every town will celebrate

One Year | A Gaston Story (Chapter Three)

One Year | A Gaston Story

Gaston (Luke Evans) X OC

Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three


It wasn’t yet sunrise when Anne began stirring restlessly in the unfamiliar bed in Gaston’s Tavern. When she woke, she momentarily forgot her surroundings. Beginning a new day in a home that wasn’t a cottage stuck in the French countryside was surreal and her conversations and encounters from the previous night began to surface. Sifting through the dark, Anne lost her balance while leaning off the bed. She immediately fell onto the floor with a thud.

“Ow,” she groaned. The girl was awfully clumsy, bumping into several corners and objects as she maneuvered her way through the room.

Taking the curtains in one hand, she pulled the fabric aside steadily, as if fearing it may rip, and the streetlights from outside filled the room with faint light. The night was a bit of a blur, she had been exhausted from her journey, but she couldn’t forget the handsome yet uncouth man she met in the tavern downstairs. And there he was, the subject of the painting hanging above the fireplace, with the identical crimson jacket seen in every other painting in the tavern. The man was proudly displaying his gun while sitting upright with perfect posture on a jet-black horse. His eyes were different, though, she noticed. In the painting, the jade coloring was so distracting that its vibrant shade did not seem genuine. In reality, Anne had already noticed that his eyes were darker, an earthy green and brown that swirled together. They concealed certain secrets and powerful emotions. It was clear from the previous night that he was a dispirited man, and so gazing upon this painting that should have conveyed strong feelings of heroism and greatness simply made her feel downhearted.

The room she was staying in was very unkempt, that much was obvious. The painting’s only other companions were hunting trophies from years gone by and a massive deer head mounted on the beige wall. Miscellaneous furniture was positioned randomly throughout the bedroom: a frail, sad-looking writing desk, a rotting wooden closet stained with years of watermarks, and a powder blue cushioned chair in perfect condition, never touched.

As she gently closed the door to the room, her attention shifted to the locked door across the hall: Gaston’s room. It seemed awfully quiet in there. Anne pondered whether or not it would be appropriate to knock on the door but eventually decided against it. She would just venture downstairs to the tavern and wait until Gaston or Lefou spotted her.

—–

Every morning, Gaston would wake before the sunrise to sit alone in the tavern and linger on the past. This approach wasn’t necessarily intended to help him or boost his confidence for that matter (in fact, it did quite the opposite) but Gaston sometimes enjoyed remembering. He didn’t recognize the man in the paintings anymore. He didn’t recognize the man from six months ago. He needed people to love him. He needed people to idolize him. That was Gaston. But after the night he attacked the Beast, everyone shunned him and it was shocking, to him, that they hadn’t kicked him out of the village already. That night in June was now only a blur: Belle dismounting her horse and confirming Maurice’s story about a Beast in the castle, the magic mirror, the mob, his brutal attack on the Beast, falling to his death (or so he thought) from the castle only to be given a death sentence. It was unfair. The tavern’s vibrations of music and laughter were long gone – Silence was all the war hero knew presently. He didn’t know himself without the constant validation and love he needed from his companions.

Anne reached the last step and rounded the corner to discover Gaston, deep in thought, staring at the assemblage of antler decorations on the wall. He looked different…he wasn’t flushed with anger and practically foaming at the mouth…it was a self-reflective moment, so Anne felt awkward about clearing her throat to announce her presence. To her surprise, he didn’t ask her to leave or demand she return to her room, he simply half-grinned and pointed upstairs.

“Was that you earlier?” He asked. It took Anne a few moments to realize he was referring to the thud.

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4

Quilombos of Brazil, Tyrone Turner

Largely conducted out of sight of Europeans, the complex interplay between black and red is a hidden drama that historians and archaeologists have only recently begun to unravel. Nowhere is the presence of this lost chapter more in evidence than in Brazil, where thousands of maroon communities are emerging from the shadows, reaffirming their mixed culture and pressing for legal title to the land they have occupied since the era of slavery. The stakes are high: New laws are giving Brazil’s maroon communities, called quilombos (the word for “settlement” in the Angolan language of Kimbundu), a key role in determining the future of the great Amazon forest.

1 - Terecô priest Pedro de Souza is “channeling” a menacing female spirit: A client has hired him to cast spells on her unfaithful husband. Terecô is one of the quilombos’ many hybrid religions, interweaving African and Christian beliefs with native practices.

2 - Jacey Mendes of Santiago “kills the hunger” with a shot of cachaça, or sugarcane rum. She’s helping clear land to grow cassava root using a slash-and-burn method that some sharecroppers have come to rely on.

3 - A villager dressed as a bull parades through northeastern Brazil during the festival of Bumba-Meu-Boi, when virtually every quilombo, and every village and town, celebrates the hero of a Brazilian folktale. In the story a bull is killed by a slave eager to appease his pregnant wife’s craving for bull tongue, and then is magically restored to life.

4 - A lone chimney is all that remains of a sugar plantation in Frechal, which was partially deeded to former slaves in 1925. The quilombo applied for, and received, protected status in 1992.

Masquerade

Petra was doubting again. She was unsure about her reasons to be there and she wasn’t interested on attending an aristocratic ball, much less a masquerade in Trost, but that year the militia received special invitations to such event and the place was rather close to her home. She never liked the nobility nor the politicians, thinking they were just a bunch of pretentious people, so she didn’t enjoy being in a party full of those people gathered in the same place, but there was a motive that convinced her otherwise.

More than a motive, it was a possibility, an opportunity and most of all, a caprice. An idea her subconscious had been playing with for the past two weeks and that ended up convincing her in the end.

Fall had started. The harvest season and that was the main reason for the celebration in every town inside the big walls that protected humanity, but she couldn’t help but thinking this particular event was just another excuse to make a luxurious and pretentious party with nobility and aristocrats. Whatever the reasons, she was there, wearing a modest but beautiful dark blue dress that contrasted with her hair color, now carefully decorated with two braids that held the rest of her hair. Her mask was golden with small and colorful stones and feathers decorating one of the sides. She had just bought it that afternoon, when she passed in front of a store that displayed the beautiful outfit, which ended up convincing her about going to the celebration.

Nevertheless, the main reason for being in the party wasn’t there, or more exactly, hadn’t appeared in front of her eyes. Petra knew the risks; it was pretty unlikely for Captain Levi to be there, but still, there was a small chance. The soldiers were given a few free days because of the fall celebrations and, knowing her superior, he might have been persuaded by the Commander to assist.

And so there she was, in one of the corners of the ballroom, looking at the couples dancing and the fancy orchestra that played beautiful melodies to accompany them. There were also a few people in the balconies, despite the cold wind, the night sky was gorgeous with all those stars above them.

Petra drank from her glass of wine while she looked around. Everyone wore masks and it as impossible to know if her squad comrades were there or not. Suddenly, a young and tall man with blond hair asked her to dance, but she kindly refused. It was the sixth invitation she declined that night. She wasn’t there to dance with a man she wouldn’t meet every again or to look for a potential boyfriend. Petra was there hoping to see Captain Levi. Perhaps, it would be safer to look at him behind that mask, not having to dissimulate like she always did during training or diner.

A few minutes passed and she gave up. She had been there for a little more than an hour and now she thought it was pointless to be in ball and not having the slightest intention of dancing with anyone, so she left her glass in one of the nearby tables and headed towards the main door.

She was barely a few meters away from the door, when it opened, letting a group of people in. They were cheerfully talking and seemed so happy to be there. They smiled and their voices were barely overshadowed by the music. Nevertheless, there was a man in that group that immediately caught Petra’s attention. Her heart rushed inside her chest. He was a short man, compared to his companions and that seemed rather distant.

He was completely dressed in black and wore a hat with the same color that made him look too serious and even gloomy. It wasn’t an extravagant costume like the others, but he wore a mask, like everyone else. It completely covered his face and it was plain white. No decorations. As simple as the rest of his clothes, but behind it a pair of piercing blue eyes studied the whole place.

Petra stopped to look at the group walking in front of her, almost frozen after seeing the mysterious man, who was now holding the girl’s hopes. She looked at him as he walked, studying his every movement, trying to recognize him, but it was almost impossible. And when he looked at the spot where she was standing, their eyes met for the first time.

It was just for a couple seconds, but that short time felt like several minutes. That man’s blue eyes remained inexpressive but Petra felt as if they could see behind her own mask. Suddenly, she felt her blood gathering in her face, thankful her costume hid her blush. She wasn’t sure if that was Captain Levi, but those blue eyes couldn’t belong to someone else, so she decided to remain at the party and try to find out.

The group was right in the other side of the ballroom and Petra discreetly looked at them from afar, exchanging glances with that man from time to time, until she decided to hide. The original idea was too study him from the distance, so she took another glass of wine and stood nearby the orchestra to pass unnoticed behind all the people around, finally disappearing from that man in black’s visual field .

She kept looking at him for a while, until someone approached her to offer her a snack , distracting her from her objective, and when she looked back at him, it was already gone. She couldn’t find him anywhere and she felt a little disappointed. Perhaps it was time to go home.

Petra headed towards the main door. The music was so loud she could barely hear the people talking around her and then she felt a hand touching her arm. It was that mysterious man with blue eyes and whom she decided was Levi.

His skin was cold to the contact, but she was more surprised to see him so close. She had spent half of the night looking at him from afar that he eventually seemed untouchable, but now he was in front of her, offering his hand and asking her to dance without saying a word.

She nodded immediately and he grabbed her hand to guide her towards the dance floor, strategically nearby the orchestra, so speaking would be useless because they wouldn’t hear each other.

The melody wasn’t really slow, but it was endearing and that showed on his grip on Petra’s waist. It was a rhythmic waltz that the violinist played with passion and devotion, as if he was playing only for them. The masked man didn’t take his eyes off Petra’s, not even for a second and it was impossible for her to know if he was smiling or if he was serious; his eyes didn’t show any expression and Petra couldn’t look away, so she felt a little frustrated, wondering about her dance partner, whose hands didn’t feel as cold as before. It was now a nice touch against her skin and she was tempted to caress his hand with her thumb.

When the music was over, Petra’s hears was still beating fast and her breathing accelerated a little. She felt strangely attracted to that man and the sensation grew as she played with the idea of him being Captain Levi.

They stopped dancing and separated a little. He was about to move but he was interrupted by a tall man that approached him, whispering in his ear, only to walk away and after Petra’s partner nodded solemnly.

Petra looked at him with curiosity and for the first time, he walked away for an instant, meeting her gaze again after a brief instant, meeting Petra’s eyes with the same intensity he had while they were dancing and then, with a smooth movement he took Petra’s hand, leaning forward and using his free hand to move his mask a little, softly kissing her hand.

She was very surprised and wasn’t able to move while he walked away, disappearing among the people and when she finally came back from her trance she looked at her hand, the warmth of his lips lingering in her skin. She widely smiled and walked towards the main door, finally ready to go back home.

A few days later Petra was back in the barracks, back to her normal activities, training and normal life. That masquerade seemed like a dream she remembered with illusion after the possibility of dancing with her crush, exchanging intense glances with those beautiful blue eyes. At night, she remembered the scene as if it was a fairy tale and if she remembered it during the day she couldn’t stop herself from sighing with nostalgia

She slowly walked towards her superior’s office. She had been summoned during the afternoon and she was sure it was about paperwork… hoping she could finish it I her room. She avoided Captain Levi since she came back, especially because not blushing was almost a superhuman effort.

“Come on in” her superior’s voice was heard after she knocked.

“Captain!” she formally saluted “you summoned me a few hours ago”

“Yes, Petra” he said, not taking his eyes off the documents he was reading, apparently uninterested on the girl’s presence. For the first time, she was thankful for it “please, fill those papers over there and take them to Commander Erwin’s office when you’re done” he pointed at the papers on the bookcase next to the door.

“Yes, Sir” she hurried to take them and turn around, not even trying to look at him or exchange any more words, but before she could leave his office, he spoke again with a firm and serious voice.

“Oh, by the way, Petra…” she looked at him with curiosity, seeing him standing up and heading towards her “I didn’t know you could dance so well. I hope we could do it again someday”

And then he opened the door and left the office, heading to the Commander’s and leaving Petra speechless and shocked, while a tiny smirk appeared on his lips, hiding again from the girl’s eyes. Meanwhile, she felt her legs were about to betray her, letting her fall down. That masked man was, indeed, Captain Levi and perhaps, her memories could be something more than a distant dream.


Author notes:

Hi guys!

I wanted to write something Halloween-ish… so I thought about a masquerade. It was actually an idea my bff gave me and well, here it is.

I hope you liked it and… happy Halloween!

(vampire au closed)

It was the night after the last day of classes and there was a hell of a party going on in the woods to celebrate. Sebastian like every other teenager in town was out celebrating, where else was he going to get free beer? Besides he was working on finally getting with Hannah. They had walked away from the party and were making out when suddenly she went limp. Sebastian pulled away and she slumped to the ground, not dead but unconscious. 

“The fuck?!” Was the last thing he said before he to went limp. Unlike Hannah Sebastian died, but didn’t stay dead. He awoke in a swallow grave one night. After clawing himself out of the ground he was scared and confused. Where was he? Why was he so pale? And so damn thirsty? 

“With every victory, the town celebrated. In time, the Doctor seemed to forget he lived any other life. And the people of the town came to love the man who stayed for Christmas.”

New Year’s Bliss

Castiel could hear the melody of “Auld Lang Syne” coming from inside the ballroom. He paused in front of the door. “It must be close to midnight,” he noted.

“Mhmm,” Dean agreed. “Time to share a New Year’s kiss,” he added with a wink. Castiel could hear his breath catch, and Dean must have heard it too, because he turned back to Castiel and looked at him in question. “May I?” (4.6k)

[AO3]

Castiel breathed a sigh of relief as he snuck out the side door of the hotel’s grand ballroom and found himself in a small, dimly-lit outdoor courtyard. He glanced around, noticing a large stone fountain that was probably beautiful in warmer months when it was running surrounded by four wrought-iron benches. There were bushes around the outer edge of the courtyard and trellises of ivy were placed sporadically between bushes. As he looked, he found himself wishing he could see it in summer when there would undoubtedly be flowers blooming as well. Right now, however, fat snowflakes were falling gently from the sky, making the ground and everything else sparkle a bright white. Castiel shivered slightly, wishing he had his coat and scarf but thankful that he at least was wearing his suitcoat.

He stuck his hands in his pockets in an attempt to keep them from freezing and wandered closer to the fountain. Up close he could see that it was a fairly simple but still beautiful circular tiered fountain with small flowers carved into the rims, and he knew it must look impressive when it was warm enough to run water through it.

Castiel was looking up at the trellises when he heard the door open and close behind him. He turned around and saw his new companion – an attractive man around his age who gave him a small wave as he approached Castiel.

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3

Pátzcuaro, Michoacán (2014)

triptych 


Pátzcuaro it’s a ‘magical’ town in Michoacán (which is in México) and every year they celebrate, like hardore, the day of the death. We mexicans celebrate death, we make fun of it, we have Tequila drinks with it, we love it, here it is so colorful. 

Día de muertos (day of the death) it’s one of my favorite mexican traditions ever.

She’s sitting deep in the wood letting the sun warm her. She had decided against a large celebration, not wanting to go through the motions of inviting every druid in town. So she settled on a private celebration to honor the earth and the sun. She sits in the center of her prayer circle, words falling softly from her lips.

Nos receperint vos, et estis hodie gloriam,
lux festum celebrantes diem,
Rursus ad initium itineris
in tenebris.”

We welcome you, and we honour you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
into the darkness.

Dinkelsbühl is a historic town in Franken, Bayern, Southern Germany. It was a Free Imperial City during the time of the Holy Roman Empire and lies on the Romantic Road scenic route as 1 of 3 particularly striking towns, the others being Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Nördlingen. Fortified by Emperor Henry V, in 1305 it received municipal rights. During the Protestant Reformation, it was noted for being - along with Ravensburg, Augsburg, and Biberach - a bi-confessional city with about equal numbers of Catholics and Protestants. In 1534, the majority of the population became Protestant. Every summer, the town celebrates its surrender to Swedish Troops during the Thirty Years’ War. This reenactment is played out by residents. It features an array of Swedish troops attacking the city gate and children dressed in traditional garb coming to witness the event. Paper cones full of chocolate and candy are given as gifts. The event is called the Kinderzeche (Kinder = “children”, Zeche = “the bill for food and drink in an inn”). It’s called such because of the legend that a child saved the town from massacre by the Swedish Troops. Legend has it that when the Swedish army besieged the town, a teenage girl took the children to the Swedish General to beg for mercy. The Swedish General had recently lost his son to illness, and a boy who approached him resembled his son, so he decided to spare the town.

Brigham (part 8)

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

5 months before the wedding…

I’m standing at the arrivals gate, waiting. A bride waiting for her maid of honour to fly in from New York and of course you’d assume the person beside me would be my husband-to-be, or perhaps another of my bridesmaids. But no, the person beside me is my ex-boyfriend- you know, the one that I kissed a couple of months ago?

“Hi,” he chirps as soon as I enter the rotating doors of Brigham’s main surgical wing, sweeping up behind me and following my quick pace.

“Hi,” I dismissively smile, trying my best to act non-chalant.

“So about last night,” he starts. “Will that be happening again… or…?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t play dumb Amelia. We both know what we’re talking about here… The kiss. I took you outside and asked if you felt the same way as me, and you answered by kissing me.”

I scoff before shrugging and uncomfortably folding and unfolding my arms, fiddling with my bag strap as I take a swift left for the stairs.

“Amelia,” he persists, not allowing me the luxury of ignoring him.

“Look, that was obviously a mistake. I’m sorry,” I say, swinging the door to the stairs open and maintaining my march.

“That was no mistake, I was there, your tongue was in my mouth Amelia,” he whispers. I don’t need to be looking at him to know he currently has a smug smirk on his face, and I turn around and face the expression on the fourth step. He’s smiling and it infuriates me how he’s so calm in this shit storm we’ve created.

“It was in the moment… and it was a mistake, and I was drunk-”

“You were not that drunk,” he cuts me off before I can start to make excuses.

That day, as fate would have it, an actual storm hit Boston and ripped up half of a neighbourhood on the east side of town. Owen and I were sent with the ambulances to intiate damage control in the area and as if it had been 10 years prior, we synced our hands, our shorthand kicked in, and within an hour we were running the site.

Adrenaline had pounded through me as I let my heart remember the amazing experiences I had had with Owen in far-off lands, missing the rush of pride and satisfaction that accompanied saving a life despite lack of equipment and time. We had taken the last ambulance back to the hospital and discussed everything- kisses, feelings, honesty, crushes, returning emotions… We came clean about everything in the forty-five minutes of traffic, and this time without kissing, agreeing that as long as we respected boundaries, it was safe to be friends. The underlying tone to the conversation was that we would probably always love each other in a certain way that isn’t wholly platonic but that’s the way it had to be.

Although one person was still battling internal bleeding in an OR at the end of that day, every patient had made it. To celebrate, we went into town and ended up in a small bar that had changed its name since our student days. It was dingy and small, dark and hot, and as predicted, Owen and I ended up deep in our own conversation away from the group. The entire time, I was aware of Addison’s beady eye watching every move. Every touch of an elbow or flick of my hair caught her attention and I sensed a mental list forming in her head.

As people drifted home, Addison practically dragged me out of the bar and insisted I share a taxi with her. I refused and we ended up in an argument in the street about my inappropriate actions. Out of spite, and probably bitterness at how correct she was, I had grabbed Owen’s hand and stormed away in the direction of the hospital. We had ended up nose-to-nose in the single bed once more, giggling under the stars on the fifth floor.

So, yes… we kissed, we admitted it happened, we agreed things would work themselves out eventually, and a few months later I’m now standing with Owen in an airport, waiting for my maid of honour to arrive. As she rounds the corner, my heart skips a beat in joy at seeing the beaming white smile I associate with sunshine and happiness- the epitome of Arizona Robbins.

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A PSA about Christmas

Let me just say that I hate Christmas, because of this I sure do get a lot of criticism.

So let me tell you a short story that will explain why I hate Christmas:

In this story we have Trisha and Nova. Trisha and Nova were born on the same day and celebrate their birthdays at the same time.
Every year on their birthdays Trisha has a gigantic celebration;

They have the most skilled performers hired to entertain people,
Live bands and famous singers write and perform songs just for them every year,
The entire town is invited to celebrate the occasion,
The best caterers are hired to design special dishes to reflect the importance of the day,
Newspapers cover the best parts and rave at how *spectacular* it is each year,
Presents of all sorts are offered by every attendee,
And people talk about the event for months before its even planned!

Then we have Nova. Nova, for their birthday, has a small sit down dinner, perhaps a cupcake or a present if they’re really lucky. And each year, Nova becomes quite upset that Trisha gets all the attention.

And so, Nova tries to vent their frustration “I really hate Trisha’s birthday celebration! Why is it always so big??” and every time their words are met with phrases such as
“Are you mad? Its Trisha’s celebration! How can you dislike it?”


Now in this story, Trisha represents Christianity and Christmas and Nova is every other religion that is forgotten.

I would be “Nova” in this. I am pagan and each year my religious celebration is overshadowed by Christmas:

I have it shoved down my throat, am bombarded with it left and right and when I try to get away people get upset and angry!

I know that I can’t stop Christmas from being this ridiculously large with a simple tumblr post, but I CAN ask one thing of you, which might make this season a bit more bearable:

1) Don’t say “Merry Christmas” to people who you don’t know the religion of. Try “Happy Holidays” to be more inclusive of non christians!

2) If someone objects to participating in “Festive” events, please don’t force them! Perhaps they have a reason, such as it goes against their beliefs.

3) If someone mentions their religious holiday, and it isn’t Christmas - don’t mention Christmas to them, just reply kindly and move on.

Perhaps by keeping these points in mind at this time of year, we can make it just a bit more bearable for those of us who are sick of Christmas!


Thanks for reading this, it would really help if you spread this around!

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Mischief Brew-Every Town Will Celebrate

N O // C O N T R O L — A One Direction Saga (PREFACE)

FIVE GUYS.

FIVE PHASES.

ONE DIRECTION.

A band of five, unlikely brothers, brought together by a common thrill of greed and power. Chasing their highs, no matter the cost. And when it comes to this heist, there are no rules, no limits, and No Control.

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anonymous asked:

Headcanon where on the anniversary of Mabel's death every year Dipper decorates her grave and grows flowers around the town, and every year the quiet celebration of her memory gets more elaborate- bigger flowers, prettier sunsets, and eventually when he's powerful enough, making the sky fill with shooting stars. Until enough time passes, and he begins to forget why he does this every year, but Mabel's incarnations remind him and it becomes an important part of retaining his lingering humanity.

Fluffy Fridays—Chapter 65: Sharing Beginnings

Fluffy Fridays—Chapter 65: Sharing Beginnings

Pairing: Captain Swan

Rating: T

Summary:  A series of unrelated, fluffy one shots featuring  Killian Jones and Emma Swan and the relationship that makes us all  swoon. Will contain both canon and AU stories. My contribution to  Operation Rainbow Kisses and Unicorn Stickers (aka, my attempt to drown  out the season 4 finale angst with ridiculous levels of fluff.)

Missed the beginning? ( 1) ( 2) ( 3) ( 4) ( 5) (6) ( 7) ( 8) ( 9) ( 10) ( 11) ( 12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40) (41) (42) (43) (44) (45) (46) (47) (48) (49) (50) (51) (52) (53) (54) (55) (56) (57) (58) (59) (60) (61) (62) (63) (64)

(Tagging a few people who may be interested: @sailormew4 @annaamell @flslp87 @emmateo26 @fleurreads @doracianstormrose @mermaidswans @bethacaciakay @ultraluckycatnd @allfangirlallthetime @effulgentcolors, @ilovemesomekillianjones @kat2609 @brooke-to-broch @missgymgirl @hellomommanerd @galadriel26 @the-lady-of-misthaven @charmingturkeysandwich @jennjenn615 @laschatzi @kimmy46 @snowbellewells @iamanneenigma @daxx04 @lapi-lazuli @nickillian @a-rose-for-a-savior @in-spirational @gillie @manic-pixiefangirl @britishguyslover @ginnyjinxedandhanshotritafirst @nofeels )

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CS Genre: CS Future Fic

Emma took a deep breath, feeling the old familiar panic well up.  The fear that if she did this…if she let herself have this…she’d somehow lose it, lose him.

But she was done with fear. She was done with walls.  She’d already experienced the worst pain possible—losing her true love.  This step should be easy.

“I…” she said, looking deeply into his eyes, “I love you.”

He didn’t respond in words, merely smiled and then surged forward, taking her lips in a kiss she felt from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.  As the kiss continued, she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck (She’d never let go again.  Never.), and then felt her feet leave the ground as he picked her up in his exuberance.

This was real!  This was perfect!  This was what a happy ending felt like.

At long last the kiss came to an end, and Killian reached up to caress her face with a shaking hand.  “I love you too, Swan,” he whispered hoarsely, “so bloody much.”

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