at least this is slightly better quality than what i originally had

The winners

Read the intro here

Read the whole story on ao3 here


“Attention! Attention! May we have your attention please?” Fred, George and Lee were standing on an improvised stage in the three broomsticks. The pub was filled with busy chatting students, but now they were quieting down.

“My dear fellow humans.” Stated Fred. “Today has been a wonderful day, with one exception.” He looked around the crowd with a cheeky grin on his face.

“That one exception being the tragic disappearance of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, who have somehow managed to get lost on their way here. Now I don’t think that they mean lost in the traditional sense, after all who hasn’t lost themself in those eyes as green as a fresh pickled toad?” And George shot a meaningful look at his sister, who sat curled up with Luna near the fire.

“Oi! Don’t look at me! I never wrote that!” Shouted Ginny, offended.

“You didn’t?” Asked George surprised.

“No, I didn’t. I am not the one here who made up a song about Ronald’s keeper qualities, now, am I?”

Right at that moment the door of the pub opened to reveal a slightly flustered and out of breath Harry and Draco, who were very openly holding hands.

“Potter..?” Whispered Draco in Harry’s ear. “Why is everybody staring at us?”

“I don’t know.” Whispered Harry back. “But I have the idea it might be because we’re holding hands.”

Draco gave himself a mental slap in the face. He hated missing the obvious.

“Ha! Gay!” Shouted Seamus, as he held up his own hand to reveal Dean was holding it. His words broke the silence and a storm of buzz went through the students. Ron was gaping at Harry with a flabbergasted look on his face, while Hermione gave him a knowing smile. Harry wasn’t sure what it was exactly that she knew, but he was glad to see her being happy nonetheless.

He had turned it into his personal mission to make as many people happy as possible after the war. Starting by breaking up with Ginny because she and Luna worked way better, followed by his blessing of Ron and Hermione, even if their frequent snogging made him feel left out. Draco had originally not been on his list, but after their quite fun afternoon Harry felt himself willing to add him. Draco might even be able to make Harry himself happy, if Merlin allowed it.

“Classy people you Gryffindors.” Draco straightened his back, he wasn’t going to let people in on how nervous he actually felt, standing here hand in hand with Harry while half the student body stared at them.

“Well! It seems like our last couple has finally decided to bless us with their presence! There’s still a spot free for the two of you near our other pair of fresh lovebirds.” And Lee indicated towards Dean and Seamus.

“We’re not together Jordan. Don’t be absurd.” Draco didn’t sound like he meant it though.

“It’s best to just go with it Malfoy. They won’t let us live it down anyway.” Whispered Harry in his ear. Draco wasn’t sure what he thought of Harry’s face so close to his, but decided now was not the time to figure it out.

Lee and the twins continued their speech while Harry and Draco made their way to Dean and Seamus. “What happened to you?” Asked Harry, pointing at the sling around Seamus’ neck which held his wounded arm.

“Fell of the bed during rough sex?”

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Watch on another1dblog.tumblr.com

Gosh, darn it! I should be writing a paper! But this performance has brought out the former singer in me and I wanted to give you some references to what I meant about his vocal technique and stage movement that I talked about in this post. If anyone even cares…I love vocal technique and I love performance altogether and I also love watching people grow in them. There’s always room to learn. 

PS: I actually like this guy. I want him to succeed. That is mainly why I’m doing this, to show you what I, as a classically trained singer hear in this. I already know I’m going to get so much crap for this if anyone even reads it. 

*I’ve also added some links to YT videos. Check them out if you wish!

0:05-0:25 You can probably start from the beginning of the video but around the five-second mark, you can see him in the background, walking down to the mic. He proceeds to back up and shuffle back and forth for a few seconds. Now, I can look past this opening, in fact, I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with it. The camerawork is great, the lighting is great, and he’s obviously nervous. He’s fidgeting. That’s not a bad thing! No way! I would be worried if he wasn’t nervous.

0:23 He’s completely dead-faced. He has absolutely not emotion on his face. Not a glint in his eyes, not a smile. There is literally nothing there. Whether he was trying to go for some sort of serious look or if it was just nerves, I can’t tell. 

0:27  We’ll talk about vocal technique later because that’s when it becomes a much bigger issue. All things aside, his opening line is actually really good. Not going to lie, I was very impressed with his opening when I first watched this. I still am. It’s got power behind it, it’s got vibrato, it’s got a fair amount of emotion. However, he does start off the song belting. That’s never a good idea and it’s part of the reason he gets into trouble later on. He started out too strong.

0:33 Around this point he is avoiding eye contact with the audience in a very strange way. It almost looks as if he’s already not happy with the way he sounds and wants to start over. Again, a lot of what happens in this video can be boiled down to nerves, which are a total nuisance when it comes to live singing. They wreak havoc on your vocal chords. Not even kidding!

0:34 For the next several seconds, he has his eyes closed. Now, many performers are able to do this and still make a performance out of it. Him doing it is a very obvious attempt at avoiding looking at the audience. Again, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. At least he tried to make a performance out of it.

0:53 He opens his eyes and immediately shifts them away to avoid eye contact and closes them again a few seconds later. Again, breaking the already unstable connection. You just can’t do that in as intimate of a setting as SNL. 

I realize that theatre and Hollywood/music industry (whatever you want to call it) performing is very different but they’re both performing nonetheless, so they do share some qualities. You never want to close your eyes on stage at all, if ever due to the fact that it breaks your connection with the audience. I’m not saying that you should never blink but the eyes show much more emotion than you could possibly imagine. Use them normally. If you’re going to close them, either use it as a genuine moment or keep it limited.   Closing your eyes might seem more intimate, it’s not. Think about it. Eye contact is much more intimate. And believe it or not, looking in certain directions can show certain emotions or produce certain emotional responses in the audience. There’s a lot of power in that.

0:56 He looks down. Again, breaking eye contact. Putting his head down is something that he does multiple times throughout the performance. 

1:00 Okay, I’ve heard a lot of people saying that the original track is playing behind him during these parts. I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure the lady on the piano is singing with him here. From what I can hear, he is hitting the high notes but they’re very soft and breathy coming out. 

1:10 This is the first etch of a worried face that we see. You see how the inner eyebrow is arched upward and his forehead is ridiculously stretched? If he’s doing that to reach high notes…well, we’ll get to technique later. And he still has his eyes closed!

1:28 His face. His eyes. His jaw is tense. He’s already unhappy with himself. Guess what, Harry? You’ve still got about four and a half more minutes!

1:30 Okay, this is where I’m going to start talking about vocal technique. I will say, he has a ton of potential as a singer. However, do you see that HUGE breath he takes at 1:31? Yeah. That’s not good. If you read my rant, that’s a little thing that singers refer to as ‘breathing from the chest.’

This is usually one of the first habits that singers are taught to drop as soon as they start vocal lessons. But your lungs are in your chest, so where else are you supposed to breath from exactly? Your diaphragm. You need to sing from your diaphragm. The musical/singer term for this is Breath Support. It helps you hold notes longer and helps you not to get lightheaded. In other words: the belly should be what is moving; in and out, in and out. Not the chest or the shoulders. Do you see his shoulder movement there? This is limiting the amount of oxygen that he could potentially take in. It’s similar to holding your breath under water. Don’t hold it in your cheeks, hold it in your chest. You’ll stay under longer. It’s definitely a core workout and is something that needs to be learned. 

However, he’s finally getting into the song. He’s making eye contact and he’s moving a little bit.

1:44 He still has the nervous, worried, panicked look etched across his face. Also, this is something that I just noticed: If you watch his eyes throughout the entire video, he is trying to look everywhere except the audience. He’s looking above them, he’s looking below them, he’s looking way off to the side. If he looks directly at them for a split second, he immediately finds a different point. Harry, did you ever give presentations at school? You have to give everyone an equal amount of attention. That means looking at the audience and in every direction at least once. Especially if it’s a solo.

2:00 That face. He does not look happy. For what reason? We may never know. If I had to take a wild guess, he’s already judged how the performance in going to go from here on out and, in his eyes, it’s not going to go well. Once a singer digs themselves into that pit, there is no coming back from that abyss. He’s judging himself before he’s even had a chance to redeem himself and honestly, you have time Harry! You have about three more minutes! It hasn’t been THAT awful. 

2:07 Again, he’s not happy. That is not acting. He’s not a theater performer, he’s not required to act. Why would he be acting?  

2:09 What is this? He literally cannot look at the audience.

2:15 Aaaaand we’re back to eyes closed. Harry Styles, open your eyelids!! Let the world see your beautiful, green eyes! You know they’re the rarest type, right? 

2:17 This is where we start getting into stage movement. Do you see that arm swing? He does that two times in the span of about 10 seconds. Now, I’ve seen him do that before during 1D concerts but this is a very awkward and hesitant motion. He’s uncomfortable, he’s trying to figure out what to do with himself. 

2:35 Lovely face, Harry. Now, please tell me what the hell you’re doing…this is where we get into the weird side of vocal technique. Face movement and expressions? Really? Oh, yes, really! 

Constricting your face in that manner makes it even harder to get notes out. Especially when singing high! The faces that he’s making should be reserved for singing low, baritone notes. When you’re singing high, your face should be relaxed (eyebrows slightly raised, eye open, jaw relaxed, and mouth LONG - I’ll talk about this later).

2:45 Okay, so he redeemed himself a little bit. He hit the notes a little bit better - albeit constricted - and he’s starting to engage the audience ever so slightly. He’s smiling a little, there’s a glint in his eyes, he’s getting into the beat a little bit! FINALLY! YES!

2:50 No. This arm-swinging. No. This has to go. He clearly does not know how to move to this song. Not saying that I do but perhaps he didn’t know that he should have blocked out a few things before performing. 

Block = a theatre term for figuring out what you do while on stage. 

Here’s the thing about stage movement; it’s very different from average, every day moving around. It has to be deliberate. You have to know what you’re doing, otherwise, it looks very awkward and very sloppy. Stage movement requires preparation. We’ve seen him perform. He usually develops tiny trademark moves for most songs. That is what I’m talking about here. He had that Little White Lies dance thing, the Girl Almighty knees thing…etc. He has not figured out specific movements to do for specific moments/beats in this song. I’m assuming he wasn’t anticipating that. Also, people are most likely to awkwardly move their arms on stage if they don’t know what else to do. 

2:53 Did you see that eye roll? Classic performer ‘I Made a Mistake’ or ‘I Broke Character’ face.

2:55 Did he actually smile? Praise Jesus! …No! Harry! No! Don’t close your eyes! Don’t constrict your face! You were doing so well!!

3:05 …another arm swing. 

3:13 I don’t know why but this makes me sad. He’s so closed off and tight. Relax, Harry. You’re fine. Relax! 

3:15 There you go, Harry! You’re doing it! You’re making eye contact, you’re moving a little, you’re singing better even if your breathing is still crap. This entire section is probably the best he does throughout the performance in terms of stage presence. You can’t miss that still worried/nervous/panicked look on his face though.

3:25 Nice note/riff. There you go.

3:30 Almost did the arm-swing, but he’s starting to do more movements. Thank you! There’s that talented performer we all know and love! 

3:37 Stop looking so worried! You’ve got this!

3:43 Oh God…big, deep, chest breath there. Did you see that? And did you see how he lifted his body up a little? He is literally, physically reaching for that note. Harry Styles, open the back of your throat! It’s much easier that way! Oh, sorry…you don’t know what that means?

You know how open your throat feels when you yawn? That’s what I mean. This space in the throat makes it easier to produce notes, especially high notes. Again, it’s a strange feeling and takes some getting used to. It’s a very strange thing to describe but your throat basically has to go from a whimper to a yawn. He’s literally constricted everything that could make singing so much easier. He’s making singing so much harder than it needs to be by staying in the ‘whimper format’. If you open your throat, no matter what note you’re singing, it will come out easier. 

3:50 Did he just startle himself? He looked away and then back at the mic and jumped. Did he forget the mic was that close? I have no comment on this…I just found it funny :)

3:52 Haha! He is so done! At this point, he’s probably wondering “why the hell did I make this song so long?!”

4:00 That was…cute? Doesn’t quite match the song though. Can he smile a little? Please?

4:03 Okay, good! He’s moving around a little. That’s good!

4:10 I don’t know what the hell that was but I appreciate the effort, Harry.

4:12 Oh good Lord…what happened? I think this is a good time to talk about vocal technique and the lips/mouth region. Yup, there’s a lot more to singing than people actually think. If there’s one thing that Harry’s actually pretty good at, it’s using his lips when singing. Let’s be honest, he’s got great lips. He utilizes them pretty well. Sticks them out in a pucker fashion. That’s good! That’s what you’re supposed to do in order to get the best sound! So, I don’t think I have to talk about that aspect all that much. The mouth a whole, however…

It is a common misconception that, in order to reach high notes, you have to stretch your mouth horizontally. Again, nope. He is limting the space in which his mouth opens. When you sing high, you want your mouth to be open LONG. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend stretching your mouth outwards, horizontally for any singing. It’s uncomfortable and strains the face. Unless you are singing the E vowel (which is the grossest vowel to sing, if you were curious). In which case, you do have to stretch your mouth a little bit but open it vertically at the same time. Elongate your mouth, open it vertically, up and down. The sound comes out much easier and fuller that way. Relax the mouth and untilize the lips more than the inside of the mouth (besides the tongue for obvious reasons).

4:53 Okay…I think he’s pretty much given up at this point but he has to finish the song. He can’t just walk off the stage. But yes! Good note there! Just loosen your lips a little bit, and relax your jaw and throat. 

4:57 Okay, okay there buddy. Calm down. Take a deep breath. You’re fine. I know this is the part where people are saying “Omigosh! I thought this sounded so much better! Such raw emotion! Such passion!” …no. He just strained his voice like crazy. That is not passion. In this case, it’s a good thing he stopped, even if he was disappointed. He was hurting his voice. 

5:12 This is what I’ve been wanting to talk about this entire time because it is something that has always bothered me about the way that he sings but I wanted to save it for the last few moments because that’s when it comes into play the most in this performance. Do you see that head tilt he’s doing? Where he’s tilting his head backward? Yeah…that’s a big no, no. You are never supposed to tilt your head in that way or ‘reach for’ a note like he is doing. It’s unnatural.

When you tilt your head in that manner, you are straining the larynx. When you strain the larynx, you are putting pressure on your vocal chords. When you put too much pressure on your vocal chords, you run the risk of damaging your voice. Pretty badly in some cases. Do you hear that rough, groggily sound that is coming out of his throat? That’s not passion. At all. That is a straining of the vocal chords in a way that is not good or natural. He’s pressing himself too hard. He’s taking too deep a breath. He’s tightening his throat. There are certain ways to do a rock growl and scream-o and all that fun stuff that singers can do in ways that are healthy and comfortable for the vocal chords. What he just did there…that was not intentional. Nor should it be. What he is trying to do is belt

Belt = singing really fricken loud. 

Let me hear you say this, please? Yelling is not belting. Belting is not yelling. What is he doing here? He is yelling. This is the type of stuff that got the likes of Demi Lovato and Adele and Kelly Clarkson told that if they didn’t start singing differently, they could damage their chords for good. I really don’t want that to happen to him. He’s got so much potential. 

5:28 He is not happy. 

5:30 Not the worst it could have been. Not at all. But can be very much improved. 

5:37 Aw, God damn, he looks like he’s about to cry. Don’t cry. You’ve got time. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. It happens to everybody, even the best of us. 

An Old Friend (Happy x OC, Chibs x OC) Part Two

AN: So here’s part two, I decided to post it a little earlier than I was planning on bc why not. Once again, I am open to constructive criticism just please don’t be rude. Enjoy!! Side note: I don’t suffer from PTSD, I haven’t served in war, this is all coming from a fine mixture of my knowledge of other people’s stories, war movies, and how tv shows portray PTSD. So if it’s inaccurate please don’t yell at me.

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noodle--nerd  asked:

I am interested in Don't Leave Me as a possible fic, and Horror Movie Night sounds swuper 'derble!

Ah okay I got a request for “Shadow” so I think I’ll pair “Don’t Leave Me” up with that one for double reapy goodness, but in the meantime here’s some Horror Movie Gency goofiness.

“So I’d like to thank Winston for getting the rec room set up, and everyone tonight for coming together to help prove my point,” said D.Va, holding up a holovid package proudly.

“They are not here to prove your point, they are here to choose for themselves!” said Reinhardt.

“Well yeah, but when they watch your movie, they’re all going to fall asleep and forget why they’re here,” said D.Va, tossing the holovid package over to Winston and putting her hands on her hips.

“You kids have no respect for the classics,” muttered Reinhardt.

“Remind me again the purpose of this?” said Symmetra, glancing up from her tablet on the couch.

“Three years ago, the horror movie ‘Raven Witch’ came out in Korea,” said D.Va.

“A shoddy remake of the German classic, ‘Nimmermehr,’” said Reinhardt, folding his arms.

“Uh no, it’s a vastly superior remake,” said D.Va with a roll of her eyes, “So, tonight’s movie night theme is we’re going to watch both and you’re going to vote on which is better!”

Symmetra gave a skeptical glance to Winston, who shrugged and said, “I don’t have time to pick a movie every week.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Genji. Symmetra shot him that same skeptical glance. “Well… we haven’t seen a horror film yet, have we?” he said.

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Dannymay Day 2: Ice

(I’m late and this was overboard. Is this going to be a theme?)

Setting: Master of Space AU once more, sort of. Astral is narrating. No specific time period. 

Special thanks to @skyereminiscing​ and @ninjagorocksdealwithit​ for letting me use their Ice Sprite and Ice Prince Dannys! 

With that, let’s begin!


There was a huge difference between Cores and cores.

In short, Cores referred to the Dannys. The infinite, unfortunately incredibly important Dannys. Each universe created a Core once in its way too long lifespan (with a minor glitch here and there creating either an odd knock off or amusingly, an actor playing Danny). It was a ridiculous cycle. A Core was born, they lived, and if everything went well, they died after a long eventful life.

Astral noted that things only went well half the time.

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Ass Like That (BTS x Plus-Sized Reader Headcanons)

Originally posted by sweaterpawsjimin

(A/N: okay so someone asked me for this a long time ago, and when it was put on the request list, I was asked a couple of times when I was going to do it. so here it is. I would like to say that the original post - the one about Seventeen, was a question that asked who in the group would be most likely to date a plus-sized girl. Which in my mind, prompted a headcanons post about why they would want to date a plus-sized girl. So for this, I attempted it similarly. I tried to answer that same question in my mind when writing this one, putting the boys in order of who I think would be most to least likely, even though I think love does trump body type and looks ultimately when you fall for someone. When you love someone, you love everything about them, and their body type becomes your favourite body type, and everything about them becomes your favourite thing in any person. And yes, the title is from an Eminem song. But any way, I love writing these because I can reach out to reader who might not find this in other places. so yeah, I hope you enjoy it ! -Tanisha<3)

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Fic: Thieves’ Tools [Vex, Vax | 7700 words]

(no spoilers; set pre-series)

[AO3 | FFN | More Fic]

Two weeks after they found the ruins of their hometown, when the mire of misery had finally been pushed back by all the practical concerns that came with no reliable source of income, Vex sat down across from her brother, slammed a flawless turquoise gemstone onto the table, and said, “I’d like to hire us for a bit of thievery.”

Thieves’ Tools

Vax stared at her; the artful hollows of his cheeks and bruised darkness beneath his eyes did little to mask his baffled expression. “You’d like to what?”

Vex tapped one quick-bitten nail against the top of the gem, then thought better of it when someone from the next table glanced over. Perfect prop though it was, she let the hunk of turquoise disappear into its usual home in the pouch at her side. “I’d like to hire us to steal something. Wake up, brother. I’ve got us a job.”

In response, Vax made a sound somewhere along the lines of a constipated night-owl and took a long swig of ale from his mug. Vex watched him, waiting patiently, then kicked him under the table when he took a bit too long. He sputtered, swiping at his face with one threadbare sleeve. “Ow. Don’t make me spill, it’s not like we can afford another.”

Unless she was very much mistaken, that was a glint of real annoyance in his voice. Good. “A job, Vax.”

“I heard you the first time. But you giving yourself money isn’t generally how this works.”

“The gem, Vax. I’ll sell the gem.”

It took him a moment. She watched his mind’s clockwork, rusted from a fortnight of inactivity, slowly grind back into motion. His brow furrowed, and she knew she’d finally got his attention when his fingers started tapping nervously against the table’s edge. “You’ve had that gem for ages. You wouldn’t even sell it when Trinket started eating us out of house and home, before he learned to forage for himself.”

Vex was positively itching to pull the turquoise back out of her pouch, but there was no sense drawing unwanted attention. “I said I was saving it up for something important. This is it. I’d like to hire us.”

Scratching at his shoulder, Vax stared up at the ceiling for a moment before looking back to her. His fingers took up their tapping again. “To do what, exactly?”

“To steal.”

He sighed. “To steal what, exactly?”

“Well, that’s part of it.” She leaned across the table, lowered her voice theatrically; in spite of himself, he leaned closer to hear. “I’m paying for secrecy. I can tell you where, and I can tell you when, and I think I can even tell you what to expect in terms of security, though of course I bow to your expertise when it comes to drawing secrets from the seedy underbelly of society.”

His lips twitched. “The seedy underbelly of society?”

“Why not? You’re certainly looking seedy, anyway. When’s the last time you bathed?”

“I’m not the one who spends all her time living with a bear in the woods.” He shifted back in his seat, somehow dodging her next under-table kick. “Listen, Vex'ahlia, I appreciate the thought, but you don’t have to invent an adventure to get me out of wallowing.”

“Ooh. Look who thinks so highly of himself. Believe it or not, brother, this has nothing to do with you. If you won’t take the job, I’ll find someone who will.” And damn it, how much longer would her voice take on that telltale quaver every time she raised it?

Vax curled back a little, rubbing his brow. “You’re serious. Is it dangerous?”

She jutted out her chin, waited until he was looking her in the eyes. “Probably.”

“And you’re going to do it with or without me?”

“Definitely.”

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The Other (Bucky x Reader) Part 17

Summary: Being a mutant with abilities is difficult enough, without having all this soulmate business to deal with in addition. Y/N meets hers in the least expectant place, but isn’t necessarily as thrilled as he’d hoped. However, a drastic turn of events require them to go to desperate measures to preserve what little they have.

Chapter List

Masterlist


Part Seventeen

“I was wondering when you were gonna visit me,” you said, almost accusingly. He shrugged.

“It’s been hard to squeeze in between your boyfriend and your sleep.”

Don’t call him that.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“What? Your boyfriend?”

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End of the year Review: A good year for drama addicts (Part 1)

Another year has passed and with it another batch of dramas! And this year I have decided to make my own end of the year review. To make it more digest I have decided to break this review in several parts, each part covering a subject that has left an impression on me. So let’s get to it!

2016 might be considered a terrible year, the-year-we-do-not-talk-about even, but for drama addicts this year was a great year, an amazing year. The first half of the year may have been a little bit dry in terms of dramas but the second half sure made up for it hence 2016 being considered a good year. I don’t recall a year that offered me so many dramas to watch at the same time. I said it before but I haven’t been on a drama shortage since this past June. Of course, quantity does not usually mean quality – or in our case lovability - yet this year has proven that we could have both.

It all started with the long-awaited drama adaptation of Cheese in the Trap which, despite all the questionable choices made in terms of story, still is a high-quality drama. The cast was stellar and their performance wonderful. The adaptation in terms of characters, their development and even their facial features was on point. The music was perfectly in sync with the drama and the mood. More than anything though, it started as a refreshing story, as a slice-of-life that I could have watched for hours and hours. I confess I still watch it regularly because of how good it is but I know better than to watch further than episode 12.

After the student life, I moved on with Descendants of the Sun promising myself I wouldn’t get emotionally attached this time. I kept my promise intact…for a solid 10 minutes. But what can I say? I am weak to bromance and gorgeous actors. Song Joong Ki swept me off my feet and Jin Goo knocked me out with their looks and adorable relationship. And apparently, I was not the only one to feel that way as the viewers’ ratings went as high as 40% during the drama broadcast. The visuals were to kill for but the story did play a major part in its success. It was my first time watching a K-drama about military life and while it was highly romanticized it was still an eye-opener in term of Korean military. Just like any dramas, Descendants of the Sun had its own flaws, flaws that I gladly overlooked as I was not ready for another drama heartbreak.

Then started a dry period in terms of dramas, at least for me. None of the aired dramas at that point were catching my attention or at least none that I deemed good enough to make it on this review.

The wait wasn’t long thankfully and it’s not one but two dramas that kicked out the 2016 good drama extravaganza! To be honest I started Another Oh Hae Young while I was waiting for Yoon Shi Yoon comeback drama Mirror of the Witch. It turned out to be good surprised and while the ending was slightly confusing it still left a deep impression in me. Particularly, it’s Oh Hae Young and her personality that I found interesting. She was nicely written and broke off the code of the stereotypical female lead, despite living a life that screamed stereotypical female lead life. This drama however wouldn’t have made it on this list if it was not for Oh Hae Young’s parents. They were loving and supporting parents even if they showed it in an unconventional way. And now that I think about it this year has showed several supporting and loving parents.

Fantasy was a recurring theme this year but Mirror of the Witch brought it to a whole new level. The drama perfectly included the magical elements to the sageuk story not just through the dialogues but through the scenery and the characters as well. Despite the plot turning too political sometimes the fantasy and the witch-hunt stayed central to the story. Yoon Si Yoon made me fall for him all over again, and his ability to deliver the smallest emotion with his eyes only will never stop to surprise me. My favorite part though, is how evil Hong Joo was and how much she lost faith in humanity I can say she was my favorite villain of the year (along with Choi Yoo Jin in The K2).

Staying in fantasy, W -Two Worlds, brought another refreshing story using a different view on “two worlds”. I knew I was going to like it since it was coming from Queen In Hyun’s Man writer and it did hit my expectations. Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo were an adorable pair, the concept of jumping in and out of manhwa was great and the idea of changing realities kept me wondering about what was coming next. I do wish they burned the amnesia trope as it completely changed the dynamic of the story and it ended up being complex to understand everything.

One of my biggest surprise this year, The Good Wife. I dropped the American version pretty early-on but the curiosity was too big for me not to try it. Staying loyal to the original version yet making its own, The Good Wife proved once again tvN supremacy in terms of quality dramas. It was quite a surprise as it was different from all the dramas I watched before. It was more mature without falling into the ridicule of makjang dramas. The legal cases were all interesting to watch and the character development well-done. If they ever plan a second season, count me in.

From the courtroom we went to the operation room. There were several medical dramas this year but only two gain my attention, the summer romance Doctors and the true medical drama which ironically is called Romantic Doctor, Master Kim. I said it before and I will say it again, Doctors and the role of Hye Jung were a breakthrough for Park Shin Hye. I am thankful for her choice as it made me see her under a new light. The student/teacher love story brought a lot of talks with many disapproving, yet it did quite the opposite to me. I was drawn to this “forbidden love story” who eventually did not become canon until they both were adults. Doctors only had doctors in the background to be honest but the fluttering romance was good enough for me.

It seems that I was unconsciously looking for a true medical drama this year and found it a little by chance with Romantic Doctor, Master Kim. As I am writing these words the drama is not over yet but I am already considering it one of the best dramas of the year. More focused on the medical aspect with drops of humor and romance, this drama is what I have been looking for in a medical drama: Interesting cases, life and death equally dealt with, character development as doctors and a lot of moral/ethical questions. Add to that a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat each week and an impressive directing style, there is no way I couldn’t like it.

2016 was the first time I watched that many sageuk dramas in such a short period of time, if Mirror of the Witch was my favorite sageuk this year, Love in the Moonlight came close second. It did become way too political for my taste around the end but I loved our Crown Prince falling for our Ra On pretending to be a eunuch. It reminded me of the special drama Splash Splash Love minus the fantasy part. It was my first time watching Park Bo Gum on screen and his charisma almost got me blind. I am definitely looking forward his next project!

The end of the year had nothing to envy to the rest of the year with three dramas showing a lot of promises and fun. The long-awaited Legend of the Blue Sea, which marked both Lee Min Ho and Jung Ji Hyun comeback on screen, delivered an exciting and fluttering story. I knew I was not going to be disappointed with Jung Ji Hyun and You Who Came From the Stars’ writer but I did not expect to like Lee Min Ho that much. It is for me his best role to date and I am religiously following the show.

Facing huge competition but still managing to win the heart of the viewers Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo is the last surprise of the year. Nothing better than a light and cute love story to end the year. Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk are the sweetest couple this year and I wait for the new episode each week impatiently.

Last but not certainly not least, marking tvN 10th year anniversary and Gong Yoo’s comeback on screen is Goblin! I am rarely disappointed in Kim Eun Sook’s works and this one is no exception.  Her way of writing female characters may be questionable but she is very good when it comes to bromance. Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook bromance is making my Friday and Saturday nights much more exciting and I can’t be thankful enough for that.


I watched over 40 dramas this year and surprisingly only dropped 4. I tried hard to choose my favorite drama of the year but it was a major fail! They were all memorable for so many different reasons. One thing is sure these dramas entertained me all year long and made me feel alive like never before.

Who is Le Paon?

So we have 2 confirmed new miraculous holders. Surprising absolutely no one,it’s Alya with the fox and Chloe with the bee. But whose got the peacock miraculous? We do have the turtle and the butterfly to deal with, but right now the one with the most info is with the peacock, which is also inactive at the moment. This is future peacock holder I’ve been wondering about, not early peacock holder, if there was one. That’s a theory for another day.

We have the (really shitty quality) picture of Le Paon. Interesting things to note are that due to crappy image quality it’s hard to tell even what gender they are, but we can tell they they are quite lanky. While it may not matter in the universe rules, in real life male peacocks are the colorful ones, while females are typically drab, so odds are that the character in question is a male. Colors probably aren’t to be trusted as much because it’s probably super blue for promo pic purposes. Lastly, it is very possible that we are seeing old concept art, so anything is possible at this point.


There’s also Duusu the peacock Kwami. Things to note is that at least the crying image is considered old concept art, and possibly not plot relevant. This could possibly extend to the rest of his art, at least in terms of actions and plot relevance, though I’m sure that’s probably the final design.

Without further ado, here’s my analysis for who might get the fabled peacock kwami and miraculous. Everything of course is purely speculative, and this is only from the middle of October, 2016, so that’s what info we’re working with right now. Things could change very quickly (especially since Jeremy’s spoiling everything *grumble*)

#1 NATHANAEL


Nathanael is the one I’m hoping for, and though he does have a few things running against him, he also has the most possibility for it.



PROS


  • He’s an artist. Peacocks are one of the staples of artistry, and their feathers are used all the time for that stuff.
  • He’s male. Though it’s possible that the kwami are gender-less and it doesn’t matter the gender of the holder, in the meta sense, odds are that the peacock holder is going to be male. Only male peacocks are colorful like that irl.
  • He’s tied to Marinette. Alya is tied to Marinette because she’s her friend. Chloe is tied to Adrien because she loves him. Nathanael is interesting because he had a crush on Marinette, which in this show it’s all about weird ass love squares, and while Chloe fits the Adrien half of the square, Nathan would fit the Marinette half. Using this logic Alya is the friend part to Marinette, so Nino one way or another will probably get a kwami too.
  • His hair color would really fit well with blue, as it’s a nice contrast. The peacock kwami Also has a red forehead.
  • The picture was shitty as hell so we really can’t see much for Le Paon, however what we can see is interesting because it’s a lanky individual with hair covering the right side. HMMMM DOESN’T THAT SOUND FAMILIAR.
  • Hawkdad said that love square evolution would happen, as well as that Adrien would “get competition”, and as the only other character to love Marinette other than that one guy Theo, that puts him high in the rankings.
  • I remember somewhere Thomas saying that we would see more of Nathanael’s crush on Marinette.
  • He’s sensitive, been called sensitive by Hawkmoth in the French original (remember, hawkdaddy was very set on people hearing the specific dialogue, so even small lines like this are important), and Duusu is shown to have a lot of sensitive feelings in his art, with him screaming, and crying. 
  • He’s shown to be incredibly good, as even when hit by an akuma, he was still playing mostly by his own rules. He just wanted a date with Marinette, and didn’t try to hurt anyone when doing so.
  • In the puppeteer, his akuma was represented, alongside lady Wi-Fi, ladybug, chat noir, and roger-cop. Other than roger-cop, those are all important characters. Even then roger-cop was connected to Chloe and her friend Sabrina, as additionally in the roger-cop episode itself Nathanael had a slightly elevated role.
  • He’s close in age like the other holders, who are all in the same grade other than Hawkmoth.
  • VERY INTERESTING NOTE: I found a clearer picture of Le Paon than I was going to use, and Le Paon has a strange, thin object in their right hand. I have no idea what it is exactly, though it is likely to be their weapon or part of their weapon. Whats interesting is how pencil or art-utensil-like it could be. Another interesting tidbit is how there are two components to the weapon, the peacock fan and the tool in the right hand, which is very similar to The Evilistrator, who also had to components to his weapon; the tablet and the pen. Could the weapon work similarly? It could be a stretch, but it is also a unique thing to point out, and is backed up by how peacocks are so connected to art.
  • His shirt is very bird like in design.
  • (REALLY BAD GRASPING) When he was Evilistrator, his design included 3 dots on his shirt: Red, Blue, Yellow, which represents the 3 primary colors. It could also possibly indicate Chloe, Marinette, and himself? I’ve had a theory that he (the one in love with Marinette) would be paired with Chloe (the one in love with Adrien), so in a really big stretch, maybe it could also point to that?
  • Of all the characters, he is pretty much the most “feminine” male, so that could add some credibility in terms of the photo and the concept of being the peacock in general? While Nino fits better in prominence and color scheme, seeing him as a pretty peacock character is something a little hard for me to imagine lol (though him being all into the feminine expression like that would be cool as shit)

CONS

  • He still is a bit of a secondary character, so it makes it less likely that he might be the peacock kwami
  • Thomas expressed surprise that people were so into Nathanael, possibly hinting that he’s really not that deep/important of a character as we are hoping.
  • The Duusu art has been said to be old concept art, possibly breaking some proof with the sensitive bit.
  • He doesn’t fit the colors scheme (Alya was orange while Chloe was extremely obviously bee queen inspired)
  • The only thing making him more important that other secondary characters is that he is in love with one of the main characters, and he was considerably nicer when akumatized. Other than this, he is still very much in the background in the grand scheme of things.

#2 NINO
Nino is the second choice that I’m really feeling. Though he’s not as specific to the symbolism of peacocks or whatever, he does have the color coding just right, which 2 out of 4 characters have going for them with Alya being orange and Chloe being blue. However the main protagonists Adrien and Marinette don’t have glaring red or black motifs on them so there’s still hope! (god I want Nathaniel to shine so bad omg)

PROS

  • He fits the coloring to a tee, with a blue shirt with a distinctive eye shape which could be similar to Peacock Feathers, and a red cap which fits with the red dot on Duusu’s head.
  • He’s a primary characters
  • He’s a sort of artist because he’s a DJ
  • Duusu’s got strange black eyes, which could be a correlation between Nino’s black glasses

CONS

  • Not much stuff with either the sensitivity nor the artistry, and the image, though possibly outdated, doesn’t seem to fit Nino’s body type as much.

#3 PRINCE ALI

PROS

  • He could be considered sensitive due to being a rich kid (who no one understands) like Adrien
  • He’s inspired by 1001 nights, an Arabian tale. Peacocks are represented a lot in middle eastern stuff, though especially more in India.
  • He’s named after Thomas’s brother, possibly hinting at him being more special.
  • He’s interacted with a kwami before.

CONS

  • He’s not color coded like the others were, because he’s green (possibly hinting at him being the turtle?)
  • He’s not a primary character, even less than Nathanael. 
  • Not much evidence otherwise.

#4 GABRIEL

PROS

  • He has the item in question
  • He could possibly not be Hawkmoth, meaning that he could have the peacock instead
  • Or if he is Hawkmoth then he’s already stolen and collected one of the pieces which Hawkmoth wants.
  • He could fit the body type.

CONS

  • Not much information otherwise. Not much for or against.

#5 THEO

PROS

  • He is also an artist, like Nathanael.
  • He possibly fits the body shape that we’ve seen
  • He loves ladybug, fulfilling the love evolution and competition thing.

CONS

  • He’s a secondary character.
  • Not much about him otherwise.
  • Doesn’t fit the color scheme

#6 NATALIE

PROS

  • Interesting twist
  • She could fit the body type (ugh if only the photo wasn’t so grainy!)
  • Looks sort of like her face.

CONS

  • She’s female, which would go against real colorful peacocks who are male.
  • Not much else going for her.

#7 NEW CHARACTER

  • It is highly possible that we could be looking at a new character entirely, though I personally doubt it because that’s not as fun and there are at least two characters in my opinion (Nathanael and Nino) who are very good contenders for the prize.
  • The photo could be a photo of Adrien’s mother, whose eyes would fit the character depicted.

I dunno guys, what else have you noticed? Please add any other similarities, observations, etc, as I am only one person and could have very well missed some pros, cons or even contestants.

Anakin Skywalker: A Look Into Percy Jackson's Dark Side

Percy Jackson is a nice guy. Hell, his fatal flaw is “loyalty” - you don’t get much better than that. His “worst” quality is literally being a good friend, like, c'mon. But, recently, one can’t help but notice he’s been acting a little twisted. And not in the Starkid kinda way …

I’m gonna apologize in advance for the fact that I’m writing this while listening to a playlist filled with songs about butts

Keep reading

cajungirlkye  asked:

Hi DD, Do you have any advice on how to battle writer's block? I've got like 8 story ideas and when I sit down to actually write I go blank. :( (BTW I adore the YW books and can't wait for GWP to come out! You are an amazing author and an inspiration!)

Aww, thanks!

First of all: you need to make sure that you’re really having a writer’s block. I get a sense that a lot of cases of “block” are misdiagnosed right out of the gate.

it’s possible that the difficulty you’re running into is a straightforwardly procedural thing. The problem is that there are a number of hidden processes that ideally need to occur before you can actually start writing. Or at least, start writing effectively.

The first thing to say is that having a story idea is only the very beginning, the merest hint, of what you have to do before you actually start setting down prose on paper. A lot of people get confused about the role of the story idea: they think it’s the most important part of being creative as a writer, when in fact it’s probably the least important.

Story ideas are easy. Everybody can have story ideas. Most of us who do this professionally have way too many story ideas. It would be a bad day around here if I hadn’t had an idea for a story between getting out of bed and making it downstairs for my first mug of tea. However, even after thirty years of doing this work for pay, there’s no guarantee that that story idea will actually be worth anything. Over time, you learn to cull relentlessly. But a how-to guide on culling is a subject for some other post.

Anyway. You get the story idea, and it impels you to write. That’s a good start. But there are other places you have to go first.

(Inserting a break here, because this is going to go on a bit…)

Keep reading

Habits and Obsessions ; 1

pairing: Jikook-centric || 2Seok, Taekook and more to come bc I’m trash

genre: college!AU, stripper!AU, a mixture of all the good stuff (and…..a lot of smut in the near future)

word count: ~8.3k

summary: Jungkook is tired of Taehyung’s constant needs, Namjoon has a thing for Seokjin, Jimin comes into the picture and all the nice (and strange) things ensue.

CROSSPOSTED ONTO AO3!

warnings: mentions of voyeur/strippers, mentions of mature content, very tiny hints of drug use, excessive amounts of swearing

ch 1 || ch 2 || 

Originally posted by lovelybangtanboys

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Feeding Frenzy

This was a glorious submission to me from @dumdumdrawstumtums that they gave me as a birthday present. I did not write this but I wish I could take credit. But it is too good not to share. Go shower them with praise. I am merely the host for this as it was a gift. Also I now love the word Bluenette. Expect to see it if it comes up. 


 The trouble with Kirisaki High seemed to come out of nowhere, much like their rise to prominence in the world of high school competitive swimming. The latter phenomenon wasn’t what bothered the swim team of Samezuka Academy - on the contrary, they welcomed healthy competition regardless of how far left-field it arrived from. But, as the boys soon discovered, the rivalry with them was anything but healthy…

        Rin Matsuoka stood before his gathered team, staring down at the clipboard in hand containing the information for his announcement. “Alright guys,” he nearly muttered. He still wasn’t adjusted to his position as team captain, and he certainly didn’t carry the same commanding voice Seijuurou had. “Looks like our next match is against.. ‘Kirisaki High’?” The inflection in his voice matched the expressions on the faces of several of his teammates before him.

        Kazuki Minami was the only one able to speak up when their captain returned their confused looks. “I think they were only established last year, like Iwatobi. Their starting year was pretty lackluster, so they were never even acknowledged by our school.” He ignored the way quite a few of his team members’ chests puffed up in pride by that remark and continued. “It wasn’t until this year that they seemed to get serious. They’ve somehow been curbstomping every team they’re pit against. It’s been a total mystery how they’ve been able to improve so drastically.”

        That ominous information lingered with a heavy silence amongst the boys, until a certain enthusiastic, orange-haired newbie, Momo, broke it. “Then we’ll just put 'em in their place by kicking their butts!” Immediately the mood took a complete 180, another teammate jumping in with a “Yeah, underdogs or not, their winning streak will stop here!” Nitori quipped with an uncharacteristically loud “Yeah!”, and Sousuke, ever the taciturn, merely smirked in agreement. Rin, as their captain, beamed at his team’s unwavering spirit. Nodding in approval, he dismissed their meeting and began a practice that carried a boost in energy.

       That energy carried to the end of training, when Rin decided to take them on a congratulatory outing for food. The full team was in tow as he took them into the heart of the town their academy was nestled in, hunting for a good place to eat for the evening. The entire time browsing was spent with Momo whining about his hunger, Nitori trying to shush him, Toru and Shouta causing mischief, Sousuke (thankfully only once) somehow getting lost from the group, and Rin becoming increasingly certain that 20 years was being shaved off from his lifespan over a team he was now even more convinced he had no business being captain for.

        Right when the redhead was a hair’s-width away from barking at the lot of them that their little field trip was officially cancelled, the group was abruptly intercepted.

        “So, you’re the guys of Samezuka? The ones we’re supposed to beat?”

        Standing before them was another, smaller group, consisting of five guys. Two were quite tall, one nearly six feet with cropped, cream-colored hair, lean muscle, and all the signs of a punk, the other standing about as tall as Sousuke and carrying the same sort of imposing build, with hair a dark green, almost sickly-colored and gathered in a messy bun. Two were at least as tall as Momo, with one of average build and black hair brushed to the side, and the other with a wirey frame and sandy-blond hair parted and styled in a way that would have better suited a 90s American teen. The one standing at the front, and who had spoken to catch the Samezuka team’s attention, carried practically the same height and impressive musculature as Rin himself, but with unruly, slightly wavy hair of a chilling icy blue, which perfectly matched the quality of his smirk.

        Rin instantly despised the lot of them. However, while his frown revealed his contemptuous feelings, he still tried to keep things formal, as much as he was able to muster, anyway. “Something like that. And I take it you’re the team from Kirisaki High?”

        The way they all smiled - no, sneered - confirmed his assumption before the frontman, obviously their captain, responded. “Hey, you’re a sharp one~ My boys and I always like to get a good luck at our competition. You know, before we kick their asses.” The tall one with the cropped hair jumped in with a laugh that would’ve repulsed hyenas. “Yeah, makes the before-and-after of their ass-whoopin’s that much sweeter!” The two shorter ones joined in laughing, the blonde’s nearly shrill, the brunette simply chuckling. The tallest of them seemed more interested in having a stare-down with Sousuke than joining in the jeering.

        The Samezuka captain was doing everything in his power to stop himself from flying into them. It was guys like these that pissed him off the most, and they had the audacity to try to intimidate his team like this?

        Oh, hell no.

        The scowl on Rin’s face suddenly shifted into a grin, a reaction that made his counterpart’s eyes narrow. “Y'know, I couldn’t agree more on a victory like that.” His teammates gave their captain inquisitive glances behind him, before he continued. “So thanks for going out of your way to give us a good look at those mugs of yours. Cuz nothing will be sweeter than seeing those smug expressions wiped clean when we eat you alive.”

        Rin finished off with not so much a smile as he was baring his sharp teeth. It was a display that unnerved the five guys on an almost instinctive level, and the balance between the two groups shifted. The Samezuka boys all stood proud after watching their captain tell these punks off. The Kirisaki gang all scowled, their captain especially. “Just you wait, we’ll see who gets wiped out,” he growled. The two captains glared daggers at one another, until the bluenette turned tail and stormed away, the rest of his team trailing after him.

        The redhead crossed his arms and huffed, seeing off their retreating forms with a steely demeanor… which was immediately ruined when his team began whooping and cheering for him, snapping him out of his guardian mode when Momo wrapped an arm around his neck and Sousuke patted him on the back. The rest of the team swarmed him immediately after, Nitori standing to the side to giggle uncontrollably at the scene. Rin fluctuated between annoyed and barely restrained humor while trying to stay on his own two feet before he was able to calm everyone down.

        “Alright, alright! C'mon, we were looking for a place to eat, right?”

        Reminded of their original purpose before the nasty encounter, the rest of the guys simmered down and a restaurant was found soon after. Unfortunately, it was their captain himself who seemed to have a harder time of simmering. The team, seated at a long table, all had trouble eating while watching their captain tear into his meal with near animalistic ferocity. Sousuke, seated across from his lifelong best friend, was well-acquainted with what he would call Rin’s 'feeding frenzies.’ It always happened when he was ticked off, where he became one hell of an emotional eater. There was no helping it, besides clearing away empty plates and praying he didn’t choke.

        “Mmf.. stupid bastards…” Rin grumbled between mouthfuls. “Who the hell *gulp* do they think they are?” He downed the rest of his glass beverage and stifled a burp just before digging his pointed teeth into a large row of ribs drizzled in sweet bbq (though the others were sure he wasn’t even tasting that), big enough that it took up most of his plate. “Shoulda beat all their asses for pulling that…” In no time flat all the succulent meat had been ripped clean from the bones, leaving them scattered on a plate that was carelessly shoved aside in favor of another filled with more food.

        The Samezuka captain was eating like he swam - at an unwavering, breakneck speed that could set local records if anyone could snap out of their gawking long enough to keep track. The waitress never strayed too far away from their table, given that in under half a minute the redhead would be ordering whatever his eyes laid on next on the menu, and his glass that was constantly needing refilled. And given the ferocity he ate it all with, no one was willing to question his lack of decorum - though they did wonder where he was putting it all.

        That answer was a privilege only for those sitting on either side of him. On his right was Nitori, whose gaze kept darting between the endless food that kept disappearing… and down to where it was all ending up. While others weren’t able to see it, the small teammate was witnessing his senpai’s white shirt beneath his open jacket steadily tightening with the swelling of his abs. It was almost unreal seeing the pace at which his belly was expanding. His already form-fitting shirt was leaving little to the imagination: the curve began just below his pecs, arching outward to a peak where his bellybutton must have been (already sticking out nearly five inches from his muscular body), then sloping back down and disappearing beneath the waistband of his pants, where the button valiantly held on against the strain.

        Rin, of course, was paying no heed to the state of his clothing nor the eyes lingering on him or his growing middle. He simply kept clearing plate after plate, chugging glass after glass, and murmuring swear after curse towards the ones who put him in this mood. The whole affair carried on for nearly an hour, time that barely anyone at the table registered, and probably would have continued to ignore, if it hadn’t been for the climactic finish to their captain’s rampage.

        Rin had just finished his sixteenth plate when he almost mechanically sat back in his seat to await the next serving. But at that point, the pants button that had to this point barely withstood the pressure applied to it, suddenly lost its battle with a loud 'SNAP!’, a startled hiccup from the culprit, and a pained yeowl from Shouta who got beaned square in the forehead by the projectile. No one drew attention to him though, because now with Rin sitting up, everyone had a good view of their captain’s gut that was now free to round out to its fullest. A testament to his gluttony tonight, it bowed outward practically half a foot in an oval shape, lined at the front with the ridges of his stretched - though still clearly defined - abs; a true musclegut. Its owner looked down at it curiously, just now registering the effects all his eating had on his stomach. He ran his hands along the edges of it, appraising its tightness, before he suddenly let loose a loud, ringing belch that rattled the silverware around him.

        Finishing the grandiose proclamation, he sighed and slumped in his chair. “Phew, okay, I think I’m done…” Everyone was stunned, either by the insane capacity of their captain’s appetite, or the underwhelming reaction he had to it. Only Sousuke, who held a raised brow at the scene, looked comparably unperturbed. This was the inevitable conclusion to his frenzy… albeit still an impressive one. “Feel better?” he asked, to which he got a thumbs up from his friend who was otherwise busy contentedly rubbing his belly.

        It took a few moments for everyone to collect themselves enough to begin fishing out money to pay for their meals. While Rin would have resolved to fork over the exorbitant amount to his own lengthy bill, it seemed his team had all come to a silent agreement to join together to cover at least most of the cost - payment for the show, as it was. With that, the Samezuka team departed from the bewildered restaurant, Rin finding support from Sousuke as he carried his food baby back to the dorms.

        It had been a few days since that eventful night, and the weekend was underway. Rin had digested down his meal at a speed almost as alarming as it took to eat it all. If it hadn’t been for the slight lump to his abs showing during practice Friday the next day, his team could have easily mistaken the entire thing as a warped dream. Regardless, he was back to his trim self by Saturday (a fact only Sousuke was privy to), and everything settled into quiet, peaceful tranquility…

        … Which was very, very strange.

        It almost came as a relief that, when it was well into the afternoon, there came a fervid knocking at the two seniors’ door. They answered it to see Nitori standing there looking incredibly worried. Rin and Sousuke looked down at him expectantly.

        “S-sorry, senpais, it’s just… have you heard from Momo at all..?” The two looked at each other. It was weird that they hadn’t seen or heard a peep from the spazztic boy all day. Nitori’s distress only worsened when they shook their heads in response. “He was just going off for another of his weird bug hunts, but he’s always back by the time I finish… my.. r-reading.” The two listeners opted to ignore that as the silver-haired boy hurriedly continued. “Something’s wrong, I just know it!”

        Rin sighed in exasperation and brushed his hair back. “Alright, I’ll text some of the other guys and see if they know anything. I’m sure he just got sidetracked by something. You know how short his attention span is.” Hardly reassured, Nitori lingered while Rin began tapping away at his phone. But with every message he received back, his and even’s Sousuke’s concerns were increasing. Nobody had heard anything from him today. Nitori was on the verge of tears while Rin mulled things over.

        “I guess there’s no helping it. We’ll have to go out and find him,” he decided. Sousuke and Nitori nodded in agreement, and the three headed out. With none of the other students witnessing Momo return from leaving the academy, their only option was to venture into town. The search was a long one, spanning well towards evening, given there were only three of them to fan out, and Sousuke had to stick with Rin so there wouldn’t be two people to search for. Rin kept texting back at the school asking if Momo had come back, but the answer was always negative. Dusk was fast approaching, and they were getting worried that the authorities would have to be involved. Just as that was looking to be the only option when their search through downtown was proving fruitless, something in an alleyway caught Sousuke’s eye: orange hair.

        “Rin, over there,” he nodded in that direction before taking off, his friend following after him. What they saw stunned them both. It was Momo alright, but he was slumped over against the brick wall, looking ragged and lifeless like a discarded doll. There were stains on his clothes - especially his pant legs. Red stains. Rin knelt down, shaking the limp boy’s shoulder. “Momo?! Momo!” To both his and Sousuke’s immense relief, their teammate and friend stirred after a pained groan. His eyes fluttered open, gaze focusing below Rin’s face.

        “Cl… cleavage…?”

        … At least he was conscious enough to process that. Sousuke smirked while Rin resisted the urge to smack him. “Oi. Up here, dumbass,” the senior growled. Recognizing the voice now, Momo’s eyes (or rather, eye, since one was swelled shut) darted up, fully revealing his bloodied and bruised face. “What the hell happened to you?” the older redhead asked, tone shifting from annoyed back to fretful. Momo squinted, as if recalling the memory itself hurt.

        “I was out looking for beetles… when I spotted those jerks from the other day. That.. team from Kirisaki. They were all huddled together in this alley. I… thought I them holding a map. It turned out to be the layout to our school. I listened in on them. They were talking about the pool… I think.. I think they plan on doing something to it tonight.”

        Rin and Sousuke looked at each other. “I’ll tell Nitori to get over here,” Sousuke muttered, and began dialing his number while Rin turned back to Momo. “Then what? They saw you..?” Momo nodded. “Yeah… Dragged me in here and uh.. I.. I think they broke my legs. Then busted my phone so I couldn’t call for help…” His voice broke off then as he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight back the tears spurred on by the memory, the pain, and his disappointment at what his injuries entailed. “I-I’m sorry, senpai..!”

        “Don’t…” Rin’s teeth were gritted, eyes glossed with tears out of sorrow and a rising fury that burned like an inferno at his core. “Don’t apologize, Momo. You did what you could. And now I’m gonna do my part, and make them pay…” Nitori was rushing onto the scene then, and let out a strangled gasp upon seeing the terrible state his friend was in. While he blubbered over his dormmate, Sousuke, who’d heard most of the exchange, approached Rin when he stood back up.

        “You’re gonna confront them?” Rin nodded, scowl still etched into his face, and Sousuke’s frown deepened in turn. “Then I’ll–”

        “You need to help Nitori take Momo to the hospital.” Sousuke’s eyes widened. “But you need backup if…” Again Rin cut him off. “Kazuki and Takuya are visiting their families, and the rest can’t fight for shit. I’m not risking anyone else getting hurt.” Sousuke glowered at his friend. He wasn’t thinking clearly… At least, that was his belief, until Rin stared him dead in the eye. In those red orbs Sousuke saw an unmistakable spark. “I know our school better than they do. Don’t worry,” the captain spoke evenly, “I’ll handle this.”

        The two continued their stare-off for another moment, the taller of the two still uncertain, but he finally relented. “I’m still coming back as soon as I’m able,” he stubbornly assured, before going over to carefully lift Momo up with Nitori’s aid. The pained gasp that elicited hurt them all. But the sun was setting, and night’s arrival would also usher in the Kirisaki team. Giving his three friends one last look, Rin turned heel and ran back towards the academy…

        It had been well after an hour after that, with night falling and students dutifully staying in their dorm rooms. All except one, of course. Rin had returned to the academy, and was standing guard near the entrance to the pool room. He wore a hoodie, concealing his face from the view of security cameras that were placed here and there throughout building. He had no idea where those bastards planned to enter the school from. But they would show, that much he knew. Tonight was gonna be their only opportunity before the match next week, and they were probably smug enough to think they’d silenced their only witness. Rin’s fists clenched tight. All he could do, would do, was wait.

        Suddenly, voices caught his ear. Faint, but slowly approaching. Narrowing his eyes and clenching his jaw, Rin was prepared to meet them head-on. That was, until he could make out the words of their captain. “Alright, you know the plan. Osamu, Hosei, go disable the cameras, and be quick about it. Botan, make sure no one catches them. Hideki, you’re with me.”

        Rin’s mind reeled with this new information. They were splitting up, and he knew exactly where each was going. This changed things, and Rin was liking his odds more. Silently slinking away from what was originally intended as the spot for battle, Rin headed off towards the security room.

        Taking the long way zig-zagging through the halls ensured him that he would arrive after the three sent to that room. Sure enough, when he peeked around to the corner to the hallway where the door to the security room was located, he spotted who was assigned guard duty. Rin could see just enough of his face beneath his own black hoodie to identify him as the tall one with the shaved head - Botan, his name must have been. The guy was leaning boredly against the wall beside the door, scuffing his shoe against the floor. The two others must have already been inside. This was Rin’s opportunity.

        He stepped out from around the corner, catching Botan’s attention in the process. The guy jolted up in alarm and turned to face him. “Hey! Who the hell’re you?” To answer his question, Rin raised his head enough for the punk to get a good look as he approached. At first the other’s eyes flared wide, but then his lips peeled back into a wide grin. “Ohh, you. Guess the twerp managed to tattle on us after all. Knew I shoulda broken his jaw while we were at it.” He could see the scowl that triggered from the redhead, and his sadistic cackling only worsened it. With child-like glee he sought to egg the Samezuka captain on further. “Yeah that’s right, we beat the living shit out of him. I had a real fun time stomping on his kneecaps. I dunno what was sweeter, the crunching or the screaming!”

        With an animalistic growl Rin charged toward him, faster than he could have predicted, and landed a punch across his jaw that sent him spinning back with a pained squeal. Regaining his balance, Botan hunched and held his throbbing jaw, before looking back at the one who’d landed the blow. The redhead was standing ready, too enraged to bother with paying him the kindness of words. Now scowling himself, Botan straightened back up and rushed at him, throwing his own punch. But it hit nothing but air, Rin seeing the attack coming by a mile and swerving out of its way and delivering another punch to his solar plexus. Breath knocked out of him, the punk stumbled back again, hood flung back off his head in the process.

        “You’ve never been in a fair fight in your life, have you?” Rin growled. Arms wrapped around his middle and wheezing, Botan gave him a startled look from being called out. Obviously it was true. He’d always beaten up guys clearly weaker than him, or had his buddies to gang up on those who posed a threat. Rin curled his nose in disgust. “You’re a disgusting–”

        “SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH!!” Rage fueling a recovery even Rin couldn’t predict, Botan wildly swung at him again, intending to knock a few of his freakish teeth out of his maw. This time, his fist did find purchase… inside his opponent’s mouth. A pause settled in the brawl, both fighters startled by what just happened. Not only was Botan’s fist inside the other swimmer’s mouth, it was lodged towards the back of it, with the very end of his wrist peaking out between both rows of shark-like teeth. The intrusion caused the throat to instinctively swallow, enveloping his fist and yanking his arm in further. Immediately Botan pulled, but it did nothing but budge his arm, and trigger another swallow from the shocked redhead.

        “H-hey! What the hell?! Let go ya freak!” The punk put his other hand on his stuck arm and yanked again, only to get the same result of another gulp. Rin himself was stunned. He had another guy’s hand bulging out his throat, with the arm attached to it sinking further into his mouth. It registered to him that his jaw felt funny, as if it was pulled loose. There was an instant where he was worried it was broken, and he tried to work it. However, that made his sharp teeth press down around the other guy’s arm, making him yeowl in pain. At least he knew it still worked…

        “I said let go ya fuckin’ dumbass!!” Botan snarled, and let go of his arm to try to grip at the lower teeth of this bizarre bear trap to try to pry it open. That, and the words spewed at him, only made Rin growl. The noise vibrated the other’s trapped arm, making him try harder out of what could only be explained as primal fear. Without putting much thought into it, Rin quickly stretched his jaw wider, causing Botan’s other hand to slip past the teeth he’d been trying to grip and slide through to join his other arm inside the widened mouth. The salty taste of the punk’s skin, along with the complete shift in aura between them, triggered something in Rin, and he glared at the frozen blonde.

        Somehow, Botan sensed it, too. “L-let go, c-c'mon man, I’ll.. I’ll leave, okay? Never come back! J-just let go already!” Another, deeper swallow was his only response, and he was suddenly up to his elbows inside the seething redhead’s mouth. His useless struggles to pull his arms out only saw to them sinking in faster with a series of gulps, til most of his upper arms were now sliding in past the bared teeth this beast had flashed him and his team on their first encounter. Face ghostly pale, Botan stuttered. “g-g-guys, h-help..” Through the haze, Rin realized he was trying to call for aid. “H-HEL–” Too little too late was Botan’s cry. Rin lurched forward, at the same time stretching his maw as wide as he could will it to go. To his own surprise, he managed to envelop Botan past his head and to his shoulders, successfully muffling his shouts.

        Rin’s jaw and mouth felt painfully stretched, for good reason. He now had the widest part of a whole human inside of it, something he didn’t even want to begin thinking of right now. Fortunately he wouldn’t have to, because his balance was nearly thrown off by Botan’s struggles. The man was now mindlessly thrashing about, legs kicking off the ground body wiggling. Rin immediately grabbed at his sides, securing him somewhat, and pushed his body towards him with another strong swallow. His prey’s head was squeezed down his throat, followed by his shoulders. Uncomfortable with that position, Rin wanted nothing more than to finish already. And so he pushed and swallowed again, drawing the guy in past his chest, his waist fast approaching. The Samezuka captain realized he’d just picked up on another eating rhythm, and allowed it to guide him through the rest of his impromptu meal. Pushing and gulping, Botan’s hips were pulled into Rin’s working mouth. His wildly flailing legs were grabbed, and Rin continued the process. Using his new method, he managed to shovel in the long appendages in quick order, til the twitching shoes (an unpleasant finisher, noted with annoyance), were being sent down his gullet in a series of rapid gulps.

        Airway now clear, Rin was allowed a drawn out gasp as he stood back against one of the walls. The intake of breath was followed by the familiar sound of his pants button bursting off and hitting the opposite wall, but just like last time it went ignored. Panting, he stared only straight ahead while his mind tried to grapple with what just happened. Had he just..? But he couldn’t.. It wasn’t… A jolt from his middle snapped him out of his stupor. Slowly his head lowered, until his eyes settled upon the lump beneath his hoodie. Gulping, he reached for the zipper and pulled it down, until the last teeth were undone and the full view was unveiled. The sight should have been expected, but it still bewildered him. His belly was large - larger than it had been after his visit to the restaurant a couple nights ago. Though, amazingly, not by too much - at least not as much as he could have expected after eating a man whole. It stuck out a few inches shy of a foot from him, making it look as if he was one of those women in the late stages of pregnancy. Except his enlarged belly was still encased in his abs, evident by the lower rows showing under his now ill-fitting shirt.


        Curiously he poked at it. If the hard presence beneath the tightness of his skin didn’t alarm him, the response it caused certainly did. Rin witnessed a faint protrusion beneath his bowed-out abs, and felt the vibrations better than he did hear what could only be muffled shouts coming from his stomach. Botan must have been trying to struggle in there. His gut gurgled, and for a moment Rin was afraid something was about to bust. But instead there came a rush up his throat, and, thinking quickly, Rin put a fist up to his mouth as he released a long, muffled belch. It seemed all that struggling did was displace the air he’d swallowed down with the blonde.

        Now no longer worried about any harm coming to his own body from having someone trapped in there, Rin was free to marvel at his accomplishment. He’d just made a meal out of this punk, leaving himself comfortably full, as if he’d just finished one of what Sousuke called his 'feeding frenzies.’ Recalling that label gave Rin pause, and then he chuckled as he rubbed over his musclegut. “Now that you’re in there, you won’t be bothering anyone else. Don’t get lonely, though. You’ll be reunited with your team real soon.” A couple more bulges stretched out from his spherical belly, which Rin pushed back down with a chuckle. “Settle down in there. Do something worthwhile for once and be a good meal.”

        Patting his belly, Rin stood back up from the wall he’d been relying against. Finding his equilibrium while carrying so much weight in his stomach took a couple seconds - not that it’d get any easier from here. Actually, could he do this again? He now knew it was possible, but that was only through a surprise mishap. Mentally shrugging, he chased away doubts he couldn’t afford right now.

        Opening the door to the security room, Rin stepped through and closed the door. The room was dark and narrow (crowded by shelves and machines) at the entrance, only opening wider towards the back. “Botan? That you?” a voice chirped up uncertainly from the back. Though it was too dark to make anything out besides a silhouette, Rin could tell that it was the shorter blonde from the group with his hood down. Apparently they shared the same disadvantage in sight, because he must have been mistaken for the one now stewing in his stomach. “Osamu disabled the security cameras and deleted their feedback for tonight, so you can tell Kaito we’re good to go. What the hell happened out there?” More than he could have hoped for, any chance of evidence of what had happened was gone. Along with what would happen…

        Rin began walking towards who must have been Hosei. The blonde was squinting to make him out, but didn’t register this person wasn’t who he thought until it was too late. He let out a startled squawk as an arm shot out towards him, grabbing him by the collar of his hoodie and dragging him in. “Leggo! Osamu!!” He was a lot squirmier than Rin had expected, and it was hard to get a good grip on him. Suddenly a sharp kick landed on the redhead’s knee, causing him to release his hold and buckle downward. Hosei tried to retreat to the back, only to be seized by the leg. Turning, he saw that the the person had managed to grab his ankle. “Fuck off!” he snapped, trying to shake him free without success. That failing, he grabbed hold of one of the bolted down shelves and tried to pull himself free. But Rin kept his grip this time, and grabbed onto the other leg before rising back up.

        Though he shuddered at what this entailed, he brought both pairs of shoe-covered feet towards his mouth, lifting Hosei up from the ground in the process. Rin concentrated as he widened his mouth. At first it dropped only as wide as normal possibilities would allow, but focusing more, he forced his jaw to stretch further, and soon his maw was gaping wide. Looking back at the sight, Hosei’s own mouth dropped in shock as his feet were guided towards the redhead’s mouth. From his position, all he was able to do was grip the shelf tighter and yell for Osamu in a bigger panic. After successfully getting his jaw big enough, Rin knew he had to work quickly. Pointing the tips of the shoes towards him, Rin took a deep breath and lunged forward. The result went as well as he could have hoped: both feet slid down into his throat without much need to swallow - or taste.

        When Osamu, the one with the black hair brushed to the side, finally came around the corner, he was witnessing his teammate held up horizontal in midair… up past his calves down the gullet of who he quickly identified as the Samezuka swim team captain. “The hell..?” he muttered in shock, allowing Rin time to swallow past Hosei’s knees. “Osamu! Get me the fuck out!!” Hosei’s shouts snapped the hacker out of his stupor, and immediately he grabbed out the blonde’s wrists, who in turn did the same.

        A surreal tug-o-war took place, the black-haired Kirisaki boy on one end, Rin on the other, pulling on either end of the blonde. Unfortunately for the Kirisaki teammates, they were at a sore disadvantage when all the Samezuka captain had to do was keep ahold of his end while gulping more of it down, moaning as he felt his gut steadily swelling out. By the time Osamu realized this fact, Hosei was already in up to his armpits. Seeing this had a foregone conclusion, Osamu opted for self-preservation and let go of his teammate… Not that the gesture was reciprocated. Hosei still had a death grip on his wrists.


        “Let go, you idiot!!” Osamu shrieked. Sadly, the blonde was too desperate to do any such thing. Without resistance on the other end, Rin was free to continue swallowing more and more of the guy, until his head was disappearing between those shark-like teeth and progress was rapidly being made up his arms. Osamu struggled to wrench his arms free of his doomed teammate, to no avail. Soon Rin’s mouth was working up past Hosei’s hands, and up the brunette’s own wrists. Despite his own disappearing arms now stretching the redhead’s mouth, there was a clear smirk of triumph visible upon those lips. “Wait, stop, you don’t want to– wait-!!” Whatever the hacker was about to plead, it was cut off when the back of his head was grabbed and shoved into the awaiting maw. From there, Rin was free to repeat the process he’d carried out with Botan. Through a series of shoving and gulping up the shorter form, Osamu’s flailing legs were slurped up in quick succession.

        Rin took a deeper breath as the constricted feet disappeared down past his chest, thankful for his breath-control conditioning. The relief was short-lived, though when he felt the last of his double-linked deposited into his ballooning gut. The overly stuffed captain stumbled back against one of the shelves, groaning and clutching at his painfully stretched belly. Hiccups wracked his body from swallowing down one person immediately after another so quickly. “Oh man… *HIC* I really didn’t *HIC* plan on that happening all at *HIC* once…” He punctuated his complaint with an enormous belch that shook the metal shelves and machines around him. At least that seemed to put an end to his hiccups.

        Looking down at the fruit of his labor, he was again amazed. Shirt now pulled up to his chest, he was treated to the full sight of his belly being more than twice the size it had been. Sticking out obscenely ahead of him, it looked as if he’d somehow swallowed a beachball. If only it’d felt that way, too. Over 400 pounds must have been resting in his stomach! Rin silently thanked all those years of weight training to be able to hold this much without falling over. Not that his stomach was thanking him right now. It gurgled and glorped angrily, and another deep belch found its way out of Rin’s tired mouth. He rubbed over its impressively round surface, trying to soothe it at least somewhat. However, its occupants were more interested in fighting for space rather than help with that.

        “Oooff, c'mon guys, you’re a team, stop fighting…” His belly wobbled as various spots would swell out in faint lumps, thankfully restricted by his clenching abs that still kept their presence at the front of his rounded middle. Rin struggled to stand straight, using the shelf as support while he tried to find his equilibrium. Once he’d managed as well as he’d ever in this state, the engorged Matsuoka boy began waddling back towards the door. “Not much of a team without a captain, though.. I guess…” The sounds his stomach made following that half-hearted comment was a sentiment he more than agreed with.

        Regardless, Rin exited the security room, belly leading the way ahead of him as he all but waddled down the hall, trying to stifle the occasional burp or hiccup. Only that bastard ringleader and his cohort Hideki were left, and there was only one possible place they could have been intending to go: the whole target to their break-in. And so, as he headed back towards the place he originally guarded over tonight, 'full circle’ became a term not just to describe his belly.

        Rin summoned as much control over his ridiculously bloated state as he was able to silently creep through the double doors to the Samezuka pool. Thankfully his stomach stayed quiet during this endeavor, as if sensing too the importance of stealth now more than ever. Just ahead he saw him: the captain of the Kirisaki team, unmistakable by his icy blue hair. The captain stood with his back to the doors, facing down at the pool with arms crossed and snickering to himself. “That damn Matsuoka, I told him we’d see who got wiped out. He’ll know it when he and the rest of his dipshit team are too sick to perform after swimming in these waters tomorrow. Once Hideki gets back–”

        His monologue was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. Expecting it to be his trusty handyman Hideki, he was in for a rude surprise when he turned to see a fist flying right at him. Getting socked square in the face, the bluenette stumbled back, but regained his footing before he could fall back into the pool. Wiping his nose showed to him a smear of blood, making the captain scowl and glare at whoever delivered the suckerpunch. What he saw was the aforementioned Samezuka captain, though with a stark difference to their first encounter.

        “Matsuoka?! The hell happened to you? Hit the buffet one too many times, fatass?” he taunted with a bitter sneer, gesturing to the huge belly the rival captain sported. Rin’s response was accompanied by a familiar smirk. “Something like that. And now I’ve come for the second course.” Again an unplaceable feeling of dread fell over the blue-haired young man, the same exact kind that plagued him at the conclusion to their first meeting. He didn’t like it one bit. “Yeah? Well I’m cooking something up for your precious team, but you? I’ll give you the same 'serving’ that reduced that firecrotch brat to a sobbing little bitch.” Now Rin was the one glowering, and the Kirisaki captain chuckled while assuming a fighting stance.

        “So here comes your 'second course!’” he roared while charging. Rin tried to ready himself for the oncoming attack, but given his engorged state he knew he was at a serious disadvantage. He’d hoped to knock this guy out with that one punch, but he must have been tougher than he looked. And quicker. The Samezuka captain did his best to prepare for what looked to be a running punch, but at the last second the Kirisaki captain stopped and swerved left, delivering a two-hit combo to his face as retribution for the bloodied nose. Rin stopped himself from reeling back, instead returning a swing at his opponent, but it missed when the bluenette quickly ducked to dodge it.

        “You picked the wrong guy to fuck with, Matsuoka!” Seeing his opening, the Kirisaki captain delivered a hard punch right into the mega roid gut in front of him. “Hurk-!!” The sickening sound followed after the punch as Rin stumbled back and doubled over, clutching at his belly while he suffered under the wave of nausea. A large lump travelled up his throat, and the blue-haired sadist stood back, smirking, waiting for his opponent to upchuck. Something did come up… just not anything anyone could have predicted. A hand poked out of the redhead’s mouth, one attached to its arm that was creating a bulge in the Matsuoka boy’s throat, and was now writhing around desperately. The Kirisaki captain blanched at the horrifying sight, the white shade on his face only worsening when he heard muffled protests from the jostling gut he’d just hit.

        Driven by a need for vengeance, Rin seized the shell-shocked state his opponent was in, and put all his energy into an uppercut that connected with the other’s chin, sending him toppling back against one of the pool seats. Huffing through his nose, Rin straightened back up and approached the barely-conscious bluenette. The defeated captain fought through his disorientation to see his rival closing in on him, and, once he stopped, pushing the hand back into his mouth. With an audible gulp, the appendage was sent back down into the depths of his stomach. The Kirisaki captain stared at the belly in front of him in horror.

        “Kaito, right?” Rin said. “Well get a good look, Kaito, because that’s your team in there. See?” Rin thrust his belly forward, squishing Kaito’s face against it and the wall behind him. Pressed so tight against the offending ball of flesh, he could clearly hear the voices of the other guys behind the tight skin, proving the shark-toothed freak was telling the truth. The pressure was relieved when Rin backed up, only to grab Kaito and lift him up by the collar of his hoodie. A wicked, toothy grin flashed so close in front of the whimpering bluenette.

        “You said we’d see who got wiped out, right? But do you remember what I said?” The beaten punk was, of course, too terrified to respond.

        “I said I’d eat. You. Alive.”

        The last thing the Kirisaki captain saw was the two rows of sharp teeth parting wide, strings of drool glistening between them, pink tongue twitching with eagerness, as the cavernous maw slowly descended down upon him, covering everything in humid darkness.

        Kaito didn’t start struggling until he was well past his shoulders, but it by then it was far too late. For his part, Rin completely ignored any feeling of nausea of fullness he’d had prior to shoving the leader of these bastards into his mouth. Regardless of how big his belly was, he couldn’t help but completely indulge in devouring the captain of such a repulsive team. Part of him wanted to take his sweet time swallowing him down, but more than anything he wanted the man trapped completely in his stomach, and that drove him to make quick work of the squirming form sinking down his throat. And so within a minute he had the last of Kaito sliding down his throat with a victorious gulp.

        Making good on his word, he’d eaten up the captain, leaving his gut to swell out to even more obscene proportions. Crashing down into the reclining pool chair, which miraculously did not break from under the weight, he watched with no small satisfaction as his gut wobbled before him, resting well over his lap. Four young men were all crammed inside his enormous belly, and Rin was exhausted from sending them all into it. “I did it,” he drawled. “All you Kirisaki bastards, in my belly…” He patted the mound, and was just allowing his food coma to settle in, when…

        “Kaito, I got the formula ready–” The tall, muscular Kirisaki member with the green hair had returned to the pool, holding a vial in hand. His sentence was cut short, of course, when he saw the Samezuka team captain reclined back in a chair, bearing an incredibly huge gut that was just barely moving on its own. He gave the captain a bewildered look, who in turn offered him a nervous smile.

        “Uh.. hi..?” That was all Rin could offer, because immediately after that came a loud churning sound from within the depths of the ab-layered mound. He winced clutched at the sides of his belly, but his groan was cut short when an epic belch belted out of his widened mouth, echoing out throughout the room. And, as cruel fate would have it, that wasn’t the only thing that came out of his mouth. A slimy shoe came flying out of it, bouncing off his gut before landing with a wet plop on the tiled floor in front of his chair.

        Hideki looked at the footwear, the encroaching look of horrified realization indicating that he was able to identify it as his captain’s shoe. Apparently just because he was brawny did not dictate he lacked brains, because he was connecting the dots quickly enough to shift his gaze back at the Samezuka captain with killer intent. Rin swore under his breath. He was trapped under his own cumbersome belly; a total sitting (and plump) duck. But just as he was preparing himself for whatever the looming goliath had planned for him, there came a tapping upon the green-haired young man’s shoulder from behind him. Turning, he was met with a suckerpunch that, unlike Rin’s, was more than enough to knock him out. Spinning once, and losing his grip on the vial of formula, Hideki crashed to the ground, unconscious. The vial was caught mid air by the one who’d decked him.

        “Sousuke?!” Rin gasped in a mix of surprise and relief. Sousuke was even more surprised seeing Rin with a belly quadruple the size he’d ever seen at its biggest. He couldn’t take his eyes off it, especially when he detected faint lumps protruding around its surface. “Rin, what..?” Finally peeling his eyes off the thing to survey the scene, he spotted a shoe covered in what must have been saliva. And given that there seemed to be only one Kirisaki team member left…

        Now Rin was giving him a nervous smile. “Well… I said I’d take care of them, didn’t I..?” Sousuke could barely wrap his mind around what should have been totally impossible, but somehow, he managed. Having a few dark fantasies here and there over the years probably aided him there. “I guess you did.” Setting the vial down on a round table next to the captain’s seat, Sousuke knelt down and hoisted up the limp body of Hideki. “But looks like you missed one.”

        At first Rin raised a brow, but when he caught on to what his best friend was leading to, he paled. “Wait, Sousuke, no. I’m already too full as it is! You can’t honestly expect me to–” “I do,” Sousuke interrupted with a smile. “Come on, Rin. Since when did you ever leave anything on your plate?”

        Rin gulped. He knew Sousuke had a point, especially considering they couldn’t exactly leave this guy as a witness to what had transpired tonight. But… He looked at his belly, already blocking half the view in front of him. He was already stuffed way past what he could ever imagine would be his capacity. Looking between the unconscious form that was practically Sousuke’s imposing size and his own gut again, he weighed his options.

        Finally he sighed, relenting. “Okay, fine. Bring him here…”

        Sousuke practically beamed as he dragged the body over. Hoisting it from under the arms up to his friend, Sousuke smiled down at him. “Open wide, Rin.” Rin shivered, dreading what was about to happen, but he obeyed. Stretching his jaws impossibly wide again, he allowed Sousuke to guide Hideki’s head into his mouth, and from there to begin shoving his body down his gullet. Sousuke, for his part, was amazed by the sight, but he knew he’d be even more appreciative once this was over. He lifted the rival team member up by the waist while Rin took over under the hanging arms. From there, it was only a matter of guiding the large body as Rin pulled and gulped it down.

        Halfway through the poor captain paused and moaned miserably over his mouthful. “You’re not giving up, are you?” Sousuke teased, knowing exactly what button to press on his competitive friend. Sure enough, he received a glower from the redhead (which looked rather humorous with half a body sticking out of his mouth) before even more forceful gulps picked up the pace. Sousuke was almost surprised when he was letting go of the pair of feet that he watched get sent down the working muscles of Rin’s throat within his open mouth. The bulge traveled as a final lump past his neck, past his muscular chest, and deposited with a final 'glorck’ into his stomach.

        And what a stomach it was. With the addition of easily the largest Kirisaki teammate, Rin’s belly swelled out to even larger proportions, leaving it a massive ball that reached past his knees from his lying position. Poor Rin was left groaning miserably, every intake of breath tightening his positively humongous gut even more. Waves of cramps and indigestion wracked his prone body, announced with angry grumbles that reverberated throughout the room. His abs, each row stretched wide, were only barely present on the glistening skin of his spherical middle. His legs splayed out, showing that his pants were dragged far lower towards his crotch than what could be considered decent. His shirt had no hope of covering anything more than the topmost part of the wide expanse, and that was if he bothered to pull down on the clothing. Not that the pitiable glutton was feeling up to doing anything more moaning and complaining.

        “Ooohh.. too much…” he slurred, throat tired from all the work it was put through. “Way, way too much…” A small, sick burp escaped him. He was stuffed too taut to even burp properly, and the rare, short hiccup made him wince and groan in pain further. “I never wanna eat again…” His belly, strained absurdly as it was, let out a rumbling gurgle in agreement.

        Sousuke, however, was the only one in absolute euphoria. He didn’t even bother to hide his enthusiasm as he (not even having to kneel!) placed his hands upon the crest of his best friend’s belly hill. He began rubbing it almost reverently, which earned a moan of a different nature from his incredibly stuffed captain. “I think this is your most impressive feeding frenzy yet, Rin,” he teased. The only response he got was a heavy hiccup which jostled the great dome. There were no more struggle bulges to be found, which must have meant that Rin’s stomach was packed so full that there was no space left to even squirm for the ill-fated Kirisaki team.

        Though it pained him to do so, Sousuke ceased his rubbing, at least for the moment. He gave the apex of the globular gut a very light pat, although even that was enough to make the whole thing quiver with a sickly grumble and elicit another groan from its owner. “You’ll have to bask in your victory back at our dorm room. I don’t think staying here would be a very good idea.”

        Rin didn’t want to think about moving, let alone getting up. But he knew that, once again, Sousuke was right. Rather than say anything, he weakly held his arms towards his friend. Sousuke rolled his eyes, but grabbed hold and, with a mighty heave, began pulling Rin up. It took tremendous effort on his part, and he briefly considered just rolling the captain back to the dorms. The entire ordeal was accompanied by distressed noises coming from the enormous belly that wobbled and clenched throughout their efforts. But, finally, Rin had been pulled to his feet. He leaned heavily against his taller friend to avoid being dragged down by his gut, which stuck out far ahead of him, itself held up by the continued resilience of the muscles in his body. It did, however, sway to and fro as the two headed off towards the dorms, thankful that it was late enough to be in the lights-out hours of the night.

        The mattress of Rin’s bunk had to be placed on the floor for obvious reasons, which Rin himself was too quickly slipping into a massive food coma to offer any complaints over. Sousuke texted Nitori, asking him to sneak into the pool facility to pick up a shoe and vial and carefully dispose of both, and to not ask questions. Momo, meanwhile, was enjoying the heaven-sent blessing of Gou showing up to his hospital room to shower him with care and (thankfully only purchased) treats. With Rin mysteriously out of commission, he was free to indulge in her affection the entire time. Rin himself was kept within his dorm room for several days, no visits being permitted by Sousuke, who both was the only one to tend to him, and temporarily take up the position of captain while Rin himself digested down his incredible meal. Not that this was too much a concern for the Samezuka team that week.

        The match against Kirisaki had, after all, been cancelled.


And this is pretty much how I feel about this after reading it. This is amazing and I love. My best friend is the best for going through this much effort. Thanks again @dumdumdrawstumtums

SCOOBY APOCALYPSE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD

Despite the interesting title and never-before-seen take at Scooby-Doo, Scooby Apocalypse is not the end of the world for us Scooby-Doo fans. On the contrary, I see bright, prosperous days ahead for the Scooby-Doo franchise as a whole. 

It was late January 2016 when we heard the announcement of the Hanna-Barbera reboots that would be released by DC Comics. Scooby Apocalypse was the widely discussed reboot after seeing the cover artwork by Jim Lee. It was met with both excitement and criticism but people tend to overlook the substance of a story and judge a book by its cover. Literally. 

Scooby Apocalypse reboots the story of four mystery-solving teenagers and their talking dog and places them in a world that is “going to hell in a handbasket”. The gang receives a new origin story and new character designs; both of these being criticized heavily by the Scooby-Doo fan base. The two redesigns that have been discussed the most are Shaggy’s new hipster appearance and Velma’s exaggerated petite figure. 

Yesterday I purchased my copy of Scooby Apocalypse Issue #1 as well as all seven of the variant covers including the Adult Coloring Book Variant Cover and the Blank Variant Cover. I dove into the story the moment I got to sit down with it. 

I’m going to start with talking about the artwork of the comic. There are many artistic talents that have been involved with this story and they for the most part nail it! Scooby Apocalypse opens with an eerie night at a Burning Man festival with thousands of interestingly-dressed attendees. This introduction sets that spooky mood that fans thirst for in Scooby-Doo. The backgrounds are very detailed and the colors are vivid and fun to look at. 

Now I’m sure you guys want to know my opinions on the character designs because that’s definitely a big part of the artwork and honestly I really enjoy the new looks. I think each member of the gang has received very fresh and modern appearances that really add to the fantastic environment. 

I think the design I like the least is Fred’s. I only say this because a majority of the time I look at Fred in this style, he looks like he’s wincing or not content. And his facial expressions are very exaggerated. His eyes sometimes don’t look “right” to me. 

Daphne is still the beauty of the group (Shaggy remarks her as a “smokin’ hot babe”). Velma’s tiny figure is actually something I really like. I think it adds to her personality very well since the writers are trying to take her in a mysterious scientist direction. She’s blunt and she talks to herself. She’s just a really quirky yet sassy scientist and I love it. 

Scooby’s redesign is one that some fans were skeptical about. He’s in a limbo zone between cartoon dog and realistic Great Dane. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing in my opinion; I still look at him and think Scooby-Doo. But I can see where some people are coming from when they say he also doesn’t look “right”. The artists had attempted making Scooby a realistic Great Dane but he wasn’t recognizable. As a result, they exaggerated some of his features similar to what Iwao Takamoto did to Scooby’s original character design process when Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was still in the works. 

Shaggy’s redesign is my favorite. Scooby Apocalypse is an attempt at placing Mystery Inc. in an apocalyptic climax that occurs modern day. A problem with Shaggy’s traditional appearance is that his appearance has become less and less relevant as time has passed. Shaggy portrays the stereotypical hippy teenager of the late 1960s/early 1970s. This portrayal was appropriate at the time but it’s not as effective today. I’m not saying Shaggy’s traditional design is bad or that its a detriment to the quality of a Scooby-Doo incarnation but it does lose its purpose over time. This new version of Shaggy better represents the kind of style that is popular in this day and age. He’s gone from hippy to hipster and I believe the artists did an excellent job with this transition. I enjoy looking at Shaggy because he’s the member who’s received the most change in this story and it actually looks good. (I think he’s more attractive than Fred in this reboot)

Now lets talk about the story itself. To those who have not read the book yet, don’t worry, I won’t be spoiling anything for you. 

Scooby Apocalypse possesses something that few other Scooby-Doo incarnations even hint on: an origin story. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo explores their childhood together and What’s New Scooby-Doo? explores their hometown a little. And lets not forget Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins which was entirely an origin story (not that it was a good story but that’s not what we’re talking about today). 

The story introduces us to a former journalist who is now the star of a low-rated mystery-hunting show, Daphne Blake as well as her cameraman Fred Jones. They’ve received a tip to meet with Dr. Velma Dinkley, a scientist who works at the mysterious Complex which also employs Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. Shaggy is a dog trainer for the Smart Dog Program at the Complex and has a special bond with one of the early Smart Dog experiments, Scooby-Doo. 

I really appreciate this origin story (does anyone else get the reference to Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island when it comes to Daphne and Fred’s careers in Scooby Apocalypse?). The plot is interesting and truly excites me. However, I will say that Scooby Apocalypse has a lot of exposition that wasn’t necessary. I would’ve preferred to learn some of the information we gain in this issue through character development. I figure that this exposition makes the story more comprehensible for younger Scooby-Doo fans who still want to read this reboot but it’s a weakness I perceive being an adult fan who seeks better storytelling and complex characters. I think the characters in this story are interesting and definitely mysterious but I don’t need them telling me everything about themselves and their priorities in the first issue. Some of the actions of the characters that did occur in this issue would’ve sufficed. 

I think Fred’s character in terms of personality is very underdeveloped right now. I don’t find him particularly interesting compared to the rest of the gang. He’s Daphne’s sidekick in this story which is non-traditional as it’s usually the other way around. He seems slightly dimwitted but not nearly as such in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated or What’s New Scooby-Doo? Fred appears to be impulsive which may be an interesting personality trait later on but in this first issue, he’s just kind of there (not looking “right”). 

Shaggy and Scooby’s friendship can’t be missed in this story and I really enjoy it. Scooby Apocalypse doesn’t fail to keep their almost 50 year-old bond intact and it also doesn’t fail at explaining it. The first issue contains a sub-story that reveals how Shaggy first meets Scooby in this rebooted universe and it’s really cute. I think it just emphasizes the passion that Shaggy has in this story when defending Scooby. 

Scooby doesn’t talk that much in this story either. He’s capable of talking but it’s limited and that’s where his new emoti-goggles come in. They use a technology that expresses Scooby’s emotions and opinions through emoticons that Shaggy can see using some special contact lenses and Velma can see using her special glasses. 

Velma is like I said earlier when talking about her new character design: quirky and sassy. She speaks her mind (sometimes when she shouldn’t) and talks to herself multiple times in the story. She has no problem being blunt when conversing with any of the other characters. At one point Velma calls Scooby a failure with Scooby right there listening. I’m not too sure how I feel about that yet because we’ve seen Velma portrayed as a sassy teenager before but I may still be trying to ease into a new route at emphasizing this trait in Velma in a new medium. And as always, Velma seems to still have good-hearted ambition despite the world she lives in. She’s sincere and this is going to evolve into something interesting as the story progresses. 

Daphne is by far the most different in terms of personality. She is arguably one of the most complex characters when looking at the franchise as a whole. Don’t believe me? Lets briefly discuss her role in the gang over the 46 years the show has existed. She’s been the damsel in distress, the team leader, the obnoxiously rich kid, a handy-dandy street-smart woman, a karate black-belt, a smitten high-school student, a theater actress, and lets not forget her multiple interests in the most recent TV incarnation Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! She’s been shown to have journalistic ambitions before and that’s something that’s emphasized in this story. I see her desire to be famous again being a priority that could cloud her judgment in future events in Scooby Apocalypse. She has a good heart in this universe, I know she does. But she’s a lot more confrontational and like Velma, she speaks her mind. I predict the girls of the group having more emphasized roles in this universe and they’re going to clash. It’ll make for good drama. 

I’ve read a couple articles reviewing this comic series which do touch base on the high amount of exposition as well as the character designs but they’re also discussing something I don’t see as a detriment to Scooby Apocalypse: the tone. The reviews I’ve read comment on how Scooby Apocalypse lacks the humor that fans have come to expect when they hear “Scooby-Doo”. They say that this story’s darker tone is not something that properly reflects the classic and traditional Scooby-Doo-formula. All I have to say to that is, “What were you expecting?”

Scooby Apocalypse is the writers’ attempt at doing something that Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! set out to do: Set apart this story from the others. There have been many variations of Scooby-Doo in the 46 years that the franchise has existed. When the stories lack contrast and don’t take risks, the overall story loses its luster and that’s something I really appreciate about Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Both of these TV shows made it a mission to set themselves apart from the rest of the series. The former took a darker approach to the lives of Mystery Inc. and created an overarching mystery in a beautifully animated world. Meanwhile the latter is visually unique, crisp, and fresh while containing smart humor and fun characters. 

Scooby Apocalypse is trying to be its own thing as well. The characters and their individual lives and passions are being taken into account while being submerged in an unfamiliar world of chaos and horror. The artwork is astoundingly detailed and brilliant. I read a review that perfectly described the art as being a nice middle-ground between a Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode and a superhero comic book. And while this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Mystery Inc. encounter real supernatural phenomena, this time they’re taking on the world. 

Just because this story isn’t supposed to be a fun traditional Scooby-Doo mystery with a chase-scene and an unmasking of a villain saying the meddling kids spiel doesn’t mean it can’t make you smile. There are some funny moments in this comic book that do make me giggle. If someone criticizes this story because it doesn’t embody the humor seen in past incarnations, I really don’t know what they were expecting. That’s like walking into a horror movie and giving it a rating of 4/10 because it didn’t make you laugh. 

Scooby Apocalypse is by no means perfect and it won’t appeal to every Scooby-Doo fan. No version of Scooby-Doo sits the same in every fan’s stomach and that’s okay. But for the fans that are skeptical as to whether or not this story is going to flourish, I strongly encourage you pick up a copy and at least give it a try. I believe Scooby Apocalypse is going in a good direction and is a great way to make Scooby-Doo appeal to older audiences. There’s definitely a mystery in this story and I’m excited to get to the bottom of it with the gang. The next issue is set to release on June 15, 2016. 

I’d love to hear your opinions on this as well. What do you guys think of Scooby Apocalypse? Who’s your favorite character so far? Do you disagree with anything I wrote about in this review? Will you be purchasing Issue #2? 

The Harrowing Tale of the Jaeris Gun: A Cosplay Tutorial-ish?

I always meant to post something about this and never got around to it. So now, about three years after the fact, here’s a play-by-play of how I made my prop of Jaeris’ magic gun for my Atop the Fourth Wall Gunslinger cosplay.

(This is also part of something I call my “Lightbulb Collection”. That’s a collection of all the things I have attempted to do that didn’t turn out right. The fact is that if you set out to be a crafter or a seamstress or writer or an artist or an engineer or anything else really, you are going to mess things up. Getting stuff wrong discourages a lot of people, including me, and if I can’t do something marginally right the first time I’m tempted to just not try again. But that’s part of growing. If you’re going to get good at anything you are going to spend good time, good money, and perfectly good materials fucking up, whether you have them to spare or not. I keep this Lightbulb Collection around to remind me what I’ve fucked up and what I can learn from it.)

My first instinct was to just buy a prop gun. I mean, Lewis got his from somewhere so there must be one available, right? NOPE. Nowhere could I find the damn thing. I searched online, eBay, Amazon, I even went to every flea market in a 50 mile radius (also questing for the pocket watch) because some of them deal in knives and small arms, and no luck. I am a stickler for accuracy in my cosplays. The closest thing I found was a replica India brass flintlock on replicaweaponry.com and armory.net, which at the time were retailing for about $50. “But Spark!” you say. “That looks just like the gun in the show!” Well it’s close but there are some differences. Just enough to annoy me.

The little knob on the bottom is missing, for one thing. The edge of the trigger guard is different too, and the decorative brass comes up the hilt in the front and back in the show as opposed to up the sides of the hilt. The replica’s barrel is round with ridges and beautifully engraved, but Jaeris’ barrel is smooth and actually kind of octagonal. Jaeris also has a little bump where the barrel reaches the edge of the gun base (there are probably names for these things, but I am not well-versed in flintlocks). So I wanted something more accurate than the replica and $50 was more than I wanted to shell out at the time. So let’s make one!

This is probably gonna be long so I’ll put it under a cut. On to the crafting!

Keep reading

What about Young Avengers, is that the one where most of them are sexually ambiguous, and where does one start reading that?

One of my followers just sent me this ask - possibly with the intent of staying anonymous and receiving a short answer, so I won’t be addressing that person directly - and for my own pleasure I thought I’d put a bit of thought into laying out what each entry into the Young Avengers canon adds to the whole, and where the best place to start might be.

Young Avengers vol.1 (Heinburg/Cheung), 2005

  • What is a sidekick?
  • Why doesn’t Marvel have sidekicks?
  • What is the legacy of the original Avengers?
  • What can we include in this comic and still be considered a child-friendly and wholesome part of this important company?
  • Introduces Patriot, Asgardian (later Wiccan), Hulkling, Iron Lad, a younger and rather different version of the Vision, Speed, Stature (formerly a civilian character dating back to 1975) and Kate-Bishop-Hawkeye-not-female!Hawkeye

Achievements:

  • Helped to usher in the age of TV-friendly ‘uncomicy’ comics, using the talents of a writer not known for comics to create relateable characters with snappy but believable dialogue
  • Pioneered the idea of gay heroes as something other than an adult concept, a throwaway concept, or an unwholesome concept

Criticisms:

  • What is clever or unique about this comic has completely collapsed in the last decade. That is to its credit as an important work, but also to its detriment as a readable and unique run.
  • The comic is a lot more fun with a solid knowledge of the history of the Avengers.
  • Started with a disappointingly laddish setup, and only added two female characters during its run.
  • Cheung draws iconically bad faces in the background of crowd scenes, and it’s really funny but sometimes super-distracting.
  • Pacing issues: the first half is fast-paced setup, but the middle suddenly slows down a lot. Both speeds work but they’re a little jarring together.

You should know:

  • The original Avengers, within their first four issues, included Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp. The second wave introduced Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Hawkeye. The Vision, and Black Widow showed up on and off between these dates. Captain Marvel and Mockingbird were slightly later characters.
  • Scarlet Witch’s character has been bounced around over the years. Introduced as an early mutant, with Romani-Jewish heritage, she was the twin sister of the firey and overprotective Quicksilver. Her powers allow her to manipulate probability. Early in her history it was revealed that she and Quicksilver were the children of Magneto (this is currently being written out of canon for Probably Racist Reasons relating to casting in Age of Ultron but at the time of writing Young Avengers, was a vital part of her story). At one time she gave birth to twin boys, fathered by her husband, the android Vision. These two were eventually reclaimed as parts of the soul of a demon - Vision cannot conceive naturally, and Scarlet Witch had caused them to come into being. She had a breakdown and her friends conspired to keep from her that she had ever had children, fearing the extent of her powers if she should suffer from further mental instability.
  • She found out.
  • In Avengers Disassembled, Scarlet Witch snapped. She reanimated the body of the recently-deceased Jack Of Hearts, sending him into Avengers Mansion and blowing him up. Then the alien Kree attacked. In the ensuing events, Hawkeye and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) were killed, and in her rage, She-Hulk murdered the Vision and injured others.
  • The Avengers were disbanded. Magneto took Scarlet Witch away to try and help her recover. Former Avengers alumni were in two minds about whether to try to help her, or punish her for such a cruel attack.
  • There was now a power vacuum in New York which was not filled by the Fantastic Four alone.
  • Earth is in a place of strategic importance for the warring Kree and Skrull races. The Skrull are shapeshifters obsessed with wiping out the Fantastic Four, because they were routinely outwitted and humiliated by Reed Richards in their early appearances. They created a vicious super-soldier known as the Super Skrull who had all the powers of the Fantastic Four. He was, inevitably, defeated.
  • The Kree are on better terms with humanity in that the original (male) Captain Marvel was actually a Kree from a subclass with a more human appearance than was known to humanity at the time. This was revealed upon his death and when powers were granted to his successor Ms. Marvel (later Captain Marvel).
  • The Kree and Skrull are not usually presented as a massive threat to humanity as a whole, but oh my god, they hate each other so much.
  • Another recurring bad dude with a varying threat level is Kang the Conqueror, a time-travelling douchebag who keeps trying to mess up the current timeline to get his way in the future. In the future he seems to be very powerful.
  • Captain America - an import character from the company which relaunched as Marvel Comics in the 1960s - had had a young sidekick, Bucky. When Young Avengers was written, Bucky was dead. Captain America is deeply traumatised by this. He is also extremely influential. Bucky is why we don’t have sidekicks in Marvel Comics.
  • MGH, or Mutant Growth Hormone, is produced in the bodies of mutants. It has shown up as a street drug used by ordinary humans for some years. It’s a dangerous drug which can cause mutant-like superpowers in the user.
  • Yes, all of this is actually important before you read Young Avengers. You can thank me later.

Young Avengers Presents (Various), 2008

  • What’s it like to be a black American bearing the burden of the name 'Patriot’?
  • How are things going with Speed and Wiccan?
  • There have been sightings of the original Captain Marvel recently. Isn’t that going to be weird for Hulkling?
  • Vision has some very familiar personality traits. How’s that going for Cassie?
  • Is there room for two Hawkeyes in New York?
  • What if your powers could easily hurt the people close to you? How do your responsibilities towards your family rank against your responsibilities towards the general public?

Achievements:

  • This is a series of semi-related single issue stories of varying artistic and literary quality. Some are really excellent but others are content to coast on the back of a good initial idea.
  • Ties up a lot of loose ends brought up by other then-recent storylines in Marvel.
  • Introduces the now-iconic relationship between Kate Bishop and Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye.
  • Several issues skirt around power balance between male and female characters. Remarkably, I don’t recall any sexism coming out of this.

Criticisms:

  • Artistic variation is great fun, but at least one of these issues was particularly ugly, and a disservice to its powerful female characters.
  • Though this seems like a good place to start, the individual questions it asks are already deeply embedded in the backstories of these recently-created characters (and Cassie).
  • These stories are mostly endings, not beginnings. Again, I probably wouldn’t start here.

You should know:

  • Hawkeye is now alive again (this kind of thing happens a lot).
  • Captain America is now dead.
  • Bucky is now alive.
  • Scarlet Witch is still having a bad time. In the House of M event she created an alternate universe for herself, where her family were at the heart of things and her father, Magneto, ruled her world. All mutants present when this illusion was broken were able to protect themselves and retain their powers. All mutants not present when this illusion was broken have lost their powers. No new mutants are being born. 198 mutants remain, and are under threat.
  • Scarlet Witch has now disappeared completely.
  • Depowered mutants include Magneto and Quicksilver. Wiccan and Speed still have their powers.

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (Heinburg/Cheung), 2010

  • Where’s Scarlet Witch?
  • Will the mutant population ever recover after what she did to them?
  • Why do Wiccan and Speed resemble each other so closely?
  • Can Magneto ever be the good guy?

Achievements:

  • A more relaxed story from the original creators of the Young Avengers.
  • Does a lot to contextualise and repair the messy storyline of Scarlet Witch.
  • Humanises Magneto without taking anything away from his story.

Criticisms:

  • Massively linked to other Avengers stories. Although I started here, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for people who haven’t read House of M and its associated comics.
  • Focus is very much on Wiccan, which seems to happen a lot.
  • Speed’s backstory was ripe for exploration, but this never happens.

You should know:

  • Dr Doom is a despotic ruler in the small fictional European country of Latveria. A scientist of Roma heritage, he suffered terrible injuries in a lab accident at university, which he blames Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four for. His armour is magic, but it’s also there to hide his face, which he was previously quite vain about. For him, there doesn’t seem to be a strong distinction between magic and science.
  • The Avengers are back again. They’re in an awkward position with the Young Avengers, who did a lot to help out while they were in disarray.
  • Rictor of X-Factor has recently attempted suicide. He can’t process how different and terrible he feels without his powers. Quicksilver seems to have a bit of a thing for him. Their relationship is exploitative and a little dangerous.
  • Quicksilver is possibly on the rebound after the mother of his child kicked him out permanently during the events of Son of M, during which he was undoubtedly the bad guy, stealing the Terrigen Crystals which were sacred to the Inhuman people in order to try and regain his own powers and induce new mutations in the human race. (Some of this is possibly a good idea, but he should probably have been talking to people about this stuff.)

Young Avengers vol. 2 (Gillen/McKelvie), 2013

  • What does it feel like to be young?
  • Why does anybody decide to be a superhero?
  • Where’s the dividing line between an adult and a child?
  • What can we do that you can’t?

Achievements:

  • Part of Marvel NOW!, it’s the poster child for the creative flexibility Marvel is now allowing for many creators.
  • It’s got a lot of big ideas, it’s glamorous and it’s fun.
  • McKelvie, who learned to draw as an adult and had formerly drawn with a noticeable stiff quality, is completely on form throughout the run, creating big graphic splashes which are laid out to show you what it is that only comics can do.
  • The phrase 'down with the kids’ should never ever ever be used, but this iteration of the story is noticeably sharper when it comes to the use of technology, music, and language.
  • It is going to date horribly and I love that.
  • The queerest comic ever to come out of the House Of Ideas, with a natural buildup and no focus on the gays.

Criticisms:

  • With very little down-time for the characters, it can feel hard to know them as people.
  • One volume is literally titled Style Over Substance, a criticism the creators knew the book was likely to inspire.
  • Even though it’s the most stand-alone of the series so far, it isn’t necessarily a good jumping-on point, as the heart of the characters is something that’s implied, but lacks development.
  • Patriot wasn’t available to be used by the creators; he was supposedly tied up in a different project (my suspicion is that he was a candidate for the black Captain America relaunch, but that Falcon’s increased popularity after the Winter Soldier film swayed the decision in his favour). Unlike Hawkeye, who was also being used elsewhere, and whose author would check in with Gillen to make sure her storyline added up, Gillen clearly didn’t know what Patriot was supposed to be up to. His unexplained absence is jarring and irritating.
  • Fails to pick up any of the loose ends from earlier stories.
  • Characters added to the team still tend to be male. Gillen has his reasons but agrees that the end result is a little unfortunate in that respect.
  • Fan-favourite Wiccan remains at the forefront, though Gillen uses Hulkling to develop the story with a broader focus.
  • The eventual conclusion that everyone’s pretty gay seemed a bit contrived in the way that it played out, but that’s probably just the fact that I was reading the singles so the pacing was off - also I’ve never read anything with so many queer characters, so it stood out as unlikely, despite the fact that many social groups in real life bond over commonalities like this.

You should know:

  • Everything which happened in Young Avengers vol.1 and in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, ideally.
  • Furthermore, you should know that:
  • Loki is currently a child. In Gillen’s excellent run on Journey Into Mystery, he was dead, and caused himself to be brought back as an innocent child, literally haunted by his original self. The young Loki was feared and distrusted and had a generally unpleasant life. Though his mother supported him, she used him for political ends, and he had very little that was pleasant around him. Leah of Hel was pleasant; a companion obliged to observe him and report to her mistress. Her initial dislike ebbed into genuine friendship of a unique kind.
  • He was forced to betray her to save everything he loved. His original personality now uses the child’s body, and nobody knows this. He has grown through his experiences and still feels quite conflicted about the fact that he’s technically murdered a child in cold blood, even though he was the child in question.
  • Marvel Boy is a Kree with a fairly human appearance and a strong attachment to the people of Earth. He was created with a good deal of cockroach DNA, improving and enhancing various physical qualities. Gillen and McKelvie say that Marvel wouldn’t let them give him two dicks, and I doubt they were joking.
  • Prodigy is a depowered mutant. His power let him store and access the memories of people with whom he came into contact. Though his power is gone, the memories remain.
  • The Avengers have been back for ages, tolerating the existence of the Young Avengers with varying levels of disapproval.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Young Avengers were heavily involved in the Civil War storyline. It was an enormous cross-company story with a somewhat unsatisfying narrative arc, and a bad place to start reading about them unless you were already reading Civil War.
  • They were also involved in Siege. I’ve read quite a lot of Siege without making any sense of the main storyline. It probably isn’t a good place for anybody to start reading anything. Dark Reign is everything which happened after and/or because of the main Siege story.
  • They have a crossover storyline with the Runaways, who were the only other active young team to not be part of a larger organisation. The Runaways were originally created by Brian K. Vaughan, the guy behind Saga, so they’re pretty interesting characters. I would still doubt that this was a good place to start, as this was a part of the Secret Invasion storyline.
  • The Young Avengers were involved in the 2014 story Original Sins, a spinoff of the main Original Sin event story. Over the course of five issues, various peripheral characters appeared for the first half of each issue, the Young Avengers took the second half, and a two-page story had the end. This was a decent little standalone story, with writing from Ryan North, the guy behind the iconic webcomic Dinosaur Comics. It only featured three of the team - Hulkling, Prodigy and Marvel Boy - as they investigated an unusual problem involving The Hood. Good if you’re following Original Sin, great if you know the characters, and even better if you’ve been reading what The Hood was up to in his own comics. Not a terrible place to start reading, but why start at the end?
  • Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye (2012) is just so great. Clint Barton and Kate Bishop fight crime. She is not his sidekick. Not really a Young Avengers comic if it only features one Young Avenger, but I’d be wrong not to mention it here.

So really, where should I start?

  • It depends on whether you want to read all of them, and what you intend to get out of them.
  • YA vol.1 is where it all started. But you have to read it in the context of the time it was written - at the cusp of the beginning of the current more naturalistic comics style.
  • YA vol.2 is what you’ve been hearing about on tumblr. It’s got great art and it’s colourful, fun, and clever. But you won’t feel a lot for the characters if you start here.
  • Children’s Crusade is really a very good halfway point if you make sure you know what the leadup was before you read it.
  • I don’t really recommend Presents out of context.
  • You should probably start with YA vol.1 unless you’re really not sure that you’ll carry on reading. It’s a good place to start, but you might not get what all the fuss is about.
  • Have fun. You are so lucky to be starting to read this series with no knowledge of what’s ahead of you.

Anonymous asked: Prompt: “I was set up for a blind date, but she never showed, oh well, I’ll go talk to/hang out with that hot guy sitting alone at his table (not realizing he was his blind date)" 

Author’s note: I loved this idea, couldn’t resist. ;) 

The warmth as Dean entered the restaurant was welcoming. He rubbed his hands together, trying to warm them up a little before taking off his coat. He couldn’t suppress a smile as he took in the place. Jess had been right about that at least; this was definitely his kind of place. Not too cheap, yet not too fancy. The room was tastefully decorated with warm shades of red and brown, and the waiters and waitresses looked like actual people, not penguins.

Despite the hospitable environment, Dean’s nerves were suddenly creeping up on him again; blind dates were by no means Dean’s area of expertise. Why had he allowed his brother’s fiancé to talk him into this again? Oh yeah, because he was nearly thirty and feeling miserable because he was still single, all by his lonesome self. He could do this, piece of cake. Jess meant well, he had to trust that she knew what she was doing.

He glanced around the restaurant again, looking for someone who was sitting alone. Although the place was packed, nowhere did Dean spot a possible date. Then again, he was a bit on the early side. He should’ve pushed Jess for more hints as to what his date looked like, that would’ve been a hell of a lot easier. But Jess liked to play games sometimes, and she’d been all mysterious when she’d said that she knew someone from work whom she was a thousand percent sure would be Dean’s perfect match.

With a sigh, Dean eyed the small bar at the back of the restaurant. He would get a drink and wait there, it would at least look less awkward than sitting and waiting at one of the still empty tables, especially in case his date decided to bail on him.

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