You may have noticed that i’ve jacked up my art prices. Even though I am uncomfortable sometimes with it being this high, I figure to myself that I shouldn’t contribute to the low prices of commission art, and that i should lower the bottom line for artists better than me because of my own insecurities. I hope you all understand.
Use your own discretion when you commission me. If its something you don’t see in my art tags at all, its probably something i won’t draw, but I will lay down a couple more obvious ones.
-fecal matter (this request only happened once when i was 14 and first starting out in the commission game but better safe than sorry)
-Underage looking characters in NSFW themes (this topic too hot i’m not touching it, i don’t know how to draw children looking characters anyway)
Anything else is pretty much fair game, but whether or not i can draw them well is up to your own judgement.
I’m open to making deals if you for some reason want a large amount of drawings (if you notice that i’ve been drawing a lot of Flash lately, yeah that person got a discount)
*Warning: This fic features a grabby barfly with 19th century views of women.*
You smelt him before you felt his rough hands clamp tightly around your waist.
You’d barely taken two steps into the filthy canteen before the reality of where you were truly sunk in.
You looked around with a sinking feeling at the men who watched you – all the men –and the other women in the bar, you being the only one of which who didn’t have yellow stained teeth and sores around your mouth.
This wasn’t a movie. There were no heroic loners to stand up to the man, no unnaturally attractive people for they time they were living in – you and your current company excluded. This was the cold reality of humanity’s past.
Women weren’t treated as equals. Human life was thrown away over frivolous disputes or the preservation of honor. The romanticized version fed to us by Hollywood just didn’t hold up.
So when you were yanked back against a reeking, dirt-covered man’s chest, you had to reign in the genuine fear that surged through you, had to force yourself to keep a level head.
You suppressed a gag as the man’s foul-smelling breath snaked around your senses, his meaty fingers digging into your corset-clad waist. You took a steadying breath and started to spin. Then your elbow was colliding with the man’s chin before he even had a chance to speak, stumbling back further as Dean shoved his chest and pulled you behind him.
“Back the hell up, asshole!” Dean barked.
You had no doubt that the men in this hell hole were used to needing nothing more than brute strength to get girls to submit to their desires, and knew that they would have no idea what to with a woman – or anyone, for that matter – who actually knew how to fight, but still…
You latched onto Dean’s arm and allowed him to lead you back to the bar, allowed the men eyeing you with no attempt at subtlety to know that if they even so much as looked at you the wrong way they would find themselves on the wrong end of the stranger’s pistol.
“You okay?” Dean asked as gently as he could manage, rage still clearly coloring his voice even if it wasn’t aimed at you.
You smiled and nodded, reassuring both Dean and the brother coming up behind him with no small amount of worry in his features. “Yeah, I’m alright.” You squeezed the eldest Winchester’s hand. “Thank you.”
You could take anyone here, there was no doubt in your mind, but you weren’t arrogant enough to let your stung pride get in the way of excepting help from someone who cared about you.
Better safe than sorry, right?
*These gifs are not mine, both the gifs are from Google Images*
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You repeated the silent mantra over and over to yourself as you made your way to Pop’s. You looked down at your shaky hands and clenched them into tight balls in an attempt to stop the involuntary movement. Today was the day. You were going to tell Jughead Jones III you liked him. And you were terrified. You didn’t know if Jughead liked anyone or not. As far as you knew, he’d never had a crush on anyone. You had been wrestling with these feelings for about a year now, debating whether or not to tell your raven-haired best friend the truth. You eventually decided to go for it. It was now or never.
Jughead, meanwhile, was at Pop’s typing away on his laptop. Unbeknownst to you, Jughead also had feelings for you. But it wasn’t for the past year; it was for the past five. He never told you because he was scared of your reaction. Scared of losing your friendship. You were his everything.
The jingle of the front door of Pop’s being opened signaled your arrival. Jughead looked up from his novel and waved you over. You sat in your usual spot across from him.
“Okay, so I was able to get the Sheriff’s latest report on Jason Blossom,” Jughead began, turning back to his laptop. “I thought we could go over it and use the most important details for the novel.”
You nodded slowly, not really paying attention. Jughead, noticing your lackluster response, looked up at you again.
“You alright there, Y/N/N?”
You nodded again.
“Yeah, I just—I just have to tell you something.” you said.
Jughead rose his eyebrows at your statement and closed his laptop giving you his full attention.
“Okay,” he said. “What’s up?”
You looked down at your hands which were still shaking and intertwined them. You swallowed before you began to speak.
“I, um, I like you, Jughead,” you stuttered. Jughead’s eyes widened. You wrung your hands together harder.
“I’ve, um, liked you for a while now. I just needed to tell you how I really felt, and I guess I just wanted to know if you felt the same way?” you asked, finding the strength to look up at your best friend.
Jughead was speechless. You liked him. You liked him. And he liked you. Excitement flooded in him for just a second. But then he thought about what could happen. You two could break up. Your friendship would be destroyed. You two could end up like his parents. That last one hit him the hardest. He didn’t want to break your heart. He was so involved with his own thoughts that he barely heard your voice.
“Jughead?” you asked again, worried this was a disaster.
Jughead swallowed as he made his decision. Better safe than sorry.
“Y/N… I—uh, I… like you as, um, a friend.” he said tentatively, each word hitting him harder than the previous one.
Your heart sank.
“Oh.” you said, softly. Jughead saw the fallen look on your face and he knew he had made the wrong choice. But it was too late.
“Yeah.” he said softly, mentally hitting himself. Stop! Snap out of it!
You slowly got up from the booth.
“Okay, well, um, thanks for telling me the truth.” you said, voice breaking on the last word. You cleared your throat in an attempt to get some power over your emotions back.
“Y/N.” Jughead said, getting up.
“No, it’s okay,” you said, trying not to start crying right then and there. “I’ll text you later, okay?” you said, the two of you knowing you wouldn’t.
“Y/N, wait.” Jughead said again, reaching out to you.
“I’ll see you, Jughead.” you said avoiding his hand before you speed-walked out of the diner.
Jughead sighed as he sat back down at the booth, rubbing his hand over his face. What had he done?
request: HI! Can you write an imagine where Jughead, Archie, Betty and Y/N were the original four before and Jug and her really like each other but Y/N had to move away. Then she comes back while the Jason Blossom mystery (she knows, even about Grundy and V). And when Jug sees her at school, it hits him that she’s back but he’s dating Betty and it saddens her. But she gets close with Archie again and fall for each other and dates and it makes Jug jealous. The ending’s all yours. Sorry if it’s long :)
requested by: anonymous
A/N: I’M BACK!! I changed a little bit of this request, but I still think it is good. Also, I AM SO SORRY THAT IT TOOK FOREVER!! I feel so bad that this took so long. Thank you for being patient. I made it long to apologize. xx, aubree
Y/N was finally back in her hometown, Riverdale. She moved away about three years ago for her dad’s job and missed her friends deeply. Before she had moved, she would hang out at Pop’s diner with her three best friend’s Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones. They all kept in contact after Y/N left and they told her all about what was happening in Riverdale. They told her about Jason Blossom and how everyone thought he drowned until his body washed to shore with a gunshot wound to the head. They even told her about Archie’s affair with the music teacher, and of their newest friend Veronica Lodge.
Hi! I love your stuff! Could u pls write one about rick and the reader going out on a run together and they come across a stream and decide to take a swim bc its so hot outside.. its kinda awkward at first and then things get heated? ;) pls and thank u!
Here you go anon, hope you like it! 💙
Warnings: SMUT, swearing, semi-public sex, oral sex, dirty talk, a little fluff at the end
A/N: Sorry if I fuck up my description of Georgia, I live on the west coast and had to rely on Google maps!
Request: “I was wondering if I could put a request in for something with Demon Dean and Soulless Sam? And also thank you for the follow btw I love your blog” @leenasleena-blog
A/N: I hope that this turned out the way you wanted! This is AU ish in that Sam never got his soul back, but everything else progressed the same, maybe with a little more bitterness and coldness from Sam…. ALSO OMG THIS IS LONG.
Characters: Soulless!Sam x Reader, Demon!Dean x Reader, Cas
Warnings: swearing, violence, references to sex/talking about sex so I guess maybe some smut? Not in detail? I’m sorry, angst, possessive Sam and Dean
You loved Sam. You really did. Even when he came back from the dead. Even when he dragged you along with him, his cousins, and his grandfather who somehow came back to life. Even when he was a lot colder to you. Even when he told you that you couldn’t tell Dean that he was alive. Even when, after Dean found out he was alive, you found out he was soulless. You still loved Sam. You weren’t sure that anything could ever make you stop. Except maybe his brother…
Hello! I love Chancellor!Obi-Wan ! I have a question though, we all know that sometimes Anakin has visions, right? But, what about Obi-Wan? 'Cause on the expanded universe, he is decribed to be very much in tune with the Unifing Force, wich is what grants Jedi and Sith, force visions... They say that since he was very young he was plagued by very strong visions... Is something like that going to be important at one point in this AU?
Well. Let’s start with Obi-Wan shall we?
I have no set headcanon on how prone to visions and stuff Obi-Wan is, but I am at the very least a believer in him having fairly decent precognition/prescience. Y’know, like his “bad feeling” during the Naboo crisis.
Hello, and thank you for joining me for the second Installment of my Writing Tips series. Today’s lesson is about cliches and how to cut them out of your writing.
What is a cliche? A cliche is an expression, idiom, or trope which has been overused to the point of losing its meaning. In this lesson, we will specifically be tackling cliched phrases (cliched tropes, such as the Damsel and Distress or the Knight in Shining Armor, will be relegated to a separate post).
Cliches often come about when a phrase so perfectly conveys a particular idea or emotion that it becomes a fixture of everyday language. You can think of cliches like the linguistic equivalent of memes: the first time you see one, it seems clever and innovative. But when a meme becomes pervasive, it stops feeling original and starts feeling lazy and unimaginative.
Most cliches were once seen as brilliant turns of phrase, leading to their subsequent overuse and loss of effectiveness. For instance, the line “It was a dark and stormy night” was once considered hauntingly evocative, but because it’s been so overused, it’s been relegated to parodies and bad fanfiction. Other cliches, such as “the best thing since sliced bread” and “easy as pie” have suffered similar fates (although, as someone who has never successfully baked a pie, I have trouble believe making pie is indeed “easy as pie.” But I digress).
With that in mind, let’s look at this quote by Gary Provost, author of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:
“Clichés are a dime a dozen. If you’ve seen one, you’ve
seen them all. They’ve been used once too often. They’ve outlived their
usefulness. Their familiarity breeds contempt. They make the writer
look as dumb as a doornail, and they cause the reader to sleep like a
log. So be sly as a fox. Avoid clichés like the plague. If you start to
use one, drop it like a hot potato. Instead, be smart as a whip. Write
something that is fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a
tack. Better safe than sorry.”
In this instance, Provost is using cliched phrases to prove about point about cliches, which is why it works. Often, the best way to make use of cliches in your writing is to deconstruct them. (Remember that thing I said about the pie? Yeah. Like that). But in most cases, it’s better to replace cliches with more original phrases.
Before you can eradicate cliches, however, you have to find them. The
best way to do this is to hand your work over to a betareader (a
“betareader” is someone who looks over your writing for flaws before you show your writing to other
professionals or post it where the general public can read it).
Alternatively, becoming a betareader for someone else can teach you to
identify cliched phrases in your own writing, thus allowing you to
filter them out before passing your stories along to your own
How you fix cliches will depend greatly on your intention, your writing style, and your culture (cliches vary by language. For instance, there is a French cliche which translates to “the drop that overflowed the vase,” and is roughly equivalent to the English cliche, “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”) As with skinning a cat, there are many methods for cutting back on cliches, all depending on context and intention, so my advice is simply to be willing to stretch your creative muscles. No matter how vigilant you are, you’re not going to be able to eliminate all cliches from your writing. Even the greatest authors sometimes fall victim to such things, and while you should try to snuff them out, don’t let your worry over cliches stop you from writing.
As an exercise, I have included a number of cliched phrases in this post for you to find and correct, if you are so inclined. In the meantime, I hope you found this lesson helpful, and thanks again for reading.
He’s in mode and he doesn’t eat and he doesn’t sleep.
Until, that is, James forces him to.
“Dude, I get it, but Alex is in trouble, I’m not gonna just – ”
“Winn. Man. You’re not gonna be any help to Alex if you don’t put something in your body. And just thirty minutes. You can nap for thirty minutes. That’s all. Let your programs run… something, I don’t know. Doesn’t it take them time to run analyses, anyway?”
Winn scowls and he moans, but he chomps down the food James brought him.
He hadn’t realized he was hungry.
“Who’s taking care of you, Olsen?” Vasquez wants to know as James watches Winn eat, his brow furrowed in concern, his eyes red with the weight of sheer refusal to panic.
“I can take care of myself alright,” he offers, and she knows he can, but she also knows that right now, it’s a lie.
“I’ve got a call in for you,” she tells him, and she puts a phone in his hands and walks away without explanation. He stares after her for a moment before putting the phone to his ear.
“Jimmy. I heard about Alex, I’m getting on the next flight out. Are you alright? Is Kara okay? Oh god, she must be a wreck – ”
“Lucy, what – what are you – ”
“Vasquez called me, James, what do you think I – it doesn’t matter. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m… I’m good, I just… you’re right, Kara’s a wreck, and Winn hasn’t eaten or slept since she’s been taken, and – ”
“And you haven’t either, I bet.”
James sighs and he can practically hear Lucy’s reprimand.
“Jimmy. Please eat something. I know you can’t sleep when you’re terrified like this – and don’t deny that you’re terrified, James Olsen, don’t you dare do it – but please at least eat something. I don’t know, steal half of whatever you got for Winn or something.”
“We have to stop stealing food from that man.”
“Yeah, we really do. But it got you to laugh.”
There’s a pause, a silence, and it feels comfortable. It feels safe. It feels like maybe Alex will be okay after all.
“You’re on your way?”
“Of course I’m on my way. She’ll be alright, Jimmy. She’s tougher than nails, Alex Danvers.”
James grins, because god, he knows.
“Yeah. Yeah, she is.” His voice threatens to crack, and someone else might not have heard it, but this is Lucy, and Lucy does.
“She’s gonna be alright, Jimmy. I promise you. This is Alex Danvers. She’s going to be alright.”
It’s Lucy’s voice that trembles this time, but James knows better than to comment. Lucy needs to get here in one piece, and calling attention to the cracks in her armor isn’t going to help her do that.
“Yeah. Yeah, she is,” he repeats. “Fly safe, Lucy, okay?”
“Yeah. See you soon, Jimmy. Eat!”
He gives the phone back to Vasquez and plops down next to Winn.
“Feeling better?” he asks.
“I’m not gonna feel better until that girl is back here and that guy is six feet under.” James raises his eyebrows, because this is not how Winn Schott talks.
Winn notices, and he grimaces.
“I’m sorry, I just… it’s Alex, you know?”
James nods, because god, does he know. When his eyes find Winn’s next, they’re exactly as bloodshot as he imagines his own are.
“We’re going to find her, Winn.”
“But what if we’re too late?” he asks, his voice broken. His voice something like it must have sounded when they took his father away to prison. When they yelled at him in foster home after foster home after foster home. When Lyra repeated the pattern and he threw up his hands because Winn is braver than he knows, but he has terrors that only betray themselves in the defensive raising of his hands, the soft cracking of his voice, the wildly calm look in his eyes.
James puts his hand on Winn’s thigh, and the touch seems to calm him. To soothe him.
Both of them, if James is being honest.
“We won’t be. I promise. We won’t be.”
Winn nods and forces the rest of his sandwich into James’s hands. “I’m not the only one who has to keep up his strength,” he tells him, and he claps a hand on his shoulder as he stands.
“Thank you, James.”
“You’re the one doing all the work, brother.”
“I’m just playing with computers. Keeping us all together? That’s the real work, man. And you’re amazing at it.”
James sighs and he nods and he forces himself to eat.
Because Alex will never let him hear the end of it if he passes out from hunger and exhaustion when she gets back.
A/N: I’m so lazy rip. I’m still working on the drabble game requests and convoluted code and a yandere Tae fic. Why do I do this? I’m also trying to get a job. I finished this chapter at 3am, so please make me feel good about it. I’m a mess
Word Count: 2.7k
Pairing: Mafia boss! Yoongi x reader
Genre: Angst, Fluff, possible Smut later
Warnings: Mentions of violence, death, and blood
Chapter Summary: You go public and remember your family as you lean into danger
This world was a circus, and you were back to rolling with the ringleaders. The audience thinks they’re in control when they’re the ones being controlled. The audience oohed and aahed at the fun tricks, glamorous showings, and gut wrenching suspense, all unknowingly drowning out the horrific sounds behind the scene. The deception, the disgusting exhibitions, and the literal gut wrenching. Those who looked close enough could see it behind a translucent curtain, but they were smart enough to look away. The likes of you do tricks because you want to because you have no care to mop up blood in front of children, it’s just easier that way, so you dance. You dance with the show until the crowd is ready to face the real music. However, the audience and act know this show will forever go on, You and this circus will live in every town.
You hadn’t gotten this dolled up in years. Your hair was styled elegantly, your dress was an ironic green, your bruised neck covered with a matching scarf, and you were being coached on your questions. This nation treated the beautiful as celebrities, so you had to look the standard, now being apart if the group.
Cameras were everywhere outside the prison. Your father was given the speediest trial of a lifetime, seeing as he “took a deal”. However, you knew the truth. He was hauled into prison before he could even blink. That’s when the information was leaked. The green haired girl steps forward and turns in her own father. What an utter joke, but everyone was laughing, enjoying it.
@turtledisc said “Tony Stark COULD be a threat but because his heart’s so good he isn’t. However, if you get on his bad side or set yourself as his enemy - then watch out. People need to notice the worrying trend of his enemies all being dead! So yeah, Tony’s a good guy who will protect anyone and everyone but do not get on his bad side, ever. It won’t end well - FOR YOU!”
Agreed. Heck, every Avenger is dangerous. That doesn’t mean they can’t be soft, doesn’t mean they are bad people but they have power. They have the ability to hurt people. And Tony is certainly no exception.
I love soft, fluffy Tony, I really do, but that’s not all that is to him. Tony Stark took down terrorists. Tony Stark built a suit of armour. Tony Stark is not to be fucked with. That he has a heart of gold we all know and love is doesn’t change that.
(I’d even argue that Fury and Romanoff are far too jaded to consider Tony’s intentions at all. They concern themselves with the worst-case scenario, not the reality, because their job means seeing the worst in people instead of trusting they’ll do the right thing.)
just curious: why don't you wanna draw disney stuff? i wasn't gonna ask you to draw any; i just thought it was odd and didn't match the rest of the stuff you don't want to draw lol. thanks for being amazing btw <3 love you!
Because Disney is known to be very sensitive about their copyrighted material and even if I say you only pay for my worktime, they might still get pissed. They’re known to send cease and desist letters as well as having contacted a whole anime convention because people sold disney fanart there. Soooo … I’d rather not.
Selling of fanart is a gray area in general. Technically it’s illegal but most japanese companies don’t seem to care much? I think it’s more beneficial and advertising for their product than sueing people over fanart. (although there has been a known case of someone getting told off for a Sailor Moon fan-artbook?)
Requested by @milkandcookies528 : Maybe you could do one where reid falls in love with the reader who works at the bau with him. But she has a boyfriend and one night the team goes to a bar and the both of them leave to go to her apartment and are in the midst of sleeping with each other and her boyfriend comes home to see them together which causes a fight between her boyfriend and the reader and he breaks up with her. Sorry if it’s alot.
A/n: I slightly altered this request, i hope you still like it.
Title : Ups and Downs
Pairing : Spencer reid x reader
POV: Switches a lot, 1st person, thrid person mostky
Word count : 2443 ( My longest to date! Thank @madamredwrites and her writing sprint for that)
It’s when things stop being mutual. Your relationship switches from a two way street to a one way and then a deserted highway with tumbleweeds and the memory of what once was.
Now it’s just getting depressing.
Technically it wasn’t over, because neither of you actually acknowledged it. You both knew what was going on. You heard her on talking, you saw her smile as she looked at her phone, her sudden vigor and the joy in her face to go to work. You saw the signs of guilt, of trying to overcompensate.
You saw her trying.
Which is why you were here, with your team. Drinking yourself till your senses were numbed, till you couldn’t think, couldn’t feel. So you wouldn’t have to try, so you could just let loose and feel sad.
“Hey Y/N, you alright?” JJ frowned as she glanced at you, taking your 3 glass of whiskey.
You stared at your empty glass and laughed, a bit manically as the tears filled your eyes.
“No JJ. I’m not, i’m really not. “ you replied, running a hand through your hair before making your way to the dance floor.
“Yeah, you know what? You do that. You stay exactly there,” You said, stepping onto the street to move around him. “Don’t move at all. That would be great.” The man shrugged, still grinning like there was a joke I didn’t get. “Please, be my guest. You wont stay away from me for long.” You edged carefully around the shadow of the extinguished streetlight, and the green haired man lurking beneath it, not trusting him to leave you alone. You kept glancing back as you walked away, waiting for him to move, but he only lurched from one side to the other. Once you were satisfied that you were far enough away, you broke into a jog. You couldn’t get home fast enough, this was just too weird. Besides, it was getting darker.
It has been weeks since you’ve had a decent night’s sleep. You had been doing so well; clean for almost two years, your anxiety was under control, and your relationship was better than ever. But then your mom passed away and your world came crashing down around you. For the first couple months, it was kind of a blur and you couldn’t really worry about yourself while your dad was mentally not in a place to really be there for your younger sisters. Alex has been so amazing, and he made sure that you took care of yourself, in maybe more of a parent way than a boyfriend way, and you feel guilty about it now, but he won’t hear a word of it, of course.
Sakura blinked, setting her empty lunch container down and looking over at Shizune. “Where did these come from?”
“Seems that you have an admirer,” Shizune said, taking the box Sakura offered her with a word of thanks. “A delivery man brought it by.”
“Huh,” Sakura said, going around to the front of her desk.
She touched the petals of the sunflowers, frowning at the texture. They weren’t real. She lifted the note that accompanied it.
Thank you for your help! Bang! ~Deidara
“What?” Sakura said, examining the flowers more closely. They were made of clay and painted. Honestly, the level of detail was quite astounding. “What did he mean by bang?”
There was a sizzling sound. Sakura glanced down at the stems of flowers which were burning away, like a wick.
“Sakura!” Shizune exclaimed, leaping over her desk and knocking Sakura to the ground.
Sakura watched, breathless beneath Shizune’s protective stance, as the flowers ignited in a small shower of fireworks and sparks.
It was gorgeous and fleeting.
It had also been seconds away from burning her face.
“What was that?” Sakura demanded, brushing her hair out of her face.
“I had forgotten that Deidara has a reputation as a pyromancer,” Shizune said, frown severe. It is an intimidating look on her. She surveys the mess left behind, singed papers and black marks all over Sakura’s desk. “And he is something of a prankster. I will need to remind him that such acts are incredibly inappropriate. He could have burnt your face!”
Sakura stood, assisting Shizune to her feet. “Well you have my thanks for the quick acting,” Sakura said.
“I’ll be having words with Deidara,” Shizune said, eyes an unearthly green.
Sakura was extraordinarily relieved that she was not on the end of Shizune’s wrath.
Shizune gave her a brisk hug before turning to the mess with a sigh. “Go ahead and head out early,” she said, “I’ll call the janitor and track down Deidara.”
Sakura did not envy Deidara his position. “Alright,” she said, shutting down her computer and filing away whatever readable papers are left behind. “How are we going to fix these documents? We need them.”
“Don’t you worry about that,” Shizune said. “Our janitor possesses some lovely restoration abilities. I’ll put everything away after she comes by.”
“You’re the best Shizune!” Sakura exclaimed, bussing a kiss against her cheek and heading out the front door.
It was time for dinner.
“Here are your sunglasses,” Ino said, pressing a pair of aviators into Sakura’s hands. “Make sure you keep them on at all times, even when you’re in the bathroom or if you step outside.”
“Okay, okay,” Sakura replied, pressing a hand to Ino’s shoulder to show her appreciation. She put the blue reflective lenses on. “How do I look?”
“Absolutely lovely,” Ino said as she perched the cat eye sunglasses on the bridge of her nose. She hooked her hand through the crook of Sakura’s arm and strode down the street. “We’re fabulous.”
Sakura laughed, shaking her head but keeping pace gamely. Being with Ino was always an adventure.
They stopped outside a storefront with the name Mamushi in tasteful, if plain lettering at its front. The windows were wide and showcase a scene of long tables, plush seating and warm lighting. There was an open counter where the chefs’ work with the fish was clearly visible. Against the far wall was a bold mural of two women eating sushi in a traditional Azuchi-Momoyama period Japanese art style.
Sakura whistled, impressed. “Nice place.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty wonderful. Patrons just have to be a bit careful. Better safe than sorry,” Ino said, pressing through the door.
“Sakura, Ino!” Naruto called out, waving them down. The group was seated in a corner. “C’mon over!”
Sakura took a seat between Hinata and Menma, ignorant to Ino’s pout.
“Here,” Hinata said softly, passing her a menu.
“Thanks,” Sakura said, taking a moment to appreciate everyone’s eyewear. “What’s good here?”
Sakura jumped, turning around in her chair.
A woman stood firmly planted in front of her. Her smile was wide and manic, eyes shaded by dark sunglasses.
Her hair was also made a hundreds of snakes.
The snakes were purple and writhing, hissing and turning to look at their surroundings.
“Anko Mitarashi,” she said, sticking out her hand to shake Sakura’s firmly. “I own this place.” She leaned in, scrutinizing Sakura intently. Then she plucked the menu out of Sakura’s hands. “Don’t worry your pretty little head about choosing! I’ll pick your sushi out for you tonight. You seem like an unagi, girl…”
Sakura watched, dumbfounded, as Anko walked away, whistling cheerily.
“Looks like you’re getting the eel,” Menma crowed, nudging her in the ribcage.
“I like eel,” Sakura said, smiling slightly. “I was just a bit surprised that she figured it out just like that.”
“Anko’s good at her job,” Naruto said. “A bit out there but she makes the best damn sushi around.”
“Maybe because she was around when sushi was invented,” Sasuke muttered, arms crossed.
“Oh hush,” Karin said, pouring herself a cup of sake. “You just don’t like the fact that she tried to feed you like a bird the first time we came here.”
“Karin!” Sasuke exclaimed, cheeks red. “Don’t talk about that!”
Sakura laughed, relaxing as conversations started up around her. She enjoyed this, simply being together and talking and enjoying each other’s company. She didn’t have the benefit of a shared history with those at the table, but sitting with them had started to feel like home almost as much as the actual town of Pompeii. There was a place for her here, and it was warm and welcoming. Maybe she was the newest in town, but she still felt like this was the home she was always meant to make and Sakura loved the feeling.
“Tayuya, have you heard anything about this whole fiasco that Kiri is starting up?” Menma asked in a low tone.
Tayuya frowned, thinking. “Not sure what fiasco you’re talking about. Kiri has fingers in just about every pie in town. You need to be a bit more specific.”
“The…recent incident,” Menma said, skirting around the issue.
“He’s talking about that Orochimaru thing,” Naruto said, breaking into the conversation. He was oblivious to the way Sakura flinched. “Dad’s gotten all up in arms about it but he’s keeping it very hush-hush.”
“Tsunade hasn’t mentioned anything to the coven but I know she’s only recently started to attend some city council meetings,” Tayuya said. “You think that’s what it’s about?”
“The clan heads have been to the meetings too,” Shikamaru said. “Dad is being pretty tight-lipped over the whole thing.”
“Mito-sama is involved too,” Karin said. “Whatever’s happening, it’s pretty serious.”
“Nah,” Naruto said cavalierly. “I think it’s Yagura just blowing hot air. He’s always been a paranoid bastard, especially since Akatsuki came around. Orochimaru died centuries ago; we all know it. Hell, Tsunade said-”
Something cracked behind them.
Everyone turned, taking in the sight of Anko bending over a broken tray. Sushi lay in disarray on the ground, ruined.
“Apologies,” she said, smile bland. “I just thought of something funny and I forgot my strength. I will be back shortly with your sushi. I apologize for the inconvenience.”
Most of table’s occupants turned back to their conversation, albeit in quieter tones. Sakura, however, continued to watch Anko, catching the fine tremors in her shoulders and the drooping of her snakes.
The sake in her mouth turned to ash.
“I do not feel well,” Sakura said, standing up abruptly. “I’m going to head home and sleep it off.”
She heard the protestations but she bowed out regardless, offering platitudes before heading for the door.
A hand on her shoulder stopped her.
“Don’t approach Anko, not now,” Shikamaru said, gaze steady as he stares her down. “She doesn’t possess the best control.” He looked at her drawn face and tightly pressed lips and sighed. “Troublesome. Look, Naruto may espouse his opinion the loudest but it doesn’t make it true. Talk to Anko another day. Ino and I will come by later with your sushi.”
Sakura nodded, squeezing the hand on her shoulder. “Thank you, Shikamaru.”
“Don’t mention it,” he said, waving her off lazily.
Sakura stepped out onto the street, buoyed by the cool night air. She patted her flushed cheeks, trying to let go of her anger. She didn’t understand the politics of Pompeii, not in full. How could she? She’d been here for a few months while some of the denizens had been here for centuries.
She began to walk, allowing her boiling emotions to fuel her brisk pace.
It wasn’t Naruto’s fault that he didn’t know, that he spoke out so carelessly on issues that he knew nothing of. Sakura had seen the terror in Yagura’s face, the lingering, stifling fear felt through the older residents when the name Orochimaru was invoked. She doubted that Yagura would dare to resurrect the horror of a seemingly forgotten nightmare without good reason.
Sakura huffed and stared down at the pavement, wishing for a way to understand the tenuous climate of Pompeii. She needed knowledge…
Sakura blinked as the concrete beneath her feet turned to pink brick. She looked up, gaping at the building that was in front of her.
It was a building.
In the middle of the street.
Sakura shook her head, unable to understand what she was seeing. She had walked down this street only half an hour ago. What the hell was this building? Sakura scrutinized the sign, which read Sarutobi Library.
Honestly, she wasn’t sure why she was surprised. This was Pompeii after all.
Still a library, right when she needed one.
Sakura walked up the steps, anger dampening as curiosity took over. She pulled out her phone, turning on its flashlight. She pressed her hand against the oak door, feeling the fine grains of wood beneath her shifting fingertips.
The door swung open beneath her weight.
“Hello?” Sakura called, peeking inside the darkened room. “Anyone there?”
Silence greeted her.
Sakura paused, warring with herself for a moment before valor got the better part of discretion and she stepped inside.
Her footsteps echoed against the marble flooring as she began to explore. She couldn’t quite make out the details of the walls, but it looked intricate, gilt murals and swirling images of legends she knew nothing of. Heavy drapes hung in the path before her. Sakura pulled them away, grinning at the sight.
Books lined every wall as far as the eye could see. Sakura glanced up, turning her flashlight toward the ceiling. She couldn’t even see it, it was so far away.
Sakura stepped further into the library, slightly overwhelmed with all the possibilities. Where should she start?
She shook her head, squaring her shoulders.
She’d just start somewhere.
The starting was the important thing.
She looked around and finally found the light switch. She flipped it on, gasping as the light allowed her to fully appreciate the beauty of the library. The books were gilded in silver and gold and shimmery colors of all sorts, bright and inviting. In the center of the room was plush sofas and plump ottomans and pillows, ready for any reading position. There were innumerable ladders along the walls, positioned in such ways that seemed almost impossible as one ladder connected to another and then another. There were moving staircases alongside the walls, allowing for easy access to the books. The lighting was nouveau in style, thousands of colorful glass shards making up mosaics of pure light.
It was strange and beautiful.
Sakura pulled back her hair, grabbed a conveniently placed basket, and strode toward the closest ladder.
It was time to get to work.
Sakura dodged the flailing tentacle, wobbling precariously on the high ladder as she fought to shut the book. Her shirt was soaked and she smelled of brine, peppermint, and honey, an odd combination to be sure. Sap clung to different portions of her hair, making it stand on end.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had this much fun.
Sakura reshelved 1001 Tomato-Based Remedies for the Apothecary. She wasn’t sure why there was a giant squid inhabiting this particular book, but she decided not to question its culinary tastes.
Instead she pushed against the handy brass rails on the wall, grinning as the ladder swung around the walls smoothly. She paused as a glint of silver caught her eyes, examining the title:
A Brief History of Preternaturally Inclined Villages.
Sakura couldn’t help a sound of victory as she carefully lifted her evil eye medallion, brushing it against the binding on the side.
There was no reaction.
Just to be safe, Sakura pulled out the ankh given her by a client and tapped the top and bottom of the book. (She had quickly learned to be cautious with books that often had a mind of their own.)
Again, nothing happened.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Sakura tucked her talismen away and gingerly lifted the book. She added it to the basket that hung from one of the rungs of the ladder, appreciating once more just how wonderful this library was. Sakura glanced at her ladened basket, counting fifteen or so books.
With a satisfied nod, Sakura clambered down the ladder with an ease that belied her enthusiasm. She startled and nearly missed a rung when someone began to clap.
Sakura turned, clinging tightly to the ladder as she surveyed her surroundings. Below her stood an older man, hunched and stooped with age.
Perhaps the librarian?
She swallowed, making her way down the ladder to meet the interloper. As she got closer to him, Sakura could make out his facial features: the craggy planes of his face and his warm, kind eyes.
“That was quite impressive child,” he said as she reached the same level as him. “I’ve never seen a newcomer handle herself so well with the more…rambunctious books. Especially considering that you did not use any magic.”
Sakura smiled wryly. “Well, Pompeii offers a steep learning curve.”
“Indeed it does!” the man said, seeming delighted as he laughed. “I am Hiruzen Sarutobi, librarian.”
“I am Sakura Haruno, new doctor here in Pompeii,” Sakura replied, taking his hand and shaking it firmly. “I apologize for barging in here unannounced.”
“No apologies are necessary!” Hiruzen said. “Truly, I am glad that the library chose to appear to you; it almost never comes to newcomers. Whenever you see the library, know it is open to you at any hour of the day.” He peered into her basket, a frown gracing his face. “What exactly were you looking for?”
“I want to understand the town better,” Sakura said, meeting his troubled gaze easily. “Things are brewing just beneath the calm surface and I am behind many other citizens by centuries. I need to arm myself with knowledge.”
“A wise method,” Hiruzen said. “And what is it specifically you seek knowledge in today?”
Sakura swallowed, remembering the reactions of the younger generation. Would this man brush off her concerns so easily too? She breathed deeply and said, “I want to know who Orochimaru was and his significance to this town.”
“Orochimaru?” Hiruzen said, voice high as he staggered back a step. “Yes…I suppose with the current unrest it would make sense to look into the underbelly of Pompeii. And Orochimaru certainly thrived in the darkness.” He sighed, drawing a shaking hand across his face. “Well, A Brief History of Preternaturally Inclined Villages is a good choice to learn about the significance of Pompeii itself but for Orochimaru…” He trailed off.
“Are there truly no books on the events in Pompeii?” Sakura asked.
“Actually, I might have something. Wait here.”
Sakura watched as Hiruzen doddered away, feeling a bit accomplished. It was good to be taken seriously in her concerns.
“Here,” Hiruzen said triumphantly, waving a book above his head. “I found it!”
He pressed a plain book into her hands, looking at her expectantly. She examined the blank cover, looking over the dark stains within the leather. She carefully opened the book, ready to find the title.
It was blank.
Sakura scowled, flipping through the pages. All were blank.
“What is this?” Sakura asked.
“It will reveal itself to you as time goes on,” Hiruzen said. “This should provide you answers on who Orochimaru is and what he has done within this town.”
Hiruzen shook his head. “It is late. You should head home.”
Sakura raised her hands in protest but Hiruzen faded away before her very eyes. She frowned at the spot he once was, not appreciating his cryptic advice. She wanted straightforward answers.
She glanced down at the blank book.
Perhaps answers were within it.
“I’m taking this basket of books with me,” Sakura called, guessing that Hiruzen was listening. “Next time I’m here I’ll get a library card, if that is something you have here.”
When she was met with silence, Sakura took it as permission and headed for the door.
She stepped outside, blinking at her surroundings which had changed.
She was in front of the clinic.
Sakura grinned, looking up at the library. She wasn’t sure how sentient a building could be, but this was Pompeii. She patted the library sign. “Thank you,” she murmured, before moving forward and pressing a key into her lock.
She frowned as something tugged at the space behind her bellybutton.
Sakura placed the basket of books inside the clinic before locking the door, responding to the call of the seal.
She sucked in a heavy breath as she landed in the town square, trying to reorient herself quickly. Blue hands landed on her shoulders, steadying her.
“Sakura,” Kisame said, gazing past her with concern.
“Sakura!” Zabuza was suddenly in her face, pushing Kisame out of the way. He paced in front of her, full of energy. “I…he was alone for just a minute… I can’t believe…it’s my fault!”
“Zabuza, what happened?” Sakura demanded, grabbing his face and making him stand still. “I need you to breathe and explain.”
“It’s Haku,” he said, eyes full of tears. Sakura brushed the saline away, listening attentively. “He…he was attacked.”
“Where is he?” Sakura asked tersely.
“Here,” Kisame said, carrying a slight body over to Sakura.
It was Haku, but he was in very poor shape, tensed in agony.
“Here, hold onto me,” Sakura said, offering her arms to Zabuza, Kisame, and Yagura. “I’ll take us back to the clinic.”
“I’ll do it,” Yagura said darkly, eyes glowing.
They landed in the middle of the clinic and Sakura immediately set to work, pulling on gloves as she gave orders. “Yagura, I need you to call Shizune; let her know it’s an emergency. Kisame, place Haku on the examination table. Zabuza, grab a glass of water and sit down!
“Now,” Sakura took a deep breath to center herself, “what happened?” Sakura asked, brushing Haku’s hair away from his face.
“We were going out to the lake,” Zabuza said, gaze unfocused and voice unnaturally calm. He was in shock. “Haku ran up ahead since I had to stop by Hidan’s for some hardware. It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes…I came across him screaming, all contorted…He’s out of it now but he said something bit him.”
Sakura frowned, leaning in to examine Haku’s neck. There were two puncture holes, reminiscent of fangs. The veins around the entry wound were darkened and inflamed.
She frowned. “Kisame, I’m going to need you to call Chiyo and inform her that I will need her assistance. Kankuro’s too. Haku is poisoned.” Zabuza released a wet sounding noise. “Zabuza, you did the right thing. We are getting him treated.” Sakura wrapped a sterile bandage loosely around the wound. “What venomous animals are native to the area?”
“It was Orochimaru,” Yagura said, stepping up beside her.
“Have you seen this sort of attack before?” Sakura asked.
Yagura nodded. “Chiyo has dealt with it in the past.”
“Kisame, please let her know what we are dealing with,” Sakura said. She frowned as Haku began to scream. “We’ll need her expertise to handle this.”
Yagura stood beside Zabuza, hand on his shoulder. “Orochimaru will pay for this, in blood.”
everyone in pompeii is illiterate because the library is an asshole that acts like the room of requirement.
Filling the prompt “reader being a burlesque dancer and van meets her on a boys night out (saturdays are for the boys lol) and yeah he like falls in looove cause hes a big dope and the reader is like a mix of violet chachki and dita von tease and super sensual and fun and a bit of a flirt and totally magnetic but not like a manic pixie dream girl ya know”
“Are you alright, love?”
You looked over; a guy was waiting for his turn with the sugar and takeaway lids. You’d been carefully running your thumb around the edge of your lid to ensure it was securely attached to the cup. One time you didn’t put it on properly and as you went to sip your coffee, it poured down the front of your shirt. Another time though, you pressed too hard as you attached the lid and the cup folded, sending hot liquid all over the counter and your hands. It was a balancing act that terrified you. You knew that that café didn’t put the lids on for the customers, so you had really cursed yourself.
Had the guy heard the small sound of anxiety that had come from you or was he simply impatient?
“Sorry,” you said with a grin, then stepped aside, leaving your cup there. He looked it confused, then back at you.
“Um… You just go.”
He cautiously stepped up and added two sugars to his black coffee, then put a lid on with ease. It didn’t even look like he had to eyeball the different sizes pre-emptively to save himself from the embarrassment of picking the wrong one. Maybe it was just you that did that. When he stepped aside, you moved back to your cup. He didn’t leave though; instead, he was watching you with his head on a puppy dog tilt.