Harry Styles’ solo album might be the most anticipated debut this side of the millennium. Following years as the bullseye in the global behemoth that was One Direction, the singer is taking center stage with a self-titled effort that’s a classic cocktail of psychedelia, Britpop, and balladry. If it was a color, it would be the baby blue of Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Stratocaster or the soft pink of Mick Jagger’s suit when he performed on “Top Of The Pops” in 1971. It’s rock and it’s roll, but it’s also soft and sensitive. Produced by Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Fun.) it’s a record that could force the position of mainstream radio by ushering in a reprise of proper music — ensembles, verse-chorus-verse, rich instrumentation, or, basically, Adele’s bag of tricks.

Despite the red herring of lead single ‘Sign Of The Times’ (it clocks in at just under six minutes in length), the album is a short shrift 40 minutes and contains ten songs that are largely about women. Unlike Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake before him, there’s a deepened millennial sensibility to being a leading man. Harry is a sensitive soul; A post-Drake phenomenon; A serious pop performer with enviable vocal chops and a gifted ability to convey a song’s emotional heft. He oozes class, ease and a sense of import without thrusting forth from the hips, or wreaking of a self-satisfied sense of boyband emancipation. Both respectful of his past and nervous for his future, “Harry Styles,” the album, looks both ways. - Variety

Read on for a track-by-track:

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Fly away from here

Author: @waywardkitten
Featuring: Wincest
Written for: @immortalwriter​ Wincest AU challenge
Prompt: Wincest soulmate AU
Rating: Mature
Word count: 1785
Summary: In a world where a soulmark appears on your body at the age of seventeen in a shape identical to your soulmate’s, waking up on your 17th birthday with the same exact mark as your brother may be..frowned upon
Tags/Warnings: John Winchester’s A+ parenting, mentions of violence, weecest, Bobby is good people, flangst, hurt/comfort
A/N: I rated this as an M because of mentions of and descriptions of the results of violence. (If you’re too young too read about sex then you’re too young to read about violence) No smut here though, just angst and fluff. I might do a continuation of this one if there is any interest, so please let me know.
Kind words & feedback are food to a creative mind ♡

Originally posted by writingissatansworstnightmare

     “Why can’t I see him?”

Dean refused to let up. His dad had been avoiding him all morning, muttering something about Sam being ‘very, very sick’ and needed to go to their Uncle Bobby’s to be looked after in case it was something not a hundred percent natural in the works.

     “Dammit, Dean, I said no!”

Dean let the hand holding the clumsily wrapped present fall to his side.
     “But it’s his birthday”, Dean objected in a slightly unsure tone.

John turned to him with a glare that promised torture and imminent death to anyone who dared defy him. It was a glare Dean recognised all too well; it was usually reserved for the monsters they hunt.
     “Drop. It”

His voice was poison.
     “Fine”, Dean bit out, turning on his heel and slamming the front door behind him as he stormed off. He needed a drink.

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The Red String: Prologue + Ch. 1

Rating: Eventual M

Pairing: Reylo

Summary: Rey waited her entire life for a sense of purpose… to find where she belonged. She thought she would find it with the Resistance, or perhaps it awaited her on Ahch-To. Instead, it found her, leading Rey to realize that the ties that truly bind are no stronger than a single, thin, red string.

Read: or Archive of Our Own

Status:  Prologue + Chapter 1 of 28

Notes: An epic, canon continuation of TFA.  This was definitely a labor of love, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Slow-burn Reylo, Angst, Romance.  Please do not read if strong themes may be triggering for you, or if you generally prefer fluffy material – this is not the story you are looking for.  :D


A bygone legend of a forgotten people once said:
destiny is dictated by a thin, red string.

A binding force, infallible, it stretches across the galaxy, from one soul to another.
Time, distance, and circumstance have no bearing upon it.
It does not bend to one’s will, nor can it be severed.
Simply, it exists as fate wills it to.

If one were to follow the string, they would find where such fate leads:
A road they were meant to walk;
A cross they were meant to bear;
A life they were meant to lead;
Or a heart they were meant to love.
All are placed in the hands of another: the one at the other end.
And one would find themselves bonded to them inescapably.
The other, their own selves bound in return,
like one soul split into two.

Apart, each end struggles against the tide.
But the answers they seek lie ahead, not behind,
and to find them is the greatest journey, because
through all, the red thread runs, though some may never discover it.
For those unfortunate souls, such a wondrous phenomenon is impossible to fathom.
For the lucky, star-crossed ones who do, the thin, red string is everything.

When lost, one need only pull on the thread and hold tight,
for it cannot and will not break – steadfast in even the darkest hour.
But oh, when blessed, how each end will meet
and find where they are meant to be:
Their belonging, prophetically;
Together, finding the balance they seek.

anonymous asked:

Thanks for being kind to my wallet man. Anyways, I'm sorry if I offended you in anyway by saying "you Ichirukis". I just came by your blog and you seem to be a pretty knowledgeable dude and thus I asked you a question. Hostile little shit? Really? I'm being called a godamn hopeless imbecile here. Maybe you've just read my msg in a different tone as there is an absence of non-verbal communication here. I didn't say anything about you owing me shit man, you just interpreted that way.

And when you are referring to normal people, there tends to be cross cultural differences sometimes. So whatever you consider as being a normal person might not be the same for somebody else. In your terms I sound and act like a hostile IH so I’m not considered a normal person right? I wasn’t paying too much attention to the Bleach media from start to finish so I don’t know all the nitty gritty details such as sales and such. But yeah you’re right. If you don’t want explain you don’t have to.

Oh my god, an apology. Well, now I’ve seen everything.

Alright, look. I’m having a bit of an experience at the moment, perhaps most accurately summarized by Jules from Pulp Fiction going “The truth is…you’re the weak, and I am the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.” So I’m going to accept your apology, and take it for granted that you didn’t mean to come across nearly as condescendingly as you did. 

Given that, I too will apologize for my behavior. When I see aggression, I get aggressive. It’s just habit. Trigger-happy IFF. So, I’m sorry for insulting you with gratuitous ad hominem. Let me advise that you consider your tone more carefully in the future.

With that said, let me attempt to answer your original question sincerely in a compact fashion without writing a goddamn thesis, because I still don’t want to put in the time to do that. Bleach had exactly three things going for it:

  1. The uniqueness of the IchiRuki relationship and their individual characters. Ichigo and Rukia are unique because they are somewhere between being deuteragonists and Rukia being a supporting protagonist. I would say that she is a “hidden deuteragonist,” in that her influence is constantly felt, even when she isn’t present. Ichigo is not a normal shounen protagonist, like Gintoki, Luffy, Naruto, Goku, or Kenshiro. He doesn’t have a vision or a goal, and he’s a terrible tsundere. Rukia, however, does. Rukia sets Ichigo on his way and enables him to do what he does, and she repeatedly keeps him in check when he flounders. She is what enables him to function. He is what enables her to influence things. They are two parts of a whole, and neither is operational or very effective without the other. This “split soul” phenomenon is unique to them, was a hallmark of the early manga, and echoed on throughout. Although its promise was by no means always lived up to, it was there, and it’s a major part of why IR is a thing.
  2. Character design in general. I’ll give Kubo this: he’s usually good at fashion and drafting relatively memorable characters. (Even if he starts to recycle faces after awhile; it’s not like Dragon Ball/Z/GT/etc., One Piece, and so on don’t.) They tend to have unique designs, if not wholly unique or fleshed out personalities. He’s very good at creating the illusion of depth using them. Over the run of the series, pretty much everyone was able to find a character they liked, if not several.
  3. Mystery. A lot of the shit that happens in Bleach is unexplained, or was kicked down the road for as long as possible before being explained. A lot of it was never explained, stuff like “What was Yoruichi’s bankai? / What was her zanpakutou? / Why can she turn into a cat?” “Who were the other two Great Noble Houses?” “What was the deal with the Soul King?” “How did Soul Society really get started?” “What was up with Komamura?” “What was up with Don Kanonji?” “What was up with Ururu and Jinta?” The list goes on and on. Mystery is alluring, as the writers of Lost quickly figured out.

You will notice what I didn’t mention: fighting, worldbuilding, and plot. So let’s go over those quickly.

  • Fighting: Bleach’s fights suck. Someone dramatically teleports behind someone else leading to a shocked expression. Someone slices someone else’s arm off. Whoever reveals how their powers work first loses. Everybody gets new, “hiddener, worser” powers. It wasn’t so bad through the Soul Society arc because it was still fresh, but the more power-creep set in, the worse it got. Bleach doesn’t use powers in interesting ways like One Piece or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It doesn’t handle a constant ramping up of the stakes as well as Dragon Ball/etc. It doesn’t have the technical interest of Naruto. It’s extremely boring and repetitive. As a battle manga, it’s shit.
  • Worldbuilding: Bleach’s worldbuilding is a shadow puppet show. It’s literally Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: the illusion of depth and meaning which you only process as such because nothing calls it into question. This isn’t to say Kubo didn’t plan some things (I would say that the theological essence of Soul Society and its cycle of reincarnation makes more sense than most organized religions, since it answers a lot of basic questions like “Where do new souls come from?”) but there were many things he simply couldn’t be bothered with.
  • Plot: It’s rather apparent, and has been for a number of years, that Kubo reshuffled the plot on the way to the conclusion of the Soul Society arc. That said, the plot was still good up until then. The Arrancar arc was serviceable, Hueco Mundo was bad, and things went downhill from there. The reappearance of the Quincy in Thousand-Year Blood War was a massive retcon and plot hole that makes no real sense.

Now here’s the thing. The Mystery aspect of Bleach was bound up in the Plot and Worldbuilding. The more the latter two fell apart, the more the former became threadbare and could be clearly seen as an effort to string readers along. So much of Bleach’s “promise” turned out to be a polar bear on a tropical island.

The Character design also became wrapped up in Worldbuilding and Fighting, as characters often had no other means to advance, grow, or define themselves, and were relegated to bit parts other than to turn up every two years in some insignificant tussle. The continuing cast bloat only made this worse, as did the dramatically skewed nature of fan favorites.

What didn’t change was IchiRuki. I would argue it didn’t advance as it should have, and rather more objectively, every effort was made to push them into the background in favor of the other five elements, but they were at least consistent throughout, which is why so many people looked forward to their interactions, no matter how fleeting. It was solid all the way up until the final 5 or so chapters, once Kubo had clearly decided to implement his subversive “ending” (what with Tsukishima taking Rukia’s primary role, and so on).

Anybody who wasn’t around for that reason was holding onto vain hope about the Mystery, because of sunk cost fallacy, or were just trying to support their favorite characters or other ships. That’s the god’s honest truth. Bleach’s numbers started to tank after Soul Society and were abysmal by the time of Lost Substitute Shinigami. The sudden end of Bleach was Shueisha finally pulling the plug and disconnecting life support.

Now, you can say that nothing I’ve said here is proof, and that would be true, this is all summary. The proof is out there though (although I cannot be bothered to assemble it all for you), and I think any honest reader would admit the truth of my analysis even without it.

tl;dr IchiRuki is the only consistent positive of Bleach, which is otherwise a subpar fashion manga which never deserved to be counted among the big three on any other merits.

Title:  The Red String

Written By:  KristinaMarie
(Tumblr name: reylovesren)

Chapters currently posted: Prologue + chapter 5 of 28


Rated M for future chapters.  Appropriately tagged on AO3.

Summary:  Rey waited her entire life for a sense of purpose… to find where she belonged. She thought she would find it with the Resistance, or perhaps it awaited her on Ahch-To. But instead, it found her, leading Rey to realize that the ties that truly bind are no stronger than a single, thin, red string.

A bygone legend of a forgotten people once said: 
destiny is dictated by a thin, red string.

A binding force, infallible, it stretches across the galaxy, from one soul to another.
Time, distance, and circumstance have no bearing upon it.
It does not bend to one’s will, nor can it be severed.
Simply, it exists as fate wills it to.

If one were to follow the string, they would find where such fate leads:
A road they were meant to walk;
A cross they were meant to bear;
A life they were meant to lead;
Or a heart they were meant to love.
All are placed in the hands of another: the one at the other end.
And one would find themselves bonded to them inescapably.
The other, their own selves bound in return,
like one soul split into two.

Apart, each end struggles against the tide.
But the answers they seek lie ahead, not behind,
and to find them is the greatest journey, because
through all, the red thread runs, though some may never discover it.
For those unfortunate souls, such a wondrous phenomenon is impossible to fathom.
For the lucky, star-crossed ones who do, the thin, red string is everything.

When lost, one need only pull on the thread and hold tight,
for it cannot and will not break – steadfast in even the darkest hour.
But oh, when blessed, how each end will meet
and find where they are meant to be:
Their belonging, prophetically;
Together, finding the balance they seek.

Tsukkiyama Fest

Day 17: Soul Mate/Tattoo AU

Title: Oh

Summary: Tsukishima’s always hated the Soul Mark he was born with. When it starts to grow - a sign that he’s met his soul mate - his relationships start to fall apart.

For the eleventh day in a row, Tsukishima woke an extra half hour early to paint a layer of concealer over his neck and shoulder. 

His Soul Mark - a unique tattoo that everyone was born with - had started to change. In the last eleven days, what was originally a cracker-sized marking on his neck had stretched its lines down and over his left shoulder and onto his chest and back. Society viewed this as a good thing. The development of a Soul Mark meant you were ready for your soul mate to enter your life. If the tattoo was extending as quickly as his was, that person was already there, nearby, waiting for recognition.

He regarded the mirror with scorn. Tsukishima hated the marking on his neck. Its lines were a dull greenish color that only looked different from veins by their specific and measured design. As a child he had cried when he first noticed his Soul Mark. It was ugly, he complained. It looked like a bruise. Was he dying? He remembered his brother scooping him up into his arms and laughing while swinging him from side to side. No, no, his brother had told him while laughing, Not at all. It’s a Soul Mark.

A Soul Mark? he asked. He clung to his brother’s sweater and listened.

That’s right, his brother continued. We were all born with one. It grows a little bigger when you find someone you love. And when your Soul Mark looks like their Soul Mark, it means you get to be happy together forever.

Even at five, Tsukishima found this explanation suspicious. Happy wasn’t something people felt all the time. His parents were supposed to be soul mates, but he had heard them throw insults like knives and slam doors in each other’s faces. He had been on the receiving end of such spats and knew that things like soul mates were nothing against the temptation of hot, relentless reaction.

He had discredited the Soul Mark phenomenon from a young age and so believed that the marking would stay the same for the rest of his life. How could it impact someone who didn’t believe in it?

Apparently, by depriving them of sleep. He double checked his application of makeup and added dabs here and there to make sure the skin blended seamlessly. Even though he had an undershirt, a sweater, and the military-style school outer jacket to conceal his skin all day long, he didn’t want to take the chance that someone would look at his neck a little too long and notice something different. Plus, he’d have to change later for volleyball practice. If those guys knew about his Soul Mark, he’d never hear the end of it, and he was currently more than content with the minimal interaction that went on between his team mates and himself.

He grabbed the concealer as he walked out of the bathroom, throwing it in his bag for a mid-day pre-practice touch-up. He was starting to feel bad for the girls who did their makeup every day, but only marginally, because at least they had a choice in the matter.

He snagged a couple of hard boiled eggs from the fridge and headed outside, peeling and eating them as he walked to Yamaguchi’s house. Yamaguchi was Tsukishima’s best friend, maybe even his only real friend. Since middle school they had been inseparable, taking family trips together and testing into the same high school and advanced classes.

That’s why Yamaguchi was the hardest person for Tsukishima to keep the Soul Mark a secret from. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Yamaguchi to keep quiet about it. If anyone had his back, it was Yamaguchi. He just didn’t want to disappoint Yamaguchi by telling him day after day that, no, he still hadn’t discovered who his soul mate was, and that he frankly didn’t care. Unlike Tsukishima, Yamaguchi thought the Soul Mark was romantic and kind of sweet. It simplified things and gave people something to look forward to, he had explained once.

Privately, he feared that if people kept asking about a soul mate he might start to want one. Since he’d lived with argumentative Soul Mark match soul mates for fifteen years, he knew that was a situation he never wanted to find himself in.

“Tsukki!” Yamaguchi called from up ahead. “Good morning!”

“Morning,” Tsukishima replied with a nod.

“Uggh, so this morning I could not find my phone. I think I flung it in my sleep again. My alarm was going off for like an hour.” And just like that, they rolled into conversation with one another, discussing the mundane details of their everyday lives. Tsukishima didn’t ever ask for this excess of personal information, but he felt a little on edge when he didn’t hear it. In exchange for the riveting story of the raging-mother-Yamaguchi-who-eventually-found-the-phone-beneath-a-pile-of-dirty-laundry, Tsukishima complained about how he’d been waking up earlier than usual over the past few weeks.

“I bet it’s my neighbor,” he lied boredly. “I used to hear him on the phone at four in the morning in the summer. Our walls are paper thin. He’s probably yelling or something and waking me up.”

Yamaguchi made a noncommittal noise and gazed ahead. Tsukishima had been complaining about his tiredness ever since Yamaguchi noticed it, which was the day he first started covering his marks up. He should’ve known better than to think that Yamaguchi wouldn’t have noticed even the slightest change in his behavior. Although they had kept up with their inside jokes and jabs at others, Tsukishima detected that Yamaguchi was growing gradually more resentful towards him. It was there in his certain silences, in the stiffness of his shoulders, in the brief disbelieving pout he wore the moment before he’d turn away. It pissed Tsukishima off. His Soul Mark was driving a wedge between them, but he was just as unwilling to divulge the truth as he was to lose his best friend.

They exchanged few words before the teacher arrived to their homeroom. With every topic Tsukishima brought up, Yamaguchi gave little more than a polite smile and awkward hair twist. Tsukishima’s chest panged from Yamaguchi’s disregard, but he told himself it was just indigestion from breakfast. He pulled out his notebooks and pens for class when he noticed something on his hand.

No, he thought to himself. Not again. Not now. Not already. A chill passed through him, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. It’s just dirt. Or ink from a pen. It’s nothing. His eyes glanced furtively around the room. When he felt confident that everyone was giving most of their attention to their teacher and papers, he unfurled the fingers of his left hand, just enough to see his palm.

The Soul Mark. A cold sweat dampened his forehead and made his palms sweaty. A series of circles and lines that looked more like the markings of a spell had crept down from his forearm, over his wrist, and onto the palm of his hand. Exactly like Yamaguchi’s, he realized in a panic. The two had compared each other’s Soul Marks many times, as friends were apt to do. Yamaguchi’s looked just like the one drawing itself into his palm now, except on his right hand. As he watched, the mark continued to crawl over his skin with languorous purpose. He rubbed his thumb into his palm furiously. It was horrifying to watch his body mutate against his will, and he resisted the urge to get sick right there in class.

He must’ve drawn attention to himself in some way, because Yamaguchi, who had previously been actively ignoring Tsukishima, was giving him a weird look. He clenched his left hand into a fist and shoved it into his lap, wiping off the sweat on his forehead with his right hand and looking down at his paper. There was no way was he going to let anyone see the mark - especially not Yamaguchi. He’d have to start wearing a bandage on his hand, or gloves. Maybe he could even burn his hand and keep it covered for a while.

Fuck, he remembered. Volleyball. How was he going to block or serve without showing his palm?

His desperation rose. Never mind volleyball. What was Yamaguchi going to do after he found out that because of some stupid social construct, their relationship was supposed to change?

Expletives and dread filled Tsukishima’s mind. He did his best to adjust his posture, to calm his racing heart, and to remind himself that allowing air to enter and exit his lungs was an excellent way to maintain a look of normalcy. His first class of the morning passed without him noticing a moment of it. He avoided Yamaguchi between classes, putting on his headphones or dismissing himself to the bathroom and walking the halls for the few minutes of break instead. He hardly took any notes all day, focusing instead on keeping the roaring nerves in his stomach down to a tolerable mum.

Lunch time came and the usual meal shared between Tsukishima and Yamaguchi was uncomfortable and strained. Tsukishima had been able to hide the mark on his palm with foundation during one of his breaks, but he used the hand awkwardly, as if he had already carried through with his idea of burning it

“Um. Are you okay?” Yamaguchi asked him, glancing between Tsukishima’s hand and his face. “You’ve been, um. A little off today. Are you sick?”

When he had been sick before, Yamaguchi had been a lot more sensitive than he was being now. Kinder. More generous. Half-dragging him to the nurses’s office before Tsukishima had even decided he wanted to go. Tsukishima noticed the lack of his pet name “Tsukki” most prominently, and added its absence to his list of miseries for the day.

“No,” he deadpanned, lifting a bite of rice into his mouth. Being sick was a great alibi, but facing the nurse would’ve meant an earful of Soul Mark prattle, which would have made Tsukishima legitimately ill. He could get through the school day fine, but there was no way to play volleyball without foundation rubbing off on the ball every time he touched it. He had another excuse prepared for that.

“Well,” Yamaguchi added with a huff. “I guess that’s good.” They finished their meals quietly, and afterwards Yamaguchi went to talk to his friends in another class. Tsukishima put his headphones on and wondered how tomorrow was going to go if today was already this bad. He’d just have to figure it all out somehow. How to make Yamaguchi happy again. How to hide his Soul Mark from everyone around him. How to play a sport that involved the one body part he didn’t want to show.

Because if his Soul Mark was exposed, Yamaguchi would see right away that it looked exactly like his own. A matching pair of marks was essentially a prison sentence from the universe. Yamaguchi was going to think he had no choice but to stay with him. If he was already aggravating Yamaguchi this much, then how much was Yamaguchi going to want to stick around? 

He was unwilling to make him feel like that. Trapped. Stuck. It was awful to think about, let alone actualize. So he would keep the Soul Mark a secret, to give his own version of protection to the relationship he valued most.

Class started up again and passed much like the first part of the morning did. At the end of the day, Yamaguchi and Tsukishima both headed towards the gym for practice, although Tsukishima had no intention of actually playing.
Yamaguchi must’ve gotten tired of giving Tsukishima the silent treatment, because he chatted about some TV show a girl in the next class over had recommended to him and a prank he witnessed. Tsukishima added his own input, hoping that the whole Soul Mark thing could be forgotten… until they rounded the corner and saw Hinata and Kageyama fighting about who would get inside the gym first.

Ah, right. Practice. The practice he wasn’t actually going to. His avoidance that would probably annoy Yamaguchi again. The nerves crept back into his stomach as he stared at his exuberant team mates. “I feel bad for them,” Tsukishima murmured loudly to Yamaguchi. “They can’t even figure out how the door works.”

Yamaguchi, instead of his usual smirk of agreement, gave Tsukishima a sad once-over. Apparently sarcasm wasn’t doing him any favors today. Behind Yamaguchi’s shoulder, he noticed Sugawara and Sawamura approaching and felt a mixture of relief and tension. At least after this he’d be able to go home and figure out what to do about his predicament.

“Ah, Sawamura-san,” he called out as he ran over to them. “I’m sorry, but I can’t be at practice today. My mom called and my family needs me at home.”

“I see,” the captain said, giving Tsukishima a stern look over. Despite being taller than him, Tsukishima still deferred to Sawamura as his rather intimidating senpai. “Well. If it’s a family emergency, it can’t be helped. But I look forward to seeing you next time.”

“We all will,” Sugawara added nicely enough, but with a vaguely threatening smile. Tsukishima shivered.

“I-I’ll do my best.”

As the team members walked into the gym, Yamaguchi hung back, waiting for Tsukishima to go inside with him. “What did you need to talk to Sawamura-san about?” he asked.

“Sorry, Yamaguchi,” Tsukishima told him, turning away. “I can’t play today. But I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

Yamaguchi looked like he just had a bucket of water thrown into his face. “What?” he sputtered, taking a step towards Tsukishima. “But you told me you weren’t sick.”

“I’m not,” Tsukishima replied, turning around to face Yamaguchi. “I’m just not playing today.”

Yamaguchi just stood there, so Tsukishima started to walk off again. “Hey,” Yamaguchi said, grabbing him by the arm before he could leave. “You can’t just blow off practice. We need you. The whole team needs to be here.”

Tsukishima furrowed his eyebrows at his friend, surprised by his sudden urgency. “I said I can’t play right now. I’m going home.” He tried to tug his arm free, but Yamaguchi wasn’t loosening his grip.

“Stop it,” he growled. “This isn’t just about you. We have a whole team now. People are counting on us.”

“It’s not about that,” snapped Tsukishima. He gritted his teeth and looked down at the hand - Yamaguchi’s right hand, his Soul Marked hand - holding onto his left arm. How could he possibly hope to keep this a secret from Yamaguchi?

“Then what is it about?” Yamaguchi shouted at him. “You’ve been acting weird lately. I don’t know why you won’t tell me. Are you…” He lowered his voice. “Are you thinking about leaving volleyball, or something?” Yamaguchi looked angry and hurt. “Is it something at home?”

Tsukishima bit his lip. It would have been easier to explain if the issue was something more grounded in reality. “No,” Tsukishima muttered, “It’s nothing like that.” He tried to stare Yamaguchi down, but he wasn’t deferring any control of the conversation today. Since he wouldn’t let go of him, either, Tsukishima exhaled and accepted his impending doom. “Fine,” he grunted. “Can we talk somewhere else?”

Yamaguchi quirked an eyebrow, then checked over his shoulder. Heads were peeking at the two of them from around the gym entrance. “Fine,” he mimicked. “Does behind the building work?”

“Sure,” Tsukishima responded, and the two of them walked away from the prying eyes of Karasuno’s volleyball club. This was not how he had planned on his afternoon going, but by now his body and his mind were exhausted from keeping up appearances. Withholding from Yamaguchi was painful, but so was his fear about how the next few minutes would go. Between a rock and a hard place, he chose the position closest to Yamaguchi.

“So,” Yamaguchi asked, he arms folded across his chest as though he were physically holding in his impatience. “What is it, then? Why have you been…” He searched for the word. “Different?" 

Tsukishima took a breath. "It’s my Soul Mark.”

He pulled up his sleeve and exposed the arm with marks too dark to hide completely with just makeup. He licked his thumb and rubbed it against his forearm so that the markings would be unmistakable. “It’s spreading. For the last eleven days, it’s been growing more and more. It’s on my shoulder, my back, my arm, and I guess… I didn’t want to get called out on it.”

“O-Oh,” Yamaguchi, stuttered, suddenly looking a little pale and very lost. “Then, it’s not… it’s… Tsukkiiii,” he whined, over-exaggerating an expression of heartbreak. “You didn’t tell me! And I- I didn’t even notice! You can’t keep something this big from me! I’m your best friend.” He looked truly pained. “I thought… you were just being…”

“An ass,” Tsukishima finished for him.

“Maybe, yeah,” Yamaguchi continued, not missing a beat. “But why are you skipping volleyball? Your marks are pretty hidden… I mean, if you feel the need to hide them.” Yamaguchi bent closer to examine Tsukishima’s arm. “You wouldn’t have to, though.” He twisted a piece of his hair and turned his head to the side as if to ask What are you worried about?

Tsukishima worked his way around the real answer like he would have knocked away a ball on the court. “I don’t want them to give me a hard time,” he mumbled, looking away and scratching at his chin. “It would be distracting.” It was a pathetic excuse for an explanation, but Yamaguchi seemed to accept his words as the whole truth.

“I won’t let them tease you!” he exclaimed with his usual defensive gusto. “You don’t have to cover it. If they pick on you, I’ll tell them to back off. Do you think I’d let anybody talk down to you? Because I’m not going to. We’re best friends! And if someone doesn’t want you there, then I don’t want to be there, either!

"Besides,” Yamaguchi continued, “I want you to be a part of the team. I want you to trust them. To trust me.” He gave Tsukishima a sad grin and ran a hand through his hair. “I always wanted that. And now I’m so,” he groaned, “frustrated. But, I mean, this whole thing sounds like me. Like I used to be. Against those bullies. I never spoke up for myself.”

“But you’re different now,” Tsukishima mumbled, impressed with Yamaguchi’s loyalty. “You’ve changed. You’re supportive. You help the team and make new friends. And I’m just stuck being a stubborn ass.” He moved his right hand over his left one and rubbed his fingers together nervously.

Yamaguchi put a hand on Tsukishima’s shoulder and laughed as he exhaled. “Then don’t be, Tsukki.”

Tsukishima felt a small weight lift from his shoulders with Yamaguchi’s words. He was so proud of his growth, and so proud to get to call himself this magnificent person’s best friend. But would Yamaguchi still want to be friends after seeing Tsukishima’s hand? Yamaguchi deserved honesty, though. He had to tell the whole truth. And he dreaded it.

“That’s not all,” he continued. “Today, the Soul Mark spread again.” He held out his left hand and unfurled the fingers he had balled into a fist.

The design was identical to the swirls of circles on Yamaguchi’s hand, but reversed. Yamaguchi looked up at Tsukkishima’s face, then back at the palm of his hand, pressing the side of his right hand against Tsukishima’s to compare. They were an exact reflection of each other. Yamaguchi swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry and searching for the right words. “B-but I don’t have the other marks,” Yamaguchi said with a wavering voice. His hand was trembling, too - both of theirs were.

“I know,” Tsukishima said. “I mean, that’s what I thought. That’s why it doesn’t have to change anything. But you can see why-” he paused to take a breath. “Why I didn’t want to show it.” His heart was pounding in his chest and he had to remind himself to just breathe. In and out. Three seconds each. Just the possibility of Yamaguchi’s rejection was giving him a borderline panic attack. It felt horrible, but he noted that hyperventilation would’ve been a great alibi to skip out on practice.

Yamaguchi twisted some his bangs and tucked them behind his ear. “Why not? I mean. We’re… kind of… soul mates in a way, aren’t we?” Yamaguchi smiled as his face grew a shade more red. “I mean, we’re best friends. Better than most friends.” He took Tsukishima’s tattooed hand in his own and smiled up at him. “You make me happy. Even when you’re being stubborn. And an ass.”

“I’m sorry,” Tsukishima said, surprising himself by laughing his apology. “Really. I shouldn’t have lied to you. That was stupid.” Tsukishima knew that between his struggle to breathe correctly and Yamaguchi’s kindness, his face was burning up. If he’d already gone this far with his honesty, he might as well keep it up. “I won’t lie to you again. Because you make me happy, too.”

Yamaguchi grinned. He kissed Tsukishima’s cheek and released his hand. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll tell the guys we’re skipping practice today.” He walked over to the gym door and turned back to Tsukishima. “But after this, we have to be on board with everybody! Got it? You’re on a team now!” He didn’t give Tsukishima a chance to answer before walking through the door to where the team was practicing.

Tsukishima touched his cheek. Oh. He swallowed and stared at the gym door Yamaguchi had disappeared behind. Oh. That’s what Akiteru meant.

thefastestgirlalive  asked:

♥ (I imagine he might get irritated pretty quickly :3)

The soul mate phenomenon was extraordinary and few had experienced it. But everyone knew about it and most waited their whole life for it to happen. Jason wasn’t one of them. He might have when he was younger but now that he was emotionless he didn’t think about it anymore. That was till he saw the girl’s chest glow red. He looked down and saw his own chest glow as well before looking at her with wide eyes.