better off jake

Those Who Have Built and Broken Us Part One (JakexMC)

Author’s Note: This is part one of my entry for #ChoicesCreates Week 18. Thank you to the super talented @kittenmusicals for hosting this week and the wonderful @hollyashton for everything she does here!

Characters: Jake, Marissa (MC)

Pairing: JakexMC

Word Count: 1360

Book: Endless Summer

Prompt: “We are made of all those who have built and broken us”

Summary: This is set 5 years after the gang is rescued from LaHuerta. Quinn has passed and everyone wants to meet with Jake and Marissa (MC) in Costa Rica. Jake struggles over his feelings for everyone. 

Originally posted by clemensstm

“I don’t know if I can do this,” Jake mumbles to himself, rubbing his smooth face with his open palm as he views himself in the bathroom mirror.

He’s forgotten how strong his jawline is when it’s not disguised under three months worth of facial growth. He knows she prefers her favorite pilot to be clean shaven, hence the mound of dark brown chin hairs amassed at the bottom of the white porcelain sink. Gently he turns the ornate handle to the left, instant hot water quickly rinsing the basin free of the residue left from his shave. He amusingly watches the water slowly circle, creating a mini whirlpool before quickly disappearing down the drain.

It’s amazing how little things like a draining sink bring back instant memories of LaHuerta for Jake. This happens a lot since they were all rescued from their endless summer five years ago. Sometimes when he smells summer BBQs or tailgate cookouts the delicious aromas bring him back there, sitting poolside, watching Raj create mouth watering smells from his hibachi. Raj’s infectious smile and constant upbeat attitude makes that island mercifully more tolerable, more real. He is the one true person, the one genuine human being who never plays games about his feelings or intentions. You always know where Raj stands and Jake admires him mightily for that.

A mention of Hartfeld University in a passing newspaper’s headline or a blurb he skims on Yahoo brings back snapshots in his often liquored mind of Sean and Craig: Captain America and his faithful sidekick. His petty arguments and pissing contests with Sean are often pointless and counterproductive, but they amuse him immensely. He misses the macho, testosterone laden banter and camaraderie he always enjoyed when he was in the military. He misses friendship and male bonding. He misses the feelings of being a part of something. He’ll never admit that to Sean. Or Craig. Craig is just a horse for the group anyways. If something needs to be tackled, smashed, then cursed at, Craig is the man. That always brings a smile to Jake’s face. He’ll do anything for Craig though. .

When he’s forced to watch one of those annoying makeup beauty ads or computer spots before opening an app, the commercials often bring thoughts of Michelle and Zahra. Maybelline always reminds him of a made up movie star. She creates a mask out of her stunning beauty, hiding behind a role, disguising an insecure, lonely girl who longs to be accepted and loved. She masters the art of deflection and defense mechanisms. She doesn’t fool Jake, though. He sees the real Michelle and he wishes he could tell her she’s good enough. That’s not him, however. He will never tell her that.

Zahra always amazes the flyboy with her quick wit and technical mind. Watching her hack systems and bypass circuits and software is like admiring a maestro gracefully stroke the ivory keys of a grand piano, producing a masterpiece that’s pleasing to the senses. He always enjoys his late night drunken conversations with her, each bitching about life and love, sin and good intentions. They never tell anyone about these moments; not even Marissa. This is their secret. He always finds her feisty attitude and warped views attractive. In another time he might entertain the thought of pursuing her more. But he’s already fallen in love with Marissa, and she’s all he wants. Zahra has Craig, and that’s all she wants. Yet Jake occasionally wonders what if, a faint smile usually on his face as he files  thoughts like these away for the next deja vu moment.

Jake can’t help but think of Grace every time he reads a story about Roarke Industries, mainly because of her relationship with Aleister. He didn’t get to know Grace that well during their time on LaHuerta, but he always remembers her smile and the glow in her deep, intense eyes. Especially when Aleister is around her. He respects the fact she tolerates, somehow manages feelings of love, for his spoiled rich ass. To him Grace and Aleister are one in the same. He still misses her all the same.

Jake looks back up, catching his reflection in the mirror. His deep ocean blue eyes have dulled some with age. The small wrinkles gradually forming around the corner of his mouth are small reminders of father time as well. He still considers himself attractive, a catch to the ladies. “This is as good as it gets,” he whispers to his reflection. “But Marissa still adores me,” he adds, a loving beam in his eyes

He adjusts his dogtags around his neck, the metal clanking against his bare chest. The biggest reminder of the strangest and altering time of his life shares this small bungalow with him. They both live discreetly but quietly and comfortably in a nondescript village in southern Costa Rica. Five years later he’s still shocked that she followed him here.  He tries to talk her out of this decision. He tries to remind her she has college, a future ahead of her, a job and kids and a house with a white picket fence. She has all the goals and dreams of a smart, beautiful, brave young woman, goals and dreams that every other person wants to achieve. A life that Jake can never provide, not as a wanted man. “I’m not like other people,” is her response, but Jake already knows this.

Marissa is the first woman to steal his breath, making it difficult to concentrate when he kisses her neck, the smell of strawberries from her silky soft hair overloading his senses, or when she mischievously bites his bottom lip  before releasing a kiss. She’s the first woman to send his stomach in frenzied flip flops when he watches her sleep, barely keeping the urge to caress her dark olive skin or stroke her long chestnut brown hair to himself. She’s the first woman he truly respects and admires. Her loyalty and ferocious, almost obsessive need to help those she loves is so enduring to him.

Somehow she continues to keep in contact with everyone from the island. He’s probably better off not knowing how. Jake really appreciates Marissa communicating with the gang for him. None of them have any idea how much they mean to him. They have no clue how much they helped heal him, how much all of them helped him love and trust again. Especially Marissa. He admires and feels bad for her about Diego. For some reason he stopped all contact with everyone after their rescue. She never complains or speaks poorly of her best friend, even though Jake can tell the absence of her childhood confidant is tearing her up inside, but she never speaks poorly of him. She never gives up in Diego. She never gives up on anyone.

After one last look in the mirror, Jake washes his rough and calloused hands and drives then quickly on the green and yellow hand towel dangling off the metal bar next to the sink. He runs his hands through his shoulder length brown hair, his mind heavy with thought and emotions. When Marissa tells him of Quinn’s passing  a massive lump immediately forms in his throat. His eyes begin to sting as he tries desperately to keep tears from rolling down his cheeks. The smell of chocolate chip cookies usually reminded him of Quinn. She loves to bake and Jake believes it was therapeutic for her. She always saves the first cookie for him, as if that particular cookie is the best of the batch. He doesn’t know why she does this, but it always makes him feel warm, wanted, and thought of. He misses her fiery red hair and childish, innocent smile.  

Marissa is the first woman to make Jake cry. The news of someone’s death, especially someone he cares about like Quinn, is hard for him to process. When Marissa shares with him that everyone he risked his life for on an unknown enchanted island, wants to return the favor and cone see him here for a memorial and a reunion, the pilot breaks down in his girlfriend’s arms.

sohmamon  asked:

I'd love to hear opinions for Megamorphs 4

Short opinion: I giggle every time I read the line “President Clinton urged everyone to remain calm” but seriously this book is so scary specifically because it feels so realistic to canon.

Long opinion:

I’ve always felt like this book takes place in direct conversation with #1, fleshing out the existing personalities and relationships of the team as of the moment that they walk through the construction site.  The actual first book in the series sweeps the characters along so quickly toward their destiny (by necessity, because anything else would be bad writing) that we get extremely few details about what these kids are actually like before the war ruins their lives except in the retrospective.  Back to Before feels like a chance to go back and find out who exactly these kids were before they all became homicidal cinnamon rolls.  Of course I’m a sucker for the details about Tom (He has a driver’s license!  He wears a denim jacket over blue jeans like a true 90s fashion victim!  Temrash 114 keeps at least two separate dracon beams in his room!  His parents think he should pay more attention in school!) but there are also a ton of rich characterization moments for all six Animorphs.  

This book really shows us for the first time why Tobias is so desperate for his life to change that he throws himself into a war (and maybe-maybenot gets himself trapped in morph) just to have friends and a purpose.  He belongs nowhere—not at home with his alcoholic uncle, not at school where he’s constantly under threat of physical violence, not at the mall where Jake listens to him out of pity while Marco’s openly hostile—which means that he grabs the first chance he can to fly away from it all.  Maybe he’s being short-sighted, since by #3 he already knows he had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he’s so desperate to get out that one can hardly blame him even when he resorts to becoming a controller in order to have someone to talk to and something to give him meaning.  

It’s also striking that Tobias is the one who ends up recruited by the Sharing, while Jake attends one meeting and leaves.  Most of the series has this implicit assumption that if any of them will be the first one taken, it’ll be Jake, since he’s the one with a controller already living in the house.  (For instance, #41 and #7 both feature variations on the theme of everyone getting caught because Tom saw something he shouldn’t, and in #49 everyone is shocked when the yeerks’ DNA match isn’t between Jake and Tom.)  However, here Jake sees everything the Sharing has to offer… and tells Tom “I’m not really a joiner,” because he’s really really not (MM4).  The unfortunate flip side of the coin of Jake’s leadership ability is that he makes a fairly terrible follower.  In this book it saves his life, but there are other instances (when dealing with the andalites in #18 and #38, during the negotiations with the Arn in #34) where everyone would probably be better off if Jake could find it in himself to sit down, shut up, and do as he’s told.  Non-Animorph Jake is probably at risk of becoming a useless washout (between the crappy academic performance, the mediocre athletic performance, and the lack of motivation to do anything, he’s probably destined to spend the rest of his life as a failed artist living in a studio apartment in downtown LA paid for by his parents’ money), but he’s also not at risk of becoming a voluntary controller, because he’s perfectly content with his mediocre life.  

Rachel, by contrast, is incredibly restless in her normal life.  Cassie describes her as “hunting” with “laser focus” when looking for bargains at the mall (MM4).  It takes her about ten seconds to get on board with chasing down and attempting to tackle some random stranger because Marco thinks said stranger looks like his dead mom.  She snaps into action the second that Ax broadcasts the news that aliens are attacking the planet, and keeps fighting with whatever tools come to hand (including a severed hork-bajir head, because this girl is hardcore) until she gets killed.  For all that she loves it, this book implies that the war might be the worst thing that could have possibly happened to Rachel.  After all, she’s quite good at channeling all that pent-up aggression into verbal sparring the way her mom does (notice how much she enjoys arguing with Marco in the planetarium) and also releasing that extra energy through athletics the way her dad does (unlike Jake, she’s not deterred in her sports ambitions by a mere hiccup like utter lack of talent).  She also has a lot of friends and admirers, a track record of being one of the highest performers in her class, and a casual self-confidence that is rare enough for a girl her age to win her a lot of favors with a lot of people.  Non-Animorph Rachel (in a world that also had no yeerks) would probably thrive in whatever career she chose for decades before dying at a ripe old age surrounded by her highly attractive husband and seven fat grandchildren.  

Maybe my favorite piece of Marco characterization from this book is the way it establishes there is actually a lot more to his crush on Rachel than thinking she has beautiful hair and looks cute in a leotard.  He’s considerably less comfortable in his own skin than either of the Berensons, but he also practices what he preaches by appreciating a joke at his own expense just as much as one he uses to mock another person.  This book makes it obvious that he looks up to Rachel (not just literally, although Marco’s jokes about his own height are also amazing) because he recognizes how intelligent and ruthless she is, and those are the qualities he values the most in himself and others.  Cates pointed out that it’s interesting almost all of Marco’s role models are female (Xena, Alanis Morissette, Carmen Electra, Eva for that matter) and in a lot of ways he doesn’t just like Rachel; he admires her.  

And then there’s the portrayal of Ax when no one comes to rescue him.  #4 and #8 only hint at what it must have been like for him to spend weeks stuck in a tiny dome at the bottom of the ocean, not knowing whether anyone was coming for him, suspecting more and more every day that his whole crew was dead, but here we get a much deeper look at those long days of solitude.  He comes off almost like a prisoner in solitary confinement in the scenes before he manages to use the shark morph to escape: compulsively addicted to routines, talking to inanimate objects, starting to hallucinate when left alone for long enough… Ax is a survivor, tough enough to live through years of loneliness and grief while fighting a war on a foreign planet.  This book shows just how much of that strength comes from within, fire-forged by his traumatic introduction to Earth.  

Oh, and Cassie is sub-temporally grounded, apparently.  I have nothing nice to say about that concept so I’ll settle for saying nothing at all.

Anyway, I love both the opening and closing of this book.  The first scene has one of those UTTERLY HORRIFYING banality-of-violence beginnings, where we open on the aftermath of a battle that may or may not have accomplished anything other than giving the kids involved a few more nightmares.  Jake is disturbingly casual about the fact that he has lost an entire leg and is slowly bleeding to death, making wry jokes about how he and the three-legged table match each other. We can tell why: this isn’t the first (or even the thirtieth) time he’s been fatally maimed and then forced to shrug it off in order to keep fighting.  The kids try—and fail—to save the host of a fatally injured yeerk a few minutes of pain, and end up watching both beings bleed to death.  And then Jake goes home, and he once again plays the game of Lying For His Life with his parents and Tom, and he goes to bed ready to do it all again the next day, wondering what dreams of Sauron Crayak will come.  This poor schmuck literally never catches a break.  No wonder his little deal with the devil seems so tempting for the millisecond that it takes for Crayak to pounce.  (By contrast, the TV episode features Jake asking the Little Blue Ellimist to make him a Real Boy because he doesn’t want to do his math homework and plan a battle at the same time. What a whiner.)

Ugh, and then the ten little soldiers go out to dine, and they drop off one by one so fast that most barely get the chance to fight back.  Rachel and Ax especially do their best to battle the oncoming horde, but they’re largely unarmed and clueless against the yeerks. Tobias becomes the living puppet of a living puppet of Visser One, and then there were five.  Marco stands a little too close to a Bug fighter, and then there were four.  Rachel runs straight into turret fire because Rachel is still Rachel even without unleashing her inner grizzly bear, and then there were three. Cassie is in the wrong shopping mall at the wrong time, and then there were two.  Jake faces down an army of hork-bajir as just his little human self, and then there was one.  Ax might be able to survive—but he isn’t looking to go home and be safe, he’s looking to save the world.  And then there were none.  

A lot of the point of this book is that of course the Ellimist “stacked the deck,” because these kids in particular are the the only ones who have the necessary combination of idealism and grittiness to take on an entire army and win (MM4).  Marco says it best in #54: “We beat an empire, my friend, the six of us, and we did it in large part because you didn’t know any better than to trust your own instincts.”  Ax has the tech savvy and determination to engage in total war, but he can’t survive on Earth without human friends.  Rachel has the ferocity to be a one-woman army, but without her friends to ground her she’d get herself killed a lot sooner.  Jake might be a natural leader, but he’s also naive enough not to know how to balance ethics in times of atrocity without Marco’s ruthlessness and Cassie’s pragmatism to guide him.  Without Marco, the team would never succeed in taking down Visser One.  Without Cassie, they would never get in contact with the Yeerk Peace Movement.  Without Tobias, they’d never succeed at freeing the hork-bajir.  These six form a constellation of skills and needs and strengths and neuroses that balances the fate of the entire galaxy on the shoulders of a bunch of middle schoolers.  They don’t need morphing power to be badass—but they do need it to win.  

4

Did you know that you can ship two male characters without pretending they have no female friends, casually erasing female characters, directing hate and vitriol toward female characters who ‘get in the way’, or otherwise contributing to fandom misogyny? 

30 Days of Animorphs

Day 9: Least favorite Animorph 

Honestly, this is a matter of degree because there’s no single Animorph that I actually dislike, but I think the one I adore the least is Ax.  

There’s still a lot to like about the character; don’t get me wrong.  I love his sardonic straight-faced sense of humor.  I love the fact that despite being the most well-informed member of the team he’s neither Spock (always perfect and logical ) nor Hermione (nonspecifically intelligent and therefore good at everything) but instead comes off like an ordinary teenager: prickly-prideful, lonely but reluctant to admit it, bad at school, ragingly jealous of the older brother he nonetheless hero-worships, and just looking to do the right thing.  I love how much he and Tobias cling to each other as the only family either of them has left.  I grudgingly admire his willingness to bow out of any vote that he genuinely doesn’t have a stake in.  His whacky perspective on human culture (“all human music is terrible… But the cinnamon bun is the pinnacle of the species’s innovation”) is one of the best parts of the books (#8).

HOWEVER.  Where the character tends to lose me is his passive-aggressiveness.  Ax will never ever contradict Jake to his face—which basically just means that any time he disagrees with a decision he’ll go behind Jake’s back instead.  He throws his loyalty at Jake before he even knows the guy and then takes it away whenever another andalite tells him to jump.

Ax also gets away with a lot of imperialistic attitudes that never really get corrected.  He views the hundreds of thousands of lives he would have taken if he’d succeeded in nuking the yeerk pool in MM4 as acceptable losses but can’t bring himself to take Alloran’s life when doing so might win the war (#8).  (Contrast: Jake and Rachel killing Tom and also being willing to die to save the hork-bajir.) I think I could excuse this kind of attitude early in the series if Ax eventually outgrew it—but as late as the second-to-last book in the series he expresses doubts that the entire human species is worth risking andalite lives to save.  Ax doesn’t quite outgrow his judgmental attitudes the way that Marco and to a lesser extent Cassie do.  For example, Marco starts out the series essentially bullying Tobias and by the middle of the war not only are they friends but Marco also actively steps in to stop other people from being bullies.

Ax’s interactions with Cassie also make me annoyed on her behalf.  Whereas Jake calls her out more than once when he thinks she’s over the line, Ax is… passive-aggressive. He gives her the silent treatment, acts snide or even contemptuous when he does interact with her, and doesn’t argue outright.  

It also annoys me that Ax is in many ways just as much of a war hawk as Rachel but almost never gets called out for it, either by the narration or by the other characters.  At those times when Jake’s out of commission (#37, MM3) Ax in a lot of ways falls into Rachel’s role just as much as Rachel falls into Jake’s: he starts killing Hessian soldiers and later German tanks even though he doesn’t have a stake in either fight and is in fact just killing random humans, and unlike the other three he goes along with Rachel’s craziness in #37 with no attempt to reign her in.  He’s the one who pushes to blow up the yeerk pool.  He’s the one who considers sacrificing humanity to stop the yeerks.  By #54 it’s strongly implied he’s just as addicted to the fight as Rachel ever was, coasting around the galaxy looking for trouble until eventually his recklessness gets his whole crew killed.  

And yet no one calls him a psycho or a killer the way they do with Rachel.  No one says the war made him a monster (the way they do with Rachel!).  Throughout the series the others mostly shrug and write his militarism off as being the product of a warrior culture. Maybe the closest we get to implied condemnation is Cassie describing herself and Marco as “the only two survivors of the war” in the last book, suggesting she thinks Ax is no better off than Jake or Tobias at that point (#54). But, frankly, that’s not much.  I could use a lot more.  I feel like the character has a lot working for him, but never quite gets there for me, because unlike the others his flaws are never fully explored as flaws, and they’re never fully overcome.

seventhgradedropout  asked:

What even happened in the last episode pls explain

Hoots! Alright, Hoots. We got a glimpse of the way Cosmic Owl goes about business. He lives alone, and when he gets a ‘dream token’, he inserts it into his dreamscape portal to visit dreams.

Why? Where do dream tokens come from? Who commissions him to do this? Mmm… I guess there’s ACTUALLY some kind of authority! His conversation with Prismo suggests that these are their jobs, and that the Cosmic Owl does this because he’s told to.

I guess we’ll learn more about that sometime. Maybe not. Either way, his schtick is to visit dreams to make them come true. Or at least make SOMETHING about them come true. You’ll remember Jake died in a Cosmic Owl dream in S3′s The New Frontier.

But while the situation in the dream was kinda recreated, Jake didn’t actually die. Finn insisted on being with Jake when Jake’s croak dream ‘came true’, so when the time came, Jake wound up saving himself by saving Finn. 

It’s possible that the Cosmic Owl’s job is to be present in dreams so as to allow the dreamer to PREPARE for coming situations, so that the dreamer is better off? Just spitballing. Jake addresses this directly in that ep.

I could be wrong. Jake could be wrong. But there’s not necessarily cause to say for 100% certain that every Candy Kingdom citizen will literally melt and that PB will be pushed by a psychic aura into the goo of all her citizenry. Not that we shouldn’t be alarmed. It’s just:

Events in the dream? Which events? Now that PB has SEEN her own croak dream, what can she do to prepare, what WILL she do to prepare, and what will those preparations reap?

Since I’m ahead of myself talking about PB’s dream here, getting back into the plot, Cosmic Owl sees curvy, tall Gunter while visiting Finn’s dream [which I guess we should speculate about, since it’s prophetic now… but I can already feel this post is gonna be too long so we’ll do it later], and he chases her across the dreamscape, making elements of OTHER dreams come true:

Eventually, Gunter wants to visit Princess Bubblegum’s dream, and once Cosmic Owl and Gunter go there together, an evil aura emanates from Gunter and wrecks EVERYTHING, in a dream now destined to come true.

We’re not really sure what the nature of this aura is. After it happens, Cosmic Owl asks Gunter: why did she doo(hoo) it?

Is it Gunter being nonchalantly evil of her own accord? Or is there possession going on here? What is the source of Gunter’s power? Aaahhhhhh??? I don’t know ????

Who…? Who IS that? Some cross-dimensional creature, like the shapeshifter? Maybe? 

And does the fact that Gunter just prophetically destroyed the Candy Kingdom mean that it’s Gunter herself who will imminently wind up threatening to destroy the Candy Kingdom? This post took a while coming because I didn’t know what to say here, and I still don’t know what to say here. 

Hunson Abadeer sensed this presence in S2 and recognized it as greater than any other being that he’s familiar with.

I’m expecting more Gunter exposition now. Sooner or later.