“JESUS, lass!” Jamie hissed as he lunged to snatch Bree mid-stride and prevent what would have been a flying leap off the picnic table. He forced himself to exhale before setting her onto her feet and asking, “Why in the name of all that is holy and right do ye turn demon the instant we go out in public?”
The demon giggled.
“Brianna, hear me, it’s no’ a game, this.” He dropped to a crouch before her, trying to keep his already-worn temper in check. “I mean it. NO climbing up upon things, d’ye hear?”
“Okayyyy!” she trilled, beaming with joy, already turning on her heel.
“Wait just there, we’re not—”
But she was already out of reach, scampering off to join a pack of other children headed toward the play-slides.
“Stay within the yard!” he called after her. “Heaven BLOODY help me,” he groaned under his breath in Gaelic, getting back to his feet and his conversation. “I’m terribly sorry for that wee hooligan, Tom.”
“It’s alright, bud,” Tom Harper laughed, handing him back his bottle of terrible American beer. “Kids will be kids, no harm done.”
“Perhaps it’s some great test of parenting, to see how well I cope wi’out Claire to hand….or how poorly, as the case might be.”
It was the annual Fernacre employee summer picnic, or as Bree saw it, a battlefield ripe for the carnage her impish soul apparently craved. Scarce an hour the two of them had been there, and she’d already knocked over a pitcher of Lemonade, bitten another child who had bumped into her, squirted tomato sauce all down her front, and managed to get a lollipop stuck in her hair. This was to say nothing of the tantrum on the car ride about not being able to see the clouds (it being a hot, blue day and there being no clouds), and several outbursts of language he was more than grateful Claire had not been present to overhear. Nine days out of ten, Bree’s heartbreaking sweetness outweighed the net destruction (though there was plenty of the latter in any given day, and no mistake); but there would be a full moon brewing in the sky this evening, certainly, for Brianna Fraser had come out IN FORCE.
“Really, though, she’ll grow out of it,” Tom said with a veteran’s confidence. “Our Rob was just the same at that age. It’s your first kiddo’s job to put you through the wringer. It’s in their contract and everything!” His wink went suddenly sideways as both brows furrowed over his Sunglasses. “Speaking of which, Claire’s okay, I hope?”
“Oh, aye, she’s well enough,” Jamie assured him, taking what restorative strength he could from the watery excuse for a draught. “The babe kept her up all through the night, and she didna think she could manage being out the heat, besides.”
“Don’t blame her one bit.” He wiped sweat from his forehead before adding significantly, “Not long, now, huh?”
“No,” he grinned back, “not long at all.”
Earlier that morning
“Will you absolutely hate me if I stay in bed today?”
“Of course not, mo nighean donn,” He tucked the covers more securely around her and then stood, looking around to see what he might bring her.
“Would it be pressing my good luck to beg you to take the monster with you?”
He kissed her, then Ian. “…Which one?”
“Oh, I’d happily give you BOTH, if I could!” She rubbed her now-still belly ruefully and winced a bit. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, little one, you have got to give Mummy a BREAK when she’s trying to sleep. We can’t keep having these midnight drill parades!”
A whinnying horse galloped into the room and catapulted herself onto the bed next to Claire. “Mum-ma, you comin’?”
“No, lovey,” Claire said, pulling Bree close into a great, warm hug. “Mummy’s going to stay here and take a nap.”
“Nappin’ isna FUN!”
“Oh, it’s LOADS of fun for me! But you and Daddy will go and have a lovely time at the picnic, just the two of you.”
Bree grumbled for a minute, then brightened. “Can’see iffee’s ‘wake? If Beeyin’s ‘wake?”
Claire smiled that warm, sweet smile he loved so well. She pulled up the hem of her nightshirt from under the blankets, patiently letting Bree inspect the whole expanse of her with exuberant pats.
After a few moments, Bree glowered up and whispered in a confidential yell, “I dinna heer’im.”
“I don’t feel him ei—Oh! There he is!”
Bree shrieked in delight, dissolving into insane giggles as she poked the heaving mass back to and fro. At such a degree of intensity, it was rather like the game Jamie had seen the Fair where you clubbed the stuffed groundhog with a mallet only to have another pop up on the other side. ‘Clubbed’ indeed, for Claire was obliged to grab Bree’s hands and croon, “Gently, Bree, baby, *gently*…”
After a long, peaceful while, Claire happened to glance up and catch his expression. She was a canny one, his wife, and she gave him a gimlet eye at once. “And just what are you smirking at like a cat in the cream?”
In truth, he WAS grinning, so widely he must have looked positively deranged. “You. are. SO. BIG.”
“You ARSE,” she laughed, managing to land him a kick in the belly even through the blankets.
“Ye ARE! I mean, LOOK!” He came to sit on the edge of the bed and joined Bree in outlining just how massive she was. “Big as a—a—”
“A HOUSE!” Bree finished helpfully, “or A ‘POTTAMUS!”
“I do hope wee Ian comes out a fair shade more polite and complimentary than YOU lot,” Claire said, splitting a glare between the pair of them.
“And just think, you’ve *two weeks more,* forbye.”
“One and a half, thank you very much,” she corrected primly.
“But let’s just stop and consider.” He raised a significant brow. “Should wee Ian see fit to bide his time…”
“Don’t EVEN suggest it.”
“….It could be THREE weeks more…” He was having trouble speaking normally through the bubbling laughter. “….or even FOUR, until—”
“You wish four more weeks upon me, Jamie Fraser, and I will make you wish otherwise.”
Bree turned her coat in a flash. “Don’ wisp that at Mum-ma, Da.”
“Oh, verra well, if ye say so,” he said, mock-abashed, with a wink at his wife. Glancing at his watch, he groaned and straightened with a yawn. Claire’s tossing and turning in the night from Ian’s acrobatics hadn’t done him any favors, either. “Alright, a leannan, let’s see to your clothes and get along to the picnic.”
“You really do delight in seeing me as huge as a beached whale, don’t you?” Claire asked sardonically as Bree scurried from the room, cheering.
“Aye, I do,” he admitted freely, wrapping both his arms around her and nuzzling his nose against hers. “Truly one of the happiest sights I’ve ever seen.”
In the cave, he had many a time wondered—longingly—what Claire might look like at the time of her full term; and what he had imagined paled in comparison. She was full and lush in every single inch of her. Hair thick and glossy. Skin softly glowing like sunlight on a flower petal. Whisky eyes seeming to sparkle with the same light, heavy with a soft, sleepy happiness. Claire was absolutely exquisite in this height of her bearing, and he would happily spend all his days glorying in the memory of her, this way.
“I never imagined…” He bent and laid a kiss on her straining navel, reflecting that spending a fair number of those days in good fun and laughter would *also* be greatly rewarding. “…that anyone could get even bigger wi’ child than JENNY.”
“Bree!” Claire shouted, swatting him with a pillow as he lunged up to kiss her cheeks and neck ferociously, “tell your Da to take his imagination and shove it up his—”
A crash sounded from the other room, followed by a ‘whoops-eeee’, which, in retrospect, had not boded well for the rest of the day
His head whipped around so fast he heard his neck crack.
She was on the top rung of the fence separating the yard from the adjacent pasture, and he felt his heart stop as she fell from it headfirst.
The next moments as he sprinted toward her seemed to pass as slowly as in a dream. He could hear shouts and cries behind him, but he didn’t stop for an instant until he was vaulting over the fence and snatching her up off her back. He didn’t remember what words he may have uttered, or in what language, but a few moments later, he was exhaling in great gasps of relief seeing that she was conscious and not injured, just badly scared with the breath knocked out of her.
Dazed, she began to cry with great long wails that drove away the two mares that had come to investigate the visitor to their pasture. Thank the Lord she hadn’t chosen the next paddock over, where the true brawlers were kept.
“You’re alright?” he demanded once more as he got back to the right side of the fence, vaguely aware he was speaking in Gaelic. “You’re not hurt?”
She coughed and gasped for breath, considered, then showed him, lips trembling, a slightly-red patch on the fleshy part of her palm.
He laid a fervent kiss in her hand—silently praising heaven she hadn’t broken the wrist, for all that she was still crying like a banshee—and then could contain himself no longer.
“What did I say about climbing?” His teeth were gritted tight and his hands were shaking even as they strove to remain gentle. “AND about wandering off??”
“I din’knowww,” she wailed, hearing his tone and trying to hide her face in his chest.
“Ye DO know.” He pulled her up and made her look at him. “Brianna Ellen, ye mustlisten to what I say! Don’t ye understand ye could have gotten very badly hurt? Lass, look at me.”
She was sobbing, now, working herself up into hysterics. “C—can—na—”
He went completely still at that. Closing his eyes, he took a deep, deep breath.
Help me, Da.
With gestures and apologetic looks, he shooed the well-meaning onlookers back to their picnic and made for the big oak tree in the opposite corner of the yard. It was well-shaded, and he sat down against the trunk, holding his daughter to his chest as she sobbed against his shoulder.
Thank God she wasn’t hurt. Thank GOD.
“Bree, cub?” The walk had calmed him, and he was glad to hear his voice was gentle and soft. “Look at me, aye?”
After a moment, she glanced timidly up (face red as an apple and covered in liquids of all description) and he smiled at her, stroking her cheek and her hair. “I’m here, a leannan. It’s just me…just Da… I love you.”
“Love—” she hiccuped through her tears, “—too.”
He kissed her and held her close for a minute before setting her on his legs facing him and saying gravely, “But ye made me verra afraid today, a chuisle. Ye disobeyed and could have hurt yourself.”
“I did’nint mean to,” she said, rubbing her eyes.
“Aye, I ken ye didna mean to get hurt,” he said, gently pulling her fists away from her face, “but ye meant to be climbing the fence, even after I told ye not.”
“…It was fun, though,” she offered with a shrug, voice tremulously defiant.
Come on, Da…. How would ye have explained this to me?
A shrill whinny sounded in the distance, then another, and Jamie glanced around to see the two sorrel foals playing together in the south pasture, teasing and prancing about one another.
He smiled and felt peace whispering through the grasses. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away.
“Ye ken, when wee Ian is born, Bree, he’s going to grow up fast. Before long, he’ll be as big as you and running about on his own! And you’ll want your wee brother to be safe, aye?”
She straightened at that, no longer crying. Bairn safety was no small matter, in her book. She nodded.
“Say there were something like a great, nasty snake crawling about in the grass about to bite your brother on the foot…..Would ye just stand by and let him be hurt?”
Brianna looked up at him in absolute affront. “NO, I’d kill dat snake!”
He very nearly choked, but managed to keep a moderately straight face. Call upon a Fraser, and a Fraser ye shall get, he supposed; but he cleared his throat and plunged on, determined to make his point. “But what if wee Ian didna understand the beast was dangerous? What if he went running to the snake because he thought it would be fun to play wi’ it?”
“Well…I jus’tell him not.”
“Aye, just so,” he said, “because we have to protect the people we love, d’ye see?”
“Uh-huh.” She was staring up at him, rapt but not quite understanding.
“So when I tell ye not to do things like climb the fence, mo chridhe, it’s only to keep ye safe, to keep ye getting hurt because I love you so. And when the bairn comes, it’ll be your job to keep him safe, too.”
She nodded emphatically. “I’ll do him safe, Da, promise.”
“But that means ye have to keep yourself safe, as well. Elder sisters have to be the best at obeying Mam and Da so the smaller bairns ken what’s the right way of things. Can ye do that?”
“Aye,” she said at once. “I’ll ‘bey.”
For precisely sixty seconds out of every hour, he predicted.
“Hear me, though, Bree: the next time ye disobey like ye did today, I shall have to strap ye. I dinna want to do it, not one bit, but it’s how you’ll learn. Are we understood?
“Getting smacked hard on the bottom wi’ a belt.”
“Hard?” she clarified, shocked.
“Aye, hard enough that it hurts.”
“But ye said—” She scrunched up her face and gestured with both hands. “NOT do things to KEEP me of getting hurted….”
A Dhia, Da, he laughed silently, how by all the saints did ye raise three—
His head snapped up and he saw Marian rushing down from the house, beckoning wildly, with a look of—
“Da—ddy—” Bree gasped out from where she bounced against his shoulder. “Why we runnin’?”
His heart was pounding.
“Because your brother has decided he’s going to arrive early.”
Summary: Cursed as a child, you have lived your entire life invisible and alone. When deaths start happening in your town, the Winchesters come rolling in to investigate. What will happen when Dean is the first one who has been able to see you since you were a kid? Will Sam believe that you’re real? Will Dean believe you when you tell him you haven’t killed anyone? And why, after all of this time, is Dean Winchester the only one who can see you?
*** Do not delete the text or self-promote on this post or you will not be considered ***
Hey there! So Mel, JC, and I all enjoy finding new posts to put up on Tumblr so we can all have more posts to reblog, and we also love helping others out with getting their uploads out there so they can get more notes! Therefore, we have decided to throw a big uploads party so we can all help each other put with notes and get some new posts circulating throughout Tumblr!
Sojiro: but why do you guys want to talk to me? I’m not really part of this…
[While Coffee Dad might be confused as to why he was voted for because you’re awesome Coffee Dad he will make his appearance on July 23rd at 5pm EST! Questions will be accepted for an hour or two, and as many as possible will be answered during that time. (Some may end up on queue though, depending on how many questions are received. I was overwhelmed with Akechi wow) I hope you all look forward to it!]
Hey there everyone! I just wanted to say welcome to all of our new followers!
For those of you who don’t know, this blog is dedicated to content creators. We mainly focus on visual art, [animation, drawings, etc] but we also try to help promote and share stuff for 3D art, crafts, sewing, music, writing, and more! So if you, your friend, or just a creative person you really like posts any sort of self-made content, please reblog or like this post so we can check out your blog and help you get some notes!
Musing about being a POC and queer individual in the TMNT fandom:
I think the hardest part of being in the TMNT fandom for me is the fact that I am not white, am not straight, am not cis, or even neurotypical, and… I identify fairly hard with the turtles because of those things.
But then… they’re drawn or written as all of those things probably 90% of the time when people are humanizing them, and its just. so hard. to let that go, even though those people have no idea they’re affecting some random person across the internet. Compared to the hundreds of others who don’t feel this way, my personal opinion doesn’t really matter.
I don’t hold it against anyone for their headcanons, and I have never a day in my life sent hate to a person for having those headcanons, since I know those depend almost entirely on the personal life and experiences of those individuals.
They still bother me though, since I feel like it erases a large part of what the turtles’ identities are, which is being a minority among minorities.
They’re the only four of their kind, and pretty much utterly isolated from the rest of the world. They’ve never fit in, and never will, because they are inherently different from the rest of society. They are, in a phrase, freaks of nature.
My circumstances aren’t as extreme, not even close, but I know that feeling on a personal level regardless. Having them portrayed as the socially acceptable norm, it erases a large part of what makes them so interesting; which would be their sheer alien-ness from the rest of us. By making them ordinary cis white straight etc etc in humanized headcanons, I feel it takes away from their original characterization as a minority.
And it just really bothers me, as a single individual in the fandom, to have characters I identify with so strongly become pretty much the complete opposite of who and what I am, and thusly become no longer relatable. It’s just a difficult thing to deal with sometimes, especially since I have no power to change it other than ignoring the content I don’t like.
I hope no one takes this as an insult to their personal headcanons about the series; its just the words from someone who’s never fit correctly to any box, and found a strong connection to four characters who I felt were similar to me in that sense.
So I've got this personal theory based on the Ragnarok trailer that the reason Bruce seems in such a good place is that being Hulk for so long has regressed him mentally/emotionally. What's your take on it, and do you think it'll carry into Infinity War (since Mark says Ragnarok starts an arc that goes through the next to Avengers films, and Scarlett mentions "something that should be solid but isn't" about Bruce)?
This is so interesting! I can see where that comes from — there’s a certain innocent vibe, a childlike wonder to Bruce’s character in the trailer. In the clips we’ve seen, he isn’t the wry cynic that we’re used to. It could be that he’s so far out of this element that “stunned awe” is all he’s got left. It could be that finding some peace with Hulk has made him drop some of his emotional armor.
Or, as you suggest, it could mean that something of the old Bruce has been lost in translation.
Fascinating concept! Full disclosure: I’m a fan of the wry cynic, so I’m hoping your theory isn’t true so we can get some notes of that in Ragnarok. But it’s not a bad theory at all and plausible! So let’s imagine that’s the case.
When you say “regressed” — what does emotional regression look like for Bruce Banner?
My theory has always been that the core of the Hulk is Bruce, the abused child with layers of teenage petulant brilliance built in. We know that Hulk has progressed in the past 2-2.5 years. He’s articulate, he thinks highly of himself, and he’s a gladiator who may or may not be having a good time. Maybe it’s a case of the id run rampant or a little boy who gets to live out his fantasies as the biggest and the toughest.
Regressed Bruce Banner, that’s a trickier thing to imagine. He had a nice character progression from TIH to Avengers to Ultron, but if you regressed that he’d just be more closed off, more afraid of himself. That’s clearly not what we’re seeing. If you’re suggesting he’s regressed to a younger version of himself, like I said, I can see the childlike wonder. But it’s hard to imagine Bruce having a happy-go-lucky or even well-adjusted childhood to regress back to.
So, I don’t know. Feel free to send another ask to explain what you meant about regression!
But let’s take your point about what any kind of significant character shift could mean for Bruce and Natasha going forward. On the one hand, my gut says treat any Bruce Banner who doesn’t hate himself as a much stronger romantic candidate. On the other hand, if he’s so different that he doesn’t have that wry cynicism anymore — is he still the same man Natasha adores?
This is the part of your theory I find most fascinating, @certaindreamchopshop . How will Natasha react to a Bruce Banner who isn’t her Bruce Banner? We may not have gotten to see it on screen, but they clearly got to a place where they knew each other incredibly well. Otherwise, the lullaby would never have worked or even been attempted.
Here’s the angst version of this scenario: Bruce returns. He does seem well-adjusted. He expresses joy, he has a looser bearing. And Natasha, she’s so happy for him. She is. But that connection they had as broken people who suffered childhood trauma, as scarily accomplished loners, as ex-”monsters” seeking redemption — the foundation of their understanding for each other, their need to help each other become the best versions of themselves — it’s just…not something Bruce can express anymore. And Natasha — who, let’s not forget, has lost her Avengers family and is maybe struggling to hold onto her own identity — is left feeling lonelier than ever.
………Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to jump off the nearest cliff. Jesus.
Can we get some thug notes on the grail war Marie homie San?
Sure, my fellow OG!
All Servants suck except me! If you don’t summon me in the gatcha, you will be banned for life. Sorry, homedog! P.S. If you summon that bastard Samson, I will personally destroy your phone/emulator permanently. Then I’ll blast a cap in ur ass!
Once I heard from Zelretch’s cousin’s aunt’s best friend’s roomate whose cousin works at Chaldea that there is going to be a singularity to the French Revolution. Let’s just say, I’ve been planning something big….
picked you up, and led you back to class. He glared at whoever dared steal a
glance at you, his stocky body blocking you from the view. He decided to sit
with you, and hold your hand under the desk. Luckily for you, Taehyung never
went back to class.
teacher walked in, and greeted the class, giving your and Jimin’s intertwined
hands a stern look, but noticing the boy’s fury blazing in his eyes, she dared
not say a word. You could feel Jimin’s palm begin to sweat at one point, your
smaller hand transferring all your warmth onto his skin, but you refused to let
go. You needed it. You needed his support. You needed someone to understand.
couldn’t focus in class, you couldn’t read, you couldn’t even look up without
letting everyone see the struggle you were facing, holding your tears back. Jimin
saw that, and it pained him to see you suffer and not be able to do anything
about it. A part of him briefly wondered if the pain he was feeling now was due
to jealousy, due to some disguised romantic affection towards you, but he knew,
deep down, that there was no such thing for him at the moment. He did love you,
he had grown to love you that just one night, but not as a girlfriend, not as a
woman, but as a friend, as a sister, as someone who had been through pain like
he had, and as someone he wanted to protect.
Taehyung had been more patient, he hoped Taehyung had been less of an asshole,
and more tactful, and perhaps he could be the one holding your hand right now,
the one making you happy, but he had to go and fuck it all up.
understood him, he resented him, but he understood him, he hadn’t had it easy himself
either, but it was no excuse to hurt you like that.
get out of here.” Jimin whispered as soon as the teacher left the room.
have 3 hours to go.” You whispered back, doodling on an empty page. Jimin’s
hand found yours and stole the pen away.
care. You’re not focusing. We can get the notes off someone else. You need to
get some fresh air. Let’s just go.” He told you sternly, before licking his
teeth as his lips spread into his glorious flirty smile. You grinned at him,
knowing you trusted him with your life by now.
your stuff and shoved it into your backpack, before dragging you down the
corridors. No one said a word. They just watched you both leave, and you knew,
they probably were thinking a million dirty options, you knew they most likely
thought you were off to have sex with Jimin, somewhere dodgy, but you also knew
the truth, so you honestly didn’t give a shit about other people’s cheap
to run, as he pulled onto your hand, dragging you far away from that school,
and although part of you desperately wanted to find Taehyung and explain
yourself to him, you also just wanted to let go, for once, you wanted to do something
crazy, something fun, for yourself.
laughed, as he ran faster and faster, your shorter legs were barely able to
keep up with his, and although your lungs burned, desperately in need of air,
you felt a bubble of happiness begin to expand in your chest, almost painfully.
You felt the wind in your hair, and your blood pulsating in your ears, as your
laughter came out rough and messy, but you didn’t care.
fun! You run quite fast!” Jimin laughed, as he bent over to place his palms on
his knees as he gasped for air.
you were pulling me! Now my hair is a mess!” You whined, as you tried to fix it
desperately, without a mirror.
“I think it
looks perfect like that. You look much better. Your cheeks are flushed and your
eyes sparkle, and your smile is so big it reflects the sunlight. You should
always look like this.” He told you, pointing at you with his index finger like
a parent scolding his child.
Jimin so perfect? And why were you so desperately in love with Taehyung?
looked at his phone, and frowned, before typing something quickly, and sliding
the electronic device back into his pocket.
like they need me at the flat. Do you mind coming over? We can chill in my
room, it won’t be long.” He told you, a little too tensely. You were a little
confused, and suspicious, but you went along with it, because you were certain
Jimin would never hurt you. You nodded, and followed him in a walk back to his
flat. You had to admit you were curious about how it looked.
might be a bit messy, bear in mind there is 6 of us living there, and the only
ones that do any housework are Jin and Hoseok, and Hoseok mainly helps whenever
his girlfriend is coming over. So don’t be scared.” Jimin warned you, almost
reading your thoughts, as he opened the front door to his flat with a small,
silver key. You could see the panic in his eyes, like a puppy, hoping you did
not judge him harshly upon this, begging you not to.
You took a
look inside as you took your shoes off, and stepped in. It sure did look a bit
messy, you could see plates and glasses had been left on the table, still
dirty, and you could see the sofa was a bit worn down, and the walls were quite
bare, but there was a clutter in the living room floor. You smiled, as your
eyes travelled through the entire room, and then posed themselves back onto
asked you, taking his own shoes off, and placing them next to yours. His voice
was soft, trying not to show how nervous he suddenly felt.
lived in. It’s quite charming.” You told him with a smile. He raised an eyebrow
at your vague response, and laughed.
it’s a mess. It’s a dump compared to your place.” He replied with a chuckle.
only me back home. This place has life to it, it’s warm, it might be old and
messy, but it genuinely looks cosy. You can breathe the life from the walls.
This feels like a home, you know?” You smiled at him, as your fingers softly
danced along the arm of the sofa. Jimin smiled, he felt so happy to have met
someone like you, someone who he felt he could connect with. And the fact that
you had just called his flat home, made him happy. Which is why everything had
to work out.
“So Y/N, I
need to go look for Jin, but you can go to my room and wait there, I promise it
won’t be long. It’s the third door on the right.” He pointed you towards a
narrow corridor behind a door that joined the living room and where you assumed
the bedrooms were.
and took off, walking towards his room. The third door on the right. You opened
the door gingerly, and walked in, almost too ashamed to look inside his room,
feeling like you were invading his privacy. You sat down on the bed, and placed
your hands on your knees looking down.
three… Five minutes passed, and Jimin still hadn’t arrived. You were
considering getting up to find him, but you rejected the idea, he was probably
still busy with Jin.
fuck are you doing in my room?” You heard a low, raspy voice ask from the
Pairing: Reader x Bucky Barnes Warnings: Swearing Summary: Bucky Barnes had just escaped his captors, Hydra. He didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Somehow, he manages to stumble into a girl’s apartment who he’s met before. The twist is- she’s not your average girl. A/N: This is really short chapter but it’s a lead up to the next chapter *dun dun dunnn* I hope you enjoy regardless! Word Count: 1.6K
Benedict Cumberbatch is chasing the sun. Fresh off an island vacation with fiancée Sophie Hunter and just out of a steam at the Parker Palm Spring’s sauna, Cumberbatch is moving his patio chair clockwise around a firepit on a chilly January afternoon. “There’s no shame today,” says Cumberbatch, clad in gray sweatpants and a vintage Pink Floyd T-shirt. “I’m going back to England, where it’s like the Arctic Circle. I need to store up the sun now, otherwise I’ll get rickets by the time I step off the plane.”
Cumberbatch has landed in Palm Springs along with the rest of the cast of “The Imitation Game” to accept an ensemble award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The movie, a look at the life of Alan Turing, the Cambridge genius who led the team that cracked the Enigma code that Nazi Germany used to encrypt its radio transmissions during World War II, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and recently won eight Oscar nominations, including nods for best picture and for Cumberbatch’s lead turn.
We moved right alongwith the 38-year-old actor as he shifted his chair to account for the dying light and spoke about his eventful journey between Toronto and Palm Springs.
You look a lot more relaxed than when I saw you last in Toronto.
It was a really steep incline toward Christmas, just crazy, finishing “Richard III” [which will be featured in the BBC’s “The Hollow Crown” series], getting ready for the holidays, moving around seeing different families. That was a big induction this Christmas. A whole new world opens up. And then we were able to just breathe, be in the present tense, be in one place, just relaxing and … [Cumberbatch leans forward and drops his voice to an excited whisper]. That’s Robert Duvall! Wow! [Duvall, also in Palm Springs for the festival, walks by on a path about 20 yards away.]
I’ve never met an actor who doesn’t idolize him. Have you ever met him?
He’s one of the masters. I haven’t met him. I’d love to.
Maybe tonight at the gala?
As a fanboy, yeah, to just touch the hem of the garment. But at the same time, to get a meaningful moment, you need to be away from the circus. That’s why I’ve enjoyed the acting roundtables I’ve done in this roar. You get to have a free-flowing conversation about acting stuff.
Have you learned anything from those conversations?
Well, you have that moment where you meet your heroes and, initially, they’re just something “other.” And then the common ground of what we do for a living erases that. The best thing about the job is that it breaks down class and age and sex and race and transcends those things. You’re never one person. You’re always part of a team.
That’s why I love this award we’re getting tonight. It’s a great excuse for us to get together and have a giggle. [Looking around the expansive grounds.]Put us in a place with a cricket pitch over there and a fire pit right here. Later tonight, we can get a bit feral. Maybe burn some notes like we did at the end of “The Imitation Game.”
Invite Robert Duvall to join you …
Absolutely. He will be right here, presiding over the proceedings, calmly steering things.
Just going by the way you photobombed U2 with that impressive leap at last year’s Oscars, you seem to enjoy these events.
The Oscars were really good fun. And, yes, I leapt and bound all over the place.
Which you blame on Ellen DeGeneres, right?
That seems to be a running thing with you when you do something silly …
I’m drunk. That’s not actually true. I wish I could blame the evils of alcohol and say, “Kids: Don’t go there.” But that … happens when I’m sober. It would have happened. And I say “drunk,” but I had a little slurp of a tiny miniature. It was just the high of the whole thing. A friend of mine did literally say, “Get a photo of U2 if you can.” Not with them. Just of them. And I thought, “I don’t have my camera phone and I’m not going to ask for a selfie with U2.”
You showed some impressive height on that leap.
White boy can jump.
U2 attended this event last year. Everyone ignored the movie stars and went straight for Bono.
Does rock star trump movie star? Well, unless they’re selling tickets for Hamlet faster than a Beyonce and Jay Z tour. [Cumberbatch’s upcoming, summer 12-week “Hamlet” run in London sold out instantly.] But, by and large, yes.
But I’m still thinking about what I learned in those roundtable conversations. The fundamental thing I learned was how many actors said there’s not a singular way of approaching the job, which is a relief to me. The first person who told me that was Meryl Streep. We were making “August: Osage County” and I said, “I hate to do this but it’s an opportunity to talk about your process. How do you start? You’ve got the depression, the alcoholism, the cancer, the grief, so many states. It’s so richly comic and deeply upsetting at the same time.” And she went [Cumberbatch does a dead-on Streep impersonation], “I don’t really have a singular approach. I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I’ve done if I had one way of working. Sometimes it’s outside in, sometimes it’s inside out.” And I thought, “Oh god. I adore her!”
What about practical advice for negotiating Hollywood? What’s the best you’ve heard?
“Always take Fountain.” Wasn’t it Bette Davis who said that? That’s come in handy many times. Because the traffic on Sunset … forget it.
I’ve been chugging away in my career 10 years. That helps you prepare for the exposure. And there are things now which make it easier to escape the obsession with self. If you have someone you love and you’re devoted to them and it’s a proper devotional love — as I do in my life — there’s nothing better than that tonic. First of all, you have your world between you and that person. But also, being devoted to that person takes you away from yourself. There’s someone more important. Not that that’s a reason to be in a relationship, but it’s a very healthy byproduct of it when you’re doing such an obsessional job as acting can be.
Paul Thomas Anderson recently said that having kids helps too. With them, you realize you’ve already done your best work, so it frees you to be a little looser with your day job.
I salute that principle 100 … no not more than 100%. I’m not Simon Cowell. [Cumberbatch breaks into a Cowell impersonation] “One hundred and fifty percent!” There’s no such thing. I get very nerdy every time he does that on “The X Factor.” He’s brilliant and I completely endorse every thing he does … except for the math part.
You once said your greatest regret was not being a dad by the age of 32. Why 32?
When I was growing up, I had a weird obsession with 32 being the mark of adulthood and that was part of what I thought that might mean, naively. It was just a hunch about a number. I was always a bit of an old soul. I wasn’t really interested in being young. I mean, I wasn’t eccentric.
But I’m glad it didn’t happen. Things happen for a reason. And I’m definitely with the right person for that. So no regrets … [Actor David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” approaches.] David! How are you? The back of your head is everywhere. As I was driving in last night, I kept seeing it all over the place.
Oyelowo: I’ve got one of the most famous backs of heads in history. But you … Richard III, Hamlet, Sherlock … are there three of you? You’re setting the bar too high. It’s hard keeping up with you.
Cumberbatch: What I fear, if the work gets diluted, people will go, “Well, he just took on too much.” But, to be honest, I just can’t turn down those opportunities.
Oyelowo: Somehow, I don’t think people are going to be saying, “He spread himself too thin.” [The two talk a bit more before Oyelowo takes his leave. I tell Cumberbatch, who hasn’t yet seen “Selma,” that some have said the movie isn’t fair to President Lyndon Johnson. “The Imitation Game” has also caught flak, with a few critics saying the movie should have shown Turing’s sexuality on screen.]
How do you balance legacy and storytelling in fact-based movies like yours and “Selma”?
You can’t do one without the other. The argument with ours, that you don’t see him being sexually active, upset me because we weren’t shy of it. I’m not interested in the vanity of a character or my own vanity as an actor. The idea that for a second I would want to do that or the film would do that is perverse.
The whole structure of the film is about showing a man who had a life that wasn’t allowed. So, what, you need to prove that he was gay by seeing him be with a man? Whether it was something we needed to see because it was very much a part of his life is another argument, but I would argue that in our paradigm, it just would have looked really stuck in for good measure; it would have looked distasteful.
There could be another movie made about that aspect of his life.
There are so many movies to be made of this story. We have only two hours. It packs quite a punch, our film. At one moment, it’s war-espionage thriller, the next moment a tragic story of a man wronged by an intolerant society, the next moment a celebration of someone who’s different.
Everyone has a version of the story they want to see and I completely respect that. And, obviously, they are going to have to respect me being defensive about it because I’m in the thick of it, trying to be fair and uncompromising in my portrayal of this great man.