everything was simpler

anonymous asked:

Maybe Dark!Annabeth fighting a child of the big three and she knows that defeating them with physical, raw power isn't possible, so she attacks mentally. She defeats them with words, something Annabeth constantly does throughout the books to her enemies. Making them so angry, distracted, and/or sad that they lose focus and she easily takes the victory.

Annabeth feels him coming before she sees him.

There’s a charge in the air. A gathering static that threatens to strike with every movement she makes, but never quite gets the guts to do so.

That’s Jason Grace for you. Son of Jupiter, chosen of Juno, and just a touch too soft to do what needs to be done. Oh sure, he’ll kill monsters if he needs to, but when the monsters are gods, his solution is to become a priest.

It’s about finding a compromise, he’d said. And making sure that we’re heard.

Annabeth’s finding there are better ways of making noise.

“You got here faster than I expected,” she remarks as he touches down in front of her. She’s perched on the crumbling remnants of a wall that’s thousands of years old. Some small, distant part of her regrets what is about to happen here, but not enough to change course.

“Your pattern’s getting old,” he says. His gladius is out and he holds it warily between them. Annabeth keeps her drakonbone sword at her side. “The others can hold Percy off long enough for me to stop what you’re doing.”

She raises her eyebrows. “You’re the only one coming?”

He tries to hide his grimace, but that’s the danger with fighting your friends. They can read you too well, and a smile curls over Annabeth’s mouth at the confirmation. She hops off the wall, landing lightly on the dirt.

“What made you think I’d be at Pompeii?”

Lightning crackles in the sky overhead, raising the small hairs at the back of her neck. He nods at the scaffolding in the distance, empty of workers this early in the morning. It’s a grim dawn, about to get darker.

“No tourists today. You might’ve turned against the gods, Annabeth, but you’re not a murderer.”

Isn’t she? Annabeth has lost count of the number of monsters she’s put in the ground (under the ground). How many demigods died in the war with Kronos? They bleed red the same as mortals, and her hands are as stained as anyone’s.

So are Jason’s, and irritation pricks at her face. She smooths it away with a cool smile, carefully tracking him as he starts to circle her. She has a certain amount of faith in Jason’s willingness to ‘save’ his friends, but she’s not an idiot.

“So I should start picking locations with people if I don’t want you to interfere, is that what you’re saying?”

“That’s obviously not what I’m saying.” His gaze flickers over the ruins stretching behind her. “So this is all rigged to blow, huh?”

“Leo does good work.”

He winces. He can play on whatever friendship the two of them might have had all he likes, but that betrayal is the real knife in the guts and they both know it. Annabeth coerces her expression into concern, the cogs of her brain turning the right muscles to give it the realism it needs. She takes a half step forward, and Jason doesn’t step away.

“He misses you, you know.” Her voice is a soft thing. Caring. “Misses both of you.”

“If he misses us so bad, he should come and see us.”

“You really think we’re going to be welcome at Camp after all this?

“You haven’t killed anyone.”

The yet sits between us, and it doesn’t matter anyway. The gods would be more likely to forgive her if she had killed someone. They could have murdered thousands of mortals and not been struck down, if they’d just done it far away from the last vestiges of godly power in this world.

Gaea had plotted to bring down Mt Olympus, and that’s definitely on Annabeth’s list. But she’s always been a methodical sort of girl, and divine power runs deep. Best to stamp out all traces of it, one relic at a time.

She sighs. “We don’t plan to. You know that.”

“You’re trying to kill the gods!” Lightning cracks again, closer now. It takes more strength than Annabeth wants to admit to to avoid reaching for her weapon.

“And how many times have they tried to kill us? At best they don’t give a shit, Jason, you know that.”

But he’s shaking his head. They’ve had this fight before, all of them, enough times that she could probably just record it for him to save energy. He’s long since stopped listening to sense, and she doesn’t bother with more than a cursory attempt to convince him.

“You’re too late for this one,” she says. “I’m proud of you for getting here before it blows, but you were right. It’s ready to go.”

His grip shifts on his sword. And - there’s something in his expression that prompts her to brace for an attack, because it’s not defeat. This time, she thinks. This time might be the one where I push too far.

It’s sad, sort of, but relief swamps that soon enough. It’s not that she wants to fight old friends, but it would make everything a lot simpler. To just be able to fight, without caring what happens to them anymore. To draw battlelines instead of blurring them

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he growls. “But even if the rest of your team is ready to destroy this place, they’ll stop once you’re a hostage.”

Annabeth laughs. It’s a miscalculation, but she can’t help herself. “The others might. But hell itself couldn’t keep Percy Jackson from me, Jason, and you’re no Tartarus.”

“I can deal with Percy.”

He can’t. She wonders idly if he knows that. Everyone’s aware of Percy’s power these days, but that’s what he’s like with her at his side. Jason, she suspects, still has a little too much optimism left about what Percy’s self control would be like without her. What it would be like if he even thought she was in danger.

“Right, well, that’ll be your mistake to live with.” She squints up at the sky, trying to judge her next play. Being a hostage would accelerate certain things that she’s not ready to set into motion just yet. Most of all, she doesn’t think that Percy is quite as ready to fight the others as she is.

Not yet.

“You made a miscalculation,” she said finally. “You always want to go for the biggest player, Jason. It’s one of your biggest weaknesses.”

“You can’t talk your way out of this, Annabeth.” His body moves, and she can almost trace the lines in the air, the familiar forms he’s about to slide into. “You’re coming back to Camp wth me.”

He lifts his blade, wreathed in lightning. She smells ozone on the air, the threat of violence wafting in behind it. She clasps her hands behind her back, and lays down her hand.

“Where’s Piper, Jason?”

Everything stops. Nature itself holds its breath as those too-blue eyes widen in sheer panic, before narrowing at her.

“Piper’s your friend. You wouldn’t hurt her.”

Annabeth waits. She doesn’t need to say anything. The silence between them does it for her. The even sound of her breathing. The shroud of absolute confidence holding her shoulders straight.

You are not going to take me, her body says, like it’s all a foregone conclusion.

“She can handle herself,” he tries again, and there’s the edge of desperation that she’s been waiting for. Enough to cloud his thinking. He might not think she’s a murderer, but there are other atrocities. Things she hasn’t held back from in the opening numbers of this new war.

“Against Percy?”

That’s a risk. Because they both know that Percy isn’t steady, isn’t stable, that his relationship with Piper had been tenuous at best and that without Annabeth there, his temper might just get away with him. Piper has her Charmspeak, but there are ways around everything if you have enough power.

It’s a risk, because Jason’s anger could always outweigh his fear. He could always take it out on her rather than fly off for Piper. Annabeth is confident in her ability to take him with a sword, but Jason comes with all those bonus add-ons that children of Athena just aren’t privy to.

So she gives him one last push. Just to make sure.

“Tartarus has so many doors,” she says softly. That same quiet concern from before, turned deadly now. “You know we found all of them, right Jason?”

He spits a curse, something in Latin about the gods and what he hopes they’ll do to her. She watches him leap into the sky, shading her eyes against the rising sun until he’s no more than a dot in the distance.

“You say that like they haven’t already done their worst,” she murmurs, before turning back to the ruins.

There’s work to be done.

Face the Music

Prompt: If your requests are open, could you write a oneshot were batsis,who’s between Tim and Damian’s age or is Damian’s twin sister, is constantly ignored, like they don’t mean to but she’s just kind of invisible to/overshadowed by the batfam, so she decides on staying with the superfam over summer to help at the Kent Farm (Of course Alfred knows but he doesn’t tell) and the batfam doesn’t notice till like a month in that batsis isn’t at Wayne Manor and they’re trying to find her and such.

 ———-

Being the granddaughter of the Demon Head isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Being Damian’s twin sister is even worse.

“Dad?”

“Not now, Y/N”

Your father keeps his back turned and continues to talk to Damian. “Dad, I just …”

“I said not now!”

Damian’s lip curls slightly when he glances at you, “Leave now, Y/N. Father and I are discussing the Mission, which you are not a part of”

You flinch, and quickly leave the cave. “Alfred?”

“In the study, Miss Y/N. Were you able to talk to your father?”

“No, he was busy with Dami, he didn’t have time to talk to me”

Alfred sighs quietly, “You cannot allow the men of this house to ignore you, Miss Y/N”

“I try Alfred! I try to get their attention! But I’m just not good enough! I’m not part of the Mission so I don’t warrant any attention!”

Gentle hands draw you into a brief hug, “You do not need your fathers permission, this time. I will allow you to go to the Kent farm for the summer. Who will be there?”

“Kon, Clark, and Clarks mom, Martha. I’m gonna be helping out around the farm”

“Very well. As long as you promise to write to me at least once a week.”

That forces a chuckle out of you, “This isn’t the old times, Alfie. I can just call you”

“Perhaps I enjoy receiving letters, Miss Y/N”

“Alright, alright, I’ll do both. You’ll keep me updated on the boys?”

“Of course. Now” Alfred gently nudges you toward the door, “It is time for you to pack. I received a call from Mister Kent, he will be here in three hours to pick you up”

“Thanks, Alfred!”

You and Clark land in front of the Kent farm, Kon landing behind you. “Why is this bag so heavy?!”

Rolling your eyes you turn and take the duffel bag from your friend, “Stop whining! You have super strength, and the bag isn’t that heavy! It just has cloths in it!”

“Clark? Is that you?”

“Yeah, Ma! I brought Conner and Y/N with me!”

Martha Kent quickly steps out to the front porch, “Well don’t just stand there come give your mother a hug!” Clark smiles, quickly giving Martha a hug, Kon is next, and the, surprisingly, Marth wraps her arms around you. For a split second, you panic, not having receive a hug from anyone but Alfred in a long time.  “It’s so nice to meet you, Y/N! I hope you enjoy staying with us. Come on now, I’ve made pie”

Clank stands beside Conner, “They ignore her you know, the Bats. She didn’t even tell them she was leaving. The poor kids touch-starved and she doesn’t even realize it”

Conner nods, “I know, but Grandma will fix that. The two of us will just have to make sure that she has the best summer possible”

“Yeah, we will”

“Pennyworth, who were you talking to?”

“No one, Master Damian, just a family member of mine”

Damian’s eyes narrow but decides to let the subject go, “Father would like to know if you have seen Y/N. Todd asked where she was, and Father has not seen her”

“I can’t say that I have, Master Damian. I have not seen her in quite a while”

Damian hums, “Very well, I will tell father and Todd”

Almost an hour later Jason comes up from the Cave. “Alfred, Damian says that you haven’t seen Y/N? How long has it been?”

“Quite a while, Master Jason. Come to think of it, I cannot quite remember the last time I saw Miss Y/N”

“Damn, well I’m gonna try her phone again. If you see her, will you let her know I need to talk to her?”

“Of course”

“Thanks, Alfie”

Once Jason leaves, Alfred picks up the phone and calls Y/N. After a month and a half the rest of her family has finally notice that she wasn’t in the Manor.

“I don’t know, Kon. I’ve never ridden a horse before, what if I fall off?”

Conner chuckles, gently picking you up and putting you on the back of the horse, “If you fall, I’ll catch you. You don’t have to worry about falling, Blueberry’s really smooth”

“Alright, as long as you stay with me”

A gentle hand steadies you in the saddle, “Don’t worry, I’ve got you”

Once the two of you get going, and you learn how to balance on the horse, the ride is surprisingly easy. The two of you make a loop around the farm, just taking in the open land. By the time you get back to the farm house the sun is starting to disappear behind the horizon.

“It’s so peaceful here, I wish I didn’t have to leave”

“You can come back whenever you want, you know. Grandma already said that you’re welcome whenever.”

Before you can respond, Clark steps into the barn. “Alfred called while you were on your ride. He said your father has finally noticed that you aren’t in the Manor. Jason actually noticed you missing first.”

“I’m not missing, I tried to tell Dad where I was going, but he was too busy to listen”

“Well, you might want to call him and tell him you’re fine, because he just sent out an emergency alert to all members of the Justice League.”

“WHAT?!?!”

Clark runs a nervous hand through his hair, “Batman called a meeting, all of the original members of the Justice League are gonna be there. I think you should call him, let him know that you’re safe, and tell him to call off the search”

You’re shaking, everything seems like it’s too much as this point, “He can’t be bothered with me when I’m at the Manor. Clark I’ve been gone for a month and a half, almost two months at this point, and they are just now noticing that I’m gone. I’m so done right now. I’m not calling him, I’m not calling any of them. You can tell my father where I am when you have your meeting, but he won’t be hearing anything from me”

“You know that I have to tell him, right?”

“You really don’t, Kal” Conner throws an arm around your shoulders, drawing you close, “She’s right, they didn’t even notice that she was gone. Y/N can just live here, with me and Grandma, somewhere she’ll have people who care about her”

“Kon, you know that’s not the right thing to do …”

“IT’S NOT RIGHT HOW THEY TREAT HER!!” Conner visibly pulls back, reigning in his anger, “It’s not right how they ignore her, it’s practically child neglect.”

“I know, but now she can come here. Now she has us to look after her. She’s always welcome in either of our apartments.”

“Thank you guys. You – you don’t know how much this means to me. But, Clark’s right, he has to tell my father that I’m safe. You should probably head to your meeting now, I’m gonna enjoy the rest of today with Conner”

Clark nods, pulling you into a tight hug before he flies away.

“What if we run away together. We can find some remote island, I can fly back and forth to the main land for supplies. It could just be the two of us, and anyone else we decided to tell”

You and Conner are laying on the roof of the barn, watching the stars. You never knew how many of them there are, the Gotham smog tends to block out all starlight.

“An island, huh? I don’t really think I’d want to live on an island, too many sharks in the ocean. How about we live in the mountains.”

“That could work!”

“I’m kidding! I can’t just run away forever. Dad wouldn’t stop looking for me, and then he’d pull out the kryptonite just to he could beat the crap out of you!”

Connor pauses mid-laugh, “Clark’s on his way back. Bruce will be here in the morning, he had to take care of something in Gotham tonight”

“Of course he did. The Mission is more important than anything” Clark lands quietly beside you, still wearing the Superman suit, “So, how did your meeting go?”

“Bruce was angry. Apparently, Alfred refused to tell him anything, and at first so did I. Eventually I told him that you were somewhere safe. He managed to deduce that you were here. He said that he’ll …”

“Be here tomorrow morning, yeah, I know.”

“I’m sorry, Y/N”

“It’s not your fault, Clark. Like I said before, nothing comes before the Mission, not even his own children”

“Come down to the house, Ma made apple pie”

“Alright, it’s probably the last time I’ll ever have it. Dad will probably lock me in the Manor and then forget about me”

“We won’t let that happen, I promise”

“What are you gonna do, Conner? Break into Batman’s house, and kidnap me?”

Conner’s eyes briefly flash red, “If I have to, that’s exactly what I’ll do”

The next morning comes too soon. You know that your father is going to be angry, that he’s probably going to lock you in the Manor, and that your twin is going to be pissed that he had to look for you.

“I could hide you in the barn, you know.”

You roll your eyes, “I’m not hiding in a barn from my own father, I just wish that I could stay out here. It’s so … quiet compared to Gotham. There’s no villains, no vigilantes, no galas, nothing like that. Everything just seems simpler out here”

“I know what you mean. It’s nice to have a sanctuary. Clark has his Fortress of Solitude, and I mean I could go there too, but I like it better here.”

“I understand. Did Clark say what time Dad would be here?”

“No” Connor takes a huge bite of her cereal, pointing the now empty spoon at you, “He hasn’t tried to call you?”

“He can’t, remember, my phone slid off the roof, I haven’t exactly had time to get another one!”

“Oh yeah” He pauses, tilting his head toward the door. “Clark said that your dad is about 50 miles away, so he should be here in the next half hour”

“Yeah, I assumed he would be here early”

“There’s still enough time, we can make a break for it …”

You just roll your eyes, going into the kitchen to help Mrs. Kent clean up from breakfast. Exactly twenty-two minutes later Connor comes to get you. The jet is less than a mile away, and Clark said that it would be best if you were already waiting on the porch. The jet comes into view a minute later. Taking a deep breath, you square your shoulders an raise your chin, it’s finally time to face the music.

Jason is actually the first one out of the jet. He sprints up the porch steps and wraps you tightly in his arms.

“Don’t you ever do something like that again, you hear me?” He’s trembling, fine tremors wrack his whole body, “I thought something had happened to you. I’m gone for 3 months and you go missing, no one’s heard from you, no leads, nothing, you just aren’t there anymore”

Jason was the only one in your family, other than Alfred, who didn’t ignore you. He was constantly stealing you away from the Manor just to spend time with you, but sometimes he would go on missions that lasted between three to six months. Half the time he wouldn’t be able to contact you at all, and your father refused to tell you anything.

“I left a note for you …”

“Yeah, and all it said was that you were leaving for a while. That doesn’t help me, short stack! You scared the shit out of me!”

“Sorry, Jay. I kinda expected to be back before you came home”

“I asked B to wait in the jet until I talked to you. He’s pissed, Y/N. He flipped his shit when he realized you’d left. How long have you been gone, kid? Obviously, a while, you’re a hell of a lot tanner than when I last saw you”

“I’ve been here for almost two months as this point.”

Jason’s eyes widen, one hand running through his hair, “Two months … You’ve been gone for two goddamn months, and your own father didn’t fucking notice?!?!?”

“Um, yeah” You scratch the back of your head nervously, “I left with Conner and Clark on June 16th, and its August 3rd now”

“I’m gonna kill him”

“Don’t do that! You promised me no more killing unless absolutely necessary!”

“This is necessary!”

Mrs. Kent opens the front door, still drying her hands on a dish towel, “What’s all this ruckus out here? Clark! Where are your manors? Invite these nice people in for some snacks”

“Ma, I don’t …”

“Clark Kent, I know I raised you with manors”

“Yes, ma’am. Y/N, I’ll get Bruce and Damian from the Jet, why don’t you, Jason, and Conner head inside”

“Thanks, Clark”

Being stared down by your father and twin brother is extremely awkward, especially when they aren’t saying anything. It isn’t until after the snacks are cleared away, and everyone has once again moved out to the porch that they say something.

“Are you going to return to Gotham with us, sister? Or are you going to continue to run away and waste our time?”

“I didn’t run away, Damian!”

“tt” Damian rolls his eyes, mouth set in an almost permanent sneer, “You do not tell anyone where you are going, refuse to answer your phone, refuse to come home of your own violation … need I go on?”

“I tried to tell you and father! You two were too busy to listen to me! I told Alfred where I was going, and if anything happened I was living in the same house as two Super’s!”

Your father finally steps forward, getting in between you and your twin, “What you did was irresponsible and selfish, Y/N. What if the city needed me while I was out searching for you? People could have died because of your actions. Do you know what it’s like to have to worry about someone who …?”

Tears sting your eyes, “Go ahead! What were you going to say? Someone who can’t defend themselves? Someone who’s a disappointment? Someone who will never be the daughter you wanted? Someone who refuses to be ignored any longer?!” You take a deep shuddering breath, finally meeting your father’s eyes, “Then why did you come? Why did you come if I’m so terrible to have around?”

Bruce reaches out, tries to touch your shoulder, but you quickly evade, “Y/N …”

“No, you listen. I’ve been gone for two months! Two whole months, and you weren’t even the one to notice that I was gone! Jason noticed before you did, dad!” More tears slid down your cheeks, “Do you know what it’s like to be ignored like this? To be so easily forgotten? Dad, do you know why I was allowed to live?” Bruce shakes his head, “I was meant to die shortly after Damian and I moved in with you. Mother had orchestrated my death, it was meant to bring you closer to her, out of shared parental grief. I’m not sure why I didn’t die, but sometimes … sometimes I wish I did!!”

“Kid …”

It’s like all the fight’s drained out of you, and now you’re just tired, “It’s okay, Jason. I won’t argue anymore, I’ll go back to the Manor. I won’t leave anytime soon, it’ll be just like before”

“Y/N, don’t …”

You turn, facing Conner, “Thank you, for everything this summer. It was really nice to spend time with you, and I really hope that we can stay friends”

Conner envelopes you in a huge hug, squeezing you tightly to his chest, “Of course we can, we’ll be friends forever now.”

“Y/N”

“I’m coming father, I won’t keep you from Gotham any longer, just let me grab my bag”

“Sister …”

“Don’t start your shit, Damian. Being your twin sister has been hell, and right now I can’t take any of your insults”

Damian looks taken aback by your hostility, “I only wanted to say that I am sorry for how I treated you in the past, and I hope you know that … I will protect you if Mother ever tries to hurt you”

You let out an exhausted sigh, “Yeah, you’ll protect me, if you even notice me. I’ll be back in a minute, I need to pack”

Once Y/N is gone Jason, Conner, and Clark turn to face Bruce and Damian.

“You see what you’ve done now, Bruce? You see what I’ve been trying to tell you for years? Do you even know that girl? She’s been with you for six years now, she’s your daughter, and you don’t even know what her favorite color is!”

Bruce straightens, “I understand that I haven’t been very present in her life …”

“I’m gonna stop you there, Mr. Wayne. I understand that you’re Batman, that you protect Gotham from the bad guys, but did you ever think of how much damage you have done to that girl upstairs. Y/N is … she’s amazing, probably one of the most kind hearted and forgiving girls that I have ever met, and you’ve hurt her. You have made her feel worthless, like she doesn’t deserve attention, and I’ve been working for two months now to fix that.” Conner straightens his shoulders, “I’ll be visiting her a lot, just to make sure that you don’t undo what I’ve accomplished. You have a really special girl, Mr. Wayne, I’d hate to see you lose her forever.” Then the teenager turns and walks into the house.

“He’s right, Bruce”

“I know he’s right, Clark! I know I’ve messed up! I don’t need everyone here to tell me that”

Clark opens his mouth, but Jason beats him to it, “Then what are you going to do about it!? You can bitch that you know how terrible of a father you are, but what are you going to do to fix it? Because don’t think for once second that I won’t take her away from you. Conner and I won’t let you neglect her anymore. What you’ve been doing is considered child neglect, you’re just lucky that she’s old enough to take care of herself or she might be dead by now from your carelessness.”

“I’ll change, Jason, Clark. I’ll change for her, I’ll pay more attention, I’ll listen to her, I’ll go to counseling with her, I’ll go to parent classes if I have to! I didn’t realize …” Bruce breaks off when his voice cracks, his hands tremble, “I’ll be a good father, I promise”

Damian places one hand on his father’s shoulder, “I believe that we both have made mistakes, Father, and that we both have quite a long way to go until we gain Y/N’s trust back”

“We’ll do everything in our power to make this up to her. I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten” Everyone outside can hear Y/N and Conner coming down the stairs, “We have a long way to go to make it up to her, to prove that we care for her.” Bruce squares his shoulders, “We have to own up to what we’ve done, it’s time to face the music.”

“I think everything is a lot simpler than we tend to make it, including me and you. Because what it comes down to is I just want someone to carve pumpkins with, someone to help me hang Christmas lights in our living room window, someone to hold me when I’m crying for no reason, and someone who will split 3 types of chicken from the Chinese place with me because I can’t decide. And if that means the commitment, the planning, the inevitable occasional fight, and the eventual ring, then so be it. But know that’s never going to be what’s most important.”

2

Old art of my OC and friends OCs for an old RP group several years back lmao. They were part of an “All Boys Sports Academy.” My oc is the one in the purple jacket name Sen and he did kick-boxing and he was also the one who wore the school mascot costume during sports games lmao.

guys i finally found a movie that doesn’t trigger my madd: fucking scooby doo 2

Usually, I lie. At a party, someone asks the question. It’s someone who hasn’t smelled the rancid decay of week-dead flesh or heard the rattle of fluid flooding lungs. I shake the ice in my glass, smile, and lie. When they say, “I bet you always get that question,” I roll my eyes and agree.

There are plenty of in-between stories to delve into; icky, miraculous ones and reams of the hilarious and stupid. I did, after all, become a paramedic knowing it would stack my inner shelves with a library of human tragicomedy. I am a writer, and we are nothing if not tourists gawking at our own and other people’s misery. No?

The dead don’t bother me. Even the near-dead, I’ve made my peace with. When we meet, there’s a very simple arrangement: Either they’re provably past their expiration date and I go about my business, RIP, or they’re not and I stay. A convenient set of criteria delineates the provable part: if they have begun to decay; if rigor mortis has set in; if the sedentary blood has begun to pool at their lowest point, discoloring the skin like a slowly gathering bruise. The vaguest criterion is called obvious death, and we use it in those bizarre special occasions that people are often sniffing for when they ask questions at parties: decapitations, dismemberments, incinera- tions, brains splattered across the sidewalk. Obvious death.

One of my first obvious deaths was a portly Mexican man who had been bicycling along the highway that links Brooklyn to Queens. He’d been hit by three cars and a dump truck, which was the only one that stopped. The man wasn’t torn apart or flattened, but his body had twisted into a pretzel; arms wrapped around legs. Somewhere in there was a shoulder. Obvious death. His bike lay a few feet away, gnarled like its owner. Packs and packs of Mexican cigarettes scattered across the highway. It was three a.m. and a light rain sprinkled the dead man, the bicycle, the cigarette packs, and me, made us all glow in the sparkle of police flares. I was brand new; cars kept rushing past, slowing down, rushing past.

Obvious death. Which means there’s nothing we can do, which means I keep moving with my day, with my life, with whatever I’ve been pondering until this once-alive-now-inanimate object fell into my path.If I can’t check off any of the boxes—if I can’t prove the person’s dead—I get to work and the resuscitation flowchart erupts into a tree of brand-new and complex options. Start CPR, intubate, find a vein, put an IV in it. If there’s no vein and you’ve tried twice, drill an even bigger needle into the flat part of the bone just below the knee. Twist till you feel a pop, attach the IV line. If the heart is jiggling, shock it; if it’s flatlined, fill it with drugs. If the family lingers, escort them out; if they look too hopeful, ease them toward despair. If time slips past and the dead stay dead, call it. Signs of life? Scoop ’em up and go.

You see? Simple.

Except then one day you find one that has a quiet smile on her face, her arms laying softly at her sides, her body relaxed. She is ancient, a crinkled flower, and was dying for weeks, years. The fam- ily cries foul: She had wanted to go in peace. A doctor, a social worker, a nurse—at some point all opted not to bother having that difficult conversation, perhaps because the family is Dominican and the Spanish translator wasn’t easily reachable and anyway, someone else would have it, surely, but no one did. And now she’s laid herself down, made all her quiet preparations and slipped gently away. Without that single piece of paper though, none of the lamentations matter, the peaceful smile doesn’t matter. You set to work, the tree of options fans out, your blade sweeps her tongue aside and you battle in an endotracheal tube; needles find their mark. Bumps emerge on the flat line, a slow march of tiny hills that resolve into tighter scribbles. Her pulse bounds against your fingers; she is alive.

But not awake, perhaps never to be again. You have brought not life but living death, and fuck what I’ve seen, because that, my friends at the party, my random interlocutor who doesn’t know the reek of decay, that is surely one of the craziest things I have ever done.

But that’s not what I say. I lie.

Which is odd because I did, after all, become a medic to fill the library stacks, yes? An endless collection of human frailty vignettes: disasters and the expanding ripple of trauma. No, that’s not quite true. There was something else, I’m sure of it.

And anyway, here at this party, surrounded by eager listeners with drinks in hand, mouths slightly open, ready to laugh or gasp, I, the storyteller, pause. In that pause, read my discomfort.

On the job, we literally laugh in the face of death. In our crass humor and easy flow between tragedy and lunch break, outsiders see callousness: We have built walls, ceased to feel. As one who laughs, I assure you that this is not the case. When you greet death on the daily, it shows you new sides of itself, it brings you into the fold. Gradually, or maybe quickly, depending on who you are, you make friends with it. It’s a wary kind of friendship at first, with the kind of stilted conversation you might have with a man who picked you up hitch- hiking and turns out to have a pet boa constrictor around his neck. Death smiles because death always wins, so you can relax. When you know you won’t win, it lets you focus on doing everything you can to try to win anyway, and really, that’s all there is: The Effort.

The Effort cleanses. It wards off the gathering demons of doubt. When people wonder how we go home and sleep easy after bearing witness to so much pain, so much death, the answer is that we’re not bearing witness. We’re working. Not in the paycheck sense, but in the sense of The Effort. When it’s real, not one of the endless parade of chronic runny noses and vague hip discomforts, but a true, soon- to-be-dead emergency? Everything falls away. There is the patient, the family, the door. Out the door is the ambulance and then farther down the road, the hospital. That’s it. That’s all there is.

Awkward text messages from exes, career uncertainties, generalized aches and pains: They all disintegrate beneath the hugeness that is someone else’s life in your hands. The guy’s heart is failing; fluid backs up in those feebly pumping chambers, erupts into his lungs, climbs higher and higher, and now all you hear is the raspy clatter every time he breathes. Is his blood pressure too high or too low? You wrap the cuff on him as your partner finds an IV. The monitor goes on. A thousand possibilities open up before you: He might start getting better, he might code right there, the ambulance might stall, the medicine might not work, the elevator could never come. You cast off the ones you can’t do anything about, see about another IV because the one your partner got already blew. You’re sweating when you step back and realize nothing you’ve done has helped, and then everything becomes even simpler, because all you can do is take him to the hospital as fast as you can move without totaling the rig.

He doesn’t make it. You sweated and struggled and calculated and he doesn’t make it, and dammit if that ain’t the way shit goes, but also, you’re hungry. And you’re alive, and you’ve wracked your body and mind for the past hour trying to make this guy live. Death won, but death always wins, the ultimate spoiler alert. You can only be that humbled so many times and then you know: Death always wins. It’s a warm Thursday evening and grayish orange streaks the horizon. There’s a pizza place around the corner; their slices are just the right amount of doughy. You check inside yourself to see if anything’s shattered and it’s not, it’s not. You are alive. You have not shattered.

You have not shattered because of The Effort. The Effort cleanses because you have become a part of the story, you are not passive, the very opposite of passive, in fact. Having been humbled, you feel amazing. Every moment is precise and the sky ripples with delight as you head off to the pizza place, having hurled headlong into the game and given every inch of yourself, if only for a moment, to a losing struggle.

It’s not adrenaline, although they’ll say that it is, again and again. It is the grim, heartbroken joy of having taken part. It is the difference between shaking your head at the nightly news and taking to the streets. It’s when you finally tell her how you really feel, the moment you craft all your useless repetitive thoughts into a prayer.

At the party, as they look on expectantly, I draft one of the lesser moments of horror as a stand-in. The evisceration, that will do. That single strand of intestine just sitting on the man’s belly like a lost worm. He was dying too, but he lived. It was a good story, a terrible night.

I was new and I didn’t know if I’d done anything right. He lived, but only by a hair. I magnified each tiny decision to see if I’d erred and came up empty. There was no way to know. Eventually I stopped taking jobs home with me. I released the ghosts of what I’d done or hadn’t done, let The Effort do what it does and cleanse me in the very moment of crisis. And then one night I met a tiny three-year old girl in overalls, all smiles and high-fives and curly hair. We were there because a neighbor had called it in as a burn, but the burns were old. Called out on his abuse, the father had fled the scene. The emergency, which had been going on for years, had ended and only just begun.

The story unraveled as we drove to the hospital; I heard it from the front seat. The mother knew all along, explained it in jittery, sobbing replies as the police filled out their forms. It wasn’t just the burns; the abuse was sexual too. There’d been other hospital visits, which means that people who should’ve seen it didn’t, or didn’t bother setting the gears in motion to stop it. I parked, gave the kid another high five, watched her walk into the ER holding a cop’s hand.

Then we had our own forms to fill out. Bureaucracy’s response to unspeakable tragedy is more paperwork. Squeeze the horror into easy-to-fathom boxes, cull the rising tide of rage inside and check and recheck the data, complete the forms, sign, date, stamp, insert into a metal box and then begin the difficult task of forgetting.

The job followed me down Gun Hill Road; it laughed when I pretended I was okay. I stopped on a corner and felt it rise in me like it was my own heart failing this time, backing fluids into my lungs, breaking my breath. I texted a friend, walked another block. A sob came out of somewhere, just one. It was summer. The breeze felt nice and nice felt shitty.

My phone buzzed. Do you want to talk about it?

I did. I wanted to talk about it and more than that I wanted to never have seen it and even more than that I wanted to have done something about it and most of all, I wanted it never to have hap- pened, never to happen again. The body remembers. We carry each trauma and ecstasy with us and they mark our stride and posture, contort our rhythm until we release them into the summer night over Gun Hill Road. I knew it wasn’t time to release just yet; you can’t force these things. I tapped the word no into my phone and got on the train.

I don’t tell that one either. Stories with trigger warnings don’t go over well at parties. But when the question is asked, the little girl’s smile and her small, bruised arms appear in my mind.

The worst tragedies don’t usually get 911 calls, because they are patient, unravel over centuries. While we obsess over the hyperviolent mayhem, they seep into our subconscious, poison our sense of self, upend communities, and gnaw away at family trees with intergenerational trauma.I didn’t pick up my pen just to bear witness. None of us did. And I didn’t become a medic to get a front-row seat to other people’s tragedies. I did it because I knew the world was bleeding and so was I, and somewhere inside I knew the only way to stop my own bleeding was to learn how to stop someone else’s. Another call crackles over the radio, we pick up the mic and push the button and drive off. Death always wins, but there is power in our tiniest moments, humanity in shedding petty concerns to make room for compassion. We witness, take part, heal. The work of healing in turn heals us and we begin again, laughing mournfully, and put pen to paper.

Daniel José Older

My Star pt 1

Pt 1 || Pt 2 (final) 

Taehyung x Reader

Genre: Angst/Fluff

Summary: She was so wrong for him, and you knew it. If only Taehyung could realize it.

Word Count: 5,417

Originally posted by mvssmedia

A loud pop resulted from you smacking your lips together trying to even out the layer of tinted gloss,

“Ooo, where are you going tonight?” Your roommate, Yeo Woon, gasped from her spot on the couch, “You’re going out on a date?” 

“I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going out on a date. I’m going to hang out with Tae.” 

Since you were examining your makeup one last time with your pocket mirror, you didn’t see the pout on Yeo Woon’s face but you could most certainly sense it, “Geez, Y/N…don’t tell me you still have a crush on him.”

“What! Me? A crush..on him?”

“Oh c’mon, Y/N-ah. Everyone who knows you on this goddamn planet knows you have a crush on Taehyung. Aside from him, of course.”

“I…I do not! And even if I did…I got over it…” Your cheeks flared with heat as you quickly shoved your mirror back in your purse,

“You’re all dressed up, you’ve been smiling all day, and you used one of my facial packs last night which is weird considering you always complain about the sliminess. So basically, you must still have a crush on him if you’re doing yourself up like this just to ‘go hang out’.” 

Keep reading

Matty Healy Fic- ‘You’re Cold And I Burn’

Prompt: Can you do a Matty fic where you two grew up together?  Like best friends since birth, and then as you get older the age gap separates you and eventually you drift apart?  But then reconnect in following years?  Thanks so much tay :)) 

Authors note: This took me sooo long to write and I did no proofreading whatsoever, so please pardon the inevitable errors below.  

Trigger Warnings: drug use 

MATTY HEALY FIC

You’d been obligatory friends for years, because when your parents were best mates, surely you had to be too.  Your friendship with Matty was comfortable, genuine, safe, always there, achingly present and solid. You never felt uneasy confiding in Matty, somehow your three year age gap made him seem more worldly, more experienced. You spent the quickly passing school years making one another’s homes your own, your mom called Matty her honorary son, while Matty’s mom doted on you, saying you were the daughter she wished she had. Everyone knew that if they wanted to find Matty, they had to find you first.

The summer that Matty’s ten and you’re seven, is the best in both of your eyes.  All of Matty’s friends think he’s way too old to be hanging out with such a little kid, but you’re convinced that you’re a big kid now too. You don’t need to hold your mum’s hand everywhere you go. Matty had taught you how to swim without floaties and you can ride your bike without training wheels. Besides, you and Matty’s friendship surpassed any of the teasing he might get from the other year five kids.  You two share everything, popsicles, beds, secrets.

When Matty turns thirteen and you’re ten, it’s like a switch has been flipped. Matty’s discovered music and cigarettes and girls. You’re finally old enough to go places on your own, but Matty’s outgrown the movie theater across town and the ice cream place down the street. Your mum tells you it’s called hormones but you don’t care, you just want to watch VCR’s and eat sweets and fall asleep talking to your best friend every night.

It’s a turning point, ten years of friendship nearly right down the drain.

At sixteen and thirteen, your age gap has never seemed wider. Matty stops coming over and eventually trades in his football cleats for a new guitar, candy for cigarettes, and you for older girls.  You feel a bit like you’ve lost part of yourself; a big, important part of yourself that you aren’t sure how to function without. It was bound to happen, your mom tells you, but it still hurts nonetheless. You aren’t really sure that Matty even feels it, not over whatever high he’s chasing next.

By eighteen and fifteen, Matty starts coming around again, but only in the middle of the night, when he’s high out of his mind. You try not to care though. You sneak him in through your bedroom window and let him curl beside you underneath your comforter. Sometimes he’s crying, sometimes he’s shaking so badly he can’t say anything, and sometimes he smells like vodka and cheap perfume. You always hold him and pretend that he isn’t falling apart in front of your very eyes.

On your sixteenth birthday, Matty’s already turned nineteen. He gets you drunk for the first time, even though you swore you’d never touch the stuff, down at the park where Matty taught you how to kick a football around.  As you sit on the scratchy blanket from the trunk of your car, taking another swig from the bottle, you realize that in the past sixteen years, Matty’s taught you a lot of things.  Not all of them good; you gather from the burning feeling in your throat, but that’s besides the point. What you don’t know is that Matty’s come to the same realization, and it terrifies him.  You terrify him. Especially when the moon hangs high above you and Matty’s rambling on about the last song he wrote and you lean over and press your lips smack against his.

In your opinion, the kiss was a long time coming.  You’d imagined it before, countless times actually, but knew you’d never be brave enough to actually act on your feelings.  At least you thought you wouldn’t be brave enough, that was before the alcohol made everything seem so much simpler.  

When you pull back, butterflies rampant in the closed confinements of your stomach, you’re finally able to gage Matty’s reaction.  His eyes have lowered to the ground, like he’s staring intently at his hand picking apart a blade of grass next to the blanket.  You wait a little longer, staring at the thin line Matty’s mouth is forming into.  His lack of response sobers you up.  The buzz that once gave you infinite amounts of courage melts away like a coat of ice, leaving you vulnerable and exposed.  

Finally Matty speaks, his words hanging heavy in the night, “I think maybe it’s time I take you home.”

It’s a subtle rejection.  There’s no boisterous protesting or him telling you you’re disgusting like you’d imagined in all of the worst-case-scenerio reruns in your head.  But somehow, this is infinitely worse.  This can’t be played off as embarrassment or denial.  It was just apathy, disinterest.  

You and Matty don’t speak about it for the next year, when Matty’s twenty and you’re seventeen. And Matty says he’s finally leaving for good. Your first impulse is to cry, to scream and yell and shove.  But ever since Matty turned you down, you’ve been afraid of being honest with him,  afraid of looking weak.  So instead, you scoff, crossing your arms across your chest and leaning against the doorframe of his kitchen.  “I don’t blame you,” you say.  Even though you did.  You blamed him for his unhappiness, and you thought maybe if he didn’t drown himself in alcohol every night, he wouldn’t be so agitated.  Maybe if he didn’t settle for these people who continuously treated him like shit, he wouldn’t be so lonely.  Maybe if he stopped seeing you like a little kid, he wouldn’t feel so unloved.  Everything inside of you blamed him for his own unhappiness, but a part of you was beginning to blame him for yours too.  

He’d made you a promise years ago, that you’d never be alone, best friends forever, through thick and thin. But Matty stands in front of you, talking about how he just can’t take it anymore, his parents or their hometown or the looks he gets when he buys weed in a back alley and picks you up from the high school across the street after his shift at work.

What he doesn’t tell you, is that most of all, he can’t take you. He can’t take the way you’re growing into your own skin and out of your curls. He can’t take the way that you’re still finding yourself, desperately exploring all these outlets and destinations and finding your heart.  Or the way that he holds you back.  He can’t take the way you think you want him, because Matty knows what happens when he lets people in and he knows he really won’t be able to take it when you finally realize you deserve better.  You just were never meant to be, at least not in this lifetime.

He’ll never admit any of it out loud though, instead he’ll pack up in the middle of the night without really saying goodbye and he’ll drive until he hits London. He’ll find a shitty flat and a new best mate and start a band. He’ll get a new job and a new guitar and maybe, hopefully, a new heart.

You hadn’t really realized how much time you’d actually spent with Matty, until he’s gone.  You try to find a semblance, you try to get into your own routine, but it’s harder than you want to admit and you spend the coming months wandering down the same old paths Matty and you used to walk, through the same worn fields, taking photos of the sky, the ground, your shoes, all things that didn’t matter, things that didn’t make you smile.

The following year, you start looking into colleges, applying to just one local, safe school, but the rest of them are far.  Places you only ever dreamed of visiting.  You played it off as wanderlust.  But secretly, although you’d never admit it, you had this dream of Matty coming home to find you, ready to finally settle down, and just expecting you to still be around, but you wouldn’t be.  You’d be gone.  Long gone.  

London is appealing. Bristol is, too.  You get excited at the idea of leaving, at the idea of experiencing life outside of what you’ve always known, and you’re working up the nerve to tell your mom where you want to go when you get a phone call late Thursday night.

“Hello,” you answer on the second ring.

“Y/N—” a voice that you instantly recognize as Matty’s, says after a slight pause. “I didn’t think you’d have the same number,” he murmurs, voice slurred.

You freeze, completely blind sided. “Um. Why did you call it then?”

“I guess I hoped.”

You bite your lip, falling back into the pattern of overthinking everything you say in Matty’s presence.  

He sighs loudly.  

“How’ve you been?”

The question comes out so nonchalantly. Like it’s only been a few days since they reconciled last.  And just like that, a switch flips and the anger you’d been feeling so heavily inside boils to the surface. “How’ve I been?  Since when? Today?  Or the past year?” you snap.

At first you think he’s hung up the phone, because there’s complete silence other than your own heavy breathing.  But then the faint whimper comes across the line.  Matty is crying and suddenly, your heart hurts, your entire chest aches. “‘M sorry,” Matty mumbles incoherently, “I’m sor-sorry..”

The harshness of your words bites back at you with guilt, “It’s okay. Matty, it’s okay. Did something happen? Why’re you calling?”

He’s crying harder now, the obvious influence of alcohol is not helping. “There’s a girl here and she likes me and she keeps asking me to ask her out on dates and it just— it felt wrong, because I haven’t been with anyone since I left— and I don’t know why… but I got drunk.  I got drunk and realized she reminded me of you and suddenly it didn’t feel wrong anymore so I slept with her—.” He coughs, taking shaky breaths.

You hear his words.  You do.  You listen with every intent that you’ve always shown your friend.  But you don’t let yourself feel them.  “It’s okay, Matty,” you say, with utmost sincerity.  

“But she’s not you—“ he chokes out, “She’s in my bed and she’s got dark hair like you, but it’s not the same shade and it doesn’t smell like your shampoo.  She’s not you.”

“Shh.” you coo, burying the tears threatening to surface deep inside of you, “It’s okay.  Matty, it’s okay.  Take a deep breath.  How much did you have to drink?” you ask softly.

You hear a grunted protest on the other end, but no response.

“Take your deep breathes, Matty.  You know that always helps.  I’ll count with you if you want.  Or try running cold water over your hands.”

He breathes through the receiver for a beat too long. “I miss you.”

You let your head fall, chin to your chest, trying not to think about the girl in Matty’s bed, who she is or what she looks like. “I miss you, too.”

When the line fills with Matty’s deep breathing, you realize he’s drunkenly fallen asleep and you can finally hang up.  You wonder if he’ll even remember he called in the morning.

It’s a Wednesday and the vending machine in the hall are broken.  It’s a sign, an omen, you’re sure, because you know how to kick it in just the right way, so that as many bags of crisps as your pack can hold dump out.  But today, there’s nothing.

You have two choices, you think to yourself.  You could wander back to your own floor with a grumbling stomach, or you could venture down to the ground floor and check out those vending machines.  Your hunger outweighs your laziness and you decide to head downstairs.  

Once you’ve come to the first floor, and all stairs are evaded for now, you hold the change out in the palm of your hand and begin counting it again.  In the midst of your distracted state, you find yourself colliding with someone, head on.  

You gasp loudly, stumbling back and tightening your fist around your money so it didn’t all go flying.  But after you ground yourself, and get a chance to look up at who you ran into, is when the breath really leaves your lungs. Dressed in a ratty white t-shirt, a worn leather jacket, and jeans ripped in the knee is absolute heartbreak.  And then Matty’s eyes land on yours.

You think the world has just about stopped spinning, it feels like slow motion. Both of your eyes meet and both of your expressions fall. You’re secretly glad the vending machine was out of food, because you think if you’d had anything to eat in the last five hours, you would’ve been sick.

“Y/N—”

It isn’t a question, it’s a realization. One that makes your stomach churn. Somewhere in the back of your head, you remind yourself to keep it together.

London is a big city, you knew that before Matty left for it. You convinced yourself when you left for school that their paths would never cross again simply because they weren’t destined to. Matty had fucked off to do God only knows what with a guitar and only one suitcase. And you had waited it out, graduated, gotten into uni and done everything right. You and Matty were two different people now, moving in two different directions. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

You can’t even identify what emotion you’re really feeling or what’s bubbling underneath your skin.  There was anger, sure.  Frustration and aggression.  You wanted to punch Matty right in the nose, although you weren’t sure that counted as an emotion.  But there was also this wave of nostalgia that hit you unexpectedly.  Because no matter how much you wished this was ten year old Matty standing in front of you, waiting to go grab an ice cream cone or ride bikes, you knew it would never be that simple ever again.  And that made your chest ache.  

“What’re you doing here?” is all you can think to say.

But before he can answer, a girl you recognize from your floor comes stumbling behind you, giggling loudly.

“There you are, Matthew!  You texted me like five minutes ago saying you were here— I thought you got locked out or something!”

You knew the jealousy you felt inside was unjust.  It wasn’t fair of you to stare daggers at this poor girl that Matty was inevitably using for one reason or another.  It really was your fault for expecting anything more out of the boy who’d only ever broken your heart.  

He turns his head to look back at you as the girl pulls him down the hall towards the stairs.  

“Bye Matthew,” you spit sarcastically to yourself once he’s out of earshot and you can finally let your shoulders slump and eyes fall.  

You walk all the way around the building just to take the opposite staircase and forget all about the bag of crisps.  

No deadline or piling amount of stress could give you the incentive to focus on homework.  Not with the knowledge that Matty was in the same floor as you this very moment.  Living, breathing, kissing another girl.  You feel that familiar pressure in the bridge of your nose, evidence that tears were starting to surface.  You punched the pillow on your bed, sniffling loudly.  It wasn’t fair.  It wasn’t fucking fair. You hadn’t seen him for three years.  Hadn’t spoken in two.  And yet, just like that, at the drop of a hat, one fucking glance and he had you once again.  You needed a distraction.  Something to pretend he wasn’t fucking Clara or Carissa or whatever her fucking name was, just down the hall.

You grab your keys and a jacket hanging from the back of your door before deciding you just needed to be somewhere, anywhere, away from him.

You let your door slam shut before turning around to lock it.  You fumble with it at first, your hands shake as you try to fit the key in.  In retrospect, you wished you’d just left it unlocked, risking a robbery.  You would have preferred it to Matty approaching you in the hallway.  

“Please go,” you manage to say while still keeping your eyes trained on locking your door.

“Y/N, I-I had no idea-”

“I don’t really care,” you will Matty to give up. To just fucking leave again. But Matty could never just leave, he could never let you have a clean break. He had to feel blameless first. A fucking martyr, is what he is.

“Do you really think if I had any idea, I would’ve come?!”

And there it is, just what you’d been expecting, Matty proving to you that he hasn’t changed at all. All he cares about is proving his innocence, his victimization, and if anything comes in the way of that, he caves.

“Dunno,” you sneer, “Depends on how cruel you’re feeling on any given day, I suppose.”

“Don’t be like this,” he sounds older, frustrated. Like he’s talking down to a child. Your blood run hot.

“I think you should leave.”

“I think you should let me take you out for some drinks.”

You’re sure there’s steam coming out of your ears as you spins in your spot, staring him down, “I think you’re out of your mind.”

Matty grins, that same crooked smile with the same crooked teeth that still does something to your stomach that you aren’t proud of.

“My treat?” Matty asks with a smile.

As you sit in the back booth of a pub that smells like piss, you tell yourself that you couldn’t have said no, because you were being offered free alcohol, not because you knees felt weak when Matty flashed his teeth your way.  And hell, you knew the minute you decided to leave your room you’d end up at a bar anyway.

You order a beer, and resist from an order of chips, praying to god Matty couldn’t hear the grumbling noises your stomach was angrily producing from where he sat across from you.

It’s awkward, Matty asks short questions and you offer nothing but short answers.  You’re waiting for Matty to take charge of the conversation to steer you wherever he wants you to go so he can ramble about himself and his music and his wonderful new life without you in it. But he doesn’t.

It occurs to you on your fourth beer (still on an empty stomach), that this run in isn’t to Matty what it is to you. To Matty, it’s just coincidence, a chance to catch up with an old friend whose friendship ended on the wrong foot. To you, it’s a living, breathing nightmare, something you’ve fretted over for years.

“Are you going to order chips?” Matty questions after you list off a few of your courses, more focused on the condensation from your drink than Matty in front of you.

Your head whips up, already feeling a bit dizzy, “No.”

“Why not?” he wonders, chin resting in his hands and eyes still looking completely sober, “You always used to. With extra vinegar and salt.”

You shrug, ears burning with shame and annoyance. You won’t give him a real reason, that you’re embarrassed and don’t want to eat in front of him.  Instead you’ll let Matty wonder and think that things have changed, that he doesn’t know you at all anymore.

“Well I’m going to,” he downs the rest of his gin and tonic drink and stands up, patting his jeans, “I’ll be right back, yeah?”

You give him a slight, tense nod and watch him walk away, all confidence and curls and leather.

It’s been just as awful as you imagined it would be. Matty’s not as mean as you had thought up in your head, but the awkward pauses and uncomfortable topics certainly make up for it.  You keep telling yourself that you just needs to get drunk. Once you’re drunk, you’ll be able to pretend that you don’t care so much and then you can just go home and get a long night’s sleep. Then you can wake up, go to economics, and forget it even happened.

Fifteen minutes later, and you’re sure that Matty’s ducked out and left you with the tab.  It’s a very struggling rockstar thing to do and in turn, a very Matty thing to do.  You slap your thigh angrily at the realization that you didn’t even bring your wallet with you, meaning you couldn’t pay the tab either.  You stagger, annoyed and bitter and slightly tipsy up to the bar.  

“Have you seen a curly headed guy?” you ask the bartender, leaning on the counter.  “Leather jacket, this tall-“ you hold your hand up, impersonating Matty’s height.

“Yeah,” the guy answers, rubbing a glass clean.  “Ordered chips, then ran off to the bathroom.”

The men’s room is across the pub and you hesitate slightly before entering.  You’re not sure why you’re worried about Matty.  But that worry is quickly replaced with panic, as you push open the door to the bathroom and spot Matty at the sink.

He’s bent over, curls falling in his face and eyes shut, like he hasn’t even heard you enter. He’s off in his own little drug-induced world. There’s a half empty plastic baggy on the counter and just enough remnants of a line for the pieces to click in your drunk mind.

“What the fuck are you doing?” you say out loud, in complete shock. Your head is spinning a little too fast all of a sudden.

“Y/N—” Matty breathes, eyes still squeezed shut as he straightens up and lets his head tilt back, lets it hit him. It scares you a bit because Matty inhales like he’s done this a thousand times before.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” your voice raises a bit. You feel a little bit outside of your own body. Now that you’ve found a reason to be angry, everything you’ve felt and bottled up all night is hitting you all at once.

“‘S alright,” his eyes open, but only half lidded.

“You’re a fucking idiot,” you say in disbelief, shaking your head as you feel the influx of tears falling down your cheeks.  You wipe them away angrily with your hand.

Matty’s eyes widen and he looks so different than the version of him you’d been formulating in your head the past three years. The messy hair, tired eyes, and chapped lips all looked the same.  But there was a sadness about him now.  An aura of tragedy and dismay surrounded him, making you wonder if the three years he spent away were really as outrageous and spectacular as you’d always thought.  Your face softens.

Matty’s absolutely fucked.  And there’s so much you want to say to him, so much you need to say.  But now’s not the time.  Not when there’s snot running down his nose and his pupils were practically bulging out of his skull.

“Let’s just head back, yeah?”

Matty doesn’t protest in the slightest.  In a quick motion, he slings his jacket over his shoulder and sniffs the remainder of cocaine up his nose before following you out of the bathroom.  You’re glad he remembers to slap down some money on the table before letting you drag him back to the dorm rooms.

“Which room’s hers?” you ask once you’ve reached your floor.  You pretend like it didn’t eat away at you to have to drag Matty back to some other girl’s dorm room.

“Hm?” Matty grunted.

“Clara? Which room’s Clara’s?”

“No—“ Matty protested, stopping dead in his tracks near your door.  “Common, she knows I ditched her, she’s not gonna let me sleep in there.  Can’t I just crash with you? Like the old days?” he says with a smirk.  

You nod grudgingly and push by him to unlock your door.  You find yourself trying to remember what state you left your bedroom in, hoping nothing embarrassing was left out for Matty to see.  

Luckily, you’d left it in tact and only swipe up a few articles of clothing once you make your way inside.  You hear Matty already collapsing on your bed before you have time to even take your coat off.  You sigh as you turn around, but notice he’s got one eye propped open, watching you from the mattress.  

“You know that shit’s terrible for you, right?” you say, crossing your arms over your chest, in the most sincere way possible.

Matty shrugged nonchalantly, and sits up on your bed, his eyes bloodshot. “And? We’re all gonna die anyway.”

“How beautifully cryptic of you,” you say sarcastically.

“It’s just coke,” he plays it off.

“Just coke?  Matty, common, I know you’re smarter than this.”

“Why do you care so much?” Matt asked apathetically, though you both know it was a loaded question. Matty was right, why should you care?  You didn’t know Matty, not anymore.  You didn’t owe him anything.  If Matty didn’t care about himself, why should you care?  But maybe it’s for the same reason that you comforted Matty over the phone. Maybe it’s for the same reason you let him take you out for drinks tonight.  Maybe it was because you knew you’d always love Matty, even though you knew fate just wouldn’t allow it.  But of course you couldn’t tell Matty that, so you just shook your head as you stripped off your jacket.  

“Maybe I shouldn’t,” you state quietly, more as a reminder to yourself than an insult to Matty.  But you hear him sigh softly from the bed.  

You huddle near your dresser, grabbing an old pair of shorts and ratty t-shirt from your drawer before changing behind the door of your closet.  You don’t even both to run a brush through your hair before you trot back over to your bed, where Matty was sprawled directly in the middle.

“Scoot over,” you order.

He looks up at you questioningly from the pillow.

“If you thought I was giving up my bed, you don’t know me at all, Healy.”

He smirks before hiding his face in the pillow and scooting against the wall.  

You awkwardly lift as much of the blankets as you can before sliding in, noticing Matty hadn’t covered himself with them at all.  

“Thanks for lettin’ me stay,” he grumbles.  You can tell how trashed he still is so you just nod, staring straight up at the ceiling.  

“Goodnight, Matty.”

At around three in the morning, you wake up to Matty shivering violently beside you. He’s got his arm coiled around his thin body and you swear you can hear his teeth chattering. You look for a moment at how vulnerable Matty was, shivering and asleep, and it makes your chest ache inside.  

Your first impulse is to cover him with a blanket, but with him laying directly over both the comforter and sheets, that option was shot.  Instead, you opt to just wake him up.

“Matty—“ you say, nudging his shoulder.  “Matty, wake up.”

His eyes pop open with a start and he looks at you, surprised, like he’s forgotten where he was momentarily.  

“You’re shivering,” you whisper.  

He stares for a moment, like it’s taking that much extra time for your words to sink in before he speaks, “m sorry,” he grumbles in that deep, sleepy voice you used to love so much.  

“Get under the blankets,” you suggest and he nods, lifting himself higher on the bed before scooting underneath the sheets.  You immediately feel his toes touch your bare leg, and you can’t help but notice they’re not freezing like you’d expected.  He lays on his side, facing you, and before you can convince yourself otherwise, you flip so that you’re facing him, too.  You stare into his tired eyes, waiting for them to shut any second, but they don’t.  They remain focused on yours, his pupils returned to a normal size.  

“I really missed you,” you say, because you’re exhausted and you have no filter when you’re tired.  

Matty nods, “I really missed you, too.”

You nod in return.  Like these were just facts, not needed to be said out loud, but still glad that they were.  

And again, because you were impulsive when you were exhausted, you don’t even hesitate before sliding yourself across the distance that separated you and Matty, curling your arm around his waist and pressing your head into his chest.  Only when you feel his arm wrap around you, his fingers spreading wide across your back, do you inhale smoothly.  He smells like cigarettes and whatever drink he had earlier, but it’s still Matty, and it’s the freshest breath of air you’ve had in a long time.  

You wake up early.  Hours earlier than Matty.  Once you’re awake, and no longer on the brink of exhaustion.  You let the fact that you’re curled into Matty’s side, with your head resting on his beating heart sink in.  You bite your lip, wanting to stay in the moment a while longer, and play with the hem of your baggy t-shirt.  You let the tears fall silently down your cheek, mostly because you were so mad at yourself.  

It’s not like you and Matty hadn’t cuddled before.  You spent the latter of your sleepovers curled up in blanket forts together, after all.  But this was different.  Because in one, weak, desperate moment, you let yourself feel for him again.  After spending three entire fucking years accumulating reasons to hate Matty Healy, in one moment, you let them all melt away.  You let yourself be vulnerable to him; open, exposed.  And you remember all too clearly what happened the last time that happened.

You pull yourself out of bed and pretend not to notice Matty’s arm searching for you in his sleep.  Instead of curling back beside him, like you wanted, you grabbed your shower caddy and hurried off to the bathroom.  

Matty slept until nine thirty, and when he opened his groggy eyes, he found you sitting in your desk chair, knees tucked against your chest writing vigorously away.  

“Morning,” he said, the same, sleepy voice softened your heart slightly.

“Good morning,” you said back, turning around timidly in your chair.

Matty’s got this wild hair-thing going on.  His curls stick straight up in the air and it’s so endearing it makes you want to slap and kiss him at the same time.  But then he scoots off to the toilets, and you have a moment to compose yourself before he’s coming back looking a bit more refreshed.  

You hesitate when he invites you to breakfast, worried he might sneak off and do a line of coke in the bathroom again or worse, but you don’t say so out loud.  Instead you agree, ignoring the class you’re blatantly skipping for him, just another reminder of the influence Matty had on you.

You find yourselves sitting across from each other at the back of a coffee shop. You had ordered a bagel and some tea and Matty was sipping at a coffee, straight black.

“You sure you don’t want anything to eat? Not even a bite of my bagel? It’s good,” you offered.

“Nah, ‘m good,” Matty says as he takes another sip of his coffee.

“Matty be honest, when’s the last time you ate?” you asked, looking at Matty with serious eyes.

Matty held the stare for a bit until you quirked your eyebrows up and he realized that you were actually being serious and weren’t going to let him avoid answering the question.  “I’m not bloody starving myself, if that’s what you’re wondering. I told you I just don’t get hungry much but when I do, I eat. Don’t worry— you sound like a mum.”

“Okay,” you say, crunching up the paper from your bagel and letting it go.

Matty didn’t respond for a few minutes. Just sipped at his coffee silently until he spoke again. “You know you don’t have to worry so much about me.  I do fine.”

“I’m sure you do,” you say, shrugging.

“Come off it-“ Matty says, nudging your arm, “I know you, Y/N.  I can tell when something’s bugging you.  What is it?” he asks.

You bite your lip and trace the edge of your mug, contemplating for a moment before asking him “Why are you so afraid to let someone care about you?” you inquired cautiously.

Matty frowned, “I’m not ‘afraid’" he said defensively.  “I just.. I know how the world works and I know what’s worth worrying over and what’s not.”

You shake your head.  You were sick of Matty pretending like he was so much wiser.  So much more experienced.  You were sick of his pretentious outlook, his excessive need to bullshit his way through life.

“What is this?” you ask, finally gathering the courage to just look him in the eye.  

“Look I don’t know what you want—“

“I want to know what this is, Matty,” you state clearly. You debated on elaborating further, but Matty’s fallen gaze indicated that he knew exactly what you meant.

“I’m sorry,” he says, and you almost think it’s sincere until he looks up and lets out an innocent, hearty laugh, “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“Fuck you,” you sigh, feeling so defeated and drained.  You dig into the pocket of your coat and throw money on the table, not wanting to give Matty the satisfaction of buying breakfast too, before sliding out of the booth and walking towards the door.

“Woah, woah!” he calls, you can hear him hurrying after you.  You only quicken your pace out into the brisk morning air.  “Please Y/N, just look at me.” His voice is wobbly. Like he knows he’s fucked up. “Wait a second, please.”

You spin around at the contact of Matty’s hand, and turn to face him, squeezing your eyes shut before deciding you’d just had enough and you didn’t care.  You didn’t care about looking weak or vulnerable.  You just wanted it to stop.  

“You left,” you bark at him, making his eyes go wide.  “Remember?  You did.  Not me.  I was in love with you and you just left, like it was nothing.  Like I was nothing.”

Matty’s mouth hangs open slightly, his eyes still hooked on yours as he listens to the words that should have been said years ago.

“You were my whole world, Matty.  And you just fucking left.  I had to learn how to live without you, and that sucked.  But I did it,” you pause to wipe the tears from your face, before continuing with a choked voice, “Why didn’t you call me?  Or ever check in?  Or god forbid fucking visit once and a while?  Why’d you have to disappear?”

“I did call,” Matty says quietly.

His words make you freeze.  You narrow your eyes in on him and say in disbelief, “You remember that?”

He let’s out a heavy sigh, and fidgets in front of you, clearly uncomfortable.  “Of course I remember that.”

“You called me about some chick you fucked,” you say, annoyed.

“Yeah,” he admits, “Some chick.  That’s all they were.  Some chicks to fuck.  They were a shag.  They were nothing.  They weren’t you,” he inhales sharply on the last word, like he’d embarrassed to say it out loud.

But you shake your head, confused.  “No, you left.  You left, Matty.”

He nods, “I know.  I know, I did.  I left cause I was a mess. I am a mess.  I mean look at me—“ he holds his arms out straight like he’s showcasing himself, “I’m a fuck up.  And you kissed me, that night on your birthday, and it was perfect.”  He closes his eyes, like he’s remembering that night. “You were perfect.  And I was gonna ruin that—you— I don’t know.  But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t drag you into my shit.  The drugs, the alcohol.  I was never going anywhere, that much I knew.  But you?  You graduated top, you’re at uni, you’re gonna make a difference.”  Matty pauses briefly, getting to the ultimate point of his rant, “I was afraid I wasn’t enough for you.”

You let his words sink into the layers of your skin, absorbing their impact and trying to make sense of it all.  But that’s the thing, you realize.  Is that none of it made any sense.  Because all this time, you’d been trying to listen to fate and realize what you really wanted, what was meant to be.  And it sounded like Matty had been doing the same, chasing happiness.  Chasing something written in the stars.  

Maybe if you’d actually talked to each other, and been honest, this mess wouldn’t have happened.  You can already feel the temptations that beating yourself up bring, but you sigh, acknowledging that you were here now; standing in the middle of a busy, London street with Matty standing in front of you.  

“Not enough for me?” you repeat, the words sounding bitter on the tip of your tongue.  “You are everything to me—“ you say it like it’s obvious.  Like there’s nothing more true in the entire world.  In your world, there might not be.

Fuck fate, you think when Matty closes the distance between you two in just three quick strides. This is what you’ve always wanted, before you even knew it was something you could or couldn’t have.  You know you aren’t meant to have it, your whole lives have been a story of how they were never meant to be, how one of you was always two steps ahead of the other. But for now, you were here; Matty’s hand cupping your cheek delicately, your hands finding their way to his back, your lips moving as one.  And you decide, in that moment that you were going to fight for what you wanted, fate could go to hell.

Hiraeth | Pt.8

pt.1 | pt.2 | pt.3 | pt.4 | pt.5 | pt.6 | pt.7 | pt.8 | pt.9 |

Words: 4,155.

Genre: Zombie apocalypse au, angst.

Summary: A world full of dwindling hope and lost loves and yet you and Jungkook are all the other needs to feel at home.

A/N: This is a far shorter chapter than the rest but I think it’s best if it stays on it’s own.

Keep reading

Tuesday Fic Rec #15 (Ace!Sterek)

Ace Anxiety by Princex_N | stiles/derek | g | 0.7k | 

Derek has been dreading the moment where Stiles makes a move. It comes sooner than expected and he feels like his heart is going to beat out of his chest.

what you got, boy, is hard to find by lazulisong & verity | stiles/derek | g | 2.6k |

Everything was so much simpler in his head. U + ME = NAP, CUDDLE-YOU-LUST, something like that.

We weren’t together by Princex_N | stiles/derek | g | 2k | 

Everyone thinks that Derek and Stiles are dating, Stiles is completely surprised by this information.

Way Better Than Flowers by @authorkurikuri | stiles/derek | g | 1.7k | 

“So yeah, if you wanna date me, you can look forward to movie nights, homemade cookies, and absolutely no sex,” Stiles concludes, hope swelling in his chest as Derek gives him a thoughtful look. “Cuddling and forehead kisses are negotiable.”

Drunken Confessions by  Princex_N | stiles/derek | g | 2k |

“Stiles is pretty.” Derek blurts out of nowhere. Stiles glances over to look at him, and sees Derek sprawled out next to the couch, staring up at the cieling light through his fingers. “Like really pretty.”

“How pretty?” Erica asks, leaning in closer and ignoring Stiles’ attempts to make her stop.

“Really really pretty. His face is jus’… wow.” Derek slurs, “An’ his cheekbones, and his e-eyes, so pretty.”


I love every single one of these. They’re all very sweet and angst free. I love love love ace!sterek fics and these are some of my favorites. They all in some way or another influenced my own writing of ace!sterek fics. Go read them all and bask in the tenderness. (◠‿◠✿)

rembrandtswife  asked:

I'm not sure if you've ever written about this, so here goes: What was the genesis of the Young Wizards series? I'm not so much curious about the "kids learning to be wizards" part as specific things, like, Fred, and the Book, the Lone Power, Kit's antenna wand... did the story start with a specific image or phrase of cluster of ideas?

The concept originally arrived as a joke. (At this end of time, I think I can say it was a pretty cosmic one.)

I first talked about this on Tumblr at this post: I’ll cut-n- paste some of that into here. The original query:

I first read The Wizard’s Dilemma about three years ago. I sporadically read the rest of the series, and finally, this summer, I ordered every one. Young Wizards has a large place in my heart. So I wanted to ask you, what was your inspiration for the books?

And the answer was:

It was a joke.

Preliminary to the joke: often enough I’d thought (first while young, and then while in nursing school) that it was really a shame that human beings didn’t come with a user’s manual, because it would make everything so much simpler. …Just one of those ideas you get and smile at, and put aside.

Now: the joke. I knew the So You Want to Be A… series of books quite well, having read through them all in the local children’s library. I still can’t remember what caused this particular bit of humor to arise, some time around 1979, but somehow or other the phrase So You Want to Be A… suddenly acquired the word Wizard at the end.

I laughed… and then started to wonder. What if there was a book like that? What would it look like? What would be in it? And the more I thought about it, the less like the original books it looked in my mind – an overview, a general guide – and the more it started looking to me like an instruction manual.

It has to be said that books like this, which on reading tell you what’s really going on in the universe and how to manipulate it, are hardly a trope that’s original with me: they’re scattered all over the landscape in both popular fiction and the myth-and-legend part of the spectrum. (ETA: in the Stith Thompson Motif Index (now also referred to as Aarne-Thompson or Aarne-Thompson-Uther) they have their own category listing, D1266, Magic Book, and numerous subcategories. The Manual proper is probably a subcategory variant of  D1312.4, Magic book gives advice.) You find these books in folklore everywhere from ancient Egypt to Oz (Glinda the Good has one, obviously a recension of the Manual intended for a very senior wizard indeed, somewhere between Continental and Planetary status). My take on it simply looks a bit more concrete (in the psychiatric sense of the word).

But just about everything in the YW universe (excepting the characters, some of whom are based on old friends, others of whom are originals) comes from thinking about the Manual itself, what’s in it, where it comes from, and what those facts say about the universe and the powers inside it. And it all derives, at root, from that single joke. Even now, when starting to build some new piece of business into the series, I tend to return to the basic concept of what the business – whatever it might be – would look like in the Manual: how the data would be explained, organized and set up for manipulation.

That’s all I can tell you for sure. Beyond that, as with many other writers, the interior creative process is something of a black box. But I remember the joke. Which is good, since it seems to me that  any joke that keeps producing results even thirty years after it first occurs to you must be worth remembering.   :)