find your own voice

madalynsniffle: PRIDE month is upon us. 😊 🌈 This month is not only a celebration, but a continued protest in the face of discrimination and injustices faced by the LGBTQ community daily. I have found myself becoming more confident in my power, and accepting myself for all I am. This is the type of empowerment I want to convey through my platform and with my privilege. I am no longer afraid to be unapologetically myself, I love my divine queer feminine power. We are all powerful voices for protest and change. Find your power, own your power, love your power. #pride

Dead Poets Society for the Signs
  • Aries: "Close your eyes, close your eyes! Close 'em! Now tell me what you see."
  • Taurus: "This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls."
  • Gemini: "That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
  • Cancer: "Poetry, beauty, romance, love... these are the things we stay alive for."
  • Leo: "Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!"
  • Virgo: "Seize the day. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die."
  • Libra: "We all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own."
  • Scorpio: "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion."
  • Sagittarius: "Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."
  • Capricorn: "I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way."
  • Aquarius: "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
  • Pisces: “But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”
Shakespeare (Part VII)

(Banner made by the incredibly talented @tiostyles)

Harry X Reader (AU)

In which Harry is a poetic frat boy who just so happens to be the TA for your new English class.

Read previous parts here.

Author’s note: Hi!! If you happen to see and spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, please do not hesitate to let me know!! Any and all feedback is appreciated, as always. I hope you enjoy!! We’re getting pretty close to the end. :(

Friday nights are for reading.

You’ve opened the window of your dorm room to let in a cool breeze that breaks through the suffocating warmth of the building’s heating system. You’re halfway through a copy of Wuthering Heights that you borrowed from Harry, curled up on top of your comforter and reading with the dim lights from outside. With each turn of a page, you find your thumb in a curved divet exactly the size of Harry’s thumb. You’ve learned in the past few weeks that he licks his fingers before turning pages.

A sharp knock comes at the door and makes you flinch. A glance at the clock shows that it’s twelve-thirty A.M. You stay put, flipping the page again and hoping whoever it is will think you’re asleep. But it comes again—harder, consecutive knocks that make you jerk into a sitting position.

The persistent banging continues and you groan, holding your place with a bookmark and sliding the book onto the desk beside you. You hop down off the bed, sliding your feet into a pair of slippers and padding across the room to open the door, where the knocking has finally stopped.

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revampmybrain said:

Hey, if you have the chance, can you do Lemongrab’s voice from adventure time saying the build a squid post? whatsupdoge(.)tumblr(.)com/post/107482202895/yuripda-build-a-squid-make-your-own-squid-and Please and thanks :)

The random punctuation scattered throughout is my favorite.

Original post by weightedcube

drenchmeincheesemommypls Happy birthday to my one of my oldest bestest friends @laurenjauregui 🦋
The beautiful part about sharing so much of your life with someone, knowing another human for so long, is you’ve been there with each other through it all.. that time we went to Mexico together and we were tremendaa & made u drink for the first time
That time u showed us twilight and owned our asses bc everyone was obsessed with Twilight and Claire de Lune afterwards
Evanescence sleepovers
Eating my moms fried rice at 4am bc we’d get so distracted talking ourselves in circles
Friendship is sharing more highs than lows, but still having to body those lows sometimes 💌 I am so beyond grateful for your glowing, healing presence in my life.
I am so proud of you for truly finding your Voice, recognizing your place in the world, and owning that. You are always wow-ing me. This photo of you is so telling.. selflessly giving yourself to the world, always open minded, open ears, ready to make change for the better and enjoy life in the moment
You deserve to be happy and free 🌅 I love you wondercat <3
The only way to find your own voice is to eliminate all those around you. Be on your own and you will find what it is you are looking for. It will be painful initially, but you will eventually know what it is that you most want. Then that’s when you can really live.
01 | the hour after

( things you said at one a.m. + min yoongi )
word count :: 2,129

You usually aren’t one to get nervous over many situations that spring up in your life. For example, cooking a difficult meal to impress your family? Easy. Moving out at seventeen years old to take on university in the big city? Simple. Taking on a multitude of presentations in both a school and workplace environment? Manageable, once the anxiety was overcome. However, like most people, there’s something that you constantly struggled with and that was relationships—most specifically the different milestones that come along with the whole honeymoon stage, those first moments when two people start to learn about each other in order to pick up on their quirks and habits, their likes and dislikes.

It’s the stage that you’re definitely still in with Min Yoongi. Now, don’t be fooled, you love the honeymoon stage with Min Yoongi. Even with the distance that is often carved between the two of you through his travels and promotions, writing songs, music videos, having to engage in constant communication with his fans—all of which he loves dearly, and you know this and you respect this part of his life—he still manages to text you and call you whenever he can if only to get in one or two words about his day. It’s through this that you learn of how much effort he puts into everything that he does, a gesture that really only makes you fall more in love with him.

But through all the excitement that comes with discovering all the little pieces that make up an individual, it also brings into light the apprehension of how a person would react to certain events. It’s from this that you realize that perhaps the only thing that could generate a nervous sensation in the pit of your stomach is the thought of your boyfriend.

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anonymous asked:

i think someone stole or traced one of ur widow pics? their names CheeselessDorito on deviantart heres a screenshot i(.)imgur(.)com/73sqbAa(.)png

Here’s the image for reference:

Here’s my image:

I just wanted to say a couple things about this.

It looks like they may have eyeballed it and copied the palette but there isn’t really much i can do about that! I don’t stress out too much about stuff like that. I’m okay with people using my pictures for practice/ inspiration/ etc.

That’s how you learn how to draw, after all. You just, take inspiration from a bunch of random stuff. It starts with, you know, just copying other people. I’d like to be acknowledged, but in the grand scheme, it isn’t necessary. I’m popular enough that people see the above image, and even their image, and they recognize where it came from, like this anon did. I don’t list my inspirations when I draw, (unless it is obviously based on something else, like nataliehall’s she-wolf) and no one is obligated to! Eyeballing, yes, you should. But that’s only to potentially show the artist what you were inspired to make because of them, because you respect their work and like their voice. 

If this person was selling this as a print, I might have an issue with that. But they aren’t. This is just an image on the internet, put here for other’s to see. I don’t need to be acknowledged if my work inspires someone else. It’s okay to use someone else’s voice in an image if you’re having trouble finding your own.

It’s important to find your own voice. This is part of that process.

I think there’s a certain stigma in the art community that treats art like this like some kind of condemn-able crime. Like, say, I would have the right (or even WANT) to control this person’s content, because it looks like mine. This person, who has no monetary gain to putting this picture on the internet, or drawing it in the first place. Yes, there are extreme cases of this that ARE wrong. Stealing another artist’s image is WRONG. Selling someone else’s art is WRONG. But this? This isn’t wrong. This is just someone finding inspiration and wanting to make something based on that inspiration. That’s part of learning how to be an artist.

As long as it isn’t traced or just plain STOLEN, or reposted without credit, I‘m okay with it! I’d like to SEE and be linked to art that I’ve inspired because being an artist that people think is good enough to cause inspiration is Amazing! It’s part of the reason I love doing art so much. 

Thank you for letting me know, though!

anonymous asked:

I've recently started working on photography to add to my architectural portfolio, do you have any advice? Should I focus on something over another? Is there a certain style of photography that's normal for architects? Is it a skill worthwhile to display? Any and all advice helps!

There is no “style of photography that’s normal for architects”. You have to find your own voice by exploring different approaches and by photographing different styles of architecture. I would encourage you not to only try one approach and to try different things like showing buildings up close or in context, capturing details and how light interacts with the structure, try different times of the day to photograph structures and above all have fun. When someone is exploring an art with passion it comes across in the work.

Check out these very different approaches to architectural photography, all valid (and excellent) in my opinion:

Sebastian Weiss

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Winter Interrupted (Part 6/?) (Bucky Barnes x reader)

Part 5

Natasha had been feeling particularly bored on the day when things went to hell.  Her morning consisted of the usual; a quick workout, a run that left her legs shaking because she always went a mile or more too long, and a quick shower before the daily team meeting.  All before 6am.  Today, she strolled casually into the kitchen to grab breakfast when she realized that she had forgotten all about it, though it wasn’t necessarily unusual for her to do. She paused, looking around the room behind her, and taking a glance out the door into the hallway, trying her best to not look suspicious as she snatched the last chocolate chip muffin from the basket at the center of the table.  She hummed to herself in contentment, the first bite always the best, and it was a treat that she rarely allowed herself.

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Saturn in the 2nd House

More than the average individual, cultivating your own self-worth is going to be more challenging for you. There are many blockages standing in the way of you truly loving yourself and feeling at ease in your own skin. You must realize that a lot of these blockages are self-created. It’s not enough to say that you suffer from not feeling “good enough.” That is quite a general statement that can apply to everyone at some point in their life. It’s that it might make you deeply resistant to even overcoming this feeling. When you’re caught up in your fears, insecurities, and doubts, without doing the work involved to better yourself, it’s as if no amount of self-help statements, compliments, affection from others, money, or nice things will ever compensate for that crippling feeling of lack. It’s just this emptiness inside that nothing can really fill. But, you may desperately attempt to fill it. It’s not uncommon to see you become a massive, compulsive consumer, under the misguided belief that buying all of this stuff is going to make you a better person. The age-old phrase “money doesn’t buy happiness” applies to you for so many reasons. The first being that, yes, going down the route of extreme materialism isn’t going to get you anywhere, with this placement. If you foolishly think that your worth is tied up in the car you drive, how much money you make, or the house you have, you’ll soon realize how mistaken you are. It’s actually quite a pattern to see your material things repossessed or taken away, in some way that brings your worst fears to life. Eviction or foreclosure notices can plague you, that beautiful car could get wrecked or totaled, and you may even regularly become the victim of theft, major or minor. Your wallet may constantly get lost or stolen or maybe people are just always “borrowing” your stuff, often without even asking and never returning it. All this does is exaggerate the green-eyed monster of greed and possessiveness within you. You have a fear of just losing your shit. I mean literally losing what you have. It’s enough to give you a very neurotic case of “what’s mine is mine.” If you run into someone with this placement who freaks out if you so much as move their laptop or rearrange their books or anything else that’s seemingly harmless, they are still operating out of a place of fear and worry. The root of all of this is your poor self-esteem; the feeling that these possessions are an extension of yourself. It can be tough to feel solid and substantial for you, which is what makes you desperately possessive. Also, the potential for cheapness and stinginess of this placement is legendary. You may have been born to a poor family, or who has quickly and easily learnt to be able to live on minimal resources. You are a survivor who will start your finances from zero. You will dedicate a lot of your time and effort to build your income and establish your security net. You can become a workaholic, or a millionaire, if you’re lucky. In any case, success comes slowly and usually late in life. Nevertheless, when it comes, there is no turning back; you will have a very wealthy old years. You are a logical person who weighs in on every situation with reason and caution. You are all about commitment and responsibility. You take your time in making decisions because you want to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Chaos is not something you want to deal with. In fact, you have difficulty dealing with anything that doesn’t go your way. This inability to go with the flow can muck up the work sometimes and cause problems that you don’t know how to take care of. You don’t like to gamble or otherwise risk losses of wealth. You may sometimes forget about enjoying the money you earn, and keep too much aside for a rainy day. In extreme situations, you can be a very stingy person, which many times is not at all visible to yourself. In addition, you can have melancholic thoughts and depression over material matters, even if things are not going so bad. You frequently worry excessively about whether you have enough money, and having everything you need. You can feel impoverished, regardless of what you own or what you had growing up. You feel very insecure around your own ability to sustain all of these things. You may feel a lack of self- value and security inside and so wealth and ownership represent the only sense of structure you feel is real. You may lean heavily on others for material needs and have not mastered the lessons of self-sufficiency and how to earn a decent living. On the other side, once you’ve mastered these lessons, you will take your finances very seriously and will not rely on others for financial help. It might make you feel depressed for having to spend $25 at the grocery store; for groceries that you most certainly needed. The sheer act of just spending money can be disheartening for you. It’s as if you look at your bank account and want it to remain perfect and only want to build from there. So, any form of spending is seen as a threat to your security. But, of course, this can get absurd. It’s to the point where you can truly worry about ending up in the poorhouse. Your worst fear is poverty, ending up some homeless beggar on the street without a cent to one’s name. This is a worry that can continue far into adulthood, even when you already have cultivated financial security for yourself. The truth is, when you are acting out of fear and anxiety, there is never enough security for you. All you can think about is wanting more and hoarding what you already own. This is another definition of the “money does not equal happiness” mantra. You can spend all that time pinching your pennies and still end up feeling insecure and unhappy, often because you’ve become such a curmudgeon that you can’t help but feel unhappy. It’s quite a breakthrough for you to understand that money has to be enjoyed. You cannot just earn and save in such a rigid fashion without taking the time to not only use your money with an attitude of joy but have a true attitude of appreciation for what you already own. This is a wisdom that dawns on you on your later life. It’s a compulsive feeling for you to feel like you don’t have much. When it comes to your income, you might always say, “I don’t make much money…” When it comes to your home, you might think, “Well, it’s not the nicest place…” In terms of the car you’ve just bought, “Well, it’s not the newest model…” And so on and so forth. It takes maturity for you to realize how you keep undermining yourself by diminishing the worth of whatever you own. You can become a true master at handling money, through plenty of effort, persistence, and discipline, as well as through many stumbles and setbacks. You can experience wonderful success by taking the right attitude toward money. Of course, you have to be practical and disciplined about how you save and spend. At the same time, don’t be too rigid or controlling. If you trust that there is more money coming your way, you will find your income being strengthened significantly. The less you care about money, the more you’ll have, especially since you already possess a skill for handling money efficiently. This combined with your newfound gratitude will bring a steady cash flowing your way. You need to discipline yourself to truly, deeply love yourself, to want to experience real peace of mind. The stability you seek first has to come from within. Then, it can manifest externally. So, I think the only way you will be able to worry less about money or be less neurotic or destructive about it is to be much more comfortable in your skin and worry less about yourself. Doing lots of affirmations to tell yourself that you’re good enough is crucial and will very likely help you through. This is a time where you may be so full of negative inner voices that it’s hard to see anything good about yourself. So, this is when the good sense and simplicity of the 2nd House must be channeled. Just don’t listen to any of those voices! You are very susceptible to people’s input over their worth. The society we live in can be very judgmental and for very superficial reasons. Someone just dropping a hint that you don’t make enough money, for example, is enough to lead you to feel terribly unsure of your worth. Do not look to others for this validation. Find structure in the simplicity of listening to that one voice – your own voice – and making sure this voice is full of love and appreciation for whatever you have and whatever you stand for. It doesn’t matter if it’s “enough” for others. Is it enough for you? This allows you to cultivate the strong values you need to feel accomplished.

Writing Series #5: Actually Writing?

So you’ve plotted the story out, you’ve made all the characters, and now you’re ready to sit down to actually write: how do you do it? There’s the time old advice that says wait for inspiration, that you can’t rush creativity, but for those of us who have deadlines and can’t wait for the lightbulb to turn on, how do you push through and get to writing anyway?

I’ll split this one into two sections: what I do, and the best advice I’ve heard from other people (and that I sometimes follow).

         What I Do: Getting Ready to Write (And to Keep Writing)

In Series #1 I mentioned that I cast my characters. This comes up again now, because in order to remember what my “actor” looks like, I often pull up a youtube video or other media and just listen. It’s important to note that I don’t copy; I’m not using this “actor” so that I can immortalize them in a movie–I’m simply using them as a base. I take into consideration their body language, their tone of voice, the way they hold themselves when they interact with others, and I keep that stored in the back of my mind. This doesn’t have to be done with a celebrity; the same applies if you go to a park or other public place to people watch. The point is to be a witness, to zoom in on human interaction and to remember that characters are people, not just these fantasies we’ve created in our heads. They should act realistically. 

Secondly, I grab a few of my favorite books and set them beside me. I try to keep these books as similar to what I’m writing as possible (if I’m writing a YA first person novel, I’m likely to grab a YA first person novel) and I read a few pages. Again, this isn’t to copy. Let me repeat: do not copy the book! This isn’t a guide on how to plagiarize. The purpose in reading something published is to re-familiarize myself with literary language. In everyday life, we’re surrounded with text talk and casual conversation, and it’s very easy to forget literary sentence structure until we throw ourselves back into that mindset. 

The most readily given advice for any writer is to read, and this applies again here. Reading even just a page–or better yet a full chapter–reminds us how books are organized, the sort of pacing, sentence structure, and narrative theory behind every page. You shouldn’t be copying the words, but you should be copying the novel structure. Find the sort of book you wish you had written, the sort of book that would sit next to yours on a book shelf and really study how it’s organized. Find out how it works, what they did right, and then follow that lead. 

Your book shouldn’t sound like every other book out there, but it should sound like the sort of book you want to read and write. And this is only to begin. You’ll quickly find that once you start writing, you find your own voice and style and are able to roll with it. It’s generally just the white blank page or the starting point that trips us up. 

And sometimes, just having books around me–even if I don’t open them–reminds me what my goal is. It helps to keep from being distracted by the internet or other non-writing activities. 

Other helpful tips: 

  • Make a playlist (I can’t actually write while I’m listening to music, but I often find that it pumps me up to listen to songs that remind me of the story before I begin)
  • Set a timer. When I get truly stumped, I set my phone for 5-10 minutes and tell myself I have to keep writing, nonstop, until it’s finished. It doesn’t mater if it’s terrible, just keep writing. Usually, the first few minutes are a bust, but after that, I break into something I can actually use later. 
  • Turn off the internet. Go into a quiet room. Eliminate distractions. (And if there is something you just can’t get out of your head–like that the floor isn’t vacuumed–go do that thing and try to brainstorm about our story while you’re doing it; while vacuuming is a great time to think after all). 
         Other Useful Advice Others Have Given To Me
  • Write an interview between your character and someone else. Having them answer questions on a spot will force you to hone in on their tone of voice and their outlook on life (what are they willing to share, and what do they keep to themselves? etc.) You may not use this information in the story, but it may just help to drop you into the character’s mindset. 
  • Draw, paint, photoshop, or otherwise make a creative edit of your characters that helps you to visualize them. Sometimes once you can see them, they’ll come to you more regularly on paper. (This might also include making an edit of their wardrobe, their house, etc.)
  • Just keep writing. No matter how bad it is, no matter how much you hate it, keep writing. Eventually you’ll break through to something good. (This was described to me as wading through the mud; eventually you’ll get to the other side of the swamp and back onto solid land, but you have to keep going.) You may have to throw out the first few pages, but if you refuse to give up, eventually you’ll come up with something good. 
  • Work on other chores. A good writer once told me that she does her dishes or dusts the house and pretends that the character is doing those chores instead. This helps to get other obligations done while also getting her excited about the characters’ headspace and learning a bit about how they live their life. 

To all the writers out there: how do you fight past writer’s block or get started on a new story? What helps you to “get in character” and get to work?

Feel free to add to this post or submit your own advice to share with your fellow writers at

Lost in Time

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Long awaited, I know. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story! Also I just want to clarify the war Claire remembers in this chapter. It is a continuation of WW2, sort of. In this story, a war begins again after the twins are born and the war uses nuclear power.

“Where do you think she came from?”

 “I have no idea, mo nighean ruadh.”

There was a long sigh before the voice began again.

 “Her clothes are a bit…queer and she looked at Willie so strangely, like she had seen him before. It gave me a chill.”

There was a creek of the floor as someone moved to the other side of the room.

 “And you’re sure ye have never seen her, perhaps at the castle when ye were a wee one?”

 “No, Brian. I am sure. Lord knows where she came from, but she’s been through a lot, poor thing. We should look after her for now.”

 “She’s English, leannain. Are you sure?”

 “Yes, darling. Quite.”

The voices drifted in and out of Claire’s ear like distant waves in the ocean. She could hear them, but could barley distinguish them from the roaring in her mind.

Time went by slowly in her mind. She fought to grasp anything in the dark oblivion she was stuck in, groping for something familiar. A flash of red danced behind her eyes and suddenly she remembered.


She sat up with a gasp in the large bed, hands flung out on either side of her. She had seen her son!

“You’ll be knowin’ my husband, then?” 

She jumped again when she heard the voice in the far left corner of the room and suddenly the dread that had made her so sick in the first place came back. It hadn’t been her Brian playing in his rightful home and it wasn’t Jamie sitting near her. It was Ellen Fraser currently sitting in the room, staring at her.


Jamie’s beloved mother. Jamie’s mother who would die before she turned grey. One of the women she had named her daughter after. Another pain stabbed at her heart as she thought of her other lost baby. 


In any other circumstance, Claire would have been awed and amazed at the chance to meet the famous Ellen. But seeing her meant that she hadn’t traveled to the right time. Seeing her meant that her children were lost, just like her husband. Jamie.

 “I…no,” she stuttered out, racking her brain for an explanation. The aching pain from the crushing despair of not being with Jamie and her children made her voice rough and starchy with undeniable emotion in it.

Sweat formed all over Claire’s body and her heart pounded hard against her chest. She tried to take a few calming breaths to stop the panic.

Ellen’s head cocked to the side as she watched Claire fumble in bed, wringing the sheets between her hands and Claire suddenly felt that if she lied, Ellen would see right through her. So, she simply decided to tell the truth…with a few slight tweaks. 

“I thought that your son was mine. His name is Brian and he looks a great deal like your own boy.”

Named after your husband, she said silently in her head. She thought it best not to mention it. Claire didn’t think Jamie’s parents would accuse her of being a witch, but she wasn’t about to take that risk.

“Have ye lost your son, then?” Ellen’s brows drew together in concern and empathy as though she tried to imagine what it would be like to lose her own son. “Is that why ye are here?” 

Claire’s heart clenched at the though that she would know that pain all too soon, but was she to warn her? What would happen if she did share her knowledge of her fate and the fate of Willie, who would die of small pox in but a few years? Would she still have met Jamie? Would her children survive?

Clenching her eyes shut to block out Ellen’s face, she simply nodded. “Yes, my son and my daughter. I’ve…I lost them both.” The pain once more rippling across her body like a lash from a whip as she spoke.

Suddenly, she was surrounded by warmth, the smell of fire and red hair. Ellen threw her arms around her and rocked her back and forth like a child. The emotions of the past few days –hell the past few years – caught up with her and the soft touch of a mother caused her to fall apart into Ellen’s warm arms.

“Shush, lass,” she whispered in her ear while brushing her hair away from her forehead. “Be still.”

The feeling of her red hair and the sound of comforting Gaelic evoked a memory of a young man holding Claire on his lap while she fell apart after she fell through time. The man she had so desperately fought for and failed to find.

The image of his face that flashed before her eyes made her sobs come harder. The face she had seen in her –their– children so often.

She remembered the time when she allowed herself to fully see it in her mind for the first time since their separation years ago. 

With Japan and the United States going head to head in combat, the next thing that needs to be discussed is where the next atom bombs will be dropped…”

Frank sighed and punched the wall next to the radio in rage. Claire carefully reached out and turned the radio off before they both went mad. 

“I thought these bloody wars had ended! Haven’t they taken enough of our lives! FUCK!” 

Frank slammed the mantle with his fist, causing the photos of their family to wobble and shake. 

“Please, you’ll wake the twins!” She spoke in a hushed yell, glancing up at the stairwell to make sure they hadn’t woken. 

Frank’s hand immediately oozed with blood and his shoulders shook from repressed sobs.

Claire quietly walked over and laid a hand on his back lightly, feeling all the panic and despair she felt at the new war. The war to end all wars. 

“They say that the next bombs will be dropped in the northeast,” his voice was raw and his fingers curled around the wood of the mantle. “It’s only a matter of time. We need to leave. Take the twins and go.”

A tear fell down her face as she thought of leaving their home. The home that just finally felt a little like home. “There isn’t anywhere safe, Frank. The war will follow us wherever we go.” 

“But Canada is one of the only places that hasn’t been bombed yet, we could–”

“No,” she cut him off softly. He turned around to face her, face red and eyes glistening. She felt a pain in her heart that she couldn’t comfort him more, couldn’t be a wife to him, but that ship had sailed a long while ago. The only thing they could do now was be a comfort to each other. 

“Canada will be involved as soon as next week. No one can sit this war out, not with atom bombs flying around.”

Frank reached out and grabbed onto her tightly, wrapping his arms around her middle so tight that she fought for breathe. She tentatively returned the embrace, remembering a time when that kind of enthusiasm from him would have made her giddy. 

“I just…wanted better for them,” she couldn’t see his face but knew he was looking up at the stairs. “To not live in a time of such destruction.”

“I know,” she sighed, thinking of her children sleeping safe in their beds, as safe as they could be. Bomb sirens had been going off every day since last week, but nothing had come to the Boston area yet.

“Claire…there is one place safe,” Frank stepped back and looked down at his fingers, twisting his wedding band around, unable to look at her.

“Where could that…oh,” she blinked in shock at the suggestion. 

The past. The stones. 

She shook her head and went over to the window to gaze out at the dark street and pressed her forehead against the cool glass. 

It was four years ago that she had fled the past because of its danger and the fall out from another war. Always another fucking war. Jamie had begged her to see their child safe, but now the past seemed like a fairytale compared to the hell the world was in now.

For the first time since she had left, Claire allowed herself to see Jamie in her mind. The mop of messy red hair, his lake-blue eyes, so tender as they looked at her. And for one brief, shining moment, she thought of her children meeting their real father. 

But that couldn’t happen. He was dead. 

A spasm of grief rushed through her and she shook her head hard and turned toward the stairs without a glance to Frank.

“No. I won’t take them there and I won’t discuss this again. Goodnight, Frank.”

She climbed the stairs as fast as she could, leaving the image of the stones and the highlands downstairs and in the past where they would always belong.

Instead, she crept into the room where her children were sleeping, blissfully unaware of the danger that was around them. 

Brian slept on his back with his hands on his stomach and Ellena was on her side with both hands under her cheek. 

Carefully, she reached out and placed a hand on Brian’s cheek, tracing his full cheek and pushing the memory of the man he looked so much like aside. 

She walked over a few feet to her daughter’s bed to kiss her cheek and then walked to the door, gazing back at their still forms, cast in the nightlight. 

“I promise I’ll keep you both safe. No matter what happens.”

The thought that she broke her promise made her cry even harder, hiccuping with the effort. She had failed her children. Ellen smoothed a hand down Claire’s hair and made a hushing sound.

“I dinna ken who ye are or why ye are here,” she said while still keeping a close hold on her. “But I will help ye find your own bairns in the best way I can.” 

Her voice was warm like cinnamon and honey and her was skin soft like cotton and it was the first time Claire had felt safe in a long while.