a strange stirring

Bard: Fuck you, you’re a dragon!

GM: After killing one of your followers with lightning from a “Wabbajack” -
Druid (OOC): Unintentionally! I was hoping to turn her into a flock of butterflies!

Rogue: I throw daggers at the knowledge to torture it into submission.

GM: The barbed devil feels a strange stirring in his chain.

Druid: I want his scimitar. I’m glad he’s a dick.

On December 22, 1962, one month before The Feminine Mystique hit the bookstores, the Saturday Evening Post published a cover article purporting to offer a portrait of the typical American woman. … The Post’s story was based on more than 1,800 interviews and extensive polling by the Gallup organization. According to the author, George Gallup, it was not intended to examine “the extremes” among American women. “Old maids,” divorced women, childless women, and working mothers certainly existed in America, he acknowledged, but they were of concern mainly to sociologists, “because they are unusual” and exist “in a society that is not geared for them.” The article’s aim was to portray how “most” American women lived and thought.
—  An excerpt from social historian Stephanie Coontz’s book A Strange Stirring. Coontz appears on Fresh Air today to talk about the enduring legacy of Betty Friedan’s book and what the world was like when it was originally published.
A Series of Accidents

Happy belated birthday, @fangirling-airi-style!!!

Based on my own gifset, because well - that’s how my brain works. 

In Which Dean and Cas (accidentally) adopt Satan Jr. Enjoy!

It’s an accident, really.

Well, adopting Lucifer’s kid is.

Taking him to the bunker is a given.

What else are they going to do? Chuck the kid into the streets and hope some non-satanist finds him? Take him to child services when every demon on the planet will be eagerly looking for him?

So, yeah, they take Satan Jr. to the bunker with them, because that’s the only thing they can do. Kelly died, just breathing long enough to see her son and whisper “I love you”, the failure to save yet another life on their shoulders.

At least they got rid of Dagon, or Crowley did.

Hey, he saw Lucifer’s kid and didn’t immediately try to kill it, so that’s a plus too.

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Midnight Masquerade - Part 5

Originally posted by beautiful-as-vampire

Genre: Vampire! AU | Angst | Fluff

Synopsis: Your best friend drags you into attending a masquerade ball with her, only to abandon you in the middle of the strange dance. Standing alone in the midst of a flurry of people, the events that play out here change the course of your life; only to leave you wondering; who is under the mask? 

Pairing: Reader X Yoongi

Word count: 1555

Warnings: None for this part.

Series: Pt 1 | Pt 2 | Pt 3 | Pt 4 | Pt 5 | Pt 6 | Pt 7 | Pt 8 | Pt 9 | Pt 10

(A/N: Ah, I’m not entirely sure how this came out, feedback would be much appreciated! I hope you guys enjoy though!)

“I should’ve known.”

Those three words echoed through your head all night, leaving you restless as you relentlessly tossed from side to side trying to work out the meaning behind the cryptic phrase. What was it she wasn’t telling you? She knew something. Something important, and yet she was keeping it from you.

Forcing yourself up in the morning, you pushed your disheveled hair out of your tired eyes, groaning as the realisation that you had to attend university that day, and resume normal life as if nothing had happened. As if your best friend wasn’t dead. As if you weren’t bitten by a strange man who you were starting to believe - as insane as it sounded to you - could well be a vampire of some sort, like something straight out of Twilight. You still struggled to wrap your head around the idea, your mind not able to comprehend the concept of mythical creatures such as vampires. You sat up in your bed, staring directly at the wall as you thought over everything. Subconsciously tilting your head to the side in thought, you wondered, if that man was truly a vampire, would the bite take effect on you too? Sighing, you shook your head as you finally climbed out of bed, the thought sounding ridiculous to you, and yet strangely true.

“(Y/N)!” You heard your mother calling from the other room. “You need to go to uni today, honey!” Her tone sounded fairly enthusiastic, but with an undertone of fatigue, like she had been up all night as well.

In as lively a tone as you could muster, you called back, “Yeah, I know, mum, I’m getting up.” Your hand involuntarily flew up to touch the fading bite mark once again, like you found yourself doing often, your fingers running over the small indents in your skin. “How am I just supposed to act like nothing happened?” You pondered, your head still clouded in total confusion. If you were ever going to be able to focus on anything, you had to find answers to the questions that kept you up all night. You had to find out everything.


Yoongi stared into the mirror, his fingers brushing over the pale skin of his face. All he could think about for the past few days was the girl with the red mask, as he glanced over his bedside table at that very mask. Your scent was intoxicating, addicting even, as a strange feeling stirred in his chest. You filled his thoughts constantly, as he found his mind wandering off, thinking about how your hair tumbled down your shoulders effortlessly, the way a few strands of your hair fell into your face. The way your soft eyes widened at the sight of him. You were no ordinary human, that he was sure of. At first glance, he thought you were one of their kind, although your skin only had a slight tinge of paleness compared to the marble-like skin of every other vampire he had seen. So, when he saw a blush rising up to your cheeks, a feeling of confusion clouded his mind. Since when did vampires blush? Were you a human then? But that couldn’t be it either.

That room was not supposed to be visible to humans. He often resided in that room during the extravagant balls, often preferring peace and quiet over the loud music and the murmur of voices in the ballroom. So… what exactly were you?

“Hyung!” Yoongi heard a familiar voice from outside his room, turning around, his eyebrows furrowing in slight annoyance, only to see Jimin pop his head through the doorway, eyes twinkling as his plump lips curled up in a mischievous smile. “Shouldn’t you be getting ready? You know how your dad is with your education.”

Of course he knew. It was his father who insisted he attend university and “do something useful with your life”, in his father’s own words. His father seemed to think that the only valid profession was a doctor or a engineer, or something “respectable” like that, and so Yoongi was relentlessly pushed into it against his own accord, and had no choice but to accept. It had been a few months since the first year had started, and he had only just began adjusting to the heavy workload and the concept of socialising with others.

“What about you?” Yoongi inquired, looking Jimin up and down. His outfit was a contrast to his embroidered tuxedo from a couple nights before, instead wearing a simple baggy white T-shirt with a pair of black shorts and a black beanie to match. Pulling his backpack off his shoulder and setting it down on the floor, the smile never once left Jimin’s face, as he replied, “You know everyone’s ready right? We’re all waiting on you.” Playfully punching Yoongi’s shoulder, he said, “Hurry up, grandpa, we haven’t got all day.” With that, Jimin proceeded to sling his backpack over his shoulder, casually walking out in typical Jimin fashion once again.

“This boy.” Yoongi shook his head, one corner of his lips twitching slightly as he tried to repress a smile. Looking back over at the mask one last time, he sighed, throwing his wardrobe door open, as he finally began to get ready for yet another gruelling day of university.


Staring out of the window of your mother’s small car, you self-consciously readjusted the turtleneck you were wearing, constantly worrying that someone would somehow see the bite mark. That wasn’t going to be easy to explain, to say the least. Looking down at the lit screen of your phone, you felt a pang of pain, like something had just stabbed your heart when you saw the ever-so-familiar picture of Mina and you. You didn’t have the heart to change it, instead serving as a reminder not to go to strange places. You realised that your day was likely to be much quieter without Mina’s constant chatter to accompany you. At least, that’s what you thought.

Finally pulling up by the fields surrounding your university, your mother turned to face you, a sympathetic smile etched on her face. “You’ll be okay, right?” She asked, her tone softening with concern for you.

Forcing a smile, you replied with as much enthusiasm as you could muster, “I’ll be fine, honestly. No big deal…” It felt you were trying to convince yourself rather than your mother, but she seemed satisfied with your answer, her eyes looking over you once more before you grabbed your backpack, slowly slinging it over your shoulder as you stepped out of the car.

Forcing your feet to move forward, you trudged towards the huge building, taking a deep breath before you stepped into the building, your head beginning to thump once again as students pushed and barged past you, causing you to have to force yourself through the stampede of people to reach the hall your lecture was being held in.

After finally escaping the crowd in one piece, you leaned against the wall by the door to the hall, patting your hair down so that you looked at least decent. Tilting your head slightly towards the door, you noticed a group of boys walking past, your curiosity piquing as a feeling of familiarity stirred in your chest. One of the guys pushed the door wide open with a shove, brushing his jet-black hair out of his eyes. Another of them, blonde haired this time, flashed a quick smile at you, the rectangular shape of his smile seeming strangely familiar, as he walked inside with the other remaining boys. Maybe they did the same course as you, you pondered, your mind recalling how you’d spotted them in previous lectures before. That must be it, you decided, and yet there was still a strange feeling nudging at the back of your mind.

Taking your seat in the large lecture hall, you set your bag down on the adjacent seat, tapping your pen on the hard surface of the desk. You noticed your bag being set down on the floor, however, and so your eyes trailed up to meet those of none other than your best friend, Mina. Your mind failed to comprehend the situation, that your best friend, who you thought was dead - you were certain you saw her seemingly dead with her own eyes - was standing there in front of you, her eyes twinkling in her usual mischievous manner. Something was different though, as you squinted your eyes in disbelief, your eyes scanning over her over and over again, as if to check if she really was there in front of you. As you looked over her for what seemed like the tenth time, you realised what was up. Her skin was almost the same marble-like colour of those people you had come across, the sparkle in her eyes just like the one you’d seen in the other mysterious men, that sparkle that left you immobilised, unable to take your eyes off.

“Mina?” You finally uttered, your body completely frozen in disbelief. “How… what… how?”

“Aw, did you miss me?” She winked, a shiver running up your spine as you still tried to wrap your head around the situation.

Your best friend was alive. And she was one of them.

liebesleid (m) · one

ongoing miniseries |  request: reincarnation au with yoongi.
(—or a story of perpetual unrequited love.)

pairing: yoongi | reader
genre: a lot of angst and drama with a sprinkle of smut.
word count: 7.313
warnings: alcohol mention.
author’s note: a thousand thanks to @lthyl for helping me with the outline, you have the patience of a saint :’D ILY 

⇢ chapters: one | two

Chapter one: dolente.

The same melody repeats itself every dawn.

It is one of those casualties of life you want to deem insignificant, even if it has been going on for years now. Every time you find yourself in that narrow space between dormant and conscious, you can hear the sound of a piano with a clearness that’s almost eerie — as if someone’s caressing the black and white keys right next to your ear, producing a song that resonates in your chest and makes your throat constrict in ways you cannot understand.

It’s a melody you’ve loved ever since day one. It stays deep in your heart even if it keeps repeating itself to the point of annoyance, echoes against the corners of your mind and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand. It is as familiar as the voice of your mother, as the cool sheets of your bed and the warmth of the shower that prickles at your skin.

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Who Will Protect You? || Peter Parker x Reader

{summary: After Peter Parker witnesses a young superhero who goes by the alias Midnight quickly diffuse a hostage situation at the bank, he begins to admire her while searching for her true self.

His search for Midnight’s identity leads him to Hagstrom Academy [1], where he briefly sees a young woman who reminds him of his favorite superhero. Convinced that she is Midnight, he takes a photograph of her and keeps her picture at his desk to always inspire him to do what’s right, no matter how difficult the situation may be.

However, things start to get a little awkward for Peter when his aunt May sees Midnight’s picture on his desk, and she is completely convinced that Midnight is Peter’s girlfriend! Unable to explain the true reasoning behind why he keeps a photograph of her, Peter must find a way to introduce her to his Aunt May…

Could things get any worse for him?}

warnings: none, just a half naked Peter near the end. But it’s nothing too explicit or sexual, really, I promise.

**don’t plagiarize/repost this story; reblogs are fine!


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Kitchen Adventures (4 Weeks of Fluff #2)

Why do all of my fics this month have to do with the kitchen? Btw, I’ve pretty much made all of these cooking mistakes myself so…yeah lol @4wksoffluff

Word Count: 820


“Are you ready for this?” Baz asked.

“I’m not sure,” Simon said, biting his lip.

“C’mon. We’ve been talking about doing this forever,” Baz said.

“All right,” Simon said, determination in his eyes.

Baz turned back to the boiling pot of water and dumped the spaghetti noodles into the pot, wincing when the pot spit water at him. Simon had a ridiculous looking apron on and stood a foot or so back, tail twitching nervously. This was the first time they were cooking together. Unfortunately, neither one of them were very good at cooking in the first place so they’d decided to stay simple and make spaghetti. 

“Um, should we make a salad?” Simon asked.

Baz scratched his head.

“Well, besides lettuce, what would we put in it?” Baz asked.

“Those crunchy nugget looking things,” Simon said.

Baz wanted badly to laugh at Simon’s word choice but he wasn’t sure what the crunchy nugget things were called either so he held himself back.

“I don’t think we have any,” Baz said.

Simon’s face looked scrunched in concentration.

“What did you get for the salad?” Simon asked.

“Lettuce and dressing. I grabbed a pear too, I think my stepmom uses them in her salads,” Baz said. 

Simon made a face.

“That doesn’t really sound like a good combination.”

“So no salad then,” Baz said.

“I guess not,” Simon said.

Baz shrugged and walked over to grab the baguette they’d bought. The instructions said to preheat the oven and warm the bread for ten to fifteen minutes. He glanced at the oven warily.

“It says we should wrap it in foil,” Baz said.

Simon’s eyes widened.

“Is that, I don’t know, safe?” Simon asked.

Baz frowned.

“Well, it says to do it so it has to be right?” Baz asked.

Simon shook his head.

“No I’m pretty sure it’s not safe. I learned my lesson a long time ago with the microwave,” Simon said.

Baz nodded.

“Good thinking.”

Baz had no idea what the package meant by preheating so he pressed the preheat button on the oven and threw the bread in, turning the oven up 177 degrees Celsius. Then he clapped his hands together, feeling ridiculously proud of himself.

“Dinner is going to be great,” Simon said.

Baz smiled.

“Hey Baz, have you been stirring the pasta?” Simon asked.

Baz spun around.

The spaghetti didn’t look too strange. Panicked, he stirred the clump of noodles, relying on his vampire strength to separate the congealed mess. After a few minutes the spaghetti appeared to be normal. He turned to lean against the counter tiredly. 

Simon smiled at him.

“My hero,” He said.

“Shut up,” Baz muttered.

Suddenly there was a loud beep from the oven.

“What’s that for?” Simon asked.

Baz frowned.

“I don’t know,” He said.

“Does that mean the bread is done?” Simon asked.

Baz shook his head.

“It hasn’t been fifteen minutes,” Baz said.

The beeping continued, loud and insistent. 

“Maybe we should just check on it,” Simon said.

Baz bent over and peeked into the hot oven. The bread looked fine. He touched it carefully and frowned. It was barely warm. 

“It’s definitely not done,” Baz said.

Simon shrugged.

“I guess we should just focus on the pasta then,” Simon said.

Shit!” Baz said, suddenly remembering the pasta.

A few minutes later Simon was sloppily draining the pasta while Baz glared at the marinara sauce. He knew he was supposed to heat it in a saucepan, he’d seen his stepmom do it. But he was so scared he’d mess that up too that he was debating whether or not to just pour the room temperature sauce directly on the pasta. 

“Baz what are you doing? Bring the sauce over,” Simon said.

Baz decided to forgo the saucepan and poured the entire jar over the pasta. They stirred for a bit and Baz was disappointed when he realized that they had used too much sauce.

“It’s fine, we can just add more pasta later,” Simon said.

“I guess,” Baz said.

Simon checked his watch. 

“I’ll take the bread out,” He said.

When Simon opened the oven the unmistakable smell of burnt bread hit Baz. Simon took out a charred lump that barely resembled the baguette it had once been. He looked confused,

“How? Honestly how could this have happened? We did exactly what the package said,” Simon said.

“Maybe that’s what the foil was for,” Baz said.

Glumly, they took their lukewarm and soggy spaghetti to the table. Simon had grabbed the baguette as well, claiming that the inside might not be so bad.
Baz sat down heavily in his seat.

“We cannot cook,” Baz said.

“At least we match?” Simon said, laughter in his voice.

Baz rolled his eyes.

“Not as cute in this situation Snow.”

Simon raised his glass of wine.

“To us, the hopeless pair,” Simon said.

Baz smiled unwillingly.

“To us,” He said.

anonymous asked:

Hi! Can you do #67: “Are you getting jealous?” - “You’re changing your outfit, now!” for the prompt thingie for rebelcaptain please?

Thank you to both anon’s who requested this prompt! I’ll be honest, I had like, three separate ideas for it but this was the only one I was able to sort of flesh out. Takes a few liberties with the Rebel army and rankings and such, but … I just wanted to write a slightly flustered Cassian :P This is after Jyn’s debriefed on leading the Rogue One mission, and let’s put this one about a month after Scarif, once they’re all better and bacta’d out.

“So, how did it go?” Cassian asked, trying to hide the waver in his voice.

“About as well as you’d think,” Jyn said. “We went rogue, Cassian. We disobeyed orders.”

Cassian watched as she shuffled her feet towards him, head lowered in defeat. He’d wanted to be by her side, attest for her to Mon Mothma and Draven that he’d been behind it all, he gathered the team, he made her disobey orders.

Of course, he knew, that wasn’t all true.

It wasn’t that he questioned her ability to handle her own in the face of discipline — that had been the least of his worries –- it was that strange, unfamiliar feeling stirring in his chest.

He still hadn’t put a finger on exactly what it was stirring there, running rampant and uncontrolled, just that it made him want to do anything in his power to help her, just as he’d gathered the team for Rogue One. He’d lost countless soldiers and recruits in the war, it was a simple fact. But that didn’t erase his desire to do anything in his power to keep her on base, fighting for the Rebellion, to keep her home.

He had promised her that, after all they’d been through in the past three weeks – waking up in medbay terrified of being alive, of having survived knowing that the other might not have lived – he wouldn’t accept it if Draven or Mon had stripped that promise from his lips.

By the time his mind had finished processing the “what if’s”, she had closed the distance between them, her arms tight at his waist as she dug her nose into his jacket. His own arms had found their way around her shoulder blades, pulling her tight to rest his chin atop her head. She squirmed against him, and he felt something cold and hard jut into his chest.

“Jyn,” he pulled back, enough to see the glint of silver and green attached to her jacket. “What is that?”

She smiled, as wide as Jyn ever allowed herself too, and fought a laugh in her throat. She shook a few more moments in his arms before whispering, exasperated, “They made me Captain.”

“Captain?” he eyed her, equal parts shocked and confused. “But you said—-“

“But— Captain? So … so soon?”

“Wait,” she cocked a brow, poking at his own rank incredulously, “Are you getting jealous?

“No,” he said, almost too quickly. “I just, you — you’re changing your outfit, now.

“What? Why?”

“Because, Captain’s don’t—, they don’t dress like—”

“Like what, Cassian?” She fought the grin warming her cheeks, “how should a Captain dress?”

“For starters, the jacket.” His voice faltered, breaths coming quick while his eyes shifted from hers to the badge at her chest. “Did they not give you new fatigues?”

“No, I didn’t think to ask,” she sighed, reaching into her pocket. From it, she took out a silver badge and slid it between her fingers. “Besides, we had more important things to talk about— like you.”

Cassian looked down at Jyn, her fingers poised above the rank badge tacked above his heart. She slipped her thumb and forefinger behind it, unclasping the metal badge while he prayed she couldn’t feel how fast his heart was pounding beneath her touch. He shut his eyes to breathe – feeling both ridiculous and foolish at how a mundane action such as this could set his body aflame – and felt the cool, familiar clip of metal replaced on his jacket.

“Congratulations, Major Andor.”

She stepped back, her gaze fixed on his shoes.

“Are you— but,” he ground his teeth, “this can’t—– how?”

Jyn shifted, “Easy. You deserve it, they were going to give it to you even without my convincing. I just — I wanted to be the one to tell you.”

“But the way you were acting, how you were upset, I—-,”

“I have to get my fun somehow,” she squeezed his elbow, speaking into his chest as she continued, “besides, you’re … cute when you’re jealous.”

“Don’t scare me like that,” he brought a hand to her chin, lifting her head gently to meet his eyes.

She looked at him through her lashes, unsure she could finish her next thought looking him straight in the eye.

“Now, why don’t you show me how a Major should dress.”

Drawn to Life || Klaroline

Klaroline Infinity Day 1 - AU/AH

Caroline’s finally getting to voice an animated character (her dream!), but she didn’t know how much time and effort goes into it as a creative team. She’s paired with Klaus, who studies her character traits and facial movements to bring life to the screen.

“Hold still, please.”

Caroline fought the urge to fidget as the massive camera revolved around her, capturing her image from every possible angle. It was hard not to track the man operating the camera with her eyes. His attention to the placement of her freckles was almost invasive, but he was incredibly hot.

The brass curls were artfully mussed, just enough that Caroline wanted to run her fingers through them. And his lips, god, they were so pink-

She shook her head, hoping to get rid of whatever lusty demon had taken hold of thoughts. Really, it was her own fault for swearing off dating after Tyler moved out. A cleanse was standard breakup routine, but maybe three months was too long.

“I said to hold still,” Klaus snapped, though his hand was gentle as he gripped her chin. “If we don’t get the digital model right, I’ll have to start all over.”

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Stay with me

Based on “Imagine pleading with Thranduil to heal the Durins as they all still have a glimmer of life left in them and you know that he has the ability to save them” from ImaginexHobbit.


Cautiously, wary of stray orcs that might yet be lurking in the depths of Ravenhill’s tunnels, you ventured onto the ice at the tower’s base.

A lone figure lay close at hand, and as you edged nearer, casting a glance across the frozen river to where a handful of your comrades searched the rocky terrain for casualties of the battle, it was quickly apparent that the body was not that of an elf. He was smaller, stocky and powerfully built, wearing a heavy leather coat rather than gleaming armor, and a mane of golden hair framed a handsome, bearded face with eyes as blue as the sky they no longer saw.

The dwarf’s rugged beauty stirred a strange rush of pity in your heart and you sheathed your sword to sink to your knees beside him, feeling yourself unsettled by a deep sympathy for this poor, lost soul who had been your enemy only hours before. His lifeless face spoke wrenchingly to you of youth, strength, nobility, hopes for the future all cut short at the merciless hands of an orc, judging from his wounds. Carefully, though you could not have told why, you took his broad, gloved hand between your own and held it as if to comfort him before reaching to close his eyes in a futile gesture of compassion.

Your fingertips gently touched his face and you started, as though you’d been stung, instantly withdrawing your hand.

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His Favourite Things

Gen. 1257 words. @happy-snape-week

There were a few things that Severus loved.

Like tea. Obligatory loose-leaf, kept securely in fancy cans nicely lined on a shelf in his small, cosy kitchen. He enjoyed the deep, strong taste of English Breakfast – mellowed by addition of milk and just a drop of honeydew honey, the musky sweet and mossy aftertaste of Darjeeling, robust and malty Assam and the notes of bergamot in Earl Grey.

Sometimes he would experiment with different blends, but – sooner or later – he always came back to his favourites.

On the days when slight tremors in his hands wouldn’t stop, preventing him from work, he would take out some spice and a ginger root and set out to prepare Masala Chai. It was much more forgiving to slight mistakes and miscalculations in measurements and the size and shape of ingredients than any potion would ever be. As he cut the ginger root and ground cloves, nutmeg, green cardamom pods and bits of cinnamon bark, his tensed muscles would relax. The scent of spices would fill the air, bringing back the memories of long hours spent on potions brewing.

Today was one of these days. The not so bad one, but not overly good one as well. As he gathered the ingredients, he decided to experiment as well, adding allspice and peppercorns. He considered adding anise seeds to the mix, but resigned from the idea in the end. Then he spent long minutes, stirring the mixture of milk and water, to which he had added the spices he had prepared. Perhaps the stirring wasn’t much needed, but it allowed him to relax his tensed muscles and he enjoyed the act itself. He also enjoyed establishing strange stirring patterns, different for every mix, continued until he threw tea leaves into the boiling mixture of his making. It was like magic, but without real magic being involved.

With the tea pot full of chai he went outside. He stood in the back door for a short while, letting his gaze slide over the plants filling his little garden. His chest swelled with pride at what he saw.

He  loved gardening. There was nothing better than to feel soil – sometimes warm and dry and easily sliding through his fingers, and sometimes wet and sticking to them instead. His plants and flowers grew beautifully, filling the air with strong aromas and attracting humorous comments about how magical their growth appeared.

Severus would always snort when he heard them. He was nowhere near to being as talented as his mother had been – she had had green fingers after all – but he did took some pride in his small garden.

Through his gardening he also developed a liking for sunny days, warm but not hot, which he spend outside, covering his skin in sunblock and hiding his head in the shadow, but exposing the rest of his body to the sunlight. He let it seep deep into the core of his bones, where eternal cold seemed to rein these days. The aftereffect of the venom, he supposed, quite pleased that he didn’t live in the dungeons anymore. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to put up with their chill, strong drafts and hints of dampness always present in the air, should he live in them ever again.

Here he was now, seated comfortably in a wicker chair in the partly shadowed corner of his little garden, surrounded by flowers and herbs. The sun shone brightly, gently warming his body. The scent of thyme and rosemary filled the air. There was a wicker table next to his chair and another chair on the other side of it. There were two mugs on the table and the big tea pot stood next to them. At the edge of the table a book was lying – the poor, worn out thing, with the cover bent and torn in places and plenty of dog ears.

He stroked the cover fondly.

Severus loved all his book, old and new. The ones covered in leather, with gold letters adorning their surface, sometimes barely legible due to their age. He also loved the ones with thick paper-based covers, sometimes possessing dust covers and sometimes not. His love wasn’t as strong for modern paperbacks, but he still valued and treasured them greatly.

This book, he mused, was special. It was old, given to him when he was but a child, but still one of his favourites. His fingers brushed over the uneven surface of the cover as he reminisced the first time had read it. Much older now, he was able to see the story with different eyes, noticing things of existence which he had had no idea when he was still a child. What he saw now was the story of a lonely boy, who found himself in the place in which he didn’t fit. He saw how this lonely boy found a friend and together, not quite voluntarily at first, they set on discovering magical worlds. How the boy, thoughtlessly, set into motion events that endangered the existence of other worlds, magical and not. And how in the end, the boy managed to do the thing that protected the magical world for a long time. These days the story made him both, bemused and amused. And then forced him to consider the life in general and all its twists. And the life irony as well, of course.

His musings were disrupted by a cat, hopping into his laps and curling into a tight ball in them.

The cat, usually called Monster or the mangy beast, was a half-stray ­– which at some point had decided to adopt Severus as his human – and looked like he had gone through quite a few battles over his life. He missed half of his left ear, had a scar just under his right eye, which made him look a bit like a pirate or a rogue, and quite a few scars on the rest of his body. He was missing the fur in some places on his back and sides, and had a strange kink at the end of his tail, which suggested an old, badly healed injury.

Severus’ lips curved into a gentle smile as he stroked the cat’s head – just behind his right ear ­– and the cat purred. He leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. The cat’s body vibrated in a way that soothed Severus’ mind and made him feel better in general, pushing away the lingering traces of pain. It was as if the cat was casting some magic spells on him.

He didn’t hear steps at first. It was the squeaky sound of the garden gate that alerted Severus to his visitor. He startled, but the cat didn’t even shift at the sound.

“You’re late.” Severus schooled his features into a disapproving frown as he stared at the person who visited him. Or rather he tried to look disapproving, as the corners of his mouth twitched.

“Such a warm welcome.” The reply came, said in a warm, soft voice. Severus could almost hear the smile in it. “You never change, I see.”

“Why should I change?” There was a mock hurt in Severus’ voice. “Isn’t my sunny personality exactly what attracts people to me?”

A burst of cheerful laughter was the reply he got.

Severus shifted in the chair, a warm and fuzzy feeling slowly filling his chest.

Here he was, surrounded by his favourite things.

All of them were here.

Roots (Part Four)

Originally posted by blondejongin

EXO Fanfic: Fantasy AU
Main Pairing: Female Reader x Byun Baekhyun (Light Fairy)

You are an Elven Outsider living in the Human World, living peacefully as a florist and gardener. But your peace shatters when you are discovered by a Representative from the Council of the Other World. Will he discover your secrets?

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‘Go on a date with me Blossom,’ he said, and you blinked at the sudden intensity of his voice, ‘I’ll pick you up later.

‘Idiot,’ you cursed under your breath.


You blinked and blushed, seeing your customer looking at you in alarm, a mild look of offence on his face, and his hand frozen half way to handing over his money to you.

‘Oh, no sir, I am sorry,’ you said quickly, pulling yourself to together, ‘I was talking to myself.’

The customer looked at you warily as he deposited the money in your hand, picked up his order, and left the store.

As the door swung shut behind him, you let out a deep breath and then a grunt of frustration.

‘Uuuhhh,’ you groaned leaning your elbows on your counter and burying your head in your hands.

After Baekhyun had shot off that morning, you had been in a state of panic. What were you going to do?

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foxnewsfuckfest  asked:

I (shamefully) haven't read many books on feminism/feminist theory, and I want to remedy this. Do you have any suggestions?

I’m sorry.  I keep forgetting to answer this

Have you read Right Wing Women?  I hadn’t read it before the election and that brief moment after when a bunch of people put it on a list with, like, Hannah Aredt as something we all needed to read to Explain What Happened. 

I’m not sure if it Explains Anything but I think it’s better than Intercourse at showing what Andrea Dworkin is great at.  It also keeps coming up for me in little bits of relevance.  Like, she has a long chapter on the nature of antisemitism and how it relates to homophobia.  She also has a chapter where…and you’re going to have to just kind of ride along with her logic about this for a while…she draws a connection between the miserable conditions of nursing homes and the tendency of white women to embrace conservative politics.   It’s a connection that keeps haunting me as I follow the Obamacare repeal.  (And it kind of haunts me around the “falling white life expectancy” conversation in its own weird way.) 

I also just started reading Towards a Feminist Theory of the State by Catherine MacKinnon, and man, it’s a slog.   And yet, I feel like you would like it because it’s one of those books where yes, you really do have to concentrate on each paragraph and each little brick of argument she’s making…but you want to, because you see that she’s puzzling out complicated things and trying to get somewhere real.   For example, there is  noticeable difference between any chapter and any chapter of Jessica Crispin’s dumb book because you can always trust that MacKinnon is trying to walk us through a theoretical framework that gets us somewhere.

Another book I read recently that I really want more people to read is Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris.  It’s not technically feminist theory but I feel much more confident in talking about feminist approaches to the sex industry/sex trafficking after reading it. 

Rickie Solinger’s Beggars and Choosers is a book that people seem to have forgotten about, and that makes me sad because it was a life-changing book for me in terms of how I thought about reproductive rights.   (Actually I love all of Solinger’s books and I think she is super underrated.)

Oh, and an obscure one that I always recommend to people is Consequence by Loolwa Khazzom which is not really feminist theory and the bits of feminist theory she does pull out is kind of annoying (e.g. she has the late 90s vision of the ‘intersectional” feminist who cares about men vs. the “selfish” (her word) western feminist who only cares about women)…..but I still really love it.   It’s more than anything a wacky coming of age memoir about the author’s time backpacking around Israel and also the revelatory moment when she beat the fuck out of a guy at an ice cream parlor for cat-calling her. 

I recommend a collection of Cheryl Clarke’s essays for a lot of reasons but I mostly really loved how she would reflect on some earlier essay she had written and be like, “yeah, it was the times, man.” which I feel like was just SUCH a good concept to read about as someone who was trying to search out the feminist theories of the 1970s and figure out what positive things should be taken from that era and what should be left behind, hearing an actual bonafide ~queer elder~ suggest that you can have different opinions about things like separatism and identity because of different political and personal contexts.

Also, people should fucking read The Feminine Mystique because 99% of the time people mention it in a way that makes it clear they didn’t read it and it irritates me SO MUCH. Even better is A Strange Stirring,  which is about The Feminine Mystique, Betty Freidan’s life and the cultural response to the book.

arandomgirliam  asked:

Coffee melodie!

I hope you like this, it was pretty fun to write since I need to practice my descriptive writing more haha

Rated T for minor swear

Lucy sighed as she rubbed her temple with the palm of her hand, head aching and eyes stinging with exhaustion and stress. 

She needed coffee. 

Well she needed about ten cups of it, but she only had about three dollars so she’d have to settle for one. Grabbing her books and shoving them in her bag, she made her way out of the library and through the campus to the nearest Starbucks. 

Finals could go fuck themselves at this point. She had two left and have no motivation left in her, and she just wanted to sleep for ten days. She honestly didn’t even know what time it was, but by looking outside she’d guess late evening, maybe nine. She laughed, finding it ridiculous she was getting coffee late at night, but she knew she’d be up for a while longer. Four A.M. was her bedtime now. 

Stretching her arms overhead as she walked through the music building-since it was a shortcut to the Starbucks- she paused, a faint noise catching her ear. It was soft sounding. Music, she thought, proceeding to slap her forehead because obviously it was music she was in the music building. And, before she really knew what she was doing, she started heading towards the sound. She didn’t think she knew the song, but it made her smile, something she hasn’t been doing much lately. 

She came in front of an open door, the melody clear now, the keys of a piano flowing together expertly, causing a wave of peace to fall through her body as she closed her eyes and leaned against the wall outside the room, unconsciously humming a tune to go along with it. 

She doesn’t remember ending up on the floor, but she didn’t mind. The floor was comfy. Her eyes didn’t seem to want to open as the exhaustion started to take over as she continued to hum along with the piano. She briefly wondered who was playing it, because she really wanted to know the name of the song. 

“..up. C’mon, wakey wakey.”

Jolting up at the sound, Lucy automatically went for a hit at whoever was invading her bedroom because well, it was her room.

Taking in her surroundings, Lucy quickly saw she was not, in fact, in her room, but on the floor of the music room with a pink haired stranger looking down at her in mild amusement. 

“Uh,” clearing her throat, Lucy flushed, embarrassed at having been caught sleeping in the hallway. She wasn’t even a music student. She hated finals. “Sorry.” Getting up, she grabbed her bag, ready to bolt out of there as quick as she could, but she remembered the piano and the song, and looked into the classroom hoping to see the mystery musician, only to find it empty. Frowning, she swung her bad over her shoulder, glancing back briefly at the stranger the see them looking at her with curiosity now. 

“What?” She didn’t mean to sound rude, but she was tired, her phone was dead, she had about three more chapters to cover for her exam, and worst of all she missed out on her coffee. 

“Were you the one humming earlier?” He asked, quirking an eyebrow. 

She turned to him, realization flooding through her. “Oh”, it was him. He was the one playing earlier. “Yeah, sorry if I was disrupting.” Her cheeks turned to a brighter red as she played with the ring on her finger, a nervous tick she developed over the years. 

The mans eyes went wide, hands shooting into the air. “No! No, it was nice. I’ve always wanted someone to sing my songs, but I’ve got a shit voice.” He grinned, right hand moving to scratch his head while the other tossed a bag on his shoulder. 

“I’m Natsu, by the way. Nice to meet ya!” He shot out his right hand, grin never leaving his face. 

Lucy couldn’t help the smile that formed on her own, his bubbly personality radiation off of him in waves that she couldn’t help it. 

“Lucy,” she grabbed his hand, something strange stirring in her. 

Whatever it was, she hoped that it would continue to grow. 

An American Werewolf In Japan - Werewolf!McCree x Hanzo / Chapter 3: Strange Feelings

Originally posted by fourteenyearswithpain

Jesse stirred a bit as his eyelids fluttered a bit before they slowly opened up. He flinched away when he saw the bright white lights of the hospital room. He groaned and clutched his head, it sounded more like a growl as he rubbed his eyes.

That noise. What was that forsaken noise driving him insane? Jesse felt angry at that noise for reason. He opened his eyes and his head shot in the direction of that noise in pure rage only to see that it was the heart monitor. He shook his head and groaned again, rubbing his temples as he tried to focus.

Everything was blurry yet sharp. He was very dizzy and he felt nauseous. He looked down at his hands to see his left metal arm was off, only leaving his stump from his elbow and up. He looked to the side to see the blurry outline of his arm and sighed in content. His other arm held a few cords, needles and tubes giving him life and making sure his body is well taken care of.

Memories of that night were flashing past his eyes. The date, the flowers, the kis- Hanzo! That thing!

Jesse looked down at his shoulder to see it was bandaged up, the same went for the wraps around his waist. He looked around for any sight of Hanzo, but all he got was his vision fading back to normal. His heart monitor sped up as he got worried.

Is he dead? Is he in the ICU? Where is he?

Those thoughts ran through his head as he started panicking. The door opened as Angela ran in with a clipboard and a few needles in hand, only to calm down when she saw Jesse was sitting straight up.

“Jesse lay back down,” she said calmly while she put the needles down.

“Where is he, Angie?” Jesse asked, ignoring her request.

“Hanzo? Oh, I forgot to move the curtain,” she said as she walked up to the sheet.

With one swift motion, she moved the sky blue and purple polka dot curtain to the end to reveal Hanzo. His eyes were closed and his heart monitor was on silent mode.

“What happened to him?” Jesse asked.

“Well he had large gashes on his chest and stomach so he had to get stitched up,” she said softly. “But you took the brunt of the attack. That wolf almost mauled you.” She looked at Jesse to see how he was taking this and retrieved his metal arm. “Hanzo woke up a few hours before you did, but his medications made him fall back asleep. He’s alright, but he’s just tired. You, however, you’re fully awake.” She looked at the bag to see it was empty. “I’ll get you another bag.

“As she left, Jesse looked at Hanzo’s eyelids flutter as if he was dreaming.

“Thanks, doc,” Jesse whispered.

His heart shattered at the sight of Hanzo in that bed. It yearned for Jesse to do something. He just had this feeling that he needed to just hug Hanzo, to push all of his pieces back together. But both of the men were basically bed bound until Mercy deems them able to leave the medical bay.

Hanzo’s eyes flutter a little faster as his breathing changed, get a little faster. Jesse watched sadly, thinking Hanzo was having a nightmare but smiled when he saw Hanzo’s eyes crack open. The archer’s eyes opened up a bit more and he placed a hand on his head which was probably throbbing. He shook his head, getting rid of the clouds haunting his brain and looked over at Jesse only for his eyes to widen.

“Hey,” Jesse said with a wink. “How ya holdin’ up?”

“I am fine..” he said softly as he looked down to his lap covered by white sheets. “You are looking better than before.”

“What do ya mean?”

“Your skin looked.. gray. It looked like you were dead.”

“Well I ain’t dead yet,” Jesse chuckled.

It was silent for a bit before the machines next to the two men started beeping, thus signaling another dose of medication for their bodies to be lulled to sleep. Hanzo was out like a light with his head pointed in Jesse’s direction but Jesse’s mind was fighting. He felt sick and heavy all of a sudden as his vision started getting blurry once more. The bright white walls and lights were giving him a migraine as his breathing picked up. His limbs and body started shutting down as his eyes finally shut tight.

While he was out, all he could see were the images of what could only be nightmares. They were of that beast that haunted and almost slaughtered the two of them. But, it didn’t have the same features. It had thicker and slightly longer dark brown fur, its eyes were a neon and hollow yellow, its fangs and claws were longer, it was taller and thicker with more muscle. It had no left hand or even forearm, only having a stump that stops after his elbow. Its right hand was covered in blood as its eyes were trained down at the being in front of it.

And there was Hanzo pressed up against the wall, looking up at the beast with wide eyes. Blood was trickling down his nose and the right corner of his mouth along with the huge gash in the middle of his stomach, bleeding through his clothes and his fingers. He was breathing fast as he tried his best to scrunched back farther into the wall, anything to get away from that monster. Where was his bow? It was cracked in a few pieces and kicked away somewhere in the opposite corner along with his quiver full of broken arrows.

It looked like Hanzo tried to say something or call out something, and by just looking at his lips, it looked as if Hanzo was calling out for Jesse. But there was no sound. Nothing. It was deathly silent. Except for when the monster lunged at Hanzo and he yelled out in pain as everything snapped to black.

Jesse felt as if he was being shook awake and he shot up, his eyes quickly opening to see Mercy with worry etched on her face. His heart monitor was going crazy and Hanzo was on the other side of him while holding his hand with the same facial expression as Mercy’s.

“What’s goin’ on?” Jesse asked as he started to calm down.

“You were having a bad dream and we had to wake you up,” Mercy sighed. “You were in that.. condition again. You were gray but this time… you were growling and snarling and.. it sounded like you were howling with pain.” Jesse just put his head in his hands and sighed. His mind was racing and his eyes were burning by the nauseating white walls. “We’ll be keeping you in here for the next three days. Hanzo is okay to leave, but you need to stay here. Now I’ll be back with some fresh sheets,” she said as she walked out.

“I am not going to leave your side until you are out of here,” Hanzo said softly.

“You don have to do that darlin’,” Jesse stated as he stood up.

“Jesse sit down. You are on bed rest for the next three days.”

A sudden rush of anger came over Jesse and boiled in his blood.

“I don’t need it. It was just a nightmare. Everyone gets em,” Jesse snapped. He calmed down a bit and looked at Hanzo only to feel guilty at Hanzo’s solemn appearance. “I’m sorry… I didn’ mean that.”

“I understand,” Hanzo said as he tried to guide Jesse to sit on his bed, “but you need rest. Three more days. Then you are free. And I will be here, right next to you through every day. Will that please you?”

Jesse nodded and cracked a small smile.

“Okay darlin’,” he whispered.

~Five Days Days Later~

The sunlight shined through the window and hit Jesse straight in the eyes causing him to groan and sit up. He looked over at the window and shut the curtains before going back to his bed and basically hibernate once more. That was until Soldier barged through his door locked and loaded.

“McCree! Wake up!” he ordered.

“Five more minutes pa,” Jesse groaned as he cuddled ‘his’ pillow.

It was stolen from Hanzo’s room.

“Now,” Soldier boomed and Jesse was up. “There’s a problem at Dorado and everyone is needed there now. Even you. Now get ready. The ship leaves in twenty minutes and if you aren’t on that plane so help me I will ring your ass.”

Soldier hurried away to warn everyone else and Jesse quickly got ready, already knowing that Jack Morrison does not joke around, but not as much as Gabriel Reyes. When Jesse went to open his closet door to retrieve his serape and chest plate, his hand burned up. He yanked it back and shook it in the air.

He shrugged thinking the metal knob shocked him but… When he placed his hand on the knob again it burned. It felt like his hand was in a fire. He yanked it away yet again and used his metal hand to open the door. He quickly grabbed the items and ran off to the ship.

Then he noticed something. He was faster and more agile, not to mention he had a lot of energy. It felt like he was a pent up racing dog. That and he felt stronger for some reason. His senses have sharpened, being able to see farther (he’s happy with that so he doesn’t need to wear glasses), his hearing had somehow gotten better, and his reflexes have sharpened. Not only that, but he feels fuzzy inside like his insides are covered with.. fur? He’s warmer than usual and he has these cravings for rare and even raw meat.

When Jesse got on the ship, he sat down to try and clear his head. He was rubbing his temples and pinching the bridge of his nose so he can focus better.  That was until a firm hand was placed on Jesse’s shoulder. Looking up, he saw Hanzo looking down at him with a smile. Jesse instantly started to calm down as Hanzo and Jesse started conversing.

“After this mission,” Hanzo started, “do you want to travel to Hanamura with me? It will not be until next weekend, so you can think about it.”

“I’d love to darlin’,” Jesse said as he placed his lips on Hanzo’s.

“Get a room!” Lena laughed as zipped around, obviously excited for the mission.

[Match-Up] Stress Relief

Attentive. Compassionate. Dependable. Yurika possesses traits that are all too familiar to the one known as The Dragon’s Claws. From the very beginning, her willingness to aid others, especially in times of need, as well as her glaringly supportive nature toward her loved ones, ensnared his attention. As Lord Masamune’s right-hand man, Kojuro understands that interacting with others in a tactful manner is no easy feat, as he regularly deals with establishing alliances as a representative for the Date clan. Even so, he appreciates Yurika’s efforts and compliments her for her hard work, as she tries to go above and beyond her limits, though he expresses concern for her well-being. When she finds herself involved in heated discussions, she remains receptive, always attempting to choose logic and rationality over her blinding emotions. Despite this desire, Yurika struggles with her self-worth, constantly questioning her motives in life. With Kojuro patiently caring for her with his loving touch and soothing words, she slowly flourishes into a more confident individual. Due to her appreciation of the world, Yurika possesses the ability to find beauty in everything, a characteristic that Kojuro finds extremely endearing. They enjoy spending their free time by immersing themselves in various arts.

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For a moment he was still inside her, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite and melting her all molten inside. It was like bells rippling up and up to a culmination. She lay unconscious of the wild little cries she uttered at the last. But it was over too soon, too soon, and she could no longer force her own conclusion with her own activity. This was different, different. She could do nothing. She could no longer harden and grip for her own satisfaction upon him. She could only wait, wait and moan in spirit and she felt him withdrawing, withdrawing and contracting, coming to the terrible moment when he would slip out of her and be gone. Whilst all her womb was open and soft, and softly clamouring, like a sea anenome under the tide, clamouring for him to come in again and make fulfillment for her. She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, swelling and swelling til it filled all her cleaving consciousness, and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, til she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconscious inarticulate cries.
Feed You the Sky: Chapter 9

So glad to officially say that @shesafreesoul is now the beta on this little fic :) Thank you so much for your continuous ideas and inspiration, and also for reading for me and suggesting some tweaks to make it even better! Also thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this piece of ours and offer encouragement! It means the world, sister wives <3 The entire chapter is below, or also posted on AO3 if you prefer to read it there


Trigger warnings: Ivar is a man now and he’s so confident. Be prepared. It will be the death of me.

When Kára entered the great hall, Ivar beckoned to her from his seat at the high table. She steeled herself against the nerves fluttering in her belly and went to him with all the courage she could muster. She had awoken this morning expecting her death at his hands, and instead he offered her a life greater than she dared hope for. Ivar smiled at her, a surprisingly tender expression on his hard face, and scooted to the side so she could share his bench. “I believe the custom in this land is that a man and his wife-to-be may share a plate and drinking horn at meals?” He asked sweetly.

He had done his research on her home, after all. She sat beside him, back straight as a sword, and gave a polite nod to Ubbe. He nodded back, and Kára looked around. There were only a few people in the hall right now, some servants and warriors making a quick meal before they retired for the night or took up their watches. “That is true,” she admitted, a strange excitement thrilling through her at the thought.

“Then we will share. We should show that we are unified, if we are to bring our kingdoms together smoothly,” Ivar pointed out. She couldn’t argue with that sound logic, and besides Ivar was already cutting a bite of meat for her from his plate. She opened her mouth as he presented it to her on the tip of his small eating-knife. She was a little surprised to find he had selected a tender cut for her, and his self-satisfied grin at surprising her sent a wave of warmth up her cheeks. “You are being quiet tonight. From what I have seen so far, this is unlike you.”

He fed her another piece of meat before running the point of his knife down the slope of her nose. She shivered, closing her eyes, and he burned at the expression on her face—part shock, part desire, and more than a little hope. The last nearly undid him, coming from one as strong as her. Part of him still thought her immortal, immune to such weaknesses as hope.

She chewed slowly to gather her thoughts, took a sip when he offered her his drinking horn. It was plain ale tonight, though freshly brewed, and she caught his wrist, bringing the horn to her lips again. “I am only thinking of how to address the issues we may face during our marriage.” She squeezed lightly before releasing him.

“Oh?” Ivar’s blue eyes sparkled with mischief, the curve of his lips suggestive as he smiled at her. His forearm burned where she had touched it, he could feel her like a brand hot from the forge.“I can already think of a few good ways to fix any disagreements.” Ubbe choked on his bread and Ivar pounded his back quickly, giving him an exasperated look. Even Kára had to smile, nervous as she was to have this conversation, weak as Ivar made her feel. She had to be strong, to help her people and be a wife worthy of a man of Ivar’s status. When she was younger, she’d believed she would marry some petty king, a mere peace cow to ensure the safety of her aging father’s kingdom.

But Ivar was a conqueror, a warrior through and through. Her husband-to-be both thrilled and terrified her, but she would prove to him she was worthy of being the queen of a great kingdom. He was known and feared not only in the northern lands, but in the lands to the south as well. She hoped he would take her there one day, she had always wanted to raid those rich lands. Her father would never allow it, much as she asked. The thought of him sent a stab through her gut, and she pulled herself from her thoughts and fixed Ivar with a level, cool gaze. “How are we to go about unifying our kingdoms? How will we rule together? Will we continue to raid and conquer other lands? What of my bride-price? It should go to me, in the absence of my father.” She paused, wanting to look away but refusing. “And why are you being so kind to me? I did not expect this of you.”

Ivar rested back against his chair, only leaning forward to cut her a slice of bread from the loaf on the table when he saw her looking at it. “The most important question first, then. You must know why I am being kind to you, Kára, don’t be dense.” He smiled at her glare, reaching his thumb to smooth the lines between her brows. His touch was warm and gentle, and she leaned into it. His fingers traveled from her forehead to her hair, hanging in auburn waves to her waist. It was so soft and thick against his calloused fingers that he sighed. He kept stroking the deep red locks as he spoke, trying to convey through his touch the sincerity in his words. “The gods have crafted us for each other; surely you must feel it? I am treating you as an equal because you are the only person on all Midgaard that I have ever believed to be my equal.” His smile became ironic, teasing, as he took his hand from her hair to offer her another bite of meat. “Although all those questions were almost enough to make me doubt my instinct.”

Her voice was acidic, but Ivar found her even lovelier when she was angry. “Of course the gods saw fit to craft an arrogant prick for my husband.” Ivar’s eyes blazed as Kára turned the full force of her smile on him, reaching her hand to him with a confidence she did not truly feel. He closed his eyes as she ran her fingers along his high cheekbone, tracing a faint scar there.

He turned his head suddenly to plant a soft kiss on her palm, and she blushed like the virgin she was as she withdrew from him. “But of course you are to be my husband. I thought you would bring me death, but you have given me life instead. You are not Valhalla, but certainly you will be my home.” She turned businesslike again, cursing herself for showing him the power he held over her. “But what of my other questions?”

Ivar offered her another bite of meat, and as she chewed he answered, “We will rule jointly. There are tales of kings and queens doing so. As I said, you are my equal and I will always treat you as such.” Ivar was unaccustomed to showing this much weakness, it made him want to squirm like a child in trouble. He must convince her, though. She had to know she’d held his heart from the moment he saw her, and he wanted nothing more than her heart in return. Even more than glory, more than the blood of his enemies and more than Valhalla, he craved the love of this wild, stormy woman. There could be no life without her, and no death either. Without her, he would spend his days an empty shell, a forlorn ghost trapped somewhere between this world and the next.

“As we will be joined before the gods, so will our kingdoms be joined. There shall not be one without the other, just as from this day forward, there is no Ivar without Kára.” His words stirred something strange in her, a sudden lightening behind her breastbone. She took the drinking horn to hide the shaking of her hands. This was not a tender man; he was ruthless and clever. His blue eyes were wide and sincere, though, as he regarded her. She found herself wanting to trust him, wanting to drown in those eyes like the sea, even as part of her screamed to swim for the shore. She was trapped in the rip tide of his voice.

“I wish to keep raiding and conquering, and so I shall. You will of course accompany me, if that is your wish, or you will stay behind and rule for both of us. You are a free woman and a queen, you are able to make your own choices. You have shown a great deal of wisdom and courage. I admire that in any man, and even more so in my wife. The people here love you and speak well of you. You will act as you see fit. And as for your bride-price, I have something in mind, and yes, it will of course go to you.”

He paused, looking straight at her with a predatory smile. “Ships, Kára, I will give you ships and men to lead. And for your morning-gift, we will sail them. You will choose the place for our raid. Frankia, maybe, or Northumbria? The wild Irish islands? I will deny you nothing.” He saw the pleased smile creeping over her face, the excitement in her hazel eyes, and knew he had offered the perfect thing for her. Yes, she was his equal in every way, a woman who understood the deepest desires of his heart.

She leaned forward to place a chaste kiss on his lips, tasting lightly of ale, and he longed only to devour her as he had this morning, but he held himself back despite the urgency of his desire. In just a few days time, he would show her how deep she was in his heart.