Cor Leonis was absolutely sure that nothing in his life had prepared him for this moment. Was there even a way to soften such a blow? He had a feeling that even if there was, all the training and hard work would have been useless anyway.
As soon as you stepped around the corner and smiled at him, Cor knew. He had feelings for you and it was—something.
was stifling, washed blue with the light of the clear full moon, and once again
Lavi lay on
his back, watching the shadows drift across the ceiling. He had given up on
sleep long ago, his head too heavy with the recent events to allow him anything
better than a few fitful naps that left him exhausted and disoriented. The
alternative was almost soothing in comparison. Staying awake meant he could at
least try to put up a fight against the memories flooding his mind.
Prishe narrowed her eyes when Cullen swayed for the third time in the last hour. His skin was pale in the dim light
and the shadows under his eyes made his face resemble a skull. Leliana’s report
droned on as a buzz in her ears as Prishe watched him. He set a hand to his
forehead, eyes closing for a moment.
Cullen blinked, then looked around the
table. “Yes, Inquisitor?”
“I—” She flushed when the other two women
stared at her, a small crease in Leliana’s eyes marked her annoyance at being
interrupted. “You look unwell.”
“I’m fine, Inquisitor.”
Josephine took a step towards the man. “Perhaps
the Inquisitor is right, Commander. You do appear to be rather flushed.”
“I assure you, there’s nothing to be
concerned over.” Cullen scowled. The anger in his expression was somewhat weakened
when he suddenly gripped the table. “Just a little dizzy spell.”
Leliana scoffed and folded her arms with
that same smug smile she always wore when she knew a secret. “This ‘dizzy spell’
of yours has been with you since you returned from the Fallow Mire.”
“And you didn’t say anything?” Prishe
rounded on the spymaster.
“What? It’s none of my affair if the
Commander wishes to be stubborn.”
“Maker’s breath,” Cullen muttered. “Could
we please drop this?”
Prishe walked around the edge of the war
table. Cullen’s cheeks went pink as he turned away. “I order you to bed rest.”
“Three days. You’re to sleep, eat, and
relax. Nothing else.”
“And what of my duties? I have reports to
finish, recruits to train!”
“They can wait,” Prishe said. “You can’t.”
Cullen opened his mouth. He paused then
gave in with a sigh. “Very well, Inquisitor. But only for one day.”
Prishe hid her smile with a firm nod. Of
course he’d bargain over his own health. “Go to it, Commander. I expect Leliana
to tell me of all the rest you’re getting tonight.”
Cullen’s lips tugged up at the corners. He
gave a stiff bow to the other women before leaving the room.
“Now,” Leliana said, “about the resources
we’ve discovered in the Hissing Wastes. I believe that—”
A loud crash came from the hall outside.
“Cullen?” Prishe ran to the door. “Cullen!”
He lay crumpled in a heap, his breathing
shallow and harsh. She fell to her knees at his side, her fingers going to his
neck. His pulse thrummed under her touch and when Prishe rolled him onto his
back, his eyes moved around in an unfocused haze.
Not sure if you had platonic in mind. But… well… i always do. So.
Or, When Best Friends save you From Awful Exes
There were days where Judy needed to take a breath and do her very best to be reminded of all the good things on earth. Vegan nachos. Pink rubber bands. The occasional puddle of sunshine on her yoga mat. Some list of Things-That-Make-Judy’s-Day in order to remember that hands were meant for stretching out and not for curling tight and throwing at whatever animal was in closest proximity.
Three months. Every morning it became harder to get up than the last. Every time my hand automatically reached to the other side of the bedding, just to find it cold and empty, it hurt a little more. Only my desire to protect Masamune got me moving. They say time is supposed to heal all wounds, but for me, time only made it more painful. There was no place without any memories of her, her smile, her laugh, her red cheeks when I complimented her. She’s gone.
I sat up in the bedding and looked around my as always messy room. I had tried to keep it clean to make her proud and able to smile upon me from where ever she now was. But if I were honest with myself, it only had gotten worse.
She still was the reason which kept me in line. Yui would have been hurt if I had neglected my duties because of her. She always got depressed when something happened to Masamune, and she thought it was because I was with her and not my Lord. Like the one time Masamune was shot, and she had tried to leave me out of guilt. Always ready to sacrifice herself for my well-being. With a groan, I got up to search for some of the clothing which were lying around on the floor. After finding some clean ones, I got dressed and made my way up to the castle. Without breakfast.
As I walked through the front gate, some of the other retainers turned towards me, but none dared to greet me, let alone talk. I always had the reputation to be strict and reserved, but ever since the attack it had gotten even worse, I know that myself. I could hear them start whispering when they thought I am far enough away, so I won’t catch them. Gossip wasn’t anything new in Yonezawa, and I couldn’t have cared less about them talking about me, saying I never smile or laugh anymore or being even stricter and harder while training the troops. Ignoring them completely I walked towards my office with a brisk pace.
My work proceeded without any interruptions until the late afternoon when Shiro stood in front of my door. “Lord Kojuro?” “Come in.” The sliding door opened with nearly no sound, and Shiro stepped into the room with a small bow. “Lord Masamune requests your presence in his personal chambers.” “I will be there right away.” I gave Shiro a short nod, and with a final bow, he left me alone again.
When I arrived at Masamune’s chambers, Shigezane was already there. They both looked towards me when I entered the room, Shigezane with a bright smile and Masamune with his usual collected look. “A clan full of lowlifes wants to make trouble.”, Explained Shigezane after I had taken my seat, handing over some documents. I took them and skimmed over them.
They’re over a clan at the border of the Date-territory. We were watching them for some time now. Our scouts had reported worrying behaviour, such as troop and resource gathering. I knew all the reports. They’d caught my interest when some possible indications were found which suggested actions against us. Among other incidences also the attack on Yonezawa a couple of months ago. The attack where… she… No, not now! I have to concentrate. All the trails had led into nothing, but we still decided to continue to observe them.
I looked up to face Masamune who begun to speak for the first time since I had entered the room. “They are planning something.” “Agreed.” I replied, Shigezane nodded too. “I want to send someone to them before they turn hostile. Maybe so, we can avoid unwanted battles.” Silence fell over the room for a moment. “I guess, that someone is me?” Masamune seemed strangely uncomfortable about the question. Shigezane, however, smiled just as bright as ever. “Tell me old man, who of us has the outstanding negotiation skills?” Now it was my turn for the troubled look. “Should I really go? Who will stay at Masamune’s side when I’m gone?” With that question, Masamune’s look changed from uncomfortable to exasperated. “I really can take care of myself. You don’t have to follow me everywhere. I get it, you’re worried about me, but it’s getting… too much.”
I overthought his words. I’ve always been protective when it came to Masamune. But when I thought back to the last couple of months, he might have been right that I had exaggerated a little. I sigh. “I admit, I maybe have been a bit overprotective. But still…” “Maybe, a bit?!” Masamune interrupted me looking aghast. Shigezane laughed at our bickering. "If you feel better, I can stay at Yonezawa until you’re back.“ With that, we started to discuss the details for my mission.
When I got home, it was already late at night. Even though I was tired, I had to pack because we were leaving tomorrow morning. After finish packing, I changed into my sleeping robes, let my clothes fall to the ground. But after a second I thought better of it. “Yui will be angry if she sees….” I stopped in the middle of my movement. A dull pain was rising in my heart. “She won’t. ” I let the bunch of clothes fall to the floor once again.
We visited them under the pretext to simply check how the clans at our border are doing. We stayed three days, negotiating over some trading route. We heard around, trying to find anything suspicious. But we still could see that something was going on. They sure had gathered some recourses, but whenever I tried to push the conversation into that direction they came up with an excuse or changed the topic. I was unwilling to give up. But we couldn’t stay any longer without arousing, even more, suspicion. So we spend the nights in the inn of a nearby town.
Some days later we finally got luck. We heard a rumour that preparations for visitors were made in the castle. So I send someone in to check if that gossip was true. And it was. We weren’t able to figure out who was coming, but I was sure it wasn’t anyone good. It took us some time to figure out a plan to infiltrate this meeting. It was a simple one, but these are often the ones who work the best.
Two of my fellows and I were hiding in the shadows in the near of the gate. The visitors were late, and our legs started to get numb from the crouched position. Hours after the sun had set they were marching down the road at last. It was a dark cloudy night, and it was probably going to rain later. When the last of the guards were about to pass us, we slipped out of the shadows, covered their mouths with clothes and pulled them back with us into the woods. Just when the last one of them stopped struggling, and I wanted to sigh out of relief, we heard a voice from the road. “Hey men, what’s going on? Where the hell are you? The boss will be furious if he finds out, you guys slipped away.”
The rough voice of the guard came nearer, and I could see my man starting to panic. If he would shout a warning, our whole plan was going to fall to pieces. I signalled them with a calming gesture of my hand to stay down. I leant into the shadow a bit further pressing myself against the tree I was hiding behind. The steps were now directly on the other side of the stem. “Are you there?” My plan to surprise him was ruined by a cloud moving and exposing the moon. The light was caught by the armour of the unconscious man at my feet.
“What the …?” The guard saw it too, drawing his sword. He sneaked around the tree and spotted me. He raised his sword for blow. I ducked under his arm away, and with a well-setted punch, I knocked his blade out of his hand. He turned around, trying to hit me with his elbow. I managed to evade the attack but got him enough time to draw a short dagger out of his belt with which he now aimed me again. He threw himself upon me which send me laying on the floor, with him on top of me. When he attempted to stab me in the face, I pushed his arm aside, sending his blade into the dirt where it got stuck. While he was trying to pull it out, I struck him to the ground next to me. Now I was on top of him and gave him a good punch against his temple, so he was just as conscienceless as his friends.
“What a mess.” I stood up looking at my scratched knuckles. Luckily the rest of the mysterious visitors didn’t notice our little fight in the woods. “Alright, let’s get changed.” Disguised in the armour of the guards we caught up with the group. So far, so good.
Everything went fine. We didn’t blow our cover and got into the castle. We also found out who the ominous visitors were. They were from a group of rebels which wanted to get rid of the Date clan. We sat somewhere in the back with a couple of the other retainers, trying to listen to the exchange in the front of the main hall. The few scraps of the conversation we were able to pick up, let us assumed that they were working together for some time now. I looked around, realising that none of the watchman nor the maids were the same as when we were visiting. Makes sense. It was much easier to hide something if none of the servants knew the whole story.
Just as I thought that we got pretty much all the information we needed, I noticed that the hand which was pouring my sake shook. Taking a closer look, the hand was clearly the one of a woman, but it was unnatural bony, and her wrist was also bruised. “You okay, Miss?”, I couldn’t help but ask. But when I looked up to her face, she hurriedly turned away. But that was more than enough. Even with her hair cut short and her cheek discoloured with a contusion.
My indifferent expression which I kept up the whole evening fell and was replaced but pure disbelieve. My precious girl. I let my eyes scan her body. But with every look, the sick feeling inside my stomach only got worse. She was way too skinny nearly looking anorexic. Not only her wrists but also her neck were covered in bruises. I wasn’t that stupid to actual need that many signs to understand what was going on. She was a captive, obviously abused and forced to work. She turned to face me again but when she saw my dark expression she anxiously glanced over to the guards. Looking back to me she weakly shook her head, but the fact that she couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down her pale cheeks stole the last bit of my calm control. My men, starting to recognise the woman in our middle, staring at her baffled. But I already was on my feet. Drawing my sword.
The fight was a tough one. We had the surprise moment, but we were outnumbered from the very beginning, and the enemies just kept coming. Our advantage was that not the whole hall immediately understood what was going on and the moment everyone figured out there was a fight, panic broke out. Maids fled screaming from the danger, tripping over themselves, blocking the entrances. We formed a circle to protect each other’s back. My anger and determination kept me fighting, putting out one after another. We were fighting for some time and most of the higher lords fled already, when suddenly my comrade on my left side screamed in pain. I turned to him, seeing his sword arm drenched in blood. My inattention nearly got me injured too, but I was able to block the attack at the last moment. With one of us not fully able to fight we got into trouble pretty fast. Just as I started to panic, I heard shouts and the sound of metal clash together from one of the grand entrances. The rest of my troop, waiting in the forest for our return, had noted what was going on inside the castle came to our rescue. We had luck. A lot of it.
Afterwards, I had to confess that it had been utterly thoughtless to start a fight like that. The floor was covered in bodies and blood, but I paid it no mind. I looked around us, searching for that one special face. Hearing that the fight was over, Yui came out of her hiding place and glanced around the main hall, spotting me she dashed towards me and threw herself into my open arms. “Kojuro!” I pressed her a bit more to my chest. “My precious, precious girl…” Clinging to me, she sobbed my name again against my shoulder. And with that sound of my name, even though it was muffled and her voice hoarse, my heart finally started to heal. “It’s okay, we are going home. Together.”
Hello, Hello, guys, I hope you enjoyed my first Fanfiction for SLBP. I’m going to upload the epilogue within the next days. If you find any grammar mistakes/typos/… please help me find them too. :) Please leave a comment, and if you liked it, leave a heart. I would appreciate it. :) See ya~
Summary: [Name] finally comes home ready to spend some needed time with her boyfriend only to find him in bed with someone else…
She was exhausted. Being a dance instructor took a lot out of [Name]. She had been teaching 14 classes a week for the last few months, and touring the nearest cities for her dance union. But, she finally had time off. Her teammates forced her to go home early and allotted her the weekend completely free. While her bones ached and her muscles burned, she wouldn’t stop until she finally returned home. A single smile from Ji-yong would blow away all her pain and she would finally feel at ease. All she needed was him. She felt a little guilty about neglecting him. But little could be done about their clashing schedules. His days off had been some of her busiest, but she didn’t think much of it. She had suffered through the same bouts of loneliness each time he had to travel off to another country for weeks on end. She knew he could handle it. After all, Ji-yong loved her so much for enduring his career with him. [Name] glanced at the box she held in her hands. It was a cake from their favorite cafe in Seoul. They shared a love for the desserts there, but hadn’t had time to buy any. She was sure he missed them. This would definitely make them happy. Maybe she would make some tea and cuddle with him for the remainder of the night. The thought of the warm embrace of his arms beckoned her. She stood outside the apartment’s front door, humming softly. A warm light fluttered from the window into the cold darkness. It seemed like Ji-yong was home. She could finally have the quality time she was craving. [Name] carefully balanced the cake on her hip as she quietly turned the key with a giggle. She couldn’t wait to see the delighted expression on his face. When she opened the door, she found the living room empty. It was uncharacteristic for him not to be waiting for her right at the door. He usually did that when he came home earlier than her. Perhaps he had gotten tired of waiting and gone to bed? She could see a light streaming from down the hall, and a large smile appeared on her face. Was he planning something by hiding himself in the bedroom? Her cheeks grew red and she shivered. She didn’t mind getting a little more exercise. [Name] hurried into the kitchen and slid the cake into the fridge. Eating this would have to wait. It seemed like her lover planned on devouring something else right now. Her body trembled excitedly. She slipped off her shoes by the front door and tossed her bag onto the sofa. With a grin, she ventured quietly down the hallway. She primped her appearance as she snuck in the dark, hoping to make herself look less disheveled. It didn’t matter anyways. Ji-yong found her captivating no matter her appearance. In front of the bedroom door, she turned the knob quietly, smile gleaming in the dark. She said nothing as she opened the door. Her expression spoke her happiness quite clearly. Her lover always teased her for being so easy to read. “Are you sure this okay?” she heard a female voice whisper. [Name] froze in the doorway. “My girlfriend isn’t going to be home until Monday night,” Ji-yong said, placing a hand on the young girl’s cheek. “We have the weekend all to ourselves.” She could do nothing but silently stare. Ji-yong was sitting on the bed as she was expecting. But what she hadn’t foreseen was that his companion was as well. A girl, a few years younger than [Name], straddled Ji-yong’s hips as he laid intimately on his back. He seemed to be letting the girl take the lead during the sex that was no doubt about to occur. The realization made her heart drop. He had never allowed her to dominate him. “You’re so beautiful,” he whispered to her. “I swear you’re the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen.” A sultry laugh left her lips. [Name]’s eyes followed Ji-yong hands as they began to travel up the girl’s rather short skirt. She wasn’t wearing much clothing to begin with. It didn’t help that Ji-yong was only wearing a pair of faded jeans. “I see you’ve been having some fun while I was gone,” she finally said. The pair on the bed jumped, and their eyes grew wide. “[Name]…?” Ji-yong said breathlessly. “Here I was, worried about you,” she laughed, leaning against the doorframe.
A/N: I have been in the worst writing slump I’ve had in a long time lately and I’ve been badly doubting myself and my writing. This fic is dedicated to my old lady floof, Victoria (@pleasecallmecaptain) , who encouraged and inspired me to write it. Without her help I’d probably still be plodding along in my funk, so thank you babe for the support.
I would love to know your thoughts on this and any advice on what I can improve on in the future :)
Air left my lungs in unstable shudders. I found myself on the cold hardwood floor of my apartment, sitting with my back against the door I had just slammed in his face. The back of my head hit the door as I looked up at the ceiling in despair, the details of the plaster blurring behind tears that threatened to spill.
The weight of what had just happened didn’t hit me until later that night. I rolled over to his side, further tangling myself in the soft, green bed sheets. A hand that reached out for its familiar comfort was met with nothing but cold mattress and an unrumpled pillow. That’s when I really felt it. Steve had left for missions before in the past, causing me to wake up this same way. But this was different a different kind of solitude. Steve hadn’t just left the state, or even the country. He had left me – left us.
Two weeks later he was calling out my name from behind the very same door that I had fallen against, broken. It wasn’t the first time he’d come back – my name falling out in begs for forgiveness, for a chance to explain. The first time, I’d stood crumpled against the door that separated us as I listened to his fruitless pleas until I could hear the tears breaking his usually unwavering voice.
But this was not the first time, and I’d had just about enough of him crawling back and hitting refresh on the pain that would have just started to subside since his last visit.
“What do you want, Steve.” The wall I’d immediately put up brought out a hostility in my voice and made my words sound more like a warning than a question. I noticed by the way his breath had caught and the disbelief that widened his eyes, when I’d swung open the front door of my apartment, he’d given up all hope of a response long ago. That maybe now he was just here because he didn’t know what else to do.
“Y/N…” Steve breathed out, his voice both full of hope and nerves. He paused, taking in my baggy shorts and sweatshirt – the one with sparrows on it that he’d always loved on me. “Can I come in?” He asked, sounding weak as he brought a hand up to rest on my doorframe. “Why?” I countered. “I just wanna talk.” He swallowed, pressing his lips together poignantly. I just looked back at him for a moment, my own face stern with hesitation and resentment, before I took a step back, allowing him to enter.
Tensions hung like thick smog in the air as Steve and I took seats on opposite couches in the living room. I watched him expectantly as he fidgeted, his nerves clear in both his expression and his stiff posture.
“How have you been?” Steve started awkwardly. He was met with a head tilt and pursed lips that told him to cut the small talk because he knew exactly how I’d been. He hung his head with a sigh, the obvious muscles in his broad shoulders reacting under his fitted grey t-shirt at the movement.
“I don’t even know what to say, Y/N.” Steve admitted, studying the bits of fluff and crumbs on the carpet rather than look me in the eyes. “All that time you spent out there and you didn’t plan what you would say to me?” I questioned bluntly, half taunting him. I almost wanted to further his discomfort. Steve leant his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands together, wringing them until his calloused knuckles began to turn white. Drawing my eyes to them, I noticed the black and blue that painted his skin under healing cuts. It brought me back to the nights he’d returned home from missions with bloodied fists and a scathed jaw, and I’d make him sit at the kitchen table while I cleaned him up with disinfectant wipes and a warm towel. And a kiss to make it better.
“Honestly,” Steve broke his attention away from the floor and back to me. “I didn’t think I’d get this far.” “You almost didn’t.” I told him. “But my neighbours started complaining about the noise, not that I can blame them.” I spited, crossing one of my legs over the other. “You also owe me an explanation. Because I don’t know what the hell went wrong.” Steve nodded and drew in what I’m sure he was hoping would be a steadying breath. He opened his mouth to speak more than once, but every time shut it again, sighing when the words he needed wouldn’t come. It was clear he was struggling with where to start.
“I was afraid.” Steve finally stated quietly. As soon as the words left his lips he was unable to meet my gaze, instead scanning over my carpet once again. “Afraid of what, Steve?” I couldn’t say I felt an ounce of empathy in that moment, but I just needed answers. I’d tried to go without them for 2 weeks, but it was beginning to become torturous – all the wondering, the sleepless nights. “Of how strong my feelings for you were – are. It just…” He trailed off, again searching his mind for the right words. “I didn’t think that after I woke up and everything – that after Pegg…” I watched as Steve faltered, taking a deep breath before continuing, this time slower and even more deliberate. “I didn’t think that I would ever feel something like that again.”
I turned to look away from him, a short, pained sigh escaping me. He couldn’t do this. Use his past as an excuse, a sob story he could blame his actions on.
“That’s not fair, Steve.” I said shortly, shaking my head to suppress my anger. “Everyone’s afraid. Relationships are fucking terrifying. But they work because you communicate. You don’t run away.” I was trying hard to keep my voice strong, but it wouldn’t have mattered. He would see the emotion in my eyes as I stared him down. “Steve you never run away from what you’re afraid of. You run towards it.” All hope of a calm exterior was lost when I felt a lump beginning to form in my throat as I spoke, and my eyes began to well. “Was I just not worth it you?”
Steve cursed himself under his breath, immediately shifting to sit next to me on the couch. When he reached for my hand, I surprised myself when I didn’t pull away, the exhaustion of being angry winning out. There isn’t a lonelier feeling in the world than when the one person who you could always trust to make you feel better, is the reason you feel like shit in the first place. Steve didn’t say anything at first. He just hugged me close to his chest with arms that wrapped themselves all the way around me. Neither of us knew what was going to happen to us or if this was something we could even come back from, but in that moment, despite the pain, we needed each other.
It wasn’t until I ran out of tears and my shaking body was beginning to still in Steve’s strong hold that he spoke again. His cheek was pressed to the top of my head, my hair tickling his features; so close, all he needed was a whisper.
“You are worth the whole god damn world to me Y/N. I hate that I ever made you feel like you were anything less than that.”
“Then why did you leave?” Still cradled tightly in Steve’s arms, my voice so broken, the words that left my lips were almost inaudible.
“Because I’m an idiot who thought that if I was losing you on my own terms it wouldn’t hurt so bad.” He spoke with a solemn tone that voiced his regret. I lifted my head from his warm chest, the steady thrum of his heart leaving my ears. “Who says you had to lose me at all?” I asked, my tone matching his. I searched his tired blue eyes and waited for a response. They were puffy and edged with red. “Because that’s what always happens.”
At his words, my eyes fell shut and I swallowed hard. This wasn’t just an excuse or him looking for a pity party. Steve truly couldn’t comprehend that not all love ended in the tragedy of loss. I forced myself to open my eyes to look into his with a newfound strength I knew he needed from me. Bringing my hand up to cup his cheek, I smoothed my thumb across the stubble that adorned his strong jaw line, before saying to him with gentle sincerity,
a long introduction to something that may develop into a long fic (with like EVERTYHING in it), or can stay as a one shot. the continuation of it, depends on you, drop me a note if you’re interested in this fic and would read more!
Double Trouble, part 1
Steve had seen many unusual things in his life. Really many. He had seen a man with burnt and deformed, red face, resembling a skull. He had seen sources of energy so powerful, they were capable of destroying planets. He had witnessed aliens pouring out of a wormhole, ready to attack. He had seen his own transformation, where from a weak, sickly kid, he became the perfect soldier. But this, this was very unusual.
Steve was standing in Tony’s workshop, holding a plate with a turkey sandwich, he had planned to give to his boyfriend for quick lunch, knowing how absorbed Tony became during working. There was a faint memory of smoke in the air, and it wasn’t unusual that Tony caused some mini explosion in his shop, and they usually resulted in smudged cheeks and some unknown substances spilling on his clothes.
It was the first time, the explosion resulted in two Tonys.
Fandom: Life is Strange Pairing: Chasefield, mentions of one-sided Victoria/Kate-ish? and Marshfield Rating: Hard R, like M+ or whatever Warnings: Alcohol, blood, dub-con…ish?, poor life choices, swear words, mentions of canon suicide attempts. Really, any warnings you’d find in the source material.
If anyone tells me Max is behaving out of character, I’m going to direct them to the interactions with Frank in episode 3.
Blood is dripping from your nose, but that’s nothing new. This universe looks familiar, scurrying grey-black clouds and an oppressive sense of dread. You check your text messages. The most recent is from Chloe. Chloe with fingers that can type. Chloe with blue hair and a ‘can’t do’ attitude when it comes to rules, establishments, and her stepfather; David Madsen.
You rub the blood away from your nose and make your way towards the dorms. Does this universe move without you? Is there another Max Caulfield, now displaced from this body. Maybe it was a straight swap between you and ‘Popular Max’. How jarring that must have been. Her waking up as some loser nobody with the end of the world hanging over her like a cartoonish anvil.
Thankfully, the walk to the dorms is quiet, not too quiet. The regular amount. You swing the door open using your whole body and see the other girls gathered in the hall outside Kate’s room.
“Is trust not something you have on this Earth?” Harrison … or H.R. as he prefered, cracked tone invaded the wide space of Cisco’s work room halting the owner’s rapid search and Barry‘s rushed whispers.
They filter between “uh” and “um” like fish out of water the longer he waits to move into the room. “We were just…” Barry says first and Cisco intervenes with, “I was just…” At least he’s willing to take the blame for this. H.R. will give the small man with an absurd fashion sense credit for that.
He claims to be an engineer. H.R. is still on the fence about it. “Cissek-o.”
Sighing, Cisco swipes the side of his face, trapezoids bunching with frustration. “For the last time. It’s Cisco. Cis - co.”
“That’s what I said. Cissek-o.”
A corner of his lips tug up. He can use this. Now, there are more important matters to discuss. “I think we should focus on what the real issue is here,” he pauses and folds his arms. As predicted, Cisco does the same, straightening his height. Interesting. “Why are you going through my things?”
“It’s in my work station.”
After a beat, “so..?” H.R. dwells, crossing the room until he’s toe to toe with one half of his invader and asks, “is that how this earth works? Is every man guilty by association until proven otherwise.” He cast a withering look to Central City’s masked hero, who until this point was perfectly fine with going unnoticed.
Quirky behavior aside, H.R. doesn’t seem terrible. Was he a little suspect, a little unfamiliar with the simplist of tasks he was ‘hired’ to handle. Yes … but that doesn’t make him evil. Right? And yet, all it took was a simple “what could it hurt to vibe him?” and Barry is suckered in, caught in the cross hairs of distrust.
“Please, call me H.R.” Wells politely insists. Cisco rolls his eyes, sputtering.
“H.R. I admit our recent behavior is inexcusable. If the shoe were on the other foot I’m sure Cisco and I would feel the same way but you have to understand-”
“You’ve been burned. Yes. The cute doctor has informed me of your Eobard friend-”
“Oh, so you can pronounce his name no problem.” Cisco growls and what the heck? Barry better wrap this up quick before Harrison ends up in some inescapable dark dimension.
“As well as Mr. Zolomon but I can assure you, I am nothing more than your friendly neighborhood Harrison Wells. No more. No less.” His smile is a little wide, a little too bright. A little off. But what isn’t?
“I don’t trust him.”
Barry stretches out in the chair, extending his long legs to roll him back and forth. He doesn’t have to say ‘I know’. He doesn’t have to say anything. Not that Cisco has given him an inch to express his concerns in the first place…
“He’s not who he says he is. I can feel it in my gut, if I’d just…” his muses turn silent, leaving the sound of his sneakers scuffing the floor as the only audio along with a visual of his passing back and forth, biting his thumb nail first then his lip and back to his nail again. Barry knows that look. That look of disjointment like he’s failed and put all of their safety at risk even though three minutes and twenty-four seconds is hardly enough time to do anything let alone foil Harrison’s unproven maniacal plans.
“I should’ve been faster.”
He doesn’t mean to, but he laughs. “That’s my line.”
“I’m being serious.”
Barry plants his feet down, stopping the rolling motion of the chair and sits up straight, assessing his friend from his vantage point across the room and sighs. “I know.”
“Then how are you taking this so lightly?”
Trust him, he’s not. With all of the new changes in this timeline, worrying about all of the damage he’s caused and trying to fix it - with all of the good that remained like Iris - nothing is taken for granted. But the truth is he’d go out of his mind agonizing things out of his control.
“If the time comes-”
“When,” Cisco corrects. “When.”
Barry’s head drops forward, keeping a steady eye on the wringing loop he twist his fingers in and amends, “if or when the time comes and Harrison is not the person he says he is, we’ll handle it together, Cisco. Like we always do.” - “Get back here, now!” Cisco’s usual lax instructions pop through the earpiece in a rushed urgency, disrupting The Flash’s mundane nightly patrol.
“Cisco, what is it?”
“NOW!” and the line goes dead.
He zips in seconds later, skidding to a halt between Cisco and Joe and looks on at the hovering blue blob, pulsing in the center of the cortex. “Again?” judging the horrified looks drawn on his team’s faces, follow up questions seem almost pointless to ask.
The cloud like structure shrinks and grows. The sound of lightening cackles from its’ center, thundering louder the bigger it grows. It wobbles, sucking itself in as well as the oxygen around it and explodes, releasing is pent energy into the room with enough force to knock everyone back.
“Is everyone alright?” Barry stands first, checking each member is alive and accounted for. One by one they crawl to their feet, shaken but okay. All except for Joe, whose wide eyed expression is the first to give him away. “Are you - what is-?” Barry turns to Cisco then Caitlin and finally landing on Wells whose paler than usual. Fizzled silence greets him, charged and palpable enough to grab.
Is it bad? He’s afraid to say aloud more so than turning around and discovering it’s worse. And then;
“Harrison. It’s lovely to see you again.”
It’s an octave lower than normal and smooth like a touch of silk. If he didn’t know any better he’d swear it was whispered into his ear instead of being called from a foot away. Different and the same. He knows that voice. After years listening and getting lost in the sound of its’ laughter, Barry could place it anywhere. After all. It was the one thing that always brought him home. “Iris.”
He turns in sync with Cisco’s uttered, “doppelgängers.” As in plural, because not only is there an Iris but a version of him as well.
Mesmerized, Barry looks on like he’s stuck in a dream. Watching his double place a kiss to her neck before removing his arms from her waist to fold up the sleeves of his shirt. He’s stuck. The only movement permitted is his speeding heartbeat racing at lengths even unnatural for him. Other Barry crushes his fist knuckle to knuckle, popping them then takes a step forward, pass Barry, Cisco and Joe; stomping up the short staircase, breezes by Caitlin and smashes one fist to Harrison’s jaw, dropping him like a swatted fly.
Caitlin yelps. And for a while it’s the only sound in the cortex.
“Good job, baby.” Iris coos, triggering a satisfied smile out of the E-19 version of himself.
“I told you, we’d get him.” All of STAR Lab’s focus zeros on the man identical to their own. Thwarted. Watching as he and Iris draw together like magnets. From the clench he takes to her hips to her pull on his tie fusing him closer by the lips.
It’s not so much their kissing that makes him uncomfortable. He and Iris have shared more than enough impromptu PDA moments to last a lifetime - as everyone will agree - however, it is E-19 Iris’ tongue snaking down her Barry’s throat that elicits a moan, a moan Barry is unaware he can make, that breaks the spell.
“… um, e-excuse me.”
Okay, and now his tongue is down her throat. He chances a look at Joe, and there’s something sickly green about his skin. He tries again, louder this time.
E-19 Barry’s lips smack against Iris’ in a loud smwaa noise, ceasing what looked to be a very intense victory make-out session, inching away from her lips by a hairsbreadth. Far enough to wage his attention. Close enough to retain her heat. And it may be Barry’s colder eyes staring death glares into his four proponents but it’s Iris who speaks.
“You’ll have to forgive my husband and I. We tend to get a little riled up afterwards.” and thank god Barry still dons the scarlet mask or else the full blush creeping down his skin would become visible for all the room to see. Especially as she calls him baby again, whispers in his ear and finishes it off with a suck to his earlobe.
E-19 Barry hugs her close once more before setting her down. This time as he steps away, his walk is controlled instead of rushed. He stops right in front of Barry, and reaches up to fix his rumpled tie, showcasing for the first time the black ink tattooed into his skin. ‘Stay’ it reads on the left and ‘Down’ it says on the right.
Barry gulps, but holds. Determined to stay in character of the valiant hero.
“If we have inconvenienced you, please accept our sincerest apologies.”
“At least they’re polite.” Cisco says from behind the monitors. One eye on their guest and the other on Caitlin.
“More than that.” E-19 Barry unfurls a wad of bills from his dress pants and plants it against the lightning insignia on The Flash’s suit. “For your troubles.”
“What do you want with H.R?”
“I don’t believe that’s any of your business.” Iris says, possessing both Barrys attention. To E-1 glimpsing over his dopples shoulder and to E-19 tilting his neck to the side to block his view. “Just take the money and go.”
“I’d listen to the lady if I were you.” E-19 Barry shoves the folded wad into his chest, dropping it down to his red boots when Barry neglects to take it. “Suit yourself.” he sneers, making a beeline for a downed Harrison Wells, much to Caitlin’s demand to leave him alone.
And Barry is there in a flash. “Looks like we’ve got a speedster on our hands, baby.” Iris teases, like it’s a common joke where they come from.
“So it would seem.” E-19 Barry smirks, proudly displaying a row full of white teeth.
“Then you know what to do.”
Barry sees Iris reach for the gun strapped to her thigh before anyone in the room is made aware. And that was his first mistake.
Falling for the decoy.
What happens next is a flurry. The gun is nothing more than a distraction for his copy to pierce needles through the fabric of his suit into his skin. Releasing a toxin The Flash is all too familiar from a time his loved ones didn’t fully believe him capable to take on the man that killed his father. He crumbles unable to take the weight of the charge leaving his body and looks on from his knees.
“Barry!” Joe screams, rushing to his side. Another mistake that Barry can’t speed through. Pop. E-19 Barry’s fist collide with the detective. Pop. rings again, quick and precise like his face is an easy target for Barry’s jabs.
Cisco doesn’t fair any better. He manages to push him off Joe but that earns him a knee to the abdomen for his efforts. All that leaves is Caitlin and the cool metal pressed to her head keeps her from moving an inch.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Iris of a different universe taunts Barry’s attempt to stand and clicks the safety off. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. I’m pretty sure bullets to the skull work the same way on every earth.” she looks as deathly serious as she sounds and Barry is not willing to test her limits. “Now, it’s either Harrison or your friend speedster, choose wisely.”
Barry raises his palms up and out slowly, dropping back down to his knees.
“I’m glad we could reach a compromise.” she unleashes a devilish smile, keeping her eyes trained even as she speaks to her husband. This isn’t her first rodeo. “Come on baby, let’s go home.” The gun stays locked to Caitlin’s temple until her Barry finishes up and joins at her side with Harrison draped over one shoulder.
“This was fun.” Iris trails the gun from her head and down her neck until it’s pointed directly between her shoulder blades and pushes her forward. “Until next time.”
The last thing he sees is E-19 Barry mock salute his fallen team before lacing his fingers with hers. They step back, disappearing through the breach.
(They kept talking after I’d already gone and written it so the last couple of things they later mention didn’t make in while I was writing…sorry! The last song isn’t Take Me or Leave Me but hopefully it’ll do?)
Title: I’ll Stop Singing (When You Stop Listening)
Synopsis: Kouki feels his neighbors music is too loud, and does something about it.
AU: No Designated AU
Note: Links have been included for the various songs mentioned throughout (the last one’s link is even set to begin at a certain point), and to a video of the mentioned waltz at the end, if anyone was curious.