it’s so ridiculously pretty outside, my yard is absolutely filled with so many different kinds of wildflowers! my cousin let me borrow this amazing guide on all the wildlife in north america, and i’ve been having so much fun being able to identify and tell people which flowers are which :)
Do you know what, brain bleaching
everyone’s memories would not be enough at this point. Nope. What I
need is Time-Breaker. I just gotta get her here to take me back and time so I
CAN BEAT MYSELF TO DEATH FOR EVER WANTING TO LEAVE THE HOUSE!
So, for whatever reason, father
allowed us to finish the sleepover, with the condition that the
bedroom door must remain open. …and put our clothes back on. Did I mention beating my past self to death yet?
Rest of the night went fine, we all
went to bed way too late, me and Nino with our heads at the foot of
the bed, Mari and Alya with their heads at the head of the bed– oh my BAD CHOICE OF WORDS!!!
I mean, we even had some pillows stacked
right down the middle of the bed to keep us on our respective
sides… but, unbeknownst to me, Marinette tosses and turns in her
Morning comes, and next thing I know, I’m being
rudely woke up by Nino, both of us popping a tent, (cause we are
boys, and that happens and DON’T JUDGE ME I HAD TO PEE) pointing out
the fact that Mari’s hand was totally squeezing…
So there’s been a recent introduction of two new characters in Steven Universe, and–it’s funny, because they’re the respective birthstones of me and my all-too-lovely partner in crime @pomnoichu B))))))
Naturally, we thus had to be drawn as them. HERE YOU GO:
PERFECT MATCH, EEEEEEEEEEYY 8D Love our coincidences between us tbh;; keep piling ‘em on, world B)))
Hey Michael, have you ever written a song for Jeremy?
Michael: !!! Actually yeah I have hold on–
Every time I see you, my heart it flutters! And I never ever wanna be with another. It’s only you, it’s always you Until the end~ And every time I’m with you my heart hums out a song You honestly have no idea how long it’s been… This is a love song, let’s be more than friends!
…Um, heheh. I wrote that way before we started dating, it was sorta an unrequited thing. But now? I might have to update the lyrics a little, make it more fitting…
I started and jumped from the pillow in the dark, my whole body seizing and splintering wi’ panic—
But it was only Ian, of course, half-asleep at my back. He pulled me closer against him and kissed my shoulder. “Yr—tossin’ and turnin’ about like—S’matter?”
“Nothin’…Nothin’, only somethin’ I ate,” I whispered, tryin’ to catch my breath.
“Nay, lad, I’ll—I’ll do,” I panted, my blood racing and pounding. “Go b—back to sleep, mo ghriadh.” I pulled back the quilts and made to sit up. “I’ll—go take a turn— settle meself.” Nearly midnight, it must be.
Ian groped clumsily for me and caught my hand. “Lov’ye…”
Tears prickled in my eyes, sharp and hot against the air of the night. God, the tenderness of him—the sweetness and care and love this good man lavished upon me, always—
“D’ye think me a good person, Ian?” I whispered into the dark between us.
My throat felt sore, the words as raw and frail and desperate as my pathetic heart. “Am I truly good? Or have I only been good at pretendin’ to be…while I’m no more than the verra worst kind of filth?”
The question rang out into the silence; unanswered. He’d have reassured me, had he actually heard, had the soft, familiar whiffle of his snorin’ not already resumed. It was as well not to be coddled wi’ comforting lies. I kent the truth well enough.
Oh, but how I ached to wake him, to tell him at least of Claire and the evil that I’d done; to let him hold me tight and safe while I wept into his chest; let the comfort of him surround me, soothe me, as he convinced me wi’ gentle kisses and soft words that all would be well, that he’d carry the burden wi’ me—that I wouldna be alone, ever.
Alone like Jamie.
Alone like Claire.
This was my penance: this coldness—this regret—this utter, writhing, blistering shame. I’d taken away any chance for their happiness, so for the rest of my life, I had to bear it; to atone, myself, however I might. Emptiness, carried alone: a fitting punishment for my crime.
I kissed Ian’s brow, slipped out of bed, found my shawl, and made my way down the stairs toward the study. I reeled a bit on the treads, my head achin’ and spinnin’, and small bloody wonder, for I’d drunk heavily all the evenin’.
At first, it were only that I was preparin’ myself for the task at hand, hopin’ the drink would brace me, give me courage for when I found the right moment to face Jamie. Every time I looked at him, though, the gentle hunger in his eyes that lit over bein’ wi’ family; the smile on his face as he played with the wee bairns, as he joyed in the balm of home—of love—God, my coward’s heart had bucked and fled, at every opportunity.
And by the time I might have finally confronted things, the drink had taken hold, bringing my fears to bear, and I’d staggered up to my bed long before anyone else, and dreamt of screams of pain—and sorrow—and—
Now, I was surprised and relieved to find as I reached the bottom of the stairs that I was hardened, a wall of conviction slowly rising up around me, protectin’ me. Jamie need not know; Jamie must not be told. It was too late, after all; Claire was too far gone. I’d done wrong, to my everlasting shame. I’d committed a terrible, cruel evil against them both. But what good would it do to torture him wi’ that knowledge, now? When he had no chance of findin’ her? None. T’would be only agony to him, that wisp of hope, now vanished by my hand.
No. He couldna ever be told. It was the kindest thing I could do, now, to keep the secret from hurting him further.
All that remained was for me to find a way to live wi’ myself—drink and distraction; and there was always a good decanter of whisky in the study along wi’ the books. I pushed through the study door and was no more than two steps in before I collided wi’ something solid and—
My candle was somersaulting through the air and onto the good rug, and just as suddenly, quick fingers snatched it up again before it could catch.
“I’m so sorry, Jen,” Jamie was sayin’, settin’ the candlestick on the table next to one of his own before turnin’ back to grin at me, all sheepish in only his shirt. “I couldna sleep and came down for a dram and was looking at the books just there by the door, and—” He stopped and blinked, surveying me in alarm. “Lass, you’re white as a sheet and shaking like— Are ye hurt, dove?”
“No, its—I’m fine—” I shrank back from his touch, from the heartbreaking sweetness of the endearment.
Only—agony to him, now.
It’s far pa—past—(breathe)—too late—damn me to hell for it.
I turned hastily for the door. “I didna mean to intrude upon your quiet, Jamie, I’ll just—”
“No-no-no, dinna be daft,” Jamie laughed, eagerly, stepping swiftly around me to block the door. “Stay! Sit wi’ me a time—have a drink.”
“No, really, I should—”
“Jen, we barely got to speak all this evening,” he said, and there was more than a touch of hurt in that soft voice, those soft eyes. “Please? Stay wi’ me?”
Brother, if ye only kent what I was, you’d cast me out into the cold this moment, and have me walk until the very sea swallowed me up.
And I’d deserve it.
“Come on, wee fool,” Jamie said, gently, but in truth, he was begging. He wanted her to stay. He needed her to stay, to help drive this terrible sadness away, tonight.
At last, she relented, and let him close the door. He held out his arms to her, and after a very long moment, she came to him. “It’s very glad I am to see ye, lass,” he whispered into her hair, trying not to let his voice crack with just how glad he was of it.
Lord, why did she sound so tentative around him, tonight? She had been cool toward him all the evening, busying herself with the meal and with clearing it, and with taking another whisky, offering him one, but then bustling onward to the next task and retiring early before they could exchange more than a dozen words.
“Tell me true.” He gently took her by the shoulders and held her far enough away to look her in the eye, beseeching. “Have I done something to wrong ye, lass?”
She gaped at him, going even paler than before. “Wrong me?”
“I dinna think I’m mistaken in noticing you’re no’ pleased to see me, this visit. So I’ll ask again….Have I done something that’s wronged ye?” Even moments ago, she had seemed barely to touch him as he embraced her. “I’ll do anythin’ I can to make it right, I swear it.”
“Never.” To his astonishment, her face fell, and she made a little sound almost like a sob as she at last hugged him tight, a real embrace. “You would never do anything to wrong me, Jamie.”
He held her close, the sense of home finally settling around him. His blood—his sister.
“I’m sorry, Jamie,” she said, muffled into his chest, “I am glad to see ye. I’m just—no’ quite myself, tonight.”
“Is something amiss wi’ ye then, dove? Are ye feeling ill?”
“No, I’ll do.” He could have sworn she shuddered, but she pulled back and put her hands on her hips to study at him with brows drawn, as she always did, the dear, wee busybody. “Lord above, you’re too thin, ye great toad.”
“Are great toads typically thin?” he laughed, placing a kiss on the top of her head and moving to settle onto the plump cushions of the settee.
“Aye, and your voice all scratchit like one, to boot,” she laughed with something like her usual fire, curling her legs under her on the armchair facing him. “But truly, do ye get yourself fed at all, in Edinburgh?”
“Aye,” he said, passing her a whisky glass, “not grand fare, mind,” he winked, or tried to, “but dinna fash: I make it a special point of policy to eat every day.”
“Well, that’s good. Do it more, aye? You’re—” She shook her head, looking actually pained as she took him in again. “You’re….wasting away, Jamie.”
He waved a hand in dismissal. “That’s why I must visit my sister, whose excellent cooks will always get me fattened up again.”
“I must thank ye again for seeing my wee Ian safely home to me.”
“’Course, Jen,” he murmured, “happy to do it. The lad continues to be quite the handful, I see.”
“God,” she groaned, “I’ve not the faintest idea what’s to be done about the wee eejit. S’like tryin’ to trap a breeze upon a mountaintop. I’m sure he’ll ask to be allowed to go back wi’ ye wi’ our blessing this time, but—”
“I’d no’ mind it, owermuch” He tried to sound casual, not as desperately eager as he felt. “In fact, I verra nearly let him talk me into letting him stay, this time.”
“Wheedles something fierce, does wee Ian,” Jenny agreed ruefully. “I suppose ‘tis good for his hope of catchin’ a wife one day. A boy that’s so plain best ken how to wield charm to his good uses, at least,” she said with a grimace and a deep draught from her glass.
“Aye, that’s so,” Jamie laughed. “He can argue the black off a boot. Though, it was less to do wi’ him than me,” he added quietly, a moment later.
“I’d have been happy for the company.” He shrugged, trying for nonchalance, but it was a shrug of unease. “It’s quite lonely, there in the shop.” His emptiness rang into the very corners of the room in the saying of it.
Jenny heard it too, and put on a cheery, winning manner as she scoffed, “Nonsense, you’ve got Fergus, aye?”
“Fergus is a great help, true, and an even greater comfort to me,” he agreed. The boy—Christ, he was fifteen years or more past being a *boy,* but Fergus would always be so, to Jamie—was his pride and his right hand.
“But, of course, ye may not ken how often Fergus is gone from Edinburgh seeing to—other business. Scarce half the days of the month, do I see him, in fact.” He shrugged. “And of course, I’m alone in my rooms, after the shop closes. Wi’ only myself for company, the conversation tends to be a trifle repetitive.”
He meant it as a wee jest to lighten the mood. It didn’t work, for either of them. There was a fair-sized lump in his throat. Jenny’s hands were tight around her glass, her eyes down. He knew he shouldn’t speak so, so wretchedly self-pitying, but damn him, he needed to have someone hear him and understand.
“Sometimes, I go an entire week or more wi’out anyone—not a soul— speaking to me as if they knew me. And it can be longer, even, wi’out anyone saying my real name to me….In Edinburgh, ken, I’m Alexander Malcolm.”
She gave a weak smile, whispering, “Sawney.”
“Aye. And folk smile and bow and say, ‘Good Day, Mr. Malcolm.’….‘Shall we see ye on Saturday, Sawney?’….’When are ye thinking of taking a wife, Mr. Malcolm?’”
The empty glass shot from Jenny’s hands and spun ‘round on the carpet. Neither of them moved to pick it up, and Jamie found he couldn’t stop talking.
He swallowed. “Before the cave—prison—England——”
Lord, that he might be safe.
“—I didna truly ken how much it meant to me to be….known. Myself. And after everything that’s happened these twenty years, I now find most days as though—” He shook his head. “—as though I’ll just fall away and vanish into naught, from lack of it. I havena….” He dropped his eyes, too ashamed to look her in the eye as he spoke the darkest desolation of his heart, “I can hardly even name the broken pieces of me, any longer…..let alone hope to put them back together.”
Jenny blinked hard as though holding back tears. Lord, no, there were tears in her eyes, to his shame. He wasn’t saying these things for pity. It was simply the truth of his heart, and it was a true gift to be given the grace to say it aloud, rather than having it tear him apart in the quiet of his mind, day after day. And yet it pained him to grieve Jenny so, to give her any more reason to fear and fret for him.
He started to say so, but she suddenly blurted, “Maybe—” She was pale, and Jamie could swear she was trembling. “Maybe ‘tis time to—to come back to Balriggan.”
“No,” he said at once with half a laugh, standing and walking over to one of the bookcases.
“No, I said.”
“I ken things wi’ Laoghaire—”
“There’s no’ moving me on this,” he said, more sharply. He had no desire for her to dream up another scheme for rehabilitating his personal happiness. “I’ll continue to do right by them, of course, see them taken care of but…No. I’ll no’ try to find comfort, there, again.”
“Jamie, mo chridhe, please just listen—” She was right on the verge of weeping, from the sound at his back. “I ken she’s not—that she’s… what she is…but I dinna want—” There came the sound of Jenny throwing up her hands in desperation, “—Ye shouldna spend the rest of your days alone, Jamie, wi’—wi’ no JOY! The thought of—”
“There is no joy to be had at Balriggan, sister. Not that kind.”
He turned to her and gently grasped her shoulders. “You’ve known me all my life, Jen,” he said softly down into her face, contorted as it was with shockingly-vehement feeling. “I’ve been wrong about many things; been hasty and reckless and a fool, when my emotions got ahead of my better judgment, or before I kent proper facts—” He cupped her cheek, his voice hoarse. “—but trust me to ken my own heart, at least: to be alone, to be empty, is better than—than that; to lose what pieces of me still remain to—anger…bitterness….”
She stared up into his face, lips pursed, eyes red and glistening, voice trembling uncontrollably. “But can ye no’—?”
He released her and kissed her cheek, putting all his self into being strong and brave-faced once more, as was his duty. “Dinna fash yourself about me. I’m sorry I let myself carry on down such a maudlin road, this night.”
Jamie smiled, as warm and broad a smile as he could, as he walked past her back to the settee, meaning to sit. “But it means a great deal to me how much ye do trouble yourself for my sake, truly. I ken ye always mean the best for me, Jenny, and I’m—”
The sob burst out of Jenny like a cannon blast in the night and Jamie whirled, reaching for an absent dirk. “Jen, WH—”
Her face was a broken thing behind her hands. “I’m so—sss—soSORRY, brother.”
“Sorry?” Jamie felt as though he’d been hit by a charging horse. That wasn’t pity in her ‘sorry’: it was true apology. “Whatever for??”
“For the fool that I am,” she sobbed, the tears flowing over her fingers. “After all ye’ve been through—your own sister ought—OUGHT to—Christ, Jamie, I’m so—ashamed.”
“Jenny, dove, mo chridhe,” he whispered as he reached for her, “what on earth are are ye going on ab—?”
“Wait here—” she managed to choke, already staggering for the door. Her eyes were wild and she put out a staying hand as she went. “Dinna move, just—Just—wait!!”
Too stunned to do otherwise, Jamie stood unmoving on the study rug, mind racing, absolutely at a loss to guess what had come over her.
When at last she came back through the door, she was white as death, a paper, or envelope, perhaps, clasped against her breast.
“Jenny, you’re frightening me. Tell me at once what’s happened.”
“I’ve done—” Her chest seemed to cave in around the envelope, wracked with her sobs. “I’ve done a terrible wrong against ye, brother.”
“Nonsense,” he vowed, moving toward her to sort things out. “Whatever’s the—”
“Don’t,” she hissed, halting him with a frantic shake of the the head, her teeth gritted. “Just—stop.”
He raised both his hands to her in desperate plea.“I dinna understand, Jenny.”
She closed the distance between them with halting steps and forced the envelope into his hands, holding her own tight around them. He couldn’t take his eyes off her face, for it was an expression he’d never seen there—absolute anguish and absolute shame.
His eyes dropped to his hands. Aye, a thick envelope, the face bare and unmarked.
He turned it over and saw the single word there written:
J a m i e
He might have been screaming—he might have been crying—he might have fallen into a dark pit, with the earth closed in over him.
He was on the ground, his leg aching from where he’d fallen against something. The envelope stared up at him from the floor and he stared back.
those five letters
written in Claire’s hand
a thin interlace pattern pressed into the blood-red seal.
Jenny was sobbing. “She was here— Claire was here, Jamie—”
“Claire’s gone—” he was screaming or whimpering, “Claire—is—GONE—”
“She came back.”
“No, she came for ye—CAME here—
Nothing made sense
“—And I did such grievous wrong by ye in the things I said to her.”
There was no damned SENSE in the words that she—
C l a i r e
Jenny kneeling before him.
Jenny, grabbing his hand, hard. “She said it would give ye peace, what’s inside.”
Jenny, pressing the packet against his chest wi’ his own hand, holding it there, tight.
Jenny’s face, mere inches from his, breaking apart with weeping—all but mute from the violence of her pain. “I'm—so—sorry, Jamie.”
A kiss on his cheek, and then she was gone.
Watching like one paralyzed as the envelope fluttered once more to the ground onto its face.
J a m i e
…his real name.
He lunged, but he couldn’t even lift the envelope. His fingers felt like claws—lacking thumbs—lacking everything except brute force. He managed to rip off the seal and force open the pages, but he could only press it flat onto the floor with both his hands, hunched over it like a starving beast over its kill.
And though he’d feared it some nightmare, his soul burst like the lungs of a drowning man as he read—as he believed— the words beneath him: