When you originally pulled the invitation from your mailbox you thought it had been yet another wedding invitation from one of your college friends. The elaborate gold writing on the black envelope, wrapped in actual lace. It was easy to assume from its elegance that it would be something like that.
He laughed. “That’s funny because I believe you have something that belongs to me.”
It took you a few to understand what he meant, but then it occurred to you. You stole his sweater.
You decided to meet him for a swap of your things. It was still pretty early so you decided to meet for an early lunch. You didn’t want to pretend like your someone your not so you dressed in a casual ripped jeans and flowy top.
Would you recognize him? Would he recognize you?
You both decided to meet at the corner café. You were beyond nervous. What if you is actually a jerk or he doesn’t like the real you? What if he regrets last night?
You walked into the café, you didn’t notice any familiar faces so you picked a seat in the back. It was pretty empty anyway so he shouldn’t have trouble finding you.
You clicked your thumbs together waiting for him. You felt your heart beating fast. You couldn’t control your emotions. You weren’t in a good place to be rejected right now.
Your head jerked up when you heard the door open triggering a bell. There he was. He was as gorgeous as you remember. He was wearing a white crewneck a black leather jacket with black jeans. He also had a white beanie on and a black face mask. As soon as he saw you, you could tell he was smiling behind the mask through his eyes.
“Hey.” He said to you as he sat down. He took off his face mask and he gave you a sweet smile. The killer smile you remember.
“Hi.” You shyly responded.
“Let me get us some drinks.” He got up not asking what you wanted.
He came back shortly with two drinks. They honestly looked quite tasty. “This is the best drink here.” He smiled.
You were hesitant to try it because you weren’t a coffee drinker and you doubted they had chocolate shakes here. When you tried it you were blown away. It had a coffee hint but it was mostly ice chocolate. It was delicious.
“It’s a chocolate chip frappuccino…by the look on your face I can tell you like it?” He laughed.
You nodded and put your drink down before it could give you a brain freeze.
“Um.” You started. “I just want to apologize about last night….I promise I never do these type of things.”
He nodded biting the inside of his cheek.
“My friends said that it’s time I put myself out there again….and maybe I got carried away…..so I’m sorry.” You looked down chipping your nail polish off.
“You don’t have to be sorry….” You looked up at him. “I dont regret last night.” He smiled.
“I just kind of wished I remembered more of it.” He continued. “But maybe we can start from the beginning? I mean if you want because you did sneak out on me.” He smirked.
“Oh no.” You leaned your head in your hands. “I promise it’s not like that….I was just embarrassed.” You blushed as you looked at him.
“You’re cute.” He laughed. “So does that me you want to start over?”
“Oh course.” You smiled.
“I’m Jungkook.” He reached his hand out towards you.
Really we are doing this? “I’m (Y/N).” You laughed at his silliness.
“And I did want to say that you’re great in bed.” He bit his lip.
You rubbed your forehead laughing. “You’re not suppose to say that…we didn’t have sex yet.”
“Right…I predict you’re great in bed.” He smiled.
You shook your head laughing, you kicked him from under the table. “Well I predict that you snore in your sleep.” One thing you remembered this morning was that he had the cutest snore you ever heard, it wasn’t loud or obnoxious but it was soft and cute.
His face dropped from your choice of words. “Really…we’re gonna go there?”
“You started it.” It was your turn to smirk.
You changed your mind, your glad you came to meet him.
“Oh I almost forgot.” He reached into his pocket and slid your phone across the table. You were so caught up in Jungkook you actually forgot about your phone.
“Thank you.” You blushed. “And you can have this back I guess.” You took his sweater laying on your side of the bench and tossed it to him.
“But I might take it back one day because it’s comfortable.” You tilted your head deviously.
“We’ll see.” He smirked.
The sad part was that Jungkook had to work later that day but he asked you out for tomorrow night. You were beyond excited.
When you got to your apartment your friends were argueing over what movie they rather watch.
“Hey (Y/N) How did it go?” They both sat up as soon as they saw you. You threw yourself between them on the couch.
“He was the most amazing guy ever.” You smiled.
“Really?” Lalisa cheered.
“Yeah….he was sweet, funny, charming, so cute.” You blushed thinking about him.
You felt happy, like you could actually can move on. You could finally forget about Illhoon. He attempted to talk to you a few times since the break up but you told him you weren’t ready, but now you feel confident.
“So when are you seeing him again?” Rosé nudged you.
“We have a date tomorrow.” You bit your lip. You were overly excited and it was obvious in your face.
“See we did this….we want credit at your wedding.” You laughed.
You thought later that day that you should call Ilhoon, he has been trying to talk to you for a while now to settle things.
You felt both relieved and disappointed when you heard his voice mail. You left a message saying how sorry you were for ignoring his calls and that you’re feeling much better and that you’re ready to settle your relationship.
“How’s this?” You pulled out a dress from your closet.
“No too fancy.” Rosé suggested.
You put it back and pulled out something else. “This?”
“No too fancy.” Rosé said more annoyed. Lalisa was good at this but she was out with her guy you still didn’t know.
Jungkook slipped his number in your phone before he gave it back to you and he texted you to not dress fancy, that it was a causal date. Which honestly made you happy because he was more down to earth, but somehow you were still nervous.
“Here.” Rosé got up and went through your closet. “This is not too fancy and it’s not to causal, perfect for a date.”
You loved her choice, it was simple white spring dress with a black and white stripped cardigan and to top it off with some gray doc martins. It was causal, cute, and edgy at the same time.
“Thank you.” You smiled.
“Just be yourself.” You released a breath.
You were already waiting for Jungkook to pick you up even though he told you seven, you still had ten minutes to spare.
Your heart skipped a beat when you heard a knock on the door.
“He’s here.” Why were you so nervous?
Rosé pushed you to the door and you slowly opened it. Your eyes landed on the handsome guy in front of you. He looked good like usual. He was in a white button down dress shirt with black jeans and his usual black leather jacket.
He looked at you and smiled. “Hey.” He sweetly greeted.
“Behave yourselves.” Rosé smirked.
“No promises.” Those words slipped out of your mouth.
Jungkook just laughed, mostly from your feared embarrassing expression. He reached his hand out and you took it following close behind.
“You look beautiful.” He said shyly.
“So do you.” You replied nervously and mentally hit yourself in the face. “I mean handsome.” You bit your lip.
“That’s okay, I’m know I’m beautiful.” He joked.
You were a flushed mess, your face never turned a shade lighter then red.
While he was driving you felt comfortable, the silence didn’t bother you. He was softly singing to the radio and you were blown away of how incredible his voice was.
“I hope you’re not taking me to the middle of nowhere so I can get murdered.”
“That’s not my style….I’m more lock you up in my basement type.” He laughed.
You pulled up into a parking lot that was packed. Instead of parking Jungkook made his way to the back of the building. After he parked you saw him text someone. You both got out and you followed him to the back door of the building.
You only waited a few seconds until it opened. “Hey man.” Some guy greeted Jungkook. He was wearing a backwards cap but you could tell he had orange hair. He had a smile that brightened up his whole face.
“You’re (Y/N) right?” He looked at you and smiled.
You nodded and shook his hand. “This is Hoseok, hes my friend, he works here so he can sneak us in.” Jungkook introduced you.
What was here exactly? After Hoseok snuck you in, he led you both out of the employees only area. When you made your way to the rest of the building you immediately got excited. You were in an aquarium. It was beautiful.
You walked down the path of the different displays of all the different types of fish. You haven’t been to an aquarium since you were little so it was refreshing. Jungkook really knew how to pick a date. He smiled at your fascination with the different aquariums. There was still people browsing but you could tell the aquarium was on their last hour before close.
Jungkook held your hand the entire time you walked through the different areas. You reached a portion that was a pathway through a tunnel. When you walked along the aquarium it was all along the tunnel. All around you. You slightly jumped when you noticed the sharks swimming above your head. You squeezed Jungkook’s hand tighter. It was incredible and frightening at the same time.
The next half hour you were more blown away of every display they had to offer. You walked upstairs until you reached another pathway of stingrays. You watched as they swam above you and all around. You looked at Jungkook smiling.
“It’s amazing.” You whispered.
“Yeah.” Just then Jungkook stole your attention as he leaned into you with a tender kiss. You were surprised from the sudden action but it didn’t take you long to respond. The kiss got deeper as you wrapped your arms around his neck. He held each hand on your hips moving you backwards until you reached the wall. You felt glass from the cold chill that ran up your back.
You felt him brush your bottom lip with his tongue. The sensation gave you butterflies as you opened your mouth responding to his request. He pushed you up so you were sitting on the railing behind you. He placed himself between your legs as he moved down to your neck. You felt like you were drunk with every wet touch. You touched up his toned body underneath his shirt. You felt the tension between your lower half’s.
He stopped kissing you for a moment as your phone rang ruining the moment. You didn’t bother looking at the name, you just hit the call straight to voicemail. Clearly making out with Jungkook was more important to you. He was your drug and you needed more of it.
You pulled him back in kissing him deeply. You reached for his pants buckle getting excited. “How about we finish this at my place, I rather not get kicked out.” He smirked. You nodded and you both made your way out of the building quickly.
When you got into the car he was shaking his leg impatiently. You couldn’t help but blush as you noticed his bulge. Luckily the drive was pretty short because you both couldn’t wait much longer.
As soon as you made your way into his apartment he pinned you against the door kissing you desperately. This was deja vu but better because neither of you were drunk.
You jumped up wrapping your legs behind him. You felt his erection poking you and it felt chilling. He started towards the bedroom carrying you. You were kissing his neck until he dropped you on his bed. You helped him take off his shirt and immediately took off your dress. He took a second to admire your body before he pulled your underwear off along with your bra. You grabbed his pants, quickly taking them off.
You grabbed his member pumping your hand up and down as he kissed your neck. You moaned as he rubbed figure eights through your folds.
“Jungkook.” You moaned. “I need you right now.”
He smirked at you as he grabbed himself and lined up to your center. He lifted your right leg up and placed it on his shoulder as he pushed in. The angle was deep and you almost screamed from the pleasure. He thrusted into you deeper causing the bed to squeak.
“You okay.” He asked you sweetly out of breath.
You nodded. “Faster.” You moaned.
He leaned into you more, bending your leg more forward. He thrusted into you at a rapid speed. He was out of breath as you attempted to kiss him.
You felt a chill as your pleasure was shooting through your body. “Jungkook I’m gonna c-” You moaned.
“Wait for me.” He tried to catch his breath.
As soon as he said that he started slowing down and you decided to let go. You closed your eyes as you felt him released causing you to shutter from the orgasm that was passing through both of your bodies.
You moaned as he pulled out of you suddenly. He immediately fell to the side of you trying to steady his breathing. You loved the way he looked with sweat dripping down his face.
He turned to you and smiled. “I knew you would be great in bed.” You laughed as you pushed your hair off your face.
He pulled you in for one last kiss before you both fell asleep.
The next morning you actually remember everything that happened and the thought obviously put a smile on your face. You felt Jungkook right behind you as his breath was on your neck and his arm was wrapped over your hip. You gently reached for your phone to check the time. When you clicked the home button you noticed you had one missed call from Illhoon.
He must of been the one that called you last night. Was he just responding to your call?
You sat up about to get out of bed when you felt Jungkook pull you back into his arms.
“No…you’re not sneaking out this time.” He whined.
You laughed from his cute actions and you turned around to face him. “I wont.” You blushed.
He leaned in and kissed you gently on the lips. “I’m sorry I slept over again.”
“I’m glad you did.” He shyly smiled. “I like seeing you first thing when I wake up.” You felt the butterflies invade your stomach again. He was so sweet and you can’t wait to move forward with your relationship.
A few hours later you decided to head home. Spending all morning with Jungkook was nice. He cooked you breakfast as you danced around him making him laugh.
You would of stayed longer but his friends invaded your alone time. They were all goofy especially the one you met last night, turns out hes Jungkooks roommate also. He just spends a lot of time over his girlfriend’s place.
When you got back to your apartment you decided to call Illhoon back.
“Hey.” He answered. “I got your message.”
“Sorry I didn’t answer I was out.” You responded. You were fine hearing his voice, it didn’t make you shiver like it did before, knowing he didn’t love you anymore.
“Do you want to meet me? I think we should catch up for a bit.” He sounded nervous.
“Yeah sounds good.”
It was time to put your breakup a side and start being friends again. That’s what you were before you even started dating. You met up with him at your old favorite pizza place that you always went to together. It was nice seeing him again. You definitely moved on, you can actually look at him without bursting into tears.
“So how is everything?” You causally asked.
“There was something I wanted to ask you.” He cut to chase.
Summary: Inspired by the one time me and some friends went to McDonald’s at 5 a.m. The reader, craving junk food, drags a sleepy Lin out of bed, way too early in the morning. The breakfast menu isn’t up yet. Chaos and shenanigans ensue.
Word counter: 4,474
Warnings: None, just a really sleepy and grumpy Lin.
Authors Notes: @sunshinemiranda - i cannot believe i got to the chance to collab with ren again??? you guys, this honestly all stemmed from this really cute story she told me and then me (being pushy and annoying as per usual) needed to get in and then this came into being!! we got so attached, we made headcanons for this, unbelievable. i still want to make a prequel. enjoy.
@alexanderhamllton - i got to collab with my girl again, can you guys BELIEVE??? I am so happy with how this turned out, we made a whole lot of headcanons (hence the mixtapes) and we really hope you guys like it! If you want more from this universe PLEASE let us know, because we would love to wirte that!
Lin wasn’t expecting his phone to ring at 5 in the morning. He wasn’t expecting anything but a solid sleep that he desperately needed after too many late nights full of work. Funny thing was, life had a screwed up talent at ruining expectations.
His phone lit up in the dark, vibrating against the wooden bedside table with a vicious energy. With a groan, he stabbed a button blindly and brought it to his ear without even bothering to emit a greeting. It was too early for that.
“Lin. Listen, it’s 5 am. You wanna go to McDonald’s with me?”
The Edge of the Stars
, by @casuallyhl : Louis laughed. “You think you can convince some random guy to want to go out with me?”“Oh baby,” Jay chuckled. “I can convince all of the UK to want to go out with you.” Or, a Meet the Parents AU where Harry is the man of Louis’ dreams, and it’s up to Jay to convince him to date her son.
Larry TV Reality show AU (16k) : awesome fic for cheer you up when you’re sad, and perfect way to show how Louis and Jay relationship was amazing and beautiful. Cute and funny and fluffy :) No smut.
just the sound of your voice
, by @a-writerwrites : It’s just. Harry’s so fucking quiet during sex and now Louis’
obsession with it is…it’s incessant. Louis questions it day and
night, the enigma of it buzzing around his head like an annoying
mosquito — all of the reasons why he’s so quiet consuming every one of
his waking thoughts. Like, maybe he turns into an alien during sex if
he’s not really careful? So he has to concentrate so hard on not
turning into another creature he’s effectively struck mute from it. Or
maybe…maybe he’s like one of those people who’s into tantric sex, like
Sting or a throwback from the 1960s? And when he’s about to orgasm he
travels to another plane of existence or something. There has to be a reason for it. There has to be.
Larry smut fic (6.4k) : not saying I’m very proud that Lisa wrote something about my prompt, BUT IM VERY PROUD AND I LOOOOOVE IT VERY MUCH. So it’s all about dirty talk and a bit of rough sex, and yes, they kins of share that really.
Love Is on The Radio
, by @perfectdagger and
“So Louis, who’s the lucky person that will not only get to see
Arsenal and Manchester United facing each other, but will also possibly
become your girlfriend… or boyfriend? I mean, that’s a good catch, to
ask someone out like this on the radio. It will be hard to say no after
“It’s, hm, his name is…” Oh boy, Harry was about to pass out, he
couldn’t bear to hear what Louis would say. Susie was looking at him,
worried eyes watching him from the till as she noticed that Harry had
simply abandoned his cupcake duties. “Harry. Harry Styles.”
To win a pair of tickets to watch Manchester United playing,
Louis may have possibly lied to Nick Grimshaw on the BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show, asking Harry, his best friend, to be his boyfriend.
Problem is - Harry has always been in love with Louis and so, this
Valentine’s he’s gonna see his dreams come true, with a tiny bit of a
twist, in order to watch the football team they have loved together
since they were kids.
Larry BFF to lovers and Fake Relationship AU (35k) : with a lot of social medias interactions, and Grimmy being cute ! Bottom Harry for the smut.
, by @fullonlarrie : There’s a surprise waiting at home for Louis after he finishes his day on the tracks at the Mercedes AMG Driving Experience.
Larry canon smut (5k) : I mean : PANTIES AND CAR SEX. That’s all. (bottom Harry)
, by @gaycousinlarry : To sum it all up - Louis is beautiful. Breathtakingly so.
And Harry can’t find it in himself to even question the fact that he
thinks so. Louis is mesmerising, nearly magnetic with all the energy
bouncing off of him. Harry doesn’t know what to make of it, but he knows
he doesn’t want this night to end. This is the
extraordinarily ordinary AU where Harry falls in love for the first time
and Louis learns how to fall in love all over again.
Larry strangers to Lovers and sexuality crisis AU (68k) : beautiful and really well written, barely angsty . Special kudos for social worker Harry just because. Great smut ! (mostly bottom Louis but they kind of share that)
They Never Quite Leave
, by @icanhazzalou (sorry it doesn’t let me tag you properly!) : When Liam Payne inherited his great aunt’s mansion, he never
expected it to be haunted. With the help of famous ghost hunters Harry
and Niall, Liam is hoping to evict the ghost and sell the house once and
for all.There’s just one problem: Louis has been in that house for a hundred years, and he doesn’t much feel like leaving.Alternatively; come for the ghost sex, stay for the feels.
Larry Ghost AU (24k) : awesome , a bit angsty and also fluffy and cute, with a bit of Ghost sex (this is a thing, yes). :)
Let’s Go Get Away
, by @letsjustsee : When Louis had moved to the island a year ago, he only wanted
two things: to serve good food to good people, and to live on the beach. Was that too much to ask for? Apparently
the universe thought so, because Louis had only gotten three months of
blissful, uninterrupted beach living before Harry Styles moved in to the
empty shop next door. Louis was hoping whoever took over the space
might be a tour guide, or even another restaurant (with non-competing
menu options, of course), but no – he had gotten Harry Styles. The guy
who wore Hawaiian dad-shirts unironically. The guy who spent his time
making soap by hand out of goat’s milk.Or, a fluffy AU in which
Louis owns a restaurant that’s next door to Harry’s shop, and Louis is
completely unaware how smitten he really is.
Larry Hate to love AU (7k) : funny and cute, with so much fluff and kind of pining ;) No smut.
Runner on Third , by @flamboyantommo:
As Harry stood there, the other man turned around, and he knew he was correct in who he thought it was. “Louis?” he asked, still not quite believing it. Louis blinked. “Harry? Wh– what are you doing here?” “I work here,” Harry said. “What are you doing here?” “Um, I’m picking up my brother. The nurse called and said he was sick.” Harry felt like he was going to be sick. “Wait, Ernest is your brother? Since when do you have a brother?” “Since about seven years ago, I guess. Wait, how do you know Ernest?” “I’m his teacher.” “You’re his what?” Louis exclaimed. Harry gulped. This was going to be a long year. — Or,
the AU where Louis and Harry were best friends growing up, but lost
touch after Harry moved away. Ten years later, Harry has moved back to
town, but he and Louis don’t pick up where they left off.
Larry Ex Friends to Lovers AU (35k) : nice fic with Teacher Harry, a “long time no see” plot, and so much pining ^^ Great Smut too ! (bottom Louis)
Here’s your problem. You
are out of breath, your heart is racing, and a slight sweat is
breaking out all over your skin, but you’ve not started working out
yet. No, this is just your bodies usual reaction to being in the same
room as Bucky. More specifically, a half naked, very flushed,
He posted an IG story where he films some outfits that really look like streetwear items with the caption “prepping some looks” and i am interested cause he did the same thing with the rainbow suits a few weeks before harry launched his solo project and then we found out they were for him. However, Harry works with a lot of people/ models / magazines so this IG story might not be related. How funny it’d be if the Husbands had the exact same styling team.
*Me at 22 when I was working part-time at a flower market and then one of the other girls found out I had a degree*
*Her* “You think you’re better than us? Right?” (She was mad. And smoking. Maybe drunk. And really did not know how to apply eyeliner.)
*Me* “Hey, I grew up poor too. I just thought it would be nice to work with flowers till I figured things out. I always liked flowers. My parents never bothered about the garden we had; but I always did.”
*Her sneering* “Cute. Fucking cute. You and your fancy degree. But you think you’re better than me?”
It says a lot about the fandom’s priorities where the biggest f/f ship is judged harshly and treated like the shipping version of Hester Prynne, but the two largest ships supported by fujoshis doesn’t get the same amount of scrutiny and treatment.
One thing about teaching is when kids don’t seem to realize that if they’d just do what we ask them to do - sit down, stop talking, put your phone away, answer these questions in your notebook, get to class on time, stay in your seat, stop shouting things out, don’t use racial slurs, etc., etc., etc., - we would literally not bother them at all. Look at the student who’s sitting there doing her work. Am I bothering her? Am I “harassing” her? No?
OKAY wow you’re going to regret this ask but honestly I’M DELIGHTED
so disclaimer i haven’t read the manga, just seen the anime, and picked up manga bits and pieces here and there. so in this au:
saitama is a villain
he’s really fucking bad at being evil
like so, so bad at being bad. so saitama was a hero for like a week okay and he went this is boooooring i’m booooooorrrreeeeeeddd. and because people just love to turn on him for some reason, and he kept saving everyone - like he does - and he just kept getting blamed so he went you want me to be a villain? FINE
and the association got really worried but saitama literally just traded his yellow jumpsuit for a black one and started laughing maniacally inbetween punches. he literally didn’t change his behavior any other way, and soon he’s known as the strongest villain ever. smart monsters hesitate to attack z city because that’s saitama’s turf, his city, and he doesn’t take kindly to interlopers. but there are lots of people who don’t want to be a big dog, but work for a big dog. so saitama accidentally gets all these eager criminal minions and is like, well, i am supposed to be a villain. so he starts setting non fatal “hits” on people and sending his crews to attack banks and take all the money and destroying specific buildings.
except every person he has his henchmen beat up is an abusive ex, a child beater, a rapist, a dirty cop - all these people that sift through the legal system because the city is being attacked every other week by literal monsters. the money from the banks was dirty, and (after paying his henchman a very competitive wage, because it is actually possible to buy loyalty if you do it right) he gives the rest away. he still lives in his studio apartment, still goes shopping for deals on saturday. all the “random” buildings he destroys are involved in on corrupt deal or another. oh, yeah, saitama knows all this because he has the most intense underground criminal network no one has ever thought of - all those grandmas he goes deal hunting with on saturday know everything about everyone. he spends a lot of time hanging out with old ladies, only part of it to maintain his spy ring.
so saitama accidentally on purpose turns his hodgepodge criminal organization into some vigilante justice group. they all know it but none of them are willing to bring it up because hey - they’re well paid, they work for the #1 s-ranked villain, and saitama has never killed any of them. this is the best gig any of them have ever had, and they’re not willing to mess it up by pointing out that they’re one of the good guys.
but saitama is bored again. his life as a the most notorious villain of z city is so-so.
then he runs into genos.
genos who knows of saitama because of course he does, but meets him in the middle of some battle or something and is instantly aware that something is off. saitama is cheerful and funny (and hot) and somehow leaves the battleground having caused no casualties, having killed the monster that nearly killed a bunch of s ranked heroes, and somehow saitama is still being blamed for it all. genos is intrigued.
he goes to bang about it, trying to find out how evil saitama really is. instead this conversation happens: “actually his death count is zero.” “what” “i think he was just bored. he was a hero for a bit-” “he was a HERO?” “-but it didn’t work out. it’s not his thing. he really hated those weekly quotas.” “…you’re joking.”
and he starts stalking saitama, and is BAFFLED by his normal lowkey lifestyle. finds out that saitama regularly “kidnaps” king so they can hang out and play video games and no one even goes after him anymore. starts hanging out with him, which he thought would be harder, but instead he just offered to help him carry home groceries and saitama agreed and then they were talking about a random show and the next thing genos knew he was in the notorious villain saitama’s studio being made dinner.
and this goes, with genos slowly peeling back the surface of it all to discover the truth. and he starts falling hard, harder than he thought he could fall, but it’s okay, because saitama is falling too. and soon everyone knows genos and saitama have a ~thing~ and he keeps waiting for the hero association to say something about it, but they don’t. what does happen, however, is that some monsters will see him and automatically surrender because they figure jail is nicer than they’d get if saitama figures out they hurt his boyfriend. it doesn’t happen often, but it happens enough for it to be a running joke.
so saitama stays the #1 villain, it’s just that now he has a hero boyfriend whom he adores and they are an adorable power couple; its disgustingly cute.
It’s incomplete, but I had to get this out of my system:
How Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart
Persona 4 is a funny game. It is also a long game, and that allows the social simulation aspect of it to really work, allows you to feel at home with the characters, through charm and repetition - grumpy Dojima, overly energetic Chie, confused heart of gold Kanji. Through little bits of interaction, day by in-game day, you at some point start to realise that when this is over, you might actually miss them. All of them.
And then there is Yosuke.
You play Persona 4 as Souji, a quite detached guy moving in from the city, hand on his hip, jacket slung over his shoulder, and while you, the player, grow fond of the game’s characters, Souji always feels like he doesn’t quite belong. He is the leader, the one who pulls the strings, the one grown up far beyond their age, with the world’s weight on their shoulders.
You juggle realtionships, help people out, they call you senpai, sensei - and then there is Yosuke.
Yosuke, who somehow, magically, manages to transcent Persona 4’s charming but game-y relationship system and becomes something else. Yosuke, who calls you Partner, and rings you up at night asking about your dreams or which girl you like. Yosuke, who does and says so many silly things that you never quite know what to expect - Yosuke, who ultimately breaks the boundaries of Persona 4 and makes Souji/Yosuke the most unexpectedly real-feeling relationship within a video game that I’ve ever encountered.
I don’t know what I thought when I first laid eyes on him, it’s likely that it was something along the lines of “Hey, this is quite cool-looking for an anime video game guy. Nice headphones.”
Then, in quick succession, things happened that made it clear that Yosuke was many things - heartbroken, repressed, funny, lazy, loyal, competitive, insecure, reckless - and that there was something building between him and Souji that seemed like a stunningly natural depiction of friendship. Somehow, this is rare - a video game showing two guys becoming friends, a process that just like falling in love requires making first moves, and opening up, and getting comfortable with each other. It seemed like Yosuke was the person in the cast that always wanted to know a little more, the one to push Souji a little bit, willing to ask stupid questions just to get a reaction, and unlike the other characters, he seemed to always act out of a desire to be level with Souji, to break through the calm, collected, leader-shell of his and address the human being inside.
Now, that alone would be a remarkable thing for a video game to depict, and worthy of high praise. What complicates things is that Yosuke, no matter how much he might deny it, seems like the most obvious case of a closeted gay person the world has ever seen.
When I started playing Persona 4, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, through reading about it and actually having played a bit in the past. I also knew about the game’s realtionship system, and was aware, or thought I was, that you could only get romantically involved with girls. Thus, when the game started to tease the possibility of a gay option, I raised an eyebrow, then another one, and then I lost my marbles.
When it started, the closeness between Souji and Yosuke had already been established, and since I’m a sucker for guys not actually hating each other, I started to favour Yosuke a little bit - choosing him to eat lunch with on the roof, studying together, spending afternoons at the Junes food court, talking in the soft glow of the sun on the Samegawa river bank. When Yosuke asked which girl I liked, I chose “neither”, cheekily, thinking I was playing the metagame, when the next midnight channel story twist came up, I bet each time that Yosuke would be the one to call Souji, outraged, worried, flustered, and each time when the phone rang and it was indeed him, I smiled to myself. But surely it was all in my head - I was starting to ship it, but it was just a fun little thing to do, to spare a thought here and there and layer it on top of these two characters whose interactions I enjoyed way more than expected.
Then, these little moments started happening - the group sitting together at Junes’ and Yosuke remarking how good Partner is with his hands, a comment that might not even have stuck out so much if weren’t for the fact that immediately after saying it, Yosuke became a hot mess of backpedalling embarrassment. His insistence to know whether Souji had a crush on somebody, and who it was, despite the awkwardness. His remarks about inviting a third person to their activities, “or else people might think we’re gay.” And ultimately, the sheer time the game devoted to the Souji/Yosuke relationship - way more than any of the other characters got.
Persona 4’s social link system is fairly rigid. You choose to spend time with people, and if things go well, and even sometimes if they don’t, it raises your relationship level with said person, allowing you to climb the social link ranks, which has gameplay and combat benefits and also allows you, in some cases, to pursue a romance. What is remarkable about Yosuke is that the game spends a significant amount of time showing interactions between Yosuke and Souji outside of this system, building their relationship beyond the confines of you walking up to a person after school and answering “yes” to their proposal of hanging out. This not only serves to create a markedly more natural and complex relationship, it also sets Yosuke apart from the other characters - he is the one to choose to interact with Souji while the other characters can only wait to be chosen.
And then Kanji entered the picture, Yosuke freaked out completely and I looked on, amazed at the fact that this game would dare to introduce a gay character, who, despite being closeted, met up with dates after school and whose dungeon was, of all things, a gay bathhouse, with sexual content that wasn’t even the slightest bit concealed. Of all the characters, Yosuke reacted most strongly to this, outright refusing to enter and making a big fuss about being afraid of Kanji taking advantage of him.
It culminated in the camping trip - Kanji, Yosuke, Souji sharing a tent - a scenario that could have been used very easily for a gay romance movie of questionable quality, full of the usual tropes of late night talks, denial, confrontation and very real confusion on my part of where exactly this was going - the game laid on the armored gay homophobia on Yosuke so thick that it seemed almost impossible to read what was going on in any other way. Combined with the unusual qualities that had been established in the realtionship before Kanji joined the group, it started to feel like an entire plot was going on behind the scenes, inexplicit yet persistent and increasingly impossible to ignore.
A few in-game days after that camping trip, Yosuke broke another boundary the game had set up to this point - he visited Souji’s home. More importantly, his room, a place that up until then you, the player, had always been alone in. The conversation that followed, in that intimate space, can’t adequately be described as subtext anymore, it’s text, and very gay text at that. I was streaming the game at the time, and I bet if that session’s video was still up, you’d hear my breath hitch when Yosuke, no homo Yosuke, asked about Souji’s porn stash and teasingly, suggestively stated he’d find it while Souji was out of the room. That was only the top of the iceberg, the whole scene and its context hit me like a 10 ton truck - could it be real? Was there really, explicitly something going on? The fact that I, after learning through research that there was no gay option, felt the need to double check after that scene, to make sure there wasn’t one, should speak volumes.
That’s when I learned of the fact that Yosuke very likely was a gay option, that there were unused text and voice lines left over on the game’s disk that turned the inexplicit explicit, both in english and japanese, suggesting the developer changed their mind after the localization was done, i.e. very late in the game’s development. Only, they had ripped out very little, leaving in tons of sublte and not so subtle parts of the relationship, and that was when I realised that Persona 4, beyond being one of the best games I have ever played, would also have the potential to make me very sad, and very angry.
It wasn’t just that gay rights had been dear to my heart for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t just that the progression of Souji and Yosuke’s relationship eclipsed any other possible pairing in the lineup by miles in terms of complexity and depth and just feeling right. It was the loss of an incredible story being told, a story that would have been unique in the history of video games - the story of two fully realised, multi-faceted male characters that you, as a player, like, falling in love, and dealing with the fact that they both happen to be guys, with all the issues that might bring in a society where homophobia and hate are still so prevalent.
While this has been done in movies to great success in recent times, mainstream video games haven’t dared to show male homosexual relationships in positive light and up front and center. Persona 4 does dare to spend significant time on very progressive subjects, including homosexuality and transgender issues, but it falters and pulls back just on the brink of being truly groundbreaking, which, to anybody playing the game with an open mind, can only scream injustice both in a worldly and in an in-game sense.
The level 9 rank of Yosuke’s social link progression has the two of you standing on a hill overlooking the town of Inaba. Yosuke’d probably call it a village, and the two of you talk about coming to terms with your place in the world, literally and figuratively. It’s autumn, and the evening sun plays with the coloured leaves on the trees - it’s a beautiful spot, a wistful song is playing, and despite the Playstation 2’s aged graphics you can’t help but marvel a little. You’ve never been to this spot before, you think Yosuke probably brought you here, and you wonder if there are any other locations in the town you know so well by now that you haven’t seen.
“There is still nothing here,” Yosuke says, meaning Inaba, a place he resented for the longest time, “but I have family, and friends…and you.”
I sat in front of the TV for a long time, the soft piano notes of the song playing making me ache, and then I realised that while Yosuke Hanamura was denied the chance to become part of video games’ first positively framed gay male relationship, he had acomplished one thing:
<b></b> A text conversation between A and B<p/><b>A:</b> I'm at a coffee shop<p/><b>B:</b> cool<p/><b>A:</b> I just made really awkward eye contact with a police officer what do I do<p/><b>B:</b> just keep staring. Never stop.<p/><b>A:</b> I'm asserting my dominance I will NEVER STOP<p/><b>B:</b> just don't get arrested<p/><b>A:</b> I WILL ARREST HIM!<p/><b>B:</b> A that isn't how it works. I'm gonna be really sad if I have to come get you out of jail<p/><b>A:</b> HE CHALLENGED ME. I AM THE ALPHA<p/><b>B:</b> A stop<p/><b>A:</b> I WILL NEVER STOP!<p/><b>B:</b> *sigh*<p/></p>
“Dude, this is so simple. This is like, entry level stuff.”
“Seriously Isak, how have you ever managed to hook up with anyone before?”
“Bro, come on, did you not take dating 101? I mean, even I know this.”
Isak slumps back in his chair, gripping his beer between white-knuckled hands and glaring around the table. At some point soon, he thinks to himself, he really needs to invest in some better friends.
“You can all fuck off,” he suggests, and then turns a baleful look to the middle of Jonas’s kitchen table, which they’re all sat around as they supposedly pregame for a big party in someone’s university halls tonight, although at this rate Isak’s not sure they’ll even make it to the party, since the guys now seem only invested in telling him off. Isak’s phone is lying on the table between them all, still open to his most recent text conversation. Mahdi had been holding it, but he’d felt the need to dramatically drop the phone in disgust as soon as he’d seen what Isak had done.
But in Isak’s defence, how was he supposed to know it’s bad to triple text?
“He was really hot,” he moans, bringing his beer bottle up to his forehead and pressing the cold glass against his temples. “Easily the best sex I’ve ever had, even though we both completely drunk. Plus he was nice, and funny, and – I’m just supposed to never contact him again after that?”
There’s disbelief in Isak’s tone, because that can’t possibly be how it works. He also refuses to believe he’s this out of the loop on the rules of dating – or that there are rules of dating to begin with, honestly.
“It was a one night stand!”
To be fair, Isak’s had his fair share of one night stands since coming out of the closet a few years ago, just before he graduated Nissen. Possibly more than his fair share. His time at University so far has involved a lot of time at parties and gay bars, a lot of guys with dark hair and dark eyes, just Isak’s type, a lot of kissing in shadowy corners and fucking in strangers’s beds. He’s gone on a few regular dates too, but it never really caught his interest, and nothing ever turned into any kind of actual relationship, so he mostly does just stick to the hooking up – and through all of that, he’s never felt the urge to text a guy the next day. Sometimes he’s taken their number but just never got in touch, and other times the parting has been more mutual, or else he’s snuck out in the middle of the night without saying anything, but never this.
This guy – Even, whose name still tastes heavenly in Isak’s mouth – had been different.
“why did this thing that I spent 40 hours on get only 10 notes but this sketch I made in 10 minutes get 34892034 notes”
What ideas do your works convey? What does your work say to someone with zero context?
Talking specifically about Tumblr (and I guess this also is how Twitter and Facebook would work), let’s ignore tags and searches for a moment.
The only other way for your works to spread is via sharing from other people.
The best way to prompt this is for the work in question to have a particular quality that’s uniquely interesting or relatable. We’ll call the desire to reblog something ‘intrigue.’
A lot of people want to blame the lack of virility of a post on it not being NSFW or fanservice or not being part of a fandom. In reality that anger is slightly misplaced: rather works of those nature usually just better express the ideas they want, and they’re often easier ideas to identify. Fanservice wants to be sexy or NSFW wants to appeal to a specific fetish–it’s a very direct and simple relationship. Fandom works usually combine the intrigue from being fandom content with other ideas I’ll mention later. Plus, if the people making these complaints only draw one thing, they don’t really know how successful their work would be if they tried the concepts they’re complaining about. It’s difficult to compare the viral-ness of two unrelated artists.
Generally comparisons like that have to be from the same person. Going to the example in the title, almost every time the comparison I see made is between a generic but well-done picture that doesn’t really say anything, and a sketch comic based on a funny situation. Both of these are by the same person, so we can assume they have about the same potential.
To get it out of the way: quality can affect intrigue–high quality works need to stand on their own if they don’t have any other themes going on, which is insanely difficult. Quality usually does help however, especially for more dramatic themes and ideas. Low quality however (such as badly drawn comics) actually can help act as a form of exaggeration, making a comedic situation that much funnier. It actually assists in transmitting the idea. You have to understand how that works to exploit it, however. Technical skill with art always helps–be it through rendering ability or dynamic posing or whatever, though sometimes that skill also means knowing when to tone it down.
Generic front facing pictures of unnamed OCs looking off to the left don’t bring a lot of intrigue because they don’t really say anything other than ‘this is my OC,’ no matter how hard you work on it. You’re banking on technical skill demonstration at that point.
“But I don’t want to draw lewds or stuff for a fandom I just wish my own stuff and stuff I liked got more reblogs.” Don’t we all?
But don’t assume that existence alone will be enough to get its ideas out there. Do something with its existence.
It’s kinda broad and feels like overly simply advice, but try and think of scenarios for what you want to draw or ways to make it relatable. Try telling a story, even if it’s 100% visual and just a single scene, be it comedic or dramatic or whatever have you. They don’t have to be complex–just as long as you’re transmitting stronger ideas. And, even completely ignoring notes for a moment, this is honestly something worth practicing just from a creative standpoint.
It might not make your posts as popular as others, and it won’t automatically just happen overnight, but it’ll definitely help.