aslant

A Hundred Lesser Faces: (Seven)


Notes from Mod Bonnie

  • This story stems from the premise: what if Voyager!Claire had gone first to Lallybroch instead of directly to the print shop in Edinburgh?

Many a red-headed man I’d passed on the long road from Lallybroch. Every single time, my stupid, desperate heart had leapt with joy; and every time, I cursed myself for the fool that I was. For Christ’s SAKE, why the bloody hell should he be on the road from Inverness, Beauchamp? Jamie Fraser is south, in Edinburgh, with his wife. With his daughters. Happy. So, pull yourself together. 

So deep had been my longing, though, that my traitorous eyes had tried over and over to convince me that it might be, it MIGHT be this time! (even when the actual travelers hadn’t looked remotely like Jamie). Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, one had been a very tall boy no more than twelve, and I still had had to see his face from ten feet before I would allow my heart to quiet. Not him. Not him. 

Blind hope, indeed. 

But this time, as I whirled and fell on the hillside, heart exploding, in a single moment, I was certain. Even from a great distance, even two decades later, even not yet able to see his face through the snow-flecked gloom, even had he not been screaming my name, yes, I’d know the shape of that man anywhere. It was Jamie, tearing toward me on horseback, riding like the hounds of hell were at his heels. And the SIGHT of him? A relief and a love smashed through me, so deep and so visceral that I staggered downward; not running, not even making my way down the hill;  just slipping, pulled toward his orbit. 

Alive. I had known for months, believed, had confirmation from Jenny herself, and yet the proof was now there before my eyes. Not under a stone on Culloden Moor; that nightmare was now banished forever. Jamie Fraser was ALIVE.

I saw him kick hard, spurring the horse to an even more astonishing pace—how loudly must he have been screaming that I had been able to hear him from so far away?—and found myself bursting out with joyous laughter at the way his shirt flapped like a sail in the wind. Nothing changed, then, if the ridiculous man had ridden without a coat or a cloak against the wind and the sn—


Wife. 

No.

Daughters.

Please….please, no.

This changes absolutely nothing, Beauchamp. This ends with you going through those stones, sooner or later. Make it sooner. 

But he came for me—Jamie came! He’s HERE.

He’s happy. He may have come, but he’s happy.  Don’t make him suffer by forcing this impossible choice. 

Just let me say goodbye.

Please. 

Let me hold him, just for —

Beauchamp: 

Can you honestly do what needs to be done if you have to look him in the eye and pull yourself out of his arms?


“CLAIRE!—What are ye—? S T O P !”

I was running up the hill, stumbling and tripping, going as fast as I could. I couldn’t stop. If I looked at him—If I touched him…

Everything seemed to slow to single frames, impressions:


The slow shrill cry of my breaths,

the grass suddenly inches from my nose as I staggered low over a boulder.

Hoofbeats, closer, louder.


I’m running for my life through quicksand,

every footfall sinking me deeper, and slower, as the monster gets closer and closer and—


A fierce whinny, a curse.

A voice— my voice—screaming. “STAY AWAY!”

Boots hitting the ground,

“CLAIRE, STOP!


Running, both of us running,  

and I couldn’t stop.

I must not st—


Time smashed into its normal pace again as I fell, mere yards from the crest of the hill, and cried out in pain.

“CLAIRE!” God, he was so close, pounding up the hill behind me, no more than thirty—

Don’t!” I shouted as I scrambled to my feet. 

“CLAI—”

“DO—NOT—TOUCH—ME!”  I screamed it over my shoulder with all the violence I possessed, a feral beast, cornered and ready to go for the throat as it went down.

Silence fell on the faerie hill. Stillness, and absolute silence.

When human thought returned, I was on my feet at the very top of the hill, the stones screaming their evil song behind me. My body was slung sideways, both arms raised in defense; my head hung at an improbable angle so as to look nowhere, see nothing: not the stones, not him. It was elemental in my body, in that moment: the absolute imperative not to look at him. If I could keep from looking, keep from getting trapped in those eyes, everything would be alright.

It was a ridiculous logic, I knew; somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness, that was obvious. Jamie Fraser was HERE. He wouldn’t simply let me walk away unacknowledged; but such was the depth of my panic and hysteria that I couldn’t move. I was bare millimeters from completely falling apart, abandoning all my noble resolve, and flinging myself into his arms, begging him to choose me  take me and damn the fucking consequences.

But it still wouldn’t change a bloody thing, the rational half of my mind whimpered. He would still be married. He would still have his children. We still could not be together, or at least not under any circumstances that honor would permit. I still could not force him to make that choice. 

Hold yourself together, Beauchamp. No tears, remember? You said you could do the same for him; could be calm and sure for him. Now, do it. Stand strong.

“….Mo nighean donn?”

That flower-stem snap.

That voice—Jamie’s sweet, clear voice; my very heart speaking aloud, quietly, but with every ounce of pain and longing that I felt in my own breast. 

Look at me, mo nighean donn.”

Stand. strong.

My mouth was dry and my entire body was shaking, each word an effort. “— Can't—”

A sudden, vicious snarl. “LOOK at me!”

I half-growled, half screamed, “I—CANT!” 

Desperate. So desperate, that ‘can’t’. I was shaking. Going into shock, in fact. Could feel the darkness and the manic energy and the absolute inability to retrieve words or actions closing—

Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp.” 

He said it like he always said his own name: low and distinct, with honor in every syllable.  

BE STRONG.

“I have ridden,” he said, in a voice so quiet and deep and measured, “night and day for nigh on a week, terrified that—terrified th—*Please,*” His calm vanished and the words were tumbling out of him in a frantic rush. “Please, for the love ye bear me, for the love that brought ye to find meTURN.”

STAND.

God, but I can’t stand.

“By everything that is holy…” A whispered moan. “Let me see your face, mo ghraidh.

….and damn my weak, foolish heart, I turned. I looked.


Day and night for a week, he’d said, and I believed it. Even at a distance of twenty feet down the hill, I could see just how bloodshot his eyes were, wide and wild. He was pale, underneath the red of wind and exertion, paler than I remembered. That glorious hair was now worn long. If it had been tied back, the ride and the wind had undone it. It was wild and tangled, whipping about his face, his chin covered in stubble that nearly amounted to a beard. His clothes—nothing but shirt, breeks and boots— were filthy and torn and splattered with mud. He looked, quite simply, dead on his feet.

He was the most beautiful sight I’d ever beheld.

God, you’re so like her, I wanted to moan. I’d known it, had had my heart broken every day to see the proof of him in our daughter, and yet seeing him now before me, I was absolutely run through to find her broad, good-humored face there, the same dark blue eyes aslant the high, flat cheekbones and wide mouth. 

He’d aged, of course, as had I. The lines around eyes and mouth were deeper, the skin more weathered and coarse, but it was still him. His nose had been broken, at some point. It made him look fiercer, though perhaps that was simply fatigue and the vast waves of emotion obviously rushing through him, through us both. 

Jamie had staggered back a pace or two back as he stared up at me, nearly toppling down the steep incline. “Jesus….Christ…” he whispered. The back of his hand was pressed to his mouth as though to stifle a cry, “You’re….You….” The hand became a fist and he shook his head as a gasping smile broke from him. “Claire—God, Claire, mo chridhe!” He moved, about to sprint up the hill. 

I jumped backward. Raised my arms against him. No.

Hurt. Betrayal. Pain. It was as though I had shot him at point-blank range…And something deeper shone beneath it all: some blazing intensity I couldn’t quite identify. He looked as though he would bleed out there on the spot, from this newest wound. 

So will I, my love. 

But he heeded me, standing completely still. His hands shook, half-raised before him. He simply didn’t know what to do with them—I knew because I didn’t know what to do with mine. His mouth worked as he tried to speak, to ask, to say something, but failing. Those eyes held everything, though. Pleading.

Silence on the hill. Silence and screaming. 

“You—survived,” I managed at last, weakly, with something like a laugh.

“Aye—” He exhaled in a huge rush, clearly grateful that I’d broken the stalemate. “It was a verra close thing.” He spoke fast and frantically, babbling, even, as though terrified to let silence fall again. “I should have died in the battle, or from the firing squads after, or of my wounds festering, but— Aye, I—I was—spared.”

“Thank God,” I whispered, and his eyes lit with such hope and relief that I could have cut my bloody tongue out at the root.

STOP this instant, Beauchamp. Nothing has changed.

Jamie was the one to break the silence, this time. “Your letter,” he gasped out.

“You read it, then?” A stupid thing to say. He’d obviously read it, but I clung to conversation just as he had. The stupid words were something, something to keep from falling off the edge of this insanity. “When?”

“By providence, I arrived at Lallybroch the same day you’d left, and….Oh, God, CLAIRE….”

Oh, God, Jamie. 

Each time my name left him, it seemed to tear a piece out of both of us. I could only look down at him, waiting.

“When I saw your hand on that letter,” he said, voice shaking uncontrollably, “the print of your ring in the wax, I …”

He shook his head, at a loss, mouthing it over and over. I…I….

Through the snow, though darkness was creeping steadily around us, I could see the first tear sliding down his cheek. “….I felt as though I were dying.”

So did I. So do I.

“To know you’d survived—that you’d come back, and—and,” his eyes lit up. “Brianna.”

From his lips, our daughter’s name sounded like strange music from another world, and I wanted to listen to it forever.

“It would have been enough—more than enough—only to ken our bairn had lived, that the both of ye had lived and been cared for, but to….Claire, I simply couldna believe my eyes.” He shook his head, violently. “To see…to SEE the lass…our daughter.” Jamie released his sobbing breath and closed his eyes, holding out his hands before him, tears streamed down his cheeks. “Her entire life, there before me… and she so happy and so braw and bonny and—God, it tore out my beating heart.” He heaved a breath and smiled up at me, beaming with love and joy, though it was difficult for him to get out the words. “She’s—more wonderful than I ever could have imagined, mo ghraidh….Our Brianna.”

I forced a smile and choked down a sob. “I’m so honored,” I whispered, so haltingly, so carefully, so, so carefully, “to have been able—to bring her to you, in some way.”

My love.

My own love.


Nothing has changed.

I know. 


I took a step, two steps, backward toward the stones. This was the part where I was to be strong. 

Jamie’s eyes snapped into laser-focus, a predator’s, and that unknown intensity I’d seen earlier flamed now into life. It was anger

“Why would ye just GO?” His voice was still wretched with pain but he was snarling, stammering, growling in mounting fury. “Ye—ye came for me and—Ye came all the way from your time through the stones and then meant to go back and leave forever wi’out even—Damn ye, woman, ye didna even—If I hadna come just in time—Foolish—wretched, FOOLISH—” He hurled the demand toward me with his entire body. “WHY?”

“You *know* why.” It was all but a moan. 

He growled again. “Ye dinna ken —” 

“I know that you’re married,” I got out, moving sideways around the rim of the hill, countering his advance. “I know you have children. Jenny told me everything—how hap—”

“No, Claire, ye dinna understand!” Something had shifted in his eyes — relief? — and he was once again still, though scarcely fifteen feet in front of me down the hill. “Jenny lied. She lied, Claire,” he insisted, the words falling out of him. “She lied and made ye think I was—”

You’re not  ??”

Jenny lied! Thank the bloody stars above, the horrible bitch LIED!!! Jesus H— 

My smile broke through like the dawn, a blaze of glorious, raging happiness as I gasped out, “Then, you’re not married?”

And I watched as that hope shriveled and vanished to dust. His eyes dropped to the ground. “I am marrit.”

I swayed, eyes closed. I couldn’t bear this any longer, couldn’t take this agony raging in my heart, both the emotional and the physical heart. I felt light-headed, felt pain in my limbs. I couldn’t be strong. I couldn’t.

Just a little while longer. Say your farewell, and be gone. It will be alright, Beauchamp. 

“Then she didn’t lie,” I said, simply, my throat burning with the effort not to wail. “You have a wife and two beautiful daughters.” I caught my breath and opened my eyes, managing to smile, though I was so very near the brink. “I meant what I wrote in the letter. Every single word. I want you to be happy—and I’m glad that you are. I’m glad that you have a family and that they have made you happy.”

His brows were drawn up, making him look absolutely crazed. He mouthed the word like he’d never heard it before. Happy?

“But I—” Somehow, I kept up the smile as I whispered through wooden lips and burning throat and the tears. “—but it means—that I have—to go, now— before—”

“NO,” he snarled, springing with sudden force. I staggered still further away around the hill as he bellowed, “You’ll NOT—”

“BE STILL!” I bellowed back.

And once again, he heeded me. 

“For God’s fucking SAKE, you bloody — Scot!” I shouted down at him, suddenly just as furious as he. “Have you NO notion of what — Don’t you understand? I’m giving you up! I’m letting you go!” I gestured wildly behind me to the stones, choking on my tears. “I’m leaving so you don’t have to choose! Do you think I’m so arrogant as to believe I’m worth upending your happy—”

“DAMN YOU, woman, I havena been HAPPY in TWENTY YEARS!”


Silence on the faerie hill. Silence and screaming. 


When he spoke again, it was once more in that quiet, aching whisper.

“Jenny led ye to believe otherwise and may she be damned for it.” He took a step forward, pointing.  “But in that letter, ye renewed a promise to me; and I’ll give ye the same, now.” Another step. 

I stepped back. 

He surrendered, went to his knees, hands clenched in the posture of oath-taking. “No lies, Claire.” His eyes blazed into mine. “Nor secrets. Not ever. Not now. I swear it on Brianna’s life.”

God, my heart…

“Will ye hear what I have to tell?” 

…it simply couldn’t take this.

But I nodded. 


“I left Laoghaire more than a year past.”

LAOGHAIRE?!?”

The outburst was so violent, so loud and so shrill in the wake of my long silence, that it startled us both. Jamie had to put a hand out to steady himself as he jumped, and the acute panic of a fresh hell showed across his face.  “She—Jenny didna—?”

“No, she BLOODY well DIDN’T!”

“Aye, well—ah …ehm…Claire?” 

He was peering leerily up at me, and little wonder, for I was laughing—actually, CACKLING with laughter, hands clutched to my belly as I doubled over with it. 

“No, Jenny didn’t tell me who,” I sighed, when I had calmed down (marginally). “The only detail your darling sister deigned to divulge about your wife—” 

Of all people. Of ALL the marriageable women in all the bleeding Highlands. He had married —had had children with—loved—

All levity, all scorn dropped out of me, and my voice cracked, a whispering shell. “—was that you were happier with her than she’d ever seen you….And that you had two little girls that call you Da.”

“But they’re not mine, Claire. They’re not mine,” Jamie said again more urgently as I stared. He gritted his teeth. “And I shall wring my sister’s neck for a wicked liar when next I see her, for she kens fine that I’ve not had ninety-nine happy minutes in that marriage since it began.”

I was so cold. Frozen, in every cell. 

“Two years ago, we wed,” he began carefully. “She was marrit before, twice, and found herself a widow wi’ two bairns to feed just as I was newly come back from England.” 

His words were running together, a bit. There was so much warring within him, so much he clearly wished to say, but cold and fatigue and emotion were taking their devastating toll.  

“I’m fond of her lassies—Marsali and Joan. They’re aged fifteen and twelve and have had a cruel, rough way of it, in lives so short. Wi’ all that they’ve endured, I was glad—honored, even— for them to take me into their hearts as a father, but hear me, Claire.” He held my eye. “I’ve shared scarce more wi’ them than what loving gentleness I could offer, and a scant few months of meals shared ‘round the same table. No more.” He shook his head with a sound of shame and regret. “Christ, I sound an unfeeling wretch. I do care for them, I do.

But they weren’t born of his love; nor had he had a hand in raising them.

“Their mother…She…”

She. 

“I did have hope, at the beginning; hope that perhaps there could be some — tenderness between us. Nothing like—” He make a vain gesture up at me and closed his eyes, as though he couldn’t bear it. “—like what I kent it could be between a husband and wife, but something good to keep me sane; keep me alive….Can ye see?…Have ye kent that same hope, Claire?…. Only she couldna; or I couldna. I’ll accept the blame in full, but in the end, the ‘why’ and ‘who’ dinna matter. It was a broken thing within months, and I knew that if I’d stayed….” 

He hung his head, and for the first time, I could truly see the twenty years that had gone from his life. 

“I left for Edinburgh; have been there ever since. I provide for them, but I havena called Balriggan home for over a year…nor shared her bed since long before that.”  

The wind whistled between us. What he was saying…

I was numb. I was…It was like I was underwater, with news being shouted to me from dry land as I slowly drowned. 

“I’ve lain wi’ three women, since you’ve been gone,” he blurted suddenly, urgently against my silence, his voice so miserable, his eyes imploring. “Laoghaire, and two single-night encounters, and from one of those—From one of those nights…”

Oh, Jesus…

“William,” he whispered, nodding in confirmation, his eyes absolutely wretched but shining with the need to confess. “He’s a — a bastard, in England, and I shall never see him again. I’ve never told anyone of him, not even Jenny or Ian. His mother, his putative father—they’re both dead. He’s highborn, in the care of a man I trust. John will give him a good life; better than ever a convicted traitor could.” 

He closed his eyes and I could see his mouth working furiously as he tried both to form words and to hold back his weeping. “But he’s my son,” he whispered. “My only son, alive in the world because of me, and he’s bonny and canty and strong, just like Brianna, and there are days when I canna seem to live wi’out seeing him, holding him, or —” And he went silent, hiding his face in his hands until he could manage to speak. “Nor can I regret that he lives, for those years I had near Willie were the closest thing I’ve had to—to — And that only a shell of what….”

He raised a hand up as though he would cup my cheek across the chasm between us; then dropped it. Both hands lay on his thighs, aimless. 

“No. Happiness has not been granted me, Claire.” He stared at his palms, speaking in the barest, broken murmur. “My heart left wi’ you and the bairn; and while it is my duty to go on, to care for those under my protection, as I shall do, I’ve had little joy save the knowledge that at the end, I’d die and be able to find ye, just as I promised. Two hundred years, I said I’d wait. I’ve been counting.”

The snowflakes danced around us in the near-night, oblivious to desperation or to miraculous sparks catching in dark, deep places. 

“And to then learn in a moment that you’d come back…”

I tried to speak; but I was shaking so hard that I couldn’t open my mouth. I clenched it tight, feeling the tears slipping over my lips. 

“Claire?” he moaned, reaching out a hand. “…Lass?…Love?…I feel as if I shall die if I canna touch ye….Please.”

My knees had locked — everything within me had locked, between Jamie and the cold— and as I tried to adjust my footing, I accidentally stumbled backward a pace.

Despair escaped out of him and he jumped up as though to run to me, but he thought better of it, and came back down to his knees.

“Twice, I brought ye here to send ye away, mo nighean donn, because I knew a better life awaited ye on the other side of those accursed stones. Perhaps it does, this day, as well, but this time, I shall beg. Don’t go.” 

He raised both clawed hands to me. The tears were flowing so violently and his face was so deeply contorted so as to be barely recognizable. 

“Don’t go. Stay wi’ me. Stay. I canna…I canna do it…Please.*please*….”  

I was paralyzed, completely immobilized by — by —

“Is it too much to forgive, Claire?” came the cracked moan of my heart through the darkness that had suddenly hidden him from me entirely. “Laoghaire and—and William? Do… do ye not want me?”

God, Jamie…” I whispered, so softly that surely only the grass and the snow could hear. 

It was the first time I had said his name aloud to him.

“….you’re all I want.”


“Then  what   else   matters?”


“….Nothing.”


Nothing else mattered.

And I was flying down to him, and he was flying off his knees to catch me, and the feeling of his arms around me, of Jamie’s arms around me at last was —

Like lightning, striking upon the sand. A flash of light, of power, instantly transforming the hundreds of tiny fragments— the millions of shards weathered to all but nothing by time—into a single, molten one. A whole. 


END OF PART I

Metempsychosis, 1.

Pairing: Park Jimin / Reader

Genre: Immortal!AU, Reincarnation!AU + Slight Soulmate!AU / Fluff, Angst + Smut

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: None

Summary: Being everlasting certainly has its perks, but loving someone who does not have that privilege and reborn continually is not one of them.

Count: 2838 words.

Note: Thank you, @dimplecoups, for being in my inner circle and reading it over. This will be a three part series, and is told in Jimin’s POV.

Metempsychosis

And yet by death did life procure.

Various of theories are justificatory weaved in regards to our existence—that we either originated from a spiritual entity or created by a grand phenomenon. In the circumstance of a unique individual, he was produced by both; stars run in his veins for he is the embodiment of the galaxies, ethereal in every way. An enigma, some would say, yet was he truly a complex being? For the span of four hundred years, he had witnessed all that history could offer, but there was an uncomplicated reason for his melancholy: where was his moon? Where was his sun and stars, the one who was his celestial beloved? Surely, he was not meant to roam alone.

Or was he?

Keep reading

3D Lashes updated.

I updated my lashes.
Fixed an issue about the lashes clipping through a hair with texture alpha.

Thank you to Irina for giving me information!

The lashes will not be drawn front of bangs any more.
When a sim moves her head aslant,a hair clips the lashes,though… well,it’s the regrettable behavior of “SimGlass” shader.

Anyway,if you’ve got my lashes,and you usually use custom hairs with texture alpha, I hope you to see my blog for the details and update my lashes.

3D Lashes Version2

3D Lashes Version2 for Kids

3D Lashes Version2 for Skin Detail

3D Lashes Curly Edition

3D Lashes for Kids

3Dまつ毛、更新しました

透過ヘアと一緒に使用した際、まつ毛が前髪等の手前に描かれてしまう問題を修正しました。
ただ、シェーダーの問題自体は根本的に回避はできていないので、シムが斜めを向いた時に、前後が反転するので、奥に描かれるはずの髪の毛がまつ毛の上に描かれてしまいます・・・
とりあえず、正面向きの不都合は回避できるので、それだけでも違和感は軽減できると思います。

Irinaさん、情報ありがとうございます!

詳しくは本ブログにてご確認下さい。上記リンク、またはこちらから

I was asked by someone to spoil the reunion scene for them, so of course I was more than happy to comply 😏 Without further ado, I give you The Print Shop.


A. MALCOLM
PRINTER and BOOKSELLER

I stretched out my hand and touched the black letters of the name. A. Malcolm. Alexander Malcolm. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Perhaps.

Another minute, and I would lose my nerve. I shoved open the door and walked in.

There was a broad counter across the front of the room, with an open flap in it, and a rack to one side that held several trays of type. Posters and notices of all sorts were tracked up on the opposite wall; samples, no doubt.

The door into the back room was open, showing the bulky angular frame of a printing press. Bent over it, his back turned to me, was Jamie.

“Is that you, Geordie?” he asked, not turning around. He was dressed in shirt and breeches, and had a small tool of some kind in his hand, with which he was doing something to the innards of the press. “Took ye long enough. Did ye get the–”

“It isn’t Geordie,” I said. My voice was higher than usual. “It’s me,” I said. “Claire.”

He straightened up very slowly. He wore his hair long; a thick tail of a deep, rich auburn sparked with copper. I had time to see that the neat ribbon that tied it back was green, and then he turned around.

He stared at me without speaking. A tenor ran down the muscular throat as he swallowed, but still he didn’t say anything.

It was the same broad, good-humored face, dark blue eyes aslant the high, flat cheekbones of a Viking, long mouth curling at the ends as though always on the verge of smiling. The line surrounding eyes and mouth were deeper, of course. The nose had changed just a bit. The knife-edge bridge was slightly thickened near the base by the ridge of an old, healed fracture. It made him look fiercer, I thought, but lessened the air of aloof reserve, and lent his appearance a new rough charm.

I walked through the flap in the counter flap, seeing nothing but that unblinking stare. I cleared my throat.

“When did you break your nose?”

The corners of the wide mouth lifted slightly.

“About three minutes after I last saw ye – Sassenach.”

There was a hesitation, almost a question in the name. There was no more than a foot between us. I reached out tentatively and touched the tiny line of the break, where the bone pressed white against the bronze of his skin.

He flinched backward as though an electric spark had arced between us, and the calm expression shattered.

“You’re real,” he whispered. I had thought him pale already. Now all vestiges of color drained from his face. His eyes rolled up and he slumped to the floor in a shower of papers and oddments that had been sitting on the press – he fell rather gracefully for such a large man, I thought abstractedly.

It was only a faint; his eyelids were beginning to flutter by the time I knelt beside him and loosened the stock at his throat. I had no doubts at all by now, but still I looked automatically as I pulled the heavy linen away. It was there, of course, the small triangular scar just above the collarbone, left by the knife of Captain Jonathan Randall, Esquire, of his Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons.

His normal healthy color was returning. I sat cross-legged on the floor and hoisted his head onto my thigh. His hair felt thick and soft in my hand. His eyes opened.

“That bad, is it?” I said, smiling down at him with the same words he had used to me on the day of our wedding, holding my head in his lap, twenty-odd years before.

“That bad, and worse, Sassenach,” he answered, mouth twitching with something almost a smile. He sat up abruptly, staring at me.

“God in heaven, you are real!”

“So are you.” I lifted my chin to look up at him. “I th-thought you were dead.” I had meant to speak lightly, but my voice betrayed me. The tears spilled down my cheeks, only to soak into the rough cloth of his shirt as he pilled me hard against him.

I shook so that it was some time before I realized that he was shaking, too, and for the same reason. I don’t know how long we sat there on the dusty floor, crying in each other’s arms with the longing of twenty years spilling down our faces.

His fingers twined hard in my hair, pulling it loose so that it tumbled down my neck. The dislodged pins cascaded over my shoulders and pinged on the floor like pellets of hail. My own fingers were clasped around his forearm, digging into the linen as though I were afraid he would disappear unless physically restrained.

As though gripped by the same fear, he suddenly grasped me by the shoulders and held me away from him, staring desperately into my face. he put his hand to my cheek, and traced the bones over and over again, oblivious to my tears and to my abundantly running nose.

I sniffed loudly, which seemed to bring him to his senses, for he let go and groped hastily in his sleeve for a handkerchief, which he used clumsily to swab at first at my face, then his own.

“Give me that.” I grabbed the erratically waving swatch of cloth and blew my nose firmly. “Now you.” I handed him the cloth and watched as he blew his nose with a noise like a strangled goose. I giggled, undone with emotion.

He smiled too, knuckling the tears away from his eyes, unable to stop staring at me.

Suddenly I couldn’t bear not touching him. I lunged at him, and he got his arms up just in time to catch me. I squeezed until I could hear his ribs crack, and felt his hands roughly caressing my back as he said my name over and over.

At last I could let go, and sat back a little. He glanced down at the floor between his legs, frowning.

“Did you lose something?” I asked, surprised.

He looked up and smiled, a little shyly.

“I was afraid I’d lost hold altogether and pissed myself, but it’s all right. I’ve just sat on the alepot.”

Sure enough, a pool of aromatic brown liquid was spreading slowly beneath him. With a squeak of alarm, I scrambled to my feet and helped him up. After trying vainly to assess the damage behind, he shrugged and unfastened his breeches. He pushed the tight fabric down over his haunches, then stopped and looked at me, blushing slightly.

“It’s all right,” I said, feeling a rich blush stain my own cheeks. “We’re married.” I cast my eyes down, nonetheless, feeling a little breathless. “At least, I suppose we are.”

He stared at me for a long moment, then a smile curved his wide, soft mouth.

“Aye, we are,” he said. Kicking free of the stained breeches, he stepped toward me.

I stretched out a hand toward him, as much to stop as to welcome him. I wanted more than anything to touch him again, but was unaccountably shy. After so long, how were we to start again?

He felt the constraint of mingled shyness and intimacy as well. Stopping a few inches from me, he took my hand. He hesitated for a moment, then bent his head over it, his lips barely brushing my knuckles. His fingers touched the silver ring and stopped there, holding the metal lightly between thumb and forefinger.

“I never took it off,” I blurted. It seemed important he should know that. He squeezed my hand lightly, but he didn’t let go.

“I want–” He stopped and swallowed, still holding my hand. His fingers found and touched the silver ring once more. “I want verra much to kiss you,” he said softly. “May I do that?”

The tears were barely dammed. Two more welled up and overflowed; I felt them, full and round, roll down my cheeks.

“Yes,” I whispered.

He drew me slowly close to him, holding our linked hands just under his breast.

“I havena done this for a verra long time,” he said. I saw the hope and the fear dark in the blue of his eyes. I took the gift and gave it back to him.

“Neither have I,” I said softly.

His hands cupped my face with exquisite gentleness, and he set his mouth on mine.

I didn’t know quite what I had been expecting. A reprise of the pounding fury that had accompanied our final parting? I had remembered that so often, lived it over in memory, helpless to change the outcome. The half-rough, timeless hours of mutual possession in the darkness of our marriage bed? I had longed for that, wakened often sweating and trembling from the memory of it.

But we were strangers now, barely touching, each seeking the way toward joining, slowly, tentatively, seeking and giving unspoken permission with our silent lips. My eyes were closed, and I knew without looking that Jamie’s were, as well. We were, quite simply, afraid to look at each other.

Without raising his head, he began to stroke me lightly, feeling my bones through my clothes, familiarizing himself again with the terrain of my body. At last his hand t raveled down my arm and caught my right hand. His fingers traced my hand until the found the ring again, and circled it, feeling the interlaced silver of the Highland pattern, polished with long wear, but still distinct.

His lips moved over mind, across my cheeks and eyes. I gently stroked his back, feeling through his shirt the marks I couldn’t see, the remnants of old scars, like my ring, worn but still distinct.

“I’ve seen ye so many times,” he said, his voice whispering warm in my ear. “You’ve come to me so often. When I dreamed sometimes. When I lay in fever. When I was so afraid and so lonely I knew I must die. When I needed you, I would always see ye, smiling, with your hair curling up about your face. But ye never spoke. And ye never touched me.”

“I can touch you now.” I reached up and drew my hand gently down his temple, his ear, the cheek and jaw that I could see. My hand went to the nape of his neck, under the clubbed bronze hair, and he raised his head at last, and cupped my face between my hands, love glowing strong in the dark blue eyes.

Dinna be afraid,” he said softly. “There’s the t w o  of  u s  now.”

~ Voyager, Chapter 24, “A. Malcolm, Printer”

It was a longish, winding close, and the printshop was at the foot.

There were thriving businesses and tenements on either side, but I had no attention to spare for anything beyond the neat white sign that hung by the door. 

A. MALCOLM 

PRINTER AND BOOKSELLER 

it said, and beneath this, Books, calling cards, pamphlets, broadsheets, letters, etc. 

I stretched out my hand and touched the black letters of the name. A. Malcolm. Alexander Malcolm. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Perhaps. 

Another minute, and I would lose my nerve. I shoved open the door and walked in. 

There was a broad counter across the front of the room, with an open flap in it, and a rack to one side that held several trays of type. Posters and notices of all sorts were tacked up on the opposite wall; samples, no doubt. 

The door into the back room was open, showing the bulky angular frame of a printing press. Bent over it, his back turned to me, was Jamie. 

“Is that you, Geordie?” he asked, not turning around. He was dressed in shirt and breeches, and had a small tool of some kind in his hand, with which he was doing something to the innards of the press. “Took ye long enough. Did ye get the—” 

“It isn’t Geordie,” I said. My voice was higher than usual. “It’s me,” I said. “Claire.” 

He straightened up very slowly. He wore his hair long; a thick tail of a deep, rich auburn sparked with copper. I had time to see that the neat ribbon that tied it back was green, and then he turned around. 

He stared at me without speaking. A tremor ran down the muscular throat as he swallowed, but still he didn’t say anything. It was the same broad, good-humored face, dark blue eyes aslant the high, flat cheekbones of a Viking, long mouth curling at the ends as though always on the verge of smiling. The lines surrounding eyes and mouth were deeper, of course. The nose had changed just a bit. The knife-edge bridge was slightly thickened near the base by the ridge of an old, healed fracture. It made him look fiercer, I thought, but lessened that air of aloof reserve, and lent his appearance a new rough charm. 

I walked through the flap in the counter, seeing nothing but that unblinking stare. I cleared my throat. 

“When did you break your nose?” 

The corners of the wide mouth lifted slightly. 

“About three minutes after I last saw ye— Sassenach.” 

There was a hesitation, almost a question in the name. There was no more than a foot between us. I reached out tentatively and touched the tiny line of the break, where the bone pressed white against the bronze of his skin. 

He flinched backward as though an electric spark had arced between us, and the calm expression shattered. 

“You’re real,” he whispered. I had thought him pale already. Now all vestiges of color drained from his face. His eyes rolled up and he slumped to the floor in a shower of papers and oddments that had been sitting on the press— he fell rather gracefully for such a large man, I thought abstractedly.

It was only a faint; his eyelids were beginning to flutter by the time I knelt beside him and loosened the stock at his throat. I had no doubts at all by now, but still I looked automatically as I pulled the heavy linen away. It was there, of course, the small triangular scar just above the collarbone, left by the knife of Captain Jonathan Randall, Esquire, of His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons. 

His normal healthy color was returning. I sat cross-legged on the floor and hoisted his head onto my thigh. His hair felt thick and soft in my hand. His eyes opened. 

“That bad, is it?” I said, smiling down at him with the same words he had used to me on the day of our wedding, holding my head in his lap, twenty-odd years before. “That bad, and worse, Sassenach,” he answered, mouth twitching with something almost a smile. He sat up abruptly, staring at me. 

“God in heaven, you are real!” 

“So are you.” I lifted my chin to look up at him. “I th-thought you were dead.” I had meant to speak lightly, but my voice betrayed me. The tears spilled down my cheeks, only to soak into the rough cloth of his shirt as he pulled me hard against him. 

I shook so that it was some time before I realized that he was shaking, too, and for the same reason. I don’t know how long we sat there on the dusty floor, crying in each other’s arms with the longing of twenty years spilling down our faces. 

His fingers twined hard in my hair, pulling it loose so that it tumbled down my neck. The dislodged pins cascaded over my shoulders and pinged on the floor like pellets of hail. My own fingers were clasped around his forearm, digging into the linen as though I were afraid he would disappear unless physically restrained. 

As though gripped by the same fear, he suddenly grasped me by the shoulders and held me away from him, staring desperately into my face. He put his hand to my cheek, and traced the bones over and over again, oblivious to my tears and to my abundantly running nose.

- Voyager

Ephemeris

Words I’m bleeding  
Pour quiet, venial as

Vernal starves to elicit
Words I say from the

Fount of thou sands of
Voices passed

Since my longing
Began in embers,

Clear of the fires lit,
Resides in winds of

Grain, Symbol-as-Self,
Carries across umbral time

Matching aslant the
Tethers beyond tomorrow

Bares a path for shattered
Night as egress abates the dawn


© K. James Ribble

Hold Me by the Heart

Pairing: Park Jimin / Reader

Genre: Cupid!Jimin + Angst

Rating: PG

Warnings: None

Summary: Tales have said that the life of Cupid was grand. Perhaps the tales were false.

Words: 470

Note: Another part of the Cupid!Jimin drabble series I’m working with the lovely @trbld-writer .

HOLD ME BY THE HEART

When their lips touched for just a moment, Jimin could not envisage anything more pleasant and divine. She had tasted like the freshness of rain, breath equivalent to spring zephyrs and he was utterly at her whim. He had ideated this moment a plethora of times—such as when they first met on the same bench they currently sat upon and when she had complimented on his smile. However, this was not another of his idle fantasies nor nightly dreams; it was real and with that fact, Jimin did not know what to do with himself.

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Arthur Hughes (British, 1852 - 1913)

Ophelia, 1852

There is a willow grows aslant the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come.
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke.
When down the weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook.

More Ophelia on hideback

Keeper

I’ve been on the losing side far too much,
Not convinced it was ever the wrong one.
When others slip into a harrowing defeat,
My chin rises above that lingering misery.
But I’m not safe from the arduous feeling,
Disappointment hiding in my aslant smirk.
As I leave behind those closing moments,
Memories of my efforts settle into a smile.
Pride keeps me afloat along the sadness,
Knowing that it’s all that I have remaining.
If the universe has proven anything to us,
The light shines brighter against the dark.

Traced in Constellations, 1.

Pairing: Park Jimin / Reader

Genre: Fluff

Rating: PG

Warnings: None

Summary: From friends to lovers, is their journey already mapped out amongst the stars?

Count: 351 words.

Note: This will be a collection of drabbles following a budding relationship and is inspired by the Transistor soundtrack.

TRACED IN CONSTELLATIONS

Old Friend

Once they had graduated from university in the middle of spring, freedom allured them to venture off in separate ways; for they were young adults with ambitious minds, and vigorous hearts. Away from crowds of graduates and congratulatory families, the two friends had relaxed at their common spot for one last time—beneath a tree that was beyond school grounds, where a rivulet trickled from a hillock and patches of dandelions flourished. It was here that they had their first kiss, a small act upon fleeting infatuation and even though it had transpired a few years ago, the sensation still lingered.

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In honor of the scene Sam is most looking forward to:

http://veraadxer.tumblr.com - for the fantastic artwork!

I stretched out my hand and touched the black letters of the name. A. Malcolm. Alexander Malcolm. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Perhaps.

Another minute, and I would lose my nerve. I shoved open the door and walked in.
There was a broad counter across the front of the room, with an open flap in it, and a rack to one side that held several trays of type. Posters and notices of all sorts were tacked up on the opposite wall; samples, no doubt.
The door into the back room was open, showing the bulky angular frame of a printing press. Bent over it, his back turned to me, was Jamie.
“Is that you, Geordie?” he asked, not turning around. He was dressed in shirt and breeches, and had a small tool of some kind in his hand, with which he was doing something to the innards of the press. “Took ye long enough. Did ye get the—”
“It isn’t Geordie,” I said. My voice was higher than usual. “It’s me,” I said. “Claire.”
He straightened up very slowly. He wore his hair long; a thick tail of a deep, rich auburn sparked with copper. I had time to see that the neat ribbon that tied it back was green, and then he turned around.
He stared at me without speaking. A tremor ran down the muscular throat as he swallowed, but still he didn’t say anything.
It was the same broad, good-humored face, dark blue eyes aslant the high, flat cheekbones of a Viking, long mouth curling at the ends as though always on the verge of smiling. The lines surrounding eyes and mouth were deeper, of course. The nose had changed just a bit. The knife-edge bridge was slightly thickened near the base by the ridge of an old, healed fracture. It made him look fiercer, I thought, but lessened that air of aloof reserve, and lent his appearance a new rough charm.
I walked through the flap in the counter, seeing nothing but that unblinking stare. I cleared my throat.
“When did you break your nose?”
The corners of the wide mouth lifted slightly.
“About three minutes after I last saw ye—Sassenach.”
There was a hesitation, almost a question in the name. There was no more than a foot between us. I reached out tentatively and touched the tiny line of the break, where the bone pressed white against the bronze of his skin.
He flinched backward as though an electric spark had arced between us, and the calm expression shattered.
“You’re real,” he whispered.

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Voyager.” iBooks.

white and gray of geese swelling
the swarm of sunshine, the sea,
steering over the water-widths  
the blue pastures, the waves’
white foam, the hissing heart of
their crest 

pine stands vigil, great dark
sentinel of time

twisting in the ether

she gathers the horse to her,
his hooves hardly wet in his swiftness

huntress rises from dawn arrow
springing after arrow from the bow as
permanent as its constellation

so she stands without fear,
blinded and bewitched by the center of
her own fortune

huntress, sleek, well-fed

she walliows, has her bounty, 
wants more

geese slip with the last of the day-wind
aslant, no more

this: the last song

Extracts from the role-playing game of mazandaroga & timebird84, part 2

“I’m not this clumsy all the time.”

“The Daroga better shouldn’t be.” , Erik actually let hear a short warm laughter.

A sudden idea, a short glimpse into a future he would never really expect showed him how beautiful and normal a mergence of their friendship and the new closeness they had begun to share could be. Unstrained and happy, intensive and passionate - all at the same time. In this future vision, which was simply to good to ever be true, he saw himself artful sneak up on Nadir and without warning jostling him again into the water. A kind of teasing highly appreciated by Nadir, both of them laughing, while they shared a familiarness and the fun of kidding each other playfully inside the water.

But in reality Erik just watched him and all he dared to show of this desired relationship was to ask with an aslant knowing smile:

“Did you clean your peachy bottom enough, my dearest?”

As soon as he had spoken the words he regreted them and asked himself what had went wrong with him. But in big surprise he could recognize a smile on Nadir’s face, too, when he started to look at him. A smile he couldn’t estimate.

Peachy bottom. A smile tugged at the corners of Nadir’s lips, a slow chuckle escaping between them. He pressed his knuckles against it, his head ducking a little. Truth be told, that was the cutest thing that ever came out of Erik’s mouth and his blush became wider. His ears were getting red, too.

“Why,” he started, his smile not leaving, “Do you want to clean it, my love?” , he asked in a sugarcoated voice, trying not to snort with laughter.

He splashed some water into Erik’s direction, laughing fully now.

Nadir’s laugh was like a liberating redemption. And when the water hit Erik he couldn’t resist any longer to splash Nadir in return. A wave of the feeling of being young and sorrowless flooded him for a precious fleeting moment.


© of the painting by @mazandaroga

© of the extract by @mazandaroga and @timebird84

Pas de Trois, 1.

Originally posted by kths

Pairing: Kim Taehyung x Park Jimin x Reader

Genre: Theatre!AU, Polyamory, Fluff, Angst + Smut

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: None

Summary: Sharing a stage with Jimin and Taehyung is always rewarding, but the real reward is behind the scenes.

Count: 1694 words.

Note: As mentioned before, this is a series written for @chimdeer. Thank you for the love, as well! 

Pas de Trois: Act One, Scene One

PlaylistPrologue | One → Two → Three

INT. PRACTICE ROOM – NEW YORK - MORNING

Inhale. You await with equability, a forefinger twiddling with loose tresses whilst observing the other auditioning individual. The ingénue is maladroit, possibly due to nervousness, and fumbles with her lines quite carelessly. “I do treat—entreat—your grace to pardon me. I know not by what power I am bold—I mean; I am made bold!” It is an amateur sight, to say the least. Once the judge’s sugar coat their true meanings behind fake smiles, “We’ll let you know of our decision very soon,” is given to the departing candidate and they sigh in unison as the door closes. The two adjudicators mumbled to themselves, scribbling down their remarks on a sheet of paper before glancing up at their final contender for the day.

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Ophelia (1900). Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (French, 1852-1929). Oil on canvas.

“QUEEN GERTRUDE
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;…”