but i color it myself so it's correct at least for that

Just Business, No Pleasure

Warnings: SMUT (Ages 18+)

Summary: You and Bucky have been successfully keeping your relationship a secret for a while now. However, you’re not so sure how much longer you can take it once he’s assigned the job of seducing another woman on a mission.

Word Count: 4.6k (I’m so sorry)

MASTERLIST

Originally posted by ohhseby


“—this is the target’s wife, Lucille. She was dumb enough to marry him and he was dumb enough to think she’d be faithful. Barnes, I want you to go about seducing her. Y’know, the typical ‘40s charm: court her, woo her, whisper sweet nothings; the whole shebang.” Your blood went cold at Tony’s words, not even daring to look at Bucky across the conference room table. “Most of us will be stationed around the gala with our comms on, but some of us are gonna stay back here and monitor the situation through security camera footage.”

“Why am I the one doing the seducing? Don’t you think this—” Bucky started, pointing to his vibranium arm, “—will be a bit of a dead giveaway that I’m not just some random suitor?” he asked, his unimpressed tone clearly challenging Tony and, although you still didn’t dare to look at him, you knew his countenance matched his voice.

Keep reading

The key to love, my father told me, was to never love someone more than they love you. So when, after dating for five months, Christopher Moore was the first to say “I Love You”, I thought I had hit the “Love Jackpot”. I say this because, prior to him saying it at that very moment, I had never given thought to the possibility that I could love him in return. Standing in front of my apartment building, nervous and excited, facing him and his smile, I questioned whether love was the word to describe what I was feeling. High school love, after all, is quite trivial with it’s ins and outs. Nevertheless after weighing the theoretical pros and cons of love, I decided that I was in love, at least in some respects. He was handsome, smart, sweet, and I enjoyed his company. This is what I believed love boiled down to; four factors. Honesty, clearly, was something I overlooked. About a year and 7 months into our blissful love affair, after graduation had passed and we had spent the summer taking all the cliché couple pictures, Chris decided that he “just couldn’t go on lying to me anymore. “Jenine” he told me “this guilt is eating me alive!”. I imagine there wasn’t much of him left, as it had been “eating away at him” for 6 months. This is when I learned that there is no “key” to love; no guide, no tips, no 101 course, because love is lived and learned; never taught. Try as you may, to forgo the pain of love, you’ll find joy in knowing that it’s survive-able and moreover, sometimes the good outweighs the bad. No, Chris wasn’t the love of my life, but he gave life to my ability to love.

“Never” my father said “let love override your faculty of reason.” Easier said, than done. My next love was Jeremy Bishop. Before you ask, of course there were others between Chris and Jeremy. But this is a story about love; not “almost loves”,“semi loves”, and “could’ve beens”. Jeremy’s love was the worst kind of love. The kind that doesn’t have a reason to exist but somehow it does and you’re glad. Its sole purpose is to debilitate your mind, forcing you to follow only your emotions. While Jeremy was dreamy, I learned that the man of your dreams can sometimes be the root of your nightmares.

I met Jeremy my junior year at _________ University. It was a Sunday and I had been studying in the library for an anthropology midterm and decided that I would take a break. Putting my highlighter down & flexing my hand I stood up & headed towards the bathroom. As I walked through the stacks, passing my hand across the rows of books I’d never read, my friend Denise spotted me and waved me over. Walking swiftly I made my way to the table she was stationed it & gathered that she had been studying all day as all. Splayed papers, open textbooks, two highlighters, & her laptop with several window open screamed “cram session” to me. After having sat & talked for some time about school & it’s “scammagry”, I noticed that someone had taken a seat at the end of the table. You know those typical movies where two people look up at the same time & smile coyly at one another? Well that’s what happened with us…….minus the smiling. When Jeremy & I caught eyes it was more of an inquisitive stare down. I relented because who really stares at a stranger for lengths at a time? Apparently Jeremy does because every time I looked up he was looking at me or perhaps through me. Whatever the case was I asked Denise if she could “Excuse me for one second?” as I got up from my seat and sauntered over to Jeremy, running my fingernails along the wooden table that both separated and joined us.

He was brown skinned but it was a rich brown that I often found myself lost in. He had brown hair that was cut low to avoid maintenance & also to spite his mother who so much loved it longer. His eyes were almost black they were so dark, yet you never asked someone to hit the lights when staring into them. He had a slight dimple on the right side of face that only presented itself in the presence of his mother, its creator.

“I know you or something?” I said, to which he looked up & responded “No you don’t. But since you’re already here, I’m Jeremy. Nice to meet you….” he said moving his hand in that circular waiting motion “this is usually the part where you tell me your name”. He was sarcastic & forthcoming and I liked it. “This is usually the part when I’d say Jenine. My name is Jenine. Though I’m not sure it’s nice to meet you.” “Well Jenine, do you have HIST 256 on Mondays & Thursdays? I think that’s where I’ve seen you before.” “Well Jeremy, had I known you were a stalker I would’ve stayed at the other end of the table” “A stalker Jenine? Really? I think you’re mistaking my keen eye for details.” “I stand corrected then. I just had no idea I was noticeable to your "keen eye”, I said, making air quotes. He leaned in & said, “Maybe Jenine, just maybe there’s a lot of things you don’t know. I’d be happy to fill you in though. If you were ever free.” “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me, Jeremy, that you’re asking me out.” “It seems that way, because it is that way. But enough with this, would you be interested in going out?” “I’ll contemplate it.”

A week later Jeremy picked me up in his beat up silver 2010 Toyota Corolla. Got out & offered to close the door for me not because he was a gentleman but because I literally couldn’t close it myself. He told me he wanted to show me his favorite place in all of Brooklyn. We drove for about 15 mins and parked in DUMBO; my favorite place. As we walked to the pier he barraged me with every menial question from favorite color to top five movies. I stopped his questioning because I realized I knew nothing about him. “What about you?” I said. “Tell me something I don’t know about you.” “I’m a Taurus. Now back to you.” “Your sign. You gave me the third degree and in return you tell me your astrological sign??” “I’m really not that interesting. I kind of just go with the flow nothing special really.” “I could say the same about myself but you don’t see me spewing monotonous facts about myself” “That’s just it though. You’re very interesting. I see you twice a week & you never look the same to me. Always a different hairstyle, new lipstick, different outfit. You keep me guessing & well…I like that.” “Different outfit…Did you expect me to have the same clothes on like a cartoon character?”

Jeremy took my clothes off the way he took down my walls; slowly & intently. I never felt exposed or vulnerable. It was easy with him & who doesn’t like easy? The first time we had sex he kissed every scar and stretch mark on my body while he whispered beautiful and for the first time I believed it. This is when I knew I loved him; this is when I knew he loved me. We fell into a routine & inevitably, that’s how we fell apart. We saw each other four-five times a week in between work, school & our respective friends. I’d meet him after work or he’d meet me after class, we’d get some food or I’d cook, we’d talk, then go back to his dorm room or my house & somewhere in between there we’d fuck once or twice & that would be that. Talk, Eat, Fuck, Repeat. This, I should inform you, was the foundation for our dismantling. Jeremy grew tired of our monotony, I suppose, & because of that he started talking to a female customer who had “just so happened” to frequent his job. In talking they “just so happened” to find they had “so much in common” & somehow Jeremy’s dick “just so happened” to be in her mouth when I walked into his dorm room to get the spare phone charger I left there just in case. “Oh Mahh Gahhhh” is what Celeste said with his dick slighty tucked to the left side of her mouth because it wouldn’t have been polite to pull it out all together; though I’m sure there was no God she could ever call her own. Startled yet surprisingly indifferent I found my charger in the first drawer of his night stand now decoratively arrayed with ripped condom wrappers and I closed the door behind me.

Walking out of the apartment I didn’t feel anything but when I reached the stairs it hit me and when Jeremy came running out of his room, pulling his boxers up I looked up at him from the top stair I was sitting on & hit him right in the groin. “Shit! Ahh! Damn, J! Come on!” he winced . “Come on?? Excuse me?!? You’re such a fucking dickhead. Like what the fuck?” “I know. I know. I’m sorry babe. You gotta believe me! I swear it’ll never happen again.” & that’s what I wanted to believe after all; that this was just a bump along our road; that we could get through this because we could get through anything. So when Jeremy crouched down in front of me, put his hand under my chin, looked me right in the eye and told me he was “so sorry”, that he “really loved me”, that he was “mad stupid for doing that” I believed him & gave us another chance because I wasn’t ready to admit failure.

Celeste Soto was the average full figured broad who just “couldn’t help” falling for other women’s boyfriends, husbands, fiancés, you name it. Walking back into his room, I found her putting her left shoe on with one hand on his desk for balance. “You gotta believe mama” she said “I didn’t know he even had a girl. You feel me? I wouldn’t have done anything with him. Thas crazy disrespectful. My bad.” as she adjusted her bra strap and pulled her hair into a messy bun. Turning slighty towards Jeremy, I looked at him as if to say “really?!? THIS was the best you could do??” and he lowered his head, and stared at this one spot on the carpet that he could never get out. Not only had Jeremy cheated but he chose the lowest of women to do it with. “First of all, I’m not one of your friends so I don’t know why you’re calling me "mama” & no I don’t “feel” you nor do I intend to. Get your shit and get out!“ When she was gone I searched the apartment for remnants of her presence, prior to that days visit. An earring, a hair tie, maybe a lip balm. I found nothing or maybe I wasn’t really looking.

For eight months straight Jeremy was on his BEST behavior. He’d let me know where he was at all times as to ensure that he wasn’t out cheating; send pictures as proof on some occasions. I have to admit, though I was secure in his whereabouts, I was also sure that this was not how healthy relationships works. Nevertheless I looked forward to each notification because afterall "once a cheater……"you know the rest. One night I went over to his place to cook dinner, partially to ensure he wouldn’t be feeding Celeste or any other girl his penis but also because this is what I missed most about us. I had become so preoccupied with deciding whether or not I could trust him that I wasn’t concerned with trying to make us seem normal. After dinner we were in his bed tearing at each other’s clothes & after switching positions five times he looked down at me & said "I can’t do this”. Looking back at him I said “it’s cool I wasn’t feeling it either honestly”. “Not this” he said falling to my side, facing the ceiling “I mean like this….us”. Somehow though I knew that was what he had meant. This ball of something akin to both fear & anger welled up in my throat & grew until finally all I could say was “oh”. One tear fell from my eye & couldn’t allow myself to shed another. “This whole time” he said getting up from the bed “I wasn’t with you because I wanted to be. I was with you because I didn’t want to let you down.” He was pacing back & front at the foot of the bed, lifting his hands to his head then retracting them, looking over at me occasionally for assurance of my understanding. So he continued "I couldn’t let your last image of me be somebody who betrayed you. I had to prove you wrong & that’s selfish. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be in a relationship I’m not fully committed to. It isn’t fair to either of us J & you can hate me but I’d rather you hate me for being honest.” “Is this a joke? Please tell me you’re kidding right now” I said, half laughing half crying. “Let me get this straight” I said, sitting upright in his bed, pulling my shirt over my head “You cheated…..You lied…..YOU fucked up….You begged for another chance!…and my stupid ass gave you one. I’m just so lost right now.” This is when I realized I never should have sat on those steps & cried. I should’ve ran out of that building like it was on fire because guys like him will always burn you.

Some nights I could still hear his footsteps pacing the floor & I’d wonder when in the hell it would be over. When I’d stop crying; when I’d realize I was better off without him. But there’s this moment & I know it sounds cliche but you just wake up & you feel different you feel like you can begin again. One morning I woke up and knew Jeremy would never have a hold on me the way he did before, but more importantly I didn’t want him to.

The thing about baggage is that you never realize how much of it you carry around. In fact you assume that more often than not you don’t carry any at all because you’re “over it” or you’ve “moved on”. You’ll find yourself compromising because you just want someone to call at night; that wants only you. “Trust me.” my mother said “There will be others and don’t think that you have to look for them or that you have to settle.” My mother had a way with words. I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing but the fact remains that when she said those words to me I wished she had kept her opinion to herself. I would never settle…..or at least I didn’t think I would.

I knew I didn’t love Benjamin the first time he came inside me & I wished I had never come to his apartment, let alone into his room splayed with dirty laundry that he was “gonna get to”. More importantly I knew I couldn’t love Benjamin, not the way I wanted to at least, when he told me I’m just like my mother. This sounds stupid I know, but let me explain.

After a week of working overtime, my best friend Selene dragged me out of my apartment for a night of bar hopping. Upon walking into our third stop, Benjamin grabbed my hand & told me I was pretty. That was it. There was no drawn out conversation, no playing hard to get, it was very low stakes. I gave him my number & before I got to the next bar he had called & asked when he could see me again. “Tomorrow” I said.

The next evening Benjamin showed up at my apartment with no plan other than to show up. We decided to see a movie.

The movie we saw doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that we went to the movies. What matters is that after we left the movies, Benjamin grabbed both my hands & kissed me. When he stopped & I looked up at him he said “You taste like stale popcorn”. I thought “what the fuck?” & then he reminded me that we shared a popcorn. Our entirely relationship was like this; constant reminders of things I should have been aware of.

Ben was different from Jeremy because he never lied to me. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good thing though. His honesty was one that I had to grow accustomed to. We had been dating for about two months, when I called him asking if he wanted to get dinner later & he simply replied “no”. No explanation, no rain check, no apology; he just hung up. Later he’d text me & say that we should get breakfast instead the next day because he liked being the first person I talked to in the morning. He never hid anything from me. Girls would text him, telling him how much they “missed him” how much “fun” they used to have & he’d show me his phone while laughing & ask what I thought he should say in his reply. It was almost inconceivable, how much he included me in his decisions when it came to other women. Co-workers would invite him out to dinner & drinks after work, over to their apartments, concerts & he would ask me, not if he could go (because he was going to do what he wanted regardless) or if I wanted to come with, but how I’d feel if he went it with them. We’d be waiting for our heart rates to drop back to normal after sex; our skin still dewy and tingling and he’d say “the last time was better” or “you faked it, but that’s cool” as he got up and ambled to the bathroom & I’d wonder if he had to be so honest with me all the time.

I woke up one day to him sitting at my kitchen table in just some sweatpants, signing a card. Next to him there was a huge bouquet of sunflowers. I walked over to him, fixing my bed hair into a bed bun & when I sat down he was startled. “I didn’t think you’d be up this early” he said & I looked over at the clock on microwave. “It’s after 11……does that even count as early?” I said. He looked up at me, then at the clock, then back at me & shrugged “I guess not”. I asked “Who’s the card for?” & as he sealed it, he handed to me & said “Happy Anniversary Sweetness” with no inflection. My face dropped to the floor, along with the card. “An anniversary?” I thought “have we really been dating a year? Maybe it’s like a six month anniversary? But that’s not even an anniversary!” After a few mental “Fuck!!”’s, I pulled myself together, awkwardly smiled as I picked up the card & opened it. It had been a year since I moved into my own place. In the card he wrote about how happy he was for me; that he knew how big of a deal it was for me to live on my own & he wanted me to know that it was just as important to him. I cried out of relief. He thought I was overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness, primarily because as I closed the card, hugged him, wiped my tears and sniffled into his neck, I whispered “Thank you. This means a lot.”. One year of independence; something I should have been aware of.

The first time he told me he loved me, I opened my mouth to respond & he placed his index finger on my parted lips. “Stop” he said. “Not everything I say deserves or should be met with a response Jenine. I love you. That’s it.” I of course flew into defense. “So I can’t say it back? I can’t love you in return? What kind of bullshit is that Ben? You can’t just say something like that & expect me not to say anything back.” “I never said you can’t say anything back. But think about it baby, I said I love you & your first instinct was to respond. You didn’t even really take the moment in. That’s what I’m saying. I don’t want you to love me back because I love you. I want you to love me because you actually love me.” I felt little, like a child, like I had been put in my place, handled, dealt with, but I wouldn’t let him know. “You’re such an asshole sometimes” I said “but that Benjamin, for your information, is why I love you. Because you’re only an asshole sometimes”.

There are two important things I remember from when I broke up with Ben:

1. It was raining.
2. He told me I should’ve ended us a long time ago.

I came back to the apartment from the gym. As I shook my umbrella walking through the door, Ben sauntered by in his usual attire, house sweats and no shirt, saying “You must love mopping.” in a condescending tone. I happily returned the tone saying “Definitely. I just love it! Can’t get enough.” as I rolled my eyes and the umbrella up, fastening it shut. I walked over to the kitchen & checked the fridge. All that was left was this chicken Parmesan “thing” I had attempted to make three days earlier & it looked like a big pile of mush at that point. I chucked it & decided that take out sounded good. I had a taste for some pad thai so the choice was easy. Picking up my phone & dialing the number I thought it might be a good idea to ask Ben what he wanted but I figured he’d eat whatever I ordered him. So I made the call, ordered Chicken Pad Thai and another peanut sauce dish with shrimp, and hung up. As soon as my phone had ended the call, Benjamin started an argument. “Why would you order food without asking me what I wanted?” he asked me walking out of the bedroom and I replied “I ordered food for us both. No need to say thank you”. He walked towards the window to look out but really it was all dramatics because our window looks directly at the alley behind our building that holds nothing but two dumpsters and a few forgotten cats. “Why would I say thank you to you for doing something I never asked you to do?” he said with his back turned to me “Sometimes” he scoffed, almost laughing, as he looked at the rain collect in the window sill. “Sometimes I don’t get you. Like after all this time you still do shit that irritates me and I wonder why the fuck I still want to lay next to you at night or wake up with you in the morning.” I was sitting on the sofa, absentmindedly playing with the tag on this pillow I bought two years before when he & I had just started dating. He told me the pattern on it reminded him of us; that the lines never intersected. They just changed direction. “Nobody is holding you here Ben. You can leave anytime you’d like.” I said as I picked up the remote & turned on the television.

Thirty-five minutes later I was annoyed that the food hadn’t arrived but also because Ben never left the window. He just stayed there staring at the rain while it sheeted down the window screen and when thunder roared he’d just sigh. “What could be taking this food so long? The place isn’t even that far.” I complained. “It’s the rain Jenine. Everything slows when it rains. People, cars, buses, trains, bikes, they all slow.” He paused “You also might want to factor in the idea that a bunch of people order take out on a night like this.” I answered back “I knew that!……why are you always telling me things as if I don’t know them? As if I’m not aware? It’s just annoying. You’re annoying.” Ben walked away from the window & towards the kitchen counter. He planted his two hands palm down on the counter, hoisted himself up to sit on it, looked at me & said “Maybe it’s not me that annoys you Jenine. Maybe you can’t admit that I’m ever fucking right! I can’t ever make a point without you saying “I knew that!”. If you knew it Jenine…..then why would you say half the shit you say or do half the shit you do.“ I paused the lifetime movie I had been somehow become invested in and pressed a metaphorical "play” on the scene that was unfolding in our living room. “I don’t know Ben. Maybe you’re right” I replied as I sat up, crossed my legs and interlaced my fingers over my knee. “Maybe I can’t handle the fact that you make valid points. Or perhaps it’s the fact that you can’t ever let me be wrong without making me look like a complete ass. You’re always so philosophical. "Oh thee "all knowing Ben!” Ohh he who knows more than anyone!“ I mocked. "It’s insulting. For someone who is just so wise you damn sure don’t know how to do your own fucking laundry, or wash a dish, or aim your penis directly into the bowl when you pee. Stop with the bullshit. We both have our faults.” My phone rang. The food was downstairs.

I threw on my worn out flip flops and shuffled down the 3 flights of stairs. Walking back into the apartment with food in hand, I saw that Ben had returned to the window. He walked over to the kitchen counter where I was standing, taking the food out of the brown paper bag & said “You said your ordered me food.” “I just ordered two things off the menu. I figured we’d just share.” I reasoned. “Right I get that but I don’t like peanuts. You know that. Don’t you? I’ve told you this. I’m sure I have as we’ve been together give or take I don’t know 2 & half years!” “Dammit! I whispered to myself. "I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking & I was hungry & I’m…..sorry. I’m just sorry.” “It’s fine” he said. “I should’ve just picked something up on the way home. It isn’t the first time you’ve done something like this. You’re like your mother in that way.” “Like my mother? All of this over some take out? Listen, good luck with dinner.” I said as I grabbed a plastic fork at the bottom of the bag & headed back to the sofa. “Yeah, like your mother.” he continued, following me. “You’re always complaining that she never listens to you; that you have to remind her of things you’ve already told her. Yet, here you are never listening to me. It’s not even about the apology. It’s that I just don’t think you’re really sorry at all.” he retorted. “Fair enough.” I said, putting my food down on the coffee table. “You wanna know what I’m really sorry about Ben? Huh? Fine. I’m sorry I moved in with you. I’m sorry I’ve been in this relationship for this long because we’ll never be good enough for one another. You know that right? We’re always going to be like this Ben.” I said, pointing at the pace between with both hands. “It’s never going to be enough that we love each other. There’s gotta be more to love than whatever the fuck we’re doing. I just don’t think this is healthy. I don’t think we’re growing here. Do you?”. “Now that J…that’s the most honest thing you’ve said to me. You’re always saying what you think I want to hear and that’s my problem with you. You never say what the hell you want because you think too much about it. We are growing, it’s just apart from one another.” He sighed, finally saying “Look, I’m tired.” as he walked exhaustedly back towards the bedroom, on an empty stomach & closed the door behind him. I couldn’t figure out if he meant he was tired of us, of the arguing, of never really getting back to how we were or if he was honestly tired.

I slept on the sofa & I use the term “slept” very lightly. What I really did was stare at the ceiling, trying to figure out if this was really it for Ben & I. If that was our last real conversation; if that even counted as a conversation. I planned out what I’d say in the morning after we’d both had time to think & reflect. I’d tell him I was sorry about going off & that it’s not that I don’t want to try to make it work but that I don’t even think trying is worth an actual try. I thought about it & felt like the whole relationship was a perpetual “try”. We’d just kept getting up, dusting each other off, & holding hands until we’d fall again thinking it didn’t matter because we’d fallen together. How many times do you have to fall before you realize that perhaps it isn’t the ground that’s tripping you up? That it might just be you. Do you have to scrape your knees a few times or fall flat on your face? How do you know when you’ve had enough?

I laid there falling in & out of sleep. I had this weird dream that I was baking a cake. I kept checking on it. Ben was there but he didn’t really say much. Finally I took it out of the oven & it was burnt around the edges. He shuffled over to the stovetop & looked at the cake with a somber face. “I told you it was done 10 minutes ago. You should’ve taken it out.” he said & I just stared at him blankly because he was right. I turned the pan over and the cake popped out. I let it cool, frosted it and cut a piece. Jeremy hunched over the counter top and watched me put the cake on a plate with confusion. “You’re just going to eat a burnt cake?” he questioned me. I had just taken my first bite and was going in for a second when I looked up at him and said “It still tastes good so what’s the difference?”. “The difference, Jenine, is that you know the whole cake doesn’t taste good. Only certain parts do. Why don’t you just throw it out and make another one?” he said walking over to the cake, lifting the plate up at different points and angles to get a good look at it. It was as though he was wondering how the frosting did anything but make the cake look even sadder. I licked the last bit of frosting off my fork and said “Because, burnt or not burnt, I still love cake.”

I woke up to a sliver of sunlight shining through the living room across the floor & stopping right at the front door. I sat up & checked the time. It was 7:06. I decided I’d go to the bedroom and get some real rest. I stood up & stumbled towards the bedroom. As soon as I reached the door, Ben was coming out of the room. He was dressed & had 2 bags with him not including the backpack he’d never leave the house without. All of the things I had planned on saying were forgotten. I could barely see straight, let alone gather the words I wanted to say. He looked at me then said “Sorry. Can I just get by?”. “Sure!” I blurted out as I moved to the left, almost jumping. He walked towards the front door & I asked “Umm can at least ask where you’re going?”. He stopped moving and turned, telling me “I thought about what you said J. About us not being enough for one another. I guess I just always thought it would work itself out. But I see what you mean. I don’t know the exact moment when you came to that conclusion, or maybe you decided it, but you should’ve ended us then instead of now. So I’m leaving. I guess I’ll pick up the rest of my stuff over the next couple of weeks.”. That’s it. He was gone. Whatever he had left, the “stuff” he mentioned, was never picked up. They were minuscule items really; a toothbrush, some body wash, a value pack of razors. Things that made you think of him, even though they were all replaceable. It didn’t take long for me to realize that much like the burnt cake, I still loved Ben.

To be continued or whatever…….

The Elsewhere Child

He was supposed to take my memories when he brought me here, the seelie knight, who had been commanded to escort me home with a simple “take it away, it’s too old now and it bores me” from the noble who had kept me for the past while. I traded him my singing voice for them though, and now where once sweet music poured from my lips only hoarse and untuned notes fall out without any of the tempo or melody they had before. Now I think I made a bad trade. It might have been better, if I didn’t remember, or remembered something else entirely.

I stare at the boy next to me in the circle, I was asked to join this circle as a way to make me feel part of something, part of a circle. They call the circle a support group for abducted children. Children who were abducted and got away, that is, I don’t think there’s a support group for those currently abducted. Their abductors wouldn’t allow them to attend, I suppose. The boy is speaking about the man who touched him, speaking of the horrible way he loved that man, because he was a child, and he had to love someone. Are his memories true? Or is he like me? Did a faerie take him away, and replace the memories from Under the Hill with these tragedies? Why? Did he commit some crime? I cannot say.

I am fascinated by the girl who sits next to the girl directly across from me in the circle. She tells us to call her Angie. She wears ratty clothes, not the sort of poor chic that seems to be an underlying trend, with jackets made of patches and ribbed cloth sold at malls, but real grunge. The tears in her sleeves reveal razor scars, her hair is short, she wants to look tough, she wants people to cross the street to get away from her when they see her coming. She is not tough. She is nervous, always nervous, always afraid, though she hides it well. None of these things are too interesting to me, those things I can see anywhere, but I thought context would be important so that the fact that she’s a pathological liar would not be the only thing you knew about her.

She is a pathological liar.

Her lies fascinate me.

After group chat, I take her aside and we talk, sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes for hours, and I watch her fabricate thousands of untruths, from tiny white ones to huge fantastical ones as bright and colorful as her life has never been. Some days, I believe everything she says and some days I question each word, trying to figure out her secret.

It’s a strange thing, I was taken before I really knew my name, and each faerie that’s kept me (I was a pet for them) called me something different. Do I even have a true name? I’ve been Jane Doe since I showed up, stumbling barefoot and confused into a police station moments after midnight (at least the knight knew to leave me near a place of authority), so I’ve been introducing myself as Roe, like the deer. They ran my DNA through the missing children’s database (I didn’t understand what that was at first, was shocked at how closely humans had approximated magic with computers), but there was no match. I told them I didn’t know how long ago I’d been abducted, and suggested that it might have been before the database was made. They laughed and said I was eighteen, and DNA technology had been around much longer than me. I tried to explain that time was different where I had been kept, but they simply patted me on my head and told me they were sure that it seemed that way to me at the time.

They stared at me worriedly when one of them brought me a McDonald’s Happy Meal, and I asked what she wanted for it. She told me nothing. No one here ever asks for anything besides courtesy in return for their food, but old habits are hard to break. Even now, in my foster home, I cannot help insisting that my hosts confirm that this food is a gift freely given. They asked me to help them cook and I broke down in tears because there was a cast iron skillet on the stove (“Please don’t make me, iron burns, iron burns, and it gets under your skin and makes you go grey and lifeless like a flower severed from its roots, plea-please, please don’t make me”). It took them an hour to convince me that they weren’t trying to force me to poison myself, and the food burned (“I said I would help you, you asked me to cook and I agreed, but, but please don’t make me, it burns, it’ll burn me!” “It’s alright darling, you don’t have to cook if you don’t want to.” “But I said I would! It was an oath!” “We’re sorry, we wouldn’t have asked if we’d known it would upset you, you can help some other way if you like.” “You… absolve me of my oath?” “Yes, of course we do darling!”).

I am more comfortable with iron now, I am not one of the Fair Folk, after all, it will not harm me. Correction, a blade of iron would harm me, but not because it was made of iron. It does, however, mess with my glamor.

It is a difficult thing, growing up bathed in magic and yet to have none of your own. A pixie once spoke of how she envied my hair, and I said, on impulse, “do you want it?” So a trade was made. She gave me the ability to change my appearance, and she walked away with my hair. I expected my hair to grow back after a time though… it did not. With my glamor I can have the appearance of having whatever hair I please, and sometimes I change it daily, but when I sleep or when iron is near my bare head is revealed. It is assumed by my hosts and everyone around me that I have many wigs, I have told them I do not, but they don’t believe in magic, so they insist on believing this instead.

I hide when I hear thunder, duck into a bathroom and put everything on backward and inside out if I’m in public, or simply sit quiet if I’m home. The first time I did this, it shook me to my core when someone told me “You know, your shirt is on backward.” I started to panic, until I realized that I could see myself too. It was a revelation, discovering that there was something humans could see that the Good Neighbors couldn’t.

It still boggles my mind how much people throw away, tears and menstrual blood caught on napkins, or gifts from that one aunt that they held onto for so long for the sentimental value but can’t keep now because they have to move into a smaller apartment, or the shirt they can’t wear anymore because it smells like their ex. They could trade these items to faeries for so many things, and yet they simply throw them away. What a waste.

My hosts insisted I should have a proper education, and after three years of homeschooling (to get me caught up) I applied to attend the local state college. There I found more people who fascinate me the way Angie does. There’s Lisa, who fights for animal rights, and Kyle, the leader of the Gay Straight Alliance group, and Riley, who’s going into the Peace Corps next year because they want to help the world. I ask them all the time why they do what they do, what they expect to get back, and they tell me that ideally they’ll make the world a better place, and that will pay them back eventually, but that they don’t do it for what they’ll get back, they do it because it’s right. I don’t understand. There’s Cheyenne, who always gets into intense political debates with other people over dinner in the cafeteria, and she believes so intensely about things that don’t even affect her, and she fights for them, and she tells me she does this because it’s right, and I don’t understand. I’ve never met anyone who cared about anything other than themselves Under the Hill. Faeries can’t lie, they can’t go back on their word, they honor their deals and make sure you honor them too, they repay debts and ensure they’re repaid in turn, they amuse themselves playing or squabbling over power, but they do not do things for free. They don’t care about things for free. They don’t defend the innocent, protect the weak, or forgive the ignorant. The culture shock coming here is bewildering.

If I could I’d honor my debts, leave a pile of gold at the doorstep of everyone who’s done me a kindness, but I have not the magic to do so. The drainage ponds hold no sirens, the falling snow has no frolicking pixies between its flakes, there is no magic for me to use here… or is there?

Perhaps I can’t call upon the magic Under the Hill, perhaps I can’t summon gold or make deals with darklings, but I can find magic here, I’ve seen others do it. I’ve seen a moon so beautiful it sends shivers down your spine captured by a little lense-box and put onto thick shiny paper. I’ve seen songs and stories written with such emotion that it moves those who hear them to tears, to laughter, to dancing, to life. I’ve seen kitchen witches cure colds with hot chicken soup, and I’ve seen holy men ward off tricksters they can’t even see with the power of their belief.

Perhaps I can find a way to create my own magic, and do what other people seem to strive to do to repay their debts. Perhaps I can make the world a better place, and learn the magic of humanity. And as for the places where magic does live? Where the boundary between worlds is thin and the drainage ponds and snowflakes carry faerie magic within? …I think I’ll be staying far away, for my part. I might still have a lot to learn, but I think I like it better here.

Go Go ‘Power Rangers’ (2017 Review)

Is this good? Is this bad? Will my inner-child allow me to judge this appropriately?

“Power Rangers” is a reboot of the classic 1990s action-packed children’s show “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” which in turn is based on the Japanese tokusatsu “Super Sentai Series.” It’s directed by Dean Israelite and stars a cast of young actors, as well as Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader and Elizabeth Banks. The film is set in the small, fictional town of Angel Grove, where local high school students Jason Scott, Kimberly Hart and Billy Cranston (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott and RJ Cyler, respectively) are all caught up in detention. Through a series of shenanigans, they come across Trini and Zack (Becky G and Ludi Lin, respectively) as they all discover an ancient, otherworldly construct. It’s there where they meet Zordon (Cranston) and his robot assistant Alpha 5 (voiced by Hader), and attain the responsibility of becoming a powerful team known as the Power Rangers, and to stop the destruction of an ancient, powerful witch known as Rita Repulsa (Banks). 

This is the absolute perfect “what if” movie. The answer to “what if they remade ‘Power Rangers’ for adults” question. This is the film we asked for, albeit cautiously. We really owe it to franchises such as the “Transformers” series, because without them, this film would be seen as an impossible reach.

Being a millennial, I was very much a child when “Power Rangers” had its long television run, and I stayed true through each incarnation, from “Mighty Morphin” to “Lightspeed Rescue,” and considered myself a retired fan after “Dino Thunder” (I was already in middle school at the time). So yes, shameful as it is, I know my shit. As you can see, I want this to be good. But was it?

Yes. Surprisingly, it was pretty good. It’s not shockingly “I thought this was going to be shit but it ended up being amazingly amazing” good. It’s just good.

Here’s one thing that the film does better than the TV show: the acting. In a great departure from the “Saved by the Bell” mood that the 90s actors gave us, we now have grounded, realistic, rebellious teenagers. These new actors fit the “teenagers with attitude” description way better than the 90s actors ever did. You have Montgomery as Jason, playing the rebel who ends up having to deal with the most responsibility. Scott plays Kimberly, the girl who does a good job of not just being the obligatory female casting, or the fighting damsel-in-distress, unlike the original. The dialogue between these two is usually filled with charm, whether its casual banter or a proclamation of their contempt for Angel Grove. 

But they do something different with the rest of the cast, which helps to modernize them. Cyler as Billy provides the humor and keeps the grittiness from ever getting lower and lower. Of the five teenagers, he is the one with the most charisma But he also serves to represent autistic teens everywhere. Yes, unlike the television counterpart, they made the Blue Ranger autistic, which is a pretty bold and commendable step for something based off a children’s property.

To keep the ball rolling, they then make Becky G’s Trini represent lesbians and confused, oppressed teenagers everywhere. Okay, this film had me at shedding light on autism, but encouraging more LGBT representation? Hats off to you, Lionsgate and Saban. Despite this, I found Becky G’s performance to be slightly annoying until about halfway through the movie, when they developed her much more, and gave her a more integral role in the plot. 

While I praised the rest of the cast, I’d have to drop the axe on Ludi Lin as Zack, the Black Ranger.  Compared to all these convincing performances, Lin’s is absolutely haphazard. The way he is introduced is to set up how much of a cocky outsider he is, so naturally he’s by himself. He then starts speaking to himself, which is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves in a movie. I despise movie moments where normal-functioning people start speaking or quipping to themselves, the only sensible reason being that the writers assume the audience is too dumb to know what the character is thinking. I get it if a character has schizophrenia or another mental illness, or if the words are limited to comedic inner-banter, but not in this case. He’s someone with decent social-competence and no reason to quarrel with himself, other than provide exposition to the audience.

But like Trini, I did find him to be much less annoying when he opened up. They gave him a pretty touching backstory with his own troubles, and they make his motivations really apparent. And just to keep the ball rolling, he’s also the most foreign one of the group, being bilingual, unlike the original black ranger. Now that I think about it, many of the Power Ranger series’ casts don’t feature any overtly foreign characters, apart from maybe of an alien race. 

That is precisely why this casting works. Whether or not you find these characters annoying, you can’t doubt that they’re there for a good reason, and you might even warm up to them as the movie progresses. They also help to introduce bouts of political correctness, but they aren’t preachy or condescending about it (which is really the only good way to go about political correctness). They represent people of various colors, mental states and social capabilities, showing (but not telling) that everyone is capable of extraordinary things as long as they have camaraderie.

I can’t say much about Cranston as Zordon. It’s a great homage, seeing as how Cranston has actually been a part of “Power Rangers” since the original television show, where he voiced many of the villains they face. I do love his voice-work here, and while it took some getting used to, I ended up really liking how they presented him. Rather than a chubby, floating head in a tube, they made him manifest into a wall, kind of like one of those pinpression toys. Not to mention they could have easily made him a one-dimensional character. But they went above and beyond to give him his own arc, his own set of feelings and doubts, and a world of lore behind him.

If you thought Alpha 5 was annoying in the television show, then you can rest your worries because Bill Hader fixed him up good. The original’s voice was so high-pitched and screechy; basically in typical 90s fashion (or how the 90s thought Aliens would sound like). This time, he just kind of does the same thing he did as Fear from “Inside Out,” except less screaming. His design had me slightly worried but I got used to it.

Now, Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa has me split down the middle. On the one hand, I do like that at least ONE person in this entire film is trying to recall the absurdity and campiness of the original series. At the same time, I found her to be over-the-top, and incredibly outlandish compared to the rest of the grounded cast. She is guilty of overacting here, which is both a blessing and a curse. The prosthetics on her are amazing though, from both start to finish. She starts out as an outright horror character, which is something I didn’t expect to see even in the gritty version of a children’s property. 

If you kept up with me for this long, you know that a recurring theme here is that this film takes several risks that are rather uncharacteristic of a children’s property. Sure, there are hints of silliness to try and match the youthful appeal of the original, but they also throw in more mature bits of humor, about things such as drug tests and jacking off a cow (no joke). Me personally, I welcome these jokes. If anything, this is much more of a film for the adults who grew up watching “Power Rangers,” rather than children. The maturity really shines through in the form of character development and chemistry.

I must say that if you are bringing a child to watch this, keep in mind there will be mild swearing, and several mature jokes.

A common criticism (ad nauseam, pretty much) is that this film is a forced collision between two different movies. Two thirds of the movie is essentially the origin story, which focuses mainly on character development. At the same time, this is the section that appeals to the audience the most, whether you’re fans of the original or not. No one comes into anything titled “Power Rangers” and expects to feel for the characters. But through one particular scene where all the characters develop a kinship, we develop a peculiar attachment to each of them. It was at this moment that I’m glad these people are the ones I’m spending five more movies with (Yup, that’s right).

But when it sticks to the original, it definitely sticks, and that’s where the last third of the movie comes in. If you’re looking for cool looking suits fighting monsters with martial arts and gymnastics, you will get it. If you’re looking for giant robot dinosaurs battling another giant monster, you will get it. And MOST OF ALL, if you want to, at least once, hear the iconic theme song, you will get it. In all it’s pure, epic goodness.

But this is where I have to defend my appreciation for this movie, because many people will come in accusing me of being “blinded by nostalgia.” Despite having these borrowed features from the original show, there is really nothing nostalgic about it. The action here is far better than most of the show’s episodes. There is no silliness to be had apart from what would be silly by realistic standards (as opposed to having two obligatory bully characters).

Even some elements taken from the show are vastly different. Case in point: Rita, who in this film is actually getting shit done by herself rather than sitting up in some moon tower yelling at everyone.

Even the formula of the show is broken up here. Back then, everything was so fast-paced to where every time a new series was brought in, the new team of Power Rangers would unrealistically form intimate familial connection and extraordinary abilities within 20 minutes. This film actually shows you that the Power Rangers had to train for this, both physically and mentally. They didn’t just have these abilities bestowed upon them as a result of the plot rushing it together. You see them work for it, which is something I really appreciated about it.

I had to bring that up because many of the people who didn’t like this film will be quick to see reactions like mine and guilt me for “nostalgia.” But that “tone difference” that they’re faulting this for is the reason why you can’t pin nostalgia on this. All that means is that everything I liked about this film has been on its own merits, maybe (at most) perpetuated by quick little homages to the original. 

I suppose before I wrap this up I should mention one more thing. Not really a problem, but more like something I wish happened: I wish they played the theme song more. It was wonderful hearing the iconic theme song, perfectly borrowed from the 1995 film, and at the height of its “Power Ranger-ness.” But I felt that if they really were gonna throw it in there, they should have totally owned it and at least left it playing for a bit longer. If not that, then at least make an instrumental cover to play in the background during the climax, rather than GODDAMN KANYE.

This is a film that has fans and critics alike split down the middle, but it’s pretty clear that everyone who hates it is hating it for the same two reasons: (1) It has a massive tone-clash towards the end, and (2) It caters way too much toward product promotion for Krispy Kreme donuts. I do agree with the latter, make no mistake. But when I hear people complain about this tone-clash, it reminds me of people who complained about the “slow parts” of every other superhero film, whether it’s “Captain America: Civil War,” or “Batman v Superman.” Apart from being a “Power Rangers” movie, this is also an origin story film. And for something as ridiculous as “Power Rangers,” it definitely requires a slow initiation process. To get us going on a six-movie deal, the creators will have to help casual viewers acclimate to the premise, because chances are the naysayers are the ones who skipped out on this franchise as children, and therefore missed their window of opportunity. Ironic how a movie based on a children’s property requires a mature level of patience from the audience.

As I said before, if you came into this wanting to see colored suits, martial arts, explosions and giant robots, you will get it. If you’re dragged into this film but appreciate elements like character development and chemistry, you will get that too. As someone who enjoys both, I actually would go so far as to say I loved this movie. I don’t care if I’m alone on this, but I can comfortably say that I loved the “Power Rangers” movie.

the-moon-loves-the-sea  asked:

t'pura or mcspirk :)

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


Who said “I love you” first

None of them use the words.

It’s not something that needs to be spoken. 

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

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

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

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

There’s no way to block it, either. 

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

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

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

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

And he learns about himself.

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

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

Or rather, he can feel where Spock’s not

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

He hardly even recognizes himself.

Spock seems to be shutting him out. 

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

“Remember.”

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

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

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

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

“I am Spock,” he tells her. 

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

He waits for the opportune moment. 

It is a surprisingly difficult discipline, the waiting.

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

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

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


Who would have the others’ picture as their phone background

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

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

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

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

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

It is far, far too late for that.

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

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


Who leaves notes written in fog on the bathroom mirror

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

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

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

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

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

JTK was here.

Len lifts his eyes heavenward and sighs. 


Who buys the others cheesy gifts

Jim Kirk buys the cheesy gifts.

An “I <3 NY” shirt for Spock.

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

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


Who initiated the first kiss

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

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

After all, what’s a kiss between friends?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Who kisses the others awake in the morning

Not Jim.

Otherwise, it depends on who wakes first.

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

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

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

Jim wouldn’t wake them for the world.


Who starts tickle fights

Jim is typically the instigator of the tickle fight.

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

Jim lives for these moments.

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

Jim Kirk begs for mercy.

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

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


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

Surprisingly, this is Spock.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Who surprises the others at work with lunch

They all eat lunch together, when they can.

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

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

Some things never change.


Who was nervous and shy on the first date

There’s not a first date, necessarily. 

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

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

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

They wait for Spock together.

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

The bond had said everything.

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

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

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

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

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

Enough, enough.

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

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


Who kills/takes out the spiders

Spock is the best at catching the spiders. 

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

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

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

Jim does not honor this with a response.


Who loudly proclaims their love when they’re drunk

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

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

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

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

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

Jim is the romantic. 

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

Wise men say

Only fools rush in

But I can’t help

Falling in love with you

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

Like a river flows 

Surely to the sea

Darling so it goes

Some things are meant to be

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

Take my hand

Take my whole life too

For I can’t help

Falling in love with you


Link to Anna’s Masterlist here

Off-Screen

Word Count: 1837

Warnings: Fluff

Here’s your order, miss.“ The lady at the counter said, catching my attention. With a quick thanks, I grabbed the three cup trays and the bag filled with food and headed back to my car. I hated being on lunch duty, it was a five mile drive from the studio and it always took forever, with the insane traffic, the waiting in line during the lunch rush. Then waiting for them to make it all, then checking to make sure it’s all correct. Lastly, I have to make it back with 11 drinks and a bag of food, with out spilling any of it. In stop and go traffic. Fun, right? If only.

The guard let me in without a second glance. At least he didn’t stop me, I’m already late. I park close to the door amd decide I’m going to have to make two trips, I grab the bag and two of the trays, leaving the third for later. I bump the door open with my hip, while trying to balance the trays. I drop the food on the snack table and run back out to my car. Once I get back in, everyone’s crowded around the table grabbing their order.
"Oh, good, there’s more, I thought you forgot my order.”

British accents are the best.

“N-no, I just couldn’t carry it all, sorry it took so long, lunch rush, and the traffic was crazy.” I stuttered, feeling bad.
“I told you it’d be faster to walk.” Followed by a hand being slung around my shoulder. I was one of the personal assistanton the Marvel set, I worked a few different jobs here.

They hadn’t started the actual filming yet, so I wasn’t as busy, just prepping. That’s why I was sent out for lunch.
“No it wouldn’t, the sidewalks are just as crowded, and plus I wouldn’t have been able to carry it all.”
“Hm, that’s true.”
“Of course it’s true, Mel, you really think I hadn’t thought of that.”
“C'mon we have to finish the last set, remember.” She pulled me along, towards the back where we had to finish one of the house-like sets.

***

“Hey! Melissa! Dammit, now I have to go change.” She had flung paint at me, to get my attention. The walls were almost finished anyway, she could do it by herself.
I stated walking back to my car, before I realized that I didn’t have a change of clothes. Well, fuck. I really don’t want to walk around with paint all over me all day, not that it’s a big deal, I’m always covered in paint, but I hadn’t put my smock on yet, and this was my favorite shirt.

“Woah, what happened?” My head snapped up at the question that was obviously addressed towards me.
“I- uh-” I found myself at a loss for words. I couldn’t think straight, sometimes I wish I interacted with the actors more, maybe I’d be less shy.

“Shouldn’t you have a smock on?” Something clicked and I was able to form a sentence.

“I just got back from the lunch run, I didn’t have time to put it on. The girl I’m working with flung paint at me to get my attention.” I felt my face heat up and I knew I was red. He was obviously amused.
“Sebastian St-”
“Stan.” I finished for him, taking his outstretched hand.
“I know who you are. I work on your set, plus, you’re famous. Its kind of hard not to.” I state, feeling the blush come back.

I ramble when I’m nervous.

He smiled.
“Well, you know my name, it’s only fair that I know yours.”
“Oh- uh, my name’s Y/N. Y/N Y/L/N”
“I like that name.” I feel the blush coming back, so I look down and mumble a quiet thanks.

“Are you going to change?” He questions.
I blush even redder, this time from embarrassment.

“I-well, I forgot a change of clothes, so I really can’t.” I stutter.

He laughs again, his blue eyes filled with amusement.
“You could borrow one of my shirts, although you should put a smock on this time.” He smirks. My eyes widen.

“No no no, uhm no, thank you, it’s fine. I can deal, you don’t have to let me borrow your shirt. I probably won’t see you again soon anyway. I’m always busy and I rarely see the actors, unless we’re filming, because I work with the set and uhm…”
I trail off, realizing I’m rambling again.

“Hm, that does seem to pose a problem. You can just keep it. It’s fine.”
“No, no really I’m okay, I don’t need to steal your clothing.”

“How about we make a deal. I let you borrow my shirt. And since you insist that you can’t keep it and that you won’t see me, you give it back to me when we go out to dinner. Saturday at 8, sound good?” I’m at a loss for words.
I stand there gaping at him. He takes a pad and pen from the table I’m front of us, and I realize that we’re at his trailer. He writes out his name, phone number and the details and hands it to me, along with a maroon colored shirt. He smiles and ushers me into the bathroom to change. I stare at myself in the mirror for a few seconds before stripping off my shirt and putting his on. It’s big on me, but that’s to be expected, I’m pretty small. I walk out with my shirt in hand and Sebastian takes it from me.
“Hey!”
“ I’ll wash this right now, and we’ll exchange shirts on Saturday. See you then, Y/N.” He says with a smirk ushering me out the door. I head back over to the set to finish cleaning up. This time I put a smock on, just in case. Mel did a great job finishing the wall, but left a mess for me to clean up.

After I finish cleaning, I look around for Mel and find the studio almost empty. I check the time and realize how late it got. I hop into my car and drive home.
God, it’s been a long day. When I get home I do my usual routine, eat, shower, brush my teeth, watch some TV, and go to sleep. I threw Sebastian’s shirt in the wash before I showered, so I wouldn’t forget.

We talked for five minutes tops, and he managed to organize a date. Honestly, that scared me. Was he always like that? I mean, was he just looking to hook up and I was an easy target? My mind was piling questions on top of each other and I couldn’t think straight. Eventually, it went blank and I fell into a dreamless sleep.

The last three days of the week passed slowly and quickly all at the same time. I did my best to avoid, not just Sebastian, but the rest of the cast as well, which wasn’t too hard. When Saturday came around, I was all too happy to sleep until noon. The only problem was, Sebastian wanted to meet up.

I mean, he didn’t have my address, so I could just ignore the date and go about my life, right? I’d drop his shirt at his trailer, but what about my shirt? The familiar Star Wars theme played from my phone. I groaned and picked it up off the nightstand.

“Hello?” I answered, a bit hostile.

A deep chuckle sounded from the other side, followed by:
“Did I wake you up, Y/N? Sorry, I didn’t think you would still be sleeping. You never texted me, so I took it upon myself to get your phone number from that tech you’re always with, Melony, right? No, that’s not it.-”

“Melissa.”

“YEAH! That’s it. Thanks. So, about tonight. I wasn’t thinking fancy, you don’t look like that type of person. I was thinking maybe we could go out to that little diner in town and then head to my place for a movie?”

I hesitated. At least at the diner, there were other people. I didn’t know how to feel about being alone.
“Y-Y/N? Are you still there?”

“Oh- y-yeah I’m here.”

“You didn’t answer. I was talking to Mackie about it, he told me that he overheard you say something to his makeup lady about the diner.”

“Did everyone else give their input as well? What about Chris? He’s like your other half.” I know he couldn’t see me, but you could definitely hear the smirk in my voice.

“You know, Chris and I aren’t as attached as people think we are. Sure we’re close, but we’re not ‘I would die for you’ close. I mean I spend just as much time with Anthony.”

“I’ve noticed you spend time with Anthony. The diner sounds nice, and for the movie, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. It depends on how much work I have left to do.”

“Alright, be ready at 8, and text me your address. See you tonight, Y/N.”

“See you tonight.” I repeated, hanging up and going into my messages. I typed in my address and hit send. The work lie was an excuse. I really don’t know if I want to be alone with a man I just met, although its not like I don’t know who he is. You get the idea.

°°°

Knock knock knock

Shit.

I dropped my pen and grabbed my bag. I practically jumped over the back of the couch to reach the door.

“Are you ready for an adventure?”

“Sebastian, we’re going to the diner. Is that really considered and adventure?”

“Yup.” I sighed and followed him outside.

“I decided, since it’s a really nice day, that it would be nice to walk. It’s not too far. Two blocks. Do you mind?”

“Of course not.”

We walked in silence through the busy city, making sure to keep our heads down as to not draw attention. At the diner we were shown to our table and we ordered our drinks. The conversation stayed light as we talked about our jobs and the sheer contrast between the two. After dinner we took the streets once more, but instead of going to Sebastian’s house, we walked through the park, keeping the conversation flowing. We talked about everything from past to future.

By the time we left the park, it was already midnight. Sebastian walked me home and when we reached the door to my apartment he handed me my shirt and left me with a hug and a smile. I stepped in the door and locked it behind me, dropping the keys on the table. My shirt smelled like him and it made me smile. I put it back in my drawer where it belonged and my phone buzzed on the bed. I picked it up and read a text that brought a smile to my face.

You up for date #2? Friday for coffee?

Altea: The Lost Empire Chapter 1

Here we go! @show-your-fandom-side

 @futureblackpaladin (can you find the little easter egg i put in for you?)

*This diverges from the movie a little bit, okay? Keith makes it to the meeting, so this happens instead of what happens in the movie. Enjoy! *

Keep reading

Safe at Last (Part 4):

Okay so I’ve decided to just post every two days since it’s kind of been a cycle…but there was a SERIOUS delay because either A) tumblr isn’t working on my mac or B) something is wrong with my mac/wifi idk and honestly I’m a little upset.

So I’m typing this on a random desktop computer =( Again thanks for the all the support and although I would love to tag everyone again, it’s just gotten to be way TOO many at this point. So I’ll just tag a few people who have voiced their support so far… 

SHOUT OUT TO: 

@ojt64

@heirofthebookstore

@the100-islife

@wtfsarahjmaas

@theassassinsbooks 

@samaykay912 

@adiposesherlock

@cruel–wickedthing 

@empireofpainandfeels

@bats-and-hawks

So I have added another wonderful twist (not in this part) but much ahead that I think a lot of writers have missed out on so stay tuned! 

ALSO:Don’t forget to give me feedback. As always thank you guys for your support!

Sections:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Keep reading

poliearbear  asked:

This blog is incredible. Any chance you might look at the most recent redesigns Tamora Pierce's Song of Lioness series? I have Opinions on them, but they're also strongly tinged by outrage that they dared to change the design from the version I had growing up.

THANK U FRIEND. I WILL DO MY BEST

In some ways, this is a perfect follow-up post to my Earthsea tirade: another classic fantasy series that has been graced with some distinctly vintage #looks. In fact, it’s really worth going over some of the old designs before we get to the new one, so let’s explore.

FIRST UP we have some charming vintage covers! (i was too lazy to date all these so idk circa what year). These seem to have been pretty widespread, so it may be what you’re referring to re the style you grew up with, asker? Anyway, these are adorable. Do I take them seriously? Not really, the style is mad dated, but who cares. They’re super fun, and the illustrations are exciting and colorful and very specific to actual elements in the story. As a kid I would have eaten that shit up, and in the 90s, I’m sure this was the height of fantasy book design.

NEXT. (and I’m sorry they’ve been cropped on the sides, but I think we get the idea) (in case it was unclear I just rip these from google, I don’t compile all these images myself LMAO) I’m generally not a fan of ‘boxed in illustration w very simple type below/above it’: It’s boring, design-wise, though it’s also inoffensive and hard to fuck up. But the illustrations are really lovely and vivid; I love how scrappy Alanna looks and how we get a real sense of peril and drama and grit without literally making everything dark, or sapping it of its whimsy.

TIME FOR SOME TRULY HEINOUS ONES. These beauties below, where Alanna is being really chill about clearly having been set on fire and is also apparently living in a post apocalyptic wasteland, came out in 2010, aka the height of the paranormal YA romance craze.

You can’t tell at all, obviously.

Nope, no influence here. Bella Alanna looks totally normal with absurd photoshopped lighting/effects and her two brooding love interests who would never be mistaken for vampires. (fun fact, when you google image search “song of the lioness new covers” half the results are this single image, because the internet has devoted a LOT of blog space to going WTF at it over the years. but seriously, wtf is that shirt she’s wearing?)

And we have these, where they couldn’t be assed to do more than one illustration, or to…. put…. a shirt on her? even though she’s wearing a cloak? Where did the rest of her hair go? Shouldn’t we be seeing an indication of boobs, with that much of her chest exposed? It’s been a long time since I read these so correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t her Magic Necklace for contraceptive purposes? Is that the thing we want to devote an entire book cover to? Whatever its purpose, why does it look like that? At least the twilight covers still had alanna holding swords on them rather than inexplicable quasi-nudity.

Also, this is the collected edition that I read when I was like 13, and I am biased, but I think it’s the best:

it captures the bright, kitschy, vintage-illustration feeling of a lot of the old covers without actually being kitschy or vintage. It has the upbeat cool-lady-knight-on-an-fun-adventure vibe that the Twilight covers are missing. The type knows what’s up and is chilling, letting the illustration do its thing while still being integrated w it. 10/10.

There are tons of others, but I think that’s sufficient context, so let’s look at the new-new covers:

Hm.

Usually I’m pro-abstraction and anti-putting the characters on the cover, because that tends to be the obvious, unimaginative solution. However, unlike my feelings about the Earthsea books, I think making the the Lioness series appeal to children is actually a worthwhile endeavor, and to that end, I think it’s kind of a shame to lose the imagery of Alanna herself swinging swords around, which really does have a unique appeal. Especially since the first book is literally ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE. You’re being sold on the character as much as the story.

But for what we have, I…. almost like it? All the text is really well-balanced, to harken again back to the Earthsea conversion on Series Title Vs Actual Title, and the intricate framed woodwork thing with different color schemes as an overarching structure is working for me. The detailing is worth looking at up-close:

But up close we also notice my Problem which is the fact that these objects are photomanips, instead of illustrations. It might be argued that this is a matter of taste/ preference, but here, I don’t think it is; I think illustration was a real opportunity to be stylistically interesting/integrated with the rest of the cover and it was wasted on…. this subpar photograph of a horse.

Publishers seem to shy away from illustration on YA fantasy covers. I’m not sure why: we get plenty of trendy (mostly simplified or abstracted) illustration on YA contemp, Illustration has always been a major mainstay of middle grade covers, and art a la Uprooted/any Gregory Maguire book or the ADSOM series is sort of a Thing for adult fantasy right now, but YA fantasy is having a moment with typographically-driven covers, and, eternally, an ugly affair with photomanip. I can’t say for sure that the designers of these Lioness covers were “aiming YA” but…. Subpar Photograph of a Horse is making me think they are, or are at least taking cues from that genre. Anyway, that’s kind of a tangent but it is A Bummer Generally.

Of the four images, the shield is working the best and the cat is working the worst. They’re not terrible by any means, but they’re awfully generic-feeling, and lack any particular sense of depth or dynamism. Overall, this is one of those times where my critiques leave the realm of Concrete Terms and Measurable Inadequacies into something more ephemeral, but I feel like Lioness series covers, at their best, encapsulate a whimsy and a warmth that these just…. lack, even though I don’t really have any major fights to pick with the design. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I Remember Our First Kiss

@gugle1980 I’m so, so sorry for the delay! I hope you like this and thank you very much for this sweet prompt!


Cullen Rutherford X Demetra Trevelyan
Post Trespasser
A touch of angst, a lot of fluff, arm loss mention



“I remember our first kiss. It was around this time of the year, if I’m right.” Cullen murmurs sleepy, one arm limply resting around her waist, the other tucked under the pillow they’re sharing. Demetra looks at him - her husband - sniffing slightly, a bit shocked he remembers such a tiny detail after the giant mess of the last days in Orlais “Do you?”. She hasn’t expected that answer, when she has asked him what he was thinking about. 
“Yes.” he replies, cracking an eye open to kiss away a tear from her cheek. She feels guitly, she knows he needs to sleep. Cassandra has told her he refused to move when she was unconscious, after their return. And she has been knocked out by the painkillers for a full day at least. 
“I bet you didn’t expect to end up with a woman who can’t even botton up her shirt alone.” her voice cracks despite her efforts. Fully awake, he puts his hand on her cheek, and she basks in the feeling despite the lump in her throat. It has always been in that way, He can soothe her pain just showing her that he cares. Such a terrible and wonderful power.  She feels guilty crying for her lost hand when she has feared for her life, for not having a chance to truly build a life with her husband. At a certain point, travelling through the Eluvians, she has realized there was a big possibility she wasn’t going to see him again. So, a hand for a life is a good price, after all. But she feels stupid, so stupid, because the more she tries to be optimistic, the more she notes there are tons of things she has always done without realizing that are simpler with two hands. 
Demetra presses her face on his neck, sobbing loudly. For her hand, for the tension accumulated when the world started to see her as an unwanted figure, for what Solas confessed and wants to do, for the Inquisition, whose time is over, for her friends who are going to leave her. She cries for all these thing and others too, past and present mixed confusely in front of her.
Too changes, too fast. Again. She remembers everything, since the very beginning.
Ostwick, with its white palaces and the air which smells of salt and water. A lovely place, but a younger her carved for more. Haven, and its scent of the fires and the ale in Flissa’s tavern, and her confusion to be all in a sudden a Herlad and a heretic. Skyhold, with its majestic halls and mighty walls, were she has found peace and safety for a bit. And all the other places she has visited, all the people she has met. In the furious carousel of memories and colors, her husband’s voice is quiet but clear “I didn’t expect to marry you, if I have to be honest.” Cullen confesses, caressing her back with gentle and slow circular movements. His words calms her inner turmoil, his voice stronger than the confusion of tangled feelings in her heart. Cullen continues, chuckling “I mean, I was sure you were going to leave after I commented the weather, that day on the ramparts!”
Her laughs takes her by surprise. Cullen holds her a little tighter “I swear, I was so sure I messed up everything!”
“I… I found it bewitching, actually.” she admits quietly, arching her neck to look at him. And his eyes make her feel breathless. There’s everything she needs: love, affection, trust. Not an inch of pity or fear or anything less than good. Cullen kisses gently her fingers “Thank the Maker you have a poor taste about flirting!”
“And dancing!” she replies, a hint of mirth in her hoarse voice. He chuckled again, encouraging her to continue “At least, you never asked me if I took chastity vows! That was awkward!”. His laughter this time is stronger and, incredibly, his cheeks turn a bit pink “How did we get there?”
“I wanted to speak to you, but you intimidated me and my brain refused to cooperate!”
”Oh, did I?” he arches an eyebrow, and she punches him lightly “Don’t be smug, Commander Sunshine. It’s your fault if I acted like an idiot around you!”
He kisses her quickly “I did the same. All the time. Do you know that Varric and Bull had a bet about us?”
“The one about if we truly had sex or not on your desk all the night?”
“What?!” he almost jumps.
“Ah, uh… nothing, I’ll tell you another time!”
“Did they…?! Those two truly have no shame!” he grumbles “Well, the bet I was aware of, was about how long me and you would take before confesses our feelings to each other.”
“Oh, that’s kind of… gentle, for their standards. Who did win?”
“Cassandra.”
This time she is the one who is shocked “No way! Cassandra would never…” Demetra pauses a moment. Her best friend has a great sense of honor and a greater sense of privacy, but her love for romances probably is even bigger. And it’s quite an innocent bet, after all. Cullen smirks “Bull told me she knew you were going to come to my office that afternoon because you… apparently, you…” a laugh escapes from his lips. Demetra groans “Because she chaught me trying my speech for you, right? I knew she had heard me, I knew it!”
“I’m curious. Since my brilliant, meteorological start probably wasn’t what you expected…” this time is her turn to giggle “what did you plan to tell me?”
“I…ah, basically my speech was along the line “I know you can have much more better choice than me, but would you be willing to give it a try, pretty please?””. He caresses her cheek, carefully avoiding one fresh bruise near her nose, and she shakes her head before he can protest on her choice of words “I wouldn’t expect you actually kissing me very romantically like in one of Cass’ books! When you started to remind me about my role and the war… Maker, here we go, I told myself, he’s going to kindly reject me and I’ll have to find a place where hiding with my shame. I’m glad I was wrong.” she chuckles, a bit embarassed. He smiles back, gently lowering his head to kiss her properly, gently, carefully. He’ll give her time, she knows it, time to heal and figure out how to settle in her new life. In their new life, she corrects quietly herself.
He touches her forehead with his, inhaling slowly “It’s going to be alright, wife.”
“I know. I trust us, husband.” she whispers. Tomorrow, it’ll be a difficult day. But for tonight, she can rest in the safest place for her in all Thedas.

In which Star-Lord Falls in Love (Fluffy Guardians of the Galaxy Smut)

An anon suggested fluffy smut with Star-Lord, and oh goodness gracious how could I resist that? 

Fluffy with a few NSFW parts. 

Maybe it was the way that every time you ran into each other on Knowhere you were wearing his favorite color. Maybe it was because you were the only person in the galaxy who called him “Star-Lord” without a roll of the eyes. Maybe it was the little smile that’d work its way across your face when he played his music. Maybe it was just you. The reason didn’t matter. The only thing that did, was that Peter Quill found himself hopelessly in love with you.

Keep reading

Why Rachel Dolezal is no Lavern Cox, at all, in any way: on the difference between transgender vs. "transracial"

( @jupitersaurus dropped the mike on the transgender/“transracial” conversation on another post, but I wanted to make a stand-alone post to commemorate it, because I’m so fucking excited to see someone put what I’ve been trying to say into words, and they helped me finally organize my own thoughts on the matter)

Transgender identities make sense because “Gender is on a fucking spectrum.” The transgendered person’s gender never actually changes (because it exists, as is, on the spectrum) but society’s perception of it may be corrected through shifts in certain gender-associated traits such as speech/dress/body language/presentation, and surgery. It is also worth noting that, although trans folks certainly face discrimination and violence for their deviation from cis/hetero frameworks; there is no part of the gender spectrum that is conceptually “off limits” or uncrossable: One might transition towards “manhood, “womanhood,” or “non binary” somewhat equally, because these categories are ALL inherently gradient.

However, “race, thanks to history, is not (on a spectrum).” The effect of white supremacy, colonialism, blood quantum, and hypodescent has been to establish race (namely, “whiteness” and “non-whiteness”) as fixed categories that withstand any ambiguity of articulation. Or, in other words, “whiteness” is conceptually off-limits: it is considered (falsely, but persistently) an absolute, fixed, “pure” category that cannot be transitioned into.

An example: Depending on context and season, it is very easy to mistake me for white–I am light-skinned, straight-haired, and green eyed. However, the moment someone becomes aware that my grandmother is black, it becomes impossible, according to the American racial imagination, to understand me as “white,” regardless how light-skinned I am–or how I dress, speak, or how present myself. (This has history in the plantation system, of course, where white people sought to protect their property from their own mixed children by isolating whiteness from the APPEARANCE of whiteness, and making it legally/culturally true that the social condition of blackness is inherited by any child of a black person, regardless what (who)they may look like–the infamous “one drop rule”) Therefore, no surgical or performative shifts in physiognomy, dress, speech, or presentation can grant “whiteness.” If it were enough to appear white, I would be white (at least in Winter) and I am not. Meaning, by extension, that it is not possible, by any shift in appearance or behavior, to escape the cultural fixity on one’s “non-whiteness.”

There is a long history of people who “pass,” of course, but that act of passing is significantly different from TRANSITION–Namely because it is not an internal experience. A person who passes for white is not a white person correcting society’s perception of them, they are a person of color, who knows themselves to be a person of color, evading discrimination by encouraging society to categorize them incorrectly. In fact, a PoC who passes for white has far more in common with someone in the closet than someone who has transitioned or is transitioning.

Of course, to treat the question of wether PoC have access to “whiteness” with this much subtlety is myopic at best: it only makes sense in regards to people, like myself, who are ambiguously light/mixed. To everyone else, the notion of accessing whiteness when you are dark skinned is self-evidently absurd, and even darkly laughable, as Artist Stacey Tyrell’s “Bakra Bluid” and even Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” so deftly explored.

What the Rachel Dolezals of the world are doing is not “transition,” then, but a perversion of transition:
They move from one inaccessible, historically policed category (whiteness) into the category made just as distinct by the boundary of whiteness, but which does not have the resources and cultural capital to guard its own boundaries in the way that whiteness can. Essentially, to “transition” from white to black is an act of exclusive privilege, of “locking the door behind you” (and keeping the key), taking what is within reach, and very much in line with what whiteness has always done.

The attempt to cannibalize the language of transgender politics (which are gradient and lateral: “On a fucking spectrum”) in defense of this “trans-racial” fantasy (which is historically NOT on a spectrum; which is one-sided, and which continues paradigms of age-old exploitation) is an attempt to mask what that trans-racial fantasy actually entails. And I, for one, am not buying it.

BOOM.

.77

Note: Follow up to (.76)! I feel like these two might get a few more stories out of me beyond this one.
For: Well, @dreila03​ had asked for more of this recovery.
Warnings: Mentions of hostage, assault
Word Count: 1,562


You curled your toes over the middle cushion, hands resting on your knees, deep purple and oversized mug filled with chicken noodle soup warming them easily. Your eyes were trained on the broth, watching as the steam rose and dissipated quickly. You swallowed hard.

Rafael was trying to help. He’d done everything he’d promised the night before. Carmen was holding his calls, his cell phone was on silent – plugged into an outlet in the kitchen, and all of his meetings had been pushed. He used a day of personal time. You felt safe when he was next to you, arms holding you close, lips peppering your hair with sweet kisses and voice wafting with sweet nothings.

He was trying so hard.

Keep reading

Prefects | Shawn Mendes Imagine

(a/n): I had been craving to write Hogwarts Shawn so thank you for requesting :). I hope you enjoy it <3. PART 2.

prompt: Shawn and (y/n) are Gryffindor’s Prefects.

Originally posted by hilariousaquarius

It wasn’t a surprise for anyone that you were chosen by the headmistress to be one of Gryffindor’s Prefects.

But it was impossible to say that half the school wasn’t surprised when Shawn Mendes, probably the best Keeper Gryffindor had seen since Ron Weasley left the school, had been appointed as the new fifth year prefect.

Shawn himself had been surprised when he received a letter signed by Minerva McGonagall announcing the news to him. Even his sister, who was also a Gryffindor, had laughed on his face while telling him it was probably a joke.

You were on the top of your class, professors loved you, and you didn’t have trouble with anyone. On the other hand, Shawn’s grades weren’t the best, professors were often telling him to pay attention, and it wasn’t unusual to catch him exchanging a few words with Quidditch players from other Houses, mostly Slytherins who knew he was an easy target, especially before games.

The first day of September arrived sooner than expected, and while you arrived to the Platform wearing your Prefect badge with pride, Shawn had to bear with his friends ruffling his hair while telling him it was probably a joke, but when you approached him before entering the train, he tried his best to wiggle out of his friends’ embrace, and when they let go of him, he gripped his broom tightly on his hand.

Keep reading

Smile More

Title: Smile More

Word count: 1,133

Summary: In which Percy finds Annabeth utterly and amazingly cute, it didnt help that she wore a skirt today. Drabble.

Note: wtf I can never come up with a decent summary for one-shots. Originally posted to my ff.net which you could find here . 

Percy didn’t know how he started taking a certain liking in Annabeth Chase. They were different. Entirely, worlds apart kind of different. He didn’t like her at first, being partnered for an assignment is never the correct way to make a friend, but even after she received her grade Percy still found her ringing on his doorbell every thursday, asking to study. 

It might’ve warmed his beat up heart just a little to know that someone out there cared enough to at least (persistently) try to be his friend.  

They didn’t talk much. Mostly just sarcastic remarks that made them both happy whether they’d admit it or not. Not to forget the taunting smirks from Percy, also. He liked to tease her, but she always bit back. 

They weren’t very close either, just close enough for both of them to call the other a dipshit without really minding. 

He knew one of the reasons she chose his place over the library was because his household was quiet, and even though Percy was a whole messy mess himself, it gave Annabeth somewhat of a reassurance that there were nobody else in the room she had to look happy for besides Sally. Which, over the three weeks they’ve been working together, had became like the mother she never had. 

Annabeth came from a rich family. She wore sweaters and jeans to school mostly, not skirts or dressed like you’d expect from a girl like her. She was polite to it seemed everyone but Percy, and maybe that was why he liked her. 

Percy learned that Annabeth liked owls. He learned that she was even more intelligent than she appeared, and that her mom left when she was only five, that she was heartbroken but by time, still didn’t forgive much less give a shit. If she’s didn’t show her face for 12 years its a clear sign she isn’t gonna show it very soon, she said. A family member is someone who takes care of you and has been there for you, biologically speaking, she’s just someone who gave birth to me. she’s not part of my family. 

He was entranced, because Percy had never met anyone as deep and meaningful as Annabeth. Someone so straight forward and well spoken, who knew bullshit when she saw it. Throw her good looks into the picture and she was practically a goddess. He didn’t know how in hell he didn’t notice her until this year. 

Annabeth learned that Percy liked the color blue. Anything blue (or black) you could easily bribe him with. She learned he liked piercings. A lot. As is the metal on his face didn’t give away the memo. She learned that despite their social differences, they had quite the things in common. Both of them appreciated good alternative music, for starters. Both of them knew someone who left them, secondly. 

She liked him, because he was different. He didn’t really care what people thought of him, he said that was lame. As long as I like myself, thats all that really matters. Percy swam against the tide, and Annabeth liked that. 

Percy tapped his fingers on the table to some song he recognized Annabeth playing at his apartment last week. It was Biology, their only class together, and Percy was so bored that the only thing that seemed to interest him was the fact that Annabeth wore a skirt today instead of her usual denim jeans. And she didn’t look bad. Like, at all.

She had her grey hoodie pulled down low, so the only part of a skirt that could be seen was two inches of  black fabric. Leaving her long, tan legs visible to Percy’s wandering eyes. But he couldn’t stare at her directly, that’d be way too obvious, especially since Annabeth was observant. Even with her sitting two rows ahead of him (he sat in the back back) to the right, so he settled with glancing every so often from the corner of his eye, trying to imprint her perfect figure into his brain so he wouldn’t have to keep looking at her. But damn, Annabeth was so fucking attractive. 

They both didn’t have any friends in that class, only the two of them, so it wasn’t very hard to get Annabeth alone when the period ended. 

Percy pushed through the crowd of students to get to her. A couple of them shot him dirty looks, but their fault for taking their sweet time.

Her hair was down as usual, with bobby pins holding her long bangs to the side. Percy remembered her telling him that it was so she can actually see without having to push the mess from her eyes every few minutes. He thought it was adorable. 

“Wearing a skirt today I see." 

Annabeth glared at him with her piercing grey eyes, that created such a good color contrast with her blonde hair and naturally pink lips. Percy was momentarily distracted. 

"Everything else is in the laundry. I didn’t want to come to school smelling like garbage, unlike someone I know."  She gave him a  pointed look.

"Gods, Wise Girl. You’re acting like I said you looked bad.” Annabeth rolled her eyes, but the faint blush that crept up onto her cheeks was not to be unseen. Percy smirked. 

“Shut up." 

He smiled, white teeth beaming as she punched his shoulder. He couldn’t feel very much, it was obviously a playful act, but he couldn’t not smile at a frustrated/ annoyed/ emberessed Annabeth. He couldn’t. 

” Hey, you should smile more.“ Annabeth said slowly as if she were making an observation she was unsure of. Then she added on, "It makes you look better.”

Now it was Percy’s turn to blush. The heat warmed his cheeks in a way that infuriated him, he had no control over blushing. He hoped he wasn’t sweating by now. So, having a head full of kelp, he said something only Percy Jackson would say, “You should shut the fuck up more." 

 It was still rotation time, and Percy guessed they probably had two or three minutes before the bell rang and signaled class. But the two of them were still walking at a good pace, and so he decided not to say anything about it. Plus, the wide grin that Annabeth had plastered on her face after he said what he said was definitely worth being late for.

anonymous asked:

Would you do a blurb/scenario? Writer Y/N meets Harry at a party and she works with press for some rock band he likes and he is sooo impressed by how smart and fierce she is. So they end up going back to the same hotel and *insert smut*

This ones long AF, and as such I decided to turn it into an actual oneshot. I’m quite proud of how it turned out.  Enjoy. ;)

Keep reading

New Beginnings - Part 2 (Bucky x Reader)

single dad bucky x single mom reader

word count: 1.8k

Part 1

—————————-

You looked down at your watch, relieved that just like your son you were going to make it to work on time. Bucky really relieved your worries when he offered to drive you to work, him saying that it was better since he wanted to get to know the mother of his daughter’s best friend. As you were telling him the directions, you were surprised he would turn in the right direction before you even go the chance to finish your directions.  

“You know Brooke mentions that she wants to invite Isaac over,” eyes fixed on the road, “and was wondering if you don’t mind setting something up, Brooke would be ecstatic,” his smile growing just thinking about how happy his little girl will be.

“Yea I don’t see why not, Isaac practically jumps at any chance to play,” agreeing with him, already knowing how he’s going to be jumping with joy when you would mention it.

“Great hopefully we can get a date sorted soon,” Bucky quickly glanced over at you with a smile.

Your face slightly warmed up, since his words for some reason being misinterpreted in that your children’s playdate would be a single date with him. Reminding you that you it has been a long time since you have even been on a date, because your free time was usually devoted to your son.

Not sure what to say, you just focused back on the road, noticing that you were almost at your workplace, “uh, you’re going to make a left at that stop sign,” pointing at said stop sign.

You hummed to the beat of the music, Bucky smiling to himself as you were so comfortable around him. You were ready for him to turn left; however he quickly turned right, already parking his car, not expecting that at all. .

“Uhh, I know that this sounds weird, but left is the other way,” pointing to the side of the street you should have been on, “but if you want to drop me off here its ok, thank you so much for the ride,” already getting ready to hop out of his car, and hoping that maybe what you said came off as a bit rude.  

“I know, it’s just I need to park, before my spot gets taken, I’ll walk you to your work though,” he said as he turned off the car and reaching into the backseat to pull out a blue sleeved shirt to go over his black tee.

You eyed him curiously not understanding what he meant, but none the less he was doing you the huge favor for even giving you a ride to begin with. He quickly downed on his blue work shirt, his name ‘James’ embroidered on the side, as he told you to stay put. You gathered your things, as Bucky opened your door, bright smile on his face.

“Thanks, Bucky, I would have still been on the bus if it wasn’t for you,” you admitted as you brushed your hair out of your face, feeling so small as he almost towered over you.

“I don’t mind driving you, I mean we work near each other to begin with,” he said with a smile.

“We do?” you questioned.

“Yea, you see that garage shop over there,” he said pointing to a car repair shop just down the block.

You nodded as you both started walking heading to the cross light.

“I work there,” he continued as he pushed the button for you both to cross, “that’s why I didn’t mind taking you, now let’s get you to work before your late,” he said as he gestured you to walk as walking man sign turned on.

“You don’t have to Bucky, I mean I don’t want to make you late either, you’ve already been a big help,” not wanting to take too much of his time, always in your nature to put others ahead of yourself.

Bucky chuckled, “I own the place, and no one can get mad at me, besides it’s just me working in the morning today. And I’m pretty sure no one is going to be there right at the start of the day, I can afford to be a few minutes late,” his hand landing on your back to tell you that you weren’t going to talk him out of dropping you off at work, “unless you don’t want me too, I’ll understand if you do.”

“No, that’s not it!” taking a step forward, giving into him and really hoping you weren’t coming off as rude, “it’s really cool that you own your own shop.”

“Yea, it was hard to start, but it’s doing well so far, get a good flow of customers. Plus its nice not having anyone breathing down your back, I’m my own boss,” his voice really showcasing how proud he was of his shop, “may not be a doctor or lawyer, but pays the bills. Don’t hesitate to come on by if you ever have car troubles, I’ll make sure to give you a family discount,” smiling over at you, making you really admire how handsome he really was.  

“Is this some sort of sales pitch?” you teased, “because hate to break it to you, but I already sent my car to repair to another repair shop,” you finished.

“Just saying,” his shoulders scrunching up, “you should best mechanic in this part of town,” he said with confidence.

“Says who?” smirk on your face, and slowing down your pace, not wanting to stop talking to him at all and judging by how he matched your pace…neither did he.

“Says myself,” his tone just as playful as yours, “but seriously though stop by sometime, don’t be afraid to ask for help or a repair,” being very sincere to you.

“Yea, I’ll keep that in mind if anything happens, but I hope it doesn’t don’t think my wallet would afford constant car troubles,” you laughed.

“Guess not,” laughing along with you. You stopped in front of your job, Bucky stopping as well, looking up at the name of your shop, “figured you work in a bookstore,” smile growing on his face as his blue gaze met your eyes, somewhat entrancing you, trying to keep yourself from getting lost in them.

“And what is that supposed to mean?” placing your hands on your sides, your eyebrows furrowing wondering if he was trying compliment your or insult you.

“it’s nothing bad, just…,” trying to find the best way to correct his wrong, his mouth opening and closing unsure of what to say. He was worried that if he did say what he planned to, it may upset you, “nothing never mind,” his hand scratching the back of his head, his cheeks gaining a pink color.

“Ok,” forgetting about what just happened, mainly because you were too bust enjoying the view of this big strong man being so bashful over a simple question.

You looked at the watering can by the door, sign that your coworkers already assigned you to water the flowers outside the shop, but then again you were the one that suggested it and even picked out your favorite flowers to plant. You picked up the can, sighing as you realized that it was empty, thinking that the least they could do was at least fill it up to save you the time.  

“Watering duty?” pointing at the can.

“Yep, but I don’t mind, I mean I sort of was the one that nursed all these flowers to begin with,” pointing at the flowers that lined the store.

“Really?” his blue eyes slightly widening, “I can barely keep a plant alive for more than a week, what kind of flowers are they?”

“the white ones on the bush are gardenias, the red and magenta flowers are peonies,” pointing out which ones they were, glad that they were in full bloom, so he could really appreciate them, the morning air slightly tinted with the scent of the gardenias, “they’re my favorite flowers,” you quietly said but by the way Bucky lifted his eyebrows, you blushed knowing that he heard it.

“They’re really pretty,” he said softly, as his left hand reached out to touch the soft velvet petals of the gardenia. He was careful, treating them as if any sudden or wrong movement would cause all the petals to fall off. However this this allowed you a good opportunity to see the beautiful tattoos that were inked across his skin, hints of gears, stars, trees, and more scattered across his arms, all coming together to form an intricate monochrome piece.

Bucky’s arms were beautiful, firm muscles all across his arms and basically his whole body, giving away how fit he was. His muscles were so prominent throughout his body, it wasn’t that you were interested in him, but you couldn’t help but stare at an attractive man, especially when his tattoos basically screamed to be looked and appreciated. You trailed up his arm, seeing how each one was so unique, reaching to the hem of his sleeve, wondering what more lied underneath. But before you could let your imagination begin to wonder, your eyes met with his crystal blue ones with a smirk very present on his face.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to stare,” your face starting to heat up, “I mean, I know I did, but,” groaning because you were just making things worse.

He chuckled, making your face heat up even more in embarrassment, “its fine, I mean I guess my tattoos are just as much for my eyes as for anyone else’s,” looking down at his tattooed arm.

“They’re beautiful though,” not even caring that your cheeks were on fire.

“Thanks,” his smile ever present with the pink tint still on his cheeks, “so I was asking if you want I could give you a ride to pick up our kids,” he asked his voice losing that playful tone replaced with a soft tone.

“Sure, do I meet you here or at your shop?”

“I’ll swing by and pick you up, now hate to cut our conversation, but I think it’s time for you to go, before you’re actually late,” the bright smile back, his head gesturing to the door.

You looked down at your watch and he was right, you had to go inside and clock in. You thanked him and dashed inside, already feeling the curious stares of your coworkers, knowing that they were going to ask who you were speaking to…but you didn’t stop at all. As you were clocking in you couldn’t shake the heat off your cheeks, feeling that it skyrocket, when he said ‘our kids’. You brought your hands up to your face, letting out a sigh, you were an adult and yet here you were swooning over Bucky like a schoolgirl. You shook your head, wanting to forget those feeling, labeling them as a sign that you needed to go back on the dating scene soon…and preferably not with him.

—————————

tag list: @bovaria @stovehairington @ria132love @allyp1023@gallifreyansass @the-amaranthine @cecifina @fearthedietcoke@ailynalonso15 @theloveablesociopath @rchlnwtn @winterssmary @fab-notfat

anonymous asked:

Huron sits down and talks with lorgar about becoming new warmaster..... (ask-lorgar-aurelian)

How Many Times?

“You could be great, you know.”

He did know. Too many people had told him the exact same thing. It was flattering hearing it from the mouth of a daemon-primarch, but no less annoying or repetitive. “My opinion remains the same,” Huron replied.

Lorgar Aurelian ceased his pacing before the Blood Reaver’s throne and looked at him. Reality, in so much as reality existed within the storms of the Maelstrom, seemed to protest at the Urizen’s very presence, warping around the edges of his monstrous form just enough to cause the eyes to hurt. His skin was gold, and seemed to radiate with an inner light. Lorgar had given up his mortality a long time ago, but meddling in the affairs of mortals was still his favored past time.

“You could marshal all the armies of the Eye under your banner and you refuse?” Lorgar snorted. “What is it you seek, Blood Reaver? It surely isn’t power.”

Huron steepled his fingers as he regarded the Word Bearers’ primarch with a measured gaze. “You do not understand,” he said at length. “None of you understand.”

“So then enlighten me.”

“You are correct in your assumption that it is not power I seek.” Huron stood and stepped down from the throne. Lorgar watched him as the Tyrant of Badab stepped to the voidglass viewport. Outside the Maelstrom raged, swirling energies painted a multitude of colors, some so impossible the warp was the only place they could exist. “I suppose, at its base, what I seek is revenge. I am but one of the thousands the Imperium has wronged. The difference between myself and the rest is that I retain a position to do something about it.”

“Would not claiming the title of Warmaster enhance that ability?” Lorgar moved to Huron’s side.

“At face value, yes, it probably would. But that is without taking into account the infighting, the resentment, and the treachery sure to follow.” Huron looked sideways at Lorgar. “Do you think Abaddon would take that slight lying down?”

Lorgar laughed.

“No,” Huron continued. “He has enough loyal to him in the Eye where we would risk an internal conflict were I to take command.”

“So you remain here, in the Maelstrom, languishing into nothing?” Lorgar took a good look around at the rusty facade of Hell’s Iris.

You let your eyes deceive you, Urizen,” Huron replied with a wry smile. “I command legions. My fleets rival any the Imperium might be able to muster. I have more resources here than you could possibly imagine.”

“And yet you are viewed as second fiddle to mighty Abaddon.”

“Because I wish it.”

Lorgar cocked an eyebrow. That had not been the answer he expected.

“Abaddon can have the spotlight. Abaddon can take on the Imperium’s might. While he does so, I will strike from corners they least expect. I will bleed them through a thousand cuts while they try to stem to flow from the Eye. Abaddon is my distraction. He allows me to run free while he suffers the brunt of the Imperum’s wrath. For that, I am grateful for him. Why would I wish to see him usurped?”

Lorgar smiled. “I have yet to hear you deny the claim you could perform better than he.”

“I could.” Huron turned back to his throne. “I could perform far better than he, but that is not my aim. Focus, Urizen. To lose it would ruin all the strides I have made. So I will tell you one last time.”

Huron settled back upon his throne.

“I will not be your warmaster.”

Trans in Theatre: Adversarial and Jubilant Ultimatums

          After one of our late night dress rehearsals for Footloose, I felt a friend to my right grip my arm during our notes. She said, “Denny, are you okay?” and I realized tears were falling down my cheeks without my notice at all. At that point, everybody fixated their eyes on me and for the first time (of soon-to-be many), I felt seen but so unseen. This was my junior year in high school, and I was cast as the male lead, Ren McCormack. Despite the crisp dance moves and singing, the director kept telling me that something was still not right about my performance. She then sat with me until midnight, where we were the only ones left on stage. Through the shakiness in my voice and my hands burying my face, I said, “It’s just hard playing something you know you’re not.”

           She looked at me, and for the first time, I think she really saw me.

          My senior year I was cast as The Leading Player in Pippin, a gender neutral character with a presence so demanding you can’t take your eyes off the charm, wit, and agility. Around this time I was sneaking out late at night, dressing up with my friends and going out. Liberating myself from gender roles and rebelling against their normalizations kept me stable emotionally and mentally. I was in a place where I had to dissect gender to its core in order to sort myself, and experimenting with winged eyeliner paired with a staple dark red lips and too many striped dresses allowed me to come to terms with myself at my own pace. I took advantage of the ambiguity of gender within my role in the show through androgyny.

           Femininity turned from secretive repression into a hobby.

          My first theatrical experience in college was an identity play reading for The Laramie Project, a collection of reactions to the homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. I auditioned for two women in the room, one who was an upperclassman directing the play, the other an older white woman who accompanied the student director. She had a sweet and nurturing voice, and a full head of gray and white hair that complimented her soft smile. I felt an odd sense of comfort for a strange white lady I barely knew. She still recognizes me now and wishes me well whenever we bump into each other. I read a monologue they provided and was contacted the next day to play Romaine Patterson, the lesbian best friend of Matthew. It was my first time reading a part that was inherently for a woman. I don’t recall my exact emotion that given moment, but I know I was happy. Telling my friends about it felt radical and transformative. To be seen as a genderqueer person of color beyond that identity and only for talent was a big deal for me. Previous auditions for The Voice and X-Factor never went well because like my high school director, the producers could tell something was off.

           I started to, too.

          The following semester, I took an acting class. The second I walked into the first day of class and saw twelve fraternity boys was the second my own ideas of theatre spaces being safe from potentially harmful masculinities were proven wrong. My professor was a mother with a smile as big as her frames, face framed by the middle part of her dark curls as beautiful as her name—Carmela. Her fingers were crowded with unique rings, her outfits casual yet bold with statement pieces—I could tell this person was comfortable with who she was, while remaining to be somewhat reserved. I envied her. I wanted her womanhood, although confusion overshadowed my lack of vocabulary to express this specific desire. All I knew to do was to wake up two hours prior to classes for the sole reason of feminizing myself. But the hesitation on femininity started the moment she referred to me with “she, her” pronouns, which led the entire class, including the fraternity boys, to do as well. At the time I reserved to gender neutral pronouns because I knew I wanted to detach myself from anything innately considered ‘male’, and unlike the most heard trans narratives, growing up without exposure to trans folks (a conscious one, that is) left me thinking my gender was concrete, and Carmela was another person to see me beyond what I knew was possible, and that is woman. Her de-solidifying my possibilities as a person gave me space to let my gender identity move and rebuild, even with words as scary as “her” and “girl”.

           Not once did I ever correct anybody in that class.

           Transitioning started the summer after that. I officially came out as a woman, and coming back to school was surprisingly easy. I never thought much about what it must have been like for everyone else, which led me to sleep comfortably every night thinking everyone around me must be on board as well—the theatre department included. I wish people spoke to me about concerns, or vocalized their questions, in which I would have been much slower and more patient moving forward. Instead I felt immortal and unbeatable, and receiving my first female lead in a show the same day I started my medical transition were only further signs that I was going in the right direction. I was misgendered throughout the show but I disregarded that. I recognized the ways in which I could have been critical in the moment but I disregarded that. I refused to admit that people were not seeing me as a woman because I accepted and made effort to uphold how progressive everyone involved in the production must have been to include me in the first place. Although I wore an exquisite wedding gown, I also wore three noses but I disregarded that. I felt beautiful in the midst of knowing the audience saw me otherwise—I played the freak but I disregarded that. I kept quiet because a part of me felt that staying silent as the team player would access me to more opportunities. I was right. A few months after, I was cast for the following semester’s show, where not only did I play a woman, but a woman of my race. I thought the recognition as a woman of color meant that I was perceived twice—for my gender, and for my racial background. But I was still misgendered throughout, therefore disregard became a way to navigate spaces where successes and failures were happening simultaneously.

          Earning my first female role as an openly trans woman should have been the starting point to education beyond inclusion, because what is the point of inclusion if we are unaware of its purposes? What is the point of adding flowers to the living room if there are no given benefits to the overall goal of aesthetic aside from sole decoration? My personal purpose was to prove people’s inherent assumptions about trans talent wrong—not to be tokenized. It still is. But being in my position and getting two leads in a row, I had a responsibility to fulfill. The fulfillment of my responsibilities became highly prioritized because I know opportunities like these do not always work in the favor of girls like me. Taking it for granted was never an option. So when I found out I was the only woman of Asian descent to even audition I kept pretending that I played these roles because I could, not because I was needed; because I have talent, not because of profitable aspects about myself that could satisfy their agendas.

           For the next few months I shared my story, making sure I expressed that it was never just a role I earned, but that I was transitioning under a microscope for the majority of campus to watch. Therefore, people knew who I was and could comprehend how big of an accomplishment this must have been for me. I bounced from one interview to the next ranging from friends’ articles to local newspaper journalism, giving them the heroic story I knew they wanted. Here I was, a nineteen year old Southeast Asian trans woman spilling my story of the adversity of transitioning at school, whilst spilling my story of triumph and attainment of playing main female characters in the theater department, knowing that there were gaps in between one story of challenge and the other of execution. I did not tell them that many people were struggling to see me beyond a man, that these roles were not the only thing I was “acting” in. I did not tell them that I felt the pressure to act woman on the daily—for the sake of being understood— and add on my character on top of that to act for. I did not tell them that I felt exhausted, stripped of my own personhood. But most of all, I did not tell them these feelings because I was warped in my own thought that the things I accomplished were courageous, and nothing else.

           I was happy, though.

           At least happy enough to come back my junior year believing I was going to be seen no different from the rest of the girls during auditions. Especially because none of the roles required the women to be a specific kind of woman, and therefore I sought after them as my perfect chance to really prove people that I was capable and deserving of a female role with no strings attached. For the first audition, I studied the script months prior to the audition day and created two monologues on my own from pieces in it. Oddly enough, the night of auditions, there were two female monologues provided, in which they were almost identical to the one I put together. Instantly I felt at an advantage because it was clear that the visions I had for these women were very close to the director’s. For the first time, I did not have to use vulnerable parts of me as a source of reliability, only creativity and deep understanding of the script. The second audition was for the only female role in the show. Her character development was built off of the desire and dream to be a forefront leader despite—or maybe even because—of her gender, a desire and dream I hold closely.

           The following day I searched hard for my name on the callback list before realizing that I was not called back for either shows. I felt the people behind me looking over my shoulders to see the cast list, and in their exhales I heard “Sorry, maybe next time,” “Yikes,” “I feel bad for you,” “What happened?

           What happened?

           I felt myself in shock, but worked painfully hard to prevent any showings of defeat or weakness. I came into my junior year with content and pride in the conquering of my endeavors, and within those five seconds of glance I started to question everything I might have done wrong. Straight away I put the responsibility on me, because the professors I have worked with know what they are doing, right? They are the ones whose judgments should be trusted, no? During a callback, the people who auditioned are asked to come back because the directors or anybody else involved were interested in what they had to offer during their auditions. This can either solidify the decision to cast these people, or make them change their minds. To be stopped before the second process confused me in all angles. I saw myself back in sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school where producers never passed me through the first rounds of The Voice and X-Factor auditions because they knew something felt misaligned. But this time, I was whole, with the strongest sense of identity out of all twenty years of my life, so therefore, my identity could not have been the reason, no? I don’t want to believe my transness is the reason I was not granted the opportunity to prove myself past auditions, and it took me strength to slowly admit to myself that my experiences in previous shows were never perfect. Some days they were barely validating or comfortable. It was a difficult process having to prove my own gender before the characters I played.

           I learned to prove myself—(cis) womanhood before talent, whiteness before talent, Americanness before talent (unless my race is needed)—twice as hard for half the consideration before somebody else’s name blankets mine. When I do earn a part, I memorize my lines twice as hard for half the recognition compared to someone who might embody surpassing privileges that give them access to opportunities where recognition is a routine experience in their involvements in theater. Over the past couple of months my peers in the department have comforted me with words like “it’s not fair to you,” “your gender is valid regardless,” “this is not a representation of your talents.”

           For those who have been my backbone throughout this emotional calculation, I profoundly thank you. However, the problem is that there is more to this. I am not seeking out validation—I know I’m valid. I am not having these conversations to re-stabilize myself as if I’ve lost a sense of identity, but to redirect the conversation and have everybody else acknowledge why they don’t have it as exhaustive, and what integrating privileges they possess that allows them to think this issue is one sided, and therefore lacks a need to hold themselves accountable at any extent. Many of the minoritized students participate in the identity play series, where their theatrical experience lasts for only one to two weeks for rehearsals—the performance production is not as tumultuous as the faculty or student directed shows. The series allows for many unheard narratives to be on the front lines of exposure and the following discussion sessions open up the conversation into further depth. However, many of the participants are only exclusive to identity play readings, and the space to welcome them (with effort) to larger scale shows in the department is limited, thus there is an imbalance between the demographics of the regular members who participate in major production shows versus the ones who are part of the identity series. This leads to the impression that those whose identities are minoritized are utilizable when their otherness is needed—a deep pain I know all too well.

           My experience in the department lies at the crux of having enough marginalized identities to truly transcend in identity play series with personal authenticity and having enough past experience to be given roles for the main stage. I aspire the space to roam freely where I can openly talk about what it means to be an Asian transgender woman in the theatre department, but also where I can express myself artistically without my sense of self being the source of muse for whatever it is I do on stage. It is impossible to completely disregard my transness, but to make my work revolved around it is no better.

          There is a way for transness to flourish in plays and productions that have the potential to be progressive. Angel from Rent encapsulates the reclamation of femininity (for a person who is inherently not meant to be feminine under the socialization they were enforced into) as her narrative parallels amongst many trans women who internally struggle to claim their own girlhoods. In this I see a theatrical opportunity to have the production not only progress the show, but allow opportunities for trans women of color to showcase talent, even if Angel is traditionally a drag queen of color. A modernized adaptation allows a political play to move along with progressing politics.

           There is also a way for transness to not completely diverge from any other plays, because trans narratives are not completely alienated from non-trans narratives—there will always be a bridge in between. In 9th grade, my English class read Romeo and Juliet, and nobody volunteered to read for Juliet. I felt her character on a deep level but hesitated to raise my hand—not only did I lack the language to describe my situation, but so did everybody else. All I knew is that there was more to Juliet than a girl who falls in love with a family foe; there was a young woman who craved to liberate herself from her family’s containment in order to pursue a more novel life. Due to societal pressure to please others before herself, her option was to take her own life—an emboldening statement of redemption and salvation. This is not uncommon in many lives of trans women and trans femmes. In 2014, Cincinnati, Ohio, a 17 year old transgender girl named Leelah Alcorn stepped in front of a tractor trailer on Interstate-71 after posting a suicide note online saying “My death needs to mean something.” In her note, she mentions “When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart.” In Leelah’s heartbreak I see the story of Juliet—a suicide not driven from love, but driven from social abuse that prevents the embrace of and ability to love. Adaptability of transgender stories into mainstream stories is possible.

           I dream of transness in theatrical spaces to be acknowledged, not as a cause for muse or a reason of dismissal. I dream of this phenomenon of theatre as a safe space for LGBTQ+ people beyond cis, white, gay, flamboyant men. I dream of trans girls and trans femmes of color like me celebrated on stage as much as we do advocacy off stage. I dream of people who hold power in theatre to mobilize their privileges, and hold themselves accountable to take it further to tell stories that matter, stories that marinate in truth, stories that can impact the audience yet provide benefits for those involved, because it is the right thing and it is doable if you care enough.

           Make them happen. If the show must go on, do not leave some of us behind.

Your pastiche is not subversive: Kingsman’s conservatism

I had high hopes for Kingsman: The Secret Service. There are gifsets of it all over Tumblr. Everybody said it was great and fun and refreshing. Even my beloved Foz Meadows praised it as ‘a biting debunk of the James Bond franchise… it takes all of Bond’s hallowed trappings – the spy gadgets, the sharp suits, the suave badassery – and explicitly removes both the misogyny and the classism that traditionally underpins them.’ So, having grown up on the Bond movies, I was eager to witness it for myself. And indeed I spent most of the film half-convinced that I liked it, or at least that I was going to, any minute now.

But despite the excellent direction, choreography, and clever humor, I was left wondering what the hell everyone else had been watching when they said it was progressive.

Keep reading