When Cyborg decides to talk about his feelings, it comes out of nowhere. It’s much more frequent than he personally could ever find comfortable. Confessions of anger, joy, or depression bubble up with little to no prompting. It was hard at first learning to deal with somebody who liked to talk through problems. If it wasn’t world-threatening, issues of all sizes went happily ignored in the Doom Patrol. Even after all this time, it still throws him for a loop at how easily Cyborg will talk about the serious stuff. They’ll be moving through their day as usual when something will click in his best friend’s head and the discussion will start whether or not he’s ready for it.

“You know, for a couple of months, I hated your guts.”

He kind of hates it a little bit. It’s great that Cy likes talking and trusts him enough to talk to him. Honestly, he loves that part. That part is exactly what he always imagined having a best friend would be like. He hates it because it’s can never be just Cy talking. Because when Cyborg decides it’s time to talk through thoughts and emotions with him, it means he’s eventually supposed to return the gesture. Even if he isn’t sure what they are sharing or why.

He chanced a glance at his teammate. Eyes still glued to the screen, not a pause in the skillful button mashing, and the normal small smirk that normally means he’s losing at their game is still firmly in place. Cy hadn’t sounded angry or even vaguely upset either. But you never can be too sure. Hopefully this wasn’t going to lead to him being in too much trouble. As his full attention swung back to the digital horde of monsters they are slaying together, he realized Cy was waiting for him to say something.

“Really?” It wasn’t really a good answer but it was usually enough for his friend. The brief distraction is enough to not only securely give Cy the lead, but also leave him surrounded by snarling mouths and lashing claws.

“Oh yeah. I absolutely hated you. Just the sight of you made me so mad.” Cyborg’s character turned around. It was a little strange, watching himself be destroyed from the split viewpoint of both victim and witness.

He doesn’t want to know. He already knows. So many people have already made sure he knows exactly what’s wrong with him. Doesn’t need to hear the person who knows him best tell him too. He’s not sure he can handle his best friend in the entire world cutting his self-esteem along the handily pre-scored lines.

“Oh…why?” There’s a dim, unhappy kind of pride in the fact that his voice doesn’t shake when he asks anyway. Because honestly, he had known the whole time. Could see it Cyborg’s face. Heard the anger ringing through in every tight lipped sentence. Read it in the tight lines of his shoulders and clenched fists. Of course he had known the older teen was mad. What he hadn’t wanted to accept was the fact it was all his fault.

But then it’s always his fault anyway. He should just stop fighting it.

In the quiet, easy synchronization that they’ve always managed to slip into, he senses his best friend’s shrug before it happens. Knows he’s not going to have to start this level again before his teammate begins mowing down the monsters that have him cornered. It takes a couple seconds of very focused combos, but eventually they’ve got the hallway cleared. Only once they start moving again does Cyborg continue dragging the conversation along.

“Because you were always so damn happy. I mean, about everything. It was like you just refused to acknowledge the fact that I was upset about this,” Cyborg made a vague movement he guessed was supposed to reference the cybernetics. “I had just lost everything. And there you were, always laughing your head off at something. Always pushing me to just move on. It was like you didn’t know what it was like to lose something that important or to hurt. You were just some kid, how on earth were you supposed to get it? What it really meant to be in pain, you know?”

His grip on the controller tightened reflexively. His best friend’s tone was still gentle and easy. Not meant to hurt. Cy is obviously trying not to spook him. But Cy’s words, no matter how kind, still shake him pretty hard. Because he does know.

Please, please, please. Anything but this.

Anything at all, but please, don’t let this be when he’s expected to share too.

“But one night I was sitting in my room hating myself and this life and everything. And I don’t know why, but some dumb thing you said came to mind. I don’t remember what it was or why I remembered it, but it made me laugh.” Something in Cy’s voice tells him that maybe today isn’t going to end in an attempt to dig up the landmines of his past. Again. Still the tension he was fighting to keep out his shoulders is slow to disappear. Cy is still talking and it’s not getting any better.

“It wasn’t until I got to know you a little better, like later on, that I realized that you were trying to help. You saw how dark a place I was right then. You were trying to bring a little light in. When I just wanted to talk about how I hated everything, you kept trying to show me why I shouldn’t. That I shouldn’t give up on myself. But that just made you seem so much better, you know?” His focus is split between their video game and attempting to shove all the sharp-edged thoughts back where they belong.

Cy doesn’t know but he does. Forgetting the bad things and thinking of the better, brighter things instead is better. Maybe sometimes you might have to make your own better things, but it still works. Sometimes you have to pile up all those shiny new better things as high as you possibly can before it will work. But eventually it works. That’s really what counts.

Cy laughed dryly as their avatars leapt across a chasm. A subtle gleam ahead beckoned them forwards. They were finally drawing in on the level’s prize. Or maybe it was another save point or just another boss fight. Or hope against hopes, it was finally the right castle and the princess was just around the corner. The storylines and quests from all the different games they are working through are hard to separate. It’s all a really big blur of expansion packs and power ups at this point.

“Honestly, that made me even madder at you. I didn’t like you because you were trying to help me. Which just made you try even harder.” The quiet laughter continued as they crept across a tiny bridge lit by flickering pixelated torches.

“It’s not a big deal.” He mumbles, trying to sound distracted and not uncomfortable. Because it isn’t a big deal. All he’s ever wanted was to help. Even if he’s not very good at being helpful, he still likes to try. So he gives fumbling lessons in slang he doesn’t completely understand. He deals with aching shoulders from repeated joint locks and ices friction burns. Sits against a shared wall and thinks thoughts so bright, it makes his eyes sting. He figures out combo strings and tries not to accidently destroy their battered game station again. It’s not a big deal but it’s all he can do.

“Well maybe not to you,” Cy’s tone is still mostly kind but there is something else in his voice. Something that makes the spaces between his words louder. “Because that’s just how you are. But it was a big deal to me. You are always there, even when I don’t want you to be. And I never remember to thank you.”

He doesn’t know what to credit the stress in Cy’s voice to. He doesn’t know why Cy likes to pull this stuff up from the past. But he does know this whole conversation is stressing him out and his discomfort is starting to bleed through. And his turn to share is rapidly approaching unless something happens.

So he flips the little mental panic switch in his head.

“Dude, like I said, it’s not a big deal!” Bright and cheerful, just like the smile. Not too tense or too forced, just enough to show he’s at ease. Chin up, throat bared to show confidence. Relaxed shoulders, fingers settling with confidence around the controller in his hands. He sinks into a slouch, practiced comfort in every loose line.

Maybe he should talk. It couldn’t be that horrible to stop running away from this kind discussion. Especially with Cy. His best friend who has kept his secrets and shared in so much of his life. It shouldn’t be this difficult to just talk. Nobody can run from their issues forever. But he lets his character race towards the light now sparkling from the entrance of this level’s final stage instead.

The Cat Who Lived

My cat has cancer.

Large cell stomach cancer. Had it been small cell, he’d have a good chance of recovery, they said. But this is large cell.

Stop talking about What You Could Have Done If It Were Different and TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH THE REALITY I HAVE, I thought.

This was the beginning of December. They said I could start him on chemotherapy, but it would be more a Quality of Life thing than a fix. Especially as he also has a thyroid problem. And arthritis. They hinted I might consider euthanasia. They said he would be dead by the end of January.

My cat is still alive.

Through the first couple chemo doses, I stayed up with him all night. Making sure he had fluids. Making sure he ate a little every few hours. Making sure he kept the food down and giving anti-nausea pills if he could not.

He has a cream for his thyroid and I give him shots for his arthritis, and vitamin B12 shots as well.

He tolerates this as well as can be expected. Some days he’s more annoyed than others. But he’s still plugging away. His brain is still sharp as ever.

You have to understand, he was my first cat. I found him at a shelter. He’d had bad experiences with humans so it took some time for him to trust me. Since my previous pet experience was my family’s pug (a very cat-like dog), I inadvertently approached him as such. I taught him words.

This cat has as large a command vocabulary as my pug had. At feeding time, I’d tell him to go sit and he’d go to the kitchen and hit the specific mark where he’s supposed to sit. If he’s not precisely on the mark, I can repeat the command and he will scoot over the inch or two to be precisely on his mark.

He knows how to heel without a leash when we go on walks. I can allow him to get ahead of me to explore and then call him back and he’ll come. He’ll complain at me (“Meow, meow, meow!”), but he’ll come.

He also likes to play games on tablets and phones. But only if he can win. He doesn’t like games that go on forever, he wants a Decisive Victory. It’s pretty funny.

The vet techs at the cancer center are constantly amazed by him, his good nature, his chill personality. We go in without a carrier and hang out. He purrs.

Monday he got an ultrasound. 

What cancer had been destroyed over the previous weeks, grew back. 

My cat now has to undergo a second round of chemotherapy. 

And yes, I’ve already decided that’s what we’re doing. We’re going down fighting.

I was told by one disapproving person that they would have euthanized the cat at the beginning rather than spend the money on chemo. So I knifed them.

No I didn’t.

Bloodstains are sooo difficult to get out.

But they are correct, it is expensive. So…. if you’ve been on the fence about purchasing my writing, or ever even vaguely considered maybe buying one of my books, I would encourage you that now would be the time to do so. You could think of it as a donation, with the book as your free gift. Most of my ebooks are the same price as one cup of coffee. You’d buy me a coffee, right?

In any case, please keep us in your thoughts.

I'm not going to lie:

I’m not a baseball game; you only get one strike.

One shitty comment here on tumblr is all it takes for me to hit “ignore” and I don’t think twice about it. I follow 159 blogs and I’ve blocked 817. If your Feedist Confession hasn’t been published, then you’ve probably made the list. Moreover, you’ve probably DESERVED to make the list.

Welcome to ignoresville: population YOU.

My second column is up in the latest issue of Strange Horizons! \o/ Communities: You Got Your Industry in my Fanwork discusses the changes to book blogging culture, creators interacting with fanwork and fan communities, and lots of things we were likely debating back in the 1970s, just with different names. Nothing new, except my perspective. :D

Other parts of the issue available now:

FICTION: Difference of Opinion, by Meda Kahn
FICTION: Podcast: Difference of Opinion, by Meda Kahn, read by Anaea Lay
POETRY: Triptych, by Jane Crowley
REVIEW: NOS4R2 by Joe Hill, reviewed by Katherine Farmar

Drabble commissions open! Drabbles to end lupus!

(Because sometimes it IS lupus, and it sucks.)

Some friends of mine are walking this weekend in the DC Walk to End Lupus Now. To support the hell out of them, I am offering up my fic-writing services! For a $5 donation to the team, I will write you AT LEAST (I have a terrible habit of going over) 200 words of fic, or ONE DOUBLE DRABBLE. If you’d like two 100-word drabbles instead, just say so!

I will do this for any fandom that I know. Check my DW tags if you don’t know what I do. I am mostly Transformers at the moment, but FOR GREAT SCIENCE RESEARCH I am willing to do anything that I have enough knowledge in my brains to do or can reasonably make up. You want some crazy crossover? I LOVE CRAZY CROSSOVERS. You want that weird pairing? WEIRD PAIRINGS GIVE ME LIFE. You want a weird kink? ANYTHING FOR SCIENCE. You want WoW panda ridiculousness? I PROBABLY KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THAT FOR 100 WORDS, SURE, LET’S DO IT.

I will back out only if I honestly do not know the character or fandom/setting. Otherwise, YOU ARE ON, BABY.

And Tumblr folks? I’m gonna spam reblog you with this for a few days. Sorry!!
EDIT: And unfortunately, they DO NOT take Paypal, but if you can’t/won’t do a credit card, let me know at white.aster on gmail and I will let you paypal me, and I will donate in your stead! It’s the best workaround I can think of!



What Leon Tao (maybe) tells us about the Machine

So giandujakiss’s complaint that Tao seemed sort of shoehorned into the latest episode kind of got me thinking.

My headcanon has been that the Machine is coaxing Finch and Reese into relying on Tao more and more – and vice versa, of course – presumably for the reason that he’ll be invaluable if Finch is kidnapped again, or is otherwise incapacitated.

I think there’s a good argument to be made, in fact, that at one point the Machine either planned for Tao to replace Finch, or else chose for complex Machinely reasons to act as though it did.

Keep reading

compromised-by-castiel asked:

Clint/Phil No. 20 Please I need more Clint/Phil kisses. The world needs more Clint/Phil kisses. It's been a bad week

(Kissing meme: free choice smooch!)

Phil knows that getting exasperated with Barton will be of no assistance to the situation, but the man can be infuriatingly obstinate. Usually for his own amusement. He’s refusing to climb up into the sniper box without a packed lunch. Apparently he has been forgotten up there in the past, and Phil has a simultaneous sympathy for how damaging to morale being forgotten can be, and how completely appealing it would be to tuck Barton out of sight and out of mind for a few hours.

“You won’t be forgotten,” he repeats. “I’ll be at the other end of your comm, and I doubt you can be quiet long enough for me to forget you.“

"What if you turn the comms off?” Barton counters. “What if something really important happens and I get left up there?“

"If something important happens then I have no doubt that I’ll be pulling the key marksman down in order to assist with the situation,” Phil replies. “Unless you are unwilling to perform your duties, in which case I request that you exit the field now and stop wasting my time.”

“Ouch,” Barton replies, forcing his face into an exaggerated expression of grumpiness. “You’ve hurt my feelings now. I can’t go up in the box like this. I’m emotionally compromised.“

"Then I have no use for you,” Phil replies flatly. 

Barton snorts. “I don’t see a spare sniper around here,” he says loftily. Phil holds a hand out for the rifle, and Barton isn’t schooled enough to keep the mild surprise from showing in his face. Phil is still early in his career as mission control, and he’s not a sniper by trade. But he’s stubborn and he’s a lucky shot, which isn’t an ideal skill but it’s better than nothing. 

“Tell you what,” Barton says after a moment of consideration. “I’ll skip the packed lunch on two conditions.“ He rushes on before Phil can turn the compromise down. “Firstly, I want to be down before I burn to a crisp up there, okay?”

Phil doesn’t make promises that he can’t keep, so he waits patiently for the second condition.

“Secondly, I’m going to need you to kiss my hurt feelings better.”

Phil stares blankly at Barton, and the man offers his cheek up. There are other field agents watching the exchange, because Barton has a reputation for disobedience and watching a control get taken down a peg or two is something that every agent enjoys. If Phil denies Barton, he’s down a sniper. If he indulges him, he loses authority that he barely has a grip on as it is. He takes the middle road.

Slowly, so Barton can track every movement, Phil lifts his left forefinger to his lips and presses a simple, chase kiss to the tip. The he reaches out, and presses the tip of his finger to Barton’s cheek. Barton smirks at him, amused.

“That’s all you got?” he asks.

Phil tilts his head in a motion that resembles a shrug. “All you deserve,” he replies simply. Barton’s eyebrow quirks in amusement, and his mouth splits into a grin.

“I expect you to have a fucking juice box or something ready for me when I get down,” he calls over his shoulder as he starts up the ladder. Phil watches his progress without comment. He’s going to leave that punk up in the box all afternoon if he can.

Going Flat Out - Transformers (Sideswipe/Sunstreaker/Blurr) - IDW - PG

First fic for my drabbles to end lupus-a-thon! Ladydragon76 was kind enough to make a donation, and so I wrote her this! And if you think that $5 for 200 words of fic is too much, might I remind everyone and use this fic as Exhibit A : I often write way more than you donated for. ^_^;;

Anyway! She asked for some Blurr with my choice of side, and so she gets some shippy Twins/Blurr. I will firmly label this an AU to IDW, as I don’t know enough about IDW Blurr and Twins to know if this could actually have happened in canon. I also admit that I don’t know much about drag racing, so any mistakes are totally the fault of my internet-fu.

Going Flat Out

It took a lot of convincing. Partly because, really, SALT. Blurr bitched about how bad the traction would probably be. Sunny bitched about what it would do to his paint.

But Sideswipe had a vision.



The work of an editor, in its most boiled-down, basic form, is to be a professional reader. It’s our job to be able to look at a work at any stage, from concept to final product, and be able to speak to not only its creator’s intentions, but the response it’ll evoke in its audience. We straddle the space between creative and commercial, artistic vision and the gritty necessities of production. Editors chart the course of publishing lines and publications. We brainstorm with writers to solve story problems. We assemble creative teams; set deadlines; facilitate revisions; supervise layout; place word balloons. And yes, some of us will fix your apostrophes.


That’s the last of the blog backlog! I’ll continue to post links here as I go;  you can also follow directly at

compromised-by-castiel asked:

Clint/Phil No. 16

(Kissing meme: upside-down kiss)

“No,” Phil says firmly. 

“Why not?”

“It’s impractical, for one. Dangerous, even,” Phil replies, and Clint snorts at him.

“Come on,” Clint goads. “You can’t tell me that this’ll work for Spider-man but it won’t work for me.“

Phil gives Clint a flat look. “Thank you for bringing seventeen year olds into this,” he says. “That has really added to the romance of the moment.”

"I knew you’d get into it,” Clint replies, grabbing Phil’s tie and tugging him closer. Phil sighs heavily, but he indulges Clint with a relatively pleasant kiss. Plenty of lip and just a little dash of tongue. And then, while Clint is grinning smugly, Phil grabs the shoulders of Clint’s uniform and yanks down with all his weight, sending Clint sprawling onto the ground.

“Ow,” Clint protests.

“I warned you that it was dangerous.”

Clint scowls up at Phil, rubbing the shoulder he had landed on. After a moment, his expression shifts into something of a leer. “Gonna kiss me better?”

Phil rolls his eyes and hauls Clint to his feet. “You’re incorrigible.”

Doctor's Orders - Transformers - Ratchet, Optimus Prime - G

Doctor’s Orders by White Aster (white_aster) (on AO3)

Summary: Five times Ratchet saved Optimus Prime’s life, and one time Optimus returned the favor. Gen.

Notes:  For Judusart on Tumblr! A pinch-hit for the tformersgiftexchange2014.  Also, though parts of this are in chronological order, they don’t all happen one right after the other.


Medicines heal doubts as well as diseases. ~Karl Marx

It didn’t take Ratchet long to learn that with Optimus Prime…it was worst if he was quiet.

Whether the pain was physical or mental, Prime was not one to scream in pain or yell for a medic. With physical wounds, this was bad enough (Prime had once keeled over after slowly bleeding himself nearly dry because “there were others who were more gravely injured.”)

With psychological wounds, it was more subtle…but just as potentially devastating. Read more… )



Meme for ficwriters
(Stolen from the wonderful Ultharkitty!)

This is part B of my nefarious plan to encourage fanwriters to self-rec more. Please spread this around, repost or reblog or anything, I’d like to get as many people joining in as possible :)

1. Fic you’re most proud of and why.

A Day in the Life of Dr. Rafael Esquivel, Ph.D. (Transformers Prime, gen). This story came out of absolutely nowhere, fully-formed and practically an episode of the show-complete. I’m not so good at real plot, as opposed to just relationships and banter, so I was so freaking proud that this had a beginning, middle, and end, a problem to be solved, some nice characterization, and overall…I was just really happy with this. Also, it didn’t die out in the middle and is actually finished, which is more than I could say about a lot of my other longish things.

2. Fic that got more attention than you were expecting.
First (Avatar: the Last Airbender futurefic, Iroh/Toph, explicit). And that description’s pretty much the reason that I didn’t think this would get much attention. It’s really a strange pairing, and I think it started as a strange suggestion on the kinkmeme and I just went “…wait, I can do that. I CAN DO THAT AND MAKE IT BELIEVABLE, YOU JUST WATCH ME.” So I did, and this has consistently stayed in my top-10 most-hit stories on AO3.

3. Fic that you’d like to see get more attention.
I dunno…I’d say Warrior Goddess (Transformers, gen) or Dreaming of Electric Sheep (Transformers/Inception crossover, gen), because they will be REALLY COOL when they’re completely written. But I can’t blame anyone for not paying attention to those, as they’re not even remotely finished or even really properly started and the main plots haven’t been updated in forever. Lacking all that, I encourage folks to check out Morale Officer (Transformers, Ratchet-centric, genfic currently with smut perhaps coming sooner rather than later) and Prima’s Blessing (Transformers G1, explicit religious orgyfic), as those are probably most likely to be updated soon.



Dreamwidth Update: Juuuukeboooooox!

The other awesome thing in life currently is that it is Jukebox time of year!

The nomination period ends in about, uh, 13 hours. But there is still time! There is a list of nominated songs on the community.

In addition to writing for the exchange, this year it is accepting podfic! So if you have fic that is based on songs and would like to let participants know a: if they can use it and b: where to find it, where is also a post collecting that information. You don’t need to be signed up to participate to link stuff!

But you should sign up if you can, because Jukebox is awesome.