Fenris’ head is bowed when Hawke enters his room, so he does not see her expression when she first lays eyes on him, but he feels the warmth of her smile, bright as a candle in a dark room.
“Am I interrupting?” she asks, setting her pack down beside her feet. “I can come back another –”
“No,” he says, too quickly. Three weeks have passed since they were able to meet like this, and Fenris has felt every day of her absence. He has not yearned, but his thoughts have lingered on Hawke and her smiles far too often for his liking. To appear eager for her presence –
Why lie? You are eager, and no doubt she already knows it, he thinks, distracted from his work long enough to jab himself in the finger with his needle. The pain passes quickly, but he sucks in a quick breath nonetheless. It is so fierce, that pain, for something so small.
An apt metaphor.
“Oh, I hate it when that happens,” Hawke says. Sure of her welcome, she drops to her knees beside him, and the next breath Fenris takes is all Hawke: lemon and sugar, herbs, and the not-unpleasant smell of her sweat. When he looks up, there is dust smudged on her cheeks and chin, and grimed into the lines of her hands. She follows his gaze, and smiles.
“I haven’t even stopped back at home,” she says, tucking loose strands of hair behind her ears. She draws a square of linen from a pocket, wets it in his washing-basin, and sets to cleaning her hands. “Well, I walked past, and heard Gamlen giving out to Carver about something, so I just kept on walking. Hope you don’t mind me invading.”
Fenris shakes his head. Blood wells out of the tiny puncture left by the needle, dark as garnets in firelight. “You know you’re welcome here, Hawke,” he says, staring hard at the rip in his shirt. “I apologize for being preoccupied.”
“Oh, please don’t.” Hands clean, she stretches out her legs, sighing, and cracks her neck. “I’ve no right to complain, not when you’re kind enough to let me hide out here.”
“No familial urge to defend your brother?” he asks, unable to keep his mouth from turning up at the corners. It is so easy to be happy around Hawke; she carries her good nature with her everywhere she goes.
Hawke snorts. “You’ve heard me argue with Carver, he’ll be fine on his own. I’ll stop off at Old Harlan’s on my way home, get him some of that atrocious caramel he loves so much to make up for it.”
“A wise plan.” Fenris narrows his eyes at the rip. He mends well enough, but that does not mean he likes the chore. If he had the coin to spare, he would have bought a new shirt by now, or at least one newer than the one spread over his lap.
Don’t lie. You could afford one, you just can’t bear to part with the coin. He blows out a breath through his teeth as the thread slips out of the needle’s eye. You don’t know when you’ll need it.
“Fenris?” says Hawke, her voice light. “I don’t mean to presume, but I’m a fair hand at mending. I could give it a try.”
The thread nearly goes through the eye, then splits and frays at the last moment. With a hiss, Fenris dumps the pile into her lap, then hands her the needle. “Have at it. I’m tired of squinting at it.”
She bursts out laughing, searching through the cloth for the free thread. “I can only imagine. Give me a moment.” She folds and pinches the thread between her thumb and forefinger, then slips the loop through the eye without any trouble. Then, she looks up, smiling brilliantly, and winks.
Fenris glares back.
“Oh, fine, have it your way.” She bends her head over his shirt, the needle flashing in the firelight as she works a line of stitches so fine he cannot see them.
Against his will, Fenris is impressed. “I never thought –” he begins, before he thinks better of it.
“That I could handle a needle and thread?” Hawke gives him a cool look, her fingers never pausing. “Well, see if I ever mend your laundry again.”
“I didn’t mean –”
“Oh, don’t worry, Fenris. I’m only teasing.” She knots the thread, bites it off, and hands his shirt back. “Mother always said we should know a few domestic skills,” she adds, leaning back on her hands. “Bethany turned out to be quite the cook, and since Carver was occupied with, you know, lifting cattle single-handedly, the mending was left to me. You should see my sock darns. True masterpieces.”
Fenris turns the shirt over, runs the tip of his finger over the seam. He can barely feel it or see it, though the mend rests along the collar. “This is well done,” he says. “Thank you.”
Hawke leans into him, briefly. “Anytime. My skills are at your service.”
The touch – the bare skin of her shoulder meeting his own – sends a hot prickle through his markings. It passes, almost as quickly as the pain from the needle, but when she leans away, he finds he almost misses it.
“So,” he says, to cover for the warmth in his cheeks, “tell me of your latest adventure. To the Coast, was it?”
Hawke nods as she hooks her foot through the strap of her pack and drags it over. “It was,” she says, “and you’ll never believe what we found there.”
The moment passes, and Fenris soon forgets it – but he remembers the next morning when he dresses, and cannot help thinking of Hawke’s hands, Hawke’s fingers.
The days are all the same. If the sun rises and sets, Alannah isn’t aware of it. Minutes pass by, or hours; she doesn’t know. There are no windows in this prison that was once a haven. The furnishings are luxurious, the comforts abundant. But for all that, her room has become her hell.
Dying candles splutter in the dark room, throwing dancing shadows across the wall. Nearby, a fire breathes its last ember’d breaths in a large stone fireplace, granting enough light to see the shattered glass fragments littered across the floor. Fine china, priceless vases. Nothing had escaped her desperation-laced fury at waking up to find herself trapped.
By the people she trusted most.
Dull, redrimmed eyes stare unblinking at the wall. Alannah’s not sure how long she’s lain here on her bed, refusing to move or answer any inquiries as to her condition. With her frenzied energy expended and no closer to escaping this room, she’s since slipped into a listless stupor of escalating anxiety.
It’s been nearly two weeks since she left Nine, promising her return. Two weeks of no word and no way to send her own. Fourteen turns of the sun in which she’s screamed, thrown things, thrown herself, and now she has bruises on her shoulders to match the ones on her neck. Her door, however, shows no signs of her assault.
They had pleaded for her to understand; they’re only concerned for her safety and her potential child. But Alannah remembers how Kyra met her eyes as she offered the tea secretly laced with herbs to induce sleep, remembers how Adelpha had wrapped a supportive arm around her shoulders as she’d glanced at her co-conspirator. And right now Alannah has no forgiveness in her.
Trays of food, left daily, sit untouched on the floor next to the door. She should eat, she knows, especially if she is pregnant. But her friends’ trickery and her worry over Nine and what he must be thinking leave her ill and cold, all appetite fled.
So the days pass by in the dark, with a single visit from Cae the only break in the relentless loneliness that plagues her. The miqo'te, though unhappy with the entire situation, hadn’t been able to stay long, however. Her own pressing concerns keep her occupied elsewhere, though before she had left she had attempted to give Alannah a definitive answer to the question of her pregnancy.
To their dismay, the hyur’s unstable aetheric signature had obscured any flicker of life they may have discovered, leaving them no closer to an answer.
And so Cae had left, taking the smell of cut lavender and sunshine with her. Left with nothing but a fresh wave of tears and the empty days ahead of her, Alannah has since not moved from her small nest of blankets.
The company house has fallen into an uncomfortable silence, as if the guilt of forcibly holding one of their own against her will is enough to have driven them to more cheerful environs. No steps echo down the halls, no scraping of the heavy shelves holding her door shut sounds through the empty house.
But just as Alannah has closed her eyes, ready to slip into a few more hours of blissfully unaware oblivion, the front door opens and shuts with a loud thud. Heavy booted footsteps make their presence known, in no way similar to the lightfooted steps of Kyra or the gracefully quiet stride of Adelpha.
Then…Kal, perhaps, home from his latest expedition. Kal, who would have no inkling of the situation and would be far more inclined to let her out. Alannah struggles to sit up, suddenly full of adrenaline and full of new energy.
“Kal, is that you??” she hollers with all of the volume that her unused voice will afford her.
No answering shout comes to her, but suddenly the loud screech of furniture moving fills her ears, and the midlander nearly cries in relief. Throwing scarlet blankets to the floor, she hurls herself across the room, ignoring the pain as she bangs against furniture and cuts her feet on broken glass.
The door flies open into the hall just as she reaches for it, sending her falling forward into strong hands that catch her shoulders and grip her tightly. Alannah jerks her head upward, the face swimming in her vision not at all the one she was expecting.
Not Kal. Nine.
He had come looking for her. The relief is too great, too overwhelming as she throws her arms around his torso and showers him with a litany of apologies. She can feel the growl in his chest as he comes to realize her reason for not returning, feel his hand protectively descend to the holster at his side.
But his other hand gently caresses her temple, brushing aside stray strands of dark hair from her brow as he murmurs reassuring words. Alannah sighs, relaxing against him with a quiet thank you.
Whatever her friends may think, they are wrong about him, about this. And no length of confinement will change her heart.
March 11th is going to be a very fine day. Not only will Crywolf be making his San Francisco live show debut at Popscene, but Australian duo Vallis Alps will be bewitching me with their minimalist electronic pop music as well. In anticipation of the magnificent night, and because this is one killer remix, let’s get lost together in Feki’s remix of Vallis Alps’ Young. The producer, also from Australia, gives Young a sparkling atmospheric and grandly haunting future bass treatment. He’s created a shifting, rippling experience whose gossamer texture reminds me of a candle flame, softly flickering in a dark room, generating ever changing shapeless shadows all around. Feki’s remix is a breathtaking and cinematic experience, deeply ruminative, yet so tranquil and soothing. Download the track for free, here.
for you ;) and me because i love them too :D kageyama kenma ennoshita and kinoshita preparing a surprise romantic dinner for their s/o with candles and everything and being a blushing mess in general c:
Looked up several different recipes, and asked several different people for help on what to do, what to prepare, how to prepare it, and when to have it finished. The table looked… alright. There was a mess around the corner in the kitchen, that he cleverly hid under the blanket of darkness. He lit some candles and smirked to himself. He really was a clever man.
Now all there was to do was wait. Kageyama sat at the table waiting for the telltale click of the lock at the door that signaled you were back. He stood up straight and tugged on the collar of his dress shirt, suddenly feeling awfully nervous.
“Tobio? Why is it so dark in here…”
“W-w-welcome home!” He said, a bit too loudly when you appeared in the dining room.
“Oh…” you gasped and covered you smile behind your mouth. “Did you do this?”
Kageyama shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets looking the other direction. “Most of it.”
You grinned and hugged him tightly, surprising him. He was thankful for the cover of darkness because he felt a blush creeping across his cheeks.
“O-oi, sit down! It’’ get cold.”
He was awfully confused as to how people actually cooked. 1/3 cup? Did he even own any measuring cups? He had ended up calling Kuroo over, begging him to help make the dish. Kuroo laughed at him and told him he would be over soon.
When he arrived, he looked at the recipe and scoffed. “Kenma, this is like one of the easiest recipes there is.”
“Maybe for you! You always do the cooking.”
“Because you’re lazy. Though, I guess I’m sort of proud to see you trying so hard. You must really like them.” he smirks at Kenma who scowls. Kuroo gets on with helping him, directing him on how to get it right, telling him where his cooking utensils are. When they’re done, the final product looks almost as good as the picture next to the recipe. Kenma thanks Kuroo, but promptly kicks him out of the house and goes to change.
When he finishes, he hears you shut the door and call his name. He rushes out after making sure his hair is set in place and meets you at the door.
“W-welcome back.” he greets you and waits for you to stand up, so he can guide you to the table. He asks you to sit and brings out the food, and sits down from across you.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
He had set the table with his best silverware, and set a single flower on your plate. The dinner was nearly finished, just finishing cooking. All he’d have to do was pull it out. It might be a little late, he had wanted to have it done before you got home, but he supposed this is what you get for procrastinating a special dinner.
He sighed and slumped down into a chair, waiting for you to get home. He fixes his shirt, and anxiously taps his foot against the floor. He gets up and starts pacing, wondering if maybe he went overboard, nervously adjusting each piece of silverware on the table. Should he have folded the napkins? How do you fold napkins?
He was fidgeting with the napkins when he heard you come in. He tosses it onto the floor and jogs to meet you at the front door.
“Welcome back!” He calls to you and greets you with a shaky smile.
“Something smells good.” you noted and took his hand. “What’d you make?”
He had everything done and ready. He had made your favorite, and was quite proud with how it turned out. Ennoshita had even called you at work and told you he would be picking you up. He left the food in the oven to keep warm while he was out picking you up. He stopped briefly at a flower shop and bought a bouquet with all the flowers he thought you would like. It was a little pricier than he had expected, but didn’t bat an eye.
He showed up just in time to see you walk out of your work building and he crossed over to open the door on your side of the car and he held out your flowers.
“What’s the occasion?” he only smiled and held open your door and shut it after you had settled in. He grinned when he saw you smell the flowers and sigh fondly. When you arrived home, Ennoshita told you to wait in the doorway for just a minute while he finished setting up. There was some rustling and banging of bots before he called you into the dining room.
The room was illuminated by two candles on the table, Ennoshita pulled out your chair and gestured for you to sit and pecked the side of your forehead.
“Chikara, this is beautiful…” You said in awe. He blushed, scratching his cheek.
“Anything for you.” he chuckled and sat down himself, putting some food on your plate. “Dig in.”