iko notices the way kai looks at cinder when she does something he doesn’t quite understand. like when she says that she isn’t hungry even though it’s been hours since she last ate, or when she falls asleep at her desk and wakes up like she’s fully rested in bed. iko notices the way kai tries to coax her into eating or sleeping in their bed, or anything to make her see that what she’s doing isn’t healthy. iko notices, and let’s it slide. this was something for cinder to explain.
it isn’t until kai comes to her that she says anything. he frantically runs his hand through his hair and tells her about how cinder sleeps. how she’s always tucked into the corner of their bed and how she wakes up in the middle of the night, plagued with nightmares. he says that he’s scared for her. he pours his heart out to her and all she can do is wait. when he’s finished, he looks at her like she has the perfect answer. iko stares at him. it’s obvious kai would do anything to help cinder, to fix her. it reminds her of how cinder once looked at peony, and for a second, iko is scared for the both of them.
then she shakes it off and tells kai to follow her. she takes him to the linh household, tells him how adri left it for some mansion because of all that money cinder ungraciously gave her, and remarks on how all of cinder’s stuff was probably left behind. kai, now wrapped in a hoodie, follows her quickly as they walk down the street. this is the first clue, iko thinks. “cinder had to walk everywhere,” he says. she nods. cinder must’ve said something like it before.
finally at the house, iko breaks a door open and is met with no alarm. adri could care less about her past. she and kai make their way through quietly, and just as expected, it is entirely empty save for cinder’s room. iko swipes open the door and it is instantly smaller than how she remembers it. maybe it’s because she’s in a much larger body. or maybe it’s always been this small. she can tell it’s the latter because of the look on kai’s face. the ceiling is barely high enough for him to walk inside, and he has to duck to get in. iko lets him look around, but doesn’t go after him. this is the second clue.
kai leaves a moment later. he looks at her and says, “how did she do it?” iko then leads him to the basement. it’s just how they left it, and it’s a wonder how adri didn’t get in trouble for it. she must’ve paid off the landlord. iko sits at cinder’s old desk and pretends to be asleep. this is clue number three. kai understands, and takes a minute to look around. even this room looks smaller, thinks iko, and she’s glad cinder is out of it for good.
they walk home slowly, and iko does something she probably shouldn’t have. she says, “adri didn’t like her at all. she blamed her for everything - garan, peony, everything. she yelled at her a lot, and sometimes, she hit her. cinder tried to make herself as small as possible. cinder tried really hard.” kai doesn’t say anything, but she can feel his sadness in the air. the rest of the walk is quiet.
when they get back to the palace, kai is still quiet. cinder is there, and iko is happy knowing kai feels the same adoration as her when cinder shows up with a smile on her face as if nothing bad has ever happened to her ever. kai starts to tear up and cinder looks at iko confused, but iko shakes her head. she walks away. she’d already done more than she should’ve; the rest was cinder’s.
TORONTO REPORTBACK: A tiny group of Soldiers of Odin and Jewish Defence League fascists were completely overwhelmed and drowned out by antifascists at City Hall. After initially being chased out of an underground parking garage earlier in the day, the fascists later had to rely on dozens of riot and bike cops to form a human barricade to allow a second escape after holding their ground for barely an hour.
“so I like to think that every Sunday when Ronan goes to church, he thinks about stopping by to see adam but never does because maybe sundays are the only days the garage is closed and he can get some sleep for once, and then one day as the organist is playing in mass he realizes that adam must be able to hear everything, there’s no way he could sleep through it. So one day he dreams some noiseless headphones and leaves them outside adam’s door, and well-rested adam starts smiling more after that”
Thank you so much for submitting i looveeed this idea, you’re so creative!!
This is 1,714 words, pre relationship
He was so close.
Just for fun, Ronan tried to calculate the distance in feet between him and Adam during mass. The distance in yards, inches, meters.
Shuffling brought him out of his daydreams. The service was over, people were getting up to leave. A certain distinct part of Ronan became thrilled.
Maybe he could do it today. Maybe he’d casually stop by Adam’s scrappy appartement on this bright Sunday, he was in the area anyway, right?
As Ronan walked out of the old church building, he looked up to where he knew Adam lived and sighed. He wouldn’t go to Adams, he never would on a Sunday morning- the only day Boyd’s was closed and Adam could even attempt to sleep in. Adam needed the rest.
With a deep breath and a considerable amount of restraint, Ronan walked by the door of Saint Agnes’, saying a simple prayer to whoever would listen on behalf of Adam’s well-being.
Thinking about seeing Adam tomorrow made Ronan excited about the start of the school week. The fact that someone could do that to him was more than uncomfortable but also more than thrilling. Just twelve hours more.
In deliberate nonchalance the next morning, Ronan flopped down into the chair beside Adam’s, hardly sparing a glance his was. Hardly holding himself back from looking more.
Adam’s eyes were sunken it and glazed, not in the classroom or aware. Disheveled hair and sustained blinks were all the clues Ronan needed.
“Sleep much Parrish?” He pried with carefully disguised concern.
“Hm?” Adam looked to Ronan for the first time that morning, revealing the full vacancy of his expression.
Ronan found himself struck with an unfounded feeling of anger. Of course a few hours extra of sleep wouldn’t really change much. He just wanted better for Adam. How dare sleep in Sundays not help this boy more?
Ronan had been staring and Adam hadn’t been awake enough to realize, when Gansey arrived in class wearing some horrible new boat shoes that disgustingly matched his Aglionby uniform.
Ronan cracked a joke that Adam didn’t catch and Gansey reprimanded Ronan for his lack of preparation for class. Ronan didn’t care. He had one reason for coming to school this morning, and that reason was currently a sleepy dead man walking.
A bell rung, class began and Ronan couldn’t stop think about Adam. Wondering about the dark rings under his eyes and how to change their existence. Why didn’t thoes few extra hours of sleep make any difference for Adam? Ronan avoided him after church just so he could catch up on sleep-
Church. Maybe that was it. Of course. It had to be. The church’s organ was scarcely well played, never well receive and always incredibly loud. And at seven thirty every Sunday morning, it began blaring some underrehearsed hymnal right below Adam’s room.
No wonder the extra hours asleep did nothing for Adam- he wasn’t getting them. Ronan couldn’t blame him; who could sleep through those atrocious sounds?
Fuck the organ. Fuck the organ player. But this was good. At least Ronan knew the problem, that meant he could dream away to stop it.
Ronan dreamed without sound.It was disorienting to be cut off from the senses within his own head.
He saw Adam. They were, both of them in the forest, but Adam was laying down on that shitty mistress from his apartment. He was tossing around, holding hands to his ears.
Ronan sat in the edge of the bed, next to the restless Dream Adam. Still, Ronan couldn’t hear a thing. Adam sat up and looked st Ronan- his eyes glassy with this dream world. Reaching his hands out, Dream Adam brushed his fingers by Ronan’s ears.
Shivering unwillingly, Ronan watched as Dream Adam pulled solidly black earbuds from Ronan’s ears. Sound came back at once.
“Oh,” Ronan mused, “I get it.”
Ronan took the headphones from Adam, savoring the way their fingers brushed in the exchange.
Following the thin headphone cord to his pocket, Ronan found them connected to a solid black cube, printed with simple white letters, reading:
It was Saturday night before Ronan finally found the guts to bring the noise eliminating gift to Adam. He had to bring them tonight so the church organ wouldn’t wake Adam in the morning.
He pulled up into the gravely parking area of St. Agnes’s, noted the absence of Adam’s shitbox and opted to wait in the hallway outside Adam’s door.
Ronan stretched his legs out strait in front of him, back against a wall of peeling paint. He put the dream buds into his ears and closed his eyes.
Almost, Ronan thought, he could dream like this. This particular brand of silence was like a blanket, protecting whoever experienced it from whatever pain and noise existed outside of it.
Ronan started when he felt a gentle kick to the side of his knee. Ripping the soundless ear buds from his ears, he looked up to see Adam Parrish, messing with the apartment key before unlocking his door.
“Sleep much, Lynch?” He smirked. Adam had the sleeves of his blue coveralls tied around his waist, white tee shirt hugging his chest in a way that forced blush to Ronan’s cheeks. He got up and followed Adam inside, deciding to have some fun.
“Listen to this new song I found Parrish?” Ronan said, meeting Adam at his desk where he already stood looking over the weekend’s homework.
“Ronan I swear, if you’re talking about the Murder Squash song-” Ronan cut Adam off by bringing the headphones to the boy’s ears.
Ronan held his hands over Adams ears, thumbs along his jaw bone. Ronan told himself this action was necessary in order to ensure Adam didn’t rip the buds away, but in actuality, Ronan wished he could hold Adam’s face like that all day.
“I don’t hear anything!” Adam said, a bit too loudly. Ronan hesitantly removed his hands from Adams face in order to dangle the connected ABSOLUTE SILENCE CUBE by Adams face.
Ronan smirked and Adam laughed. This reactions supercharged Ronan’s state of being. His stomach felt light and his eyes felt on fire.
Ronan reached to take the ear buds from Adam, wishing to make some snide comment he hadn’t thought of yet. Ronan was saved the trouble of figuring out some witty remark when Adam grabbed his hand.
It seemed like maybe he would swat it away, but Adam just kept his fingers on Ronan’s palm, thumb on the back of his hand
“I like you better on silent.” Adam joked, adjusting his voice to what he probably thought was a normal volume but just came out low and undeniably sexy. Adam still held Ronan’s hand in his own.
Touch was electric.
Breathing shallow and heart thoroughly wrecked, Ronan stumbled away from Adam in an awkward tornado of too long limbs. Adam caught Ronan by his left arm, took out the ear buds and laughed.
“So, standing? Were you skipping school the day that was covered?” Adam quipped.
“Fuck off Parrish.” Ronan snapped, but he made no move to leave Adam’s grasp. Standing was one thing, standing in the presence of Adam Parrish was another.
They both smirked. Adam headed to the shower leaving Ronan with the soundless headphones and the dimming light in the room.
If he stayed, Ronan knew what would happen. He’d try to kiss Adam, he knew he would. It was just one of those nights where Adam was extra irresistible. The firework touches didn’t help.
Ronan resolved to go home. He left the soundless earbuds on Adam’s pillow and quietly left.
Sunday was torcher. All through mass, Ronan could only hope Adam was getting the extra sleep he needed. What if he didn’t notice Rona had left the headphones, or just disregarded them all together? Adam was used to Ronan’s accidental dream creations, maybe he thought nothing of the ABSOLUTE SILENCE creation.
The urge to stop in at Adam’s was stronger than ever but Ronan tore himself away from the church apartment buildings and prayed for a well rested Adam.
When Ronan entered his first period class the next morning his eyes went strait to Adam as they always did. He looked slightly more at ease and aware of his surroundings. Adam jerked his head in greeting as Ronan walked in, even smiled at him for the seconds before obnoxious classmates began to fill the room.
This time, when Ronan commented on Gansey’s strange style choices, Adam laughed and ignited the electricity in Ronan from that weekend. He felt on top of the world, like he was finally doing something worth any amount of time put into it.
Adam seemed better during class, he smiled more, his notes were more organized. Ronan was sure he was imagining it but it seemed like Adam kept stealing glances his way. Even the possibility made Ronan soar.
After class, Adam held back until Ronan was ready to leave. They walked out of the room together into the already emptied out hallways. Adam stopped before heading out of the building to his next class.
“You’re gonna be late Parrish, the entire faculty with shit their pants if-”
Ronan couldn’t continue, not with Adam’s mouth pressed against his own, Adam’s fingers gripping his uniform tie.
Adam leaned against Ronan with his whole body and Ronan felt he would melt into the wood paneling behind him if he didn’t hold onto something. He gripped Adam around the waist and closed his eyes.
Ronan couldn’t be sure if this was real or not. He needed to remember it forever, he needed to understand what was happening in his brain.
“Adam,” was all he could manage to say.
Adam pressed one more kiss onto Ronan’s mouth.
“For the record,” Adam began simply, “I don’t like you better on silent.”
Ronan laughed even though he didn’t have the breath for it.
“Even when you’re being and asshole.”
Ronan smiled against Adam’s check and kissed him there without thinking before bringing their lips back together.
Really, if all Adam need was a few extra hours of sleep to be interested in this, in him of all people, Ronan figured silent headphones were a small price to pay.
This is what I’ve seen in the four weeks since infection. People killing
people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection,
and the four weeks before that, and before that, and as far back as I
care to remember. People killing people. Which to my mind, puts us in a
state of normality right now.