ever present shadow

The first person I lost was my lover… I cried for 165 days in a row and the first day I didn’t, I felt guilty; as if suffering somehow equated to love and the fact that I hadn’t cried meant I didn’t miss them enough and I never deserved them in the first place…
The next person I lost was my friend… Things happened… things went wrong… It felt like my whole life was falling apart and when all I wanted to do was turn to my best friend… I realized they were gone…
After that I lost my soulmate because I honestly think I lost a part of my soul. I’m not the same person anymore, a part of me is missing and I know I’ll never get it back…
And one day when I’m ready… I will lose one more person to the distant past… One day… I will lose the ghost of those three people. The spectre I see sitting across from me at empty café tables, the one I turn to face at the punchline of every joke, and one I reach for in the within vast emptiness inside myself. One day that ever present shadow will fade away forever like the rest… but not yet. I ‘m not ready to let that last echo fade… I’m still trying to reconcile the loss of the other three because they were all so much to lose…
And I lost them all within a single person.
2

And my favorite two from his birthday photo session.

You’re another year older, another year wiser, and another year full of love and joy for each passing day. When I die, I’d like to be reincarnated as a dog like you. You’ve been there for me throughout everything the past 3 years and I’m glad to have you as an ever present shadow at my side. You really are the world’s best dog. I can’t imagine life without you- I always joke that you have to live to be 15 at the bare minimum but the truth is it’s because I just don’t know what I’ll do with myself after you’re gone. You’re as much a part of my life as my right arm.

No matter where we go from here, I’ll be honored to walk whatever path we take with you leading the way. Chase the moon big guy, I’ll be right behind you.

super-skid  asked:

Oh that just reminded me! I also think that Dr. Iplier has tried to get closer to the Host, but with how reclusive he has become and the ever present shadow of Dark it's been hard. But the good Doctor has come to really care for the Host

YES

Originally the Host would change his bandages himself and it would be messy and hard, but he’d get it done. And besides, he doesn’t really want anyone to see his eyes.

Then one day the doctor catches him and he’s all apologetic, that he’s sorry he had to see him like this and Dr. Iplier’s like “no its cool, I’m a doctor, let me help” and the Host is hesitant at first but… Doctor knows best, doesn’t he?

And the doctor’s really gentle too as he carefully wraps the bandages around his face, wipes off the excess blood, even hands him a lolipop despite his protests. Dr. Iplier rambles away or lets him tell a story (usually something from his old books) and he isn’t obliged to say more than he’s comfortable with. It’s nice.

Dr. Iplier convinces Dark to let him look after the Host’s eyes and, to his surprise, he agrees. But he’s always there, a shadow on the wall, and the Host turns back into his quiet self, only speaking to softly narrate. It’s frustrating.

(I didn’t mean for this to be so long but gOD)

Come on, Cassian

Rated: K

Words: 1200 ish

Summary: Cassian is afraid to fly again and Nesta makes sure he does.  

Read on AO3

A one shot I’m pretty proud of


There were days when he’d look at himself and all he’d see was failure. A person worthy of being thrown to the wolves and the wasteland beyond. Bastard-born nobody would be written along his body like the tattoos he held so dearly. Maybe that’s what his mother saw that day, a bastard-born nobody.

There were days where the lines on his forehead could count as scars. When Cassian looked at the mirror, a warrior didn’t stand erect before him, didn’t shout commands or issue orders. It was only a broken man with broken promises, and a hope that dimmed every time he saw the sun.

The stark white of his bandages blinded him, made him blink over and over again to release the glare forming in his eyes. They would laugh at him, berate him for believing the world was anything but what it was. A disappointment; a war that took no prisoners and made few friends. Cassian could bear the pain of his wings, but he could not bear the sorrow.

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The first person I lost was my lover…
I cried for 165 days in a row and the first day I didn’t, I felt guilty; as if suffering somehow equated to love and the fact that I hadn’t cried meant I didn’t miss them enough and I never deserved them in the first place…
The next person I lost was my friend… Things happened… things went wrong… It felt like my whole life was falling apart and when all I wanted to do was turn to my best friend… I realized they were gone…
After that I lost my soulmate because I honestly think I lost a part of my soul. I’m not the same person anymore, a part of me is missing and I know I’ll never get it back…
And one day when I’m ready… I will lose one more person to the distant past… One day… I will lose the ghost of those three people.
The spectre I see sitting across from me at empty café tables, the one I turn to face at the punchline of every joke, and one I reach for in the within vast emptiness inside myself. One day that ever present shadow will fade away forever like the rest… but not yet. I‘m not ready to let that last echo fade… I’m still trying to reconcile the loss of the other three because they were all so much to lose…
And I lost them all within a single person.
—  Ranata Suzuki   “All the people I’ve lost”
Holes - A Nessian Fic

For @feyre-cursebreaker who asked for Nessian + silence and to be based on this delightful and not at all soul destroying piece of fanart by @meabhd. This is what I came up with. sorry it took a while! Thank you @widowshulk and @pterodactylichexameter for reading this over for me! 

Title: Holes

Summary: Nesta returns to her rooms and finds an exhausted Cassian alone there, waiting for her, a letter for her held in his hands. 

Teaser: ‘Shreds remain of those once beautiful wings. And they had been beautiful. Strange how she only realises that, lets herself think and fully appreciate that now that they’re almost gone. They had been alien and frightening and upon first seeing them she had wanted to keep them, both of them, away from Elain. Those hulking brutes with the unnatural wings looming over them, ever present shadows at their backs.’

Link: AO3

Nesta finally makes it back to her rooms, smoothing down the front of her dress, cursing her overly long limbs and the difficulties they cause her. The door to her bedchamber is slightly ajar when she reaches it however and she pauses, one hand outstretched. Chewing her lip she wonders if she ought to fetch someone, sure that she had left the doors firmly closed before leaving. Then she decides to hell with it, the mood she’s in she almost wants someone to be in there, try something, give her an excuse to hurt someone.

Opening the door, hoping it appears as though she had never questioned doing so, she strides purposefully into the room. And is almost immediately brought up short by what she finds inside.

Cassian sits alone on the edge of her bed. Her first impulse would have been, should have been, to snap at him and demand that he leave, now. His scent fills the cool air like a heady perfume, clinging to everything, drenching her in him. He perches on the bed as though it’s only right for him to be there, as though he belongs here, in her chambers, the one part of this damned kingdom that is wholly hers.

She should fold her arms over her chest and coldly ask him to get out but…But the words won’t come. They lodge and stick in her throat and she can’t get them out. Above her surprise and indignation at finding him here of all places is the horror that builds over the sick churning of her stomach. It throws up new emotions that she can’t contend with and doesn’t understand.

This is the first time she’s seen him since Hybern. The first time she’s seen him since she was Made and he was broken. The first time she’s seen him since everything between them was shattered, he no longer the cocky, self-assured army commander who came to her to deliver his High Lord’s messages; she no longer the cold, indifferent human woman who had sneered at him and pushed him away because that was easy and what he represented, what he offered, was hard.

Standing in that doorway, seeing him there, before she even opens her mouth, before either of them speaks, she knows that everything has changed between them. The dynamic they once had no longer exists and nothing about this is easy anymore. Least of all pushing him away. They’re…connected now. In a way she can’t explain but the thick vein of emotion that pulses inside her like a river rushing through her blood and bones and heart is more than she can stand and she can’t look at him like this and just send him away…She can’t.

His wings are draped out on the bed behind him, tattered black silk pooling over her soft lilac sheets. Her heart launches itself up into her throat as though for a moment it had thought of going to him, gifting itself to him, as though that would help. But at the last moment it changed its mind, lodging there instead, and no matter how hard she tries she can’t swallow it back down again where it belongs.

His wings. His wings.

She had been there in Hybern, had seen him flare them wide to protect his brother, but…She had never expected this. This ragged ruin, both of the wings and of the male they belonged to. She had thought the Fae would have healed him, had thought they could have healed anything, had thought he would be alright but…

Shreds remain of those once beautiful wings. And they had been beautiful. Strange how she only realises that, lets herself think and fully appreciate that now…Now that they’re almost gone. They had been alien and frightening and upon first seeing them she had wanted to keep them, both of them, away from Elain. Those hulking brutes with the unnatural wings looming over them, ever present shadows at their backs.

Now…Now he seems…diminished. Smaller somehow, so much smaller, so much less without them. There’s an empty space behind him, and within, which should be filled by those wings and the howl of wind that rushed past them whenever he took flight. Instead there are holes that can never be filled by anything else. She can see the tattoo that runs the length of his spine, the detailed Illyrian markings set down in a thin column, usually covered by his sword or blocked out by the vast expanses of black membrane. It feels like a secret that she should never have known, a secret that the world should never have been able to see. It feels oddly personal, oddly intimate and a part of her wants to trace the dark, swirling markings with her finger while the other wants to look away.

It hurts, she realises with a jolt. She hurts for him, for what he gave up to protect someone he loved so fiercely. There’s a deep, aching sadness that lies deep in the hollows of her heart, filling them with his pain as she looks at him.

For the first time she wonders, truly wonders, what it would be like to fly. Then she wonders what it would be like to fly and be told that you never would again. She finds herself gripping the doorframe for support at that.

She sees it again in her mind’s eye, the blast of power that had torn him apart and his scream…His scream had ripped through her and sometimes echoed in her dreams, a hideous melody to accompany her own death and rebirth. There had been nothing but silence in that Cauldron when it had torn her apart and shoved her back together again without a thought, without a care, that she would rather have drowned in there than returned as she was. Her own screams had been empty, her throat and lungs flooded by the Cauldron’s black waters and no sound had ever managed to break free of the iron cage she had been held in.

In her dreams, though…In her dreams there is Cassian. His voice manages to break through to her even as she feels her heart stop beating, feels herself die. His voice rings through her, shattering along her bones as though it is her that he screams for in those moments. His voice fills the emptiness that had haunted her inside that Cauldron. Terrible as it was, she thinks she would prefer the silence. She never wants to hear that sound, that agony from him, ever again.

Nesta realises she’s still hovering in the doorway and hasn’t moved. It’s as though she’s been fixed to this spot, bidden to stare at those ruined wings for the rest of her days, the worst kind of torment. She considers turning and simply leaving, chased out of her own rooms by the spectre of the male that made her feel….What? Perhaps that he made her feel anything at all is enough.

Then he turns to her and she knows that she can’t leave him, any more than she can ask him to leave. His wings, his torn, ruined wings are nothing compared to his eyes. They hold all of the vast, black emptiness that she had drowned in until it had killed her. But this…This hollow darkness in him she finds she can’t walk away from. Even though every instinct within her newly Made body screams at her to run from it, she finds herself walking towards him instead.

Hesitantly, she sits down on the bed beside him. His eyes remain fixed on hers for a long moment before he looks away again, visibly wincing as he shifts his wings with the movement. Nesta watches him feeling, for the first time in her life, a hopelessness that tunnels her out until she feels as empty as he is. Even in that hovel, unable to provide for her sisters, unable to hunt as Feyre had, unable to do anything to help them she had not felt this hopeless. She had had her plan, her spite, her bid to see what their father would do if they did indeed begin to truly starve and die. She had had something, bitter and cruel and meaningless as it might have seemed. But in the face of this…She has nothing.

What could she say to him now? I’m sorry. It will be alright. They will heal. So will you. He would only snarl at her for every one and then likely leave. She doesn’t know why, doesn’t know why it causes her soul to shrink back, pressing itself hard against the very edge of herself in horror, but she can’t bear that. She can’t bear him walking away from her just now. So she says nothing. She only sits there beside him, letting the silence stretch.

He doesn’t break it either, it simply endures between them. Until she looks down and notices a piece of paper held limply in one of his hands. Glancing up at him he refuses to meet her eyes and she considers leaving it, pretending that she hasn’t seen but then she sees a word, the single word at the top of the page and she finds she can’t look away. Slowly, she reaches out, the tips of her fingers lightly scraping his hand as she closes her own around the paper.

She gently pulls it free and he offers no resistance, allowing it to slide from his loose grip without protest, as though he barely notices. There are only three words printed on the note, in a hand she knows is Cassian’s, big and bold and clear, the ink pressed into the paper as firmly and meaningfully as though it were skin, the nib of a quill the needle, the words a tattoo, a commitment, whenever they’re set down by his hand.

Her name is printed at the top and on the line below he has only managed two words. ‘I’m sorry.’ The space beside them is filled with a single black dot that has melted through the thin paper. As though he had placed the quill upon its surface, intending to write more but it had become stuck, suspended in silence until it had pierced the paper and he had given up.

A hard lump forms in her throat as she stares down at those words that he had written, words that he had written for her and tries to understand. Glancing at him she feels something throb and pull deep inside her chest and she hears an echo in her head, like a half-remembered song. ‘I will stand on that battlefield again, Nesta Archeron, to protect this house—your people. I can think of no better way to end my existence than to defend those who need it most.’ Instead he had watched while she had died and…And perhaps that hurt him almost as much as those ruined wings.

The lump in her throat forms itself into tears that stain her eyes.

Blinking rapidly she turns to look at him again. His eyes are still distant and unfocused, fixed on the same spot they’ve been whenever he hasn’t been looking at her. She follows his gaze to the huge window that cuts a chunk from her bedroom wall to reveal the world beyond. Lacking glass, like all of the windows here, it provides free access to the waiting skies beyond.

Tension ripples within Cassian’s muscles at her side, as though he’s fighting something deep within him that roars for him to launch himself from that window. It terrifies her that she doesn’t know if it’s because over five hundred years worth of instinct burns in his blood and urges him to spread the wings the wind that sings to him does not yet know he’s lost and fly. Or if it is because he knows they’re ruined and some part of him longs to fall. She doesn’t know.

Again, words fail her. She doesn’t even understand what she’s seeing, what she’s feeling, so how can she find anything to say to him to express that? Instead she lets instinct drive her, heedless for once of thought and consequence, she shifts a little closer to him. Both hands loop around his arm, holding onto him, anchoring them, him to her and her to him. She feels less lost when she has something to hold on to. Despite the deadened cold that haunts his eyes he remains warm. That dares a faint flicker of hope to pulse inside her.

Slowly, he turns his head to look at her, dragging his gaze away from the beckoning heavens that are slowly fading from a clear blue to a rich, velvety purple. Inviting, even to her, who has never felt the sky lightly kiss her cheek as it embraces her, to him…But he looks away from it and looks down at her instead. For a moment she’s afraid that she’ll find that emptiness in his eyes again, that he’ll allow her hands to slip away from him as easily and indifferently as he had allowed her to take the note from between his fingers. And she knows that she can’t bear that, can’t bear it if he pulls away. She knows that that, above everything else that has happened to her these past few weeks, would break her.

He does not pull away. His eyes soften as he looks down at her, her armour of ice and steel melted away from her like a shed skin. They remain on the bed, clothed and separated by a healthy distance, neither breaking the silence between them, but as she looks into those raw, unguarded hazel eyes she has never felt more vulnerable in her life. She has also never felt so safe.

Swallowing hard she feels the tear slide down her cheek before she realises that she’s given herself permission to cry in front of him. As though on instinct, as though he can’t help himself, as though he barely even realises that he’s doing it- a call from her soul answered without thought by his- he reaches up and softly wipes the tear away with the ball of his thumb, as he had done all those weeks ago.

Drawing a ragged breath into her lungs, the gesture, the intimate contact, gives her the burst of near reckless courage she needed to move in closer. She doesn’t stop until her body presses against his and she’s struck by how much larger, how much stronger than her he is. But she has never once looked at him and seen a weapon or a male made to hurt or to wound. She has only ever thought of him as a shield, as a safe point, as the one she would run to if she felt threatened or scared.

It’s only when she presses their bodies so closely together that she might have been determined to fuse them into one that she realises he’s shaking. Looking up she sees with a jolt of surprise that he’s crying, silent tears streaming from his eyes and falling quietly down into her lap. Nesta finds herself weeping as well as he gently rests his forehead against hers, leaning on her even as she leans on him. For all that he has lost and everything she has become, she cries with him.

The crumpled note she had held so tightly in her hand, ink now blurring, falls from her thoughtless fingers to the floor at their feet. Nesta wraps her arms around his chest, pulling him closer, holding onto him, and he wraps an arm around her, tucking her close to him.

They break the quiet between them at the same time, with the same words. Their voices are a blend of rough and soft, high and low, but both raw and tempered by the same fire when they whisper into the silence as one, “I’m sorry.”

*****

vex and percy have two boys. milo and leonard de rolo; two bright-eyed, thick-haired boys with their mother’s eyes and their father’s hair. their names– merciful and lion-hearted are everything they hope their children will be, and they are.

leo grows up like his uncle vax; lanky and tall, he’s quick with his tongue and quicker with his hands. the nobles of whitestone guard their prized possessions tightly these days. he’s a terror; hiding from his parents and the servants (but never vex– she can spot him anywhere as if he’s wearing a blinking light on his forehead) and staying that way for hours. he enjoys watching his aunt cassandra at court, and he learns a great deal about politics as he grows.

milo is just like his mother. smart, kind and tough; by the time he’s in his early twenties he’s an expert swordsman and can beat most, if not all of the warriors in whitestone. he trains with grog every time he visits. milo takes an interest in religion; he becomes a cleric of sarenrae and follows in pike’s footsteps.

when they’re younger, trinket watches over their cribs without even being asked; he stays there for days and days, following vex and percy when the children are taken out, always keeping a watchful eye. even when his fur starts to go grey with age, and the boys are as tall as their father and are more than capable of taking care of themselves, trinket watches, an ever-present shadow. he won’t let vex down. he’ll take care of them.

5 things Joseph Kavinsky stole and 1 thing stolen from him (alternatively titled: like a motherfucking thief)

kismetkissme:

I am so sorry this took so long to get to you but the baby is at home now, her mum is out of the hospital and putting her to bed and i’m eating ice cream and crying in relief because i’m tired as balls

kisses for you, sorry this sucks :P

_________________________________________________________

1. - A life
On the day that Joseph Kavinsky is born a storm swirls over Sofia, great swirling grey clouds that crack open with the fizzle of lightning.

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Bill Maher is probably the textbook definition of smug Hollywood liberal. Within the last few minutes of his latest show, I must’ve gotten 57 reminders why I don’t watch it typically. He just refuses to acknowledge the tensions symptomatic to capitalism – whereas people like Bernie Sanders and Anne Coulter recognize that problems and tensions exist (albeit in watered down or decontextualized fashion) because they push at the edges of mainstream political discourse on opposite sides, Maher just sits back in his armchair, smugly calling the working class idiots and ignoring all the real concerns that animate this system. The anti-capitalist left is weak these days, and it doesn’t help that what passes for “left” is spineless centrism devoid of any substance. Maher and other ivory tower liberals are part of the reason why fascism festers and grows.

Neoliberalism disempowers the people through top-down privatization and outsourcing. Huge sectors of the working class population feel this disempowerment. Democrats insist that the system works just fine, that they just need to get out there and vote, that surface reforms will fix all the rampant problems associated with capitalism. Democrats continue to maintain neoliberal economy that boosts bosses and crushes workers. Working class people continue to feel disempowered because no amount of shallow liberal rhetoric is going to materially empower them. Republicans come along and say, “yes, you are disempowered, and it’s because of THOSE PEOPLE: the immigrants, the SJWs, the moochers.” The democrat wing of the bourgeoisie must recognize this trend, and understand that greater autonomy for workers and rightful blame at the rich and capitalism itself would solve much of these patterns of proto-fascism, but it’s better to have rampant racism in society than to have workers getting wrongheaded ideas about their station in life. These workers can then be made, through carefully targeted ideology, to fight as footsoldiers for ruling class interests – when other large sectors of the working class start focusing their anger and disenfranchisement at the system as a whole, rather than at other segments of the disempowered, then you’re going to start seeing “footsoldiers for ruling class interests” using intimidation and nationalism to push the landscape towards fascism. Fascism is an ever-present shadow to capitalism, a subterranean kthulu that sits beneath the surface and comes out to reveal class society’s true nature when threatened. Certain sectors of the ruling class will pursue their own laissez-faire interests, while other sectors will then gather the people subsequently ticked off by privatization and outsourcing and redirect their fire towards the feared Other. This is the defensive apparatus of capitalist political economy at work, morphing its shape as necessary.

When Tony Stark was a little boy, his favorite bedtime stories were of the adventures of his great-great-great grandfather.  His Mama was happy to tell him all about the man who had been a poet, a writer, a scientist, had pretended to be a meek and sweet-natured caballero by day but was really an infamous outlaw nicknamed “The Fox” by night.  Don Diego dela Vega had been born into a life of privilege but had never hesitated to help others, whether as Diego or his other persona. 

When he was older, Tony thought he had outgrown these kinds of fairy tales, especially with his father and Captain America’s ever-present shadow.  But in remembering his Mama’s bedtime stories about his great-grandpa, Tony realized that he didn’t need to be Cap or a Fox or to follow some ancient legacy in order to help people. 

He would be Iron Man.   Maybe he wasn’t perfect but he’d do his damnedest to help those in need because it was, simply, the right thing to do.

— 

Blanket Fort Headcanon, because it totally makes sense to me that Maria Stark could have been from the de la Vega Family and Tony being Diego’s great-great-great grandson was hilariously appropriate. 

And then, of course, there was the time that Zorro once met Bucky’s Grampy…

Mais j'espère
Que tu crieras mon nom, cloué sur un écueil,
Jusqu'au bout supplicié ! Je te suivrai, absente
Armée de sombres feux, puis, glacée par la mort,
Présente, ombre, en tous lieux ! Tu expieras, barbare !

And I hope
You will cry out my name, pinned to a reef
Suffering until the end! And I will follow you, ghostly,
Armed with dark fires, cold as death,
Ever-present, a constant shadow! And you will expiate, you savage!
—  Virgile, L’Enéide, Liber IV (tr. by Olivier Sers)
Poem of the Day: ‘The Bone Ring’ by Donald Hall

In his spare and lovely poem “The Bone Ring,” from our October 2010 issue, Donald Hall contemplates memory and inheritance in the ever-present shadow of war. Here are the first few lines:

The summer when I saw the Trylon and Perisphere,
I sat on the farm porch with my Great-Uncle Luther
who told me that when he was nine he watched
the soldier boys walking back home from Virginia.

See the full poem here, and go here to read more of Hall’s work for The Atlantic.

Read more from The Atlantic:

This article was originally published on The Atlantic.

Soul ink

Inked your name
Upon my flesh

Those golden eyes
Fell upon the markings
For but a fleeting moment

Ignored henceforth

Inked your name
Into my soul

Tearing myself
From the insides
For those golden eyes
To finally bear witness

Ignorance followed her
An ever-present shadow

Open wounds
To be healed through
These coarse hands

The soul must remain within
Carrying her memories
Inked into my soul

Scribble-Doodle: The First Victim

Magnus sees Alec smile his bright, unrestrained smile only once - shortly after their first kiss, after the called-off wedding, at the Institute. For the first time since Magnus has met him, Alec stands tall and unburdened, head held high and shoulders squared. And his eyes are devoid of shadows.

And then he meets Camille…

It’s not the kiss that brings it all crashing down, it’s Camille’s words, hard truths that cannot be unheard, unlearned, forgotten. Truths about the reality of them, Alec’s mortality, Magnus immortality, and the way things will inevitably end one day, the tragedy of their love woven into their relationship from day one.

And after that, Alec never smiles that broad, perfectly happy smile again, the one through which a heart as light as a feather and a spirit finally free of all fetters shine, a mind finally at peace with the body. Never again. 

Yes, he smiles much more often these days than before, while he still allowed himself to be ruled by other people’s wishes and demands, and his smiles are genuine and honest and sweet and full of affection so deep that Magnus’ heart skips a beat every time he sees one them… 

But there’s always the ever-present shadow of crushing truth that bows his head and rounds his shoulders. And the worst thing is, that Alec never says anything, as has always been his wont…

And Magnus… Magnus feels genuinely like crying, because this is not what he wanted, it’s not, definitely not. But he can’t do anything about it, nothing at all, because that’s the reality of them.

You watch the people you care about age and die.

And Alec will age and die. And Magnus will have to watch. And neither of them can forget that. And the first victim of that inevitable end is Alec’s unburdened smile, gone forever.

–You’ve met her once before. She’s from Ceres.
– I think I remember.
– She needs someone to teach her how to do the marriage
 ceremony. Will you?
– Of course.

And so she was here, with Bravo as her ever-present shadow at her
back, at the ambassadorial suite, to meet Seamus’ new wife.

It was a strange affair. She’d never heard of a marriage besides Eldina
Belroses’ in which the husband had met his wife beforehand. Yet, here
they were. Bravo knocked lightly at the door to Seamus’ suite, and then
they stood there, waiting.

“Ain’t been sleeping good.”
“No?” She studies his face, the ever present shadows under his eyes, “How long?”
“Awhile.” His eyes catch hers in the firelight and she sees what he means.
“Since the funeral home?”
“Mmm.”
“Daryl, it wasn’t your…”
“Stop.” His voice trembles just a bit.
“Daryl, com'ere.”

The First Night
(pose inspired by burdge bug)

You know what every fandom needs, an Elementary School-Age style domestic AU, so let’s get on that

  • Ward is the sticky little fifth-grader who looks after all the tiny kindergartners and makes sure nobody beats them up, so he has an entourage of tiny children following him at all times. He’s gotten really good at fixing scraped knees and dealing with accidents because sometimes they just follow him home on their tricycles, too. He is pretty much never seen without his dog Buddy or his little brother or sister.
  • Jemma and Fitz are first graders because they skipped kindergarten and also, the teacher was not equipped to deal with Fitz starting fires in his cubbyhole every morning. Jemma always has a wagon full of books from the library and a stuffed animal or two in there somewhere. Ward has sometimes mistaken the stuffed animal for her. 
  • Trip is the cool fifth grader and Ward’s adopted brother that everyone adores and he’s always got bubblegum and comic books and stuff he ordered out of the back of said comic books. Fitz is constantly torn between picking Trip or Ward as his favorite person. 
  • Fitz is Jemma’s ever-present shadow. He’s not good with people so he doesn’t talk much, but he and Jemma get into a ton of trouble whenever the kindergartners get together with the first graders because he and Skye are full to the brim of bad ideas.
  • Skye is in kindergarten because she’s super smart but had no formal schooling before Phil and Nick adopted her, so she needs to catch up socially. She’s a holy terror and a half, and the only thing that calms her down is her daddies or Buddy. Ward has occasionally been called down in the middle of class to handle Skye having a tantrum for this exact reason.
  • Buddy is allowed in class because John greased a couple of palms and he’s Ward’s therapy dog. Which is fair, because Ward’s still a really quiet kid and kind of completely messed up after being adopted out of his home when he was eight with his baby brother and sister. There were some concerns that Buddy might be a distraction, but Ward sits in the back with him, completely silent. Buddy just sits on his feet with his head in his lap the whole day, and all the teachers praise his super well behaved dog. It helps that Buddy also keeps Skye from setting the curtains on fire, too.
  • If trouble is happening in the neighborhood, it’s usually Skye convincing Fitz and Trip to do something. For a kindergartner, she’s awfully persistent. 
  • The reason that the school no longer has field trips is the last time they tried taking the elementary school to the zoo Ward broke into one of the enclosures because someone lost Fitz and Skye and they’d gotten into the monkey house to try and snatch a monkey. Thankfully it was only a tiny capuchin enclosure and no one was hurt, but the school learned its lesson after that.
  • Nick’s team is normally aged, and Phil and Nick adopted Skye, while John has full custody of Ward and shares custody of Dana and Rose Ward with Grant’s grandmother, who could only afford to keep the younger siblings, and Ward insisted that they go in his place. They visit on weekends, holidays, and over the summer, and Ward never lets them out of his sight.
  • Phil is the ultimate Suburban Mom who has all of the gymnastics squad and cheerleading squad moms eating out of the palm of his hand. He’s the king of suburban politics and John keeps trying to oust him, but since John still works with Nick and the rest of the team in a “loosely defined government job,” he’s got less time than stay-at-home-dad/romance novelist Phil Coulson. The Game of SUVs gets a little intense.

I really, really want to see a fanfic centered around this one scene in Naruto,

where Sasuke (from the future, centered in the future, w/e) remembers this scene in particular. And he apologizes to Kakashi, or at least expresses some form of repentance.

Maybe in the timeline of Boruto and his team. Maybe Kakashi and Sasuke, in a somewhat rare moment of quiet are drinking together at a bar. They are silent–because both of them are not wordy individuals, they are both considered tragic prodigies of their respective times, and the art of communication is something neither of them will ever truly grasp–and their relationship has simply reached the point where they understand each other’s pains, sorrows, pasts, and hold an unspoken respect for one another.

There is still that lingering tension, a result of betrayal and scars that will never heal, but they ignore it. They are particularly good at that.

Sasuke breaks the usual habit, and says, “I never apologized.”

Kakashi lifts an eyebrow, less condescension and more genuine curiosity. He briefly wonders if Sasuke is speaking about his betrayal as a whole (maybe Sasuke is the type that secretly harbors all of his regrets and spills them while drunk), but something tells him that the assumption is wrong.

“… When I was younger,” Sasuke eventually elaborates, not bothering to turn to the other. His gaze is fixed on the hardwood surface but his focus is elsewhere, his mind settled within an unreachable scene. “I… Said some things. Things that I shouldn’t have.”

“You’ve said a lot of things that you shouldn’t have,” Kakashi ripostes simply. There is no malice in his tone, no bitterness hinting at a grudge. They both know it to be a strained subject anyway.

“… ‘What if I were to… Kill the one you love most?’”

Kakashi turns to Sasuke in a sharp motion, eyes narrowing dangerously at the perceived threat. Sasuke only glances to his ex-mentor with a detached, empty gaze before returning to his drink.

The older of the two realizes that he had been quoting, most likely his own words, and slowly turns back, falling to his thoughts.

Kakashi has to take a moment to remember the event, because that was a long time ago and for all that he is a supposed genius, that particular encounter was catalogued as a whiny, self-important tantrum of his emotionally-darker student. (Unimportant.)

“Aa,” he murmurs to let Sasuke know he remembers–but it is more out of habit for his other students, for he knows that Sasuke had seen the moment recognition and realization sparked within his eyes. He waves a hand dismissively as he turns back to his drink. “Apology is unnecessary. It doesn’t matter.”

“No,” Sasuke immediately refutes, eyes riveted to an unseen mirage before him. “It’s necessary.”

Kakashi almost finds it within himself to ask why, but surprisingly, his ex-student beats him to the punch. They are both being rather talkative tonight, he muses.

“I didn’t know pain or suffering as a child. I was… Happy,” Sasuke mutters, refilling his empty saucer with a lazy motion. “I took it for granted, and I didn’t really know what I had until… Until it was gone.”

“Most children are like that,” Kakashi feels the need to point out, if only to get a rise out of his student. He succeeds, as Sasuke’s eyebrow twitches in slight irritation at the interruption. It is counted as a minor victory within his mind.

Surprisingly, however, Sasuke nods in acquiescence. “… I… I agree. But even after losing everything, I didn’t change. I was… I was selfish. I went from selfishly taking my happiness for granted, to selfishly ignoring the world and everyone in it for my… Ambition.”

The word is stated with a near-inscrutable curl of the lips, one that could have been a sneer or a grimace.

Sasuke’s eyes seem to glaze over, and Kakashi remains silent, regarding his ex-student with a curious but half-minded attention. He wonders if he should feel privileged to be trusted enough for the man to almost-relax in his presence.

Sasuke seems to come back to the present, and near-whispers, “I’m fortunate.”

“Yes.” Kakashi’s reply is curt, a little rougher than intended, but with no false meaning behind it. Because yes, Sasuke is fortunate, and he feels a strange relief (and is that pride? How odd.) at hearing the man acknowledge this.

Sasuke seems to notice the undertones of Kakashi’s bland reply as he speaks with more consideration. “I… Sometimes, I think back to then, when I was so focused on revenge, on my own perceived, blind, justice. I often find myself wondering how I got from there to here, where…”

He trails off, but Kakashi can easily fill in the rest. Where “he has a family.” Where “he is accepted.” Where “he is loved.”

Where “he is happy.”

Kakashi is fairly certain he is not wrong in any of these.

“That’s why I apologized,” Sasuke continues, swirling the warmed alcohol. “Back then, my world was myself, my hatred, my vendetta. Everyone around me was nothing more than black and white figures that happened to walk the same lands, but they didn’t understand me, my pain.”

He takes a slow, leisurely sip of his sake. His eyes, however–one pitch black, the other an ominous amaranthine–are sharply focused on Kakashi. “… It was wrong of me to assume so.”

Kakashi is hard pressed to not look away, because within his ex-student’s eyes is an almost beseeching, hopeful quality–as though hoping for quiet acknowledgement and understanding. It is minor, almost invisible, but Kakashi knows his like-minded ex-student well enough to identify the quality.

They have both experienced the immeasurable pain of losing all that is dear, the feeling of betrayal, of inadequacy. They are two individuals cut from the same cloth of misfortune and misery, and it is a damnable, contestable way to relate to another individual.

But that isn’t all.

While they are indeed two men who have had their fair share of grief and loss, they also have people to love once more. They are loved, cherished even, despite their histories, despite their less-than-amicable mannerisms, and everything in-between.

They had both entered a point in life where they never thought happiness would be attainable, and it is a shared understanding that they are fortunate to have the lives the hold.

They know it well.

Kakashi’s gaze turns back to his cup as he murmurs. “… I see.”

But despite the almost dismissing reply, a smile tilts the corner of Sasuke’s mouth, the ever-present shadows recede from Kakashi’s eyes. And they descend into a companionable silence.

Because this apology means more to Kakashi, to the both of them, than any other apology could have. Because an apology isn’t–would never be–enough to excuse Sasuke for betraying Kakashi’s trust, betraying a beaten man who had already lost everything before.

Because this isn’t so much an apology so much an acknowledgement of respect between two like-minded individuals, who can understand one another’s pain (sadness, regret) precisely because of what they have gone through.

Others would say it isn’t enough. Others would say that Sasuke has already served his time, paid his dues, repented for what he had done.

But it is at this particular moment that the two of them truly resolve the lingering issues that had left a rift between the ex-sensei and ex-student.

Another bond, burnt, worn and beaten, reforms.

And it is stronger than before.

[Elsewhere]

Naruto feels a strange, foreboding sensation.

His head snaps up from his paperwork, not unlike an alert animal sensing for danger. After a moment of narrowed eyes and strained concentration, he cradles his head with a bereaved groan.

“Oh, hell. Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke are being broody assholes again!”

(… Oops, I went from presenting a prompt to writing a sort of vague ficlet?)