deep mud

2

Lyuba is a female woolly mammoth calf who died 41,800 years ago at the age of 30 to 35 days. Lyuba is believed to have suffocated by inhaling mud while bogged down in deep mud in the bed of a river her herd was crossing. Lyuba appears to have been healthy at the time of her death.

By examining Lyuba’s teeth, researchers hope to gain insight into what caused Ice Age mammals, including the mammoths, to become extinct at the end of the Pleistocene era around 10,000 years ago

4

Local law enforcement officers have arrested some people who chose not to evacuate federal land near part of the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Most protesters had left earlier. At dusk, police moved back, and said they would not enter the camp at that time.

The governor of North Dakota had set Wednesday as the

evacuation deadline

for the largest protest camp, which is on a flat area north of the Cannonball River. He cited flooding concerns.

Protesters supporting members of the Standing Rock Sioux, many of whom believe the pipeline’s route under a section of the Missouri River known as Lake Oahe will endanger drinking water, have been living on the land for six months or more. They have erected shelters and organized supply systems for food and water, even as winter brought freezing temperatures and feet of snow.

As the 3 p.m. ET deadline approached, some demonstrators prayed while others took down some shelters and set fire to things they were not carrying out. Rain falling on law enforcement and demonstrators turned to fat snowflakes.

“It looks like a trash pile. But it’s getting picked up and every spot is starting to look better and better as we work together,” Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe told Amy Sisk of Inside Energy while sorting through abandoned goods.

“One man used a four-wheeler to help get a car out of the deep mud, and another person rode a snowmobile through the dirt,” The New York Times reported from the area. “Some semipermanent structures had been burned, apparently an effort to demolish them ahead of the deadline. A fire burned, black smoke rising in the cold air, while some people roamed the area.”

Protesters Leave Dakota Access Pipeline Area; Some Stay And Are Arrested

Photos: Angus Mordant for NPR

Nessian Training One Shot

Enough was enough.

And Cassian had had enough.

She was sitting across from him, picking idly at a plate of scones, her tea untouched at her side as she flipped through a book. Her knees were crossed beneath her pale blue dress, her hair pulled into its usual tight bun. She looked unfairly beautiful, he admitted as he gazed at her, palms resting flat against the table.

Nesta Archeron did not even deign to look up at him as she said, “If you want something to stare at, you could try a window or a mirror any manner of glass surfaces—I’m sure you’ve become good at it by now.”

His jaw ticked.

This was a waiting game.

Cassian knew he was going to lose—the question was how was he going to lose. Would he break by baiting her, by calling for back up in the form of Azriel or Feyre, or by leaving altogether?

Each time he found himself alone with Nesta, he fought the same battle—and each time, he lost. Connecting with Nesta was like fighting an uphill battle, knee-deep in mud, with a toothpick in his hands rather than a sword. But at the top of the rise, he could see it…not a brilliant, shining gold, because that would never be Nesta. But perhaps the cool, serene blue glow of a woman who loved her sister so fiercely she’d have charged into battle armed with a toothpick herself if it meant Elain was safe. And not only safe, but happy.

In this world, and the next. The words echoed through his head. He’d thought about them constantly from the moment he’d said them—and there was no part of him that could chalk those words up to remorse at the thought of his death, or the fire of battle addling his mind. He’d spoken those words and meant each and every syllable that had fallen from his tongue that day and landed between them.

But Nesta hadn’t kicked aside that declaration, or stonily ignored it…she’d picked up those words and held them to her as she’d crawled toward him—crawled, she had crawled to his body that day, it had to have meant something, far within the walls that she’d erected around her heart.

“Train with me.”

“No.”

“You realize that you say ‘no’ every time I ask,” he said, “and I continue to badger you. Why do you think that is?”
“Because you’re an irritating, arrogant male who lets his sword do his thinking for him.”

“Which one?” Cassian cocked her a grin, ignoring the side-eye glare that she shot at him. But then her expression—well, it didn’t soften, so much as fall, and her face became an icy, blank wall once more. “Train with me.”

“No.”

“I’ll keep asking until you say yes.”

“Is that how you seek to spend an immortal life?” Her stormy eyes were flat and cold as she gave him a deliberate look, her mouth twisted into a familiar frown. “By pestering me and receiving the same answer each time you ask the same question?”

Cassian leaned forward. “I’d gladly spend the rest of my immortal life with you, Nesta Archeron. Pestering is, perhaps, not the activity I’d most enjoy, but if it meant using the time I’ve been given with you, I’ll accept it as a gift. In whatever form that comes in.”
Nesta narrowed her eyes, and he knew that she was mulling over those words. Time. Time, time. The time I’ve been given. I have no regrets in my life, but this. That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you, Nesta.

“Why?” she demanded, finally setting down her books. “Why me, Cassian, five hundred years and you chose to obsess over me—“

“I do not think it was necessarily a choice,” he cut in quietly. “But I am damn grateful that it—whatever it is—picked you. And I only wish that you could see just how strong I believe that you are, because I don’t think that you truly know how deep that strength goes.”

There was a long, drawn out silence. She was utterly still, motionless and quiet and as immovable and graceful and cold as a statue. And when Cassian began to chalk up his latest defeat, his knees sinking deeper into the mud, that toothpick snapping, Nesta said finally, “Show me.”

***

He flew her to the mountains surrounding Velaris—the House of Wind was beginning to feel too cluttered, with Feyre, Rhys, Mor, and the quiet, unspoken drama between Elain, Lucien, and Azriel.

Nesta’s body was warm and soft in his arms, and as much as he tried to think about which areas of her body she would need to build with muscle, which areas she would need to strengthen, his mind persistently wandered back to the feel of his hands against her thighs, her back, the sensation of her arms around him.

She was silent as he flew, and he wondered—just a little—if she was thinking of his body, too. So he shoved back that hesitant question and grinned at her, “Enjoying your ride?”

Nesta Archeron did not dignify his comment with a response, but the withering glare she shot him coaxed a chuckle from his lips.

Cassian banked then, aiming for a small clearing that was isolated enough to discourage interruptions, but easily defendable, should they encounter any unwanted surprises. He doubted they would, but it was too soon after Hybern, too soon after watching the Cauldron vaporize half of his soldiers, to begin taking any sorts of risk—at least, not with Nesta.

Never with Nesta.

Maybe that was why he was so desperate to train her—so that he would never again have to see her crawling for him, even when he couldn’t save her…maybe it was because he needed to know that if that time ever came again, she would be able to defend herself and wouldn’t have to rely on him, wouldn’t have to see him fail her as he almost had that day—

He landed with perhaps a bit too much moment, savoring the feeling of Nesta’s arms tightening around him as she bit back a gasp—a sound that he might have missed, were it not for their proximity, the way her chest was pressed against his. “Was that too hard for you?” Cassian asked, thoroughly enjoying the way her head snapped toward him like a viper preparing to strike.

But she only disentangled herself from his arms and took a single step away, crossing her arms as he gazed at her. She’d slipped on the Illyrian leathers she’d worn during the final leg of that war, and he couldn’t help but admire the way they fit her perfectly, how she was slender and small compared to his bulk—

“What now?”

Cassian smirked and procured two pads that he slipped his hands into. “Hit me.”

“Repeat that.”

“Hit me?”

For the first time since he’d met her, Nesta almost smirked. And then she lunged, her fist slamming into those pads over and over again. Her form was off, her technique sloppy and untested, but Cassian didn’t dare interrupt her as those punches ceased being taunts, and became…necessary.

He didn’t know whose faces she saw when she threw her entire body weight into those punches, when the slim, cool sword of her strength became brutal and untested wrath. But Cassian said nothing. He let her strike the pads with blow after blow, until her face gleamed with sweat in the late afternoon light, the sound of her grunts and flesh meeting leather filling the air between them.

Only when she’d uttered a quiet roar of pure rage and taken a step back, did Cassian lower his hands. His palms ached somewhat from where her punches had hit hard and the impact had rippled from the pads to his skin.

In those Illyrian leathers, her face drawn with anger and violence, her normally-severe bun fraying where hairs had become unstuck, Nesta was a goddess of death. Witch, they’d called her. They didn’t know the half of it, he realized, staring at the queen before him. In that instant, Cassian wished to get on his knees before her, to bow and revel in her presence, and then ravish her in the way that queens ought to be ravished. His throat felt thick as he began to comprehend all of the layers that hid the female before him—how high she had built those walls, how thick she’d made them, so that no one, not even her sisters, could get through them.

But Cassian was an Illyrian, and Illyrians had wings—and he would not go through those walls, or force her to bring them down. No, he would soar up and over them, and land in the courtyard of fire or blood or water that she had created for herself. And there he would stand, beside her. And there he would stay.

Cassian said none of these things as he gazed at her. Instead, he murmured, “Do you see it?”

Nesta offered the barest dip of her chin. Her voice did not waver as she replied, “I think that I am beginning to.”

***

They remained in that small meadow for the remainder of the afternoon, until the sun slipped beyond the sea and cast its glimmering orange rays over the shadow-stained grasses they stood in.

“Keep your weight balanced,” Cassian had ordered through the hours. “Straighten your back. Bend your knees. Don’t curl your thumb beneath your knuckles!”

Nesta hadn’t obeyed so much as weighed his commands, decided that she agreed with them, and then followed the instruction. But she was still here, fighting to see the raw strength that ebbed and flowed from her like waves in a pool of stars, and for Cassian that was good enough. It was as if someone had plucked the toothpick from his fingers, replaced it with a sword, replaced the mud with flat, even ground, and wiped away half of his enemies. And rather than fighting for her, it was as if he were fighting with her, and she was on the other side of that field, slaughtering her way through her own demons to get to him—

He didn’t dare let himself hope to soundly, even as she huffed a short breath when he said, “That’s enough for this evening.”

Crickets were singing in the bushes, and a single glance at the sky told Cassian that they would have none but the stars and each other for company if they stayed here for much longer. So he held out his arms, and Nesta did not bother to shoot him a waspish glance as she allowed herself to be scooped into his grasp.

He tried to stifle the growl of approval rising within him as he smelled her warm, sweat-tinged scent—he couldn’t say what it was about it that drove him out of his mind, but he wanted…gods, he wanted her. In all of her sharp-tongued, glaring glory. He kept this to himself as well as he lifted his wings and shot into the sky, the cool, jasmine-scented breeze coaxing him into a smooth glide as they soared over the treetops.

“Cassian,” began Nesta over the faint hum of the wind. His name on her lips, Cauldron boil him, he nearly fell from the sky. “Tomorrow. We’re going back tomorrow.”

For an instant, Cassian debated saying back, I’m the General Commander, I can’t simply drop my duties for the sake of one viper-like female, now can I? But the words wouldn’t come, because he was a jester and a comedian and a warrior, but Cassian wasn’t a liar. For Nesta Archeron, he’d fight that uphill battle, even if meant having only a toothpick to guard him.

And this, that gesture—

Cassian didn’t hide his smile as he replied, “Of course, Nes.” And realized that maybe, just maybe, he had flown over another wall.



This one shot was requested to me a while ago, and I am so sorry I didn’t manage to finish it until now. Worse still, I don’t even remember who requested it, I am so sorry lovely, this is what happens when you are scrolling through Tumblr and trying to listen to your mom. But to whomever requested this, here it is; I hope you like it, and I’m sorry it took so long. This was difficult to write because I am one of the rares who doesn’t ship Nessian (I know, I know, I’m soulless), but I hope you like it anyway :)

[the post]

Yuko! Thank you so much for the sweet reply T^T. I guess I’ve been all over the place with life in general and swallowed all the stress at once without taking time out to breathe and “regroup”, or so to speak. It’s a little like getting really excited for surfing and getting instantly annihilated by the waves -_-. It’s a real hit to my enthusiasm and what I *really* want to create, so I completely sympathize with you! I hope you’re doing well yourself, and that you’ve got more time to code your own stuff too! And exploring mediums…I hate to admit it, but I really haven’t been researching or trying out new stuff either; I should get on it (once I conquer my fear of failure and actually not give up)! Once again thank you so much, Yuko! ヽ(*´з`*)ノ

Last stand for Standing Rock

Authorities cleared a protest camp where opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year, searching tents and huts and arresting dozens of holdouts who had defied a government order to leave.

It took 3 ½ hours for about 220 officers and 18 National Guardsmen to methodically search the protesters’ temporary homes on Thursday. Authorities said they arrested 46 people, including a group of military veterans who had to be carried out and a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering.

The encampment has stood since August on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, about 40 miles south of Bismarck, the state capital.

Protesters calling themselves “water protectors” have rallied there against plans to route the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred tribal sites.

Dubbed the Oceti Sakowin camp, the site became a focal point for U.S. environmental activists and Native Americans expressing indigenous rights, drawing some 5,000 to 10,000 protesters at the height of the movement in early December.

Most have drifted since away, as tribal leaders urged people to leave due to harsh winter weather, while pressing their opposition to the pipeline in court. Roughly 300 demonstrators had remained until this week.

Protesters and police have clashed multiple times since August, with more than 700 arrests tallied.

On Wednesday authorities appeared intent on avoiding clashes, though 10 arrests were made as protesters confronted police in riot gear on a highway outside the camp entrance before the officers retreated around nightfall.

President Donald Trump has pushed for completion of the pipeline since he took office last month, signing an executive order that reversed an Obama administration decision and cleared the way for the $3.8 billion project to proceed.

Two tribes earlier this month lost a legal bid to halt construction. The pipeline is due to be complete and ready for oil by April 1, according to court documents filed Tuesday. (AP, Reuters)

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.

A large crowd representing a majority of the remaining Dakota Access Pipeline protesters march out of the Oceti Sakowin camp before the 2 p.m. local time deadline set for evacuation of the camp mandated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, near Cannon Ball, N.D. In the background smoke and flames from one of the several structural fires started by the protesters over the course of the day. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

National Guard and Police make arrests at the Octei Sakowin Encampment near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 23, 2017. (Mcknight/Rex Shutterstock via ZUMA Press)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

An elderly woman is escorted to a transport van after being arrested by law enforcement at the Oceti Sakowin camp as part of the final sweep of the Dakota Access pipeline protesters in Morton County, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, near Cannon Ball, N.D. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, Pool)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Last stand at Standing Rock

Raymond Kingfisher, 59, of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, sings during a march on the outskirts of the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and others sing as they prepare to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Oscar High Elk, 26, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, prays as he and other members of the tribe prepare to evacuate from the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Police confront protesters refusing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A couple embraces as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, near Cannon Ball, N.D., as authorities were preparing to shut down the camp in advance of spring flooding season. The Army Corps of Engineers ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday. (Photo: James MacPherson/AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Protesters march, with a structure burning in the background, on the outskirts of the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A fire burns in the background as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, near Cannon Ball, N.D., as authorities were preparing to shut down the camp in advance of spring flooding season. The Army Corps of Engineers ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday. (Photo: James MacPherson/AP)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Chanse Zavalla, 26, from California, watches a building burn after it was set on fire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D, Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A sign stands at the entrance of the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

An opponent of the Dakota Access oil pipeline watches a building burn after it was set afire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp fighting the pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

An opponent of the Dakota Access oil pipeline warms his hands beside a building set on fire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp fighting the pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after it was set on fire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Mcknight/Rex Shutterstock via ZUMA Press)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after it was set on fire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Stephen Yang/Getty Images)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after it was torched by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after it was set on fire by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A teepee stands in deep mud as protesters prepare to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Buildings burn after being set on fire by protesters at the main opposition camp fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after it was set on fire by protesters at the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Chanse Zavalla, 26, from California, watches a building burn after it was torched by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

The Oceti Sakowin protest camp near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have set a Feb. 22 deadline for demonstrators to vacate and clean up the camp. (Photo: North Dakota Joint Information Center/handout via Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

Protesters walk through deep mud in the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

A building burns after being set afire by protesters at the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo: Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

Source: Yahoo News Photo Staff

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and indeed there will be time (ii)

steve trevor/diana prince | wonder woman | fix it fic

i. 

He had resigned himself to never knowing who he was.

The amnesia had never shaken over the past two years. He’d tried everything, from therapy to hypnosis to having his breath knocked out of him in a boxing ring, but nothing had budged. Not a single memory, not even a sliver of the man he was before the explosion had resurfaced.

There were objective facts from the people that had found him, from the people he now worked with. Steve Trevor was good with a gun, even if he had to be taught how to load an automatic pistol. Steve Trevor could learn quickly, and had to, considering he had also forgotten that it was the 21st century and that smartphones and the Internet were a thing. Steve Trevor was a dedicated and steadfast ally, and would have your back even when things got rough.

But it bothered him, ate at him night after night as he lay in bed trying to remember. It was as if a part of his mind had been locked away, and no matter what he tried, he could not regain access to it.

Until he was introduced to Diana Prince.

Keep reading

M is for Maw

A future, to-be-expanded chapter of my Eliza Shepard alphabet fic, in honor of all the Sole Survivors out there. 

********** 

Shepard, Garrus was learning, had a damn strange sense of humor. Maybe it was a human thing, maybe it was a Spectre thing – he couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that he called her “commander” exactly once after the Normandy left the Citadel, and after her face very clearly said fresh meat, she referred to him as “Officer Garrus Vakarian, formerly of C-Sec” for a solid week. 

“I didn’t quit,” he reminded her, as they bumped along in the Mako. Wrex snored nearby, so for all intents and purposes, this was a private conversation. The first, he realized, gripping his safety harness a little tighter. 

She swore under her breath and gunned the thrusters; somewhere under his feet, the Mako whined, and Garrus started making a mental checklist of everything he’d need to repair when they got back. “So you keep telling me,” she said, once the Mako sprang free of the waist-deep mud and plunged forward. “I didn’t know C-Sec let you take leaves of absence.” 

“It’s not common,” Garrus said, definitely not thinking about Pallin’s expression – and the specific phrasing the Executor used – when he’d requested a leave to work with the First Human Spectre. “But it does happen. I think I made a strong case.” 

Shepard laughed, an unexpectedly light and clear sound over the roar of the engines. “I bet you did, Garrus. You were chomping at the bit to go after Saren long before I showed up. So tell me – how’s that working out so oh for fuck’s sake.” 

The Mako had stalled again, wheels whirring in the stinking mud that Garrus could smell even through four layers of air filters. 

“We’re going to break an axle if this keeps up,” Shepard said. She grimaced and scratched at her amp. “Want to come get some air and check it out?” 

“The atmosphere’s toxic, comma – sure, Shepard,” Garrus replied. She gave him a smug look as she sealed her helmet, but kept any other comments to herself.

“Keep an eye on things, Wrex,” Shepard called as she unsealed the hatch. 

Wrex, who hadn’t bothered to take his helmet off to begin with, shrugged a little deeper in his seat and kept snoring. 

“Ass,” Shepard muttered over the comms, with what sounded suspiciously like affection to Garrus, and swung outside. 

A few rocks dotted the muddy plains, which meant Garrus didn’t need to slog through the mud but got to skip around like a kid instead. Shepard managed to look both graceful and efficient as she moved, never once off-balance or over-cautious. 

Garrus watched her check the Mako over with the usual stew of emotions in his gut: admiration, a fierce urge to start an argument for no good reason, pride that he got picked to work alongside her, confusion over all her idiosyncracies, and a thick wash of envy. Why her, instead of him? 

He tried to remind himself his time would come – and a good working relationship with a Spectre would only help when it did – but the envy stayed put. It didn’t help that Shepard did everything so confidently, whether that was kicking mud off the Mako’s axle or taking down a geth colossus. 

At least she deserves to be a Spectre, he told himself, and bent to start cleaning off the rear axles. 

The stones under his feet vibrated, faint enough that he could blame it on the engines, but Shepard jerked upright at the edge of his vision, her head whipping back and forth as she scanned the horizon. 

“Shepard?” he asked. She ignored him. He couldn’t read her face through her visor, but a fine tension rode her shoulders, set her spine steel-straight. “What is it?” 

The vibration changed – it deepened, widened, until the Mako shuddered and the mud churned at his feet. 

Shepard made a choked noise, barely audible over the engines and the vibration, and reached over her shoulder. Not for her shotgun, Garrus noticed, his gut clenching, but her never-used assault rifle. 

“Shepard!” he shouted, as the ground opened up fifty meters ahead of them. 

She screamed and opened fire. 

To the day he died, long after he knew the truth, Garrus remembered her scream. It didn’t sound like any sound a living throat could make, and it went on and on until it was all he could hear, and by the time he figured out that he was hearing the maw’s shriek along with Shepard, she was shoving him back inside the hatch. 

“Get – get on the guns!” she yelled, throwing herself into the driver’s seat. Wrex was already raking the maw with machine gun fire, and Garrus heaved himself behind the grenade launcher controls. It was damn near impossible to aim with Shepard zig-zagging across the plain and the maw’s acid spattering less than a meter away, but he managed more than a few hits he was proud of, later. 

When the maw’s body finally hit the ground, and stayed there, Shepard didn’t stop. She kept driving, her hands so tight on the wheel Garrus wondered that he couldn’t hear them creaking, and over the comms he heard the high, whining note of her breathing. 

So the great Commander Shepard’s not always so confident, he thought, to make himself feel better. It didn’t help. He stared at the back of her helmet, listened to Wrex mutter about not getting enough action, and remembered one word. 

Akuze

This maw didn’t count for his kill list, Garrus decided. The next one, definitely – but this one, this one he’d forget. 

Slowly, Shepard’s breathing went back to normal, but her hands stayed tight on the wheel, all the way back to the Normandy

A lil Manorian fic

Fun fact: when I have writer’s block I write random shit for the ships I adore. If you would like to see more, I have a masterlist you can look at, wither way I hope you enjoy this!

***

Dorian trudged up the steep hill, the mud so deep and thick that it fell into his calf high boots and drowned his feet. He may as well abandon his shoes at this point, they were certainly doing him no good. He wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead, his whole body overwhelmingly hot despite the cold winds, and pushed his legs harder. His strength was wavering, but he had to make it back to her.

He let the stars guide and distract him, pinpointing specific constellations that reminded him so much of home that he forgot where he really was. He saw Mala’s Trail and thought of when as boys, he and Chaol would hide from their tutors in tall trees and throw acorns at nobles as passed under. He gazed at Annieth’s Sword and Belt and remembered the night he had kissed Celaena – no, Aelin – under the cover of darkness. He peered at the Circle of Seven, and thought of Sorscha and how she would gently rap his wounds with her delicate fingers. He looked for the Crown, but stopped. He wasn’t ready to think about the fate of his mother Georgina or his brother Hollin. Lastly, as he came to bridge of the hill, he saw the twinkling stars that made up the Wings of the Wyvern. As a young boy, his father had let him sit in his lap and would tell him many a story about the creature on their crest.

But his father was dead now, and seeing the lights that outlined the shape of monstrous wings in the sky made him think of something else entirely.

“Can you hurry up?” Asterin snorted as she came to meet him at the top of the hill. She was in just as filthy a state as he was, and he was glad he wasn’t the only one covered in dirt and Gods know what else. Asterin, however, had not been given the task to collect foods and test out magic while she did so, so she was still far livelier than he was.

“I’ll take your advice under consideration.”

Asterin rolled her eyes and held out her hands to one of the menschen sacks he was holding. “It would be best for you to put your charm to use, she’s awfully testy at the moment. The scratch on Abraxos’ hide has yet to heal.”

Dorian furrowed his eyebrows in concern, not for Abraxos who he knew would be perfectly fine, but for the Queen who would run herself into the ground without a second thought if it meant protecting the ones she loves.  

Dorian didn’t reply, just continued his hike to the Thirteen’s camp.

All the women were there, snuggled in close to their Wyverns to keep warm. They had risked a small fire, the stormy grey clouds and searing winds covering any hint of smoke, but it was still freezing. Dorian’s bones were aching from every effort to move, even if the full force of the storm upon them hadn’t hit him yet. He wished he knew how to control his magic so he might warm them all up, but he wasn’t Aelin or her fae prince.

Anyone could spot Manon. Her white hair was loose and she was pacing back and forth furiously. She was muttering to Abraxos as his eyes lazily followed her every step, occasionally huffing or whining. It was rather comical to watch, but from the sneer on her face Dorian predicted that if he pointed it out he might lose his eyes.

“Witchling,” he called gently instead.

“Where have you been?” She snapped. The tone she used cut through any warmth his body had mustered from his walk, slicing him open and letting the bitter cold have its way with him.

“I was looking for food and practising my magic, just as you suggested.” His voice was placating, like he was talking to a wild hound. He even spread his hands out in a gesture of peace.

“That was eighthours ago.”

“Why does it matter, Witchling?”

“Because how are we supposed to kill an ageless king and his evil spawn if you can’t stay put for a day, Princeling?” She battered her eyelashes at him but her smile was nothing short of savage. If Dorian didn’t know better, he’d say Manon had been worried about him.

They hadn’t had sex since that night on the boat, and excluding a few grazing touches and distracting flirtation, no situation had come even remotely close. It might have, if they hadn’t been surrounded by witches and wyverns. Dorian could not deny his body’s reaction at the thought of her scarred skin under his hands and tongue, but for the first time in his life, a woman could not seem to be less interested in him.  

He looked away and didn’t say anything, instead dumping his findings for the day near the flickering fire. He sat down took off his shoes and socks, wiggling his toes over the flames to dry the mud and warm his feet. The Thirteen, who had been curiously watching his interactions with Manon, went back to doing their own thing: talking, reading, planning, scheming.

He let his mind wander back to the constellations, and before long a body gracefully sat next to his. He didn’t turn to look. The witches around him started wondering to their bedrolls, all tucked under the mighty wings of their wyverns, and quickly feel asleep. Not knowing know the next moment you’ll get rest makes it easy to fall on command.

“I was worried when you didn’t come back.” Manon whispered.

“Why?”

“Because you’re mortal and fragile.”

Dorian snorted and turned further away from her. “Good to hear.”

Dorian decided to lay down then and there. He was exhausted from the day’s events, and to keep warm he couldn’t stray from the fire. He had settled in a semi-comfortable position, ready for the day to be officially over. Tomorrow was the day they flew to Crochan land, a last resort to find allies. And when he said they, he wasn’t including himself. He had done as much as he could and now it was time to reunite with this brother Chaol, down safe in the south.  

He needed his best friend more than ever right now. Dorian had never felt so conflicted in his life. He knew he should not feel for Manon the way he should, it had always been about a release for them, but he couldn’t help the way his breath hitched when her eyes glittered as the sun rose, or the goose-bumps that lined his flesh whenever he heard her raspy voice. More than anything, his chest ached with guilt. When he looked at Manon, he forgot about everything else: Adarlan, the war, Sorscha…

How could Dorian fall so quickly in love, again?

Dorian knew Manon was still next to him, could hear her breathing, could sense her intoxicating body. When she laid a hand on his arm, a zip of energy raced to his heart and spread to the rest of his body, making him shudder. This had happened before. What hadn’t happened was her standing up and stepping over his body, just so she could curl in front of him. She put one hand on his face, and closed her eyes.

“You aren’t fragile.” She said through gritted teeth. “You are brave, and strong, and the king this cursed continent needs. I just can’t bear the thought of you being anywhere but by my side.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before we all decided it would be best I leave?” He risked a hand to her waist, and at his touch she moved closer to him so their bodies were pressed together.

“Because you are kind, and I detest the thought that my brutality will mar that. I am not ashamed of who I am, but it scares me that one day you could be.” It was the most candid and sincere she had ever been, and it made his eyes sting.

“That will never happen, but either way I have to leave tomorrow.” He told her. It was the truth, his time with this coven was over.

“Even if I asked you to stay?” She tangled her legs with his.

“We’ll reunite again, someday.” Dorian knew not when that would be, whether in this life or another, but the queen in front of him would not easily escape his grasp.

Manon opened her mouth to say something else, but was interrupted by an earth-shaking boom as Abraxos planted himself next to them, the gust from the wyvern’s movement blowing out the fleeting fire. He wrapped his wings around the king and queen, and wiggled until comfortable. Dorian didn’t know from childhood stories that wyverns snored, but oh how Abraxos certainly did.

“Good night, Witchling.”

Manon leaned forward and pressed a hesitant kiss to his lips. “Good night, Princeling.”  

glorious74  asked:

Do you have any recommendations for eliminating acne? Your skin is so pretty.

You’re so sweet. It’s just the lighting. I totes get breakouts. The lighting also makes my skin look WAY more pale (I have olive skin) but that’s beside the point.

The best thing I’ve found for treating acne are egg whites. Yes. The whites of the egg. 🥚You take an egg, crack it, dump the yolk, keep the whites in a container, dunk a cotton ball in it, and rub it all over your face. Keep it on for a half hour. It has done WONDERS for me. You’ll notice results as soon as you wash it off. Not only does it treat acne, but it tightens skin, reduces lines and scarring, treats burns, and builds collagen. My mom says my Puerto Rican genes are keeping my face young, but I think the egg whites have something to do with it.

I also use a deep sea mud mask that works great. Not as great as egg whites, but still very good. It helps with black/white heads and leaves your skin feeling super soft. I like to alternate between the egg and mud mask.

Both of these have done more for my skin than any prescription medication my dermatologists ever prescribed.

Essays in Existentialism: Interrupted

I love your work and how you make everything so amazing. I was wondering if you could do a fic about clexa getting walked in on while doing, well, each other. Thank you in advance for the brilliant work you do.

The rain hung around for a week. It slopped up the yards, filled the river until its shore was engorged and rushing at breakneck speeds to the lakes and oceans, streaming down the mountain in older and new creeks that filled footpaths. The branches that were weakest succumbed to the constant weight of the drizzle while the thick soupy mud of the ground clung to all parts of tires and boots and pants. 

Keep reading

for the hundred thousandth time

okay so i’m beginning to believe i was born asleep and still haven’t woken up, or still caught in a day dream where my name is the answer to all your security questions. okay. a thousand years of wondering and all i can come up with is that you fell in love with me at a picnic in my imagination. the lemonade we always talk about swimming in sugar and tiny handmade sandwiches from my kitchen, your favorite, extra pickle. don’t forget about the pickles. of course the clouds march in stomping out the sunshine, of course. it was dark and there was lightning so much lightning. don’t be scared just now darling don’t be scared. in the middle of the night we only talk about your version of the story. how i’d ask you to stay, asking you to tell me what’s real asking you with my hands asking you with maps, a country called please listen to me, you should know by now that it is an island too far to sail to according to you. i know i know, who dared name an ocean lonely when all the ships are sinking. we can go back we can turn around where the sky is the gentlest shade lavender, we can go back and have a conversation that has never happened before. when everything is the color of day old bruises i won’t let you down. i promise when i get home i will count every freckle every one. when i get home can we open one of those mason jars full of fresh air because i can’t breathe. i remember that day, although i pretend it was more recent than it was. you were there in a swell of green grass in a dress that makes me blush, and there i was blushing. i’m not sure how i made it out alive, skipping the part in the song where you, long gone come busting through a doorway, through the well air conditioned living room and and across the kitchen tile, to the refrigerator where just like in elementary school, my fourth grade heart wrote all your favorite things on flash cards in the blackest magic marker so i could memorize the things that made you happiest. and you turning around in slow motion to see my face, or where my face should be, the only expression i can make anymore, realizing that you realized that i only ever wanted to be something that made you happy. suddenly you’re tired, and i’m tired too, goodnight goodnight, i’m falling asleep because it’s the only thing that doesn’t burn. i’m falling asleep to go back again. everything glitches and i’m underneath your perfect teeth. you say “I would never hurt you” and i say “just like that?” and the layer starts over again, always back to the moment i asked you in my bravest of voices if i could hold your hand. you probably don’t remember that moment, or maybe you do but don’t particularly share the same sentiment over its importance. you see, i’m always fine until the part where i have to say it out loud, and then time stops. i have always wanted to tell you that something happened inside me that night and now i’m not the same me as i was before. so if you ever cross a bridge. if you ever get my voicemail, if you need me, i’ll be sketching up the dramatic parts in my head and they’ll happen just the way i imagined just you wait you wait. the last scene the very last one, the bottom layer, knee deep in mud knee deep in i told you so, you say “i would never hurt you” and instead of saying “just like that” i reach up to kiss you and the room evaporates. so if you want lemonade and bedtime stories, if i can make a believer out of you, if you want bucketfuls of november if you want grace if you want the courage it takes to ask for grace, you’re over the train tracks you’re almost home you’re almost there. what else can you say besides “okay pumpkin okay sweetheart, in my head everything was beautiful, the doorway now filled with people who send you birthday cards saying welcome back welcome home we’ve missed you, hello. hello. the time spent waiting, chorus of rain, i only invited you over so we could make perfect sense. i only gave my hands away because you didn’t want them anymore. and days later a man with a shark tooth necklace asked if i was okay and i lost it i just lost it. all the little red bricks with their little names carved into them, how they don’t feel comfortable under your feet, how there were hundreds of flowers but somehow we took a picture of the same one the very same one, and how we can’t talk about things like that anymore, how i was sitting on a bench and i didn’t hear you call my name, shaking hands on accident with your parents hello sir hello mam, your daughter is my favorite ghost.

Dispatches from the Days In-Between

An “Imperial Problem Child” story

The broadcasts, surprisingly, had been Madine’s idea in the end.

The council had been small, only for those with high enough clearance, and normally Skywalker wouldn’t have been included, but recent galactic events had been…odd, to say the least. The question of the hour was how to proceed with Operation Yellow Moon when the Rebellion was under increased scrutiny. (The reporters that showed up on inhabited worlds to mob Skywalker didn’t help either. It was still manageable at this point, as not everyone in the whole galaxy knew what the poor kid looked like, but Madine had his suspicions that one day it might get to the point where the boy started contemplating wearing a mask like his infamous sire.)

And there was another issue. Having Luke along on operations where Vader was likely to be present put the entire mission in jeopardy. Not because they were afraid Luke would betray them. He’d already managed to “steal” several Imperials for the Alliance, to Vader’s great annoyance, and no one in High Command doubted his commitment anymore. (though Madine couldn’t speak for the average Rebel-on-the-street, of course). The problem was that Vader would simply “sense” his son somehow and know right where they were.
Hence the discussion of what to do with Luke during the operation.

Keep reading

went outside, today,
to garden myself,

to plant a few more
rows of myself
on shifting tectonics —

vine ripes, sleepy roots,
and every color
found in
blushing petal
 

sometimes red means
spicy, or juicy;
though,
yellow is always mellow
caution;

blue is the way
a face stays pressed
to soil(ed)
beds, rather than risk
wrathful suns


today myself is
dirty, soaked,
cotton light filtered
through
crystal’d dew —
gently prism’d


today myself is
dug
in
deep;
mud seeped in
wheelbarrow trenches,
spinning, spinning;

oblivious to tool, and
trade, and burrowing
hunger


took a pic of myself
today — tomato tongue tasting
hints of rain —
and stuck it to a post in
the garden

pictographs
quietly warned that
we’re all just trying to grow


— courtney ann scarborough, “organic” 3/2/17

Who Is James Buchanan Barnes (Bucky × Reader)

Fluff!

Summary: A little anonymously requested Bucky Barnes fluff for his birthday, with eventual Bucky x Reader, as based off of the song ‘Seven Years Old’ by Lukas Graham. It’s very short and not well written, but I got it done. Basically, just a lot of angsty fluff on this one.

Character Gender; Not necessarily specified, hinted at petite female.

“[Y/N]! [Y/N] get in here now!” Steve’s voice rang out hurriedly from the living room of the cramped, empty New York apartment that you and ‘Team Cap’ had been pretty much squatting in since this early May. You quickly dropped the numerous loose notebooks that you had been filing away, slamming into a few crooked doorways as you rushed into the living room.

You were greeted not so kindly with the sight of a disgruntled Steve, as expected from the yelling, who was basically supporting Bucky from his entire left side. Bucky’s dark hair was hanging over his eyes, dripping from either sweat or blood, probably both. His eyes looked darker than normal, and there were deep smears in the mud on his face that resembled newly made tear tracks.

“Holy-” You trailed off in shock, ripping out the updo that your hair had been shoved up into mere seconds before, the instinct doing nothing to better the situation at hand, although you weren’t quite sure what the situation was.

“Steve, put him down, put him down.” You pulled off the lightly knit cardigan that you had been wearing over your exposed arms, rushing over to gently place it over Bucky’s heaving shoulders as soon as Steve dropped him into a sitting position on the loudly creaking couch.

You quickly grabbed a cotton rag from the precariously placed basket of laundry that you had yet to finish for the week, and began gently wiping the small debri off of your best friend Bucky’s cheeks, whilst interrogating Steve sternly, “What the hell happened out there?”

“I- I don’t know,” Steve managed, his throat sounding parched, and you hastily pointed out a bottled fountain drink that was placed on the edge of the coffee table for him to take a sip of, “One minute he was fine, ran off, and then I heard him yell.”

You continued gently wiping away the slightly layer of darkness off of Bucky’s cheeks, turning the cotton cloth to be cleaner, as he kept looking at the ground, both of his hands shaking in his lap. You let slip a few murmured curse words before you muttered angrily under your breath, “I bet he saw something that those messed up HYDRA bastards did to him.”

Steve only gasped in a shaky breath as a reply. You took that answer as enough and quickly decided that Bucky’s face was clean enough for now, then did a long range hoop shot with the cloth, which landed back into the huge dirty clothing pile. Steve was putting the cold drink you had pointed out to his right eye, which was beginning to bruise over.

You brushed Bucky’s lanky, moist hair out of his brimming eyes to back behind his ears, making a shudder run through him as you did so, his blue eyes snapping up to your face, a dark fear spreading from within them. You held up your hands in mock surrender, leaving his hair where it was behind his ears, but you kept your eyes trained on him, hoping that he wouldn’t lash out in his current state of fear.

Luckily, he didn’t. He just kept his scared eyes on you, watching your face as another tear drop fell from his left eye, and then his right, continuing until the tears were silently flowing down his face, cleansing it fully. He turned his eyes downcast in what appeared to be shame.

“Hey, hey,” You soothed in a whisper, reaching out to touch his left shoulder with your comforting hand.

He flinched away from your touch, his eyes snapping back up to yours again, and you froze the comforting motion, your hand barely hovering above the shoulder of his metal arm. He looked at you in uncertainty, with you looking back at him, and you slowly inched your hand until it was on top of his whirring metal shoulder, your thumb rubbing circles on the flesh that you could reach.

As you did so, he started crying harder, bringing his flash hand up to cover his mouth.

“Shh, shh,” You began again, but were cut off by Bucky’s voice cracking, as he whimpered out a sentence that made your heart shatter into about a million pieces; “What am I?

But it wasn’t your turn to be hurt this time, so you swallowed the huge, tight lump in the middle of your throat, and ignored the growing black hole in the pit of your stomach as you let out a breathy exhale and answered him as best you could, “You are Bucky.”

He shook his head, but you didn’t even give him the time to protest, as you went on, “Your name is James Buchanan Barnes. We call you Bucky. You were born in 1917. Steve and [Y/N] Rogers are your best friends, even since then.”

“Your mother was Rebecca Barnes, and she always told you to ‘go out and play’ or you’d be lonely, even when she got sick,” You reminded him quietly, ignoring Steve’s stare from across the room at the two of you. Bucky grabbed your free hand in his own flesh one, squeezing tightly at the thought of his mother, “And you did. And we all had fun, remember that?”

“Bucky, go out and play!

“"Don’t you need help with the chores, Ma?”

““No, silly, Steve and [Y/N] are waiting outside.”

“He turned to see you and Steve, arms waving from the main street that his apartment was built on, shouting out things that he couldn’t make out. He couldn’t help the loving smile that came to his face at the sight of Steve in his boring slacks and tweed, and you in your musty pink outfit, a crooked bow hanging in your hair.

““You sure?”

““Of course, sweetheart,” she coughed, and he could have sworn he saw a hint of blood on her hand as she wiped it on the nearest rag, which caused his hesitation and her response, “James Buchanan Barnes! If you don’t get out there right now-”

““Okay, okay, Ma! Fine!” He grabbed his coat, “Be back soon!”

Bucky nodded in a silent answer, Steve remaining quiet on the lumpy chair, and you kept filling the silence with your quietly uttered words, “It was such a big world even then, but we acted like we could beat it.”

You smiled fondly and glanced over at your older brother, Steve, who had put up his newly dirty boots on the coffee table, which you purposely ignored to keep the momentary peace, and he flashed a bittersweet smile back at you before you turned back to Bucky, still tightly holding his hand.

“But not just that,” you went on, trying everything you could to make Bucky feel better, because, as much as you hated to admit it to anyone, you loved him, “When we were ten, I think, I started getting hit on by drunks. You and Steve pummelled those pervs, even though you were both so skinny.”

“Hey, girly,” a resonating, deep voice sounded from behind the three of you, causing Steve to jump a little as your trio whirled around to face a drunk man sauntering down towards you, “wanna come back to my place? We could have some fun.”

“S-Sir,” you stuttered out nervously, grabbing tightly on to Bucky and Steve’s free hands, squeezing, “Sir, I’m only eleven.”

“Aw, sweetie,” the man slurred lazily, stepping forward and leaning down to your level, causing you to stumble backwards at his bourbon smelling breath, “Age don’ matter to me. And neither will that lil’ dress.”

“Hey!” Bucky interjected, fury in his voice, as Steve shoved you behind the two of them as they puffed up their chests and stared the drunk right in the eyes, “Wanna try that again, pedophile?”

“What?” The man growled out, his words fuzzy at the edges from too much excessive alcohol.

“You heard him!” Steve chimed in, getting right up in the man’s face and stabbing a finger at his chest.

Bucky turned to you, a determined smile gracing his young features as he nicked under your chin with two of his fingers, “[Y/N], run.”

Steve laughed from behind you at your words, and you let out a couple chuckles yourself, but Bucky remained silent even through the fond memory that made you feel so giddy inside. This prompted you to lift the hand on his shoulder to stroke the side of his hair gently, still slightly smiling with your eyes wide.

“Steve and I never had much money,” you felt a reminiscent warm glow begin growing inside of your chest as you rambled on, “but you did odd jobs for us. You gave us the money. I remember Steve gave you the biggest hug he could, and I couldn’t even reach your neck, I was so tiny.”

“Thank you so much, Bucky!” You laughed giddily down at the money that had been placed in both Steve and your’ hands only seconds before.

“Hey, no problem, doll.” Bucky smirked proudly as Steve dove in for a hug that Bucky had to lean down into, because Bucky was just that tall, or maybe Steve was just really short. Probably both.

As Steve leant away from Bucky’s brotherly hug, the dollar bills still clutched in his hand, you passionately jumped at Bucky, making him laugh loudly in surprise and catch you, swinging your petite body around in the air as all three of you laughed all laughed deliriously.

Steve smiled bigger, remembering the scrawny, unfed little girl that you used to be, and Bucky gave you a fake, fleeting smile as you kept running your fingers slowly and gently through the side of his hair, just above his left ear. You wanted to laugh more, remembering how small you used to be back then, when Bucky and Steve could practically pick you up with their pinky.

“Your dad, he always joked that you would marry me one day,” You smiled a small smile, a pink blush rising to your cheeks as Bucky looked up at you, realizing what you had said, “but you thought that it was gross, and shoved me away.”

“Why would I…?” Whispered Bucky sadly, but no one heard his words, and no one saw his lips move either, seeing as you had turned back around to a guffawing Steve, your own grin growing wider on your face.

“One day,” Bucky’s father’s loud, joking, deep voice rang around the room, “you and [Y/N] are going to get married, Buck!”

Both Steve and him laughed loudly, leaning back in their wooden chairs, while you covered your face with your hands, pouting at their relentlessly close teasing. Bucky made a disgusted face, pulling back in his chair.

“Ew!” He yelled in disgust, shoving your now laughing body away from his, as you made a pouting face through your ridiculous giggles, while Bucky’s father tousled up your pulled back hair with his large, calloused hand.

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t marry you either, James!” You stuck out your tongue.

“And I remember,” you went on, Bucky putting his now wide, curious eyes only on you, save for a few hesitant glances at Steve, “I remember you saying you wanted to be in the war, with the other men, like your dad. We were so young then, and when you said that, I cried. I remember both you and Steve had to comfort me.”

“I’m sorry…” Bucky whispered, just loud enough for you to hear, although Steve remained oblivious to Bucky’s words.

“No, no, no,” You rushed out, not wanting him to feel bad. Your hand immediately went to the side of his head again, combing over his smooth hair as best you could, with him ever so slightly leaning into your touch, looking at you guiltily, “I was a bit of a crybaby.”

“And, remember that one time when you-” Steve trailed off into loud laughter, leaning back on the seat, his brain going back to the memories that he had of the three of you, the memories Bucky was not gifted with.

You laughed again too, turning back to Bucky to hastily explain; “You got sick when we were teenagers. Not bad sick. Sick, like, be in bed for a couple weeks sick. But I was so worried about you, James. I wrote you letters every day. Sometimes I wrote out whole stories and songs that I thought you would like. You teased me so much after that.”

Dear James,

I hope you are well. Well, you’re obviously not, but I hope you get well soon. We miss you here so much. Steve misses you, although he keeps telling me you’ll be out of bed soon. I miss you a lot. No one’s bullied me yet, but I still would feel safer if you were here, not that Steve isn’t strong either. I have to go,

[Y/N] [Y/L/N].

Bucky looked up at you, not quite sure why he would have teased you for doing something so kind for him, but not speaking a word in question of it, for fear that it would burst the bubble of your brightly shining smile, the stories that gushed out of your lips, and your hand that was running gently fingers through the side of his hair.

You gazed fondly at your fingers grazing through his hair, and he couldn’t help but stare at the face that seemed so beautiful to him, your lips moving to speak, “You were such a smart boy, Bucky. A genius, honestly. You still are. You won so many awards, but you were so humble.”

“I- I was?” Bucky looked up into your eyes that flickered to his, disbelieving, and you nodded at him eagerly, a brightness in your eyes that he had rarely seen before as you swooped in and gave him a gently kiss on the forehead.

“And the winner is… James Buchanan Barnes!”

“Whooo! Go, Bucky!”

Your lips felt soft, warm on his forehead, and he tried his hardest not to close his eyes out of comfort, snuggle into your gentle touch, and just breath in all the care, all the love that you showed him. All the love that he had rarely been shown in the last seventy years, that he was desperate to have from you.

“I don’t know if you remember, Buck,” you went on, making him snap out of his loving daze to look fully back into your eyes, “but we always asked you why you didn’t just get out there and become a popular kid, because you could if you wanted to, I’m sure. You had this class. But you always said we ‘were the only ones you really loved, and the only ones who would ever really know you’.”

“We love you too, Bucky.” You murmured sleepily, your young teenage eyes slipping closed as you leant your heavy head on his left shoulder gently, feeling a warm arm wrap around your shoulders, a kiss placed to the top of your hair, making you cuddle into his side even farther, your nose smelling his cologne.

“Good to know,” He chuckled at your sleepy voice, giving you another light kiss on the head, as you felt the back of Steve’s head land gently on your lap to sleep, “Goodnight, you two.

“When we were twenty years old, maybe older,” you squeezed his hand and felt him lightly squeeze yours back, making you smile at him, a sight that made him want to hug you tight, “you went off to the war. 107th, and Steve followed you, the stupid punk. Then I met Peggy, and we ran off after the two of you like two lost, determined puppies.”

“You don’t understand, Peggy!” Your voice sounded desperately pitiful, even from your own perspective, “We have to find them somehow! Steve’s my brother! My only brother! And Bucky- Bucky is- my best friend! Take me to the 107th, please!”

Peggy gave you a look, and you could see the look in her eyes, the effect that meeting Steve, even for a brief second had put upon her, and she nodded, “Let’s do this then.”

“Really?” Bucky asked, looking up at you like a small child who was hearing a jaw dropping story from an adult, and you smiled, the corners of your eyes scrunching up as you did so, nodding in response to his question, as you pushed some more loose hair out of his eyes, causing him to lean back into your pushing touch.

“You always saw your plans,” you let go of his hand, having to pry your fingers from his, as he did not want to let go, and he whimpered when you did so. But you quickly took your fingers from his hair to hold his hand, while putting your free one on his flesh shoulder firmly, “You told us failure was only a concept.”

Bucky nodded at what you said, something showing through in his eyes, something like a faint glimmer of true remembrance, “I did.”

You slid over onto the lumpy couch beside him, the metal springs creaking loudly as you did so, but no one in the room seemed to mind the sound, your gentle voice merely covering it up with soft words, “You knew our- Steve and I- our voices made a difference, even if they were small.”

Bucky turned his head to look at your beautiful face, small snippets of sentences falling out of his lips, just as meaningful as if they were paragraphs, “I still think that.”

Your eyes lit up at the fact that you were seeing a bit into the inner Bucky that he hid away so well, and you quickly leaned forward to gently eskimo kiss him with a smile on your face, causing his breath to hitch in his chest and a gasp to come out of his throat, one that you didn’t notice, along with the awkward tension practically radiating from Steve.

“Just remember,” you went on carefully, seeing the guilt, and pain from his Winter Soldier years reflecting in his baby blue eyes, “you’ve got us with you. We’ll always be there for you. Sam, Wanda, Steve, and me.”

“Steve… You.” Bucky repeated your words lightly, seeming awestruck by the caring phrase, “You’ll always be there…”

“Yeah,” you reached forward again, and lightly put a soft hand on his cheek, that he leaned into with a whimper, a few unexpected tears running down his cheeks, “and if you ever can’t tell us something for any reason, because you’re in danger, or you just hurt when you say it, you write it down for us, Bucky. We’ll help you find a way. I promise. Okay?”

“Okay.” He murmured helplessly, looking directly into your big beautiful eyes that had so much hope for him. There was so much belief in your big eyes, it made him want to stare into them forever and ever and ever, and kiss you. It made him want to kiss you.

“Soon, we’ll all be a hundred years old,” you laughed out, a light laugh, but with a lump in your throat forming, not of sadness this time, but of joy, “can you believe that?! There are tee shirts with our names on them! Your name, Bucky! Because you’re a hero!”

“I’m not a hero-” Bucky tried to protest, but you gave him no choice.

“Of course you’re a hero,” you gushed, putting another hand on the other side of his face to make him look at you, not as if he needed any prompting, “people around the world stand up for you! Stand up against Tony, the Accords! You wanna know why? It’s because they believe that you are a hero! And so do I!”

“You believe I’m a hero?” Bucky questioned you incredulously, just enjoying the feelings of your gentle hands on either side of his face, your thumbs rubbing comforting circles just beneath his eyes, which was putting him on the threatening edge of closing his eyes and just feeling your presence. At this point, Steve had left the room smirking.

You bobbed your head up and down enthusiastically at his question, changing to a meaningful expression in an instant, “Sure, you’ve made mistakes. So, we all have. You’re still learning about this life, how could you know?”

Bucky put his hands over your hands subconsciously, feeling more tears prick the back of his eyes at what you were saying about him, the beautiful words pouring out of your moutb, “One day, if you want it, a woman will give you children, and you can raise them however you want! Because you’re free now. Free, Bucky. And imagine the stories you’ll tell them, the songs you can sing.”

But I can’t sing, Bucky thought, delirious in all the care and love that he was getting from you, I want you to sing, [Y/N]. For me.

“Sure, we all got lost.” You went on, “But we remember our old lives, and so our new lives become better ones. And we all love each other. I love Steve, Steve loves me. Steve loves you, you love Steve. I love you…”

You trailed off, realizing what it was that had just came out of your mouth, wanting to take it back immediately, but also slightly glad that you put it out there, because he definitely needed it so much right then. You just looked into his eyes, hands still on either side of his face.

“Y- You love me?” Bucky whimpered out at you, stuttering as his fingers fell away from your fingers that wrapped on yours on his cheeks.

“Yeah, you’re damn right I do.” You shot back at him, seeing the longing disbelief in his eyes, one of your gifts being to read people, and going with what your romance-movie-watching inner self told you to do.

You kissed him.

Sure, it was a sudden move. Hell, everything in your life had been sudden since the day you turned two, and it was a little bit rash to do without consent, but you were hoping that it would go well enough that you wouldn’t regret it later. And, apparently, your hoping powers were really strong, because let me tell you something; it did not go badly at all.

He kissed you back, not adding any force to it, but just moving his oddly soft lips along yours, moving his shaking hands to your hands that were still placed on the sides of his cheeks, rubbing those circles to wipe away his tears, and you could feel them; the tears, from joy of now, or before, running down his soft cheeks.

When you both broke away from one another, you immediately pulled his body into a soft hug, his cheek resting on your collar bone, able to smell your exquisite vanilla shampoo that he had always complimented in the forties. Your fingers raked through the back of his hair, causing him to shudder, but in a good way.

“Thank you, [Y/N].” He graciously added, his voice shaking, and his arms cautiously wrapping around your waist, “I- um, I love you too. A lot.”

Originally posted by pxggycxrters