faiths face in the last one though

This Is Us- Chapter 6 ___________________________

Jamie raised his hand poised to knock when an unexpected high pitched squeal of laughter and thumping of feet penetrated through the front door. Suddenly his knees felt weak and, needing to feel some support under him, he quickly turned around to press his back against the door.

“Ah Dhia! She was real!” he thought.

He lowered his head a bit and used his legs to brace his body against the solid wood, counting his inhales and exhales. This was a trick he had learned during cancer treatments. The blackness quickly receded and feeling returned to his fingertips.

He was just about to push off the door and turn to knock when he felt himself falling backwards. He hit the floor with an audible thud. Having no notion of what happened, he just lay still, the breath knocked out of him once more.

His vision was blocked suddenly by a small dog coming in so close to his face his eyes lost focus. A sticky lick– no wait– a kiss?–on his forehead.

This was followed by a hushed, “Boo-boo?”

The body tilted away from him allowing his eyes to focus on the improbable sight of his baby girl, auburn curls in two pigtails, wearing muted pink overalls and carrying a sodden biscuit in one hand, much of it worn on her face (explaining the residue coating his brow).

She waited intently. He remembered to breathe.

Looking into her adorably smeared but worried face, Jamie couldn’t help but smile.

“Aye, lass, but yer kiss made it better. Thank ye!” He assured her and, not wanting to scare her by reaching for her, contented himself with a gesture which looked like the approximation of a courtly bow from his prone position.

“Mama, he’s better!” Faith nodded, head turned to her side, satisfied by the day’s rescue.

Jamie shifted his gaze and found himself looking into whiskey eyes the same shade as his daughter’s.

“Mr. Fraser, I presume?” Curly hair and raised eyebrows.

“God, she is lovely.” The thought came unbidden to his mind and he was startled to realize he wasn’t thinking about Faith.

***

For a man thrust into fatherhood, Claire marveled at his ease with Faith. He didn’t crowd her or try to win her affections in any obvious way. Instead, he followed Faith’s lead and let her do as she was accustomed, somehow intuiting that the novelty of a new person to talk and play with would naturally draw her to him far more effectively than chasing after her.

Jamie and Faith were sitting on the floor beside the coffee table working on a wooden shape puzzle. Claire watched as her daughter turned into a flirt, something she had never seen her do. Even with Claire’s good friend and a favorite of Faith’s, Joe Abernathy, Faith never played the coquette. Claire was amazed to hear her daughter cooing and watched her batting her eyelashes in his direction.

Claire realized this was no passing fancy when she returned from putting Faith’s backpack in the hall closet to find her reverently placing Jane, her favorite doll, a beautiful Jumeau Bebe given to Claire by Uncle Lamb when she was a child herself, into his outstretched arms. Faith didn’t even let their babysitter Mrs. Crooke touch Jane. A high mark of favor, indeed.

Jamie had been leaning with his back against the couch but sat up straighter intuiting the import of the matter at hand. He gave the doll a serious once over, weighing some significant consideration, Faith, standing up, was almost eye level Jamie and shifted her weight back and forth anxiously awaiting his verdict.

Holding the absurdly feminine toy between his large hands should have made him look silly but didn’t. Claire couldn’t hear what they were saying but picked up the deep rumbling undertones of his verdict followed by Faith’s high pitched squeak of a reply. All of his attention was focused on Faith and his interaction with her was completely genuine.

The exchange was so adorable, she snapped a couple of pictures. Claire added a few more as the afternoon went on, wanting to document Faith’s first time meeting her father. She was touched by the fact that, respectful of her home and Faith’s privacy, Jamie hadn’t so much as asked if he could do so himself.

Now, she watched Jamie building blocks side by side with Faith, Faith reaching over every now and then to take away a block from Jamie’s tower for her own or offer him one of hers.

Jamie was saying mildly, “Ye ken that’s the last of my purple ones. Do ye no’ want to leave me that one?” His eyebrows raised in entreaty.

Faith shook her head, smiling.

“But, lass my tower’s almost done and it was to be my crowning glory.” He said mournfully.

At this Faith giggled, for his tower was already twice as tall as hers and more blocks wouldn’t make much of a difference as far as she could see. Faith could tell Jamie was not convinced, though and she really wanted all the purple blocks. Her eyes narrowed, a look of determination stole over her face.

“Jane says red is better.” She declared.

Faith herself clearly had no use for the red ones, they were stockpiled in the middle between the two of them, mostly untouched.

“She does?” Jamie turned to Jane, sitting up on the coffee table overseeing all the construction. “Mmphm.” Jamie grunted a Scottish noise in response, if not in consent.

“Weel I suppose I could. But do ye no’ think the princess would prefer climbing up a purple spire to go to scout her kingdom?”

Claire watched Jamie watching Faith from the corner of his eye, not directly looking but she knew he was drinking her in. She could feel the way he hummed with quiet delight in spending time with Faith.

Claire felt her face flame bright red as she realized that her long dormant libido had suddenly sprung to life. She was acutely aware of how long she had been celibate - longer than Faith had been alive, in fact. Jamie was striking to look at, an imposing figure but very handsome, so look she did.

However, her eyes were drawn to him for other reasons, too. At one point he caught her staring at him and raised his brow over their daughter’s head in inquiry. She blushed furiously.

“I’m sorry,” she said on a little embarrassed laugh. “I can’t help it. I keep catching a gesture here and there or an expression on your face and all of the sudden I think that you look so much like her….or I guess she looks like you.”

Claire waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. “I expect I’ll get over it soon enough. I just never expected to see it so clearly. Back before…before meeting you, when all I had were pictures online I thought that except for the shape of her eyes, the resemblance wasn’t obvious in the look of her.”

Claire paused, gathering her thoughts. “Now that I see you beside her, it’s clearer. The eyes obviously, a bit in the rest of her facial structure, too, but it’s…more in the way she carries herself.” Claire shrugged a little helplessly fearing she wasn’t making much sense.

Jamie smiled widely, his ears going a little pink at the tips. He’d noticed one or two such things but hadn’t spent nearly enough time with Faith to really see it.

Faith was toddling away from her parents freeing Jamie for the moment. He slowly reached his hand upward to Claire’s which was resting on the edge of the sofa cushion. He gave her time to pull away but she let him take her hand.

“Claire, I canna say how grateful I am to ye.” Jamie stared straight into her eyes.

Had she ever seen eyes that blue before? She could feel a slight tremor running through him.

“I never imagined, I never expected—” suddenly his eyes filled with tears.

Rather than become shy or try and bat them away in an effort to assert some misplaced sense of masculine pride, Jamie let them fall, let her see the depths of his emotions. He was so different from Frank. His willingness to allow her to see his vulnerability only made her more aware of the strength of him.

Jamie appreciated that Claire didn’t rush in to smooth over the awkwardness, nor did she try and pretend he wasn’t baring his soul to her. She simply accepted him, raw emotions and all and that stirred something inside him. Her small hand in his was nevertheless strong and he clung to it like an anchor.

He took in a breath. “When I saw the picture ye sent, I kent her straight away. I brought some pictures of my family, in case ye’d care to see?”

As if she would say no? Claire’s mouth was bone dry.

She knew a bit about his history. When she learned his name, the company had not yet launched so what she could find was rather limited. A report on the auto accident that killed his mother and brothers, his father’s obituary, Jenny and Ian’s wedding announcement. Then a couple articles on the start of Slainte and its relocation of production facilities to Scotland.

Since his product hit big, though, the archives grew and a more details were added, including the cancer treatments he’d undergone, videos of him as young man from all over the world were posted, allowing the public to get some feel for the carefree days of his past, living his life working in bars (no’ living my life behind bars, ye ken, Janet). These were bare facts, dates and events with no connection to the live flesh and blood man holding her hand.

As she nodded, Jamie moved to sit next to her and pulled out the precious package he had so carefully put together and wrapped safely in his pocket earlier in the day. He didn’t want to bore her to death, like looking at someone’s vacation photos and stopped, suddenly uncertain.

Claire squeezed his hand and waited for him to make eye contact.

“Tell me about them, your family,” she urged, touched by the anxious thought behind his hesitation.

He could tell she meant it and he let out a relieved chuckle.

“I’ll no’ go too many generations back, lass, ye needna be worrit,” he assured her.

After making sure Faith was happily entertained watching her favorite show about magical musical toadstools, she and Jamie spent time talking and generally getting to know one another.

Jamie was saddened to learn she was without any family at all, having been orphaned at 5 and losing her only relative a few years ago. Perhaps for that reason, Claire loved the pictures he brought and the stories he told her. When she saw the images of Willie, she gasped out loud.

“Oh, he’s beautiful, I can almost see how Faith will look in a few years’ time!”

Jamie smiled at her genuine response. Willie at ten, defiantly long hair, curly and wild down to his shoulders was indeed a sight to see. He was gratified to know that the strong resemblance he’d seen was undeniable even to Claire who’d never known him in life. Jamie also brought pictures of Ian and Jenny and their children. None had Faith’s gorgeous auburn coloring but all had the cat eyes and those outrageous Fraser lashes.

Faith turned then and smiled, coming to her feet and wandering over to her mother.

Jamie’s stomach growled audibly. He’d barely eaten anything that day, feeling nervous and slightly nauseous.

“Food?” Faith asked, hopefully. Her look of rampant hopefulness making Claire smile.

“Well, sweetness, I guess we know which side of the family you get your appetite from. Two peas in a pod are you and your Daddy!”

“Peas!” Faith demanded. Claire laughed, a high musical sound.

She stood and held her hand out to Faith, “Come darling let’s see what we can find, peas and carrots and maybe some chicken? You’ll join us, Jamie.” Said as a statement of obvious conclusion.

Distracted as she was, Claire didn’t notice as she and Faith wandered to the kitchen Jamie hadn’t moved a muscle, he simply could not. Just like when Claire opened the door on him and sent him reeling, his head was spinning once more.

Since hearing her voice on the other end of the line, he had imagined this going a hundred different ways. He had expected it to be awkward, stilted, uncomfortable, wondering what Faith would make of a 6’3” stranger, would she be scared of him? Would she give him a chance?

He’d had a quick call with Jenny in the morning trying to settle his nerves.

“Do ye think she’ll like me?” He’d asked.

“Of course she’ll like ye, Jamie, all the bairns love their uncle Jamie.” He’d loved the don’t be such an idiot tone of her voice, it was such a normal reaction that he found it oddly comforting. “You’ve a good heart, my dear. They all look up to you. Besides, am I no’ always saying yer just a big kid yourself?”

Jamie was feeling much better.

But then she said, “the person ye should be worrit about is her mother. If you need to impress anyone it’s her.” Though Jenny was, after all, only speaking the truth.

“Aye, I ken that. I hope we can talk a bit, mebbe see what she proposes.” He said.

“Weel, I expect it’ll take a bit of time. She’ll no be used to sharing the lass and given the way her husband treated her, she’s mayhap no’ verra trusting. If ye do run into stormy weather, brother call Gowan & MacKenzie– but ask for Ned, ye ken he’s the more ruthless of the two,” Jenny observed, causing Jamie’s blood to freeze like ice in his veins.

The thought of having to win parental time with Faith in a lawsuit pushed all kinds of buttons. It was the last thing he wanted to do– it had been the furthest thing from his mind. He was tempted to shoot the messenger and tell Jenny exactly what he thought of such a thing but he knew she was only trying to protect him.

“I thank ye, Janet,” unable to keep his tone light, Jamie made an effort to end on a better note, “I am hoping that since she invited me to meet, she likely is prepared to work with me on it. Wish me luck.”

Jamie had done his best to push the thought of custody battles from his mind, yet the implications of it had seeped in and colored his day even as he deliberately refused to dwell on the issue.

Though he took the precaution of coming prepared, anyway, to win Claire over. He wanted to assure her that he posed no threat to Faith, to draw her a picture of his own childhood so she’d know his dreams for Faith’s life, too. Jamie never anticipated how intuitively she’d read him; that a handful of stories from his childhood would allow her to see into his soul.

Somehow, over just an afternoon, Claire understood what it meant to him, having Faith. The grace she’d granted to him just then, her inclusive gesture, of fitting Faith effortlessly in his family line, connecting her to his past and his future with just a handful of words.

He’d felt it all afternoon but now he knew it in his heart, Claire would help him and Faith forge their relationship, as if it was already a foregone conclusion, his place in her life and hers in his, as if it had always been there, and always would be. He knew he’d have no cause to contact Ned or any other lawyer.

The afternoon had been magical. He felt a bone deep happiness, elated in a way he’d never experienced before. Ah Dhia, what had he done to deserve such welcome acceptance from Claire and his daughter? Overwhelmed, Jamie did what came naturally to him and, closing his eyes and sent up a prayer, the Gaelic words spilling quietly from his lips, calming to his racing thoughts.

As Claire came back into the room to see what had been keeping Jamie, she noticed he’d not moved from his place on the couch. He was murmuring something in Gaelic, a language she heard often enough but understood only a little. She didn’t need to know the language to recognize a benediction.

Her heart did a skitter step and her throat closed tight with an answering pull lower down. She’d been trying to ignore her body’s response to him since hearing his lovely deep voice with its rolled “Rs” on the phone.

Claire had spent any number of nights worrying herself about what Faith’s father would be like. The Jamie she read about online and in the archives, at least on the surface, had a lot of appeal. As the mother of a daughter, a surgeon in a male dominated field, she couldn’t help wondering what kind of man he would be and praying he would be a good man, the kind of man who would support a daughter to become anything she dreamed she could be.

His chief chemist, the head of legal and his plant manager were all women, which must have raised some eyebrows, though neither the PR team nor Jamie himself had ever traded on inclusiveness or gender balance as a way to bolster corporate image. That gave her hope that he would raise their daughter to be confident and independent. He was handsome, smart, and had a self-effacing humor in interviews she’d read. In person, he was all of those things and more. Seeing him with Faith had touched her in ways she could never have imagined. He had a good heart, of that she was certain.

Claire had been prepared to make his meeting with Faith a good experience for both of them, she even had a box of Faith’s favorite activities set aside– new picture books, music cued on the stereo, and a train set that Faith loved but had so many pieces it was only brought out on rare days, out of line of sight but nearby just in case a little bribe or distraction had been needed to smooth the way for father and daughter.

The reality was, she needn’t have bothered. Jamie was a natural with kids and she knew he was the kind of adult who was comfortable with them, he wouldn’t need help finding things to do with Faith. Just as importantly, Faith clearly adored him. She wanted to pinch herself.

When he pulled out the photos of his family and told her a little of each one, deliberately minimizing the sorrow of their loss to emphasize the joy they gave to him during their lives, she felt the weight of all of the unknowns and what ifs inside her lift and something else fitted itself into place that lightened her heart. There was a rightness about his being here with Faith and with her that thrilled her and scared her to death.

Claire felt a little lightheaded. Once, in their medical school years, Joe Abernathy, had talked her into bungee jumping at New England Gorge. Crystal blue sky above, roaring river below. They’d strapped her into her harness, metal clips jingling, bound tight with the wide belts digging into her sensitive places, the anticipation of awaiting her turn, hearing the screams of surprise, joy and fear from the rest of the group.

Her hair whipped around her face as she stepped out on the platform, spread her arms and dove graceful as a bird, wind rushing so fast it forced tears from her eyes, the only sound the surge of air in her ears as she dropped weightless, free. The intense snap when she hit the limit of the rope, blood rushing to her head as her heart got caught between water and clouds. The relief, the thrill as her displaced body tumbled end over end sailing through the sky.

She felt exactly like that girl of long ago, giddy foot planted firmly on the ledge looking straight down, with her other foot leaping confidently into the unknown, having no idea of what came next, just standing there watching him express his thankfulness to God for the gift of his daughter. Months later she would come to recognize that this was the moment she fell head over heels in love with Jamie Fraser.

Claire processed information physically, tending to rely on her senses more than her intellect. Seeing him there, she did what came naturally to her. Jamie startled when Claire’s arms came around him. His face was tucked into her chest so he could hear her heartbeat, so his rhythms would slow to match hers. Some unconscious part of him recognized the power of her touch, understood that her intention had been to offer him the tranquility in her heart as a balm to the rawness in his.

After a moment, he brought his arms around her hips, then higher. When she felt his hands splayed across her back, she pulled him into her tightly. With both hands he managed to cover most of her back. Having set out to try and sooth him, she recognized the irony of it. It had been a long time since a man had offered her the simple comfort of a hug and she stayed for several extra heartbeats then pulled away a little, looking down on him.

“Ready to come to the table? I’m not much of a cook but you won’t starve.” She waited patiently for him to open his eyes. When he did, she smiled at him and said, “Pease?”

A lovely rumble of laughter greeted her.

“Aye, I’d love to have dinner with my lasses.”

He’d said it without thought, his expression went from tender to embarrassed in the blink of an eye. She merely tilted her head. Jamie nodded and followed her to the kitchen.

Holding You

A/N: There my brain goes again. I was listening to Wicked last night and I got to “As Long As You’re Mine,” which immediately made me think of a fic where Emily and the Reader are together. She gets attacked by Doyle in season 6, leaves the hospital, and has one night with her girlfriend before leaving for witness protection. @coveofmemories @sexualemobitch @jamiemelyn

                                                              —-

The week before the attack she told you she loved you - and now this. A man from her past, Ian Doyle, came back to haunt her, her team, and by extension, you. She’d barely made it through alive, and in the eyes of her teammates, she hadn’t. Emily Prentiss was dead. But you knew differently, as did two of her teammates who you’d never met before.

She was on her way to the safe house where you were staying. One night. One night was all you had before you had to pretend your girlfriend was dead and go about your life as you normally would. No matter what she said, and you knew what she’d say the moment she saw you, you’d wait for as long as it took to put Doyle back behind bars. You were in love with her. You wouldn’t desert her now. No way.

I’ll make every last moment last, as long as you’re mine

When you saw the door open, your heart skipped a beat. Even after all that, being staked in the side for fucks sake, she still looked just as beautiful - tired, but she was beautiful just the same. “Hey baby,” you whispered, hugging her softly. When you saw her in the hospital, she was so fragile you hadn’t even been able to touch her, but she’d been recovering for six weeks now. As you pressed your lips to hers, you could feel her hesitancy. You knew what was coming. 

“Hey, love,” she said. For a few moments, you just stood in the doorway trading kisses back and forth. “I have to leave tomorrow morning.”

“I know.”

“I don’t want you to wait for me.” There it was. She ran her fingers through your hair and pulled you back to take a close look at you, probably memorizing your features for when they weren’t in front of her any longer. 

You grasped her face in your hands and parted her lips with yours. “I want to wait. Me. My decision.” She was about to give you a litany of reasons why you shouldn’t wait, but you didn’t want to hear them. “From what you’ve told me about your team, they won’t stop until Doyle is found and Declan is safe. I love you, Emily Prentiss. And I won’t desert you now. When you come home, I’ll be here.”

A stream of heated tears flowed down her face as she took you in her arms and backed you into the bedroom. 

Kiss me too fiercely
Hold me too tight

“God, I’ve missed you,” she breathed against your chest. “I can’t believe we have to do this.” This. Witness protection. Not your usual reason for separation. Her lips glided up through the hollow of your breasts, around your neck and ended at your ear, where she bit down gently, sending a shockwave through your body. 

You responded in kind, sliding your hands under her shirt and over the now slightly raised scar from where she’d been staked by that bastard. “Just as beautiful,” you said, feeling her pull away slightly as you ran your finger over the scar. Once backed up into the bed, you fell, catching her and removing her shirt and bra while she did the same for you. There was a moment, when you first found out about Doyle’s attack on her, that she was going to die and you were never going to be able to touch her again. You never imagined you’d be here.

My wildest dreamings
Could not foresee
Lying beside you
With you wanting me

Clothes were shed and soon you found yourselves tangled around each other, a mess of limbs and lips. As you made love to the woman you adored for what would be the last time for a long time, you took in her scent, the soft velveteen feel of her skin against yours, the silkiness of her hair as it made its way through your fingers…everything. You were determined to remember in detail everything she was to you as you waited for her return. “I love you, Emily,” you cried.

“Don’t cry,” she said, her eyes glazing over. “You’ll make me cry.” She rolled you over and seemingly did the same, running her lips and hands over every inch of you. With reckless abandon, you both began to grind against each other, in search of that ever elusive connection with each other. When that crescendo finally came, you clutched onto each other for dear life, collapsing into the bed and curling into each other. “I don’t want to leave,” she cried, pulling you toward her.

After all she’d been through, it was amazing she hadn’t broken down before. Despite the fact that you wanted to scream and cry and tell the gods how unfair they were being, you chose to stay strong for her and let her have her moment. “I don’t want you to either. But you’re not alone, love. No matter how far away you are from me, you are not alone.” You held her in your arms until she the sobs rocked her to sleep. 

Once you knew she was out for the night, you allowed yourself to go to sleep. You wanted to cry, but you didn’t want to wake her. Tomorrow, when she left, you’d allow yourself a meltdown, but not now. Not when the woman you loved already had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

                                                             —-

And if it turns out
It’s over too fast
I’ll make every last moment last

When you woke up in the morning it was still early, so without words, you curled into each other, syncing up your breathing. After a shower and getting dressed, it was time for her to go, and you couldn’t accompany her to the airport. Where she was going now had to remain a secret to everyone except Jennifer, who was her liaison and would be setting her up with funds to get her by. “When I get back, I’m going to scream from the rooftops how much I love you, Y/N. Everyone will know.” Her voice was shaky. You could tell she didn’t know whether or not she was going to come back, but you had faith. Her team wouldn’t stop. 

Say there’s no future
For us as a pair
And though I may know
I don’t care
Just for this moment
As long as you’re mine
Come be how you want to
And see how bright we shine
Borrow the moonlight
Until it is through
And know I’ll be here
Holding you

“I love you,” you said pointedly, taking her face in your hands one last time and kissing her as if you never would again. “Remember, no matter how far away you are from me, you’re not alone.”

The corner of her mouth twitched upward, but she was still hesitant. “I love you, too, Y/N. I promise I’ll never forget that.” 

“You better not,” you replied half-heartedly. With one last look that you made last as long as possible, Emily turned and closed the door to the safe house behind her. You went over to the window and watched the car drive away. Another would be here soon to take you home. As soon as you knew she was gone, a sob wracked your body and you fell to the floor. She was gone. You did have faith in her team, but how long would it be until you could hold her again?

skylines: the prequel (Derek’s Interlude)

Thank you for the love on the last chapter. If you missed it, here’s a link. Enjoy!

I don’t own the characters mentioned (minus Damon and Bobbi). All characters belong to James LaRosa and Hit the Floor new home, @betnetworks.

Funny how life throws you a curve ball and you either strike out or hit a home run. Derek wasn’t sure which direction he was going and it was scary because he was used to being in control. Add Ahsha to the mix and things were unpredictable. Suddenly, Derek felt responsible for not only himself but Ahsha too. Whatever he did fell back on her, so he could no longer think and act selfishly. Everything was moving so fast that Derek was barely able to think clearly. They had an interview with Access Hollywood, later that evening. No telling what they would ask because the media was never friendly. Just nosey and wanting to twist words.

Derek laid in bed and flipped through the channels. Finally landing on the travel channel, Derek threw the remote down. He couldn’t even focus on the TV. Ahsha had called the night before and he could hear the anxiety in her voice. Both of them wanted this interview to come off genuine and fix Ahsha’s image at the same time. Derek wanted the world to know the woman he knew. The Ahsha Davenport that was one of the most beautiful people on the inside and out. When you were around her, you just felt at ease and never felt judged. No one in his life ever asked how he was doing on a daily or ever even acted as though they cared. Little things like that were making him fall in love with the dancer. Yes, Derek Roman aka Derek “Mack Daddy” Roman had encountered the “L” word. For once in his life, he had met a woman he wanted to spend time with every minute of the day. Maybe because she actually listened to him and made him feel human, unlike others who couldn’t see past his fame.

Then on the other hand, all of this scared Derek shitless. What if he broke Ahsha’s heart? He had never truly been monogamous. Was he ready for this? Like, truly ready to commit to one person?

“Yo, Damon. How you doing, man,” Derek answered the phone, which brought him out of his inner monologue. Damon was a retired Devils player that Derek called his big brother. When Derek first entered the league, Damon was there to give him advice and one of the only old players that Derek could trust.

“What up, Roman. Long time, no talk,” Damon replied. “Saw your ass in the news again. Figured I’d call to see what you’re up to. Still pulling the ladies.”

“Ha, well this one isn’t just any lady, D,” Derek chuckled, resting his head against the headboard.

“I think I called the wrong number,” Damon added jokingly. For as long as he knew Derek, the man had never called any woman special.

“Naw, man. I’m serious,” Derek groaned. “I know the news isn’t painting her in the best light, but she’s a good girl.”

Damon was in complete disbelief. This was not the young plater he met a few years ago. Sometimes Damon wondered if Derek would even date the same women for at least 6 months. “Wait a minute. You’re telling me that the same guy I almost busted up for trying to fuck my wife, is finally settled on one woman? I be damned,” he exclaimed sarcastically. “What the hell got into you? One of them girls gave you the burn, huh? You finally learn your lesson?”

“Hell no. You know I don’t be out here raw doggin’ pussy. Like you, I have outgrown the bullshit. Good woman came along and I know I have to get my shit together,” the baller explained to his good friend.

“Well then. Guess I can’t argue with that, Roman. Kiana and I have been married for 3 years now and she’s probably the best thing that happened to me. Girl couldn’t stand me when we first met. You know how I was back then. She wasn’t here for any of my shit until I stopped treating her like a groupie. I love the woman and I know if I hadn’t met her, my ass would be somewhere in trouble,” Damon admitted. Hearing Damon admit that he had to grow up in order to land the woman of his dreams, had Derek thinking about his own life. All the partying had stop because most of the time it got him mixed up in trouble. Damon learned his lesson when a girl accused him of getting her pregnant at a party after a big win.

That accusation almost ruined his relationship. After that fiasco, Damon knew that part of his life was over if he wanted his relationship to work.

“I hear you, bro. I really don’t want to fuck this up. She doesn’t deserve it, you know,” Derek expressed.

“Then stop being a hoe, D-Ro,” Damon joked, with a slight chuckle before getting serious. “It’s not about changing who you are as a person. Getting your shit together means becoming a better version of you. You get me?”

Derek nodded. “Yeah, I got you.”

“And don’t just do this for her. This is what you have to want too. Trust me, that playa life gets old and in the end, you’ll want someone to be down for you after this league throws you out. Those groupies aren’t going to want you when you’re out of the spotlight. Think of it that way. We gotta grow even though some of us don’t make the effort,” Damon added. Talking to him always made Derek want to be a better man. Damon was married with two kids. The total opposite of where he was years ago.

It was time to grow up.

……….

A few hours later, Derek’s gate bell rang, prompting him to let Ahsha through the front gates. The player waited outside the front door. When Ahsha pulled up, he noticed something was off. Before she got out of the car, she wiped at her eyes and put on sunglasses.

As soon as Ahsha reached the bottom step, Derek was asking, “Are you okay?”

Maybe her nerves were getting to her or she was having second thoughts. Those words only drove her to tears. Her emotions were all over the place and it had nothing to do with their interview. “My friend Bobbi was killed in a car crash,” she sniffed, unable to control the sobs. She could barely speak Bobbi’s name without crying. Her heart was broken. The last time they spoke, Ahsha was supposed to call her back but didn’t. Guilt was eating at her because she didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

“Oh baby, I’m sorry to hear that,” Derek cooed, wiping tears, and pulling her into a hug. “We can reschedule this interview,” Derek suggested.

“No, I need to do this. I’ll be fine,” Ahsha replied, quickly wiping her tears. “I need to do something to keep my mind off of it.

“Ahsha….”

“The interview is still on,” she reiterated, a slight frustration in her tone. The call from Bobbi’s mother kept replaying in her head, she couldn’t shake it. Bobbi was gone and never to be heard from again. Ahsha had a hard time wrapping her mind around this. Derek thought it was brave of her to go in front of the camera feeling this type of pain. This would be the first time Derek realized how strong Ahsha could be when her back was against the wall.

……………

Hair and makeup had turned Derek’s dining room into a home salon. While Ahsha was being tended to, Derek called his publicist.

“Just tell her to be herself. She has nothing to hide, so just be genuine,” Kristine, Derek’s publicist, explained. “There’s nothing better than being real in front of that camera.”

“And if they ask how we met,” he pressed. “Because you know they will.”

Kristine paused to collect her thoughts. “You know, tell Ahsha to be honest. About everything. No use in lying because then you have to keep up with it. She’ll be fine, Derek. From talking with her the other day, I can tell she’s nothing like the media painted her to be. This will all blow over after the world gets to know her. You supporting her through this will help her a great deal.”

The words from his publicist soothed Derek’s nerves. He glanced over at Ahsha who was headed up the steps to the second floor. “Okay, thanks Kristine. Guess we’ll see you in a few?”

“Yes, I will be right over after this meeting. Good luck.”

After hanging up the call, Derek headed upstairs. He found Ahsha in his bedroom, sitting on the ottoman in front of his bed. “I needed a minute,” she said when she heard Derek’s heavy footsteps.

“Take as much time as you need. I know this is hard,” Derek replied, kneeling in front of her. “I talked to Kristine.”

“What lies do I need to tell,” Ahsha murmured, looking down at her hands.

Derek wrapped his large hands around her small ones. “No lies. Be you.”

“You think this will really work,” she asked, her big brown eyes peering up at Derek. The question almost appeared to have a double meaning.

Would this interview get her out of the hot seat? Were they even strong enough to last as a couple? “Yes, it will. Wanna know why,” the player questioned, earning a nod. “Because we’re both strong enough to make this work. I have faith. This is a bump in the road and I know we’ll get over it.”

A small smile crept across Ahsha’s face, though her eyes still held a sadness. “Your friend would be proud of you,” the baller added. “I’m proud of you.”

Their eyes stayed locked on each other for a few seconds. Both felt that tug on their hearts. The words were there but neither one of them could say it. “Thanks Derek,” Ahsha whispered, squeezing his hand.

“Anytime. When you’re ready, I’ll be right downstairs.” He placed a kiss on her lips before leaving Ahsha with a few moments to herself.

………….

The interview was going to take place in Derek’s spacious living area. Derek and Ahsha sat on his all-white sofa, waiting for the cameras to start rolling. Nancy O’Dell, their interviewer, sat on the opposite couch. She nodded towards her camera crew, before they began counting down to the live session.

Nancy put on a wide smile and began talking into the camera which was broadcasting this interview to millions of people.

“We are here with Ahsha Davenport and Derek Roman, in his lavish California home. These two have been in the news quite a bit this week and it’s my pleasure to give them their first public appearance as a couple. How does it feel to finally come out together?”

“Relieved,” Ahsha smiled in return.

“The world doesn’t know much about you, Ahsha. Except you being Pete Davenport’s daughter. What could you tell us about yourself,” Nancy demanded with an inquisitive expression.

“Well, I have a degree in business and a minor in dance. I plan on going to graduate school to get more education in business since I want to own a dance studio one day,” the dancer explained eloquently.

“Wow, that’s a full plate for someone on one of the hottest NBA dance teams. How will you balance that,” the interviewer quizzed.

“It’s not hard to balance when you enjoy your work. I’ve been wanting to own my own studio since I was a little girl. Knowing I’m closer to that dream keeps me going,” Ahsha answered. Derek was intrigued by how relaxed she seemed in front of the camera. She was natural and came off as very likeable. “Life is too short to be afraid of what you want. This morning, I found out that a good friend of mine passed way. All those big dreams she had will go unclaimed because her life on earth was cut short. I don’t want to die with any regrets. I go after what I want, no matter how hard or scary it seems.” Holding back tears, Ahsha forced a smile. Derek offered his support by placing a comforting hand on Ahsha’s thigh.

Nodding, Nancy said, “I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Would you say coming out about your relationship with Derek Roman was because our time is short? That’s a brave move.”

Before her mind could catch up with her mouth, Ahsha blurted out, “I shouldn’t have to hide who I love.” The confession made Derek’s eyes widen. What a bold move to make on camera. So, bold that Derek didn’t even know how to respond. The only time a woman uttered the word ‘love’ was in bed. Hearing her say it with so much conviction let it be known that she was serious.

Still in shock, the baller didn’t even hear Nancy ask him a question. “Mr. Roman,” Nancy repeated. “How would you describe Ahsha?”

“She isn’t the person the media portrays her to be. This woman played me off many times before she decided to give me a chance,” Derek laughed. “Ahsha is good person with a huge heart. Look at her, she’s beautiful. But outside of that, Ahsha is ambitious and has hopes and dreams of her own. I have a lot of respect for her because the dance world isn’t too kind to black women. Ahsha is going places and none of that means she’s using me to get to the top, so stop printing that because it’s a lie. I can tell you that she’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever met,” the baller explained, wrapping his arm around Ahsha’s shoulders as he spoke. Nancy O’Dell mouthed an exaggerated ‘awww’ when Derek leaned over and kissed Ahsha on the cheek. Right there in front of the camera. That kiss sealed the deal and everyone would be talking about it for the rest of the week. Derek Roman had officially claimed Ahsha Davenport as his girlfriend on national television.

……………..

Later that Evening

After their interview, the couple decided they would chill out and wind down. With Ahsha still mourning the death of her friend, she honestly didn’t have the energy to do anything or address the press waiting outside Derek’s gates. Plus, being in Derek’s warm presence was making her feel better.

The baller returned from the kitchen with two glasses of wine. Joining Ahsha on the floor next to the unlit fireplace, Derek handed her a glass. “You okay,” he asked, taking in Ahsha’s appearance. She was sitting on the rug in front of his sofa, with her head resting against one of the cushions. Tears streaked her cheeks as she stared into space.

“I can’t believe she’s really gone,” Ahsha muttered, trying to hold in the sob thumping against the wall of her chest. All day, she had to put on a smile, when she felt numb. Nothing had set in quite yet. “That girl was crazy as hell, but she would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.” Ahsha chuckled to herself. “One time she actually did give me her shirt when we went to this party. I wasted a whole can of beer on my white t-shirt and here comes Bobbi with her shirt. Got herself in trouble for streaking. That was Bobbi though. Spontaneous and she knew how to make you laugh without even trying. I miss her already.”

Derek allowed Ahsha to vent without interrupting. If reminiscing helped her heal, then he would listen.

After she was silent for a moment, Derek replied, “Sounds like Bobbi was an amazing person.”

“Why do all the good people have to die young,” Ahsha sighed, a tear escaping the corner of her eye. “You just don’t think about stuff like that happening to you. You can be here one day and gone the next.”

Ahsha remained still against the couch, while Derek wiped her cheek dry and grabbed her hand. Her grip tightened around his hand, feeling comfort from his touch. The words almost slipped off his tongue but he held them back. This would be the first woman he felt these type of feelings for and it was unfamiliar for him. Instead, he held his tongue and continued caressing Ahsha’s knuckles.

Tilting her head slightly to the side, the dancer muttered, “Thanks…for everything.”

Derek grinned, “Told you I have your back.”

Ahsha leaned over and kissed Derek’s cheek, “I love you,” she added, her voice barely above a whisper. Even then, she sounded sure of what her words meant.

There it was. That infamous “L” word had finally made its appearance.  For the past few weeks, Derek had been having feelings about Ahsha that he couldn’t describe. Being around her made him feel like he could be himself. The money didn’t matter, his lifestyle didn’t matter. This was all new to him. Finally, those feelings were beginning to make sense. Derek had fallen for Ahsha. And he had fallen hard.

“I love you, too,” Derek said, moving in to place his lips against Ahsha’s plush mouth. Their tongues gently melting together in a soft but tantalizing kiss.

The new Queen and King of the Devils had officially claimed their thrones and this was just the beginning.

Next chapter we will skip ahead a year. Thank you for reading and I hope you all enjoyed!

FIRST OF ALL: I tolerate almost every ship, so this isn’t going to be a hate post

Actually, this post is about Kataang. Many people think that it is weird to ship Katara x Aang because they always seemed to have little brother/big sister relationship, which I really DON’T think is wrong, but in my opinion their relationship isn’t based on any sibling relation thingys.

In my opinion, their relationship is moslty built on trust and faith. Katara and Sokka (don’t forget him)  left their home to travel with the Avatar. But this journey wasn’t based on Aang being the Avatar but Katara trusting Aang from the very beginning and the want to help him. She always had faith in him and she knew that he was strong enough to endure all the situations they had to face even though someone might get hurt. And even though she trusted him from the beginning, they developed a stronger relationship only step by step and not in a rush.

And this development of trust and faith is in my opinion not a brotherly/sisterly one but the development of a great relationship between lovers or “best friends” who develop romantic feelings for each other also just step by step.

Strange Happenings - Ch. 6

Originally posted by reylo-musings

Summary: After coming home from leaving Kylo alone for the first time, you discover where he’s from. The rest of the movie watching experience with him however gets very emotional, and suddenly the details from at least part of his past start flowing.

A/N: Alright! Here’s the next chapter, hope you all enjoy it! Feedback is welcome! Also any ideas for future chapters :)


“You’re…that’s your mom? …Are you sure?”

He arched a brow as he looked to you, realizing you had paused the movie. Nobody had ever actually questioned the truth of who his parents were before. It seemed as though almost everyone was aware. Or at least he assumed they were. Though to your defense, you weren’t from the same galaxy, so how would you really know their true and vast legacy?

“Yes…I would know who my mother is.”

“But, like…your biological mother?”

He nodded.

“So…seriously you’re Princess Leia’s son?”

He nodded again, “I don’t understand why you think that’s so hard to believe.”

You released a huff of air as your hand found its way to your hair, just barely running through the locks. Though it was something you usually did out of stress, it materialized more as something of shock. As much as you believed him being from that universe after displaying his abilities, you never expected him to be a part of the galaxy’s infamous family legacy. 

“It just is. I mean…I realize that you’re from that universe, but I was not at all expecting you to…to actually be connected to any of the characters I’ve known for years. That’s…that’s a whole other level.”

“Level?”

“Yeah, when you said it was your universe I assumed you meant you were just from there…I didn’t know you were actually a part of the story. Wait! Holy shit!”

“What?”

You turned to him with wide eyes full of excitement. The more you thought about it, the more amazing it seemed.

“That means I know what happened after the last movie!! Nobody else does. Whoa..”

He just stared back at you, his expression blank. Obviously seeing as he didn’t understand cinema or how your universe had access to this story, he could not at all grasp the concept of your excitement over this. To him it was just plain facts, his parents were who they were. 

On your end, you were internally squealing with excitement. How was this even possible?! Someone with direct blood relation and lineation to the Skywalkers from your favorite movies was staying in your home. Your little dingy apartment. You were housing the physical proof that story was out there, and it was far from over. 

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Adult Faith AU-- Part 1!

I found myself incredibly intrigued by the notion of an adult Faith coming back into Claire and Jamie’s life around the time of Voyager. 

Here is Part One. Very nervous to post this given how much great Outlander fanfiction there is out there, but I hope you enjoy!  


 Note: this story takes place in an AU where an adult Faith comes back into Jamie and Claire’s lives around the time of Voyager. General spoiler alerts for Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, The Space Between, and more.


PART ONE begins below the break

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Yes, Sir: A Chris Evans x Reader One-Shot

Request: Jealous Chris. Let’s be real.

You knew that something was wrong when you noticed Chris from across the room. He had brought you with him to the Civil War premiere and after party. It was now the time of the after party, and, since Chris was greeting everyone, you elected to hang around Sebastian. In order to hear one another properly, you had to lean into one another. Anybody, including Chris, knew this. But, judging by his crossed arms and narrowed eyes, he wasn’t liking it.

He hardly ever gets jealous. But, for some reason, he’s jealous watching you laugh at one of Sebastian’s jokes as he talks into your ear. So, the first chance he can get, Chris steals you away from the Romanian. Chris’s fingers hold your own as he guides you through the crowd.

He’s looking for an empty space far from the crowd. Anywhere he can take you and explain the situation to you. He finally finds a seat along the booth along the wall. He takes his seat, spreading his legs a bit.

Once he settles into his position, Chris wraps an arm around your waist. He pulls you into the open space between his legs. You feel his fingers at the top of the slit at the leg of your dress. He begins to mess with the material at the top of it, pushing it up ever so lightly. Chris allows his fingernails to scratch you ever so lightly, making you take a slow breath in, shuddering.

You grip the stem of your champagne flute tighter between your fingers. Knowing that if he went any further, it would surely slip through your fingertips.

“Is there a problem, darling?” Chris asks, and you want to smack the smile from his face. Due to the circumstance you’re in (or know that you’re going to be in), you only wrap an arm around his shoulders. You play along.

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Trying - MC // Ramadan Series

Originally posted by popecalum

Hi guys! I mentioned earlier this month that I would potentially write a series of pieces centered around the boy dating someone who observed the month of Ramadan. There’s a lot of blurbs and pieces floating around out there of the boys celebrating other religious holidays with your family, and I figured some inclusion would be a nice thing. 

Word Count: 1276

In which Michael tries to understand.

Ashton // Calum // Luke


You laugh at the utterly confused look on Michael’s face; eyebrows furrowed and lips pouted to the side. Until this point, you’d thought he was following your explanation pretty well. Guess not. “So you guys don’t eat at all?”

From the other room, you can hear the quiet snorts and giggles that come from the rest of your family, followed by the quiet reprimand from your mother. They’re finding his confusion as cute and as amusing as you do. You’re smothering yours pretty well though, but you can tell Michael’s kind of embarrassed he’s just not grasping the concept you’ve been trying to explain.

It’s not his fault though. Michael hadn’t been exposed–really exposed– to the inner workings of Islam until he met you. And even if you weren’t the picture perfect subscriber to the religion anymore, there were still some aspects ingrained in you, some traditions, some practices you’d always follow. It was a big part of your childhood.

In his defense, he is trying very hard to understand. And the furrow of his brow is pretty damn cute. “You’re going to have to explain it to me one more time.”

You turn fully to face him, pulling one leg up onto the seat of the chair and tucking it underneath you. With your free hand, you reach out to pat his thigh and give him a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry about it babe, it can be confusing if you didn’t grow up with it. It’s fine if you don’t understand.”

“But I want to understand. This is a part of you, so it matters to me.” Michael insists, looking utterly frustrated with himself now. He runs a hand through his mess of hair, “I’ve been reading about Ramadan since it started and I think I get it but, I also just….don’t get it?”

A part of you wants to coo at him, the sentiment warming your heart. Michael’s dedication to understand just reinforces how serious he is about this relationship. It’s something no one has ever bothered to do before. Your mom crosses back into the kitchen, heading towards the fridge to begin making a meal for Iftar. She sends the pair of you a soft smile, adjusting the knot that holds her headscarf in place.

“Alright,” you start, shifting again to get comfortable on the hard kitchen chair. You can tell your mom is simultaneously eavesdropping while trying to look like she isn’t. “What do you understand? What don’t you understand?” You figure it’ll be easier to on the both of you if you don’t have to reiterate the things he’s already managed to understand.

Michael holds up his hand, all the fingers folded towards the palm like he’s about to tick them off a list. His raises his index finger, “First, you guys-Muslims-don’t eat for an entire month?” It’s almost right, but he phrases it like a question so you assume he’s asking for clarification.

You nod. “Almost, babe. Ramadan lasts an entire month. But obviously we can’t go a straight month without eating or drinking. It’s a day-to-day thing, from sunrise to sunset.”

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everythingyouweretooafraidtoask said: Faith ficlet- First birthday party and presents, also first words.

Anonymous said: They probably celebrated birthdays differently in the 18th century so this prompt might be kinda difficult but… Faith’s first birthday! Thank you


Claire appeared in the doorway with Faith on her hip at midday. Faith was still rubbing her eyes from her morning nap, confused at the disruption to her daily routine but grinning as soon as she spotted Jamie.

“Da-da-da!” she squealed, reaching towards him with eager hands.

“Happy birthday, m’annsachd,” he said setting his quill aside and rising from the chair. He arched his back and stretched his neck then came around his desk to take her from Claire.

“It’s all ready in the kitchen,” Claire told him. “We’re just waiting for Fergus to return with Murtagh.”

“Are ye ready then, Faith?” he asked in a high voice that put amused grins on Claire’s face. Jamie led the way to the kitchen where Mrs. Crook set the makeshift birthday cake on the table as well as some shortbread biscuits for Maggie and young Jamie. Jenny had a sleeping Kitty in her arms as Ian sidled up alongside her.

Murtagh and Fergus slipped in at the back door and hung about the wall, Fergus giving a prideful nod to Claire to indicate he’d accomplished his task. Murtagh was red faced but whether it was from pride or embarrassment was impossible to tell.

“I ken this isna how we usually do things for the weans’ birthdays,” Jamie conceded moving his head out of Faith’s reach as she tried to clap a hand over his mouth while he talked. “But when this wee one here was born a year ago today… it didna look as though she’d last the night.” His voice was thick with emotion until Faith grinned at him, three small teeth protruding from her gums. “But thanks to help from every one of ye as well as a deal of luck and heavenly favor, she’s with us to mark her first birthday so Claire and I wanted to thank all of ye and do something special for Faith. It’s a tradition from Claire’s time wi’ her uncle growing up,” he said by way of explanation as Claire took Faith and sat at the table with the small cake in front of them.

Claire pulled it forward and picked a little bite from the edge for Faith to taste. It was a bit bland—there wasn’t much sugar to spare—and frosting had been deemed too frivolous so fruit preserves had been used to glaze the top and between the two modest layers. Mrs. Crook had set a second larger cake aside for the rest of them to sample as a treat after Faith had her way with hers.

Faith’s eyes went wide at the taste she was offered and began banging the table and looking to Claire for more.

“Here you go,” she said, pulling the plate closer for Faith to reach on her own.

She hesitated looking at both her parents who each nodded before taking a small fistful of cake and first offering a taste to Claire. Laughing, Claire took a small nibble and licked her lips adding, “Your turn again.” Faith shoved the rest in her mouth, smearing the preserves across her face as she grinned at everyone in the room.


I’m going to be wrapping up my #faith fluff days on Friday (since we will have a new episode at midnight) so get your prompts in by the end of the day tomorrow (Wed). 

One by One

Emma heals him.

A/N: Hurt/comfort ahoy! Speculation for 5x14 but no spoilers

Also on AO3. ~1500 words.


It’s not a graceful landing.

Granted, it’s the best Emma can manage after making a diving leap over a mythological river, tackling Killian’s dangling body mid-air and poofing them away in a cloud of white smoke. She crashes on top of him on the bed, a pathetic groan escaping him upon impact, dust flying up from the mattress.

Emma sits up and looks around, gasping, grateful to see that the Underworld version of her home seems just as empty as her parents’ loft. She shakes with adrenaline and the sudden, bright rush of her magic and the realization of it worked it actually worked and Killian is here.

Killian.

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anonymous asked:

Okay I need your help. I know this is gonna sound stupid but I was wondering if you could analyze/explain a B/J scene for me. I'm talking about the scene where Brian is riding his bike (liberty ride) and he has visions/hallucinations of himself and Justin.

Not stupid in the slightest! And you’re in luck, because that is absolutely one of my FAVORITE scenes in the entire series. (I feel like lately every time I’m asked to analyze a scene I say it’s one of my favorites and I should hold back a bit before the phrase loses its meaning, but I can’t help it if you all keep choosing amazing scenes for me to explore. <3) But really, this is a gloriously revealing scene that tells us so much both about Brian and about his feelings for Justin… because really, what better way to get inside Brian’s head than to have him in such physical and emotional agony that he begins hallucinating, am I right? :D

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Lallybroch

Summary: What if Jamie and Claire never had to fight for the bonnie prince? This is my idea of what might have happened if he and Claire got to stay at Lallybroch after their return from France.


Chapter 1

I had felt it for the first time yesterday, sometime late into the night. Jamie had been fast asleep beside me, lost somewhere in the deep world of sleep. I was glad he was asleep, for my reaction was not one I wanted him to see.

It was a flutter, deep within my womb, a tiny, but distinct nudge. I had hoped, of course, we both had, that we would be blessed with another child after the travesty of our first’s stillbirth. The topic was still a sore spot between us, Jamie still blamed himself for her loss, and I still felt her with me. Sometimes, when I hold little Maggie, I can close my eyes and stoke the cheek, not of my niece, but of my daughter. I would always mourn for her and I knew that. Even if this child comes into the world healthy, and maybe if we are blessed with more children after that, she will always be my first child, my first gift from god, now turned angel.

It feels like I failed her, although, I tell myself that it was out of my hands. If this child is born healthy, why not her? It seems silly to dwell on the uncontrollable, but how can I not, when the wounds were still so fresh.

“Claire! Ye’ve been washing that same shirt for nye on an hour it seems. What’s amiss?” Jenny asked.

Startled, I dropped said shirt back into the basin, and watched as the fabric soaked back up with water, and started sinking to the bottom, weighed down by the weight of gravity. I watched while trying to think of something to say to Jenny. I was also aware of her watching my every facial expression. Jenny was like her brother in the way that she never missed a beat. A strong sense intuition is a very thick thread that runs through their blood.

I turned to look at her and gave her a slight smile, “Just thinking about life, I suppose”, I said.

I knew that Jamie told her about the baby. She knew I was pregnant while we were in France. Jamie had written her often, and I usually finished the letters after his hand grew too sore to finish. Although, I expect that he had cause to write her a quick note before we made our way back home, so as not to be surprised as to why there was no child along with us. I hadn’t asked Jamie whether they had discussed it since we’ve been back home. I had not spoken to Jenny, and neither did I want to for a while, and she had enough sense not to ask.

But now, with her seeming to look straight through my carefully placed mask of strength, and no one else near, I felt as though she were a welcome place to spill my heart. I met her gaze for a moment before sitting down on one of the stools near, looking down at the ground, as if it would tell me how to begin. She followed my lead and pulled up a stool as well. I felt her hand on my shoulder and a gentle squeeze.

“Go on, then. I feel as though, ye’d be needin to talk for a long while now and to a women. There are so many things ye can tell your man, but sometime ye need another women to tell what cannot be described to them”.

And with her understanding eyes, I felt the floodgates of my soul beginning to open.

“I don’t know quite where to start, I…think…well I believe….I’m pregnant, again”, I said softly and quietly, looking down at my fingers and twisting my silver ring.

“Aye, I thought ye might be. Ye have that glow, and yer breests are fuller than when ye first arrived, but I thought it best not to mention it until ye found out yourself. How far along are ye?”

I smiled a little at her directness and wasn’t surprised a bit that she surmised the reason for this conversation before even I had.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “More than a few months, I expect. I felt a slight nudge last night for the first time. I had suspected, but I had been too afraid to hope. After…Faith…I just, I wasn’t even sure I wanted it too soon.” I glanced at her face, but her Fraser mask was up and I know there would be no reading it. “You have no idea how much I want this baby, but I feel as though I failed my first one, and if this one lives it will be unjust to her…I know that sounds ridiculous, but there is it.”

I kept looking down at the ground as if it would reassure me or that it would give me answers of some kind. If I focused hard enough on it, perhaps I could disappear in it. I felt Jenny’s gaze on me, analyzing, trying to figure out exactly what to say most likely.

She may understand my loss more than Jamie could, because she too has carried life within her, but she can never truly know it, never having lost a child. And I pray she will never have to.

“It’s no a silly thought to have, Claire” Jenny said. She reached out to pat my hand and then gripped it with a force so strong; I felt my bones rub together. “It would be strange to not have these thoughts. Faith will always be your first child and she will forever live in your heart that way. Ye failed her in no way, sometimes these things seem to make no sense, but…I have to think that it’s a part of a plan, because I would go insane to no think that way.” She sighed and averted her eyes, squinting at something in the distance. “I felt it was my fault when my father died, and I felt it was my fault Jamie was flogged, because of the way I treated Randall. But after time, you come to realize that life is easy on no one, and sometimes things are destined to happen a certain way, and there’s no a thing you can do to stop them. I ken me telling ye isna going to stop ye from thinking these things but perhaps it may give ye some ease, in time. It wasna your fault and your next child will be better because of their sister’s memory. And ye should talk to Jamie about it, even if he may not understand it all, he will listen and sometimes that’s just enough.”

She turned back to me and looked me dead in the eyes, with a look that could pierce the heart of the devil.

“Ye understand?” She asked.

I looked into her eyes and saw her ghosts, and blame, and doubt. I squeezed her hand and took a deep breath.

“Yes, I do. Thank you, Jenny. Truly.” I said and gave her a small smile.

She smiled back and stood up. She grabbed one of the shirts she had been washing before.

“Not much left. An hour or so, and then we can go make some more candles, we’re running low.” She said, scrubbing away, eyes focused on her work.

I gave a small laugh. Jenny would not treat a soul different no matter what she knew about them and I was no exception. That was the Fraser way it seemed, directness and practicality.

Effective, I thought to myself. And picked of a pair of Jamie’s trousers to wash and let my hand brush across my abdomen with a small smile.

Dinner was a quiet affair. With no guests to entertain, conversation was easy and flowing between the four of us. Jamie and Ian mostly discussing the pros and cons of the potato harvest a couple days ago, with Jenny and I discussing the seemingly flu type bug going around some of the tenants houses. Jenny retired early, her pregnancy causing her to yawn her way through the stuffed cabbage. I seem to have lucked out this time in the aspect, and I sent a silent prayer to god I would not have terrible morning sickness again. Jamie and Ian both went to the laird’s office to further discuss monetary issues, but I thought that this would most likely include drinking whiskey based on previous times when Jamie has come to bed more singled minded than usual. I went up to our bedroom and finally unlaced my stays after another day of torture. I must find a way to craft a makeshift brassiere, without giving Jenny or the servants heart palpitations.

Recently, I had actually been having trouble falling asleep at night, even after Jamie came to bed. The constant mumbling of my mind keeping me awake until I feel into a disturbed sleep. To prevent this, I had begun to take up sewing, a dreadful task that I thoroughly disliked, but I found the mindless work let my mind rest and go into a relaxed state of mind that would help me fall asleep later.

I picked up my recent attempts at making a nightgown with some left over fabric Jenny had given me. I was careful to keep it hidden away from the servants who would most likely be scandalized at it’s length and fit, with was more alike to something you would find in my time. It was almost halfway done now and the fleeting thought of leaving it be and turning the rest into a child’s blanket came to me. I picked the unused fabric up, considering. Hope is a dangerous thing. Of course, I had no reason to think this pregnancy would end in the disaster of my last, but I knew I could not help these dark thoughts creeping into my head.

I sighed and thought to hell with it, and picked up the fabric and started sewing.

The door opened about an hour later, bringing in Jamie, looking at peace and with the satisfaction with a man who spent a day well and was looking forward to bed. I instinctually hid my work, as if it were an ill wish I was crafting and not a baby blanket. He smiled at me and then glanced at the fabric hidden behind my back and his smile grew wider. He loved to make comments on my homemaking skills.

“What in heaven do ye have there, Sassenach?” Jamie said, laughing as he came over to my chair. I had been sitting by the fire for warmth, but I didn’t feel truly heated through until Jamie pulled me to my feet and wrapped his arms around me. We simply held each other for a long moment, enjoying the simple feel of one another. I closed my eyes and breathed him in, smelling of his usual male scent of sweat, hay, and Jamie.

I didn’t realize he was reaching behind me until he made a swift grab and picked up the blanket with one hand and brought it nearer to the fire to investigate. I let him have it and stood back, suddenly very shy.

“Ahh, what exactly is it, Sassenach?” Jamie said, after a couple moments of perplexed investigation.

I sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. This wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to tell him, but I felt he should know. If only so he didn’t think I was insane and trying to stich strange horse designs on fabric.

“Well, I suppose it was supposed to be some sort of blanket, or a …swaddling cloth.” I said, carefully watching for his reaction. Jamie had the mask that Jenny did when told news unexpectedly, but I had learned over the course of our few marriage years, that he always did visibly react for only a split second in the eyes, only noticeable to someone who knew him well.

The small flash that I saw was not what I was expecting, for it was not one of surprise, but of joy. He smiled gently at me and put the fabric back down on the chair and came over to stand in front of me. He brought my chin up to look at him and leaned down to kiss me. A gentle kiss, full of tenderness, understanding, and love. We parted and our foreheads came together.

“You bloody bastard”, I said without heat. “You knew already, didn’t you?”

He chuckled slightly and sat down next to me. He put his arm around me and pulled me tight against him. Simultaneously, cradling me like a kitten and holding me tight enough to make me feel like nothing ill could ever touch me. He picked up my hand and gently kissed my silver ring.

“Aye,” he chuckled, gently. “I’ve suspected for some time now, but I thought it best to let you figure it out on your own. Ye havena bleed now for 62 days, and your cycles before had always been regular. I think maybe ye knew as well, but were afraid to talk to me.”

I leaned my head against his shoulder and a few tears escaped, running down my cheeks until they fell down the curve of my neck. Jamie drew his finger down my cheek, whipping away the water tracks. I sniffed and looked up to his face.

“I suppose…I didn’t want to bring up…I just didn’t wish you to feel as though…” I stammered.

“Aye, I ken what ye mean, Sassenach,” he said lightly. “I ken we both blamed ourselves for our first lass’ loss. But I think that it was in god’s hands, no ours. We will always have her with us, even after we fill this house with more of our children.”

I nodded, unable to speak. I took a deep breath and managed a smile at him.

“I know that now, Jamie, I do. And I’m truly happy about this baby…I never thought I would have been able to carry Faith, and now to be blessed with another chance, another little baby… yes, I’m too happy to describe,” I said, my voice breaking at the end with emotion.

A few tears did slip again, but tears of joy, tears of hope. I laughed and my smile grew wider. Jamie smiled back at me, his wide mouth stretching so wide, I thought it would split. He grabbed me by the shoulders and brought me onto his lap in a sudden, rough movement, wrapping me up in a tight cocoon of his embrace. I clutched at him hard, and I felt a few of his tears of his own spill into my hair.

“Myself as well, Claire. Thank ye. Ye’ve given me more than I could ever have hoped for, more joy than I deserve,” he said with great feeling into my curls.

I pulled back and looked into his simmering blue eyes, filled with happiness that I knew was echoed in mine.

Staring into those eyes, I put my hands on both his cheeks and brought him so close to me, his eyes turned into a massive blue orb. “I love you, so much, James Fraser”, I whispered.

He started into my eyes and nodded slightly, overcome with feeling, unable to speak. He let out a sigh and pulled my lips to his, hard. He twined both of his hands into my curls and bent my head slightly backwards, while he kissed me.

He did such a thorough job of it, I could feel my lips throbbing when he finally released them and moved to rain kisses on my jaw.

“Mhmm,” I sighed and he tugged my hair gently and moved his mouth to my neck.

He let go of my hair and pulled back to look into my eyes and then placed a warm, tender kiss on my lips, parting slowly. He sighed and moved his hands to my hips to pick me up, and then gently lower me onto the bed, with his body covering mine immediately.

He slithered down to kneel by where my feet lay, and brought his hands up to caress my legs, moving slowly from my calves to the top of my thighs, bringing my shift up as he went. He brought his hands back down to my feet and picked the left one up to bring it to his mouth and pressed a kiss the sole of my foot. He then began rubbing it, firmly.

I sighed and relaxed further into the pillows and closed my eyes. After a few moments of this, he softly raked a fingernail from my toes, all the way to my heel. I jerked back my foot instinctively at the tickling sensation, but Jamie pulled it straight back to him.

“Ah, found a wee spot have we?” Jamie said, smiling, rubbing the spot he just tickled. I squinted my eyes at him in warning, but was unable to keep a smile off my face for long.

“Let’s find some more, shall we?” he said, as he began gently moving his hands up my legs again, gently this time, using his nails to slightly scratch my skin. I squirmed at this, and tried to jerk my legs closed instinctively as he reached my sensitive inner thighs.

He immediately pushed them back open and pushed them down onto the bed, as he moved to lay his cheek against my thigh.

“Nay, lass. No escaping now,” he said, as he tugged my shift out of the way. Then, he lowered his head.

I seamed to lose my awareness of anything but sensation. I brought my hands up to grab onto his locks, gently stroking a few wayward curls, as I submitted to the feeling of his warm mouth.

He popped up a few moments later, while I lay gasping on the pillows, staring up at the ceiling. He moved up to lie between my thighs and pulled my shift the rest of the way off. He pulled his shirt and belt off, then yanked his kilt off.

“I’m glad that our room is fair away from the fields, Sassenach. Or else, I think you’d wake the whole farm with yer wee noises,” he said, while pulling off his boots.

I finally brought my head up to glance at him. He was flushed from cheeks to chest, and his breast heaved, making his now bare abdominals contract in a very pleasing way. I reached up and pulled him down to me, so that he lay fully on top of me. Every inch of our bare skin pressed hard against each other. He brought his hands up to smooth down my hair and kissed me again, passionately and deep.

I grew impatient and took hold of his bottom, pausing to feel the hard muscles, and then pulled him against me. He took my meaning and brought a hand down between us, and then came into me, slowly, inch by inch. I gasped into his mouth and he swallowed the noises, smiling against me. He lie still after he was all the way inside, rubbing my arms and pressing kisses to my neck. I wrapped my legs around him and rocked into him. He brought himself up, laying his hands on either side of my head, maintaining eye contact, and began moving.

Sometime later, we lied intertwined, facing each other; with one of my legs between his and our arms wrapped around each other. Our breathing was slow, and bodies sated, now simply enjoying being close to each other. Jamie leaned over to kiss me softly on the lips, and then on the forehead. I reached up and brushed a lock of hair from his face, and gently slide my hand down his cheek, tracing the shape of his face. He gently turned me, so we lie like spoons together. My back nestled into the warmth of his body. He brought the blankets up to cover us, and then gently slid his hand down to cup the small swell of my belly.

He stroked the skin there, making what I know was to be a silent promise to both the child and me. I will protect you for always, he said. I sighed, and brought my hand down to rest over his, and gently squeezed. We both snuggled in for the night, and I fell asleep to the warmth of his breath in my ear and to his gentle stroking of our second chance, our baby.


Chapter 2

Wedding Fight - Requested (Ashton)

Anon asked: Could you do one where you get in a fight with one of the boys and its not really in your personality to fight back so you just stand there and take whatever he’s screaming at you and then he leaves to blow off some steam and you assume that he wants you to leave him so you start packing your stuff and he comes back and sees and yeah.. thank you 😁😁😁😁 Hope you like it!!!

“What is this?”, Ashton walks in the kitchen and flaps an envelope in the air.

You look over your shoulder. “It’s an invitation to Maya and Vlad’s wedding”

“Yeah I read that”

“Sensing on your tone, you’re not happy with it”, you turn around and lean against the counter.

“No, it’s fine. I mean, I’m away then anyway”, he shrugs.

“No you’re not”, you cross your arms. “I’ve checked your schedule, you have a few days off in that time. It’s enough time for you to fly in, be at the wedding and fly back”

“Are you seriously asking me to spend my free days on a fucking wedding?”, he looks at you like you’ve just asked him to jump out of a plane with a parachute.

“Yes I am. Friends are important Ash”

“Yeah, but I’m not that close to them”

“But I am and I want you to go with me”

“I need to rest on those free days, you know that not fly around the world”

“So you’re not coming?” you ask disappointed.

“No and I don’t get that you choose a wedding over me. You always come on days off”

“She’s one of my best friends Ash. She asked me to be a bridesmaid”

“So you’ll be that just one day, you’re my girlfriend every day”

“Do you hear what you’re saying?”

“Yeah I absolute hear what I’m saying, but I don’t think you’re getting it”, he’s getting really annoyed, making his face tighten up more.  

“What’s to get?”

“You rather go to a wedding that by the way we both know won’t last, than spend time with me?”

“Ashton! Don’t say that, they love each other”

“I don’t doubt that, but Vlad’s not really faithful”

You nod agreeing. “It’s their life though, as long as Maya is happy, that’s all that counts for me” , he rolls his eyes . “What?”

“You didn’t answer my question”, he bites.

“Are you now really being to insecure? I love you Ash and I’m at my happiest when I’m with you”

“So why are we still talking about this wedding then?” he screams, his arms flying round in the air.

“I still have my life to you know. I’m not just gonna drop and cancel everything because you have a free day”, the words leave your mouth before you know it. You know you’ve just put fuel on the fire even though you don’t want to fight.

“We don’t see each other enough as it is and then you’re not willing to give up one thing for me?”, he thrives. “I do so much for you, for us”, you slightly shake your head and stave your eyes off him, looking down at the floor. “Is it so hard to make time for me, for us. Are we nothing worth to you? Are you still in this or do you rather go live your life without me?” he rages. “What now you’re not even gonna give me a responds?” you swallow hard and refuse to look at him. “Fine be like that!” he storms out of the kitchen and you hear him slam the front door behind him as he leaves.

—–

“What are you doing?” you look up from your bag, Ashton is standing in the doorway.

“Packing”, you look away from him and put some clothes in the bag.

“Why?” he takes the bag and slides it over the bed, away from you. You walk to your dresser and start rumbling in your draw. “Babe”, you can hear him coming closer until his feet stop right behind you. He takes your hand. “(Y/N), please stop. What’s going on?”

You sigh. “Isn’t this what you want?” you ask softly.

“What?” his voice is high pitched.

You slip your hands from under his and turn around. “You were so angry and I thought you wanted me to go”

“Of course I don’t want you to go! That you even think that”, he takes your face in his hands and brushes his thumbs over your cheeks.

“You were really angry Ash. Over nothing really”

“I know, I’m sorry. I overreacted, I was stressed and then you came with that and I took it out on you. And you didn’t react and that made me even more angry”

“You know I don’t like to fight”

“I know”, he presses his lips on your forehead. “I took everything out on you and that was wrong of me, so wrong. Forgive me?” he protrudes his bottom lip.

“If you never yell at me like that again”

“I promise”, he wants to kiss you, but you pull back a little.

“And if you come to the wedding with me”, you smirk.

“For you everything”, he smiles. “Love you”

You now lean toward him, your hands connecting behind his neck. You let your lips brush. “Love you too”, you mumble against his lips before let them completely connect.

/Dana/

You know what...

Everybody needs to cool it about this part, you know why?

I know its been pointed out many times but people are still not seeing it.

Now, look at this 

You can CLEARLY see that Armin is reaching for something, assuming its a gun and then look at his expression, look at that little expression on his face, he is ready to kill, to protect Jean. 

Then we see this part

With this  you can see everyone has a “oh my god no” Face but then There is Armin, he has the face of “Your dead, bitch” (sorry, trying to add a little humor to this) and his arm looks like it is extended, Armin has such a different expression on his face then the others. 

Then we end with this

Yes, it looks bad right? But i got a reason on why his hat is flying.

I think Mikasa took him off the cart thus with the impact ect his hat flew and then the blood, well that one girl just got killed by Armin Arlet ladies and gents. 

In conclusion, everybody should chill out and have faith in our dorks, yes even though this is SNK for gods sake, but we do need to have faith in them, we freaked out about Levi all last month but look! He survived! and still going on! So i hope that calmed some of your thoughts about Jean maybe being dead,

8

Steve’s face in this scene kills me.  The third gun shot…  He can take the first two - but the last one…

It isn’t the pain from the injury - or the realization of how bad he has been hit - that look of shock, hurt and disbelief in his eyes when he realizes that Bucky actually shot him - fatally.  He never though Bucky would take it that far, but he did.  

And even after all that - Steve never once gives up his hope - or his faith in Bucky.   

De Dienes, Andre (1913 - 1985)

Born in Hungarian Transylvania, De Dienes was thirty-two, muscular and blue-eyed when he met Marilyn. Before David O. Selznick called him to Hollywood, De Dienes had lived and worked in Rome, Paris, and London.

De Dienes was the first photographer to have a long relationship with Norma Jeane, both with and without the camera as go-between. The time he first met her, he recalls in his book Marilyn Mon Amour, she was wearing “a skimpy pink sweater, her curly hair tied with a ribbon to match, and carried a hat box. With child-like smile and clear gaze, she was absolutely enchanting.”

De Dienes took his first shots of Norma Jeane in 1945. They were typical sweater-girl fare: along Route 101 in North Hollywood, in a field with a newborn lamb, in blue jeans and a red blouse; at Malibu Beach, with Norma Jeane in shorts and a sweater.

Later they went on extended photo shoots. Norma Jeane turned down his requests for her to pose nude, just as she initially refused his compliments, advances, and notes slipped under the door saying things like “Come to me, we’ll make love. You won’t be disappointed.” But as they worked together, scouring the American West, South and North, from the beaches around L.A. as far north as Mount Hood, taking in Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert, Yosemite, and Oregon - where De Dienes accompanied her on a rare visit to her mother - the inevitable finally happened between model and photographer. It was one night when they could not find a motel with two separate rooms. Marilyn later recalled, “The truth us, that I began the trip with only business in mind [she was paid a flat $200 fee]. But Andre had other ideas.” Actor Alex D’Arcy, an acquaintance of De Dienes at that time, was in little doubt that it was a case of a photographer exploiting a young girl.

De Dienes wrote a rather fulsome account of that night in his book: “In my dreams I had explored her body. Reality far surpassed my imagination….She slipped into the big bed, where I joined her. It seemed the most natural thing in the world. The night was ours. Everything she felt for me, trust, gratitude, even admiration, was fused in her surrender. Everything was so simple, so wonderful. Why had we hesitated, waited, denies ourselves so long? Our bodies were so well matched, made for each other. I could not get enough of that silky skin, of her supple body both docile and demanding, of our shared, repeated pleasure and, suddenly, as my cheek brushed hers, I realized she was crying.”

By his account, De Dienes was greatly smitten with young Norma Jeane, and wanted to marry her. There was talk of her moving East to be with him in New York, where he lived, of Norma Jeane possibly studying law at Columbia University, but it must have been apparent to him that she was unlikely to tie herself down just at the moment she was beginning to make headway toward her dream; besides, she had only just divorced first husband James Dougherty. As Norma Jeane said in a letter to a friend in late 1946, she was “a little bit leery about this marriage business now and besides at the studio they want me single at least until I have become well known (when and if!).”

De Dienes photographed Marilyn once again in 1949, when she was in New York promoting the Marx brothers movie Love Happy. The shots he took at Tobey Beach are vintage fresh-faced Marilyn, cavorting on the beach in a white one-piece swimsuit. On this occasion, though, Marilyn rejected his attempts to rekindle their love affair, preferring to stay faithful to her then beau, Johnny Hyde. The last time they met was on Marilyn’s thirty-fifth birthday, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

- The Marilyn Encyclopedia by Adam Victor.

I was sitting at lunch avoiding my responsibilities listening to this song. Feelings happened. 

Silent in the trees, standing cowardly,
I can feel your breath, I can feel my death.

Adam and Ronan are standing fifty yards from each other under a canopy of leaves. Ronan is distracted, so Adam is focused.

Adam is letting himself look.

He never looks, not the way Ronan does, as if eyes could touch. Adam is always the object of the looking, feels like he has been his whole life. He can’t remember a time when his differences didn’t draw eyes to him. Eyes that pity or hold contempt or flash with rage. Eyes that want to see only sadness or pain. Or more recently, eyes that wonder and exalt, comfort and want. It’s the wanting that feels most foreign to him, that hones him down and makes him consider the truest version of himself that he could possibly present to all the world’s prying, curious eyes.

Adam is in the shade where he’s most comfortable. Ronan is standing on the edge of a clearing. The sun’s soft light is illuminating the space around him, casting him in gentle shadows and warm glow, and Adam is as jealous as he’s always been that Ronan seems comfortable everywhere. 

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Why Do Humans Only Have Clerics?

This is part of my ongoing series of “Make Shit Up to Explain Away the Weird Stuff in B/X.”

In vanilla B/X only humans can be Clerics. That’s how I’m going to roll, partly because I don’t want to complicate things but also because I think the non-human classes are awesome and I want to keep them as classes instead of using the traditional race/class axis.

So, why do only humans have Clerics? A couple of ideas:

1) All the gods are actually human gods. The other people of the world also have religions of their own, but the idea of giving a human(oid) face to the powers that be is an entirely human social construct. Elves have an animistic faith that teaches that every single thing in nature is governed by a spirit, but these spirits are non-anthropomorphic. Dwarves have a system of ancestor worship, even though they don’t actually revere their ancestors as divinities: it’s mostly a set of rituals for saying “Thanks, ancestors!” For some strange reason, Clerical magic seems to be a function of the humans’ insistence on anthropomorphizing the divine.

2) Faith is an entirely human concept. I touched upon this in one of my last posts: all the other sapient species of the world know where they came from, but the origins of the humans are shrouded in mystery. The thing is, faith is the operative word for Clerical magic. Dwarves know that they were created by the God Smith, elves know that the first elves sprung from the seeds of the First Oak in the Twilight Realm, and halflings… actually, they don’t know, but they don’t care either. Only humans, with their uncertain origins, have the need to create elaborate mythoses of gods to explain their origin, giving them just the mindset they need to evoke faith-based miracles.

3) Faith-based magic is actually the divine essence of the creator of humans, passed down to its creations upon its demise. I last spoke of the idea that maybe there once was a deity that created humans a long time ago, their name now stricken from the divine record. Thing is, upon this deity’s death, their divine essence didn’t just scatter to the winds, but it became a part of all of humankind. All humans carry a divine spark, but only those who receive special training can harness it. This could actually be combined with #2.

Fanfiction: A Summer Fling (16/16)

Well… wow.  This is it, guys.  This is the final post from the main story (I don’t think I can leave them behind yet, though, and I’ve already had someone ask for more teenager/high school stuff, so expect to see more from the ASF universe in the future).

It’s been fantastic.  You have been amazing to me.  Absolutely bloody brilliant.  I love you all.

<3

Title: A Summer Fling (16/16)
Rating: PG-13
Words:  1,430
Pairings: NovaHD
Warnings: Mentions of homophobia, swearing/cursing
Synopsis: What does some random kid leaving school after being bullied have to do with seventeen-year-old James Wilson?  After witnessing homophobic bullying, James ends up confessing more than guilt to his mother and dropping himself in quite the predicament in the process.

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In solidarity with CUPE 3902: please support TAs and contract faculty at the University of Toronto

Today, CUPE 3902 members consisting of TAs and contract faculty at the University of Toronto are going on strike. I was part of CUPE 3902 and remember well the struggles faced by graduate students. In fact, a lot of entries on this blog have documented the PhD ‘trap’ graduate students find themselves in and the difficulties of finishing degree requirements while living in one of Canada’s most expensive cities.

A lot has been written on the demands being made by CUPE 3902. The point remains, though, that the 'deal’ given by the University of Toronto is a joke. In fact, I do not even really think that the university has bargained in good faith. Multiple attempts by CUPE 3902 to bargain have been rebuffed until the absolute last minute and the resulting agreement, which presents a laughable 1% raise, is an insult. To quote a former colleague, “you can’t polish a turd.”

One thing I will say - and this is primarily for the undergraduate students reading this blog post - is that the quality of university education has significantly decreased in the time I was at the University of Toronto. My first TA contract allowed me to spend 25 minutes marking each paper. I had 60 students spread out over three tutorial sections, which met once a week. In one of my last contracts, I had 90 students spread out over three tutorial sections which met twice a month and I had twelve minutes to mark each paper. Because I cared deeply for my students and see them as more than 'basic income units’ (which is how the University of Toronto administration refers to students), I violated the terms of my contract and worked above and beyond what was required of me. I answered emails and met students even though I wasn’t supposed to, I marked papers with the same thoughtfulness and care and thus exceeded my 12 minute allotment, and I spent more time on tutorial prep even though this wasn’t guaranteed in my contract. So if you value education, you should support CUPE 3902’s strike. It is simply absurd that only 3.5% of the University of Toronto’s budget goes to teaching; it is even more absurd that a university that prides itself as being world-class places undergraduate education (and arguably, graduate education) at the bottom of its list of priorities.

For folks from other institutions, CUPE 3902 needs your help. Please consider signing this petition urging the University of Toronto to treat TAs and contract faculty more equitably. Living on $15,000 a year in one of the most expensive cities in the world puts TAs and contract faculty below the poverty line. This has to change now.