An Excerpt from Elsewhere University's Student Accommodation Guide, Accurate to Term Beginning September 20XX
(Handwritten RA’s notes in parentheses)
Mid-20th century brick apartment towers, divided into Pelham, McGonagall, Byron, and Bulwer-Lytton. Despite rising to 14 storeys, they have no iron rebar frames supporting them internally, leading many students to say they can feel the Towers sway in high winds. While this is not true, they definitely have the finest views on campus, being situated on the top of The Hill. The Towers have ample kitchen space, but prospective students should be reminded of their thin walls and thin floors. They are regarded as the “party” flats, and many second and third year students will say if a bad decision is going to be made on a night out, the odds are good it will happen in the Towers.
(No one remembers inviting the slim boy with slicked-back blonde hair, but he brought rum and an electric personality and makes himself welcome. He suggests a drinking game none of you have heard of, and only you remember never to play a game whose rules you do not understand. Your friends are not so fortunate)
Built in an unusual art-deco architectural style, the ziggurat is officially known as the Carnarvon Memorial Building, and dates back to the mid-1920s. The outward-facing rooms have large windows and are generally well-lit, but rooms further into the interior have no windows at all. Despite pre-dating air conditioning, students report that the rooms at the heart of the Ziggurat remain cool even in the height of summer. Thick walls and shag carpets also make the Ziggurat among the quietest of on-campus accommodation, which many more studious undergraduates consider a bonus.
(She finds sand in her shoes all year round, but at least her food never spoils. An undergrad swears she sees a falcon roost outside her room every day at sunrise. A label on a box of leftovers reads “Whoever opens me without consent, there will be judgement, an end shall be made for him. I shall seize his neck like a bird… I shall cast the fear of myself into him”. Every assumes it is a joke, until the seal is broken.)
The Chinese House
A quaint piece of 19th century Orientalism, and the last survivor of an eccentric effort to build an international students village using architectural styles from all over the world. Most were demolished between the expansion of the football field, the construction of the Michelson-Morley building, and a terrible fire in the mid-20th century that destroyed the Dutch farmhouse. Despite an ongoing and heated debate among the student population over whether or not the building’s styling and history make it an unfortunate racist relic or an architectural piece worthy of preservation, the Chinese House’s residents report that it is pleasant and homely. Regardless of nationality or religion, residents are advised to participate in the Mid-Autumn Festival arranged by the Chinese House Residents’ Assistants, as a matter of etiquette.
(Every year, room 5B is taken by an Asian student with dark hair who keeps a rabbit. No one tells security, even though pets are not allowed in campus accommodation. Impolite questions about where she is from are met with a patient smile, and a gentle reminder that an American flag flies over her home)
A modest Victorian building with en-suite rooms and upholstery faithful to the original. The Accommodation Office must deny absolutely any and all claims that it is a re-purposed insane asylum, including rumours that rooms 2A-2F still have padded walls, or that the 3rd floor rooms have locks on the outside of the doors, as these are baseless and harmful claims which do no justice to the building’s proud traditions. We must remind would-be applicants that the continued existence of Dadd House is due to a very generous grant provided by an anonymous donor, with the proviso that the House is reserved for those majoring in Fine Art, Art History, Music, Music Theory, Ceramics, and Animation. Exceptions cannot be made for those studying Liberal Arts.
(Her music only improves during her residency, filling the dark, sad halls of the house with beautiful sound. He paints great swirls of colour over his canvas, over the walls, over the floor. Her mind is alive with poetry, and she finds herself speaking in hexameter. What had been normal motions startle her as she catches smear frames in the corner of her eye. A group of non-students stroll through the tiled corridors, golden eyes flicking from one delight to the next, furred ears twitching. They discuss who they shall give their ultimate patronage to, as gardeners would discuss which plants to nurture, and which to prune)
An early 21st century addition to the campus, this is one of the more divisive accommodation buildings in recent years, and has been voted “Ugliest Campus Accommodation” in a National Students’ Union poll every year since its construction. Certainly its garish colours and incongruous position next to the venerable Morganwg Building make it stand out, but it is worth remembering that the Morganwg itself was once denigrated as “Gothic” in its day. The layout of the corridors may seem counter-intuitive at first, but students are sure to adapt to it quickly with help of Residents’ Assistants (known colloquially as “Pathfinders” in the Square). Due to a certain proportion of permanent residents, space at Elsewhere Square is limited, but rooms are en suite, and its position is convenient for all campus locations.
(At every junction and intersections, we carve symbols into the wall, and the freshers quickly learn their meanings. You have gone too far, they say, turn back and do not continue. Your rooms are behind you, and you are in unfriendly territory. The unwise head deeper into the building, finding corridors which narrow abruptly into squeeze-bys and stairs which descend below the ground floor. The corridors beyond warp as cheap plasterboard gives way to bare limestone rock, forcing those who descend to twist and contort themselves to pass. No one has ever failed to return from the depths of Elsewhere Square, but no one who ventures there returns unchanged)
A rare survivor from Elsewhere University’s earliest days, this Romantic-styled house lies on the edge of campus between the Lake and the playing fields, offering pleasant verdant surroundings and easy access to the Sports Centrer for students in sports science courses. The Residents’ Assistants run a lively calendar of events, including socials at the spring and autumn equinox, as well as the summer and winter solstice fairs, as well as a poetry competition in the first week of August. The nearby forests are private property of the Dean’s House, and the Accommodation Office must stress in the strongest language the need for students to stay out of the forest, on pain of expulsion and a permanent mark against their academic record.
(The sports societies love Samhain. They spend all night cheering, drinking to excess, dancing around the ceremonial bonfire that campus security tacitly agrees to ignore. One of the RA’s wears a pair of stag’s antlers, and in the darkness you have a fanciful moment where you imagine they are sprouting directly from his head. Then two drunken members of the girl’s rugby team stumble into the forest together, and a carynx horn bellows through the night. Everyone is inside by the time they hear the thundering of hooves and the baying of the black dogs)
Your RA Suggests:
Residents are requested to keep communal spaces (such as kitchens and bathrooms) clean and tidy, although everyone makes an exception for salt spills.
We suggest you bring only cast iron kitchenware to Elsewhere University. If you can’t get any prior to arrival, remember that the Accommodation Office holds a Lost and Found sale during Fresher’s Week.
While Elsewhere University Campus Security prides itself on its effectiveness, the Accommodation Office must formally issue a warning to all students to avoid unfamiliar individuals, particularly at night and during periods of lunar occlusion. Watch your friends closely.
Campus traditions may seem quaint to you, but it is worth remembering that what appears to be random superstition to you represents hard-won knowledge for others. If you don’t want to participate in seriousness, then at least participate with a sense of fun.
Most importantly, remember that your accommodation is your home, and you should never feel out of place or uncomfortable in your own home.
(Fairies are real, words have power, your home is only as safe as you make it)
(AN: The Ziggurat, the Towers, and Elsewhere Square are direct references to existing accommodation at University of East Anglia and University of Essex)
Prompt: Please, don’t be mad - for @bucky-plums-barnes ‘s 8k follower celebration, congratulations lovely!
Summary: Something wakes you up in the middle of the night, and that something develops into the night of your lifetime.
Pairing: Jefferson the Mad Hatter x Reader
Word Count: 2402 words
Warnings: fluff, slight angst
Your eyes flutter open, slowly adjusting to the dark of
the night. You blink in confusion, because you have no idea what suddenly
stirred you in the middle of the night. Then you hear it. You sit up in bed immediately,
now fully alert. The sound you heard was undoubtedly your window opening and
closing, from downstairs. Biting your lip, you step out of bed as soundlessly
as you can, slipping on your cotton robe. You decide against bringing a lantern
with you, because you know that whoever entered your home, would be able to see
you. Making you an even easier victim than you already are.
Pairing: Yongguk x OC Genre: Fantasy, with Angst and Smut this chapter! Summary: After a vampire attack leaves you
almost dead, you are rescued by a group of werelions, powers long thought to be
extinct. Upon discovering the same magic flows in your blood, you join their
fight against encroaching vampires and another, very human monster, to save the
parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7 , 8, 9 (M), 10,
The room stills. Although the words themselves are
ambiguous, Yongguk’s tone is not. You must have heard wrong. Yongguk cannot be
regretting finally including you in the hunt.
your mug on the floor and unfold your legs. He will get a chance to explain
himself. Icily, you say, “I beg your pardon. What did you say?”
wrong,” Yongguk repeats.
wrong to allow you on the hunt tonight.” Yongguk’s face is closed, his voice
subdued. He straightens his shoulders, wincing at the pull on his chest. “We
cannot afford to leave one of us behind with you anymore given the increase in
vampires, but you will not hunt. You will stand watch with the horses.”
believe what you are hearing. He cannot be dismissing all you’ve worked for
these long months. Not when this has been what kept you alive.
not ready. You were careless. How could you drop your sword and lose your
stakes? That almost got you killed but what if next time one of the others gets
hurt because of your mistake? Because their worry for your safety distracts
them in a critical moment? It is better we know you are out of harm’s reach.”
that is not fair-” Junhong starts to protest, but Youngjae puts a hand on his
chest to stop him as if keeping him from stepping between two giants.
minutely grateful. You can fight your own battles.
Yongguk, you instill your voice with a deliberate calm. Giving into the
indignation you feel brewing in your chest would be unwise. “Firstly, I have
been in harm’s reach since vampires reappeared. There is no way to turn back to
time I was not. Secondly, do you forget I too am a lion? My teeth and claws are
my sword. I am not some helpless kitten.”
“And I am
not calling you one. But-”
dare to patronize me,” you growl.
“How am I
to gain experience unless I fight? I cannot practice forever.”
forever, just awhile longer.”
longer?” You stand before you explode. “Until the vampires are all vanquished
and you all ride back through the gate in triumph? You need me. This time it
was thirteen vampires. Next time it could be more. I-”
“No. You do
not get to interrupt me. You, Bang Yongguk, are an enormous hypocrite. All you
speak of is equality and allowing all voices to speak, but when it comes to
mine? I am to be silenced because you know better. Is this all because I am a
woman? Or because you think you are my on-high superior?”
stands but stays on the other side of the room. You can feel him retreating
behind his walls. Not in defeat, but preparation for a siege. “It is not.”
myself tonight, did I not? I killed a newborn, not some half-starved vagrant. I
would have killed the second without your help if you had given me a chance.”
to get yourself killed?”
the- You-” You bite your tongue before you spit out words tainted with the
bitter anger that will burn slow healing wounds.
your hands, you stalk out of the room. The other men, who had retreated towards
the door at some point, scatter in front of you. It gives you a perverse
pleasure. At least they recognize you are dangerous in your own right. The
sling for your arm flutters to the floor of the great hall as you strip it off.
There is no
proper place to storm alone here. You must to leave.
whickers in greeting when you enter the stable. Despite only returning a few
hours ago, he stamps his feet eagerly when you lead him out of his stall and
put the saddle on. The girth and other trappings of the saddle are
infuriatingly complicated for your shaking hands.
You want to
just dump it on the floor, but you make yourself place it back on its rack.
Jongup would feel obligated to pick it up and clean it and your quarrel is not
You slip on
Rose’s bridle and leap on. Your body’s complaints are lost to the ringing in
your ears. The drum of his hooves drowns even that out as you thunder past
confining walls and into open air and field.
of habit, Rose curves his path to follow the mountains. You let him lead and
lose yourself in the springing strength of his muscles beneath you. Imagining
it is your four legs devouring the distance, flying over the waving grass.
There is only earth and sky and your lungs pulling clean air into your body.
unmarked until you feel Rose’s pace falter and his sides contracting harshly.
Feeling guilty for pushing him so hard, you pull him back into a canter, then a
landscape around you is vaguely familiar. It takes you a few minutes to realize
it was the way you went with Yongguk to your village. An unhappy accident. No
matter though. You can easily change directions.
inhale brings the scent of fresh water. Reason overrules wanting to ride on.
You and Rose could do with a drink, so you turn him towards it. His head hangs
low as he slows to a grateful walk. A few paces around the foot of a hill, a
shallow stream flows out from the forest.
good boy,” you murmur, patting Rose’s neck as he shoves his nose into the water.
“I’m sorry, love. You’ve worked hard.”
off, almost slipping because of the sweat slicking his side. Squatting down
beside him, you cup your hands to lift water to your lips, your cheeks, your
neck. Cold carried from the depths of the mountains trickles down your heated
skin. Your own anger has cooled a little. Not much, but some.
training, you will not be told no. You do not doubt the others will side with
you again. If Yongguk persists in his pigheadedness, you will just follow them
on their hunts. He will have to toss you into a tower and brick the entrance to
stop you. Even that may just slow you down.
at having to stand up for yourself yet again bubbles in your chest. Clearly, you
need to ride some more so your argument does not devolve into a shouting match
when you face Yongguk again. You only have so much tolerance for stupidity and
he spent so much you must build it up again.
onto Rose’s back and guide him back into the flat plains at an easy walk. “Come
on, Rose. We’ll go a little further. I’ll give you a good rub-down when we get
back, I promise.”
him before you hear or see him. Cursing under your breath, you wonder how
Yongguk found you. And why he bothered.
Rose’s way before you can bolt away. You glare at his master. Blood paints tiny
blossoms on the bandage around Yongguk’s chest where it shows beneath his
shirt. You look away before you give in to your concern.
“Get out of
is the keep. Come back with me.” Yongguk reaches for your reins but you jerk
them out of reach.
you admit you were mistaken to forbid me from hunting.”
through his nose. “You may not have noticed, but it is going to rain soon.” A
glance upward does show clouds turning stormy purple swiftly rolling in. “Come
back before we both become drenched.”
will suit me well enough.” Defiantly, you nudge Rose towards the trees. Yongguk
blocks you again. The insufferable man.
truly have a death wish, Ness? Every child knows standing under a tree is
inviting lightening to strike.”
verbally admit he is right, you say, “Then what exactly do you propose, almighty
alpha? We cannot outrun the storm back to the keep.”
his head back the way you had come. “There is a half-way point in case we or
the wolves need to rest while delivering messages. It is not much better than a hut,
but it will be dry and there is a lean-to for the horses to take shelter as
right. The shelter is dug into the side of a hill with a vine covered lean-to
patched on the side. Just as you squeeze Rose and Noir in, their sides
touching, the sky opens in a thick downpour and the loud crack of nearby
thunder. Yongguk hurriedly drags aside the thorn bushes hiding the shelter’s
roughly cut wood door. He lets you in first so he can conceal the entry again,
but your head and shoulders are still sopping wet.
quickly adjust in the sudden complete darkness. The single room is circular,
scarcely tall enough to stand in, and almost empty. A few boxes, a ratty
mattress covered with a thick blanket, and a stacked pile of wood take up most
of the space. There is little room to occupy unless you sit on the bed or
heat comes close behind you. You stiffen, but he only pulls your shoulder so he
can move around you. He reaches up and tugs down a cloth so pinpoints of gray
light give a small amount of illumination.
him kneel to pile some of the wood in a small stone circle. Opting for the bed,
you sit down and start wringing out your hair. “We don’t really need a fire. We
can both see without a problem.”
both wet,” he replies without looking up. “The storm should pass quickly, but
there is no reason to be wet and chilled while we wait.”
someone who is so reasonable, you can be quite thick-headed about other
said something very similar after you left.” A twinkle of wry humor sparks and
dies in Yongguk’s tone.
agree with me.”
“So you did
come to apologize. Good. I might be persuaded to accept it.”
snaps to life, throwing Yongguk’s face into shadows and planes. His eyes are
still dark when he rocks back to his heels to look at you. “I spoke rashly, I
am sorry for that. You deserve an explanation for the feelings that caused such
feelings are those?” Your temper rises again. “Arrogance? Paranoia? Mistrust?
Yongguk, I can fight. Not as well as any of you, but enough to hold my own. I
love this family we have and would die for it. The others trust me to defend
myself and them too if the situation calls for it. Why can’t you?”
misunderstand me,” Yongguk mumbles. He rubs his forehead with his thumbs. “I
respect you but-”
respect me, what in the Goddess’ name did you mean back at the keep? I may not
have your experience and you may be the alpha, but I am not a child you put
back in the nursery when they go for their first walk and scrape their knee!”
You’re grateful there is nothing nearby to throw at him as the child within
demands. It is tempting to find something though. “I have not trained for
months to spend every night alone waiting for the ‘men-folk’ to come home so I
can wipe your boots! I have done nothing but demonstrate I am worthy of trust
and my own place when the pride hunts!”
because you could have died and I would not be able to bear it if you did,” he
closes even as your mouth falls open. Your heart thuds once, then twice, loud
as the thunder outside. All your fury evaporates into shock.
Yongguk sighs and comes to sit
beside you. He drops his head into his hands as if the confession exhausted
him. His thigh radiates an unnatural warmth beside yours. You can only stare
for a few minutes before you are able to find any words at all.
lick your lips, “you mean you would feel guilty and blame yourself.”
think I kissed you because I felt guilty?”
unwilling to say another reason. The only other explanation would be too
exhilarating and terrifying. “I thought we agreed to forget it ever happened.”
Yongguk looks up. “Because I could not.”
“Why did I
kiss you or why did I not forget? It is the same reason. The same reason I did
not want you to return to the hunt.”
Yongguk sits up straight even though you see
his defenses crumbling at last. You meet his eyes, hardly daring to breathe.
Your hands, wet from your hair, feel clammy.
independent, determined, compassionate, wise,” Yongguk blushes, looking down at
his hands again, and finishes softly, “and beautiful. How could I not love
first came to us, I did not want you to train because I did not want another
innocent to become a killer. But you refused to let me to shield you from the
world you were thrust into. I watched you grow into your powers, becoming
stronger. Becoming more special to me than I could have ever imagined.”
the hand on his knee twitching as if it wants to take yours. Shyly, you turn
over your hand to offer it. His fingers reach across the small distance,
tracing the lines of your palm so lightly you shiver.
“When I saw
the vampire dangling you, I froze. I could not think. I was scared I would not
reach you in time. That another precious person would be snatched from me.
After, I was angry. I was angry at myself for being distracted, for allowing
you to be danger, for almost failing you. Who and what I love, I will do
anything to protect.”
your fingers so they brush his. “It is not always in your power to protect me,
Yongguk. Nor do I let you ‘allow’ me to do anything.”
should have learned that a long time ago,” Yongguk chuckles. His fingers still
so his hand can engulf yours. Lifting his eyes to yours, he vows, “But I will
never stop trying to protect you.”
yourself?” The way his head jerks confirms what you had suspected. Your other
hand cups his cheek. “No one is a saint, but you are far from the fallen man
you seem to think you are. You are a good man, a very good one, forced into
circumstances that demand harsh decisions. Everything you do is for the good of
our people. You are not killing other humans; we are all killing monsters.”
have blood on my hands.” Yongguk tries to take his hand from yours but you hold
on tight. You raise it to your lips to kiss it.
“Do not say
that. I love these hands. Do not disparage something I love.” You kiss the back
of his hand again. The way his eyes focus on yours tells you he is completely
captured. “I too am protective of those I love.”
hands fall to your lap as you lean forward and kiss Yongguk. His lips are wet
and taste of rain. He responds slowly, his fingers tightening around yours.
Somehow it still makes your head dizzy like you’ve tumbled down a hill. Yongguk
lets you guide the kiss, as if he is afraid you will end it at any moment. You
Shifting to more fully face him, you
wrap an arm around his neck. You bite down on his lower lip and tug. “Kiss me,
Those softly spoken words demolish
the remaining dams of his feelings. He drops your hand and wraps you in his
arms, surging forward to do kiss you more thoroughly with a moan. A hand pushes
you closer to him. Light-headedness turns into total giddiness so intoxicating
you must cling to his shoulders. Your heart soars into your throat, beating too
quickly to stay in your chest.
In comparison, that first kiss was
only dipping a toe in the water. This kiss is jumping headfirst into the
You try to
shift more fully against him. His embrace is too tight to permit the movement,
drawing a whimper from you. Yongguk moans again and adjusts his arms. He falls
backwards, bringing you with him so you are half sprawled against him.
noises rumbling into your mouth make you hungrier. Your mouth slips from his.
Your lips are everywhere on his face. The corner of his lips, his eyes, his nose,
his cheeks. When your tongue rasps against the bottom of his jaw, Yongguk
your way down to his neck, one side to the other. Nuzzling aside the collar of
his shirt, you inhale deeply. The scent of his desire makes you tremble almost
as much as him. You only make him wait a few moments before your teeth graze
his shoulder. Another pass of your tongue precedes your bite.
With a moan
that dies down into a purr, his fingers dig into your back. He arches his neck
back into the mattress to grant you more skin. But you take your time to taste
every single stretch of skin with more swipes of your tongue and worrying of
nip at the base of his neck, he says, “Ness, wait.”
immediately lift your head, glancing at his chest for new blood on the bandage
there. “What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”
slides a hand along your jaw into your hair and back.
“I just- I
want to be sure you do not think you have some obligation to do this or that said what I did with the
ever known me to do something I do not want to?”
chuckles and twines a lock of hair around his fingers. He shakes his head.
me. I want you. All of you.”
seconds, your clothes are lying in a messy heap on the floor. The way he slowly
drags his tongue along his bottom lip makes you more eager for him to be bare
before you. Yongguk’s adoring hands slide from your hips. They slow when they
reach for his own shirt. The shyness that creeps into his eyes is so endearing
you decide to help him.
Glancing up at his face, you lay a
kiss just above the bandage on his chest. He shivers, but you are too busy
kissing your way along his tattoos to grin. Your nails delicately rake up and
down his sides, stoking the building want you smell coming off him like a
Each upward stroke pushes his shirt
higher and higher until Yongguk lifts himself up to take it off. You ease
yourself down onto your side so he can dispose of his pants. When he shifts to
his side and lifts his face to yours, you smile.
Though he called you beautiful, you
think he is more resplendent. Light from the fire behind you paints his skin in
warmth and gold. You graze your finger along his eyebrows, then down to trace
his eyes, nose, lingering on his lips. When your hand smooths away some hair
that’s fallen over his eye, Yongguk turns his head to kiss your wrist.
His hand covers yours, sliding down
your arm to your waist. He tugs you across the small distance between you to
slant his mouth over yours. Yongguk’s kiss is more ardent, more confident, his
tongue darting into your mouth for taste after taste. Your bodies press
together in that exquisite meeting of hard and soft, heat against heat. Your
mind is immediately lost in your nerves that tingle head to toe, the simmering
of your blood. Only your fingers buried in his silky hair anchors you.
The first rock of his hips against
yours shoots a scorching spike of pleasure through you. The second has you
crying out, the sound muffled against Yongguk’s lips. You throw your leg around
his hips to urge him closer. To take the final step to make you one.
Yongguk pulls away from your lips
and you open your eyes. Your heart flutters as he looks at you, his impassioned
eyes lazily drifting over your face. A hand slides up your back to clasp the
back of your neck. His fingers rub tiny circles into your skin so you melt
further into his arms.
You can tell he is giving you one
last chance to stop. You could push him away, put all your clothes back on, and
ride home to the keep and he would not blame you for it. As if you could ever
release him now that you have him. Stretching your neck, you smile and brush
your lips over his in a silent invitation.
Yongguk smiles back and angles your
head to kiss you again as he enters you.
Bliss steals your breath. From the
way Yongguk’s stutters in his chest, the experience is just as euphoric for
him. He holds you nearer so the sinuous muscles of his torso tease your stomach
and chest with each heavy buck of his hips. You have no choice but to submit to
waves of pleasure winding tighter and tighter.
Passion, made more powerful by its
long denial, sweeps you both up in its tumultuous spiral. Yongguk’s even
rocking within you becomes labored, halting. He buries his face in your
shoulder, deep moans reverberating in your ear and down your spine. You too can
feel yourself rushing closer to the final moment your world will shatter.
Without warning, it explodes.
As you tremble in languorous
ecstasy, you feel Yongguk pull out of you. A growl that sounds more lion than
man booms from his mouth as he releases into his hand. Caressing his back and
neck, as he quivers, you press a light kiss against his forehead.
After regaining his strength, he
sits up. He wrinkles his nose at the mess in his palm and reaches over you to
wipe it away with the cloth from the roof.
Yongguk tosses it in the fire and
glances at the smoke hole. “It looks like the storm has almost passed.”
You grab the blanket from the bottom
of the mattress to your waists. Placing a hand on his arm, you reply, “We
should stay a little longer. We have much to talk about.”
Hello there boys and girls and everyone in between! So a little change in plans for this A/N. Due to the number of people asking to be tagged in this little fic, I’ve decided to move all tagging to the end. That way, it’s not making for this huge chunk of text at the beginning of the story that might deter some from reading it. Can I just say, though, how nice it was to have so many comments? So many people have sent asks and messages about this fanfiction and it really warms my heart. Anyway, without further ado, The Tower Part 3; Enjoy!
Prompt[s]: The Tower is amazing, I love how you wrote it and played with everything that happened. I can’t wait for the next part!
BOI!!!!! I’m excited for this fic, it’s so good already I’m so happy you’re blessing us with this story Thank you!!!
I love The Tower, and I’m so psyched to see what happens next!
the tower is so great! im so excited to read the rest of it, fairytale retellings are my absolute favorite type of story!!!!
You groaned gutturally, long and slow. Against the quiet of
the woodland, though, it seemed even louder and more brash. The twittering of
wildlife was quiet in your ears; your senses were only coming back slowly. The
world remained black for quite a while as the thrum of the thicket gradually
grew in volume. When the world was no louder than a rumble, your sight slowly
began to return.
A kaleidoscope of greens and blues greeted you, the sight of
the forest ceiling feeling oddly welcoming. You lifted your heavy head and attempted
to sit up, cursing the wooziness you felt. Placing a hand on the back of your skull,
you felt a tender lump and turned to see what had hit you. A particularly thick
branch was swinging limply.
“Maker’s breath,” you hissed, letting your legs wake up
before trying to stand. That wasn’t what slowed you, however. Your skirt was
ripped up to the knees where a particularly large cut lay on your ankle. Hitting
the floor had taken more of a toil on you than you’d originally thought. On top
of that, even more bruises littered your skin – and as you attempted to stand,
you felt your right ankle give way and you were on the floor once more.
Eventually, with the help of a nearby tree, you were able to
make a go of standing upright. Walking was the next challenge. By leaning on
branches, grasping at logs, and even crawling at times, you were able to wobble
your way forwards.
Recap: After being caught drunk, talking too loud near the kitchens at night by McGonagall, you and Sirius have to face detention by re-ordering the restricted section all by yourselves. One book in particular has caught your attention…
Word count: 1,5k
You’d been working in the back of the library for hours now. Because a long week of exams had just ended, and it was a Saturday, you two were the only people in the library, except for the librarian who was nowhere nearby.
You glanced past the windows apprehensively, noticing it was nearly sundown. You had to find a way to get Sirius out of there, if only for a minute.
“Ugh, I’m starving,” you moaned, getting back to work. “They’re probably already starting to eat in the hall.”
Sirius didn’t reply, but he did give you a look as he lifted a pile of books to reorder them.
“What?” you asked him, uneasy.
“If you have something to say, no need to take the long way to get to the point,” he noted, starting to stack the volumes back on a shelf.
You flushed at his words, slightly embarrassed he’d seen right through you so easily. You bit your lip, before trying something for real.
“Perhaps one of us ought to go grab something to snack on, otherwise we’ll be skipping dinner entirely,” you suggested.
He huffed, amused.
“I don’t remember you being one to shy away from taking advantage of the kitchen in the middle of the night,” he teased.
authors notes: hey guys! agh, it’s been a couple weeks since I posted, I know, but this chapter was probably the second longest chapter I’ve ever written, so it took me while. side note - some pieces of dialogue are actually from the tangled script, as it is a tangled au, and I thought it fitted the scenes very well.
summary: alec catches a guy that’s wandered into his tower, magnus gets licked in the ear by chairman meow, lots of singing, and some fluff ;) towards the end of the chapter.
Alec dropped the frying pan he’d whacked the man with, and took a few steps back.
He’d been minding his own business, reading a book in the wicker chair by the bookshelf, when all of a sudden a figure had dropped into the room, and had talking to a satchel.
Alec hadn’t spared a second thought about this weird behaviour before grabbing a frying pan, a utensil that could definitely be considered a weapon, and smacking it around the man’s head.
The man now lay on the floor, black hair covering most of his face. Alec tried to slow his breathing. This was okay, everything was fine.
He shook his head. This was not fine.
The Chairman tottered over to the mans head, and bared his teeth at Alec, probably trying to get the whole “evil thug” point across. Alec picked up the frying pan, took a few tentative steps forward, and used the handle of the pan to check if the man’s teeth were pointed.
Nope. They were a pearly white, and perfectly straight. Huh.
The Chairman shot a warning look at Alec, and he gave him an exasperated look back. He lifted the hair on the man’s face out of his eyes, and stopped short.
He was quite beautiful. The man’s eyelashes were long, his skin was brown and smooth, and his face looked… nice. It was an appealing face.
Suddenly the man gasped and his eyes shot open, and Alec flinched, but didn’t hesitate to whack him over then head again. The man fell unconscious again.
Mother was away for three days, and a plan was starting to formulate in his head…
In the end, it took at least seven attempts to get the man into a seat in the middle of the room. Alec tied him up with rope, and stepped back.
“Okay, okay. I’ve got a person… tied up in a chair. I’ve got a person tied up in a chair,” he said, catching sight of his reflection in the mirror opposite him.
He stared in amazement, holding his frying pan aloft. “I’ve got a person tied up in a chair! Hm, not bad, huh Mother? I think I can handle myself pretty—OW!”
He rubbed at his forehead, where he’d accidentally whacked himself while trying to spin the frying pan around by the handle, and caught sight of something sparkling in the reflection of the mirror, half-hidden in the satchel on the floor. He walked over and plucked the object out.
It was a circular piece of metal, with spikes shaped like licks of fire all around it. He’d never seen anything like this before, but something about the object gave him shiver down his spine.
He placed it around his arm—it was much too wide for a bracelet—and the Chairman shook his head. Alec looked down on the thing, then slowly raised it, and placed it on his head.
He looked at himself in the mirror, and a strange feeling filled his body.
It looked—it looked right, on his head. He looked—he didn’t know how to describe it. Alec had a fleeting image of something from his memory, but it was too quick to catch. The Chairman had dropped his mouth open.
The man in the chair shifted, and Alec jumped in surprise, and quickly threw the object and the satchel into a nearby plant pot. He sprinted behind a pillar in front view of the man, grabbing his frying pan on the way, and waited.
The man didn’t stir anymore, so Chairman took it upon himself to wake the stranger up. He hopped onto his slumped shoulder, and patted his face. Nothing.
The Chairman then hopped onto his head. Nothing.
Finally, as a last resort, the Chairman stuck his tongue into the man’s ear.
Magnus woke to something wet and warm in his ear, and yelped. He opened his eyes just in time to see a cat scamper off his shoulder and into shadows in front of him.
He looked down at his hands and legs. He appeared to be tied up, though not in a way he would’ve enjoyed, and strapped to a chair. “W—Where am I?” He cast his head wildly around, trying to see a person, trying to see something other than the cat that would’ve been capable of tying him up.
“Struggling—struggling is pointless,” came a male voice from in front of him, hidden in the shadows. Magnus squinted to try and see who it was, but to no avail. “What?”
The unknown stranger stepped out of the shadows. Magnus’s eyes widened. He looked like an angel in human form. Crystal blue eyes, a mop of black hair, and weird patterns tracing all around his arms, holding up a—frying pan?
“I know why you’re here. And I’m not—afraid of you. Who are you? And how did you find me?” The man spoke firmly, his eyebrows furrowed. Magnus was confused. “What?”
The man’s eyebrows furrowed more, and he spoke a tad more threateningly this time. “Who are you. And how did you find me.”
Magnus cleared his throat. He felt the need to impress this young handsome man. “I know not who you are, nor how I came to find you, but may I just say…”
He grinned flirtatiously at the man. “Hi. How’re you doing? The name’s Magnus Bane. How’s your day going?”
The man looked unimpressed. “Who else knows my location, Magnus Bane?” He said Magnus’s name with an eyebrow raise.
Magnus was now getting annoyed. “Look, Tattoo man,”
“Alec.” He corrected.
“Alec. Here’s the deal. I was in a situation, running through the forest. I came across your tower and… oh no… where’s my satchel?” He said, dread settling in the out of his stomach.
Alec looked smug. “I’ve hidden it. Somewhere where you’ll never find it.”
Magnus looked to the left, then the right, and spotted a plant pot. “It’s in that pot, isn’t it.” he said, before Alec swung the frying pan around and he passed out again.
He woke up to that damned cat licking his ear again, and jumped—as much as he could, tied up to a chair—and yelled ‘Will you STOP THAT?“ after the cat, which had run to Alec.
Alec was looking superior. “Now I’ve hidden it where you’ll never find it.” He stepped closer to Magnus, and looked at him intensely. “What do you want with my runes? To cut them out? To sell them?”
Magnus was thoroughly perplexed. “What? No! I have literally no interest in your… runes.” He snapped, feeling offended.
Alec looked surprised. He lowered his frying pan. “Really?”
Magnus rolled his eyes. “Yes. I needed a place to stay, I climbed your tower, end of story.”
Alec looked considering. “One minute.” He said, before picking up the Chairman and taking him over to a corner of the room and discussing something with him. Weird.
Magnus tried to scoot the chair away, to try and get out, but Alec was already turning back to him and he put on an innocent face. “Okay. I’m prepared to make you a deal, Magnus Bane.”
Magnus sighed, and then yelped when Alec pulled the rope that was binding him to the chair.
“Look this way,” Alec commanded, and the chair span around on one leg before tilting forward and making Magnus faceplant onto the floor. “Ow.”
He could see Alec pulling back a curtain on a mantelpiece, even from the poor angle he was at. Alec pointed at a lantern on the painting on the wall. “Do you know what these are, Magnus Bane?”
“You mean the lantern thing they do for the prince?” Magnus asked glumly, his mouth squished against the floor.
Alec looked delighted, and gazed at the painting with longing clear in his eyes. “Lanterns. I knew they weren’t stars!” Alec then turned his attention back to Magnus and look firmly at him.
“Tomorrow evening they will light the night sky with these lanterns, you will act as my guide, take me to these lanterns, and return me home safely. Then, and only then, will I return your satchel to you. That is my deal.”
Magnus sighed. “No can do. Unfortunately the kingdom and i aren’t ‘simpatico’ at the moment. Just give me my satchel—”
Alec strode forward, gripped the chair, leant it towards him, and glared at him. Magnus could see all the different shades of blue swirling together and making up Alec’s eyes this close.
“Listen buddy. You can tear this tower apart brick by brick, but without my help, you will never find your precious satchel. Do we have a deal?”
“Hmm-mm. Let me just get this straight. I take you to see the lanterns, bring you back home, and you’ll give me back my satchel?” Magnus asked, with an edge of sarcasm.
Alec nodded. “I promise.”
Magnus raised his eyebrow, and then Alec narrowed his eyes. “And when I promise something, I never break that promise. Ever.”
The cat on his shoulder nodded in confirmation to this statement.
Magnus dropped his head. “All right. Listen, I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice. Here comes the ‘smoulder’.”
He looked up at Alec and gave him his signature smoulder. It didn’t have any effect. If anything, he looked more like a frightening school teacher than ever.
He huffed. “All right! I’ll take you to see the damn lanterns.”
“Really?” Alec said, accidentally letting go of the chair. He fell to the floor, faceplanting again.
“You broke my smoulder.”
Magnus looked down from the tower window and gulped. It seemed a lot higher than it had when he’d been scaling the building. He took the arrows, stuck them into the wall, and started the descent. He looked up and saw Alec standing on the window, holding a long piece of rope. “You coming or not?” Magnus yelled up at him.
Alec seemed to take a deep breath, looking once back into the tower, then looped the rope around a hook. He gripped the rope, then stepped off the tower and slid down at a rapid pace. Magnus stared in momentary shock, then hastened his climbing down.
By the time he’d made it down, Alec had ran outside of the enclosure. Not wanting to lose his satchel, Magnus was forced to follow. Alec was turning round and round in a circle, staring awed at his surroundings, which was just forest.
“I can’t believe I did this,” he murmured, then a little louder, “I can’t believe I did this!”
Magnus was about to say something when the grin slid off Alec’s face. “Mother would be so upset. But it wouldn’t kill her, right?” He seemed to be speaking more to himself than Magnus.
“Oh my god. This would kill her,” Alec looked horrified at what he’d done, and went and sat down on the grass.
Magnus thought this initial shock of leaving his tower for the first time would wear off in less than a few minutes.
He was, of course, wrong.
Across the afternoon, Magnus witnessed many, many mood swings from Alec.
One minute he’d be ecstatic that he was free from the place he’d been trapped in for eighteen years, and then next minute he’d be so guilty and self-deprecating that it seemed to make him wilt like a dying flower in the bright sunshine.
Magnus left him alone by a pond for a while, then came back when he realised that they had a time limit on this escapade. He needed to get that damn satchel back.
He wandered over to the pond, where Alec had his head on his knees and was quietly crying. “Look, Alec—we need to get going. Your mother isn’t going be that upset if you leave for two days them come back.”
Alec sniffed and wiped his eyes, then stood up on the grass. “Let’s go,” he said, voice watery and eyes red. Magnus couldn’t really take him seriously, but it was admirable that he wasn’t affected by Magnus seeing him in this state.
While they were walking along the way to the kingdom, Magnus tried to ask him about his life, what he was doing in that tower, and why he had those strange tattoos all over his arms. Alec deflected all these questions.
Suddenly, a bush rustled quite noisily. Alec jumped in surprise, then ran behind Magnus, and took out the frying pan from seemingly nowhere. “What is it? A monster? A thug?” He asked desperately.
A bunny popped out of the bush. Magnus raised an eyebrow at Alec, who laughed nervously, and lowered the frying pan. “Sorry, I’m just a bit… jumpy.”
An idea sprouted in Magnus’s head. “Probably a good idea if we avoid thugs and the like,” he said, innocently.
Alec nodded. “Probably.”
Magnus forced himself not to smirk and said. “You know what? I’m hungry. There’s great place to eat just nearby!”
Alec looked slightly suspicious. “What’s it called?”
“The Snuggly Duckling!” Magnus said, suppressing his laughter. Alec looked surprised. “Huh. That doesn’t sound too bad.”
“It’s great! Everyone’s so friendly and… ah… warm!” Magnus said, walking at a brisker pace. Alec followed behind, unaware of the true nature of the place they were about to visit.
Lilith wandered back to the tower, talking her time. There was no hurry, Alec would just be waiting for her.
It was nice sometimes, having another persons company. But he had been irritating her lately with the talk of that stupid tradition that the king and queen had of lighting the lanterns. She felt herself getting worked up about it, and forced herself to calm down.
She reached the bottom of the tower, which looked the same as it always did. She cleared her throat, and called up to it. “Alec!”
No response. She began to feel ticked off. What was he doing? He’d been coming later and later to get her every time she had come back from a trip. “Alec!” She called again, allowing a little annoyance to creep into her voice. He had to know that she was in charge here.
There was still no response. She frowned, and called up to him a few more times.
When there was still no answer, she began to feel increasingly panicked. She ran around the side of the tower, to the hidden door she hadn’t breathed a word to Alec about. She tore down the bricks, kicked open the door, and ran upstairs.
She pushed the floor tile off the floor, and hopped inside. The tower was deserted.
She was hyperventilating now. What had happened? Had he been taken? Would she ever see him again?
She whirled around, tearing curtains down, hoping that he’d be there, and knocked over the standing mirror, shattering it to pieces.
She stood in the middle of the room, breathing hard, when something glinted in the reflection of one of the mirror shards. She turned, and saw something shining beneath one of the stairs that was used as storage.
She lifted the top off, and took out a brown leather satchel, with—her eyes widened—the crown that belonged to Alec, and a wanted poster that had been torn down. Lilith read the name off of the poster, and her face contorted in rage.
Magnus kicked the door to the tavern open, and announced “We’ll have your finest table please!” to the customers.
About twenty unfriendly, unhygienic looking thugs stared back at him. Alec made a small yelping sound, and his eyes rounded in terror. He tightened his grip on the frying pan. Chairman Meow hissed at Magnus, who smiled and shrugged.
Magnus pushed Alec into the pub, as Alec didn’t look like he was going to move anywhere. A particularly nasty looking fellow snarled at them when they are too close to him, and Alec veered out of the way, right into another man, with brown skin and a nasty looking scar on his cheek.
He looked at Alec, ignored him, then focused on Magnus. The man narrowed his eyes. “You look familiar.” He grunted.
Magnus laughed nervously. He was pretending to be unaffected by their surroundings, but he was feeling a little jumpy himself. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
The man stood up, off of his seat, and looked a lot more threatening than when he’d been sitting down. “You’re Magnus Bane.” He grinned. “The reward for finding you is a lot of money.”
Magnus felt his stomach drop. “What? No—you must have me mistaken for someone else. I’m Eugene Fitzherbert.”
Another thug handed a wanted poster—of him, Magnus noticed with great unease—to the man, and he held it up to the side of Magnus’s face, comparing them. The man smirked. “We’ve caught him, boys.”
One of the men grabbed Magnus’s arm, and another grabbed his leg, and together they pinned him down on the bar. Alec gasped and backed away. “Rufus! Go and get the palace guards. They’ve been looking for this man.” The man barked at an equally buff man, who nodded and ran out of the pub.
Magnus thrashed in their grip, trying desperately to free himself, while talking his way out of it unsuccessfully. “You’ve got the wrong man! You—”
“What do we do with him Bat?” One of the younger looking men shouted at the man who had recognised Magnus, and Bat looked at him thoughtfully.
“I think we could chain him up,” Bat suggested, the others nodding in agreement.
Alec had obviously realised what was happening, and was attempting to pull the men away from Magnus. It was probably useless, but Magnus appreciated the effort. “Stop! No—he’s my guide! Get away from him!” Alec shouted, desperately trying to drag them away.
They didn’t respond, and Magnus could see people getting out chains.
Alec had clearly had enough.
He stood atop a table, and threw the frying pan at Bat’s head. It knocked him on the head, but didn’t knock him out. The crowd gasped and then stayed silent as Bat turned to face Alec.
“Can you guys stop? Please? He’s the only person, only guide, that will take me to see the floating lights which I’ve been dreaming of seeing since I was a child! Haven’t any of you had a dream before?” Alec said fiercely.
Magnus felt a flicker of admiration for Alec. This quickly turned into panic, when Bat approached Alec with the frying pan that he’d thrown at him.
Bat came right up to Alec’s face, who flinched, but instead of hurting Alec with the pan, he threw it just above the head of the accordion player chained to a chair in a corner.
The accordionist played a few quavery chords, while Bat said to Alec quietly “I had a dream, once.”
Across the next half an hour, Magnus witnessed the entire pub of thugs and burly men come forward and sing what dreams they had as a child, or even now.
Alec got up to sing with them, and he had a surprisingly nice singing voice. They tried to make Magnus sing at one point, but he declined the offer.
He then composed a jaunty verse once they threatened him with axes, which he was quite proud of.
He sat on the bar counter, trying not to look bored, for he was certain they’d try to make him sing again if he expressed boredom, then spotted two people he’d rather not see.
The Demon twins, Agramon and Azazel. They were technically his rivals, and they’d been after the crown as long as he had. They’d also been after him for a long time, since Magnus had accidentally-not-really kneed Agramon in the crotch, which had slowed them down, and led to their capture.
He gulped. Agramon and Azazel were known for their ruthless method, and their violent tendencies.
As he had heard Magnus’s thoughts, Azazel looked up from the pint he’d been staring into, to look right into Magnus’s eyes, over the crowd. Azazel narrowed his eyes, and signalled to his brother, pointing to Magnus.
They both stood up, but were blocked by the singing crowd. Magnus was about to move to tell Alec that they needed to get out of here, but before he could, the door swung open, and Rufus stepped through, grinning. “I got the guards.”
Magnus grabbed Alec by the arm, then hopped over the bar counter, and hid under it as fast as he could. Alec looked at him, clearly shocked, and Magnus felt nerves stirring in the pit of his stomach.
He heard Jace shout out “Where is he? Where’s Bane?” and turn over furniture to look for him. Magnus closed his eyes, feeling that this may be the end of their adventure.
He felt a tap on his shoulder, and started, but relaxed when he saw that it was Bat.
He nodded to the side, and Magnus followed his gaze.
His eyes widened when he saw a trapdoor, standing open, ready for use. Alec and him scrambled over to it, and looked into the darkness.
“It goes all the way to the damn,” Bat whispered. “Go.”
Alec smiled at him and out his hand on Bat’s shoulder. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. Bat blinked at him, then smiled back.
It struck Magnus that Alec was one of those naturally kind-hearted, sincere people, that you couldn’t help but like.
He pulled Alec into the tunnel, turned once to glance fleetingly over his shoulder, and caught the sight of a dark haired woman staring into the tavern directly at him. Before he could say anything, Bat shut the door behind him.
Jace was just about to give up with looking for Bane, when the tavern door burst open. That door was probably having a bad day.
Church strode in from where he’d been strung up outside, and energetically sniffed the floor in a zig-zag pattern.
Jace grinned. Simon, next to him, had his mouth open. “What the—”
Jace clapped a hand over Simon’s mouth. His eyes followed Church, who was now clambering over the bar.
Church nodded at a space on the ground. Jace shook his head, confused. “W—” he started, when Church gave the best eye roll he’d ever seen a horse give, and tapped the space of floor with his hoof.
The space gave way, as a trapdoor. Jace looked at the bar owner with raised eyebrows. The bar owner shrugged at him.
Jace was the one to roll his eyes this time. “Come on men,” he ordered the rest of the guards to follow him down the tunnel.
He didn’t see the two menacing men following after them.
The echoing sound of their footsteps were the only thing Magnus could hear. Alec was swinging his frying pan back and forth on his fingers absentmindedly, the torchlight making his eyes glow, and Magnus couldn’t think of anything smart to say.
He coughed, and said “That was nice, what you did back there.”
Alec looked at him with a small smile on his face. “I was just helping them with their dreams. It was the right thing to do. I mean, that’s what friends are for, right? To help you.”
Magnus saw something in Alec then, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Before he could say anything though, Alec looked at him slyly and asked him “So… was that your real dream, or a fake dream you made up? Where’re you from?”
Magnus felt his mental shields go up. “Nope. Not getting into personal stuff. Off limits.”
Alec laughed. “Okay then,” and was about to say something else, when he heard the echoes of footsteps and lights coming towards them from The Snuggly Duckling. Magnus saw people, and Jace at the front of them. He shouted at Alec “RUN!”
They took off at a sprint, no idea where they were going. Magnus could soon see the end of the tunnel.
He gestured wildly at Alec to tell him to hurry up, and then they were outside.
They stood on a sort of drop off, with a huge dam behind them. There were various viaducts and waterways threading through the chasm, and Magnus thought he could see a way out in the cavern opposite them.
The only problem was the straight fifty foot drop between them and their exit.
Magnus turned back around, and Jace burst through the opening of the tunnel, along with twenty palace guards. He managed looked triumphant and angry at the same time.
“Who’s that?” Alec asked, breathless. Magnus winced. “They don’t like me.”
Church the grey horse trotted to the front of the guards, and bared his teeth at Magnus. “Who’s that?” Alec demanded. “He doesn’t like me either,” Magnus said, urgently trying to figure a way out of here.
Just then, off to the side, a boarded up exit gave way as two people smashed their way through it. Agramon and Azazel bared their teeth at him.
“Who’s that?!” Alec asked a third time. Magnus looked him straight in the eyes and said “Let’s just assume everyone here doesn’t like me!”
Instead of looking terrified, as Magnus would expect one would in a situation like this, Alec’s face set into a determined one, and he shoved the frying pan into Magnus’s hands.
“Hold this,” Alec said as he picked up a loose end of rope attached to one of the dam structures.
Alec wrapped the rope around his hand a few times, then launched himself of the cliff, swinging at least half way across the cavern. He released the rope and gestured at Magnus to follow him, before turning and running.
Magnus tore his eyes away from Alec, shut his open mouth, and turned back to his opponents. He could see Agramon and Azazel attempting to climb up the cliff to get to him.
The royal guard were staring at Alec in astonishment, Jace in something like- puzzlement, but soon turned their attention back to Magnus, who had nothing to arm himself with other than Alec’s frying pan. The royal guard drew their swords, and Magnus held his frying pan aloft.
What happened next still remained a mystery to Magnus. He sword (pan?) fought with the guard, hitting men on their heads, and managed to knock several people out.
He looked at the pan in amazement, and gripped it with more confidence.
He brandished it to the rest of the guard, who looked at it with apprehension, and spun in a circle, knocking the rest out. He had particular satisfaction in knocking Jace down, so when a sword was poked into his back from behind, he faced his opponent with clear confidence.
It was the horse. Church bared his teeth and flared his nostrils at Magnus, and he had to put aside the bizarre nature of the situation and sword fight with Church.
A particularly well placed blow swatted the pan out of Magnus’s hands, and sent it flying to the chasm below.
He watched it fall with a mild horror, then smiled nervously at Church. Church bared his teeth and stepped forward.
Magnus had other plans. He dodged Church, and the horse visibly came to a decision. He put his hind legs up into the dam, and started to kick.
Magnus looked and saw a waterway above him, and quickly hoisted himself up onto it.
He slid down the slippery algae path on his feet, and jumped off the end into the middle of the chasm, where he was spotted by Agramon and Azazel, who ran after him. Alec was a little ahead of him, and he could see the way out—
The dam broke.
The water swept forward like a raging monster, breaking the rock pillars all around them in half.
They were almost there, Magnus could see Azazel and his brother get sucked into the water behind them, and he put on a burst of speed to try and outrun the rushing black hole of dam water, and he finally got into the mouth of the cave.
Alec was there, but he couldn’t see any way out.
It was a plain dead end. To make matters worse, the rock that had been smashed slammed into the cave and blocked the entrance.
Magnus could feel panic building in his stomach, and Alec looked sick with nerves as well.
The water was now up to their waists, and Magnus dove into the water to try and find an opening in the wall, but it was to no avail. He couldn’t see anything.
Desperately clinging to hope, he dove into the water again, and tried to push at the rocks. He scrabbled against the rocks, and suddenly he felt a spike of pain, and burst of out the water. He’d cut himself rather badly.
Alec tried to hit the rocks against the wall, but it was useless. “Stop, stop, it's—it’s no use,” Magnus said, out of breath. The water was steadily rising, and they had no way out.
Alec sniffed. “I'm—I’m so sorry,” he choked out. “This is all my fault. I should have never left.” Magnus sighed.
The only sound was the sloshing of the water, then:
“I’m an orphan.”
Alec looked at him, startled, and Magnus smiled ruefully. “You said you wanted to know something about me.”
Alec gave a wobbly laugh. He blinked, and the water ran off his eyelashes like tears. Magnus was captivated.
“I have—I have magic tattoos that glow when I sing,” Alec said, half to Magnus, half to himself. Magnus stared at him. “What?”
Alec looked at him, and Magnus could see the realisation dawning in his eyes. “I have—magic tattoos that glow when I sing,” he repeated, breathless, as if he’d just come to a realisation.
The water was up to their necks out, and Alec sang something about a flower very fast, then they were submerged in water.
At first, he couldn’t see anything but black. Then a golden light shone through water, cutting through the darkness. Magnus opened his eyes.
On Alec’s right arm, a dazzlingly bright mark was drawing itself into an intricate pattern. It shone through the water, brighter than anything Magnus had seen.
Magnus dropped his mouth open, only to realise they were still underwater, and clapped a hand over his mouth.
Alec pointed his arm towards the ground, where they could clearly see water escaping into a small crevice. They looked at each other, came to a silent agreement, then swam down and pulled the rocks out.
The light from Alec’s rune was dying now, but Magnus could see daylight, and suddenly the whole wall of rocks collapsed forward and they were tossed into a river.
Magnus thrashed for a few seconds, then burst out of the water, gasping, and took long, deep breaths.
He slumped onto the river bed, and looked at Chairman Meow, who had apparently not drowned, and somehow had tucked himself into Alec’s shirt.
Alec sighed as he laid his head onto the side of the river. “We’re alive,” he said, then got up out of the water to explore their new surroundings.
Magnus was still partially in shock from their experience in the cavern. “His skin glows.” He said to no one in particular. “It actually glows.”
“His tattoos—glow,” he said to the cat, who nodded.
“Why do his tattoos glow?!” He demanded of the cat. The Chairman looked slightly scared.
“Magnus!” Alec yelled.
“What?” Magnus yelled back. Alec looked at him for a long moment, then said, “They don’t just—glow.”
Magnus looked at the cat next to him, who was smirking. “Why is he smiling at me?” He whispered.
Agramon and Azazel bust out of the alternate entrance to the secret tunnel, coughing and choking.
“I’m going to kill that Bane. I’m going to kill him!” Agramon growled.
“If it’s the last thing I do,” Azazel added, panting. They assembled their supplies, tossing occasional comments on how they would steal the crown and kill Bane, when a woman stepped out of the shadows.
“Boys.” She addressed them.
Agramon and Azazel were immediately on guard.
“You can’t just go at it all brash and ham-handed like that.”
Agramon stared at her threateningly. “What?” He addressed it more as a threat than a question.
“Well, in order to get that crown, you’ll need skill. Tactic.” She spoke slowly, almost teasing them.
She was a rather beautiful woman, though their was something about her manner that made you think of a snake, lazing in the sun, but ready to strike at any moment.
“And how’re we supposed to magic up tactic from nowhere?” Azazel snarled.
The woman smirked. “From me, of course. I know a way we can both get what we want. The deal comes with riches beyond your wildest dreams.” She brought out a satchel that the two men recognised with a shock, then pulled out a sparkling crown.
The brothers made a move to grab it off her, but she laughed. “Oh, relax. I’m not interested in this.” She tossed them the crown, and Azazel caught it, and stared at it greedily.
“But,” the woman said, “I’ll need something from you in return.”
The two brothers looked semi-interested, and at last Lilith spoke the words that sealed the deal. “And of course,” she started casually, “The deal comes with a certain wanted criminal.”
She pulled out a flyer from the satchel, and flashed the poster in front of the men’s grinning faces.
WANTED: MAGNUS BANE
Magnus had gathered some wood for the fire to dry themselves, and it was now crackling merrily.
Alec had told Magnus to sit down and hold out his injured hand, which he did, with some puzzlement. Alec was now putting some logs onto the fire, and Magnus could see how deep of a blue his eyes were, flickering in the firelight. He could see the shadows casting over his face, the angles of his cheekbones standing out.
Alec’s expression became one that was deep in thought, then suddenly asked Magnus: “Have you ever seen that guy at the dam before? I mean, the one with blonde hair.”
Magnus was a little perplexed as to why he would’ve asked something like that, the said “Well, he’s kind of what I was consider a mortal enemy at this point, so yeah, I’ve seen him.“ He looked closer at Alec. “Why?”
Alec looked deep into the firelight, as if it would answer all his questions. “I just- thought he looked familiar from somewhere. I’ve never seen him before in my life though,” he muttered.
Alec clearly shook himself out of his daze, and said, "Okay,” as a stop to the conversation. He walked over to Magnus and sat down across from him, taking his injured hand. Alec’s skin was as soft as his touch was gentle.
Once properly positioned, Alec cleared his throat and began to sing.
“Flower, gleam and glow, let your power shine, make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine, heal what has been hurt, change the Fates’ design, save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine, what once was mine...”
Magnus was watching Alec’s face while he sang this, his eyes closed and pouring his emotions into this incantation. The rune began to glow on Alec’s arm, and he subconsciously placed Magnus’s palm onto it.
He could feel the power flowing through his arm, but didn’t pull away. He trusted Alec.
Once he’d finished the song, Alec opened his eyes, and Magnus found himself gazing into them. “Take it off, but don’t freak out.” Alec said.
Magnus frowned, then took his hand off and gasped loudly. The badly mangled skin was completely healed. His eyes widened and he opened his mouth, and Alec said quickly “Please don’t freak out!”
Magnus shut his mouth. “I—I’m not freaking out, whatever gave you that idea?”
Alec looked at him with his eyebrows raised.
Magnus felt curiously get the better of him, and he asked, “How long have you had those tattoos then?”
Alec blinked at the sudden question, then said “Since… forever, I guess.” His gaze became more vulnerable as he stared into the fire. “Mother said that people would try to use me, that they’d cut my skin out and stuff. But when you cut it,” he looked down at his arms, “it looses its power.”
He showed Magnus the swirling eye tattoo on the back of his hand. “This one is the most powerful, and it’s permanent. If you cut this one… my whole power is cut off with it.”
He sighed, drawing his knees up to his chest. “That’s why I never left…”
“Left the tower?” Magnus finished for him. Alec didn’t respond. “Are you still going to go back?”
Magnus accepted he wasn’t going to get an answer for that one, and turned to look into the fire as well. “So…” Alec started, looking at him again. “You’re an orphan?”
Magnus sighed. “Well, I’ll spare you the sob story of my childhood, basically my parents died, I got shipped to an orphanage, and I ran away. Life as a thief has always just been more thrilling for me. No one cares about Magnus Bane the sad little orphan with skinny wrists and big eyes, but everyone knows about Magnus Bane, the thief that single-handedly stole the lost prince’s crown—though, not entirely single handedly. I have friends who stole it with me. They’re safe somewhere—I hope.”
It was probably the most he’d opened up to someone in a long time.
Alec hummed in wordless agreement, then Magnus said “You can’t tell anyone I told you this, okay? I have a reputation to keep up around here.”
Alec laughed then, and Magnus found himself captivated by his laugh. It lit up his whole face, making the whole night seem brighter.
They say in solemn, half awkward silence for a while, then Magnus announced that he would go and get some more firewood. He walked into the woods, Alec’s beautiful laugh still ringing in his ears.
Alec stared at the retreating back of Magnus disappear into the woods, and found himself sighing like a love-sick idiot.
Alec thought he would go to the lights with Magnus, leave him, and then go back to the tower. It felt a lot more complicated to him now. For one, the outside world was not like Mother had described.
It was a wonderful place, filled with differing people. There would of course be some drawbacks to it, like unkind people, but so far he hasn’t experienced any unkindness.
The 'thugs’ in the Snuggly Duckling were amazing people, filled with as many hopes and dreams as Alec himself had. There was also the fact that Alec kind of got the gist that Mother had been more over protective than a parent should, and Magnus…
Magnus was one puzzle piece he couldn’t fit into his life back at the tower. He was funny, sarcastic, good-humoured, but also kind, and he’d glimpsed a sweet side to him just then. Magnus was the bright lantern in the middle of the dark night sky, lighting it up for Alec to see.
He was so caught up in his feelings that he didn’t realise that someone was standing right behind him.
“Well! I thought he’d never leave,” said a very familiar voice behind him.
He jumped up and faced Lilith. “Mother! I—how did you find me?”
Lilith smiled a little coldly, and said “Oh, I just followed the sound of complete and utter betrayal.”
The words felt like a kick to the stomach. “Mother—I’m sorry—” he started, but she cut him off. “We’re going home, Alec. Now.”
Alec felt his stomach drop. “You—you don’t understand. I’ve been on this incredible journey and I’ve seen and learned so much—I even met someone,” he said a little shyly.
Lilith rolled her eyes and said “Yes, the wanted thief, I’m so proud. Come on, Alec.”
“Mother—wait, I—I think he likes me,” he said, trying to get her to understand, trying to get her to see.
Lilith scoffed. “Likes you? Please, that’s demented! This is why you never should’ve left!”
“Dear, this whole romance you’ve invented, just proves how naive you really are!” Alec frowned at those words.
Lilith continued. “Now really, why would he like you? Look at you! You think that he’s impressed?” She patted his cheek.
He felt deeper offence at these words. Wasn’t she supposed to trust him? He was an adult! Well, tomorrow, anyway.
"Don’t be a dummy! Come with mummy. Mother knows best—”
“No!” He spoke suddenly, but firmly. He wasn’t going anywhere. This may have been a mistake, for Liliths body language changed immediately. “Right.” She said coldly.
“Of course, Alec knows best! So mature, such a grown up man. Well if you’re so sure, go ahead and give him this.” She flung the words at him sharply, then tossed him the—
“How did you get this?” Alec said, holding the satchel, which he’d hidden so carefully in the tower.
“That’s why he’s here! Don’t let him deceive you, go ahead and give it to him and see.” She said, her face a mask of fury. “Don’t come crying to me when he leaves you. Mother knows best.”
And with these words, she flung her cape around her body and disappeared into the shadows.
Alec stood, dumbstruck, holding the satchel, which had the crown, and the wanted poster of Magnus in it. He didn’t know what to think. Luckily, he didn’t have to, as he heard Magnus’s voice coming from the trees.
“Do I get magic powers with my hand now? Cuz you know—hey, you okay?” He stopped short at Alec’s expression.
“Fine, just—lost in thought, I guess,” he forced a smile onto his face. Magnus shrugged, then continued his rambling. “I think it would be pretty cool to have some sort of powers y'know? I mean because here’s the thing. Superhuman good looks, I’ve always had them–born with it, but superhuman strength? Can you imagine the possibilities of this…?”
The satchel lay hidden in a tree stump, a distance away from them.
Not so far away, Mother Lilith held back Agramon and Azazel as they lunged forward as if to grab Magnus. “Patience boys, all good things come to those who wait,” she said with a gleaming malicious smile.
next chapter will hopefully be up across the next two weeks! again, I love hearing feedback, so please leave a comment if you’re feeling generous ;))