fast and the furious or some shit

Before accusing Warner Bros of wanting Wonder Woman to fail, please consider the following...

1) The people in your social media circle haven’t been talking about this film and that’s why you don’t know much about it

2) The internet is freaking enormous and it’s really easy for news about a film to get lost among that.

3) You simply don’t live in a place where the more overt advertising campaigns are taking place

4) It’s still a month before the release and They have quite a few other big films to contend with, unlike August or March of last year.

5) You just haven’t been very active in following news about this film. The fact that I’ve seen a lot of people say They didn’t know when it was being released when They put that on the fucking poster raises a number of questions.

6) Why the fuck would a major company want to lose hundreds of millions of dollars?

7) Look at any other recent major release or one to come in the near future and compare the promotional campaigns and you’ll see that Wonder Woman’s hasn’t been that unusual. I haven’t seen very much for Pirates of the Caribbean or The Mummy and didn’t see a whole lot for the last Fast and The Furious or a few other films. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been there.

8) The people running a major marketing campaign probably know more about the process than some random person on the internet.

9) Marketing campaigns are incredibly expensive and They’re not just going to throw shit everywhere and see what sticks.

10) The campaigns for BvS and Suicide Squad were different because those were very different kinds of films that lent Themselves to different kind of marketing campaigns.

11) Seriously why would a fucking company want a product to fail? I feel like no one has considered just how stupid They sound when They say shit like that.

Honestly I think my favorite thing about Fate of the Furious was how (spoiler incoming) when Dom and Letty are in Havana in the beginning of the movie, I loved how /real/ the people looked. And by that I mean, they got extras who looked like real Cubans (maybe some of them were?). It was so beautiful. They weren’t all the Pitbull/Gloria Estefan/Desi Arnaz Cubans that the media has conditioned people to believe are the ones who represent how we all look. Some looked like me, my brothers, my sister, my dad, my aunts, my cousins…it was great. It was a small thing but big ups to the producers for wanting shit to look realistic and showing off brown or darker skinned Latinx people.

REYBATS THINGS

Okee for some reason I’m really, really in love with the idea that Billy Batson and Jaime Reyes being best friends since they’re both like a year apart with weird powers they didn’t ask for and theY’RE BOTH PRECIOUS SWEET DORKS WHO JUST WANTED TO LIVE AND AHAAHHAAA

Anyways.

Here are some of the hcs I have for a ReyBats brotp! (And yes, I’m aware that I need a better ship name. Drop one in my ask box if you can think of some, please?)

~~~

-So we all know that billy gets majorly enthusiastic about stuff and he might tone it down when he’s older, but billy is obv. a HUUUUUUGE fanboy and introduces jaime to things he thinks jaime would like, stuff like Gen. Rex or the Fast & Furious movies (idk why but i feel like jaime would like those) 

-scarab is actually very suspicious of billy at first, mostly bc he thinks that billy might be trying to get between Jaime and Bart, so whenever billy’s around scarab tells jaime weird shit like: “Jaime Reyes, there are multiple neurotoxins in the Billy Batson’s system. I suggest cutting his head off and dumping his body in the desert as a safety precaution.”

-(of course, jaime is horrified and bugs billy about it over and over again, until billy finally agrees to get checked out and what do you know? he may not have neurotoxins but apparently he’s allergic to pistachios)

-bart does feel a little left out though, and billy notices and tries to play wingman by convincing jaime to go bake cookies with the poor little speedster, and jaime agrees. they almost burned down the garricks’ kitchen. billy promises that next time they can use his place since they have like 5 fire extinguishers in the house for when billy has to shazam

-soooooo many movie nights. just… hours of staying up with popcorn and unhealthy drinks and scarab going, “Jaime Reyes, this is not healthy for you or your friend. I suggest immediate sleep.” 

-billy is a little ashamed the first time he brings jaime to his apartment since it’s run-down and dirty and in a poor part of the city, but jaime thinks it’s really cool and has a nice comfy relaxing vibe to it. billy feels better once he hears that scarab approves

-uncle dudley really likes jaime and doesn’t even bat an eye when scarab accidentally blasts a hole in the sofa (”Oh, we’ve had much worse. Billy once torched the restroom by sleep-talking!” “UNCLE DUDLEY!!!”)

-and the first time billy goes to jaime’s house, ooooooh boy. milagro is confused when she sees billy, bc she thought that jaime’s crush/sort-of boyfriend had brown hair and green eyes? bianca is concerned over billy being so scrawny at fifteen, and she practically shoves plate after plate of food down his throat. alberto scares billy at first bc he’s a little intimidating but billy manages to make alberto laugh with a few lame jokes he stole from the internet. 

-basically jaime’s family loves billy and want jaime to bring him over just as much as he does with bart and tye

-if the League isn’t busy with a mission but the Team is, billy will often help ‘em out so that he can chill in the cave with jaime and the others, who still aren’t used to captain marvel being a fifteen-year-old ubergeek. gar idolizes him.

-billy once asked jaime to teach him swears in spanish. jaime instead taught him to say “The Justice League can suck my balls.” the first time captain marvel muttered that in a meeting, he got sentenced to watch tower clean-up for a whole month

-billy has a youtube channel that’s mostly jaime doing wicked skateboard tricks and billy narrating and vlogs about the justice league and possible conspiracy theories such as blue beetle having an affair with that new weird speedster called Impulse. he has 2,901,348 subscribers and even manages to include members of the Team and, on special occasions, the League

-but everyone’s fave video on the channel is this poolside episode where everyone is in swimsuits and looking hot af. half of it is just billy snickering in the background and zooming in on people who are blatantly checking each other out and should just get a room already. all the viewers are massively confused though, bc in the whole 15-minute vlog jaime is the only one who isn’t shirtless. in fact, jaime is just chilling on a chaise lounge in a tank top and swimming trunks, which is still hot but it’s something they’ve seen before. the comments are all pretty wild and most of the people are trying to guess why jaime isn’t half-naked like his friends

-(everyone thinks it’s bc jaime has a really, really bad shirt tan and that the skin of his chest and back isn’t as dark as the rest of him. in another episode, jaime actually does reveal his back to show everyone his “awesome blue beetle tattoo that he’d been afraid to reveal”, and nobody even thinks twice about it. it just makes jaime even cooler to them)

-billy and jaime know what it’s like to feel alone on a team of people who work like a well-oiled machine. they don’t have mentors and both got their powers even though they never asked for it. sometimes jaime gets nightmares from his time with the Reach and if Bart isn’t around, it’s usually Billy who can comfort him. 

~~~

Honestly that’s all I can think of for now + I didn’t feel like using proper grammar which is sorta bugging me but I’m too lazy to change all of it

I’m working on a Jaime x Reader fic and that’s kind of taking a long time so I thought that this would keep you guys entertained for now

It’s my first time doing hcs so I hope y’all like it!

~Miss Eruza

Wild Run

@mccallofthewild

Philip just wanted to run. It felt good, stretching his legs and trying to move as fast as he could. He would turn back later, he couldn’t miss the curfew or Kane would be furious, but he had some time. He could keep running. 

Philip tripped, rolling along his side with the speed he’d been running. It took time, the haze of falling clouding his mind until he could pick himself back up, sitting on his knees. “Shit.”

It wasn’t that he hurt himself, a skinned forearm that would be completely healed in a few days. It was more the smell of Alpha- it was no root or rock that tripped him. But the smell. He turned on his toes, brown eyes wide as he looked. 

“Who’s there?”

I was all ready to start writing a Bodhi-centric Fast and Furious AU until I actually looked up the plot of The Fast and The Furious and … holy shit that plot is complicated. Freaking byzantine. There’s like forty characters how is that even possibly for a movie about Vin Diesel stealing cars?

Could some one who’s actually seen the Fast and the Furious write this au?

Strong Women, Female Agency, and Healthy Relationships in the Fast and Furious franchise

“They make overtly sexual movies that at least have the dignity to give their female characters agency and independence outside of scotch-taping them to the men’s stories.”

A film critic once said this of the franchise during a review article that I read and it has since stuck with me, and the more I think about this sentence, the more truth I find in it - for a franchise that most people only view as mindless action with fast cars, explosions, and bikini clad girls, more female characters make their mark and impact on the franchise than most female characters in any other great award winning films.

Now let me start by saying that I understand that Fast and Furious franchise isn’t perfect when it comes to women, and it isn’t perfect in general either - this franchise is still very much a male dominated series, we don’t have any canon LGBTA characters (though actress Michelle Rodriguez is POC and Bi) and there is still more men than women, so yes, the franchise can use more balance, diversity, and more female lead characters - but given that the franchise’s flagship relationship is really between Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker’s characters Dom and Brian (whether you see it as platonic or something more), it’s safe to say that everyone else sort of comes second string to that, no matter male or female character.

Perhaps the diversity comes from the bi-product of the fact that within the 4 directors of this franchise, only one person is a white male - the three other directors, including current new director for the upcoming 7th film, are all POCs - an African American man for the 2nd film, an Asian man for 3,4,5, and 6, and finally another Asian male director for the 7th movie.

In the end though, it’s really not just about the numbers of female characters, but rather the simple fact that in the Fast and Furious movies, the female characters, even the ones who only appear briefly and say maybe one line or two, have both diversity and agency. And while they might not be the main lead females, they still end up making important pivotal choices, and they can still drive the direction of the story.

Sometimes they are the heroes and sometimes they’re the villains. Sometimes they’re near perfection and sometimes they’re incredibly flawed. Yet at the end of the day, these female characters can all go toe to toe with the male characters and show themselves to be the experts in their skills.

———————————–

<<STRONG WOMEN>>

In the circle of the prominent female characters in the franchise, all of them are incredibly strong in each their own ways - once again, independence, strength, and agency are given to each of the female characters and they are treated with respect by the filmmakers - they are not dumbed down in order to spare the male characters’ feelings.

There is so much awareness of female characters’ great capabilities in these films, and it is embodied in this one line of dialogue delivered:

“You don’t send a man to do a woman’s job.”

The franchise recognize the strengths in female characters and again and again bring them on screen in order to subvert those age-old gender stereotypes that have become all too common place in Hollywood films.

I will run down the character list by movie chronological order.

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THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)

We first see Letty Ortiz in the first Fast and Furious movie and she makes an impression right off the bat. She is tough, rough and tumble, and she doesn’t take shit from anyone, not even main male lead and love interest Dom, whom she will shout and yell at if that’s what it takes to stir him into action. Letty owns who she is and doesn’t change herself for any man and she will happily race you and take you down without blinking or hesitation. She is the tomboy figure in a sense but Letty also doesn’t sacrifice her feminine side when she gets some sexy times with Dom - here is a person who enjoys being who she is and she is just as capable and strong as any of the guys. When trouble comes, she is right in the action, and while she may not have saved the day in the first film, her character isn’t shown to be weak either.

And in the years between first film and when we see them again in the 4th film, she is still always in the action, still confident and strong. And when Dom leaves her and the others behind because he thinks it’s too dangerous with the cops on his tail, you don’t see Letty crying in a corner waiting - in fact, she takes matters into her own hands and does something about it because she isn’t going to sit around and wait for a man to make a move when she can get things done just the same. It’s Letty’s decision that ultimately sets the events of the 4th film into motion and it’s her “death” that propels the storyline forward.

Even during her “death”, she still manages to survive - and while she may be tough, Letty is also not unnecessarily cruel. She does her job efficiently and she understands collateral damage but at the same time she has a sense of honor. When she runs into Dom and the team again, she’s not immediately wooed by Dom’s amazingness and somehow thinks the world of him, sure she’s curious and she thinks he’s got some serious balls, but she’s still not willing to abandon the choices she’s made until she sees something that is worth it for her to take the risk for. And it’s not just Dom saving her that makes her change, it’s the team stepping up to vouch for her and readily calls her family that makes her decide that these people are the ones that are worth fighting to be with.

As Letty states very clearly, whether she has amnesia or not, nobody makes her do anything she doesn’t want to do, she has her own code and a brain of her own to know who and what kind of people she wants to be with - she owns up to who she is and choices she makes and doesn’t let any guy’s manpain overshadow what is her own decisions in her journey. And the fact that she doesn’t have to magically remember everything for her to make the choice that this team is her home, it doesn’t turn her into some overused cliche

————

One could say that Mia Toretto often ends up getting the short end of the stick, being the little sister to main character Dom who is, like Mia once said, like gravity and everyone gets drawn to him. But that’s not to say Mia is some pushover. Sure she is the more girly and feminine one between her and Letty, but she stands her ground with just as much grace and class. We see her as a young girl falling in love in the first movie, we see her get her heart broken in a way, and we see her being a force of nature in not letting the men around her throw shit around and get away with it. Whether it’s Brian lying to her or Vince being a jerk. Mia makes it very clear, she is the one in control of her destiny, not a man. Oh sure she will fall in love, but she won’t be pushed around.

And when it came down to choosing between Brian and her family, she chose her family - yes she loves Brian but it was her family she would stand with, not some guy who lied to her and she’d just fallen for. She might have trusted him to save the day, and mind you he wouldn’t have saved the day without her - but she wasn’t going to just walk back into his arms, not when her family needed her.

When Mia meets Brian again 5 years later, she is understandably pissed and has every right to be, and the film allows her to be angry, to not let Brian off the hook, to not allow Brian’s manpain overshadow her rightful anger at being lied to, being used, and her family being torn apart. She doesn’t just soften because he apologizes, in fact, when Brian says it was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, Mia’s response was “oh I’m very sorry you ruined my family, I’m sorry that it was hard for you” - she doesn’t leave room for him to wallow in guilt as if it was only hardest for him alone - she doesn’t dumb herself down to spare his feelings.

And in fact, it’s not even on her mind to get back together with Brian at all, that love only returns when she sees what Brian is willing to risk for her family, for her brother, that he was willing to die for them, die to make things right. And when they have to go break Dom out of prison, she’s right in there in the action - there’s never this assumption that Mia can’t handle herself or that she can’t drive or that somehow Brian is the only one who should drive, if anything she’s driven in at least more than two occasions where they save the day together.

Even while being pregnant, she’s still not backing down or running away - it’s her in the 5th movie who tells Dom and Brian that they weren’t splitting up, that family sticks together, and it’s her again being their rock and strength in telling them to go after Letty in the 6th film - it is her words and her blessing that pushes the guys into action, that moves the storyline forward. And where most movies would have dragged out a pregnancy secret, Mia says it right out, she’s not gonna wait any longer or hide it. She is a mother and she is happy being a mother, and even though she’s not in the action, she is the solid support system for the guys - and when she and her baby are put in danger, it is Mia who makes the choice to put herself in harms’ way and allowing Elena to get away with baby Jack.

And she doesn’t wait for people to come hold her hand to save her, when she sees the opportunity to escape, she does. She is capable just as any man behind the wheel and her most defining trait doesn’t have anything to do with her gender but rather the simple fact that she is a Toretto, that she’s tough and strong and a fighter.

—————————–

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003)

When we are introduced to Monica Fuentes in the 2nd movie, she is already an amazing agent who had been embedded in the organization of our main villain, Verone. She is shown to not let the men walk all over her, and she is respected by her male colleagues as someone who is good at her job.  Oh she might fancy Brian a bit, what with those pretty blue eyes and cute smile, but she doesn’t let any of that impair her ability to remain in her cover and do what she came here to do.

The only reason her position became compromised was because she took a risk to go to Brian and tell them about Verone wanting to kill him and Roman when their hired job for him was done. Her slip up had nothing to do with romance, but everything to do with her being a good decent person who wasn’t just going to let two people from her own side walk into a massacre without any warning. She might be willing to do things for her job, but not send people to slaughter when she could do something about it.

Yes she did get taken hostage by Verone, but she never lost her cool and even he admires her, tells her that she was perfect until this one slip up, that no one else got this close to him for this long except her - and even as Brian and Roman saved the day by crashing their car onto the boat she was held hostage, it was Monica who fought off her guard, it was Monica who made sure the day was saved by pointing a gun at Verone’s head and preventing him from trying anything else like blowing Brian and Roman’s heads off with his gun. She played her part in saving the day and rescuing herself, not just letting the men do her job.

And let’s not forget it was her returning cameo at the post credit scene of Fast Five that allowed Hobbs to go to Dom about the information on Letty - she was the one who found it, she was the one who noticed, thus driving the storyline forward.

—————

If there ever was a character who was my childhood hero, Suki was that character for me. She taught me that a person could be badass and still love all things pink, that gender stereotypes meant nothing and pink is just a color, an awesome color especially painted onto cars. Smart, sassy, brave, loyal, girl power, and not taking anyone’s shit, Suki blew through the movie like a wave of fresh air. She didn’t speak with some heavily accented English, she wasn’t exotic or dragon lady or someone always commenting on her looks - she was respected and treated just like one of the guys. When she spoke, people listened, they acknowledged her and praised her and took her seriously.

In fact, in the beginning race of the 2nd movie, she is the only person other than Brian, our protagonist, to have made it across that huge bridge gap and land on the other side - two other men couldn’t do it, one even chickening out right before the jump - but Suki made it and she did it with style.

She’s always kept to her individuality and let no one change her, and if a man were to say anything against her, she’d dish it right back at him. Not to mention she plays a huge part in allowing Brian and Dom to pull off their schemes, even risking getting arrested for the plans to work and she doesn’t let Brian forget it.

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FAST AND FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)

One might take a look at Neela and just assume that she must be that quiet soft obedient girl who does what she’s told and knows her place - in a way yes, that is part of her personality, but don’t mistake her politeness and kindness for a weakness or somehow she doesn’t fight back ever when provoked. She may have been happy in her status quo when the 3rd movie starts, but when her boyfriend starts acting like a jerk, Neela doesn’t put up with that behavior - she confronts him and calls him out on it, even telling him off and walking out.

She make it more clear than once that she controls her life, she can and will get to choose who she wants to be with, and no one, not even the Yakuza boss who helped raised her can prevent her from following in her choices, and you know what, he respects her for that. The only reason that she ever went back to her boyfriend again was because he was threatening people with guns and all Neela wanted at that point was for people to be safe, even if at her expense, because enough blood had already been shed and she wasn’t gonna just stand by when she could do something to stop it.

In the end though, Neela is freed from her previous boyfriend when he loses the race to main protagonist Sean - free to make her choice, she chooses to be with the people who respect her, who doesn’t mock her vulnerability, and accepts her for who she is - she is the character that I think young girls can look up to as a role model because she gets to be vulnerable, she gets to be upset, but she also has steel in her and doesn’t back down - she doesn’t let men walk all over her, when her boyfriend acts out, she doesn’t coddle him, and when he disrespects her and bullies her, she cuts ties and finds someone who does treat her with respect that she deserves.

More girls need role models who doesn’t settle for less than what they deserve, role models who doesn’t let men push them around or make excuses for men’s behaviors. Neela shows that you can walk away from a relationship that is bad for you and you don’t owe that person any favors to stay. She follows her own happiness and that is strength of character.

————-

The only girl in Han’s crew of mechanics and drivers, Reiko may have been mostly background as a character but she follows the same mold as Fast and Furious female characters always end up being - good at what she does and doesn’t need a man to make her life complete. We see her with her computer, she see her running engine checks, we see her with the boys building up a car so Sean can race - she is very much part of the team and there’s again never anything said against that, it’s simply just another case of of course this character is good at what they do, why shouldn’t she be - they don’t try to justify her skills or somehow make a big deal why she knows what to do or that she’s different than the other girls - it’s simply that she is a good mechanic and she can build things, that’s that, nothing more to be needed to be said or shown - the character is just accepted as what she is capable of and the audience accepts this too because it’s just a fact and reality.

————-

I’m sure at first glance you’ll easily assume that this is another dumb blond stereotype - after all, her name is Cindy, a stereotypical white girl name, and she’s got a stereotypical jerky white boyfriend - couldn’t be more cliche right? You’d be prepared to roll your eyes and you’d say this girl could never be a paragon of strong female character. Except you’d be wrong. Because Cindy is far from stereotypical. Because when her boyfriend and another boy (the main male lead) start to have a tussle and short of measuring their dicks, it is Cindy who puts her foot down and basically suggests that if they wanna compete, then compete like real men in a race and “winner gets me” - instead of the trophy girlfriend that gets fought over, Cindy subverts that stereotype and takes back all the control to herself. She’s the one making the choices, and she’s clearly the one wearing the pants in this relationship. And yes she ends up getting into trouble in the end, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s not some dumb blond pushover who knows nothing of what she wants.

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FAST & FURIOUS (2009)

When we first meet Gisele Harabo in the 4th movie, she was working for the bad guys, but even then, it was clear that she was a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. She liked Dom, she was interested, so she went after him. But when she found out that he didn’t share the same feelings, she didn’t bat an eye, she didn’t sob and cry, she got over it and moved on. When her employer had no hesitation in abandoning her and almost killing her and Dom helped her, she had no trouble letting go of previous loyalties to be on Dom’s side and give him the chance to save the day. She provided him with the information that Dom and Brian needed to take down Braga. It was clear that she likes Dom and who he is as a person, and that trust would call her back for the 5th and 6th movies.

Gisele’s famous words were always that you don’t send a man to do woman’s job - she might have liked men but she certainly didn’t put their skills above her own. If men around her gave her issues, she’d squash them down before it even becomes a problem - such as when Roman greeted her with the lines “sexy legs baby girl, what time do they open” and she responded by pulling a gun on it and calmly replying “they open the same time as I pull this trigger, still want me to open them?”

She doesn’t hesitate in shutting someone down when any sort of inappropriate comments are made towards her and what she can do, and she certainly doesn’t walk away from the fight either. Her love for Han was one that grown out of respect and her agency was always respected. Her staying and fight was her choice, and her letting go of Han in order to shoot the man who would have killed Han and falling to her death was also her choice.

Now one would say her death was fridging a woman for manpain but in the case of the 6th movie, it was the simple reality that because the third movie which Han appeared in on his own was really set after the 6th and the third movie was released way before the 6th was ever made - timeline and story discrepancies had to be dealt with - Gisele wasn’t in the 3rd movie, and she wasn’t one to just walk away from Han and the family, so the only way to allow the story to come full circle for the franchise and everything in the timeline to fit, was to let her die and for that to be the reason Han goes to Tokyo on his own without the team.

And she died on her own terms, she died fighting for her family, and that is more respect given to the character rather than just let her randomly disappear. Gisele was a fighter and she died a fighter - a fitting goodbye for a character who has always been strong.

————-

We may have never seen her holding a gun, we may have never seen her in a big action scene or fight scene, but Sophie Trinh is every bit the dedicated FBI agent as any other man or woman, and she does her job with great efficiency. One can even say that without Sophie, Brian would be in a lot of trouble and having a lot harder time getting any of his job done - it’s Sophie who helps him with the paper work, it’s Sophie who lets him get away with certain leeways in the rules, and it’s Sophie who supports him. Brian doesn’t have a lot of people he trusts in the FBI but Sophie is one and he does rely on her. She is almost always seen at his side whenever they have scenes in the FBI headquarters, she is his first contact, and all the important things he leaves to her.

She may be a woman, but that certainly doesn’t stop Brian from looking to her for help or relying on her to get whatever info they need to do their job - she is a part of his team, and he simply accepts that.

—————

We only see a little bit of Cara Mirtha in the 4th film, we see her as Han’s girlfriend and a part of Dom’s crew when they’re out robbing trucks in the Dominican Republic - but even in the bits we see, she is portrayed in the way female characters in Fast and Furious films are always shown as - tough, dependable, and capable - she does her job, she is confident, she doesn’t waste time or breath, and once again her gender is never an issue - she’s just another character who is good at what she does and do it well and is part of the team.

————

In the 4th film we only end up seeing this unnamed female FBI agent one time in this briefing room scene, but again, it is what she does in this scene that makes her memorable. Her only line of dialogue is the moment where she calls out a white male character for making a stereotypical racist against Asians remark - she doesn’t let him get away with it, she stands up to him and makes it clear that he’s wrong - sure it might sound like a throwaway line but they could have easily let it slide and not included it. And maybe this has something to do with the fact that the director is of Asian descent, but still, a female POC character calling out a white male character and not be shoved down for her comment, it’s rare in films.

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FAST FIVE (2011)

We are first introduced to Elena Neves in the 5th film and it’s clear from the beginning that she is a dedicated and moral person. Sure she isn’t as trained as the task force that she ends up getting assigned to in the film, but it doesn’t stop her from doing her job, and it doesn’t stop her from using her brains to point out the obvious things and question what is going on when the men around her couldn’t. 

It’s Elena who points out the road in the area that allowed Hobbs and his team to get to Dom and Brian and Mia, and it’s Elena who first reads the situation with Dom as more than just a group of bad guys doing bad things but actually something more. She is willing to see things that men around her are entirely blinded to.

And yes Elena and Dom does end up sharing a connection, but their relationship is something about respect, it’s two people who both understood what loss is - Elena is driven and motivated to her duty because of the loss of her husband who is a good police officer, note here that it’s not the woman that’s being fridged for manpain, but rather the man whom the woman mourns for - Elena is not portrayed as whiny or clingy even when Letty eventually comes back to the picture, she is a grown woman who is mature and makes her own choices.

It is in fact Elena who tells Dom that he needs to go after Letty, it is Elena who tells him that if this was her husband then she would go - Elena understands and respects Dom, she doesn’t make him choose or force her choices onto him - she doesn’t try to cling to him or try to push herself into his life - she respects that he has a family and that’s where he belongs, and that she has her own place that she considers family, that she will care always about them but she has a life of her own too.

Elena does not sacrifice her self respect and dignity for a man, she would rather let the man she cares about go than to compromise herself. And I think that is so rare for a woman to be portrayed that way in a big film franchise these days, for a woman to let go and walk away with her head held high.

——————————-

FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (2013)

As soon as we are introduced to Riley Hicks in the 6th film, we get a list of her impressive accomplishment - top of her class at FLETC training and youngest RSO in Afghanistan - you are immediately shown that this woman is trained, is the best, and is more than capable. Oh sure she might look tiny next to The Rock, but then again, anyone would look tiny next to The Rock, even Vin Diesel looks tiny. But her size and her gender are never called into question though, everyone simply accepts her and the attitude is basically just okay she’s a soldier, she’s here to do her job then let her do it.

And oh my does she do her job well, so well that none of the good guys ever saw her betrayal coming - she was so good at quietly placing herself into every single piece of action, she was so aware of everything, she was the perfect eyes and ears for the main baddie Shaw - she pulled a wool over everyone’s eyes and no one noticed that it was happening right under their noses until it was too late.

She was sneaky, smart, manipulative, and deliciously evil at the very end, she owns who she is and never gives remorse for looking after her own interests - and sure she is defeated in the end, but she was taken out by Letty, once again paralleling a previous fight scene her character and Letty had earlier in the film (there’s a lot of parallel fight scenes in this movie) - and she goes down fighting too, she’s not whimpering in a corner or running away - she’ll fight for what she wants.

—————

Vegh is practically portrayed as Shaw’s second in command in the 6th film - we never see anyone dissing her skills just because she’s a woman, in fact, the issue of her gender never comes up, rather she is always in the middle of the action, she is giving command, and she is trusted with back up plans put in place. If anything, it’s the guys around her who asks her for help, not the other way around. She even manages to smartly put in a plan to flip over main male character Brian’s car before driving past him and giving him a smug wink. Oh sure she is eventually taken out, but it’s more about the fact that she is a bad guy and to parallel her and Brian’s first run-in with each other than the fact that she’s a woman.

===============================

<<FEMALE AGENCY and HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS>>

Agency for its female characters is something that Fast and Furious movies have done surprisingly well. For a franchise that most people give the shallow interpretation that it’s just about sexy girls and fast cars and mindless explosions, the female characters never play dumb to the whims of men - they make their own way, they control their own destiny, and they make that clear every single time a man may question her choices and intentions.

That agency for the female characters also relates to relationships, especially what I call the Big Four couples of the franchise - when a women is in a relationship, her agency doesn’t disappear, in fact, it is that agency that makes sure that these relationships are of love and mutual respect.

So many Hollywood films these days have a tendency to portray questionable and problematic relationships as amazing and romanticize/glorify them - how can we have young women watch these things and not end up getting hurt?

This is why the relationships in Fast and Furious movies are what I consider role models that young girls, or just anyone really, can learn from - because these relationships are built out of respect, it’s a balance, it’s hard work, it’s putting effort into listening to your other half, and it’s treating them with dignity and grace.

In a way, the four most prominent couples of the franchise portrays four kinds of different ways when it comes to love and relationships, yet each one keeps to the heart and the love and the respect, never forgetting that relationships should be built on honest equal grounds.

—————–

Brian and Mia - in so many ways, these films are the journey of their relationship, they represent growth and a kind of love that’s slow burning, that grows every single day and every single moment. When we first met them, it was a relationship that had started out under rather false pretenses - Brian was an undercover cop and Mia was a way for him to get in - but Brian fell in love and so did Mia and those true feelings never went away. There was a trust no matter how small and a respect for each other’s abilities at the very least even though they parted on less than favorable terms.

When they reunited again for the first time in 5 years, Mia didn’t stop herself from giving Brian a piece of her mind, she wasn’t afraid to let out her anger and Brian accepted it. And despite Brian’s guilt, Mia didn’t sit around and wait for his manpain to overshadow her rightful anger - I point this out as a part of a healthy relationship because so many times the woman is expected to just accept the man’s guilt and apologies and somehow immediately soften and accept them. Mia didn’t and she would be right not to. To be in a relationship, there shouldn’t be an imbalance - everyone’s feelings should be accounted for and be honest, not just more lies to spare more guilt.

So when Brian and Mia were able to clear the air with each other, they built the ground for them to start a new relationship, this one of honesty and trust, this one of knowing who each other are and what they need from each other - this is young love growing into a mature love that is steady, and adding in a baby for them is the perfect way to allow that relationship to grow because we have seen them grow together, we have seen their love transform and become stronger, and they have earned their way to have this family with each other.

Director Justin Lin once said this of the couple and I think it sums up what their relationship on screen really is about:

“It’s exciting to be able to take these characters and acknowledge their age, their maturity, and where they are in life.”

It would be so easy not to, so easy to do some will-they-won’t-they romance or love triangle, but Fast and Furious doesn’t play with that - instead they decide to acknowledge how far these characters have come in their development and growth.

———————–

Dom and Letty - the simplest way to describe what these two are as a couple are raw and passionate - they are not reserved, they show their love, they show their passion, and they don’t care who sees it. They are who they are, their connection is laid bare for all to see. If Brian and Mia are the reserved slow growing love, then Dom and Letty occupies the other end of the spectrum where it’s fast burning flames that can ignite into fireworks.

They are not the types to settle down for normality, they are adrenaline lovers and thrill seekers, being out there racing and being free is what they are all about - so many ways the words that basically has become the motto for the whole franchise is really all about them:

“Ride or Die, remember?”

Their love is constantly unpredictability yet again it is healthy - it is two people who love each other, respect each other, and worship each other and there is nothing wrong with indulging in that love when both sides know what to expect. Even when Letty didn’t remember, even when Dom clearly yearns for her, you still see that respect at work - Dom doesn’t force her to be with him, he lets her make her own choices, yes he’ll fight for her and he’ll wait for her and he won’t give up, but he won’t make her do what she doesn’t want to do or what she’s not ready to do.

They both save each other, they both are each other’s heroes, and their relationship breaks those silly old romantic cliches, because even in their romantic moments when you expect some big dramatic kiss, it never comes - in fact, they come out of this whole movie never even having kissed at all - and even when you think when Dom’s telling the story of their first meeting, how Letty almost lost her arm because some kid trying to show off wiped out next to her and you thought oh god it’s gonna be about how he saves her, even she thinks that’s what it is, but Dom breaks that cliche by saying that “no, I was the kid showing off” and not the hero.

Even when in the end you’d expect her to magically remember - she doesn’t - and that’s okay with Dom, because he doesn’t care she won’t remember, all he cares is that she’s here and safe and happy.

That is what healthy relationships should be - happiness and respect.

———————–

Han and Gisele - this is a bond that is made later in life, it represents the kind of relationship you discover when you are mature, when you’ve already grown, when you’ve already know who you are and you’ve experienced life. And this is the kind of love and partnership entered by two people who are both mature, who both are adults and know what they want - they may not have young love, they may not have grown up together, but they see something in each other that ignites a spark.

It is a healthy relationship that is built on mutual respect first and foremost, a respect of each other’s abilities and what each other believes in - both Han and Gisele have their own code, and they accept each other’s code - they don’t try to boss over each other, they say what they mean, and they enjoy life’s challenges together. 

As Gisele once said to Han:

“This is who we are.”

And that is very true - they are fighters, they are warriors, they know who each other is and accept everything about each other - they don’t expect anything more or less, and as long as they share that respect, that’s what makes it work.

———————-

Sean and Neela - their relationship is as much about young teenage love as how to walk away from a relationship that isn’t right for you anymore and find someone who will respect you as you deserve. I would even go far as saying that many teenagers could use this relationship as a role model for real life.

When Neela and Sean first met, it’s clear that Sean likes her, but when he does say something that upsets her, he immediately feels bad and knows to apologize - something that is so very important in any kind of a relationship and shows how Sean takes things seriously as one should when it comes to affairs of the heart. And it’s not just Sean that makes choices, when Neela is confronted with the fact that her boyfriend Takashi is beating Sean up and generally being possessive, she doesn’t put up with that kind of behavior, she calls him out and leaves.

I can’t stress how important it is to see that happening in a film, to show that you have every right to walk away if a relationship doesn’t work out and you don’t owe someone just because you knew them for years since you were kids. Neela chooses to walk away, she chooses to be around people who do respect her, who don’t act possessive like she’s property, and she chooses Sean because he doesn’t disrespect her - with Neela and Sean, there is equality, they are on the same level, and that is paramount in a relationship if you want things to work out. And the fact that Neela and Sean does that, it gives them the potential in the future to be a great couple as they both grow up.

=================================

<<IN CONCLUSION>>

Now I am sure that for most people, they would never call these films feminist, because after all, it’s just mindless action and shots of sexy scantily clad girls in their view. But I frankly would say that this franchise is more feminist than most films in Hollywood could ever be. Yes it is often the boys’ playground, but the female characters who do exist and inhabit in this world are never shortchanged or made less than they could be - they are respected, they are accepted, there is never a question that because you are a girl then you are less than the boys. They never make gender into an issue and when gender is brought up then it is used to clearly state that the girls are just as badass as the boys.

The filmmakers of this franchise from the very beginning has treated the female characters with dignity and respect, they have allowed these female characters to be strong, to be vulnerable, to be evil, to be good, to be tough, to be weak, to be stoic, to be emotional - they have made these characters into real people - no matter what role they have, be it lead or brief seconds of scenes, the ladies in the franchise are always given agency and independence - the choices they make are for themselves, for what they love and what they want, never just for the sake of men.

Tumblr speaks a lot about wanting diversity, wanting strong women - in fact, most people in big fandoms make complaints about it and get upset when it doesn’t happen in Hollywood films - but the Fast and Furious franchise has that in spades yet most simply shrugs off the franchise because before they even really sit down to watch the film, they’ve already decided as judge, jury, and executioner that the franchise is unworthy just because the promotions and marketing have always focused on just fast cars and explosions and sexy girls - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is a shallow view - because these films are so much more than that, and if you’d give it the time of day, then you’d realize what quiet greatness this franchise has managed to achieve and what it does for diversity in casting and strength in women.

Yes it is lots of action, but as director Justin Lin once said:

“it’s best way to express who these characters are, by putting them in action.”

Or as Dom once said:

“show me how you drive, I’ll show you who you are.”

The key to the brilliance of the Furious 7 ending is that it works on so many levels, though. Fictional and non-fictional.

One of the last times we see Brian aka Paul Walker is him being blissfully happy on some gorgeous, paradise-like beach with his family. (Yeah, isn’t that where we all secretly like to think our deceased loves ones are? Happy somewhere? In an amazing place?) 

It’s a great goodbye to the character and the person who played him.

Then when Brian/Paul shows up at the end and cheekily informs a sad Vin Diesel that he “can’t leave without saying goodbye” it cheers up Diesel because he knows, in and out of character,  his friend is always going to be with him, one way or another.

It’s some weird shit that a dumb car chase movie gets across the pain, and redemption, of grief better than most serious drama films can, but there you go. 

A True Cheeky Nandos

so basically you’re down tow wiv the ladz steve, smithy calum and gazza and ur like oi ladz I could murder a maccers rn whos pimpin but then steves like nah im not feelin like a big mac so then smithy (fuckin smithy always the ledge) is like ay wot about a cheeky nandos and the boyz r like smithy ur a rite ledge so u all get on ur pengest trainerz and get in calum’s bruvas pinped up ride and swag ur way down to nandos for a night of top notch bantz. smithy orders an extra spicey half a breast and the ladz are all like oi smithy I fuckin dare u to put frozen yoghurt in ur drinks cup  and smithy does it like the tru ledge he is. then steve spots this rate fit bird with massive bangerz and hes like ay ladz that chicks mine ive bagsyed her and ur like fuck steve u bantersauras rex. after a whole night of with the archbishops of banterbury u decide its time to hit the road and u ride bk to ur crib so u n the ladz can watch fast and furious and have some sickage games of call of duty. smithy wreckz u all at CoD bc hes smithy the fucking top lad ledge man and then u all get supa pissed off of some beer that gazza stole off his bruva bc his bruva is the shit and then u fall asleep only to wake up for another cheeky bantz filled day

Unintended Chapter 5

5- ROOF TILES AND PIANO 

summary: Foreston Academy was the very last resort for angry, lonely Dan Howell. He never could have imagined meeting anyone like Phil Lester, and Phil never could have known that befriending his new roommate would change his life entirely.

Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?

betas: comefeedmyobsession and kaleidanscope

wc: ~5.5k THAT’S LITERALLY LONGER THAN MOST OF MY NORMAL PHANFICS WHY

warnings: bad chapter name i mean wow zelda couldn’t u think of anything better than ‘roof tiles and piano’ smh

Dan curled up against the wall, the drummers in his head banging harder and harder, the agony splitting his skull as his red eyes blurred with tears.

Maybe it would hurt less if he stopped crying. But Dan couldn’t stop crying.

Four days. That was a new record for him. One of them wasn’t even a schoolday.

He didn’t know what to do- the world around him had seemed to start imploding, wave upon wave of horrible flashbacks and thoughts and sickening fears overwhelming him until he felt his head could burst with the pain.

 

‘We’re putting Buttercup down,’ he hissed, sharp Southern accent cold and emotionless.

'Please. Father, please, no,’ Dan is on the floor before him, face screwed up and red and his knees on the cold marble floor.

'Perhaps you should learn that there will be consequences to your atrocious behaviour in the future, Daniel!’

'Please, Father! Please!’ His voice is just a choked sob now, because he is breaking- his only friend- he can’t- he wouldn’t-

'She’s not done anything!’

'But you have. And you need to learn.

Besides… I never liked that damn dog anyway.’

 

Dan saw two long black-clad legs walk past him and sit on the bed. Two minutes later they were up again. And then Phil was pacing.

Dan wondered if the sound of his desperate sobbing was annoying Phil, and started to feel sorry that he had woken him up last night to see him in this pathetic state.

'I’m sorry,’ he managed to choke out. His vision was too blurred to see legs too clearly, and his viewpoint too low to see anything above the boy’s waist, but he saw Phil stop pacing and turn to face him.

And then Phil was crouching level with him a few metres back, and Dan could see the blue shining eyes beneath the blurry splash of black that defined the top of his head.

'You should be,’ Phil said slowly, and then sighed as Dan dissolved into fresh sobs, body shaking with fear.

Phil didn’t really understand- Dan had beaten people up before- and he didn’t enjoy it as such, but it made him feel good. It was the only way he could ever get any control or respect, and commanding an audience of people as large as there was today made him feel as though he was actually of some importance- for once not clutching at loose footholds that let him slide helplessly down the cliff face when they crumbled- for once, he was not the useless one, the unimportant one, the pathetic one.

So he wasn’t sorry for that.

He also wasn’t sorry for the way he had behaved at the school. The teachers had dragged him off, and told him that he was disrespecting the long and gracious history of the school. This school is here to understand you, they had said. This school is here to help you and let you be who you truly are, they had said. But Dan didn’t want to be who he truly was. Dan despised the person he was. So he wasn’t sorry about that.

He had treated Phil like shit, he knew. He understood that the boy was a genuinely nice person, and although he wasn’t fully clear why Phil had tried to be his friend even after Dan had made it clear that they weren’t to associate, Phil had changed things the night he took Dan down to Firespot. Phil had put the idea into Dan’s mind that perhaps he could be happy with these sorts of people. Perhaps even that he could not be considered pathetic.

The following day had shown that that couldn’t be the case. And so Dan wasn’t sorry about how he had treated Phil.

Much.

He was crying now, horrific sobs crumpling his body in pain and causing him to gasp and snort and all the other vile noises that you make when you’re breaking inside, and Phil looked uncomfortable, and Dan just wished he would leave. He wished Phil hadn’t heard him last night, and he wished he had just told Phil to go back to bed, and he wished he had just kept himself where he belonged- nowhere near someone like Phil. Because now he was stuck in this confusing mess and Phil wasn’t leaving the room and yes, he was sorry that Phil had to listen to his sorrow.

But really, this situation was all Dan’s fault. Dan knew that he was wrong. Dan knew that he had acted like a dickhead. And Dan knew that he had acted irresponsibly. And most of all Dan knew he had acted cruelly. What he had done to Chris had been wholly unnecessary. Having woken up to the horror of another boy lying so close to him, he had exploded at the sight of Chris and PJ acting so intimately as he entered the canteen, and the situation had spiralled so out of control that here he was now, the school a short conversation away from ringing his parents.

And when they did that, his life would be over.

His punishments had gotten worse and worse over the years as he consistently broke the rules, but Dan genuinely couldn’t think of anything else they could take from him.

Dan had nothing else he cared about any more. And so the sickening tarry pit of fear in his stomach was not because of any of these things.

It was because he knew that when his parents found out, they really would hate him.

And for that, Dan hated himself. Dan had hated himself for quite a long time now.

'Dan.’

Dan owed it to Phil to reply, so he choked back his next sob with an ugly squeak and, still staring down at the carpet, replied, ‘I’m sorry, Phil. I’m so sorry.’

'So, what’s happening?’ Phil asked awkwardly. Dan could see that Phil was still furiously angry. But it was like he was programmed to be almost unbearably nice and kind, and so just couldn’t let Dan sob his heart out without at least trying to do something. Which used to infuriate Dan. Now it just made him realise even more how horrible and useless a human he was. ‘Are you going to get excluded?’

'What makes you assume that?’

'You seem devastated. And from what I’ve seen of you so far, you wouldn’t be this cut up about hurting Chris.’ There was an awkward pause as Phil watched Dan dissolve back into self-loathing. 'I’m sorry. That was harsh.’

Phil’s voice was wooden and Dan just looked away.

'I do care,’ he whispered.

'I know you do,’ Phil replied gently, and they both knew that he was lying. 'Do you want a tea?’

Dan twisted around so he was looking up at Phil angrily. ‘Alot of fucking good a tea is gonna do me right now!’ He shouted, voice cracking on the words.

'I was just trying to be nice!’ Phil almost-shouted back, 'I don’t have to do anything for you! I shouldn’t even be speaking to you, after what you did to one of my best friends!’

'Then don’t!’

For a second it looked like Phil was going to storm out again, but something in his expression changed and he stopped still, every muscle tensed up. ‘Why are you like this, Dan?’

Dan clawed his way up the wall so he was face-to-face with Phil, their noses inches apart. ‘Why am I like what?’ He spat.

Phil didn’t answer, simply glaring hard at Dan, Adam’s Apple bobbing in his throat, and Dan could see every little imperfection on his face and every colour in his eyes- turns out they were not completely sky-blue as he had thought, but rather an ocean of different colours that swam around with expression and emotion, lit bright from behind by all the care that Phil put into everything and everyone, and the passion with which he stared back into Dan’s eyes now.

'You don’t understand anything,’ Dan hissed. 'You’ve had such an easy life. You’ve gone to one school, you’ve had friends and classes and you’ve behaved and you had parents that gave a shit about you and-‘

He choked off and looked away, glaring down at his feet, furious at himself for giving Phil so much of himself, before quickly treading as hard as he was able on Phil’s foot and running out of the room as fast as possible.

***

 

'Mate, don’t worry about me. I’m Northern. Made of some tough stuff!’

'I’m from up north aswell!’ laughed Phil, 'but I wouldn’t be overly chuffed with a broken leg!’

'Well, I’m not saying I’m happy about it,’ Chris said, rolling his eyes,'but y'know, it’s not actually broken…and it’s quite soothing in here after having to share a room with Peej snoring his head off!’

'Oi! Watch it! You may be an invalid but it doesn’t mean I can’t hurt you!’

'Ooh, I’d like to see you try!’

PJ raised his eyebrows. ‘Make me.’

'God guys,’ Phil moaned, 'do you want me to leave you to it!?’

'Mmm, please,’ giggled Chris as his painkillers came into effect and his head dropped onto the pillow, 'you might not wanna be here when Chris and I,’ he yawned, eyes screwed up with sudden tiredness, 'get frisky!’

'I might go back anyway,’ Phil said, turning to PJ (who was making gagging motions in response to Chris’ comment) as Chris drifted off, 'time’s ticking on.’

'I think I’ll stay in the hospital wing a little longer with him,’ PJ replied, nodding. 'You seen Dan?’ Phil nodded affirmation, 'he deserves to get kicked out for this. Actually, he should be getting police attention. He’s insane.’

'He’s screwed up, Peej.’

'What do you mean?’

'I think his life’s been a mess. I keep getting little hints off him before he clams up. Something… There’s something wrong.’

'A tragic history may explain a crime but it doesn’t excuse it.’

'Where did you get that pearl of wisdom from?’

'Dunno. Can you stick a cup under that leak when you leave? The rain’s getting in. Would have thought the hospital wing would have slightly better roofing, if I’m honest.’

 

Phil turned round quickly as he left, and he could have sworn that PJ was holding Chris’ sleeping hand.

 

***

 

It was raining outside and Dan was just in a black tshirt and jeans. Atleast his dark attire would mean he was less likely to be spotted outside out-of-hours, he thought.

Not that he could really get into much more trouble than he was already in.

His hair was already plastered to his head, rain running down his face in icy rivulets and merging with his stinging hot tears.

He reached up to brush away the water in his eyes but his arm was just as wet as the rest of him and the gesture was pointless and he was trembling with cold and fear and his mouth was dry and his head was splitting in half and half again.

By the time he reached the clearing in the trees that contained the dead embers of Monday’s bonfire, he didn’t realise that his feet had taken him all the way to Firespot.

His clothes were all plastered to his body and his hair drooped pathetically over his face.

As he approached the edge of the clearing again, he automatically gravitated towards the spot he had sat with Phil only two nights ago, curling up on the sodden wood and breathing in the smell of the rain and the damp leaves and mud and tree bark.

 

***

 

When Phil reached his happy place, he almost jumped out of his skin.

There was somebody there already.

 

After leaving the hospital wing Phil had realised he wasn’t ready to go back to the room, so after borrowing PJ’s waterproof mac and cuddling up in it, he had headed outside into the building storm.

Now his fingers were numb with cold and his face spattered with rain, but he felt calmer and less confined. He had been looking forward to arriving at his beloved Firespot and being able to sit down, completely alone with his own thoughts, to mull over how he felt about everything.

And yet, there was somebody there.

Phil crept over, feet squelching in the mud, and realised before he got to him that curled up on the seat was the defeated figure of Dan. Of course it was. Of course it was.

Phil walked away from the place that made him happiest.

Just at that moment, he couldn’t deal with it all.



***

‘Dude you’ve been playing the piano for over an hour and it’s now 3am so I just came to tell you to shut the fuck up.’

Dan spun round to see Chris limp out of the shadows behind him, face and hair partially veiled in blackness.

‘How did you even hear me?’

‘The hospital wing is directly above the music suites, and seeing as my leg is in fucking agony, it may not surprise you to know I’ve had some difficulty sleeping. Basically, the dorms are at the other side of the building, but the hospital wing is conveniently placed over here. Peej is still asleep because he’s a heavy sleeper. Also… I’m not sure how many loons frequently play music at such obscene hours in the morning.’

Dan looked away, trying to hold back the tears. Of course it would be Chris to come and find him. Of all of the hundreds of pupils in this school, of course it had to be Chris.

‘What the fuck is going on with you?’ Chris approached him slowly, carefully, as though he was a bomb that could explode any second. Dan guessed after all that was exactly what he was. A thing to be feared. Unpredicatble, uncontrollable, and hated by everyone.

He didn’t wipe the salty tears away quick enough for Chris not to see.

‘How long have you been like this?’

‘Like what?’ Dan’s hands were still resting on the cold ivory keys- the one single place he felt he was capable of expressing himself.

‘Like…’ Chris waved his arms around as he tried to articulate his thoughts, ‘Like… Well, so… Hating everybody… The people who want to give a damn about you…

‘So… Stupid…’

This angered Dan. ‘Stupid? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? How am I stupid?’ Dan had no redeeming qualities- he knew that- he was a fuck-up in every way, a by-product, good at nothing… But he was sure that he wasn’t stupid. Intelligent- not overly. But not an idiot. After all, he was able to see his own flaws- wasn’t that a thing that made you smart?

‘Yeah, you’re stupid. You’re a goddamn idiot, Dan. Phil… And Peej, and even me, we wanted to help you. We decided to be your friend, and you were a wanker. And then guess what? Phil still took you down to Firespot, and you did it again. Infact, then you decided to out-do yourself. Really,’ he guestured down at his crippled form, and Dan wondered how much he hurt. Probably not as much as Dan himself. ‘You’re stupid because you think David’s crew are where you belong. You’re stupid because you think they actually give a shit about you-’

‘No.’

‘What do you mean, no?’

‘I mean, no. You’re wrong. David and his gang don’t give a shit about me, and I do know that. Nobody gives a shit about me. You have to understand. I accept that. If I wasn’t me, I would hate me too. No, no, I do hate me.’

‘Oh shut up with your self-pitying crap, Dan,’ if Chris had been less exhausted and in agony and if Dan hadn’t been the reason for both of those things, perhaps Chris would have been gentler. But Chris was a good person, and he was pissed off with Dan. ‘We tried. Phil tried so fucking hard. And you still think we didn’t give a shit about you?’

‘You don’t after what I did,’ sighed Dan, staring at his hands, still resting on the piano keys.

‘That wasn’t the question!’ Chris flared up, voice an angry loud-whisper. ‘You’re making all of this about self-pity! If you had stopped being such a wuss, you could have just told those guys to shove off. And then you wouldn’t be in this state!’

‘But I couldn’t. I didn’t. You’re right- I am pathetic.’

Chris allowed himself just a second to howl into his hand in frustration. The darkness in the room filled out between them.

Dan broke the silence that followed with a soft, sad note on the piano, followed by another, followed by another. As he begun to spin the threads of a melody, he looked up at Chris, who slowly nodded his head in silence.

Soon, Chris was sucked in by a gentle, soothing flow of music, the notes swirling around him and taking over all of his anger and frustration, letting it leak out like a poison as he sunk into the tune.

‘What’s that?’ Chris asked when he finished, letting out a deep breath he didn’t know he had been holding in.

‘Uh, it’s called “Dearly Beloved”, from the game Kingdom Hearts? It was kinda like a shittier version of Final Fantasy. But the music was good.’

‘Mhm,’ Chris said, nodding his head as he he looked over at Dan slowly. ‘You’re not okay, are you?’

Dan stared down at they piano, and a glistening tear fell onto one of the keys.

‘I’m going to get Phil. You need to talk to him.’

Dan leapt up and grabbed Chris’ arm. ‘No! Please, no! He hates me.’

Chris rolled his eyes. ‘We both have reason to hate you, dude. And I’m helping you.’

Dan’s voice was low and confused. ‘Why?’

‘Because you need help.’

‘I don’t.’ His voice was now almost inaudible.

‘You’re a mess. And it’s not me you need.I know you need Phil. I can see it every time you look at him.’

As Chris started to stride towards the door of the music suite, Dan dropped onto his knees, eyes once again filling with tears.

***

‘Dan?’ Phil’s voice was soft over the sound of the breeze and the night and the shushing of the stars, because that’s what the silvery night does- it make you feel like you need to be quiet. ‘Dan? Are you up here?’

Phil looked around, head filling with hundreds of panicky situations and reasons why he could fall to his death any moment, and his feet were rooted to the spot, slate tiles slanted scarily beneath him and reflecting the moon’s silver with the rain of the night, his feet six floors further off the ground than he would have liked them to be.

And then at the other side of the sloped roof, Phil saw the silhouette of a boy stretched languidly out under the stars, hair being played with by the wind and skin being tickled by the moonlight.

Phil closed his eyes and took a deep breath, placing one foot forward and then when he felt safe enough, another.

Chris had followed Dan up here. He had said the boy needed Phil.

After everything, was Phil willing to give up his time for this boy? Certainly not his life, right?

Of course he was. Dan needed his help. And who would Phil be if he denied his help to someone?

And then the moon drifted slowly behind a grey cloud.

The darkness was all-consuming, and so was the absolute fear that gripped at Phil’s heart.

The sole of his shoe didn’t have enough grip to hold him in place as his arms flailed and black hair flashed in the wind, and he let out an earsplitting scream as he slid backwards across the tiles-

‘I’ve got you- I’ve got you! It’s okay. Shhh, Phil, Phil, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I’m-

Phil’s breathing was rapid and horrified and brain haywire as he started to grasp the fact that he had almost fallen to his death.

His eyes travelled up the one outstretched arm that was holding him stable on the slippery slate tiles, past his forearm, still in PJ’s rented raincoat, his pale trembling arm, clasped in another-

‘Give me your other hand,’ Dan whispered to him, ‘I can’t hold you up for much longer.’

Numbly, head still mostly uncomprehending, Phil pressed his hand into Dan’s freezing cold one, and slowly, the two of them started to steady themselves on the roof.

Phil was trembling all over. He hated heights as it was, and his near-fall had completely shaken him up. He didn’t want to be here. With Dan, who didn’t care about anyone-

Dan; who had saved his life.

‘Don’t thank me or anything,’ Dan whispered, after realising that Phil was much to scared to release his unrelenting grasp on Dan’s hands, ‘It’s my own idiot fault that you’re up here in the first place, I, I, I almost killed you.’

Phil still didn’t say anything.

‘This is all my fault. All you wanted to do was help me. Chris explained. I mean, I guess I knew that, really. I’m not that stupid. I think.’ He paused, cocking a head on one side, as though wondering just how much Phil was listening. Admittedly, the answer was not much. ‘But please, Phil. I don’t know if I can… Be normal. But we like the same music and books and food and oh my god, Firespot, and I don’t know, I just, I know I don’t deserve it, and you can say no and, I just, could you… Give me a second chance? I mean, I know I don’t deserve it, I know, and… Yeah…’

Fleetingly, the thought crossed Phil’s mind how easy it would be to shut Dan up by pressing his own warm lips to Dan’s, to hold his cheeks, flushed with the cold night air, and to let go of his hands just to tangle them in his dark hair.

When Phil caught himself, he had to take in a deep breath of the cold September air.

Delirious with fear… Shock… Gratitude… Or something. Right?

‘Are you okay just to walk down here a little?’ Dan asked, motioning with his head (Phil still had his hands tightly clasped in his own) towards Dan’s spot a little further down the roof. It wasn’t far, but… Dan wanted Phil with him.

If he was going to do this, he was going to do it here. Dan didn’t know why, but the cold roof and the dark damp night air and the isolation of the height calmed Dan. For some reason, Dan was able to think up here.

He had found the way up onto the roof completely by accident. After Chris had left the music room, Dan had realised he needed to flee before he came back with Phil, and so he had run as far and as madly as he was able in the opposite direction from the dorms.

The corridor that lead to the stairs that lead to another corridor which lead to a tiny hidden doorway which lead to the balcony which lead to the roof was clearly not meant to be found by students, so Dan had known he wouldn’t be disturbed.

He hadn’t counted on Chris following him.

But for some reason, when Dan had seen Phil stumble out onto the roof, things had become clearer in his head; he knew that he had to stay at Foreston; he knew that he had to stay with Phil, with Chris, with the ‘misfits’ of Firespot. For the first time, Dan realised that it might not be a terribly bad thing to not fit in perfectly. In fact, he wondered if trying to fit in was where he had been going wrong all along.

And so he had resolved himself to tell Phil. Tell Phil everything, if he wanted to hear it.

And Phil was here, and now they were sat with their legs hanging over the edge of the roof, hands intertwined and hair blowing lightly in the breeze, and Phil’s blue eyes fixed on his own brown ones, and Dan tried as hard as he could.

‘I’m not going to ever try and excuse anything I do,’ He said as he watched Phil’s and his own legs swing back and forwards together in time, the dark gardens of the school far below their feet, ‘But you said you wanted to know what was wrong. And… I guess I was terrified of making my parents hate me. Well, I mean, I think they already do, but…’

For a second it looked like Phil was about to interrupt, so Dan looked up at him in earnest, begging the midnight-haired boy not to stop him.

‘I’m kinda just in the way all the time. Like, I don’t have any siblings or anything, and I never had any friends round either, unless my mum tried to force me. But I wasn’t all that good at making friends… I don’t know, it all sounds so stupid! I’m just a dickhead, I just-’

‘Dan,’ Phil’s hand gently squeezed his own and then he let go, wrapping his arm around Dan’s waist.

Automatically, Dan leant into him.

‘Have I done too much to be forgiven?’

‘I don’t know. You sprained Chris’ leg. Or something, I’m not sure. He’s not gonna be able to walk properly for a few weeks, so he’s not best pleased, I’ll give you that. I just… I want to like you, Dan. A lot of the time, I do. I want this to not be you, to not be your fault…’

‘But it is.’

‘But it is.’

Dan pressed his face hard into his hands before scraping his fingers back over his scalp and through his tangled, windswept hair.

‘Please don’t hate me,’

‘I don’t hate you, Dan!’ For some reason, Phil looked genuinely shocked, even a little angry, ‘We’re going around in circles here! If I hated you, would I be here? I want you to be you, the real Dan that I know is inside there, the one that sings his lungs out to Muse, and the one that wants to be a good person and do something with his life, and the one that runs across a steep wet roof because he thinks his friend is going to fall off-’

‘Anyone would have done that.’

‘No they wouldn’t.’

‘I don’t deserve another chance.’

‘If you keep saying that, I am going to get so annoyed that I might just swandive off this roof of my own accord.’ Phil growled in reply.

The rain had stopped by then but the night was still thick with the memory of it; the roof tiles slick and shiny and the leaves on the trees heavy and dripping and Dan’s hair damp and curling.

And the night’s storm had left its legacy on the morning with the thick black clouds that filled the sky, the heavy silent night pressing down all around them, not uncomfortably so, but overwhelmingly, deafeningly silent. The blackness was oppressing and inky, torn apart only by the golden glow of streetlights far away towards the road, and the tiny pinpricks of light that dotted the Foreston gardens.

It was now that hour where everything is dead: infact, it was no longer even night, but the miserable time of morning where the only people that were awake in England were the ones sailing their lorries down the motorway in the black, eyes drooping and misty with lack of sleep and radio station turned up loud with garish club remixes to try and keep them awake. Back at Foreston, Dan talked. He spoke in a low voice that barely even classified as a whisper, his tone raw and his speech filled with constant pauses to take rasping breaths. He tried to keep those breaths as quiet as possible, as so not to break the thick darkness around them, and he started to tell Phil everything.

He even told Phil about how he had been expelled from his previous two schools- the posh, private boarding schools that had thrown him out after he got too out of control. The threat his dad made to him the night before he left for Foreston Academy- if he got expelled again, he would be sent off to a behavioural camp.

Dan told Phil how his father was always true to his word.

Phil had a raincoat on, dark and crinkly and shiny with wet, and Dan pressed his side into it, the material transferring all the rainwater straight onto his jumper, causing him to shiver as it soaked right through. Dan had been drenched earlier in the night after his stupid venture into the woods, but he had seized the oppurtunity to dry himself off and change when he noticed the room was empty.

But he didn’t regret cuddling up to Phil, because as he continued to talk, and the black-haired boy listened in perfect silence, he felt a hand tentatively wind itself in his.

And when Dan looked up into Phil’s face, the boy gave him a look as if to say ‘Is this okay?’

And Dan tried to give him a look back that adequately conveyed the message, ‘yes, yes. All the yes’s in the world, yes.’

 

Eventually, Dan’s story was over, and he was overwhelmed with a guilt and embarrassment for having talked solely about himself for so long. But Phil gave his hand a comforting squeeze.

Dan placed his hand on the cool tile beside him to steady himself, and almost overbalanced as it slipped in a puddle.

Phil caught him in under one arm, eyes wide.

And so, for some strange reason that Dan couldn’t quite comprehend, but which filled his heart with warmth and hope nonetheless, Phil sat there on the edge of the roof with him for the rest of the night as Dan told him all about his pitiful life and shortcomings and failings, and then Phil told Dan about his dreams and aspirations, and Dan slowly started to unfurl, telling Phil more and more about himself, until he finally reached the point where he felt the boy knew him better than anyone else ever had.

And when they sat there in silence to watch the sun rise, Dan put his head on Phil’s lap not because he was cold, but simply because he wanted to listen to the slow beat of his heart, and melt into the soft comfort of his enveloping arms.

6. headphone sharing - masterpost

 

Story Time!

I was just driving back from Indiana visiting over there about 2 hours and 19 minutes away from my house on some backwoods road, fast as hell as I usually do it’s pitch black, Just me and the headlights of a Pontiac GT or something from some other guy right behind me.

About 10 Minutes into driving, still no one around except dude behind me! So I sped up a bit and so did he! Pretty soon I switched lanes, and again so did he. Cars started coming and we’re swerving around them hitting corners and shit not even slowing down and hitting hitting 100 MPH. It felt like a scene of fucking Fast and Furious. 

As this was happening I shit you not. that Rocky Training Montage from Rocky 4 started playing on the radio.

anyways 30 minutes into this, we’re still driving. Pedal to the fucking floor. No cops were around, Yet we both slowed as we approached a new car, once we saw it wasn’t a cop, we sped back up. Every-time a semi-truck came, he tried to cut in front of me. I’d speed up before he could and he’d fall back in line behind me. As he did that, I’d roll down the window in 19 Degree Cold, stick my hand out the window and start pop locking my hand at the window taunting him playfully. and he’d do it too whenever he ended up cutting in front of me. Adrenaline hit me every-time a steep turn came as my one handed grip would turn into 2 and fucking pitbull songs would come on with him speaking random ass spanish.

About 50 Minutes into this now, my 2 Hour road trip turned into a 1 HOUR AND 5 MINUTE DESTINATION TIME. WE WERE GOING 100 MILES AN HOUR - 120 FOR A WHILE.

Then… He started slowing down and getting into the right lane pull next to me and coast my speed, which btw was about 90. He rolled down the window and I forgot about how this was real life and thought this nigga was gonna fuckin’ pull out a gun and shoot me in frustration, he simply smiles and gives a thumbs up and drifted into a nearby right exit. Before I could roll down the window in my old janky ass 2001 Saturn SL2, he was already turning and looking away.

Again I SHIT. YOU. NOT. Kanye, Rhianna, and Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds was playing and I didn’t even notice until about a minute after I started fucking DYING.

Then I actually felt a little sad as the song progressed and that part with the organ playing and rhianna hittin’ them notes and started feeling weird as if I lost a friend. I look around and I was on a boring dark road, with no one around anymore.

Man, it was fun as hell. 

I’ve been rapping all night. I don’t know why, but I have. I’m pretty sure I was either a rapper in my past life or some sort of mad daddy pimp. No joke, people. I’m on that Busta Rhymes kind of level. Too fast, too furious type of shit.