American capitalism is just reskinned feudalism.
This is so spot on!
Okay I’m going to bless you with a cursed Sam and max head canon I have. Ahem, so uhhh.
The reason Sam and Max don’t kiss in canon is not just because he would just bite Sam’s tongue off, because he absolutely would, but also because max has multiple transmitable diseases ranging from oral herpes to rabies.
Based on the best-selling novel, #TellMeLies premieres September 7 on @Hulu.
Kal’s sixth sense
A/N: Hello everyone! I have an extreme need to write like very short Henry drabbles about things like, how he talks abt you in interviews, those vogue 100 questions, getting ready for his premieres, how he would react to you (an influancer) doing those tiktok trends and other. Would you guys be interested??? Also this is inspired by a tiktok I saw of how the poster’s dog realised they were pregnant much sooner than they did.
Pairing: Husband!Henry Cavill x Pregnant!Wife!Reader
Warnings: None, it’s just cute fluff
Summary: Henry notices that Kal has been acting weird lately. Following you around everywhere. When those two pink lines shows up on the pregnancy test, things makes sense.
Word count: 615
Henry’s brow raises as he watches you walking into the bathroom. Usually he stays in bed with Henry, cuddling. Now, however, he plops down in front of the closed door. How strange? “Kal,” he calls to his pup. The dog, lifts his head, looking at Henry, the door, then back at Henry. Usually he would come running, but he just lays his head back down.
He’s reading a book, on the couch. Though something is off. The familiar heat of Kal’s body by his legs is nowhere to be found. He looks around, he not somewhere else in the living room. Henry sits up, looking into the kitchen. He sees you, deeply focused on cooking. Yet, there Kal sits, right by your feet. Again Henry calls for his pup and he does the same as before.
Now Henry is noticing it a lot more. Kal seems upset leaving the house if you’re not with. When doing interviews he’d sit on your side. When if public he’s become visibly anxious if anyone came too close to you for his liking. Not to mention, you’ve been sick.
Throwing up every morning and a complete loss of appetite. He’s seen movies and read articles of dogs sensing diseases like cancer before the doctors do. Oh God, he hopes and prays to who ever is listening that it’s not cancer. Now, he’s spiraling.
Kal notices, climbing into his lap as the two boys are sitting in front of the bathroom door. “Are you okay?” He calls out, knocking slightly on the door. You’d run in the bathroom, throwing up, though those noises have stopped long ago and he’s getting worried.
Luckily, his worries soon end as the door flies open. Looking down, you see Henry looks disheveled. His curls stand in all directions from his bed-head. His eyes tired but still frantic. Though, you’re sure you don’t look much better. Henry’s brows furrow.
You seem to have been and are crying. With a little pink stick in your hand. “What’s wrong, my dear?” he asks, immediately shooting up to hold you. Looking down at whatever you’re holding. Though, his believes his eyes are deceiving him. That can’t possible be what he thinks it is and it can’t possibly say what he thinks it does.
You shake your head no, “Nothing is wrong,” you smile up. Your big eyes glimmering with tears. Yet, as you smile, Henry can see they’re tears of joy. “Are you...?” He’s scared to say it. In-case this is a dream. As if speaking the word will curse it not to be real.
A sob escapes your lips as you nod. “Yes, yes, I’m pregnant!” His ears seam to ring with joy. He’s sure he yelled with excitement, picking you up and spinning you around, but he’ s also sure he blacked out from pure bliss. As the moment dies down, a realisation hits Henry.
He looks down at his Akita, “I guess you knew, huh, buddy?” He asks, petting him between the ears. Kal perks up, as if he is happy at the final realisation. “What do you mean?” You ask, furrowing your brows as you look between them.
“Haven’t you noticed?” He questions, as if its been the most obvious thing in the world. You shake your head, biting your lip. “He’s been following you around. Protecting you and this little muffin.” He explains, his big hand on your still flat belly.
Your cheeks flare with a whirl of emotion. Pride and amazemnt one of them. You bend down, Kal of course, already by your side. “You’re gonna be an amazing big brother,” you coo, filled with love from your, now, family of four.
April is autism acceptance month so remember!
Autism Speaks is an ableist hate group
Allistic neurodivergent ppl stfu
Johann Aspergers was a nazi that killed disabled children. “Aspergers Syndrome” isn’t even a diagnosis anymore.
Functioning labels are ableist and eugenicist.
Nobody wants a cure for autism
Stimming is normal and valid
If you get annoyed by someone info dumping then you owe me $20
Self diagnosis is valid since most doctors will refuse to diagnose anyone that isnt a white amab child. plus autism tests are expensive as fuck.
Autism isnt a disease or a curse or a bad thing.
If you film your autistic child having a meltdown and post it on tiktok im gonna steal shit out of your house.
Normalize sensory issues instead of forcing people to “get over it”. It’s more than just “eww bad texture”, it’s fucking painful.
-Allistics can rb but don’t say anything. Read my DNI before interacting-
I’ve been seeing a lot of misandrist biphobia around tiktok the internet and as a raging lesbian I just wanted to let every bisexual woman and, hell, every queer person attracted to men know that I would rather see horny posts about Man Tits absolutely DOMINATING my dashboard than see even ONE remark about how you are soooo Unfortunate to be Cursed with Man-Liker Disease.
APHMAU HEADCANNONS <3
my hcs for the characters :) (pt 1)
- cis, “het”
-billie eilish/ariana grande stan
-has naturally curly hair but straightens it
-one time she had a crush on the girl but she just denied it. and repressed that feeling. i doubt she recovered
-smells like vanilla
-uses AXE body spray
-listens to hollywood undead and eminem only
-likes to watch “how its made” on the history channel
-woman lover (trademarked)
- listens to glass animals and surf curse
-smells like coconut
- not good at makeup
-wears nike shoes
- and under aurmor sweaters
-her and jeoffrey like to take abby to aquariums because abbys special intrest is sharks :O
-doesnt go by fuckin “kawaii~chan” but goes by kacey :D
-shes got a backbone! perks of having older siblings
- allergic to dogs/werewolves :(
-smells like strawberrys and flour
-loves mitski and clario
-so bad at painting
-wears lynx africa
-fuckin fruity dude.
-cis and a himbo
-unironically watches riverdale
-likes the offspring and shawn mendes
-unironically loves cyndi lauper (prob canon)
-cries when his fave soccor team looses a game
-sings into his hairbrush like its a microphone
-really good at 8ball dont ask how
-fave movie is the bee movie
-has 10k on tiktok
-straight trans dude
-hollywood undead AND deana carter guy. duality
-smells like pine
-loves playing CoD
-him and gene are close!! good siblings!
-THE most supportive dude ever
-hes like musicals unironically
-(be more chill and beetlejuice are his faves)
-shops at the vans store
-brooklyn 99 enjoyer
-transgirl society leader
-smells like inscense
-loves sabrina comics
-calls people ‘honey’ and ‘babe’ all the time /pos
-i have so many sk headcannons lets go okay
-does him and his friends peircings
-love language is gift giving
-acts tough abut really just a nerd
-will die for his friends/family but everyone else is dirt on the ground to him
-mentally ill (canon propably srry king)
-shops at forever21 LMAO
-when dante first came out as ftm gene cut his hair and took him shopping (tried to make him emo but gave it up eventually)
-uses the hot topic disney villian perfume
-listens to mccafert and blink 182 exclusively
-fucked up his nose with a peircing fail and had to get surgery
-does stick and pokes on herself and has over 180, she does one every few days :D
- wears contacts
-does genes eyeliner for him
- cuts her own hair
-packs her friends extra snacks that she knows they like everytime they go out
-sometimes she tells people she has that tumbler genesis disease just to fuck with them. its a lie.
-smells like campfire
-hates sweet food
-too scared to let sasha give them tatoos
-listens to ajj and loveoy
-has a scar over theyre eye from a bird
-allergic to gluten
- hates cats
-listens to mcr but in secret loves dollly parton
-smells like cofee and old books
-scared of fire
-allergic to alot of stuff, nuts, gluten, grass, animals, milk, eggs, ect
-listens to cavetown and conan gray
i fucking hate gluten free fad dieters. i saw some tiktok earlier where some girl was like "look how ugly and disgusting and awful i looked before going gluten free :((((" and it was just her like. looking normal. not even overweight. and then gushing about how much weight she's lost on the gluten free diet. fuck you. literally fuck these people. i'm so sorry that you're so afraid of looking like someone like me (as in, fat) that you will literally cut out something we as humans have been eating for centuries, even if it didn't give you problems. meanwhile i literally have celiac disease and i've gained 10 lbs and it shows no sign of stopping, i have an emotional crisis every day because i can't eat what i want, i have like 3 restaurants i can reliably order from and can only order from because i can't cook, i STILL am having glutened symptoms EVERY SINGLE DAY, and jesus christ i just want a fucking baguette. so bad.
literally it feels like a curse and it's so so awful i hate existing
A WRECK LIKE THIS
Jungkook x Reader
Word Count: 6k
Warnings: apocalypse, quarantine, disease, pandemic, angst, major character death, anxiety/childhood trauma, horror, blood, gun, COVID-19, violence, cursing, grief, long death, reanimated (?)/ post mortem talk, unfortunate slow burn :/
Insp: Old Yeller by Joji (specifically, a tiktok by emeryhoneys using this audio that has since been deleted. :/ )
Summary: You and Jungkook met online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been friends ever since, through everything. You each watched as the other healed from the trauma caused by growing up through such catastrophic events, and supported each other through it all. So when a new virus quickly starts to spread, you turn to each other to survive, making promises to each other that you later find very hard to keep.
This oneshot has heavy themes and viewer discretion is strongly advised. While I have a warning list, I want to reiterate;please don’t read this if you are affected by death, violence, heavy grieving, and anything to do with disease. I know that this is a sensitive topic today and I would like to remind you that while this world is scary, the world I am showing in this story is entirely fictional and is not meant to reflect on what will happen during recent historical events, as it is entirely imagined. Thank you for reading and as always, if you have any questions or comments, my ask box is open. Thanks!
A HUGE THANK YOU to @kookoosbunnynose, @kinktae, and @cheeky-kookie for beta-reading the initial drafts of this monster of a project I have been working on forever lol. Y’all are the reason I kept going, seriously, and I appreciate each of your feedback and support so incredibly much.
20 December 2029, 03:35 PM
The trees are wilting.
Perhaps it is the lack of rain, perhaps the smog plaguing the cityscape you’re surrounded by, perhaps it’s too cold again, after a false spring. The image scares you though, and with the recent global situation, you could have used a nice depiction of the outside world.
You choose to look at the artificial grass instead, hearty plants laced with plastic that stay green year round. A blessing and a curse, you decide, to have a grey landscape with the only beacon of life being something so fabricated. Instead of a comfort, it feels like an omen.
You can’t stop yourself from looking once more at your phone.
BREAKING NEWS: REVII-29 OUTBREAK SPREADS TO EUROPE
You lock your screen as fast as you can, squeezing your eyes tight, banishing the notification from your mind. Your anxiety got the best of you, again. Frustrated, you struggle to regain your composure. You attempt to count the ducks in the manmade pond across the way from the bench you’re sitting on.
Four. No, five. One of them was too small to see at first, but he’s there.
You whip your head to the left to see Jungkook running up to you from the winding path, smiling brightly in your direction.
“Hey!” you say, standing just in time for a bone crushing hug. Your body relaxes in his embrace, and suddenly . . . shit’s not so scary anymore.
“Did you see the news?” he says, catching his breath and pointing his phone screen to you, eyes glinting.
“Yeah, I did.” You say back, returning your gaze to the ducks.
“Well… did you see that he’s recovering?”
You turn to him, eyes wide. “Who?”
“The first victim! His vitals are improving dramatically. According to the doctors, he should make a full recovery.”
You smile, sitting back on the bench below you. “Really?”
He ruffles your hair, a grin on his face. “Yeah, really. Why would I lie about that stuff?”
“I don’t know.” you say, looking down at your feet. He sits next to you, gazing out to the pond. It’s silent for a moment.
“How many?” he asks, gesturing over to the ducks. You look to him.
“Yeah, there’s one hiding behind the one on the right. Why?”
“You count when you’re anxious.” he smiles, catching your gaze. You frown. “What’s going on in that head of yours, dove?”
You sigh and suck in a breath, turning back to him.
“I’m trying to stay level headed and not look at the propaganda, it’s just… it’s scary, you know? It’s only been a week, and it’s already spread so quickly-”
“Hey,” he starts, eyes gazing firmly into yours and hands pressed gently to your shoulders. “Let’s remind ourselves of what we know, yeah?” You take a deep breath in. “What are the symptoms again? Coughing, fever, headaches. . .”
“Cases are now showing paralysis as well.”
“Yeah, that’s right. But no death. There hasn’t been a single death from this disease since the outbreak. It’s just some new flu or-”
“Yes,” a small frown appears on his face.
“Which makes it harder for those with breathing issues to breathe, and, like, ANYONE to eat or shower or sleep or get help-”
“Yes, but- nobody is dying. Okay?” he searches your eyes for any signs of distress, before smiling kindly and placing a comforting hand on the side of your face. “Nobody’s gonna die.”
It’s silent for a moment as you feel the weight lift from your heart and you lean into his hand, a smile spreading across your face. You lift your head and start to fix your hair, which has now been completely disheveled. Jungkook smirks at that, returning his gaze to the water.
“Why do you insist on fucking up my hair?” you whine with a pout.
“Your hair was fucked up before I got here.”
“Hey!” you hit him and he laughs, doubling over at the waist. You can’t help but laugh as well, abs hurting from the joy you feel. Finally it dies down, and Jungkook stands, brushing himself off before jogging down the path once more.
“Let’s go! Come on!” he encourages.
“Wait up!” you call, frantically tying your laces.
“You’re slow!” he calls back, rounding the corner. You groan, quickly tying off the knot in your shoelaces and sprinting after him.
15 January 2030, 01:33 PM
“Fuck yeah!” Jungkook cheers, jumping up and down on the grass. You groan, your footsteps stilling on the pavement.
“You cheated.” you grumble, bending down to retie your shoelace.
“How do you cheat at running?” Jungkook teases, bending to your level.
“I don’t know exactly, but you figured it out,” you pout, standing back up to sulk. He laughs and walks up to you, offering a hug. You cave and find yourself in his arms.
“Maybe next time, dove.” he muses, holding you close. You pull away to look up at him.
“Yeah, if you don’t cheat.”
“Maybe you should run faster,” he flicks your forehead, making your eyebrow furrow.
“Hey!” you smack him and he laughs, playfully jogging away from you. You go to chase after him when your phone starts blaring an alarm.
ATTENTION: FIRST VICTIM OF REVII-29 FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME. CITY WIDE QUARANTINE WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN 12 HOURS.
Your blood runs cold.
“Not again,” you whisper, starting to shake.
“Y/N? What’s wrong?” Jungkook calls, his voice sounding far away. Your body barely registers his grip on your shoulders as your vision pulsates, breaths uneven and shallow. One of his hands drops from your shoulder to pick up your phone. When he sees the alert, you hear him sigh in frustration and fear.
“Y/N!” Jungkook’s voice snaps him into focus again in front of you, eyebrows knit together with concern. Your lip trembles, and you wish you could will your body to stop shaking.
“I can’t do this again,” you whisper, voice cracking through the syllables. He lets out a painful breath and pulls you close.
“This isn’t COVID.” he says, voice low and soft. “This isn’t COVID, okay?” he whispers, holding you tighter, and you know that he is trying to convince himself as much as you. You nod, pulling him tighter. “And besides, we can FaceTime just like last time, okay? And play Animal Crossing…”
“That game is so old,” you say, attempting to bring a smile to his face, body starting to calm.
“Are you telling me you’ve abandoned the peach trees on your island?” he says, feigning shock. You laugh, the sound surprising you.
“Fine, maybe I’ll visit your shitty ass island, if you’re nice.”
“Hey, my island’s great. I got a raccoon and everything.”
“Jungkook, everyone has Tom Nook, you’re not special.”
It’s silent for a moment as you both relax into a small tremble, both obviously still scared for what’s to come but crippling panic gone, for the most part. You hold him for a little longer, wanting to hold on to the last moment of normalcy for the foreseeable future. Eventually, you let your grip loosen, and he slips from your arms, both now sitting in the grass.
“Hey, I don’t have to drag you from bed to come run with me anymore.” Jungkook says, the joke landing bittersweet on the both of you.
“You never had to drag me out, really.” you admit, smiling. “I like running with you.”
“Well, I’d hope so.” Jungkook scoffs, and you laugh, which makes him smile back.
“Maybe we can do virtual runs.” you muse.
“What?” Jungkook looks at you, confused.
“Yeah, like, running in place on FaceT-”
“Uh, no,” he laughs.
“And why not?”
“That’d be ridiculous!” He looks at you, grinning ear to ear. You notice you’re not shaking anymore.
“Okay, fine, fine. We’ll just get fat then,” you grin up at him before looking back to the grass.
It’s silent for a moment, both of you contemplating how to make the situation stay light and happy. Easy.
“He was old.” You say softly, looking at your feet in front of you, tapping your heel to the ground. He nods.
“He was. And he already had health issues.” he agrees, tone mostly convincing. You both nod to yourselves for a moment.
“We’ll be okay.” you say, voice stronger than it has been since the outbreak. Jungkook grips your hand and stands up.
“Yep, we will.” he says, offering to pull you up. You stand as he pulls on your hand, then follow as he keeps walking.
“Well, want to go get some food before the end of the world?” He says, looking back at you. You laugh and nod, standing on only slightly shaky legs, and walk forward down the concrete path.
12 February 2030, 08:59 PM
“Stop hitting me with your fucking net.” Jungkook deadpans, his Animal Crossing character running as fast as his little legs can carry him. You cackle into the microphone, glancing at his pixelated frame in the monitor as he frowns at his switch’s screen.
“You asked for this.” you say before turning and stealing cherries from his island’s native trees.
“God, you have not changed.” he sighs, a small smile on his face. You feel warmth in your chest.
“I like to think the me of today would not have named my island Fuit Gummy.”
“The you of today is not ten years old.” he reminds you, turning his character to smack you with the net. “And get off my trees, I work hard on those.”
“Shut up, you don’t do shit.” you grumble, getting off his trees. A moment later, you hear Jungkook gasp and look up.
“Didn’t you need to go grocery shopping?” he asks.
You look at the time. 9:00 PM.
“Oh, shit-” You say, cutting yourself off as you snap your laptop closed, grab the mask and keys dangling from your key holder and book it out the door, an hour left to get supplies.
With the panic following the announcement of the shutdown, supplies have run scarce amidst the shelves, dented cans of sweet corn rolling across the barren aisles before being snatched by greedy palms. You squeeze past a swarm of shoppers to crouch to the bottom shelf, grabbing the items shoved to the back of the shelving unit that others hadn’t seen yet; beans, sauces, canned pastas. In other aisles you’re able to find stray sanitizers and cleaners, even lucky enough to find a few extra masks, stuffed behind some bedding. You feel satisfied; it’s enough to live for a week before you’d have to make another run, enough time for the new shipments of emergency stock to come in.
You take your place in line, basket only slightly digging into the soft bend of your arm as you shift foot to foot, watching customer after customer leave. Confusion and concern etches their worn faces, bags of rations stacked in their carts.
You wonder for a brief moment how many of these people will survive this.
“Hi there, did you find everything okay?” a familiar cashier says in a flat tone, lips curling into a cautious smile as she starts to scan the items. You miss the way her smile used to light up her checklane, once bright eyes now dull and insipid.
Guess retail will do that to you, you muse.
“Hey, Stacy,” you say to the cashier, attempting to lighten the mood. “Haven’t seen-”
“Glad to hear that.” She says, dropping a can of black beans.
You blink, startled by the interruption.
The incessant beep of the scanner is monotonous against the silence, filling the air instead of the usual pleasant conversation you’d have with Stacy. Suddenly you’re too aware of the mask against your skin, your jacket’s worn seam on your wrist, the murmurs of people muttering their concerns into the air, droning on and on. Worse, you are met with the sound of aluminum cans hitting the tile below, missing the bag and rolling away from the checkout. A can of SpaghettiOs drops, hitting Stacy directly on the top of her foot and bouncing to the toe of your shoe.
She doesn’t flinch.
“Stacy?” you call, waving your hand in front of her face in an attempt to snap her out of it.
“That will be $9.99,” she says, eyes not quite reaching yours. You give up, picking up the items and bagging them with the purchases that did make it in. You dig out the cash and put it on the counter, but realize she is already ringing up the next customer.
As you walk away, you hear the sound of cans hitting the tile floor.
“What are you doing?” the man exclaims, picking up a can-crushed loaf of garlic bread. “I oughta tell your ma-”
“That will be $9.99.”
Your blood runs cold.
You turn around to see an employee come behind Stacy, guiding her to walk to the employee’s entrance.
“Come on, Stacy. It’s time for your break,” she says, voice faltering. You turn sharply back around, leaving the store and heading down the cobblestone walkway to your street, shoes scuffing against the pavement.
At 9:54 PM, you get a text from Jungkook.
Jungkook: Did you grab toilet paper?
You manage a soft laugh, a sound tainted sour with dread.
You: didn’t even have a chance
28 February 2030 04:54 AM
[4 missed calls from: Jungkook]
Jungkook: CALL ME!!!!! (when you get a chance)
You stare at the text, eyes crusted from sleep. Your eyes flick to the time, then glare back down at the words on your screen. The son of a bitch woke you up at 5 in the goddamn morning. Why the hell is he up?
You call him, hoping it’s not something too important so you can go back to sleep.
Within two rings, your ears are assaulted with garbled english your brain is too tired to quite comprehend.
“Jungkook slow the fuck down, it’s 5 AM-”
“SORRY- sorry.” he takes a quick breath. “The people that are waking up- you know about that right?”
“Yeah, I think I read something-” you mumble, sitting up in your bed to turn on a light.
“Like the cashier, the cashier from like two weeks ago -”
“Stacy, yeah, the one that woke back up-”
“That’s the thing- they AREN’T waking up.”
You pause, staring at a spot on the wall as you wrap your mind around the thought.
“What, so like a ghost?”
“Well, not exactly- Their body is there, but-” he sucks in a breath, tripping over jumbled thoughts.
“It’s the virus, I guess. It’s lasting longer than the host.”
“...what?” you stand, your feet pacing in a figure 8 on the wooden floor of your apartment.
“They’re calling it a twitch. The host dies, but the virus attaches itself to the nervous system and takes over while the body goes through the motions of life until the virus is dead. It’s like the virus is trying to live and spread as much as possible before their lifespan is complete.”
“Full time cashier, clocks in and out everyday.. It’s probably muscle memory at that point.”
It’s silent, your brain running miles a minute.
“How is a virus even capable of this?” you ask.
“That’s what scientists can’t figure out! I mean, I guess it’s probable because like viruses are technically parasites and spread by taking over cells, but to take over an ENTIRE nervous system, I mean, they’d have to replicate by the thousands! And to get it to operate without the host being alive and retrieve memories and tasks-” Jungkook’s voice is excitable, growing in volume and energy as he continues on.
“They were running tests on some of the bodies to try to figure it out but the government pulled funding-”
“WHAT? Why the fuck would they do that!?” you stop in your tracks.
“They SAID they should focus on a cure, but-” he says, voice dropping in volume.
“I don’t think so. I think something bigger is going on.” his tone shifts, more serious now.
“Like what?” you say, ignoring the goosebumps that have spread across your skin.
“Notice how the only ones getting infected are old, or had preexisting medical conditions?”
“Yeah, we talked about that.”
“I think that this is on purpose.”
Your eyes go wide.
“I think this is on purpose, some government issued assassination-”
“Okay well not assassination, because that’s too like pointed but like I think this infection is manmade, on purpose. Maybe some sort of population control? It just makes too much sense, with the weak being killed off-”
“The WEAK? Jungkook, these are PEOPLE-” you start, incredulous at what he’s insinuating.
“I’m not saying it’s right! But like, with the population issue that’s been going on for decades now, global warming, and the end of the world looming over us, maybe the people in power are taking drastic measures to improve our odds as a whole. Including making a nearly indestructible virus.” he says, his voice so stable and nonchalant that you are taken aback. How could he not be terrified of the story he is spinning into existence?
Your pulse quickens as your vision blurs in front of you, the low light of your lamp spilling into the blues of the wall. Your knees start to shake, as Jungkook’s voice grows further and further away, before snapping back into the forefront of your mind.
“I’m just saying, if the government decides to zombify me, you better pull the trigger.” he says, a sharp laugh punctuating the thought.
This snaps you out of it, horror flooding your features.
“DONT fucking joke about that!” you bark, limbs trembling beneath you.
“People aren’t being “zombified,” you aren’t catching the virus and you aren’t dying.” You sit on the bed now, rubbing your hand against the raised skin on your thighs.
“Okay! I’m sorry, I just... I’m sorry.” he says, voice laced with concern.
“Okay.” you breathe out.
“Are you okay?” his quiet voice calls over the phone.
“I don’t know.”
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
“Are you counting?”
“Pens. And two birds outside my window.”
“What kind of birds?”
“Are they pretty?”
You manage to smile.
“Of course, they’re pretty. They’re crows.”
You hear his soft laugh on the receiver.
“You’re right, stupid question.”
You find yourself tossing and turning, thinking of the implications of Jungkook’s theory. How many shells of people are walking among everyone else right now? How far has this virus spread? How many will be taken? Were they really sacrificed like that, without thought or care of the stories and memories attached? Would that even be moral? Killing millions, but potentially saving billions? Would it even be worth it? Would it even work, or be possible? You stare out at the moon, bright and waning amidst the sky. The stars are too faint to see, the city lights and smog drowning them out.
You really hope, with all of your might, that he is wrong, that this is just his overactive brain theorizing after playing too many video games in quarantine.
Yeah, maybe the quarantine is getting to you both.
Your phone vibrates.
Jungkook: Just checking in. I’m still really sorry about earlier. Maybe I was just trying to make it easier by making shit up, idk. I didn’t mean to freak you out. I wasn’t thinking and there’s no excuse to not be taking this thing seriously. I know what COVID did to you, to your family. Hell, what it did to mine. . . I shouldn’t have been saying what I was saying. I’m sorry.
You: It’s okay. It’s just hard, right now. Being alone again is just hard, and thinking about stuff like that makes it so much harder.
Jungkook: If I could I’d be holed up in there with you, but I don’t feel like going to jail right now.
Jungkook: tbh I’d sneak over anyway, if I knew you’d be safe.
Jungkook: Anyway, meet at town square tomorrow?
You: Yours or mine?
Jungkook: Mine, obviously. It’s fucking steller.
You: give me one of your trees and we got a deal.
You put your phone down, smiling at the ceiling, before your phone buzzes once more.
Jungkook: I wasn’t kidding, though.
Jungkook: I don’t want to die like that.
You close your eyes, dismissing the thought of it before it plants roots in your mind.
You: Of course not. No one does. But you won’t die like that, I promise.
18 March 2030, 09:54 PM
Your vision tunnels as you stare at the screen, unmoving.
“-The bodies now dropping dead, again. That’s right; reports are now stating that the virus loses control and dies off around a week after ‘the twitch’ begins.” the news reporter states, no life in their eyes.
Thousands. Thousands of bodies are dropping by the second, the virus now spreading worldwide. This is so much worse than you could have imagined.
A third of the population, gone. 2.8 billion lives lost. Just like that.
You call Jungkook.
“Hello?” he says, voice hoarse, as if he just woke up.
“Jungkook, are you watching the news?”
“Yeah,” he croaks. “I am.”
“I can’t believe this.” you whisper, curling yourself into a ball on your mattress.
You both watch as a montage of bodies drop on the screen; parking lots, grocery stores, pharmacies, nursing homes, all filled with dropping corpses. It’s so much messier than you thought it’d be. Why are they showing such close up images? Why is there so much coverage? Why do they almost look alive, right until the very-
“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks over the receiver.
You pause for a moment.
“I don’t think so.”
It’s silent over the line.
“Jungkook, what if it gets worse? Spreads more than we project? What if we can’t control it anymore?”
The static from the other end begins to feel unnerving.
“It won’t, dove. I can promise you that.”
“But how can you say that- how are you so sure?”
The air hangs heavy before you hear his heavy sigh.
“Y/N, I did something stupid.”
Your heart drops.
“What do you mean?”
“I- The more I thought about it, the more that our conversation the other day made sense. I started to get public records sorted, god, you should see my room- it’s plastered everywhere- but I started gathering more information and… Y/N, it was lining up so perfectly, too perfectly-”
“What did you do, Jungkook.”
“I needed to know more, I knew I was right about this, and… No one’s in the judicial offices right now, they’re too scared of catching REVII-29, so it’s not heavily guarded-”
“Oh my god-” you start, voice shaking.
“I went in through the window? You know, the one towards the top? It’s attached to an office, and I found the office of cases against hospitals and shit, and all of the REVII-29 cases are just… in the trash. Same with anything to do with life insurance from loss of family members through the outbreak. They aren’t helping the public with this, and the news-the news isn’t even covering it! I mean, why wouldn’t the news be covering this, and why did police not find the dead bodies before they started to twitch? Well, turns out, they’re being told to leave these claims.”
His voice is shaking now as you hear his footsteps against the carpeted floors of his room.
“I was right, don’t you get it? The virus- it really is population control. They really are killing all these people on purpose. Anyway, I grabbed all the files I could fit in my backpack and I left, but-” he falters, breath heavy against the receiver.
“I guess I was followed?” he says, his voice small. “I was grabbed from behind, in the alley by my apartment. Damn it, I was so close…” he trails off, voice trembling to a halt.
His footsteps stop, carpet shifting, and you hear a sharp inhale.
“I felt this pain, in my neck, and… I tried to fight against it, but there was something-I was being injected, so, the needle bent,”
“Oh my god,” you gasp, tears forming in your eyes.
“Y/N, I can’t feel my fingertips.”
Your phone shatters against the floor.
He looks terrible; knees shaking, shirt torn, neck bruised and bleeding. But he’s alive, in front of you, and for that, you feel relieved.
“What are you doing here?” his voice trembles, eyes brimming with tears and knuckles curling into the doorframe.
He has never looked so small.
“You can’t do this alone,” you smile, desperation clinging to your features. “I’m here to help-”
“Go home,” he starts to shut the door, but your foot catches it. “I don’t want you to get sick.”
“It’s too late, I’m already exposed,” you insist.
“If they catch you out here-” he says, glancing behind you, genuine fear behind his eyes.
“The ones that pumped you with this virus? Yeah, they can suck my ass, frankly.”
He looks back to you, wide-eyed.
“I’m not leaving you to die, Jungkook. I’m not fucking doing it.”
“No one has survived this, dove-”
“Yeah, well, no one has caught it this young, either.”
Jungkook backs away a little, lip trembling. You step forward.
“Please. Please, let me be here with you.” you say, forcing his gaze to lock with yours.
He drops his arms in defeat, a shaky breath leaving his lungs. Then, he steps forward, wrapping you in his arms. You can feel his body tremor, quiet sobs shaking his frame. You relax against him, pulling him tighter.
“I couldn’t leave you like that. I can’t- I can’t give up on you like that.” you say, tears staining your cheeks.
You hold each other for a moment, trembling limbs finding comfort in the tenderness of the other.
“I’m sorry.” he cries, and you don’t know what he’s apologizing for. “I’m so, so sorry.”
22 March 2030, 02:29 AM
You wake up to Jungkook screaming.
“Jungkook! Jungkook, what’s wrong?” you call, checking for any injury or progression of sickness.
“I can’t- fuck!” he screams, pounding on his thighs, whole body shaking. You grab his fists and hold them down, fear shooting through your body.
“Jungkook, breathe-” you start. He locks eyes with you, panting and dampened with sweat.
“I can’t feel my legs.” he whimpers, a strangled cry that sends another wave of anger through his body as he weakly pounds at his thighs. “They won’t move.”
You pull him to your lap, holding his fists until they slow to a dull thud against his flesh, then push his hair away from his sticky forehead.
“It’s okay,” you soothe, running your fingers through his hair, “I’m here.”
His fists eventually fall to either side, breaths heavy. Tears stain his face.
“I don’t wanna die, Y/N.”
You smile weakly, wiping the tears from his face and pulling him closer to you.
“Don’t think like that,” you whisper, barely audible.
He twists his torso to you, wrapping his arms around your waist, hugging your waist tight. You smile and rub small circles on his back, watching the fabric fold and crease underneath your fingertips and his muscles relax beneath them.
You wait until he’s fast asleep against your chest to let the tears fall.
1 April 2030, 02:29 PM
This is a sick joke.
You can’t stop your mind from pounding the thought into your skull as you attempt to heat a kettle of water, shaking too hard to keep it from spilling over the edges and sizzling on the hot stove. A weak breath comes from your throat, strangled into a soft flutter of air against your lips as you allow your head to hang from your shoulders.
“Y/N?” Jungkook calls, his voice sounding broken, wilted.
“I’m coming, I just have to start the water for your tea,” You call, hating the way your voice trembles as you speak.
Today marks two weeks of paralysis. He’s regaining feeling in his limbs and spine. You know what’s happening, but you can’t bring yourself to admit it aloud. Besides, you can’t do that to him. You don’t want him to feel any worse, he’s already got a lot on his mind.
You grab the plate of sliced oranges you prepared for him and walk to his side.
“I know you’ve been having a hard time eating, but these are your favorite and I-”
“Y/N,” he calls, looking into your eyes. He looks tired, more beaten down than you’ve ever seen.
“Yes?” you breathe, counting the moles on his face to slow your breathing. Five. No, six, one was so small you hadn’t noticed it before.
“I already know.”
Your breath slows, like cement pouring into your lungs.
“Know what?” you smile, weakly.
“I’m dying.” he says, gaze searing into yours. “I’ve been counting.”
It’s silent for a moment. Your vision blurs and your stomach drops.
“Counting’s my thing.” you muster, voice quivering around the joke. No one laughs. You suck a breath in. “No one’s dying.”
“YOU’RE not dying! Okay? You’re not.” you say, setting the oranges down to hide the way your hands shake. “You’re not going to die. You’re regaining feeling in your arms and you’re breathing better-”
“You KNOW what that means-”
“-and if you just hold on and just keep fighting, then maybe-”
“WHAT?” you scream, eyes wide and panicked, tears trickling down your face, a small false smile on your lips. You look to him, laying on the floor, half his body limp and the other half propped on worn pillows. He looks so small, so frail. You wonder how much weight he’s lost.
“Stop.” he breathes, tears welling in his eyes. “Just stop.” he props himself on a trembling elbow, turning his body to reach for an orange slice, averting his gaze. You feel something in you break in that moment. Almost on autopilot, you find your body moving forward to help him peel the orange slice.
“I’m sorry.” you whisper, not trusting your voice of much more as you crouch down to the plate.
“It’s okay. I’m just.. Tired, you know?” he says, his soft laugh choked with a cough.
Fatigue is a late stage symptom.
You shake your head, trying desperately not to spiral.
“I know. You’ve been fighting for a long time.” you say, a smile on your face and an orange in your outstretched hand. He takes it in his fingertips, bringing the fruit to his mouth. It’s almost relieving to see the orange juice spill from the sides of his mouth as he bites down; some organic color amidst his paling skin. You look down to your hands, eyebrows furrowed.
“Do you remember a few months ago, what you said to me?” he asks, wiping the juice from his face absentmindedly with a shaky hand.
“You won’t die like that, I promise.”
“We talk nearly every day, I’ve said a lot to you-” you start, a light laugh lifting your words.
“You promised I wouldn’t die like this.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think-”
“Did you mean it?” he questions, searching your gaze for an answer. Your eyes well up with tears.
“Can we talk about something else?” you whisper, breath quickening.
“Y/N, I’m asking you to-”
“Please, I NEED you to-”
“Y/N, get the gun from my drawers and-”
“Shoot me! Please-” he chokes, tears streaming down his face as he grabs your hands in desperation. “I don’t wanna die like this. I don’t wanna die and forget who I am. I don’t want my body to be-”
“Walking around without me being there, I don’t want to-” his voice breaks and he sobs, elbow giving out and his head landing in your lap, grasping your fists tightly. He sobs for a while, the sound piercing through you and sending shivers down your spine. You cry with him, petting his head and wiping the sweat from the back of his neck.
“I can’t taste anything.” he cries, voice cracking. “And my vision is getting blurry. Please, Y/N.”
It's silent between the two of you for some time, long enough that your knees grow numb, long enough for the sun to start setting and bathe the barren city in a golden glow, long enough for your tears to dry against your cheeks.
You’re really losing your best friend.
“Where is it.” you manage.
“In the top drawer of my dresser.”
You walk over, floorboards creaking under your weight, until you reach the door and pull it open. There sits a pistol, polished and loaded. The sight of it sends ice through your veins.
“Did you find it?” he says, looking in your direction. You manage a small nod and walk back to your place beside him, cold steel pressed against your hand. You can’t look anywhere but where the metal hits your skin, body going rigid beneath you. It isn’t until Jungkook’s hands wrap around yours that you look up.
One, two, three, four, five, six. Seven, if you count the one on his neck.
“We’re running out of time.” he says quietly, pleading and apologizing in the same breath. Your vision starts to blur again.
“I don’t know if I can do this, I-I know I promised but fuck, Jungkook, I didn’t think-”
“I’m asking you for a lot,” he starts, tears dripping from his chin to the fabric of your jeans, “but I only have you. That’s all I got left.”
You suck a breath in, an impossible smile forming on your face, despite it all. “How are you feeling?”
He laughs, a bitter one that barks its way from his lungs. “I’m scared.”
You feel the tears spill from your eyes as you laugh too. “Yeah.”
It’s silent for a moment, choked breaths and quiet sobs filling the air.
“Count with me, love.” he whispers, pushing the gun under his chin. Your hands start to shake again as he moves your finger to the trigger.
“Don’t…” you plead.
“One,” he starts, his faltering voice giving him away. “Two-”
“Jungkook I can’t, I can’t do this-”
“I love you.” he says, a small smile on his features, a goodbye in his eyes.
You stop, mind momentarily stunned. “W-what?”
You jump when his thumb runs across your hand, unintentionally pulling the trigger.
Your ears ring as the gunshot echoes off of the walls of the apartment, Jungkook’s body collapsing to the floor.
You barely start to register what’s happened when his body twitches and reanimates, lifting his torso from the ground, eyes vacant and half open. Terror fills your limbs as you fumble for the gun, shock still controlling your body. You lift the pistol to his chest, faltering before you can shoot, staring into the blank eyes of your best friend’s corpse and wondering how the world went this wrong.
You squeeze your eyes shut and pull the trigger, Jungkook’s body falling limp with the second gunshot as the bullet rips through the spinal cord. Shakily, you take your hand and wipe the blood from your eyes, lungs unable to catch a full breath.
The scream that comes from your body isn’t something you can control, but rather it’s primal, guttural, as it rips you wide open and tears spill from your eyes, pink staining your cheeks as the blood runs down your face. Sobs wreck your body as you double over onto his chest, pressing the remaining heat of his existence into your skin. The pistol clangs against the floor as it slips from your grasp, fingers curling into the blood-soaked cotton clinging to Jungkook’s back.
Hours later, you smell the stove, and realize you left the kettle on.
You wonder, for a fleeting moment, if water can burn.
“Be Still, Just for Me” Bakugo x Reader, Ch. 35
Summary: Bakugo Katsuki, a Pro Hero in Japan, is used to the routine: wake up, kick villain ass, rinse and repeat. He’s living his dream, soaking in all he’s ever wanted and worked for.
During the brief moment he lets his guard down, everything changes.
Tossed into a world without quirks with nothing but the clothes on his back, he’s forced to accept the help of someone who knows exactly who he is: a manga character who should definitely not exist.
Chapter length: 13k
Warnings: angst and anxiety, brief mention of hospitalization
Reminder that the A03, Wattpad, and Quotev links will be in a reblog so this post shows up in search results! They’re also in my profile header! <3
Co-written and plot mapped by @rose-sparks13
I was blown away by the reception to the last chapter. It got the most comments of ANY other chapters on a03 and even got some tiktok shoutouts that brought new attention and readers.
Chapter Title: Welcome Home
This chapter will begin a brand new format and perspective. Thank you for coming on this journey with me and @rose-sparks13.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
Mar is enby and uses they/them pronouns!
This fic will have 50+ chapters so please don't disparage just yet. We aren't near done :)
SPECIAL THANKS AND SHOUTOUT TO @jillsmpsimp on tiktok who made a hugely popular couple of videos crying over this fic that brought new readers and attention to it. Someone on tumblr told me about the tiktoks and me and rose yelled at each other about them. making VIDEOS about the fic lkajsdflja we made it lads, we won the game...
Songs for this chapter:
(I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers)
(No Choir by Florence and the Machine)
(Day is Done by John Prine)
(Bed is for Sleeping by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney)
Thank you again to everyone. Sorry for the continued angst lol :')
The lights of Tartarus were bright and harsh overhead, exacerbated by the cold white tiles and bare walls lining every meter of the facility. A heart rate monitor beeped steadily next to a sterile bed, and tubes led from a dripping IV bag to the frail, quiet figure covered only by a single thin sheet. Her arms were bound and hands were covered in metal as her chest rose and fell, shallow and slow, concave and convex. Eyes, dark grey with crows feet lining the edges, stared listlessly at the ceiling just like she had done for weeks on end. The clock was finally about to run out.
Hushed voices muttered outside the soundproof door adorned only with a single shatterproof window. A mixed bag of concern, excitement, anxiety, and disbelief bounced off the hallway walls lined with identical, antiseptic rooms in various states of occupancy. Motion-sensitive cameras were bolted where the walls and ceiling met, focusing on the shuffling movement of the group of impatient visitors. Additional cameras down the hallway honed in on armed security, standing at the ready at both ends of the long hallway.
“What happens if he… if he doesn’t-”
“Don’t think like that! We have to stay confident that it’ll all work out.”
“Yeah! Don’t be a downer, Kaminari. We’ve waited this long. We can’t give up now.”
The built man with a mop of moss-green hair nodded. He peered through the clear window into the room. Still no change. “Doctor, everything’s prepared, right?”
A stern-looking woman in a long white coat that matched the overly-clean walls nodded alongside her colleague. “Yes. We’ve equipped the medical clinic down the hall with everything we might immediately need aside from what a hospital could provide, and emergency services are on standby in case we need to airlift him out. No matter what state he may arrive in, the #2 Hero will receive the most comprehensive care.”
Her grounding words set everyone on edge despite the attempt to remain positive. No communication with Bakugo Katsuki for over a month, no indication as to where he was nor the state of his mental or physical wellbeing; all they knew from the villain laying listlessly in the other room was that he was alive, but “alive” truly meant very little in the grand scheme of things.
It could mean hanging on by a thin, ready to snap thread, hence the doctors at the ready. But their group was strong and had discussed how to handle the worst case scenario. They were Heroes after all and had dealt with tragedy before… just never one quite like this.
A woman with pale blonde hair angrily shoved her way forward and pressed her face against the glass. “Where the hell is he? Just like the brat to keep us all waiting…”
“Please, Mrs. Bakugo. I’m sure it won’t be much longer…” said a woman with long brown hair that curled at the ends and pale pink pads on the tips of her fingers as she held up hands in an attempt to placate the mother of the man who had been missing for thirty-five days. Bakugo Mitsuki cut her garnet eyes towards Uraraka Ochaco with a frown.
“Don’t tell me to be calm. If that bitch of a villain lied to us, I’ll rip the IV tube right out of her!”
Timidly, a man with mousy brown hair and glasses stepped forward. “Ah, let’s let them do their jobs. We have every faith that our son is in good hands, it’s just been stressful as you can imagine…”
Always the enduring ray of encouraging sunshine, a tall man with a long red ponytail mustered the only grin in the hallway. “Don’t worry. We got this! He’ll be-”
A sudden bright flash of light bounced off the walls in the room where the villain lay, temporarily blinding everyone looking through the window. A few of the visitors yelped, the doctors jumped back, but Midoriya Izuku pressed forward with squinting eyes to try and peer into the room. Despite being soundproof, a clear thud bounced off one of the interior walls. It rattled the IV bag attached to the villain dubbed Black Hole and caused the beeping on the heart rate monitor to quicken. The villain herself remained restrained and immobile, reacting only with an unseen wince.
The sensation of being tugged through universes was as instantaneous as it was infinite. A void of silence meshed with a horrible cacophony of noise. Katsuki saw ink-black darkness and a tie-dye of rainbow simultaneously before he was tossed into a blinding white light. Skidding through the air, he hit the wall with his back before tumbling to the cold tile floor.
Disoriented, dizzy, and nauseous in a way that made him feel like throwing up the nonexistent food in his stomach, he groaned and attempted to open his eyes. Tears, still damp from moments before in your world, clung to his eyelashes. The duffel bag around his shoulders weighed him down as he groped with a flashing hand, quirk activating on defensive instinct, against the sterile wall for stability. Vision blurry and head spinning, he managed to open one eye while instinctually mumbling your name. “(y/n)...?”
But all he saw was white. White walls, white tile, white bed in the corner of the room. On wobbly knees not dissimilar to a newborn foal attempting to stand, Katsuki stood while leaning against the wall. It took another couple of seconds for him to fully realize what probably happened: the quirk had worn off and he’d… returned home?
Was he finally back home? But… no, wait, he was just-!
His chest hurt, ached, sprang to life with pain making him curse and snarl. Feeling as though he’d just stumbled off a rapidly-spinning carnival ride, the nausea returned full force as the room began to spin like a twirling top.
Your last words rang like a faraway bell in his ears, but it was cracked, distorting and muting the sound. You loved him, you told him you fucking loved him and it wasn’t a dream and he’d been torn away before he could get the reciprocating words out.
Overstimulated, overwhelmed, and confounded as to exactly where the fuck he was, Katsuki’s head snapped up when he heard a click nearby. He glanced quickly at the bed, the figure in it as still as stone, but managed to hold his glowing hand out towards the opening door. Two unrecognizable figures padded in, both in long coats the same color as everything else in the room.
“Don’t touch me!” He didn’t know these people. Who were they? Where was he? Was he truly safe?
A moment later, they were followed in by a third person with messy green hair and matching eyes visible and bright even through his unclear vision.
This one he knew. So, this was really…?
Everyone stood with excited impatience outside the examination room. They’d given Katsuki space as Midoriya and the doctors eventually led him out of the room once he calmed down and realized he wasn’t in danger. He refused the wheelchair they’d prepared in case he was unable to walk and instead trudged down the hallway led by Midoriya and the doctors. Kirishima had to hold back his parents - and himself, really - from tackling him to the ground from appreciation that he was truly home. Discombobulated and jumpy, it didn’t seem like a good idea for anyone to get too close just yet.
He was alive and seemed fairly unhurt at first glance, but there were many tests to run before he would be cleared to reenter society properly. For all they knew, he could be carrying some bizarre disease that could infect people here, something that could decimate a population if not caught early on. Despite this, everyone present knew the risks involved and wanted to be there and see with their own eyes the state of their friend, colleague, and son.
“He looked… normal? I mean, from what I could see I guess. I expected like, tattered clothes and a starved wild man to come back!” Kaminari waved his hands around dramatically and bared his teeth to illustrate his point.
“It seems natural to expect the worst in this type of situation,” Uraraka commented worriedly as she twiddled the wedding band around her finger. “He can walk and talk, but there could be underlying issues that we can’t see.”
Midoriya began muttering to himself, a habit that everyone was wholly used to by this point. “Bizarre. Where did he end up traveling to? Did time pass the same there as it did here? What if that isn’t the real Kacchan and it’s an imposter to trick us? An android, perhaps? But his quirk still seems to work, how odd-”
“It is weird,” Kirishima interrupted while glancing at the closed door to the makeshift examination room. “He looks the same, but Uraraka’s right. We have no idea what he’s been through. It could’ve been, I dunno, super traumatizing or something. He looked really tired. What if he was psychologically tortured or-”
“Dude, don’t say that!” The morbid comment earned a smack from Kaminari. “You’re supposed to be the optimistic one.”
“I know! It’s just hard, man! We all wanted him to come back to us, and now he has. And it’s our job to help him through whatever it is he endured as best we can.”
Uraraka nodded but still glanced nervously at the door; Midoriya’s muttering never ceased. “You make a good point, but there’s only so much we can do. He might want space for a while to adjust back to life here… Izuku.” The muttering finally stopped as he looked down at his wife. “We’ll get our phones back when we leave, right? So that we can let everyone else know he’s safe.”
“Yeah. We can text everyone when we get outside. We’ll have to be careful trying to get out of here. Whoever leaked those details to the press sure is scummy…”
“We can dodge a few photographers and reporters no problem,” Kaminari argued with a quirk of his brow. “Plus, we have that disguise we brought for him. We have to take him to the police station to get his stuff back though, right?”
Smacking his forehead, Kirishima groaned. “Agh, I knew I forgot something! Hardly slept last night. Yeah. They’re holding everything he dropped when he disappeared and I meant to get it yesterday but, well…”
“Speaking of, I wonder what was up with that bag he had? Where’d he get it?” Kaminari tapped an inquisitive finger on his chin acting as a mock detective.
Everyone in the small group exchanged a concerned glance. “Yes, that is odd… I don’t recognize it. He refused to let us take it from him-”
Just then, a raised voice from inside the examination room cut Midoriya off and made their heads turn. It wasn’t as sound proof as the holding cells, but there was no window they could peek through, either. Only one voice matched that high-pitched screech of frustration.
“... What do you mean, you won’t tell us?!” Bakugo Mitsuki snarled towards her son who sat unmoving on the examination table while one doctor scribbled impassively on a clipboard and the other attempted to hold her back. Everyone in the room wore a sky blue medical mask.
“M-ma’am, please. I’m sure he has been through an ordeal and we should give him space to-”
“Don’t tell me what to do regarding my own son.” With a glare that Katsuki adopted from his mother as a child, Mitsuki pointed a frustrated finger towards the slumped, exhausted-looking figure of her son. “You’ve had everyone worried sick for the past thirty-five days. And now you won’t even tell us where you’ve been or what happened to you?! How do we even know that you’re who you say you are, huh? That you’re truly Katsuki?”
The head doctor barely gave Mitsuki a glance as she said, “That’s what these tests are for. If you cannot control yourself, we’ll have to remove you from the room. We understand this is a lot to take in, but you can have a heartfelt reunion once we’re done. Am I clear?”
Katsuki was silent through this whole ordeal. Exhausted after sleeping so little and overrun with the dawning realization that he really had returned home, there was little energy left to argue with his nag of a mother. Maybe these tests would placate her enough to leave him alone for a while but he felt like that would be a rare blessing that he wasn’t sure if he deserved… not when all he wanted to do was go back, just for a moment, to regurgitate the words he’d been too cowardly to say. Fuck, he truly was pathetic.
He watched his dad manage to pull his mom away from them, still a frustrated mess, but maybe she was tired, too. People reacted differently to these types of situations, right? They were all worried about him, had no idea what state he’d return in. Katsuki had adopted her quick temper and questionable way of overreacting, after all. Like mother, like son; it made him want to puke.
His sluggish behavior probably didn’t bode well for them leaving him alone, though. Fucking great. “Are we almost done here?”
Pulling the privacy sheet across the room to cut visibility of himself and the doctor off from his parents, she adjusted her glasses and glanced down at the chart in her hands. “We have a few more tests to run. It would go quicker if you would actually answer the questions… but we should have some conclusive results soon.”
It was entirely true that Katsuki was avoiding any and all invasive questions regarding where he was and what happened. They asked the typical questions regarding his name, date of birth, hometown, things he could recite easily to confirm that no, he didn’t have any amnesia and remembered everything about his life before he disappeared. Knowing he’d be put through the wringer with needles and cold instruments, Katsuki steeled himself and grit his teeth though all of it.
No broken bones. No contusions or lacerations. No auditory or visual impairment. Average sensitivity to temperature. Blood work normal. The interrogation and tests lasted several hours, and by the time they were finally done all he wanted to do was go home and sleep for an entire day.
Home. His home, not yours. Katsuki’s sparsely-decorated apartment that would probably feel far too quiet for his taste now. The realization made him wince, but the doctor assumed something was causing him pain. Before she could ask, he glanced to the left to see the other doctor’s hand reach out towards the bag you’d given him.
“Don’t touch that,” he growled, making the second doctor with green hair and matching tail peeking out from the bottom of his lab coat recoil. “Nothing’s in there that concerns you.”
With a mild sneer even he could see from behind her face mask, the glasses-wearing doctor shook her head. “Stubborn… we’re here to help, but we can’t do that if you don’t cooperate. I only care about what could affect your health and the health of those around you. And you won’t be permitted to leave until we give the OK. So, what’s in the bag?”
This lady was getting on his nerves. He appreciated her bluntness, but not when it was directed at him. His thin patience coupled with exhaustion and frustration at literally everything almost made him snap, but your nagging voice in the back of his mind forced him to keep his cool. Even here you chided his behavior…
“Clothes and personal belongings. That’s it. Run it through an x-ray or whatever if you don’t believe me, but it’s mine and I’m telling you there’s nothing dangerous in it.” You gave it to him and half of the shit in there he’d vehemently fight over before letting someone, especially some nosy doctor, put their grubby hands all over it. It was all the evidence he had that his time with you wasn’t just a painfully long and intensely realistic dream.
Tapping her pen against the clipboard, she slowly blinked, sighed, and jotted down another note. “Fine. Maybe we’ll do just that. Now, let’s get the last of these tests out of the way…”
The door to the examination room slammed open, startling the group outside who had been twiddling their thumbs and discussing what to do next. Mitsuki Bakugo stormed out of the room followed by her timid-looking husband.
She ripped the medical mask off her face, turned towards the group, and said with eyes that could have easily been mistaken for Katsuki’s, “You all deal with him now. Maybe he’ll actually tell you what the hell happened since he refuses to be honest with his dear old mother. Come on, Masaru.”
As Mitsuki stormed down the hallway, her heels click-clacking against the hard tile floor, her husband nodded apologetically towards the group before turning once more towards Katsuki who stood behind the doctors in the doorway threshold while Masaru moved aside his own mask. “We’ll call you tonight, son. Glad you’re home-”
“C-coming!” He ran after his wife as she called for him to follow. When they were finally out of sight, the others stared and watched their friend with tired, lackluster eyes as the doctors began explaining the basics of what they knew… which admittedly, wasn’t much.
None of the tests came back with anything alarming, though a few of them still needed a couple of days to wait for results from one of the larger labs. What they didn’t mention, to Katsuki’s relief, was his description of the bizarre chest pain that had stricken him when he first arrived back in the villain’s room. Vitals were fairly normal - as normal as a person’s could be considering the circumstances and traveling through a universal vortex, anyway - so they chalked it up to a side effect of the quirk for now. Potential anxiety was another option on the table.
Katsuki’s theory was more personal, but he wasn’t about to admit any of his speculating to anyone, especially not intrusive doctors even if they were just doing their jobs.
“Does this mean he can come home?” Midoriya stared hopefully over the shoulder of the stern glasses-wearing doctor, but Katsuki couldn’t return his wide-eyed stare and glanced off to the side. Being scrutinized and prodded, though expected, just exacerbated his mood and exhaustion.
It hadn’t really sunk in yet, hadn’t truly hit him that he was well and truly home. In Japan. After many weeks of speculation and worry, they’d actually managed to pull him back to where he belonged. He could return to Hero work, eat familiar food, wear his own clothes, spend his own money, use his quirk, sleep in his own bed-
The twinge in his chest spiked again for a brief moment, and he dug his fingernails into his palm to keep from wincing. So, this was what being heartbroken felt like.
It fucking sucked.
As they walked down the long hallway, Katsuki glanced at the cold, white room where the villain who started all this lay. From what he’d seen, she was weak and frail because he was too stubborn to die like she’d wanted. But it had led him to you, someone he would’ve never met otherwise. Just thinking about you hurt and it had only been a few hours-
“Bakugo… hey, Bakugo! You alive in there?” A hand waved in front of his face before someone else smacked it away.
“Kaminari, be nice. Give him some space,” Uraraka chided as she walked next to Midoriya.
He pouted like an overgrown child. “I know that. I’m just glad he’s back and not, ya know, missing an arm or something-”
“Is that what you thought? That I’d come back a husk of a person? Thought you knew me better than that, idiot.” They were the first proper words he’d spoken to them since slamming ungracefully into the wall. He narrowed his eyes as they all exchanged a look, one he pinned as somewhere between concern and relief.
“We knew you’d come back, never lost hope, but…man, we missed you.” Kirishima's voice rung in his ear to his right. His best friend since they met back at UA, he’s always stuck by Katsuki’s side, always been there to tell him to stop being an idiot. He sent the note and no doubt kept spirits high while he was… indisposed. The genuine look of joy in Kirishima’s eyes nearly startled him; even after all these years, he didn’t know if he’d ever get used to the way his friend could never hide his blunt honesty. It was one of the reasons they put up with each other so well.
Hesitantly, Katsuki reached up and gave Kirishima’s shoulder a solid squeeze. Something grounding. “Yeah. Me too.”
“K-Kacchan…” He stiffened when Midoriya sniffled, inching his head around just in time to protect himself from an iron-tight embrace.
“Let go, Deku!”
“Ah, family reunions… so sweet.”
Uraraka had driven them there in her car since across the long, narrow bridge was the only way in or out of Tartarus. They’d gone through at least four different security checkpoints on their way out, but Katsuki was the only one who had nothing to retrieve since all his personal belongings were either in his bag or…?
“Where’s my stuff? Don’t tell me my phone and wallet are long gone.” Considering he’d gone without them for more than a month it didn’t seem like the big deal he would’ve made it out to be weeks ago, but losing those things now that he could use them again would just add to his headache.
“At the police station in town,” Uraraka answered while unlocking the car in the tiny garage that wound down below sea level. “We can go pick them up on the way.”
“On the way to where?”
Kirishima looked at him sheepishly. “Well… home, I guess. So long as that’s where you wanna go. As much as we want to throw a big ‘welcome back’ party-”
“Which we totally still can!” Kaminari squeaked before Kirishima, who towered over Katsuki by a handful of centimeters, put him in a gentle headlock.
“We figured you’d just want to adjust back to life at home for a while. We weren’t sure if you’d need to stay in a hospital or something…it’s whatever you wanna do, man.”
All he truly wanted to do was turn off his stupid brain so that the hundred and one thoughts that refused to leave him alone would just shut the hell up already. “I want to stop thinking for a while but I don’t think that’s possible. Pop the trunk.”
Uraraka pushed the button to unlock the trunk, but before he could toss his bag inside Kaminari reached in and grabbed what looked like a cloth grocery bag. “Before I forget, here!” He reached into the bag and pulled out a plain black ball cap before forcing it on Katsuki’s head. If he’d had more energy he might’ve fought and argued about it but rolling with the punches just sounded easier right now. “And these… perfect!”
Katsuki stood in a ball cap and dark sunglasses that were much nicer than the ones he’d slid into his bag before he disappeared. These didn’t feel right. Foreign. They made him frown, but of course his friends misunderstood why.
“Kacchan, reporters will probably be around once word gets out that you’re back. You know how it goes,” Midoriya explained with an apologetic look.
His frown only deepened when he gently set the bag in the trunk and shut the door. “Yeah, yeah. I know the drill. Let’s get out of here so I know the whole city didn’t burn down while I was gone.”
“Say, what’s in the bag and-”
“None of your business,” Katsuki interrupted as he walked around Kirishima to open the front passenger side door. It was too soon, too fresh, too raw to even begin thinking about talking about you and what he went through. At least they seemed to understand enough to give him space, even if their assumption that he probably suffered in some way was so far off the mark it would’ve led them to the middle of the ocean.
It was bizarre hearing everyone speak Japanese again. Comforting and natural, but after a month of hearing an unfamiliar language spoken through a mediocre phone translator he found himself pausing unnaturally after people spoke as if waiting for a translation that never came. Even after just one month, there were many things he needed to reacclimate to…
The drive across the long bridge remained awkwardly silent as Katsuki stared out the passenger side window to take in the sparkling water surrounding Tartarus before his gaze drifted up towards the Tokyo skyline. So, it was all still standing as far as he could tell. Good to know the others hadn’t let things go to shit while he was away.
Fuzzy and muffled as though underwater, the voices behind him in the back seat went ignored before someone gently smacked him on the bicep. He looked over through his sunglasses to see you-
No. That’s just who he expected to see, wanted to see. But he blinked and you were gone and it was Uraraka talking to him before returning her eyes to the road. “Hey. We’re here to help you with whatever you need, OK? We’re all just glad you’re back safe.”
Katsuki bit the inside of his cheek and stared blankly through his borrowed sunglasses.
“Yeah,” Kirishima agreed from the back seat. “Told the agency that if today really was the day you came back that you obviously wouldn’t be expected to hop back on patrol right away.”
The instinctual thing was to tell them off, to brush them away like he always used to do when he was younger. To deal with these problems that were far too tender to even consider touching yet by himself… but he’d grown up from that, hadn’t he? Hell, he hadn’t even shown appreciation for all they were doing for him. He saw your annoyed face staring back at him, telling him that he should thank his friends. Fuck, he missed you already.
With his elbow still leaning against the window, he said in a low and tired voice, “I know. I… thanks. For being there when I got back.” It was small, but maybe that would suffice for now; he could show his appreciation in a more tangible way later.
“Kacchan, we’d never leave you alone like that.”
“Yeah, man. We’re not goin’ anywhere.”
His friends really were something else… but that reminded him. “How’s Mar? Do they know I’m back yet? How’d they deal without me? What about everyone else?”
“Totally texting everyone in the group chat right now,” Kaminari said while typing away on his phone. “They’re not gonna believe it until they see you with their own eyes.”
“Mar’s hanging in there, ya know, as well as a sidekick can without a Hero to be a sidekick for,” Kirishima said with an awkward chuckle. “They’re definitely gonna cry. But they really stepped up while you were gone. We all did, but I think you’d be proud.”
Katsuki hummed as he considered Kirishima’s words. When his agent had originally pushed for a sidekick, he’d foolishly put out a public call to pull in applicants… too bad he didn’t realize he’d get literally thousands of profiles to meticulously search through and research. After weeks of narrowing it down based on quirk and skill alone since those seemed like the most relevant traits at the time - they had to have a quirk that worked with his own after all - he conducted one-on-one interviews to figure out the rest.
Mar wasn’t even from Japan, but he figured it was stupid to limit his pool to only applicants within the country. So long as they could speak Japanese and acclimate, it shouldn’t have been a problem. They were recognized at their own Hero school in Puerto Rico, took Japanese classes in the hopes of coming here one day anyway, and had excellent control of their quirk from what he could tell.
Too bad they were the textbook definition of an awkward wallflower.
They were nice enough, sure, but Katsuki wasn’t convinced their personalities would mesh. Yaoyorozu had been the one to suggest he give them a chance with the suggestion that they might learn how to be more commanding and outgoing with Katsuki teaching them. They could balance each other out rather than butt heads. The kid had just graduated, green around the gills, and seemed more than eager to learn even through all the hand waving and nervous chuckling that Katsuki observed through the initial video call. Being a mentor or teacher had never been on his agenda, but fine, maybe he could help this kid out.
The nagging of his agent, who he truly grimaced at reconnecting with, sealed the deal. She’d probably have so much fucking paperwork and hundreds of emails for him when he got back...
Hardly three months later he’d disappeared without a trace for thirty-five days, leaving Mar to fend for themselves with the other Heroes. He wasn’t the warmest mentor around, not by a long shot, and considering your words once again Katsuki knew he could’ve been nicer to them rather than treating them like a stray dog looking for scraps who constantly nipped at his heels. Yeah, he owed them an apology. Or something. But sleep needed to come first.
“That so,” he murmured while continuing to stare out the window as they finally passed the threshold of the city. “Guess I’ll have to get their report when I get back.”
It took about fifteen minutes to drive to the main police station in the city. All the while, Katsuki kept his head low and hat lower to avoid being spotted by passersby. The absolute last thing he wanted right now was to deal with an onslaught of excitedly concerned strangers yapping at him for returning alive and well. Was he actually well? He honestly wasn’t sure yet, but probably not, and probably wouldn’t be for a long while yet.
Everything else looked relatively the same, familiar, and with it brought a wave that washed away the sand grains of homesickness that had embedded themselves in his skin over the past month. The billboards, the architecture, the shops and street signs adorned with Japanese: he could actually read these! It almost made him feel foolishly childish to ache over something as simple as casually hearing the language he grew up with.
“Hey, Bakugo, look!”
“Hah?” He turned around to look over his shoulder into the back seat to see a cellphone in his face. “The- did you just take my picture?!”
“Ashido wouldn’t believe me until I gave her picture evidence!” Kaminari screeched as Katsuki’s lip curled and he reached back in an attempt to wrestle the phone out of his hand.
But Uraraka’s voice cut through the chatter as she parked on a side street. “Children! Pipe down. We’re here.” He thought that some things would never truly change as he huffed away from Kaminari and settled back into the front passenger seat. She then asked, “Kirishima, you’re going in, right?”
“Yeah, but he might have to come with me just in case. Might want to give it to you personally, Bakugo.”
Retrieving his lost stuff from an evidence bag, most likely. Might have to fill out stupid paperwork when all he wanted to do was… well, whatever it was, it wasn’t this. “Fucking… ugh, fine. Deku, let me borrow your jacket.”
“Huh? Oh, sure,” he said without hesitation, sliding out of the sleeves and handing it over. It had a hood and that would hide just a bit more of him. Of course Deku would be a fanboy and own Tsukuyomi merch with an image of Dark Shadow illustrated on the back. Katsuki pulled the hood up over his hat to cover most of his hair and his ears.
He already missed his familiar orange hoodie, but it was better off with you. Even with only the clothes on his back, he was able to give a small token of remembrance.
“Walk ahead of me because you stand out like a giant red sore thumb and I’ll follow you inside. If someone spots me, I’m bolting so you better be ready with the getaway car. I’d rather chew rocks than deal with being swarmed by the whole damn city right now,” he ordered with a stern tone. Sprinting the entire way to his apartment was a very real option, but leaving behind your bag in Uraraka’s trunk was not.
“Hopefully it won't take long,” Kirishima said before opening his door and stepping outside.
The air was cool and crisp this time of year, but the city was so overrun with buildings and flashing screens that little remained of the native flora, not around this part of the city at least. Cars drove along with the occasional honk while groups of civilians waited at crosswalks. The familiarity of it all, of home, should’ve eased the tension sitting uncomfortably in his shoulders all the way down to his spine, but it all felt bizarrely foreign. He’d been away from home before, sometimes for months at a time on special missions, but the sidewalks and flashing advertisements just deepend his frown as Katsuki settled even deeper into the unfamiliar hoodie.
Kirishima, built like a brick wall with limbs and a smile that eased practically everyone despite his sharklike teeth, walked on ahead and around the corner towards the police station a block away before Katsuki trailed behind with his hands stuffed deep into jeans pockets. Jaw set and eyes peeled, he absorbed his jostling surroundings and hoped he looked as unapproachable with his hunched shoulders and scowl as he felt.
He watched as Kirishima waved at a few strangers who must’ve recognized Red Riot from his mop of long red hair before entering the police station. Katsuki’s steps slowed out of nervousness, but what was there to be nervous about? The mortifying anxiety of being known when he, for once, wanted to understand what it felt like to be wallpaper? Moving past the dull but ever present ache that weighed down the organ pumping blood throughout his body to return to normalcy? Facing the aftermath of what had happened while he was gone?
Living his life as though he hadn’t fallen in love for the first time with someone he’d never see again?
His hand stilled on the handle to the station, fingers jittery and sweat-slicked. The laugh of a child behind him forced Katsuki to blink back to awareness before he stared at his pathetic visage in the glass doors. Get a grip. Just make it through this, he mentally ordered before steeling himself and pushing inside.
Already at the front desk, Katsuki approached as Kirishima continued a hushed conversation with the officer in front of the computer.
“... Yeah, we need his stuff back,” he whispered while leaning against the counter.
The cop with horns sticking out of her forehead raised a furry brow at him, obviously skeptical. “We can’t just release evidence to anyone. We need-”
“But you can release it to the owner, right?” Katsuki stepped forward and lowered his sunglasses to show her the majority of his face. Hopefully, that would be enough to convince them to give his shit back without a fuss.
She gasped, startled at his sudden interruption and the fact that the #2 Hero who had been missing for thirty-five days had silently returned. “Dynamight!” Several heads around her turned and another in the back hallway paused to look back his way, prompting Katsuki to grind his teeth and grip the edge of the counter until his knuckles were white.
“Keep it down! Yeah, yeah, I’m alive; don’t make a damn scene before I come back into the public eye officially, got it?” He managed to push aside the tiredness in his voice to lay down the command, low and offering no room for debate. She visibly gulped and quickly nodded and it was all Katsuki could do to ignore the whispering eyes at his back. Shit. “Can I just get whatever the hell I dropped back then?”
It took them nearly ten whole minutes for him to fill out the necessary paperwork and prove who he said he was with only Kirishima and his own word to back him up. All the while, his foot tapped impatiently against the tile floor before they finally handed him what he’d sorely missed while away: his cellphone with a dead battery, his wallet, and his keys. How the hell he’d managed to drop every little thing that mattered was anyone’s guess, but having them back in his hands helped solidify the feeling of “home” just a bit more.
Until he looked down at his bare keychain and pictured your apartment key with the yellow rubber cover next to his own. He’d made sure to leave it on the counter before he left, one of the first things of yours that you trusted him with.
“Bro?” A nudge at his elbow instinctively made him grip the keys until they poked painfully into his palm. He looked up through his sunglasses to see his friend’s eyes full of worry; Kirishima was always terrible at hiding how he felt, like a giant red dog in the shape of a man who just wanted his friends to be happy; Katsuki probably didn’t deserve half of it. “You OK?”
With a heavy sigh, he stuffed his returned belongings into his jeans pocket and turned away from his red-haired friend. “Yeah. Let’s go.” The sooner he got the hell out of here, the better.
But unfortunately for him, someone in the station must’ve snitched, raised the silent alarm, did something that involved selfish stupidity because when they came outside a small group of people were waiting with quickly-scribbled signs and phones ready to be shoved in his face.
“OH MY GOD, ARE YOU REALLY DYNAMIGHT?!”
“HE’S ALIVE I HAVE TO CALL MY WIFE-”
“WE MISSED YOU DYNAMIGHT! ARE YOU GOING TO-”
He fucking knew that it was only a matter of time until his cover was blown and his brief moments of peace were ruined, but he really hoped he’d have at least a fucking day to himself to recover and think and mourn. Growling, Katsuki pulled the hoodie further down over his head and turned away from the crowd while Kirishima held up hands in defeat to try and ease the needy spectators. “Leave me alone!” Shoving his way through the bustling group that would no doubt grow bigger the longer they lingered, he jogged down the sidewalk with Kirishima at his heels while people begged and pleaded for the missing #2 Hero to grace them with a Welcome Home speech.
“Get me the fuck out of here,” he slurred while yanking open Uraraka’s car door. As soon as Kirishima’s door closed, Uraraka knew what to do. She stepped on the gas pedal just as the hoard rounded the corner behind them, visible in the rear view mirror.
Katsuki pulled off the hoodie and tossed it back at Deku’s face. “Thanks. Now, I want to go home. Just drop me off in front of the building.”
“I live there, too, ya know,” Kirishima muttered behind him. Yeah, that was right - he lived several floors down from Katsuki and had his spare apartment key in case of emergencies. He knew he was being a curt asshole, but maybe he wanted to be selfish, wanted to just wallow in his own ichor, viscous and dense and suffocating. They didn’t know why and he didn’t feel like dumping a truckload of complexities and vulnerabilities on them. He could apologize later.
He sunk down into his seat to sulk as they drove in relative awkward silence, eventually passing familiar buildings and roads until Uraraka pulled in front of his apartment building. Unassuming on the outside, but heavily fortified and decked out with security measures on the inside. Ten floors of rooms built with bullet proof windows and shaded balconies jutting up into the Tokyo skyline. It was just like him to want to show off by living in one of the penthouse suites on the top floor.
His hand was on the door handle when concerned voices popped up from behind him. All he wanted to do was run.
“Kacchan, you don’t have to go through this alone.”
“Yeah, man. You’re home but it’s cool if you need help.”
If he bit down any harder, his teeth would crack. “Just-!” Too much. He couldn’t do this. Not now. Wasn’t ready. Through the sunglasses he hadn’t taken off, he looked at his pitiful reflection in the car door window staring back at him and swore that it sneered horrible and crooked.
You’re so weak, Katsuki.
It was all he could do to spit out a quiet, “Sorry,” before jumping out of the car and heading to the back to bang on the trunk. The last word he’d said to you before you… before he…
He couldn’t see the troubled looks his friends exchanged as he quickly grabbed his bag - your bag - and turned his back on them, on the care and patience he felt like he didn’t deserve.
The ache in his chest burned hot and cruel as his footsteps echoed on the sidewalk he hadn’t touched in thirty-five days.
He tried to walk inside, but found that the doors wouldn’t open. Annoyed, he wondered what was wrong before he remembered: you needed a keycard to access the building or be buzzed in by security as a guest. A month away from this place really upended his routine filled with minute details that became effortless over time with muscle memory. As he started to pull out his wallet, Kirishima beat him to it with his own held up to the scanner before it beeped, lit up in an approving green, and allowed the doors to slide open. Katsuki brushed past his friend without thanks.
The security guard up front - a retired Hero with a career spanning back before Katsuki entered U.A. - snapped his head up from the book he was reading and nearly put it back down again before realizing who he was looking at. The old Hero’s eyes went wide, the crows feet at their edges thinning as his brows raised nearly into his receding hairline.
“D-Dynamight?! Sir, you’re-”
“Send whatever massive pile of mail I have up to my room,” he ordered brusquely as the bag swung forward and back on his shoulder. Kirishima’s footsteps and voice followed behind him like the dutiful dog of a friend he was.
“Bakugo, hold on, man!”
The man behind the desk stuttered but Katsuki knew he was reverential towards the other Heroes. “Uh, y-yes. Of course, sir…”
Katsuki jammed his finger on the button to call the elevator, having no patience to walk up the stairs like he normally did. He faintly heard Kirishima mutter an apology to the guard, no doubt for his own rudeness; it only added to the throbbing guilt that began to slowly drag him into a breathless abyss with neither light nor escape nor warmth.
He stood in Kirishima’s shadow that just further set him on the edge of isolation as they waited for the elevator, chilled to the bone with things he dared not name.
Shifting awkwardly from foot to foot, Kirishima stared at the elevator before finally blurting out, “Uh… do you want to grab some food later?”
It was his attempt at normalizing this, whatever this was, to bring things back to how they used to be. But he had no clue, no idea what raged in Katsuki’s head and heart that hacked at him mercilessly as he stood in front of stainless steel doors. When they finally opened, he stepped inside without a word, Kirishima did the same, and the doors shut to leave them alone in the cold metal room.
His hand hesitated above the numbered buttons, forgetting for a moment which floor was Kirishima’s, before finally pressing the number seven before jamming his thumb on the ten.
“I don’t know,” he admitted while keeping his eyes fixated on the flashing buttons. “I don’t want to go out again. Not yet.” While running from fans was normally a bare annoyance, this time the feeling of being surrounded and backed up against a wall with nowhere to run except into his own head was too much to handle. Sparing a quick glance through the sunglasses he hadn’t yet taken off, Katsuki said, “What time is it?”
Kirishima dug into his pants pocket and pulled out his phone protected by a cherry-red phone case and a Red Riot logo on the back. “Almost 11:30. When was the last time you ate…? But uh… we had to toss a lot of your food-”
“You what?!” The words are startled out of him as he finally looks up at his friend, his teammate, his confidante over the years. Exhaustion is etched in both their faces clearly, carved deep and jagged, but the techniques that caused the crumbling gashes are different: Kirishima’s was no doubt built from worry while Katsuki’s bloomed from frustration. “Why the hell did you do that?”
The elevator dinged and the doors open to reveal the seventh floor. But rather than step into the hallway, Kirishima held out a hand to block the door and keep it open, effectively trapping them both. “It was before we found the villain and I sent the note, but we went into your place to search for clues when we had jack shit to go on. Nothing. You buy a lot of fresh food, and it was starting to go bad… “ Guilt coated his features as Katsuki stared at him, finally tearing the sunglasses away to reveal red-rimmed eyes and dull irises that held none of the ruby-shimmering light they normally did. “And after that, I went back in to clean out anything else that started to smell. Your fridge is mostly empty.”
They weren’t sure if he was even alive at first. He knew this, how sick they probably were with worry and stress while he had food to eat and a place to sleep and clean clothes and someone who fucking cared helping him. And yet here he was, cold and curt against Kirishima’s warmth: an uncomfortable chill on an otherwise enjoyable day.
But he was tired and weighed down by invisible anchors and what he wanted, just for today, was time alone.
The elevator beeped in annoyance at Kirishima blocking the doorway. It would force its way closed soon. “...Sorry,” Katsuki repeated while rubbing his eyes. Was that all he was going to do now? Apologize? He said it to you, said it to his friends, and he was now stuck in a loop of fucking up, admitting guilt, and eventualy trying to win back forgiveness. An endless, tiring cycle that he’d endured ever since high school.
“Look, man,” Kirishima said before the elevator beeped again in warning. “It’s OK. We don’t know what you’ve been through and you don’t have to tell us yet.” The “yet” held an expectation that he’d tell them eventually, but he wasn’t even sure if he would tell them ever. “We can order takeout or something if you want.”
With company came the expectation of talking, and he didn’t want that, either. “Kirishima. I appreciate all this. I do. But right now I just want to be alone. I’ll text you if I need anything.”
He needed a lot of things, but no one here could give them to him.
Kirishima opened his mouth as if to argue again, but the elevator finally decided to kick him out as the doors began shutting of their own accord with a steady, annoying beep. Stepping out into the hallway, he stared at Katsuki and hesitantly nodded. “Alright. Yeah, OK. Just let me know. I’ll be here!”
The doors were almost closed. “I know,” Katsuki mumbled before he was finally and truly alone.
He sighed heavily against cold metal walls before the elevator ticked up to the top floor. Everything felt abnormally cumbersome - the bag on his shoulder, his eyelids, his heart - by the time he stepped out into the brightly-lit hallway. To his knowledge, no one else lived on this floor and he preferred it that way. A small bit of privacy from his sometimes too-busy life.
Pulling his keys out of his pocket, Katsuki stood in front of his apartment door, reluctant to step inside even though that was what he’d wanted all damn morning. But there was no going back, only moving forward from here on out. He picked out his key - he only had four on the split ring - slid it into the lock, and turned.
Katsuki didn’t know what he expected. Some magical transport that would lead him back into your apartment, or to hallucinate you standing there, waiting for him… but no. The room was dark, cold, sterile, and empty. An eerie scene stopped in time and undisturbed like a crime scene photograph.
Part of him didn’t want to turn on the lights, to break the illusion set in darkness, but he had to assess the damage. With a flick of the switch on the wall, light illuminated the main living area of his apartment. He flinched away at first before surveying the place he called home - his true home - for the last several years.
Decoration was never his forte, choosing instead to adopt the general Japanese minimalism of most interiors. No visible art on the walls or unnecessary decoration. What was the point when he barely did much other than sleep here anyway? To anyone that hadn’t visited and knew he lived here, it might’ve looked sparse enough to be mistaken for uninhabited.
But there were small things that proved it was Katsuki’s. Carefully dropping the bag from his shoulder to the floor, he took a few tentative steps into a home that felt foreign to him now. He spied the few pictures sitting on one of the entertainment center shelves of him and his friends, even one with his parents when he was much younger.
Nothing looked out of place, really. Maybe a few things had been moved, drawers left open from Kirishima’s mentioned rummaging, but otherwise it looked as empty as it felt. Which, for the first time, fucking bothered him. Even though you had few decorations in your own apartment, less than half the size of his, it felt more lively. The mismatched furniture, the glasses and plates pulled from clashing sets, and the tangle of cords to the visible movies and games sitting under your TV: it all spoke of personality and vibrancy.
Katsuki’s apartment just fell disappointingly flat in comparison.
As he slid off his shoes, slipped on his cold uwabaki (indoor slippers), and stepped further inside, Katsuki sneered; the air smelled stale and tepid without anyone here to move about, to open doors or crack windows. The thermostat had been pushed up a few degrees from his normal preferred temperature, mirroring what someone does when they leave for vacation.
He opened the fridge and frowned. Kirishima was right about him not having any food. All the vegetables, fruit, fresh meat, and dairy he’d bought sometime before being transported had been tossed. All that remained were some half-empty bottles of juice, condiments, some eggs that might’ve been alright a few weeks ago but were questionable now, and a plastic leftovers container full of stale rice. At least there was a bit more in the freezer, but he always preferred fresh over frozen, anyway. His stomach twisted and growled for food since he hadn’t eaten any breakfast, but food still sounded terrible right now.
Groaning, he closed the freezer door and figured he should make sure everything else in his apartment was safe and sound. Plus, it was probably time to plug up his long-dead phone and slog through however many messages and emails he’d accumulated over the past month. Katsuki was about to step into the hallway when he eyed the bag he’d left by the door. So many memories piled into such a small and simple thing…
The weight of the duffel bag grounded him once more as he walked and periodically checked the remaining rooms. His home office that he instead used as a weight and workout room didn’t look touched. His bathrooms - one room for the tub and sink and another for the toilet - were also just as he’d left them. Finally, came his bedroom. Everything was arranged so differently from your own apartment and he recalled how confused he was at the layout when he’d first arrived; it helped solidify the fact that he truly was no longer in Japan.
His bed was still unmade from before he was zapped away. A few dirty clothes thrown haphazardly towards the laundry basket. A thin layer of dust coated nearly everything in the apartment, from air conditioning fans attached to the walls down to the porcelain of the tub and the dark, undisturbed sheets across his bed. It all made him frown.
He ran a hand through his hair as he walked and found his phone charger still plugged into the wall next to his bed. With a beep, the phone slowly ticked to life with a flashing logo as he set it on the nightstand. It would need a few minutes to get up to at least 5% before it allowed him to actually use it, so he tentatively eased the bag off his shoulder and sat on the bed that was nothing like yours.
Cold to the touch. Sheets a different color. One pillow instead of two. It was his, had always been his and his alone, and it should’ve brought comfort - the same type that came to him after a long mission, gone for weeks at a time, only to come back and sleep at ease on a mattress that conformed to his tossing and turning perfectly. Should have, but didn’t. Not anymore.
Laying back, arms wide and palms heavenward, Katsuki stared at the ceiling and watched the dust flutter around in the dim light. His curtains were always pulled for privacy, never open like yours so sunlight could peek through the slim blinds. It now felt obscenely dark and stifling.
Katsuki kicked off his uwabaki and curled in on himself while closing his eyes for a moment. Too big and empty, too. Fuck. Would it always feel like this? It had only been about four hours since he last saw you… but it felt like an eternity because he knew everything would sprawl out differently now, that his path forward would forever be colored by his experiences over the past month. By feelings he’d never felt before and wasn’t sure he’d ever feel again.
Nonsense, the logical part of his brain chided. People got over heartbreak all the time. He’d told Kirishima that he needed time alone to think and rest. How long would it take before things returned to as normal as normal could be?
The heartburn in his chest simmered low and warm as if waiting for the right amount of heat to boil over into a painful mess.
Dazed, staring blankly at the wall and feeling like a ghost in his own skin, he glanced to his phone when it buzzed. And buzzed again. And again and again and-
He reached up with a frown and turned it to silent, afraid to look at the number of notifications he had waiting for him… but maybe it was time to rip off the bandaid.
His lockscreen was his own Hero logo, a mix of black and orange with dark green splatters. The first passcode he tried was wrong, but the second one finally unlocked it; must’ve been the muscle memory. It was sparse with apps and downloads and Katsuki stared at the background behind the icons: a photo someone had taken of him and his friends last year after a rough but successful mission. Covered in dirt and scratches and tired, but there were triumphant smiles all around.
Frowning, he saw the notifications and wanted to throw his phone across the room:
175 unread texts
26 missed calls
203 unread emails
Thank fuck he had all social media notifications turned off. Just thinking about how many notifications he’d have on the few, barely-used accounts he had made him shudder.
Just then, a new message pinged and forced his eyes down to the messaging app at the bottom. 176 texts. Reading them right now felt far too laborious, but there were things he knew he needed to do, people he needed to contact so that he could be left to his own devices for the rest of the day. Katsuki archived all of his unread texts from just about everyone in his contact list so that he could sift through them all later. The next best thing to deleting them forever, just as you’d suggested.
After not using a phone for much over the past month and using a virtual keyboard different from the one he was used to, his fingers hovered awkwardly over the buttons trying to type out the simplest message.
“Back and alive. Give me a day. One day.”
The message was copied and pasted into new and empty threads so that he wouldn’t have to read anything until he was good and ready. Even as he continued down his contact list, new texts in response pupped up, but he kept those unread, too. When he was finally finished, Katsuki set the phone screen-down on his bedside table and turned over in his bed before he closed his eyes and attempted to force time to pass by catching up on much-needed sleep.
Unfortunately, it was about as difficult as it was the previous night, except he didn’t have the added solidarity of your company next to him. He tossed and turned with a groan, uncomfortable and uneasy. He threw most of his clothes to the floor and slid under the covers until darkness and the humidity of his own breath coated his anxiety-etched face. No sunlight, no apartment, no thoughts.
Again, sleep came sporadically, but he managed to get in a few hours of uninterrupted, though troubled, rest. Katsuki wasn’t asleep long enough to form dreams or nightmares; maybe that was for the best when he ached to see your face just one more time even though he knew it would only bring more grief.
It was a little after 3 P.M. when Katsuki finally gave up and unburied his head from his pillow with a heavy sigh. “Fuck… “ He reached over and grabbed his now fully-charged phone and saw that he had 18 new unread texts. Again. The most important people in his life knew he was alive, had seen him personally or had received the candid photo Kaminari snapped in the car, but there was one person he felt like he owed, especially after recalling your nagging words about the topic.
Katsuki ignored all the other unread messages and went straight to Mar’s. The kid deserved to hear from him personally after he left them dangling on their own for over a month.
Katsuki groaned and rubbed his eyes. Kaminari and his fat mouth… yeah, letting people know he was alive and home was good but it just added onto the pressure that already threatened to swallow him whole.
That last phrase made him pause and wince as if burning antiseptic had been poured on an open wound. Again, the guilt of turning away his friends, those who knew him and cared for his well being outside of the Hero fanatics no doubt typing wildly on social media about the glimpse they caught in front of the police station, gnawed and itched like a bug bite that he knew would only go away with time.
Time was supposed to heal all wounds, right?
While texting back and forth with Mar, his phone buzzed in his hands with more new messages that he ignored. Deku, Kirishima, Ashido… hell, even his old teacher who still taught at UA, Aizawa, welcomed him home with a simple and to-the-point text. It all just exhausted him all over again. He finally told the kid that he’d talk to them later - with a tiny mentor “stay out of trouble” quote that seemed appropriate - and tossed his phone to the other side of the bed before rubbing his still-tired eyes.
The peace barely lasted a minute before his stomach gurgled and growled in protest of going without food for nearly a whole day. “God… fine, whatever,” he grumbled before snatching up his phone again and grumpily getting to his feet. Out of the corner of his eye, Katsuki spotted your bag next to the wall under his blackout window.
He decided to leave it where it was, leaving the daunting task of sorting through memories and nostalgia for another day when he felt just a bit stronger.
With hardly any food in his empty apartment, Katsuki eased himself onto his couch and scrolled through his phone for some delivered food. Was he hungry? No. Would eating help him feel better? Possibly.
The security of his apartment building meant that no one was buzzed in without permission, and even then anything being delivered was brought up personally by the retired Hero downstairs for safety. Unless the residents themselves were transparent about it then no one needed to know any specifics about who lived where.
He recalled with a frown that he’d promised you that he’d eat some good food when he got back, but all he wanted in that moment was shitty and familiar takeout in paper boxes. Maybe a cheap taste of home would be good enough to fulfil the promise for the time being.
To his frustration, he stared at the payment screen while wracking his brain trying to remember his damn credit card number, but no, it had been too long without buying anything. At least he’d never have to mooch off of you again; no matter how much you tried to placate him about what you bought and all you offered so generously, Katsuki knew deep down that the weight of it hanging over his head would always sway like a precarious chandelier. He’d never be able to pay you back properly.
Because of his Hero title, he had the privilege of having a fake name tied to his bank account to further add to his privacy. At least they didn’t freeze his accounts or anything while he was gone. Sitting on the phone with some underpaid employee that would no doubt freak out over his return sounded about as appetizing as the stale rice in his fridge.
Once he ordered enough food to last him a couple of days with leftovers, giving him enough time to order groceries and settle in, he called down to let the guy downstairs know to expect the delivery person soon. There was no checklist to know what the hell to do once you came back home from a month-long interdimensional vacation that everyone probably assumed was horribly traumatic, so he just rolled with whatever came to him at the moment.
And what he needed and wanted next was a hot shower before the food arrived. Maybe it could help wash away the slick of stress that coated his skin like dried sweat.
The normal toiletries he bought and used regularly sat right where he’d left them before he dramatically disappeared. The cap to the shower gel was still open and his conditioner was nearly empty. This was the one place that felt the most different from your apartment since Japanese bathrooms kept toilets and showers in separate rooms. But all his towels matched while yours were half one color and half a mismatched pattern. Had his apartment always been this… boring?
While he let the water heat up, Katsuki stripped down before catching himself in the large mirror above the sink. He leaned forward and stared. “I look like shit,” he mumbled to himself knowing there was little he could do about the lackluster muteness in his eyes and seemingly permanent frown. It was only when he backed away did he notice something at the bottom of the mirror. “What the…?”
Squinting, he looked down at the inside of his thigh to find a fucking hickey that you’d left as a going away present. Through the poor sleep and morning daze, it must’ve passed by his attention. “Fucking hell,” he muttered while running a hand through his hair. At that moment, he was very grateful that the doctor only did a cursory physical exam and didn’t insist on anything extensive.
But the mark was real, a temporary testament to sharing something with you that he’d never shared in that way with anyone else. He missed holding you, missed how you fit so perfectly against him, missed how you whispered “Katsuki” against his skin-
“Shut up!” Pounding his fist against the counter and gritting his teeth hard enough to threaten cracking the enamel, Katsuki stood with his head bowed as if in penance for his own sins. It was still too raw, too soon to feel even remotely OK about any of this… but part of him, a flicker in the deepest and darkest crevices that kept themselves hidden until he was at his absolute lowest threatened to creep into the light and whisper…
You’ll never be the same again.
Sucking a sharp breath through his teeth, Katsuki tore himself away from the sink and forced himself under the scalding hot water. He begged for all these worries and anxieties and stressors to just wash themselves down the drain at his feet but knew they would continually circle round and round like a violent ouroboros.
He finally smelled like the familiar scent of his soap once more - of faint sandalwood mixed in with mint. Subtle but strong enough to mask his sweat without feeling as though he’d walked through the perfume counter at a mall. A steaming hot bath, something to soak his worries in until his skin shriveled like a peach pit, sounded perfect, but it would have to wait until after he got some food in his stomach.
Feeling only marginally better after his shower, Katsuki grabbed his dirty clothes - the clothes that had gotten him through a majority of his days with you - and hesitantly set them in the dirty clothes hamper in his room. Once he washed them, they’d stop smelling of you and your detergent and dryer sheets.
His hand paused over the black duffel bag in the corner that held your gifts and what little else he’d brought with him. The temptation to revert back to wearing the sweatpants and tank top you bought him when he’d missed the comfort of his own clothes and closet was surprisingly great, but he managed to resist and pull back. If he opened the bag now, he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop. The package of mochi sitting on top could wait one more day.
Instead, he pulled out a pair of dark red sweatpants and old t-shirt with a faded stylized skull on the front. Old habits die hard.
It didn’t take long for him to hear a knock at his door from the hallway. Several plastic bags were left next to his door and disappeared inside just as quickly. The wafting aroma made his mouth water and forced his poor appetite to finally kick into gear. Yeah, alright, maybe he could actually eat a couple of these takeout containers without too much trouble.
Forcing himself to ignore his phone, Katsuki ripped apart the bag and didn’t even bother with a plate before he ripped apart his wooden chopsticks, sat on the low couch, turned on his wall-mounted TV that rarely deviated from the local news channel, and stuffed his cheeks full like a chipmunk plumping up for winter.
The apartment was too quiet; the background noise of the TV helped, but just barely. Once he and Kirishima got their own places, he rarely felt lonely in his apartment since it was more often than not a solace from the outside world. But after cohabitating with you so closely for a month, Katsuki found himself missing the ambient noise of your humming or light banter, even through the robotic voice of the translator that he eventually learned to accept.
Only when his Hero name popped out of the speakers did he look up to the screen.
“...Rumors circulating that missing hero Dynamight has potentially returned. We don’t have confirmation, but we received this anonymous tip earlier today that he was seen with Pro Hero Red Riot downtown. If the rumors are true, why hasn’t the missing #2 Hero revealed himself? Could this be a pub-”
“God, fuck you!” Katsuki growled and quickly changed the channel to something innocuous and boring - the Japanese equivalent of QVC - and sunk into the couch like an anvil pulled through water.
Was this what he was going to have to deal with for the next few weeks? Not that he hadn’t expected it, but the bombardment in real time crowded him like vultures flocking to freshly felled meat. Normal interviews and fans were enough to deal with. He just needed a fucking day to himself to try and get his head on straight.
At least no rumors circulated about him on the shopping channel.
After he calmed down, Katsuki finished off his food and settled back down with a full stomach and renewed sleepiness. He missed watching you fumble with chopsticks. He missed your stupid wiggle. He missed your honest praise of his cooking. He missed fighting over dishes and talking about what the next day might hold and just having you close-
The ringing buzz of his phone kept him from spiraling for the moment as he glared at the device. It was silenced, so only emergencies could get through. He considered ignoring it in favor of moping, but maybe the self-loathing needed a small respite.
Too bad it was just his manager no doubt begging to hear what was going on straight from him. Sighing, he sat up and answered the call. “Look, Yukimura. I really just need-”
“Glad to hear you alive and… well. Alive, at least,” the woman on the other end said with slight exasperation. “I wanted to hear you first hand and not from second-hand sources, even reliable ones.”
“You got my text I’m sure. I need time to adjust to being back before I’m back on patrol again. Just give me a day,” he explained while rubbing his eyes hard enough to make them ache.
A sigh on the other end. “If I didn’t know you better, I’d almost be offended. But don’t worry, we’ve planned for your return for some time.” Right to the point and down to business. If nothing else, Katsuki appreciated her zero-bullshit organization. “You don’t have to come back on patrol for a while, maybe a week. I hear you didn’t arrive any worse for wear, but I have a therapist and psychologist picked out should you need their services with whatever ordeal you apparently refuse to talk about.”
A therapist? Katsuki’s brows furrowed into a heavy crease between his eyes. He needed to be left alone, wanted some fucking peace and quiet to ruminate on how the hell to move forward. It wasn’t a diss at mental health services. No, he’d reluctantly gone to one back at UA and eventually found it helpful to sort through things he didn’t even realize he was dealing with considering the dangers, both seen and unseen, of their chosen professions… but if he didn’t want to tell his closest friends about you then he sure as hell didn’t feel like recanting love and loss to a total stranger.
“Maybe,” he said. Hopefully, she wouldn’t push for more than that.
Silence for a moment before she said, “Did you see the emails I sent?”
“Which ones? All 200 and something? Because no to all of them,” he replied with a scoff.
“Well, whenever you feel up to it we have some catching up to do. It’ll be best if you start preparing a statement for the press-”
“No.” The word was hard and cut from stone with finality etched into it.
“What do you mean ‘no’? I’m not saying you have to tell the whole world what happened, but the people deserve to hear from the top Hero who went missing over a month ago without a word.”
So, the villain and her quirk had truly been kept a secret. He supposed it was for the best considering they weren’t sure if he’d even be able to come back alive and was grateful for the tight lips.
Sneering, he explained, “Just what I said. No. Maybe I’ll change my mind in a few days, but I want to get the fuck back to work and just…” Forget? No, never. He couldn’t. “Just return to a normal life.”
Yukimura sighed on the other end in that familiar way she did that creased her serious face and dulled her eyes whenever Katsuki butted heads with her. She was one of the few that actually managed to keep his head on straight with everything on his schedule outside of the Hero work he gave a damn about.
“Fine, fine. But I highly encourage you to reconsider. There’s already rumors about your return and I want it to come straight from you and not some rabid fan forum.”
“Oh, trust me, I already saw the shit on the news.” He wanted to end this conversation as soon as possible. “Whatever, yeah, I’ll think on it. No more calls or emails for the rest of the day. After a month, everyone and their damn mom wants to blow up my phone and I’m tempted to throw it out the window.” He couldn’t blame them of course, but it was still annoying.
Another sigh, this one sounding more exhausted than frustrated. He was sure dealing with his constant absence was no walk in the park for her or Mar or anyone else. Making it up to all of them was just another task on his long list of shit to do. “Alright. I’ll keep track of everything on my end for you. You know how to reach me. Glad to have you back, Dynamight.”
“Good to be back.” It wasn’t a lie: lKatsuki was fucking glad that he made it home in one piece rather than be ripped apart and spit out through that bizarre warp gate. Back to familiarity and work and using his quirk and a host of other things. But there would always be something - someone - missing, now.
With that, he hung up and tossed his phone off to the side before staring up at the ceiling with a stare that matched his barren walls.
The remainder of the day skated by in a daze. There was so much he needed to do, even small things like dust his apartment and order groceries, but Katsuki found himself wandering into rooms before forgetting why he was in there in the first place. When the sun had finally set and he found himself repeating cycles of useless tasks, he decided that it was the perfect time for that hot bath he’d been craving.
To anyone else, the water would’ve been too scalding on their skin, but Katsuki’s resistance to heat and years of constant training meant that he was perfectly fine in water hot enough to steep tea in. He lowered himself down into the steaming heat and eased down until the water stopped at his chin.
Eerily quiet aside from the tiny sloshes of water sliding against the high tub walls as he closed his eyes and let himself remember. He’d never hear your muffled shower singing again.
“Katsuki, I love you…”
“Coward,” he admitted into the warm serenity. Fear was something so foreign to him that he barely recognized it when it reared its ugly and snarling head, especially as an obscure dread that drenched itself in the emotions of love. He’d nearly ruined everything by trying to make you hate him, insisting that it would be easier in the end. If his heart hurt now, he didn’t even want to imagine the growing bruise that would mar it had you not confronted him about his selfishness.
What did he think would happen if he said it? That you would reject him? Out of all the things that happened there, out of everything he did and said, this was his one regret, bright and red and blinding in a way that Katsuki was sure he couldn’t hide from.
He wondered what you were doing now. Were you holed up in your apartment, same as him, thinking about where to go from here? Did you assume he didn’t reciprocate the last heartfelt words you whispered to him as you cried against his shoulder? Maybe you called that friend of yours, the one from the concert. Or your mom.
Without realizing it, Katsuki had started to hum to himself. It wasn’t a normal habit. His mind had drifted far away from the foggy bathroom and only when the sound registered did he stop… but he began again soon after, the light sound echoing off the bathroom walls. He didn’t recognize the tune, not immediately.
And if tomorrow, it’s all over
At least we had it for a moment, oh darling
Things seem so unstable
But for a moment we were able
To Be Still…
It was the song you’d sang to him on that karaoke night, the one that took his breath away. He'd only heard it once, but that was enough for him to never forget.
hahhaah sorry if you cried again this chapter :) angsty times ahead, sorry!
again, the fic is NOT done, we'll have about 50+ chapters, and it WILL have a happy ending :))))) thanks for reading!! Please comment and let me know if you enjoy the fic!
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@sarcasm-is-my-form-of-attack @i-am-fandoms-and-satan @eternal-apricot @grumpbisexual @ha-tep @apsara-study @nyantodamax145 @bakuhoetoedoroki @stargazerunlimited @fairyf3v3r @guardianangelswings
Masterlist for Nozel:
Eye colour fic with Nozel
Bird hair HC
Surprised by a storm [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]
Lingerie aesthetic for his s/o
S/o with scars HCs
Giving him a shoulder massage
S/o with tattoo magic HCs
First time [Part1] [Part2] NSFW
Flexible s/o NSFW
S/o with Tourette’s
S/o fearing to be an embarrassment on Nozel (100 followers special)
Giving him a BJ Kinktober NSFW
Doggy style after a difficult mission; Kinktober NSFW
Risquè with Nozel; Kinktober NSFW
Autumn prompt: Leaves
Autumn prompt: Card/board games
Autumn propmt: Warm tea
“You’re pretty” (male reader) NSFW
S/o with dragons HCs
Quote prompt: “... I fell in love with you...”
Quote prompt: “You’re everything my heart dreams of...”
Quote prompt: “Darling, if you’re going to bottle up your feelings...” NSFW
Nozel comforting reader
Nozel catching s/o masturbating to his cape NSFW
Reacting to rumours about s/o cheating HCs
Nozel and s/o curling in front of a fireplace
S/o comforting Nozel after a nightmare (male reader)
Nozel reacting to s/o dying in their hands (angst)
Asking for attention from s/o HCs
Love letter to reader
Nozel stubbing his toe, due to sandals
Nozel regretting his actions after s/o dies
Finding out s/o has mutual feelings
Valentine’s Day series; lavender + night
Nozel and Fuego going after the same girl HCs
Brushing his hair
s/o with bad migraine HCs
s/o that can create art out of anything HCs
Prompts Q1 and Q12; Nozel’s emotions for reader by their hospital bed
Hugs and kisses HCs
Prompt Q6: “Please don’t let go” “Never” angst+fluff
Love confession to an insecure s/o HCs
Jealous over readers friend
He comes home late and night and sleeps next to you
Commoner/peasant s/o HCs
Prompt: “I have wanted this for so long”
Nozel with an s/o with a terminal disease angst
Nozel with an insomniac s/o HCs
Nozel seeing his wife in a wedding dress
Reader with cursed magic
Nozel with a powerful male s/o
Sick Nozel and his s/o (fluff)
Nozel with an s/o who has been living in a bird form for 500 years
Breaking up, getting drunk and realizing the mistake
Tomboy s/o acting like a lady for a day
Nozel with a redeemable villain/traitor s/o
S/o doing the corset tiktok trend in front of him
He forgets s/o’s birthday
Birthday fluff and cuddles
S/o is cursed by a devil on a mission HCs
S/o who’s father was a famous cagefighter
so i was browsing tiktok and came across this video https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeQXrg9R/ and i wanted to know your thoughts on it. maybe give an in-depth analysis if you want ? :D
oh, i’m sure i came across more in depth meta about this around here at one point anon, better than what i can articulate these days (brain fried disease aka masters brain rot aka academia curse), maybe you can find it around my /meta tag. i don’t disagree with the sentiment of the video tho, it was basically that: free given information, someone already under his protection, he saw an opportunity and he took it.
5e Viego, the Ruined King build (League of Legends)
(Artwork by Pan Chengwei. Made for Riot Games.)
What? Did you expect me not to make this? It’s the goddamn Ruined King! He’s finally out after all these years! I mean sure he’s a goddamn twink but still; he’s finally out! Also Samira build is coming out 35 years from now.
And even though I put a Warlock TikTok meme in my last video, here’s a whole bunch of them because... yeah no shit he’s a Hexblade... Of the Ruined King.
Ruin to all! - MIST'S EDGE: Basic attacks deal a percentage of the target's current health bonus physical damage on-hit.
Serve me in death - If you ever wanted to play as the enemy for a bit Viego will let you take a ghost or two; as a treat.
The mist is my great unending sadness - Foggy days are typical for an edgy boy, and King Ruin is so edgy he wants to cover the entire world with fog! Yeah that “mist is sadness” quote is real; I got it from the Wiki.
Viego is a human... but he has a great degree of variance. We’ll be going for yet another Variant Human because we’re not allowed any monster champions anymore. As a Variant Human you get a +1 in two different stats of your choice: increase your Charisma and Strength by 1 for the strength to be beautiful for your queen. You also get proficiency in a skill of your choice: Perception will let you see through the mist and search far-and-wide for your queen. And you get a language of your choice: Abyssal seems reasonable to speak to the mist.
Of course the main appeal of Variant Human is the feat at level 1, and to swing the Blade of the Ruined King Great Weapon Master will let you cut through a percentage of the enemy’s health! When you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon (such as a greatsword), you can choose to take a -5 penalty to your hit chance. If you do hit you’ll do an extra 10 damage with your strike! And as an added bonus when you score a critical hit (with a melee weapon) or kill a creature, you can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action!
15; CHARISMA - League of shirtless anime boys amIrite? Gotta look good for Isolde.
14; DEXTERITY - Repeat after me: “something something Medium Armor.”
13; STRENGTH - This is a requirement for another one of the classes we’ll be taking. Yup this isn’t just straight 20 levels in Hexblade!
12; CONSTITUTION - A ruined king with a blackened heart is still allowed to have some health.
10; WISDOM - Destroying the entire planet just to simp for your wife isn’t the wisest move.
8; INTELLIGENCE - Nor is it the smartest.
You were the king of a long-forgotten nation, so unfortunately noble wouldn’t work. But you still have servants! The Knight background grants proficiency in the History that you lived through as well as Persuasion to get Isolde back. You also get proficiency with a Gaming Set and Language of your choice, which I’d say pick your fancy.
But the main reason we’re taking Knight (and not Noble) is for Retainers! You get three knights sworn to your kingdom (Kalista, Hecarim, and the third one) who will do mundane tasks for you. While Hecarim may be up for a slaughter unfortunately your retainers can’t do anything in combat and won’t follow you into dangerous locations. And of course if you treat your subjects poorly they will leave you. But it can always be useful to have more spirits in the mist to search for her!
(Artwork by @thejenneralchen on Twitter)
LEVEL 1 - PALADIN 1
Hah! Did you think we’d be starting with Warlock? Put simply we need things from Paladin more, notably the proficiencies as well as starting equipment. Dude imagine having to spend 3200 gold to buy the sword literally named after you? But for now you might just want to grab a Longsword to start. Regardless Paladins get proficiency in two skills from the Paladin list: Athletics are required in the jungle, and Intimidation will let everyone meet know that you will stop at nothing for her! You fucking simp...
You also get Divine Sense to sense the beasts of the mist, or your queen. As an action you can know the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the creature type, but not its identity. Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated. (Have a feeling you’ll find a lot of desecrated areas.) You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier plus 1, and regain all uses at the end of a Long Rest.
And you can restore a bit of health thanks to Lay on Hands. You have a pool of healing equal to 5 times your Paladin level that comes back at the end of a Long Rest. You can heal a creature for any number of hitpoints from that pool as an action when you touch them, or cure a disease / poison affecting them with 5 hitpoints. Man that would’ve been useful a couple of thousand years ago, huhn?
LEVEL 2 - WARLOCK 1
Time to pick up the Sword of the Ruler of the Mist. Hm... There has to be a better way of saying that. Regardless Warlocks get to choose their subclass at level 1 and to get a comedically large sword that saps peoples’ lifeforce we’ll be opting for the one, the only Hexblade patron! As a Hex Warrior you can wield martial weapons as well as medium armor (which you already could cause Paladin), but can also choose to swing a sword with your Charisma instead of your Strength or Dexterity. Which is great because you’re not exactly the buff sort. Unfortunately you can’t use a two-handed greatsword just yet, which is why I said you’d do good to grab a longsword instead.
But if you are locked in combat Hexblade’s Curse will make sure that you can dispose of them quickly. As a bonus action you can mark a target for 1 minute. During that time you do bonus damage equal to your proficiency bonus to the cursed target, crit on a 19 or a 20, and regain hit points equal to your warlock level + your Charisma modifier when you kill them. The curse ends early if the target dies, you die, or you are incapacitated.
And of course as a Warlock you get Pact Magic. You learn two cantrips and two leveled spells: Eldritch Blast will let you manipulate the mists for a ranged attack, and Prestidigitation will help you keep clean and kingly despite all the black mist flowing out of that gaping stab wound in your chest. As for leveled spells Armor of Agathys will let you put on some Thornmail to keep your health up and hit your foes back, and I mean Shield is on the Hexblade expanded spell list anyways so we may as well use it.
LEVEL 3 - WARLOCK 2
Second level Warlocks get Eldritch Invocations as the mist manipulates your body and soul. For now take Devil’s Sight to see through your Harrowed Path with your dumb human eyes, and we’ll be leaving the other invocation slot open for a level.
You also get another spell but all the other first level spells don’t really interest me. Yeah we’re not taking Hex you’re going to have to live with it!
LEVEL 4 - WARLOCK 3
Third level Warlocks get their Pact Boon for a particular tool of the Warlock trade, and to wield a weapon of spectral steel grab Pact of the Blade! The long and short of it is you can make yourself any melee weapon, and Hex Warrior affects any weapon you summon with this feature! This means that you can actually wield a two-handed Greatsword, but feel free to choose other options. Especially now that you can take the Improved Pact Weapon invocation to turn that Cutlass of the Twink King into a +1 weapon, and also summon yourself a gun (shortbow / longbow / light crossbow / heavy crossbow) if you so desire. But I mean, why would you when you have Eldritch Blast?
You can also add some second level spells to your list like Darkness to walk a Harrowed Path through the mist, though remember that even if you can see through the mist your allies probably can’t. And Misty Step, because something something Flash.
LEVEL 5 - WARLOCK 4
4th level means the first of many Ability Score Improvements. Charisma is used for everything that you do so... maybe increase that?
You also get another spell and another cantrip! For your cantrip Mage Hand is helpful to manipulate the mist to grab things from high places. As for leveled spells Blur is on the Hexblade list... but why would you take that instead of Mirror Image, which doesn’t require Concentration.
(Artwork by @WetHamster1 on Twitter)
LEVEL 6 - WARLOCK 5
5th level Warlocks get more Eldritch Invocations. To knock a foe down with Spectral Maw take Eldritch Smite, letting you channel a spell slot into a particularly deadly slash of your Viego’s Edge.
If you want an extra attack early you can also replace Improved Pact Weapon with Thirsting Blade, which is now available. But we will be getting Extra Attack from other sources later.
You can also now learn third level spells like Vampiric Touch for a bit of lifesteal. As a treat.
LEVEL 7 - WARLOCK 6
6th level Hexblades can put their passive to work, and have spirits serve your Sovereign's Domination. Accursed Specter lets you use the soul of a humanoid you killed and make it serve you, using the stats of a specter with temporary hit points equal to half your Warlock level and a bonus to hit equal to your Charisma modifier. The specter remains in your service until the end of your next long rest, which is good because you can use the ability once per Long Rest. The specter rolls initiative separately from you, and obeys your commands.
And hey: you’ve already got ghosts fighting for you, so why not summon your depression to fight as well? Summon Shadowspawn from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (requires a 300 gold gemstone containing tears and) summons a spirit of Fury, Despair, or Fear to fight alongside you. There’s a lot of specifics to this spell that I don’t want to go into (its actual description does a far better job than I ever could) but the important thing to note is that it’ll give you another loyal follower.
LEVEL 8 - PALADIN 2
Time for a few levels in that other class we have. Second level Paladins can choose their Fighting Style and of course to swing a Shank of the Former Blessed Isles Great Weapon Fighting (style) will let you reroll low die to more reliably cut through the mists.
Paladins also get Spellcasting at level 2, and unlike with Warlock casting you actually get some spell slots! You can prepare a number of spells equal to your Charisma modifier plus half your Paladin level (rounded down.) Divine Favor will let you do a bit more damage with your titular blade, and if you want more of a burst of damage then either Thunderous Smite or Wrathful Smite will do some more damage along with additional effects. To protect yourself from the mists and others who’d want to keep you from Isolde take Protection from Evil and Good. And to borrow a death realm from the other world-ending lord of Runeterra take Compelled Duel.
Of course you could ignore all that spellcasting stuff for even more Damage of the Ruined Blade! Divine Smite will let you do 2d8 damage with a first level spell slot, plus an additional 1d8 per spell slot above first, up to a maximum of 5d8 (with a 4th level slot.) Additionally if you hit an undead or fiend you’ll do an extra d8, meaning that with a 4th level spell slot you can do 6d8 damage!
The real neat thing is that this works with Smite spells as well as the Eldritch Smite invocation, allowing you to effectively use two spell slots at once to smite if you so desire.
LEVEL 9 - PALADIN 3
3rd level Paladins get to choose their Divine Oath and nothing will stop your Oath of Conquest to save your queen. You get to add the Command spell to your spell list, as well as Armor of Agathys... Uh woups. Uh we’ll address that when we go back to Warlock.
You get two Channel Divinity options: to keep others from stopping you from reaching your queen Conquering Presence will let you force a Wisdom save on units of your choice within 30 feet to frighten them! Alternatively Guided Strike is like Great Weapon Master but in reverse, giving you +10 to hit. This means that if you use Great Weapon Master as well you’d have a +5 to hit and do +10 damage! But remember that you only have one Channel Divinity per short rest.
You also get Divine Health, because simps don’t take sick days.
LEVEL 10 - PALADIN 4
4th level Paladins get another Ability Score Improvement, and we still use Charisma for basically everything so with this you can cap it off completely!
You can also prepare two more spells but... there isn’t much I want from first level? I mean you can take Cure Wounds for a bit of healing... as treat.
LEVEL 11 - PALADIN 5
5th level Paladins get an Extra Attack. If you took Thirsting Blade from Warlock you might want to replace that too.
You can also prepare second level Paladin spells now! As a Conquest Paladin you get Hold Person to stun with Spectral Maw, and Spiritual Weapon for more soldiers from the mist. You can also prepare Aid to strengthen your army and Branding Smite to see your foes through the mist.
(Artwork by @vmatbox on Twitter)
LEVEL 12 - WARLOCK 7
Back to Warlock to replace a lot of things. But firstly you get another Eldritch Invocation: take Trickster's Escape for an emergency QSS.
You also get 4th level spells like Shadow of Moil to become a creature of the mist, and also to get an upgrade from the Darkness spell (which you might want to replace.) Speaking of replacing spells: you got Armor of Agathys from Paladin so replace it with Hallucinatory Terrain to cover the land with mist.
LEVEL 13 - WARLOCK 8
8th level Warlocks get another Ability Score Improvement or a Feat. We’ll be taking the Eldritch Adept feat for more Eldritch Invocations. Which Eldritch Invocation? Why Undying Servitude of course, for more servants of the mist!
D&D Beyond tip: Replace Devil’s Sight and then give yourself 120 feet of Darkvision on the sheet.
You can also get another 4th level spell like Dimension Door, to travel far and wide in a flash to reach your queen.
LEVEL 14 - WARLOCK 9
Hey more Eldritch Invocations! Whispers of the Grave will let you speak to the fragments of Isolde’s soul.
LEVEL 15 - WARLOCK 10
And hey: 5th level spells finally! To strike a foe with Heartbreaker take
Negative Energy Flood, sundering their health and making them rise to serve you if you end up killing them.
10th level Hexblades get Armor of Hexes. If the target affected by your Hexblade’s Curse hits you with an attack roll, you can use your reaction to roll a d6. On a 4 or higher, the attack instead misses you, regardless of its roll. Naturally this ability makes you particularly good in a 1v1 with whoever you target for Ruination.
You don’t get another spell but you do get a cantrip. Take Toll the Dead to deal with enemies who have high armor, for the mist comes for all.
(Artwork by @stingrae36 on Twitter)
LEVEL 16 - WARLOCK 11
11th level Warlocks get their 6th level Mystic Arcanum, which looks like a spell slot and acts like a spell slot (IE it comes back after a Long Rest, not a Short one) but can’t be used to upcast your other spells. You can only use it to cast one spell, and for an AoE Heartbreaker take good ol’ Circle of Death.
Also more spells known from your regular Warlock slots: Banishing Smite is on the Hexblade list, and can be used to send any demons back to whence they came.
LEVEL 17 - WARLOCK 12
12th level Warlocks get an Ability Score Improvement or a Feat. I have no idea what else to grab so take the Tough feat for a much needed 24 hitpoint increase to a primarily melee-based character.
You also get another Eldritch Invocation so it’s finally time to get the true Blade of the Ruined King damage with Lifedrinker! This will make any foe struck by your Pact Weapon take an additional 5 necrotic damage. This means that you should be doing 2d6 + 11 damage with every swing of a (+1) Greatsword!
LEVEL 18 - WARLOCK 13
More Mystic Arcanum, this time at 7th level! Power Word Pain will let you subjugate the weak.
And more regular spells: Danse Macabre lets you get more servants forever loyal at your side!
LEVEL 19 - WARLOCK 14
14th level Hexblades are Master of Hexes. Put simply: when a creature affected by Hexblade’s Curse dies, you can apply the curse to a different creature you can see within 30 feet of you. (Though you won’t be healed for the last foe’s death.) This will let you bounce your curse around and reap all its benefits constantly, becoming a master of your own blade.
LEVEL 20 - WARLOCK 15
Our last level is the 15th level of Warlock for a handful of benefits. Firstly we can get an 8th level Mystic Arcanum: Feeblemind is the ultimate tool to truly sunder the weak and discard the chaff.
Secondly you can get your level 15 Eldritch Invocations, and to never mistake Isolde’s face Witch Sight will let you see through any illusion that may be hiding her!
You may also want to replace Improved Pact Weapon as by this point you’ve likely found something better than a regular old +1 greatsword. Visions of Distant Realms and Shroud of Shadows are both very good options.
And we can finally get our last spell: as you gather enough information on the new world Scrying will help you expand your search further beyond!
Surrender to me! - Two smites plus Great Weapon Master on an already deadly blade results in absolutely devastating spikes of damage with your sword. God forbid you crit!
The black mist flows from me like a tide - You also have plenty of tricks to give you an upper hand in longer combats. Hexblade’s Curse of course, but also Armor of Agathys, Shadow of Moil, and Spiritual Weapon.
Fight, puppet; fight for your king! - You can summon all manner of ghosts, ghouls, skeletons, zombies, and everything in between to serve in your search for your queen.
The world denied my happiness - Low ability scores mean that your skills won’t be amazing. The ones you’re proficient in are alright but you aren’t much help outside of being deadly and being royal.
Answer for your crimes, death; answer me! - We didn’t take the 6th level of Paladin which means we didn’t get Aura of Protection. As a result your saving throws are rather low, and while I tried to avoid grabbing too many Concentration spells yo do still have quite a few, which is not at all helped by your meager +1 to CON.
She remains in this world; I can feel it - All the melee tools in the world don’t mean much when you lack any proper way to get close. You have Eldritch blast sure but beyond Dimension Door (which granted is very strong) enemies can easily keep their distance from the mad king with a big blade. Even if you want to use Dimension Door you have a very limited amount of spell slots.
But the world can only hide from the Ruination for so long. The black mist comes, and with it you come to search for your queen. Nothing can stop you; nothing will stop you until you have her again. The world shall be torn to shreds and shattered beyond repair, as long as you can have your queen... Or like, just find a Wish spell or something? Shame you’re a couple thousand years old because True Resurrection doesn’t even work anymore.
(Artwork by Bo “chenbowow” Chen. Made for Riot Games.)
I am a monster of my own making. This is a fact I must come to terms with as I pick up the broken pieces of a career I shattered, as I live in a room I rent from my parents, as I cut my fingers and curse myself for lacking direction.
I wonder if I am too soft, too ready to give up, too young for life outside of academia. I am four days away from walking away from the company that hired me two months out of college. I realized too little too late that my impressive credentials-- graduating a semester early, cum laude, during a pandemic, from a renowned university-- were not the deciding factors for hiring me. Rather, it was my youth-- my wide eyes, ready to prove myself as a career woman, scared to death of my student loans-- my desperation to impress, culminating in me fainting from stress during a business call-- my lack of experience, my inability to recognize the toxic work environment for what it was-- that led to the company extending me a letter for hire.
And the worst part of it all is that I knew. I knew from the minute I was offered the position that I would be unhappy. I knew that I would lose myself in the corporate rat-race, something I’m more scared of than my compounding debt, and that I would ultimately hate myself for failing to take a chance on my creative abilities and my path as a writer. A writer of what, exactly? I am loath to admit that my muse is transient at best.
My indecision will be a recurring theme.
Indecision is actually the poisoned bullet that has wedged into my muscular tissue, tearing my flesh, it is the root and cause of my monstrous nature. I cannot choose a career path, I cannot choose a future, I cannot make a choice when presented with a long term influence on my life. I imagine that the older members of my family-- the ones with families of their own and who view loans as opportunities to build credit-- meet in some darkened room, a council of established workers, robes and all, and talk about their successes. How it tastes-- like $25 entrees. How it sounds-- like the bell sounding on the Wall Street floor. How it feels-- like fine, white sand, like a slightly sweaty, slightly sea-salty, linen pillow under a cabana. I imagine that my own robe had been made shortly after the congratulations had rolled in in March. It is now collecting dust in the corner of that secret room. My measurements might change by the time I run my talons over the cloth and figure out if it’s terry-cloth or velvet.
I have also come to the conclusion that LinkedIn is a hellscape unlike any other networking app I have ever used. For context, I was born in 1999. I grew up watching the meteoric rise of social media-- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, now TikTok. I can barely remember a reality without social media, without being connected to strangers on the other side of the world, without watching models and celebrities and companies construct idealized aesthetics and lifestyles. I have been called horrific names by nazis, klan members, and misogynists in comment sections, I have watched brutal videos not caught by censoring softwares, I have watched public figures be driven to addiction, overdose, and suicide by social media.
And yet, my least favorite networking app is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an unrecognized reservoir for the disease culture of productivity and burnout that runs rampant throughout the US. Elsewhere as well, no doubt, though I do not have the experience to make such a claim. People are quick to proclaim the falsehoods pushed by platforms such as Instagram and the negative impact that our curated feeds have had on our collective psyche-- “carefully constructed and edited snapshots-- none of it’s real”. But what about LinkedIn? Follow people you barely know. Like the occasional funny post or heartwarming story. Congratulate the connections you actually know and care about on any career changes or life developments they post about. Try to find employment. Edit your bio and hope that no one notices that your job title has disappeared. Comb the job listings page and wait for a response that never comes. Try not to internalize the constant rejection without becoming bitter. Try not to compare yourself to the colleagues you interact with over a computer screen. Refresh your page each morning even though the thought of doing it all over again makes your stomach turn. Wonder if you should update your profile picture now that your horns are coming in, now that your pupils have transformed to cat-like slits.
I wonder how many members of my in-between generation-- not Millennial, not Gen Z-- are also sitting in their rooms, typing a letter to nowhere, hoping that they will gather the courage to publish their insecurities for an uncaring audience to read. Hoping that, one day, they will find themselves content with the lives they lead, happy to go to work in the morning, calm and collected when a bill needs addressing, wishing that they could tell their younger selves that everything would work out. I wonder if we could fill a stadium or two, the sounds of clicking keys and heavy sighs replacing the cheers of crowds and fans that normally fill such a space. I think that we could probably fill a small state. Rhode Island, maybe? Maybe New York if I were to relax the entry criteria.
I wonder how many workers will have to feel this way-- lost at sea, no direction, no future or present to distract from past actions-- and for how long before a second Industrial Revolution will take place. Despite what others may assume after hearing my political beliefs, I cringe at the idea of a bloody revolution-- lives lost for the right to own one’s labor, one’s working hours, one’s health and happiness. With the climate crisis becoming more real each day, I wonder if the revolution will be washed away by rising sea levels, increasingly violent weather events, or scorched by water insecurity or rising average temperatures.
At my core, I live to help people. Certainly not the usual motive for an eldritch deity. I mentioned that I earned an undergraduate degree-- a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health, to be exact. I minored in English because I live to write despite being too cowardly to pursue a writing career. I study Public Health because I like to solve complex, societal problems with knots and tangles not so different from the ones in my lump of necklaces on my vanity. I feel alive when debating public policies, researching behavioral theories, and sharing my findings with others. Loosening a knot in a societal problem, no matter how slightly, is enough to keep me interested in solving insurmountable issues. The description I just provided is quite broad, and I do not possess the fortitude needed to specialize my interests without feeling like I could be working on a more pressing issue. Gun control or LGBTQ rights-- how can I choose? Even typing that out feels wrong, as if social issues are phone backgrounds or purses to be changed out almost indiscriminately. I guess that I don’t technically have to-- I can volunteer wherever I want, work on a variety of projects, loosen a variety of tangles. Unfortunately, volunteer-work doesn’t pay the bills. Nonprofits are notorious for their low salaries and instability. The desire to help others is insufficient.
Hence, the corporate job. I figured that the pay would make the long hours worth my while. As a new employee, how many long hours would I really have at first? Certainly, I would have months of training before becoming a client-facing employee-- my first (key word: first) boss told me as much. My 9 to 5 would keep me afloat, and my spare time would be used to make a difference.
Funnily enough, my decision to quit was the most direct, long-term decision I have made in months, and I don’t even consider it a decision. One can only cry so many times while writing reports, skip so many meals before losing an unhealthy amount of weight, search up so many outpatient programs, consider taking mental health leave, before the choice to stay or go is no longer an option. By Boss #3, all attempts at slow, consistent, monitored training went out the window. I became client-facing almost immediately, and my work-load tripled. I spent my spare hours sleeping or recovering from an emotionally-exhausting day.
And then I could no longer keep track of time passing. And then I could no longer keep track of time I spent feeling happy because, well, I wasn’t. I was sitting at a desk, all day, sometimes as long as 13 hours, dreading each email, each Teams messages, each admonition for a missed detail. My friends begged me to take care of myself. My parents urged me to find new employment before placing my notice. But what time did I have to apply anywhere else after a day fighting to keep the job I had? My weekends were spent in my room, watching Disney movies and crying on FaceTime to my sister on the other side of the country. No time for applications when you need every free moment to regain the strength to log back on come Monday morning.
I’m convinced that’s how corporations keep their employees-- financial stability and a war of attrition against your mental ability to leave.
But I left. And in four days, I will no longer work at a place that exchanges my quality of life for a bi-weekly paycheck. In four days, I will be unemployed. No letter of recommendation, no new position, nowhere to go except for my bedroom and the riverside when I feel like haunting the public instead of my parents. They pretend that they aren’t scared of my inability to stick it out at this job, but I know better. They’re parents. And I am a monster of my own making.
why finnick’s stylist is named after a lung disease by accident
me realizing how bad the series is before the rewrite
how i came up with the last name
me hating the way the victory tour poster looked
reassurance that it looked good lol
wishing to have the gallows siblings
song that reminds anon of gallows
identifying with personality/moodboard
definition to alew
after they figure out the definition to alew
obviously i am evil
i am being threatened
elmo fire in lacuna
how bad will we cry to alew?
talking about the epilogue to lacuna before it was rewritten
a teaser as usual
predicting the plot
reaction to alew
what the arena looked like (before i rewrote halcyon)
ayo au to the au cozen (putting this in here for reference)
reaction to cozen
finnick is not allowed
reaction to quatervois
canon name reveal + original story
lacuna is everywhere
victory tour poster
reminder on ages throughout the series
how young they are
what sophomore falls for a freshman?
cosplay for gallows
blaire and gallows forever
MEET THE TRIBUTES
what divergent faction the family is in
long lost brother lucas rip
imagine the friendship??? literally??? - AU
okay so thyme... idk anymore
belamour has a secret chapter
gallows & finnick’s first time
i fucked up annie’s age in the original draft
blaire’s tribute tattoo
reaction to viduous
reed and mox’s reactions???
the careers + the dirt planter lmao
praise on how well i did
gallows is better than katniss
relieved that finnick lived
is gallows a dom or sub?
songs that give me vibes
who would finnick choose, gallows or rosecelli?
what would gallows study in college?
mox was the gay brother before i rewrote halcyon
is rosecelli and gallows from the same storyline?
personality vs looks
finnick and gallows got together in tomadachi life
caspian was gonna ask me out in tomadachi life
childhood sweetheart power couple
comparison of gallows/finnick to tony/pepper
gallows/finnick is basically tony/pepper
do not imagine alyssum watching her siblings die
johanna, swearing + gallows
would rosecelli and gallows get along?
favorite ice cream flavor?
gallows’ ex is anchor?
what about gallows/finnick being the face of the rebellion? - AU
who would win in a fight? gallows or rosecelli?
didn’t rosecelli have cousins? (fight idea cont.)
gallows/rosecelli crossover - AU
what about the other way around?
finnick wouldn’t leave gallows
gallows would pull a knife on rosecelli
what would she smell like?
she would have it but so would rosecelli
song that represents gallows/finnick
who would they be?
poly of rosecelli/gallows/finnick?
gallows being poc friendly
WHICH CHARACTER ARE YOU?
start of star signs talk
here it is!!
cursed ship last names
new convo: victor podiums
how the podiums would effect halcyon
new au incoming
here it is - AU
more to it
even more to it
it sounds cool though
rosecelli keep 6ft away challenge
gallows teasing finnick
me preparing for the tribute parade
finnick’s an ass lets be honest
prologue was a good start
chapter one making everyone nervous
finnick volunteering without thinking first
aubade is full of angst
what if rosecelli/gallows were tributes in the same games?
liking the art
what if, right?
the esmeray problem
finnicks ugly interview outfit + bonus
d4 male victor’s visual
i love this quote tbh
finnick and gallows wedding song <3
someone is afraid of death in whist
me crying at the end of whist before i released it
after reading the first chapter
its just the beginning
trading sisters for alyssum
oh yeah, she’s screwed
not expecting the end
reaction to the end of whist
idea where whist happens before tacenda - AU
more on the idea
reaction to the idea
idea that prim/alyssum are in the same games - AU
rewrite chapter one cut out
alyssum blind in her right eye
alyssum meme question
what is berceuse?
idea where gallows died on the beach
the au-au idea begins
male victor is anchor (gallow’s ex)
finnick would be so jealous
imagine the jabberjay scene
anchor comforts gallows after the jabberjays
finnick vs anchors mindset
idea where gallows stays home in catching fire
the reaction to the proposal
thyme is just scared
chapter 6 cut out
chapter 6 popped off
finnick had it coming
poor finnick (sarcasm)
oh no he’s hot - definition of caspian
thyme fucking sucks, just sayin
ding dong, thyme is dead
first date vibes
chapter 8 cut out
finnick is a golden retriever istg
blaire cut outs
worried about them getting caught
gallows is queen!!
how competent they are
haymitch as candor’s leader???
info if blaire had stayed a main
blaire and gallows dating!! imagine!!
aleatory notes :)
castigate notes :)
reaction to castigate
Dash Game :)
under the cut bc its long!
Name: Legally it’s Emily but I hate it with a passion so everyone calls me Em
Star sign: Aquarius Sun, Scorpio Moon, and Aries Rising....I only memorized those because of tiktok lmao
Height: 5 feet 5.5 inches
What’s your middle name: Rae! I’m named after my Grandma Rayna
Put your spotify/apple music/google play music/youtube music on shuffle. What are the first 6 songs that popped up?: (I used my chaos playlist which is almost everything I’ve liked since 7th grade)
1. ) The Driver - Bastille
2.) Lovely - Lauren Babic
3. ) Just My Soul Responding - Amber Run
4. ) Weapon - Bastille
5. ) Adore You - Harry Styles
6. ) Electric Love - Børns
Ever had a poem/song written about you?: I think someone in middle school wrote a poem about me but I don’t remember
When was the last time you played air guitar?: I never do air guitar, it’s always air drums and it was like a few hours ago
Who is your celebrity crush?: Most recently, Lee Pace ❤️️, but I have a lot because I am starved for love and connections in general
What’s a sound you hate; sound you love?: It depends on the day because I have sensory processing issues but I generally hate unexpected loud noises and tire squealing but I love rain, the sound of the coffee machine, and my dog snoring
Do you believe in ghosts?: Yeah, I’ve saw them when I was younger
How about Aliens?: Definitely, there is no way we are alone in the universe
Do you drive?: I have my permit but I don’t have a car to drive and driving terrifies me
If so have you crashed?: Yes, exactly 20 days after I got my permit, I was t-boned because I was going a little too slow and she was speeding....being in a car in general absolutely terrifies me now
What was the last book you read?: Physical Book was Percy Jackson Titan’s Curse but digital was definitely a teen wolf fanfiction
Do you like the smell of gasoline: Depends on the day again but generally not really, which sucks for me because my brother is a mechanic
What’s the worst Injury you’ve had?: I accidently swallowed a marble I guess? then had to have a procedure to remove it....otherwise I guess whiplash from my car accident in March... I don’t get injuries, I just get new syndromes or diseases
Do you have any obsessions right now?: The Hobbit, The Old Guard, other Sci-Fi series, and language building!! I am building a language and I am so excited to see it complete
Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?: I try not to but sometimes it happens...I have 2 right now but that’s because they are recent and what the people did was really bad
In a relationship?: Sadly, no but I am always open to it
🥴 TAGGED BY: @lizardbet (one of the smartest people I’ve ever talked to on tumblr)
🥴 TAGGING: @justaqueertree @hawkeye221b @asktheboywholived @unscriptedtimetraveler
(If you don’t want to do this, it’s chill....I don’t talk to many people so I just chose who tumblr showed when I typed in @ )
ik we all have insecurities but i think if you have one thats like. super fucking random. you should only post abt it on like idk your flopping tumblr blog or a privated twitter account idk like anywhere but on an app that literally will randomly blow up any fucking video and who shows it to literally anyone (tiktok) bc every couple of days a random person makes a vid like :(( its so cringe the way my left toe is 3mm smaller than the others and not 4mm or like anyone else wishes they were a frog faced person and not a mouse faced person (i still dont know what that one means god bless) and like. that shit spreads like a fucking disease and you get 1000 ppl going Omg I didn't know that was bad or Huh she's dating a frog faced bitxh rn i have no chances like. we need to stop inventing new things to be insecure abt every week we already have a bunch of current existing shit we need to deal with pls but most importantly : the most cursed thing abt tiktok is the FYP format