Some of my favorite ACNL villagers, and actual residents between my two towns! Fauna, Maple, Marshal, and Pecan. ♥️
While I tried to keep more of their designs accurate and use the outfits they have by default, there’s some changes here and there: Fauna has some spots, Maybe has a bit of claws, Marshal has white markings to break up the colors a bit, and so does Pecan. These were all really fun coloring and pose experiments!
Rating: Teens and Up
Prompt: An old crush of mine used to walk me home from work and tell me about the stars the way his late father used to.
Warnings: Angst but also comfort.
Hanzo stood on the balcony of the safe house in the mountains. The cool breeze was gentle on his neck, the sensation occasionally broken by the kiss of his silk hair tie dancing in the wind. He never minded losing sleep to stay up late and watch the stars in silence. However, as he leaned on the railing and took a deep breath of brisk air, he couldn’t ignore the slight tug at his chest. More that wanting to be alone, he wanted to be with the boy who had first shown him the stars.
A young lad who had been a friend of the Shimada family, Makoto Kirijo always accompanied his father when there was business to be handled by their parents. Hanzo and Kirijo would sneak out to the balcony overlooking the sakura blossoms and Kirijo would name every star and constellation. The look in his eyes…
Hanzo was snapped from his reverie by footsteps from the doorway. He turned his gaze to see his partner in the mission standing with a half-glazed look in his eyes. The man scratched his exposed chest, the scratch of this nails on his hairy pecs distracting Hanzo. He pulled his eyes from wandering down to the untied sweatpants hanging dangerously low on his hips and looked into the man’s face. Which looked to be waiting for an answer.
“I am sorry?” Hanzo sputtered, scrambling for composure.
“I asked are you alright? You’re crying and staring up at the sky like it’s got something for ya,” His southern drawl caused Hanzo to blink once or twice before putting two and two together. He reached for his face and indeed felt the culprit tears that had exposed him.
“It is nothing, I am sorry to have worried you,” Hanzo turned around and stared at the night sky again, “Please, rest.”
The man, McCree( as Hanzo could now recall his name instead of his body curves) took a few steps forward, “Looking at the stars reminds me of home too, Han. The ranch my momma ran had large open fields, and I’d take Maple out for a ride all the way the grass and watch the stars for hours. Simpler times back then.”
Hanzo took a small breath, “It was not so simple for me. I did not know the beauty of the stars until someone showed them to me,” He felt the tugs come back, “In times of uncertainty or regret, they remind me that I was not always simply a cog in someone else’s design, but just a fool who didn’t know how to speak his feelings.”
“Well, sometimes you still need work on that one,” McCree chuckled. He took another step forward.
“He… he lived for the stars. They were all he thought about, all he could see. They were his entire world,” Hanzo’s breath caught in his throat. He remembered listening to Kirijo sing the stars’ praises. He wanted to know everything there was to know about them, and why whenever he asked his father where his mother went, he would point to them. Kirijo wanted so much in this world.
Hanzo had wanted something else. The pound in his chest all those years ago and the way he took Kirijo’s breath away with a single kiss and gave him the one he had been holding all along.
“What happened to him? Did finally get his stars?” The words were almost lost to him as he remembered the look of happiness in Kirijo’s face when he pulled back. Like Hanzo was brighter than any star in the sky, and how he dove in to drink in every ounce of his friend for the rest of the night. How, years later, Hanzo had been ready to declare his love for his closest friend only to find Kirijo had been betrothed to another, a woman of striking beauty and high status ready to give him the heirs his family so desperately needed.
He stood at his friend’s wedding day twice. The first when he never showed, taken flight in the night with naught but a note to his lover that without him, the stars meant nothing anymore. The second when the wife’s family found him and made sure he could never gaze at the stars again. Hanzo had to guide him to the alter and help him home with his new wife, who couldn’t have been less sympathetic to the pair.
Hands slipped around Hanzo’s chest as he was wrapped in an embrace from McCree, bringing him back to the present. There were streaks down his face where tears had rained down like a storm. He turned to face the man and looked into his eyes. He saw so much of Kirijo in him. He felt his passion, his sympathy, and something Hanzo absolutely refuse to label as love but had no other word for. Seconds before his composure broke, Hanzo’s lips were taken by McCree.
Hanzo’s eyes widened and his mouth opened, McCree closing the distance. A small part of Hanzo’s mind remained to make sense of the situation while the rest berated him for wearing a night shirt and missing the skin on skin touch he suddenly, desperately desired.
When he drew back, Hanzo looked again into McCree’s eyes. He saw the same look Kirijo had given him when they were young and thought the world was theirs to have. McCree had a gaze as if Hanzo was the moon itself. And while there was a part of him that he felt would always ache for what never was, he felt he could maybe start to look for something new…
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The adventure squad headed to the mountains to brave freezing temperatures, heavy rain, ice, fog and snow for my birthday. It was splendid. We rendezvoused at Veggie Grill in Pasadena, enjoyed a delicious lunch then carpooled to the trailhead. There are no roads leading to the hut, only narrow trails heading up the mountain. We put on our packs and slowly hiked up the steep trail towards the ski hut. The fog was rolling in, sometimes encapsulating us. The rain was heavier than expected but we knew there would be a nice fire going once we arrived at the hut. At 8,300ft the altitude of the hut did have an effect on us. The hike is relatively strenuous when you carry a decent sized pack but we all made it safe and sound.
The Ski Hut was built in 1937 and is run by the Sierra Club (R.I.P. John Muir) and staying here is like traveling back in time. Wood burning stoves heat the hut while also constantly boiling and heating large kettles of water. You can have a nice cup of coffee or tea anytime of the day which was delightful. Water from a spring is piped into the kitchen and is always flows through the hut.
We successfully backpacked with a birthday cake again! This time my wife made a Vegan Cookies ‘N Cream Cake and it was far beyond delicious. The trick to backpacking with a birthday cake is freezing all of the components and building it on sight.
My brother and I unearthed the most recent issue of Backpacker Magazine in the hut which was from 1978. And how I love looking at pictures of all the vintage gear. I’m glad they made the gear so durable back then because I have plenty of 70’s gear in my arsenal.
This magical place is just one hour away from downtown Los Angeles.