ghostly shadows

“Uh... good news bad news time, Ted.”

Ted the Animator: “Oh dear.”

Carl the Animator: “Hey, at least there is some good news involved, ‘cause… y’know… good news is good.”

Ted the Animator: “Let’s get this over with. What did you do?”

Carl the Animator: “Well, I created reeeaaally nice lantern glow cutouts for the swamp zombie scene that follow perfectly when he moves his arm.”

Ted the Animator: “…ok, good job, those are tough. What’s the bad news?”

Carl the Animator: “I forgot to move his arm.”

Ted the Animator: “…oh.”

Carl the Animator: “I might have been multitasking while watching Maru the cat try to fit into a tiny box.”

Ted the Animator: “I didn’t think the ‘no cats in the studio’ rule was going to have to start applying to video cats, but you’re just full of surprises I guess.”

Carl the Animator: “It was a VERY tiny box. I couldn’t resist.”

Ted the Animator: “I… I don’t even know what this looks like. The zombie’s ghostly shadow self is leaning down, while he himself stays perfectly still.”

Carl the Animator: “Whoops.”

Ted the Animator: “Actually, that would make for an interesting overarching visual theme for a monster, were it not just a random screwup.”

Carl the Animator: “Ooh! Ooh! Can we do that for the rest of the episode?!”

Ted the Animator: “No. It would make no sense, be completely unfitting… and we don’t get to write the scripts.”

Carl the Animator: “Humph.”

Ted the Animator: “It’s bad enough for the light thing to happen just once. Even more would–”

Carl the Animator: “Twice.”

Ted the Animator: “…eh?”

Carl the Animator: “I might’ve accidentally used the same loop a second time.”

Ted the Animator: “…oh, Carl….”

Carl the Animator: “Is that enough precedent to do the whole episode like it, now?!”

Ted the Animator: “No, but it is enough to get your illumination-cel privileges revoked.”

Carl the Animator: “But moooooom…

Ted the Animator: “You heard me, young man.”

S/C Fic

***Xposted to AO3 

Inspired by this bit from The Making of Outlander

Sam Heughan as James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser (continued)

The men then would not talk about their feelings,” he chuckles. “Life at that point was very dangerous and very short. He had to look out for himself, protect himself, and I think that initial [distance] is where it stems from.”

Aside from his relationship with Claire, Jamie’s actions in season one are largely driven by his interactions with Black Jack Randall. That first season outlines their violent history and then brings them together once more for a horrific dark passage of the soul in Wentworth Prison.

“I remember building up to it, thinking, Can I do this?” he says. “As an actor, you’re not even sure if you can go there or if it scares you to go there.”

It took about a week and a half to film the torture sequence. “With all the prosthetics and makeup involved, we were doing four hours of prosthetics in the morning before shooting,” he explains. “I’m coming in at four A.M., and then, obviously, a couple of hours at night to take it off. And then in between takes, I couldn’t just go off on my own to sit and relax. I would have to go into the makeup room and get all of the back prosthetics touched up. There’s no break in that. They were long, long days,” he remembers.

“In the evening, there was the process of taking off all the makeup and prosthetics and having a shower,” he recalls. “That was kind of the way to release it all and get rid of it. Everyone would leave the studio and I would stay there and do a quick workout in the gym, just to do something. I was staying in a little bed-and-breakfast right next door to the studio because we were in so early in the morning, so I was living this strange little life. I think that helped, living in this little bubble. It felt very much like being in this prison cell and that was my little world for that week and a half.

“In the real darkness of it, in between takes of some pretty heady stuff, I do remember [director] Anna Foerster coming up to me and saying, ‘Let it go now. Just go and relax. We got it.’ That was such a relief when it was over,” he says. Heughan says he’s grateful to get the opportunity to play such intense content.

“When you’re dealing with such big, emotional darkness, it’s great to be able to take yourself there. In TV, you don’t always get to do that, so it’s nice to be given the opportunity to really stretch yourself.”

Excerpt From: Tara Bennett & Diana Gabaldon. “The Making of Outlander: The Series.”

Quiet Madness

It was a quiet chaos that he needed. The need to descend into complete madness to be there. I was a part of something good, he said. I was the light, and he needed the dark to be the person he needed to be…


His muscles flexed, the strength shooting out of him like a bullet. Another blow. Another shot to the bag. Another wretched feeling thrown to the wall, beaten and cursed like his body felt. He struck again, this time falling into the bag, begging for it to hit back. Fucking hit back, he cried, his arms circling the black leather, his taped fingers clutching at the smooth texture, nails digging in.

He dropped to his knees, elbows on his thighs as his clenched fists cradled his temples. He had no more to give tonight, but too much taken away.

I wanted to go to him, then. Wanted him to beat me. Wanted his bloody fists bruising my breasts, his fingers tight around my legs as he begged forgiveness. I would give it to him, if it meant he would find peace.

I stayed away, though. Stayed back, in the shadows, far from the anger of the fluorescent beacon of the gym. It wasn’t time, yet. He needed to beat himself up. Needed to take the energy of the day and bring it to its knees. But it always brought him down first. Each night he would tie a noose around his anguish of the day, fully intent on watching it dance, choking slowly, before swaying its stench of rotting flesh in the breeze as death finally stole it away. Each night I watched him fail that goal, the anguish stealing his body, sucking the life out of the man I love.

He would be back. Sam would come home. Sam would be proud that he went where Jamie needed to go.

He asked me to stay away. We had spoken but a few times during the day. As the morning glow of dawn would cross my bedroom floor, I would stretch out the kinks of sleep in my bed. I’d turn to find a message waiting for me on my phone. Each day, I’d snap the phone from my bedside table, open the harsh light to my sleepy eyes, and read a simple message. He was okay. Tired. Missing me. But okay. I would sigh and fall back into my bed. Our bed. I’d run my hand along the empty space where he would lay, his smell still lingering in the sheets.

As the day wore on, I’d get maybe a message near noon, then nothing. The day would break him down. The scenes would open his chest, pluck another piece of his soul, then bind him back together with a rusty needle and wire for thread.

We had fought so much the week prior. He had told me his plans and I had fought him.  Promised him that I would be there for him each evening, but he turned a cheek. I had to watch him leave. I wasn’t allowed to visit him. After our scenes together with Tobias, I had been broken. I hadn’t been strong enough to bear his pain, the way he did mine. Sam had taken me aside afterward, held me. I should have been holding him.

I cinched my coat tighter as we left the gym. I kept a good pace behind him, but stalked him like prey. If his stride hastened, mine did as well. When he slowed, I all but stopped. Whether he sensed me, I do not know, but each time he looked behind, the glow of his face breaking through the dark rain-filled night, I ducked into the very shadows he had been living in.

I curled my side against the brick wall in the alley of the B&B he had been staying at. Closing my eyes, I raised my face to the sky, the rain washing away all sorrow I felt in his absence.

I hadn’t planned this. Hadn’t wanted any part of being in a relationship. Scotland was supposed to be a break from that life. A chance to focus solely on my career. But there I was, just a few short months ago, enjoying a beautiful and rare sunny day with my co-star and suddenly he laughed at something he had said. A story he had been telling me, that I cannot even recall, and quite unexpectedly, my heart staggered, tripped, and fell squarely into his strong hands.

He never gave it back.

I tucked Sam’s smile away, safe in my memory, for another time, and stepped into the B&B. No one was out front, so I headed up the stairs. I waited by his door, my heart racing, my thoughts flying from one thought to the another.

Would he want me here? No. He asked me to stay away. Would he throw me out? I don’t think he had the strength. Nor I, if asked, to walk away.

I tried the door, it wasn’t locked. I opened it, walking in a few steps. Light from the street cast a ghostly shadow across the floor. He hadn’t closed the drapes, and I could see his half-naked form curled on his side, facing the door, on the bed. The dark linen sheets rested comfortably across his hips.

His eyes were open to the door. His dark, quiet, stare shocked me inside. He lay motionless, barely a rise of his chest could be seen. I undressed before him, leaving my wet clothes to gather on the floor, while a puddle quickly formed around them.

Sam moved his form back, giving me room on the bed. I sat near his hip, watching his face. I remember taking his hand from its resting place, my lips falling to the battered knuckles. I closed my eyes, bathing the cuts in my comfort. I kissed each knuckle, rubbing it across my cheek, feeling his body against mine. When I opened my eyes, I saw sadness in his.

Could he not leave Jamie be, tonight? Could he not guide himself back to the light?

I took each finger in my mouth, sucking gently, like a gluttoned newborn. The fever of starvation gone, or, at the very least, at bay, and just savouring the warmth of another body. I watched his breathing increase faintly. Just a hint of arousal in his breath, but I would set that aside for now.

When I finished with one hand, I took the other. Sam rolled on his back, as I positioned myself fully on the bed. I made love to his fingers. They were strong like him, but showed the signs of battle that needed time to heal. Time to feel loved, before they were sent to fight another day.

With the bathing complete, I pulled both of his hands to my lips, kissing each knuckle once more, before resting them on his chest.

“Turn over.”

My words spliced through the night, like a wolf cry in the wood, piercing the soul. He remained quiet. Still. Not wholly understanding the words for a moment. Slowly, he turned on his stomach, his bare back exposed to the air. I tugged the sheets down a bit and straddled his thighs. I lowered my naked body down to his back, resting my cheek against his shoulder-blade, the hard muscles, like iron, under my skin.

I listened to his breathing, waiting for our hearts to join in union. To beat the same beat. I could feel him settle beneath me, and I raised myself, my fingers tracing his back, where marks from the prosthesis had been. I gently laid a kiss along each muscle, across each crease of skin, and into each valley along his back.

His body is mighty and he pushes it hard, as he does with his mind. He craves knowledge and strives for excellence. I come alive when he’s inside my body, like he’s passing me all this joy and child wonder through his skin to mine. The most adult of acts, the most carnal of desires we express and demand of each other, almost seem childlike with him. There’s an innocence to his guilty pleasures.

And I feel alive when he’s in my mind. I can see him standing on mountain tops, waving with a wide smile plastered across his face. I can see the sadness in him when I leave him, and the proud father that beams out of him when he holds Eddie.  He’s in damn near every thought I call my own and I often wonder if it’s the same for him. But I know it is. And sometimes I hate it, and most times I love it until it hurts. Until I feel terrified that it will leave someday.

My kisses turn from sweet and tender, to passionate, as I crawl into his skin, needing his feel across my face. His taste is salty under my skin. Salt with a little mix of soap. I can’t quite smell him yet and I scrape his back gently, with my nails, eager for his arousal to bring forth the heady scent of him at his finest.

I try to push my sexual desires aside. I want to care for him. But Sam stirs beneath me, and I raise myself, so he can roll over on his back. His cock, hard and ready, rests against my ass. No. Not yet. I kiss his chest, my tongue taking a languid stroll across his nipples and through his chest hair. I feel his hands fall loosely across my back, tracing my skin, reminding himself of the touch and feel of a woman. The touch and feel of a woman that loves him.

I lay my body down, his cock trapped between us, the wetness of my centre, coating it in liquid sex. He doesn’t enter me, but we rock slowly together. I try to kiss him, but he turns away, burying his face in my hair. I can feel his chest constrict as he weeps quietly into my hair. I stop my movements, concern beating desire, but he holds my head in his hands, watching my eyes.

“No,” he says quietly, “don’t stop. Please don’t stop.”

He releases my head, turning into my hair once more as I begin to move in time with him. Our bodies are wet with desire. Anguish and sorrow make the strangest of bedfellows with passion. I want him inside me, filling me with all he has to give. But tonight, that is more then he can give, so I just move with him.

Our bodies speed up, and I can feel my cheek wet with his tears. I take his hand, kissing his bruised knuckles once more, while his other hand clutches my back, holding onto me for dear life. When we climax, we do it through kisses and tears, sadness and joy, our bodies soaked from our release and the strive to get there. My name, my full name – Caitriona – falls from his lips, but drowns in my hair, as we float back down into our bodies.

It’s quiet now. No sounds, but his soft breathing, sleep dragging him under.

Sam slept in my arms that night, but his body never rested. Even in sleep, his hands gripped me, fearing I would fall away.

I never will.

I can’t live without my heart. And he won’t give it back.

“They became for ever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.”
 ― J.R.R. Tolkien

The stage is set

Sherlock builds his Victorian fever dream like a play. The stage is set, the curtain raises, we are ready to begin.

But any play has a structure, there are different acts and many scenes. And The Abominable Bride is only the first act.

If there is indeed a final act, that means the play is still going on by the time Mary reads her text. Mary gets the text about the curtain rising, John is more to the point ‘London Aquarium’, come immediately.

In many way, the differences makes the most sense. Mary is the actor in the play, John is the spectator. He doesn’t belong to the closed world that this imaginary world exists in.

He knows this is just a play and that nothing is real, he’s a storyteller after all.

But more than that, the final act is about Mary Watson, and the story of the merchant of Baghdad.

SHERLOCK: Your office said I’d find you here.
VIVIAN: This was always my favourite spot for agents to meet. We’re like them: ghostly, living in the shadows. (…)

SHERLOCK: Nice location for the final act. Couldn’t have chosen it better myself. But then I never could resist a touch of the dramatic.
NORBURY: I just come here to look at the fish.  I knew this would happen one day. It’s like that old story. (…) There was once a merchant in a famous market in Baghdad. (…) I’m just like the merchant in the story. I thought I could outrun the inevitable. I’ve always been looking over my shoulder; always expecting to see the grim figure of-
MARY: -Death.

Sherlock has figured it out and sought her but she knew he was coming for her before he even figured it out. One last time, she thought, I’m going to look at the sharks (because we do see them), because right then she’s certain she’s going to see the grim figure of Death. And Mary finishes her sentence as soon as she comes.

That is the final act. Appointment in Samarra, the protagonist facing Death.

And yet, the question is never answered, Sherlock still doesn’t know. This is why our last shot is this.

He needs to go even deeper. Even if he needs to sink until there is nothing but darkness all around him.

This is the final act, but the play is still going on, it began in TAB whose resolution gave him the beginning of an answer but it will not stop until that question is finally answered.

valentine’s | swimmer!taehyung drabble

kim taehyung | part of a series of a series of weightlifting fairy kim bok joo inspired drabbles. you ask why taehyung doesn’t bring you flowers like the other girls. you get a surprising response. | 1,057 words | fluff. | first part here: motivation, second part here: cute when you’re jealous

Originally posted by jeonbase

“Taehyung, why did you bring me here?”

Taehyung stops shoving beef into his mouth for the first time since you’ve both sat down, his mouth full and his eyes wide as he looks over the table toward you. He hadn’t thought to mention it, thinking if he did you might get mad at him, but he had noticed you had been upset since he picked you up for your date that evening. Taehyung had known to be simple with you; food and an action movie and you’d be set for your “romantic” valentine’s day celebration. But your grip on his hand throughout the movie was stiff, you cowered into his side whenever a couple laughed near you two, and you had barely touched your food since you two arrived at the restaurant.

Needless to say, he was worried sick. “To… eat? Why don’t you want to eat?”

You shift slightly in your seat, looking a bit awkward as the food goes virtually untouched by you. “Well… it’s just… we always eat here.”

He frowns and sets his chopsticks down, eyebrows furrowing. “Of course we always eat here. It’s your favorite restaurant!” “Hey, I know that!” You interrupt at his bewildered tone, becoming defensive. Instantly, Taehyung takes this as his cue to settle down. 

When you notice he’s silent, waiting for you to elaborate, you exhale with more force than you probably should, “You know, it’s just… Seokjin is taking his girlfriend ice skating, and Jimin is taking his to Gangnam, and we’re just kind of… we’ve never done anything romantic. You didn’t even bring me flowers. I had to watch everyone at school get flowers!” “You don’t even like flowers-” “That’s not the point! The point is, Kim Taehyung… I want you to do something romantic for me today.”

You suddenly wonder if you should take that back when Taehyung’s eyes spark with excitement, his smile turning embarrassingly wide when he realizes exactly what you’re asking of him. Taehyung had always accommodated your rather distant tendencies, always cutting down on the affection and giving you a head’s up before he would say something particularly cheesy. He would always ask to kiss you, and he let you dictate how long kisses and hugs should be. 

He had suppressed his affection for long enough, it seemed, because you actually wanted him to be mushy this time. He tried not to show his excitement. He failed.

“Then, if that’s the case, I’ve got an idea.”

As soon as your toes sink into the cool sand of the beach, your eyes shoot up to Taehyung, a skeptical look on your face. “I said romantic. Why are we at the beach?”

“Beaches are romantic,” Taehyung grins, his face illuminated by the moonlight. When you look out to sea, you see the moon casting ghostly white shadows along the black waters that lap at the edge of the beach and threaten to pull in whatever got too close. “And you said you wanted romantic.”

“But-” “No buts! You asked, and I deliver. Now, start running.” Taehyung grins, cheeks looking particularly chubby as he kicks off his shoes and coat onto the sand. You blink, a quiet question of if he was actually serious or not. He doesn’t say anything more, just raises his hands to your ribcage and tickles.

You squeal in surprise and suddenly you’re off running, Taehyung following close behind with his hands held out threateningly, reminding you of just what would happen if you slowed down. Your laughter is loud and unabashed, taking turns looking back at him and seeing where exactly you were headed. Thankfully, you were the faster runner out of the two of you, and Taehyung could only get close if you let him. 

For the first couple of minutes, you focus solely on escaping him, but when you see him starting to slow down, you purposefully slow your walk, glancing back to see if he would notice. 

The poor, lanky boy is on the verge of giving up on you altogether until he sees you’ve slowed down significantly, and you can practically see his ego boost by two hundred points. “Ha! You may be faster, but I have more stamina.” Sure, you think, turning away from him to giggle under your breath.

Finally, his arms wrap around your middle and you almost want to tease him for taking so long to reach you even when you weren’t trying, but the triumphant smile on his face is too cute to diminish, and you instead stamp your lips together into a fond smile, turning in his hold to face him. Chest to chest with your arms lazily wrapped around his neck, Taehyung heaves deep breath after breath, but he looks happy and content. You can just make out the pink, flushed tint in his cheeks under the moonlight, and your hand instinctively comes to curl up against his skin in adoration.

“May I kiss you?” He asks, softly, once he catches his breath.

You only nod, and he leans down to capture your strawberry flavored lips with his, his throat rumbling with a sigh of content when you kiss him back just as eagerly. Even the cool, February air doesn’t dull the warmth you feel rush through your body when Taehyung kisses you. 

He peels away with a satisfied smile, “Strawberry. You remembered.” “Of course I did, boy. I wore it just for you.” His smile seems to only grow the longer he stares at you, unmoving, adoring, loving, happy. 

“Was this romantic for you?” He asks finally, and you snap out of your own lovey reverie to answer, trying to hide the bashfulness in your tone, “Yeah, I’m… sorry I got mad at you earlier.” “No need to apologize. I’ll always jump at the chance to make you embarrassed.” 

Your eyes shoot up to his in shock, your arms dropping from around his shoulders so you can hit him on his arm, “I’m n-not embarrassed!” 

“You’re sooooo embarrassed! You love me! Admit it, you wanna kiss me!” He grins, teasing you in a sing-song voice as he jumps back from your next attack.

“Come back here, punk! You can kiss my fist!” You laugh, springing forward with renewed energy, trailing after your dumb boyfriend, laughing into the night air with nothing but pure, unadulterated endearment.