forced serenity

10

Sometimes I wanna facepalm for the references I miss

It is cold. The concrete under Lafay’s feet. The night air. The stuttering stillness of his anxious heart. Everything is cold.

Lafay hasn’t breathed a word, he watches Gaston on the bed, hardly breathing. He has a million things he wants to say. Why did you leave me? Why did you choose her over me? When did I stop mattering to you? But he can’t speak. Even if he did, the chances Gaston would hear him are slim and the chances he would be well-received are slimmer.

So he sits there, watching him day in and day out.

***

In thirteen days, Gaston opens his eyes.

But the first day, they exchange no words. Gaston looks at Lafay, and Lafay looks at Gaston, and they never breathe a word.

Lafay continues sitting in the room, though. The minutes stretch into hours, and he doesn’t move, especially now that Gaston is awake. They gaze each other with novels to say but never speak.

***

Sixteen days into Gaston’s recovery, Gaston finally speaks.

And Gaston says, “Lefou,” and then, “thank you,” in a scratchy voice that is strong albeit quiet. Much like the ocean at night, forceful and serene.

Lafay is at a loss.

“You’re welcome,” the words punch out of him as if they were stolen.

Gaston turns his head toward the window on the opposite wall.

They lapse into silence again.

***

Gaston begins eating more. Lafay begins breathing more.

***

Upon the twenty-first day, they speak some more.

“No one asked this if you,” Gaston accuses, “and yet here you are.”

Lafay ponders this, then agrees with a nod, “Here I am.”

Gaston fists his hands in the blanket of the bed. His jaw is set, face tense. Lafay watches curiously to see if Gaston will say something damning or something redeeming.

It turns out, he says something redeeming.

“Why?” he bursts, “Why do you stay?”

Lafay shrugs. He’d asked himself the same thing a million times, and each time finds but one irrational, irrelevant answer.

But saying it out loud is too difficult, so Lafay says, “Isn’t it obvious?”

***

The next day Gaston says, “What have I done to deserve this?” quickly and bemusedly.

“You turned the entire town against an innocent man-!”

“No,” Gaston interrupts. “Not- Not this,” he gestures to himself. And then to Lafay. “You. What have I done to deserve being saved and cared for by you?”

Lafay’s heart stops. He expected Gaston to thrash and yell, maybe even run back to the village to finish the job he’d started. It’s he monster he became. Lafay wouldn’t be surprised. He never expected Gaston to receive and welcome help.

“Gaston-”

“And don’t start with the cryptic responses, Lefou. It isn’t obvious and I don’t understand. All that I know is I was commanding an army and protecting our village one minute- and the next something happened. Now I’m here.

"I’ve obviously done something wrong,” Gaston finishes. “I only wish I knew what it was, and how things turned out the way they did.”

Lafay nears the bed and habitually grasps Gaston’s shoulder. He wanted to reassure him. He wanted to cheer him up. But he couldn’t, because he didn’t know who Gaston was anymore. Was Gaston the same man who fought wars with him, defended the weak? Was Gaston the same man who tried to kill the father of a woman he claimed to love?

Was Gaston the same man who left Lafay to die in the castle?

“Gaston…” Lafay starts. “Tell me honestly why you attacked The Beast that night.”

And Gaston replies, “To save Belle-”

“No,” Lafay stops him. “Tell me why.”

There’s a breath of silence.

“I-” Gaston stops.

“Because I think- I want to think and hope to think- it’s because you were scared,” Lafay starts rambling. “None of us had ever seen magic like that before. Tell me you were just confused and scared and you wouldn’t have hurt anyone if you were yourself.”

Lafay stops. Then, says, “Tell me that you left me because you were not yourself.”

“Lefou,” Gaston says pleadingly, “I regret that more than I regret anything I’ve ever done.”

Lafay laughs brokenheartedly, massaging his shoulder more aggressively. “Gaston we both know regret isn’t something you identify with-”

“You’re wrong,” Gaston says. “I know I haven’t much experience in the past, but any word said to mean regret is nothing without accommodation for how I feel knowing I betrayed you-

"And for what? A stupid girl. I don’t care about Belle. I know that now. I don’t think I ever cared about her. I wanted something to be an example of- an example of what it is to be normal. Because what I want isn’t.

"Lefou,” Gaston stresses. “what I want isn’t normal.”

Lafay’s heart stops with each syllable, hands slowing until they rest softly on Gaston’s collarbone. Gaston can’t be saying what Lafay thinks he’s saying.

“Forgive me if I am misreading this, but I want you, not Belle.”

He is.

Lafay suddenly can’t breathe. In a thousand varieties he’s heard those words, mumbled in the abyss of dreams and the shroud of fabricated memories, but never so clear and real as now. And he doesn’t know what to say.

Time stops, and Lafay forces air in and out of his lungs like factory work.

“I- Of course- Yes. I mean, no, you’re not misreading anything I just-”

“Lefou,” Gaston reaches out with one hand, twisting the fabric of his shirt and dragging his body weight down onto his own.

And they kiss.

5

Nike Air Force 1s Conceptualized in Pantone’s Color(s) of the Year

In a perfect world! Pantone’s annual color of the year selection splits its time between two shades for 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity. Imagining what Nike’s most iconic basketball shoe, the Air Force 1, would look like in the colors is this project from graphic artist Zkay Yong.

Instagram.com/WeTheUrban

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archiveofourown.org
Lionhearted - some_where - Star Wars - All Media Types [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Bodhi Rook & Finn
Characters: Bodhi Rook, Finn (Star Wars), Leia Organa, Poe Dameron
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Angst, Bodhi is the only surviving member of Rogue One, I’m Sorry, but it eventually gets better for him
Summary:

Snippets of Bodhi’s life, from the battle of Scarif to his meeting with a young ex-Stormtrooper, some 40 years later.


Bodhi survived Scarif. He got badly burned, but managed to make it. The others weren’t so lucky.

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archiveofourown.org
A Rebellion's Heart: Ch 14/?
A Star Wars: The Old Republic story, set during the KotFE era
By Organization for Transformative Works

The Exarch’s eyes were blank, and that was terrifying- a Sith would have been delighting in the pain they were causing, drinking up the panic and the fear and letting it empower them. A Jedi would have cloaked themselves in any number of emotions, from forced serenity to sorrow to grim determination. Her eyes were empty, deep and black and almost disinterested.

Jaesa had no idea what to do with an opponent who felt nothing.

“It is important for you to understand the nature of this arrangement,” she said slowly, as if she thought she was talking to idiots. “Ryloth serves the Eternal Empire now. You will provide us with appropriate tithes of minerals and wealth, and will be overseen from the Star Fortress.”

“But-”

“If you object, you will be destroyed.” She turned away from the First and faced the Clan Council. “We are aware that there are Force-strong children amongst your population.”

Jaesa’s blood ran cold, and she felt her heart freeze in her chest.

“They now serve at his glorious majesty’s pleasure,” she continued, ignoring the murmurs of distress her abrupt change of topic was causing. “We will require a list of all citizens known to be Force-strong. Do not attempt to hide them amongst the populace. Do not attempt to lie to me. You have three days to see them adequately assembled in Lessu and ready for departure.”

imagine Qui-Gon never turning Obi-Wan away if he wants to crawl in bed with him

Obi-Wan at thirteen, still tiny and fragile compared to Qui-Gon’s full grown (some say overgrown) bulk, crawling under the covers and not even snuggling up to his master just laying there. Until Qui-Gon reaches out an arm and pulls him in against his chest and Obi-Wan melts into him, his force signature calm and serene.

Obi-Wan at fourteen, a little taller now and a little more confident, slipping into his master’s bed after a nightmare or a particularly bad vision. He inches closer until Qui-Gon snakes an arm around him and holds him close. No one mentions the next day the gentle way Qui-Gon’s fingers wipe away his tears or smooth his hair.

Obi-Wan at fifteen, even taller now and filling out more with muscle. He’s getting a little bit proud but he still doesn’t pass up the chance to sneak into Qui-Gon’s bed. He comes in some nights even if he hasn’t had a nightmare or a vision. But his visions are getting more prevalent and that scares the Sith out of both of them. At least both of them are more at peace if Obi-Wan is next to Qui-Gon in case he wakes up from more.

Obi-Wan at sixteen, close to hitting the peak of his growth spurt but maybe he’ll grow a few more inches???? He wants badly to crawl into his master’s bed for no reason at all but he convinces himself that he should do no such thing. He gets sick on the way home from a mission and has some kind of flu-like illness and Qui-Gon is in full Mother Hen Mode. He makes Obi-Wan sleep in his bed so he can be close by and monitor him. Obi-Wan doesn’t care. He feels like shit but his master his stroking his hair and rubbing his back so he’s in heaven.

Obi-Wan at seventeen finally refuses to get in his master’s bed. But Qui-Gon always knows when his Padawan is awake from a vision or a nightmare. So he pads across the hall to sit beside Obi-Wan’s bed and rub his back until he falls asleep again. Qui-Gon usually ends up sleeping on the floor for the rest of the night but honestly he’s slept worse places.

When Obi-Wan is eighteen, Qui-Gon tells him he is welcome to sleep in his bed anytime he wishes and he would be very glad to have him. He grew used to a small warm body nestled against his chest and he misses it. Obi-Wan probably blushes up to his ears and ducks his head. Qui-Gon probably cups his chin in his hand and kisses him softly on the forehead. Nothing sexual. Simply love and affection.

After that there is hardly a night they spend apart. Obi-Wan teases that it is a good thing he’s small because Qui-Gon can take up a lot of space in bed. He gets tickled until he’s gasping for breath as punishment. But nothing could make him kick Obi-Wan out of his bed.

I just figured it out

This is really long but stick with me here it all makes sense.

1. So…the force.  There’s a Light Side and a Dark Side.  Something interesting about that phrasing is that they don’t say the Light and the Darkness (i.e. the absence of light) they just say Dark.

2. The Jedi are the light side of the force; they believe in serenity over passion, and they really do try their best, but even Masters eff up sometimes, so when they have bad emotions they release them into the Force

3. There has been quite a bit of speculation about the Force, and the general consensus is that the Force itself is neutral, and doesn’t favor either party more than the other

4. The Sith were infinitely more powerful than the Jedi during the Clone Wars; two of them are able to keep up with thousands of Jedi for ages.

4b. But after all the jedi were gone, the Sith were defeated by a half trained kid who picked up a lightsaber two years ago when thousands of jedi who had trained all their lives couldn’t do diddley squat.

5. The Jedi are all about control; show no fear, show no emotion at all, keep a lid on it, yadda yadda yadda.  Yet the Sith say that they can use their emotions to elicit powerful responses from the supposedly neutral Force, like the force responds to their emotions, or is drawn to them.

6. Candles are light, they are sources of light, fire, pure energy (i.e. light). You know what candles, or any source of light for that matter, make/give off?

Shadows.  Shadows are dark, scary, terrifying things that are created by the light.

Conclusion: The Jedi created the Darkside.  Think about it:  they release their negative, or rather darkside, emotions into the Force; where do you think those emotions go?  I think that those emotions are the dark side.  

If the force is neutral then why are the Sith so much powerful than the Jedi during the Clone Wars? Easy: because there are so many more Jedi, each of them releasing their negative emotions into the Force, and feeding the power of the Dark Side of the Force.  This also answeres the query of why Palpatine and Vadar were so easily defeated by Luke: because the Jedi were all dead, meaning they stopped feeding the Darkside, meaning that they were less powerful then they had been.  Luke, however, was a Jedi, so proclaimed by Yoda (albeit indirectly); they didn’t draw their power from negative emotions, or from anywhere, they just used their superior control, meaning that Luke was just as powerful as the Jedi from the Republic.  

So really, Luke wasn’t more powerful than the old Jedi, the Sith had just gotten less powerful than they had been because they’d murdered their entire power supply.

Which also brings a new meaning to the idea of balance and the Great Prophecy.  They talked about Anakin balanceing the force, and some people thought it was a matter of simple numbers, but looking at the Clone Wars I would say that the Sith as a whole were much more powerful than the Jedi as a whole.  So maybe Anakin bringing balance to the force wasn’t about killing the Jedi because they themselves were too powerful; it was about killing most of the Jedi because they were making the sith too powerful.

Just a thought.

The deception of hope

Recently, I have seen the antis whip themselves into a frenzy over a quick comment at the bottom of a gif set that called Rey “predatory”. As is probably to be expected, they immediately considered this victim blaming, yet another attempt by the sinister Reylo cohort to woobify Kylo by painting Rey as a monster for defending herself.

Such hysteria, of course, ignores the nuances at work. This isn’t going to be a post about whether Kylo abused Rey or not, because to be frank that horse has been flogged to the point that I want to get the RSPCA to come and rescue it. Instead, it’s going to be about what makes Rey an interesting character - namely the dualism between light and dark that she personifies. 

It’s easy to consider Rey a creature of pure light - the film is endlessly making this connection, dressing her in off-white and frequently bathing her with brilliant, heavenly light. Her name literally draws an analogy with a a sunbeam, making her a metaphorical “ray of light”. And this is borne out by how she behaves and is perceived by others. Rey is almost incandescent - optimistic (”don’t give up hope!”), hopeful (”they’ll be back”) and selfless (”the droid’s not for sale”). And people are helpless but to love her for it. Finn is immediately besotted, Han is fatherly, and Kylo is obsessed. In short, Rey inspires love in all its manifestations. 

But the real mystery here is how Rey held onto the light that others are so drawn to. There is almost no reason for her to be good, while there is every reason for her to be bitter. Rey has grown up in a state of profound subjugation - abandoned, exploited and starved. And the saddest thing is that Rey, to an extent, chooses to continue like this. Rey doesn’t want to leave Jakku, and is clearly shown to be trapped by her own desperate hope - to get Campbellian, Rey repeatedly turns down the “call to adventure” in favour of returning to the planet where she’s effectively a slave to continue holding vigil for her family. This is underlined in anguishing detail in Before the Awakening, the prequel novel by Greg Rucka. In the novel, Rey finds a salvageable ship that she spends months making space-worthy. She toils and toils, starving herself by scavenging for her project rather than her stomach. When the ship is finished she pilots it to Niima Outpost, proud and elated by her success - but she has no intention of leaving the planet. Instead, her plan is to sell the ship to Unkar and earn herself thousands of portions. She envisages having food security for years, finally winning herself the time she so desperately needs to improve her home and build a better life for herself. The idea of leaving is unfathomable to her, and it’s what sees her cruelly cheated - the people she tentatively trusted to help her with the ship steal it from her as she approaches Unkar to make the sale, flying off as she watches from the sand, abandoned once again. 

So Rey has every reason to be angry - angry at whoever left her, angry at other people, angry at fate. Yet this anger is never even glimpsed until the film’s climax. 

For the first half of the duel, Rey is shocked, frightened and floundering. She is amazed when the lightsaber goes to her, her own wonder only eclipsed by Kylo’s. At the beginning of the fight she is at a disadvantage, spared only because Kylo - by his own admission, if we’re to accept the storybook as canon (”I don’t want to kill you!”) - has no desire to see her harmed. The turning point in their battle only comes when Rey draws upon the deep well of her pain - after tapping into the Force, Rey’s serenity slips to reveal a vicious, animalistic snarl. The Rey we glimpse here is the Rey who has been repressed for years, the Rey who was smothered by her own desperate hope for a family that wasn’t coming. 

In the latter half of the duel, Rey is unmistakably presented as a predator. She stalks towards Kylo as he staggers back from her, a sizzling wound in his shoulder. Her back is to the camera, with Kylo explicitly framed as her victim - he is stripped of all of his power, and his fate is entirely hers to decide. In this sense it’s the ultimate power fantasy - the young woman who has known little else beside victimisation, subjugation and cruelty is given a sword and tasked with slaying the dragon who intended to suffocate her in his coils. 

There is no need for Rey to brand Kylo’s face - it is a wound inflicted purely out of a desire to cause pain, a wound intended to mark Kylo’s defeat and punctuate his failure. In that moment, Rey is spiteful and driven by rage and a desire for revenge - in other words, she triumphs on account of her darkness rather than her light. There is nothing defensive about cutting someone’s face when they’re already beaten, and the closest parallel to that moment is Kylo cruelly slicing open Finn’s spine - both wounds are intensely personal, fuelled by rage, malice and spite.

And this is precisely what makes Rey so interesting. For as much as she might radiate light and attract people to her for her goodness, Rey is marked by her bone-deep suffering as much as her hope. And that suffering - and more specifically the desire to avenge it - is what erupts at the end of The Force Awakens. Because the Force isn’t purely characterised by Light, and Rey embodies it in all its manifestations. 

youtube

I did another! God this was fun to revisit. I should go back and do a fanvideo like once a year just to keep up with this style. I don’t get to use it very often.

this is kind of bad but maybe I’ll clean it up and make a little fic out of it:

@suzukiblu wrote a really great thing about Anakin not leaving Tatooine and the Senate does not believe Padme about the Trade Federation and Qui-Gon dying on Naboo and Obi-Wan is trapped on Naboo for a long time while they fight a war against the TF

But what got me was: “I want to go home, Obi-Wan thinks to the Force, because Qui-Gon WAS his home and there is no other place he could hear it.”

Wow just fuck me right up.

Anyway so Qui-Gon is watching Obi-Wan fight for his life and for the lives of the Naboo. He’s proud of him for being so strong but he can see how this is taking its toll on him and he’s so worried. He wants so badly to speak to him and support him and help him but he can’t.

A feeling worse than dying is watching the boy you love like a son die because the Senate was too dense and corrupt to see they were being tricked and you are helpless to do anything.

Qui-Gon thought that death would mean he would no longer suffer pain but that was simply not the case. He feels as if he has been stabbed in the chest once again.

Obi-Wan was holding his own quite well against Grievous (just go with it) but he is exhausted and hungry and his focus slips for one second and he barely has time to feel the pain of lightsaber burns before he’s unconscious.

The Jedi at the Temple feel the surge of pain and fear in the Force before it cries out in grief and despair. They all know the moment Obi-Wan gives up on his endless fight.

Qui-Gon gives himself no time to mourn because he has to help Obi-Wan. He focuses on guiding him into the Force and offering a familiar presence.

The moment Obi-Wan appears he is trembling and exhausted and scared. But when he sees Qui-Gon waiting for him he is not as afraid. His master has always been able to calm him and soothe his fears.

He opens his mouth to say his name, greet him, but nothing comes out. Qui-Gon simply envelopes him in his arms and allows Obi-Wan to spill his grief.

Qui-Gon mourns for all that Obi-Wan did not get to do in his life. He never reached true Knighthood. He never had a ceremony where his friends gathered to congratulate him. He never completed missions on his own or had the opportunity to save lives. He never got to take a Padawan and feel the incredible joy of teaching a young mind.

His life was cut far too short. He deserved better than that.

But Qui-Gon thinks Obi-Wan deserves the peace and serenity the Force brings. He deserves to be away from pain and death and destruction. He has suffered far too much of it in his short life. He does not need to see more.

After he gets Obi-Wan settled, calm and more comfortable with his new self, Qui-Gon sees the Jedi realizing their grave mistake. Losing two of their own to one planet is not unheard of, but a master and a Padawan, and the fact that the Senate left them to die with no intervention. The Jedi are alerted much sooner to the awful corruption keeping the Senate from actually helping its citizens.

Maybe things don’t get worse. Maybe Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s sacrifices were not in vain and they helped prevent the Clone Wars and the Empire coming to power.

Of course the Jedi do not mourn for them, but they each touched so many lives that it is impossible for them to not be missed.

Stress Relief

 As hardworking as he was, Jumin often hated that he couldn’t rid away the stress that was getting to him.

 Silver eyes stared deeply at the two men presenting their slides from across the long table. Left elbow pressed onto the table and one hand cupping his mouth, his right hand nimbly wrote down the notes that were deemed important. A few quiet sighs and stifled groans rumbled in his throat. In all honesty, his eyes felt like fire. Faint signs of bags had long puffed under his eyes after the many sleepless nights. If this project dragged on any longer, Jumin swore, he would actually contemplate on making an excuse and throw this project to another department.

 And if that failed, he could always wear sunglasses to hide his fatigue, odd stares be damned-

 The low vibration of his phone beside the documents caught his attention.

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