ch: because i choose not to

Q: Why did you guys choose to go to Seidou high school?

Sawamura: It’s was to play baseball with Miyuki Kazuya, of course!!!

Furuya: *sleepy* I found out that Miyuki-senpai goes to Seidou when reading a newspaper about him.

Okumura: …Why should i tell you?

Love Divided Ch. 1 (Peter Parker x reader)

Hello darlings! I just got confirmed to go to the D23 expo this summer and I’m so excited! I hope you’re all doing well, I’m trying to put my Bucky cosplay together.. I may or may not have the first chapter of Run Away Baby up tonight because I’m swamped with other things today. I’ll try and make up for it with a sexy one shot for tomorrow! Enjoy! xoxo

Description:The brewing conflict between Tony and Steve are finally surfacing, causing everyone to choose a side. The heat within the team is rising, and everyone is beginning to realize what is to come. What happens when your relationship with Peter is divided? Will you choose your love? Or your morals?  

Warnings: Cursing

Intro

MASTERLIST


His words were like a knife in the heart. You sat there on the bed, completely taken aback. Hurt was written all over your face as tears began to well up in your eyes. 

“What do you mean?” You furrowed your brows, your voice cracking as you spoke. 

“You know exactly what I mean.” His voice was monotone, matching his expressionless face as he stared right at you. “If you do this, we can’t-” There was long pause before he spoke the words that would make his heart ache. “We can’t be together anymore.” You could tell that in his eyes that this was something he fought himself on, and it was hurting him just as much as it was hurting you. You bit your lip, fighting back to hot tears that began to sting your eyes. He watched your pain, and he couldn’t bear to look at you anymore. Peter turned away from you and walk to the door. He stopped in the doorway when you spoke. 

“Don’t make me choose. Please.” You whispered on choked sobs, your eyes pleading him to stay. He turned his head to the side to look at you through his peripheral vision. 

“I’m sorry.” He felt his heart drop. Before anymore words were said, he walked down the hall, quickly wiping away any stray tears that might have fallen. 


Weeks went by with minimal contact. Peter was waiting for your decision, but you couldn’t make one. He was making you choose between him, and what you stood for. How were you supposed to make up your mind? The signing of the Accords was tomorrow, and you still had no final decision. You agreed with Peter that you would travel to Wakanda with the team, but you never voiced whether you would sign or not. 

“F/N, you need to choose. Are you going to sign or not?” Tony raised his eyebrows at you, his arms crossed over his chest. He needed to know, and he needed to know now. “I don’t care that you’re coming with us, but I need to know if you’ll be signing the Accords.” 

You sighed, pinching the bridge of your nose. “Tony, I can’t sign. I’m sorry.” You raised your head to look at him. “But, do not tell Peter. I’ll go with you to Wakanda, but I won’t show up at the conference. Nobody tells him.” You eyes begged him to do this. “Do this last favor for me before everything goes to shit. Please, Tony.” 

He debated in his mind, pursing his lips. “Fine. I’m sorry to see you go though, F/N.” He gave you a slightly disappointed smile before walking off back to his lab. 


The ride on the quinjet was awkward. It seemed that Nat found out that you weren’t signing, but she also knew she wasn’t to say a word about it. She would often glance back at you and give you sad smiles. Peter would often place his hand over yours, in hope that you coming with them was a sign that you weren’t going to leave him. He wanted you to stay, he loved you more than anything, but all he could do was hope and wait. 

“We’re about to land, so I suggest everyone take their seats.” Tony called over his shoulder and everyone buckled themselves back in, waiting for the wheels to touch ground again. 

When you finally landed in Wakanda, the private airport was flooded with journalists pestering each of you with questions about your recent actions and the signing. You all agreed that there would be no comments made, and you all made your way to the car in silence, dodging every question. You were to stop at the hotel first to drop off your luggage, then head straight to the embassy. 

“Go to your rooms, do what you need to do. There are separate cars waiting outside for each of you. Take one when you’re ready and we will all meet at the conference.” Tony was messing with a screen in the car, finalizing the plans. You all nodded. Everyone knew what you were going to do next, besides the one person that it really mattered to. 

As you walked to your room, you were holding back tears that begged to fall on your cheeks. You didn’t want to choose, but you had to. You loved him, but you couldn’t be with him and ignore all that you stood for. When you unlocked the door, you quickly stepped in, locking the door behind you. You threw your stuff on the bed, and looked out the window. On the street below you were a line of cars, the ones that Tony told you about. 

You were never to get in you car. You were going to stay here, or if anything, get away from there. With the crisis going on, the governments didn’t need an Avenger showing up to mock them by not signing. Over the next hour you saw Nat and Tony get in their cars, leaving the hotel. All that was left was Peter’s car, and yours. 

You had to make it look like you were running late, so that he wouldn’t get suspicious. Emotionally, you weren’t going to be able to have a confrontation with him. Not now. Looking out your window, you saw Peter get into his car, but not before he looked up at your side of the building. You quickly hid yourself out of view, hoping that he would just leave. And finally, he did. As you watched him leave, the hot tears came back and spilled onto your cheeks. It felt like someone was tearing your heart out, and your whole body ached. You fell to the floor, sobbing into your hands to muffle your cries. There was something you had to do; you couldn’t leave without giving Peter some type of closure. You were already going to cause him an immense amount of pain, and to leave without saying a word was going to make it even worse. 

Your sleeves were soaked with tears, but you managed to stifle your sobs and pick yourself off of the floor. You made your way over to the desk, and wrote a short letter. 

Dear Peter, 

You made me choose. I chose. Neither decision was perfect and each had its cons. I can’t go against everything that I believe in and sit and watch horrible things happen to the world. This was the hardest thing for me to do, and I hope that we get another shot at this, but I can’t love you in vain. I’m sorry. 

The amount that I love you will never change. I’ll always love you. 

F/N 

A few tears smeared the ink on the page, but you finished, and folded it in your before heading out into the hallway. You slipped the note under his door, praying that he would see it. You gently placed your hand on his door. 

“I’m sorry, Peter. Please forgive me one day.” 


I hoped you liked it! I had a good time writing this, and I cannot wait to write the next chapter! Enjoy the rest of your day! xoxo

TAGLIST FOR THIS SERIES IS OPEN. 

Taglist: 

@purplekitten30 @only-little-glances @spiderlingy @ok-ladies-lets-get-in-formation @barely-emily @ekinsyikin @queenvulca @unwantedcrustofpizza @gracemeister64 @dont-rain-on-my-fandom @red-bandana-girl @sorryimnxbxdy @glitterarmour234 @marcilinemadness2020 @buckaroo–barnes @itsemmyb @ravenclawnerdfromnarnia

Okay, but when Yuuko offers Sakura and Syaoran the choice to be properly reincarnated and live a life - with the prospect of meeting their other selves and loved ones - and Syaoran says he doesn’t deserve this because he feels guilty for ruining so many lives

Sakura says that’s not true. But even if it is, she will take the burden of his punishments because she only wants to live with him. They never got to, because a) she lost her memories and b) those memories are that of ALTERNATE Tsubasa-hime, the third Sakura that was copied in the ruins in ch 1. Anyways Sakura’s lines always tug at my heart because she knows that none of this is Syaoran’s fault. She had done so many daring and risky moves and “died” to protect him and their son, and their dads and Mokona.

“Our lives were dictated and one of the paths was to never be together. Now’s our choice and I’m not risking any more chances to be apart from you. I love you no matter what, and I want to have a new beginning” is what she wants and chooses.

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept it. . . (Ch. 7)



Chapter 7 – Trust Building Exercise #5:  Road Trip

Bucky x Reader

Summary – You are an agent who has been training for a specific mission for years.  Your boss finally informs you that Bucky is heading back to the States, so your mission is about to begin.

Warnings – Other than a few cuss words, this is pure fluff with some angst thrown in because I love it!

Word Count – 2,119

Notes – I promised you guys some fun, lighthearted moments a few chapters ago.  This is a road trip I’ve been dying to take for years, so I guess you could say I’m living vicariously through Bucky and the Reader.  Enjoy!  Feel free to leave any comments, I would love to hear what you think so far!

·         (Y/F/B) – your favorite book

Chapter One  Chapter Two Chapter Three  Chapter Four  Chapter Five Chapter Six  Chapter Seven  Chapter Eight Chapter Nine  Chapter Ten

Masterlist


Originally posted by yesilgozluyaratik

(Not exactly the car mentioned in this fic, but I love Baby!)

Previously:

The surgery went smoothly, and you were putting the final metal plate back in place at the same time Dr. Cho was closing up.  Bucky was then placed in the Cradle to finish healing. Steve and Sam had stopped by briefly to let you know that they had discovered a massive Hydra compound and would probably be gone for about a week to recon the area and take the facility out of commission.

“How long will he be in there?” you asked the doctor.

“With his injuries,” she said tilting her head to think, “I would say around twelve to eighteen hours.”

You nodded your head and pulled a chair closer to the device. Exhaustion finally overtook you and you ended up falling asleep, your head and arms resting on the glass separating you from Bucky.



Bucky awoke confused and disoriented.  Looking up, he couldn’t wrap his mind around what he was seeing, you were above him, obviously asleep.  Allowing his eyes to focus, he realized that he was in the Cradle in the med bay. After a moment, the memories flooded back; the nightmare of being back in the chair, pain coursing through his entire body as they wiped his mind again.  He remembered you and Steve trying to reason with him, but the Soldier had taken over again.  When the memory of the fight came back to him, his eyes darted to you, carefully looking you over to see if you were hurt in any way.  You seemed to be fine, so he lightly tapped the glass under your head to wake you up.

Waking up, your eyes immediately went down, finding Bucky looking up at you, laughing at having caught you sleeping at his bedside.  You scowled down at him before getting up to find Dr. Cho.

“It seems as though most of your injuries have healed, but you will need to take it easy on that leg for a few days.  Between the serum and the Cradle, you will heal faster than most people with a torn ACL, but it’ll still take some time,” Dr. Cho explained as you helped Bucky to his feet.  “You should probably use this cane until it heals completely.”

“Thank you, doctor,” you said as you helped Bucky out of the med bay to head back to his room.

“Where is everyone?” Bucky asked, as he limped toward the elevator.

“Some intel came in about a Hydra compound somewhere in the Middle East,” you explained, pressing the button for the elevator.  “Steve said they would be gone about a week.”

“So, it’s just me and you?” Bucky inquired as he entered the elevator and you pressed the button for the top floor.

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anonymous asked:

Something anything criminal batfam please. I'm begging you.

((ahhhhhh i’m sorry for all i’ve put you through so far, omg. uuuh i don’t have time to do something worth justice to that au at the moment that I feel comfortable with, but he’s a beta version of Steph’s past cut from ch 6!! I hope you enjoy it and thank you for sticking with me!!))


Her dad never gave her a ton of choices. Not real ones. There were choices like what moves she wanted to make when he played one of his weird games with her, and there were choices like what she wanted for dinner off a menu, or ones like, ‘are you too sick to go to school today?’ which she never was, because the alternative was staying home.

The first time her dad got arrested, she finally got a choice all her own, and she just couldn’t choose:

Who did she hate more? The cops, her dad, or everything?

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Love Divided Ch. 4 (Peter Parker x reader)

Good afternoon from California, my loves! I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. Agh, I’m so sorry I haven’t been very active, but I only have a couple weeks of school left and then I’ll be back with tons of fics because I’ll actually have time to sit at my computer instead of pulling my hair out 24/7. Anywayyyss, here’s the long awaited next chapter of “Love Divided”. Enjoy my loves! xoxo

Description: The brewing conflict between Tony and Steve are finally surfacing, causing everyone to choose a side. The heat within the team is rising, and everyone is beginning to realize what is to come. What happens when your relationship with Peter is divided? Will you choose your love? Or your morals?

Warnings: Angsty ending.

Chapter 3

MASTERLIST


For days he laid unconscious on the hospital bed, his body slowly recovering from his wounds. You stayed with him each day, holding his hand, telling him how much you love him, and how much it was going to hurt you when you had to leave. 

“I don’t know if you can hear me, but I love you. And I know you’re going to hate me for leaving, but I can’t fight on a side that I don’t agree with. Of course I love you and I want to stay with you. Of course it’s killing me inside, but I need you to understand.” Tears were pooling in your eyes for what seemed like the hundredth time since his surgery. “I need to fight for what I believe in. It’s what I have to do…” You paused, taking in a shaky breath. “M-maybe when it’s all over, we can be together again.” You choked on your sobs, the emotional dam in your body finally bursting. All you could think about was what was going to happen after the dispute between Steve and Tony; if there even was going to be a future after that. 

Nobody was going to change your mind on your decision, because you were stubborn like that. Tony didn’t even try convincing you to stay, he knew the circumstances and he knew you valued your morals. He just hoped that nothing would happen to you. Tony saw you kind of like a daughter, and to think of all the terrible things that could happen to you in the near future always made his heart ache. Now he was silently leaning against the doorway into the hospital room, listening to your confession. He couldn’t help but furrow his eyebrows together in concern and pain. You had your head buried into Peter’s side and holding his hand as he slept. 

Tony cleared his throat awkwardly, making his presence known. You lifted your head up, turning towards him, your eyes red and puffy. “Uh, F/N, do you want me to stay with him for a little while? You haven’t left the hospital in days and I can have you escorted to the hotel and back so you can shower and get something to eat, if you want.” 

You sniffled, wiping your nose and your tears with your sleeve. “O-okay…” As you nodded, you turned your face to Peter again, watching him sleep. He looked so peaceful there, and you were worried about how peaceful he would be when he woke up. “Just, uh, if he wakes up.. call me… please…” You croaked, trying to hold back another wave of tears. Tony nodded as you slowly let go of Peter’s hand and walked towards Tony with your eyes glued to the floor. 

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A little rant of Yagate Kimi ni Naru Chapter 17

Nah, this is not analysis, I’m not too confident to call it so.

Having read the latest chapter of Yagate Kimi ni Naru, I proudly declare it as my most favorite Yuri series i’ve ever read. Note that this statements is really subjective so you don’t need to argue with me for this statement. 

Yagate Kimi ni Naru is a Yuri Manga which tells a story of a girl name Yuu who is really oblivious with the terms of love. The story starts with Yuu getting a confession from a boy in middle school, leaving her wandering about her own feelings for the boy for months until she actually capable to answer him. In the proccess Yuu met a girl who’s her upperclassman name Touko. Hanging out with Yuu for a while, Touko is captured by Yuu’s action and thought about love. It is a pretty simple start, the story finally develop and introduce more character in the process. Each of the characters introduced has their own purpose and their action actually matters. 

To make it easier this is the synopsis from Baka-Updates:

“ Yuu has just begun her first year in high school but has still not yet responded to a middle school graduation confession by a boy who she has always liked, but whose confession did not excite her. Yuu loves shoujo manga and she knew how confessions were supposed to feel, but she didn’t feel it and she has not found a way to respond to him in months. Yuu then sees Nanami the student council president turning down a confession very thoughtfully. Yuu later discovers that Nanami has never accepted a confession because none made her feel something. Inspired by Nanami’s honesty and their likemindedness, Yuu consults Nanami, but after helping her, Nanami confesses to Yuu?”

The thing is, this series actually provide a really light and easy way to deliver its complex story telling. The way it actually starts slowly and never rush is so enjoyable. I thought finally after Sayaka becomes the spotlight we, the reader, will be forced to enter the triangle cliche arc of the characters which becomes a start of the destruction of the story.  Turns out it’s not. The purpose of the chapter is actually to build the development for the side character. Sayaka spotlight makes her stance for this manga become clear. I believe in the future the triangle love will come, but I hope Nakatani could deliver it beautifully like how she deliver the entire story,

Nakatani, the author, does the same for Maki, one of the side character who is actually a guy. I rarely see Yuri manga to actually dedicates spotlights for the guy side character who does not merely exist to be the third wheel. Maki, different with other characters, doesn’t have any interest of love for himself. He enjoys to see  about other peopIe’s love lives, but claims he never felt the emotion itself and doesn’t have the urgency to feel one. I don’t know if Nakatani actually realizes it or not, but she just made a character who represents the asexual or aromantic community (or maybe both). The existence of Maki as the side character, is actually quiet important and enjoyable. He interacts intensively with Yuu, the main protagonist, and i believe they have such a nice friendship.

Chapter 17, the latest chapter, return the track of the story to the student council play on cultural festival. The main focus of this post is actually to analyze Touko’s action throughout the chapter. (but you can see how i fail in the beginning). After reading the chapter, my presumption about Touko is finally proven. Touko is blaming herself for the sister’s death. Do you think it is cliche? I also think so. It is not rare for us to get a character who does self-blaming because of someone’s death. The great part of it is not here, but the awareness Touko has for her action as the result of her self-blaming.

 After her sister death, she actually starts to live the life of her sister. And she does it consciously and with her own consent. Her self-blaming, in my opinion, is not just because she doesn’t do the chores that her mother ask her, resulting her sister to do it and caught in accident. No, her self blaming is far more than that. Touko sees herself not as important as her sister is. Her worth is not as big as her sister worth. And this, is maybe the start of her twisted thought:

“Poor thing”

“She’s such a nice girl”

“For your sister’s sake”

This eventually start crushing her self-esteem, destroying her entire confidence, and eventually her view of her own worth vanishes.

Even after that, she refuse to behave as herself. Her reason is actually because she likes to be seen as special, but her statements actually making my presumption about her thought of her self-worth and self-blaming proven. Look at this panel when Yuu ask her to behave as herself:

She seen her old self as worthless, and after witnessing ch 17, now this statement give a larger impact for me. Death, is a strong word. The fact that she choose this word means she actually want to kill her old self, her worthless old self and reborn as her more important sister. Eventhough it is not clearly stated, I do believe Touko hates herself.

Touko’s awareness, is what makes her interesting to me. She is aware about her action to replace her sister. She is aware about other people demands of her. And, She is aware that she is empty

Usually in other manga related story, the main character will make the characters like Touko to realize that they are empty. That they should be living their own life. That they should only care about what they want or even to look for about the things they want. But here Touko’s desire is actually to not be herself. So that will makes interesting for Yuu to counter this fact. 

But I do realize about the fact that: Touko’s sister only lives until highschool. The only thing that Touko knows she failed to accomplish is the play. The future is vague. Assuming if they complete the play, Touko will be completely empty as her main goal has been achieved, she doesn’t have any picture of what her sister want after that. Touko, will be left with no more goals.

So here is when the play will be important for her: The play’s ending is still undecided. I believe, whatever the play ending is, is actually the resolution and closure for Touko’s obsession of her sister’s life.

In conclusion, I am looking forward for what this manga has to offer in the future and hope it stays as awesome as it is now

(The rest of this post is just my headcanon):

We could see of how Touko actually imitating her sister completely, even her appearance. Her long hairstyle is the same with her sister. SO, i picture when finally Touko has achieved her closure, She will cut her hair. You know, like the japanese believe cutting hair is the symbol to move on and become a new person

The Prize, Ch. 4

Summary: AU Tom, set in early 19th c. London.  Madeleine and Tom have known each other since they were teenagers (her brother is married to his sister). Can they overcome their fears and choose each other?  

Genre: Romance/Angst/Drama (Written as an experiment in the heaving bosom/bodice ripper vein)

Rating: T (non-explicit sexuality, scenes of thematic peril {SORRY I JUST HAD TO SAY THAT!!!})

Author’s Notes: This is for @i-wanna-be-toms-body-pillow because I probably wouldn’t attempt to actually write it without her nagging encouragement.  Reminder that this started out just on a whim, I am not a Writer, I am not going to obsess about the accuracy of period language or technical issues, etc.  :) Not beta’d, read at your own risk. 

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3

London was delighted to be informed, although not a few knowing glances were exchanged in sitting rooms across the town, upon hearing the news, in the appropriate amount of time after the ball of the engagement of Cassandra to the eldest son and heir of An Old and Respected Family.  Tom was immediately filled with happiness for his favorite, albeit his only, niece, and persuaded the more cautious Madeleine to join in the general approval of all those closest to the girl.

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gerdavonrinnlingen  asked:

Cuddling prompt: Out of necessity (trapped in a small space, etc.) for Quinn and a character of your choosing :3

cuddling prompt!

(So of course I had to do Vasili for this, because yes, and uh. It kind of got away from me? In ways I wasn’t expecting? Crap. Unintended angst ahead, why am I like this.)


The chamber is small, about the size of the Cart'ar’s cockpit, and sparsely furnished. A few crates line the walls, and a single bedroll lies in the middle of the floor—the only shield between those who would occupy it and a frigid, unforgiving stone floor. The Chiss officers had apologized, in their own way, for the accommodations; it’s all they have available, Lord, but at least you and your comrade won’t freeze to death. 

Said comrade is still shivering quietly at Vasili’s side, and Vasili feels a stab of guilt. Quinn had asked not to come planetside, after all, but Vasili had felt it best to have a trained field medic on hand—and besides, while Jaesa may have volunteered, she simply does not look built for Hoth’s deep freeze. And now Quinn is miserable and his teeth are chattering, and they’re about to sleep on a single bedroll in the middle of the floor in a barely friendly Chiss military base.

“I’m sorry about this,” Vasili says quietly, moving towards the bedroll. At the very least, it looks Chiss-made, which means it will withstand the chill and insulate them from the stone floor. “I shouldn’t have forced you to come.”

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The Royal Romance Chapter 9

CH 9 - Race to the Finish

Premium choice 1: Royal Regatta Outfit (25 diamonds)

  • According to Maxwell and Bertrand, looking good will help you impress the media.
  • This outfit does not unlock any special or exclusive scene but you will be able to choose it again later on
  • Verdict: 3/10 worth it. If you choose correctly, the press will like you anyway regardless of what you’re wearing. I give it a low score because aside from getting to keep the outfit (if you’re into it) it’s got nothing else going for it.
  • Diamond Grade: F

Premium choice 2: Spending alone time with Hana in her yacht (19 diamonds)

  • You unlock a special scene where you get choices to bond with Hana or even romance her.
  • There’s a lot of flirting that happens but nothing physical actually happens. Like you don’t actually get to kiss her or anything like that. The most you will get is a hand squeeze. 
  • Verdict: 6/10 worth it. For those who are Hana fans, I’m supposing that you would want to check it out. I personally am going for the prince so I didn’t want to spend my diamonds on it. Because of the lack of any actual physical contact for a premium choice, I won’t give this such a good score.
  • Diamond Grade: C 

oceandrlve  asked:

30!

30. Favorite line you’ve ever written. 

….My god. I’ve written so much…how could I possibly choose….?

….

I guess one that immediately comes to mind is the famous line from Ch. 8 of “Back To Us”:

“How can you sit there and judge anyone for wanting the power to change their life with this ring on your finger?”

I know, I know, it’s cliche at this point because I’ve mentioned it so much already…but I still really love this line. I’ll probably always love it, for reasons I’ve expounded upon before, so I won’t bore you, ha ha~

Why the Change of Mind (More a Change of Heart) Ch. 4

@blyedeeks I bet you forgot about this, because I did. Whoops. But hey, actual bellarke interaction? Possibility of another update soonish? Whaaaaaaat?

(Ch 1) (Ch 2) (Ch 3) (AO3)

Journey to the Past

This hadn’t been the plan…originally.

           Originally Bellamy was going to painstakingly choose between candidates—test them on every fact of the lost princess of the Ark; check their appearance, posture, attitude, anything that could factor into their believability. He was going to convince Abby, even if it took hours, or days, or months, and gain back the freedom he and Octavia had lost. He was going to do it right—even if what he was doing was maybe, hypothetically, possibly very, very wrong.

           Well, originally the plan was to raise Octavia in peace and make her happy without any problems, but as the weight of the jacket on his shoulders and the slowly healing scars reminded him, that plan had gone up in flames long before. Sixteen years before.

           Was it really so bad anyway, if he was going to be doing good for Octavia? Filling the void in Abby he had created, even temporarily? Did it really matter how he helped them, as long as he did?

           Anyway, Bellamy hadn’t pointed a gun at ‘Clair kom Trikru’ with the intention of sneaking her into Skaikru territory to show her off to Miller. It had just…happened. There was something about her defiance, the way her eyes challenged him without words, that sent words tumbling out of his mouth before he could filter them. It was—annoying, almost. Something he couldn’t quite grasp at.

           Clair hung just behind him, crouched low with her head half-hung to hide her face. She had shed the outermost layers of her armor, but her clothes were still distinctly grounder, and Bellamy didn’t have time to deal with any of his people seeing her. “Where are we going again?” she asked, for maybe the fifth time.

           “Less talking, more stealth,” Bellamy hissed back. “Unless you enjoy getting caught in enemy territory.”

           “We’re not enemies,” Clair rehearsed, but he could hear the hesitation in her voice.

           “Even allies have a great habit of burying bullets into each other’s brains,” Bellamy said simply, and pushed them further, using the alleyways and side paths he’d taken since he was a child. They were wet from the recent rain and reeked of mud and trash; gray buildings hung over them menacingly as they passed, long fingers of light reaching between buildings for something Bellamy could not see.

           “I thought Skaikru was supposed to be prosperous,” Clair accused as she sidestepped a pile of old, ripped clothing someone had thrown out their back door.

           Bellamy looked harshly over his shoulder at her and she stopped cold. “So did I.”

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The Crumbling Kingdom Ch. 6

Genre: Mafia!Jeonghan, Mafia!Soonyoung, Angst, Violence

Word Count: 4,487

CH 1 CH 2 CH 3 CH 4 CH 5 CH 6 CH 7

gif creds to @gyuhan-17 I tried to do it the usual way but it didn’t work let me know if I shouldn’t use this gif

People don’t choose the lives they’re born into, it’s completely random. No one questions this, but when you think about it, it is a bit odd. One day you’re born into a life full of different characteristics that are only specific to you. Granted someone can have a very similar life as you but it can’t be exact. You could drink milk on a Tuesday, but that similar person didn’t simply because it wasn’t on sale. The environment you’re given by life isn’t one you can reject. You have to accept it and hope to get the best out of it. You can’t decide to no longer have a brother even if you don’t want one. That doesn’t mean what life gives you is fair. Often enough, life is cruel.

By the time a young man is twenty two, he is making important decisions in his life. That could be pursuing a master’s degree, moving somewhere new, or taking on your family’s business. Jeonghan, in a way, had taken on his family’s business. He had known all his life that he would one day lead The Ban-Yeoja after his father retired or died. It was a simple but major fact of his life that he couldn’t just get rid of. At first, Jeonghan fancied the idea of being rich and so powerful that the law didn’t even affect him, but after learning the sins he would have to commit to have that much power he wanted nothing to do with the mafia life. 

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The Bird and the Worm ch. 3

The Prize, Ch. 3

Title: The Prize

Chapter: 3

Genre: Romance/Angst

Rating: T (to be on the safe side, some mild violence/blood in later chapters)

Summary: AU Tom, set in early 19th c. London. Madeleine and Tom have known each other since they were teenagers (her brother is married to his sister). Can they overcome their fears and choose each other?

Author’s Notes: I starting writing this because I noticed that the SSS poll for last week included “Heaving Bosom” and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at it. :) This is the first time I’ve written AU Tom.  I’ve tried to make the dialogue sound period appropriate, but I am writing ABOUT this era, not IN it; so, please be kind if you notice anything awkward in the language. :)   

Thank you to my beta spadesjade who caught a terrible error that would have put my already obvious lack of skill on even greater display!

ICYMI - Chapter 1 / Chapter 2


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As he stormed out of the ballroom, Madeleine fell backagainst the cushions of the settee as the sense ofself-reproach settled around her like a heavy winter cloak.  How could she have been so rude, soill-mannered.  Was familiarity breeding contempt?  She suddenly remembered the first time they had read that phrase together, when she had challenged him to read some Chaucer one summer.  He had nearly thrown the volume across the room in disgust, or was it embarrassment, when she began to giggle over his stumbling through the verse and pronunciation.

“We can’t all achieve your level of literary and linguistic perfection, Madeleine,” he mumbled, his cheeks flushing as his hands clenched around the pages.

Those beautiful blue eyes were a sky of storm clouds and she’d had to employ her usual methods of calming his ire, coaxing him into remaining in the room and keeping the slender volume from being torn asunder.

“Here, Tom, I’ll help you,” placing a hand on his shoulder and feeling him relax. “Go back to this line…”

Contempt?  No, no.  She shook her head.  It couldn’t be that.  She could never hold him in contempt.  If it were that simple, then her heart would be free of his grip and she could pass through a day without constant thoughts of him.  

The expression on his face at her cruel words was imprinted on her mind.  Her knowledge of his temperament and the logical assumption that he would be brooding in the library instead of mingling with the guests compelled her to slip on her shoes and rise from the settee.  Apologize.  That was what she must do.  He always listened to her.  The idea of a rift between them, the idea that she could or had possibly caused lasting damage to their relationship was unbearable.  She’d spent considerable energy instructing her nieces and nephews that allowing unkind words to fester in someone’s heart was not acceptable when one had the power to repair what had been damaged.  The wisest course of action was usually to respond sooner rather than later.  

She moved quickly across the perimeter of the room and was just about to slip through the doors when Mr.Kingston cornered her.  He was a recent addition to her brother’s social circle, having been away for many years seeing to his family’s plantation in the West Indies.  There had been some murmuring that his woeful management of the estate after his father’s death had resulted in a great financial loss, but Pierre had judged him as worthy company and so Madeleine accepted him as well.  He was always eager to speak with her and she was his unwilling conversational captive for some minutes before she was able to make her excuses and exit the room.

She had just stepped over the threshold, glancing backwards over her shoulder to be certain that Mr.Kingston wasn’t following her when she collided with a column.  

“Oh, Aunt!  Are you hurt?”  

It was Cassie’s voice.

And it wasn’t a column.

It was him.

The force knocked her back and he immediately reached out to grasp her arms in order to keep her from falling.  

She wanted to cry when she raised her head and saw his expression, when he yanked his hands away from her as if she was burning his skin and murmured an apology.

“Forgive me, it seems I can’t keep my soiled hands from you.”

Cassie was looking at both of them curiously, first at her aunt and then to her uncle, before turning back to Madeleine and once again inquiring about her.

“Yes, thank you, niece, I am perfectly well,” she replied, glancing down to adjust her dress.  “Your uncle’s physique is certainly one to be reckoned with.”

Cassie’s face lit up with a smile and she took Madeleine’s arm.

“I’ve informed him that he’s sent all of the ladies into swoons over his handsomeness, but you know how stubborn he is.  It’s taken some persuasion to make return to the ball, although I am not half as skilled as you are on that score.”

Tom was picking invisible lint from his coat sleeve and frowning.

Madeleine took a deep breath and gave Cassie a kiss on the cheek.

“Yes, he is rather stubborn, but I’m afraid that can be explained in this particular situation. Cassie, may I-“

“Aunt, I think his mood would improve if you would be so gracious as to consent to a dance.”

Cassie was slyly attempting to transfer her aunt’s arm to her uncle’s hand when Madeleine jerked away.

“Cassie, I need to speak with your uncle.  Would you excuse us for a minute or two?”

The young girl’s eyes flew to Tom’s and she seemed to be pleading with him about something.  His chest rose and fell in a deep sigh and he motioned for Cassie to go on into the room without them.  She smiled briefly and squeezed Madeleine’s hand before disappearing through the double doors.

Tom swiftly moved to a set of chairs and stood, waiting for Madeleine to be seated first, but not looking her in the eye.

Her courage faltered momentarily.  They’d had their brief moments of conflict over the years, as would be expected; but even then, those moments were usually about something political or literary, rarely ever about their personal relationship.  Something was different this time, something that was causing previously unexperienced bubbles of fear to swirl around inside her.  The intensity of the feeling was almost taking her breath away and she couldn’t seem to make herself move.  He was behaving so formally, so stiffly, almost like a stranger. Had her words done this?  Had a single comment altered him so significantly in a matter of minutes?

She had seen him frustrated and angry over the years, although it never lasted long and it was almost rarely directed at her.  

But this time… This time she felt it.  Felt it so keenly it was frightening her.  It was a strange thing, the sensation of drifting in a troubled sea when one was on dry land.  It wasn’t new to her, but it had been years since she felt it. It mostly came to her in dreams after her father had been lost at sea shortly after Pierre and Julia had married. The doctor told her that such events of sudden but short lasting physical distress were not uncommon for young women at certain times of the month. When it came to her during waking hours, it had been Tom whose sharp blue eyes noticed it, Tom who would take her hand and murmur to her until the waves were calm and she could think again. In those moments, the dynamic of their relationship had been reversed.  In those moments, he was the comforter.  She had managed to keep it mainly hidden from everyone, somehow finding a way to get through it when he wasn’t in close proximity. But it had been years.  The dreams and the fears had faded with time.  

Now the once all too familiar sensation of fear was taking over. Her heart was pounding, her throat dry, the noise from the ballroom seemed so distant.  She was looking at him, wanting so desperately to reach for his hand as she hadn’t needed to in so long, longing for something to cling to while the cold salty curtains cascaded around her and the wind howled in her ears. But she couldn’t.  She had spoken foolishly to him, insulted the very hands of her rescuer.

He finally shifted his gaze to her face and something softened in his own.

“Madeleine.”

His voice.

She hadn’t heard that particular tone since the last time.

“Madeleine,” he repeated.

The waves were getting smaller.

“Your feet are planted firmly on the ground.  Slow deep breaths, Maddy.”

She hadn’t heard that name since the last time.  So long. It had been so long.  

The wind was calming.

“Keep looking at my eyes. You aren’t drowning.”

An anchor.  She needed an anchor.

He wouldn’t deny her. Surely he wouldn’t.  Wounded pride was a powerful motivator, but she trusted him; he wouldn’t reject her, not when this was happening again after so many years of lying dormant.

She was about to raise an arm and reach for him when he spoke again, still using that low commanding tone that she couldn’t help but obey.

“Come, sit.  You’re safe.”

How she ended up in the chair she would never be quite sure. She would also never be sure how he had procured a glass of water almost out of thin air, but it was gently pressed to lips and her hands clutched it.  When she focused her eyes again, he was sitting in the twin chair and smiling at her.

“Solid ground, yes?”

She hadn’t heard him ask that since the last time.

‘Yes” she whispered, letting the light from his eyes soothe the last tremors of alarm, the tingling in her limbs that was receding.

The first time he had helped her through it, she was certain that it would be a matter of derision in his mind. But he never teaser her about it, never made her feel as though her mind wasn’t secure.  From the first day they had met, she observed him to be an expressive emotional creature in a way that her Pierre and, for that matter, most of the males around here were not.  She had already become accustomed to his moods that bewildered his own sister. Indeed, he seemed almost relieved that he could be of some help to Madeleine in a similar manner to the way that she so often soothed him.

He cleared his throat and swallowed nervously.

“It’s been quite some time since…since…”  

“Yes, thank you.”

He appeared to be slipping back into that stiffness from minutes ago and she rushed ahead, worried that the tension between which had been erased as he helped her through her fear would come rushing back.

“I’m sorry.”

His brows came together in a frown.

“You know you don’t have to apologize, I am quite aware that this has never been something you could control.  You didn’t ask for it, I –“

“No,” she interrupted quietly, taking another sip from the glass, hoping that it would do more to help than simply quench her thirst.

“I mean to say…I’m sorry for the words I spoke earlier.  They were foolish and meant in jest.  They were not meant to…they were not meant to be insulting and they are certainly no indication of how I truly feel. You and I must never be enemies, Tom.”

He had almost imperceptibly begun to lean forward in the chair, his handsome features shifting back to that open boyish charm that had captured her heart so long ago.  At her last words, he froze; he appeared to be waiting for her to continue.  

An altogether different wave of fear now crashed over her.  He must be worried that she was going to say something he didn’t want to hear, something that would cause him great discomfort.  

You and I must always be friends, Tom.  Aren’t we more than that?  Aren’t we as intimate in our affections as a husband and wife are?

She wanted to say those words.  

She couldn’t.

It was obvious that he feared she would and that it would be the worst possible thing she could do.

“You and I must never be enemies, Tom,” she said again, “Will you forgive me, please?  We are nearly brother and sister, aren’t we?”

A swift exhale of bated breath left his lungs and his hands moved to grip the arms of the chair, those long fingers curling around the embroidered upholstery.

She wanted to weep again at his actions, ones that seemed to represent to her nothing other than immense relief.

“Yes, Madeleine.”

Madeleine.  Not “Maddy.”  

It was the only time she had ever cringed at the sound of her name.

“I forgive you.”

The sound of laughter and music burst into the space around them as the doors opened and Cassie came rushing out.

“Papa says this is the last dance! Come, you must enjoy it together!”

Tom rose gracefully from his chair and intercepted Cassie’s hands before she could pull Madeleine from her seat.

“Your aunt is feeling rather tired and you and I have yet to dance.”

Smooth.  So smooth.  A perfectly veiled maneuvering away from her.

He forgives you.  But he’s rejected you.  You finally have a definite answer.  You finally know for sure.  He would never think of you in that way.  You are a sister.  You’ll never be his prize.

anonymous asked:

So I started reading game theory and 2 things: one- I've just finished ch 4 where augus has to choose between the gag or comfort and WOW you took hurt/comfort to a very literal level lmao. And two, how do their names work? I think it was like the first chapter where you wrote that "augus" was styled? And ash is often referred to as "the glashtyn." how does that work?

I did indeed to take it to a very literal place, I think I did that later on with Gwyn too. Idk I’ve written so much hurt/comfort now (like over 2 million words of it) that it was actually a fuckton of fun to just make it very literal. :D

As for their names, I wrote that Augus self-styled his first name, which meant that he just basically gave himself a first name. There are certain fae in the fae world who are sort of known not by first names, but by what they are, like the Nain Rouge, and the Glashtyn, the Each Uisge, and there are plenty of others that get introduced in The Court of Five Thrones. This is because that’s what they’re called in the folklore, and it’s generally agreed that there’s only one of them. So while the Each Uisge is more generally a waterhorse, there’s no other ‘species’ of waterhorse like him. He’s unique - he can be known by what he is, and no one would confuse it with another Each Uisge, because they don’t exist while he does.

Augus - because he wanted to separate himself from the incarnations of the Each Uisge that came before him - gave himself the first name Augus, and he gave the Glashtyn the first name of Ash. So, perhaps that not what you meant by ‘how does it work’ - but Augus wanted a first name, and he wasn’t going to get one unless he gave himself one.

(Also, from a writer perspective, it’s also just a lot easier for readers to relate to main characters through actual first names instead of like… Welsh descriptors that might be hard to pronounce. :D ).

but what if you get to the diner where you’re supposed to meet Fratboy!Calum for your date and he’s all busted up. He’s got a cut lip and his nose is still bleeding a little bit, his jaw all blue and purple and his eye kinda swollen and black while he holds what looks like a hand towel filled with ice cube to various parts of his face. You’d gasp and immediately fuss over him, running over and touching his face all over as gently as you could asking what the hell happened to him and he’d swat away your hands and shrug out of your grasp, a little bit down cast. So you’d sit next to him and ask what was wrong, really, and that’s when he’d admit, “I was jumped.” And then you’d freak out some more asking, “by who?! Why ?!” And then he’d stare at you with big round puppy dog eyes saying, “My brothers. They kicked me out of the frat because they didn’t want me to see you anymore.” And then you’d forget that he’s bleeding and kiss him because you never expected him to choose you over his frat but he did and you couldn’t love anyone more than you did in that moment.

anonymous asked:

hi i'm new to the army and i wanted to ask if fans could watch the videos that aren't free on vlive on youtube or here? i mean is it against the rules? because apparently there are a lot of important vlives coming and theyre not free :(

yes it’s against the rules. channel plus’ subscription is $2-3/month but as you can see, lots of people reupload ch+ contents on youtube or twitter so, if you can afford it, buy the subscription, profits from ch+ are used for artists’ activities. but if you can’t, you can choose to watch it reuploaded on other platforms

The Prize, Ch.2

Title: The Prize

Chapter: 2

Genre: Romance/Angst

Rating: T (to be on the safe side, some mild violence/blood in later chapters)

Summary: AU Tom, set in early 19th c. London. Madeleine and Tom have known each other since they were teenagers (her brother is married to his sister). Can they overcome their fears and choose each other?

Author’s Notes: I starting writing this because I noticed that the SSS poll for last week included “Heaving Bosom” and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at it. :) This is the first time I’ve written AU Tom.  I’ve tried to make the dialogue sound period appropriate, but I am writing ABOUT this era, not IN it; so, please be kind if you notice anything awkward in the language. :)   Comments appreciated

He would never understand how this woman managed to make him feel so inadequate. Always smarter, always wittier, always leaving him feeling unsure of himself, like the 18 year old gangly young man he had been when he first met her. She was the only woman he knew who could argue about current affairs. She was the only woman he knew who could cause such frustration in him whenever they found themselves in one of their little disagreements about which of Shakespeare’s histories was the most well-written, since her calm manner of speaking and rational argumentation always seemed to win over his impassioned speeches. She was the only woman he knew who could then immediately quench his ire and leave him baffled by the effect of her soft voice and smiles.

He would never understand how, over the years, she had transitioned into the copper-haired beauty who most occupied his thoughts, who made him yearn for a home that was pealing with the cries and laughter of children, for a room that was strewn with her clothes and smelled of her perfume, for a bed with tangled linens that was a shared whispered-filled refuge from the uncertainties of life.

Those desires seemed to grow stronger with each passing year, although it became more clear to him that she had absolutely no interest in marriage to anyone, least of all him. How many times had he witnessed her, whether in direct address to him personally or as part of something he overheard, make such comments about the fact that life had so graciously granted her with a near perfect situation of fortune and consequence? He knew she wasn’t a bitter or unhappy person; on the contrary, she was one of the happiest and most positive people he had ever known. She had a singular talent for taking situations that would overwhelm or discourage most people and turning them into something that was profitable, sometimes even enjoyable. He’d learned that this was an inherited characteristic from her mother, although Pierre was much less optimistic than his sister.

Pierre, his friend. Pierre, the brother that blood hadn’t granted him, but friendship had. When his interest in Madeleine was growing and he considered asking Pierre if he could court her, fear of damaging that friendship had kept him silent. He had observed how such situations could have a permanent detrimental effect on the relationship between men; with the added complication that Pierre was in fact his brother in law, it seemed even more unwise to jeopardize that relationship.

He attempted to forget her. He did. He was even foolish enough to think himself capable of living out his days with another, one who was eager and willing and appeared to think of him with a manner of affection that Madeleine never would. He was to Madeleine as he was to Pierre, a brother. To Lucie, he had been a suitor, a suitor who was welcomed with open arms and smiles. But she saw within a few months that he was suitor with a displaced heart, a heart that was left in England when he had departed his native shores for France. She was much like Madeleine in that regard, perceptive although not as lively or intelligent. He was grateful that she had enough self-respect to break their engagement and would forever berate himself after that he had considered putting a woman in that type of marriage, even if it was a common practice. Perhaps it would most haunt him because he knew what Madeleine would think of such a marriage, having been brought up by forward thinking parents who were not supportive of those arrangements. He managed to keep the details from being widely known, the main advantage being that it had all occurred abroad within a few months. Pierre had never pressed him for the specifics of the situation and had quieted his wife’s questions about it. Julia wasn’t easily persuaded to do so and still brought up the subject periodically.

Her face was pinched into a frown when she saw her brother storming out of the ballroom. This was her oldest child’s debut and she was determined that it would be a success. She was relying on her brother and her husband to ensure the most desirable outcome, needing their keen and watchful eyes to observe the proceedings. Tom exited through the double doors into the gallery and she sighed heavily, wondering what had occurred to bring on what appeared to be one of those fleeting emotional fits to which he was prone. He had learned how to deal with them more effectively as the years went by. Madeleine had been an immense help in that regard. Julia loved her brother, but he had always felt slightly out of reach to her; she never could quite understand or find the most effective way of interacting with him. For Madeleine, this seemed like second nature. He always appeared to be comfortable with her, as if her presence had some kind of intangible calming effect. She was able to temper him, to soothe him, just as she did with her nieces and nephews. Julia came to the conclusion years ago that this due to the natural gifts inherent in Madeleine’s personality and also because he felt an intellectual connection with her. She knew that her sister-in-law was quite superior to herself in that arena; indeed, she was the most educated and curious woman that Julia had ever met. Had Madeleine been at all haughty or condescending Julia would have found it nearly impossible to be in her company; but she learned very quickly that Madeleine was of a bright and sociable nature. She never failed to make those in her company feel comfortable, regardless of their level of mental acuity.

Madeleine, that was it. She could have Madeleine go soothe the beast and bring him back to the ball. Julia’s eyes scanned the room, grateful that Madeleine’s flaming tresses made her easily identifiable in a crowd. But among the whirl of colors and dancers, Madeleine was nowhere to be seen. Surely she wouldn’t abandon the party as well!

Julia caught sight of her daughter, her flushed face smiling up at her dancing partner as she bowed at the end of the dance. Cassie noticed the slight movement of mother’s fan, an indication that she wanted to speak with her. She gave her partner one last smile and floated over to Julia.

“Oh, mama, such delight! Thank you!” Her lips brushed lightly over Julia’s cheek.

“Yes, my dear, to be sure. But where is your aunt? My brother has removed himself from the party and I thought perhaps Madeleine could employ her usual tactics to smooth his feathers.”

Cassie’s face transitioned from a smile to a frown.

“I was certain I saw them speaking just now over on her favorite settee. Perhaps they’ve have had one of their disagreements about the Prime Minister again?”

Julia sighed in disapproval, thinking as she often did that perhaps her husband was being a little too indulgent with his sister. Since their mother Nicole had died, Pierre had become Madeleine’s only direct family member. Nicole had made Pierre promise that he would see to Madeleine’s happiness, that he wouldn’t force her to marry, that her natural intellectual curiosity would not be discouraged. Julia was a woman who found great contentment in the marriage state and simply did not understand why all women would not desire the same thing, although she knew she was fortunate to have a loving husband in Pierre and that a similar situation was not a guarantee for any woman.

“Mama, do not fret,” Cassandra assured her, “I will find my uncle and return him here. He owes me a dance.”

Cassie was blessed with more than her share of the energy and vitality that was the hallmark of girls her age, when life was blossoming with possibilities for the future. Her inclination to prefer the latest novel rather than making over a new hat often worried Julia, but she was such a social likeable creature and possessed the strong desire to please those who loved her best that she was easily persuaded into what her mother felt were the more appropriate activities for a young girl who hoped to marry.

She found her uncle sitting in the library, a volume of Shakespeare held loosely in his big hands, the hands that had tossed her up in the air as a child and the hands that had wiped away her tears when she was silly enough to think herself in love with that boy she had seen in the park last summer. But his eyes were not directed at the text in those hands. They were narrowed slightly and focused on something in the distance, as if he was looking through the shared wall with the ballroom.

“Uncle, all of the ladies are bemoaning the sudden absence of the most prodigiously handsome gentleman among the company. You owe me a dance. Shall we return together and make them all pea green with envy?”

The strange mix of sadness and anger that filled both his voice and his face was shocking to her.

“I doubt any of them would want to my soiled hands on their fine silks, my sweet niece.”

The way he nearly spat out the words “soiled hands” was also strange.

She frowned, suddenly wishing that she followed her mother’s idea of having Madeleine speak to him.

“What is it? Has something happened?”

He closed the book and let it drop on his lap, leaning back into the high chair and closing his eyes. When he spoke again, the anger had vanished, although the sadness remained.

“I told you that you were mistaken, Cassie. Your aunt would marry Bonaparte before she’d consider me.”

She sat down in the chair opposite his and her shoulders drooped.

“What did you say to her? What did she say to you?”

Long slender fingers came up to rub his temples and he sighed.

“Nothing that bears repeating,” he muttered.

Cassie let out a huff and began to worry at her bottom lip.

“Uncle, are you certain that perhaps you simply caught her at a bad time…. You know she isn’t disposed to be at her best for these large gatherings and –“

He abruptly stood and walked over to the mantle, pressing his palms against the edge with quite a bit of force and enjoying the tingling sensation of pain; it distracted him, albeit momentarily, from the tingling sensation of pain around his heart.

“No, Cassie,” he softly answered, willing himself to let his affection for his niece outweigh his disgust with himself for having been willing to listen to her, to hope that she was correct when she began to tell him weeks ago that she believed Madeleine to be in love with him.

“I know you meant well and at your age, you see love everywhere. But –“

Now it was her turn to bristle and interrupt him.

“Please don’t discount me because of my age. I’ve watched you two my entire life. I already told you, I was six years old before I realized that you weren’t actually married. You’ve attempted to explain to me why you think she isn’t interested in marriage, but I simply cannot believe that. She would accept you, I am certain of it.”

Something flickered in his bright blue eyes, something like desperation, and they widened when a previously unconsidered thought danced through his mind.

“Cassandra, have you spoken to her directly about this? Have you asked her? Have you told her that I…that I…”

He seemed unable to actually say the words. They were lodged inside of him, the urge to give them breath and offer them to Madeleine having been repressed for so many years that they were near petrification.

A rush of compassion filled her and she sprang from her chair to fling her arms around him.

“Have I told her that you are utterly besotted by her, as Abelard was by Heloise, as-“

He hastily stopped her before she could list other famous lovers that captivated her romantic heart.

“Have you?”

She leaned away from him and began to straighten his cravat.

“Uncle, of course I haven’t. I came to you, not her. You know that I love both of you a great deal and I would never be able to choose between you; but I came to you because I knew you wouldn’t tell me to keep my pretty little nose out of matters that do not concern me, which is what my aunt would have done.”

That brought a hint of a smile to his face and she reached up to kiss his pale cheek, although it quickly faded and that desperate look returned to his eyes. His hands were lightly gripping her shoulders.

“Promise me that you won’t. I couldn’t bear it if the knowledge of my…affection caused her distress or to withdraw or made her feel that she could no longer be in my presence. Promise me, Cassandra.”

“I promise.”

He took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. She took his hand and smiled at him.

“You owe me a dance, uncle. You wouldn’t want to leave me heartsick on such a momentous occasion, would you?”

No, my sweet niece, he silently thought to himself. I’m heartsick enough for the both of us.