled up the familiar search engine and typed in that fateful word.
Meaningless articles about the purpose of dreams and scientific studies on the subject were all you could find at first, so you searched for the phrase “dream man” instead. Artistic renderings of handsome men lined the top of the page, followed by dating site advertisements for finding the man of your dreams. You rolled your eyes.
You chewed your bottom lip.
Then, slowly, you typed “Roderick Burgess dream man” into your search bar.
Blogs on Roderick Burgess and Aleister Crowley appeared one by one, but you spotted a post that you weren’t familiar with. You clicked on it. The screen went black before pictures and blood red text began to emerge. The blog post was called “Roderick Burgess: Dream or Nightmare?”
The beginning of the post was filled with background information about the Burgesses and their mansion that you already knew and read a thousand times before. A few quotes followed from some of Roderick Burgess’s followers, claiming that they’d seen something unnatural in the home of their beloved leader but were unwilling to divulge more detail. The writer theorized what kinds of creatures Burgess could have trapped to cipher away their powers, including the devil. You groaned, having seen all of this before.
But then, the writer began a new thread.
            I come to you all with newly-acquired information from a former employee of Roderick Burgess’s only surviving son, Alex Burgess. This man claims to be a security guard that was hired to watch over the “entity” that resides within the dark bowels of the Burgess mansion. When I asked why he was sharing this information with me, he divulged that he’d been sacked for getting sleepy on the job.
“So you’re a disgruntled ex-employee, then?” I asked him.
“No, that’s not it,” he told me, shaking his head. “I don’t care that I was sacked. I had a new job lined up with me uncle already.”
“What, then?”
“If your boss gets mad at ya for gettin’ tired on the job, it’s ‘cause they’re pissed you ain’t doin’ your work, right?” he asked me. I nodded. “It was bein’ sleepy that was the problem. They didn’t give two shites about me doin’ anythin’ important while I was there. They didn’t know that my wife just had a little one and we weren’t gettin’ much sleep between the two of us.”
I told him that I still failed to see his point.
“It’s the SLEEPIN’,” he told me again, insistent. “Alex Burgess caught me startin’ to nod off and threw me outta there screamin’ “You can’t sleep around ‘im!””
Your eyes narrowed. No one was allowed to sleep in the being’s presence? Why? What did that mean?
You thought back to the parchment. Dream.
“Not skiving off, are you?”
You jumped. Alex Burgess had rolled into your open bedroom doorway.
“What? N-no, no,” you said quickly, your heart doing its best to rip its way out of your chest. You slammed the lid of your laptop. The old man’s eyes looked at your closed computer then back to you.
“Relax, Y/N, it’s all in jest,” Alex smiled, rolling a foot further into your room. “Didn’t mean to interrupt anything. The door was open.”
“Oh,” you faltered, forcing a laugh. “Yeah, right. Sorry. I was just… emailing my, uh, mom.”
“I’m sure you miss her.”
“I do.”
A beat.
“I never really knew my mum.”
You smiled sadly, slipping the locked computer behind you and out of Alex’s field of vision. You weren’t sure what to say.
“I’ll just, um, get back at it,” you grinned awkwardly, grabbing the dust rag and cleaning spray from your nightstand. Alex nodded and backed out of your doorway, giving you room to exit.
“Think you could make me another cuppa before you do?” he asked you.
“Of course.”
_______________________________________
That night was colder.
The pajamas you brought didn’t cover enough skin to keep you warm, so you grabbed a knitted cover off the back of the sitting room couch to wrap around your shoulders before hiding behind the grandfather clock to wait. The guards’ shift change was approaching.
As they always did, Hattie and Randy emerged from the basement at exactly ten o’clock. While Hattie was pulling on her thick coat, Randy groaned.
“What?” she asked.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Randy hissed, shaking the cell phone that he had just pulled from his pocket. “I just got a text from Edwin. He ain’t comin’.”
“At all?!”
“No, he quits.”
“Bugger,” Hattie spat, planting her hands on her wide hips. “Well, what the hell are we supposed to do? I’m not workin’ a double that I’m not gettin’ paid for!”
“They don’t pay us enough to deal with this shite,” Randy agreed, pulling on his coat anyway. He lowered his voice. “It don’t sound like Mr. Burgess is wise. Let’s just pop off and we’ll tell him in the morning.”
“We shouldn’t tell ‘im now?” Hattie asked.
“That old codger’s asleep by now. Anyway, he’d ask us to stay. I don’t wanna give ‘im the opportunity.”
Hattie hesitated, looking at the closed basement door with disdain, then to the front door longingly. She sighed.
“What Mr. Burgess don’t know won’t hurt us, right?” she conceded hopefully. Randy chuckled and followed her to the front door.
You couldn’t believe your luck. Edwin wasn’t coming. You had nearly eight hours before the next shift.
Joy was a new spring flower blossoming in your chest. Could this be the night you helped the man escape? Every moral fiber in your body told you that it had to be done. However, the possibility of sentencing yourself and your employers to almost certain death was holding you back. You certainly weren’t ready to die.
But you knew that if it wasn’t tonight, when would it be? Alex and Paul would know by morning that they needed to hire a new night guard, and there was no guarantee that whoever they hired would run late enough to give you your valuable time window.
Then a horrible thought occurred to you. What if Mr. Burgess changed the security combination every time an employee left? It had taken you weeks to get that code, and you didn’t know when or if you would ever have an opportunity to return to the basement if that happened.
You chose not to think about that now, not yet.
The familiar hum of the mystery man in the bowel of the basement began to strum through your bones, making you sigh. In a strange way, at this distance, it was almost a soothing sensation.
You pressed the carving of the amulet on the nearby wall and the keypad appeared.
Four.
Zero.
Seven.
Three.
Seven.
Four.
As it did the night before, the intensity of the entity’s presence knocked the breath out of you as soon as you opened the basement door. You knew to expect it this time, though. A wall of freezing air hit you as you reached the bottom of the steps, soaking through your thin blanket. Winter had seeped into the ground.
Undeterred, you gently pushed open the glass doors and stepped forward with more confidence than you had the previous night. The vibrations in your chest seemed to hum in approval as your eyes settled on the unnaturally striking man that was curled inside the translucent orb. He was sitting in the middle of it now, upright, chiseled face as stoic as ever.
His gaze was hooded and pierced through yours. Your memories did not do those fathomless eyes justice.
In steps, you were centimeters from the edge of the intricate summoning circle. The pale light of the basement cast his cheekbones in sharp relief. Your nerve endings felt like they were on fire and his relentless stare was making them sear. Goosebumps erupted in a tickle over your skin, but whether it was the cold or his smoldering stare you didn’t know.
“I told you I’d come back,” you breathed, voice barely above a whisper. It hit you just how much you’d been longing to be in this exact spot all day long.
He rested his forearms on his knees, ankles tactically crossed to cover his manhood. He barely cocked his head, studying you. You again had the suspicion that he was carding through your every thought. You sincerely hoped that he didn’t have the ability to do that, or you were going to be incredibly embarrassed.
Despite the chill, you could feel your cheeks beginning to heat.
“So,” you offered lamely, clutching the thin blanket around your shoulders, “I realized that it wasn’t very fair of me to ask you for your name without telling you mine.”
His chin lifted ever so slightly, looking down at you through his thick curtain of lashes. You took that as a signal that he was listening. You licked your lips.
“I’m Y/N,” you said, offering a gentle smile.
His intrusive gaze raked from your face to your feet, and back up again. You tightened the blanket around you even more. You felt very exposed, which was ironic, considering that the only naked one here was him. The heat had spread from your nerve endings to your cheeks now. You knew he was noticing.
“I—I still don’t know your name,” you said, doing your best to gulp down your blush, “but I don’t expect you to tell me. I get the feeling you’re not much of a talker.”
At that, the corner of his full lips twitched. It was almost imperceptible but you got a rush from his brief moment of amusement nevertheless.
“I get why you don’t talk,” you continued. “You don’t owe them anything. Especially with… all of this.” You jutted your chin toward the glass orb in question. “But if all you had to do was make a promise to get out of there, I have to admit I’m a little confused as to why you won’t just do it.”
His lips pursed at that. His steely eyes were hard.
“Unless… you know that when you do get out, you’ll hurt them. You want to hurt them.”
It wasn’t a question. The flash of anger across his face confirmed it for you. He was waiting to take his revenge, but was holding onto his honor enough not to lie in order to get it. Fear trickled down your spine when he glowered like that with so much barely-contained rage, even if the fury was for Alex Burgess and not for you.
He’s dangerous, you reminded yourself. You need to remember that.
Even though your logical mind knew this, your heart ached for him nonetheless. You weren’t the one responsible for his imprisonment, but you had the power to end it. If you just stood around and did nothing that made you no better than Roderick Burgess, in your opinion. This being was not meant to be here. Whatever ancient power he possessed was meant to be out in the world, not in the dead Demon King’s basement.
“I may not know who you are, but I think I’m starting to figure it out,” you said, desperate to change the subject and get that furious gleam out of his eyes. You watched the placement of your feet as you began to pace around the golden circle of sigils. His head turned to follow you.
You stopped to watch him.
“I found this old scroll rolled up in Roderick Burgess’s study. I think it’s about you,” you told him. You licked your lips again, always feeling your mouth turn to cotton when you held eye contact with him for too long. “I couldn’t figure out much, but I could still make out one word: Dream.”
His head lifted fully now and his pale body turned to face you. You were on the right track, then.
“Is… is that what you do?” you asked measuredly, beginning to pace again. His unrelenting attention trailed you as you walked. You returned to the front of the circle. “Do you have something to do with dreams?”
His countenance was as stony as ever, like unyielding white marble, but he leaned toward you the same way he had the night before. His face was an inch from the glass. You wished so desperately that you could touch it, that you could get even closer. You wanted to caress his cheek like you had his drawing many times before.
You searched his endless eyes for answers. It seemed like he wanted to give you something but he was waging an internal battle with himself. You leaned toward him, matching his motion, but your toes stayed in place. You hoped that he could see—feel—from you that you were worthy of his trust.
For the first time since you first laid eyes on him, he blinked. There was emotion there. His forehead gently touched the glass with his imploring orbs searching yours. His lips barely twitched open, like he wanted to say something, but he didn’t. You could see every dark lash that surrounded his beautiful eyes now.
“You… you control dreams?” you asked, your voice a wisp of its former self. The sheer feeling in those eyes directed at you stoked the searing flames in your gut. That pulsating hum was so very strong now.
His eyes were shining. Pale forehead still against the glass, he nodded. Your connection to him in that moment felt inexplicably intimate.
You let out a breath that you didn’t realize you were holding. His unworldly beauty made sense now. You remember thinking that you could only dream up someone like him. It was fitting.
Your eyelids fluttered, fighting back the tears that were threatening to spill at the intense emotions that were congealing in your throat. His imprisonment was the greatest tragedy you could imagine. Dreams were such an important thing. Dreams made humanity what it was, made people strive to be better.
“How could they do this?” you whispered, a profound hate boiling in your blood for Roderick Burgess. “How could they do this to you?”
Your empathy still seemed to confuse him, but his expression had softened. It occurred to you that very few, if any, people that he saw every day for countless years ever showed him any kindness or care. Alex Burgess, Paul McGuire, the guards… they all regarded him with nothing but contempt, entitlement, or fear. You had eavesdropped on enough conversations to know that.
You doubted that this man wanted your pity, but you felt betrayed by Roderick Burgess. You were betrayed on behalf of humanity for depriving you of him, of this ethereal being—this man of dreams.
Ever since your childhood, you’d had the most vivid of dreams. You always remembered them, but more importantly, they were almost always lucid. You knew that you were dreaming while you were still in the dream, giving you the ability to change things, people, places. You were the master of your own universe.
You slept often and for long periods of time because your dreams were always so much better than your reality. If you’d had it your way, you would have stayed in bed for the rest of your life just to continue your fantastical imaginings. It sparked your curiosity for all things unexplainable. However, when you overheard your parents one day discussing sending you to a sleep specialist, you knew that you had to come back to the real world.
Your most recent dreams had been of this house, of you finding your way to it and walking through dark, candlelit hallways with hooded figures darting in and out of sight. You thought that it was just your obsession for the paranormal history of Roderick Burgess and his ancestral home swimming through your subconscious, but maybe it was something more. The sorcerer and his infamous magic wasn’t why you always felt drawn here, that was clear to you now.
It was him. Maybe you were meant to find him.
Once you made that realization, something inside of you slid together like a puzzle piece. The Burgesses had made their bed, and even though you never wanted harm to come to anyone, your purpose was clear.
“I’m getting you out,” you choked.
The emotion on the dream man’s face was unfathomable, his limitless blue eyes glistening with unshed tears. He breathed a disbelieving sob that made the aching lump in your throat clench. His pale hands pressed desperately against the glass on both sides of his head. A rogue tear slid down his sallow cheek.
You gulped down an empathetic cry that was threatening to tear through your throat and threw the blanket off of your shoulders. You ignored the intense chill that encased your under-clothed body.
“First things first, I have to break this circle,” you murmured. You positioned yourself at the very front center of the golden sigil and pressed your socked foot onto the most outward line. You looked up. The man was standing now with his forehead and hands still glued to the glass. His taut chest was heaving up and down, his tongue darting between his pink lips. His eyes were stirring with an emotion in their depths that you couldn’t name, but whatever it was pulled the fiery blush back to your cheeks.
Slowly, deliberately, you put pressure on your toes and slid your foot backward. The most outward line was broken.
You could tell instantly that the air had changed. The effervescent power that until that point had only thrummed inside your body was overtaking the entire basement. It was like a trembling bass that had been pulsing in your earphones alone was suddenly reverberating through a massive amplifier.
You didn’t stop there. You knelt and rubbed your outstretched hand over the remaining lines and sigils that you could reach.
The summoning circle was broken.
You closed the distance that you’d been longing to close and pressed your hands against the invisible barrier. The dream man dropped to his knees, head thrown back toward the ceiling and arms outstretched. It was like he was a ravenous traveler that had been stranded without water for years, and he was finally getting a drink. His chiseled chest was heaving faster now, his nostrils flaring.
Abruptly, he dropped his head and pressed his face against the glass again, right in front of yours. It was the closest you’d been to him yet and your body was singing. His ghostly palms went as far as they could, thudding against where yours rested on the other side.
You had to tell yourself to breathe.
“Can you break it?” you asked him desperately. He shook his head once, but tilted his chin toward the corner of the basement closest to the door. There was a small guard’s desk there covered in computer screens.
You bolted toward it, sweating palms searching for anything you could use to hammer against the glass. There were papers, two keyboards, and trash leftover from someone’s dinner, but nothing you saw that could be used to break a thick glass prison.
“Fuck it!” you exclaimed. You grabbed one of the wooden chairs and dragged it toward the orb unceremoniously. “You might wanna stand back.”
He didn’t listen to you.
He was unmovable with hands pasted to the barrier and eyes on fire. You lifted the chair, and with all your strength, threw it against the glass. You weren’t surprised when it didn’t break but you tried again. You hurled the chair a third time, but it didn’t even leave the faintest of cracks. You wanted to scream. You were so close!
You took a step back, your chest now heaving as well. Your eyes darted all around the glass prison, looking for a weak point, looking for anything.
“Wait,” you grinned. Your smile was alight with the promise of a new idea. You didn’t know why you hadn’t already thought of it. “I know where they keep their guns.”
For the first time, a true smile tugged at the unearthly man’s lips. You tore yourself away from the addicting sight and ran toward the glass doors. With a speed that surprised you, you were up the stairs and out of the basement door in seconds.
With light but hurried feet, you ran down the dark hallway and toward the study, heart hammering against your ribcage. You stopped underneath a hideously eerie stuffed deer head and swung open the doors of a large wooden cabinet. There, the Burgess family’s old hunting rifles sat behind glass. You didn’t have the key and you had no idea where it was, but this glass looked much thinner than whatever was incasing the being downstairs.
You prayed a quick prayer to whatever god was listening that you wouldn’t wake up the sleeping elderly couple and seized a nearby fire poker in your hands. With one strong swing, you shattered the glass. You dropped the metal tool at your feet and grasped the first rifle you could reach.
You sped toward the basement door, not even bothering to look upstairs to see if you’d woken anyone. There was no time.
Your quick feet trampled down the flight of stairs. Within seconds, you were blowing through the glass doors and toward the last barrier between you and the otherworldly man that overtook your senses.
You hoped against hope that the gun was loaded.
With a deep breath to steel your courage and a whispered prayer, you lifted the gun to your shoulder and slid off the safety. You cocked it, and with relief, you heard the click of a round sliding into the chamber.
“I won’t hurt you, will I?” you asked abruptly, dropping the barrel toward the ground.
The man showed no sign that he heard you. He was bracing against that glass, every muscle tensed, jaw clenched and eyes ablaze with something primal and barely-contained.
You raised the gun back to your shoulder, aimed, braced yourself, and pulled the trigger.
BOOM!
The moment the bullet hit the glass, the entity inside jumped with something that was akin to pleasure. His forceful eyes were dark and zoned in on you, commanding you to do it again. With a fire that licked your innermost soul, you pulled the trigger a second time.
His muscles contracted, his mouth falling open in a way that was sinful as a crack began to snake its way in front of his face. His scorching glare was black with furious expectation, imposing his will upon you once more. Again.
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···
BOOM!
You heard it before you saw it.
The glass was shattered.
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**read chapter 4 here
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archivedkookie · 25 days
Text
runaway : the offer — jjk [m]
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⇢ SUMMARY ; When your best friend’s brother, your first-ever crush, offers to help with your sexual fantasies with a trade of nights of lust, you can’t say no—especially to someone as irresistible as Jeon Jungkook.
⇢ PAIRING ; tattoo artist / biker!jk x reader, best friend’s brother au | wattpad ao3
⇢ GENRE ; fwb (they’re not rlly friends tho), age gap (4 years), smut, angst, fluff, slow burn(?), best friend’s brother au
⇢ RATING ; 18+
⇢ WARNINGS ; oc daydreams a lot & loves music, jungkook is a former fuckboy, oc judges people a lot, minor blood, taehyung has tattoos & piercings, tattoo artist jk (yup….has to be a warning), jk has piercings and wears rings + chains (omg dhjfcehfg), jk and aera kinda hate each other, mention of blood (brief), pay attention to some details btw…..it helps hehe, jk is v open about sex, reader has kinda bad experiences :(, jk calls reader kitty :3 [ i find it cute dgjshsgd ], light corruption kink (if u squint), jungkook is a TEASE, kissing !!, not much smut in this one, just kissing :3
⇢ WC ; 9.5k
⇢ NOTE ; this series wasn’t supposed to happen at all jhdwghf, i’ve been thinking about doing something like this for some time, and well, here it is! I thought i’f take some time off making a series but here i am *sigh*.... very excited for this one, though !! i do advise you all to pay attention to details ……👀 anyways let’s get this bread !
⇢ BANNER CREDS ; i 
⇠ prev. \ next ⇢
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SERIES MASTERLIST · MAIN MASTERLIST · TAGLIST · PLAYLIST
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“Are we still on about tonight?” Someone asks, and you don’t hear it, continuing to blast the arctic monkeys on your earphones as you scroll mindlessly through your phone while debating with yourself if you should or not do your homework which is due tomorrow.
You hear a faint huff before a pair of hands brutally shake your body, and you jump in your seat while turning your head to see your best friend in front of you with an annoyed face.
“Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me!” You pant, putting your hand on your chest as you try to calm your erratic heartbeat, and Aera rolls her eyes. “You need to stop scaring me; one of these days, I will have a heart attack and die because of your annoying ass!” You point your finger at Aera while sitting back on the wooden bench, and Aera can only snort in response.
“I won’t stop; it’s funny,” She shrugs, and you scoff, “You wouldn’t get scared if you for once stopped blasting your songs on maximum, and staying in dreamland, just saying.”
“Fuck you.” You cross your arms, and she laughs, knowing you don’t have a comeback for her. The worst part is, you know she’s right, but you won’t stop; daydreaming and music are the only things getting you out of the massive amount of work college demands from you.
“Anyways, as I was saying, we are still on about tonight, right?” She asks, and you smirk, a spark of an idea lighting up on top of your head to get ‘revenge’ for what she just did to you.
“What’s tonight?” You ask with a confused face, doing your best to hide your growing smirk, and Aera gasps loudly.
You know perfectly what will happen tonight—your monthly sleepover and movie night, which has been going on since you were both eight years old. Tonight’s more special than any other traditional movie night because Aera will introduce you to her new boyfriend, who she insisted on keeping a secret from you for months.
Aera doesn’t have the best reputation regarding boyfriends—she mostly fucks men and pushes them away after a week of fooling around, and you must say that you’re incredibly curious to know who tamed the beast that is Jeon Aera. She claims this man is the one for her, and she has been talking about tonight’s movie night for almost two weeks.
“Are you fucking serious, ____?! Are you actually—”
You can’t help yourself anymore, and you start laughing once you see her distorted, angry face, your throat letting out dry coughs as you try to calm down.
“I’m sorry, it was a joke,” You giggle, “Your face is just too funny when you’re angry.” Aera’s tongue goes to the inside of her cheek, creating a bulge, as she stares intensely at you as you try to stop your laughter by slapping your hand on your mouth.
“You’re not funny, ____.” Aera crosses her arms on her chest and turns to look at the campus, and you chuckle at her antics.
“Whatever you say.” You smile when you see the slight tug upward on the corner of Aera’s lips, “Anyway, yes, I am going over to your house tonight. Did you really think I would forget?”
“With the way you literally forget everything, I wouldn’t put it past you.” Your mouth drops at her sentence, and you scoff, utterly offended by it, but you know she’s right.
“Bitch.”
“Slut.”
You both stay quiet for a few seconds before entering a fit of laughter simultaneously and only stop after minutes later, both of you trying to retain your breathing at its regular rate.
“I don’t know why you kept him a secret…..I’m your best friend, and I must say that I got a bit offended.”
Aera rolls her eyes, “I didn’t want you to spoil him for me with your judging eyes before I could even get to know him. Like, you know, every other partner I ever had.”
“As if you’re any better,” You snort, “You’re worse than me, Aera. You literally throw ugly gazes at anyone who breathes—do you remember Hajoon?”
Aera physically gags when you say your high school ex-boyfriend’s name, which only lasted one month due to Aera’s infinite judgement and repulsiveness over him.
“I wasn’t wrong about him, though, now was I? I told you since the moment you introduced him to me that he was a scumbag, didn’t I?”
You sigh in defeat. Aera kept telling you he wasn’t good for you, and it turned out she was right—after taking your virginity, quite a bad experience, you might add, he dumped you for no reason at all.
It was evident he wasn’t good for you, though; only you were blind and ‘in love’ to notice how he treated you. Throughout your whole relationship, you were the one who put in the effort, you were the one who gave your all, and in return, he gave you nothing and even gave you a bad first time.
Ever since then, you’ve told yourself fuck love and committed yourself to nothing but your studies. Relationships are not forever, but having yourself sure is.
“Whatever.” You mumble, and your best friend chuckles.
“My judgement compass never fails, ____; get that inside your head, girl.” You roll your eyes.
“By the way,” Aera starts, and you hum, urging her to continue her sentence, “My annoying brother told me he’ll be entering the apartment tonight, so I’m telling you now that you don’t get startled when you see him walking around the apartment.”
Ah, yes, Aera’s ‘annoying’ brother, as she calls him. None other than Jeon Jungkook.
Your first ever long-time crush.
You’re not a person to have crushes; ever since you were a teenager, exploring boys and ‘romance’, you never found anyone interesting enough to keep liking them as more than platonic, always getting some sort of ‘ick’ before getting to second base, and that still applies today—but the only exception was Jeon Jungkook, your best friend’s older brother.
You don’t know why, but he has been one of the only men that has ever caught your attention for more than one week and the only person that kept you pining for years, not weeks, not months, years.
You were never in love with him; it was only a minor girl crush that had you all hot and bothered whenever he was around you, and you never failed to stutter, a first-time thing for you.
Maybe it was because he was the first ever boy that was nice to you, perhaps because you knew you and he was a possibility only inside your mind, or maybe it was his oh-so-irresistible charms and looks—whatever it was, it had your head over heels for him for too many years.
He was a flame, and you were a moth, drawn to the incinerated fire that was Jungkook.
Of course, Aera knew about it and loved teasing you whenever possible. Whenever Jungkook was around, she would continually lift her eyebrows in a knowing manner and asking him things such as, ‘isn’t ____ gorgeous today?’, embarrassing you to the point where your cheeks were tomato-like red.
Jungkook never paid mind to you, though. A few teasing comments here and there, but you never saw him for more than one day, for he was always busy with work or shoving his tongue inside another woman’s mouth.
Jungkook was a certified ‘fuckboy’, as many would call him, just like his sister. He never committed to anyone for more than one week, and whenever a romantic commitment knocked on his door, he immediately ran away and locked the door. The only person you’ve ever seen committed to was when you were sixteen, and he was twenty years old; her name was Minji, but you’ve only seen her once, when he brought her to Jeon's family dinner.
After that one dinner, you never saw her again, and Jungkook stopped his ‘fuckboy’ tendencies for unknown reasons. and started to focus on his work, which to this day, you don’t know what it is. Aera was the one who continued Jungkook’s ‘fuckboyness’ and became a ‘fuckgirl’ as you two would joke.
“Hasn’t he been living alone for ages, though?” You ask, your eyebrows furrowed, and Aera groans, rolling her eyes as you continue to talk about her brother.
“Yeah, but he told me he needs some things from his room or whatever.” Aera huffs, “He really has the audacity to appear right when mom and dad aren’t home and the most important fucking day! He’s such an asshole, ugh.”
“Can’t you ask him to go another day, though?” You ask, and Aera groans once again.
“I did, but that bastard said he can’t. I know he says this shit just to annoy me, and ugh, I hate his ass so much. Like, out of all the fucking days he could have gone!” Aera does harsh gestures with her hands, something she always does when talking about something, or rather someone, that frustrates and brings her anger.
“He’s not that evil, Aera; you talk about him as if he were a Disney villain.” You snort, and Aera scoffs, offended by your defence over her brother.
“Of course, you would say that.” Aera says accusingly, and you move back, looking at her with amusement, “He’s not your annoying brother; you gotta stop idealising him because of your stupid crush and see him for what he really is—an egoistic, evil, fucking—”
“Damn, okay! I get it; he’s an asshole!” You move your hands up in defence, “And hey, that crush died out years ago, okay? I already told you that.”
“Whatever you say,” Aera mumbles, and you roll your eyes, starting to pack all your belongings inside your backpack. “Where are you going?”
“Um….home? I gotta go take a nap before I can head to your house.”
“Oh, alright.” Aera hums, “Say hi to that crazy bitch Soyeon for me.”
You nod your head, “Will do. Although I don’t know if she’s home right now.” You giggle, thinking of all the antics Soyeon might be doing right now.
Your apartment roommate, Soyeon, is one of the funniest, craziest people you have ever met, even more than your best friend, something you didn’t think was possible until you met the crazy person that is Soyeon.
You found her on the internet two years ago when you were searching for apartments to share, and you would be lying if you said you weren’t at least a bit sceptical of her when you first met.
You saw her tattoos and leather jacket, the way she constantly smokes the same grape juice vape, and you weren’t too fond of it all. You examined her from head to toe, reaching your own conclusions based on how she looked, and you were almost turning one-eighty degrees and leaving the house.
It’s one of your biggest flaws, really; you’re a bit too judgemental and too curious for your own good. Sticking your nose on people’s business and reaching your own conclusions is what sometimes leads to your demise. Still, ever since your first encounter with Soyeon, waters of realisation were splashed onto your face, and you promised yourself that you would try to better yourself, try and not take conclusions for yourself based on people’s appearance or even actions.
Keyword is try, for your judging tendencies sometimes come without you even realising.
Soyeon is four years older than you, and you think of her as somewhat of a big sister, a crazy one, that is. Partying with her is like anything you’ve ever seen, and all the conflicts she puts herself through sure have you entertained while you’re studying or just relaxing inside your shared apartment.
Once, while you were studying for mid-terms, she threw a grey goose vodka bottle at a man that stood outside the apartment and almost got put out of the apartment by the landlord the next day when he heard the news. And she never fails to entertain you with gossip about her co-workers at the tattoo parlour she works in—you love hearing about “Mr J” and all the others, even though you have no idea who they are.
She’s definitely crazy, but you love her a lot, and it’s not easy to get into your inner circle, you would say. Mainly because not many people show much interest in you, they would instead come up to Soyeon or Aera, but you’ve never complained—you like keeping your friends in a small number.
“Anyway, I’ll see you later tonight, Aera.” You smile, and you both lean in for a tight yet short hug. Bidding your final goodbyes, you both head your own ways and walk through the streets of Seoul that lead to your shared apartment.
As you walk, you receive a text from Soeyon that has you stopping on the road to furrow your eyebrows.
crazy roomie : can you come home fast? i broke some stuff, and i need your help.
you : i’m already on the elevator.
You run fast, your shoes producing a cracking sound as you run through the concrete towards your destination. You finally reach your apartment, and with a panting chest, you fumble with your keys and open the door, your eyes finding Soyeon on the ground, wiping the red stain on the ground while trying to get rid of the glass cracks all over the floor.
Your jaw falls to the floor, and Soyeon sighs in relief when she sees you, but you can only stare, paralysed, as you watch the scene in front of you.
“Oh, thank God.” Soyeon stops scrubbing the floor, “Come here, nabi, I need your help with this mess.”
Nabi, meaning butterfly in Korean, is the nickname Soyeon created for you on the second day after you completely moved in, telling you that you look like a butterfly. You don’t get it, but she never says your actual name and insists on calling you nabi, but you like it; it’s cute.
“What happened here?! Soyeon, what the fuck?!” You shout, your backpack falling to the floor as your hands run through your head, and Soyeon only sighs, her body as calm as ever while she stares blankly at you.
“Did you—d-did you m-murder someone?!” You gasp, and Soyeon rolls her eyes, continuing her scrubbing without paying much attention to your quite absurd assumption.
“No, this is just wine, don’t worry; I haven’t murdered anyone.” You sigh in relief and grab your back from the floor, “Yet.” Soyeon mumbles, but you don’t hear it as you close the door behind you so no one sees the scene, as they might think what you thought, and worst case scenario, call the police. And you sure don’t want your mother to come and pull you harshly by the ear if she somehow receives a call from the police about you.
“What the hell even lead to all this mess?!” You ask as you crouch down on the floor right next to Soyeon, your body still in a state of shock as you stare at the mess around you more closely. Your eyes pop out once they see wine on the white wall, and you’re left even more flabbergasted—how the hell did it even get there?
You don’t want to know the answer to that question, you say to yourself.
“Just…..problems. The less you know, the better.” Soyeon says while you start to scrub, and you furrow your eyebrows, your curiosity growing with her vague and quite ominous words.
You don’t know much about Soyeon’s personal life—hell, you don’t know almost anything about Soyeon other than when you’re both inside your apartment or when she drags you to a random party.
Now that you think about it, your roommate is quite a mystery to you. She knows a lot about your family and personal life, and yet….you know close to nothing about Soyeon.
Shivers course through your spine as you continue to scrub, picking out all the glass cracks on the floor so no one steps on it and cuts themselves.
“Are you not going to at least say….something? It’s my apartment too, y’know; I gotta know what happens here.” You say as you pick up a big glass and throw it on the pot beside you, and Soyeon groans loudly, throwing her head back.
“Just my personal problems. Nothing you have to worry about, kay? Don’t ask any more questions.” Soyeon spits, and you almost flinch, shutting your mouth and continuing your work through the awkward silence that now surrounds you and your roommate.
“If you say so.” You don’t want to press on the matter; you’ve never seen Soyeon using such a bitter tone with you; she’s always sweet, a bit loud and always speaking to you with a kind tone. This is certainly new, and it’s pretty scary if you’re being honest.
“Your finger’s bleeding.” You almost gasp, trying to keep your calm in front of Soyeon, and instead of panicking as you would, Soyeon only groans and stands up to walk to the kitchen.
“Soyeon, I don’t have to know what happened, but….” You start, slowing down your hand movements and lifting your head to watch as Soyeon grabs a napkin from the kitchen island. “You’re okay, right? Where’s mocha? Is he okay?”
Soyeon chuckles at your cat's name; you were always a little too protective of him. “I’m fine, nabi, don’t worry about me; I have it all figured out. And Mocha’s fine too; he wasn’t here when it all went down; he’s probably under your bed right now, where he always is.”
You let out a heavy breath and continue to scrub, trying your hardest to remove the wine stain on the floor, and Soyeon quickly puts on a band-aid before returning and cleaning the wines off the white wall while you stay on the ground.
After one hour of hard scrubbing almost the whole living room, it’s finally done and clean. You sigh and jump on your couch, your knees numb from staying in a crouched position for too long and your arms sore from all the non-stop scrubbing.
Your heavy eyes start closing unconsciously, but before your consciousness slips away into dreams, the annoying ringtone of your phone startles you and makes your body jump on the couch.
“Hello?” Your voice comes out raspy, and your palm covers your eyes when you hear your best friend’s name on the other side of the phone.
“_____! Are you coming or not?!”
You groan, squirming as you try to find a more comfortable position, “It’s still five, Aera; can you let me nap for at least two hours? I’m literally exhausted right now.”
“Bitch, it’s six thirty right now! Remember we said seven at my house?!”
You immediately sit up and check your phone for the time, your eyes widening as you see Aera’s right; it’s six thirty on the dot. “Fuck.” You mumble; the scrubbing was so intense that it lasted two fucking hours.
“I’m, uh, I’m on the elevator already, okay? Be there in ten.” You get up from the maroon couch and dash to the kitchen, where you placed your backpack, and Aera cuts the line after a goodbye you didn’t quite hear.
“Soyeon!” You call for her, and she shouts back, “Feed Mocha for me, will you?! I gotta head to Aera’s, as I told you before!”
“Okay, have fun! Be sure to use a condom!” Soyeon screams through the apartment, and you snort, shaking your head as you get all your belongings to get out.
Once you’re done, you return to your previous speed and desperation, “Shit, shit, shit.” You curse as you dash out of the apartment, running down the stairs, not even bothering to wait for the building’s slow elevator. “Fucking Soyeon, I swear to God.”
Thankfully, Aera’s house isn’t too far from where you live, ten minutes, and you’re already in front of the gate, mainly because of your speed running. You enter the gates with ease and head to Aera’s house, and once you’re there, panting and with your lungs almost falling out, you ring the doorbell.
“Finally!” Aera shouts as she runs to the door, and you can hear her faint, slow footsteps, ones you can distinguish from a mile away. Instead of opening the door in one go, Aera peeks only her head outside, wearing a nervous smile on her face as she clears her throat.
“Okay…..um, ____, I want you to meet my boyfriend…..Taehyung.” Aera opens the door all the way until you come face to face with a man, your eyebrows lifting as you look at him up and down, examining all his features and details.
Piercings, he has many of them on both his ears, silver ones, no gold in sight and none on his lips or nose. You take in the features of his face—baby skin, perfectly built lips and siren eyes, ones that you see can lure anyone in with a glance as if chanting an encantation with its looks. He’s beautiful, you must say, more than that even—he is enchanting, in a darker way than any other average person.
He keeps his hands in his pockets—shy, maybe? Surely you wouldn’t think of someone like him that somehow radiates confidence with his intimidating looks, but hey, there is always a possibility.
The man wears ripped black jeans and a plain Nirvana sweater, too. Oh, that definitely catches your eye—he’s a fan?
“Hi.” You say, and he smiles, a box-shaped smile, offering his hand for you to shake.
“Hi, I’m Taehyung; it’s nice to finally meet you.” You clasp your hand with him, and you shake it, skin feeling the cold metal of his silver rings. “Aera never stops talking about you.” Taehyung giggles and you turn your head to look at Aera with raised eyebrows. “She even told me to wear this Nirvana sweatshirt ‘cause you’re a fan.”
Aera widens her eyes and smacks Taehyung’s stomach, and you smirk, “Oh, did she now?” You laugh, and Aera rolls her eyes, a small huff coming out of her mouth.
“You’re not a fan, then?” You ask, and he shakes his head.
“Nah, I only know that one popular song from them. I’m more of a jazz person.”
Both your eyebrows lift, taken aback by his music taste. Could’ve fooled you—he certainly does not look like the kind of guy that enjoys music such as jazz. Taehyung seems to be the one who likes rock, guitar-heavy songs such as Metallica.
“Wow, really?”
“Is it that much of a shock?” Taehyung chuckles and your lips seal, cheeks flushing in embarrassment at your assumptions, placing an image of him, creating a persona for him at only first glance.
What shocks you the most is that, even though you bring yourself to assumptions, they are hardly ever wrong; Soyeon and now Taehyung are the only people you have ever judged wrongly. That’s what got you too confident in your assumptions, and now you’re facing the consequences of your cockiness in your toxic trait.
“Anyways, get in; we already picked a film.” Aera says and pulls you in, “Why don’t you both get to know each other for a bit? I’ll go get the tv prepared.”
And suddenly, you’re alone with Taehyung on the kitchen island, gulping nervously as you try and think of what to say. Socially awkward isn’t enough to describe you—you’re a menace, an actual disaster when it comes to talking to people you don’t know, even more so when you’re expected to start the conversation.
“Uh—um, so er, how did you meet Aera?” You break the ice, lifting your eyes to look into his siren ones, the heavy gaze you felt as you stared at the marble counter gone as your eyes meet his, his hands still in his pockets, comfort replaced by whatever you felt because of your nervousness.
“At a club, she was a one-night stand at first.” You’re not surprised; it was typical for Aera to get entangled with strangers for one night only, for only lust and no strings attached—for the thrill of it, as she would explain to you. You begged her to stop, for her to consider slowing her men preying down because of the dangers of getting STDs, but she only shrugged you off, telling you to stop getting your panties in a twist.
You hum, urging Taehyung to continue as you grab a glass and pour water on it, “And well, after that night, we couldn’t keep our hands to each other and, uh, one thing led to another, and now we’re here.”
You hum, sipping the water from your glass while staring at Taehyung with suspicion in your eyes—it’s time for the big question. “Do you like Aera? Or is this just a ‘passage’ thing? If so—”
“I have no ill intentions with Aera. I like her; I really, really do.”
Love. He didn’t say he loves her, and you remember vividly Aera told you she loves the man before you.
“I….I love him, ____. I really do, and I’m excited for you to meet him.” Aera says with a sparkle in her eyes, and you smile, shaking your head at your best friend. You’re happy for her; she deserves love; you can only hope whoever her boyfriend is treating her like a queen.
“Hm,” You squint your eyes, “Okay, good.” Before you can talk more or question him any further, Aera returns and urges you both to go to the couch as the film is already on TV.
You grab your backpack from the counter and put it in the same place you always do, beside your side of the couch, and you sit on the ‘L’ shaped sofa, lifting your eyes to read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ written on the TV screen.
“What the hell?! Why are we watching fifty shades?” You ask with a scrunched face, and Aera laughs while she and her boyfriend, Taehyung, sit next to you.
“Dunno, I just felt like it—you know it’s my time to choose, right?”
You groan, passing your hands’ palms through your face, “Alright, fine, whatever.” You roll your eyes, “You and your weird taste.” You mumble under your breath as Aera presses on the remote control, giggling slightly at your frustration.
Thirty minutes pass, and you’re cringing harder than ever, but weirdly enough, quite enjoying the movie while your hand stays on your chin as you pay attention to the TV. You’re too immersed in the film that you don’t hear the small whimpers coming from beside you until a loud cough erupts from your best friend’s throat.
“Are you okay?” You whisper, and Aera nods, awkwardly clearing her throat. “Do you need some water? I can—”
“I’m f-fine; I-I’ll just go upstairs to get some m-meds—be right back.” Aera sprints from the couch, and you’re left dumbfounded, completely taken aback by her sudden weird behaviour and leaving you alone with Taehyung.
“I’ll go check on her, don’t worry.” Taehyung smiles at you before leaving you and following Aera to wherever she went to.
“Weird.” You whisper and turn your head to look at the TV, wrapping yourself on the blanket, looking like a burrito, and getting immersed once again in the movie, forgetting about the whole ordeal with Aera moments before.
Sure, it was strange, but Taehyung has it all sorted out, right?
I’ll ask her about it later; you make a mental note to yourself.
“Fifty shades of grey, hm? Didn’t know you were so freaky.” Someone chuckles from beside you, and you immediately scream, jumping off the couch with your whole body, your soul getting taken away for a moment.
“AHHHH, WHAT THE FUCK?!” You scream your lungs out, staring daggers at the culprit for your near-heart-attack experience, the slight shine of the silver piercing reaching your eyes, and you know who it is; of course, you know who it is. You can recognise those beautiful pairs of lips and piercing anywhere.
Jungkook.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?! Are you trying to put me in the hospital?!” You curse, not caring you don’t have any sense of intimacy with the man as you continue to scold him for almost sending your soul to the afterlife.
“Sorry, kitty, I just thought I’d sneak up on you.” Jungkook chuckles at your panting figure, a proud smirk on his lips as he watches the success of his plan to startle you.
Kitty, that damn nickname. Jungkook has been calling you the same nickname for years, and even though your interactions may be short, it never fails to flush your cheeks in embarrassment.
You remember the exact day six years ago when he created the nickname as if it were yesterday. As a certified cat lover, you watched kitten videos on Instagram while waiting for Aera in the kitchen, and Jungkook decided that out of the blue, he wanted to tease you, calling you kitty whenever he saw you.
“Hey, kitty, what are you doing?”
“How’s your first day of college-going, kitty?”
“You’re so innocent, Kitty.”
He loves the nickname; Jungkook loves how he makes you flustered; you know he does. Jungkook’s already large ego thrives in seeing you all flustered over one mere nickname; he loves to play with the effect he has on you.
You turn your head to look at him, and you almost bite your lip at sight. Jungkook has always been the most beautiful human you’ve ever laid eyes on; any other man you’ve met, Jungkook put them to humiliation.
With his dark eyes, he allured anyone who caught a faint glimpse of his breathtaking, perfectly sculptured face—he was sin; you, or rather anyone, could see the devil’s smirk inside his dark eyes, ones that could lure anyone into his infinite trap, and you’d be lying if you said you didn’t once want to be caught by him.
The leather jacket, piercings, and pouty cherry lips are all enough to drive anyone ravenous—Jungkook’s beauty is picturesque; no detailed painting performed by the best painter in the world on a white canvas can grasp his glamorous looks in his entire, vivid aspect.
Jungkook is beautiful, but he smells like danger, a big warning sign on the top of his head wherever he goes.
You feel it in your bones—everything in you screams to get away from him, that he’s somehow dangerous. Why? You don’t know—or better yet, you don’t want to know.
Ignorance is a bliss, after all.
Examining his face, you come in sight with a beige band-aid on the top of his head, your eyebrows furrowing once you see the light blood that stains the band-aid. “What happened here?” Your motion to your forehead with your fingers, and Jungkook mirrors your actions, asking non-verbally if you are asking about his bruise.
“One of my co-workers accidentally scratched me with her nails.” He chuckles, “But it’s nothing serious. Are you worried about me, kitty?”
You roll your eyes, and Jungkook laughs. Oh, how he loves to tease you, and you fucking hate it.
“Anyway, why are you watching fifty shades in plain sight, kitty? Did you want me to catch you?” Jungkook chuckles, and you wince, gulping the lump that forms in your throat, the movie continuing to play as you stare at it.
You scoff, sounding more like a clearance of your throat, “No, I don’t even like this stupid film. It was obviously Aera and her horrible taste.” You roll your eyes, and Jungkook laughs.
“Of course it was Aera; I knew you wouldn’t pick a movie like this one.”
You pause for a moment, taking in his words inside your mind. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Jungkook laughs, “Oh, you know, kitty. You scream innocence. But hey, maybe I’m wrong. I’ve always seen you as my annoying little’s sister’s best friend, after all.”
“You are wrong, Jungkook. I’m twenty-one, not fifteen!” You scoff, and Jungkook throws his hands in defence, “You should stop seeing me as a little kid.” You roll your eyes in annoyance, something of a sting in your heart when the words linger inside your mind, playing over and over again.
I’ve always seen you as my annoying little’s sister’s best friend.
You were always a little kid inside his mind, weren’t you? It doesn’t hurt, but it does sting a little; you won’t lie to yourself about it. Having your crush of you don’t know how many years tell you that he’s never seen you as more than a little kid sure doesn’t leave a pleasant feeling in your stomach, even if you don’t have any feelings for him anymore.
Your sixteen-year-old self would sure weep her heart out if she were in your position. Or maybe she’d be too busy gawking and daydreaming over him to pay attention to his words; you sure did that a lot when you were a teenager, always hopelessly pining over Jungkook, never genuinely paying attention to the world around you as you got lost in his pretty doe eyes.
“Time sure does fly fast, huh?”
“Mhm.” You nod your head slowly, turning your attention to the movie, and your eyes widen when you realise what part you are in—he’s taking off the woman’s panties.
You blush, scrunching your nose in embarrassment, and when you turn your head slowly to see Jungkook’s reaction, he only has a blank face, unreactive of the sexual scene happening on the TV, unlike you.
“This is too fast, unrealistic, honestly; I bet if this were real life, poor Anastasia would never cum.”
You choke on your spit, “Uh, how the hell do you even know that?”
“Because I’ve made women cum, kitty. Haven’t you?” Jungkook inquired with a lifted eyebrow; the saliva you produce is thick, almost impossible to swallow, while your head becomes heavy with how smoothly he talks about such….stuff.
“Uh—made women cum?” You gulp once again.
“I guess I didn’t make myself clear.” He chuckles with a deeper voice, and your stomach starts to make a knot on itself when you hear how deep his voice can go. “Haven’t you ever orgasmed during sex?”
Your breath hitches and your lungs find it almost impossible to catch the air around you because you know the answer.
Of course you know the answer, and you’re embarrassed by it. Jungkook, out of all people, doesn’t need to know about your bad experiences with sex.
“I—c-can we change the subject, please?” You clear your throat, locking your eyes on the TV screen, not grasping whatever happens on the film and only trying to cool down your burning red face and the stomach-knotting embarrassment you feel.
“Are you telling me no man has ever made you orgasm?” You feel Jungkook’s gaze on your face and sigh in defeat, licking your now-chapped lips as your face burns up again.
“I haven’t, okay?!” You groan, “Maybe some people just don’t like sex that much!” You hide your face in your palms, refusing to look up and see Jungkook’s shocked face.
“No man has ever made you cum?” He looks at you with a surprised yet intrigued face.
You hate this; you hate that Jungkook, out of all the people in the world, knows about your bad experiences with sex. After your first-ever bastard of a boyfriend, Hajoon, you tried doing it again, but it only made you even more traumatised than you already were.
Ever since the last guy you’ve ever been with finished in two seconds and then fainted on top of you, the image of sex was forever stained on your books, and thinking about your experiences makes you physically gag.
Sex isn’t everything, you always tell yourself, but it sure sometimes makes you feel….bad. Twenty-one years of your life and you’ve never orgasmed with someone else definitely makes you slightly insecure, especially when you have a friend as sexually active and sex-positive as Aera.
“Yes! Now can you stop asking questions?! This is already as embarrassing as it is.” You grab a cushion and put it on your face, groaning, “Sex isn’t everything.”
Jungkook hums, “You’re right, it’s not everything, but it’s amazing once you have the right partner to do it with. It’s healthy to have sex, you know?”
“Yeah, I know, I know—I guess I just haven’t found anyone good yet.” You sigh, and Jungkook bites his lip; a few seconds of comfortable silence surround you before Jungkook speaks up and says the unthinkable.
“I could help you if you let me.”
You furrow your eyebrows, finally taking your eyes off the TV to look at the man before you. “Help me with what? Having sex?” You snort, but Jungkook doesn’t laugh; he’s not amused—he’s serious.
“Yes.”
You choke on your spit once again, coughing desperately as your face burns crimson red, your eyes widening and lifting to gaze at his face again. “What?! Y-You’re serious?!”
“Of course I’m serious. Why wouldn’t I be?” Jungkook stays calm as if what he asked you was the most normal thing in the world—and you; you’re panicking, infinite thoughts passing through your mind as you try to grasp his ‘offer’ fully.
“I—y-you're—” You stop and take a deep breath, “You’re my best friend’s b-brother. Won’t this be….I-I don’t know….weird?”
“Only if you make it to be weird, kitty.” Jungkook says, a breathy chuckle coming out of his lips, “I have no problem with it; I’ll only help you out, but if you don’t want it, then we’ll never talk about this ever again. Your choice, kitty.”
You take in a deep breath, “What would you get o-out of it, though? We’re not….intimate.”
You and Jungkook are not friends; the closest thing you can call him is an acquaintance, but even that, you’re not sure he is. Jungkook’s only ever been your unreachable crush and your best friend’s brother you saw on occasion, never getting into deep conversations.
And what would he even get out of….whatever it is he’s offering? All he’s saying is that you will get pleasure, but what would Jungkook be getting in return? Fucking you out of all the people he can have is…..weird.
Why you?
“W-what would you get out of this, though?” You gulp, and Jungkook’s lips tug on a faint smirk, his body squirming to find a better position closer to you.
“Pleasure, kitty. It’s been a while since the last time I’ve been with someone.” Jungkook chuckles, licking his lips.
“And I know for a fact that you don’t want a relationship either, now, do you? It’ll be pleasure for us both without the need for commitment. Just fun and pleasure.”
He’s right; you don’t want a relationship. Relationships will only get in the way of your career, and you cannot afford a distraction from heartbreak. But you never thought you’d be one to go for a ‘fuck-buddy’ situationship, either. Especially one with Jungkook.
“How do I know you’re not just trying to use me to wet your bed?” You raise your eyebrow, and Jungkook laughs.
“This is just to help both our desires; I would never use you in that way. If you don’t want this, tell me right now.”
“I—”
You’re cut off when his lips touch yours in a sweet peck, and your breath is taken away, struggling to breathe once you feel his face close to yours. “Let me show you, kitty,” Jungkook whispers in your ear, and you gasp, his hand connecting to your chest, pushing your back onto the white couch.
Jungkook’s lips immediately kiss your neck, sweet pecks leading a path to your jaw and eventually your lips, placing one last peck before withdrawing his face from yours entirely.
You stare at the chains around his neck, being forced downwards as Jungkook stares at you with a smirk on his lips, your salivary glands producing thick saliva that fails to eliminate the lump in your throat.
“What about Aera?! She’ll have my head if she knows about this.” You clear your throat, your heart sinking down to your stomach at the image of an enraged Aera finding out about whatever you’re doing with her older brother, whom she hates.
“Aera doesn’t have to know; no one has to. Forget about Aera for a moment and focus on what you want, kitty.” Jungkook licks your neck in a swift motion, a low, almost silent moan slipping through your mouth once his tongue comes in contact with your sensitive skin. “Tell me you don’t want this, and I’ll stop.”
Fuck Aera and everyone else—you deserve your own pleasure, don’t you? Fuck being selfless; for once, you think about your pleasure and what you want.
And you want this.
“You can continue.” You lick your lips, breathing heavily, urging him to go on, and Jungkook bites his lip at the sight of you, sucking in his lip piercing as he examines how pretty you look under him.
“Do you touch yourself, kitty? Did you make yourself cum since those excuses of men couldn’t, hm?”
You gulp, cheeks turning into their usual flushed state when you’re with Jungkook. You nod your head slowly at his question, trying to fight the urge to squirm in embarrassment—you just confessed to Jungkook that you masturbate.
“Don’t be shy now, kitty. It’s normal; I do it, too.” Jungkook chuckles, “Tell me, how do you touch yourself, pretty?”
Pretty. That’s a new nickname, one that has your pussy drenching and your butterflies flying around inside your stomach faster than their average speed.
“Sorry, I’ve never talked with anyone so openly about….my sexual experiences.” You breathe out, “I use my fingers, a-and a pink vibrator my roommate gave me for my birthday.” You breathe out, giggling slightly at the memory, and Jungkook laughs, your body already hot, bothered by his presence when he hasn’t done anything but stare at you.
His eyes are of the wicked and can corrupt you to his world of sin with a mere glance.
And you love it.
“A pink vibrator for a present?”
You nod, giggling while trying to hide your flushed face from his intense stare, “My roommate is a bit crazy.”
He chuckles, his hand passing through your cheeks, caressing them in an almost gentle manner, the air getting thicker once his warm skin touches yours.
Your locked-up desire for him gets awakened like never before, turning you on and crippling your body with the sheer need to touch him, to feel him in any way that you can while your eyes fill with lust-driven sin.
Your lips touch faintly, brushing ever so slightly with each other while your hot breaths—it’s a fire between you, burning your skin, consuming your every nerve as your hot breaths reach one another’s skin.
Thinking with your urges irrationally, you lift your head and kiss Jungkook’s enticing lips, his mouth opening up seconds after your lips meet, his tongue welcoming yours in a slow burn kiss.
His lips are intoxicating and, most of all, leave you addicted for more, even when you’ve only tried them once.
“Hmm,” Jungkook disconnects your mouth with a faint ‘pop’, a small trail of saliva on his chin as he looks at you while licking his lips, “You taste sweet, exactly like I thought you would.”
Maybe you’re overthinking his words, but your stomach almost collapses when you hear his sentence. He has thought about you, too?
“Can’t wait to taste your sweet pussy. Bet it tastes even sweeter than your lips.” Jungkook bites his lip, his eyes filled with lust and hunger, and your clit throbs at his dirty words.
“I’m getting hard just by imagining….God, kitty.” Jungkook kisses down your neck, but before he can continue, you hear footsteps coming down the stairs, and Jungkook immediately pulls his body away from yours, sitting on the couch in the same position as when he startled you, looking as if nothing happened while you look like a mess—you feel like a mess.
“Oh, you’re here.” Aera spits his name with venom in her voice, crossing her arms as she stares at Jungkook with repulsion in her eyes.
You’ve never known the reason behind Aera’s hatred for her older brother; it’s been going on for about two years, and even muttering the name ‘Jungkook’ is enough to get her heated.
But it wasn’t always like this. No, you vividly remember how much she talked about Jungkook with admiration in her eyes, looking up to him and treating him like any other typical sister would her brother.
Until she flipped a switch inside her mind years ago and decided to hate him. You’ve stopped questioning her, though; it has become so common that you forget that she once actually liked her older brother, something seemingly of another world if you think about the possibility of it today.
Jungkook isn’t a bad person; even though your years of crushing on him may have turned you a bit biassed with your opinion of him, you still know he’s nice, a good person, and you never understood where the hatred could have come from or originated in.
You were always curious about it all, but after a long time of asking and getting vague to no answers, you dropped the subject.
“Hello to you too, Aera.” Jungkook chuckles and gets up from his seat, your face still slightly flushed from everything that went down seconds ago, your body finding it hard to pretend as if your former crush just didn’t offer to experiment sex with you, teach you how to have pleasure without your own hands.
It all seems like a dream, a perfect dream—too good to be true.
“Well, I’ll be going now. I’ll see you around Aera.” Before Jungkook leaves, he turns around and winks at you, your cheeks getting red once again, and it’s thankfully hidden from the room's darkness.
“Hopefully not.” Aera rolls her eyes, and you take a look at her, your eyebrows furrowing when you see her state; hair everywhere, cheeks flushed, and redder than normal lips.
“Next time you want to fuck someone, make sure your best friend isn’t in the same house.”
You choke on your spit, and Jungkook leaves with a smirk on his face, leaving no time for Aera with crimson-red cheeks and her jaw on the floor.
“Fucking asshole,” Aera mutters under her breath and reaches for the empty space beside you, where Jungkook previously was.
“Were you really having sex with Taehyung?!” You ask with a light gasp, and Aera rolls her eyes, leaving her back on the cushion with a huff.
“Can we not talk about it?”
You giggle, “Whatever you say. Was it good, at least?”
“Amazing.” Aera bites her lip, and you shake your head with a breathy chuckle. You know Aera expects you to judge her, but after almost indulging in a sexual act with Jungkook in her living room, you sure can’t say anything.
“I’m just weirded out that you haven’t said anything criticising me yet.” Aera snorts, and you clear your throat, a knot forming on your stomach as you find it hard to swallow your forming saliva.
“Yeah, well, I-I’m too tired for it.” You chuckle, trying to sound as convincing as you can.
You’re not lying to her; she hasn’t explicitly asked, ‘are you doing it with my brother?’ but nonetheless, you feel awful, your throat feeling residues of bile crippling up and threatening to come out.
You despise hiding things from your best friend, having to keep such a secret from her. As the saying goes, if you can’t tell your best friend, you shouldn’t be doing it.
So, if you will feel this weight on your body, even after not doing anything much with Jungkook—should you take his offer?
As Taehyung returns, in the same state as Aera was, your phone lets out a ‘ping’, and your heart races when you see who it is—you forgot you had his contact on your phone.
Jungook : Think about my offer, and then text me, kitty. I’ll be waiting.
Jungook : I hope you say yes ;)
You bite your lip as you read his text messages, your stomach’s butterflies flapping when you read his winking face. I hope you say yes.
Would it be too bad if you accepted his offer?
☾ ⊹ · *. ⊹ ✦   ✵ *
“Hey, I’ll be going to work. Do you wanna come with me?” Soyeon asks, and you take your eyes off your book to look at her with confusion.
“What?”
“I asked if you want to come to work with me, seeing that you don’t have anything else to do,” Soyeon says, and you lift your eyebrows at her sudden question.
She’s not wrong, though; you don’t have anything else to do. It’s Monday, and your university is closed for the day. Instead of studying, you decided to spend your day finishing your novel and staying inside your room listening to your favourite bands on your vinyl.
And it’s been two days since your sleepover—two days since Jungkook proposed his offer to you. And you’ve been thinking about it every minute of your day, contemplating if you should or not take the offer.
You want to do it; you want to broaden your sexual experience, and doing it with someone like Jungkook is an advantage. And, on the plus side, you’ll be fulfilling all your teenage fantasies you had of him.
No strings, purely physical—a dream, if you say so.
You’ve thought about Aera finding out, but if you’re careful, she won’t find out, right?
You’re still conflicted about what you should do, and getting out of your house could help.
“The tattoo shop?”
Soyeon giggles, “Yes, where else, nabi?”
“Sure, why not.” You shrug your shoulders and close your book, throwing it on the couch before you head to your bedroom to get yourself out of your sleep clothes and into your blue jeans and the Beatles sweater. After all, you’re not going anywhere fancy, and the sweater is pretty and comfortable.
Next thing you know, you’re in front of the tattoo parlour, with ‘Runaway tattoo parlour’ written on top of the shop. Soyeon grabs your arm and pushes you in, the bell on top of the door ringing once you enter inside, and everyone inside the parlour looks at the sound, consequently looking at you.
“Hey, Soyeon! You’re a bit late today.” A man with pink hair appears in front of your friend and smiles when he looks at you, “Hi, I’m Jimin. Are you here for a tattoo?” The man, Jimin, says with an enchanting smile, and you won’t lie; his beauty—his etherealness, enamours you.
“No, no, I’m here ‘cause of my friend, Soyeon.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows, “You’re friends with Soyeon?” He asks, almost shocked, and Soyeon rolls her eyes.
“She’s my roommate I talked to you about.”
Jimin raises an eyebrow and immediately grabs your hand and raises it to his lips, kissing your hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you…..”
You chuckle at his charm; you already know he is a natural flirt. You observe his feature—he has plump lips, a little redder than usual; he must have been kissing someone, you think to yourself. You see the piercings on his ears, silver earrings of many kinds, just like Jungkook’s, and some tattoos on his arm.
One tattoo in specific catches your attention; it’s the 방탄소년단 and some roses on inked on his arm. Bulletproof boy scouts.
Hm, you’re curious to know the meaning behind it. But it’s not your business; you don’t know Jimin, and as you promised to yourself, you would stop your curiosity and judgemental ways.
“____.” You say your name, and Jimin smiles, showing you his crooked teeth that are to die for. You can see by his confidence in flirting that he’s killed women and men with that smile—you can sense how inflated his ego is, and rightfully so.
“Beautiful name for a beautiful woman.” Jimin winks, and you laugh, a light blush covering your cheeks at his shameless flirting, and Soyeon groans.
“Stop trying to get into her pants and go back to work, Jimin.” Soyeon smacks Jimin’s arm, and Jimin adorably giggles, leaving you both to return to where he was before, but not before throwing you a sly flirtatious wink.
“Is he always so flirty?” You ask with a chuckle, and Soyeon sighs.
“Unfortunately. It’s really annoying. ” Soyeon rolls her eyes, “I’ll be going to Mr J’s office; wanna come?” Soyeon slightly hesitates when talking about her boss’s name, but you don’t pay much mind to it and only nod your head at her question.
Ah, the famous Mr J, Soyeon’s boss, who she never fails to stop talking about, always having something to say about either his beauty or complaints about how strict he can be.
Soyeon quickly grabs your wrist, pulling you to follow her to the office at the other end of the shop. You observe some of the frames on the walls, beautiful paintings to take your breath away, but one, in particular, catches your attention.
You don’t get to see it much due to Soyeon’s quick steps, but you were able to grasp what it was. A rose, the same one on Jimin’s arm, the same one that caught your attention when you met him minutes ago.
You enter the office without Soyeon knocking, and you’re met with someone you didn’t think you would see for another week sitting behind his chair.
Jungkook.
“Jungkook?!” You gasp slightly, and he lifts his head from his papers to look at you, holding a surprised face for a few seconds before morphing into his signature smile.
“Kitty? What are you doing here?” Jungkook chuckles, getting up from his seat so he can head to where you stand.
“H-hold on, Mr J, you know her?” Soyeon gasps and your jaw goes to the floor—Jungkook is Mr J.
Sure, you didn’t know what Jungkook did for a living, but you expected him to work under his father’s firm; they are filthy rich, after all. You could have predicted many things, but a tattoo shop owner wasn’t one of them.
Hm, this certainly gives you a new perspective of him. You did always find tattoo artists hot for some odd reason, and knowing Jungkook is one….well, it sure does cause a new wave of butterflies in your stomach.
“She’s my little sister’s best friend.” Jungkook smiles, “It’s great to see you again, kitty.” Jungkook smirks, his voice ignited with tease and his dark eyes burying into yours, hoping to remind you of the offer in a non-verbal way.
Or perhaps it’s just you who can’t look at him without thinking of that night two days ago.
“Uh, anyway, I just wanted to tell you I arrived, and I’ll be heading to my usual chair.” Soyeon says and looks at you, “You coming?”
“I’m right behind you; I just gotta talk with Jungkook for a bit.” You smile, and Soyeon furrows her eyebrows, suspicion in her eyes as she looks at you, but she exits the office nonetheless.
“So you stalked me all the way here just to see me, kitty?” Jungkook smirks, leaning his butt on his desk as he folds his arms, your body growing hot as his eyes look at you from up and down.
“No, I didn’t even know you worked here. Don’t get cocky, Jungkook.” You playfully roll your eyes, and Jungkook laughs. “And I guess it’s good that you’re here, so I can tell y-you my answer.”
You stare at his brown eyes, looking at you with expectation for whatever may come out of your mouth.
You’ll br telling him your decision. After days of no reply, being here, staring at Jungkook while silence falls above you—you’ve finally made up your mind.
You take a deep breath. It’s now or never. Will you let yourself feel pleasure in doing what you want, or will you dismiss it all over the hypothesis of your friend catching you?
It’s time to be selfish, you tell yourself. Just this once, you will put yourself first.
“Let’s do it.” You let out a breath.
“I accept your offer.”
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please reblog if i like this fic !! 💗 reblogging really helps a lot <3
© 𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐃𝐊𝐎𝐎𝐊𝐈𝐄 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐. all rights reserved; do not copy, translate or post it in another platform at any circumstances.
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circe-thewitch · 4 days
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The Prophet | Xavier Thorpe x Vamp!Reader Pt. 1
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Pairing: Xavier Thorpe x Vampire!Reader
Summary: Xavier and a fem! reader meet for the first time.
Warnings: none for now, but there will be soon :))
(A/N): WOHOOO part one of the series is out!! 🥳🥳
— Xavier’s POV
It was raining the first time I saw her.
Well, the first time I had physically seen her. Though, the fog was so thick that I had only caught a glimpse. I could sense that it was her, she'd been haunting me through visions and dreams for weeks now.
I wanted to follow her, to run and speak to her but I couldn't pull myself to do it. Just because I know her, does not mean she knows me. So I kept my distance, I can play the long game.
I’d get the chance to speak to her soon enough.
Then the door swung open.
Then the door swung open.
Then the door swung open.
"I apologize for my tardiness professor, I got lost on the way here." The slight breeze from the door opening softly caressed her hair from where it lay framing her face.
I don't think I had ever had the breath whisked from my lungs until this moment.
— Reader’s POV
Ms. Thornhill thankfully didn't seem to be upset that I was late.
I assume most people have a hard time trying to navigate the literal mazes of classrooms here. I was super excited too see that this class had an opening, when I had applied they told me that the class was full. But I gladly took the last seat in the room.
I spent the remainder of class catching up on what the class had learned before my arrival. Until the student next to me finally uttered a word in my direction. "You've got a little something, there" He pointed to the corner of his lip. I wiped at my mouth quickly, looking around to see if anyone had noticed. "You're in the clear, everyone is pretty focused on our upcoming test."
"Why didn't you tell me earlier? I don't want people to think I'm a sloppy eater." He smirked while I gave him a joking glare. “Is it gone? I'd check but.. well you know, vampirism and all that. No mirrors."
The boy leaned in close, bringing his hand up to hold my chin in place to exam the nooks and crannies of my face.
“It’s gone.” He calmly stated and let go, continuing to hold eye contact. The end of the day bell rung, sending all of the students piling to get outside.
People rushed around me and the boy as we took our time packing the rest of our things.
“My name is Xavier by the way,” He held out his hand, “Xavier Thorpe.”
I slowly shook his hand. Then he looked.. surprised?
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. You’re just much warmer than I thought you’d be.” It took a few minutes of staring wide eyed at him before he realized his wording.
“I didn’t mean it like that, I just meant that most vampires are super cold. But you’re… not.”
I had been so focused on Xavier and the way he was treating me so delicately, that I had forgotten to mention a very important thing about myself.
“Oh yeah, that.” A few moments of silence and questioning looks pass. “I’m a hybrid. Vampire mom and Pyro-kinetic dad.”
“Hold on. Your father is pyro-kinetic?” The dots begin to connect in his head. “Does that mean that you can set things on fire with your mind??”
I chuckle, grabbing my bag and exiting the classroom in lieu with Xavier.
“Yes but the reason my skin is warm, is because I have a mutated version of the pyro-genesis gene. Meaning I can literally omit fire from anywhere.”
“My father may be able to create flames with his mind,” My veins run hot as I conjure a flame from the palm of my hand, “but I am fire.”
——
(A/N) I decided to release this early to see if people like it, this is a small beginning to a long slow burn series; I really hope you enjoy it!
I was also thinking of coming out with a gender neutral, male bodied version of this, let me know if you’re interested!
Comment or dm me to be apart of my Taglist!
I’m genuinely embarrassed at the amount of typos I MISSED. If you saw, no you didn’t 👀
Taglist:
@betray-jaes @darylssluttt @honey-with-tea @auroraboreallisfine @clover723 @jolenie @pecxiebu @czeniess @thesagewitchh @noellsstuff @hazzawillian @sheabutterbabes
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There will be smut at some point I promise
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