also i still don't know if he is a she or a he

Reasons why I love Static

A good hero works well with others

Look at how the other heroes smile at him, they are genuinely happy to meet him. When Superman saves him, he isn’t upset. He’s happy. He asked to be saved and he was

And it’s not the last time either. You see it here

and here

he works well with the justice league members even though his interactions with them are rare and in between.

He’s literally never afraid to ask them for help

I mean, look at that. He made the bat signal, he was outright asking for help as publicly as he ever could.

and in “Fallen hero” when he thought Green Lantern really had become evil…

Just look at his face. He is shocked. He can’t believe one of his heroes would do this, he tried to figure out why, tried to come up with a reason to explain it, so it would make sense.

And the moment Sinestro, disguised as Green Lantern, hurt Gear. He knew it was true, and he’s horrified that the person he looked up to did this and he’s angry, angry that he didn’t see this.

Static knows when to fight

but he also knows when someone just needs a helping hand

and sure, he jokes around

but he also knows how important the work he does is

Originally posted by zoo-monkey

and he also knows what happens if he messes up

His family knows what it is he does and they all support him in whatever way they can.

and that’s why I love Static shock. Yes, they touched upon some serious issues

they didn’t dumb it down for the audience, or treat the issues with kiddie gloves, they addressed the issues and those were also the same episodes that they broke the fourth wall. Dyslexia, gun control, gang violence, racism. They didn’t pull their punches on this show.

They showed us a still very much grieving teenager who almost joins a gang in the first episode, who gets powers that he uses to protect other people without a moment of hesitation, not even thinking of getting revenge on his bullies. Even as a superhero, he still volunteers at the community center his dad runs.

Yes, Virgil makes mistakes, he’s still a kid after all, but he’s so genuinely kind and sincere that we can’t help but love him.

Originally posted by staticshockyoursystem

I don’t know if it actually is Static shock appreciation week officially, but it is for me

Originally posted by staticshockyoursystem

and, because I can’t help myself

Originally posted by staticshockyoursystem

Mischaracterization of Characters in Haikyuu

Don’t read this if you are not going to have an open mind about it. [Edited]


I am honestly sick and tired of characters being misrepresented here in the Haikyuu fandom. I’m not talking about minor headcanons etc, I’m talking about how more than half of the fandom have been mischaracterizing and diluting characters personalities, twisting them into something that is no way near their original intended character. Quite personally, this is probably one of the worst things you can do. So, right here, right now. I am going to go in depth of some of the most mischaracterized characters in Haikyuu based on my personal opinion. 

This is in no way to hate on any of them, I love every single person in the anime, each for their own individual attributes that make them unique, here, I am merely stating blatant facts based of the manga and anime. So if you like this sort of thing, sit back and grab some motherfucking popcorn cause this is going to be a long-fucking rant.


- Oikawa -

Listen here. Oikawa is not a whiny crybaby who cries all the fucking time, he is probably the most mischaracterized character in the entire fandom. He’s a strong guy who is dedicated to the thing he loves and ensures his teammates can play to the best of their ability. I get that all of us one way or another have an inner sadist in ourselves that makes up enjoy watching our favourite characters suffer psychologically or physically. But when people perceive, write, draw Oikawa as a boy who cries over the smallest of thing, whines, and overall is a weak little shit, it gets very annoying and frustrating. You are diluting his character seriously, tarnishing his real personality and character. And because of that half of the fandom sees him as this weak dude who breaks down and cries over the tiniest and most minuscule of things?

Look at him, does this look like the face of someone who cries all the fucking time? 

Let me say, Oikawa is bloody capable of destroying someone if he wishes. His serves are fucking powerful, and even Ushijima, one of the top spikers in the Miyagi prefecture, acknowledges that. So why do people characterize him as a selfish whiny asshole. You know very well this little ball of terror cares deeply for his teammates, not a self-centred asshole who asks Iwaizumi to bang his ass all the time. Also, why to some people whore him out? He isn’t that type of guy. Although I get that in various different contexts, the situation depends. But just so you know, canon Oikawa is very well a man of pride, I admit, he does whine, but to the extent of using emotional pity to get what he wants is just so out of character

I love Oikawa, probably as much as I love Iwa [IHajime is my favourite character in the series, if you did not know.] , that’s why it’s sad to see that he has been “re-written” by fans as this weak-ass teenager with nothing better to do than tear up all the goddamn time. Really, Oikawa is fucking strong as hell and though he may have a few insecurities, he will crush his opponents with his abilities and strengths. Not fucking whining. 

Even his teammates respect him and put all their trust and faith into this beauty of a captain, they know he can do shit to annoy them, but they acknowledge his true strength and believe in him no matter how dire the situation. He is Seijou’s captain, heartthrob of many high schools, and one of the most respected Setters. So for fuck’s sake, stop diluting his character more than people have already have.

- Iwaizumi -

I wouldn’t go as far to say Iwa’s is as bad as Oikawa’s, however, since he is my favourite character, and I may have a biased opinion towards this, I would like to say some things as to how he has been in some instances misrepresented in the fandom.

Stop mischaracterizing him as this big old brute who does nothing but threaten to hit Oikawa all the time, I mean, sure, he does that, but we all know it’s out of concern. As a personal writer of fanfiction, I often use this to express his concern towards his friend, not a threat, so why are there actually people who see him as abusive? It’s clear this is his way of caring for Oikawa and ensuring he doesn’t hurt himself or overexert his knee in practice. His aggression is just his own way of saying “I care for you so don’t do anything stupid”, also, I’m not very sure why people would think Iwaizumi is the emotionally “Stronger” one between him and Oikawa. If you need a refresher, Iwa isn’t able to keep in his emotions as well as Oikawa, seeing as the very person who told Oikawa the team with the better six is stronger, questioned his self-worth and position as ace because he couldn’t help his team win. In my unpopular personal view on this, Hajime may be more emotional than people make him out to be.

Another thing that genuinely upsets me is that this baby is as strong as Ushijima but doesn’t get the recognition he deserves? Like, give him some credit, his spikes based off official statistics state that it’s a 5/5, just like Ushijima. So can we please do what we can to spread that Iwaizumi is not just the other half to Oikawa and a person by himself as well? You shouldn’t only love him because he makes up the one of the halves to your OTP, you should also love him for the very fact that this baby loves Godzilla, is a huge dork, is a great Senpai, multi-athletic, and most importantly, the ace of Aoba Jousai, a powerhouse school. Give him as much love as you give everyone else. Okay? okay.

Now, moving on to the fandom aspect, may we please have more Oikawa taking care of Iwa? Just have more fanfiction or fanart with Oikawa reassuring he is enough? We have a rather huge amount of fan-related contributions with Oikawa as the person being constantly assured that he is enough and he tried his best. But may I please see more contributions with Iwaizumi being comforted that he is enough, and that he shouldn’t question his role as ace? I don’t know man, but I think Iwa needs that, he has to learn to recognise his own strengths.

- Tsukishima -

Tsukki is not only a salty french fry who looks down on everyone besides Yamaguchi. Tsukki is one of those characters with the best character development. I agree, he can be a dick, but he doesn’t doubt his teammates capabilities. For example, he may find Hinata annoying at first, however, he acknowledges that Hinata has too surprised him with his drive and determination to rise to the top, making him want to be in some way the “moon” that supports the “sun”.

Let me be in honest here. Before I finished watching Haikyuu, all I saw in Tsukki was an unmotivated dick, but after learning how the person he looked up to, in this in case Akiteru, lied to him and made his idea of “working hard to get you anywhere” fall apart, I realised that after knowing this, his character and personality made so much more sense. This boy went from someone who only saw “Volleyball” as a club activity to something he could actually put effort into. That’s right, he tries. This boy does tries. Shocking I know.

- Yachi -

Yachi is not just a girl who gets in the way of your ships. She is so much more than that. She, despite having a very obvious fear of confronting people she is not comfortable with still tries her very best to do what she can for the Karasuno boys. Don’t forget, this little sweetheart is the girl who helped come up with the poster for the team. She put in a lot of effort into that, so I think it would be nice to give her credit where it’s due even if you might not like her.

I personally feel that Yachi has undergone a lot of character development, she went from this fearful girl to someone worthy of being the next manager of Karasuno. She does her best to pick up what she can from Kiyoko so she can be as good of a manager in the future, if not better. So please stop hating on this cinnamon roll just because she might get in the way of you ships. She has done nothing wrong and I don’t feel she deserves hate in anyway, unless you can validify your point and give me good evidence as to why she is to be hated, this treatment towards her is completely unnecessary.

- Kiyoko -

Kiyoko is the classic case of fans over-sexualising her in fanart or in fan-related contributions. This beautiful lady is not just a woman with a big bust and no brains. Mind you, Kiyoko was an ex-athlete. She could whoop your puny ass in running if you try and I highly doubt you’d win. She was the great heroine who brought Hinata’s bag on her two feet excuse yourself. So please don’t paint her as this lady who all guys fawn over just because she is pretty, she has a personality and life too. See past that superficial layer and grow up.

Look at her, look how sweet she is. It is clear she is a little shy at times, yet she, like Yachi, do their best to express their support towards the boys. I think girls in Sports anime tend to receive more hate than usual, mainly with the idea they are a hindrance to your gay OTPs, hey you, what makes you think that? Can’t a girl be a nice to guy platonically? Even if they in fact to get together with someone who is partially but of you OTP, just congratulate them and move on for fuck’s sake. Stop sparking up unnecessary drama when you lack maturity to comprehend that they can do whatever the hell they want. If you are genuinely upset, just write fanfiction to feed your guilty pleasures, no need to hate on anybody.

Look at what a good senpai she is.

- Yamaguchi -

Okay, listen here you little shits. If you hate on this little precious smol cinnamon roll I will rip your throat out and shove it up your ass. Do not tell me that Yamaguchi is just this weak little boy who doesn’t deserve to be on the Karasuno team. Do not tell me that this boy doesn’t try to do his best just so he can play alongside his friends, because more than anyone among the first years, Yama tries the hardest. He finds someone who can teach him a jump float serve so he can prove to be a valuable player and not just a good ol’ bench-warmer. And you can see even if he might not be perfect, this little bean tries so fucking hard to have something he can contribute to the team’s success.

I don’t care if you don’t ship Tsukkiyama or not, honestly, I don’t give two shits about what you ship. But if you hate on him just because you ship some other ship, you are fucked up. What on earth did he do? He’s the best friend of Tsukishima, yes, I perosnally ship them both romantically and just as friends because I do have multiple ships alongside rare-pairs, but why hate on him? Boy, why hate on anybody? Can’t everyone accept that all characters have their on individual strengths, weaknesses, character, personalities? Seeing your NOTPs isn’t a valid excuse to create hateblogs or hateposts against other characters, that is just childish and immature.

- Sugawara -

Suga is not some weak-ass bitch who depends on Daichi for everything JesusFuckADuck. Stop drawing him as this overly-feminine character when his build is not that far off from Daichi’s. Note, I am not saying being feminine is bad, it’s good, definitely, however going as far as to make Sugawara a guy with almost no trace of masculinity left is a little odd. If that’s what you want, go ahead. Just stop portraying him as someone who can’t even defend hiself lmao, Suga will and can whoop anyone’s ass, do you not remember how painful his jabs can be? Even Daichi and Asahi fear him.

Look at him. He can be intimidating, an angel and a devil. He’s Karasuno’s mom alright, but he is a strong independent mother who will and can be strict if he wants to. He was Karasuno’s setter before Kageyama if you don’t remember, he is intelligent, smart and selfless enough to be willing to sacrifice his opportunity to play on the court, because he knows Kageyama taking his place was the best shot to give the team a chance at winning. Yeah well sorry if you’re butthurt if I said that, I just had to remind you guys, seems like some people forgot.

- Kuroo -

[ Contributed by @mayphenix and edited by me. Check them out. ]

Kuroo isn’t a sex god, he’s a dork who likes having fun, teasing his kouhais but knows when he goes over the top and apologizes [Like he does to Sawamura when he thinks he’s hurt Tsukki]. He loves science and is overall a huge little science nerd, currently attending college prep class as one of the top student’s in Nekoma. He’s very well capable of recognizing his opponents’ abilities and strengths, coming up with more than decent strategies to overcome them and pulverising them.

Yes, he is sexy but that’s not a reason to only see him as that. What about his passion and love for volleyball? It’s the guy who learned volleyball by watching on people play it on televsion [Which is pretty close to Volleyball genius Kageyama learning by watching Oikawa] and he’s fucking brilliant at volleyball but he doesn’t let it go over his head. He’s modest and he’s helpful towards his own school kouhais, but also players on other teams, just because he’s just that nice. He just wants to play volleyball and help his coach’s dream to be fulfilled; the Battle of the Trash Dump, live on the national stage. He is such a good person but he’s viewed as this mischievous, mocking and sometimes cunning guy when really he’s got his heart on his sleeve and helps out whenever he can.

- Bokuto -

[ Also contributed by @mayphenix​ and edited by me. Check them out. ]

Bokuto isn’t a fool who is self-centered and moody. Yes he acts like a dork, yes he is moody occasionally. But what matters most is that he has the capacity to pick himself and act like a proper Captain and Ace. [Not that we’ve seen it happen yet, they stated it may be a biased opinion since Bokuto is their favourite character. But I completley agree with them, Please note all this was in their perspective and I am merely adding it onto this master post.] They doubt Fukurodani chose him as Captain simply because he’s the most powerful player and has Akaashi to keep him in check.

In the manga and anime, they say that the rest of the team pulls him forward, and Akaashi says that a strong opponent doesn’t phase him, I believe we’ll see him being the one pulling Fukurodani forward when they need him the most. He takes a lot of pride in being the Ace of a powerhouse school and among the top 5 spikers in the Miyagi prefecture, but like Kuroo, he doesn’t let it get into his head. He also helps out younger players who aren’t even on his team, showing how much of a good senpai he can be. He’s pretty quick to figure out someone’s behaviour or character, since he figures out Tsukki’s personality very quickly. And in the last few chapters we’ve seen him analyze tactics and plays. One does not simply become among the top 5 spikers just because they’ve got big arms and power: They need to be clever enough to think of patterns and attacks and act accordingly to the given situation. He’s not only an owl-obssessed idiot. He’s not a burden and he leads his team proudly. He’s not just moody, he’s just free to be who he wants to be thanks to the trust his teammates have in him.

- Ushijima -

Okay, I want this post to be honest and true, so let’s make it clear. I did not like Ushijima at all in the beginning, not one bit. Which was immaturity on my part because I didn’t see his full story, I saw him as this pushy emotionless guy who had issues with Oikawa not going to Shiratorizawa. But boy, was I wrong. Ushijima is a giant softie at heart who just has trouble expressing his emotions normally, when he does do it, it may not come out the way he had intended it to be. And as a person who has trouble controlling their emotions, I relate to him a lot. Let’s not forget that Ushijima was a single child who was shunned by some people in his family for being left-handed, one of his relatives even suggested trying to correct it though we all know that is not the way to go.

The following is extracted from the Haikyuu wiki. “Ushijima doesn’t speak often, but when he does he bluntly says what’s on his mind and usually comes off as tactless. He will apologize if he realizes that he has insulted someone, but he won’t change his viewpoint.This boy is not some prick who doesn’t apologise alright? He is not a cold-ass villian with no tact, he is just not very emotionally connected our capable. As @manga-trashcan-pen​ has pointed out, Ushijima was an isolated child. Meaning he did not experience much social interaction which should have helped build his character and social sensitivity. He is a human with just as much emotions as anybody, for god’s sake this big bean’s favourite food is rice.

He is a captain who has faith in his team’s ability, he believes that only the strongest could have got onto his team and thus he makes sure to bring out the best in everyone.

- Tendou -

Tendo is a very sad character I would say. Not only was he bullied and ostracized in school, he was not liked by some of his peers even in the later part of his life, even though he is a very respectable and skilled middle blocker. Not only does he have the talent and skill to deduce an opponents moves, he has the physical capacity to actually do what is necessary to prevent it. It makes me a little sad that there are people who actually hate him, cause I absolutely love him and think he deserves so much more recognition.

Let’s back up a little and delve into his past. We know that this little red floof was bullied for looking like a “monster”, but when he moved on to highschool however, we can see so much more of his character as it’s obvious he feels more accepted in the academy. And though he may be at times a little annoying, he is still a little sinnamon roll, just like how he knew not to push on with Ushijima when the latter spoke about his family. This boy does have tact and knows when it’s enough to stop probing. He is not a over-enthusiastic dick who annoys everyone he sees alright? This boy who had no friends went on to befriend one of the most notable spikers in the prefecture. Even going as far as to call Ushijima his best friend.

Never forget what he said when they lost the match against Karasuno. He lost one of the only things that made him feel accepted and if that doesn’t break your heart then go get one.


Since I realised I left out some other really major characters, I have added on. And mostly because you guys like me venting??

This was with the help of other Tumblr users who have helped contributed to this post, I merely did a sum up. Credits and thanks to the following users for adding their share and pointing out other very mischaracterized characters, @mayphenix​ , @gayerthanchanel​ , @dragonarmada​ , @manga-trashcan-pen​ , and KingofhellLordofTime from my instagram.

In the edit, I covered other characters I have failed to mention earlier or who were not brought to my intention

Well, That’s it. That’s the end of this rant. Have a nice day.


6

I had promised a KiriBaku kid something like months ago, and tbh most of the reason why it took me this long is because I couldn’t pick between these two so?? In the end just have them both I guess - some info about them under cut, in case you wanna know more!!

Keep reading

my fave parts in beauty and the beast:

  • gaston dragging agathe in front of the whole town and then just going like ‘no offense agathe’
  • when lefou asked gaston whether he seriously wanted to be part of belle’s family
  • “is that fair?” - “i don’t care”
  • when gaston told belle that she just had to find the right man and she was all like ‘it’s a small village i’ve met everyone’ like what kind of savage
  • “BE FREE!” iconic
  • lefou spelling gaston’s name
  • beast dragging belle for her taste in shakespeare
  • belle holding back tears when she’s in the library for the first time honestly same
  • lefou’s smile upon realizing that maurice was still alive
  • “there’s a beast running wild, there’s no question, but i fear the wrong monster’s released”
  • maestro cadenza going “ouch” when gaston ditches lefou
  • when chip apologized to maurice for moving and maurice was just like ‘it’s alright’ and then he fucking bolted
  • luke evans singing
  • EVERMORE
  • “too much?” - “…yep”
  • belle teaching that little girl how to read
  • “i didn’t think she would say yes!”
  • when everyone was changed back

anonymous asked:

why don't you like kathleen kennedy? shes the only female and she seems nice

it’s april 2017 and there are still people who dont know kk is a white demon

  • kk is an icon of white feminism.
  • when she doesn’t get involved directly, female characters’ looks get incredibly diverse (animated series or novels etc. although, we can’t say they treat women of color well.)
  • new female actresses who play lead roles, d ridley, f jones, and e clarke are all white brunette (just like her). this is my personal opinion but for me, f jones was the weakest part in rogue one because of her emontionless and soulless performance, but kk was the one who insisted on casting her and she’s very proud of it. we haven’t seen clarke’s performance in the upcoming han solo film yet but she’s already very famous for horrible eyebrow acting (even her fans admit it). tessa thompson and zoe kravitz, who also auditioned for clarke’s role, is obviously better than her.
  • (also, i think the rogue one novel was a bit better but the movie was… it focuses on the white woman, who didn’t care about the rebellion but only herself then becomes a hero. it’s not feminism when men of color are used to spotlight a white woman, especially when one of them has sacrificed everything for the rebellion from when he was a very young kid. when i heard jyn’s character was originally more like cassian i couldn’t stop groaning because THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER.)
  • ‘for some reason’ she keeps thinking white brunette women are the most ideal people to get the roles. even if she’s doing it unconsciously, it doesn’t change the fact that’s racism. she’s a racist.
  • and when you are a racist you can’t be a feminist because feminism means you support all the women.
  • she seems very passionate when she talks about rey and jyn but when it’s about other actors who are men of color she suddenly becomes silent?? and she talks about this “girl power” a lot but when it’s about races, ethnicities and diversity she doesn’t say anything? it’s always the directors who sat next to her who speak about it, or actors of color themselves. her “girl power” only involves white women and yet she said star wars represented the world. 
  • she was a producer of complete disaster : avatar the last airbender movie, where almost everyone got whitewashed, which means she learned nothing from her past.
  • @kyber-sphere replied:  Actually, she isn’t even a feminist. Every time someone asks questions about “girl power” in panels she gets obviously irritated. One time, she was even dismissive towards the person who asked it too.

*Ragnarök calls* New squad who dis

some fox hcs bc i’m sick and it’s all i’ve been thinking about:

  • when they have movie nights, allison and matt have a competition to see who can catch more popcorn in their mouths. allison always wins so matt just throws popcorn at her without even letting her catch it
  • they all go team grocery shopping after finding out neil has never had at least 50% of the junk food they all grew up on
  • renee takes up crocheting and makes them all fox print patterned socks. they wear them every movie night(even andrew)
  • nicky gets homesick sometimes and when he does he makes a lot of the traditional dishes his mom would and the foxes eat all of it even though they literally saw nicky chopping raw jalapenos earlier
  • allison and dan are real housewives fanatics and they will kill a man to get to the tv. kevin still has the scars on his arm from where allison nearly clawed his arm off for trying to change the tv
  • the foxes do charity dog washing at a nearby pet shelter and neil literally almost gets smothered by the biggest dog there and that’s when the foxes find out neil is the biggest dog magnet
  • nicky makes the mistake of teaching andrew to bake and he never leaves the kitchen. but the tower always smells like vanilla so that’s a bonus
  • neil cannot cook for shit and i’m standing by this until i die. he tried making cup noodles in the dorm microwave and matt came back to a small fire and a calm neil just watching the fire blaze
  • neil twists his ankle falling down some stairs and matt uses this as an excuse to bridal carry him everywhere
  • “do i even weigh anything to you?”  “no, it’s like holding a couple of grapes.”
  • allison and neil take exactly 5 hours every saturday to go shopping, get facials, gossip. allison has video proof of neil sitting on a lounge chair with his whole face covered in a cucumber face mask, sipping lemon water, and getting his nails done. he looks right into her camera and in the most deadpan voice says “ah yes, the bourgeoisie.” the video ends with allison snickering and dropping her phone 
  • whenever anyone is late to practice they have to go on a run with neil and every time they fall behind is a lap they have to do at the next practice. no one is late again after kevin comes back from a run and passes the fuck out
  • the foxes went to disney world once and lost andrew. they don’t speak of it ever again. 
  • matt when asked by some sexist reporter why he listens to what the girls tell him to do: dan’s my girlfriend, renee could kill me, and allison has enough dirt on me to ruin my life until i die. also i respect them more than your crusty ass so that’s there as well. next question?
  • (matt isn’t allowed to do press duty for the next week after that)
  • kevin, five drinks in and nearing tipsy: if renee ever became a villian we’d all be screwed
  • the rest of the foxes except for renee and andrew: AMEN
  • casual cheek kisses are a thing among the foxes but no one kisses neil around andrew unless they want to lose a toe
  • it isn’t a question if whether or not a drunk kevin has acidentally called andrew “aaron”, it’s whether or not kevin actually made it out alive
  • nicky matt, and neil all have a shared exasperation for White People Food
  • neil and renee have been banned from nearly evershopping center within 50 miles of palmetto bc they wouldn’t stop throwing the knives to test how sharp they were
  • aaron and andrew play pokemon against each other(even tho andrew is more partial to acnl) and andrew manages to beat aaron’s entire team with just a jigglypuff and no one knows how he did it
  • once neil got really drunk and before he went to bed he kissed everyone’s foreheads(aaron left right after neil kissed renee’s) like his mom used to do to him before she went to sleep and it left everyone in shock

On Hiveswap

I think it’s very important that Joey was sent to Xefros and Dammek was sent to Jude.

It’s been stated a few times that Joey was bullied by the others at school and never really had any friends. She sees that same thing in Xefros- except his only friend is the Billy that hurts him. Xefros is probably Dammek’s only friend as well.

Likewise, Jude is stated to have a clique of friends that allow Joey to hang with them. Joey’s shown to even be a bit jealous of them. Jude’s success in healthy relationships, and just how supportive he is, will be important in his interactions with Dammek- showing him how friendships and healthy relationships are, and even making him realize how shitty he’s been to Xefros.

Because in the end, Dammek is a protagonist in a 10+ game. This won’t end awfully- at least, I’m hoping not. I think Xefros and Dammek’s relationship is going to be repaired, along with Jude and Joey’s.

On the flip side, the trolls are important to Jude and Joey’s development too.

Joey’s shown to be jealous of not only Jude’s friendships, but Jude’s confidence as well. She’s been partnered up with a troll who has VERY little confidence in himself, making it so that she has to be the one to step up and lead, while also helping Xefros grow to be more independent and confident. Having a friend and more confidence in herself will help amend Joey’s relationship with Jude.

Jude’s paranoia over his conspiracies is shown to get on Joey’s nerves. He may have been right this time, but this behavior can still be harmful towards Jude and his relationships with others in the future. But, if Jude’s paranoid, then I don’t even know how to describe Dammek. Dammek’s paranoia-inspired cruelty will show Jude the worst parts of his behavior, and will help him learn to trust others besides himself and his sister, letting him open himself up to reparations.


Homestuck has always dealt with dysfunctional relationships- on both sides of them, and how people’s behaviors can create these situations and obscure them. This is a new iteration of that- this will be a story of change for the better.

Hey whatever you’re doing right now is important and all, but we need to talk about a Fake AH Crew AU where Ryan introduces Meg to the rest of the crew

At this point they are all still kinda scared of Ryan. He’s the freaking Vagabond, like shit my dudes. They’ve been working together for long enough though that Ryan has shown them his face a few times but they are still more than a bit scared of him.

They’re about to rob a place with a very specific and unique uniform and need to blend in. They’ve tried to get the uniforms through their usual connections but it just isn’t happening. They’re just about to ready to give up when Ryan quietly informs that he knows someone who could help them.

So, that evening they get into their car and Ryan drives them into the trendy side of the city and to an apartment building. The other guys are a bit “?????” because this definitely doesn’t look like a place they usually do business at. Also, anyone Ryan has connections to has to be a real bad guy so this seems…off.

They get to a door and before Ryan even knocks the door is opened by this petite girl with purple hair that goes “Rye-Rye!” and just hugs the dude. The others freeze because, like does this girl know that Ryan once broke someones wrist when they touched him without permission?

And then they pretty much piss themselves with fear because this girl just straight up reaches for Ryan’s mask and pulls it off. She’s like “You know I hate that you wear that thing all the time. You know it’s really shitty for your skin. You’ve been using that cream I gave you, right?” 

And they are even more shocked when the fucken Vagabond just looks nervous and goes “….I’ve used it a bit.” and seems to shrink when this tiny girl glares at him.

So they go inside and they all instantly like Meg, but are also a bit confused about how this friendship or whatever it is between these two unlikely companions started. They start discussing it, and by discussing it I mean wildly speculating in groupchat, about how these two could have met. Michael is sure they’ve pulled a heist together, Jeremy is suggesting that maybe Ryan saved Meg from bad people, Geoff is suggesting that Meg saved Ryan from bad people, Gavin thinks the girl is cute, and Jack is mostly just impressed with the room decor.

Ryan and Meg have a very casual banter going on as Ryan explains what the costumes they need are and even laughs a couple of times after which Michael fills the chat with about 243 question marks. The girl seems to think that making elaborate outfits is easy, but hey, Ryan has to know what he’s doing if he trusts this girl. Meg also assures them with a laugh that she had recreated harder to make outfits before.

So they eventually start to relax a bit, and can’t help but to notice that this Ryan is basically a different person than the one they know. The guy they know likes sharpening knives, this one is changing the lightbulbs in Meg’s kitchen because she can’t reach them.

Meg is taking their measures when Jack oh-so-casually asks how she and Ryan met. “At an anime convention.”, she answers like it’s the most normal thing in the world to make friends with someone on the FBI’s most wanted list at an anime convention. Geoff laughs so hard that he pees his pants.

And that is how Meg meets the Fake AH Crew. 

Don't Label Jin in BTS with Female Pronouns or Automatically Associate Him with Namjoon

Please, don’t call/or imply that Jin is a mom/wife/parent/princess etc.; claim indirectly that Namjin is the only Jinship; or automatically associate Jin with Namjoon as a default, because of these reasons:
1. Misrepresentation of Jin’s personality: BigHit restricted Jin’s personality because they wanted him to have a certain image as being cool, calm and collected until around 2016, when BigHit finally allowed Jin to act like himself. As you can see in recent videos, Jin is much more playful, outgoing, childish and loud. However, the label of mom still remains despite the fact that he doesn’t exhibit the stereotypical traits of a mom anymore. Cooking and taking care of the members does not automatically make him a mother. This is why I don’t want him to be called mom/wife/princess anymore, because you’re misrepresenting who he actually is. All the members say Jin ist the most childish.
2. “But the other members call Jin mom, and Jin has called himself it as well”: Yes, I acknowledge that this has happened; however, J-Hope and Jimin has also been labeled as moms. J-Hope especially have been referred to as the mother-figure much more frequently than Jin. Both J-Hope and Jimin have done actions that can be perceived as stereotypical mom-traits. Why does the label only stick to Jin? Plus they’re calling him uncle now.
3. The appropriate context: If you’re going to label someone as mom, at least it should be in a context where the member actually acts in a way that is stereotypically considered motherly. Instead often what happens is that Jin is labeled as a mother/wife no matter how unlike a stereotypical mother/wife he actually acts.
4. Double standards and hypocrisy: For example, Jin has nearly kissed Taehyung, Jimin and Jungkook but this is still considered a son-mom-moment, with comments like “Mommy Jin, what are you doing trying to kissing your son?”, “Cute mom-and-son bonding moment” or “Stop cheating on Namjoon.” This limits our perception of Jin’s relationships, because they are all reduced to son-mom-moments. If near-kiss-moments had been between any of the other members than Jin, the interactions would not have been interpreted as a mom-and-son-moment. But just because it’s Jin, his interactions are judged differently. In other words, there is a double standard on how Jin is treated compared to other members. It is hypocritical that Jin is judged differently.
5. Limiting the way we perceive Jin’s relationships: It also limits the type of relationships Jin is allowed to have, both romantically and brotherly. The mom/wife label is indirectly forced on people like me, when people continue to comment things like mom/wife. When people comment that Jin is “cheating on Namjoon” or “Mom Jin and dad Namjoon taking care of the kids”, people implicitly make it clear that Jin can only be shipped with Namjoon (even if it’s just a joke), and when people, even if they don’t bring in Namjoon, call Jin mom they are indirectly reinforcing the ship and the role Jin has.
6. Shipping: Worse is when Namjoon or mom jokes are used to promote their ship. Saying that Jin is “cheating on Namjoon” or imply in any way that Namjoon or Jin are in an actual relationship, dismisses Jin’s other relationships with the other members. and implicitly reinforce that Jin can not be shipped with anyone than Namjoon. This often happens when people don’t want Jin to be shipped with anyone else than Namjoon, so they make “jokes” and misgenders him because they don’t want Jin to be shipped with anyone else then Namjoon.
7. Indirectly/Implicitly preventing shipping: Saying things like “You can’t ship mom and son, that’s incest” and “Everyone already knows that Namjoon and Jin is married”, is a dismissive gesture, that is implicitly preventing people from interpreting Jin’s relationships in another way than mom-and-son. People hide behind this “joke”, to prevent Jin from being shipped, brotherly or romantically etc., with anyone else than Namjoon.
8. Stereotyping of Moms: “A stereotype is a preconceived notion about a group of people.” By calling Jin mom/wife, people are indirectly implying that making food and taking care of the members, is how a mom should/and is acting.
9. “But it’s a compliment”: Maybe people mean it as one, but it’s still problematic to perpetuate a stigma about moms, and implicitly about gender roles.
10. Gender roles and heteronormativity: By stereotyping Jin as the mother and Rap Monster as the father, people are implying that there needs to be a “submissive” and “dominant” in the relationship, often in relation with “femininity” (female) and “masculinity” (male). Instead of just being a relationship with two men, people are indirectly strengthening the perception that there needs to be someone traditionally feminine (female) and someone traditionally masculine (male). Even though I don’t believe anyone is intentionally intending to be homophobic or sexist, this is still a case of unintentional and internalized sexism and homophobia, that stigmatize and generalize people. This is heteronormativity.
11. Misgendering: About the princess/mom/wife label, Jin once corrected a fan when she called him princess, he wanted to be called prince. This can be applied to the mom/wife label too.
12. “But we know that he is a man, it’s just a joke”: Jokes can be problematic and harmful, and as I mentioned before, it still misrepresents Jin’s personality, stereotypes him and limits how we view his interactions with other members.
13. “It’s still a joke. Calm down. If you don’t like the comments, just ignore them.”: People are entitled to their opinion, but don’t tell us not react or tell us it’s just a joke, because we understand that it’s just a joke, but we don’t find it funny. Stop trivializing our feelings, perspectives and experiences and blame us for implicitly for being “too sensitive” and “not being able to take a joke” when so many people do not like that Jin is called mom/wife/princess etc. Our feelings should be acknowledged. We should not be marginalized and overlooked, and we need to speak up, because if we don’t, people will continue to call Jin mom/wife/princess. Stop misrepresenting Jin’s personality; stereotyping him; being hypocritical about how you chose to interpret Jin’s relationships/personality as mom/wife/princess when you wouldn’t have done the same with another member; and limiting how we view Jin’s interactions and relationship with the members.

Side note: English is not my first language, so I’m sorry if I didn’t articulate myself well enough. I made a post about this before, but this one is much more organized, and I added several points.

anonymous asked:

man I don't think you can really say bro is brainwashed but gamzee's just evil when you can argue that gamzee's also possessed by cal. they even have really similar relationships to how he's formed, ie part of their souls exist inside lil cal already. which is probably a good explanation for how lil cal is able to brainwash them when he doesn't brainwash, like, dave, who is around him his whole childhood. idk, I just think gamzee's more complicated than "evil ass hole"

As it happens, Gamzee has a line I never gave much weight to before noticing Bro’s SAW interest that I’m more inclined to take seriously now, that suggests Gamzee and Bro’s relationship to Cal WAS intrinsically different:

But even if Bro is kind of a noble captor figure holding Cal back, I still wouldn’t think it excuses any of what he put Dave through. He’s still an awful dude.

As for Gamzee, here’s the main problem with reading him as “just” brainwashed.

Gamzee doesn’t require Lil Cal’s presence to go evil. In fact, Gamzee doesn’t seem to require ANYTHING to turn evil. 
But even if like, Doc Scratch ALWAYS teleports Lil Cal into Gamzee’s presence to trigger his personality shift, I don’t think it would matter.
The weight of the sheer SCALE of Gamzee’s devotion cements his place as an ultimately willing accomplice/acolyte to Caliborn’s Dark Carnival. 

And it kind of makes Gamzee fucking terrifying and a fantastic villain.

I’ll explain my reasoning here.

We know for a fact that Gamzee snaps and kills all his friends in at least one Doomed timeline. This is the source for half the code used in the creation of Doc Scratch. There’s no implication that Lil Cal is involved here at all. 

But again, let’s assume Lil Cal was here again. It doesn’t matter.

Because there is canonically, explicitly, no timeline in the history of Gamzee where Gamzee ever, ever, EVER chooses to rebel. Gamzee Makara simply does not ever choose his friends over Lord English.  In any timeline. Ever.
How do I know?

Lets talk about Ghosts for a minute. The fandom has historically kind of taken these guys for granted, and loose fandom consensus is that they aren’t coherent/who has what ghosts is arbitrary. This is incorrect!

Pretty much everybody in the Bubbles that should have alt!ghosts does, including Meenah and Aranea, the two characters who’s alt!ghosts are typically presumed “Missing”. 

This is important. The Ghosts kind of give us very low-key character development, and contextualize the characters for us. For example, Eridan is an absolute irredeemable bastard in the Alpha timeline. But in a God Tier iteration of themselves, Eridan and Feferi seemingly come to friendlier terms. In another, there’s suggestions Eridan makes up with Feferi and Sollux. In yet another, he seems to be Trans or exploring femininity at least.

The point is, there’s a certain fluidity to Eridan’s potential. Still terrible in the comic, but it’s important to remember that Eridan didn’t CHOOSE to be trapped in the meteor with Jack, or to be born to Alternia’s power system, or to be trapped in the Alpha Timeline. 

It’s important to remember these things because in Homestuck, someone with power–Lord English–deliberately and willfully chose those things FOR him. Eridan’s lives are lived in response to that imposed power structure.
These factors don’t redeem him completely necessarily

But anyway, the fact that the rest of the cast have coherent quantum expressions means there are only three real exceptions–three characters who either don’t have any ghosts at all, or should have more ghosts than they do. 

The first is Caliborn, who’s timeline has exactly one deviation from the Alpha–apparently caused by John’s retcon. This riddle’s solved easily enough:
Predomination doesn’t leave a ghost to appear in the bubbles at all.
When Calliope says she ate his soul, she means that literally. 
Caliborn’s cheating in the Alpha Timeline is indeed the only reason Calliope exists in the bubbles at all.

(This, by the way, explains a lot about the relationship between Caliborn’s soul and Gamzee/Arquis’ in the Lord English. He predominated over them, too.)

The second is Vriska, who only has a single ghost in (Vriska). This is really weird, because we literally know for a fact she dies in more than one doomed timeline! As with the two Calliopes, I think this is down to John’s retcon doing some weird entanglement nonsense to Vriska’s quantum existence.
The point is: Where others have a palette of possibility, Vriska has two extremely polarized halves. Schrodinger’s Vriska. 

Important to mention that just like Eridan, the structure of the Alpha Timeline that limits potential Vriskas is IMPOSED ONTO HER. Vriska didn’t want anything about the way she was raised or where she was born. She didn’t ask John and Terezi to retcon her into this bizarre state. Both Vriskas, like the rest of the cast, are rolling with the punches LE has seen fit to give. 

Except for Gamzee.

Hussie literally tells us Gamzee never dies. His single non-Alpha Timeline death in [S] Game Over is retconned by John, and Hussie suggests it straight up doesn’t count. But that presents a problem.

There are thousands upon thousands of Doomed troll timelines. How is it that Gamzee specifically never ever EVER dies? Well, there’s only one real way that a Non-Time player can survive a Doomed timeline, that we know of:

Dream self merger. By going to sleep as the last player present in Sburb, the Doomed Rose from Davesprite’s timeline triggers a game mechanic that ends her timeline completely and merges her consciousness with that of Alpha Rose through their dreamselves. 

If Gamzee survives his doomed timelines, this is the only possible way how.
And collapsing all of his potential instances into a single Alpha identity certainly sounds like the reduction of possibility commonly attributed to the Rage aspect.
But what that means is that to move on to the Alpha, every Doomed Gamzee must inevitably either snap and kill all the other trolls, or somehow outlast them. 

And it means that if any Gamzee had EVER, in the entire spectrum of plausibility the Alpha timeline affords, EVER been inclined to rebel against LE–then we would know. Because somewhere out there, that at least Hussie could see, there would be a Ghost to show for it.

But there isn’t. Similar in this respect only to Caliborn, Gamzee simply has no alternate deviations because he doesn’t want them. He chooses the path that leads to Lord English freely and willingly, over and over and over again. 

And like Caliborn…

Gamzee does this because he wants to. 

Gamzee doesn’t BELIEVE he’s going to become his own God–he knows it for a fact. He sees it in Lil Cal’s mangled soul. And he embraces that truth wholeheartedly, throwing himself into the acolyte role from then onwards and presumably following instructions Doc Scratch gives him throughout Act 6. 

Which we can talk about some other time. The point is: Gamzee chooses all this. Whether or not Lil Cal causes him to is beside the point, because there is not and never will be any timeline where Gamzee chooses to resist. 

Gamzee is the ultimate in shitty cosmic nazi religious zealots, and devoted to the very power structure that causes every other character to suffer so. There are no mitigating factors for him as there are for everyone else but Caliborn.
At the end of the day, he’s evil.
Bad clown. Worst enemy. 

anonymous asked:

So Peggy starts the best bar fights? Elaborate, please.

oh man, those were the good old days. 

the howlies got in a lot of bar fights. you might think that the last thing a bunch of soldiers would want to do with their free time is fight people, but actually bar fights were a great stress relief. nobody really got seriously injured, and we tried to keep property damage to a minimum.  (and we also almost never started bar fights, for the record. most of the time it was guys from another unit who wanted to prove how badass they were by taking on the infamous howling commandos.) so bar fights themselves weren’t that unusual.

but peggy’s bar fights…oh, they were glorious. 

see, peggy never got in a fight for no reason; she was smarter than that. but when she did fight, it was truly beautiful. ive never seen a better right cross, before or since.

so one time we were on leave, sipping drinks in this english pub. the howlies were at the back table, enjoying a couple pitchers, while peggy was up at the bar, chatting with the barmaid. many of the bars and pubs back then had female bartenders–filling the gaps with the men off at war. and generally barmaids (which was what a female bartender was called back then) were the sort of girl pegs got along with–sensible, dependable, and not willing to take shit from any man. so she often enjoyed commiserating with the barmaids while we drank. she used to say she had to be free of us ‘charming gentlemen’ before she wound up blowing things up as erratically as we did. which was hurtful. our explosions were very intentional.
mostly.

so peggy got to chat about the best ways to hurl drunken idiots out doors and we got to ply steve with alcohol to see how much booze it would take to make him drunk. (tragically, we never found out.)

on this particular occasion, peggy was sitting at the bar when this mountain of a man came in. and i mean huge. thor-sized. like the hulk’s pinker younger brother. and with him came a dozen or so of his closest friends, all locals. (they may also have been poorly disguised orcs. im not sure, but i wouldn’t discount it as a possibility after seeing all the nonsense ive seen) the group of them made their way up to the bar, wedged their way in, and started harassing the barmaid. 

now, i don’t know what they said. peggy refused to repeat it. all i know is that one of the larger idiots said something stupid, laughed, and reached out to grope the barmaid. his hand made it about six inches from her chest when peggy’s fist broke his nose. he hit the floor like a tree falling, and the bar went quiet for a split second before one exceptionally suicidal idiot lunged at peggy.

everything went crazy. there were a good few dozen of us 107th guys in the bar, and all of us knew and adored pegs, so when the mountain-men went after her, every fine man of the 107th went after them. but it turned out that the locals defended their own, and we were pretty evenly matched for numbers. within seconds, everyone was throwing punches. bottles were thrown. dernier used a tablecloth to blind a man and threw him out a window. dumdum used one guy’s fists to hit another guy. i hurled bottlecaps at people’s eyeballs, because it’s fun.(im a sniper. we like distance) steve tried to wade through the chaos to get to peggy, but people kept punching him and then clutching their hands in agony, so he got kind of bogged down. 

at the bar, peggy was demonstrating exactly why she was the 107th’s darling–because she could put a grown man twice her size on the ground in two seconds flat. she knocked out six men; seven more promptly fell in love with her. 

as the chaos began to wind down, most of the locals had either been beaten down or fled, and only the mini-hulk and a couple others were left, brawling like berserkers. we were just about ready to turn steve loose on them when the barmaid handed peggy a stool. peggy took it, walked up behind where most of us howlies were still duking it out, and broke the stool over the big guy’s head. 

he went down hard. the rest of them surrendered out of terror. 

(and, possibly, they had also fallen prey to abruptly-in-love-with-peggy-carter syndrome. but really, who wasn’t?)

anonymous asked:

Can you improve my outlook on life and write a very drunk draco clinging to Harry please?

(LOL, I love the way you phrased that and also, I love drunk Draco.)

Potter sat there, leaning back in the booth with his arm slung across the back of the faux-leather seat, his shoulders shaking as he threw his head back and laughed at something the Weasel said. Granger shook her head with a smile of fond exasperation and leaned up to kiss her husband’s cheek. The weird blonde (”Loony Lovegood,” his booze-soaked brain provided) was waving her wand over the she-Weasel’s head in circles - ‘cause that’s normal behaviour for her.

Draco supposed that the thought of going over there ought to feel intimidating - he was completely outnumbered. But perhaps it was because of the eight or so shots of tequila Pansy had dared him into guzzling, or because he was randy as fuck.

Or because he’d just stood there hiding behind the cloak stand by the door and gazing at Potter like a lovesick halfwit far too long - he was no coward. Not anymore.

So he squared his shoulders and marched across the bar, tripping only twice, the second time because of that swaying oaf who’d nearly knocked him over.

Potter blinked up at him with his mouth slightly open.

“Potter.” Draco felt vaguely triumphant that his voice came out steady and calm - and Potter’s form was only very slightly blurry. “Potter,” he repeated, blinking slowly.

“Malfoy,” Potter replied cautiously, one eyebrow sliding up the scarred forehead. “What’re you doing here?”

“I can be here if I want to be here ‘cause I want to be here–” Draco was being very loud - his ears rang a little. Potter scrambled out of his seat, throwing a hasty glance at his friends before coming up to Draco and grabbing his elbow hard. Draco scowled around at the group - Weasley was scowling back, Granger looked thoughtful, she-Weasley looked completely bewildered and Loony, well Loony hadn’t noticed him yet; she was peering into she-Weasley’s ear as though she’d lost something in there.

Potter dragged him away a few paces. “What the hell?”

Draco tried to yank his arm out of his grip but nearly ended up overbalancing and falling onto his arse instead - Potter’s grip tightened.

“Let me go!” Draco slurred, stepping closer to Potter.

“What’re you doing here?” Potter repeated softly.

“I like you,” Draco proclaimed boldly. “I’ve always liked you. You never noticed. You have terrible eyesight.”

Potter pursed his lips, a faint line appearing between his thick brows. “I know I do,” he said, indicating to his smudged glasses.

“I like you,” Draco said once more, his voice decidedly breathy now - ugh. He stepped closer and, oh Merlin, rubbed their noses together. “So much,” he sighed, pressing their cheeks together for a swift second.

“Oh?” Potter didn’t seem put out at all. After staring steadily at him with his stupid green eyes twinkling merrily, Potter asked, “What d’you want, Draco?”

“To go home with you.” Oh shit, he was going to kill Pansy.

Potter simply continued to twinkle at him. “Well, I’m not going to say no to that,” he said very seriously, finally releasing Draco’s elbow to slide both his arms around Draco’s waist and tug him closer.

Draco gasped as he was pressed flush against Potter. He could caught a whiff of spicy aftershave, Firewhiskey and mint; he pushed both hands into the mess on Potter’s head and leaned forward to whisper, “I want you to fuck me.” He pressed his face into the crook of Potter’s neck.

Potter’s arms tightened, the world closed in around him until he was being squeezed almost to the point of pain, and then he was being pulled through dense blackness.


Everything ached. His stomach ached, his back ached, his toenails ached - his eyelashes ached. His head felt like it had exploded and had been put back together before exploding again; even his hair hurt.

He was too close to the sun, his retinas were on fire. The sheets below him were softer than a cloud and smelt pleasantly flowery - his stomach twisted.

He kicked himself out of bed, fell over onto his hands and knees and then half-crawled, half-ran to the bathroom until he was heaving into the toilet. It was another ten minutes before he was able to make himself stand, piss, gargle with half a bottle of mouthwash and wash his face - which also hurt.

Clad only in his boxers he stumbled through the house, following the horrible sound quality of the Wireless and the utterly heavenly scent of fresh coffee.

“Coffee!” he croaked, throwing himself into a chair so heavily that he slipped off the polished wood and landed on his bum. Potter turned around, a spatula with a bright red handle in one hand, took one look at him and nearly fell down laughing.

“Good morning!” he virtually screamed. Draco rested his cheek on the chair and groaned hoarsely, feebly pressing his hands to his ears.

“Coffee,” he whimpered. “What happened to my head? Coffee,” he pleaded once more.

Grinning widely, Potter poured him a large mugful. Shaking his head slightly as he walked over to the table, he set the steaming mug on the table, reached down and nearly lifted Draco off his feet as he helped him onto the chair he’d aimed for. “Let me guess - tequila?”

“I hate Pansy.” Draco wrapped both hands around his jade green mug with the gold polka dots and drew the drink of the Gods closer to him. “I hate tequila. I hate drinking. I hate bars. I hate going out.”

“But you like me.” Potter’s completely deadpan expression made Draco scowl - aarrgh, his face hurt dammit.

“What?” He took a huge gulp and moaned a long, gurgling moan as the gorgeous bitterness spread over his tongue.

“You like me,” Potter said again, leaning a hip against the counter with his arms crossed - he looked on the verge of another bout of laughter.

Draco stared blearily at him for several seconds before fuzzy memories started leaking into his aching brain. Then he let his head thump onto the table with another groan as Potter burst out laughing again.

“I hate everything!” Draco stated miserably. “Stop laughing at me!” His head throbbed when he raised his voice so he promptly shut up.

Potter, still laughing by the way, was loading up a plate with eggs, sausages and strips of bacon fried to crisp perfection - Draco’s stomach rolled and he clamped his mouth shut firmly as the food was set down before him.

Then Draco’s husband cupped his face with both hands, turned his face up and kissed him firmly. “I like you too,” Potter informed Draco.

“I will vomit on you,” Draco threatened.

Potter grinned, kissed his nose and went to get himself a plate of breakfast.


(Any good? ❤️)

Yet another from this long list of prompts, completely unprompted.

Number Twelve: “I’m pregnant.”


The text came in at 7:17am, and in the mean time, Stiles had made his way through four and a half breakdowns, all of them for different reasons.

Number One: Male werewolves could get pregnant, and tying into that:

Number Two: Derek had never found it relevant to their two year relationship to share this fun fact. That didn’t say much as to his thoughts on their future together, which stung.

Number Three: Stiles was going to be a father at twenty-four.

Number Four: Just the night before, with Derek in Argentina visiting Cora, Stiles ate a dinner of Cheetos, plain microwaved hotdogs wrapped in bread, and four beers before passing out on the couch with the tv remote in his hand. He was not ready to be a father.

Number Five (still ongoing, more or less halfway through): They were going to have to move because no amount of corner guards or stupid little outlet plugs could childproof the loft. The door to the kitchen was literally a jagged hole in a brick wall. Stiles caught his shins on it regularly, they were always a mess of scabs and bruises.

Actually his entire body was a mess of scabs and bruises, because that was his life now, had been since sophomore year: fighting off the forces of supernatural evil.

Too bad he couldn’t childproof his life.

Oh god, they were going to have to move out of Beacon Hills. Away from the pack.

Nothing was stable in Beacon Hills, it had been eight years of panic and anxiety and near deaths and actual deaths. They couldn’t bring a baby into their current lives, Stiles wouldn’t even bring an adult into this hellhole. Who was trained in firearms. With combat experience.

Keep reading

Highlights from Talks Machina (Episode 105)

Again, covering for @eponymous-rose​ while she continues her international vacation! Sorry for missing last week–things got crazy! Tonight’s guests: Darin de Paul, Taliesin sporting a lovely scarlet mohawk, and Travis. Brian starts a story that ends with him forging several signatures, and off we go.

  • The new campaign guide comes out soon! Taliesin is now worried about messing up the history of a character he invented.
  • Darin loves D&D as a long-form improv exercise and is happy he was able to get moments with each of the cast members.
  • Right after college, Darin was an apprentice at the Burt Reynolds Theater in Florida (a year-long program for theater students). One of his co-apprentices was Matt’s mom, and Matt’s grandmother was the director’s assistant. Matt’s father was part of the writing room. During the run of Darin’s last show (Fiddler), a clarinet player said they were going to play D&D and invited Darin. Matt’s mother was also in the group; they were all new to the game, so they rolled on a table for names and played four sessions. Last year, Darin was hired by Blizzard to do various voices, which is where he and Matt became friends. Later, Matt realized his mom had a picture of herself with Darin de Paul, and discussion of that picture led to the conversation of their D&D game. It’s been 37 years since Sprigg’s original campaign.
  • Matt was worried about fitting Sprigg in until Darin mentioned he was a hermit. The hobgoblin TPK was canon! Sprigg, a chaotic evil illusionist thief, was the only one to survive; the last moment of that campaign had him fleeing on a cart with wolves chasing him, abandoning the rest of the party to their deaths. Travis and Taliesin ask if he really was chaotic evil; “Why do you think he was so interested in redemption, dear boy?”
  • The first episode Darin saw was the Trials of the Take episode when the carpet was destroyed. He’s wanted to be on the show ever since.
  • Symmetra’s voice actor, Anjali Bhimani, also plays D&D. My heart skips a few beats.
  • Vex and Percy eloped over the year break. Laura and Taliesin kept it secret out of pique at first (Taliesin doesn’t remember why they were piqued). He’s not surprised the others are annoyed.
  • Grog was extremely impressed by Sarenrae and hasn’t thought much about Kord giving him any boons.
  • Darin has been a fan of the show and watching for some time. Taliesin says he is the most prepared guest they’ve ever had.
  • Very few people were present at Vex & Percy’s wedding. They did not intend to ever bring it up on their own.
  • The plane of books is the worst possible plane for Grog. Only the plane of shopping would be worse.
  • As soon as Darin walked into the studio last Thursday, Travis immediately asked him if he was a god. Travis still thinks he might be.
  • Percy would rather have a thousand years with Vex than a thousand years with Ioun’s library.
  • Travis wants a “positive, upbeat resolution to all the drama that is a-hanging in the air.” Me too. Travis does not read the Player’s Handbook to help keep Grog dumb, so he never knows what’s going on.
  • Travis loves how prepared Darin was. He offered the Deck because he thought Darin was looking for something specific after Sprigg deflected the weaker offerings.
  • Darin loved the emotion in the room during the plane shift and the strong moment with Marisha in particular. He also likes the movie Gargoyles.
  • The hardest thing about playing Sprigg after so long was finding him again. Brian gets very sentimental about the long journey that brought Sprigg back to life, including Darin becoming friends and colleagues with Matt so many years later.
  • Darin will be back on the next episode and is visibly excited about it.
  • Darin used to read tons of D&D books (mentions Drizzt by name) and used to paint minis as a hobby. He still has some of the figures and wants to donate them to the show.
  • Darin’s wife was part of Taliesin’s parents’ circle, so he’s known her for a long time. Taliesin and Darin exchange memories of meeting Roddy McDowall, and Darin says part of Sprigg’s concept of memories being the most important came from a conversation he had with Roddy while Roddy was dying of cancer.
  • Percy’s current distrusting attitude towards the gods came directly from his interaction with the Raven Queen. However, he didn’t know there was a god of knowledge and has been “chewing on it a lot, and what it means to have faith in knowledge.” He sees the library as a testament to faith in humanity and the good works of life and how important memory is and is blown away by it. “Books have always been about finding meaning and this whole library thing has changed him.” Taliesin expected Percy to be much more resistant to Ioun and was surprised at how quickly the books sold him.
  • Darin felt as the scenes progressed that his role was to “illuminate” CR as to where they were and what they could be. Taliesin and Percy both wondered if he was Scanlan from the future. Darin had the choice of being Scanlan’s dad, but declined.
  • Percy picked Vesper because her namesake was the last person he’d talked to in real life.
  • The only place Travis can think of worse for Grog is if the books were replaced with clothing & a For Sale sign. “Grog has a beatnik poet inside him waiting to get out.”
  • Darin’s advice to Keyleth was total improv. He almost cried when she touched his hand. He loves funny characters that can become sad and/or touching.
  • Marisha has no idea how to get Keyleth out of her emotional nosedive. Watching Marisha break character from Keyleth at the end of an episode is one of Taliesin’s favorite things because they’re such different people.
  • Percy would seek out the lifebooks for all his family & ancestry because he’s fascinated with legacy, and Whitestone is full of ghost stories. He had lots of stories he’d planned to give as part of the gnomes’ tour, and tells one about a woman forced into a marriage who slowly poisoned her husband over a number of years.
  • Sprigg feels he is what Scanlan might become. He did not expect to survive the episode.
  • If they were really in Ioun’s halls, Travis would love to see the books of his family and of JFK. Darin would like to see his father’s book. Darin also likes wearing suits, which is why he wears suits. He only wears t-shirts at the gym. (At one point Darin’s family also owned 20 horses???). He wishes his parents could see him now because they were so supportive when he was growing up.

Honor! Justice! After Dark, After Dark, After Dark!

  • If the challenge for Ioun involves any physical activity, Grog will fight Percy for it.
  • Bucket lists: Travis wants to swim with a great white shark. (Darin’s biggest fear is great white sharks.) Taliesin wants to travel to India. Darin wants to learn to tap dance, and casually drops that he used to dance with Cirque du Soleil.
  • Darin’s favorite color is black. His favorite season is winter.
  • There’s a video somewhere of Darin de Paul and Steve Blum pretending to be zombies and running towards the camera.
  • Travis and Darin do Reinhardt “impressions” by talking in high-pitched baby voices. Taliesin does a pretty decent actual impression! Darin likes that there’s heroes for every playstyle.
  • Darin hasn’t told Matt’s parents he brought back Sprigg. He also used to have a crush on Matt’s mom.
  • If Darin could pick any character from VM to play, he would play Scanlan. Brian teases the entire world by saying he would play “the character Pike’s in love with.”
  • Darin’s twitter flooded after last Thursday and he wishes he could respond to all of the kind messages.
  • Darin once shared floss with Gilbert Gottfried as part of an old bit.
  • Darin feels his whole history has led to this moment last Thursday where he had the chance to create a story with people he loved.
  • Laura read the Game of Thrones books as they came out, well before the show started. Brian just found the copy of the first book she lent him in 2010, which he still hasn’t read.
  • If Sprigg could fight any D&D monster, it would be a hobgoblin.
but a B99 Great British Bake Off AU

obviously this involves it being an American edition/season but that’s fine

  • all of the squad are contestants, as well as like, Doug Judy and a couple of others (maybe Figgis just for laughs idk)
  • Holt and Wuntch are the judges, Kevin and the Vulture are the presenters
  • Wuntch, weirdly, is the nice judge for the most part, cos it’s mainly just Holt she hates, Holt is the tougher judge that everyone wants a handshake off
  • they never agree on anything, coming to decisions is a NIGHTMARE which is how Kevin and the Vulture are unofficial judges behind the scenes
  • the Vulture is his usual awful self, slaps Jake’s ass off camera a lot, genuinely makes him really uncomfortable until Gina and Rosa notice at one point and threaten him until he agrees to stop
  • Kevin is the presenter who goes around and reassures people when they are freaking out
  • also he and Holt met in a baking class back in the day which is part of the reason they love baking so much (they bake together all the time at home)
  • Jake is the baker who literally has no fucking clue how he actually made it in bc he has no idea what he’s doing but somehow he just has a Knack and it always turns out amazing (with the exception of a couple of True Disasters)
  • Amy comes from a long line of amazing bakers and is hella competitive, and super meticulous with her recipes and all instructions, means she Stresses during the technicals but she does know her shit and she just has to keep reminding herself that it’s like an exam where she has to learn in advance and remember
  • Rosa relies on family recipes, says she cares about them more than the actual family members who made them, also goes with her own gut feeling (usually involves putting alcohol in the food if she’s not sure what’s missing)
  • Gina learned how to bake via trial and error and general self-discovery during a year where she was forced to stay at home and take things easy after she got hit by a bus (also usually the one putting alcohol in her food)
  • Terry loves baking for his kids and his wife and they’re his biggest fans, all of his bakes are inspired by them/done with them in mind, he gets teary on the show a lot
  • Charles is still his Foodie self, so he gets Very Intense about it all and is the one that tries all the super weird flavours
  • Hitchcock and Scully applied together and everyone’s fairly sure they just got picked for the comic relief but then occasionally one of them will actually bake something really good??
  • Jake falls in love with Amy during a peanut brownie challenge while they flirt over peanuts, he makes heart eyes at her for the whole competition after that, occasionally gets so distracted by how beautiful/adorkable she’s being that he fucks his bakes up
  • Gina falls in love with Rosa after seeing her punching her bread dough, spends the whole rest of the competition trying to pick her up, it starts to take priority over the actual baking and Kevin has Noticed and is subtly trying to help her out
  • Jake and Gina have been besties since the auditions so they start trying to help each other get their girls
  • aaand let’s not forget Doug Judy
  • aka Jake’s ex-best friend from high school, they used to be the baking bros and use cupcakes to pick up girls
  • until one day they were going for the same girl, so they both made stuff to impress her, and she said she preferred Jake’s but then Doug took the credit for them, and took her to prom only to stand her up
  • Jake has never forgotten and never forgiven
  • hasn’t made cupcakes since, too painful, too traumatic
  • which really fucks him up when they get a cupcake challenge
  • seriously like imagine him trash talking Judy and then they announce “cupcakes!!” and he does his melodramatic NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  • (you decide if he manages to nail it and beat Judy’s cupcakes yet again, or if he totally botches it bc nerves)
  • anyway at one point Jake gets the coveted Holt Handshake and he is so elated his entire life has just been made bc he has been watching the show for years and idolises him so much
  • Amy is the same and she is so horrifically jealous until Holt tries her food next and also gives her a handshake and then her and Jake just look at each other like “WHAAAT”
  • Jake comes over after and is so excited he just gives her this real big hug and it’s really Pure bc then he gets super embarrassed and awkward but she is like “oh no, he’s so cute, help I have been specifically Not Noticing That” 
  • I have no idea who wins but Peraltiago and Dianetti and Holtzner are all in love and happy at the end

basically what I’m saying is can someone with the adequate baking and GBBO knowledge please write this AU I need it desperately

I Don't Wanna Live Forever [Connor Murphy x Reader]

Title: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: no
Summary: Your family takes an annual trip to the mountains with the Murphy family every year to unwind over the winter break–that being said, Connor Murphy isn’t the sweet kid he used to be, and you’d rather be anywhere else than sharing a room with him for two weeks. However, between your parents, a line of accidents, and a mapless trip in the woods seem determined to bring you together–if you can make it out alive.
Warnings: Connor’s potty mouth | Mentions of drugs, abuse, alcohol, panic attacks, sex trafficking, sex, blood, hospitals | First person reader | face paced/vignette style | not proof read | tenses may change
A/N: Here’s that long ass thing I’ve been working on for weeks and just finished a few minutes ago, ayy. Based entirely off the “Connor hated skiing” line. This is long af with no read more option, sorry :/ Here we go! (THANKS FOR 500+ FOLLOWERS ♡♡♡)


Connor Murphy was a lot of things.

He was stubborn–I’d never seen him admit he was wrong, but I’d definitely seen him throw scrabble pieces across the wooden floor of the cabin, leaving Zoe to scramble red-faced to collect them as he stomped up the oak steps to his room, echoing around the house.

He was annoying–I’d told him once I wasn’t crazy about Iron Maiden, which resulted in the album being on blast for the entirety of the time he drove Zoe and I around the mall in the family’s silver minivan.

He was stoic. He was impatient. He was angry.

I’d begged my parents not to go cabins for winter break. I’d begged them to pick a different mountain range if we were so dead set on skiing. But Mr. Murphy and my mother were business associates, and the last thing she wanted to do was make them feel like we were no longer on good terms–especially because of Connor.

“Larry’s been having an awfully hard time with Connor, sweetheart, you have to understand,” my mother crooned in our rental car, fixing her lip liner as she drove, my father keeping a white knuckled grip on the Jesus handle above his head. “He’s not doing very well in school and he’s been throwing tantrums at home. Poor Cynthia is at her wits end. They’re lucky to have that sweet Zoe, she’s so talented and smart. Poor Connor is jealous and acting out, just try not to rally him up, alright, dear?”

I didn’t dignify her with a response, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t like what I had to say anyway, but also because I knew she wouldn’t care to listen, either. I sighed loudly, watching the snow flurry softly outside the window. It wasn’t fair–here I was in the middle of something so remarkably beautiful, and I’d be shoved in a minivan with the Murphy kids and stuck in the valley town’s 1970s mall with crappy t-shirts and a vape store that Connor would spend all day in.

The cabin was huge, up with a view of the town below, nearly three stories made of solid, stripped oak, in the middle of a winding road with a four percent grade. Half the cabin was supported on beams which plummeted down the mountain face. I’d be lucky to stand on the deck without vomiting, let alone being able to venture into the hot tub.

The Murphy’s minivan was already in the drive, trunk shut, meaning they’d unpacked and I’d be left with whatever miniscule space they’d left for me in the loft area.

“Remember to be nice, sweetheart,” my mother crooned again, fluffing her hair in the mirror and giving me an enthusiastic smile in the rearview. “It’s important! They’re practically family.”

Geez, I was lucky to not have Connor Murphy for a cousin.

Slinging my backpack over my arm and exiting the rental car, I took the liberty to stretch, despite the cold air that stung my cheeks and the snow that fluttered down into my hair. This may very well be the last moment of solitude I had for the entirety of the week, and I was going to revel in it.

A movement caught my eye, suddenly, and I lowered myself off my tiptoes to glance up at the second story window–a curtain fluttered shut. It was most likely Zoe or Connor checking out the commotion that was my father and mother bickering over who carried what into the house, and shutting it once they’d realized I caught them. Feeling vaguely uneasy, I turned just as Larry Murphy, bundled in a parka, burst out of the house to take two suitcases from my father.

It was going to be a long two weeks.

——

Cynthia Murphy made me stand by the kitchen counter as she was stocking the cabinet with neon colored cardboard boxes containing various sugary, pink cereals with marshmallows and prizes inside. The Murphy kids were both picky eaters, I remembered quickly, Connor more so than Zoe.

Mrs. Murphy kept playing with my hair, crowing about how much longer it looked (despite the fact I’d cut it since the last time I’d seen her) and how pretty and grown up I’d become, asking me the usually annoying adult questions (“Any thoughts on schools yet? Oh, Connor can’t decide either! Do you know what you’re going to major in? That’s alright, you’ll figure it out soon!”) It would’ve been annoying, I decided, if and only if she didn’t look so sad all the time, the purple bruising under her eyes visible still underneath the layers of makeup. My mother could say whatever she liked about Cynthia Murphy where her wifely duties were concerned–Mrs. Murphy tried to be a good mother (re: tried, period), and that was more than enough to pass her in my book.

In the background, my parents were settling into the second master bedroom, Larry Murphy yelling at the bottom of the stairs to announce our arrival. I could do without the annual reunion, awkward questions about school. The Murphy kids were tolerable–Zoe definitely more so–but it didn’t mean they had to force us together so artificially.

Zoe skimpered down the stairs first, her soft moccasin boots barely making any sound on the stairs–I was surprised to find her long legs bare, her thighs peeking out beneath a pretty pink chiffon dress, covered by what I hoped to be a faux fur parka. Her pretty auburn hair was curled, pulled back with a polka dot headband I could recognize from her childhood. She was wearing eyeliner, and cotton candy flavored lip gloss I remembered sharing when we were thirteen.

It was such a stark contrast from how I remembered her before. The last I’d seen her she’d been gawky and fifteen with a mouth full of metal and a bra full of kleenex. She was practically grown now, and beautiful–it made me feel slightly subpar in my own blue jeans and blue sweater. Regardless, she smiled brightly and skipped over to me, opening her arms to wrap them around my neck.

“It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek that shocked me, as well as some others–Larry Murphy’s horrified expression was priceless, and I was convinced Connor put her up to it–but I just laughed and hugged her tightly before letting her go.

“You look so pretty,” I told her with a wry grin, and she just tossed the expression back, nodding with a, “So do you!”

“It’s so good to see you girls are still so close,” my mother tittered, beginning to uncork a glass of wine–we didn’t drink much at my house, but the Murphy’s, I knew, did, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to let that go to waste. “Where’s that sweet boy of yours?”

Larry Murphy at the bottom of the stairs, banging on the oak walls, yelling out, “Connor!” was enough to make both the Murphy women flinch visibly. Zoe still had her arm around my waist as we stared up at the ceiling above us, waiting for the squeak of sneakers on the polished wood.

“Don’t yell.”

Zoe jumped away from me as if she’d been burned, pressing herself against the countertop as if to make herself invisible. Mrs. Murphy, her hand clutched to her chest after the initial nose, fought hard to smile believably. I, myself, had jumped at the unexpected sound–Connor Murphy’s curt tenor clear across the room, no where near the stairs, instead standing the doorway were we had just come from. I couldn't  quite make out his frame from here–there was a line of bodies blocking my view, my parents, Mrs. Murphy, and Zoe all formed a human barrier that constructed the divide between Connor and I. Fine by me.

“There you are!” Mrs. Murphy chirped, clearly still nervous, visibly by her shaking voice and hands, fluffing her hair to give her something to do. “You didn’t miss much, Connor, they’ve just arrived.”

My mother said something unintelligent in way of greeting, to which Conner didn’t reply, just shut the door carefully behind him to keep out the cold air. I couldn’t see his face from here, but I could make out that he was much too still for a teenage boy, much too quiet.

“–You remember her, don’t you, Connor?”

My throat closed up as the Red Sea parted, everyone’s heads turning to look between the two of us.

He didn’t move from the doormat–boots  caked in snow, as if he’d gone for a walk, and the bottoms of his skinny jeans were muddy and slick looking. Still, he didn’t shiver, which was slightly unnerving. He was skinnier than I remembered, like he hadn’t been eating, and his face was all angles. He slouched, his pink mouth which was mottled red from the cold was set in a heavy frown. His eyes, which were scanning somewhere around my waist and hadn’t come anywhere near making eye contact since he’d seen me, had blown pupils. Drugs. He was doing drugs in the middle of the afternoon.

He hadn’t cut his hair since I’d seen him last, brown curls poking out of the bottom of a black sock toboggan with a soft pompom on top. It could’ve been funny, I supposed, his rough puberty finishing to leave him left over with this, something akin to a drugged out vogue model who listened to way too much 2008 Fall Out Boy, if he didn’t seem so…unnervingly somber for someone who clearly wasn’t sober. Geez, this kid was a school shooter in the making.

I glanced back up to find him finally staring at my face, shooting an uncomfortable alertness down my spine. His eyebrows were crooked in vague amusement that didn’t seem to reach his mouth, and I felt my face heat up under his scrutiny. If he was trying to intimidate me, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared of boys like him.

“Yeah, I remember her,” he grinned mirthlessly, stuffing his hands into the gut pocket of his hoodie, giving me a nod that, while meant to appease our parents, also felt like a vague threat. I didn’t smile back.

“Great! Wanna show her the room?”

Connor grinned crookedly. “Follow me, kid.”

——

The upstairs layout was just like I remembered  it–Two rooms, one main one in the first entrance with a king bed tucked in the corner, a TV and a few gaming systems with some furniture in the front, a bathroom with two doors which lead through to the other room, which held the fold out couch and television I was accustomed to using.

The Murphy kids already had their belongs strewn about the room–Zoe’s stuff animals and princess blankets eclipsing most of the bed and an ancient Nintendo DS on the table with SpongeBob stickers on the cover that I’m sure belonged to Connor–and it left me very little room to maneuver through.

Connor was silent as he lead me up, as if I didn’t know the way, but surprised me by stopping in front of the king bed, holding out his arms to signal me.

“Your room, my lady.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “This–this is your bed.”

“Not this year. Dad’s decided it’s a little too Flowers In the Attic for Zoe and I to share a bed this year–I’m on the pull out and you girls get to have your fun.” He shot me a bitter smile to let me know he wasn’t thrilled about having the pull-out–he shouldn’t be, the thing was total garbage–but surely he’d enjoy the privacy of it?

“I don’t care to take the pull-out,” I told him, keeping my bag on my shoulder despite the fact it was beginning to be painfully heavy. “If you wanna–”

“Don’t have a choice,” he said, already turning toward the bathroom to walk to his half of the loft. “The bed’s yours.”

——

So, Connor Murphy had turned out to be a total dick. It should’ve unsurprising information, I knew, but part of me still remembered him as a charismatic kid I was, at one point, friends with. Back when the three of us all slept in the king bed, before any of us ever had a zit, when we’d fall asleep in the floor watching early 1990s Pokémon episodes, because Larry Murphy didn’t like them watching it.

Even the Connor I remembered at fourteen, gangly and silent and shy with close-cropped hair felt better than this. I was past uncomfortable, sitting stiffly between he and Zoe on one of the couches in the living room. There was a faux fur blanket hanging behind us, shedding hairs onto Connor’s black jacket, which would’ve been funny if he wasn’t picking at his nails with a slightly rusted pocket knife–I notice he’d painted them, which I oddly admired. I’d kissed a boy earlier this year who painted his nails, and his palms were always soft when he’d reach up to cup my cheeks. It softened Connor in my head, just slightly.

He was careful, I saw, to stay on his side of the couch, leaning into the apex of the arm and the back of the couch rather  than flush with me, his thin legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle to avoid me. I appreciated it, but it didn’t stop me from leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, sitting on the edge of the cushion. I could still feel warmth radiating from him–it was late, and I was tired with a full stomach. If I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right into him, and he’d never let me live that down.

Zoe practically was asleep, leaning forward as well with her head on my shoulder. Cynthia had let her have nearly two glasses of wine at dinner–not enough to get her drunk, but it didn’t change the fact Zoe was still lithe and young, and easily tipsy.

We’d all gone into town for a very awkward dinner–I was just thankful to be placed between my father and Zoe, in a position on the opposite end of the table from Connor, who was stuck in between Larry and Cynthia, looking as if he were in a permanent time out.

Now we were gathered around the coffee table in the cabin, the seven of us hunched over a tiny photo album that I couldn’t really make out from here. There were fuzzy polaroids of us as children, looking nothing like we did now. Connor and I at six, soaked from romping in a sprinkler. Zoe and Connor sharing a chocolate icecream cone, their faces covered in the brown spatter.

“You were all so small,” Mrs. Murphy crowed with a choked voice, covering half her face with her hand in a faux attempt to eclipse the emotion. “Oh, I miss it. You kids used to spend so much time together! Now we only get together for break, and Zoe is so busy there’s hardly enough time for her to spend quality time with her sweet brother.”

Zoe snorted loudly, earning a glare from Mr. Murphy I was positive I wasn’t supposed to see. I snuck a glance at Connor, whose face betrayed no emotion, just staring blankly ahead in the direction of the album. From his position, I was positive he couldn’t see more than the chipped leather cover of the book. Even if he leaned forward, he wouldn’t have been able to see much.

My mother and Mrs. Murphy went out in loud voices in a seamless attempt to pretend the seemingly secret interaction had taken place, so, while the focus was shifted, I turned my attention to Connor.

He didn’t cock an eyebrow this time when he caught me staring, instead just furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me, as if he expected me to speak.

“Can you see?” I asked, nodding my head in the direction of the book.

“I’m fine,” he said immediately–vaguely irritating, I’d admit, but nonetheless understandable. I was sure Cynthia Murphy had spent most of her life making sure Connor was comfortable at all times. Still, this was my olive branch, in an attempt to make this trip a little more tolerable, and Zoe seemed less than likely to console her brother at this point.

“We can change seats, I’m not really looking,” I promised, sitting forward more in my seat to show that I was ready to make the change.

“I’m fi–”

Connor was cut off by a squeal from his mother, who had tossed the book into our laps. It had taken a great deal of squinting, letting my heartbeat slow before I realized she’d been showing us something and not trying to kill some giant bug between us.

The polaroid was grainy, an ivory hue that whitewashed the photo and the years of existence made the picture hard to decipher at first, especially when we were so tired. The time stamp was from the late nineties, glowing yellow in the corner of the frame. I recognized the gilded tub from upstairs that dominated half the bathroom, big enough for three adults easily.

Connor threw to book onto my lap first, like it had scalded him. I should’ve done the same, but it took me a moment. To see, to adjust, to read and understand what was so socially condemning about the photo.

It was Connor, I realized first, small and tanned with bony ribs and chunky fingers and the apples of his cheeks straining against his baby skin. His hair was cropped so short, it looked almost silly. Beside him was me, my hair wild and tangled, curled as if my mother had teased it for dinner. My wide eyes were blazing, much too big for my face, and I was grinning with wet lips at the camera.

We were in the tub, surrounded by big pink bubbles.

We were very, very naked.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal–not really, unless you counted the fact that if this had been printed, our parents would be arrested for child porn. I was mostly covered, sitting beside Connor, my shoulders hunched forward. But Connor was standing, meaning the camera got a very decent view of–

“What the fuck, Mom!” He screaming, standing and ripping the book off my lap. Cynthia’s tittering died immediately, the hands covering her laughed instead covered her horrified face.

This was how it started, I realized.

“It’s not fucking funny,” he growled, tossing the book across the room, banging against the wooden wall with a heavy whomp.  

“That’s enough, Connor,” Larry Murphy growled low in his throat. Cynthia’s head was downcast, her eyes wide and wet. I recognized the emotion immediately–she shut down with conflict the same way Connor did.

“You don’t get to laugh at me for shits and giggles this whole trip,” Connor said, already lunging up the stairs, his hands shaking. “If I wanted to feel shitty, I’d have a conversation with you.”

So much for having a quiet trip.
——
Zoe wasn’t quiet in her gossip about Connor–his door was fashioned shut, I saw, and I doubt he’d come out for the rest of the night. I was positive he could hear his sister’s loud comments from our room.

“Sorry, he’s such an ass,” Zoe groaned, stretching on the bed, her little lilac nightgown shifting across her thighs. “I think his high is wearing off or something–don’t let it bug you. You don’t have to be nice to him, by the way. I’m not gonna let him hurt you.”

I shrugged, noncommittal. “We were friends once. I’m not gonna be mean, he’s never done anything to me.”

Zoe snorted. “You didn’t just see that? He’s a monster, and it gets worse.”

“He just has a temper. Everyone gets like that sometimes.”

I wasn’t sure why I was defending Connor–half because I didn’t want Zoe to tell Connor I disliked him, then he’d actively terrorize me–half because I had no idea why Connor Murphy was so pissed off. It was just a picture. Yeah, embarrassing, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about eighteen year old Connor Murphy seeing my nipples, and I’ll admit he definitely had the worst end of the stick.

“He loses his shit like that all the time,” Zoe said. “It’s not just a temper.”

“He’s your brother, Zoe,” I reminded gently, brushing out my hair in the bathroom mirror. “Can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

“He’s no brother of mine,” she whispered, rolling over on the bed and clicking off the light.

——

The next few days passed as the usually did–the adults going places without us, albeit romantic and boring, and leaving the three of us to wander about the town below the mountain crests. It was Zoe’s turn to pick the day’s activity, and she’d chosen the mall.

The place was all dark oak, and hadn’t been remodeled since the late seventies at the earliest. Zoe was chipper, balancing a bag of organic soap and bath bombs on her lap that she’d bought at a local shop, pouring over the cheese fries between us on a plastic red tray.

Connor had also been well-behaved since his outburst several days ago, albeit quiet. He’d separated from us the second we’d arrived, holed out in some record store. Zoe was thrilled to be rid of him, and very vocal about it. I was bored out of my mind.

“Don’t look now,” Zoe said brightly, despite her face suddenly shifting into a mask of disinterest. She bit down on her lip, covered in a pink glitter lipgloss she’d applied much too liberally, and pulled on her pretty auburn braid. “There’s some boys two tables behind us checking you out.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh,” Zoe said, leaning into take a sip of her milkshake, biting down on the straw–the look on her face told me she’d got their attention.

“How old are they?” I hissed. The last thing we needed were some creeps following us around the mall–this was how sex trafficking started. Surely Zoe knew that this was a huge red flag.

It was clear from her overzealous wave she didn’t.

I felt a hand on the back of my chair before I saw them–to Zoe’s credit, they were pretty. Both in thick denim blue jeans, both in letterman jackets over white tee-shirts. One was tall, skinny, with pretty dark skin and hair cropped close to his head. The other was a little thicker, pale and short, in badly need from a shave. They were smiling brightly at the two of us in a way that was less awestruck and more closely resembled a triumphant conquest.

“Hello, ladies,” the shorter man greeted, grinning like a shark between Zoe and I. His hair was dark, curling around his temples–handsome, maybe my age, maybe ten years older. It was impossible to tell. There were lines around his eyes that either indicated he smiled too much or was simply older. “What are two cute girls like you doing inside on a day like this–the ski lift is just a walk down the road.”

“We’re here shopping with our brother,” I said immediately, giving a grin. The taller boy quirked his eyebrows at me–his eyes, I noticed, were dark with tawny flecks hidden in them.

“That’s cool,” he said to me, switching places so that the other boy could be closer to Zoe. They both pulled chairs up to our table, facing us. My stomach pinched uncomfortably. “Where’s he at?”

“Nike,” I lied, seeing the sign from the distance and knowing very well that Hot Topic, while probably true, didn’t exactly invoke fear.

“Ah,” he said with a grin, his eyes glancing down at my bare arm with a grin. With two slim fingers, he reached forward to pluck at my woven bracelet Zoe had made me a few nights ago, my name in block letter strung across the twine. His hands were uncomfortably hot, and I drew my arm back into my lap. “Aren’t you cold?” He nodded to my bare arms. I’d left my flannel with Connor, who was sitting on a bench at the time–I hoped he remembered to grab it. I was just wearing a striped cotton tee right now, and my arm had broken out in a case of goosebumps, though I wasn’t sure it was from the cold.

“I’m fine,” I said, careful not to meet his gaze. He was pretty, and if I wasn’t careful, I might end up going somewhere with this guy.

“You know,” he began, and I could hear his grin turn predatory. “You’re very pretty.”

A jolt shot down my spine–I wasn’t pretty, not really, which terrified me. I could hear what the other boy was whispering to Zoe, but I could tell that all the stars were gone from her eyes. She looked pale, panicked. These weren’t the kind of boys we needed to hanging around with.

“I know,” I said quickly. “We really need to call our brother–”

“I think he can wait long enough for me to get your number, right?”

Across the table Zoe laughed, too loudly, pushing back and standing from her chair. She was grinning at the dark haired boy, beckoning her to follow with a jerk of her chin.

“Zoe–”

“We’re gonna run to get some coffee, okay? Connor should be back soon, don’t wait up.”

She didn’t meet my heavy glare for long, and didn’t turn around when I yelled her name. I watched in silent horror as the boy put his hand flush with her lower back.

I was alone.

The panic crept onto the back of my neck long before his thin fingers did. He smelled like cinnamon, strongly, like he’d done one too many sprays with his cologne that morning. When I turned to face him, his tawny eyes were asking.

“Is this the part where you say you’ve got a boyfriend?” He grinned, his teeth blindingly bright in his tan face. He was so close I could see the threads on the collar of his letterman jacket–it looked soft.

There was a possibility, I realized, that they weren’t dangerous. That I was just being paranoid–Zoe wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t go off with a strange boy unless she was sure it was safe. Still, they were definitely in college.

And boy, were they pretty.

“I do have a boyfriend, actually,” I said, lifting my chin to meet his gaze so he wouldn’t think I was lying. There was a small voice in the back of my head, screaming, raised on her tip toes that I should just take this plunge–let him hold my hand or kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, because this was a shitty trip and I deserved to be as reckless as the Murphy kids were allowed. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t.

Besides, you know, the obvious.

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have a boyfriend?” He asked, biting back a smirk. I felt the voice in the back of my head get sucker punched by my ego. So, he didn’t think I was pretty after all. Which meant he was dangerous.

Which meant Zoe was in trouble.

“Yes,” I growled, standing, yelping a bit when his hand snaked up to grab at my wrist, nearly breaking my bracelet and keeping me bent over the table.

“Let go,” I hissed–the food court was nearly deserted, and the family in the corner was carefully avoiding my eyes. I wasn’t sure I had the voice to scream.

“I don’t believe you have a boyfriend.”

“Let go, or I’ll scream,” I warned, yanking on my arm. He let go immediately, holding his hand high above his head, which I knew was meant as a gesture of calm, but instead looked an awful lot like he intended to strike me.

“Where’s your boyfriend, then?” He taunted loudly, thrilled to see no one in the court coming to my aid. I felt sick, the panic rising in my chest. Where was Zoe? She was in trouble. I was in trouble. I was going to have to scream–

“He’s right here.”

My arm flailed, immediately cocking back in an attempt to elbow in the stomach whoever had wrapped their arm around my neck, their other spidery hand snaking just slightly under the hem of my t-shirt to splay across my hip, finger tips barely brushing my skin above my jeans. The arms were strong, vice like, pressing me against a hard body, and suddenly I felt limp, panic leaving me as I realized whose familiar smell I was enveloped in.

Hair grazed across my cheekbone, and I could make out the dark locks if I looked out the corner of my eye, and I nearly yelped when I felt lips press chastely against my temple.

I couldn’t make out much of the boy anymore, my eyes level with Connor’s adams apple from where he was pressing me against him.

“Babe,” Connor said cooly, calmly, making my knees knock against his. “Who’s this?”

“H-he’s leaving,” I managed to stutter out, barely a whisper, my voice hoarse. I sounded terrified. No wonder this ass in the letterman jacket hadn’t be intimated by me, I sounded about as frightening as a kitten. Connor pressed his fingers against the nape of my neck, tilting my head against his jugular so that I couldn’t see anything but the pale column of his throat and his dark hair. It was getting difficult to breathe–I felt sick. He moved his hand to wrap around my waist, yanking me tightly to him.

“You heard her,” Connor said, again stoic–half of me wished I could see his face, but the other half knew it would be terrifying. Connor’s temper was legendary and destructive–to see him so angry wouldn’t make the fist in my gut unclench. “Go. Take your friend with you.”

There was a beat of silence. Then two. I couldn’t hear much but my own shaky breathing, warm and wet against Connor’s neck, his hair making the space much too hot. I wasn’t aware I had knotted my fingers into his shirt until he started walking, dragging my stumbling form forward with him. He was going fast, too fast for me to keep up, and my chest could only rise so far before deflating painfully.

“You gotta breathe,” he grunted, one of his arms still around me. His face felt hot against me.

“Z-zoe!” I choked out, realizing I had no idea where she was. She could still be with that boy, be in danger–

“Oh, Christ,” he exclaimed bitterly, letting go and beginning to trudge forward. I was terrified briefly, suddenly overwhelmed with the fact I didn’t know where I was. There was a Game Stop, and a Victoria’s secret, the neon lighting combined with the screaming toddlers and the kissing teens and Connor was leaving

An arm swept up from behind me, leading me just as quickly, mumbling something I couldn’t make out into my ear.

“Zoe!” I grinned, immediately feeling safer, feeling my fear melt away just smidgen in my gut.

“I’m so so sorry I left,” she sobbed. “I went looking for a cop, but I found Connor first and I told him you were in trouble–”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, surprised that my voice was no longer wet. “Thanks, Zoe.”

I was calm, or, at least calmer by the time we reached the van. Connor was waiting by the passenger side door, which was opened, leaning against a scratch in the silver paint. He wasn’t looking at us, instead appearing to observe the silver snowflakes as they fell.

My reflection in the side mirror revealed my face was red and blotchy, not just from the cold wind. I felt gross–guilty for the fact I hadn’t been able to defend myself and Zoe, guilty for the fact Connor Murphy was the one who had to come to my rescue, and guilty for the fact I’d cried all over him. His zipped up hoodie seemed to have escaped the mess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel awful. 

He stepped out of the way when I made it close, gesturing for me to get in the passenger side door while glaring at the ground. I was only vaguely surprised, and followed along immediately. Zoe and I almost always rode together in the back. I let Connor shut the door, ignoring the disgusted look Zoe gave as she got into the back.

Connor hoisted himself into the driver’s seat, surprising me with a costume change, reappearing in only a forest green tee. He held out his hoodie to me, balled up in one of his fists without looking at me, before just tossing it into my lap.

“I–”

“I left your flannel in the back. Put that on or you’ll freeze.”

He licked his lips, staring coldly out the front window, before starting the car. I swallowed. Yeah, he definitely hated me.

“Okay.”

——

“You’re sure you’re alright, honey?” My mother asked for the third time. Her hair was tied up, her pink bathrobe covering little of her cleavage and bare legs. She was cradling a wine bottle in her hands, looking at me in faux concern.

I gave her a soft smile. “I’m fine,” I lied. I’d calmed considerately. Connor and Zoe had both agreed I needed to shower to wash off the panicked look on my face–I’d asked them to keep the days happenings a secret. They’d reluctantly agreed.

She gave me a clipped smile. “Maybe you should go to bed early, yeah? That’s what I plan to do.”

I nodded, scratching at my bare leg. I’d taken advantage of Zoe’s absense and changed into boxer shorts and an oversized tee with a kitten on the front–she and Cynthia had headed into town for the night, spending the night at a spa and would be gone for a few days, and my father had taken his annual ‘me time’ and booked a hotel downtown to do his own thing. I think Mr. Murphy went with him, but regardless, he was out of the house. It was just me and my mother.

And Connor. I tried not to think about it. I planned on offering him the big bed tonight, in way of thanking him for today, but we hadn’t spoken much since the incident and I felt…odd. Unsure how to thank him. Unsure why he helped.

I supposed the Murphy men were just gentlemen, even under all that teen angst.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I’m probably gonna sit out on the balcony and then head to bed.”

She grinned. “Don’t stay out too late, it’s almost down to single digits, dear.”

I just nodded, sliding off the countertop, and slinking upstairs. I was surprised to see Connor sitting on the bed. I grinned.

He looked different, to say the least. He was still without his jacket, wearing only his tee and jeans, and little pair of socks with stars on them, which did seem a little out of character, but I assumed Cynthia bought them. His head perked when he saw me, simply craning his neck, keeping his shoulders bowed forward over his body.

He looked small, I realized. He didn’t look like a boy who punched holes in walls or scared off very big very scary men in shopping mall food courts. He looked like a vogue model with a little too much innocence.

He gave me a grin with no teeth, and it didn’t quite meet his eyes, but I gave him a sheepish smile back.

“Hey,” I greeted, tugging on my top to cover my shorts a little better–Connor Murphy didn’t have any interest in seeing my thighs. Despite all the panic, I’d been playing over and over in my head the comment the boy in the mall had made, incredulous that I had a boyfriend. It was silly to let it sting me, considering he probably wanted to stuff me in a van, but it crippled me nonetheless.

“Hey,” he greeted back, not rising from the bed.  I waited for him to speak again, and when he said nothing, I continued.

“I, uh, meant to say, since Zoe’s gone, you can have the big bed like good old times.”

He frowned. “I don’t need the bed.”

“I don’t either,” I promised, leaning against the banister. “Plus,” I sighed, scratching at the back of my head. “I’m not entirely sure how to thank you for today. I’d probably be selling for a low ball price on the dark web right now, if it wasn’t for you. So, thanks.”

Connor was still frowning. “You’ve had a really rough day. You should take the bed.”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to get frustrated. “I’m really okay, I promise. I can’t give you anything else, take the bed.”

His dark eyebrows knit together quickly, licking his lips again nervously. “I don’t–”

“Plus,” I cut him off again with a curt laugh. “I owe you for your Oscar performance. That was crazy, you know. I can’t believe you fooled him into thinking a guy like you would be with a girl like me.”

His head snapped up. “A guy like me?” He reiterated coldly. I felt my face grow hot.

“You know,” I said quietly.

“Know what?”

“That you’re cool,” I muttered. “And nice looking. And I’m not.”

I was thankful for the warm lighting in the room, concealing my red face. It was already dark out, the blinds drawn tightly. Connor’s fists clenched in the white lace comforter on the bed. I didn’t want him to feel bad for me, and I sort of regretted saying it. Connor had already seen me blubbering today and he didn’t need my shitty teen angst to deal with.

He bit down on his lower lip, staring coldly at the ground before murmuring, “I need a shower. Take the bed.”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go for a walk.”

He just nodded, rising from the bed. “Don’t get too far. It’s cold out.”

Connor shut the bathroom door behind him, and I was left feeling like a total idiot. I could hear the shower running before I left, snagging Connor’s grey jacket from my bed post and sliding it on. I went down the stairs, sliding out the first door to the outside, stepping out onto the first floor balcony. I made a mental note to the shut the blinds later, before walking around to the front of the cabin.

I should’ve been thrilled to be alive, I realized, snorting at how melodramatic that sounded. Still, as I burrowed deeper into Connor’s jacket, watching my thighs turn red from the cold, I realized that I was shrouded in a veil of melancholy I wouldn’t be able to shake off.

I missed Connor. I missed being his friend. I missed him coming over for play dates when we were kids, gauzy fairy wings strapped to our backs, jumping on a trampoline when Zoe was still to young to participate. I missed writing him letters, like a pen pal, despite the fact he only lived on the opposite side of town. Going to different schools hadn’t deterred us, for a while, at least. We had sleepovers every birthday, and Zoe told the best scary stories. I remembered hiding under Connor’s bed with him, a hand clasped over my mouth so Zoe wouldn’t hear our breathing.

I remembered kissing him when we were in kindergarten, ridiculously late at night, a quick smack on the lips during a game of pretend. I’d kissed Zoe, too, when we were probably much too old for it, but thinking of Connor tugged on my chest.

It stopped as we turned twelve, I realized. I never saw him–he was still playing little league, and I stopped coming to his games to pick dandelions with Zoe. He was beginning to get teased. My parents insisted the slumber parties should stop, we were too old. Every time Connor and I were together at birthdays or Christmas parties, adults would joke about when we’d fall in love, how soon would it be before we got married. We avoided each other like the plague, unless we knew we could be alone. And we were never alone.

Connor hid inside himself. Zoe made fun of him at parties, loudly. I kept quiet.

He stopped calling during the summer months. He never rode his bike by my house. The only time I saw Connor Murphy was the annual ski trip.

I missed him. He’d been a childhood friend, and I’d let him go without a second thought to save myself some shred of dignity, like it wouldn’t be ripped away from me regardless.

Connor Murphy was nothing to be ashamed of.

And now it was too late to be his friend.

It had started to snow again, so I wiped my face and rose, walking the opposite way I had come, skirting the stairs–they led to the upstairs, but only to Connor’s room, and I didn’t plan to barge in uninvited, especially if he was still in the shower, two rooms blocked me from getting to the king bed, so I’d have to walk all the way around the house.

The lights were out, I saw, but again no one had bothered to close the blinds. The television might have been on, a dim blue glow resounding onto the leather couch–

I froze.

As it turned out, my mother hadn’t gone to bed. The television was on, showing some late show with some old white man making cracks about some politician I didn’t care for, casting the blue haze onto the coffee table, revealing the wine bottle my mother had been cradling. Two empty glasses sat on the table–my mother’s bathrobe crinkled on the floor.

I was disgusted in a comedic way, just for a moment, to see my mother in her nightgown kissing my father, who my brain had filled in under the assumption he’d arrived back.

I’d begun backing up to the stairs, Connor Murphy’s naked body be damned, when I realized my father’s car had never pulled up, and I’d been on the front porch the whole time.

A better look in the window revealed a man a little older, a little more gray and a little more handsome than my father.

I was sprinting by the time Larry Murphy had begun to peel his shirt off his back.

I didn’t knock by the time I’d made it to Connor’s room, just threw open the door, struggling to get my breathing under control. I stumbled to the pull out couch, dragging the sheets up around my freezing legs. I was in shock, I knew, and I needed to calm down before Connor came in–the bathroom door was shut, but I couldn’t hear the shower anymore, despite the steady trickle of steam coming through the cracks. I was trapped in this room until Connor came out.

My mother was cheating on my father Larry Murphy. Larry Murphy was cheating on his wife with my mother. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it, I had to have made it up, this had to be a dream–

“What are you doing in here?”

It was an exclamation, alarmed, grasping a towel tight with thin white knuckles.

Connor. Connor in a towel. Connor wet with slick hair and chest hair and navel and hip bones. Connor Murphy, son of Larry Murphy, who had his tongue down my mom’s throat–

“Hey, breathe, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

By the time my eyes snapped back into focus, Connor was struggling to pull on grey basketball shorts without dropping his towel, and I dropped my gaze back to my shaking hands, almost startlingly red from the temperature change and what was most likely shock. I was hyperventilating, struggling to smother the sobs. I knew this deep in the house, they probably wouldn’t hear me–they were most definitely preoccupied anyway. 

The bed dipped, and Connor’s bare side brushed my thigh. I didn’t mean to jerk back, but I did, clinging to the arm of the couch and staring horrified–Connor looked almost hurt, but mostly panicked. I tried to calm down, for his sake.

“S-sorry!” I sobbed. “Sorry! I-I-I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I didn’t–I–”

“Hey, stop, breathe. You gotta breathe. Go slow, okay? Stop tryna talk,” he commanded, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t gonna hurt me, readjusting so that he sat up on his knees, leaning  over me to take my hands, rubbing them between his own despite the claminess.

I avoided his eyes, focusing instead on the dip of his collar bone, surprised to see thin lines of chest hair, wet and plastered to his chest. He was skinny, and I could see his ribs despite the tiny stomach roll from where he folded in the middle. His thumbs rubbed soothing circles across the backs of my hands, and for a moment, I didn’t think. I could’ve forgotten everything and fallen asleep right here with him.

He pulled my hands against his chest, cradling mine in his own, pulling me forward, asking with his slate eyes if it was alright.

I pretended we were friends.

“You wanna talk about that?” He asked very softly, looking down at where our hands were clasped against him–he was warm, his skin pink and hot from the shower. He’d combed his hair back out of his face, and it was almost cute like that. “If it’s about today, I promise you’re safe, alright? I wasn’t gonna let that guy hurt you.”

My heart sunk in my chest, nearly restarting my panic attack. I shook my head.

Connor deserved to know.

I was scared, briefly, that it would set him off. He might yell at me, throw things, kick me out of the room. He might hit me.

I didn’t care. He had a right to know.

I swallowed thickly, shaking my head. “N-no.”

“Did something happen on your walk? Are you okay?”

I shook my head.

“What? Trouble back home–your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

“My mom–” I started, voice breaking, feeling fresh tears of shock on my cheeks.

His eyebrows furrowed, tightening his grip on my hands. “Is she okay? She–”

I saw it in slow motion–his jaw unclenched, eyebrows relaxing from their set, pouted mouth turning down. It was calm. It was knowing.

“You saw them,” he said very softly, letting my hands fall back into his lap. I was too shocked to move them away from his thighs.

“You knew,” I spat–an accusation. I hadn’t meant to make it one.

Connor scrubbed at his eyes roughly, flopping onto his back against the bed. Frustrated.

“I was tired of my dad reading my fucking emails, so I hacked into his–I only saw a few. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

I paled, feeling nauseous. “So it’s happened before?” I choked.

He swallowed. “That was two summers ago.”

“Fuck,” I hissed uncharacteristically, surprised to find Connor stretching out an arm to me. I took his hand with a firm grip. “How long before then.”

He shrugged. “Maybe our whole lives. Maybe before. I’m not sure, angel.”

I nodded, secretly pleased that he was so calm. It kept me level, grounded, watching where our hands were linked.

“What do we do?” I choked. “I have to tell my dad. He deserves to know.”

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “Everything would change. He’d tell my mom.”

I bit down on my lip, folding down onto my back to lay down beside Connor. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Connor sighed, scratching at my hand tenderly with his black painted nails. “I’m not sure that my mom and Zoe could handle the news–it’s not like they’d turn to me. They’d be alone. Zoe might even take my dad’s side.”

I groaned, stealing my hands to scrub at my eyes. My wet hair was beginning to dry in a tangled mess.

“This is too much,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side to face Connor, staring at his bare, freckled shoulder. “I don’t know what to do. If I can do anything.”

I jumped a foot out of my skin when he placed a hand at the corner of my jaw, brushing the tangled hair back out of my face. “You don’t have to think about it right now. You’ve had a really long fucking day. You should sleep.”

I didn’t want to sleep–I didn’t want Connor to leave. I didn’t know how to say that.

I couldn’t believe that everyone had tried to desperately to convince me Connor Murphy was a bad boy–fuck them, Connor Murphy was good. He was better than everyone in this cabin combined.

He cared about me.

I caught his wrist, which froze in my grasp, but I just took his bony hand and cradled it between my hands the same way he’d done mine, tracing the lines across his palm. He sucked  in a sharp breath.

“Okay,” I said, and he smiled, moving away. I let go of his hand.

“I just have to turn off the light. Get comfy.”

His retreating footsteps filled my stomach with dread, but nevertheless I unzipped his jacket and draped it on top of the blanket so that it would at least keep my feet warm. Pulling the pillow tight behind my head, I was pleased to find it sort of smelled like Connor’s shampoo as the light clicked off. It left me feeling a little more safe. Ironic, I realized. I was in the middle of a wilderness, I’d almost been abducted, my mother was downstairs ruining our family, and all I could find myself to be worried about was if Connor would be okay.

The bed dipped behind me, shocking me into stillness, surprising me even more when someone lifted the sheet and slid in behind me, a bony hand resting on my hip.

“This okay?” He asked, and I dared to open my eyes to meet his. They were unsure, nervous. He was scared I’d reject him. I nodded, scooting closer.

“It really will be okay, you know,” he assured. “Whatever you choose, I’m gonna be with you.”

“You’re amazing,” I said without thinking, but being entirely sincere. Even in the dark, I saw his eyes go wide and his cheeks tinge a deep magenta in his pale face.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I assured with a laugh, reaching across the divide to poke at his side, slightly surprised to still find him shirtless. He’d withdrawn his hand almost immediately, keeping respectfully to his side of the bed. “I’d be dead without you. And you’ve supported me this whole way.”

His jaw clenched and unclenched, freeing one of his arms to pick at the wrinkled sheets between us. “I just, fuck, I knew you’d hear some shit, but I was hoping you’d be able to come out here and we could start over again, like before? Zoe started her smear campaign almost immediately. I just, fuck, nevermind.”

I watched him withdraw, turning over with his back to me, the pale plains of his back bared to me.

“Con,” I said very softly. “I don’t care what they say–fuck them,” I laughed, watching Connor’s shoulders shake. “I think you’re good, Connor, and I miss being your friend.”

I watched with bated breath as his back rose and fell with his steady breath in the cold room, his skin radiating heat. I shifted closer, crossing the divide between us. He didn’t respond.

I didn’t sleep.

——

I was alerted late in the day by a noise–it was daylight, I noted, the clock on the bedside table reading it was almost noon. I was groggy, still in the state between sleep and consciousness. The room was shrouded in a bright grey hue from the winter wonderland outside–it had snowed a significant amount, apparently, and the white fluff stuck hopelessly to the window.

At the foot of the bed, Connor was on his knees, pulling a navy sweater over his head. It was tight, with a stretched collar and holes at the hem, but he looked good in it. His hair was frizzed at the temples, and his eyes were wide when we saw me.

“You’re awake.”

I just nodded, a little embarrassed. Part of me hoped Connor would just let last night drop, and we could continue our indifference toward each other, but most of me felt as if we had an unfinished conversation to attend to.

“Is anyone back yet?” I asked, surprised as Connor came to sit in front of me, legs crossed kindergarten style. He shook his head.

“No, actually. No one came back from their trip, and the lovebirds have miraculously vanished for a ski day. It’s just me and you.”

“Oh.”

Connor seemed unsure for a moment, brushing his hands off on his pants. “I’m sorry, um, about last night? I should’ve asked first if it was okay to sleep next to you, I just–I know you said you missed being friends, so I thought–”

“It was nice,” I cut him off with a smile that was nearly all false bravado. “Warm. I really do miss hanging out with you.”

He pursed his lips in way of a smile. “Me too. Miss having friends, period, but you’re kinda great, so–I’ll shut up.”

Stretching, I groaned with the sensation and smiled widely at him. “We can be friends again, don’t you think?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When my vision cleared, he was sitting by my feet, eyes downcast.

“It’s kinda lame, isn’t it?” He asked, sending ice down my spine.

“What, I’m not cool enough for you?” I teased half heartedly, despite feeling slightly sick. If Connor left now, I’d be marooned on this island I’d made for myself, and it wasn’t ideal knowing I no longer had any allies.

“No! That’s not what I–no, fuck, I just meant. Don’t you like Zoe better?”

I shook my head. “I like Zoe–but I liked you first.”

“Yeah, I liked the Teletubbies first, doesn’t mean I prefer them to Death Cab for Cutie.”

I snorted. “Okay, I like you best. You’re both really similar, you know, but you’re kinder.”

He shot me a glare, which I supposed I’d earned. “Liar.”

“Can’t lie,” I protested. “And I like you better. Get used to it.”

He swallowed, shifting on the bed and looking at me again as if grappling to say something. His eyebrows were pinched in the middle, making him look slightly worried, small. I watched the way his mouth bowed as he opened and closed it, my eyes tracing over his soft lips.

He was pretty, I realized, in a way I wouldn’t have considered before.

“What about when you leave?” He asked softly, scratching his arm absently.

I frowned. “What about it?”

“We won’t see each other again.”

I smiled. “Connor, you just live on the other side of town. I do own a car.”

He frowned. “You’d come to see me?”

“If you wanted me to,” I answered honestly. “Or we could go do stuff. It doesn’t make me any difference–whatever you want, I’m game for.”

His eyebrows took a sharp hike into his hairline. “Whatever I want, huh?”

My stomach clenched nervously–decidedly a good kind of nervous. I didn’t realize it till he placed his hand on my ankle, grinning up at me with crooked teeth and pretty eyes, that I might’ve begun to develop a small crush on him.

Which wasn’t okay.

——

“This is such bullshit.”

I cackled as Connor continued to strap on his snow boots, repeatedly tripping and losing his balance in the snow.

“C'mon, it’s fun!” I protested, pulling my sock toboggan down tighter over my ears, trudging another few slow steps through the slush. Connor was frustrated, I could tell, seeing his pink nose and ears, his breaths coming out in angry puffs of smoke.

“No,” he grunted, dragging himself up the trail a few more steps. “Video games are fun. Cartoons are fun. Cheap Internet porn is fun. Dragging my frozen ass up a mountain covered in snow for ten miles is not my idea of fun, dude.”

“It’s not ten miles,” I protested, taking a seat on a mostly clean looking rock, patting the seat beside me in condolence to Connor, giving him a much needed break. He’d agreed to go outside with me at least once to take a hike, since the Murphy kids never ever wanted to do anything that didn’t involve fried food or touristy tie dye t-shirts. We’d been going for a few hours now, and the last bench had easily been miles ago. I wanted to see where the trail ended.

Part of me was scared he’d only agreed because he thought I would break. I’d surprised myself with how calm I’d been after, well, what a nightmare this trip had been. I supposed I’d be worse once my dad got back–but he wasn’t yet, so I was content to have my last moments with Connor.

“We’ve been out here for hours, man, don’t you think we should head back before it gets dark?” He whined, leaning forward on his elbows and rubbed his hands together–he had on mittens, which was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Say what you want about Connor Murphy, his aesthetic was absolutely demolished once you put him in a fire engine red puffer coat.

I sighed, glancing wistfully up the trail. I’d like to finish, but Connor was right–it was getting dark, too dangerous out for us to be out here alone. He’d humored me enough for today.

Time to go back and face reality.

I just nodded, stuffing my hands in my pockets and rising from the rock, giving a decent stretch before moving forward back down the path, Connor scurrying along beside me.

“Thanks for coming,” I said again, nudging him with my shoulder. He stumbled gracefully, grinning with a subdued force that warmed me a little, before checking me back with his shoulder.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he warned, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “But it wasn’t totally awful.”

I snorted. “I won’t let anyone know Connor Murphy can feel fun.”

Biting back a smile, he nudged me again. “God, please don’t. Then they might bring me back here and I’ll have to spend another two weeks with you.”

“I’m sure I’m just killing you inside,” I teased. “How dare your parents give you unfiltered access to a teenage girl.”

“Who never wears pants around the house,” he added sagely.

“And sleeps in your bed!” I choked with laughter, the bird walking along the snow path in front of us clearing the way. “God, I can’t believe I did that. I’m sorry, I was probably awful. Did I snore?”

His mouth twisted, as if trying to look indifferent but instead just failed at smothering a smile, both corners of his lips turning in a different direction.

“Not awful,” he offered, earning an embarrassed groan from me. “No! It’s cute, like a kid, I promise. You kicked the shit out of me, though.”

“You’re kidding me,” I groaned. “I’m so so sorry! I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Might be some bruises,” he grinned, to my further mortification. “Hey, nah, I’m kidding. Any damage will heal. It’s kinda funny.”

I cocked an eyebrow from where I was hiding my face behind my gloves. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, don’t sweat it,” he said, reaching out to take my wrist, pulling one of my hands away from my face. He didn’t realize it, just held it, swinging stiffly between us as we walked. He held his breath for a moment before continuing, “I would’ve let you know if I didn’t like it.”

“Kinky,” I said upon reflex, earning a lazy kick to my ankle.

“You’re hilarious. I just meant you’re warm, maybe the bruises are worth it.”

I felt my face get hot, words forming in my belly, escaping before I could choke them back. “Yeah? Maybe I’ll kiss them better tonight, if Zoe isn’t back.”

He let go of my wrist like I’d burned him.

“Sor–”

“Don’t,” he said quietly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, beginning to walk quickly ahead of me.

“What?” I screeched, frustrated.

“Don’t fake flirt with me. It’s not funny,” he spat, continuing walking too fast on his ridiculously long legs.

“Who said it was fake?” I grumbled. “I’m not making fun of you, Connor.”

There was a beat of silence, pulling at my heart with sharp claws, the dull ache starting in my chest and spreading. I’d messed up everything.

“It’s getting dark,” he growled. “And we don’t have a flashlight. Try and keep up.”

——

The panic set in at twilight.

We were running.

He was holding my hand again, dragging me roughly down the mountain, hoping desperately to see some kind of light pollution as the sun set, but there was nothing.

“We should see lights by now,” I told him. “We can see the lights from our cabin, we should see the lights now.”

“We went down the wrong side of the mountain,” he gasped, already out of breathe. I knew his lungs weren’t the best, and we’d been running for awhile now.

“There has to be something at the bottom,” I whispered hopelessly.

“There is,” he growled. “It’s called a gorge, then you climb the other mountain, and there’s the next state. Fuck, how did we get so turned around?”

“Doesn’t matter, Con,” I said hopelessly. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

His dark eyes widened. “You aren’t sincerely suggesting we try to find shelter. In the middle of a national park.”

“I’ve got a flare gun and a flint,” I told him. “But we have to get back up out of the trees.”

“You want us to climb the mountain again?” He hissed, holding both my hands now. “Are you positive you don’t have signal?”

I nodded. “I’m really sorry, Connor.”

“Don’t be sorry. Start walking.”

——

It was an accident.

It was dark.

I had an analog watch, letting me know it was nearly nine pm. We’d found shelter just as it had started to snow–the  ground here was wet, quickly freezing into ice, and we kept slipping up on the trail. I’d set off the flare an hour ago, and, so far, nothing. The snow had begun to pick up, and we’d found a alcove between two adjacent rocks–not big, about the size of a walk in closet, but enough space for us, our bags, and a pile of wood that refused to light. It kept the snow and wind off of us, and the alcove was high enough I felt safe, with a small mouth that made me feel as if at any instant we could be trapped.

It was an accident.

“The fire won’t light,” I said again, hopelessly, watching my now bloody fingers go numb from trying desperately to get the flint to do its job. I couldn’t feel them without my gloves on.

Connor, huddled in a corner, viciously rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm. I knew the  temperature would only drop from here. If someone hadn’t seen the flare….

“There’s no dry wood. I checked.”

“Nothing?”

“No, okay? Nothing. That’s it.”

I knew he was right–and searching now would only prove to be counter productive and dangerous. I moved our bags and the pile of firewood to the entrance, sealing us in.

“It’s gonna be pitch black soon,” I warned, watching Connor tap angrily at his phone. “You should probably save your battery. I don’t have a flashlight.”

He snorted. “You’ll bring sleeping bags and a flint, but not a flashlight?”

“It’s the emergency bag! I didn’t pack it, Connor. Make fun of it all you want, but it’s keeping us alive!”

There was a beat of silence, before he clicked his phone off, leaving us in darkness. “M sorry.”

I dragged out the single sleeping bag, stretching it out to him. “Don’t be sorry.” I felt guilty–it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with. “Wanna granola bar?”

“Save it,” he said in a clipped tone, unsure what to make of it since we were veiled in darkness. “We might need it later.” Then, softer: “What’s the plan?”

I heard him stand, and walk across the slick ice of the alcove, coming to stand beside me, his hand at my elbow.

“Well,” I said very slowly, feeling my throat get thick. “Survive the night, stay awake, and once dawn hits we head back to the other side of the mountain, if no one comes.”

“If no one comes,” he echoed, voice oddly hollow. I choked.

“It, erm, is very possible they think we just wandered off, you know? We’re teenagers,” I reminded gently. I left out the part the police would be less than willing to look–Connor had a history of running away after a bad binge.

“Fuck,” he growled.

It was an accident. It was quick, in the dark, we couldn’t see.

He reached our for me, his open palm colliding with the back of my head, yanking me tightly again his chest, my nose buried in his nylon puffer coat. I felt his other hand, too forcefully, at the small of my back, and I nearly screamed, terrified this was an episode I couldn’t control–

“We’re gonna make it outta here,” he breathed against my ear, his breath warm and humid against my freezing ears. It set off a light bulb in my brain. “We’re gonna go back home and–fucking shit, I’m gonna be a goddamn good friend to you and we’re gonna–fuck,” he hissed, his clipped voice breaking off. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’m not going anywhere.”

I let myself break open, collapsing against him, openly sobbing with regret. He stiffened, but just tightened his arms around me despite our bulky clothes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“It is not,” he hissed, shaking me a little. “We had no way of knowing this would happen. The trail looked safe.”

I just nodded, knowing that arguing would tire me out. I felt the lethargy begin to creep in my bones–Connor was warm, and it was late, and we were tired. Falling asleep meant dying.

“Get out the sleeping bag,” he said, extracting himself from me, and I heard his hands scrape along the hard rock looking for the entrance. “And I’ll look for some more blankets in the bag, see if we can’t insulate–fuck!

“What is it?” I screeched, turning, grabbing his hand to only find that my own was suddenly wet, almost sticky, and Connor pulled away with a howl. I smelled the metallic sting before I realized.

“Something cut my hand!”

“Stay away from the wall,” I warned. “Take your undershirt off, I’ll rip it up.” I felt around desperately for Connor’s phone, immediately illuminating our little cave with a blinding blue light.

The amount of blood smeared across the wall was nauseating. There was a sharp spot Connor must’ve grabbed too quickly.

He was crying, trying desperately to unzip his coat with one hand, the other dripping onto the floor.

“Fuck, I hope something doesn’t smell that,” I whispered, laying down the light and running to help him get undressed, careful of the open cut across his palm.

“I knew I was gonna get naked tonight,” he said with an unsure laugh, “I just didn’t realize it would be like this.”

My face flushed. “What, you thought I’d suck you off because we’re about to die?”

He shivered, accentuated by me ripping his white shirt down the front, exposing his blue, goosebumped skin.

“Fuck,” he hissed, and I was unsure if it was from the cold, the pain, or my foul language.

“Hope this is clean,” I muttered, wrapping a strip of his white shirt across his palm in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. It was a good way to get an infection, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I didn’t–I wouldn’t ask you to–”

“I’m not sucking you off!”

“Fuck, I just meant–hypothermia, skin to skin, I saw it in a movie–”

The phone light clicked off. I sighed, tying off the cotton bandage.

“You wanna get naked in the sleeping bag,” I finished.

“I don’t want to!” He howled. “And not naked–just, enough to stay alive, shit. It’s gonna be negative ten out here soon, I just wanna stay alive.”

“We should hurry,” I said, surprising myself by reaching out to urge him to rub at his bare chest, earning a gasp from him. “You’re gonna freeze soon. Get your pants off.”

I handed him the sleeping bag, my breath catching as I heard his belt clink to the floor, trying very hard not to think about the implications of this. How far did he expect me to undress? And, if we did get in here, it would be ridiculously tight, we might fall asleep–

“Hurry up, this bag is an icicle with one person.”

Straightening out my bra and panties (even if we were going to die, Connor Murphy did not get to cop a feel) I felt my way to the sleeping bag.

My hand on his chest, he guided my legs one at time–one by his side, one between his knees–and gently folded me down against him, uncomfortably tight as his shaking fingers zipped the sleeping bag up.

He was breathing hard against my temple, and I immediately began to sweat–between the nylon bag and the fact I felt all of Connor Murphy pressed against my chest and stomach–it was nerve wracking.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he reminded in a hoarse voice, shaking a little. I couldn’t quite figure out where his hands were.

“Don’t get a boner,” I begged, earning a beat of silence before:

“I, uh, am–I’m really trying not to,” he groaned, and I could feel how hot his face was against my temple.

“If it helps,” I said, slightly disgusted. “You can imagine our parents kissing. That really kills my fire.”

“Ew,” he said. “Please don’t.”

I grinned. “What? You don’t want me to be your hot step sister?”

Stop it,” he begged, making me laugh, pressing my face against the soft cushion of his hair, nosing at the column of his throat. He groaned a little, and I felt his fingers twitch beside my hips.

“I can’t believe their secret is going to die with us,” I sighed. “No one is ever going to know.”

“I can’t believe you’re lying on top of me in your spiderman panties, but that’s also happening, so you’d better believe it,” he sighed, hands twitching again.

“You can touch me, you know,” I breathed, a little embarrassed against his ear. “We’re gonna die anyway, might as well die comfy.”

“We won’t die,” he promised, his hands clasping over the small of my back regardless.  “Hey,” he crooned, in a soft voice I hadn’t heard before. Encouraging. “Remember sharing a sleeping bag when we were kids?”

I laughed half heartedly, remembering fully. “The thing was always full of pixie stick wrappers.”

“It was an addiction, and I have quit,” he said sagely, earning another laugh from me. I almost joked about the pot, but part of me knew it wasn’t a funny joke. It didn’t have anything to do with him. He sighed, one finger trailing up my spine. “God, I was so in love with you.”

I froze against him, my body a live wire. His hand pulled back.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said tha–”

“Were you really?” I asked. I felt him smile, before leaning in to kiss my cheek, slowly, his dry lips lingering.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t know,” he groaned. “Zoe had me convinced you were just humoring me because you knew I’d do anything for you.”

I pulled up, as far as I could (which wasn’t much) squinting to make out his face in the dark. “That wasn’t true. You were my best friend.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. God, that time when you kissed me….I’m so sorry we stopped talking. I don’t think I’m ever gonna forgive myself for that.”

“Connor,” I said very softly, reaching up to tangle my hands lightly in his hair. “If we’re gonna die…can I just….”

He surged up before I could, the nylon around us snapping taunt, squeaking in protest. Up on his elbows, his bony hands found their purchase on my bare hips, and I felt the wetness through one of the bandages–his hand was still bleeding, the idiot.

His lips were dry, and he kissed much too roughly for someone who wasn’t holding my head in place, our teeth clinking together in a way that I knew was an accident, sending my skull ringing. His eyes were squeezed shut in the darkness.

I can’t believe it took us to the brink of death for him to admit this.

God, he’s an idiot.

I reached up, pulling at his hair, holding his head to mine, his tongue licking roughly up into my mouth before breaking away–

“Boner,” he warned in a squeak, earning a loud laugh from me, collapsing against his chest.

“Not even in death, Murphy, am I sucking you off on a first or last date,” I giggled against his neck, giving him a chaste kiss there, listening to him groan. His hips canted a little, scaring me, before taking a deep breath to calm himself.

“First date, huh?” I felt him grin, followed by a yawn.

“Stay awake, Connor,” I urged, smacking him hard. “Or I’m gonna twist your nipple.”

“Kinky,” he sighed lethargically. Shit, he was gonna sleep.

“Connor–”

“Promise me this,” he sighed, nuzzling lightly against the side of my face. “If we survive the night by some miracle, and we don’t freeze to death or get eaten by bears or bleed out–you wanna kiss me again? With more clothes on? As my girlfriend?”

I leaned into his touch, tilting my head up to give him access to suck a hickey into my neck, groaning.

“Murphy, if we live, I will suck you off.”

That was the last thing I remembered.

——-

Three days later, it’s still cold. I’m not wearing much–a blue gown with shitty pink flowers, it’s made of some kind of plasticy cotton material. There’s blood under my fingernails and bruises on my neck that are almost embarrassing when I remembered how I got them. My clothes were gone.

Connor was gone.

My mother and father were leaning over my bed, the Murphy's  (minus Cynthia) are behind them. No Connor.

They explained it slowly, eyes wide. They found Connor and I nearly frozen, unconscious. Connor lost a lot of blood, they said, and he wasn’t do so well but he’d woken up several days before me.

He wouldn’t eat until they let him see me.

I’d nearly ripped out my IV to get to him.

He was wearing the same shitty hospital gown, his hair pulled back. He’s got hickies I don’t remember giving him across his collarbone that are ridiculously visible. There were purple bruises under his eyes, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“They said you were still too sick to get out of bed,” he grinned, opening his arm, and I immediately stumbled over to the thin mattress, pressing myself tightly against him. His hand is thickly wrapped in cotton, a few tubes full of a yellow brown liquid in them. He was combing my hair–which I’m sure was a rats nest–out with his free hand.

“They said the same about you.”

“We’re really lucky, you know,” I said softly, tapping at his chest. “I almost lost you.”

“Almost lost you,” he choked out, pulling away to scan my face, before grinning. “Which would’ve sucked, because you’re my only friend right now.”

“Friend?” I said, trying hard not to sound disappointed. I supposed I shouldn’t have been–what we’d done in the heat of a moment hadn’t meant anything then. It had been a lie for my humor.

It wasn’t fair.

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “You, um–do you wanna be my girlfriend?”

I frowned. “I mean, only if you want me to.”

He grinned, the smile splitting across his face. “It’ll suck–your parents will hate me.”

“Right now, I kind of hate my parents, so.”

“I do a lot of pot.”

“We can do something else instead,” I grinned, nudging him, having the nerve to blush.

He licked his lips, looking down at where he’d intertwined our hands. “You–you can’t fix me, you know? I’m still gonna be, you know.”

I nodded, bring his hand up to kiss across the bloody knuckles of his good hand. “I know. I promised I’d be your girlfriend, though. A promise is a promise.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you say that–because you did promise something else.”

I shook my head, rising from the bed. “The kiss is for when we have clothes on, remember.”

“I wasn’t talking about that kiss.”

Connor Murphy!

mum

Sirius Black had always traveled to King’s Cross with incredible joy in his heart knowing that he wouldn’t have to return to Grimmauld Place, 12 for several months and that he wouldn’t see his family for a very long time. This was the first time Sirius had trouble getting out of his bed on 1st of September. He didn’t know how to explain it but it felt like a hippogriff was sitting on his chest making it hard to breathe.

“Padfoot,” sighed James. “If you make me miss the train, I will steal all of Remus’ chocolate and blame it on you and he will believe me.”

“Idunwanowunintmmawf,” said Sirius into his pillow. 

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I don’t want to run into my mother,” he replied sitting up realising he didn’t have the strength to deal with James Potter at the moment. 

“We will move quickly and we won’t see even a string of her hair,” smiled James. “That’s a promise, Pads.”

“But she will see us Prongs,” mumbled Sirius looking like a lost puppy. “That bitch has her ways, she always finds me and Regulus in the crowd.”

“Don’t be fucking ridiculous and get out of the bed” ordered James in return as he attempted carrying his trunk down the stairs for a second. “MUUUUUM can I locomotor my trunk dooooownn?”

“NO,” said Euphemia sternly from downstairs. “You’ll carry it down James and so will Sirius.”

“But muuuum-”

“James, dear, you are sixteen years old,” explained his mum like she was talking to a small child to make sure he doesn’t set the house on fire. “Stop acting like you are four or that girl you like so much won’t even look your way let alone like you. Independent women like grown men, not needy children.”

Euphemia Potter had a way with her son, she knew where all of his buttons were and how to push them just right because James Potter and his trunk were downstairs the Muggle way in a minute after the pep talk she had given. 

The breakfast was calmer than usual with Fleamont being at work and Sirius acting like he is half dead. When they were completely ready to floo themselves to the train station, Euphemia put her hand softly on Sirius’ shoulder, a kind of touch he wasn’t still used to after almost two months.

“Sirius,” began Euphemia. “What’s wrong? You know you can talk to me.”

“I just really don’t want to run into my mother,” confessed Sirius. “I’m scared of what she might do to you.”

James shook his head in disbelief, he found it hard to understand the irrational fear Sirius had. He knew Walburga was one disturbed woman but he also knew his mother shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Walburga should be scared of running into me,” said Euphemia half jokingly but James knew what would happen if they were to run into that woman. “I can handle him dear.”

Sirius nodded as convincingly as he could before he grabbed floo powder from the porcelain bowl standing next to the marble fireplace.

“King’s Cross,” he said clearly and he was gone with the green flames in seconds.

It didn’t take long for James and his mum to come with the flames. They hurried towards the Platform 9 ¾ with their trolleys and James ran face first into the wall just to disappear into thin air and then Euphemia and Sirius ran to the other side of the wall as well. 

Hogwarts Express was standing with all it’s crimson glory waiting for the students to get in to take them to Hogwarts. The three of them walked hastily to where the Marauders’ compartment was. They stood in front of the door to say their goodbyes.

“Be good,” said Euphemia. “I don’t want any letters from Minerva this year James.”

“Mum, you know I can’t promise anything.”

“Where did I go wrong while raising you?” she asked curiously. “Don’t answer that.”

“Sirius, write to me whenever you feel like it,” she reminded. “I’ll be expecting you home for Christmas, alright?”

“Yes, mum,” said Sirius and choked on his words almost instantly as a warm smile formed on Euphemia’s lips and James’ eyes lit up like they were fairy lights.

“Tsk tsk, Sirius,” came Walburga’s cold voice behind them. “We shouldn’t call blood traitors who didn’t give birth to us ‘mum’.”

It seemed like Sirius had shrunk in size as Euphemia stepped in front of him protectively.

“Tsk tsk Walburga,” she repeated. “We shouldn’t eavesdrop on conversations that aren’t ours and give opinions that no one asked for. He can call me ‘mum’ whenever he wants to, seeing that his actual mother is not available at the moment.”

Walburga made an attempt to grab Sirius by the wrist but Euphemia was agile for her age and she was holding onto Sirius’ wrist like he would die if she let go.

“You won’t touch my son and I’m not talking about James.”

“I suggest you stay out of this Euphemia, this is none of your business.”

“Oh, you made it my business when this boy showed up in my living room, barely breathing,” shot back Euphemia with all the rage that had been building up in her. Sirius was hiding behind her, careful not to catch Walburga’s piercing eyes.

“You are exaggerating,” she replied. “Nothing wrong with a little tough love.”

“I know an Unforgivable Curse when I see one Walburga,” she hissed just loud enough for people around them to hear, Walburga was turning purple with anger. “If I could, I would take Regulus from you, too, before he ends up dead from your tough love.”

“How dare you speak to me like that?”

“The same way you dare torture your children Walburga,” she said without blinking. “Now let go of my wrist and stay away from my sons.”

Sirius was trembling behind Euphemia who was standing like she was the queen of the universe, she didn’t move until Walburga Black turned around and left. 

“I told you I could handle her,” she said with a reassuring smile and caressed Sirius’ cheek softly. Sirius noticed the marks on Euphemia’s wrist then, burn marks like the long boney fingers of his mother. “As long as you got me, she can never come close to you and know that there’s nothing wrong with you calling me mum. Anyone would be proud to have you as a son and I am, too.”

“I- I can heal that if y-you want m-mum,” said Sirius, his voice shaking with the weight he was feeling on his shoulders. “I’ve- I’ve gotten pretty g-good with h-healing charms.”

“No Sirius, I can fix it. You forget you are not allowed to practice magic outside of Hogwarts,” she reminded and laughed a little. “It’s funny that a woman of her age is unable to control her magic like a toddler.”

Sirius’ eyes were still fixed on Euphemia’s thin wrist, his eyes filling up with the anger and sadness he was feeling. He lifted his eyes just a little to give a guilty look to James and saw his best friend smiling warmly down at him, he didn’t hide his pity but he didn’t have to. James always found it rather unlucky that Sirius ended up in such a messy family and never lied about how he felt about that situation, his pity was because he cared.

“Mum’s a big girl mate,” he said like he knew Sirius was about to spiral down and he needed someone to say something, anything. “She can take care of herself.”

“He is right, love,” nodded Euphemia. “Now, off you go, we don’t want you to miss the train because of something as unimportant and miserable as Walburga.”

“Just call her a bitch, mum.”

“James Fleamont Potter,” began Euphemia as she jokingly flicked her son’s arm. “You kiss me with that mouth and you will stop saying that word, even though some people deserve it, or so help me Merlin I’ll ground you until the end of time.”

“Okay, okay,” surrendered James. “I’ll just call her a goblin.”

“That’s my boy,” she replied and the spark came back to Sirius’ grey eyes. Euphemia hugged both of them and gave them loud kisses before she pushed them towards the train. “Don’t forget to write to me when you get there.”

“Sure, mum,” said Sirius with a grin before he was dragged away by an over eager James.