because it's strange to think about it from this perspective but

i’ve been getting a lot of messages lately (and unsurprisingly, considering how unrepentantly i’ve been reblogging stuff from them) from followers asking me for podcast recommendations - and i love getting those so thank you, guys! - and i thought i’d make a masterpost of what i’ve both a) finished and b) enjoyed since i’ve started bingeing them.  and, as an extra added bonus, what has canonical lgbt+ representation (since i know what you guys are into [waggles eyebrows]).

1. the bright sessions

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is definitely the first podcast that i’ve fallen in love with as hard as my original gateway podcast: welcome to night vale.  it’s so well-written, the characters well-drawn, the premise fascinating - atypicals, or people with some sort of special ability, in therapy - and it’s such a positive story and experience that i can’t help but feel better on days i listen to it.  it really believes in humanity and that’s such a wonderful thing in this day and age.  plus, the voice acting is killer.

2. eos 10

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i don’t think it’s been officially confirmed that dr. dalias is, at the very least, bisexual (in fact, the official channels seem to be dancing around it, possibly so as not to spoil anything in the upcoming season), though it’s been hinted at plenty in story.  especially as i don’t know how else you can explain a supposedly “straight” male character getting called out on repeatedly thinking about a naked man during a group mind-link experience.  that aside, it is freaking hilarious.  the premise is doctors in space, one formerly drug-addicted doctor helping to stabilize a currently alcoholic one with amazing side characters including nurse jane johns and levi, a hypochondriac alien and deposed prince who seems to have a personal vendetta against wearing pants.  it’s well-acted, cleverly written and a freaking joy to listen too.  so funny and so smart, i can’t recommend it enough!

3. the penumbra podcast

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  so much queer representation it’s bananas.  this ask the creators got is actually pretty representative of their approach to the show, slyly funny and very gay.  our main character is a genderbending queer private investigator who’s lost his heart head over a sweet-smelling thief with a heart of gold and more aliases than jennifer garner, all set against a noir backdrop.  oh, and on mars.  yeah, you read all of that right.  there are a few awesome side stories as well, including a couple of horror ones (that have no effect on the main juno steel story line, so can be skipped - and the creators are VERY GOOD about warning what’s to come in the episode notes), as well as lesbian outlaws and a disabled knight.  there’s literally nothing not to love.  EXCEPT FOR HOW JUNO STEEL WON’T LET HIMSELF HAVE NICE THINGS.

4. the black tapes

hey, hi, if you’re into horror, suspense, creepery or demons, this is so very much for you.  the premise is that alex reagan, our host, begins a podcast to interview people with interesting professions.  she starts out with dr. richard strand, a paranormal investigator whose mission statement is to debunk all things paranormal.  he even has an institute that offers a one million dollar prize for proof of the paranormal, which he has never even come close to having to part with.  while alex is interviewing him, she comes across a handful of black vhs tapes: the only cases that strand hasn’t been able to definitively solve yet.  the technology to disprove these incidents simply hasn’t come far enough, in his opinion.  needless to say, she never moves on from dr. strand and the mystery of the black tapes.  each episode, alex investigates another of the black tapes and much later on realizes it’s possible that they’re all connected.  oh my god, i almost got chills just writing that, it’s so good, it’s so real, because dr. strand is such a good anchor to reality.  alex will occasionally lose her skeptic’s perspective; dr. strand does not.  and once alex starts experiencing intense insomnia, making you realize your narrator might not be so reliable?  things somehow manage to get even murkier.  i really, really adored this one.  it’s paranormal set in the most normal of normal worlds, only making it that much spookier.

5. wooden overcoats

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  okay, well, if you’ve ever watched black books?  this is kind of like black books, aka one of my all-time favorite shows.  rudyard funn is just as incapable and universally disliked as bernard black, which was all well and good when the village of piffling vale (which is very nearly a town, you know!) only had one funeral home to choose from.  unfortunately, that’s not the case anymore.  eric chapman has moved his funeral home right across the street and stolen all the business from rudyard, his embalmer (cum part-owner) and twin sister, antigone, and georgie, their assistant.  to add insult to injury, he’s charming and universally adored by everyone except those at funn funerals.  very british, very ridiculous, and very funny!  WE GET THE BODY IN THE COFFIN IN THE GROUND ON TIME.  (well, like that one time they did.  [coughs])

6. ars pardoxica

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i listened to this one pretty slowly, for me.  it’s very much plot over character, at least in my opinion.  which is fair since there’s quite a lot of plot and set dressing to establish.  we’re following (dr.) sally grissom, a scientist from the twenty-first century who accidentally creates time travel and ends up stuck back in the 1940s.  think a bombs and eisenhower.  it was always interesting, and the paradoxes created by the time travel experiments they kept doing were fascinating (i love time travel stuff because of the paradoxes it creates) but i didn’t get really ravenous for it until season two, which is when i really felt it picked up speed.  you’ve got anthony stuck in a literal CAGE - a “blackroom” bubble set outside of time, sally trying to garden (oh god), a gang consisting of a veteran, a (former) widow and time doubles trying to bring down ODAR (the company sally used to work for, and that anthony still does) and esther sliding down the ladder of morally unsound one determined rung at a time and it makes for a REALLY grabbing audio drama, eh?

7. the strange case of starship iris

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  i’m already in love with violet liu, all right?  she’s a science officer on starship iris–well, what was starship iris.  when we first join violet, every single one of her crew mates has just died in an explosion on the pod they were traveling off ship with and the starship iris is in its last throes as well.  luckily(?) a passing ship comes along with a plan to get her to safety.  this has a real illuminae vibe to it (which is an amazing book btw) and all the characters are already so freaking likable.  it’s only on episode two and already shaping up to be a favorite!

8. the orbiting human circus (of the air)

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  if there’s a more heart-warming podcast out there, then i haven’t run across it yet.  first of all, julian koster’s voice is so vulnerable and soft that i would use myself and everyone i know and also puppies as a shield against everything terrible in the universe for him.  second, the rest of the cast - leticia especially - is just as freaking talented.  the premise is that julian is the janitor at a radio show that broadcasts from the top of the eiffel tower and has strange and impossible acts every night, from tale-telling crickets to singing saws to the orkestral, a bird that can play every orchestral instrument (except that it refuses to play the viola, because reasons).  it’s fun and cute and breaks your heart with happiness regularly and often!

9. alice isn’t dead

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is a horror podcast about a truck driver who is looking for her missing wife.  jasika nicole has to have one of my favorite voices around and having it be so heavily dependent on that makes me ridiculously happy.  throw in the story-telling of joseph fink, the depth and cohesiveness of his writing, and there is nothing not to love here.

10. within the wires

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  this is really sufficiently creepy considering it’s not often overtly creepy.  this is set up as a series of relaxation tapes, which progressively get more and more interested in helping the listener break out of the facility in which she’s being kept.  super chilling at times, because the voice is so calm and the action so dangerous.

11. welcome to night vale

canon lgbt+ is a ✓.  okay, well, what more can be said about this at this point?  if you’re not listening to it, you’re wrong.  why wouldn’t you want to visit a town that can’t be visited and where every conspiracy theory is real and a part of everyday life?  yeah, everyone knows about the vague yet menacing government agency, steve carlsberg, you’re not hitting on anything new there.  there’s a dog park that doesn’t allow dogs, angels that are never to be identified as angels, mountains that aren’t real, a glow cloud that–ALL HAIL and a love story so complete and perfect that it can and will utterly steal your breath at times.  go, listen, inhale.

Episode 10 from Yuuri’s POV

We see episode 10 almost all through Viktor’s perspective, note how Yuuri is shown sleeping at both the beginning and the end,

because this is Victor’s episode and not Yuuri’s and Victor has a wildly different perspectives on things, emphasized by the banquet reveal.

But lets think about ep 10 if we assume that Yuuri was going to follow through on his thoughts in ep 9.

I’ve seen some complaint that ep 11 feels weak or lacks foreshadowing, and I think it may have too subtle, but it was built up if you stop and think about it.

In particular if we accept the idea that Yuuri is doing everything in episode 10 as his last day to spend with Victor:

1) explains why he asks for Victor to take him sight seeing and shopping because he knows Victor loves this sort of stuff even if as Victor notes that this isn’t something Yuuri is into, which once again suggests he was doing it for Victor.

This then doubles as a sort of character development moment for Yuuri because look at him be sensitive to the wants of another person. The fact that the blu-ray changed it to Yuuri winking at Victor, something associated with Victor not Yuuri, emphasizes the fact that this wasn’t about Yuuri’s personal desire to sight see. It was his personal desire to spend time with Victor and see Victor enjoy himself.

Also note how Yuuri is looking in the opposite direction from Victor as Victor is theorizing about why Yuuri decided on sightseeing and the answer he comes up with is that Yuuri is just so stressed that he’s reacting strangely. This isn’t the case, thus Yuuri looking in another direction.

2) Also this might partly explain why Yuuri freaks out about the nuts as much as he does, on one hand he is an anxious person, but his insistence on replacing the bag makes a lot of sense if you consider its really about Yuuri freaking out over there being an unpleasant flaw in what’s supposed to be his perfect last day with Victor.

In the scene right after Yuri and Otabek agree to be friends Victor narrates “Back to my story” which is funny, but also emphasizes the fact that this is really being told from Victor’s POV who because he was absent at the Rostelcom doesn’t really have a clue about what Yuuri has decided.

This is also why when they exchange rings Yuuri does it with all the significant and romantic subtext there is, but he doesn’t explicitly say anything because on one hand Yuuri speaks with his actions not his words sort of guy, but also he knows this is the end but gold with its symbolism of eternity (a whole other post tbh) it embodies his desire to be tied to Victor even though he knows they’re going to be separated soon.

Thus his complicated reaction to the engagement where he gets a weird determined face at Victor for calling it that, but he doesn’t vocally confirm because he can’t make that sort of promise at this point in time.

Tldr: if you read episode 10 from Yuuri’s POV it’s actually really sad.

Analysis: Romance in One Piece

Note: I’ll be posting condensed versions of this analysis in other sites

A) Relevance of plot and characterization AKA Unbiased Readers Vs. Delusional Shippers

“Who lives on ilusions dies from disappointment” – An old Puerto Rican saying

Most of us know One Piece is a very popular manga. Its high quality and popularity depends on several factors, among them we could name memorable and likeable characters along a deep, compelling, fun and action-packed story. The One Piece many know and love wouldn’t exist without the balance between these factors

When talking to at least 3 different One Piece fans, each of them non-shippers who analyzed the manga they all enjoy, I found interesting and pretty sound perspectives of the One Piece story and its nature. All of them value characters, story, development, consistency and logic; something I can totally relate to

But I also found a pattern; these 3 guys shared one single outlook on the very same subject: shipping. Regardless of their expectations, all of them expressed distate for shippers’ general mindset and “odd” viewpoint:

One of them called shippers out for ignoring characterization and very clear and direct statements made in the manga. His attention was centered on a Luffy pairing and how it contradicts his own character. Oda once explained that he writes Luffy as someone pretty straightfoward when it comes to expressing his thoughts and feelings, and this non-shipper said with brutal honesty that for the discussed ship to happen we would need to disregard and/or discard the very core of Luffy’s character. Meaning Oda would need to stop being consistent and faithful to his own story and characters

The next one explained how shippers tend to turn a characters’ relationship into a sappy teen love fantasy that doesn’t match One Piece at all. His analysis also exposed how integrating this kind of underdeveloped “love” into the story would severely damage One Piece originality, ruin the series and needless to say destroy the likable dynamics between several characters as well as their own development. This fantasy, this so-called “love”, is what the vast majority of shippers support and defend. The same kind of “love” most non-shippers, fans and critics dread

The third non-shipper gave me a more detailed explanation: this is even more rough than the other two as he describes that the common shipper mentality of “he/she likes her/him so they should be together” can “only be likened to that of elementary schoolers”. And how shippers take every little meaningless detail and blow it out of proportion with no regard for context, legitimate bonding or the canon story!

But we can’t put all the blame on shippers. Many manga authors seem to have no idea how to write a character-driven series or complex character relationships. In fact, mainstream shonen writers have their fair share of guilt into promoting this common shipping mindset by being notoriously bad at writing romance. Which results in underveloped premises that leave your average fan skeptical, and your average critic disappointed at a poor portrayal of emotional bonding and a severe lack of cohesive narrative in the “romantic love” department

This is the reason why many fans, critics and non-shippers hold the shippers’ perspective in a very low regard. Just like the third non-shipper states: “The blushing, longing stares, corny ass lines etc. That kind of poorly portrayed romance is the kind of thing dreaded by the average fan because it reduces the quality of One Piece to the level of such poorly written series”

So an author needs to build a relationship the same way one person would construct a building: stablishing a strong foundation on companionship, respect, trust, signifcant moments, and emotional bonding. All of this must come before reaching the status of “romantic interest". In relation to this subject, there’s a trope called “First Girl Wins”, a portion of its description truly fits this criteria:

“From a [extradiegetic] point of view, the Law of Conservation of Detail suggests introducing the Love Interest early. An early introduction allows you to get the audience interested in her and rooting for her, gives you space for Character Development, and gives her relationship with her (eventual) partner the most time to develop organically. And with all that said, it’s such a common device that in all likelihood, it sometimes gets played for its own sake.” – tvtropes.org, 2017

Notice this isn’t a cliché, this is a literary device to enhance the story. Pairing up two characters without meaningful moments, emotional build-up and development, is the equivalent to lazy writing. Having such elements firmly stablished for two characters and then deciding to go for a different “route”, pretty much wasting a well-developed relationship for the sake of a “weaker” premise, would be the equivalent to bad writing

Is Oda, the man who’s willing to die for One Piece, a lazy writer? Of course not! Is he, a man who planned the ending years ago and is still sticking to said ending, a bad writer? Being number 1 in Japan and having such a loyal fanbase all around the world prove he’s not!

Do shippers want Oda to be a lazy/bad writer? Facts already answered this question as many (although not all) fans value their own fantasies and delusions over the manga canon and/or the author’s take on the characters and their relationships

Many (but not all) shippers now have a war. Not only against rival ships but mainly against One Piece story and consistent development. Yet as the old saying goes, those who live on delusions will have to eventually face reality and disappointment, because Oda is not a lazy/bad writer like some people here would want him to be

B) Romance Dawn AKA The not so secret origins of One Piece

“If we don’t know where we are going, it can be helpful to know where we come from” – Jostein Gaarder

When debating posible outcomes, fans rarely look back at the time when One Piecewas a still a work in progress. Taking a look at Romance Dawn V.1 and Romance Dawn V.2 helps us to see there are constants present in all versions of these Works that made it into what would later become the most popular manga in Japan

But before discussing those constants I would like to clarify the meaning of the word: “Romance”. There are people who doesn’t really grasp the concept of “Romance” both One Piece and Oda work with. Luckily the first two non-shippers I meantioned shed some light on this subject:

Romance:

“A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful
“A long fictitious tale of heroes and extraordinary or mysterious events, usually set in a distant time or place”
“A narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes

– thefreedictionary.com, 2016

“A prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious
–  Merriam Webster, 2016

Romantic:

“Marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized
“Having an inclination for romance: responsive to the appeal of what is idealized, heroic, or adventurous

–  Merriam Webster, 2016

These definitions match pretty well One Piece and Oda outlook on this concept. Even Oda lampshaped this by giving his own translation to the title: 冒険の夜明け (“Bōken no Yoake”, “Dawn of the Adventure”)

So Oda’s “romance” covers a wide variety of themes: Adventure, heroism, mystery, virtue, idealism… we can find comedy and tragedy, happiness and sadness. And among the virtues and the idealism we find companionship and love. As the second non-shipper I mentioned explained One Piece is pretty much like an “Adventure novel”, which is why we’ll find in One Piece many of the tropes commonly used in those books

Among those tropes, we find a couple of constants in all versions of “Romance Dawn”

The golden-hearted protagonist and the “First Girl” who doubles as a female lead. Think about this “what if” scenario: If things would’ve played different back then and One Piece never went beyond “Romance Dawn V.1”. If that story were to be elaborated futher, which two characters would had shared the most moments to become endgame? The answer is pretty simple: The golden-hearted protagonist and the female lead!

But when debating, the weight of the argument depends on edvidence so we need to rely on what we can confirm. And we confirm this, what’s the constant in Luffy’s story in all versions of Romance Dawn? a Nami-like character

This becomes even more interesting when we discover that at an interview at “Manga no Chikara” and others, Nami was supposed to be the first one to join Luffy but her debut was postponed by Oda’s editor at that time. Edvidence of this being a last minute decision remains on the first color cover:

Yet as the second non-shipper noted: “her role as secondary protagonist was not altered” for “Nami shares with Luffy the largest character development in the entire series”. And as explained here we already know how the trope goes when someone seeks to write a natural growth for an emotional connection between two characters 

In fact, the relevance of Nami to Luffy’s story is implied in what Oda himself said about Strong World: “I really wanted to make a ‘hero saves the heroine’ story (ヒロインを助けるヒーローを描きたい the japanese sentence). [….]. You might think otherwise, but I had no intention of bringing in someone new to fill that [heroine] role. So when I had to think about whom to use for it amongst the straw hats of course that meant Nami

In Oda’s mind, Luffy is the hero and Nami is the heorine! We can tell that the hero and the heroine are meant to be the driving forces of the series, and therefore putting them together makes the most sense from a storytelling perspective

C) LuffyxNami AKA LuNa/LuNami

“Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men” – Thomas Huxley

Many shippers tend to ignore and disregard the importance of staying faithful to the canon story, and the author’s take on the characters and their relationships

To makes matters worst some of them even deem as illogical any argument solidly based on these factors. While considering stuff like lines, frogs, sweat, fire, nonexistent sexual tension, assumption of sexuality, and even assumptions of pregnancy, as legitimate proofs of a plausible outcome! In fact they even value comparisons to other series with a different tone, themes, and characters over anything that the One Piece author conveys through his work

There’s even people who goes as far as editing the wiki as if that would change the story to match their preferred pairing!

But in order to reach a conclusion that remains true to One Piece and its nature we have to rely on the very same foundation that was already described several times: mutual trust/respect, faith on one another, significant moments, stress in their relationship and emotional development. If the story doesn’t let you build your premises on these elements, the conclusion you’ll reach will obviously be flawed and stray away from what One Piece really is

So here I’m not only defending the premise I strongly support; I’m defending the very same story and build-up that contributes to this bond’s natural growth:

As explained before there’s nothing explicitly romantic about major interactions. But given we’re dealing with a good and dilligent writer, what we’ll get to see is how big to small moments stablish an emotional connection between two characters, and how that becomes the base for a even greater growth

First we have the themes of trust and faith: At first Nami doesn’t trust Luffy very much, out of her clear distate for pirates, until witnessing how far was Luffy willing to go to selflessly help others. Even then Nami treated their relationship as a mere business and later betrayed the crew

Still Luffy always trusted Nami to the point of putting blind faith in her. Even when given reasons not to do so. One remarkable example is when Luffy was informed by someone trustworthy (Johnny) that Nami apparently “killed” to Usopp, and Luffy not only kept holding onto his blind faith in Nami but he also threatened Johnny for saying such things about her


This becomes something remarkable when we take into consideration that Zoro quickly gave up on Nami and later tried to attack her without even a second thought! While Usopp just wanted  the Merry back…

And it would later become even more impressive in the Whiskey Peak Arc when Luffy came to doubt Zoro because of the words of wounded man he didn’t even know, and even doubted Robin during Water 7 until Nami told him and the crew the truth behind Robin’s desertion:

But what else makes this situation with Nami any different from others we see in the manga? Some might point to the saga where rescuing Robin was the primary objective; but in Robin’s case Luffy knew her life was in danger for Robin was planning to die for the crew, and he got the resolve to save her only after learning the truth. Others might point to the current arc, but he saw right through Sanji’s act and got desperate to rescue him only after hearing his life is in danger.

Here, Nami’s life wasn’t in danger as far as Luffy knew. And he constantly try to reach out to her despite her harsh attitude and the fact he knew next to nothing about her past and her current circumstances. It was only when he saw her cry he got enough motivation to beat Arlong, and it was only when he got a small glimpse of what she went through that he lost it!

How does Nami respond to this? Initially she wanted to get Luffy out of her villaje and her life. While Nami indeed grew fond of Luffy and the others she wasn’t willing to bond with any of them; she held on her distrust of others. But that changed when she finally hitted her lowest point, when she finally lost all hope. Then it comes Nami’s first major development as character: she realized she needed to rely on someone else, she realized Luffy was her only hope Nami decided to rely on him. The following scene marks the first time of many when Nami relied on Luffy to a emotional level. And the first of two times when Luffy entrusted his treasure to her in a touching gesture to provide comfort and hope:

From the very beginning the emotional build-up between Luffy and Nami was a key factor for one of the most meaningful and memorable moments in One Piece. The moment when Luffy becomes Nami’s “emotional anchor”

The effect Luffy had on her character was also quite powerful as we could see during the 2nd pass of the hat: back then at Skypiea arc Nami could still panic at dreadful situations: 

But as soon as Luffy gave her his treasure, the panic stopped and when he was later removed from the battle field, Nami was capable of drawing enough courage from Luffy to face the big bad from that arc:

Not to mention Luffy’s final move against Enel was combined effort of the two as well as an impressive display of mutual trust/faith

We can continue to appreciate their development even futher as the story goes on. As someone already pointed out, Nami during Water 7 displayed an impressive resolve and determination, but as soon as she got the chance to explain Luffy their situation she opened her heart to express how she felt, her anguish and her distress. When Luffy reassures her that he will save Robin, she doesn’t cry anymore until she reunites with Robin

Their bonding is even futher explored in the only One Piece movie fully written by Oda: Strong World. As this is the author’s take on their relationship is still a valid argument to support Luffy/Nami development:

We already considered how impressive Luffy’s blind faith in Nami can be. So after listening to most of Nami’s recorded message, Luffy gets enraged! Why?

Well, after all that time Luffy relied on his navigator without ever doubting her. He was likely expecting all his trust and faith in Nami to be reciprocated

Turns out Nami does return that feeling! And why can we say that? Remember the movie’s ending: Nami finds out everyone in the crew got her hidden “save me” at the end of her message… everyone but Luffy. Then when Luffy is about to play the recorded proof of Nami’s unwavering faith in him, what does she do? She tries to get rid of the “edvidence” out of embarrassment 

It’s easy to see then why Nami seeked out Luffy for hope and comfort during Zou. And how she did something similar to what happened in Water 7: she opened up to Luffy

I said it before, since Luffy is Nami’s “emotional anchor”, it makes sense for her to keep strengthening her bond with Luffy. And given Luffy needs a guide to new adventures and someone “mature” enough to sometimes keep him in line, it makes sense for Luffy to grow closer to Nami

She once summed it up pretty well: “He always talks big, but when it comes down to it, he knows nothing about the sea! He’s severely lacking in the ‘sense of danger’ area! And he always overdoes it…if I left him alone, he’d die. And he’s stupid, so I have to take care of him. That’s why I’m gonna help him!” - Nami, chapter 596

Still, none of this is explicitly romantic in the traditional sense of the word. But just like someone who’s contructing a building, we start dealing with the foundations to then proceed to make a solid structure: a well-written relationship that enhances the story

As someone once reviewed, Luffy and Nami dynamic doesn’t need to chance for them to become endgame for they already have anything they need to finish that “building”. And that’s what’s being a potent pairing means: having everything to your favor for futher development and growth. Luffy and Nami definitively have the major moments and the emotional bonding while remaining consistent to the One Piece canon to be considered a Potent Pairing

Bonus:

It’s interesting we find other interaction that proves how comfortable is Nami around Luffy: 

She doesn’t mind having Luffy around her, what she really minds is Luffy wanting to go to dangerous places But why is this relevant? In Thriller Bark we had a clear showing of how she reacts to pervs trying to accomplish what Luffy did here. She electrocutes them. We can confirm she haven’t changed in this regard because at the end of Fishman Island arc Nami electrocutes a perv for trying to peek at her while she was taking a bath

Another interesting detail about Nami’s attitude toward Luffy is a change we see in WCI. Of course we have the remarkable faith and trust Nami puts on Luffy by even boasting how him being the future Pirate King ensures their victory over Cracker’s ability.

But the real change is when Sanji brutalizes Luffy. Nami already stated she felt guilty for what happened when Sanji got taken. But when Sanji did his “little” number on Luffy her attitude changed, she not only begged him to stop but was also promising they’ll leave if he did (Luffy clearly disagreed on that)

After seeing the way Sanji treated her captain, Nami did something the could seem pretty justified because of what happened: she slapped Sanji and then sarcastically played along Sanji’s “royal” act.

When she goes to Luffy and finds out her captain is not relenting on his effort to get Sanji back, she gives us this little gem:

The Japanese text for Nami’s dialogue reads: “Luffy!! Why?! No matter what his reasons are, after he did all that to you…”

The term she used here for the line in bold conveys the idea of severe mistreatment. She was obviously mad at the way Sanji attacked and badmouthed Luffy and his dream. Ironically Luffy is the one who shows far more emotion to the prospect of getting Sanji back than Nami, she kept displaying far more concern for Luffy as the chapters went on

Nami is now showing, little by little, more of a emotional attachment to Luffy. Which makes a lot sense given what we saw in their story

Aspects of Lilith

Both descriptions may apply to conjunctions.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Sun: The native has a well-defined sense of self & remarkable inner security. They thrive when in conflict with an oppressive force or structure & feed on all kinds of attention, positive or negative. They take pride in their radical traits; they are liberated by unapologetic self-expression. Shame is not part of their vocabulary. Social discord is entertaining. The identity relies on breaking stereotypes, standing out, or rebelling somehow. Hedonism can become a severe self-sabotaging issue if the enjoyment of freedom goes too far or inflates the ego to the point of unhealthy confidence. These people typically find trouble wherever they go, and are easily bored by rules & standards.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Sun: The native is constantly met with criticism, rejection, or exclusion for their individuality, and this causes them to hide or repress the most unique parts of themselves. They despise expectations, and when others have any measure of control over them they can become hostile or deeply troubled. They have a painful yearning for freedom but fear the reactions they are used to receiving. A significant amount of their energy will be spent learning how to express themselves openly & shamelessly. Social stigma or stifling of the identity in whatever form will be the primary catalyst for discovery and realization of self. They will be forced to accept themselves.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Moon: The native is comfortable exploring the darker & more unconventional parts of who they are. They instinctually understand their aberrant or taboo qualities, and they are not afraid of them; they’re naturally introspective when it comes to rejection or exclusion and intuitively realize what separates them from others. They use their emotions & imagination to highlight their individuality; they also find freedom in emotional expression. They are not tied down to the person they were raised to be, and do not limit themselves to a personal standard any more than a societal standard – they are able to break away from habitual conformity or self-stifling habits in general.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Moon: The native is emotionally upset by rejection and may cling to tradition or other metaphorical “safety blankets” developed in childhood in order to avoid social discord. They habitually repress their dark, taboo, or aberrant qualities out of discomfort & insecurity. They’re afraid of fully expressing themselves, and being free in their individuality is a frighteningly foreign concept; they shy away from situations that prompt them to stand out or rebel and will retreat into a shell of reservations when faced with the opportunity to break or bend a standard. The emotional equilibrium is ravaged by criticism, exclusion, and alienation. They feel painfully isolated.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Mercury: The native is able to logically analyze social stigmas & standards, and intellectually deconstruct the power those have over individual lives (especially their own). Reason consistently prevails over peer pressure. Their ideas and the way they communicate them are radical in some way and receive much attention, good or bad. Criticism is easily combated with the mind; they are able to see through others’ opinions and separate themselves from judgement, and are thus free to think the way they want to – free thought defines their mindscape, and they are lost without it. Mental/verbal exchanges shape their understanding of society. Controversy deeply intrigues them.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Mercury: The native has little faith in their ability to accurately comprehend themselves, others, or society as a whole, and therefore may place monumental importance on other people’s opinions. They are easily stressed by having to explain themselves or their actions; judgement and criticism easily shut them down. They are quick to label their ideas or their interpersonal & communicative mannerisms as strange and unwanted, so they may choose to be quiet and reserved rather than put their mind on display. They have a very difficult time defending themselves or rationalizing their place in a group. They can’t use their logical mind to escape twisted social structures.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Venus: The native easily merges personal freedom & social graces to create a naturally appealing individuality which gains positive attention & reactions from others, no matter how taboo or radical. Controversy is a part of the unique style; in other words, this person wears ignominy well, and may use it to their advantage in an attractive way. Others admire or romanticize their aberrant qualities. The native’s personal tastes and preferences support a happily outcast identity; criticism & judgement serve as signs of being socially relevant, and they make being different fashionable. Extreme hedonism is tied to this aspect, especially in relationships that aren’t widely acceptable.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Venus: The native is torn in a heightened conflict between individuality and conformity, particularly in the context of relationships or style. The vacillation between radical subversion of social standards and passive adherence to them is a matter of choosing between happiness and harmony, both of which are crucially important. The native may lose relationships or general popularity for their stigmatized qualities, which deeply harms their self-esteem. They wish to fully be themselves but cannot reconcile that with the risks that come with it – they are unsure of its worth, which subsequently leads to uncertain self-worth as a whole.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Mars: The native possesses an unconquerable willpower which seldom bends for anyone else, and there is little care for others’ disapproval of it. If something is desired, it is achieved; the expectations and opinions of other people have little to no influence. No social stigma, criticism, or oppressive standard can get in the way of the native’s drive. They regularly break rules and disregard structures that don’t serve their initiatives, and charge forward without waiting for anyone to forgive, accept, or get used to them. Their sexuality is openly expressed; they are proud of their taboo desires. Going against popular belief fuels their inner fire, impassions and excites them.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Mars: The native is easily infuriated by notions, structures, or actions which they perceive as threatening of their autonomy, and they typically react with hostility when others criticize or attempt to control them in any way. They are unable to handle judgement, often reject the opinions of others before they’ve even heard them, and thus usually have a narrow view of most things, lacking the capacity to see other perspectives. Their one-track mind can cause them to lack foresight & create immense social conflict/discord where it is not necessary or appropriate. All of this stems from a deep fear of of others defining them, so they invert it into aggressive opposition of others & abrasively assume the role of “outcast” before others can force them into it.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Jupiter: The native’s mind is filled with grand philosophies of the truth about society and why stigmas & standards must be broken for spiritual growth. They find enlightenment through liberation; freedom is more important to them than anything else because it fulfills them in every way and allows them to expand their intellect. Likewise, they use their intellect to expand their freedom, as well as the freedom of others. They may become something of a social pioneer or modern guru, teaching about the detrimental nature of the status quo and encouraging others to go against the norm. They don’t believe in conformity. Their beliefs separate them from the majority.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Jupiter: The native may attach to philosophies solely for the sake of controversy. They may become so invested in being different that they no longer care if they are right. Their morality is selfish; their beliefs & personal code revolve around a set of faux rules which permit them to be hedonistic or destructive for the sake of “liberation.” Unhealthy, harmful habits are proudly paraded around under the guise of self-empowered notions. Self-control feels unbearably limiting and stifling, even if it’s for their own good. They can become “special snowflake” types, and attempt to preach their flawed ideas so that others follow them in their “enlightened” lifestyle and thus validate it.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Saturn: Much of the native’s power comes from the innate ability to rework social limitations into structures that serve their purpose and growth. They are incredibly wise when it comes to the sensitivity of culture and know their place in society, as well as how to change it. They understand that freedom comes with responsibility and it does not come free; they possess the self-discipline necessary to cultivate true self-liberation and they aren’t afraid of putting in the effort to create the individuality they want to be known for. They handle stigma with grace, and rationally deconstruct the paradigms of others so that they begin to question why they believe in certain standards & “norms.”
Square, opposite, or quincunx Saturn: The native easily becomes consumed by the “process” of “becoming themselves” – they get caught up in the changes that need to be made within themselves or in their environment before they can allow themselves to be fully self-expressive. They limit themselves with their own expectations, can become hindered by tradition, and place too much importance on the judgement & disapproval of authority figures. They care about the structural integrity of society, and don’t wish to compromise its strength, so they tend to repress all that is aberrant, controversial, or radical about themselves; they see self-liberation as selfish, non-productive, and unnecessarily dissonant.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Uranus: The native possesses very extreme views and opinions on society which others either love or hate them for. They often behave outrageously for the fun of it, and do or say things that may cause discord because gives them an electric, purposeful feeling. They disregard all social limitations and couldn’t care less about acceptance. They are the bona fide rebel. Nothing & no one can prevent them from being the person they want to be. Liberation runs in their blood. They don’t believe in any social order which hinders individual autonomy, and they have a desire to change society to make room for “the atypicals” like them. They use their freedom to free others.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Uranus: Much of the traits for harmonious Lilith-Uranus aspects apply here as well, but in a harsher, more desperate sense. The native knows the pain and isolation of being rejected, humiliated, alienated, and ostracized, so they devote a lot of their energy to radically changing the social climate for the better. They have an ironic moral code; while they reject the morality of others, they follow their own rules. Their rebellion is decisive and purposeful rather than hedonistic or self-congratulating; they have a vision, a grand and noble goal of collective freedom which begins with them. They wish to change society almost as punishment for their oppressors.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Neptune: The native effortlessly, unconsciously evades social boundaries; cultural restrictions can’t contain them, because they slip away from rules and judgement non-violently, mysteriously. They live almost independent of social structure, outside of the realm of conformity. Others often romanticize their aberrant qualities & paint them as figures of graceful rebellion & unapologetic individuality, even though they may not intend to come across as such – they are just existing, but they do so with a gentle limitlessness envied by others. They draw inspiration and spiritual fulfillment from liberation, and feel most free when their soul (or subconscious mind) is uninhibited.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Neptune: The native is easily confused or lost within social boundaries; they can’t comprehend others’ judgements or the rules placed upon them, and this creates deep interpersonal discomfort which invades the subconscious mind and the soul, surfacing through dreams, art, & emotions (which are the only places they feel free). They may cling to religion/spirituality to find their individuality. They can’t differentiate external standards from interior goals/desires and often chase ideals that aren’t their own. Others demonize their aberrant qualities and label them inaccurately. They liberate themselves through deceit, illusion, and escapism, as it is the only way they know how to.

Sextile, trine, or quintile Pluto: The native is intimately connected to their individuality, possessing a raw, resilient relationship to the darkest parts of who they are which separate them from others. They are immensely courageous when it comes to experiencing the taboo & controversial parts of society, entirely unafraid of things others try to ignore. They transform through unapologetic self-expression, and find rebirth through liberation. Their sexuality is deep and powerful, extreme and different, and they are proud of this; it is part of their identity, part of the way they rebel from society’s control over ego. They never allow society or other people to control them in any way. They own themselves.
Square, opposite, or quincunx Pluto: The native is terrified of being controlled, and has extremely adverse emotional reactions to anything they perceive as having the potential to limit their freedom. They are paranoid of society’s power to erase individuality. They go to severe measures to protect their identity and autonomy, resorting to secrecy, manipulation, lies, and hostility to defend what they are afraid will be taken from them or exposed. They are fundamentally ashamed, guilty, and fearful; criticism and judgement harms their self-image. Their dark, taboo, aberrant traits are out of control, particularly their “unacceptable” sexual desires. They’re ruled by an obsession with individuality & liberation, which ironically damages or decreases their individual freedom.

So I just re-listened to all the Juno Steel episodes and had the best/worst realization. The whole time we as listeners are led to believe that Peter is meant to be the classic ‘one who got away’ love interest, and that makes sense from what we are told. We see Juno and Peter’s relationship entirely through Juno’s perspective, which basically consists of a suave homme fatale ‘riding in on a goddamn beam of starlight’, charming and romancing the pants off of Juno (figuratively and literally? Take your pick), double-crossing him, and leaving as quickly as he entered. And when our bad boy (ha) master thief comes back, it’s when it’s useful for him and he seems entirely unaffected by Juno. Of course, in retrospect we know that’s crap, Peter is just as head over heels for Juno as Juno is for him, but our dysfunctional PI is a notoriously unreliable narrator. (Honestly, the only thing more adorable yet heartbreaking than Juno pining is the thought of Peter pining, which he totally did). But the more we listen, the more we come to realize that Peter doesn’t fit so neatly into that label, and in the end the Penumbra does exactly what it’s so good at, it turns stereotypical genre tropes on its head. And that’s the kicker, Peter isn’t the ‘one who got away’, Juno is. On one hand, that’s hilarious. Our petulant, misanthropic little lady who drinks too much and doesn’t know the meaning of the term self-care, is the irresistible yet ephemeral love interest. That seems at odds with Juno’s personality and history, he’s the one who gets left behind in terms of relationships, by Sasha and by the death of his brother, and he feels a strange version of survivor’s guilt because of that. That guilt makes him stationary; it ties him to Hyperion City, to Mars, and to his past. And that is exactly why he is the one who got away, because imagining a future for himself that isn’t just like his past is anathema to Juno. His guilt prevents him from creating a future that is untethered from his past. Peter, on the other hand, constantly thinks about the future, always trying to outrun his past. He’s so future-oriented that the second he steps on a planet, he’s already thinking about visiting the next one, and yet that boy was 100% ready to commit to Juno, like buying rings level of commitment. Hell he already committed when he gave Juno his real name. Peter could commit to a future with Juno because he could actually envision a future in a way that Juno couldn’t, and that’s what makes the final episode of season one so goddamn heartbreaking, that’s why it feels like a punch to the gut. We as listeners were, in some sense, prepared for Peter to be the one who leaves, he already did so in the first episode, and it’s what we have come to expect given the classic trope but that’s not what happens. Juno is the one who leaves, by refusing to leave, oddly enough. And because of that, Juno, who is constantly lost in his past, is forced to regret a future he refused to create, and future-oriented Peter is dragged back to the past he’s spent his whole life running away from by the constant reminder that Juno left.

TLDR- Juno Steel is the real homme fatale, not Peter, and that’s equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching.

(A table of contents is available. This series will remain open for additional posts and the table of contents up-to-date as new posts are added.)

Part Four: Writing Travel With Non-Humans

If a list were made of the top mistakes made by–particularly fantasy–writers, surely travel, travel times, distances, and the needs of animals during that travel would be right up there. Consider for a moment that Frodo and Sam’s journey took approximately 6 months to get from the Shire to Mount Doom. But Pear, you say, it’s not like they were walking that whole time! They stayed in Rivendell for two months after he agrees to take the ring! And of course, you’d be right, but consider that they are two days in Moria, and it takes the group 7 days to get from Bree to Weathertop, a time frame which was just travel, for the most part. Take a look at it on a map:

And now consider the entirety of the world map:

Taking into consideration breaks for eating and sleeping, difficult terrain, horses, boats, and walking, Tolkien did a fairly good job of making sure the travel times for his world were accurate or at least plausible.

Now consider that 30 miles is the maximum a human can walk in a day without stops and without considering gear, and it’s more accurate to guesstimate ~10-15 miles. It’s ~40 miles from Washington DC to Baltimore, Maryland and can be driven in ~1 hour. Now consider that roads and highways have turned difficult terrain into easily navigable areas, and that cars have drastically lengthened how far and how long we can travel. A team of horses pulling a carriage can expect approximately 50 miles over an 8-12 hour day. A horse will tire from a gallop after approximately 3 miles, but could trot 15 miles without too much strain as long as a few breaks to walk were interspersed. It’s been recorded that on one particular journey, a horse averaged 31 miles per day, though 20 is a more reasonable. (I haven’t put anything regarding companions with wings due to severe variability. Migrating Alpine swifts have been known to fly 200 days straight while other birds don’t even really glide very well. If your companion has wings, do very thorough research into wing bones and strength and do your best.) My point is: We don’t go as far as we think we do, and neither do our creature companions unless we care for them properly.

Long story short, distance matters.

When you’re trying to decide how long it takes to get from one place to another in your story, or attempting to figure out how long it would take an advancing army to reach their destination, consider that our modern view of maps and distances has become severely warped. “It’s not that far,” and “They could make it there in a couple of hours,” and “They’ll be here tomorrow,” are common assumptions for writers, but they might not take into consideration that our characters, creature or otherwise, cannot travel all day without pause, even on roads.

Terrain

Remember to take terrain into consideration. Your creatures accompanying your characters have different physiology than your humanoid characters, so how fast can they travel? Do they have the body strength to be able to carry someone, specifically the spinal strength? Remember that the more people you add to the back of a creature, the slower the creature will travel, even horses. Additionally, consider what their feet are made from. A horse’s hooves are a dense material that takes long usage fairly well (rocks and terrain difficulties aside) which is part of why they (and other hoofed creatures) make good pack animals and “vehicles,” alongside other factors. We don’t go around riding creatures with paws because paws rub raw faster when burdened with weight and asked to go long distances. Creatures traveling on their own legs will travel differently over different terrain. Remember when I mentioned earlier in the series that you should be thinking about where your creature companions originate from? Their physiology will be tailored to travel best over that kind of terrain. If they’re from meadows, rocky mountains will slow them down. Obviously, travel speeds will change depending on the terrain, and the endurance of your creatures will, too. Horses will become lame if rocks or other materials become lodged in their hooves (think about having a rock in your shoe!). Consider how terrain could impact your creature companion in similar ways depending on the construction of their feet.

Food & Water

The most common trope for feeding our humanoid characters on their journey is that they have rations in their packs: dried fruit, tough bread, hunks of cheese, dried meat jerky, etc. What’s often forgotten about is sufficient and appropriate food and water for creature companions. Water retention and metabolism rates vary widely across creatures. You can’t assume that they’ll function like your humanoids do.

When you were planning your creature companion and where they came from, I asked you to consider what kind of eaters they are (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore) to get a good basic idea of what your companions eat. They’re likely not going to be carrying around their food like your humanoids might, so you need to plan for your characters to either be hunting for the creature or to allow the creature to go off and hunt. But don’t just say, “They went off to hunt, returning three hours later with a bloody maw.” You need to know if the area they paused in has the types of foods your creature eats available. Know the environments they’re traveling in; know what’s around and what’s not. It’s okay for your creatures to go without a meal now and then, but it’s not going to make them happy or pleasant to be around the longer they miss out on food. Be aware of how their personality, their travel speed, their fighting capability, and their focus will be impacted when they are forced to go without food.

For emergency water supplies, it’s recommended to carry 1 gallon of water per person per day while cats and dogs generally need 1 gallon each per 3 days. These measures are not taking travel into account, which would raise the predicted amounts. We almost never think about having that much water hanging around our characters for their trek across wherever, but giving our creatures the breaks they will need and the water they’ll need often gets entirely forgotten. Take breaks. All-day travel is hard, hard work on anyone, car or not. Make sure your characters are traveling between places with potable water, whether that’s sources like rivers or cities with wells.

Stress, Sleep, and Special Care

Travel isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a long, grueling journey, filled with difficult decisions and dangerous encounters. There’s socializing and surviving, and it’s not as simple as going out to do the thing. Stress is going to come into play more and more the longer your characters and creatures travel. Think about how this increase in stress will effect your creature companions. Do they know what’s going on? What’s their perspective on the trip? Have they perceived themselves in danger yet? How will they react when they do? How do they deal with being forced to spend a prolonged amount of time in close quarters with others? Is that normal and welcome to them, or is it strange and not preferred? Will they seek out their own space or stick close to the others?

Remember that sleep is not going to be ideal. It may be few and far between, after long days of intense activity, interrupted by attacks, unfulfilling because of discomfort or anxiety, or any number of other things. You still need to consider how your creature would normally try to sleep, and then think about how they could if they needed to, because, trust me, they’re going to need to. Similar questions to those above should be considered including how your creature will handle going some sleepless nights. How will its mood and ability to handle changes in plan be impacted by lack of sleep? How about appetite and willingness to perform? All the problems we encounter with sleep, sleeplessness, interrupted sleep, and less-than-preferred amounts of sleep will need to be considered for your creatures, as much as for your humanoids.

Some creatures will need tending to when travel ceases, whether for a break or at the end of a day. They may need special attention like horses having their tack removed and a nice rub down, or creatures that traveled in a backpack or on a shoulder may need to wander a bit and stretch the legs. Please, please, pay attention to these things. There’s nothing worse than reading poor animal care from a farm boy going on their first big adventure. Casual mentions of the care and attention are sufficient, but completely ignoring this facet leaves out a big part of what travel is with a creature companion. If your creature is a mythical beast, break it down to its root characteristics to determine how they may need to be bedded down for the night. Are your dragons more lizard-like and likely to seek out warm places for the evening, perhaps burrowing for a nest in the ground? Are your hippogryphs able to find enough materials to nest in or do they take more to the horse side of things and sleep standing? Break things down and determine appropriate care for your creatures, then make sure your humanoids are performing those actions they need to ensure comfort for their companions.

Look. Just don’t forget you’ve got another character who has different needs. Don’t pass them off, don’t forget about them, don’t gloss over them. If you’re going to have a creature companion, you need to make sure you’re treating them like any other character and paying attention to their wants and needs the way you do for humanoids. Make sure you’re not asking them to go too far, too fast, without appropriate access to food and water. Take care of your creatures!

Next up: Contributing abilities!

Modern SNS AU

Where Naruto and Sasuke are connected to Tumblr almost all the time, and then one of them bumps into the other’s blog because some of his selective blogs are common between them.

Naruto thinks that avenger2307 is a total emo and Sasuke just knows that ramenslover10 is as silly as his name. Neither of them realizes exactly how things start, but suddenly they are both rebloging their posts and invading their blogs just to criticize them.

Naruto continues to say that avenger2307 is depressed and negative and an idiot about everything and a total emo and shouldn’t infect others about his emo-ish attitude and Sasuke just keeps replying that at least he is not obsessed with some damn stupid noodles and posting silly videos all over the day and photos of cats in costumes and making others lose their valuable time of day and Naruto is just like “Hey! First of all, it’s RAMEN, and it’s delicious, idiot, and second, the videos are not silly, they are FUN, third, what kind of person doesn’t like cats with costumes, you bastard? And fourth, if it bothers you so much, why do you visit my blog and read it and SEE the silly videos, huh?” And Sasuke only answers with an "Hn, dobe”, and Naruto has no idea why he’s so mad, but he only knows he is.

They continue to do that for a long time (a long, long time) until it becomes routine. One of them will write something and the other will comment an insult or criticism. Both begin to follow each other for the sole purpose of arguing.

It is silly, and probably stupid, because they fight all the time and publicly, but somehow it has become ordinary and both become the primary focus of the other. Sasuke will find himself waiting for the dumbs videos to see daily or the stupid, goofy cat picture that maybe, just maybe will not seem so silly this time. Naruto will find himself checking his cell phone during classes waiting for a depressive or negative post about a class or a person or life in general just to see how he can turn it into something positive just for the sheer pleasure of bothering his emo life. Because it feels good, somehow.

And then, a few weeks later, avenger2307 stops publishing things one day and Naruto is so focused on him in that time that he cannot help but notice and it hurts. And the absence is prolonged and prolonged. Two days, three days, a week, and Naruto doesn’t want to admit he’s worried, because he’s a stubborn idiot, but he is. Naruto doesn’t want to admit that he actually misses that, misses his emo mood and their interactions and their arguments and his posts, but he does. He misses him and his depressingly blog and he can’t help but notice the stupid gap that opens empty in his stomach and swallows every time he log in again and avenger2307 is still absent.

But then he returns, avenger2307 RETURNS, posting one of the most jerk-typing and depressing posts about his city’s internet service and the fact that he had no network for TWO weeks and Naruto can’t help but laughs because he thinks he’s a pessimistic idiot, but it’s fine, it’s fine, because avenger2307 HAVE RETURNED, and it’s still him, still as grumpy and whining, and he’s there again.

And Naruto knows it’s stupid and ridiculous how good it feels to see him again there, on his screen, because he is supposed to dislike him, he is supposed to be annoyed that he actually returned. He knows he’s being dumb and it’s embarrassing, but he doesn’t care. So he press the option to “like” the post and, without even thinking about it, goes to the private message tray and clicks on the user bubble of avenger2307 and writes “Wow, about time, busy being emo in real life? it must be hard, no one knows how to do it like you”, and then he sends it. And first he believes that he is witty and congratulates himself because he has finally sent a message in private, but then avenger2307 doesn’t answer. And it passed two minutes, three minutes, four… and Naruto’s stomach hurts because he has just sent a private message, a message in which he practically points out how desperate he was to talk to him and also flatters his emo attitude and Oh by Ramen’s God, what did you just do? That’s…

“Hn. Worried, dobe? I already know that I’m good on what I do, you don’t need to say it. But no, my internet fell. Did you like my post and didn’t even read it, dumbass? Wow, I didn’t know how much you admired me.”

And Naruto smiles because avanger2307 in fact answered his message, (as arrogant and idiotic as ever, because he was a bastard), but he answered and now they can really talk to each other. And Naruto finally can crush avenger’s ego in private without others bothering them.

.

The days pass and they keep talking and Naruto actually learns things, he learns that avenger2307 is more fun than it looks, even if he makes jokes that Naruto doesn’t understand always, or even if they are too dark that they shouldn’t be fun. Naruto actually learns that he is a total nerd and that he likes math and school. He learns that he is a boy and that he has a name, (Sasuke. Sasu-ke, no Sas-uke, Sasuke.) (Naruto likes to say it quietly in class because he likes how it sounds.) (It’s not like he’s admitting it anyway, and less the fact that he doesn’t care if his friends see him strangely when he does it.) which he likes to make fun of because “what kind of stupid name is that?” (and even if he only does it to annoy him because he actually likes it, and thinks it’s cool), and Sasuke only responds with a “look who says it, fishcake”, and Naruto should get angry or pissed off, he should, because it bothers him when others do it, but then somehow Naruto only answers with a “whatever you say Sasuke-bastard” and everything keeps the same.

Naruto learns that they both like martial arts and that Sasuke is actually good at it because he has gone to important events and has first places and WOW, Sasuke is indeed as cool as his name.

Sasuke also likes tomatoes and rice and the color blue. Sasuke is sarcastic and arrogant, but he’s also kind and worries about things in the world that Naruto had not even stopped to think about. It’s soft on the edges and Naruto really begins to like him. Because Sasuke insults and criticizes him and makes jokes about him, but Sasuke also cares (even if he has never admitted it aloud, Naruto knows he does) because, even if it is subtly, Sasuke always asks when he feels that something is wrong. (And for some reason, Sasuke always knows when something is wrong. Naruto even starts to think that Sasuke is a kind of a nerd and arrogant bastard voodoo.)

Sasuke also stops calling him “dobe” so many times and begins to say “usuratonkachi” instead, and Naruto has no idea what it means, but he thinks that if it is an insult, at least it’s a cool one, so he doesn’t complain. He likes it because Sasuke puts it in sentences that sound more like a nickname than an insult, and Naruto likes to think Sasuke has a nickname for him.

Their posts are also different in some way. Sasuke smiles sometimes at Naruto’s ridiculous childish obsession with everything rather than bothering about it and Naruto thinks that somehow Sasuke’s negative comments are no longer as cruel and tragic and are more like perspectives of the world; Naruto thinks it’s somehow interesting, even if he publishes nerd data as well. And it’s a little stupid, but Naruto has found himself smiling while reading a comment from avenger2307 with a “… yes, that also applies to dobes like you, fideossucker/fishcake” at the end of the note or in the tags at the end of the post. He doesn’t know why he cares so much, but he does.

Sasuke also has a good voice. (He knows it after hearing him speak for the first time, because somehow they end up exchanging phone numbers at some point in their conversations.) (Neither of them is very sure who offered it or asked for it first, but the point is they have it and now they can actually SPEAK and listen to the each other’s voice and oh holy ramen, Naruto would be lying if he didn’t say he was excited to hear him because he wondered about it so many times before, wondered what his voice would be like, and his curiosity was very big at that point that he literally felt tingling in the tip of his fingers when he answered the phone that time.) A voice that makes tickles in the tip of Naruto’s stomach. Naruto believes that if he sang he would do it well. His voice is grave and masculine and low and thick in the right kind of way. It is soft and intense at the same time and Naruto likes it, he likes to hear him speak about anything, and likes to hear him say “usuratonkachi”, because it sounds softer in his voice, because it sounds much softer than it should sound with his tone of voice. He likes the way he pronounces things and the way he drops the words from his mouth as if he’s sure of them. He likes the arrogant tone that wash over his voice when he is flooding himself or being an egocentric bastard and Naruto can practically hear the smirk across the line.

.

They start talking more often. They talk about everything and nothing and Naruto learns more things. Now he knows which book is Sasuke’s favorite and why. He knows he likes the bow and arrow. He knows that he has three friends and that they are all “complete idiots, but I like them.” One is Suigetsu and he’s on the school’s swimming team and as far as Sasuke mentions (which is not much, Sasuke doesn’t really like to talk about himself) Naruto bets that he’s as asshole as Sasuke is himself, but Sasuke says his jokes are fun most of the time. The other is Juugo, who is obsessed with animals and the environment and is incredibly patient with them all. There is also Karin (Karin, who is a girl, Karin, that for some strange reason causes Naruto to feel something vicious in his stomach whenever Sasuke mentions her) (and no, those feelings are not jealousy at all), who has glasses and is a hothead, with the hair of an intense red. Karin, who is irritable and upset about the fact that Suigetsu is an immature idiot most of the time. Karin who is strong and kind and has an intense and strong personality. Karin, who is intelligent and perceptive and “just as stubborn as you moron”. Karin, who had a crush on Sasuke for a while time ago but now likes to joke about the fact that Naruto and him look like boyfriends because they talk ALL the time and A LOT, (and no, Naruto definitely didn’t blush when Sasuke said it).

And then Naruto finds himself thinking about Sasuke. Thinking about his possible appearance. Wondering and thinking in how would his hair look like, about if his face combines with his voice, in what would be the color of his eyes, (seriously, if he doesn’t pass algebra it will be all Sasuke’s fault), because Sasuke has not mentioned anything about his physique besides that he has a weird tattoo on the shoulder (stupid, stupid Suigetsu’s dare).

And then one day they’re talking and Sasuke says, “Are you blond?”

And Naruto almost choked on his own saliva because what the hell, how does he know that. He is surprised and for a moment really thinks oh by ramen’s sake, Sasuke KNOWS him in person. And he’s so focused on his nerves and panic that he doesn’t realize that he has not answered yet until Sasuke says, “Well, because you know, blondes are supposed to be fools, so I assumed you were very blond.”

And then Naruto just… stops. He knows he is supposed to be offended, but at the moment he can only laugh, because Sasuke tried to make a joke (a biased one, but still, a joke. Naruto imagines Sasuke is clumsy for jokes and for anything to do with having actually normal fun) so he only answers with a “bastard. You’re rude. But yes, I’m the hottest blonde you ever gonna meet in your life.”

“Debatable. But hn, your ancestors must be proud of you then, unless you dye it.”

“Hey! I’m really hot, y’know? And of course not, you idiot, I don’t dye my hair, I’m a natural blonde.”

“Hn.” Sasuke likes to make that sound a bit too much.

“Do you?”

“What?”

“Do you dye your hair, moron?”

“No, why would I do that?”

“Well, how do I know you’re not an emo who likes to paint his hair and wear piercings and black clothes and hair over his face…? I bet you let grow your hair long and…, OH AND THE NAILS, paint the nails is something emo, right? I bet you paint your nails…”

“Naruto.”

“… Yes, I’m sure that…”

Naruto.

“… Probably…”

Naruto, you’re babbling.”

“Oh, heh, sorry.”

“I don’t have piercings.”

“…”

“…”

“But you didn’t say you didn’t paint your nails, so…”

“Oh, shut up, dobe.”

Naruto laughs.

Sasuke thinks that Naruto’s laughter is the most beautiful thing he’s ever heard before.

.

Naruto also learns that Sasuke’s parents were killed in a fire. He finds out he has a brother. An older brother who is in jail for some reason he doesn’t know. An older brother Sasuke can’t mention without his voice quivering a little. He always seems so upset and disturb talking about his family.

So Naruto tells him his story. He tells him about his scars on his cheeks and how he has been an orphan since he was born. He says that he knows his parents only in photos. He tells him that his mother had the most beautiful red long hair, (that was intense and flaming and bright like fire), and that his father was blond and had blue pure eyes like the sky (and like himself). He tells him that he dreams of them almost every night. He tells him about his grandfather Jiraiya and tells him about how perverted he is and how obsessed he is with Tsunade (his neighbor, who likes gambling and alcohol and is scary when she is upset, but she is also kind and intelligent and gave Naruto a really cool necklace on his birthday). He tells him about the stories that Jiraiya has told him about his parents. He tells him that they were both in the police force and they were excellent and they were killed by a man who is still free out there in the streets. He tells him that he’s proud of him, even if he didn’t know them. He tells him about all the rage that grows and bubbles in his chest, about all that hate that he doesn’t like but it’s still there and doesn’t go away for once. He doesn’t know why he does it, why he says it. He only knows that he wants to make him feel better, that he wants Sasuke to know that he is not alone, that Naruto knows his pain. He wants him to know that it’s okay to talk about his problems. He wants him to know that Naruto is going to listen to him. He wants him to know he cares. He cares so much that it hurts.

And Sasuke does not say anything, but Naruto can feel it through the phone, he can hear his fragile breathing and can almost feel the beating of his heart pounding in his chest. He may feel, in some way, what Sasuke is feeling and he knows that Sasuke feels what he is feeling himself too.

Because Naruto begins to think that Sasuke knows him. He knows him better than anyone else and he understands him, Sasuke understands him as no one else has done it before.

And Naruto has never wanted to meet a person so much before.

.

It’s the middle of December and it’s cold. The sky is pale and beautiful and there’s snow everywhere you turn to see. The trees have no longer leaves and they look old and without so much life like in Spring with all the color spinning in them, but Naruto likes winter too. Or at least, liked winter too until tragic happened.

Sakura is in his bed texting Ino and Naruto looks at her like he’s dying. She looks at him with the corner of her beauty green eyes and makes a face.

“Naruto, stop already, you moron. You’re doing The Face again.”

Naruto rolls over the floor (which it’s also cold as fuck, but he doesn’t care enough, he’s dying) and groans, ”But Sakura…

She puts her phone in her stomach and looks at him upside down at the side of Naruto’s bed. Naruto keeps saying her name and she just sees him like she’s waiting for him to continue.

Naruto does with “he’s visiting me, Sakura, he’s visiting me…

Sakura raises an eyebrow. “Hm? I already know that, you told me yesterday and you keep saying it every two minutes. But what’s the matter?”

Naruto sits right up and gestures at her with exaggerated swings of arms. “What’s the matter? He’s visiting me, that’s the matter!”

She sighs and sits too. She moves to the edge of the bed and pick up her legs just so her chin would be in one of her knees. She looks down at him and titles her head, the pink soft hair falling over on the middle of her face. Naruto always liked Sakura’s hair. It was really pretty when she had it long, but when she cut it out it was even more cool because it was short spiky-type and wild and messy and it was a nice thing. She also has these cute short bangs that don’t cover her forehead (Ino doesn’t allow it) but looks pretty great. “I don’t get it. You look like you are about to die, like something just crash in your favorite thing and broke it. Shit, you almost look like there’s no more ramen in the cupboard, that’s worrying. But you always talked about this guy so much, about how cool he was, and as far as I remember, you also always said how much you wanted to meet him in person and finally can see his face and can hear his voice not just through a phone call. So, then he says to you that he’s coming to the city for the weekend and he wants to see you and instead of being all happy you get all messy about it? Why?

Naruto blinks. “It doesn’t make sense when you explain it like it.”

Sakura rolls her eyes and kicks Naruto with her leg on his shoulder. He pouts at her while touching his arm. “That hurt.”

She ignores him. “It doesn’t make sense the way you look at it Naruto, you’re just being dramatic.”

“I’m not! I want to meet him! It’s just that I don’t want to ruin the things with him! He’s… He’s the best guy I know and I think he really understands me and I really like him and…”

Sakura blinks. “You like him? Like… really like him?”

Naruto stops. He looks at his side because he just can’t meet Sakura’s eyes. She always said that she can read him like a book through his because Naruto’s were so transparent. He doesn’t want her looking at him with pity or something like it. And what was he even supposed to answer? He himself doesn’t know well his feelings. He cares about Sasuke. He cares so much about him that he even spent five hours without getting sleep just thinking if he was fine. Just because he said he had a bad day. He really sounded upset, and Naruto couldn’t stop worrying. He also thinks about him a lot. It is not really his fault, everything in school or on his home remembered him about Sasuke. And he likes him, he really do, he is cool and smart and kind and cares a lot about people, about his friends. He’s an ass too, and arrogant sometimes and likes arguing, but it’s not that bad. Naruto loves that about him too. But does he like him that way? Does he want to actually date Sasuke?

Just the thought of it makes him giddy. Just the idea of it makes his heart races and a warm feeling sink in his throat and all down his stomach. Just thinking about it makes him fuzzy and all tingle in his inner self.

Sakura moves and Naruto sees her all the way getting down the bed and kneeling beside him. She looks at him with kind and tender eyes and reaches to brush his blond hair.

“Aw, Naruto. You blushed.” She mutters, and he’s way too embarrassed, but he knows Sakura is not making fun of him; she talks way too soft for being not real compassionate about him.

Naruto closes his eyes and Sakura mutters something more under her breath that he doesn’t get, but then she’s right there, and her sweet smell is burning his lungs. Sakura’s arms are warm and soft and she’s being understanding and tender and for a moment Naruto remembers why he did like her in the past. He likes her as a sister now, and he thinks about liking Sasuke as his brother… he thinks about being held by Sasuke, being in Sasuke’s arms and telling him all that has been building in his stomach since they start to talk to each other…

No, he definitely didn’t like Sasuke as Sakura. It was different. More intense, more raw and crude, but… somehow sweeter. And no, he definitely didn’t like him as a brother.

“It’s going to be fine, Naruto. Don’t worry about it.”

.

Naruto and Sasuke agree to meet in a place. It is a park from the outskirts of Konoha.

It’s the middle of December, just a few days later Sakura talked to Naruto. It’s cold outside and Naruto is nervous as hell that he can’t even feel his legs, but at the same time, he’s excited.

He’s standing awkwardly out of his house, on the sidewalk, while Sakura is checking on her car (well, Ino’s car, but it’s technically the same thing). Sakura lends him it (because his own old pickup van has chosen to decompose just then) and she indeed offers to take him, because Naruto is so edgy that his hands shake and she assures him that he won’t be able to drive in that mood.

“Everything will be okay, Naruto, just stop with the drama. I’m not bothering you two either. I’m leaving you there until Sasuke arrives, so you don’t have to worry.” Sakura tells him leaning against the car. Her hair is waving around because of the cold wind and her arms are firm crossed in her chest and she looks at him like she always does in situations where he’s like this: like she’s trying to calm him down, but at the same time, she’s so exasperated that she can’t hid it.

“Everything is going to be fine, Naruto.” She repeats, and then she points with her thumb behind her, “so get in the car already and let’s go to meet your prince.”

Naruto blinks wildly. “He’s not…!”

“I’m kidding, you moron.” She giggles. “Just get in the car.”

.

The ride is not so long, but Naruto thinks it is. His hands keep sweating and he has to wipe them in his pants several times. He keeps looking through the window outside, watching at the people and the places, but all it’s too blurry to caught, and he’s feeling fuzzy. He keeps seeing things but he doesn’t recognize them, like it’s the first time he sees it, like this is not his own city. He keeps listening to the music on the radio Sakura just put to calm him down, but it’s not helping, it’s not working.

The air is dense inside the car and his head is spinning and he can’t focus because he’s going to meet Sasuke, he’s going to meet Sasuke in person and oh Holy Ramen, this is happening and…

“Seriously Naruto, he’s going to give you a panic attack, calm down a bit.” Sakura teases. Naruto looks at her and she smiles at him. One of her hands is fixed on the steering wheel but the other moves and pats his shoulder carefully. “Everything will be fine.”

And Naruto wants to think that, he really wants, but the way his heart hits against his chest is erratic and discordant and it hurts, and he can’t concentrate in anything else besides Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke, and the way his disturbed heartbeat remembers him of his name.

Yes, the ride seems definitely too long.

.

When they get to the park, they are practically alone, mostly because of the cold weather, but Naruto doesn’t notice. There are people walking on the sidewalk and Naruto gets out of the car with his legs feeling like water. Gelid air hits his face and his cheeks numb.

“Do you want me to get out of the car with you?”

Naruto thinks for a second it is a good idea, because he can’t calm down, but he doesn’t want to bother Sakura more, so he tries to smile convinced at her (though he’s dying slowly inside) and says, “No, I’m fine.”

Sakura smiles back at him from the car and gives him a thumb up. Her eyes are sweet when she says, “’kay, good luck! I’m leaving you here, call me if you need me!” She’s about to go when she seems to remember something. “Oh! And Naruto?”

“… Yes?”

“It’s going to be alright. Believe me. And if it something that makes you feel better, I’m sure he feels the same way as you.”

Naruto blinks. “… Sa— kura?”

She smiles. “Bye! I’m greeting Ino for you!”

Naruto waves at her and sees all the way while she gets away. The car is a red point in the street when Naruto finally starts to walk to the meeting point.

It is supposed to be there, just right at the swings area. But there is no one there, just two kids, and Naruto does know Sasuke it’s just a year older than him, so he’s none of them.

Naruto looks at his cell phone for the hour. It’s 2:27 pm. Three minutes left for the agreed time.

Ok, he’s in time. Sasuke is in time too. So there’s nothing to worry about.

He stands there and waits, playing with his hands (mostly because they can’t stop sweating, dammit) and trying to breathe normally enough.

Three minutes pass. He watches at the people going from here to there, and the kids playing around. Everything seems too normal to be such an important day.

Ten more minutes go by.

Five more and Naruto is ready to get his phone from his pocket and call Sakura to pick him up in the car and flee because he is so nervous, he’s so on the edge that he feels like he is going to explode and all Sasuke is going to find is a deformed liquid spot on the ground along with all the snow. And that would definitely be more embarrassing than…

“Hn. So you’re really blond.”

… Holy fuck.

Oh.

Oh.

OH.

That voice.

Sasuke…

That voice…

Sasuke.

Sasuke is there, Sasuke is there.

God, Naruto’s heart is pounding so hard on his chest that he thinks it’s going to come out between his ribs.

Naruto turns around on his heels, his breath stirring white smoke in front of his face. He turns and Sasuke is… there. He’s right there and… wow.

Just.

Wow.

Sasuke is…

Is…

Gorgeous.

His hair is jet-black, dark as the sky on a starless night. It is short and sharp from behind and has a cut that should be funny but in him has a great fit. He has bangs, they are long and frame his face by the sides till the level of his lips. Naruto has the impression that one of them would cover one of his eyes if there was no wind that shakes it weakly against his forehead. His hair is messy and looks soft and beautiful. His skin is pale and contrasts with the intense color of his hair. His eyes are just as dark as his hair, so deep and looking at him as if he were the only thing in the world that was worth focusing on. His lips are thin and composed in a half mocking smile. His posture is casual and composed, as if it isn’t the first time they have meet; as if none of this is something that makes Naruto turn from head to toe, upside down; as if it isn’t the thing having Naruto on edge with nerves, and the feelings burning on the surface of his skin.

His face is sharp, all thin angles and high cheekbones, contrasting and extreme colors, ranging from the purest to the darkest, and God, everything in him is so impressive.

“Are you going to stand there staring at me all day?” Sasuke raises an eyebrow. His lips tug a little higher and his voice tinges with a mocking tone. God, his voice

Naruto feels his cheeks burn. He smiles awkwardly and runs a hand through his hair. Sasuke’s eyes follow the movement of his fingers between the golden strands until they fall behind.

Naruto scratches his neck and laughs nervously.

“It’s just…” He starts, but then stops because, “I’m not staring! I’m definitely not staring!” He bursts out, his frown in a line. Deep inside he knows he’s lying, but he can’t let Sasuke know that. Sasuke smiles a little, condescending, but his eyebrow stays high, like saying “sure, whatever you say” and “but I don’t believe you at all, moron”.

Naruto looks at his side because if he keeps seeing him, he will start staring and his cheeks are already burning, so no, he doesn’t want to combust. “Um, you’re just a little different from how I imagined you were, it’s all.”

Sasuke’s eyes drop to meet his eyes (God, his eyes), and Naruto has to contain himself to avoid panting loudly, because Holy Ramen…

His eyebrow rises even higher. There’s a subtle shit-eating grin growing on his lips and Naruto thinks he’s going to die. “Did you imagine what I look like? Hn, and I thought you weren’t so obsessed with me.”

Naruto opens his eyes, wide, and blinks. “You… you cocky bastard! I’m not obsessed with you! I didn’t mean… I mean, yes, I asked myself several times how you would look like but… I mean, it’s not like I’m thinking about your appearance all the time or…”

Sasuke makes a little noise in the back of his throat. His eyes are glued to Naruto and he looks funny, as if Naruto’s suffering and clumsiness amused him.

Naruto closes his lips in a tight line and looks away. The blush on his cheeks has begun to spread, because he can feel the heat tingling in his neck and the tip of his ears. The fact that he can feel Sasuke’s intense stare stuck on him doesn’t help.

And suddenly everything is silent and Naruto feels silly and stupid and…

“Usuratonkachi.” Sasuke’s voice is soft, so soft, and the way he says it is as if he’s saying “idiot” with his eyes blank and a wry smile on his face.

Naruto opens his eyes, because he has to see his face, he has to, and when he turns his head again, Sasuke is looking right at him, his hands in his pockets and his hair falling gently on his face. God, Naruto needs to concentrate, every time he looks at him it’s like he gets lost in his head and mind.

“You’re not very different from how I thought. You’re really blond, you look like you don’t know what a comb is, and your face looks stupid…”

Naruto chokes. There is something inside him that rages, although it is not anger, it is almost… expectation. But there is something else. Something else than the adrenaline that runs through his blood when they fight.

“You— jerk…!”

“And you have a lousy sense of fashion, orange is a horrible color. I have no idea why it is your favorite color…”

“As if blue was better, idiot! Orange is the coolest, brightest and most cheerful color of all!”

Sasuke rolls his eyes at his childish outburst and continues, “And you have tanned skin, I imagined that. Your eyes are clearer than I thought, though…”

“Well, yours are darker than I expected. Not that I’m complaining, I’m just impress.”

Sasuke continues like if there hadn’t been interruptions. “I never thought you’d have blond eyelashes, it’s… well, not bad… I’ve never met anyone before you that had the eyelashes of that color… and it’s quite…”

Naruto is about to insult him with something (although he is not quite sure what to say, because everything in him is impossible to insult; everything in him is so wonderful, dammit), but then he is silent, because Sasuke tilts his head to one side, his hair falling like a silken curtain of dark strands, and stretches a hand toward Naruto’s face and oh my goodness, Sasuke’s hand is right in front of him and…

Oh.

The scars.

Sasuke’s hand is incredibly warm against his cold skin. His fingers pass over the lines carefully, with fragile, feathery touches, and his skin is so soft

And Sasuke doesn’t say anything, but his eyes are completely focused on his cheeks and in them there’s something completely indecipherable for Naruto. They look sad and angry and hurt and careful, all at once.

And then Sasuke takes a step forward (which means he’s closer, when he was already close enough) and Naruto can distinguish the way his long eyelashes rub against the white skin of his cheeks. And suddenly it’s like his senses are overloaded because he can feel everything. He is hyper aware of Sasuke’s fingertips, which make his skin tingle wherever they touch him, which despite the cold weather seem to carry the fire along with them, because they awaken overwhelming heat beneath his skin. He can feel the dense, charged air around him and between them, as if there were sparkling electricity flying and catapulting into volutes and dissenting spirals. He can distinguish the soft Sasuke’s smell (apples and grass). He can even hear his breath and suddenly everything revolves around him.

His heart is hammering madly in his chest and his ears are buzzing and there is something beating in his throat, something that is alive and fluttering. The sky behind them is silver and purple, and the clouds are fluffy speckles of white and gray, and Sasuke looks like a star standing there, so bright and so remarkable and outstanding

Then Sasuke’s eyes meet his own and he’s staring at him and it’s like everything around him is alive. It is like everything inside him is moving and shouting to get out. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down and thinking you’re going to fall. It’s like the sound of a storm. Everything is wild and alive and Naruto does not know what he is doing, his body moves on autopilot…

His hand reaches out and Naruto can see his own fingers tremble as he carefully removes one of Sasuke’s bangs from his face.

Sasuke’s eyes open wide, and then he opens his mouth and he’s saying something, he’s talking, but Naruto doesn’t listen, because there are waves that beat against his ears and everything sounds like the sea.

And then he pushes forward and their lips collide and… and just wow.

Sasuke’s breath stalls in his throat audibly and Naruto can hear it. His lips are warm and soft (so, so, so soft) and Naruto can’t help but think how much he wants this. How much he wanted this, how long he had been waiting for this without even knowing it.

Sasuke makes a shocked little noise in the back of his throat as Naruto pushes forward but he doesn’t back down, and Naruto can feel the way his eyelashes sweep into his own skin when his eyes close (they tickle him). He can feel him relax in an instant when Naruto’s fingers move back and pull the strands of hair behind his ear. He can hear him sigh shakily as the tips of his fingers intermingle with his hair on the back of his head. And then Sasuke’s hand is on his shirt and his fingers squeeze tightly against the cloth and he is pulling Naruto towards him.

Everything is fuzzy and hot and damp and soft and so good. Naruto has one hand firmly behind Sasuke’s head to keep him from pulling away and the other reaches to take Sasuke’s free hand. His fingers intertwine and embolden like gears as his mouths move one against another languidly, as his lips glide lazily and unhurriedly.

And then Sasuke’s hand moves, the tips of his fingers leaving electricity sticking to Naruto’s skin as they touch him, and suddenly it is in his hair, behind his head. He pull his head back, enough to make their lips separate a few millimeters. Sasuke’s breathing is altered and quick and shaky and he seems to be desperate for air. Naruto can feel his unsteady breathing pounding against his bulging cheeks and is proud of it. He doesn’t care if his own is the same or worse because Sasuke is this way, he’s like this for him.

The kiss was so good, everything was so good, and Naruto is about to ask why they stopped, but then Sasuke is pulling Naruto back forward and his lips are crashing again and he doesn’t have time to ask. This time Sasuke opens his lips and seems more desperate than before. His hands pull Naruto’s hair and his lips stick to Naruto’s as if they were his source of life.

And they continue like this. They kiss and kiss and kiss. They pause to breathe and their lips meet again after a few seconds as if they were attracted like magnets and metal.

They kiss and kiss and kiss and Sasuke’s hands are on his hair and his face and his shoulders and his neck and on the top of his shirt, touching everything as if he wanted to remember every inch. And he looks so altered, so out of place, and Naruto thinks he’s about to faint, because he put Sasuke like this, the stoic Sasuke so out of control, of composure, and that drives him crazy.

He feels drunk. Dizzy. Everything is spinning around him and there is nothing more than Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke.

There is nothing more than Sasuke and his hands and his lips and his skin and his hair. Everything is him and he is soft and cold and hot and he loves it.

They kiss and kiss and kiss until Naruto’s lips are swollen. They kiss until the sky behind them is dark and both are numb from the cold. They kiss until Sasuke’s hairstyle is ruined and until his lips hurt (in the best way).

And when they separated, Naruto has the forehead against Sasuke’s.

Sasuke is looking at him with misty eyes, as if he had just woken from a dream, and he looks so beautiful and precious and Naruto wants to kiss him again. Their breaths mingle and their hearts beat in unison against their chests.

Sasuke’s cheeks are flushed and, although it could because of the cold, Naruto knows it’s for something else and that makes him smile.

There is something warm and tender and soft and alive that continues to flutter in his chest and throat and it hurts, it hurts so much but in a good kind of way, and it makes him feel good and giddy. Reminds him why he is alive.

Sasuke makes him feel that way.

Alive. Wild. In peace.

Happy.

Sasuke’s eyes have a million emotions reflected in them when the mist curtain is extinguished (not at all, but enough) and Naruto wonders if his eyes are as transparent and stormy and crazy as his. By the way Sasuke is looking at him he thinks they are.

And then Sasuke smiles. It is weak and fragile and soft and small, but it is a smile, and it is there, and Naruto smiles wider.

Sasuke is beautiful. Inside an out.

And he can’t stop looking at him.

And maybe his gaze is too intense because Sasuke’s cheeks color grows as he closes his eyes and murmurs, “Usuratonkachi. Stop looking at me like that. I have a reputation to keep.”

And Naruto laughs. He laughs and Sasuke smiles even wider, because Naruto’s laugh could give world peace and could cure cancer. Because Naruto’s laugh is beautiful and Naruto makes him happy.

Because both of them are happy there.

Because they both know what love is without having even seen the other in person before.

Because both fell in love with words so intensely that the feeling couldn’t be extinguished.

Because everything is beautiful and lovely and perfect.

.

.

.

A/N: So… how was it? this is my first attempt for a sns fanfic, so don’t be so rude, okay? I’m sorry if it’s awful, it was just an idea I have and I write it for fun. Also, English is not my first language, so I’m so sorry for any grammatical mistake in here, i did my best.

View | jaehyun

Genre: bodyguard!AU | fluff, angst, mild swearing and a lot of sarcasm.

Member: Jaehyun / reader (3rd person perspective!!!!!)

Word count: 3000+

Note: There will be a part 2!

Summary: “You’re staring.”

“I like the view”

“What, of London?”

“London doesn’t compare to you”

(or the one where she doesn’t need him, but maybe she wants him.)

part: one | two

Originally posted by yoon-to-the-oh

“No.”

“You’re being unreasonable. “ Jaehyun says, crossing his arms.

She shrugs, “I disagree.”

He sighs, “Look your Highness-”

“Don’t call me that.” She interrupts, crossing her legs.

“Okay princess.” He drawls sarcastically, “You simply can’t refuse to have a bodyguard without a valid reason.” He sighs.

She cocks her head, raising a eyebrow, “I have a valid reason!” She assures.

“Let’s hear it.” he demands.

“I don’t like your face.” She blurts. He frowns and she crosses her arms to mimic him.

“And you think my face is going to hinder my ability to protect you?” He questions.

“It could!” She assures in a seriousness that almost makes him laugh, “What if you’re looking at your reflection in a store window or your phone screen and someone kidnaps me?” She cries.

“Trust me, they’d bring you back.” He muttered scratching his head.

“What?”

“I said we’d get you back.” he enunciates, “Our job is to make sure nothing happens to you- for God’s sake I’m a trained professional you can’t just-”

“I don’t need a bodyguard. I don’t even need a guard dog, I’m perfectly capable of looking after myself!” She cries in frustration, running her fingers through her hair.

To silence that follows is a mutual agreement for a break- to regroup, relax, grab a glass of water or a snack before they come back to finish the conversation. He sighs, she kicks her feet like she feels guilty for something and looks down at the table. There’s a pack of cigarettes and a lighter that sit kindly beside an economist magazine and a small receipt like checklist of everything she needs to pack.

Paris.

Her fingers tap at her upper arm and she looks away to the wall to study the paint. He adjusts his suit, tugging at the collar of his shirt, “You’re stuck with me princess.” He says eventually.

Her neck snaps back to look at him. She wrinkles her nose, “Keep your distance.”




paris

She sitting on a smooth wooden bench in the center of the Louvre. The room is empty, cleared by security for her protection and she’s staring at a painting. Its called ‘The Embarkation for Cythera’ and her chin is resting on her fist. One leg is crossed over the other and she quickly adjust the denim skirt she’s wearing. She’s got a brochure in one hand and headphones in her ears where jazz floods her senses.

Jaehyun is a few meters to her left, watching her closely as she stares curiously at the art. She yanks her headphones out, “What?” She snaps, sighing and turning to look at him.

“I didn’t say anything.” He shrugs.

She rolls her eyes, “You’re staring.”

He shrugs again, “That’s my job.”

She shakes her head, “No, your job is to protect me. You could do that from the control room or from the other side of this room but instead you’re stood as close as you can get without it being suspicious and you’re staring.” she explains.

He licks his lips and points to the painting before her, “This is one of my favourite paintings.”

She raises an eyebrow, “So you were staring at the painting?” She asks, knowing full well he wasn’t.

He nods, walking closer to sit on the bench next to her, “Not everything’s about you princess.”

They sit quietly together, neither too bothered to fill the silence. The absence of crowds who discus meaningless matters makes her feel lonely and isolated but she’s learnt to be with herself. “Why did you take this job?” She pipes up, not quite sure why she’s interested.

He cocks his head to look at the painting and licks his lips, “Patriotic duty.”

She laughs, “You’re funny.”

He turns to look at her, “You don’t believe me?”

She scoffs, “I don’t even think you believe you.”

“Okay.” He says carefully, crossing his arms, “Why do you think I took the job?”

She pauses and watches him carefully. She holds up her hand, “I have two theories.” She states.

He smirks, “I’m all ears.”

“the first-” she starts, her posture changing because she’s in her element, “Is that you were bored. You got sick and tired of foreign business men and all that bureaucracy and you heard the rumours.”

He raises an eyebrow, “What rumours?”

“The ones about me.” She says, pointing to herself. He scoffs but she continues, “You heard about the strange princess who doesn’t buy into this whole royalty thing and you were curious.”

“Curious enough to leave the KCIA and baby sit a brat?” He asks sarcastically.

She clicks her fingers, “Or you were fired. I’m still developing some more theories.” she sighs.

He scoffs a laugh, “Yeah well keep looking.”

She sighs again, turning back to the painting. The silence becomes deafening, an unbearable reminder that she’s always alone and completely segregated from the rest of society. He can see the sadness in her eyes, he saw it the moment he met her when she watched her distant family’s children dancing in the gardens of the palace. He sees it every time she has to attend some event or smile at some strangers her parents introduce her to, even sometimes when she watches students on their way to school, laughing with their friends.

“So which one is your favourite painting?” He asks quietly, trying to give her some kind of human interaction before she locks herself in her hotel room.

She swallows, scratching her head, “I hate art.”

He frowns, “Why are you here?”

She shrugs, looking around the room at the different paintings. “I wanted to feel less alone.” she says quietly.

He rolls his eyes, “Yikes, do you ever stop feeling sorry for yourself?” He asks tiredly.

She glares, “Fuck you.”

He shakes his head, “There are many ways to feel less alone, like hookers.” he suggests.

She tries to stay angry but her lips threaten a smile and she looks down at her hands, “You’re funny.” she states once more, but this time he doesn’t think it’s sarcastic.

He points, “You should smile more.”

She waves him off even though he looks smug because he can see her trying not to grin, “Shut up.”




She’s curled against the window with a book half open in her hands and her legs bent against her body. Jaehyun’s sitting in a leather chair nearby, looking around the room while his fingers tap anxiously against the arm of the seat. He sighs loudly, “How long are we going to be here?” he asks.

“How long is a rope?” she retorts, not testing her eyes from the book.

“Long enough to hang myself with.” He replies.

“Oh, boo-hoo, your life is so miserable.” She says sarcastically, turning a page.

He sighs again, glancing around the room. The building has high ceilings with shelves the reach as high as they can. Books are in piles on coffee table before leather chairs and large windows let in light to show dust over some of them. He pushes some aside with his feet, distantly curious but barely caring enough to sit up properly. He glances at her, “What are you reading?” He asks in an attempt to appease his boredom.

She sighs, “It’s called Man’s Search For Meaning.”

He cocks his head, “Is it a self help book?” He mocks.

She scoffs, “You’re an idiot.”

He rolls his eyes, “You’re mean.” he points out.

“No.” She begins, “I dislike persistent human interaction, something I cannot get away from as long as you continue to be present in my life because your contract says you need to shadow me 24/7” she hisses.

There’s a pause and he points to her, “Mean.” He repeats.

She rolls her eyes.

He watches her read, the light from the window falling on her face like she’s waking up from a dream and her hair is tucked behind her ear. She flicks through the book like she’s hungry for some kind of intellect she can’t find in her everyday world and she bites her lip when she concentrates. “You’re staring again.” She states, not looking up from the pages.

He clicks his tongue, “I like the view.”

She looks up and raises and eyebrow, “Excuse me?”

He points to the window that overlooks le canal saint martin where trees grow along the pavement and provide shade to couples who sit on benches and watch the water flow. “Paris is beautiful.” He states with a smirk.

She rolls her eyes, “It’s famous for that.”

He cocks his head, “So are you.”

She sighs loudly and lays the book down against her lap. “Are you flirting with me?” She asks carefully.

He shrugs, “You’re pretty, we’re in Paris, might as well make the most of a bad situation.” he crosses his arms.

She shakes her head, “Your job is to protect me, not take me out.”

He sighs loudly, a grunt emitting from his throat, “Buzzkill.”

She stares at him a little longer, “You’re so unprofessional, there is no way you can protect me more than I can myself.”

“Wanna bet?” He replies without a beat.

“Do I get to go back to reading if I agree?” she says tiredly, rubbing her eyes.

He nods, “Pinky promise.”

She smirks slightly, “What’s the bet?”

He points to her, “You get a point every time you don’t need me, I get a point every time you do.”

She smiles, “You’re on.”




new york

They’re sitting in a red leather booth by the window. The floor is tiled black and white and there’s a rainbow coloured juke box in a corner where a Beatles song is playing over the speakers. She’s scarfing down a burger and the fluorescent lighting from the diner stings her eyes, it’s a contrast from the darkness outside. Jaehyun sits opposition her with his arms crossed to match the boredom on his face.

she glances at him, “Don’t look so glum.” she giggles with a childlike grin.

“You’re drunk.” he points out.

She giggles again, slurping from her milkshake and crossing a leg over the other. She’s wearing his jacket because she didn’t have one of her own and the velvet dress was too thin to keep any heat in. “You’re a buzzkill.” she retorts.

He purses his lips, “You’re an idiot.”

I’m a princess.” She reminds, wagging her finger back and forth.

He rolls his eyes, “You snuck out and went clubbing.”

She shrugs, “I like the music.” But her lip lifts into a smirk and he knows she’s still sober enough to be herself.

“You can’t ditch your security.” He repeats for what feels like the hundredth time.

She shakes her head, “I think you’ll find that I can, and I did.”

“It’s dangerous.” He enunciates, leaning forward.

She scoffs and waves him off, “The only dangerous thing about tonight is the blister on my foot.”

“Or-” he Interrupts, snatching her milkshake and taking a gulp, “The guy who followed you to the club, the one who nearly slipped something into your drink and the one who tried to hit on you.”

She frowns, “You’re the one who followed me to the club, you’re saying I was in danger of you?”

He pauses, narrowing his eyes, “You knew?” He asks.

She breathes a laugh, “Of course I knew, and what was wrong with the guy who tried to hit on me?” she adds absentmindedly, finally finishing off her burger.

He raises an eyebrow, “Really?” She just stares so he sighs and points to his wrist, “Gang tat on his arm.”

“Oh, a bad boy.” She giggled again, her cheeks flushed from the alcohol.

“A very bad boy.” He reminds.

She smiles like he’s the funniest guy on earth and he tries his best not to stare too long because she really is very beautiful. She picks up the menu again, scanning through the options, glancing at him every few seconds. She hesitates, opens her mouth a few times but doesn’t say anything.

She folds the menu and puts it down, “I have another theory.” She states.

He narrows his eyes, “Alright.” He nods.

She licks her lips and crosses her arms “You’re running away from something.”

He cocks his head and she thinks she’s getting somewhere, “Continue.”

She shrugs, “That’s all I’ve got. Maybe you fucked up, hurt someone or got hurt- I’ve seen the scar on your hip.”

His arms instinctively tighten together and he wrinkles his nose, “You been checking me out?” He smirks, trying to deflect.

She shrugs again, “I like the view.”

“Now princess, are you flirting with me?” he questions, leaning forward in his seat and pressing his forearms into the table.

He’s got this smile on his face like he knows what she’s going to say. She smiles back, like they’re drunk idiots at 4am eating junk food somewhere in the middle of new York. She wipes her lip with her thumb and rest her elbows on the table, her head resting in her hands. They’re close enough that she’s pretty sure he can heart her heart slamming against her rib cage, “You’re beautiful.” She murmurs.

He cocks his head, his hand reaching out and pushing the hair away from her face. He tucks it behind her ear and she sighs, closing her eyes, “You’re drunk.” He says sadly.

She giggles, only making everything crash down around them much faster, “‘Yes I’m drunk, and you’re beautiful. And tomorrow I’ll be sober-’

‘And you’ll still be beautiful.’” he finishes. He sighs, letting his hand drop, “Its late princess, let’s get you home.”

She smiles again when she sees his cheeks flushed red and as he leads her out of the diner, his hand is on the small of her back, trying to keep her steady. He tries his best not to touch her for too long in case he kisses her but he helps her climb into the car and she holds onto his hand a little too tight like she doesn’t want to let go of him.

He smiles.

Her: 1

Jaehyun: 1




She’s panting, sweat dripping down her forehead and her shirt clings to her body. She takes a swig of her water bottle and wipes her cheek, trying to cool herself down. She looks over the cliff, staring down into what seems like the abyss and smiles. She’s trekked all this distance, wading through the dirt and gravel and the grass that scratches her ankles while the sun beat down on her skin.

“I didn’t take you for a hiking person.” Jaehyun huffs out.

She chugs a gulp of water and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, “I wanted to try something new.”

He shakes his head and clicks his tongue, knowing full well she did it to get some space and, and sighs, “Right.”

“Anyway-” She shrugs, stepping over a rock, “This is fun.”

“Oh yeah, 1000° of fun.” he mocks sarcastically, wiping his forehead.

She scoffs, “I didn’t take you for a whiner.” She mutters.

He smirks, “Sexually or just in general?”

“You’re hilarious.” She says breathlessly, placing her hands on her hips as she stands straight, trying to get some air into her lungs. He keeps walking as she looks at the distant view of the city.

“You need to stop princess?” Jaehyun calls from ahead.

She swallows, looking up at him and shakes her head with a grin, “Not a chance.” She assures, jogging to catch up with him.

He’s not in his suit for once. They’re both in workout gear, trainers and T-shirts and sweat all over their bodies but they’re both smiling at each other as they continue to hike up the sandy hill. “I have a question.” he breathes heavily.

She keeps walking, “Okay.”

He takes a gulp of water, “Why are you off gallivanting the world with no specific purpose?”

“I have a purpose.” She points out nonchalantly.

“Care to share?” he asks curiously.

She shrugs, “I want to gallivant the world.”

He nods, “That’s a good argument.” He points out, almost impressed.

But he’s got this tone to his voice that makes her eyes narrow, “But you don’t believe me.” She states, wiping the sweat from her forehead again.

He smirks, “I don’t even think you believe you.”

She shrugs and keeps walking, “Okay, what do you think my purpose for doing all of this is?” she asks tiredly.

He follows after her, still sweating from everywhere, “I have one theory.” He states.

“Only one?” She replies, raising an eyebrow.

He sighs disappointingly, “Yes sorry, only one.”

She smiles softly, “Let’s hear it.” She orders.

He stops, taking a deep breath and placing his hands on his hips. He pants through his words and she stops next to him. “I think you’re running away from something.”

He waits for a reaction that never comes, she just keeps panting, stays silent and tries to regain her breath. She swallows, hands on her knees and shakes her head, “Aren’t we all?” She responds, standing upright and staring at him. “And that’s not a very original theory, I seem to remember using it myself.” She reminds.

He cocks his head, “And now you’re deflecting.”

She smirks, “Well aren’t you a smart one.” She says sarcastically with no tone of anger in her voice which tells him she’s not upset he’s starting to figure her out, maybe because she doesn’t think he’ll get very far.

“I think you don’t want to be queen, or princess even.” He adds, “I think this is your way of experiencing life outside of that.”

She almost rolls her eyes, “A child could have diagnosed that.” she starts to walk up the hill again, lugging her body up the steep slope.

He raises an eyebrow, “Diagnosed?” He calls after her.

“Yeah” she calls back, “It’s called the grass is always greener on the other side or um… wanting what you can’t have?” but there’s a hint of bitterness to her voice and he knows she’s annoyed.

“And what you want is a normal life.” He states.

She narrows her eyes and stops walking, her hands on her hips. She takes a deep breath and sighs. She hesitates telling him, she’s not the kind to complain but she feels like he needs to understand her. She swallows, “You’ve seen my life; the glitz and glam and everything that goes on behind it. I was never in line for the throne so for a while, I knew what it was like to have none of that. I went to school, I was a bartender i…” She pauses, her eyebrows furrowed like she really needs an honest answer. “I never wanted to be princess, and then suddenly my uncle dies and my mum becomes… I’m thrown into this limelight, I had no choice in that!” She says louder, like she’s getting riled up, “I thought I could get used to it, if I pretend enough it’ll become reality right?” She takes a breath, looking away from him and watching the birds fly over the distant cliffs, “But I know this isn’t where I’m supposed to be.” she mutters.

He cocks his head, “You’re thinking about this the wrong way.” He points out, moving to stand closer to her. “We’re in the 21st century, you can be anything you want. You can be princess and have a job, you can go to school and rule a country. The possibilities are limitless! You could buy your own bar and work for yourself.” He pauses, “People look up to you princess. Show them what you got.”

She smiles softly, feeling uplifted into a new realm of thought. But she doesn’t tell him, only shoves him away with a giggle and takes off running towards the summit of the cliff- “Last one there’s a rotten egg!” she cries behind her.

Jae smiles softly and shakes his head, this girl.

Her: 2

Jaehyun: 1

(She beats him, she thinks that deserves a point no matter what)

part: one | two

Daily Reminders of Your Spiritual Path

1. Waking

Much of the spiritual Way involves the use of metaphor and art so as to move and inspire us, to give us a broader vision and a greater vocabulary of experience.

Waking up in the morning from our nightly dreams can be a symbol for waking up from the illusion of samsara. Are your dreams destroyed? Did the dream-person die? None of our conventional experiential descriptions of reality really adequately describe such a transition.

So when you awake in the morning, use that moment for something grand. Use it to polish your heart, meet the appearance of this strange world, and recognize the ease with which you leave behind the dreamworld once its dream-like nature is known. Wake up and roar. Many zen monks on waking simply burst into fake-it-til-you-make-it uproarious laughter.

See what works for you.

2. Waiting

There are always moments throughout the day in which we are in a mindset of “waiting.” During those times, we usually sink into semi-conscious trains of thought reflecting insecurities, desires, or curiosities.

However, none of our insecurities, desires, or responsibilities are helped by such idling. Instead, use those moments for the deliberate practice of mindfulness. It’s easy to deceive yourself by merely asserting or assuming you are always practicing mindfulness and yet no mindfulness is actually practiced throughout the day.

To avoid that snag, choose a deliberate technique. Following the breath, visualization practice, and focusing your sense of touch on an object or stone in your hands are all good techniques.

To quote Eckhart Tolle, “Give up waiting as a state of mind.”

3. Gratitude

Another Eckhart Tolle quote, “Gratitude is the foundation for all abundance.”

We are often disinclined to feel gratitude because we habitually cling to the things we recognize as good. To feel grateful frequently means recognizing something we would prefer not to see. Such recognitions could be that of impermanence, interdependence, and love.

But by practicing gratitude, by making it a part of our day, we reverse such issues. Suddenly the wisdoms of impermanence, interdependence, and love become accessible and appreciable.

When you can honestly and sincerely be thankful for what you have now to the extent that you feel overbrimming with good fortune, even the slightest act of kindness may bring a tear to your eye.

There are a few ways to bring gratitude into your day, and many more ways for you to discover. Some are:

Saying “thank you” to everyone, including plants and animals, and meaning it. Instead of making mental lists of desires for the future, make lists in your head or on paper of people and things for which you are thankful. Pay acts of kindness forward by passing them on to others. Gratitude prayers are also helpful, especially before meals.

4. Death

The way we conceive of and relate to death is inextricable from the ways in which we conceive and relate to life.

Many people are scared of thinking or talking about death, almost superstitiously so. We fetishize death through movies and video games, we describe philosophies of death through religions, but we still avoid honest and frank discussions about our own inevitable death or the death of our loved ones.

Remember death. Remember the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths: There is something unsatisfactory about life in this world. This unsatisfactoriness comes from somewhere. It can also cease. For the cessation of life’s unsatisfactory and anxious suffering, there is a path.

Death not only keeps everything in perspective but it also lends a great deal of energy to our path. When people are feeling too lazy to meditate, I often tell them to visit a hospital, a retirement home, and a graveyard in order to see what is in their body’s future.

5. Sleep

While waking up in the morning was akin to an awakening from the dream of samsara and the rebirth into clarity, going to sleep at night could be likened to a small death.

Going to sleep means letting go of the day’s activities, thoughts, and drives regardless of whether or not our expectations were met or all of our responsibilities settled. Death can take us any minute of any day, at least sleep can be more predictable!

Use the act of going to sleep as a conscious opportunity to let go. We are not residents of this world despite how much we pretend to be. Our stay is brief yet never without meaning, just as a child taken to the playground for an afternoon still has a hell of a good time.

Let sleep be a reminder of letting go, of not clinging to the past yet without fixation on the future.

By applying these five approaches to your day, they may act as seeds that grow into who-the-hell-knows-what. But it’ll be cool.

Namaste :D

wither me down

Summary: It’s strange, how Otabek doesn’t mind that his lungs are filled with flowers and each day is more agonizing than the last. After all, loving Yuri Plisetsky is a privilege in and of itself. (belated happy valentine’s day! warning for character death, otayuri, hanahaki au, word count: 6166)



He first meets Yuri when he is twelve, almost thirteen. He is hunched over, heaving from the strenuous exercise that Yakov made them do, and he looks up to try again when he sees him. He must be ten at the oldest, and is without a doubt the best student in that room. Otabek never pays much attention to the other students, but this time he looks at this boy, who manages to complete the exercise he’s been struggling with effortlessly.

And then the boy’s head turned to look at his direction, and he is captivated.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

You: I want to protect Deku from all the harm in the world!! / Also you: *ships him with the very person who caused him suffering for 10 years*... huh, okay

I actually kind of want to thank you for being cordial about this instead of just… insulting me anonymously like others. 

Granted, I just ignore them/delete them, but still. It’s appreciated.

Since you honestly seem a little bit curious and confused, I want to answer this with a more specific response! So thank you for being reasonable about it. 

There are some things I want to clear up first.

You’re completely entitled to your opinion on a ship, my anonymous friend, and I also respect and understand why people hate the ship and even Bakugou as a character. 

Do I share the same feelings? No, not at all, but I definitely understand it. 

It would be dreadfully boring if every human who experienced the same artistic medium had the same exact opinions and points of views on a character/ship, no? 

At least, I would think so. I love the variety in opinion and watching different people fall in love with anime/books/movies, whatever, in totally different ways and coming out of them with multiple conclusions is wonderful to witness. 

It… almost feels similar to getting angry with someone for picking green as their favorite color, and because it’s not your favorite color you argue about how the different shades don’t make sense and shouldn’t be acknowledged as a favorite.

(Not you, specifically, Anon, but more of a general “you,” if that makes sense.)

Alright. So.

What draws me to the the Bakugou Katsuki / Izuku Midoriya ship, and the two characters individually (as well as their canon dynamic) is based on the concept of healing, forgiveness, growth, redemption, understanding, mutual respect, and genuine deep-rooted pain and realistic acknowledgement of the gratuitous and toxic elements of their relationship

And this only scratches the surface, believe it or not.

Yes, Bakugou Katsuki treated Izuku horribly while growing up (hell, he’s still an egotistical asshole). The infamous line in the manga/anime with Katsuki suggesting Izuku “find a Quirk in the next life” is inexcusable, and he should be held accountable for this. 

We’ve been allowed glimpses of their dismantled friendship at Katsuki’s doing, and Izuku’s equally flawed and dangerous perspective in placing Katsuki on a pedestal for his admiration. 

Before I go further with this, I want to touch on things about how I view Izuku as a character, since something in your anonymous message struck me, with the quote you had written: 

“You: I want to protect Deku from all the harm in the world!!”

The thing is, when it comes to characters, and Izuku in particular… I don’t think I’ve ever adopted the mindset of “must protect the precious baby,” because I personally view Izuku as a very relatable and human character. 

I know that this doesn’t cancel one idea out from the other, since many wonderful authors/readers/viewers/consumers, whatever, who like BNHA have this same viewpoint. Clearing this up so that nothing is miscommunicated.

So.

This may seem strange, and a bit… actually yeah this is a little weird, but as a viewer, I see him as someone who strives for an incredible goal, is very determined, much stronger than he appears (and believes) both emotionally and physically, and it’s slowly becoming a surprise to both himself and everyone around him. 

But I see him as not just a character, per say, but a definite reflection of the other side to his dynamic to Bakugou Katsuki. 

(Will touch more on this later.)

He’s been acknowledged as a beloved presence, and I actually don’t like viewing Izuku as a “precious cinnamon roll,” because he’s so much more than that. 

QUICK NOTE HERE: I do not think it’s wrong to think of him this way. This is how I personally think, and how I want to hopefully portray the character in fics I write, or just in a general acknowledgement of him. 

He’s a character that thrives on a complex personality and series of motivations that make sense for a character his age, with his history, and with his flaws and strengths as a protagonist. 

Izuku being “adorable” falls to the very bottom of my list of reasons why I love and relate to him as a character, and when he engages in horrible situations that challenge him, I live for those moments. 

(I know I’m not alone in this. Bear with me.)

I love seeing characters like this suffer and get thrashed and struggle in the face of their darkest times. It shows depth, and a sense of darkness that defies the overly comfortable image that comes across in an anime that is, quite objectively, a bit less of a risk-taker in the earlier arcs in comparison to others.

So, with that in mind… it makes sense why people can’t stand Bakugou Katsuki as a character for treating Izuku like he does, and it also makes sense why Izuku is shipped with just about anyone who can grant him that feeling of “must protect.” 

Again, there is nothing wrong with this. 

In fact, I want to point out, for the sake of people who can’t stand BakuDeku and enjoy other ships, that I see, respect, and completely understand why you feel the way you feel. 

There’s even a strong sense of admiration for it, because you wonderful people are coming from a place that wants Izuku Midoriya to have a stable dynamic. 

This is an incredible, awesome, respectful thing, and shows so much love for Izuku as a character. 

So at this point, it may seem that I’m arguing against myself. That I’m shoving my own argument into the ground for why BakuDeku is my Number Two OTP, and how I’m arguing for its validity.

But, this is where I want to put some light onto the perspective that I have for this ship, and I don’t think I’ve ever gone this deep before on Tumblr.

I mentioned a little bit earlier that part of what makes Izuku shine as a character is how he affects other people. He brings out elements of characters that they won’t even realize themselves. (Todoroki Shouto, Shinsou Hitoshi, and All Might are both huge, and popular, examples of this, even though they’re not the only ones). 

His drive and his motivations are directed towards an incredible goal that is founded in the roots of his passion. And this aspect of Izuku? This passion, this drive, this embodiment of equal strengths and flaws balancing and cancelling each other out as he grows and learns? 

They are reflected in none other than Bakugou Katsuki.

I’m in love with the depth to this dynamic, with the potential that’s built on what they could accomplish together. 

Izuku cares deeply for Katsuki, and admires him and respects him, but even with that in mind he knows that Katsuki is an asshole. It’s important to acknowledge this, that Izuku will not let Katsuki take advantage of him in any way. 

And Katsuki, quite evidently, hasn’t attempted to take advantage of Izuku at all; in fact, he’s been only focused on what he wants to accomplish, and is overly obsessed with Izuku potentially surpassing him and “looking down on him” (as confirmed in the story.)

Katsuki is dreadfully immature in a lot of ways, but the fact that they contain so many similar ambitions, balanced on top of a quite impressive tower of flaws that parallel each other perfectly… this, is what draws me to them. 

Izuku and Katsuki are both incredibly ambitious and determined. They both work exceptionally hard. 

I wrote a list awhile back that needs to be updated again anyway, so…

Here are some general contrasts/parallels to them:

  • Izuku is humble, while Katsuki is egotistical.  
  • Katsuki is prodigiously talented, while Izuku had to go the extra mile, despite them both being hard workers.
  • Izuku lacks self-preservation, and Katsuki looks out for himself, first and foremost, and how he will accomplish his goal.
  • Katsuki exhibits elements of both an intense superiority/inferiority complex, while Izuku… doesn’t. 
  • Katsuki is more instinctive with his actions, while Izuku is analytical and a definite planner. 
  • Izuku’s Quirk is more focused on the all-embodying element, like a supercharged mechanism that can both protect and damage in spurts. Katsuki’s Quirk is designed as more of a shield for himself only, and can release constant bursts of power. The more they develop, the more similar their Quirks can become in terms of balance.
  • Katsuki is exaggeratedly egotistical and lacking humility, pushing others away and immediately accepting himself as the greatest priority. Izuku is the exact opposite, but with a quality just as exaggerated and vast: his anxious hesitation and lack of confidence in himself and only believing that he can succeed with others. 
  • Izuku’s struggles in confidence is mostly internal and how he thinks of himself. Katsuki’s confidence is both too bloated for him to handle and in the exact same plane as Izuku’s.
  • Izuku admires All-Might for being the ultimate protector and savior of lives with a smile on his face. Katsuki is focused on the idea of winning, and how heroes always prevail in the end. 

I could go on and on with this… but yeah.

Something I noticed, as well, while writing this, is that Katsuki and Izuku’s contrasts, while very prevalent, are often rooted in similar, if not the same, bedrock of emotions that affect them differently because of their personalities. 

Sometimes their points of views and emotions are so balanced and imbalanced at the same time that it takes awhile to look back and think through all of those individual moments.

And so, before this gets too unbearably wrong, I’m going to bring this home with emphasizing the main point of why I love writing this ship: it’s a challenge

A huge. Fucking. Challenge.

It begs the question: how can you make this ship work? How can you make their potential dynamic come together and brush through those layers of misunderstandings and reckless emotions? 

How can Bakugou Katsuki pull his head out of his ass and realistically come into his own while learning to appreciate the person who’s respected and admired him for so long? 

How can Izuku Midoriya learn to stick up for himself when it comes to Katsuki and allow them both to be on equal ground, rather than Izuku always chasing the other? 

How can they get over their differences, and develop something beautiful and, dare I say it, healthy, after a possible length of years and years of mending?

For me, this ship demonstrates the gray areas of relationships, and the possibility of redemption for even the vilest people. 

For me, this ship revels in the depths of Izuku’s character as well as Katsuki’s, and how their dynamic can develop into something founded on equal respect, grounding, and healing. 

For me, this ship focuses on the damaged elements to both characters and embraces the toxicity to their current circumstance, as well as the awful and wonderful elements of their relationship down the line. 

For me, BakuDeku | KatsuDeku focuses on drama, realism, emotion, and the ultimate idea behind rebuilding, protecting, forgiving, and learning to pick up the pieces from one person to another.

There are no excuses for the damage done between these two. 

But there is something really beautiful, and tragic, about the potential in the horizon. 

So those are my thoughts. 

Thank you for inboxing, Anon.

luckycollectionexpert  asked:

Hi, I am big fan of MMFR now and find your writings very interesting. I am very confused why at the final battle Max and Furiosa not used any gun to self protected at all. Max do have some round at the beginning and then looking for bullets to refill. Seems very strange as he does not plan ahead at all (?) Or maybe I miss something?

Eh, I was originally gonna be flip and say “because ripping someone’s face off with a harpoon is way more badass” but then you got me thinking about guns in Fury Road. If I wander a bit far afield from what you were originally asking, hopefully it’s to interesting places.

For a movie that’s almost constant action, guns don’t play as big a role in the combat of Fury Road as you might think. In the world of the Citadel and its allies, Before-time pistols and rifles are kind of an elite weapon. Warlords and Imperators have them, but War Boys and Polecats mostly don’t. They have car-mounted machine guns and harpoon launchers, and all kinds of DIY weapons, some of which fire projectiles, but they mostly rely on throwing shit with their bare hands. (Given this, the fact that Furiosa has not just one or two but something like nine guns in her rig should tell you something about her status.)

Fury Road is also not one of those movies where the heroes have magically regenerating ammunition–in fact, being low on ammunition is a major plot point. So it’s possible that when Max is hunting around for more ammo after shooting at Slit, there just isn’t any left in that caliber. But more generally, if you don’t have infinite bullets you’re going to use your guns when they’ll be most effective.

When thinking about self-defense, remember that this is Fury Road, so no one fights alone. Furiosa is used to fighting with a team. So for the first part of the battle, when she’s driving, her self-defense is actually other people. She does plan ahead for that part of the battle, by stationing her kinswomen–who all happen to be really good shots–all over the rig, and on a moving bike that can weave around and pick people off. 

Even though Furiosa is also a good shot, she’s already using her strongest weapon in this situation, which is a giant fast murder truck that she’s really good at driving.

In general, Max and Furiosa use guns and other projectile weapons when their targets are at range. Furiosa uses an explosive crossbow bolt on the Polecat who kills Keeper, and Max (rather rudely) uses the ramrod from one of the other Vuvalini’s rifles to shoot Chainsaw Polecat before he can attack Furiosa.

But the final battle, more than any of the other action sequences, involves a lot of boarding of vehicles and a lot of hand-to-hand fighting. Except for Babyface McStabby, who has some kind of crossbow, most of the Polecats have melee weapons. None of them seem to have guns.

If a Polecat is swinging some weaponized garden equipment at you, it may be more effective to whack them with the heavy metal boltcutters that are already in your hand than to take the time to draw a gun, even if you have one. One of the things that makes the fights in Fury Road exciting is that anything can become a weapon, and in hand-to-hand combat an everyday object may prove more useful than a gun.

You may ask why Furiosa doesn’t take a gun with her to the Gigahorse. Maybe she thinks there are enough weapons on board that she’ll be able to figure something out. Maybe she doesn’t really have much of a plan at that point other than to stay alive long enough to fuck some shit up. She says “I’ll get him out of our way.” There are many potential ways to do that, although because of action movie conventions we know she is probably going to end up killing him. I think at that point it’s clear that she’s ready to die. So self-defense in that moment isn’t really about her long-term survival, but about living long enough to finish the mission. Similarly, Max launching himself at Rictus is more about him distracting Rictus from Furiosa than Max necessarily winning the fight.

Regarding “thinking ahead” more generally, one of the other things that’s great about the action sequences in Fury Road, and all the Mad Max movies, is how much unintended consequences and pure dumb luck come into play. To pick just one small example: Furiosa brakes to stop this Polecat from attacking Max:

But that means Babyface Polecat is able to hang on to the Rig and come back to stab her…

…which he probably wouldn’t have been able to do if Toast had been in her seat on that side of the Rig and/or Keeper hadn’t been dying.

Fury Road is full of examples like this, and this sense of chaos and unpredictability is part of George Miller’s style of action. Here’s a really good short video that goes into this idea some more:

From a character perspective, what this means is that characters can make an elaborate plan (how long did Furiosa spend planning every aspect of this escape?) and things will probably go sideways and they’ll have to think on their feet anyway. The race back to the Citadel wasn’t part of Furiosa’s original plan at all–24 hours earlier she was going to the Green Place, expecting never to see the Citadel again.

What makes Max and Furiosa great warriors and survivors is their ability to improvise, react quickly and not panic, fight with what’s around them, and make shit up as they go along just well enough to stay alive.

Attic notes, post-bomb blast:

Hi, everyone. Yeesh.

We’ve been through it, huh? I’ve missed you. I think we’ve all missed each other.

Despite the difficulty we’ve had these past few months—and despite my sudden and untimely disappearance (sorry… where tf did the time go?)—the Johnlock conspirators remain the most dedicated, passionate, interesting, smart, diverse, and brave group of individuals I have ever encountered, and never would have encountered without the power of the internet. We live in a terrible, horrifying, dystopian future, but it is also beautiful, because we have the technology to connect to each other and come together to share, think, and create… like this.

When wondering how the Sherlock fandom could lead me to such a perfect storm of people who understood how I related the world, it wasn’t difficult to figure out why. Sherlock is a story of an intelligent, isolated outcast whose heart wants to help individuals out of compassion for their lives, despite his social ineptitude. He is a character with his own sense of justice, a disregard for public opinion, and a love for his work that protects him from the vulnerability of opening up to others. We are, after all, what we eat. And the message that unites everyone in TJLC is not that Johnlock was going to happen in series four, but that love is the center of the story. Love will conquer all.

And they do mean ALL.

At the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival on April 9th, Mark Gatiss said of the fourth series, “The only heretical thing is modernizing it, the rest we try to go along with the stories.”

We all know how they really feel about these stories. So what is he talking about?

The closet.

Series four is inconsistent, confusing, jarring, illogical, contradictory, genre-reliant, chock full of lies, and timeline-fucked because so is canon. To create an entirely faithful adaptation, Watson’s unreliable frame narration, which serves to obfuscate his relationship with Holmes, (and as Moff often brings up in regards to HLV, to protect the liberty of a guilty party) must be faithfully adapted, too. In doing so, Sherlock itself becomes a thesis on the true nature of canon that, let’s face it, currently doesn’t exist outside of our oft-ignored echo chamber. And our compulsory-hetero society is such that Mark and Moff have the opportunity to play out the exact same social masquerade ACD played all over again, but finally, finally, with a groundbreaking rug pull that ensures Sherlock Holmes goes down in history as a gay icon, always has been always will be, make no mistake.

As much as Sherlock is a love story about a kiss that will leave all others behind, its supervillain-sized obstacles represent the supersized figures that have stood against the homosexuality of Sherlock Holmes for over a century: CAM (Mass media and surveillance), Mary (heteronormativity), Mycroft (The British Government), Moriarty (Cultural anxieties that gay love is dark/salacious/perverse). M, The Black Lotus, and The Spider signify the different ways in which they interconnect… and there’s much more to say on this subject. But let’s get some of the water out of this living room.

We were wrong. That’s it! We were wrong. I have issues with how series four was handled, and am infuriated by some of the choices that have been made. But in the end, part of the reason why the devastation was so devastating was that we weren’t prepared to be wrong. Not even wrong about the conspiracy! Just about January! This show takes too! Fucking! Long! To air!

Come to think of it, that probably should have been one of our central tenets:

  1. They lie.
  2. The show is gay.
  3. Sherlock has been imprisoned for 100 fucking years and this has been planned for 7 so shut the fuck up because all hope and suffering are relative when you simply surrender to the relentless march of time and the cruel indifference of the universe.

Series four was way, way, lower caliber than what we’re used to from the show we love. But our reading of the narrative still makes sense. I don’t care what anybody says—it does! It makes perfect sense! It makes better sense than the mess casual viewers just swallow like warm paste—like so much other television these days! TJLC is a community full of active viewers, who are able to really see what’s happening on screen, what it means, and pick it apart. We’re attuned to picking up these messages and are practiced at it. Though we definitely honed our skills with our elephant glasses, the ability to look at media with a critical eye and understand what is being said to us is more important than ever in the digital age.

Keep reading

But why?

Dark!Dany in season 7 (part 1 of ~4). 

I was almost finished writing down my dark!dany-impressions from episodes 1 and two, but then episode 3 aired and I decided to completely change the structure of this little essay and start anew. So of course, this took way longer than anticipated. I decided to finish the first part now, hopefully post the second part later today or tomorrow and complete the third and fourth after Dany went Dracarys in ep 4 (because she will, I just know that she will)

A couple of disclaimers before I get started :

First: D&D are playing loose (very loose) with the social rules and norms established in the books. I will try to keep any “that doesn’t make any sense, in the books xyz would happen” out of this. For example if the show tells me that besieging a city from all sites, thereby cutting its supply lines, will cost the least civilian life, I will take that as a fact. If the show claims that Cersei’s claim to the Iron Throne is “secure” enough to be seen fucking her own brother, at least within Kings Landing and in the mind of several Reach Lords who answered her summon, I will accept that as well. In short: If D&D say that’s how it is, then that’s how it is.

Second: I do not believe that primarily judging characters and their actions from a westerosi point of view really makes sense anymore. The world in which this story takes place should be taken into consideration, yes, but watsonian consistency and accuracy have really taken a backseat to the doylist intentions the show is trying to express. D&D are clearly changing and constructing plot lines, characterizations, decisions and reactions with a modern audience in mind and, most importantly, to accommodate their modern moral and ethical views. This is not to say that modern audiences lack the capacity to put themselves into alien positions and worldviews. This ability simply seems to be very inconsistent and sometimes even contradictory. For example: Even though decapitation has mostly vanished as a form of punishment, it’s fairly easy to recognise the supposed “justice” in such an act. If we are presented with a culprit guilty of a capital crime. As the show has displayed many times, chopping off someone else’s head for breaking a vow, does not turn you into a blood-thirsty murderer or ruthless tyrant, even though we all agree, that it’s good we don’t do that anymore. But on the other hand (pun intended) if one of our good guys were to cut of a thief’s hand on screen -a widespread punishment for theft over many continents and centuries, including the setting of asoiaf* - we would probably have a harder time to “forgive” them for it. I know I would. Humans and their perception of “moral” are weird. I’m sure there are some theories out there on why that is and what influences this, imo, rather weird phenomena, but I hope you understand what I mean when I say: We can accept different realities and their rules, but only when we can. In my opinion, that’s a framework D&D are carefully working with.

You can disagree with me on that, but that is how I am going to approach the show from now on, this little post included. I will focus on what the show-runners are trying to convey to a modern audience. How do they want us to react to what happens on screen and what tools do they use to influence and guide our reaction. Many of my estimations will be intuitive and not necessarily fully objective, so everyone is free to disagree with me in that perspective. But if you want to refute one of my arguments here, solely based on “but it is based on the medieval !!!”, you will have to present a very compelling case for me to care. Because the show mostly doesn’t care on what time period Westeros is vaguely based on, so why should I? 

Third: These are only my opinions, blah blah. I do not claim to have an insider in HBO who tells me what they were trying to do. These are only my thoughts, my analysis, my interpretations. 

Fourth: I don’t “hate” Dany, I don’t think she is the most evilest person on the show, I simply believe that she is moving into a darker direction. Honestly, that would be the exact twist the series could need right now. It’s starting to get a bit boring and predictable.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started with the first big question:

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

Why even conquer Westeros ?

I believe that both intentions and consequences are important. As a rule of thumb I always judge an action by its consequences, the character of a person by their intentions. This is often intertwined, an “evil” person will often do “evil” things, “good” people can sometimes do “evil” things for “good” reasons, and if a “good” person keeps doing “evil” shit you will sooner or later question how “good” they really are. It’s useless to say that all of this is indeed very subjective and it’s pretty unlikely that two people will always be on the same page. No one has to agree with me on that (after all the entire field of philosophy has been arguing about this for centuries), but I found it to be a fair and meaningful way to assess “ethical positioning”, at least for fictional fictional characters and my own opinion. 

So in this first section, I will focus on the question Why does Dany even want to conquer Westeros? Rather than her qualities as a queen or the consequences of her actions I will try to focus on her intentions, on what drives her to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. I will end this section on whether those intentions justify or warrant the price she is willing to pay for the Iron Throne and talk more thoroughly about it in later parts.

Season 7 has had a number of interesting hints and revelations about this issue.

EPISODE 1 “DRAGONSTONE”

I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the single short scene Dany had in episode one. (I was preoccupied with the case umber & karstark vs the north). But some comments made by Dany-fans caught my attention and made me take another look at her behaviour. What I’m talking about is Dany entering the Throne Room in Dragonstone, walking towards the throne (a symbol for “ruling”) but moving to the next room, rejecting it for the carved table Aegon planned his conquest on 300 years ago (a symbol for just that - “conquest”). 

I read comments along the lines “This was such a great character moment! It really shows where her priorities lie” or “She doesn’t just want to rule, she wants to win!”. After giving it some thought I fully agree with these statements, but … I do not think that’s … a good thing? This reminds me very much of something Dario said in season 6: 

You weren’t made to sit on some chair in a palace. […] You are a conqueror, D Stormborn. 

I think he is spot on with this. It has been shown again and again that what Dany is good at, what she thrives at, is conquest. Fighting and defeating your enemy. My question is: does this make her a good candidate for the Iron Throne? Shouldn’t her conquest simply be the means through which she accomplishes her real goal - ruling - instead of her true vocation? I don’t believe that Dany actually wants to sit on a throne, she simply wants to win it. Robert showed that good soldiers don’t make good kings, I do not believe that good conquerors make good queens neither.

EPISODE 2 “STORMBORN”

This episode tackles and subtly undermines two motivations behind this conquest, that made it an relatable, righteous venture in both our and Danys mind. 

First, Dany admits that Dragonstone “doesn’t feel like home”. 

Dany to Viserys in Pentos [s1]:
I don’t want to be his queen. I want to go home

Dany to Tyrion in Meereen [s5]:
I fought so that no child born into Slaver’s Bay would ever know what it meant to be sold or bought. I will continue that fight here and beyond. But this is not my home. 

Dany to Tyrion in Dragonstone [s7]:
I always thought this would be a homecoming. Doesn’t feel like home.

Longing for one’s home is an outmost humane desire. We can empathize and sympathize with this. We can’t begrudge her for this wish or the actions she takes to fulfill it. She might have never spend a day of her adult life in westeros before, but it has always been “home” in her mind. Now she is faced with the ugly reality that it isn’t. That Dragonstone, and I would deduce the Seven Kingdoms as a whole, are a strange, foreign place to her. If the castle she was born in, her family’s ancestral seat doesn’t feel “like home”, what will? The Red Keep? The Iron Throne? It is quite tragic, but the only real home Dany ever knew was the House with the red door in Braavos she lived in as a child. And that is not the home she will find at the end of her conquest. 


Second, Dany realizes that the common folk is not praying for her return, sewing dragon banners and drinking secret toasts to her health.

The wine seller and Dany [s1]:
You know there are many in your homeland who pray for your return princess. –  I hope to repay your kindness someday.

Tyrion and Dany [s5]:
When you get back to you home, who supports you? – “The common people”

Dany to Varys [s7]:
They call out for their true queen? They drink secret toasts to my health? People used to tell my brother that sort of thing and he was stupid enough to believe it. 

Acknowledging that Viserys was a fool to believe this, certainly shows maturity and that she’s come to understand “how the world works”, but this notion, that she would return the rightful ruler to her people also gave her conquest a “moral backbone”. After all Dany has always depicted herself as a champion for the common people (at least as long as she was in essos, more on that later). If she believes that “her people are crying out for their true queen”, even if it isn’t true, simply if she believes it, her conquest is to some extent meant to fulfill the wishes of her subjects. Whether that is an important factor for the legitimacy of a feudalistic ruler, is another question, but it definitely is a quality we admire and look for in a good ruler. What makes the King in the North scenes so powerful and engaging, is the fact, that both Robb and Jon are chosen by their people. This has always played an important part in Dany’s self-image as a ruler. She was always shown to be loved by the essosi commoners (ie former slaves), she herself has stated that “the common folk” is who supports her in westeros. But quite frankly the show hasn’t addressed yet what the westerosi small folk is thinking about the dragon queen’s return. Neither has Dany. It is only brought up once, when Varys starts to recount how unpopular Cersei is and Dany shuts him down immediately.

I noticed that “the good” Dany could do for the small folk in Westeros is mostly addressed by her supporters, not herself. Varys claims to back her because he believes “she is the best chance the common folk has”, Tyrion is the one to tell Jon that she “protects people from monsters”. In her time in slaver’s bay she brought this up numerous times herself: What SHE could do to better their lives. But since she landed in Westeros, she only talks about bringing peace and prosperity to the people twice. Once when talking to Onella, who immediately shits all over warfare-the-nice-way and tells her to be “a dragon” (more on that in part 3) and a second time when talking to Jon. But this sentiment was brought up in the context of how “a targaryen on the Iron Throne and a Stark as warden in northhave been good for the realm. It isn’t directly linked to Dany herself, rather her conception of her family’s legacy and it’s influence in the past.

EPISODE 3 “THE QUEENS JUSTICE”

This episode has done nothing to paint Danys motivation in a, let’s say “humanitarian”, light. Quite contrary, Dany freely admits in her own words that this conquest is most and foremost about her. Her wishes, her desires, what she thinks she deserves. She is approaching her “negotiation” with Jon with two key arguments in mind. First, her hereditary claim as a Targaryen and secondly, her personal claim based on her life experiences

The last King in the North was Torrhen Stark, who bend the knee to my ancestor, Aegon Targaryen. In exchange for his life and the life of the Northmen, Torrhen Stark swore fealty to House Targaryen in perpetuity. […] You’ve travelled all this way to break faith with House Targaryen? …

I’ve already talked about my problems with Dany calling herself the “rightful” ruler. Though she admits that her father was an “evil man”, she doesn’t acknowledge Robert’s Rebellion as a justified uprising against a tyrant. She simply sees her father as the bad apple of the family. As a single outlier in the otherwise “consistent” history of “righteous” Targaryen rule. Not only showing an unwillingness to accept any wrongdoings done by her house, her father gets outsourced as an exception, but also the consequences his downfall has for her “birthright”. Notice how she is specifically introduced as the “rightful” ruler (which is a little node at Jon heritage as well). She insists that the oaths Torrhen Stark made to Aegon are valid for eternity. She accuses Jon of “breaking faith” and “being in open rebellion”.  She is not trying to re-establish House Targaryen post-rebellion, she is refusing to acknowledge the rebellions significance, as if it doesn’t even matter. Her goal is to keep the Targaryen rule going, because in her mind, it never was rightfully “interrupted” in the first place. This is a mind-set that hasn’t changed since season 1.

While this argument seems to be prepared, her “outburst” that follows, reveals her most honest thoughts and opinions.

I was born in Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it. We fled before Robert’s assassins could find us. Robert was your father’s best friend, no? I wonder if your father knew that his best friends sent assassins to murder a baby girl in her crib. Not that it matters now, of course. I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all these years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods, not in myths and legends. In myself. In D Targaryen. 

 Don’t get me wrong, she deserves sympathy for all this. She was victimized for most her life, breaking free of this role, taking agency and even drawing strength from her abuse is indeed inspiring. I don’t know if that was the purpose of her speech, but I’m sure that many people perceived it that way. I don’t want to badmouth those who took just that away from it. 

But somehow … it also raised some “tragic-villain-backstory” alarms in my head. You know, traditionally at the end of the movie, when our heroes are chained up somewhere in the bad dudes lair and ask “Why are you doing this?” and the villain responds with all the bad shit that happened to them. Talking about how the world wronged them, often how our heroes wronged them.  “All my life the laughed at me, look who’s laughing now?”

This is not a sentiment directly expressed by her, but I feel like it’s so heavily implied that it’s fair to list it here. She has endured many, many hardships and now she feels that the world “owes” her big time. I feel like her ambition of conquering an entire kingdom has crossed the line of “not letting all your traumas stop you” and entered the realm of “I deserve everything I want, no matter the cost because life was unfair to me.” And that really is a text-book villain motive. 

I really do not like to compare female characters, and I’m not trying to say that one of them “had it worse than the other”, but all of these things also apply to Sansa, some of them even to Cersei. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in an episode titled “The Queen’s justice”, we see one Queen using her sufferings to support her claim, one taking revenge on those who wronged her and another taking care of her people’s needs. All of these three women have suffered in similar ways and while two of them use it to justify their rather selfish behaviour, one of them is shown to spend her time working for others. This “parallel” is only amplified by Bran mentioning Sansa’s wedding night in the same episode. The only reason I can see for Bran bringing up this specific incident (there were many other options to proof his three-eyed-raven powers), is to draw a connection to Danys speech. Again, I am not necessarily trying to set them against each other, but Danys approach to coping with her abuse, at least resembles the one Cersei chose to take. Compare Danys speech to this book quote from Cersei and tell me you don’t get similar vibes:

I waited, and so can he. I waited half my life. She had played the dutiful daughter, the blushing bride, the pliant wife. She had suffered Robert’s drunken groping, Jaime’s jealousy, Renly’s mockery, Varys with his titters, Stannis endlessly grinding his teeth. She had contended with Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and her vile, treacherous, murderous dwarf brother, all the while promising herself that one day it would be her turn. If Margaery Tyrell thinks to cheat me of my hour in the sun, she had bloody well think again.

This makes me believe that Dany is more or will be more like Cersei than she would like to think. If we all believe that Cersei is power hungry, isn’t Dany as well? For very similar reasons? 


The ending of her little speech also makes her seem a bit megalomaniac. 

[…] Do you know what kept me standing through all these years in exile? Faith. Not in any gods, not in myths and legends. In myself. In D Targaryen. The world hasn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki haven’t crossed the sea, any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms and I will. 

It’s no surprise really. She is the Mother of Dragons, the Unburnt, the Khal of Khals. It’s no wonder all of this goes to her head. This also ties into her conversation with Melisandre in episode two. She immediately assumes that the prophecy is about her, or at least, seems rather pleased at the possibility. She seems to be taken aback when Mel said she (only) “has a part to play”. (At least that’s how I interpreted it, it’s not really easy to know what EC is trying to convey with her … “acting”. Sry, not sry.) She has fully accepted herself as a chosen one, a prophesied savior, an über-mensch. Whether because of her lineage or her own achievements, this attitude hinges on plain arrogance and is way more often found in “villains” than “heroes”. 

Please notice that her speech is not triggered by Jon refusing her claim, but by his insistence that the white walkers are real and coming for all them. Having her react like this at that point off the argument seems a bit out of place. It could boil down to shitty writing, but it could also be meant to emphasize an apparent contrast between Jon and Dany. Jon embraces leadership to protect his people, Dany seeks it to satisfy her need for self-importance. 


While episode two subtly degrades her relatable and philanthropic motivations, episode three highlights those who are ultimately self-centered. Those rooted in ideas of superiority and entitlement. Whether she feels entitled because of everything she had to endure or her birthright as the last (lol) Targaryen, isn’t important. The point is that she feels she deserves to rule. She feels entitled to the seven kingdoms because of external circumstances, not because of her own qualities or competence. 

I would also like to point out one more thing: Dany could have very well stayed in Essos. She could have chosen to remain in “the Bay of Dragons”, rule as it’s queen, bringing real stability to the region. The show swept that under the rug, and yes, I promised to just take the bullshit D&D feed me at face value, but it she just left Slaver’s Bay behind when it was time to conquer Westeros. I don’t see any reason why the region shouldn’t return to chaos after she, her armies and her dragons are gone. After all, it was “D Stormborn and her dragons coming to Meereen”, as Tyrion put it, that finally brought the former Masters to obey. Now that she’s busy somewhere else, what’s going to keep them in check? Daario and his 2000 Second Sons? 

She could have stayed there, leading a comfortable life as it’s queen, caring for the people who worship her as the breaker of chains. Instead she decided to lead a war of invasion on Westeros. She decided to leave as soon as a fragile peace took hold, to wage war again. For what? If Dany isn’t fighting for “home” or “the will of her people”, what is she fighting for? What is left? She said it herself: D Targaryen. She is fighting for herself. This all is primarily about her and no one else. Honestly, I have a hard time rooting for someone who starts an invasion for selfish reasons.


This was part 1 of this long-ass post. I really hope I can finish “Tyrion Cricket starring in Danoccio” today or tomorrow. The sections “Fire and Blood and Burning Shit” will follow most likely after episode 4 has aired and my favourite topic right now (Targ!Cest vs Targ!Bowl) will come shortly after that. Stay tuned and thank you for your attention. 

Daily Reminders of Your Spiritual Path

1. Waking

Much of the spiritual Way involves the use of metaphor and art so as to move and inspire us, to give us a broader vision and a greater vocabulary of experience.

Waking up in the morning from our nightly dreams can be a symbol for waking up from the illusion of samsara. Are your dreams destroyed? Did the dream-person die? None of our conventional experiential descriptions of reality really adequately describe such a transition.

So when you awake in the morning, use that moment for something grand. Use it to polish your heart, meet the appearance of this strange world, and recognize the ease with which you leave behind the dreamworld once its dream-like nature is known. Wake up and roar. Many zen monks on waking simply burst into fake-it-til-you-make-it uproarious laughter.

See what works for you.

2. Waiting

There are always moments throughout the day in which we are in a mindset of “waiting.” During those times, we usually sink into semi-conscious trains of thought reflecting insecurities, desires, or curiosities.

However, none of our insecurities, desires, or responsibilities are helped by such idling. Instead, use those moments for the deliberate practice of mindfulness. It’s easy to deceive yourself by merely asserting or assuming you are always practicing mindfulness and yet no mindfulness is actually practiced throughout the day.

To avoid that snag, choose a deliberate technique. Following the breath, visualization practice, and focusing your sense of touch on an object or stone in your hands are all good techniques.

To quote Eckhart Tolle, “Give up waiting as a state of mind.”

3. Gratitude

Another Eckhart Tolle quote, “Gratitude is the foundation for all abundance.”

We are often disinclined to feel gratitude because we habitually cling to the things we recognize as good. To feel grateful frequently means recognizing something we would prefer not to see. Such recognitions could be that of impermanence, interdependence, and love.

But by practicing gratitude, by making it a part of our day, we reverse such issues. Suddenly the wisdoms of impermanence, interdependence, and love become accessible and appreciable.

When you can honestly and sincerely be thankful for what you have now to the extent that you feel overbrimming with good fortune, even the slightest act of kindness may bring a tear to your eye.

There are a few ways to bring gratitude into your day, and many more ways for you to discover. Some are:

Saying “thank you” to everyone, including plants and animals, and meaning it. Instead of making mental lists of desires for the future, make lists in your head or on paper of people and things for which you are thankful. Pay acts of kindness forward by passing them on to others. Gratitude prayers are also helpful, especially before meals.

4. Death

The way we conceive of and relate to death is inextricable from the ways in which we conceive and relate to life.

Many people are scared of thinking or talking about death, almost superstitiously so. We fetishize death through movies and video games, we describe philosophies of death through religions, but we still avoid honest and frank discussions about our own inevitable death or the death of our loved ones.

Remember death. Remember the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths: There is something unsatisfactory about life in this world. This unsatisfactoriness comes from somewhere. It can also cease. For the cessation of life’s unsatisfactory and anxious suffering, there is a path.

Death not only keeps everything in perspective but it also lends a great deal of energy to our path. When people are feeling too lazy to meditate, I often tell them to visit a hospital, a retirement home, and a graveyard in order to see what is in their body’s future.

5. Sleep

While waking up in the morning was akin to an awakening from the dream of samsara and the rebirth into clarity, going to sleep at night could be likened to a small death.

Going to sleep means letting go of the day’s activities, thoughts, and drives regardless of whether or not our expectations were met or all of our responsibilities settled. Death can take us any minute of any day, at least sleep can be more predictable!

Use the act of going to sleep as a conscious opportunity to let go. We are not residents of this world despite how much we pretend to be. Our stay is brief yet never without meaning, just as a child taken to the playground for an afternoon still has a hell of a good time.

Let sleep be a reminder of letting go, of not clinging to the past yet without fixation on the future.

By applying these five approaches to your day, they may act as seeds that grow into who-the-hell-knows-what. But it’ll be cool.

Namaste :D

Anonymous (Peter Parker x Reader)

Word Count: 3,869

Warnings: some mild cursing, it’s also pretty long


The first night you ever met him was unforgettable; mostly because you could’ve died that night. Your boss had begged you to help close that night even though you had told him you had made plans for homework and studying that night. The diner had been hit with a sudden rush of people and none of the closing chores had been completed so he needed an extra closer. It was exhausting but you thought you could use some extra money; college wasn’t going to pay for itself. It was never too early to start thinking about it; even if you were only a sophomore. 

After he’d locked the doors and thanked you for your hard work, and you turned to start walking home by yourself. “Y/N!” One of your coworkers chased you down and you looked over your shoulder to the middle-aged woman who had acted like your mother within your group of coworkers. “Lemme walk with you! It’s not safe for you to be walking around this late by yourself.” She walked by your side for most of the walk back.

When you parted ways, you were anxious to get back home. Being outside at this hour in New York wasn’t a good idea in the first place. You were turning a corner and when you looked up from your feet you noticed a menacing silhouette that seemed to be coming in and out of existence because of the flickering street light. You turned back the way you came but was met by a man with a hood over his head.

“Hello, sweetheart. Whatcha got on ya?” He grabbed your arm and you struggled to break free.

“Don’t hurt her, she’s a pretty thing.” The silhouette from before now showed his face in the pale light of the streetlamp above.

“P-Please, I don’t have anything, I swear.” You reached for your wallet and tossed it to the ground.  The man behind you picked it up and rummaged through to try and find anything of use.

“She’s got nothin’.” The man’s grip around your arm tightened and you let out a yelp of pain. “We’ll just have to take something else…” He snickered and you felt your heart beat even faster than it already was before. This is it, this is how I die… Your mind was racing and you could barely comprehend what was happening.

You missed what happened next, because suddenly you were free from the hooded man’s grip and they were plastered to the wall by some white net. When you had calmed down, you realized they were… Webs. That could only mean… Sure enough, a lanky blue and red figure stumbled a landing in the light in front of you.

“Um, are you okay?” He messed around with trying to pose himself by leaning against the lamp post and crossing his arms and just standing up straight. You would’ve laughed at the thought of Spider-Man being this awkward, but you were too thankful for his help that you didn’t care.

You practically tackled him as you embraced him. “Thank you so much. I thought I was going to die, oh my God!” You started sobbing and you could feel him tense up.

“That’s what I’m here for!” His voice sounded so young, like he was your age. You couldn’t believe your ears. He didn’t know what to do so he just stood there rigidly. “Oh gosh, please don’t cry. It’s okay now.” He gave you an awkward but reassuring pat on your back and you pulled away to wipe away the tears.

“I believe this is yours?” He held up your wallet. You accepted it and ran your hands through your hair, thinking about how you’d just missed a disaster by a second. “Would you like me to, um, take you home?”

“You mean like…” You looked up towards the tops of the buildings around you. Flying through the air like that terrified you at first, but you just wanted to get home to your bedroom. “Sure.”

“Okay, um,” Spider-Man knelt down with his back towards you and you wrapped your arms around his neck. “Hold on.” He shot a web up to the top of a building and you felt the wind against your face as you were launched up into the air. “Where to?” You gave him the street name and building number and he made course to your apartment.

You held on for dear life and kept your eyes closed most of the way home. After a couple web swings you got used to the idea of being in the air like this and opened your eyes. You almost regretted it because of how high off the ground you were, but the way the city looked from this perspective was beautiful. The lights, the street lamps that dotted the sidewalks… it seemed more peaceful from up there.

“Is this it?” You opened your eyes and saw Spider-Man sticking to the wall of your apartment building.

“Yeah,” You guided him to the fire escape that led to your bedroom window and slid from his back once you were back on solid ground. He turned to jump from his perch on the fire escape, but you grabbed his wrist. “Spider-Man? Thank you again.”

His flustered reaction was incredibly noticeable, even with that mask on, and he gave a little chuckle. “No problem, you have a nice night, ma’am.” And then he was gone; just like that. You climbed through your window and jumped into bed without changing your clothes. Falling asleep was hard because you kept thinking about how you just met Spider-Man.


You met Spider-Man?!”

That next morning you retold the story to your friends, and tried to convince them you did in fact meet the web-slinger. “You’re shitting me right now, Y/N.”

“I’m serious! These guys were trying to rob me and…” You stopped and shivered at the thought of what they would’ve done to you. “Anyways, he swooped in, stuck these guys to the wall, and saved me!”

Everyone asked you questions as if you knew him personally. It was just one night that he saved you, and they expected you to be best buds by now. Of course your friend, Ned, asked you a million questions in between periods at your locker–he was a big Spider-Man fan. Even his friend Peter, who you’d never really talked to, asked you: “What was he like?”

“Um,” you tilted your head while trying to think of how to describe him, “he was a lot more awkward than I thought he would be.”

“Oh.”

“But it was adorable in its own way.” You shrugged, and noticed Peter smirked slightly. “Well, boys, I have to go to the band room and help Mrs. Mayfield for my teacher’s aid period. It was nice meeting you, Peter.” You added and hurried down the hall.

Even while you were helping your band director you were distracted by your thoughts about meeting Spider-Man. You kept spacing off and she had to try and keep you grounded in reality. The memory of flying through the air, with the wind blowing your hair, was just so amazing. Little did you know that wasn’t the last time you’d see the Webbed Warrior of Queens. It was only the beginning.


A couple days later when you’d gotten home from school you were met with a surprise on your window. You tossed your stuff onto your bed and hurried over to see a handwritten note plastered to the glass with familiar webbing.

Meet me on the roof at 11?
–SM

There was a little spider doodled next to his signature and you didn’t know whether to be scared or excited. Why was Spider-Man asking you to meet him? It was a strange request indeed, but… what could go wrong?

The hours counting down to 11 seemed to take years; you told your parents you were going to bed and had to stare at the ceiling while waiting for the sounds of them settling down in their own room. When you thought they were asleep, you waited a little longer, and climbed out your window to the fire escape. You tried your best to keep from making so much noise, but the metal on the stairs were so rickety not even Spider-Man himself could sneak up them.

When you got to the top, you peeked your head over the edge of the roof and saw the web slinger pacing around and mumbling to himself. It looked like he was rehearsing something. When you revealed yourself he nearly jumped off the roof in shock, but composed himself. “Um, hi. I’m P-Spider-Man.” He rocked back and forth on his feet. “I mean, you knew that. What’s your name?”

You smiled and put your hands in the pockets of your sweater. “I’m Y/N. Why did you want to meet me up here?”

“Oh, right,” he scratched his head, “I was wondering if you’d like to go see some sights with me…” When you didn’t answer right away, he held up his hands defensively. “I mean, you don’t have to unless you want to.” Was Spider-Man asking to hang out with you? Why would someone like him want to be around you? You couldn’t stop a bus with your bare hands, you couldn’t fly or turn invisible; you were as normal as they came. But hanging out with Spider-Man would make for great stories in the future, plus: you were curious about him.

“I’d love to!” You beamed and he tilted his head confused.

“You do?” You tried not to laugh at how adorably awkward he was. “You do! Right…” He let you climb on his back and you wrapped your arms around his neck and legs around his torso to ensure you wouldn’t fall. “Hold on–I mean, I won’t let you fall, but,”

“Let’s go, Spider-Boy.” You interrupted and he nodded. Once again you were swinging through Queens but this time there were still some cars down below and people on the streets. It was much busier and felt a little safer than the first time you were at this height. “Where are we going first, Spider-Boy?” You rested your chin on his shoulder.

“It’s Spider-Man, And we’re going to make our way to Central Park, hopefully.” He muttered the last part and continued to shoot webs.

“Well you sound like a boy, Spider-Man, and I don’t believe you’re a day older than 16.” There was no response. “So I’m right?” Another long silence on his part.

“Maybe…” You laughed.

“I guess it’s too much to ask what school you go to.”

“Bingo.”

The ride to Central Park was a long one, but you eventually made it. It was practically empty, and the paths were lit up by the cute little street lamps. Even though you’d lived in New York for so long, you’d never really been to Central Park that often. It was more of a treat for you than it was a normal park. It looked so different at night, and you felt a whimsical presence of being out at night like this.

Spider-Man set you down on the grass and then told you to wait for a second. “I’ll be right back, promise.” He leapt off into the darkness and you could hear a bunch of webs being shot. After a couple minutes he returned and guided you to where he’d created a giant spider web spanning between multiple trees.

“Am I supposed to be impressed by this or…?”

“That’s not it, I’ll help you up.” Before you could say anything, he grabbed you and tossed you into the air like you were a rag doll. You screamed, of course, but when you landed you bounced a little, like on a trampoline. When you opened your eyes you saw that you were sitting on the giant web he’d strung up. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” He landed next to you and sat with his legs crisscross style.

“That wasn’t cool. You scared the shit out of me.” You pursed your lips and folded your arms around your chest.

“Well, just look up.” He pointed and laid down with his hands behind his head. Still bitter about being thrown in the air, you sighed with a roll of your eyes and tilted your head upwards. The stars twinkled in the clear night sky and your frustration immediately melted away.

The two of you laid next to each other while staring at the sky for quite a bit of time. You had a ton of questions that you wanted to ask him; mostly little things about him. “So, you created the fluid you use for your webs?”

“Yeah.”

“You must be a smart kid, Spider-Boy.” You teased.

He looked away from you embarrassed. “I guess I am.”

“Okay, but who’s going to clean up all this web?”

“It dissolves after two hours. Speaking of which, what time is it?”

You pulled out your phone. “Nearly… 2 am?! I have a math test tomorrow!” You tried to get up but forgot you weren’t on solid ground and fell over. “You gotta take me home, Spider-Boy.”

On the way back he apologized countless times and you could tell his was booking it as much as he could for your place. He dropped you off at your window and said a hasty goodbye before disappearing into the skyline. You changed into your pajamas and curled up into your bed, hoping you’d be able to catch enough z’s.


The next time you found a note on your window, he took you to Chinatown, but it was still pretty busy so you got to see all the different signs and people on the streets. He took you lots of place over the next couple trips, each visit getting closer and closer to one another so that you saw him almost every other night.

Up to this point you’d decided not to tell anyone about your adventures with Spider-Man, but you couldn’t keep his most recent visit a secret. You were excited to share it with Ned and Peter because he’d taken you to Stark Tower; where the Avengers used to work from.

That was the first night he’d really taken you high up like that. It was terrifying, to say the least. He’d actually webbed your torso to his as he climbed up the building. “I’ve never been up this high before.” His voice shook ever so slightly as he looked down towards the concrete jungle below.

“I’d never thought that Spider-Boy would be afraid of heights.” You teased with a toothy grin.

“I’m not afraid of heights! I’ve never climbed a building this tall before, that’s all…”

The height was very apparent because the wind at this level was more torrential compared to the ground level. With your hands around his neck, you dug your face into his shoulder to keep your hair from getting all in your face. You were also very scared being this high, but you didn’t want him knowing that.

It seemed like a millennia before you reached the top where there was a flat platform that looked like a landing pad. Once you were on solid ground again, Spider-Man cut you free from the webbing and tossed it in the wind. The city below looked so small now.

“It’s beautiful…” you held up your hands over your mouth trying not to freak out over the sight. You heard him mutter something incoherent and turned to him. “You say something?”

“Nothing!” The lenses on his mask widened and you turned your attention back to the scene in front of you.

“You know, it seems like there’s no security here right now. I was sure we’d be caught by now.”

“Well, I asked Mr. Stark about taking you here, so he probably let someone know…” He shrugged and joined you.

“So,” you sat down and dangled your feet over the edge, “you still haven’t told me how old you are.”

“Would you believe me if I told you I was 18?” He turned to you with hope in his masked eyes.

“Absolutely not,” you laughed and nudged him, “so, what is it? How old are you, Spider-Boy?” At this point he’d accepted your nickname for him, and didn’t argue with you about it anymore.

“I’m 15.” Now you weren’t expecting him to be your age, which made him probably one of the youngest superheroes ever. Another question had been eating away at your mind for awhile, but you were too afraid to ask. It’s now or never, I guess…

“Well, does 15 year-old Spider-Boy have a girlfriend?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” You felt your stomach do a flip when he turned his gaze to yours.

“You can’t answer a question with a question, mister!” You scrunched up your face and wagged a finger. He didn’t say anything at first, but sighed.

“No, I don’t have a girlfriend.” Good. “Th–There is a girl I’ve had a crush on for awhile now, though.” He kicked his feet and looked away from you.

“What’s she like?”

“Well, she’s beautiful, and hilarious, and kind, and strong. Very brave for climbing up this building with me.” With every word his hand had slid closer to your own, and soon they were almost touching.

“Well I have a crush on a boy, but I don’t know his name, or what he looks like, or what school he goes to. But I do know that he’s sweet, and horribly awkward.” Your hand drifted over his and you leaned a little closer to him. He mirrored and when your noses touched you laughed. “It’s kinda hard to kiss you when your mask is covering your face.”

“Oh, right.” he pulled the mask up to reveal his chin and mouth. You leaned in again and pressed your lips on his…


You kissed Spider-Man?” Ned nearly announced it to the whole cafeteria, but luckily you were sitting in their empty side of the room. “Okay, now I know you’re lying.”

“I wouldn’t make something up like that, Ned! He’s been taking me around at night for the past month or so and last night we went up to Stark Tower. I just didn’t want to tell anybody because they’d react like you just did.” You rolled your eyes and stared off at the wall to avoid looking at them.

“Okay, say you have been hanging out with Spider-Man, what’s he like?”

“He’s super smart; would you believe that he came up with the fluid for his web shooters? He told me that one night, even let me play with them. He’s a total nerd, and he’s kind of awkward, but it’s okay because he’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met.” You gushed and felt your face go red once you realized what you were saying.

“I believe you, Y/N.” Peter chipped in sheepishly. “I mean, I’m sure Spider-Man’s just a normal guy like us. I mean, if you look past his super strength and stuff.” He scratched the back of his head and you stared at him for a moment. Something about the way he always did that when he got nervous along with his voice sounded so familiar.

“Yeah… Also,” you turned back to Ned in a low whisper, “he’s not even a man. He’s only 15, like you and me.”

“Whatever, Y/N. I’m still skeptical, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”

You finished your food before the two boys and gave curt goodbyes before taking huge strides to throw your food away on the opposite end of the dining hall. “I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt; I’ll show you, Ned…” You mocked under your breath and stormed out of the cafeteria.

Little did you know, Ned and Peter were having a frantic conversation once you left. “Dude, you kissed Y/N?! You have to tell her!”

“I-I can’t; she’ll stop liking me. She doesn’t like Peter Parker, she likes Spider-Man.”

“If you don’t tell her, I will.”

“No!” He sighed. “Fine, I’ll tell her…”


When you got home that evening you rushed to your room hoping to find a note on your window. You weren’t disappointed, because sure enough there was a piece of paper stuck to the glass with webs.

Roof at 11?
-SM

You waited impatiently throughout the night; almost spilling your juice all over the dining room table at dinner, completely blanking out on your homework, it was a mess. You were so anxious to see him because you wanted to prove to Ned you actually knew Spider-Man.

When 11 pm came, you nearly bolted out your window and up the fire escape. Sure enough, Spider-Man was pacing around the roof like he usually was. He was also talking to himself again. “I can’t do that, Karen!” He said a little too loudly and noticed you were standing on the other side of the roof. “Oh, hi, Y/N!”

“Who’s Karen?” You tilted your head.

“She’s an AI in my suit. I talk to her a lot…” He scratched the back of his head.

“That… explains a lot.” You smiled and strolled closer to him. “Where are we going tonight?”

“Um, actually, I had something to tell you first.” You stopped dead in your tracks. “Well, I’m not who you think I am–No that sounds stupid, um…” He sighed and slid the mask off. You didn’t believe what you saw.

“Peter…?” The confusion was then taken over by anger. “Is this some joke? Did Ned put you up to this?” You clenched your fists and turned around to start looking for Ned’s hiding spot. “Ned! This isn’t funny you better come out here or I’ll–”

“It’s not a joke, Y/N, trust me.” He shot a web to your wrist to stop you and you finally calmed down. “I know: Peter Parker as Spider-Man, right? Don’t blame you for thinking it’s a joke.” He avoided your gaze.

“It’s not like that, Peter. I just thought Ned was playing a joke on me after what I told you guys earlier…” The hurt in his eyes was killing you. “You’re not a joke, Peter. I just wasn’t expecting Spider-Boy to be someone that I knew, that’s all.”

He looked up and was met with your reassuring smile. “Um, I’d understand if you don’t want to go out tonight… Now that you know Spider-Man’s Peter Parker and all…”

“Peter,” you took some steps closer to him, “Spider-Man and Peter Parker are the same smart, adorable, and sweet person I’ve grown to like.” Now you were just as close as you were the night before when you kissed him. It was different tonight, though. Something about finally knowing who you’d been crushing on for awhile made it seem more exciting and thrilling. You leaned in and kissed his forehead. “Where to, Spider-Boy?” Peter was too flustered to reply and you chuckled.

“Right,” he threw his mask back on, “I was thinking star gazing again.”

“Lead the way, Peter.” You climbed onto his back and couldn’t stop smiling the whole way to the park.

the-moon-loves-the-sea  asked:

t'pura or mcspirk :)

Oh, I am so glad you asked for this one, my dear. TOS McSpirk is the ship that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I have so many feels, and so many headcanons, but I’ve always been a little intimidated of voicing them, because these three are just so damn important. Bear with me as I try my very best to do the triumvirate justice. @gracieminabox, I’m tagging you, too, solely because we’ve talked about some of this (or you’ve listened to me ramble at length, you wonderful person, you) and I am just drowning in my feels - throw me a life preserver, will ya?


Who said “I love you” first

None of them use the words.

It’s not something that needs to be spoken. 

Carrying another’s soul changes a man. Everything, everything Spock’s ever seen and known and done, Len’s right in the thick of it all. 

It’s as horrifying as it is mind-boggling. Len’s a deeply private person, and having someone else in his head, a rival, a friend, giving him a front row seat to all of his flaws and doubts and failings, well, that’s almost more than Len can bear.

Turns out, their minds are remarkably compatible. The man Len had sparred with, served with, depended on, fought against, and trusted with his very life becomes so deeply intertwined in Len’s consciousness that he can hardly separate where Leonard H. McCoy ends and S’chn T’gai Spock begins. They are one and the same, a duality housed in a single vessel, twin souls sharing a fragile human body.

Len’s shocked to find that Spock… still is, for lack of a better term. The living soul of another - katra, Spock corrects him pointedly - is just that, living. Spock is in the present; he reacts, and he thinks - boy, does he think, Len realizes - and Len very quickly has a hard time distinguishing between the thoughts that arise from his own mind, and those that are of Spock.

There’s no way to block it, either. 

 Len learns a very many things, seeing the world through Spock’s eyes. 

He learns that Jim is Spock’s t’hy’la (he’s not surprised at this, not a bit, he just hadn’t realized that “bromance” was an official Vulcan relationship with an official Vulcan name).

He learns that Vulcans feel emotions. Vulcans feel emotions very strongly, in fact. 

He learns about Spock’s past. About his childhood, about his home.

And he learns about himself.

It’s harder with Jim. Len catches the shadow of Jim’s essence through the fragile t’hy’la bond, like echoes in an empty room, but it’s dimmed, somehow, and Len can never be quite sure if the snatches of emotion and bleeding of thoughts that seem to emanate from Jim come from Jim-of-the-moment or memories of past-Jim supplied by the Spock who now lives only in Len’s head. Time seems to shift and bend, swirls of before looping over glints of today, Spock’s unfettered desire for Jim Kirk mingling and compounding with Len’s own until Len can hardly hold himself back (but he must, he must). The whole situation is enough to give him a pounding migraine that lasts for months.

Later, when Len wakes up on a stone slab with a throbbing head and a clawing emptiness in his soul, he realizes that he can still feel Spock.

Or rather, he can feel where Spock’s not

There’s a gaping hole in Len’s mind, where there should be the swirling thoughts of another. It’s a devastating, godawful feeling. Len’s known heartbreak before, countless times in countless ways, but this is different, starker, more absolute. There’s a piece of him missing, a whole other side of him gone, and Len feels as if he’s slowly breaking apart, as if everything that’s ever made him the man he is is slowly crumbling around him.

He hardly even recognizes himself.

Spock seems to be shutting him out. 

Spock, for his part, doesn’t know what to make of it. There is t’hy’la, his face so well-known and well-loved, the face that colors so many of his memories - “Your name is Jim,” - but there is the other, too. He has a bond with the other, the other whose face is so familiar and so beloved, the other who evokes such strange and bewildering emotions from his vulnerable heart. Their bond is wide open and blazing, like fire, like the sun, blinding in its brilliance. Spock’s memories are muddled and unexpected, colored by a lens that is not his, and he has a deeper understanding of the world and all that is in it than he’s ever remembered knowing before, a new, strange, human perspective. His knows a grief that is not his own, failures and triumphs and fierce pride and love, love, love, and a heartbreak, a loneliness that keens and blends with his own loneliness, thoughts that pulse and thrum and churn and break against his own thoughts.

“Remember.”

Spock snaps his barriers up with a force that very nearly sends him reeling.

It takes him time to sort it out, to tease apart the trappings of his own mind and to separate his own experiences from those of Leonard McCoy. 

“I’m gonna tell you something that I never thought I’d ever hear myself say. But it seems I’ve missed you. And I don’t know if I could stand to lose you again.”

It is only later, treading water in the tiny whale-tank on a centuries-old Earth, that Spock comes back to himself. 

“I am Spock,” he tells her. 

And he knows, then, that he is Spock, and that Jim is Jim, and that Leonard is Leonard, and that together, they are something new.

He waits for the opportune moment. 

It is a surprisingly difficult discipline, the waiting.

He manages it until the council hearing, and then, suddenly, he can resist no longer, moving to stand next to Jim and dropping his barriers just for an instant, hardly even glancing up to meet Leonard’s gaze.

He doesn’t have to - Leonard’s answering thrill of wonder and anticipation is like the rising of the sun, and its all there, magnified exponentially between them, joy, joy, joy, and love, love, love.

He finds them together that night, waiting for him in his own cabin.


Who would have the others’ picture as their phone background

There aren’t many photographs of just the three of them.

The background of Jim’s PADD is a picture of David.

The background of Len’s PADD is solid black. Spock and Len are remarkably similar in that regard (and in many others). Len, in any universe, prefers not to let anything distract him from his work, and it never occurs to Spock to personalize an object that is so clearly intended for his professional use.  

Spock, though, is the one who collects objects of sentimental value.

It is only logical to do so. Jim and Leonard are human; he will likely outlive them both by at least a century. A broken marriage bond can easily drive an otherwise healthy Vulcan into insanity, and once failed, the Kohlinar is no longer an option - Spock knows, deep in his most secret thoughts, that he would not make another attempt at purging his emotions, even if he could.

It is far, far too late for that.

So he stores away small things, a photo of the bridge crew, a scrap of napkin that Jim has scrawled on, a snapshot of Len smiling under the Georgia sun, mementos, moments, little glimpses of a life well-lived. He keeps them all carefully hidden in a tiny box - “This is my logic,” -  saving them for the day when memories are all he will have left of Leonard and Jim, these two extraordinary human men who have captured his heart so completely.

It is but a small price to pay, or so Spock tells himself.


Who leaves notes written in fog on the bathroom mirror

Len scrawls their names in the traditional vanu-tanaf-kitaunin, fingers tracing the elaborate loops and curves with a muscle memory that is not his own, the mirror squeaking softly as he writes.

Spock stands at his shoulder as if to correct him, never speaking, only watching. 

At length, Len pulls back. “Well, what do you think, Spock?” he asks, and Jim can see by the glint in his eye that he’s pleased with himself. “Not too bad, for a first try.”

Spock leans over him without a word, trailing one long finger at the edge of Len’s handiwork. “A satisfactory attempt,” he murmurs, flicking deftly to adjust the curve of serif that Len had neglected. “For a human.”

“Very pretty, Bones,” Jim reaches around them both, making his own mark on the glass. 

JTK was here.

Len lifts his eyes heavenward and sighs. 


Who buys the others cheesy gifts

Jim Kirk buys the cheesy gifts.

An “I <3 NY” shirt for Spock.

Red suede cowboy boots for Len (who wears them proudly).

“World’s Best Husband” mugs for all three of them.


Who initiated the first kiss

Len and Jim have kissed several times before the initiation of their relationship. 

Len and Jim have been each others’ best friend, drinking buddy, and wing man for years. They’ve participated in more than a few wild nights - most notably that one exceptional shore leave on Argelius - and neither of them are adverse to a little inebriated physical affection.

After all, what’s a kiss between friends?

Spock and Jim, at the time of Spock’s death, were only beginning to explore their physical relationship. Spock had initiated a few superficial melds, but Jim, for the most part, remained aware of the t’hy’la bond only in passing, and Spock had only briefly introduced him to the Vulcan ozh’esta. 

Never a full, proper, human, lips on lips kiss.

Later, after the fal-tor-pan and the awful excursion to the 20th century - whales, really? - and the revelation of Jim’s council meeting - “Mr. President, I stand with my shipmates,” - Len knows it’s time.

He doesn’t need to approach Spock. For one glorious moment, Spock had dropped the barriers between them, and the bond had flared to life, singing in Len’s mind, an all-consuming joy so sudden and fierce that it had very nearly brought Len to his knees.

He manages to keep himself upright, but only just, basking in the glow of Spock’s presence against his, so long-missed, so absolutely vital. They share the moment, both an instant and an eternity, and when Spock pulls back, Len has the sensation of falling into himself. He’s left with a new understanding and a contentment like he’s never known, save for the dull ache of desire in his deep in his chest.

He finds Jim, and he lays it all on the table.

Jim’s intake of breath, after Len finally runs out of words, is sharp, harsh, and Len is afraid, for one terrible moment, that he’s misjudged things horribly.

“Oh, Bones,” Jim breathes, and then he’s kissing Len for all he’s worth, taking Len by the upper arms and pulling him onto his toes.

Jim’s lips are warm and soft and familiar and right on his, and Len realizes, suddenly, that this is only the beginning. 

It’s the most joyful thing he’s ever known.


Who kisses the others awake in the morning

Not Jim.

Otherwise, it depends on who wakes first.

Typically, this is Spock. Vulcans require less sleep than humans, so its typically Spock tracing the curve of Jim’s jaw or the edge of Leonard brow, with his lips, with his fingers, with his tongue.

Sometimes, though, it’s Len. Len is a nuzzler. Len likes to bury his face in the crook of Spock’s neck and to curl his body protectively around Jim’s. Len kisses the hollow of Jim’s throat, the soft patch of skin behind Spock’s ears, running his fingers down their chests and shoulders, paying special attention to the sensitive spots on the inside of Spock’s elbows.

Jim’s a little more passive. On the rare occasion that he’s up first, he likes to lay beside his husbands and watch them. Len, early bird though he is, is a total bear when woken unexpectedly, and it is so rare to catch Spock unawares that Jim feels as if he’s obligated to savor the moment. Spock’s face is relaxed, the tension and sharp lines fallen away, and Bones, though he’ll deny it to his dying day, snores softly and smacks his lips in his sleep. 

Jim wouldn’t wake them for the world.


Who starts tickle fights

Jim is typically the instigator of the tickle fight.

Len’s got a tiny spot just at his inner thigh that sets him giggling until he can hardly breathe, red-faced and panting, tears running down his cheeks.

Jim lives for these moments.

Len’s retribution, when he can finally manage it, is swift and brutal. Jim may be bigger and stronger, but Len is fast. He sprawls on top of Jim, long fingers extracting their revenge with all the precision and finesse of a highly skilled surgeon. 

Jim Kirk begs for mercy.

Spock watches it all impassively from the corner of the bed, the gentle thrum of satisfaction that filters through their bond the only evidence of his amusement.

Until Len exploits his superior knowledge of Vulcan physiology, that is.


Who asks who if they can join the other in the shower

Surprisingly, this is Spock.

Jim doesn’t ask if he can join Len, not that Len expects it. He pushes his way through the sliding glass door, and automatically Len shifts to accommodate him, without a word.

Jim, though, is remarkably efficient with their shared time in the shower. He hops in, does his business, and hops out, dripping little puddles all over the bathroom floor and humming softly under his breath.

Len takes his sweet time. There’s something wonderful about the thrum of real water on his bare skin, and despite the environmental control systems on board the Enterprise, the vastness of space leaves him feeling cold and hollow. A hot shower is a comfort, and he savors it.

Spock is strangely drawn to Leonard during these moments. It’s as if something in the water melts whatever subtle barriers remain between them, and Spock finds himself dumbstruck by Leonard, Leonard with his eyes closed and his face upturned, lips parted just slightly, Leonard who’s completely oblivious of Spock’s presence, just standing utterly still and letting the water fall over him like rain.

The words, May I join you, are hardly out of Spock’s mouth before Len’s breathing a harsh, “Yeah,” and Spock is shedding his cloak and climbing deftly into the shower with his bondmate.

Jim finds them a long time later. “Well, thanks for the invitation,” he manages just before Spock yanks him into the downpour, shirt and all.


Who surprises the others at work with lunch

They all eat lunch together, when they can.

It’s actually an old habit. During the five year mission, Jim would often have his lunch with Bones in the sickbay, or with Spock, when they could both leave the bridge. Occasionally, when their schedules allowed it, they’d all take their lunch breaks together in the mess hall, Bones sassing at Spock, Spock snarking at Bones, Jim indulgently running interference between them (and often subtly egging them on).

Now, years later, the pattern remains. Bones still sasses Spock, Spock still snarks Bones, Jim still looks on in besotted amusement.

Some things never change.


Who was nervous and shy on the first date

There’s not a first date, necessarily. 

After the kiss - it’s a particularly long kiss - Jim can hardly find words. 

“Bones,” he breathes, eyes wide and a little bit desperate. “Are you sure? He’s -”

“Jim,” Len takes Jim’s hand in his own. “I’m sure.”

They wait for Spock together.

Len’s certain, this time. The look Spock had given him across the council chamber had said enough.

The bond had said everything.

The door opens, and there’s a beat of silence.

It all hangs in the balance. The past, the future, literal lifetimes shared between them.

“Spock,” Jim bursts. He takes half a step forward, then stops suddenly, as if reminding himself, “Be gentle, don’t press.”

“Jim. Leonard.” Spock nods toward them, utterly serene, his dark eyes giving nothing away.

Len feels as if his heart’s about to burst.

Enough, enough.

“Oh, god, c’mere,” he chokes, throwing his arms open wide and shoving all of his love, his wonder, all of himself toward the Spock-shaped hole in his heart.

Spock moves, the barriers fall, and the bond sings.


Who kills/takes out the spiders

Spock is the best at catching the spiders. 

Len’s too busy harassing Jim. “Haven’t seen you jump so high in years,” he laughs.

“Could be poisonous,” Jim informs him primly, stepping lithely down from the dresser only after Spock has relocated the offending critter outside. “Better safe than sorry, you know, Bones.”

“I’ll remember you said that,” Len tells him pointedly, “the next time you decide to scale a goddamn cliff face with no safety gear!”

Jim does not honor this with a response.


Who loudly proclaims their love when they’re drunk

Len is the tactile one of the three, and this is only exaggerated when he’s drunk. He worships his lovers with his hands and with his body, litany of murmured praises falling like honey from his lips.

Spock is seldom inebriated. In fact, he’s far more likely to act as a keeper to Len and Jim, silly humans with their silly love of recreational cognitive impairment. He keeps a watchful eye on the two of them, carefully concealing his indulgent amusement at their drunken antics.

Rarely, though, Spock will have a piece of Jim’s chocolate pie, or accept Len’s offer of a drink (Len never fails to offer).

Then, Spock becomes a wild thing, a Vulcan of the days of old, a physical being in the most inherent sense. Making love is an art and a science, and Spock, particularly when he loses his inhibitions, excels at it. The somatosensory cortex of a Vulcan brain is exquisitely complex, and that, coupled with the ingenuity and innate intensity of the human experience, renders Spock completely powerless to his own desires. He throws himself into his task, flooding the bond wide open and laying waste to his mates’ bodies with a fervor and ferocity that borders on primal, delighting in the heat of their skin under his.

Len, for his part, can never quite contain his thrill of anticipation when Spock’s fingers subtly brush his as he passes Spock the bottle of Saurian brandy.

Jim is the romantic. 

Jim, when he’s drunk, serenades his husbands with classical literature, and sometimes, with old-earth love songs.

Wise men say

Only fools rush in

But I can’t help

Falling in love with you

Len joins him occasionally, when he’s had enough that the long forgotten lyrics come easily and he forgets the warble in his voice. 

Like a river flows 

Surely to the sea

Darling so it goes

Some things are meant to be

They join hands, swaying a little with the rhythm of the music and the alcohol. Jim reaches toward Spock, drawing him in, holding him close, and Spock allows it, allows his free fingers to slip into Leonard’s, allows the glow of the moment to wash over him, allows himself the simple joy of just being here, with them, together, these two humans who he loves more than life itself.

Take my hand

Take my whole life too

For I can’t help

Falling in love with you


Link to Anna’s Masterlist here

[ffxv] who ya gonna call? (maybe someone else), pt 1/???

Word Count: 2417
Rating: T (for language)
Characters: the Spook Hunting Four (Prompto, Noctis, Ignis, Gladio)

just a bit of that spook hunter au because i have 0 self control, just that good backstory for the spook hunter au that i made on impulse because again, i have 0 self control

special thanks to @danielkesslers & @mildlydistressedpidgeon for the quick beta read

special special thanks to @destiny-islanders for their awesome art of the spooks au, i was truly blesst!! check it out!!

anyway!!! spooks ahead! watch out!


The scene is chaos, even from the limited perspective of the camera in the room.

It’s on the ground, knocked down in a flurry of movement by an unseen force, but within the scope of it there’s still a clear shot of the storm brewing.

A kitchen, drawers wildly opening and shutting, cabinet doors flying off their hinges. A clattering of pots and pans. The mail that had been neatly stacked on the counter is now flying about, circling the center of the room. The entirety of the room seems to be shaking with anger, seems to scream from its very core.

In the grainy green of the night vision camera stands a lone man in the center of the room, looking exhausted as envelopes and postcards fly past him at dizzying speeds.

Not the fearful kind of exhaustion that one might expect in this situation, where he’s clearly facing an invisible specter of nightmares. A terror. A poltergeist.

No, it’s the exhaustion of a cashier who’s been trying to explain to a customer that the store can’t take an expired coupon ma’am, it’s company policy ma’am for the last thirty minutes.

“Frank,” he says, voice scratchy over the damaged microphone. “Frank, I know that you’re angry about the couches. But, please, we can’t keep doing this.”

Keep reading

Interview translation (Takumi Shu)

This is from one of the trilogy era fan books, an interview with Ace Attorney writer/creator/director Takumi Shu about Phoenix and Edgeworth. I posted it on the PW Kink Meme before but since I finally jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon, I figured I might as well put it up here too. Enjoy~


Interviewer: The profile that the fans came up with for Wright is published on page 46. What’re your thoughts on it?

Shuu: You all put a lot of thought into that, didn’t you? Personally when it comes to Wright, the more I try to unravel him, the less I understand. When it comes to Edgeworth, he’s a little more unstable in some ways than the average person, so that actually makes it easier to think up interesting replies for him. But with Wright, I feel like he’s the type who leads a relatively normal life with both feet on the ground. And he’s quite average. That actually makes it more difficult to imagine what his life style is like.

I: As you say, Inaba-san and Iwamoto-san both described Wright as “average.” (see page 48)

S: I suppose so. He gives the impression of having been raised in a very normal family. I think he probably grew up in municipal housing or apartment building with his family. I bet even now he’s renting a normal apartment. He probably commutes to the bath house and stuff.

I: When it comes to his mode of transportation between his place of residence and his office or the bath house, it seems that a lot of fans are of the opinion that he rides his bike…

S: Couldn’t it be like a granny bike [characterized by having a basket on the front for carrying a purse/groceries]? I don’t really think a mountain bike suits him (lol) Just so we’re clear, I don’t ride a granny bike (lol)

I: Train and bike were mentioned, but what about other modes of transportation?

S: It’s been established that he doesn’t own a car. I can’t picture him driving one, it just doesn’t fit his image (lol)

I: Does he have his driver’s license?

S: Probably not.

I: While we’re on the subject, what about you, Shu-san? Do you have your license?

S: I don’t, actually (lol). That might have influenced Wright in a way.

I: The next item on the player input survey is about “part time jobs he had in college.” In average Wright’s case, there seems to be a general consensus that it would’ve likely been something that had a lot to do with serving people’s daily needs or the hospitality industry, but since he was enrolled in the art department, I think it would be interesting if he’d done some artistic modeling.

S: He might’ve also been something like a manga artist’s assistant.

I: What exactly was Wright studying in the art department?

S: I actually have an established headcannon about that. He was hoping to become a Shakespearian actor. That’s why he was enrolled with the art department. Influenced by that experience, his gestures tend to be a little exaggerated

I: So did he plan on someday going to England to study acting, then?!

S: I think he did. But then while he was enrolled, a newspaper article about Edgeworth caught his eye. After that he changed courses and started studying to be a defense attorney so that he could meet Edgeworth.

I: I wouldn’t have expected him to pursue an acting career. So does this mean that he’s actually pretty capricious?

S: I wouldn’t call him capricious exactly; I think he’s more the type that once he starts thinking a lot about a certain thing, he becomes very single-mindedly fixated on that thing (lol). I already mentioned that in the “his ‘type’” section though, didn’t I?

I: I see. Let’s talk about his taste in cell phones. What sort of phone do you imagine him owning?  I’m betting that since he’s hopeless with technology, he has a very basic model that he’s used and loved for a long time. Is that right?

S: It’s probably one of those old basic straight phones [as opposed to a slider or flip phone which were more common in Japan when this was written]. But even as old as it is, he still hasn’t managed to ruin it with over use. I doubt he’d bother to replace it until it actually breaks… He doesn’t seem like he’d be able to afford an upgrade before that time (lol)

I: Wright keeps taking jobs that don’t end up paying much, so he doesn’t seem like he has much money.

S: And we probably shouldn’t underestimate the cost of maintaining that office of his. It’s in pretty good shape, and there’s a decent amount of room in there. But I think that for Wright, in contrast to wealthy Edgeworth, a poorer image suits him pretty well. If you think of him that way, he, how should I put this… it adds flavor to his character (lol)

Interviewer: Looking at the responses we gathered from the fans, we got some pretty nice comments, but it still feels like there are gaps here and there. What can you tell us about Edgeworth’s character?

Shu: Compaired to Wright, don’t you think Edgeworth’s details are easier to imagine? How should I put this… it’s easy to play around with different aspects of his character. Once I decided that he was rich, various inspirations about him just kept coming to me.

I: Speaking of his wealthiness, it looks like the fans, in regard to his living quarters, imagined him to have rather expensive tastes.

S: I wonder (lol). I think he might be the owner of a large dog. Its collar is white and has frills on it. If you’re going to keep a large dog like that indoors, I suppose an expensive apartment would be best. He’d be like, “Hey, Pess! What’re you barking at?!”

I: …Pess?!

S: That’s the dog’s name (lol) Edgeworth doesn’t seem like the type who’d be good at communicating with other people or horses, Pess is the only one he can really communicate well with.

I: Pess is the only one, huh? (lol) That’s pretty blunt.

S: If Pess were to die, Edgeworth’s world might come to an end. He’s a man who lives in that sort of delicate balance.

I: Edgeworth’s emotional state really depends on Pess’s wellbeing, doesn’t it? So even though he puts up a strong front for the rest of the world, he allows himself to be vulnerable in front of Pess. Is that it?

S: Not only that, but Edgeworth is a very two-faced character. At first, I planned to write him as the type of man without any chinks in his armor. But then… in the strategy guide published by Futabasha, Suekane-san drew a comic in which Edgeworth was a Steel Samurai fan. Now that I think about it,that was what caused Edgeworth’s character to begin to crumble (lol). I began to think “he might actually be cuter if there were chinks in his armor.”

I: Between Wright and Edgeworth, which one do you view as being cuter?

S: Wright is heavily modeled after my own personality, so I can’t really think of him as “cute.” Maybe it’s because when I write from Wright’s point of view, I’m basically just writing what I would think in that situation.

I: So from Wright’s perspective, Edgeworth is…

S: He’s probably thinking that Edgeworth is a pretty cute guy (lol). The second game was when Edgeworth really began to come into his own as a character. So as I was writing it, I began to want to give him a little more development, and I came up with an episode where Wright’s it a really tough spot and Edgeworth helps him out.

I: You’re right; it was the fourth case of the second game where we really began to see Edgeworth as a good guy. It really gave credibility to the claim that he was Wright’s best friend. Now, returning to the topic of the profiles, I’m curious as to what you have to say about Edgeworth’s taste in music.

S: He might be a ppongjjak fan. [Pponjjak= Korean techno/disco music XDDDD]

I: P-ppongjjak?! That’s… rather unexpected…

S: What would be the fun in making him a classical music fan? So he’d be like, standing at attention, listening to ppongjjak. I think that style of music actually suits Edgeworth’s character pretty well.

I: According to the opinions of some players, they could imagine him “singing a passionate rendition of the English song 'My Way.’” Might he sing this song after a victory in court?

S: Sometimes he’ll do things in accordance with the Von Karma family tradition. That means if he wins a trial, he definitely sings “My Way.” (lol) Manfred Von Karma would hold the mic out to him and say, “Sing, Miles.” Franziska might also join him.

I: Speaking of the Von Karma family, it’s amazing how he had all those Von Karma-isms carefully hammered into him since around his middle school years.

S: He received special accelerated education for gifted children, so by the time he was around 20 years old, he fit in pretty well at the Von Karma family dinner table. By the way, the old housekeeper that currently tends to Edgeworth’s fancy appartment has been with him since back then (lol)

I: The old housekeeper left the Von Karmas so that she could be with Edgeworth, huh? (lol)

S: But I think of Edgeworth as being the type of man who really appreciates time to himself, so on such occasions the housekeeper won’t disturb him. I wonder what it is about Edgeworth’s character that makes him so easy to play with (lol). It’s strange.