do you ever just like suddenly realize that you would totally date one of your friends
not like you actively have a crush on them or anything
but like “you are so amazing and great and if you wanted to date me i would be extremely okay with that plan, but if you don’t want to do that i am content to never mention anything about it and i will happily continue being friends and enjoying you platonically”
So I like to think about what would happen if an alien sees, first hand, what a human filled with survival instincts and rage looks like. Mostly I just wanted to write this lol
Th'wed never thought the peaceful cargo ship would have crashed, attacked by smugglers for the rare jewels they had been assigned to watch over once it exchanged hands between them and the Humans. A gift of peace. He remembers sneering when he saw the group in ornamental armor and wondering why such a brutish race had survived so long without destroying itself. He cringed when one of them, a blonde female in the robes of a scribe, bared her teeth. All of them are savages.
When the ship went down on a hostile moon orbiting the gas giant he didn’t expect to survive. But he did, all because the humans covered him and the unshielded female. Waking up covered in the viscera of the crew and surrounded by the twisted perversion of the ship he immediately turned and vomited, uncaring for the tube like filaments on his head being coated in the green slime, the scales on them and his face turning a sickly yellow of fear and pain. The cover did not save him completely from harm, leg snapped all three toes curled in pain like a fist.
That’s when he heard it. The mournful wail that sounded more like a vengeful scream. The scribe was not worse for wear but her companions has no such luck, ornamental armor unable to save them from being pierced by the gutted ship. She kneeled beside another warrior, male perhaps, with a neck twisted in a strange way. She sniffed and to his amazement began gathering the group and the crew members, laying them side by side and crossing their arms, closing the eyes of the ones that still had faces. It was a long process and more than once she had to toss away a limb. He leaned over to vomit again.
When he leaned straight again the unnerving creature was staring at him, eyes wide and glossy. She bared her teeth again and made a strange barking sound that he tried to lean away from.
“Of all the fucking people to survive it’s the chick without a gun and the racist torrin.”
She pointed to the near by body of the male she wept over, his dark skin charred black from the flames.
“His name was Christofer and if he didn’t order them to protect you, you’d be dead. Thank him, if you think you can handle thanking a ‘brutish savage’.
The scales tinged pink with embarrassment. So she had heard him complaining to the captain. He never expected her to help him up, short stature surprisingly sturdy as she helped him limp away into the foliage. He was always amazed that such tiny creatures command such fear. She was patient with the shell shocked male, saving her own tears for when they had found water. She used her outer robe to set his leg and left him to go back and scavenger for supplies. Th'wed doesn’t worry much, taking the moment to mourn as quietly as possible, scales turning a dreary grey. Help will come soon. It has to.
Help did not come. In the passing of the gas giant and the sun, night and day both equal to three earthling days according to his guid, Morgan, she healed the hollow bones of his leg best to her ability but he suspects he will limp for the rest of his life. Her eyes grew colder everyday although she smiles more. He remembers almost fondly the hysterical laughter she had when she explained that her species barred their teeth in joy and politeness. She hunted for them while he used his own knowledge of those sector to find edible plants and fish. Their dynamic grew into a fondness, perhaps even friendship, the smaller alien often touching him. Petting his "hair” or examining his pink hued skin or his clawless limbs. She was fascinated with his eyes, large and round and completely black. Equated him to something she calls an owl.
He often looks back at the day he asked her how she knows to survive and hunt, the smile he is now able to differentiate from becoming cold and predatory.
“I grew up on a ship colony with my brother. When we landed for supplies we had to hunt for our food, too poor to use what credits we had for nutrient blocks. They caught us one day, chopped off my brothers hand when he took the wrap. When I joined the military to provide for them they gave me survival training. Never know when a ship crashes and you have to make it until a ship comes for you.”
His respect grew as he sat in the small lodging they built together. From the craftsmanship of the things she lovingly carved he suspected she wanted to be something else and not a military lackey. The short alien from then on began using familiar nick names and hugging often. Pack instincts. He would have sneered months ago at the notion. She was a peaceful woman who laughed more often than she cried and went against every stereotype he knew. It lulled him in security with her, forgetting the predator she was.
An animal, one he never saw before but was monstrous in size and shape attached him while he gathered one day, snapping his makeshift cane and almost crushing his ribs in one swipe of its spotted paw. It’s long snout split the wrong way, vertical mouth filled with slavering teeth. Knowing he was going to die he lied limp on the forest floor and awaited the golden afterlife. He heard a great roar from behind him and felt the sweeping air of a spear over his body.
The creature backed off while his human crouched over his body, eyes wild, pupils so blown they almost dominate her eyes. Her chest heaves and fists tighten. Looking at her face he felt both of his hearts almost stop in pure fear. He wonders how he could have ever mistaken her smiling for a show of aggression. He can clearly see the artificially sharpened teeth, something he dutifully ignored before, glistening in the reflective shine of the bright red gas giant hanging in the sky.
Opening her jaw in a way he almost couldn’t comprehend he let out a strangled roar and charged the thing. With every swipe it bleed. With every indigent scream it made at her she answered in kind only angrier. It was insistent, probably not used to its food fighting back, and made as to clamp its jaws around her. Screaming for her to run did nothing. She stood there face twisted in rage as she grabbed the closing jaws and. Tore. Them. Off.
She separated the jaws until a wet cracking sound echoed but didn’t stop until she tore it completely free, fingers dripping in blood. Green for the creature and red from her own ripped palms. She tossed back her head and screamed to the sky, red planet outlining her body like a bloody halo. She looked like a god of war her people so love to worship. Rescue came weeks later from a human ship honing onto the beacon from the crash. He was roomed in the med bay while she was escorted away on the large military colony and he didn’t see her for days while he messaged his queen. When she came back she was groomed and wearing the royal blue of a generals uniform, chest glittering with the metals of valor. She grinned and stood at attention.
“We have not been formally introduced. I am general Morgan Regina of sector Terra. I was sent to ensure the first official contact with a new species went well.”
He took the offered hand which he now knows is filled with nanotechnology, turning her bones to metal and her muscles into inexhaustible strength. Even turning off her pain receptors so she will not be hindered with her own pain. Swallowing thickly he wills his face into the unfamiliar stretch of a smile and her eyes glitter at the effort. He fears her. Respects her. And will probably die fighting his people for the alliance her people offer. He is indebted, it seems, to a savage brute.
For all its shortcomings towards the end of its run, xxxHOLiC still holds a special place in my heart.
If you’re not familiar with it, xxxHOLiC is a manga series written
and illustrated by CLAMP, a prolific, all-female group of Japanese manga
artists who have been creating since the mid-eighties. (Their body of work
includes classics such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Angelic Layer, Cardcaptor
Sakura, and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.)
The story follows Watanuki Kimihiro, a high school student
who strikes a deal with a witch. If he becomes her assistant, she’ll take away
the power that leaves him plagued with visions of ghosts and monsters. But
because it’s such a big wish, he’ll have to work for her for…a while. Maybe
forever. So he becomes the witch’s cook, maid, and errand-boy, all wrapped up
Although it runs parallel to and intersects with other CLAMP stories, xxxHOLiC stands fully on its own as a horror story about desire and
addiction. The series consists of short arcs and one-shots, each centering on a particular customer – both average humans and fantastic spirits. Like Watanuki, each
has a wish. Like Watanuki, each must pay a price. Sometimes the cost is as simple as a lock of hair, but other times it wreaks catastrophe on the rest of their life. Thus each customer’s story
becomes an exploration of different aspects of desire – addiction to social
media, academic ambitions, the desire to see a loved one again – and the
effects it can have on one’s life.
There are many lovely
things about this manga: the gorgeous art style, Watanuki’s temper tantrums,
the pervasive creepiness. But the
best part is the witch, Yuuko. Not only is she a total troll with a wicked
sense of style, she is constantly dropping truth bombs:
People are going to disappear from your side, and that’s okay.
I have no friends from my elementary school left. Yes, I had friends, but they aren’t in touch with me anymore. I drifted apart from them, because we found ourselves liking other things.
We moved on, and that’s okay. We were growing up.
I have no friends from my middle school days left. My circle of friends changed, and I found myself liking more people who defied the odds. Who challenged authority. Who questioned the world we lived in. However, most of them grew out of the things I liked, and I stayed loving my childhood cartoons and fantasy stories.
They moved on, but I didn’t, and that’s okay.
I kept a few of those friends throughout high school. I also gained a few friends. I was really into Anime at this point, and a lot of my friends were too. It was a common place we could find refuge in from the real world, while also finding stories to fit the real world into the ideals we found necessary.
I have one good friend left from high school. I still talk to a few on a rare day to day basis. Most have moved on, had kids, and made a life for themselves. Some went to the other side of the country, and some have moved to other countries. Some became too busy with life to hang out anymore, and others wish they could’ve stayed in touch but never found the time.
Their lives went in different directions than mine, and that’s okay.
Along my path of life, I keep meeting new people, and meeting new friends. Some with only one thing in common and desperate for someone to listen to them. Some with a plethora of things in common that click instantly. Some friends I can’t imagine my life without anymore. I never know who I’m going to find.
But eventually, even now, the friends I meet might disappear in the future, and that’s okay.
We are ever changing as humans, but we are never alone forever. Some people are walking very close to our path, just out of eyesight, because they weren’t meant to meet us yet. Others are too afraid to walk on our path. And some friends are in the line of our horizon, waiting for us to catch up.
And yes, there are going to be times when you’re walking alone. It’s going to feel like no one is going to join your path. You’re going to feel like everyone hates you, and wonder why no one wants to be your friend.
It doesn’t last forever, I promise.
So remember, when you feel alone, that all of your friends are leaving, that the world is never going to be the same, that you’re not worth keeping around, it’s not forever. It’s life transitioning.
Last fall, I presented a paper on relationship anarchy. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term (or concept), it can loosely be understood as a style of interpersonal relationships that doesn’t prioritize or hierarchialize relationships with others based on what takes place within them, at least a priori. In short, there’s a uniqueness to each relationship which makes their translation between relationships difficult to gather––a kind of ineffability that gets lost or violated in the transition. So, for example, you may relate with someone in a way that tends to be more like friendship: perhaps you sometimes get together for coffee, talk about things that are going on with your life, go for walks, make dinner together sometimes, etc––but, sometimes you mess around, not too often, but sometimes. Then, you may have another relationship that is a bit more weighty––for one reason or another it’s got a trajectory that shoots out into the future, a place where you may see yourself growing vegetables and living together, sharing projects, intertwining intricately. And then, just to have more than two examples, you may have a friend that is more traditionally just a friend: you watch hockey together, talk about books you’ve been reading, get a drink, whatever. There’s a complex calculus taking place in all of these relationships, a shifting definition, murky waters, not only interrelationship but intrarelationship, as well––just because you fucked around last time doesn’t mean it’ll definitely happen this time, just because you didn’t hold one another last time doesn’t mean you won’t this time, etc.
The point being is that, out of the gate, you can’t prioritize based on the activities that go on within the relationship––the only thing that can be said is that the relationships differ. Now, in lived experience, you may want to spend more time with the person who you see yourself growing vegetables with (this is one of the miserable aporias of existence: love seems infinite, but time isn’t…) but this isn’t because you have sex or because you don’t have sex, it isn’t because they’re “more than a friend” or whatever coarse terminology is hoisted upon it––it’s because that’s the way that relationship goes, its particular mode––you require more time with them for one reason or another: they ignite you, they unravel you beautifully, they support you unflinchingly, they catalyze splendid complexity and nuance.
After I presented this paper, I spent some time with one of my former professors, a vibrant and shimmering man with a long philosophical history, but more importantly an insatiable thirst for life, gaiety, and joy––his continuing project being resolutely existential and affirmative. As we rode the bus late at night, he said to me something to the effect of: I absolutely loved your paper, why would we ever want people to be with us who don’t want to be with us? Why would we ever want to exercise power and control over loved ones, for that negates or corrodes love, rots it constitutionally. And then, in passing, right before I got on the bus I was transferring to without him, he said something to the effect of: what you need to be able to do relationship anarchy well is an incredible amount of radical aloneness. At the time, this comment slid right off me, it didn’t stick for an instant longer than hearing it and offering a surface response without thinking, “Yeah, you’re right, I think.”
What does radical aloneness mean, anyway. To me, it’s some sort of commitment to your shit, what you’ve got going on, a wellness and health that supports engagements with others, comes to the rescue when you want to lash out and heave at others, take people down because of your own insecurities. One who has cultivated an abundant radical aloneness can let the other be because they’ve got their own projects and projections, their own vital flow. If the one they love wants to be with others for whatever reason, they can be upset and bothered, even jealous of course, but on the whole everything is okay, for they are fecundity. You only know you haven’t cultivated radical aloneness when it’s too late, when you need it, unfortunately. Radical aloneness shouldn’t be equated with the singular or the individual either––sometimes radical aloneness means that you have fostered relationships with others that support you and supplement you. Other times radical aloneness means being actually alone, but alone is of course always populated by others as well, even if you’re alone in space at a given time.
Events of late have lead to reflect upon the ways that I create, sustain, and tend to my sense of radical aloneness. I think that, in other circles, this would be taken up as self-care, but this is unfortunate, I think. Radical aloneness can encompass what is broadly construed as self-care, sure, but sometimes radical aloneness means fleeing the self, evacuating the self’s rigid postures and habits, and setting out on unforeseen trails––instead of watching over the self, dismantling the self, letting the light shine in, opening up a window, cracking things up a bit. Maybe I’m being too fine with distinctions, but I think there’s a difference. Beyond that, I think that radical aloneness is the wellspring of being with others confidently and creatively: it is from this shimmering becoming that we can glow with others, connect with others in productive and dazzling ways. Radical aloneness as generative and combinatorial, experimental and stochastic, seeking to build and proliferate. Sometimes self-care is necessary to do this: sometimes you just need someone to make you an avocado sandwich, but an avocado sandwich isn’t going to propel you into radiance, just get you into the position where you can once again have the opportunity to luxuriate.
Maybe in subsequent posts I can explore the ways in which I cultivate this radical aloneness, or perhaps the times when it would have been immensely useful to have access to.
Hey, I'm curious. Is there anything psychologically different between Novel-Izaya and Anime-Izaya, and is there any difference between Novel-Shizuo and Anime-Shizuo?
Oh my, where do I even begin?
There are definitely things psychologically different from Novel-Izaya and Anime Izaya.
(Fun fact - Anime is an anagram of Namie, I just mispelled it lol)
I talked about it in this post some time ago. Generally, anime Izaya is made to seem invincible especially in the first season. And because they left out important novel scenes, there’s inconsistency in his character. For example, how did he get knocked out so easily by Slon while talking to Kujiragi when he had the advantage before? It was actually because Kujiragi mentioned Shizuo and Izaya ‘fell silent’. She spoke about Shizuo being a hindrance and thanked Izaya for landing him in jail.
Whether he was worried about Shizuo or not, Izaya’s moment of silence and the description of his bad feeling shows that he’s not invincible even though he suddenly seemed to gain the upper hand. He was affected by his human feelings and emotions when Kujiragi mentioned Shizuo, for whatever reason.
I took that as a Shizaya moment because it was very unusual for Izaya. But the point is, Izaya has human feelings and emotions that can render him vulnerable to unexpected consequences and is definitely not invincible, even though he may seem like it.
This link was something the anime left out, the novels expands on this further with his conversations with other characters and the telephone pole scene where he punched a telephone pole as he thought of betraying Shinra.
In retrospect Shinra, who lived confidently above this world, did invoke some jealousy in him.
Yet he was attempting to betray even a friend like that. Not a friend by Izaya’s standards, but a “friend” as defined by most people in the world.
He’ll probably be mad at me if he finds out that I went to meet Celty taking the head with me.
Izaya couldn’t help but laugh slightly as he pictured his only “friend” by the world’s standards getting mad at him.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
This is the way I have lived my life all along, he laughed as he thought –
Laughed – Laughed –
He clenched his right fist and slammed it hard into the telephone pole next to him.
- Durarara Volume 9
This was a very important scene in Izaya’s character development especially after they showed his past with Shinra, his only friend. It shows Izaya’s conflict over his own desires which has governed the way he has lived all along and one of his only two relationships - the friendship he has with his only friend. Izaya was affected by a human relationship, and it really shows he isn’t some villain but just an abnormal human who is eternally true to his own desires (but is still affected by relationships like everyone else)
I’m working on a theory for Izaya’s attachment to humanity. It’s taking much longer than I thought since I lack the time to sit down and finish it. But I intend on showing how Izaya is actually very human. It will of course include reference to the Shinra stabbing incident as Izaya said himself it was probably the only thing that affected the formation of his personality in a significant way. I’ll also refer to the interviews about Izaya in his novel. So I’m currently integrating all the information together, both old and new about Izaya to formulate a theory that may explain Izaya’s attachment to humanity. You might want to look out for that if you’re interested in the psychology of novel Izaya.
Other than novel Izaya not being invincible (both psychologically and outwardly), I guess another psychological difference would be that Izaya is actually a very private person. The impression I got from the first season was that Izaya was a very open person (not open-mindedness, as in socially open).
But Izaya behind all his talk and interaction is actually very private. You don’t see it in the anime, but in the novel he thinks to himself a lot, reflects quite a bit, and generally is…very confident in his own identity internally. For example, Mikado’s first impression of Izaya was not that he was a weird person, but that he looked like an ‘intellectual that gave tuition in some remote district’. It speaks to the demeanor novel Izaya has that Mikado would form such an impression of him.
Even though he might seem open with humans, Izaya actually keeps to himself a lot. Shinra said himself in his interview that Izaya’s not the type to stand in front of people. You can see that in both the novel and anime version of middle school Izaya. While he was portrayed like a rebel in the anime, in the novel he was just distant and enjoying observing humans. He was actually a model student, not a rebel, so that’s another difference in portrayal there.
What a strange guy.
I’ll just keep observing him in the future.
But I have to watch out. Getting too close to him might be dangerous.
So this is just a small scene when Izaya thinks as he watched Shinra leave to go home to Celty (though he didn’t know that yet). But even with Shinra Izaya is already distancing himself. He tells himself he can’t get too close to Shinra, can’t let himself be too affected and involved in their friendship. Perhaps he’s apprehensive Shinra wouldn’t satisfy his expectations, perhaps he just doesn’t want to become like everyone else - whatever the reason is, Izaya has, since young, kept a distance between himself and humans. So much that he has to be ‘wary’ when he feels himself getting closer to Shinra than necessary.
At first sight, he looked like a gentle-natured man of slender build, but his features had a relative sharpness in them, making him the perfect exemplification of the word “handsome”. He was smiling as if willing to accept anything in the world as part of him; yet at the same time his eyes shone without mercy as if he held contempt for everything except himself. The way he dressed was idiosyncratic, but it was hard to point at why. Overall, he gave an elusive and mercurial vibe.
- Durarara Volume 5
What are the implications of this? Well, it just shows how distant Izaya is from humans. And how he keeps to himself. Even though he’s handsome, it doesn’t matter to him, and he may only use his good looks for human observation and not any socialization. He has a stable internal perception of his love for humans, so he’s willing to accept anything, but at the same time he’s the only one who understands his love for humans so he holds a contempt for everything except himself.
One reason why could be his tendency to keep things to himself and how he’s a private person. Like, he says he loves humans and declares love for humans but except with Shinra (and a reluctant Shizuo), doesn’t try to form any sort of relationship with them. He doesn’t try to connect to them in a way they can understand (maybe because he can’t because of his upbringing) and so they can’t understand him. And so he’s left with him only understanding himself and being shunned and outcast from society, which will naturally breed contempt.
That might be why Izaya seems mysterious and ‘elusive’ - because he’s such a private person. He’s more introverted in the novels, in that it seems natural for him to be alone with his thoughts. I guess you can kind of see this in Volume 5 where he’s shown to have stayed at an internet cafe alone while working on his plans for the city, left alone and walked away alone, he basically just does things alone.
Novel Izaya is also not in control of everything. Well you can see that in the anime as well when he got knocked out twice. But I mean, he’d move the piece that will give him the most advantage, but generally he’s open to any result. He just seems like he’s in control all the time because he accepts everything that happens (except with Shizuo). Because he loves humans unilaterally and doesn’t have any personal feelings or relationships with them (except Shinra and Shizuo) So again, he’s not invincible in his predictions. He does have some idea of how things will go and what he wants to see, but he’s less of a ‘mastermind’ in that sense. He’s still a mastermind, but has less of the ‘mastermind mindset’? In that he doesn’t expect everything to go according to plan.
And I suppose novel Izaya is more sensitive. You don’t see it in the anime, but when he was left out of hotpot, it was mentioned he ‘felt more lonely than usual’. Tsukumoya said that he’s lonely but accepts that loneliness. And he was not happy at being left out of the events of Volume 4, which is part of the reason why he wanted the ‘city’s holiday’ to be over. He’s more human in that sense. Like, he’s a logical minded man, but he actually acts on his feelings quite a bit. He is affected by his feelings, sometimes even driven by them (like in the death match with Shizuo) and is definitely human.
Also, novel Izaya is more like a child. As in, there are various times in which he’s described like a kid having fun. So in that sense he really doesn’t have any malice. He just wants to see, like a kid discovering more about the world. Shiki agrees with this, in both the novels and his interview for Izaya’s novel. I’ll be expanding on this with my Izaya attachment theory in the future.
Can you please do RFAs + MC who lacks interest in dating due to bad relationship experience in the past?
Anon Said: Hiya!! I’m sorry if this one is too specific, but can you do the RFA/V/Saeran reacting to a poly MC who’s other (non RFA) partner cheated on them and MC doesn’t really know what to do? I’m sorry that it’s so specific,,, I just really need some comfort right now…. I’m so sorry
Whoa, this has been sitting in our inbox forever, so sorry! We combined these because they seemed to fit together.
You and Zen were good friends
When you introduced him to your significant other, he was a little wary, but accepted the situation
One day, he walked into his coworker’s dressing room to ask them a question and saw your boyfriend kissing his stylist
He felt horrible, but he quickly snapped a photo before they noticed
He talked to you later and showed you the photo, trying to be of some comfort as you started crying
Of course, you dumped the cheater right away
Zen was the best support as you tried to recover
But it was a really tough time for you since you were very emotionally attached to your ex
Unfortunately for Zen, he was slowly developing feelings for you this whole time
But he was terrified of saying anything after all you’ve been through
He could tell, after a few months, you still weren’t ready for any new relationship
His confession is an accident after you asked why he hadn’t been dating for awhile
When you find out, you cut yourself off from him for a little while
He understands and waits for you, but you do sort out your own feelings and find you like him too
Turns out he’s so much better than anyone you’ve had before
You found out by accident when you and Yoosung were out getting some ice cream
Then you saw someone who looked oddly like your current boyfriend
So you pull out your phone and ask where he was
You watched as he blatantly lied to you while on a date with someone else
Yoosung watched this all unfold and followed you out
Not without “accidentally” running into the guy and smearing ice cream all over him
Yoosung finds you nearby crying on a bench
You hadn’t been dating the guy long, but this had been the third relationship you’ve either been cheated on or dumped
He tried to convince you otherwise as you started putting yourself down
He had liked you for quite awhile, so it was hard to see you like this
After seeing what these relationships had done to you, he starts dropping subtle hints about his feelings for you
“It’s okay….you’ll find people out there. Sometimes they’re closer than you think.”
You were super oblivious to it for a long time, simply because you had stopped believing anyone could actually love you
Still, Yoosung stayed by you whenever you needed someone…even just a friend
After a really, really long time, your hard head got it
You were determined to make Yoosung the happiest person on the earth
You wanted to surprise your long time significant other with cake on a stick
You asked Jaehee to come along to help you
When you tracked him down, you were shocked to see him with his arm around someone else
He sees you and is quick to explain that it is his cousin
Only, his “cousin” says, “Oh! Is that your cousin that you have a photo of in your wallet?”
Jaehee just shakes her head honey that’s not his cousin
You drop the cake and rush away
Jaehee follows you just to make sure you’re okay
She makes you come back to her place
You’re a complete mess for the next few hours but Jaehee is very calm and comforting
She’s really the reason you’re able to get back on your feet after the whole ordeal
She encourages you to get more hobbies and hangs out with you more often
Eventually, she comes to you and says, “MC…I think I’m ready to take this friendship to the next level.”
“You mean…best friends?”
He saw the signs
His father had been in more than one relationship, and not all of his partners were faithful
So, Jumin tried to warn you, but you brushed him off
A few weeks later, he finds out his intuition is correct when you show up at his house crying
He brings you inside and listens to the whole story, his heart breaking a little with each of your sobs
He takes it on himself to make sure you get back on your feet and recover
He invites you over often, calls or texts whenever he can, and gives you as much attention as you need when you’re with him
But all this time with you is making him realize his own feelings
Still, he could tell you were far from ready
It hurt more because you thought you were burdening him
You kept trying to match him with other women, thinking he might feel unhappy with you
Finally, he just gets sick of it and admits his feelings
You’re shocked, but you graciously say you’ll take the time to think about it
That night, you think over a lot of things and you know you like him…but you’re still not sure about a relationship
When you tell him, he’s very patient and offers to take it slow
So, you two do…and eventually those soft feelings start to develop over time
You’re so glad you took the risk
Your boyfriend was acting distant lately
You started to see some changes in his behavior as well, which were draining to you
Feeling suspicious, you ask Seven if he could do you a favor and do a light background check
He’s all too happy, seeing how the relationship has been toxic to you
He comes back with the worst news…your boyfriend was actually married with a kid, and he was cheating on his wife with you
Of course, he didn’t tell you the other havoc he wreaked on the man’s life
Your encounter with your “boyfriend” was ugly and horrible, and you couldn’t bear going back home after
So you’re sitting in your car crying, and Seven calls you
When he hears you, he immediately tells you to come over
He’s prepared with all your favorite foods and stuff, but it doesn’t seem to work
He finally manages to calm you down by just sitting there and listening
It’s just too much hearing you hurt like that, and he just slips up that he loves you
It doesn’t bode well…you’re definitely not ready for that and you distance yourself from him
He respects your wishes and stays away from you, beating himself up for his mistake
But after a very long time, you realize you might actually miss his friendship…or perhaps you wanted something more all this time
You go back to him and confess, but he’s still hesitant as he doesn’t want to pressure you
So, he goes by your pace and you know you can rely on him for anything
You found out your boyfriend had cheated on you and you wanted to confront him
But you were little nervous, so you asked Saeran if he could linger nearby
He wasn’t sure why, but he agreed and joined you
He watched as you two argued and things got really heated
But when he saw the man raise a hand to hit you, he snapped
He intervened right away, punching the man squarely in the face enough to stun him
Then he grabbed you and dragged you far away from the place
You were pretty badly shaken up, so he sat you down and waited for you to calm
He started to become more protective of you after that
And he also tried to help you recover, since you tried locking yourself up
In the process, he got to know you a lot better and started realizing he was falling fast and hard
Between you trying to build yourself up again and him trying to figure his own issues out, he said nothing for a long time
Little did he know, his support had softened your heart
One day, you tell him, “I don’t want to rush things, but….I think I might like you.”
Suddenly, he has nothing more to hide
Maybe it might take some time, but you two work it out together
You were in a pretty verbally abusive situation as it was
V recognized it, and tried to help you see it, but you couldn’t
Until you found out your significant other of three years had been cheating on you
When V found out, he immediately reached out to you
He had been in a similar situation, so he tried to walk you through as much as he could He was there whenever you needed to talk
You two started spending more and more time together
You just felt so comfortable around him
Neither of you quite remember when you started to fall for each other
It happened slowly and naturally
Dating was a smooth transition after what you two had gone through
So many ideas swirled in my head for these two, but hopefully you enjoy this. (And we can thank a messenger fox for making this possible!)
First Kiss Headcanon:
- Kallias and Viviane technically had their first kiss when they were quite young - though Kallias refuses to consider it their “official” first kiss.
- It’s quite a story that always brings a laugh out of Viviane who vividly recalls that fateful day.
- As a teen Kallias was followed by a flock of females (and a few males) who were out to seek his hand in marriage.
- He fled to the barn where the messenger foxes were kept in the hopes of hiding from his suitors.
- Viviane was in the building playing with the foxes when Kallias arrived breathless from his close escape.
- She laughed when Kallias told her his plight regarding the horde of fae who wished to be his spouse.
- Viviane cheekily offered to be his guard to ward of the suitors along with the little army of messenger foxes.
- Kallias chuckled. Thankful that Viviane’s humor could relieve the stress he was currently feeling.
- He half-heartedly told her that the only way to make the suitors leave is if they believed he was already spoken for in terms of a lover.
- Immediately once the words left his mouth he wish he could take them back. He wanted more than anything for Viviane to fill that role - to be his lover, friend and wife…but the risk was too great if those of the Court wished to use her against him.
- Viviane, clearly noticing Kallias’ troubled expression, wanted to take away his pain. He was her closest friend and at times she felt that their bond of friendship was perhaps stronger than they imagined.
- So she moved on instinct. Not thinking about anything else other than comforting Kallias.
- Viviane moved to kiss his cheek - a gesture that she had done before and usually brought a sigh of happiness from Kallias, but at that moment a messenger fox leapt into Kallias’ lap.
- The movement jarred Kallias as he turned his head causing his and Viviane’s lips to collide.
- It was so quick, but the moment their lips touched it was as if the breath was stolen right from their chests.
- “Kallias I-!” Viviane leaped up. “I - I didn’t mean to kiss you - well actually I was going to kiss you - but not like that.”
- As Viviane stuttered out apology after apology Kallias was frozen stiff in shock.
- His face turned pink as he recalled how her soft lips felt against his in that brief moment that he wished could have lasted an eternity.
- Of course Viviane chose that moment to take his face in her hands with worry coating her eyes. Her gentle fingers on his cheeks made them flush as she leaned forward to inspect his face.
- “Kallias you’re turning red! Should I call a physician? Is there something I can do to help?!”
- Kallias swallowed down the sudden urge to pull her back in for another kiss. And he tampered down the need to tug her into his lap and show her just how exactly she could help him.
- But Kallias brushed those thoughts away like snow upon his shoulders. Maybe one day he could answer those desires, but today was not the day…
- It wouldn’t be until many years later for the to day arrive when Kallias and Viviane would kiss again after he arrived back from Under The Mountain.
- And this time as their lips touched, Kallias made sure that it lasted.
- His fingers threaded in Viviane’s long hair as he poured all of his hope and love into their kiss.
- He could feel Viviane match his need. She desperately tugged him impossibly closer as she kept whispering his name between breaths.
- Their tongues tasted each other and their hands were constantly in motion.
- Each of them murmuring words that they had been holding back for so long - words that echoed from the depths of their souls and spoke of a dream that had finally became a reality.
- Their reunion of a kiss sent them tumbling into the snow where they finally broke apart slowly yet their hands remain latched onto each other.
- “Now that was a kiss,” Viviane whispered.
“And I plan to do that everyday for the rest of our lives,” Kallias paused. “If you’ll have me that is.”
- Viviane blinked. “Are you…proposing?” Hope laced Viviane’s tone as her eyes widened in disbelief.
- The nervous smile on Kallias’ lips was enough to answer her as he brushed snow from her hair and rested his hand upon her blushing cheek.
- For the next hour Viviane made sure that her answer was quite clear amid kisses and touches that made Kallias moan in happiness.
- And so Kallias’ dreams of Viviane being his lover, friend and wife came true…and to both of their delight they would soon add mate to those titles as well.
¡Hola, Cassie! I have a question about Julian and Cristina. They've been my favorite characters. Julian, so sweet, suffering and sad; and Cristina, that I felt it as the heart of the book and its characters. But as I read TDA, I had the impression that Cristina and Julian haven't developed any friendship. A pleasant companionship, perhaps, but not friendship. So, we'll can see a deep friendship between Julian and Cristina in LoS? Muchos besos.
I’m delighted you like Jules and Cristina! I would say pleasant companionship describes it pretty well. Which isn’t to say that they will never deepen their friendship, but Julian has exactly one friend: Emma, who he trusts because he has known her all his life. Right now, under the burden of all his secrets, it is nigh impossible for him to make friends outside his family. As for Cristina, she is Emma’s friend, her very close friend, the person in whom Emma confides about Julian. It would be very difficult for Cristina to become Julian’s deep friend and retain Emma’s total trust and confidence.
It’s totally normal to want your favorite characters to be friends, but characters do have loyalties and come with previous baggage. There is a primacy of other relationships in Cristina’s life — Jaime; Mark; Emma; Kieran; Diego, all of whom are deeply enmeshed in her life in LoS. Not to say she and Julian won’t be friends, just to say there’s a reason for their distance.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena) is a 1997 anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Utena Tenjou is an eighth-grade girl who wishes to become a prince, and because of it gets caught up in a strange dueling game played by her fellow middle- and high-schoolers. As Utena fights to protect – and befriend – Anthy Himemiya, her shy classmate but also the mysterious Rose Bride at the center of the duels, the stakes become higher and the game more dangerous.
Utena is an amazing and very worthwhile anime, but it is also an extremely intense and disturbing one. I love the show, but it is irresponsible to recommend it to people without a warning about the subject matter. I believe Utena has the potential to be be very cathartic and comforting for people, especially wlw, who’ve experienced trauma, but also very dangerous with regard to triggers. I’ve put together this guide so that people curious about the show can be forewarned and watch it in safety, or choose not to if they deem it too disturbing.
Many thanks to the volunteer editors/proofreaders who helped me complete this!
Hey I read somewhere on your blog that you believe that Sans doesn't remember the resets and just figures out that it happens. Since I'm on the side of Sans remembering resets can you show me what evidence or argument you have for your opinion. I want to find out which is more likely to be cannon (cause I don't think Toby said anything about that).
EDIT: I wrote this about a week ago and thought I’d completely lost it. But I managed to find it today so I’m posting it now. I’m not bothering to re-read it however. So this was written a week ago so my mood was probably in a different place than it is right now (aka more combative and aggressive). Anyway here ya go. Hopefully I wasn’t THAT big a jerk here;
I haven’t finished my Pacifist run through yet so I don’t know if he says anything in that playthrough, but considering most of the direct contact you have with Sans is in the Genocide run through it may not matter (Please don’t correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll get to Pacifist when I’m ready myself)
At the end of Genocide, (If you’ve played the game before obviously) Sans reveals a lot of info about how much he knows regarding the resets, and it’s very telling as to HOW he got the information.
When he confronts the human in the Hall of Judgement at the end, it’s because he’s reached the conclusion that the human will not stop and nothing can change that based on him just watching the Genocide run from a distance. He’s also come to the conclusion that the human is impossible to stop, THIS he mentions based not on what he remembers, but by what he’s discovered himself.
He mentions talks a lot about “our Reports” and stuff. (forgive me if my exact wording isn’t correct) as well as “their analysis”. He mentions how “they” have been monitoring the situation and have “noticed a lot of flux in the timespace continuum” and how timelines keep changing and altering, and through analysis “they’ve” come to the conclusion that he human is the one responsible for the changes in events, always in the human’s favour.
(That seems like a very strange question to ask if he knew for a fact, isn’t it?)
If Sans simply remembered the timelines and knew the human could reset things then why the hell would he need data and analysis to know all that?
He has residual memories, but then so does everyone else. He mentions that “He can’t help but feel that we were once friends”. He mentions this not as a memory, but as a lingering feeling (much like Toriel remembers which kind of pie you like although she’s not sure HOW she remembers or even knows that). Sans has a feeling that there was perhaps a friendship between the human and himself, but he cannot really remember it. Which is PART of the reason the whole thing has him so despondent. He realised that a reset doesn’t just take away what could have been a happy ending; it doesn’t even have the decency to let you REMEMBER the happy ending.
So he uses that residual memory as a weapon to literally backstab you. It’s another ploy to cut you down because at this point Sans is pulling out every trick he has the longer you’re able to keep up with him because he’s just fucking done with you. Later on if you KEEP coming back and fighting him he says “if we ever WERE friends, don’t come back.”
People seem to forget that Sans is a LIAR. He lies throughout most of the game. And a LOT of the things he does are deliberate ploys to misdirect or hide the truth. Most of the time it’s not malicious, most of the time it’s legit just a survival strategy, sometimes it’s just to be a bit of a jerk because Sans is a practical joker by nature, but if you start becoming a problem in a genocide run, he doesn’t magically start telling the truth all the time. He only starts mentioning a memory of being friends with the human after he starts sweating and getting tired in the fight. He realises you’re not as easy to put down. and only THEN does he even bother mentioning the possibility of being friends before. It’s another ploy using what little info he has. Even Sans’ info says he’s “the easiest enemy” which is an obvious lie. People forget that Sans is all about misdirection and blatant lying in various degrees which is part of the reason his fight is insanely frustrating. He keeps telling you things about his attacks or what’s about to do which are either misleading or just outright untrue.
So Sans has residual memories, but that doesn’t mean he remembers anything with clarity. He’s no different from the other monsters. He just happens to be insanely smart, and he’s extremely scientifically minded. I’m not sure who the “They” are that he talks about. My first instinct would be he’s talking about Alphys but he never mentions her by name so I’m unsure about that one.
But again, the point is, why the hell would Sans talk about reports and data to “figure out what’s going on” if he remembered and could just say “oh shit! The human’s resetting to get the odds in their favour!” you don’t need all this science hoo-ha for THAT! If Sans remembers the resets and decided he needed to do a bunch of science to figure out what’s going on… he’d be kinda stupid wouldn’t he? And Sans has shown through VARIOUS other situations in the game that he is ANYTHING but stupid.
People mistake Sans’ deductive reasoning for “oh he remembers!” and for the life of me I cannot understand why. If people actually listened to what he says instead of memeing about bad times maybe this wouldn’t be such a problem. But honestly, if you’re somebody who actually played Genocide (unlike me who watched it on youtube I guess) I can kinda understand missing some of this, since you’re so stressed out by the fight and trying to survive you may not be absorbing Sans’ conversation. (Much like I had people tell me they actually completely missed Papyrus leaving the Royal Guard when he calls you in Waterfall because the person playing is so busy trying to survive Undyne’s attacks that that little bit of info often goes unnoticed)
Why would Sans be such a special snowflake to remember things when literally NOBODY ELSE (besides Flowey but he’s a special case) remembers anything but residual stuff? It just doesn’t make sense.
Long story short; Sans is smart and figured it out using the tools he had available to him. He didn’t need a “special circumstance” (ie memory) to get the answers. He had exactly the same info as everyone else, but was intelligent (and distrusting) enough to look into the situation a little deeper since he had the resources to do so.
I had to watch a little of this fight for these screenshots and I hate watching this fight more than anything in the world so I hope you’re happy)
I think the worst damage TLJ did to Finn/Poe as a ship is not the lack of interaction or subtext between the two, but that it establishes Finn doesn’t really consider Poe a close friend.
Now, in defense of Finn, he never wanted to join the Resistance. He didn’t think they stood a chance against the First Order even when they were at their best. He initially saved Poe from Kylo Ren’s clutches because he needed a pilot to help him escape. He only promised to help BB8 get home because he needed Rey to fly him out of the system. He lied to Leia about knowing how to bring down Starkiller’s shields so he could use the Resistance to rescue Rey – a deception which even rankled Han Solo when he figured it out. So, yes, it’s a bit unfair to blame Finn for wanting to escape the Raddus. The truth is he is concerned with protecting himself and his own, a small circle of people which TLJ makes clear Rey is a part of while Poe is not.
Finn tells Rose outright that “this fleet is doomed.” He’s checking out. He’s got the beacon that will prevent Rey from unwittingly becoming collateral damage and he’s got to get it as far away from the last bastion of the Resistance as possible. He does not even try to justify this to Poe or Admiral Holdo, who rationally might have even agreed with him. Like, “Oh shit yeah well I guess it WOULD be a terrible mistake to draw her into this disaster, okay Finn you take that and go. Force be with you and whatever.” Finn’s not even thinking about Poe when he tries to sneak out. And really, Finn and Poe have only known each other for about a week? Maybe? Most of which was time Poe was presumed dead or Finn was unconscious. In all, there’s not much opportunity for building a bond there.
Herein lies one of my biggest frustrations with Rian Johnson: he said there wasn’t much room for development between Finn and Poe because they were “too alike” and he wanted to split them apart. As a writer I understand how your narrative can get boring if there’s no conflict, but I submit there would have been a MAJOR conflict if it had been Poe who caught Finn sneaking off into an escape pod rather than Rose. Poe is very much invested in the fate of the Resistance. He addresses the fighters and bomber pilots on a first-name basis, even while in combat. The comics establish most of these people are friends from the Republic navy or people he’s known since childhood and considers family. I imagine hearing Finn utter the phrase, “This fleet is doomed” would have gutted him. And subsequently having to work together on a long-shot plan might have made the Canto Bight/Supremacy detour an exercise in repairing and strengthening a damaged friendship –and perhaps laid the foundation for a romantic relationship – between two major characters rather than just separating them to create as many distasters as possible. I’m not saying I dislike Rose (I think Kelly Marie Tran is a goddamn gift), but incorporating yet another cast member in a series that is already struggling to develop four new leads alongside laying to rest the story of the preceeding three heroes just strains the time resource even further.
A big critique going around is that Canto Bight feels like “plot fluff” in an already very-long movie. I wish it could have been an experience where Finn and Poe, who maybe start off on this excursion on bad terms, learn from each other and learn more about each other. Poe needs to realize that Finn is a human who’s never had the chance to exercise free will in his life; that shouldering him with heroic expectations is an unfair burden for a guy who’s still learning who he is outside of stormtrooper armor. And Finn could have gained some insight into why a good man like Poe would choose to give up everything for the Resistance without being forced or indoctrinated, and why the galaxy needs good people in that fight. They build trust, and even though their plan fails they will move forward stronger than before. It still ties in to the overall theme of picking up and moving on from your mistakes.
Instead Finn is living with a huge lie. When Poe asks how he and Rose met of course Rose covers for him, and Finn comes around and does right by the Resistance in the end. But imagine if in the next movie the beans get spilled and Poe finds out that Finn was going to leave them all to die. There’s no way that goes well. Whether Finn keeps living the lie or comes clean, either way puts a damper on this ship successfully playing out, at least in my opinion.
One of the saddest little moments to me of ADWD is the short conversation between Asha and Alysane Mormont in “The King’s Prize”. Asha is at a pretty low point in that chapter, personally and politically. Her ankle broken during the skirmish outside Deepwood Motte, all but a few of her men slain, herself taken captive and paraded in chains in the midst of Stannis’ host, Asha knows that she’s been defeated. She is trapped among people who either want her for her claim to Pyke or despise her as the kraken’s daughter, the living symbol of ironborn invasion into the North, yet she is powerless to both; her army is gone, and her defeats have too clearly marked her a failure in ironborn eyes.
In this nadir of her career and life, Asha’s thoughts turn to Theon, and the haunting message sent by Ramsay Snow revealing her brother’s torture. With her father dead, her elder brothers long gone, her mother sunken into a deep depression, and her uncles either disappeared, ruling in her wake, or loyal to the new ironborn regime, Theon is the last of her Greyjoy family left to her. She had failed to convince him to abandon Winterfell before it was burned, and the belief that he had been slain in its sack had weighed upon her through AFFC. Now she knows he is alive - but “[b]etter dead than this” she thinks to herself after reading Ramsay’s bloody missive. Her brother is even more hated than she is, she knows, and the possibility of her ever seeing him alive again is slim.
It is, then, in thinking about Theon that Asha attempts to connect with her warden, the She-Bear Alysane Mormont:
“Do you have brothers?” Asha asked her keeper.
Alysane Mormont hardly makes a likely audience for Asha’s question: the She-Bear had only just sneered that no ironman could be trusted “after what your brother did at Winterfell”. Still, with only Alysane as a more or less constant companion, Asha’s choices for a conversation partner are slim. “[A]lone among five thousand foes”, even more alone thinking about her lost band and little brother, Asha is reaching out for some human companionship, even if it is with the gruff and ferocious She-Bear.
Of course, Alysane corrects her immediately:
“Sisters,” Alysane Mormont replied, gruff as ever. “Five, we were. All girls. Lyanna is back on Bear Island. Lyra and Jory are with our mother. Dacey was murdered.”
Alysane’s insistence on underlining that all five children of Lady Maege were girls almost seems targeted toward spiting Asha’s question; how foolish of you to think there must be a brother somewhere, the words might suggest, we are tough enough as she-bears, daughters of a ruling lady. But Asha picks up on Alysane’s last note, and it’s in her response that the conversation changes dramatically.
“The Red Wedding.”
“Aye.” Alysane stared at Asha for a moment. “I have a son. He’s only two. My daughter’s nine.”
In a single phrase, Asha has begun to pry open the firmly shut gates around Alysane Mormont. She’s hit upon exactly the right answer, not only factually but emotionally. While Alysane was laser-focused on the ironborn’s falsity and treachery, and saw Asha only as a representation of her culture, Asha has reminded her that there are other enemies for House Mormont beyond the men of the Iron Islands. The Red Wedding was not just a horrific event, but a tragedy at which northmen killed other northmen; the Boltons and their followers had slain Flints and Ryswells, Norreys and Lockes, their own neighbors and countrymen.
This is the moment Alysane starts to see Asha as a person, rather than merely an other standing on behalf of an evil idea. If not all northmen could be allies - and the Red Wedding had been the awful proof of that - then perhaps not all ironborn were enemies either. Asha did not gloat in the death of a Mormont, her family’s ancient foes; indeed, in knowing and naming the massacre at which so many good northmen were slain, Asha had almost (if unknowingly) echoed that “the North remembers” spirit voiced by Wyman Manderly and Barbrey Dustin. It’s not a friendship - there’s still too much distrust, too many long years of bloodshed on both sides for anything like that - but a beginning of something other than hate and mutual wariness.
So Alysane, unprompted, offers more of herself to the captive Asha. She’s not simply a Mormont in a strong-blooded clan of fierce Mormont women, but a mother to little children. She is the terrifying She-Bear in battle, clad always in mail to be ready for an attack, but here she hints at a gentler side to her - a toddler son and young daughter waiting for her at the Mormont keep, still wrapped in the innocence of childhood. Alysane might not have a brother, but she does have a family of her own besides her three living sisters, and admitting to this allows her to creep toward a bridge of sympathy with Asha. They are both here on behalf of their families, not simply dynastically but personally; they are responsible (or at least, for Asha, feel responsible) for their young kin, and will fight to keep them safe.
Feeling the start of this bridge, Asha presses forward on the topic of family:
“You started young.”
“Too young. But better that than wait too late.”
A stab at me, Asha thought, but let it be.
Again, it’s not a friendship between them - Asha is still a Greyjoy, and Alysane still deeply cautious toward any kraken. Nor does Asha fail to recognize the insult Alysane meant toward her: even among two women whose dynasties care far more about battle prowess than southron ladylike behavior, Alysane is suggesting a woman’s role still inherently involves bearing the next generation - and that a woman like Asha, solidly in her mid-20s but still childless, is quickly losing her chance to do so. But, critically, Asha doesn’t press the point. She will let Aly Mormont have these barbs, because she’s noted something far more valuable about her keeper-companion. Alysane is willing not simply to reveal more about her family, but to criticize her past decisions, namely the decision to have children at such a young age (and indeed, Alysane was probably only in her early teens when her daughter was born, since she is “almost of an age” with the roughly 25-year-old Asha). This is a level of inward revelation Asha might have never guessed she would get from the gruff She-Bear at the beginning of their conversation, nevermind the start of her captivity. For once, Alysane is not showing Asha the tough, boiled leather exterior of her personality, or at least not totally; she, a Mormont of Bear Island, is admitting some degree of mistake in her life to a kraken of Pyke. It’s an amazing moment, one in which the ancient hatreds start to drop away in favor of more personal understandings of one another: Alysane treats Asha not as a Greyjoy to her Mormont, but as a woman to her woman, uniquely capable in that army of men to understand the benefits and sacrifices of starting a family so young.
Moreover, as Asha digs farther into Alysane’s family life, the understanding becomes even more extraordinary:
… “You are wed.”
“No. My children were fathered by a bear.” Alysane smiled. Her teeth were crooked, but there was something ingratiating about that smile. “Mormont women are skinchangers. We turn into bears and find mates in the woods. Everyone knows.”
Alysane is teasing, of course; it seems extremely implausible, even if the Mormont women have skinchanging powers, that human children could be conceived through a supernatural mental process which leaves the human’s own body prostrate and cannot nourish it. Yet the very fact that she is joking, and with Asha of all people, is no short of wondrous. It is a fantastical idea - but Alysane’s “ingratiating” smile and mock-superior note that “everyone knows” this to be a fact are clear indicators that Alysane wants Asha to laugh along with her, not at her. Now, whenever Asha hears someone (like Janos Slynt, who had assumed Maege Mormont “[b]eds down with bears”) mutter about the Mormont women taking bears for lovers, she can smile too. Aly Mormont has let her in on the joke.
For this one singular moment, Mormont and Greyjoy can exist together in peace and even joviality. The centuries of blood between them are put aside, and they are two women sharing a secret jest. Their similarities - inhospitable home islands, martial training and experience, family losses, unexpected thrusting into the position of heiress, the struggle of being both a woman and a warrior - matter far more than their differences here. This is the dream of peace that formed the thesis of Asha’s kingsmoot pitch - northmen and ironborn as allies, not opponents, side by side against common enemies. If the heir to House Mormont and the sometime heiress of House Greyjoy could start to approach something like friendship, then perhaps it would not be so crazy to think that this peace could work.
But then it all goes wrong. Just as Asha was the one who started the opening up, so Asha unwittingly shuts it down:
Asha smiled back. “Mormont women are all fighters too.”
The other woman’s smile faded. “What we are is what you made us. On Bear Island every child learns to fear krakens rising from the sea."
Just like that, the beautiful dream of healing is shattered, its thousand shards cutting Asha to ribbons. In her excitement over this burgeoning bond between her and Alysane, Asha has inadvertently run directly into a conversational land mine - the grievous, belligerent history between the denizens of Bear Island and those of the Iron Islands. They are both fighters, she and Aly, but as the latter so bluntly points out, the Bear Islanders did not have the luxury of choice in that regard. Asha’s people were the imperialist expansionists, men like Ravos the Raper who made Bear Island a launching point of reaving; Alysane’s were the guardians charged by the old Kings of Winter to defend Bear Island against all comers. Our fighting is not for conquest, Alysane is not so gently reminding Asha, but simply for survival; when we fight, it is so that we and our children are not hauled away in virtual slavery by one enemy or another. It’s a lifestyle in stark contrast to Asha’s, who had received her father’s instruction to take Deepwood Motte by "sweetly” noting that she “always wanted a castle”.
This is the painful lesson Asha has to learn throughout ADWD. Her kingsmoot speech might have sounded reasonable on face, with its advocating for peace and friendship, but it was a speech built on a false premise. Put simply, the northmen do not want or trust the ironborn as friends. There can be no peace and friendship when their foundation is sacked northern castles, burned northern lands, and the slain bodies of northmen (including two Stark princes). Alysane’s words to Asha are a verbal slap, snapping her into cold reality: we’ve seen what you’ve done, Alysane is telling her in no uncertain terms, and we want none of your fine promises. Asha closed her eyes to the truth of the northmen-ironborn relationship at the kingsmoot, so eager was she for the crown, but here she has to face it for herself; she came so close to a personal connection with Alysane, and nearly succeeded, but Alysane could not ignore “what you made us”, as Asha once could.
A tiny hand smacks against his face, then drags through his stubble, searching for something. She sticks her fingers into his mouth and grins. It’s always that. Killian shifts the baby, kissing her fingers in an effort to pull them out of his mouth. “I can’t eat those, little love.”
“Oh, but she’d like you to.” Regina says, shifting her papers and jamming them into her briefcase. “Feeding other people is her favorite game.”
Ara jams her fingers into his mouth again, grinning and digging her other hand into her hair. He fends her off by nibbling her fingers and growling, which makes her giggle. “Well, if you insist, little dragon, I suppose I’ll try them.”
Regina grabs her coat and tugs it on while her progeny starts tugging on his ear instead. “Do you want me to take her?”
“No, we’re fine, we get along quite famously, the little dragon and I.”
She waves towards the door of the office and studies him and the baby. “You he do, don’t you?”
He shrugs, following her out of the office towards the main hall. “She’s easily entertained, I appreciate that in a companion.”
“She’s more picky than you are.”
“I find that hard to believe.” Ara’s always so content when he sees her. Unless her diaper needs changing or she’s hungry, she’s usually very content.
“Are you saying my daughter’s less than discerning than a pirate?” Regina raises an eyebrow and he raises one right back.
“I’m merely suggesting that she’s always seemed like a quite amiable child.”
“Not at five am.” Regina smiles at the baby, then strokes her head. “I’d say you and Emma are her favorite babysitters. Every once in awhile she ends up screaming at Lily, or refusing to sleep with Snow.”
“Henry said the trick is rocking her, and when she has been absolutely a hellion, Emma and I took her out on the water and she settled right down.”
“I’m going to have to remember that.”
“Mal says it’s the dragon side, she likes to be moving.” He grins at the baby and sways her back and forth until she makes that adorable excited sound.
Regina turns her eyes skyward, looking for Mal and Emma, and then checks the street, because neither of them are sure how their wives are arriving back. “Swaying back and forth is really useful when they’re small.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind.” Their eyes meet and Regina smiles at him, tentative, but hopeful.
“We had to try twice,” she says, stroking her daughter’s rounded cheek. “It’s a little more ritual for us than I imagine you and Emma enjoy–”