downtown edge

Company (m) - 01

➢ parts: one - two

∟for two members of a world where broken promises are mended with spilt blood and contracts of a persons fate are sealed over a drink, from time to time it’s more than alright to mix business and pleasure.

or, sometimes all you want is a bit of company. 

mafia/hitman au
smut, violence, romance
・chapter warnings/graphic content: thigh riding, mentions of violence
word count: 4,421

Originally posted by jackjacky5


You decide it is very difficult to focus when he runs a finger along the rim of his glass, eyes peering down at the amber liquid with deep interest and you wonder what he is thinking. What thoughts are occupying his mind as you sit across from him in the leather chair, legs crossed, the material of your dress riding up as you lean forward to grab hold of your own glass of rum.

The room you had decided to meet in is large, well-furnished and reeks of money he has no doubt acquired from many years on the job. You allow your gaze to roam over the aged, oak cabinets filled to the brim with antiques and glass figurines, the expensive leather seats you both occupy and the countless other objects which just goes to show he has acquired quite the large sum of money as a leader of a notorious company, employees of which are hired out to do jobs that usually end in body counts.

Keep reading

lostwithoutmyanchor  asked:

The prompt I mentioned: Maybe Steter - meeting online in a supernatural forum/chat. maybe AU meeting first time or somewhere in canon and them not realising who the other is.

Thank you @ssree for proofing and for listening to me whine about this one for this long. Because people, this one was a nightmare and I’m never ever doing something like this again T.T

Right, wrong and everything in between.

Prompted by@lostwithoutmyanchor: The prompt I mentioned: Maybe Steter - meeting online in a supernatural forum/chat. maybe AU meeting first time or somewhere in canon and them not realising who the other is.

Peter supposes that as a baby, there must have been some moments when it happened, but as far as his memories go, he can’t actually remember a time in his life when he was truly happy. He came too late, too unexpected, too different, and his parents, who were thinking about retirement in a couple of years or three at the most and an easy life where their toughest choice would be whether they wanted whipped cream with their pancakes or not, never were able to forget that he was the reason they couldn’t do that. Which Peter resents quite a bit, mind you, because it’s not like they didn’t do it anyway, pawing him off to Talia again and again.

And Peter guesses that he wouldn’t have minded if Talia had cared for him beyond an abstract sense of responsibility towards her family, if she hadn’t been barely a teenager (and later an adult, when Peter would finally stop trying) that didn’t want to be saddled with a baby brother when she had other more important things to worry about like school, her boyfriend, her cheerleader competitions, college, her marriage, alphahood, her pregnancy.

(But never Peter).

And so, what Peter remembers about his childhood is the burn of disappointmentpainanger when he’d try his best to be the ideal son (perfect grades, medals at competitions, always helpful, tidy, calm), and it only seemed to earn him the opposite effect when they left him even more alone. Needless to say, he stopped being a child pretty early and by the time Laura came along and he suddenly was expected to help take care of her because she was a precious baby that needed to be loved (what’s wrong with you Peter?), he had developed a hide thick enough to not rage inside about the double standards.

Except they’re paying attention to him now and Peter feels about to burst out of his own skin.

They’ve made him what he is. He’s a neat freak, an obsessive perfectionist, a cynic, a sarcastic shit. He’s loyal but distant, he’s dependable but vicious, he’s smart but devious. Everything he is is a direct result of their actions but they keep asking what’s wrong with you Peter?

It was their choice to make him the enforcer too (theirs, always theirs) and at the time Peter stupidly thought that maybe he had found his place finally, that such a position in the pack would earn him recognition (instead of the love he used to want, but that’s fine, because he stopped wanting it a long time ago) and respect. Or shouldn’t they be grateful that Peter keeps the pack safe at the very least?

(Apparently, even after all these years teaching him better, Peter still hasn’t learned. Shame on him.)

He comes back breathless and shaking from exhaustion after taking on a witch that wouldn’t heed Talia’s warnings about leaving their territory and they look at him and ask what’s wrong with you Peter? An omega tries to trespass and Derek is on his way, so Peter does what he must, leaving the kid covered in blood by accident but otherwise unharmed, and they ask what’s wrong with you Peter? And it can’t be said that Peter doesn’t learn from his mistakes, because he steps back and dials it down a notch, but they still ask what’s wrong with you Peter?

And so, he feels cornered because their eyes are on him at all times -and why the hell did he wish for their attention before? It’s unbearable!- and nothing he tries seems to be the correct answer. Because either he’s too vicious or too soft, either he’s too violent or too inefficient, but neither of those or anything in between is the right option and it’s driving him insane.

And Peter is a neat freak, an obsessive perfectionist and a cynic. He’s distant, vicious and devious! But he’s also loyal and dependable, and, above all, smart and knows himself enough to know that he’s almost at the breaking point and he might do something he will regret later, so he leaves.

(Because shortcomings apart, they’re still family, they’re still pack, they’re still his, for the better or the worse.)

Which is why he’s sitting on a swing at a park downtown, almost at the edge of town, contemplating his options. Because the reality of it is that if he leaves, he’ll become an omega unless he finds another pack that will take him in. In normal circumstances, Peter knows he would have been able to prove his worth, but with the pull Talia has, who would dare take him in and go against her? Peter’s lips pull into a snarl, because he himself is partly to blame for that. While Talia has gained a lot of respect for her ability to perform a full shift and her upfront way of dealing with the problems that come her way, Peter is the one she’s sent into the shadows to do the dirty work for her when her method failed, effectively cementing her image as a powerful alpha. So, essentially, Peter has made his own bed and now has to lie in it.

A hand comes into his direct line of vision and Peter startles, instantly on guard, because he never heard anyone approach, and he should have, no matter how distracted he was. He frowns suspiciously when it turns out that the hand belongs to a five (maybe six, he does look around Cora’s age) year old kid that’s handing him some gummy bears with a face devoid of any emotion. Whatever his age is, it’s way too late for a kid this small to be out at this hour of the night, Peter notices, but then he remembers his own childhood and keeps silent.

“What’s your name?” the little boy squeaks suddenly, hand still extended towards him. “Because dad says I can’t speak to strangers but if you tell me your name then you won’t be a stranger anymore and then I won’t be talking to a stranger and breaking the rules anymore.”

“Peter,” he answers blinking before he can think of it, too thrown off by the speed of the kid’s speech. “And I don’t really think it works that way, kid.”

“Hi, Peter, nice to meet you,” the kid continues unfazed, reaching to shake his hand and leaving the gummy bears behind when they unclasp hands.

The boy nods self-satisfied, as if having remembered to fulfill the social niceties is a success for him, and then he proceeds to hop onto the free swing beside Peter. It takes him three tries to actually achieve that but Peter manages to keep a straight face despite feeling his lips wanting to twitch. Then he tries to sway but he’s too short and his feet don’t reach the ground, and finally Peter snorts softly and reaches to give him enough momentum to be able to swing by himself as he sticks one of the gummy bears in his mouth.

“Thanks, sir,” the kid chirps.

The boy continues swinging silently for the next five minutes and Peter honestly doesn’t know why he doesn’t leave, because if someone finds him with an escaped kid in the middle of the night there’s going to be hell to pay. And an escapee he is, of that Peter has no doubt. More over, this is not the first time he’s done this either because he’s way too calm about being alone in the dark and too prepared, which tells Peter even more about him, because he remembers doing the same when he was a little older than this boy, and knows the difference between hiding and “hiding”. And the kid is hiding for sure. He’s not trying to manipulate his parents emotionally by disappearing on them, he really doesn’t want to be found and has come accordingly prepared to last all night. He has somewhat warm clothes, food, drinks and has chosen a secluded park where no one will think to look for him, but secure enough that if something happens he has a lot of places to hide and a 24h fast food joint just across the street where he can ask for help if he needs to.

(Smart kid.)

A normal person would call the police. Peter, who thinks more of whatever the kid may have left behind, who can see himself in him and knows that some kids aren’t really kids and can take care of themselves, doesn’t.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

They sit in silence for a bit and Peter tries to think about his own situation but his mind is blank. For the first time in his life he doesn’t know what to do and now that the anger that had pushed him before has burned out, he just feels numb. He rubs his forehead tiredly and sighs. The little boy, who had let the momentum die a while ago and now was just content swinging his own legs, as if he couldn’t keep still, reaches to place his backpack on his lap and then rummages inside until he seems to find what he’s looking for. He takes a batman tupper out and offers its contents to Peter after a little hesitation. Peter declines and the kid shrugs and starts eating himself. Then he blinks, stops and reaches to pass Peter the rest of his gummy bears. Peter’s lips twitch involuntarily and he takes the offered treat with a murmured thanks.

Much later, he hears a car coming down the road and looks in that direction, pondering if he should warn his little companion or not. Noticing his attention is elsewhere, the kid blinks at him quizzically.

“Car,” he murmurs finally making up his mind, and if he had any doubts about the boy’s situation, they get completely erased when he springs from the swing and hurriedly runs inside one of those domes with a lot of holes that Peter has never bothered to learn the name of. “Well,” he sighs and goes after him, because why the hell not at this point? It’s not like he wants to have to answer to any questions if it’s a patrol car, after all.

It’s a tight fit and the boy is looking at him very intensely now, as if he’s trying to understand why would an adult hide, because he probably thinks what every kid thinks, that adults don’t have to respond to anyone and can do whatever they want. But he seems like a very smart boy, so maybe he thinks Peter is a criminal? In any case, whatever he’s thinking, it’s obvious he makes up his mind about it quite quickly, though, because he looks inside his backpack again and passes a bag of chips to Peter before going back to his own food.

“Well,” Peter sighs again, because this is a new low for him. He was supposed to be on his way to a new life and instead he’s hiding with a five-maybe-six year old kid at a park in the middle of the night and eating said kid’s provisions too.

He opens the bag anyway.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

He looks at the boy’s tupper absently and ponders about it. Peter has never had one of those, his have always been generic. For his birthday he would get clothes or practical (impersonal) things, always hastily bought items when they finally remembered his birthday must have already passed because it was November already. This boy has a batman hoodie with batman pajamas and shocks underneath and a batman tupperware. The clothes look slightly small on him and the tupper is on the small side too. Maybe he’s reading too much into it, but he’d bet that things started to change at home when those still fit him.

Peter wonders which is worse, not having ever been loved by family or having known the feeling and then losing it.

His phone rings and he sighs. He considers not picking up, but then he admits to himself that if he really was going to leave, he would have already done so by now and wouldn’t be lingering around. He picks up.

After he hangs up, he closes his eyes and just concentrates on his breathing for a minute. When he opens them again, the kid is looking at him and there’s something like recognition in his eyes. Peter takes off his red hoodie to drap it over his little shoulders when he catches a shiver running through his small frame and then turns to leave without a backwards glance.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

He sighs and then sticks his head inside again. “Listen, kid,” he starts and then bites his lip. “There’s nothing wrong with you. Whatever is happening to you, it’s not your fault. They’re the adults that should be taking care of you and there’s nothing more you have to do but be the way you are, ok?” The boy is not breathing, Peter can tell. His eyes are almost impossibly wide and his hands are clenched around the tupper. “There’s nothing wrong with you, ok?

“But-”

“No,” Peter cuts him implacably. Because the kid could be a devil for all he knows, but if at five-maybe-six he’s so skilled at hiding, at escaping his own home, and police aren’t swarming the streets after the almost two hours they’ve been here, whatever is wrong is not his fault. “There’s nothing wrong with you.

There’s a pause and the boy finally unclenches his hands. He swallows forcibly and for a second his eyes don’t leave Peter’s.

“There’s… nothing wrong with me?”

“There’s nothing wrong with you.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

“Exactly,” Peter nods as he turns to leave. “Take care, kid, and don’t forget that.”

“Peter?” He looks back towards the boy and finds himself caught by eyes that know more than they should. “There’s nothing wrong with you either, right?”

“I-yes,” he stutters caught off guard before taking a deep breath and regaining his footing. “There’s nothing wrong with me either, kid.”

“Ok,” the boy nods and Peter suddenly remembers how to breathe. “Goodbye, Peter.”

And so Peter leaves and goes to search for Cora, who isn’t in her bed and no one has seen her since the movie night ended half an hour ago. He finds her “hiding”, apparently sulking (and not just a little frightened about being alone in the middle of the night despite her thunderous scowl) because she’s grounded for pushing one of her classmates to get a toy she wanted, grabs her by the ear and takes her home.

Things don’t get any better on the family front after that, but Peter doesn’t care anymore. He’s still a neat freak, an obsessive perfectionist, a cynic, a sarcastic shit. He’s still loyal, distant, dependable, vicious, smart and devious, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. So when Talia tells him to take care of this or that threat, he does it and doesn’t care about the looks he earns for his methods. And when she orders him to take care of the Paige issue (because she’s always the white queen and Peter has to be the black knight), he does so without contemplations, and when they ask what’s wrong with you, Peter? afterwards, he says nothing, which will always be is his shameless answer no matter what happens onwards.

If the closest he can get to happiness is by achieving mental peace, Peter will take it and be, well, happy.

And then he’s on fire, everything is on fire, the pain is unbearable and it just won’t stop. At some point, when he can’t feel anything anymore and the screams have died, he briefly wonders if the kid had more luck than him before he welcomes the blessed darkness that closes down on him.

There are intruders in the house and it’s Peter’s job to stop them but the pain is unbearable and everything is in burning hot agony and Peter can’t move. Makeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstop. Peter can’t stand it, Peter can’t move, Peter is being dragged away, Peter can’t protect his pack.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Peter screams and screams. The remaining pack bonds stretch thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner. They snap. He howls. He tries to grasp them but they slip through his fingers like sand. He howls and howls and howls.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Peter is trapped, he can’t move, he’s alone, defenseless, vulnerable. He rages and screams and howls but no sound comes out of his mouth. He wants to rip, to avenge but he’s useless and his pack is dead.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Peter will tear them apart, he will. And he will enjoy every second of it. His fangs will bite into flesh, his claws will tear into them, and he will make them feel every ounce of pain tenfold. One by one he will hunt them down and he will make them regret ever thinking of hurting his pack. Hurtful and dismissive and infuriating, but his. His and no one else’s. They will pay for taking them from him dearly.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(Everything.)

For the first time in years he can move. The window is open and he surges through it. His legs give out and he grunts upon impact. He forces them to support his weight and pushes himself until he reaches the edge of the woods. The earthy smells assault his nose and the soft sounds of the forest fill his ears. He howls at the moon, high, high in the sky.

(No answer comes.)

Peter resists the temptation to rip the woman’s throat out and goes towards the woods instead. It’s a near thing but for now he needs her, so he can’t teach her how wrong she is for treating him like a dog that needs to be let out to take a piss at night. It will eventually come to that but he will wait until his skin stops feeling like cracking leather, until he doesn’t stumble every few steps because his muscles are still atrophied, until his lungs don’t protest at every effort he makes.

Peter dreams about it, though. Vividly. Her shocked face when she realizes that she has chewed more than she can swallow, her panicked breaths as she tries to flee, her choked screams as his claws tear into her.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

For now he has more important things to concentrate, though, since he has some murderers to hunt down and a pack to avenge. Besides, he has all the time to teach her why prey can’t play with predators after she has outlived her usefulness.

A month passes and he has yet to kill his nurse, who still treats him like a dog, who still acts like she has the upper hand, who still thinks that she will get what she wants. So, so stupid, but she’s still surprisingly useful for now so he ignores it. Instead, Peter digs and digs until he finds the ones responsible for the fire.

All things considered, it’s disgustingly easy. He gets his hands on all the reports and news articles on the fire, and he comes to a clear conclusion: someone either bribed the ones responsible for writing them or they doctored the evidence before the officials arrived.

It gives him a place to start in any case.

He tracks down one of the culprits to a seedy bar on the outskirts of town. It doesn’t take him very long to ascertain that the man is drinking in an effort to drown the guilt he feels for having participated on the whole thing, even if he only faked the information in the report.

Humans are funny things. The man wishes to atone for his sins so much that he even wants to die, but when faced with the real possibility of dying, he fights tooth and nail to survive. Which suits Peter just fine, because he wants to make them experience the terror, the helplessness and the pain his pack felt along with the asphyxiating certainty of defeat in the end.

He directs the terrified man to where he wants him and then he even lets him have some advantage before he gives chase. Peter makes him run for hours until the man lets himself drop in exhaustion to the ground, now too tired, too certain of his imminent death that he can’t care anymore. Peter makes him care once more and then, only then, tears into him, pacing himself to make it last. Ultimately, the man dies of shock, his heart giving out, rather than because of the wounds Peter inflicts on him.

With the information he got out of that man, he tracks down a bigger prey, one that participated directly in lighting his house on fire. He learned his lesson from his first prey and knows to push him only so far before getting his hands on him. When he tires of the chase, he bites into his ankles so he drops to the ground with a scream, his tendons ripped and unable to run anymore. If the man wants to move he’ll have to crawl, but before he makes it anywhere he’ll die of bloodloss. That certainty is so, so sweet… but still not enough. Every new sound Peter extracts out of him is as satisfying as the last one and he only laments that he can’t get more out of him, that his fragile human body breaks so quickly under his hands. He’ll do better next time, but for now he’s satisfied with having extracted more names from him before he lost his voice.

Then, one day, Laura appears and whatever good remains from the Peter from before the fire suffers a swift death just then when he realizes that it wasn’t that he had been left packless because everyone had died, but because he had been abandoned; when he learns that she’s only back because the news of the killings had reached her (the markings he instructed his nurse to leave on the animals to draw the ultimate culprits out calling her instead), not because she had finally come back for Peter.

He suspects it never even crossed her mind, just like with Talia a long time ago. But what did he expect? She (they, all of them) was taught that way, made that way just like Peter was made by them. But Peter learned from his mistakes so Laura will too?

What’s wrong with you, Peter?” she asks horrified when he tells her why he killed those men, and then she refuses to avenge the pack. “I’m the alpha,” she growls. “I forbid you to continue.”

Peter blacks out for a moment. When he comes back to himself, he feels nothing at the sight of his dead niece. Some part of him is vaguely dissapointed that it doesn’t feel cathartic in some way that his claws took her life for her transgressions but, honestly, he feels nothing besides the need to scoff at the look of surprise and betrayal that will be permanently engraved on her face.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Peter is stronger, faster, more powerful than he has ever been! It’s an exhilarating and euphoric feeling and he can’t have enough of it.

But he can get even better if he gets his own pack and since Peter has always been a firm believer of taking advantage of the opportunities that rise around him, there’s no time like the present. He lunges forward towards the boy -Pretty healthy if with a slightly weak-looking body. Smells a little like medicine, but unless he has some mental illness, the transformation will take care of it. If not, Peter will take care of him like a good alpha should, and teach him to use what he has. If he dies, he will try again.- and he doesn’t even get to scream before Peter’s teeth are sinking in his side.

The kid takes off running. Peter is very amused at the pup and entertains the thought of playing with him for a while, but he can hear people drawing near and it’s not like the teen won’t come when Peter beckons him tomorrow anyway, so he lets him slip away and returns to his hospital room even though he wants nothing less. However, since he wants the pleasure of seeing Kate Argent’s surprised face as he rips her throat out when she inevitably shows up, he’ll bear with it for now. Which, sadly, also means that he can’t get rid of his nurse either despite being self-sufficient again.

Well, they do say that what resists you is sweeter in the end.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Well, look at who decided to finally show up.

Derek has grown up a lot since he saw him last, about six years ago. Gone are the baby fat and the awkward limbs but the bunny teeth that Peter used to vaguely find somewhat adorable remain. Viciously, Peter wishes Talia was still alive to see her son, to see what her ways brought upon them, what her negligent teachings resulted in. A mediocre daughter that couldn’t even keep up with the most basic duty of an alpha (never leave a packmate behind) and a stupid son that trusted the hunter that killed them all, that’s what. And now said daughter is dead and said son doesn’t look capable enough to survive by himself. Peter really wishes he could bring his sister back from the dead to see, because this is ultimately her fault and it’s not fair that she got the easy way out as always.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

He has the sudden urge to just gouge his nephew’s eyes out when they land on his scarred face and the nearly asphyxiating scent of despair and self-hate that clings to him threatens to overpower Peter’s sensitive nose. He can’t feel that remorseful if he’s showing up now, probably just because Laura has dropped out of the radar without warning.

He contains himself, but just barely. It helps that Derek merely stands there looking at him just for five minutes, making no move to speak, and then leaves. If he had tried to touch him, he doesn’t know if he’d been able to restrain himself. Peter doesn’t like to be touched nowadays. It’s more than enough that he has to bear with sponge baths, with being positioned here and there by complete strangers with no say whatsoever for the sake of keeping the farce up. If the touch wasn’t so clinical the walls would have been painted red a long time ago, and that may still happen if a certain nurse makes another crude joke about some parts of his anatomy.

Peter’s lips curl derisively for a second before he schools his face into a neutral expression once again. He lets his hands relax too when he notices he’s about to twist the metal of the wheelchair out of shape.

He wonders about what he should do about Derek. His first instinct is to kill him, of course, because Derek is not pack and is in his territory. Besides, instincts aside and on a more rational note, he doesn’t have any delusions about his dear nephew’s reaction when he finds out he killed Laura. And he will, that’s for sure, because they aren’t pack anymore (if they were, Peter would have felt the bond with Derek at the same time the alpha powers settled, but nothing was there until that boy’s bite took some hours ago and that fragile link sprouted to life), so there’s no way the alpha powers would have gone to Peter instead of Derek if she had died naturally, and he can’t sell someone else killing her and him taking revenge for her since he has already feigned still being comatose. However, after what he’s seen in the scant minutes he was here, Derek might actually welcome death as it will be the end of his suffering and Peter doesn’t want to give him the easy way out.

Choices, choices.

Well, Kate Argent is bound to appear soon and if Derek is here, she’ll be inclined to think it was him who killed those people. Leaving his nephew alive instead of killing him or driving him out of the territory might prove to be useful to keep her attention off Peter while he approaches her.

If he proves to be too troublesome, Peter can always change his mind at a later date, after all, and drive him out of the territory.

The boy comes only once, completely feral and out of control, and, of all things, tries to save the bus driver from Peter. He bats the unruly pup away (he doesn’t know better, after all) but in the end he has to leave because the boy is so out of it, so defensive, that to get what he wants he’d have to kill him and Peter doesn’t want that. And even though the need to rid the world of that scum that is cowering and smelling like urine is almost irresistible, it’s not worth the price right now. Besides, either the bus driver will die before help arrives or en route to the hospital, or he will end up not very far to Peter’s own room, and his nurse has to keep being useful unless she wants to become expendable, after all.

After that incident, the boy won’t come no matter how many times Peter calls. One part of him is peeved about the insubordination, but the other is reluctantly impressed because it demonstrates a great deal of the self-control that he lacked on their first encounter, so maybe he’s had luck this time.

Except it doesn’t take him too long to find out how wrong he is because he couldn’t have found a more asinine teenager even if he’d tried. He won’t submit, it looks like he resents being a werewolf despite all the advantages it has given him (he actually thinks of them as a compensation, which Peter finds pretty insulting, thank you very much) and, worst of all, he seems to share the same stupidity as Derek where the Argents are concerned. Peter would be able to work with that even if it’s not the best foundation to start from, but add to that his obtuse refusal to be taught to round it all up and it makes his first beta a perfect failure.

How disappointing.

Peter is reluctant about how to proceed, though. While he can’t afford to be weighted down by a liability, the boy is just a stupid pup, he doesn’t know better, and however fragile it might be, he’s pack, because that bond is still there. And Peter not only takes care of his messes -because this is undoubtedly his mess; a poor decision made hastily that he won’t repeat ever again, sure, but that resolution doesn’t change that it’s his responsibility to deal with it- but he takes care of his pack no matter how lacking they may be. It’s convoluted, he knows, but it’s how things work, how good alphas must be.

Still, not everything is a loss and the whole situation may be salvageable yet, because the boy with his wayward beta is certainly interesting and could prove to be the piece he’s missing to get his beta to come. With no apparent previous knowledge of the supernatural, he has managed to teach a newly turned wolf control to a certain degree, which is impressive. He also hasn’t chickened out even when faced with a feral werewolf, and that shows a loyalty that Peter values above anything else. Even better, he doesn’t seem afraid to do what’s necessary to keep his people safe, demonstrating a callousness that makes Peter giddy to see what he would be capable of if pushed.

All of which means that no matter how everything evolves, he can’t just take care of one Scott McCall even if he continues to refuse the bond and ends up breaking it completely (thus turning omega and not pack and not Peter’s responsibility anymore), as it will earn him a vengeful teenager with enough smarts to actually take him down. Again, a trait that he appreciates, but not aimed at him.

Well, if the worst comes to happen, there are hunters in town and Scott is dating the daughter of one, so Peter is sure that at one point or another, if he turns omega, he will cross a line and get himself killed and save Peter the trouble. He has patience in spades, he can wait.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

—-

Kate Argent finally comes into town. Peter expected her to come into his hospital room and try something but she doesn’t. Peter doesn’t know if he’s disappointed or not about it, but part of him is relieved, because he knows that if she’d had the gall… And while it would have been an immensely satisfying thing, if anyone deserves Peter taking his sweet time to tear their world apart, it’s her.

In the meantime, Peter tracks down another cockroach of the ones that helped burn his pack alive and goes to pay him a visit. As his claws are tearing into him without contemplations, he catches a wiff of something that is not human in a terrified girl that witnesses the whole thing along with another boy, and he files it out as something to investigate at a later date. He leaves the mangled corpse behind in clear sight, hoping that it will drive the message to Argent. You can run, you can hide, but his is what will happen to you no matter how much you try to avoid it.

Anticipation is part of the game, after all.

But still, Kate is a dangerous animal and confusing her would be worthwhile (and also Peter could use a little less of police patrols going around, to be honest), so he catches a mountain lion and releases it on the parking lot of the school and watches from far away as chaos reigns.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

He expected some kind of action from his wayward beta (prompted, no doubt, by Stiles), but being howled at to be lured at night to school is not precisely what he predicted. Nevertheless, he bites so to speak, and decides to make the most out of it and tricks the Argent girl into the school (maybe if she displays the common attitude of her family towards werewolves Scott will finally wake up?), getting the unexpected bonus of the boy and girl from the store, which is perfect, because he wanted to take a second look at her anyways.

It’s a very… revealing night, that’s for sure.

First, Lydia Martin is a banshee and she doesn’t know it, which can prove to be really useful for Peter at a later date if he plays his cards right. Second, that boy from the store has been scratched by a werewolf (either Derek or Scott, but Peter is pretty sure it was the former) and is exhibiting some kind of reaction to it. Third… he still cares at least a little bit for Derek, which is vexing to say the least.

By all means, Peter should have taken the chance to kill him on that parking lot but he simply incapacitated him. True, he hurt him quite a bit (that he cares about him doesn’t change the deep well of resentment he harbours, thank you very much) but he’ll recover from it given enough time. Why? Derek is proving to be more of a hindrance than anything else, because not only do the Argents already know that he’s not the alpha and are trying to use him to find Peter, but also, by the looks of it, he’s teaching all sorts of nonsense to Scott that couldn’t be more wrong. Which means that either Peter still cares about Derek or he still feels some kind of familiar duty towards his nephew. And he can’t deny this because when he’s shifted he acts more based on instinct, and he stayed away from vital organs… and it certainly wasn’t because he wanted to prolong his suffering.

All in all, Peter is left floundering a little because he has to re-evaluate his stance on this matter. However, before he can decide exactly about how to proceed, he gets found out.

“You must be Stiles,” he purrs, delighted to finally have a chance to asses Stiles’ intelligence in person without any intermediaries.

Except apart from an admittedly good self-preservation instinct, he doesn’t get to find out much because Derek intervenes.

(He sighs inwardly. Always so dramatic, his nephew.)

After the encounter, Peter abandons any semblance of subtlety and leaves the hospital entirely. He has managed to convince Derek that he killed Laura without recongnizing her. It’s a little stretch of the truth, because he obviously knew it was her, but it’s also true that he wasn’t in his right mind when he killed her and he’d have probably not done it if he was. In any case, there’s no way to prove it was otherwise and with the way he laid it out, Derek detected no lie, so Peter is pretty satisfied with the results.

While he waits for an opportunity to take Kate down, he does everything he can to make Scott accept the pack. Peter doesn’t think it will get him anywhere, to be honest, but it has the added bonus of acting as a test for Stiles to see if he will be a worthy beta, because it’s obvious that just winging it won’t work for a person with the kind of luck Peter has. Sadly, Scott is more than proof enough of that. He’s also sure that the only way to get Scott is to get Stiles, because they’re attached at the hip, but at this point he’ll be quite content with only getting the latter.

He tries to make Scott give up everyone in his life and Stiles metaphorically grabs at him and doesn’t let go. It also serves to make his beta stay away from the Argent girl, but sadly, it only makes Scott even more infatuated because of their forbidden love.

He asks Scott’s mother to a date, and the teen in question just gapes uselessly. Stiles crashes his jeep on Peter’s car to stop them from having said date. He nearly laughs delightedly right there.

Derek disappears, so Peter decides to kill two birds with one stone. He crashes their prom night both to attack Stiles’ date (because Peter always has backup plans) and to get Derek’s whereabouts out of him, and the teen bargains for her life, terrified but sure. He gives up a way to locate Derek through Scott’s phone, but Peter can see a plan already forming in his eyes, so he makes the teen go with him, because a person like Stiles can do a lot of damage out of sight, while Peter has control of the situation if he doesn’t leave him behind.

“Do you want the bite, Stiles?” Peter asks instead of simply taking it and the teen says no. He’s lying, he can tell, but Peter leaves anyway. He has more than enough time to convince him later.

(He doesn’t.)

That night, he finally manages to slit Kate Argent’s throat from side to side, so at least there’s that. Unlike with Laura, this time it does feel cathartic because even if he doesn’t get to tear stripe after stripe of skin out of her he can torture her with the prospect of losing her niece. -He instantly wishes he could revive Kate so he could kill her again, but this time drawing it out, just like she executed his pack (imperfect, neglectful, bastards most of the time, but ultimately his) agonizingly slow.- But drawing an apology from her provides nothing to Peter besides the pleasure of getting her to give something she didn’t want to give, so while she’s still conscious, he jumps at Allison, who is going to turn up like her aunt anyways, because that family is a poison like that.

In the end, he doesn’t have time to convince Stiles, after all. He ends up on fire and Derek tears his throat out without an ounce of hesitation, just like Peter did with Kate. The little and deeply buried part of him that didn’t want to kill Derek because it remembered dies a swift death, unlike Peter, who agonizes for a bit still on fire as he chokes on his own blood.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

Getting one Lydia Martin to do what he wants shouldn’t be this easy, seeing the terrifying intelligence hidden under her almost too perfect strawberry blond curls, but it is. It helps that she’s mostly ignorant about the supernatural world and that Peter keeps her terrified enough not to get her footing back, he thinks, because he doubts it would be this easy if she wasn’t. As it is, though, it’s just as easy as getting information from her about what’s happening in Beacon Hills right now.

Part of him considers letting go for a moment, because so much stupidity is unbearable. Really? Peter had thought he had made a bad call biting Scott, but Derek is taking that to a whole new level. Then again, what can he expect? This is Talia’s teachings working their magic, after all. She had barely started training Laura, but she never even bothered with Derek, not even just in case something happened.

(Peter kinda hopes that the afterlife is a thing so that she’s watching.)

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

It’s not like he has any other options, though, because now that the ritual has started he has to finish it or face being stuck in this limbo of sorts for the rest of eternity or, with any luck, until this girl dies. And although with how things are progressing that doesn’t seem too far off in time, really, with Peter’s luck she’ll die and he’ll be haunting this place forever, so he better move things along before that happens.

His nephew’s horrified face almost makes it all worth the trouble and he nearly stays to gloat. Instead, he leaves for now. He’s already been left behind and killed by him once, and Peter always learns from his mistakes… or he tries to anyway, and he can tell that he’s weaker than he was before he was even the alpha, so right now he wouldn’t stand a chance if Derek tried to enact a kill uncle, take two.

He knows he can’t stay away from his alpha (his lips curl derisively against his will) for long, though. Not only he can’t afford to turn an omega right now, but his information about this ritual is limited (which is why he left it as a last resort), so for all he knows, it will unravel if he’s not near the alpha that brought him back and he’ll end up six feet under again and stuck in between. And while he doesn’t want to touch what’s going on in Beacon Hills right now with a ten foot pole, he’s gone through too much trouble to stay alive to let it go to waste. Besides, while he’s not as insane and hell bent on revenge as he was before dying -because there’s no doubt about that, he was completely crazy… so crazy, sloppy and out of control he wants to cringe- he still has a little of that feeling inside. Enough, in fact, to seize the opportunity to take care of more Argents if it wanders by and doesn’t pose a threat to his continued existence. Besides, staying alive as a big fuck you to the family that disdained his ways and ended up dying for not being more like him in the end is something he appreciates quite a bit too.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

So, all in all, he has to depend on Derek for now until he can get himself an alpha to kill and regain his independence again. Which means he has to find out why Derek turned on him at the last minute. He’s not looking forward to that conversation now that he hasn’t the upper hand, that’s for sure.

But before that, he has to know what’s happening exactly to be able to play his cards right. Because as much as he knows the information he got from Lydia to be true, it’s also an incomplete and he hasn’t ever been one to rely on intel he hasn’t acquired by himself anyway.

So information gathering he goes… After getting a shower, clean clothes and a much needed haircut, of course, because he felt disgusting, thank you very much. Maggots and dirt is not a look he favours by any means, after all.

He gathers as much as he can before even contemplating coming back. From what he learns the Argent girl is as much of a psycho as her aunt (who called it? who?), Gerard Argent is the master of the kanima now and plotting something nefarious (nope, not worrying at all), Scott is double playing with him (which ratches up his decision to bite him right to the top of his not-a-good-call list because how can he be so stupid?), two of Derek’s betas are about to risk becoming omegas just to leave this hellhole of a town (which simultaneously makes them idiots and smart and he never thought that possible) while the third is gravitating towards Scott (another idiot), and Derek is as an incompetent of an alpha as Peter expected him to be. Apart from that, the video store boy is the kanima, Stiles seems to be the same and Lydia still doesn’t know why he had to use her for the ritual. Summarised, everything is going to go to hell in a nicely wrapped package and probably over the next few days at the most.

He could have certainly chosen to come back at a better time… if the damn ritual hadn’t had a deadline, that is.

Well, no matter. Peter can use this to his advantage, actually, because Derek will need him in one way or another because of the situation and he won’t be able to say no.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

As luck would have it, just the day he decides to give it a go, Derek’s betas grow a backbone (one Peter still isn’t sure is a smart or a stupid one) and tell him they’re leaving. Peter swoops in while the wound is still gaping open, so to speak, and he gets thrown around for all his troubles. He takes it for a bit, waiting for most of the anger to burn itself out and when it doesn’t seem likely, he finally snaps.

(Because no matter what, the one thing he won’t do is beg.)

It works.

“See?” Peter mutters looking at his reflection with a grimace. The wound in his mouth is still sluggishly bleeding even if it is mending itself slowly. Derek is sitting a few feet away on the stairs’ steps, face stony and silent. Peter doesn’t let it deter him. “Fine example, right here. I’m not healing as fast. Coming back from the death isn’t easy you know, I’m not as strong as I used to be,” he states simply, as if the person that is with him isn’t the one who killed him. Putting his weaknesses in the open leaves a sour taste in his mouth, but he sees no other way to put Derek at ease so it’s a necessary evil. “I need a pack, an alpha. Like you.” And God if this isn’t humiliating for Peter, who even at his worst hasn’t ever depended on anyone. “I need you as much as you need me.”

“Why would I want help from a total psycho?” Derek grunts after he scoffs, not even turning to look at Peter.

“First of all, I’m not a total psycho,” Peter corrects him before feeling the need to point out. “By the way, you’re the one that slashed my throat right open, but we’re all works in progress, right? So.” Is there a flicker of regret he sees there? Oh, good, Peter feels better about wanting to find alpha powers somewhere else now that he sees some reciprocity on the familial front. “We need each other. Sometimes when you need help, you turn to people you’d never expect.”

Derek’s shoulders slump a little as his mouth presses into a tighter line and Peter knows he has gained a foothold, so it’s time to use what always saved him the spot in his pack no matter what happened: his knowledge.

He shares what he knows about Scott and Gerard and tells him how to save Jackson, because for all that Derek’s first inclination seems to be killing (which Peter finds equally amusing and hypocritical on his part), deep down he wants exactly the opposite.

Several hours later Peter is regretting deeply ever coming back to life. Jackson is about to turn into a gigantic creature that has wings (which implies flying, as if it wasn’t sufficiently terrifying when it was earth-bound) and they have to rely on Tweedledee and Tweedledum to bring it towards them. Ah, and with the help of Chris Argent, wonderful! If that wasn’t bad enough, Derek is doing as always and rushing in without any plan whatsoever, which is exactly what that geriatric fascist wants. This is the recipe for disaster and Peter can do nothing but to try to stay away from the crossfire and wait for an opportunity to either strike or beat it as fast as his legs can carry him because he really wasn’t exaggerating (if anything, he was downplaying it) when he said he was weak.

Life has never been better.

(That was sarcasm, if anyone was wondering.)

Everything goes to hell, of course, no surprises there. Gerard makes his appearance after making Jackson maim Derek and the little mini Kate doesn’t have any qualms about shooting her first love. Again, nothing surprising there. What is surprising is Scott using Derek to bite Gerard because he wants to be cured of cancer, even more so when it turns out the teen has been switching the man’s medication with mountain ash filled pills so that if it came down to it, the bite would kill him. It’s impressively cunning and Peter would find himself reluctantly impressed if he didn’t dislike the sloppy execution (despite being at odds, no one can use Peter’s family unless it’s Peter himself) and didn’t suspect someone else’s hand at play in all this.

Nevertheless, Peter finds the image of a black goo vomiting Gerard a sight for the sore eyes. A sight that gets completed by the little bitch’s expression of betrayal and self-loathing and Chris’ revolted and pained one. Well, that earns Scott a descend to the still respectable second position on his not-a-good-call list, congratulations.

(Given his previous record, Peter is pretty sure he won’t stay that low on the list for long, though.)

Everything devolves into a fist fight once again and why is everyone forgetting about the psycho bitch that was trying to kill them not a minute ago, Peter doesn’t understand, not even in the face of a common enemy, so he keeps his distance.

Stiles chooses that moment to crash his jeep right through the walls and into the kanima, bringing Lydia with him. Peter would swear he hears a celestial chorus singing in the background, because yes! Someone else thinking with their brains and not their fists! Peter feels even more vindicated when the teen beats a hasty retreat right afterwards, because someone finally has an ounce of self-preservation instincts too!

Lydia goes forward, terrified but unwavering, holding her trembling hand up with what looks like a key. Peter is quite ambivalent about her, but he hopes she doesn’t end up a shish kebab if only so that dealing with Jackson doesn’t become even more difficult. He has already been thrown around quite a bit today and while a bed sounds heavenly right now, he won’t get that until this matter is resolved. And that will happen certainly sooner if Lydia doesn’t end up in a kanima claw skewer.

(What’s wrong with you, Peter?)

She doesn’t and Jackson turns back partially. He nods at Derek while Lydia cries, and while that is clearly a sign of acceptance to his fate, Peter doesn’t want to risk it (especially since Derek goes for the frontal assault as always) so he attacks from behind too. And Jackson dies in a scene worthy of a movie that Peter would give an Oscar to.

Thank god it’s over, Peter really needs that bed and cleaning this mess up is going to take a while.

Except since this is Beacon Hills, nothing is that easy, and Jackson comes back to life a regular werewolf. Color Peter confused, because he’s never heard of this happening… but well, now he doesn’t have to find a way to bring back a body to the morgue, so at least that’s nice? And since there’s no way that Chris Argent will not take care of his father’s body, he doesn’t get the pleasure of burning it either, so essentially the wish of a bed in his near future has become more of a certainty rather than a possibility.

“Is leaving him alive really wise?” he asks, because someone has to, because they don’t know if this change is permanent.

Except for Stiles, who just purses his lips, and Chris Argent, who is as stony as ever, the rest turn to look at him horrified.

“What’s wrong with you, Peter?” Derek hisses.

Peter smiles with all teeth.

(Ah, so it’s going to be this way.)

And now the alpha pack is in town, isn’t that wonderful?

Why was he so adamant on staying alive besides for being a contrary bastard?

(Peter has to remind himself a lot of the sweet sight of a destroyed Argent family these days.)

“What’s wrong with you?” seethes Derek before throwing Peter into a wall and leaving.

Peter picks himself up, a satisfied smirk never leaving his face, and dusts his clothes. Riling his nephew is so easy and at the same time so immensely satisfying… His day isn’t complete if those words haven’t left his mouth and if he gets him to lose it enough to get physical, he counts it as a win, because lately that doesn’t happen that much for some reason he can’t discern. What? He’ll take pleasure from everything he can these days. And since Stiles is here most of time helping with the search of Erica and Boyd, he’s become his unwitting accomplice, because boy, does he irritate Derek. Peter would go as far as to consider it a gift the teen has.

He’ll never admit it to the teen, of course, but he really enjoys the verbal matches he has with him. Stiles has always been mouthy, but now that he doesn’t think likely that Peter will attack him (although Peter knows he keeps mountain ash on himself at all times, the smart kid) his invective is a thing of beauty.

Out of all the people that Peter could have been saddled with, he has been lucky, indeed.

(Part of him mourns that Stiles wasn’t the one out there in the woods or that he didn’t accept the bite when Peter could give it to him. The possibilities… Ah, it would have been glorious, wouldn’t it?)

“Anything you want to share with the class, Stiles?” he drawls to the teen, who has been staring fixedly at him since Derek left to drag Isaac into another patrol through the woods, hoping to find something that wasn’t there yesterday, or the day before, or the day before (and so on) and that Peter bets that won’t be today either.

“You know, I was a kid so I had an excuse, but what’s your deal?”

Peter arches an eyebrow and levels the teen with an unimpressed stare. Stiles huddles in his too big red hoodie and raises both eyebrows at him, unrepentant. Peter blinks slowly, because he wasn’t wearing that before and because it feels familiar. Suddenly, his breath catches because he’s pretty sure that if he looks on the back of it, he’ll find a 01 accompanied by his last name in big bold letters.

“There’s nothing wrong with you? What a load of bullshit.” Peter can’t breathe and he’s insanely grateful that Stiles can’t hear that. “There’s something wrong in everyone, so who fucking cares?

“Wha-”

There’s something wrong in everyone, Peter,” Stiles repeats, his intense eyes never leaving Peter’s, “so who fucking cares? Right, wrong, who cares? Whoever says that there’s nothing wrong with them is either delusional or a child or plain stupid.”

“There’s… something wrong with me?” Peter finds himself unconsciously parroting back and this is ridiculous, this shouldn’t affect him this much, shouldn’t feel as if he’s having an epiphany. “And there’s nothing wrong with that?”

“Not unless the wrong in you tries to have another go at my people, because then my wrong would come out to play, and everything would be wrong with that… for you, capiche?”

“Duly noted,” Peter answers as dryly as he can, because his world feels off its axis right now.

Then, Stiles extends an arm, hand clearly possed for a handshake and Peter is reaching before he can think of it. When Stiles lets go, gummy bears have been left behind.

Peter can’t help it. He laughs.

(And for the first time, he feels happy.)

What’s wrong with you, Peter?

Who cares?

Jack and Bitty in Montreal tips

Info for people writing about Jack and Bitty in Montreal

  • If Bitty comes up for American Thanksgiving, it normally hasn’t snowed yet. Maybe a few flurries, but late November is just fucking cold.
  • On that note, we get snow before Christmas, but it’s never that much. Most of the snow falls in January and February.
  • Spring is weird. One year it was 30 degrees celsius on St Patrick’s day and other years it’s cold until the beginning of May.
  • The river does not freeze over completely. Only parts of it do. But the canals definitely do
  • Summers can be brutally humid
  • I’ve heard that the Atlanta public transit is pretty shitty, but our’s is really good. It covers most of the island
  • The airport is shut from about 1-6 am because it’s encircled with neighbourhoods
  • There’s construction and detours everywhere
  • Jack would definitely take Bitty skating to Beaver Lake on Mount Royal or down in the Old Port. Most likely Beaver Lake
  • Mount Royal is also a great place for runs
  • We have an underground mall that basically spans from the west edge of downtown to  the east edge. Helps a lot in the winter
  • Everything downtown is within walking distance
  • Bitty grew up around historical houses in Georgia, but that doesn’t compare to the stone buildings and churches in Montreal
  • There is a year-round Christmas store in the Old Port
  • You can’t swim in the St Laurent river (unless you don’t mind swimming in garbage) The only places to swim on the island are in pools, Jean Drapeau beach (on an island across from the old port), and Cap-St-Jacques (on the west part of the island)
  • The Zimmermann’s probably have a cottage up North in St Sauveur or Morin Heights. Or even further up north in Tremblant
my mind, it travels

a short fic, modern AU ft. internet friends having Feelings™ - the title comes from lyrics from the song “north” by the family crest. PS - i’ve decided to keep writing bellarke fic out of spite. bellamy + clarke 4ever. Bonus points if you spot the Dawson’s creek reference.

aO3

“Just imagine them all in their underwear.” Bellamy’s voice is loud through the tinny speaker of her laptop.

Clarke rolls her eyes. “That’ll help. Will you let me get on with this?”

“Miss Griffin, are you going to keep harrassing the audience or are you going to give a speech on feminist politics?” 

“Bellamy, I swear–”

“The crowd might be rowdy, Clarke. I’m just trying to prepare you.”

“Okay, okay, seriously. How does this sound?” Clarke asks, adjusting her legs so she’s sitting cross-legged on her bed, facing her laptop. She reads out a speech that she’s been working on for her political science lecture the next day, feeling herself blush when, after she’s done, there’s no reaction from the boy on the screen in front of her. “It’s that terrible, huh?” She tries to joke, but starts chewing on her fingernail, her anxiety kicking in.

“No!” Bellamy splutters. She sees him move around, trying to get comfortable, adjusting his glasses on his nose. “It was good! Really good, Clarke. I was just surprised – you quoted me.”

Clarke blushes again. “That study you told me about fit well for the topic.” She shrugs.

Bellamy is grinning now, the smug idiot. “So I’m your primary source?”

Clarke scowls. “Shut up.” She’s smiling, however, like most of the times she talks to Bellamy. 

Keep reading

Paws Fur Coffee (Coffee Shop AU) [6/6 - COMPLETE]

(pssst pssst I got some bonus content like rejected drinks and a side comic on the way after I recover from finishing all the art for this chapter in one sitting lol)

[Ao3] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


  [Week 2 - Chai Noir]

In the middle of the previous quarter, Marinette had been dragged along to a café at the edge of downtown by her cousin, Bridgette.

While it did get her into a regular schedule for studying, she was at least little concerned at how well Bridgette knew her crush’s schedule (“oh come on, if you were in my shoes I bet you’d be even worse!” She objected once, to which Marinette neither agreed or denied.) and the day that the shifts were shuffled around, the grumpy barista was one night replaced with a much nicer, much more familiar face.

Enter Adrien Agreste, model and son of her favorite designer.

So maybe Bridgette wasn’t that wrong about the whole “you’d be worse” thing. Not that she’d admit it anyway; as far as her cousin knew, she was just sticking to the routine she was forced into.

Marinette bought her drinks before he came in for his shift so she wouldn’t be a stuttering mess at the register, and managed only a glance when he came in before pondering on her project’s theme for her class on week 2 of the quarter. It was a seminar on generating inspiration from the world around you, which came easy to her in collége. The class was encouraging everyone to try something new outside of their normal sources of inspiration.

Pick a series of anything and create a portfolio for each thing, including a photo of the source for each piece.

The only question was…what to pick?

Turns out fate had plans for her and her final project when she heard a yell and the sound of someone crashing to the ground.

Her first words to him ended up being, “A-are you okay?!” when he laughed himself so hard he fell off of the stepladder he was on.

Not the words she would have expected, but at least they came out clearly. Even the thought of ordering a drink while he was at the counter tied up her tongue and she couldn’t understand why. Yes, he is son to Gabriel Agreste, her idol, but he’s just another student here working a food service job like most everyone else on campus. Adrien Agreste is a normal person among normal people now.

The magical powers-that-be decided he should be treated as a normal person too, because when she looked up and saw the blackboard, her nerves dissipated almost instantly.

In neat letters the blackboard read “Chai Noir.”

That’s all it took for her former celebrity crush to crack. It didn’t matter if he was cute; one punner in her life was already too much. She had to admit though, it was a good pun for the fact that the drink matched her partner.

Marinette felt a little bad for laughing at Adrien’s drawing skills, but she was more than happy to fix it for him. She barely remembered to pull up a photo for reference since she knew her partner’s face and messy long hair like the back of her hand.

Her fumble when she introduced herself aside, talking to him soon felt like easy banter like with Chat Noir or Alya. His body language was awkward and stiff at first even when his speech wasn’t, she noticed, as if he never talked to people he met this soon this much. He never showed any sign of not wanting her company, so she stayed past closing time to talk with him and get her last drink for the night.

She smiled to herself as she started pedaling. Maybe they were actually meant to meet.

When she arrived at home that night, Marinette took a long sip of the drink as she dropped her bag on the beanbag chair.

She started doodling an idea she had the other day - a cute poncho with a fluffy trim that was light enough to wear with most weather. The hoodie cords had puffballs at the ends, matching the trim, and the whole thing would pair well with cute shorts or leggings.

The drink was nearly finished when she started painting it in with her cheap watercolors. She had drawn herself in the outfit, so navy was dabbed onto her hair and peach for her skin. Boots and shorts were easy with warm brown and light blue tones, but when she got to the poncho itself, she wasn’t sure exactly what color she wanted.

That is, until she took the lid off of her coffee cup to check how much of the Chai Noir she had left.

Marinette took one last sip, poured the remaining drink in the overturned lid and dipped her clean brush in it.

Keep reading

10

THE FISHERMAN

Percy Lyons headed northeast along Main Street. A pair of fishing poles in his grip rattled as a Metro train ran by in the opposite direction. 

As tall buildings eventually gave way to open sky, he began his descent toward the banks of Buffalo Bayou. 

First stop that Saturday morning was to a shaded area under the Milam Street bridge on the outer edge of Downtown Houston’s Historic District. The sound of Lyons’ voice was greeted by the appearance of a tabby cat – then two more.

Jennifer, Pocahontas and Tom are survivors of a pride of feral cats that was culled by flash-floods over the past year. The cats kept Lyons company at a time, not that long ago, when he was homeless. Lyons spent nights on a cot than now lays abandoned under the bridge, where the cats continue to find shelter. 

Lyons makes it a habit to check in whenever he can. The cats recognize his fishing poles – a hearty meal is coming. 

Known in the area as The Fisherman, Lyons grew up in Louisiana. He learned to fish at the age of 5 by his grandmother’s side. After high school, he made his way to Arizona State University, where Lyons studied photojournalism. He later found work in his field. 

Eventually, he ended up in Houston. Then lost his home. Able to draw on his past fishing expertise, he managed to regularly feed both himself and his feline friends. 

Lyons learned that the best fishing after a heavy rain can be found at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou. Situated between the Harris County Jail Facility on N. San Jacinto Street and University of Houston-Downtown, the spot offers an ample supply of catfish and the occasional gar. 

In his homeless days, Lyons used scraps of Popeye’s fried chicken to lure his catch. Wheaties breakfast cereal also worked well. Now, he baits his hooks with bits of hotdog, dipped in fish-fry grease. He stores the latter in an old grape jelly jar. The hotdogs are left out in the sun for a while, which hardens their casing and allows them to stay longer on the hook.

Despite being left-handed, Lyons casts with his right.

He easily fishes two rods at a time. The reels are placed on the ground at Lyons’ feet and watched closely for vibrations and movement. It only takes one cast to pull in the first catfish of the day. The best are about a foot long, Lyons said, calling them “sandwich size.” Those get battered and fired whole, fitting perfectly into a po’boy. 

After reeling in a catch, Lyons grabs the catfish behind the head, careful not to get stung by its whiskers, and dislodges the hook in a single motion. The creature is tossed onto the concrete behind. It flaps around for less than a minute as water drains from its gills, forming a small dark puddle. 

The Fisherman reappears with a yellow nylon rope. He feeds it into the fish’s mouth with the aid of a large rusty nail. An index finger thrust into the gill helps guide the rope through, with a wet gurgle, leaking from the fish.

With the catch now attached to the rope, one end of the line is tied to an anchor in the concrete wall and the fish and the rest of the rope are flung back into the water where they stay, secure, until eating time. 

Every so often, a cast goes to waste by hooking debris that collects in the urban bayou. Lyons cuts his losses and draws a spare hook and lead weigh from a little tin box, then drops in a new line. 

A few cigarettes pulled from a mix-matched pack are consumed in about an hour. Smaller catch will become cat food. 

Jennifer, Pocahontas and Tom know it’s coming. 

 ~Michael Duke, May 21, 2016

VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS OF NOTE

Pinpoint the perfect perfume present with this handy guide.

Gift exquisitely this Valentine’s Day with a fragrance found just for her. Picking out the wrong scent stinks, so if you’re clueless about where to start, visit a Sephora store and try Fragrance IQ, our custom scent-matching technology. Below are some suggestions to help you get started. BECKY PEDERSON

Chloé Love Story
If she swoons for Parisian trends, get her a scent from the brand that’s been forging them since the 1950s. Love Story’s intoxicating bouquet of orange blossom, neroli, and jasmine is packaged in a lock-shaped bottle—a reference to the famous Pont des Arts lovers’ bridge in Paris.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black + Elizabeth and James Nirvana White
If she’s a mix of uptown sophistication and downtown edge, get her a fragrance wardrobe that plays on the Elizabeth and James duality of masculine tailoring and feminine detail. Created by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black is an intimate blend of violet, vanilla, and sandalwood, while Elizabeth and James Nirvana White softly mixes musk, peony, and muguet. Worn together, they exude an aura of mystery.

Tory Burch Tory Burch
If she prefers boutiques to big box stores, get her a fragrance from the apparel line that started as a best-kept local secret in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. This scent complements Tory Burch’s girl-meets-boy brand story with its fusion of floral peony and earthy vetiver, all contained in signature fretwork.

Gucci Guilty Diamonds
If she’s impeccably chic, get her a scent that says sexy with authority. This sheer, oriental floral mingles black pepper and citrus for elegance with a sultry edge. Sure to be a classic, the diamond edition bottle will bring an extra sparkle to her vanity.

Prada Candy Florale
If she waits all year for fashion week, get her something from a legend of the runway. Held in a flacon as visionary as the fashion line, notes of cedrat, caramel, and white musk blossom with flirtatious confidence in this latest creation from the Prada House of Candy.

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